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I like the subtitle, that we can celebrate the female spirit. Even more, I like that this book is about the spirit of older women. I'm one, ya know! I counted about 57 women in this book, most of which has a bold black-and-white photo on the right-hand page and a write-up about the woman on the left. I bought the book because I loved the photos and the attitude pictured in each one.The Road Taken ~ by Rona Jaffe, 2000
This novel covers a woman's family in the twentieth century, from Rose's birth on January 1, 1900, through the loss of her mother when she was ten, life with her stepmother, and raising her own three strong-willed daughters. The dust jacket blurb says this is "a chronicle of a woman and a family and a century like no other."The Woman Who Gave Birth to Her Mother: Tales of Transformation in Women's Lives ~ by Kim Chernin, 1998
This classic focuses on "the point at which a woman lets go of her past and is able to live vibrantly in the present." The back cover mentions three women in the book: "one woman, adopted as a child, embarks on a journey to locate her birth mother; another finds the source of a voice that haunts her -- the voice of her daughter, given up at birth; a third unlocks her own creative process and paints her way out of her painful history."Evvy's Civil War ~ by Miriam Brenaman, 2002
It's 1860 in Virginia, and Evvy Chamberlyn is expected to behave in a certain way. She, however, has no intentions of living up to those expectations about how to "dress, speak, and act the part of the proper Southern belle." I'm not sure what I expect from this small paperback book, but it called to me when I saw it at my library and I checked it out. I was curious about 14-year-old Evvy.Return of the Great Goddess ~ by Burleigh Muten, 1994
"From Sappho to Judy Chicago, from the late Egyptian era to Audrey Flack, this anthology of fine art reproductions and literary excerpts proclaims the strength and majesty of the feminine experience. The images and messages remind women of their spiritual heritage, their innate wisdom, the integrity of the female body and its rites of passage, and the growing global community of women who celebrate the return of a female deity." -- product descriptionEvery Last One ~ by Anna Quindlen, 2010
I should probably be leery of reading this book, since the dust jacket says it's "a novel about facing every last one of the things we fear the most, about finding ways to navigate a road we never intended to travel, and about living a life we never dreamed we'd have to live, but find ourselves brave enough to try." My friend Mary Grace told me, "I identified so strongly with the mother. I felt like what happened to her happened to me.......and it was awful. It will take a while to recover from reading this book."Shanghai Girls ~ by Lisa See, 2009
This is the book chosen for discussion in June by both my face-to-face book club and my online book club. I had the book on hold at the library, but June is upon us! So I bought it the other day and will start reading it tonight. In the mid-1930s, two sisters leave Shanghai when their father, facing bankruptcy, arranges for them to marry men who have come from Los Angeles looking for wives. They face detention at Angel Island (the Ellis Island of the west) and make a pact no one can ever know.Diving Deep and Surfacing: Women Writers on Spiritual Quest (2nd ed.) ~ by Carol P. Christ, 1980
"Based on the writings of Kate Chopin, Margaret Atwood, Doris Lessing, Adrienne Rich, and Ntozake Shange, Diving Deep and Surfacing reveals how the classic works of these five writers can take the place of traditional religious texts in women's search for spiritual renewal." (This shows the cover of the third edition, because I couldn't find an image of the second edition.)What books have "walked into your house" this week?
Mildred looked at her, highly incensed. “And just how am I supposed to know what I want until I get there? That’s why it’s called shopping, Frances!” And with that she marched out the door.Laurie Halse Anderson signed Fever 1793 for me when she was in Chattanooga a couple of years ago. I have reviewed her YA novel Speak, which has been challenged, on this blog and on my Banned Books blog.
"My mama and daddy had certainly left me a mess to sort out, and I couldn't think of a single verse of scripture that was going to comfort me as I came to terms with an adulterating daddy, a resurrected mama, and an expectant mistress with an imaginary fiance."And another author I met was Paul Von Ward, who wrote Soul Genome. I've run into him a time or two since I first met him two years ago, and he has signed three of his books for me: Our Solarian Legacy, The Soul Genome, and Gods, Genes, and Consciousness.
"True friendship never dies, the only way to live is real, and you're never too old to follow your heart."And in the last nine pages of the book, one of three women friends -- following her heart -- was ready to open an art gallery and live above it. Oops, did I just give away a plot element? Nah, the book is all about the young guys, sex, and getting back together with old friends. Do I recommend the book? Nah.
