Monday, October 31, 2022

Nonfiction November ~ covers five weeks

These five bloggers invite us to join in the Nonfiction November challenge:
  1. Katie at Doing Dewey
  2. Rennie at What’s Nonfiction?
  3. Jami at The OC Book Girl
  4. Christopher at Plucked from the Stacks
  5. Rebekah at She Seeks Nonfiction
Here’s the lineup of assignments for this year:

Week 1:  (Oct 31-Nov 4) – Your Year in Nonfiction
Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?  Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?  What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?  What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?  (Katie @ Doing Dewey)
Week 2:  (November 7-11) – Book Pairing
This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title (or another nonfiction).  It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together.  Maybe it’s a historical novel, and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.  Or pair a book with a podcast, film, or documentary, TV show, etc. on the same topic or stories that pair together.  (Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction?)
Week 3:  (November 14-18) – Stranger Than Fiction
This week we’re focusing on all the great nonfiction books that almost don’t seem real.  A sports biography involving overcoming massive obstacles, a profile on a bizarre scam, a look into the natural wonders in our world — basically, if it makes your jaw drop, you can highlight it for this week’s topic.  (Christopher @ Plucked from the Stacks)
Week 4:  (November 21-25) – Worldview Changers
One of the greatest things about reading nonfiction is learning all kinds of things about our world which you never would have known without it.  There’s the intriguing, the beautiful, the appalling, and the profound.  What nonfiction book or books has impacted the way you see the world in a powerful way?  Do you think there is one book that everyone needs to read for a better understanding of the world we live in?  (Rebekah @ She Seeks Nonfiction)
Week 5:  (November 28-Dec 2) – New to My TBR*
It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books.  Which ones have made it onto your TBR?  Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book.  Pro tip:  Start this draft post at the beginning of the month, and add to it as your TBR multiplies.  (Jaymi @ The OC Book Girl)

* TBR = To Be Read, meaning the list (or stack) of books you hope to read.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Library Loot and Sunday Salon

One World: A Global Anthology of Short Stories ~ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jhumpa Lahiri, and 21 other authors, 2009, short stories, 192 pages

This book is made up of twenty-three stories, each from a different author from across the globe.  All belong to one world, united in their diversity and ethnicity. And together they have one aim: to involve and move the reader.  The range of authors takes in such literary greats as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jhumpa Lahiri.  The members of the collective are:
  1. Elaine Chiew (Malaysia)
  2. Molara Wood (Nigeria)
  3. Jhumpa Lahiri (United States)
  4. Martin A Ramos (Puerto Rico)
  5. Lauri Kubutsile (Botswana)
  6. Chika Unigwe (Nigeria)
  7. Ravi Mangla (United States)
  8. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
  9. Skye Brannon (United States)
  10. Jude Dibia (Nigeria)
  11. Shabnam Nadiya (Bangladesh)
  12. Petina Gappah (Zimbabwe)
  13. Ivan Gabirel Reborek (Australia)
  14. Vanessa Gebbie (Britain)
  15. Emmanual Dipita Kwa (Cameroon)
  16. Henrietta Rose-Innes (South Africa)
  17. Lucinda Nelson Dhavan (India)
  18. Adetokunbo Abiola (Nigeria)
  19. Wadzanai Mhute (Zimbabwe)
  20. Konstantinos Tzikas (Greece)
  21. Ken Kamoche (Kenya)
  22. Sequoia Nagamatsu (United States)
  23. Ovo Adagha (Nigeria)
The concept of One World is often a multi-colored tapestry into which sundry, if not contending patterns can be woven.  For those of us who worked on this project, ‘One World’ goes beyond the everyday notion of the globe as a physical geographic entity.  Rather, we understand it as a universal idea, one that transcends national boundaries to comment on the most prevailing aspects of the human condition. This attempt to redefine the borders of the world we live in through the short story recognizes the many conflicting issues of race, language, economy, gender and ethnicity, which separate and limit us.  We readily acknowledge, however, that regardless of our differences or the disparities in our stories, we are united by our humanity.  We invite the reader on a personal journey across continents, countries, cultures and landscapes, to reflect on these beautiful, at times chaotic, renditions on the human experience.  We hope the reach of this path will transcend the borders of each story, and perhaps function as an agent of change.
I look forward to reading Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Third and Final Continent," since I really enjoyed her novel The Namesake — which was the very first book I wrote about when I started blogging on January 30, 2007.  Click HERE or on the title to read that post.  Want some irony?  Lahiri may have been the FIRST author on this blog, but she's the LAST author in this book of short stories.  Saving the best for last, maybe?  The picture (photo credit to The Economic Times) shows Obama presenting her the National Humanities medal in 2014.  I found this book in the Crown Center's library.

Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

It's National Cat Day ~ and Clawdia is feline fine!

National Cat Day is celebrated in the United States on October 29th.  It was created by Colleen Paige to bring awareness to the number of cats that need to be rescued each year.  I rescued Clawdia in 2015, so it's fitting that she and I should celebrate together on this day of the week that I've been calling CATurday for several years now.  I'll give her extra treats and maybe spend extra time letting her chase the little red dot around.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Beginning ~ with an inheritance


I shoved my head under the pillow and groaned.  It was six a.m.  I could easily remember the days when I could sleep until 9 or 10.  "Those were the days," I said ruefully, even though in reality, it had only been a few months prior; and besides, twenty-five was much too young to be ruing the day.

When my mother's only sister, Aunt Alice, had passed away three months ago, I'd been surprised to learn that I had been remembered in the will.  When I had first heard the news, I thought that she might have left me some much-needed cash or perhaps a piece of heirloom jewelry to remember her by.  I'd gone to visit Alice many times during my summers as a teenager.  She'd been tough and opinionated, and I could see myself in her shoes as an adult.

When the lawyer had said "Maeve Kincaid, being my only niece," at the reading of the will, I'd perked up, wondering what I would get.  Numerous wonderful possibilities crossed my mind.

I would never have guessed that it would be a food truck.

Murder to Go (Food Truck Mysteries #1) ~ by Chloe Kendrick, 2015, cozy mystery, 149 pages, 6/10

Maeve Kinkaid expects a few speed bumps when she inherits a food truck from her aunt; instead, she gets a detour through some deadly hairpin turns.  Despite the sudden loss of her aunt, Maeve Kinkaid is thrilled when she inherits the popular food truck Dogs on the Roll.  She has no idea how cutthroat the food industry can be.  She meets a Basque chef whose interest in her is overshadowed by his desire to possess the food truck, which he insists Maeve’s aunt promised to leave to him.  And when the owner of a rival food truck is decapitated and served up like a gruesome new dish, Maeve becomes embroiled in a mystery that may cost her the food truck, the chef, and her life.

This is another book I found on Donna's Kindle, and it looked somewhat interesting to me.  So I read the short (149-page) book.  Donna rated it 3 stars (of 5), like my 6/10.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Another book in the Crown Center library

Leak in the Heart: Tales from a Woman's Life ~ by Faye Moskowitz, 1985, autobiography (Michigan), 224 pages

These are twenty-four autobiographical story-essays, witty, vulnerable, and wise, about growing up part of a puzzled and unassimilated Orthodox Jewish family in a Michigan small-town in the 1930s and 1940s and about the wider world of marriage, children, teaching, and writing after that rich beginning.

