Saturday, April 17, 2021

The Sunday Salon: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm; Hemingway; and I Start a New Library Project

 










Four children's picture books plus a children's classic along with one light romance and The Divine Comedy. 

I had somehow expected an insipid and overly-optimistic main character, but I loved Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, as a character and as a book. I trudged through The Divine Comedy and finally got to the end; I'm glad I read it, but I'll never read it again. I loved People We Meet on Vacation...until I didn't. 

The links take you to the complete reviews.

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (Chapter-a-Day Read-Along)

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin (1001 Children's Books)

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (Romance)


Eve's Ducklings by Maria Monte (Picture Book)


Welcome Home, Whales by Christina Booth (Picture Book)







Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature (Nonfiction Challenge)

The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman (Nonfiction Challenge)

100 Poems to Break Your Heart (National Poetry Month)

Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz (Chapter-a-Day Read)

The Art of Taking It Easy (Happiness Project)

Yes, and...Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr (Daily Meditation Reading)

Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion (Naturalist Book Club)

Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge (National Poetry Month) 

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Classics Club)







The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is virtual this year.  It runs from April 17 through April 23. Most of it is free. Register for it here.



Viet Thanh Nguyen, the author of The Sympathizer, has a new book out, The Committed, and he spoke via Inprint Houston last week. He was hilarious, but somehow I cannot imagine that either of his books are funny. Maybe I'm wrong.



Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon will be held Saturday, April 24 from 7 am CDT to Sunday, April 25 at 7 am CDT. Sign up for the readathon here.







We watched all three episodes of Ken Burns' new series, Hemingway, last week. He seems to be a person who experienced both great joys and great sorrows, sometimes both at the same time.

Any recommendations for what to watch next? 






Cape May warbler at Quintana in 2019

Good Thing #1: Spring Fling at Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary. This was such a Wonderful Good Thing that I had to write an entire post about it, appearing Wednesday on my blog.



Good Thing #2: I went to the Native Plant Nursery at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory near me, and I came home with fourteen plants for my yard. I'm not completely sure what I actually brought home, and I can't wait to see what happens after I put them in the ground.



Good Thing #3: I've brought home our Texas Master Naturalist chapter library, and I will start soon to catalog them and organize them and label them. I'm delighted to begin this project.





I'm happy you found your way to the Sunday Salon. Sunday Salon is a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. It's a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

Some of the things we often talk about at the Sunday Salon:

  • What was your week like?
  • Read any good books? Tell us about them.
  • What other bookish things did you do? 
  • What else is going on in your life?

Other places where you may like to link up over the weekend are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.


My linkup for Sunday Salon is below. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

A New Classics Club Spin!




What is the spin?

It’s easy. Before next Sunday, April 18, 2021, create a post that lists twenty books of your choice that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list.

This is your Spin List.

You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the spin period.

Try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you have been putting off, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favourite author, re-reads, ancients, non-fiction, books in translation — whatever you choose.) 

On Sunday 18th, April, the club will post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by May 31, 2021.

Here is my Spin List:

1, 6, 11, 16. Favorite Folktales from Around the World (collected and edited by Jane Yolen)

2, 7, 12, 17. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

3, 8, 13, 18. Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim

4, 9, 14, 19. The Portable Dorothy Parker

5, 10, 15, 20. The Thurber Carnival

I chose the five books I most want to read next and then added them four times. Let's see where the spinning wheels stops.

Are you spinning? 

What books did you put on your list? 

What do you most hope to read?

Do any of my books look particularly good to you?

Want to know more about The Classics Club? Take a look here.


And the spinning wheel stopped on...


I'll be reading Favorite Folktales from Around the World (collected and edited by Jane Yolen).


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Wondrous Words: Delicious! Poems Celebrating Street Food Around the World




It's National Poetry Month here. Who could resist a book of poems about the various kinds of street food around the world? And it's written by the wonderful Julie Larios, a gifted Cybils judge last year, and illustrated by her friend and fellow-Julie, Julie Paschkis.

Here's a sample poem, just to give you the "flavor," if you will: 


Beautiful, right? Just beautiful.

Now let's zoom into the words, shall we?

   MARKET BREAKFAST

              OAXACA, MEXICO

Steaming cup of champurrado,

panecitos, cinnamon churros---

mmm, mmm! Delicioso!

Lovebirds chirp: Pio! Pio!


Now let's take a look at all the food words from the poem. Champurrado. Panecitos. Cinnamon churros. Are these new to you as they are to me? 


Champurrado. "Champurrado is a chocolate-based...warm and thick Mexican beverage, prepared with either masa de maíz, masa harina, or corn flour; piloncillo; water or milk; and occasionally containing cinnamon, anise seed, or vanilla. Ground nuts, orange zest, and egg can also be employed to thicken and enrich the drink." Doesn't that sound yummy? Here's a recipe for champurrado if you want to try it from Mexico in My Kitchen.


Panecitos. Panecitos are little breads, and come in a wide variety of shapes and flavors. The recipe I liked best is in Spanish and is from Las Recetas de Mamá here.


Cinnamon churros. Churros are a Spanish and Mexican pastry resembling a doughnut or cruller and made from deep-fried unsweetened dough and sprinkled with sugar. There's a fabulous recipe here from Cookin' Classy. 

