Thursday, September 30, 2021

Thursday thoughts

Light has no shadow.  I've been thinking about odd things today, I guess.  But also, I've been enjoying friendships I've made here at the Crown Center where I live.  I went down to our Circle@Crown Café for breakfast and chatted with Kari, Judy, Melvin, Alyssa, Iva, and Brenda.  I've been reading devotional essays by Joan Uda and thinking about calling Joan to talk about some of what she wrote.  She lives in Montana now (again), near two of her children.  When I met her, she was living in the apartments next door to the Crown Center, which is maybe half a mile from the home of one of her daughters.

Helen of Helen's Book Blog once asked me how I met so many authors.  Well, Helen, it helps to live near one and have the secretary of the church I'd been attending call to ask if I'd give a neighbor a ride to church.  Joan didn't have her car here, having flown in to bring her husband for specialized medical care in St. Louis.  After he died, she moved back to Montana, but we remained friends.  I flew to Montana in 2019 with her daughter and son-in-law, who took me with them to surprise Joan on her 80th birthday.  I've also had fun meeting other book bloggers.  So Helen, if you ever "drop by" St. Louis in your travels, let me know and we can meet at the airport or my place or somewhere.

I'll leave you with a laugh:

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Action for Happiness ~ the app

At the beginning of each month for years, I've been posting the calendars from the Action for Happiness folks.  This month has been Self-Care September, and today's "action" is the one shown in the illustration above.  I'm showing it today because I just downloaded the free app for my iPhone.  I knew Helen of Helen's Book Blog was getting the daily notifications, and I don't know why I didn't go ahead and get it for myself.  Anyway, the October calendar is now waiting to go online here after midnight tomorrow night.  Be sure to take a look at it on Friday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Two more books by Joan Uda — plus two others

At the Water's Edge: God's Grace in Everyday Life ~ by Joan Uda, 2012, devotional essays
An inspirational book of short essays with a gentle tone.  It probes deeply into life's important matters, celebrates life through telling real-life stories and hopes to bring readers more in touch with the all-loving force in the universe that the author calls God.  It has broad appeal to religious and spiritual people, providing only the author's own answers to life's great questions while assisting readers to consider their own answers.  Written with simple and compelling honesty, it is easy to read and can provide a basis for personal meditation, group study, and even sermons.
At the Water's Edge: God's Grace in Everyday Life II ~ by Joan Uda, 2012, devotional essays
This is Vol. 2 of At the Water's Edge: God's Grace in Everyday Life, in which Joan Uda offers a new collection of simply-written stories showing how God moves in her life and the lives of people she knows.  Joan's goal is to show how exploring one's own experiences opens the heart to receive God's grace ever more abundantly.  She writes of love-based faith and overcoming fears by learning to trust in God.
I added both of these books to my Kindle last week and have started reading the first one already.

Two more books arrived

I got two copies of this book for Gail and Debbie, who want me to teach them to play the piano. The books were on the delivery table when I went down last night to get my mail and see if any deliveries had arrived.  These came in separate packages, one from Lexington, Kentucky, and one from North Las Vegas, Nevada.  One was supposed to arrive today and one tomorrow, but both showed up today.

I had talked to my friend Ginny, a music teacher, because I was not happy with the book the two had gotten, as I mentioned early last week.  So we'll use these instead.  I'm a lot happier with this version, which does teach the left hand to play the bass clef, as opposed to chords only for the left hand.

Belwin Complete Adult Keyboard Course ~ by Sandy Feldstein, 1991, 1996
A practical, enjoyable approach to learning to play all keyboard instruments.  This exceptional beginning method has sound teaching philosophies, music of all styles, strong visual reinforcements and modern technology components.  Well-suited for either class or individual instruction, the method includes familiar folk songs, well-known classical themes and popular favorites.  It includes theory workbook pages and writing assignments that reinforce student lessons.

