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Witchyrichy (aka Karen) Reads Across the Shelves - Thread #2

This is a continuation of the topic Witchyrichy (aka Karen) Reads Across the Shelves.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Jul 1, 12:37pm Top

Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love the bee balm so I let it grow with abandon.

I am 57 years old, living with my husband and 2 old dogs in an 1854 farm house on 18 acres in southern central Virginia. We've had pigs and chickens but now just have a couple royal palm turkeys that free range along with some barn cats that drive the dogs crazy.

I work from home running a state nonprofit related to educational technology, teaching online and doing instructional design consulting and project management. I get to tinker with lots of technology as part of my job.

We are getting out of the farming business, but I still dabble in the garden with some tomato and pepper plants, herbs, and a small crop of ginger that we grow in our high tunnel.

Besides reading and techie stuff, I love to crochet. I want to bring more music into my life in 2019: I play piano pretty well, know a bit about guitar, and have plucked at a ukelele.

I love to read and have shelves full of books in the library. (That was one of the selling points of the house: an honest to goodness library.) I love buying books, too, but really need to think about downsizing the collection. So, my goal for this year (the same as last year) is to read for free...either from my own shelves or the public library. I'm using various challenges to help me locate books to read.

Edited: Aug 17, 9:00pm Top

Reading List:

= Reviewed

January 7
Lethal Letters by Ellery Adams (audio) and Writing All Wrongs by Ellery Adams (audio) -- Review
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton -- Review
Blessings by Anna Quindlen -- Review
Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile -- Review
Killer Characters by Ellery Adams -- Review
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman -- Review

February 9
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon RLBG -- Review
The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - Review
A Picture of Murder: A Lady Hardcastle Mystery by T.E. Kinsey
The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality by Paul Halpern -- Review
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Mountain Man: John Colter, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the Call of the American West by David Weston Marshall
The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas -- Review
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

March 10
Of A Feather: A Brief History of American Birding by Scott Weidensaul
The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow -- Review
The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe -- Review
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo -- Review
Well-Read Black Girl -- Review
The Book of Unholy Mischief -- Review
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Looking for Alaska
Books for Living
The Happiness Equation

April 10
brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
What She Ate by Laura Shapiro
Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
The Malta Exchange by Steve Berry
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Wishes and Wellingtons by Julie Berry
A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
The Museum of Mysteries by Steve Berry and M.J. Rose

May 15
In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
The Vengeance of Mothers by Jim Fergus
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Charles Vess' Book of Ballads & Sagas by Charles Vess
Murder in the Reading Room by Ellery Adams (audio)
The Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle
The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace
Maus I by Art Spiegelman
Maus II by Art Spiegelman
In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen
Squirm by Carl Hiasen
The View From Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg
Death at Dawn by Caro Peacock

June 11
With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome
The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates (audio)
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen (audio)
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
The Demon Breed by James H. Schmitz
The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin -- Review
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth by e.l. konigsburg

July 7

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez -- Review
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan -- Review
The Blackstone Key by Rose Melikan -- Review
The Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss
Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg -- Review

August 4

Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts
Indian Country by Peter Matthiessen
King of the Scepter'd Isle by Michael G. Coney
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Edited: Jul 7, 8:08pm Top


Author Uses Middle Name or Middle Initial: Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth by e.l.konigsburg
Debut Novel: Queen Sugar
About or Featuring Siblings: The Secret Keeper
Book Bullet: Uprooted
Mentioned in Another Book: brown girl dreaming
Artistic Characters: The Summer Before the War
Eastern European Author or Setting: In Paradise
Children or Young Adult: On the Come Up
Alliterative Title: Lethal Letters
Part of a Series: A Picture of Murder
Read a CAT: The Happiness Equation (March Calendar CAT: International Day of Happiness)
Prize Winning Book: The View From Saturday (Newberry Medal for 1997)
Short Stories or Essays: Books for Living
Made Into a Movie: Dumplin'
A Fairy Tale: Charles Vess' Book of Ballads & Sagas
Graphic Novel: Maus I and Maus II
Title Has 6+ Words in It: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street
Cover Has At Least 2 Human Figures: The Last Witchfinder
Book in Translation: The Librarian of Auschwitz
Food Related Title or Topic: What She Ate
LT Rating of 4+: The Poet X
Title Contains Homophone Word: Writing All Wrongs

Jul 1, 12:45pm Top

Happy new thread, Karen. I love your topper.

