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    Jiang Zemin’s life and leadership sweep through almost eighty tumultuous years of Chinese history: Japanese occupation, Civil War, Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen Square, and, more recently, dramatic economic growth, tensions with Taiwan, and opportunities and confrontations with America. Jiang’s story is an epic of war, deprivation, revolution, political turmoil, social convulsion, economic reform, national transformation, and international resurgence. To Robert Lawrence Kuhn, a longtime China observer, understanding the legacy of Jiang Zemin is essential for understanding the challenges of contemporary China. By examining Jiang’s life, we observe the clash between China’s traditional culture and chaotic history, and we appreciate how its changes impact the entire world.

    In The Man Who Changed China, Kuhn, who was cited by the Asian Wall Street Journal for the “unprecedented access” he was given in the course of writing this book, has produced what the Journal called “probably the closest thing to an authorized biography that’s possible in Communist China.” Here a reader will find a complex and nuanced portrait of China’s senior leader, whose policies continue to exert great influence over the course of his country. Kuhn offers insight into how the Japanese occupation during Jiang’s teenage years imprinted his psyche for life, how he became a Communist, and how, decades later, he struggled to transform the Party in the face of withering criticism.

    In a sense, Kuhn argues, Jiang’s early skeptics got it right: He was a transitional figure—but not in the way they had meant. With unshakable if paternalistic vision, a lifelong love of Chinese civilization, and backroom political skills that no one had anticipated, Jiang Zemin became an unexpected agent of change, effecting the transition from a traumatized society to a confident, prosperous country rapidly ascending in the new world order. Kuhn shows how Jiang led China through an amazing metamorphosis—from a fretful country destabilized by the turmoil and crackdown in Tiananmen Square into a vibrant nation that became a primary engine of global economic growth. Above all Jiang is a Chinese patriot—and it is important to appreciate what that really means. In offering this unusually intimate and comprehensive personal and political biography, Kuhn demonstrates that Jiang Zemin’s life personifies the history of contemporary China, giving invaluable insight into what China is today and will become in the future.

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    Mary Elizabeth, The Spotless Cow

    About the book:
    The story of "Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow" takes us on the journey she travels to figure out how to get the cows at a new farm to like and accept her. 

    While she hopes to find friendship at her new home, instead she learns what it means to be different from everyone else. (Spotless!) Mary Elizabeth uses clever ideas and a sense of humor to help her on her quest for friends at the new farm.

    This inspiring tale shows how perseverance in spite of obstacles, using a sound thought process to arrive at solutions and the importance of having fun, using humor and enjoying playtime can build friendships.

    When you buy this book, 50% of net proceeds go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Program to make a difference in the lives of children with critical and life threatening illnesses.

    Once upon a time........there was a farm in Ohio with lots of Cows. They all had many spots to be proud of. One day a truck pulled into the farm. The back door opened and out came a new Cow. The other Cows were so excited to have a new friend!
    But as the new Cow came out of the truck the other Cows looked on in shock!!! "Oh My!’’ ’’What on Earth?!"
    It seems the new Cow, whose name was Mary Elizabeth, had no spots!
    ’’Where are your spots??!!’’ Demanded the Cow called Anna Belle. ’’I don’t have any spots. I was born spotless, you see.’’
    Well, Anna Belle and the other Cows were horrified.
    (Not mad, you had to be very careful about mad)
    Watch the trailer:
    Purchasing information: From now through December 31, 2013, you can purchase Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow from the Sweetles website for only $12.00 (List price: $17.99).
    When you buy this book, 50% of net proceeds go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Program. Visit more information.

    About the author:
    Sal Barbera
    Sal is the author and illustrator of “A Sweetles Dream”® book series. As the Creative Director for Hartman-Barbera llc, a family media& entertainment company, he is also an animator, sculptor, painter and all around fun guy. Sal lives the phrase: “A day without laughter is a wasted day”. To that end, he uses his writing, illustrating and animation skills to create endearing characters and comedic stories.
    Sal's sense of humor and empathy for his characters explore personal and social situations in ways that makes it enjoyable for both adults and children to experience together. Born in New York City, Sal moved to North Bergen, NJ where he grew up on a steep hillside neighborhood with his four older sisters. He currently lives in sunny Arizona with his wife and artistic partner, Sheri, who he defines as his inspiration. On any given day Sal might be painting, sculpting, drawing, animating, writing or enjoying one of his favorite pastimes: cooking, television, movies andgolf.
    Visit Sal Barbera’s website at

    Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow Virtual Book Tour Schedule

    October 1st
    Interview at Blogcritics
    October 2nd
    Book spotlight at The Writer’s Life
    October 3rd
    Book spotlight at As the Pages Turn
    October 4th
    Book review at Alicia Finn Noack
    October 7th
    Book spotlight at Literarily Speaking
    October 8th
    Book spotlight at Between the Covers
    October 9th
    Book spotlight at The Book Rack
    October 10th
    October 11th
    Guest post at Paperback Writer
    Book spotlight at Review from Here
    October 12th
    Book spotlight at 4 the Love of Books
    October 14th
    October 15th
    Book spotlight at Beyond the Books
    October 16th
    Book trailer reveal at If Books Could Talk
    Book spotlight at Broken Teepee
    October 17th
    Book review at Lynn’s Corner
    October 18th
    October 21st
    Book review at My Devotional Thoughts
    Book review at Deco My Heart
    October 22nd
    Book review at 4 the Love of Books
    October 23rd
    October 25th
    Book review at Mary’s Cup of Tea
    October 28th
    Book review at Thoughts in Progress
    October 30th
    Book review at Maureen’s Musings
    October 31st
    Book review at Blooming with Books
    November 4th
    Book spotlight and giveaway at Katie’s Clean Book Collection
    November 5th
    Book spotlight and giveaway at Book Marketing Buzz
    November 7th
    Interview at Story of a Writer
    November 8th
    Book spotlight and giveaway at Plug Your Book
    November 13th
    Interview at Broowaha
    November 18th
    Book spotlight and giveaway at Literal Exposure
    November 19th
    Book spotlight and book giveaway at The Busy Mom’s Daily
    November 20th
    November 21st
    Book spotlight at Putting Words Down on Paper
    November 22nd
    Book spotlight and giveaway at Library of Clean Reads
    November 25th
    Book spotlight and giveaway at A Mom After God’s Own Heart
    November 27th
    Book spotlight and giveaway at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection
    November 29th
    Interview at Bella Harts Books
    December 2nd
    Book spotlight at Bluebell Books
    December 3rd
    Book review at Nancy Stewart Books
    December 4th
    Book spotlight and giveaway at Ramblings of a SAHM
    December 5th
    Join the book discussion at PUYB Virtual Book Club
    December 9th
    Book review at Library of Clean Reads
    December 10th
    Interview at Examiner
    December 12th
    Book spotlight at Penny’s Tales
    December 13th
    Book review at This Little Book of Mine
    December 16th
    December 17th
    Book review at WV Stitcher
    December 23rd
    Book review at A Simple Life, Really?
    December 27th
    Book tour highlights at The Book Rack

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • 03/18/13--17:00: The Ides of March

  • The Ides of March

    Ever wonder where that saying comes from? Or what it means?

