Thursday, March 31, 2022

Talking on Thursday

Who?  Would it be an author?  Your best friend?  Someone from the past?  Your mother?  Your childhood friend?  A "celebrity"?  (I have never understood being fascinated by someone who is famous for being well-known.)  The next question would be:  "What would you choose to talk about?"  A book?  A mystery you've always wondered about?  Their plans for the future?

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Queue and other word oddities

To learn more about a queue, which is a line of people, read this article in The Guardian.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Musing on a Monday

Here are the books I will NOT be reading this week.  Today, I've started reading The Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbury by Marc Levy (2011), a 283-page novel.  (Click the title read what I posted about it recently.)

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Books, libraries, WindowSwap, and groceries

My books are always calling me!  I am currently reading the book I shared in my Book Beginnings on Friday post a couple of days ago:  A Tuscan Memory by Angela Petch, 2020, fiction (Italy), 272 pages.

We had a visit from David of the University City Library on March 3rd, meeting in our little library at Crown Center.  Here he is talking to me during his visit.  The University City Library sends books every three weeks to seniors all over the community who sign up for the program.  The library folks choose books based on our general interest or our favorite authors.  Some of us reserve books that we choose ourselves, if we know how to use a computer to make our own reservations.  So I've been talking to Dave (or now, his new helper Loretta) every three weeks for several years.  The next time Dave or Loretta calls, I'll say I'm reading from my own shelves for now, as I posted on Monday.

Dave is on the left in the photo above with Ris
é, Mary, Sandy, and me (with my hand on Sandy's mobile chair).  Since Donna died, Risé and I are the only ones still re-shelving books.  I really do appreciate Risé a lot; she's doing most of the work culling our bookshelves these days so that we can add recent donations.

It's been awhile since I shared the link to WindowSwap.  Each time you click on the link, you see a new window from somewhere in the world.  I just now looked out a window in Turkey, one in Spain, one in India looking onto a courtyard, and another in France with birds flying past a high-rise.  This link has been really great during the two years of the COVID pandemic, part of which was lockdown and not going anywhere at all.  This photo shows a window view in Switzerland.

Our Circle@Crown Café now has Grab & Go grocery goods:  bread, milk, eggs, butter, cheese, sweets, juice, water, and soda.  It's really convenient to "walk" to the store in the other building, right here on the grounds of our senior retirement center, when all we need is one or two of the basics.  I'm frequently in the Café anyway, having lunch with a friend or three, and can grab what I need.  To get a regular load of groceries, I sign up for one of the weekly bus trips to the store.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Reading cozy mysteries, continues (finally)

Pastries and Pilfering (Margot Durand Cozy Mystery, Book 3 of 12) ~ by Danielle Collins, 2017, cozy mystery (California and Mexico), 180 pages
Margot Durand is running a growing bakery business in a quaint little town near Washington DC.  When she attempts to take a vacation on a cruise ship, mystery follows.  What starts as a small time case of robbery, quickly turns into murder.  Can Margot solve the mystery before someone else goes overboard?
Okay, I kind of bogged down on reading cozy mysteries for my Cruisin' thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2022.  In other words, I managed to read two books.  That's 2, as in TWO.  Yes, two in three months.  I picked up Donna's Kindle, the one I adopted after she died, and have started reading the third of three that I mentioned way back on December 10th.  I am determined to get to ten, though the first two did NOT convince me I'm a reader of cozies.  Okay, pilfering, not piddling around.

Word of the Day
Definition of piddle around = to waste time doing something that is not important or useful.  Example:  "I really will stop piddling around and get busy reading this book."

Friday, March 25, 2022

Two beginnings ~ then and now


Giuseppe, 1917.   Mornings were steel-edged now, water on the village font ice-crisp.  Instead of clear blue skies, tatters of cloud stuck fast between firs on the mountain slopes and leaves on the beech trees dropped yellow and rust to the forest floor.  Some days our village floated upon a sea of clouds, forming an island, heralding the separation from the rest of the world that winter would bring.


