Category Archives: Uncategorized

THE HANDMAIDEN’S TALE [HULU ORIGINAL SERIES]


The Handmaiden’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel, stars Elizabeth Moss (from Mad Men) and Alexis Bledel (Rory from GIlmore Girls). In this version of the near-future, the United States no longer exists. A totalitarian Government rules. Most women are infertile, but the few who are–like Moss and Bledel–are forced to be “Handmaidens” (sex slaves) to the men who run things. Yes, this is grim stuff. HULU renewed The Handmaiden’s Tale for 2018. Fun Fact: the older woman who slaps Elizabeth Moss in the first episode is Margaret Atwood! GRADE: A

A VISIT TO GOOGLE LAND

Last week, Diane and I flew to California to visit Patrick and GOOGLE Land. Katie flew in from Boston to join us. On Mother’s Day, Patrick and Katie prepared the Brunch in Patrick’s new San Jose apartment: delicious omelets and yummy French toast (check out the photo). The next day, we had a tour of GOOGLE Land, which is a lot like a college campus…only with free food! Katie rode one of the GOOGLE bikes (which are everywhere) and Diane and checked out the GOOGLE donut (check out the photos). When Patrick finished his work for the day, we drove to Livermore in heavy traffic to visit Art Scott and Bruce Taylor. A lot of fun ensued.

Katie wanted to see an “organized” book collection (in contrast to my chaotic methods). Art Scott showed Diane, Patrick, and Katie how books, CDs, and vinyl should be organized and displayed. Meanwhile, Bruce and I got caught up on what Steve Stilwell (and others) were up to. Then we drove to the Wente Vineyards for dinner and more great conversation (and great wine!). Sadly, no one thought to take any photos!

THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION By Northrop Frye


“For the past 25 years I have been teaching and studying English literature in a university. As with in any other job, certain questions stick in one’s mind, not because people keep asking them, but because they’re the questions inspired by the very fact of being in such a place. What good is the study of literature? Does it help us think more clearly, or feel more sensitively, or live a better life than we could without it?” (p. 13) The Educated Imagination collects Northrop Frye’s answers to those questions. He delivered six half-hour radio talks for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the early 1960s. In 1964, these lectures were collected and published by the Indiana University Press in 1964. They still have a lot to recommend them today. GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. The Motive for Metaphor 11
2. The Singing School 35
3. Giants in Time 59
4. The Keys to Dreamland 83
5. Verticals of Adam 107
6. The Vocation of Eloquence 131

WAIT, WHAT? AND LIFE’S OTHER ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS By James E. Ryan


Wait, What? started out as a college graduation speech. Jame E. Ryan, a lawyer and former professor at the University of Virginia Law School, is now the Dean of the School of Education at Harvard University. Every year, he gives a speech to his graduating students. “Wait, What” was the speech Ryan delivered for 2016. However, the speech went viral and before he knew it, Ryan had a book deal to turn the speech into something more. Ryan believes that our lives could be improved if we asked more questions. In this slim little book, Ryan shows how asking the right question at the right time can change lives. I found Wait, What? funny, and clever, and profound. Diane recommended Wait, What? to me after listening to the author being interviewed on National Public Radio. GRADE: A

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Introduction: “Why Do You Ask? 1
1. “Wait, What?” 21
2. “I Wonder…?” 39
3. “Couldn’t We At Least…?” 63
4. “How Can I Help?” 83
5. “What Truly Matters?” 103
Conclusion: The Bonus Question 127
Acknowledgements 137

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #424: A TREASURY OF GREAT SCIENCE FICTION Edited by Anthony Boucher


Readers of a certain age will remember A Treasury of Great Science Fiction. It was everywhere in the Sixties and Seventies. Published in 1959, the two-volume set became a mainstay of the Science Fiction Book Club. For a lot of SF readers, this was the anthology that got them started. I’ve seen sets of A Treasury of Great Science Fiction for decades. But once the 1990s arrived, Anthony Boucher’s SF anthology became more scarce. It’s been a decade since I’ve seen a set in a thrift store or used bookstore. A Treasury of Great Science Ficiton offers four full-length novels, 12 novelettes, and 8 short stories in two 500+ page volumes. I’d call that a bargain! GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
VOLUME I
RE-BIRTH by John Wyndham
THE SHAPE OF THINGS THAT CAME by Richard Deming
PILLAR OF FIRE by Ray Bradbury
WALDO by Robert A. Heinlein
THE FATHER-THING by Philip K. Dick
THE CHILDREN’S HOUR by Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore
GOMEZ by C. M. Kornbluth
THE (WIDGET), THE (WADGET), AND BOFF by Theodore Sturgeon
SANDRA by George P. Elliott
BEYOND SPACE AND TIME by Joel Townsley Rodgers
THE MARTIAN CROWN JEWELS by Poul Anderson
THE WEAPON SHOPS OF ISHER by A. E. van Vogt
VOLUME II
BRAIN WAVE by Poul Anderson
BULLARD REFLECTS by Malcolm Jameson
THE LOST YEARS by Oscar Lewis
DEAD CENTER by Judith Merril
LOST ART by George O. Smith
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY by Arthur C. Clarke
THE MAN WHO SOLD THE MOON by Robert A. Heinlein
MAGIC CITY by Nelson S. Bond
THE MORNING OF THE DAY THEY DID IT by E. B. White
PIGGY BANK by Henry Kuttner
LETTERS FROM LAURA by Mildred Clingerman
THE STARS MY DESTINATION by Alfred Bester

