Friday, November 30, 2012

One book leads to three, which leads to five

Once upon a time a great-grandmother, once known as the Book Grandma, went shopping for a book to give her great-grandson for his second birthday.  She found Puff, remembered from her own children's childhood.
Puff the Magic Dragon ~ by Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton, illustrated by Eric Puybaret, 2007, children's, 9/10
In the way of things, however, one book was not enough.  The woman was a reader, which is why she was shopping in a bookstore for the third generation of her offspring.  She read to her children and she read to her grandchildren, including one granddaughter (about four at the time) who said about her upcoming birthday gift, "But not a book, Grandma, okay?"  That proves the woman's addiction to books and reading, and thus it should be obvious to anyone who reads a blog about books, the woman could not stop at one.  These four other books also came home with her:

Saving Jesus from Those Who Are Right: Rethinking What It Means to Be Christian ~ by Carter Heyward, 1999
In this theological resource for spiritual transformation and social change, Carter Heyward rethinks the figure and import of Jesus for church, academy, and society.  Rather than focus on the endlessly variable pictures of Jesus in contemporary biblical scholarship, and in radical opposition to the Jesus of the "Christian Right," Heyward presents "Jesus as our brother, infused with a sacred power and passion for embodying right (mutual) relation, and ourselves with him in this commitment."  She goes on "to explore, concretely, how we might live this way."  This Christology offers reconstructions of incarnation, atonement, evil, suffering, and fear.  It also sheds light on the significance of Jesus for ecological, racial, economic, and gender justice.  Heyward's book envisions "a mighty counter-cultural force," which she names christic power, that can help save American culture from its greed and domination and save the figure of Jesus from culture-generated distortions.  In short, Heyward's book will help people come to terms with the life-changing implications of Jesus' person and ethic.
Welcome to the Wisdom of the World and Its Meaning for You: Universal Spiritual Insights Distilled from Five Religious Traditions ~ by Joan Chittister, 2007
The sections on Hindu, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each have five questions.  These are some of the questions:
What does it mean to "make a difference"??
How do I know the right thing to do?
Where did I lose my idealism?
How will I know the truth when I see it?
Why do I feel that something is missing in my life?
This may sound odd, but I was intrigued by the neat notes in the margins of this "used" book.  I like some of her (his?) comments and wish there was some way to contact this person so we could have a "real" discussion.  Nevertheless, I'll be in dialogue with her/him as I read because of the thoughtful notations.  It's like having two conversation partners, the author and the first reader of the book.
Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief ~ by Huston Smith, 2001
This one I got for a friend, having read it myself years ago.  Huston Smith says the human spirit is being suffocated by the dominant materialistic worldview of our times.  He champions a society in which religion is once again treasured and authentically practiced as the vital source of human wisdom.  I found a video of Huston Smith speaking about this book at Duke University in 2000, before it was published.
The World's Wisdom: Sacred Texts of the World's Religions ~ by Philip Novak, 1994
A world Bible for our time from Buddhist, Hindu, Confucian, Taoist, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and primal religion sources.  Novak distills the most powerful and elegant expressions of the wisdom of humankind.

Surely you other readers understand how this sequence of events happened.  And I see I have entirely tipped my hand by saying "I" a few times in telling you about the books.  Oh, well.  Many of you may recognize this bookaholic tendency in yourselves and know this tale, in spite of its "once-upon-a-time" story beginning, most certainly is NOT.....

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Puff the Magic Dragon (with CD)

