Thursday, September 19, 2019

The 2019 Margaret Root Brown Inprint Reading Series in Houston Begins: Colson Whitehead




What signals the start of fall to me here in Houston? Well, it's certainly not the changing of the leaves or cool temperatures. No, it's the start of the Margaret Root Brown Inprint Reading Series. It's the---wait for it---39th season of the reading series, a series which has featured almost 400 authors from more than 35 countries on 6 continents, including the winners of 9 Nobel Prizes, 63 Pulitzer Prizes, 56 National Book Awards, 48 National Critics Circle Awards, and 15 Man Booker Prizes, as well as 15 U.S. Poet Laureates.


The start of the 2019-2020 series features Colson Whitehead, author of The Intuitionist, Sag Harbor, Pulitzer Prize Winner and National Book Award Winner The Underground Railroad, and his most recent book, The Nickel Boys. Whitehead has taught at many universities, including the University of Houston in its acclaimed Creative Writing Program.

Whitehead opens the program with a monologue worthy of best standup comedians. He tells the huge audience at Cullen Auditorium at UH that he grew up on cable tv, which his family "got as soon as we could, so we wouldn't have to talk to each other." One of the memorable shows he watched as a child was Night of the Living Dead, in which "a black man is chased by a group of white people, who want to tear him limb-from-limb, pretty much a metaphor for America." 

The Nickel Boys, his latest book, was inspired by a newspaper article he read about a reform school for boys located in Florida. The school opened in 1900, and by 1903 it was known that abuses were taking place there, with children as young as six kept shackled, children punished in sweat boxes in the outdoor heat, and boys whipped with heavy straps. 

Whitehead reads a short passage from The Nickel Boys and then is interviewed by Houston author Bryan Washington.



Washington asks a series of questions about themes in Whitehead's works, about the writing process, and even a little about Whitehead's love of cooking.

Washington reminds the audience that Whitehead lived in Houston and taught at UH some years ago.

"What do you miss about Houston?" Washington asks.

"The humidity," Whitehead replies, in his lovely deadpan manner.


Whitehead closes out the evening autographing books. As a season subscriber, I was happy to bring home an autographed copy of The Nickel Boys as part of the subscription. I hope to read it soon.



Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Hiking in Utah: East Mesa Trail to Observation Point, Zion National Park

Observation Point is a goal for everyone who visits Zion National Park.

Unfortunately, we find when we visit that the usual route to Observation Point has been closed after a landslide, and we must take an alternate route to get there. We are warned that the trailhead is difficult to find, but we are pleased to learn that good signage has recently been installed, and we easily locate the trailhead.

It's a leisurely, if lengthy walk through the cool forest. There is time for quick photos of flora and fauna, loaded later into iNaturalist.

Observation Point is all we hoped for, and we stop to enjoy water and a bit to eat before heading back.









East Mesa Trail Statistics:
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Zion National Park
East Mesa Trail to Observation Point
7.24 miles
635 elevation gain
3 hrs. 18 min.
Moderate



For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by A Web of StoriesTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at A Web of Stories.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Best Thing to Drink While Reading

You know what I'm talking about. Coffee. Of course. And make mine black, please.

What do I drink my coffee in? I think I must share.


Classic coffee mug for readers.




Mugs from some of my favorite places.



Mugs where some of my favorite people live.



Diversity. I used this one every day when I was librarian at my most diverse school, with a beautiful 25% split of the population for each common American ethnicity.




My favorite saying.



From a friend with a great sense of humor.



A fingerprint mug, with my husband, my granddaughter and me.



Yes, I've been doing the Cybils a long time.



Perfect for reading and blogging. And, of course, drinking coffee....



...though, occasionally, you might find this lovely handmade glass with a different favorite drink...






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.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Spin the Wheel! It's Time for Another Classics Club Spin!


It's time for another Classics Club Spin!
What is the spin?
It’s easy. At your blog, before next Monday 23rd September 2019, 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. 
On Monday 23rd September, the Classics 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 October 31, 2019
Check in with the Classics Club on the October 31st to see who made it the whole way and finished their spin book!
To join in or find out more, visit the Classics Club.
Here is my Classics Club Spin List:
1Agnes GreyBronte, Anne
2Bleak HouseDickens, Charles
3CranfordGaskell, Elizabeth
4End of the AffairGreene, Graham
5Essential Rumi, TheRumi
6Heat of the Day, TheBowen, Elizabeth
7Howards End Forster, E. M.
8Japanese Fairy TalesOzaki
9Main StreetLewis, Sinclair
10Man and SupermanShaw, George Bernard
11Razor's Edge, TheMaugham, W. Somerset
12Rose and the Ring, TheThackeray, William Makepeace
13To the LighthouseWoolf, Virginia
14Tom Brown's SchooldaysHughes, Thomas
15Tom JonesFielding, Henry
16Washington SquareJames, Henry
17Way of All Flesh, TheButler, Samuel
18Where Angels Fear to TreadForster, E. M.
19Winesburg, OhioAnderson, Sherwood
20Wives and DaughtersGaskell, Elizabeth

I'm hoping for Agnes Grey or Where Angels Fear to Tread or Wives and Daughters.
Now let's see which book is chosen for me.

