Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

November Books



Reading storybooks to find stories for my Spellbinders story telling at a local elementary school.  Fun!

I Robot was a comfort re-read, as was Beauty.

Mauve Binchy is always a joy, and Veronica Henry's book reminded me a little of her.  

Not sure how Excellent Women ended up on my pile-o-books, but it was an interesting read as a period piece.  It took me a while to get into the slower pace and plot, but I appreciated being brought to post-WWII England.

War and Turpentine was a book group pick, not the sort of thing I might have picked up on my own, but I enjoyed it.

Monday, November 12, 2018

October Books




The Rowan Tree is to dignatarianism as Atlas Shrugged is to objectivism.  There.  Go look those up.
Except, I enjoyed Rowan tree and thought that it has some interesting and possible philosophy to explore.

The Healing Heart stories were good, useful for culling some stories for Spellbinders.

Anathem - still working on this one, took me a while to get into the alternate universe

12 Rules for Life is like your crusty old uncle trying to give you life advice but get side tracked by his own (obviously well loved) stories.  Not particularly well written or useful, don't recommend, but you know, it it's YOUR uncle....

Dear World is heart warming and heart breaking all at once.  Quick read, recommend.

Friday, October 19, 2018

It's complicated

We live in complicated times.  Children in tent concentration camps, "Fake news", the Kavanaugh hearings,  teachers on food stamps, #MeToo, school shootings, so much complexity, such stark reality, it's hard to bear.

There are a few things in the world that aren't complicated.  A babies laugh.  The smell of a rose.

And even as I write that, I think, oh, but what if  the baby is your husband's mistress' baby?  Or if the the rose is on the grave of your child? 

So maybe only very small things in isolation are not complicated?

It's all so complicated.  Or maybe I'm just making that way.  Maybe it's simpler than I can understand?

For example - My grandmother died last May.  She was 93, and had been sick a long time.  It wasn't a tragedy.  But for those who loved her it was sad, and, complicated.

At her memorial service a cousin asked me to speak and to share a memory.  She insisted.  As I stood to speak, I could see the concern on the faces of my mother and her siblings.  What would I say?

You see, my family kept secrets.   Keeps secrets. Secrets are different from privacy.  Privacy is healthy and normal.  Secrets are corrosive.  Secrets eat away at you, destroy trust and relationships.  Secrets make a sham of the systems they live in. 

Some of the secrets in my family were around abuse - substance abuse, and the abuse of people.  When I was little, I had my own secrets I thought I had to keep, and I could feel the secrets of others when I stepped too close to something - but I could never tell you what those secrets were, only that there were certain people, certain times, certain subjects, that required you to walk on egg-shells.  Eventually you just gave up going there.  There were lots of places to not go.

One secret was that when I was 3 years old my uncle molested me.  It's complicated.  We were living with my grandparents at the time.  My family loved me, the best they could.  I loved them.  But they didn't protect us or take care of us the way they should have.  It's complicated. 

Long story short, (long, long, story) I became distant, and even a bit estranged from that part of my family.  When as a young adult I finally told my mom what had happened, she made me promise to not tell my grandparents. "It would literally kill them" she said.   When my cousins started having children of their own I finally told them and my aunts, hoping to protect their children from my fate.  But, they didn't want to hear it, and I was shamed for telling.  I was told I was "rude" for mentioning such a thing.  No comment of any sort was made about etiquette of sexually abusing a 3 year old child and the life long effects of that secret.  The hurt from that made me even less likely to visit any of those people, but I've missed them.  I lost my family, because of a secret.  It's so complicated.

I did visit my grandparents, sometimes, very occasionally, very briefly, with years in between some visits.  When I was 4 my grandfather taught me to whistle and garden. He was also very disrespectful about women for most of his life.  I remember baking pies and bread with my grandmother.   She was mean though.  She could bring you down to size with a sharp word, and didn't hesitate to use force on children.   My own children only met their great-grandparents a handful of times, and those visits were short and closely supervised.  They never got to go to the big family gatherings I grew up with, surrounded by cousins and aunts.  I didn't feel welcome, and I didn't feel safe trusting my children to the family.  I've missed that part so much.  My children don't even know to miss it.   It's complicated.

People try to say nice things at a memorial service.  Sometimes it's harder than others.  More than one cousin talked about the bruises Grandma's "love" pinches left.  "We would compare them, saying "Mine's bigger, she loves me more"."   More people talked about the food and handcrafted items she had given them.  Then it was my turn.  I honestly had no idea what I would say.  It wasn't the time to tell her family and neighbors that her son molested me.  How sad I was that I never told her, so I never heard from her what things happened in her family and her life that might have contributed to our twisted family dynamics.  It wasn't time to share my grief at all the years I lost the chance of knowing her as a full person just because I couldn't live with lying to her and didn't want to hurt her or my mom with the truth.

I wish now I had.  You should never take from someone an opportunity to learn.  You should not deprive someone of the chance to do the right thing.  I did that, I never gave her the chance to change.

This is what I said
"The summer I was 3 years old, our family lived with Grandma and Grandpa.  Grandma had to go to work early in the morning, and for some reason that upset me.  Grandma said she would leave me a note, so I would know she was coming home.   In the morning I would find the note, with words on it I couldn't read, because I was only 3.  But, on the bottom of the note, was a great big red lipstick kiss.  I could understand that." 
"That big red kiss was Grandma's promise that I would see her again."

It's so so complicated.

August and September Books


I'm sure there were others, but I lost track. :-/

fangirl was light and fun, I recommend.
The Golden Notebook was long, and I wanted to like it because of the author and content, but, meh.
Bright as Heaven is a fictional view of one families experience of the Spanish flu in 1918.  I enjoyed the story.

Manson, shudder.  I loved the job the author did on the setting, place and time were so well captured and I learned somethings.  But, every time Manson was in the picture I felt unsettled.  So, maybe the author did a good job, but I'm not sure I liked it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

July's books


The Elegance of the Hedgehog was lovely, brilliant, and such a joy and relief to read.  A book about people, thinking, and finding their tribe.  Highly recommend.

The Marvels is by the same author as The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and in a similar style.  The topic and theme of the book, however, is original, and as good as anything from this author.  Another one worth buying and keeping for the kids, grand-kids, friends, people who might be friends.....

Artemis I read for book group.  It's a fun read, but not as good as The Martian (by the same author)

Origin in Death got on my list because of a discussion about clones.  I had read this series ages ago, but stopped when I caught up w/ the author.  She's excellent at churning out a decent read, and some, like this, are modestly thought provoking.  Beach worthy read.