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Category Archives: Reading

Goodbye and Hello

One of my very first ‘real’ jobs was working at Hustler Press, owned by Orval Ricketts.  I was a senior in high school in Farmington, New Mexico and Mr. Ricketts was one of the finest men I’ve ever met.

The memories . . .

The goodbyes and the hellos . . .

Mr. Ricketts’ poem, “Looking at Another Year” is in his book of poetry, My Window on the Mesa.

A Short Testament

A Short Testament
by Anne Porter

Whatever harm I may have done
In all my life in all your wide creation
If I cannot repair it
I beg you to repair it,

And then there are all the wounded
The poor the deaf the lonely and the old
Whom I have roughly dismissed
As if I were not one of them.
Where I have wronged them by it
And cannot make amends
I ask you
To comfort them to overflowing,

And where there are lives I may have withered around me,
Or lives of strangers far or near
That I’ve destroyed in blind complicity,
And if I cannot find them
Or have no way to serve them,

Remember them. I beg you to remember them

When winter is over
And all your unimaginable promises
Burst into song on death’s bare branches.

Quote of the Day

 

There’s no substitute for the love of language, for the beauty of an English sentence.  There’s no substitute for struggling, if a struggle is needed, to make an English sentence as beautiful as it should be. – Harper Lee

a worn path

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesdays  participants can add the book to their To Read Lists if they like your teasers!

Laura Hillenbrand’s biography of Louis Zamperini in her novel Unbroken “is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.”

The men had been adrift for twenty-seven days.  Borne by an equatorial current, they had floated at least one thousand miles, deep into Japanese-controlled waters.

there’s no such thing

snippets from books

Anyone who has ever owned or cared for or loved (and who doesn’t?!) a dog, will find this book moving.  {An aside: I often dream about the last dog we owned – Ginger – such a sweet sweet dog we had for fourteen loving years and I miss her to this day.}

A ‘blurb’ on the jacket of W. Bruce Cameron’s novel, A Dog’s Purpose A Novel for Humans:

“Usually when I read a book this brilliantly written, I wish I had written it, but in this case I’m just grateful it was written at all.  For years I grieved and agonized over the choices I made in caring for my dog at the end of her life, but after hearing from Bailey how deeply our dogs feel what we humans go through, I know my dog loved me till the end, and loves me still, as I love her.  This book healed me.” – Cathryn Michon, author of the Grrl Genius Guide to Life

One afternoon I was drowsily watching Sister and Fast yank on a scrap of cloth they’d found when my ears perked up–an animal of some kind was coming, something large and loud.  I scrambled to my feet, but before I could race down the creek bed to investigate the noise Mother was there, her body rigid with warning.  I saw with surprise that she had Hungry in her teeth, carrying him in a fashion that we’d left behind weeks ago.  She led us into the dark culvert and crouched down, her ears flat against her head.  The message was clear, and we heeded it, shrinking back from the tunnel opening in silence.

When the thing came into view, striding along the creek bed, I felt Mother’s fear ripple across her back.  It was big, it stood on two legs, and an acrid smoke wafted from its mouth as it shambled toward us.

I stared intently, absolutely fascinated.  For reasons I couldn’t fathom I was drawn to this creature, compelled, and I even tensed, preparing to bound out to greet it.  One look from my mother, though, and I decided against it.  This was something to be feared, to be avoided at all costs.

It was, of course, a man.  The first one I’d ever seen.

check it out

The Seguin-Guadalupe Library has an updated website that I absolutely love!  You can view your account, reserve and recommend books, receive notification when books are almost-due.  You can even apply for a library card online.

IN ADDITION, Hubby and I saved $$$ by borrowing books from our local library – to the tune of a combined total of $541!  [When I informed DH, he grunted and said that I had spent much more than that on books for our home library – I replied ” Isn’t it marvelous news that it wasn’t $541 more!”  DH groaned . . .  I smiled.]

WHAT A DEAL!  Our library is the best bargain in town!

Remember the date due library cards?
POOF!!
Gone! – now a borrower receives a computer printout of ALL books they have currently borrowed and not yet returned.  A good reminder and a record.

I love it!




Teaser Tuesday (one sentence)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesdays  participants can add the book to their To Read Lists if they like your teasers!

She had lived in the neighborhood since defecting from the suburbs the week after that funeral, but she generally avoid setting foot inside St. Raphael Cathedral, wary of her ancestors’ brand of piety.

Colleen Smith’s novel, Glass Halo, is a gem.

Nick Bantock (author of the Griffin and Sabine series) writes: “Eloquently bittersweet, Glass Halo takes you through a stained window into a world of shards.”

I miss Molly Ivins (a snippet from one of her books)

How I miss reading Molly Ivin’s column!

Excerpt from Molly Ivin’s book You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You.

