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GONE TO SOLDIERS: A Fiction Novel about WWII ~ Marge Piercy

Monday, April 25th, 2016

I discovered Marge Piercy the writer in the early 1990s.  GONE TO SOLDIERS was published in 1987 and I had already read GOING DOWN FAST, SMALL CHANGES, WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME,  FLY AWAY HOME, and HE, SHE, IT. The women I was in a support group with in New York City were praising Piercy’s work and we were sharing copies.  I enjoy her writing very much and her outlook.

After posting the review for HE, SHE, IT, an email* came in asking me if I would like to read GONE TO SOLDIERS for review.   I said yes I would like to read it, forgetting that I had read it first 30 years ago.  I just was so happy to read more of Piercy’s words.   The Kindle told me that at my reading speed it would take 32 hours and 30 minutes to get to the end.   I dove right into each chapter and hardly came up for air.  I am not incredibly fond of books about war.  This one is quite exceptional.  It took 7 years to write and perfect before it was published and winning so many awards.  I was so happy to read it once again.

The book has an interesting shape as 10 characters and their stories are highlighted throughout the book. Some have 14 chapters to their stories.  We begin before the start of the war in France and before the USA became involved.  WWII is over and recovery is beginning at the end of the story.  The primary theme is about being Jewish and how the Jewish experience of the war overlaps and touches so many lives.  I was amazed at how badly the USA Jews were treated and particularly by the Marine corp.  Some American Generals had no trouble with killing Jews in Europe and participated in the process. Each character was well defined and the connecting characters gave continuity to the story and kept the thread of the themes moving forward.

Extraordinary writing. So revealing about the hate we are seeing displayed even now in the USA, so much fear, and how working from that fear keeps us holding on and not moving forward.

Whenever the control is too great, there are scapegoats and then they are vilified and verbally derogated.  It was important for me to read this novel once again. I feel it with mature eyes.  There is more and more to the story; I become a witness.

I not only humbly give this book top stars and I feel as though it should be required reading in our schools today.   I highly recommend this story.

“Marge Piercy has written 17 novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers; the National Bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women, and the classic Woman on the Edge of Time and He, She and It and most recently Sex Wars; ; 19 volumes of poetry including The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980-2010, The Crooked Inheritance and in spring 2015, Made in Detroit; and a critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats. Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she is active in antiwar, feminist and environmental causes.“ (Header at website)

Marge Piercy’s Website and Bio

*Kindle book was sent by Greta Shull, Marketing Coordinator, Open Road Integrated Media, 180 Maiden Lane, suite 8A  New York, NY 10038

Related:
He, She, It
When Women Were Birds
The Sowing

THE ROBOT SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER: Poems ~Jeannine Hall Gailey

Friday, April 24th, 2015

“THE ROBOT SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER gives us a magnificent voice, at turns ‘happy with the apple blossoms,’ and whip-smart enough to know ‘the beauties of voltmeter and oscilloscope.’ But underneath the beautifully measured sheen and spark of these bright stanzas, is a human who opens up thrilling new worlds by also fearlessly inhabiting poems of sorrow, survival, and identity.” –Aimee Nezhukumatathil.

Powerful is one of the first words which comes to mind when I think of THE ROBOT SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER.  I was so happy to have this book early so I could read a poem each day and come back to it with my mind often to savor the images and recall my own feelings about nuclear families and nuclear reactors of my history and knowledge.

My own family ate the green weeds and flowers of the ground in hopes of growing healthy and cleansing the pesticides and chemicals of the past progresses.  We worshiped the apple blossoms and witnessed the testing of the bombs and the growing cancers right within our core.  There is a tender childhood memoir wrapped within an environmental beauty that we know as our home until it is paved over and rendered dead.

As I live in the State with the most MS anywhere in the world.  As the fossil fuel fogies attempt to destroy the sound waters daily  (oil and water do not mix – I thought everyone knew that?). I pounced on these words and knew them with joy and intimacy wanting to shout out about this experience expressed and the insights shared in each phrase and precise capture; share them with my world and those people of my neighborhood.

This poetry is a positive use of punctuation with readable stop points and a rhythm, which strengthens its form and readability- Intelligent!  It is not so free form as to loose focus and poignancy.

I want to introduce my daughters to this eco-feminism and her fearless words right at this moment as we celebrate Poetry Month and our drought is making known its energy and as we combine to celebrate Earth Day and the Procession of The Species parade and Arts Walk.   The book is an art form – not to be missed.

From Amazon:

Jeannine Hall Gailey recently served as the Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She is the author of four books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers and The Robot Scientist’s Daughter. Her poems have been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac and on Verse Daily; two were included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She was awarded a 2007 and 2011 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for Poetry and a 2007 Washington State Artist Trust GAP grant. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, and Prairie Schooner.

