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Sunday, June 24, 2012


by Diane Keaton

Clearly Diane Keaton suffers from ADD, ADHD and a host of other conditions that are portrayed in her iconic Annie Hall persona.  She is at the same time clearly an abundant “creative", and for anyone sharing the same traits, tribulations and closeted abnormalities, the tone and rhythm of her recently published autobiography “Then Again”, rings true.

If you’re used to linear plots or well developed themes in your reading, take a step back; Keaton’s endlessly looping reflections, run-on sentences and long-lingering reflections will drive you mad.   For me they read as an unfolding of my own convoluted stream of consciousness as she shares her “collage” of revelations and wonderful anecdotes from her personal and professional life.

The book is not only about Di-Annie’s history but an intimate look into the life of her recently deceased mother Dorothy Keaton Hall, a suburban housewife of the fifties whose own awakening was portrayed through endless notebooks and catalogs left behind.   Reflections on not only the lives of her four children but much of her inner self are captured as life moved on and the times changed dramatically for her in the sixties and seventies.  After Dorothy ultimately succumbed to a prolonged case of Alzheimer’s disease, Diane chose to parallel her own life's stages against those of her mother in this book and what emerges is a deeply endearing portrait of mother and daughter; the life and joys they shared, and the many instances where intimacy was lost or connections just not made.  There is some regret.

Sad and sweet, this is a wonderful book, and by all means not in the chick lit category, it deserves to be seriously treated and seriously read.  I really, really loved it. 

NOTE:  This review was written by my new guest blogger, my husband George Kimmerle.  I haven't yet read Ms. Keaton's book, but will post my own footnote after I do.  Thank you, George!

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8095-0
Pub. Date:  Nov. 15, 2011
303 pages
Hardcover, Paperback and eBook

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Written by Loren Spiotta-DiMare
Illustrated by Key Wilde
Published by Woodlands Wildlife Refuge

BROKE LEG BEAR is the true story of a young black bear cub who was injured while crossing in front of a car in New Jersey.  Taken to the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge in Alexandria, New Jersey, the cub was treated for the injury to her leg and nicknamed Broke Leg Bear by the staff.  

Tracey Leaver, founder and executive director of Woodlands, developed the black bear rehabilitation program in 1995.  The book details the Refuge's work in caring for wild animals until they are able to return to the wild.  During Broke Leg's stay at the refuge, nine more bear cubs arrived, most because their mothers were destroyed after becoming nuisance bears, frightening people in their yards or breaking into homes while searching for food.  The animals are cared for until they are old enough or, in the case of injury, strong enough to be released back into their natural habitat.

Woodlands is the only facility licensed in New Jersey to care for bears and has been able to successfully release more than sixty.  It is a non-profit organization and receives no state or federal funding, relying solely on donations. Life-long animal lover Spiotta-DiMare's tale of BROKE LEG BEAR, beautifully illustrated by Wilde, was released for the 25th anniversary of Woodlands Wildlife Refuge and all proceeds benefit the Refuge.  They continue their fine work in New Jersey, caring for more than 800 wild animals each year, including raccoons, foxes, woodchucks, otters, beavers and rabbits.

Lynn's footnote:  We had a black bear in our yard last year as noted in a previous blog entry, and a large one passed just under the window of my home office about two weeks ago.  A gentleman who works with my husband and lives in Randolph came home to find a bear in his house last year.  He and his family were advised by the police to just stay in their car and wait until the bear left.  Widespread development has disturbed so many of the places bears originally called home, making it more common to see black bears in populated areas of New Jersey.  It's estimated that there are 3,400 black bears in northwest NJ, and approximately 464 bears were killed during the annual state bear hunt in 2011.   

ISBN 978-0-615-51973-9
Pub. Date:  2011
Hardcover available from Woodlands Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, June 17, 2012


by E.L. James

I admit I'm a bit of a book snob.  I never read the TWILIGHT series or the HARRY POTTER series.  Whenever almost everyone is reading the same book, I just seem to lose interest.  But everyone, everywhere seems to be reading the FIFTY SHADES trilogy, particularly middle aged women.  In May 2012 I heard on the news that the books were sold out everywhere in NYC and that libraries in three states had banned the series.  Recently there was a psychiatrist on one of the morning talk shows who commented that she was "afraid that people would be hurt" after reading the books.  HURT??!!  Additionally, adult sex shops cannot keep up with sales of some of their merchandise......what in the world!?

With over ten million copies sold in 37 countries, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is the first book in a trilogy that is defined on its back cover as an "erotic romance for a mature audience."  The trilogy is noted for its erotic scenes with elements of BDSM (a condensed acronym coined in the 1990s to include bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism).

Minus the vampires, the FIFTY SHADES trilogy was developed from a TWILIGHT fan fiction originally titled MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE and self-published episodically on fan-fiction websites under the pen name "Snowqueens Icedragon".  It ultimately evolved into the best selling trilogy released in April 2012 that booksellers can't keep on their shelves.

Wanting to see what all the hype was about, I finally relented and borrowed a copy of the first book after two of my friends started whizzing through the series recently.  Honestly, by page 77 I couldn't stop laughing!  With such pithy phrasing as "you are quite the disciplinarian", "he gasps, his eyes wide", "I heartbeat spikes", and my personal favorite, "I'd like to bite that lip", the author at least threw in a few "holy shits" to keep the characters more normal.  And these phrases are all within the same three pages!

