Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hip Hop Apsara by Anne Elizabeth Moore




JOURNALIST AND CULTURE CRITIC HIGHLIGHTS CAMBODIAN ‘MOVES’
Hip Hop Apsara provides images of a nation’s people emerging from generations of poverty
CHICAGO, IL – July 2012 – “Radical” (L.A. Times), “poignant” (Boston Globe), “should not be missed (Time), “a notable underground author” (The Onion), and “brilliant” (Kirkus) are all ways to describe Anne Elizabeth Moore and her writing. The award-winning author and artist has worked for years with young women in Cambodia on independent media projects, and her newest venture is a compilation of photographs and lyrical essays taking readers to the streets of the country’s capital city, Phnom Penh, and out into the countryside—where few get to travel. Hip Hop Apsara: Ghosts Past and Present releases Aug. 28, 2012 from Green Lantern Press.

Alternating full color and black and white photographs depict Phnom Penh’s bustling nightlife as locals gather to dance on a newly revitalized riverfront directly in front of their prime minister’s urban home, thus forming a portrait of the nation’s emerging middle class. Images from a southern province depict a nation in dialogue with its government, hoping for development that lifts all citizens. A series of essays complement the imagery, investigating the relationship between public and private space, mourning and memory, tradition and an economic development unrivaled in the last 1,200 years.

“Traditional movements push against young passions,” Moore writes. “Development is fluid and janky. But a generation is learning what comfort feels like, learning what it feels like to have survived. To celebrate, to honor, they dance most nights like they are possessed.”

Hip Hop Apsara aims to break through the cavalier and hardened consciousness many hold about Cambodian culture and its recent, violent, past under the Khmer Rouge.

“People seem rooted in this belief that Cambodia’s very far away and very weird,” Moore said. “It is far away, but for 14 million Cambodians, it’s not weird at all – plus it’s a place the US has had a lot of negative influence over. So it seems like we should know something about it, as Americans.”

A Fulbright scholar, Moore is the Truthout columnist behind Ladydrawers: Gender and Comics in the US, and the author of Cambodian Grrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh (Cantankerous Titles, 2011), Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity (The New Press, 2007) and Hey Kidz, Buy This Book (Soft Skull, 2004). She was co-editor and publisher of the now-defunct Punk Planet, and founding editor of the Best American Comics series from Houghton Mifflin. She has twice been noted in the BestAmerican Non-Required Reading series.

Anne Elizabeth Moore
Anne Elizabeth Moore is a Fulbright scholar, the Truthout columnist behind Ladydrawers: Gender and Comics in the US, and the author of Cambodian Grrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh (Cantankerous Titles, 2011), Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity (The New Press, 2007, named a Best Book of the Year by Mother Jones) and Hey Kidz, Buy This Book (Soft Skull, 2004). Co-editor and publisher of the now-defunct Punk Planet, and founding editor of the Best American Comics series from Houghton Mifflin, Moore teaches in the Visual Critical Studies and Art History departments at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

She works with young women in Cambodia on independent media projects, and with people of all ages and genders on media and gender justice work in the US. Her journalism focuses on the international garment trade. Moore exhibits her work frequently as conceptual art, and has been the subject of two documentary films. She has lectured around the world on independent media, globalization, and women’s labor issues.
The multi-award-winning author has also written for N+1, Good, Snap Judgment, Bitch, the Progressive, The Onion, Feministing, The Stranger, In These Times, The Boston Phoenix, and Tin House. She has twice been noted in the Best American Non-Required Reading series. She has appeared on CNN, WNUR, WFMU, WBEZ, Voice of America, and others. Her work with young women in Southeast Asia has been featured in USA Today, Phnom Penh Post, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out Chicago, Make/Shift, Today’s Chicago Woman, Windy City Times, and Print Magazine, and on GritTV, Radio Australia, and NPR’s Worldview.

