Friday, October 30, 2015

Hand-drawn: Pysanky-inspired coloring by Amy Romanczuk

So.... this is what's happening. A pysanky-inspired coloring book by yours truly. It was great fun to create-- an amazing process of inspiration, creativity, artistic passions, and feedback from wonderful people. The book is with the production folks and heads to the printer shortly. It will be available on (or locally through me). Details to follow. Get your coloring on!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Initial thoughts on The Joyous Path: The Life of Avatar Meher Baba's Sister, Mani, Volume 1, by Heather Nadel

A package arrived at my doorstep yesterday. Inside were the two volumes of The The Joyous Path: The Life of Avatar Meher Baba's Sister, Mani. I actually squealed with delight, as Mani S. Irani was an amazing woman, and a huge influence in my life. Her love, and her devotion to God, carried out daily, with a smile, a laugh, a touch of tenderness, and a huge dose compassion, helped show me a path to follow, and a way to try and shape my life. I'm not nearly as successful as Mani was, but when I stumble, I can hear her voice encouraging me to brush myself off and try again.

I am not going to write a review yet, as I'm still reading the book(s). I just want to say, that for all who knew Mani, her voice comes through, loud and clear, on every page. I hear her in my head as I read.  I am once again sitting in Mandali Hall at Meherazad, just north of Ahmadnagar, in India, listening to the sister of Avatar Meher Baba share tales of her life's journey. And to those who did not have the fortune to meet Mani, or have never heard of Meher Baba, you're in for a treat. For Mani, regardless of your own personal spiritual beliefs, is the exemplification of the love exchange between Master and disciple. It is a beautiful story, a journey of devotion to God. Heather Nadel, who was Mani's longtime helper and companion, beautifully ties together the tales of Mani and her life. (Full disclosure: I am privileged to call Heather friend, and blessed to call her sister. Just about the smartest thing my big brother Erico ever did was to be persistent and marry this beautiful soul. But even if we did not share a name, I still would love this book. I can hardly believe how perfectly Heather captured Mani's spirit and shares it with the reader.)

In short, The Joyous Path is a joyous read.

Friday, October 16, 2015

So Anyway by John Cleese

Though I am a John Cleese fan, I rarely watched Monty Python when it originally aired. (It was on at a bad time for me, as I recall.) Nonetheless, certain bits and bobs did make their way into my world, enough so that I occasionally find myself singing the lumberjack song, or chuckling about dead parrots. I was introduced to Fawlty Towers when it originally aired, and adored it-- so much so that we have the complete set (on VHS no less, and introduced our kids to it at a tender age.) What I liked about this book was some of the fill-in-the-gaps about John Cleese that occurred before, during, and around these productions (and A Fish Called Wanda). The beginning chapters about Cleese's boyhood and school days were particularly interesting to me. And while the latter part of the memoir has drawn criticism for running through various shows and projects, popping in bits of scripts here and there, I found it interesting, as I didn't know a lot of the British shows pre-Python, though the actors and personalities are known from other projects (David Frost, Peter Sellers, Marty Feldman etc.) Yes, there were times when I was less engaged than others, but there were enough delightful nuggets of information, and moments where Mr Cleese's ability as a writer of comedy caused me to laugh out loud, that I have come away happy. I hadn't realized how tightly kniy that group of writers and performers were or how far back they knew each other. 

Having introduced our grandkids to Dr Who and Firefly, I think it's time to add British comedy to the mix, starting with some John Cleese projects.

Thank you to Blogging for Books and to the publisher for sending a copy of this book my way.


Monday, October 5, 2015

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Sevin

For those of us who consider our favorite books family members, for those who make friends with the characters in the books they read, for whom a treasured excursion is to a book store or library, for those who love not only the story, but the feel of pages-- the call of the words on a page, this is a marvelous find. There's something about a well done curmudgeon that I adore, and AJ Fikry, with his gentle thaw while never quite losing his unique outlook on life, totally captivated me and my literary heart. The rest of the characters are wonderful, and evolve in a totally realistic, human way. Gabrielle Zevin, incorporated both books I love, and books for me to add to my reading list, which is always a plus. And, I got to enjoy all the literary references (who didn't see The Book Thief coming when that customer complained about the book Fikry sold her?), and puns (A good mandarin is hard to find? How perfect).  Plus, she's got six books under her pen that I can go back and explore, should I want to. I only wish that The Late Bloomer was a real book. Sounded like a good'un.
An interview I heard with the author on NPR is here.
Now, I'm off to update my reading wishlist.

Tags: books-about-booksheard-interview-with-authori-heard-about-it-on-npri-liked-itmade-me-laugh-out-loud-for-realmade-me-look-something-upmade-me-thinkreadread-in-2015read-on-recommendationthank-you-charleston-county-library