Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday Salon ~ books for my Kindle

More Sunday Salon posts are on Facebook.
I am apparently a serious bookaholic.  I say this after noticing how many books I've bought in the last 40 days just for my Kindle, not even counting the "two dozen plus two" actual books I got at the recent book fair.  Here's my list of new books on my Kindle (though you can see by the dates that some of them are "old" books).


Journeys Through Time and Space: Five Classic Novels of Science Fiction and Fantasy ~ ed. by Greg Bear is sold as a single "book," but it actually has FIVE full novels in the Kindle edition, which Greg Bear calls "this bundle" of books.  That's how I'm counting them, as five novels rather than one.

1.  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court ~ by Mark Twain, 1889
2.  The Time Machine ~ by H. G. Wells, 1895
3.  A Princess of Mars ~ by Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1912
4.  A Voyage to Arcturus ~ by David Lindsay, 1920
5.  The Worm Ouroboros ~ by E. R. Eddison, 1922

More Fiction

6.  Manalive ~ by G. K. Chesterton, 1912
7.  Ilsa ~ by Madeleine L'Engle, 1946
8.  Youth ~ by Isaac Asimov, 1952
9.  A Reckoning ~ by May Sarton, 1978
10.  Crescent in the Sky ~ by Donald Moffitt, 1989
11.  Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories ~ by Simon Van Booy, 2009
12.  Letters from Skye ~ by Jessica Brockmole, 2013
13.  We Are All Made of Stars ~ by Rowan Coleman, 2015
14.  The Bookshop on the Corner ~ by Jenny Colgan, 2016
15.  The Daughter ~ by Lucy Dawson, 2017


16.  Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism ~ by Erich Fromm, 1960
17.  In the Beginning: Science Faces God in the Book of Genesis ~ by Isaac Asimov, 1981
18.  The Dream of God: A Call to Return ~ by Verna J. Dozier, 1991
19.  God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question ― Why We Suffer ~ by Bart D. Ehrman, 2008
20.  Forged: Writing in the Name of God ~ by Bart D. Ehrman, 2011
21.  What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Jewishness of Jesus: A New Way of Seeing the Most Influential Rabbi in History ~ by Rabbi Evan Moffic, 2015
22.  Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior ~ by Bart D. Ehrman, 2016
23.  The Happiness Prayer ~ by Evan Moffic, 2017

Doing the math

I bought 23 books in only 40 days ― actually that's 23 books on Kindle plus 26 books from the book fair for a total of 49 books (23+26=49).  Yes, I realize that's more than a book a day, average.  Er, ah, that includes today (I mean tonight), when I downloaded Letters from Skye, the middle book pictured above.  Yes, I confess that I bought it while I was writing this post.  Yes, I hid it in the middle by listing the books chronologically in each section.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Beginning ~ out of breath

A Reckoning ~ by May Sarton, 1978, fiction (Massachusetts)
Walking down Marlboro Street in Boston, Laura Spelman saw the low brick houses, the strong blue sky, the delicate shape of the leafless trees, even the dirty lumps of snow along the curb as so piercing in their beauty that she felt a little drunk.  She now knew that she was panting not because she was overweight, but because her lungs had been attacked.  "I shan't need to diet, after all."  The two blocks she had to walk from Jim Goodwin's office seemed long.  She stopped twice to catch her breath before she reached her little car.  Safely inside, she sat there for a few moments sorting out the jumble of feelings her interview with Dr. Goodwin had set whirling.  The overwhelming one was a strange excitement, as though she were more than usually alive, awake, and in command:  I am to have my own death.  I can play it my own way.
Summary of the story:  When Laura Spelman learns that she will not get well, she looks on this last illness as a journey during which she must reckon up her life, give up the nonessential, and concentrate on what she calls "the real connections." The heart of the story is Laura's realization that, for her, the real connections have been with women: her brilliant and devastating mother, a difficult daughter, and most of all a woman she knew when she was young.