Moore recently mounted a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and participated in Artisterium, Georgia’s annual art invitational. Her upcoming book, Hip Hop Apsara: Ghosts Past and Present (Green Lantern Press, Aug. 28, 2012), is a lyrical essay in pictures and words exploring the people of Cambodia’s most rampant economic development in at least 1,200 years.
Website: AnneElizabethMoore.com
@superanne

BOOK DETAILS
Hardcover, $20
ISBN: 978-1-4507-7526-7
Photo/Essay, 100 pages
Green Lantern Press, Aug. 28

The city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia hosts public dance lessons most nights on a newly
revitalized riverfront directly in front of prime minister Hun Sen’s urban home. Shortly before dusk, much of the city gathers to bust a few Apsara moves and learn a couple choreographed hiphop steps from a slew of attractive young men at the head of each group. Outside the bustling capital city, the provinces come alive, too, as the nation’s only all-girl political rock group sets up concerts that call into question the international garment trade, traditional gender roles, and agriculture under globalization. Cambodia is changing: not what it once was, not yet what it will be.

Following on the heels of Cambodian Grrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh, Anne Elizabeth Moore compiled photographs that document Cambodia’s bustling nightlife, the nation’s emerging middle class, and the ongoing struggle for social justice in the beautiful, war-ravaged land.

A series of essays complement the imagery, investigating the relationship between public and private space, mourning and memory, tradition and economic development. It is a document of a nation caught between states of being, yet still deeply affecting.

Guest Post
          My upcoming book, Hip Hop Apsara: Ghosts Past and Present, is sort of an unusual project for a journalist: it’s a lyrical essay in pictures and words that describes a country moving from a static state of mourning into the most rampant economic development it’s experienced in at least 1,200 years. In image and text, I attempted to explore the state between loss and desire, a beautiful half-noticed sense between smell and sight, between hearing and touch that is pure unverifiable memory. I think of it as an apology, a coming-of-age tale, an exposé, and a love story.

The book looks at a very traditional nation beginning the process of integrating modern life—both the good (cultural forms, like hip hop) and the bad (the uneven distribution of wealth). Told mostly through photographs. It emerged organically from the last five years I’ve spent investigating Cambodia, while it was undergoing the most rapid period of change in its recorded history.

Not everyone gets to go to Cambodia, and certainly not everyone’s had the insider access that I have—I lived with the first large group of educated young women in the country (as described in my last book, Cambodian Grrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh), and I can’t even tell you how much gratitude I have for the education they gave me: about food, about tradition, about gender, about language, about social customs, about Cambodia, about the US.

My young friends also took me out to my first big aerobics dance party, the ones that form the basis for most of the images in the book—and tried to teach me all the dance moves, including the Apsara. I can’t dance, though—I mean, I did, but even the otherwise very supportive young women nurturing my cultural education eventually told me I should just stop—so I concentrated on making good, experimental photographic images of what was basically a park full of genocide, mass killing, torture, abuse, and starvation survivors and their children. It’s a beautiful thing to witness: people in public space learning how to trust each other, move their bodies for pleasure, and have figuring out how to fun. People just emerging from poverty, finally able to afford to eat enough that they can spend calories exercising. It was really joyful.

The essays in this piece are my first non-journalistic take on Cambodia, and thus are more playful reflections on the emerging nation than I usually get to put out in the world. It’s also sort of a new view on Cambodia, a place people generally think they know about, that they believe does not and cannot change, because the Khmer Rouge regime looms so large. But it is changing, very very quickly.

A lot of the images are about what happens when traditional forms begin to adapt to globalizing forces. In the public exercise and dance images, traditional Apsara dance moves get combined with hip-hop choreography. They show how people move on from loss. In the final images, of a concert I was lucky to attend in Kandal province of this amazing group of musicians called The Messenger Band, the images are of how traditional notions of gender and sexuality are impacted by the global garment trade and the local sex industry. The concert space offers a chance for Cambodians to rethink that impact, and question who supports it. The book is really about that space, about the moment before tradition shifts, to more efficiently allow for profitability.


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Friday, August 24, 2012

Review of Deep Water by Kat Martin

I would like to welcome Kat Martin to my blog today where we are featuring the last book in the Sinclair sister's trilogy, Deep Water.


