Archive for January, 2013

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1933) by Blanche Wiesen Cook

Paperback: 608 pages
Publisher: Penguin; (March 1, 1993)
ISBN-10: 0140094601


Eleanor’s Wedding day to her cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt.


Book Description

Eleanor Roosevelt was born into the privileges and prejudices of American aristocracy and into a family ravaged by alcoholism. She overcame debilitating roots: in her public life, fighting against racism and injustice and advancing the rights of women; and in her private life, forming lasting intimate friendships with some of the great men and women of her times.

This landmark biography provides a compelling new evaluation of one of the most inspiring women in American political history. Celebrated by feminists, historians, politicians, and reviewers everywhere, it presents an unprecedented portrait of a brave, fierce, passionate political leader of our century.

I never read about Eleanor Roosevelt before and I am totally embarrassed to say that I didn’t even know that she was a Roosevelt even before she married Franklin, and that they were cousins.  So when I tell you that “history” was not interesting to me when I was young… this should prove it! 

It is rare when I try to blame someone else for my own failings, but in this case I will say I feel it truly is because of a teacher.  (but also my own fault for not climbing above it).  I do remember in elementary school (about 4th or 5th grades) being very interested in history.. back when we were learning of Columbus and Magellan and the likes.  But when I went to high school the teacher I had was also one I had in 6th grade. My first mark in his class was a “C” (they had stopped giving plus’s and minus’s) so I went to him for encouragement and asked if I might have been a “high C”.  What he said ruined the rest of my learning history in high school.. I remember his words like it was yesterday and can quote them: You were a C student in 6th grade and you will always be a C student. I can tell you I never read another history book.  Never took a test (signed my name and turned in the paper) never learned a thing and got straight C’s.  So when I hear of a teacher that actually encourages his or her students I say, Hooray for teachers!.

Ok enough of that.. let me talk about this book, which is volume one. 

The book begins with the relatives of Eleanor (yet born) which did confuse me somewhat since as I mentioned, I did not know she was already a Roosevelt.  Her father was an alcoholic but something her mother did do for Eleanor was she never really told her or talked down about him, and so when Eleanor found herself with a missing father most of the time she fantasized him as her hero. And for many years he did write to her and kept in touch in this manner but seldom was around.

The book covers her years of learning including 2 yrs of schooling in an all girls school in England.  Soon after debutante Eleanor had to make the coming out parties where she eventually met FDR.

After their marriage the book covers the birth of their 5 children, Eleanor’s interests in all things concerning woman’s right’s and also interests in education, and help for the poor.  Things which would remain with Eleanor her entire life.

There is much more to the book and I have to say I found it very interesting even when it concerned a lot of politics, which I am not particularly found of .  Eleanor Roosevelt was quite the lady and no matter how much you think you know about her.. there is always something more to find out about her.

This is volume one of 2 volumes written by Blanche Wiesen Cook.  Book 2 goes from 1933-1938, which is far from her entire life since Eleanor did not pass away until 1962.  There are many books about Eleanor Roosevelt and I would say if you have any interest in her at all that you should pick up and read at least one of them, because she was an amazing lady.



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Pern Book Covers

Because Carl did a read-a-long for Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight, I thought I would drag out my Pern books and share the art work involved with Pern.

Just below (animated) are 13 hardback books from Pern and their artists are listed.


I Put the hardback book that’s below, separate because The Girl Who Heard Dragons cover is not only painted by Michael Whelan but the inside of the book has many pencil drawings by him  and I thought I would show a sample inside the book.  Michael Whelan is the artist that has done the most artwork for the Pern series. (that makes 14 hardbacks so far)


The next Hardback (#15) is a book that holds all 3 books of Harper Hall.  Dragonsong, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums.


Below are the soft back copies I have of Harper Hall.


I also have 2 copies in Hardback of The White Dragon. (#16) The only of the original trilogy that I have in hardback.  One is signed inside by Michael Whelan (thanks to Carl!)


Below is the only copy I have of the original Trilogy and it is a soft back cover.


Number 17 hardback is a Doubleday book that contains all three books of the original trilogy.


…and last but far, far, far from least… a small pocket paperback signed by Anne McCaffrey!  And that’s the end of my Pern collection.  One day I hope to own Dragonflight and Dragonquest in hardback.. and the individual Harper Hall books in Hardback..then I could say: I have them all!


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Forever More: Gandalf

My girlfriend Michelle gave me the posters from the Hobbit for Christmas.. today I got a frame and hung Gandalf!….  I may have to “switch” the posters as wall space is limited *sigh*… but I am sure enjoying Ian!!


(the blue is glare)  Sure wish we knew the artist.


I think I need to try to see the Hobbit one last time before it’s gone.. I’ve seen it twice but each time I look at this poster I want to see it again!

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The “IT” Girl…

Clara Bow: Running Wild by David Stenn.

Product Details
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Cooper Square Press (March 13, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0815410255



Book Description

Hollywood’s first sex symbol, the ‘ It ‘ girl, Clara Bow was born in the slums of Brooklyn in a family plagued with alcoholism and insanity. She catapulted to fame after winning Motion Picture magazine’s 1921 " Fame and Fortune" contest. The greatest box-office draw of her day—she once received 45,000 fan letters in a single month, Clara Bow’s on screen vitality and allure that beguiled thousands, however, would be her undoing off-camera. David Stenn captures her legendary rise to stardom and fall from grace, her success marred by studio exploitation and sexual scandals.

Stunning realization to think this “silent movie star” was “before my time” when in reality she died the year I got married.  I think that makes her: not so much before my time.

I pick up biographies of celebs from “long ago” because I like to read about the “beginnings” of movies and Hollywood and how it all began.  Many biographies I am disappointed in because all it is a filmography.  They only talk about what movies they made in order of how they made them. 

I found this book somewhere in between.

The beginning of Clara Bows life was not one anyone would ask for.  And up until the time she entered a contest in hopes of being able to make movies her childhood was no better.  Having only reaching 7th grade in a rough time in history.. the odds aren’t good at making a better life for yourself.

All that happened to Clara when she was young had a very profound impact and made her into the woman she became.

My biggest shock was finding out when she died and that at my age then I should have known more and heard more about her than I did.  In my teenage youth, silent movies were “long gone” and so were many of those who made them.  One doesn’t realize the actors like Gary Cooper began with silent movies. We don’t think of it because we grew up seeing him in talking pictures.  But many did make the change.. we just don’t remember them that way.

The other big shock was how Paramount treated their biggest star.  Financially they abused and used her.  Something that would never happen in today’s society.   But even with all of that Clara Bow managed to remain “The IT Girl” up to the end.

There were times in the book I wish it wasn’t so much about which movie she was making bit did absorb the facts of how terrified she was when she had to make her first talking motion picture.  Actors of today would go to a teacher of accents to try to duplicate Clara’s deep Brooklyn accent and her use of word’s such as “ain’t”.

I enjoyed the book but found it lacked the background (in general how things were and what was happening historically at the time). 

My favorite biography still remains to be Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy  by Simon Louvish.

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I did my, *getting to be usual*, stupid thing and went to the Friends of the Library….

Once there I found a nice puzzle for my girlfriend..and then found myself standing in front of "the history section"!!!! Gah! ME?! In front of the History section???!!!!! Anyone I went to school with should get a good laugh out of that one!  (ya hadda had been there!)

The thing is, … since I read Citizens of London (about our helping England and our entry into the war) I find more interest in that particular time period in history. 

A history channel on cable recently showed a few shows on Hitler and I found myself watching them.. and now since reading Citizens of London and learning that Edward R Murrow (his name being “familiar” because of his old radio and television shows when I was young(was I ever young???.)) was one of the people in London  trying to help both Churchill and Roosevelt, while all the time sending newscasts back to America.  I happen to come across a book on his life for 1.00 ..guess what came home with me.. heh.  And you bet I checked the index to see if there would be some chapters about him in London and there is!!

ed[1]   ed1[1]

I am doomed, doomed, doomed!  This has got to be my year of reading Biographies, autobiographies, memoirs etc.  As I look through my books I have more than I even remember picking up!!  I know 90 percent of them have come from the Friends of the Library!

I go there often under the guise that I am keeping an eye on a book that I want .  It’s volume 1 of The Pickwick Club, by Dickens.  The book is not in good condition but the color illustrations in it are in fantastic condition.  They want 65.00 for it and it is not in good enough condition for that kind of money.  I am told that once a year they have a sale on their “expensive” books.. so I wait and hope it doesn’t sell and then hope the sale price is a big deduction.  Considering it’s condition and the fact that it’s only volume one of a two volume set.. it’s got to be waaay cheaper!  Meanwhile each time I go I find yet another book, and it’s always the same thought: for a dollar I might read it.  ARGH!   I hope I live long enough to read all of them!!!

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Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl.

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1ST edition (2009)


Pages: 563


Book Description

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

This book has been on my shelf for a loooong time!  So long that I forgot why I bought it!  So you might say I went into this YA book nearly blind (I did read the inside flap!)

If someone said to me.. this is a book about a teenage boy who falls in love with the new girl in town even though she’s a bit strange I probably would never have picked up the book.

But from the very beginning these two authors had me .  Their writing is really enjoyable.  They tell their story and toss in a bit of humor now and then and make “unusual” even more unusual if that’s possible!

Ethan and his “family” and Lena and her family are both a bit strange.  And the more you read the stranger they get !   Even though you pretty much figure out just how strange Lena is, they continually come up with some surprises so I can honestly say this book moves at nearly warp speed! 

No sooner would I put it down than I’d want to pick it up again! 

Like I said, I am not into teenage romance so it certainly wasn’t that aspect that kept me reading.  It was exceptional writing and things happened so fast you always wanted to know “what next” …and you found out pretty fast!

Without giving much away I will say I enjoyed the characters very much ..I wish I could remember who reviewed it long ago that made me buy it but I can’t believe I waited so long to read it!

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If you are following Carl’s read-a-long of Dragonriders of Pern and find that you are liking it quite well I thought I would show a list from Wikipedia of the vastness of Anne’s writings about Dragonriders and Pern, along with a little information of her awards on the series… all of the links bring you back to Wikipedia  (fyi).  But before you read all about Pern I have to say that a great part of the original trilogy was brought to life by Michael Whelan with his most fabulous cover art. Click the link to see all the Pern related art that he did!  Thank you Michael Whelan for helping to bring them to life for me!


Weyr Search won the inaugural Hugo Award for Best Novella in 1968 and Dragonrider won the Nebula Award for Best Novella in 1969. (Both were finalists for both awards.) Dragonquest, The White Dragon, Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern and All the Weyrs of Pern were among the five annual finalists for the best novel Hugo Award.

Original trilogy

These stories take place immediately before and during the Ninth Pass, about 2500 years after landing (AL).

  • Dragonflight 1968, by Anne McCaffrey (1968; composed in part of McCaffrey’s first two Pern novellas, Weyr Search and Dragonrider, originally published in 1967)
  • Dragonquest 1970, by Anne McCaffrey.
  • The White Dragon 1978, by Anne McCaffrey (1978; although published prior to Dragondrums, The White Dragon continues the adventures of certain Dragondrums characters; McCaffrey recommends reading Dragonsong, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums before The White Dragon; The White Dragon incorporates McCaffrey’s story "A Time When")

The trilogy was released 1978 in omnibus edition titled The Dragonriders of Pern by Nelson Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club.[4]

 Harper Hall trilogy

These stories take place immediately prior to and concurrently with those depicted in Dragonquest and The White Dragon.

The Harper Hall trilogy was released 1984 in omnibus edition titled The Harper Hall of Pern by Nelson Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club.[5] Dragonsong was subtitled "Volume One of The Harper Hall Trilogy" on the front cover of the Bantam Spectra edition, March 1986.[6]

Other fiction by Anne McCaffrey


p1[1]  Dragonflight

 p2[1]  Dragonquest

p3[1]   The White Dragon

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