Would the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?  If you would like to share the first lines of a book you are reading, click on the link and visit Gilion at Rose City Reader for today's Mister Linky.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Salon ~ books ... always books

Books I'm studying with others

Bad Feminist ~ by Roxane Gay, 2014, women's issues
These essays take us through the journey of Roxane Gay's evolution as a woman of color while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today.  The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.  It's a look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are and a call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.
The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear ~ by William J. Barber II, 2016, memoir/politics
At a time when divide-and-conquer politics are exacerbating racial strife and economic inequality, Rev. Barber offers an impassioned, historically grounded argument that we are in a Third Reconstruction in America.  The  0first Reconstruction briefly flourished after Emancipation, and the second Reconstruction ushered in meaningful progress in the civil rights era.  But both were met by ferocious reactionary measures that severely curtailed, and in many cases rolled back, racial and economic progress. This Third Reconstruction is a profoundly moral awakening of justice-loving people united to reclaim the possibility of democracy — even in the face of corporate-financed extremism.
Books I recently finished

News of the World ~ by Paulette Jiles, 2016, fiction (Texas), 7/10
He felt Johanna tugging at his sleeve.  He looked down.
She held up one of the shotgun shells.
It was loaded with dimes.
He stared at the shell resting on Johanna's outstretched palm.
Then the Captain reached out for it even as another round smashed into the front of the stone in front of him.  He jumped but didn't duck.  He lay back and hefted the shell.  The dimes fit perfectly into the paper tube of a twenty-gauge hull.
Well, I'll be damned.
It was very heavy.  He looked at the cap.  She charged it with the powder charger.  He saw her work the thumb lever that gave out twenty grains at a time:  one, two, three, four, eighty grains of powder.  A heavy load for his old shotgun.  The Captain tossed the shell full of dimes up and down in his hand and smiled.
This is amazing, he said.  He laughed.  Ten years old and a wizard of field expedience.  (p. 113)
The Hidden Life of Trees ~ by Peter Wohlleben, 2015, biology, 9/10
"And what if you cut a tree down?   Is it then dead?   What about the centuries-old stump I introduced you to at the beginning of this book that is still alive today, thanks to its comrades?   Is that a tree?   And, if it isn't, then what is it?   It gets even more complicated when a new trunk grows out of an old stump.   In many woods, this happens all the time" (p. 80).


Three of my great-grandchildren earlier today

More Sunday Salon posts can be found on Facebook.

Friday, February 16, 2018

How I study

This Bible pile-up from Martha Spong shows how some of us study, me included.  Every Bible is an interpretation by the translators involved.  Reading several versions allows me to look at the passage from different points of view.  Here are some of the translations I have within sight of where I sit typing this:
  • New American Standard Bible (NASB)
  • New Internationsl Version (NIV)
  • New Jewish Publication Society Version (NJPS)
  • New King James Version (NKJV)
  • New Living Translation (NLT, The Book)
  • New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
  • Phillips New Testament in Modern English (Phillips)
  • Revised Standard Version (RSV)
  • Scholars Version of The Complete Gospels (SV)
  • Stephen Mitchell's translation of the classic stories of Genesis
  • Eugene H. Peterson's paraphrase of The Message
  • Reynolds Price's translation of Three Gospels
  • Andy Gaus's translation of The Unvarnished Gospels
That's just part of what I have, but Wikipedia has a long list of Bible Translations into English, if you are interested.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thoughts and Prayers

Mailed today, Fern Malila says.
It says:
Dear Rep. Bergman -
    Since you and your colleagues
in Congress seem to feel that this
is the solution to mass murder,
please accept this contribution.
                      Fern Malila
Update:  On Feb. 16th, Fern Malila made the news.  The short MPR article (Minnesota Public Radio) uses this same photo and includes these words:
"Fern Malila, of Ontonagon, Mich., on the Upper Peninsula, wrote a check to her congressman after he tweeted his reaction to the massacre, sending 'thoughts and prayers.'  So Malila sent hers, too."

