Posts

Showing posts from July, 2016

The Power Of Presence by Neil T. Anderson August 1 - 8, 2016

Image
The Power Of Presence by Neil T. Anderson is a true love story about a husband and wife. It is a book which is very thought provoking. When the author's wife becomes ill with dementia, their whole lives change. All of a sudden he must care for his wife, Joanne, in the smallest of ways from feeding her to helping her rise from a chair to combing her hair. What helps Dr. Anderson get through it is the awareness of God's presence.

It's very interesting to read about his ability to find beauty and purpose in silence. He looks at a football game with the volume turned down. He remains silent to listen to her words which are out of order, one thing becomes another thing and her dreams are, well, who can understand a person's dreams? Much worse are the dreams of someone who is to put it gently losing touch with reality gradually.

While reading their story, what touched me the most were the small conversations between the two. The times when she did come back fro…

Fifth Column by Mike Hollow

Image
This is a wonderful WWII Christian mystery by Mike Hollow. When I met the victim, she was already dead. Still, I cared about her. Felt very concerned about why someone would murder her. It proves our character or reputation lasts longer than our fleshly life whether good or bad. Besides, now I know about the Fifth Column. Why was I shocked? These people rise up during the horrors of war to protect themselves in any country. Fifth Column by Mike Hollow has put me in the mood for more spy novels, and I would like to know more about WWI, The Great War. In the meantime, there is so much World History in this World War II mystery novel.  kregel.com/fiction/fifth-column/

Fire In My Eyes by Brad Snyder and Tom Sileo (DaCapo Press-Netgalley(ARC)

Image
How does a family get use to the idea that their father, son or brother is working far away in a foreign country with explosives? They must worry constantly. This is the job of one American who is written about in Fire In My Eyes. I'm writing down his whole job title, or I would never remember it. It is US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer.
When I think of dangerous explosives, I am reminded of Princess Diana. One of her concerns was unexploded explosives lying in residential areas, on beaches where children, teens and other people might walk not expecting to meet their death. I also think of a fictional character in The English Patient. He did the same kind of dangerous work. Since Fire In My Eyes is a true account, I am looking forward to learning more about the lives of these heroes. The setting is Afghanistan.

Thank You!

Image
I received an inspiring book this week. It is a courtesy copy from Barbour Publishing. It is about illness in a family. Their struggle to help their baby deal with a terminal illness. The cover shows the love for the child. There when the baby was born and growing as the life tender moment continued. When I read about the struggles of other people whether families or single people I learn how to become less complaining in my own struggles. These lives strongly help growth in the area of perseverence, never giving up and love.

This book and its synopsis are a reminder of a Pastor's words from the scriptures a week or so ago as America traveled through the days of Black Lives Matter. For a long time, it's been my favorite scripture discovered during days at my childhood home and brought into the times of trial during marriage, motherhood and aging. The scripture helped me keep going. What helped this family go on? One of the worse scares I would think is having an infant born …

Book Beginnings

Image
rosecityreader.blogspot.com

"The Anderson shelter had guarded his life for another night, but it felt like a grave. Only the thin sheet of corrugated iron at his side separated him from the cold earth in which he was lying. He drifted in and out of a restless, shallow dream."

Continuum: A Love Poem by Maxine Kumin

Image
going for grapes with
ladder and pail in
the first slashing rain
of September    rain
steeping the dust
in a joyous squelch   the sky
standing up like steam
from a kettle of grapes
at the boil    wild fox grapes
wickedly high    tangled in must
of cobweb and bug spit
going for grapes    year
after year    we two with
ladder and pail stained
with the rain of grapes
our private language

Maxine Kumin 


english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/kumin/onlinepoems
                                        1980

Father And Son by Langston Hughes (Vintage Short)

Image
This short story by Langston Hughes is rich in History. What does Langston Hughes leave out? Nothing. The short story takes place in Georgia. Bert is born to the White master of the plantation. His mother is a Negro or Black woman who is Norwood's mistress. Of all the children born to him, Bert is the lightest one. So many issues to discuss and think about all relevant to how Black people socialize with White people and how Black people interact with one another now, today. Of course, this is not new knowledge. All of us know about miscegenation. It's just that the scars of our History must never become raked aside as old knowledge versus new knowledge. History helps us know ourselves better. The better we know ourselves, the better we will treat one another. Also, love between different races is beautiful. The problem is many people hate it, feel shame and hurt other people for choosing to love someone from a different culture.

