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.


Spring Sprung Titles

What to say about April? I ran my fastest 10k while ill (go figure). I met two new runners and may have convinced someone to at least try. I don’t know where this acceptance to run with others is coming from. To share a conversation I had with someone: I asked where she runs. She replied she doesn’t have my pace, “nowhere near it” were her exact words. I answered I don’t have that pace all the time either. Me & my pace visit from time to time but we don’t make it a thing. She laughed and I saw myself ten years ago talking to someone who face-times with friends while running. I worried about her relationship with pace. But, this blog is turning into a thing different from reading.

So, without further ado, here are the finished books:

Fiction:

  • Diplomatic Lover by Elsie Lee – read in one day
  • Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez – read in two days
  • Celibate Season by Carol Shields and Blanche Howard – read in four days (this book annoyed me and I kept having to put it down)

Nonfiction:

  • Lost Upland: stories of the Dordogne Region by W.S. Merwin – confessional: DNF (bored, bored, bored)
  • Coming into the Country by John McPhee
  • Henry James: the Untried Years by Leon Edel
  • Another Part of the Wood by Kenneth Clark – this was cheeky!

Series continuations:

  • “F” is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton (I’m calling this a continuation even though I read “A” a long time ago.)
  • Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons (AB + print so I could finish on time – today!)
  • Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves – another quick read (finished in four days)

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul

Origami 365

Yaguchi, Taro and Masao Donahue. Origami 365. New York: Race Point, 2014.

Reason read: interesting to learn more about Origami

If you are looking for a comprehensive but short book on Origami, Taro Yaguchi’s Origami 365 is a great place to start. The contents of Origami 365 seem a little more “adult” in that Yaguchi includes a brief history of Origami, the popularity of the art of paper folding today and even the types of paper one could use for different projects. Probably the most interesting aspect to Origami 365 is the Kyu System, a progression of skill levels while mastering certain techniques. You learn a series of fold techniques (like book, blintz and waterbomb) before moving onto actual objects. It is worth it to learn every fold so that one can create turtles, peacocks and frogs to name a few.


Paper Gifts

Sanderson, Jennifer and Jessica Moon. Paper Gifts. Minnesota: Arcturus Publishing, 2015.

Reason read: interesting in learning more about the Japanese art of folding paper.

This was originally designed for children in grades 4-6 but as someone new to Origami, I found it very useful in its simplicity. You essentially learn how to fold six different “gifts” such as a treat holder or bookmark. While I didn’t actually make any of the gifts, I could tell the directions were very straightforward and easy to follow. The color photographs and glossary were a big help.
If I had tried to fold anything, it would have been the gift box.


Lives of the Muses

Prose, Francine. The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women & the Artists They Inspired. New York: Harper Collins, 2002.

Reason read: John Lennon married his muse, Yoko Ono, on March 20th, 1969.

Francine Prose covers the lives of nine muses; the women who inspired creativity and passion in their artists. Prose’s introduction sums up the impetus behind the book saying, “The desire to explore the mystery of inspiration, to determine who or what is the “moving cause” of art, resembles the impulse to find out a magician’s secrets” (page 2). Prose begins Lives of the Muses with Hester Thrale. Despite being a married woman, her influence on Dr. Samuel Johnson was profound. Prose then moves on to such well known muses as Alice Liddell, Gala Dali, Lee Miller and of course, Yoko Ono. She also includes lesser known muses (to me, at least) such as Elizabeth Siddal, Lou Andreas Salome and Suzanne Farrell. The residual appreciation I gleaned from reading Lives of the Muses was an education in Rossetti and Miller’s art. I couldn’t read another word without looking up such pieces as Awakening Conscience, Found, Remington Silent and Night and Day, respectively. Attaching the visual to the imagination was a bonus, especially when it came to Dali’s over-the-top creativity and strangeness. The only aspect of Lives of the Muses I found detracting was the myriad of speculative opinions Prose insisted on voicing.

Best lines, “Madmen are all sensual in the lower stages of distemper. But when they are very ill, pleasure is too weak for them, and they seek pain” (p 37) and “The violation of Lizzie Siddal’s grave was only the coarsest and most explicit manifestations of the necrophilia that had tainted her relationship with Rossetti from the start” (p 103).

Convergence: Robert Pyle wrote a book about Bigfoot. Prose wrote a book called Bigfoot Dreams.

As an aside, I did not know that Samuel Johnson obsessively counted his own footsteps. I find myself keeping track, too. Other notes: Natalie Merchant chose a poem by Christina Rossetti for Leave Your Sleep. Christina was Gabriel’s sister.

