The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde-Book Review

51MdLLME+zL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_[1]
Since I’m rereading old classics, and this was one of the great American Reading Books on the list I decided to work from that list for my classic reviews. Though Oscar Wilde is known for his plays, this is his only novel, first published in 1890. You will find earlier books under the name of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Dorian Gray first published this novel as a magazine series, and it was thought to be so immoral that the publisher cut 500 pages from the manuscript. It comes in many covers and you may want to be sure you get what you wanted, the cut addition or the whole book as written by Wilde.

It is a story about beauty and conceit and vanity. It focuses on a young man known for his beauty. The young man, Dorian Gray is told every day that he has exceptional beauty. At first he was modest and accepted these compliments humbly.

Later, when an artist friend, asked to paint his portrait, he finally agrees to sit for his friend. When finished and he had last taken on ownership he is enthralled with it. It is just what he needed to reconfirm, his amazing beauty.

The young man soon discovers the painting holds a dark secret. Eventually he must hide the painting from other eyes. He does this in order that others cannot see the secret the painting reveals.

This is a great story, whether you consider it has as a sci-fi or horror book, it is a classic everyone can enjoy. I highly recommend it. Others evidentially agree as it was one of 100 picked as the favorite books of the American readers.

Today, I’m ambivalent about being an author

five book pix

With the new year approaching, I decided I should get all negative feelings out of my mind and heart. I love new beginnings, whether it is starting a new project or a new school year when I was younger, it always motivated me and made me passionate. I guess I like change, but only sometimes, like, when changes are being sought after and beginnings being looked forward to as another chance at getting it right.
Some days, I think writing is a colossal waste of time. The way we tell that or come to that conclusion is that we are not selling any books. I guess I have not reached even a little bit of success when you count the few books I have sold since I became an author.
My first book was written in response to a need. We were training foster parents and I needed something in written form to help answer the thousands of questions we received. I wrote a non- fiction called It Begins and Ends with Family. It did not sell well, but I did give hundreds of books away. People said it was a limited market book, so I advertised it as parenting and sold a couple more. Still not setting the world on fire.
I decided to write about my passion, what really mattered to me, so Ultimate Betrayal was created. It focused on the problem of child sexual abuse and was told as a dystopia tale in the beginning of end times. I truly believed a fiction book would get a more emotional response from people and would sell much better than a non-fiction. Wrong again-since I was told many could not read such a heart- breaking tale. It disgusted many and even though I strived to make it less sensational and vulgar, people shied away from it.

However, the six people or so who read it wanted a sequel which I obliged. It was called Ultimate Obliteration and that was even less popular. Understand, the people who read my stuff usually give it 5 stars. But, there have been so few.
All this time, I was still writing short articles for many places and decided to put a collection of them into a book. A Collection of Jo Ann’s Thoughts was born and has also had little success.
I tried taking a good look at my writing, I never thought it was wonderful or grand or should be number one on anyone’s list, I thought it just may be interesting to many readers. After all, writing to me is not about making money or I would have left long ago. It is not even about the writing if I’m truthful, it is only about being read.

I thought okay, I must write something that will be happy, enjoyable and less objectional. I decided on a children’s book. This book is for little ones being read to or beginning readers just learning. I found a great illustrator and we whipped out Spitzel and the Spider. People read it and raved. Said it should fly off the shelves, but did it? You guessed it. No!!!
I realize writers and authors are much like gamblers. We put everything we have in it and place our bet that we will win. You would think my casino visits would have forewarned me, but being a dreamer carries over to all phases of your life. So, I placed the bet. As I said up front, I must get rid of these negative feelings before starting the new year or I may not feel encouraged enough to start again.

Seriously, where else can you do so much work to get so little return. We cultivate people ‘s friendship with the hope they may be readers. We post and post on book clubs to garner a few likes and feel eternally grateful when anyone shares our links. We hunt for reviews like half- starved wolves or even closer to Zombies. We do all that and then after viewing stats that would make most people suicidal, try to gather enough energy and interest to write something again. We really are a special kind of breed. I know many famous authors were rejected numerous times, but that knowledge is not enough.

So, I will plan a few more days of post- holiday season laziness and then with all the passion I can muster, I will write again. And yes, call me an author too. If you feel as I do, remember it is a new year. It is another chance to be discovered. Another possibility that we will gain readers. So, limber up your body. Meditate to a calm point and clear your mind. With a pot of hot tea and low-cal snacks (it is after Christmas after all) begin that novel or finish that project. Shake hands with some great characters you created and dive right in. It is said insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. So, what does that say about us? The only thing I can see is we must think quite differently about marketing and try something new. After all, “What do we have to lose?”

