"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, October 23, 2016

24-Hour Read-a-thon. Finale!

And so it begins, another readathon! Just like last Spring I plan on doing a lot of reading and very little blogging (chatting). I also hope to actually read for 24 hours, during the whole weekend, not just on Saturday.

My plan:
Read or blog for 24-hours Friday, Oct. 21 thru Sunday, Oct. 23
Blog updates every 4 to 6 hours.

Books I hope to read (or at least make progress on):
  • Out of Africa...I have simply been plodding along on this book all summer. I still have over 100 pages. Here's a perfect weekend to close the book on this one!
  • Winter by Meyer...I went to the book launch for this book in the Lunar Chronicles series last November. I am listening on audiobooks and it is over 21 hours of listening. So far I have only knocked off six hours so I could spend my whole readathon listening to this book, but I won't. I hope to make some progress. Perhaps I will listen to it while I rake the leaves and walk the dog.
  • Railhead by Reeve...one of three books we are still considering for Mock Printz and I haven't had the volition to do much reading lately. 
  •  Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King...another of the three books I hope to read very quickly. A.S. King is a favorite author so I know I can do it.
  • Vassa in the Night by Porter...the last of the three. Another friend who is reading for Mock Printz inclusion says the book is pretty weird. I hope it is well-written though.
  • Little Women by Alcott...this is my Classics Club spin book. I haven't started it yet. I'm not worried but I do want to get started.
  • Leading from Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead by Intrator and Scribner...can't let a reading week-end go by without a bit of poetry.
Challenges and distractions:
(I already know that the weekend will not be all about books and reading.)
  • Dinner party tonight. Don and I have a commitment for a dinner at a wonderful restaurant with fun people this evening. It is in a nearby town so I will at least be able to listen to the audiobook en route.
  • Football Game. When we get home from the dinner we will watch our favorite team play football as we will record the game while we are gone. I may be able to read a few chapters during the game, but I doubt it. Altogether I hope to knock off four hours of reading/listening on Friday.
  • A second dinner out. We have plans to go out to dinner with my cousin and his wife on Saturday evening. I hope to squeeze in about twelve hours of reading on Saturday.
  • Church. It has been several weeks since I've been to church so I am not skipping it. No problem though because I think I should easily be able to fit in eight hours of reading in to the rest of the day.
I'm off  to start the Dewey 24-hour Readathon.

1:49 PM Saturday, Update#1
I can't believe how slowly my reading seems to be going today. So far I have only read a few pages, and listened to a few hours of an audiobook. I had such high hopes for getting lots of books finished. Sigh. Here is where I am since I began the readathon yesterday afternoon:
  • I've read approximately 80 pages of Railhead by Philip Reeve, a YA science fiction novel where travel between planets is done by rail. Progress: 33%
  • I've read 40 pages of the poetry book Leading from Within. I am really savoring the poems and the thoughts. I am already concocting a blog post with them. Progress: 17%
  • Out of Africa by Isak  Dinesen is a book I'm determined to finish even though I am proceeding at a snail's pace. Today I've read 10 more pages which brings me to 75%
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer is my current audiobook. It involves over 21 hours of listening pleasure. So far today and yesterday I've listened to around seven hours of the book bringing me to just over the 50% mark. I listened while I sorted photos from Don's parents. We just got boxes and boxes of them.
11:00 PM Saturday, Update#2
Honestly. I should just admit that I am not really spending all day reading. With two dinner engagements, and taking advantage of good weather to work in the yard, I've really read much less than I hoped to scrunch into my day. Here is what I've read since my last update:
  • I've read another 100 pages of Railhead bringing me to 63%. I hope to read a few more pages before I turn off the lights tonight.
  • I listened to 3 more hours of the audiobook of Winter while I sorted more photos. I'm currently on tract 15 of 21 which I think is about 67%.
  • I enjoyed a few more pages of poems from Leading from Within. 31%
2:10 PM Sunday, Update#3
We are back from church and have had a delicious lunch of grilled tuna sandwiches. Now back to reading. Will I make my goal of 24 hours of actual reading time for the week-end? Doubtful but I am still plodding along.  Before church I did read a bit more pages in two of my books:
  • Leading From Within: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Lead. I am up to 70% done.
  • Out of Africa I read 25 more pages which brings me to 81%. If I finish nothing else, I am going to finish this book today.  Can you hear my determination?
I'm done. I did spend the weekend reading (and listening to books) but I also did a lot of other things which drew my attention away from reading. Altogether I probably spent 16 hours in the pursuit of reading over the course of the whole weekend, far short of my goal of 24 hours. I finished two books, listened to 8 to 10 hours of a very long audiobook, and got deep into another book. Not bad.
  • Finished: Leading from Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead. I've had this book checked out from my library for months. It spoke to me on many levels.
  • Finished: Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. I started this classic book on July 10th and lost all my incentive to read it fast and finish it until this weekend.
  • Listened to 9 tracks of Winter by Marissa Meyer. Each track is approximately 65 minutes. I listened on 1.25 speed so I guess I listened for around 8 hours. I will still have to push to finish the book in the next two days, however, because it is due back on Overdrive and I'd hate to get this far and not be able to finish it.
  • 200+ pages read of Railhead by Philip Reeve. No doubt I will finish this book this week as well.