Mind Your Own Business. . .Or Else. . .

For reporter Hope Sinclair, writing about the recovery of a sunken Spanish treasure off Pleasure Island should be her big chance. But Hope can't help feeling that she's been hand-picked for this job for all the wrong reasons. Someone wants Hope out of New York and off the story that could blow a corruption case wide open. If they think sending her to paradise will shut her up, they've got another thing coming.
Hope's subject, treasure hunter Conner Reese, isn't happy to have her along for the ride. He doesn't need the publicity, nor does he want an incredibly tempting redhead on board, driving his crew--and himself--to distraction. But there's something else, too. As a former Navy SEAL, Conner can sense extreme danger, and danger is following Hope Sinclair very, very closely. . .

Now, in the deceptively serene beauty of a sultry Caribbean paradise, Hope and Conner are moving ever closer to finding a priceless Incan relic, and diving deeper into waters more treacherous than they could possibly imagine. . .


Image of Kat Martin


Kat Martin:

Currently living in Missoula, Montana, Kat Martin is the bestselling author of over fifty Historical and Contemporary Romance novels. Before she started writing in 1985, Kat was a real estate broker. During that time, she met her husband, Larry Jay Martin, also an author. Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. "I love anything old," Kat says. "I love to travel and especially like to visit the places where my books are set. My husband and I often stay in out-of-the-way inns and houses built in times past. It's fun and it gives a wonderful sense of a by-gone era." 

To date, Kat has over twelve million copies of her books in print. She is published in twenty foreign countries, including Germany, Norway, Sweden, China, Korea, Bulgaria, Russia, England, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Japan and Greece.

You can visit with Kat at  http://katbooks.com/


Excerpt:

Hope felt the deck sway beneath her feet.  The Conquest was eighty-feet long and looked to be very well equipped.  She glanced around and spotted a fiftyish, silver-haired man walking toward her while a taller, dark-haired man followed a few feet behind. 
She smiled at the first man.  "Hello, I'm Hope Sinclair.  It's very nice to meet you.  You must be Conner Reese."
He gave her a warm, inviting smile.  "Actually, I'm Bob Gibson, captain of the Conquest."  He turned to the man behind him.  "This is Conner Reese."
She tried not to stare.  If she'd had more time, she would have known everything there was to know about the partners of Treasure Limited.  As it was, she knew Brad Talbot, the money man, and she had met Eddie Markham, the owner of Pleasure Island.  This man, the head of the search operation, Conner Reese, was nothing at all what she had expected.
She extended a hand.  "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Reese.  I'm Hope Sinclair.  I assume you've been expecting me."
"Expecting you to what?"
She didn't like his tone, or the unfriendly look in his eyes.  But she had to admit they were gorgeous, the same incredible blue as the sea.  And he was handsome.  Remarkably so.  He was wearing red swim trunks and canvas deck shoes, his chest bare and nicely sculpted with muscle.  He had a set of very impressive biceps, a lean, flat, six-pack stomach, and a pair of shoulders that would stretch the limits of a size seventeen shirt.  And he was tall, at least six-foot-two, with a very dark tan. 
Still, it was obvious he wasn't pleased to see her and that jabbed her temper.  She didn't want to be there in the first place.  The least he could do was be pleasant.
She pasted on a smile.  "Since you weren't told I was coming, I suppose I had better explain.  I'm a writer for Adventure magazine.  I'm here to do an article on your search for the Spanish galleon, Nuestra Senora de Rosa.  I assumed someone from the magazine would have called you."
"Yeah, well they didn't.  Adventure might like to do a story, but unfortunately we're not interested.  It's a shame you came all this way for nothing but that's the way it is.  The last thing we need is a bunch of people finding out we're down here looking for sunken treasure."
She worked to keep her friendly smile in place, all the while cursing Conner Reese.  "I'm afraid you don't understand.  I've been assigned to do this story and that's what I intend to do."  She glanced around at the ultra-modern equipment on the deck, most of it new.  "You probably have a satellite phone out here.  Why don't you call Brad Talbot?  He can explain what's going on."
"Talbot?  This was Talbot's idea?"
A noise behind them interrupted her answer.  She turned to see one of the crewman coming down from the wheelhouse holding a cell phone, a huge black man in baggy knee-length shorts and a blue-flowered shirt.  He had a chest the size of a wine cask and arms that would rival Mike Tyson's. 
"It's for you, boss."
Reese took the phone, flicked a glance at Hope, then turned and walked a couple of feet away.  He was angry and getting madder by the minute, speaking louder and louder until she could hear every word.
"Are you insane?  We let her write a bunch of articles about this operation and we're going to have every amateur treasure hunter within two thousand miles breathing down our necks.  This isn't the States, Talbot, it's a private island.  The only laws here are the ones they make up.  We won't have a damn bit of protection--legal or otherwise--if we start to have trespassing problems."
Talbot said something lengthy on the other end of the line. 
"This is crazy," Reese said.  Then, "Fine--have it your way.  But don't say I didn't warn you."  Reese ended the call and took a deep breath.  He handed the phone back to the big black man.  "Thanks, King."
"No problem, boss."
Reese turned to face her, a scowl on his handsome face.  "I guess you're staying, since Talbot holds the purse strings."  He gave her a perusal that went from her breasts to her toes and sent her hackles up another notch.  "But then you probably knew that already."
Hope clamped down on a nasty retort and the captain stepped into the fray. 
"Why don't I take the lady down to her cabin?" he suggested, trying to prevent what was fast becoming a mutual dislike.
Reese gave Hope a cold, hard smile.  "I'll take care of it.  I want to make sure our guest gets properly settled in."
Ignoring his grim expression, Hope reached for her carry-on.  Surprisingly, Reese picked it up before she had the chance.  At least he knew how to behave like a gentleman, though she figured he usually chose not to.
She sighed as she followed his broad, muscular back along the deck to the ladder.  It was going to be a helluva long three weeks.


Guest Post:

Vacationing at sea ... exhilarating or exhausting?

Next year I’m planning to take a cruise.  I’ve only done it twice before--both times on Carnival, fun because both were readers’ cruises.  Six hundred and fifty readers and only twenty five authors!  It was like being a big celebrity, even though it only lasted a week.  It was terrific to talk books with people who love them as much as I do. 

Next year’s cruise will be different.  We’re going to the Greek Isles--or at least so we thought until last week when I found out the boat doesn’t stop at any real islands.  They kind of tricked us, but it was a very good deal, money-wise, since the cruise industry is after the accident in Italy and Greece has riots in the streets. 

So it’s going to be cheaper--if we live through it.  And there is always the possibility of storms that time of year.  I’m definitely taking my patch--which, incidentally, actually works.  Twelve-foot seas and you don’t feel a thing.  Kind of like being drunk without the hangover.  Gotta have a prescription for it, though, but it’s usually easy to get. 

Our last cruise was in the Caribbean--the setting for DEEP BLUE, a book that Kensington Publishing is re-issuing September 1, with a fabulous new hunky male cover.

This is part of the Sinclair Sisters’ trilogy.  Conner Reese is the captain of a salvage boat who is searching the waters off Jamaica for Spanish sunken treasure.  Con has work to do and he isn’t happy to have lady reporter, Hope Sinclair, interfering in his business.  The book has been out of print for a while and the new cover is really fantastic.  If you haven’t read it, I hope you’ll give DEEP BLUE a try. 

So tell me...how do you feel about cruising?  Great fun or a nightmare?  Love to hear your thoughts.  Have a great summer.  Happy reading, Kat  


My Review:

          A tropical paradise, the sun, boats, a handsome man, buried treasure, and danger? That meets my requirements for a sexy novel, and that is exactly what Kat Martin accomplished with “Deep Water”.


          I have never read a book that incorporated deep sea diving for buried treasure and I found it quite intriguing. I love history and enjoyed reading about the ships that have been lost at sea and the treasures they harbored deep within. I knew very little about the process and research that goes into finding, or hoping to find, these lost treasures. The book has peaked my interest in hunting for lost treasure. I am even considering a trip to the local library to learn more on this topic.

