Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Library Loot ~ July 31-August 6

God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World and Why Their Differences Matter ~ by Stephen Prothero, 2010
Islam ~ The Way of Submission
Christianity ~ The Way of Salvation
Confucianism ~ The Way of Propriety
Hinduism ~ The Way of Devotion
Buddhism ~ The Way of Awakening
Yoruba Religion ~ The Way of Connection
Judaism ~ The Way of Exile and Return
Daoism ~ The Way of Flourishing
A Brief Coda on Atheism ~ The Way of Reason
Stephen Prothero makes a fresh and provocative argument that, contrary to popular understanding, all religions are not simply different paths to the same end — and why this matters greatly for us.

The Genesis Enigma: Why the First Book of the Bible Is Scientifically Accurate ~ by Andrew Parker
Andrew Parker is known within the scientific community as the man who best explained the "big bang" in the diversity of life that occurred over 500 million years ago. Stimulated by that research, he became interested in the biblical account of Genesis. Light is mentioned twice; life first emerged in the sea; and then birds . . . The more he looked, the more he found parallels between Genesis and accepted scientific truths about the evolution of life. In The Genesis Enigma, Parker steps day by day through the week of biblical creation to explain the science that verifies its account. A brilliant work of scholarship, Parker's unprecedented rational argument for the existence of God will fascinate intellectually curious believers and nonbelievers alike.  According to Booklist (starred review):  "The single Darwinian bicentenary publication most liable to reconcile religion and science."
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by 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.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Beginning ~ with a conversation

Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future ~ by Margaret J. Wheatley, 2009
"I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again.  Simple, honest, human conversation."
This is the July choice for my online book club.  I ordered the book online, and it finally arrived this afternoon.  It isn't a long book, and I've been told it doesn't take long to read.  My friend Donna also ordered a copy of the book, so I'll also be able to discuss it with her.  Do you want to start a conversation with me?  Maybe we can change the world.

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

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Library Loot ~ July 24-30

Mother, Daughter, Me ~ by Katie Hafner, 2013, memoir (California)
This memoir is an exploration of the year Katie Hafner and her mother, Helen, spent working through, and triumphing over, a lifetime of unresolved emotions.   Dreaming of a “year in Provence” with her mother, Katie urges Helen to move to San Francisco to live with her and Zoë, Katie’s teenage daughter.  Katie and Zoë had become a mother-daughter team, strong enough, Katie thought, to absorb the arrival of a seventy-seven-year-old woman set in her ways.  Filled with fairy-tale hope that she and her mother would become friends, and that Helen would grow close to her exceptional granddaughter, Katie embarked on an experiment in intergenerational living that she would soon discover was filled with land mines:  memories of her parents’ painful divorce, of her mother’s drinking, of dislocating moves back and forth across the country,  and of Katie’s own widowhood and bumpy recovery.  Helen, for her part, was also holding difficult issues at bay.  Katie Hafner’s brave and loving book answers questions about the universal truths of family that are central to the lives of so many.
Only one book this week. No, the cover isn't torn and badly taped back together — that's the way it's designed.  I imagine it's to indicate the "torn" relationships being patched back together, but I still don't like it.  I've never liked things made to appear old or broken or "fixed" like this.  I hope designers will get over it someday soon.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by 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.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hello! Hello! ~ by Matthew Cordell

Hello! Hello! ~ by Matthew Cordell, 2012, children's, 9/10
world is trying to reach you.  [Notice the www.]
The first pages, as the girl tires of her electronic gadgets.

After she has discovered the great wide world and gotten her parents and brother to join her in it.

Got the picture?  Get the book.  Rated 9 of 10, an excellent book.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Library Loot ~ July 17-23