Monday, September 27, 2021

September 26 to October 2 is Banned Books Week

I forgot to include Banned Book Week in yesterday's post, but the week is still new.  Here are the top ten most banned books:
  1. George ~ by Alex Gino.  Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting "the values of our community."
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You ~ by Ibram X. Kendi and
    Jason Reynolds.  Banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.
  3. All American Boys ~ by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.  Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism and because it was thought to promote antipolice views, contain divisive topics, and be "too much of a sensitive matter right now."
  4. Speak ~ by Laurie Halse Anderson.  Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint, it was claimed to be biased against male students, and it included rape and profanity.
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian ~ by Sherman Alexie.  Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of the author.
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice ~ by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin.  Challenged for "divisive language" and because it was thought to promote anti-police views.
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird ~ by Harper Lee.  Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a "white savior" character, and its perception of the Black experience.
  8. Of Mice and Men ~ by John Steinbeck.  Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes and their negative effect on students.
  9. The Bluest Eye ~ by Toni Morrison.  Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.
  10. The Hate U Give ~ by Angie Thomas.  Challenged for profanity, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message.
Helen of Helen's Book Blog wrote:  "If you're really into lists, check out the 100 most challenged books by decade (1990-1999, 2000-2009, and 2010-2019).  When I scan the list, I am stunned by the incredible literature that is included."  Thanks, Helen, for reminding me that it's Banned Books Week.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Feeling stupid, but still reading and learning

I got home from a Crown Center bus trip to the grocery store only to discover I'd lost my keys and couldn't unlock the door to my apartment.  Did they slip out of my pocket on the bus?  No, Yoram checked before bringing a key from the office to open my door for me.  Should I call the store to see if they'd been found?  Yoram asked if I had a spare key to my apartment or my mailbox.  Yes, a spare for the apartment, but not for the mail ... and a lightbulb clicked on over my head.  Here's my mail right here on top of the groceries in my cart; therefore, my keys must still be hanging from my mailbox.  Yes, they were.  Yoram assured me I wasn't the first, but I still felt stupid.

Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today ~ by John Shelby Spong, 2018, theology, 10/10
"If God is the Source of Life, then the only way I can appropriately worship God is by living fully. ... If God is the Source of Love, then the only way I can worship God is by loving 'wastefully,' a phrase that I like. ... If God is the Ground of Being, then the only way I can worship God is by having the courage to be all that I can be ... So the reality of God to me is discovered in the experience which compels me to 'live fully, to love wastefully, and to have the courage to be all that I can be.' ... the mission to which my mantra calls me is the task of building or transforming the world so that every person living will have a better opportunity to live fully, love wastefully and be all that each of them was created to be in the infinite variety of our humanity" (quoted from pp. 285-286).
I read this book in 2018, but I hope to re-read it as I discuss it with the Seekers Class at my church in Chattanooga.  Zoom allows us to meet with friends near and far, you know!  I pulled it off the shelf recently because Bishop Spong died a couple of weeks ago, and this is his last book.

Second iPhone class via Zoom

On Friday, I attended our second (and last) Zoom class about using iPhones.  Last week, we learned a word new to me (haptics) and words with new meanings (swipe, pinch, gesture).  This week, I learned how to find more screens and how to use Siri, among other things.  I learned that updates only arrive when the iPhone is plugged in.  I also learned that swiping the Home page one extra time takes me to my app library, grouped together in pre-set groups like these in the illustration.  If I then swipe up from near the bottom of that page, I'll see all apps in alphabetical order.  So much to remember!  I especially want to remember I can say, "Hey, Siri, call 9-1-1" even if the phone is not turned on.  This option must be pre-set to allow it, though.

Ten ways to say "No"
  1. No.
  2. I can't give you an answer right now; will you check back with me?
  3. I'm not able to commit to that right now.
  4. I really appreciate you asking me, but I can't do it.
  5. I understand you really need my help, but I'm just not able to say yes to that.
  6. I'm going to say no for now.  I'll let you know if something changes.
  7. I'm honored that you would ask me, but my answer is no.
  8. No, I can't do that, but here's what I can do.
  9. I don't have that to give right now.
  10. Under different circumstances, I'd love to, but right now I can't.
And the best part of this list that I found on Facebook six years ago is the name of the group who posted it:  
The Society for Recovering Doormats, who claim that "No" is the most important word every recovering mat needs to learn how to say.
Deb Nance at Readerbuzz hosts The
Sunday Salon
. Bloggers gather in the
Sunday Salon — at separate computers
in different time zones — to talk about
our lives, our books, and our reading.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Sept. 25 is National Daughters Day

Today is National Daughters Day.  I have two daughters, who are identical twins.  This photo was taken when my twins visited me in St. Louis in 2016.  Can you see the family resemblance?  Actually, I do have another daughter (hyphenated, that is):  my daughter-in-law, who just had a birthday this week. Happy, Happy Birthday to you!  (Yes, I sang to her on her actual birthday.)

Friday, September 24, 2021

Beginning ~ in 1946


"In Seoul, Korea, on June 15, 1946, only days before he sailed for home after World War II, my dad, Major Warren William McAllister, was presented with a jade locket by four Korean insurance companies.  He carried the locket home in his breast pocket instead of shipping it, because, he said, it was very valuable, and things could go missing if mailed through the military APO."

The Jade Locket and the Red Star: An Untold History of the Invasion of Okinawa and Why Korea Is Now Two Countries Instead of One ~ by Joan Uda, 2012, memoir/history, 281 pages

Until the end of WWII, Korea was a single nation.  In July 1945 as the war ended, Joseph Stalin’s Red Army had already pushed south of the 38th parallel in Korea.  A group of American military officers, to prevent Stalin from taking all of Korea, drew a line separating North Korea from South Korea, and rushed American soldiers through Inchon Harbor into Seoul.  This American action created the division in Korea that still exists today.  South Korea has an enormously successful economy, and North Korea is still a starving military dictatorship threatening to send missiles against the USA.  Major Warren W. McAllister, U.S. Army, was on the first ship into Inchon.  This is Major McAllister’s story, based on two years of research, the major's 201 file, his complete military file of orders and other documents, plus letters, photos, and personal recollections.

I'm calling this a memoir as well as history (as in the title) because the first part reads like a memoir to me.  And then I found that Joan Uda, the author, also called it a memoir:
"Before I began this memoir, I assumed that the American soldiers heading to Korea from Okinawa would have received an in-depth briefing about Korea" (p. 160).

Good dog!

When I posted this on Facebook years ago, one of my friends said, "Share the steak."  The dog's owner apparently does regularly share her steak with the dog, since she knows it's his favorite.  The point this person is making is that her dog understands what "no" means and does not eat the steak without permission, unlike men who won't stop when a woman says "no" to them.  Those men are not as well-behaved as this dog.  Don't blame rape on what a woman wears.

About the same time, someone else posted this question:  "So if you are a man accused of sexual assault, you are INNOCENT until proven guilty.  But if you are a woman who was assaulted, you are a LIAR until proven truthful?"

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The math doesn't add up

Whoever came up with this "game" does not know math, since nothing can be more than 100% of itself.  No matter what I choose, I'm an empath.  Maybe I'm independent, and maybe I'm humble, but not because of my color choices.

And what's that about everyone being either a narcissist OR a follower?  Then it says I'm NOT either one.  Maybe it means I'm a follower because I followed their instructions.  This is today's public service announcement from an empath that an online quiz is not exactly scientific.  They are phishing for your favorite color, folks.  
You may be able to enlarge the small illustrations by clicking on them, if you want to read all of them.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Homophones = rite, write, right, wright

rite / write / right / wright

These all sound like the same word, but....
  • rite refers to a religious act or ceremony.  Example:  "Our ancestors celebrated fertility rites."
  • write refers to the act of writing.  Example:  "She promised to write to me while she's on vacation."  It also means to spell.  Example:  "How do you write your name?"
  • right basically means correct or acceptable.  Examples:  "It wouldn't be right to ignore his request."
  • wright refers to a builder or creator; one who constructs or repairs something.  This word is often used in combination.  Examples:  "She's a playwright" or "He's a shipwright."
Aren't words funny?  (And fun!)  These words are homophones.
ho·mo·phone /ˈhäməˌfōn,ˈhōməˌfōn/ noun (plural noun: homophones) = each of two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling.
Here are a few more examples of homophones:
  • ad — add
  • brake — break
  • buy — by
  • cellar — seller
  • cite — site
  • dual — duel
  • eye — I
  • flew — flu
  • grate — great
  • knew — new
  • mail — male
  • one — won
  • overdo — overdue
  • pain — pane
  • plain — plane
  • real — reel
  • rest — wrest
  • sail — sale
  • tail — tale
  • threw — through
  • vain — vane
Can you think of other homophones?  Please share them with us in the comments.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Friendship, an owl, piano lessons, and kayaking

