"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, February 28, 2016

Sunday Salon, Leap Day

Chapel of St. Ignatius, Seattle University
Weather:  Raining, what is new? Oh goodie, now it is hailing.

Suki Kim at the Search for Meaning book festival
Search for Meaning: Yesterday Don and I attended the 8th annual Search for Meaning Book Festival event at Seattle University. It was a day long book festival featuring over 50 authors who have written something that explores the questions: Who am I? Why am I here? How can I make a difference? I was initially attracted to the event because one of the keynote speakers was Tracy Kidder, author of Mountains Beyond Mountains, an extremely moving nonfiction book about the doctor, Paul Farmer, who is making a real difference in the lives of the poor in Haiti and elsewhere in the world. One of the other keynoters was Suki Kim, who wrote the memoir Without You, There is No Us, about her two year experience undercover in North Korea teaching English. Both of their talks were so interesting and enlightening. I look forward to reading Ms. Kim's book, which we purchased there and asked her sign.
Don and Suki Kim autographing our copy of Without You, There Is No Us

More on Search for Meaning: In addition to the two keynote addresses we also attended three seminars each. Don and I attended our first seminar together which was called "In Search of the Triune God: The Christian Paths of East and West" given by Professor Eugene Webb. It was a fascinating look at the history of the church and the split that happened back in the 800s which lead to the Eastern Orthodox tradition. My third seminar was with Ellen Bass who talked about her experience writing poetry and, lucky for us, read quite a few of her poems aloud. Here is a tiny fragment from her poem "If You Knew" which asks us a probing question, if we knew we were the last person to touch a person before they die, would we treat them differently?

What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line’s crease. (Excerpt from "If I Knew" by Ellen Bass)

Dinner in Seattle: After the book festival we met up with our niece and her husband, Kaylyn and Bobby. They were vacationing in Seattle for a few days from their home in Boise. Rita, Dan, and Carly joined us, too. We had a fun dinner and plenty of conversation at the very fun and funky Buca di Beppo.  Since it is an Italian restaurant  we found our conversation drifting to Italy and the food we ate there. Kaylyn and Bobby visited Italy last year so we all had lots of stories to tell of wonderful sites and delicious food.

Listening to Canadian Brass: The school band is preparing to go to a competition or on tour (I am not sure which.) Several times this past Friday they came out of the band room and played their beautiful music for the assembled school while the students were eating their lunch or traveling to classes. One song was a gorgeous piece which featured the brass section. I don't know the name of the piece but in my search for it I stumbled upon this video of the Canadian Brass Quintet playing Bad Romance.  Enjoy something different today.

Books read this week:
  • Linda Brown, You are Not Alone: The Brown v. Board of Education Decision a collection of short stories, poems, and essays edited by Joyce Carol Thomas.
  • Ten Poems to Change Your Life by Roger Housden---a reread for me. This time I really focused on the aspects of each poem which spoke to finding oneself, one's soul. As in this line from Derek Walcott's poem "Love After Love"--
You will greet yourself arriving
At your own door
  • Scottsboro, Alabama. A story in linoleum cuts. A rarely told story about a racial event which happened in the 1930s when nine innocent black boys were charged with rape. Because the NAACP and the American Communist party got involved, the events got some international publicity and the boys lives were spared.
  • War Dances by Sherman Alexie---one of the five books for the Pierce County Reads event this year. This book is a collection of Alexie's short stories and poems. All of them are classic Alexie---anger and fun rolled into one.
Currently reading: 
  • Quiet: The Power of the Introvert in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain--- I can't stop talking about this book, what does that say about me? I recommended it to my principal this week. He is an introvert, a quiet and effective leader, a rarity.
Adventures in inventorying the library: I started inventory this past week. What inventory really means is that I spend a lot of time looking at books deciding what I want to read, what I want to weed, and deciding how to organize things. I completely revamped the sports section, pulling books over from the biography section. I also placed an order for several more sports books I think will interest my readers. On contemplation I realized sports books have a pretty steady circulation so I want to up the offerings in this section. The other section with robust circulation is graphic novels (Dewey 741.5) but I haven't got that far in inventory, yet.

Have a good week. What are you up to?


  1. Ashley used to love that restaurant, but I've never been. Your day sounds full and fulfilling! Glad that your inventory is progressing well.

  2. Ironic that you can't stop talking about Quiet!

    Wow. A Search for Meaning Book Festival sounds wonderful. I have never met Tracy Kidder and Mountains Beyond Mountains is a powerful read. I would go to this conference just for a chance to hear Kidder speak.

    Great week for you!

  3. The Search For Meaning Book Festival sounded wonderful! Nice to see such an interesting theme to a book festival, and the seminars sounded great too. And of course, it is always nice to spend time with family.

    Lots of books for me to check out here! I will definitely check out "Quiet", and I think Deb's comment was great about the irony of you not being able to stop talking about it!

    Thanks for sharing it all! Especially the music and enjoy the rest of your week and inventorying, which sounds fun, but I'm sure it is a lot of work. I never thought about it before, but libraries are definitely a reflection on the people who select and put our library collections together.

  4. Would have loved to have heard the talks at Seattle U with Tracy Kidder and Suki Kim. Must have been great. You have me interested in Susan Cain's Quiet book, which I have not read yet.

  5. The book festival sounds fun; especially the keynote speaker who taught English in North Korea for a couple years!

  6. Wow, the book festival sounds wonderful! I would love to hear Tracy Kidder speak. I read Mountains Before Mountains years ago for a book group.

    Sounds like a great weekend! We had a little getaway, too, though not so book-focused!

    Enjoy your books this week -


    Book By Book

  7. The Search for Meaning festival sounds like it would have been up my alley. Too bad that Viktor Frankl wasn't still alive, to lead a discussion there.


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