"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=========

Monday, September 26, 2022

TTT: Typographical Book Covers

 


Top Ten Tuesday: Book covers with a design that is all or mostly all words / books with nice typography.

 

As per usual, when creating TTT lists I am include only books I have read.


 

-Anne

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Sunday Salon -- A lot going on!


Weather: Beautiful. The temperature today is suppose to make 80 degrees. Fall weather is still acting very summerish.

Three weeks: My last Sunday Salon was three weeks ago. We've had a lot going on and 'doing' trumps 'writing about doing.' So here I am trying to consolidate down three weeks worth of doings! 

Cybils Judge: I've been selected as a Round 1 judge for the Poetry panel. We begin our work mid October after all the books are nominated. I visited all the web pages for the other Round 1 judges and it appears I'm the only secondary education expert in the group, so that will be my niche. (Cybils Poetry Panel) I've judged the Nonfiction categories the past five years, so this will be a different experience for me. If you follow me on Goodreads you will start noticing a lot of children's poetry books on my 'read' list soon. (Goodreads.) 


Wedding: We've driven up and down the freeway several times in the last three weeks. On one trip we went to the wedding of a friend's daughter. It was the first Jewish wedding either of us have ever attended and it was so beautiful, meaningful, and fun. The groom's brother led the service and created a helpful guide so we could understand what was going on throughout. My favorite parts were a. Sheva Brachot, the seven blessings; b. Birkat Kohanim, the priestly benediction; c. The Hora, a lively dance accompanied by the singing of Hava Nagila, and the chair dance.

Anne Marie, the bride's mother, and I have been best friends since college, each being the other's maid of honor when we got married. The lovely collage, above, is highlighting items in Anne Marie's lovely yard where she hosted a brunch the day after the wedding. It has been a long time since I've spent any time with Anne Marie's family and it was wonderful to rub elbows with her husband, father, sisters (and spouses), cousins, and children.

Blogging: I have been busy on my blog even if I haven't created Sunday Salon posts. Posts from the three weeks:

  • Books I've completed in the past three weeks but haven't reviewed yet
    • Alone With the Stars by David Gillman
    • Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (SOTH Gals Book Club selection for September)
    • The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd
    • I'm Nobody. Who Are You? by Emily Dickinson
  •  Currently reading
    • Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (Audio, 60%)
    • Cross Purposes by Bob Welch (Print, 25 %, a future SOTH book club selection)
    • Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Essays, Anecdotes A-Z by Irene Latham (E-book, 50%)
    • Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok (Print, 5%, SOTH book club for October)

Football: We made another trip to Eugene for our first football game which was last weekend. After the game we zoomed up the freeway in order to get Kathy, my sister, to the Sea-Tac airport in time for her flight to Cambodia, where she is now visiting an orphanage and sight-seeing. Don's comment to me as we sat in Autzen Stadium watching the UO Ducks play the BYU Cougars, "This is my happy place." 😄

Visitors from Canada: Finally the borders are open so a high school friend, Jean, and her partner, Chrissy, were able to visit us after a long hiatus. After they left us, they took the long way home and vacationed in several places in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. I am not sure exactly where they were staying when Jean snapped this spectacular photo. Where ever it is, I want to go there!


Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada! Photo credit: J. Darnell


Politics: A lot has happened in the world concerning politics in the past three weeks. These are a few highlights/lowlights:

1. It's Time For for Congress to Seat the Cherokee Nation Delegate as promised in the 1835 treaty. I recommend that you watch the video for more on this topic.

 


2. On a related note, Congress reaches historic representation with the swearing in of Rep. Mary Peltola from Alaska this past week. "With her recent swearing-in, it became official for the first time in more than 230 years: A Native American, an Alaska Native and a Native Hawaiian are all members of the House — fully representing the United States' Indigenous people for the first time" (NPR). There are currently six Indigenous Americans in Congress.

