Friday, May 31, 2024

Beginning ~ with Cliff and Vivian

It used to be Cliff and Vivian and now it isn’t.
The English Major
~ by Jim Harrison, 2008, literary fiction, 255 pages

Cliff, a grizzled 60-year-old Michigan cherry farmer and former English teacher who has just been jettisoned by Vivian, his wife of nearly 40 years, goes on a road trip across America.  He is armed with a childhood puzzle of the United States and a mission to rename all the states and state birds, the latter of which have been unjustly saddled with white men’s banal monikers up until now.

His adventures take him through a whirlwind affair with a former student from his high-school-teacher days twenty-some years before, to a "snake farm" in Arizona owned by an old classmate, and to the high-octane existence of his son, a big-time movie producer who has just bought an apartment over the Presidio in San Francisco.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Two books for TWOsday

Darwin's Dogs: How Darwin's Pets Helped Form a World-Changing Theory of Evolution ~ by Emma Townshend, 2009, evolution, 144 pages

If you have ever looked at a dog waiting to go for a walk and thought there was something age-old and almost human about his sad expression, you’re not alone; Charles Darwin did exactly the same.  But Darwin didn’t just stop at feeling that there was some connection between humans and dogs.  English gentleman naturalist, great pioneer of the theory of evolution, and incurable dog-lover, Darwin used his much-loved dogs as evidence in his continuing argument that all animals (including human beings) descended from one common ancestor.

From his fondly written letters home enquiring after the health of family pets to his profound scientific consideration of the ancestry of the domesticated dog, Emma Townshend looks at Darwin’s life and work from a uniquely canine perspective.

Mistral's Daughter ~ by Judith Krantz, 1983, literary fiction, 500 pages

They were three generations of magnificent red-haired beauties born to scandal, bred to success, bound to a single extraordinary man — Julien Mistral, the painter, the genius, the lover whose passions had seared them all.
  • Maggy:  Flamboyant mistress of  Mistral’s youth, the toast of Paris in the‘20s.  Her luminous flesh was immortalized in the  paintings that made Mistral legendary.
  • Teddy:  Maggy’s daughter, the incomparable cover girl who lived fast and left as her legacy Mistral’s dazzling love child.
  • Fauve:   Mistral's daughter, the headstrong, fearless glory girl whose one dark secret drove her to rule the world of high fashion and to risk everything in a feverish search for love.
From the ‘20s Paris of Chanel, Colette, Picasso, and Matisse, to New York’s new modeling agencies of the ‘50s, to the model ward of the ‘70s, Mistral's Daughter captures the glamour of life at the top of the worlds of art and high fashion.

A friend handed me Mistral's Daughter one day, saying she didn't want it back.  She didn't even finish it.  Yeah, it's too long and what I skimmed didn't grab me, so I'll let Risé trade it for something Crown Center readers may find more interesting.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Banned books

I recognize most of these banned books in a photo I found HERE.)  My grand-daughter Cady reviewed And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (c. 2005) on Bonnie's Books HERE.  It's on the bottom right.  Can you think of a banned book you read and liked?  Please share the title with us.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Books from thinkers around the world

Native American Wisdom ~ edited by Kent Nerburn and Louise Mengelkoch, 1991, philosophy and mythology, 124 pages

This book selects a wide range of Native American wisdom and distills it to its essence in short quotes that are meaningful and timeless.  Quote from Kent Nerburn:  "My work has been a constant search, from various perspectives, for an authentic American spirituality, integrating our western Judeo-Christian tradition with the other traditions of the world, and especially the indigenous spirituality of the people who first inhabited this continent.  Someone once called me a 'guerilla theologian,' and I think that is fairly accurate."

