"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, June 20, 2022

Sunday Salon --- Lots of junk!

Even though we've had such cool weather the roses have still decided to put on a show this week with their first blooms: Abbaye de Cluny is looking especially lovely and abundant this year; 4th of July is climbing up its trellis; Scentimental is struggling to keep up with its former glory as its spot in the sun is shrinking due to mature trees nearby; Gourmet Popcorn looks exactly like its name this year, popping out all over.

Weather: Cool and overcast but no rain. Summer weather has not arrived in the Pacific NW yet. Our daily temperatures are hovering in the mid 60s. The weather report for this coming week says we may get a high temperature in the low 70s this coming week.

New corn hole game, caught mid-throw

Father's day: Carly joined us for a day with her dad and me. We attended church, a Grad party, cleaned out her old bedroom (while Don watched the US Open Golf tournament), cooked and ate steak for dinner, and the day culminated with a few games of corn hole, Don's gift. Family love.

Junk: We have a lot of it and we are trying to do something about it. In a few weeks we are getting new carpet upstairs which means we have to get all our stuff ready for the installers. They will help us move furniture but they will not move our stuff stowed under beds, or junk laying around. So we have a lot of de-junking ahead of us the next few weeks. We've decided to undo the bonus/office room and make it into a playroom for the grandsons, as it was when our daughters were young. So we are cleaning out the desk, and other large heavy pieces of furniture where we have stored decades worth of items we don't use or need, like old video tapes and musical CDs. The funniest line of the day was when Don exclaimed, "I've found Derek Jeter's head, but where is his body?" He was referring to a now broken bobble-head doll. We probably tossed the body years ago. The photo shows the boxes of items we hope to sort into new homes, another pile out of the frame is the ever- growing pile to take to the Goodwill store. We have a lot of junk and a big job in front of us 😏 

Reading list for our upcoming trip: We leave for another California trip in a few days and as per usual I plan the books I hope to read before I worry about what I will wear or eat while traveling. Clearly I won't be able to read/listen to all of these but here are the options (I have the books in hand and the audiobooks queued up on my phone):

  • Audiobooks:
    • Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
    • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
    • The Known World by Edward P. Jones
    • The State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton (we'll probably start with this one)
    • Work Song by Ivan Doig
    • The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
    • The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
  • Print books:
    • Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (My current Classics Club Spin book)
    • Beach Read by Emily Henry
    • The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
    • The House of Broken Angels by Louis Alberto Urrea
  • Finishing up:
    • Maid by Stephanie Land. Book Club is tomorrow and I have about 40 pages to go. I should be able to finish in time for our discussion. The book provides an indictment on how we treat poor people, especially single moms.
Politics: If you aren't watching the Jan. 6th Committee hearings, you should. Next hearings are upcoming:
  • Tuesday, June 21: 10 a.m. Pacific
  • Thursday, June 23: noon Pacific
  • This article in the LA Times has a nice summary of the past hearings.

And a few funnies to lighten the mood and/or food for thought:


Over and out: Gotta go back to work de-junking a room.


Friday, June 17, 2022

Four short reviews


I honestly haven't been reading as voraciously as usual and I've neglected writing many reviews for those books I have read. This post serves as an attempt to clean up my back files of late reviews.

Strange Planet by  Nathan W. Pyle
Published by Morrow Gift, 2019

Back in the midst of the worst of COVID-times this little graphic book came to my attention. I immediately added it to my TBR since I was on the hunt for lighthearted reads that would help bring me some levity. I should have ordered the book instantly because that is exactly what it did.

