Sunday, May 31, 2020

Five Things

To help meet the demand for flour from obsessed home-bound bakers, this 1,000-year-old English flour mill has resumed commercial production for the first time in decades.  Don’t you love their grit (pun intended)?

Friday, May 29, 2020

Bookshelf Traveling, May 29

It's time for more Bookshelf Traveling in Insane Times which is hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness.  The idea is to share your bookshelves with friends as a form of armchair travel.
These are from the top shelf of a cabinet where I tend to stick things I want to read but temporarily forget about them.  It also holds my stereo and the coffee maker I keep for guests.  You can see there is no real theme.   It is an eclectic group:

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Before She Was Helen by Caroline B. Cooney - now writing suspense for adults!

Title: Before She Was Helen
Author: Caroline Cooney
Publication: Sourcebooks/Poisoned Pen Press, hardcover, September 2020
Genre: Mystery
Plot: When Clemmie goes next door to check on the wellbeing of her difficult neighbor Dom, he isn’t there.  But something else is.  Something unexpectedly stunning and beautiful.  Clemmie snaps a picture on her cell phone and makes the terrible mistake of forwarding it.  As the picture goes viral, Clemmie tries desperately to keep a grip on her own personal network of secrets.  Can fifty years of carefully hiding under names not her own be ruined by one impulsive text?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Betsy-Tacy Go Downtown, Chapters 3 - 5

Chapter 3 and 4     Winona’s Tickets, More About Winona's Tickets

When Betsy, Tacy and Tib finish bragging about Tib’s adventure, they begin to plot to persuade Winona to invite them to the show.  They consider a bribe but then Tacy has a better idea – they should hypnotize her!

“Take us to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Take us.  Take us.  Take us,” they intone silently from all directions during the school day.  Winona is slightly unnerved by their glassy stares and their teacher.   The trio’s teacher scolds them for not facing front and doesn’t understand why Tib won’t describe her exciting horseless carriage experience but Tib realized that might hurt their cause with Winona.  In fact, Winona says loudly that she won’t take people who stare at her! The girls drop that plan but hypnosis continues to appeal to certain Betsy-Tacy fans in the Pacific Northwest when needed.
Betsy is yearning for Uncle Tom’s Cabin but nobly she does not ask her father to get her a ticket because she knows that wouldn’t help Tacy.   Her longing was a little like what she felt when she saw rows and rows of books in other people’s bookcases (she had read all the books in the bookcase at home).  Kindred meet spirit!  Not that I will ever finish all the books at my home!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, Chapters 1 and 2

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace is the fourth Betsy-Tacy book, set in 1904-05 and published in 1943.  The girls are now 12 years old and in the seventh grade. 

It is time for Betsy, Tacy and Tib’s world to be expanded in another direction.  The trio is now 12.  When Downtown opens, Betsy is in her beloved maple tree from which she can see the town of Deep Valley, Minnesota.   She sees four places that MHL knows will be important to her (and to us!), “the Opera House, the Melborn Hotel, the skeleton of the new Carnegie Library, and the high school that her sister Julia and Tacy’s sister Katie attended.”  She is aware of a world unexplored.  
Betsy has one of the notebooks from her father’s shoe store and is working on a dramatic-sounding story, The Repentance of Lady Clinton by Betsy Warrington Ray.*   Even before Tacy appears to reveal that her father found their borrowed copy of Lady Audley’s Secret and threw it in the fire.

“He said it was trash.”
“Trash!” cried Betsy.  “I’m trying to write books just like it.”

Friday, May 22, 2020

Bookshelf Traveling, May 22

It's time for more Bookshelf Traveling in Insane Times which is hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness.

The idea is to share your bookshelves. Any aspect you like, as long as you are entertained, including:
1. Home
2. Books in the home
3. Touring books in the home
4. Books organized or not organized on shelves, in bookcases, in stacks, or heaped in a helter-skelter fashion on any surface, including the floor, the top of the piano, etc.
5. Talking about books and reading experiences from the past, present, or future.
This is not a shelf but a pile of advance readings copies (ARCs) I brought home from the ALA Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia back in February.  There are few things as much fun as picking up books that have not yet been published but I had to carry everything back on the bus so I was fairly restrained. I still filled three bags and shared some with my sixth-grade niece, an excellent reader.  In no particular order:

Above All Else by Dana Alison Levy – YA fiction about teens climbing Mt. Everest

Monday, May 18, 2020

What to Read During a Pandemic

While some people are compiling recommendations of dystopian angst or Stephen King-like disaster, my rules are different. The book can’t be depressing (of course, depressing is in the eye of the beholder), it has to be worth reading more than once, and it needs to be available as an eBook or from Project Gutenberg.  It would be diabolical to make you long for something you cannot get quickly and I am rarely so cruel!  Also, remember that your library owns many eBooks and may be willing to purchase more.  Download Libby, if you haven't already!


Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson: The unexpected friendship between a crusty, retired military officer and Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village.
The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman: Natalie’s family is stunned when the Vermont resort they want to visit answers their inquiry, “Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are Gentiles."  She is determined to go anyway and it becomes a mission.