Lucky you to have a library. That has always been a dream of mine -- to have a house with a library.

Jul 1, 1:40pm Top

Hi Karen and Happy New Thread!

Lovely topper and your bingo card is getting soooooo close.

I enjoyed your review of Dumplin on your last thread. It sounds like one to add to my list.

Jul 1, 2:43pm Top

Hi Karen, happy new thread my dear.

Jul 1, 4:28pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 1, 11:32pm Top

Happy new one, Karen.

Jul 2, 1:16am Top

Happy new thread, Karen! You are killing the Bingo card. : )

Jul 3, 12:19am Top

Happy New thread and congrats on making it to 50 books at the halfway point.
I'm still trying to figure out what to read for the "weather-related" square on the BingoDOG card.

Jul 3, 7:46am Top

Happy new thread, Karen!

I love the topper, the bee is obviously happy you let the flowers florish :-)

Edited: Jul 3, 7:57pm Top

>5 BLBera: >6 streamsong: >7 johnsimpson: >8 drneutron: >9 PaulCranswick: >10 Berly: >11 EBT1002: >12 FAMeulstee: Thanks for stopping by my new thread! Getting ready to post my July reading plan and then start working on my June stats.

>6 streamsong: Hope you like Dumplin'. I may try to get to one of her other books. She is one of the YA authors that I follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andimjulie/

>11 EBT1002: I found Mountain in the Clouds on my shelf.

Edited: Jul 3, 8:55pm Top

Been offline and hanging out with my parents in the mountains for a few days. They both turn 84 this year and are doing pretty well. But they are slowing down so we had a relaxing drive along Skyline Drive with lunch at Skyland, a little Plow and Hearth outlet shopping and then just relaxed at the condo for the late afternoon and evening with a sandwich and vegie dinner. I may have even napped at one point.

Started my July reading with And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander. It was recommended to me by the New York Public Library via Twitter as I asked for books like Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell mystery series. it did not disappoint, weaving a compelling personal thread through the mystery.

Currently reading: Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

AlphaKIT: C, P
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Mountain in the Clouds: Weather

Library Loan:
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America by James Fallows and Deborah Fallows

Jul 3, 8:30pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 3, 8:43pm Top

>!5 Thanks!

Jul 6, 10:59am Top

Reading Unsheltered on the Kindle and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter in paperback. Not getting all that far with either of them as I have been watching tennis and crocheting.

My mother requested some small clutch purses and a thread crochet table runner for Christmas but she also has a birthday in August so I might be able to fulfill at least one of the requests. Working on a filet crochet runner right now and looking forward to watching Roger in a little while. The weather is summer sticky with storms coming early today.

I have one more overnight on Sunday. Just up the road in Richmond but the Monday event starts early so I want to be in place. Then I get almost ten days in a row at home with a summer light to do list. Scheduling lots of pool floating and reading time!

Jul 7, 11:25pm Top

Happy new thread, Karen! Glad you were able to face your travel difficulties with equanimity. Did you get to the Dr yet?

Jul 11, 6:23pm Top

>18 AMQS: Thanks!

I have not gotten an appointment yet and am planning a call to the medical center tomorrow to check in and make sure I haven't missed something. I have not been part of the medical establishment beyond annual exams for a long time so am getting used to the system. We did figure out saving money on prescriptions. Turns out the Walmart price on the drug was significantly better than the coupon being offered on the app. Interesting...

Meanwhile, I am struggling a bit with I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. It seems much darker than other books like The Hate U Give and even Dear Martin. The main character is so angry and unhappy. She is dealing with the death of her sister and finding it difficult to navigate life with her mother. Her friendships and school work are suffering, but she refuses to reach out for help. She can be rude and obnoxious, even to strangers. I keep wondering if it is going to get any better for her, waiting for that moment of uplift, but then I think it is just my own discomfort as I live with this realistic character. She does not sugar coat her life or her feelings for the benefit of anyone, including the reader. I'll keep reading because I am interested in how it plays out. A happy ending might be too much.