Imagine a planet not all that dissimilar from ours, practicing our patterns of speech, celebrations, and habits except with an alien twist. I originally thought the aliens were on our planet and were trying to copy human attributes, not understanding they were doing things a bit wrong. Then I was set straight by my daughter who is a fan of Nathan W. Pyle and his Instagram account 'Strange Planet.' I thought I was going to show her something when I found the comic (below), knowing she'd be delighted with it as a cat lover. She knew all about the cat and how it worked by vibrating and then explained about how she follows Strange Planet on Instagram.
© Nathan W. Pyle

I'm ready for more from Strange Planet. I see the library has the second book, Stranger Planet, and now I'm seriously considering joining Instagram so I can get my daily fix of these delightful aliens.
5 out of 5 stars

The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight For Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore
Blackstone Publishing Audiobook, 2021
In 1860 as the states in our union were marching toward war, Elizabeth Packard was also preparing for a personal war which would last for many years. Her husband of 21 years had her committed in a mental institute not because she was mentally ill, but because he was threatened by her intellect, her independence, and her willingness to share her opinions with others. Women in those days had no rights and it wasn't uncommon for husbands to have their wives committed, often to just get them out of the way. Elizabeth, the mother of six children, thought her commitment would last only a few weeks or a month, but dragged on for years. She however never resigned herself to her plight always writing and seeking support for her freedom. When she did finally win her freedom, she continued her work on behalf of other women, helping change the laws around involuntary commitments of women.

If you haven't read anything by Kate Moore, I can highly recommend both this book and her other nonfiction, The Radium Girls, which is about the girls who painted radium on watch dials and in the process where poisoned by the radioactivity. Both books are impeccably researched with pages and pages of source notes and reference materials as proof, but are also very readable.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Published by HarperAudio in 2013, originally published in 1934.

Is it possible that I was the last person alive who had never read or seen the movie of the most famous of Agatha Christie's novels, The Murder on the Orient Express? That is the way it seemed, anyway. When my husband and I decided to listen to it on a a recent car trip, I was shocked that he hadn't read the book, either, nor did he remember the plot from the movie, which he watched back in the 1970s.

We both enjoy mysteries and, of course, Agatha Christie novels. This one features Hercule Poirot, Christie's famous detective, who always seems to be at the right place to help investigate a murder. So when he secures the very last berth on the train named the Orient Express leaving Istanbul heading toward Paris, everyone on board should have known there would be a murder on board. Ha! And as it turns out I am right. Take that as a hint.

We both gave the book a 5 out of 5 rating.

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert
Published by Crown Publishing Group, 2021 

Elizabeth Kolbert is a spectacular author, writing on really tough subjects related to our environment and climate. Back in October of 2020 my book group, which was meeting on my back deck even in the cool autumn weather, read her Pulitzer Prize winner, The Sixth Extinction, which is a very worrying book about what mankind is doing to our climate and how we are on a trajectory to cause the next cataclysmic extinction, the sixth experienced on earth. It was not a cheery topic and I worried before the meeting that everyone would hate the book since we were all living in a world overtaken by a pandemic. But the book is ultimately hopeful and we had a great discussion.

In Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future Kolbert once again looks at what man has done/is doing that affects nature and our climate. This time, however, she highlights things mankind has done to correct one problem, which in turn has caused a new and worse problem. Now man is trying to undo or mitigate the damage from the new problem caused by the fix.
[Kolbert] meets biologists who are trying to preserve the world's rarest fish, which lives in a single tiny pool in the middle of the Mojave; engineers who are turning carbon emissions to stone in Iceland; Australian researchers who are trying to develop a super coral that can survive on a hotter globe; and physicists who are contemplating shooting tiny diamonds into the stratosphere to cool the earth. [She] examines how the very sorts of interventions that have imperiled our planet are increasingly seen as the only hope for its salvation. (Goodreads).

Though discouraging, Under a White Sky is ultimately a hopeful book as it highlights the ingenuity of man and our last best changes to save our planet. If I could step aside from the depressing message, I found myself completely fascinated by the information Kolbert shared here.

4.25 out of 5 stars


Thursday, June 16, 2022


Title: The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Book Beginnings quote: 

Long before we discovered that he had fathers two children by different women, one in Drimoleague and one Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the alter of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.

