Monday, October 18, 2021

Book Review - Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

 Transcendent Kingdom is a lovely piece of fiction by Yaa Gyasi.  The writing is gorgeous. The story is interesting and profound. This is one of those books that, when done, you close it and have to take a breath and just think. 

Gifty is a PHD candidate in neuroscience at Stanford. She is working on reward-seeking behavior in mice to study depression and addiction. cover blurb -  Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on Oxy.  Her suicidal mother stays in bed. 

This book looks at Gifty's work, her search for answers, her family, and her hunger for faith. 

cover blurb - She grapples with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. 

Church vs. science. This is a theme of Transcendent Kingdom and is handled well by this gifted writer. 

p.33  We don't know what we don't know. We don't even know the questions we need to ask in order to find out, but when we learn one tiny little thing, a dim light comes on in a dark hallway, and suddenly new questions appear. 

p.63  But the memory lingered, the lesson I have never been able to quite shake - that I would always have something to prove and that nothing but blazing brilliance would be enough to prove it. 

Gifty is a gem of a person. Enjoy this book. Savor this book. And come away with hope. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Finally Friday

 'Nuff said

I shall leave this to ponder for the weekend.  Cheers all!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Wednesday Wow - No Time to Die - James Bond

 Bond, James Bond.  Daniel Craig is back (finally) and No Time to Die is worth the long Covid wait. 

Ray and I saw it in the theater. It's over two hours, but stays intense - I did not debate in my head editing anything. The movie checked off all of the boxes I expect  for a James Bond movie.  Wham - the opening intro sequence is intense and really gets us immersed. 

Car chases - heck yeah and I love a sleek cool Aston Martin (with some extra super gizmos). 

Pretty women - well, of course. 

Daniel Craig with his shirt off - absolutely.  

"Shaken, not stirred"

Crisp editing and plenty of action, fight scenes, a brooding Bond, and an insane (? these days anything is possible) plot with chemicals and selective killing genetics. Don't overthink that too much. 

Villains - two!!  Rami Malek is a quiet sinister madmen.   Christoph Waltz as Blofield is behind maximum security bars (thanks  to James in previous film), but still  manufacturing Spectre chaos. 

James (Daniel) has been in this spy game for so long. He's seen it all. This is a rather reflective Bond - Ray even commented on the deeper character study. I give No Time to Die an  A in the Bond universe. It's worth seeing on the big screen.  And the Bond song - good one with Billie Eillish. 

Bond, James  Bond

Monday, October 11, 2021

Monday Book Review - Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson is a charming read. It's rather old fashioned, sweet, sturdy, and witty. The author allows you to enter a small village and feel like a spy as you get caught up in an unlikely romance. 

back blurb: Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) of Edgecombe St. Mary is wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing. He values proper Englishman things - honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a widow Pakistani shopkeeper. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?

p. 120 "Whenever I order it now, it never seems to taste quite as I remember," said the Major

"Ah, the foods of childhood," said Mrs. Ali breaking into a smile. "I believe the impossibility of recreating such dishes may be due more to an unfortunate stubbornness of memory than any inherent failure of preparation."

Every page is delightful to read, and I wanted to sit with the Major and Mrs. Ali, drink tea, and discuss literature. Or take a walk in the English countryside, dawdle looking out to the sea. And I rooted for them as they encountered problems, family issues, and the rudeness of villager friends. I highly recommend Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. 



Friday, October 8, 2021

Finally Fun Friday - Birthday style

October and fall is in the air. You know what that  means. Birthday celebration for ME
Yep - today October 8th is my day
I don't hang around with dolly anymore. I'm much much much older
Spent the summer hanging with my flamingo and swimming a lot in the pool.  

Now, it's a bit too brisk.  It's State Fair time (maybe - still a tad skittish in regards to crowds). It's special lunch with friends today. It's taking a long weekend and being spoiled

I will be hanging with Ray, my guy. We won't be on the beach, but that's a favorite spot. We can dream for 2022. 

Even onward, ever older....I give you permission to eat cake and drink some bubbly with me. 

Old and young, we are all on our last cruise - Robert Louis Stevenson  (I think I'd rather be on board a jet ski)

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Olive Pemberton: A Century of Beauty

So this was cool - Friday October 1st was the opening reception for Olive Pemberton: A Century of Beauty at the Fort Worth Community Art Center.   Look at the pic above - Born in 1920, she had quite a life including performing under the tutelage of Billy Rose in NYC, along with her sister. She came back to Fort Worth TX, married, and was a member of the Fort Worth Circle of artists challenging "visual conventions of the time -experimenting with modernism, etc. " She is alive at 101 but homebound. However, this retrospective of her work is now on display. 
I am fortunate to know her daughter, author Bonnie Pemberton (middle) - and it was cool to catch up with my writer gang (Stacy on the right) and celebrate Bonnie's mom. 
Her work is lovely - watercolors, oils, sketches, and sculpture. There is a bit of everything to see. 

What's sad is Bonnie told us she showed her mother the collection book. Her mother paged through it, but had no stories. Did not remember painting them. Bonnie asked, "Mom, well, what do you think of the art work?"  Her mother picked up the book and paged back through it. She smiled and said, "I think it's pretty darn good. "   Rather bittersweet. 

 As I said, all quite cool.  Better late than never for us to see local talent and learn some history.  

I salute Olive Pemberton. 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Monday Moment

 Saw this meme on Facebook for someone saying goodbye to family that was moving away. In reality they will see this person again. Yet, a change is difficult. 

Currently, in this age of Covid (STILL), it seems like we keep saying goodbye to a concept of life...a freedom we had...that may never be the same again. 

It's been over a year and six months and I still consider activity choices, assess the situation just walking into a store, or question who I wish to be with. 

The uncertainty. The unknown. 

I was good for awhile. Now I'm back to uncertainty.  I actually booked a flight to PA to see my dad in a few weeks. I need to use a ticket from 2020. BUT, now I'm second guessing, I'm fretting, and I hate that, and then I worry. 

And I'm mad.  Very mad at (to me) those who've just ignored caring about others, who've ignored some common sense, who don't give a rip, and it's caused this whole mess to go on and on and on and on. 

Big sigh. 

Thanks for reading my rant.  Happy Monday??