"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=========

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sunday Salon onTuesday...My weekly update.

Weather: Nice. Not hot. Very pleasant. We had a lovely weekend in Eugene, too.

Eugene: I went to Eugene on Tuesday to spend some time with my parents. Don joined us on Friday after taking the train from Olympia to Eugene. Dad had a stroke about a month ago. After a few days at home Mom realized she needed help, so she took him to a care center in town to begin the therapy he would need for any chance of some recovery. Because he didn't enter through the "hospital" route, insurance wouldn't pay, so they hoped that the time spent in the facility would be short and fruitful. My brother came up from California when Dad was released, so that Mom would have an extra pair of hands around in case she needed help. When Tony had to leave, it was my turn, so I drove down a day after we got back from New York. Mom said my job was to see what needed done and do it. Her job was to take care of Dad. Sounded fair to me. When Don got there, his job was to tend to the vegetable garden, plant some flowers in pots, and take a load to the dump. Bigger jobs than they sound.

The sad thing about aging---is having to give up what you love. My Dad loved to putter around in his yard and in his wood shop. A few years ago, after a table saw mishap involving several fingers, Dad had to give up the wood shop. Now, after this stroke, he has to give up the yard. He wanted so much to come out and tell us what to do while Don and I worked in the yard. I'm sure it was hard for him not to join us. His goals for his recovery are to regain his strength enough to walk to the bathroom on his own and to be able to go back to church. Such precious, dignified goals.

Movie: "Pope Francis-A Man of His Word." If you are Catholic or Protestant; Evangelical or Mainstream; if you are Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist; if you are agnostic or atheist; or a human being of any faith or no faith, you must see this movie (which is probably playing in a movie theater near you right now.) This film and this pope's message is important. What Pope Francis has to say is vital for all of us and not preachy at all!

Our chicken dinner and the table decorations---irises
Irises: Yesterday Don and I decided to stop and look at the irises we could see blooming in a field near the freeway north of Salem, Oregon. Little did we know that we'd be stepping into an alternate universe, and a party to boot. Schreiner's Iris Gardens was hosting a Memorial Day weekend arts festival. The iris gardens were in full bloom, so visitors could walk around inhaling the heavenly scent of irises and other late spring flowers (such as peonies). After we tired of flower gazing, we purchased a complete chicken dinner for $11 which included a half chicken, baked potato, coleslaw, roll, a beverage, and a mint candy. While eating, a dixieland jazz band played favorite ole' timey hits for our musical entertainment. Artists had booths here and there, some even creating the art as we watched. Then, as a special treat, we bought a dozen iris stems for a mere $7.50 to take home and enjoy. We soaked it all in and reveled in the memories of it as we drove the rest of the way home, enjoying the perfume of the irises. Hope you enjoy my iris photos.

Wipeout ( In your mind hum "Wipeout" by the Ventures as you read this paragraph.): Don gave me a Fitbit for my birthday in February. Since then I have tried - usually unsuccessfully - to walk the recommended 10,000 steps a day. While in Eugene, I would head out for frequent, short walks, trying to reach my goal. The weather was lovely, the neighborhood so pretty. One day, as I was admiring someone's lovely roses, I tripped on a raised slab of sidewalk and went sprawling with hands and knees hitting the sidewalk first. Everything was skinned. I sat dazed on the sidewalk for a few minutes before I limped back to my folks home. I swear the exercise gods have it out for me. When I try to do something good for myself, a barrier presents itself.

Back to New York: Friday I fly back to New York to join Carly on her cross country trip back home after her two years in grad school. We both have four or five audiobooks cued up on our devices to listen to as we drive along. Like minds! Our route will take us along I-80 until it meets up with I-90, around the Great Lakes, on to the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, continuing through Montana over the Rockies, and then home.

