Friday, December 7, 2018

First lines: Oct-Nov 2018 edition

Rainstorm in 2013.  There is a fair amount
 of rain in most of the books I read.

These are the first lines of the books I finished reading in October and November.  I am cheating a bit here, because one of these is not actually a book, but it’s worthwhile reading, so I’m including it. 

Two of these are short books within a Book.  And three of them are Young Adult lit.

Please do stop by in the comments and tell me what you are reading these days.


Book 1
From Fairies and How to Avoid Them by Miss Perspicacia Tick:  The Nac Mac Feegle (also called Pictsies, the Wee Free Men, the Little Men, and “Person or Persons Unknown, Blieved to be Armed”)

The Nac Mac Feegle are the most dangerous of the fairy races, particularly when drunk.


Book 2
Once Upon A Time, Claude Was Born
But first, Roo was born.  Roosevelt Walsh-Adams.  They had decided to hyphenate because – and in spite – of all the usual reasons but mostly so their firstborn could have his grandfather’s name without sounding too presidential, which seemed to his parents like a lot of pressure for a six-pound, two-ounce, brand-new tiny human.


Book 3
Some things start before other things. It was a summer shower but didn’t appear to know it, and it was pouring rain as fast as a winter storm.


Book 4
There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.  


Book 5
The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of King Uzziah of Judah and in the days of King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake.


Book 6
The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi son of Gedaliah son of Amariah son of Hezekiah, in the days of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah.
     I will utterly sweep away everything
    from the face of the earth, says the Lord.


Book 7
There were three of them, three girls.
They were standing side by side.
They were standing at attention.


Book 8
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely."



The titles and authors revealed:





Book 1
A Hatful of Sky, by Terry Pratchett. © 2004. 
A Young Adult book in the Discworld series.  The evil force in this book is intriguing.  The Wee Free Men are hilarious.  This is actually the second book in the series - it follows The Wee Free Men (below) - but I like this one a bit better.   I read it for book club.


Book 2
This is How it Always Is, by Laurie Frankel © 2017.  Engaging writing style.  Accurate portrayal of parenting decisions, no matter the child you are parenting.  I read it for book club.


Book 3
The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett © 2003.  
This is the first book in this Young Adult series, and the 30th book in the Discworld series. There are 41 books in the series, so perhaps we should call it the Discworld universe.


Book 4
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte © 1847 under the pen name Currer Bell.  
Reader, I love this book.  Every time I read it, I get something different out of it.  This time around, I recognized Jane as a feisty feminist.  I read it for book club.


Book 5
Amos, by Amos © ~750 BCE during the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel.  
Contains many locusts. Or are they a metaphor for armies?  You must decide for yourself, because it’s The Bible, and there are many layers of interpretations!  I read it for church school.  A few choice phrases:

“Take away from me the noise of your songs;

I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."  - Amos 5:23-24

“You have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood.” - Amos 6:12

Our pastor made the connection between the book of Amos and Book 8 on my list (see below).


Book 6
Zephaniah, by Tsfanya, son of Cushi.  © ~630 BCE  during the reign of Josiah, ruler of Judah.
Contemporary with Jeremiah.  The famous phrase (see Mozart’s Requieum) “Dies iræ, dies illa” comes from Zephaniah 1:15.  “That day will be a day of wrath.”  I read it for church school.  Zephaniah prophesies a full-on repeal of creation.  No mincing of words here.

Bonus obnoxious pedantic Biblical words lesson
Prophecy (noun). Pronounced "PROF-eh-seeeee" (rhymes with "see:). The plural is "prophecies" and is pronounced "PROF-eh-seeeez".   As in "The prophecies of my mother-in-law came true:  I became neither a good housekeeper nor a good cook."

Prophesy (verb).  Pronounced "PROF-eh-sye" (rhymes with "cry").  The verb "prophesies" is pronounced "PROF-ess-size".  As in "In his book, Zephaniah prophesies the reversal of creation."

Prophesize.   There is no prophesize.


Book 7
Raymie Nightingale, by Kate DiCamillo. © 2016.  Young Adult lit. A good read, and some antics with a shopping cart.


Book 8
Letter from a Birmingham Jail, by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., 16 April 1963.  This is a 13-page letter, not a book. But still I include it because it is a vital American document that each of us should read.  After reading it, I found myself thinking about how we (as a society and as individuals) judge political demonstrations, marches, extremists, and outsiders.

You can easily get a copy online, for instance, here.

In the “Three Degrees of Separation” category of fun facts:
My father was very good friends with Dr. Kenneth L. Smith, a seminary professor who taught Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he was a student at Crozer Seminary.


Friday, November 23, 2018

Thanksgiving Survey 2018: Roads - responses


Just for fun, I’ve put all of the responses, including yours, in a word cloud.


I loved reading everyone’s responses.  Some of us are currently traveling real or metaphorical roads that are difficult, but nearly everyone had fond memories of some road they have traveled.    

For blog reader's responses, please see comments on the original post.

Here are the responses of my extended family.

Question 1. Name or describe a road, path, or highway for which you are thankful.

1. The tunnel under the street that connects the warm Justice Center to the cold parking lot


3. Crystal Springs Path.

4. The shortcut through the woods


5. I think I’m most thankful for Centre Avenue. It contains one of my favorite places on earth right now.

6. The two roads that are always diverging.  In a wood.    As in, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."   Yogi Berra also said, "Always go to other people's funerals; otherwise they won't go to yours."

7. Lake Shore Drive.  Not the one in Chicago, but the one in our own local park.

8. /Our Street/ Drive. Because without it where would we live?

9. Mandarin Duck Road

10. Death Road to Canada
(The respondent informed me that this is a video game, not a fanciful description of the Airline Road in Maine.)

11. The Giant’s Causeway (in Northern Ireland)

12. King’s Highway in Haddonfield, because it had wonderful shops, like Rosen’s meat market where we could get a free hotdog.  And Neumayer’s sold comic books!)





Question 2. In your childhood, how did you travel to school?



1. School bus, where I was the first stop on and the last stop off

2. I walked.

3. School bus.  Car pool.  Walk.  Bicycle.  Drove a car.

4. I walked!

5. I traveled over plains, and mountains, going uphill both ways through 15 feet of snow until I finally reached the 1-room log cabin where they held school lessons for all the young’uns around.


6. We were told,  "You must always go down to the light at Strathmore Avenue, to cross Park Heights Avenue", to walk to school.    But we never ever ever did that - it was a full two blocks out of our way!  We always just ran across all 4 high-speed lanes of Park Heights at Pinkney Ave, where there was no light.

7. For elementary school I vaguely remember being in a car pool with other kids.  This involved mothers driving station wagons full of loud children.

8. I walked 10 miles each way uphill in the snow, just like everyone else.

9. #48 bus

10. Silently

11. By my feet and by my bicycle, carrying my violin in my left hand.

12. By foot and by bicycle, carrying my violin in one hand.

13. By walking, and then by bus






Bonus Question:  What is your favorite expression which includes the word “road”?
1.  Keep in the middle of the road

(that is to say, a flying car) 

3. And when we both have had enough,
    I will shake him from my shoe,
    saying "Meet your new road."

4. (no response)

5. I like ‘Hit the road, Jack!’. It’s a good song.

6. A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
 Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

7. “You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road, and I’ll get to Scotland before you.”   (For the dark side of this seemingly light-hearted song, listen here.)

8.  Road hog!
     King of the road
     Road to paradise
     Road warrior
     On the road again...

9. I'm on the road.


11. “I used the road less traveled.

12. “May the road rise to greet you.”

13. “If you see a fork in the road, take it.


Two chocolate roads diverged in a gingerbread wood...