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jessibud2 Makes No Promises in 2018 - page 4

This is a continuation of the topic jessibud2 Makes No Promises in 2018 - page 4.

This topic was continued by jessibud2 Makes No Promises in 2018 - page 5.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Jul 28, 2018, 7:04pm Top

Jul 28, 2018, 7:05pm Top

Well, well. I do believe I have a topper! It's a page from my *I'd Rather Be Reading* calendar.

Edited: Aug 17, 2018, 8:53am Top

Books read:

Jul 28, 2018, 11:09pm Top

Happy new thread Shelley. Great topper!

Jul 29, 2018, 9:15am Top

Happy new thread! Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Jul 29, 2018, 9:22am Top

Happy new thread, Shelley!

From your previous thread, sorry about the goldfinch and your baby drumpf.

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday and wish you all good things for the coming week.

Jul 29, 2018, 10:06am Top

Starred! :D

Jul 29, 2018, 12:07pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 29, 2018, 3:49pm Top

Happy new thread Shelley my dear.

Edited: Jul 30, 2018, 9:18am Top

Thanks, Mary, Chelle, Karen, Madeline, Jim and John.

I have no specific plans for this week, other than the usual: try to read, regular chores, talk to my mum daily. She has lost 3 kilos since last Monday. Not a good thing. I have a previous commitment and therefore can't go back to Montreal to be there next week for her next chemo but at least my brother will take a few days off work and go there to be with her. At this point, we don't have any dates or know if further chemo will be in the picture but if it is, I will go again, each time.

I am so behind on my challenge readings that I don't even know if I should pretend to still be participating. I have downloaded 2 audiobooks, neither of which is holding my interest. The only thing I seem capable of lately is lighter fare. I read a small book from my shelf yesterday, Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Me by Charles M. Schulz. It was actually quite interesting, if not very in-depth (only 119 pages). He wrote of his early years, how he got started in cartooning and the book had quite a nice selection of early cartoons as well as photos of Schulz. The book was published in 1980, a full 20 years before he died.

Touchstones don't seem to be working for this one.

Jul 30, 2018, 9:18am Top

A little retail therapy from the other day. I don't know why one of the pics is sideways. It isn't, on my computer, which is where it's uploaded from.

Jul 30, 2018, 9:59am Top

Retail therapy is good-
If I am not in the mood for reading but want to read- I go back to Pride and Prejudice- I also have the photo version featuring guinea pigs.

Jul 30, 2018, 2:38pm Top

Happy new thread, Shelley!
>1 jessibud2: But the trouble is in time you run out of space where you can put those shelves ;-)

Jul 30, 2018, 7:00pm Top

Happy new thread, Shelley. Love the topper. More shelves was going to be my solution to my overflow problem but I don't think that will work now. *sigh* I hope you getting your reading mojo back. Sounds like you need the escape that a good book can bring.

Jul 30, 2018, 7:05pm Top

>12 torontoc: - Oh, Cyrel, this I have to see! Guinea pigs! We had 2 as class pets for nearly 6 years! I loved them.

>13 FAMeulstee: - Thanks, Anita. I will ignore your last sentence.... ;-)

>14 Familyhistorian: - Thanks, Meg. Well, it's not for lack of choice that's for sure. It will come back. It always does.

Edited: Aug 4, 2018, 2:18pm Top

And now for something a little different. I am an avid follower of an osprey cam site out of Missoula, Montana. The female osprey had 3 chicks hatch a couple of months ago but only one survived. The survivor is doing spectacularly well. She is 56 days old and days away from fledging. I love this site not only for the cam but also for the info I learn from it. They also post youtube videos and since I don't know how to do a screen cap on this laptop of mine (I used to know, on my old computer but not this one), I love when they post the links. Here is one from today. If you watch it full screen, it is magnificent. The male (Louis) has solid white chest, female (Iris) has *necklace* on upper chest, chick (Lele) has the white tipped wings. Since she seems to be developing the darker markings of a necklace, we are assuming that she is a she!


edited to add the link to the live cam: http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/27/Hellgate_Ospreys/

Edited: Jul 30, 2018, 8:58pm Top

Happy New Thread, Shelley. This is my Great Blue Heron from today. I wish he was a bit more in focus, but it was quite a distance.

Edited: Jul 30, 2018, 9:06pm Top

>15 jessibud2: A Guinea Pig Pride & Prejudice- I'll bring to our next get-together! Very cute although the guinea pigs don't show any emotion- the best part is their hats- in fact the hats are fabulous!

Jul 31, 2018, 2:27pm Top

Happy New Thread, Shelley.

>1 jessibud2: Yes!

>17 msf59: Lovely one from Mark.

Jul 31, 2018, 3:16pm Top

>17 msf59: - Great shot of the heron, Mark. The first (and actually, only) time I managed to capture one, was before I had a camera with a decent zoom so basically, only *I* can see it clearly... ;-)

>18 torontoc: - Looking forward to it, Cyrel! :-)

>19 jnwelch: - Hi Joe! Thanks and yes! ;-)

Jul 31, 2018, 4:44pm Top

I'm sorry to hear about your mother, Shelley. I pray that her condition improves soon.

Jul 31, 2018, 5:51pm Top

>21 kidzdoc: - Thanks, Darryl. I know you can commiserate about being far away when stuff like this happens. Glad to hear (from your thread) that your parents are doing so much better.

Aug 1, 2018, 8:48am Top

Hi Shelley!

Thank you for restarting my interest in the Osprey Cam - I got so depressed after the first chick died that I stopped watching. I didn't even know the name of the new chick - Lele. (S)he's gorgeous.

Sometimes lighter fare is the best thing when stressed. Cartoons, YA, favorite authors usually do the trick for me.

Your mom is in my thoughts and prayers.

Aug 1, 2018, 9:10am Top

>23 karenmarie: - Thanks, Karen.

Yes, Lele, the osprey chick is pretty much full grown now but the white tipped wings and orange eyes are the telling signs that she is still a baby. She has been flapping like crazy lately at she exercises and strengthens her wing muscles and she is even *lifting off* the nest sometimes. It makes me very nervous when she does that and it's windy. I worry the wind will carry her off the nest and she won't be able to get back. But in truth, she should be fledging any minute....

Aug 1, 2018, 10:12am Top

>16 jessibud2: Cute osprey! It's so sad that her/his view is of a parking lot and a highway. Well, I guess that bird will have the option of flying away to where he/she would rather be! :)

Aug 1, 2018, 11:34am Top

>25 SqueakyChu: - The nest is actually on the site of University of Montana. Sometimes, the camera pans left, right, and all around. The view you see is with the mountains in the distance. The university buildings and baseball field are on the left, the building on the right is a health care centre, and when the camera pans further right, you see the river behind it where Louis does most of his fishing. It's really very cool. Last year, when they were building the new building for the university, they fenced off a large portion of the parking lot so that the heavy machinery would not get too close to the nest site, until they migrated. Once the birds left in the fall, they completed the construction. The university is very involved in this nest as part of one of their study disciplines.

Edited: Aug 1, 2018, 3:20pm Top

>26 jessibud2: That's pretty cool, although I think that the ospreys that live on buoys on the Chesapeake Bay have a prettier environment. :)

Aug 1, 2018, 7:24pm Top

I finished Tina Fey's Bossypants today, on audio, read by the author. I am sure it says more about my state of mind lately than about her or her talent, but I didn't find it as funny as I had expected to. Oh, she is funny, and talented, but the truth is, I have never followed her career, never watched her on 30 Rock or even on SNL. I have only seen youtube clips of her impersonation of Sarah Palin and thought those were brilliant. So maybe if I was more of a fan and more familiar with her body of work, it might have been better for me. Or maybe if I was in a lighter headspace, it would have been better. It was ok but not as stellar as I expected from all the hype. Oh well.

Aug 2, 2018, 9:04am Top

Sorry to see your mom isn't doing that well. Hope things start to improve for her!

Edited: Aug 4, 2018, 5:12pm Top

We all know how a book can transport you, unlock doors or release emotions unexpectedly. Catch you off guard.
This happened to me today.

It's been a rough couple of months (weeks? Feels like months), what with my mum's decline in health and all. I live over 550 km away from her and since I can't be there permanently, I have been going back and forth a fair bit. I have been trying to stay strong, focussed and practical about her care and especially, about dealing with her husband. I have held a lot in.

So today, I went to the library to return an audiobook and look for the next one. I walked out with 4. One of them is by Fredrik Backman (he of A Man Called Ove fame). It is actually a novella, only one disc long so while I sat in line at the gas pump at Costco, I listened to it. It hit me in the gut, opened the floodgates. It is a quiet little thing, called And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. It is a story about old age, memory, and family love. A short book that packs a huge punch.

You know how to braid? There are three strands and one goes over another then the third gets interwoven through the first. Or something like that. The directions sound more complicated than the actual act itself. This story is like that. There are several strands but they are all interwoven, folding through and over one another, and all fitting together perfectly, right to the end. Backman says in the intro that he never actually meant for this to be published; it was just something he wrote to work through some emotions he was dealing with at the time. I'm glad he changed his mind.

Aug 3, 2018, 8:08pm Top

Wow, great review. I love how Backman’s books open up all the feels!

Aug 3, 2018, 8:37pm Top

Aug 3, 2018, 9:02pm Top

>30 jessibud2: Sounds like it hit a raw nerve and was well worth the read. Glad you found it.

Aug 3, 2018, 11:41pm Top

Shelley, I haven't read any of Backman's books but your heartfelt review sure makes me want to now.
I'm sorry for you hard times right now.

Edited: Aug 4, 2018, 10:13am Top

>33 SqueakyChu: - Yes, Madeline, it did hit a nerve and was well worth it. I almost didn't pick it up because, even though I did read A Man Called Ove, and ended up liking it, I didn't, when I started it. So I nearly passed over this one, until I saw it was only one disc and I knew I was going to Costco and would have to sit and wait. I figured, what the heck.

>34 mdoris: - Thanks, Mary. You know, I have already put the next audiobook into my car CD player but I am just not quite ready to begin a new one yet. This Backman one is still sitting with me.

Aug 4, 2018, 3:42pm Top

>30 jessibud2: It's can be hard to keep in touch with your emotions when going through stressful time especially when they involve family. We try to hold it all in check so that we can navigate our everyday lives. But sometimes those emotions can be brought to the surface in spite of ourselves. It is good when there is hope or a message attached to the thing that triggered the emotions. It sounds like the novella did that for you, Shelley. Sometimes it helps just to get it out so that you can keep your strength through a trying time.

Aug 4, 2018, 7:42pm Top

>36 Familyhistorian: - You are right, Meg. There has to be a release sometimes or I'd probably explode. I just had no idea that book would trigger it. At least I was alone in my car and not blubbering on the subway or something!

Aug 5, 2018, 7:49am Top

>30 jessibud2: Thumbed you review, Shelley. The book didn't punch me in that way, but it sure touched me emotionally.

Edited: Sep 23, 2018, 9:01pm Top

It's 39C outside right now (actually, *only* 34 but with the humidex, 39 is what it feels like, though, to me, it feels a hell of a lot hotter than that). 39C = 102F. And the sun is beating down. Europe is suffering from this heat terribly, too, as are many other places. It's what I call *can't breathe* weather.

The planet is doomed. You know that, right? And some people still don't *believe* in climate change.... :-(

Aug 5, 2018, 1:46pm Top

>38 FAMeulstee: - Thanks, Anita. I suspect it had more to do with timing than with content but that's the way it goes, sometimes.

Edited: Aug 5, 2018, 3:26pm Top

>40 jessibud2: Here in Maryland, climate change weather patterns became very pronounced this spring and summer. Instead of sunny days with blue skies and an occasional afternoon thunderstorm, we have been getting days upon days of overcast skies plus day after day of rain...flooding rain. The rains are adversely affecting Maryland produce. Nectarines and peaches, freshly picked, don’t keep. They rot after a day or two. The yellow summer squash was deformed. This was from local farmers. This will adversely affect food prices and the ability to supply my nation with healthy food. I started buying most of my produce other than what I get from my CSA at a local organic food store.