Photo of Fiona by Nancy @ Bookfoolery and Babble
Puff the Magic Dragon (with 4-song CD) ~ by Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton, illustrated by Eric Puybaret, 2007, children's, 9/10
Staff review:  "This handsome volume offers a charming interpretation of the 1960s folk song, written by Yarrow and Lipton and famously recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary.  Featuring a soothing palette highlighted by greens and blues, Puybaret's graceful acrylic on linen paintings are intermittently misty and sunny.  Echoing the gentle cadence of the song, the sweeping landscapes and seascapes reveal Honalee to be a magical place indeed, with faces appearing on trees, flowers, and rocks.  Other whimsical flourishes include the book's affable ancillary characters, including diminutive winged fairies and red-and-white striped dolphin-like critters that wear graduation caps.  There is, of course, the inevitable somber moment when “One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more,/ And Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar”; the dragon gazes wistfully upon the departing boy and then slips sadly into his cave.  But at the creative hand of Puybaret, a French illustrator who here makes his American publishing debut, the song's potentially sad denouement takes an uplifting turn.  As the chorus is repeated one final time, the delighted Puff spies a girl approaching — ostensibly Jackie's daughter — a new friend to frolic with in the autumn mist.  Youngsters concerned about the fate of Puff's first playmate will be comforted to see a smiling, grown-up Jackie looking on.  Adding to the appeal of the book is a CD presenting a new recording of the song (and two others), sung by Yarrow and his daughter Bethany, accompanied by cellist Rufus Cappadocia.  An impressive performance all around.  Ages 3-7.
The book has garnered cat approval, according to Nancy @ Bookfoolery and Babble, who took the photo of her cat at the top of this post.)
"Puff the Magic Dragon has earned the Fiona Kitty Seal of Approval."
Even though Fiona endorses the board book version, I bought the hardback with CD for my great-grandson's second birthday (party coming up in a couple of weeks).  Here are the four songs included on the CD:
  1. Puff the Magic Dragon, sung by Peter Yarrow and his daughter Bethany Yarrow
  2. Froggie Went A-Courtin'
  3. The BlueTail Fly
  4. Puff theMagic Dragon, instrumental

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Library Loot ~ Nov 28 to Dec 4

As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda ~ by Gail Collins, 2012, politics
Gail Collins declares that "what happens in Texas doesn't stay in Texas anymore."   Not until she visited Texas, that proud state of big oil and bigger ambitions, did Gail Collins, the best-selling author and columnist for the New York Times, realize that she had missed the one place that mattered most in America’s political landscape.  Raised in Ohio, Collins had previously seen the American fundamental divide as a war between the Republican heartland and its two liberal coasts.  But the real story, she came to see, was in Texas, where Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Perry had created a conservative political agenda that is now sweeping the country and defining our national identity.  Through its vigorous support of banking deregulation, lax environmental standards, and draconian tax cuts, through its fierce championing of states rights, gun ownership, and, of course, sexual abstinence, Texas, with Governor Rick Perry’s presidential ambitions, has become the bellwether of a far-reaching national movement that continues to have profound social and economic consequences for us all.  Like it or not, as Texas goes, so goes the nation.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share titles of books they’ve checked out of the library.  To participate, just add your post to their Mister Linky any time during the week.  And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries this week.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spiritual Practice ~ for humans, that is

"To be impatient is to be hooked on the future." — Gerald Jampolsky

To Practice This Thought Relax.  Just pay attention to what is happening now.  Let the future take care of itself.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ white-tailed deer

This evening near dusk (yes, I'm posting this late in the day), I glanced out my bedroom window and saw nine white-tailed deer in the field.  They are obviously wary of people and aware that my apartment complex have lots of those animals in them.  When I grabbed my coat and tried to quietly go around the corner of my building, the one "on guard" somehow alerted the others, and all of them stopped grazing to watch what I'd do next.  I took only a step or two between these photos, but that was enough to spook them.

Blurred though they are, you can see their bobbing white tails in the first of these two as they run from me.  In the final shot, they are waiting at a distance to see what I do.  I went inside and watched from my window as they returned to grazing, as in the first two pictures.  Even clicking to enlarge these photos, I'm not able to count all nine deer I saw in motion this evening.  I've lived here nearly a year and a half, and this is the first deer I've seen, though I was told they come occasionally.


Book Buddies

We've been discussing Christianity for the Rest of Us by Diana Butler Bass (2006) chapter by chapter during October and November.  It isn't too late to join us because we won't start a new book until January, since the holidays are almost upon us.  We've had some thoughtful comments on each of the chapters (though some, like me, are far from finished reading the book yet), plus we've done some extracurricular activities, like visiting labyrinths.  You'll find links to the labyrinth posts — as well as the very fruitful discussion topics — by clicking on the book's title.

We are considering Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (2012) for our January discussion.  Have you read it?

Author in town

It's been almost two weeks since I went with my friends Donna and Jane to hear Thomas Friedman speak at the Tivoli, here in Chattanooga.   His most recent book is That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back (long title with the subtitle included, huh?)  His other books include The World is Flat and Hot, Flat and Crowded.  Even though I sat only a few rows from the stage, obviously it was too far for my cellphone camera to capture details during his question-and-answer session.