National Women's Friendship Day has been observed the third Sunday in September since 1999.  So today, as the name suggests, is our day to express gratitude for all our women friends.  Let's share some names (it's okay to share only first names).  Who is your best friend?  Or which woman has been your friend the longest — and still is?  Ginny is the one I thought of first.  I met Ginny in August 1955, when I started high school by attending marching band practice at City High School (CHS).  Officially, CHS means Chattanooga High School.  Ginny was a year ahead of me in school, and we are only the same age from April until August, when she gains a year.  She has visited me here in St. Louis, and I've visited her in Tallahassee.  Let's see, 1955 to 2021 is ... wow! ... 66 years that we've been friends!  Love ya, Ginny!

A gorgeous owl ~ Someone shared this photo of an owl on NextDoor, our neighborhood group.  Those who chimed in seem to agree that it's a barred owl, after arguing that it is not a barn owl (which is smaller) or a great horned owl (which is larger and "has feather tufts on its head — the so-called horns").  Anyway, I think this is a beautiful picture of an owl, whatever kind it is.

Learn to Play Piano in Six Weeks or Less ~ by Dan Delaney and Bill Chotkowski, 2009, self-help, 111 pages.  

I've made the photo small because I'm not happy with this book.  It is not really a beginner's book, but a fake book.  Do you know what that is?
fake book /fāk bo͝ok/ noun = a book of music containing the basic chord sequences of jazz or other tunes.
The first sentence in the Introduction even admits that it's a fake book:
"Throw away your bass clef and give your left hand a break — melodies in the right hand, chords and rhythms in the left hand."

This looks like a beginner's book, and in one sense it is.  But the women who bought it so I can teach them how to play the piano will be learning only half of what I expected to teach them.  It's something.  It's a beginning of sorts, but I feel like I'll have to either come up with a way to teach them how to play with the left hand or get us "real" piano books that teach fingering for the bass clef.

My daughters have taken up kayaking.
No, I wasn't out on the water with them. 
One of them took this photo of the other.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz hosts The 
Sunday Salon.  Bloggers gather in the 
Sunday Salon — at separate computers 
in different time zones — to talk about 
our lives, our books, and our reading.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

iPhone class via Zoom

A handful of us are taking a Zoom class in "Getting to Know Your iPhone."  Two of us live at the Crown Center.  The class is in two parts:  two hours yesterday, plus two hours this coming Friday.  In the meantime, I'm trying to absorb what I learned and realizing how many new words there are — OR — words that have new meanings.  Here are a couple of the words I'm learning, with definitions that specifically relate to the iPhone:

Word of the Day #1

hap·tics /ˈhaptiks/ technical noun plural = the perception of objects by touch, especially as involved in nonverbal communication.
"Haptics is that subsystem of non-language communication which conveys meaning through physical contact."
Okay, so I've learned to touch my iPhone screen in certain ways to make things happen.  (I'm also learning that with Donna's Chromebook:  tapping with ONE finger does something very different from tapping with TWO fingers.  Yeah, try remembering all this stuff!)

Word of the Day #2

ges·ture /ˈjesCHər/ = listing some examples would be easiest.  
A swipe is a gesture, and punching two buttons is another gesture.
To go to the iPhone's home page, swipe up from the bottom, as in the left example.  To call 9-1-1 or turn off your iPhone, press two buttons, as on the right, and several options pop up.  This Apple Support page has a dozen examples (click on the link to go there). 