Books I am currently reading:
  • Artemis by Andy Weir...author of the Martian. This one my be even a little too science-geeky for me. 55%, audio.
  • Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman...the 2nd book in the Arc of they Scythe series. I love the writing and the plot is so unique but the book was due at the library last week and I think I will have to return it unfinished and request it again or pay through the nose on overdue fines. 50%, print, YA.
  • Rumi's Little Book of Life by Rumi...poems. Ah! Got this one on a trip to the Smith Bookstore in Eugene. 40%, print.
Books I completed this week:
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi---includes Nigerian myths and magic. Very unique story. Ends on a cliffhanger. Argh! YA. Audio and print.
  • Love Found: Fifty Classic Love Poems edited by Jennifer Lewis. Print.
  • Less by Andrew Greer. The 2018 Pulitzer prize winner. I loved this book. Fun and thoughtful. Audio.
  • Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu. A graphic novel with shorts on famous and not-so-famous ladies throughout history. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Print.

See you on the flip flop! (I'll be on the road next week, somewhere between New York and Ohio, I think.)
Yes, black irises!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Friday Quotes: Children of Blood and Bone

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
e 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---

Title: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Book Beginning:
"Zelie: Pick me. It's all I can do not to scream."
Friday 56:
"I push through the crowd with a new fervor, desperate to escape. I'm almost past the textiles when someone grabs my wrist."
Comment: I just finished this fabulous YA fantasy novel this morning. It is set in Nigeria and includes Nigerian mythology about gods and magic. It is very exciting and unique. The Friday 56 quote happens to be a turning point in the story.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

TTT: Characters with names that fit their personalities

Top Ten Literary characters with names that fit them.

Charles Dickens seemed to be the master of naming his characters appropriately. Let's see if I can fill out the list using examples from his books. I may need a little help from the Internet since I haven't read all of his books.

Great Expectations
1. Pip (Great Expectations)--- a "pip" is a seed, or a tiny thing. Pip grows into himself throughout the story, like growing up from a planted seed.

2. Oliver Twist (Oliver Twist)---the runaway orphan ends up in a gang of pickpockets and n'er-do-wells. If he continues in this lifestyle he very well may end up being arrested and hanged for his crimes. The term "twist" was used to describe what would happen after a person was hanged. Another interpretation could be that Oliver seems to be able to twist out of several sticky situations.

3. Ebeneezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)---the term "scrooge" probably came from a play on the word screw which meant miser in 19th century lingo.

4. Mrs. Havisham (Great Expectations)---break apart her name into syllables and you get "have-a-sham". Her life is a sham and she inflicts this on Pip when she leads him into thinking she is his benefactor and that Estella loves him.

5. David Copperfield (David Copperfield)---Take the initials, DC, and turn them around, you get CD or Charles Dickens. Dickens mined his own life (Copper-field) for character traits.

6. Mr. Merdle (Little Dorrit)---merde is the French word for excrement. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that Mr. Merdle is full of s#*t.

7. Fagin (Oliver Twist)---Fagin is the villain of the book. A fagin is a person who teaches crime to others.

8. Tiny Tim (A Christmas Carol)---not only was he sickly, but the boy was also small for his age, a common problem for poor children of the Victorian age. Scrooge pays Cratchit so little that his children, especially Tim, are sickly and undernourished.

The Artful Dodger by Clarke
9. Mr. Stryver (A Tale of Two Cities)---Stryver is an ambitious lawyer, he is always striving for more. Get it?

10. Artful Dodger (Oliver Twist)---um, this one is so easy I didn't even need notes to figure it out. The boy, a pickpocket, is very good at getting away and not being captured. His given name, Jack Dawkins, could also apply to his skill level...he was a jack of all trades (in the underworld.)

This was fun. Can you think of any other Dickens' characters with fun names which fit their personalities?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday Salon: May 20

Aerial view of Mt. Rainier. It was too cloudy today to see this view as we returned from New York.
Photo credit: Margaret Grieve-Fent.
Weather: Overcast and cool temperatures; after a rainy week in New York.

