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#Poetry Eva Bourke (Irish poet)


Finished: 25.06.2019
Genre: poetry (39 poems)
Rating: A+++



  1. Perfect 92 pages to enjoy during a heat wave
  2. …refreshing as a glass of summer lemonade with ice!

  1. Not every poem is a ‘home-run’ but all in all
  2. an excellent collection!
  3. Poems are like people.
  4. When you meet people you can like someone immediately
  5. …or don’t even like them at first. Then, gradually, as you get
  6. to know them you begin to apprecaite their qualities.
  7. So is it with poems:
  8. poem is immediately enjoyable
  9. reminds you of something you experienced
  10. “ How true, I felt exactly the same!”
  11. Some poems are  hard to understand at first.
  12. .and by the second reading you start
  13. to understand what the poet is really saying.
  14. My favorite poems were:
  15. Seeing Yellow – excellent (…hospital visit to the now late poet Pearse Hutchinson)
  16. Heimat – breathtaking
  17. Lament for the Birds (discover who Bourke is talking about …poem is a puzzle!)
  18. My brother writes to me – (…reality of chemotherapy and counting swallows)
  19. By the River – pastoral poem at its best!
  20. Plans – dedicated to her husband Ono …the love of her life (RIP 28.12.2017)


Strong point:

  1. Eva Bourke makes some
  2. …original and imaginative comparisons
  3. to convey shades of meaning in a few words.
  4. Example:
  5. Sunflowers:  ‘rough stalks like tourches’
  6. Sky:  ‘so smooth like a freshly ironed sheet’
  7. Birds: ‘…fell like stars from the sky into the river to catch their prey’
  8. Beetles: “…like miniature knights chiselled from jet
  9. …dispatched on impossible errands..”


Last thoughts:

  1. ….IMO
  2. 11 Excellent poems
  3. 8 very good poems
  4. 12 average…did not make emotional impression on me
  5. 8 .. not my kind of poems
  6. …experimental, fragmented
  7. …for poetry die hards!
  8. Book is available via Kindle
  9. …and perhaps in your library!
  10. #QuickRead
  11. .poetry  really does refresh the soul!


“Seeing Yellow” (title poem  about sunflowers is…..magical!)



#Non-fiction The Coddling of the American Mind

  • Author: G. Lukianhoff, J. Haidt
  • Ttile: The Coddling of the American Mind
  • Published: 2018  (352 pg)
  • Trivia: 2018 shortlist National Book Critics Circle Award for non-fiction
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly reading plan
  • #TBR 2019   5/43



  1. This is a book for anyone who is confused by
  2. what is happening on college campuses today,
  3. ….or is concerned about the growing inability of
  4. Americans to live, work, and cooperate across party lines.



  1. Rising political polarization (harassment by off campus right wing groups)
  2. Rise of teen depression and anxiety (especially women)
  3. Helicopter parenting (overprotective)
  4. Decline of free play (now…play is alone with computers, gaming)
  5. Rise of campus bureaucracy (eliminate courses from syllabus to avoid complaints)
  6. Rising passion for justice after major national events (campus politically engaged)



  1. This book details some problems of progress (list of topics).
  2. I was very impressed by
  3. Part 3: How did we Get Here?
  4. Just because we feel offended does not automatically
  5. mean the other person is an aggressor/bad person.
  6. While reading this chapter I kept in mind the
  7. political climate in USA.
  8. I know the presidential campaigns 2020 will probably
  9. be very nasty…now I know what to look for!
  10. #MustRead



  1. Regardless of political persuasion,
  2. Americans today are deeply susceptible to a renunciation of reason
  3. …and celebration of ignorance.  (ouch!)
  4. They know what they know without reading,
  5. …discussing or engaging those who might disagree with them.



  1. They reject calm logic, eager to embrace the
  2. alternative news that supports their prejudices.
  3. SVP: Read: Strangers in Their Own Land (A. Hochschild)
  4. Americans must relearn how to engage civilly with one another,
  5. something hard to do with a bullying president as a role model.



  1. Gone are the days of moving speeches and well referenced debate.
  2. We have no Vidal and Buckley exchanges.
  3. Where are the Adlai Stevenson’s, the Dirkesens’s and Kennedy’s.
  4. A few hundred characters  (tweet) or a
  5. ten second sound bite is what we get…
  6. shutting down the other side
  7. instead … of defeating with logic and reason.



