Briar Rose

Briar Rose
By Jane Yolen
Rated A+
224 Pages

This was my first book by Yolen. I had heard great things about her, especially about this book and given my recent fascination with fairy tales I thought I would give it a try. It was a quick read, easily because it was fascinating and very hard to put down. Ultimately, it left me feeling very, very sad, bordering on devastation yet…hopeful somehow. Another book I must buy.

Briar Rose takes the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty and links it to the Holocaust. Rebecca, the youngest of her grandmother Gemma’s granddaughters, has grown up listening to Gemma’s rendition of Sleeping Beauty. Upon Gemma’s death, Rebecca realizes that the story is one of the few clues to Gemma’s past, a past that Gemma makes her swear on her deathbed to discover. Her search carries her to Poland and into the heart of the horrors of the Holocaust.

The Faery Reel

The Faery Reel
Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Rated A
528 Pages

Aaahhh, it was such a lovely book of lovely little stories. Fantasty is a very, very new genre for me, one I am slowly easing myself into and one that I am falling irrevocably in love with. The twenty short stories included in this anthology where all so well crafted and unforgettable. This collection includes poems and fairy tales by some of the fantasy greats; Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire and more. My only regret is that this is a library book. I’m afraid I’m going to have to buy this one.

The Witch of Cologne

The Witch of Cologne
By Tobsha Learner
Rated B+
480 pages

I really enjoyed this historical fiction novel set in a time period I am utterly unfamiliar with but, now, intensely interested in. Ruth bas Elazar Saul, the defiant and headstrong daughter of the chief rabbi of Cologne’s Jewish getto Deutz, is a young Jewish midwife who dabbles in the ancient Kabbalah. To escape an unwanted marriage, she flees to Amsterdam, and studies hidden as a young man. There she acquires new skills as a midwife and begins using to deliver babies upon her return to Cologne to much success. Success that earns her the title of witch and finally reaches the attention of the Inquisition. Ruth’s intellect and bravery lead one of her inquisitors to fall in love with her.

I was skeptable that this would be a good book but was pleasantly surprised. The cover lead me to believe it was a bodice ripper and to some degree it is very steamy in places. But the intricate plotting, the mesmerizing characters and the attention to detail overrode my misgivings and lead me into a very enjoyable book. I highly recommend.

Book buying therapy

I hate to admit it, but I am not in the Christmas spirit this year. Despite having a 2 year old totally excited about everything, all I can think about is the missing spot at the table this year and how much I miss my grandmother. Tuesday, while out shopping with my aunt, I was thinking of my grandmother and suddenly remembered the $40+ credit in my wallet that my grandmother left me. About once a month, before Mama got feeble, we would go to the Used Book Store (UBS) and we would both get a basketful of books; romances for her and whatever I found for me. It’s one of the things I have been missing the most the last 2 months, those trips. So I decided to go to the UBS and use some of it and get a little book therapy. I got:

Red Poppies: A Novel of Tibet by Alai
The Madam by Julianna Baggott
The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
The Conquest: A Novel by Yxta Maya Murray

and a couple little books for Ellie. I think I got some good ones. And a little bit of time with my Mama.

Five Weird Habits of Yourself

I’ve been memed by Fence!

“The first player of this game starts with the topic “five weird habits of yourself,” and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don’t forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says “You are tagged” (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.”(ignore the source link)

5 habits that are weird…it was hard for me to think of anything. Not that I’m not weird…it’s just not weird to me!

  1. I talk to myself…a lot. And I don’t mean just random stuff, I mean whole discussions; debates even! I chalk it up to being an only child, I grew up playing alone a lot and had no one else to talk to. It’s habit now.
  2. My book habits, while probably not weird to other book lovers, are probably pretty weird to everyone else. Stuff like never leaving a page turned down, never leaving a book open and face down, not getting one wet. And I will use just about anything as a bookmark. I can never keep up with a bookmark so I use receipts, those little pullout things in magazines, even candy wrappers.
  3. I pick my toenails a lot. I can’t stand for them to be long and when I’m sitting Indian style (which I usually am) I find myself pulling on them. I’ve even pulled off the nail on my little toe several times.
  4. I’m a packrat. I. Keep. Everything. I get it honest. My grandparents were too. We are not looking forward to cleaning out my grandmother’s house, not only because of the pain involved, but because of the sheer volume of Stuff. My Papa has tax records from the 60s out in his barn. It’s bad.
  5. I can type pretty well, thanks to college. But I can’t just type and then go back and fix errors, I have to do it immediately. I was pretty miserable in typing class in high school, I made me teacher pretty made doing this. But I just can’t stand to leave a mistake behind. I think I’m a little obsessive/compulsive. 🙂

So now I gotta tag five people….and since I don’t think I know of 5 people who read my blog on any day other than HNT and can’t tag Fence, I’m just going to tag 3 and leave the other 2 open. If you do it, lemme know k?

  1. Andi
  2. Amanda
  3. MamaKBear
  4. ?
  5. ?

Where have I been?

Yeah, I know, I haven’t posted much lately. I’m still battling the flu (which I think is now bronchitis) and my stupid keyboard, which I can barely type on. I’m doing this at work, which I don’t usually like doing, but I just had to post something!

My throat feels like it’s been rubbed vigorously with sandpaper then forced to swallow knives. I guess I should go to the doctor, but what’s the point? I’ll just get stuck with a huge bill, thanks to my stinky health insurance that forces me to meet a deductible that I have not met this year. Which I guess is good, means I’ve been pretty healthy, right? God, I miss copays!

I’ve started rereading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I am amazed at how much detail I missed. And the hints. And I’m still on the Hogwarts Express to school! I wish I could write like that woman.

Well, enough meadering thoughts. Hope to post more soon. With a brand new keyboard, if I’m lucky!