The Stockholm Octavo ~ by Karen Engelmann, 2012, fiction (Sweden)
From the publisher:  Life is close to perfect for Emil Larsson, a self-satisfied bureaucrat in the Office of Excise and Customs in Stockholm of 1791.  He is a true man of the town — drinker, card player, and contented bachelor.   Until one evening, when Mrs. Sophia Sparrow, proprietor of an exclusive gaming parlor and fortune teller, shares with him a vision she has had — a golden path that will lead to love and connection for Emil.  She offers to lay an Octavo for him, a spread of eight cards that augur the eight individuals who can help him realize this vision — if he can find them.  Emil begins his search, intrigued by the puzzle of his Octavo and the good fortune Mrs. Sparrow’s vision portends.  But when Mrs. Sparrow wins a mysterious folding fan in a card game, the Octavo’s deeper powers are revealed.  No longer just a game of the heart, collecting his Eight is now crucial to pulling his country back from the crumbling precipice of rebellion and chaos.  This novel is set against the backdrop of late 18th century Stockholm, as the winds of revolution rage through the great capitals of Europe.
I learned about this book, my only "loot" for this week, from Wendy @ Caribousmom.  This map of Stockholm is from the author's page, where there's also a tour of Stockholm.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by 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.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bad Girls of the Bible ~ today's the day!

Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them ~ by Liz Curtis Higgs
Ten of the Bible’s best-known femmes fatales parade across the pages of Bad Girls of the Bible with situations that sound oh-so-familiar.  Eve had food issues.  Potiphar’s Wife and Delilah had man trouble.  Lot’s Wife and Michal couldn’t let go of the past, Sapphira couldn’t let go of money, and Jezebel couldn’t let go of anything.  Yet the Woman at the Well had her thirst quenched at last, while Rahab and the Sinful Woman left their sordid histories behind.  Let these Bad Girls show you why studying the Bible has never been more fun!
My friend Donna and I went to Nashville on February 26th for the taping of a video to accompany this Bible study.  I told you about it and shared photos.
Join two dozen women in a cozy coffeehouse setting, as author and speaker Liz Curtis Higgs explores the lives of ten of the Bible’s best-known femmes fatales.  From Eve to Jezebel to Delilah, each woman’s story and struggles come to life, as Liz brings home this vital truth:  “No one is good — except God alone” (Luke 18:19).
The book and video are being released today.  The 288-page paperback has a study guide and discussion questions, and the video shows us women listening to Liz tell stories.  In the following short video, Liz sings about the "bad girls" (this isn't the one I'm in):

Meet all ten Bad Girls in less than two minutes.  Liz Curtis Higgs says, "I'm not really a jazz singer.  You've been warned."

UPDATE:  After I put up this post, I commented under Liz's video on Facebook:  "Liz, I wrote about today's release of your book and the accompanying study video."  Minutes later, she replied:
BLESS YOU, Bonnie, many times over! :>)
If the video quits working, you can watch it on YouTube.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Beginning ~ with illegal businesses

The Harmony Silk Factory ~ by Tash Aw, 2005, fiction (Malaysia)
"The Harmony Silk Factory is the name of the shop house my father bought in 1942 as a front for his illegal businesses."
I have two of Tash Aw's novels checked out of my library, and plan to start with this one because it's the older of the two.  This one is set in British-ruled Malaya (now called Malaysia), and the second novel is set in Indonesia.  Could you locate those countries on a map?  I'm reading these books to discuss with my friend Jane, so I sent her this map.  Malaysia is dark green, and Indonesia is brown.

I'm not particularly excited by the first sentence of this book, but I've been "booking" my way around the world for several years and hope to add these novels to my list of countries on the sidebar here.  So far, I don't have books to represent either of these countries.

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

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Open and shut case?

What do you think of the psychology behind the jury's reasoning in this story I found on the Futility Closet blog?
A man’s wife disappears, and he’s accused of killing her.  At the trial, his lawyer tells the jury, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have amazing news.  Not only is my client’s wife actually alive, but she’ll walk through that door in ten seconds.”

An expectant silence settles over the courtroom, but nothing happens.

“Think about that,” the lawyer says.  “The fact that you were watching the door, expecting to see the missing woman, proves that you have a reasonable doubt as to whether a murder was actually committed.”

He sits down confidently, and the judge sends the jury off to deliberate.  They return in ten minutes and declare the man guilty.

“Guilty?” says the lawyer.  “How can that be?  You were all watching the door!”

“Most of us were watching the door,” says the foreman.  “But one of us was watching the defendant, and he wasn’t watching the door.”
Makes sense to me.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Update post ~ as I complete Once Upon a Readathon

1.  I set a GOAL of reading from one or more of these books during the three days of this readathon (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday):
The Dalai Lama's Cat ~ by David Michie, 2012, fiction (India)

Under Fishbone Clouds ~ by Sam Meekings, 2009, fiction (China)

The Death of Fidel Perez ~ by Elizabeth Huergo, 2013, fiction (Cuba)
I am almost through with the 410-page novel Under Fishbone Clouds, set in China.  Therefore, I think I met my goal nicely.

