Jargoon Pard

Norton, Andre. The Jargoon Pard. New York: Ballantine Books, 1974.

Reason read: to continue the series started in March in honor of Norton’s birth month.

The Jargoon Pard is the companion piece to Crystal Gryphon
and the prequel to The Year of the Unicorn.
A science fiction story with a fantasy twist. Kethan is the chosen one. From the moment of his birth he was destined to lead his family. With the help of a magic belt, his fate is solidified, despite the jealousies of an evil woman, his mother’s Wise Woman.
Full confession: I didn’t really get into The Jargoon Pard. To be honest, I didn’t get more than fifty pages before I called it quits. Fantasy and I just don’t like each other, I guess. A whole bunch of fantasy words were thrown around that essentially equated to mumbo jumbo. Arvon. The Seven Lords. The Four Clans: Redmantle, Goldmantle, Bluemantle, and Silvermantle. House of the Car Do Prawn. What? What the what? I have no idea. It’s the year of the Red Boar. The month of the Snowbird. Whatever that means.

Author fact: Andre Norton was a librarian in Cleveland, Ohio.

Book trivia: Even though The Jargoon Pard is part of the Witch World Series it has nothing to do with the first book.

Nancy said: nothing beyond mentioning The Jargoon Pard is part of the Witch series.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror (p 213).


To the Is-Land

Frame, Janet. To the Is-Land. New York: George Braziller, 1982.

Reason read: Anzac Day in New Zealand is celebrated in April. Janet Frame was born in New Zealand.

Janet Frame had written at least ten novels and a series of poetry over the course of her career before it seemed the natural next step to tell her autobiography. Her life story gave perspective to the fiction she had been writing for so many years. Why else does one assume his or her life story would be interesting to someone else, a complete stranger, if only to explain their actions or, in Frame’s case, her craft? To the Is-Land starts when Frame is a very young child in Dunedin, New Zealand. She recounts the trials and tribulations of growing up poor and longing to fit in. She found solace in writing and at the the end of To the Is-Land a poet starts to emerge.

As an aside, if you know my blogs you know I love to make connections to Natalie Merchant, no matter how far fetched. This time I came across a song Frame’s father used to sing, “Come for a trip in my airship…” Of course, Natalie sang a version of that for Stay Awake, a tribute to Disney music.

Quotes I thought worth mentioning, “I don’t attempt to search for the commonplace origins of such a feeling” (p 23), and only a few of you will get why this one is so funny, “””It could be his spine,” someone said, adding that they knew someone who’d been miraculously cured by a chiropractor who insisted that the answer was always in the spine” (p 99).

Author fact: Janet Frame started her career as a teacher. She only spent one year as an educator before deciding to become a writer. That takes guts!

Book trivia: To the Is-Land is part one of Frame’s autobiography and does not include any photography. Boo. If anything, I would have loved seeing the New Zealand landscape.

Nancy said: Janet Frame “is best known for her three-volume autobiography” (p 124).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Kiwis Forever!: New Zealand in Print” (p 123).


Deeply Grateful and Entirely Unsatisfied

Happe, Amanda. Deeply Grateful and Entirely Unsatisfied: a Book for Anyone Wondering if Life is Giving You Magical Gifts or Just Messing with You. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2018.

Reason read: this is the March selection from the Early Review program of LibraryThing.

At first glance, you think Deeply Grateful should only take you ten minutes to read. At second glance, you reconsider. Maybe thirty minutes in order to give the illustrations a proper scrutiny. But. But! Once you get into Deeply Grateful and really read it (like reeeallllly read it) you realize you want to say to hell with time. It is simple and complex all at once. Yes, the illustrations are a little repetitious. You’ll see a lot of straight lines that look like rays of sunlight and curly lines that resemble snakes. Then there are the ribbons and pipes and boxes. Circles and science projects. Never mind all that. It’s really all about the words. Some will have you thinking more. Some will have you wishing you thought less. Even way, Deeply Grateful makes you think.

Author fact: Happe runs Three of Wands, “an independent creative practice.”

Book trivia: Deeply Grateful is Amanda Happe’s first book.


Amber Beach

Lowell, Elizabeth. Amber Beach. New York: Avon Books, 1998.

Reason read: Lowell was born in April. Read in her honor.

If you have been keeping up with this blog you know that romance novels are not really my thing. I think by reading Amber Beach I figured out exactly what annoys me so much. I don’t care for the coy I-Hate-Your-Guts attitude the characters put on right up until the angry yet passionate Rip-Your-Clothes-Off-And-Have-Wild-Sex-With-You routine. Amber Beach is exactly that kind of novel. Honor Donovan is a feisty, beautiful, smart, and courageous sister of one missing Kyle Donovan. In other words, she is perfect. Her one flaw is that she has no idea what happened to beloved brother Kyle and will stop at nothing to find him.  Enter two other brothers and family secrets. Honor doesn’t know of the rumors concerning Kyle. One story is he stole a crap load of valuable amber, killing someone in the process. Now it is believed he’s in hiding along with that millions of dollars worth of amber. But that’s not how the rest of the Donovan clan see it. Their story is they think Kyle was killed by his business partner, Jake “Jay” Mallory. Sexy, brooding, strong as an ox, smart as a whip, perfect specimen of a man, Jake only wants to clear his name. Okay, and find the precious amber. His side of the story is simple, he thinks he’s been framed by his friend and business partner, Kyle Donovan. Jake cleverly answers Honor’s ad for a fishing guide (lie). In reality she wants to learn how to run Kyle’s boat so she can search for him. Jake pretends to be a fishing guide but really wants to teach Honor how to run Kyle’s boat so he can get to Kyle first. Naturally, they fall into bed together before they can learn of each other’s mutual betrayal. Will their mutual attraction survive the lies? Will they find Kyle? Who is the guilty one, Kyle or Jake?

