Monday, December 20, 2010
I've been reading her work for years now, and have grabbed almost everything that has been written about and by her.
I can't believe the amount of information on (the aptly named) Sylvia Plath Info blog! Any bit of news that comes out concerning Plath, will be found on SPI.
The author of the blog, Peter K. Steinberg, is well-versed in everything Plath, and has written a book on the subject.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Things We Keep Hidden
....I’ve been thinking about how many sides/facets we, as mothers, keep hidden-from ourselves and the world. What parts of ourselves (creative or otherwise) do we give up for other people-our kids in particular?What have you pushed aside, creative or otherwise?
From Imperfect Parent Blog:
Earlier this month, there was a lot of (ahem) buzz about Nutmeg and kids getting high off it. Some even suggesting locking up your spice cabinet. Seems a little ridiculous and extremist to me. I mean, if you’re going to lock up the nutmeg, might as well lock up your entire kitchen because, dear god, there are an enormous amount of things to get high off of!
Christmas: A Time of Cheer, Santa and Horrifying TV Specials
It is the week of Christmas. Things are starting to get a little hectic around here. We have our extremely fake, blue-tinseled, non-organic, non-eco-friendly, pre-lit tree up. A string of Chrismas lights are aglow along the door frame. Our house is full of Christmas cheer. There are some presents under the tree-though not to be opened till Christmas Day! I even made two batches of Nutmeg Cookies. We ate some, they were very tasty, and we didn’t get high.
But did you know that Christmas time is full of danger and horrifying TV specials???!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
(Little, Brown and Company)
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, Heidi W. Durrow
Safe From the Sea, Peter Geye
Keith Richards: Life-Yes! Browsed this in the book store. Getting it.
(Little, Brown and Company)
Catherine of Aragon: Henry's Spanish Queen, Giles Trimlett-
(Walker & Company)
Some sort of copy of Arabian Nights. I've never read it, amazingly :)
Monday, November 29, 2010
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me:
40 new Fairy Tales-Loving this book!! Great title, great stories. What I like about this book: the stories are short, incremental, thus the ability to put the book down for an extended period of time w/out losing your place or forgetting what the hell is going on. Plus, it's just good.
Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger-I finished this a few weeks ago.Very creepy. Especially towards the end. I think what really bothered me about it is you never really know the characters in the book. Not knowing the characters could actually work in some instances. However, for the size of the book (almost 400 pages), you'd think we'd get more character background/history.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sometimes it seems as if we, as women, have not come far at all, and at times, even fall a step or two backwards. Granted, we are not torturing ourselves wearing whale bone corsets as a ‘necessary’ item of clothing, nor are we struggling for our right to vote (that only took 200 years). But, we are still underpaid in the work force; we are still struggling, as mothers, as women to adequately support our families, and ourselves. We are still struggling to balance work with family.But organizations like MomsRising and websites like MOMocrats have been a platform to raise our voices and be heard on subjects like fair pay, maternity/family leave and healthcare.These women inventors have paved the way for so many of us today. They deserve to be praised everyday, not just on Mother’s Day or Women’s History Month.
More than 20% of 18 to 25-year-olds questioned thought a pregnancy lasted a year, 10% believed eating red meat influenced the sex of a baby and half expected a baby to walk and talk within its first year.....
Monday, November 08, 2010
Gorgeous cover, excellent reviews, beautiful picture of Cleopatra in the NYT review (see below).
Review in New York Times Sunday Book Review
Stacy Schiff's blog
Friday, November 05, 2010
Monday, November 01, 2010
Spanish rice holds a lot of memories from my childhood. It was a staple at family gatherings, along with the deliciously greasy chorizo sausage. It was a dish my full-blooded Spanish grandmother and great-grandmother made and had many variants. Sometimes it would just be chicken breasts with saffron rice, sometimes chorizo was added, but no matter how it was made, it was always delicious......
(Includes a recipe!)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Algonquin Books (2009)
$14.95, 305 pages (paperback)
(You can find a description of the book here)
The cover is gorgeous. It evokes Gothicism, romanticism, works from the Bronte sisters. It was a delicious story, yet I was not as wowed as I thought I'd be.
I absolutely loved the moodiness of it: the stark contrasts of the cold, dark, desolate winters of Wisconsin and the warm, vibrant heat of Saint Louis. It captures perfectly the setting and tone of the book and the characters themselves.
