Monday, April 05, 2010

I've Been Reading....

....and of course I've also been playing with Lightroom and Photoshop. I went for a drive a couple of weeks ago, and drove right by this horse with his head poking out of a small barn. I turned around and went back, and got this shot:
It's like Mr. Ed, right? Too funny. I then took a picture of the clouds in the sky, because I knew it might come in handy with some of my PSE8 editing:

...and I snapped a few pictures of this great old barn not far from me. The sky was all blown out in all the shots: with the magic of Photoshop, I merged the two, and came out with my final image, which looks sort of vintage, doesn't it?:
So like I said, I have been reading. It all started back in January with "The Mermaid's Chair" by Sue Monk Kidd. I absolutely adore that woman's writing. My friend Jennifer had let me borrow it. Then when I finished that, I was looking for another book. An old friend of mine suggested "The Road" by Cormack McCarthy. I had never read any of his stuff before, although I had seen the movie "No Country for Old Men" and was a little apprehensive to say the least.

Well, let me tell you, that book is something else! This excerpt from a review in the Sydney Morning Herald explains it best, I think: "McCarthy maintains the pace by keeping each scene barely more than a paragraph long. This accentuates The Road's impressionistic power, adding to its rhythm, as if the book were not composed of sections but stanzas in a poem, the metaphysical footsteps of his characters, beat by beat in a terrible dream." It's a story about a father and son in a post-apocalyptic world. The writing is beautiful, the story intense, and there really is a rhythm to it. It has stayed with me all this time. My sister Marjorie couldn't even read was too much for her...too sad, I guess. I enjoy a book that can really reach down and grab me where it counts, and "The Road" definitely did that.

So after I read the road, I thought, "Gee, maybe I should read another book by Cormack McCarthy!" So I borrowed "Blood Meridian" from the library, thinking "Ok, maybe I'll learn something about our American history that I haven't read in a text book." Uh, yeah. I ALMOST got through it, but I just couldn't finish--lots of blood and gore, no regard for human life, that sort of thing. The writing was amazing, but I really couldn't stomach the story, and it seemed to be never-ending. I hate not finishing a book, but I had to give that one back.

As a reprieve, I read "The White Queen" by Phillipa Gregory, because I had heard a review and interview on WAMC. I love stories about England's monarchy, so this one was a good choice. It's about the Pantagenets, who came before the Tudors. Have any of you watched "The Tudors"? I've rented every season from Netflix. I just love that Jonathan Rhys Meyers--he's perfect for Henry VIII--sexy and Great series. I ordered "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "The Boleyn Inheritance" from the library, and have them on queue. I may save them for my Florida trip.

In between, though, I ordered "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James Loewen. (Thanks, Mark.) I'm reading it now. I think you should all go out and get it. Read it. You'll be amazed. I always knew that I was missing huge chunks of knowledge about our country's history, and of course this book proves it. (It also helps me justify why I was practically asleep in my history classes as a kid.) Its subtitle is "Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong." And let me tell you, you will be astounded. I'm going to make Kathleen read it before her junior year American History class. It'll be interesting to see if one of the textbooks they use in her class is one of the ones Loewen lambasts. I think it's a must-read for everyone. I got sunburned yesterday while reading it outside. :) The weather in NY has been incredible.

So there you have it! If anyone has any good book recommendations for me for summer reading, let me know!


Country Contemporary said...

Good stuff...lovely photos and great reads, too (confessing, I haven't read any of the titles but am familiar with the authors). I picked up a copy of McCarthy's "All the Pretty Horses," which won the National Book Award a while back, but haven't read it and am unlikely to do so anytime soon. Shall I hang onto it for you? (Probably should make a plan to meet up in the 'hood at some point, before the year gets away from us and I'm off on the "big" move out of the region in the fall.)


dec0r8or said...

Leslie, we should DEFINITELY meet up! We could meet at Classic Country, and then go have lunch at that cute little yellow diner-y place down the road! Seriously!

Patty said...

Hey it does look all vintage-y, I like it ;)

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

Interesting and creative photo effects, Sharon! I absolutely love the shot of the horse and barn. Wonderful texture of the wood framing his light-colored head. Did you alter that one? It's wonderful!
I read constantly, but haven't been doing much book reading. I'm letting my newsweek subscription lapse this year so I can read more books. I don't read anything dark, but I do love monarchy reads! I'll have to check out "The White Queen."

dec0r8or said...

I did alter the horse one, Rose. It was a one-step preset in Lightroom, I think. I loved what it did to the rich colors in the barn wood. Pretty cool! Enjoy "The White Queen!"

Greg said...

The Road was the talking book that accompanied me on one of my last trips up the Adirondacks and back. What a story.

I'm reading The Help by Kathryn Stockert now. It's very good.

dec0r8or said...

Oh, Greg, "The Help" sounds great. I just put a request in at the library for it. I'm loving my library. It's like magic--punch in the name, hit "request first available copy" and usually a week later, an email arrives letting me know I can go pick it up! Sweeet! Thanks for the recommendation! :)

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