We were told that iPhone uses touches, swipes, and pinches.  Pinching is the way to zoom in or out on specific items.  A pinch goes both ways:  pinch your fingers apart to look closer at a photo.  I took a picture of purple flowers on my walk back from the grocery store and, when I zoomed in on the photo (by pinching apart), could see spiky points on the flowers and even where something has nibbled on a green leaf.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Beginning ~ with a eulogy request

In the beginning, there was a question.
"Will you do my eulogy?"
I don't understand, I said.
"My eulogy?" the old man asked again.  "When I'm gone."

Have a Little Faith: A True Story ~ by Mitch Albom, 2009, religion, 254 pages ~ As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and two men of God explore issues that perplex us:  how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times.

I've read three books by Mitch Albom already this month:
  1. The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Book 1 of Heaven's Books) ~ by Mitch Albom, 2003, fiction, 9/10
  2. The Next Person You Meet in Heaven (Book 2 of Heaven's Books) ~ by Mitch Albom, 2018, fiction, 10/10
  3. Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family ~ by Mitch Albom, 2021, memoir, 10/10
As you can see, they were all excellent books that I couldn't put down.  So now I'm ready to read another one.  At first, Albom feels unworthy of doing the rabbi's eulogy, being thrown back into a world of faith he'd left years ago.  The Jewish rabbi was from his old neighborhood; later Mitch meets a Christian pastor; the tale in this book moves back and forth between their two worlds.  The dust jacket says:
"And he [Mitch Albom] finally understands what both men had been teaching all along:  the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself."

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Live, love, be

Here's a quote from Bishop John Shelby Spong that I like.

This photo is from 2011, when Bishop Spong signed a couple of his books that are now on my bookshelves across the room.  I have about a dozen of his books.  I just learned today that he has died.  June 16, 1931 — September 12, 2021

Addendum (9/19/2021):  Here's a link to the Wikipedia article on John Shelby Spong.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Scavenger hunt

I think I'll do this today.  Do you want to join me?  I've already done it a couple of times on this blog, but it's probably something that would be good to do frequently:
  • In 2019:  Gratitude #1 = I found a book (yes, you know books make me happy).  Gratitude #2 = I found a book, actually, the same book, which I gave to my BFF Donna to make her smile.  I never finished the list.
  • In 2020:  The first four answers I gave were all about books, so I'll try not to repeat it this time.
So now it's 2021, and here are my new answers:

1.  Something that makes me happy . . . Clawia, usually, except when she doesn't.  Here's a favorite photo of her from 2017.

2.  Something to give a friend to make her smile . . . all I can think of, as evening approaches, is sending this honey apple cake eCard to ten of my Crown Center neighbors.

3.  One thing that I love to smell . . . new books.  So I opened one of my library books and sniffed.  Yep!  There it was, the papery smell of a 2021 book.

4.  One thing I enjoy looking at. . . . the view from my window.  Now I'm looking at the neighborhood from six floors up, but here's a view from my window in 2009.
5.  Something that's my favorite color . . . I found a bright green folder on my bookshelf that was full of coloring pages I had printed out.  One was a copy of what I'd given my friend Evelyn in the summer of 2016, which said, "Happy Birthday, Evelyn!  Here are two pages of flowers (and elephants and cats) for you to color."  Evelyn died in 2019, or I could give it to her again to make her smile (as in #2).  She collected elephants.

6.  Something I'm thankful for in nature . . .  the birds.  A bird landed on our windowsill the other day, but flew off rapidly when Clawdia lunged at it.  The bird must have been able to see her through the glass as she suddenly got near.  Donna's cat Sammy once had a bird friend who would come to their window day after day, and bird and cat would chat.

7.  Something I can use to make a gift for a friend . . . my knowledge of music.  Debbie and Gail want me to teach them to play the piano.  I can get them started, using beginners books.

