Monday, December 21, 2020

Book Review: Snow Hunters

 Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon

This book is so well written! I often stopped just to soak in various passages due to the lovely writing. I loved the gentle pace and the way the characters went about observing their worlds and building their lives.

A young man grows up in North Korea, lives through the war, and spends some time in a POW camp. Later he makes a getaway on board a cargo ship, the only passenger among the paid crew. He disembarks in Brazil where he knows no one and speaks no Portuguese. His life carries on as he sorts out his war trauma and his new surroundings.

The writing is almost spare yet very poetic. The pace is steady; life goes on. I grew to love the characters.

my friend's grandchildren, twins, a couple of years ago

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Trying to Clear my Brain

 Uffda.. 2020 has been hard. I'm mostly happy being at home on lock-down, but at the same time, my brain is frazzled. Times have been very stressful. I could list all the junk that has happened, but I won't. Most of it has been in national and world news anyway.

I'm still finding it hard to read, but I'm muddling through a little better than at first during the pandemic. I have done a LOT of sewing so I am going to try to catch up with some pictures of what I have made.

Just like my brain function lately, that one quilt pic decided to align itself to the left instead of to the center. There is no reason why, and no fixing it. Next time maybe I'll show you my ice dyed pieces.

That's enough for now. I don't want to bore you. And my brain is still as foggy as it was when I started.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Book Review: Open House

 Open House by Katie Sise

This one was an interesting story about a family whose daughter had died; ten years later it is still an unsolved mystery, and the younger sister, now an adult, deals with aftermath of the trauma.

The story started out strong; I thought I was in for a good read. However, before long it felt like a soap opera; a first-person account from the victim, explaining her life ten years before, went on for too long, right up to the very moment she vanished. A good story fell flat. I felt this book could have used some better editing.

Not my usual picture of someone reading.
Someone else posted this picture, and I borrowed it from Facebook.
I thought it made such a pretty winter picture.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

American Dirt -- Book Review

 Book: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Wow! This book grabbed my attention from sentence one! I could hardly put it down. Tense, moving, interesting, well-told. This book is an eye-opening look at immigration. I have heard there is some controversy since the author is not from Mexico (it's about a family from Mexico). But I don't hold that against her as it seems to be very well researched and so well told. A good author can write well about a place she is not from. Cummins does that beautifully. I highly recommend this fascinating book.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Two Books

 A World Erased by Noah Lederman

Lederman's grandparents were Holocaust survivors. As he grows up he begins to feel more and more curious about their stories. He especially admires his grandfather (Poppy) and wants to know Poppy's history, which included fighting with insurgents against the Nazis while in the Warsaw Ghetto.

When Poppy dies before revealing his past, Lederman is alarmed, and he begins to pester his grandmother for stories. Through this process he gains respect for his grandmother. As a budding journalist, Lederman had a burning desire to learn the full stories. "Never again" has special meaning to him as the atrocities are so close to his own life. I still find it terrible to read and to try to comprehend the cruelty we humans can inflict upon each other. Since the Holocaust, even more atrocities have occurred. When will we say "never again" and really mean it?

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama's memoir of her life, focusing especially on her years of marriage to and life with Barack Obama and their foray into politics, eventually reaching the White House.

I started this book early in the COVID experience, when shelter-in-place was fairly new. At that time my mind was so distractible; I could not read coherently for a couple of months. During that time I put this book down. Later I came back to it and finished it. I truly admire Ms. Obama, but the book didn't light any fires for me. It was interesting, but I maybe should have read it when I was not affected by COVID-brain.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

A Nephew and His Quilt

 My nephew recently let me know that the quilt I gave him in 2007 has been well used and well loved -- so much so that it is now holey and threadbare. His girlfriend thinks it should be replaced. So.. of course, I felt inspired to send him a new one. This one was made about 4 years ago but has barely been used, so it's like new and is new to him.

He lives in California, with temps above 100 and smoky air surrounding him. Not really quilt weather! I was just happy to know it arrived safely. Now I know he has a blankie that is not threadbare. This was so much fun that I think I will send another one to another relative who has let me know how much he/she loves the original one I gifted long ago. My plan was to give every relative ONE quilt made by me. However, when Quilt Love is expressed, then I really don't mind gifting a second one. (In fact, I love it.)

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Book Reviews: Two Books

How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

Kendi walks us through his own journey of discovery as he explores where racism came from, what it really means, and how we need to re-examine our responses to it. Through the journey he learns to change some of his own habits and attitudes. He's very honest about what he learned about himself.

He also describes what we should all work toward which is focusing on policy. The results of racism are bad policies which harm entire groups of people. Our nation's attitude has become one of blaming the people, when in fact we need to blame the policies. He outlines some clear steps he followed along his own self-examination. He also lists the steps the rest of us can follow. It will require some hard work. But he ends on a hopeful note, assuring us that these changes are possible.

A very thought-provoking book.

Inheritance: a Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

Not many memoirs are so riveting that I can hardly put it down. This one is. Shapiro's writing is beautiful. Her intelligence leads her to a thorough soul-searching and "new life" discovery as she suddenly at age 54 learns that her father was not her biological father. The story is captivating and spiritually rich. She now makes a podcast called "Family Secrets" which she handles equally as beautifully. I am captivated by her podcast as I was this book.

The COVID thing fogged my brain, and there were two full months in which I was not able to read. Now I'm back to reading like normal, and it feels great! I love books!