Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Robot Scientist's Daughter by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Cesium Burns Blue
Copper burns green. Sodium yellow,
strontium red. Watch the flaming lights
that blaze across your skies, America—
there are burning satellites
even now being swallowed by your horizon,
the detritus of space programs long defunct,
the hollowed masterpieces of dead scientists.
Someone is lying on a grassy hill,
counting shooting stars,
wondering what happens
when they hit the ground.
In my back yard in Oak Ridge,
they lit cesium
to measure the glow.
Hold it in your hand:
foxfire, wormwood, glow worm.
Cesium lights the rain,
is absorbed in the skin,
unstable, unstable,
dancing away, ticking away
in bones, fingernails, brain.
Sick burns through, burns blue.

Title: The Robot Scientist's Daughter
Author: Jeannine Hall Gailey
ISBN: 9781936419425
Publisher: Mayapple Press/2015
Pages: 82

When I was asked by Serena Agusto-Cox to review this poetry book for Poetic Book Tours, I did not think twice. I had read and reviewed way back in 2009. I liked what Jeannine Hall Gailey had penned in that.

Coming back to The Robot Scientist's Daughter, I liked the title. When I read the introduction by the poet, I was hooked to the poems. I could relate to the scientific stuff mentioned in the poems. My dad used to talk Physics to us during meal times. He explained the complicated scientific stuff in a very simplified manner. Theoretical physics still is part of my life.

I have done my Masters in Inorganic Chemistry. When Gailey writes about various Elements and their properties and mentions GeigerMüller counter, I know exactly what she is speaking about.

These poems speak to me, reach out to me. When we say Nuclear, everyone thinks Nuclear bombs, Nuclear wars. No one thinks of the nuclear debris, which is more devastating then the bombs and wars. Why? Because it kills slowly, and spreads over generations.

Gailey has personalized the poems and that connects to the heart. I paused at times, reflecting on the words, was saddened too, now and then. Rural childhood is mixed with straight laced scientists, consequences of our mindless nuclear experimentation. To what effect? Destruction in one way or the other. 

Each of the poems that talks of The Robot Scientist's Daughter, in one way or the other, feels us with poignancy, helplessness and stoic acceptance. I find poetry books hard to review but this one was easy for me despite being on a difficult topic of science, which most don't relate to.

Posting this for Poetic Book Tours

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon finishing post

End of Event Meme:

Which hour was most daunting for you?

As I live in India, my start up time is around 6 PM. Saturdays are working for me so in a way it is the end of the day for me. I also have to do the household chores. I do manage to read for three hours. I find difficult to stay awake after 11 30 PM.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Go for Historical romances. Those keep one riveted.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

I like the Read-a-thon the way it is.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

Cheerleaders? I don't know. I did a start up post and now doing this finishing post. I did not do any mini challenges. In fact, I stayed away from my laptop.

How many books did you read?

I read 4. 5 books. Three and half  romances, one poetry. 

What were the names of the books you read?

Bought: One Husband by Diana Hamilton
The Prospective Wife by Kim Lawrence
Bedded by the Billionaire by Leanne Banks 

The Robot Scientist's Daughter by Jeannine Hall Gailey....poetry

Which book did you enjoy most?

The Robot Scientist's Daughter by Jeannine Hall Gailey....poetry

Which did you enjoy least?

Bought: One Husband by Diana Hamilton

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

They did they job pretty well..

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?


Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Start up post

Opening Meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I am reading from New Delhi, India

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to read a poetry book, The Robot Scientist's Daughter by Jeannine Hall Gailey

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Tea and Crispies..

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I am a teacher, a poet and a reader. 

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I will continue reading as I always do. I will read books on my tablet. That is the only different thing, I will be doing..

Saturday Snapshot: April 24, 2015.

I have pledged to wear sarees for 100 days in 2015. Repeats are allowed. I have also made few others pledge with me.....:D

Check out the following for my inspiration:

Check out #100sareepact for saree stories.....

These are the three sarees I wore this week...... I will be posting pictures of all the days I drape a saree....

Posting for Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Muscle Cars by Stephen G Eoannou

Griff stood in the bedroom doorway and watched his wife count the money a third time. Val’s hands trembled as she piled the fifty dollar bills on the bed in stacks of ten. When she was finished, there were ten neat stacks on the bedspread.
Val looked up at Griff. “Five thousand ,” she said.
Griff nodded. He had counted it twice before she got home.
“Tell me again how you found it.”
“There’s not much to tell,” Griff said, leaning against the doorjamb, his hands stuffed in his pockets. “My shift ended and I found it when I was cleaning the back of the cab.”
“So it belongs to your last fare.”
Griff shrugged. “The envelope was under the backseat, like it had been dropped and accidently kicked when the person was getting out. I don’t know who it belongs to."
“You must have an idea. A suspicion.”

