Friday, January 30, 2015

They began to run

Where Maeve Binchy lived in Ireland
Echoes ~ by Maeve Binchy, 1985, fiction (Ireland)
People seemed to know without being told.  They came out of their houses and began to run down the main street.  The murmur became louder, and almost without knowing they were doing it they started to check where their own families were.  It was still just a figure, face down in the water.  They didn't know for sure whether it was a man or a woman.
Maeve Binchy's web site gives a summary of what this novel is about.
Two very different children are growing up, shouting their hearts' desires into the echo cave, praying that their destiny will lead them far away from the town in which they live.  Castlebay, in winter empty and grey with wind and sea spray, becomes all bustle and colour in the gaudy days of summer — and Tom O'Brien's shop on the edge of the cliff besieged by holidaymakers.  One of those children with ambitions to leave Castlebay is Clare, Tom O'Brien's younger daughter.  A favourite with the local schoolteacher, she wins a scholarship to University College, Dublin and seems all set for a path of academic glory.  The other child dreaming of escape is David Power, the doctor's son, also bound for Dublin university, and probably a dazzling future as a specialist.  The paths of these two characters are destined to criss-cross in a quite unforeseen way, and eventually both roads will lead back to Castlebay.  The end of this long drama of ambition, betrayal, and love is played out in the seaside town where it began, against a backdrop of whispered family gossip and the tangled skein of past friendships.

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

Blogiversary ~ eight years

I first posted on this blog on January 30, 2007,
which means I have now been blogging for eight years.
Now what?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Libraries are wonderful

The Lower River ~ by Paul Theroux, 2012, fiction (Malawi)
Ellis Hock never believed that he would return to Africa.  He runs an old-fashioned menswear store in a small town in Massachusetts but still dreams of his Eden, the four years he spent in Malawi with the Peace Corps, cut short when he had to return to take over the family business.  When his wife leaves him, and he is on his own, he realizes that there is one place for him to go:  back to his village in Malawi, on the remote Lower River, where he can be happy again.  Arriving at the dusty village, he finds it transformed: the school he built is a ruin, the church and clinic are gone, and poverty and apathy have set in among the people.  They remember him — the White Man with no fear of snakes — and welcome him.  But is his new life, his journey back, an escape or a trap?
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena ~ by Anthony Marra, 2013, fiction (Chechnya)
In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home.  When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed (a failed doctor) finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives.  He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.  For Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise.  Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility.  But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate.
There Were Giants Upon the Earth: Gods, Demigods, and Human Ancestry: The Evidence of Alien DNA ~ by Zecharia Sitchin, 2010
In whose genetic image were we made?  From his first book The 12th Planet on, Zecharia Sitchin has asserted that the Bible’s Elohim who said “Let us fashion The Adam in our image and after our likeness” were the gods of Sumer and Babylon — the Anunnaki who had come to Earth from their planet Nibiru.  The Adam, he wrote, was genetically engineered by adding Anunnaki genes to those of an existing hominid, some 300,000 years ago.  Then, according to the Bible, intermarriage took place:  “There were giants upon the Earth” who took Adam’s female offspring as wives, giving birth to “heroes of renown.”  With meticulous detail, Sitchin shows that these were the demigods of Sumerian and Babylonian lore, such as the famed Mesopotamian king Gilgamesh as well as the hero of the Deluge, the Babylonian Utnapishtim.  Are we then, all of us, descendants of demigods?  In this book, Sitchin proceeds step-by-step through a mass of ancient writings and artifacts, leading the reader to the stunning Royal Tombs of Ur.  He reveals a DNA source that could prove the biblical and Sumerian tales true, providing conclusive physical evidence for past alien presence on Earth and an unprecedented scientific opportunity to track down the “Missing Link” in humankind’s evolution, unlocking the secrets of longevity and even the ultimate mystery of life and death.
What's wonderful about this Wednesday?  More books from the library.  When I returned two books, I brought home these three.  So this is a very good Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Two book clubs ~ or more?

I'm already in two book clubs, one with the other seniors where I live and one made up of women from my church.  Yesterday, a neighbor handed me an invitation to another one:  a book club that meets at a book store.
Book Club Launch Party — Wednesday, January 28th, 7:00pm.  Come join the party and meet other like-minded readers, sign up for a reading group, volunteer to host, offer book suggestions.  What genres tickle your fancy?  Young adult, science fiction, banned books, philosophy, noir suspense, literature, ecology, history?  Come mingle and talk books!  The party starts at 7:00 pm, and beer, snacks, and other refreshments will be available!  Everyone is invited. Bring your friends!

My question to you is:
How many book clubs
is too many?

