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The Book Confluence

A meeting of great books and good friends

As we drift into summer and an uninspiring election season of two sub-par presidential candidates, we Conflucians will no doubt desire new topics of conversation.  We’ll need something to break up the monotony of the continual back and forth between Candidate A and Candidate B over who is more beholden to lobbyists, whose wife has the better cookie recipe, who better represents the Hillary voters, whose VP is more conservative, who appeals more to Evangelicals, who is the greater monger(war or hope), who has the biggest…well, you get the point.  Face it, after one of the most exciting primary seasons of most of our lifetimes, where a gifted, inspirational leader emerged and grew stronger with each passing contest, we’re left with two guys who  “straight talk” but can’t shoot straight.  No better time for a little summer reading.

My proposal is a book club.  We’ll read something good and chat without the distraction of politics.  GaryChapelHill suggests perhaps The Left Hand of Darkness, sci-fi from a feminist perspective.  I think a feminist or woman-centric choice would be a good start. 

But what do you Conflucians think? 

Here’s a few titles I came up with.  I haven’t read them all.  But it’s your summer, you tell me:

Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness (genre, sci-fi)

Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eye’s Were Watching God (genre, classic fiction)

Louisa May Alcott’s Work: A Story of Experience (genre, classic fiction)

Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred (genre, contemporary sci-fi)

Karen Joy Fowler’s The Jane Austin Book Club (genre, contemporary fiction)

Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (genre, historical fiction)

Aristophanes, Lysistrata (genre, comedic play)

We can read anything.  Old, new.  Fiction, non-fiction.  But let’s veer from the political non-fiction for now(For example, let’s not do the Audacity of Hope, m’kay?).  We can do this weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.  I’m not sure how much time everyone has, or how fast you read.  We could read and discuss the full book in one thread, or we can break it up.  Tell me your thoughts, and we’ll sort it out.


*Special thanks to Riverdaughter for letting me run with this.  I comment here as Melanie, but masslib is my blogger handle.

255 Responses

  1. That’s a great idea masslib. I vote for Alcott. Start with the classics, I say.

  2. I love Alcott. I found that particular title fitting.

  3. What about The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood?

    Or we could do a biography of FDR.

  4. The Handmaid’sTale good one. I think the FDR biography would be good down the line. I thought we could start with something a little less politicial.

  5. How about reading a novel by Jane Austen herself? I haven’t read her in years. Emma used to be my favorite, but I’d read any of them.

    Is the Alcott book in print? Sounds interesting too.

  6. Yes, the Alcott is in print. I am always up for Austen.

  7. Great idea.

    Because we’re getting into the food crisis and are now thinking twice about corn, I am about to finally pick up The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

    It has been gathering dust on my bookshelf for a long long time.

    Has anybody here read it?

  8. MABlue, can you talk a little about it? Seems so many people have been commenting about it, but I am embarrassed to say, I have never heard of it.

  9. Massib, what a brilliant idea! For what it’s worth, I can tell you that:

    1) Left Hand of Darkness: Good Book
    2)Their Eyes Were Watching God: Great, Great, Great!
    3)Lysistrata: Terrific; made for book club discussion

    The other books I haven’t read. If you are looking for great books relevant to women, I highly recommend SNOW by the Nobel Prize winner, Orhan Pamuk. It’s about Turkish women trying to negotiate the complications of living in the secular and religious world at the same time.

    If you want to include non-fiction books, I would highly recommend Pat Buchanan’s new book, “Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War.” I know Buchanan is usually a jack ass and his punditry is dumb. But this book is smarter than you think. Its major premise is that Churchill is not as great as his reputation suggests. And that Americans Presidents who revere him (as Bush does) repeat many of his mistakes (as Bush has).

    Finally, if you want to escape from the depressing world of politics, how about something from the magic realism school. Something from Garcia-Marquez, Borges or Calvino?

    One last thing. You didn’t include any poetry on your list. Walt Whitman i(Leaves of Grass, of course) s quintessentially American and his work is really sexy. Neruda’s pretty hot too. Some of his poetry would make a hot summer even hotter (in a good way).

  10. Great ideas, WigWag. I can see it is going to be hard to narrow down our first choice.

  11. masslib:

    The link I provided takes you Michael Pollan’s website about the book. Here is a short review about the book:

    In this groundbreaking book, one of America’s most fascinating, original, and elegant writers turns his own omnivorous mind to the seemingly straightforward question of what we should have for dinner. To find out, Pollan follows each of the food chains that sustain us—industrial food, organic or alternative food, and food we forage ourselves—from the source to a final meal, and in the process develops a definitive account of the American way of eating. His absorbing narrative takes us from Iowa cornfields to food-science laboratories, from feedlots and fast-food restaurants to organic farms and hunting grounds, always emphasizing our dynamic coevolutionary relationship with the handful of plant and animal species we depend on. Each time Pollan sits down to a meal, he deploys his unique blend of personal and investigative journalism to trace the origins of everything consumed, revealing what we unwittingly ingest and explaining how our taste for particular foods and flavors reflects our evolutionary inheritance.

    As I’ve said, I’ve had the book for more than a year and decided to finally read it over the week-end.

  12. masslib,

    I think that Alcott book sounds like it would be fun to read. I just read the reviews at Amazon.

  13. All I can say if this is to distract, please let it be a real page turner. I need that for it to even have the remotest chance of distracting me.

  14. This is a wonderful idea. I read “Their Eyes…” and “Lysistrata” in high-school and would love to read them again. Alcott, Fowler, and LeGuin all sound terrific.

    MABlue — have not read “Omnivore’s Dilemma” but saw the author and what he said was very interesting. Way too much corn syrup, etc., in our diets.

  15. LOL, Kim. I understand. I’ll do my best.

  16. MABlue, that sounds interesting.

  17. I think The Behindlings, by Nicola Barker. It has everything, well, more birds than anything else, specifically, but, everything, nonetheless.

  18. How about “My Pet Goat?”

    I hear it’s really fascinating.

  19. anna, I am going to google the title. Have not heard if it. gee, and I pride myself so much on being a book girl.

    myiq2xu, we could, but I heard Obama just bought the last copy. 😉

  20. Just heard the Obama faux pres seal has been thrown under the bus! So, please don’t use it as an icon on the cover.

  21. Great idea and thanks, masslib, for taking on the job!

    What about The Secret Life of Bees?

  22. I like the first one ’cause I’m a SciFi fanatic.

    Great idea Masslib. A friend told me this weekend that their family all read the same summer books so they have good conversation when they go to the lake in August.

  23. I’m in, but I with Kim. A real page-turner is definitely needed right now

  24. Just heard the Obama faux pres seal has been thrown under the bus!

    Where’ d you hear that Carol?

  25. Have you read these:

    Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez
    Enchantress of Florentine- Rushdie

    and I just bought another Hunter S. Thompson but did not read it yet.

  26. Secret Life of Bees, another good title. Anna, that behindlings seems sweet. NewHamp like sci-fi. Carissa and Kim want a real page turner. Ah, I got my work cut out for me. :/

  27. Kim:

    ‘Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez’

    I have that downstairs. Haven’t started it yet, though.