I feel privileged to have been given this book for review by Serena at  Poetic Book Tours

I apologize to Jeannine Hall Gailey for being a day late on posting this review of her magnificent book, but I too have spent a lifetime of working on health and living with a Downwinder of the Hanford Nuclear Release!  Some days are just impossible to manage.   We’re here now and so thankful for knowing of your book and wisdom.
RELATED:
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THE DIVORCE DIET: A Novel ~Ellen Hawley

Monday, January 5th, 2015

“I watch the last few minutes of the special on the diet industry.  A show on maximum-security prisons follows.  I’m struck by the parallels and wonder if anyone else notices them.” (location 33% on e-reader of an unproofed, uncorrected, advanced readers file)

THE DIVORCE DIET is a savory tale that turns life sweet, with all the greens and grains tossed into the mix then topped with a lovely dollop of humor and a saucy spirit.   This read is all about making personal change and is a creative self-help book based on Abigail’s life and her steps for making change and finding an authentic center.

Abigail thinks it is time to loose the baby weight and get back to some more intimacy in the bedroom.  She is sure this will perk up her marriage and make her husband happier.   The book begins with the baking of a birthday cake, which will make your mouth water, the preparing candles in the bedroom, and starting to read her new Natural Diet tome.   Thad comes home late, dinner is nearly ruined and he just plays and mushes the cake.

The diet book is full of tasteless uninviting recipes; it also contains the steps which are involved in all change and Abigail follows the rules. The amazing thing is that she develops her own Diet guru in her head. It reminds me of “Bridget Jones Diary”.  Her choice of personal exercises just kept me laughing all the way through.

While still weeping the pain of separation, Abigail begins the next step on the diet journey by making a list of her strengths and weaknesses; the wheels of her mind begin creating the list and this propels a brainstorming list she can study and refine into her best future.
Revenge has great promise and yet reinventing the self may just provide a yummy success, which is sweeter. In THE DIVORCE DIET the change is expressed deliciously with humor and just the right spices of sorrow and joy.  At the end, Abigail has lost 170 pounds (of husband) and found a satisfying life for herself and baby Rosie.

I highly recommend this book to any reader who wishes to make a change in their life, including losing weight!, or to find success in Resolutions of the New Year, and of course  that someone who likes to laugh at sadness, enjoy good story telling, and celebrate change and the experiences of life.

I send thanks to TLC Book Tours for adding me to the list for this great and fun read. And I extend thanks to Ellen Hawley for the wonderful read to start off the 2015 schedule.  How lucky am I!

Don’t forget to read the acknowledgements because the recipes are included!!

From Amazon:  About the Author
Ellen Hawley is the author of the novels Open Line and Trip Sheets. Her short fiction and essays have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. She has worked as an editor and copy-editor, a talk show host, a cab driver, a waitress, a janitor, an assembler, a file clerk, and for four fun-filled hours, a receptionist. She has also taught creative writing. Hawley is a native New Yorker who lived in Minnesota for two decades but now resides in Cornwall.

www.ellenhawley.com
Ellen Hawley Facebook

ellen hawley

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US 
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 
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TASTE

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

New Artichoke

My eyes, hands, nose and ears have all reached out to select this lovely green reward.  As the shoots are just venturing forth from garden beds in my world, I know this gem has traveled far to catch all my senses.

I have brought it home just for me and now as sunshine burns back the fog and mist of morning walk, I pick up my treasure and begin the task of preparation.  Two good thumps to the side of the sink and the leaves relax to allow the water to cleanse.   Thick stem cut away and set aside for potassium broth. Swift, sharp blade to the top edge and then a slice to create the halves; it is wounded.

Red handled veggie scissors snip the prickly tips and remind me of my mother’s hands at work by the sink; it is a memory.    Small spoon digs into the silky choke to separate and pare away.

Steamer is set into the pot and pure water filled to the level and each half is carefully laid down upon the form.   To boil and then to simmer, and the hands are washed and cutaways are put into the compost for the work ahead.  My fingers are blackened and will remain so for most   of this day; reminder.

A bowl of raspberries and red, red juice are set beside my plate of green.  I do not mind the heat, rather I draw the first leaf slowly across my teeth and savor the gentle offering; there are 42 leaves before the heart, each one granted a minute on its own.

Nothing interferes with the exaltation and pure taste of what has transpired.

The hour has past, dishes are done and steam water is greenish delight in freezer for stock; I push myself back to the work and the list knowing full well that this was enough.

Scottish Thistle

Do you focus on every bite when you eat?  Is it like a gift or a meditation/prayer?  When was the last time/instance you were certain it was enough?

Happy Easter and Passover

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from the site I will receive a few beans in my bucket  – or maybe artichokes?

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