When I re-shelved books in the Crown Center library, I noticed this one, which looks interesting.  It's with the nonfiction books, if you want to take a look at it.  Maybe I'll read it for Nonfiction November, which is coming up quickly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

A book in the Crown Center library

Atlas of Unknowns
 ~ by Tania James, 2009, humorous fiction (India and New York), 338 pages

Two sisters yearn to disappear into another country.  Linno is a gifted artist, despite a childhood accident that has left her badly maimed, and Anju is one of the most promising students of Kerala (a state on India's tropical Malabar Coast).  Both girls dream of coming to the United States, but it is Anju who wins a scholarship to a prestigious school in New York.  She seizes it, even though it means lying and betraying her sister.  When her lie is discovered, Anju disappears.  Back in Kerala, Linno is undergoing a transformation of her own.  But when she learns of Anju’s disappearance, Linno strikes out farther still, with a scheme to procure a visa so that she can come to America to look for her sister and save them both.

When I re-shelved books in the Crown Center library, I noticed this book.  It looks interesting, and it's on the fiction shelves alphabetically by author.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The mysteries continue ~ two more on TWOsday

Dying Before "I Do" #7 ~ by Jennifer Fitzwater, 2014, mystery, 227 pages
Love and murder:  two words that should never go together.  But when Jennifer and long-time beau Sam Culpepper finally decide to tie the knot, murder rears its ugly head to intervene.  Now Jennifer has more to contend with than choosing colors and flowers for the most important day of her life.  She and Sam must thwart whoever is bent on keeping the secrets of an old kidnapping case.  One man is dead, and young reporter Teague McAfee is next in line.  Jennifer finds herself embroiled in a twisty tale of love gone wrong, while dodging her friends who are determined to give Jennifer and Sam the perfect wedding.
Dying at Honeymoon Inn #8
 ~ by Judy Fitzwater, 2015, mystery, 204 pages

Jennifer and Sam are going on their honeymoon!  Sounds wonderful, except that Jennifer has no idea where Sam is taking her.  It's the middle of winter, so it has to be someplace warm with plenty of sand and sun, right?  She's surprised when she finds herself in the middle of a snowstorm in Pennsylvania in what's advertised as a "haunted" mansion for a murder mystery weekend.  She's intrigued, especially by the amazing special effects created by the inn's owner, Rex Ferris.

But things seldom go smoothly for Jennifer, and when a fellow diner face plants into her coconut cream pie and dies from a seizure, Jennifer suspects murder.  After all, the victim is on a girls' weekend with her frenemies from college.  Who could possibly want her dead, except every one of them?  The only thing certain is the killer is still nearby, trapped by three-feet of snow and dangerous travel conditions.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Which is it?

1.  Which is correct to say?
  • The milk the cow is drinking is white.
  • The milk the cow are drinking is white.
2.  How many women do you see in this famous drawing?

I'll put the correct answers in a comment below after some of you answer.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

A chatfest and a mystery series

Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View
~ by Ramin Setoodeh, 2019, nonfiction, 336 pages

When Barbara Walters launched The View, network executives told her that hosting it would tarnish her reputation.  Instead, within ten years, she had revolutionized morning TV and made household names of her co-hosts:  Joy Behar, Star Jones, Meredith Vieira, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  But the daily chatfest* didn’t just comment on the news; it became the news.

Based on unprecedented access, including interviews with nearly every host, journalist Ramin Setoodeh takes you backstage where the stars really spoke their minds.  Here's the full story of how Star, then Rosie, then Whoopi tried to take over the show, while Barbara struggled to maintain control of it all, a modern-day Lear with her media-savvy daughters.  Read about how so many co-hosts had a tough time fitting in, suffered humiliations at the table, then pushed themselves away, feeling betrayed ― with one nearly quitting during a commercial.  The director, meanwhile, was being driven insane, especially by Rosie.

Setoodeh uncovers the truth about Star’s weight loss and wedding madness, Rosie’s feud with Trump, Whoopi’s toxic relationship with Rosie, Barbara’s difficulty stepping away.  Plus, all the unseen hugs, snubs, and tears.  This book shows why The View can be mimicked and mocked, but it can never be matched.