Book Review-The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

 

Prince and Pauper

I recently began re-reading some classics from my childhood and it has been a joy to read this tale again.

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain is a charming story of a bored with life Prince and a poor lad who aspires to the life of nobility. An opportunity arises and they tried changing places. The fact that they look almost identical makes this far-fetched idea believable. Before they have a chance to switch back to their own identities, they are stuck in their new roles. The unusual for them, adventures and challenges become part of their everyday life and are extraordinary.

We know Mark Twain for his humorous look at humanity and as always some still makes its way into this story. In this book, however, we see another side of the man who loved humanity and could see the humor in all we do. We see the political side of Twain. The issues he dealt with in this fun story showed that he recognized the great disparity between the classes. He focused on some of the problems that were normally judged by the Prince. He was able to show how a different approach to these issues had at its heart a caring for people and a fairness of conscience. Meanwhile, the pauper learns that being royalty is not all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it is often very difficult.

The book is full of well – defined characters and a surplus of unique personalities that people this tale.

The Prince and the Pauper is considered a tale for ‘young people of all ages.’ I suggest you give it a try, whether for the first time or revisiting it once again at a more mature age.

I recommend this delightful book for everyone. Humor accompanies anything that is Mark Twain, but this is also a wonderful statement about what Twain sees as the problems in society, even way back then when this was written.

Book Review of The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory

 

 other Bolyne girl

 

If you love historical fiction is much as I do and royalty, courts, Henry VIII and his wives and lovers is your cup of tea, you must read this book.

 

Written in 2001, it explores the Boleyn, the sister and mistress of Henry VIII that was less known, Mary. Part of an ambitious family, Mary was forced into the court and shortly thereafter the bed of the King because her family played each member like a pawn in a game. She or any young girl had little say as to what became of her at that time in history and if their family wished to rise and status she did what she is told. No problem, because girls were of little importance at that time. They were of no consequence and could be moved, married or disposed of with little bother.

 

The Phillipa Gregory has brought this tale to life because of all the research she has done for her books. I recently reviewed her nonfiction on somewhat the same subject and she is a scholar who is credible in all she writes. She did an interview investigation in order to bring this is compelling to her readers and make it such an enjoyable story.

 

I recommend this book as an eye-opener as to the role women played in their families who wished to get ahead. I recommend this book for the sheer number of facts about King Henry’s court, the over-the-top lavish lifestyle, the decadence that was barely hidden and the role each person had to play in the intrigue and the court for just enabling this childish, selfish, lustful King to get his way.

 

I recommend this author since she is so authoritative and still can write a book of fiction that is enjoyable while almost being read like a nonfiction work.

Review of Rumpole by John Mortimer

 Rumpole

 

 

This is a collection of seven new stories for those who have been reading RUMPOLE for years. This volume was published in 2001. John Mortimer authored at least 10 other Rumpole books. As a former barrister at the Old Bailey, London’s Most Important Court, Mortimer writes about Rumpole with authority and credibility.

Rumpole’ s character is one that amuses us with his less than lordly appearance and his humor, wit and irreverence for all things that touch humanity. He fights for what is right beyond the impossible odds of winning and he is a solicitor you would want on your side because of his values and regardless of his appearance.

He respects the law in that he reveres justice. He disdains rules, however, and only seems to buckle under them when they are made by his wife, whom he refers to as She Who Must be Obeyed.

For a fun read, I recommend Rumpole books, but this collection contains some new cases which give another view to the mechanics of his investigating and some of them show another side to his character.

If you are a fan, this may be the last time heard from Rumpole. Please check it out now.

 

 

 

 

Book Review-The Other Tudors by Philippa Jones

The Other Tudors

 

 

Even if even if you’re not a student of royalty and courts from the past, most know of Henry VIII and his six wives. The usual fate for these wives was either to be divorced or beheaded. In some case they died.

It seemed simple for King Henry to floater from flower to flower like to bee. When the flower began to fade in his opinion, there were lots of options to make way for a new bloom.

Most of us do not realize is that six wives were not enough for him. In between, he had numerous mistresses and even though they were not legitimate children, he had many bastards. In his search for the perfect woman and a legitimate heir, Henry produced a few children and spread his love to include many low born women, but almost always beautiful.

This author, Philippa Jones, gives us the facts and figures that truly shine the light on Henry’s amorous goings on in a court that looked at flirting as a way of life. The social norms for the time and the sexually explosive atmosphere made it easy for romantic liaisons to be formed at every turn.

This is a factual, nonfiction book, but still reads like a fairytale since the love life of this king it’s hard to believe. Of course, she gives a good count of the extravagance and power of the court and its results.

