Books I’ve Read in 2018

Standard

What follows is a list of all the books I’ve read in 2018. You can find them all through Google or your local library. Most of them were library books that I borrowed as e-bookis on my Kindle. The library is a great resource and it’s free!

I am currently reading four books; two will go into the 2019 “pile” and two are meant to be finished today, having read them daily throughout 2018:

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman

 Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling​

Women of the Bible: A One Year Devotional Study by Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda

Continue reading

And Here’s To Twenty More!

Standard

​Twenty years ago last week, the first in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (a slight name change from the UK version) was released in the United States. I was unaware of its existence until sometime later when it was recommended to me by a teacher friend of mine. I have always been a fan of fantasy, played my share of D&D, written my share of worldbuilding. I was a little envious of JK Rowling. This was perfectly in my wheelhouse. One of the things I loved about Harry Potter was its multi-genre layers. The magic world but set in the modern world. Magic for stirring sauce and knitting. Friendships, and others, misfits but still finding your tribe, and right and wrong. It was everything at once.

And so, I read the first two books.

And then the third at the library. Continue reading

What Is Free Comic Book Day?

Standard

Today is Free Comic Book Day. Following the link will take you to their official website and use their location finder to find your local participating comic store. This is a family tradition for many families, ours included since the beginning.

Free comics, stickers, cosplay. It is great fun for all ages. Our comic shop collects for local charities as well, so it’s also a great community event.

January: New Year, New Beginnings: Reflection

Standard

What small thing can you do when you wake up in the morning to tap into that sense of marvel before you start your day? [365 Health and Happiness Boosters by M.J. Ryan]

I really want to be a morning person.

I also really want to be a nite-owl.

I’m naturally more of the latter, although I can stay up until 2am, and still get up at 7 if I need to. If I don’t need to, I tend to stay in bed, whether it’s sleeping or reading or writing. I actually get a lot done in my pajamas. I think that works for wintertime. It’s cold and it’s grey, and I don’t want to go anywhere, including out of my cocoon.

At the moment, the sun is shining, and it’s deceiving me into thinking it’s not quite so cold out, and enticing me to leave the house, which I will almost certainly regret.

Spring mornings just have that sense of marvel. It’s the same sun, the same window, the same temperature on the inside, but what is it about spring mornings that feel differently? Perhaps it’s the angle of the sun, the way it peers in the window, the glow from behind the bare trees. The glow begins a little earlier each day, and it can be not only inspirational, but motivational.

It urges me to rise, to grasp everything.

I read two books every morning before I check facebookagram and my email. The first is the one where that initial question/prompt came from. MJ Ryan’s book of health and happiness boosters. Some i ignore – they don’t quite work for me, and that is what I like about the book; take it or leave it. Take what works, and leave the rest. So far, there are questions to ponder, breathing techniques, quotations, and we’ll see what else as the year progresses. One page, or half a page really each day.

The second book is a year long devotional study dedicated to the women of the Bible. Each week, I’m introduced to a new Biblical woman, and each day a different thought about her to read and meditate on. It’s a Monday through Friday, which leaves Saturday and Sunday for regular worship or reviewing what I’ve read. So far, Sarah and Hagar. Up next: Lot’s Wife and then Rebekkah, and so on.

Those are the two that get me started and my mind moving, getting ready for whatever the day brings: reading, errands, writing, phone calls.

I know it’s not quite enough; there is something missing from my morning ritual, and I’m still not sure what it is, but I continue looking for it. However, those two books are small ways to start my day when I wake up in the morning. It takes little time, and so I can fit it in almost every morning before anything else no matter how structured the rest of the day is, and it carries through the weekend to give me the stability that often falls apart once school and work are over for the week and everyone wants to control the day.

I’ll keep you updated.

What small thing can you change or add to your morning?

Book: School of Awake by Kidada Jones

Standard

As I mentioned yesterday, my daughter and I started reading a new book together. We have just finished chapter four and we have completed all of the activites up until that point.

