Friday, October 13, 2006


Look at this!
What an amazing time to live in. Though, I've often wondered whether my personality fits in with an earlier time period, this is too fantastic not to note.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I've been a member of the Quality Paperback Book Club for years, but, of recent, I haven't been too interested in their offerings. Apparently, I'd gone so long without buying a book, that they offered to allow me to rejoin. They're a bit like drug dealers aren't they, i.e., the first time's free, so we've gotten a bunch of new books.

Anyhow, our book collection has profitted from their peddling.

  • Patricia Schultz, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (Workman Pyblishing, 2003). We're already planning 1,000 trips.

  • James Shapiro, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (HarperCollins Publishers, 2005). "Wedding is great Juno's crown./O blessed bond of board and bed!/'Tis hymen peoples every town;/High wedlock then be honored./Honor, high honor and renown,/To Hymen, god of evrery town!" (As you Like It, 5.4.140-145). How could anyone not like Shakespeare? Lovely. Just lovely.

  • Biggest Book of Slow Cook Recipes (Better Homes and Gardens, 2002). Yum.

  • T.J. Wray and Gregory Mobley, The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil's Biblical Roots (Palgrave, 2005). It'll either be great or really laughable.

  • Julian Barnes, Arthur & George (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). Historical novel...We shall see.

  • Donna Leon, Through a Glass Darkly: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005). I love a good mystery.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Forgotten One

Just one more.

  • Vio Ettiore, The Basilica of St. Mark in Venice (Scala/Riverside, 1999). Beautiful. I'd love to visit Italy.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

This Week: Newest Treats

So, though I have barely enough time to sleep at this point, I can't resist temptation. I couldn't find my keys to get into my office-please note that it is SATURDAY!--though I did later find them in the pocket to the suit I wore yesterday. Since I couldn't go to work, I decided to go shopping for books. I only went to two bookstores and I did some pretty good damage anyway. One of the bookstores was offering buy one, get one for free--I was like "Is it my birthday?!" Anyhow, here are my newest acquisitions:

  • Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart (Anchor, 2000). "Human character" is mentioned like ten times on the back of the book. Yummy.

  • Peters Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang: A Novel (Vintage, 2001). I do enjoy Irish humor.

  • Valerie Martin, Mary Reilly (Pocket, 1991). I don't recall being a huge fan of the movie, but I generally think movie adaptions of books suck.

  • John Lescroart, Sons of Holmes (NAL Trade, 2003). So the title Rasputin's Revenge caught my eye, but it was not the first in the series, so I picked up this one instead. We'll see.

  • Anonymous, Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics (Warner Bros. 1996). I believe that this one speaks for itself.

  • John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism; On Liberty; On Considerations on Representative Government; Remarks on Bentham's Philosophy. I know. I know. I'm a glutton for punishment. The thing is that, when I read excerpts from On Liberty, I really enjoyed them.

  • Camille Paglia, Sex, Art, and American Culture (Vintage, 1992). She's hilarious (not in a bad way).

  • Sylvia Nasar, Beautiful Mind (Simon & Schuster, 2001). Maybe I'll see the movie after I read the book.

  • Somerset Maugham, Collected Short Stories, V.4 (Penguin, 1978). I read The Appointment in Samarra when I was in high school. Maugham retold the story:

    There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to
    buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white
    and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace
    I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was
    Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture,
    now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid
    my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The
    merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his
    spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then
    the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threating getsture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

    What an interesting vignette. On its surface it's clearly about death, but isn't it also about how events are set in motion. Anyhow, I'm sure I'll like the collected stories.

  • Gaston Leroux, The Phantom Opera (Puffin Classics, 1994). Speaks for itself.

And now, I am off to bed. Good night and good reading.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

To My Friends

Congratulations to you-know-who for you-know-what!

(The truth is that all of my friends have interesting or wonderful things going on right now, and so the safest way to address everyone is the above maxim/salutation.)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Coming Up for Air

Well, I am still drowning, but I'm taking a day or two off.

Work has been moving ahead at a million miles per minute.

I had a wonderful time in Washington D.C. over the weekend. It was nice to see old friends.

I'm looking forward to all the wedding-related stuff I intend to get done this week.

I did make an acquisition this week, via a gift from a friend (you know who you are):
1. Stephen Lubet, Lawyer's Poker: 52 Lessons that Lawyers Can Learn from Card Players (Oxford University Press, 2006). It looks like a fun book written by a law professor at North Western University. He also wrote a trial advocacy manual, that I believe I read while in law school. This one looks entertaining. I hope it's pithy.