It breaks my heart to read that Bert wasn't…

Friends Of The Wigwar A Civil War Story by John William Huelskamp

Image
I am not good at understanding war battles. However, I picked this book with the thought of learning more about the Yankees and their fight in the Civil War that divided a nation. Along the way, I found myself deeply involved with picturing the firing of guns at Fort Sumter. I always find it interesting that one state, South Carolina, decided to secede from the Union.

 In "Friends Of The WigWam,"  the author, John William Huelskamp, writes Historical Fiction so descriptively. There is the wonderful dialogue between young people. There are Civil War letters and the fictional voice of Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln and Grant.

There are photographs, paintings and other historical helps. There is no table of contents which felt strange. Not surprisingly, there is the ugliness of war; bloodshed, the death of young men . I will end with one of the most important characters to me along with Abraham Lincoln.
friendsofthewigwam.com/

Ely Parker"Ely Parker continue…

Caught In The Act

Image

The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts (Netgalley ARC)

Image
The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts is about a beautiful horses and an ugly time. It's a time when men like German, Gustav Rau, and others of the Third Reich see the value only in the pure breed of a horse and the purity of the German, Aryan blood. There are kind hearted men like Alois Podhajsky, a veternarian, who sees in a broken horse its ability to thrive and become again valuable. Alois Podhajsky also healed many horses during this horrid time of war and hate. This is Germany, Poland and other Axis Powers during The Thirties and in to World War II. A special horse is Neapolitano Africa, Alois Podhajsky's horse which might have been left unloved and as an outcast without the vet.

At first, I thought the nonfiction story disjointed. Then, I began to see the need to fix my eyes on her goal as an author. I chose to look at the theme as one about the Jewish people parallel to the Equestrian History of the Horse. It was then that I could see the richness of the Jewish culture …

The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan (Netgalley-ARC)

Image
When I don't understand a novel, it's best to take a deep breath, slow down and relax. Because the first impressions can change for better or worse. I decided not to like a novel after reading a few chapters. The language seemed strange. However, something made me keep on reading and not stop. This morning I picked up the book again. A light began to glow. I could relate to a character. The setting seemed very personal and one I would pick for a house. I stopped. There was no need to start from the beginning again. I remembered it. I only needed to follow up on two key words, Dystopian and Survivalist.

I've read these types of novels but not in a long while. The last one I can think of is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I still like to think of the father and the son, their difficulties and the love shared between the two. The novel I'm writing about this morning is about the melting of ice, etc.It's titled Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan. I have an ARC from Netgall…

Our Longevity

Image
The beginning of The 100-Year Life by Gratton & Scott really caught my interest. I felt happy to see the personal story examples of Jane and Jack. I didn't want Jack's story to end. His reality seemed like mine. One where you work all your life, and die soon after retirement. I asked myself, 'where are the golden years?' I thought the future cities interesting also. The book shows clearly that life is going to become revolutionized, all new for the next generation. 
I did have a hard time understanding all the statistics. Numbers frighten me. No interest there, but a new interest in exploring the new world of the future where education will increase. Future students will have more universities to choose from in "smart cities." This idea of smart cities seems to contradictory. Is this a reference to more people versus machines and robots working the job market? Perhaps, I fear the word robotics.

After reading a couple more case studies, I am left looking…

How Old Is The Moon?

Image
In so many ways people are more alike than different. As I read There Was A Man, There Was A Woman by Sandra Cisneros, I thought of the many times missed by not pausing and looking at the gift of nature. There have been a few times nature has gave me a hard nudge. I was forced to look down or look up, as in this instance, at the moon. When I have looked up at the moon, it has always astonished me. Thinking back to the time when men walked on the moon's surface is still incredible. When I was young and heard the older people talking about their fears or their feelings of 'thou shalt not touch or go there,' there was a feeling of why not skip and play and forget about that old moon. When the astronauts brought back moon dust, I began to dream about that distant place in space.  Now, just seeing the word moon written in a book can curl my toes. If walking or riding in a car, there is excitement like seeing a newborn for the very first time.

In this short story, two people, a…

Resolved by Lina Abujamra

Image
Beginning in Sunday school I heard the Bible story about David and Goliath. All Sunday school teachers and preachers taught that God would help me, little David, to fight my giants. All I needed was a sling and a stone. Lina Abujamra repeats the significance and wonder of this Old Testament story and ends with one of her ten resolutions. However, what really caught my attention was her chapter about love.
Because of current events there have been many conversations, speeches and church forums about love and its power to rid the world of hate. As the song goes, "all we need is love." Some youths have dared to say it will take more than a song about love. My goodness, such blasphemous talk against God's very own character. In Resolved by Lina Abujamra, there is given place to the thought that showing love, becoming love, giving love is not easy. As the author writes, it is not "easy peasy lemon squeezy."
The statement shook me up. If it is not easy to love, how …

Aches, Pain And Love by Kira Lynne (ARC) (Netgalley)

"Meditation was a great way to increase my awareness around what was going on inside my mind."