2.  We were instructed to "post the button on the SIDEBAR to spread the word and so you don't forget."
Check, I did that.
3.  "Make sure you do at least one UPDATE POST."
This is my update post (and I went back and added this link to my original posting about goals)
4.  "Participate in at least one challenge."  Here are the THREE MINI-CHALLENGES I participated in:
Cover2CoverBlog ~ on Monday ~ about two books choices and a character I'd like to meet.

BookBFFs ~ on Monday ~ about how I met my Book BFF.  Here's a more recent photo of her.

Dizneeee's World of Books ~ on Wednesday ~ about favorite genre, book, and character.
I reported my wrap-up post here.

Library Loot ~ July 10-16

The Harmony Silk Factory ~ by Tash Aw, 2005, fiction (Malaysia)
Tash Aw's highly original first novel juxtaposes three accounts of the life of an enigmatic man at a pivotal and haunting moment in Malaysian history.  The Harmony Silk Factory is the textiles store run by Johnny Lim, a Chinese peasant living in rural Malay in the first half of the twentieth century.  It is the most impressive and truly amazing structure in the region, and to the inhabitants of the Kinta Valley Johnny Lim is a hero a Communist who fought the Japanese when they invaded, ready to sacrifice his life for the welfare of his people.   But to his son, Jasper, Johnny is a crook and a collaborator who betrayed the very people he pretended to serve, and the Harmony Silk Factory is merely a front for his father's illegal businesses.  Centering on Johnny from three perspectives those of his grown son; his wife, Snow, the most beautiful woman in the Kinta Valley (through her diary entries); and his best and only friend, an Englishman adrift named Peter Wormwood the novel reveals the difficulty of knowing another human being, and how our assumptions about others also determine who we are.
Map of the Invisible World ~ by Tash Aw, 2010, fiction (Indonesia)
This novel evokes an exotic yet turbulent place and time — 1960s Indonesia during President Sukarno’s drive to purge the country of its colonial past.  The story follows the journeys of two brothers and an American woman who are indelibly marked by the past — and swept up in the tides of history.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by 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.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

15 books ~ plus one

Facebook had a meme going around, in July 2009, encouraging folks to "name 15 books that will always stick with you."  I was curious about which books were most meaningful to me.  Here are my 15 books, in alphabetical order.  Plus one.  The bad part of making a list like this is later remembering a book that would definitely have made the list if only I'd remembered it in time.  In my case, that book was Herland (#16).

#1 ~ Agape Love: A Tradition Found in Eight World Religions ~ by John Templeton, 1999, religion, 10/10
#2 ~ The Gnostic Gospels ~ by Elaine Pagels, 1979, religion, 10/10
#3 ~ The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions ~ by Karen Armstrong, 2006, religion, 10/10
#4 ~ The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith ~ by Marcus J. Borg, 2003, religion, 10/10
#5 ~ Honest to God ~ by John A. T. Robinson, 1963, religion, 10/10
#6 ~ Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 ~ by Simon Winchester, 2003, history, 10/10
#7 ~ Miss Rumphius ~ by Barbara Cooney, 1982, children's, 10/10
#8 ~ The Mists of Avalon ~ by Marion Zimmer Bradley, 1982, fantasy, 10/10
#9 ~ The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity ~ by Hyam Maccoby, 1986, religion, 8/10
#10 ~ The Secret Life of Bees ~ by Sue Monk Kidd, 2002, fiction, 10/10
#11 ~ The Social Construction of Reality ~ by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, 1966, philosophy, 10/10
#12 ~ Time and Again ~ by Jack Finney, 1970, speculative fiction (New York), 10/10
#13 ~ Train to Pakistan ~ by Khushwant Singh, 1956, fiction (India), 10/10
#14 ~ Worlds in Collision ~ by Immanuel Velikovsky, 1950, planetary theory, 9/10
#15 ~ A Wrinkle in Time ~ by Madeleine L'Engle, 1962, YA fiction, 10/10
#16 ~ Herland ~ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1915, women's studies, 10/10