    Well dear fellow poetry readers today we are diverting from a standard poetry review and are going to talk about The Ides of March instead and when we are done you will forever know what it means.

    Then you can dazzle your friends with your exquisite knowledge of minutiae!

    Actually, we are not veering to far afield from our stated purpose here because Shakespeare did use this line in his play "Julius Caesar" and I am afraid I would have to give Shakespeare an excellent review as a poet and that would be so predictably boring wouldn't it?

    So here we go....

    Seems the Romans did not number days of a month sequentially from the first through the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st) of the following month.

    So never mind remembering all of that, lets just take the thought that "Ides" meant the middle of the month ok? OK!

     the Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julias Caesar  was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus (of Et tu, Brute? fame, but we will have to cover that at another time)  and Cassius, were involved.

     A a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, from whence comes the line when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

     The Death of Caesar (1798) by Vincenzo Camuccini

    So there is my over simplified explanation for this saying we all hear around this time of year.

    See you back here soon for another poetry review and as always keep reading and creating your own poetry!


    Info source: Wickipedia

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  • 04/01/13--17:44: Article 23
  • Hello fellow poetry lovers!

    The icy tentacles of winter are loosening their frigid grasp, no match for the gentle bursting buds and the swells of green popping out all over.

    Rebirth and renewal, life goes on

    and so do we here at Bluebell!

    Today I bring you a ground breaker.

      He is the first immigrant, the first Latino, the first openly gay person and the youngest person to be the U.S. inaugural poet.

    Richard Blanco

    I could have written about his 
    inaugural poem but that is readily 
    available if you want to look at it

    Instead I chose a less famous poem 
    that I found absolutely spell binding.

    His words create the picture and you feel as if you are right there touching the fruit and looking at the scene through his eyes. His writing style is profound and yet very conversational.

    here, see what you think:


    She scratches the oranges then smells the peel,
    presses an avocado just enough to judge its ripeness,
    polishes the Macintoshes searching for bruises.
    She selects with hands that have thickened, fingers
    that have swollen with history around the white gold
    of a wedding ring she now wears as a widow.
    Unlike the archived photos of young, slender digits
    captive around black and white orange blossoms,
    her spotted hands now reaching into the colors.
    I see all the folklore of her childhood, the fields,
    the fruit she once picked from the very tree,
    the wiry roots she pulled out of the very ground.
    And now, among the collapsed boxes of yuca,
    through crumbling pyramids of golden mangoes,
    she moves with the same instinct and skill.
    This is how she survives death and her son,
    on these humble duties that will never change,
    on those habits of living which keep a life a life.
    She holds up red grapes to ask me what I think,
    and what I think is this, a new poem about her--
    the grapes look like dusty rubies in her hands,
    what I say is this: they look sweet, very sweet. 

    Richard Blanco is the author of a book of poems, City of a Hundred Fires 

    Till next time lovely readers,


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    Voices of the Locusts
    Title: Voices of the Locusts
    Author: Ron Hutchison
    Genre: Young Adult
    Publisher: Create Space
    Format: Paperback and ebook
    Purchase at Amazon
    About Voices of the Locusts
    Sixteen-year old Jack O’Brien has never known the bittersweet stint of love, and romance is the farthest thing from his mind as he and his family arrives at a remote U.S. Air Force outpost in Japan where Jack’s father is base commander. The year is 1948. Jack’s life changes after a chance encounter with Fujiko Kobaysi, a beautiful and enchanting 17-year-old Japanese girl. Jack is immediately smitten.

    Fujiko’s traditional parents are overly protective and monitor her every move, and Jack and Fujiko meet secretly at her garden, located some distance from her village. There is a good reason why Fujiko’s parents are so protective and Jack is devastated when Fujiko tells him that her parents have promised her in marriage to an older man, a practice common throughout Asia at the time. The marriage is only a months away. Jack devises a cunning plan, one that will overshadow her arranged marriage and bring Fujiko and him together.
    Playing against a backdrop of swirling post-War social change, Voices of the Locusts tells the story of three families – one black, one white, one Asian. Told in Jack’s voice in vivid and sometimes haunting detail, Jack and Fujiko are frustrated in their romantic quest by story characters coming to terms (often violently) with the emotional scars of World War II. 

    Voices of the Locusts Book Excerpt
                A flutter of panic races through my body. It is instantly replaced by a sweep of joy, and a strange, unnatural lucidity overcomes me.
                Fujiko and I hesitate for what seems a small eternity, our eyes locked in a moment of mutual understanding. Finally, I lean in toward Fujiko and she leans in toward me. Our eyes close and our mouths touch in a whisper-soft kiss, a brief, gentle brush of lips.
                I pull back slowly, my heart racing, my head alive with all manner of strange, warm images. This must all be a dream. A wonderful, glorious dream. I don’t want to ever wake up.

    About Ron Hutchison
    Ron Hutchison began writing fiction full time after a long career in journalism and public relations. Voices of the Locusts is his fourth novel. A multi-genre author, Hutchison’s choice of novels to write is determined not by genre, but by the weight of the story. Hutchison graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist at newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. He was employed by a Fortune 100 company as a public relations executive, and later operated his own public relations agency. Hutchison attended high school in Japan, and much of his Voices of the Locusts is based on personal experience. Hutchison lives in Joplin, Missouri. 

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    Authors engage us with the spirit of their characters and it is always a pleasure when we get to enjoy those characters in the next novel. In the first novel, Next Year in Jerusalem: Romance, Mystery and Spiritual Awakenings Holstein introduces us to Maggie and Natalie as they embark on a vacation to Jerusalem. Holstein continues the drama in Part 2 in this Trilogy of Romance Books as Natalie and Maggie, best friends since college, find themselves steeped in the romance, mysticism and mystery of Jerusalem.

    The appearance of Jack, a diamond dealer and Natalie’s old boyfriend from college, creates incredible tension and arousal for Natalie. How can see keep her marriage intact? A new man mesmerizes Maggie also in her life: Raji from India.