Monday, January 26, 2015

It's a miracle

Let us now contemplate miracles.  This is one of them.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

National Readathon Day ~ my report

I did it.  I had my own little readathon day, and got little read between the hours of 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm.  Here's why.

Having slept late, I didn't get online until nearly noon.  When I checked email, I saw that my friend Donna had suggested:  "Shall we read in the library?"  I hadn't thought of that, but what a great idea!  So I looked for an illustration of reading, found this colorful elephant, printed off three copies with the words shown below, and got ready to go downstairs to our library here in the Crown Center.

Today, take part in National Readathon Day
by reading in the Crown Center Library
between 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm to help
"create, promote and sustain a lifelong love of reading."

When I reached the library, Donna wasn't there, and she wasn't hearing her cell phone when I called.  So there I was in the library, trying to read

Amy Tan's The Valley of Amazement (2013), while hearing two Chinese women conversing loudly in the nearby laundry room.  (Appropriate, I thought, since that novel is set in Shanghai.)  I was alone until a man came in and went to the shelves holding the books in Russian.  He found a book and left.  Later, a Chinese man I've seen there before sat down at his usual table to read.  Either he doesn't speak English or doesn't want to talk, but for awhile I had another reader in the small library with me.  Then a Chinese woman came in and said, "Good to see you again!"  I didn't remember her name, but I'd seen her before.  It turned out that she didn't remember my name, either, but she wanted to talk:
"Do you have time to hear my story?"
I figured I wasn't getting much reading done, so okay.  I went over and sat in the chair beside her, as she told her story in broken English and much pantomiming.  The best I could tell, May was born in Burma, her father was Chinese, they were refugees in China, returned to Burma, and she lived 29 years in India where she married an Indian man.  When she left, I returned to my book.

After two hours in the library, however, I had managed to read only 17 pages.  I picked up my phone and my book and left, first to check on Donna (whose phone was in the other room and turned down low) and then back to my apartment where I could actually read.  I put aside Amy Tan's novel and went back to reading Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most by Marcus J. Borg, 2014.  It was his last book.  He died on Wednesday the 21st.  It's easier to read where it's quiet.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Beginning ~ after the verdict

Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey ~ by Alison Weir, 2006, historical fiction (England)
14th November 1553
It is over.  My trial has ended, and I am now back in the Tower of London, this place that was once my palace and is now my prison.
Sounds interesting to me.  I assume the story will tell me about her palace, her trial, and why she's in prison.  I've enjoyed novels by Alison Weir before, and I look forward to this one.  Summary:
"I am now a condemned traitor ... I am to die when I have hardly begun to live" (p. 3).  Lady Jane Grey — "the Nine Days' Queen" — is a fifteen-year-old girl who unwittingly finds herself at the center of the religious and civil unrest that nearly toppled the fabled House of Tudor during the sixteenth century.  The child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she is merely a pawn in a dynastic game with the highest stakes, Jane Grey was born during the harrowingly turbulent period between Anne Boleyn's beheading and the demise of Jane's infamous great-uncle, King Henry VIII.  With the premature passing of Jane's adolescent cousin, King Edward VI, comes a struggle for supremacy fueled by political machinations and lethal religious fervor.  Honest and exceptionally intelligent, Jane has no ambitions to rule, preferring to immerse herself in books and religious studies.  She is forced to accept the crown, setting off a firestorm of intrigue, betrayal, and tragedy.  Power-grabbing swirls around Lady Jane Grey from the day of her birth to her unbearably poignant death.

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

Funny Friday

This is even funnier if you have read the book by Yann Martel.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marcus J. Borg (1942-2015)

This photo shows Marcus Borg on Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast of Ireland in 2005.  John Dominic Crossan, who co-wrote some books with him and took the photo above, posted on Facebook today:
"And the future, including what is beyond our lives? We leave that up to God" (last sentence of Marcus' last book, Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most).  Marcus died yesterday.
In March 2006, I heard Marcus Borg speak at First-Centenary United Methodist Church in Chattanooga.  Sherry Boles and Donna Carey were also there that day.  I taught Borg's book The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith (2003) at St. Luke UMC and have facilitated classes and discussions of several other books by Marcus Borg.  I am currently reading his most recent book Convictions (2014), the one Dom Crossan mentioned.  What a loss, but what a blessing his life has been to scholars and seekers of understanding.

National Readathon Day ~ this Saturday

On January 24th, I plan to take part in National Readathon Day for the four hours between 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm.  This readathon is to help "create, promote, and sustain a lifelong love of reading."  Do you want to join me?  What will you be reading?