The HarperCollins Concise Guide to World Religions: The A-to-Z Encyclopedia of All the Major Religious Traditions ~ by Mircea Eliade and Ioan P. Couliano, 1999, religion, xii + 301 pages

The definitive dictionary of the world's religions, compiled by two of the 20th century's most distinguished religion scholars.  This highly accessible resource distils Mircea Eliade's lifework of detailing and comparing humanity's entire religious heritage, providing fascinating insights into the character and worldview of the 33 principal religions.  The book covers all kinds of religious figures, histories, sacred texts, mythologies, and mystical techniques.  It includes Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, Judaism, Islam, Shinto, Shamanism, Taoism, South American religions, Baltic and Slavic religions, Confucianism, and the religions of Africa and Oceania.

God's Breath: Sacred Scriptures of the World ~ by John Miller and Aaron Kenedi, introduction by Thomas Moore, 2000, religion, xvii + 536 pages

For millennia seekers of truth have found God in a handful of sacred texts.  This book gathers together selections from seven of the world's major wisdom traditions with detailed introductions by scholars and spiritual teachers including Huston Smith, Karen Armstrong, Reynolds Price, Stephen Mitchell, Marcus Borg, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, the Dalai Lama, and others.  The selections include excerpts from the book of Genesis, the Tao Te Ching, the Book of Rumi, the Gospel of John, the Bhagavad Gita, the Qur'an, and the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Deb at Readerbuzz hosts The Sunday Salon.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Beginning ~ with an anecdote

I believe that a well-known anecdote exists to the effect that a young writer, determined to make the commencement of his story forcible and original enough to catch and rivet the attention of the most blase of editors, penned the following sentence:  "'Hell!'" said the Duchess."
The Murder on the Links: A Hercule Poirot Mystery ~ by Agatha Christie, 1923, fiction, 288 pages
On a French golf course, a millionaire is found stabbed in the back.  An urgent cry for help brings Poirot to France.  But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies face downwards in a shallow grave on a golf course.  But why is the dead man wearing his son's overcoat?  And who was the impassioned love-letter in the pocket for?  Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second, identically murdered corpse.
Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Four hundred thousand books were burned!

The Library Book ~ by Susan Orlean, 2018, history, 336 pages

Susan Orlean re-opens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history and delivers a love letter to the institution of libraries themselves.

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library.  As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm.  A fireman said, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’”  The fire was disastrous:  it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours.  By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more.  Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains:  Did someone purposefully set fire to the library — and if so, who?

Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.

In The Library Book, Susan Orlean chronicles the LA Public Library fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LA Public Library more than thirty years earlier.

Along the way, Orlean introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters from libraries past and present — from Mary Foy, who in 1880 at eighteen years old was named the head of the Los Angeles Public Library at a time when men still dominated the role, to Dr. C. J. K. Jones, a pastor, citrus farmer, and polymath known as “The Human Encyclopedia” who roamed the library dispensing information; from Charles Lummis, a wildly eccentric journalist and adventurer who was determined to make the L.A. library one of the best in the world, to the current staff, who do heroic work every day to ensure that their institution remains a vital part of the city it serves.

The Library Book is Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books — and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country.  It is also a master journalist’s reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they are more necessary than ever.

My friend Sue was reading this book at the welcome desk in our lobby one day recently, and I asked her about it.  When I looked it up, I decided to request it from our University City Library for myself.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Do you play Scrabble ... or Bananagrams?

When I played Scrabble with a neighbor the other day, she had a "cheat sheet" and shared it with me.  On a hunch, I later googled "scrabble cheat sheet" and found several.  The one above says we should memorize 25 words.  Who knew?  I didn't.  Take a look HERE.  People have been collecting these words for years.

My neighbor had a Scrabble board that swivels around so each of us could see it easier, but mine (above) is the old-fashione folding board game.  I went upstairs to get my bag of Bananagrams to show her how it is similar to Scrabble, yet very different.

Here's a Bananagram example my friend Donna did on August 31, 2019.  She also loved playing with words.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Musing about a book a friend is reading

How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain ~ by Lisa Feldman Barrett, 2017, neuropsychology, 448 pages

The science of emotion is in the midst of a revolution on par with the discovery of relativity in physics and natural selection in biology.  Leading the charge is psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, whose research overturns the long-standing belief that emotions are automatic, universal, and hardwired in different brain regions.  Instead, Barrett shows, we construct each instance of emotion through a unique interplay of brain, body, and culture.