Jul 13, 4:26pm Top

Update: I finished I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and am still thinking through the book. It was powerful in its darkness. I mentioned Julia's anger and grief. It deepens as she learns more about her parents' journey to the United States and the secrets her sister kept from them all.

I had not read any reviews of this book and assumed it would be similar to books like With The Fire on High and The Hate U Give. This was not those, I don't think, at it focused both on poverty but also mental illness. We only see the world from Julia's eyes and it turns out it is a narrow vision, one that does not allow for other interpretations. She creates a world and then shatters it. She does rebuild it. In the end, there is uplift in the story but the dark edge is still there, a somewhat happy ending with some horrible lessons learned along the way.

Jul 15, 8:17pm Top

The Bookshop on the Corner was just what I wanted: a pleasant read with some decent people finding their ways in the world. Nina is a plucky main character who ends up in Scotland running a bookshop out of a van. Not great literature but there were a couple twists and sub stories to hold interest. It was fun to see the way Nina's love of books spread throughout the town. Plus, it was fun to imagine doing just that very thing even in this day and age of digital books.

Jul 15, 8:46pm Top

I didn't really have a plan for July reading, and I feel like I have been slow. I'm blaming tennis.

I re-started LovingKindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. I have listened to her talks and meditations through the 10% Happier app and like her approach to life. Plus, she went to India in the 70s and is still a meditation teacher. That seems important somehow.

Spinning Silver is up next on the Kindle, borrowed from the library.

I'm waiting on Circe from the public library.

I need an analog book to read at the pool. Was tempted by the supposedly waterproof Kindle that was on sale for Prime days. But, I like holding a book and floating and reading.

Jul 16, 2:30pm Top

And I have also lost track of my own thread since I did have a plan that I posted! I have sort of followed it but last night, I started The Blackstone Key by Rose Melikan. Gothic and mysterious as Mary Finch heads to her uncle's house. Think it will be a good one. it will be my pool book, I think.

And, I need to read Between the World and Me finally. I'm heading up a task force on diversity and inclusion in Virginia education and I think it seems like a seminal piece of writing for this kind of work.

Jul 16, 8:54pm Top

Hi Karen - >21 witchyrichy: This sounds like a good summer read.

I still need to read Between the World and Me as well. I 've read his essays and loved them, so I'm sure this will be a powerful read as well.

Jul 17, 3:05pm Top

How are you liking Spinning Silver? I know Marina has The Hate U Give and I have been meaning to pick it up. I think I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter sounds like an important read, and also maybe not for me at this time...

Jul 17, 3:08pm Top

Hi Karen my dear, hope all is well with you and your husband and that you are having a great week, last weekend was good for us and we finally got over all the celebrating of my birthday and the KISS concert, Karen loved it as it was her first concert. Sending love and hugs dear friend.

Jul 17, 8:04pm Top

>24 BLBera: I have made it along and it is, indeed, a good summer read.

>25 AMQS: I haven't started it yet and I better as it is a digital loan. Between tennis and the pool, I haven't been reading on my iPad. LOVED The Hate U Give but it just had a different "vibe" from Sanchez's book. Not sure vibe is an official literary word ;-)

>26 johnsimpson: We are doing just fine here in Virginia although the real summer (95 deg and 100% humidity) has finally arrived. I am holed up in the air conditioned library reading and relaxing. I am glad you had a great birthday. Love and hugs coming right back to you!

Jul 17, 8:27pm Top

I love serendipity. I read The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen, Jacques Pepin's memoir. It was wonderful: he is a lot of fun as a writer and full of stories of restaurant life in France and the United States. He was a close friend of Craig Claiborne and Julia Childs, and he was part of two food revolutions: Howard Johnson hired him to develop the food for his new chain of restaurants, creating delicious items that could be mass produced. From there, he moved on to become a pioneer television chef. He also has an MA from Columbia and is an avid painter.

Last night, I opened up the PBS app and found the American Masters segment about Pepin. He was interviewed and told some of the stories from the book. Other people included his wife and daughter and lots of chefs. Sadly, Anthony Bourdain was a major voice. He also wrote the introduction to the book.