Francesco peered at his son over the top of his newspaper, the Corriere della Sera.  Davide was flat on his back on the stone floor of their converted stable, La Stalla, bouncing a tennis ball off the beams of the large sitting room.

"Davi, I'm only going to ask you once more to stop that, or there'll be trouble.  You're going to break something."

A Tuscan Memory ~ by Angela Petch, 2020, fiction (Italy), 272 pages

Italy, 1923.  In a tiny hamlet nestled in the Tuscan mountains, farmers gather after a hard day in the meadows, and children’s laughter rings across the square:  but one little boy does not join in their play.  Behind his deep brown eyes hides a heartbreaking secret.

Ninety years later.  When elderly Giselda Chiozzi discovers a lost little boy, curled up asleep in the beech forest outside her grand but empty home, she can’t help but take pity on him.  It’s been a long time since she had a visitor.  Waking up to her kind smile and the warming smell of Italian hot chocolate, Davide soon blurts out what drove him into the cold Tuscan night:  how he’s different from everyone else, he’s never belonged anywhere, and now his beloved mother is ill.

Giselda promises to help Davide trace his family history – she knows better than anyone that connecting with your roots can ground you in the present – and hopes it will make Davide realize that home is where he truly belongs.  Together the unlikely pair discover the story of Davide’s great-grandfather, Giuseppe Starnucci, a young boy who spent his days milking cows, helping with the harvest, and hammering horseshoes in the forge.  But after a terrible incident that changed his life forever, Giuseppe also ran away.

David is overjoyed to find a connection with someone from his family at long last, but when Giselda uncovers the shocking reason why little Giuseppe fled to start a new life, she has an impossible decision to make.  Telling Davide the truth about his great-grandfather could persuade him to go back home where he belongs.  But could it also tear the family apart?  All Giselda knows is that she must save this lost boy before her own time runs out and he is left alone for good.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Sew, is this punny?

That guy writes songs about sewing machines.
He's a Singer songwriter, or sew it seams.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Musing on Monday

Reading report

I've decided to quit getting books from the library.  Why?  Because I have an entire library in my apartment (on shelves and in boxes), a storage unit full of boxes from the bookstore Donna and I owned 20 years ago, 438 books on my Kindle, and 331 books on Donna's Kindle (which her sister let me "inherit").

So . . . I've decided to read my own books.  Doing exactly that is, after all, one of my reading challenges.  The goal of the TBR 22 in '22 Challenge is to read 22 books from my TBR shelves in 2022.  (TBR is shorthand for "to be read.")

Monday is a good day to share this report on getting older.
I'm sure you are pleased to hear this "news."  LOL.

Children's books that I read yesterday

Measuring Up ~ by Lily LaMotte, illustrated by Ann Xu, 2020, children's comic, 208 pages, 9/10

Twelve-year-old Cici has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle, and the only thing she wants more than to fit in at her new school is to celebrate her grandmother, A-má’s, seventieth birthday together.  Since she can’t go to A-má, Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kids' cooking contest to pay for A-má’s plane ticket.  There’s just one problem:  Cici only knows how to cook Taiwanese food.  And after her pickled cucumber debacle at lunch, she’s determined to channel her inner Julia Child.  Can Cici find a winning recipe to reunite with A-má, a way to fit in with her new friends, and somehow find herself too?

~ written and illustrated by Anne Appert, 2021, children's picture book, 40 pages,10/10

Blob is a creature of indeterminate kind.  Blob can be a giraffe, cotton candy, and even an octopus.  It’s not until a certain someone continuously calls them "Bob" that Blob starts to question who they really are.  After a series of funny yet enlightening discoveries about all the possible things they can be, Blob realizes that the best thing to be is . . . Blob. (With the L.)

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners ~ by Joanna Ho, illustrated by Dung Ho, 2021, picture book, 40 pages, 10/10 

A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from the eyes of her peers.  They have big, round eyes and long lashes.  She realizes that her eyes are like her mother's, her grandmother's, and her little sister's.  They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.  Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment.


  • I am Abraham Lincoln (Ordinary People Change the World)
  • I am George Washington (Ordinary People Change the World)
  • I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World)
  • Five books about famous people:

    1. I Am Jackie Robinson ~ by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos, 2015, children's picture book, 40 pages, 8/10
    2. I Am Rosa Parks ~ by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos, 2014, children's picture book, 40 pages, 8/10
    3. I Am Martin Luther King, Jr. ~ by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos, 2016, children's picture book, 32 pages, 8/10
    4. I Am George Washington ~ by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos, 2016, children's picture book, 40 pages, 8/10
    5. I Am Abraham Lincoln ~ by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos, 2014, children's picture book, 40 pages, 8/10

    Sunday, March 20, 2022

    International Day of Happiness ~ and the first day of spring

    It is also the first day of spring.  Here's Calvin to celebrate with us.

    Snoopy wants to share the day with us.  Let's dance with him.

    Sunday Salon ~ Kindle books

    The Lighthouse Sisters ~ by Gill Thompson, 2022, historical fiction, 439 pages, 10/10
    1996:  The war may have ended decades earlier, but for the elegant woman sitting alone now, the images live on in her memory:  her sister's carefree laughter, the inky black of a German soldier's boots, the little boats that never came back.  And the one constant through it all:  the lighthouse that always guided them back to the island.

    1940:  For sisters Alice and Jenny life is just beginning when the Nazis seize control of the island of Jersey, driving the girls down separate paths.  While Alice is forced by the enemy to work in the German hospital, Jenny is attracted to the circle of islanders rising up to resist the occupiers.  As the war tightens its grip, it will cause each of the sisters to make an extraordinary choice, experience unimaginable heartbreak, and emerge forever changed.
    My Favorites: A Collection of Short Stories ~ by Ben Bova, 2020, science fiction, 247 pages
    Exploring the boundaries of the genre, Bova not only writes of spaceships, aliens, and time travel in most of his titles, but also speculates on the beginnings of science fiction in "Scheherazade and the Storytellers," as well as the morality of man in "The Angel’s Gift."  Stories such as "The Café Coup" and "We’ll Always Have Paris" dip into speculative historical fiction, asking questions about what would happen if someone could change history for the better.  This ecollection includes:  "Monster Slayer," "Muzhestvo," "We’ll Always Have Paris," "The Great Moon Hoax, or A Princess of Mars," "Inspiration," "Scheherazade and the Storytellers," "The Supersonic Zeppelin," "Mars Farts," "The Man Who Hated Gravity," "Sepulcher," "The Café Coup," "The Angel’s Gift," "Waterbot," and "Sam and the Flying Dutchman."  I'm in the process of reading this book now.
    The Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbury ~ by Marc Levy, translated from French by Chris Murray, 2011, fiction, 283 pages
    Alice Pendelbury believes everything in her life is pretty much in order — from her good friends to her burgeoning career.  But even Alice has to admit it’s been an odd week.  Not only has her belligerent neighbor, Mr. Daldry, suddenly become a surprisingly agreeable confidant, but he’s encouraging her to take seriously the fortune-teller who told her that only by traveling to Turkey can Alice meet the most important person in her life.  What’s more, the peculiarly insistent Mr. Daldry has even agreed to finance Alice’s trip — one that against all reason seems to be predestined.  It’s on this journey, crazy from the outset and strangely irresistible, that Alice will find out that nothing in her life is real, that her past is not true, and that the six people she’s about to encounter will shape her future in ways she could never have dreamed.  I don't remember buying this in April 2021, but it sounds intriguing right now, so I'll probably read it next.
    Men wrapped in the Ukrainian flag at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

    Thursday, March 17, 2022

    Irish proverb ~ on St. Patrick's Day

    Clawdia approves of this Irish saying.

    Grumpy Cat in the spirit of things today.

    I ought to do this myself

    I'm NOT writing it (yet), but maybe such a book really OUGHT to be written.  Since I make daily to-do lists, I already have lots and lots of notes.  Making a book would also allow me to avoid actually doing what I OUGHT to be doing.

