supercheesegirl: (books - book head readers)
This graphic novel is incredibly beautiful, but it needed to be longer - maybe eight comic issues instead of six? The earlier parts of the story, like Mommy Fortuna, are done in detail, but the period in King Haggard's castle feels kind of glossed over and rushed. As a fan of the book and movie, I was able to gloss over any left-out bits without it disturbing my reading, but my husband, who wasn't familiar with the original book or the movie, said he felt like he was missing something. Still, though, this is a must-have for Beagle fans, and the artwork is truly gorgeous.
supercheesegirl: (books - monster)
This was a lot of fun to read: very fast and easy and very funny.
supercheesegirl: (books - Matisse reading lady)
THIS is the one where Mrs. P gets tortured. It wasn't as bad (for the reader, anyway) as I remembered, or maybe it's just that I saw it coming so it wasn't such a shock. Anyway, this one will obviously never be my favorite. Mrs. P books are just good easy reads when I have no brain left from sleep deprivation courtesy of my own little torturer.
supercheesegirl: (books - Matisse reading lady)
I couldn't remember if this was the one where Mrs. Pollifax got tortured, so I was all tense reading this. (Spoiler: it wasn't, so I was pleasantly surprised.)
supercheesegirl: (baby - in ur uterus)
Reserving judgment on this one until lowercase-f decides to sleep for longer than 2 hours at a stretch. A lot of the tips sound really helpful and make sense (like making the bedtime routine calm and regular and quiet), and so we're doing those things while we wait for the baby cough of doom to go away. There were two things I didn't like about this book: Pantley talks a lot about naptime but provides no support for working parents who aren't around for naptime, and she includes some really horrific descriptions/imaginings of what crying it out must be like from the baby's perspective (which seems manipulative to me - because having a baby who isn't sleeping, I think that you have to use whatever tactics work for your baby and your family; I'm not judging anybody and I wish Pantley wouldn't either). So, not sure how I feel about this book.
supercheesegirl: (books - petals)
Recommended by my mom. This had me captivated all the way through, and also terrified that it would end badly. Ivey really draws the reader in and makes you care about the characters. Her descriptions of Mabel and Jack's childlessness are really heart-wrenching. I didn't love the ending, but there was something both inevitable and appropriate about it. Recommended.
supercheesegirl: (books - hammock)
This was okay. Not spectacular, not bad; not my favorite Hoffman by a long shot, but not a bad way to spend my time on the train either.
supercheesegirl: (books - petals)
The subject matter of this book was fascinating - how the people of London have handled the burial/disposal of the dead over many centuries - but the book left me a little flat. The chapters are in roughly chronological order, but within each chapter, I thought the material could have been organized a little better. There were some spots where Arnold repeats herself, which a good editor should have caught. There are a few photos included in the book, but I would have liked more, and some charts/graphs/timelines would have been useful too to help the reader understand (for example) the scope of the cemetery problem or the order of events. Although the chapters are chronological, sometimes they loop back on themselves, and I would have liked a chart to help me keep track of, say, the founding of Kensal Green in relation to other cemeteries or the dates various laws were passed. Some of the content also got a little repetitive - the Victorian funerals are kind of Arnold's bread and butter in a book like this, but you can only read about so many funerals (and so many black ostrich feathers on so many horses) before it all blurs together, especially when the funerals are for personages famous in the 1800s who are no longer famous.

Overall, I thought the book was an enjoyable read because I'm really interested in the topic. And it was a good book, but the flaws that are present are so fixable that it was just a little disappointing.
supercheesegirl: (books - book head readers)
Each story in this collection begins with the concept of etiquette of a negative situation (like adultery, obesity, infertility), and out of the format of an etiquette handbook, real characters emerge, each with their own specific story to tell. Ordinarily you wouldn't look for a book of etiquette to elicit any emotional response, but these stories move you, stick with you, and make you wonder what etiquette rules you observe. This book is a fast read but a worthwhile one.
supercheesegirl: (books - hammock)
Another Le Guin short story collection. The best work here are the three concluding stories set in the Hainish universe, all of which deal with churten theory. The title story is really very fine and lovely. The other stories, while entertaining (because of course they're by Le Guin), are really just filler. I only recommend this volume to Le Guin fans.
supercheesegirl: (books - hammock)
Reread in November 2012. One of my favorite things about this collection is the brief intro that Le Guin includes for each story. "Semley's Necklace" is a great story, and "Winter's King" made me cry. Just a really solid selection.
supercheesegirl: (books - hammock)
This book was incredibly beautiful, and in many ways I loved it. Russell has a gift for language, and for turns of phrase that stick with you and build themselves into metaphors. There were many things in this book that struck me just the right way. But the ending, though beautifully written, was not what I had wanted. Besides the actual events of the ending, which I found upsetting, it also bothered me a bit that suddenly we were hearing the voice of a much-older Ava looking back, rather than the voice of thirteen year old Ava, which had been so strong and so natural all along. And I wanted one more chapter of Kiwi before the end, I admit it, his chapters were really great and I would have liked to have heard what he thought of the whole thing. But this book broke my heart in a lot of ways - and I'm glad I read it, but if I had known that it would break my heart like this I might not have read it. But I'm glad I read it. And I kind of loved it, but not completely.
supercheesegirl: (books - Matisse reading lady)
Love Mrs. P. In this book she meets her future husband Cyrus for the first time. Also, she sees lions on safari and thwarts an assassination attempt.
supercheesegirl: (yoga - cute lotus sunburst)
My father has had three spine surgeries to date, and as a yoga teacher, I've wondered what I could do to help him while at the same time fearing to damage his back further. My friend Kyle recommended this book. Dr. Brownstein's program is one that a yoga teacher can really get behind, focusing not just on recovering from physical injury, but on the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of healthy living as well.