This is one of Donna's hardback books that her sister let me have.  It has eight pages of color photos in the middle, like this one of Michelle Obama fist bumping Elizabeth when she was a guest co-host on June 18, 2008.  I'm about to read it, so I don't know details yet.  However, it seems telling to me that these are the three sections between prologue and epilogue:
  • Prologue:  Out, Damned Cohost
  • Part One:  Barbara's View
  • Part Two:  Rosie's View
  • Part Three:  Whoopi's View
  • Epilogue:  Trump's View
Word of the Day*

Chatfest is short for "chatting festival," where two or more people engage in constant conversation for a long period of time.

The Jennifer Marsh Mysteries

Dying to Remember #4 ~ by Jennifer Fitzwater, 2000, mystery, 272 pages
Twelve years ago Jimmy Mitchell disappeared the night of Jennifer Marsh’s prom, and now her good friend Leigh Ann is desperate for Jennifer to accompany her to their high school reunion.  Nothing could make her go back to confront Sheena Cassidy, the backbiting, mean-spirited, boyfriend-stealing junior squad cheerleader who made her life a living hell — nothing except a note from Sheena’s now husband Danny Buckner, Jennifer’s first love and prom date, who is pleading for her help with something that happened on that horrendous prom night. But when she gets to the reunion, Danny barely has a chance to speak with Jennifer before he’s drawn away by one of his in-crowd. Less than an hour later Danny’s dead in the parking lot, an apparent suicide. And Gavin Lawless, budding singer/song writer and the love of Leigh Ann’s life, has returned to dredge up exactly what happened to Jimmy Mitchell that dreadful night twelve years ago that left Gavin with repressed memories and war hero Ben Underwood under a cloud of suspicion in Jimmy’s disappearance.
Dying to Be Murdered #5 ~ by Jennifer Fitzwater, 2011, mystery, 199 pages
Mary Ashton is convinced someone is going to murder her, and that there’s nothing she can do to stop it. But what she can do is hire unpublished mystery writer Jennifer Marsh to record her final days, so her killer won’t get away with it. Mary may seem a little loony, but she’s one of Macon’s leading socialites, or at least she was until the competency hearing. AND she’s offering Jennifer $1,000 a week to stay in her home, the historic Ashton mansion, reputed to be haunted by a Civil War heroine. The money’s too good to turn down, especially for a starving writer, so Jennifer agrees. And what’s the harm? Why would anyone want Mary Ashton dead? But the first night at the mansion, Jennifer’s awakened by blood curdling screams coming from Mary’s room, which is directly beneath her own. Trapped in her room, Jennifer is helpless. When she finally escapes, she finds a blood-soaked bed straight out of a horror movie but no sign of Mary’s body. Old family secrets and grudges, mysterious deaths, and ghostly lights that move about the mansion lead to a mystery fraught with danger and intrigue.
Dying to Get Her Man #6 ~ by Jennifer Fitzwater, 2012, mystery (Georgia), 332 pages
On the coldest day in Macon, Georgia’s recent history, Suzanne Gray dressed herself in white, tied a blue ribbon in her hair, gathered a bouquet of white roses, typed a suicide note, lay herself down on her lover’s grave, and froze to death.  Or did she?  Suzanne's niece doesn't think so.

Neither does mystery writer Jennifer Marsh.  Not only was the note not signed, but, well, honestly the whole thing sounds fishy to Jennifer and she can't let it go.  Sam Culpepper, the reporter on the case and Jennifer's boyfriend, not only appears to be hiding some of the details from Jennifer, but seems more interested in taking their relationship to the next level than discussing work.  So why, then, does an engagement announcement for Sam and his ex-girlfriend appear in the paper the next day?