Sunday Salon, October 23rd

Weather: Overcast with sunbreaks. I do hope to run outside for a quick walk with the dog and to pull up the impatiens which got a bit soggy looking this past week. They are done for the year.

Curled up in a metaphorical ball: Almost a month ago my father-in-law died very suddenly. As is often the case, we were unprepared for his passing. Last night I had a stomach ache as I was preparing for bed. As I laid in the dark holding my stomach I thought of how these physical symptoms were mimicking my life right now. The pain and sorrow from grief have left me feeling like just curling up in a ball.

Last week-end we held a memorial service in Chet's honor and we helped host a social event afterwards so that family members could be together to swap stories and share the love. My father-in-law and his wife lived in Eastern Oregon (about five hours from our home) so we had to travel and spend several nights in a hotel. We were able to route our daughter, who is attending graduate school in New York, through the Pasco, Washington airport which was an easy half hour drive to pick her up so she could join us for the weekend. Everything about the event and the whole weekend was good. Don and I both spoke at the service and our son-in-law participated in the portion of the ceremony conducted by the Masons. We were together as a family. Don was able to be with his uncles and cousins he doesn't often see. He and his brother were together in their grief. Everyone helped support Chet's widow. As we drove home last Sunday I had a positive feeling about the time we all spent together.

After: But after we got home and brought in the seven boxes of family photos and paraphernalia we need to go through, after we collected the dog from the kennel, after we drove Carly back to the airport for her return trip to NYC, after we went back to work on Tuesday to our demanding jobs... the grief remains. It is a grief which is just percolating under the surface at all times ready to swamp us at a moment's notice. For a month I feel like I have been curled up in a ball nurturing this grief. Shockingly, the one thing that has really seemed to go by the wayside is my desire to read and to blog. I don't have the attention span for either of these activities. This weekend I had signed up to participate in a blog event: a 24-hour readathon. It seemed like a good idea at the time but even with this impetus behind me I can barely make myself read and when I do my reading is very slow, which is not like me. But one book I am finding which has provided some relief is a poetry book called Leading from Within. Poetry always seems to speak to me when other forms of communication can't get through.

Let Me Remember...a poem which reminds me of our transitory lives here on earth but of an eternity to look forward to.

Let me remember, by Winston O. Abbott




beyond forgetting —
let me remember always
for my spirit is often shrouded in the mists
let me remember beyond forgetting
that my life is not a solitary thing
it is a bit of the rushing tide
a leaf of the bending tree
a kernel of grain the golden wheat fields
a whisper of wind about the mountaintop
a reflection of sunlight upon the shining waters
it is fleeting
it is of the moment
it is timeless
it is of eternity.

