Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dreaming of France -- Art is Everywhere


Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it
Here's a photo of a street sign in Montmartre that my daughter Grace took while touring the area with Linda from Frenchless in France.
The red sign with the white bar normally means "interdit" or "do not enter." The sign underneath that says "sauf" with the bicycle means except bicycles.
Someone has etched a person carrying the white bar. I love the way the figure looks as if it's struggling under the weight of the white bar.
I'm not sure how or why the artist or graffiti-ist did this, but I think it's awfully clever.
Hope you are all dreaming of France too. 


Writing Changes

Although I have a new novel that just came out, I've dived into writing again rather than promoting.
I decided to stick with France, since it's something I love, and I won't tell you the premise but will share the title -- Paris Runaway.
This time, I'm planning out the scenes rather than just writing. It's different. I hope it will help me to write more quickly, but worry that it might limit my characters.
One of the fun parts of writing a novel is naming the characters. I wanted the main character, a divorced mom to have a name like Sophie, but I couldn't go with Sophie because my first novel was Fia, short for Sofia.
I decided to go with Sadie, which I like, and which is actually short for Sarah, who knew. The last name of the family is Ford. It fits well with Sadie's ex-husband -- Draker Ford, as hard as his name sounds. But then I needed a maiden name for Sadie. I wanted her maiden name to have three syllables and to include an s sound. So I landed on Sadie Harrison. That sounds good.
It wasn't until later that I put together the name and realized the character's full name -- Sadie Harrison Ford.
Ooops. I think I'll leave it and have the character joke about her two last names.
Sadie has two teenage daughters Evangeline and Scarlett. Scarlett's French crush is Luc, and Luc's father is Auguste.
I have a couple weeks of Christmas break yet, so I hope to get a lot of writing done. You never know when I'll have another novel available.
I See London I See France is on Amazon at Barnes and Noble and in paperback at Lulu.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- Winter Blooms

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme, post a photo that you (or a friend of family member) have taken. Then leave a direct link to your post on West Metro Mommy. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.
I don't know how this happened. We've had cold weather since November, but we had a couple of warm days last week. Then the temps dropped back into the teens. Somehow, this small tree, maybe a  pussy willow, decided it might be spring. I wish.
I like the Christmas wreaths in the background because they do not fit with the furry blooms.
In this slightly blurry photo, you can see the red berries on the shrubs, again, not something that should be there when trees begin to bloom. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Post Christmas Wrap Up

The cats enjoyed Christmas, even if the gifts weren't for them.
Unlike many of you who are counting books you've read and challenges you've reached this year, I'm counting my lucky stars that we survived -- enjoyed -- a lovely Christmas.
I got most of my shopping done by the end of last week, or so I thought.
On Christmas Eve, we drove an hour and a half to my brother's house in Dayton for lunch. That was the first time we got to see my nephew's baby Lydia. She's a month old and all of her dark hair makes her look like a doll baby. Her mother paints her nails and keeps a bow in her hair. Our nieces who have daughters try to keep them from being too girly, so this is definitely a different style of parenting!

Cousins. My kids are on the left side. Michael, Lydia's dad, was holding
the bottleand stuck it between his legs for the photo. Goofball
On the drive to my brother's I reminded Spencer that he didn't really have much on his Christmas list, so people had to do their best to guess what he wanted.
"I know," he said. "The only thing on my list was NBA 2K14 for Xbox."
"What?" I shrieked from behind the steering wheel. "That wasn't on you list. You said you wanted a speaker and Boss Cologne."
I got a new cap and scarf on Christmas morning.
Suddenly, the only thing my middle child wanted wasn't under the tree.
We got back to Columbus around 4:30 and I zipped over to Target where I found the game he wanted. I'd planned to schedule a massage for him, so the game replaced the future massage. I'm still not sure he played it.
Midnight mass was on our schedule. By 10 p.m. Tucker and Spencer were both asleep and I was nodding off. I'm just not a late night person.
After opening our presents Christmas morning, we went to my husband's sisters for a casual meal and the chance to see all of her daughters and their children.
Regan, one and a half, was not about to sit still for photos.
In between these events, I snatched moments of reading. I can recommend Kathleen Tessaro's Flirt. What a fun idea.
Hope you all had joyful holidays and look forward to New Year celebrations.
Grant turned 1 just before Christmas. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dreaming of France -- City of Light


Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
I've never been in France for Christmas, but I would love to.
Since I don't have Christmas lights to share, I'll share a nighttime photo of the lights of Paris, with, you guessed it, the Eiffel Tower as the main attraction. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas, if you celebrate, and the new year finds us all visiting France.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Time

Things are fairly subdued at our house this week before Christmas, for which I am grateful.
I'm still finishing up one class. Grades have to be in by Saturday. Grace and Spencer have arrived home from college. Tucker is taking mid-term exams this week.
We decided to have 4-year-old Caroline over to bake and decorate cookies one afternoon.
After cutting out the cookies and baking them, let the decorating begin.

No one can concentrate on making a huge mess of yellow icing like a 4-year-old. This cookie, when she was finished, looked like it was attacked by a ketchup and mustard bottle. That's okay though cause we sent it home with her. 
Spencer stayed home that evening and on his phone found an idea for making "colored ice marbles." Put some water and food coloring in a balloon then put it out in the snow to freeze. 
"Let's do it," Grace proclaimed. So my 21-year-old and 20-year-old headed to the kitchen. They quickly learned to put the food coloring in before the water. They ended up with three filled balloons that they put in a snow bank to freeze til the next day. 
But two of the balloons were missing the next morning, leaving only a slightly blue tinted indentation and a yellow-ringed indentation. "Maybe they burst," Grace suggested.
And two blue footprints nearby hint at why they might have burst.
We suspect the outdoor cat, of course, even though this picture looks like an abominable snowman staring out of the snow bank.
Then last night we had a little drama. I was in the kitchen cooking chicken and dumplings, Grace was on the cough, both cats were accounted for and suddenly the Christmas tree toppled onto the floor followed by a tinkling sound as the glass topper broke. Three other bulbs also broke. One of them was our first year of marriage bulb, which I refuse to take as an omen. The other was Spencer's first year bulb, but I think he had two of them. The third may be the real omen -- The Ohio State bulb broke. It does not bode well for them in their bowl game if our tree has anything to say about it.
Hope everyone is having a calm Christmas season wherever you are.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

First Paragraph, Tuesday Teaser -- I See London I See France

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
I was wondering which book I should feature today for First Paragraph and Tuesday Teaser, when I realized, I'd better showcase my own.
I See London I See France by me (Paulita Kincer) is about a married mother of three who realizes she doesn't know who she is or what she wants any more. So she sells her minivan and, with her three children, runs away to Europe.
Here's the first paragraph:
“I’ve had enough, Caroline.” He tossed the words down the stairs like an empty laundry basket.
Obviously, that was a subtle signal my husband Scott needed some time alone. It’s not like I immediately followed him up the stairs to continue the fight I’d started with a few well-placed comments about the leak in the bathtub not fixing itself.
Instead of shadowing him to the second floor, I continued to the dining room table and calmly folded clothes. I could hear him moving around as the old wooden floors squeaked above me.  I pictured him pacing in anger as our angry words dissipated. He’d probably calm down by the time I finished folding the clothes in neat piles and stacked them back in the basket.
Also this week  is Teaser Tuesdays. Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Open to a random page of your current read  and share a teaser sentence from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your tease.