Friday56 quote: 

I faced two problems at an early age, one of which might have been the natural result of the other. I was cursed with a stutter that seemed to have a mind of its own -- it would be there some days and disappear on others -- and it had the ability to drive both my adoptive parents to distractions.

Summary: The Heart's Invisible Furies opens in a tiny village in the county Cork in Ireland in 1945. The parish priest spends part of the service condemning Catherine Goggin, a sixteen-year-old girl who recently discovered she was pregnant. The priest not only condemned her in front of the whole congregation but banished her from the village with her family's blessing. This was the inauspicious beginning of the life of Cyril, a boy given up for adoption the day he was born to Charles and Maud Avery. His adoptive parents never let him forget that he wasn't a real Avery. So begins the life and journey of a boy who turns into a man who never feels like he belongs, either in the world or in his body, since from a young age he recognized that he was attracted to men, not women. “Even at that tender age I knew that there was something about me that was different and that it would be impossible ever to put right.” His whole life, which takes place over the 500+ pages of the novel, is about the struggle Cyril has finding and accepting himself. The novel ends near the end of Cyril's life when finally the reader senses that as the laws in Ireland changed in openness to homosexuality, so did Cyril's acceptance of himself and he has finally found peace within.

Review: The brilliance of The Heart's Invisible Furies is how Boyne took a topic -- homosexuality in Ireland, a Catholic country -- and gave this history a life through Cyril's life. There was a ton of humor also, but anger and pain seethed underneath the surface of every page.

The past is never neutral, but must be fought over and claimed. Cyril, a boy who knows he is gay in a society that hates his sexuality, will take decades to unlearn a history of crippling guilt and shame, while at the same time truly weighing his own weaknesses. The book blazes with anger as it commemorates lives wrecked by social contempt and self‑loathing (The Guardian).

Several book-blogger friends recommended The Heart's Invisible Furies to me, one even ranked it among her top ten favorite novels. I didn't love it that much. For one thing, the book was very long and I found myself dreading the next bad thing that awaited Cyril as he trudged through his life. I also found myself cringing at several of his decisions, which clearly led to more bad stuff. I always hate movies where one or more of the characters make stupid decisions which causes chaos. I felt the same way about Cyril. I knew he was afraid to let anyone about his sexuality therefore he kept making decisions which caused more problems in his life. But it drove me crazy. I wanted to shake him and tell him to stop!

Surprisingly, however, parts of the book were hilariously funny. Cyril would make snide comments in the dialogue. I supposed he used humor to deflect the truth. Taken in totality, I rated the book 4 out of 5 stars. I understand it is an excellent audiobook, which makes me angry at myself for not even trying to find it in that format. It is a good selection to read during Gay Pride month.

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


Sunday, June 12, 2022

Classics Club Spin is here again


Classics Club Spin is here again!

What is the spin and how you can participate:

It’s easy. Before next Sunday, June 12th, create a post that lists twenty books of your choice that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list, or classic books you still want to read.

This is your Spin List.

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

When making your list 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 (favourite author, re-reads, ancients, non-fiction, books in translation — whatever you choose.)

On Sunday, June 12th, The CC team 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 7th August, 2022. That’s a six week reading window for this spin. You may like to stack your list with books that you know are do-able for you within that time frame.

What’s Next?

  • Pick twenty books classic books you want to read.
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, before Sunday, 7th August on your blog or other social media accounts.
  • The CC Team will announce a number from 1-20. And I will repost that number here.
  • Read that book by 7th August, 2022.

This is meant to be a fun, social way to read another book from your classics club list. It is very relaxed about how you set it up, they simply want you to read more classics!