Sunny days here are so terribly hot, no one wants to be outside. I used to love summer evenings. Now we rarely have a nice summer evening.

At the beach we used to visit in previous years in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, they had rip tides for 11 straight days, and no one was allowed in the water! This is a beach known for calm waters most of the time. North Carolina had multiple beach drownings already this year. We noticed over the past few years, a severe decline in the number and kind of fish to be caught.

I could go on and on with examples but I won’t. I will try to do my part as one person to treat my environment with love and respect.

Aug 5, 2018, 8:06pm Top

Why We Write About Ourselves edited by Meredith Maran. This was an interesting look at how and why 20 writers have written memoirs, usually in addition to other works of fiction or non-fiction. Of the 20, I had heard of 9 of them before and of those 9, I have read at least some of the works of 5 of them. I thought I might skip those I had not heard of but in the end, I read the entire book and was intrigued enough to seek out the work of some of the others.

Each section began with Maran giving a short intro, then a table of Vital Statistics (birthdate, place, home now, family, notable notes and website and twitter contact info). A list of their collected works followed and then, the featured memoirist in his or her own words on how and why they wrote, and finally, a few points of advice. Each section was short enough to read quickly but long enough to be informative and interesting.

The 20 authors included in this collection were: Ishmael Beah, Kate Christenson, Kelly Corrigan, Pat Conroy, Edwidge Danticat, David Sheff, Dani Shapiro, Pearl Cleage, Darin Strauss, Nick Flynn, James McBride, Cheryl Strayed, Anne Lamott, Sue Monk Kidd, Jesmyn Ward, Ayelet Waldman, A.M. Homes, Meghan Daum, Edmund White and Sandra Tsing Loh.

I know some of these authors through all the warbling here on LT. For example, Jesmyn Ward has received a lot of love here and I have yet to read her books. I plan to remedy that sooner rather than later. Others in this collection, not so much. For example, I had heard of Ayelet Waldman (and knew she was the wife of Michael Chabon) but reading her section made me NOT want to read her work. She just doesn't sound to me like someone I want to read. Which, of course, may be the very reason I should. You know, go outside my comfort zone a bit.

I may cheat and use this book for the October portion of the non-fiction challenge: First person singular. We'll see. I am still trying to catch up with my July and August picks.

Aug 6, 2018, 2:19am Top

Oh yeah, that topper is spot on.

And Why We Write About Ourselves sounds interesting!

I'm sorry to hear that things are rough with your mum, Shelley. It's hard being far away.....

Aug 6, 2018, 8:26am Top

Hope you are finding a way to stay cool. It's pretty gross out already!
Nate worked the beer tent and foot patrol yesterday at the Kincardine reunion.. He had a dehydration headache when he went to bed as he was so hot he couldn't get enough water in. Poor guy. I am hiding the AC as much as possible!

Aug 6, 2018, 10:20am Top

>44 ChelleBearss: - One of my neighbours was supposed to be at my house yesterday morning for a meeting (there are 3 of us on this committee). He slept right through his alarm and also had a dehydration headache from helping a friend move the day before in this heat. I was out at 9 am this morning and already it's unbreathable. I don't know how people without A/C survive

Aug 6, 2018, 10:22am Top

>43 EBT1002: - Hi Ellen. Thanks. She actually sounded good yesterday, almost like her old self. I think she is just thrilled not to have to have chemo today. It was cancelled and they will reassess next week. Plus, my brother visited on the weekend.

Good to see you making the rounds here again!

Edited: Aug 6, 2018, 3:22pm Top

>45 jessibud2: Remember when we were kids? We never had air conditioning! We used fans and cold washcloths to our foreheads and bodies. We ate creamsicles, fudgsicles, and snowballs. We threw water balloons at each other. We sprayed each other with hoses. We played in open fire hydrants. We sat outside in the shade of trees in the evening. We often had cooling thunderstorms after a brutally hot day. We spent the days at a swimming pool. Our weather patterns have been permanently altered, it seems.

Edited: Aug 6, 2018, 1:00pm Top

>46 jessibud2: I think she is just thrilled not to have to have chemo today. It was cancelled and they will reassess next week

I'd be thrilled, too! I hope your mom continues improving. It was great that your brother had the chance to come up for a visit. I'm sure that cheered her up as well.

Aug 6, 2018, 1:22pm Top

And we have lift-off! At 62 days old, the osprey chick, L'ele has fledged!


You can read more of the comments in the right sidebar at the nest cam site: http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/27/Hellgate_Ospreys/

It truly is miraculous to watch this cam.

Aug 6, 2018, 1:23pm Top

>47 SqueakyChu: - Exactly.

Aug 9, 2018, 7:03pm Top

I finished Brazen Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu today and returned it to the library. I have already put in a request for another GN by her, California Dreamin' about Cass Elliot of The Mamas and Papas. This was a fun read. There were, among the women she wrote about, several I had never heard of. But there were 2, Sonita Alizadeh, the young rapper from Afghanistan, and Hedy Lamarr, who were both subjects of documentary films I have seen in the past year at my local Doc Cinema. The films were both excellent and it was nice to see them included in this eclectic group of strong women.

I really need to get back to my NF challenge reads from June, July and August and finish them up! I keep getting sidetracked!

Aug 10, 2018, 2:43am Top

Just keeping up here Shelley! : )

Aug 10, 2018, 8:43am Top

I'm glad you enjoyed Brazen Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World, Shelley. Me, too. I thought she did a great job of condensing a lot of research and making it entertaining. And there were several that were new to me.

Aug 11, 2018, 1:24am Top

I hope that your weather has cooled down some after that rain, Shelley. Did it do some good even though it caused wide spread flooding? We are supposed to have rain tomorrow (Saturday) and cooler temps but the last two times they promised rain it didn't happen. We will see.

Aug 11, 2018, 8:30am Top

Hi Meg. Actually, immediately after the rain, the humidity hadn't disappeared at all. It was gross. But yesterday and today are as perfect as it can get - sunny, a bit of a breeze and NO HUMIDITY! It felt so good to be outside - for a change! I have a friend visiting from the States right now and we did a fair bit of walking yesterday and have more of the same planned for today and tomorrow.

I was lucky that the rainstorm of the other day didn't do any damage in my area. It sure did, though, in other areas of the city.

Aug 11, 2018, 8:33am Top

Brazen Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World sounds interesting. I'll be on the lookout for it.

Aug 12, 2018, 5:19pm Top

>49 jessibud2: Yay!

I'm glad you enjoyed Brazen, Shelley!

Aug 16, 2018, 7:39am Top

Hi Shelley!

Yay for L'ele fledging!

I'm sorry about the ups-and-downs with your mother's health and dealing with her husband. And I'm sorry about the horrible heat. We have that here in central NC USA all summer although this summer has had some surprisingly mild days.

>47 SqueakyChu: Remember when we were kids? We never had air conditioning! We used fans and cold washcloths to our foreheads and bodies. We ate creamsicles, fudgsicles, and snowballs. We threw water balloons at each other. We sprayed each other with hoses. We played in open fire hydrants. We sat outside in the shade of trees in the evening. We often had cooling thunderstorms after a brutally hot day. We spent the days at a swimming pool. Our weather patterns have been permanently altered, it seems. Yup. We did the same. I was raised in Southern California and it was at least a dry heat. I remember September 1963 when I was in 5th grade, the forecast was for 113F one day. My mother called the school to ask if I could wear shorts to school and was told no. Dress and slip, therefore, yuck.

Edited: Aug 16, 2018, 1:18pm Top

So very sad. A true legend, and a real force. RIP, Aretha, your legacy will live forever.

Scroll down in this article to see and hear some of her performances. I loved the duet with Smokey Robinson and the one with Annie Lennox of The Eurythmics.


Aug 17, 2018, 3:34pm Top

>59 jessibud2: Somehow you think such legends should live forever. Sad to see that announcement yesterday.

It has cooled off a bit here too, Shelley, and it looks as though we have a relatively smoke free day today for a change. Is your weather still good?

Edited: Aug 17, 2018, 6:20pm Top

>58 karenmarie: - Hi Karen. Thanks for the kind words. The latest update is that the doctor, for the time being, has decided not to schedule any more chemo and my mother is feeling very happy about that. We shall see what plan she (the doctor) comes up with, going forward, next Monday, the next appointment.

>60 Familyhistorian: - As for the heat here, it's gross. With the humidity factored in, it was 32C at 7 a.m. and hasn't got much better throughout the day. It had rained all night and did again, during the afternoon. But it doesn't feel any cooler. I really can't wait for autumn. The news out of BC sounds awful.

Edited: Aug 17, 2018, 9:22pm Top

I read 2 quick books in the last days:

#Never Again - Doesn't seem to be a touchstone for this one. It's written by siblings David and Lauren Hogg, survivors of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Florida earlier this year. It was a small book (same size format as On Tyranny). It was told initially in alternating chapters by each of them, though David wrote the bulk of it. David is the older sibling (18 years old) and more articulate. His sister is 15-years-old. It's a story that must be told and David was very focussed and *out there* in the media in the days immediately following the tragedy. It was he and his friends who coordinated the movement that became #Never Again.

They both go a bit into their background and childhood (not sure it was really all that necessary to this story) and call me a grammar snob or just plain too anal but it just annoyed the heck out of me that Lauren's parts seemed to totally lack any editorial oversight. I know that most 15-year-olds use the word *like* excessively. I am aware that many people over that age do, too (and don't even get me started on hearing new immigrants inserting this idiotic word into every sentence in an attempt to feel *integrated*; it's what they hear so of course they will try to imitate. I am fairly certain no ESL teacher would deliberately be teaching them to say *like* all the time). But I digress. Are there simply no editors any more? Is that job obsolete? It would not have detracted one iota from the powerful impact of the story, had an editor changed "I'm like...", and "He was like..." to "I said" or "he said". I just found it distracting. David, incidentally, did not once do this. All that said, the story was a powerful one and these kids are amazing in their focus and their mission and their ability to be realistic about next steps. I can't wait for them to be able to vote. I was fairly pessimistic that if nothing got done after Sandy Hook, then nothing would ever get done. But these kids are speaking for themselves, no one is speaking for them and maybe that is what's different here. The books ended with a tribute to those who have been cut down in previous school shootings. Chilling. The list is 21 pages long. I was also shocked to learn in this book that *live shooter* drills are as routine in schools in the States as fire drills were for us growing up. Yikes. I was an elementary school teacher for many years and am not a big proponent of home schooling. But if anything would change my mind, this would.

Aug 17, 2018, 6:30pm Top

California Dreamin', a graphic novel by Penelope Bagieu, the woman who wrote the very cool Brazen Ladies Who Rocked the World. This one was all in black and white and told the story of Cass Elliott before she was a Mama. I read it last night in one sitting. I don't think I ever really knew her back story. So, today, I spent over an hour watching a youtube doc film about the Mamas and Papas as well as reading more about Cass. 3 of the 4 of them are gone now but the doc was full of interviews and performance pieces. I grew up in the 60s and was very much a folkie, but also loved Motown, soul, rock and pop. I have a few of the M&P albums and am so glad that I kept all my vinyl albums of that era. The doc film was really excellent.

And since the last few days have transported me back to the sixties (this book, this doc, Aretha), it's probably a good place to mention that I am very excited about my afternoon tomorrow. A friend and I are going to see a one-man multi-media stage show called BOOM. I will report back tomorrow, but here is a preview:


Scroll down a bit for a quick peek at what to expect. It really does look pretty amazing.

Aug 19, 2018, 1:51pm Top

How was BOOM???

