2020

Cady reading a banned book
My rating system (and it's all totally subjective)
10 ~ Loved it!! Couldn't put it down!!
9 ~ Excellent!
8 ~ Very Good
7 ~ Good
6 ~ Above Average
5 ~ Average
4 - Struggled to finish, but not worth it
3 ~ Annoying ~ a waste of time
2 ~ Poor ~ one I abandoned
1 ~ Pitiful!
0 ~ Awful!! Don't bother
* DNF ~ Did Not Finish
* Nah ~ I don't recommend it
January
January favorite (#13)

1.  Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice ~ by Michelle Obama, 2019, journal, 9/10
"Describe your childhood home.  What are some of the details that stand out the most?  What made your home different from your friends' homes?"

"If you could have a conversation with a loved one who has passed away, what would you ask him or her?"

"Capture a favorite family recipe here.  How is it unique?"

"What role has education — whether formal or informal — played in your life?"
2.  Paws for a Moment with God: Devotions Best Enjoyed in the Company of a Cat ~ compiled by Patricia Mitchell, 2010, reflections, 7/10
"Discovering new things is not about going someplace else, but in looking here with attentive eyes" (p. 37).

"A comfortable lap, a gentle stroke, a hand to rub your outstretched chin ... is this kitty paradise?  Your purr motor's running passionately, and your paws are kneeding with kittenish zeal as you close your eyes to all else, savoring this moment of absolute joy" (p. 72).

"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast" (p. 118).
3.  Good Dog.  Stay. ~ by Anna Quindlen, 2007, memoir, 9/10.
"With people, it's assumed you'll do everything; with animals you have the luxury of doing the right thing" (p. 7).

"A dog who sits by your side craves company; a cat is doing you a favor.  This is why when you say 'Sit!' a cat rises and stalks out of the room.  Most dogs will fall back onto their haunches, vibrating slightly, their liquid eyes locked on yours" (p. 19).
4.  Cat Tales: A Catty Concoction of Quotes, Poems and "Dear Tabby" Advice ~ edited by Suzanne Beilenson, 1992, quotations, 7/10
"CAT.astrophy = Award for catching a mouse" (p. 16).
"CAT.alyst = Feline phone book" (p. 17).

"Every dog has its day, but the nights are reserved for the cats" (p. 40).

"When a cat is alone she never purrs" (p. 42).
5.  What Cats Teach Us ... Life's Lessons Learned from Our Feline Friends ~ by Glenn Dromgoole, 2000, gift book, 7/10
"Bullies usually won't bother you if you bow your back and stand your ground" (p. 59).

"Don't stifle your curiosity" (p. 81).

"There are times when we just have to take a leap of faith" (p. 23).

"Stay quietly focused on the task at hand" (p. 88).

"A laptop cat is more soothing than a laptop computer" (p. 96).
6.  Why Religion? : A Personal Story ~ by Elaine Pagels, 2018, memoir, 9/10
"What I love about sources like the Gospel of Thomas is that they open up far more than a single path. Instead of telling us what to believe, they engage both head and heart, challenging us to 'love your brother as your own life,' while deepening spiritual practice by discovering our own inner resources" (p. 33).

"...recognizing that we are 'children of God' requires us to recognize how we are the same — members, so to speak, of the same family. These sayings suggest what later becomes a primary theme of Jewish mystical tradition: that the 'image of God,' divine light given in creation, is hidden deep within each one of us, linking our fragile, limited selves to their divine source" (p. 177).
7.  Have a Little Faith: A True Story ~ by Mitch Albom, 2009, memoir, 9/10
"I ask him why he thinks he bacame a rabbi.  He counts on his fingers.  'Number one, I always liked people. Number two, I love gentleness.  Number three, I have patience.  Number four, I love teaching.  Number five, I am determined in my faith.  Number six, it connects me to my past.  Number seven —and lastly — it allows me to fulfill the message of our tradition, to live good, to do good, and to be blessed.'  I didn't hear God in there.  He smiles.  'God was there before number one" (p. 234).

[At his funeral service] "the Reb concluded his taped message by saying, 'Please love one another, talk to one another, don't let trivialities dissolve friendships...' Then he sang a simple tune, which translated to 'Good-bye friends, good-bye friends, good-bye, good-bye, see you again, see you again, good-bye.' . . . I always knew he'd go out with a song" (p. 247).
8.  Making Toast: A Family Story ~ by Roger Rosenblatt, 2010, memoir (Maryland), 9/10
"So why are 'orchid' and 'cello' alike?" I ask Jessie and Sammy at breakfast.  (The Word for the Morning is "orchid."  Yesterday it was "cello.")  No response.  "Think about the 'h,'" I tell them.  Jessie says, "The 'h' is silent in 'orchid' but missing in 'cello.'"  Sammy says, "But you can hear the 'h' in 'cello.'"  I smile.  (pp. 112-113).

"Everybody makes mistakes."
Ryan ... chimed in, "Not God.  God doesn't make mistakes."
Andrew said, "God made a mistake with Aunt Amy" (pp. 127-128)

"Boppo, here's a riddle," says Jess.  "A man came over on Friday, stayed two days, and went home on Friday.  How is that possible?"
"Friday is a horse," I tell her (p. 129).
9.  Ten Keys to Happier Living: A Practical Science-Based Handbook for Happiness ~ by Vanessa King, 2016, self-help, 9/10
Giving, Relating, Exercising, Awareness, Trying Out, Direction, Resilience, Emotions, Acceptance, Meaning.

"The intention behind the ancient tradition of mindfulness is to help develop and train our minds and ourselves towards optimal states of being — aware, insightful, joyful, interconnected and compassionate" (loc. 1830).

"Remember that asking for help can give the helper a well-being boost" (loc.3221).

"Physical activity can be a stress-reliever, a source of positive emotions and it helps you think more clearly" (loc. 3988).

"Spending a few moments each day or each week writing things down we've appreciated, enjoyed and were grateful for can have a powerful impact. ... When we write, whether by hand or electronically, we engage more of our senses and focus more" (loc. 4377, 4382).
10.  Allah: A Christian Response ~ by Miroslav Volf, 2011, religion, 8/10
"Here are ten ways in which major strands in the argument of the book contribute to combating extremism. ... An invironment that discourages extremism will contain:
1. Discourse about truth. ...
2. Acknowledgment of a common God. ...
3. Belief that God is loving and just. ...
4. Adherence to the command to love neighbors. ...
5. A healthy sense of the fear of God. ...
6. A stand against injustice. ...
7. A stand against prejudice. ...
8. A stand against compulsion in religion. ...
9. A stand against disrespect. ...
10. A stand against political exlusivism. ...
The main thrust of all ten suggestions is this.  The claim that Christians and Muslims, notwithstanding their important and ineradicable differences, have a common and similarly understood God (1) delegitimizes religious motivation to violence between them and (2) supplies motivation to care for others and to engage in a vigorour and sustained debate about what constituties the common good in the one world we share" (pp. 259-262).
11.  Transitions: Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life ~ by Julia Cameron, 1999, meditations, 9/10
"Focused on life as we yearn for it, we neglect to live the life we have" (p. x).

"Death is a passageway, not an ending.  As I open my heart to continued connection, my beloveds are carried forward by my love" (p.11).

"Briefer lived than I, my animal companions teach the joy of living fully, in every moment.  As they pass from my realm, I thank them for their selfless love, for the many merry momentsthat we shared.  Bearing their memory in my heart, I am a better companion to all of life" (pp. 22-23).

