Monday, April 9, 2018

ON BEAUTY the novel by Zadie Smith

ON BEAUTY  is a Zadie Smith novel that speaks to multiculturalism in the world today as Zadie Smith knows it.  Smith is from England so her views on American culture might be a tad stereotypical.  For example, the heroine in the novel is named Kiki and she is an American black woman who is large and big breasted but still manages to dress well, look nice, and have tons of personality and great style. The name Kiki is usually a nickname, and not a given name, but in the media women called Kiki are usually portrayed as being a little off beat, quirky, and fun.  Indeed Kiki's white husband adores her and his problem where he starts to stray actually has nothing to do with Kiki or her increase in size. 

On the Goodreads website I posted I enjoyed reading ON BEAUTY very much.  In ON BEAUTY Zadie Smith touches on subjects such as mixed marriages, stereotypes of all kinds, sexuality, and the sins of the fathers in the families. 

The white father who is an atheist college professor  that  is liberal commits the same sins as the
black father in the story who is a Christian college professor that  is conservative. Imagine that! Although the Christian father comes off in the story as the villain while the liberal father just seems to be in a world of his own and a tad lazy.

ON BEAUTY is set in recent times in a New England state in the academia world.  The story sometimes reverts to  UK/England where some of the characters are from.   Other subjects touched on in the story are Rap Music, Spoken Word, Poetry, Art, coming of age, Youth, Middle age...well it goes on and on about these and many other subjects.  There are some interesting  connotations about Rap where she writes about "keepers of the crossroad" and souls being sold to the devil. I am not quite sure what Zadie Smith meant by all of it but it appears they might be words that could be googled and investigated further for the sake of knowledge.  


I could see this book being turned into a television series that lasts for years...The college angst, infidelities, new experiences for people.

In the story Kiki has three multiracial young adult children. As I read the story I kept picturing the younger two, in my head, as looking like the young actors who play Maddie and Charlie on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.  I guess those types of things happen sometime.

I bought this book because I had seen Zadie Smith's books on the Goodreads website and I decided she was an author whose books I wanted to explore.  I will probably pass this book on to a fellow reader I think might enjoy the book. 

Since Barack Obama became president multi racial people are featured in pop culture more.  Now that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are planning nuptials I've noticed a sharp increase of multi racial couples featured on television shows and commercials. 

Ultimately though I feel the novel ON BEAUTY reminds me of how people have a physical life but people also have the private world of their own thoughts in their mind.

ON BEAUTY was published by The Penguin Press

Saturday, January 13, 2018

New Year Resolutions

Oh it's that pesky time of year again! Time to make new resolutions for the new year at a time of year it is hard to start them because of bad weather or things like cold and flu season.

My Top Three Resolutions:

1.  Utilize the two minute rule.  If something around the house or in business will take only two minutes to do then go ahead and take care of it.

2.  Get out of the house more. We are talking get out of the house 50 percent more. Which is still not even a lot...!

3.  Get started back with regular bible reading, watching inspirational messages on TV and listening to praise music some each day.

Of course I have bookoo other resolutions or other things I need to do. Among them are: blog on a more regular basis, drink more water, take vitamins, catch up on book reviews, diet, moisturize, get better sleep....well you know the list could go on and on!

What are some of your resolutions and how is it going?

Monday, December 4, 2017

What I "learnt" from Floki (addendum)

Recently I posted about the character Floki from the TV show VIKINGS.  There was a time he told his lovely wife Helga that he did not want to be with her because she made him happy and he did not want to be happy.

 Why would a person not want to be happy?  For the VIKING character Floki he was busy being a Viking and being happy was not necessarily going to make him a better Viking. The Viking community was built on violence and rage and  generally not giving a f#&k about anything.  If Floki was happy it might not be as easy for him to go about his Viking duties that required worshipping the Viking gods and  setting up plans to foil the people Floki didn't care for.

Why would someone in the modern world today not want to be happy?  If someone is unhappy and becomes happy they may have to give up a large part of the muck they have been mucking around in that has become comfortable and a way of life for them.  If a person is happy there is no longer an excuse to keep participating in some of their favorite bad habits. People use their past pain as an excuse to not change to a better way of life.    

Sunday, October 22, 2017

What I "learnt" from Floki

Floki is a character in the History Channel television show VIKINGS.  His talents lie in designing and building the fast long boats the Vikings need to explore and conquer the world with.  He is tall, lanky, and pale and wears heaps of black eyeliner.  He has a wife named Helga that adores him and is good to him.

In spite of her love for him Floki pushes his wife Helga away from him by not coming home.  Helga is desperate for answers and goes to town to beseech Floki to return home with her.  Floki tells Helga he doesn't want to be around her because she makes him happy. Floki then tells Helga he does not want to be happy so he can't be around her. 

If someone happens to break up with you by using the "it's not you, it's me" theme you should believe them.  It is not that you were lacking in any way, it may just be that person, like Floki, just doesn't want to be happy.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

FOUNDATIONS OF DRAWING : A Practical Guide to Art History, tools, techniques, and Styles

Compiled and written by Al
Gury, FOUNDATIONS OF DRAWING:  A Practical Guide to Art History, Tools, Techniques, and Styles is entertaining as well as educational.  It is chock full of art history that is beautifully illustrated with gorgeous pictures in color.  I read the print version and I loved it!  The book is made of good solid materials and paper which makes the experience with it even more enjoyable. 

Gury fills this book with knowledge of Art History, the tools one may need to work with, and some background on different styles of drawing and how to achieve them.  It's a book that both young and old can relate to and it will inspire many people to continue learning and growing in their artistic endeavors. 

I received this book fro Blogging for Books via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  I chose this book for review as I enjoy looking at art and I have some family members and friends who are very artistic.  It is a book that will be looked at over and over with new facts and new realizations noted at each use.

*image provided by publisher.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


People who enjoy the television show
SHAMELESS (UK) or SHAMELESS(US)  will like the novel GLORIOUS HERESIES. It also reminds me of the British Soaps such as CORONATION STREET and HOLLYOAKS.  The story is set in Ireland during the financial crash almost ten years ago.  McInerney exhibits extreme writing skills as she is able to combine the profane Irish street vernacular with some of the biggest and most beautiful words I have ever readGLORIOUS HERESIES was published in Ireland previously where it had won a very big award and is now being released in the USA.  It speaks to changing attitudes on giving birth and women's choice, different vices and crimes, and serves as an coming of age story.  It also speaks to how strong the Catholic Church and Christianity is in Ireland and so there are things considered heresies in the story.  What do people do when the economy is so bad as to leave them with only a series of not so good choices?

Ryan is fifteen and in the throes of first love while dealing with an abusive, alcoholic father.  This propels him to an early career dealing drugs.  Georgie is a young woman whose boyfriend turns her into a prostitute.  Maureen is a grandmother who kills an intruder to her home but is unable to go to the police as they may investigate her gangster son's business.  Some of the characters seem lovable while some of them come across as despicable. It's all an excellent study of human nature.

I read the book straight through in a little over a 24 hour time period on a holiday weekend.  I chose the book for review because I enjoy literature and media from Ireland and England.  I liked this story and will see about getting the sequel when it becomes available.  This book was provided to me free of charge via the publisher and Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. 

Book cover image provided by the publisher  via Blogging for Books.