          At the time I was contacted to review the book, I was not aware that it was part of a trilogy. I am definitely going to be catching up with the other two sisters and their adventures.

          From a technical standpoint, I found the book well written, incorporating multiple adventures/storylines, along with well-developed characters, concluding with the fairytale ending that Kat Martin is so well known. Folks – grab this one up and head for the mountains and hammock on the porch.

Giveaway!!
Kat Martin has graciously offered a copy of Deep Blue for a giveaway. Just leave a comment along with your email, for contact purposes only.
The Giveaway Disclaimer can be found on the right hand side of my blog.
This giveaway will close on September 5, 2012. 

Deep Water can be purchased on Amazon.


While you are there, I hope you'll vote yes for my review.
Add an extra entry if you do. Thank you!



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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Let's Talk Intuition by Darlene Pitts


Let's Talk Intuition, 121 Questions & Answers to Help You Use More of Your Inner Guidance Every DayHow do I trust my intuition? Can my intuition help me reduce stress? How do I use my intuition to find a good relationship? In Let's Talk Intuition, intuition consultant Darlene Pitts answers these questions and many others clients have asked her over ten years, to show you how quick and easy it is to use your intuition at home, work, school, and play right now.     

Intuition is your natural ability to sense the truth about people, places, things, and situations without using logic, physical senses, or prior knowledge. In this book, Darlene describes the ways your intuition helps you save money, time, and energy in twenty-eight areas of life, including career, finances, health, and relationships. Realistic examples and true intuitive experiences detail how eight intuitive senses guide and protect you each day. Included is her three-step process to ask your intuition questions about any life situation and sense accurate answers.




I would like to welcome Darlene Pitts, Intuition Consultant, to my blog today where we are featuring her book Let's Talk Intuition.


Image of Darlene PittsDarlene Pitts is an intuition consultant, speaker, and author of Let's Talk Intuition and Discover Your Intuition. She also created a set of 65 Abundant Living Cards to help people use their intuition to create financial success. She teaches intuition development courses and conducts individual and business consulting. Her intuition articles have been published in several magazines and on Internet sites. She performs speaking engagements with a focus on the use of intuition in personal and professional ways. Her mission includes spreading the joys and benefits of living the intuitive way. Visit her website at www.inspirationandintuition.com 

Links: Main Website | Author Blog | Twitter | Art Site


Guest Post:

All Things Intuition by Darlene Pitts:

When I decided to write about intuition, I found my mission in life. And I unknowingly lived it for years. Intuition is our natural ability to sense the truth about people, places, things, and situations without using logic, physical senses, or prior knowledge. I couldn’t keep what I’d recognized and learned about intuition to myself, especially when people asked, “What is intuition? How do I use it?” In my self-published book Let’s Talk Intuition, I answered those questions and many others.

Intuition plays a key role in every area of our lives and informs us in ways beyond academia, logic, and common sense. In my writings, intuition allows me to incorporate several genres: self help, spirituality, inspiration, poetry, comedy, and horror. Yes, horror. Living the intuitive way is often like living in the Twilight Zone spotlighting social issues and unexpected endings. We sense things about our health, finances, and talents. We sense job offers, transportation problems, and sudden deaths. Even when we sleep, our dreams generate more intuitive experiences—literally and symbolically.

In Let’s Talk Intuition, I state, “Each person is born with intuition and his or her own intuitive style.”Seers see images in visions and dreams “out in space” or in their mind’s eye. Sentients perceive information by diverse feelings or sensations within their body. Listeners hear various sounds “out in space” or in their head, throat, or heart. Knowers know information “out of the blue” and withoutknowing how they know. Tasters taste various substances without putting anything in their mouth.Scentrists smell various scents “out in space” or via their inner nose. Speakers speak abrupt, insightfulsayings to others and themselves without thinking what to say. Singers sing sudden, edifying songs to others and themselves without hearing external music. We are a mixture of all of the above, validated by the intuitive messages we receive every day. While writing my book, new intuitive messages arrived while older ones returned to my consciousness. Like lifelong teachers, they wanted to be included to help people understand the different types of intuitive messages communicated. Each provided an excellent story for a corresponding question, such as “How do I know what my intuition tells me is real?” “Can my intuition warn me about danger?” “Is intuition always right?”

