Thursday, April 27, 2017

Two (Much Better!) Books.

Several years ago, I happened upon an illustrated copy of "Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes" by Robert Louis Stevenson; I raved and resolved to read more of this classic author.

Lately, I found a copy of "The Black Arrow", a late medieval romp through the English War of the Roses. Written in Victorian times, it must have been a sensation, since it featured a young noble woman dressing as a young boy to escape a fiendish guardian (about to marry her off to another villain for money, while he also steals her rightful legacy). Similar outrages are done to the hero, young Dick Shelton; he was orphaned by this evil guardian (adapt at manipulating laws, in a lawless time.) Of course, Dick and Lady Joanna are destined for one another.

Once your eye adapts to the "Shakespeare-lite" dialogue, in contrast with the more modern Victorian style test, it's a breeze.

It doesn't matter about the plot, "good" eventually prevails. Stevenson's writing crams so much action, drama, image, natural scenery, emotion and intrigue into short little paragraphs; it is amazing what talent he possessed. He died young, that's sad. No wonder the entire world mourned his death.

I know how I missed "Christy" by Catherine Marshall (published 1967) all these years. The marketing for the book made it "feel" like a "Sound of Music"-plot; it seemed like it would be sappy.

But I found a copy and approached it with new eyes. Considering the book is already half a century old and relates the experiences of a young volunteer teacher in East Tennessee 50 years before that, the story is remarkably fresh and current-feeling. The author died in the 1980's.

Christy wants to be independent, not just hang around her wealthy family in Asheville, NC until she marries a local scion and settles down. So she takes on the teaching assignment in the back country and is greatly challenged by the difference between her expectations and the reality; the hardships.

If you ever were tempted to skip vaccinations for infectious diseases like typhoid, this book will remind you why these diseases were a scourge and best avoided!

Of course there is some romance; she has so much to learn. Most people my age have read this book if they are interested; younger readers who like romance, coming of age and history would enjoy the story.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

I'm Inspired by the Vibrancy of the Resurgence of Downtown Los Angeles.

Old buildings with new street art and graffiti each time we visit. This is near The LA Cafe, our most favorite morning coffee place on Spring St.

All kinds of people and activity going on at all times of day and night.

Old, iconic buildings of legacy LA, renovated!

Oodles of brand new, large construction projects everywhere you turn!

One of the nicest newer examples of street murals I noticed! Wow.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Random Eclectic Reading..with clairvoyants

The stuff I pick up and somehow, am able to complete! Now that I am not commuting every day by train, I seem to be more selective than these two books.

Dorothy Gilman's "The Clairvoyant Countess" was published in the mid-1970's; one of the "bad guys" runs a network of ice cream and popsicle sales trucks (actually selling drugs under cover) tracked by a computer that takes up an entire commercial space basement! So the story was modern in its day.  Madame Karitska is a clairvoyant, not a fortune teller; an older lady with a long series of adventures behind her; she works in cooperation with Detective Lt. Prudden of the Police Dept of a fictional large city, solving a series of crimes using her powers.

Dorothy Gilman wrote the Mrs. Polifax series, which I have not dipped into; probably won't. Another of her novels, "Caravan" from 1992 I liked. Sadly, Gilman passed away in 2012.

Anne Cleeland, another American writer who writes British police thrillers: her story "Murder in Thrall-An Acton and Doyle Scotland Yard Mystery" was found as an "advance uncorrected proof" from my local (and wonderful) paperback exchange. It's a pretty standard detective "let's try to guess who done it".

I was shocked at the set-up: Acton is a celebrated senior detective sleuth with New Scotland Yard; a member of the the nobility, as well. But he is a sicko---not completely criminal since he works for "good"; he develops a complete emotional and sexual fixation on a young police trainee, Doyle (who is naive, attractive, Irish, working class but motivated, spirited and gifted with an ability to magically detect when someone is lying). Out of the blue, he pops up with a marriage proposal and she accepts it instead of reporting him to HR! He's done creepy things like sneaking into her apartment, before this.

How, in today's world, did this book get published. But apparently, the series is pretty popular.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"I Remember Mama"

Just a few photographs to observe the April 6 (1999) anniversary of her passing. Mom as a toddler with a big hat (one of the nicest photos), and those among her family and siblings. With the passing last summer of her baby brother, the infant in the photo above, they are all gone now.

Favorite Los Angeles destination of Me...Mood Designer Fabrics' LA brick & mortar!!

If you like to sew or love fabric, this is the best place to visit!

The Butterfly Hotel is open for business--and packed!

We started, several years ago, to assist the butterfly population by nurturing the young specimens indoors. It was slow going. But this...