These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours, and not reach any destination... Rabindranath Tagore

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past...F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
On the way to the river are the old dormitories, used for something else now, with their fairy-tale turrets, painted white and gold and blue. When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.
--from Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
- Joyce Carol Oates


June 28, 2015       Almost Gothic            4 stars
The future Queen Elizabeth and Henry VIII are characters in this narrative, but the spotlight is on professor Roger Ascham. In detective mode, he seeks Isabella, the love interest of the king. In an old castle dungeon area, Roger crosses paths with spikes, hanging cages and a scythe blade - all courtesy of the Earl of Cumberland's bastard son. A dark, fast dive into a seamy side of 16th century court life.

June 27, 2015- For Love or Money                                                    4 stars
Even though the fleshy scenes are here, somehow that is not what rears up for 21st century readers. There is the insistent reference to the evils of money. Money drives minds and hearts. Money is a curse on the future. All sense of physical pleasures are demoted, beholden to the language and lifestyle generated by money. So says Lady Chatterley's lover in between bed romps and lacing wildflowers in wet hair. The lady feels a prisoner in her privileged lifestyle with Clifford while her lover is not of the moneyed class...he tempts her wild senses...Perhaps Lawrence felt that the industrial worlds of the early 20th century were headed for a loss of physical, natural values. Interesting that Clifford and Connie had given names, like society's labels for each other. The lovers imagined their own names..

June 17, 2015 - An interesting idea that stumbles...                    2 stars
Sean lives many pieces of life. Those pieces belong to others. At first, this special ability intrigues, but the welter of mind and life shifts that gather at the novel's climax become an irritation. From cheetah to alien? But I was determined to finish the book, just so I could say I finished it.

June 15, 2015 - A brilliant dive into the darkness of the soul...    5 stars
A long time ago, I read this tale. I remember the dark tensions, but not the myriad dark signposts along the way to hell. Oscar Wilde has created a thriller streaked with wit and mayhem. A picture is worth a thousand, timeless words. It has the strength to be daring and the fragility to shatter like glass into millions of meaningless pieces.

September 7, 2014 - Dare to be refreshed...                                   5 stars
Chipping away at the ugly bits of this world and find some raw magic in the darkness and in the light unites these 4 poetic voices. Delving into the cauldron of their combined poetics is a feast for the senses. A thrilling roller coaster ride for the spirit.

December 23, 2014 - Cameo Dramas in Nepal...                         3 stars
Imagine when cultures collide in political mayhem, what chaos and confusion follows, the emerging questions of right and wrong and the sticky web of values. These short stories are like an inside glimpse of a remote mountain country smudged by the modern world. The characters are like lost souls wandering some wild future desert, seeking some comforting sign of who they are and what they could be. Who can possibly imagine that cheese from Switzerland could become a prize, a gift, a quest, a nightmare. The first short story leads the way into the lives of disillusioned Nepalese. For those of us who know little of the ways and cultures of the people in this high country, there is simply not enough in each story to appreciate the how's and the why's of these worlds.

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