Let us all praise trees

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World ~ by Peter Wohlleben, 2015, biology, 9/10
"And what if you cut a tree down?  Is it then dead?  What about the centuries-old stump I introduced you to at the beginning of this book that is still alive today, thanks to its comrades?  Is that a tree?  And, if it isn't, then what is it?  It gets even more complicated when a new trunk grows out of an old stump.  In many woods, this happens all the time" (p. 80).
What a fascinating book!  I could imagine a forest of trees "leaning" on one another, "talking" to each other via their roots, and sending out "scent" signals to warn other trees of dangers such as insects nibbling on leaves or beetles boring into their trunks.

Here's the author with a tree circled by moss around the bottom.  This photo is from an article in the New York Times about this book and the social network of trees.

Wohlleben delved into the way trees network.  Not only do trees communicate through their root system, but they also use scent through the air and the very fungi that grow on their roots. This illustration is from an article about fungal networks, if you're curious.

Neighboring trees, as in this illustration from the same article, are able to network.  It looks like some of the smaller trees may still be under their "mother" tree, unable to grow tall until the big tree dies.  And that may not happen for a hundred years.  Or more.

Can you tell I love trees?  Here are a few posts I've written about trees on my various blogs over the years:
Would you call those last two "dying into tree-ness"?  I'm so interested in trees that I even picked up this 1949 yearbook of trees from the free bin outside a big used bookstore.  I'm sure there's more up-to-date information out there, but I've enjoyed looking through this thick, heavy old book about the forestry ideas in vogue when I was a little girl in elementary school.

Trees: The Yearbook of Agriculture ~ by the United States Department of Agriculture, 1949
I thought it would be an antique, rare, hard to find.  Nope, I found all sorts of links to information about this book.  You can even look inside it here, and read it online for free.
I also post poetry about trees.  This e. e. cummings poem is an out-pouring of gratitude, which praises "the leaping greenly spirits of trees."

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Hear e. e. cummings (1894-1962) read this poem himself, thanks to YouTube.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Heart-shaped cake

On Valentine's Day, we think of hearts, like this cake Senator Elizabeth Warren made.  She remembers her mother on this day:
"My mother was born on February 14, 1912 ― 106 years ago today.  She loved her special connection to Valentine’s Day, and when I was a little girl, I bought some heart-shaped pans at the dime store to bake her birthday cake."
Her mother died from a heart attack.  In today's mailing, she talked about access to good medical care, because regular check-ups and preventative care is the first step to fighting heart disease.  She says, "That’s why I fight so hard for community health centers. They provide the best possible basic health care at lower costs to anyone who walks through their doors."  As part of last week's budget deal, she helped secure $7 billion in funding for community health centers for the next two years.  That should save a few hearts!
"I still have my heart-shaped pans ― and even though my mother is gone now, I still bake a heart-shaped cake every Valentine’s Day to remember her.  But now I’m doing something more:  I’m fighting to make sure everyone’s mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, wife, partner, friend and neighbor can get the basic health care they need to live long, healthy lives with the people they love."
I had at least two silent heart attacks, and nine years ago this month I had quadruple bypass surgery.  When I get this posted, I'm going downstairs for a "Healthy Heart" presentation on eating right and exercising ― presented by a physical therapist ― on Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday Mindfulness ~ friendliness report

Since I'm writing this in the evening of the first day of this week, I can report that I've accomplished my goal to "Try to involve others and invite them to join your conversations" (see the calendar below).  Barbara and I met in the Circle@Crown Café to plan who we'd invite to a Galentine's gathering.  Already you wonder what I'm talking about, right?

I only recently learned that February 13th is Galentine's Day, a time for women to celebrate the women friends in their lives.  Apparently, it's been "a thing" for at least three years, and I was able to find lots of images to choose from to make invitations telling other residents and staff about gathering in the Café at 9:00 tomorrow morning.  It was a rush job, getting invitations delivered to the boxes beside doors of people I know.  I don't speak Chinese or Russian, so they weren't specifically invited.  I did tell the women they could invite a friend or two, and I did let the Café staff know what we're up to so they'd be prepared for the influx of women that I hope we get.