  28. BO’s seal is history – just wish he were!


  29. Carol, that’s hysterical!

  30. masslib and Pat if you’re here,

    OT, but what the H-E-double-L is going on with the weather? I have been drenched to the skin twice today. Then the sun comes out again. Just now it looked like hurricane outside my house with and incredibile downpour. I had to close every window. Now it’s stopped. WTF is going on? I have heard thunder here every day for about 5 days now with these quick downpours, then sun, then downpours. It’s like MA is suddenly in the tropical rainforest or something.

  31. Hey, what do you all think about the timing? Shoul we do a book every two weeks? O r maybe a thread a week but break the book up into a select number of chapters? What do you think?

  32. I know, bostong, the hurricane just stopped here. LOL. Been like this all day. At least I won’t have to water the lawn for a few days.

  33. Masslib: have you read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Plant, Miracle?
    There are some similarities [e.g., locovores], but the Kingsolver book is more personal, less visionary.
    Pollan’s book does address the corn/soy subsidy in more depth, and you will never again look at the Monsanto logo as benign. Kingsolver’s book has menus and recipes, more information about specific foods, Pollan’s does offer some helpful overall guidelines about eating. Kingsolver, a most talented writer, is also very humorous at times.
    I liked both books, and think they complement each other.

  34. I just logged on. I’m in for the Book Club! Whatever you guys decide my Amazon bookmark is ready to go.

    Should we have a facilitator? My Book Club picks one each month and they put the questions together. Makes for a hearty discussion.

    I’m psyched. Let’s do it.

    The sun is out now here in WMass. My lawn is soaked and my roses are drooping. What a weird day weatherwise.

  35. Bostonians,

    I feel like the weather channel: currently pouring outside with nasty black clouds. It’s the end of the world.

    Hey, corny as it may sound, once we’ve picked a book we should email Hillary’s campaign and ask her to join in. Not that she has time, but it would be a nice gesture. Ok, so it is corny. Just a thought.

  36. Masslib/Melanie: Depending on the length of the book, a book every 2 weeks sounds reasonable, breaking it up into 2 weekly threads. But maybe we can figure that out once we agree on a title. Lots of great suggestions flying around here. Thanks for running with this one, and thanks to Riverdaughter for giving you the ball.

  37. MA Blue, Michael Pollan’s the Omnivore’s Dilemma is one of the best books on the food crisis you will ever read. It actually changed the whole way I eat and shop for food. He has a more recent book on the same subject called “In Defense of Food.” You picked the right book. Omnivore’s Dilemma is the better book of the two.

    If you are interested in this subject, a great book that I recommend is called “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes (a NY Times health reporter). This book will really change the way you look at food.

    Kim, “Love in the Time of Cholera” is okay but not the best work by Garcia-Marquez. His best book (and to me, maybe the best book written by a Latin American author in the 20th century) is “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” by the way, you can rent the recent movie, based on Love in the Time of Cholera from Blockbuster or Netflix. The movie is, like the book, good not great. I have to confess, I read about 100 pages of the Enchantress of Florence by Rushdie and took the book back to the library.

  38. Who wrote “Like Water For Chocolate”? I remember loving that book, but I can’t remember the author.

  39. Extra Extra … READ ALL ABOUT IT



    Yes, folks the POSSUM seal is UNDER THE BUS

    news at 6 …

  40. Like Water for Chocolate is a popular novel published in 1989 by first-time Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel

  41. Thanks, WigWag. i love fiction with an emphasis on food.

  42. WigWag:

    Thank you for the heads up. I’m already psyched about the book. I know that it has received overall excellent review and I never got to it for a year.

  43. @ Dakinat, well, that didn’t take long did it. But mustering up the balls to apologize for his mistakes, well, we’re still waiting on that one. That’s what we need, change we can count.

  44. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler (there’s a theme here)
    All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
    The Psychopathic God (I forgot who wrote that–maybe Robert Jay Lifton?)
    Animal Farm–George Orwell

    Actually, Hurston is one of my favorite authors but the best one to read for this political season is a little known masterpiece called Moses Man of the Mountain.

  45. Whatever you guys decide is fine with me.

  46. By the way, masslib, Like Water for Choclate was made into a great movie. You can get it from Netflix or Blockbuster. If you like beautiful food movies, I recommend: Big Night; Eat Drink Man Woman and Babette’s Feast.

  47. I love the movie. It was the first subtitled movie I got my husband to watch. He loved it.

  48. WigWag, I don’t remember seeing Big Night, but the other 3 movies were very good, I agree. It’s been several years since seeing them, but I especially liked Babette’s Feast.

  49. If you liked it, you will like the other food movies I mentioned. They are all subtitled also except for Big Night which was made in American and stars Tony Shalhoub (from Monk). Babette’s Feast was shot in Danish and Eat Drink Man Woman is a Chinese movie.

  50. Pat,

    OT, but could you tell me what thread you guys were talking about on Huffpo? I’m curious.

  51. parentofed, you should rent Big Night. It is about two guys from Italy who open an Italian restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey. It’s touching, the score is really great, and if you like food; the food shots are spectacular.

    Chimera, I definitely vote for “All the President’s King’s Men and “Darkness at Noon” I have been meaning to read both those books.

  52. If you’re looking for a fun food movie, how about Mostly Martha?

  53. I mean “All the King’s Men.”

  54. What is Mostly Martha?

  55. Obama has declared to McCain and the 527’s “I will define myself”.

    Wow, I can hardly wait the serial to begin. Let’s put up a meter to see how many notches will be on the pole.

  56. Life of Pi – won the Man Booker prize

    Omnivore’s Dilemma – I just couldn’t get interested – not a page turner

  57. bb: One on HuffPo had to do with Hillary returning to work on Tuesday. When I checked in there were about 47 comments, most derogatory. I checked about an hour or so ago and that one seems to have been removed.

    The other HuffPo diary was an interview with Chris Bowers and PUMA. Mawm asked those of us then online this morning to go over and offer some support before the Obamabots descended. Several of us did; myself, Mawm, myiq2u, Kim.

    gary asked that I check later in the day to see how much traffic was going on. Around 3pm there were over 165, about 70% in our favor. Lots of names I did not recognize getting their 2 cents in for once.

    Go to HuffPo and look for the PUMA link. In the meantime I will try to find it again for you.

  58. bb: Here you go. Over 380 comments so far since this morning.


  59. Mawm: Over 380 comments so far and up to page 3! The PUMAs are getting a lot of play over there!

  60. Life of Pi, that’s good! Speaking of the Man Booker Prize, another book that won that prize was “Brick Lane” by Monica Ali. It’s about the life of Bengali women living in London. That might be a good one.

  61. I’ve always like Amelie

  62. No problem with a book club, but you have no more energy for politics? You feel like it is all a done deal? Why give up so easily? Why not keep working for “real change”? Read and discuss your books after the last week of August. I am not giving up on Hillary and I am going to try to help John McCain move toward the center. Most importantly, the UNQUALIFIED INFLATED EGO might just deconstruct. I would rather help him.

  63. I’m reading Martha Grimes English mysteries. I love Melrose Plant.

  64. Chumped: It is being created as a diversion, nothing more. Of course we care about politics, absolutely, but having something else going on may smooth over a little frustration.

    Having another discussion every two weeks keeps our bodies and souls together. Since this blog started up several months ago many of us have been frequent visitors and have, in a very different way, become friends of sorts.

    We too are hoping for a deconstruct to happen but while that may or may not be the case a little diversion may keep us sane.