Heart attacks, grand juries, DWI’s, divorces–this isn’t a story, it’s a saga.  Of course there is a different between [Bob] Bullock in his drinking days and Bullock today–he’s not quite a different person, but he sure is easier.  He went off to “Whiskey School” in California in 1981.  Six weeks later he returned to Austin in the middle of the night, sober and alone.  Only one person came out to the airport to meet him–Ann Richards.  He has never forgotten that kindness.

Just a couple of stories from the drinking years: One night Bullock and pal Nick Kralj (Bullock used to have any number of reprehensible friends) got bad drunk, went into the basement of Kralj’s nightclub, and proceeded to shoot roaches with pistols.  They claimed it took great skill.

On another occasion, one of Bullock’s early wives kicked him out of the house, presumably for good cause.  So he went to crash with his friend Carlton Carl, who was himself out drinking.  Unable to get into Carl’s apartment, Bullock crawled into the backseat of Carl’s car, which was parked in an alley, got under a blanket, and passed out there.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t Carl’s car, just looked like it.  When Bullock came to the next morning, he was being driven along I-35 by a total stranger who had no idea anyone was in the backseat.  After pondering his options, Bullock sat up and said to the unsuspecting citizen, “Hi there, I’m Bob Bullock, your secretary of state.”  Poor guy almost drove off the road.

snippets from books

Marina Endicotts novel, Good to a Fault, was shortlisted for Canada’s prestigious Giller Prize.

Margaret Atwood, who was on the Giller Prize jury, remarked that “There’s heartbreak, there’s joy, there are parts where you cry–and it’s very high-quality writing.”

From the book:

To give herself a clear mind, or else to delay, Clara went to church before going to the hospital.  She slipped in late to the early service and did not genuflect, but crossed herself quickly.  She always felt slightly snooty crossing herself, but her mother had ingrained it in her.  All this ritual was so complicated: whether to sand for communion or kneel, stand or kneel for prayer, fold hands or adopt the charismatic pose, swaying and open-palmed.  Many of the older women, surprisingly, swayed.

It was all superstition, anyway.  Just sitting there, being there, was the essential thing, she had come to believe.  But of course she could be wrong.

The Gospel was Mary choosing the better part, to let the dishes go and listen to Jesus talking in the living room–a reading that always annoyed Clara, although she’d never considered herself a Martha.  What would happen if she let go of the dishes now?  It would be all right, because Mrs. Zenko would do them for her, popping in and out of the kitchen with her bright glance catching everything, tidy little ears priced for the conversation while she got supper cleared up without a wasted movement or a sigh or a fuss.  Occupied with Mrs. Zenko’s holiness, Clara had trouble keeping her mind on the sermon.  Paul Tippett was telling an anecdote.  She wondered if he made them up, since so many were apropos, but that was ungenerous.  Anyone life is full of meaning.  She should have phoned to thank him for visiting Lorraine.

He was contrasting Mary and Martha with last week’s Gospel on the Good Samaritan–she hadn’t consciously heard a word of it, as she sat fretting and deciding.

“A man no one would think of as saintly, a dirty Samaritan, took practical action to save the life of someone left to die by the side of the road.  Today, Jesus scolds Martha for her brand of practicality, and insists that spiritual discussion is more important than putting the supper on.  Why is practicality praised in one case, and in the other, reviled?  I don’t think that’s too strong a word, reviled, for the way we call women Marthas with an edge of contempt, because they are busy in the kitchen feeding the masses.  Jesus himself was good at feeding the masses.  And staying under budget.”

Paul seemed so pleased with this loaves-and-fishes nudge that Clara couldn’t help laughing.  She hoped she hadn’t been too loud.

“The Samaritan acts in a moment of genuine crisis, when no one can see his goodness.  But the flavour of self-importance in Martha’s actions, and her peevishness toward her sister, may be uncomfortably familiar to us when we think of our own acts of goodness and how we look for recognition of our work.”

to sleep or to read??

A good mystery is hard to put down!!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesdays  participants can add the book to their To Read Lists if they like your teasers!

Two sentences from Bloodroot by Amy Greene:

I didn’t see nothing wrong with John Odom at first, but even if I’d seen that snake coiled up inside his heart I wouldn’t have tried to stop her.  I could tell by her eyes Myra had to have him whatever the outcome.

snippets from books

From his perch on Skull Rock, they looked like pale eggs sunny-side up moving just beneath the water’s surface.  Some kind of jellyfish.  Half a dozen, pulsating vigorously through the black surf like muscular parachutes.

Odd.  Jack Koryan had spent several summers of his childhood out here and could remember only a few occasions seeing jellyfish in the cove, mot of them washed ashore by the night tide–dinner-plate-sized slime bombs with frilly aprons and long fat tentacles.  But these creatures were small round globs, translucent jelly bells with noting visible in trail.

Maybe some tropical species that the warm water brought in, he thought.

Jack watched them pump by in formation, driven by primitive urgings and warm eddies.  Somewhere he had read that jellyfish were ninety-five percent water–creatures with no brains, bones, or blood.  What enabled them to react to the world around them was a network of nerves.  What a lousy fate, Jack thought–to relate to the world only through nerve endings: a life devoid of thought, passion, or memory.