My Classics Spin List (I've decided to be a bit more general this time, selecting authors mostly rather than that many specific titles)

  1.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Kesey 
  2.  Something by Faulkner 
  3.  Something by Anne Bronte 
  4.  Something by George Eliot
  5. Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck
  6. Something by Shakespeare 
  7. Something by Virginia Woolf 
  8. Something by DuMaurier 
  9. Something by Elizabeth Gaskill 
  10. Something by Pym 
  11. Something by Calvino
  12. Something on my Pulitzer Prize list 
  13. Frankenstein by Shelley 
  14. Something by Christie 
  15. Something by Bradbury 
  16. Something by Steinbeck 
  17. Something by Wodehouse 
  18. Something on my Pulitzer Prize list 
  19. Something on my Pulitzer Prize list 
  20. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

And the winner is...

# 5 Grapes of Wrath!

No more excuses, Anne. Read it now.


Sunday Salon -- The "Grand" Adventure

Highlights from the Grand Adventure

Weather: Right now it is raining, Again. It rained over 2 inches this week. More on rain to follow.

The "Grand" Adventure
: this week, Don's first full week of retirement, we made a trip to the Washington Coast with our grandsons for a "grand" (Grandsons-Grandparents) adventure. We rented a beach house, ran in the waves, flew a kite, hiked to the beach, made a fire in the fire pit, toasted marshmallows for s'mores, checked out the cranberry bogs, climbed a tsunami tower, viewed a lighthouse, checked out a bottle tree (literally), read lots of books, got stuck in the house because it rained so hard, found a mouse in the back of the pickup truck, ate kid-friendly food, played follow-the-leader, found a huge stump on the beach and crawled all over it, saw a bald eagle, pretended to fly, listened to audiobook stories, and ended our adventure where it began at the Yelm City Park play structure. Whew! Grandma and Grandpa were pooped from the three-day adventure.  


Bottle trees (literally)

Trees: When is the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. When is the second best time to plant a tree? Right now. // Enjoying the trees in my yard which all were planted over 20 years ago.

Pink Kousa dogwood; Maple with woodpecker holes; Japanese Snowbell; Harkuro Nishiki Willow

Jan. 6th Insurrection Committee Hearings: Don and I stayed up late on Thursday night, after getting the grandsons to sleep, so we could watch the first televised Congressional hearing. We found it on PBS News Hour. If you still haven't seen it, please watch. There is information that hasn't been made public before and video footage that will blow your socks off. Start viewing at hour two. The first two hours are the news show and a build up to that actual event. I feel a mixture of hope and anger. Anger that people were led by Trump to believe that the insurrection attempt was a good idea. Hopeful that the truth will come out and some people will change their opinions about what happened and how dangerous the day was for our republic. Here is the schedule for upcoming additional hearings, including the second hearing on Monday morning.

Comedy night out: Last night Don, Carly, and I drove up to Seattle to see a comedian live: Hannah Gadsby. We enjoyed her show very much. Look for her shows on Netflix. She is profound, funny, and poignant. Thanks, Carly, for the birthday/Mother's Day gift. Loved it!


  • Completed this week:
    • The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen. The 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner. Interesting?! Is that a good description? Not sure if that helps you. It is somewhat about Jewish history and also about how we record and study history. Interestingly it is based on a story told about the famous family by a literary critic, Harold Bloom. Audio.
    • The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. The sixth book in the Chronicles of Narnia. A reread. Print.
    • The ABC of Black History by Rio Cortez. A Children's book that highlights the accomplishments of many Black people and aspects of Black history. A good place to start for parents who want to have a conversation about race and justice with their children. Print.
    • Nate the Great Collected Stories, Vol. 1. by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat Four short stories about the young detective, Nate the Great. Ian was delighted with these stories. We listened to them together in the car en route to our Grand Adventure event. Audio.
  • Currently reading
    • Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land. I've watched the miniseries and now I'm reading the book for book club. Print. 19%.
    • The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb. A mystery about the disappearance of a black musician's family heirloom violin. For my other book club. Audio. 5%.
  • Progress on the '100 Books Every Child Should Hear Before Kindergarten' Project: We've read 59 books toward our goal of 100. One of the books, Frog and Toad, we listened together on our adventure trip. I Stink completely delighted Ian and me. I've heard of this book for years but never read it before. What a joy. This project has really ignited a reading flame in Ian who already loved books, but seems so delighted with the project and proud of listening to so many books.