Did Suzanne commit suicide or was she murdered?  Did Suzanne’s lover really die from a slip on the stairs?  Does Sam have another relationship that Jennifer knew nothing about?  What will it take to solve these mysteries?  When the bullets start to fly, Jennifer knows that she’d better figure out what's happening, or she'll be paying with more than her heart ... she'll be paying with her life.
Deb at Readerbuzz hosts the Sunday Salon.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Kitty on a bookshelf ~ for Caturday

Cats explore.  My neighbor Sharon sent me this photo of a fuzzy explorer.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Beginning ~ with folks leaving town


Everyone who could leave town had left.  The summer people were long gone, from the day-trippers to the seasonal home owners.  Those retirees who could get out had gotten.

Iced Under (A Maine Clambake Mystery, Book 5) ~ by Barbara Ross, 2017, mystery (Maine), 305 pages, 9/10

The snow is deep in Maine’s Busman’s Harbor, and the mighty rivers are covered in ice.  Snowden Family Clambake Company proprietor Julia Snowden and her mother are hunkered down for the winter when a mysterious package arrives — heating up February with an unexpected case of murder.  Inside the mystery package is an enormous black diamond necklace that once belonged to Julia’s great-grandmother and disappeared in the 1920s.  Who could have sent it — and why?

Julia’s search for clues takes her on a perilous journey through her mother’s troubled family history, from a squabble over the family fortune in "frozen water" to the recent unexplained death of Jacqueline’s long-lost cousin Hugh — who’d been missing and presumed drowned for more than forty years.  To protect her mother’s inheritance, Julia must fend off a small army of feuding relatives, solve the mystery surrounding Hugh’s demise, and get back home before the next blizzard buries them all.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Graphic novel series

InvestiGators (InvestiGators, 1) ~ by John Patrick Green, 2020, graphic novel, 208 pages, 7/10

John Patrick Green's graphic novel series follows the super spy alligator duo the InvestiGators as they travel through the sewers and fight the forces of evil.

InvestiGators: Take the Plunge (InvestiGators, 2) ~ by John Patrick Green, 2020, graphic novel, 208 pages, 7/10

Sewer-loving secret agents Mango and Brash are plunged into a new mystery ― and a BIG mess.  S.U.I.T. headquarters is under attack, and Mango and Brash are going undercover and underground disguised as city sewer workers to unclog a sticky situation.  But when their search for the criminal Crackerdile backfires, the toilets they travel through back up ― and the InvestiGators take the blame for it!

InvestiGators: Off the Hook (InvestiGators, 3) by John Patrick Green, 2021, graphic novel, 208 pages, 7/10

InvestiGators Mango and Brash don their fanciest vests as they fight for the GATOR good.  But not even their hi-tech training programs can prepare them for the return of their greatest nemesis, Crackerdile, in a shocking new form.  Even worse, he’s creating a team of super villains.  Faced with the choice between saving themselves or catching the crooks, can Mango and Brash make sure the gator good prevails?

Apparently, children love these.  I managed to read three of the six in this series, but it's not my thing.  I must be too old, but I don't know how children ages 6-9 even understand wordplay like this:

"He forced me to develop a new type of dough.  A super dough.  A hybrid of cracker, cake, cookie, and bread.  A HYBREAD" (Book 1, p.181).

I also ran across this "comic book" quote at least twice, maybe in all three books that I read:  "Oh, please.  No one's going to believe THAT.  It sounds like something straight out of a comic book!" (Book 3, p. 177).  I rated these books 7/10.

Library Loot is 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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Another day, another book

The Great Pockes ~ by R. B. Taylor, 2021, fiction (England), 267 pages

This novel is set in the latter half of the 1400s in London during the reign of Henry VII, who has a problem.  Several problems, in fact.  His subjects are unhappy with their tax burden, the nobles are unhappy with his leadership, and his claim to the throne is shaky at best.  Now he faces the biggest threat to his rule.  An epidemic is sweeping England, and it is spread by sexual intercourse:  The Pockes, or The Great Pockes, as it is soon known.  It falls to Robert Bacon, a young barber-surgeon, to trace the origin of the disease and find a cure.  But he reckons without the opposition of Henry’s faction-riven, self-seeking, agenda-driven government – and the hostility of the Church, and the physicians, alchemists, and soothsayers who make up the English medical profession.

