2017

Shelby reading in 2015
My rating system
10 - Loved it!!  Couldn't put it down!!
9 - Excellent!
8 - Very Good
7 - Good
6 - Above Average
5 - Average
Anything lower - Nah (and all of this is totally my subjective feeling about a book)
* DNF - Did Not Finish
JANUARY
January favorite (#3)

1.  Why Are There More Questions Than Answers, Grandad? ~ by Kenneth Mahood, 1974, children's, 10/10
"Why did Moses supposes his toeses were roses, Grandad? ... Does dirty water need a bath, Grandad? ... How big is a hole, Grandad? ... Why does a potato have eyes but no nose, Grandad?"
2.  The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived ~ by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober, 1999, psychology, 8/10
"When children ask about something, even if it makes you uncomfortable, tell them the truth" (p. 135).

We should visualize what we hope for, because "we experience everything that we claim is true" (p. 136).
3.  Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race ~ by Debby Irving, 2014, race relations, 10/10
We white people should choose "conversation starters that have nothing to do with identifying a person by where they're from, what they do for work, or any other sorting and ranking criteria."  For example (from p. 215):  "So what was the most interesting thing that happened in your day today?"
4.  I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark ~ by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley, 2016, children's biography, 9/10
"You could say that Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life has been one disagreement after another.  Disagreement with creaky old ideas.  With unfairness.  With Inequality.  Ruth has disagreed, disapproved, and differed.  She has objected.  She has resisted.  She has dissented.  Disagreeable?  NO.  Determined?  YES."
5.  That Old Cape Magic ~ by Richard Russo, 2009, fiction (Massachusetts and Maine), 8/10
Heresto  pands  pen  d
asoci  al  hourin  har
mles  smirt  hand  funl
etfri  ends  hipre  ign
bej  usta  ndkin  dan
devil  spe  akof  no  ne.  (p. 68)
6.  Holding Up Your Corner: Talking about Race in Your Community ~ by F. Willis Johnson, 2017, race relations, 9/10
"People who are hurting
need to be affirmed in their hurt;
people who are angry
need to be affirmed in their anger" (pp. 54, 60).
7.  The Virgin Blue ~ by Tracy Chevalier, 1997, fiction (France), 8/10
"As yellow is always accompanied with light, so it may be said that blue still brings a principle of darkness with it.  This color has a peculiar and almost indescribable effect on the eye.  As a hue it is powerful, but it is on the negative side, and in its highest purity is, as it were, a stimulating negation.  It appearance, then, is a kind of contradiction between excitement and repose."
— Goethe, Theory of Colours
FEBRUARY
February favorite (#8)

8.  The Whole Town's Talking ~ by Fannie Flagg, 2016, fiction (Missouri), 9/10
AND SO IT ENDS...
Or maybe not...
What do you think?
9.  The Golden Son ~ by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, 2016, fiction (India), 9/10
10.  A Spool of Blue Thread ~ by Anne Tyler, 2015, fiction (Maryland), 7/10
11.  The Perfection of the Morning: An Apprenticeship in Nature ~ by Sharon Butala, 1994, memoir (Saskatchewan), 9/10
"I had set out on one life as a young woman of twenty-one; I had struggled down that path for fourteen years when suddenly I had come to a gaping hole, an impassable, black abyss into which the path had broken off and disappeared.  I looked back, but the path I had walked on for so long was now filled with cracks and obstacles and places where it was obliterated.  I could not go back; I could not go forward.  I had closed my eyes and leaped, and when I opened them again I found myself in another country where I didn't speak the language or know the customs, where I was an outsider, an intruder, an alien, where I was alone" (p. 66).
12.  Stress: The Good and the Bad ~ by Paula Ceccaldi, Agnès Diricq, and Clémentine Bagieu, 2001, health, 7/10
"Stress... the positive rather than the negative" (p. 83).
MARCH
March favorite (#18)