And tell me, please, "Where is your book while you sleep?"  Mine can be found in all of these places:  A, B, D, and E.  Yes, all of those places, since I usually am in the middle of more than one book at a time.  Kiki died in 2012 and I don't think she ever slept on a book, so never as illustrated in C.  The most likely place for whatever book I was reading when I fell asleep, however, is on my chest with my finger marking the place where I stopped reading.  Yes, the light would still be shining in my face.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What's wonderful about Wednesday?

Full of Grace ~ by Dorothea Benton Frank, 2006, fiction (South Carolina)
The move from New Jersey to Hilton Head, South Carolina, wasn't easy for the Russo family — difficult enough for Big Al and Connie, but even harder for their daughter Maria Graziella, who insists on being called Grace.  At thirty-two and still unmarried, Grace has scandalized her staunchly traditional Italian family by moving in with her boyfriend Michael — who, though a truly great guy, is agnostic, commitment-phobic, a scientist, and (horror of horrors) Irish!  Grace adores her parents even though they drive her crazy — and she knows they'd love Michael if they got to know him, but Big Al won't let him into their house.  And so the stage is set for a major showdown — which, along with a devastating, unexpected crisis and, perhaps, a miracle or two, just might change Grace's outlook on love, family, and her new life in the new South.
The Book of Strange New Things ~ by Michel Faber, 2014, fiction
It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea.  Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC.  His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings — his Bible is their "book of strange new things."  But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate:  typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling.  Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.  Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance — and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse — is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable.  While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival.  Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.
What's wonderful about Wednesday?  Two more books!  I returned from the library with one book, stopped at my mailbox, and discovered another book had arrived from my daughter.  What a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

TWOsday ~ how to books

In a sense, these two books are "how to" books.  The first tells Christians how to serve the common good, and the second tells Buddhists how to have a meaningful life.  The Dalai Lama isn't focused on religion, but on how to make life meaningful.  The authors of both books are trying to make the world a better place for all of us.
A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good ~ by Miroslav Volf, 2011
Debates rage today about the role of religion in public life.  As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, various religions come to inhabit the same space.  But how do they live together, especially when each wants to shape the public realm according to the dictates of its own sacred texts and traditions?  How does the Christian faith relate in the religious pluralism of contemporary public life?  Renowned theologian Miroslav Volf argues that there is no single way Christian faith relates to culture as a whole.  He explores major issues on the frontlines of faith today, addressing questions such as:
  • In what way does the Christian faith come to malfunction in the contemporary world, and how should we counter these malfunctions?
  • What should a Christian's main concern be when it comes to living well in the world today?
  • How should we go about realizing a vision for human flourishing in relation to other faiths and under the roof of a single state?
Covering such timely issues as witness in a multifaith society and political engagement in a pluralistic world, this compelling book highlights things Christians can do to serve the common good.

How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life ~ by the Dalai Lama, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins, 2002
As human beings, we all share the desire for happiness and meaning in our lives.  According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the ability to find true fulfillment lies within each of us.  He helps readers embark upon the path to enlightenment with a stunning illumination of the timeless wisdom and an easy-access reference for daily practice.  Divided into a series of distinct steps that will lead spiritual seekers toward enlightenment, How to Practice is a constant companion in the quest to practice morality, meditation, and wisdom.  This accessible book will guide you toward opening your heart, refraining from doing harm, and maintiaining mental tranquility as the Dalai Lama shows you how to overcome everyday obstacles, from feelings of anger and mistrust to jealousy, insecurity, and counterproductive thinking.

Monday, January 19, 2015



"I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men can build up."
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Beginning ~ in old Shanghai

The Valley of Amazement ~ by Amy Tan, 2013, fiction (Shanghai)
When I was seven, I knew exactly who I was:  a thoroughly American girl in race, manners, and speech, whose mother, Lulu Minturn, was the only white woman who owned a first-class courtesan house in Shanghai.
That opening sentence wouldn't have sold me on the book, but having read four of Amy Tan's other five novels did.  I would read any book she writes.  Here's a summary of the novel:
Shanghai, 1912. Violet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of the city’s most exclusive courtesan house.  But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother in a cruel act of chicanery and forced to become a “virgin courtesan.”  Half-Chinese and half-American, Violet grapples with her place in the worlds of East and West — until she is able to merge her two halves, empowering her to become a shrewd courtesan who excels in the business of seduction and illusion, though she still struggles to understand who she is.

Back in 1897 San Francisco, Violet’s mother, Lucia, chooses a disastrous course as a sixteen-year-old, when her infatuation with a Chinese painter compels her to leave her home for Shanghai.  Shocked by her lover’s adherence to Chinese traditions, she is unable to change him, despite her unending American ingenuity.

