Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bitter in the Mouth a satisfying Read

When I learned my local bookstore was offering a program to read and review novels prior to their release date I jumped at the chance! The first pick of mine was Bitter in the Mouth, a novel by Monique Truong, which is due out on bookshelves by the end of August.

I hungrily read this story of friendship and family, loss and discovery. As a reader, you cannot help but be drawn in by the speaker, Linda, and her tale of growing up different in the small town of Boiling Springs, North Carolina in the 1970's and eighties. Always playing the part of an outcast, you cannot help but to be intrigued by Linda and how she reacts to every day stimuli.

Linda can taste words. A fact which she works to hide from almost everyone but her best friend Kelly, whom she has exchanged daily letters with since the two were seven years old. As the years pass secrets begin to multiply between not just Linda and Kelly but also within Linda's family and even amongst others in the town- proof to the old saying that everyone has something to hide.

Soon it becomes apparent Linda's goal is to get away from this small town in pursuit of an education and a career, but she still remains unenlightened as to her own past and why she has this special sixth sense.

A family tragedy brings her back to Boiling Springs from the life she has made herself back North, and this is when she begins to learn the truth.

Now, perhaps it is a bit narrow-minded of me, but I feel as though quite a few of these secrets and events are contrived and implausible. Is there really such a person and a family who has gone through as much as Linda? Perhaps there is. I am sure many people have lived lives which to others would seem improbable if not impossible to imagine. I wonder if other readers will share my disbelief at some of the circumstances. Though I enjoyed the book I am left with a feeling that the book's integrity might be at stake because of this implausibility.

I suppose I should also say the book, as it stands at the time of my reading it (June 2010), still feels a little unpolished.

There are some glimpses of genius- some truly beautiful lines which I think truly show Truong's gift:
The night was temperate and full of stars. She had a full tank of gas. I had twenty dollars in my wallet. We felt like we could go someplace and be somewhere.

Haven't we all felt that way? As if there was still more night to be had?

In the end, Bitter in the Mouth is a solid book with a beautiful view on life from an outsider in a small Southern town. From Linda, we learn what it feels like to grow up being different from everyone else, what it takes to succeed in both education, friendship, and love. The book is hopeful for Linda, and I am hopeful for the book in turn- Bitter in the Mouth teaches us that we can all mature and endure.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Marco Island Morning

We the mortals touch the metals,
the wind, the ocean shores, the stones,
knowing they will go on, inert or burning,
and I was discovering, naming all the these things:
it was my destiny to love and say goodbye.

- PABLO NERUDA (Still Another Day)

Friday, June 18, 2010


In blink the talented staff writer at The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell, attempts to decode the power of first impressions.

Throughout the novel, Gladwell notes the power of thinking without thinking- about "hunches," and "gut-feelings"- and the important role these snap decisions play in our lives- both for better and for worse. According to Gladwell, each of our brains contain a backstage process, which denotes its decree subconsciously- a phenomenon we tend to call intuition. Through this process we have the ability to sift through huge amounts of information, blend data, and isolate important details- thus enabling us to come to rapid conclusions, even within the first two seconds of perceiving something. '' 'Blink' is a book about those first two seconds,'' Gladwell writes.

Blink quickly moves through examples of this amazing process we call intuition and just how accurate and interesting it really can be. A great example is the story of the psychologist who since the 1980's has worked with more than 3,000 couples in his ''love lab,'' near the University of Washington. He videotapes them having a normal, everyday conversation. Reviewing just an hour's worth of each tape, the psychologist and his team have been able to predict with 95 percent accuracy whether that couple will still be married 15 years later.

Gladwell also points out a few bad points of using one's intuition, and how it can easily lead one astray-- but he is careful not to dwell on this subject for long. Making invalid first impressions seem to be an uncommon exception, only occurring in extreme environments.

While Blink is exceedingly thought-provoking, it is also a bit translucent: Gladwell wants us to begin to look at our brains as super-computers, and to trust our "gut-instincts" which our brains put-out as being just as reliable as painstaking research and data-gathering. Also, although Gladwell is quick to give his readership many examples of the benefits (and a few pitfalls) of first impressions, he never goes into detail as to how our brains are capable of doing what they do.

With all of this being said, I highly recommend Blink, it contains great insight as to how snap decisions play a role in everything from purchasing any given item, endorsing a politician, and deciding whether someone is a violent criminal.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Summer Reading List for the Bibliophile

Hello all!

Summer is almost in full swing, complete with sitting poolside and enjoying picnics. So , in lucious anticipation of the lazy days of summer, I wanted to provide you with a summer reading list fit for the bibliophile in your life! This list runs the gambit of poetry,self-help, food ethics, social commentary, and a heart-wrenching life story. I will warn you that my choices lean to the more serious side when compared to other beach reads but I promise each novel is interesting and poignant (and available in hard-cover!).

In no particular order, here are my top 6 summer reads:
Blink by Malcom Gladwell
Outliers also by Malcom Gladwell
Making a Good Brain Great by Dr. Daniel G. Amen
100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong Expected on sale 08/31/2010

Remember to check back daily for book reviews for each novel suggested here!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some things to Look at. . .

((via bbybree))
Do you need help figuring out the Anatomy of Love?

I need my own Coat of Arms!

Black and White Party 2010- here we come!

If being a Stepford Wife means having your home look like this-- I am in.

Hand-Painted Peonies- decidedly not Queen of Hearts style ;)

Why Preserve Van Gogh's Palette?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Catching my Breath.

Sorry to be gone so long- I was up in the Adirondacks with my boyfriend's Family for a few days, and now I am just catching my breath.

I have a lot of lovely ideas for my posts which will be forthcoming!


Friday, June 4, 2010

The Perfect Meal

Divine is the only word that comes to mind, as I look at my lunch. Its sweet smell wafts through the air, letting me know eleven is close enough to both breakfast and lunch to make this meal acceptable in the realm of my peers.

I bite into the Peach, Brie, and Honey Croissant and become barraged with descriptors. Undeniably sweet, I taste the sweet and tangy fresh peach first, then the light butter of the croissant dough itself, brushed with just a hint of honey. My second bite is all texture- the stick of honey on my fingers, the soft mush of the gooey baked peach and the airy flake of the croissant. I nearly forgot the brie. Brie, the universal binder, it tastes soft, slightly woody, adding depth and breadth to the croissant with its savory, seductive powers.

Each flavor, every texture, combines to create a euphoric dance in my mouth.

And the coffee? Expertly prepared- sweet and nutty, even when taken black (which is how I prefer it). One day I will gain the nerve to ask the shop owner how to obtain these beans for my own daily consumption.

Where did I get such a masterpiece of a meal?
La Maison du Cheese
51 W State St
Doylestown, PA 18901
(215) 348-7543

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The First

There has to be a beginning to everything. And so this is Lost Discoverer's.

In our lives, each day begins with a little darkness, a little worry, some trepidation and anticipation as to what is in store. Groggily we meet the dawn- slowly appreciating the chance to begin our day, and hopefully recognizing the beauty of just being alive.

So with this blog: I begin a bit wary of what is in store, but confident the beginning is just that- a chance to shape my days into something beautiful.