Thursday, May 29, 2014

TBT Taylor Caldwell

I LOVE Taylor Caldwell novels.  In fact in 1992 I named my daughter Taylor after this author believing I was being unique. (In 2009 my daughter Taylor sat in a biology class of 35 students with 6 yes SIX other Taylor's... sigh, so much for uniqueness)
Janet Miriam Holland Taylor Caldwell (September 7, 1900 – August 30, 1985) was an Anglo-American novelist and prolific author of popular fiction, also known by the pen names Marcus Holland and Max Reiner, and by her married name of J. Miriam Reback. In her fiction, she often used real historical events or persons. 
The first Caldwell I read was when I was 14, it was The Great Lion of God, a fictionalized version of the Apostle Paul.  A little racy for a 14 year old in the 70s but it had the word "God" in the title so no one thought to censor it on my behalf!  I was hooked and read as many as I could get my hands on.  I do remember the librarian asking if my mom would approve of me reading A Prologue to Love. I told her it was for my mom, then went home and couldn't put it down. The Listener and Captain and the Kings are my two favorites.   The Listener is a short book, each chapter telling the tale of a different person who desperately needs someone to listen to them. They all find their way to a building which was erected just for the purpose of refuge to talk to the man behind the curtain who listens to the suffering and stories of people day and night.  The Captain and the Kings seems to be drawn from the lives of the Kennedys, Rockefellers, and perhaps even Howard Hughes.  It's epic and grand and delicious!

A few years ago I read, The Search For A Soul: Taylor Caldwell's Psychic Lives.  A fascinating journey into her "past lives" as she recalls them under hypnosis.  Reincarnation, some think, is why she wrote her historical works with such vivid and accurate detail.  The argument of course would be, having a rich and remarkable imagination, along with much research for novels, might make one invent past lived under hypnosis.  Wherever you stand on the reincarnation theory, it is a really interesting read!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throwback Thursday- Leon Uris

Leon Uris is one of my favorite authors. Mila 18, and QBVII  were two books on "The List," which Mrs. Dietsch gave us in 10th grade, of the 100 books one should read before college.  (Yes, evidently I'm  a nerd because I read them all)
I fell in love with Leon Uris novels and have read seven of his thirteen books.  His first book, "Battle Cry," was written in 1953, and his last, "O'Hara's Choice,"  was written in 2003.  There are still a few out there I haven't picked up, but the ones I did read pulled me into worlds I never knew existed before reading them.

Knowing about the Holocaust and meeting characters who would draw you into their world are two different things.  Uris drew me into those worlds. The sometimes dark and always gut wrenching stories were also filled with hope and an optimism in the human nature's ability and will to survive.  The same was true about Ireland and Israel in "Trinity" and "The Haj." 

It is thought provoking, to say the least, that a man who never finished high school and flunked English three times could write such heart breakingly beautiful and compelling novels.  Try a Uris novel, I promise you won't be sorry

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

"Killing Jesus" was informative and interesting.  If you have never done any Biblical, historical research, it is a fascinating look into the historical event that was the life and the grisly crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.  It is not for the faint of heart, as the Romans executed and tortured with authoritative expertise.

The Roman machine was an epic power, which I find endlessly fascinating.  This story tells not only the life of Jesus of Nazareth but how the Roman leadership systematically imploded.

As a Christian it was impossible to read this history book without the tug of emotions that is evoked when you believe that this horrifying event not only took place, but Jesus did it voluntarily as an innocent, to absorb the guilt for all.  I would love to hear reactions from those who could read it as pure history!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Throw Back Thursdays

I was thinking about all the great books which I have read before there was blogging, and thought I should revisit my love of those!
So on Thursdays I am declaring them "Throw-Back -Thursdays, and I will be hopping in the "way back machine" and will  write about some of my favorite books. (Or I suppose least favorite, but memorable)  Here we go...

I've been thinking about Poe lately.
He is one of many authors/poets which I'm happy a teacher forced me to read because I would have never picked one of his works up of my own volition. (See my last blog entry on British Chick-Lit lol) There are thousands of references to his works in TV, movies, comedy, other books etc.  I can't imagine how sad I would feel, if I didn't see the cleverness of "Poet" beer with a raven on the bottle or even the Sponge Bob-Square Pants episode, "Squeaky Boots," which reference "The Tell Tale Heart."  Anyway I do appreciate Poe, with all his angst and tragedy, though I'm not sure I can say I love him. I am happy that I read many of his works, if for no other reason than it makes areas of my life richer ( understanding "Sponge Bob"... who knew it was such a poignant medium?) So when your kids ask why they have to read what the teacher wants them to read, you can tell them, it's so they will understand all the jokes on Sponge Bob!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Paranormal Romance? Say Whaaaat?

So today I was updating my book-bub account. (If you don't have Book-bub and you have an electronic reading device you should open a new tab right now and sign up for it! click here for Book Bub) Anyway I came across a genre called "Paranormal Romance."  My mind immediately went in a million directions, with a million jokes, (super funny jokes if I do say so myself!) trying to figure out what that meant.
Is it romance via ESP (or ESPN as a friend always calls it, which would be a weird, sports romance genre, also fun to contemplate!)

All I could picture was an alien mating ritual, which isn't easy since I don't really know what aliens look like, nor am I familiar with their mating rituals, nor do I care to visualize them mating! (Although Steve Guttenberg seemed to have a lovely experience in "Cocoon," but I digress)  So  as I sat at my computer with the world wide web at my finger tips contemplating what "Paranormal Romance" could mean, I finally had the bright idea of looking it up.

I would like to take a moment to explain that I usually consider myself a fairly quick study.  The first time my son said that someone "jacked" something from his locker...I was able to translate that to "stole" without too much trouble.  I know what "para" means, beyond-outside of-separate from- and I know what romance means.  But I just couldn't get past thinking of Ghostbuster lines. (Dogs and cats LIVING that's para- normal)

So I "Googled" it, and everything became clear.  I asked my 21 year old daughter what she thought it meant and what she thought was the number one best seller in that category.  She said, Oh probably "Twilight." Which of course it was. Now in my defense I have 2 early 20-something daughters who read a lot, and then buy the movies, so I have come to think of high school aged girls hooking up with werewolves, vampires. wizards and the gang as normal romance, not anything outside of normal.  I blame it on Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers where everyone finds it perfectly normal for King Friday (THE PUPPET!) to have Lady Aberlin (THE HUMAN!) as a neice.  Meow, meow crazy! if you ask me.  But of course now that it has been pointed out to me it all makes sense.  As it turns out, Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver made a love connection in Ghost Busters so technically that is a paranormal romance and I wasn't so far off now wasI?!

The definition from Wikipedia is as follows:
Paranormal romance is a sub-genre of both romantic fiction  and speculative fiction.  Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance may range from traditional category romances, such as those published by Harlequin, Mills & Boon, with a paranormal setting to stories where the main emphasis is on a science fiction or fantasy based plot with a romantic subplot included. Common hallmarks are romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature.