Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Monday, August 30, 2021
ROTFLOL. Thanks to Anne at My Head Is Full of Books for sharing these. By the way, Leviticus 13:4-5 talks about isolating the affected persons for two 7-day periods in a row. Isolation and covering the lower part of your face . . . sounds like today's news headlines to me.
Sunday, August 29, 2021
"In the 1970s, anthropologist Lyn Miles began teaching an orangutan named Chantek how to sign. Chantek learned 150 signs over eight years, and also understood many words of spoken English. Chantek used short strings of signs to make phrases, and one of his most interesting phrases expressed his wish for privacy: when he wanted a confidential exchange, he would sign 'secret' and make his gestures small in an effort to conceal them. If people were visiting and Chantek wanted a moment alone with Miles, he would sign 'I you talk,' while pointing to a location away from the visitors" (loc. 1346).
These great-grandkids of mine are independent thinkers. Their favorite colors? Pink for him, blue for both girls! Their mom said, "You can't make this up."
Never Mind! : A Twin Novel ~ by Avi and Rachel Vail, 2004, young adult fiction
Inside Animal Hearts and Minds: Bears That Count, Goats That Surf, and Other True Stories of Animal Intelligence and Emotion ~ by Belinda Recio, 2017, nonfiction
The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death ~ edited by David Shields and Bradford Morrow, 2011, psychology
Saturday, August 28, 2021
To get her poor doggie a bone.
But when she got there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor doggie had none.
This is the version I memorized as a child, though I've found several versions online. Was this nursery rhyme part of your childhood, too? I'm reading a book about animal intelligence and emotions, as I posted yesterday, and today I remember a sad doggie. I wore my tee-shirt with three tigers on it yesterday. It figures, doesn't it?
Friday, August 27, 2021
This book invites us to change the way we view animals, the world, and our place in it. As Charles Darwin suggested more than a century ago, the differences between animals and humans are "of degree and not of kind." Not long ago, ethologists denied that animals had emotions or true intelligence. Now, we know that rats laugh when tickled, magpies mourn as they cover the departed with greenery, female whales travel thousands of miles for annual reunions with their gal pals, seals navigate by the stars, bears hum when happy, and crows slide down snowy rooftops for fun. Learn about an orangutan who does “macramé,” monkeys that understand the concept of money, and rats that choose friendship over food. Even language, math, and logic are no longer exclusive to humans. Prairie dogs have their own complex vocabularies to describe human intruders, parrots name their chicks, sea lions appear capable of deductive thinking akin to a ten-year-old child’s, and bears, lemurs, parrots, and other animals demonstrate numerical cognition.
Thursday, August 26, 2021
"Take a look at that, Mom. It was made right here in Akron, at your plant."
"Son, I'm an inspector at Firestone. This is my inspector number."
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
- twist or turn or cause to do this. Example: "He skewed around in his saddle."
- make biased or distorted in a way that is regarded as inaccurate, unfair, or misleading. Example: "She thinks the curriculum is skewed toward practical subjects."
Sunday, August 22, 2021
Edward and Meg are like night and day. How could such different people be twins? Well, they are, but they don't have to like it -- or each other.
For seventh grade, brainy Meg is attending ultra-competitive Fischer, while freewheeling Edward goes to an alternative school downtown. But it's just when they're finally out of each other's shadows that the trouble begins. Meg's aspirations for popularity and a boyfriend combine with Edward's devious planning and lack of singing ability to set off a showdown the likes of which twindom has never before seen.
Why is this final showdown so much fun? Could it be that Meg and Edward are more alike than they thought?
(Click that link to see my rating system and links to what I've posted about some of these books, as well as the other 54 books I've read this year.)
"[He] understood that mostly what we humans do is daydream, that while we're going about the business of our lives in one direction, we're daydreaming it away in another" (p. 211).
"This is how we'll be remembered down the line, as caricatures in the mind of a surviving family member" (p. 218).
"What is love? . . . the love we express can best be seen in what we do and say" (back cover).
