Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Orphan Train: Book Review

Orphan Train
By Christina Baker Kline
Complimentary copy from Harper Collins

I remember as a young girl watching the movie, Orphan Train.  Many people didn't realize the history of the Orphan Train. There were many orphans roaming the streets of NYC in the mid 1800's. Many orphaned, abandoned, starved, homeless, because they couldn't afford the extra mouth to feed.

The author, Christina Baker Kline, wrote this novel to teach us a bit of unforgotten history. Most of the orphan riders are up in age, and may not be alive to tell their stories very soon.  The novel is a interconnected story with history, and flashbacks, (fast forward- flashback in time) with the interconnected story of Vivian, and Molly.

From 1854- 1929 the Orphan Train crossed the United States from, New York to the Mid West on the train from the help of the Children's Aid Society.  From the midwest plains(farm land), and desolate, Conditions were hard. Thinks of, Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and movies.
A group of children are put on the train. The society put an ad in each town's newspaper hoping the children would be adopted.These people who wanted to adopt them were not carefully selected as they are today by Dept. of Children Services.   The orphan train went from town to town hoping the children would be adopted.

  Some of them were expecting free labor, or a plaything, or something worse. It was a stroke of chance of some of them were adopted into the family for love, and not looking for free labor. Some of the riders were lucky, and some not as lucky.
At first, we don't realize where the story will take us because Vivian's name has been changed several times. She  had a hard life with her parents, and siblings.

She learns not to trust anyone, and learns she must take care of herself. Nimh, immigrates with her Irish family to America. Where things are rough growing up there. There is a fire in the tenement house, and that is when things get worse for Nimh.  She is put on a train West hopefully to find a family, and a place called, "home". The Byrne family wasn't it. They were looking for someone to be a seamstress. But, when the great depression hit, things got worse for her. The Byrne family decided they couldn't keep her any longer.

At the beginning of the Great Depression things get worse, she  is taken to a new family. Where you would think things can't get any worse, Wrong!!! They just want her to work, and they starve her, and she must take care of herself. But, then eventually the Children's Aide Society takes her to another family that is even worse than the first.

But luckily, and I do say luckily, she is thrown out of the house. She runs away to the only place she feels safe, her school- where Ms. Larson is her teacher.  Eventually, Ms. Larson helps her find a new home where she is treated like family. Where she feels safe, and not scared that something is going to happen. Nimh has had name changes so many times in her young life. Finally, Vivian sticks.

The story interconnects with Vivian, now 91 years old,  and Molly, a 17 year old, troubled Penobscot Indian that is placed in foster care.  Molly is caught stealing from the library, Jane Eyre. She has  to do community service. Her community service is to help Vivian clean out the boxes out of her attic.  As Vivian, and Molly begin the task of cleaning the attic, they both realize they both have a connection and can help one another.

My Review: Historical fiction is my cup of tea. I enjoyed the story. But, the characters were not deep. The story was superficial. I still enjoyed reading, but it was not the greatest for me. Everyone in our book club enjoyed it, except for me and one other person. If you are looking for a light read for your book club, this would be it.

The ending seemed like it was rushed. It was Vivian learning how to use the computer and to doing research on the internet. She showed no interest in the computer or internet. Then all of a sudden she goes out and buys one. Where did that come from?? left field?? I can understand it if it was mentioned in the book a bit more. But, there wasn't any mention in the novel until the end. The ending was a bit contrived on this part. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Jewish Grand Strand Reads W/ Rabbi Avi

 Temple Emanu-El, and the Jewish Grand Strand Reads organized a wonderful program with the book, Aleppo Codex by Matti Friedman.

We first had a wonderful lunch at Mr. Fish across the street from the Temple Emanu-El.  If you have not been there yet, I highly recommend it, if you are ever in Myrtle Beach.

We had a large crowd of about 50 people from Rabbi's Adult Education class, the Jewish Grand Strand, from the 38th Ave. Diva Book Club, and visitors of the Rabbi's.

We were  happy to see Rabbi Debbie at the program.  She and I started the Jewish Grand Strand Reads a few years ago.  We were just glad to see her. She has not been able to be involved this year because of her busy schedule.  Now, to talk about the program.

I introduced the program, talking about the history of the Aleppo Codex, after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, and  the mystery of how the " Crown"( other name of the Aleppo Codex) arrived in Israel, and where the 200 pages went, and who may have the pages.

Rabbi Avi talked about the religious aspect of the crown. Why the book is significant to the Jewish people. What it means to most of us that are Jewish. Did you know the book tells us the correct way to read from the torah? That the Hebrew is spoken the same way in every part of the world.

Why is that? The "Crown" is responsible for us to keep our traditions, and how we read from the bible, etc. The sad part, is it is the only one in the world. It wasn't copied.   Rabbi Avi went into a small part about the mystery of the book. The rest you will have to buy yourself a copy which I highly recommend.

To learn about the "Crown", you can find Matti Friedman in Texas, JCC talking about it. You can also find information about it at several Jewish websites, by doing a google search.  On a side note, Matti, sent me a message to have a bagel on him. We would have loved to chat with him on SKYE, but with the time zone difference, him in Israel, and us in SC it wasn't feasible at this time.

If you are interested in reading my review you can read it on my other book blog, at Bagels, Books, and Schmooze.

Thank you Rabbi Avi for co sponsoring the program with the Jewish Grand Strand Reads.  Below, you can see the large crowd that came. We hope Rabbi Avi will join us again.  We are always looking for speakers for the Jewish Grand Strand Reads. If you are knowledgeable about Jewish themes and are experienced talking to large crowds. Don't hesitate to talk to me about speaking engagements. Let's Chat.....


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Club:Frankenstein

I learned about Mary Shelly when I was taking a Western Civilization class a couple of years ago. She is the daughter of a famous feminist. Before they even knew what feminism was.  Her mother was Mary Wollstonecraft, her father a famous poet, William Godwin.              