  1. American politics is driven LESS by hope
  2. and more by the untruth of “US vs THEM”.
  3. THEY must be stopped at all costs.



  1. Norms for civility and bipartisanship
  2. between the two parties (Rep-Dem)
  3. …have nearly disappeared.



  1. Years before this stark polarization
  2. voters rushed to the polls to choose
  3. their favorite candidate of their beloved political party.
  4. Today….it is the hostility towards the OUT party that
  5. make people more inclined to vote.
  6. In other words….
  7. Americans are motivated to get off their couches
  8. and get involved in political action
  9. not by LOVE for their party’s candidate
  10. but by HATRED for the other party’s candidate.



  1. Via Twitter and Facebook voters
  2. …encase themselves in an echo chamber.
  3. Filter bubbles are search engines
  4. …and You Tube algorithms
  5. designed to give you more
  6. …of what you seemed be interested in.
  7. This leads conservatives and liberals
  8. into disconnected ‘moral network’ backed up by
  9. contradictory informational worlds.



  1. Physical and electronic isolation
  2. …from people we disagree with
  3. allows the forces of…
  4. bias
  5. group think
  6. tribalism
  7. …to push us further apart.



Political Map 1960 – Presidential race JFK vs Nixon


Prognose of political map 2020




#Non-fiction biography James Tiptree jr.



  1. Literary tastes were changing in the 1960s.
  2. Women were searching for new books
  3. …they were tired of romances, doctors and stories about horses.
  4. Fantasy and SF introduced some very talented writers.
  5. James Tiptree Jr. was born…nom de plume Alice Sheldon.
  6. Tiptree  burst onto the science fiction scene
  7. ….in the 1970s with a series of hard-edged, provocative short stories.
  8. Tiptree was hailed as a brilliant masculine writer.
  9. Ms Sheldon kept her JT persona very secret:
  10. no photo’s, no public appearances and
  11. most confusing was “his” strong
  12. feminist slant in his tales.
  13. For example The Women Men Don’t See.
  14. Women characters felt so alienated and powerless in society they
  15. choose to board a space ship with aliens rather than remain on earth!
  16. Strong point: This fascinating biography by Julie Phillips
  17. was ten years in the making.
  18. Julie Phillips takes us behind the scenes to learn the
  19. of the privileged yet troubled life of Alice Sheldon.
  20. With this information Sheldon’s short stories take on a new cachet.
  21. This book is considered one of the best biographies about a SF writer.




#TBR Plan of Action 2019


  1. This is what I look like when I think of my TBR.
  2. When will I ever manage to read all these books?
  3. My first plan of action:
  4. List: books bought 2019 (e-book, paper, audio)
  5. Goal: READ these books in 2019. (no new books!)
  6. Reviews:
  7. …with link on my ‘monthly planning’ list.
  8. Reviews will be short and to-the-point
  9. I don’t have the time to write ‘essays’ and
  10. …you don’t have the time to read them!
  11. Updates: weekly updates on this blogpost
  12. …to track my progress
  13. …and motivation. (did life get in the way?)
  14. 43 books –> 28 weeks = 1,5 book a week!


Here is my list of purchases 2019 that are yet unread:    8/43


  1. James Tiptree, jr. The Double Life Alice Sheldon – J. Phillips READ
  2. Ghosts of the Tsunami – R. L. ParryREAD
  3. We Can Make a Life – C. Henry – READ
  4. The Coddling of the American Mind G. Lukianoff, J. HaidtREAD
  5. Offshore – Madeline Gleeson
  6. The First Casualty (memoir) – Peter Greste
  7. 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time To Write – Sarah Ruhl


  1. Indecent (play) – Paula Vogel – READ
  2. Astonished Dice – G. Cochrane (short stories) – READ
  3. Show Them a Good Time (short stories) – Nicole Flattery


  1. From a Low and Quiet Sea – Donal Ryan
  2. The Twelve – S.Neville
  3. Red Ribbons – L. Phillips
  4. Crocodile Tears – M. O’ Sullivan
  5. The Barracks – J. McGhern
  6. The Gun: The Tadhg Sullivean Series #1 – D. Kavanagh
  7. The Heart’s Invisible Furies – John Boyne – READ
  8. Milkman – Anna Burns
  9. Wake in  Fright – Kenneth Cook
  10. Driving Into the Sun – Marcella Polain
  11. Exit West – M. Hamid
  12. The Hate U Give – A. Thomas, J. Mutsaers
  13. Tin Man – Sarah Winman
  14. Pahinko – Min Jin Lee
  15. Brother – David Chariandy
  16. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine  – G. Honeyman (Costa Prize First Novel 2017)
  17. The Western Wind – Samantha Harvey
  18. The Shepherd’s Hut – Tim Winton
  19. Aquarium – David Vann
  20. My Name is Revenge – Ashley K. Blunt


  1. Seeing Yellow (poetry) – E. Bourke – READ  shortlist Irish Times Poetry Award 2019
  2. Insistence (poetry) – Ailbhe Darcy
  3. Harbour Lights  (poetry) – D. Mahon (winner Irish Times Poetry Award 2006)
  4. Poetry: The Ultimate Guide – R. Bradford
  5. The Boys of Bluehill (poetry) – E. Ni Chuilleanáin
  6. The Sun-fish (poetry) – E. Ni Chuilleanáin
  7. The Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets – G. Dawe
  8. The Radio (poetry) – L. Flynn (shortlist 2107 T.S. Eliot Prize)
  9. Now We Can Openly Talk About Men – M. Evans (shortlist 2019 Irish Times Poetry)
  10. Parang (poetry) – Omar Musa
  11. Tightrope (poetry) – Selina Tusitala Marsh  ( NZ Poet Laureate for 2017–2019)
  12. Fast Talking PI  (poetry) – Selina Tusitala Marsh
  13. Lemons in the Chicken Wire (poetry) – Alison Whittaker






#Non-fiction Stamped From the Beginning



  1. Stamped From the Beginning is a magnificent book!
  2. Winner National Book Award 2016 for Non-fiction.
  3. Part 1 on is 1600s…get through it because in
  4. Part 2 with the introduction of Jefferson the book starts to sparkle!
  5. Part 3 Abolitionists…again get through is because
  6. Part 4 will take you from W.E. Du Bois up to Obama…riveting!



  1. If you’ve never read anything about racism in USA…
  2. ..this probably would  be the best place to start!
  3. The book is a #MustRead for
  4. …anyone interested in understanding
  5. contemporary issues in America.
  6. Ibram X. Kendi is stunningly clear and straightforward.
  7. The book reads much like a conversation….
  8. from from pre-colonial times to the present
  9. …from the slave trade boat to Obama.


  1. This is an excellent book that all Americans should read.
  2. …especially in the light of the
  3. …approaching presidential election 2020.
  4. It is a long book….requires some commitment.
  5. I learned that the tactics may have changed but the goal
  6. …has remained depressingly the same:
  7. Do not let them vote!”
  8. “…If you can find a way to stop them,
  9. ….stop them!” (black Americans)
  10. This resulted in  2000 Bush winning Florida by 537 votes
  11. …and being  elected president!
  12. This book certainly has made me reflect
  13. …on and rethink my own views about race.
  14. I wonder what will happen in elections 2020 to prevent
  15. …black Americans voicing their choice.


Last thoughts:

  1. This is a very informative and educational  read.
  2. This book should be on every high-school reading list!
  3. It is interesting to compare and
  4. note the similarities of racism in 19th and 20th C
  5. …that continue to exist  even in the 21st century.


  • Interview with Ibram X. Kendi
  • …..explaining the title of the book


#Non-fiction Pulitzer Prize for Biography 2019



  1. I agree with other readers
  2. ….this book is comprehensive and very detailed.
  3. It is important to realize that there
  4. …are different types of non-fiction:
  5. literary non-fiction vs commercial non-fiction:
  6. There’s a difference between the book as
  7. cultural work of art and the book as entertainment
  8. …in the same way that there’s a
  9. difference between a classical symphony and a musical.
  10. If you are looking for a high octane entertainment buzz…
  11. you may be disappointed…as I was.
  12. If you see this book as a glimpse into an area of progress
  13. in the Harlem Renaissance…and all that has come out of
  14. that will be delighted.
  15. It depends on what you are looking for.
  16. #DecideForYourself

#Non-fiction Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom



Ch 1-16 Exposition…

  1. Childhood, slave work, escape
  2. from Maryland  to the North, New York.
  3. Douglass was a renowned orator.
  4. He spent years on speaking tours
  5. in US and Europe against slavery.