Herland ~ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1915) is one I re-read about once a decade for quite a few years.
This utopian novel describes an isolated society composed entirely of women who reproduce via parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction).  The result is an ideal social order, free of war, conflict, and domination.
Time and Again ~ by Jack Finney (1970) is my favorite time travel story.
"Sleep. And when you awake everything you know of the twentieth century will be gone from your mind.  Tonight is January 21, 1882.  There are no such things as automobiles, no planes, computers, television.  'Nuclear' appears in no dictionary.  You have never heard the name Richard Nixon."  Did illustrator Si Morley really step out of his twentieth-century apartment one night — right into the winter of 1882?  The U.S. Government believed it, especially when Si returned with a portfolio of brand-new sketches and tintype photos of a world that no longer existed — or did it?
Train to Pakistan ~ by Khushwant Singh (1956) is an historical novel I assigned students in my Religions of the World classes to read.
This book of fiction follows the fate of Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu inhabitants of one village during the violent 1947 partition of the Punjab region between India and Pakistan.  What could happen when people are forced to relocate because of their religion?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Once Upon a Readathon ~ challenges

The hosts of this readathon are giving away a $100 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  To be eligible, I must post at least one update and participate in at least one challenge.  Here are the challenges:

Monday Challenges (July 8, 2013)


For my mini challenge I would like to know...
1.  Which book you are most excited to read in the coming year?
The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic ~ by John Shelby Spong, 2013
2.  Which book would you re-read if you had the time and weren't so busy reading ALL of the other good thing?
The Mists of Avalon ~ by Marion Zimmer Bradley, 1982
3.  If you could meet any fictional character who would it be and why?
Miss Rumphius ~ by Barbara Cooney, a 1982 children's book character who grew up wanting to make the world a better place.  I love how she did it.
"Enter by leaving a comment or video response on this video saying how you met your Book BFF, or what you look for in a Book BFF.  Giveaway runs from 7/8 12:00 AM EST until 7/10 11:59 PM EST."
I met my Book BFF in an online book club in 1996.  We didn't meet face to face until 1998, but eventually she sold her house in St. Louis and moved to Chattanooga, where we opened a suburban bookstore together from 2004 to 2006.  But we still discuss books together, sometimes daily, but at least every week.  What works for us is that we read the same kind of books and have enough of the same interests that we always have something to talk about.

Tuesday Challenges (July 9, 2013)
Better Read Than Dead
IB Book Blogging
(I'm not doing either of these mini-challenges.)
Wednesday Challenges (July 10, 2013)
Rainy Day Ramblings
(I'm not interested in this topic either.)
Dizneeee's World of Books
"For my little challenge, I would like for you to tell me your favorite genre, favorite book within that genre, and your favorite character from the same genre."
Favorite (fiction) genre = literary fiction

Favorite novel = The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, 2002

Favorite character = Lily Owens, the girl in that novel

Favorite (nonfiction) genre = theology

Favorite nonfiction book = The Heart of Christianity by Marcus J. Borg, 2003

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Salon ~ a new (to me) readathon


Once Upon a Readathon is new to me.  Since it starts in a few minutes, I needed to make a quick decision:  to participate or let this one pass.  I decided to go for it, since the 164 people already on the sign-up list all seem to be new to me.  I heard about the readathon by visiting the blog of Julie who commented on my blog earlier today that's the joy of the book blogging community, that we enrich each other's worlds.  So consider this my readathon post.  Here's a summary from the sign-up page:
Set a goal for yourself to read books beyond the average number of books you read.  There is no minimum.  Read anything you like any genre, any subject.  Grab the button and post it on your sidebar to spread the word and so you don't forget.  Then, from 12:01 am on July 8th to 11:59 pm on July 10th you read, read, and read some more.  Make sure you do at least one update post, and participate in at least one challenge.
My goal is to read as much as I can from one or more of these books, mentioned elsewhere on my blog:
The Dalai Lama's Cat ~ by David Michie, 2012, fiction (India)
Under Fishbone Clouds ~ by Sam Meekings, 2009, fiction (China)
The Death of Fidel Perez ~ by Elizabeth Huergo, 2013, fiction (Cuba)
Hmm, I see three of these have "travel" destinations.  I'll be visiting India, China, and Cuba in the next few days.  Three days of reading, three books.  Can I complete at least one?

