I thought I’d be able to settle into 2019 focused on a year-long daily art project I am undertaking with any leftover time devoted to more frequent blogging. Ha! Turns out I’ve been spending most of my free time helping one of my children secure their very first ‘grown up’ job. That said, no matter how busy I am I always find time to read every day… Continue reading “Oh I talk too loose…..”→
Do you have a gift you receive every year? Some item which if not received taints the occasion just a bit? For me, that gift is a book, or even better, books. Each Christmas my momma gifts me with a selection from my‘2b or not 2b read’list (past gift selections can be found here and here). My mom was a little under the weather over the holidays and so her 2018 gift was delayed, but no less appreciated when I finally opened my box of books this weekend. Thanks Mom.
I am not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions but last year I did decide to track how many books I read during 2018. I am part of a Book Club at work (with our current pick – Tara Westover’sEducated– up for discussion in January) and took part in a summer reading challenge, achieving ‘Reading Rockstar’ status. Turns out I’ve read over 130 books this past year…
I may not believe in resolutions but I am a big planner. I’ve got some personal art projects I am working on, a few art installations to oversee (including the January ArtLab and April ‘Autism Arts’ shows), and continued travel (Miami, Denver, Mobile, and Philly for sure with more day trips and weekend getaways to follow).
How about you? Do you make resolutions? What kinds of dreams do you have for the new year? Here’s hoping you achieve success in whatever you set out to do next year. All the best for 2019!
I know I’ve been complaining about not having enough time to get it all done so it might surprise you to learn I have gone and joined a book club, because why not? Even if I get nothing else done – and a LOT is not getting done at the moment – joining a book group which meets once every few months isn’t the time commitment it might seem, especially since I read a few chapters of a book every night anyway.
Our club is interested in exploring utopian/dystopian perspectives and chose The Powerby Naomi Alderman as our first read. Set five thousand years in the future, The Power explores an alternative reality in which women become the dominant sex as the result of a latent genetic trait which suddenly becomes active. Most of the book is presented as a manuscript which follows 7 character story arcs over the 10-year period from when the ‘power’ first emerged until the revolution occurred, ending in a matriarchal society. The rest of the story involves an exchange of letters between the manuscript’s male writer (Neil Adam Armon) and his female colleague (Naomi) in which they discuss the manuscript and their latent feelings for each other (because no matter who is in charge the love – and hate – shared between the sexes is timeless.
Ms. Alderman’s novel centers around the question of power: who has it, how do you get it, what does it do to you when you’ve got it? And when you wield the power, how long will it be before the power wields you? She also writes that two of the illustrations in the book are the key to the entire story. I haven’t researched those but hope to have done so in time for our discussion in two weeks.
How about you? Have you read The Power? What did you think? Whose story line did you like the most? And the least? I’d love to know your thoughts…
Being a voracious reader with almost no topic boundaries I am an indiscriminate reader of books from any country in the world. It started many years ago with Russian and Spanish authors, before I branched out to include middle Europe, African and Asian writers, and in the last ten years Middle Eastern autobiographies and fiction.
Amazingly, I am drawn to the same sorts of ‘foreign’ as ‘American’ stories regardless of the author’s nationality: anything about the quest for freedom, education, family, and/or love keeps me engaged and invested in the plot. Turns out, these universal themes have persisted and prevailed over thousands of years, in fable, fiction and fact.
Along with comedy and music I believe books to be our greatest unifiers. We really aren’t that different although the details of our individual experiences can be staggeringly unique. On this, 2018 World Book Day (#worldbookday),do yourself a favor and pick up a book about someone in China, Ecuador, Iraq, Botswana, or one of the other 191 countries that make up humanity – you may be surprised at how much you have in common with someone on the other side of the world!
How serendipitous that I scored ALL of these books from my local library yesterday, which coincidentally was also the first day of National Library Week!
I grew up in a house full of books and was reading before I entered first grade. At age 7 I was given free rein to roam the reading rooms of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Librarywhile my dad explored the microfiche reels for his aviation research. By 9 my sister and I were riding our bikes to the Ridley Park library to get our weekly reading stash, which we would devour during lazy summer afternoons after our chores were finished.
