Books and Bibelots….



Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News

One commentator call this Dan Rather’s “last hurrah” and at eighty years old it just might be.  His chronicling of the news should be quite a history as he covered everything from the Vietnam war to Iraq and Afghanistan; at home he reported on elections and hurricanes.  I was rather sad (pun unintended) to see him step down from CBS in 2004 for his reporting on George W. Bush’s time in the Texas Air National Guard.  From what I read in an interview Rather thinks he was correct in his statements about the Bush’s record and I suspect he will address that in his book.  I have read his book, “I Remember” that tells of his early years growing up in the Heights neighborhood of Houston and how he got started in journalism.  I think I will read this one. 



I confess that I have never read one of his novels, and I am a little guilty and ashamed to have ignored such a prolific writer.  I saw the movie “Cujo” and regretted it.  Yet I did see “Needful Things” and deemed it tolorable.  I did start one of his books – can’t even remember the title – but soon abandoned it.  It is part of his Dark Tower fantasy sagas and I don’t read fantasy.  Sorry, Mr. King, I will pass on this one but I know it will do well as usual.


I saw an interview with the author of this one on Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN.   It appears current to today’s economics and political debates so I probably should read it. Some havedescribed it as “balm for the 1%” and “a defense of the rich.”   However, there seems to be plenty of discussions and controversy about the 1% in this election year.  Since I am not in the 1% yet I think I will pass on reading this one.    

                          “THE BOOK WHISPERER” by Donalyn Miller                                                 

The title of this one caught my attention.  This book was written by a teacher and appears to be more of a guide for teachers on how to  encourage children to love to read.  All teachers should do that.  When my daughter and son were small I joined a children’s book club (yes, that dates me) for them.  I still have all of their children’s books and read those to my grandson when he was small.  Today we still share a love for books and give each other books for gifts.  I even give books as gifts for newborns.  Maybe I did something right!  I may not have the opportunity to read this one but I hope many teachers do.



This is the fifth and final volume of Caro’s series, “The Years of Lyndon Johnson.”   Long ago I read one of Caro’s earlier volumes on LBJ but I can’t remember which one.  I think I passed it on to my daughter.  Having lived through the Johnson years I know it will be informative.  With all of the bickering and power struggles in Washington  in an election year, I am not sure I am ready to read this one.  Perhaps I will save it for another year.

“Extra Virginity:  The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil” by Tom Mueller

This book I found on the Tin Man’s blog.  He read it and deemed it “marvelous and a must  for anyone who likes to cook.”   Recently I have been using extra virgin olive more and more.  A friend has an olive farm in Tuscany and last year I purchased six bottles of his liquid Italian sunshine.  It was outstanding!  (I confess to adding  his olive oil to a bowl of red beans and rice but I would never tell him!)  Last year I wrote a post called “Crude Oil vs. Olive Oil” that was about the production of olive oil in Texas.  Yes, most definitely I will read this one!

“Death Comes to Pemberly” by P.D. James

This one I have already read as I was able to pick it up at the local library book sale in hardcover for $1.00.  I have read all of the novels of P.D. James and was excited when I saw that she had a new mystery out as I needed a London fix.  Her novels are generally set in and around London in modern ties, but this one borrows from Jane Austin’s “Price and Prejudice.”  James takes up the lives Austin’s characters a few years after “Pride and Prejudice” ends and throws in a murder in typical James style.  I did get my British fix but it was a 19th century fix.  I also enjoyed her book, “Time to Be in Ernest:  A Fragment of Autobiography” that was a memoir in the form for a personal diary.  P. D. James will celebrate her 92nd birthday in August of this year.

“You Have No Idea” by Vanessa Williams & Helen Williams

Often a celebrity will write about  how he or she was treated unfairly by a parent.  Remember “Mommy Dearest”?  Here is a celebrity teaming up with her mother to tell all about childhood secrets, beauty pagents, lost love and Hollywood glitz.  One has to  admire the comeback Vanessa Williams has made since she gave up her Miss America title when her photos for Penthouse surfaced.  Instead of slinking off to oblivion, she launched a career as a singer and actress.  Probably her best know role was in the television series Desperate Housewives.  I wish them literary succes but I  don’t think I will be reading this one.

