Tuesday, April 11, 2017

TWOsday ~ comparing peek and pique

I read "peeked my interest" and I thought "piqued."  So here I am this evening comparing two sound-alike words:  peek and pique.  Think about peek-a-boo, the game we play with babies ... or kittens.
  • The word "peek" ... pronounced /pēk/ ... is a verb, and it means looking furtively, as in:  "The baby (or the kitty) peeks from behind hands or paws."
  • The word "pique" ... pronounced /pēk/ ... is also a verb, but it means to arouse my interest or curiosity, as in:  "That book has piqued my interest."
What else can I say?  I was piqued by the blogger's misunderstanding of peeked.  Or at least, her misunderstanding of how to spell the word that correctly conveyed what she meant to say.

Also posted on my Joyful Noiseletter blog.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mailbox Monday ~ Little Boy Lost

Little Boy Lost ~ by J. D. Trafford, 2017, fiction (Missouri), 9.5/10
Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free.  But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.  Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well, but all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body — and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave.  Each had been reported missing, and none had been investigated.  As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.
This ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) arrived in my mailbox last week, and I started reading it the next morning.  Although it's 329 pages long, I finished it before going to bed that night.  Maybe it's that I have lived for almost three years in St. Louis, the setting of the book.  I was pleased when I recognized a location and just as pleased when I googled a location and looked at Google's "street view" to visualize the locale.
"We walked down two blocks from Crown Candy to my office on the corner of Fourteenth and Warren" (p. 32).
Sure enough, Crown Candy is exactly two blocks from a couple of buildings that could house a lawyer's office.  When I mentioned Crown Candy to my friend Barbara, she said we'll have to go there to eat.  Our friend Donna agreed.
"As the rest of the city emptied out, heading to South County and Saint Charles, I crossed Forty against traffic and drove back over to the Northside" (p. 38).
When I moved here, I quickly learned that the locals still say "Forty" instead of I-64.  It's both, but when I hear "Forty," I think of I-40 going East and West across Tennessee from Nashville to Knoxville.  In St. Louis, "Forty" is the highway that was there before the Interstates were built.  One local told me today, "I always say '40-64' so everyone understands."  Yep, I've learned that, too.  The author mentions...
  • "...the Central West End's beautiful brownstones" (p. 72).
  • "...eating ice cream from the Clementine's Creamery on Lafayette Square" (p. 120).
  • "Castlewood State Park..." (p. 139).
  • "...dinner together on The Hill..." (p. 166).  I've been there, done that.
  • "...McKnight Road..." (p. 175).
  • "...got off the highway in Clayton..." (p. 211).
  • "...Carl's Drive In off Manchester Road" (p. 212).
  • "...North Florissant..." (p. 226).
  • "...Bellefontaine Cemetery..." (p. 240).
  • "...Page Boulevard..." (p. 272).
  • "...Bosnia..." (p. 274).  A lot of Bosnian refugees settled in St. Louis.
  • "...Tower Grove Park" (p. 286).
  • "Traffic on Forty wasn't too bad.  I took the Jefferson exit off the highway..." (p. 289).  I've taken that exit to go visit a friend.
  • "Then I crossed an imaginary line, and everything dimmed.  Cafe's were replaced with dirty fast-food restaurants.  Churches went from majestic to pop-up, and the brownstones devolved into a mix of questionable housing, pawn shops, and dollar stores" (p. 72).
Aha!  That "imaginary line" has a name here in St. Louis:  the Delmar Divide.  Delmar Boulevard runs from the downtown area through the Delmar Loop, an area of shops and restaurants where an eclectic group of people hang out, from elderly folk like me to college kids and parents with children.  The Delmar Divide apparently ends at the Loop, and I live two or three miles west of there, near the western end of Delmar Boulevard.  I can see Delmar from my window.
My father took a deep breath, and then he ... turned around.  "I fought the battle over segregated lunch counters and the right to vote, but this is different."  He pointed at me, lying injured in bed, my face swollen and cut.  "The White Only signs have been taken down, but they're still there.  This is your fight now" (p. 57).
The story is about racism, so this quote feels loaded to me.  I moved to St. Louis in June 2014, a couple of months before Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson.  That area is, of course, north of Delmar.  The police in the story are "worried about another Ferguson" (p. 262).  It's a divided city, so this remark by one of the characters in the novel about a cemetery is on target:
"Truly sad that the most diverse neighborhood in our city is one for the dead and not the living" (p. 242).
And yet there was humor in the book, too.  Like this from the narrator, who is a single parent:
"Like all middle-aged men who were about to have a romantic liaison in a fancy hotel, I called my mother first to ask for permission" (p. 236).
I rated it 9.5 out of 10 and definitely recommend this book, but the sad news is that it won't be published until July 18.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday Salon ~ a weird week