3. TFG (The former guy) is in trouble:


 4. TFG's request for a Special Master for the documents' dispute at Mar-a-Largo is turning into a train wreck for him. "It was an immensely satisfying hearing for informed lawyers, reporters and onlookers who felt as though Cannon was gaslighting the country by entertaining Trump’s utterly groundless claims. For once, Trump did not get treated with kid gloves. Dearie affirmed that Trump is not entitled to special treatment because he was once president; this is how the rule of law is supposed to work." (WaPo)

5. Migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard have filed a class-action suit against DeSantis (R- Florida). (Axios) And, by the way, the stunt that DeSantis pulled to gain attention among MAGA republicans who "hate" all immigrants, has backfired spectacularly. Now DeSantis trails Charlie Crist (D) in a new poll taken since the migrant flight. At one point DeSantis polled 6 points over his challenger, now Crist polls a half a point ahead of DeSantis. (Newsweek)

6. Roe reversal has prompted many women to register to vote, hoping to save women's healthcare issues. Will it be the difference maker in November? I hope so! (The Guardian


7. Book bans are an attack on the freedom to read, teach, learn. " We cannot build a future together if we are not willing to honestly face the truth about our past and our present." (Chicago Sun-Times)

Okay, enough of that. Let's take a mental health break, shall we? I've been thinking about these brownies ever since I watched all ten minutes of this video: 100-hour fudgy brownies. I know I will never make them, but I may watch the video of them being made again. 😁


Birthday Boys: Both of our grandsons have September birthdays. Their mom, our daughter, had a very stressful month with lots of responsibilities due to the beginning of the school year (she's a teacher), a teacher's strike, building a new house, and the care and feeding of a young family. We stepped in to help by hosting a family party for Jamie, the now two-year old. Our younger daughter and I created the Construction cake for it. Earlier we'd taken Ian to the Puyallup Fair for his birthday gift. He's old enough to know that the funnest part of the fair is the rides. We forced him to do some other things like watching the Mr. Science show (He loved it), a walk through the dinosaur exhibit (Not as great as any of us had hoped), a look at the animals in the petting zoo and the mama pig with brood of piglets ("I've seen the pigs, Grandpa, let's go to the rides.")

Ian is five. We happened to babysit him on his big day as his school district was on strike, postponing his first day of kindergarten.

Fortunately this T-Rex didn't swallow Ian whole. (See Ian in there?)

Jamie loved his cake, er I mean, loved the toy trucks, the lit candles, and all the candy. Unfortunately, Jamie broke his leg a few days before his birthday so the poor boy didn't get to romp around the yard with his brother and cousins.

Kindergarten: Ian is now officially a kindergartener. After the strike ended, Ian met with his new teacher and started school last Wednesday. His mom said that he was doing great on his first day, but she was not. It is an emotional milestone.

Such joy!
Food for thought:





 

Cat photo:

Skimbleshanks. The kittens are growing fast!

Have a wonderful week. Leave me a comment so I know that you visited my blog. Thank you!

-Anne

Saturday, September 24, 2022

2022 Banned Books Week Wrap Up

 

Banned and Challenged Books, Banned Books Week, ALA

"Authors Speak Up in Defense of Banned Books". Publisher's Weekly, Sept, 20, 2022.

A library board in Wellington, Colorado votes to ban book bans. Book Riot, Sept. 20, 2022

"Book bans reflect outdated beliefs about how children read." Conversations, Sept. 20, 2022.

"Here's Why I'm Celebrating Banned Books Week." Barack Obama, Sept. 23, 2022

"[Book banning] is a mistake. Not only is it important for young people to see themselves represented in the pages of books, but it’s also important for all of us to engage with different ideas and points of view." -Barack Obama

Beau of the Fifth Column on Sept. 20th on Banned Books Week, Censorship, Targeting of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC authors, and more.


“The wave of book bans that has swept across our country in recent years is a direct attack on First Amendment rights and should alarm every American who believes that freedom of expression is a fundamental pillar of our democracy,” said Chairman Jamie Raskin. (House Committee on Oversight and Reform, on resolution to recognize Banned Books Weeks.)

“Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” ALA Theme for the 2022 Banned Books Week

 

Thanks to Notes in the Margin for the idea for this post.


Read a banned book this week!

-Anne



Friday, September 23, 2022

Random Thoughts #1


Today I am offering everyone an opportunity to join a community of other bloggers in expressing random thoughts, not necessarily related to any one topic.

