FRIDAY FIRSTLINERS

First Line Fridays was begun by Ms. B at Daily Rhythms and has been kept alive by several bloggers who carry on the tradition of recording the first line of a book they are ready to read.  Here’s mine from Rachel Caine’s Ink and Bone of The Great Library series:

“Ephemera”

“Text of a historical letter, the original signed of which is kept under glass in The Great Library of Alexandria and listed under the Core Collection.

From the scribe of Pharoah Ptolemy 77 to his most excellent servant, Callimachus, Archivist of The Great Library in the third year of his glorious reign… Pharoah has also heard your words regarding the unaccompanied admission of females to this sacred space (The Great Library) of the Serapeam, and in his divine wisdom refuses this argument, for women must be instructed by the more developed minds of men to ensure they do not wrongly interpret the riches that the library offers. For a perversion of such things is surely worse than the lack of it.”

Oh my, exclusion of women even back then! This is one of several books I am reading within the category of Books About Books. More on this at a later date.

KEEP READING, and share with us your first lines this beautiful, sunny Friday.

ANOTHER BOOK ABOUT BOOKS

Continuing to read my”Books about Books” list inspired by Random House, I warily approached The Library Book by Susan Orlean. Knowing only that it was non-fiction, and was about the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Public Library, all I could think of was all those books going up in smoke. Since I was attempting to read more non-fiction in 2019 anyway, I ordered The Library Book from my local library. The red, very “plain” book cover told me it was a “…riveting mix of true crime, history, biography, and immersion journalism.” (Booklist)

Orlean, the “immersed journalist” of the book’s cover was touted as a writer for the New Yorker and other magazines. The statistics on the book jacket confirmed my original fear that it was an awful, awful occurrence–400,000 books totally destroyed and 700,000 more damaged.  Each chapter was headed up with copies of one or more old-fashioned card-catalog cards, each relevant to something within the chapter. The story immediately introduces the reader to Harry Peak, a part-time actor. His looks, his movements, and his thoughts immediately engage the reader’s curiosity. Library Book does include a brief history of libraries, but this information was never boring and often fascinated me with details the author must have enjoyed unearthing. Orlean takes the reader along on her interviews, her speculations then discoveries, and her frustrations in researching and writing the book, which was one of my favorite parts of reading the book.

The investigation, the court snafus, the intricacy of the actual event that took place on April 28, 1986, supplies fascinating reading to book-a-holics and library fans like me.

TWO RECENT READS–Morningstar:Growing up With Books and Playing with Fire: REVIEWS

The following two books were ones I read purely for escape while waiting for my delayed-by-ice semester to start:

First, Morningstar:Growing Up with Books a 2017 publication by Ann Hood, was a slim volume which needs to be read with one’s TBR list close by. The book might be described as a memoir organized by what the author was reading at various stages of her life. I had read her earlier novel, The Book That Matters Most, and thoroughly enjoyed it, sharing it with friends at my book club, so when I saw it displayed at the library, I checked it out. Hood grew up in a household that “didn’t foster a love of literature but discovered literature anyway. Sometimes lonely as a child she experienced “the companionship of books.” She read eclectically, pouring equally over classics, bestsellers, and books that were “not so nice,” her mother’s description. Because it was so short, it was a quick read and a unique one. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves books and is interested in other people who love them too.

Tess Gerritsen’s 2015 novel is one I found at Half Price Books.  As a fan of the TNT series, Rissoli and Isles, selecting Playing with Fire, was a no-brainer.  The cover alone was enough to capture my interest. Gerritsen employs great skills of characterization, and her plots and sub-plots combine psychological thriller appeal as well as mystery, action, and plenty of twists and turns. Beginning in the US and continuing in Venice, Julia, the protagonist, is soon caught up in espionage and violence, something she never dreamed a concert violinist would experience.  The intertwining stories of the modern-day professional violinist and the Jewish holocaust-era composer provide good reading and good mystery.

