"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, April 29, 2018

Sunday Salon, April 29, 2018

Weather: Sunbreaks. One minute it is sunny, the next it looks like it will rain.

Three weeks: I haven't posted in Sunday Salon for the past three weeks. A lot has been happening. Here is my update...

Family health: My dad had a stroke Thursday night. My mother initially thought it was a little one, another TIA one like he has had before, so she didn't call for an ambulance. Now it appears it was larger than she thought and taking care of him is proving to be a big challenge. My sisters are with my parents now as they try to decide how to proceed. I am not with them because I have a humdinger of a cold with a nasty cough. I don't want to give this to my father. It might kill him. Don is off at Walgreens right now buying me some cough syrup. In an awkward moment in church today while Don asked for prayers for my father, I started coughing and so no one could here what he was saying.

Tulips: Don and I spent last Wednesday up in the Skagit Valley enjoying the tulips which are blooming fairly late this year. Aren't the photos lovely? The tulip fields are so lovely and colorful it is almost impossible to take it all in.

Renewing friendships: With all the problems that we have learned about Facebook and how they gave away our private information which was used by the Russian propaganda machine, I confess that I don't want to give it up. Why? Because, thanks to the networking possible with Facebook, I have reconnected with old friends. Tomorrow I will be lunching with two sorority sisters, Janet and Anne Marie. I haven't seen Janet for at least thirty years. Lunch and coffee date, walks and visits...it has been fun reconnecting with so many friends. Thanks Theo, Carol, Margaret, Kay, and MaryJo.

Double tulips with hyacinths and grape hyacinths 
Book club reorganization: Two months ago I griped here about a club meeting where only three people showed up. The three of us talked about ways we could/should proceed. We put the idea forward to invite some new members and offer a chance for those who want out to leave without it being awkward for them. So far we have three new members and one gal has suspended her membership. I already feel some new energy. After ten+ years I guess it is OK to change things up a bit. I'm guessing it is rare to have a static group which has been together as long as we have.

What have I finished reading the past three weeks?
  • The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman---I  really enjoyed this book about a phenomenal artist and scientist who lived in the 1600s. The book's target audience is upper elementary or middle school students, but I think all adults will love it, too. Click on the title which is hyperlinked for my review. Print.
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jezmyn Ward---I had started this book several months ago and had to return it to the library before finishing it. This time I got the audiobook, which worked much better for me. It is really a remarkable book but so depressing about the effects of racism and poverty on a bi-racial family. The ghosts of slavery keep haunting us for sure. Hyperlinked. Audio.
  • The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe---Based on a real person, Dita Kraus, who spent part of her time as a prisoner in Auschwitz as the school's librarian. If the Nazis knew they had books, they would have been killed. Another book which I had had to return to the library in February and when I got it back, I had to jump in mid-book and try to catch the thread. It is very good, if not a bit long. Hyperlinked. YA. Print.
  • Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan---set during WWII, Anna is a civilian diver for the US Navy. Not sure why people are so high on this one. I thought it was fine but not one I will recommend to others. Audio.
  • The Shakespeare Timeline Wallbook by Christopher Lloyd. So fun. Contains a huge 6-foot poster with highlights of all 37 plays, and then a newpaper-type text of important moments related to Shakespeare's works over the ages. Hyperlinked. Print.
  • A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Wiss---the children's book highlighted by John Oliver in response to Mike Pence's children's book about his bunny. This book is about two male bunnies who fall in love and want to get married. Print.
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee---the story of a Korean family over fifty years and a move to Japan. I lived and breathed this book for 16 hours, the length of time it took to listen to the audiobook. My favorite bits were the cultural references. A book club selection. Audio.
What books did I have to return to the library unfinished?
  • The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin---I finished only three or four chapters before this e-book returned itself to the library. I have requested it again and am back in line.
  • Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump by Michael Isikoff and David Corn---I got about half way through this book, which is full of so many details of the way that Russia messed with our elections and the touches that were made by them with the Trump campaign. I could only read it in small portions and could never read it right before bed. When the print book was due at the library, and I wasn't allowed to renew it, I returned it and thanked it for being a good book, but I won't finish it.
What am I currently reading now?
  • The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement---essays by Taylor Branch, a civil rights historian. I've lost my momentum on this book but still hope to finish it. (Print, 45%)
  • Devotions: Selected Poems by Mary Oliver---I am delightedly making my way through this tome of a book by my favorite poet. No rush. If I read a few a day, I am doing good. (Print, 76%)
  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach---one of my favorite nonfiction authors tackles the topic of everything having to do with digestion. In her typical style she entertains as well as educates. This is another book that I started at an earlier date, had to set aside, and am finally getting back to it. Audio. 40%
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo---a YA book, written in verse about a Dominican-American girl who likes to communicate through poetry. Print. 33%.
  • Sgt Pepper at Fifty: The Mood, the Look, the Sound, the Legacy of the Beatles' Great Masterpiece by Mike McInnerney, Bill DeMain, and Gillian Gaar---no, my personal Beatlemania trip is not over. I watched the video about the making of the album, now I'm reading the book. Print. 20%.