Here's a cliff hanger: Come this fall I may have big non-wedding related news. :)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I'm Drowning

Work is Life.

Life is work.

Work is life...

Clients always want more time; however, I cannot change the length of a day. It will, for now, remain a paltry 24 hours. Shame on me for being unavailable for 5 a day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Party Hardily

Although I've neglected my friends, my blog, my fiance, and my cats, it has paid off. I just won a particularly large component of a serious case.

Finally, I can breath.

I'll write more later this week.

Wedding planning has been rather consuming as well.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Women Writers Meme

BOLD those you’ve read. Italicize the ones you’ve been meaning to read and ??? the ones you have never heard of (or wish you had never heard of? Or the ones you wonder, "why is this book on this list?". I left the ones that I've heard of but don't really have an interest in reading, plain--that is, neither bolded nor italicized.

Alcott, Louisa May–Little Women
Allende, Isabel–The House of Spirits
Angelou, Maya–I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Atwood, Margaret–Cat’s Eye
Austen, Jane–Emma
Bambara, Toni Cade–Salt Eaters ???
Barnes, Djuna–Nightwood ???
de Beauvoir, Simone–The Second Sex
Blume, Judy–Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret
Burnett, Frances–The Secret Garden
Bronte, Charlotte–Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily–Wuthering Heights
Buck, Pearl S.–The Good Earth
Byatt, A.S.–Possession
Cather, Willa–My Antonia

Christie, Agatha–Murder on the Orient Express
Cisneros, Sandra–The House on Mango Street

Clinton, Hillary Rodham–Living History????????? There aren't enough question marks in this universe.
Cooper, Anna Julia–A Voice From the South
Danticat, Edwidge–Breath, Eyes, Memory ???
Davis, Angela–Women, Culture, and Politics
Desai, Anita–Clear Light of Day ???
Dickinson, Emily–Collected Poems
Duncan, Lois–I Know What You Did Last Summer

DuMaurier, Daphne–Rebecca
Eliot, Geroge–Middlemarch

Emecheta, Buchi–Second Class Citizen
Erdrich, Louise–Tracks ???
Esquivel, Laura–Like Water for Chocolate
Flagg, Fannie–Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe ???
Friedan, Betty–The Feminine Mystique
Frank, Anne–Diary of a Young Girl

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins–The Yellow Wallpaper ???
Gordimer, Nadine–July’s People ???
Grafton, Sue–S is for Silence ???
Hamilton, Edith–Mythology
Highsmith, Patricia–The Talented Mr. Ripley
Hooks, Bell–Bone Black ???
Hurston, Zora Neale–Dust Tracks on the Road
Jacobs, Harriet–Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl ???
Jackson, Helen Hunt–Ramona
Jackson, Shirley–The Haunting of Hill House

Jong, Erica–Fear of Flying
Keene, Carolyn–The Nancy Drew Mysteries (any of them? Try all of them.)
Kidd, Sue Monk–The Secret Life of Bees
Kincaid, Jamaica–Lucy
Kingsolver, Barbara–The Poisonwood Bible
Kingston, Maxine Hong–The Woman Warrior
Larsen, Nella–Passing ???
L’Engle, Madeleine–A Wrinkle in Time
Le Guin, Ursula K.–The Left Hand of Darkness ???
Lee, Harper–To Kill a Mockingbird
Lessing, Doris–The Golden Notebook
Lively, Penelope–Moon Tiger ???
Lorde, Audre–The Cancer Journals ???
Martin, Ann M.–The Babysitters Club Series
McCullers, Carson–The Member of the Wedding
McMillan, Terry–Disappearing Acts ???
Markandaya, Kamala–Nectar in a Sieve ???
Marshall, Paule–Brown Girl, Brownstones ???
Mitchell, Margaret–Gone with the Wind
Montgomery, Lucy–Anne of Green Gables
Morgan, Joan–When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost ???
Morrison, Toni–Song of Solomon
Murasaki, Lady Shikibu–The Tale of Genji
Munro, Alice–Lives of Girls and Women ???
Murdoch, Iris–Severed Head ???
Naylor, Gloria–Mama Day ???
Niffenegger, Audrey–The Time Traveller’s Wife
Oates, Joyce Carol–We Were the Mulvaneys
O’Connor, Flannery–A Good Man is Hard to Find
Piercy, Marge–Woman on the Edge of Time ???
Picoult, Jodi–My Sister’s Keeper ???
Plath, Sylvia–The Bell Jar
Porter, Katharine Anne–Ship of Fools ???
Proulx, E. Annie–The Shipping News
Rand, Ayn–The Fountainhead
Ray, Rachel–365: No Repeats ???
Rhys, Jean–Wide Sargasso Sea
Robinson, Marilynne–Housekeeping ???
Rocha, Sharon–For Laci ???
Sebold, Alice–The Lovely Bones ???
Shelley, Mary–Frankenstein
Smith, Betty–A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Smith, Zadie–White Teeth ???
Spark, Muriel–The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Spyri, Johanna–Heidi
Strout, Elizabeth–Amy and Isabelle ???
Steel, Danielle–The House ???
Tan, Amy–The Joy Luck Club
Tannen, Deborah–You’re Wearing That
Ulrich, Laurel–A Midwife’s Tale
Urquhart, Jane–Away ???
Walker, Alice–The Temple of My Familiar
Welty, Eudora–One Writer’s Beginnings
Wharton, Edith–Age of Innocence
Wilder, Laura Ingalls–Little House in the Big Woods
Wollstonecraft, Mary–A Vindication of the Rights of Women
Woolf, Virginia–A Room of One’s Own

