Saturday, August 18, 2018

Inchworm on Debra's deck this morning

Debra posted on Facebook today:
"This morning on the deck, I noticed this little one inching around.  I am reminded to take my time and enjoy the journey.  Blessings on your day."
Thank you, Debra, for the reminder to take it a step at a time ... or an inch at a time.  Maybe I need to slow down and look at the little things.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Beginning ~ with three sisters

The Bloom Girls ~ by Emily Cavanagh, 2017, fiction (Maine)
Suzy ~ "When Suzy Bloom first heard about her father's death, she was making a cheese soufflé" (Chapter 1).
Cal ~ "Cal Bloom measured out some Infants' Tylenol and stuck the plastic syringe in Sadie's mouth" (Chapter 2).
Violet ~ "Violet opened her eyes to the light of another gray morning streaming through the windows of the living room" (Chapter 3).
The three Bloom girls are notified that their father has died unexpectedly.
When the news of their father’s death reaches them, sisters Cal, Violet, and Suzy Bloom have to set aside their own personal crises, and their differences, to gather in Maine.  Responsible Cal, the oldest and closest to their dad, is torn between taking care of her family and meeting the demands of a high-pressure law career.  Impulsive Violet, the estranged middle child, is regretting a messy breakup with a man she’s just now realizing she truly loves.  And Suzy, the sweet youngest daughter, is anguishing over a life-altering decision.  Arriving in their father’s small coastal town, the Bloom sisters can’t help but revisit the past, confronting the allegations against their father that shattered their family nearly twenty years earlier.  As they try to reconcile different versions of their childhood and search for common ground, they’re forced to look at their father’s life — and their own lives — with new eyes, or risk losing all they hold dear.
I've read half the book so far, and I'm still reading even though the early part of the book seemed to have a lot more "telling" than "showing."

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

Black Cat Appreciation Day

Here it is, 10:45 pm in St. Louis, and I only just now learned that today is Black Cat Appreciation Day.  Clawdia has definitely NOT been feeling appreciated today.  Although I left her with wet food in her dish and a bowl of dry food, she was "starved" when I got home from visiting with Donna at the hospital.  I promptly fed her the usual quarter of a can of Fancy Feast.  It was even salmon, her favorite.  She immediately snarfed it down, while I was putting it into her dish, and asked for more.  I gave her another quarter of the can, which she finished just as quickly, begging me to do it again.  I put down a THIRD quarter of the can, and she ate more than half of that!  No, people, I'm not starving this poor cat.  She actually has a pudgy little tummy, but she was really, really wanting more of her wet food this evening!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Mind isn't confined to brain ― or even body

"It’s impossible to completely disentangle our subjective view of the world from our interactions."
Scott Shepard posted this link on Facebook, saying, "Fascinating blurb."  So I read the article.  I've been thinking about consciousness a lot lately, as I've read books by Michio Kaku and Robert Lanza, but my interest isn't new.  I read this book decades ago:

My paperback edition
Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind ~ by Richard Maurice Bucke, 1900
This is a scientific study of illuminated individuals.  Bucke provides three dozen very consistent examples of "cosmic consciousness."  Some of these are the usual suspects, and others are contemporary case-histories he collected.  These enlightened figures, Bucke says, are evolutionary jumps, the predecessor of a more advanced species.
My Kindle edition
I just pulled two copies of this book from the shelves across the room; I bought a hardback edition in the 1970s and the paperback in 1985.  (I know because I wrote "bj 12/21/85" on the first page" when I was in my second year of seminary.)  While searching online for an image of the cover, I discovered there are multiple covers and that the book is now available for Kindle.  Usually it's an oversight when I buy a second copy of a book, but it costs only $2.99 for Kindle, so I bought a third version of it.  The Kindle "cover" I just got is shown on the left.

My hardback has a quote from William James on the front cover.
"I believe that you have brought this kind of consciousness 'home' to the attention of students of human nature in a way so definite and unescapable that it will be impossible henceforward to overlook or ignore it.  You are a benefactor of us all."

Monday, August 6, 2018

Meditate on this

Sandra Boynton posted this drawing on Facebook recently, saying:  "Some literary scholars ponder whether this book, first published in the Orwellian year 1984, may be some sort of prophetic allegory."  The book she means is Red Hat, Blue Hat.  Here's what I found online about it:
Three earnest animals and one misguided turkey learn colors and clothes in this Sandra Boynton classic.  Serious silliness for all ages.  Artist Sandra Boynton is back and better than ever with completely redrawn versions of her multi-million selling board books.  These whimsical books feature nontraditional texts and her famous animal characters.
The pages use these same four colors, but the article of clothing changes from hats to shirts to pants to coats, etc.  The animals wear different colors on different pages.

