Who Am I?

I’ve given the answers to the Shakespeare quiz if you want to check it out. 

Here’s how to play…Identify the author by leaving a comment with the # and I’ll cross it off the list.  No Googling, that’s cheating and no fun!  If you know them all, please don’t guess every one.  HINT: All of these authors appear on my top 100 list.

1.  I was a great novelist, but was loved for my philosophical system, objectivism.  AYN RAND

2. Although a skilled writer, I wrote only one novel about the pursuit of vanity and my friend Dorian. Oscar Wilde, Jessica

3. “I am probably responsible for the odd fact that people don’t seem to name their daughters Lolita anymore.” (1964)  Nabokov, Mark

4. No one wanted my masterpiece about dunces so I killed myself and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize after my death in 1981. John Kennedy Toole, Jessica


5. Who knew my book about a seagull would get so much attention? Richard Bach, Mark

6. I was married six times and had eight children, but still had the time to win two Pulitzer Prizes before my death last November. NORMAN MAILER

7. The grandson of a slave I wrote my first story at 15 and joined the Communist Party in the 30’s before leaving the US for good in 1946.  RICHARD WRIGHT

8. You have all read my short stories, but it is my novel about Puritan adultery that still tops reading lists nad makes women wary of red A’s. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jason

9. I began my famous “trilogy” guide for hitchhikers on radio, but it became a tv series, comic book series, computer game, and a feature film. DOUGLAS ADAMS

10. I wrote The Awakening, a shocking novel of adultery and suicide and due to bad reviews stopped writing five years before I died of a brain hemorrhage in 1904. KATE CHOPIN

Destiny Unleashed, by Sherryl Woods

Cover ImageFinished 3-28-08, rating 3/5, romance, pub. 2004

Destiny gave up a carefree life in France with a man who wanted to marry her to rush back home to the States after her brother and sister-in-law died in a plane crash.  Destiny took over the care of her three young nephews and left her art and love, William,  behind.  Fast forward 20 years and Destiny has decided to reclaim her life.

Destiny wants be the head of Carlton Industries European division, her family business.  Her nephew Richard, head of the company gives her the position although her only qualification is that her last name is Carlton.  She rushes to London to begin her independence and immediately puts herself into William’s orbit.  William happens to be the head of a rival company and the two are forced together by business and by choice.  The nephews do not approve of this liaison and send their wives to London to find out what is going on.  There is lots of family drama and a little business intrigue too.

Destiny was a wonderful main character.  As a 50 something heroine she brought a lot of charm and it was refreshing.  I thought the book was fun, even if a bit unbelievable.  It was an enjoyable read.

Know Your Shakespeare


Here’s how to play…Identify the quote by telling me what book it’s from.  Leave a comment with the # of the quote and the title of the book and I’ll cross it off the list.  No Googling, that’s cheating and no fun!  If you know them all, please don’t guess every one.

 Hint: The quotes came from these plays.  Some are used twice.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Richard III, Romeo & Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night

1. “Parting is such sweet sorrow” ROMEO & JULIET

2. “Beware the ides of MarchJason, Julius Caesar

3. “Off with his head!” RICHARD III

4. “The course of true love never did run smooth” A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

5. “The lady doth protest too muchJanet, Hamlet

6. “All that glitters is not gold” THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

7. “Double, double toil & troubleJason, Macbeth

8. “To sleep, perchance to dream- ay, there’s the rub”  HAMLET

9. “A plague on both your housesJason, Romeo &Juliet

10. “All the world’s a stage” AS YOU LIKE IT

11. “Cowards die many times before their deaths” JULIUS CAESAR

12. “Something wicked this way comes” MACBETH

13. “Lord, what fools these mortals beLisa, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

14. If music be the food of love, play on” TWELFTH NIGHT

15. “The winter of our discontent” Duane, Richard III

Freakonomics, A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Levitt & Dubner

Cover ImageFinished audio on 3-20-08, rating 3/5, non-fiction, pub. 2005

 My husband loved this book and thought I would enjoy it too.  The title made me wary (I don’t read books by economists!), but the few things he told me about the book while reading it intrigued me.  This is a book about a guy who likes numbers and who like to be able to explain everything, especially those sometimes silly questions that pop into our head as quickly as they pop out.  Levitt actually tries to answer them.

I think the best way to address the wide range of topics in this book is to list the titles of the six chapters.   1.What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common?   2. How is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group of Real Estate Agents?   3. Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live With Their Moms?   4. Where Have All the Criminals Gone?   5. What Makes a Perfect Parent?   6. Perfect Parenting, Part II: Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell As Sweet?

I was not as interested in some of the topics as others, but overall I was interested enough to keep listening.  I think the way he explained how incentives (economic, social and moral) ruled the world was a new way to look at things for a non-economist like myself.  I was also shocked to learn that TWO US Presidents were Ku Klux Klan members, Harding and Truman.  And his argument that the legalization of abortion was responsible for the reduction of crime on the 1990’s was one I hadn’t heard before.

