Showing posts from 2016

'Tis the season for a good read with THEBOOKJEANIE

Modern Lovers by Emma Staub. In the 1990's, four friends at Oberlin form a short-lived but locally successful rock group. Twenty years later, Andrew and Elizabeth are married with a teenage son, Harry;  Zoe is the owner of a successful Brooklyn restaurant with her wife Jane, and the mother of a rebellious teen, Ruby; the fourth member, Lydia, died from an overdose after becoming a highly successful raspy-voice singer with her recording of Elizabeth's composition  Mistress of Myself. Her brief career and young death catapulted her to Janis Joplin status and now Hollywood wants to create a biopic but they need the other former band members to sign off on the deal. For Andrew and Elizabeth, pressure from the movie studio creates an added strain to their marriage as they mull over the possible consequences of exposing their complicated past lives. Like many middle-ages hipsters, the three friends are proud of their free-wheeling…
Reading in Spain... a return journey with  THEBOOKJEANIE

In 1974 I flew into Madrid, the blinding sun causing me to squint as I exited the airport and looked around for the bus heading into the city. My destination was not Madrid but a city that was hundreds of miles north where I would meet a friend with whom I would eventually travel with all over Europe that summer. The destination of the student charter flight had been suddenly changed from Paris to Madrid. No matter that I was meeting my friend in Amsterdam. I was a typical American twenty-something: educated, fresh out of graduate school but grossly ignorant of world geography, languages besides English, and how to pack for two months of travel.  Nevertheless I managed to make my way to the Estacion de Atocha, buy a second-class ticket to Amsterdam, and board a train that would take me north over the next two days. Later that summer my travel companions and I made our way back to Madrid, to take in that magnificent city that comes…

Lately I have been immersed in the world of the Bennetts,  Jane Austin's family of early nineteenth century Derbyshire and the modern 21st century suburban Cincinnati Bennetts created by Curtis Sittenfeld.  Of course these are two very different Bennett families, albeit sharing similar characters and romantic situations. Jane Austen is as fresh and witty today as she was two hundred years ago, with her sharp observations of class, social snobbery, and ingrained attitudes that still ring true today. 
The five Bennett girls live with their detached but supportive father and flighty mother whose main focus in life is finding suitable matches for her daughters: kind and beautiful Jane, witty and spirited Elizabeth, dull studious Mary, and the two younger girls Kitty and Lydia who are described as "vain, ignorant, idle, and absolutely uncontrolled."  Our protagonist, Elizabeth Bennett,  emerges as an early romantic feminist, seeking love and …
Pause for a moment with THEBOOK JEANIE
An artist like Picasso creates a work of art for his own purpose and intention. The viewer is free to examine and interpret,  to create a personal meaning that transcends any critical appraisal of the work. In 1932, Picasso painted a dreamy portrait of his current lover, Marie-Therese Walter:  Woman with a Book. To me, I see a woman reflecting upon what she has read, making connections with her life and the world around her. I invite you to pause while you are reading, to make connections with the text, and reflect on how the book affects your own ideas and perceptions.    

The Man Without a Shadow by Joyce Carol Oates. "Can there be a man without a shadow? Without a memory is like being without a shadow. I am that person. I think." The voice is that of Eli Hoopes, a descendant of an old Philadelphia family, a somewhat solitary and rebellious member of the clan, who went camping alone on a small island in Lake George, New York and was inf…
Breathe the scent of spring with THEBOOKJEANIE
Thank you for joining me once again to share the love of reading. This book review blog will now be published bi-monthly, the first and third Sundays of each month. Please feel free to comment or make suggestions!

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie. I must admit that I am drawn to the whimsical and offbeat in literature although this title is by no means without substance including a rather pointed examination of research and ethics in the biomedical/pharma industry.  Veblen, a young woman named for the Norweigen American economist Thorstein Veblen who coined the term "conspicuous consumption," translates documents into Norweigen, is in love (perhaps) with a rising medical researcher at Stanford, and thinks that a squirrel living in her attic is trying to communicate with her. Of course all stories make their way back to family and Veblen's is no exception: trying to please her domineering hypochondriac mother and to en…