Fueled by betrayals, both women refuse to submit to fate and societal expectations, persisting in their quests to recover what was taken from them:  respect; a secure future; and, most poignantly, love from their parents, lovers, and children.  To reclaim their lives, they take separate journeys — to a backwater hamlet in China, the wealthy environs of the Hudson River Valley, and, ultimately, the unknown areas of their hearts, where they discover what remains after their many failings to love and be loved.  Spanning more than forty years and two continents, this story transports readers from the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty to the beginning of the Republic and recaptures the lost world of old Shanghai through the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreigners living in the International Settlement, both erased by World War II.

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

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mindfulness changes the brain

How well can you focus and resist distractions?  Are you stressed or depressed?  Mindfulness can keep your brain healthy.  And maybe after meditating, you'll think more clearly.  Take a look at this article:  Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Brain.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Loot and life ~ Sunday Salon


Naamah and the Ark at Night ~ by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, illustrated by Holly Meade, 2011, children's, 8/10
Naamah is the wife of Noah, and her name means "great singer."  For forty days and forty nights, as the ark tosses on storm-wracked seas, Naamah sings.  She sings to the animals, two by two.  She sings to her husband, her sons, and their wives.  She sings, and they all sleep, finally at peace.  Acclaimed author Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s rhythmic, lyrical text pairs with Caldecott Honor winner Holly Meade’s luminous collage for a cozy, tender lullaby, and an ode to the power of song.
All the Light We Cannot See ~ by Anthony Doerr, 2014, fiction (France)
The paths of a blind French girl and a German boy collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.  Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks.  When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home.  When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea.  With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.  In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find.  Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance.  More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
In Falling Snow ~ by Mary-Rose MacColl, 2012, fiction (France, Australia)
Iris Crane’s tranquil life is shattered when a letter summons memories from her bittersweet past:  her first love, her best friend, and the tragedy that changed everything.  Iris, a young Australian nurse, travels to France during World War I to bring home her fifteen-year-old brother, who ran away to enlist.  But in Paris she meets the charismatic Dr. Frances Ivens, who convinces Iris to help establish a field hospital in the old abbey at Royaumont, staffed entirely by women — a decision that will change her life.  Seamlessly interwoven is the story of Grace, Iris’s granddaughter in 1970s Australia.  Together their narratives paint a portrait of the changing role of women in medicine and the powerful legacy of love.
The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates ~ by Wes Moore, 2010, memoir (Maryland)
Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence? Wes Moore, the author of this fascinating book, sets out to answer this profound question. In alternating narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, this book tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.
God's Echo: Exploring Scripture with Midrash ~ by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, afterword by Joan Chittister, 2007, religion
The Rabbis of old believed that the Torah was divinely revealed and therefore contained eternal, perfect truths and hidden meaning that required elucidation.  The meaning of a text was more complicated than simply reading it.  And meaning changed over time.  This understanding of how the Bible mystically relates to all of life is the fertile ground from which midrash emerged.  "The rabbis believed that nothing in the Bible, not the choice of words or their spellings, not the order of events or the relationship of one text to another, was haphazard or inconsequential.  Everything was there with purpose.  They deemed it their reponsibility to discover connections and harmony where on the surface none appeared to exist.  A text may contain multiple meanings.  Time is of no consequence.  They felt free to read back into old stories what happened in future eras, and to see in the early stories of Genesis a foreshadowing of future events."  In this engaging book, Rabbi Sasso explores how midrash originated, how it is still used today, and offers new translations and interpretations of more than twenty essential midrash texts.

It's been cold in St. Louis!  This is a trapper hat (I didn't know that's what it was called) that I bought to keep my head and ears warm out in the wind that took the wind chill below zero.  I didn't think to wear my new coat, gloves, and scarf (that matches the trapper hat) when I wore the hat down to Donna's apartment, acting silly.  Never have I needed such warmth in Tennessee or Georgia, but I'm learning.  The coat also has a hood, another thing I didn't need on a coat in the South.

Recently, I was among the "tasters" invited to check out what the new cafe at the Crown Center will serve.  It will be on the ground floor where I live, and "they" say it will open soon.  This demonstration kitchen is also new, in the same room with our free library, where my friend Donna sorted and shelved books so it could re-open.  That's me at the far right, under the blue balloon.  Next to me is my friend Cleo, who took Donna and me to eat at Sweetie Pie's, a restaurant recommended by someone in my Sunday school class (I think it was) even before I moved to St. Louis.

