Today’s Monday Memory concerns My Little Free Library. Here is the story of how I became involved in Literacy, first in Alvin, then in myriad ways in the five and a half years since I wrote these words.
“This past week in the Community Section of the Houston Chronicle (Yes, I still have the Chronicle delivered to my home each day; we’ve got to “do our part” to keep print newspapers going.), there was an article on Little Free Libraries in the area. Two of my friends were mentioned, and Alvin received some much overdue positive attention.
We are working for literacy down here, one LFL at a time. Nan Self,a long time friend from previous AAUW membership, fellow member of the Alvin Historical Society and too numerous connections since the late sixties in Alvin to mention, was featured on the cover of the section with her red-white-and blue, two-shelf library. It was a lovely article, and also quoted Debbie Nance, librarian at Robert Louis Stevenson school across the street from my sub-division, who has written and received a grant to promote literacy by building and maintaining LFL’s in underserved Alvin neighborhoods. It was she who introduced me to the concept of Little Free Libraries and the international movement. She has a lovely LFL outside her home on a well-travelled road, “just up from” Alvin High School. Hers sits under a shaded tree, and there is a bench installed for weary walkers to rest and browse, sampling before selecting a book to take with them. It provides a moment away from the continuous traffic and the hustle and bustle of the area.
My LFL is all about location, location, location–to quote a realtor friend. We are on the “main drag” into the subdivision between a primary school and an elementary school, two blocks down from the bus stop where the jr. high and high school students are dropped. We are on the side of the street that has sidewalks; our sidewalk is parallel to and within reachable distance from our LFL.Mt LFL was a 69th birthday gift, paid for by my husband and built of scraps from our house–shingles from the last time we had the roof done, scrap lumber from various projects, painted with leftover paint since our last painting adventure, and designed and executed by Robert Hockin of Alvin, a man of good will who does an amazing amount of good things for our church (South Park Baptist Church, located at the corner of Johnson and South Streets in Alvin–sorry had to get in a plug; we have been members there since 1968 and continue active membership today–as active as people our age can be.)and for everyone in the community. Robert and my husband set the post in concrete and let it “set” for a couple of days before attaching the little “house” that is my LFL and matches my house. A hurricane may wipe out my house, but the LFL in our side yard will stand!
For my seventieth birthday, my Monday class at UHCL gave me a birthday party, and gifts were books for my LFL “Christmas Giveaway.” You have not celebrated until you have celebrated with 25 20-30+ year olds! It took me a full day to recover, but many books were distributed throughout my neighborhood thanks to my students that semester. I don’t think anyone, especially me, would forget that party or the lovely moments that caused my LFL to be the “gift that kept on giving.”
We have done trick-or-treat outside our back drive, introducing parents and kids to the LFL, and often heard questions of, “How much does it cost?” “We can keep the books?”and, best of all, “Can I put the books my kids have outgrown in it?” Several young women keep paperbacks by Debbie McComer, Nicholas Sparks and other escape/when-I-have-a minute-to-read-books in plentiful supply at my LFL. There are evidently reading men in my neighborhood because detective novels like one I discovered in my own LFL, the Alex Cross series, a really good read either in series or as individual books. Fathers and mothers bring their little ones, lift them up to unhook the latch and help them select the books Mom and Dad will read to them.We are in the middle of our Spring Break push, offering the entire Treehouse series as well as the Magic Schoolbus books and at least three or four of the “Little House: series. Recently a dear friend gave me her son’s childhood books now that he is off to college. As she said, “Books should be in readers’ hands, not packed in boxes.” Good old Nancy Drew is making an appearance as are the Hardy Boys and the Boxcar Children. Even Spiderman, Batman, and Superman are making guest appearances in the form of Scholastic versions of their adventures in “reluctant reader” form. As I said, the Little Free Library is in its third (now 5th) year of giving and giving. My hairdresser and chiropractor here in Alvin have had bookshelves and space for free books for a long time, before the movement ever started.Yes, we are doing our part to promote literacy and distribute books here in Alvin.”
Here is an updated photo of my LFL, taken today after the repainting and Grand Re-opening of the Little Free Library on the last day of July this past summer.
Share some of your earlier posts or pictures that make good memories on a Monday.
Happy reading, everyone!
When is the right time to disturb a book lover?
Interrupting a reader at the wrong time can lead to:
- An uncomfortable atmosphere.
- A glare.
- A snarl.
- Muttering under the breath.
- An angry outburst.
- Bad thoughts about you forming inside the reader’s head.
Don’t panic because I have some advice:
If you spot any of these warning signs then it is best to leave your reader alone:
- Your reader is engrossed in a book and is totally relaxed. Don’t spoil a lovely reading moment by disturbing them.
- Your reader has just come in through the front door clutching their latest book purchase from the local book shop and has raced over to the armchair with a goofy happy smile on their face. Don’t go near them.