  65. Per Reclusive Leftist – “Barack Opossum”

  66. Pat,

    Thanks for the link. I’m heading over there now….

  67. myiq2xu – vero?

  68. OK, just want to say I’m tired of hearing that Will Bower “founded” the PUMA Party {{ sigh }} I’ll skip over that part.

  69. WigWag:

    Check out Mostly Martha here. It’s a fun German food movie.

  70. Alexander McCall Smith’s series about the ladies detective agency in Botswana is wonderful, worthy of your time but not too weighty, perfect for summer.

  71. bb: I am MizJ on that blog. The rest of the posters are using the same names that show here.

  72. I can’t recommend Snowflower and the Secret Fan enough. It’s not a great title but it’s a fantastic book about women living in China during the time of foot binding.

    It’s an amazing story and one that stays with you long after you finish reading it.

  73. Seriously, are there any two bigger idiots running for president this year than Obama and McCain???

    I just had to say it.

  74. Nader?

  75. Ok, MA Blue. On your recommendation, I moved it to the top of my Netflix cue.

  76. Barr?

  77. Of course I haven’t given up on politics. But a thread a few times a month on something off subject, i think will help build a sustainable community and be fun.

  78. Pat Johnson, on June 23rd, 2008 at 6:39 pm Said: Edit Comment
    Seriously, are there any two bigger idiots running for president this year than Obama and McCain???

    Yeah, exactly.

  79. I love reading the comments over at HuffyPooh!

    Someone suggested that we all crawled under the bus and suggested we crawl out and see the light!

    I still have the bruises for evidence it was a very violent pitch!

  80. O’Reilly is going to question whether or not the youth for Obama know what he stands for.

    My suggestion is he will have to have a calendar to ask on which date.

  81. Pat Johnson: I think Obama, McCain, Bob Barr are all tied for stupidest. Nader is close, but he was spot on when he said there wasn’t much difference between the parties.

  82. Some of the comments are so juvenile over there it is as if a teacher had assigned an essay on How I Spent My Summer Vacation. Punctuation, forget about it. Spelling, no clue. Sentence structure, non existent. Thoughts, scattered. Ideas, none. Proper discourse, vacancy sign. And the ones who insist on all caps are signal they haven’t earned their driving permit.

    If these are the ones influencing their parents to vote Obama I can only imagine what dinner time must be like in that house.

  83. I’ve taken up Catch-22 for the first time in nearly 20 years. This after an email exchange about starting a parlor game where you cast 2008 election players as characters from the book. Howard Dean would be Colonel Cathcart. I’m thinking Barry the Pampers would be Milo Minderbinder and Major Major would be Axelrod. It was agreed the I am Yossarian.

    Catch-22 definately my summer reading pick.

    Hey masslib, long time no see!

  84. masslib, on June 23rd, 2008 at 6:46 pm Said:
    Of course I haven’t given up on politics. But a thread a few times a month on something off subject, i think will help build a sustainable community and be fun

    I absolutely agree. I have been thinking about this for some time now. The fire I had while Hillary was in the race is gone. After putting up with the obnoxiousness of Obama and his supporters, I don’t really care who wins between Obama and McCain.

    But we are here a very diverse community with lots of other interests and we could make something out of that.

  85. Hillary must given her phone number list to the Obama campaign. I received my first call from them. I always ask if the person works for the campaign. He said not but he works for a democratic call center in northeast Minnesota. I listened to the drivel about hope and change and then politely said “no deal. I supported Hillary and will not be supporting Barack Obama.” They had the nerve to ask me for $100. I saw no point in taking out my anger on a guy trying to make a living. Anyway…we PUMAs aren’t angry people.

  86. MABlue, there are going to be a couple things coming down the pike that might rekindle that fire of which you speak. That goes for everyone here. You have a roll to play yet, and will be called on to do some great things…so stay tuned!

  87. Hey shtuey. That sounds fun. What a clever idea.

  88. I agree, some poor schnook trying to earn 8.00 an hour just to be ripped to shreds is no fun. They are merely handed a script and told to bring in the bucks.

  89. shtuey; Can’t you at least offer a hint?

  90. Hello everyone fuzzyb just posted a few responses to some of those articles that stated we PUMA’s will come home to Team Obama because “…we have no place else to go…”

    Guess what I have plenty of places to go, bowling, Disney World, walk in the park, write in Hillary, Vote Nader or a third party, or shudder to think vote Senator John McCain….

    My it is nice to have choices I love them did not know I had so many choices until I got thrown under the bus.


    we haven’t had any troll trouble have we?

    I am ready to drop a few houses tonight

  91. had he been calling from the campaign…that would be a different story.

  92. I can still post at Salon, but Huffpoop puts me in moderation and I never come out, DailyKampf just plain stops me from posting any more … all my comments there go to byte heaven

  93. Pat how are you this evening and Mablue nice to see you both share your wit and thoughts with us tonight


  94. That is a wonderful idea, a much needed distraction [forgive me!] from this horrible mess we find ourselves in. But could we possibly reserve August reading for the NRO author’s book, “The Case Against Obama”, I believe is the title, and it is due out in August.

  95. Pat Johnson, I will give you one clue…”Listen to the Women.”

  96. dakinikat
    So if I post on Huff I better be careful….I should avoid word like Obamabot, Obamian, koolaid drinker….ect

    do you have any suggestions?

    I will end up in moderation-sigh-


  97. Michael: I am fine thank you! About to make myself something to eat. I have to admit, it rained something fierce here today in Western MA and I have spent way too much time online. But it is never boring.

    If you have not read down from the top yet, masslib is attempting to start an online book club. Lots of ideas abound. We are excited.

  98. I have three suggestions:
    Litttle Alters, and The Ya Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells.
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover (talk about a strong woman! and the Congo situation is still going on)

    I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolf ( gives a very grim picture of the sexual presures young women are under these days and some of the bully boys in the book remind me of certain Obama supporters.)

    Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley- just a great book about horse racing, great complex characters including several horses and a hilarious dog! it is very topical considering the tragdy at the Kentucky Derby this year. Very funny.

    Has Susan Issacks written anything lately ?

  99. By the way, did you all get to read Shapiro’s article at salon.com about why we Hillary supporters will all be coming back to the fold in November? Wow! This guy can really make blood boil!!! Especially when he refers to the “over-the-hill-with-Hillary voters”!!!

  100. shtuey: That is a teaser. Something more concrete? Please?

  101. One of my favorite books in the last ten years was “Seabisquit”. Loved it, loved it, loved it!

  102. sorry I guess that was four or five suggestions! Also sorry for the typos, shot out of my hands before I could fix it!

  103. One conclusion I’ve formed from listening to your’all’s book suggestions? — I read mindless drivell. And I’m actually proud of that. Mindless drivell is comfort food for the soul.

    The most recent book I read (listened to):

    Finding Mr. Right by Emily Carmichael. Much of the book was told from the perspective of a Welsh Corgi. It was good and a rest for the tired brain.

    I don’t know if my brain cells have room for anything of substance ;-).

  104. Oh, yeah, seabisquit.

  105. For those who like good Sci Fi novels, I’ll highly recommend Flowers for Algernon. I haven’t read it for ever and was thinking about reading it again this summer.

    Anyone here who read the book?