Mary Shelley's life, was not dull. There was so much upheaval since the day she was born. Her mother died a short time after Mary Shelley's birth. Her father, gave her a guilt trip from the early age of six, he constantly allowed her to look at her mother's letters.

There was so much abandonment from different times in her life. Which is symbolized, in Mary Shelley's, "Frankenstein". besides, her life sounded like a soap opera, before soap operas were known. I was never assigned in English class, Frankenstein, so instead we were assigned, Frankenstein" for our book club this past month.

Our book club had a special guest this month, from Coastal Carolina University, Professor Campbell. I also did my own homework, on youtube was a couple lectures of Mary Shelley, and Frankenstein. If you are interested, you should check it out. I also watched the original movie. A few of us, went to a local theater to see the play, Young Frankenstein as well( what fun).

 What you see in the movies is very different from the book.  The movie was set during the 1930's or 1940's it gives a very different tone than the book. The movie was made as a horror film. Which is very different than the book.

Frankenstein was written during the Enlightenment period.  Frankenstein starts out in the Artic, and ends in the Artic. Which was most likely my favorite part of the book, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, is the creator, not the creature. What most people think of. He is never referred as the monster.  Beside abandonment, there is the science, knowledge- too much, and medical ethics, nurture vs. nature.

Do you have a right to create something that is beyond accepted human limits.  There was parallels of Frankenstein vs. Walton, both pursuing higher scientific knowledge. One the creation of life, the other pursuing the exploration of the North Pole.

If something goes wrong should you, destroy it? or suffer the consequences?  Do you still love something that you made no matter how ugly, or hideous it is? Do you  live with it, and make the best of it. I actually was thinking of children with Down's Syndrome, or children that are emotionally challenged, and slow. Back in the 1960's these children were placed in institutions, because the parent's didn't want to deal with them.

 Because the creature didn't have nurturing, and was abandon constantly by Dr. Victor Frankenstein. He didn't  know better, the only thing he knew was to get back at Victor Frankenstein. The book is full of symbolism, and back story.  Victor was his parent, no matter if he was a good, or bad parent, he was still the mother.

What I found interesting, the women in Frankenstein, I expected to be stronger women. Because of Shelley's mother. I wanted to hit them in the head, how passive they were.

Also what our book group discussed was the format of the book. It was not a straight narrative. The novel, Frankenstein mixed with letters to his sister. During the time of her writing the novel, it was the end of writing novels with letters.

The novel was kind of slow at first, but once you finished the first 80 pages, it sped up. I enjoy books with hidden meaning, and symbolism, which the novel had a lot to delve into. I would recommend reading sometime in your bucket list to read.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Nursing Profession-Blame Game

For the first time in a very long time, I am standing up for my profession. I would like to praise Nurse,Theresa Brown RN for her article on CNN.  I left nursing years ago, burned out, and became a Stay at Home Mom. I have been out of the profession for years, I left in 1990.

But, it sounds like from the article about that it is still the same. The blame game, doctors, and the medical establishments want to blame someone, so it is the R. N.
It is a shame that nurses are not recognized for the care of the patient, it is still the M. D,  The registered nurse, is the one that stays at the hospital, and monitors the patient care, and it is their licence that is on the line when something goes wrong.

When I was a registered nurse in early 90's I remember nurse's were getting sued left and right, and blamed for poor care, when it actually was the doctor, who should of been blamed. The nurse is actually the one, that protects the doctor from mistakes being made. By double checking the doctor's order, and co-signing the order. But, of course the doctor, sees it as you are questioning his care. If you claimed neglect, it was known in nursing circle's that other nurses wouldn't go to court and back up your character, and neither would doctor's.

I am happy to see that nurses can now speak out. Years ago, you never head a nurse speak out about the nurses, and the profession. Thank you Theresa Brown RN.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book Review: Aleppo Codex

The Aleppo Codex
Matti Friedman
Complimentary copy from
Algonquin Publishing

The Jewish Grand Strand Reads and Rabbi Avi adult education class are meeting together to discuss,
The Aleppo Codex, by Matti Friedman on November 5th at Temple Emanu-El at 2 PM, everyone is welcome and there is no charge. 

I will give you a update of the Jewish Grand Strand Reads after the event. 

It is very interesting that we are reading Aleppo Codex. The Aleppo Codex was written to keep the Jewish community together after the destruction of the Jewish temple. Interesting that we, the entire Jewish community of Myrtle Beach are also reading the same book, but not the actual Aleppo Codex. 

The Aleppo Codex, known as the, "Crown",  is a very important book for the Jewish community.   More important than the Dead Sea Scrolls.  

We go to synagogue on Saturday morning. The weekly ritual is on Saturday, the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark. It must be read perfectly without any mistakes.  This is very different from any other religion. They can't be any mistakes, if there are there are two men that witness and correct your spelling, and chanting of the vowels, etc. The codex makes sure you make no mistakes. 

 The codex is the book instead of the Torah scrolls. This is what keeps the Jewish community together. 

In 70 A.D, The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. There wasn't anything to keep the Jewish people together. They were exiled, and then the Jews traveled to different locations to settle permanently, called the diaspora.

 There wasn't anything that kept the Jewish people together. There wasn't any institutions, the  Catholic religion had their pope and the Catholic Church, in Rome. The Jewish people didn't have anything to glue them together, until the writing of the codex in 930 A. D.,  in Tiberius.  Then in 1099, during the Crusades, the Jewish Community, of, Jerusalem didn't have any other choice but to give it to the Jewish community of Egypt.