Ch 17- 21  the book begins to sparkle…

  1. Douglass asks the question
  2. we are still asking…more than 150 years later:
  3. Why deprive the right to vote for black Americans?
  4. …what is the world afraid of?


Douglass meets Lincoln in the White House.

  1. Lincoln – the emancipator
  2. the elegant restraint of a statesman
  3. …spoke with an eye on legality and public opinion
  4. Douglass – the national evangelist
  5. …with the fiery tones of a prophet.


Ch 22 – 31 Reconstruction….

  1. Douglass made no distinction between
  2. Andrew Johnson’s white supremacy and slavery itself…
  3. ….as long as Johnson controlled
  4. reconstruction the war was not over.
  5. Douglass speaking about President Andrew Johnson is an
  6. “…unmitigated calamity and a
  7. disgrace the country must stagger under.”
  8. Frederick Douglass was a
  9. frightening black man with brains
  10. …President Andrew Johnson’s basic nightmare!


Last thoughts:

  1. This is the best way to learn history…read biography.
  2. We read that progress has been made
  3. …but still America is polarized on the color line.
  4. The routine suppression of black voters
  5. is far-reaching and  has devastating consequences.
  6. We cannot be silent about it.


Best quote….and worth thinking about

  1. There is NO negro problem.
  2. The problem is whether the American people have
  3. honesty enough, loyalty enough, patriotism enough
  4. to  live up to their Constitution.



Paris in July 2019

  • Oh, is it July already?
  • Let’s have a glass of wine and
  • think of some things to do for…


2018  POSTS:

  1. Paris in July Food Journal
  2. Crème du Citron
  3. French Wine
  4. Biscuits Breton
  5. Cocktail: Kir Royale
  6. Cocktail: Soixante-quinze ’75’
  7. Cocktail: What do I do with Campari, Marguerite Duras?
  8. Cocktail: Who Pays the Bartender?
  9. Madeleines
  10. Biography: Berthe Morisot
  11. Essays: Victor Hugo
  12. Quiche Lorraine
  13. List of French Books



Paris in July

  1. Paris in July is a French themed blogging
  2. …experience running from the 1st – 31st July this year.
  3. The aim of the month is to celebrate our French experiences through
  4. actual visits, or through reading, watching, listening,
  5. observing, cooking and eating all things French!
  6. For more instructions how to share your posts go to Thyme for Tea.


  1. There will be no rules or targets …just blog about anything French
  2. …and you can join in! Some ideas might include;
  3. reading a French themed book – fiction or non-fiction,
  4. watching a French movie,
  5. listening to French music,
  6. cooking French food,
  7. experiencing French, art, architecture and travel.
  8. #ParisInJuly2019



#Play The Glass Menagerie

  • Title: The Glass Menagerie
  • Playwright: Tennessee Williams
  • Genre: memory play
  • Publisher: Penguin Modern Classics
  • Performance: Broadway debut  31 March 1945
  • Trivia: 1945 NY Drama Critics Circle Award  Best American Play
  • Wikipedia link:  The Glass Menagerie
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly reading plan
  • #20BooksOfSummer


  • Actresses:
  • Amanda Wingfield is one of the great
  • roles written for older women for the stage.
  • Many great actresses have played the part:
  • Laurette Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Joanne Woodward,
  • Maureen Stapleton Jessica Tandy, Julie Harris, and Jessica Lange.
  • The most recent was May 2017 with Sally Field:


  1. The Wingfield family is based on the plawrights family.
  2. Restless son Tom. (based on the playwright)
  3. Crippled sister Laura
  4. Manic mother Amanda.
  5. The entire play is Tom’s recollection
  6. …of his sister and mother
  7. as he has never been able to forget about them.


Dysfunctional family…falling apart

  1. Faded Southern belle (Amanda)
  2. having outlived the southern past.
  3. Amanda – Tom – Laura
  4. …characters tear each other apart.
  5. Setting:
  6. moved from the South to urban society
  7. searching for the American Dream



  1. Illusion vs truth 
  2. Parent (Amanda) not able to accept who her
  3. children (Tom, Laura)  are
  4. …and what they will not be


  1. Appearance vs reality
  2. Success  is dependent on appearance
  3. ….girls should be attractive to entertain gentlemen-callers


  1. Past vs present
  2. Fantasizing about the  past  – Amanda faded Southern belle)
  3. Running away from the past – Tom, aspiring poet, writer
  4. Unable to see past or future  – Laura, detached from reality
  5. …her unicorn doesn’t even represent a realistic animal!