Barbara and I were joined by Sandy and, later, Donna.  They all helped me pull this thing together, making suggestions, delivering invitations to different floors of the two buildings, and so forth.  I'll try to get a few photos tomorrow.  I've been told the office staff may come in stages.  There's no program except women talking and getting to know each other, and each person can buy food and drink as they choose.  The only thing left to do is put something about Galentine's Day on a few of the tables in whatever area of the Café is not crowded when I get there in the morning.

Click on the calendar to enlarge it.
Feb. 12
~ Try to involve others and invite them to join your conversations.
Feb. 13
~ Smile at the people you're with and try to brighten their day.
Feb. 14
~ Tell loved ones why they are so special to you.
Feb. 15
~ Be kind especially when your first instinct is to be unkind.
Feb. 16
~ Respond positively to everyone you meet today.
Feb. 17
~ Call a friend to catch up and really listen to them.
Feb. 18
~ Make an effort to have a friendly chat with a stranger.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Book Beginnings ~ a cat's thoughts about a dog

Kiki quoted the opening lines, so I'm reprising her post 
about this book from seven years ago this week.
REVISED:  Please notice that I re-posted a book review
written by my cat, who is NOT in the book at all.
I'll mark the book's beginning words, quoted by my cat, in RED
so you can see what's IN the book,
rather than what my cat wrote ABOUT the book.

Some of my best friends were dogs, when I was growing up in a family with three horses, a couple of dogs, a bird in a cage, and various other animals, including my kittens.

See the dog on the cover of my newest book?  His name is Enzo, and he tells this story.   Enzo has some of the same problems I have trying to communicate with humans (though I talk better than he does).
"Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature.  And while I occasionally step over the line and into the world of the melodramatic, it is what I must do in order to communicate clearly and effectively.  In order to make my point understood without question.  I have no words I can rely on because, much to my dismay, my tongue was designed long and flat and loose, and therefore, is a horribly ineffective tool for pushing food around my mouth while chewing, and an even less effective tool for making clever and complicated polysyllabic sounds that can be linked together to form sentences.  And that's why I'm here now waiting for Denny to come home ― he should be here soon ― lying on the cool tiles of the kitchen floor in a puddle of my own urine."
Uh-oh!  This doesn't sound good at all.  I got online to learn more about this book and found out I was right to be worried about this dog.
"On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through ... Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man."
I think I'm going to like this book.  Enzo sounds like an intelligent fellow, like me, but it also sounds like Enzo suffers.  I empathize with him.  I'm suffering right now.

In most of my photos, it's hard to see much more than my face.  But the truth is that I'm ... uh ... overweight.  No, let me put it plainly:  I'm a fat cat.  Yesterday, the vet put me on a diet.  I love canned cat food, but last night Bonnie fed me a smidgen of dry food.  And that's all.  I thought it was my appetizer!  But she was relentless.  I'm suffering, I tell you!

Kiki Cat, signing off

Oh, yeah, the book is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  Bonnie always adds the date a book was published, so I will too.  It's 2008, though I doubt if you care.
R.I.P. ~ Kiki Cat
April 20, 2000 ~ June 8, 2012
reader, blogger, and friend
Kiki and I both rated the book 10 of 10.

Would the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?  If you would like to share the first lines of a book you are reading, click on the link and visit Gilion at Rose City Reader for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Jewishness of Jesus