Simply grab the 'Random Thoughts' meme to use on your blog post, then link back here to add your URL in the comments section so other visitors can find you.

Lastly, visit other bloggers' random thoughts posts and join in conversations to form a community.

Hopefully there will be enough participation to make this a quarterly, maybe even a monthly post. We'll see.

I'll start. Here are some of my random thoughts today:

My random thoughts today:

  1. My husband got a new Microsoft Surface Pro laptop. We were messing around on it and I mentioned I'd like him to look at something on my blog. I typed in the short cut for my blog, Head Full of Books, on Microsoft Edge. Nothing. No hits for my blog at all. I checked several pages of options. None. So I typed my actual URL, https://headfullofbooks.blogspot.com. Still nothing. It wouldn't even navigate to my blog with the actual web address. By now I am freaking out. I eventually was able to get to it through the back door, entering through someone else's blog who had interacted with me. After my husband bookmarked the blog, it allowed us to get in via the front door. Sigh. I wonder how many of my friends haven't been able to find my blog because Microsoft Edge is blocking my blog, hosted by Google, a Microsoft competitor. Maddening.

  2. I keep wondering if and hoping that the polling for the upcoming midterm elections are way off, meaning that Democrats will keep both houses of Congress. I suspect that the Dobbs decision to cancel Roe v. Wade will activate women everywhere making them more likely to vote against conservative politicians who want to limit women's health options.

  3. While I'm at it thinking big thoughts, I keep wondering how anyone can believe that climate change isn't happening with all the fires, droughts, hurricanes, melting icecaps, etc. And while I am at it, why is it that evangelical Christians lead the list of people who have checked their brains at the church doors about scientific topics. I honestly spend a lot of time thinking about these types of topics. Sigh. 

  4. I hope I'm not the only one who does this... I often try to figure out if we could go back in time and change one historical event, which would I change to make the world a healthier/happier place today. Some ideas I keep circling back to: the false notion that “white” people are inherently smarter, more capable, and more human than nonwhite people. This categorization of people became a justification for European colonization and subsequent enslavement of people from Africa; the Holocaust; the Crusades; our reliance on fossil fuels; Manifest Destiny. Clearly I spend a lot of time thinking BIG, random thoughts. What would you change, if you could go back in time?

  5. I've been trying to figure out what is my favorite book read in 2022. Here are a few of the contenders: The Lincoln Highway; The Rose Code; The Sentence; Lessons in Chemistry. Usually the favorite-book-of-the-year makes itself known to me by now. What is your favorite book of the year so far?

  6. FINALLY. Finally. finally. I believe that my reading funk is finally over. I got stuck reading two LONG books this summer that I really didn't like. For some reason I felt compelled to finish them but I would dawdle around postponing reading anything in my efforts to avoid both of them. I finished the last one on Tuesday morning, just hours before the book club session where it was the featured book. Already I feel freed from the bondage of its influence. Yay!

I'd love to hear some of your random thoughts in the comment below. Join in, even if you don't want to blog about them yourself.

-Anne

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Review and quotes: THESE FEVERED DAYS


Title:
These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson by Martha Ackmann

Book Beginnings quote:

 

From the Author's Note on page 1. This opening paragraph does a nice job setting up the expectations for the readers.

Friday56 quote (from page 87):

Several poems described an aching void that she refused to identify. The mass of poems surrounding her must have looked like a disorganized workshop or the scattered production of an amateur. But nothing was further from the truth. Emily was making a plan, carving out her own route to distinction even if she would not say so directly.

Summary: 

On August 3, 1845, young Emily Dickinson declared, “All things are ready”—and with this resolute statement, her life as a poet began. Despite spending her days almost entirely “at home” (the occupation listed on her death certificate), Dickinson’s interior world was extraordinary. She loved passionately, was ambivalent toward publication, embraced seclusion, and created 1,789 poems that she tucked into a dresser drawer.

