One Bad Mother-Shut Your Mouth Week

Hello all! I know, I know, you’re all like, “Damn, guuuurl, where you been at? We missed that pretty face here in the blog world.” And trust me, I missed all of you, too! It’s just that between this stuff:

This stuff:

And not nearly enough of this:

There hasn’t been much time for blogging. Or reading blogs. Or reading books (for fun, that is. I’ve got to have nothing but time to read books for school. Blech.). Or, for that matter, taking care of most general life/hygienic functions.  So I’m just here to say that I have not forsaken you, my lovely bloggy friends! I’m finally through the bulk of the hardest part of climbing what has, essentially, been the Mount Doom of my academic career (the preeecious), and the light has been seen and it’s time to rest. Love to you all, I’m off to do a mini-catch up on the Feed Reader before sleep becomes too powerful for me to resist. Now, because my week has been too much like this:

I’m off to enjoy a little of this

And a WHOLE BUNCH of these

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A Pit-Stop and the Read-a-thon

Hello all! Just a quick stop by the ole’ blog to let you all know that although it may seem like I’ve just up and abandoned you all (however many of you there are out there!) but I promise, that’s not the case. Unfortunately, this past month or so has brought about quite a bit of odd feeling and a weird head space that has led to a quick trip to our friendly on-campus therapist and a long trip home to set things right. Needless to say, sorting through a whole host of emotional quandaries and thought paths that involve “finding yourself” has left little time for posting and, even worse, not all that much time for reading. BUT, luckily, a visit from a long-missed old friend and a month’s worth of good sleep has set me straight and I’m ready to be back with a vengence, meaning participation, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, in Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon!

The Read-a-thon this year is this coming up Saturday, April 10th at 7am my time, and I can’t wait to get the book-blood pumping and the mind back in action. Really, it’s been too long. It’s almost like you don’t realize how much of your time you love giving to something until circumstances prevent you from doing it anymore. I’m still working on my reading list, which may not be up until the morning of the actual Read-a-thon, but it’ll most likely be horrors/teen lit/graphic novels and books about books because, lets be honest, 24 hours is a lot of reading! Wish me luck, and happy reading!

Review: The Birth of Venus

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant was an absolutely fabulous read! With that glowing statement out of the way, I hope I can make you understand exactly what it was I loved about this book.

The story of Alessandra Cecchi is told in the first person perspective as the girl grows up in a rich and privileged household in 15th century Florence. From a young age she is surrounded by an overly-educated (which means, given the context of the book, educated to the level of a man) mother and a father finds his entire life’s work wrapped up in the manufacturing and selling of fine cloth. Alessandra is captivated by art from the outset, and the book opens when a young artist comes to stay with her family in order to paint the frescoes on the inside of the family chapel.

The beginning of the book takes place during the Medici reign in Florence, a time of great art and even greater luxury, where the daytime held beautiful food, colors, and smells, and the night held the capacity for carnal pleasures of all natures. The richness here is created by Dunant with some of the most densely flowing language I’ve read in a while. It’s like being wrapped up in a down-comforter of words:

“Of course I know that foreign lands breed foreign colors. My own Erila is burned black by the desert sands of North Africa from where she came, and in those days you could find any number of shades in the markets of the city, so much was Florence a honeypot for trade and commerce. But this whiteness is different, have about it the feel of damp stone and sunless skies.”

The story then follows Alessandra as she gets married right at the cusp of Florence’s transition from a luxurious city ruled by the Medici’s to a city cowering in religious fears and Christian zealotry perpetrated by Savonarola, a local preacher. Alessandra soon finds herself married to a man who appreciates her mind by not her body, and hides secretes powerful enough to cripple not only Alessandra, but her entire family. As Alessandra has children and the city of Florence becomes more and more enraged with religious violence, her family comes closer and closer to the brink of complete collapse. And through it all, Alessandra continues her wonderful obsession with art, in terms of both color and technique. And the artist, who through it all continues to  work on the chapel of Alessandra’s family, grows in her mind both as a mentor and as a burgeoning sexual fantasy.

By the end of the book, Alessandra has reached the only real end she can. It’s not, in my opinion, a necessarily happy one, but it is fitting, and, at the end of it all, there is closure. I loved Dunant’s writing style and, although I wish that there were a little bit more…ending detail about a few of the B story lines, the way that she intertwined and came to satisfactory closure with the other stories was particularly admirable. This book, because of the richness, took me a bit longer to get through than I was anticipating. But in a totally good way – like when you have a really rich meal and you eat it slowly so you can savor every bite! For the whole time I was reading it, I would look forward to the end of the day when I could curl up with a few chapters of such delicious prose and such a driving story line.

I know I promised I wouldn’t gush, but I can’t help myself – it was just so fantastic. It was a GREAT first read for the Art History Challenge, and made me put more than a few books on hold about Florencian art and the Medici reign! Happy Reading, and I promise – I’ll be around more in the weeks to come, with spring break right around the corner!