Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Reading List: Or, 'What Reading List? I Don't Know What You're Talking About'

Well, summer readers, how goes your reading list?

Personally, mine has gone as cattywampus as possible (which should not surprise anyone who reads this blog with any regularity). I make a list, I ignore the list, and summer just keeps spinning out of control.

Let me count how many from my published reading listhttp://hedgehoglover.blogspot.com/2016/05/summer-book-club-reading-list-most.html I have consumed since Memorial Day weekend.


I have, in the past three and a half months, read six out of 35 of the books I planned to read. Oh, I've read 30 books, but I haven't read but a few I planned to read.

Why? Well, blame authors who place tasty morsels in my path that distract me. They're good "distractions," I assure you. One of them was The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, which you want to read. Well, "want" is a tricky concept. You  will be glad to have read it when it's been read, but it won't make you feel as giddy as, say, Ghostly Echoes. Or Farewell, Dorothy Parker. It is an important and great read, so don't miss it. Just know you're getting into something bigger than words.

When you read a book about a Broadway musical, such as In the Heights, have the soundtrack queued up, even if it's playing in your head, so you can listen to it in real time (not brain time).

I will finish another two books on my reading list before the weekend of the autumnal equinox — but my average won't get much higher. I am at peace with that, if only because lists are just guidelines, not contracts.

How is your summer reading going?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Summer Reading: Ghosts, Murder, and Audiobooks — Oh, My!

Well, as I expected, I have veered far from my proposed reading list this summer. 

I discovered two new murder mystery series: Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery Series involving cats, possibly magic and definitely ghosts; and the Bibliophile Mystery series involving murder in California wine country and a book restorer.

I also have managed to fit in a biography, a couple of titles from my back list, a boatload of children's books (thanks, Maddie!), at least two young adult novels and some historical fiction. Some of the titles actually were on my original reading list.

So far, my favorites have been the new mysteries, Ghostly Mews and Homicide in Hardcover. Who knew my inner Agatha Christie would re-emerge? 

In In the Shadow of Blackbirds, I discovered that 2016 is not that different from 1918, what with disease, xenophobia and mistrust ricocheting around our nation.

I have only one Joe Hill in my "read" stack, and at least one from Stephen King is waiting to join it: Revival or Mr. Mercedes? I wonder.

I've stalled a little on my audiobook adventure, but I can't wait to hear Jeremy Irons read Lolita to me. Or maybe Rosamund Pike with Pride and Prejudice. The possibilities are endless.

Now, what are you doing online? Get back to reading — after you tell me how your summer reading is going!

Monday, July 11, 2016

From the U.S. Poet Laureate: @ the Crossroads - A Sudden American Poem

@ the Crossroads - A Sudden American Poem

RIP Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Dallas police
                       officers Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith,
                       Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa—and all
                       their families. And to all those injured.
                                               Let us celebrate the lives of all
As we reflect & pray & meditate on their brutal deaths
Let us celebrate those who marched at night who spoke of peace
& chanted Black Lives Matter
Let us celebrate the officers dressed in Blues ready to protect
Let us know the departed as we did not know them before—their faces,
Bodies, names—what they loved, their words, the stories they often spoke
Before we return to the usual business of our days, let us know their lives intimately
Let us take this moment & impossible as this may sound—let us find
The beauty in their lives in the midst of their sudden & never imagined vanishing

Let us consider the Dallas shooter—what made him
                                                            what happened in Afghanistan

                flames burned inside

(Who was that man in Baton Rouge with a red shirt selling CDs in the parking lot
Who was that man in Minnesota toppled on the car seat with a perforated arm
& a continent-shaped flood of blood on his white T who was
That man prone & gone by the night pillar of El Centro College in Dallas )

This could be the first step
          in the new evaluation of our society    This could be
                the first step of all of our lives

by Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, July 8, 2016Copyright © 2016 by Juan Felipe Herreracourtesy philly.com

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Poetry Wednesday: Illustrated Dulce Et Decorum Est

Wilfred Owen: Dulce Et Decorum Est,
Graphically Represented

One century ago, the world was stunned and wounded by The Great War.

Poet Wilfred Owen, a casualty of the war himself, tried to tell us the cost. here is one of his most well-known poems rendered graphically by Nathan Gelgud.

courtesy Signature

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day: Our Power is Our Diversity

Independence Day, celebrated on July 4 in the United States, is an exciting day, one whose origin is all but forgotten — or, perhaps, ignored.

In the late eighteenth century, a group of immigrants occupied a country under the control of a monarch across the ocean. Rather than live as subjects of the English crown, the people of the nation rose up and claimed independence from the crown.

Who were these people? French, English, Irish, Scottish, African — in a word, immigrants. Some came for personal safety and security, some came for financial reasons.

We celebrate still, two and a half centuries later. Yet let's always remember what made us great: our diversity, which, when harnessed, exuded a power too great for even a king.

When we stand together, we are too mighty a force to be defeated. Do not let anyone, within or without, divide us and dilute our greatness and power.

Click on the video below for a reading of the Declaration of Independence, courtesy of Max McLean.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Poetry Wednesday: Jim Limber the Adopted Mulatto Son of Jefferson Davis Visits His Adoptive Parents After the War

Jim Limber the Adopted Mulatto Son of Jefferson Davis Visits His Adoptive Parents After the War

The man said I could see them if I wanted
He said     America would never be
A place where we could     live together not at
Least in my lifetime     but the damned don’t see
No     important differences     between the Ne-
gro and the White the damned     don’t see no bad
In folks if what bad they done they ain’t     free-
ly chose to do the damned don’t see     no good
In folks if what good they done they ain’t     hoped
To do and the man     he said part of momma
Varina part of daddy     Jeff alread-
y     was burning in Hell I ought to join them

He     said we     might see good     from seeing each other
Tortured we might     finally see each other

by Shane McCrae
courtesy poets.org