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Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They live in beautiful house, with a caring family, and attend an exclusive missionary school. They're completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear. Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home — a home that is silent and suffocating. As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, a university professor outside the city, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together.
In 2002, award-winning film and stage actor Ashley Judd found her true calling: as a humanitarian and voice for those suffering in neglected parts of the world. After her first trip to the notorious brothels, slums, and hospices of southeast Asia, Ashley knew immediately that she wanted to advocate on behalf of the vulnerable. During her travels, Ashley started to write diaries that detailed extraordinary stories of survival and resilience. But along the way, she realized that she was struggling with her own emotional pain, stemming from childhood abandonment and abuse. Seeking in-patient treatment in 2006 for the grief that had nearly killed her, Ashley found not only her own recovery and an enriched faith but the spiritual tools that energized and advanced her feminist social justice work. In this deeply moving and unforgettable memoir, Ashley Judd describes her odyssey, from lost child to fiercely dedicated advocate, from anger and isolation to forgiveness and activism. In telling it, she answers the ineffable question about the relationship between healing oneself and service to others.
In 1907, explorers discovered a vast treasure trove of ancient scrolls, silk paintings, and artifacts dating from the 5th to 11th centuries A.D. in a long-sealed cave in a remote region of China. Among them, written in Chinese, were scrolls that recounted a history of Jesus' life and teachings in beautiful Taoist concepts and imagery that were unknown in the West. The origins of Christianity seem rooted in Western civilization, but an ancient, largely unknown branch of Christian belief evolved in the East. Eminent theologian and Chinese scholar Martin Palmer provides the first popular history and translation of the sect's long-lost scriptures — all of them more than a thousand years old and comparable in significance to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Interpreted by a team of expert linguists and scholars, these sacred texts present an inspiring use of Jesus' teachings and life within Eastern practices and meditations — and provide an extraordinary window into an intriguing, profoundly gentler, more spiritual Christianity than existed in Europe or Asia at the time, or, indeed, even today.Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages us to share titles of books we’ve checked out of the library. Add your link any time during the week, and see what others got this week.
Palmer has devoted more than a decade to seeking the extant writings and other evidence of this lost religion. His search was triggered by an encounter with an immense, mysterious carved (stele) stone from the 8th century that resides in a Chinese museum collection called the Forest of Stones. The Chinese text on this stone commemorates the founding of a "religion of light" in China by a great Western teacher and features a unique cross that merges Taoist symbolism with the Christian cross. The scrolls, the stone, and a strange map of the area around a hallowed temple (where Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching before disappearing forever) gave Palmer enough information to rediscover one of the earliest Christian monasteries. At the site was an 8th century pagoda still intact, and within it, in 1998, Palmer and his team found more evidence, including statues, underground passageways, and artifacts, that helped them uncover and recreate the era and rituals of the Taoist Christians.
The Taoist Christians, who wrote the Jesus Sutras recognized equality of the sexes, preached against slavery, and practiced nonviolence toward all forms of life. In particular, this tradition offered its followers a more hopeful vision of life on earth and after death than the dominant Eastern religions, teaching that Jesus had broken the wheel of karma and its consequent punishing, endless reincarnations.
1. Ming: A Novel of Seventeenth-Century China ~ by Robert B. Oxnam, 1994, fiction (China), 8/10Currently
2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe ~ by Benjamin Alire Saenz, 2012, YA fiction (Texas)Next
3. The Jesus Sutras : Rediscovering the Lost Scrolls of Taoist Christianity ~ by Martin Palmer, 2001, religionREPORT on DONNA
"Do you believe the Bible, or do you believe in evolution?" The question came in an urgent whisper, passed around my eighth-grade science class with the guilty subterfuge of a dirty joke. I was thirteen years old and already I understood that there were two kinds of people in my small town on the edge of the Bible Belt: those who believed and those who didn't.The author says evolution is a spiritual idea, as well as a scientific idea. Provocative chapter titles reflect both aspects of evolution:
I'm not talking about God — everyone believed in God. I'm talking about evolution.
1. Evolution: A New WorldviewSounds interesting to me.
6. Novelty: The God Problem
9. Evolving Consciousness: The Inside Story
13. Conscious Evolution: Our Moment of Choice
15. An Evolving God
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship — the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
- Winner of the 2013 Stonewall Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature
- A 2013 Michael L. Printz Honor Book
- Winner of the 2013 Pura Belpré Author Award
This is the first popular presentation of an emerging school of thought called “evolutionary spirituality.” Carter Phipps, the former executive editor of EnlightenNext magazine, asserts that evolution is not only a scientific but also a spiritual idea in a book whose message has the power to bring new meaning and purpose to life as we know it.From the back cover:
"When it comes to evolution, we've all heard about fossils and fruit flies, Darwin and Dawkins. But the idea of evolution is far more profound — and far-reaching. Today, a movement of visionary scientists, philosophers, and spiritual thinkers is forging a new understanding of evolution that honors science, reframes culture, and radically updates spirituality.Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages us to share titles of books we’ve checked out of the library. Add your link any time during the week, and see what others got this week.
|Count those wearing red. My red is under the unbuttoned shirt (back row).|
"Surely a miracle had saved them. Father Gao called it divine intervention; Longyan felt it was good Confucian humanism; Meihua thought it was a long-overdue response to decades of invoking the Amida Buddha. Only Sose knew the real truth — he had paid a Manchu shaman to conduct a sacred and expensive ritual exorcising demons from the Forbidden City. While moderation might work in politics, he knew that absolute spiritual powers were required in emergencies. Dorgon promptly died the morning after the exorcism, paving the way for a new coalition of Chinese reformers, flexible Manchus, and a sprinkling of Jesuits."RELIGIONS
Hubris takes us behind the scenes at the White House, CIA, Pentagon, State Department, and Congress to show how George W. Bush came to invade Iraq — and how his administration struggled with the devastating fallout. It connects the dots between Bush's expletive-laden outbursts at Saddam Hussein, the bitter battles between the CIA and the White House, the fights within the intelligence community over Saddam's supposed weapons of mass destruction, the outing of an undercover CIA officer, and the Bush administration's misleading sales campaign for war.
The Promise of Stardust ~ by Priscille Sibley, 2013, fiction (Maine), 10/10Currently
2. Ming: A Novel of Seventeenth-Century China ~ by Robert B. Oxnam, 1994, fiction (China)Up next
3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe ~ by Benjamin Alire Saenz, 2012, YA fiction (Texas)
The nested meditations of Kevin Anderson are playful and prayerful examples of the art of everyday spirituality. Here is one on the spiritual practice of joy.I'm not actually reading this book, since my library doesn't have a copy, but I was fascinated by this meditation I found online at Spirituality and Practice. According to Amazon.com, the book itself is a "collection of nested meditations — not quite a poem, not quite a prayer, not quite like anything you've read before."
I, like you,
have many routine days.
I, like you,
have many routine days
I, like you,
have many routine days
of sheer joy.
"Although you won't know this, I am pre-posting this ten days ahead of schedule, because my husband and I are going to be in Washington State during his spring break (from teaching at a local community college). His parents have very recently moved into a senior living facility. We will be staying at their home, which will not have some of the furniture and supplies like we are used to. What I am dreading is no computer, tv or telephone, which also means no wifi connection. This is showing my dependence upon these technologies. For this Friday Five, let us explore our use of and desire for such items."1. What types of technologies, like cell phones, computers, tvs, etc., do you routinely use? How frequently?
book blog, a word blog, a blog for book discussions, a banned books blog, an environmental blog on greening the blue planet, a Bible study blog, and several more.2. What social media and/or games do you like to play? How often? On which device do you occupy yourself? Which method of social media do you prefer?
Oh, yeah, televisions — I have a small all-in-one TV that plays cassette tapes and another small all-in-one set (belonging to my roommate) that plays DVDs. We use these for the out-dated technological stuff we still have, especially when teaching a class — like the Bible study I'm teaching this year. However, we choose not to have cable and thus don't watch TV unless there's something special enough that we view it on our laptops. I spend my discretionary time reading, not viewing — and I read "real" books rather than eBooks, using paper rather than another screen.
