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Book Reviews: 2 in 1 This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness

17 Sep

Over 2 million sold.

 

Written in 1986 and 1989 respectively.  These novels are bold, elegant and powerful.  I much prefer these over Harry Potter books.  One reviewer described the books as “Christian thrillers.”  Smile 🙂  Each narrative is set in a small U.S. town with complex problems.

These books were brought to my attention in a Twitter post by Qanon EyetheSpy.

 

Book Review: Origin, A Novel by Dan Brown

26 Aug

Book 5 of 5 featuring Professor Robert Langdon

I have been a Dan Brown fan for years.  I was delighted to find this at a used book store.  Was there no fanfare on the release?  If there was, I missed it.

The dramatic adventure set in Spain includes outstanding narrative of art, architecture, literature, history, science and technology.  I had 2 years of Spanish in high school and appreciated Spanish speaking characters speaking Spanish (English translations keeps one from getting confused).

Not only is reading Origin compelling entertainment, but it is also refreshingly educational as Dan Brown does so expertly.

Book Review: The History of Bees, A Novel

2 Jul

My interest in bee keeping is shown on the Beehaven@OwlCreek tab above.

I struggled with this book.  I also appreciate the story.  Well over half way thru the book, I felt that I was reading multiple Twitter feeds.  Some characters lived in the 1800s, some in the present and some in the future.  The author does bring it together in the end.  If I had first read the Reading Group Guide on page 340 of my digital version, I would not have been so frustrated.

The contents include valuable information about commercial hives and the highly productive, delicate life cycle of bees.

Book Review: The Music of the Deep

11 Jul

I chose The Music of the Deep because the author ‘Elizabeth Hall’ grabbed my attention (and I read her work Miramont’s Ghost last year).  Elizabeth is my middle name and Hall is my maiden name…I answered to ‘Elizabeth Hall” for over 30 years….no I am not the author….I like seeing my name on the cover.

The narratives on domestic violence as well as marine biology research of orca whales are both VERY well done!  This small Pacific Northwest community has a circle of friends whose love of spinning and knitting created a safe place for Alexandra.

Toward the end of the book the narrative on the character “Robin” seemed misplaced.  My opinion:  It would have been better as a sequel.

I recommend this book.

 

Book Review (plus) The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

13 Mar

 

Love this!  “One sewing machine, two families, three secrets, four generations and millions of stitches”.

This book was funded by readers through a new website:  Unbound.com…a modern version of Samuel Johnson’s idea funding publishing of his dictionary in 1755 in today’s jargon…crowd sourcing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Dictionary_of_the_English_Language

  1. Elfcroft loves sewing and posts about charity projects about a dozen times a year.
  2. The owners of this very special sewing machine kept notebooks/journals/log of every task.  This created a marvelous record (including thread and fabric samples) of the needs and wants of life during the 20th century Scotland.
  3. I loved the inside story of Singer’s major manufacturing operation circa 1911.  Sewing machines empowered their owners to unleash talent and progress.
  4. Natalie brings the family legacy to the present with two paths…one using the machine as is, the second-recycling machine parts into art projects.
  5. The personal stories are as poignant as sewing is important.

Recommended!

Seven Global Concepts

10 Jan

Seven Global Concepts…inspiration for the New Year?

https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/amp/7-cultural-concepts-we-dont-have-in-the-us?__twitter_impression=true

By Starre Vartan Dec 30, 2014

Very thoughtful blog post, beautifully illustrated concepts

Friluftsliv              Norwegian being outside is good for mind and spirit

Shinrin-yoku       Japanese forest bathing

Hygge                      Denmark togetherness, coziness

Wabi-sabi              Japanese embracing imperfections

Kaizen                     Japanese continuous improvement

Gemutlichkeit     German means more than cozy (peak in winter)

Jugaad                   Hindi innovative fix (frugal)

I read about “forest bathing” in the American Way magazine (Dec 2016).  https://americanwaymagazine.com/woodland-cureThey claim 25 percent of the Japanese population walk in wooded areas. The author forecasts doctors writing a prescription to get outdoors…instead of blood pressure medication!

Being outdoors:  good for the mind and spirit…I think of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, understatement-walking the Appalachian Trail. This same article refers to wabi-sabi which finds beauty imperfections. (Growing up, we called it “character”.)

The Kaizen concept is familiar to me thru my career in manufacturing. I like the “jugaad” notion. Many times that comes up when you least expect it trying to extend the life of clothing, furnishings, appliances, etc.  https://www.graphicproducts.com/articles/what-is-kaizen/

Explore the links included.  Great information.  Happy New Year!

 

Book Review: Cosmic Numbers by JD Stein

28 Nov

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12467274-cosmic-numbers

https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?asin=B005FFPMY4&preview=inline&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_z40gAb1RRJ250

Previous book reviews included a book with an author having my maiden name as well as a book with a photograph of my niece on the cover.  This recommendation is a challenge.  Stein explains the universe with numbers and why.

A new friend who is also a recent Mechanical Engineering graduate and world traveler loaned me Cosmic Numbers.  I studied physics, chemistry, thermodynamics and differential equations completing my engineering degree…in the last millennium.  Differential equations:  my least favorite subject.  Cosmic Numbers is fantastic!  I plan to reread it and go deeper.   To engage us with his passion for science and why it matters to us, Stein wisely includes personal stories with biographical stories of the scientists credited with the discoveries.  Check out page 147.  Stein includes a theory on why James Bond is also known as 007…

Do you know a young person interested in STEM?  Stein describes how twelve scientists came to their conclusions as well as building on the work of others.  Consider recommending this book to inspire interest in STEM.

GREAT Grandparents!

10 Sep
Murrel’s and Frank’s Reflections on the Way Their Grandparent’s Life Used to Be
Hawkins County, Tennessee
Amanda Emmaline Bruner Hall and David Franklin Hall
born September 21, 1877 and August 30, 1875
Parents of fourteen: Ralph Echel, Burley Edgar, Grady Murl, Monnie Pearl,
Kermit Roosevelt, Eula Ethel, Lillie Mae, Dana Harmon, Paul Maxwell,
Wanda Ruth, Carl, Jaunita and Jonita, Dorothy Marie
“Mandy”, “Mom”, “Big Ma-ma” out of affection for her greatness
Energetic, constant motion
Did what needed to be done
Magical cook, even a hand full of beans would turn into a tasty meal
All of the children loved her cooking
Murrel’s favorites were brown gravy, fried potatoes and creamed corn
Grady claimed his talent at a carpenter was a gift from his mother
She made her own rocking chair
She was also known to build a chicken coop
Mom would pound used nails to straighten them to reuse
She took pride and joy in raising chickens
One particular chicken to a special liking to he and followed her all over the yard
Her favorite hymn: “Amazing Grace”
Grandpa was a stone mason by trade
Inventor, liked to find easier ways to do things.
One invention cut corn stalks, another ginned cotton.
Left for California during the Depression (1930s) to earn money.
Came home and set out orchards and grape arbors.
Quilts were a necessity for the beds
The house was cold except around the cooking stove
There was never any indoor plumbing while they lived on the home place.
Cisterns collected water from the barn for animals and garden,
from the house for cooking and cleaning.
The home eventually had an organ and piano.
No electricity until 1947, twelve years after Grady’s family had electricity.
Never owned a car or truck, never drove.
Mules named Dave and Tom.
Mandy’s legacy was discovered in a cedar chest fifty years after her master piece was completed
A quilt…no a tapestry of the life and love of her family.

Made with love by Great Grandmother Hall

I look forward to sharing this treasure with my new-found third-cousin Amy.

Book Review: A Year of Biblical Womanhood

29 Aug

Love this!

This book has sat on my shelf for years.  This morning it captured my attention and held my attention all day.  Smart, witty, insightful, creative, knowledgable, curious, honest…

Rachel’s year of Biblical Womanhood was naturally organized with monthly themes based upon scripture.  Each month Rachel had a TO DO list for herself based upon scripture (sometimes the list included cooking, sewing, sleeping in a tent).  Occasionally, photos and her husband’s journal entries are included.  Raised evangelical, Rachel explored this subject with correspondence exchange with a Jewish woman, 3 day retreat at a monastery, Amish and Quaker experiences, extensive internet research, short stories of women of the Bible….and an extraordinary curiosity.

Fantastic resource!

Another review:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/23/a-year-of-biblical-womanhood_n_2006184.html

Hot Dog! A New Sink

18 Jul
Hot dog!  An old fashioned exclamation of pleasure plus the introduction to my short story.

Best value!  $1.5o foot long hot dog and soda at Costco stores (Note:  chicken caesar salads are also great for $4).  We shared this opinion with Mom, who said she had not had a hot dog in a long time.  Next thing we know, she and Dad ate hot dogs when they ate out and bought some at the grocery.  Of course when we go to the grocery, we are thinking hot dogs and buy some to take home.  The twist in the story comes, when we discovered all our condiments had expired (it had been that long since we had hot dogs at home).  
I proceed to empty contents in the compost bin, some went thru the disposal, followed by disposing the bottles for recycling.  A couple of days later…under the old sink…it smells like ketchup and mustard.  The disposal failed.  New disposal ordered…hmmm…outlet and hoses and connections should be updated…might as well replace the sink too!  (The almond finish of the old sink went with the appliances we replaced 10 years ago.)  One thing leads to another and it may start with hot dogs.  Happy National Hot Dog Day 2017, Wednesday July 19th!