I need to get my hands on a copy of California Dreamin'. I loved Brazen Ladies Who Rocked the World and I think reading about the life of Cass Elliott would be worthwhile.

Listening to lots of Aretha on the radio these past few days. So sad to lose her.

Aug 20, 2018, 12:03pm Top

I hope everything goes well for your Mum's plan, Shelley. BOOM looks like it was a fun show. I hope you enjoyed it. My library has California Dreamin' and I plan on going there today to pick up some more holds. Not that I need something else to read!

Aug 20, 2018, 1:56pm Top

Hi Ellen, Meg. The multi-media show we saw yesterday was excellent. It was such a creative piece that it's almost hard to describe. It's a one-man show, by a guy called Rick Miller, who isn't even a baby boomer, himself! Yet the story of the years of the *official* baby boom (1945 - 1969) is more a collection or a collage of stories of a time, and of individuals, some famous, some not famous. It was really very cleverly put together. The stage set looked a bit like a top hat. The tube of it was the *screen* on which a lot of video clips were projected as the tales unfolded. It also was like a capsule (a time capsule, as Rick said). The rim of the hat was angled with the front end dipping forward so if he had stepped on it, you'd think he'd slip forward and off. He didn't, of course, but the circular form of the rim was a cleverly orchestrated bit because a lot of his premise, as he explained in the Q&A after the show, is that history is not linear at all but rather, circular and *what goes around comes around*, in a way. There were also video clips that lent themselves to that visual and that worked really well (the viewing of the earth from space, for example).

The story was told through 3 individuals that Rick knew: his mom (Canadian), his father (Austrian) and another guy, Lawrence (American), whose lives intersected at University of Toronto in the 60s. Interspersed in their stories were, of course, historical events of those years. It really was a terrific experience. More than a few times, the audience were singing, clapping or nodding along!

And by pure coincidence, I also have tickets to a movie this evening, The Jazz Ambassadors. (scroll right to watch the clip)

It seems a good follow-up to the show we saw yesterday, if perhaps a more sober one.

One thing that I noticed yesterday (and feel I might, tonight, as well), is how history truly seems to repeat itself. In the paper program we received upon entry to yesterday's show, the writers notes open with this quote:

"That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."

-- Aldous Huxley (1959).

Aug 21, 2018, 1:16pm Top

I am currently reading/listening to the audiobook of Nadia Hashimi's When the Moon is Low. It is a story of a woman of Afghanistan as she and her 3 children attempt to flee from the Taliban. The audiobook is in my car at the moment and I can't recall the name of the narrator but she is excellent. The story is gripping and although I am not quite at the halfway point, I am thinking about it constantly. It is a timely book as I am sure that so many refugees from Syria and that part of the world face similar situations on a daily basis in their search for survival and refuge, and *home*. It makes me shake my head and want to scream, what is wrong with people (governments, that is) that innocent people are treated so badly? Sometimes, humans can be such scumbags.

I tried to find more info about this author (I own, but have not yet read, her first book, The Pearl That Broke its Shell). Turns out, she is American-born of Afghani background, and is a pediatrician. Also, ran for Congress as a Democrat.


What an accomplished woman!

This is one of those audiobooks that I may end up bringing into the house to finish.

Aug 21, 2018, 1:38pm Top

>67 jessibud2: The quicksands of Shelley's reviews!! Sounds great. : )

Aug 22, 2018, 12:11pm Top

The Jazz Ambassadors looks good, Shelley. I hope you enjoyed it.

Edited: Aug 25, 2018, 8:34pm Top

>69 Familyhistorian: - The Jazz Ambassadors was really good, Meg. I always feel I learn so much from documentaries. I had no idea that there really was such a thing as jazz ambassadors, during the Cold War. There was! The government used to send jazz bands and performers to places such as Africa, and even Russia, to *bridge* diplomacy in a cultural way that politics simply could not touch. Not all the musicians were thrilled. There were clips of Dizzy Gillespie and even Louis Armstrong talking about what they would say if asked about racial unrest at home (this was in the pre- and early civil rights days and Alabama unrest, etc). Armstrong said it depended on what day it was. "Don't ask me today," he said, after one particularly bad riot (I can't remember just now which one he was referring to).

In talking about the politics of the day, late 50s, early and mid-60s, it was eerie to see so many parallels to politics today. Some things truly never change. History continues to manage to repeat itself and not learn anything new. Just tonight on the Global News (tv), there was someone showing and talking about the uncanny parallels between trump today and Nixon in the Watergate years. The only difference being the support base trump amazingly continues to have.

What a crazy world we live in.

Aug 22, 2018, 8:45pm Top

A friend just sent me this link, from a travel company she has travelled with before:

10 best indie bookstores around the world

Aug 22, 2018, 11:40pm Top

Just had a peek at the above link. Munro's in Victoria is wonderful.

Aug 25, 2018, 9:17am Top

>71 jessibud2: Fun to see Powell's on there, Shelley. I was surprised there are no London Bookshops on it - we like Daunt, Foyle's and the London Book Review bookshop, and I'm sure other people would add to that.

As a sci-fi reader, I'll need to find my way to White Dwarf Books in Vancouver.

Aug 25, 2018, 8:33pm Top

Dear Madam President by Jennifer Palmieri

She worked in the (Bill) Clinton White House, the Obama White House and was director of communications for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Not being American, I had not known or heard of her prior to reading this book, but the title and the premise caught my eye and I felt it was worth reading.

She designs this book as a letter to the future women who will run the world one day, sharing her advice and her experiences from what she has learned in her career, not least of which was the devastating 2016 election. I found the book to be both optimistic (if a bit idealistic) and uplifting, yet honest and realistic in its tone. The quotes I liked best were those in which she tries to remind women that change is not a bad thing and that there is always something to learn from every experience. Here are a few:

"I have always thought that I could do any job a man can do just as well as him. Only recently have I come to realize that I don't want to. I want to do the job the best ay I can do it, not the way he would. That's what this letter is about - how women can lead in a new way. How we can create a new model of leadership in our own image, not a man's."

(from her time on Obama's staff) "The president isn't being nice when he asks your view; he needs it. None of us who were entrusted to be part of the president's senior staff was there just to do the job assigned to us. We were in the room because of the experience, perspective, and judgment we brought with us, and the president needed to hear from each of us. What's hard to accept in that moment is that you are that person whose views are worthy of being heard by the president of the United States." (how quickly things change! That last comment is mine!)

"...But we aren't in a man's world anymore. Now it's our world. And shame on us women if we don't do something to change the way this game is played so that everybody is able to bring their best to the effort. Let's embrace a new way of working that is equally geared toward our own qualities and skills."

"You are going to need to keep both a cool head and a warm heart to steer your ship through the storm...You have to lead by example and keep your team calm and focussed in a crisis. I have learned from watching President Obama and Hillary Clinton that the best leaders also listen with their hearts in times of crisis. They make sure the people serving them have the moral support they need to get the job done, and they make sure the people they serve are getting the leadership they need, too."

"Madam President....like all of us, you will face moments of tragedy and loss and be tested by them. When you fall short or the country gets discouraged, look beyond the loss before you to see what else is possible. You may need to set your sights farther in the future, dig a little deeper, and find the strength to keep going. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that any cause or battle you take on must be won in order to have been worth doing. Believe that the effort you put into something that really matters to you is its own reward, whether your efforts succeed or not. If your cause is right, you will eventually prevail. Till then, stay true to your principles; if you will yourself to fight on, you will never be defeated."

and finally,

"I have accepted that the days of being able to predict how our politics will play out are over...A small number of people in Washington shouldn't be able to predict - let alone orchestrate - what our entire democracy is going to do. That paradigm had to topple....That's not how this is going down. The rebirth will come from the ground up or it won't come at all."


Overall, a quick read and if I were young and inclined to public office, I might treasure it as a bit of a bible. But I'm not; still, a good and interesting insider's perspective.

Edited: Sep 4, 2018, 4:36pm Top

Did anyone else used to love the Murphy Brown show as much as I did? I heard great news today:

Murphy Brown returns to the air at the end of September!!



Having her return to the world of 2018 *news* can only be a good thing. Remember what she did to Dan Quayle? One can only imagine the tweets she will elicit from trump!! LOL! I can't wait!


Aug 29, 2018, 1:01am Top

>75 jessibud2: It will be interesting to see Murphy Brown updated but unfortunately "the trailer is not available in your country". Does that mean that we won't get the show either?

Aug 29, 2018, 6:57am Top

Hi Meg. I also got that *not available* thing. That seems to happen a lot on the internet. I am sure it's an internet thing, which, frankly, never made sense to me. Isn't it a *world wide* web? Whatever. The show is on CBS on tv so I am sure we will get it. I can't wait.

Yesterday, I bought a *People* magazine, something I usually never do but the cover story was about Aretha and I just wanted to read more about her. A bonus was a small item about Murphy Brown. The original actors who are returning to their roles all barely look like they have aged at all since we last saw them. Only Candice Bergen does. She has become much heavier than she was 20 years ago. And the thing that I love about this is that she seems perfectly ok with that. She is still beautiful and I'm sure, just as sassy and sharp. I really can't wait to see what she does to trump. He will surely be having twit fits!! :-) He is no match for Murphy!

Aug 29, 2018, 10:08pm Top

>77 jessibud2: I looked up my local CBS station and they had an article about the first Murphy Brown show being about the Me Too movement. It also looks like it will be on my local CBS station. I wonder if her renos are done yet?

Aug 30, 2018, 6:52am Top

>78 Familyhistorian: - Well, sadly, the actor who played Eldon, her house painter/reno guy, died several years ago so he is one character who won't be returning. We'll see if/how they deal with that factor. Also, remember how much Aretha's music played a part in Murphy's life? How she always used to belt out *You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman* at home (off-key)? I wonder if there will be any subtle nod to her....

Edited: Aug 30, 2018, 7:55am Top

They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson.

This feels like an odd choice for me to be reading at this moment. It's either the worst thing or the best thing, I think. This is the story of the author and her relationships with her parents, who have both recently passed away. She and 3 her brothers are left to clear out their enormous home to prepare it for sale. As she does so, the layers are peeled away and reveal much about her relationships with both of her parents. As with most (all?) families, there were the usual strains and pains, through the years. But she was also her parents' caretakers in their final years and that opens a whole different level of stress. She has close ties to her siblings, though, and that helps a lot. My brother and I are dealing with some of the same issues right now, ourselves.

My mum is still alive though not well. The family dynamics are very different for me than for Johnson. But I think the reason I picked this book up now is to try to learn from how others dealt with this end-stage and hopefully take something from it that will help me. I am not quite finished the book yet but close.

Edited to add: I am confused. I did a quick search of this book, in the upper right corner and found it. So I clicked on it to add it to my shelf. Yet when I copied and pasted my review there, mine was the only review and the page of reviews I found in my search was not there. I tried deleting and trying again, same thing. Now I click on the title here in my thread, and it takes me to the page with all the reviews and mine is not there at all, even when I expand to see all the reviews. So where did it go?

Technology makes my head hurt.

Edited: Aug 30, 2018, 8:07am Top

>80 jessibud2: Your edition got together with By Plum Johnson - They Left Us Everything: A Memoir (2014-04-02) Paperback, there is your review. You might want to change the title on your book before combining.

ETA: I can help with combining the books, if you don't know how.

Edited: Aug 30, 2018, 8:17am Top

>81 FAMeulstee: - Oh, I see what you mean. I must have just copied and pasted it all from my review here. Ok, so I now deleted it from the link in your post. How do I add it to the one with other reviews? When I do the search for the title, I get the page with all the reviews. But when I click on that one to add to my books, the messed up one comes up for me to click on, not the good one.

Edited: Aug 30, 2018, 9:27am Top

>82 jessibud2: You can add the messed up one and then manually change the title with edit book at the add books page. With deleting your book, you deleted your review :-(
ETA: Or you try to add the book from an other source than the one you used before.

Aug 30, 2018, 4:40pm Top

>79 jessibud2: Oh too bad that the actor who played Eldon died. I think I have a vague recollection of that. It will be interesting to see what they do with her home life.

Good luck with your tech issues.

Aug 30, 2018, 7:06pm Top

>84 Familyhistorian: - I am leaving for Montreal in the morning so have been busy today with all manner of preparations, including vet stuff for one of my cats, among other things. I will not bother stressing myself over the tech stuff right now. I am taking my laptop so maybe if I have time in Montreal, I will see if I can fix it. If not, the review is here on my thread and that will have to be enough.

After several days of blast furnace heat and humidity, we woke up to a deliciously cool day today. We never even hit 20C!! That hasn't happened since last June! It won't last, though, as the temps and humidity will begin to climb back up tomorrow. When will autumn arrive??!!

Aug 30, 2018, 7:21pm Top

Shelley, wishing you a safe trip to Montreal and hoping your visit goes well with your mom.

Picked up the Miriam Toews new novel Women Talking from the library today which is a sure sign of autumn for me as fewer books come off the home shelf and I get more from the library. We are allowed 50 holds and I have topped out but the wait can sometimes feel like forever until it's my turn.

Aug 30, 2018, 9:22pm Top

Thanks, Mary. My mum had a fall today inside the house but she only bruised her knee. I can see a visit to the store to purchase a walker happening on Saturday. I had asked them to do it ages ago but both she and her husband procrastinated. Seems if I don't tend to these things myself, they don't get done. In happier news, we have a family wedding on Sunday.

I had wanted to download a specific book to my phone so I could listen on the train ride. But there are 33 people waiting ahead of me. I completely don't get technology, apparently. I hadn't realized that even digital copies can be in limited supply. I'm so not techy!!! So I am taking 3 actual books with me. That should be more than enough.

Aug 31, 2018, 3:05am Top

I hope that you have an enjoyable and rejuvenating weekend in Montreal, Shelley.

Aug 31, 2018, 8:13am Top

Thanks, Darryl.

Aug 31, 2018, 9:06am Top

>87 jessibud2: Hope you have a fun time at the wedding
Sorry to see your mom had a fall. Hope the walker helps!

When you log onto overdrive to download ebooks there is a spot that you can check off that shows you only books available right now, with no holds. Won't help with the one you want but you could find something else for your trip.

Aug 31, 2018, 2:56pm Top

Have a good visit in Montreal, Shelley, and enjoy the family wedding.

Aug 31, 2018, 7:39pm Top

>90 ChelleBearss: - Thanks, Chelle. I am slowly learning my way around Overdrive. One of the librarians at my library spent a good half hour teaching me awhile ago and that was helpful. I even managed to remember enough when I got home to download one without her! But this time, I forgot to look at the availables because I was looking for a specific title. No worries, though. I brought 3 books with me and read half of the first one on the train this afternoon. I had a migraine so I ended up sleeping fair bit, too. I also discovered, once I got here, that I forgot to put the mouse in my computer bag! Thankfully, I was able to use the mouse from my mother's computer. My head was clearly not firing on all cylinders when I left my house!

>91 Familyhistorian: - Thanks, Meg. It is hot here in Montreal and getting hotter over the next few days. Summer is not over yet!

Aug 31, 2018, 9:38pm Top

Hi Shelley!

I hope things go well with your mom and her husband and that she doesn't fight the walker. Have a joyous time at the wedding.

Edited: Sep 6, 2018, 11:45am Top

Just a quick pop-in this morning. Last night we were at the wedding of my cousin's daughter, Stephanie. It was a beautiful wedding. The ceremony was held outdoors at a hotel overlooking a lake. The skies had opened up earlier in the day but held for the entire ceremony. Big PHEW!!

One of the little touches that made this wedding so sweet, was that Stephanie, a librarian, and her husband Michael, a film animator, are both book lovers. They met at her library when he walked in one day to do work. And the rest, as they say, is history. Typical of them was what they chose as centrepieces for each table. In the middle of every single table was a book, some hard cover, some trade paper. On top of each book, in a little stand, was a short review signed by one or the other of them. These were among their favourite books. In their speeches later, Stephanie said that if someone from each table walked away with the book (or went to a quiet corner to have a better look), her work was done. I claimed dibs on the book on my table right away! It's a book and author I was not familiar with, called Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton. It's a graphic novel (hardback, though, and large, so I am afraid I will leave it here at my mum's until the next time I come back) and said to be a delightful literary, social and historic commentary mixed with humour. Apparently, Kate Beaton is a cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine. Michael gave it a glowing review. Anyhow, I just thought it was such a clever and creative touch to the evening.

I am heading home tomorrow. I really hope this stinking, stifling heat and humidity breaks soon. It's making me (and everyone else) pretty cranky

Sep 3, 2018, 12:15pm Top

I love Kate Beaton and Hark a Vagrant! Enjoy- her take on Heathcliff is hilarious

Sep 3, 2018, 8:50pm Top

>95 torontoc: - Thanks, Cyrel. Good to know. I see she is also Canadian and has many great reviews here on LT, too!

Sep 3, 2018, 11:40pm Top

>94 jessibud2: What an absolutely beautiful idea for a centerpiece! We did that last year at our Literary Arts Fundraiser, but that is an event made for booklovers, so no big surprise. To do it at a wedding...I love it!!

Also thanks for the Murphy Brown heads up--I will try to find it.

Sep 4, 2018, 10:03am Top

>66 jessibud2: "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."

-- Aldous Huxley (1959).

Sigh. Too terribly true.

>94 jessibud2: That sounds like a wonderful wedding reception and such an awesome thing they did. And the book you acquired, Hark! A Vagrant sounds very interesting. I'll look forward to your comments after you return and are able to read it. By the way, I did obtain a copy of California Dreamin' and will read it in the coming weeks.

>75 jessibud2: Oh My goodness, I had not thought of Murphy Brown in ages!! I loved that show. I will be looking out for that and setting the DVR!

Sep 4, 2018, 10:04am Top

By the way, I am totally engrossed in Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. Wonderful novel so far.

Edited: Sep 5, 2018, 3:31pm Top

It is currently 34C (93.2F) outside with the blast-furnace humidity making it the equivalent of 43C (109.4F). This has broken a record set 43 years ago. Have I mentioned lately how much I HATE THIS WEATHER? It will break by tomorrow then much cooler temps but honestly, it's enough already. I can't wait for the drop.

I did end up finding a way to squeeze the wedding book *gift* into my suitcase after all. Also, I have made the decision to go buy a tablet. Lugging my quite heavy laptop back and forth to Montreal is just too much. I spoke to my wonderful computer guy this morning and he offered to come with me to find just the right one. Hopefully, in the next few days. I am slowly sliding into the 21st century of technology, kicking and screaming all the way but it's of necessity. I foresee the commute getting more frequent over the next few months and I just can't do the laptop thing anymore.

Edited: Sep 12, 2018, 2:30pm Top

>97 Berly: - Yes, these kids are as book crazy as I am. I think Stephanie is on Goodreads (I'm not, only here). But I loved that they wanted to share their favourite books with friends and family. I wonder how much time went into placing a book on the table and trying to match it to the people sitting there or if they just did a random placement. I have to ask them!

I am also really looking forward to Murphy's return. I adored that show!

>98 EBT1002: - Hi Ellen. I am slowly unpacking and so far, can't find the article I cut out of the paper about Esi Edugyan. It's somewhere..... Good to hear that you are enjoying her new book.

Sep 5, 2018, 3:55pm Top

>100 jessibud2:, Hi Shelley, the weather this year has been weird, on Sunday here it got back up to 26C but the last couple of days it shot back down to 13 to 15C and then today we crept up to 18C, I don't know where we are with it. 34C and with humidity taking it to 43C is bad my dear especially at this time of year.

A few weeks ago the Met Office were warning councils that the warm weather could continue until November, obviously not the 30C+ but low to mid Twenties, now it seems as if that is changing and the weather for next week when we are on holiday could be changeable. Karen has now had to re-jig the packing, out go the shorts and a sweater or two has entered the suitcase, I give up.

Hope you are well my dear, after a hit and miss July and August I am back online on a regular basis and I will have the laptop with me on holiday so I can update how the holiday is going.

Sep 5, 2018, 4:41pm Top

Good luck with your computer shopping, Shelley. I don't have a tablet but it is good to have something small to travel with. I my case I have a netbook. Very interesting choice for the wedding centre pieces and good for you for nabbing it!

Sep 5, 2018, 5:29pm Top

Too scorched to scamper today...

Edited: Sep 5, 2018, 8:16pm Top

>100 jessibud2: About the laptop, I gave up the laptop over the past few years when I travel for my smart phone. It's a lot easier to carry, and I do mostly the same things on both. I carry real books to read.

>104 jessibud2: Yep. Squirrels do the same thing here when they get too hot. They lay flat against the concrete sidewalks. They look weird, though. Today it's 93 here in Maryland. Tomorrow it will be 95. I can't believe this is September.

Sep 5, 2018, 8:27pm Top

>105 SqueakyChu: - I find a phone too small a screen to do anything other than phone, text and read my email. I can't read anything that opens in a link. I need a larger screen though it doesn't have to be as large as a laptop. My computer guy says a tablet will be good. I hope he can find a time in the next few days to come with me so I can buy it and practice before I have to go back.

Sep 5, 2018, 8:47pm Top

>106 jessibud2: I think you'll enjoy having a tablet. My son gave me an i-pad he no longer uses. I learned how to use it and then never used it again once I got my smart phone. Basically what I learned from it was how to navigate the screen of icons before I got my smart phone! :D

Sep 8, 2018, 11:28pm Top

>100 jessibud2: That sounds dreadful and I would be totally with you. I don't much care for anything above 80F but when it gets above 90F I get grumpy and above 100F is intolerable. I hope it breaks soon (as it may have done by now)!

>104 jessibud2: Poor squirrel.

I have a tablet, a Windows Surface, at work (I use a MacBook Air at home) and I think I may find the tablet to be the right middle-of-the-road size for some things. It serves as the hard drive for my desktop work but I can disconnect it and take it along with me to meetings or home for work. I'm still getting used to it since I'm mostly a Mac person in my off-work hours. P loves her iPad.

Edited: Sep 9, 2018, 4:21pm Top

I saw a terrific documentary film the other day. It is based on the book of the same name (which I have but haven't read yet), by Andrew Solomon, called Far From the Tree. It's his extremely honest, candid and well-researched look into how people on the margins are accepted (or often, not) by families, society and themselves, and how they manage to find their own identities. Here is a clip (scroll once to the right to see the trailer):

Far From the Tree

I had lent the book to my friend who said that everyone in the film was in the book but obviously, the book had much more than could be put into the film. She also said it was very well-written which is easy to believe as Solomon narrates the film and is very articulate and genuine. I will get to that book now.

I had a hairy woodpecker at my feeder yesterday, That's the larger one of the 2 (hairy and downy) that otherwise look alike. Once I download my pics, I will edit one in here.

And I started the book I acquired from my cousin's wedding, Hark! A Vagrant (see >94 jessibud2:), and so far, it is a hoot! Even her intro is hilarious.

In other news, the disgusting tropical heat of earlier this week is gone, hopefully for good. Yesterday and today truly felt like autumn (I don't think we hit 20C) and it felt terrific to open the windows and not have to turn on the A/C at all. If it stayed this way from now on, I'd be one happy camper. I could even have worn a jacket but I didn't as it felt so good to actually feel the chill. :-)

Sep 10, 2018, 12:49am Top

>109 jessibud2: Hurray for cooler temps!! So, you scored a good book at the wedding, did you? Nice!

Sep 10, 2018, 9:31pm Top

The hairy woodpecker, at my feeder (yesterday, before the rain)

Sep 10, 2018, 9:53pm Top

>104 jessibud2: LOL. I see squirrels do this on my shed too. Looks like they are exhausted after harassing my feeders all day.

Love the Hairy Woodpecker. No question, with the longer beak. I do not think I have ever seen them at my feeders. Only Downys.

Sep 10, 2018, 10:15pm Top

>111 jessibud2: I love woodpeckers. I used to get hairys and downys, but I took down my suet feeders because other birds were literally chowing down one suet cake each day. Now I mostly enjoy the hummingbirds and one blue jay who comes to get peanuts.

Very cute picture, Shelley!

Edited: Sep 12, 2018, 8:59am Top

Well. I just listened to the only Canadian interview Bob Woodward is giving about his new book. Here is a link, if anyone is interested. Scroll down a bit and click *listen*:

Woodward interview

Then I went to my library's website to see if I could snag a copy or at least get on a waiting list. Um, yes. A waiting list:

1793 holds / 355 copies

With any luck, trump will be gone before the book gets to me... (one can only wish)

Sep 12, 2018, 11:31am Top

Hi Shelley!

I love the books-with-reviews-as-centerpieces at the wedding, and think your pictures of the hairy woodpecker photos are excellent.

>114 jessibud2: With any luck, trump will be gone before the book gets to me... (one can only wish) Yup.

If you don't already know about him, google "plaid shirt guy" - a 17-year old at drumpf's Billings rally who was making skeptical faces directly behind drumpf and was quickly replaced.

Sep 12, 2018, 12:24pm Top

>155 #plaidshirtguy is my hero. Someone at the drumpf rally who wasn't acting like one of the Stepford wives!

Sep 12, 2018, 10:34pm Top

>114 jessibud2: Well, at least they have 355 copies!

Interesting clip of "plaid shirt guy".

Sep 13, 2018, 4:24pm Top

The Stamp Collector by Jennifer Lanthier, illustrated by Francois Thisdale

This is a children's book that works on many levels. It is the story of 2 boys, one who loves books and one who loves stamps. They grow up separated by background, status and barriers, yet even those can't stop the power of *stories*. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is stark yet gripping.

After the story, the author writes a page, informing the reader that this book was inspired by 2 real Chinese writers, one a journalist, the other, an author of short stories. Both were imprisoned for their craft. She explains that not all countries have freedom of speech or expression and she explains how the beginnings of PEN International began, setting up its first Writers in Prison Committee in 1960. She lets the readers know that one of those writers, Nurmuhemmet Yasin is still in prison today, not allowed to see anyone. But that the journalist, Jiang Weiping, is free, thanks to PEN Canada, and now lives in Toronto. It was he who first told Jennifer Lanthier of the importance of stamps.

I had first heard of this book when the author was interviewed on the radio a few years ago. I got this from my library.

Sep 13, 2018, 6:31pm Top

>118 jessibud2: Oooh! That sounds like an interesting book! I'm so glad that you, too, read children's books. I had stopped doing so before I had grandchildren. Now I read them simply because of my Little Free Library and my TIOLI challenges. Sometimes they fit a current challenge...and they can be read quickly. :)

Sep 13, 2018, 6:45pm Top

>119 SqueakyChu: - This one was a good one to read now, as a reminder of how lucky we are to have basic human rights and such freedoms. At least, so far. In this age of trump and Ontario's baby trump, it is a reminder that can't be reinforced enough. And also, the importance of standing up and fighting for those rights. I don't know how much, if any, news you get of our politics but my city is in turmoil. As of yesterday, our disgusting premier has used a little-used clause to override our constitutional rights in order to push through an agenda of his that is hardly important enough to warrant such drastic action. In fact, it went to court, a judge of experience and high regard ruled that ford had acted against the constitution, then mr. baby trump (in true trump-style) put down the judge and over rode his judgment, stating that he (ford) was *elected* and the judge was merely appointed. There were huge protests in the legislature yesterday, and this is far from over. In fact, there is such turmoil, that our municipal election, set to happen next month, is now in jeopardy. All because of a power hungry bully.

Scary stuff.

Sep 13, 2018, 6:53pm Top

And, because there has to be balance, beauty over ugliness:

Bird photos of the year

Keep scrolling and be awed

Edited: Sep 13, 2018, 7:32pm Top

>120 jessibud2: Indeed scary. I don’t hear much of your local news here, but I would like to be kept informed of what’s happening in Ontario. Ultimately, we’re all in this together.

>121 jessibud2: Great photos!!

Sep 16, 2018, 8:09pm Top

When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi. This was an audiobook, told in two voices, Fereiba and her teenaged son, Saleem. Both readers were very good, especially Sneha Mathan, who voiced Fereiba's character. The story is about a family from Afghanistan before and after the Taliban came to power. It is the story of every refugee who tries to find a safer home and comes up against obstacles at every turn. We have seen this played out on the evening news, on the big screen and in literature. This book is fiction but it is fiction based on the truth of the times we live in. Fereiba's son Saleem is separated from his mother and 2 younger siblings early on and it is only the goal of reuniting that keeps them both moving forward as they strive to reach England where her sister and her family are living. This is also a story about the depths of strength and courage in the human spirit, resources we can only hope never to have to draw on, ourselves, to such a degree.

Towards the end of this 11-disc audiobook, I found myself feeling that perhaps it was being drawn out a bit too long. But I reminded myself that in reality, for people on the run, any amount of time is too long, when it comes to seeking asylum and safety. And home.

I don't want to say more than this, for spoiler alert reasons. But this was a gripping and heart-rending story, well-written and I think it will stay with me awhile.

Edited: Sep 16, 2018, 8:21pm Top

>123 jessibud2: Sounds like a sad story. It’s too much like what is happening in the news today for me to want to read such a books at this time. Fiction, though, to me anyway, sometimes gives a clearer picture of emotional fact than does nonfiction.

I’m now reading a sad family saga. It really helps to read those less depressing kids’ books in between!

Sep 16, 2018, 9:12pm Top

>124 SqueakyChu: - It is a sad story, Madeline, but it wasn't as graphic or horrific as it surely could have been. I can't do those types of books and wouldn't have made it through if it had been. But it was well-written and really well-read. The author is of Afghani background though she was raised (and born? not sure) in the States. She is also a pediatrician. I googled her a bit. I also have another book by her, called The Pearl That Broke its Shell but haven't read it yet.

And yes, I agree that it helps to balance things out to read lighter things in between. I am also currently reading a bio of 2 of my favourite figure skaters from the 80s/90s, Isabelle Brasseur and her skating partner Lloyd Eisler. The book is dated but it's still a fun read.

In my purse, I tote along a very small book to read on the subway. The other day, I went downtown around 10 a.m. I was reading it. Around 12:30, 1 pm, I was on my way home and at my last transfer, I sat down on the bench to wait for the train. A lady with white hair who had to have been in her 80s, easily, came to sit next to me. She said, "Weren't you the one going downtown earlier, reading a book called Why I Write? I said yes! She had noticed the title while I was reading on the train. I showed her the book (it is by George Orwell!). So funny how that happens sometimes, isn't it? We had a little chat then the train came and she went to sit somewhere else (maybe to let me read!) :-)

Edited: Sep 16, 2018, 9:52pm Top

>125 jessibud2:. I remember traveling to work by Metro in years past and always looking to see what others were reading. Then came the days of the ebook, and I could no longer tell what they were reading. Then came the days of the smart phone, and everyone was scrolling instead of reading. Then my office site was changed and I could no longer take the train to work! :(

I was thinking of those train rides today as Jose and I took the Metro to the new Audi stadium to see a soccer game. Now people do all sorts of things on the train again, and are no longer just glued to their smart phones. Someone was actually reading a newspaper! :)

Edited: Sep 17, 2018, 11:35am Top

>125 jessibud2: Interesting book to be reading, Shelley. Maybe that's why the lady was intrigued and noticed you on the train coming and going. Most people on transit here are still on their phones. It is very rare to see someone reading a book. That is more likely to happen on a train or plane.

I don't hear as much about Toronto's political shenanigans as those in the US but that could be because there are so many in the US and they affect us more closely than happenings in Toronto. It seems hard to understand why people who are elected straight away disrupt things so that nothing gets done unless that is their strategy all along.

Sep 17, 2018, 1:15pm Top

>127 Familyhistorian: - Oh, most people here are also on their phones, everywhere. I guess it is rather rare to see anyone reading an actual book. I do see it, and notice, but it's very much the exception, not the rule.

As for politics, this past week has been a week like no other. I cannot stand to see ford's ugly face or hear his high-pitched whiny voice. Even hard-core conservatives are coming out of the woodwork to condemn his grudgefest against Toronto. Yet, like his idol, trump, he still has his core support group of extremist right-wingers, and he is openly defiant and openly stating that he will basically do what he wants because he can. A statement only true bullies feel *proud* to make. Over and over. I really hope the other provinces are paying attention because this is the tip of the iceberg and doesn't bode well for our country if they don't.

Edited: Sep 17, 2018, 9:56pm Top

>128 jessibud2:

How is Trudeau handling the rise of this new dictator?

Sep 17, 2018, 10:22pm Top

>129 m.belljackson: - He isn't impressed at all but will not interfere (at this point, anyhow) as this is a provincial issue and I think that would probably set a bad precedent. At least, for now. But if ford follows through on his threat to use this *notwithstanding* clause (the *override* bill) for anything he wants to, which is what he said, point-blank, then things and federal attitudes may change. It's all very ugly.

Edited: Sep 18, 2018, 7:37am Top

The long-list of 12 books was just announced for the Giller Prize. Here they are:


I have only heard of a few of them but will be looking for at least a few to read before the short list is announced on Oct. 1, and the winner in November.

Sep 18, 2018, 8:13am Top

Hi Shelley! Just a quick hello. I forgot to mention above that your >111 jessibud2: Hairy Woodpecker photos are amazing. Great job!

Sep 18, 2018, 8:45pm Top

Thanks Shelley for posting the link to the Giller long list. i'll have to read about them all.

Edited: Sep 20, 2018, 6:19am Top

Thanks for posting the Giller Long list. I did enjoy Patrick dewitt previous novel, The Sisters Brothers . It was a violent but hilarious look at the Wild Wild West - which usually has zero interest for me, but this was an exception. I'll consider his book, but we'll see.

I've read a couple of books by Nadia Hashimi and really enjoyed them. Glad you did too.

I've read The Pearl that Broke its Shell and as well as The Moon is Low . Really enjoyed both of them.
So sorry about Doug Ford. Yikes!!!

Edited: Sep 23, 2018, 8:45pm Top

>132 karenmarie: - Thanks, Karen. The hairies (that spelling looks wrong but so does *hairys*) don't make an appearance very often at my feeders so I was especially pleased that he stayed long enough for me to get a few good shots.

>133 mdoris: - I haven't read any of them either, Mary. I was at our annual bookfest today, Word on the Street, and saw the Edugyan book for sale for $25; cheaper than the $40 cover price but I am not prepared to lay that out on a hardcover when I still have so many books in the house to read. I know that by the time I would realistically get to it, it will probably be out in paper. Interestingly, the book cover is already imprinted with the words telling that she is a Giller AND Man-Booker finalist! Those events only happened this week!

>134 vancouverdeb: - Yea, Deb, the DeWitt book didn't really appeal to me, to be honest. I have that other Hashimi book but just haven't got to it yet.

Sep 23, 2018, 4:42pm Top

I was at Toronto's annual bookfest, Word on the Street, today. So was Cyrel (torontoc) but though we had hoped to meet up and she texted me a number of times, I never heard my phone and was so absorbed in the books, I actually lost all track of time.

