Both my diamond painting work in progress, and the book I am currently reading are about girls with wonderful passions. For “Bookworm Girl,” “Reading is where it all begins. With a sweet hairdo, some smart glasses and a comfortable little dress, “ she reminds us that “we lose ourselves in books, and we find ourselves there too.” ~Anonymous*
In This Poison Heart by Kalyan Bayron, Briseis can also get lost, but in her unique power to grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms in a blink of the eye. The plants also respond to her moods. However, this power can be deadly. Can she learn to control her gift, and conquer the dark forces descending around her? **
The age level for the novel is 13-17, so I am using this as an opportunity to go back (way back! 😊) and remember myself as a teenager.
I am intrigued by both, and they wonderfully compliment each other!
1: having the quality or power of producing especially in abundance productive 2: effective in bringing about 3a: yielding results, benefits, or profits b: yielding or devoted to the satisfaction of wants or the creation of utilities
Based on these definitions, I think my use of the word productive would fit all three of these definitions, so the difference probably lies in how others perceive my productive.
If you are retired, you’ve probably been asked more than once, “so what do you do all day?” When I say, “ work on my diamond art, read and listen to audiobooks, walk…. just to name a few….” I get looks that say, “That’s all?” “That sounds boring…” or “You have the nerve to sit around enjoying your hobbies and and retirement benefits without contributing any real work to society!”
Yes, I do! Just because people are retired doesn’t mean we can’t be productive. As a matter of fact, I think feeling productive helps older retired individuals stay positive; feeling good about ourselves. Ohh, and one more thing! I worked for over 40 years, and earned the right to enjoy the leisurely benefits of retirement!
So with that, enjoy my video clip of productivity in action! 😉
The Patriarch was suspenseful with a wallop of supernatural! Finished the 3rd book in The Broken Earth Trilogy, and thought I would take a month break from fantasy/speculative fiction, then Awakening was ready to borrow on Libby, so I changed my reading order. How many times does that happen to you? Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson was a DNF, but not because it wasn’t well written. I was reading it in early January, and at 25% I got depressed, and put it down. I think it, combined with what was going on in the news was just too much for me. Instead, I started The House On The Cerulean Sea, and it was a refreshing getaway! I do plan on finishing Yellow Wife, but whoosh, it is an emotional read!
The Patriarch was suspenseful with a wallop of supernatural! I finished the 3rd book in The Broken Earth Trilogy, and thought I would take a month break from fantasy/speculative fiction, then Awakening was ready to borrow on Libby, so I changed my reading order.
Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson was a DNF, but not because it wasn’t well written. I was reading it in early January, and at 25%, I got depressed, and put it down. I think it, combined with what was going on in the news was just too much for me. Instead I started The House On The Cerulean Sea. It was a refreshing getaway, and my favorite read for January! I do plan on finishing Yellow Wife, but whoosh, it is an emotional read!
The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby Book Description*: The Color of Compromise is both enlightening and compelling, telling a history we either ignore or just don’t know. Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church.
Intimations by Zadie Smith Book Description*:Written during the early months of lockdown, Intimations explores ideas and questions prompted by an unprecedented situation. What does it mean to submit to a new reality–or to resist it? How do we compare relative sufferings? What is the relationship between time and work? In our isolation, what do other people mean to us? How do we think about them? What is the ratio of contempt to compassion in a crisis? When an unfamiliar world arrives, what does it reveal about the world that came before it?
Suffused with a profound intimacy and tenderness in response to these extraordinary times, Intimations is a slim, suggestive volume with a wide scope, in which Zadie Smith clears a generous space for thought, open enough for each reader to reflect on what has happened–and what should come next.