Writer Joseph Finder (New York Times bestselling author of Paranoia) writes that “Gary Braver’s Flashback combines an irresistible premise with the medical intrigue of Robin Cook and the scientific plausibility of Michael Crichton–a powerful, gripping, and moving tale with a beating heart.”

 

NOTE:

What do jellyfish and your brain have in common? Scientists at the 2010 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Honolulu report that the jellyfish protein apoaequorin may improve cognitive function in people who have memory problems.

the inner voice of love

In the introduction to Henri Nouwen’s book, The Inner Voice of Love, he writes that “This book is my secret journal.  It was written during the most difficult period of my life, from December 1987 to June 1988.  That was a time of extreme anguish, during which I wondered whether I would be able to hold on to my life.  Everything came crashing down–my self-esteem, my energy to live and work, my sense of being loved, my hope for healing, my trust in God . . . everything.  Here I was, a writer about the spiritual life, known as someone who loves God and gives hope to people, flat on the ground and in total darkness.

“What had happened?  I had come face to face with my own nothingness.  It was as if all that had given my life meaning was pulled away and I could see nothing in front of me but a bottomless abyss.”

Excerpt from the chapter entitled “Claim Your Unique Presence in Your Community”

Your unique presence in your community is the way God wants you to be present to others.  Different people have different ways of being present.  You have to know and claim your way.  That is why discernment is so important.  Once you have an inner knowledge of your true vocation, you have a point of orientation.  That will help you decide what to do and what to let go of, what to say and what to remain silent about, when to go out and when to stay home, who to be with and who to avoid.

When you get exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, or run down, your body is saying that you are doing things that are none of your business.  God does not require of you what is beyond your ability, what leads you away from God, or what makes you depressed or sad.  God wants you to live for others and to live that presence well.  Doing so might involve suffering, fatigue, and even moments of great physical or emotional pain, but none of this must ever pull you away from your deepest self and God.

Your unique presence in your community is the way God wants you to be present to others.  Different people have different ways of being present.  You have to know and claim your way.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesdays  participants can add the book to their To Read Lists if they like your teasers!

The Dog of the South by Charles Portis is a gem!

My wife Norma had run off with Guy Dupree and I was waiting around for the credit card billings to come in so I could see where they had gone. . . . They had taken my car and my Texaco card and my American Express card.

I’d rather be reading

Visiting with friends the other evening, the talk turned to television viewing.  Last week, my husband and I saw an On Demand movie on the television screen that was very good: Winter’s Bone.

Other than that movie, I cannot recall the last time I sat in front of a television to watch anything.  When our friends and Dear Hubby mentioned the television programs and sitcoms and reality shows they enjoy, I was at a loss to remember any but that recent movie (which I highly recommend).

When we participated in a television viewing analysis last year, I watched a total of two hours television in one month (a documentary if I recollect and I doubt the TV company gained much insight in the viewing habits in our household – at least from my perspective).  Although (don’t tell him I wrote this!), DH more than made up for my lack of television watching.

However, I WILL watch a basketball game now and again – if I don’t have a Good Book at hand.

snippets from books

Melanie Rae Thon writes that “If Evan S. Connell, William Faulkner, and Norman Maclean had been born as one person, he might possess the extraordinary gifts of Bruce Machart.  The Wake of Forgiveness is a wild, Godforsaken cry delivered in language so lush we cannot stop listening.  The dazzling velocity of Machart’s prose bears a tale redemptive and resonant as myth, insistent and intimate as breath in the body.”

From the book:

The horses, they’re beautiful, though no longer the most beautiful in Lavaca County, and they don’t work the fields.  They race, they rest, they eat, they mate, and they race.  That don’t pull a plow.  That work Vaclav leaves to his four sons, and when Guillermo Villasenor drives his two Spanish-bred stallions and three olive-skinned daughters up the farm-to-market road from town, and when the carriage clears a thick stand of mesquite trees with arthritic branches and thorns long enough to skewer a foot in a way only careless barefoot boys and Jesus might fully appreciate, and the girls get their first glimpse of their future husbands, what they see, instead of blond-haired and handsome Czech farm boys, like they’ve been told by their father to expect, are weathered young men straining against the weight of the earth turning in their wake, their necks cocked sharply to one side or the other, their faces sunburned despite their hats and peeling and snaked with raised veins near the temples, their boots sliding atop the earth they’re sweating to unearth.  The four of them work harnessed two abreast in front of their father; who’s walking in their work, one foot in each furrow, spitting stained juice between his front teeth and periodically cracking a whip to keep the boys focused and the rows straight.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

May and I have no intention of getting on that boat.  We couldn’t even if we wanted to because I threw away the tickets, but our parents don’t know that.

I couldn’t put this book down

I read  Room by Emma Donoghue in one sitting.  You will too (I bet).