When I first heard the word meditation, I felt weirdly uncomfortable. Then, I began to feel interested in it. I asked my husband 'how does a person meditate?' I asked him because he meditated often and without any trouble whatsoever. I listened more closely to the sermons in my church about meditation. Soon I learned to think about my problems. I pictured Bible stories like Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath and The Israelites and Egypt in my head. God seemed to fit the stories to my modern day life. I began to smile a little bit while the struggle was still happening.

Lately, I have a short attention span. So I haven't been meditating. Therefore, at times my troubles grow bigger and bigger, and I scream with anxiety. Kira Lynne's writings about meditation are helping me want to pull back into that inner world where God fights every battle, where I know the purp…

Have You Ever Met A Barracuda?

Image
I have been underwater with Cab, Vicki and other characters. It's been fascinating. Because of this novel, Cab's Lantern, I want to protect our oceans and learn more about them. Until reading this novel, I didn't know about the barracuda. I only knew about the big, bad shark. I also liked the mystery of the story. There is a lantern light. It never goes out. Why is the big question. I also liked learning about the main character's past. His failures and the strength to travel new directions in his life.

Oddly, I didn't care much about Phil and his vendetta. Perhaps, I was too focused on the relationship between Cab and Vicki. Also, I didn't believe a person could really hug a barracuda. This scene lacked reality, I thought. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, I hope.cabslantern.com

The Pain Is Worse Today

I fear the times are becoming harder for my people. Now death's reality has set in, it is hardened, crystallized, not all the way but a little more than yesterday. Because their loved ones are no longer coming home for dinner. They are no longer hearing the bathroom door close or hear the slam of a car door. They're spouses, parents, relatives and friends are gone. The days are long and the nights longer. I wish for the days of Lazarus. When Christ walked the earth and could hurry back to open the graves.

Death is the enemy. Death is the only one who dares not to hear the screams of protesters. Death is the one without a heart. What alley does it run through? I suppose death flies faster than an eagle. It seems indestructible. Today, the eagle has the victory. No! As we come together, "reason together," because this will happen in time, our hope for a binding love between people in the United States, no matter our differences, it will happen. Perhaps, not until that …

"We Will Overcome These Hard Times"

Image
All of you know I love books whether new or old. A couple of days ago, I think Friday, I took this novel down from my bookshelf. I was looking for Six Easy Pieces by Walter Mosley. I did find it. Then, I rediscovered this fat novel titled Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas. While Walter Mosley is a well known and favorite author of mine, I know nothing about Michael Thomas except the blurbs on the inside of his book and on the outside of it. So I riffled through the pages and came back to the dedications on the front pages. What greeted my eyes? Music. I had to look up to the Heavens and say a soft thank you God. He's always there giving tiny blessings and serentipitous thoughts. The musical thought spoke to me because during these turbulent days I've heard the Chief of Police,David O. Brown, the people and other leaders like President O'bama say the word "love." 

Sometimes that one word, a very significant word, can seem trite or overused. Not during this week of …

Too Quickly Gone

Image
I was surprised to find Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous poem in the pages of Cab's Lantern by Jeff Russell. It is a tiny excerpt. It kinda fits my feelings this morning. I am really enjoying this adventure with Vicki, Cab and the other characters.

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

'The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.'

Violence

Image
No matter who is at fault because someone is going to be blamed whether it's the police department or the victim my heart breaks for the loss of another Black male. Here is another family prematurely broken apart with a gun or guns involved. I wanted to write about the Louisiana incident. I tried to find a poem to fit my feelings for the family. However, I found nothing except the place I like to go in times of pain, the ocean. Lo and behold, I found Sylvia Plath there too.

The Rabbit Catcher

 It was a place of force—
The wind gagging my mouth with my own blown...hair,
Tearing off my voice, and the sea
Blinding me with its lights, the lives of the dead
Unreeling in it, spreading like oil.