If you support PBS, you can probably access it through the passport. Link

Jul 18, 2:47pm Top

Getting caught up on many reviews and realized I posted one to the book page but not here.

I loved The Last Witchfinder. This book can only be described as historical fantasy. Morrow uses the horrific history of witch finding from England to America through the character of Jennet Stearne who spends her life trying to come up with a grand argument that would legally undermine witchfinders, the livelihood of her father and brother. Along the way, she is abducted by Algonquin Indians, shipwrecked with Ben Franklin, and accused of witchcraft herself. The narrator is Newton's Principia Mathematica, the text that Jennet used for her argument, and in the interludes, the book describes its battle against the Malleus Maleficarum, the witch hunting handbook. Here's where fantasy really takes over. The writing was rich and evocative, often ironic, and sometimes just fun.

Edited: Jul 18, 9:26pm Top

June Stats

Total Books 11
Pages Read 1694
Hours Listened 3 Hours

Male 27%
Female 73%

Fiction 64%
Historical Fiction 9%
Mystery 9%
Science Fiction 9%
Memoir 9%

Living 82%
Dead 18%

My Shelf 36%
Library 45%
Audible 19%

Most Powerful: Dear Martin
Most Interesting: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

The List:

With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome
The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates (audio)
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen (audio)
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
The Demon Breed by James H. Schmitz
The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth by e.l. konigsburg

Jul 18, 9:51pm Top

Just catching up in order to wish you well, Karen.

Jul 19, 1:31pm Top

>31 PaulCranswick: Thanks! I am hunkered down inside, away from the heat, reading and updating LT books reviews. So, yes, all is well.

Edited: Jul 19, 1:39pm Top

Read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time for my RLBG or otherwise probably would not have. I know it seems silly, but I don't like books where animals die. Of course, the dog is dead when the book opens but the image haunted me throughout the whole book. Such a violent action. It colored the whole book for me.

it was a fascinating look at the impact of autism on those who live with it each day. I just started re-watching Parenthood and this is a theme in that book as well as parents try to make a normal life for their kids while living within their comfort zone, which can be very small.

The relationship of father and son was difficult in its raw detail.

Jul 19, 10:56pm Top

The Last Witchfinder sounds like a good read.

Jul 20, 10:40am Top

>34 AMQS: I really enjoyed it! A nice balance of history and philosophy with fun characters and a fast moving plot.

Hope all is well!

Edited: Jul 20, 10:48am Top

Got outside early to tend to the ginger plants and then scurried right back inside. I suspect I will not go out again today. The headline said it would be hot and only get hotter until Tuesday. I have actually started working on Christmas gifts. I finished a crocheted table runner for my mother and am going to do a shawl for my nephew's girlfriend. My mother also requested some clutch bags and they are perfect for using up extra yarn.

Watched Ken Burns' National Park series again and loved it. A cross country trip will be one of the first things we do when I retire. Now back into Midsomer Murders and watching the last episode with Tom Barnaby.

I will definitely get some reading in today as well, still working on The Blackstone Key. I have been working on my book list: posting links to reviews and writing reviews. I had done pretty well at the beginning of the year but then life got busy.

Jul 20, 10:57am Top

Karen - My sympathies re: the heat. It is cooler here this morning, thank goodness.

>33 witchyrichy: I haven't read this yet; it sounds like a worthwhile read.

Jul 20, 4:29pm Top

Hi Karen my dear, I hope that you are having a good start to the weekend despite the high temperatures that you are having to endure at the moment. It rained yesterday here and today has been a bit of a mix but from tomorrow the temperatures are to rise here through the week and then cool down a bit by Friday which will not bother us as we will be on a plane.

Sending love and hugs to you and your husband from both of us dear friend.

Jul 20, 10:27pm Top

We've just had our heatwave, and now it's in the east. We're looking forward to some cooler temps and hope there are some in your future also.

Jul 21, 6:00pm Top

>37 BLBera: >38 johnsimpson: >39 AMQS: One more day and then it will be a high of 71 degrees on Tuesday! It's an excuse to stay inside and crochet and watch stuff and read.

>37 BLBera: It was a fascinating book.