    The mystery woman, Chaya Sarah, continues to share profound spiritual wisdom. Teaching Natalie the concept of ‘soul mate’ helps Natalie revive her marriage, at least for a night.

    However Chaya Sara’s secrecy about herself baffles them, and concern grows that Chaya Sarah may be involved in more than meets the eye.

    Too soon they must leave Jerusalem. A last minute surprising upset centered around Chaya Sarah frightens them and they realize they may be dealing with intrigue and terrorism.

    How will Natalie and Maggie handle the mystery and romance that floods both women as they attempt to get back to life in the United States? Can a return to Jerusalem be far behind in this trilogy of romantic fiction?

    Book Excerpt from Next Year in Jerusalem, Part 2, Around Every Corner, Mystery & Romance in the Holy Land
    Chapter Six,  
    As the driver pulled away, Natalie realized how poorly lit the street was. Now, well past dusk, the one street light way down the block did nothing to brighten the end where she stood. The building itself had one little light above the doorway. As she walked along the sidewalk to the front door, she shivered suddenly and wondered why in the world she'd sent away her protection?
    She rang the bell. Immediately a sweet young woman, probably no more than twenty-nine or thirty, head kerchief neatly in place, answered the door. Natalie felt better. Now to introduce herself and get started. Her heart pounded, but from excitement, not fear.
    "Can I help you?"
    "Chaya Sarah made an appointment for me to come here tonight after sundown."
    "Oh, sorry, phones no working," the girl said in broken English. "No messages this week."
    Natalie felt her heart begin to pound harder. Now she was upset. Another mix-up, another confusion where she would never know if Chaya Sarah had tried to call!
    "Oh, well, I'm here to go into the mikvah.* I understand I can go in as a bride, even though I've been married many years. It is my first time. I was told a matron would show me what to do and give me a prayer to say."
    "First time? No problem. Come in. I will show you where to go. Cost ninety shekels. Fill out form."
    Natalie handed over the money, and signed the visitor sheet (a blank piece of notepaper with the date at the top). She .was not at all sure the young woman understood most of what she said. Only later did she wonder why she so freely signed a blank piece of paper with her name and full home address.
    "Come this way." The young woman led Natalie past a small waiting room with pleasant pink walls and a soft gray marble floor. There were no pictures, no signs and no literature with the facility’s name. The place was stark, but certainly clean and feminine in its color scheme. It was eerily quiet. Natalie wished she had asked the taxi driver to wait.
    The young woman spoke. "Please, you go here," she said as she opened the door of a large, attractive bathroom with many mirrors. "Robe in there,” she explained as she pointed to a small closet. “After shower, go down hall to mikvah."
    "Will you be coming in to help me? Natalie practically begged. “Are there prayers to say?"
    "See, mikvah down there. You open and go in. No one bother you."
    Obviously, they hadn't communicated clearly. "Any prayers to say?" Natalie tried one more time.
    The young woman looked perplexed. "Mrs. Levy not here, I alone."  It hadn’t seemed to work, and eventually Natalie realized that not only was the woman's English poor, but apparently Mrs. Levy was the wisdom keeper of everything, including the prayers. Finally, she surmised that she’d have to make the most of her experience. So much for that; she’d just have to carry on by herself. There was no going back now.
    The woman walked back to the desk in the waiting room and sat down. Apparently, it was all now in Natalie's hands.
    She went into the bathroom and started to undress. Determined to make the most of this situation, she let the environment begin to take over. This was going to be fun. Yes, she would prepare for the mikvah as if she was a Queen. Maybe she’d been the Queen of Sheba in another life? She laughed to herself, and then the image of being a very special bride on her wedding night came to her. It was a lovely image.
    Somehow, the environment elicited from her vague yet powerful feelings. She felt so female, part of a special group, a sisterhood of women who had gone from babyhood to elder years ... one by one in an endless chain of family life, belonging to the same tribe. She saw her body today, naked in the mirrors, and once more felt moved to tears. She envisioned those before her--her grandmothers and her mother, and then saw her daughter after her, and imagined granddaughters in the future. She felt their energy, their hopes, dreams and prayers along with hers in the highly charged feminine bathroom.
    She felt good although she was crying at the same time. The golden chain of women in her mind's eye engaged in no gossip, put-downs, criticisms or comparisons. It was as if each woman had been branded with a primitive imprint that identified her as belonging to the same clan; no need for words. Just timeless knowledge, maybe first known by Eve in the Garden of Eden and passed down over hundreds of generations, a knowledge of mannerisms and hopes and dreams that transcended time. Now, she stood right here in the midst of it, finally able to enjoy the same rights as other Jewish women throughout history.
    Natalie showered again with a vengeance. She was determined to be as clean as she could be for the purifying waters. With no one to guide her, she washed her hair, took off her make-up, and trimmed her nails with the small scissor that lay on the vanity. She looked at the three red strings on her wrist. Should she leave them? It didn't seem right, since she knew she was to be completely unadorned. Without another thought, she cut them off with the scissor.
    She was ready now. She took a fluffy robe from the closet, and a pair of paper slippers, the kind they give you when you're in the hospital. She also grabbed a towel from the closet shelf and proceeded down the hall.
    The building was totally silent. When she looked back she didn't even see the young woman in the waiting room any more. She could see from the small window in the hallway that it was pitch dark outside. The only noise was that of a siren somewhere, and the sound of an occasional car passing by.
    She opened the door to the mikvah. The room was the size of a small bedroom with white tile walls,and most of it was taken up by what looked like a very small swimming pool. She’d feared the water would be cold, but as she stepped down a small staircase into the water, she was surprised as the pleasant warmth rushed up to her. At chest level the water seemed so much smoother and silkier than regular water. She sank down further, letting her hands float at her sides as the water welcomed her. A profound feeling of safety and calmness enveloped her. Were there guardian angels in here with her? It felt that way, but she wasn't scared. She felt protected and loved and, in turn,felt her heart opening up toward David.
    Making her own prayer she said aloud softly, "Dear G-d, may David and I be blessed with the harmony that comes from being soul mates. And may I have the strength not to be influenced by other forces not in my best interests."
    That covered it. She wasn't going to credit Jack by even saying his name aloud in these sacred waters.
    She dunked herself in the waters three times, really fast. She had promised herself, but that part was hard. She grasped her towel and wiped her eyes and ears. She had almost drowned on Cape Cod once as a child, but a big strong man had pulled her out. Since then, she could never stand to go underwater. But this time it was worth it. This was for their marriage and for herself.
    She returned to her changing room where she took another shower, this time a quick one, and got dressed. When she went back to the waiting room no one was there. In fact the young woman never reappeared even when Natalie called out....
    *mikvah: A specified pure body of water that is used for total immersion, often associated with bringing a heightened level of sacredness to the marriage bed.

