Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Birthday Cake

Another candle on the birthday cake:
A symbol of all the paths you did not take,

All the chances that you killed,
All the dreams left unfulfilled.

You snuff it out, a suicide,
A death to all the lives untried,

Cutting off all side lanes
Until only the one path remains.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Mrs. Poe

Mrs. PoeMrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this novel about France's Osgood, poet and maybe mistress of Edgar Allen Poe. I like Fanny's voice and the description of New York during the 1880s...so many creative and brilliant minds all cavorting together. But Cullen may have let her imagination get the best of her, being a bit liberal with the haunting and sinister (?) Mrs. Poe. Also all the bodice clutching and dithering between the almost robotic Mr. Poe (really, someone with so little sense of humor was a chick magnet?), and Mrs. Osgood teetered between melodramatic and tedious. Still if you like your historical fiction heavy on the fiction, it is a fun read.

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The Painted Girls

The Painted GirlsThe Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this fictional account of the van Gonthem sisters, who were dancers and models for Degas. Degas was a realist painter capturing ballet dancers in their "natural" environment, instead of air brushed and ideal. (Although like reality tv, it was often arranged and modeled to look spontaneous). Degas tells stories with his pictures, and Buchanan does a lovely job imagining the lives of the dancers behind the images. Having not read a synopsis beforehand, I was delighted to realize these girls actually existed. Not a lot of details of their lives are available, but I am more than willing to believe the story Buchanan imagined. It is a story of power, and how to pull yourself out of the powerlessness of poverty without giving away everything. It is also the story of the special bond of sisters. There is also the exploration of the theories of that day of whether you are born to a destiny (evidenced by the shape of your face) or whether you really have a choice.

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