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Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 19, 2018

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

These are the final words I found in WOMEN IN SUNLIGHT by Frances Mayes.

1. corvine – “What a hearty chef, hulking, corvine Mikal, and what a generous table.”

I’m not sure Mikal would enjoy being described that way since corvine means of or relating to the crows resembling a crow.

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2. abecedarius – “One sequence was an abecedarius, based on the letters of the Italian alphabet; another was inspired by Italian words I liked.”

Abecedarius means a poem in which the lines or stanzas begin with the letters of the alphabet in regular order.

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3. bravura – “The glasses of inky amarone catch firelight, the little tree shines with a bit of bravura, the crostini disappear.”

Bravura means a show of daring or brilliance.

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4. seignorial – “Lemon pots line the drive, a seignorial touch, and the pergola is dripping with shite wisteria.”

Seignorial means of, relating to, or befitting a seignior.  A seignior is a man of rank or authority.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

September 17, 2018

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 09.14.2018

September 14, 2018
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

Jacqueline Woodson has another winner in HARBOR ME, the story of six students with learning differences who are put in an experimental classroom.  Once a week, they go to ARTT (A Room to Talk) to talk about anything they want without an adult intervening.  They have much to talk about – like immigration, racism, and justice.  The story is told from Haley’s point of view.  She brings a recorder into the room so they remember their stories.  Even though there are a lot of issues, Woodson pulls it all off with terrific writing and genuine characters  – she “gets” kids and never writes down to them.  This book is powerful, thought provoking, and great for generating discussion.  The audio version is narrated by a full cast including the author and her daughter Toshi and it was magnificent.  Be sure to listen to the discussion between Woodson and her son Jackson-Leroi – it’s terrific as well.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

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Shane Bauer went undercover as a corrections officer at Winn Correctional Center for four months in order to write an article for Mother Jones magazine and shares his experience and the history of privately run prisons in the US in AMERICAN PRISON: A REPORTER’S UNDERCOVER JOURNEY INTO THE BUSINESS OF PUNISHMENT.  Bauer made application and received offers from several prisons operated by Corrections Corporation of America and ultimately accepted the job at Winn because Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the world and Winn is the oldest privately run medium-security prison in the US.  What he found was eye-opening and shocking – at least to me.  Since privately run prisons exist to make a profit, many corners are cut and they are often understaffed.  A Department of Justice report found they are more violent than public prisons, don’t provide the same services, and don’t save the taxpayers money.  Many of them closed after Bauer went undercover but are beginning to flourish again as Immigrant Detention Centers.  The history of privately run prisons is fascinating and disturbing.

I found AMERICAN PRISON to be well written and well researched.  (There are footnotes throughout the book and extensive notes in the back.)  I also found the information in it appalling and troublesome.  I certainly don’t have all the answers but feel sure we can do better than this.  If you’re interested in social issues, current events, or justice, you won’t want to miss this book.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Press.)

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I’m a big fan of Megan Abbott‘s writing so I was excited to pick up GIVE ME YOUR HAND and it did not disappoint.  It’s the story of Kit Owens.  When Kit was in high school, Diane moved to town and the two became friends.  Diane motivated Kit to work harder and dream of the prestigious Severin scholarship.  When Diane reveals a secret their friendship is irreparably damaged and Kit is happy to move onto a different college than Diane.  Several years later, Kit finds herself competing with Diane for a research position and the past comes crashing back in this story of drive and ambition.  As usual, Abbott has woven a gripping story around some fantastic characters.  There were a few twists that surprised me and made me wonder what I would do if I found myself in the same situation.  If you love psychological thrillers, you won’t want to miss this one!

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IMAGINE by Juan Felipe Herrera is a poem about Herrera’s life growing up as the child of migrant farm workers and eventually becoming Poet Laureate of the US.  He tells of growing up in the fields and moving to a city and going to school for the first time, not knowing how to read or speak in English.  He worked hard and found he loved words and began writing poetry.  Since he was able to do all that, he challenges readers to “imagine what you could do.”

With lovely illustrations by Lauren Castillo, this book is sure to inspire early readers.  Even though this is a picture book, I suggest it for early elementary school students.  (Review copy provided by Candlewick Press.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • Carl’s birthday was Monday and we celebrated with a family dinner on Sunday.
  • We’re expecting weather from Hurricane Florence this weekend but, as long as we don’t lose power, I think we’ll be fine.  *knock on wood*
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just over 16,250 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 12, 2018

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

Here are a few more words from WOMEN IN SUNLIGHT by Frances Mayes.

1. emprise – “Such an emprise takes time but was accomplished: Susan opted to close her Chapel Hill house, not sell.”

Emprise is an adventurous, daring, or chivalric enterprise.

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2. haruspex – “Or a poet is a haruspex, in Etruscan times the one who divined meaning and future by the markings on the exposed liver of a sacrificial animal.”