An online comment:  "A really fascinating account of how a pandemic infection spread across the known world and the reactions to it by statesmen, politicians, and the church."

Word of the Day

pockes ~ this epidemic was caused by a disease with pustules, from what I've been able to understand by googling.  Pustules are small, inflamed, pus-filled, blister-like sores or lesions on the skin.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

A pair of books on TWOsday

Roads to Meaning and Resilience with Cancer ~ by Morhaf Al Achkar, 2019, self-help, 214 pages

Here are forty stories of coping, finding meaning, and building resilience while living with incurable lung cancer.  They share their experiences, hopes, and strengths to find meaning.  How exactly do we find meaning?  How do people find strength?  And how do people develop resilience?  How do they keep going?  Morhaf Al Achkar obtained his Ph.D in education and is currently a practicing family physician at the University of Washington.  He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, his research has focused on the experiences of patients living with cancer.  The author interviewed 39 patients who live, like him, with advanced illness.  He explored how these patients find meaning, cope, and build resilience.  Learn coping strategies to build your individual resilience.
Being Authentic: A Memoir ~ by Morhaf Al Achkar, 2020, memoir, 174 pages

This is a memoir, so more about his life with cancer, I presume.  Both of these books are free for Kindle.  I don't remember getting them, but Amazon says I downloaded them in April 2021.  Hmm, I guess I'll take a look.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Thinking about trauma

Waiting for Paint to Dry ~ by Lia Mack, 2015, fiction (California, Italy, Maryland), 328 pages, 6/10

Since sprinting away from her sister's wedding (and knocking over a bridesmaid in the process) Matty Bell has lived in a self-made monochromatic life of work-eat-sleep-survive.  In and out of work, she hasn't seen her family in over a decade, lives vicariously through her best friend's seemingly perfect life.  And the only goal she has (other than filling her stomach) is to avoid any and all reminders of her birthday.  It only brings her pain.  But when life catches up with Matty on the night of her surprise 30th birthday, she sets out on a nerve-wreaking last-minute trip home to confront her family that might just result in her coming full-healing-circle.  Except, showing up unannounced has Matty staying at her sister's ocean front home, alone, with only thoughts of that buffet-of-a-man she sat next to on the plane dancing in her head.  And there's also that pile of left over paint, daring her to take redemption into her own hands.

This book is on Donna's Kindle.  I started reading it before I saw on Amazon that it's about the trauma of rape.  I looked to see if Donna had read the whole book, found she had rated it four stars, and decided to keep reading.

The story pulled me in, and I can see why one woman left this comment online:  "The emotions are so real, so well written, that I read it in one sitting."

Added late in the day:  I finished it today, but I don't recommend it.  I gave it a 6 of 10 rating.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Lunch with friends ~ and books on my mind

Last Sunday, I got a call from Lauree (and Ron, above) inviting me to lunch while they're in town.  We went to First Watch, and I got the same combo as the last time I went there with Lauree and her friend.  Since Lauree was the one who taught our recent class on scams and phishing, I slipped my laptop into a bag and took it with me to share that scam attempt I wrote about this week.  This photo shows Ron helping me sort out what to do about it.  (Lauree says he knows more than she does; she took this photo.)  My thanks to both of you for your help — and for a great lunch with great company.

So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and Memoir
 (2nd edition) ~ by Marge Piercy and Ira Wood, 2010, writing, 330 pages (colorful image)
How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and the Personal Narrative (1st edition) ~ by Marge Piercy and Ira Wood, 2001, writing, 200 pages (dark image)

When I tried to download this book (2nd edition) onto my Kindle, there was a problem with my card.  It was denied as "expired" (which it isn't).  So I put the book on reserve at my library while I got the updated card sorted out.  The copy from my library is the old one, roughly 2/3 the size of the new edition.  I thought, "Okay, better than nothing."  When I fixed the problem with the help of Ron and Lauree, I was able to get the book downloaded onto my Kindle.  Whew!  So now, I have BOTH editions in hand.  Which one do you think I'll actually read?  Two guesses.  Memoir does sound more succinct to me.

