Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Monday, May 31, 2021

What I'm Reading and Recommending

I've been sadly lacking in my reading of kids' books lately. Haven't read a middle-grade novel or even a picture book in a while.

Ah, life, right?

But we have a family birthday coming up- with party!- and the Birthday Boy loves books. When I saw this one, I had to have it. 


I'm only a little bit into it but I LOVE THIS BOOK.

First of all, Pompeii. Then a strong man who literally lifted heavy objects and moved them to safety. Or at least to where they could be looted more easily. 

I'm sure all my librarian friends already know this and other cool-sounding titles by Sarah Albee. But for those of us who don't read a lot of kids' non-fiction (anymore! I read a lot of it when I was a school librarian), this would be a fun place to start. Her turns of phrase (turn of phrases?), her sense of humor, her deep digs - pun intended!-have kept me glued to the book.

Okay, glued may be too strong. I'd be glued if I could.

But I do dip into it every day and often find myself reading more than I'd planned. Plus, deadline- Birthday Boy needs the book!

I'm reading a lot of thriller/ detective/ mystery books still. My escape into the world of adults. 

 This book is getting rave reviews and I'd love to know if anyone else has read it. 


 It was a page-turner all right. Great writing, good story. BUT...

(not exactly a spoiler alert coming up, but you can avert your eyes if you're reading or about to read)

Did anybody else see the plot twist coming?  Maybe it's because I've been reading waaaay too many "thrillers" during the past year. Maybe it's the writer in me. But the breadcrumbs were there for the following and that's all I'm saying. Feel free to comment!

Even so, the excellent writing made it worth reading. I appreciate NetGalley for giving me an early read. It's just out and available for purchase.

My friend Shannon Hitchcock- who's written a few books herself!- posted a picture of a book she'd found in a vacation rental that she said was a perfect distraction, or at least a very good beach read. This is not a genre I read much of but if you're looking for short and funny and even surprising in its own way, check out this series. 


I think there about a zillion books by this author listed at my library.

Speaking of my library. Thank you, Libby App

I would not have survived the past year + without you, my friend.

Funny aside: One summer I worked as a library intern for the Mississippi Library Commission. Wow, talk about eyes opening! But one thing I learned is that these "Regency Romances" were  very, very popular. Took up a huge bookcase and they traveled in and out of the library with great speed. All the little old ladies loved them. 

Oh dear.

Have I become a little old lady?



Friday, May 21, 2021

Iowa and Other Stops Along the Road

Do you play the "map" game where you count up all the states you've visited?

Do you think about how different places might have influenced the way you talk, what you like to eat, what you think even? I've lived so many place I'd have to stop and re-count them!

Possibly the first faraway place I ever visited was in high school when our Mississippi school sponsored an Exchange Trip with a town in Iowa. There were all sorts of reasons they chose Spencer, Iowa for us to visit. Weather, demographics, etc etc. We went there in February, they came to us in the early spring.

It was a trip I haven't forgotten. According to a now-destroyed diary, we stayed at the U-Smile Motor Hotel along the way. (Must file that name away but it sounds slightly risque, doesn't it?)

First blizzard.

First kids who talked differently from everybody I knew.

First visit to a packing plant. Eeew. How have I ever eaten beef again.

It was the only time I ever set foot in Iowa. 

But the world has shrunk since those days. Now you can visit almost anywhere, in person or virtually. You can have friends who are nothing like you, yet everything like you.

You can have a refrigerator magnet, a special gift from a friend- complete with his #truefriend heart- and be transported back to high school, and a blizzard!



In case you're wondering, here's a photo. Note: not too many of us had real snow boots. 

(I'm not in this picture so I assume I was behind the camera.)

The snow got a lot deeper. We were stranded there a few extra days but nobody complained!


 What places do you remember that were so different they made your eyes open wider or your attitude change or your idea of where you could live flipflop?

Monday, May 3, 2021

Things I Love

This used to be a THING. 

I shared "Things I Love," blatantly copied from my buddy Barbara O'Connor's blog. 

I think she calls hers Things I Love Thursdays.

It was a thing I did with some regularity. 

But when you move, many things go by the wayside, including some things I love(d).

(and writing in my blog kind of took a nose-dive, too!)

But I kept this.


Because it has a story.

My husband brought three of these from a Navy deployment in Rota, Spain. They are olive jars. I filled two with flour and sugar, back in the day. I filled the third with shells we'd collected from beaches everywhere! And he turned it into a lamp.

Then we moved to Florida. All three became shell jars. One held a large conch shell, a gift from my first-born granddaughter's Great Godmother on her baptism!

When we moved again, I gave her the jar and the shell.

I brought one with me to our new home, the one filled with shells from beaches everywhere.

The stories our THINGS tell, right?


Linda Sue Park has a new book I haven't read but keep reading about. 

I bet it would make a great writing activity, for young and old.