New York: We just got back from our week in New York where we traveled to be with our daughter Carly, who graduated with a Master of Science in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College. Rita also joined us for the week but returned home two days earlier.
Mother's Day photo with my daughters in the Hotel Edison and the Art Deco decor.
Graduation: Carly graduated with 27 other students in her cohort group in Human Genetics, and about 100 students from several other graduate programs on Thursday afternoon. The day began with a nice reception at Wrexham Hall where we could interact with the Human Genetics program staff, students, and parents. Ken and Carol joined us for the day. After the ceremony, which took place under a big tent in the middle of campus, the university put on a nice reception outside where Carly had a chance to say her goodbyes to beloved classmates. Earlier in the week, she and her program members presented their capstone thesis research projects in a symposium which was interesting and illuminating. We couldn't be prouder of our dear girl!
Carly, flowered dress front, prior to the graduation ceremony with most of her cohort group.
Moving: Part of the week was focused on preparing Carly for her move from Yonkers to San Francisco where she will start her first job as a genetic counselor. She still hasn't located an apartment there so we made the decision to ditch all of her furniture and to pack up clothing and personal items. I will return to New York in two weeks, and then Carly and I will jump in her loaded car and drive back across country. In the meantime she will work with a realtor in San Fran and her cousin who lives there in hopes that she can find a new abode. Lots of changes!

The "real" Winnie-the-Pooh and friends. On display in the children's section of the NY Public Library.
While in New York: We didn't spend the whole week on graduation and moving preparations. We did go into the city on several occasions. Last Sunday we saw a matinee of "Waitress". Don said the musical was exceptional because he cried three times. Ha! It really is a wonderful combination of touching, funny, and poignant. Tuesday the four of us went to the 9-11 Memorial Museum. Carly had to return to her school for commencement rehearsal and a dinner for the graduates. Rita, Don and I went back to Broadway to see the musical "Once On This Island". It was a unique show, presented in theater in the round and we thoroughly enjoyed it, too. Prior to seeing this show, we walked to the New York Public Library. We saw three special exhibitions: Shared Sacred Places, Remembering the 60's, and Winnie-the-Pooh (original toys). All were so different but wonderful in their own way. We went back into the city on Wednesday evening. Don and I, joined by Ken and Carol, went to the musical "Come From Away" about the 9-11 experience in Gander, Newfoundland, where over 30 jet airliners were diverted to that location when the US air space was closed after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "Come From Away" is a very emotional experience but also a healing one. After our day at the 9-11 Memorial Museum, the musical showed another perspective to the story of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The girls attended a very different off-Broadway show, "Drunken Shakespeare."
Outside "Waitress" on Broadway, hoping for rush tickets, which we got!
Saying goodbye to Yonkers: Though it is not our favorite place on earth, it has been Carly's home for the last two years. Both Don and I found ourselves saying goodbye as we went about our business this past week. Goodbye to the Hyatt Place hotel where we have stayed every time we've visited Carly. Goodbye to her funky, yet quite spacious apartment. Goodbye to a favorite Italian restaurant we discovered when we moved Carly to Yonkers two years ago: Gianna's. Goodbye to Sarah Lawrence College and to Carly's home within the college: Wrexham Hall.

Books completed in New York (admittedly, I didn't get much reading done this trip):
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan---a YA book about an artist girl, Leigh. As she grapples with grief after her mother commits suicide, she finally meets and spends time with her Taiwanese grandparents which allows her to finally make peace with her feelings of confusion. Very touching but a bit long.
Currently reading:
  • Less by Andrew Greer---the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner for literature. A fun book. Audio. 79%.
  • Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman---a YA novel, the second book in the Scythe series. Print. 10%.
We flew out of Newark heading west toward home today. After an overnight stay with Ken and Carol in Westfield, NJ. Thanks for the yummy dinner, the card playing, and forever friendship. (And the ride to the airport at way-too-early-in-the-morning.)

Update on Dad: My father was discharged from the care center where he got some physical and occupational therapy. My brother is in town, staying with my folks. He says that Mom and Dad are doing OK, just moving quite slow. I will journey to Eugene on Tuesday to spend some time with them through the Memorial Day weekend. Then I will need to return for a few days before I head back to New York.