My favorite character is the turkey.  If there's a "prophetic allegory" here, maybe it's how like the turkey we've become.  But let me ponder that a bit longer, meditating on the "oops" moments in my own life.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Sunday Salon ~ three more books

Southernmost ~ by Silas House, 2018, fiction (Tennessee and Florida)
I learned about this book from Irreverin on 7-27-18 and put it on reserve right then.  In the aftermath of a flood that washes away much of a small Tennessee town, evangelical preacher Asher Sharp offers shelter to two gay men.  In doing so, he starts to see his life anew — and risks losing everything:  his wife, locked into her religious prejudices; his congregation, which shuns Asher after he delivers a passionate sermon in defense of tolerance; and his young son, Justin, caught in the middle of what turns into a bitter custody battle.  With no way out but ahead, Asher takes Justin and flees to Key West, where he hopes to find his brother, Luke, whom he’d turned against years ago after Luke came out.  And it is there, at the southernmost point of the country, that Asher and Justin discover a new way of thinking about the world, and a new way of understanding love.
Bounce ~ by Megan Shull, 2016, YA fiction
Seventh grader Frannie Hudson wonders what it would be like to trade in her family for a new one.  Her big brother ignores her. Her mean older sister can’t stand her.  And her parents have just announced they’re going on a last-minute vacation — without her.  When Frannie makes one desperate, crazy wish — BOOM! — she magically bounces into a whole new life, with a totally different family.  And.  It.  Is.  Amazing!  There’s only one catch:  waking up as someone else keeps happening.  Plunged into lives and adventures she’s only imagined — from being a pop star to meeting one super-cute boy — Frannie finds courage in the unforgettable friends and families she meets along the way.  But as her new life spins out of control, Frannie begins to worry if she’ll ever get back home.  Basically, this is a story about a girl who relives the same day over and over again — each time as someone new.
Journey by Starlight: A Time Traveler's Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything ~ by Ian Flitcroft, illustrated by Britt Spencer, 2013, science fiction
Albert Einstein said his first ideas about relativity came from looking in the mirror as a teenager and wondering what it would be like to travel on a beam of light.  This is the story of that journey.  We follow an imaginary recreation of Albert Einstein and his traveling companion through space and time as they travel on a beam of light from a star over 3,000 light years away to Earth.  Along the way, Einstein explains the science behind everything from the origins of the universe to the meaning of life, relativity, black holes, quantum mechanics (for beginners), climate change, evolution vs. intelligent design, and how the brain works, all delivered in fun, easy-to-understand, bite-sized chunks.  Based on the popular blog of the same name, Journey by Starlight has been given the graphic novel treatment, pairing the narrative with fantastic, whimsical artwork to assist in simplifying what can be difficult-to-understand ideas.
Take a look at the Journey by Starlight blog, and click on one of the 52 posts on the left sidebar.  Having just now discovered this blog, I'm ready to read those posts as well as this graphic novel.  So I added it to MY sidebar, under "Blogs I read."  It's way down at the bottom, since nothing new has been posted for ten years.

Today's books are all "library loot."
More Sunday Salon posts are on Facebook.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Beginning ~ with wet cement

The Color of Water in July ~ by Nora Carroll, 2012, fiction (Michigan)
"There must be a precise moment when wet cement turns dry, when it no longer accepts footprints or scratched-in declarations of love; an ordinary moment, unnoticed, just like any. But in that moment, the facts of a life can change."
Umm, nope.  That beginning didn't grab me.  I had to keep reading before I decided to get the book for my Kindle.  The next couple of paragraphs told me Jess is thirty-three and "had not yet learned the art of going back."  A bit more interesting, but I kept reading and found out Jess has (for some reason) avoided telling Russ (her significant other, I guess?) that her grandmother died a month ago, much less that she inherited her grandmother's house in Michigan.  Here's a summary of the story:
It’s been a long seventeen years since Jess last saw her grandmother or visited the family cottage set on an idyllic lake in Northern Michigan.  For all that time, she’s been haunted by loss — of her innocence and her ability to trust and, most of all, of a profound summer romance that might have been something more.  So when her grandmother leaves the house to her, Jess summons her courage and returns to a place full of memories — and secrets.  There, she stumbles upon old letters and photographs of a time not so much forgotten as buried.  As she begins to unravel the hidden histories of her mother and her grandmother, she makes a startling discovery about a tragic death that prompted her family’s slow undoing.  With every uneven and painful step into the past, Jess comes closer to a truth that could alter her own path — and open a door to a different future.

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