"As they ride past the hill where the meetinghouse stands guard over the stones of the burying ground, Mary recalls the last time she sat on the pew bench listening to her husband. The world has become so disordered, it seems as if years — not months — have passed" (p. 172).
"Knowledge about any subject becomes more robust as we question, challenge, and ultimately improve on it" (p. 11).
"And some people twisted and turned and agonised, trying to please everyone without ever pleasing themselves and, in the end, cauterized the pain of not fitting in, of not getting it right, by cutting themselves off" (p. 204).
Book I'm currently reading
No Happy Endings: A Memoir ~ by Nora McInerny, 2019, memoir, 288 pagesI've read only 50 pages since posting about it yesterday. That's a mere 20% of the book, according to my Kindle.
checkup / check up / check-up
- As a single word, checkup is a noun. Example: "Clawdia is going for a checkup tomorrow."
- As two words, check up is a verb. Example: "We need to check up on Grandma."
- When hyphenated words, check-up is an adjective. Example: "I need to schedule a check-up appointment."
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Life has a million different ways to kick you right in the chops. We lose love, lose jobs, lose our sense of self. For Nora McInerny, it was losing her husband, her father, and her unborn second child in one catastrophic year.
But in the wake of loss, we get to assemble something new from whatever is left behind. Some circles call finding happiness after loss “Chapter 2” — the continuation of something else. Today, Nora is remarried and mothers four children aged 16 months to 16 years. While her new circumstances bring her extraordinary joy, they are also tinged with sadness over the loved ones she’s lost.
Life has made Nora a reluctant expert in hard conversations. On her wildly popular podcast, she talks about painful experiences we inevitably face, and exposes the absurdity of the question “how are you?” that people often ask when we’re coping with the aftermath of emotional catastrophe. She knows intimately that when your life falls apart, there’s a mad rush to be okay — to find a silver lining, to get to the happy ending. In this, her second memoir, Nora offers a tragicomic exploration of the tension between finding happiness and holding space for the unhappy experiences that have shaped us.
No Happy Endings is a book for people living life after life has fallen apart. It’s a book for people who know that they’re moving forward, not moving on. It’s a book for people who know life isn’t always happy, but it isn’t the end: there will be unimaginable joy and incomprehensible tragedy. As Nora reminds us, there will be no happy endings — but there will be new beginnings.
The question came from the back of the room and hung in the air long after it had been asked. The tone was hopeful and anticipatory, as if the asker thought she was opening a gift for the entire audience."Are you . . . pregnant?"
So you think you're ready to have a breakdown, do ya? Well, take it from a woman who has spent more than one afternoon sobbing in her minivan in the Costco parking lot: you're probably closer than you think you are. And if not, getting there won't be as hard as you think.
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Rich in historical detail, Heather Terrell’s mesmerizing novel Brigid of Kildare is the story of the revolutionary Saint Brigid and the discovery of the oldest illuminated manuscript in the annals of the Church, a manuscript that contains an astonishing secret history.
Fifth-century Ireland: Brigid is Ireland’s first and only female priest and bishop. Followers flock to her Kildare abbey and scriptorium. Hearing accounts of Brigid’s power, the Church deems her a threat and sends Decius, a Roman priest and scribe, on a secret mission to collect proof of Brigid’s heresy. As Decius records the unorthodox practices of Brigid and her abbey, he becomes intrigued by her. When Brigid assigns Decius a holy task — to create the most important and sacred manuscript ever made — he finds himself at odds with his original mission and faces the most difficult decision of his life.
Modern day: Alexandra Patterson, an appraiser of medieval relics, has been summoned to Kildare to examine a reliquary box believed to belong to Saint Brigid. Hidden within the sacred box is the most beautiful illuminated manuscript Alex has ever seen. But even more extraordinary is the contents of the manuscript’s vellum pages, which may have dire repercussions for the Catholic Church and could very well rewrite the origins of Christianity.