While the author tries to elevate her writing with some well spaced fifty-cent words, the overall tone of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY can only be compared to a Harlequin Romance on crack!

Folks, ladies, please, there are so many wonderful books to read!  Aren't we more intelligent than this???

ISBN 978-0-345-80348-1
Pub. Date:  April 2012
514 pages
Paperback and eBook

Sunday, June 10, 2012

BINGO and Other Short Stories

by T..J. Childers

As some of you know, I'm not a big fan of short stories, but every once in a while a collection of shorts comes along that is just too good to pass up.  This was the case with BINGO and Other Short Stories  by T.J. Childers.

PHOTOGRAPH, the first in the group, is a touching and haunting tale.  I laughed out loud after reading GARDEN SNAKE, and VALENTINE'S DAY was terrific!  My husband who never reads fiction borrowed my kindle and his personal favorite was GEOFF GEORGE.

Self-published on (and only available as an eBook or download to your computer or Smartphone), this young author from Hillside, New Jersey has a strong voice and a pleasingly quirky style.  T.J. Childers is someone to watch and I'm looking forward to the next book from this fresh new writer!

Pub. Date:  June 3, 2012
eBook available at

Thanks to Joanne Large for introducing me to Childers' work!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


It was with great interest that I read Edward Morrissey's CNN Opinion  BIG GULP?  MEET BIG BROTHER, about Mayor Bloomberg's proposed ban of supersized soft drinks in New York City.  Earlier this week, a friend and I were having a discussion about this very subject.

Years ago when everyone jumped on the smoking banned-wagon (pun intended), I warned everyone who would listen that we need to be careful about personal rights.  Unfortunately, most people don't care unless and until someone proposes to ban something they're fond of.

Recently my family was in a nice restaurant enjoying lunch in New Jersey.  An older couple came in and was seated at a table next to us.  Obviously these people were old school and stored their winter clothing away with mothballs; a horrible odor that I personally can't stand.  When I couldn't think of any way to get up and change tables without making the newcomers feel uncomfortable, I simply, accidentally on purpose, spilled my entire glass of water on the tablecloth, forcing our move to a different table, which my son thought was hillarious.  Should I start a petition to ban mothballs? 

Personally, I can't stand perfume or aftershave, especially when it's applied in large doses.  I don't like the smell of acrylic nails being applied when you go for a simple manicure.  Both of these could be considered second-hand health risks to people with breathing problems.  But you'll never hear me calling for a ban on perfume, acrylic nails, alcohol or mothballs because I believe we have the right to behave as stupidly as we want to without government intervention.  The powers-that-be can argue that sugar, like cigarettes, is a national health concern, but there are so many things that I wouldn't choose to do or ingest that could be considered a  major health concern if you're looking at figures and statistics.

Many years ago when my youngest son was in grammar school, the McDRUG FREE group in Morristown, NJ decided to include alcohol in their list of drugs, adding "ALCOHOL IS A LIQUID DRUG" to all their banners and fliers.  Now, I'm not much of a drinker and never have been, and didn't give this too much thought until I went to the grocery store with my son.   My in-laws were coming for dinner and I added a six-pack of beer to my cart, since Grandpa always enjoyed a cold glass with dinner during the summer.  My young son started screaming for me to put the beer back on the shelf because it was a liquid drug!  I had to explain in great detail that while the McDrug Free group had good intentions, they weren't always right.  As a postscript to this, the children were all asked to sign (along with their parents) a pledge to remain drug and alcohol free.  After a long discussion, we sent a note to the teacher explaining why Bill would not be participating in this particular pledge.  How can an elementary school child have the understanding of a pledge to never take a drink???  When they had the McDrug Free assembly at school and asked each child to stand if they signed the pledge, the students seated near our son wanted to know why Bill didn't have to stand up.  Interestingly enough, our children didn't grow up to be druggies or alcoholics, but they did grow up having a strong sense of themselves and a compassion for others.  Please don't think this is an attack on the McDrug Free or DARE programs, but our "war on drugs" hasn't been very successful....maybe because we didn't call it the "BAN on drugs"?

Almost every moment of every day someone is doing something that could effect our health care costs.   Happy hour, chocolate, riding a motorcycle without a helmet, fried food, riding a bike on two lane roads without shoulders, donuts, tanning salons, bungee jumping, and the list goes on; all have an impact on our health and health care costs.  Don't tennis elbow, shin splints and housemaid's knee add to the health care costs, too?  Maybe we need a ban on housework?  The big question far should the government be allowed to go to curtail our personal freedom?

I grew up in an age when people would buy cartons of cigarettes as Christmas gifts (back when we could still call it Christmas), the same with BB guns, and no one thought twice about giving their son or daughter a copy of HUCKLEBERRY FINN.  We used to have tubes of something called Plastic Bubbles, a horrible chemical smelling substance we could blow into bubbles to toss around.  Every young boy made models with that stinky airplane glue -- I'm not even sure this stuff is still being sold.  We've evolved into being much more health conscious than our grandparents on one hand which is great, but much less so when it comes to things like food additives and preservatives.

Banning things we don't personally like or enjoy has become a way of life.  Books, music, food, activities, pick your favorite.  It's frightening to think that our children and grandchildren are growing up accepting that these new restrictions on personal choice are the norm.

I'm just glad that Mayor Bloomberg didn't attack diet soda or I'd really be in trouble.   While I'm thinking about it, New Yorkers need to definitely ban a fourth term for the mayor.  I'd sign that petition for sure!