Tag Archives: Books

Seeing Double??

Did you ever notice this similarity??!  It took me by surprise!

Compare the titles as well as the pictures.

Compare the content of the nests.

Does the hatched bird signify anything about us?

Intriguing, don’t you think???

As always, your comments are most welcome.

Photo Credit: Heather Fraser

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Reading and Reviewing!!!

                      

                              I’mm….. Baaccccckkkkk…….!!!!!!!!

Reading and Reviewing are both working their way back into my world!!

But, YIKES!! Many stacks of books around me!! My plan is to still go forward reading the books in the order in which I received them. This may be a ‘not perfect’ system – but I will do my best to make it work.

As shown in the picture, if it can happen to Agatha Christie, it can happen to me!

Throughout these past months I have learned many things – as we all do when life throws us a curve. One of the things I learned, or should I say re-learned, is how much my soul and my mind need to be nourished by reading! It is a life-force for me. I have also learned how much writing, in this case review writing, also nourishes my soul and my mind.

And that is WONDERFUL!!!

The Joy of the Written Word!!

                         The Novel Reader    (Van Gogh)

 

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Help!!!! I’ve Fallen Into Book Blogs, And I Can’t Get Out!!

My Smiley!!

I signed on with Facebook against my better judgement. I was not going to get into a situation where everyone could “see” me!! Ok, maybe I was a little dramatic…… Although Facebook was a wonderful way I connected with long distance relatives, and friends I had lost touch with many years ago, I was not interested in playing any of the Games, building a Following of 800 Friends who I vaguely, or did not know, or signing up with many well-meaning charities. During the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – my country!! – Facebook was a fabulous tool for building cross-country enthusiasm, real team building, and national pride. But once that excitement gradually diminished, my interest in Facebook dwindled. I am still using Facebook, but primarily for family and friend contact, sharing photos, and the occasional You-Tube video clip!

Then…. I’m not sure how this happened, and to be honest, I’m not positive there was any connection to Facebook – but I ‘feel’ like there was!! I discovered the “She Writes” blog! Like most people, I’m sure I have a great writer inside my brain – just waiting for the right opportunity……!!

Content for awhile with exploring “She Writes”, (which is a great Blog!), I eventually found my way to a blog actually called: “Book Blogs”! hhmmm…… That sounded very interesting!! I started exploring and soon enough – I signed up! Just as a home base for spending hours of time reading other peoples’ blogs………!! It was AMAZING!! I was in my kind of heaven! Everywhere I looked someone was talking about books, writing about books, blogging about books, and more! PLUS…… There were so many pictures of books: in living rooms, in libraries, on shelves, on tables, in someone’s hand, on a night table, or even on the floor!! I LOVED IT ALL!!!

So, I started to become a Follower: Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs through Facebook, (a good attribute of Facebook), RSS Feeds, and my personal favourite – via email subscription. And I tried to keep up with all the blogs I was connected to: read the emails, the home pages, the book reviews, and whatever else I could read!

Well, you may guess where this going! One day, I came out of my book daze, saw what I was attempting to do, and yelled STOP!! I could not believe it had happened! I was overwhelmed by books, and I needed air!! I was also shocked – how could this happen? I love books. I love reading. I’m a social person, I like connecting with “Blog People”!! What was my problem? My problem was that I was caught in a spider web of Book Blogs, one blog connected to two blogs, with four blogs, with 8 blogs, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on…..

So I stopped. I cancelled out of the Book Blogs’ site. Wiped out all my data. Retreated from all the Groups I had joined, (I had joined how many groups??). And finally completely cancelled out of my Book Blogs’ Blog. An innocent participant in this situation, I also cancelled out of “She Writes”.

Whew! I felt like I had lost 10 pounds! Wait! Maybe I really did lose 10 pounds!

So, a couple of weeks pass…… maybe, just maybe, I could run my own blog!! My own book blog!! Maybe it would help the old brain skills….. Use that cognitive functioning we hear so much about. Then, once I set up my own blog, I will need to get back to Book Blogs and She Writes – I certainly could not go forth alone!

