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Mailbox Monday

April 23, 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

Friday

Saturday

 

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 04.20.2018

April 20, 2018
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I think I knew too much about SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult when I picked it up so I’m going to be rather vague about its content.  It’s the story of Ruth, an African American nurse who’s taken off the case of a white infant at the request of his white supremacist parents.  Ruth is the only one present when the baby goes into distress and she has to make a tough decision in a matter of seconds – does she follow orders and leave the baby alone or does she care for him?  I heard Picoult speak about this book and she did her homework before writing it – speaking to African Americans, white supremacists, and medical and legal professionals.  I admire her for taking on such a polarizing and timely subject but am sad to say I didn’t love the book as much as most people have.

In typical Picoult fashion, the point of view shifts between several different characters including Ruth, her lawyer, and the white supremacist dad.  I found the characters to be one-dimensional, though.  I also thought the book was too long – it became repetitive after a while.  Don’t get my wrong, I liked this book a great deal – it’s very readable and thought provoking – but wasn’t blown away by it.  I’m thinking it’s because I knew quite a bit about it before I started it.  I do think SMALL GREAT THINGS would make an excellent book club selection because there’s plenty to discuss within its pages.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

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ANNA AND JOHANNA: A CHILDREN’S BOOK INSPIRED BY JAN VERMEER by Géraldine Elschner and Florence Kœnig is a wonderful way to introduce early readers to art.  The authors of this beautiful picture book have imagined the lives of the anonymous models of two of Dutch artist Jan Vermeer’s well known paintings – The Milkmaid and The Lacemaker.  They include images of the two paintings and information on Vermeer in the back of the book.  I thought the story was lovely and enjoyed the illustrations even if they don’t mimic Vermeer’s work.  I love books and art and thought the author and illustrator did a great job combining the two.  The book is nicely bound and printed on high quality paper so it will hold up to repeated readings.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)

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After reading a couple serious books I decided I needed something lighter so I picked up CLASS MOM by Laurie Gelman and it delivered.  It’s the story of Jen Dixon – a stay at home mom with two daughters in college and a son in kindergarten.  Her best friend is the PTA President and she talks Jen into being Class Mom for her son.  Jen decides to lighten things up and sends irreverent, sarcastic emails to the other classroom parents but some people don’t find them all that funny.  The year’s not a bad one, though – Jen learns about herself, brings the classroom parents closer together, and has a front row seat to school drama.  Funny emails are sprinkled throughout the narrative.  Having been a  Class Mom and a Team Mom several teams, I found this book to be laugh out loud funny.  I thought Gelman nailed the politics and personalities involved in organizing a classroom’s social calendar.  Pick this book up when you need to brighten your day.  (My friend Julie sent me this book.)

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SPACE DUMPLINS by Craig Thompson is a graphic novel for the middle grade set.  It’s the story of a young girl named Violet whose world is turned upside down when whales develop diarrhea because their poop is what powers the planet.  When her dad goes missing and her mom is busy with work, Violet and a friend decide to go hunt for him.  I thought the illustrations in this book were fabulous but the story was just okay – there was just too much going on in it for me.  I’m not much for science fiction, though, so I think the target audience will enjoy it more than I did.   (Review copy provided by Scholastic.)

 

Currently reading:

 

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

 

Off the blog

  • I started another jigsaw puzzle – so far this one’s been much easier than the last one.
  • I went with a couple of friends to throw axes this week and, even though I was the worst at it, I had a blast!
  • Our weather still hasn’t settled into spring.  I washed my fleece and put it away but had to pull it back out this week.
  • Carl’s gone to see his dad so I’ll be working extra the next several days.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just under 18,000 Fitbit steps a day.

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

April 18, 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!

I found one new to me word in CLASS MOM by Laurie Gelman.

1. breve – “After picking up a shitload of prunes, some Ezekial bread, coconut water, and kale, I head next door craving the double breve I’m going to revel in.”

