My Books

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Molly Hacker is Too Picky - Is she really? Fun, witty, and insightful



As so many of Lisette Brodey’s fans, I “met” Molly Hacker on her blog and was very curious to “connect” with her again in the novel. She is quite a character, witty, spunky, and a good sport. However, when it comes to finding Mr. Right, she has to overcome quite a few obstacles: her own somewhat confused ideas and feelings about love, her well-meaning but somewhat pushy friends, an important woman (the she-devil) in the media industry who is out to sabotage her.

To say that the book is entertaining is an understatement. It is a real page-turner, devilishly funny, engaging, and sensitive. It deals in an insightful way with problems of love, friendships, and relationships we all struggle with sometimes. And it gives us a fascinating, tongue-in-cheek picture of the world of journalism and the media.

Molly for all her blunders is someone you just have to like. All the characters are well-developed, vivid, and genuine. I particularly enjoyed the exchange between Molly and her best buddy, Randy. What a riot!

Another successful story by a very talented author!                  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where is home?

I live in two countries and that's exciting. By there is another side to it: the feeling of rootlessness and the longing for a permanent home.

Home

With Christmas looming once again
I drag gifts across town
board a plane heading for
what used to be home
always looking for that
     Hello dear
              so glad to see you

Old smells
the pulsing of familiar blood
some sense of lasting love
in a town of faces growing faint with time
friends scattered in Los Angeles
Zurich
            Oakland
Santa Fe

Baby boots kick
a happy squeal and quick kiss
eyes sparkle
     then languish

flexible
     fuzzy
           relationships

This aerodynamic tumbling
     leaves stretch-marks
in my heart

Here I am
still searching the earth
     for a home

(from Path of Fire)

Friday, December 23, 2011

How many times can you read the same book? Do I need a shrink?

I’m a book addict. Seriously. I have the same withdrawal symptoms drug addicts describe: I get depressed, nervous, jittery--you name it--if I don’t have a book to read, either on my bookshelf or on my Kindle. Ever since I got that wonderful reading device, I have been able to feed my addiction and hold the symptoms at bay more easily.

However, there are still times I all of a sudden realize that I AM OUT OF BOOKS, HELP! I just finished reading a book and realize that I have to find a new one. Fortunately, I have a “to be read” list on Goodreads--that’s a really nice feature. If you see a book you like but don’t want to buy it right away, you can put it on that list and access it any time with your computer. Or, my Kindle is in the process of being recharged, or I am somewhere else and don’t have it with me. Or, or, or--it happens. So what do I do?

I REREAD books.

Okay, I know lots of people reread books they really like, so what’s so unusual about it? Well, ahem, I reread books I like many times; we’re talking ten, twenty, thirty times and more. No kidding! That’s how serious my addiction is.

I just put back one of those books I reread I don’t know how many times back on the bookshelf. It’s a novel by Anita Brookner, Hotel Du Lac, a novel that takes place in Geneva, Switzerland. Anita Brookner is one those prolific more traditional British authors who write in different genres. Most of her novels deal with flawed human beings who struggle with love, identity, relationships--the stuff that novels have been made of since time immemorial. But she isn’t the only author whose books I keep rereading.

There are many books on my bookshelves I have gone through many times. Interestingly enough, I reread books on my brick-and-mortar bookshelves more often than those on my Kindle. I don’t know why. It may have to do with the fact that those physical books are more visible. I just grab one off the shelf and voila--the evening is saved.

Why do I reread the same books again and again? Of course, I have to like or love the book in the first place. But still, I mean I know the plot, I know exactly what happens. One reason is perhaps that I read books not just as a reader but also as a writer. Each time I read a book again, I discover something new: an image I hadn’t noticed before, an interesting sentence structure, etc. However, that’s only half the reason. I reread books even before I started to seriously write myself.