What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Jewishness of Jesus: A New Way of Seeing the Most Influential Rabbi in History ~ by Rabbi Evan Moffic, 2015
What would happen if you were to stop on the street and ask ten people, "Who started Christianity?"  You probably hear people give you the same quick response:  Jesus.  But those ten people would be wrong.  Jesus wasn't a Christian.  Jesus lived and died as a Jew.  Understanding the Jewishness of Jesus is the secret to knowing him better and understanding his message in the twenty-first century.
Walking through Jesus' life from birth to death, Rabbi Evan Moffic serves as a tour guide to give Christians a new way to look at familiar teachings and practices that are rooted in the Jewish faith and can illuminate our lives today.  Among the critically acclaimed highlights of this book, Rabbi Moffic gives fresh insight on how Jesus' contemporaries understood him, explores how Jesus's Jewishness shaped him, offers a compelling new perspective on the Lord's Prayer, and provides renewed appreciation for Jesus's miracles.
I've found a book that may be what I need for yesterday's conundrum about Jesus and Christianity.  This book seems to say exactly what I told my Jewish friend who insisted "Jesus was the first Christian."  Even better, the author is a Jewish rabbi.  Perfect!  So I bought it for my Kindle, along with another book by the same author.

The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today ~ by Evan Moffic, 2017
What makes us happy?  It's not what you think.  Clever marketing has led us to believe in chasing happiness down a path that doesn't lead anywhere, but there is an answer.  Two thousand years ago there was a prayer, a prayer for happiness.  You can follow these ten practices in it.  The prayer has helped thousands of people.  No matter where you are in life, finding purpose is easier than you think.  Rabbi Evan Moffic knows the power of prayer.  When he was called to lead a synagogue at thirty, the prayer became his guidepost, providing him with the wisdom to lead beyond his years.  And it made him happy.  This active prayer reveals ten life-changing practices.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Jesus and Christianity

From Jesus to Christianity: How Four Generations of Visionaries and Storytellers Created the New Testament and Christian Faith ~ by L. Michael White, 2004, religion
The conventional approach to understanding the New Testament from the Gospels is turned on its head as a well-respected professor of early Christianity delves into what preceded the written documents, which documents were written first and why, and what debates and personalities shaped what were ultimately chosen for inclusion in the Bible-shaping Christianity as we know it.
I bought this for my Kindle, not remembering I'd already once checked it out of the library and posted this summary of it on my blog.  I don't find it on my lists of completed books, so I still need to read it.  But I was surprised to run across the link while looking for something else.  I think this book goes along with the one I borrowed from my friend Sheila:

Jesus Before Christianity ~ by Albert Nolan, 1976, 1992 (25th anniv ed, 2001)
Nolan's portrait introduces readers to Jesus as He was before He became enshrined in doctrine, dogma, and ritual, a man deeply involved with the real problems of his time, which are the real problems of our time as well.  In a new preface, Nolan reflects on recent work in Christology and how a book written in South Africa in 1976 still has a message for people today.
My goal is to come up with a fairly concise response to a Jewish friend's remark that "Jesus was the first Christian."  I said he was Jewish, never a Christian.  She insisted he was a Christian, the first Christian.  She's not a theologian, so I need a way of explaining it that will make sense to a lay person.  If you've read either of these books, do you think it would be helpful?

Update 2-8-18
Nobody commented on this conundrum about Jesus and Christianity, but I found a book by a Jewish rabbi that seems to be exactly what I need to read about the Jewishness of Jesus.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

TWOsday ~ two by Isaac Asimov

Youth ~ by Isaac Asimov, 1952, science fiction
Red and Slim found the two strange little animals the morning after they heard the thunder sounds.  They knew that they could never show their new pets to their parents.  Tagging along while his astronomer father visits an industrialist at his vast estate, young Slim is lucky enough to make friends with the industrialist’s son, Red, who has recently caught some very strange animals on the property.  The animals seem intelligent enough, and Red recruits Slim to help him train the odd creatures to do circus tricks.  But the boys are about to discover their playthings aren’t exactly animals — and they’ve allowed themselves to be caught for a reason.

The astronomer, meanwhile, tells the industrialist that he has been in contact with space aliens who want to open up their world to interstellar trade.  Their world needs help, the astronomer says; ever since the atomic wars that destroyed their old civilization, the world has been regressing.  Unless something is done, their culture may be facing total collapse.