Here at the time is when Maimonides did his scholarly work. After he used the book, it was described as the most trusted book for Jewish scholars.  From there one of  Maimonides (very important sage)descendants traveled to Syria, and was placed with the Jewish Aleppo community where it remained for almost 600 years.  In Aleppo, the codex was kept with double locks. Each one of the sexton's had a key. This meant both men had to be present to get access of the book. Many years before, the book had religious significance. But in later years the book has become a good luck charm, talisman, kept evil away, rather than the true meaning of the book.

After the UN's resolution which established the state of Israel there was rioting across the Middle East. The Great Synagogue of  of the Aleppo Jewish community in Syria was burned. It was thought the codex burned with it.  But many years later it was discovered the Aleppo Codex wasn't burned at all. Instead it miraculous turned up in a Aleppo Grotto, for safe keeping, by a very wealthy Jewish merchant.  For almost 10 years it did not resurface. 

The Jewish community of the Middle East was dwindling after the establishment of Israel. Was there still a need to hide the codex? The codex was priceless, and the Aleppo Jewish community was afraid that the Syrian government would try to steal it. Instead they told a lie to keep it from being confiscated.  During this time the great rabbi's of Aleppo wanted to hide it in Israel for safekeeping. They made plans to give it to a man that was immigrating to Israel. It was not suppose to go to the Jewish government, but the learned Rabbi's in Israel. 

This is where the story becomes murky. I am not going to go into the rest of the story. Because the book is a compelling read, that you want to keep turning the pages. Who does the book truly belong to? Who owns Jewish history? Did some of the Aleppo Jewish community take it with them to NYC? Or does a antiquities dealer have it? Why won't he come forward? These are questions that Matti Friedman wants you to consider.  

They mystery is never answered, but it gives you insight, and leads you to do your own research. There are a few articles out there about the disappearance, and reappearance of the Aleppo Codex. There are a few good articles written after the book that gives you an update.  Also a video, from the Dallas JCC where he discusses the reason why he wrote the book. 

If you read the book, here is the followup after the book was published by the author:

Here is the author at JCC in Texas

I enjoyed reading Aleppo Codex it is very informative. not just for the enjoyment of reading. But learning about the Codex. The book This is a very important book. Because before reading it, I never heard about it. The book is full of conspiracy, mystery, thieves, politicians, crooked antiquities dealers, Hasidic learned men. Who is the true thief, and where did it go?

 It takes you from Tiberius, to Egypt, Israel, and even Brooklyn, NYC.. People you wouldn't think wouldn't be have any dealing with this.  But, when it has to do with sacred text, and valuable items for exchange of money. everyone comes out of the wood work don't they? 

The Aleppo Codex is in Israel, at the Shrine of the book. It also is housed with the Dead Sea Scrolls. 

The Codex isn't entirely exhibited. It only shows four pages, and the rest is held in another part of the museum, for safe keeping.  

I give it five teacups!!!! 
Nothing since The Golem and the Jinni has been as good.
I would like to thank the Jewish community of Aleppo for protecting the Codex.  I would also like to thank Matti Friedman for writing this important book for the Jewish community. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review on the Best Comfort Shoe

I don't usually promote something like this. But, I have to tell you that Jambu shoes are wonderful. They have done right by me. In the last few years, I have had medical issues with my back, hips, and my feet without resolution. I am going to have to give you background information leading up to this post.

 I have gone to doctors, orthopedics, podiatrists. Nothing seemed to help the pain I was in. I had bought Sketchers, for work. I later learned that was the worst thing for my feet and hips.  But, of course no one tells you that you are suppose only wear them for a couple hours.

I was having trouble getting out of my car, and into my car.  By the way, I was only in my early 50's. At the time I thought this was normal getting older. But, later learned this is not the case. 

My hips were hurting me. I did not know why. Then most recently I was in a car accident. I didn't know if this exacerbated the problem. Before the accident.   I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  There isn't any definitive test, but just assumptions.  

I went to a podiatrist who told me the best thing is orthotics. Not everyone is the same. I tried it for two years. Then finally realized my feet felt alot better without them in my shoes.  I  did some research on my own online about shoes.  I looked at so many shoes, I had to get rid of all my beautiful high heels, and chic shoes and now, to go with comfort. But, you can find cute shoes that are comfortable, that do have style. Just not the sophisticated shoe I used to wear.
Now, this past year I tried so many shoes, between Naot's, Sketchers,Orthoheels,,New Balance, sneakers, and then it was getting so ridiculous looking at shoes with the gimicks. Shoes with springs.

I then saw a pair of Jambu shoes, I was skeptical. How can a pair of shoes like these have good support. Believe me, they do. They don't look like they would hold up. But they do. I work nine hours a day at Walmart, and they hold up. I don't like spending alot on shoes. But, my Grandtmother used to tell me, shoes are the most important thing. Clothes don't give you comfort, they give you style. But, shoes are the most important. 

Now, the shoes are very flexible and you would wear them to the beach. They have alot of cushion that you feel like you are walking on air.  Here are the shoes I bought last year. Believe it they hold up. I was just diagnosed with Congentive Disc Disease. With severe back pain at times at work, getting in the car, out of the car. I still have the problems, but less severe.   I then last week bought a Jambu, sandal I just love them.  Both of them are so comfortable. 

I am not suggesting you to go out and buy them right away. Not every shoe is right for each person with the same back and feet problems. I should know, I went through alot trying to find a good pair of shoes.  

One other thing, I would like to suggest, are socks. I bought socks from Dr. Scholl's, Health Strides Tri-Zone. They are terrific. They are for working feet. I never thought they would do anything. But, boy with my Asic sneakers that I also bought recenty for my feet problems they are a good combination.

 The socks I bought from Walmart. But, unfortunately they don't sell them there anymore. But, you can buy them on Amazon. They are a bit more. But, it is worth it.  One other thing if you don't know this you can get deep discounts at Amazon when you buy online. You just have to keep watching. 

Both these shoes were priced at $100. I just waited it out till the price dropped. Both of them I saved quite a bit. The other shoes that I bought recently are Dansko's and Clark's both sandals. I love these shoes. But, like I said before each person is different. So go to the shoe store and check first before buying. I am not a doctor. I am a retired nurse. This is my personal taste. I am so glad I found my Jambu's. I just bought another kind yesterday, and plan on buying one one more pair. I can't rave enough about them.  I hope I have helped someone. There are shoes out there for everyone. Don't give up hope, You just have to be patient. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Girls of Atomic City: Book Club and Review

The Girls of Atomic City
By Denise Kiernan

Do you remember the pictures and signs during the war, of Rosie the Riveter? Do you know who Rosie, the Riveter is?

My grandmother was one of those ladies at the factory, and in the navy yards in Boston. Like many she helped and contributed for the war effort. She made the planes in the navy yards in Boston. That is my story, but posted below is another forgotten story that was kept secret till after the war.

Before World War two, the town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee didn't exist. But then a secret was going on in this no name town.  Mostly women, of 75,000, were been recruited for this special work to help the war effort. No one had idea what the secret was except unless you were higher up in the government.

The girls had no idea what kind of work it was. All they knew was what they were doing at the moment.  No one was to speak about anything among the four walls. If you know anything about the Manhattan project, and Oppenheimer, and Hiroshima Japan,  you don't know everything. You will learn more about the project. I did my own research and found a interesting video from the history channel talking about Oak Ridge.

 Most people think everything happened in New Mexico. Not true. It started actually in Chicago, then moved to New York City, then to Oak Ridge Tennessee, and then to New Mexico.  Most women still to this day, if they had anything to do with this project. Don't have any idea what they contributed, and what they did for the war effort.

The true events happened during and at the end the war. and The race to build the first atomic bomb.  These women were factory worker, chemists, engineers, etc.  You have to realize the time when this happened. Women were not allowed to advance themselves to be chemists, engineers, doctor's etc. Most of the women during that time had to pick another field if they were well educated. But, during WW2, The war changed everything. Women were finally allowed to work out of their homes, wear pants, etc. The men were in Europe fighting the war. That left the women at the home front to work.

This project had so many different aspects to talk about, social emotional, religious, politics.There was segregation among the Afro- Americans. They could not sleep in the same hut. There were experiments being conducted on a few Afro-American. These kinds of experiments would not happen now in 2014. There were  experiments that were conducted on a few black men for the sake of science. They introduced radiation in their system, No questions asked. The patients had no idea. Just like, Henrietta Lacks.  They got away with it.

  My favorite part of the book was the history of the start of the atomic bomb. How they split the atoms to make the atomic bomb, by the way a Jewish woman was involved. But even at the end she did not get recognition for it.  The part that was intriguing was how these women learned what they did after the bombing of Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, and their reaction. How do you think you would feel about the secret?? Can you imagine the shock and disbelieve about Hiroshima. Some of them felt guilt, shame, others were happy, because it was the end of the war.

 Some of them to this day still don't know what part they played in history. Can you imagine your supervisor telling you to do something, but you don't know rhym or reason.  I would be fired off the spot. I know my self, I would want to know why. I would be asking my co-workers why. I would not make it too far. The women were suppose to not allow the counter to go up a certain point. There was a competition against the women, vs. the scientists, the women won.

The social aspect was interesting in the town. Many women and men got together. They had dances. The dating and the competition of the women to get a man. There was a woman so bored, she stole the pipes that were made, and turned it into a frying pan to make biscuits. She  started a little business going on with out the higher ups knowing about it.

 Some women's lives changed after the war when the men came back. They continued to work out side the home. But, many women decided they still liked taking care of their husband's and children. But, this did open up more opportunities for women.   These women's lives changed for ever after the war.

But the biggest thing was how did these people kept a secret? You weren't allowed to  share conversation even with your co workers. There were signs everywhere, Big brother is watching.

  Now with the age of computers do you really think it would be kept, hush, hush. With Facebook and other social networks. I don't think so. I think it would have leaked out. Anyone would tell for the right price.

 Below is the documentary of Oak Ridge Tennessee. I have part one of three posted. You can see the other two on youtube. It is worth seeing while reading the book.

             A couple of the girls dressed up for the occasion as Rosie, the Riverter.


         I recommend Girls of Atomic City if you are a history buff, and love to hear of women in strength. It is a great read for book club with great discussion. You won't believe what comes up after reading this. This is one of our best discussions we have had in a great while.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go To Sleep
By S. J. Watson
Harper Collins Publishing

I had this book sitting on my pile since the novel came out. I didn't know what to expect. I heard it was coming out as a movie for quite some time. But, I didn't watch the trailer. So, I just went for the ride.  Before I Sleep, takes place in Birmingham, England. The story open with Christine waking up to a strange man in her bed. Going to the bathroom and in horror, thinking she is a younger woman.  Which is not true, she is almost 50.  She has amnesia and can't recall anything each morning. When she wakes up, she has to go through the same stressful routine, who is the man lying next to her each morning? . She doesn't remember a thing, day to day.  She has to write in a journal to recall what happened the day before. Kind of reminds me of what happened in the movie, if you recall Groundhog's Day.  The character keeps reliving the day over and over again.
 When she flips through the pages in the beginning of the book,
                             she wrote," Don't Trust Ben"
As she goes through her day, she doesn't recall anything. She has to trust others to tell her, her past. She constantly has to ask Ben, over and over each day questions about her past. She has to constantly write in her journal to remember her past. What happens if she can't remember what she has done to her journal. Where is it, her Doctor has to remind her where she put it.

 I don't know if I can live with that, day in and day out. To repeat it again, and again. It can be repetitive and I would imagine frustrating to a point of madness to her caretaker.

