Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Chaucer's Books Virtual Author Event ~ Monty's Marvelous Adventures by Dori Edwards and Illustrator, Ryan Carr


I lived in the Santa Barbara area for 16 years with my husband. We were members of the Santa Barbara Zoo off and on for years when we lived there... And what a spectacular, small zoo it is!! We always enjoyed seeing the animals and exhibits along with attending various zoo events. The Santa Barbara Zoo has ocean views and overlooks the Andree Clark Bird Refuge... It's a lovely place to visit.

Since moving to San Francisco's East Bay Area nearly 7 years ago, I have followed the Santa Barbara Zoo through their Facebook page and have enjoyed keeping up with what has been going on there. 

During the pandemic, the Santa Barbara Zoo has been uploading short videos of Monty, the penguin, exploring the zoo on foot with his caretakers and the adventures he has had. These videos have been absolutely fabulous to watch and have become a huge hit with viewers.

So, eventually, a children's book about Monty's adventures at the Santa Barbara was created by author, Dory Edwards and illustrator, Ryan Carr.

On Sunday, March 28th, Dory Edwards and Ryan Carr each spoke about their collaboration on Monty's Marvelous Adventures and the current projects they are each working on now. Dory Edwards even read her book, Monty's Marvelous Adventures, aloud during the event... And it's a really cute children's book with a great message about celebrating our difference, but also how we're really all alike!

Best yet, was a very special appearance made by Monty live during this event with his caretakers from the Santa Barbara Zoo. The zoo staff spoke about Monty. What a fun event!

Below is a short video I discovered on YouTube promoting Monty and the book written about his adventures at the Santa Barbara Zoo!

Monday, March 29, 2021

An Evening with Louise Erdrich ~ Virtual Author Event


I had fun attending another live virtual author event this month featuring author, Louise Erdrich. This virtual event was presented by the South Dakota Humanities Council as a way to explore Native American electoral access. 

Below is a blurb about the event:
Join National Book Award-winning Anishinaabe author Louise Erdrich for a conversation about Native American civic engagement on the page and in the world. She will discuss her own experiences with activism, whether through writing about or mobilizing in support of causes close to her heart. She will also describe how those experiences have influenced her fiction, especially her most recent book, The Night Watchman.

This program was funded by the “Why it Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

I enjoyed hearing Louise Erdrich speak, especially about her latest novel, The Night Watchman, her writing, and the q & a between audience members and the author. There wasn't enough discussion about the topic of voting for my liking, but a good event overall.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs


I chose to listen to the unabridged audio version of The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs after hearing the author, along with Dr. Shirley N. Weber (California Secretary of State) speak at a virtual author event earlier this month on International Women's Day. 

I was intrigued by what Anna Malaika Tubbs shared with viewers during the virtual author event and also by the title of her newly published book. Motherhood is an important topic and women do shape the lives of future generations to come. Additionally, I enjoyed the idea of learning more about how three specific mothers shaped the lives of three important American Civil Rights leaders of the 20th century. So, with this in mind, I decided to read Anna Malaika Tubbs' book, The Three Mothers, this month during Women's History Month.

I was not disappointed!! The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs is excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the lives of Berdis Baldwin, Louise Little, and Alberta King. I also enjoyed learning more about the lives of their sons and the relationship each woman had with her son, along with more information about black history and black motherhood within the USA. 

Listening time for The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs is 6 hours, 51 minutes and is narrated by the author.

Below is the summary for The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs from Audible:

Much has been written about Berdis Baldwin's son James, about Alberta King's son Martin Luther, and Louise Little's son Malcolm. But virtually nothing has been said about the extraordinary women who raised them.

In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black motherhood by telling the story of the three women who raised and shaped some of America's most pivotal heroes.

Berdis Baldwin, Alberta King, and Louise Little were all born at the beginning of the 20th century and forced to contend with the prejudices of Jim Crow as Black women. These three extraordinary women passed their knowledge to their children with the hope of helping them to survive in a society that would deny their humanity from the very beginning - from Louise teaching her children about their activist roots, to Berdis encouraging James to express himself through writing, to Alberta basing all of her lessons in faith and social justice. These women used their strength and motherhood to push their children toward greatness, all with a conviction that every human being deserves dignity and respect despite the rampant discrimination they faced.

These three mothers taught resistance and a fundamental belief in the worth of Black people to their sons, even when these beliefs flew in the face of America’s racist practices and led to ramifications for all three families’ safety. The fight for equal justice and dignity came above all else for the three mothers.

These women, their similarities and differences, as individuals and as mothers, represent a piece of history left untold and a celebration of Black motherhood long overdue.

I am giving The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn and narrated by Bernadette Dunne.

