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text 2019-11-29 16:15
24 Festive Tasks: Door 6 - Veterans' / Armistice Day: Task 2

Here's hoping this year won't see any more authors' deaths, because too many of the great ones have already left us in 2019.  Those that stood out most to me:


Toni Morrison

(Feb. 18, 1931 – Aug. 5, 2019)

Toni MorrisonToni Morrison was the Nobel Prize-winning author of best-selling novels including Beloved, Song of Solomon, and The Bluest Eye.  She died at the age of 88.


Of all the great authors who died in 2019, she stood head and shoulders above the rest.  I reread her novel Beloved for Halloween Bingo and came away devastated and heartbroken all over again.  If you only ever read one book by Morrison, make it that one.  What a literary voice, and what an advocate for racial and gender equality the world has lost in her.



Judith Kerr

(June 14, 1923 – 22 May 2019)

Judith KerrJudith Kerr, who created the Mog picture books series, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, and the semi-autobiographical When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, died at age 95.


Even before I had first seen the images of children gassed at Auschwitz, Kerr's book When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit brought home to child-age me that genocide and persecution stops at no-one -- rather, anybody, regardless how young, can become a victim.  once learned, it was a lesson I never forgot.



Herman Wouk

(May 27, 1915 – May 17, 2019)

Herman WoukHerman Wouk, who wrote the classic novel The Caine Mutiny, died at the age of 103, only 10 days before his 104th birthday.


What an age to have reached -- a true witness to a whole century!  I've yet to read more of his work (yeah, I know ...), but The Caine Mutiny was one of the first literary works to truly make me think about the nature of justice (and "justice" vs. "the administration of the law") ... and who could possibly not be left stunned with the gut-punch screen adaptation starring Humphrey Bogart?



Mary Oliver

(Sept. 10, 1935 – Jan. 17, 2019)

Mary OliverMary Oliver was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet beloved for her poems about nature and animal life. She died at the age of 83.


And instead of any further words, I'm just going to leave this here (I think BT may already have quoted it in her post for this task, too, but it definitely bears quoting twice):


Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.


(Task: In keeping with the minute of silence, tell us about the authors who have passed this year that you will miss the most.)


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review 2019-08-28 15:59
Swan: Poems and Prose Poems - Mary Oliver
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Wow, what a beautiful collection of poems. 

I picked this up on a whim from the Recently Returned cart at the library. I've been trying to read more poetry lately and was drawn in my the simple title and lovely cover art. 

Then I started reading it. Oh my goodness. This is the first book by Mary Oliver that I have read and I was not prepared for how lovely it would be.

The book consists of poems inspired by the natural world. From trees and flowers to birds and foxes, this book explores the beauty, mystery, magic of nature and how humans fit within its realm. 

When I first started reading this book, a few of the poems felt almost like random lists to me, but as I read more and sort of got to know Oliver, I realized the magic of her words. I think she said it best when she admits, "Okay, I confess to wanting to make a literature / of praise." That pretty much sums up this book. Yet my initial speculation of randomness was quickly dispelled as I picked up the awe with which Oliver writes about the natural world. The reader can actual feel how much she loves and is inspired by the world around her. Each poem, each line resonates with an inner awe within us all. It creates for a truly amazing read. 

This is such a wonderful, beautiful, amazing collection. I loved it. I have already added a ton of Oliver's other books to my ever-growing TBR list. I am glad to have found another poet that I really enjoy. Also, that sassy poem at the end was hilarious and everything I needed as a writer. Definitely worth the read.
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text 2019-03-29 10:55
2019 Reading Goals: Non-Fiction Science Reading List - Progress Report #1
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World - Laura Spinney
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert
Code Girls: The True Story of the American Women Who Secretly Broke Codes in World War II (Young Readers Edition) - Liza Mundy
Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet - Claire L. Evans
Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars - Nathalia Holt
Upstream: Selected Essays - Mary Oliver
Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation - Dan Fagin
Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond - Sonia Shah
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean

After three busy months, a check in on my progress with this reading project:



1. The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean (Flat Book Society pick)

2. Pandemic by Sonia Shah (substitute for a DNF)



1. The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman

2. The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel


Currently reading The Fever by Sonia Shah (about malaria). Up next is Tom's River by Dan Fagin.



In addition to the twelve books listed in this post, I hope to read a few of the Flat Book Society picks.


1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

3. Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney

4. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

5. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

6. This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein

8. Code Girls by Liz Mundy

9. Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt

10. Broad Band by Claire L. Evans

11. Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

12. Tom's River by Dan Fagin

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review 2018-12-15 06:05
A combination of one of my favorite topics and least favorite form
Dog Songs - Mary Oliver
Be prepared. A dog is adorable and noble.
A dog is a true and noble friend. A dog
is also a hedonist.


I don't know if I've posted about poetry here before. Probably not. Despite many attempts (when I was younger) -- including a few classes, I'm just not a poetry guy. I can appreciate the occasional poem -- and there are a few poets I can really get into, but on the whole? Not my thing.


But part of the 2018 While You Were Reading Challenge, was to read a collection of poetry -- and I came close to grabbing an Ogden Nash book off my shelves, but my wife had been given a collection a year or so ago of poems about dogs. And it's been at least a month since I posted something about dogs, so it's about time.


So yeah, there are 35 poems about dogs -- most of them (all of them?) seem to be based on Oliver's own dogs -- a couple of dogs get a handful of poems about them. Those, obviously, you get a pretty good idea about. Otherwise, it's just one-shots about some great-sounding dogs.


Oliver does a great job conveying a strong impression about a dog in just a few lines -- or even a few words. "He was a mixture of gravity and waggity" is one of the best lines I've read in 2018. I do think she goes over the top in terms of the wisdom or deep knowledge, etc. of dogs. But when she focuses on behavior, or personalities of specific animals, I find her pretty entertaining -- and even moving.


I'm not saying that I'm going out to grab every Oliver collection in print or anything, but I liked most of these poems -- several of them I liked a lot.


There's also one essay in this slim volume. Skip it. Oliver is a poet, not an essayist.


Does this book need Burgoyne's illustrations? Nope. But they're nice to look at, so I'm not complaining. I'd be more than happy to hang some of these around the house.


✔ Read a collection of poetry.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/12/14/dog-songs-by-mary-oliver-john-burgoyne-a-combination-of-one-of-my-favorite-topics-and-least-favorite-form
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quote 2017-06-14 15:35
There were a thousand, and again a thousand, unforgettable days.
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