My life outside books

I edited last Sunday's Salon post at 9:35pm after learning that my brother Bill had died, and I haven't been motivated to post anything all week long.  This is the picture his family chose for his obituary.  I'll just leave it here and see if I can get back in the groove to blog again.  Our sister Ann died eight months ago, so only two of us siblings remain:  my baby brother Jim and I.  I'm the oldest and feeling my age this week.  Bill was 74, and I'll be 77 in a couple of weeks.  Rest in peace, little brother.

My life in books

Books I've completed since last week's Sunday Salon:

29.  Windless Summer ~ by Heather Sharfeddin, 2009, fiction (Washington), 8/10
"It was July, 104 degrees that afternoon on the bluffs overlooking the Columbia River in eastern Washington State" (p. 1).
30.  Little Boy Lost ~ by J. D. Trafford, 2017, fiction (Missouri), 9.5/10
My father took a deep breath, and then he walked toward the door.  As he went into the hall, he turned around.  "I fought the battle over segregated lunch counters and the right to vote, but this is different."  He pointed at me, lying injured in bed, my face swollen and cut.  "The White Only signs have been taken down, but they're still there.  This is your fight now" (p. 57).
31.  The Color of Hope: A Color of Heaven Novel ~ by Julianne MacLean, 2013, fiction (California and Massachusetts), 8/10
"I longed for a sibling, but I knew I didn't have any because I'd been told my real mother never had any other children previously" (p. 36).
Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday Salon ~ books and authors

My life in books

I completed seven books in January, five books in February, but a whopping total of fifteen books in March.  Wow!  That's a lot, even for me.  As you can see from this week's list, I have read 28 books so far in 2017, finishing that last one today.

25.  The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord's Prayer ~ by John Dominic Crossan, 2010, religion, 9/10
"I would find in that prayer what the historical Jesus stood for ― or knelt for" (p. 7). ... "Could it be that love is a style or mode of justice, so that you can never have either alone?" (p. 189).
26.  Finding Jake ~ by Bryan Reardon, 2015, fiction (Delaware), 9/10
"...neither Jake nor I talked to anyone else while at the bus stop.  Thinking about how easily my daughter melded into 'the group,' I wished, not for the first time, that I could be more like her.  I also wished (although I would never admit it) that Jake could be more like her, too" (p. 125).
27.  Girls Will Be Girls ~ by Franklin Folger, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, cartoons, 6/10
Woman standing in front of seated women, all wearing hats, at a meeting:  "Since many of you applauded when it was announced that we have a large deficit in the treasury, I feel I should explain what that means" (p. 64).
28.  Keeping Sam ~ by Joanne Phillips, 2015, fiction (England), 8/10
"Just how much else had her amnesia made her forget?" (loc. 278).
Donna and I went to Left Bank Books to hear Ferguson Wellspring Church pastor F. Willis Johnson discuss his book Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community (2017).  The book points out the complex causes of violence in the community, including racial prejudice, entrenched poverty and exploitation, segregation, the loss of education and employment, and the ravages of addiction.  I read the book in January and rated it 9 of 10, an excellent book.
"People who are hurting
need to be affirmed in their hurt;
people who are angry
need to be affirmed in their anger" (p. 54, repeated on p. 60).
My life outside books

This photo shows the progress of the blooming trees where I live, and today my son and his wife are celebrating their 31st anniversary.  When my friend Joan moved from the apartment complex next to mine last week, I "inherited" some of the food from her shelves.  While looking at the "Best by" dates to decide what to use first, I found "Philippians 4:6-7" stamped beside the date on one box.  Naturally, I looked it up in my Bible (NRSV).
6  Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Yes, I know that's another book I just quoted from, so let me get back to life outside books by sharing a yoga video.  You may remember I'm in a Gentle Chair Yoga class, so here's "Yoga for Yankees" featuring Yankee humorist Fred Marple.  If the video quits working, view it on YouTube.

Edited at 9:35pm:  I just got a call from my daughter Barbara relaying the news that my brother Bill died.  Jim, my other brother, asked her to call me.  He's my only sibling now, since our sister Ann died in August.

Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Interfaith Relations ~ meditation on Surah 29.46

Allah: A Christian Response ~ by Miroslav Volf (2011), from page 25:
...be governed by the injunction in the Qur'an about debating with Jews and Christians:  "Do not contend with people of the Book except in the fairest way" (Al 'Ankabut, 29:46).

When I read that line, I got out my two copies of the Qur'an to compare translations and interpretations.  Then I read that the translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali is considered to be the most faithful rendering available in English, so I downloaded it onto my Kindle while writing this post.  Here are the three versions I now have to compare with Volf's version of Surah 29:46 above:

The Holy Qur'an ~ by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (1934), from Loc. 4196:
Chapter 29
46.  And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, "We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)."
The Message of the Qur'an: The Full Account of the Revealed Arabic Text Accompanied by Parallel Transliteration ~ translated by Muhammad Asad (2003), from pages 684-685:
Surah 29
And do not argue with the followers of earlier revelation otherwise than in a most kindly manner ― unless it be such of them as are bent on evildoing ― and say:  "We believe in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, as well as that which has been bestowed upon you: for our God and your God is one and the same, and it is unto Him that we [all] surrender ourselves."  {46}
English Translation of the Message of The Quran ~ by Syed Vickar Ahamed (2007), from page 223:
29.46.  And you do not argue (or dispute) with the People of the Book, except with better ways (reasons and facts); Unless it is with those of them who cause injustice (or injury): But say (to them), "We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God (Allah) and your God is One; And it is to Him we bow (in Islam)."
Meditating on what these say:  "People of the Book" means the three monotheisms of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Each of these religions has a holy book.
  • Judaism has the Tanakh, holy scriptures made up of the Torah (the Law, also known as the five books of Moses), the Prophets, and the Writings.
  • Christianity has the Bible, which contains the Hebrew scriptures (usually called the Old Testament) and the New Testament with four Gospels and other writings.
  • Islam has the Qur'an, made up of 114 Surahs or chapters.  I've read the scriptures of the other two religions, and now I plan to read the Qur'an with a couple of friends.
We worship the same God, according to this verse.  Many would disagree, but I think we do.  If you want my reasoning, it will take another post to share all that.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday Salon ~ eating out and reading

My life outside books

Eating out with friends
When Barbara found out Joan would be moving in a couple of days, she set up one last meal together.  Joan moved to Montana yesterday.  Barbara took this picture of Donna and Joan and me at OB Clark's.

Although I don't have photographs to share, I also ate out this week with a bus-load of folks at Rib City, with Joan for lunch at Pumpernickles Deli, with Miriam and her friend Arlene at the St. Louis Bread Company before an event by the Holocaust Memorial Museum at our library, and with Donna at Sonic after seeing the movie "Fences."  I'm not sure who's going to Chevy's Fresh Mex for dinner this evening on the Crown Center bus, but I'll be there.  And this list doesn't include the evenings I choose to eat at the Crown Center with other residents and people from the community.  As you can see, I haven't done a lot of cooking lately.

My life in books

Books I've completed since last week's Sunday Salon:

22.  Tao Te Ching: A New English Version ~ by Stephen Mitchell, 1988, religion, 9/10
"Those who know don't talk.
Those who talk don't know" (#56).
Po Chu-i, poet and stand-up comedian, wrote,
"He who talks doesn't know,
he who knows doesn't talk":
that is what Lao-tzu told us,
in a book of five thousand words.
If he was the one who knew,
how could he have been such a blabbermouth?  (p. 85).

23.  Two Tyrants: The Myth of a Two Party Government and the Liberation of the American Voter ~ by A.G. Roderick, 2015, politics, 9/10
"Educational accomplishment, social mobility, and economic stability should be bastions of American achievement" (p. 7).

24.  The Boy No One Loved ~ by Casey Watson, 2011, memoir (England), 9/10
"If there's one thing that absolutely must come out of this is that he knows there are people here who love him unconditionally, and that we will always be here for him.  Always" (p. 269).

Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

May the love of God enfold you

May the love of God enfold you
as you journey home to big sky country,
where your doggie awaits,
not knowing you're on your way!