Friday, October 30, 2020

Beginning ~ with arrival at the Abbey

"The taxi-cab slowed down alongside the gates of Camden Abbey, a red brick former mansion that seemed even more like a refuge as a bitter sleet swept across the gray, forbidding landscape."
Messenger of Truth ~ by Jacqueline Winspear, 2006, mystery (England)
London, 1931. On the night before the opening of his new and much anticipated exhibition at a famed Mayfair gallery, Nicholas Bassington-Hope falls to his death.  The police declare it an accident, but the dead man's twin sister, Georgina, isn't convinced.  When the authorities refuse to conduct further investigations and instead close the case, Georgina takes matters into her own hands, seeking out a fellow graduate from Girton College:  Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator.  The case soon takes Maisie to the desolate beaches of Dungeness in Kent, and through the sinister underbelly  of the city's art world.  But to solve the mystery of the artist's death, she will have to remain steady as the forces behind his fall come out of the shadows to silence her.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.
Click this link for more book beginnings.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Jacqueline Winspear's books

Donna put an article about Jacqueline Winspear on Facebook, saying, "Bonnie, is this your long-lost sister?  She sounds like your identical twin."  I responded, "Ha!  I even wore my hair in pigtails like that first picture of Jacqueline Winspear.  I'll take her as my twin any day."  She's holding a brand-new copy of her autobiography This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing: A Memoir in this photo.  Click this link to read about the book, and click here to read an excerpt.

On the first day of January this year, I posted a list of her books I had intended to read.  This year has not been at all what I expected.  I read the first three of the series, but the pandemic kind of threw my year out of kilter.  Book number 16 (The Consequences of Fear) will be added to the Maisie Dobbs' series of mysteries on March 23, 2021.  Here's the list, illustrated at the top by Winspear's 2019 journal What Would Maisie Do? Inspiration from the Pages of Maisie Dobbs.

What Would Maisie Do? : Inspiration from the Pages of Maisie Dobbs ~ by Jacqueline Winspear, 2019, illustrated journal
  1. Maisie Dobbs, 2003
  2. Birds of a Feather, 2004
  3. Pardonable Lies, 2005
  4. Messenger of Truth, 2006
  5. An Incomplete Revenge, 2008
  6. Among the Mad, 2009
  7. The Mapping of Love and Death, 2010
  8. A Lesson in Secrets, 2011
  9. Elegy for Eddie, 2012
  10. Leaving Everything Most Loved, 2013
  11. A Dangerous Place, 2015
  12. Journey to Munich, 2017
  13. In This Grave Hour, 2018
  14. To Die But Once, 2018
  15. The American Agent, 2019
  16. The Consequences of Fear, 2021
I had planned to read all these books early in the year, but this year's pandemic has thrown everything out of kilter, hasn't it?  My whole year seems "off."  But it isn't too late to read them now, with two months left in 2020.  I have books #4 and #5 on the table beside me right now.  But first, I think I'll read the journal itself, as I had originally planned.

Phrase of the Day
out of kilter / noun: kilter /= out of harmony or balance.  Example:  "Daylight savings time changes throw everybody's body clocks out of kilter."  (Yes, that change is coming up at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday.  Move your clocks back one hour and sleep longer.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Black cats ~ Caturday on TWOsday?

Donna told me it's Black Cat Day.  When I looked over the blog, I found that I celebrated Clawdia on October 27, 2018.  This is the photo I used two years ago, calling it National Black Cat Day.  So is it a "national" day, or not?

I used this drawing by Sandra Boynton to celebrate Black Cat Appreciation Day on August 17, 2018.  Could there be a National Black Cat Day and a day without "national" in it called Black Cat Appreciation Day?

To complicate things a bit, I have already celebrated National Black Cat Appreciation Day this year, when Sandy called on August 17th to tell Clawdia she appreciated her.  Hmm, there's something fishy going on here, friends, like some kind of ploy by black cats to get extra doses of adoration.  Yep, the black cats are up to something with all these special days.  I asked Google and learned that today is National Black Cat Day without the word "appreciation" in it.  Oh, never mind what it's called.

Where are you, adorable Clawdia?  Do you want some treats?