3. Do you separate online activities between home and work? Or is it all the same everywhere?
Since I'm retired, it's all the same for me.4. Do you have a smart (or I-) phone?
Nope. This phone is smart enough for me, once I learn how to get online with it. I may one day do more on it than on my laptop, like while on a trip. But for now, I'm happy using my laptop.5. What do you wish you had — or do not have — in relation to these devices?
Bonus: What is the difference between your attitude towards these means of technology and a generation older or younger than you?
I'm not sure I want anything different right now. Someone handed me an iPad at a party last weekend and asked me to take a photo. He sent me copies of the photos from that devise later, which were not nearly as sharp as the ones I get from my cellphone camera. And unlike my smaller phone, his iPad was awkward to hold and use.
I'm the taller woman at the back of this group of us last Saturday.
I know it's the younger generation which is supposed to be more into these technological innovations, but I — at 72 — am more into everything (except texting) than my children are — and all three are 50-ish. I guess most of my grandchildren text and probably use these technologies, but they don't text me. On the other hand, I haven't seen much of older folks not wanting to learn. I have taught older friends (like one who is 87) to blog and post photos, and I keep learning new technologies. Knowing something about HTML is helpful when I want to play around with the layout of my blogs. It also helps when I need to clean up a problem with an imported bit of text, or embed a video, or choose the best placement of a photo.So what about you? What do you use, and what do you desire to have?
"Late that nightThe Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley, 2013, fiction (Maine), 10/10. Read what I wrote about the book by clicking on book beginning.
Matt Beaulieu was two years old the first time he held Elle McClure in his arms, seventeen when he first kissed her under a sky filled with shooting stars, and thirty-three when they wed. Now in their late thirties, the deeply devoted couple has everything — except the baby they've always wanted. When a tragic accident leaves Elle brain-dead, Matt is devastated. Though he cannot bear losing her, he knows his wife, a thoughtful and adventurous scientist, feared only one thing — a slow death. Just before Matt agrees to remove Elle from life support, the doctors discover that she is pregnant. Now what was once a clear-cut decision becomes an impossible choice. Matt knows how much this child would have meant to Elle. While there is no certainty her body can sustain the pregnancy, he is sure Elle would want the baby to have a chance. Linney, Matt's mother, believes her son is blind with denial. She loves Elle, too, and insists that Elle would never want to be kept alive by artificial means, no matter what the situation. Divided by the love they share, driven by principle, Matt and Linney fight for what each believes is right, and the result is a disagreement that escalates into a controversial legal battle, ultimately going beyond one family and one single life. This is a thought-provoking tale that raises profound questions about life and death, faith and medicine.I haven't had a "ten" book in awhile, but this one is definitely a 10/10. I got it from the library at closing time on Monday, finished reading its 400+ pages on Tuesday, and now I'm writing about it. I could not put it down. He's a doctor, she's an astronaut who flew on the Shuttle.
"Once upon a time there was a girl who loved the stars so much she took a ride on a rocket ship..." (p. 399)."Once upon a time" is the last line, and the first line is about an ending.
"Late that night
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. In the author interview at the back of the book, Priscille Sibley talked about writers evoking emotions and admitted yelling at the characters in a novel by Jodi Picoult. She went on to say:
"Whenever a writer can get you to shake your fist at a character's stupidity, cry, or laugh, they've pulled off something great" (pp. 8-9 in the P.S. section).Sibley kept me turning the pages the same way Jodi Picoult does. I was surprised several times by new insights as I got deeper into the story, and I was completely satisfied with how the book ended. I look forward to reading more books by this author.
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla who lives at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He is accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain and rarely misses his life in the jungle. His friends are Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line. Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home — and his own art — through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, Ivan wants to make things change for the better.Yesterday, I told you this was the next book I planned to read. I finished it this morning, rating it 9 of 10, an excellent book. And I immediately handed it to Donna, my roommate. She took the book to her room and started reading it, while I got online to check email, read Yahoo news, and check my Facebook page. I was astounded to discover this "Gorilla Encounter" video in a story on Yahoo. I've watched the video three times now, once with Donna when I took my laptop into her room so she could see it, too. Don't you think it's amazing when such synchronicity falls in your lap? Yeah, you'll want to watch this feel-good video called "Gorilla Encounter."
