25.7.14

My home library - the meme (part two)

Per Philosophy MomFound this on thremma 's journal; she evidently swiped it from wendelah1 , who found it on this Tumbler (where it seems to have originated). It has 30 questions and appears, from the original instructions, to be intended for use over the course of a month. [Said instructions:"You can do all of them, but feel free to skip a number if you don’t own any books relevant to the day’s prompt (just replace it with an idea of your own). Take a picture, write down the stories attached to the book(s) in question, go nuts!"]

Part one here.

7. Favorite poetry collection: Confession: I don't really have any poetry collection.  Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti is the closest I come.

8. Favorite biography: Judith Skelton Grant's biography of Robertson Davies.  It's a good biography, but also it's a book that Thing One bought me twice.  Don't ask.

9. Favorite cookbook: Currently?  I love Home Made Summer. But all time, Susan Branch's cookbooks are so much fun.

10. Favorite graphic novel: Ooooh.  Sorry.  I just don't have the kind of brain that fully appreciates graphic novels.  I had problems with comic books, too.  Again, sorry.

11. A book you didn’t understand at all: Most of my calculus text.  Beyond that, I don't tend to keep books I don't understand.  To be honest, I tend not to finish them, either.

12. “One of these things is not like the others” (inconsistent editions within a series):  My Chronicles of Narnia set (bought The Silver Chair at a different store than the others). One of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, I believe The Nine Tailors (but with the books in the basement, can't check) is different because for some reason, it was published by a different publisher than the other books.

18.7.14

My home library - the meme (part one)

Per Philosophy Mom: Found this on thremma 's journal; she evidently swiped it from wendelah1 , who found it on this Tumbler (where it seems to have originated). It has 30 questions and appears, from the original instructions, to be intended for use over the course of a month. [Said instructions: "You can do all of them, but feel free to skip a number if you don’t own any books relevant to the day’s prompt (just replace it with an idea of your own). Take a picture, write down the stories attached to the book(s) in question, go nuts!"]

I'm going to do this in a few installments, just to create some content (lucky you).

1. “The System: Currently, there are a ton of boxes in the basement; those are marked MYS (mystery books), CYA (children's/young adult), BIO (biography), NF (non-fiction), FIC (fiction), LIT (literature - don't ask me what the difference between this and FIC is, I know it when I read it), REF (reference), SFF (science-fiction/fantasy).  My professional books, Mt. Bookpile, religion/philosophy books and "gentle reads" are upstairs.  One day I'll have a library again...

2. Favorite female writer:  A.S. Byatt?  Joanna Trollope? Louise Penny? Elinore M. Brent-Dyer? See, it really depends on the mood and genre.

3. Favorite male writer:  As with the female authors, depends: Robertson Davies and Julian Barnes, though, are two faves.

4. Bought on location (where the writer lived, the book takes place, the movie adaptation was shot):  A biography of John Ruskin purchased at his home (back in 1982) is the one the leaps to mind; I've read and bought many "local" mysteries and novels while living abroad - which probably doesn't count.

5. The largest and the smallest book you own: Largest? Probably the Complete Shakespeare.  Smallest?  I'm not sure if that's the equivalent of "thinnest" (no idea) or "least height", which is probably Julian Barnes' Flaubert's Parrot (Bloomsbury Classic edition)

6. Complete works of one author: I'm only going to talk about fiction authors here; I have complete sets of many mystery and children's/young adult writers (for example, Carol O'Connell, Louise Penny, Elizabeth George, David Williams, Marie Lu, J.K. Rowling, etc.). So, as far as I know:

  • C.S. Lewis (including a copy of his contribution to OHEL)
  • Robertson Davies
  • A.S. Byatt (excluding her introductions/prefaces)
  • Julian Barnes
  • Terry Pratchett

14.7.14

Let's change the terminology

The other day, my friend Chuck posted on his blog and I asked if a word was a typo or new slang (hey: I'm old, I'm not up on what the hip kids are saying these days).  He responded something about my being a grammar nazi, and I suggested he was looking for the word "pedant."  There's a whole dictionary out there, with words like pedant and stickler and dogmatic and persnickety.  Why not use them?

Here's my rant (you knew one was coming, right?): using the word nazi to describe someone who is a stickler for rules or protocol or well, whatever, is beyond wrong.  If you end a sentence with a preposition, I'm not going to cart you off to some concentration camp where Work Will Make You Free.  I'm not going to send you to a gas shower because you don't know how to use a semicolon.

Real Nazis?  They didn't care about grammar (or soup, or dress codes, two name two other "nazi" types). They cared about racial purity and the Fatherland.  They cared about killing and doing it as efficiently as possible.  They cared about establishing the 1,000 Year Reich.

So the next time you're tempted to call someone a nazi, think about it.  Even in jest, it's a horrible thing to call another person.  To diminish the real horror of what Hitler and his Nazis did by adding "grammar" or "soup" or "weeding" before "nazi"  is to dishonor those who died fighting them, those who died because of them.

Aren't you better than that?

12.7.14

Got outta Dodge for a while...

Montreal is one of my favorite cities, even in the dead of winter. It's everything a great city should be: it's walkable, good bookstores and restaurants, there's a sense that you're not in Anyplace America, it has a sense of history, and then there's the culture. This time there was the International Jazz Festival and the start of the International Fireworks Festival!

(yeah, I'm kind of obsessed with the glowing light balls that show up on "our" street at night).

4.7.14

1.7.14

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

ACK!  I'm so far behind in my "300 in 2014" goal, mostly thanks to work taking over my life for this quarter.  Things picked up once summer vacation started, and I'm pretty sure I can catch up and get ahead next quarter.  Reviews in the usual place.

Biography/Memoir
Children's/Young Adult
Fiction/Literature
Horror
Mystery
Non-Fiction
Science Fiction/Fantasy


26.6.14

Committment

Yesterday Thing One's aunt and uncle celebrated their 66th Wedding Anniversary.

Wow.  66 years.  Huge.

Where'd they spend it? His aunt is in hospice - she was somewhat aware, but who knows how much sinks in with the morphine drip and all.  His uncle was sitting there, all alone, when we walked in.

Watching someone go through hospice is never easy, even less easy is what the family goes through.  No one should be alone during that time, and if there's a significant day (like an anniversary or a birthday) it's even more important that someone else is there to share it.  Celebrating 66 years together when one partner is in hospice? I can't even begin to imagine what that feels like.

Heck, I can't imagine being that committed to someone for that long.  They've been married longer than any couple I've known (my parents will hit 55 in August), and in this day and age of easy divorce it'll get rarer and rarer for couple to reach that many years together.

There's a saying that no one knows what's going on in a relationship except for the two people in that relationship.  So who knows how many sorrows and problems they've had over the past 66 years.  And who knows how many joys they've had.  I can imagine that one of those was not having children; I hear that they took in many of the neighborhood kids, giving them a place to hang out and share their lives when home perhaps go to be too much.  They have (between them) eight nieces and nephews, and through Thing One's family 16 greats, and 7 great-greats (with one on the way).  At least 10 (including partners) of those have visited over the past 24 hours.

It takes a lot to last 66 years together.  It takes even more to imagine life beyond that, with one partner gone.  I'm holding both in the Light, hoping that their commitment to each other lasts just a little longer, and that the end is as painless as possible for both.

16.6.14

Concertgoing 101

The other night Thing One and I went to a concert. It was a jazz/blues evening, not a rock concert, held in a smallish performance space.

Looking at the others in the audience, it became clear: some people simply don't know how to act at, or dress for, these events. As a public service I'm providing some tips.

It's not a rock concert. Dress up a little. That means "business casual" or "good jeans and nice top" not "ratty t-shirt, cargo shorts and Birkenstocks".  Do you have a "tramp stamp"?  Cover it up.  The people in the row behind you shouldn't be able to tell what color your thong is.  And as proud as you may be of your concert T from 198? for a famous rock band, leave it at home.  This isn't to suggest coat and tie, or cocktail dress and heels, but, you know, look nice.  Show some respect for the players and the other members of the audience.

It's not your living room.  In other words, keep your comments to yourself.  There were two couples ahead of our row who talked and talked and talked.  The gentleman immediately ahead of us actually did quiet down when I mentioned that I, too, was enjoying the vibraphonist and would enjoy it even more if I didn't have his commentary.  The second couple, on the other hand, couldn't manage to stop making out and chatting throughout the entire evening, despite two other people asking them to please - for the love of jazz, please - be quiet.  I even suggested that I could teach them how to whisper (because, as a librarian, I kinda know how to do that).  No luck.

Everyone got that?  Dress nice, and be quiet.  Simple really.

15.6.14

Meeting Musings

There's a moment when I'm travelling up to the boarding school I attended when, through the trees, the Tower appears. For years (since I was 14) that sight has brought about a feeling of "home" for me: there, within those gates, is where I "live".

In all the years since, I've never felt that anywhere else.

 Until this morning. Because of the Big Life Change, I haven't been able to attend Meeting. This week was the first time I could get there since last August and I have missed it. Something was definitely missing from my life. And as I made the turn to go up the driveway, I felt "home". Same feeling I've gotten on that other drive, different place.

Sadly, that home may not be there this time next year. We are a small Meeting, with only a few members, and of those few, one is definitely leaving. I can't get there frequently. Another has health issues. In Quaker-speak, we're starting the conversation about laying the Meeting down.

Words can't express my feelings right now, except to ask that you hold us all in the Light.

18.5.14

Why I won't wear red (or pink, or any other color)

Recently students at MPOW were encouraged to wear red to support the rights of girls to have an education. I chose not to participate.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge supporter of girl's education. I'm just not a supporter of wearing a color to prove that support. Or signing petitions to the White House, the U.N. or some other passive form of support.

Here's the problem with those "protests": they accomplish nothing. When you're dealing with completely unreasonable people, or a dreaded disease (like pink for breast cancer) or some social cause, t-shirts or ribbons don't make a difference. Action makes a difference and quite honestly, a school in the US won't have any impact on the situation in Nigeria, or Pakistan, or where ever else girls are denied the opportunity to get an education. Signing the White House petition feels good, but the promise on the website is to bring the matter to some appropriate person's attention. It doesn't mean that the White House will actually act on the petition's request.

Years (ok, decades) ago, my mother stopped buying grapes in support of the Cesar Chavez-led strike. Later she convinced me to Boycott Nestle. Those actually accomplished something (in a perfect world, Nestle would have completely mended its ways but progress has been made!). Shortly after I left college, friends built shanties on the college quad and forced the trustees to divest their South African-connected investments. Again, there was a definite result stemming from that action. Wearing a pink t-shirt to "combat breast cancer"? Unless the money directly goes to a research facility or to help people battling the cancer, it doesn't do much (and many people wear their own pink clothes). The same with wearing red. Etc..

Before encouraging our students, or children, to participate in one of these protests, maybe we adults should think more carefully about the message it sends. Is there money going to help with the cause? Does it put pressure on someone/some company/some country to change? Or is it a feel-good, with a message that by wearing a color, or stating you support a cause without getting directly involved, will actually help?

Give me the former, every time. And leave my wardrobe out of it.