>38 johnsimpson: Best to you and your family as well although we may not want to hug right now as I'm kinda sweaty ;-)

>39 AMQS: Yay to cooler temps that are, indeed, coming. Hope we get at least one good storm to water the gardens that have been baking away.

Jul 22, 2:02pm Top

Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim featured short essays by wonderful writers, many telling the stories of when they finally found themselves in a book. But, they also talk about reading in general and their love for books. Something we all share, I think. I can remember being the kid on the band bus curled up with a book on the long rides back and forth to football games. I also know that it was easy for me to find myself in Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume and the nostalgic Charlie Brown television specials.

I posted the full list of all the books on my previous thread. Took three posts and I need to figure out where to move it. But that list: From Charlotte's Web to Soul on Ice and even Sweet Valley High, it occurred to me that it could be a canon for this century. Shakespeare might be missing as an author but I suspect is there as in influence.

Well-Read Black Girl has a great Instagram presence, focusing on black female writers as well as contemporary readings and books. Link: https://www.instagram.com/wellreadblackgirl/

Jul 23, 9:44am Top

Rose Melikan has written a contemporary Gothic mystery, paying homage to the historical genre but with a bit of a tongue in cheek. In The Blackstone Key, she weaves issues of class and money with smugglers and spies. There were secret codes, double agents and lots of fun characters. I especially like the main character. Mary Finch was as feisty as she might be at the end of the 18th century, not satisfied with her lot in life at a boarding school. She is ready for adventure and inserts herself in places where women would not normally be included simply by tagging along.

And...when I went to grab the image code, I discovered this is a series! None of them get rave reviews but I wouldn't mind spending time with Mary Finch again.

Jul 23, 9:55am Top

Well, the cold front blew threw late last night with at least two major thunderstorms. That meant I spent an hour or so comforting my big old hound dog in the middle of the night. He just shudders and sheds and pants and when you stop petting him, he pokes you to continue. Eventually, it calmed down, I fell asleep, and he moved on to his own bed. Today is cool and overcast with rain predicted. My husband is laughing that the forecast is 100% chance of scattered showers. He just headed out to see what damage the storm might have wrought.

I am blessedly home for a couple weeks so can space out work a bit. This time of year, the to do list is pretty light anyway so a couple hours each morning gets enough done to open the day for my own pursuits. I had planned to start Spinning Silver but the loan expires in five hours. I've requested it again but was put back in the queue. Meanwhile, I have The Night Gardener on loan so that may be the next read. And I checked my Circe hold: about 8 weeks.

Edited: Jul 24, 6:36pm Top

The Book of Unholy Mischief takes the reader to 15th century Venice, a city of violence and intrigue, with rumors of a book of alchemical secrets circulating to only heighten tension. The narrator is a street urchin adopted into the doge's kitchen by the chef. He works hard and excels in the palace but is also unable to cut his ties with his old friends who resent his success.

Basically, everyone wants the book and will do almost anything to get it. A novice nun provides some love interest. But what I remember is Venice and food. Luciano is a creature of the city and moves around it with ease, avoiding the secret police and connecting castle to street. We are pulled into the magic of the food as well as Luciano learns his craft and the chef weaves his recipes.

If I had a rating system (and maybe I should), this would be a 3/5: Not sorry I read it but it isn't a must read for anyone else.

Edited: Jul 24, 9:47pm Top

Free Range Reading: I found A Conspiracy of Paper on my book pile and it seemed an appropriate follow up to The Blackstone Key. This mystery is set earlier in English history with a focus on stock jobbers and trading but has a similar style. I am several chapters in and intrigued. Plus it meets both of the AlphaKIT for July.

It is on the top of the pile of my first #unreadshelfproject2019 post on Instagram: Link

Jul 25, 9:38pm Top

I also loved Well-Read Black Girl, Karen. There are certainly a lot of good lists in the book.

>44 witchyrichy: I think I've had this on my shelf for years. One of these days...

