"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 25, 2015

Sunday Salon, October 25

Colorful fire hydrants near downtown Puyallup
Weather: Rainy and stormy, with a few claps of thunder. Weather patterns rarely last for long in the NW. I expect this will pass over quickly and we will probably have a bit of sun later in the day.

Anthony Doerr, Oct. 23
Author event with Anthony Doerr:  Friday night Carly, Don, and I attended the 3rd Annual Jim Taylor Memorial Lecture series sponsored by the Puyallup Library. The guest speaker was Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See. Unlike most author events I've attended, Doerr did not read excerpts from his Pulitzer prize-winning book. Instead, he talked primarily about the writing process and the research that goes into creating a book with such a wide scope. He also talked about himself and how, from a very early age, he has been curious about everything. Each book he read as a child made him want to pursue a different vocation when he grew up. If he read Jack London, he wanted to become an arctic explorer; a book about Frank Lloyd Wright led him to want to be an architect, etc. He even had a college professor accuse him of being a dilettante because of the many and varied classes he wanted to take instead of fixing on one major. An author, writing a review about All the Light We Cannot See, says this, "Anthony Doerr sees the world as a scientist, but feels it as a poet." One certainly got that sense from listening to this amazing author speak.

Jim Taylor Memorial Lecture:  The author event was named in honor of a high school English teacher with whom I taught and considered a friend. The librarian who introduced the event and our speaker spoke about Jim's dedication to getting a book in the right person's hands and how he instilled the love of literature for all his students. I spoke to his widow after the event and she was so gracious. She, too, is a lover of libraries and literature.

Art in Puyallup:  Yesterday as Don and I were taking Muffy to Wash Your Dog we passed the colorful collection of fire hydrants. Our little town has quite a few displays of outdoor art. Th painted hydrants is one of the latest installations. Later, on the way home, we noticed a sign urging us to stop in at the glass pumpkin sale. This we had to see. We dropped the dog home and circled back. The glass pumpkins were created by students in a program designed to involve students who live in impoverished areas of Tacoma in the artistic and productive process of glass blowing. Since we have the Dale Chihuly-inspired Glass Museum in Tacoma, the program is a combined effort to link artisans with students. Since the pumpkins support a good cause, I had to buy three! Check out the link: Northwest glass pumpkins.
Seahawks inspired colored pumkins
Orange pumpkins weren't the only colors represented in the sale

Glass ghosts

Lovely blue pumpkins
Even University of Oregon colored pumkins
These are the three we bought which are now displayed in our art niche. It was hard to choose just three
Discouraging/encouraging week:  I spoke to an English teacher at my school to ask when she'd like to bring her kids to the library for book talks or to check out a themed book. She indicated she wouldn't be bringing her classes in because she couldn't see asking them to do something like check out a book without grading it and she was too overwhelmed with grading already to add one more thing. I went home from school that day so discouraged.  If English teachers don't support the library and reading, who will? The next day, however, another teacher did bring her classes in and her kids were so happy to have access to the books. Two girls even discovered Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See on the shelf and fought over who got to check it out first. At that moment my heart swelled. Reading at my school is not dead!

Currently reading:
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. This is a nonfiction selection for one of my book clubs. I am attempting to listen to the audio book version but may shift to the print version so I can read it more quickly. Pretty depressing.
  • The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz---a YA historical novel set in 1911. I have decided to muscle through this tome. I like it fine, but it is so long! (Read that sentence with a withering tone of voice, followed by a sigh.)
Set aside this week:
  • The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr---on the heels of my discouraging week I've decided to set aside this book which is also very discouraging about how the Internet is wrecking our brains for reading books. Perhaps I will come back to it some day.
Books Finished this week:
  • Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen---a memoir written by an 8th grader as she attempted to put into practice the advice given in a 1950s publication about how to be popular. I was completely charmed by this memoir.
  • Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege on Leningrad by MT Anderson---an audiobook of this fascinating and well-researched book by an award-winning author. I was very impressed. Watch for my review later today or tomorrow.
From the kitchen:  Talk about emotional baking and eating, I made a batch of Congo Bars, a favorite bar cookie which hearkens back to high school days. 

Update on Muffy:  If you were taking a multiple choice test on my blog post you would notice I mentioned we took Muffy to the self-wash for a bath yesterday. So the answer would be this is a good sign. She has really turned the corner and is walking more and more on her own. She still needs help up and down stairs and support when she squats in the yard, but we are delighted with her progress.

Pilgrim's Prayer:  Our pastor has just returned from the Camino de Santiago in Spain where he walked the Pilgrim's Way. This is a portion of the prayer he prayed each day of his walk:
O God,...Be for us our companion, our guide at the crossroads,
our breath in our weariness, our protection in danger,
our shade in the heat, our light in the darkness,
our consolation in our discouragements, and our strength in our intentions.

Today I am praying for:
  • The people who were affected by the tragic crash in Oklahoma where over 50 people were killed or hurt by a car hurtling into a crowd watching a parade yesterday.
  • For a friend, Sheri, and her family. She is nearing death from breast cancer. May her passing be peaceful as she is surrounded by loved ones. Update: I just learned that Sheri died today. May God be with her family and all of us, her friends.
Just for fun: Reading Rainbow Remix. This makes me smile.


  1. I'm sorry about the loss of your friend. So painful to lose people we love.

  2. I love all the glass(beautiful!) and Muffy's progress. The lecture sounds wonderful; I'm glad you got to talk with Desta. Cancer is such a terrible disease. I'm very sorry for your loss! xoxo

  3. We had some rain finally this past weekend. It was wonderful to get to sleep in on a rainy day. Looks like you had a lot going on this past week. Sorry to hear about your friend. But glad that Muffy is doing better, every little bit!
    Check out my Sunday Post

  4. Just as you, as a librarian assistant at a public library, I sometimes am discouraged by teachers' mentioning of libraries. Too often in our small town high school, they said students to the library with too broad a subject to explore (pick a non-fiction book written after 2000) and seem to give no direction at all. Lazy teachers frustrate me.

  5. Thanks for sharing about Anthony Doerr's lecture. How interesting. Glad to hear about Muffy's improvement. She is in my thoughts.

  6. I'm glad that one teacher decided to bring her class or classes in to enjoy checking out books. I have never seen "Glass pumpkins." They are really pretty.


I look forward to your comments and interactions! Join in the conversation.