Jul 18, 2014

Book 36: Mauve: How one man invented a color that changed teh world by Simon Garfield

Interesting topic, but for me there was a bit too much science and I got lost.  I wanted more pictures and more information on color itself.

I do find the color mauve fascinating.  I never knew it was the first coal-tar color and what an impact it had on society.  And maybe I was skewed by the color by growing up in the 80's and having everything labeled "mauve"

I thought I knew exactly what mauve looked like, I thought it was just another word for "Dusty Rose" and looked like this...
But in the book the color was more purple-y than what I would have labeled mauve. The picture below is from the book and is a dress dyed in the original Perkin's mauve.
Now I can see that the 80's mauve is a lighter version and that there is a whole hue range that will be produced by a dye, but I never associated this version of mauve as mauve.

I maybe should explain why this color and the color name is so intriguing for me.  Back in the mid 80's and continuing on for 10 years I sold window coverings and right at the time that mauve was at its hey-day (OK besides the Victorian age, but then again the 80's had a Victorian bend to it in decorating at least).  But I am know coming to realize the 80's mauve is a lighter, more pink version.  Her are some other images that show the color mauve and I remembered it.

Did you know that the color of the year for 2014 is Radiant Orchid?  To me it looks more mauve than 80's mauve.  What do you think?

Oh, and I much prefer the original mauve and the Radiant Orchid and the original Perkin's mauve to the 80's version. 

Jul 17, 2014

Book 35: How to Read Buildings: A Crash Course in Architectural Styles by Carol Davidson Cragoe

How to Read Buildings: A Crash Course in Architectural Styles

I picked this book up on our trip to Williamsburg.  There is not too much to really say about it except it is a good, quick reference book.  This past semester I had a class on the history of Interior design, and in the class we went over much of what is in here, and more. So having this book will be a good place to jog my memory.  I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in old buildings.

Book 34: The Giver by Lois Lowry

What a relief to find a book that does not have a love triangle and does not tie every thing up with a big bright happy bow.  In fact the ending of this book is open to interpretation.  I sped through this one, really reading the last 75% of it yesterday.

Yes, it is a kids book and yes it may not be the most in depth book, but it was thought provoking and enjoyable.  I am looking forward to having my daughter read this one.  I really want to see how she responds to it.

I don't think I would blindly recommend this book, as there are some pretty tough issues that are brought up and I would want to be prepared for questions they may have.

Originally it was written to stand alone, but later she wrote 3 follow up books.  I will be reading them, but I will give it a little time.

Looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation.

Jul 15, 2014

Books 32 & 33: Crossed and Reached by Ally Condie

I finally finished book 2 and 3 of the Matched trilogy.  I guess finally isn't really the right word, since I did finish them both within a months time (which can be quick for me).  Maybe I am using the term 'finally" because it was not as enjoyable as I would have liked.

If you read my original post on Matched, you will see I was sort of into the series and happy with what was there.  I felt there was some meat to the YA story, some interesting ideas.  Sadly, however, once I started reading Crossed (book 2) I quickly saw that all I found interesting was gone and replaced by a romance story (which I get is the point because it is YA).  I felt like most of book 2 was unnecessary and that really if she felt she needed to go from book 1 that Crossed and Reached could have been combined, but then we would be breaking the YA mold and how can it be YA if it is not a trilogy. (sigh)

Once I got to Reached I thought it got a little better, but only marginally, and then it got into the dreaded trope where it needed to have all the ends tied up.  Have I mentioned I hate that.

Also, I found Book 2 confusing by moving from Cassia's point of view to switching chapters POV's between both Cassia and Ky.  Then taking it even further by adding Xander's POV on Reached.

I won't be upset if my daughter wants to read it, and I would recommend it to someone who is younger and looking for something to read, but I would not rave about it and  would probably point out that there are better series or books out there.

One good thing that came out of it for me is I realized I do enjoy Utopian books.  I would like to read more of them.  I did a quick good reads search to get suggestions, and of course I am seeing a lot of YA Dystopian series out there.  But I will find something.

Right now I am reading The Giver in preparation for the movie.

Jul 1, 2014

Book 31: A Perfect Red, by Amy Butler Greenfield

I was super excited when I saw this book and thought it would be a perfect type of book for me and I did enjoy parts of it, but other parts we a bit of a slog-fest.