Monday, May 14, 2018

TTT: Books I Am Glad I Read

Top Ten Tuesday: The question of the day is 'what are some books titles you've read that you hated but are glad you read?' I couldn't think of a single book that I hated so much that I would finish it and then be glad I read it. So I am twisting the prompt to be:

Books ( or series) I am glad I read, though at first I was daunted by them.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Read my review. The whole thing is about how I overcame my fear of this book, the most famous example of magical realism ever written. Now it is one of my favorites.

The Inheritance Cycle series (Eragon) by Christopher Paolini
Each of the books in the series gets longer and longer: Eragon-503 p.; Eldest-704 p.; Brisingr- 748 p; Inheritance- 849 pgs.  The books are full of unpronounceable names and locations. There is a cast of characters as long as my arm. And yet, I loved every moment spent in AlagaĆ«sia with the dragons and their riders.

A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'Conner
These are by far the most memorable short stories I have ever read. I often think of them in strange or odd moments. I don't usually read short stories

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
I was (still am, a bit) very intimidated by Dickens. his books are so long and are so famous. The longer I delayed reading anything my the author, the more intimidated I felt. I finally read GE and pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.

Winter by Marissa Meyer
I went to the launch party for this book but I didn't read it until a year later. Why? I felt so daunted by its length. 827 pages.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
I am an Austen fan and an Austen reader but so some reason I kept putting off reading this, her least popular book. When I finally did read it I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. In fact I thought it was very well done.

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Years ago I was asked by an administrator to read Bless Me, Ultima because there was a controversy about the book. Before I got around to it, she read it and told me I didn't have to. From that point forward I was both drawn toward and yet fearful of the book. When I finally read it, I was blown away.  It is another magical realism tale. Not to be missed.

 The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
When this book was selected as a book club read, I was skeptical that I would like it. It is long. It is nonfiction. It is about crew racing. I ended up simply loving it. I even reread it.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
I don't know why, but I really dragged my feet about reading this book after two students recommended it to me. When I finally did, I couldn't believe how good it was.

The Old Kingdom/Abhorsen series by Garth Nix
Sabriel, Lireal, Abhorsen, Clariel, and Goldenhand make up the Old Kingdom series which has become one of my favorite fantasy series ever. A librarian suggested I read it when I first started my job but it took years for me to finally get started and then I couldn't stop. I just read Goldenhand in January of this year to complete the series. Love it!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday Quotes: The Astonishing Color of After

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
e 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---

Title: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Book Beginnings:
"My mother is a bird. This isn't some William Faulkner stream-of-consciousness metaphorical carp. My mother. Is Literally. A bird."
Friday 56:
"'Leigh', said the bird. I would have known that voice anywhere. That was the voice that asked if I wanted a glass of water after a good cry, or suggest a break from homework with freshly baked cookies, or volunteer to drive to the art store."
Comment: This YA novel is full of descriptive colors and magical realism. Leigh's mother commits suicide and then returns to her daughter as a bird guiding her through the process of getting to know her maternal grandparents and the Chinese culture denied to the daughter earlier in life. I still don't know the symbolism of the bird, but as usually happens with magical realism, I trust all will be revealed by the end of the tale if I am open to the meaning.

Do you like to read magical realism?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Review: Sgt. Pepper at Fifty

Last year, in the midst of my personal Beatlemania, I ordered 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. The book was published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the album in June of 1967. When the book arrived I looked through it without reading much and set it aside with plans to get to it "someday."

Many months later while I was still in the thralls of Beatlemania, my brother-in-law recommended that my husband and I watch a BBC documentary called Sgt. Pepper's Musical Revolution. We did so one night during the Christmas holidays. The three of us sat in a darkened living room after everyone else had gone to bed and spent a delightful hour with Howard Goddall, a musicologist and composer, who highlighted several of the songs on Sgt. Pepper for how unique and ground-breaking they were for the time. I have since rewatched the program and may do so again. It is so good and illuminating. As I watched it the realization dawned on me as to how little I know about the craft of song-writing and of producing music. The program captivated me just like the album did when I first got it back in the late 1960s.