    Wednesday, March 16, 2022

    Punday ~ should I make it a daily thing?

    Older folks should "get" this one, for sure!  Every week, I put my pills in the weekly pill box.  My seven sections are labeled S-M-T-W-T-F-S.  In other words, my week starts on Sunday.  I'm surprised these Vikings have a pill container starting on Monday.

    This is a book blog, so here's a bookish word:  booktrovert (/'buk·trəˌvərt/).  Yeah, I keep company with fictional characters on a regular basis, but I also read nonfiction.  Maybe looking at it this way would be helpful:
    • An introvert is one whose energy is renewed by spending time alone.
    • An extrovert is one whose energy is renewed by partying or spending time with other folks.
    • A booktrovert is one whose energy is renewed by reading.
    Okay, this last one is humorous, but adding this third category is fun for me to ponder.  From what I've read in Wikipedia, introvert and extrovert are considered by most experts to be a continuum.  An introvert is not necessarily shy, which is a totally different kind of category.  Partying is more draining for an introvert, whereas it energizes an extrovert.  Both may love reading, but maybe it's true that some folks gain energy by reading.  I'm open to that possibility.

    For my friend, the court reporter

    This is for you, Jane.  I know you are not a novelist and don't want to be one.

    I before E except after C

    How many exceptions to the "rule" do you count here and in the mugs below?

    Merriam-Webster says that the "I before E except after C" rule is highly inconsistent in the English language and should not be considered a solid rule.  Some exceptions include weird, forfeit, albeit, glacier, and seize, all of which break this well-known saying. ... Smart people tried to adapt the rule to actually follow English spelling.  That's where we got this variant:  "I before E except after C, or when sounded as 'A' as in neighbor and weigh."

    This mug uses different exceptions to the "rule" that seems made to be broken.

    Here are more exceptions to the "rule" that seems to be no rule at all.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2022

    TWOsday ~ Maus I and Maus II

    Maus I: My Father Bleeds History ~ by Art Spiegelman, 1986, history (Poland/New York), 160 pages, 7/10
    Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began ~ by Art Spiegelman, 1992, history, 144 pages, DNF
    A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.  Widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written, Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats.
    I got through the first book, but this is definitely NOT a good time (for me, at least) to read this.  So I DNF (did not finish) the second book.  Nancy the Bookfool read and reviewed Maus so she could judge its merits for herself after reading that Tennessee school board members didn't want these books on library shelves.  She recommends Maus, but I can't read any more of it right now.  Maybe never.

    Monday, March 14, 2022

    Coyotes behind apartments near me

    Someone living near me posted on our neighborhood listserv on January 22:

    "I live in the Bel Aire Apartments on Delcrest Dr., which back up to woods in between us and the Clayton HS football field and track.  There are coyotes in those woods now, and a company has been hired to trap them and take them away.  Just beware."

    That's scary, since lots of people in my neighborhood walk and jog every day. Those woods are inside the fence that runs by the sidewalk I use to walk to the grocery store.  I found the photo from the local newspaper by searching online.

    Sunday, March 13, 2022

    Sunday Salon ~ and (more) Library Loot

    If you wore this and a friend asked, what book would you talk about?

    Miss Rumphius ~ written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, 1982, children's picture book, 32 pages, 10/10
    I've written about this book several times, because it's one of my favorites.  In 2009, I shared that it was one of my fifteen favorite books.  Today, I'm simply reporting that I borrowed it from my local library and have read it again.  I'm sure you are not surprised that I still rate it 10/10.
    Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters
    ~ by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy, 2018, YA biography, 176 pages, 9/10
    Books allow us to experience other lives.  Like reading about Madeleine L'Engle, one of my favorite authors, as seen through the eyes of her granddaughters.  They are also good writers, as you can see by the 9/10 rating that I gave the book.
    Since those are both library books, I think I'll label this post "Library Loot" as well as "Sunday Salon."  Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.  Claire has Mr. Linky this week.
    Empire State Building in NYC lit up in colors in support of Ukraine.  Getty Images, Gary Hershorn.

    Here's the Ukrainian flag.