Combining words ~ on TWOsday

Word of the Day #1
you + all = y'all.  Example:  "How're y'all doin' durin' the lockdown?"
Word of the Day #2
are + not = ain't.  Example:  "We ain't likin' it one bit."
Word of the Day #3
y'all + ain't = yain't.  Example:  "Yain't seen nothing yet!"
Two words are made into one.  Two more words are made into one.  Then THOSE two words are made into a third word.  That's one way we make new words.  By the way, the apostrophe is in the wrong place in the word "y'all" in the illustration, and some online sources spell the last word "y'ain't" with TWO apostrophes.  Maybe it's still a work in process.  (Click the blue link to see how that's different from a work in progress.)

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sunday Salon ~ books, words, reading

The Ritornello Game: A Marlonburg Story ~ by Rhonda Chandler, 2019, fiction (Illinois)
A family desperate for money.  A child prodigy — the heir to the family fortune — missing.  Riverview House holds many secrets.  Mark Newlin is a history professor at Gold College in southwestern Illinois.  When tragedy thrusts him into a life he doesn't want, well-meaning friends send him to a bed-and-breakfast on the river for rest and healing.

But Riverview House is not the peaceful retreat described in the brochure. A nineteenth-century mansion built on the upper Mississippi River, for years it was the symbol of the Channon family's prestige and their right to a place in American aristocracy.  After several generations, the family has lost most of its money, and none of its arrogance.  And the future of everything depends on one man — the heir to the Channon fortune, whom no one has heard of for years.  Mark and his assistant Sean Merritt find themselves in the midst of an unusual family gathering.  Against his will, Mark is drawn into the Channon family's struggles.  And as his concern for the heir's welfare increases, he discovers the power to heal in the most unlikely place.
I don't even remember buying this, but it's on my Kindle and looks interesting. I plan to read it next.
Little Free Libraries

I've never used a Little Free Library.  Never actually found one, for that matter.  But I do think Little Free Libraries are a wonderful idea, a way of sharing books with others.  And I think it's fantastic that there are now 100,000 of them.  Here's the homepage of Little Free Library, if you'd like to learn more.

Word of the Day
speechifying / ˈspēCHəfīiNG / noun ~ derogatory = the making of speeches, especially in a tedious or pompous way.  Example:  "I'm sorry you think I'm speechifying," her friend said.
I found "speechifying" on page 171 of Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas, the book I read yesterday during Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

2020 edition of Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon

It's time, once again for Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon.  I have signed up (#690 of 843, when I looked last night).  I have chosen a book to read.  Yes, only one book because it's 455 pages long, and I just started it.  That way, I can spend time doing hourly memes (maybe) and visiting other blogs (likely).  My beginning time is at 7:00 a.m. today, because I'm in the Central Time Zone.  I'm ready to start reading.  Ready, set, go!

Your Perfect Year
~ by Charlotte Lucas, translated by Alison Layland, 2016, translation 2019, fiction (Germany)

Lucas uses a parallel storyline between the two main characters.  Jonathan is an editor in Hamburg, and Hannah is a young woman dreaming of a proposal from her boyfriend.  Someone called this a "beach read," so I don't expect it to be heavy reading at all.  Since 2020 has been so awful, I'm ready to visit a perfect year, even if it's fiction.


1.  What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
2.  Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
There's only one.  Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas
3.  Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Between meals, I may have an orange, graham crackers, or raisins.  I'm not much into snacks while reading.
4.  Tell us a little something about yourself.
I'm an 80-year-old reader, writer, word-lover, blogger, punster, and retired pastor.
5.  If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?  If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I participated in Dewey's first readathon and have done several since then.  I plan to read and write occasional updates on this blog.  Have fun reading, everybody!


1.  Deb Nance at Readerbuzz, where I left a comment.
2.  Jenn at Jenn's Bookshelves, where I discovered she's using Instagram to update her progress.
3.  Michelle at True Book Addict, where I learned she's just moved.  I left her a comment and also plan to add her to the book blogs I read.
4.  Joy at Joystory, where I left a comment.


  • B = Bluest Eye ~ by Toni Morrison
  • O = On Writing Well ~ by William Zinsser
  • N = Noah ~ by Ellen Gunderson Traylor
  • N = Noah's Floor ~ by William Ryan and Walter Pitman
  • I = I and Thou ~ by Martin Buber
  • E = Elsewhere ~ by Gabrielle Zevin
  • JACOBS = Jacob's Journey ~ by Noah benShea
As we approach the end (30 minutes left on the clock), I see that a total of 940 people took part in this year's Readathon.  I've almost finished the book, and I've enjoyed it.  I didn't do nearly as many visits or mini-challenges as in the past, partly because fewer folks are blogging these days.  But I'm satisfied, and I had a good time.