It's as interesting to see what's on the list as what's not. I'm taken back by how many I've never even heard of. I do recognize a number of authors, but associate them with other books or don't know what they've written, e.g., I've heard of Danielle Steele, but I don't know what she's written.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Time, A Luxury?

I would love to weigh in on the recent "wretchedness" posts by Kate, Writing in Apathy, and Odious, and Jack at The Pumpkin King, but time doesn't permit me to do so right at this moment.

Recently having finished Eldest, which is the sequel, or, more accurately, the second in a trilogy by Christopher Paolini, I realized the frequency of my posts has declined. And since I enjoyed it much better than the first installment--namely, Eragon, it seemed the right time to start posting again.

Its main character isn't in the dreaded teenage-angsty stage anymore. Whenever I think of teenage angsty characters, Luke Skywalker's simpering "But I don't wannna" comes to mind. Paolini'story is aided by the fact that his main character is easier to write, as an adult than a teen. I don't know much about fantasy literature, but his tales of elves, humans, and dwarfs seems like standard fair. It was fun, but light.

Bill can't believe that I read what he has deemed "inferior imitation" before having read Lord of the Rings. Oh well. I'm not saying it's a substitute for the king of all fantasy novels, but it maybe a good introduction to the genre. Plus, I have a sneaking suspcision that I will catch him reading Eragon anyday now.

This Takes the Cake

Are you kidding me?


Saturday, April 01, 2006


It seems that all my talented friends are being published at this point. JOE: Congratulations to having another article published!

Joe are you working on any more fiction, or are you transitioning into editorials only? And, your inquiry about us having a football themed wedding. :)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Right on Baby, Right On

I'm willing to openly debate anything. That fact doesn't mean that I'll change my mind at the flip of a coin. Honestly, Jesus himself would have to swoop down and tell me I was wrong to get me to change my mind on certain issues.

I'm not secretly judgmental; I'm openly opinionated. E.g., Anyone who doesn't take their values seriously probably doesn't have any. That's one of those not-so-secret judgmental opinions I have.

Can you tell I had a nasty day at work?

You Are 48% Open Minded

You aren't exactly open minded, but you have been known to occasionally change your mind.
You're tolerant enough to get along with others who are very different...
But you may be quietly judgmental of things or people you think are wrong.
You take your own values pretty seriously, and it would take a lot to change them.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ex Post

I realized that my last comment could be read in far too many ways, which I had not intended.

What I intended was a comparison between the characters of Emma and Elizabeth. Both are heroines in Austen novels, and though their novels share themes, and the characters have some similarities, they do differ from one another heartily. Emma's world is confined in a sense that Elizabeth's is not. She's Pride to Elizabeth's Prejudice. Emma lacks sensitivity, whereas Elizabeth may have too much.

Furthermore, Emma's world is more confined that Elizabeth's, and is driven very much by Emma's own imagination. Clearly, the opening phrase of Emma--namely, that she was "handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition" and "had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her" and the fact that the book is titled after the main character indicates that the book is, at heart, about Emma. Reality often intrudes on her private world, and, as she emotionally matures, she realizes that though she is witty/clever, she is often mistaken about her emotions and the emotions of others.

Where Emma begins with a very personal and particular phrase, Pride and Prejudice begins with a general phrase about society. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." This reader is left to assume that the opposite is true as well--that, that ALL women are in want of a man with a good fortune too.

The novels have interwoven themes and subthemes, and I can't even begin to realize them all. Certainly both are about how Emma and Elizabeth survive their own personal failings and find true love in the process. But, I've often wondered what Elizabeth and Emma would say to one another about the subject of Love over a nice cup of tea.