"Milan, 1497: Leonardo da Vinci is completing his masterpiece, The Last Supper. Pope Alexander VI is determined to execute him after realizing that the painting contains clues to a baffling — and blasphemous — message, which he is determined to decode. The Holy Grail and the Eucharistic Bread are missing, there is no meat on the table and, shockingly, the apostles are portraits of well-known heretics — none of them depicted with halos. And why has the artist painted himself into the scene with his back turned toward Jesus? The clues to Leonardo's greatest puzzle are right before your eyes."The Smoke Jumper ~ by Nicholas Evans (2001):
"The fire that was to change so many lives so utterly started with a single shaft of lightning. ... The woman, camped nearby with her group of troubled teenagers, slept on and heard nothing. She has brought them here by court order on a youth program to help them find themselves. But one among them will be lost forever. For soon the cocoon of fire will hatch to engulf the entire mountain and exact its deadly toll. And into this inferno will come the smoke jumper. His name is Connor Ford and he falls like an angel of mercy from the sky, braving the flames to save the woman he loves but knows he cannot have. For Julia Bishop is the partner of his closest friend, Ed Tully, an ambitious young musician. Julia loves them both but the tragedy on Snake Mountain forces her to choose between them..."
My "driveway" is a parking lot, but "around the bend" is a gazebo. I'll try to take a picture of it today and post it on my blog.I tried taking the picture so it showed the "bend" in our parking lot here at the gated senior community where I live, but the gazebo was almost too small to see. So I moved my car, which is usually parked in that empty spot nearest to the gazebo. As a matter of fact, the photo I posted on Sunday showing a single daylily was taken at the gazebo. See those yellow flowers along the sidewalk?
Food? Why are we starting with food? No favorite reading snack, though I often read during a meal, if I'm alone.What is your favorite drink while reading?
Food, and now drink? When do we get to the books? That's what reading is all about. I drink when I get thirsty, not because I'm reading.Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I read with pen and tablet at hand, so I can make notes to use when reviewing or discussing a book with other book lovers. I wrote in books in college and graduate school, because it was faster than copying from the book -- and saving time was important when it seemed I was expected to read the entire theology library before graduation. Now my books come mostly from the library or are novels I never plan to re-read and will thus trade in for other books at the giant used book store in my town. Books are tradeable only if they look good.How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
Always a bookmark. Writing in books (see the question above) does not horrify me, but folding down a corner of the page in the shape of a dog's ear does. Sometimes I use two bookmarks at a time, especially if I'm studying a nonfiction book -- one marks my place in the chapter, while the other marks my place in the endnotes section. (During the Read-A-Thon, I won one of these crocheted bookmarks made by Joy Renee.)Fiction, nonfiction, or both?
Both, though fiction is usually a quicker read because I am not having to assimilate ideas in the same way. I take fiction breaks from nonfiction, especially when I'm really working at a particular subject. Fiction is a change of pace from my deeper studies.Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
What happens is that I decide to read to the end of the chapter before (choose one) turning off the light or having lunch or doing the laundry or whatever. Then the next time I think of it, I'm in the middle of the following chapter! The author beguiled me into finding out what happens next, and I didn't stop at the end of the chapter. Now that I know that about myself, I've learned to stop at the nearest section break (extra blank lines or one of those squiggly marks between sections) and just do what I need to do. It works for me.Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
No, because I don't "do violence" to a book because of the idiot who wrote it. I did once throw a book, though, I must admit. My husband complained, once too many times, that I was reading -- and throwing the book (carefully, so that it landed on a sofa, but defiantly, to express my frustration) was my signal that THAT was the last straw. Within a year I had divorced the husband, but kept the book. (Sounds cold, but I had tried for 14 years to make the marriage work and finally gave up.)What are you currently reading?
Woman's Inhumanity to Woman by Phyllis Chesler, a library book I brought home last week. I'm 112 pages into this 551-page nonfiction book, which has a second bookmark in the endnotes.What is the last book you bought?