~~Auld Lang Syne, Muscle Cars...

Title: Muscle Cars
Author: Stephen G Eoannou
ISBN: 9781939650221
Publisher: Santa Fe Writers Project/2015
Pages: 250

Short story collections are hard to review. The same goes for this collection too. I loved the stories but do not quite know how to explain those. One thing I discovered reading the stories is that, most have endings which are open-ended. It is for the reader to decide how he or she wants to explain it.

The stories depict the male point of view and cars are important part of the stories. The stories are about males and for males. Yet I loved the book. The title story sets the mood. The narrator goes to his neighbour's place to complain about noise and all but ends up bonding with the young boy and his friend by revealing about his brother.

The narrators of each story end up knowing something other than what they expected. Sometimes the consequences are not so good. Many a times, things are not what we think or expect. Life will always throw a curve when we least expect it.

I loved the build up of each of the stories, be it tragic or otherwise. If you want to read something that exercises your mind, makes you think, I recommend this book. The author knows his job and knows how to play into the readers mind.

Posting this is for Poetic Book Tours

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Guest Post – Stephen G. Eoannou, Muscle Cars

 Poetic Book Tours will be doing the blog tour for Muscle Cars by Stephen G. Eoannou in April.

 Also check Santa Fe Writers Project

Guest Post – Stephen G. Eoannou, Muscle Cars

I’m often asked where I got my ideas for the stories collected in Muscle Cars.  There’s no 
single answer to that question. “Stealing Ted Williams’ Head” was inspired by a photograph hanging in a locker room; “Slip Kid” was based on a real murder case that rocked the Buffalo Greek community in the late seventies; and “Swimming Naked” came about because, well, we swam naked in gym class like in the story.  “The Wolf Boy of Forest Lawn”, which originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post’s Great American Fiction anthology, was inspired by a deer and my insurance agent.

Forest Lawn Cemetery, all 267 acres of it, is located in the heart of Buffalo, New York. It’s a beautiful cemetery of rolling green hills, old-growth trees, and the resting place of 
presidents, tribal chiefs, war heroes, and that super freak Rick James. A few years ago, a deer was spotted living in the cemetery. This fascinated me. How did a deer end up in an urban cemetery? Where did it come from? How did it get there? I wasn’t the only one intrigued by this deer. There were stories on the evening news, complete with video, about the Forest Lawn deer. 

Photographs of it appeared in the newspaper. Friends posted about seeing the animal on social media. Everyone, it seemed, had seen the deer or had some deer story to tell except me. Hell, the damn deer even had its own Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Deer-in-Forest-Lawn/312800387511?ref=br_tf).  I live about two blocks from the cemetery and drive by it four times a day and never saw an antler. I started driving through the cemetery four times a day looking for it and I still didn’t see even a hoof print. I dragged my kids there every chance I could, rode my bike through the endless rows of graves on weekends and still nothing. The deer became a mythical creature for me, so I decided to write about it.

As I stared at my blank computer screen at five in the morning, my writing time, and 
after a series of false starts, I realized there was no story there, that writing about a deer in a cemetery is boring, that no one would care. As the sun started to rise (and as that deer, I’m sure, started to stir just blocks away) I decided that a story about a boy living in a cemetery is much more interesting than one about a stupid deer living there, especially one I couldn’t see. But what boy? And how did he get there? 

Sitting on my desk is a calendar, one of those tent-style spiral types that my insurance 
company sends every year. Each month has a bucolic picture from New England associated with it: colorful Connecticut foliage for October, a Massachusetts snow-covered barn in January. And there, at the bottom, in large, blue font is my insurance agent’s name: Sanford G. Wolffe.  I decided right then that the only thing more interesting than a story about a boy living in a cemetery is a story about a wolf boy living there: The Wolf Boy of Forest Lawn.This is the only story in the collection and, in fact, the only time in my career that I came up with the title before I came up with the story itself.  It took a while to work out who the boy was and how he ended up in the cemetery, but since then I’ve seen the real Forest Lawn deer twice and the story that it inspired has become one of my favorites in Muscle Cars.

Synopsis: The stories in MUSCLE CARS explore the unique and sometimes flawed relationships between men, their families, and their friends. Featuring a diverse cast of inarticulate misfits, including a compulsive body builder obsessed by the death of his brother; a former boxer forced to sell his prized 1946 New York Yankees autographed baseball; and two boyhood friends who plan to steal Ted Williams’ scientifically frozen head, this is a stand-out debut from Pushcart-nominated Eoannou and a powerful journey through the humor, darkness, and neuroses of the modern American Everyman.