Congrats to Odious over at Odious and Peculiar. He's been published and paid! Check it out at flashquake. He's husband to Kate whose poem I recommended only days ago, which brings to mind one (of many) Jane Austen quotations--namely, "It's such happiness when good people get together--and they always do." (Emma)

Would Elizabeth Bennet say the same thing?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Icky, Icky

So, recently I've happened upon novels that play with time. For example, Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is told from the present and the future simultaneously--that is, school girls reminisce and contemplate their lives and connections with a charismatic, if often misleading, teacher.

Spark's memorable characters are engaging, but I'm not sure we're on the same page with respect to what she says about those characters. Her style is perceptive, but cold. She doesn't shirk from depicting evil and failure, silliness, and human folly, but I wasn't sure that she did anything more. Then, I stopped being mentally lazy, and I got it.

The title character, Miss Jean Brodie, a silly romanantic, elevates the personal above the universal. That's why she's a good facist. She's pitiable, and yet ugly. She reminds me of Peter Keating in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. She lives vicariously through her students, convinced that she's controlling them, and is omnipotent about their futures. Student A is destined to be a great lover, and student B is destined to be X, Y, or Z. Sandy (the other primary character) observes, "She thinks she is Providence . . . she thinks she is the God of Calvin, she sees the beginning and the end." She confuses the Italian Renaisance with Italian facism. In the end, she isn't nearly as perceptive about the world or her students as she thinks she is.

She loves facism. Through her dynamic personality she controls her students, infusing their minds with her facist ideology, personifing facist authority. She convinces them that Catholism is passe, that morality is whatever the elite make it, that religion is populism, that we are all predestined to be whatever we become. In the end, though, one of her own students betrays her, exposing her shallowness and nonconformity/conformity to the school's headmistress.

Sandy, one of the Brodie-set, the "creme de la creme," rejects her teacher, and finally ends up becoming a nun. Sandy revolts against the idea that she is above all things and all others, including morality. She becomes keenly aware that her conformity to Miss Jean Brodie's "group judgment" which is at odds with her individual judgment is a source of human cruelty. Furthermore, Sandy thuroughly revolts against Miss Brodie's Calvinist ideology of predestination. Sandy, though, is not without fault. She engages in an affair with a married man, while on the road to rejecting Miss Brodie's ideology.

Miss Jean Brodie tells one of her students that she should have an affair with the art teacher (Miss Brodie's ex). She never sees Sandy as a candidate for the endeavor, so, as Sandy begins to revolt against Miss Brodie and her misleading romanticism and rejection of religion, Sandy starts the affair. The affair is just the first step. It isn't until Sandy realizes that Miss Brodie didn't think she was good enough to have the affair (Miss Brodie thinks highly of herself and must live out her fantasies through those she finds acceptable substitutes for the real thing), and that she takes NO responsibility for having contributed to the death of one of the other school girls, that Sandy truly rebels, exposing Ms. Brodie. Miss Brodie never knows who betrayed her deepest secrets and sentiments to the school, or why.

I'm writing this during a quick break. Now back to court!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sacred Music

I sang Bach's St. John's Passion this weekend with the Oratorio Society. It was a splendid performance--much better than the Christmas one. Though, after seeing the Fab Four on Wednesday, having rehearsal Friday and Saturday, seeing Swan Lake on Saturday and performing the Passion on Sunday, I am tired.

On the subject of splendid books and blogs, Kate wrote a nice poem over at the Little Bookroom.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


I am lost in the abyss--that is, Juvenile Court.

I'll post more this weekend, having actually been able to finish a couple books while waiting for my cases to be called in Juvenile Court and Domestic Relations Court. Yipee!

Sunday, January 15, 2006


I dislike memes. They lull their takers and readers into a false sense of knowing one another. They're sort of like those peer-building excercises where you're forced to sit with a coworker and ask them questions, like "What's your favorite color?" And yet, I, like everyone else, feel compelled to take them, so hate 'em or love 'em, you will find the occassional meme here.

This one comes courtesy of Kate at The Little Bookroom.

2 names you go by:
1. Kat
2. KP

2 parts of your heritage:
1. Irish
2. English (or so my parents tell me)

2 things that scare you:
1. Walking into a dark room
2. Being followed

2 of your everyday essentials:
1. Reading
2. Laughing

2 things you are wearing right now:
1. Black yoga pants
2. Aqua and yellow double tank top

2 favorite bands or musical artists:
1. Bach
2. Ella Fitzgerald

2 things you want in a real relationship (other than real love) (I copied this one from Kate)
1. Honesty
2. Intellectual stimulation

2 truths:
1. Bill just asked me if I'd like to go get ice cream. I told him no, saying I'm too tired to go.
2. I've felt really fat since I having had mono. I had to be on steroids, so I've gained over 50 pounds. I really would like to have some ice cream right now.

