Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Shelving books ~ Where does it go?

Where does this book go?
Who can come up with the most creative response?
Is this book blue or green or red or orange?
Yes, this is what's wrong with shelving books by cover.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Caturday ~ a day for snoozing

When I ran across this photo, I considered saving it for a "Tuesday Snooze Day."  However, it's been a long time since I posted anything for Caturday, and every day is a Snooze Day for cats.  She (he?) looks like a very contented cat.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Beginning ~ with a shock of recognition

Your Face in Mine ~ by Jess Row, 2014, fiction (Maryland)
It doesn't seem possible, even now, that it could begin the way it begins, in the blank light of a Sunday afternoon in February, crossing the parking lot at the Mondawmin Mall on the way to Lee's Asian Grocery, my jacket in my hand, because it's warm, the sudden, bleary, half-withheld breath of spring one gets in late winter in Baltimore, and a black man comes from the opposite direction, alone, my age or younger, still bundled in a black lambswool coat with the hood up, and as he draws nearer I feel an unmistakable shock of recognition.
If one of my writing students turned in a single sentence this long, we'd have a long talk about it.  Nevertheless, that's the first sentence of this book.  And here's what this novel is all about:
One afternoon, not long after Kelly Thorndike has moved back to his hometown of Baltimore, an African American man he doesn’t recognize calls out to him. To Kelly’s shock, the man identifies himself as Martin, who was one of Kelly’s closest friends in high school — who was skinny, white, and Jewish before his disappearance nearly twenty years before.  After years of immersing himself in black culture, Martin says, he’s had "racial reassignment surgery," altering his hair, skin, and physiognomy to allow him to pass as African American.  Unknown to his family or childhood friends, Martin has been living a new life ever since.  Now, however, Martin feels he can no longer keep his new identity a secret; he wants Kelly to help him ignite a controversy that will help sell racial reassignment surgery to the world.  Kelly, still recovering from the death of his wife and child and looking for a way to begin anew, agrees, and things quickly begin to spiral out of control.
An interesting concept, that a grieving man "reconnects with a high-school friend who has undergone racial reassignment surgery."  Let's see if it's a good story.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

BTT (#48) ~ unread

For today's Booking Through Thursday, Deb asks:
"What proportion of the books you own are unread?"
Oh, my goodness!  "Most of them" sounds terrible, but I have lots of nonfiction that are related to books I am studying.  Not all my reading is for distraction.  In fact, most of the books I keep are for me to use when quoting in class or to footnote what I write.  I rarely keep novels, which I read for pleasure.  Those are the ones I borrow from the library, so they don't take up space on my very full bookshelves.  The photo above shows the tall bookcase beside my desk.  It probably isn't much of an exaggeration to say I could read from my own shelves for the rest of my life!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

TWOsday at the library

We Should All Be Feminists ~ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2013, women's studies, 8/10
What does “feminism” mean today?  That is the question at the heart of this book, a personal, eloquently-argued essay — adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name — by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.  Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century — one rooted in inclusion and awareness.  She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help us better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics.  Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences — in the United States, in her native Nigeria, and abroad — offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.  Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today — and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.  See a discussion of this book, here:  Watch the YouTube (30:15 minutes) of the TEDx Talk:
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing ~ by Marie Kondo, 2014, decluttering
This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.  Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?  She takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again.  Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever.  Her method, with its category-by-category system, leads to lasting results.  In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed.
Two more books from the library.  I'm posting late in the day, but I've finished reading straight through the first one above.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Salon ~ books and great-grands

What I'm reading now
The Book of Negroes ~ by Lawrence Hill, 2007, fiction (South Carolina and Canada)
Abducted as an 11-year-old child from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle — a string of slaves — Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina.  But years later, she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic “Book of Negroes.”  This book, an actual document, provides a short but immensely revealing record of freed Loyalist slaves who requested permission to leave the US for resettlement in Nova Scotia, only to find that the haven they sought was steeped in an oppression all of its own.  Aminata’s eventual return to Sierra Leone — passing ships carrying thousands of slaves bound for America — is an engrossing account of an obscure but important chapter in history that saw 1,200 former slaves embark on a harrowing back-to-Africa odyssey.  This sweeping story transports the reader from a tribal African village to a plantation in the southern United States, from the teeming Halifax docks to the manor houses of London, The Book of Negroes introduces one of the strongest female characters in recent Canadian fiction, one who cuts a swath through a world hostile to her colour and her sex.
What I have lined up
The Ugly Little Boy ~ by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg, 1992, science fiction
This science fiction classic, first published in 1958, is a chilling tale of what happens when past and present collide.  When Stasis Technologies, Ltd., plucks a Neanderthal child off the prehistoric tundra and transports it into the twenty-first century, the scientific conglomerate gives no thought to the creature's human feelings.  The nurse assigned to the case must somehow bridge the 40,000-year gap to forge an emotional bond that transcends time.  And, when Miss Fellowes learns of the intended disposition of the "Timmie experiment," it is up to her to travel back through time with the "ape-boy" as he rejoins his tribe on the cutting edge of civilization.
What I just finished
Some Luck ~ by Jane Smiley, 2014, fiction (Iowa), 8/10
My five great-grandkids

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