    About Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein 

    Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, internationally known positive psychologist, inspires thousands with her ENCHANTED SELF®. Around the world, people benefit from her techniques to enhance well-being, and to live up to their potential. Known for her ability to make complex psychological concepts easy to understand and to implement, she has now turned her talents to novel writing.  "A great fiction read is a great escape, and yet, it is more! It is the gateway to new ways of thinking and behaving."

    Dr. Holstein received her Doctorate in Education from Boston University and her BA degree from Barnard College. Dr. Holstein has been a school psychologist and taught first and second grades. She is in private practice with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Find her at
    Her previous books include:
    ·       THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy
    ·       Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!
    ·       The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything)
    ·       Seven Gateways to Happiness: Freeing Your Enchanted Self.

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    by Emily Jasper on May 15, 2012
    A few weeks ago, someone sent me the book “What Would Michelle Do?” since they thought I might be interested in a collection of tips about life from the First Lady. I read the book, but not so it could stand on its own. Instead, I read it as I prepared to graduate from my MBA program. Michelle Obama was one of the graduation speakers this year at Virginia Tech, and I thought the book might give me a little context for her speech. So what would Michelle do?
    Live your best life.
    That is not a new concept by any means, but it seems to be one we need reminding of. Many people live day-to-day doing what they think they aught to do, doing what is expected of them. There can be pressure to fulfill outside expectations, and in following a predetermined path, you may suddenly find yourself wondering why you do what you do.
    Michelle grew up with a family that instilled in her a belief that you have to take the opportunities that you have. If you don’t have opportunities, then make them. Her parents sacrificed to provide for her, but she held up her end of the bargain: attending Princeton and Harvard. As she said in her speech, she had a mountain of debt, so she got a job at a large law firm to start paying it down. After the personal loss of a close friend and her father, Michelle suddenly realized that in living the life she aught to, she wasn’t living hers.
    I have to admit, I personally have struggled with how to manage external expectations and my own personal passion. Like many 20-somethings, I went to a good college, got a job, struggled through the worst of the recession, and put myself back through school to make myself a better leader in the workplace. I did what I was supposed to, now what?
    You have to do what is best for you. It takes a lot of bravery to suddenly do that. You may find it is exactly the same path you had already been on, and then it isn’t that scary. But when “what is best” means changing everything, turning your world upside down, you have to trust that you can do it. “What is best” is not what is easiest. The best is where you have competence, strength, and passion, but still a lot to learn. Your best may mean taking a nontraditional look at careers that would allow you to thrive on this competence. You may not be a professional ballerina, but you could run a dance foundation that brings classes and scholarships to disadvantaged kids. You may not be a chef, but your love of food may make you the perfect producer at the Food Network.
    During Michelle’s speech, she expressed how important it is to actively live your life. Virginia Tech is known for tragedy, but the community is active and thriving. That is the reason I chose to attend the university, and that is the impression we gave Michelle of the Hokie Nation. Active pursuit of your best life means that you will be a part of it. You will be at the heart of it, and that drive is infectious. If you want to live your best life, so will others.
    Regardless of the political light that changes every message these days, think about what Michelle would do. Think of her as another person you might see on the street. Does her message of living your best life still resonate? It should. It is a message any of us can share, so I hope you pass it on.
    Michelle would.

    Michelle Obama’s 2012 Commencement speech at Virginia Tech is available to view online. The book “What Would Michelle Do?: A Modern-Day Guide to Living with Substance and Style” by Allison Samuels is available for purchase online

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    Freedom, freedom
    All wrapped in chains
    Written, Said
    It's all the same
    Once free and alone
    Now bound with one
    Chains with freedom
    Screaming in my very soul
    An oath
    A desire
    The song deep within
    Freedom with chains

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    US President Barack Obama says his 'accomplishments are slight' compared to other Nobel laureates such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.
    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize during a ceremony at the Oslo City Hall in Oslo, 10 Dec 2009
    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize during a ceremony at the Oslo City Hall in Oslo, 10 Dec 2009
    U.S. President Barack Obama has formally accepted the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway.  The president spoke at length about the circumstances that push nations to war, and prompt them to seek peace.

    President Obama says he accepts the peace prize with humility, well aware of the controversy that surrounded the choice of the Nobel Committee.

    "In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage.  Compared to some of the giants of history who have received this prize - Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela - my accomplishments are slight," he said.

    But he says the most profound issue surrounding the award is the fact that he is the leader of a nation in the midst of two wars.

    "We are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land.  Some will kill.  Some will be killed," he said.  "And so I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict - filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other."

    He says there is nothing weak in the path of non-violence championed by the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet Mr. Obama says it cannot be the only path. He says he cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people.

    "A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaida's leaders to lay down their arms," he said.  "To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism - it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason."

    His speech to a crowd of dignitaries in Oslo's city hall came just nine days after he ordered another 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan.  Well aware of the juxtaposition of events, the president focused on the notion of "just war", and the concept of sustainable peace.

    "We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes," said Mr. Obama.  "There will be times when nations - acting individually or in concert - will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified."

    He echoed the words of former U.S. President John Kennedy, who five decades ago spoke of a realistic, more attainable peace.

    President Obama said rules and institutions are needed to keep military action in check.  He made specific mention of the need to adhere to strict codes of conduct, and to see that countries live up to their international obligations.

    "Those who claim to respect international law cannot avert their eyes when those laws are flouted. Those who care for their own security cannot ignore the danger of an arms race in the Middle East or East Asia," he said.  "Those who seek peace cannot stand idly by as nations arm themselves for nuclear war."

    President Obama went on to speak about nations that abuse their own people.  He said peace must be more than the absence of military conflict.

    "So even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal," added Mr. Obama.  "We will bear witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu Kyi; to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently through the streets of Iran."

    He said the search for peace must entail support for strong institutions, human rights and freedom from want.  But he said there is one other key ingredient for a more peaceful world.

    " I do not believe that we will have the will, or the staying power, to complete this work without something more - and that is the continued expansion of our moral imagination; an insistence that there is something irreducible that we all share," he said.

    In announcing its choice for the 2009 Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee cited the president's efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation.  It said he has captured the imagination of the world with his message of hope.

    All the same, the award has been criticized as premature by some, and public opinion polls in the United States indicate many Americans believe the honor is coming far too early.