In the meantime she is secretly seeing a psychologist to help her shift through her life. She has to trust him, as there are only a few people she can trust beside Dr. Nash.  She learns what has happened in her life.  She believes wholeheartedly what each person tells her. She has nothing to tell her otherwise.  As the story unfold 1) she learns she was attacked
2) She has a husband Ben
3) There was a fire
4) Adam was killed in Afghanistan
5) Her friend Claire, is in New Zealand

*************WARNING SPOILER ALERT*************

But all these things are battling with her memories.  She keeps having flashbacks that don't make sense. She relives, not a car accident, but an assault with a man in a hotel room.  Her friend, Claire is not living in New Zealand but close by. Why is her husband telling her all these lies? They don't seem to add up. Can you trust the man you love wholeheartedly, should you trust and question your own instincts? She meets up with her friend Claire. Claire asks her questions about Ben, to her the things that Christine knows, doesn't add up to her. What happens if she can't recall where she left her journal? Then she realizes the pages in the journal are missing? What happened with that part of her life?

She doesn't trust the psychologist. She asks Dr. Nash,  why did you tell me something that wasn't true?   He himself can only go, by what he knows to be true, by her or so called, Ben. Who we think is her husband? At the end of the book, Ben takes her to a hotel. Why has he taken her to a run down flea whole hotel? It is filthy? Why if he is a architect, why is he teaching at a school? Or someone disguising himself? What happened to her husband? What happened to her son? Was he really killed in Afghanistan?  These are the things that kept me turning the pages, and kept me intrigued to the wee hours of the morning. There is so much you will learn, twists and turns, edge of your seat. It took me by surprise.  But, the last part was getting a bit dragged out. It was getting a bit boring for me.  But, I still loved the story. The story got me hooked from the first page. This is a great summer/beach read.  Some people have read this book take it seriously.  I didn't, I just went with it. It reminded me of Gone Girl, not the hype, but the suspense.

Our book club was suppose to meet in July, but unfortunately we did not meet. All our members that read the book, expressed that they still want to discuss the book at the next meeting with our other book.  Everyone of us, loved it and can't wait to go see the movie, with Nicole Kidman.  I myself, don't think I want to go through that again.  After swallowing and engrossing myself in the book.

 It made me wonder, what women or men that were married, what did they think about their spouses after the very last page, LOL!!! What did they think? If they were in bed reading, did they inch away slowly and take a deep breath? Take a few minutes away from their spouses to take a deep breath and think? Do I know my husband? Makes ya wonder doesn't it?  The other thing I had to keep thinking, I don't know why. To remember the story takes place in England not the states. I don't know why, I don't think it would have mattered one way or another. It would have played well in the States as well as Britain.

For more background information, I will leave you with my favorite British book club, Richard and Judy.

The writing style was not a literary work, the book will connect with the ordinary reader.  To the likes of John Grisham and such main stream reads.

The only thing, I was trying to figure it out. I know I am going to spoil it for you. But, I was trying to figure out, did this only happen in a span of a couple of weeks? Or did this happen in the span of years?  I know I am being vague, but if I ask the real point question. I will ruin the suspense for everyone. If anyone has read the book, will understand what I am asking. I would love for someone that has read the book explain to me and leave your comment.

My overall rating:

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Monday, August 11, 2014

38th Ave. Diva Book Club: Art forger

I already did my review on the Art Forger. I am going to post our book club thoughts on the novel. Some members liked it, some didn't. One member told us she thought it was too detailed.

For me I enjoyed reading about the history of the Gardner Museum, the heist, the artist, the process of the artist, and the process of forgeries. I never thought, and most of us thought the same thing. We didn't realize the process. But, now that we thought about it. It makes sense. To make a forgery, you need to make the canvas and the paint look old.   Most of us thought about what is really hanging at the museums? Are they really the real masterpiece? Is it a forgery? Even the experts can be fooled.  Can we deceive? or is it real?

For the first time, I did something different for the book club. I never thought about doing this. Doing a powerpoint presentation. This won't work for every book club. But, if for instance the history, the art pieces, the museum. It was wonderful, I thought. It had videos, pix, etc.  He is a screen glimpse of my power point.
I can pat myself on the back. I thought it was pretty amazing. Never thought doing this, until I started doing powerpoint and it gave me the idea.  This is a great idea for book clubs, if anyone is good with computers. This will enhance your book club meeting. I wouldn't do it all the time. But, when there is alot of historical background information.  This is great. I am sorry I did not think of this sooner.

On a sad note, the art gallery that I mentioned before at a previous post is closing. I am so sad to hear about anything that is cultural in Myrtle Beach, is closing. I am a northerner, and  used to cultural events. But, down south, especially in the smaller towns, like Myrtle Beach. There are some event, but most are amateurs.

Oh well, I will have to make my own, like I alway do.

Keep reading, until next month stay tuned. We are reading a novel, by Charles Todd.  A mother and son pen their mysteries.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Susan Cohen and Gracie's Hope

I am posting this to get the word out about a fundraiser my friend is doing.
The organization is called, Gracie's Hope.  I have posted about Susan's daughter previously. But to refresh your memory, I will give you the short tail of it.

Abbey a few years ago, gave birth to triplets in LA but then a complication happened. Abbey, became paralyzed. Her parents, Paul and Susan, brought Abbie back from California to Myrtle Beach, SC and took  over her care.

Since then Susan has been an advocate for her daughter's care. She is doing a fundraiser next month to bring Gracie's Hope to Myrtle Beach.  The treatment not  only will help Abbie but others like Abbie.

 The care center will help veterans that have suffered from weapon injuries, it will help people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and many other brain injuries.

The reason Susan is fundraising to bring the care center to Myrtle Beach, it is a far drive to Huntersville, NC. It is costly to the families, not many private insurance companies will allow for the treatments. There are many treatments before it can take affect. Gracie's Hope offers grants to families  that can't afford it. It will help many people that have brain injuries and genetic brain disorders.