24-hour read-a-thon, my progress:
  • Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, 81%
  • Leading From Within, 70%
  • Winter, an audiobook, track 15 of 21 which I think is about 67%
  • Railhead, 63%  Can I finish them all before days end? Unlikely but I'll give it a shot.

Monday, October 10, 2016

TTT: Books I read because of a recommendation

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I read at someone's recommendation

This is an odd list for me because I am often the person giving book recommendations and reading reviews. Many of the recommendations that come from someone else are book club selections based on another club member's research. I also pay attention to books my blogging friends are reading. Often my favorite books are ones someone else has loved.

1. Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse, recommended by several bloggers. I finished the audiobook version in September 2016.

2. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, recommended by a book club member. I listened to this audiobook with my family in August 2016.

3. The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen, recommended by a book club member. I read it in July this year.

4. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, recommended by several bloggers. This is one of the most influential books I've listened to this year. (June)

5. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, recommended by several gals in book club. I read this book in May.

6. Jackaby by William Ritter. A student recommended this book. She was wildly crazy for it. I read it in April and then met the author.

7. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, recommended by a colleague, an English teacher friend. She is a big fan of Rilke's poetry. Read in March.

8. The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner, recommended by several bloggers. Now we are doing it for book club this month.

9. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, recommended by my daughter, an introvert. I read it in March and then I recommended my Principal read it, too.

10. Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess, a saw this book on the blog of an elementary librarian and just had to read it.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

BSD Mock Printz list for 2017

It is with a bit of trepidation that I publish the Bethel School District Mock Printz list for 2017 because it still feels like a work in progress. We have settled on fourteen books so far, and are leaving ourselves open to adding additional books once we get a change to read them. Our list is static. Once we make our selection we publish it for our students, purchase additional copies of each book, and finally discuss these books only during our workshop.

B.S.D. 2017 Mock Printz list

1. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Six starred reviews. 
It is historical/horror/mystery with a strong message for young women to follow their dreams.

2. The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
Five starred reviews.
Another historical novel, this one is set in Provence in the 1200s and deals with the topic of a Christian mystic and the Inquisitions.

3. Jazz Day by Roxanne Orgill
Six starred reviews.
This is a surprise addition since it looks more like a Caldecott book. It is a collection of poems about the amazing photograph taken in the late 1950s about the day many Jazz musicians came together for one phenomenal photograph. We think our teen readers will like it but wouldn't read it without this gentle nudge.

4. Character Driven by David Lubar
Four starred reviews.
A coming-of-age tale about a boy named Cliff whose life is right on the edge of a precipice. 

5. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
Four starred reviews.
Set in New York City during the summer of 1977 when the city was burning up and Son-of-Sam was busy killing people. 

6. Exit, Pursued By a Bear by E.K Johnston
Four starred reviews.
A realistic story about being a member of a team, and about friendship even in the face of tragedy.

7. Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett
Four starred reviews.
A new family moves into a neighborhood in Australia and their boys seem to have every toy any boy could ever want. But the toys come with a cost. A sinister message told through the voice of three narrators.

8. The Reader by Traci Chee
Four starred reviews.
Set in a world where reading and books are unheard of. It is both a fantasy and adventure novel.

9. We Are the Ants by Shawn Hutchinson
Four starred reviews.
A gay teenager is abducted by aliens and offered a change to save the world. But he is not sure if he will do it.

10. The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork
Four starred reviews.
A suicidal girl comes to grips with her feelings through her hospitalization and therapy.

11. Railhead by Philip Reeve
Three starred reviews.
Science Fiction. A small-time thief travels between worlds on a interstellar train and is asked to steal something which may swamp the universe

12. Essential Maps of the Lost by Deb Caletti
Three starred reviews.
There are lots of ways people become lost and sometimes, if you are really lucky, you find a map to find your way back. A romance story set in Seattle.