I ended up buying only 5 books, all rather more hefty than I had anticipated lugging around, plus 4 back issues of a magazine I enjoy, so that was it. One of those books is for a friend. Here's the haul

Diane Arbus Portrait of a Photographer by Arthur Lubow (the only hardcover I bought, I paid $3)

Minds of Winter by Ed O'Loughlin (was a finalist for the Giller prize, I am guessing last year)

The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon by William M. Adler

The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan

and, for my rock and roll fiend friend: Last Night A DJ Saved my Life: The History of the disc jockey by Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton

I am also currently reading 5 - count 'em - books. I don't know why I do this to myself.

Tomorrow evening, I am going to an author reading at the Toronto Reference Library. The author is Canadian Wab Kinew and I really like him. I have just started his memoir, called The Reason You Walk, about his reconciliation with his father, among other things. It is a difficult story to read, given that his father was taken from his own family as a child and brought to a residential school. This is a horrible chapter of Canada's history and one that has only recently begun to be acknowledged openly. A very important story to read and learn about and Kinew is a masterful storyteller.

Sep 23, 2018, 4:45pm Top

I really liked Minds of Winter- although I read it during one of Toronto's cold spells and the book is set up north!
Word on the Street is an amazing book festival and the weather was good.

Sep 23, 2018, 4:49pm Top

>137 torontoc: - LOL! Thanks for the warning. I will save it for a summer read!

Sep 23, 2018, 10:08pm Top

I like the name of Toronto's book fest, Word on the Street. Ours used to be Wordstock, but they've changed it to the Portland Book Festival. Boring.

Sep 25, 2018, 9:07pm Top

Sounds like you did well at Word on the Street, Shelley. Ours isn't until later on September 30 and I won't get to see it because I have something on with my bookclub that day.

I just saw a clip on the news with your favourite president - not. He was blabbing on about something at the UN and their response to him was not what he expected. It was good to see.

Sep 27, 2018, 10:12am Top

>139 Berly: - Hi Kim. Don't you just hate when a name change goes downhill? Our terrific baseball stadium was originally called SkyDome. Then big corporation took over and it has been The Rogers Centre, ever since. The diehards among us still - and will always - call it SkyDome.

>140 Familyhistorian: - Yes, Meg, I heard about that. Ha! Serves him right. This morning, our radio host asked one of his guests if he thought it was significant that trump said yesterday that he didn't like Christia Freeland (the Canadian negotiator for the NAFTA talks). He said that probably only meant she was doing her job and doing it well. Indeed. He doesn't like anyone who refuses to be bullied by him.

Edited: Sep 28, 2018, 10:29am Top

So, what did you make of the hearings yesterday? It seems inevitable to me that he will get in. You have a bully pervert president supporting a sexual predator - and a room full of republicans who are afraid of trump and afraid for their jobs. Can there be there any doubt at all? It's all just so depressing.

But listen to these 3 interviews, all excellent, by author Rebecca Solnit, Republican commentator Charlie Sykes and David Frum, one of the few (to the best of my knowledge) intelligent Republicans who isn't afraid to be openly anti-trump:


Sep 28, 2018, 10:49am Top

Jose says, "That's right."

I say, "Exactly."

I couldn't bear to watch the proceedings. Jose watched it and told me what happened. I agree with you about the inevitable. Sadly, I watch my country fade into a quagmire of immorality. I don't expect to see the end of this **** (no expletive is strong enough to describe our situation) completely in my lifetime.

Edited: Sep 28, 2018, 1:58pm Top

>143 jessibud2: >144 SqueakyChu:

Yep, it's another banner year in whatever remains of a democracy in the USA
when a football player and a porn star have more courage than the entire Republican party.

Sep 28, 2018, 3:03pm Top

>145 m.belljackson: Wow! That’s it in a nutshell.

Sep 29, 2018, 3:08pm Top

>142 jessibud2: That she is female and stands up to him probably makes it even worse, Shelley. What did you think of the first Murphy Brown episode?

Sep 29, 2018, 3:49pm Top

I have to admit, I thought it was a bit hokey. I don't remember now if it always had that over-the-top silliness to it. Probably did. I have always found Miles excessively annoying and that hasn't changed, unfortunately. You'd think that in 20 years, he might have matured a bit. Guess not. But maybe the events of the last few days in Washington prevented the real trump was reacting. Ha! That remains to be seen. I did LOVE the newest interviewee for Murphy's secretary. That was always an ongoing side-story, remember? And they did give a nod to both Aretha and the late great Eldon, the painter.

Overall, I still love it and will watch it as long as it remains on air. How about you? What did you think?

Sep 29, 2018, 5:02pm Top

>148 jessibud2: I remember it being a bit hokey when it was originally on the air, Shelley. The new episodes didn't start as strong as I hoped but a lot of what the first show was doing was the set up for why Murphy Brown and those particular characters were returning. I don't remember that Murphy was a mother in the original series. Do I just remember that incorrectly? I do like how quickly Murphy took to Twitter and had her tweet go viral.

Sep 29, 2018, 5:39pm Top

>149 Familyhistorian: - Oh yes, when she became pregnant (as an unmarried woman), it was a huge deal. Check out some of the links I posted above, in >141 jessibud2:. It was quite funny. And Dan Quayle, who was running for Vice President (I think) at the time, made headlines all over the States, condemning her for it. He became a bit of a laughing stock, and was reminded more than once that she wasn't actually a real person. That baby, who she named Avery, after her mother, who had just passed away (her mother was played by Canadian actress Colleen Dewhurst and was perfect as Murphy's mum). Avery is now the 20-something guy who has returned to live with Murphy and has his own tv show on a competitor's network. The show has been off the air for 20 years so that actually works well, as a storyline. I really hope she gets stronger, re trump, because if anyone can and should, it's Murphy Brown. :-) And what could be a better venue to do that than twitter? LOL

Sep 29, 2018, 9:56pm Top

Your topper made me smile - that could have been meant for me!

Have a lovely weekend. xx

Sep 30, 2018, 1:32pm Top

>104 jessibud2: LOL! That's hot!

>121 jessibud2: Wow. So many great ones, but the one with the black skimmer mother with the baby bird hanging onto her beak was a stunner.

Hi, Shelley. What a burden on the FBI after the hearing. Trump has tried to restrict their scope (of course). This guy (Kavanaugh) is unfit to be a Supreme Court justice on so many counts.

Sep 30, 2018, 1:45pm Top

>152 jnwelch: - Hi Joe. Thankfully, our hot days are finally behind us. And that's fine by me! :-)

What struck me about the Kavanaugh testimony was that he sounded as if he was bordering on shrill or hysterical. Tears, even. If Blasey-Ford had displayed that behaviour, you KNOW what would have been said about that sort of emotion coming from a woman. But how come I didn't hear those adjectives about him? Yes, a few said he sounded belligerent, true of course, but shrill and emotional? Nope. Can we spell double-standard. It's really discouraging.

Last night I watched a couple of hours of CNN, something I have almost never done in my life. But right after those shows, they showed the documentary film, RBG, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which I had already seen in the theatre earlier this year. I thought that was rather inspired programming. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. What a force she is!

Sep 30, 2018, 1:57pm Top

>145 m.belljackson: - Well-said, Marianne!

>151 PaulCranswick: - You, me and all the other 75ers, Paul! Nice to see you back!

Sep 30, 2018, 1:59pm Top

>153 jessibud2:

Did you see Matt Damon on SNL? A classic performance!

Sep 30, 2018, 2:32pm Top

>155 m.belljackson: - No. I rarely can stay up that late. I will try to find it on youtube. Speaking of SNL, I am currently reading a rather hilarious book, called You Can't Spell America Without Me, by Alec Baldwin, (as trump). The photos alone are priceless but the story, told as if by trump, in his words, are so Baldwin (in his SNL incarnation). Published only last year, it's already mostly dated, which, while funny, I guess really isn't.

Sep 30, 2018, 2:45pm Top

>156 jessibud2:

Way too late for me also - I only watch SNL highlights the day after on Yahoo.

It would be great to see Matt Damon and Alec Baldwin as trump and kavanaugh.

Sep 30, 2018, 4:52pm Top

>157 m.belljackson: - Wait for it; it could happen!

Sep 30, 2018, 7:00pm Top

>157 m.belljackson: - I didn't even have to google it; they showed the Matt Damon clip at the end of our local newscast. Wow.

And then there are the political cartoonists. Spot on:


Oct 1, 2018, 8:03am Top

From the AWAD (A Word A Day) newsletter. The quote is from Jimmy Carter, born on this day, 94 years ago:

A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It is a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity. -Jimmy Carter, 39th US President, Nobel laureate (b. 1 Oct 1924)

Oct 1, 2018, 9:02am Top

So, the NAFTA deal is done and suddenly, trump is gloating and calling it *tremendous*. And did you hear that he changed the name? NAFTA is gone and now it's officially the USMCA (US, Mexico and Canada) deal. Our newscasters are already mentioning how it works well with that old *YMCA* song... Can't wait for SNL.... ;-)

Oct 1, 2018, 4:08pm Top

Hi Shelley my dear, thank you for your lovely message and offer, LT friends are so kind and thoughtful. I hope everything is well with you and that you had a good weekend. Things are fine over here although it has turned a little chilly of an evening but the days are good. The Chunksters are still going strong but it looks like I will only get to 50 for the year, a bad July and August have put paid to my target of 60 but hey ho, I have tackled them after they sat patiently on the shelves waiting for me, lol.

Have a really good week and sending love and hugs to you dear friend from both of us.

Oct 1, 2018, 5:23pm Top

The Giller shortlist was announced today:


Oct 2, 2018, 6:17am Top

>163 jessibud2: Hi Shelley, I had a look at the link for the Giller Prize. Interesting! Are you planning to read any of them? Washington Black has got lots of attention here, of course, but I didn't know any of the others.

Oct 2, 2018, 7:34am Top

>164 EllaTim: - Hi Ella. I haven't read any of them and doubt I will get to more than one before the winner is announced in early November. If my library has Washington Black, that would be my first choice.

So happy that you got to meet some LTers recently. Always a fun time! :-)

Oct 2, 2018, 12:10pm Top

>165 jessibud2: There are always more options, than time to do the real reading. I thought some of the others looked appealing as well. But I'm a slow reader, I shouldn't commit to reading a lot.

Yes, it was really nice to meet people for real. Darryl, and Joe and Debbi, Anita and Frank, they were a fun group together.

Oct 2, 2018, 12:41pm Top

>166 EllaTim: This "meeting people for real" is truly one of the loveliest things about LT (...and BookCrossing, too!). I am especially envious of your chance to meet Darryl and Anita in RL. I've been having fun conversations with both of them on LT for quite a while.

Edited: Oct 2, 2018, 1:54pm Top

Oh well. So much for getting to Washington Black before the winners are announced in early November. I just checked my library. For the book itself: 830 holds / 167 copies. For the ebook version: 493 holds / 70 copies. The system does not seem to have a regular audiobook version.

I can wait. It isn't like I have *nothing* to read in the meantime... ;-)

And Ella, I am also a slow reader. I always seem to overcommit myself, especially to challenges. And that doesn't even take into account the reading slumps that hit me at least once a year. Oh well. I read what I can, when I can and at least I know I will never run out of choices.... ;-)

Oct 3, 2018, 5:13pm Top

>150 jessibud2: I had probably stopped watching the show by the time Murphy Brown got pregnant because that I don't remember. Thanks for setting me straight.

I haven't caved and bought Washington Black yet. Just checked my liibrary's site and I am number 12 in line, cross fingers I will get to at least start the book before I see Esi Edugyan at Vancouver Writer's Fest. I was really surprised when French Exit came up in my holds already. Looks like there are 239 people waiting for me to finish - no pressure. I get to see deWitt at the writers festival too.

Oct 3, 2018, 5:49pm Top

>169 Familyhistorian: - Hi Meg. I just heard that Patrick deWitt is going to be on the CBC radio program *q* tomorrow.


It airs in the morning and again in the evening and I believe it is across the country. I haven't read anything by him but as Tom Power (host of q) says, he certainly is having a good week. His book gets short-listed for the Giller, and the film of his previous book, The Sisters Brothers opens tomorrow.

I was at the library today and saw a notice for a library sale, starting tomorrow, for the next 3 days. I will try to get there for at least one of the days.

Oct 6, 2018, 7:05am Top

^Happy Saturday, Shelley. A stormy morning here, as I get ready to head out. I am still waiting for my first Dark-Eyed Junco to show up at the feeders. They have been spotted in the area.

I requested Washington Black & The Overstory from the library, so I should get to both, in the next month.

Oct 6, 2018, 8:19am Top

Hey Shelley!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend.

Oct 6, 2018, 9:00am Top

Happy Saturday! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Edited: Oct 6, 2018, 9:39am Top

>171 msf59: - Hi Mark. Haven't seen any juncos here yet either but the house finches are here in full force and I saw 2 red-breasted nuthatches together at my feeder - rarely see more than one at a time. And the hairy woodpecker was back several times yesterday! And of course, the good old reliable Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, first visitors of the day and last ones, too. I just love them.

>172 figsfromthistle:, >173 ChelleBearss: - Thanks, Figs and Chelle. And the same to both of you. Don't know about you but I am loving this cooler weather. A tad more sun would be nice but the leaves are starting to turn and this is without a doubt my favourite season so I am a happy camper. For some crazy reason, even my day lilies are still blooming! I noticed 2 new flowers this week! Go figure!

Oct 6, 2018, 9:38am Top

This is the reason we are here, why I am certain this article will resonate with LT people as it did with me. In fact, as my own mother is beginning to slip into the fog of swiss-cheese memory, reading this article actually opened my floodgates a bit too, unexpectedly. But I think this is a book I will have to buy and read and treasure.

Growing Up In The Library

Oct 6, 2018, 10:47am Top

I am so hoping for a Blue Sweep next month, giving we the people control of both House and Senate. Let the pot-smokers out of prison to make room for McConnell, Ryan, Nunes, and the other GOP traitors.

Oct 6, 2018, 11:26am Top

Hi, Shelley. Great article on Growing Up in the Library. It brought back memories for me, too. I can still remember the way the library looked inside and outside, and books like Ginger Pye and The Borrowers that I tried because they were free, and ended up loving.

Edited: Oct 7, 2018, 8:36am Top

Today's edition of the blog Brain Pickings features a long piece on the only children's book James Baldwin ever wrote, called Little Man, Little Man. Among other gems. I love this blog.


>177 jnwelch: - Thanks, Joe. I think my first trip to the library - at least my first memory of it - was a small library that was actually housed in the basement of some building, not a structure of its own. I loved the concept that I could borrow to take home, any book I wanted. Like the author of that article, both my parents were avid readers but we didn't own a lot of books. I can clearly remember discovering and being fascinated enough to borrow a book (must have been a text book) of what I realize now must have been botany with those transparent pages that allowed you to see inside and all the layers of a flower. I had never experienced anything like that before and though thinking about it now, it must have been a bit odd for a 7- or 8-year-old to choose this book above all others, it intrigued me at the time.

Oct 7, 2018, 8:29am Top

>176 weird_O: - I wish I shared your optimism, Bill. My friend sent me a recent NYT article written by Thomas L. Friedman called The American Civil War Part II. After reading it, I replied to her that it was just grim. As someone here on LT said somewhere recently, McConnell is pure evil and I think that can be said of many, if not most, of the current Republicans, starting at the top. It's a pity, because , as Friedman said in his piece, there was once a time when moderates from both parties could actually compromise. That word is a dirty word these days, and pretty much verboten. And many other right wing countries are taking their lead from trump.

It's a scary world out there. I think I'll just stay in my little cave and read my books.....

Oct 7, 2018, 9:14am Top

Happy Sunday, Shelley. Hooray for getting red-breasted nuthatches and hairy woodpeckers at your feeders. I have never seen either one at mine.

Oct 7, 2018, 11:06am Top

Hi Shelley!

I've avoided all news sources for 4 days now, and am in mourning for my country. Very depressing.

I do hope that you are enjoying yourself (in your little cave reading books) anyway, as I am trying to do with my books and looking for signs of autumn. Our weather is confused and still thinks it's summer, but the sun angles are saying autumn so I hope the heat goes away soon.

Oct 7, 2018, 11:27am Top

>181 karenmarie: - Hi Karen. It's been chilly and rainy here for about a week now but they say that starting tomorrow, and through to Wednesday, we will be back to deep heat and summer temps. I had hoped we were done with that. The leaves are turning here and I so much prefer the cooler weather. At least I haven't turned on the furnace yet, just put on a sweater. I am determined not to turn on the A/C but we shall see.

I do worry for your country too and for the rest of the world. I have pulled the plug on CNN (watched for about 4 days last week, probably more than in my entire life and it was far more than enough). I listen to news once in the morning, and once at night and turn off the radio at all other newscasts.

In other news I bought a tablet yesterday. A Samsung Galaxy. I charged the battery and managed to figure out how to get it set up, all by myself. I am still trying to get used to it. I cannot log into LT at all from it and don't know why. I clicked *sign in* at the top right and put in my screen name, then waited for a prompt to input my password. It never happened. So I tried my mail addy. Same thing. Also, everything is so small, that I can barely read anything. I know how to use my fingers to expand the screen but that means scrolling back and forth in order to read anything. To be honest, this is not making me a fan of tablets. Right now, I am on my computer and unless I have no other option (as in when I am travelling), this is where I will be.

Oct 8, 2018, 5:57pm Top

No LT on your tablet doesn't sound good, Shelley. I hope you find a way to get it set up. I didn't realize that there was a film of The Sisters Brothers. I guess deWitt is doing well as a writer. How did you fare at the library sale?

Oct 8, 2018, 6:02pm Top

Calling all techies. I need help (what else is new)

As mentioned in my previous post, I bought a tablet, Samsung Galaxy. I have been playing with it a bit, to try to get used to it and all. But I seem unable to get into LT. When I clicked my usual link, I see a bazillion threads, not my starred threads. I realized I wasn't logged in so I tried to do that and for whatever reason, am unable to do it. Does anyone have any ideas for me? The only reason I bought a tablet is for when I have to travel and don't want to lug my laptop. All I plan to do on it is access my email and the internet. I am not going to download music or movies or anything else at all. Just email and internet. And LT is a big part of that. It doesn't seem logical or reasonable to me that I can't log in. Clearly, I am doing something wrong but there's where I hit the wall.

I know I can count on (most of) you to set me straight.....

Clueless in Toronto
(doesn't have quite the ring it ought to but you know what I mean)

Oct 8, 2018, 6:08pm Top

>182 jessibud2: >184 jessibud2: I clicked *sign in* at the top right and put in my screen name, then waited for a prompt to input my password.

When I sign in the password is right under my screen name, so I fill them both and hit enter. I hope this helps...

Oct 8, 2018, 6:44pm Top

>184 jessibud2: - Thanks, Anita. As you were writing that, I actually did manage to get in. This time, when I clicked sign in, I got the space to put my screenname and then the space for my password. When I initially tried, the other day, the second step just never happened, even though I tried a few times. Anyhow, I'm in and shouldn't have to go through that each time. I still prefer the larger format of my laptop and obviously, will use this as long as I am at home. But it was just bothering me that I couldn't do it from the tablet. But now I can. Thanks

>183 Familyhistorian: - I went on the first day, Meg but they had only kids' books that day and nothing there appealed to me at all. I didn't go the last 2 days. However, there is a half price book sale at Value Village later this week so I will check out what they have. I always find good stuff there and even though their prices aren't as low as a library sale, they always have buy 4 get the 5th free, even during sales, so I expect I won't come out empty-handed!

Oct 11, 2018, 10:27am Top

>178 jessibud2: Thanks for posting the link to the blog article about Little Man, Little Man, Shelley! I didn't know about that book, but I'll be on the lookout for it. I'll follow that blog, and probably donate to it if I find other worthwhile articles.

Yikes. Sorry to hear about your troubles with your new Samsung Galaxy Tablet. I'm a fan of my two tablets, an older iPad, which I'm using now, and a newer iPad Mini, which is my travel "computer", which I use with a combination wireless keyboard and protective case. I wish I could help, but I've never seen or used the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, although I do own a Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone.

Oct 13, 2018, 1:24pm Top

The Reason You Walk - Wab Kinew

This was a very powerful read. Kinew is a writer, broadcaster, musician, and most currently, a politician. He hosted CBC's Canada Reads competition for a couple of years, as well. This book is a memoir and a tribute to his father who was, himself, a very accomplished First Nations leader. It focuses on the last year of his father's life, as they reconnected, but also goes into detail of his father's early life, when he was taken from his own family as a young child and brought to a Residential school, and how that affected the rest of his life. Kinew spares no details of that despicable chapter of Canada's history but, at the same time, he also chronicles the efforts by his father and the Indigenous communities to work toward reconciliation. Kinew also reveals his own troubled childhood and how, with the love and support of his family and broader communities, he turned himself around. In the final year of his dad's life, together they created an app that serves to keep the language of the Anishnaabe alive, accessible and available into the future. It boggles my mind that he, Wab Kinew, is only 38 year old, himself, and has yet accomplished so much with his life.

I learned so much about Native culture, rituals, and spiritual influences. I marked several passages in this book and will include a few here:

- (referring to the formal adoption of a Catholic archbishop into his Indigenous family) "Through a lengthy, topsy-turvy journey, they had found and embraced each other as brothers. Reconciliation in action. Reconciliation is not something realized on a grand level, something that happens when a prime minister and a national chief shake hands. It takes places at a much more individual level. Reconciliation is realized when two people come together and understand that what they share unites them and that what is different about them needs to be respected. Reconciliation happens when the archbishop and the sundancer become brothers."

"This is part of what my father and all the residential school survivors achieved. The full force of colonialization had set out to change them, yet these brave young boys and girls held on to who they were and instead changed the colonial state and the colonial religions. This is a remarkable journey.
The path began when he was taken from the home of his parents in a poor but beautiful village on the Lake of the Woods, and it culminated at the very heights of global power, both literally and figuratively. No wonder Ndede was smiling.
He had grappled with his pain, with his anger, and with his grief. Now, we had seen him conquer those things with love, a love he extended to his fellow human beings, including some who had hurt him.
The worst things one human being can do to another had been confronted by the very best that the human spirit has to offer. On this day at least, the best part of us had won out."

- (referring to the moment Kinew brought his 2 young sons to his father's bedside, to say their goodbyes):

"Our ancestors said that in life we need both the young and the old - the old because they pull us onward in life, the young because they push us forward. For a moment, I stood in the middle as the older and the younger generations acted on me from both directions."

"They left him walking forward, not looking back. This is how our ancestors tell us to leave. Their last words to him were not about closure or finality, but simply about love, in the deep familial sense, and then showing their love for him with a simple act."

In the epilogue of the book, at the end, Kinew says: "After working with Al-Jazzeera's Washington DC office, I would joke that I had become a Native kid from Northwestern Ontario working for a Qatari-owned television network in the United States of America. More than a joke, it also revealed the truth that we are all part of a pluralistic, multicultural, global society....Everywhere along the way, I have been struck by the differences and unique expressions that humanity navigates and negotiates around the world...Beyond these differences, we are united by those qualities bubbling up from beneath the surface. I have heard the universal language of laughter both in a Sonoran slum and a petro-state shopping mall. I have witnessed the devastation wrought by the loss of a loved one in some of the most dangerous cities on earth and in the affluent suburbs of the so-called First World. I have recognized the love of food, the need for sleep, and the desire for companionship everywhere."


There were more passages I could quote but I will leave it at these. This was a powerful read.