No quotes to quote.

Author fact: Lowell also writes under the name A.E. Maxwell.

Book trivia: Amber Beach is the first book in the Donovan Series. Lowell cleverly makes reference to the next book in the series, Jade Island by calling one character a “Jade” man. Well played, Lowell!

Nancy said: Pearl put Amber Beach in the category of  “Action Suspense” (p 204).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Romance Novels: Our Love is Here to Stay” (p 203).


New and Collected Poems

Milosz, Czeslaw. New and Collected Poems (1931 – 2001). New York: Harper Collins, 2001.

Reason read: March is National Poetry Month in some parts of the world. Stay tuned because April is also a poetry month…in some parts of the world.

Milosz’s poetry touches on a myriad of topics. There are echoes of childhood, listening to a mother softly climb the shadowy stairs or watching a father quietly read in the library. There are a series of poems that lovingly describe a house and its inhabitants. Linked poetry that are meant to be read hand in hand with the next.
Confessional: I did not get through the entire collection. I could have kept the book through April since April is also a month for poetry, but I opted not to.

Favorite quote, “Love is sand swallowed by parched lips” (from Hymn, page 13).

Author fact: Milosz was a Polish cultural attache in France. As an aside, whenever I think of a cultural attache I think of Robin Williams in the movie, The Birdcage. I can’t help it.

Book trivia: New and Collected Poems celebrates the career of Milosz, including the very first poem he wrote at age twenty. I think it would have been cool to include angst-ridden/written poetry from when Milosz was a teenager, because you know he must have written some!

Nancy said: Nancy said Milosz’s New and Collected Poems was a “splendid introduction to those who don’t know his work” (p 187).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Polish Poetry and Prose” (p 187).


Oneiron

Lindstedt, Linda. Oneiron: a fantasy about the seconds after death. Translated by Owen Witesman. London: OneWorld, 2018.

Reason read: I requested this book as an Early Review from LibraryThing.

How to describe this book? Odd? Maybe. It is the imaginative story of seven unique women who are caught in a space somewhere between death and the final destination, wherever that may be. It is obvious all seven women have passed away but they themselves are not fully cognizant of that fact. They aren’t even sure they know where they are except to say they are in a white room devoid of detail. Each woman has a thoroughly detailed personality and an elaborate past to match. More time is spent telling the reader where they have been instead of moving them forward to where they are going. It gets heavy at times. Certain scenes are graphic.

Disclaimer: I normally only chose two different types of books from LibraryThing for the Early Review Program: nonfiction and debut novels. For some reason, the premise of Oneiron (pronounced o.ne:.ron from the Greek, meaning dream) fascinated me: seven women meet in an undefined space only seconds after their deaths. They are in the space between life and afterlife. The don’t understand this in-between world.

Second disclaimer: I was not prepared for the lesbian sex scene right off the bat, only four pages in.
Truth be told, I had a hard time with this. I could put it down for days weeks and not miss the characters I abandoned. I didn’t find a likable woman in the bunch. Maybe that was my problem.

Author fact: Lindstedt’s debut novel was Scissors. Another useless piece of trivia: Lindstedt has amazing cheek bones. She could model in her spare time. Maybe she does.

Book trivia: Oneiron has already won the Finlandia Prize, Finland’s highest literary honor. Another piece of trivia: Oneiron is organized a little differently than American published books. Table of contents is in the back while the author bio is in the front.


A Few Figs From Thistles

Millay, Edna St. Vincent. A Few Figs From Thistles: Poems and Sonnets. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1922.

Reason read: April is National Poetry Month.

The poem Pearl wanted her readers to focus on from A Few Figs From Thistles is “The Unexplorer” (p 24). It is an incredibly short poem about a little girl who asks her mother where the road by their house leads. The mother replies it ends at the milk-man’s door. For some reason that information suddenly ends the little girl’s desire to go down the road. I am of a darker mind when I think the little girl is afraid of the milk-man and doesn’t want to run into him when really it could be she thinks the milk-man’s front door is not an exciting enough destination. So she has put it out of her mind. She is no longer curious. That’s the thing about poetry. It is ambiguous enough that it could mean anything you want it to. I prefer the darker version. the milk-man’s front door is not a place for young girls.

As an aside, from every aspect of my accounting, from the spreadsheets to the codes in LibraryThing, A Few Figs From Thistles is supposed to be a More Book Lust read as well as from Book Lust To Go. It’s not in the index of More Book Lust nor can I find it within the obvious chapters. Really weird.

Author fact: To her friends, Edna was called Vincent.

Book trivia: Read between the lines and you will find Millay’s viewpoint on feminism and sexuality.

Nancy said: This poem sets the tone for Pearl’s entire book, Book Lust To Go (p xiii). She is not a traveler and she cites “The Unexplorer” as explanation. It’s kind of funny.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the introduction (p xiii).