  106. MABlue–I read that when I was about 18…so sad, don’t think I can take that kind of downer now…but it is a good book…

  107. Rumor has it Reverend Wright will have a book out in October.

  108. we used to do this thing at my fraternity in college called the Neverending story. every time we had a meeting someone had to do the next installment. That might be kind of fun to do too, have a page where people can add the next chapter, see where it goes…

  109. masslib: I love anything Ursula LeGuin. I also like Sigrid Undset. I
    have read Left Hand but wouldnt mind re-reading it.

  110. Shapiro can just blow it you know where….It’s still two months until the convention. Did you see Cavuto and the Hillary delegate?

  111. With this group it would go straight to snark!

  112. mawm and I are seriously considering driving up to Unity, NH and showing a little disunity ….

  113. Shapiro’s article recieved a nice response from me that I will not be supporting Obama in the general election-A book club Oprah will be nervous-I like the Idea….Pat sorry about the rain beut in drought ridden florida we need it bad….

    flowers for algernon great read-loved it

    Also Arthur C Clark’s “The Light of Other Days” is a very good book its about the end of privacy on planet earth when a mogul discovers how to open up little wormhole cameras into everybodies lives….How would Obama like that? Also the ability to look into the past through wormholes really great read and so “current events” as there is a strong political sub plot in the story.


  114. fuzzy, I like moonbat. I read that a lot on little green footballs.

  115. I was going to suggest Handmaid’s Tale as well, but it seems several people have already beat me to it.

    If we’re going to go women-centric, I’m embarrassed to admit my copy of Women Who Run with the Wolves is still sitting un-read and I’d love the kick in the butt necessary to get to it.

  116. Great idea!
    Please no sci-fi or magic realism. I Hated One Hundred Years of Solitude and Like Water For Chocolate or whatever it was called!
    I just read Secret Ceremonies about the Mormon Church by a former Mormon that was very enlightening about that religion and was a fast read.

  117. right, is there anyone else who would go to Unity?

  118. Mawm-

    little green footballs? sorry I here that alot but what deoes it mean?

  119. It’s a republican web-site

  120. I have a feeling Bill Clinton wouldn’t:

    The former first lady endorsed Obama, urged her supporters to rally behind him and is scheduled to campaign with him later this week.

    But her husband has not publicly endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee to succeed President George W. Bush. Asked by journalists when he might do so, Clinton smiled and shook hands with spectators without acknowledging he heard the question.


  121. I meant Bill Clinton wouldn’t “go to Unity, NH”.

  122. Btw, for those among you who are interested in economics, has anyone here read The Bottom Billion?
    I just got it as a gift, but I intend to read it after The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

  123. Arthur C cLark writes pure science fiction not science fantasy -2001 a space Odessy is pure sci-fi while Star wars is Science fantasy as is Star Trek


  124. fuzzy, i have no suggestions, I never said anything inflammatory at all. I just made it clear in a logical way, that i couldn’t support obama … my comments would just disappear … now, they just sit in moderation purgatory

  125. How will we decide on which book to read?

  126. got a reques tfrom hillary to help pay off her debt am worried that some might go to Obama for America. Her request said that by helping her pay her debt it would go a long way to democcratic victroy in the white house?

    what does that mean?


  127. how do we decide? we do not have an Oprah telling us what to read and how to vote?


  128. who has the biggest…well, you get the point.

    LoL… Way to sum up the political dialogue 🙂

  129. The PUMA page over at HuffPo is up to 409 comments and on page 4. The slugs are coming fast and furious but somebody by the name of laPUMA is getting her licks in. She is answering each slur with a comment. I said by 8pm the blog would be up to page 5.

    Damn, I am good!

  130. Lou Dobbs is just shaking his head. Can’t believe these two presumptive nominees.

    Obama may not look good but McCain is looking pretty bad right now. Lou called him “incoherent” and Obama “arrogant”.

    Maybe if we ask real nice Bush would agree to remain for another term? Just asking.

  131. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler is one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read–and a total page-turner.

    LeGuin’s more recent books, as well as Atwood’s Oryx and Crake.

    Jane Austen for real, not the book club version.

    George Eliot’s Middlemarch.

  132. A book club– what a great idea. Since it is summer and I am occupied with the garden, both The Omnivores Dilemma and the Kingsolver book (title?) sound good to me. I have not yet made the move to CSA, mostly because I live alone and it seems like even a 1/2 share might be too much for one. However, except for some necessities, like coffee, I have managed to get most of my food from reasonably local sources. I am lucky to live in Portland.

    About the movies– Big Night is a very sweet movie about two brothers. Eat Drink Man Woman is also good. I loved them both.

  133. Teresa– Speaking of mindless drivel, I like to watch Lifetime movies when I need to be distracted. There I said it, and I’m not ashamed. I also like detective stories and horror movies.

  134. Pat,

    The comments on that Walter Shapiro post were very anti-Obama. Pretty interesting.

  135. Pat,

    McCain is just a terrible candidate.

    He can’t give a speech to save his life and I don’t believe he has much depth in anything (neither does Obama).

    We really got spoiled with Hillary and now people tend to think it’s normal to see a candidate who knows almost everything about any important subject.

    Obama at least can speak coherently if he receives enough cheat sheets. McCain will have a very tough time if we wants to defend the droolingly retarded Republican policies.

    He is better of playing on his life story and his ability to work across party lines.

  136. I would love to read something by Octavia Butler. I have a couple of her books lying around that I haven’t read.

  137. bb: Do you have Shapiro’s link.

  138. BB: My Alan’s aunt is 83 years old and likes slasher horror movies. Her 84 year old sister is a big sci-fi fan.

    So cute, so un-“stereotypical”

  139. Normally, if Hillary had been the candidate, I would be in full snark mode with McCain. But since I have no use for either one the fun went out of my life. Another piece of the Bush legacy.

  140. For the Book Club, has anyone read or would anyone like to re-read the Golden Notebook by Dorris Lessing? (Lessing won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007).

    For those who like Lessing’s science fiction works, there’s always Shikasta.

    Hillary would be very proud of us if we read some Lessing. She’s said that she loves Dorris Lessing’s novels.

  141. Pat Johnson; I’m not at liberty to say right now. I will say that it’s going to be great, reflect well on Hillary and the Clinton Nation, and hopefully get people to elevate the conversation on women’s rights and human rights. When the time comes for everyone to get involved, believe me…you’ll know. 🙂

  142. WigWag: I too like Doris Lessing. Little surprised to see Hillary agrees.

  143. shtuey: I guess I will have to trust you. But one more question: when can we expect to be informed? Just an approximation will do. I need something to hold onto besides my bottle of aspirin.

  144. Yes, she has said that she has great respect for Dorris Lessing. She was asked about it when Lessing won her Nobel Prize and she reported that she has read several Lessing books including the Children of Violence series.

  145. shtuey: I know I keep pushing, but will I be pleased in the end?

  146. I’m assuming no one is invited buy all are welcome?
    If that is the case, in light of recent political events, I’d prefer something that isn’t going to stoke my anger.

    -Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible,

    -David Sedaris: Me Talk Pretty One Day

    -Grandmothers Counsel the World by Carol Schaefer (nonfiction)

    Secret Life of Bees- Sue Monk Kidd

    Mama Day – Gloria Naylor

    Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez

  147. Pat,

    Here is the Shapiro story:


    Prepare to become enraged though. But the comments are PUMA-centric

  148. I used to love Doris Lessing, but I haven’t read her in years. I never could finish The Golden Notebook, for some reason. I don’t know if I could put in enough time to read it in two weeks.