OPTION B: FACING ADVERSITY, BUILDING RESILIENCE, AND FINDING JOY By Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant



Sheryl Sandberg is best known for her best seller, Lean In, which encourages women to be more assertive. Critics of Lean In pointed out that it was easier to “lean in” if you were a billionaire like Sheryl Sandberg (the Chief Operating Officer at FACEBOOK). Shortly after Lean In was published, Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed and died in May 2015. Option B shows how Sheryl Sandberg dealt with the surprising death of her husband from a heart attack. Sandberg suddenly had to juggle her job, her grief, and her children alone. Option B focuses on the steps that can help when disaster strikes. I found Option B offering practical advice and a story of success after a devastating event. Inspiring. GRADE: B+

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Introduction 3
1. Breathing Again 15
2. Kicking the Elephant Out of the Room 30
3. The Platinum Rule of Friendship 45
4. Self-Compassion and Self-Confidence 58
5. Bouncing Forward 77
6. Taking Back Joy 94
7. Raising Resilient Kids 106
8. Finding Strength Together 127
9. Failing and Learning at Work 142
10. To Love and Laugh Again 156
Building Resilience Together 177
Acknowledgements 179
Notes 185
Index 217

THE DRAGON’S PATH By Daniel Abraham


The first book in Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger and the Coin series introduces a series of characters that will propel the various plots. I particularly like Captain Marcus Wester, a military man whose failure to save his wife and daughter from death haunts him. Another favorite character is the orphan Cithrin Bel Sarcour, a ward of the Medean Bank. She learns banking at an early age. That knowledge becomes essential later in this 576-page novel. Sir Geder Palliako, a scholar with a passion to study ancient books, finds himself drawn into court intrigue. Finally, there’s Master Kit, manager of a travelling troupe of actors, who hides his real identity.

Abraham launches a series of plots and subplots that will develop over the next four books in The Dagger and the Coin series. War and peace, deception, valor, and love all intertwine in this first book. I flew through this tome as the story spiraled into mystery and wonder. I can’t wait to read the next book! GRADE: A-
THE DAGGER AND THE COIN SERIES:
1 The Dragon’s Path 576 April 7, 2011
2 The King’s Blood 501 May 22, 2012
3 The Tyrant’s Law 497 May 14, 2013
4 The Widow’s House 495 August 5, 2014
5 The Spider’s War 492 March 8, 2016

THE GRACE KELLY COLLECTION [7-DVD Box Set]


I found another box set while organizing the collection in the basement. Like before, I have no recollection of when I bought this box set of Grace Kelly’s movies. This 7-DVD set includes:
Mogambo (1953)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
The Country Girl (1954)
The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)
To Catch A Thief (1955)
High Society (1956)

In addition, this set includes Princess Grace de Monaco: A Moment in Time, a documentary featuring Grace Kelly’s final interview. Which is your favorite Grace Kelly movie? GRADE: B+

MY LIFE WITH BOB: FLAWED HEROINE KEEPS BOOK OF BOOKS, PLOT ENSUES By Pamela Paul


Since 1988, Pamela Paul has been keeping a reading diary of all the books she reads. She nicknamed it BOB (Book of Books). In My Life With Bob, Pamela Paul writes about what books meant the most to her over 30 years of reading. Pamela Paul has a lot ups and downs in her Life, but books are always there to help get her through her crises and victories. I’m a sucker for a book like My Life With Bob with its focus on reading and books. Pamela Paul writes about crying while reading Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady (I did, too!). When Pamela Paul becomes CHILDREN’S BOOKS EDITOR for the New York Times Book Review, her children became readers as she brings home a bag of new books each day! You’ll find fun and sadness and wisdom in the pages of My Life With Bob. Highly recommended! GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Introduction: Why Keep Track?
Chapter 1: Brave New World: You Shouldn’t Be Reading That
Chapter 2: Slaves of New York: The Literary Life
Chapter 3: The Trial: A Book with No Ending
Chapter 4: Catch-22: Never Enough
Chapter 5: The Norton Anthology of English: Required Reading
Chapter 6: Into that Darkness: Voyeurism
Chapter 7: The Grapes of Wrath: Among Readers
Chapter 8: A Journey of One’s Own: Books That Change Your Life
Chapter 9: Anna Karenina: Heroines
Chapter 10: Swimming to Cambodia: The Company of Narrators
Chapter 11: Wild Swans: Inspirational Reading
Chapter 12: The Secret History: Solitary Reading
Chapter 13: The Wisdom of the Body: In Love with a Book
Chapter 14: The Magic Mountain: Different Interpretations
Chapter 15: Autobiography of a Face: On Self-Help
Chapter 16: Flashman: I Don’t Like Your Books
Chapter 17: The Master and Margarita: Recommendations
Chapter 18: The Hunger Games: No Time to Read
Chapter 19: A Wrinkle in Time: Reading with Children
Chapter 20: Bad News: Tearjerkers
Chapter 21: Les Misérables: Why Read?
Chapter 22: A Spy Among Friends: Other Writers
Epilogue: The Lives We Read
Acknowledgments
Also by Pamela Paul
About the Author