This morning I was working my way through this meme and, when I got to this question, I wrote (yes, I did, I left this message to myself): "Be right back -- I want to go buy a book so my meme will be an up-to-the-minute report!" Actually, I needed to get ready to meet my friend Donna for lunch, knowing we were going to a bookstore after we ate. She bought the book I picked, which doesn't usually matter, since we share whatever books we read. But I protested that this meme asks for the last book I "bought," not the last book I "borrowed." She laughed at me when I handed her a shiny nickle and two shiny pennies so I could pay for part of what is now OUR book.Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?
Look Again, a 2009 novel by Lisa Scottoline, is about a woman who suspects that her adopted child is actually another couple's kidnapped child. The "look again" title is what the mother did when she glanced at one of those missing child cards we all get in the mail -- and realized the kid looked like her son.
Always several. Reading novels is a break from studying nonfiction, so I always have a novel handy and usually several nonfiction books in varying stages.Do you have a favorite time or place to read?
Anytime, any place, but stretched out comfortably on sofa or bed is always nice.Do you prefer series books or stand alones?
A book that stands alone. If I know a book is part of a series, I usually forgo reading it.Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
At my bookstore, I sold every book by Jodi Picoult almost as soon as it came in the door. Donna and I owned a USED book store, so we could never predict when a book might show up. However, I would willingly order new books for anyone who gave up waiting for a particular book to be traded in.How do you organize your books (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)?
My fiction is alphabetized by author; my nonfiction is by genre (my interests include women's studies, religion, books about books, and writing). Occasionally I have had a novel on the nonfiction shelf, like when I would assign the students in my Religions of the World class to read Train to PakistanThat was fun! Now you know me better. If you do the Reading Habits meme, leave a link so I can read about you.
"You are Spaulding Street Elementary School's own personal Stephen Hawking" (p. 199).Having a voice does not mean, though, that everyone accepts her. When she scores high enough to make the academic team, teachers and students alike think somebody cheated.
"You know, it really ought to be you up there instead of Melody," Claire says loud enough for me to hear.Maybe it's her making the team for the academic bowl, but something about this book reminds me of The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg (1996), which I reviewed here. In the earlier book, it's the teacher who is in a wheelchair; in this book, it's a student. We learn a lot about the difficulty of being unable to do for oneself, because Out of My Mind is written from the point of view of the girl trapped inside a body that won't do what she wants it to do.
"Well, I'm ready if she messes up," Molly whispers back.
I just shake my head and think, Delete, delete, delete. No way am I letting their negativity mess me up. I have enough to worry about.
"Ain't never been a brown-skinned woman who had any say over what a Tennessee white man can do with her body."But it isn't as simple as that, apparently, when we throw in the spouses. I'll let you know what it's all about, after I read the book.
"Like men, women are exposed to the messages of misogyny and sexism that permeate cultures worldwide. Like men, women unconsciously buy into negative images that can trigger abuse and mistreatment of other women. But like other social victims, many do not realize stereotyping affects members within the victimized group as well as those outside the group. They do not realize their behavior reflects society's biases."I am working at my branch of the public library, as a volunteer -- two days this week, and two more next week -- so one of the three employees could take a vacation. I was telling someone about Laurie Halse Anderson, one of my favorite authors, and showed the woman the two of her books on the YA shelves that were not checked out: Speak, which I've read (and reviewed), and Chains, which I haven't. Are you surprised to learn that I checked out Chains myself? I didn't think you would be.
"Why do so many women of faith have such a strong aversion to feminism? And why do so many feminists have an ardent mistrust of religion?"The book takes a look at five spiritual women who combined their faith with feminist beliefs: Emily Dickinson, Teresa of Avila, Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, and Dorothy Day. And I like the title of the last chapter: "Weaving a Connection."
"Ms. Welch wrote Networking: The Great New Way for Women to Get Ahead (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1980) in an era when more women were competing for jobs traditionally dominated by men. Networking, through individual contacts and professional organizations, became an important technique for women to get career advice and make connections. Such contacts also helped offset the competitive advantage men often enjoyed through their own 'old boy' network.
The Cyborg Wars are over and Earth has peacefully prospered for more than one hundred years. Yet sometimes history must repeat itself until humanity learns from its mistakes. In the year 2170, despite technological and political advances, cyborgs and clones are treated no better than slaves, and an underground abolitionist movement is fighting for freedom. Thirteen-year-old Leanna's entire life is thrown into chaos when The World Federation of Nations discovers her mom is part of the radical Liberty Bell Movement. ... With help from unlikely sources, Leanna learns the origin of The Liberty Bell Movement and how its members may have answers about her past-and her new reality.As family secrets are revealed, Leanna must face startling truths about self-identity and freedom. Through time travel, advanced technologies, and artificial intelligence, this exhilarating adventure asks what it means to be human and explores the sacrifices an entire society will make to find out.