"All who joy would win / Must share it — Happiness was born a twin." — Lord Byron (p. 29).

"Sometimes my friendships become strained, undergoing mysterious seasons of estrangement.  I allow my friendships to alter and grow.  I allow them to fall fallow and rest quietly until the season comes for them to bloom again" (p. 52).

"We rely on those we love to be our sounding boards.  Their perceptions and opinions are part of what we love" (p. 59).

"Friendships require honesty and honesty requires courage.  In all friendships there are moments when we must choose to be courageous" (p. 63).

"We are travelers at all times, although we seldom view life as the journey that it is" (p. 71).

"It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end." — Ursula K. LeGuin (p. 113).

"We tend to think of the rational as a higher order, but it is the emotional that makes our lives. One often learns more from ten days of agony than from ten years of contentment." — Merle Shain (p. 126).

"What most of us want is to be heard, to communicate." — Dave Previn (p. 134).

"I welcome the child who makes me an elder and remember the elder child who is me" (p. 137).

"If we see ourselves as daring, we will dare.  We can change our lives by changing our perceptions" (p. 141).

"The key to inhabiting a friendlier world is taking the time and care ourselves to make it a friendlier world" (p. 153).
12.  Birds of a Feather (Book 2) ~ by Jacqueline Winspear, 2004, mystery (England), 9/10
"Well then, let's stand by the window. ... Maurice had taught her:  Always take the person to be questioned to a place where there's space, or where they can see few boundaries.  Space broadens the mind and gives the voice room to be heard" (pp. 21-22).

"A what did Dr. Blanche say about it then?"
"That coincidence is a messenger sent by truth.  That there are no accidents of fate" (p. 50).

Maurice's maxim:  'To solve a problem, take it for a walk" (p. 106).

Blanche smiled ... "As I have said many times, my dear, each case has a way of shining a light on something we need to know about ourselves" (p. 194).

"Let the ideas come to us instead of chasing them."
"Exactly" (p. 238).

Maurice:  "In learning about the mysths and legends of old, we learn something of ourselves.  Stories, Maisie, are never just stories.  They contain fundamental truths about the human condition" (p. 264).

"That's one more thing that I detest about war.  It's not over when it ends" (p. 266).

"May I not sit in judgment.  May I be open to hearing and accepting the truth of what I am told.  May my decisions be for the good of all concerned.  May my work bring peace" (p. 272).

"Move the body, Maisie, and you will move the mind" (p. 282).

"Resentment must give way to possibility, anger to acceptance, grief to compassion, disdain to respect — on both sides" (p. 299).
13.  Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio ~ by Peg Kehret, 1996, memoir, 9.5/10
"Why were you out of bed?" ...
"I was doing the hula," I said. ...
"The hula?"
"Alice didn't know what the hula is," explained Renée.
"So Peg was going to show her," Dorothy added.
Shaking her head in disbelief, Willie helped me into bed and warned me to stay there.  "In all my years of nursing," she said, "I've never had a polio patient try to dance the hula" (p. 102).

"Peg Schulze became Peg Kehret when I married Carl Kehret.  We have two children, Anne and Bob, and I wept for joy the day they got their first polio vaccinations" (p. 172).
14.  Pardonable Lies (Book 3) ~ by Jacqueline Winspear, 2005, fiction (England, France), 8/10
"Maisie Dobbs ... smiled, but not with her mouth.  No, it was her eyes that smiled" (p. 5).

"Maurice Blanche had instructed her time and time again that the solution to a problem or question was rarely to be found in sitting alone and that movement of the body also moved the mind" (p. 38).

"Coincidence is a messenger sent by truth" (p. 146).

"Maurice ... had taught her to observe the truth revealed in the movement and position of the body, and he taught her to be attentive and curious about words chosen, instructing her in the ways in which just one seemingly insignificant comment could provide the key to a secret tightly held" (p. 172).

"Maurice Blanche ... Never rush to a conclusion.  Even though the clues point in a certain direction, do not allow yourself to be blinded by assumption.  It is too easy to be trapped by the mind closing when a task is considered done" (p. 190).

"I also follow the maxims of a dear friend of mine, a doctor, who says, 'First, do no harm'" (p. 250).
15.  The Big Book for Peace ~ edited by Ann Durell and Marilyn Sachs, 1990, stories, 9/10
"What do you think is the best part of a tree house, Chrissy?" Leah asked.  Chrissy thought. ... "The very best part," she said finally, "is the bridge" (pp. 37, 38).

"I think war makes people crazy.  Why else would a smart man like President Franklin D. Roosevelt sign an executive order to force us Japenese Americans out of our homes and lock us up in concentration camps?  Why else would the FBI take Papa off to a POW camp just because he worked for a Japanese company?  Papa — who loves America just as much as they do" (pp. 58-60).
16.  Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between ~ by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, 2009, humor, 8/10
Ludwig Wittgenstein, analytic philosopher:  "If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration, but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present" (p. 83).

"Meditation, yoga, and tai chi are techniques for emptying the mind and simply Being" (p. 84).

"William James ... called now 'the specious present' ... in fact the present doesn't exist at all. ... It's merely the boundary line where the past meets the future, neither of which can really be said to exist either, at least not now.  In other words, 'now' is a subjective construct that we use to mark our experience of time" (p. 84).

"Another problem with the cryogenic route is also related to faith, the faith that some person in the future — possibly somebody who never knew you —  will decide it's worth her time and expense to thaw you out and fix whatever ailed you.  Exactly what is going to motivate her?" (p. 196).

"One reason we're sure that human cloning is possible is that it already happens frequently in nature:  it's called having identical twins.  Identical twins are produced when a single fertilized egg splits into two cell masses and becomes two people with identical DNA" (pp. 207-208).
February
February favorite (#24)

17.  Why My Cat Is More Impressive Than Your Baby ~ by Matthew Inman, 2019, humor, 7/10
Cat quote: "I'm here for a good time, not for a long time."
18.  They Will Inherit the Earth: Peace and Nonviolence in a Time of Climate Change ~ by John Dear, 2018, ethics, 8/10
"The choice is no longer violence or nonviolence," Martin Luther King Jr. told us the night before he was killed.  "It's nonviolence or nonexistence" (p. 90; see also p. 10).

"Blessed are the meek [for they will inherit the earth]," Jesus says in the Beatitudes [Matthew 5:5].  Thomas Merton wrote that "meekness" is the biblical word for nonviolence.  "Blessed are the nonviolent," Jesus is saying ... A life of of nonviolence leads to oneness with creation and her creatures" (p. 2; see also p. 69).

"Jesus respected Mother Earth and pondered all her mysteries as indigenous peoples have always done — to find hidden clues about the will of God.  His peaceful, respectful, loving attitude toward the earth, her creatures, and all human beings sets the norm for human life and the way out of our madness.  If we are to survive, we need to return to that same kind of nonviolent living and respect for one another, the earth, and all her creatures" (p. 29).

"This is the heart, soul, and spiritual vision of nonviolence — that we are all one, all reconciled, all sisters and brothers of one another" (p. 85).

"Capitalism ... has failed.  It has led to extreme poverty, permanent warfare, and now, catastrophic climate change that has the potential to wipe out all life on earth.  We need to create new nonviolent societies, based on democratic socialism where everyone has an equal share, no one gets abused, and Mother Earth is treated with respect" (p. 86).

"If we want to protect Mother Earth, we need to stop bombing her and destroying her, which means we need to end all our wars.  We need to stop paying for war, supporting war, sending young people off to war, promoting war, and making war inevitable.  We have to abolish our nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, which destroy and permanently poison the earth, air, and water, and, instead, fund and institutionalize international nonviolent conflict resolution and methodologies so that war becomes obsolete.  All the evidence proves that nonviolent conflict resolution works when it's tried.  What's lacking is the global political will to abolish war once and for all" (p. 88).

"For decades, we have let the weapons' manufacturers, war makers, and their fossil-fuel allies bomb, kill, and wreck the planet.  This can no longer continue.  We all have to noncooperate with the culture of war and the spirit of militarism and nationalism.  If we want to protect Mother Earth, we have to abolish nuclear weapons and end war itself, and become people of total nonviolence" (p. 89).

"Catastrophic climate change is the ultimate wake-up call.  It summons us to change our lives, deepen our nonviolence, listen to creation, reach out to one another, and embark on a new global solidarity" (p. 103).

"When love is directed at healing the belief in separateness, then we have something!  Then, there is hope that is grounded — grounded in action and good psychology and truly transformative energy.  If the underlying beliefs don't change, then the systems created by those beliefs won't change either" (p. 105).

(For more quotes from this book, click here or on the title above.)
19.  Does God Have a Big Toe?: Stories about Stories in the Bible ~ by Marc Gellman, illustrated by Oscar de Mejo, 1989, stories, 8/10
"I am a Jew and a rabbi.  In my tradition the people who write stories about stories in the Bible are called darshanim, and the stories they write about stories in the Bible are called midrashim" (p. vii).

Then the fish spoke up.  "In the oceans and seas and rivers and lakes where we live, water is everywhere.  There is water above and water below.  There is water all around.  If the water is everywhere, God must be everywhere too." ... God said to the animals, "When I end the world, I will save two of each kind of animal so that when the world starts over, you can start over too.  But as for the fish . . . I will save all of them, because only they knew where to find God" (pp. 28, 29).

Noah:  "I will tell the story of how to live in the right way.  The story we all were told by God and by our parents but that we forgot.  Maybe my children's children will learn the story.  And then maybe the world will not turn bad again" (p. 33).

"God needed a Jew who knew about freedom to get the people free, and Moses was the only free Jew.  Really that was the main reason God picked Moses.  Moses had never been a slave and had lived his whole life as a prince in the palace of the Pharaoh.  There was, however, one problem with picking Moses.  Moses knew that he was free, but he did not know that he was Jewish" (p. 65).

"The ram's horn is a perfect announcing tool.  It is natural and loud and it can make beautiful sounds.  I know it is hard to play, but that is just right.  The new year is hard too.  It is a time for deciding to do good things and give up bad things.  The new year is a time for apologizing to others for hurting them in any way. ... Then God sat Enoch down and taught him to blow the ram's horn for the big celebration of the new year that was soon to begin" (p. 88).
20. Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival ~ by Velma Wallis, 1993, fiction, Alaska, 9.5/10
"Yes, in their own way they have condemned us to die!  They think that we are too old and useless.  They forget that we, too, have earned the right to live!  So I say if we are going to die, my friend, let us die trying, not sitting" (loc.176).

"We have learned much during our long lives.  Yet there we were in our old age, thinking that we had done our share in life.  So we stopped, just like that.  No more working like we used to, even though our bodies are still healthy enough to do a little more than we expect of ourselves" (loc. 243).

"They all depended on the land, and if its rules were not obeyed, quick and unjudgmental death could fall upon the careless and unworthy" (loc. 341).

"Although I do not feel good today, my mind has power over my body, and it wants us to move on instead of staying here to rest — which is what I want to do" (loc.).

"Then I realized the importance of being with a large group.  The body needs food, but the mind needs people" (loc. 488).

"As they fell into an exhausted sleep, each woman felt more at home because of her new knowledge of the other and because each had survived hard times before" (loc. 502).

"Though food was scarce, warmth was their main concern" (loc. 506).

"They talked.  And a sense of mutual respect developed as each learned of the other's past hardships" (loc. 510).

"Then she jerked the stick upward as the bird squawked and twisted until it hung motionless.  Standing up with the dead grouse in her hand, Ch'idzigyaak turned toward the tent to find her friend's face wreathed in smiles" (loc. 537).

"Finding the women alive would give The People a second chance" (loc. 688).

"Stories are gifts given by an elder to a younger person.  Unfortunately, this gift is not given, nor received, as often today because many of our youth are occupied by television and the fast pace of modern day living" (loc. 65).

"This story told me that there is no limit to one's ability — certainly not age — to accomplish in life what one must" (loc.70).
21.  Mortality ~ by Christopher Hitchens, 2012, memoir, 9/10
"My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends.  I can't eat or drink for pleasure anymore, so when they offer to come it's only for the blessed chance to talk" (p. 54).

"Death has this much to be said for it:
You don't have to get out of bed for it.
Wherever you happen to be
They bring it to you - for free." ~ quoting Kingsley Amis (p. 57).

"I often grandly say that writing is not just my living and my livelihood but my very life, and it's true.  Almost like the threatened loss of my voice, which is currently being alleviated by some temporary injections into my vocal folds, I feel my personality and identity dissolving as I contemplate dead hands and the loss of the transmission belts that connect me to writing and thinking" (p. 71).
22.  Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner ~ edited by Ellen E. Garrigues, 1895 and 1910, ballad, 8/10  (See also #65 below.)
"Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

"Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink" (p. 22).

"Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide, wide sea !
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony" (p. 26).

"The selfsame moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea" (p. 28).

"He prayeth best who loveth best
All things, both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all" (p. 40).
23.  Everything I Never Told You ~ by Celeste Ng, 2014, fiction (Ohio), 8/10
"To James, years of unabashed stares prickling his spine, as if he were an animal in the zoo, years of mutters in the street — chink, gook, go home — stinging his ears, different has always been a brand on his forehead, blazoned there between the eyes.  It has tinted his entire life, this word; it has left its smudgy fingerprints on everything" (p. 251).

"In high school, she had approached her principal with a request:  to take shop instead of home ec.  It was 1952 ... but girls still wore skirts to school, and in Virginia, her request had been radical.  Home economics was required of every sophomore girl ... 'I'm sorry,' he said.  'We can't make an exception for anyone, or everyone will expect it. ... And to be honest, Miss Walker, having a girl like you in the classroom would be very distracting to the boys in the class.'  He meant it as a compliment, she knew.  But she also knew that it wasn't" (p. 27).

"An Oriental, she thought.  She had never seen one in person before" (p. 31).

"Every time you saw yourself from the outside, the way other people saw you, you remembered all over again.  You saw it in the sign at the Peking Express — a cartoon man with a coolie hat, slant eyes, buckteeth, and chopsticks.  You saw it in the little boys on the playground, stretching their eyes to slits with their fingers — ChineseJapaneselook at these — and in the older boys who muttered ching chong ching chong ching as they passed you on the street ... You saw it when waitresses and policemen and bus drivers spoke slowly to you, in simple words, as if you might not understand" (p. 193).

"[S]he told him stories about her parents:  how in second grade, she'd traced the diagram of the heart from the encyclopedia, labeling each ventricle with magic marker, and her mother had pinned it up on her bedroom wall as if it were a masterpiece.  How at ten, her mother had taught her to take a pulse; how at twelve her mother had persuaded her to skip Cat Malone's birthday party — the only one she'd ever been invited to — to finish her science fair project" (pp. 217-218).

