Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"You can be lonlier in the wrong relationship than you can ever be when you are single."

Once again i find myself in the midst of reading a book and wondering exactly what continent the author is living on (in this case Imogen Lloyd Webber~yes, she is the daughter of Sir Andrew~is in London~something i guessed from her language~though she could have just been displaying her anglophile airs like me and Madonna)~i guess i should start reading those back inside flaps before embarking on my reading tasks (or at least paying more attention when i do). The Single Girl’s Survival Guide: secrets for today’s savy and independent woman is one of those books that i bought for my library (even though it didn’t necessarily fit my collection development plan) because nobody else in the system seemed to be picking it up and Brodart listed it as being in high demand (besides which it looked like something, in my silly, thinking i am still a young foolish girlish, girl, phase i would want to read myself~bad, bad librarian, i).

Anyway now that it is in there are quite a few people who have put it on hold so i feel somewhat vindicated. . . The book itself is somewhat silly and suggests we single gals have more money than we often do (especially the slightly younger Bridget Jones type set i’m suspecting the book is aimed at~Lloyd Webber doesn’t even use the word singleton~which might be considered passé now~see how out-of-it i am) i do suppose Miss Imogen is not quite as strapped as many of us might be. The book is rather amusing (especially its A Single Girl’s Survival Glossary including such terms as ALL TEXT NO TROUSERS, BIG DUVET, BUNBURY, EXplotation, NFI, RETROSEXUAL, SOCIAL HAND GRENADE (i have a few of those in my past) and SQUEAKY. Other than the amusement to be found (and it is almost worth reading for that) much of the advise is rather basic (tho perhaps the young-just-embarking-on-life might find it more useful than i) and some of it is quite useful. Worth a glance but not much more…

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"if Oprah told you to jump off a cliff...

would you do it?"
would have made a great teenager's retort to the traditional parental sarcasm about peer pressure.
Now Oprah has joined with the ASPCA to take on puppy mills (an admittedly worthwhile cause~and one which would do some good from having so influential a voice speaking out against it).
My only question is: where was this worthy cause the last time she bought two pups (an event she also devoted one of her shows to) she choose to get them from an obvious puppy mill (and a breeder who had previously been cited).
Oprah definitely has the money to purchase purebred puppies if she so chooses (and i'm not going to go so far as to rant against the practice of breeding {i'm not entirely against it~tho i think people who purchase from [reputable only] breeders should also contribute to animal welfare groups~or just adopt a purebred from a rescue group} when their are so many unwanted, lovable, adoptable animals out there) but if she chooses to be hypocritical she could at least do so a little more privately...)
As for me, two of my current cats were adopted from shelters (Demetra with semi-special needs) and even though i found Katushka at the library i feel like i rescued her from the more than mischievous boys who were looking for the source of the mewing. I'm also not against the registration of cats (just like dogs are registered).
(at least Oprah has now vowed to adopt all her future dogs...)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

" a girl, about to descend a snowy slope, I seemed to hear advice: Hold on tight, Marie. It seemed to come from the mountains themselves,

or from the future.”

In my continuing quest to learn about all things Marie Antoinette i picked up Abundance: a novel of Marie Antoinette, a rather richly detailed 545 page book by Sena Jeter Naslund. Naslund writes with a very obvious sympathy towards Marie Antoinette and at times it was hard to believe M.A.’s absolute goodness (even tho she did come across as quite shallow~perhaps more interested in politics and learning than i had previously thought~yet she still loathes reading.) Most of the story is told in M.A.’s own voice, but it also includes letters exchanged between M.A. and her mother (Maria Theresa, Royal Empress of Austria) and between M.A. and her brother, Joseph II (these letters were apparent constructed from the historical record). Nalund seems to have most of her details quite close to the truth (from whatever i know on the subject, and haven’t we already established that that isn’t much?~but her reliance on resources contemporary to the time seem to bear the assumption out~tho Naslund does blame the infamous “let them eat cake” line on the wife of Louis XIV when the line is probably entirely apocryphal and not attributable to anyone, in addition to not having the traditional meaning) but both a little more embellishment and a little less depth of detail might have helped (i’m not sure the length of the book was entirely warranted~Naslund turns phrases well enough that just as much could be said with less).

Perhaps captive animals do not see beyond the grilles of their menageries.”

M.A. led a sheltered life and she was raised to expect the privileges she received (she did try to make reforms to simplify things in court but she shows a real lack of understanding of how things really are for the peasantry and how her extravagances effect them or how truly ineffective her attempted efforts at helping that peasantry are~tho listening to her mother a tad more might have behooved her, i’m not sure it would have saved her...) She is truly surprised and confused by when the tide of public opinion turns against her but Naslund has her bear it rather gracefully, she believes her duty is to the people of France (as well as her children) even if she has little idea how to serve those needs. I felt it was quite a realistic portrayal of someone of her class, her age, living in the times that she did.

I find my mind has become a dense, opaque cloud of confusion. And what has become of the part of me that I mean when I say “I”? I am lost in a fog, I have little sense of who I am. But I know I am not what they imply.”

How can I play my role—that is to say—how can one maintain her identity, without the proper costume?”

Even though it wasn’t a terribly tedious read, it did get somewhat repetitive in some places and i didn’t feel like i needed to hear quite so much of the minute goings on of almost everyday of her life (or so it sometimes felt). I finally lost my sense of trudging along (the novel did just enough to keep me interested) once M.A. was imprisoned and began her inevitable path toward the guillotine. I was definitely sad to see her go but i don’t believe i would have enjoyed life in the eighteenth century French court~just a bit of a bore~no matter how opulent and decadent it may have been…