Those who enjoy the fiction of Larry Brown and Tom Perrotta will enjoy this book as well as anyone who enjoys coming-of-age stories and stories that explore the complex world of men and their relationships.

​About the Author:

Stephen G. Eoannou holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and an MA from Miami University. His
work has been nominated for two Pushcart Awards, awarded an Honor Certificate from The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and was honored with the Best Short Screenplay Award at the 36th Starz Denver Film Festival. He lives and writes in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, the setting and inspiration for much of his work.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Monday: Mailbox/What Am I Reading?

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. It has finally found a permanent  home at Mailbox Monday with the following new administrators:

Leslie of Under My Apple Tree
Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit
Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach

I received three poetry books for two tours....

TLC tour for THE ANTIGONE POEMS by Marie Slaight hosted by Lisa Munley

Poetic Book Tours hosted by Serena Agusto-Cox for The Robot Scientist's Daughter by Jeannine Hall Gailey and Reconnaissance by Anne Higgins

The Antigone Poems

The Antigone PoemsFeaturing poetry by Marie Slaight and charcoal drawings by Terrence Tasker, The Antigone Poems was created in the 1970’s, while the artists were living between Montreal and Toronto. An intensely personal invocation of the ancient Greek tale of defiance, the illustration and poetry capture the despair of the original tale in an unembellished modernized rendition.  
 The Antigone Poems provides a special expedition into the depths of the ancient Sophocles tragedy while questioning  power, punishment and one of mythology’s oldest themes: rebellion.

The Robot Scientist’s Daughter by Jeannine Hall Gailey
Dazzling in its descriptions of a natural world imperiled by the hidden dangers of our nuclear past, this book presents a girl in search of the secrets of survival. In The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, Jeannine Hall Gailey creates for us a world of radioactive wasps, cesium in the sunflowers, and robotic daughters. She conjures the intricate menace of the nuclear family and nuclear history, juxtaposing surreal cyborgs and mad scientists from fifties horror flicks with languid scenes of rural childhood. Mining her experience growing up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the writer allows the stories of the creation of the first atomic bomb, the unintended consequences of scientific discovery, and building nests for birds in the crooks of maple trees to weave together a reality at once terrifying and beautiful. The Robot Scientist’s Daughter reveals the underside of the Manhattan Project from a personal angle, and charts a woman’s – and America’s – journey towards reinvention.

 Reconnaissance by Anne Higgins
Early praise for the book can be found in the The Hollins Critic magazine:

“Reconnaissance is Anne Higgins’s seventh poetry collection. In it, she reconnoiters her past, significant events in American history (the assassination of JFK, 9/11, a fire in which twenty-eight eight-year-olds died), her diminishing eyesight. (In “Another Blind Beggar” she informs us that there is “a grey footprint in the center of my vision, / a grey cat sits in the center of the field.” She writes about life as a nun and favorite pop songs. There are poems about birds, insects, and her mother. In short, this book maps an entire life, the life of a vibrant, intelligent, and sharply observant woman. “Morning yelps with cold,” she writes, and we feel and hear the charged air, become conscious of the exciting chill.” — Review by Kelly Cherry


Hosted by Sheila @ One Person's Journey Through a World of BooksWe discuss the books that we've read and what we're planning to read for the week.

I have read 103 novels till date, in 2015....

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: March 28, 2015

It was my birthday last Sunday, March 22. I did not celebrate it but I did get a handful of gifts. From my mom, SILs and friends.

On Monday, it was fun to celebrate in school by taking pics and simply goofing. Exams done, so no girls around until the results come out...

Sharing a few of those photos:

Diamond Studs from Mom

Cosmetic case from SIL amongst other stuff
Suncreen and BB cream bought by me
Pearl earrings from a friend
 Posting for Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: March 21, 2015

It was an interesting March. We had lots of guests, for starters. My mom was not well for a few days. I was and still am busy with school exams.

With my College friend who lives in Arizona

Mom and my eldest SIL, who lives in Bangalore and was on a visit

Celebrating my SIL's birthday

 Was taking a staff meeting. Someone took a picure!!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: March 7, 2015

Last week I posted pictures of well-known landmarks of Delhi, which I visited with my Auntie and Uncle. Today I will post pictures of my Auntie, Uncle and myself front of those landmarks. I will also post pictures my mom and Auntie...

With my Auntie, Mom's youngest Sis
With Uncle

Uncle and Auntie
Mom and her youngest Sis (20 years younger)

Mom, SIL, Brother, Auntie, Uncle
Posting for Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy