Friday, July 13, 2018

Sex, Gender, Woke-fulness

CONFESSION AND WARNING:  I'm not sure I understand what everyone means by "Woke".   I have no worries over how people want to be considered, about gender identity - although someone could explain it all to me again, - about respecting the preferred use of pronouns when addressing nonbinary and other gender non-specific people. 

That said, a recent edition of Shelf Awareness for Readers offers TWO books out now that might help people like me and my peers, AND teens - the ones for whom gender identity is such a big question along with sex, life, the universe and other things - understand gender and sex issues.
WARNING:  Some sex terms here. 
NOTE:  I do know that gender is NOT all about sex.

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns

Archie (who uses they/them as their preferred pronoun) wants us all to understand the whys, hows, whens, and wherefores of non-specific pronoun usage.  His friend, Tristan, (he/him) helped put together this clever guide to language and address when approaching the wide spectrum of gender differences.
  The graphic book format makes the guide easy to read and fun to flip through.

Doing It!  Let's Talk About Sex by Hannah Witton.   

 This one IS about sex - and all that comes with it, including gender identity.  Witton is a sex educator and this book covers contraception, masturbation, LGBTQ+ issues.  Body image, sex shaming, sexting, anatomy, STDs - if there is anything that deals with genitalia and their uses, it is in this book.  Every generation approaches the subject of sex in a different way.  This book might be this generation's guide.  (I did not actually read this book.  I will soon.  I still have questions!)

I use she/her for my pronoun.  When I was a child, I wished I was a boy - but I realized in my teens that that wish was rooted in the freedom that boys had, compared to the social strictures placed on girls.  

Dar Williams wrote a song about this very thing.   Enjoy - after you wipe the tears from your eyes when you realize that we put our selves in cages just to survive.

Be kind.  Just be kind.

#woke #gender #DarWilliams #bookreviews #sex

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Time for a movie trailer - a blast from the past.  Books by this author flew off the shelves during the summer.  Those readers are now adults so...

#booksintomovies  #horror  #housewithaclockinitswalls

Friday, July 6, 2018

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

When Patryk finds an old button in the forest near his Polish village, he ignites something fearful in his friend, Jurek.  Jurek challenges the group of friends to a "Button War".  Whoever finds the "best" button will be King.

Once war, real war, hits the village, there is no going back.  Things  just get worse.  That decline of civility, of certainty, is mirrored in the actions of the boys.  Jurek steals the schoolmaster's cane and threatens to use it when he becomes King.  Patryk finds himself lying, sneaking out, stealing to stop Jurek from winning.

Buttons are cut from Russian uniforms, pulled off dead soldiers' coats and hats, taken from drunk Germans.  The village is caught between the Russians in the forest and the Germans in the town.  Then the French show up and the Austrians - all with enticing, desirable buttons.

It is war.  People die.  People spy on each other.  "Accidents" happen.  At the end, is Patryk any better than his ruthless "friend"?

Avi offers an unsettling look at human acquisitiveness, competition, and a desire for power, set in the early stages of World War I.  Two days after I set the book down, I revisit the last night in my mind.  How do you come back from the brink of barbarism?

The Button War by Avi

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Woes! Wants! Wishes!

My iMac died.  Seven years of trouble-free operation - except for the time it fell off its shelf, smacked me in the head and got a crack in the screen -and now, static and frozen screen.  Apple Support told me my computer is Vintage or Obsolete.  Note the capital letters - their choice, not mine.

All my photos and files are on that computer.

I bought an external hard drive and backed up the aforementioned files but I need a Mac to open them.

 I bought a PC laptop along with a year of Microsoft Office.  I thought my iMac had been resuscitated and would live forever.  WHY!!!???  I should have bought a MacBook.!!

(My Office log in card has not arrived - minor woe.)

Kindness!  Honestly, I want that more than anything.  The system we had to process asylum seekers worked for over 90% of cases.  Slap on an ankle bracelet and send them off to find a place to stay.  Call them back for their day in court.  Cheaper for tax payers and so much kinder than separation and imprisonment.  Donate to RAICES or ASAP.**

Renewable energy!   This is a no brainer.  Energy companies will quickly find a way to make money off of renewables, so they should just make solar, wind, wave and geothermal energy more readily available. Ecotech Institute of Colorado features 8 renewable energy organizations here.