"That long-ago day, sitting in this very spot on the dock, she had already begun to feel it:  how hard it would be to inherit their parents' dreams.  How suffocating to be so loved" (p. 273).
24.  Little Women ~ by Louisa May Alcott, illustrated by Frank T. Merrill, 1868 (2019 ebook), fiction, 9/10
"Laurie Laurence — what an odd name!"
"My first name is Theodore, but I don't like it, for the fellows called me Dora, so I made them say Laurie instead."
"I hate my name, too — so sentimental.  I wish every one would say Jo, instead of Josephine.  How did you make the boys stop calling you Dora?"
"I thrashed 'em."
"I can't thrash Aunt March, so suppose I shall have to beat it" (loc. 800).

"Meg was Amy's confidant and monitor, and, by some strange attraction of opposites, Jo was gentle Beth's" (loc. 1009).

"Mr. Brooke looked so strong and sensible and kind that the girls christened him 'Mr. Greatheart' on the spot. ... four bright faces, and behind them, like a body-guard, old Mr. Laurence, faithful Hannah, and devoted Laurie" (loc. 3194).
25.  Good Wives ~ by Louisa May Alcott, illustrated by Frank T. Merrill, 1869 (2019 ebook), fiction, 9/10
Jo:  "Nobody will want me, and it's a mercy, for there should always be one old maid in a family" (loc. 4508).

Meg's twins:  "He's to be named John Laurence, and the girl Margaret, after mother and grandmother.  We shall call her Daisy, so as not to have two Megs, and I suppose the mannie will be Jack, unless we find a better name," said Amy, with aunt-like interest.
"Name him Demijohn, and call him 'Demi' for short," said Laurie.
"Daisy and Demi — just the thing!" cried Jo, clapping her hands (loc. 5157).

"Jo often watched him, trying to discover the charm, and, at last, decided that it was benevolence which worked the miracle" (loc. 6244).

"...the flowers were up fair and early, and the birds came back in time to say goodby to Beth" (loc. 7363).

"Laurie decided that Amy was the only woman in the world who could fill Jo's place, and make him happy" (loc. 7516).

"Jo, I haf nothing but much love to gif you; I came to see if you could care for it, and I waited to be sure that I was something more than a friend.  Am I?  Can you make a little place in your heart for old Fritz?" he added, all in one breath.
"Oh, yes!" said Jo (loc. 8289).
March
March favorite (#34)

26.  Meg and Jo: A Contemporary Retelling of Little Women ~ by Virginia Kantra, 2019, fiction (North Carolina), 7/10
Jo:  "Our mother taught us girls if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.  But Momma wasn't trying to make it as a food blogger in New York City" (p. 11).
Meg's twins:  "Actually, that pretty much summed up my life since Daisy and DJ were born ... I had found my calling.  Not a writer like Jo or an artist like Amy or a musician like Beth.  I was born to be a mom.  Like our mom" (pp. 27, 27).
Jo:  "Daddy's job was taking care of others; Mom's as taking care of us" (p. 70).
Jo:  "Worry niggled inside me.  To my neighbors, Eric might not look like an award-winning chef on a booty call.  What if they saw him as a large black man hanging around the building entrance?  Ringing Doorbells While Black.  What if they called the cops?" (p. 267).
Discussion:  "Which of the sisters could you most identify with?" (p. 275).
27.  Politically Correct Bedtime Stories ~ by James Finn Garner, 1994, humor, 8/10
The emperor "was flattered by the fascist and testosterone-heavy idea that the empire and its inhabitants existed only to make him feel good" (p. 6) . . . "years of exploiting the peasantry had turned his body into an ugly mass of puffy white flesh" (p. 7).

The three little pigs "set up a model socialist democracy with free education, universal health care, and affordable housing for everyone" (p. 12).

"Hello, Cinderella, I am your fairy godperson, or individual deity proxy, if you prefer" (p. 32) ... "The men stared at and lusted after this wommon who had captured perfectly their Barbie-doll ideas of feminine desirability" (p. 33).

"When Snow White was quite young, her mother was suddenly stricken ill, grew more advanced in nonhealth, and finally was rendered nonviable" (p. 43).
28.  Once Upon a More Enlightened Time ~ by James Finn Garner, 1995, humor, 3/10
"Many years earlier, after a period of inadequate wellness,his father the king had achieved corporalterminality" (p. 22).
29.  The Bug Girl (a true story) ~ by Sophia Spencer, with Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Kerascoët, 2020, children's memoir, 9/10

30.  Ladybug Girl and Bingo ~ by Jacky Davis, illustrated by David Soman, 2012, children's, 8/10

31.  Don't Rant and Rave on Wednesdays! The Children's Anger-Control Book ~ by Adolph Moser, illustrated by David Melton, 1994, fiction, 8/10

32.  The Andrew Project ~ by James Taylor, 1985, theology, 9/10

33.  Talk Before Sleep ~ by Elizabeth Berg, 1994, fiction, 9/10
"Ruth has friends she goes to bars to hear country-and-western music with, friends who invite her to chic little cocktail parties and openings, old college roommates who visit her for the weekend and play Scrabble.  She rows on rivers, skis down mountains, sails on oceans, bikes down dirt roads for miles.  Well, she used to.  And anything she did, she had matching friends to do it with" (p. 37).
34.  We're Going on a Bear Hunt ~ by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, 1989, children's, 10/10

April
April favorite (#35)

35.  Sugar Isn't Everything: A Support Book, in Fiction Form, for the Young Diabetic ~ by Willo David Roberts, 1987, YA fiction, 10/10
"Summary:  A detailed description of juvenile-onset diabeter (Type I) using a fictional form in which eleven-year-old Amy discovers that she has the disease, learns to treat it and to deal with her anger, and and finally accepts that she CAN live with it" (publication page information).

"Up to about sixty years ago, when anybody got diabetes, they usually died within a couple of months, because nobody knew how to help them.  And then in 1922 two Canadian doctors by the names of Banting and Best discovered how to make insulin for people who couldn't produce their own" (p. 72).

"If everybody followed the diabetic diet, which is just good nutritious food withe proper proportions of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, many of the people who will now get diabetes might not get it, or at least not for many years" (pp. 114-115).

"She would have to eat at regular times, to keep that food/insulin balance" (p. 119).

"Glycohemoglobin Test — A test done by the doctor that can show how well your blood sugar has been controlled over the past month or two.  It is the same as a hemoglobin A1C, or glycosylated hemoglobin, test" (p. 188).
36.  Along the Tapajós ~ by Fernando Vilela, translated by Daniel Hahn, 2019, children's, 8/10

May
May favorite (#39)

37.  Painting for Peace ~ by Carol Swartout Klein, illustrations by Robert O'Neil, 2016, coloring book, 8/10
Peace is not something you wish for.
It's something you make,
Something you do,
Something you are, and
Something you give away.
— John Lennon (quoted on p. 18)
38.   Jo's Boys, and How They Turned Out ~ by Louisa May Alcott, 1886, fiction, 4/10
"I think I was dying of ennui" [Note = feeling of listlessness arising from a lack of occupation] (loc. 16184).

"Dr. Nan was telling me about a patient of hers who thought she had heart-complaint, till Nan made her take off her corsets, stopped her coffee and dancing all night, and made her eat, sleep, walk, and live regularly for a time; and now she's a brilliant cure.  Common sense versus curtom, Nan said" (loc. 16190).

"The boys prospered in their various callings; so did the girls ... Nan remained a busy, cheerful, independent spinster, and dedicated her life to her suffering sisters and their children, in which true woman's work she found abiding happiness" (loc. 17056).

