Book Review

June Newsletter Book Review: Clarissa


Book Review—Reading Clarissa ~ By Richard McGee

For the last few years I have been trying to read as many of the literature classics as I can. It has been an interesting effort with a wide variety of subjects. I have reread some that I had first seen many years ago in college and I have discovered some new ones that I had not heard of before.

“Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady” is one I was unaware of. Written by Samuel Richardson, it was published in 1748. In 2015 the BBC rated Clarissa 14th on its list of the 100 greatest British novels.

The story revolves around Clarissa Harlowe, whose quest for virtue is challenged by a libertine, Robert Lovelace, who strives to compromise her morals to prove that virtuous women do not exist. Mistrust, jealousy, and greed by her family are the biggest impediments for her and push her toward Lovelace. The author makes us care about Clarissa and we feel the angst as she is pressured from all sides. The novel is unusual as the entire story is told in letters between the characters. It was interesting to see this different way of relating the tale.

This was a challenge for me to read. Clarissa is among the longest novels written in the English language. The digital copy for my Kindle was nine volumes for the complete book. The other challenge is to get a copy of the book. You probably will not find a copy of it in your bookstore. Amazon recently made it available in print and kindle editions but they appear to be condensed versions. I downloaded mine from the Project Gutenberg website where 59,000 books with copyright expired are available for free. When you have time, I recommend you read this one.


May Newsletter: Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day – Richard McGee


May brings warmer temperatures and colorful flowers and it also brings Mother’s Day. It’s a special day to thank the mother in our life for all she does and tell her how much she has meant to you. My mother passed away a few years ago, so I will tell everyone how special she was.

My mother was the twelfth child of thirteen born to a German immigrant on a farm 45 miles north of Dallas, Texas. She completed an eighth-grade education, all that was available at her local school. When she married my father, she gained an eight-year old son from his previous marriage. She later had three sons of her own.

My mother entered the university under a probation program for non-high school graduates. Under that program, she was required to maintain a B-average. She got only one B and the remainder all A’s on the way to getting her BA in education, and began teaching elementary school. Later she got a MA degree and taught for 28 years.

My mother loved and accepted everyone. Going through the racial turmoil in the late 1960’s, she would just shake her head and say, “Why can’t we all just get along.” She had no biases against color or sexual orientation, she just saw all humans as beings of God.

     She was my moral compass and the rock foundation in my life and somedays I really miss her. If your mother is still living, make sure to tell her how special she is to you this Mother’s Day.


April Newsletter: Spring


By Richard McGee

You’ve been inside the house for months now. The walls confine you, and yet protect and comfort you, the coffee cup your constant companion. Some days you peek through the blinds to see the outside; but mostly the windows stay covered, keeping out the dreary cold and wind.

You find it difficult to concentrate on the book you’re reading as your mind wanders. You ache for a lazy summer day lying on the beach towel getting a tan. You can hear the water lapping at the shoreline and see the nymphs in their tiny swimsuits strolling in front of you. You shiver slightly as you worry if you can even fit into your own swimsuit this year.

Wake up. It’s now spring. Time to go outside and greet the world again. Flowers are full of buds and on the brink of exploding into myriad hues and fragrances. The sun is rising earlier and so should you. Push away that lethargy and take a walk. The birds have come back and are rejoicing in melodies. Find a new friend to share the fresh colorful world with. It’s spring and time to rejoin the living.


April Newsletter: April is National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month—Richard McGee

Since 1996, April has been celebrated as NationalPoetry Month. The Greek word “poem” just means a madething. As an artist uses colors to portray emotions, a poet uses words to make us think more deeply about meanings and ideas.

Everyone should try writing a poem. It doesn’t haveto rhyme or follow a specific iambic sequence. But it should evoke images and emotions in our minds. A poem forces the poet to stand back and look at his subject intensely to find a meaning for himself. The poetry reader should open his mind to enjoy or even revel in a unique look at a part of his world.

As you begin April with new spring projects, try to read a poem a day to enjoy new experiences.