1. The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and The Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book ~ by Wendy Welch, 2012, memoir (Virginia), 9/10Currently
2. The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square ~ by Rosina Lippi, 2008, fiction (South Carolina)Next
3. The One and Only Ivan ~ by Katherine Applegate, 2012, middle grade
|(click to enlarge)|
"When the alarm went off, three of Julia Darrow's four dogs catapulted themselves off the couch to rush the door" (p. 4).The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square ~ by Rosina Lippi, 2008, fiction (South Carolina)
Julia Darrow runs a thriving business in South Carolina, has a houseful of foster dogs, and wears designer pajamas all day, every day. John Dodge makes a living moving around the country, fixing up small businesses on the brink of disaster. His newest venture takes him to South Carolina, where he's greeted by an odd sight: Julia Darrow, walking across Lambert Square, in pajamas. Intrigued, Dodge asks Julia out to dinner only to be refused. The townsfolk warn him that Julia is an unsolvable mystery, but Dodge likes mysteries. And he's really good at fixing things.Sounds interesting to me. I want to know why she's fostering those dogs, what kind of business she owns, and what will happen between her and this John fellow.
Roll down the windowAlso posted on my Joyful Noiseletter word blog.
Wind up the clock
Clockwise and counterclockwise
Dial the phone number
Get the film developed
11. We join spokes together in a wheel / But it is the center that makes the wagon move / We shape clay into a pot / But it is the emptiness inside that hold whatever we want / We hammer wood for a house / But it is the inner space that makes it livable / We work with being / But non-being is what we use. Lao TzuI left Colleen this comment: "My favorite chapter of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu is number eleven, the one you chose to quote. I'm impressed that you even put it as your number eleven. When I teach religions of the world, I use all my translations (though I especially like Stephen Mitchell's translation), letting the students read it aloud from each version. Did you know that Ursula K. Le Guin also translated it? Here's her version of number eleven, with her comment below it."
The uses of not"One of the things I love about Lao Tzu is he is so funny. He's explaining a profound and difficult truth here, one of those counter-intuitive truths that, when the mind can accept them, suddenly double the size of the universe. He goes about it with this deadpan simplicity, talking about pots" (p. 14).
meet in the hub.
Where the wheel isn't
is where it's useful.
clay makes a pot.
Where the pot's not
is where it's useful.
Cut doors and windows
to make a room.
Where the room isn't,
there's room for you.
So the profit in what is
is in the use of what isn't.
A fish has stolen a hat. And he'll probably get away with it. Probably. In this Caldecott Medal Book, a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), and trouble could be following close behind. So it’s a good thing that enormous fish won’t wake up. And even if he does, it’s not like he’ll ever know what happened.
The carrots that grow in Crackenhopper Field are the fattest and crispiest around and Jasper Rabbit cannot resist pulling some to eat each time he passes by, until he begins hearing and seeing creepy carrots wherever he goes. In this Caldecott Honor Book, it's like The Twilight Zone comes to the carrot patch as the little rabbit fears his favorite treats are out to get him.
Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages us to share titles of books we’ve checked out of the library. Add your link any time during the week, and see what others got this week.This memoir is about the little bookstore that could: how two people, two cats, two dogs, and thirty-eight thousand books helped a small town find its heart. It is a story about people and books, and how together they create community.
"What I love most about reading is that I'm not limited to discussions with people who live near me in time and space, but can converse with people in different times and places about things we both are interested in."
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all. Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he's seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line. Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home — and his own art — through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it's up to Ivan to make it a change for the better. Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan's unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.
From the creator of the #1 New York Times best-selling and award-winning I Want My Hat Back comes a second wry tale. When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it's a good thing that enormous fish won't wake up. And even if he does, it's not like he'll ever know what happened. Visual humor swims to the fore as the best-selling Jon Klassen follows his breakout debut with another deadpan-funny tale.