Lately I’ve been thinking about traditions, especially those relating to families. How they get started, how they become embedded, how we create new ones while maintaining the old, even after those we’ve shared the tradition with move on.
I dearly miss the rituals I shared with my parents, and if I listen closely enough can still hear them calling me by the nickname only they used. I cherish the silly but touching things my parents did for and with me, which I have instituted with my children, and which we now share with each other (I’m looking at you, birthday song!) And I am so thankful for the new traditions created with family and friends, which continually strengthen our bonds of friendship and love over distance and time.
I am not sure it counts as a tradition but one enduring passion my parents gave me is my love for music. I remember my sister and I used to give them our record wants for Christmas. They would head to Sam Goody and hand the clerk our ‘wish list’, who would ask which they wanted to buy. Their answer was always ‘all of them’. Over time, my music wants have been replaced by another parent-instilled passion for reading and books. I’ve posted before about the annual ‘gift of 9’ (hereand here), which my mom and dad traditionally gave me each Christmas…
…until this year. To my great sadness the tradition is in hiatus and won’t be happening again until someone else I love adopts the gift of ‘9’ going forward. Until then I am maintaining the practice myself, albeit a little later than normal, with my next nine reads pictured above.
How about you? What are your favorite traditions? What traditions for you miss the most? Drop me a note…I’d love to know.
In honor of Banned Books Week 2019 (September 22-28) I’m ordering my next batch of 9 reads which have been on my 2 B or NOT 2 B Reads list for some time. I’ve really been wanting to read ‘Three Women’ and ‘Fleishman Is In Trouble’ so maybe I’ll chose one of those to begin. And while none of these books has been placed on a banned list YET, give it time – one or two have the potential to end up on someone’s ‘do not read’ list before long.
I find it amazing that someone could be threatened by an idea in a book, since reading is knowledge and it’s the lack of knowledge which is truly dangerous, but what do I know. My philosophy is pretty simple – read and let read. If the book offends close the cover and move on but don’t prevent me from reading the story if I choose to do so. I’ve written about banned books before (here) and encourage everyone to send the proverbial bird to the book censors among us by reading a few‘banned’ booksbecause you – still – can.
For the second year in a row I am taking part in our library’s Summer Reading Program (see last year’s progresshere), which runs from May 6th thru August 21st. Last year I was a Rock Star and this year I’m a Rocketeer! To date, participants have clocked 11,314,826 minutes of reading and counting. I am proud to say I’ve contributed 4460 minutes of that total (or .0004% for you matheteers) and am thinking I can log another 2,500 – minutes not books – before the program ends… Continue reading “If a 6 turned out to be 9…”→
I thought I’d be able to settle into 2019 focused on a year-long daily art project I am undertaking with any leftover time devoted to more frequent blogging. Ha! Turns out I’ve been spending most of my free time helping one of my children secure their very first ‘grown up’ job. That said, no matter how busy I am I always find time to read every day… Continue reading “Oh I talk too loose…..”→
Do you have a gift you receive every year? Some item which if not received taints the occasion just a bit? For me, that gift is a book, or even better, books. Each Christmas my momma gifts me with a selection from my‘2b or not 2b read’list (past gift selections can be found here and here). My mom was a little under the weather over the holidays and so her 2018 gift was delayed, but no less appreciated when I finally opened my box of books this weekend. Thanks Mom.
Have you been celebratingBanned Books Week? I’ve never understood how censorship could be viewed as a positive thing. If we prohibit the ideas which offend how can we ever have a discourse which leads to common ground?
Some of the reasons for banning these books include racial stereotypes, violence, nudity, assisted suicide, drugs, religious or political viewpoints, sexism, misogyny, and disobedience – all topics as relevant now as when these books were first published. I am proud of the banned books I’ve read and will continue to seek out anything deemed offensive simply so I can judge for myself. Just saying…
I had three very personal reasons for wanting to review Mr. Brown’s book; 1) I love all types of music, especially rock and roll and anything Elvis; 2) I’ve been involved in the Nashville music scene for many years; and 3) Tony Brown played a rather sizable role in my life in the 90’s. Truth be told, I was also hoping to see a face or two I knew within the book’s pages.
