Soap Is Political by Ruth Goring (book review)

Soap Is Political

Soap Is Political by Ruth Goring

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In “Soap is Political,” Ruth Goring lead me to the beautiful scarred heart of Columbia with grace and compassion. I stopped often to savor the linguistic gems she left along the trail, but I also felt compelled to keep moving along, like walking to the center of a contemplative labyrinth and back.

Many of the poems include dates below their titles. The book is organized not chronologically, but with emotional continuity. I felt I was in good hands, that I would be shown things only when I was prepared to see them.

I don’t want to tell you too much, but some of my favorites were “Flood,” “Arithmetic,” and the title poem, “Soap is Political.” “Incursion” brought tears to my eyes.

This is one of those books I will keep on my shelf to read again and again.

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (review!)

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Spoiler Alert: I don’t reveal plot points in this review, but I might blow some thematic discoveries you might like to make on your own. I will say that it satisfied everything I want in a novel…Good story, thought provoking, a vivid sense of its time…I could go on and on. You may want to read it beforey full review and then tell me if you agree or not!

Oh, how I love this book. Anthony Doerr spins an intricate, gripping story while inviting us to meditate on the nature of time and chance vs. destiny.

I adore a book that asks me to think big thoughts. It made me reflect on my own experience, the vast number of turns and choices I made–some consciously, some not—in order to meet the man I married, to live where I do, work at my job.Tracing it backward, it tends to feel like an impossible sequence of coincidences, or like fate.

Having just finished the book, I’m also pondering the many mysteries we live with. The things we can never know about the lives of even those with whom we are intimate.

Some of my smart, well-read friends love this, and others it didn’t grab. Just another example of the puzzle of literature.
I was so moved by the end, I teared up.

I want to read it for the first time all over again.

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Way Too Many Pictures of a Tower

DSC_9310It was sunset as we approached The Eiffel Tower on the 4th of July.  The oldest con game in the world is still in play…a shell game.  Ah… he spotted me taking his picture!  No, I don’t want to play!


Really, who can resist the charms of this structure?  I spent a lot of time looking at the patterns in the construction earlier this year when I drew a picture that was meant to express springtime in Paris.


One of the corners from the inside. The clouds were perfect!


Looking straight up from the center of the tower.  Wow.

We loved how it was like a big night picnic on the Champs du Mars. So many people enjoying the evening with little picnics. People selling souvenirs, guys selling bottles of wine, families, young people. It seemed like there were a lot of locals enjoying it as well as out-of-towners and world travelers.


We took pix from just about every angle during the three days we were in Paris. Even from the water, on our boat tour of the Seine.

It’s just terrific that the city has not grown up to obscure this and other structures that define the Parisian skyline.

Le Flea du Paris


We made sure to visit the Paris flea markets at Les Puces de Saint-Ouen in a seedy little corner of Paris. These chairs look very uncomfortable, but I love the little red side side table.  This area is called a flea market, but it’s really more a huge collection of resale shops.  Interesting, but we were hoping for something more random.  Should have checked this guide first!  (That’s my one regret about booking this trip so quickly, I didn’t have time to do my usual research!)

A couple of days later we stumbled onto a wonderful street sale below Montemartre. I didn’t get any photos because a woman stopped me and told me via sign language to keep a close eye on my stuff: pickpocket alert!


Interesting but prohibitively heavy cast iron stuff!


Le Pooch is not for sale!  But we related to his demeanor.  It was very hot and muggy!

Building London

DSC_9068-001The Imperial War Museum looks a little defensive,

We spent a lovely morning touring the World War I exhibit with the charming Nick Lucas, brother of our friend Simon. We’ve met four of the five Lucas siblings, and they’re all delightful.


I just liked the look of this building: Out Patients Department.


Just an old Hydrolic Power substation that caught my eye.


We played hide-and-seek with The Gherkin on our walk from Trafalgar Square past St. Paul’s Cathedral.


I don’t know the name of this building, but it was certainly noticable as we traveled around the city. I wasn’t sure I liked it much until I saw how it caught the light at sunset.


Shakespeare’s  Globe Theater.  We didn’t have tickets, but we went into the gift shop during the show. Sat across from it and enjoyed cups of tea and coffee and people watched a bit. This is along the Queen’s Walk in Southbank.


The ruins of Winchester Palace, another of the stops along the Queen’s Walk.  It dates to the 12th Century and is probably the oldest thing we saw in London.