Some people recognize they’ve used their intuition since childhood; others, later in life. Either way, being aware when their intuition communicates, trusting it, and acting on its guidance are vital. People often ask, “Why do I ignore my intuition?” The reasons vary per person and per intuitive message. The top five reasons people ignore their intuition are: 1) they doubt their intuitive messages are true, 2) they fear ridicule or rejection from others if they talk about it, 3) they fear the truth, 4) their intuitive messages conflict with their desires, and 5) they rebel against being told what to do even when the advice comes from their own intuition.

Let’s Talk Intuition contains realistic examples and true intuitive experiences. My goals are to empower people and help them know that they’re not alone when they intuitively feel other people’s pains and pleasures, when they intuitively hear disembodied footsteps and voices in their home, when they intuitively know about weather and geological hazards, when they intuitively sing about their true and false friends … and hundreds of other intuitive experiences. All things in life include all things intuition.


My Review:
          I have always been fascinated by my intuition and many things that I have seen have to come to fruition; so when I was contacted to review Let’s Talk Intuition, I jumped at the chance.

          I found the book extremely enlightening. I had not realized that there are so many intuitive senses, Intuitive seeing (which is mostly how my intuition manifests itself). Intuitive feeling (also one of my intuition senses). Intuitive Hearing (imagine the ability to hear different sounds), and Intuitive knowing (imagine knowing you should go someplace or leave before trouble). There is Intuitive tasting (the ability to taste various substances without putting that item in your mouth), and Intuitive smelling (imagine your nose warning you of something). Intuitive speaking (the ability to speak abrupt, insightful sayings without having to think of it first); and Intuitive singing (I cannot imagine bursting into song and having that song tell me something.)

          You may have one, two, or three of these senses, or all of them. They sometimes work together to give you messages. The book goes into detail about how to work with your intuition and the author provides numerous examples that further explain the concept to you. She offers exercises to help you be more in tune to your intuition, and its message.

          Let’s Talk Intuition is written in a simple question/answer, explanation format that easy to read and understand. There are 121 questions and answers to help you learn to listen to your intuition and to learn to use it on a daily basis.

          So, whether you are new to listening to your intuition or someone just looking to hone their “listening” skills, this is a great book. It will give you the confidence you need to listen to your “gut” feeling.


Darlene Pitts has graciously offered a copy of Let's Talk Intuition to one lucky person. 

One paperback copy of Let’s Talk Intuition, open internationally until August 31st. To enter, comment on this post stating you’d like to enter the giveaway and stating one way you use your intuition. The winner will be announced on this post and contacted to obtain a mailing address. Don't forget to leave an email!

Let's Talk Intuition can be purchased on Amazon.



While you are there, I hope you'll vote yes for my review.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Paris Wife, a novel by Paula McLain


The Paris Wife: A NovelA deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81yFur9UngL._SX320_SY240_CR0,0,0,0_.png

Author Paula McLain on The Paris Wife 
Most of us know or think we know who Ernest Hemingway was -- a brilliant writer full of macho swagger, driven to take on huge feats of bravery and a pitcher or two of martinis -- before lunch. But beneath this man or myth, or some combination of the two, is another Hemingway, one we’ve never seen before. Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife, is the perfect person to reveal him to us -- and also to immerse us in the incredibly exciting and volatile world of Jazz-age Paris.
The idea to write in Hadley’s voice came to me as I was reading Hemingway’s memoir, A Moveable Feast, about his early years in Paris. In the final pages, he writes of Hadley, “I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.” That line, and his portrayal of their marriage -- so tender and poignant and steeped in regret -- inspired me to search out biographies of Hadley, and then to research their brief and intense courtship and letters -- they wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of delicious pages to another!
I couldn’t help but fall in love with Hadley, and through her eyes, with the young Ernest Hemingway. He was just twenty when they met, handsome and magnetic, passionate and sensitive and full of dreams. I was surprised at how much I liked and admired him -- and before I knew it, I was entirely swept away by their gripping love story.
I hope you will be as captivated by this remarkable couple as I am -- and by the fascinating world of Paris in the 20’s, the fast-living, ardent and tremendously driven Lost Generation.