Most people are probably familiar with this word but I’m not a coffee drinker so I had to look it up.  Caffe Breve is an American variation of a latte: a milk-based espresso drink using steamed half-and-half mixture of milk and cream instead of milk.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

We Remember

April 16, 2018

Virginia Tech April 16 memorial

Eleven years ago today, a gunman opened fire on the campus of Virginia Tech, killing 32 people and forever changing countless others.  I’ve shed many tears as I’ve recalled this day through the years – our son was a student at Tech at the time and I will never forget the fear I felt that day.  It’s a fear I wish no other person has to feel.  I can’t understand why we can’t find a solution to these heartbreaking shootings.  Lest we forget, the 32 who lost their lives that day are:

 

 

Mailbox Monday

April 15, 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

Thursday

Friday

 

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 04.13.2018

April 13, 2018
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

Fans of Kari Byron and or Mythbusters won’t want to miss her memoir CRASH TEST GIRL: AN UNLIKELY EXPERIMENT IN USING THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD TO ANSWER LIFE’S TOUGHEST QUESTION.  In it, Byron shares her journey from starving artist to co-host of the groundbreaking television show Mythbusters using the scientific method.  She’s (rightly so) proud of her role as the lone female in the first popular science reality television show – a show that they kind of made up as they went along.  She encourages readers to believe in themselves and take chances.  Byron also shares some of her personal life and gives readers behind the scenes glimpses of the not-so-glamorous moments of the making of television shows.  Drawings by Byron are sprinkled throughout the book and I was pleased to see how talented she is.  I enjoyed CRASH TEST GIRL and thought it was entertaining and very readable but it did get a little redundant at times.   (Review copy provided by Harper Collins.)

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I’m rather fascinated with cults and polygamy so I was anxious to pick up CULT INSANITY: A MEMOIR OF POLYGAMY, PROPHETS, AND BLOOD ATONEMENT by Irene Spencer.  Spencer grew up in a polygamist family and was one of Verlan LeBaron’s wives.  LeBaron’s father started The Church of the Firstborn in the Fullness of Times and leadership was eventually passed on to him.  In the meantime, LeBaron’s brother Joel started his own polygamist sect and, in his attempt to wrestle all power from his brother, ordered blood atonement on many people, including members of his own family.

I read Spencer’s earlier book, SHATTERED DREAMS, years ago and thought it was really interesting but struggled somewhat with this one.  I think the power struggle within the LeBaron family is captivating but found Spencer’s telling of it be somewhat disjointed.  It was hard to keep track of what was going on and there were tons of characters to keep track of.  This book did whet my appetite about the LeBarons but I suspect there are better accounts of  their story out there.  (Review copy provided by Hachette.)

 

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Oh, how I loved THE BOO-BOOS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: A TRUE STORY ABOUT AN ACCIDENTAL INVENTION (REALLY!) by Barry Wittenstein.   Written with humor, it tells the story of Earle and Josephine Dickson, a couple who married in 1917.  It seemed that Josephine was always cutting or scraping herself.  Earle worried that her cuts and scrapes could get infected so he made some temporary, sterile bandages and Band-Aids were born.  Wittenstein goes on to share how the new product was manufactured and marketed.  The back of the book includes an “Earle Dickson Time Line” and a list of other medical inventions from the early twentieth century.  I thought Chris Hsu‘s illustrations were perfect for the time period and they suited this adorable non-fiction picture book.  Early readers are sure to laugh as they learn with this wonderful book and may just be inspired to invent something themselves.  (Review copy provided by Blue Slip Media.)

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I was reading THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton for my book club meeting.  It’s the story of Newland Archer, a member of New York society who is engaged to be married to an acceptable woman but then falls in love with another woman.  I found the book dense and plodding but was struggling through it since it was for my book club.  There wasn’t much action and I wasn’t attached to the characters.  When I realized I wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting, I decided to set the book aside even though I was a hundred pages in.  This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 and I’m amazed at how much language has evolved in the last hundred years.

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • It took a while but I finally finished my puzzle.  It was a tough, but fun, one!

  • Since our local indie shoe store that carried narrow shoes closed about a year ago when the owner retired, I can’t find shoes locally so Carl and I made a road trip so I could pick up a few pairs.  We went to a store that specializes in hard-to-find widths and I still had trouble finding shoes that were narrow enough for me but I did manage to find two pairs that should work.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just over 17,600 Fitbit steps a day.

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

April 11, 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!

This word is from SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult.

1. gravida – “His mother — my patient —  was a thirty-year-old gravida 1 para 1 who had received prenatal care including an ultrasound, but the baby had been positioned in a way that the facial deformity hadn’t been visible.”

A gravida is a pregnant woman.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?