In ‘Elvis, Strait to Jesus’Tony talks about his musical upbringing and features 40 people who have impacted his life. He describes his life journey as serendipitous, and the way he has laid out his story shows how one thing led to another but everything, always, revolved around his love for music. I really enjoyed learning about Brown’s playing days as a youth in his family’s The Brown Family Singers, and then as a young man tickling the ivories withJ.D. Sumner and his Stamps Quartet, Elvis’s TCB Band, Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band, and Rodney Crowell’s The Cherry Bombs. Tony eventually moved on from playing to producing, and enjoyed tremendous success in the 80’s and 90’s with artists like George Strait, Reba McEntyre, and Jimmy Buffet, all of whom take a seat in the book’s ‘chair’ to reminisce about their relationship with Tony.
As they say in the South, Tony’s momma ‘done raised him right’. Here is a man who has seen it all and then some but any salacious tales he knows don’t appear in this book. Instead, what comes through in the stunning black and white photos and the words of his friends is his genuine love for each of them and the music they made, along with wonder at the path his life has taken. Tony Brown’s journey is a testament to honing your skills, doing what you love, and always always always following the twists and turns of your own life soundtrack.
I know I’ve been complaining about not having enough time to get it all done so it might surprise you to learn I have gone and joined a book club, because why not? Even if I get nothing else done – and a LOT is not getting done at the moment – joining a book group which meets once every few months isn’t the time commitment it might seem, especially since I read a few chapters of a book every night anyway.
Our club is interested in exploring utopian/dystopian perspectives and chose The Powerby Naomi Alderman as our first read. Set five thousand years in the future, The Power explores an alternative reality in which women become the dominant sex as the result of a latent genetic trait which suddenly becomes active. Most of the book is presented as a manuscript which follows 7 character story arcs over the 10-year period from when the ‘power’ first emerged until the revolution occurred, ending in a matriarchal society. The rest of the story involves an exchange of letters between the manuscript’s male writer (Neil Adam Armon) and his female colleague (Naomi) in which they discuss the manuscript and their latent feelings for each other (because no matter who is in charge the love – and hate – shared between the sexes is timeless.
Ms. Alderman’s novel centers around the question of power: who has it, how do you get it, what does it do to you when you’ve got it? And when you wield the power, how long will it be before the power wields you? She also writes that two of the illustrations in the book are the key to the entire story. I haven’t researched those but hope to have done so in time for our discussion in two weeks.
How about you? Have you read The Power? What did you think? Whose story line did you like the most? And the least? I’d love to know your thoughts…
When I last wrote aboutmy summer readingI had reached 4000 minutes with 6 weeks to go. As of today, I have reached 5600 minutes with 17 days left to solidify my status as a ‘Reading Rockstar’.
Most of the 1600 additional minutes were spent reading Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s. The Sirens of Titan, Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, Melanie Benjamin’s The Girls in the Picture, and John Connolly’s He. This is probably the 20th time I’ve read Sirens: I routinely read most of Vonnegut’s catalog on an annual basis. My only complaint with Little Fires Everywhere, which I thoroughly enjoyed, was that I wasn’t enjoying the story under an umbrella at the beach.
That leaves Girls and He, both of which deal with success, friendship, and love in the early days of Hollywood. The Girls in the Picture weaves the story of a lifelong friendship between ‘America’s Sweetheart’ Mary Pickford and screenwriter and film producer Frances Marion, both of whom were fascinating women way ahead of their time. Heslowly builds up to the moment when an arbitrary pairing on a movie set leads to the legendary comedic pairing and deep private friendship between Stan Laurel and Oliver ‘Babe’ Hardy.
I would never have guessed that two books with such similar subject matter could impact me so differently. I was bored to tears by Girls and did not bother to even finish the book, while I stayed up way too long each night reading He. The one thing I did enjoy about both books was how each author included Hollywood stars in bit roles throughout their stories Unfortunately, because of this and a few paragraphs in He I may never be able to watch Curly and Mo in a Three Stooges short again. An odd side note – both books have Charlie Chaplin playing an integral role to the plot in each.
Maybe I disliked Girls because it felt like a variation on a story I’ve read hundreds of times before. And maybe I liked He because it was written in a voice that felt uniquely fresh and nuanced, and because so few books revolve around professional respect and platonic love between two individuals, and men at that. Or it could have been that Mary and Frances, who were so interesting in real life, came across as oddly one-dimensional while Stan and Babe were rendered in such detail I felt as if I had known each personally. I the meantime, I’m going to try and catch some old Laurel & Hardy films to see if the magic I felt while reading He comes through on the silver screen.
How about you? Have you ready either of these books? If so, what did you think of them? What are you reading now? I’d love to know…