"Is dinner ready, Gran?"She finds things to keep him busy, but they are really waiting for the others -- Jay Jay's aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, Mama and Daddy -- to get there. When they arrive, Jay Jay says:
"Is dinner ready now?"
"Is dinner ready NOW, Gran?"
"Is dinner NEARLY ready, Gran?"
"Dinner MUST be ready now, Gran!"And she laughs.
"Mm-mmm, I think it is!"The book ends with this summary of what we've read about and seen in the illustrations:
Grannie's house is always full,This book gets a rating of 10 out of 10, because it's one a parent could read over and over to a child, with all the things Grannie had to do to keep Jay Jay occupied while they waited: putting out the dishes, feeding the fish, spilling the candy tin (no, that was Jay Jay without Grannie's help), watching for the arrival of the cars full of people. I like this book (can you tell?).
full of hugs and kisses,
full of tasty dishes,
full of all kinds of fishes,
full to the brim with happy faces,
full, full, full of love.
That's Sunday dinner at Grannie's house!
1924 ~ Pajarita grew up in the country and first arrived in the city as a seventeen-year-old bride. Now, her husband has not been home for days, leaving her alone with three small children and a house that has run out of food. Her friend Coco, the butcher's wife, has come over to visit.It's almost too much for me. Ignazio left Pajarita because ... well, I don't know WHY he left, unless he was too great a coward to face the fact that he gambled away two months pay, leaving no way to feed their three sons. Because he was upset, he apparently needed to hit something -- like his wife (pp. 53-54):
1938 ~ Eva is thirteen years old. After two years of working for a shoe salesman who abused her, she has rebelled against him and her parents, found a job in a fashionable cafe, and begun to spend her evenings with a group of aspiring poets.
1966 ~ Salome is fifteen years old. She has watched the nation become increasingly repressive, as well as admired the Cuban revolution from afar. Her best friend, Leona, has just led her to a clandestine meeting.
Two months of pay. And days yawning in front of them like mouths.He disappeared and she went to work to feed their children, including a girl conceived the night before he gambled away the money. The girl was five years old when Ignazio returned. Pajarita asked him:
"What will we do?"
"Shut up, woman!" Ignazio stood so suddenly that the table knocked from her hands and fell. "Shut your stupid f**king mouth."
Pajarita stood too. "Don't shout at me."
Ignazio tightened backward in an enormous bow and arrow and the force of him flew forward in a fist that crashed against her face so that she fell against the wall, toward the floor; she curled around her burning face -- the world was turning turning, full of shouting, full of stars, full of silence. Silence. Pain ebbed slightly. ... But she was bleeding. She stood up and sought a rag to wipe her face. The taste of iron tinged her tongue. She wet the rag and wiped again. Thank god thank god the children were asleep. She lifted the table into place, back onto four legs, and cleaned blood from the floor. Dizzy. She listened for living room sobs. None. She went to look. There he was, her husband, tear-streaked, drunk, fast asleep in the rocking chair. She walked past him to her room, to bed, to sleep.
The next morning, when she woke, the rocking chair was empty. No Ignazio. She used the last of the flour for bread that day.
"Do you have any idea what it's like to see your children hungry?"No, of course he didn't know. If he really understood, he couldn't have disappeared with no thought for his wife and three sons. (And later the baby girl he knew nothing about.)
The book didn't exactly excite me, though I did keep reading. It's one of those "the child is smarter than the adults" books, so a child may rate it higher than I do. My rating is 6 of 10, above average.
- Rhett Tyle is the villain. (Think "reptile." Surprise, surprise!)
- Anna Conda is in cahoots with Rhett Tyle. (Think BIG snake.)
- Bernie "Buzz" Ard writes a column called "What's the Buzz." (Buzzard, geddit?)
- Perry Keet is missing, presumed killed. (Think "parakeet.")
- Mallory Mute, usually called Mally Mute, is the public defender.
- Golden Ray Treevor is the trial's prosecutor. (Lawyers are dogs?)