13. A Rebel of the Sand by Alwyn Hamilton
Three starred reviews.
A fantasy novel set a desert kingdom. It is the first book in a series.

14. The Memory Book by Lara Avery
Three starred reviews.
A teen girl is diagnosed with a genetic disease which is robbing her of her memories. She decides to write down her memories so she can have them when she needs them.

In addition. we are considering these books as additions to the list:
A. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter (Urban Fantasy)
B. Steeplejack by AJ Hartley (Mystery)
C. Still Life in Tornado by A.S. King (Realism)
D. Lucy and Linh by Alice Ping (Multicultural)

Lastly we are offering our readers a challenge to read:
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Four starred reviews.
Since it is the fourth book in the Raven Cycle series we didn't think we could add the book to our list because readers would need to read the first three books of the series before reading it, but we think the book is worthy of a Printz consideration.

We are aware this list isn't as diverse as we usually select. In past years we have included at least one nonfiction title, a graphic novel, and a novel written in verse. We decided that the Printz committee must not be interested in nonfiction after snubbing two fabulous selections last year so we decided that we wouldn't go out of our way to add one to our list this year. Jazz Day is our nod to poetry and to illustrations! We also try to include as many genres as we can. This year our one horror book (The Lie Tree) isn't very horrifying and it is also our only mystery so far.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday Quotes: Hondo

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

Check out the links for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Participants don't select their favorite, coolest, or most intellectual books, they just use the one they are currently reading. This is the book I'm reading right now---

Book Title: Hondo by Louis L'Amour

Book Beginning:
He rolled his cigarette in his lips, liking the taste of the tobacco, squinting his eyes against the sun glare.
Friday 56:
They walked slowly. It was very hot. Dust arose. A road runner darted away ahead of them, a streak of dull brown against the desert A rattler buzzed from under a mesquite bush. They walked on.
Comment: My father-in-law, a Western-genre reader, died last week. In honor of his reading life, I am reading my first Louis L'Amour book. It is not my usual genre and I must admit there are parts of it that really bug me. My father-in-law really liked the author so I trying to stay open-minded.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Classics Spin #14 book: Little Women

Monday was spin day for Classics Club Spin #14. I dutifully put together my list of twenty books. (See list here.) When the die was cast, No. 1 won and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott claimed that spot. So I shall be reading this classic book by an amazing American author by December 1st. As in the past I plan to blog updates throughout my reading.

When I was young, I think I was in 5th or 6th grade, I read an abridged version of Little Women in the Great Illustrated Classics series. It is only 240 pages and no doubt abridged so much making it accessible to young readers, maybe as young as eight. Only recently I put together my reading habits as a kid and realized all these classics I remember reading in elementary school were actually part of the Great Illustrated Classics series making me want to go back and reread the full version of the book now that I am an adult. Other classics I read as part of this series were Jane Eyre, David Copperfield, Pride and Prejudice, and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Now I have a chance to fall in love again with a book I've loved almost my whole life.

The version I shall be reading is published by the original publisher, Little, Brown, and Co. It has 502 pages. The author Anna Quindlen, said in the book's forward, "I won't temporize. Little Women changed my life. Up to that time, age 10, she had only read fairy tales where all of the characters were either good or bad; ugly or beautiful. "At the time Little Women seemed to me to be the first naturalistic work of imagination I had ever read."

Little Women has spoken to girls since its publication. It said to girls they didn't have to be girlish and care only about the home arts. They could be writers, or some other career, and they could use their skills to take care of themselves. Not exactly ground-breaking messages today, but in the 1850s it was unheard of.  I have always loved Jo March and identified with her gumption. I also adored the whole March family, their closeness and bonds with each other and their neighbor Laurie. I look forward to jumping in.