Laugh or cry:

This is appropriate since we made s'mores on our adventure this past week.

The Jan. 6th Committee revealed that several House Members sought pardons from Trump for their participation in the Jan. 6th insurrection attempt. Guilty much? Brian Schatz is a Democratic Representative from Hawaii. His tweet makes me laugh.

Look again. It took me a while to see it correctly.

Dogs. You gotta love them.

Fred and George: 

The maintenance crew was outside my daughter's apartment, preparing the exterior for painting. Fred ran and hid. George, on the other hand, displayed his inner meerkat.

Have a good week. Around here, have a good last week of school!


Wednesday, June 8, 2022


The sixth book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, The Magician's Nephew, is a prequel to the first, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Some publishers name this book the first in the series, but there are lots of hints in the book itself why Lewis did not want it in the beginning slot. Dr. Michael Ward tells us why on his Planet Narnia website:

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was not only written first, it was also published first, and the way that it introduces Aslan indicates that the reader is not expected to know who he is, whereas The Magician's Nephew (even though it deals with an earlier period of Narnia history) does not take particular pains to introduce him, because Lewis knew that most of his readers would already have encountered Aslan in earlier published volumes.  The Magician's Nephew also expects that the reader knows about the magic wardrobe.  For these reasons (among others), it is a mistake for publishers to put the number 1 on the spine of The Magician's Nephew or to print it first in multi-volume editions (Planet Narnia -FAQ).   
I was already a devotee of reading the Narnia series in publication order before reading Dr. Ward's analysis, but now I am more determined than ever to spread the news. But if one wants to deviate consider his advice, "It does not particularly matter where in the series first-timers read The Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy as long as those two stories are read after The Lion and before The Last Battle" (Ward). As a high school librarian I had a lot of copies of the separate books in the Chronicles of Narnia and two multi-volume editions. The only students who successfully completed the series were those who started the series at the right place with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Others who started with the Magician's Nephew usually stopped there. 

Enough said on this topic. Now on to the Narniathon questions and my review of the book.

1. Here is how Narnia began, and yet this origin story wasn’t told until just before the final book was published. Do you find this puzzling, or do you think it is indeed better for us to learn how the land came into being now rather than at the start?

Ha-ha. Guess I should have read the questions before I went on my tirade (above.) Clearly I am a believer in NOT reading The Magician's Nephew first even though it is the Narnia creation story.

2. Yet again, we are presented with two new protagonists, Polly and Digory. And yet we also discover at the end that one of these characters is an old friend of ours, and that we have met another of the characters many books back. What was your reaction to these revelations the first time you came across them?

Digory is the professor who lives in the house with the wardrobe which becomes the portal to Narnia in the very first book. I love that we learn at the end of this book how that piece of furniture happened to be magical. And then there is the witch, that dastardly gal. Was Aslan completely exasperated that his beautiful new world was defiled within hours of its creation or did he anticipate it would happen even before the beginning? I spent some time thinking about this.

3. An apple tree plays a significant role in The Magician’s Nephew. Did you find this a satisfying motif, and if so, why do you think that is so?

The chapter about the apple tree saves the whole book for me for a couple of reasons. First, the apple tree is a Biblical reference that all children will recognize from the Adam and Eve story in Genesis. Aslan's description of what happens if someone (the Witch) eats an apple from the special tree at the wrong time or in the wrong way, "they will loathe it ever after" (157). The witch gained her heart's desire, for unwearying strength and endless days, "But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and she has already begun to know it." We see how weary and despicable she becomes in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She is NOT a happy person, for sure! (Understatement!)

