"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 28, 2018

Sunday Salon, October 28

Don and Bingley at the Oregon Coast. Chasing birds.
Weather: Raining. We had a lovely Saturday morning which allowed us to work in the yard for a few hours, then the clouds moved in and so did we.

Vote Forward: I've hosted two parties of friends willing to write letters to encourage unlikely voters to vote this midterm. This is not a partisan effort, just one that helps people recognize just how important voting is every election, not just during presidential elections. My message to these low-frequency voters: I vote every election because I want to influence the outcome. I care about healthcare, gun safety, and saving our environment. If I don't vote, then others' votes will determine the outcome. So far we've done 250 letters between the two parties and the others Don and I have written ourselves. Hoping for a good outcome on Nov. 6th.

Cybils: I am a judge again this year for the Cybils Awards for the JH/SH Nonfiction titles. As a first round judge I am expected to read as many of the nominated books as I can before December 31st. The only problem is that so far there are 89 nonfiction books nominated. I will give it an all-American try but I doubt I will be able to read more than 50 of them. (I know that is still a lot.) The good news is that I don't have to read every page of every book, but enough over 50 pages to be able to adequately judge the book. Right now I have a pile of eight of them sitting here and three waiting for me at the library. My weekly goal is to touch each of those books this week and move on to the next batch.

Ian: This past week Ian's parents were in Florida so he split his time between our house and his other grandparents' house. I loved having him with me so much. He is such a love. All day was a joy, even when he would get kind of clingy. Who could blame him? Being shuttled between two different homes and not knowing where his parents were.

Tulips: This past spring we made a trek up to the Skagit Valley, a few hours north of our home, to see the tulip fields. We hit the fields perfectly so most of the bulbs were in bloom. We decided to order several sets of 10 bulbs so we could have the beautiful color in our yard next spring. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But a month ago when the box of arrived from Tulip Town, it didn't seem so grand because we knew were going to have to plant them ourselves. Today, finally, we went out in the morning and spent several hours digging and planting. Bingley, our puppy, thought the holes (loosened dirt) were for him. We all were tired and dirty but we got the bulbs in the ground! Yay!

Oregon Coast:  we went to the coast for a night before driving in to Eugene for a Duck football game Oct. 12-13th. Bingley was with us and everything was his favorite---the sea foam, the birds, the shells, the other people on the beach, etc. The dog stayed with my Mom and Dad while we were at the game on Saturday. We are happy to report that the dog hasn't had any potty accidents for over a week.  We are hopeful that we are done with that phase.

Update on Dad: his health seems to be improving and I could really see improvement since the last time we were together in September. Mom has arranged for Visiting Angels to come in three times a week. Not sure they are doing much work, but at least she has a chance to go shopping, visiting, or taking a nap herself without leaving Dad alone.

Book Clubs: I hosted my SOTH book club this month where we discussed An Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. It was an excellent meeting with a great discussion mainly focused on reading/readers, which we all do/are. My second club, RHS Gals, met this week and we consumed pumpkin bars before discussing An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. The author wanted to write a book about the impact that incarceration has on marriages and society in general. I wasn't a huge fan of the book but the discussion was excellent.

Books read in October:
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier--- a graphic novel that I selected to read because of its placement on the ten most banned/challenged books of 2017. Print.
  • Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini---a children's book written in poetry. It is a father's prayer for safety for his child when they are escaping Syria via the Mediterranean Sea hoping to find safety on another shore. Very moving and sweet. Print.
  • Goodbye, Brecken by David Lupton---another children's book. This one is about the death of a beloved pet. Print.
  • Rebound by Kwame Alexander---the prequel to the author's award-winning book, The Crossover. It is also written in verse. Print.
  • The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett---click on the hyperlink for my review and discussion questions used for book club. Print.
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones---the writing was excellent but the story was very depressing and most of the characters were not likable. Audiobook.
  • Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today by the editors of Candlewick---a Cybils JH nonfiction book. Lots of stories told by people who lived through some aspect of WWII. Honestly I felt that most of them were a little too superficial to make an impact on me but the idea is excellent. I didn't read the whole book. Print.
  • Proud: Living My American Dream by Ibthihaj Muhammad---a memoir by the first American Muslim woman to win a medal at the Olympics while wearing her hijab. Very inspiring. Another Cybils book. Print.
  • Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration edited by Rose Brock--- some of my favorite YA authors share some incredible stories to give hope to teenagers who are struggling with issues related to mental heath, sexual identity, not knowing how to get started on dreams, LGBTQ, racism, political activism, etc. Another Cybils book. I liked this a lot. Print.
  • The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations by Oprah Winfrey---this is the companion audiobook to go with her book which highlights her video series. I was very inspired by the conversations she held with ten of her guests. Audiobook.
  • The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix---a graphic biographic of the German theologian who because a German Spy and helped plot Hitler's assassination. He was killed right before the end of WWII. Another
    Cybils book. Very well-done. Print.
  • And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness---a twist on the Moby Dick story from the point of view of warring whales. One is left with the feeling that war, all wars are futile and one is often fighting for some reason they don't know or understand. Print.
  • Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram---a coming-of-age story about a bullied boy who struggles with clinical depression who goes to Iran to meet his maternal grandparents the first time. The time spent in Iran is life-changing for him. I want to visit the city in Iran, Yazd, where the story was set. It sounds beautiful. Audiobook.
Currently reading:
  • Votes for Women: American Suffragist and the Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling---a Cybils selection for the SH level. Excellent so far. 8% complete, print.
  • The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham---a nonfiction book about the presidency throughout history in America. Meacham is an excellent and authoritative writer. Very interesting and inspiring. 65% complete, audiobook.
After the events that happened this past week in our country: I say to the president:
Words Matter!


  1. Words do matter! That's a hefty list of books to read! Best of luck. Glad you've gotten so much Ian time. He is a love.

  2. They tried to pull Drama from the library at my sister school last year! Fortunately, the librarian told the instigators about our district policy for culling books and the book was allowed (!) to remain on the shelves.

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like American Marriage. I’ve somehow ended up with two copies of it, and the author is coming to Houston this spring, so I certainly hope I love it.

    Eighty books is a lot of books to read. Let’s hope that some of the nominations won’t need to be read past the fifty page mark.

  3. October was a great reading month for you and you still have a few days left. CYBILS! I am so excited that it's starting and that I am doing round 2. I would be completely overwhelmed if I was a first round judge. Good luck and have fun!

  4. Love your photo - beautiful & so peaceful!

    Good for you for helping to get out the vote! I will be at my mom's next week in CT, so I sent in my absentee ballot already :)

    I gave up on tulips after our first year here. I planted alternating red tulips and yellow daffodils and was so excited to see them come up. We went to bed one night, noticing they were ready to bloom - the next morning, the daffodils looked beautiful but every single tulip had been eaten right down to the ground by deer! Glad you can grow them there.

    Wow, you had an excellent reading week in October - that's great!

    Enjoy your books this week - and that adorable grandson!


    Book By Book

    1. Actually, we planted most 5/6th of the tulips in the backyard which is fenced. I saw a deer in our neighborhood last week, so I am being cautious about flowers in the front.


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