8.  Something that is useful for me . . . and the first thing that sprang to mind was my "screens":  the laptop I'm using to type this, the iPhone beside me, and the Kindle over there beside my easy chair.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Laundry list

Idiom of the Day

laun·dry list /ˈlôndrē ˌlist/ noun = a long or exhaustive list of things.  Example:  "Here's my laundry list of things to do today."
One item on my long to-do list really IS laundry.  It's mid-afternoon, and I haven't gotten around to it yet.  According to the monthly calendar I post from the Action for Happiness folks, this is what I should do today:  "September 12 ~ Get active outside, and give your mind and body a natural boost."  It's even a sunny day, and it isn't raining.  I decided early today that I would at least walk around the block.  I haven't done it yet.  Okay, my excuse it that it's 88° out there right now, and it feels like 90°.
Another example:  "Here's my laundry list of books I want to read."  No, I promise not to give you the whole list, but here's one I want to read soon:

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, 2020, fiction, 288 pages ~ "Between life and death there is a library ... And within that library, the shelves go on for ever.  Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived.  To see how things would be if you had made other choices ... Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?"

On my to-do list every day, whether it gets done or not, is blogging.  I've gotten this far, since I've almost written enough to call this a blog post.  There's even a book on it!  Yay!  By the way, this book came from my friend Donna's library.

I recently wrote about the good taste of cheddar cheese and a plum together.  Today, I can report that I tried another plum with Swiss cheese.  It's good, but I enjoyed the plum with sharp cheddar more.  And if you are interested, here's an article on The History of 'Laundry List' you can read.

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

Friday, September 10, 2021

Beginning ~ with a woman in a wheelchair

First Steps

The date is November 11, 1982.  On a Midwest college campus, news photographers crowd into a cluttered electronics laboratory.  They jostle each other for camera angles.  Those who come in last stand on tables or chairs in the back of the lab.  A TV camera feeds a view of the scene to the next room.  Here reporters from all over the United States and several other countries watch.

All eyes and cameras are on a young blond woman sitting in a wheelchair on a low platform.  Her legs are almost hidden in tangles of wires and straps.

Jerrold Petrofsky: Biomedical Pioneer (People of Distinction Series) ~ by Timothy Gaffney, 1984, juvenile biography, 109 pages
Discusses the achievements of a scientist at Wright State University who learned to use electronic stimulation to help people paralyzed after spinal cord injuries recover enough to move and even walk again.  Jerry Petrofsky died earlier this year; I know that because his daughter is one of my Facebook friends.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Library Loot ~ September 8 to 14, 2021

Retirement Is a Full-Time Job: And You're the Boss! ~ by Bonnie Louise Kuchler, 2009, humor, 9/10

"The cure for boredom is curiosity.  There is no cure for curiosity." ~ Dorothy Parker

"There is always a lot to be thankful for.  For example, I'm sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt." ~ Unknown

"The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been." ~ Madeleine L'Engle

Signspotting: Absurd and Amusing Signs from Around the World
~ compiled by Doug Lansky, 2005, humor

The sign in the middle is my favorite even before I read the book:  "Not a Through Street" is also an "Evacuation Route."  Yikes!  Need I say more?

Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It
 ~ by Ethan Kross, 2021, self-help

Acclaimed psychologist Ethan Kross explores the silent conversations we have with ourselves.  Interweaving groundbreaking behavioral and brain research from his own lab with real-world case studies — from a pitcher who forgets how to pitch, to a Harvard undergrad negotiating her double life as a spy — Kross explains how these conversations shape our lives, work, and relationships.  He warns that giving in to negative and disorienting self-talk — what he calls "chatter" — can tank our health, sink our moods, strain our social connections, and cause us to fold under pressure.  The good news is that we’re already equipped with the tools we need to make our inner voice work in our favor.  These tools are often hidden in plain sight — in the words we use to think about ourselves, the technologies we embrace, the diaries we keep in our drawers, the conversations we have with our loved ones, and the cultures we create in our schools and workplaces.  This book gives us the power to change the most important conversation we have each day:  the one we have with ourselves.
Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age 
~ by Sanjay Gupta, 2021, self-help

This book debunks common myths about aging and cognitive decline, explores whether there’s a "best" diet or exercise regimen for the brain, and explains whether it’s healthier to play video games that test memory and processing speed, or to engage in more social interaction.  Discover what we can learn from "super-brained" people who are in their eighties and nineties with no signs of slowing down — and whether there are truly any benefits to drugs, supplements, and vitamins.  Dr. Gupta also addresses brain disease, particularly Alzheimer’s, answers all your questions about the signs and symptoms, and shows how to ward against it and stay healthy while caring for a partner in cognitive decline.  He likewise provides you with a personalized twelve-week program featuring practical strategies to strengthen your brain every day.