2 physical things that appeal to you (in the opposite sex):
1. Height
2. Nice butt

2 of your favorite hobbies;
1. Reading
2. Crossstich or sewing

2 things you want really badly:
1. To be less stressed about work and the wedding
2. To own a bookstore or work for a publishing house

2 places you want to go on vacation:
1. Italy
2. Greece

2 things you want to do before you die:
1. Be a good Christian
2. Be financially succesful

2 ways that you are stereotypically a chick:
1. I complain about being fat, but then eat things that are bad for me anyway.
2. I love kitties.

2 things you are thinking about now:
1. Maybe I shouldn't be so honest in anwering the questions to this meme.
2. Yum. Ice cream.

2 stores you shop at:
1. Jones New York
2. Any Bookstore that catches my eye

2 people I would like to see take this quiz:
1. You.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Night Train Arrives Late

Nihilism tastes bad to me, and love's topping doesn't make it any sweeter.

Martin Amis' Night Train tracks a heroine, a deep-voiced, incredibly sensitive, female cop, who works around mean, unhappy men. Amis' heroine speaks in first person as she unravels the mystery of the death of one of her sort-of friends. That friend was a beautiful, let me stress that she was breathtakingly beautiful, brilliant, but depressed young woman, who dies by gunshot to the head in the book's opening scenes. She speaks in the second person.

It seems that these two disparate creations are yoked to one another, as the heroine investigates who killed the beauty. Eventually (it's not a huge suprise), you find out that the beauty offed herself. Why? Because the world is such and ugly place, you're better being part of it, even if that means you're an alcoholic cop. Perfection and sophistication can't save you. Even perfection itself is mortal. But, beauty leaves a roadmap for her investigator. Being inexorably tied to the cop, she lays a roadmap leading to her killer: herself.

Why would a brilliant, beautiful woman, with no apparent problems kill herself? This was the toughest part of the story for me to feel comfortable with. She kills herself because she can. She's sad because there isn't anything out there. Her family doesn't provide her comfort and can't sheild her from nothingness, from death itself. The world has nothing to offer her (so she thinks). It holds no secrets, no mystery, no pot 'o gold at the end. She's a physicist for whom there are no mathmatical questions she can't answer. She starts making up the numbers to her experiments, perhaps because everything is too predictable to her. There's simply no point to continuing, since the end is the same. Whether she meets her end 90 years from now, or at the barrel of a gun, "Black holes mean oblivion. Mean death."

Yuck. How sad. The whole book exudes sadness, grief. The only glimmer of hope is that the heroine wrestles with oblivion and wins. It's a small triumph if you ask me, because she takes no happiness in the defeat.

This creates a paradox: the dead girl's love and care which leads her to leave clues for the detective is what saves the detective from devaluing human life. The dead girl kills herself. Amis in the heroines first person, metallic voice says "Suicide is the night train...speeding your way into darkness...this train takes you into the night, and leaves you there" except that isn't what the beauty's death does. It sheds light on everything. It wasn't without purpose, at least to the heroine. And what does the beauty care, she's dead. Her life and her death must have had some purpose, or she would have left clues for the heroine to discover. She knew her death would provide insights into life. Love, something which nihilism says does exist, is what drives her to care.

It's the Neitzche effect on a detective novel. God is dead. Don't think about the afterlife. Think about the now. Be earthly. Be like the heroine. Worship no absolute, enjoy the grit. God, the beauty, perfection, afterlife, it can't save you and it can't offer you anything earthy (EXCEPT HERE IT INSPIRES THE HEROINE TO SAVOR LIFE). Don't look for life's purpose, you wont find one, and, if you do, then you're just lying to yourself, trying to make yourself feel better by clasping tightly to the chimeric rags of a ghost.

I'm not a nihilist if that isn't obvious already. I get it, but I just don't agree, nor do I like it. Nihilism just doesn't sit well with my senses. The book was well-written. I enjoyed it (in a twisted way), but I just don't like the suicide theory that drives this Night Train.

I'm Still Here

I'm reading. I promise. I am, however, in the midst of preparing for multiple trials right now, and that's why I haven't been posting recently. For those of you who have commented on the paucity of my posts, thank you. It makes me feel great to know that someone other than myself gives these a once over. Posts to follow, soon.

Plus, even when I am not posting, I'm still reading yours...keep 'um coming.