Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's been awhile

Well, let's see....Since I last posted here,
a friend died;
a snowstorm obliterated the craters left by my last carrot dig;
I made a video for my granddaughter (posted below);
I read some books but not as many as I want to;
I crocheted a squirrel (working on a fox);
I took my Mom to a doctor's visit - no, make that three;
I have felt a lot of things.

I have felt the insubstantial nature of life and the inelasticity of time.

I have felt the despair that comes from resisting inevitable change.

I am hopeless that our race will ever become kinder, or even less selfish.

And, then, I see something that raises my spirits.

Being human is hard.  Sometimes, I don't see the point of our kind.  And, then, in a flash, I do.

Well, enough, here's something silly for the day. Little Blue Bunny and Nutty Romomlia

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Reading and awards

In the past few weeks I have read Circus Mirandus, The Book of Kings, Anna and the Swallow Man, The Beastly Bones, The Hired Girl.   I gave up, temporarily, on The Six of Crows and I promise to go back to that because my Boss says it's worth the effort.  I also read Confessions of an Imaginary Friend.

I am pretty sure that there  are other books that I have read recently that did not make this list.  You will note that few if any of these books are on the recently released Youth Media Awards.   (Mainly because several of these are 2016 releases so....)

As a matter of fact, I did a poor job of reading award-worthy books this year.  I have been reading what I want - so there.  

So here is a short run down of two of the books mentioned above.
The Book of Kings -by Cynthia Voigt.  I want to live in Max's home town.  I, too, want to be a solutioneer.  Max Starling must rescue his parents who have been tricked into playing the King and Queen of a small, oppressed South American nation.  So, he, his grandmother, his tenant, Ari who is also a Baron, his "assistant", Pia's, father, two boys who may end up being good friends and Max's painting teacher all pile on to a ocean liner, leaving behind the idyllic city of Queensbridge.  Don't DO it! Max.  What a delightful adventure, full of twists and turns and headstrong people.

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz.  When Jane's unhappy father burns her journals - they are a waste of her time - Jane runs off to Baltimore and gets a job as a hired girl in the home of a department store owner and entrepreneur.  Her job is complicated by the clash of cultures.  Jane's mother was Catholic, though Jane rarely had a chance to attend church.  And the family she works for are observant Jews.  Jane is NOT 18 as she claims but only 14, so she makes some choices and behaves in ways that threaten to get her fired.  Good book.  Read it.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas in the Mountains

When Christmas rolls around, I am sometimes asked to read a "children's" story at the Christmas Eve meeting.   Some years, I choose better than others. 

This year, I thought I would read "A Certain Small Shepherd" by Rebecca Caudill but my copy has gone missing.  As luck would have it, I own the book "Children of Christmas" by Cynthia Rylant.  This group of holiday stories is just about my favorite collection ever.  Unfortunately, some of the stories affect me emotionally so I can't read them out loud, especially in public.  The story, "Silver Packages" was just right for sharing.  In fact, that story has been turned into a stand alone picture book.

Like Caudill's story, "Silver Packages" takes place in Appalachia.  A rich man shows gratitude to the people who helped him in his time of need by tossing silver wrapped packages from the caboose of a train that wends its way through the mountains right before Christmas.  A boy yearns for one particular toy.  He never receives it.  The presents he does open each Christmas morning are things he needs to stay warm and healthy.  And one day he returns to the mountains to repay that debt.

It was a good choice for read/telling out loud.  If you get a chance, look for these books at your library.  Read "For Being Good"  from "Children of Christmas". 

That's the story I can't read out loud.