All through the story, I was reminded of Jane Eyre and a bit of Wuthering Heights, both by the Bronte's. Ralph Truitt reminds me very much of Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre: A tyrant of a man, lonely, has a dark past concerning family/previous marriage (Truitt and Emilia/Rochester and Bertha). Even Catherine Land and Jane Eyre hold some similarities: both were poor, abandoned, abused.
A lot of the same themes run through each book-those of intense passion, social classes (rich/poor), the search for forgiveness/atonement/family life/home.
The theme of intense passion/sex=power is strong throughout A Reliable Wife. In fact, it's part of what drives the whole story. It's power to engulf, destroy, manipulate and to, eventually, in recognizing its toxicity leading them to something whole and pure.
Some things that lessened the wow factor: Of course Catherine would be connected to the son (Antonio) as lover. Not just any son, but the long-lost son who feels the need for revenge. In fact, has made it his life-long obsession. Of course the son dies tragically-by the hand of his own father (written very well, I might add). A Reliable Wife is a classic blueprint for the Gothic novel. I thought it was very well written overall, but wanted it to grab me just a little more and not let go.
Robert Goolrick's site for A Reliable Wife
Read an excerpt from the novel!!
AlgonquinBooks on Twitter
Monday, October 25, 2010
I am very excited about it and am happy to be a part of such a community!
You can find my posts here.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Talking about how kids these days (god, do I sound old??) are somehow unable to do menial tasks-is it societies current weirdness, technology taking over, or both?
Helicopter parenting leaking into college for some-some parents going so far as to write their kids' essays and filling out their applications....yikes!
Also, getting lazy about making delicious apple butter. Includes a recipe.
Friday, September 17, 2010
No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics
Siobhan O'Connor & Alexandra Spunt
DaCapo Press/Lifelong Books (August 2010)
Paperback 282 pgs
This was one of those books that I finished, front to back cover, overnight. It is packed with a wealth of information.
I never was a fan of makeup and thus never use more than chapstick or lipgloss. Yes, it seems odd in a society where women 'put their faces on', but I have my reasons. It mostly comes down to the way it smells and feels.
No More Dirty Looks dosen't just talk about makeup and its dirty tendencies, but about everything else you put on (and in) your body: shampoo, lotion, nail polish, face scrubs, diet.
Full of facts and numbers, it's easy to get overwhelmed and disgusted. Formaldahyde in hair straighteners and nail polish? The U.S. banning only nine dirty ingredients where Europe has banned over one thousand? The fact that companies and the FDA are still operating on a law passed in 1938 that barely stated restrictions on what can be used or not in cosmetics and is completely outdated?
Alongside the dirty ingredients, the authors recommend the 'cleanest' products for hair, nails, face, makeup, body and other areas.
It's a lot of information to take in all at once, but the book is very thorough and well laid out. I wouldn't be surprised if, after reading the book, you'd be compelled to clean out the cabinets. I certainly did.
No More Dirty Looks
Buy the book
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Old MotherVerse Issues (#'s 6 & 8)
Mamazina Spring/Summer 2010
Literary Rejections on Display-Awesome. Some of it is really, really awful. Some of it is pretty funny.
Query Shark-My new favorite site on queries. What works & what definitely does not. Advice on how to write and revise query letters.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot-An amazing, true story.
Sunday, September 05, 2010
There are a few essays featured on the blog. Please-read, enjoy, discuss.
For the next issue, the theme will be UPLIFT.
Who are your mother's heroines? What gets you through the tough moments, and the tough days? Describe one of life's little victories , or a moment of grace. Tell us about things that go right! We welcome submissions of all shapes and sizes-cartoons, anecdotes, stories, quotes, and full essays of 500 w0rds or less. Submit your essay by October 15, 2010 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Absolutely loved this book. Disturbing, interesting, thorough. I finished it overnight. This is a must-read for everyone.
Find it at Amazon
No More Dirty Looks site
I am reading this right now. Excellent book for all who love food and love to write about it.
There's a chapter on food blogging, easy writing exercises, helpful tips, couple of how-to's.