Right now I am reading “A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare” by James Shapiro.

Next from my stack of books to read will be “Growing Up a Sullen Baptist and Other Lies” by Robert Flynn. 

13 thoughts on “Books and Bibelots….

  1. You made me chuckle regarding your King comments! His movies are horrific! You MUST read The Stand……I found it such a beautiful story about good and evil. I did not know of the Rather book……….I MUST read…..I took feel that his forced “step down” was unnecessary and I too feel that the truth was told. Thanks for the “pingback” on Extra Virginity! I have spent so much time in olive orchards and olive oil production facilities with my job that I am in love with the stuff! I use it as hand and body lotion. If you want it thicker, just mix some with Aleo gel………..natures cure all!


    • I am glad that I could make you chuckle. Thanks for the suggestion on the “The Stand” and the tip for lotion. And I agree that nature cures all! Thanks for the comments and stopping by.


  2. Interesting choices. I think I agree with most of your passes, except for the LBJ one, that I would like to read. Tin Man is correct about The Stand though, good story, watchable movie/mini tv series. The Green Mile movie, based on a series of articles/short stories rather than a book is also worth watching. As for “Cujo”, it was a real dog!


  3. I really do like the new theme and the background photograph. I read Dan Rather’s “The Camera Never Blinks” many years ago. I still remember it as one of the most interesting personal accounts I ever read. Thanks for the reviews.


    • I want to read “The Camera Never Blinks” also & thanks for the reminder. Thanks for the comment on the theme and background photograph. My son took it from the end of our street with CC in the distance across the bay. Mine is so simple as I don’t do a lot with the sidebars as I have learned by trial and error!


  4. I’m loving your new blog layout, Jonel. “Tails, Trails, and connections to almost anything.” There is an air of mystery and intrigue associated with the tag line.

    I have not read a single one of these, I’m afraid. If there was one you would recommend, which would it be? I think I might be interested in the Stephen King novel . . . I have been wanting to read him for years, but just never seem to actually pick up his book when I am at the library.

    ~ Cara


    • Thank you for the compliment! I rather envy those bloggers who have a subject they stick to – photographs, cooking, travels, crafts, etc. I tend to write about what interests me which is sometimes off the beaten trail! I have considered doing a blog just on books.

      I read your post where you commented on authors you like but I had not read any of them. You said many you started did not hold your interest. Of the ones I mentioned you might like “Death Comes to Pemberly” if you like a little murder mystery set in a period piece. I am ashamed to admit I could not finish the one King novel I started. Two bloggers suggested I read “The Stand” as it is the conflict between good and evil but as i recall it is a thick book. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!


      • I think you’re right, Jonel, and in fact I was thinking about that the other day. Not having a blog concept poses a challenge in every post. It can be rather inconvenient not having that go-to topic on hand, but then again, I think that is our concept: erratic musings. Whether it be art or books, cooking or music, bird-watching or planetarium love, we are called to share a moment with our prose, honestly. Or at least, as a writer, that is what I am inspired to do.

        I always enjoy your musings, Jonel, widely ranged as they may be.

        Bless you,


  5. Just look at what you’re doing. Introducing people to books – and books to people. You’ve given me new books to add to my list of what to read next (it is so important to have lots of unread books sitting on the shelf, beckoning, beckoning). I’ve read all of P.D. James books. Now that’s a woman who can write and she’s well over 90 years old. I must say I didn’t care for her style in the first half of Death Comes to Pemberley. Fortunately she couldn’t help herself, and reverted back to her wonderful P.D. James style. Virginia


    • I’m a P.D. James fan too and have to have my stack of books ready to read next. Thank you for the kind comment. It means more coming from someone who is passionate about books!


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