Sunday, October 26, 2008

What a beautiful sunny day after the rain. Slept in this a.m. after our late night out at the Sugarland concert. We decided to have dinner downtown so parking would be easy. Guess we weren't the only ones as there was an hour wait at D'Shea's and a long line at Sawyer's, where we did eat. I am not crazy about the place as it is cafeteria style, but that isn't the reason we won't be returning soon. The first time we ate there the food was not too bad - last night - YUCK! They have won awards for their burgers but mine was more like dry overcooked beef scraped off the grill in chunks. I ordered the homemade chips and they were literally soft and extremely greasy. Perhaps it was because of the concert that the food was so bad - they couldn't keep up with the crowd. But, what a waste of calories.

We got to our seats early and I was really disappointed with my poor choice - I didn't realize we were so far to the side even though I do remember looking at the seating chart. It was a sold out show so the arena was crowded by the time Sugarland hit the stage - after a opening act where the sound system made the young solo singer sound like she was screeching. Kelly Pickler was next and not too bad - very energetic and cute. There was a very long intermission as they got ready to film the rest of the concert. Even though we only got an hour and 1/2 of Sugarland they were at their best due to the videotaping. Everyone, except Steve who was there only because of me, were on their feet for the entire concert, singing along. The couple next to us were so cute - arms around each other and singing along. Steve saw just what he could between the folks in front of us as I only got him to stand up once to check out the backdrop scenery. I guess he had to get the "bad taste" of country music out of his ears as he turned on a Dave Matthews concert as soon as we got home. I was happy but exhausted from being on my feet, dancing and singing along with most every song and left him to his music to read for a bit. I wasn't letting "sit-down- Steve" dampen my fun! :-)

As many of you know who read my blog - I am a big fantasy reader. I have to make sure I read a fair amount of other genres - otherwise I'd read all the fantasy on my shelves first. I treated myself to a Judith Tarr feast of a read - Bring Down the Sun It certainly was not the cover art that drew me into the book as I find the gaunt looking woman with a snake wrapped around her body quite unappealing. However, the main character in this fictional biography of Alexander the Great's mother is lush and sensual. It begins with young Polyxena chafing at the bonds that hold her as an accolade to the temple of the Mother. Her dreams are of a magical and sensual nature and she wishes her bed warmed by the man/animal gods that frequent them. She finds her match, both in bed, and in a battle of wills and intellect, in King Philip of Macedon. She accepts his new name for her, Mrytale, after they mate, he in the form of the Bull of Minos, as they celebrate the Mystery. Lusting for each other, Myrtale soon is wed to Philip and keeps him in her bed (he has other wives) with her assertive manner. Although this book does not pull any punches as to the lusty nature of Polyxena/Myrtale, it is not graphic and the language used is not offensive. As fascinating as their relationship is to read about, there is also the drama of the young witch who wishes to lure Myrtale and her extensive magical powers to the dark side. Myrtale, renamed yet again by Philip as Olympias when she gives birth to Alexander, is able to vanquish the witch and her coven, with the help of her aunt, a priestess of the Mother. Tarr's writing is crisp, yet as lush in style as the ancient setting, and graciously carried me through this ancient world of love and intrigue as I rooted for Alexander's strong-willed mother, knowing full well she is as wicked in her own way as the venomous snake who was born and raised against the warmth of her body. A deliciously spicy and flavorful read. Tarr does not write for teens, but older teens who read fantasy, historical fiction, or mythology will savor this author's writing. They may also find it very cool that she breeds Lipizzan horses. Great horse pics on her web site: How she finds the time to be such a prolific author of thoroughly researched historical/fantasy fiction as well as raise horses is beyond me, but sure impresses me!

May seem like an usual book to partner with the above, but as determined as Polyxena/Myrtale/Olmpias was to live life to its fullest, Emily Dickinson was determined to be a recluse and certainly would not have savored political intrigue as does Tarr's fictional creation of this women of power. In her own way, Dickinson is as powerful as lines from her poems are a part of our lives, often without us even knowing it. I picked up the Kids Can Press copy of Emily Dickinson: My letter to the World and other Poems with illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault because of the haunting, lonely quality of the cover illustration of Dickinson. Arsenault captures the melancholy of this gifted poet. As I was reading the 7 poems, starkly, but accurately, illustrated I thought of how to get even the boys reading this poetry with this line - "I felt a funeral, in my Brain," Very mysterious and spooky and Halloween is a perfect time to introduce Dickinson's "death" poems. There are other titles in the Visions in Poetry series besides this one - from Casey at the Bat to Jabberwocky. Perfect for upper elementary and up poetry collections, but add this one to your Halloween books display!

All for today.