The second way that the apple tree chapters saved the book for me was how Aslan assured Digory that his mother could consume the fruit in a safe way and when she did it not only healed her but brought light into the house for the whole family. God's love is often described as light. This light, then, becomes another motif that Christians would recognize and find delight in.

Another aspect about the apple and the assignment that was especially meaningful to me and my present situation builds off of the discussion that Polly and Digory had with the flying horse, Strawberry the night before they get to the garden Aslan instructed them to find, "As the bright young stars of that new world came out they talked over everything: how Digory had hoped to get something for his Mother and how, instead of that, he had been sent on this message" (136). Recently I found myself praying for a miracle. A miracle for a dear person to be saved from death. The person died. What I prayed (for a miracle) didn't happen, or so it seemed at the time. Yet since that prayer, I have discovered so many miracles that did occur in other's lives because of the death. One often thinks that God answers prayers to our specific requests, which isn't true. He does answer prayers but with a much broader aim than we could ever imagine. Digory experienced this. Digory wanted to save his mom. Aslan wanted to protect all of Narnia and in the process Digory's mother was saved, too. I'd say a big miracle was how this changed Digory in the process, too. He was changed from a selfish, sometimes thoughtless boy, one who recognized his need to be truthful, also.

In Planet Narnia, author Michael Ward speculates that Lewis wrote The Magician's Nephew to be controlled by Venus (Planet Narnia, Venus). "The special beauty of Venus in the sky led to it being thought of chiefly as a feminine planet, the goddess of amorousness and sexuality.  Since she presided over such qualities, she was also connected with fertility and creativity and thence to motherliness." I'd say the love in the book can be see more as Aslan's love for his creation and for the friendship love that develops between Digory and Polly, and the love that Digory feels toward his mother. The planet Venus is often called the Morning Star, which is a name attributed to Christ (Rev. 22:16.) I suspect that Lewis had fun hiding his planet project into his books. 😀

As with my re-read of the first five books of the series, I found great delight in my re-read of this, the penultimate book of the series. Thanks for providing a space to do with this others, Calm Grove!


Monday, June 6, 2022

TTT: Books with a Unit of Time in the Title


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Read with a Unit of Time In the Title

This was a hard assignment. Clearly I don't read many books with units of time in the title, as you can see from some of my obscure choices where several required the subtitle for an assist.

A Month in the Country by Carr

Nineteen Minutes by Picoult

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Sloan

The Hours by Cunningham

Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God by Rilke

Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration by Brock

The Moment of Lift by Gates

Book Lust: Recommended Readings for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Pearl

The Year of Magical Thinking by Didion

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Garcia Marquez


Sunday, June 5, 2022

Sunday Salon -- A brief weekly update

Jenny Anydots quilt by Fiber Kitty


Weather: Rain. As I sat in church this morning and watched the rain out the window a thought ran through my head that all teachers must be rejoicing. I remember always being delighted when it rained the last weeks of school, causing students to be calmer. Ha!

Retired: Don is officially retired as of June 1st. So far things are pretty much the same, since he has been working from home for the past two years. We did get the ball rolling toward replacing our old carpet upstairs. We figured that if we started toward the replacement we could begin the arduous task of de-junking rooms in preparation. 


  • Completed:
    • The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief by Jan Richardson. Powerful and helpful on so many levels. Print.
    • The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne. Recommended by several bloggers I started reading this basically blind. The main character is gay in Ireland when it was not okay to be gay. It also has some very heartbreaking parts. Other bits are funny. Print.
    • The Book of Sharks: Poems by Rob Carney. I've wanted to read this collection of poems by the son of one of my friends and a past colleagues for a few years now. I finally gave up and bought it after not finding it at the local library or at any bookstores. Print. 50%.
  • Currently reading:
    • The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen. The 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner. Interesting?! Is that a good description? Not sure if that helps you. It is somewhat about Jewish history and also about how we record and study history. Audio. 76% complete.
    • The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. The sixth book in the Chronicles of Narnia. A reread. Print. 75%.
  • 100 Books Every Child Should Hear Before Kindergarten (progress report): Ian and I read another ten books on the list this week bringing the total read to over 40. I just picked up another batch from the library yesterday so we'll have plenty to read on our trip to the Washington coast for our grandparents/grandsons trip.