A lucid report from the cutting edge of emotion science, How Emotions Are Made reveals the profound real-world consequences of this breakthrough for everything from neuroscience and medicine to the legal system and even national security, laying bare the immense implications of our latest and most intimate scientific revolution.  This one sounds interesting, so I plan to get it.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

TBR 24 in '24 combined with The Sunday Salon

The Mind of the Maker: The Expression of Faith through Creativity and Art ~ by Dorothy L. Sayers, introduction by Madeleine L'Engle, 2019, philosophy and religion, 111 pages

This book was originally published in 1941.  Sayers identifies the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity — God, Son, Holy Spirit — with three elements of creation.  First the Idea, then the Creative Energy, and finally the Creative Power, which she calls "the indwelling Spirit."

From the back cover:  This classic, with a new introduction by Madeleine L'Engle, is by turns an entrancing meditation on language; a piercing commentary on the nature of art and why so much of what we read, hear, and see falls short; and a brilliant examination of the fundamental tenets of Christianity.

Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957), who was born in Oxford, England. was best known for her books starring the gentleman sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.  Sayers was a playwright, scholar, and acclaimed author of mysteries.  She won a scholarship to Oxford University, where she studied modern languages. She worked at the publishing house Blackwell's, which published her first book of poetry in 1916.

Years later, working as an advertising copywriter, Sayers began work on a mystery novel (Whose Body?), featuring dapper detective Lord Peter Wimsey.  Over the next two decades, Sayers published ten more Wimsey novels and several short stories, crafting a character whose complexity was unusual for the mystery novels of the time.

In 1936, Sayers brought Lord Peter Wimsey to the stage in a production of Busman's Honeymoon, a story which she would publish as a novel the following year.  The play was so successful that she gave up mystery writing to focus on the stage, producing a series of religious works culminating in The Man Born to Be King, a 1941 radio drama about the life of Jesus.

She also wrote theological essays and criticism during and after World War II, and in 1949 published the first volume of a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy (which she considered to be her best work).  Dorothy Sayers died of a heart attack in 1957.
I purchased The Mind of the Maker for my Kindle in 2020, so it is on my TBR (to be read) list.  I hope to read it this year and add it to Books I read in 2024.

Winning a gold medal

In the summer of 1998, when I was exhausted from 24/7 caring for my mother whose Alzheimer's was advancing, the first-ever Alzheimer's Camp came to my rescue.  With one-on-one counselors, they took twelve AD patients to camp for a week.  Mother died in 2004, but I have a video showing the dozen campers swimming, dancing, playing games, smiling, doing crafts, enjoying themselves.  One man and my mother are the only speaking campers on the video because they were still able to speak coherently.

Realizing it had been ten years, I got out the video in June 2008 and watched it again, paying special attention to what mother actually said.  First she says, "I like the people, and I haven't met anybody I don't like.  Isn't that great?"  A few minutes later she's singing, "Getting to know you, getting to feel free and easy."  The short video ends with Mother saying, "Go, and try your best, and learn.  That's the only way it works.  You can't do it for me, and I can't do it for you, but I can learn to do it, whatever I'm trying to do.  Might take me forever!  But I have learned that . . . just join in and try.  You have to try."

There were contests at the camp, and every single camper won an Olympics-type medal for something.  My 80-year-old mother was so proud of hers that she wore it for months afterwards, sitting in her recliner wearing the wide, red-white-and-blue ribbon around her neck, with her award dangling at the bottom of the V.  She even wore it to church.  And what contest did she win, you ask?  The one for watermelon seed spitting!  She managed to spit a watermelon seed farther than any of the others.

So why am I bringing it up right now?  Our Resident Council at the Crown Center for Senior Living had an "Afternoon of Champions" yesterday with games and activities 
on the patio.  I myself just "won" a medal for pitching a beanbag at a target.  I guess that makes me officially old now.