I would recommend this book.  I listened to the audio read by the author, but I think you’d be better off with the book.  The reading of some charts and lists were not always easy to keep straight when driving 🙂

Playing for Pizza, by John Grisham

Cover ImageFinished 3-18-08, rating 3/5, fiction, pub. 2007

“I never liked Cleveland, the city, the fans, the team, and I hated the stadium.”                      Chapter 5 

I bought this book because it is about a Cleveland Brown football player who moves to Italy and I thought that since Jason and I are traveling to Italy in a few weeks it might be a fun parallel.  I was right!  Rick is a football player driven out of Cleveland and the NFL because of a monumentally bad game.  In Italy he finds a team in Parma who wants him as their quarterback and his induction into Italian culture is educational.

First, I think John Grisham must have had something very bad happen to him in Cleveland.  There was quite a bit of Cleveland bashing and not just the usual stereotypical kind.  I’ve been in Cleveland almost eight years and I’ve heard all the jokes, but often the city gets a bum rap.

Now after Rick moves to Italy to play NFL football in an Italian league he is in for a culture shock.  We learn a lot about the history, the food, the people, the culture and the more mundane things, like how to order a cup of coffee.  Rick must accept his fate on a team and in a league where the only person who gets paid is the quarterback; everyone else on the team has regular jobs. 

The book is about Rick’s journey from the typical American dream to the reality of a quiet life with people he likes and a game he loves.  Grisham must have fallen in love with Italy and really wanted to find a way to express his love for the country.  The book is okay, nothing special, but if you are getting ready to go to Italy yourself (YEA:)) then it will get you excited and teach you a little too.

Know Your Books


Here’s how to play…Identify the quote by telling me what book it’s from.  Leave a comment with the # of the quote and the title of the book and I’ll cross it off the list.

Here’s a hint, these five quotes came from the first 21 books on my Favorite 100 list.

#1 “It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.” Golda-To Kill a Mockingbird

#2 “Yeah, Quirrell was a great teacher.  There was just that minor drawback of him having Lord Voldemort sticking out of the back of his head!” Golda- Harry Potter

#3 “And was Mr. Rochester now ugly in my eyes?  No reader: gratitude and many associates, all pleasurable and genial, made his face the object I best liked to see; his presence in a room was more cheering than the brightest fire.”  Golda- Jane Eyre

#4 “One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”  Fellowship of the Ring – Jason

 #5 “Rabbits need dignity and above all else the will to accept their fate.”  Golda- Watership Down

Mary Doria Russell book signing

Last night Jason & I went to a book signing at Joseph Beth Bookstore at Legacy Village.  If you are in the Cleveland area and ever get a chance to go you should try their cafe which has great food (although not always the best service).  If you want to keep track of their events visit the website and sign up for their monthly email.   http://www.josephbeth.com/Default.aspx?StoreId=3&TabIndex=0&Tabid=1&p=y

Okay, so we went last night to hear Mary Doria Russell speak on her fourth book, Dreamers of the Day.  I have been a fan of Russell’s since The Sparrow (on my top 100 list) and was excited to hear her speak.  She came dressed casually in jeans, a gray shirt, and dog tags around her neck.  Her nephew is currently serving in Iraq and the parallels between the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference and the modern day Middle East was a connection she talked about at length.  The Peace Conference is the basis of this book and I will write more on the novel after I’ve read it.

A few interesting tidbits…Mary is funny.  She was a very entertaining speaker.  The Sparrow has been optioned by Brad Pitt’s film company 🙂  She does not write about what she knows, her curiosity drives her to research.  Her third book, A Thread of Grace took her seven years to write and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 2005.  She has a PhD in Anthropology.  She lives in Cleveland.  If you are interested in learning more you can visit her website.  http://marydoriarussell.info/

If you get a chance I recommend you check out The Sparrow, her first novel.  It is science fiction, but if you keep an open mind I think you’ll like it.

The Fires of Paradise, by Brenda Joyce

Cover ImageFinished 3-12-08, rating 4/5, romance, pub. 1992

 This is the best historical romance I have read in years.  There is the beautiful woman born into privilege and there is the hardened escaped convict watching his back.   The two are thrown together at random, but stay in each others orbit through circumstance and lust.  Lucy is a proud woman who is used to getting what she wants and Shoz is a proud man used to getting what he wants.  What they both want is each other. 

Shoz goes to work for Lucy’s grandfather until he is shot in the back.  He is then thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit and he takes Lucy as a hostage to escape.  They travel from Texas to Death Valley, where Lucy meets his son and is forced to work for a woman who despises her.  Eventually Lucy and Shoz marry, but they are forced apart by her family after they are discovered.  There is more adventure in a Cuba on the brink of rebellion and in New York, where Lucy’s reputation is ruined.

While I’ve always known I like my romantic heroes manly and flawed, the first chapter in the book goes further than even I was comfortable with in introducing us to the hero, Shoz.  I wasn’t sure that he could be redeemed.  This is also not a book for the politically correct.  When reading I was jarred by the use of the word rape and had to keep reminding myself it meant to ravish or plunder.

If you  are a fan of historical romances then this book if for you.  It is also a part of the Bragg saga if you are familiar with Brenda Joyce.  I’m looking forward to reading more from the series.