13.  Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals ~ by John A. Buehrens, 2003, religion, 7/10
"Discussion of God in terms of absolutes has more to do with Greek philosophy than with the Bible.  The Bible as a whole seems interested not in God as absolute, but as relational; not as static, but as dynamic; not as impassive, but as affected by what we humans do well or ill or leave undone" (p. 105).
14.  Secret Sister ~ by Emelle Gamble, 2013, fiction, 9/10
"...an illogical karmic wrinkle in the universe enveloped my life..." (Epilogue).
15.  Whisper My Secret: A Memoir ~ by JB Rowley, 2012, memoir (Australia), 8/10
"Shhh.  That's a secret. ... It's all right.  It's not really telling if you whisper.  You can whisper my secret" (p. 59).
16.  The Art of Crash Landing ~ by Melissa DeCarlo, 2015, fiction (Oklahoma), 7/10
"They say you can't take it with you when you go.  but we all know that's not entirely true.  You can carry your secrets to the grave" (loc. 787).
17.  Ask Him Why ~ by Catherine Ryan Hyde, 2015, fiction, 8/10
"So I kept the truth ― one that might have helped him understand ― to myself.  And that, I now realize, is how you start the pattern of silences.  So innocently and on such a small scale, and then once you open the door for them, they barge in and take on a life of their own" (p. 230).
18.  Beneath the Surface ~ by Heidi Perks, 2016, fiction (England), 10/10
"There was definitely something not right about her mum's story.  The way she so readily proffered information, a story so carefully structured that it left Hannah wondering what was really going on. ... And the truth was, Hannah didn't believe a single word she had said" (Loc. 2647).
19.  Enzo Races in the Rain! ~ by Garth Stein, 2014, children's, 8/10
20.  Girl at War ~ by Sara Nović, 2015, fiction (Croatia), 8/10
21.  The Jesus Sutras: Rediscovering the Lost Scrolls of Taoist Christianity ~ by Martin Palmer, 2001, religion, 8/10
ORIGINAL NATURE, NOT ORIGINAL SIN
"One core concept that shapes all the liturgical Sutras is that of original nature.  This is radically at variance with traditional Christian thought, which has tended to emphasize the defects of humanity: the fault of Original Sin.  In China, the tables are dramatically turned.  The Church of the East broke away from the West just in time to avoid the magnificence and the curse of St. Augustine of Hippo, who took the basic notion of original sin and built it into the destructive force it was to become.  In looking at the theology of the Church of the East, we can see what Christianity without St. Augustine might have been like" (p. 175).
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).
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).
APRIL
April favorite (#30)

28.  Keeping Sam ~ by Joanne Phillips, 2015, fiction (England), 8/10
"Just how much else had her amnesia made her forget?" (loc. 278).
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).
32.  Stuffocation: Why We've Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever ~ by James Wallman, 2013, economics, 7/10
"The runaway success of consumerism is now not only causing what may be irreversible climate change, for instance, but also, which is perhaps worse, the greatest extinction of plant and animal species since the dinosaurs died out" (loc. 764).
33.  As the Poppies Bloomed: A Novel of Love in a Time of Fear ~ by Maral Boyadjian, 2015, fiction (Turkey/Anatolia), 9/10
"The Turkish government had separate laws for the Christian citizens than for the Muslim" (p. 15).
34.  Daddy's Girl ~ by Lisa Scottoline, 2007, fiction (Pennsylvania), 9/10
"They're law students.  They should be interested in justice."  "No, they're interested in law, and there's a difference" (p. 10).
35.  A Weekend Getaway ~ by Karen Lenfestey, 2014, fiction (Indiana), 9/10
"You need to balance planning for tomorrow with enjoying what today has to offer" (p. 283).
36.  The Other Queen ~ by Philippa Gregory, 2008, fiction (Great Britain), 9/10
"She [Queen Elizabeth I] and her archadvisor Cecil have such suspicious, embittered minds that they have imagined their own undoing and so brought it about.  Like fearful, suspicious people always do, they have dreamed the worst and made it real" (p. 157).

"How can we have fallen so quickly into such suspicion and fear?" (p. 396).
37.  The Muralist ~ by B. A. Shapiro, 2015, fiction (the United States and France), 9/10
"Alizée taught me that just because there aren't any objects in a painting, that doesn't mean there isn't a subject.  She said you're not supposed to recognize what's in it as much as feel the artist's emotion" (p. 302).
38.  The Chamberlain Key: Unlocking the God Code to Reveal Divine Messages Hidden in the Bible ~ by Timothy P. Smith, 2017, religion, 8/10
"...Genesis 30:20-23 ... was the only place in the Scriptures that displayed a highly improbable biographical connection to me and my family (my father having six sons and a daughter and I also having six sons and a daughter)" (p. 183).

"When some Jewish communities in Europe were compelled to convert their synagogues into Catholic churches during the Inquisition, they replaced the Torah ark with a statue of the Virgin Mary to represent the ark, or physical vessel, of the Word of God" (p. 204).
MAY
May favorite (#43)

39.  Golden State ~ by Michelle Richmond, 2014, fiction (California), 9/10
"Without a child, are we even a family?" (loc. 2194)
40.  Off the Page ~ by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer, 2015, fiction (New Hampshire), 8/10
"If a character sits in a book and no one reads it, is he truly alive?" (p. 4).
41.  Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths ~ by Karen Armstrong, 1997, history, 8/10
"Mythology was never designed to describe historically verifiable events that actually happened.  It was an attempt to express their inner significance or to draw attention to realities that were too elusive to be discussed in a logically coherent way" (loc. 209).
42.  Still Time ~ by Jean Hegland, 2015, fiction, 8/10
"I keep thinking his mind is like a broken necklace ― some beads are lost forever while the rest are just scattered everywhere" (loc. 1230).