So once again, there I was, totally involved in my Book Blog, in signing up for Groups, taking part in discussions, deciding I would be thrilled to do book reviews, changing my header picture again and again….. and so on and so on….

BUT! I did limit my groups, got a handle on email, and settled in to do some serious book reading.

Until I wanted to look something up on my blog………..

And while I was there, I may as well flip over to see what is happening in my Groups. Look at all the fascinating comments… must read that one…. Click. Into another’s blog: “Oh look at this!” Another Blog I have never previously noticed, better stop in for a visit… Oh, look! another dapper looking blog button! Let me just click that, and see where it leads me…. Have I been here before? No, I don’t think so, but maybe if I just read one more review. Oh, I must share some of this as a post on my blog! How is that done? If I go back two blogs ago, click on that pink square…….. and so on, and so on, and they’ll tell two people, and so on, and so on……

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Book Review: “Mary Jane” – Dorothy Sterling

One of my favourite memories from elementary school is the Scholastic Book Catalogue!!! Do you remember that Catalogue? In my school we started to receive the catalogue in Grade 4. It was the first place I actually purchased books!! It was so exciting! I can remember pouring over the catalogue, reading the descriptions of all the books, and seeing how much they cost! As you can imagine, my parents had a slight cap on how much I could spend, at times bending the rules when I could not decide between titles. I filled in the order form, gave it to my teacher, and waited. Waited for the arrival of THE BOOKS!! When the day came, I would come back to my desk after recess, and there they would be – a neat little pile on my desk. Oh, my! That was thrilling!

For the most part, I still have my Scholastic books, which proudly occupy a shelf in my ‘book room’! My all time favourite Scholastic book and actually I would say it is still my all time favourite book, was and is “Mary Jane” by Dorothy Sterling. I purchased it in Grade 5. The lead character is Mary Jane Douglas, who lives in High Ridge, in the southern United States. The book is set in the early days of integration; Mary Jane is a black American – who has decided to go to what was an all white high school – Wilson High – simply because it was the best high school in town. Integration had just started and Mary Jane, and her friend Fred Jackson, were the first, and the only, black students starting at the high school, junior level.

After Mary Jane has spent the summer on her Grandfather’s farm, she returns home to find her mother talking about getting ready for high school. Mary Jane’s Mother is putting more excitement in this new year, than ever before! Mary Jane is overwhelmed by her Mother’s purchases: new clothes, shoes, school supplies, and even a new ‘big’ bed.

On the first day of school, Mary Jane and Fred are escorted by their fathers, right into the door of the school. To get to that door Mary Jane, Fred, and their fathers must go through a large crowd of white protestors – they even have a police escort. The crowd is filled with angry townspeople, neighbours, students, and parents, and is a startling experience for Mary Jane.

Mary Jane does not really understand what the problem is – she is simply starting high school! All around Mary Jane, other characters in the book, especially in the first half of the book, frequently speak about “they”: ‘they won’t like this’, ‘they have rules’, ‘what will they say’ and ‘what will they do’? This puzzles Mary Jane, who really cannot understand what the fuss is about and cannot figure out who are ‘they’?

Mary Jane faces discrimination, taunts, and physical hurts; but that does not stop her. When shunned in the lunch room, she calmly sits alone. When hurtful words and hurtful names are thrown at her – she forges ahead; learning new subjects, completing projects, she is befriended by one fellow classmate, two teachers, and eventually entering a Science Fair with trained white mice. Mary Jane even becomes part of a Junior Science Club, where she meets students who do not care about the colour of her skin – a happy experience for Mary Jane.

A typical first year high school student, Mary Jane does get mischievous, visits the science room after school is over, hides a squirrel named Furry, and hides secrets from her parents. The book ends just as the Science Fair is getting underway, and although the mice act as they were trained, whether or not Mary Jane wins a prize, is left to the reader’s imagination.