    As the president began his Oslo visit, a group of Norwegians made the same point.   They gathered outside the Nobel Institute while the president was inside signing the guest book.   They chanted and cheered and held up a yellow banner that said "Obama you won it, now earn it!"

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    About Real Dogs Don’t Whisper

    Real Dogs Don't Whisper
    The award winning book, Real Dogs Don't Whisper (,which highlights my life journey caring for four special needs dogs and the life lessons they taught me along the way.  The overall message within Real Dogs Don’t Whisper is about giving those with special needs a second chance.  The book touches on integrity, unconditional love, leadership, trust, stopping abuse and opening your heart to receive and give both unconditional love and friendship.  To lighten the message, I developed a co-author, Mr MaGoo; Mr MaGoo is my Lhasa Apso and he is larger than life.  He adds humor within the book; sharing with the reader how life is so tough for him being the only male in the house and living with a crazy lady, me.

    Mr. MaGoo is a nine-year-old Lhasa Apso and the book’s co-creator and co-writer. He is, in his own words, “the alpha and omega of all dogs – in the cutest and sparkiest, most fun-loving package ever.” Ignoring Kelly’s persistent eye-rolling, Mr. MaGoo has forged ahead with this project in an attempt to, as he puts it, “present the facts from a dog’s perspective. In other words, the correct, most accurate, most interesting, only-one-that-matters perspective,” to which he adds, simply, “Woof!”


    Q:  Can you tell us why you took in two more dogs, and tell us about the severe trust issues and the problems that come with it?
    I just rescued two new dogs; one with severe trust issues, Mini Me and a blind Cocker Spaniel, Driving Miss Fancy.  Just like the rest of my pack, was not prepared for these two new additions,  Betty Boop and Buffy went on to Rainbow Bridge, after a year I was ready to add two new family members.  Mini Me came first, he was in my home for only 30 minutes and he quickly found the toy basket and proceeded to take each and every toy out.  I knew from that point, he was going to be a handful and I have not been wrong.  While he is very playful (he is only 3yrs old), quickly became apparent he has severe trust issues with strangers, being a fear biter.  I have gotten him past the biting, still working with him to stop the excessive barking; every day is a training session with him. Plus, taking him the groomers on a regular basis helps him understand that strangers will not hurt him.   Driving Miss Fancy just came into my life several months ago, when I first saw her; I fell in love with her as she reminded me of my beloved Buffy.  She is blind and that doesn’t slow her down; in fact, Mini Me and her have become BFF.  He has been teaching her how to play, helping her find her way around the yard chasing toys.  It is very interesting to watch the relationship they have formed; talk about trust, each and every day they display endless amount of trust towards each other. 

    About Kelly Preston

    Kelly Preston is, first and foremost, an animal lover. Raised on a ten-acre property in a small town in Pennsylvania, she grew up with horses, rabbits, and – of course – dogs. When she left home after college, she acquired Gizmo, an irresistible Lhasa Apso that started her on a journey full of joys and sorrows, hopes and tribulations, frustrations, endless lessons in patience, and above all else, love. All of this has come at the hands (more precisely the paws) of Gizmo, Betty Boop, Buffy, Carla Mae, and the inimitable Mr. MaGoo.

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    Book Excerpt from Chapter One

    Early on the morning of August 19, 1946, I was born under a clear sky after a violent summer storm to a widowed mother in the Julia Chester Hospital in Hope, a town of about six thousand in southwest Arkansas, thirty-three miles east of the Texas border at Texarkana. My mother named me William Jefferson Blythe III after my father, William Jefferson Blythe Jr., one of nine children of a poor farmer in Sherman, Texas, who died when my father was seventeen. According to his sisters, my father always tried to take care of them, and he grew up tobe a handsome, hardworking, fun-loving man. He met my mother at Tri-State Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1943, when she was training to be a nurse. Many times when I was growing up, I asked Mother to tell me the story of their meeting, courting, and marriage. He brought a date with some kind of medical emergency into the ward where she was working, and they talked and flirted while the other woman was being treated. On his way out of the hospital, he touched the finger on which she was wearing her boyfriend's ring and asked her if she was married. She stammered no, she was single. The next day he sent the other woman flowers and her heart sank. Then he called Mother for a date, explaining that he always sent flowers when he ended a relationship. Read More

    Timeline and Commentary
    Clinton wins his first political race to become Attorney General of Arkansas.
    Elected Governor of Arkansas, making him the youngest state governor in the U.S. at that time. He is defeated after just one term.
    Elected governor again, where he remained for five more consecutive terms.
    Clinton wins the presidential election after defeating George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot, running on a platform that stressed domestic issues, notably a sagging economy.

    "No wonder Americans hate politics when, year in and year out, they hear politicians make promises that won't come true because they don't even mean them--campaign fantasies that win elections but don't get nations moving again."--Candidate Clinton, Detroit Economic Club, August 21, 1992
    The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is ratified, allowing freer trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

    "Being president is a job for just one person. And for the next four years that person is Hillary." --Dan Rather, Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 15, 1993

    "Thomas Jefferson believed that to preserve the very foundations of our nation, we would need dramatic change from time to time. Well, my fellow citizens, this is our time. Let us embrace it." --President Bill Clinton Inaugural Address, January 21, 1993
    The midterm elections give the Republicans control of both the Senate and the House for the first time in 40 years, causing a fierce fight over the budget and resulting in a series of brief governmental shutdowns.

    "Clinton means what he says when he says it, but tomorrow he will mean what he says when he says the opposite. He is the existential President, living with absolute sincerity in the passing moment."
    --Michael Kelly, The New York Times Magazine, July 31, 1994
    Clinton organizes the Dayton Peace Accords in Ohio, bringing a temporary cease-fire to the Balkan States. "For the quickest descent into the ethical quagmire, the Clinton administration has set a new indoor record." --Howard Kurtz column, The Washington Post, March 26, 1995
    Clinton is elected to a second term after defeating Bob Dole and Ralph Nader. "America demands and deserves big things from us--and nothing big ever came from being small. Let us remember the timeless wisdom of Cardinal Bernardin, when facing the end of his own life. He said: 'It is wrong to waste the precious gift of time, on acrimony and division.'"--Second Inaugural Address of President Bill Clinton, January 20, 1997
    On December 19, Clinton is impeached by the House of Representatives on the grounds of perjury, abuse of powers, and obstruction of justice regarding matters related to his affair with White House aide Monica Lewinsky.

    Number of U.S. households that chose watching professional wrestling over the president's televised apology in August: 6,379,000. --Harper's
    Index, November 1998
    In February, in a Senate vote basically along party lines, Clinton is spared impeachment.

    In conjunction with a Republican-controlled Congress, Clinton balances the U.S. federal budget for the first time since 1969.

    "Whether you like him or not like him, this is one of the great, get up, political fighters of all time."
    --Dan Rather to Geraldo Rivera on CNBC's Rivera Live, July 8, 1999

    "The light may be fading on the 20th century, but the sun is still rising on America."
    --President Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan International Trade facility, December 31, 1999
    After protracted political wrangling by Clinton, China is accepted into the World Trade Organization, opening that vast market to goods from the U.S. and around the world.
    The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation is created to help people around the world meet the challenges of global interdependence.

    "I am confident that we have the knowledge and the means to make the 21st century the most peaceful, prosperous, interesting time in all human history. The question is whether we have the wisdom and the will."--President Bill Clinton, from the Dimbleby Memorial Lecture given by the former U.S. President at the Institute of Education in London, December 18, 2001

    Editorial Reviews



    An exhaustive, soul-searching memoir, Bill Clinton's My Life is a refreshingly candid look at the former president as a son, brother, teacher, father, husband, and public figure. Clinton painstakingly outlines the history behind his greatest successes and failures, including his dedication to educational and economic reform, his war against a "vast right-wing operation" determined to destroy him, and the "morally indefensible" acts for which he was nearly impeached. My Life is autobiography as therapy--a personal history written by a man trying to face and banish his private demons. Clinton approaches the story of his youth with gusto, sharing tales of giant watermelons, nine-pound tumors, a charging ram, famous mobsters and jazz musicians, and a BB gun standoff. He offers an equally energetic portrait of American history, pop culture, and the evolving political landscape, covering the historical events that shaped his early years (namely the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and JFK) and the events that shaped his presidency (Waco, Bosnia, Somalia). What makes My Life remarkable as a political memoir is how thoroughly it is infused with Clinton's unassuming, charmingly pithy voice:
    I learned a lot from the stories my uncle, aunts, and grandparents told me: that no one is perfect but most people are good; that people can't be judged only by their worst or weakest moments; that harsh judgments can make hypocrites of us all; that a lot of life is just showing up and hanging on; that laughter is often the best, and sometimes the only, response to pain.
    However, that same voice might tire readers as Clinton applies his penchant for minute details to a distractible laundry list of events, from his youth through the years of his presidency. Not wanting to forget a single detail that might help account for his actions, Clinton overdoes it--do we really need to know the name of his childhood barber? But when Clinton sticks to the meat of his story--
    recollections about Mother, his abusive stepfather, Hillary, the campaign trail, and Kenneth Starr--the veracity of emotion and Kitchen Confidential-type revelations about "what it is like to be President" make My Life impossible to put down.

    To Clinton, "politics is a contact sport," and while he claims that My Life is not intended to make excuses or assign blame, it does portray him as a fighter whose strategy is to "take the first hit, then counter punch as hard as I could." While My Life is primarily a stroll through Clinton's memories, it is also a scathing rebuke--a retaliation against his detractors, including Kenneth Starr, whose "mindless search for scandal" protected the guilty while "persecuting the innocent" and distracted his Administration from pressing international matters (including strikes on al Qaeda). Counter-punch indeed.

    At its core, My Life is a charming and intriguing if flawed book by an equally intriguing and flawed man who had his worst failures and humiliations made public. Ultimately, the man who left office in the shadow of scandal offers an honest and open account of his life, allowing readers to witness his struggle to "drain the most out of every moment" while maintaining the character with which he was raised. It is a remarkably intimate, persuasive look at the boy he was, the President he became, and man he is today. --Daphne Durham 

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    L.A. Weekly is determining the best L.A. novel ever by holding a tournament featuring 32 of our favorites in head-to-head matchups, until there's only one novel standing. For further reading check out:
    *Best L.A. Novel Ever: The Tournament Brackets
    *Best L.A. Novel Ever: More Matchups
    In the opening pages of Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man, a British literature professor named George wakes up, washes, shaves, brushes his hair, gets dressed and eats breakfast. It's standard stuff, but Isherwood traces each step of the process with such startlingly minute intensity that we come gradually to understand George is building himself up from scratch, donning an unfamiliar body and willing this new jumble of synapse and meat to transform from "it" to "he":
    "Fear tweaks the vagus nerve...But meanwhile the cortex, that grim disciplinarian has taken its place at the central controls...The legs stretch, the lower back is arched, the fingers clench and relax. An now, over the entire intercommunication system, is issued the first general order of the day: UP."
    The source of the grief dissembling George so completely is the recent accidental death of his partner, Jim, and while Isherwood's sympathetic portrait of a relationship between two men was what propelled this novel into popular consciousness in 1964, it's worth noting that the book's power lies not in its unorthodox-for-its-time treatment of gay partnership, but in Isherwood's capacity for rendering loss. Over the course of the day, as George teaches, drinks and enters into a brief flirtation with a young student, his every action comes weighted by his desire to retreat back into nothing. It's this, Isherwood's grasp of what the relentlessness onslaught of the present in Los Angeles means for someone attempting to grieve the past, that makes A Single Man an essential L.A. novel.
    Through George's eyes, L.A. comes in fragments: a sterile freeway, an empty beach, a ragged university campus, a steep set of stone steps into the hills, a mostly empty bar. These images combine to form a kind of eulogy, both for George, who by this point is little more than ghost haunting his own body, and for a city he can't quite reach. To understand the muted ache that pervades Isherwood's prose, it helps to also understand the pain of being stuck in traffic by yourself on the 405 at 6 pm, or reading alone at a Los Feliz café for too many hours on a Sunday afternoon, or sitting on your couch on a Friday night as the sun sets and the sky turns pink. A kind of loneliness that sometimes feels unique to this city is vital to George's entire way of being.
    When Tom Ford's film adapation of A Single Man came out in 2009, some critics complained that, while the visuals were rich and heartfelt, the narrative was empty, an impressive feat of art direction arranged around a core of negative space. This is a facile critique of a film directed by a fashion designer, and it's also entirely off base: that negative space already existed in the book, placed at the heart of the story by Isherwood, not Ford. George is man whose most fervent desire is not to exist, and the book is a chronicle of his coming closer and closer to that goal. It was that tension between the nothingness George wants to become and Isherwood's vivid, visceral writing that drew readers to Isherwood's novel in the first place.