- Your reader has raved about how wonderful their book is and how it has taken them to new heights of reading enjoyment. Stay…
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This meme, started by Mis B of Daily Rhythm, asks readers to copy the first line(s) of a book they are reading in order to tempt others to add the book to their TBR list. Here are the first lines of Joyce Carol Oates’ autobiography/memoir, The Lost Landscape: A Writer’s Coming of Age.
“May 14,1941. It was a time of nerves. Worried-sick what was coming my father would say of this time in our family history but who could guess it, examining this old and precious snapshot of Mommy and me in our backyard playing with kittens”?
I have read to the point where Oates is enrolled in college, and it has been an interesting read so far, some childhood memories revealing where Oates’ love of books and learning came from. I anticipate finishing this memoir sometime this weekend.
This book is the conclusion to the Don Tillman trilogy, but it also makes a great stand-alone novel. Written in 2019, it’s “twist-ending” is the perfect sign off to the series. I was so pleased with the ending, I gave a “yay” out loud and would have clapped my hands together in delight had I not been reaching for reading log and pen to record a review of this fine piece of writing and entertainment.
Don and Rosie’s ten-year-old son, Hudson, the main character in this one, causes his school teacher and counselor some concern, both thinking he should be evaluated for autism. Ironically enough Don does NOT want his son labeled, and he and Rosie fight the school authorities, as Don continuously looks for the stereotypic characteristics of autistic people. Knowing Don, if you have read any of the other two books, The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, you will not be surprised he keeps a “list” and tries to check off the boxes there.
Described as “charming, eloquent, and insightful…” by Booklist, the novel is also “…a fitting end to this trilogy that doesn’t pull punches”(Kirkus Review) about autism or any other subject it includes. The secondary characters, many of whom the reader may have seen in previous books (but knowing them before this part of the trilogy is unnecessary), are admirably drawn, and whom we are attached to before we realize we are “hooked.”
So many themes and subplots fill this hilarious, yet profound ending to the series that it would take too long to describe them, but the “life-lessons” about friendship, betrayal, being “different” in any way, and compassion for others (something “experts” often claim auties are incapable of feeling or expressing) undergirds a great plot and a narrative which “explains” the autistic mind to us amateurs.
READ The Rosie Result. You will be glad you invested your invaluable reading time in this novel.
According to BookBuzz’s literary calendar, Coffee Day is one to be celebrated “because, you know, so many great authors are fueled by coffee.” Probably this statement is founded on a grain of truth. How about you published authors, do you do your best work with coffee at hand? Is caffeine part of your inspiration?
My favorite poetry book in my office is Coffee Poems, reflections on life with coffee, edited by Lorraine Healy. I love many of the poems in the book as much as I love a good cup of coffee. Here is a poem I often read as I sip my first cup of the day:
in a white room;
then the silence
of sunlight seeps
into balsam shadows.
Steam is silence too,
Sipping over the brim
of bone china
in the coffee-quiet
This sketch was done on a paper bag. More than once we have held teacher-student conferences at Starbucks to plan strategies on starting assignments and projects. Coffee often fuels my students, and coffee frequently fuels me.
Raise your coffee mugs! Add sugar and cream if you must. All Hail King Coffee!
According to Bookbuzz’s literary calendar, tomorrow brings the first day of National Book Month. I am already making plans.
Although I did not join the Classics Club as my friend, Deb Nance, at Readerbuzz did, I do intend to join the group just for the month of October and read The Essential Rumi, their October selection. I have heard of this philosopher and read many quotes attributed to him, and would like to know more. My Third Tuesday Book Club at the Alvin Library will be joining clubs and libraries along the Gulf Coast in reading Susan Orlean’s The Library Book, chosen as this year’s Gulf Coast Read. This is something I’ve already read, so I am looking forward to readings, discussions, and activities centered around this fine book.
I hope to attend the Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas, on October 26th. We would have to make it a day trip, and the travel time is five hours or a bit more, but I’ve heard from fellow bloggers, the trip is worth it. If you’re going or have been before, fill me in; I’m a first-timer.
My Better Half and I have plans for Halloween evening, giving out books and candy as the neighborhood kids Trick or Treat. We did this one year before, and it was a huge, fun-for-us, success. I have been saving back and purchasing on each trip to Half-Price Books books related to Halloween: Goosebumps, Scooby-Doo, The Bernstein Bears, and many stand-alone children’s Halloween books to distribute. I have toys and spooky items from The Dollar Tree to use as best costume prizes and will have a drawing for a Halloween Gift Basket or some larger “prize.” It ought to be a fun night if the weather will cooperate. As we did at our Little Free Library Grand Re-Opening in July, we’ll serve lemonade and homemade cookies.
Sometime during the month of October, on a Harvest theme, I’d like to host a “hen party” coffee for women friends, just to socialize, chat, and catch up.
To me, that sounds like a full month but a very pleasant one. What are your plans for October? Traveling anyone? Book Conferences or fairs? Halloween parties or events?