Carola Dunn is a new to me author this year despite the fact that she's been a published author for decades. Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn is a cozy mystery novel and was published in 1994. Death at Wentwater Court is also the first novel in the Daisy Dalrymple series. There are a total of 23 novels in the Daisy Dalrymple series, which is quite a long lived cozy mystery series if you ask me!

I really enjoyed listening to Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn. It wasn't a perfect read by any means, but fun and engaging nonetheless. The writing and characters are good. I liked that this novel was set in Englad during the 1920s... And of course, the narrator, Bernadette Dunne, gave a spectatcular reading of this cozy mystery novel.

Listening time for Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn is 6 hours, 34 minutes.

Below is the summary for Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn from Amazon:
More than twenty years ago, Carola Dunn introduced to the world the charming, vivacious and perspicacious Daisy Dalrymple and the tumultuous decade of the 1920s, in an England barely starting to recover from World War I and now undergoing rapid social changes.

In early 1923, the young Honourable Daisy Dalrymple has made a decision that shocks her social class-instead of living in the Dower House with her mother and being supported by her relatives, she's decided to make her own living as a writer. Landing an assignment for Town & Country to write a series of articles on country manor houses, Daisy travels to Wentwater Court to research her first piece. There she finds a household in turmoil, filled with holiday guests and recriminations. But that's nothing compared to the uproar when one of those guests drowns in a tragic early-morning skating "accident." When it is learned that this was anything but accidental, Scotland Yard is called in and a young Chief Inspector, one Alec Fletcher, is called in to investigate. And therein hangs a tale...

A series with all the charm of the classic golden age mysteries with the kind of full-blooded, three dimensional characters that define the best of modern mystery, the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries have been a favorite for more than two decades. Now, with this reissue, readers can enjoy it from the very beginning.
I am giving Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn a rating 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore

I thoroughly enjoyed reading of Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg GilmoreLooking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen is the first novel I've read by Susan Gregg Gilmore and I look forward to exploring her other published works... Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen also happens to be the first novel written by the author and what an amazing first novel it is! The title of this novel is what captured my attention initially, but the writing, storyline, plot development and characters are what kept me reading until the very end.

Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen is set in Ringgold, Georgia during the 1970s and is essentially a coming of age story. I loved the protagonist, Catherine Grace Cline, and her journey through childhood to adulthood. Catherine Grace and her sister, Martha Ann, grow up without a mother and are raised by their preacher father. It was fun to read about Catherine Grace's trials, tribulations, and see her perspective change as she grows older. Some unexpected events happen along the way, which make for a fun read. 

As a side note, I can't ever recall eating at a Dairy Queen before, but now I want to try a Dilly Bar after reading Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore!!

The following is summary for Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore from Amazon:
Sometimes you have to return to the place where you began, to arrive at the place where you belong.

It’s the early 1970s. The town of Ringgold, Georgia, has a population of 1,923, one traffic light, one Dairy Queen, and one Catherine Grace Cline. The daughter of Ringgold’s third-generation Baptist preacher, Catherine Grace is quick-witted, more than a little stubborn, and dying to escape her small-town life.

Every Saturday afternoon, she sits at the Dairy Queen, eating Dilly Bars and plotting her getaway to Atlanta. And when, with the help of a family friend, the dream becomes a reality, she immediately packs her bags, leaving her family and the boy she loves to claim the life she’s always imagined. But before things have even begun to get off the ground in Atlanta, tragedy brings Catherine Grace back home. As a series of extraordinary events alter her perspective--and sweeping changes come to Ringgold itself--Catherine Grace begins to wonder if her place in the world may actually be, against all odds, right where she began.

Intelligent, charming, and utterly readable, Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen marks the debut of a talented new literary voice.
Below is a short video on YouTube of author, Susan Gregg Gilmore, discussing how she became a writer. What an amazing, short blurb on the fact that you can become a writer at any age and without having been an English major in college.

 I am giving Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

I enjoyed listening to the unabridged audio version of Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers and narrated by Sophie Thompson. 

Listening time for Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers is 3 hours, 50 minutes.

Okay, we probably all know about the iconic 1964 Disney film, Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews, right? Well, what I never realized (until this year) was that the Mary Poppins movie was based on a book titled Mary Poppins by Australian-British writer P. L. Travers!! In fact, there were eight books total in the Mary Poppins series published from 1934 through 1988.

I decided to listened to Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers on a whim and enjoyed this children's novel very much. The adventures the four children (Jane, Michael, John and Barbara) have with their nanny, Mary Poppins, was quite fun to read about. I can only imagine how much young children would enjoy this novel.

Below is the plot summary for Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers from Audible:
Here is the timeless story of Mary Poppins, the world's favorite nanny, and her magical adventures with the Banks family.