Here's my teaser from page 54 during a flashback to Caroline's college days in France:
 I suppose we were taking our lives in our hands, Jean-Marc sailing with me as his helper, since I didn’t know what I was doing. As he taught me to sail, pulling on the ropes with my hands, hooking my feet under a cord and leaning out over the water to balance the boat, I became bruised and callused on my palms and the tops of my feet.I didn’t feel the pain, though. I felt the exhilaration of skimming along the very blue water and the spray on my face. On a sailboat in the Mediterranean with a handsome Frenchman. Would any of my friends at home believe it?
Hope you enjoyed the teasers. Please spread the word. My novel is available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble  or in paperback.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dreaming of France -- I See London I See France


Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Finally, my latest novel I See London I See France is available.
It's a fun, women's fiction novel with the exhaustion of mothering and a hint of romance.
Here's the blurb:
When her husband of a dozen years walks out in a huff, Caroline Sommers walks out too – to Europe, with her kids after impulsively selling her minivan for travel money. Tired of being the perfect wife, she escapes to rediscover herself, and possibly rekindle the unrequited love of a Frenchman from her college days.  While shepherding her kids from London to Scotland then Paris to Provence, she finds herself at a crossroads. Does she choose love, or lust, in the arms of a European man, or should she try again with the father of her children and the man she truly loved, once?
I wrote this book originally when the kids were little. It was my first novel, but I put it away. I've revised it a few times and I'm really happy with its latest revision. I added flashbacks throughout as the main character remembers her college crush with an older Frenchman Jean-Marc. Part of Caroline's quest through Europe is to learn whether she settled for the wrong man by marrying her husband.
And where did those ideas and feelings for Frenchman come from? My very own trip to France when I was 22.
I've sworn my kids to secrecy -- because we are still connected to the family in France-- but I had a major crush on one of the brothers.
This snapshot doesn't do justice to my French crush, but imagine learning to sail in the Mediterranean with a handsome French doctor. The character in my book is a little more extreme, but has a lot of the same yummy qualities. 
Here's a link to the paperback version of I see London I See France.
The Amazon link for a Kindle version at $4.99 is here, and the Nook link is here.
I hope  my book helps other to Dream of France too.
Can't wait to see what you post this week.



Friday, December 13, 2013

Ch-ch-ch-Changes

How are you with change?
I'm pretty good with it. This may have something to do with me being shallow. In my adult life, I've moved from city to city about every five years. If we didn't move, I would get a little antsy, like I needed something new, something different.
That has faded some as I get older. We've been in Columbus now 15 years! But we have lived in three different  houses in three different parts of the city.
Grace is exhausted by change even at age 1.
My daughter Grace hates change, but she's working on it. The other day I had an epiphany and called to tell her why she hates change. We lived in four different houses before her 1st birthday. That's the year we moved from Sebring, Florida to Tampa, Florida then Jackson, Michigan where we lived in an apartment for a few months before closing on our first house and moving into it. Four houses and the chaos that goes with it probably led to her aversion to change.
Our household has dealt with recent changes as first Grace, then Spencer graduated high school and marched off to faraway colleges. Grace accepted change once again when she transferred to a college closer to home.
But in the coming year, we'll face an even bigger change, not just Tucker graduating and going off to college, but Earl's work schedule is changing.
Earl has been working evenings for nearly five years.
It was on Tucker's 13th birthday that we learned the newspaper would have layoffs. We held our breath to see if Earl would lose his job. Luckily, he didn't, but he did move jobs from assistant city editor to copy editor. We felt fortunate that he would have a job at all with the way the newspaper business was going. And the company left his salary the same. All he lost was a free parking space.
Tucker at age 13.
The new job as copy editor required Earl to work evenings rather than days. In his previous job, he'd go in to work at 10 a.m. and come home at 8 or 9 p.m.
When he switched, five years ago, he started to work 3-11 p.m. or 4-midnight, sometimes even 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
From the time Tucker was 13, Earl has been absent in the evenings. Now as Tucker begins the downhill slide to 18 and his last semester of high school, Earl will switch to day times again and begin working as a reporter.
He's okay with moving to the reporter position. Working as a copy editor was good because he worked his eight hours then came home and put it behind him. As a reporter, the job won't go away quite that easily. He may work longer hours and he may continue to do work at home, but he will be here in the evenings.
That may mean I have to fight for the remote on the nights that The Bachelor or The Amazing Race air. That probably means I'm going to see a lot more old movies or specials on airplanes on television.
Hottie Juan-Pablo appears on The Bachelor
 starting in January.
I'll  probably need to start making dinner regularly too. Between me and Tucker, I sometimes make a pot of macaroni and cheese or bake a pizza that he can eat whenever he gets hungry. With my husband home, I'm probably going to feel obligated to cook real meals again.
Things will change for Tucker too. When he got old enough to drive, he started coming home from school for lunch. Since I teach college, sometimes I am home and sometimes not, but Earl is almost always home. He cooks grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for Tucker, or slathers peanut butter and jelly between slices of bread. Tucker then takes his lunch and turns on ESPN for his 30-minute lunch.
This Wednesday, I had a meeting at 11:30. Earl had a meeting too.
At 11:47, my phone rang.
"Where is everybody?" Tucker asked.
I explained the meeting situation and then told Tucker he'd better get used to it since Earl moved to days in January and I was scheduled to work at least 3 days during the week.
"Do you mean I'm going to have to make my own lunch?" Tucker asked.
"That's how it looks," I said.
I knew Earl never should have started making Tucker's lunch. Now he's just looking for a handout every day at noon.
I'm sure we'll all get through the changes coming our way. Until then, I'm keeping the remote and I'll probably make sure Tucker gets lunch through next week anyway.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