"And now, having endeavoured to suit everyone by many weddings, few deaths, and as much prosperity as the eternal fitness of things will permit, let the music stop, the lights die out, and the curtain fall for ever on the March family" (loc. 17066).
39.  Purple Hibiscus ~ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2003, fiction (Nigeria), 7/10
"Eugene has to stop doing God's job.  God is big enough to do his own job.  If God will judge our father for choosing to follow the way of our ancestors, then let God do the judging, not Eugene" (pp. 95-96).

"I was not like the other young girls in church who let some of their hair show, as if they did not know that exposing your hair in church was ungodly" (p. 100).

"I laughed.  It sounded strange, as if I were listening to the recorded laughter of a stranger being played back.  I was not sure I had ever heard myself laugh" (p. 179).

"Then I heard Amaka's sobbing.  It was loud and throaty ... She had not learned the art of silent crying; she had not needed to" (p. 185).

"I laughed.  It seemed so easy now, laughter.  So many things seemed easy now.  Jaja was laughing, too" (p. 284).
June
June favorite (#41)

40.  The Girl in the Tree ~ by Şebnem İşigüzel, translated by Mark David Wyers, 2016 (translation 2020), fiction (Turkey), 4/10 (not worth it)
"And now?  Is there still a country?  Do we have a future?  The horizon has been buried in darkness.  We're completely lost" (p. 278).

"At the end of it all, I said farewell to everyone.  I did it up here in the treetops.  I said farewell to all the people in my life.  Every single one of them" (p. 334).
41.  Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood ~ by Trevor Noah, 2016, memoir (South Africa), 9/10
"The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other.  Apart hate, is what it was.  You separate people into groups and make them hate one another so you can run them all. ... Perhaps the starkest of these divisions was between South Africa's two dominant groups, the Zulu and the Xhosa.  The  Zulu man is known as the warrior. ... The Xhosa, on the other hand, pride themselves on being the thinkers.  My mother is Xhosa" (p. 3).

"Jubilant church was mixed church.  Analytical church was white church.  And passionate, cathartic church, that was black church" (p. 6).

"Apartheid was a police state, a system of surveillance and laws designed to keep black people under todal control" (p. 19).

"In the white areas you rarely saw the police, and if you did it was Officer Friendly in his collared shirt and pressed pants.  In Soweto the police were an occupying army. ... They wore riot gear.  They were militarized ... riding in armored personnel carriers ... someone was always marching or protesting somewhere and had to be suppressed" (p. 28).

"I learned to use language like my mother did.  I would simulcast — give you the program in your own tongue" (p. 55).

"They were ready to do me violent harm, until they felt we were part of the same tribe, and then we were cool.  That, and so many other smaller incidents in my life, made me realize that language, even more than color, defines who you are to people.  I became a chameleon.  My color didn't change, but I could change your perception of my color.  If you spoke to me in Zulu, I replied to you in Zulu.  If you spoke to me in Tswana, I replied to you in Tswana.  Maybe I didn't look like you, but if I spoke like you, I was you" (pp. 55-56).
42.  Oona Out of Order ~ by Margarita Montimore, 2020, fiction (New York), 7/10
"All good things end, always.  The trick is to enjoy them while they last" (p. 205).
"All good things ended, always.  The trick was to enjoy them while they lasted" (p. 335).
1982, 2015, 1991, 2004, 2003, 1995, 1999, 2017, 1983
43.  Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Modern Retelling of Little Women  ~ by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo, 2019, graphic novel, 9/10
Amy:  "Ohhhh!  I thought you said people like me because you were racist."  Teacher:  "Oh my!  No!  It's wonderful to have such a wild imagination, but it also means you have to put in extra work to make good grades."

Jo:  "Beth is going to be okay."

Jo to Meg:  "You weren't the one with the secret, Meg.  I was.  I am ... but I'm tired of keeping myself a secret. ... I'm gay."

Signs at the Women's March, Washington, DC:  "The Fem-pire strikes back" and " Rights make might" and "Let's make her-story."
44.  The Parrot's Perch ~ by Karen Keilt, 2019, memoir, I don't recommend it
"The Truth Commission concluded that torture became an instrument of power and preservation for the Brazillian government.  The Economist reported that more than 1,300 were killed in Rio in 2007, and that since then the police have killed approximately 2,000 people every year in that city alone" (pp. 279-280).
July
July favorite (#45)

45.  The Book of Longings ~ by Sue Monk Kidd, 2020, fiction (Israel, Egypt), 10/10
"Mamzers were of all varities — bastards, harlots, adulterers, fornicators, thieves, necromancers, beggars, lepers, divorced women, cast-out widows, the unclean, the destitute, those possessed of devils, Gentiles — all of them shunned accordingly" (pp. 114-115).

"I heard him address God as Abba, Father. ... 'You call God Father?" I asked.  Referring to God in that way was not unheard-of, but it was unusual.  After pausing, perhaps out of surprise, he said, 'The practice is new to me.  When my father died, I felt his absence like a wound.  One night in my grief, I heard God say to me, 'I will be your father now.'  'God speaks to you?'  He stifled a grin.  'Only in my thoughts'" (pp. 120, 121).

"If I bore my grief by writing words, Jesus bore his by praying them" (p. 199).

Jesus:  "My vision differs from John's.  His mission was to prepare the way for God to throw off Roman rule and establish his government on earth.  I hope for this, too, but my mission is to bring God's kingdom into the hearts of people" (p. 242).

"I no longer believed in the God of rescue, only the God of presence, but I believed in Sophia, who whispered bravery and wisdom in my ear day and night, if I would only listen, and I tried now to do that, to listen" (p. 347).
46.  You're Only Old Once!: A Book for Obsolete Children ~ by Dr. Seuss, 1986, humor, 6/10
"When at last we are sure you've been properly pilled,
then a few paper forms must be properly filled
so that you and your heirs may be properly billed."

"...you're in pretty good shape for the shape you are in."
47.  The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H. A. Rey ~ by Louise Borden, illustrated by Allan Drummond, 2005, biography, 8/10
"Like Hans Reyersbach and Margarete Waldstein, the little French monkey Fifi would change his name, and it would become one to remember . . . the well-loved Curious George" (p. 70).
48.  Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry ~ by Mildred D. Taylor, 1976, YA fiction, 8/10
"Because he's one of those people who has to believe that white people are better than black people to make himself feel big" (p. 127).
49.  All the Days Past, All the Days to Come ~ by Mildred D. Taylor, 2020, historical fiction, 9/10
"I wanted to write a truthful history of what life was like for Black people in America" (p. viii).

"What you say?"  And the other officer countered, "Nigger, you resisting arrest?" (p. 198).

"For all its grandeur, all its promise, the people of Colorado were treating me the same as those in Wyoming, in California, in Iowa, in Ohio, in Mississippi, and in all the states up and down the Dixie Highway. ... I had long ago come to the realization that being colored was a full-time job in America, and I knew now it was a full-time fight, one I couldn't win alone" (p. 254, 255).

"I could go to Boston University School of Law, which had graduated its first Negro student in 1877 and opened its doors to all.  As when I took classes at the University of Toledo, at UCLA, and at the University of Colorado, at Boston University School of Law I would be in an interracial setting, learning side by side with white students, interacting with them on all levels, and being challenged by them" (p. 271).

"Lord, sho am proud.  My Paul-Edward, wish he could've done seen this.  He was always a man workin' to have somethin'.  Now his grandson got a house like this!  He sho 'nough would be proud!" (p. 315).

"Morris talked about the need to vote and how things could be changed with the vote.  He talked about how to get registered to vote and about classes to teach people to prepare for the registration. ... We're going to concentrate just on getting registered so we can vote. ... The vote is power and the white folks know it.  There was a time they didn't even want us to learn how to read or write, because they know knowledge is power.  That's the same with the vote.  The vote is power and getting it won't be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is" (pp. 344, 345).
August
August favorite (#50)

50.  Minimalist Living: Decluttering for Joy, Health, and Creativity ~ by Genevieve Parker Hill, 2013, self-help, 9/10
"The fire was the beginning of my transformation from a dedicated pack rat to a joyful minimalist. ... value doesn't live in things — it lives in our relationship to those things and our relationships with each other" (pp. 5, 6).

"Living a more minimal life has been in vogue on and off over the years and has been called 'downsizing,' 'simple living,' 'de-cluttering,' and, more recently, 'minimalism' ... Your task as you ... simplify your life is to identify what purpose each item, thought, and commitment serves for you" (p. 17).

"The purpose of minimalist living is to get us to a point where every single thing we have in our homes is something that brings us ongoing joy or provides usefulness regularly" (p. 30).

"Minimalist living applies not just to your belongings, but to your time" (p. 33).

"...we are all creators.  We create art, relationships, products, and experiences.  We even create our own bodies by what food we put in them and how we train and exercise them.  We create our emotions and moods by what thoughts we choose to dwell on. ... To consciously create requires room in our home, office or studio. ... We need to declutter our mental space from the thoughts that hold us back from our highest creative potential" (pp. 51, 52).

"Clutter is visual noise that prevents you from seeing clearly.  It is visual agitation, or visual perturbation. ... The work environment itself is no less a work of art than the subject matter" (p. 53).

"One key to clearing time in your schedule for creativity is to learn to use these two phrases:
  1. No thank you.
  2. Maybe — I'll think about it.
...learning to say 'no' or 'maybe' is pivotal to living a peaceful, joyful, creative life" (pp. 57, 58).

"It's what you do today that makes you into who you'll be tomorrow" (p. 64).

"Purgers are people who feel burdened by knickknacks and thinking about their stuff. ... Collectors love nostalgia ... and thinking fondly about the past. ... I used to be a collector, and then most of my sentimental items were destroyed in a fire" (p. 70).

"What's your vision for the life you want and the home you want?" (p. 74).
51.  Half-Truths and Semi-Miracles ~ by Anne Tyler, 1974, fiction (Vintage Short), 8/10
"Sometimes I healed, sometimes I only lessened the pain, sometimes I did no good at all.  Only now, I didn't believe that the failures were meant to keep me humble.  I thought they were battle losses.  God and I were at war. ... deafness and blindness, fevers, burns, sores, growths, endless nausea, pains without known cause, lameness, stiffness, swellings, chills.  God's victims.  I fought Him off.  I tried to undo the damage He had done" (p. 19).
52.  Life's Compline: A Journey Just Begun ~ by Betty Creamer, 2020, theology, 8/10
"...the Compline Years (ages 65 and older)" (p. 12).

"How do we enable our elderly church members to continue a sense of belonging even when we cannot be together physically?" (p. 23).

"If I don't show up for my 8 a.m. swim, neighbors notice and check on me.  We live in community and act as caring neighbors and friends" (p. 42).

"The Compline Years provide the elderly with time and space for reflection" (p. 45).

"The term 'Domestic Church' refers to the family, the smallest body of gathered believers in Christ.  Though recovered only recently, the term dates all the way back to the first century AD" (p. 63).

"While the elder may engage in domestic church practices alone, she/he remains connected to the community by using the same prayers and symbols that others use" (p. 67).

"...rituals provide a framework to symbolically mark changes that occur in life" (p. 76).
53.  Redhead by the Side of the Road ~ by Anne Tyler, 2020, fiction (Maryland), 8/10
"Every waking moment that Cass spent in her apartment, she seemed to have some sort of music or news or something filling the airwaves.  In the mornings it was NPR; in the evenings the TV was on whether or not she was watching; and during meals an endless stream of easy-listening tunes flowed melliflously from the kitchen radio.  Micah, who appreciated silence, would shut all this out for a while but then gradually grow aware ... He didn't know how Cass endured that constant flow of sound.  It made his brain feel fractured" (pp.19, 21)

"Women kept the world running, really.  (There was a definite difference between 'running the world' and 'keeping it running.')" (p. 96).
54.  Where There's Smoke: A Short Story ~ by Jodi Picoult, 2014, fiction, 9/10
"Just because you can't see something doesn't mean I don't" (p. 5).

"Joan Lunden" (p. 19), and I'm currently reading Joan Lunden's book Why Did I Come Into This Room? (2020).  A character was "staring at the television ... which is tuned to Good Morning America.

"...memory is linked to strong emotion ... negative moments are like scribbling with permanent marker on the wall of the brain. ... Negative moments get remembered.  Traumatic ones get forgotten, or so warped that they are unrecognizable, or else they turn into the big, bleak, white nothing" (p. 46).

"...all good science starts with a hypothesis, which is just a hunch dressed up in fancy vocabulary.  And my hunch is this:  She would never have left me behind, not willingly" (p. 49).
55.  Larger Than Life: A Novella ~ by Jodi Picoult, 2014, fiction (Botswana), 9/10
"In addition to the five elephants from this herd who were slaughtered, there are more who ran frantically from the poachers — and who no longer have a matriarch to lead them to food and water, to steer them away from danger.  When the matriarch is gone, so is the herd's collective memory" (p. 5).

"What did elephants choose to remember, and why?"

"She [mother] was a part of me, and if you carved away a part of yourself, you bled to death" (p. 74).

"...elephant jokes ... "How do you get down from an elephant?  You don't.  You get down from a goose" (p. 91).
56.  101 Things You Need to Know ~ by Scholastic, 2003, information, 7/10
"Fact 84.  Count on a Cricket to figure out the average temper-ature in the summer.  Count the cricket chirps you hear in 15 seconds and add 39.  That number should give you the Fahrenheit temperature outdoors" (p. 52).
57.  Five Famous Mice Meet Winston of Churchill ~ by Jean Davis Okimoto, illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell, 2014, children's (Canada), 8/10
"We want to join your march," Nellie announced.  "Climate change doesn't just melt ice and wreck your home.  We're endangered, too!  We want everyone to know that climate change hurts all creatures."
58.  How to Pronounce Knife: Stories ~ by Souvankham Thammavongsa, 2020, short stories, 7/10
"It was her last chance before her father went to sleep.  He was the only one in their home who knew how to read.  She brought the book to him and pointed to  the word, asked what it was.  He leaned over it and said, "Kah-nnn-eye-ffff.  It's kahneyff" (p. 7).
59.  Why Did I Come into This Room? : A Candid Conversation about Aging ~ by Joan Lunden, 2020, science of aging, 8/10
"Psychologists say that how we perceive ourselves has a huge influence on how we present ourselves.  It impacts how we conduct our lives and what we think we can do" (p. 27).

"Having an expectation that we will remain healthy, engaged, and full of vitality as we pass through our later decades is a serum all of its own" (p. 41).

"It baffled me to think that I was picking out strollers — make that double strollers for Max, Kate, Kim and Jack — while I was also buying cars for my teenaged girls Jamie, Lindsay, and Sarah, and a wheelchair for my mom, Glady" (p. 50).