    If you prefer your novels loud, ambitious, far-flung and manic instead of quietly devastating, it seems, on the surface at least, that Karen Yamashita's Tropic of Orange ought to be more to your liking. Stretching from Rosarito to West Hollywood and all along the Harbor freeway, Yamashita's narrative tasks itself with rendering the barely controlled chaos of the California/Mexico border into prose. The author writes with the kind of headlong fury James Wood might have called hysterically realist and PhD candidates tend to call Postmodern. This kind of expansive, all-encompassing concept-driven book could have made for a virtuouso examination of L.A. on par with, say, Zadie Smith's White Teeth or Don DeLillo's Underworld, but what we get instead is a lightly-veiled academic critique of several dozen of the kinds of "isms" -- multiculturalism, classism, racism and magical realism chief among them -- that tend to turn up in undergraduate ethnic and social studies classes.
    If you Google Tropic of Orange what you'll get, mostly, are services offering up critical essays for pay, and postings by desperate-seeming high school students asking if someone won't please tell them what this book is about. This is a shame considering the awesome potential for mass appeal of Yamashita's many-tentacled story. Told in 49 chapters through the voices of seven different characters, Yamashita's novel tracks the seven days leading up to what might turn out to be the utter destruction of California. In one subplot, an old laborer who may be immortal transports an orange out of Mazatlan, Mexico. The orange drags with it the Tropic of Cancer, distorting the borders of California and causing apocalyptic traffic jams. As commuter yuppies flee their cars, the homeless move in, transforming the 405 into a kind of revitalized tent city.
    Meanwhile, Emi, a Japanese-American newscaster and Gabriel, her Mexican-American reporter boyfriend, investigate the seemingly random poisoning deaths of several Los Angeles citizens. Caught up in the whirl are a black social reformer named Buzzworm, a shapeshifting thug who trafficks infant organs, and a Japanese veteran who conducts the city like an orchestra from his spot on a freeway overpass. That's a lot to cram into one novel -- too much, probably, and in Yamashita's hands, it all falls together into a gloopy mess, a kind of critical/analytical hyper-literary version of Paul Haggis' 2004 movie Crash.
    It's hard to criticize a book written whose motivations for existing are so obviously legitimate, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. For me, it was around the time the old man borrowed from a Gabriel Garcia Marquez short story showed up and began communicating solely in lines of very bad activist poetry:
    Doom! Doom!
    Look to the past and know the doom awaits you!
    The doom of discovery!
    The doom of conquest!
    And worse yet,
    Who among the discoverers
    Did not plant their seed in this land of discovery?
    Now all is lost! We will pay dearly!

    I, Chilam Quetzal, the soothsayer, have spoken.
    The director Paul Schraeder once wrote that a good story is about something, but it's also about something else. Yamashita's lines here are, for the most part, only about themselves. As a result, the book fails on the level of the sentence; too often, the language reads like automatic writing, all the onus put on the reader to supply meaning:
    "Now, it was Monday, and he awoke. He awoke to all the metaphors that come from the land. He had followed a path across the continent that was crooked, but always heading north. Now he was in Mazatlan. He could hear the waves lapping at the edges of the sand, feel the already heating breezes flowing from the Sea of Cortes."
    Here, a reference to the city of Mazatlan may be working to call up the Spanish word "Aztlan," the Nahautl word for the mythical place of the origin of the Aztec peoples, while the mention of the Sea of Cortes brings conquering whiteness to mind. Too much of the novel is like this -- signifying prose designed to provoke a specific response, and deployed with single-minded political intent. There's a difference between the magical realism Yamashita may have been attempting (or attempting to satirize) and lazy allegory, and the border between the two is one this novel crosses all too often.
    Too, Yamashita tends to commit the same essentialist crimes she seems to be railing against. As a black female reader, I was put off by the pat imitations of African-American dialect and the presence of the ever-ubiquitous Magical Negro savior figure in Buzzworm. When Tropic of Orange does bring up problems relevant to life as a person of color in in L.A, the solutions the novel proposes ultimately don't make sense: The novel climaxes, for example, in a heavily symbolic wrestling match between the Very Old Man With Enormous Wings and NAFTA.
    Isherwood, for his part, explores L.A.'s marginalized communities with fewer words and less fanfare. And while his approach to multiculturalism leaves a lot to be desired (the non-white characters in this novel tend to exist primarily via interactions with white characters) each individual remain memorable because Isherwood allows them to be people, rather than symbols. With A Single Man, Isherwood created a book that, like all novels that stick around, uses fiction to tell the truth. Meanwhile, as the borders of Los Angeles threaten to collapse in Tropic of Orange, the drama falls flat. Yamashita's L.A. never felt like mine.
    Winner: A Single Man

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    Each week at Sunday mass,
    Then afterwards he and I
    walked the streets around Belfast.

    Taking back the envelopes
    from people who couldn’t go,
    was something that Dad and I did
    in the hail rain or snow .

    My Da was a member of
    The men’s confraternity,
    Helping in his own way
    All the parish community.

    He was a silent witness and of him I was so proud,
    Jesus knew my Father because he stood out in the crowd.

    Many respected my Dad
    for he lived what he believed
    Like the hymn Faith of out fathers
    I know I have received.

    Dad lifted the collection plate

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    The Last Confession Book Tour

    About The Last Confession of the Vampire Judas Iscariot
    Of all the people who ever lived, surely Judas Iscariot, history’s most notorious betrayer, must be in hell. Or maybe not.

    After watching the crucifixion of Jesus, Judas despairs over what he has done and fumes that the Messiah he put his trust in has turned out to be just another pretender like all the rest. The toxic mix of emotions is too much for him to bear and Judas commits suicide by hanging himself.

    He is restored to life by the Devil and made into a vampire apostle. The Devil teaches Judas to manipulate men and history. He becomes a king, a general, a teacher and a blacksmith, whatever is needed to effect the outcome of history and move it towards the goal of his new master.

    Each time he is ready to move on to his next incarnation he must drink the blood of an innocent victim to be restored to his youthful vigor. But despite his many powers and abilities Judas knows there is one thing he desires and cannot have. Finally Judas meets a laicized priest, Raymond Breviary, and tries to steal from him what he was denied two thousand years before.

    About David Vermont
    Author David Vermont  
    Born and raised in New York City, David B. Vermont now lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife and four kids.
    An attorney and accomplished litigator at one of Washington D.C.’s top law firms, he began writing about religion when he was asked to author a series of articles explaining the Catholic faith on the popular blog 52 Prayers.  He now writes regularly about his faith as the leader of an online Bible study group.
    The Last Confession of The Vampire Judas Iscariot is his first foray into fiction.  His website is:

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    a book on nutrition factors, color interior, is up..


    the same project, with black and white interior, is up too, thanks to those who support.

     best wishes,

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    About Caught
    A collection of short stories, literary sketches and vignettes each capturing a moment in the life of someone a lot like you. Each story delves into human themes: expectation, desire, hope, loss, fear, joy, peace, suffering, redemption. The narrative is filled with subtle irony, humour and touching observations. The stories highlight our era of increasing social disconnection, in which technology is replacing intimacy and life occurs at a pace that challenges people’s ability to stop, observe and interpret their own existence and its relationship with those around them.
    It highlights the everyday moment and provides nourishment for the harried soul. The overriding message in Caught is: that any moment in every life can be viewed as worthy of treasuring. Whether that moment is filled with despair or joy; they provide entertaining relief and nourishing benefits.