This one was pretty much defined in the sentence but I looked it up anyway.  A haruspex is diviner in ancient Rome basing his predictions on inspection of the entrails of sacrificial animals.

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3. caravansary – “Stunned, they see at the opposite end San Marco looming like a fairyland caravansary in a mirage in the east.”

A caravansary is an inn surrounding a court in eastern countries where caravans rest at night.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

September 10, 2018

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Friday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 09.07.2018

September 7, 2018
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

It’s hard to describe WHISKEY IN A TEACUP: WHAT GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE, LOVE, AND BAKING BISCUITS by Reese Witherspoon since it’s part memoir, part cookbook, and part lifestyle book.  One of Witherspoon’s grandmother’s said southern women’s beauty and strength makes them like whiskey in a teacup and she has certainly embraced that saying.  Witherspoon shares her love of southern traditions, food, and style with personal anecdotes and recipes.  I enjoyed this book even though her southern upbringing was very different from mine – hers was more privileged while mine was in an area heavily influenced by the military plus my mother’s not from the south.  Having spent most of my life in the south, though, I could relate to most of the book.  While there’s nothing earth shattering in this book, I found it very pleasant to read – the stories are charming and the photographs are beautiful.  I think WHISKEY IN A TEACUP would make a lovely gift.  (Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.)

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Mark Tatulli‘s graphic memoir, SHORT & SKINNY, is written for the middle grade set but older readers will enjoy it as well.  Tatulli was teased because he was short and skinny when he was in middle school and, as you would expect, it really bothered him.  One summer he vowed to do something about it so he sent off for one of those muscle building regimens you see in the back of magazines.  It was a rip-off, of course, but after seeing Star Wars, Tatulli found another way to excel and build his confidence.  I loved this quirky little coming of age story and the way Tatulli found his place and his voice with the help of his family and friends.  I know many young people will relate to him and I hope this book will inspire them to stay true to themselves and follow their dreams.  (Review copy provided by Little, Brown for Young Readers.)

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EPPIE THE ELEPHANT (WHO WAS ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS) by Livingstone Crouse is an adorable picture book about, you guessed it, allergies.  Eppie is excited to start school but she’s also a little bit worried about her peanut allergies – would the other kids make fun of her?  She makes friends with Allie and Pearl right away, and the three of them were having a great day at school and then lunch rolled around.  Allie and Pearl sat with the rest of the class while Eppie felt isolated in the “Nut-Free” area.  Eppie felt alone and was nervous about going back to school until her friends showed her they cared about her.  This story and its cute illustrations will teach kids (with and without allergies) about friendship and acceptance.  They’ll enjoy the cute illustrations by Steve Brown and the rhyming verse.  I do think Crouse could have taken things a little bit further and explained why Eppie can’t have peanuts but parents and caregivers can use this book as an introduction and explain things to kids as they share this appealing book.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)

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THE BEST COOK IN THE WORLD: TALES FROM MY MOMMA’S TABLE is the latest memoir from author Rick Bragg.  He set out to write down his mother’s recipes and found she doesn’t have any – she’s a wonderful cook but has never cooked from a cookbook.  He decides to write down her methods anyway and discovers there’s a story behind every one of the dishes she prepares.  He tells these stories with love and humor and includes a few recipes at the end of each chapter.

I met Bragg at an event at least 15 years ago and loved his storytelling.  Listening to this book felt very much like that evening – it was like listening to an old friend tell humorous and heartwarming family stories – and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Having Bragg read the audio version was the perfect choice with his southern accent – the love and admiration he has for his mother is evident.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

 

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I haven’t been very confident about Virginia Tech’s football team this year since the defense lost a lot of great players so I was a little nervous to watch Monday night’s game at FSU.  I was thrilled with the 24 to 3 victory Tech came away with and thought the defense looked strong.  The offense had its moments but still needs some work, in my opinion, but, overall, it was a great opening game.

Off the blog

  • It may not look like it but it feels like I’ve made great progress on my 3,000 piece puzzle.  Every piece that fits in feels like an accomplishment.
  • We’re seeing a few signs of fall – shorter days and falling leaves – but the heat and humidity continue to hang on.
  • We walked at least three miles every day and I averaged just over 16,675 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 5, 2018

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

WOMEN IN SUNLIGHT by Frances Mayes was a great source of words for me.

1. fatidic – “Margaret wrote unsparingly, brutally of the push-pull of the foredoomed love affair and also the fatidic lives.”

Fatidic is related to fate and means of or relating to prophecy.

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2. tortugan – “Now they looked slightly tortugan.”

I couldn’t find a definition for tortugan and I’m really not sure what the author meant in this case.  Tortuga is an island that’s part of Haiti but I’d think the word would have been capitalized if she meant someone from Tortuga.  Since it means Turtle Island, I’m guessing she meant “turtlish.”

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3. blear – “The view from the real windows is blear now, but the witty replica may inspire someone who finally buys this place to re-create the original garden.”

Blear means to make (the eyes) sore or watery.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?