Edited: Oct 13, 2018, 1:26pm Top

Go Show the World is Wab Kinew's most recent book, written for children. From his Author Notes:

"I was inspired in the writing of this book by Barack Obama's wonderful picture book Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to my Daughters, which I love reading to my sons as it features the president highlighting some of his favourite heroes. I was also inspired by K'Naan's song "Take a Minute", in which he spends a few lines praising his idols, including Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. That led me to write a remix of his song highlighting heroes from the Indigenous community, which I called "Heroes".

The illustrations in this book are beautiful, although, if I am honest, the text isn't as lyrical as Obama's book. Still, Kinew highlights Indigenous heroes from history as well as from modern day and at the end of the book, gives a mini bio of each. It's a book that should be in every school library, so that all Canadian kids, not only Indigenous kids, learn and appreciate.

Edited: Oct 13, 2018, 6:02pm Top

There is another book I am also currently reading. At a mere 120 pages, I should have read it in one or 2 sittings, for sure. But it's been a bit of a slog and so I read 3 other books in between. It is a book called Why I Write by George Orwell. It's 4 essays. I am only on the second essay and it's interesting to see him explore ideas about society and government; one can see the seeds of what will eventually become his Nineteen Eighty-Four germinating here. These 4 essays were published in 1931, 1940, and two in 1946. 1984 was published in 1949 and Orwell died in 1950. I don't think I realized that he was only 47 years old!

I think I am ready for some lighter, fluffier fare, next! :-)

Oct 14, 2018, 9:43am Top

Hi Shelley!

I am glad you were able to get into LT on your tablet.

I'm reading 'lighter, fluffier fare' right now. I hope you find just the right thing.

Edited: Oct 15, 2018, 3:13pm Top

This is a repeat broadcast but it's one I enjoyed when I first heard it. It reminds me that I also have an ER book, for YA, about Hurston, that I have yet to read. I would also like to read this new book, mentioned in this interview:


Edited: Oct 14, 2018, 9:50am Top

>191 karenmarie: - Hi Karen. I did find what I think may be just the thing I was looking for. It's been on my shelf for far too long. It's called Do Not Pass Go by Tim Moore, published in 2002. Just from his acknowledgments at the beginning of the book, this made me chuckle:

"And finally, a fitful round of derisive applause for Hasbro, who have ensured you won't be seeing a dog, boot, title deed or Monopoly board graphically represented within these pages. I am consequently delighted to confirm that this book is in no way endorsed by or associated with Hasbro, and indeed that the royalties they might otherwise have accrued are in every way endorsed by and associated with my wallet.|


So far, I am only about 20 pages in but it looks like fun.

Edited: Oct 15, 2018, 6:49pm Top

The other heavy book I read before the one by Wab Kinew, was Identical Strangers. Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein are identical twins. They were both adopted, but separately, with neither adoptive family knowing their baby was a twin. At age 35, they found each other. What followed was a rather exhaustive search to try to learn what happened. And why. What they found was more than a little bit disturbing. In the 1960s, a so-called prestigious adoption agency in New York allowed some psychologists to conduct secret experiments, ostensibly to study nature vs. nurture. 5 sets of identical twins and one set of identical triplets were separated and adopted out, then followed by visits over the next few years. Interestingly, I actually read this book back in 2010 and although I remember reading it and being intrigued and disturbed by their story, I didn't recall a lot of the details. I also remember reading about the triplets who found each other at age 18, several years before these twins. They were all over the media at the time.

Fast forward to earlier this year, when a documentary film was released. It is called Three Identical Strangers and is the story of the triplets. Elyse and Paula appear in it briefly but it is a current film (released this year) and more information has now been uncovered. The truth is even more disturbing than what was known when the twins wrote their book. The *experiments* also, apparently, aimed to study the heritability of mental illness, as it appears that the mothers of the twins and triplets all suffered from some form of mental illness. The people behind the studies never published their findings and worse, the files are sealed until 2066, when all of the doctors and most of the subjects will likely be dead. They have hired lawyers and tried to have the files opened, with little success.

One fact that emerged is that, in the 1960s, when this all happened, there were no laws protecting the children, no laws on the books to make what was done illegal. Unethical, for sure, but not illegal. Laws have since been created but it is a harrowing story and for the triplets, a tragic one, as well. Both this book as well as the documentary film, are well worth reading and seeing. It's fascinating but disturbing and heartbreaking and it's hard not to think about it a lot.

Edited to add a couple of interviews:

with Paula and Elyse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gwnzW4jOMI

with 2 of the triplets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J30G5RaoWNk

Oct 15, 2018, 9:04am Top

I saw the documentary- the last part part of the film noted that the subjects of the film were allowed to see their files with some details or name blacked out.
The story was harrowing- and the interviews with the researchers who visited the twins and triplets as part of the study- raised a lot of questions- there were people interacting with the children who knew what was happening and never said a word to the parents.

Oct 15, 2018, 3:06pm Top

Hi Shelley my dear, hope you had a really good weekend, sending love and hugs dear friend.

Edited: Oct 17, 2018, 1:20pm Top

>187 kidzdoc: - Sorry, I missed you up there, Darryl. I love that blog, Brain Pickings. She really does her homework!

>195 torontoc: - Hmm, I wrote a reply to your comments earlier, Cyrel but it looks like I didn't hit *post*. The one question that the book and film didn't seem to answer for me (that I can remember) is what did they have to hide? What was in those reports that they didn't want to see the light of day, that was so secret that had to be hidden until all the players were dead? Of course, that makes it all the more intriguing. And the main doctor (Neubauer? I forget the exact name), was also revealed to be a survivor of the Nazis! WHAT WAS HE THINKING??! That revelation truly horrified and angered me.

>196 johnsimpson: - Hi, John. Wishing you a good week ahead.

Edited: Oct 17, 2018, 1:22pm Top

I posted this on Joe's thread but thought I should add it here, too. Sent to me via email from a friend. Written, produced and performed by Barbra Streisand, and quite powerful:

Don't Lie to Me

It's a pity that the person who most needs to hear and heed her message, won't. But we know that. What this song and especially the powerful images on the video, do, though, is give strength and solidarity to the sane part of humanity.

Oct 17, 2018, 1:08pm Top

Just watched the clips about the twins and triplets separated by the adoption agency, Shelley. Thanks for the links. What a harrowing story.

Oct 17, 2018, 1:26pm Top

>199 Familyhistorian: - Yes, it sure is, Meg. If the film comes to a theatre near you (or to Netflix, if you have that option), I highly recommend it. In fact, if it comes back here, I want to see it again, now that I have reread the book and filled in more of the blanks. I saw it at Hot Docs but I think I heard that it was also playing at regular theatres.

Back in the early 2000s, when Paula and Elyse were doing their research to try to find their birth mother, and any other info they could, *search engines* on the internet were nowhere near what they are today. I thought of you and the research you do as they tried to uncover their genealogical history and track down leads. Whew!

Edited: Oct 21, 2018, 11:30am Top

To all my American friends, this is an interview you might want to listen to. Doris Kearns Goodwin, on her latest book, and a reminder that (hard as it is to imagine), America has been through tougher times before and survived, and that American is stronger and more resilient than it seems, at the moment.


I have only read her book on baseball but I would like to read her others. Chunksters, for sure, but she is a voice that is a beacon in the dark, I think.

Oct 21, 2018, 6:54pm Top

>201 jessibud2: The only book of hers I've read is Team of Rivals, which was outstanding.

By the way, have you figured out your tablet yet? I just got a Galaxy Tab E, and am slowly getting the hang of it.

Oct 21, 2018, 7:06pm Top

>202 kac522: - I finally caved and asked my computer guy to come over and give me a tutorial, to physically show me what to do on the damned tablet. It took him a bit, as he is an Apple guy and not as familiar with android but being the techy he is, he figured stuff out fairly easily. So much of it was SO not intuitive for me. I had absolutely no idea, for example, that a lot of what I could not find or figure out on my own simply required touching the frame and either pulling down from the top, up from the bottom or left or right from the sides. Seriously, it never would have occurred to me. And why would it? At home, I use my laptop. With a mouse. I have not used a tablet before, and on my (android) cell phone, I don't actually use many apps at all. I use it as a phone (a shock, right?), I text and I use it as a camera. Period. That is enough for me.

I know I have been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. And some things are good. But I will never be one of those who can't get along without a device. And I'm ok with that.

My tablet is also a Galaxy Tab E, Kathy. May your path to success be smoother than mine! ;-)

Oct 21, 2018, 11:34pm Top

>203 jessibud2: Well, sounds like you are doing well--glad you have a computer guy. I don't even have a smartphone--I work on a computer all day, so I have no desire to carry a mini-computer (smartphone) around with me everywhere.

This Android thing is very annoying. I had a Windows tablet (which I got as a freebie when I bought my laptop a few years ago) and it was SO much easier to use, since it was pretty much like my computer, except that you used your fingers instead of a mouse. It died, so I had to find something else. The cheapest Windows tablet out there now is way beyond what I wanted to spend, so I bought this Galaxy thingy. It works, but jeez. Yeah, took me a whole week to figure out how to close screens. And another week to figure out how to flip the screen from vertical to horizontal. Sheesh. No instructions, no guidance, no how-to videos...nada.

Oct 21, 2018, 11:41pm Top

I'm glad you have your new android tablet sorted out. I like my old ( well, only a couple of years old ) big old desk top computer! Yes, a desk top! That and my Iphone and I too have been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21 st century. I still have a land line and I've yet to figure out how my smart TV can handle things like netflix etc. But I can PVR! ;-)

Oct 23, 2018, 8:34am Top

I just finished The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Canadian author Jean Pendziwol. It was a very atmospheric story, told in basically 2 voices, alternating between past and present. Morgan is a teenager, in foster care, who has been caught *tagging* a fence that surrounds a senior's residence. As part of her rehabilitative service, she must remove the graffiti painting and repaint the fence. She also happens to meet one of the residents, Elizabeth, who is blind. Elizabeth enlists Morgan's help to read the journals that Elizabeth's father left behind and that have recently been found in a shipwreck off Porphyry Island in Lake Superior. There is a mystery hidden in those pages and it is slowly revealed as Morgan and Elizabeth discover the surprise connection between them, in that small, remote community where they live.

What I found particularly fascinating was the author's note after the story ended. She talked about the lighthouses and communities in that part of northern Ontario, their history, and how she used facts to help her develop the story, taking some literary license with dates, for example, to weave a story. I also loved learning more about a part of my own province that I knew nothing about. I listened to this on audiobook, and the 2 main readers were excellent. There was a male reader, as well, heard mostly at the very beginning and the end of the story but the story was mainly about Morgan and Elizabeth.

Oct 23, 2018, 5:04pm Top

Food for thought. Imagine...

the next chapter?

Oct 24, 2018, 6:36pm Top

More lovely bounty from my favourite blog:

The mid-week version of Brain Pickings

Celebrating 10 years of her best 10 offerings.

Oct 25, 2018, 4:36pm Top

Brain pickings is a great blog. I always find something interesting to read

Oct 25, 2018, 4:39pm Top

Me too, rooting for Brain Pickings!

Oct 25, 2018, 5:27pm Top

Thanks, Figs, and Mary. It's a one-woman labour of love, that blog. And so well-put-together!

I need to start a new thread. Maybe later this evening. Right now, the critters are getting hungry...! I must obey, before they have ME for dinner!

Oct 26, 2018, 12:58pm Top

I just came across this tribute to the creator of the Little Free Libraries. It links to a TED Talk he gave (don't know when) and is worth the 11 minutes to listen to him.


Oct 27, 2018, 6:46pm Top

I've got The Lightkeeper's Daughters, Shelley. Your review is pushing it forward in my TBR pile.

Oct 27, 2018, 7:10pm Top

>212 jessibud2: Thanks for that link, it was worth reading. I'll look at the TED-video as well. I love those Little Free Libraries.

Oct 28, 2018, 5:50pm Top

>213 vancouverdeb: - I really liked it, Deb.

>214 EllaTim: - It's a good one, Ella

New thread up here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/298056

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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