Light for the World to See: A Thousand Words on Race and Hope by Kwame Alexander Book Description*: From NPR correspondent and New York Times bestselling author, Kwame Alexander, comes a powerful and provocative collection of poems that cut to the heart of the entrenched racism and oppression in America and eloquently explores ongoing events. A book in the tradition of James Baldwin’s “A Report from Occupied Territory,” Light for the World to See is a rap session on race. A lyrical response to the struggles of Black lives in our world . . . to America’s crisis of conscience . . . to the centuries of loss, endless resilience, and unstoppable hope. Includes an introduction by the author and a bold, graphically designed interior.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin Book Description*: At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this “intricate and extraordinary” Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)
This is the way the world ends. . .for the last time. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.
This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.
Read the first book in the critically acclaimed, three-time Hugo award-winning trilogy by NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.
The Talented Miss Farwell by Emily Gray Tedrowe Book Description*: At the end of the 1990s, with the art market finally recovered from its disastrous collapse, Miss Rebecca Farwell has made a killing at Christie’s in New York City, selling a portion of her extraordinary art collection for a rumored 900 percent profit. Dressed in couture YSL, drinking the finest champagne at trendy Balthazar, Reba, as she’s known, is the picture of a wealthy art collector. To some, the elusive Miss Farwell is a shark with outstanding business acumen. To others, she’s a heartless capitalist whose only interest in art is how much she can make.
But a thousand miles from the Big Apple, in the small town of Pierson, Illinois, Miss Farwell is someone else entirely—a quiet single woman known as Becky who still lives in her family’s farmhouse, wears sensible shoes, and works tirelessly as the town’s treasurer and controller.
No one understands the ins and outs of Pierson’s accounts better than Becky; she’s the last one in the office every night, crunching the numbers. Somehow, her neighbors marvel, she always finds a way to get the struggling town just a little more money. What Pierson doesn’t see—and can never discover—is that much of that money is shifted into a separate account that she controls, “borrowed” funds used to finance her art habit. Though she quietly repays Pierson when she can, the business of art is cutthroat and unpredictable.
But as Reba Farwell’s deals get bigger and bigger, Becky Farwell’s debt to Pierson spirals out of control. How long can the talented Miss Farwell continue to pull off her double life?
1. Readability: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2. Engagement: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3. Emotional Investment: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4. Originality: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ 5. Insightful/Enlightening: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Overall: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Neither loved or disliked it; it was good, but there was nothing new or exciting about it.
Somewhere in the vast Library of the Universe, as Natalie thought of it, there was a book that embodied exactly the things she was worrying about.
In the wake of a shocking tragedy, Natalie Harper inherits her mother’s charming but financially strapped bookshop in San Francisco. She also becomes caretaker for her ailing grandfather Andrew, her only living relative—not counting her scoundrel father.
But the gruff, deeply kind Andrew has begun displaying signs of decline. Natalie thinks it’s best to move him to an assisted living facility to ensure the care he needs. To pay for it, she plans to close the bookstore and sell the derelict but valuable building on historic Perdita Street, which is in need of constant fixing. There’s only one problem–Grandpa Andrew owns the building and refuses to sell. Natalie adores her grandfather; she’ll do whatever it takes to make his final years happy. Besides, she loves the store and its books provide welcome solace for her overwhelming grief.
After she moves into the small studio apartment above the shop, Natalie carries out her grandfather’s request and hires contractor Peach Gallagher to do the necessary and ongoing repairs. His young daughter, Dorothy, also becomes a regular at the store, and she and Natalie begin reading together while Peach works.
To Natalie’s surprise, her sorrow begins to dissipate as her life becomes an unexpected journey of new connections, discoveries and revelations, from unearthing artifacts hidden in the bookshop’s walls, to discovering the truth about her family, her future, and her own heart.
1. Readability: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2. Engagement: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3. Emotional Investment: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4. Originality: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5. Insightful/Enlightening: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Overall: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi Book Description*: Yaa Gyasi’s stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoingis a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.
Gifty is a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience at the Stanford University School of Medicine studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut.
Edward Farmer’s engrossing debut, Pale, begins in 1966 in the burning heat of Mississippi, when Bernice, whose husband left with all their savings and didn’t return, accepts her brothers invitation to join him in working on a cotton plantation.