  149. I just finished reading the John Adams biography — its good, but I don’t recommend it unless you want to cry at the sorry state democracy is in this country today.

  150. I’ll read whatever we decide to — I LOVE the idea of a book club. But just to prove how totally committed I am to Fluffy Fiction (as we called it at Salon’s Table Talk) Here’s a list of the books I’ve been collecting for my summer reading:

    Happy Endings by Trisha Ashley
    Straight on till Morning by Lynne Barrett-Lee
    Waiting for Nick and Considering Kate by Nora Roberts
    CodeSpell by Kelly McCullough (he’s a friend)
    Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson
    The Third Circle by Amanda Quick
    Wedding Season by Katie Fforde

    I’m going through this thread now to get more ideas….

  151. Walter Shapiro does not answer for me. I refuse to vote for Obama.

  152. I loved the Adams biography. And the Truman biography as well.

  153. Going back to books:

    Anyone here can tell me about The Bottom Billion? It’s on my bookshelf right now.

  154. I’m still reading Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power. It is not only fascinating, but it is very applicable to what has happened and will happen in the campaign. But we might want to avoid reading it as a group for that reason. I think it is an amazing book though.

  155. Admittedly, I have never heard of it.

  156. MABlue,

    I’ve never heard of The Bottom Billion. What is it about? Can you be more specific? What kind of economics?

  157. In light of the fact that Obama and friends have set race relations back decades, I’m going to recommend a children’s book that I read 15 years ago, when my son came home from middle school all excited, “Mom, you HAVE to read this book!” It is entitled “The Cay”, but unfortunately, I can’r remember the author. The book is amazing, for readers of all ages, and it will always stay with me. I highly recommend it, especially now. If anyone knows the author, PLEASE post it. Thanks.

  158. Pat — I loved the Adams biography too — I only meant it will make you sad reading it and then comparing him to the candidate the Democrat Party is about to nominate. Adams — with all his experience and extraordinary ability — wrote on several occasions how difficult the job of President was — and Obama just is NOT up to the job.

  159. BB, didn’t someone talk about it recently? I Can’t remember the context though. Do you know what I’m talking about? Maybe I dreamt it.

  160. Susan is it this?

    The cay by Taylor, Theodore, 1921-

    Now available in a paperback edition comes the award-winning story of two castaways who have much to learn from each other when the Germans invade the small island of Curacao during World War II. A “New York Times” Best Book of the Year. Copyright #169; Libri GmbH. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc. </blockquote

  161. Dick Morris – Obama wants the focus kept on race, name, religion,……anything but what he would do as prez. We know this, why is he getting away with it?

  162. The Secret Life of Bees – brings to mind Thorton for some reason.

  163. Second Middlemarch—fab GF was reading it aloud to me at night, but it’s too absorbing so we changed books. Now we’re on THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH.

    Any Austen—just re-read NORTHANGER ABBEY.

    Great thriller movie: Fritz Lang’s M. One of the greatest movies ever made. And another great flick: RAISE THE RED LANTERN. Watch it and find out why Gong Li is a huge star—a fantastically made movie, very sad, so keep the martinis close because you’ll need them.

    House update:

    Electrical service approved and hooked up. Rough-in electrical should be done this week. I have to do all the ventilation stuff, and the heating (including the solar thermal panels for our hot water) then we have a big inspection for framing and mechanical. When we pass, we get to insulate and start covering everything up.

    Picked out appliances this weekend (wedding anniversary fun) and ouchie, I feel a sharp pain in the wallet. I really wanted an Aga range but it cost $5,000. Yes, you read that right.

    I have a shitload of finish work ahead, including enameling the electrical plates, which is something only a crazy person would do.

    Gary and Mawm, do you still have your PayPal thing? I wanted to kick you some dollars for going to the meeting and promptly lost the link. If you want, send it or put it up and I will send you some green love.

  164. PJ, if you dig HRC, and what she stands for, you will be pleased.

  165. angie: And he adored his wife as well. Like Truman adored Bess. They were men of their times. The “men” of our times leave much to be desired.

  166. shtuey: Then don’t disappear from this blog. We need to know the where, when, when this happens.

  167. Katiebird,

    Do you mean Crowds and Power? Charles wrote a piece about it awhile ago, using Canetti’s ideas to explain the behavior of Obama supporters. That’s what made me decide ot dig up the book and read it.

  168. I cannot stand to watch or listen to Dick Morris. And I keep asking the same question: what is wrong with his jaw? It is like a hinge came loose and allows it to swing from right to left. Why they keep trotting him out is puzzling. He offers little.

  169. shtuey: One last question: how come you are in the know?

  170. BB: Yes — I do. That must have been one of the first things I read by him. I loved it. But, I don’t think I’ve got the attention span necessary to read Crowds and Power.

  171. I’m late to the party, so sorry!

    I even missed the Wine and Cheese, us Conflucians know our way around – we’re not just wine-in-a-box drinkers ya know!

    Gosh, I’m so impressed by the comments that I literally spend at least 1/2 to an hour at a time reading them per thread.

    I don’t know what to contribute to the book club, WigWag mentioned Neruda, yes the SEXY is alive and every word is vibrant with Neruda. I prefer reading Pablito in Spanish, but the English translations do not disappoint.

    I mentioned this book to Wig Wag as a must read, for this political season and I recommend it to all PUMAs, Isabel Allende’s “Of Love and Shadows.”

    Fascism – Justice – Romance all wrapped up in a hard to put down tale.

  172. SM: “we’re not just wine-in-a-box drinkers ya know!”

    But, I am — (hanging head) I am….

  173. The Secret Life of Bees is something I’ve been wanting to read. So, I’d vote for that.

    I wouldn’t mind some slightly naughty Erica Jong – it’s been a few years. Also, I haven’t read Catch-22 since, (I’m embarassed to admit) well, junior high. It did change my life though.

    Or how about Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic? Light. Mystical. Fun.

  174. SM: I just ordered Love and Shadows last week from Amazon!

  175. John Adams by David McCullough is on my reading list because of the HBO series … it reminded bye of what it means to be an american and I’ve always thought Abagail Adams should’ve been the first woman and first president …

  176. It matters not to me what book is chosen. The readers here are an eclectic group so the selection should be interesting and help to broaden our minds.

  177. speaking of spanish, fascism and other things I am reminded of Tiempo de silencio (Time of Silence in English?) by Luis Martin Santos. One of my favorites.

  178. gary: Is this still in print and available?

  179. THE SELLING OF THE PRESIDENT 1968 – that’s it. That’s gotta be it. It’s going to make this whole presidential season so much more explicable!!!!!!! Seriously.

    This is the book that catapulted Joe McGinniss to nearly icon-status at the age of 25 in 1969. At the time, it was a shockingly revealing book at how presidential candidate Richard Nixon was being sold – gasp – like a product. The original book jacket featured Nixon’s face on a pack of cigarettes, as if the notion of Madison Avenue ad-men playing a pivotal role in a presidential campaign was dirty.
    The book became such a classic that it remains assigned reading in many government classes to this day. But it is no longer shocking. Today, the practices described actually seem backward. Rather than a jarring warning about how campaigns are trading issue discussions for staged events, it today might be read as an out-of-date how to book. The discerning reader should not make this mistake. Instead, try to feel the original sentiment, the innocent expectations the book assumes of the reader.