Update:  I've participated in three readathon challenges and written a separate update post.


Dear Jen, I got your card today and love the weird thing your customer said.
Customer:  "I need a copy of 'For Room the Belt Holes' for college."
Me:  ...?
Customer:  "It's by Hemingway.  I think it's about losing weight."
Thank you so much for making my day.
Jen Campbell, who works at a bookstore in North London called Ripping Yarns, has published a couple of books about Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops and More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops.  Recently, she offered to send fifty of her readers postcards with either a new weird thing or a bit of her poetry.  As one who once owned a bookshop, I asked for a new weird saying -- and got it.  My card arrived Monday, July 1, and it (as I said above and on Jen's blog) made my day.  She has a YouTube video answering questions about herself.

The Sunday Salon's Facebook page has links to other blogs.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Beginning ~ with a beginning

Under Fishbone Clouds ~ by Sam Meekings, 2009, fiction (China)
Beginnings are always difficult, especially when you have lived as long as I have.
I've lived a long time, so I wonder if the character thinking that first sentence is older than I am (I'm 73).  It's intriguing enough to keep reading.  I picked up this book because my friend Jane is reading it and thinks I'd like it, too.  It's about a young Chinese couple during the time of Mao's Cultural Revolution.  In other words, it's a "glimpse into the birth of modern China," according to the book's description.  So far, I'm most curious about the choice of years for the thirteen chapters, named after the twelve Chinese years ~ plus one extra year tagged onto the end.

1946 ~ The Year of the Dog
1942 ~ The Year of the Horse
1944 ~ The Year of the Monkey
1947 ~ The Year of the Pig
1949 ~ The Year of the Ox
1951 ~ The Year of the Rabbit
1960 ~ The Year of the Rat
1967 ~ The Year of the Sheep
1974 ~ The Year of the Tiger
1977 ~ The Year of the Snake
1981 ~ The Year of the Rooster
2000 ~ The Year of the Dragon
The Year of the Cat
All twelve Chinese years are named, but not in order.  I was born in 1940, before this list starts.  That was the Year of the Dragon, which comes around every twelve years (as they all do, of course).  What Chinese year were you born?

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

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Library Loot ~ July 3-9

The Boy Who Wouldn't Obey: A Mayan Legend ~ by Anne Rockwell, 2000, children's, 8/10
When Chac, the great lord who makes rain, takes a disobedient boy as his servant, they are both in for trouble.  According to Mayan legend, Chac is one of the gods of the sky who control rain, wind, thunder, and lightning.  With his bottomless gourd of rain, his bag of winds, his booming drum, and his flashing ax, Chac is a mighty lord.  But all his powers can't give him the patience to handle a mischievous mortal boy he plucks from the forest to be his servant.  This particular boy rarely does what he's told on Earth, much less in the heavens.
Crones Don't Whine: Concentrated Wisdom for Juicy Women ~ by Jean Shinoda Bolen, 2003, psychology
Bolen's playful sense of humour and keen insight combine to offer women thirteen qualities to cultivate.
  1. Crones don't whine
  2. Crones are juicy
  3. Crones have green thumbs
  4. Crones trust what they know in their bones
  5. Crones meditate in their fashion
  6. Crones are fierce about what matters to them
  7. Crones choose the path with heart
  8. Crones speak the truth with compassion
  9. Crones listen to their bodies
  10. Crones improvise
  11. Crones don't grovel
  12. Crones laugh together
  13. Crones savor the good in their lives
Engage in these small practices and you're bound to be a happier person, who's doing her bit to make the world just a little better.  Here are thirteen brief essays to turn to again and again, in bad times and good, alone and with others.
Under Fishbone Clouds ~ by Sam Meekings, 2009, fiction (China)
Following a young Chinese couple as their love grows, and is tested, during Mao's Cultural Revolution, this elegant debut novel provides a rare and personal glimpse into the birth of modern China.  When the Kitchen God is challenged by the Jade Emperor to fathom the workings of the human heart, he chooses to follow the life of Jinyi and his wife Yuying, from their blossoming love until their old age, in hope of finding an answer.  The Kitchen God watches as the new government strictures split their family in two, living inside their hearts as they they endure the loss of two children, homesickness, and isolation, all while keeping alive a love that survives famine, forced labor, and even death.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by 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.