Mary Poppins is like no other nanny the Banks children have ever seen. It all starts when their new nanny is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house, carrying a parrot-headed umbrella and a magic carpetbag. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life!
I am giving Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson


I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson and narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Gabrielle de Cuir, Kathe Mazur, and Stefan Rudnicki.

Listening time for The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson is 9 hours, 34 minutes.

I am hugely disappointed with the collection of short stories contained within The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson. I had listened to two prior works written by Shirley Jackson, which I enjoyed. So, I was eager to listen to The Lottery, and Other Stories. I enjoyed roughly half a dozen of the short stories within this collection with “The Lottery,” (which won the O. Henry Prize Stories award in 1949) and "Charles" being my two favorites. Most of these short stories I found to be too creepy and odd.

Below is a summary for The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson from Audible:
A powerful collection of short stories by Shirley Jackson.

"The Lottery," one of the most terrifying stories of the twentieth century, created a sensation when it was first published in the New Yorker. "Powerful and haunting," and "nights of unrest" were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Jackson's lifetime, unites "The Lottery" with 24 equally unusual stories. Together they demonstrate her remarkable range - from the hilarious to the truly horrible - and power as a storyteller.
I am giving The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday -Top 12 Favorite Audiobook Narrators

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Top Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I went rogue this week and chose my own Top Ten Tuesday theme this week.

It's no secret that I love listening to audiobooks. I've listened to several audiobooks over the years. Below are 12 narrators I've enjoyed listening narrate books and would gladly listen to other books they narrate.

1. Simon Vance
2. Will Patton
3. Stefan Rudnicki
4. Bahni Turpin
5. Angela Dawe
6. Cassandra Campbell
7. Jayne Entwistle
8. Juanita McMahon
9. Juliet Mills
10. Ralph Cosham
11. Jim Dale
12. Bernadette Dunne

Do you listen to audiobooks too? Do you have a favorite narrator? If so, share with me your favorite narrator(s) in the comment section below.

Monday, March 8, 2021

International Women's Day: The Role of Motherhood In Society & Social Movements


Happy International Women's Day!!
I celebrated the day by watching a live virtual event
presented by First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom
& California Museum. 
See the following description about this event below.

Happy International Women’s Day! Join First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom for a virtual discussion on the role of motherhood in society and social movements TODAY at 1:30 pm!

Special guests include Dr. Shirley N. Weber, the first African American California Secretary of State, and Anna Malaika Tubbs, author of the book “The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation.” Both guests’ achievements are highlighted in updates for Women’s History Month to our signature exhibit “Women Inspire: California Women Changing Our World,” which will be featured in today’s livestream.
I really enjoyed watching this 30 minute
program featuring Dr. Shirley N. Weber
& Anna Malaika Tubbs.
Below is a YouTube video of their talk.
Fast forward to 24 minutes, 29 seconds to view
the start of the program!

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Why Do Old Books Smell?


Another wonderful short video from AbeBooks I discovered on YouTube discussing why old books smell and a tip on how to best store books.

How to Identify a First Edition Book


I enjoyed watching another short YouTube video from AbeBooks on how to identify first editions when published books may not always state that they are first editions... Plus, a couple of other resources were given in this video as well.

How Old Books Are Valued!!


Ever wanted to know how old books are valued because you'd like to sell or purchase old books? Then check out this brief video from AbeBooks I discovered on YouTube!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin


I enjoyed listening to the unabridged audio version of City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin and narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

City of Illusions is the first novel I've ever read by Ursula K. Le Guin!! It was first published in 1967 and is the third novel in Le Guin's 'Hainish Cycle' series. Initially, I didn't know City of Illusions was part of a series when I downloaded it to my iPad from Audible. I simply chose this novel because I'd been wanting to read a novel by Ursula K. Le Guin for quite a while and also because the plot sounded alluring.

I've heard great things about Ursula K. Le Guin's writing and novels in general, which is why I chose to read one of her novels. However, I do not read a lot of science fiction or fantasy novels. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a novel published 54 years ago and also from a genre I normally do not read. Long story short, I was blown away by City of Illusions by the time I was finished listening to it yesterday afternoon. City of Illusions is an excellent read! Other than a few minor issues, I enjoyed reading this novel from start to finish. Additionally, I didn't feel like I missed anything by not reading the first two novels in the 'Hainish Cycle' series before reading City of Illusions. The characters, plot development, storyline, and writing were all well done. 