    There are two interesting aspects of this book that are ancillary to the main point. The one is the appearance of political figures, like Pat Buchanan and Roger Ailes, who would go on to other things and remain well known today. The most interesting such example is none other than George Bush (the dad), who is profiled as a mere Congressional candidate, epitomizing the “modern” type of candidate who is “an extremely likable person” but is hazy on the issues. Bush’s successful campaign featured “no issues” not even when his opponent asked Bush “if he would favor negotiations…to end the Vietnamese war” (see pages 44-45). The point was that Bush, who wasn’t especially well-known, was a vapid product rather than a substantive candidate (some things change, some stay the same).

    The other interesting thing is what happened to McGinniss. You won’t read this in the book, but after it was published, McGinniss became a star at a very young age for a while. After the lecture tour, he didn’t know what to do as a follow-up, so he started writing a book which eventually was published as “Heroes.” After skewering Nixon, presumably the arch-typical villain of McGinniss’s political worldview, he wanted to find somebody who inspired him. Predictably, he didn’t. But “Heroes” is as much a self-revelatory story about the author’s self-disappointment as it actually is about the political subjects of the book. He ends by speculating that only Ted Kennedy came close to heroic status, and that Kennedy would be the subject of his next book. He wasn’t. Instead, McGinnis started writing true crime books, many of which were successful. Finally, in 1993 McGinnis came out with “The Last Brother” about Kennedy’s fall from hero-status. The book ends in 1969, the year of Chappaquiddick, but also the year “The Selling of the President” was published. As a book about Ted Kennedy, whose career is more interesting after 1969, “The Last Brother” falls far short. As a metaphor about a young man whose career peaked too early (McGinnis), the book is fascinating.

    “The Selling of the President” is McGinnis’ best, most meaningful book. It stands on its own, and, despite showing considerable signs of age, still stands the test of time. For more updated information on presidential propaganda, read “Spin Cycle: Inside the Clinton Propaganda Machine” by Howard Kurtz, or the excellent “On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency,” which itself deserves to be considered a classic. Interestingly, these books discuss presidencies that take what McGinnis is describing, the selling of the presidency, beyond the campaign trail and directly into the White House. Today the “permanent campaign” does not stop selling.

  180. OT – Did you all see or hear about Obama defending Hillary ?? .. am I the only one who missed it ?


    Now .. any book is good . I would think not for longer than 2 hours ?? .. unless it’s just sizzling .. and most are interested . .I know it’s crazy , but my favorite book is not a famous one , it is a fiction one and I do not even remember it’s name .. . It was about a woman who went up a New England state , from a not so nice marriage in Georgia .. anyway – She ended up caring for some swans .. lol . That wasn’t all the book was about , of course , but I can’t remember the name of the author or the book . I know ‘she’ wrote many great fiction books and I loved each of them .. that one the most ..

  181. SM, I forgot, you can read Neruda in Spanish. I’m so jealous! I really feel handicapped just being able to read him in English. I especially like his “Odes”

  182. “Easier to be gracious when you win”

    What piece of cr*p! Clinton has been gracious throughout this entire process. That she didn’t mention The Precious during some public remarks isn’t a sign of ungraciousness.

    Lesson to katiebird: Don’t follow any links.

  183. NEW OREGON POLL NUMBERS: (okay, it is o/t, but interesting).

    New SUSA/KATU-TV poll of Oregon voters. Poll taken 6/17-6/19:

    Obama 48%

    McCain 45%

    Undecided 7%

    margin of error 4%

    I am kind of surprised because folks have been talking about Oregon as a done deal for Obama. Maybe not.

  184. Obama wants to double the capital gains tax even though all studies show that more tax is collected at the current rate because more people will invest. I remember at the ABC debate him being called on this, and he didn’t back down.

    He doesn’t get it. He is the Larry King of politics. Only headlines with no follow-up. Some say he will crash the market. By the way, am I the only one noticing that the cost of oil has skyrocketed since he pissed off the Arabs at the AIPEC?

    Go away Obama.

  185. Brianna – Senator Clinton does not need defending.

  186. If McCain continues to come out with some more of his confused rhetoric they may very well want to cancel November 4th and just march Obama right in. McCain is just awful these days. One or two more gaffes like these in the last week and his days are numbered.

    Not that I have any use for him in the first place but he is handing this over to Obama much like an Alan Keyes replay.

  187. Katiebird .. I didn’t pay any attention to that part I only paid attention to the last couple of paragraphs .. where he talked pretty strong to some of his supporters ..

    I ‘m sorry if it upset you . really . look , nothing will please me .. LoL … it’s just the 1st time ‘I’ ever heard him stick up for Her.

  188. Thumbs up for Ursula LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness (classic!) and Lysistrata (ditto).

    You might enjoy a book I just finished: “Surviving on the Texas Frontier: The Journal of a Frontier Orphan Girl in San Saba County, 1852-1907” by Sarah Harkey Hall and Paula Mitchell Marks. I just finished it and it was compelling. Sarah Harkey Hall lived it and she did not pretty it up. Makes you appreciate all we have.

    And for those interested in WWII: The Trip Back by Kenneth Clarke. From Amazon.com: “The 303rd flew 364 combat missions over German-occupied territory with the Eighth Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, during World War II, more combat missions than any other heavy bombardment group in the Eighth Air Force. Clarke says, “For forty years after service in the war, I tried to forget it: the stress and deaths, the noise and the cold, the early wake up calls, the saunters from the living quarters to the mess hall in the eternal mud, the pulverization of B-17s off one’s wing when the German Flieger Abwehr Kanone (flak) made direct and fatal strikes through the soft skin of the Boeing beauties-the death knell of a big-assed bird and ten human beings, the mid air crashes of planes of like kind trying to navigate and assemble through the English fog, smog and clouds-up and out until the battle was joined. I had gladly given Uncle Sam two and one half years of my life and needed to spend the next 40 years trying to catch up on the things I had missed in the interim. It was not that the service was all bad, but rather that it was too concentrated, too focused, and too frantic in those 67 days.”


  189. I am getting a wee bit tired of Hillary and the “gracious” crap. Makes her sound like someone from the Junior League out serving tea and cookies to that great big man candidate of ours!

    Like she owes him anything. He is a second stringer being propped up by the team captain for no other reason than he is holding the game ball. It makes me sick.

  190. I had to go out for a while. Wow, so many good ideas.

    I’m thinking either:
    Something by Atwood
    this book by Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic sounds good.
    Anything by Jane Austin
    Something by Lessig
    River Daughter suggest Sigrid Undset

    Oh, there are too many choices.

  191. Brianna, it was just a warning to the others. I didn’t mean it to sound like blame.

  192. How are we going to decide this? I’m thinking I may have to put several titles in a hat and just pick one.

  193. masslib: Go for it. I am sure we all will trust your judgment in making the call.

  194. (nodding) Pat’s right. I almost put in my -2¢ for a book but luckily realized that we’d never pick anything if each of us did that.

  195. “For what it’s worth, last week in Detroit, after some of his supporters booed Clinton, Obama lectured them, even calling to one in a cheaper seat — “You up there! Sen. Clinton is one of the finest public servants we have in American life today! She has fought tirelessly to provide children a decent start in life. She has fought tirelessly to make sure that every American has the health care that they deserve. She has been on the right side of just about every battle that we have fought – she has, in her own words, shattered a glass ceiling into 18 million pieces.