Speaking of food, I taught Varvacille how to make my "famous" orange danish daisy, and she brought her first solo endeavor to our book discussion at Evelyn's apartment in mid-December.

And finally, here's Sherry.  I was among those who fed and talked to Sherry while Pat, her human, has been in the hospital and rehab for weeks.  When I'd walk her through the lobby, people would say, "Hello, Sherry!"  And she would go running to get petted.  Everyone here seems to know her.  She was absolutely miserable all alone in the apartment, and she would run like crazy to the elevator, trying to drag me on the leash behind her.

Bloggers gather in the Sunday Salon — at separate computers in different time zones — to talk about our lives and our reading.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pick up lines

Did you pick up any good books this week?
Here's what I got:

  • All the Light We Cannot See ~ by Anthony Doerr, 2014, fiction (France)
  • In Falling Snow ~ by Mary-Rose MacColl, 2012, fiction (France)
  • Gossip ~ by Beth Gutcheon, 2013, fiction (New York), 8/10

Friday, January 9, 2015

Beginning ~ on a ferry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry ~ by Gabrielle Zevin, 2014, fiction (Massachusetts), 10/10
On the ferry from Hyannis to Alice Island, Amelia Loman paints her nails yellow and, while waiting for them to dry, skims her predecessor's notes.  "Island Books, approximately $250,000.00 per annum in sales, the better portion of that in the summer months to folks on holiday," Harvey Rhodes reports.
If the bookstore my friend Donna and I opened had "approximately $250,000.00 per annum in sales," we might still be in business.  I loved reading about a bookstore and its owner.  I rated it 10 of 10 because I couldn't put it down, literally, and read it in less than a day.  Beautiful writing, and I loved the mention of books-books-books on every page.  Very interesting way to portray the characters.  Of course, it helped that I recognized most of books the author mentioned.  Here's a summary of the novel that mentions "a mysterious package" that doesn't seem like the best way to describe what was left in A. J. Fikry's bookstore:
When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A.J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family, and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.
Oh, by the way, look at that book cover. You can read the title of one book (because I used a LARGE illustration).  It's actually one of the covers of this book!  That's unusual and kind of fun, huh?  Once before I noticed the corner of a book cover showed part of another (famous) book cover, and it too was about a bookstore.  But today's book is unique.  I think you can click the cover to enlarge it, if you like.

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

Thursday, January 8, 2015

BTT (#45) ~ weeding out books

Deb at Booking Through Thursday asks:
"Do you ever weed out unwanted books from your library?  And if so, what do you do with them?"
Oh, sure!  When my shelves look like this (photo from 2011), it's time to reconsider which ones to keep.  I always manage to get rid of some of my books when I move.  If I didn't weed out my books periodically, I would have nowhere to sit or sleep or eat because every flat surface would be covered with books.  What do I do with those I discard?  I take some to used book stores for trade credit.  Notice that means I'll be replacing them with more books, possibly even the same day.  Sometimes I give away my books, to my son or my friends or even some random stranger who may have found the one book I released through BookCrossing.

When I sold my house and moved to an apartment in 1984, I got rid of over a thousand books, by count in other words, this was not an estimate.  Nevertheless, I still have thousands of books, many still in boxes from my latest move last summer.  I've run out of shelves, so I must either get more shelves in my new place or get rid of boxes and boxes full of books.  I'm trying to keep only books I still plan to read or know I want to re-read.  And still I bring in books from the library every week.  Yes, I know I'm crazy.  A crazy book lady.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Snuggle is a funny word

St. Louis is expecting 9°F with a wind chill of -15°F.  That's MINUS 15 DEGREES!  Take care of the homeless and also any animals who are outside.  What "slogan" could be better tonight and tomorrow than this one?  "Keep warm, and snuggle up with a book."  That's my plan!

Monday, January 5, 2015

How to say SORRY

I'm meditating on this lesson in how to apologize for my Monday Mindfulness.  It's from a teacher who knows how to really teach children how to say, "I'm sorry."  You should read the whole article, but the illustration above contains the basics.  Do you remember being told to "tell you brother you are sorry"?  Or telling your own child to "say you're sorry"?  Nothing sincere about those apologies, was there?  This teacher shows how children — and adults — can learn what it takes to get past these incidents a better way.  Now, will I remember this formula?
I’m sorry for...
This is wrong because...
In the future, I will...
Will you forgive me?
I was especially impressed that this teacher had children apologizing for not paying attention in class because it was wasting the time of all the other students as well as the teacher.  The student had to:
1.  acknowledge what went wrong,
2.  point out who was affected,
3.  say how she or he would change,
4.  ask forgiveness.
And it worked!  This is a great lesson in apologizing.