Discovering a writer who sings to my heart

Time to have some fun.

And Adultolescence (Keywords Press, 2017, 248 pages) is just the place to go for that fun.

A few books aimed at new graduates

Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go! has become as much a fixture of graduations as a bride’s white dress at a wedding. Commencement speakers quote from it; relatives give the book as a gift; parents read the book aloud to their high school and college graduates.

Mystery novel delves into the opioid crisis

In Elizabethan England, the vast majority of the population drank alcohol rather than unclean water, consuming up to a gallon of ale, beer, and wine every day. In his biography on Shakespeare, Anthony Burgess gives a compelling, humorous account of how so many of London’s population must have been tipsy by noon.

Sage advice from a clutter of books

Spring cleaning.

When we hear those words, we think of washing windows and dusting neglected baseboards, de-cluttering closets, going through those boxes in the attic, deep cleaning the kitchen, tidying the basement, and polishing up furniture in the living room and study. 

If you’re going through hell: a book and some thoughts

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” — Winston Churchill

By hell, I mean neither a trivial bad-hair day nor that bleak circle of earthly hell reserved to the clinically depressed, a condition treated these days with medication and counseling. No — by hell I intend that protracted war in which you are a lone soldier and the forces arrayed against you are as dark and insidious as Mordor’s Orcs. 

Maybe we’ll never know just what women want

“What do women want?”

Sigmund Freud’s famous question crosses the lips of most men at one time or another. Goaded by desire, love, frustration, or failure, we open our investigation, searching for clues to the conundrums of womanhood, some fingerprint, some bit of DNA, that will unveil the mysteries of the female heart and mind. Often, however, our sleuthing leads only to greater confusion. Like Churchill’s Russia, the female of the species remains for many men “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

Short book provides intelligent insight

“History is a field of human intentions, deeds, acts. We need to look a little more closely at this field of human intention: for upon it hangs, as if by a silver thread, the concept of the Living Being.”

In Stewards of History: A Study of the Nature of a Moral Deed (RoseDog Books, 2012, 126 pages), Caryl Johnston, author of the above passage, does indeed “look a little more closely” at history. She begins with one of her ancestors, Virginia General John Hartwell Cocke, friend of Thomas Jefferson and one of the founders of the University of Virginia. For most of his life, Cocke called for the emancipation of slaves and sought ways to free his own servants, conducting for a time an experiment in Alabama in which he and others would teach slaves the rudiments of reading and writing and how to make their way in the world before attaining freedom.

Books that help bridge the political divide

Time for spring-cleaning. 

The basement apartment in which I live could use a deep cleaning: dusting, washing, vacuuming. It’s tidy enough — chaos and I were never friends — but stacks of papers need sorting, bookcases beg to see their occupants removed and the shelves rubbed down with a mixture of Pine-Sol and water, and the dusty, spider-webbed eaves cry out for an invasion from the shop-vac and dust mop. 

Horrific twister is catalyst for insightful novel

It was April 5, 1936, Palm Sunday, about nine o’clock in the evening. People were tidying up their kitchens, strolling home from church services, sitting in the local movie theaters, listening to their radios, talking to their neighbors. Just another ordinary spring evening. 

Sucking the marrow out of a great word

What’s in a name?

In You Are A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness And Start Living An Awesome Life (Running Press, 2013, 254 pages), Jen Sincero urges readers to leave behind mediocrity, change their desires into decisions, and earn more money in the bargain. According to the advertisement on the book’s cover, You Are A Badass was a No. 1 New York Times Bestseller with over 1 million copies sold.

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