"He has studied Shakespeare's work for the length of Shakespeare's lifetime, but he has forgotten how King Lear ends" (loc. 2990).
43.  I Shall Be Near to You ~ by Erin Lindsay McCabe, 2014, fiction, 10/10
"I never had so much of nothing to do before in my whole life" (p. 76).
44. The Tenth Justice ~ by Brad Meltzer, 2011, fiction (Washington, DC), 8/10
"Every day, the Court is flooded with petitions seeking certiorari, or 'cert.'  When four justices grant cert, it means the Court will hear the case.  To save time, we [Supreme Court clerks] read through the cert petitions, put them into a standard memo format, and recommend whether the justice should grant or deny cert" (p. 16).
45.  A Pain in the Tuchis: A Mrs. Kaplan Mystery ~ by Mark Reutlinger, 2015, mystery, 9/10
"As I have said before, death at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors is not what you would call an unusual event.  Sad, yes.  Unusual, no.  Given the average age and state of health of the residents, it is perhaps surprising we are not having memorial services on a daily basis" (loc. 74).

"Listen, we're not getting any younger, you and I, and we should be having all the new experiences we can, while we can" (loc. 2149).
46.  Wifey ~ by Judy Blume, 1978 (introduction, 2004), fiction (New Jersey), nah
"Think for yourself, Sandy!"... "I never learned how" (loc. 1532).
47.  The Waiting Room ~ by Leah Kaminsky, 2016, fiction (Israel), 8/10
"It's true that, unlike Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Haifa has always prided itself on being a model of coexistence, a city where everyone lives in harmony:  Muslims, Christians, Jews, Baha'is, Druze" (loc. 440).
48.  The Tour: A Trip Through Ireland ~ by Jean Grainger, 2013, fiction (Ireland), 9/10
"Hi, em...What is that thing you were playing?"  "Pipes," the man replied, seemingly unfazed by Dylan's appearance, "the uilleann pipes.  They're an old Irish instrument, a bit like the Scottish bagpipes, but you don't blow into them with your mouth.  Would you like to have a look?" (p. 39).
49.  What the Dead Know ~ by Laura Lippman, 2007, fiction (Maryland), 8/10
"The doctor entered the name 'Jane Doe' on her chart, adding 'Bethany?' in parentheses.  Her fourth name, by her count, but maybe it was her fifth.  It was easy to lose track" (p. 9).
JUNE
June favorite (#50)

50.  This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class ~ by Elizabeth Warren, 2017, politics, 10/10
GOVERNMENT WORKED FOR MOST AMERICANS
       From the 1930s through the 1970s, America deliberately invested in opportunity.  The government worked hard to expand chances for millions of people:  the chance for children to get a good education, the chance for workers to build economic security, and the chance for seniors to retire with dignity.
       And here's the best part:  this dynamic investment in the future worked.  We made it work for all of us, not just those at the top.
       It wasn't perfect, but for almost half a century, incomes in our country grew across the board.  (p. 105).
51.  Flora ~ by Gail Godwin, 2013, fiction (North Carolina), 9/10
"There are things we can't undo, but perhaps there is a kind of constructive remorse that could transform regrettable acts into something of service to life" (p. 1).

"When did remorse fall into disfavor?  It was sometime during the second half of my life" (p. 152).
52.  The Forgotten Seamstress ~ by Liz Trenow, 2014, fiction (Britain), 10/10
"I've stitched my love into this quilt,
sewn it neatly, proud and true.
Though you have gone, I must live on,
and this will hold me close to you" (loc. 362).
53.  The Cape Ann ~ by Faith Sullivan, 1988, 2010, fiction (Minnesota), 8/10
"Sister never congratulated us.  Why would one make a fuss over a child learning that which was needed in order to be spared the tortures of hell, torments so heinous they could only be devised by a God of infinite ingenuity and love?" (p. 28).