The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America ~ by Sarah Kendzior, 2018, essays, 256 pages, 7/10

In 2015, Sarah Kendzior collected the essays she reported for Al Jazeera and published them as The View from Flyover Country, which became an eBook bestseller and garnered praise from readers around the world.  The book was released in print with an updated introduction and epilogue that reflect on the ways that the Trump presidency was the certain result of the realities first captured in Kendzior’s essays.  I found this book on my friend Donna's Kindle.

The book is a critique of the labor exploitation, race relations, gentrification, media bias, and other aspects of the post-employment economy that gave rise to a president who ruled like an autocrat. Amazon says it's necessary reading for anyone who believes that the only way for America to fix its problems is to first discuss them with honesty and compassion.  Kendzior is definitely a critic of the Trump administration.  Some of the book is a bit out of date (how many of us are still thinking about Snowden?), but it was interesting to read.
Perfectly Pegasus
~ by Jessie Sima, 2022, children's picture book, 48 pages, 7/10

Nimbus has always lived among the clouds.  She’s a pegasus, after all, and the sky is where she belongs  She is one of a kind.  And when she wants a friend, all she has to do is look up — and talk to the stars.  Only, they don’t really talk back.  The clouds don’t, either.  And sometimes, being the only pegasus can be a little lonely.  So she decides to find a fallen star to make a wish on — and wishes for friends who are just like her.  Along the way she meets a Unicorn named Kelp, and a host of other creatures who might just open her eyes to something other than what’s up in the sky.

Word of the Day

pegasus ~ A pegasus is one of the best known creatures in Greek mythology.  He is a winged divine stallion usually depicted as pure white in color.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

A cat and two bunnies for Caturday

A Garden of Creatures ~ by Sheila Heti, illustrated by Esmé Shapiro, 2022, children's picture book, 40 pages, 6/10

Two bunnies and a cat live happily together in a beautiful garden.  But when the big bunny passes away, the little bunny is unsure how to fill the void she left behind.  A strange dream prompts her to begin asking questions:  Why do the creatures we love have to die, and where do we go when we die?  How come life works this way?  With the wisdom of the cat to guide her, the little bunny learns that missing someone is a way of keeping them close.  And together they discover that the big bunny is a part of everything around them — the grass, the air, the leaves — for the world is a garden of creatures.

I can't say the cat looks much like any cat I've ever seen, and I can't say that the big round thing holding the cat and long-eared bunny on the cover looks at all like a big bunny, either.  I wouldn't buy the book, though the ideas about death were somewhat interesting to contemplate.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Beginning ~ on a red railway car

I'm standing on the red railway car that sits abandoned next to the barn.  The wind soars, whipping my hair across my face and pushing a chill down the open neck of my shirt.  The gales are strong this close to the mountain, as if the peak itself is exhaling.
Educated ~ by Tara Westover, 2018, memoir (Idaho), 336 pages

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom.  Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.  When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life.  Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University.  Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

I've heard lots of good things about this book, and now I've found it on Donna's Kindle.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Thinking about tigers, Chinese style

Year of the Tiger: An Activist's Life ~ by Alice Wong, 2022, memoir, 402 pages
In Chinese culture, the tiger is revered for its confidence, passion, ambition, and ferocity.  Alice Wong has that same fighting spirit.  She draws on a collection of original essays, previously published work, conversations, graphics, photos, commissioned art by disabled and Asian American artists, and more, Alice Wong uses her unique talent to share an impressionistic scrapbook of her life as an Asian American disabled activist, community organizer, media maker, and dreamer.  From her love of food and pop culture to her unwavering commitment to dismantling systemic ableism, she shares her thoughts on creativity, access, power, care, the pandemic, mortality, and the future.  As a self-described disabled oracle, Alice traces her origins, tells her story, and creates a space for disabled people to be in conversation with one another and the world.  Filled with wit, joy, and rage, her Year of the Tiger will galvanize readers with big cat energy.
Two of my best friends ever were both born in the Chinese Year of the Tiger:  Jane in 1926 and Donna in 1950.  Unfortunately for me — "fortune" cookies, notwithstanding  both have died, but they live on in my memories.

Now that Helen of Helen's Book Blog has made me aware of this book, I've put it on reserve at my library.  Helen and commenters on Amazon rate it highly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Remarkably Bright Creatures ~ by Shelby Van Pelt

Remarkably Bright Creatures ~ by Shelby Van Pelt, 2022, speculative fiction, 368 pages
After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up.  Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.

Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium.  Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine, but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors — until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.  Using logic, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared.  Now he must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late.
Helen rated this book 5 out of 5, so I immediately put it on reserve at my library.

Word of the Day #1
cur·mudg·eon·ly / kərˈməj(ə)nlē / adjective = bad-tempered and negative, especially referring to an old person.  Since the octopus is said to be curmudgeonly, I figure he must be an old octopus.
Word of the Day #2
de·duce / dəˈd(y)o͞os / verb = to arrive at a fact or a conclusion by reasoning; to draw a logical conclusion from something.  To deduce is to come up with an answer by logic or by putting pieces of information together.  Example:  "The octopus deduces what must have happened."

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Two books with birds on the cover

Knight Owl ~ by Christopher Denise, 2022, children's picture book, 48 pages

A determined Owl builds strength and confidence in this medieval picture book about the real mettle of a hero:  wits, humor, and heart.  Since the day he hatched, Owl dreamed of becoming a real knight.  He may not be the biggest or the strongest, but his sharp nocturnal instincts can help protect the castle, especially since many knights have recently gone missing.  While holding guard during Knight Night Watch, Owl is faced with the ultimate trial — a frightening intruder.  It’s a daunting duel by any measure.  But what Owl lacks in size, he makes up for in good ideas.  Full of wordplay and optimism, this surprising display of bravery proves that cleverness (and friendship) can rule over brawn.

That description is from Amazon.  It's the wordplay part that grabbed me, starting with "knight owl."  I smiled because I tell people I'm a night owl.

48 States ~ by Evette Davis, 2022, dystopian thriller, 259 pages, 9/10

Book bans, federal curfews, and digital identity chips — what a terrifying near future!  A cautionary tale set in 2042 when the United States is recovering from a series of terrorist attacks that upended the government, rewrote our civil liberties, and erased two states from the map.  River, a widow who is a single mother and a veteran of the Caliphate Wars, works as a waste hauling trucker in Energy Territory No. 1, formerly known as North Dakota.  Living in a dingy motel room with nothing but her books and a semi-automatic pistol for company, she is weeks away from the end of her contract and returning to her young daughter.

Finn Cunningham, a hydrologist with the United States Geology Survey (USGS) in Montana, is suspicious of environmental changes he’s seeing in nearby western waterways and decides to investigate.  His decision sets him on a collision course with River, sending them both on the run.  One is a fugitive and the other is a reluctant participant, as they share stories of their lives.  This one-of-a-kind book points out the real dangers of extremism.

Someone commented on Amazon:  "I’m not normally a fan of dystopian tales, since our own country appears to be rapidly devolving into one recently, but this one is both believable and well-written."

Word of the Day

dys·to·pi·an / adjective = relating to or denoting an imagined state or society where there is great suffering or injustice.  Example:  "The dystopian future in this book sounds terrible."

dys·to·pi·an / noun = a person who imagines or foresees a state or society where there is great suffering or injustice.  Example:  "A lot of things those dystopians feared did not come true."