"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, March 12, 2023

Sunday Salon -- Spring Forward

Weather: Overcast and cool. It will likely rain sometime today. Typical weather for the Pacific Northwest. By the time I finished this post, it did start raining. 😕

National Parks: With our visit to Haleakala National Park on Maui last month, we have renewed our goal to visit as many national parks as we can. Tomorrow we head across the peninsula from where we live in Washington State for a visit to Olympic National Park. We are staying in Port Angeles and hope to make it up to Hurricane Ridge though that might not be possible due to snow and park road closures on weekdays. (See map above. We live near Tacoma so you can chart our course across the Olympic Peninsula to our destination. We are joining friends from New Jersey so we'll have fun no matter what.) This week we also made reservations to visit two more National Parks at the end of April -- Kings Canyon and Sequoia -- both in California. Later this spring or early summer we hope to visit North Cascades National Park in our home state, but several hours north of where we live. A person from Germany once posed a question on Twitter saying he was moving to the US for a job and wanted to know the best places to visit. I thought about it and answered without a doubt, "our national parks represent the very best places to visit."

Lent: is a period of 40 days (plus Sundays) during which Christians remember the events leading up to and including the death of Jesus. The term Lent is from an old English word meaning 'lengthen'. It is a time of reflection and asking for forgiveness, as Christians prepare to celebrate Jesus' resurrection at Easter. My church doesn't demand fasting or abstaining from anything, like sweets, but encourages spending time each day contemplating our life in Christ. This past week I was very touched by this devotion, "Swimming or diving." Perhaps it spoke to me as a one-time swim team member or because, as I age, I am very aware of my limited days. I hope the print is large enough that you can read it.

"Eternal life means a life of depth. It means knowing that we are always caught by the buoyant waters of God's grace. It means living in a profound sense of all-embracing love, whether here and now, or in the mystery of life after death. Eternal life is about the depth of life we live in God through Christ -- and it is deep."

Books: I completed several books this week and began several others.

  • Completed:
    • Banned Books: The World's Most Controversial Books Past and Present by D.K. Publishing-- I knew about most of these books and have read almost 40 of the 80 listed. Banning books is such a bad idea. One example that really made me scratch my head was Black Voices from Prison (1970) by Etheridge Knight. As the title suggests, this is an anthology of writings and poems from Black prisoners. In 1999 when an inmate requested a copy, the request was denied because of 'racial content.' This request led to the book being banned throughout the entire penal system in Texas. At the same time, this prisoner could have checked out Mein Kampf. It just goes to show that most book banning is either done by people who haven't read the work or are interested in promoting their own personal preferences/beliefs. Sigh.
    • Musical Tables: Poems by Billy Collins. A delightful collection of small poems. Most made me laugh, many were poignant, several were irreverent.
    • The Hero of This Book by Elizabeth McCracken. A short novelized memoir by an author I discovered last year. McCracken writes a memoir but makes it a novel for two reasons: the book is about her relationship with her mother and her mother hated memoirs; and she was able to cut out superfluous information (like the fact that she has a brother) to make the telling tighter and lighter. I did enjoy her writing again.
    • Textbook by Amy Krouse Rosenthal-- the second memoir I've read by this author in 2023. I loved Textbook as much as I loved her first Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, but this time I knew throughout its reading that the author had died in 2017. It caused a pall to hover over the edges of my reading.
  • Currently reading:
    • Solito by Javier Zamora. A memoir highly recommended by other bloggers. I just started the audiobook today. I have ten days to finish it before my library checkout will expire. I've waited for my turn so I'd better go, go, go. 3% complete, audiobook read by the author.
    • Necessary Christianity: What Jesus Shows We Must Be and Do by Claude Alexander. This is what I'm reading for Lent this year. So much to think about using examples from Jesus' life. After a particularly stressful few days early in the week I leaned into these words: "Necessary Christianity is maturity in Christ. It knows the difference between making a living and living for Christ. Occupation vs. vocation."
    • Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson. This is the Newbery Award winner for 2023. I just started, so I don't have anything to report yet. Print. 5% complete.
    • The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie. I am trying to make up for lost time. This is my fifth Christie in total. E-book. 12% complete.
    • The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas. I made pretty good progress this week and I am approaching or have just past the climax. On page 887 of 1069, 83%, print and audio.
    • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. This is for an upcoming book club meeting. I started the book back in 2021 and set it aside for some reason. Now I'm back into it and know I'll finish it this time. Audio and print, 35%.

Food for thought: Frustrated by book banning, eliminating abortion rights, and people who don't believe in truth anymore? Here is some advice to keep you motivated to work for good:

“It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated.”

                                                     – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


Please watch Arnold Schwarzenegger talk about how we must stand up to hate (12 minutes long but worth every minute):


Humor for the week:

This is the cutest thing you'll see all day/week/month:


Have a good week!


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