In These Fevered Days, Martha Ackmann unravels the mysteries of Dickinson’s life through ten decisive episodes that distill her evolution as a poet. Ackmann follows Dickinson through her religious crisis while a student at Mount Holyoke, her startling decision to ask a famous editor for advice, her anguished letters to an unidentified “Master,” her exhilarating frenzy of composition, and her terror in confronting possible blindness. Together, these ten days provide new insights into Dickinson’s wildly original poetry and render a concise and vivid portrait of American literature’s most enigmatic figure. (Publisher)

Review: True confessions here. Even though I enjoy reading poetry I've never read much/any Dickinson before. When I heard about These Fevered Days I decided this was my way in and I was right. First Ackmann, a Dickinson scholar, was written a very readable and incredibly researched book about the poet. By highlighting ten pivotal moments in Emily Dickinson's life I was able to get a good grasp on what made her so special. Though Ackmann highlighted a few poems and included snippets from others I found myself wanting to read some more. So I picked up a Scholastic Classic collection of some of Emily Dickenson's poems at the library and find them easy to read and mostly easy to understand. 

The last of the ten pivotal moments highlighted in These Fevered Days Ackmann titled "Called Back." The chapter is about the last years of Dickinson's life and I keep thinking about this chapter the most. When Emily closed in on the age of 50 many precious friends and family members died in rapid succession. At one point Dr. Holland, a family friend, placed one hand on Emily and the other on her sister and said, "The things that never can come back, are several." From that statement she wrote a poem (1514). Here is a snippet:

The Things that never can come back, are several —
Childhood — some forms of Hope — the Dead —
Though Joys — like Men — may sometimes make a Journey —
And still abide —

As a person very aware of age, I was caught unprepared for how emotional I would feel about this thought but I certainly understand it. Indeed the things that never came back ARE several: childhood, fathers, past loves, pets, friends... At the end of her life Emily's last poem, sent to her nieces was simply:

"Little Cousins, Called Back, Emily."

 I'm touched. So touched.

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.
Th
e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. 

Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material.  

 

-Anne

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Banned Books Week Sept.18-24


Banned Books Week used to be the hoppin'-est week in my high school library. I would make big displays which included lists of frequently banned or challenged books, like the Bible and Where's Waldo. Kids would come in prepared to do battle with me and leave with a clearer understanding of how banning books, any books, impacts us all. This year it is more vital than ever as news stories report any instances of book banning attempts as conservative, MAGA-ish parents rail against any books which are viewed as supporting LGBTQ+ students, Muslims or other non-Christian religions, anything which might make their dear children feel bad about themselves in terms of our history of slavery or discrimination. Ugh. It has been an awful year for this. Here is an article in the Washington Post, if you want more details about how book banning/challenge numbers are up in 2021/22. (WaPo)

Every year at this time I resolve to read a banned book from the ALA's most banned/challenged list for the year. But since I got a late start I've decided to give myself a pass, since I read The Complete Maus earlier this summer. It is a graphic biography about the artist's father, a Holocaust survivor. It is insane that someone thinks banning a book about the Holocaust is a good idea. Here is my review, if you want to take a look. Here are the top ten challenged books from 2021:

I've read all but #1, #2, and #9 already.

Often times it is parents who want to censor libraries by banning books they haven't even read! This year parents didn't stop at the newcomers but went after some stalwart classics like The Diary of Anne Frank, Maus, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Some public libraries have had to rely on donations from rich patrons to keep their doors open because city councils have decided to limit their funding because the libraries have copies of controversial books on their shelves. Gasp.


There are lots of articles about book banning and censorship this week. Find a few to read or peruse a few lists of frequently banned books. I think I will spend a little time with this one: 50 Books to Read (While You Still Can)

Here is a fun idea.  Read a banned book in a public place. Let others see you and notice the book you are reading. 

Check out the resources for Banned Books Week at the American Library Assoc. webpage.

-Anne

Monday, September 19, 2022

TTT: Books On My Fall Reading List, with an update how I did on my summer list


My Fall Reading List

Below the fold is an update how I did on my summer list.