Deb at Readerbuzz hosts The Sunday Salon.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Beginning ~ with Eleanor Roosevelt's introduction


This is a remarkable book.  Written by a young girl -- and the young are not afraid of telling the truth -- it is one of the wisest and most moving commentaries on war and its impact on human beings that I have ever read.  Anne Frank's account of the changes wrought upon eight people hiding out from the Nazzis for two years during the occupation of Holland, living in constant fear and isolation, imprisoned not only by the terrible outward circumstances of war but inwardly by themselves, made me intimately and shockingly aware of war's greatest evil -- the degradation of the human spirit" (p. xiii).

The Diary of a Young Girl ~ by Anne Frank, translated from the Dutch by B. M. Mooyaart-Doubleday, introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt, 1952 (English version), autobiography, 297 pages

Commonly referred to as The Diary of Anne Frank, is a book of the writings from the Dutch-language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.  The book has become a world classic and a timeless testament to the human spirit.  The edition I'm reading is enriched by many passages originally withheld by her father.  In it Anne is more real, more human, and more vital than ever.  Here she is first and foremost a teenage girl — stubbornly honest, touchingly vulnerable, in love with life.

She imparts her deeply secret world of soul-searching and hungering for affection, rebellious clashes with her mother, romance and newly discovered sexuality, and wry, candid observations of her companions.  Facing hunger, fear of discovery and death, and the petty frustrations of such confined quarters, Anne writes with adult wisdom and views beyond her years.  Her story is that of every teenager, lived out in conditions few teenagers have ever known.

This passport photo shows Anne Frank in May 1942, two months before she and her family went into hiding.  Read more from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Thinking about four short novels

The Grandmothers: Four Short Novels ~ by Doris Lessing, 2003, fiction, 336 pages
  1. The Grandmothers ~ Two friends fall in love with each other's teenage sons, and these passions last for years, until the women end them, vowing a respectable old age.
  2. Victoria and the Staveneys ~ A young woman gives birth to a child of mixed race and struggles with feelings of estrangement as her daughter gets drawn into a world of white privilege.
  3. The Reason for It ~ This story traces the birth, faltering, and decline of an ancient culture, with enlightening modern resonances.
  4. A Love Child ~ This one features a World War II soldier who believes he has fathered a love child during a fleeting wartime romance and cannot be convinced otherwise.
I decided to check this book out of our Crown Center library, when it's available.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Very punny!

I was searching my blog for a book I had read years ago when I ran across a fun list of words and phrases.  At the end of the post, I had asked, "Which one is your favorite?"  I looked back through them and chose #83:
Editing is a re-wording activity.
Then I noticed that is NOT what I chose when I originally posted that list in 2015.  That time I had picked #103:
Charles Dickens walks into a bar and orders a martini.  The bartender asks, "Olive or twist?"
HERE is the 2015 list, so now it's your turn.  Which one is YOUR fav?

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Two books by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge ~ by Elizabeth Strout, 2008, fiction (Maine), 280 pages

Bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character:  Olive Kitteridge.

At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer's eyes, it's in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama — desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love.

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her:  a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive's own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems — mild and dire  Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life  sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty.  Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition — its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

Olive, Again ~ by Elizabeth Strout, 2019, literary fiction (Maine), 306 pages

Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine.  Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire us.

From The Wall Street Journal:  "Olive is a brilliant creation not only because of her eternal cantankerousness, but because she's as brutally candid with herself about her shortcomings as she is with others.  Her honesty makes people strangely willing to confide in her, and the raw power of Ms. Strout's writing comes from these unvarnished exchanges, in which characters reveal themselves in all of their sadness and badness and confusion. ... The great, terrible mess of living is spilled out across the pages of this moving book.  Ms. Strout may not have any answers for it, but she isn't afraid of it either."