The treatment is called, Hyperbaric Oxygen  Therapy.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is simply an intermittent, short-term, high dose oxygen inhalation therapy. HBOT is an AMA recognized medical treatment which enhances the body’s natural healing process by inhalation of 100% oxygen in a total body chamber where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. It is used for a wide variety of treatments usually as part of an overall medical care plan. The oxygen level in the patient’s blood-stream is raised many times above normal, which helps control infections and promote healing in many kinds of illness or injury.

What conditions are being treated?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has helped thousands of people with conditions such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis and other brain disorders. By delivering high levels of oxygen under pressure, hypoxic tissue can be restored allowing healing to take place. Since hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not an FDA approved treatment for neurological conditions, most insurance companies do not cover HBOT treatment costs. As a result there are very few centers and physicians that provide this therapy.

G-d willing Gracie's Hope will be coming to Myrtle Beach in September. 

Susan, and Gracie's Hope are having a fundraiser next month. If you are unable to attend you can give a donation. The address is listed on the flyer below:

Changing the World...One Breath at a Time

The local inaugural fundraising dinner for Gracie's Hope, a 501(c)(3) organization operating Healing Centers that provide hyperbaric treatments, other therapies, counseling and additional services to special needs children and adults, including our veterans will be held on

August 12
The Surf Golf and Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach
Please join us for dinner, followed by a short preview screening of the award-winning documentary, "Halfway Home."  This film features our guest speaker, SSG Tommy Rieman.  This documentary shows first hand that the toll of war extends far beyond the battlefield.  Additionally, Gracie's Hope Director, Eric Sutton, will share the story of Gracie's Hope and the extraordinary success of hyperbarics with our special children and our nation's heroes.

Tickets are now available by contacting Susan Cohen, local fundraising chair, at
scohen5710@gmail.com or calling 843-361-1006

You may make your reservations at one of the following levels:

$250.00 includes a private reception at 5pm, followed by dinner, video presentation and dessert buffet
($190.00 is tax deductible)
$100.00 includes dinner at 6pm, video presentation and dessert buffet
($40.00 is tax deductible)
$20.00 includes video presentation and dessert buffet at 7:15pm,
($5.00 is tax deductible)

Tables of eight (8) reservations are available for $2000

The evening also includes a Chinese Raffle
with lovely prizes donated by local businesses and individuals

Your support in helping to bring Gracie's Hope to North Myrtle Beach
will enable many families to find comfort, hope and an improved quality of life for their loved ones.
 For more information and our mission statement, please go to

Please contact Mrs. Cohen as noted above
  Michael D. Peters, M.D.
                                                                                             Gulf War Veteran
                                                                       Gracie’s Hope National Medical Director
Gracie’s Hope North Myrtle Beach Medical Director

Please pass the word on to anybody interested in helping support our cause or any individuals who may benefit from treatments.     

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Art Theft of the Century: The Art Forger

The Art Forger
By B. A. Shapiro

The Art forger is worth a read if you are a art enthusiast,  love a mystery, and love books that send subtle messages without your realizing it.  Looking underneath the layers, does it tell us anything?

This is the second novel that I read about art, one after the other. Each one is different then the next. Love and Treasures was about lost art post war Hungary.  The Art Forger is about a famous art heist that took place during the 1990's in Boston at the Isabella Gardner Museum.

The Art Forger takes place in present day Boston. Claire Roth is an artist.  But because of a scandal years ago she only can resort to copying art for a .com art company.  The book goes back and forth in time between her present life, and the scandal that caused her reputation as an artist to plummet.

Claire was approached by a famous art dealer, Aiden Markel to paint, and copy the painting of Degas's masterpiece" After the Bath"( Degas never made a painting called, After the Bath, but has made pieces)

Aiden brought her a copy of, "After the Bath". Kate begins drawing, and copying the art work. But each time she starts working on the piece she becomes more suspicious than the last time she saw it.  She begins to think, this is not a copy like Aiden Markel said, but it is the original.  "But how did he acquire it?"

Then someone by the name of, Patel is arrested for the art forgery of, After the Bath. Did her really do it. Which picture does Claire have? is it a forgery? or is it the real masterpiece of Degas?

We learn about the techniques a forger uses to make a forgery look, and appear like the real thing.  I did not realize there was a technique to use to make a painting appear older than it looks, or even how to make the colors and textures close to the real thing to make it appear to be the original. Personally, I didn't think about it.

 I thought the person just paints the picture. I didn't think there was a process.  But, there are many people out there, or are dead now that fooled many people.  Even to this day, there is speculation of the Mona Lisa, is it real, or is it a forgery that is hanging at the Louvre, in Paris. There is also a famous forger that copied Vameer.

 Between all this we learn about Isabella Gardner, a prominent patron of the arts.  How she acquired Degas's masterpieces.  Were they truly friends? Or just an imaginary thought by the author?   The author, B. A. Shapiro plays with her imagination by drawing on her imagination of a imaginary friendship of Degas and Isabella Gardner.  In the novel, Degas and Gardner became friends while she was acquiring his art work. He made a scandalous picture of her called, After the Bath.

Of course, through all this there has to be a underlying story about the famous art heist( if you visit the link you will see all the art pieces from the heist).  in 1990 at the Gardner Museum.  I was amazed, and surprised what the museum looked like. From the outside, it doesn't look like anything but a ordinary building.

 But, inside it is gorgeous. With the beautiful courtyard, and beautiful antiques.  The art heist may have happened because it was not well guarded. No one would ever think this building would house such famous masterpieces compared to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC  Unless you visited often and knew what you were looking for.   The stolen art pieces that were displayed are honored to this day with empty frames waiting for their return.  Recently as last year, the FBI now knows who has taken the art work. But, their names are not revealed to protect the investigation.

