The Zhivago Affair

“Oh, what a love it was, utterly free, unique, like nothing else on earth! Their thoughts were like other people’s songs.”  Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago   Words hold power. A story is more powerful. That was my thought as I read, “The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book” Continue reading “The Zhivago Affair”

The Lady in Gold

“The lawyer was Randol Schoenberg, the grandson of a venerated Viennese composer who had fled the rise of Hitler. The return of this ominous heir was anything but welcome. The painting Schoenberg sought was a shimmering gold masterpiece, painted a century earlier, by the artistic heretic Gustav Klimt. It was a portrait of a VienneseContinue reading “The Lady in Gold”

Shakespeare on Goodreads

There is a lot that has been said about William Shakespeare.  Everyone has an opinion on who he was, who he was not, what he wrote etc.   The debate goes on, even after 400 years of his passing in 1616.  Therein lies the true brilliance of literature – the compelling force to continue the conversation.Continue reading “Shakespeare on Goodreads”

Wait for Me

April 10, 2016 was National Siblings Day.  I have two brothers and one sister who have been with me through good times, bad times and everything in between.  They are the first ones I call to celebrate achievements and milestone.  In times of decision, they are there to offer their support and guidance.  In momentsContinue reading “Wait for Me”

Alice B. Toklas

To be clear, I love all books, which must be understood before you read my next sentence: Over the past few years, my enjoyment of fiction has been overtaken by my greater enthusiasm for non-fiction.  This may be a bold statement, to be sure, but if you ever read, “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas,” writtenContinue reading “Alice B. Toklas”

Happy Birthday, George Washington

“The hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are free men, fighting for the blessings of Liberty — that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselvesContinue reading “Happy Birthday, George Washington”

The Love of Lists

  I love lists.  Ah, the moment I check off a task with an exaggerated flourish, there is an immediate sense of accomplishment.  Efficient, effective and documented, checklists give significance to the small, seemingly trivial actions that fill up our days. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande is an excellent illustration for the merits ofContinue reading “The Love of Lists”

Lady Almina & the Real Downton Abbey

I confess that I have never watched Downton Abbey.   I know this may come as a surprise to Downton Abbey followers, which includes most of my family.  It was not a planned oversight; it just happened.  Every season, I thought that I would begin and then a project or event would intervene.  It is aContinue reading “Lady Almina & the Real Downton Abbey”

Lili’uokalani, Hawaii’s Last Queen

This week, I read the last chapters of “Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings and America’s First Imperial Adventure” by Julia Flynn Siler.   It has been well over a century since Queen Lili’uokalani was disposed, imprisoned and discredited, but her memory lives on in the hearts of her people.   Her life was markedContinue reading “Lili’uokalani, Hawaii’s Last Queen”

Lost Kingdom: January 17, 1893

Biographies have always been my first choice in reading. Sometimes I choose a person from the past; other times it is about someone who lives in our timeline. In many ways, biographies are similar to novels in that they tell a story. The major difference with non-fiction is that we know how events unfold and,Continue reading “Lost Kingdom: January 17, 1893”