Whew! And that's just one poem. There are others with street foods from Russia, Tasmania, Peru, and many more. Wouldn't it be fun to read these poems during National Poetry Month and prepare street foods to go along with the poems each day?

As for me, I'm delighted to find a book that combines my love for poetry, words, foods, travel, languages, and picture books, all in one place.


For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

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! It was first created by Kathy over at Bermuda Onion and is now hosted at Elza Reads.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Best Books for Birders: Can You Help Me?



It's official. I'm a birder.

I have spent 116 hours so far this year watching birds at my feeder, participating in Project FeederWatch. 

Some of you may remember that a year ago I posted this picture on my blog.

I boldly identified the little bird in the photo as a House Sparrow.

It didn't take long to have several bloggers gently correct me, suggesting the bird was most likely a Carolina chickadee. 

Now here I am a year later and I can properly identify about twenty species of birds.

Yes, I'm a newbie birder.

What books do I recommend for birders? This is a question I now get a lot. Here's what I started with:

The two most helpful tools in identifying birds for me as a novice birder have been the laminated, fold-out pamphlet, Birds of Southeast Texas and the Upper Texas Coast: A Guide to Common and Notable Species, and the two-sided poster I received from Project FeederWatch, Common Feeder Birds of Eastern North America/Common Feeder Birds of Western North America. (I bought the pamphlet at the shop at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory site in Lake Jackson, but it can be purchased online at Amazon. A truncated version of the poster can be downloaded here; you receive the complete poster when you join the project.)

It has been very helpful for me to take a photo of the birds I see and upload the photo into the INaturalist and/or Merlin apps on my phone/computer to help identify what I see.

I'm ready to start using some real bird books, I think. Here's what I got first:



If you look at some of these books, you will see a library stamp. So that's where I started; I checked out a bunch of bird identification books from the library, and I tried them out. I got Sibley Birds, Peterson Field Guide to Birds; National Geographic Field Guide to Birds; DK Birds; and a guide to birds of my state. Then I looked for used books at a bookstore and book sales. Finally, I plan to buy a good, hold-in-your-hand book as well as a good e-book.

I'm not a bird book expert. I'd love to hear your recommendation for the best books for birders. What do you use? What would you recommend for newbies? Any tips you'd like to share with us?



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Sunday Salon: I Extinguish The Four Winds; I (Almost!) Finish The Divine Comedy; and My Easter Bonnet, Circa 1966




I was delighted to find that The Four Winds had arrived for me at the library last week. I read it all in one day. But I have to be honest with you: I wouldn't recommend it to someone else. I thought about giving up on it all the way to the middle of the book, when the story did pick up. Still, there were lots of things I found jarring...the inconsistent behavior of the main character's parents (first they are protective, and then...what?)...the rudeness of the daughter and how it was treated by the adults...the fancy Italian foods the family ate during the Depression...all of these things just didn't work for me based on what I know about Italian families and about families during the Depression era. So, a disappointment.

I will be finished with The Divine Comedy in just days, after reading on it every day for three and a half months. I will be glad to be done with it. All the levels of punishment for sinners and all the theology and all the names of various good guys and bad guys known to Dante...whew! Reading it was exhausting, honestly. Still, I'm glad to have read it. Just don't ask me to read it again, and I'm not sure I really even remember enough to talk about it with you.





Jungle Tales by Horacio Quiroga (1001 Children's Books)

The Little Book of Lent (Daily Reading During Lent)

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah 






The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (Chapter-a-Day Read-Along)

Yes, and...Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr (Daily Meditation Reading)

Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion (Naturalist Book Club)

Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge (National Poetry Month) 

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin (1001 Children's Books)

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Classics Club)










Good Thing #1. Why You Should Plant Oaks, and why I am thankful the MacKay family that lived in my house in 1953 planted oaks



Good Thing #2. I ran across this old photo from Easter in 1966. I'm the tall girl. Note my sister and I had look-alike dresses. My mom sewed her dress and ours. And we all had Easter bonnets. Remember those?



Good Thing #3. All the plants I thought had died in the freeze have, unexpectedly, revived. Crepe myrtles. Azaleas. Bougainvilleas. Oleanders. Even the tomatoes have come back. 





I'm happy you found your way to the Sunday Salon. Sunday Salon is a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. It's a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

Some of the things we often talk about at the Sunday Salon:

  • What was your week like?
  • Read any good books? Tell us about them.
  • What other bookish things did you do? 
  • What else is going on in your life?

Other places where you may like to link up over the weekend are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.


My linkup for Sunday Salon is below.  

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

New Mural in Town

 




My blogging friend, Jackie, of Junkboat Travels, is always posting amazing photos of the art in Toronto (almost 3 million people) where she lives. I wish we had lots of art here in my small town of Alvin, Texas (25,000 people) and I was delighted to see this lovely mural go up on a bare brick wall across the street from the Episcopal Church. Each week since January of 2020, the Houston Food Bank has brought 8,000-10,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to the Episcopal Church to be distributed each Thursday. It is estimated that over 1,000 people have been fed each week during the pandemic from this drive-thru mobile food pantry.