Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I Love Books

I love books. I love the way they smell and feel and look. I love the ideas and wisdom, the stories and laughter we find in them. I enjoy all kinds of books, from novels to non-fiction. I especially enjoy mysteries, and detective stories.

I love libraries, a wonderful gift to readers. If a book is not available at the local library, I use Interlibrary Loan. This is a network of various libraries and institutions in North American that agree to loan items to one another. I also use Link+ at the local library to search, sometimes locate, and then request a book from a different library. These sources enabled me to obtain every book I ever wanted to read.

All my life, I’ve had a book mark in two or three books at a time.

Books are a beautiful way to learn and expand one’s vocabulary. If a word is not familiar, then I write it down, and look it up. Upon seeing the word again, if I’m not sure what it means, I again write it down, and look it up. I repeat this process until I remember the definition.

I keep a Book Log of books I’ve read. I record the date, author, title, and bibliographical details. Sometimes I write quotes in the Book Log, to savor later, and to quote in my writing.

During life’s difficult times, books keep me from despair.

Reading keeps me sane, and happy, and learning, and growing. I love books.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Books - An Essential Good

My spiritual life includes books - reading, studying, and writing. I believe it is just as important to nourish the mind as it is to nourish the body.

“In France, books are considered an essential good like electricity, bread, and water.”[1]

            Pamela Druckerman

I love books - every kind of book. I love the way books smell and feel and look. I love the ideas and wisdom we can find in books. I love it when an author tells an inspiring story, or makes me laugh out loud.

At age ten, I finally learned to read. (Many years later, it was discovered that I have dyslexia.) Once I learned to read, the world was mine through books. I found my first library. Since then, libraries have been a never-ending source of wonder and joy. During my childhood I spent summer afternoons reading in a tree house in the eucalyptus tree, which grew two blocks from my house. Wonderful tree scents, beautiful warm skies, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and books, books, books - it was heavenly.

I am a pushover for books, and have purchased hundreds for my personal library collection and presents.  When the shelves become too full, I donate books to the library, or share them with family and friends.

In principle, I’m against book censorship, by a person, school, business, religion, or political entity. When choosing children’s literature, I concentrate on the child’s chronological age and reading level. When taking children to the library, we go to the children’s section. Then I let them choose their own books.

Every day, I celebrate literacy, learning, and loving books. Yes, in my world, in my spiritual life, books are an essential good.


1. Billboard, Kahn & Keville Tire & Auto Service, 500 Turk Street, San Francisco, CA, seen January 20, 2015.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Reading with Children

One of the best things a parent can do for her child is read together.

When my first baby was about six months old, we started reading. We sat on the sofa, with my baby on my lap. We looked at magazines and picture books. I read the pictures to her, pointing to objects, and naming them. Even before she was old enough to talk, she learned vocabulary words.

We both loved our Reading Time. It became a lifelong habit that we continued throughout her childhood. When her little brother was born, he joined us, sitting on the other side of my lap.

My children learned vocabulary. They learned reading skills. And they learned to connect reading with love.

As the children became toddlers, we started going to the library. They loved choosing their own books for our Reading Time. They took turns selecting the books for me to read to them. Sometimes they selected the same books, over and over. That was fine with me. I never said a word about it, except perhaps words such as, “I like this book, too.”

As we cuddled, and I read aloud, I would occasionally stop to have a conversation. I’d answer or ask questions about the story, or the pictures. We’d talk about the books. These natural interactions contributed to the development of skills in critical thinking, discernment, and so much more.

I always read the copyright page, so that the children would understand the purpose and meaning of copyright. I pointed out the publisher information. If available, we read the biography of the author and illustrator.

Our Reading Time was special, and inviolate. During reading, we did not do any other activities. We did not eat. I did not turn on TV, or play background noise, both of which can cause language development problems in learning to talk, and thus in learning to read.

Our Reading Time was before the introduction of the cell phone, smart phone, and so forth. Fortunately, we were not interrupted by high technology. Hopefully, parents today hide their devices during Reading Time with their children.

If one parent washes the dinner dishes, while the other parent reads to the kids, the dish washer is contributing equally to Reading Time.

Reading Time is sacred time. It is the time when a parent instills in her children a love of reading and a love of learning, which can last for a child’s whole life. This is a priceless gift to give to children.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Good Books for Girls and Boys

_____, Aesop's Fables.

Abbott, Edwin A., Flatland.

Alcott, Louisa May, Little Women; and other titles.

Andersen, Hans Christian, Fairy Tales.

Anderson, Laurie Halse, Speak.

Brent, Madeleine, Tregaron’s Daughter; and other titles.

Buck, Pearl S., The Good Earth.

Burnett, Frances Hodgson, A Little Princess.

Cameron, Anne, Daughters of Copper Woman.

Cather, Willa, My Ántonia; Shadows on the Rock; and other titles.

Cerminara, Gina, Many Mansions.

Christie, Agatha, Miss Marple mysteries, and other titles.

Doctorow, Cory, Little Brother.

Dominguez, Joe, and Vicki Robin, Your Money or Your Life.

Frank, Anne, Diary of Anne Frank.