She Wouldn't Change a Thing
 ~ by Sarah Adlakha, 2021, speculative fiction

A wife and mother is given the chance to start over at the risk of losing everything she loves.  A second chance is the last thing she wants.  When 39-year-old Maria Forssmann wakes up in her 17-year-old body, she doesn’t know how she got there.  All she does know is she has to get back:  to her home in Bienville, Mississippi, to her job as a successful psychiatrist, and to her husband, daughters, and unborn son.  But she also knows that, in only a few weeks, a devastating tragedy will strike her husband, a tragedy that will lead to their meeting each other. Can she change time and still keep what it has given her?  This novel explores the responsibilities love lays on us, the complicated burdens of motherhood, and the rippling impact of our choices.

Crime & Punctuation
 (Deadly Edits, Book 1 of 4) ~ by Kaitlyn Dunnett, 2018, cozy mystery

After splurging to buy her childhood home in the Catskills, recently widowed Mikki Lincoln emerges from retirement as a freelance editor.  With her ability to spot details that others fail to see, it’s not long before Mikki earns clients — and realizes that the village of Lenape Hollow isn’t the thriving tourist destination it was decades ago.  Not with a murderer on the loose.  When perky novice writer Tiffany Scott knocks at her door holding a towering manuscript, Mikki expects another debut novel plagued by typos and sloppy prose.  Instead, she finds a murder mystery ripped from the headlines of Lenape Hollow’s not-too-distant past.  The opening scene is a graphic page-turner, but it sends a real chill down Mikki’s spine after the young author turns up dead just like the victim in her story.  Mikki refuses to believe that Tiffany’s death was accidental, and suspicions of foul play solidify as she uncovers a strange inconsistency in the manuscript and a possible motive in the notes.  Then there’s Tiffany’s grandmother and husband, who aren’t exactly on friendly terms over the local area’s planned rejuvenation efforts.  Unable to convince police that they are focused on the wrong suspect, Mikki must rely on her keen eyes to catch the truth hidden in Lenape Hollow.  As she gets closer to cracking the case, only one person takes Mikki’s investigation seriously — the cunning killer who will do anything to make this chapter of her life come to a very abrupt ending.

Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family ~ by Mitch Albom, 2021, memoir

Mitch Albom wrote at the end of The Next Person You Meet in Heaven (2018):  "The Next Person is about the mistakes we think we make, and how they are part of what connects us to the human core.  Finding Chika is about how those same connections allow us, at any age, even with the most unlikely pairings, to make a family."  So I put this book on reserve.

Chika Jeune was born three days before the devastating earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010.  She spent her infancy in a landscape of extreme poverty, and when her mother died giving birth to a baby brother, Chika was brought to The Have Faith Haiti Orphanage that Albom operates in Port Au Prince.  With no children of their own, the forty-plus children who live, play, and go to school at the orphanage have become family to Mitch and his wife, Janine.  Chika’s arrival makes a quick impression.  Brave and self-assured, even as a three-year-old, she delights the other kids and teachers.  But at age five, Chika is suddenly diagnosed with something a doctor there says, “No one in Haiti can help you with.”

Mitch and Janine bring Chika to Detroit, hopeful that American medical care can soon return her to her homeland.  Instead, Chika becomes a permanent part of their household, and their lives, as they embark on a two-year, around-the-world journey to find a cure.  As Chika’s boundless optimism and humor teach Mitch the joys of caring for a child, he learns that a relationship built on love, no matter what blows it takes, can never be lost.  Told in hindsight, and through illuminating conversations with Chika herself, this is Albom at his most poignant and vulnerable.

Today, my books are from Crown Center's library and the University City Library.  Library Loot is a weekly event (co-hosted by Claire at The Captive Reader and Sharlene at Real Life Reading) that encourages us to share the library books we’ve checked out.  To join us, add the link to your blog post to this week's Mr. Linky anytime during the week.  Be sure to look at what other folks got.