What is death and how does it touch upon life? Twenty writers look for answers. Birth is not inevitable. Life certainly isn't. The sole inevitability of existence, the only sure consequence of being alive, is death. In these eloquent and surprising essays, twenty writers face this fact, among them Geoff Dyer, who describes the ghost bikes memorializing those who die in biking accidents; Jonathan Safran Foer, proposing a new way of punctuating dialogue in the face of a family history of heart attacks and decimation by the Holocaust; Mark Doty, whose reflections on the art-porn movie Bijou lead to a meditation on the intersection of sex and death epitomized by the AIDS epidemic; and Joyce Carol Oates, who writes about the loss of her husband and faces her own mortality. Other contributors include Annie Dillard, Diane Ackerman, Peter Straub, and Brenda Hillman.
Sunday, August 15, 2021
My sister's son died of Covid on January 1st of this year, and yesterday my brother's son posted on Facebdook:
"Prayers appreciated. My wife, 1-year-old son, and 3-year-old daughter have Covid. Get vaccinated, folks; this is not just about you."
Friday, August 13, 2021
"Later, Mary will trace the first signs of the Lord's displeasure back to a hot July morning in 1672 when she pauses on her way to the barn to watch the sun rise burnt orange over the meeting-house. She feels a momentary sinking in her bowels as it flashes like fire through a damp haze, putting her in mind of the terrors of hell. She has never been adept at reading omens."
Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676. Even before Mary Rowlandson was captured by Indians on a winter day of violence and terror, she sometimes found herself in conflict with her rigid Puritan community. Now, her home destroyed, her children lost to her, she has been sold into the service of a powerful woman tribal leader, made a pawn in the ongoing bloody struggle between English settlers and native people.
Battling cold, hunger, and exhaustion, Mary witnesses harrowing brutality but also unexpected kindness. To her confused surprise, she is drawn to her captors’ open and straightforward way of life, a feeling further complicated by her attraction to a generous, protective English-speaking native known as James Printer. All her life, Mary has been taught to fear God, submit to her husband, and abhor Indians. Now, having lived on the other side of the forest, she begins to question the edicts that have guided her, torn between the life she knew and the wisdom the natives have shown her.
Based on the compelling true narrative of Mary Rowlandson, Flight of the Sparrow is an evocative tale that transports the reader to a little-known time in early America and explores the real meanings of freedom, faith, and acceptance.
Monday, August 9, 2021
In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past ― memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.
bar·ra·coon /ˌberəˈko͞on / noun (historical) = an enclosure in which black slaves were confined for a limited period. Example: "Cudjo Lewis and other slaves were held in a barracoon."
an·thro·pol·o·gy /ˌanTHrəˈpäləjē / noun = the study of human societies and cultures and their development. Example: "Zora Neale Hurston was a cultural anthropologist."
Rings on my fingers
per·ni·cious / pərˈniSHəs / adjective = having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way. Example: "Slavery is a pernicious legacy in the United States."
Saturday, August 7, 2021
Friday, August 6, 2021
Jack McGill chose his architectural career over his family, and returned home from yet another business trip to find that his wife, Rachel, had left him. Now, six years later, a car accident has left Rachel clinging to life, and she and their two daughters desperately need him. Putting work on hold for the first time in his life, Jack decides to sit by his ex-wife's bedside. As he meets Rachel's many new friends, and tries to cope with two teenage daughters and their problems, he learns more about a woman he never really knew, her expressive art, and the secret that made her leave. Much to his astonishment, Jack begins to see Rachel, his daughters, and the story of his marriage with new eyes.
I'm enjoying the book so far, but wondering what Rachel ever saw in this guy in the first place.
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.She had so many children, she didn't know what to do.She gave them some broth without any bread;Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.
The version I remember (or think I remember) was "spanked them all soundly and put them to bed." Wikipedia gives several variations of this, so my version was probably one that was published along the way. Today, whipping or spanking would probably be considered child abuse, but it happened back in my day.