I loved the topic of how the color red was used, viewed and regarded in a historical context.  Those parts were facinating and I wished there was more of that. 

I did not like the process of creating the dye, the economic or the espionage parts of the book.  I found it tedious and dry reading.  I ended up skimming most of those sections.

It is as plain and simple as that.

Book 30: Are You There God, It's Me Margaret, by Judy Blume

Yes I am much too old to be reading this book, however, this was the replacement book for Matched for the Mother-daughter book club.  We thought it would be a more appropriate selection and since it had to deal with becoming a woman and first periods we thought it would a good choice.

I have to say, I am more comfortable with the Matched book over this one for the book club.  In this book there is more talk about sexuality and uncomfortable topics than in Matched.  Don't get me wrong, I think there is a place for "Are you There God..." and I think it is a book I would like my daughter to read, but I am not sure it is a book that she and her friends would like to discuss in a round table fashion with their moms. 

I also think that in my daughters case, 10 is a bit young to know about "Playboy" and going behind A&P with boys.  If those items were not involved, I would be more comfortable with the topics of anxiety of puberty, the noticing of boys and the struggle with the relationship with God.

As a young girl I remember loving Judy Blume books, and recommend them for my daughter.  I think we have decided to try "Blubber" as our actual first book club book.  (Fingers crossed that this club will get under way.)

Book 29: Matched by Ally Condie

My daughter who is 10 loves to read and she is a pretty advanced reader for her age.  And since I love to read I thought it would be nice to start a Mother-Daughter book club so we could share the love of books.  Initially I was only going to have it be the two of us, but I thought I could open it up to a few close friends.

I initially picked Matched as a our first book before I invited others to join in.  They had a concern on the book I selected.  the concern was how a love triangle would be dealt with and if our 10 year olds should be dealing with dating and that sort of thing.  I agreed and decided we would move on to another book.  However, I had already started the book and my daughter was still interested so I went ahead and finished it.  At this time my daughter has not finished so I can't speak to her views, I am hoping that will come later.

For me, considering this is a young adult novel, I enjoyed it very much.  First of all I found the love triangle to be handled very well and in a very PG manner.  Between the two love interests it is very clear that one is more romantic than the other.  I also liked that the courting of the characters presented itself in the act of learning to write cursive and the sharing of banned poetry.

Even with  the story being rooted in the "matching" of young adults, the dating and the relationship factor played in the background of this first novel of the trilogy.  More interesting was the "Society" and how Cassia starts to have her eyes opened to what is happening around her. 

I found this a good introduction to the Utopian genre.  Condie seems to have put some thought into her Society and it functions and how it progressed to get to its present state.  I am very interested in how my daughter will interpret how this society functions and what she thinks of their choices.  I do think there is a lot that could be discussed, and I am sort of sad that it got nixed as our first book.

Book 28: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I hate when it takes me too long to write on a book after I finish it.  Especially when it is a book that I neither love or hate.  That is what is happening with Insurgent, by Veronica Roth.

I think there is an ambivalence I have with this series.  I can't say it is a bad series, but it is a series I probably would be Ok with abandoning, but I do plan on finishing it before I make a final judgement.  The truth is I am most likely staying with it because of the movies and my daughter will most likely be reading them, so I feel I would like to be able to share this with her.

I wish I could be more articulate on my thoughts, but it leaves me neutral.  I can't rant on what bothers me but there is not anything that I can rave about either.

So that I what I have on Insurgent, I wonder if I would have more to say if I did write about it right after I finished the book when it was fresher in my mind.

Short Stories 97- 109: A Whole bunch of Short Stories by FSF and a play

I am trying really hard to finish my Fitzgerald project before my birthday.  I am so close to being done, with only around a dozen stories and essays left, and one play.

So this post is going to be a bunch of short stories that I am pounding out.
97. Ten Years in Advertising
98. 100 False Starts
99. Author's House *
100. On Schedule
101. Family in the Wind
102. In the Darkest Hour
103. The Rough Crossing
104. Magnetism
105. The Bowl
106. What a Handsome Pair
107. Majesty
108. The Swimmers
109. Crazy Sunday

I still have one short story and his play yet to read.  I should have been able to pound them out, but I think I am waiting until I can sit and savor them, especially the last story.  I promise I will have them done soon.