Caturday ~ my first kitty cat

Clawdia was so happy when it warmed up enough Thursday to open the windows to the sunny day.  She jumped up into her favorite window to bathe herself.  And that, dear readers, is my perfect segue into what I want to share today.

Word of the Day
se·gue / ˈseˌɡwā,ˈsāˌɡwā / Used as a verb = (in music and film) move without interruption from one piece of music or scene to another.  Example:  "It segued into another subject."  Used as a noun = an uninterrupted transition from one piece of music or film scene to another.  (Or in this case, from one subject to a similar one in my blog post.)
Among the things I brought back from my storage unit in Chattanooga last year was my Baby Book, the one my mother had so carefully kept about me, her first child.  This is what she wrote (see photo at top) about my first pets (plural, as she kept adding to the list):
  • Her first pet is a kitty cat named "Tiger."  She got him July 1942.
  • She had a dog named "Scrappy" but he either ran away or someone took him when Bitsy was two and a half.
  • She got a white Bunny for easter when her birthday was the day after easter and she was three years old.  We didn't have a proper place to keep it so her daddy took it back to it mother on Mother's day.  We kept it about three weeks.  Bitsy called it "Bunny."
So I had a kitty cat when I was two, a dog when I was two-and-a-half, and a bunny when I was three.  And I guess you figured out that my nickname was Bitsy, huh?  And that is why, when a high school English teacher had us write our autobiographies in high school, I chose the title Bits of Bonnie.  And I still love animals, like little Miss Clawdia.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Beginning ~ with an editor's annoyance

"Dear Editorial Team, Before offering you my season's greetings and wishing you a successful start to the new year, I would briefly like to draw your attention to a few errors in your current edition."

Your Perfect Year ~ by Charlotte Lucas, translated by Alison Layland, 2016, fiction (Germany)

A man consumed by a meaningless life is going to do something he’s never considered doing before.  He’s going to enjoy the day.  For hyper-particular publishing heir Jonathan Grief, the day starts like any other — with a strict morning fitness regimen that’ll keep his divorced, easily irritated, cynical, forty-two-year-old self in absolutely flawless physical condition.  But all it takes to put a crimp in his routine is one small annoyance.  Someone has left a leather-bound day planner with the handwritten title Your Perfect Year in his spot on his mountain bike at his fitness course!

Determined to discover its owner, Jonathan opens the calendar to find that someone known only as "H." has filled it in with suggestions, tasks, and affirmative actions for each day.  The more he devotes himself to locating the elusive H., the deeper Jonathan is drawn into someone else’s rich and generous narrative — and into an attitude adjustment he desperately needs.  He may have ended up with a perfect year by accident, but it seems fate has set Jonathan on a path toward healing, feeling, and maybe even loving again, if only he can meet the stranger who’s changing his life one day at a time.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click this link for more book beginnings.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Thursday Thoughts ~ climate change

I agree, Greta.  And I know that climate change is wreaking havoc all over the world these days because we people are not doing all we can to contain and change the damage we have caused by our selfish ways.

Idiom of the Day
wreak havoc = to wreak havoc (with something) means to cause a lot of trouble with something; to ruin or damage something.  Two examples:  "Your bad attitude will wreak havoc with my project." and  "The rainy weather wreaked havoc with our picnic plans."

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

TWOsday ~ Two books I want to read

I learned about the first book below in a roundabout way.  A friend told me I'd like the story of "The Torys, or the Tiger King," which I found on YouTube.  I did.  I do like it!  So I'm sharing it with you.  It turns out the four people narrating the story (Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, and Alan Alda) are all reading from Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown, a book just published three weeks ago.  It also turns out there was another book a year earlier.  Listen to the Tory story on YouTube by clicking on the blue link.

Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown ~ by John Lithgow, 2020
Lithgow writes and draws with wit and fury as he takes readers through another year of the shocking events involving Trump's administration.  With all-new poems and never-before-seen line drawings, Lithgow will once again make readers laugh and pause to remember some of the most defining moments in recent history — skewering the reign of King Dumpty one stanza at a time.
Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse ~ by John Lithgow, 2019
This satirical poetry collection from award-winning actor and bestselling author John Lithgow chronicles the last few raucous years in American politics, Lithgow takes readers verse by verse through the history of Donald Trump's presidency.  The poems collected in Dumpty draw inspiration from A. A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Mother Goose, and others.
Word of the Day
sple·net·ic / spləˈnedik / adjective = bad-tempered; spiteful.  Example:  "Dumpty had a splenetic outburst."