There were 13 masterpieces that were stolen, Yes, I said thirteen. Can you imagine. 
They are so gorgeous.

This one is called" The Concert" by the artist, Vermeer. This piece was the first piece acquired by Isabella Gardner.

My Thoughts: A few years ago, the Art Forger was featured on Bookreporter website from the BEA in NYC.  Why, you must wonder why it took me this long to read this? Good question! I knew this novel would be a good one. I hate to read a book that I know I am going to love. Once I read it, experience it, it will be gone.  I know stupid, but that is my thought process.  

 Our book club is reading this one for next month. I will follow up with our book club post as soon as we have our meeting  I enjoyed reading, The Art Forger.

 It is a smart, escape book that makes you think at the same time.  The novel is multi-layered with such imagination.  If you like a novel that is different, like I said before and you like art, and a bit of mystery, and wonder what is beneath the cover( painting) than this novel is for you.  You won't believe who actually did it!!!( in the novel, not in real life). But, the only thing the ending was a let down. 

 After reading the novel I did my own research on the many topics, and themes in the book.  Who should acquire the masterpieces?". Since it is a part of history should they be privately owned, or should the be exhibited and displayed for public view in the museums around the world?".  You are also probably wondering why are the famous work of art so valuable, and to whom?

My thoughts about that is the statutes of limitation runs out after a certain amount of time. For the Gardner Heist it is already reached. Nothing can be done to them. At this point most people don't care about the criminals. They, like me just want to see the pieces back where they belong, safe and sound.  Most likely some of the pictures are destroyed or damaged. The thieves don't realize there are precautions that should be taken  to protect these very old masterpieces.  We may never see these pictures again. That is what is so sad. Some people are hopeful they will surprise us one day, when we least expect it and resurface after a couple of generations after the publicity has died down. Most of the criminals don't even realize what they have. From the Gardner heist most of them have already died. 

My book club happens to be reading this for our upcoming book club in August. I will post my thoughts soon about that here as well. 

I loved it! 

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World Book Night Suspends Operations

 I just learned the World Book Night is suspending their operations. So, sad but I wasn't surprised. It was very ex

Spreading the Love of Reading,
Person to Person
Dear World Book Night U.S. friend,

After three years in which thousands and thousands of you distributed over a million and half specially-printed World Book Night paperbacks across America, we are sad to announce that we are suspending operations. The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, shippers--and you, our amazing givers!--are too high to sustain.

This has been a remarkable, passionate undertaking, and it has been a success by all measures, except for one: Outside funding. For three years, the publishing industry and book community have very generously footed the bill and contributed enormous time and effort, and we are so very grateful for all the support.

We did receive some funds via individual donations, and we worked very hard to get grants. We did get some, but there are a lot of other worthy causes out there and only so much money available. We can't carry on without significant, sustainable outside funding.

From World Book Night U.S. Board Chairman Michael Pietsch: "World Book Night's first three years have been a profound experience for everyone involved. The altruistic spirit of the givers and of industry supporters have reminded us all of the transformative impact books have on people's lives, and of the power of a book as a gift. The World Book Night Board joins me in extending their deep gratitude to all who have taken part."

WBN U.S. Exec Director Carl Lennertz added: "Some of you know our names here, but I want to be sure you know these--Laura Peraza and Carolyn Schwartz. They have been here since day one, and they, along with you, are my heroes. Alia Almeida joined us this year and was a creative force. A list of all the booksellers, librarians, authors, and folks in publishing and at Ingram would be too long to include here, but they know who they are and I know they have loved being a part of this beautiful thing we did together."

We are staying on hand through the summer without pay to maintain social media contact with you all, to talk good books, and to announce the winner of the giver essay contest.

YOU, the givers, made it possible for WBN to reach its full potential. For us here at World Book Night, this experience has been life-changing, as we hope it has been for you and recipients of the books. Our gratitude to you is simply immeasurable.

With much love, appreciation, and admiration, thank you!
Team WBN U.S
pensive even with the large supporters. Just think of the cost of shipping and advertising cost.
After three years which thousands of volunteer givers distributed over a million and ha half world book night paperbacks across America, we have to suspend operations. The expenses of running World Book Night U.S. even given a significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, givers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributor, and shippers, are too high to sustain without additional funding. 

I was involved twice for WBN. The first time I  was involved I did not have as fun as the second time. I think the first time I did not know what I was doing.  I had thought to do it at my job, where I work. The second time I ventured out and thought outside the box.  The best time I did it, was at the beach. I loved the expression of people's faces when I approached them. Probably thinking what is a stranger coming to me for.  These are strange times we live in. Most people don't approach people on a beach unless you know them. So the look on their faces were priceless.

I would like to thank World Book Night, because I doubt that day will forgotten. I would like to thank you for the experience of being involved in this venture.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Love and Treasure Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

Love and Treasure
By Ayelet Waldman
Publsished by Knopf 

I am so happy I was given the opportunity to read Love and Treasures. I would like to thank Amy from, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for asking me to host.  I am so honored with this wonderful book.
Thank You Amy! :) 

  I learned about this novel months ago by the Jewish Book Council.  I contacted the publishers with great excitement. Asking if they would like to participate in donating a few copies for our Jewish Night Out with Rabbi Debbie. They gladly gave us a few copies.

But then, Amy also helped me out, because I didn't receive them.  She asked if I would like to review.  Of course, she didn't have to break my leg or anything. I have always wanted to read Ayelet Waldman's work.  I have not read any of her novels.  But, this one sounded so interesting and something I did not know anything about.  It is rich in history and detail I couldn't pass it up.  But also, it may be a book that we will pick for our Jewish Grand Strand Reads which will be decided on in August.

