Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The theme is univeral

I would never want to be thirty again! This is a wonderfully written book, refreshingly honest and disarming about a dinner party where a group of friends come to wonder about what they did and what they could have done with their lives. Each character is suffering in some way about decisions that were made by them and others about the decisions made without them and how they affected their dreams. Hope dies for each character and they search to find fault with everyone else, rather that address their own failures. Each person is dissatisfied and unfulfilled, searching for happiness that eludes them. Silva has a terrific gossipy voice, the book reads as though you are at lunch with a friend who is relating all manner of juicy tidbits about your crowd. Their angst is so real and universal, this book could be about thirty somethings anywhere, in any country. So whether they are single, married or in a relationship, it seems that the 30 somethings in this book are profoundly unhappy and searching for something they thought they wanted.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Monday, October 21, 2013

Wordsmithing is hard work!!!!

This was going around on the internet and I wanted to share. If anyone knows the author, please share! I would love to give credit!

Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning. A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.
You think English is easy??
I think a retired English teacher was bored...THIS IS GREAT! 
Read all the way to the end.................
This took a lot of work to put together!
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture..

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his 
dessert in the desert..
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time topresent the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how torow.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no eggs in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this.

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 

It's easy to understand 
UPmeaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wakeUP?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak 
UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call 
UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten 
UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warmUP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir 
UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed 
UP is special.A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UPat night.
We seem to be pretty mixed 
UP about UP!To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UPlook the word UPin the dictionary

In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are 
UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many waysUP is used.
It will take 
UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP,you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes thingsUP.When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP,for now my time is UP, is time to shut 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Well researched alternate history

You can't write an alternate history, unless you really understand the life and times of the real events. Thomas K. Carpenter writes just such a novel. Gritty and compelling, it's the story of a woman, with the soul of an inventor who disguises herself as her dead brother to continue his work. Carpenter captures the sights and sounds of Alexandria, so much so that it has almost a cinematic feel. He portrays his characters with a mindset of the time, coupled with universal issues; a gangster moneylender,corruption, religious problems, invaders- this book has it all. The one thing I missed was a more feminine side to Ava or Heron. While the story had action, so much technical information for the people interested in inventions and how they work, what I missed was more of the human element. I enjoyed the interaction of her blacksmith with his wife- the most. Carpenter clearly has a deep love of ancient history,and the many facets of that time period. His enjoyment shows in every word he writes.

Happy Reading!

Carole P. Roman

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Well written novel that takes you into the deep south

Sandra Dallas writes like a painter. Her characters are well drawn, she uses words as deftly as a master artist, shading with subtle use of language. As I was reading, I could see the sepia tones of the dusty roads, the smudged mustiness of the faded glory of decaying mansions. Nora is believable and likable, her search for the answers to her past propelling you deeper into the twisted tangle of her ancestor's secret history. Nora's secrets, her family's myth's, the town's role in her quest will have you rushing through the chapters for the answers. Based on a real incident, this was a compelling book, with a whimsical look at the south, watching our country bridge it's antiquated ideas with the winds of change arriving as the 20th century moved into modernity.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mary the Victim

I had always known about Typhoid Mary- I don't know how, but I did. This novel put a face to the name and created a personality based on her reluctance to cooperate with authorities. I liked this book, it felt like a doorway to the early 20th century. You could smell the lower east side, feel the heat of the kitchens, know the frustration of women and the poor. Life was insignificant for the lower orders, their lives were considered cheap and didn't count. The horrifying thing, it seemed was that Mary felt the same way about the rich and famous. It was a time before laws to protect the poor-young women were imprisoned in burning buildings to sew (Triangle Shirtwaist factory), or immigrants could be locked in the holds of sinking ships while wealthier patrons escaped on lifeboats (Titanic)- Keane recreates the scene from the fire, and also includes the famous sinking to share that the poor were expendable. A young boy is swept by the currents of the East River, and while his brothers' call for help, workers nearby only offer to share their lunch. Life of the poor meant nothing, only when wealthy people where infected with the virus, did authorities take action. Mary Mallon refused to be locked away to keep the wealthy safe. She wanted to cook and refused to believe that she could be spreading disease. She defiantly refused to risk dangerous surgery to remove a infectious gall bladder. She changed her name and hid from the authorities who sought to protect her patrons from disease. While other carriers were found, it seemed strange that only Mary remained locked away in isolation to be studied like an lab rat. Here, we learn that a bread winner (a male) must be left to find ways to support his family, and a single woman who merely lived with a man- had no rights at all. Interwoven is a doomed relationship with a co dependent , drunk boyfriend, making Mary not only a victim of the system, but of her personal life as well. I think Mary was a victim of her times,expendable because she was a woman, Irish and poor. In the book, Keane paints her as well read, intelligent, and perhaps feisty. If that is true- I have trouble with her lack of acceptance to fix a problem, her thoughtless selfishness of the danger of herself as a carrier, but I do recognize that Mary Mallon was probably a product of her times and unable to find resources to help herself, and her nature wouldn't let her go down without a fight.