Category Archives: Blog

My Library Shelf – K

Once again we turn to fiction. This time with a volume which gained quick acclaim and also became a movie.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The timing was perfect. The topics were timely. Prior to this book, you didn’t see many fiction (or popular non-fiction) books with Afghanistan at their center. The country was ignored. Or showed as a minor character in sagas centered in India and Pakistan.

This glimpse into another culture was interesting — and a bit of a cautionary tale. And while some turns in the plot took me by surprise, others fit with pre-conceived notions.

Am I glad I read it? Absolutely.

Will I be seeking out the movie? Doubtful. I’m going to let my imagination draw the characters.

Available where books are sold. Also check at your local library.


Starting Small

According to the calendar — spring begins next week. Reminder: we had snow on Sunday.

Mother Nature appears to be up to her usual March dance: a little rain, a cold wind, sunshine, and a touch of snow — all smashed together within a day or two.

These days also contain a few constants. And hints of hope.

Early spring bulbs push up into the air. Even their blossoms tough out the wind and clumps of wet snow. And the trees are waking up from winter rest.

A few days ago I went to visit the neighborhood apple tree. (If there are others, I don’t know their location.) And on a gray morning this is what I found.

Buds are becoming prominent saying:

The blossoms are coming. The leaves are coming. Be patient for fruit.


My Library Shelf — J

Now that we’ve wandered around in the fiction section — let’s make a change.

John Adams by David McCullough

This biography of a United States founding father is the second Pulitzer Prize winner for this respected author.

John Adams – lawyer, farmer, patriot, and president — is revealed in narration and portions of his words. He and his wife had a lively exchange of letters. Plus when he was either in the Continental Congress or on missions to Europe he had official correspondence.

So when you’re looking for some American history, well-written, and able to hold your attention — browse your bookstore or library for this volume.

Culture in Stone

Every city should have at least one pair.

Lions are popular. New York City has them guard the library. Chicago positioned them at sentries at the Art Museum.

St. Louis put a different twist on the tradition. They went with bears. At the Opera House.

This photo was taken on a February Saturday. The downtown area was quiet. Just a few tourists heading for attractions a few blocks away. But they can be fun-loving bears. More than once, exuberant sports fans (possible under the influence) have asked the accommodating stone guardians to “hold my beer”, “on your nose”.



My Library Shelf — I

It looks like an easy chore. Find a book in my home whose title begins with “I”.

Actually, it took a little doing, but I think I found a winner.

In Harm’s Way by Irene Hannon

This book was my introduction to this current, Midwest, inspiration author. In her suspense novels (of which I’ve now read several) the characters are believable Christians living in the current world. Their challenges are true to their occupation, with a dash of drama.

When looking for a romantic suspense suitable for ages 14 to 104, I’d recommend Ms. Hannon.

Available on-line, bookstores, and many libraries.

Founding Father

He signed neither the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution.  It is very likely he never lived within the authority of the United States of America.

So why the title? He, and his young step-son, selected the site and founded what was to become one of the larger cities in the American Midwest. St. Louis on the western bank of the Mississippi River.

Trade. Business. Fortune. These were the forces which drove a lot of exploration in North America. So traveling the great river north to establish a fur trading post would have been a natural thing.

They chose the site for the trading post, village, city well. Moving south from the marshy, low lying land of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, they established it on a bluff, with access to the best transportation system available without the hazard of frequent floods.

Pierre Laclede stands tall and proud beside the city hall in downtown St. Louis.


My Library Shelf — H

What should we get the girl for Christmas?

She likes to read. And she’s almost ten. I’ll see what they have in the bookstore.

My parents chose well that year.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

I read the story many times in the next few years. And dreamed of Alpine meadows, goat herds, and steep mountain paths. It was the sort of story where I put myself into the heroine’s place. Then colored it with my own imagination.

Yes, I saw the movie. Two different ones, I think. They would be broadcast on slow Sunday afternoons. But I preferred the book.

A few years ago, I re-visited this childhood favorite. And enjoyed it. I sincerely recommend it for any girl on your gift list. (Even those without some Swiss ancestry.)

Check your local bookstore or library for this classic tale.

Relaxation Technique

Are you tense? Angry? Frustrated that others are not doing their jobs as you feel they should?

You should relax. Rid your body of overt amounts of tension.

Many techniques exist. And some have made fortunes for the authors and teachers. Massage is frequently recommended — but it requires a second person.

Meditation and prayer appear near the top of any list.

And then my favorite – rumored to be able to soothe a savage beast — music.

Sculpture of boy charming frog and bird with his flute.

I’m not sure of flutes. But our milk cows swayed to the music on the radio.


My Library Shelf — G

The movie was good.  The book was better.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Oh, the hero. Strong. Handsome. A little bit dangerous.

The heroine. Self-centered. Impulsive. More than a little determined.

With the American Civil War as a centerpiece, this story has come to define certain aspects of life in the South.

Are they accurate? This is fiction.

Are they interesting? Absolutely.

Probable? In varying degrees.

If you are one of the rare people who is not familiar with this story — I recommend reading the book first. Give your imagination free rein with the lush descriptions before you see the Hollywood interpretation.

Your local library should have this.


Keep Off the Ice!

Our city had a stretch of cold weather this winter — longer and harder than recent years. It was tempting to walk on a pond. And dangerous.

Warm days have visited since. Ice no longer clings to the shore of the still water. So the temptation for humans is less. And other creatures — well, geese are designed to swim so they should be fine.

The photo today is of another creature. One which I seldom think of in relation to ice and ponds and lakes and such. Yes, I know they are there. And when I do stop to think — I know they go deep, to where the water is liquid and food available.

Can you find them in this photo?

Goldfish under ice.