Dianne Jacob's blog
Haven't gotten to these yet.
but looks interesting.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The Fishes & Dishes Cookbook:
Seafood Recipes and Salty Stories from Alaska's Commercial Fisherwomen
Kiyo Marsh, Tomi Marsh & Laura Cooper
144 pgs., $19.99
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but what I got was extraordinary. It's so much more than your regular cookbook adventure.
What follows are the stories of commercial fisherwomen who have taken on the Alaskan wild: amazing pictures, tips on how to prepare, store and cook several types of fish, and of course, delicious recipes. There's even a haiku or two thrown in.
Really, just the photos alone are worth it: pictures of Alaskan king crab the length of your legs, the icy bow of their ship, the Alaskan landscape itself.
The whole book is just simply gorgeous.
At the Fishes & Dishes website, you can buy the book, browse recipes and check out their Events blog.
Fishes & Dishes site
Monday, July 05, 2010
Yesterday, I was at The Grocery Store-just your average supermarket. I only had to pick up a few things.
Lemons were at the top of the list, to make lemonade. They were nowhere to be found. Strange, I thought. I asked the guy a couple aisles down unloading produce where I could find them. After some hunting around, we found them.
They were next to the broccoli in the vegetable section.
Next on the list: peaches. Nothing like ripe, juicy peaches on a hot summer day. I was so looking forward to them. The entire batch of yellow peaches were squishy and soft, so much so that when I picked one up and applied light pressure, the skin actually broke, revealing a brownish flesh.
Onto the white peaches-not sure what was happening here, but there was some kind of clear white sticky stuff on most of the peaches.
By this time, I'm thinking-what is going on here? Generally, I have not seen the produce in this particular store like this and was quite surprised.
They have an organic section of produce where I thought, perhaps, the peaches would at least look a little better. Not so. I actually found white, fuzzy mold on most of the peaches.
To top it all off, the lemons themselves looked unhealthy.
I understand it was the holiday (4th of July) and the store was probably short-staffed, but there is no excuse for the poor state of produce in that store.
You better believe I complained and spoke to the manager.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Jeremy Foster-Fell & Matthew Gauvin
Web Profile, Inc. Ltd. (Wolcott, Vermont)
40 pages, $12.99
A couple of months ago, I received a locally published children's book, The Caterpillar and the Express Train.
At first glance, story seems cute-if a bit long-for kids. From the site:
The Caterpillar and the Express Train is an illustrated story about a caterpillar (Sally) who unintentionally climbs into the hub of the Silver Bullet’s Express Train’s wheel.
The express steam engine is the fastest train on the East Coast of America and travels between Boston and Miami. The other trains nickname the Silver Bullet, “Bully”.
When the train’s loud whistle breaks, Sally saves the day by holding the broken wires together so that the train is saved from embarrassment, as he is now able to whistle in all the stations down to Miami. Sally changes his nick name from “Bully” to “Silly.
Sally and Silly become good friends and the train asks if the caterpillar will stay with him, we get the reply,
“Don’t be silly Silly,” Sally said. “I will stay with you for ever.”
But things don’t quite work out as planned.
The illustrations are innovative, however, they remind me a little of Thomas the Train on acid. I'm actually not sure what age group this book is aimed at, but my six year old seems to like it. Although, she probably won't be giving up Max & Ruby any time soon.
Despite all that was said above, I'm curious to see what else this duo has in store for the future.
Caterpillar and the Express Train site
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Due date: July 14, 2010
Length: Approximately 600 words
Email it to: email@example.com
Write about your experiences as an autonomous being or lack thereof, how parenting shifted your libido, what works in your relationship and what doesn't, what is really hard to handle, what gets you through a really hard day. Write about expectations, yours and society's, who changes more smelly diapers, how it came to be that your life is like this, any motherhood-related topic you have wanted to speak your truth about but were too wary of until now! Since your name will NOT be published, feel free to write things that you've always wanted to say but were too bashful to share! Make up a funny pseudonym if you want. When you submit your essay, I will keep your name entirely confidential.3
We are always seeking ART for upcoming issues. Especially cute baby photos that will copy well in Black and White, Cartoons, Kid art, Photos of you nursing, Pregnant, or anything artful you'd like to submit.
Visit our website for more information at
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
For more info on Julia Ward Howe click here.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Then, you see the storm coming-the clouds rolling in, lightning in the distance, a low rumble of thunder.
People are getting tired and cranky, hungry- you see the storm coming.
There's a clap of thunder and the rain starts pouring down.
The house is a mess, you're asking yourself how it got this way in the space of 20 minutes.
The girl throws a massive meltdown! And you know what? You can't even remember what it's about because the storm is over and there is a brilliant double rainbow in the sky and there are perfect cottonball clouds in the clear blue sky.
Everybody has been fed, put to bed, the house is clean again....until the next thunderstorm rolls in.
editor Heather Janssen AND be entered for great prizes!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The Spring/Summer issue is finally here and it is packed!
(Be sure to check out my column in this issue, Mama Writes!)
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Talking About A Food Revolution (Jamie Oliver's new show on ABC)
Everyone should watch this show!
New posts at Mamazina Blog- particularly Speak Up If It Moves You: Speaking up and out on the show 'Family Guy'.
Fear and Loathing in an Earthquake Zone
Monday, April 05, 2010
in collaboration with Mamapalooza!
- Academic, artistic, literary and theatrical presentations will be highlighted with panels, discussions and more.
- Bowery Poetry Club, Arlene's Grocery, The Slipper Room and other locations are prepared to host evening performances, poetry readings and featured performances by Conference Attendees and Mamapalooza performers
- Music and Art displays have been planned for the Conference Gathering Room at NOLA
- Film screenings and additional onsite workshops have been planned
- All conference presentations will be archived and placed online under a newly constructed area which will feature TEXT, PHOTOS and VIDEO of all Conference Presentations (*OPTIONAL), at MuseumOfMotherhood.org
- Ongoing work of archiving, presenting, highlighting and preserving academic presentations, artistic perspectives and current and historical content is ongoing.
Monday, March 29, 2010
For the next print issue of the Mama Says zine, our topic will be "This I Believe", based on the book and essays heard on NPR.
We ask you to please keep your essay under 600 words.
Submit your essay by April 20th.
Send your essay to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell a specific story of a belief that you have around motherhood and parenting. Think of how your beliefs have been formed through your own experience, family, friends, trial and error, light bulb moments, and middle of the night awakenings. How has parenting shaped your philosophies in life, changed your perspective, and who have you become due to being born a parent? Write this essay in first-person narrative as if you're speaking the story to a group of other mamas—-help us understand ourselves by hearing your story.
For more information on This I Believe, visit their website:
We also are seeking ART for upcoming issues. Especially cute baby photos that will copy well in Black and White, Cartoons, kid art, photos of you nursing, or anything artful you'd like to submit.
The next issue after this one will be the It's Complicated: Anonymous Issue. Write about your experiences as an autonomous being or lack thereof, how parenting shifted your libido, how you make it work in your relationship or not, what is really hard to handle, what gets you through a really hard day. Since your name will NOT be published, feel free to write things that you've always wanted to say but were too bashful to share! Make up a funny pseudonym too. Due by July 14.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
This came recommended. Amazing story about the search for Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula, taking us back and forth through time, across Europe. Very engrossing tale. Dark, close, encompassing. Although, towards the end, the author seems to get a little lost in historical detail, which totally turned me off.
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
I raved and raved to everyone and anyone who would listen about this book. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. This one also came recommended. So, thank you for that! (you know who you are) I expect this one to become a movie as well in the near future.
It was so real, it was unbelievable. Set during the Civil Rights Movement in Jackson, Mississippi, it follows three young women, relating their tales of race relations from very different perspectives. This one stuck with me for weeks after I read it.
Eye Rhymes, Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual
I came across this book by accident, really, and found it for $5. Quite a bit of luck, considering it goes for around $50. I've only flipped through it, but what I've seen is really interesting. It just goes to show, there is more to a person than meets the eye. For those who have read anything Plath, you know that there has been much focus on her poetry (particularly the Ariel period) and her suicide/death, but little else. Only recently (within the past 10 years, probably) has there been material popping up on her dealing with the other sides of her life-and death.
Mominatrix's Guide to Sex
Book by fellow Imperfect Parent, Kristen Chase.
These I still have to read:
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
It's been too long....I'm posting again over at The Imperfect Blog.
And while you're there, check out The Mominatrix and her sexual resolution
Lots of new posts over at Mamazina Blog
New issue of Mamazina Magazine is in the works. Keep an eye out for it.