"Third Age ... this period represents that stage of life when people are retired from work but not retired from life" (p. 60).

"Here's another helpful tip:  Anytime you go to the doctor and they ask who you want your information sent to, include yourself on that list.  Ask right then and there for a copy of your records.  They are obligated to give it to you and in doing this, you will have your most current information handy" (p. 132).

"A Risk Wrap-Up ... let's all ask ourselves the following questions. ... 1.  Am I overweight?  2.  Have I measured my waistline?  3.  Do I smoke cigarettes?  4.  Do I have high cholesterol?  5.  Do I live a sedentary lifestyle?  6.  Am I positive I'm not diabetic or prediabetic?" (p. 139).

"Keep changing up your exercise routine and you'll never tire of it" (p. 141).

"Stress is not really something that happens to us.  Rather it is how we react to what happens ... therefore we can manage our stress by controlling or changing our response" (p. 222, 223).

"I felt compelled to declutter. ... If you don't use it, lose it" (p. 237).

"A heart filled with anger has no room for love. ... our thoughts create our reality" (p. 243).

"You know that saying, 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks'?  Well, I'm here to tell you, oh yes, you can!" (p, 248).

"Friends are the family we choose for ourselves." — Edna Buchanan (p. 269).
September

60.  Rachel's Legacy ~ by Julie Thomas, 2016, historical fiction (Germany, Australia, USA), 8/10
"Mama told us it was just silly old politics, someone called Hindenburg was the President and he had appointed someone called Hitler to be our Chancellor and Papa thought that was a terrible mistake" (p. 37).

"During the month of April the laws kept coming, new ones every day.  Jewish teachers were banned, then doctors had to register, Jews couldn't work in the Civil Service, and in May we had the book burning" (p. 38).

"Fuhrer.  This man, so universally vilified by history, had been seen as a saviour by his countrymen in the early days" (p. 51).

"My new name was Francesca Albrecht ... It was January 1940, and I'd just had my fifteenth birthday" (pp. 70, 71).

"Jews are not a race but a culture" (p. 74).

"I gave birth to you on 17 February 1942; it was a Tuesday" (p. 108).

"Hitler denied the motion, with a rage out of all proportion to the crime of which she was accused, and demanded that she be executed" (p. 117).

"Peter ... was a patriotic German and he was proud to have served, but the direction the Nazi Party was taking his beloved Germany had begun to sicken him.  To express these opinions out loud was madness, though" (p. 199).

"Mrs. Gunther, the State demands that you allow us to educate your children" (p. 209).
61.  The Antiquities Dealer: A David Greenberg Mystery ~ by Ed Protzel, 2018, fiction (Missouri, Israel), 6/10
"Am Ha-b'rit blends religion, philosophy, and science together, see?  Science is on the ascendancy, but they're all just ways of understanding the world" (loc. 324).

"Solly thinks of Jesus more as a super genius, an evolved human being, whose transcendant vision took the world to a less-primitive place. Not that he attaches anything mystical to him" (loc. 1454).
62.  Out of the Silence: After the Crash ~ by Eduardo Strauch, with Mireya Soriano, translated by Jennie Erikson, 2012 (translation 2019), memoir (Andes, Chile), 7/10
"The silence of the mountain instilled in me the possibility of inner silence, and it was in that silencing of my thoughts that I found a lasting peace capable of expanding all the abilities and gifts that humans possess" (p. 8).
63.  The Winged Cat: A Tale of Ancient Egypt ~ by Deborah Nourse Lattimore, 1992, fiction (Egypt), 7/10
"You must each take the magic spells from the Book of the Dead and travel to the Netherworld.  When you arrive in the Hall of Judgment, the gods will decide who is telling the truth.  If your heart weighs the same as Ma'at, the feather of Truth, you will have nothing to fear.  But if your heart weighs more, it will be proof that you are lying, and the monster Ammit will devour you."
64.  The House by the River ~ by Lena Manta, translated from Greek by Gail Holst-Warhaft, 2007 (translation 2017), fiction (Greece), 6/10
"And this is little Theodora, though we call her Doris!"  Magdalini introduced her proudly.  Polyxeni burst out laughing.  "Now there are three Theodoras in the house.  This could get complicated" (p. 527).
65.  The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: In Seven Parts ~ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, illustrations by Gustave Dorê, 1889 (originally 1798), 2014, ballad, 4/10

October
October's favorite (#69)

66.  Paradoxology ~ by Miriam Therese Winter, 2009, science and religion, 8/10
"A quantum universe is telling us that we are all connected, that the God of one is the God of all, that the suffering of any of Earth's people or any part of the planet is a desecration to us all" (loc. 94).

"How would our lives have been different, how would the world and the church have evolved, if women had been praised, not blamed, for taking the initiative, for wanting to know good from evil, for wanting to be more like God? We might have had peace on earth by now if women had been applauded, rather than berated, for choosing to be fully human" (loc. 224).
67.  Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor ~ by Layla F. Saad, 2020, race relations, 9/10
"White supremacy is far from fringe.  In white-centered societies and communities, it is the dominant paradigm that forms the foundation from which norms, rules, and laws are created" (p. 13).
68.  Your Perfect Year ~ by Charlotte Lucas, translated by Alison Layland, 2016, fiction (Germany), 9/10
"Hannah was sure that a person's fortune was colored by their attitude:  optimists experienced good things, pessimists bad, and the universe would give those who expected the worst what they deserved" (p. 20).

"In fact, the handwriting . . . Jonathan felt oddly touched by it.  It took a while for him to realize why:  the rounded script reminded him of his mother Sofia, who had divorced his father when Jonathan was ten.  Her writing had looked just like this" (p. 30).
69.  The Ritornello Game ~ by Rhonda Chandler, 2019, fiction (Illinois), 9/10
"We have arranged for you to spend some weeks . . . at a beautiful hotel on the Mississippi River.  A bed and breakfast, but they take long-term guests and have a chef who operates a full restaurant for dinner.  It's called Riverview House, in Ashington Mills, Illinois" (loc. 240).

"I learned from my grandfather that all history is an intertwining of the stories of people, millions upon millions of them" (loc. 374).

"From what Sean had said so far, it seemed he was trying to find a life. Mark didn't want the life that had been forced on him. They were two unlikely fellow travelers trying to find themselves on a road trip that had already come to a stop" (loc. 609).
70.  What Would Maisie Do? : Inspiration from the Pages of Maisie Dobbs ~ by Jacqueline Winspear, 2019, journal, 9/10
"Coincidence is a messenger sent by truth" [quote from Maisie Dobbs]. . . . "I have a theory that writers start life as quietly observant or very nosy children — perhaps both!  The sense that there is more to coincidence is something I have paid attention to since childhood, whether inspired by an idle thought about a friend who a minute later is knocking at the door, or reading about someone and then another person mentions her" (pp. 48-49).

"Maurice has always counseled Maisie to 'move the body,' for in moving the body, we also move the mind" (p. 63).
November

71.  Messenger of Truth: A Maisie Dobbs Novel ~ by Jacqueline Winspear, 2006, mystery (England), 8/10
"Oh, yes, we were close, Miss Dobbs.  Nick was my twin.  Two peas in a pod.  He worked with color, texture and light, I work with words" (p. 13).

"But when she considered the money that passed hands, the seeming inequity of a society where people would spend thousands on a painting, while a child could die for want of a few pounds worth of medical attention, she was left with a sour taste in her mouth" (p. 142).