Life lesson:

  1. One can try to escape the past and one’s ties to family
  2. …. but the bonds are too strong’
  3. Tom has managed to escape the family but
  4. they still have a psychological hold on him.
  5. At the end of the play Tom says:
  6. “Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me,
  7. but I am more faithful than I intended to be!”


  1. Note:
  2. The troubled life of Rose Williams
  3. …haunts the works of her brother Tennessee.
  4. Williams was devoted to Rose and cared for her until his death.
  5. Rose is the model for the withdrawn, disabled “Laura Wingfield”
  6. …who seeks refuge in her
  7. …collection of glass animals in The Glass Menagerie.



  1. Masterpiece!
  2. #MustRead

#Non-fiction Conclusion: The Mueller Report


  1. I may be very quiet for a while because I’m…
  2. Taking a break from my reading about plays and theatre.
  3. I may live in Netherlands but I still keep a close eye on US politics.
  4. We all should read this book The Mueller Report
  5. …and ask ourselves… in heavens name did Trump
  6. ….become the most powerful leader of the free world.
  7. Is there a democrat candidate who can stop him!
  8. #USA election November 3 2020.
  9. I’ll be up all night watching the results!


Update: 04.06.2019

  1. Reading the introduction by the Washington Post is like
  2. going down memory lane! Names that have drifted off the
  3. TV news: Quarles, McCabe, Comey, Sessions, retired Gen Flynn.
  4. I finally have learned what the Steele Dossier is!
  5. Well, after reading how many fake
  6. …Twitter and FB accounts were
  7. created to promote Trump’s campaign
  8. ...I’ll never believe a tweet again!
  9. Finished: volume 1 very detailed back round 2015-2018
  10. Not a fluid read….I had to force myself to keep paying attention


Update: 05.06.2019

  1. Trump has monopolized the TV during his #USStateVisit to UK this week.
  2. Seemed the right time to start the long awaited The Mueller Report.
  3. Volume 1  contains many  details about  the
  4. GRU  = Russian military intelligence agency
  5. sending spearphishing emails.
  6. The GRU wanted to gain access to email accounts of
  7. Clinton Campaign advisors and employees of the DNC (Dem Nat Convention)
  8. It also highlighted the role of Wikileaks during Trump’s campaign.
  9. Strong points vol 1:
  10. Book reminds me
  11. I should read the NEWS about POTUS more carefully.
  12. Trump is on a mission.
  13. Book makes me
  14. …that I should be more aware of Jared Kushner (son-in-law)
  15. #TheDealmaker
  16. He does not say much on camera
  17. …but he is always circling around the president.

Update: …starting volume 2 today.
  1. Reading pages and pages of Trump demanding that
  2. Comey ‘lift the cloud’ of the Russian investigation.
  3. Trumps insists Comey make  clear
  4. that Trump is NOT under investigation.
  5. Comey refused.
  6. May 9 2017: Trump fires the FBI director Comey
  7. …but he can not fire the FBI.
  8. The investigation continued…..
  9. To quote Shakespeare:
  10. “The lady (…in this case Trump) 
  11. …doth protest too much, methinks…”



  1. Vol 2 indicates the Trump has a pattern of trying to
  2. influence people  in his entourage when they are involved
  3. in criminal investigations by Congress.
  4. I found this quote by James Comey
  5. …in 01.05.2019 Opinion, New York Times
  6. “Accomplished people lacking inner strength
  7. can’t resist the compromises
  8. …necessary to survive this president.”
  9. Flynn, Cohen, Manafort….
  10. There are numerous tweets Trump
  11. sends to his loyal advisors under investigation:
  12. “the boss loves you”,”hang in there”
  13. “thanks for what you do”, ” stay strong”
  14. “a brave man” for refusing to “break” ( Manafort)
  15. But once the person decides to cooperate with the
  16. government (Cohen give congressional testimony 2019)
  17. ….he is suddenly a RAT.
  18. What will happen now?
  19. I agree with Robert Mueller: