Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Book Review: Invisible

Invisible by Cecily Anne Paterson

This is a young adult novel that I loved. Interestingly, it has some similarities to my previous book.. but in this case I loved the main character, Jazmine (not true in the previous book). She is precocious, smart, wounded, lonely, scared, and a deep thinker. Due to some family trauma, she and her mother have moved around frequently, causing Jazmine to attend a bunch of different schools and to cut herself off from attempting to make friends. In fact, when the book opens, she is a master at making herself invisible...this is her armor to keep her from being noticed, talked to, and ultimately hurt.

Luckily one special teacher notices her potential and encourages her to blossom. Jazmine's thoughts are so endearing. As she experiences new things, her mind is blown, and she is both exhilarated and scared. Being a young teen is so difficult, and then add on some family trauma, and you have a scared young girl like Jazmine. You will love her and cheer her on as she struggles to survive.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Book Review: Daughters for a Time

Daughters for a Time by Jennifer Handford

This book is hard for me to review. It kept my attention; I read it in a day and a half. I mostly liked it. There was something I didn't quite like and I'm not sure what it was. I think maybe I didn't like the main character (Helen) very much. Again, I'm not sure why. She just never drew out my sympathies. Otherwise, it was a good story. Two sisters were left parentless when the father left and shortly afterwards the mother died. They both (especially Helen) struggled with issues of abandonment and trust. There were a lot of other issues, too. Some might consider this book overly sad. But I know this accumulation of sad events can happen within one family or group, so in my opinion it didn't seem exaggerated. Some food for thought, some interesting turns. Overall, it was good but wasn't a favorite. (Many people have given this book 5 stars; maybe you will be one of them. I just can't do more than 3 out of 5.)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Book Review: Fall of Marigolds

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner - read for a book club discussion

There are two main characters, separated by 100 years. One is a nurse who works at the hospital on Ellis Island in 1911. The other is a young mother who works in a fabric shop in NY (2011). They each in turn have possession of the same scarf with marigolds on it. The scarf is a symbolic piece that moves through the whole story.

Both characters have loved and lost. They are searching for ways to carry on with life after their loss and in fact, for permission to carry on with life and what to do with their memories and broken hearts. Indirectly, the scarf plays a role in their search for answers.

I enjoyed reading this book; it was entertaining and interesting. I liked the setting of Ellis Island. The story poses some life questions that one can ponder, as well as ethical questions causing one to wonder "what would I do in that situation?". Not a book of great depth, I would rate this as a good, fun read for its time, and containing some good discussion points.

This is Todd Bol, the founder of the Little Free Library movement. He died of cancer in mid October, 2018. His love of literacy and community has spread all around the world with his little libraries and the sharing of books.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Book Review: Candy Bomber

Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot" by Michael O. Tunnell

This is a kids' book that I found on my bookshelf. I have no memory of ever buying it or receiving it.. but there it was, so I read it. It is the story of an Air Force man who was involved in the Berlin Airlifts in the late 40s after the war. Berlin was devastated by the war, and the Soviet Union had it blockaded in an effort to weaken them and make them capitulate and let Soviet Union run the show (thinking, "if they are hunger, they will side with us for our promise of food and supplies.") In response, the Allies carried out airlifts in which they dropped food, supplies and necessities to help keep the people of Berlin alive. After the success of the airlifts, Soviet Union finally lifted their blockades, and Germany had resisted going under Soviet control.

As part of the airlifts, the "Chocolate Pilot" began dropping small hand-made parachutes carrying candy and gum for the children of Berlin. It was a very popular program. The children had not seen candy for years due to hardships of WWII. This little gift falling from the sky gave them hope and strength. Similarly, the dropping of regular supplies helped strengthen the determination of adults to not give in to Soviet Pressure.

The Candy Bomber was popular and well-loved and for years afterwards continued to receive accolades and even invitations to go back to Germany and meet the children he had helped, as well as their children and grandchildren.

More Sewing, and a Quilt Give-Away

I finished these three quilts and sent them to Quilts Beyond Borders.

I sent these to Wrap a Smile.
The arrow one is a pattern by Terry Atkinson.

A while back I asked a friend, "what's your favorite color? what's your mom's favorite color?" Then I made these two quilts. I was slow at getting them done; you may have seen them before. I had them done and still they sat around at my house. (I hope she forgot that I asked about favorite colors.. that was a couple years ago, I think.) Finally, I decided it was time to deliver the quilts. I drove over to their house, and to be honest, I was glad that they were not home. (I am uncomfortable when having a fuss made over me when I give away quilts; it's always more fun just to do it on the sly.) Via text they told me they'd be home soon, so I left the quilts inside their screen door, and took off. After a bit I received a text message full of exclamation points. That was a lot of fun. And later I got a picture of one of the quilts on a lap, with the cat also approving of it. Too fun.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Catching Up: More on the Quilt Show

Our quilt show from late September is already a memory; I promised more pictures and then procrastinated BIGLY. Here I am, finally.

These are from a lecture by Victoria Findlay Wolfe (VFW):

and these are from a a class I took from her on her techniques for making Double Wedding Ring blocks:

This is my block while being designed and laid out.

All caught up!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Book Review: Reading With Patrick

Reading With Patrick: a Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship
by Michelle Kuo

I wept over this book. It is beautiful. My tears were for the friendship formed by a teacher, Ms. Kuo, and her student, Patrick, and for the difficult life our society foists upon poor people of color - lack of opportunity and poor education which lead to years of heartache. Also for the transformation that can be brought about through the sharing of literature. And above all, the beautiful souls of both Ms. Kuo and Patrick.

Amidst the difficulties is intense beauty. Ms Kuo takes a Teach for America job in a very poor and depressed area in Arkansas, the Delta. She relates well to all her students but is particularly drawn to one student, Patrick, who shows a spark within. She encourages him and watches him grow, then leaves to attend law school. Later she learns that Patrick has landed in prison, and she feels terrible - she returns to the Delta and visits Patrick in jail, reading with him and continuing to teach.

This is the best book I have read so far in 2018 (as of 12 Oct. 2018). I highly recommend it.