What is Ian up to? Our little grandson is growing so fast. Every day he is learning something new and it is such a joy to watch it unfold right before my eyes. He is very close to figuring out how to crawl, he still doesn't like eating solid food, loves books, balls, and singing.

I took this photo after we got back from an hour walk. It was 80 degrees outside and we were both hot and sweaty.
Movies: We upgraded our cable service so Don and I have been watching more movies lately, as they are easier to find and access. We've watched mostly comedies: "Ghostbusters: Answer the Call"; "The Heat"; "Pitch Perfect 2"; "Table 19"; and one drama, "Fences".

Godspeed: Women's Bible study is exploring the concept of moving at godspeed, a slow enough pace of life that it is possible to make human contact with our neighbors and other people in our "parish". I am really feeling challenged. This is a poem that we contemplated this week:
"Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have. I walk out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your mercy, a little more time. Love for the earth and love for you are having such a long conversation in my heart. Who knows what will finally happen or where I will be sent, yet already I have given a great many things away, expecting to be told to pack nothing, except the prayers which, with this thirst, I am slowly learning." Thirst, Mary Oliver
Prayers for: My dad and his health and my mother as his caretaker. // My daughter will be deciding this week between two jobs. Life is moving fast for her right now.


  1. Oh, Anne, that is scary about your dad! I hope something can be figured out for his care and that he improves. What is the most effective cough relief? I need some advice. I coughed most of last night. :( I too am excited about the new BC members, although sorry to lose Carol. I think all three people will contribute A LOT. Is it Carly who is choosing between two jobs? Are they local? Now that I'm realizing how far away Ashley will be for two years, I'm not as thrilled about the Vassar job.

    1. Thank you for you kind words about Dad. Apparently he is better today than yesterday, so I am hoping that things are looking up. ///Don made me take a cough syrup with expectorant and suppressor. I am not good about being to hack up the loogie, though. I also am taking SUDAFED and an antihistamine? // Carly hasn't been offered a job here, yet, but is interviewing here on Wednesday.///I am so happy for Ashley.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your father's health issues. Being the in between generation is not easy; I always felt like my parents were going to be healthy forever. They're my parents and will always be there, right? I hope your mom takes care of herself as well, being the care taker is a lot of work, both physically and emotionally. I'm glad you saw the tulips. They are beautiful!

  3. Oh, Anne, so very sorry to hear about your Dad - and it must be so frustrating not to be able to go to him. Forget the usual cough syrups and try DelSym - used to be behind the counter (even though it is OTC) but I've seen it on the shelves now - so much better than the others. And if you have congestion, Mucinex can help to loosen the mucus to keep it from getting infected.

    Looks like you have read some amazing books lately! Many that are on my TBR too. My son and I laughed like crazy over Marlon Bundo when we watched the John Oliver show...and are loving that it has been on the best-seller list!

    Take care of yourself and get well so you can go visit your dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you -


    Book By Book

  4. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I hope he's doing well now.


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