Thursday, April 21, 2016

Book thirty-seven: What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? by Judith Viorst

Poetry for kids is amazing.

After reading a book of poems by Viorst a few years ago Hen composed an awesome poem and I've already decided we'll read this book together and I'll encourage/force him to write again. The poems he writes are awesome and I love that he is learning how to express his thoughts about the world in this way.

Viorst's What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? examines feelings kids have about life, school, family, the seasons, and a whole lot more. A few of my personal favorites include Much More Than Terrified, where a young boy knows there is something lurking in the closet and knows he is fearful but wants to check it out anyway, and A Cautious Daffodil haiku…

Yesterday, some frost.
Tomorrow, maybe more frost.
Do I dare come out?

And No Reason and Toes and This Substitute Teacher is Really Into Rhyming and… I could go on but I shan't. You should just check out this book for yourself, and then share it with a child you know.

37 down plus 15 to go!

Book thirty-six: Finders Keepers by Stephen King

I can't recall the last Stephen King novel I read…maybe that one about JFK. But, man, does that guy know how to spin a yarn or what?

This is a fast paced thriller of a read. I highly recommend it for anyone who is a King fan.

36 down plus 16 to go.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Book thirty-five: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I picked this up at the Used Book Sale and as I was discussing the hype over the book with a couple volunteers a woman at the sale came up to pay. She told me she really liked the book but hated the ending. Hated, hated, hated it. And then she told me she hated it again.

It turns out I'm just fine with the ending. Thank goodness the criticisms of a stranger didn't prevent me from giving it a try.

Station Eleven is another dystopian novel. There is an outbreak that infects people. Most are killed, a few remain. The story weaves back and forth so the reader learns who the main cast of characters are both before and after the event.

There is a roving band of thespians that travel from settlement to settlement performing Shakespeare. A self-published graphic novel, Station Eleven, ties them together.

That one lady at the sale didn't like the ending but I did. Take from that what you wil.

35 down plus 17 to go.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Easter egg decorating

We hit egg decorating out of the park this year. For examples of our brilliance see below.
Black egg of death

Nat's beard #RCTID

Clone trooper with gun

Reporting for fridge duty. Mission: Protect beer.

Basketball with a friend

Eitan and Hen at the courts. Yep, Hen's wearing boots.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The Used Book Fair is over!


That was a lot of volunteer hours in a short amount of time.

I found too many awesome books. Far too many. I can only hope they provide me hours upon hours of entertainment and then, with any luck, I'll be able to donate them next year (or the next or the one following that) so someone else can enjoy them.

Authors I've read before include Anita Shreve, Gregory Maquire, Elizabeth Berg, A. J. Jacobs, Sara Gruen, and Cormac McCarthy.

New authors I've discovered include Jonathan Evison, Jonathan Tropper, Derek B. Miller, Roberta Rich, Julie Otsuka, and Paula Hawkins.

And classics…I got The Red Badge of Courage (Crane), The Winter of Our Discontent (Steinbeck), De Profundis (Wilde), and a beautiful boxed book version of The Swiss Family Robinson (Wyss).

First read of the bunch is Station Eleven. I'm ten chapters in and already liking it very much.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Mexico memory lane

It could be the Spiderman sunglasses, the frog and lizard Teeny Beany Babies or those pigtails. Whatever it is I love this picture.



Some say more books than we've ever had before! 

Books! Books! Books! 

The PJA Used Book Sale is (almost) on. The aerial shot below is of the setup after all the minions, myself included, came to haul boxes around to the correct area for the given genre and then unpack them all. My corner of self-proclaimed expertise is the children's books. I didn't spend too much time arranging the Young Adult fiction because they are able to sift through the selection themselves, but I did try to get the chapter books for the younger kids in a form of chaotic order by series when there were enough to warrant doing so. It doesn't really matter because once the doors open it's all going to get shuffled and mixed around and, well, destroyed, but it made me feel good to leave it pretty for the first customers who arrive. All that took about six hours. We had a ton of volunteer parents and kids and there were donuts and water because we gots to keep the troops moving, right? 

My favorite things about this sale are almost too many to list but I'm going to try anyway: 
  1. I'm able to restock my home supply with books for cheap ($1 for kids' books, $2 for everything else)
  2. the selection is always fantastic (meaning you are guaranteed to find something you'll like)
  3. working with the UBS crew is awesome (seriously, we have the best committee ever and it's all spearheaded by the fantastically awesome Safranit Molly and the amazing Ms. Alison R. who spends far too much time coordinating and arranging the whole affair)
  4. there is an opportunity to find truly amazing rare pieces (Oscar Wilde, Hemingway, Faulkner - yes, please!)
  5. it raises money for our school library (woot!)
  6. the kids get to come in and nab a free book 
  7. our customers love books as much as we do
photo credit: Safranit Molly, librarian extraordinaire
I'll be working the sale today, tomorrow, and Tuesday. This means, of course, that I'll be able to pick a few more books.

In the event you live in the area, enjoy a good book sale, and would like to come, here's the information you need to know:

Where: MJCC @ 6651 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland
When: Today (Sunday) from 1-5pm, Monday and Tuesday 8am - 7pm
Stuff you should know: Bargain Tuesday means all books are $1 and after 4pm you can fill a regular sized shopping bag for a set amount*. (One year I crammed in 30 books. True story.)

*I think it's $10 but need to confirm that. 

Saturday, April 02, 2016

New words encountered

I have a feeling I'm going to run across several new words in the new book I'm reading. The book is A Discovery of New Worlds by Bernard de Fontenelle, translated by Aphra Behn. It's the first paragraph and I've already found one…

tourbillions - According to Merriam-Webster, it's the name of a kind of watch with a mechanism designed to compensate for the effects of gravity on its movement.

Of course, looking up the definition I learned another word - horology, which is the study of time so, apparently there is much to be learned even though I am very old. I shall put other words I run across in the book here.

Books are awesome. So are words.

Book thirty-four: Maternity Leave by Julie Halpern

I'm giving this four stars because in many spots this book had me laughing so hard I had to stop and gather myself before I could keep going. 

Halpern does a great job of, through her daily journal-type entries interspersed with correspondence and FB status updates, portraying the isolated, harried, boring days of home experienced by first time stay-at-home parents. 

Annie is on maternity leave. Grappling with her changed body, the newly present life she is expected to know how to care for, an aging cat, and a slightly sex-obsessed husband, she spends her days feeling rushed, guilty, and alone. But there is a lot of humor that gets her through it all, and an incredibly understanding husband and mother and sister. 

One section that had me in stitches: "56 Days Old / I tried running again this morning. Things went well for maybe a minute, but then it felt like the bottom was about to drop again. What a bizarre sensation. I envision my vaginal area looking like something like a Hellmouth from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and if I shake it up too much, everything -- demons, vampires, fallopian tubes -- is going to start flying out into the new dimension I opened." --pg 104

A fantastic read for any mom or dad.

34 down plus 18 to go.

New word of the day: Ursine

Yeah, I had feline and canine at the ready, and figured it was of, relating to or resembling another animal species but I didn't know it was bears so there you go. Now I do.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Book thirty-three: The King of Torts by John Grisham

I really enjoy a fast-paced legal piece of pulp fiction. Love, love, love it! And Grisham is splendid at conjuring up these stories that allow us glimpses of the justice system at work. It really comes down to who presents the best argument.

For this story, our hero is a young lawyer working as a public defender who is presented with a case that eventually leads him to mass tort litigation and millions of dollars in lawyer fees.

There is a love interest and intrigue and private jets and settlements. What more could you ask for?

33 down plus 19 to go.