Category Archives: Book friends

Two Books on Courage

For the last few years I have chosen one word to be my guiding theme for the year. My word for 2022 is Courage. (You can read about my reasons for choosing this particular word by clicking here.) I am planning to read many different books on courage this year and started this project by reading the following two beautiful stories.

I was delighted when my friend, Marlo, sent me a wonderful little picture book called Courage, by Bernard Waber. It was the perfect gift — heartwarming and deeply appreciated support for me.

It’s a poignant little picture book for the very young and the much older, reminding us that courage comes in all sizes and shapes!

From the publisher:

What is courage? Certainly it takes courage for a firefighter to rescue someone trapped in a burning building, but there are many other kinds of courage too. Everyday kinds that normal, ordinary people exhibit all the time, like “being the first to make up after an argument,” or “going to bed without a nightlight.” Bernard Waber explores the many varied kinds of courage and celebrates the moments, big and small, that bring out the hero in each of us.

 

In January, I also read the Newbery Award winning book of 1941, Call It Courage, by Armstrong Sperry. It is a classic tale of a young boy overcoming his fear of the sea.

From the publisher:

Maftu was afraid of the sea. It had taken his mother when he was a baby, and it seemed to him that the sea gods sought vengeance at having been cheated of Mafatu. So, though he was the son of the Great Chief of Hikueru, a race of Polynesians who worshipped courage, and he was named Stout Heart, he feared and avoided the sea, till everyone branded him a coward. When he could no longer bear their taunts and jibes, he determined to conquer that fear or be conquered– so he went off in his canoe, alone except for his little dog and pet albatross.

I have read it and reread many times over the years, and my copy of this book from my teaching years showed that it was read often by my sixth graders. It is a moving story and one that teaches us to face what we are most afraid of.

A New Blog Feature


I love to take photos! It started when I was six years old and won a Brownie camera in a coloring contest, so my interest in photography started at a young age. And later, when my kids were little, I took a photography class called “Ways of Seeing.” It was taught by an architecture professor, who was also a photographer, and she sparked in me a passion for photographing what I see every day.

I post many of my daily photos on my Instagram account, but I’ve decided to start a new feature on my blog and use some of them as my header, changing it often. The inspiration came from Nan, at Letters from a Hill Farm, because I love going to her blog to see the photos she chooses for her header.

I hope you enjoy this new feature as much as I enjoy sharing my ‘way of seeing’ with you!

Thirteen Years

Thirteen years ago, I started this blog. It was a wonderful reading world to enter and I was welcomed warmly by so many of you. The friends I’ve made through this blog are cherished.

Book blogs have changed a lot in thirteen years, but the love of reading and sharing with fellow readers hasn’t changed. You have all expanded my world exponentially!

I am grateful for all of you, my blogging/reading friends.

Thank You

Today this blog turns twelve! Thank you, dear friends and followers, for visiting and reading my varied thoughts about books and the importance of reading in my life. Thank you for your thoughtful responses and caring support. And thank you for sharing your book love with me!

I appreciate each one of you!

 

A Delightful Surprise

I’ve bought quite a few used books through Amazon, although Powell’s Bookstore is always my first choice. But I was looking for a particular book by Miss Read, and it was available through a third-party seller on Amazon, so I ordered it and it arrived yesterday. It was a very rainy afternoon, and our mail often arrives in a rather wet condition on those days. This book, however, was wrapped well in waterproof packaging (do they do that when sending books to the Pacific Northwest?) and was in great condition. But the delightful part was the personal note I found with the book. With that note, Texas Exile Books, in Oro Valley, Arizona, has won my heart!  I’ll happily recommend them and order used books from them again.

Here’s what the note said in case you can’t read it easily in my photo:

Dear Mrs. Rice,

Thank you for choosing Texas Exile. We hope you enjoy The Market Square by Miss Read (Dora Jessie Saint).

We also suggest – as firm fans of Miss Read & even the old grump, Mrs. Pringle – The Fairacre Series and the Thrush Green novels. Also The Howards of Caxley & the author’s memoirs, A Fortunate Grandchild & Time Remembered.

…Texas Exile Books

Blogging, Friends, and Lots of Life

Book blogging buddies

There has been a lot of LIFE happening in the last few months, some of it difficult and some of it absolutely lovely but also time-consuming. As a result I have gone missing from my blog once again! But  I have continued with my reading, just not with writing about it, and have quietly visited many of your blogs when time allowed.  But after meeting two lovely blogging friends for lunch yesterday, Les @Coastal Horizons, and Kay @Kay’s Reading LIfe, I am inspired again to return to my writing and sharing about books and life. Thank you, Les and Kay!  But before I tell you what books I’ve been enjoying (I promise another post devoted to the books I’ve read since April), I must tell you what LIFE has been like around here recently.

The major focus for me in the last few months has been my mother’s health. Those of you who have followed me over the years, know that my mother is a great reader, my mentor and best friend, and my reading buddy. Since we live in different states, this blog was started as another way to communicate with her and share what we are reading. My amazing and resilient mother is turning 99 years old in August! And she continues to be an avid reader. We always talk about books  during our daily phone conversations, but recently she has begun to have some more serious health problems, so we fully realize that these days and our daily conversations are precious.

In the last six months, I have made a number of special trips to see her. On one trip, I took my daughter, and then a few months later, I took my son and grandson to see her. Each trip was wonderful and full of special memories. My husband and I visited her in May, and we are heading out next week for another, longer, visit with her. My brothers and their wives will all be there as well, so it will truly be a celebration of family and an early birthday celebration for her. She and I will definitely be talking about books during that visit and I will treasure those moments.

The other focus in the last few months has been on my garden! Yes, gardening is definitely therapy for anxiety and anticipated loss, but it is also my new passion. My husband, my daughter, and I all share in the work on these garden projects, and it’s been a delightful way to spend our time!

The garden project we’ve been working on (started last Fall) is my “Butterfly Garden,” a project inspired by the butterfly garden built by the 2nd graders in my school before I retired. We have turned a narrow piece of our property, on the south side of the garage and along the alley way, into a beautiful garden! We can’t see it from the house, so we’ve put chairs out there so we can sit and watch the flowers grow, the bees do their thing, and a few butterflies that are finding their way to a place designed specifically for them. I hope you enjoy this slideshow of the butterfly garden as it has progressed!

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A Special Visit

A panorama of the view from our hotel…

This week, Byron and I are vacationing on the Oregon coast to celebrate my upcoming birthday. It’s been a nice trip although January weather on the coast has been gray, rainy and windy. That’s okay with us, though, because it is just so beautiful here!

But the best thing about this trip happened this morning when we visited my long-time blogging friend, Les (@Coastal Horizons) and her husband, Rod, and her mother, Andrea. It’s an amazing experience to finally meet in person someone you’ve gotten to know quite well online over a 10-year period of time! It was a very special visit for me!

A wonderful dream: I would just love to travel the world to meet all of my book blogging friends!