There were numerous trips to D.C. and the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum archives, where I helped my mom and dad research pre-WWII insignia (and once opened a drawer to find a logbook from Charles Lindbergh). I worked as a help-desk clerk at the Baltimore County Public Library during my first year of college. I even spent one year organizing bake sales, weekly Friday dances, and monthly Parent Night Out events to restock our local elementary school’s shelves with $12,000 of new books. If all of that weren’t enough, my momma was a librarian for close to 30 years. So when I say my love for libraries runs deep I am truly speaking from the heart.
Think about it. Anyone, of any age, color, sex, sexuality, income level, education level, or any other descriptor you care to identify with can access one of 119,487 US libraries and learn a new language, brush up on computer skills, watch a movie, take part in community activities, surf the web, vote, or even check out a book. For free. It’s really quite amazing!
Does your town have a library? How often do you visit ? If you haven’t been in awhile (or ever) take five minutes to check out what your library has to offer. Get a card. Prowl around. Discover all the great things just waiting for you to explore. I guarantee – you will not be disappointed.
A belated Happy New Year to one and all. My 2018 began just like my 2017 ended, with me driving thousands of miles to see loved ones spread far and wide. I’ve been wondering why I haven’t been as creative as I had hoped and then calculated between Thanksgiving and January 6th I drove just a tad over 7,000 miles. I guess that’s a good reason for not getting much done, huh? Thank god for rental cars with heated seats and satellite radio along with kids I adore who had hours of far-ranging playlists and podcasts which combined to make those miles a pleasure to drive.
On the downside, so much driving meant a lack of time for any substantive reading. I spent most of December lost in Manhattan Beachby Jennifer Egan, a story I really enjoyed and was sorry to finish. When I reached over for my next read I realized my bedside stash had dwindled to a crisis level. That’s why I was so excited by the nine books that Santa (aka my Momma) gave me for Christmas. I always say the only present I really want is to spend time with my family but I will never say no to the gift of a book.
After I finish the two library books I am currently reading I can begin to get lost in my newest set of 9 (past ‘nines’ can be found here). Have you read any of these books? Which would you recommend I read first? I’d love to know…
While the exact number escapes me I have read a LOT of books this year. I love our library system (believing it is one of the best ways our tax dollars are used) and typically check out 6-12 books each month, as well as buy or ‘inherit’ others, all of which total around 100 (give or take a few). Going forward, I’ve decided to track my reading to determine an exact number, details of which I will share with you this time next year.
As for 2017, I can truly say that the five books pictured above were my absolute favorite reads of the year. Each writer delivered a fresh perspective on love, loss, pain, yearning, and family. I came to care about the main characters, hating some and loving others, always curious to see what was in store for each. These books kept me reading late into the night in expectation of what would happen next and I was sorry when I finished the last page. Even more astonishing, these books have stuck with me as I continue to reflect on issues as varied as as rape, slavery, abortion, crime, and religion – none of them light topics but all treated with respect and curiosity through the author’s engaging, dramatic, and unique story-telling.
How about you? What were your favorite books of 2017? Are you looking forward to reading anything special in 2018? I’d love to know…
Last week was super busy for me. Much of my work week was spent decorating, shopping, catering, and hosting a reception for 60, followed by a one-day 1000 mile drive to retrieve my son for the holidays. Now that I’ve had a chance to relax and rest I’m ready to share my last guide with you – gift ideas for the real Santa (aka: Mom). Most mom’s would rather spend time with their loved ones than receive a gift but it never hurts to have a present or two ready so you can stay on her nice list….
A few weeks ago I listed some gift ideas for kids,teens, and young adults. Having worked many a Black Friday in my younger years I try not to shop over the Thanksgiving holiday if I can help it. Fast forward through a week spent working on a Program in Music, Mind& Society event and I am ready to get back into holiday shopping mode. Next up, some gift ideas for the fathers in your life….