In 1967, I was ten years old. My family lived in Africa. We had three non-Christmas albums: The Kingston Trio, Bobbie Gentry, and Revolution by the Beatles. When my dad arrived home with the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album that in itself was groundbreaking. My dad buying a rock and roll album!? Impossible. But there it was. My older sister and I must have played that album to death. We loved everything about it. I'm sure I didn't understand how groundbreaking the album was, I just loved the music. Fast forward to 2017. Fifty years later. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is still thought to be one of, if not THE most influential rock and roll albums ever created. It really is amazing that the album has not only stood the test of time, it still stands on top of the pile.

With this in mind, I finally got back to the book, Sgt Pepper at Fifty: the Mood, the Look, the Sound, the Legacy of the Beatles' Great Masterpiece. Each of the four sections sheds a light on a different aspect of the creation of the album, lovingly called LPs in those days. (I think LP was short for Long Playing. Not to be confused with EP, or Extended Play records, which were longer than singles, which were really doubles because they were double sided. Weird, huh? But I digress.)

The Mood dealt not so much with the Beatles but what was happening in the world and in London during the time of the Beatles. The art scene, the poetry scene, the people who were making the news, how psychedelic concepts were taking root due to drugs like LSD, were all highlighted. One reviewer said that this part of the book was "ho-hum" because it was old news. Well, I thought it was ho-hum for another reason. It wasn't particularly well written and it seemed to me to just a list of a hundred names of people dropped as if to impress. I found this section, taken as a whole, to be revealing as to how an album as unique as Sgt. Pepper could emerge and the Beatles as a product of the times, but taken in parts to be rather tedious.

The Look dealt with the album cover. How it was decided to use so many life-size photos of famous people and how they made it happen. Though I was fascinated by the process and the evolution of the project, I had a really hard time understanding all the details because of the tangled, unclear writing. But ultimately, I came to understand what a huge project it was to not only create the cover using so many images, but to get approval to do so by all the people who were currently living. Eventually they didn't get approval from everyone but not a single person made a legal claim, apparently "a splendid time was guaranteed for all." On one six-page pull out, all of the people on the cover are highlighted with a brief note about why they were selected. The Beatles only selected about half the list, the artists, Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, selected the rest. Ultimately there were over 80 people and items on the cover with the life Beatles, including wax works of the Fab Four which they borrowed from a wax museum. The cover was so popular, it was immediately copied by many other bands and rock groups.  In addition, Sgt. Pepper was the first, the very first to include the lyrics to all the songs on the album. It was such standard fare on subsequent albums by all types of bands and groups, it didn't occur to me to even wonder who did it first. The Beatles, of course. What is the saying? Imitation is the best form of flattery.

The Sound section covered the making of the music: the inspirations, the songwriting, the technical aspects of the studio work. The first two songs that were produced during this time period weren't even included on the album: "Strawberry Fields Forever" by John and "Penny Lane" by Paul. Both were about memories and experiences the lads had in Liverpool. It was decided to release these songs as a double A-side single in February just to keep the fans happy. Throughout this section are explanations of how each of the pieces were written and produced, mentioning who played what instruments and maybe what the various group members thought of it. The most elaborate description of the pieces goes to the masterpiece, "A Day in the Life", thought by many to be the Beatles' creme de la creme. For the section of the song right before the bridge portion a fifteen person orchestra is assembled in the largest room in the recording studio. With Paul and George Martin conducting, each orchestra member is given the instruction to go "from the lowest note they could play on their instrument to the highest, taking care to not play in unison, over the course of twenty-four bars." The result is the cacophony of sound like has never been recorded before. And then that last chord.  Lennon, McCartney, Starr, and Evens played the E-major chord simultaneously on three pianos and George Martin played it on the harmonium. By holding down the delay pedals and by Geoff Emerick, the recording engineer, slowly turning up the volume, the note was sustained longer than it would seem possible. In another pullout, the debate over recording in mono or stereo is explained. Sgt Pepper was the last of The Beatles albums to be recorded in both. After Pepper they mostly recorded in stereo but from the explanations, the mono versions are quite different than the stereo versions and it would be interesting to get a hold of both and listen for the differences.