In the Beginning: Science Faces God in the Book of Genesis ~ by Isaac Asimov, 1981, theology
Creation.  The beginning of time.  The origin of life.  In our Western civilization, there are two influential accounts of beginnings.  One is the Biblical account, compiled more than two thousand years ago by Judean writers who based much of their thinking on the Babylonian astronomical lore of the day.  The other is the account of modern science, which, in the last century, has slowly built up a coherent picture of how it all began.  Both represent the best thinking of their times, and in this line-by-line annotation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, Asimov carefully and even-handedly compares the two accounts, pointing out where they are similar and where they are different.

"There is no version of primeval history, preceding the discoveries of modern science, that is as rational and as inspiriting as that of the Book of Genesis," Asimov says. However, human knowledge does increase, and if the Biblical writers, "had written those early chapters of Genesis knowing what we know today, we can be certain that they would have written it completely differently."
Youth, the one at the top, is short (77 pages in print) and free from Project Gutenberg.  I got both of these books for my Kindle last week, when Youth was available free from Amazon.  It may still be free, but I haven't checked today.  Update:  It's only 99-cents today for the Kindle version of Youth.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Monday Mindfulness ~ being friendly

Click on the calendar to enlarge it and read the words easier
Another week and a new list from the happiness calendar.  Here are the suggestions for each day:

Feb. 5
~ Do something supportive and friendly for your colleagues.
Feb. 6
~ Show an active interest by asking questions when talking to others.
Feb. 7
~ Thank someone and tell them how they made a difference for you.
Feb. 8
~ Notice the good qualities of everyone you meet today.
Feb. 9
~ Say friendly things to people who work in your local shop or cafe.
Feb. 10
~ Tell a loved one about their strengths that you value most.
Feb. 11
~ Put away digital devices and really focus on who you're with.

Happiness Report

I really meant to "write down my dreams and plans for the future" last week, but maybe I can get to it today instead of being supportive of "colleagues."  I'm a word person, and I know a colleague is "a person with whom one works, especially in a profession or business."  I'm retired and have no "colleagues" to support, unless it's my friend Donna who also works in the small library of our retirement center.  But we don't work every day, and we rarely work there at the same time.  Instead, today I'll think about my dreams and plans for the future.

"People forget what you said and what you did.
But they never forget how you made them feel."
— Maya Angelou

How to begin your meditation

"The purpose of a book is to teach you how to think
and not to do your thinking for you. . . .
As soon as any thought stimulates your mind
or your heart,
you can put the book down,
because your meditation has begun."
― Thomas Merton

(quoted by Marianne Borg in the Foreword of Days of Awe and Wonder: How to Be a Christian in the 21st Century, by Marcus Borg, 2017)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sunday Salon ~ hygge, books, and a calendar

"Cuddling pets has the same effect as cuddling another person ― we feel loved, warm, and safe, which are three key words in the concept of hygge." ― from The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, page 41

BOOKS ~ added to my Kindle

The Dream of God: A Call to Return ~ by Verna J. Dozier, 2006
Ch. 1 ~ The Dream of God
Ch. 2 ~ The Biblical Story
Ch. 3 ~ The Rejection of the Dream
Ch. 4 ~ The Temptations of the Church
Ch. 5 ~ The Persistence of the Dream
Again and again the Christian church has fallen away from the dream God has for it, a dream in which we are called to follow Jesus and not merely to worship him.

The Daughter ~ by Lucy Dawson, 2017, psychological thriller
Seventeen years ago, something happened to Jess’s daughter Beth.  The memory of it still makes her blood run cold.  Jess has tried everything to make peace with that day, and the part she played in what happened.  It was only a brief moment of desire, but she’ll pay for it with a lifetime of guilt.

To distance herself from the mistakes of the past, Jess has moved away and started over with her family.  But when terrifying things begin happening in her new home, Jess knows that her past has finally caught up with her.  Somebody feels Jess hasn’t paid enough, and is determined to make her suffer for the secrets she’s kept all these years.
In the Beginning...: Science Faces God in the Book of Genesis ~ by Isaac Asimov, 1981
In our Western civilization, there are two influential accounts of beginnings and the origin of life.  One is the Biblical account, compiled more than two thousand years ago by Judean writers who based much of their thinking on the Babylonian astronomical lore of the day.  The other is the account of modern science, which has built up a coherent picture of how it all began.  Both represent the best thinking of their times, and in this line-by-line annotation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, Isaac Asimov even-handedly compares the two accounts, pointing out where they are similar and where they are different.  Asimov says if the Biblical writers "had written those early chapters of Genesis knowing what we know today, we can be certain that they would have written it completely differently."
Youth ~ by Isaac Asimov, 1952, short fiction
This novelette first appeared in the May 1952 issue of Space Science Fiction.  It's one of the rare Asimov stories with alien characters.

Click to enlarge the Friendly February calendar
I'm a bit late getting this calendar posted because I only found it this morning.  Here are the first four days of the month, and I'll post the coming week tomorrow.

Feb. 1 ~ Send someone a message to say how much they mean to you.
Feb. 2 ~ Ask a friend what good things have happened to them recently.
Feb. 3 ~ Be gentle with someone you feel inclined to criticize.
Feb. 4 ~ Get in touch with an old friend you've not seen in awhile.

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

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Caturday ~ Clawdia and Snoopy

Clawdia's busy napping, so I'll post something for her today.  (Clawdia's position doesn't look very comfortable to me, with one back paw under her chin and ... hmm ... which back paw is where?)

Charles Schulz summed up Snoopy's character in a 1997 interview:
"He has to retreat into his fanciful world in order to survive. Otherwise, he leads kind of a dull, miserable life. I don't envy dogs the lives they have to live."

I wrote about Snoopy here, along with a bunch of other animals, both real and literary.  I'm sharing this quote from Charles Schulz again because it also describes Clawdia.  Her life is much too deprived of people during most days.  She loves, loves, loves people!

Here's a photo of Clawdia the time she ran to be petted by Sharon, who lives at the other end of our hallway.  Sharon is allergic to cats, but she's still friends with Clawdia.

Being left alone in our apartment whenever I go to lunch with someone or to a meeting or to exercise classes, Clawdia has taken advantage of her own "fanciful world" for her own sanity.  Like all cats I've known, she will chase her tail or even something in her imagination.  She lunges, she feints, she circles, she stands fierce, and I wonder what she's chasing in her mind.  Mostly, though, Clawdia figures out how to tell me she wants to go for a walk or get tasty treats.

She will sit on the arm of my chair and gently place a paw on my arm to get my attention.  Then she wiggles her fingers like a massage to say, "I'm wanting your attention."  When I stop reading or typing, she gets a "please, please, please" look in her eyes.  If I say "okay" and stand up, she runs where she wants me to follow.
  • stopping at Tiny's door
    If it's to the door into the hallway, I know she wants out of the apartment.  If I open that door, she often goes only as far as Tiny's door, wanting to visit her.  If I refuse to knock, Clawdia sometimes acquiesces, but then again she may not follow until I've disappeared around the corner toward the elevators.
  • If she heads toward the kitchen, I know she wants food.
  • If she goes where I keep her treats, well, you figure it out.
Clawdia has trained me well.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Beginning ~ with something awful (or maybe awfully good)

The Bookshop on the Corner ~ by Jenny Colgan, 2016, fiction
The problem with good things that happen is that very often they disguise themselves as awful things.  It would be lovely, wouldn't it, whenever you're going through something difficult, if someone could just tap you on the shoulder and say, "Don't worry, it's completely worth it."
The illustration I used above advertised an event that occurred in 2016, but you can read the pdf about it by clicking this link.  When asked for a summary of this book, the author got it all in one sentence.
"It's about a girl, Nina, who loses her job in a library and decides to build her own bookshop in a van and hit the road!"
When asked about her writing habits, Jenny Colgan said, "I go to the gym, then I sit down in a cafe for 2 hours and write 2,500 words.  And that's all it is.  Just keep typing!"  Okay, the book drew me in.

Would the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?   If you would like to share the first lines of a book you are reading, click on the link and visit Gilion at Rose City Reader for today's Mister Linky.