"Nurses shook their heads as the doctor led the Beales along the corridor, first into a small anteroom where they were instructed to wash their hands and put on masks, then into a ward where the most serious cases were quarantined" (p. 166).

"Maurice told her once that the most important question any individual could ask was, 'How might I serve?'" (p. 230).

"I am unaware of any real understanding among those who have of the plight of those who have not.  The war is being waged, Georgina, only the war is here and now, and it is a war against poverty, against disease and against injustice" (p. 240).

"With the torch, she inspected the cottage to see whether there were any signs that others had been there since her previous visit.  The stove was as she had left it, the counterpane seemed untouched" (p. 242).
72.  101 President Jokes ~ by Melvin Berger, illustrated by H. L. Schwadron, 1990, humor, 7/10
Some of Lincoln's advisers told him to issue a proclamation saying that all the slaves were free.  Lincoln insisted that saying they were free would not make them free.
To explain, he asked, "If you call a sheep's tail a leg, how many legs does a sheep have?"
"Five," the advisers agreed.
"No.  A sheep only has four legs," said Lincoln.  "Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it so" (p. 32).
73.  An Incomplete Revenge: A Maisie Dobbs Novel ~ by Jacqueline Winspear, 2008, fiction (England), 9/10
"What kind of a country are we livin' in, eh?  Where there's people feelin' pain in their bellies where food should be, and widows left wantin' — and little children dyin' for need of the hospital" (p. 108).

"I once had a Dutch friend who spoke five or six languages.  She liked to travel and told me, 'No one speaks my language, so I have to speak everyone else's if I want to be understood'" (p. 178).

"I had no one, nothing but a need to make them pay ... You see, I understood revenge" (p. 248).
74.  A Short History of Myth ~ by Karen Armstrong, 2005, history, 8/10
"Yet the experience of reading a novel ... can be seen as a form of meditation. ... It projects them into another world, parallel to but apart from their ordinary lives" (p. 147).

"A novel, like a myth, teaches us to see the world differently; it shows us how to look into our own hearts and to see our world from a perspective that goes beyond our own self-interest" (p. 149).
75.  Among the Mad: A Maisie Dobbs Novel (Book #6) ~ by Jacqueline Winspear, 2009, fiction (England), 9/10
    "You have committed murder, and I believe you intend to murder again, only this time you plan to take the lives of many more innocent victims."
    "Innocent?  Innocent?  Innocent of what?  Innocent of being blind toward the plight of other people, when you can see with your own eyes what they have put up with?  That's a terrible thing, Miss Maisie Dobbs.  I don't see innocence, I don't see innocence at all" (p. 245).
December

76.  The Mapping of Love and Death: A Maisie Dobbs Novel (Book #7) ~ by Jacqueline Winspear, 2010, fiction (England), 9/10
"It was Maurice who had taught Maisie that, following the closure of a case, it was important to ensure that she was at peace with her work, ad that she had done all in her power to bring a conclusion to the assignment in a way that was just and kind.  This process, known as her 'final accounting,' would also help to wipe clean the slate, so that lingering doubts might not hamper work on the next case" (p. 317).
77.  The Book of Two Ways ~ by Jodi Picoult, 2020, fiction (Egypt), 8/10
"One of the questions I ask my clients is What's left unfinished?  What is it that you haven't done yet, that you need to do before you leave this life?" (pp. 11-12).

"If you were a priest or a bureaucrat, you'd learn hieroglyphs.  If you were training to be a scribe, you learned hieratic — the cursive form of hieroglyphics — for everyday use in contracts and wills and village documents.  But even if you were in the public, you could still recognize basic symbols, the way we'd know a stop sign by its shape even if we couldn't read the letters on it" (p. 28).

"We all have stories we tell ourselves, until we believe them to be true" (p. 78).

"Any ancient Egyptian would tell you that words have great power" (p. 104).

"Did you ever wonder who you would have been, if you hadn't become who you are?" (p. 226).

"What's the point of life, if not to accumulate knowledge?" ... "That is absolutely not the point of life.  It's who your existence snags on.  Who changes, because they knew you. ... What you know isn't nearly as important as who you know.  Who will miss you.  Who you will miss" (p. 233).
78.  Plague Ship ~ by Frank G. Slaughter, 1976, fiction (Peru), 9.5/10
"Guy and Lael were responsible for turning loose a killer microbe that's been lying doggo for five thousand years, since some people with the plague apparently fled to the cave for refuge from the disease, only to be sealed inside it by a landslide" (p.77). 

"I have seen many people die — needlessly — because governmental authorities think more of how much the economy of a region will be damaged by an epidemic and not enough of the corpses that will pile up" (p. 84).

"In most epidemics we can count on a certain portion of the population having some acquired immunity, in much the same way the poor often possess more protection against poliomyelitis than the well-to-do," Dr. Figueroa observed.  "But with this invader from prehistory, nobody will be immune.  It could even attack an entire population" (p. 95).

"Do you have any conception of what will happen aboard a crippled vessel with an epidemic of Yungay fever running unchecked, Captain?  You'll be operating a plague ship" (p. 102).

"I can't remember any disease spreading so rapidly since the 1918 influenza epidemic" (p. 217).

"Can I assume that you'll be the first among the group to take the new vaccine?"  "Put me down for the first dose" (p. 228).

"Unless someone is selected to direct the world attack on Yungay fever, who isn't afraid to face down timorous government officials . . . a lot of people are going to die because of this delay" (p. 229).

"Only once in medical history — when the mass production of penicillin, newly discovered by Dr. Alexander Fleming, had been made possible by the work of E. Chain and H. W. Florey — had a crash campaign of such dimensions to manufacture an antibacterial agent been undertaken" (p. 247).
79.  The Christmas Shop ~ by Nancy Naigle, 2018, fiction (North Carolina), 9/10
"I've sent him lots of letters.  Mommy taught me how to dictate like she does." ... "It gives her the freedom to type her thoughts even though she doesn't know how to write yet." ... "Want me to show you how to talk-type?" (p. 29).

"I'm not going to get sucked into the Christmas Galore infatuation.  They're putting me out of business." ... "Time, technology and cheap products are putting you out of business.  It's the age of online ordering and disposable holiday stuff.  I don't know how you've made it this long without an online presence" (p. 32).

"If there was one thing he couldn't stand, it was being out of the loop" (p. 85).  "He didn't like the feeling of being out of the loop" (p. 172).

"Mommy said if you say it's okay, we can help today.  She said I can say, 'Thank you for coming, and Merry Christmas,' to the customers, just like you did when you were little like me" (p. 86).

"Mom hated change, and he'd spent plenty of time trying to convince her to let him integrate more high-tech solutions into the company" (p 159).

"We take the hand we're dealt and we do the best we can with it.  Impossible situations aren't impossible; they sure do feel that way at the time, though" (p. 174).

"You know, my momma used to say if you can't get someone off your mind, it's because they're supposed to be there" (p. 202).
80.  Bible Knock Knocks and Other Fun Stuff ~ by Mary Lou Carney, illustrated by Charlie Cox, 1988, humor, 5/10

81.  Still Life with Bread Crumbs ~ by Anna Quindlen, 2014, fiction (New York), 7/10
"Still Life with Bread Crumbs," a vaguely Flemish composition of dirty wineglasses, stacked plates, the torn ends of two baguettes, and a dish towel singed at one corner by the gas stove" (p. 25).

"Rebecca actually thought very little about dying, but she thought about money cconstantly.  She was afraid she was going to live forever, impoverished, her career a footnote in a dissertation that no one even read" (p. 30).

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