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Have you ever used any of these words?

The only two I don't think I've ever heard used (or read) are these three:

Word of the Day #1
ker·fuf·fle / kərˈfəfəl / noun / INFORMAL•BRITISH = a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views.  Example:  "There was a kerfuffle over who was in charge."
Word of the Day #2
din·gle·ber·ry / ˈdiNGəlˌberē / noun / INFORMAL•US = a foolish or inept person.  Example:  "He's a real dingleberry."
Word of the Day #3
cods·wal·lop / ˈkädzˌwäləp / noun / INFORMAL•BRITISH = nonsense.  Example:  "I think that's a load of codswallop."
I love dark pumpernickel bread, like this.  Have you ever eaten any?

Sunday, October 11, 2020

International Day of the Girl Child

Girls face unique challenges.  Today we promote the empowerment of young girls everywhere and advocate for the attainment of their basic human rights, like education and bodily autonomy.  As Malala Yousafzai says:  "We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back."

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Clawdia at her window ~ three years apart

Clawdia at her window 10/10/2020

Clawdia at her window 10/6/2017

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra ~ at Crown Center

SLSO on the Go performed outdoors at the Crown Center recently, with interviews on YouTube of our Executive Director and Miriam, a resident.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Coincidence ~ real life and fiction

I've always been fascinated by coincidences.  I wrote about coincidences in January 2020, in the last paragraph of an August 2020 post, in January 2019, in February 2015, and many other times.  I'm back to do it all over again.

I watched part of the vice-presidential debate last night (see photo above, where Kamala Harris tried to stop an interruption by Vice President Mike Pence by saying "I'm speaking").  Then I went to sleep, and this morning picked up my book to read another short story from the very thick book on time travel I wrote about in my last post.  The next story was "The Final Days" by David Langford, first published in 1981.  It's VERY short — only four pages (pp. 257-260).  Here are some words I highlighted:
  • "a nation of watchers" (p. 257).
  • "What would be your first act as President, Mr. Ferris?" (p. 257).
  • "a mugger came up to me. One of those scum who will be swept from the streets when our program of police reform goes through" (p. 258).
  • "a Presidential campaign" (p. 258).
  • "newspaper predictions of opinion polls ... we politicians ... today's voters" (p. 259).
  • "In four days you will be President" (p. 259).
  • "He refused to draw the car's shades, of course, preferring to remain visible to the public behind his bullet-proof glass" (p. 259).
  • "Soviets ... China ..." (p. 260).
  • "ready to risk even his reputation for the good of Democracy" (p. 260).
  • "The Good Of The Nation" (p. 260).
  • "The eyes of time were upon him.  He knew he would not fail them" (p. 260).
The quotes are like sound bites from today's news.  The story is about "watchers" from the future who would come back to watch events like presidential debates of those who would one day be very famous. That's an amazing coincidence, to be reading that immediately after watching a vice-presidential debate that was trying to repair the ridiculously childish recent presidential debate.  About that earlier debate, John Pavlovitz posted today,  this president "has fallen to the occasion."

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Books on time travel and paradoxology

The Time Traveler's Almanac ~ edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer, 2013, science fiction
I'll start this one today.  This thick volume is the largest and most definitive collection of time travel stories ever assembled.  It compiles more than a century's worth of literary travels into the past and the future, with beloved classics and contemporary innovations. It includes nearly seventy journeys through time from authors such as Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Moorcock, H. G. Wells, and Connie Willis, as well as helpful non-fiction articles original to this volume (such as Charles Yu's Top Ten Tips For Time Travelers). The book itself is like a time machine, covering millions of years of Earth's history from the age of the dinosaurs through to strange futures, spanning the ages from the beginning of time to its very end.

Paradoxology ~ by Miriam Therese Winter, 2009, science and religion, 8/10
I just finished reading this one today.  Here are a couple of quotes I like:  "A quantum universe is telling us that we are all connected, that the God of one is the God of all, that the suffering of any of Earth's people or any part of the planet is a desecration to us all" (loc. 94).  "How would our lives have been different, how would the world and the church have evolved, if women had been praised, not blamed, for taking the initiative, for wanting to know good from evil, for wanting to be more like God?  We might have had peace on earth by now if women had been applauded, rather than berated, for choosing to be fully human" (loc. 224).