Book Club Selections:

  1. Searching for Sylvie Lee by Kwok (October, Group#1)
  2. The Radium Girls by Moore (November, Group#1)
  3. The Soul of An Octopus by Montgomery (December, Group#1)
  4. Take My Hand by Perkins-Valdez (October, Group#2)
  5. TBA (Nov/Dec, Group#2)

Challenge Books:

  1. As I Lay Dying by Faulkner (Classics Club Spin #31)
  2. Two TBA in November (National Book Award winners or finalists Challenge)

Books I've already started, recently acquired,  and/or have on-hold at the library:

  1. One Hundred Days of Lenni and Margory by Cronin
  2. Dictionary for a Better World by Latham
  3. A Swim in a Pond by Saunders
  4. Poetry RX by Rosenthal
  5. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Van Pelt
  6. The Cartographers by Shepherd
  7. Cross Purposes by Welch
  8. When I Found You by Hyde
  9. A Library by Nikki Giovanni
  10. Emily Dickinson Poems by Dickinson
  11. I'm Nobody! Who are You? Poems by Emily Dickinson
Update: How I did on my summer reading list.
Highlighted yellow: completed. 
Highlighted aqua: in progress or 
Highlighted green: completed but read note.  
No color: did not read.
 
Book Club selections:
  1. Washington Black by Edugyan (July, Group #1)
  2. Immortalists by Benjamin (August, Group 1)
  3. The Violin Conspiracy by Slocumb (August, Group #2)
  4. Firefly Lane by Hannah (September, Group #1)
  5. Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh (September, Group #2)
Challenge Books:
  1. Big Book Summer Challenge (over 400 pages long) Goal: 4 books. (Read five books!)
  2. 20 Books of Summer Challenge. Goal: read 20 books (Read 25 books!)
  3. Narniathon: The Last Battle
  4. Classics Club Spin: Grapes of Wrath
  5. Pulitzer Project: Read one of the past winners. (I read the 2022 winner: The Netanyahus.)
Recently placed holds at the library or queued up on Audible:
  1. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
  2. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Germus
  3. The Known World by Edward P. Jones
  4. State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton
  5. Work Song by Ivan Doig

 I read a lot this summer, but not necessarily the books I predicted.

-Anne

Classics Club Spin #31 with update


It's time for another Classics Club Spin event. What is the spin?

It’s easy. At your blog, before next Sunday 18th September, 2022, create a post that lists twenty books of your choice that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list.

This is your Spin List.

You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the spin period.

Try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you have been putting off, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, re-reads, ancients, non-fiction, books in translation — whatever you choose.)

On Sunday 18th, September, Classics Club will post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by the 30th October, 2022.

Check back on Sunday the 30th October, 2022 to see who made it the whole way and finished their spin book!

What’s Next?

  • Go to your blog.
  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog before Sunday, 18th September.
  • Look for the announcement of the number from 1-20. 
  • Read that book by 30th October, 2022.

This is meant to be a fun, social way to read another book from your classics club list. If you don't a list. Just wirte down titles of 20 classics books you'd like to read and put numbers next to them.

Sometime this week, at your blog, you might post something like:

My Book Spin List for the Classics Club –

  1. 1.      One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Kesey

    2.      Something by Faulkner

    3.      Something by Anne Bronte

    4.      Something by Rushdie

    5.      Something by George Elliot

    6.      Something by Shakespeare

    7.      Something by Virginia Woolf

    8.      Something by Calvino

    9.      Something by Elizabeth Gaskill

    10.   Something by Pym

    11.   Something by Hardy

    12.   Something by Bellow

    13.   Frankenstein by Shelley

    14.   Something by Christie

    15.   Something by Bradbury

    16.   Something by Dickens

    17.   Something by Wodehouse

    18.   Something by Hawthorne

    19.   Picnic at Hanging Rock

    20.   The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a short one. I like to keep my options open by picking "something by" so I can select something that is available from the library.
     

And the winning number is...

wait for it...

 

I, at long last, will be reading something by William Faulkner. Now I need some advice. Which of his books do you recommend? I am leaning toward While I Lay Dying but I have also heard goodish things about Absalom! Absalom! Maybe I'll make my decision based solely on what it available at the library and the length of each. Here goes.  

(Leave comments below if you have a recommendation. Thanks!)

-Anne