    “She has lifted up the sights of young women all across America including my two daughters,” Obama continued. “She is worthy of our respect, she is worthy of our honor. She is going to be at the forefront of bringing about change in America. And I am so proud to have run against Hillary Clinton in this primary season. And she’s tough! That’s why this race took so long. She’s a fighter and we need fighter in the Democratic party. Because we’ve got a lot to fight for. There’s a lot worth fighting for. I’m a better candidate because Sen. Clinton ran and we were able to organize in every state, all across this union and boost turnout and get young people involved all across America because of this long primary. So this has been a good thing.”

    I thought it was the only decent thing I have ever heard out of his mouth regarding our Hillary … I’m not cheap , it has no influence on me at all .. lol .. but I did ‘think’ it was a ‘first’ .. .

  196. Don’t throw me out of the site, but

    God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

    A good look at how organized Religion creates bigots everywhere. I think it is time appropriate as it seems to play a role in everyone’s thinking about the election.

    I am not an atheist. But, I have large family of different beliefs and most are mad most of the time over religious beliefs.

    Maybe people want to laugh instead?????

  197. I don’t think people will be voting for McCain for his eloquent oratory. I’d say many will be voting for him because HE IS NOT the Great Possum in chief. At this point McCain could come on stage in a pink tutu and a tiara and many will be tripping over each other to vote for him. He definitely isn’t a 1st choice, that would have been Hillary, but he is the only choice we have left after what has been done

  198. masslib,

    I’m sure anything you pick will be good. I’m open to anything, although I’d rather read fiction than nonfiction right now. But I’ll go along with anything.

  199. Carol: I have that book. Hitchens did make excellent points. Very good read. Don’t apologize. We read to be entertained, educated, and aroused. It was a good read.

  200. Denise W – are you trying to say that McCain will be cross dressing in Hillary’s pink tutu and tiara?

  201. As I recall, The Cay was in Young Adult genre and it was a very good book. Not real long, if that matters.

    I know we’re discussing books, but we’ve thrown in a few movies, and I wonder how many of you liked Shirley Valentine [it was a play first] and Ladies in Lavender [Judi Dench & Maggie Smith]. I liked both these [bought them], and I think that so many quiet movies featuring women just get ignored.

    How many young people know anything about Barbara Stanwyck or Ida Lupino? That just amazes me about our pop culture; it’s true of music, too.

  202. Brianna,

    He’s just sucking up temporarily to get some votes. I don’t believe anything the man says. If he wanted to stick up for Hillary, he should have told Donna Brazille and Nancy Pelosi to STFU and let MSNBC know that he didn’t like their sexist garbage. It’s too late now–just my opinion.

  203. Obama could come out dressed like Bjorn and the press would marvel at his execution of movement.

    McCain, not so much.

  204. Brianna
    Thanks for the link.
    It was nice to hear he has a human side.
    I’ll bet he misses her coming up with the ideas 1st!

  205. katiebird, on June 23rd, 2008 at 9:16 pm Said:
    SM: “we’re not just wine-in-a-box drinkers ya know!”

    But, I am — (hanging head) I am….

    Shhhh!!!! Don’t tell them our secret! Especially when CVS (at least here in FL) has the Franzia Chardonnay on sale!

  206. SM: My kind of girl! Cheap wine but effective.

  207. The New Classics: Books


  208. Pat Johnson, on June 23rd, 2008 at 9:22 pm Said:
    SM: I just ordered Love and Shadows last week from Amazon!

    Great!!!! I swear Pat, make a double batch of your famous cookies for this one.

    You will see your feelings about this election season reflected in this book – like something isn’t – quite – right.

  209. Carol,

    I read God is Not Great. It is well written because Hitchens has his way with the English language, but the book has no depth at all.

    He skipped all the difficult part in the bible and went straight to polemic. As agnostic as I am, I have to say pointing out misdeeds committed in the name of religion is very easy.

    If you need to read a very very good book on skepticism about God, get Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith from Charles Templeton.

    It’s a terrific book. Charles Templeton was the top religious leader in Canada and started the Christian movement with his friend Billy Graham.

    It’s a terrific book, not God is Not Great. Ross Douthat at The Atlantic wrote a spot-on review of Hitchens’ book.

  210. The Great Possum can tattoo Hillary’s name on his chest, and it will be too little too late. Anyone who falls for the garbage that comes out of his mouth now was never a true Hillary supporter. Hillary is not falling for it and I’m sure many of her voters won’t.
    Everyone is just going thru the motions, doing what they have to do, and many of us will do what we have to do in November

    Pat- The press is Obama’s choir- They will do everything they can to get Precious elected

  211. MABlue – not skepticism of God, but the effect organized religion has on people.

  212. I have to admit the posters on this blog are blessed with wit, intelligence, and an abundance of good will! So much of your inner selves come through in your writings. In my own mind I have pictured what you look and sound like because of your contributions.

    Lovely voices heard but not seen.

  213. Now Carol…

  214. Pat – I’m gorgeous and have the voice of an angel.

  215. Greta’s on. Why do these men keep killing their wives and children? Why not abandonment and divorce? I don’t get it.

  216. WigWag, on June 23rd, 2008 at 9:38 pm Said:
    SM, I forgot, you can read Neruda in Spanish. I’m so jealous! I really feel handicapped just being able to read him in English. I especially like his “Odes”

    I feel guilty! I shouldn’t have shared that “to read them in Spanish is better” – but it’s a cultural thing – maybe – I don’t know.

    I know this, Pablo Neruda is SEXY. WOW. God bless his wife, his muse. I love them both.

    On another Neruda note, have you seen “Il Postino” or in English, “The Postman?” It’s the tale of a mailman who is inspired by Neruda’s poems to woo his sweetheart. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time.

  217. I honestly have been told I sound like Roz from the Frasier Show. So many people used to mention that so I guess it must have some validity yet one never properly hears themselves as others do.

    Unfortunately, I have never been told I look like Roz.

  218. But Pat — that’s how I’ll always picture you now. (at least if that’s what you want)

  219. katiebird: Think Doris Day. With a Roz voice. I still get my roots touched up.

  220. Yes, SM, Il Postino was a lovely movie. The guy who played the lead in it died shortly after finishing the film. He was so young, it was so sad.

  221. Pat Johnson, on June 23rd, 2008 at 10:12 pm Said:
    SM: My kind of girl! Cheap wine but effective.


    As long as it tastes good. I’m like Riverdaughter, I’m a Pinot Grigio kind-a-girl, but the good thing about white wine, whether it’s a chardonnay, a sauvignon blanc or a pinot grigio, I guess the grapes are less prone to taste changes (I am not a sommelier so forvige me) – all I know is, whether it cost 30.00 a bottle or 4 dollars a bottle, my taste buds assimilate just fine.

    Red wine is another story – there are some cheap but good ones, but they are more limited than the whites.

    Hell, right now I’m drinking an Inglenook Chardonnay biggie bottle that was on sale for 7.99.

    And off topic: Pat, I read somewhere else on some other blog (forgot which one but on the blogroll) a comment of yours that made me LOL so much, my daughter came over to the desk and asked me what was wrong with me, something about the Bush years, cockroaches and surving McCain – it was priceless and THANK YOU for that!

