Saturday, April 1, 2023

It looks like Clawdia, but......

That's not my chair, so that's not Clawdia saying, "Stay inside, practice social distancing, clean yourself constantly...... OMG, I've become a housecat!"

Friday, March 31, 2023

Beginning ~ with a wait

In the parking lot of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in the cool dusk — which is a lie already, because it is never really cool, not even on this January evening, since this is Texas and, more specifically, this is Galveston — we wait.
The Last Karankawas ~ by Kimberly Garza, 2022, literary fiction (Texas), 288 pages

Welcome to Galveston, Texas, population 50,241.  A popular tourist destination and major shipping port, Galveston attracts millions of visitors each year.  Yet of those who come to drink by the beach, few stray from the boulevards to Fish Village, the neighborhood home to individuals who for generations have powered the island.

Carly Castillo has only ever known Fish Village.  Her grandmother claims that they descend from the Karankawas, an indigenous Texas people once believed to be extinct, thereby tethering them to Galveston.  But as Carly ages, she begins to imagine a life elsewhere, undefined by her family’s history.

Meanwhile, her boyfriend and all-star shortstop turned seaman, Jess, treasures the salty, familiar air.  He’s gotten chances to leave Galveston for bigger cities with more possibilities.  But he didn’t take them then, and he sure as hell won’t now.  When word spreads of a storm gathering strength offshore, building into Hurricane Ike, each Galveston resident must make a difficult decision:  board up the windows and hunker down or flee inland and abandon their hard-won homes.

Moving through these characters’ lives and those of the extraordinary individuals who circle them, this book weaves together a multitude of voices to present a lyrical, emotionally charged portrait of everyday survival.  The result is an unforgettable exploration of familial inheritance, human resilience, and the histories we assign to ourselves, reminding us that the deepest bonds are forged not by blood, but by fire.

ONLINE COMMENT by Mikayla Johnson:

"I finished reading The Last Karankawas this week, and I was dazzled by Garza’s ability to craft chapters that not only serve as moving vignettes for individual lives, but also together complete a narrative arc for Carly Castillo and the community of Galveston as a whole.  In a book that features twelve main characters, spans decades, and intertwines a variety of complex and deeply rooted cultural traditions, her stories–within–a–story novel is no small feat.  

 "Additionally, I was delighted by the 'glossary and guide' found at the back of the book.  Having expected the novel to end on the last page, I started reading the glossary just for kicks, when unexpectedly the definitions wove into an epilogue detailing endings and new beginnings for the characters I had come to love.  As a writer, I will come back to study Garza’s work for her masterful ability with multiple points of view, the intricacies of her delicious prose, and her playful experimentation with form."

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Collecting my thoughts for Thursday

What are the odds of seeing these two license plates beside each other?  Can't read it?  The one on the left says, "PEEKABOO" and the one of the right says, "I SEE U."  Photo credit to Buzzfeed.

Once upon a time, I wrote:  "I buy books I know I want to keep, sometimes after reading the library copy. . . . Books I keep are usually related to my teaching . . . I don't collect fiction, so that is usually from the library."  The photo shows my nearest library when I blogged that nine years ago.

Things are different now that I'm retired.  I prefer getting books from the library.  If one I want is not available there, I may buy the book if it doesn't cost too much.  Do you like borrowing books from the library . . . or collecting books to keep . . . or reading on your device . . . or what?

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Alone vs. Lonely ~ and words coined by kids

Collins Dictionary has this in a section for people learning English, but I think it's interesting for the rest of us to ponder, as well.  Here are quotes from their page:

"If you are alone, you are not with any other people."

 "If you are lonely, you are unhappy because you don’t have anyone to talk to."

As I think of these differences, I come up with my own examples:

I live alone (except for my cat), and I'm not unhappy about that.  I can talk to other people by picking up my phone or going down to eat in our Circle@Crown Café.

It's also likely that I don't feel lonely in my apartment because it's filled with books, and those books are filled with characters who "come alive" as I read.

Words coined by kids

Somebody wondered what a boy meant when he said "a double kid."  Hey, it's a perfect way to describe identical twins.  In that case, I have "a double daughter."  As you can see (on the right), they visited the Arch in St. Louis.  It looks like they were wearing identical sunglasses and had been slurping identical treats.

One child calls an exclamation mark a "yell mark!"  A cactus should be known as a "sharpie."  A mom said her kids called the baby monitor the "momitor," and that makes sense.  Saying hand sanitizer is "hanitizer" is also logical, and calling a ham sandwich a "hamwich" is perfect.

You may put parmesan cheese on your spaghetti, but one child asks for "Farmer John cheese" on hers.  Three guesses what "yummy bears" are.  Have you ever visited the "Vampire State Building"?  If you travel, you could visit "Africa, Asia, and Syrup" (known to most of us as Europe).

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Two quotes for TWOsday

Let's discuss these quotes:

(1)  "How many oceans are there?  If you did well in middle school geography class, you probably answered 'five':  Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern.  But wait!  That's not quite right.  Five is the cultural answer, based on our twist of reality.  The correct answer — nature's answer — is just one.  Look at a globe if you don't believe me; we live on a one-ocean world."

That's from page 182 of 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True by Guy P. Harrison (2011).  Do you agree?  Looking at the map, would you say there are five oceans or one ocean or something else?

(2)  "I wanted real adventures to happen to myself.  But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home:  they must be sought abroad."

That's from page 12 of Dubliners by James Joyce (1914).  What's a "real adventure" for you?  Do you think we need to go "abroad" to find adventures?  I seem to find them wherever I am, but maybe I don't define adventure the way James Joyce does.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Book quotes to ponder

Think about these quotes:

(1)  "There's a strong movement on foot to drop hereditary names altogether."

That's from page 10 in the Herland Trilogy: Moving the Mountain by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (speculative fiction, 112 pages).  She published Moving the Mountain in 1911, long before I was born and even before my parents were born.  Who would I be if "hereditary names" had been dropped back then?  Who would you be?

(2)  "When it comes to Jesus, all we have are memories."

That's from page 1 of Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior by Bart Ehrman (2016, 336 pages).  Ehrman presents an intriguing analysis of memory, based on psychology, sociology, and anthropology (also from page 1).  Experiments have demonstrated that verbally transferred information changes significantly from person to person.  So how accurately do you remember what someone told you a few years ago about someone else?

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Musical Saturday?

Is this treble clef sign vine telling us something?  Maybe it's nature's music.  The one on the right looks like a capital S written in cursive, but someone has reversed a clef sign.

Risé Recommends
The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle ~ by Joanne Huist Smith, 2014, memoir, 224 pages

After the unexpected death of her husband, Joanne Huist Smith had no idea how she would keep herself together and be strong for her three children — especially with the holiday season approaching.  But 12 days before Christmas, presents begin appearing on her doorstep with notes from their "True Friends."  As the Smiths came together to solve the mystery of who the gifts were from, they began to thaw out from their grief and come together again as a family.  This true story about the power of random acts of kindness will warm the heart.  Here are the author's words at the end of the Foreword:
"Come.  Walk with me.  I will share with you the message that forever changed my family, the healing magic of the 13th Gift."
See also other books that my friend Risé has recommended (click on the titles):
  • Lost Laysen ~ by Margaret Mitchell, 1996, novella, 128 pages
  • The Fifth Child ~ by Doris Lessing, 1988, fiction, 144 pages
  • Plum Wine ~ by Angela Davis-Gardner, 2006, fiction, 352 pages