SUNDAY (EVENING) POST

Tonight’s post needs be brief because I have my fingers in several pies at the moment. We spent the morning at church and heard a great “State of the Church” sermon by our interim pastor, which stated what we had done well in 2017 and gave a stirring challenge for the year to come.  It made me want to “get out there and ‘serve’ .”

Books I am currently reading: My Life With BOB (which stands for Book of Books” and was a gift from a friend.  So far it is a delightful philosophical discussion of books and life in general, each concerning a specific book.

Hillbilly Elegy, our Third Tuesday Book Club selection for January, which I’ve just begun and am not sure yet how I feel about it.

The Beekeeper’s Daughter, a novel that has kept my interest throughout.

A Book I Can Hardly Wait to Start: Emerald City, which was a gift from a friend for Christmas.

I have not done much reviewing since Christmas, but I have entered most of the books I’ve read into my reading log, and shall review them eventually. (Think, “Coming Attractions”)

This coming week is my last chance to invite people over and to socialize by meeting for coffee, lunch or supper before next week, which brings the start of school.  I am ready–sooooo ready. I was so eager to get out of school after Thanksgiving that I can’t believe I am so eager to go back.  I can’t wait to meet my new “crop” of writers and get them started on taking ownership of their writing, plus seeing how my new additions to the course go over. The syllabus is written, and paper copies are ready to hand out; I have pretty well made a (flexible) lesson plan for session one of Advanced Writing.  I have a new group, a new room in an old building I haven’t been in in a long time, and a new start all the way around.  Bring on the new semester!

SUNDAY EVENING POST

My Sunday Evening Post has turned into an every-other-Sunday-post, so today’s post will be a catch up for the past two weeks.

I Finished:

The Book of Awesome Women  a wonderful book which was my first “professional review.” (see previous post, please)

bel hooks’ Feminism is for Everyone, a book which explained today’s brand of feminism vs. the “militant” feminism of the 70’s and 80’s.  It was enlightening and educational.

Children’s Books: The Classroom at the End of the Hall, Punished, Ida B., Saving Zsasha, and Mister and Me     All were chapter books, some with more chapters than others, but because they were for junior high and below, they were fast reads.

The Houston Chronicle’s Sunday Edition for each of the two weeks.  This is my fun thing to do on Sunday afternoons when it is too hot to go out or to go anywhere here in Texas.

The Good American, which will be reviewed next week

Jo Jo Moyes’ Paris for One and Other stories, a novelette and eight other very short short stories  (To be reviewed next week also)

I am Continuing to Read:

Poetic Rituals by author and blogger Ritu Bhatal   I am so glad I bought this book of poems.  I just wish I could make it last longer.  I reward myself with two or so poems each day.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey a mystery published in large print in 1951   I have just begun but am totally intrigued.

I worked on:

The plans for my Bookworm Club which starts Tuesday

The syllabus and curriculum (plus lesson plans) for my Comp II class that begins at the local community college Wednesday.

I have been a busy girl and enjoyed visiting with friends (and a couple of doctors) these past two weeks as well.

Here’s hoping the week ahead is good for me and for you.  Happy Reading!

 

 

Monday Morning Musings

Today’s thoughts are on books.  Books, Books, and more Books. Here are a few quotes I’ve collected over the years about books:

“A little library, growing every [day]/year, is an honorable part of a man’s history.  It is a man’s duty to have books.”    Henry Ward Beecher

“I cannot live without books.”    Thomas Jefferson

“Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?”    Henry Ward Beecher

“When I get a little money, I buy books, and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.” Erasmus

“If you cannot read all your books…peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from them the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are.  Let them be your friends; let them be your acquaintances.”    Winston Churchill

“It is a good plan to have a book with you at all times.  If you are presently without [one], hurry to the nearest bookstore, and buy one of mine.”    O. Wendell Holmes

“Books are not dead things, but do preserve, as in a vial, the present extraction of that living intellect that bred them.”    John Milton

“Books have an extraordinary power to take you out of yourself and into someone else’s mindset, so that for a while least, you look at the world from different eyes.  That can be an uncomfortable experience.  But it can also be really enlightening.”    Ann Morgan, from ” My Year of Reading a Book From Every Country in the World.” (Ted Talk)

“One must be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”    Cassandra Clare, from The Infernal Devices

READING RACE COMING UP

Plans are now underway for the on-line PWR group to get together.  We are going to focus for approximately three days before our Sunday Afternoon Reading Race at Rae’s on those TBR piles and stacks that have filled up our bookshelves, book closets and various and sundry baskets or file containers in every room of the house. the idea is to set aside serious reading time to concentrate on finishing, starting, or completely reading as many books as possible during those three days, then report back on our successes on race day.

Sunday afternoon in a come and go format seems to work best for our group.  We have had so far a more or less formal buffet/party, a meeting at a local tea room, an all out Book Bash, and now we’re looking at our own little marathons and a race day celebration. This would work for any book club or as a one time thing for a civic group, PTO, Sunday School class, or any organization that respects literacy and agrees reading is the doorway to lifelong learning–all important goals.

Let us hear from your group, and after we have ironed out the details and met, I’ll report back on the winners and participants in the PWR Reading Race.

My Own Little Reading Marathon–Report Part I

Well, it was a long twenty-four hours, but it’s done, and I’ve rested. (some)

Here are the results:

Finished books    3

Read whole book    1

Started and almost finished books    2

Total hours sleep during marathon    3

Good meals eaten (with help from husband) 4

Loads of wash done (with help of husband) 2

Snacks (mostly leftovers left in bags of assorted chips, crackers, candy, etc.)     plenty!

Cups of coffee consumed     approximately 5 (not too bad!)

 

Rating: Success

Thanks for taking an interest!

 

 

 

My Own Little Reading Marathon–Join In

Because my TBR (To Be Read) pile is so high,and…

Because about four books arrived in the mail this past week, and…

Because school started and I had no time to read,

I am having my own, personal Reading-Marathon.  It will run from noon Sunday, Sept. 4th through noon Monday, Labor Day, Sept. 5th. I will read, read read.  If I understand correctly, one of the most important things in a marathon of this sort is having snacks on hand, which I took care of today, for I do not wish to go to any grocery store on the Labor Day weekend. I have also prepared meals ahead, so I can warm up lunches and dinners in thirty minutes (included eating time!) I will report back Monday afternoon on what books which I’ve already started I finished up and what new books I started or read.  Wish me luck, and join me if you do not have family plans for Labor Day. Write here or to my personal e-mail to let me know if I will have company.

Good luck and do lots of reading!     Rae

 

 

 

EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN by Chris Cleave

Chris Cleave has captured the grit and grind of the bombing of London in his 1916 publication, Everyone Brave is Forgiven. Mary North, our protagonist, is of the “upper class” frittering away her days with her best friend, Hilda, concerned only with eligible young gentlemen, and how to hook them into matrimony.

WAR IS DECLARED, and Mary heads to the nearest recruitment office to “do her part” and to “get in on the action,” with dreams of espionage missions and other assignments suitable to her education and background.  Hilda dreams of all the young officers who will need to be consoled before shipping out and from whom promises of marriage might be obtained.

Alistair and Tony, flatmates and properly educated gentlemen ,choose not to enlist but to wait out the war with as little disturbance to their lifestyles and friendship as possible. Fate and the Axis have other plans for all these young people.

The growth of character through the intertwining of these four young lives during WWII (covers the years 1939 to 1942, specifically) is the fascinating story of this novel.  Cleave, author of the awesome Little Bee, never promises a happy-ever-after-ending, but he always delivers a satisfactory one,which is good enough for me. There is enough humor, some of it dark, to get you through the tough, brutal aftermath of the bombings, and the novel employs several important themes: racial  discrimination in England during the War, the love of teaching, women’s “place” and how the war changes it, romance, and the difficulties of communication.

The book has been described as “Inspirational…” and “Moving…” by critics.  I found it both.