 Visit the Sunday Salon's Facebook page for links to more posts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Library Loot ~ November 14-20

The Light Between Oceans ~ by M. L. Stedman, 2012
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
Flight Behavior ~ by Barbara Kingsolver, 2012
Kingsolver delivers literary fiction that conveys an urgent social message.  Set in a rural Tennessee that has endured unseasonal rain, the plot explores the effects of a bizarre biological event on a Bible Belt community.  The sight that young wife and mother Dellarobia Turnbow comes upon-millions of monarch butterflies glowing like a "lake of fire" in a sheep pasture owned by her in-laws.  The find is immediately branded a miracle and promises a lucrative tourist season for the financially beleaguered Turnbows.

The arrival of a research team led by sexy scientist Ovid Byron reveals the troubling truth behind the butterflies' presence, that they've been driven by pollution from their usual Mexican winter grounds and now face extinction due to northern hemisphere temperatures.  Equally threatening is the fact that her father-in-law, Bear, has sold the land to loggers.

Already restless in her marriage to the passive Cub, for whom she gave up college when she became pregnant at 17, unsophisticated, cigarette-addicted Dellarobia takes a mammoth leap when she starts working with the research team.  As her horizons expand, she faces a choice between the status quo and, perhaps, personal fulfillment.  Spunky Dellarobia is immensely appealing; the caustic view she holds of her husband, in-laws, and neighbors, the self-deprecating repartee she has with her best friend Dovey, and her views about the tedium of motherhood combined with a loving but clear-eyed appraisal of her own children invest the narrative with authenticity and sparkling humor.

Kingsolver also animates and never judges the uneducated, superstitious, religiously devout residents of Feathertown.  As Dellarobia flees into a belated coming-of-age, which becomes the ironic outcome of the monarchs' flight path to possible catastrophe in the collapse of a continental ecosystem, the dramatic saga becomes a clarion call about climate change, too lucid and vivid for even skeptics to ignore.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share titles of books they’ve checked out of the library.  To participate, just add your post to their Mister Linky any time during the week.  And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries this week.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Library Loot ~ November 7-13

Between the Lines ~ by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer, 2012, YA fiction, 8/10
What happens when happily ever after … isn’t?  Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book — one book in particular.  Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.  And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.  Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.
I have already finished the book and rate it 8 of 10, a good book.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share titles of books they’ve checked out of the library.  To participate, just add your post to their Mister Linky any time during the week.  And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries this week.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Memories

I remember the older songs.  I was back in school (at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) in the early 1970s, listening to songs like this.  "City of New Orleans" was a hit for Arlo Guthrie in 1972 and was also performed by Judy Collins.  Now the great news:  I'll be in the audience this evening to hear Judy Collins.  Yes!  I wonder if she'll play this one.  Or maybe "Mr. Tamborine Man" or "Both Sides Now" or "Chelsea Morning" or "Send in the Clowns" or "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" or "The Rose"?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Caturday ~ even the cats?

Oh, my!  Even the cats are now doing NaNoWriMo.  Surely my fingers can type faster than a cat's paws, but maybe this determined cat is thinking faster than I am.  If only I knew her name ... so I could buy her best seller when it is published.  Don't you just love her concentration and determination?

Source:  Chris @ Chrisbookarama, who isn't even trying to do NaNoWriMo, posted this great photo in her Friday Bookish Buzz.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Beginning ~ with monkeys and some wood

To make up for not posting any book beginnings since July, I decided to post two of them today.  Both books are memoirs of a sort, and while they are different, each has to do with religion.  I'm trying to read both books at the same time, while doing a million other things.  What I like so far is that both authors are witty, as you may be able to tell from these opening lines.  Neither opening sounds very religious.

Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions - by Rachel Held Evans, 2010
"Monkeys make me nervous.  Whenever I hear about chimpanzees solving math problems or Koko the Gorilla using sign language to order her breakfast, I feel inexplicably threatened by their humanlike qualities and intelligence."
Strength for the Journey: A Pilgramage of Faith in Community ~ by Diana Butler Bass, 2002
"Years after I found my way back to mainstream Protestantism, someone asked what attracted me to the Episcopal Church.  With only a moment's pause I replied, "The wood."

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

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

If I seem to be missing this month, it may have to do with NaNoWriMo, which began today.  I'm supposed to be writing, but I'm already stuck.  My working title is "The Missing Page."

Bonnie's NaNoWriMo* 2012.