Author fact: Prose is a year older than my mom and was born in Brooklyn.

Book trivia: Lives of the Muses includes some great photographs.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “People You Outta Meet” (p 185). I definitely would have liked to have met Lee Miller.


January ’13 was…

When I look back on January 2013 I have a sense of relief. All things considered this month was better than the last. In the grand scheme of things January treated me kind. No major meltdowns. No minor catastrophes to speak of. I started training for Just ‘Cause in the quiet way. Four to five miles a day and I didn’t stress about the numbers. If I didn’t make five or even four I didn’t have a hissy fit or beat myself or moi up. I cut me & myself some slack; gave us a break. I know that as the months wear on this won’t always be the case, but for now it was nice to go easy on me, myself & moi. The running was a different matter. Just as relaxed a schedule but not so easy going on. The run is a little over six weeks away and I’ve done next to nil in order to train. New Guinea has been awesome in that I’m working on speed intervals on level five. Let me repeat that. Level five. Nothing to write home about. I used to operate at level nine. Enough said. On with the books! I am pretty proud of the list.

  • Lives of the Painters, Architects and Sculptors by Giorgio Vasari ~ in honor of National Art Month way back in October. This finally completes the series!
  • Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day by Philip Matyszak ~ in honor of Female Domination Day in Greece.
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray ~ in honor of January being the first month I read something from the first chapter of a Lust book. I admit I didn’t finish this one.
  • Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham ~ in honor of Maugham’s birth month. I also didn’t finish this one.
  • Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron ~ Happy new year. Read something to make me happy.
  • Idle Days in Patagonia by W. H. Hudson ~ in honor of January being the best time to visit Patagonia.
  • The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ~ in honor of Lewis birth and death month.
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson ~ in honor of the month all Creatures Great and Small aired.
  • Tatiana by Dorothy Jones ~ in honor of January being the month Alaska became a state.

On audio I listened to:

  • Final Solution by Michael Chabon ~ in honor of January being Adopt a Rescued Bird month.
  • No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith ~ in honor of Female Mystery Month
  • City of Thieves by David Benioff ~ last minute add-on. This was addicting!

For the Early Review program with LibraryThing:

  • Gold Coast Madam by Rose Laws (started in Dec)
  • Her by Christa Parravani

For Fun:

  • Leave Your Sleep the poetry book for children by Natalie Merchant

Lives of the Painters…vol 4

Vasari, Giorgio. The Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, Vol 4. Translated by A.B. Hinds. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd, 1927.

Reason read: Way back in October I started the series in honor of National Art Month. I am finally finished!

One of the coolest features of all four volumes is that if you want to see some of the art describes the  location of where it can be seen is mentioned in the footnotes (or, at least where it was at the time of publication). For example David Ghirlanai’s art can be seen in the Musee de Cluny in Paris. One of the more frustrating features of all four volumes is that Vasari gets sidetracked very easily. He should be talking about one artist but ends up focusing on another. I can’t count how many times he said, “But back to —.” Deja vu. I said this in Vol. 3’s review as well. Vasari inserts himself more in volume 4 than in previous volumes like when talking about his friend Francesco (De’ Salviati or Francesco Rossi) but especially at the end, when he includes his own biography. The final chapter is devoted to himself so that Vasari can speak of his own life and artistic accomplishments. I will admit 100% I ran out of steam before I got to Vasari’s chapter about himself.

Favorite parts & quotes, since he said it so often, “But after this somewhat lengthy digression, which however I do not think out of place, I return to Rustico” (p 37). My favorite artist had to have been Rustico. He was generous and fond of animals, “He so tamed a porcupine that it remained under the table like a dog, and sometimes pricked people’s legs…” (p 32).

Author fact: What I constantly had to keep in mind was that Vasari was writing about his contemporaries. He worked with some of the artists he writes about although he refers to himself in the third person which is a little odd.

Book trivia: In every volume of Lives of the Painters there is an illustration of one of the artists. In volume four it is Michelagnolo’s.

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Ciao, Italia” (p 46). Can I just say this was a huge pain in the butt. For one thing, Pearl mentions Vasari’s Lives of the Painters… but fails to mention it is four volumes (essentially four books).

Postscript ~ something funny is going on with LibraryThing. My review for Vol. 3 is on the Vol. 4 page and yet it’s like to the review belongs to someone else. At first glance I haven’t written a review and I haven’t until you see it’s the review for Vol. 3. Weird. I’m not sure how to fix that.