I also have a copy of the audiobook version which I will listen to in part, a mix with my print book.
The audiobook I have was part of the free Sync download during the summer. It was published by Penguin Random House Audio Books and read by Kate Reading. I love listening to books so I'm sure I will enjoy the book in this format, too.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ten Literary Villains that I love to hate!

Top Ten Tuesday: The Broke and Bookish

My Top Literary Villains (in no particular order)
(Repost from original 2010 blog post)

1.  The White Witch (Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis)- the first literary villain that I was actually afraid of as a child because of what I believe that she represents.

2.  Lord Voldemort and other Death Eaters (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)-Duh!  Bet just about everyone will have these guys on your list.

3.  Durza (Inheritance series [Eragon] by Christopher Paolini)-there are lots of villains in this masterful series, Durza is just one that comes to mind right now.

4.  Mrs. Coulter (His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman)-I know that she does show some kindness along the way but she was conducting experiments on children to see what would happen if their daemons were detached...very evil and self-centered.

5.  Mayor Prentiss and Mistress Doyle (Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness)-both thought the other was evil and were blind to their own manipulative ways.

6.  Valentine Morgenstern (Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare)- similar to Lord Voldemort, the ultimate evil in the magical world.

7.  King Leck of Monsea (Graceling by Kristin Cashore)- the ultimate mind-control villain.

8.  Bob Ewell (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)-the evil racist who who attacks Scout and who wrongly accuses Tom Robinson of raping his daughter.

9.  President Snow (Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins)-Shows how cruel and petty he is by retaliating against Katniss when she bested him by beating the Hunger Game rules.

10. It (A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle)-is the biggest bully in the universe by targeting the weak and making them submit or he'll (it'll) destroy them.

11.  The Wicked Witch in Sleeping Beauty-of all the Fairy Tale witches this one was always the most scary to me.

The above villains are from my original list created in 2010. Here are some additional villains I now add to the list in 2016:

12. Humbert Humbert (Lolita by Nabakov)- is the ultimate creepy, creepy guy.

13. Inspector Javier (Les Miserables by Hugo)- he pursues Jean Valjean for 19 years.

14. Miss Trunchbull (Matilda by Dahl)- She is mean, mean, mean to little kids.

15. Big Brother (1984 by Orwell)-Just because he isn't real doesn't mean he isn't despicable.

16. Queen Levana (Cinder by Meyer)---she is the most spoiled and self-centered of all villains.

Who are some literary villains that I missed?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, a book club discussion guide

This month I was hostess for book club. Hosting means preparing a treat for club members to eat and conducting the discussion on the month's book. Our book selection was The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. We try to make our book selections month in advance so that those of us who prefer to not buy the book will have plenty of time to get it from the public library. I put in my library hold early and got the print edition of the book in June, just in time for vacation. But when we got to Whistler I didn't feel like reading a dense and serious book. I wanted the equivalent of beach reading even though we were in the mountains, so I shoved The Sympathizer off to the side and returned it by its due date to the library when I got home. Little did I realize I wouldn't get another turn at the book because of it's popularity by the club deadline. I was forced to buy a copy so I subscribed to audible.com so I could get the audio version of the book.  This ended up being a good decision. Out of eight women who regularly attend club, only two of us finished the book. We both enjoyed the book very much but Margaret said it was a difficult book to read because of the way it is formatted without proper punctuation. I didn't have any such issues with the audio version.

In a nutshell The Sympathizer is about a nameless captain in the South Vietnam army who is really a double agent and sympathizer of the North. The book begins during the Fall of Saigon, moves to refuge camps, to the USA, and eventually back to Vietnam. The captain, our narrator, is writing the book as a confession.

As I was preparing for the club discussion on the book I went looking discussion questions and was surprised that all the sources I looked at only had the same four questions. They are good ones, however, and I decided to use them if I needed them. Next I went searching for a good review of the book. My favorite was written by Philip Caputo for the New York Times. I highly recommend you read his review if you also are charged with the job of leading a discussion on this book. I took notes as I read and from those notes I had my talking points and was able to formulate some questions of my own.