Dr. Brownstein begins the book by telling the story of his own struggles with debilitating back pain and his journey to recovery. His experiences give him a special understanding of what those with back pain are suffering. Because of his own search for healing, Dr. Brownstein has a unique perspective on how to heal from a back injury and prevent future problems.

Dr. Brownstein's program for healing is based on his concept of the mind/body connection, described in chapters 2 and 3. According to Dr. Brownstein, mental and emotional stress can result in an increase in muscle tension and tightness, leading to injury. Dr. Brownstein urges the reader not to overmedicate, or to leap ahead to treating back problems with surgery and other invasive techniques; rather, he advocates spending some time with the pain, to understand what's wrong and what the body is trying to communicate. It's important to understand how the back works physically, and chapter 2 describes back anatomy in detail so the reader will understand the structures and terminology and know how back pain can result from weakness, imbalance, or strain elsewhere in the body. But sometimes the best and most permanent solution to a back problem is to make changes to lifestyle and behaviors that cause stress.

This book covers the full lifestyle spectrum in Dr. Brownstein's approach to healing the back. Chapters 4 and 5 discuss the physical body. Chapter 4 includes a wide variety of stretches for the back; most of these are taken from yoga asanas, and may are simple and gentle enough to be done in the midst of back pain and can lead to some relief when done properly. Dr. Brownstein outlines how to use these stretches, in the order he lists them and over time, to regain mobility and reduce pain. Once the back has been fully stretched and the pain is gone, the reader can move on to strengthening the back as described in chapter 5. Back muscles that are both flexible AND strong are less likely to be pulled or strained.

Chapters 6-10 cover stress management, healthy eating, work, play, and spirituality as they relate to back care and overall health. Dr. Brownstein takes a holistic approach based on his mind/body concept: since anxiety and stress can affect the body, causing muscle tension and contributing to injury, it's important to heal not only the body but also the mind, heart, and spirit to truly recover from a back problem. By reducing stress, reducing caffeine intake, improving one's outlook on work, opening the heart in personal relationships, and cultivating a sense of humor and fun, the reader can improve her overall health and happiness and remove many of the stressors that can lead to future back pain and injury.

I've never suffered from a chronic pain condition, so I can't comment on the book's usefulness for those actively in pain. However, as a yoga teacher, this book helped me to understand better the perspective of someone in that kind of pain and gave me some tools to help those future students. I plan to buy a copy of this book for my dad as well.
supercheesegirl: (books - cute reading)
I first read this in 2008. It's a YA novel with intrigue, adventure, and romance set in ancient Egypt. On one level, it bothers me that Hatshepsut, one of the greatest queens Egypt ever knew, is set in the role of the villain here - being passionate about women's studies and women in history, it bothers me that Hatshepsut's character is portrayed as evil simply because she's taken on a role of power. On the other hand, I can appreciate the story for what it is and file this version of Hatshepsut away in the same category as the evil queen in a fairy tale like Snow White. It doesn't have to be anything more than a story, but now that I have a daughter of my own, I think it's important to notice these things so I can talk about them with her when she's old enough to read books like this. Judith Tarr wrote a completely different novel about Hatshepsut, so if my girl grows up to be interested in Egypt (or queens, or novels in general) I'd want to share both books with her and compare them. Can you tell I'm really looking forward to talking about books with my child?
supercheesegirl: (fairy tale - little red)
Once I'd reread Beauty, it was an easy decision to reread Rose Daughter as well, to compare McKinley's two retellings of the beauty and the beast story. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd ever read Rose Daughter before, or if I had, it was so long ago that I remembered nothing about it. How nice to have a "new" McKinley novel to read! I liked the book a lot. Compared to Beauty, Rose Daughter is better in some respects, while Beauty is better in others. I think the Beast's characterization could have been better in both books, but the magical plot was much more complex in Rose Daughter, and the ending was more satisfying.
supercheesegirl: (fairy tale - little red)
I hadn't read this for years and years, and after the depressing stuff I was reading last week, I wanted a fairy tale. It was McKinley's first novel, and mostly it's very good. Compared to the pace of the majority of the book, though, the ending is incredibly rushed. There's no attention given to how the magical climax of the story occurred. I also thought the Beast's characterization could have been much stronger. But overall, a worthwhile read.
supercheesegirl: (books - monster)
Man, Gardner sure could write. I'd been meaning to read this for a while. Pretty big downer, though, and I was less interested in the philosophical ideas than in just hearing the story from Grendel's perspective.
supercheesegirl: (books - monster)
This book is completely adorable. I want the art to hang on the wall. Love this.
supercheesegirl: (books - Matisse reading lady)
This was the first time I'd reread this book since college, when I spent a good portion of my sophomore year writing an honors thesis on it. I think I loved the language even more now, but found Edna less romantic than I did, and less comprehensible, although I think her dilemma moved me more now than it did. I feel like when I was in college, I tackled the book more from an academic, intellectual standpoint, while this time I just read the story and had a more emotional reaction. Mostly I feel sad: Edna's problem of being willing to sacrifice anything for her children but herself is much less of a issue for many women now than it was 120 years ago. Edna discovers this inner life she never realized she had, and because she can't go back to what she was before, she ultimately can't move forward either, can't reconcile the new Edna with the Edna who had a husband and children. Because of her time and her place in society, Edna can't live alone or be with the man she loves, can't live her life for herself - she would need to sacrifice that for her children's sake. For me as a woman today, I feel obligated to pursue my dreams and loves to be an example for my daughter. It's just interesting to me how, 14 years later, the book resonates for me in such a different way than it did when I first read it.

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