What books do you have on your Spin List? Do you have any that are on my list? Which ones on my list do you recommend?

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up: Reading The Testaments, Get Ready to Nominate the Cybils, and A Utah Hiking Preview



Would you like to try a book that might be a bit fresh in characters and plot? I suggest The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson for lovely change. My full review is here.







I'm reading some powerful stories: Margaret Atwood's The Testaments and Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch.





There's a lot going on with the Cybils right now. The 2019 Cybils judges will be announced on September 18. Nominations for the 2019 Cybils will open on October 1. I like to think carefully about my list of nominations, always trying to see if I can nominate at least one book for each category. Maybe you would like to start working on your list of nominations, too. Here are the categories for the Cybils:

  • Early Chapter Books
  • Easy Readers
  • Fiction Picture Books & Board Books
  • Graphic Novels
    • Elementary/Middle-Grade
    • Young Adult
  • Middle-Grade Fiction
  • Nonfiction
    • Elementary/Middle Grade
    • Junior High/Senior High
  • Poetry
  • Speculative Fiction
    • Elementary/Middle-Grade
    • Young Adult
  • Young Adult Fiction






My sister and her husband and my husband and I have all returned, safe and sound, from our adventures in Utah. We took six hikes over six days for a grand total of 29.05 miles. That's 18 hours and 55 minutes of hiking. I'll be posting hike updates each Wednesday for six weeks, including the hike I posted last Wednesday. Here's a little video of some of our highlights.




What was your week like?

Did you read some good books? We'd like to hear about them.

What other bookish things did you do? What else is going on in your life?

We'd love to have you to link up here and/or at the Sunday Salon page on Facebook each weekend (Saturday-Sunday-Monday) and let us know what you have been doing. I hope you will visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

If you have other blogging friends, it would be wonderful if you'd tell others about our salon and encourage them to join us.

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


My linkup for Sunday Salon is below. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Hiking in Utah: The Watchman Trail, Zion National Park

We start our hiking adventures in Utah with a moderate hike, a confidence builder, The Watchman Trail. It begins along the river, but climbs up into the canyon. We begin early in the morning, and finish as the trail is getting hot. There are few others on the trail.








The Watchman Trail Statistics:
Saturday, August 31, 2019
Zion National Park
The Watchman Trail
3.24 miles
442 ft. elevation gain
1 hr. 55 min.
Moderate



For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by A Web of StoriesTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at A Web of Stories.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why

I don't have to look far to find books (stacks of books, really) I have avoided reading. The table. A bookshelf. Under the bed.

Here are some I have avoided for too long.



It almost looks like this fellow is crying, doesn't it? I guess he is sad I haven't read A Little Life, though I've had this book for three years. A Little Life is just so big.


I won Strange the Dreamer in a contest a long time ago. The cover is beautiful. I love Laini Taylor. I've heard great things about this story. I'm waiting to be in the mood to read a fantasy.


I was prepared to do anything to get Artisan Sourdough at the library conference last year. Why, then, haven't I read it yet? I want to try out the techniques. It takes time to prepare and bake sourdough bread.


I brought home Breaking Bread: A Baker's Journey Home in 75 Recipes from the Texas Book Festival last year. I need time to try out the recipes.


I don't know why I haven't read The Parker Inheritance.


I love to read books about the sixties. But the Summer of '69 started with a scene of drug use, and that put me off it.


Here sits The Farm. Have I read too many dystopias?


Nonfiction that reads like fiction is one of my favorite genres. Why not The Boys in the Boat? Ugh. Sports.


Why never-have-I-ever read Never Have I Ever? It's easy...I'm a big scared-y cat.


I am a huge fan of the PBS series, The Great American Read. I couldn't wait to get a copy of The Book of Books based on the series. But it's unread. The book wasn't what I was expecting; it's a bit dry, I think.


I have Donna Tartt's first book, The Secret History, on every list of favorite books I ever make. Her second book, though, was a meh experience for me. I've backed away from The Goldfinch for years, afraid of more disappointment. Happily, I am reading it now.



I do solemnly swear to read these books. Soon. Very soon.







Thanks to Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea for this prompt idea.



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.