Here are some of the ideas I got from Caputo's article:

  • Viet Thanh Nguyen (pronounced 'win') was born in Vietnam and came to the US in 1975 as a child. He is a professor at the University of Southern California. The book, written from the Vietnamese point of view, is actually ground-breaking.
  • Literature coming out of powerful countries, like the US, usually feature story lines focused on characters from that country. So there are lots of stories about Vietnam, but most deal with what is was like to be an American soldier in the war, etc. 
  • The book won just about every book prize out there, including the Pulitzer prize. We talked about several of these prizes and what it means to win them.
  • It has several universal themes worth exploring.
  • The opening line, "I am a man of two minds" and the nameless narrator's duality provided a lot to talk about.
  • We chewed on the names that characters were given and then used, even overused, including why the narrator went unnamed. 
  • Overwriting examples
  • "The blood of friendship is thicker than the water of ideology."
  • Black humor or satire? Examples.
  • We talked a lot about the conclusion and how our feelings/thoughts about Vietnam have changed because of the book.
  • Discuss the quote "Vietnam was the first war where the losers would write the history instead of the victors."
The Sympathizer "fills a void in literature, giving voice to the previously voiceless while it compels the rest of us to look at the events of 40 years ago in a new light" (Caputo).

The Pulitzer committee lauded The Sympathizer as "a layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a 'man of two minds' -- and two countries, Vietnam and the United States."

The trick for any book club wanting to tackle this excellent book is getting the members to actually read it. I recommend the audio version, expertly read by Francois Chau. It solves the problems my group members had with the dense text. Whatever you decide, it is worth the effort.

Sunday Salon, October 2

Chihuly glass chandelier

Weather: Cloudy with a chance of rain, or sun; temperature feels quite brisk. Who knows what the weather will do today?

It was a bad week: On Monday night we got a call that my husband's father had passed away while on a vacation to Arizona. He was diagnosed with congestive heart disease earlier this year but had still been able to handle a modified schedule in his life. His death came so suddenly we were completely shocked. Here is a literary tribute I wrote for my father-in-law. While still in shock and grief about Chet, we learned that my brother's cancer has spread and will knock him out of the possibility of the experimental treatment they thought he could get. I am clinging to the hope that the same treatment that cured Jimmy Carter will be available for my brother.

The light at the end of the iPad tunnel: at the beginning of the school year I entered a dark tunnel known to many as iPad Hell. I am finally nearing the end of the tunnel and can see the light. After launching iPads to nearly 2000 students we have had a steady stream of students with problems with their devices. At one point I think there were something like 200 iPads piled up for the Tech to attend to. As he would fix one, another one would come in the door with a similar problem. Two thing were at play. The district decided to go with a managed Apple ID, if student logged in with any other Apple ID it would shut down the device requiring a reset. The other issue outside our control was the launch of Apple IOS 10 at the moment we were getting the iPads in kids hands. The new operating system had (has) some glitches that don't sync well with the district network. If a student updated his device, a trip to the library to have it reset or returned to the lower IOS was required. It has been a long, long month. We are finally down to under 20 devices needing attention and about that same number of devices that still need to be checked out. Finally! I will be able to do something other than work on iPads like get books into student's hands!?

It has almost been a month since I posted in the Sunday Salon: I don't think I've ever gone that long without my weekly update. In that time we have traveled to Eugene twice for football games and for family gatherings; Don traveled to Virginia for an Army JAG conference; and I don't what else. When one is enveloped in grief it is hard to want to blog.