"Whatever they tell you, deep thinker, God loves us all.  Me, you, and your aunt's baby."  Wouldn't it be lovely if God was that simple?  (p. 202).
54.  Leave Me ~ by Gayle Forman, 2016, fiction (Pennsylvania), 9/10
"Maribeth Klein was working late, waiting to sign off on the final page proofs of the December issue, when she had a heart attack" (p. 3).
55.  Vinegar Girl ~ by Anne Tyler, 2016, fiction, 8/10
"Just like the girls in my country," he [Pyotr] said, beaming.  "So rude spoken."
"Just like the women," Kate said reprovingly (p. 12).
56.  Good as Gone ~ by Amy Gentry,  2016, fiction, "nah"
"The last time was ― a long time ago," she says quietly.  "At least six months."  Detective Overbey sighs as if the news that our daughter hasn't been raped in six months is disappointing but acceptable (p.  21).
57.  Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback ~ by Robyn Davidson, 1982, 2012, memoir (Australia), 8/10
"In different places, survival requires different things, based on the environment.  Capacity for survival may be the ability to be changed by environment" (p. 192).
58.  Wonder ~ by R. J. Palacio, 2014, children's fiction, 10/10
"I made a mistake ... But the good thing about life ... is that we can fix our mistakes sometimes.  We learn from them" (p. 391).  "One mistake does not define you ... You must simply act better next time" (p. 392).
JULY
July favorite (#66)

59.  The Stars Are Fire ~ by Anita Shreve, 2017, fiction (Maine), 8/10
"Don't worry about me, Mother.  I've discovered, ever since the fire, or maybe more recently, that I have inner resources I can count on" (p. 222).
60.  Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler: A True Love Story Rediscovered ~ by Trudi Kanter, 2012 (originally 1984), memoir, 9/10
One lunchtime, I rushed out of my front door, looked back to wave good-bye to a friend, and bumped into Walter.  For a moment, he held me close.  Apologies.  Laughter.  He took my arm.  "We're going to have a glass of champagne, Trudi.  This calls for a celebration."  It was a command, and I obeyed.  (p. 3).
61.  The Scarlet Macaw Scandal: Nancy Drew #8 ~ by Carolyn Keene, 2004, YA fiction (Costa Rica), 5/10
"We spent our final day in Costa Rica repairing all of the damage.  There was a ton of work to be done ... I found and filled in all the monkey traps ... When we finished with all of that, we got to work on ... fixing broken tents ... planting new vegetable and herb gardens.  It was a lot of work..." (p. 148).
62.  Hucklebug ~ by Stephen Cosgrove, illustrated by Robin James, 1975, children's, 10/10
One day Berry's father sat him down on a broad, green leaf and said, "Berry, you are old enough now to help with the chores of the village.  There is food to be gathered for the winter and all Hucklebugs who are able must help."

"Me?" said an unbelieving Berry.  "But I don't want to."
63.  A Short History of the World ~ by Christopher Lascelles, 2011, history, 8/10
"...the Great Wall of China was built to keep foreigners out" (p. 95).

"If the steam engine and electricity are credited with revolutionising the way in which we live and work, the invention of the microchip in the middle of the 20th century must also gain its place as one of the most important innovations of all time" (p. 232).
64.  Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier ~ by Lori Benton, 2013, fiction (New York), 9/10
"That was my place for hiding books."  "Why did you need to hide them?  Did your parents disapprove of your reading?"  "Oma did not like it.  My grandmother," she explained ... "She would hide my books if she found them lying about, so I hid them from her.  Oma thought reading another word for idleness.  I was going to the lake to read when the warriors found me" (loc. 778).
65.  The Jericho Iteration ~ by Allen Steele, 1994, 2013, fiction (Missouri), 10/10
"So ... what high school did you go to?"  It's an old St. Louis line, akin to asking a New Englander about the weather" (loc. 1373).
66.  She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World ~ by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger, 2017, children's, 10/10
"They persisted and so should you."  [The 13 women are Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, and Sonia Sotomayor.]
AUGUST

67.  A Shift in Time: How Historical Documents Reveal the Surprising Truth about Jesus ~ by Lena Einhorn, 2016, history, 8/10
"Could it be that the New Testament was written on two levels, one obvious, one concealed?" (p. 134). ... "It is perhaps not a far-fetched idea that also the narrative describing the life of Jesus, the master of parables, would utilize this technique of writing on two levels:  one obvious, one hidden, to be interpreted" (p. 136).
68. Before Ever After ~ by Samantha Sotto, 2011, fiction, 5/10
"Mustard-slathered bratwurst.  The thought popped into her head randomly and Shelley grabbed on to it like a life-line" (p. 121).  "The floor glittered with the jagged pieces of a broken dawn" (p. 49).  "Her years creased at the sides of her green eyes..." (p. 63).  "Max, she decided, was like a golden full-fat mozzarella stick fried in butter, irrestible, unapologetic, and off-limits" (p. 47).  Note:  This whole book is over-written like this.

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