The Legacy. "Sgt Pepper  was a commercial and critical success straight out of the gate. In the UK, the album was released in June 1967, and it entered the charts at No. 1 in Melody Maker (where it stayed for twenty-two weeks) and the NME." It topped the charts in the USA, Canada, Australia, Norway, Sweden, and West Germany. It went on to win four Grammy awards for Album of the Year, Best Contemporary Album, Best Engineered Album (non-Classical), and Best Album Cover. "Tom Phillips, writing for the Village Voice, called Sgt. Pepper 'a breakthrough...specifically, I think, they've turned the record-album itself into an art form.'" It certainly boosted the profile of the concept album and many other groups copied the idea from the Beatles.

But, as with all good things, there was a downside. "Sgt Pepper", NME critic Nick Kent observed, "was such an achievement that nothing could possibly follow it." Indeed after Sgt Pepper ushered in the Summer of Love, by autumn things were already starting to go wrong. Brian Epstein, their manager died of an accidental overdose, and their next project, "A Magical Mystery Tour", actually got some bad reviews. By the end of 1967, the Fab Four were starting to drift apart though they maintained a public facade for a few more years.

As the 1970s rolled on Sgt Pepper was largely looked upon as a period piece and later it was met with a Sgt. Pepper backlash by punk rockers. Poor Pepper suffered greatly in the words of the critics for years until the advent of the CD. Finally in 1987 an excellent documentary, It Was Twenty Years Ago Today accompanied by a book,  put Sgt Pepper into its context, covering not just the making of the album but the events of 1967 - 'the rosy high point of the sixties'" Sgt. Pepper was back in vogue.
Charles Shaar Murray, writing for Q, reviewed the album at this time and said, "Sgt. Pepper has been both hailed as rock's definitive masterpiece and attacked as the incarnation of the moment when music went off the rails almost for good." But he went on to recognize its historical importance, "The sheer sonic ingenuity deployed on these sessions taught everybody, for better or worse, to hear music differently...Like it or not, it was the record which changed the rules."

And now? Where does Sgt. Pepper stand? On the 2012 Rolling Stones's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list, Sgt. Pepper took top billing. The magazine hailed Sgt. Pepper as "the most important rock and roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art, and studio technology by the greatest rock and roll group of all time." I guess, to answer my own question, I'd say it landed on top!

Though I was pretty critical of the book, especially the uneven writing, I really did learn a lot from reading it and I'm glad that I own Sgt. Pepper at Fifty: the Mood, the Look, the Sound, the Legacy of the Beatles' Great Masterpiece. Now I have a reference source I can refer to in future years when my next bout of Beatlemania crops up!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Six Degrees of Separation---Poisonwood Bible to...


Six Degrees of Separation. 
We begin with
Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
This is honestly one of my favorite books by a favorite author. Set in Africa in the 1950s and 1960s, it deals with the themes of colonialism, religion, family relations, and cultural acceptance.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Like I said, she is my favorite author. I could just put all her books on this list and call it good. This one is also set during the similar time period, the 1950s but this one deals with the themes of homosexuality, communism, McCarthyism. It is set in both American and Mexico. The plot is so intricate and yet so vast. A book one can truly immerse yourself in.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Back to Africa. The themes of this book are isolation, coming-of-age, religion, cultural pride, and personal power. This is another book one can get completely lost in the story. It is powerful in its message, too.

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
This list is ending up being a list of my favorite books. This is another book about human connections and unity. Set in Ireland and the United States. It takes the kernel of a true story about the man who walked between the Twin Towers as they were being built in the 1970s. An intricately plotted book with a lot of heart.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
An extremely emotional book about a boy who is looking and grieving for his dad, a victim of the attack on the World Trade Center on 9-11.

The History of Love by Nicole Kraus
Written by Foer's wife at the same time as the above book. I read the books one after the other and can't decide which I love more. "The History of Love" is the title of a book within the book.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The only YA title of the lot. There is a favorite book within the book which drives a good deal of the plot. John Green is my favorite YA author. That brings me around to where I started...

Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kinsolver
Authored by a favorite writer.

I had no idea when I started this list that I would end here.
Join in the fun. Make your own Six Degrees of Separation list.

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