Edited: Jul 28, 4:42pm Top

It has been a somewhat challenging few days. I am finally getting some help for my bad hip but don't have an orthopod appointment until Tuesday. In the meantime, my local doctor prescribed meds to help with inflammation and pain. I was doing fine until Friday morning when I woke up dizzy and a little nauseous, two of the less scary side effects of the arthritis med. I called the doctor and got permission to stop taking it. Took all day to get better: fortunately, I was able to lay on my right side without the room spinning drunkenly out of control. Weak but vertical yesterday and feeling normal today, even did a little gardening. Back to OTC ibuprofen.

I was able to sit in my favorite rocker on the porch and read a bit. I finished The Conspiracy of Paper. It was a great companion to The Blackstone Key although set earlier the 18th century during the economic crisis known as the South Seas Bubble.

Edited: Jul 28, 4:40pm Top

I have been dabbling in meditation for the past year or so. Sharon Salzberg is featured in a course related to lovingkindness in the 10% happier app. I am working my way through the course and felt like I wanted to dive deeper by reading her book. I don't think I'm really ready for the full lovingkindness practice by myself but have been using the guided meditations provided in the app.

Her book--Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness is a layperson's introduction to metta, the Buddhist practice of lovingkindness, or compassion for all beings. Salzberg takes a step by step approach with direct instruction in Buddhist concepts and practices along with stories from her life and Buddhist texts. She is kind and thoughtful and always ready to share her own learning experiences. Her themes are typical of many current "happiness" books with its focus on gratitude and compassion. But the foundation of Buddhism gives those concepts some more substance.

I also like her voice for guided meditations. She doesn't try to sound mystical or deep. Just lays out the practice, gives you some time to try it, then moves forward in her guidance.

I read The Happiness Equation earlier this year and it includes meditation as one of the practices that can promote happiness. But I think Neil Pasricha's idea of happiness may be different from Salzberg's Buddhist idea. This article from The Guardian talks about the current "mindfulness" movement and discusses the notion of secular spirituality, which struck me as a good term for works by folks like Pasricha who does a lot of work with the kinds of companies mentioned in the article.

Aug 14, 5:29pm Top

A little slice of farm life: we have two royal palm male turkeys that are at least five years old. They are semi-feral, venturing far afield but always returning to their roost on our back yard fence each night. They are brothers and they act like it: some days, they spend the whole day fighting. But they are usually together, resting, eating, gobbling at the sirens together. One recent morning, however, we only found one turkey wandering around and a whole lot of turkey feathers strewn across the driveway. Something, it seemed, had taken our turkey. His buddy gobbled for him all that day but we never heard an answer. Night came and the lone boy roosted in the usual spot. I felt sorry for him: they do like companionship so I contacted a local friend to see if someone might be interesting in adopting. He would be happy just hanging out with someone's flock of chickens.

The afternoon of the next day my husband got a call from our neighbor Charlie. Think country neighbor here: they live across the cotton field from us, probably a quarter of a mile or more by road. Low and behold, our turkey was hanging out in his back yard. My husband took a drive over but wasn't able to catch him. "He didn't want to be caught," he reported. He did confirm that the bird seemed fine, missing some feathers, but walking and gobbling and eating. Charlie said he thought he had heard the brother calling, but it would have been a long way for this guy to get back through the cotton. I think they both had just given up.

We went back at dusk to see where he was roosting. But, he still wasn't ready to be caught and jumped from the trailer to the ground, heading towards the woods. We backed off and returned after dark and were able to grab him and get him into the back of the pickup truck. Once home, he took some coaxing to get out of the truck but then quickly found his way to the roost. They have been back to their usual behavior for the past two days.

We have a bit of a mystery as to what might have attacked him and scared him enough to run that far. (They really don't fly for any distance but maybe in a panic, he was able to lift himself in the air.) Sussex County does have coyotes, but we have seen no evidence like scat. And, sadly, our security cameras did not seem to pick up any unusual activity. It is a reminder about how close we live to the natural world here on the farm, with patches of actual wilderness, or at least what passes for it here in the suburban southeast Virginia corridor.

Edited: Aug 15, 11:19am Top

>49 witchyrichy: Oh, I am so happy for a positive ending! I was very nervous for awhile! What a wonderful story...

Aug 17, 8:49pm Top

>50 Dianekeenoy: We were relieved! The turkeys are our last animals (we had pigs, chickens and ducks at one point). We love their gobbling.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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