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I just re-read this book about a month ago and it held my interest as much now as it did in Grade 5. I enjoy the fact that Mary Jane is a strong young girl, who accomplishes everything she puts her mind to, and my imagination sees her becoming a leader as she continues through high school, and moves forward to a career. Mary Jane’s grandfather is a retired biologist university professor, her father is a lawyer, her elder sister is a nurse, and her brother is studying to become a lawyer. Mary Jane’s great-grandmother was a slave who fought to educate herself, knew things “were better up north”, and eventually escapes the south, only returning after the Civil War. These are Mary Jane’s heros.

I love the way this book is written so easily, and flows so gently, while attacking the painful hurt of discrimination. Dorothy Sterling’s writing just draws me in – even after all these years – into Mary Jane’s life and world, and eventually I feel like I am Mary Jane, feeling all her challenges and emotions through the difficult beginning of high school, and the difficult time of forging new friendships in a world that could be peaceful, but instead is alive with racism. This book is definitely written for a grade five student back in the ‘60’s. Some of the phrases are outdated today, but the sentiments are still real. The lessons and teachings of this book contributed to the lessons and teachings I received at home from my parents. Be kind to everyone. Treat everyone the same. Treat everyone as you would like to be treated. And 45 – 50 years later the world still needs to know about Mary Jane.

It was only recently that I found out that Dorothy Sterling continued her career as a writer, completing approximately 35 books for adults, including some of the first non-fiction works about black history. The attached article was written when Dorothy Sterling died in 2008, at the age of 95. Interesting reading. I think a trip to the library is in order!

<a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/05/arts/05sterling.html” target=”_blank”></a>

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It Definitely Had to Happen!! Book Review!!

It Had to Happen” – written by Cynthia A. Patterson

One of our biggest hurdles in life is letting go of our past. As humans we seem to want to linger in the past, especially dwelling on our times of illness, suffering, and loss. The question that repeats itself is: “Why?”, “Why did this happen?”, “Why now?”, and “Why me?”

In the book “It Had to Happen”, Cynthia Patterson assists us in moving past the “Why’s”, and moving forward with the understanding that our past is necessary for our future; even the rough past, maybe especially the rough past. In less than 100 pages Cynthia Patterson brings the reader to not only acknowledge the past, (the good and the rough), but to move forward from that past to the present life. A pathway that is unique to each reader.

Even when some of the author’s life examples, life wounds, did not directly apply to me, Patterson’s skilled prose led me to an alternative place – that was uniquely mine. I would suggest that it will be the same for any reader poised to move forward on their life’s spiritual journey.

When I read a book, such as this book, which has questions at the end of each chapter, I sometimes bypass those questions – and therefore the subsequent internal work those questions imply!! Sometimes.

However, you know the phrase: “She had me at `Hello'”? Well, Cynthia had me at the very first question at the end of Chapter 1. The Journal Reflections, which repeat themselves at the end of every chapter, fit together with the questions in unique and compelling ways. Cynthia calls her questions: “Discovery Questions” and they are just that.

“It Had to Happen – Understanding that Everything You Go Through in Life is for God’s Purpose” is fully realized step by step, leading the reader to the revelation that everything truly did have to happen – for you to journey your own unique path during this life.

For her biblical connection, the author chose a passage from The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 9 – the woman with the issue of blood. Now, do not be put off by this scripture passage, it is simply referring to a woman with some sort of health issue. Basically referring to each of us, with our everyday health and spiritual challenges, whatever they may be.

Whether you are new to a quest of self discovery and personal faith, or seeking to deepen your connection with God and self, “It Had to Happen” is an enlightening place with which to move forward. It is a book that invites the reader back time and time again, with each reading bringing you closer and closer to your inner self and ultimately to God.

“It Had to Happen” is a definite `keeper’ on my personal bookshelf!

Cynthia Patterson introduced her book by stating that we would embark on a journey – that we would visit our past – and that we would see the direction of our future. And for me, it happened! “It Had to Happen”!

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