Clean Water!  Puerto Rico, Flint, MI, and a large part of the Third World do not have clean water.  Clean the water!
For organizations and charities that work to provide clean water to Third World Countries, read this article. 
Unidos, The Hispanic Federation's Puerto Rico Relief initiative is still in operation.  Mercy Corps also collects and distributes water in Puerto Rico.
Flint, MI, suffers from being poor, black and not fun to report.  It is hard to find organizations that help with the water situation in Flint.  Don't get me started about the awful source of this problem.  (GREED!  POLITICS!  GREED! )  Most of the articles found in an internet search are 2 years old or older.
The City of Flint is offering bottled water and water filters to its residents.  This initiative began in April, 2018 (huzzah).  Scroll down on their page to find out how you can donate money and/or water to Flint's residents.

OK.  This is the me! me! me! portion.

**I wish you would all go to Chiles' Play on Amazon and/or Bandcamp and buy a CD or song.  WHY? Because we will donate 10% of the purchase price of every CD to ASAP.  This offer also extends to CDs you buy from me or Dan.  

Did you already buy the CD? Say something nice about the CD on Amazon and we will donate 10% of YOUR purchase price to ASAP.  Comment below to let me know when you do comment on Amazon.

#benefit, #Chiles' Play, #immigration, #RAICES, #Cleanenergy

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Benefit SALE! and Three Middle Grade Books to Read this Summer!

That TBR pile never gets any shorter.  Here are three books to take off the pile but I received two in the mail this week. Will it ever end???  I hope not.

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christine Uss.  A foundling, an order of Mostly Silent Monks, a bike, a cycling hero, a "parenting" dilemma - and a girl who knows her own mind.  This is a lighthearted cross country adventure with a ghost, wonderful food, a mysterious woman in black and lots of fine friends on the way. I read the ARC. 💕

The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet. Gusta's father puts her on a bus to Springdale, ME, where Gusta's grandmother runs a home for orphans.  With Europe at war, and the USA considering joining in, Gusta's German last name causes some strife.  Her French horn, her love of music, and her habit of righting what she sees as wrong, result in a quick middle grade read.

Like Vanessa by Tami Charles.  In 1983, Vanessa, her PopPop and her cousin, watch as the Miss America crown goes to an African American for the very first time - Vanessa Williams.  13-year-old Vanessa dreams of singing on a stage.  The music teacher at school decides to start a pageant for the students.  While preparing for it, Vanessa finds her voice, her confidence, her courage and the answers to her father's pain and family secrets.

Dan and I are rehearsing for our second ever Skype show at a local library.  If it goes well, we may try to do something Skype-ish at a more public venue.  The library program is just for Summer Readers at that library.  (The program is at 10:30 am here, which is 11:30 pm in Japan! The world is round.)
Buy a CD!  Help immigrants!  Win a frankenbunny??? It could happen.

ALSO, if you haven't purchased the CD or a song from the CD, know this.  10% of every sale from Bandcamp or Amazon from now until August 15,  will go to ASAP, the Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project.   We hope this small effort will get families back together.  ASAP is a team of lawyers and social workers who help people seeking asylum in the US.  Since many of the families separated at our southern border are people LEGALLY seeking asylum, Dan and I hope that ASAP can help them stay together or be reunited.  That's 10% of the PURCHASE PRICE, not our "net proceeds".  Spread the word. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Out Next Week

Busy.  Backson.

In the meantime, PW has it all going on.  Here are YA, Middle Grade, and Picture Book titles coming out next week.  Alert your favorite bookstore of your preferences NOW!

In the meanwhile, I will try to fit reading the wonderful ARCs, e-galleys and library books on my t-read shelf, in between gardening, writing, singing, accordion and telling stories. (And making Frankenbunnies to keep LBB company. Oh and bison.)

Love you all.  Keep reading.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

LBB Around the World

Summer vacation has started badly.  Someone human had bronchitis on the last day of school and was introduced to the world of inhalers.  Yuck!

Still, Little Blue Bunny, who continues to be well-behaved, is always there to help a friend. 

On Tuesday, D announced that Snow, Little Blue's younger sister, was now old enough for adventures with her big brother.  They were explorers.  D wanted them to climb high places or travel around the globe!!!

So, they did!  We spent an hour traveling to places on the globe and gathering treasures.  Then there was a sale of the treasures - including a singing giraffe from Africa, and an entire llama family from Peru, a fairy penguin from New Zealand, a terra cotta soldier from China, a rock from the Grand Canyon, a never-melting icicle from the Arctic, an elephant statue from India.  The money went to help the Acorn family with their expenses.

We missed a whole bunch of excellent places.  We might need to do this again.

Meanwhile, Nutty Romomlia is back in Squirrel hospital with a missing ear.  Nana (me) replaced her ear a week or so ago but I don't have the needle felting thing down quite right - yet.

And that reminds me that I have to go to the yarn store.   I'll be back with more adventures soon!