  • Jan. 6th Congressional Committee will be holding hearings during prime time, starting this Thursday at 8 PM E.T.  (MSN) (CNN)

    It’s now clear that the committee investigating the Capitol Hill insurrection – which said the first of its series of hearings this month will take place next Thursday night – plans to showcase the horror of the crazed day when supporters of then-President Donald Trump tried to stage a coup after the 2020 election and to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. New glimpses of the mountain of evidence piled up by the committee suggest the panel will take viewers deep into Trump’s inner circle before and during the insurrection. 

    The hearings will have “tens of thousands of exhibits” and a cast of “hundreds of witnesses,” says Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman.

    “The story of the worst presidential political offense against the Union in American history,” declares US Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the January 6 committee. 

  • Remarks by President Biden on Gun Violence in America (White House)
    • "For God’s sake, how much more carnage are we willing to accept?  How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say “enough”?  Enough.

      I know that we can’t prevent every tragedy.  But here’s what I believe we have to do.  Here’s what the overwhelming majority of the American people believe we must do.  Here’s what the families in Buffalo and Uvalde, in Texas, told us we must do.

      We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21.  Strengthen background checks.  Enact safe storage laws and red-flag laws.  Repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability.  Address the mental health crisis deepening the trauma of gun violence and as a consequence of that violence."

  • Mr. Rogers to the rescue, again.

Prayers for:

  • J. with breast cancer, her first chemo was this week and knocked her for a loop. May she regain her health and vitality.
  • J. received his first infusion for his auto-immune disease, praying that this new med knocks down his symptoms.
  • B. had surgery on her heart this week, for a full recovery.
  • C. as she faces her cancer without her husband by her side after his unexpected death. For comfort and health.
  • T. for his neck pain; that he finds solutions and relief. 
  • For the four graduating seniors who attend our church -- that they find fulfillment in their future choices.

 On the lighter side:


Thursday, June 2, 2022

Review and quotes: THE ISLAND OF SEA WOMEN


Title: The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Book Beginnings quote:

Friday56 quote:

Summary: Set on the Korean island of Jeju, The Island of Sea Women follows Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls as they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective. Over many decades—through the Japanese colonialism of the 1930s and 1940s, World War II, the Korean War, and the era of cellphones and wet suits for the women divers—Mi-ja and Young-sook develop the closest of bonds. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, forever marking her, and Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers. When the threat of communism comes to their island, their friendship is tested and torn apart.

This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a unique and unforgettable culture, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives. Based on actual history and present-day events.

Review: Sometimes we have the good fortune of hitting a home-run when it comes to picking our next book club selection. The Island of Sea Women is one such fantastic choice. It is based on actual historical facts. There is an island off the coast of South Korea where women divers have historically made their livings from the sea. Jeju Island is now a UNESCO Heritage site for is beauty and unique cultural features where the haenyeo play an important role. 

Young-sook is the main protagonist and we follow her story from the 1930s through the late 2010s. During that time she loses her mother to a diving accident, essentially loses her diving partner to another water-related event. Later after the death of other family members she survives by her strength of character and with the help of the goddesses who protect the haenyeo and their families. When war comes to her island and later when the red-scare permeates politics, she has to dig down deep to find the reserves of her strength to survive and eventually to thrive.

The Island of Sea Women has it all -- a compelling and well-told story based on facts;  well developed and sympathetic characters; and a unique and beautiful setting. I look forward to discussing it with my club. I found the book to be a fascinating read, often heart-breaking, but so interesting at the same time.

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 RHS Gals Book Club: June 2022