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Snoopy is my favorite dog

Peanuts Treasury
 ~ by Charles M. Schulz, foreword by Johnny Hart, 1968, cartoons, 256 pages

Charles Schulz (1922-2000) was the creator of Peanuts, the world's most widely read comic strip.  His work appeared in more than two thousand newspapers around the world and was translated into twenty-one languages.  He is one of the most influential cartoonists of all time.  Since Snoopy is my favorite dog, I love the cover showing him dancing and smiled when this book showed up among my boxes of books in storage.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
~ by Rachel Joyce, map by Laura Hartman Mastro, 2012, fiction, 336 pages (451 pages in the large print edition in our Crown Center library)

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired.  He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast.  Little differentiates one day from the next.  Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years.  Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.
Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox.  But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person.  And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut.  Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.
Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside.  Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise.  Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him — allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets.  As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.

Deb at Readerbuzz hosts The Sunday Salon.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Beginning ~ with Mazie's diary entry


Mazie's Diary, March 9, 1939

Fannie brought one of her fancy friends down to the theater last night.  First she handed me a beer then she had me shake his hand.

Saint Mazie ~ by Jami Attenberg, 2015, historical fiction (New York), 325 pages

Meet Mazie Phillips — big-hearted and bawdy, she's the truth-telling proprietress of The Venice, the famed New York City movie theater.  It's the Jazz Age, with romance and booze aplenty — even when Prohibition kicks in — and Mazie never turns down a night on the town.  But her high spirits mask a childhood rooted in poverty, and her diary, always close at hand, holds her dearest secrets.

When the Great Depression hits, Mazie's life is on the brink of transformation.  Addicts and bums roam the Bowery, and homelessness is rampant.  If Mazie won't help them, then who?  When she opens the doors of The Venice to those in need, this ticket taking, fun-time girl becomes the beating heart of the Lower East Side.

More than ninety years after Mazie began her diary, it's discovered by a documentarian in search of a good story.  Who was Mazie Phillips, really?  A chorus of voices from the past and present fill in some of the mysterious blanks of her adventurous life.

SaintMazie was inspired by the life of a woman who was profiled in Joseph Mitchell's classic Up in the Old Hotel (1993, 736 pages).  Mazie's rise to "sainthood" — and her irrepressible spirit — is unforgettable.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Thursday Thoughts

I'm still sorting through boxes of books, so here are a couple of the books to consider today.  I'm reading this one:

Atlantis Rising: The True Story of a Submerged Land-Yesterday and Today
~ by Robert Sullivan, drawings by Glenn Wolff, 1999, 96 pages

Plato was the one who first reported the existence of a vast island with immense mountains, verdant valleys and abundant fruit.  This magnificent Aegean Eden surrounded a capital of fabulous stone buildings, a busy, bustling heaven on earth.

And then, the Cataclysm.  Panic spread across the island as Atlantis's volcano shook off its long dormancy.  The mountain erupted, and the island was overwhelmed, engulfed.  The sea smoothed over, and the continent and its occupants were gone forever.  Or were they?

Sullivan is able to separate historical truth from mere legend and fact from fiction. Delving into the historical record, then into secret files that have long been under lock and key at the famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, he discovers rare transcripts, documents, maps and even photographs.  They are all here in this book.
Amazing Grace
 ~ by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Caroline Binch, 1991, children's picture book, 26 pages, 10/10

Grace loves to act out stories. Sometimes she plays the leading part, sometimes she is "a cast of thousands."  When her school decides to perform Peter Pan, Grace is longing to play Peter, but her classmates say that Peter was a boy, and besides, he wasn't black.  But Grace's Ma and Nana tell her she can be anything she wants if she puts her mind to it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

A book for children whose parents are divorced

Missing Rabbit ~ by Roni Schotter, illustrated by Cyd Moore, 2002, children's picture book fiction, 32 pages, 10/10

As Kara divides her time between Papa's house and Mama's house, she is comforted by the presence of her toy.  Rabbit goes everywhere with Kara  to Papa's house, where they eat "oodles of noodles" and play hide-and-seek together, and to Mama's house, where they dance and eat chicken and rice.