First Paragraph, Tuesday Teaser -- Bridget Jones Mad About the Boy

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
Yesterday, my first official day after classes had finished at one of the colleges where I teach, I made the mistake of picking up Bridget Jones Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding. The reason it was a mistake, because I spent the rest of the day engrossed in it and finished it last night. She is as delightful as always.
Here's the intro:
Thursday, 15 April 20132:30 p.m. Talitha just called, talking in that urgent, 'let's-be-discreet-but-wildly-overdramatic' voice she always has. 'Darling, I just want to let you know that it's my sixtieth on the 24th of May. I'm not SAYING it's my sixtieth, obviously. And keep it quiet because I'm not asking everyone. I just wanted you to keep the date free.'
Not the greatest opening, but you do dive directly into that Bridget Jones voice and if you've read the others, that warm feeling floods through you.
Also this week  is Teaser Tuesdays. Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Open to a random page of your current read  and share a teaser sentence from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser
Here's my teaser from page 248:
Everyone stared as the little dog foundered to the surface in the middle of the pool, yapping, then disappeared under the water again. Suddenly, Roxster pulled his T-shirt over his shoulders, revealing his ripped torso. He dived straight into the pool, an arc of blue water, spray and muscle, then resurfaced, wet and glistening, at the other end of the pool having completely missed the dog, which took a last gulp of air, then sank.
Don't worry. The dog makes it. Actually, I've never heard of a dog that couldn't swim.
Hope you are reading something you enjoy.