Then, another poem  by Sylvia Plath spoke to me. The title of the poem bumped me all the way back to the Fifties. From someone or from many and somewhere I read the words of Thalidomide. wiki/Thalidomide In a new and awful and unexpected way it brought its form of anguish in the world. Babies, mother…

Writing Is Scary

Image
Maybe the similarity is not there. However, this woman's need for an office in Alice Munro's story, The Office,  reminded me of Virginia Woolf's novella, A Room Of Her Own. However, my mind focused on this Mr. Malley in the short story. He tells long stories to the lady to whom he rents the office. I wonder who is more complicated as a person. The writer she is complicated. Also complicated is the man, Mr. Malley, who deeply desires to write, he feels his stories are interesting, but I don't know if he will put his words on paper. I've heard once a story is spoken there is no need to write it. It's been told.

I am the wannabe person. Nothing is so frightening as white, blank paper especially a long sheet of paper. I wish for the days when we wrote four and five page letters to friends and relatives. I remember writing my Grandmother and my Uncle. I had to write short thank you notes to relatives who sent me gifts.  I also can still see my mother patiently writ…

When I Looked At Lois Lane, What Was It All About?

I can't believe it. In my head, Lois Lane is still dark haired, writing for the newspaper and helping Clark Kent/Superman become the master of all humans. What I can't believe is her age, ninety-five years old. I remember watching her on t.v. I haven't thought of her in years not since my comic book days. To say sorry about her death does not seem like the right words. After all,  I didn't know her personally. And I've never seen these young photographs of her. I only know about the dark haired Superman and Lois along with the telephone booth, etc. I am grateful for the memories this morning.

It all slid back in to place, the black and white t.v. and the work related romance. It was a thrill. It still is a thrill. So I do have the right to say I feel awful about Lois Lane's death. A woman who gave many people pleasure and moments of fantasy. I would love to know what was happening in the news at that time. Perhaps, the idea for Superman  flew from the pages of …

Swiggers by Joey Pinkney

Image
Perhaps because I'm known as a change of life baby I immediately liked the old man pictured on the e-book.His picture made me laugh. I remembered visiting a small town where old men did sit on the bench in front of the store and talk and laugh and whistle at passing girls.So, the short-short story became a bit of personal nostalgia."Swiggers" by Joey Pinkney is a quick, lighthearted story. Swiggers also involves serious issues about change in our life experiences.

I especially felt sad when the men lost their outdoor meeting place and other changes took place. The tree is cut down which shaded them. Abdul, the new owner, has to make the hard decision about how to make the store more welcoming to other customers like women. Ladies don't especially like to walk past men who ogle them and joke. It makes me uncomfortable.

I would have liked to learn more about Abdul, the new store owner. Was it easy for him to fit in to the new community? I also would have liked a descr…

Warbler by Jim Harrison

This year we have two gorgeous
yellow warblers nesting in the honeysuckle bush.
The other day I stuck my head in the bush.
The nestlings weigh one-twentieth of an ounce,
about the size of a honeybee. We stared at
each other, startled by our existence.
In a month or so, when they reach the size
of bumblebees they’ll fly to Costa Rica without a map

writersalmanac.org/episodes/20160630

The Past Is Sandwiched Between Our Present and Future

Image
History is never past. It is always present, living and sleeping with us. At night, my African ancestors follow me. I see a woman with water carried on her head. I know her. She has one baby suckling at her breast. Her other one is still mourned back at her home. It relieves her to walk for water. There she has made friends with a frog. It is bright pink and black. She leans down to the water with cupped hands and drinks. Above her where she does not see is a lion.

While reading "Imitation," a short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and looking at Benin Masks mentioned by her in the short story, I had an urge to try and capture Africa with my pencil. Of course, that's a silly and almost obscene thought, but Adichie writes in such a way that Africa and its people can not go ignored. I have to stop, think, picture it. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is wondrous.
knopfdoubleday.com/imprint/vintage/
l3.ulg.ac.be/adichie/


"Nkem picks up the mask and presses her face to it; it is …

I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan

Image
I'm still fiddling around with Terry McMillan's last novel. Really, I'm wringing my hands for her next novel. Have you started one yet, Ms. McMillan? I've Never thought much about farmers, I have met  one or two in my life. I have seen two or three hogs. I have admired barns. However, I have never thought of the issues faced by farmers each day. I've never thought of their rewards either.

This morning I'm feeling a bit in awe of Black farmers. I've looked on the internet and seen some farmers who look like cowboys, others who look like admirable grandfathers. All of these men who seem strong enough to handle every situation and gentle enough to pick up a clod of dirt and look up thanking God for what it can and will grow. Thank you Ms. McMillan for widening my knowledge in another novel.


To the Negro Farmers of the United States
By Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson God washes clean the souls and hearts of you, His favo…