    About Deirdre Thurston

    I’ve been an observer of people my whole life, always intrigued by the unfolding of everyday events and what those events take on in the eyes and lives of ordinary people.
    As well as seeing — and feeling — the angst and the pain, the fragile hopes and dreams, the joys and the frustrations that make up the human condition, I’ve also always been able to see the funny side.
    My vantage points have been from the perspective of a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother, an aunt, a friend and a confidante — I’ve looked at life through many lenses, yet always my own observations have been enriched by the points of view of the other players in those unfolding dramas.
    And always inside of me, from the time I was five years old, has lurked a writer — framing my observations and cataloguing them. Storing them up until I was ready to capture them on paper.
    At 57 I began crafting my lifetime of observations into sketches and vignettes. Two years later I knew it was time to start sharing my stories with the world.

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    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Kevin Peraino
    Born June 7, 1976 (age 38)
    Hayward, California, U.S.
    Occupation Author and journalist
    Spouse(s) Reena Ninan
    Children Jackson Peraino, Kate Peraino
    Kevin Peraino (born June 7, 1976) is an American author and journalist.[1]



    Peraino's first book, Lincoln in the World: The Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power, about Lincoln's foreign policy, was released in October 2013.[2] In Foreign Affairs magazine, Walter Russell Mead called it "an important step toward a richer and more useful understanding of the American past," and the Washington Post described it as "revealing and fresh ... There is much here that will interest even those steeped in the vast Lincoln literature."[3][4]The Daily Beast named it one of the "Best Books on President Lincoln."[5] From 1999 to 2010, Peraino worked as a writer for Newsweek magazine. He has reported from Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, Israel, Sudan, Iraq, and other countries, and was a finalist for the Livingston Award for his foreign-affairs writing.[6] He has also written for Foreign Policy, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications, and has appeared on Morning Joe, PBS NewsHour, and elsewhere.[7][8][9][10] He is represented by Amanda Urban at ICM Partners.[11]

    Personal life

    Peraino grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and graduated from Northwestern University.[12] He is married to Reena Ninan, a correspondent at ABC News. They have two children, Jack and Kate.[13]


    Peraino is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations.[14]


    Lincoln in the World: The Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power. New York: Crown. 2013. ISBN 978-0307887207.

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    From Library Journal

    These poems are marked with the powerful but idiosyncratic influence of Marianne Moore, whose unique style is echoed in Ryan's elliptically compressed syntax and high-toned ironic stance ("There is such a thing as/too much tolerance/for unpleasant situations,/a time when the gentle/teasing out of threads/ceases to be pleasing/to a woman born for conquest." But unlike Moore, who knew how to modulate her astringency, Ryan's cramped syllabics have a monotonous density that too often mistakes sound for sense: "Green was the first color/to get out of the water,/leaving the later blue/and preceding yellow/which had to follow/because of fall." Occasionally, there is a clever charm in her descriptions. A garden snake is "born sans puff or rattle/he counts on persiflage/in battle"). Overall, however, these poems are derivative and lacking in substance. Not recommended.
    Christine Stenstrom, Shea & Gould Law Lib., New York
    Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


    An American original. --The Yale Review<br /><br />Fine poems that inspire us with poetry's greatest gifts: the music of language and the force of wisdom. --Annie Dillard<br /><br />I cannot recommend it highly enough. --Jane Hirshfield

    I cannot recommend it highly enough. --Jane Hirshfield

    An American original. --The Yale Review

    Product Details

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    An award-winning, internationally acclaimed Chinese bestseller, originally banned in China but recently named one of the last decade’s ten most influential books there,To Live tells the epic story of one man’s transformation from the spoiled son of a rich landlord to an honorable and kindhearted peasant.

    After squandering his family’s fortune in gambling dens and brothels, the young, deeply penitent Fugui settles down to do the honest work of a farmer. Forced by the Nationalist Army to leave behind his family, he witnesses the horrors and privations of the Civil War, only to return years later to face a string of hardships brought on by the ravages of the Cultural Revolution. Left with an ox as the companion of his final years, Fugui stands as a model of flinty authenticity, buoyed by his appreciation for life in this narrative of humbling power.

    images and content credits:,

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    Mister Spunky and his Friends
    If you love children’s books then you’ll want to enter the giveaway for Mister Spunky. Click on the giveaway button and enter the giveaway for a chance to win this children’s book and matching mouse pad over at Lori’s Reading Corner.


    Book Synopsis:

    Mister Spunky and His Friends is the creation of award winning author, Kelly Preston. She has taken the story line from her book, Real Dogs Don't Whisper, placing it in a picture book format for children to enjoy. Mister Spunky and His Friends is about the importance of love, friendship; and, helping those with special needs. Follow Mister Spunky along his journey to the beach, where he meets three new friends; teaching him important life lessons along the way. Parents, if you enjoyed Real Dogs Don't Whisper, your children will enjoy this book for them. There are several pages at the end of the story for coloring activities. Ages: 5+

    About Kelly Preston

    Author Kelly Preston   
    Kelly Preston is, first and foremost, an animal lover. Raised on a ten-acre property in a small town in Pennsylvania, she grew up with horses, rabbits, and – of course – dogs. When she left home after college, she acquired Gizmo, an irresistible Lhasa Apso that started her on a journey full of joys and sorrows, hopes and tribulations, frustrations, endless lessons in patience, and above all else, love. All of this has come at the hands (more precisely the paws) of Gizmo, Betty Boop, Buffy, Carla Mae, and the inimitable Mr. MaGoo.
    Mr. MaGoois a nine-year-old Lhasa Apso and the book’s co-creator and co-writer. He is, in his own words, “the alpha and omega of all dogs – in the cutest and sparkiest, most fun-loving package ever.” Ignoring Kelly’s persistent eye-rolling, Mr. MaGoo has forged ahead with this project in an attempt to, as he puts it, “present the facts from a dog’s perspective. In other words, the correct, most accurate, most interesting, only-one-that-matters perspective,” to which he adds, simply, “Woof!”

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