I love anything to do with courts and royalty, so I found this particularly interesting. Though not a novel, you may still enjoy the stories it is required to relay just to report the facts. It is totally amazing that royalty lived this way. I am always surprised that people enjoyed such excesses and and thought it was their due. I am astounded at what they would do to gain favor of the King.

I recommend this book to those who wish to know more about the history of the Tudors.

 

 

Book Review-The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

Night Watch

This is a very worthwhile book to read if you are interested in history and learning more about the real cost of war.

The night watch focuses on England during the time of the blitz (the merciless bombing of London during World War I). It is a time when tragedy strikes quickly and no one is immune or safe.

Since most of the young men are serving in the military, those that are too old for services serve in another capacity as air wardens. Many of the women now work and this story features some gals that make up the rescue crews. It was their job to go into the dangerous, bombed out areas to hunt for survivors and more often bodies. They are courage, dedication and columnists make their story so compelling.

This book by Sarah Waters also features a sometimes tangled web of the present and former relationships between these women. It reveals a large amount of same-sex relationships and experiences in this novel, but waters does so with delicacy and tact. This should not stop you from reading this book as Waters is a class act and a wonderful storyteller..

I highly recommend this book as it is hard for us in the US to get a feel for what war-torn countries go through. 911 was the closest we ever came to experience such overwhelming tragedy and evil.

Waters has more books available and I for one am looking forward to reading them.

Hand-feeding Backyard Birds by Hugh Wiberg-Book Review

Handfeeding birds

This 1999 addition is a step-by-step guide to introduce you to the hobby of hand feeding birds.

For more than 20 years, this author has focused on hand feeding birds that come to the feeders he keeps and those that regularly visit some of the parks he attends.

The book explains the joy and connection to nature hand feeding brings. It goes through the methods of hand feeding for many different species along with what their favorite foods are and how to attract different kinds of birds.

The guide tells how to start, the best times to hand feed and what the timeline is likely to be till you are successful. This is a hobby which requires patients and a slow hand to win over these feathered friends. It promotes trust and a sense of intimacy between species.

This book features 80 color photos to help you identify birds and show the hobby as it progresses.

I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn from the experts how to pursue this hobby.

This book is available here-

https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/hand-feeding-backyard-birds-a-step-by-step-guide_hugh-wiberg/565202/?mkwid=spA4mi3qV%7cdc&pcrid=70112905152&pkw=&pmt=&plc=&gclid=Cj0KCQjw1NzZBRCoARIsAIaMwus39oqtjj57oi64Opzze9zno_ByRQ6K2rABGj2ZdlzytaSgJUzQME0aAgi5EALw_wcB#isbn=1580171818&idiq=3213381

The Baglady’s Guide to Elegant Living by Dina Dove -Book Review

Baglady's Guide 

Angela’s life just fell apart when she met, by chance, a lovely elderly woman named Rose. She finds her in the park where she runs.

Rose carries a large bag with her wherever she goes, but it does not can contain all her worldly possessions, nor does Rose live on the street. Her bag contains quotes, helpful advice and articles which she dispenses to Angela just at the most appropriate time. Her timing is perfect and her advice is golden.

These tidbits that she passes on to Angela are like a blueprint as to how to regain her life again, only this time much better. Who is this Rose? Is she just a very nice adult who discovered the secret to living a meaningful and elegant life? Or is she much, much more?

She guides Angela to the peace she needs so badly. She helps Angela accept certain facts about herself and how she contributed to her present circumstances. Acceptance has been more than difficult for Angela.

This book is easy to read and very enjoyable. Use it to rediscover truths you forgotten or as a guide to gain equilibrium, sanity and joy at just being.

A wonderful book for anyone who could use a little pick me up. I highly recommend this as a book for a special friend you wish to encourage and uplift.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001DABM9O/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Breathless by Dean Koontz Book Review

Breathless

Dean Koontz is a master storyteller which anyone who has read him cannot deny. He weaves together details effortlessly and we follow him happily wherever his story leads us.

The Rockies are the peaceful setting for this mystical journey between reality and the unknown. You suspend disbelief as you are pulled into this wonderful plot. When something never before seen becomes the daily norm of your life and moves in with you, then you are led to a sacred place of discovery. When everything you thought you knew is turned upside down and the encounters of almost mythical creatures occurs, the protective, mothering instinct is pushed into gear. Known to you only for a short time, you will feel compelled to save and nurture the beautiful beings. The discovery brings strangers together from far away points with various motives. You are let in on a secret greater than one person’s possible imagination and when a secret purpose is revealed to you, then you too will be left breathless.

Don’t miss this one! The childlike belief in all possibility is born again when you get lost in this endearing story.

This 2009 Koontz offering can be found in all major bookstores off-line and online.