  222. Make that an older Doris Day by the way.

  223. (whistling) Cute! Pat — how lucky. I always loved Doris Day.

  224. She is in her late 70’s, early 80’s now. I liked her too. Pillow Talk was a big fave.

  225. Wig Wag: YES!!! Massimo Troisi is like a hero/cult figure to me. He postponed his heart surgery just to make the film – and then died right after.

    But the Neruda inspiration is true, yes, his Odes are PHENOMENAL, his ” Veinte Poemas” just thrill me each time. I think he really moves me because of his personal struggle, his political activism, yet there was always a moment for love. Call me a romantic.

  226. SM< Romantic.

  227. The Omnivore’s Dilemma is really good! Not that I’m obsessed with food, or anything.

  228. Pat – LOL!!! Maybe it’s the cheap wine tonight!

    Please let me know what you think about “Of Love and Shadows.”

    Isabel Allende is one of my favorite authors, she has so many great books…another I can recommend, off the track for her but GREAT, is “PAULA” the story she wrote for her daughter who died. It’s probably one of the most autobiographical of Isabel’s books, and it’s chock full of family drama-political drama-love drama.

  229. BFF:

    You just had the final word on the book I will read starting tomorrow.

  230. One other thing I must add about Isabel Allende’s style: It reads like a long letter from a good friend with a great political/love/family story to tell.

  231. MABlue! Haven’t seen you in a while, how are things with the family? I remember you commenting about the back-and-forth politics about the Obama nomination.

  232. SM: I really love narratives.

  233. Pat, then you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Isabel Allende.

    Even her “Zorro” book, which I bought because I’ve been reading her for so long and I’m a “fan” – I was skeptic. But again, she took her wonderful and unique “hey, it’s me, I’m writing you again” type of prose. And I commend her translators at her publishing house, because I read both in Spanish and English just to see if there is a difference, but it’s miniscule.

  234. SM:

    Things are great as long as we don’t talk politics. Thanks!

  235. OMG, this is getting harder. Who is Isabel Allende? Ok, I’m doing the names in hat thing.

  236. I’m in the know because it was partially my idea. 🙂

  237. Masslib, Isabel Allende is one of the great Latin American “Magic Realism” authors – like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes.

    Please read her if you can, first “Of Love and Shadows” – then work your way through her anthology of books.

  238. MABlue – that’s good to know, see how at the Confluence we care about our bretheren?

  239. Oh hell, I’ve never read Isabel, I’m interested. It’s about living in a dictatorship with a government not interested in truely changing policy. Should we give it try? We want find some striking similarities. It’s not supposed to be too magical for those who don’t like that sort of thing.

    My fall back from the hat pick is Eyre’s Persuasion.

  240. Duh. Austin. Ok, so that’s it. It’s Persuasion or Of Love and Shadows.

  241. Masslib, please put Of Love and Shadows on your Summer Reading list – it is a MUST read in these electoral times. You won’t be disappointed – trust me!

    I’d tell you more but I’d give away too much.

  242. I’m re-reading The Feminine Mystique. My daughter bought it for me for Mother’s Day. It was written 45 years ago but it’s still relevant. It gives a historical perspective of how the women’s movement of the 60’s and 70’s got momentum.

  243. I haven’t been very talkative around here, but I’m up for a summer book club.

    I would definitely read an Atwood book, and I’d love the excuse to get into Austen (I’m very bad and I’ve been neglecting her). In fact, you name it and I’ll read it. Right now I’m plowing through fluffy books (Hugh Laurie’s novel, and a bunch of supernatural thrillers), but I’d be happy to get my teeth into something meaty. Doris Lessing sounded good. Actually, I may also get into some PG Wodehouse this summer. Or if I’m feeling very angry some classic (or new classic) feminist lit. I recommend some Michael Ondaatje or Robertson Davies at some point.

    Anyway, you could either pick for us, or you could pick a short list and then do a poll?

  244. My nomination for Book Confluence is Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room. I read this in 1978 while I was still attending high school. It tells of a late 60’s college campus in a now-bygone era; however the same misogynistic attitudes remain all too evident, even in 2008. The younger female characters don’t seem to understand that they will eventually fall prey to the same problems the older females do, because they’ve been raised in the oh-so-liberal 60’s. Sounds vaguely familiar, no?

  245. I’ve never read Isabel A. either. Of Love and Shadows sounds interesting. Heading to Amazon….

  246. please let me know about the selected choice so I can begin reading

  247. Pat and Katiebird,

    I adore Doris Day! Love those gorgeous movies.

  248. Hi. I’ve never posted but I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now. Do I have to pass a Nobama test? Anyway, I was going to wait until after you picked the book to start posting, but I wanted to suggest On Beauty by Zadie Smith. I just finished Smith’s White Teeth and it was a really good read. Publisher’s Weekly called “On Beauty” a “multi-cultural Middlemarch”, and I saw someone had suggested Middlemarch, so I thought I’d put it into the mix.

  249. I just order the two SciFi choices because they both sound awesome to me. You girls can read the oldies if you want.

    By the way my great aunt Marjorie Worthington wrote Miss Alcott of Concord in 1958.

  250. show me- loved your choices. Poisonwood Bible is a powerful book I love all of Lisa Alther’s books- Kinflicks made me LOL and it’s one of my favorites. Susan Isaacs is also very good. I love the Martha Grimes mysteries- Melrose Plant is too funny and when I laugh in bed, the cats look at me funny! I also liked the Time Traveler’s Wife and I’m reading The Labyrinth by Kate Moss now. Lots of history and it’s a good mystery. Some one wanted to know the name of the book with swans and Maine- it’s Up Island by Anne Rivers Siddon. I read it and liked it too. Read most of Ursula Le Guins books a long time ago- wouldn’t mind reading them again. Anyway , the Book Club is a great idea- and I’ve gotten lots of good ideas about books just from reading this thread.

  251. So many really good books mentioned here. Could I add 2 more, Masslib, 2 of my very favorite books? I hesitated to add them last night because of their distinctly KY backgrounds, but I think they are still relevant today.

    The Dollmaker by Harriet Arnow, has a strong and fascinating woman as the protagonist and brings in themes of industrialization, war, theme of place, creativity, religion, and a transient culture.
    River of Earth by James Still is more tied to a specific family in a specific time undergoing hard times, but it has wonderful characters and has a little environmental theme. It’s a short book, and an easy read.
    Both of these are just beautiful books.

  252. One book that I lovelovelove, which explores the differences between the governing and society-building styles of women and men is The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper. Despite what some critics have claimed, it is NOT anti-all men or pro-all women, not by a long shot. It’s an exploration and a meditation on the nature of humanity in relation to power, in my opinion, written from an ecofeminist perspective.

    As to genre, it’s sci-fi, but in the post-apocalyptic, dystopian future vein, which is one of my favorite genres.

    (Apologies if it’s already been mentioned. I always take so long to read through the comment threads that I neverend up posting, so I wanted to throw this in before the thread gets too old.)

  253. If you’re looking for a woman-centric book, may I humbly suggest my book, An Island Away. it’s a different take on the Caribbean and Aruba as it follows a young mother’s tribulations working as a prostitute in a waning refinery boomtown. Excerpts and more can be found through my blog at http://www.bentpage.wordpress.com. Thank you for your consideration.

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