Books I have read since Sept. 11th, my last weekly update:
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen---this month's book club selection. I listened to the audiobook and think that is the perfect format for this book. I hope to blog about it and the book club discussion we had over it soon.
  • Flannery by Lisa Moore---a YA selection and a delightful coming-of-age tale. Flannery thinks she is in love with a boy so she is willing to overlook all his faults. This causes all kinds of troubles for her. When she finally wakes up she realizes she needs to love herself not some dream of another person.  Good message for teens.
  • The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian---another YA selection and an audiobook. I didn't care for this one. The serious situation was handled in too trite of a way. I won't recommend this for anyone to read.
  • The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse---another YA and audiobook. This one is set in occupied Netherlands during WWII. The main character gets caught up in trying to locate a Jewish girl and learns about the horrors of the Holocaust. The Mystery is quite compelling.
Currently reading:
  • Out of Africa---yes, I am still plodding along on this book. I've made it through 75% of the book. At this rate, I'll be done by Christmas!
  • The Reader by Traci Chee---a YA fantasy novel about the power of books and reading and all other adventury types of things. When I have felt like reading this week, which hasn't been often, I have enjoyed the escape this book allows. 25% done.
  • The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty---a YA audiobook, the sencond in the Colors of Madeleine series. It is odd I would be spending my time right now on this series since the book has been out for over a year, but I want to read the third book as a potential Printz book and don't want to read them out of order. It is a very imaginative series but so far I like the first book better. At the 50% mark.
  • Hondo by Louis L'Armour---the book I picked up at the used bookstore yesterday to read in tribute to my father-in-law who loved westerns. 10%.
Skimming for solace and hope:
  • Jesus Calling by Sarah Young---daily devotions of positive nature which help me focus on giving God my pain and despair and to relax into his love. Here is a one thought from the August 23rd entry: "Entrust your loved one to me; release them into my protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands. If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one---as well as yourself."
  • Psalms for Praying by Nan Merrill---reworded Psalms into prayers. Many have touched my heart this week. From Psalm 6: "Be gracious to me, Heart of my heart, for I am sad and weary. Surround me with your healing Light, that my body, mind, and soul might heal." I am praying that one not only for myself but for my brother.

Classics Club spin is tomorrow: I always look forward to the spin because I am "forced" to read a classic book which I always end up enjoying.  Check out my post which has the list of the 20 possible books and the details.  Join me if you like! You will notice that all of the books on my list are authored by females.  That was my commitment to read female authors of classic books this year. I've done pretty well. So far I have read five books which fit the category, with this one and Out of Africa I may make it to seven for the year. Not bad!

I really recommend you watch this video by comedian John Oliver. I actually think it is helpful in comparing the scandals of Clinton and Trump. They aren't equal.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Classics Club Spin #14

It's that time again for the Classics Club Spin.

What is the spin?
It’s easy. By October 3rd, Monday, list your choice of any twenty Classic books you'd like to read.
This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books in October and November.  So, try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, rereads, ancients — whatever you choose.)
Next October 3rd, Classic Club will report, and I will report here, a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List, by Dec.1st 
My list:

Little Women
Alcott, Louisa May
Bastard Out of Carolina
Allison, Dorothy
Agnes Grey
Bronte, Anne
Butler, Octavia
Death Comes for the Archbishop
Cather, Willa
Murder on the Orient Express
Christie, Agatha
The Optimist's Daughter
Eudora Welty
Jamaica Inn
DuMaurier, Daphne
Eliot, George
Gaskill, Elizabeth
Interpreter of Maladies
Lahiri, Jhumpa
Breathing Lessons
Ann Tyler
Anne of Avonlea
Montgomery, L.M.
Suite Francais
Nimerovsky, Irene
House of Mirth
Edith Wharton
Robinson, Marianne
Wild Sargasso Sea
Rhys, Jean
Mrs. Dalloway
Woolf, Virginia
To the Lighthouse
Woolf, Virginia
So Big
Edna Ferber

I know some of these books are not exactly CLASSICS in the true sense of the word by I am attempting to read all or most of the Pulitzer Prize winning books authored by females and I am interested in knocking many of the books off the 102 Greatest Books by female authors list.