Blog Posts by Ultra Violet

Posted by Ultra Violet on 11/13/08
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Frankie is a bright, attractive and very frustrated sophomore at an upscale prep school. When she finally starts dating the most sought after boy in the school, she can't believe her good luck. She feels empowered when she is accepted into his exclusive clique, but she soon realizes that her boyfriend and the others are keeping something from her; they are members of a secret society called the Loyal Order of the Bassett Hounds.
 
Her feelings for her boyfriend soon take a backseat to her anger over being shut out by people who are supposed to be her friends. With her quick wits and a few hints from British literature (i.e. P.G. Wodehouse) Frankie infiltrates the Bassetts and shows them what real boarding school pranking is all about. This is an excellent book for inspiring girls and young women to be more than is expected of them. Lockhart effectively captures the feelings and thoughts of a fifteen-year-old girl. This would make a wonderful mother-daughter book discussion choice.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 10/06/08
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The history of paint and dye pigments may sound a bit boring, but Victoria Finlay manages to combine technical information, fascinating trivia, art history and richly drawn accounts of her travels in this entertaining and unusual book. She addresses the significance of each color's symbolism in different cultures and at different time periods as she journeys to lapis lazuli mines tracing the source of ultramarine blue, or to indigo or saffron fields. Some of the most fascinating tales are of the pigments which are deadly poison, yet so sought after by artists even today. Finlay shows a keen insight into the creative mind as she analyzes the choices and attitudes artists have about such poisonous pigments as lead white and gamboge yellow. This book will still appeal to those who don't have a particular interest in art because of the quirky history trivia and the globe-trotting adventures. If nothing else, it is worth reading Color to find out what popular American beverage is colored with the blood of South American beetles.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/16/08
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In the People of the Whale a Native American leaves his Pacific Northwest reservation and his pregnant wife to fight in the Vietnam war. He is reported to be dead, but he has actually started a new life in a Vietnamese village. After ten years he returns to find his former wife in fierce opposition to the men of their tribe who want to hunt a whale for profit. The clash of tribal values and modern ways parallels the internal struggle of the soldier whose heart belongs on both sides of the world at once. Hogan deftly layers the symbolism of the ocean, the subconscious, the whale, war and many other universal issues. The people of the Whale carries a pervasive and powerful aching, indicative of the Native American experience. It's a story of pride and honor and of continuing life's journey in spite of losing everything one values.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/02/08
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Surprisingly original and deeply romantic, The Gargoyle tells the tale of an emotionally dead man who is gradually changed by an accident that has left him badly scarred. A series of interwoven love stories spanning a thousand years and several different countries gracefully compliments the main story. Although the story is beautifully crafted, The Gargoyle is raw and gritty with graphic language and horrific detail of the agonizing treatments of burn victims. The aggressive manner of the prose sets up a poignant dichotomy to the delicacy and spirituality of the love story.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 08/01/08
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This book is a hybrid of humorous memoir and green living guidebook with a few recipes thrown in. Kingsolver's family of four pledged to live for one year eating only seasonal, local foods. What their small farm couldn't produce was bought from the closest sources with the least amount of processing involved. Kingsolver's accounts of their surprises and challenges are both charming and occasionally hilarious. Her husband, Steven L. Hopp, adds thought-provoking scientific data about agricultural oil consumption and other issues relevant to organic and local, versus conventional and imported. Their 19-year old daughter, Camille, weighs in with a collection of her own recipes and a young person's perspective. It's an entertaining and practical guide to making significant changes in our buying habits.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 06/29/08
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Employing a masterful economy of expression reminiscent of the French Existentialists, Echenoz examines the final decades of the life of composer, Maurice Ravel. The author gives photographic details of Ravel's personal effects, from his opulent surroundings on an ocean-liner to his obsessively perfect dress. Small details are elevated in importance while the people in Ravel's life are vague and insignificant. This short book is well written and makes for a quick and interesting read especially as the successful composer descends into an inexplicable early dementia. This novel is not so much about Ravel as it is about the emptiness of a life lived devoid of human interaction despite accomplishments and accolades.

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