Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kindle Version of The Scent of God Free for download today and tomorrow


I’m thrilled to announce that, after months of effort, the Kindle Version of The Scent of God now appears live on http://tinyurl.com/mexhv9v . I have made it FREE for download on Kindle today, April 12 and tomorrow, April 13. Click the above link and download it for free.

If you don’t have a Kindle but would like to read The Scent of God online, you can download an app at http://tinyurl.com/k59zxqe .

If you read The Scent of God several years ago, you might want to reread it again. I know that while preparing the manuscript for the Kindle Version I had to reread and edit it and actually found myself saying “This is a REALLY good book.”  I hope you will feel the same way after reading it.

Blessings and thanks,

Beryl

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch: A Review

Don’t let the size and weight of Donna Tartt’s 771 page novel, The Goldfinch, put you off.  My first reaction was “Oh Lord, how will I ever hold this, much less read it?” until I discovered that this novel does not need to be pried open page by page, but actually falls open to whatever page you might be reading. Unless you are a discus thrower, however, don’t try to hold and read this book, prop it up on something sturdy and let unravel itself.

That said, the book’s explosive opening – the terrorist bombing of a New York City museum—sucked me into the story. Carel Fabritius’ masterpiece, The Goldfinch, survives the blast (as it did in 1654 when a gunpowder factory next to the artist’s studio, exploded, killing the artist.  Also surviving is a thirteen year old boy, Theo, whose mother dies in the explosion. Theo awakens from the concussive power of the bombing buried in debris along with an old man who points to the dust-covered painting and pleads with Theo to save it. Before dying, he gives Theo a ring and babbles a name and tells him to ring the green bell. What begins as a surreal journey from devastation and loss, gathers momentum as Tartt thrusts us into future, pursuing Toby and the painting through years of suspense, terror and heartache.

While I'd have liked to read The Goldfinch straight through, it’s size demanded I stop more often than I wished. Tartt's eclectic cast of characters leap from page to life: Hobie, the gentle restorer of antique furniture under whose tutelage Toby learns the trade; Toby’s brilliant but gambling addicted father who drags him to Las Vegas where Toby befriends Boris--a Russian teen whose presence throughout much of the book drove me nuts with his unbridled euphoric, eccentric, and peripatetic personality. And then there’s the painting, both treasure and tyrant that drives the story to its violent yet satisfying conclusion.

The book was at least 100 pages too long and I had more than my fill of drug and alcohol abuse running rampant throughout the book  -- from Las Vegas onward. Would I read it again? Perhaps? It’s an amazing, complex, plausible, and gripping and wondrously written hulk of a novel. I wonder if you feel the same way.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Reflectiveness of a quiet lake



“When the pond mirrors the sky, Its soft blue sheen flawless, The pond will reveal its hidden life, A sign for you to dip your hand.”  --
Vic Klimosky, former director of the Benedictine Center at St. Paul’s Monastery, St. Paul, MN


The other day, while gazing out at Lake Superior, waiting for some sign of spring to arrive, I noticed a small flock of golden-eye ducks seemingly floating – one upon another—on the lake. It was reflection of course, but one rarely seen on our perpetually turbulent lake. Only the day before, the lake had been turgid with the runoff from wild rivers racing downhill, filled with snowmelt, mud, and debris. But that day, the lake was blue. The waters totally silent. The silt settled to the bottom, allowing the lake to reflect the immense sky above and the small creatures cruising upon it. Even more amazing was the clarity of the lake's waters. Each rock on the lake bottom next to our shoreline was revealed in all its amazing beauty and color. They were visible for a good 300 feet from the shoreline -- a phenomenon that I'd never witness before.  A perfect metaphor for the messiness of our lives, which … given room to quiet … can assume the same clarity reflective and reflective qualities.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Black wolves and jolly hungry otters

Beryl, are those ducks?” Bill asked. I followed his finger to where a wide v-shaped wake speeded toward our shoreline. Binoculars revealed, what we’d never before witnessed in our 15 years in this house: two  otters racing toward shore. We watched in delight as they clambered, in their wonderfully playful way,  up the rocks. Their heads would bob into view and then disappear, as if they were having difficulty mounting the rock. “Oh, please,” I thought , “don’t take off for some more easily climbed rock.” They didn't leave but finally managed to breach the rocks, dragging with them a very large fish, which they then – very  un-playfully—proceeded to devour. It didn't take long, then off they went, their V-shaped wake pointing away from our rocks, until they disappeared into the deep blue of the Lake’s body.
Bill was also the one to sight a large wolf loping toward him up our driveway as he drove down towards the house. While I've been seeing wolf scat and bear scat on our driveway, I've not spotted one in the process of leaving its mark. For that matter, I've never seen a wolf on our property, period, though others have. My son and his wife spotted a large black wolf near our unattached garage, and a neighbor spotted the “Biggest black wolf” he’d ever seen heading down our driveway. So, where was I when all these things were happening?  Obviously, in the wrong place. I did see a black bear cross our driveway in a heavy morning mist but that time Bill was with me. Perhaps I need to hang closer to him both in and out–of-doors.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Wonders on returning home

It hardly seems possible that, with the Summer equinox only days away, it should still be so chilly. Bill and I arrived home, having spent four months in Florida, to find we needed to fetch our long underwear from the cedar chest. From early May till now, June 13, we've had a log fire at night warming the house. The cold however, did not stop our beloved denizens of the shoreline … the eagles, the deer, goldfinches, sparrows, chickadees and the tiny hummingbirds (which arrived a week late -- from making their welcome appearances.

As I've been so remiss in blogging, I thought I’d hop back into the blogging world to share some of the wonders we've encountered on Lake Superior since our return. Florida was lovely and warm but my writing genie preferred the cold and the lake to the warmth and a pool.


On our first day home, a mother eagle settled onto our ledge rock to teach her two children to fish – or at least that’s what I think she was doing as both juveniles had a freshly caught something on which to dine. I think it was the same mother eagle sitting atop a dead birch with her two juveniles close by as I wended my way up our long driveway the following day. One sibling lifted off and made a huge sweeping circle through our woods, then headed back to the same tree where it’s mother waited.  By the time I fetched my camera (actually my telephone as I don’t have a digital camera), I returned to find both juveniles gone, the mother alone remaining. Perhaps that was the day she’d sent them packing. They knew how to fly and, presumably, to hunt.