She is slowly immersed into a household full of secrets, deception, revenge, and downright cruelty, which revolves around two young brothers who come to work on the plantation. One becomes a pawn to enact revenge, and the other is mistreated, lied to, and trapped by the choices of others.
As the story slowly unfolds, we see that for some, there is a perceived thin line between servant and slave, and how revengeful choices can define and change lives through generations.
People who like novels set in the south, will love the author’s rich descriptions of rural Mississippi, including the cotton fields, jacaranda, cicadas, and pestering summer heat. What a great debut!
Kwei Quartey’s newest novel, The Missing American, opens with a sniper assassination of a Ghanaian presidential candidate, and then we are introduced to Emma Djan, whose dreams of a promising career in the Ghana Police Service are dashed when she tearfully refuses an offer of a position in Homicide in return for sex.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police who relieves her of her duties, suspects “something happened,” and refers her to the owner of a detective agency where she is immediately hired.
Her first case is that of a missing American named Gordon Tilson, a lonely widower who has fallen in love with a Ghanaian beauty named Helen, whom he meets on the internet. Excitedly, he decides to go to Accra to see what destiny holds for the two of them. To his dismay, he soon finds out there is no Helen, and he has been scammed out of thousands of dollars. Then Gordon goes missing.
Now Emma needs to solve this case for the client, Derek Tilson, and prove to her new boss that he made a good decision in hiring her as a private detective. However, there are those who will not only thwart her efforts, but kill to keep their secrets.
The novel takes the reader deep into internet scams, fetish priests and corruption, while also offering a look into Ghana’s food, people and culture. This is not a fast-paced crime novel, but is deliberate, and the pieces all tie together at the end.
I liked Emma and was glad to see that even with a new job where it was extremely important that she prove herself, she still made regular time to volunteer for a very special cause.
Crime fiction readers will enjoy the novel and be treated to the cultural rhythms of Ghana. I look forward to The Second Emma Djan Investigation.
While recently perusing through Flipboard, a picture of a young lady in The Paris Review caught my eye. She was laying in a hammock and reading a book. “How very relaxing!” I thought, as I envisioned myself also lying in a hammock on a warm summer day and enjoying a great read. I sighed; feeling thankful that since I was no longer working full-time, I could actually enjoy this bit of peaceful solitude any day of the week. What a joy! Then I read the title of the article.
How could anyone envision relaxing in solitude as a waste of life! Was the writer at a life-low when even something as peaceful as this would bring on words of despair or defeat? Or was this a play on words? I sure couldn’t figure it out, but decided to read on…
Over my head I see the bronze butterfly Asleep on the black trunk, Blowing like a leaf in green shadow. Down the ravine, behind the empty house, The cowbells follow one another Into the distances of the afternoon. To my right, In a field of sunlight between two pines, The droppings of last year’s horses Blaze up like golden stones. I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on. A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home. I have wasted my life.
Now I am really puzzled. How could a beautiful butterfly, and a field of sunlight bring about such despair? I will admit that horse dropping did elicit an “ewww,” but let’s continue.
The author goes on…
“I imagined the defeat was that he was just describing a butterfly, a wizened horse turd, a this, a that. I thought he was ashamed of his aimlessness and that he was valiantly articulating his failure.”
I starting thinking what this might look like for a 50+ woman. When would solitude look like loneliness? Would an unmarried woman feel this way? How about one who has remained in a bad marriage? Or a woman who is beleaguered by the constant demands of the job and family, and can’t find a place or time for quiet solitude or reflection? Would any of them think they have wasted their life? I sure hope not, but instead hope it is seen as a way to recharge our batteries, a time for reflection… creativity!
While I encourage you to read the entire article for yourself, I will give you a hint:
You just may find you experience “an exhultant aha!”
And if you liked what you read, why not pick up Patricia Hampl’s new book:
Now, I am off to find a place of relaxation and solitude and a good book!
I’d love to hear what you thought about the article! Just scroll down to leave a reply.