Friday, October 2, 2020

A new word for me ~ logorrhea

Source of image

"A monstrous unintelligible display of logorrhea that has nothing to do with any idea of civic discourse..." — Rachel Maddow on the President.
We define logorrhea as “excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness.”

Thursday, October 1, 2020


Donna used all of her Bananagrams tiles to make this fascinating layout on Monday.  I was fascinated by the word "quixote" hanging down from "squid" on the right side, so I looked it up:
"Someone resembling Don Quixote; someone who is chivalrous but unrealistic; an idealist."
It's from the 17th century, based on the book by Miguel de Cervantes.  Today, I was reading along in my current book and came across the word "quixotic."  How coincidental is that?  So it shall be today's word.

Word of the Day
quix·ot·ic / kwikˈsädik / adjective = exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical.  "It was a vast and perhaps quixotic project."
That brings up an idiom
Can you tell that Don Quixote is "tilting at windmills" on the book's cover?  That phrase is an English idiom which means "attacking imaginary enemies."

Laugh lines

Word of the Day
en·nui / änˈwē / noun = a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.  Example:  "He succumbed to ennui and despair."

Maybe laughing a little will help the ennui we feel while stuck at home.
  1. ARBITRATOR = A cook that leaves Arby's to work at McDonald’s.
  2. BERNADETTE = The act of torching a mortgage.
  3. BURGLARIZE = What a crook sees through.
  4. AVOIDABLE = What a bullfighter tries to do.
  5. COUNTERFEITERS = Workers who put together kitchen cabinets.
  6. LEFT BANK = What the bank robbers did when their bag was full of money.
  7. HEROES = What a man in a boat does.
  8. PARASITES = What you see from the Eiffel Tower.
  9. PARADOX = Two physicians.
  10. PHARMACIST = A helper on a farm.
  11. RELIEF = What trees do in the spring.
  12. RUBBERNECK = What you do to relax your daughter.
  13. SELFISH = What the owner of a seafood store does.
  14. SUDAFED = Brought litigation against a government official.

Optimistic October

This Optimistic October Calendar is from the people at Action for Happiness, who say:
"Life is far from perfect, but there are lots of reasons for optimism.  Setting positive goals for the future gives our lives a sense of direction and purpose.  And although we face many challenges there are also lots of reasons to stay hopeful.  By consciously choosing our priorities we can overcome issues, make progress and focus on what really matters."
October 1
~ Write down your most important goals for this month.
October 2
~ Look for reasons to be hopeful even in difficult times.
October 3
~ Take the first step towards a goal that really matters to you.
October 4
~ Be a realistic optimist.  See life as it is, but focus on what's good.
October 5
~ Start your day with the most important thing on your list.
October 6
~ Do something constructive to improve a difficult situation.
October 7
~ Remember that things can change for the better.
October 8
~ Make progress on a project or task you have been avoiding.
October 9
~ Avoid blaming yourself or others.  Just find the best way forward.
October 10
~ Take time to reflect on what you have achieved this week.
October 11
~ Focus on a positive change that you want to see in society.
October 12
~ Look for the good intentions in people around you today.
October 13
~ Put down your To-Do list and let yourself be spontaneous.
October 14
~ Do something to overcome an obstacle you are facing.
October 15
~ Look out for positive news and reasons to be cheerful today.
October 16
~ Thank yourself for achieving the things you often take for granted.
October 17
~ Share your most important goals with people you trust.
October 18
~ Make a list of things that you are looking forward to.
October 19
~ Set hopeful but realistic goals for the week ahead.
October 20
~ Find the joy in completing a task you've put off for some time.
October 21
~ Let go of the expectations of others and focus on what matters.
October 22
~ Share an inspiring idea with a loved one or colleague.
October 23
~ Write down three specific things that have gone well recently.
October 24
~ Recognize that you have a choice about what to prioritize.
October 25
~ Plan a fun or exciting activity to look forward to.
October 26
~ Start the week by writing down your top priorities and plans.
October 27
~ Be kind to yourself today.  Remember, progress takes time.
October 28
~ Ask yourself, will this still matter a year from now?
October 29
~ Find a new perspective on a problem you face.
October 30
~ Set a goal that links to your sense of purpose in life.
October 31
~ Think of three things that give you hope for the future.