This is one book I want to do justice to. After I finished it I had to absorb, digest and process my thoughts and then ponder it again. There is so many themes, and resources on the internet. After you read the novel, if you are like me you want to do your own research.

From the book Jacket: A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes. Ayelet Waldman's Love and Treasures weaves a tale around the fascinating true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War.

Love and Treasures are three inter-related stories. From the beginning of the novel at present day.  Her grandfather, Jack served in the military during WW2. Natalie came to visit her grandfather. Natalie, is visiting since her marriage is in shambles anyway.  On his last few days before he dies he wants Natalie to make a promise. He has something that he wants her to find the rightful owner of a piece of Jewelry that he has kept in his possession since the war.  He doesn't care if she gives it to the rightful original owner. He just wants her to give it back to the family, someone that is still alive.

We then turn back the clock to Salzburg, Hungary in 1945. The short history lesson is here, or you can read the longer version here. I will just warn you it is extensive. Jack, a Jewish American soldier. He is guarding the train. Because what is inside is very valuable. Millions of stolen contraband and treasures are stolen from the holocaust prisoners. It is not junk, but watches, jewels, fur coats, wedding bands, expensive family heirlooms that are stolen and put on this train to Hungary

Jack meets a red headed beauty named, Ilona and falls deeply in love with her. She is a holocaust survivor. She is starving, with clothing tattered, but she is still a raving beauty. He feels responsibility for her. Jack tells Ilona about the contraband.  He shows her the necklace of the peacock. He thinks this will win her over.

The United States officers start helping themselves of the linens, towels, dishes, furs, silverware, silver frames, painting, and expensive jewels, that have been confiscated.  But, what can he do. So, instead he helps himself too to it.
Ilona invites Jack to the party. He meets organizers that are taking survivors over to the Italian alps to Palestine. But, he doesn't trust them.  The Mossad( which is not the entire name, it is not connected to the Jewish secret police). They are a group trying to get the Jewish survivors over the Italian alps, Iliona leaves him, instead she goes with the group to Palestine. They never see each other again.

Part 2,  brings us back to present day. After Jack dies Natalie searches out for a art dealer that will help her find out about the Peacock necklace and bring her to the owner of the necklace. But the art dealer, Amatai,  is a shady, Israeli art dealer. The art dealer recognizes the necklace and thinks it is the same necklace from a  famous painting he has seen.

The third part of the book is about Nina and a psychoanalyst named, you guessed it Freud. It takes place in Budapest, 1913.   Nina's father had thought she was having a medical condition called hysteria. All caused because of her ideas of women's suffrage. He thought it was interconnected with her menstrual cycle. This was the original owner of the necklace.Then we have a young girl back in 1913, and her father has her seen a psychoanalyst by the name, you guessed it, Freud.  This part of the story deals with dwarfism and Mengele.  It is a very interesting interlocking story how the three stories finally connect.

At first, when I was reading the third part of the story I thought this was far fetched. But after reading and pondering about it. I thought how original. I did read other people's take on this part. Some people liked it, others didn't.  But I did.

My Thoughts, I loved Love and Treasures. It is thick in history and very multi-layered. There is so much information. But still the story works.  While reading Love and Treasures I did a lot of research on my own. I found so many resources about this time period.  There were many events and government legalities that were going on.

The story is not heavy handed in atrocities during the holocaust.  There has been too many books written about the holocaust that unfortunately too much has caused people to shy away from it. But this book, Love and Treasures doesn't make it heavy handed

.I enjoyed her writing style, and her prose. The story is very different how it develops. By the third part you may have a hard time dealing with it.  Many people I saw said that didn't like the third part, and what was the point.

There is so much history and background information why the Hungarian Gold Train is important to the United States, to the Jews, and even to holocaust survivors that are trying to escape through the Italian Alps to Palestine( Israel).

I am still trying to decide if this will be contention in the Jewish Grand Strand Reads. Or if it would do better in one of my two book clubs.  The last book I felt this way was Golem and the Jinni. That one was also rich in history, and character.  There is controversy in this story as well.  The United States stationed in Hungary stole millions of dollars of riches, and contraband.  They wanted all the comforts of home where they were stationed.  They needed towels, blankets, dishes, silverware.  So where do you think they got it, of course the Hungarian Gold Train.  There was a settlement a few years ago in the United States ruling of what restitution will result.

If you like historical fiction, and you are Jewish you most likely will love it. But, even if you are not Jewish the writing is wonderful, and beautifully written.

I also want to share with you a conversation that I found on youtube with her at the Strand Book Store.

About the Author

Ayelet Waldman is the author of the newly released Love and Treasure (Knopf, January 2014), Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her radio commentaries have appeared on “All Things Considered” and “The California Report.”
For more information please visit Ayelet’s website. Her missives also appear on Facebook and Twitter.
Her books are published throughout the world, in countries as disparate as England and Thailand, the Netherlands and China, Russia and Israel, Korea and Italy.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 27
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Wednesday, May 28
Guest Post at Passion for Novels
Thursday, May 29
Review at Mari Reads
Friday, May 30
Review at She Reads Novels
Review at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Monday, June 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, June 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, June 4
Review at Seaside Book Corner
Thursday, June 5
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Friday, June 6
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Monday, June 9
Review at Closed the Cover
Tuesday, June 10
Interview at Closed the Cover
Wednesday, June 11
Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, June 13
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, June 16
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, June 18
Review at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, June 19
Review at Book Nerd
Friday, June 20
Review at Curling Up with a Good Book
Monday, June 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, June 24
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Wednesday, June 25
Review at Lit Nerd
Thursday, June 26
Review at The Little Reader Library
Friday, June 27
Review at Man of la Book
Monday, June 30
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Layered Pages
Tuesday, July 1
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, July 2
Review at From L.A. to LA
Review at Mina’s Bookshelf
Thursday, July 3
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews