About Rowena

Hello, my name is Ro, and I believe that it is possible for you to turn your ordinary life into an extraordinary life - to find true happiness, while remaining, selfless, mindful and compassionate towards other living beings. Here at my blog, I interview and post articles by musicians, writers, world travelers, humanitarians and other amazing individuals who are doing just that. I also share with you various anecdotes about my own totally awesome existence as a musician, composer, journalist, environmentalist, and compassionati. My hope is to connect with you, enlighten you, inspire you and lead you down the path to true happiness. Compassion is always in fashion and it starts with you loving that most important of people, yourself.

June 18, 2011

Ro's Reads 2011 - The United States of Rowena

What can I say about a girl who enjoys horror novels, classic romance novels, Harry Potter books, and the wisdom of the Dalai Lama?    Is she strange or completely mad? I am talking about myself here.  I love talking about myself in the third person narrative - as if I really am talking about somebody else.   Is this all just another symptom of my earth mama meets rocker girl split personality?  Looking back at the books that I have read these past six months, you might think so. Or you might be thinking . . . well, that's just classic Ro.

My tastes are diverse - yet peculiarly safe, as I tend to be loyal to certain authors.   Actually, I had decided in January that I would focus on series of books after becoming completely enchanted with the Harry Potter series.   I did well having read several more of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, all of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, and followed up Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice, with five additional classic romances by Jane Austen.  

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.

Dalai Lama

Little Book of Inner Peace, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama ******
Lovely book and pocket size! 

Essence of The Heart Sutra, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama*****
Be prepared for enlightenment to the extreme. A good read, but plan on spending quite a bit of time with it, that or finding someone to explain it all to you.

Stages of Meditation, by his Holiness the Dalai Lama*****
Another book that takes time to get through.  I am intrigued and will peruse this book further.

For the Benefit of All Beings, by his Holiness the Dalai Lama******
Fantastic.  A hands down good read.

Ro's notes:  The Dalai Lama never fails to keep me inspired.  His words of wisdom calm me, encourage me, and he has taught me much about compassion, tolerance and happiness.  I will continue to absorb his wisdom as I continue on my own path towards enlightenment.


Stephen King

I guess when you turn off the main road, you have to be prepared to see some funny houses.

Stephen King.

The Stand, by Stephen King *******
I know I keep saying this. Best Stephen King novel ever, and I am reading it for the umpteenth time - this time around I have the new expanded version - more characters and more detail.   Yummy in a chilling kind of way.

Different Seasons, by Stephen King*****
Good book of short stories.  I liked some more than others of course.

The Gunslinger, by Stephen King *****
This is the first in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. More please kind sir!  This is on my list of "series of books" that I plan on reading. 

Ro's notes:  King is king, and this is a long term romance of mine, with the dark side.   Chills me to the bone at times, sometimes comfortably predictable, other times ingeniously surprising.  His development of his characters is sublime!

 Michael Crichton

"Hello, me, meet the real me!"
Megadeath - Sweating Bullets 

Prey, by Michael Crichton. *** 
Just alright 

The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton ***
Again just alright.   I guess I am not a Crichton kind of girl.

Ro's notes:  I am obviously not much of a Crichton fan.   His style of writing does not seem to fit either of my personalities . . . well maybe another personality will develop along the way and I will forget so having read these books, and read them again.
Anne Rice

I have never met a vampire personally, but I don't know what might happen tomorrow.

Bela Lugosi

Queen of the Damned, by Anne Rice ****
Sequel to Interview With a Vampire (which I loved). My least favorite in the series, but still a good read -  important to the entire story. 

The Vampire Lestat, by Anne Rice *****
Next in the vampire chronicles. I find Lestat one sexy vamp!

The Tale of the Body Thief, by Anne Rice *******
I thought this was the best of the series.

Servant of the Bones, by Anne Rice ******
This is not part of the vampire chronicles.  I previously cast this book aside, but decided to give it another try.  Takes a while to get into, but them wham!  Rice gets you in her grasp and doesn't let go!

Ro's notes:  I just plain love Anne Rice's work.   She has some newer books in the vampire chronicles that did not receive such great reviews, but I will of course make up my own mind when I get around to reading them.   Also, it never hurts to give a book a second chance . . . it is a rarity that I cast a book aside as I did Servant of the Bones only to pick it up later and end up liking it immensely.  Maybe I will try reading The Hobbit again someday.  Then again, maybe not.

Classic Romance 

Jane Austen

The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. 

Jane Austen

Lady Susan, by Jane Austen *****

Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen *****

Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen****

Persuasion, by Jane Austen*****

Emma, by Jane Austen*******
Great.   My favorite of all of the Jane Austen books.

Ro's notes:  These books came in one large volume, which also included Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility, which I had read before.   I read them straight through - without ever becoming bored!  I am intrigued by the world as it was at the time of writing these books . . . and wish to express my extreme gratitude to all of my sisters who campaigned for equal rights!


Just Like Heaven, by Julia Quinn ***
Picked this one up at the drugstore one evening when I needed something to read and was in a hurry. Totally random choice, and very light readin.  Apparently this is a series of novels by Ms. Quinn, which I found myself in the middle of (good going Ro).  I am not likely to read the rest. 


Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real? ~J.K. Rowling, "King's Cross," Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 2007, spoken by the character Albus Dumbledore

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling*******

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling*******

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling*******

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling*******

Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling*******

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling  *******

Ro's notes:   I was completely delighted with the entire series. No wonder the books (and movies) became so popular!  Great character development - marvelous plot(s).   I was sad to see a number of characters that I really liked die along the way . . . at the end I was particularly saddened (and in one instance found it completely unnecessary).   That being said, the series ended on the upbeat and I was sorry to so have it end.

Now go out friends, pursue your passions with compassion, and live your extraordinary life.  Not sure where to start? A book on subject matter that you are interested in is a good way to learn more!   It doesn't have to be boring either . . . even a work of fiction - taken with a grain of salt -  or a biography can be inspiring!    Book reviews are available all over the internet, and there are official sites for most authors.  If you are stumped as to what to read, check out my friend Gerry McCulough's blog Gerry's Books, also, Reads, Reviews, Recommends, and The Crazy Bookworm, which I discovered on her blog.   Find something to read today, take some time to park yourself under a shady tree and relax.   Turn off the television for a change, and enjoy!


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