Ernest and Hadley Hemingway on their wedding day, 1921 

Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, Chamby, Switzerland, winter 1922


My Review:
          Having never read Hemingway, I don’t think I would have even given this book a second look, even though I found the cover intriguing. Needing to read it for book club, I dove in to the book. At first, I found the reading quite slow – actually, the entire book was a slow read. An English teacher friend and fellow “Bookie” told me that it was written in a literary style and would be a slow read.

          I did find parts of the book fascinating as I read sentences such as “…Picasso walking from Saint-Germain to his apartment the rue des Grands Augustins…” and “…having a night out on our own at the Dingo when Scott Fitzgerald came over from the bar and introduced himself…” Then, “James Joyce has apparently fathered six more children just this week…”

          The name-dropping in this factious book that may or may not be an exact accounting of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, is exciting. You get a true accounting of what life was like in the 1920s in Paris, where life seemed care-free and alcohol consumption was outrageous. Hadley wanted simple things, and Hemingway, as well as the Paris scene, overwhelmed her at times.

          When the Hemingway’s moved to Paris, Hemingway grew into himself, discovering himself as a writer, leaving Hadley behind. She wasn’t ready for what Paris threw into their lives.

          I think by all accounts, that Hemingway never fell out of love with Hadley, even as the years went by. I was also disappointed to find that Hemingway was such a self-centered egotistical person, who all but drove people from his life, before his dramatic exit from this life by suicide.

          Having confessed that, I still recommend reading the book. It was very well written and the story did manage to captivate me as a reader. The book gives us insight into the personal life of a great writer. Enjoy.

The Paris Wife can be purchased on Amazon


If you thought my review was helpful, I would greatly appreciate it if you would follow the link to Amazon and vote “yes” on my review.

Thanks!! 



Donna


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Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Seasons of Our Lives


Bride-In-Taxi
Bride-In-Taxi (Photo credit: brownphotographic)
       I attended a bridal shower for a friend on Sunday. We’ve known each other for approximately six years. It seems to me that I am always reading stories about friendship and the length of friendships, and I’ve always wished I had that in my life. I am an introvert and tend to spend most of my time alone, therefore not putting myself out there for friendships. Lack of trust is also an issue.

       Then, as my best friend and I were sitting together watching this same friend open her wonderful gifts and having such a great time, tears came to my eyes because as I looked around the room, I realized that I did have that friendship in my life.

       I have a group of four -now five- women in my book club group that I have been friends with for around six years now. We have seen each other through marriage rifts, boyfriend problems, illness, selling houses, buying houses and moving, looking for Mr. Right, divorce, children, and grandchildren. We have become an integral part of each other’s lives.

       As I sat there and watched my friend open her gifts, I thought back to our first conversation -which we still laugh about. It was actually the second time we met and we were sitting next to each other after having served ourselves dinner. I mentioned that I had been reading a cookbook, and she interrupted me, looking at me as though I were a space alien, to ask, “How do you read a cookbook”. I remember thinking, what a snob. I can either make nice or knock the hell out of her. It was a pivotal moment.

       Needless to say, I made nice and we became fast friends. She has since confessed to reading a cookbook or two herself – but that’s a secret. Oh! And by the way – my answer to, “How do you read a cookbook?” was, I always buy the ones with pictures.

       It is funny how life is sometimes. We have gone from “looking for Mr. Right” to finding him, and now marrying him with our friend. We’ve watched a season end and a new exciting one about to unfold. And, as I look at my wonderful friend, surrounded by opened boxes, crumpled tissue paper, fine china, and delicate crystal, I find myself quietly anticipating the chapters still to come in our shared lives.

       Best Wishes Tara for a wonderful married life, and the next season of your life.

       Do you have special friends in your life? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

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