But one day, when it's time to leave Papa's house for Mama's, Rabbit asks Kara, "Where do I live?"  Kara doesn't know the answer.  When Rabbit asks to stay with Papa, Kara agrees.  But back at Mama's house she misses Rabbit.  What is the answer to Rabbit's question, and how can Kara keep from missing him?

This story is for very young children whose parents live in different homes.  It gently reminds children that parental love is constant.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Two old books from boxes in my storage unit

Instant Cartoons for Church Newsletters ~ compiled by George W. Knight, 1982, humor, 160 pages, 6/10

These cartoons, which are copyright-free to local churches, were drawn by cartoonists Jo McKeever, Howard Paris, and Howard Stringer.  These three artists contributed to this whole series of books.  The cartoon on the cover with the steam whistle going off has this caption in the book:  "Well, I see my time is up."

Reading Group Journal: Notes in the Margin ~ by Martha Burns and Alice Dillon, 1999, journal, 192 pages

Reading group members show up at meetings with their books highlighted and dog-eared.  Some carry battered spiral notebooks; others dig through their handbags for scribbled notes.  Reading Group Journal offers a handy alternative.

This notebook also provides ample space to record all the practical information needed to participate in a reading group.  An introduction providing tips about how to make the group both pleasurable and productive is followed by inspiring lists of recommended reading and winners of important literary prizes, from the National Book Award to the Booker.

Additional pages provide places to jot down names and addresses, meeting schedules, and information about the next book to read.  Each book read by the group is allotted several pages for note taking and record keeping, with plenty of room for personal reflections and group observations.

And finally, there are fill-in pages for the reader to use in creating a personal a list of books to read, a log of books already read, a record of books lent, a compendium of interesting words, and a selection of memorable quotes.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Monday Musing

Whoops a daisy! ~ by Norah Clegg and Don Hughes, illustrated by Steve Smallman, 1988, children's picture book, 16 pages, 10/10

It begins with a dog  and a cat falling out of a tree.  Yes, we adults know dogs can't climb up onto a tree limb, and a cat is unlikely to simply FALL (though the cat pictured doesn't seem to have any claws at all).  However, "tree" and "Mrs. McGee" do rhyme.  So when the animals fall, she says, "Whoops a daisy."  Other words rhyming with "Mrs. McGee" are tea, ski, and key.  This simple book lets children giggle as Mrs. McGee keeps saying "Whoops a daisy!"

Sunday, May 5, 2024

A week of wisdom, love, rainbows, consciousness, and celebration

Words of Wisdom ~ edited by Louis Untermeyer, 1968, sayings, 46 pages, 8/10
These quotes are from the last page of this tiny book and not spoilers:

   It was an unknown Persian philosopher who pointed out the way of wisdom.
... He said:
    He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool.
Shun him.
    He who knows not and knows that he knows not, is a child.
Teach him.
    He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep.
Wake him.
    He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise.
Follow him.

For You with Love ~ by Louis Untermeyer, illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund, 1961, poem, 20 pages, 8/10
My daughters were in town this past week, so they helped me get a bunch of stuff out of my storage unit, which is mostly full of books.  This lovely little book (a mere 20 pages) may have been the one in which I found a card with this inscription from me "to my favorite Mother!"
Noah and the Very First Rainbow: Did You Know Bible Story ~ by Sunny Griffin, illustrated by Donna Lee, 1994, children, 48 pages, 9/10

This series of books is designed so children can point out the main person or object in each story.

Cosmic Consciousness: A Study on the Evolution of the Human Mind
~ by Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901, evolution, 114 pages

Pictured is the hardback copy, but the one I found in my storage unit this week is a paperback that I bought on August 16, 2001 and read by the next day.  I wrote on the back page:
I read this book 20-30 years ago, and it was much thicker — I still have that copy somewhere, in some box.
To see what I have shared about this book in previous blog posts, click HERE.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo, which means "fifth of May" in Spanish, commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  It is celebrated by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.  (Sorry, folks, I hope using a cat in this context doesn't offend you.  This illustration just struck me as funny.)

Deb at Readerbuzz hosts The Sunday Salon.