City of Illusions contained a bit of mystery within it. The main character, Falk, is an adult at the start of the novel, but his memory has been erased and he is like an infant in that he knows nothing (not even language) and has no memory at all except for a few mental images that he can't make sense of. Falk literally starts life  all over again. As Falk gains knowledge, he wants to learn where he came from and why his memory was erased. Hence, the journey of self discovery begins and what an interesting journey to discover the truth it is. I look forward to reading more novels by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Listening time for City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin is 7 hours, 22 minutes... And Stefan Rudnicki is an excellent narrator by the way!

Below is the plot summary for City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin from Audible:
He is a full-grown man, alone in dense forest, with no trail to show where he has come from and no memory to tell who or what he is. His eyes are not the eyes of a human. The forest people take him in and raise him almost as a child, teaching him to speak, training him in forest lore, giving him all the knowledge they have. But they could not solve the riddle of his past, and at last he has to set out on a perilous quest to find his true self - and a universe of danger.
I am giving City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Committed: Viet Thanh Nguyen on Betrayal & Belonging. Viet Thanh Nguyen In Conversation with Laila Lalami.

Yesterday was the release date for Viet Thanh Nguyen's new novel, The Committed, which is the sequel to The Sympathizer.

I am very interested in reading both The Sympathizer & The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen. I watched a live virtual author event last night hosted by the Bay Area Book Festival featuring Viet Thanh Nguyen in conversation with Laila Lalami from 7-8pm Pacific Time. I really enjoyed listening to this author event and learning more about The Committed and why Viet Thanh Nguyen chose to write a sequel to The Sympathizer among many other topics discussed!

I look forward to receiving an autographed copy of The Committed in the mail shortly!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science (Tarot Deck Review)


Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science is a relatively new tarot deck that was published by MIT Press in September 2020. 

In December 2020, I watched a wonderful live author event hosted by MIT Press, which featured the authors of Women of Science Tarot. I enjoyed watching the event so much, that I purchased the Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science deck right away for my personal collection as an early holiday gift.

Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science is a beautiful edition to any tarot collection. Like any traditional tarot deck, there are a total of 78 cards in the Women of Science Tarot deck, which breaks down to 22 major arcana cards and 56 minor arcana cards. There are also four suits within the minor arcana of the Women of Science Tarot deck just like any other traditional tarot deck... However, the four suits in the Women of Science Tarot deck are called; nano (cups), micro (wands), macro (pentacles), and astro (swords). These names were given to reflect the wide range of scientific fields of study. Additionally, the words in parentheses found next to nano, micro, macro, and astro, are the traditional names given to the suits in the minor arcana.

The tarot cards themselves found within the Women of Science Tarot deck are pretty much the same size you'll find in most tarot decks. The card stock for this tarot deck is also nice and sturdy, not flimsy. The card stock is matte, not glossy, and the cards shuffle easily.

I L-O-V-E the artwork for the Women of Science Tarot deck!! There's enough imagery and color on each tarot card without making each card look too busy. 

I also enjoyed the 94 page guidebook for the Women of Science Tarot deck... No useless, little white paper pamphlet that comes with many tarot decks. I also love the fact that this tarot deck doesn't come in a tuck box!! The guidebook and deck are contained within a two piece, sturdy box to protect both the deck and guidebook.

The guidebook itself gives an introduction to the Women of Science Tarot deck and discusses the following:

1. How to give a 5 minute reading with the major arcana alone
2. How to give a 20 minute reading using the entire deck or with just the major arcana
3. A very brief introduction to the major arcana and the role it plays
4. A definition of each major arcana card and how to read each card in the upright or reversed positions
5. An explanation of the minor arcana's role and the meaning of each of the suits, along with the meanings of cards 1-10 + court cards.
6. Lastly, each card in the minor arcana features a specific woman scientist. A definition of each card is given in terms of its meaning within tarot + a brief biography of the woman scientist displayed on each card.

So, in many ways the Women of Science Tarot deck follows the traditional tarot deck. However, it is a unique deck that may not resonate with many traditional tarot deck lovers (i.e. the suits are given different names, it contains all women scientists on the minor arcana, etc.)... In fact, I've read a couple of negative reviews of this deck stating that it isn't a 'real' tarot deck or there isn't enough diversity among the women scientists featured and so on. However, I feel that the Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science is very much indeed a 'real' tarot deck and can be used for tarot readings. Opinions may vary. 

I am myself a newbie to the world of tarot. I'm still trying to learn the meanings of each tarot card and also figure out how to perform accurate tarot readings. I need to be devoting more time to studying/learning the tarot to become proficient at reading various tarot spreads. I simply need to make some study goals for myself and eke out some time in the future to gain a more in depth knowledge of reading tarot cards.

Below is a short video I discovered on YouTube. It is a flip through of the Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science to give you an idea of what each card in this tarot deck looks like. Enjoy!

I am giving Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!