I’m not sure that this book would have reached my radar if not for my social media relationships. I follow the author’s sister on Instagram, and she mentioned the book and its Instagram page. When I investigated further, I easily saw that this was a perfect book for my daughter. I decided that it would make a great Christmas gift, and it was well worth the extra investment of having my own copy for my Kindle. My daughter and I often cuddle in bed, watching television, writing together, coloring, and reading.

When we began the book, I hadn’t realized that it included activities, which we obviously couldn’t do while lying in bed right before sleeping. We continued the reading until the Sunday after New Year’s when we spent the entire day developing and decorating our soul-soothing tool kits, the first activity in the book. It is also the activity that ties all the others together. That first day, we also put together our galaxies-on-the-go. In the evening, we sat together on the sofa with some old magazines and a pair of scissors and gluesticks and made our self-portraits.

We journaled about all of the S.O.A. [School of Awake] Moments, filled in the blanks, and answered the questions from the first three chapters.

School of Awake: A Girl’s Guide to the Universe is just that: a guide. There’s advice, there’s self-reflection, introspection, affirmations, positive reminders of what’s important, a look at the bigger picture, spirituality that works for girls who either have religion or don’t. There are moral examples and choices, but it isn’t preachy. It isn’t scolding or condascending. It sets the perfect tone of talking to girls that is old enough, but not too adult, but at the same time it doesn’t talk down to the reader.

It lets us explore our creativity together and apart through our various styles.

There is space in the hard copy book to write the answers and take notes. My suggestion to my daughter and what we’ve elected to do is to keep our writing in our journals. I think at 12, my daughter’s answers may change over time. I know that at 51, my answers also will.

Visit School of Awake’s Instagram to see pictures of other girls enjoying the book and expressing their creativity and how they’re enjoying their universes. I will continue to share our progress here as we discover more things about ourselves, both as individuals and as a mom and daughter.

The Grouchy Historian

Standard

​One of the things I loved about The Grouchy Historian, besides the grouchy historian was how timely it was. It made reference to things that had barely concluded in Washington. I hadn’t heard of this book before I found it in the online library I use, and it was very current.

Which was kind of ironic considering the entirety of the book is looking at and analyzing the intent of the framers, something that today’s Republicans and Conservative justices claim to honor and admire, worship even but don’t often put into practice.

Two disclaimers:

1. Ed Asner is an angry old-time lefty, who in this book, defends our Constitution against right-wing hypocrites and nutjobs, who seem to be crawling out of the woodwork multiple times daily, not even having the courage of their convictions anymore. (See Senate candidate, Roy Moore and who is openly supporting him.)

2. If you are a second amendment proponent I ask you to ignore the snark and facetiousness of the chapter on Guns. Look past his opinions and read what the framers wrote about guns and the second amendment. Please.

Conservative scion, Antonin Scalia even said that there are limits on the second amendment. I think that when you have lifelong conservatives like Scalia and Clarence Thomas talking about the framers’ intent and strict constructionism, but then not actually following what they claim are their own beliefs there comes the time to call out the hypocrisy.

You can’t really say the Constitution is to be literally taken and also call it a living document. Madison called it a living document, so we know how it was intended: to grow and change with the times.

At least as a Democrat I have my convictions, which are really quite simple: equality for all, all means all, medicare for all, and do good for everyone. We lift each other up.

In reading what the framers and founders had to say about the Constitution as it was being written and developed and amended, it is interesting to hear their arguments for and against certain things. What I found really amusing with this (and Ron Chernow’s Hamilton) is how similar their arguments are to today’s arguments in Washington politics.

I laugh when I hear that the founders wanted strong states when it’s clear (in this book and the original writings of the framers) that they wanted a strong central government. With a standing army. Collecting taxes. And forming a bank to put those taxes.

Now you have my opinion as well.

Read this book, and if you’re lucky you’ll hear it in your head with Ed Asner’s voice. Can’t beat that!

The Grouchy Historian: An Angry Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs by Ed Asner and Ed. Weinberger