The only thing I can explain my book fetish is that fact that when I read, I leave this world and enter into the world the author creates for me. I travel to distant places, I slip into different personalities, I experience life through a different sensibility. I get totally absorbed in the book and this happens every time I read the book.

I guess it could be worse; I could be addicted to a more dangerous substance. The only drawback is the fact that I am also an author and have to write books, not just read them. And right now, I’m struggling with my writing and boy; it’s so much easier to read. So I indulge myself until my author voice hits me over the head and I throw the book away and pick up my writing pad. I struggle through a few pages, feel better, toss my pad and--yes, you guessed it--grab the book again.

Am I the only one afflicted with this “disease,” this book fetish? I hope not!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Microsoft, I am filing for divorce!

Microsoft, you betrayed me. We have been partners for a very long time. Back in the “good old days,” eons ago, my husband and I bought our first PC, an IBM with the DOS operating system and a whole 64 K of memory. Talk about slow. But I was so proud, typing away in my first word processing program. I think the only other thing on there was a spreadsheet. The screen was black and white, well actually green and white.

And then, you came along, actually a young nerdy whiz kid and slapped Windows on top of DOS and Microsoft was born. Well, that’s roughly how it was. You provided computers and software for the everyday Joe and Jane--like me. Now, you weren’t perfect, far from it. Your system was bumpy and buggy, but it did for me what it was supposed to do, most of the time.

I mean, nobody is perfect. There are bumps in every relationship, but I loved you with your mistakes. Until a few days ago that is, when you broke my heart. Yes, you did. Don’t look at me with your big blinking eyes as if you didn’t know.

You provided a very nice program suite in Windows Vista, called Microsoft Office Live Small Business or, for short MS OLSB. It contained all kinds of fun stuff, such as email AND a nifty tool to create a website--and it was free. Nice and very generous of you!

I’m an author and translator and I run a one-woman business with a very modest income. A website is a very important part of my business. So I spent hours and weeks creating and maintaining my website. I am still working at it, fine-tuning it, adding to it.

A few days ago, I logged onto OLSB and found out by accident that this tool was going to be discontinued in a couple of months and it would be replaced by a new version, Microsoft Office 365 and no longer would it be free but you had to pay a monthly fee to use it.

Okay, I thought. I guess the freebie was too good to be true. Now, I wouldn’t mind paying the modest fee you are planning to charge for an upgrade. It would still be a good deal. So, I read on and then my world collapsed. Yes, Microsoft, you almost gave me a heart attack.

There it says: the website I had invested so much time and effort to create would be DELETED! And I would have to save all my documents and pictures and copy and paste the whole thing over to the new version. Huh? Are you freakin kidding me? Aren’t you the number one software developer in the whole darn world? You’re trying to tell me you can’t have a procedure to migrate the websites we created automatically to the new system? What? Are you stupid?

I don’t think so. You are far too experienced NOT to have the capability to do that. I think the reason is that you don’t give a hoot about your clients. Why should you care about us? After all SMALL business says it all, doesn’t it? We are too small and unimportant for you. Customer service for the little guys? What for?

I tell you why you should care. I read the many comments on the forum of loyal customers just like me who are irate and disgusted and can’t believe what’s happening. Many of them, including me, are looking for other website creation tools and hosting companies. I am in the process of recreating my website in another program--I am using the Expand2Web SmallBiz Theme from WordPress and I signed up with a different hosting company. And I tell you one thing; the customer support from these guys so far has been splendid. I call Bluehost.com (thanks, Scott Nicholson, for recommending it!) and within seconds I get a real life person in the U.S. on the phone, helping me out.

You know, Microsoft, you’re huge and perhaps you’re too big to care for small fries like me. However, in today’s tough competition in the software and web industry, where comparable programs and systems compete furiously, the one distinguishing factor between the companies is CUSTOMER SERVICE. Got it, Microsofty?

Well, back to my website design--without you, honey. I’m moving on, MS. Hasta la vista, hombre! Ciao, Adieu.