Snow Surprise

I wake up this morning at 5:30 and I can see from the light in the sky that it probably snowed. The light glows brighter. I look at my weather app on my phone while still in bed. "Snow showers" and 19 degrees. Perfect running weather? No, but...
The weather forecasters were not warning of blizzards, as a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that my weather app didn't mention snow at all this week. I figured there might be a dusting of snow and if I run in the street, I should be fine.
I get up, dress in layers with long underwear under my running tights (pretty, as you can imagine). Then I walk to the door and look at the previously shoveled walk.
There's at least three inches of snow.
How did this happen? Shouldn't someone have warned me?
I sneak back into my dark bedroom. Creaky wooden floors always give me away though. I use my phone as a flashlight and find my hiking boots. I add an extra wool sweater to my ensemble, since I won't get as warm walking as I would running.
Hat, scarf, gloves.
I walk through the virgin snow. It is powdery and when my foot moves forward through it, a wave of snow sprays ahead of it.
This pic from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Types_of_snow,
which actually says this is hoarfrost rather than powdery snow.
I walk to the bank to withdraw cash, stop at the coffee shop where the man who always wears shorts is actually wearing pants today. I make one last stop at Panera for croissants. They have only one. What? Cinnamon roll for Tuck then and a chocolate croissant for Earl.
Then I walk home with my hunted and gathered goodies. I spend another half hour shoveling the walk and sweeping the snow off Tucker's car before he leaves for school.
I didn't get cold, but the music on my phone kind of froze after about an hour and  half outside.
Hmmm. Maybe it's time to take out those cross country skis and head down to the park.
The only problem is, that once I'm inside and warm, I forget that I didn't get cold and I don't want to go outside again. I'll probably stay by the fire, just because I can.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Dreaming of France -- Luxembourg Gardens


Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
By next weekend, my two college kids will have returned home for break. So I thought I would relive some fun family times, like this spring afternoon in Luxembourg Gardens.
We sat in these metal chairs and ate sandwiches on baguette.
Grace was 14 and still regrets this poncho choice. I think she looks beautiful.
  
Spencer was 12, note the puca shell necklace, and Tucker was 10. Earl is ageless, of course, and just happy to be in Paris.


Saturday, December 07, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- Childhood Memories & Book Giveaway

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme, post a photo that you (or a friend of family member) have taken. Then leave a direct link to your post on West Metro Mommy. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.
This beaten up cake cover has such good memories for me.
When my parents moved from Ohio to Kentucky then to Florida, somehow, they decided to give me possession of the cake cover. Most of the year it is set in the basement. I don't bake layer cakes very often. But for my mom's birthday on Thanksgiving, I baked a cake and put it in the cake cover to transport to my brother's house. 
Whenever I see this, I can almost taste the rich fudge icing that my mom used to make, or the red cake with white creamy icing. 
Sure, it's dented in places, and I would never trust the little tabs to hold the cover in place so I could carry it by the handle, but I can't imagine giving this up, until I'm retired and moving from house to house and I bestow it on my daughter.
Also this week,  I have a book giveaway for The Consolations of the Forest, a beautifully written contemplative book in hard cover for anyone in the U.S. or Canada. Just leave a comment to be included in the drawing next Friday.

Friday, December 06, 2013

France Book Tours -- The Consolation of the Forest & Giveaway

Today I'm reviewing The Consolations of the Forest by Sylvain Tesson for FranceBookTours. I received the book free in return for a fair and honest review.
This nonfiction book follows the adventure of a 37-year-old Frenchman who decides to spend six months in an isolated cabin in Siberia. That's right, Siberia.
On page 86 he explains why he decided to isolate himself from the world.
Reasons Why I'm Living Alone In A Cabin
I talked too much
I wanted silence
Too behind with my mail and too many people to see
I was jealous of Crusoe
It's better heated than my place in Paris
Tired of running errands
So I can scream and live naked
Because I hate the telephone and traffic noise.
Already, I'm thinking, aren't there deserted islands in the Pacific where he could scuff around in the sand and live like Tom Hanks in Cast Away? I mean, can't you do all those isolated things in a warm climate?
But Tesson is something of an adventurer and had traveled in Siberia before, so there's where he decided to go.
As I read this book, I was struck by something that a French visitor said recently when he came to Ohio. He saw the movie Captain Phillips and I asked if he liked it. He said, "It was very American." He explained that things were clear cut, black and white with the hero winning everything. That's when I realized how different Americans and French people are. This book emphasizes those differences.

Here's a passage from page 94 to help explain the author's need for isolation as he compares himself to old Chinese men who retire to cabins to prepare for death:
Non-action sharpens all perception. The hermit absorbs the universe, paying acute attention to its smallest manifestation. Sitting cross-legged beneath an almond tree, he hears the shock of a petal striking the surface of a pond. He sees the edge of a feather vibrate as a crane flies overhead. He feels the perfume of a happy flower rise from the blossom to envelop the evening.

In addition to living as a hermit, Tesson takes along a bunch of books to read -- these books are not what most people would consider entertaining or distracting. Nietzsche, Camus, Thoreau, the Stoics
Here's a quote from page 24 that turned me off the book:
In What Am I Doing Here? Bruce Chatwin quotes Jünger quoting Stendahl: "The art of civilization..."
You know what, it doesn't even matter what Chatwin quoted Jünger quoting Stendahl. That puts me off. As I tell my English Comp students, go directly to the source.
Some of the writing is beautiful, like this paragraph from page 41:
Yesterday's wind has polished the rink. I glide over the glaze with the grace of a seal. Internal faults sheet through the ice in turquoise veils. I pass refrozen fissures the color of ivory. I maintain my balance, skating on the reflections of mountains that resemble shy dancers, cinched into their white dresses and hesitating to join the waltz. 
Tesson makes this experience sound beautiful, but he can't escape the fact that it is kind of boring. If he is bored living it then it will not entertain me.
If I were French, if I were deeper, if I were living alone in Siberia, this book would probably sweep me away. But I am none of those things.
This is an, at times, beautiful book that is full of contemplative ideas about life and nature.
Maybe I am too American for this book. My idea of a back-to-nature book is A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson or Wild by Cheryl Strayed. My blog friend Emma said this is her favorite nonfiction book of the year. I can see that. She likes to read philosophy and to think deep. That is exactly the kind of person who will enjoy this book. If that's you, you are in for a treat.
U.S. and Candian readers can leave a comment to win a hardcover copy of this book.
SYNOPSISA meditation on escaping the chaos of modern life and rediscovering the luxury of solitude.
Winner of the Prix Médicis for non-fiction, THE CONSOLATIONS OF THE FOREST is a Thoreau-esque quest to find solace, taken to the extreme. No stranger to inhospitable places, Sylvain Tesson exiles himself to a wooden cabin on Siberia’s Lake Baikal—a full day’s hike from any “neighbor”— with his thoughts, books, a couple of dogs, and many bottles of vodka for company. Writing from February to July, he shares his deep appreciation for the harsh but beautiful land, the resilient men and women who populate it, and the bizarre and tragic history that has given Siberia an almost mythological place in the imagination.
Rich with observation, introspection, and the good humor necessary to laugh at his own folly, Tesson’s memoir is about the ultimate freedom of owning your own time. Only in the hands of a gifted storyteller can an experiment in isolation become an exceptional adventure accessible to all.  By recording his impressions in the face of silence, his struggles in a hostile environment, his hopes, doubts, and moments of pure joy in communion with nature, Tesson makes a decidedly out-of-the-ordinary experience relatable to the reader who may be struggling with hir or her own search for peace and balance in life. The awe and joy are contagious, and one comes away with the comforting knowledge that “as long as there is a cabin deep in the woods, nothing is completely lost.”  [provided by the publisher]
Release date: September 17, 2013
Page number: 256Publisher link: http://www.rizzoliusa.com/book.php?isbn=9780847841271
 Author bioSylvain Tesson is a writer, journalist, and celebrated traveler. He has been exploring Central Asia—on foot, bicycle, and horse—since 1997. A best-seller in his native France, he is published all over the world—and now in the United States.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Hip Harley Rider

This blog post could probably just be a tweet, but, I'm sharing with all of you.
On my run this morning, I ended up running on the sidewalk along a street with a lot of businesses, so the traffic picked up.
I started hearing music, above the music on my headphones and figured a car must be coming up behind me with the windows down and the music jacked up. The fairly mild weather could encourage drivers to roll down the windows.
But as the vehicle got louder and passed me, I saw an older guy with gray hair pulled into a ponytail riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle. He wore no helmet, of course, and a black leather jacket. His feet stuck forward so that he could lean back and  hold onto the high handlebars of the motorcycle.
He looked like a typical Harley rider, except for the Christmas light that he had attached to the frame of his motorcycle. The lights shone pale blue.
I didn't get a picture. I should have because the lights were obviously a string of lights that had been wrapped around, up and down on the main section of the bike. But here's a photo to give you an idea.
Photo Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/harley-davidson-motorcycle-dustin-k-ryan.html
So, an early morning Harley rider with his bike lit up might catch my eye, but the music blaring originally caught my attention. And then it hit me. I expected a Harley rider to be playing some sort of heavy metal rock. "Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway..."
Instead, the music coming from the motorcycle was a woman singing R&B.
And it made me want to laugh and remind myself not to stereotype people.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

First Paragraph, Teaser Tuesday -- The Consolations of the Forest

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
My problem is that I'm starting this book at a time I will have to read it quickly, and this is definitely  not a book to be read quickly. Here's the opening from The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga by Sylvain Tesson. The translation from French was done by Linda Coverdale.
I promised myself that before I turned forty I would live as a hermit deep in the woods.
I went to spend six months in a Siberian cabin on the shores of Lake Baikal, on the tip of North Cedar Cape. Seventy-five miles from the nearest village, no neighbors, no access roads, and every now and then, a visit. Wintertime temperatures in the minus twenties Fahrenheit; the summer brought bears out into the open. In short: paradise.

Also this week  is Teaser Tuesdays. Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Open to a random page of your current read  and share a teaser sentence from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers
Here's my teaser from page 40:
I set the vodka glasses on the table, and we become gently drunk in the fetal warmth. The Australian woman doesn't quite get the picture.  
I'll be posting a review of this on Friday if you want to check back to see what I think about it.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Dreaming of France -- The Perfume Collector


Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
I have another book review for this week. I am squeaking out some time for reading, even though I still have final exam essays to grade for my college classes. Unfortunately, I read most of this book in the middle of the night when my college son sent me a worrying text at 3 a.m. I moved to the couch and read until 5 a.m. because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. Everything is fine now, and, as expected, the 3 a.m. text was an overreaction.
Anyway, I really enjoyed The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro. The book was layered with such great, sensory details. Of course, since it's called The Perfume Collector, you would expect that it would be strong on the sense of smell, but the other details and emotions were strongly written as well.
The book switched back and forth with a narrator from the 1920s and a narrator from the 1950s, and we don't learn the connection between the two until later in the book. They both led fascinating lives, and each story is equally compelling.
 Here's an excerpt from early in the book, from the 1950s section:
Grace had a fondness for the sharpness of this time of year; for the muted, shifting light that played tricks on her eyes. It was a time of mysterious, yet dramatic metamorphosis. One minute there was nothing but storms and rain; a moment later a field of daffodils appeared, exploding triumphantly into a fanfare of colour.
Grace learns that she has inherited the estate of Eva d'Orsey, who she has never heard of. So she flies off to Paris to learn about her inheritance and the woman who left it to her. The journey, of course, becomes about discovering the woman who left her a fabulous apartment and fortune, along with learning what she wants herself.
I loved the scenery descriptions along with the feeling that Grace enjoys as she realizes the thrill that comes from sitting in a cafe with a handsome man and enjoying some new foods with "flavor."
Toward the end of the book, a number of proofreading errors were distracting. And most bothersome of all, in the final chapter, a main character was identified by the wrong name, causing me to flip back and forth several times until I realized that the wrong name had been used.
I also felt the book could have gone on a little longer with more details to tie up all the ends, but none of this marred my enjoyment of the novel. I highly recommend it.

A Cat Story

If you've read my blog in the past, you know how busy I am this time of  year with 8-10 page research papers turned in from each of my s...