Frankle, Viktor, Man’s Search for Meaning.

Gibbons, Kaye, Ellen Foster.

Goudge, Elizabeth, The Little White Horse.

Grimm, Jacob, and Wilhelm Grimm, Fairy Tales.

Harrison, Sue, Cry of the Wind; Mother Earth, Father Sky; My Sister the Moon; and other titles.

Henry, Marguerite, and Wesley Dennis, Misty of Chincoteague; and other titles.

Heyerdahl, Thor, Kon Tiki.

Keene, Carolyn, The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew, Book 1); and other titles. 

Keyes, Jr., Ken, The Hundredth Monkey.

Kidd, Sue Monk, The Secret Life of Bees.

Liedloff, Jean, The Continuum Concept.

London, Jack, Call of the Wild.

Oxnam, Robert B., Cinnabar: A Novel of China; Ming: A Novel of Seventeenth-Century China.

Paterson, Katherine, The Great Gilly Hopkins.

Ruiz, Don Miguel, The Four Agreements.

Smith, Dodie, I Capture the Castle; The New Moon with the Old.

Thurber, James, Many Moons.

Twain, Mark, Huckleberry Finn.

Williams, Margery, The Velveteen Rabbit.

Young, Arthur M., The Reflexive Universe.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Good Books for Parents and Teachers

Ashton-Warner, Sylvia, Teacher.

Biddulph, Steve, Raising Girls: How to Help Your Daughter Grow Up Happy, Healthy, and Strong.

Bowdoin, Ruth, The Magical Years. An excellent book on how to teach your child at home before she starts school.

Bronson, Po, and Ashley Merryman, Nurture Shock: New Thinking about Children. Reviews current research on child development.

Callahan, David, The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead.

Deak, Ph.D., JoAnn, with Teresa Barker, Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters.

Feingold, M.D., Ben F., Why Your Child is Hyperactive. Discusses diet and behavior.

Gadeberg, Jeanette, Raising Strong Daughters.

Gaskin, Ina May, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.

Hendrix, Ph.D., Harville, and Helen Hunt, M.A., M.L.A., Giving the Love That Heals: A Guide for Parents.

Holt, John, How Children Learn.

Homayoun, Ana. The Myth of the Perfect Girl: Helping Our Daughters Find Authentic Success and Happiness in School and Life.

Hrdy, Sarah Blaffer, Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection.

llich, Ivan, Deschooling Society.

Juul, Jesper, Your Competent Child: Toward New Basic Values for the Family.

Kozol, Jonathan, Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools.

Liedloff, Jean, The Continuum Concept. See continuum-concept.org.

Lythcott-Haims, Julie. How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success.

Marone, Nicky, How to Father a Successful Daughter.

Miller, Alice, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society's Betrayal of the Child, translated by Hildegarde and Hunter Hannum.

Mitford, Jessica, The American Way of Birth.

Neufeld, Ph.D., Gordon, and Gabor Maté, M.D., Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers.

Orenstein, Peggy, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture.

Chilton Pearce, Joseph, Magical Child: Rediscovering Nature's Plan for Our Children.

Pipher, Ph.D., Mary, Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls.

Spalding, Romalda Bishop, and Walter T. Spalding, The Writing Road to Reading.

Washburn Shinn, Milicent, The Biography of a Baby. Describes development during the first year.

Wolf, Naomi, Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood. Compares risks and benefits of delivery at high-tech hospital, birth center, and home. Includes a visionary Mother's Manifesto.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Good Books for Women and Men

Buck, Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth.

Cameron, Anne, Daughters of Copper Woman.

Cather, Willa, My Ántonia; and other titles.

Daly, Ph.D., Mary, Gyn/Ecology; Pure Lust; and other titles.

De Beauvoir, Simone, The Second Sex.

Bolick, Kate, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own.

Diner, Helen, Mothers and Amazons.

Dominguez, Joe, and Vicki Robin, Your Money or Your Life.

Dworkin, Andrea, Woman Hating.

Ehrenreich, Barbara, and Deirdre English, Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers.

Gaskin, Ina May Gaskin, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.

Gibbons, Kaye, Ellen Foster.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories.

Harrison, Sue, Mother Earth, Father Sky; and other titles.

Keyes, Jr., Ken, The Hundredth Monkey.

Kidd, Sue Monk, The Secret Life of Bees.

Liedloff, Jean, The Continuum Concept. See continuum-concept.org.

Oxnam, Robert B., Cinnabar: A Novel of China; and other titles.

Paterson, Katherine, The Great Gilly Hopkins.

Pipher, Ph.D., Mary, Reviving Ophelia.

Quindlen, Anna, Black and Blue.

Schaeffer, Susan Fromberg, Anya.

Stone, Merlin, When God Was a Woman.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Good Books for Book Lovers

Baldwin, James, Evidence of Things Not Seen.

Beecher, Willard, and Marguerite Beecher, The Sin of Obedience.

Bone, Dr. Edith, Seven Years Solitary.

Bradbury, Ray, Fahrenheit 451: A Novel.

Buber, Martin, I and Thou.

Debord, Guy, The Society of the Spectacle, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith.

De Lange, Frits, Loving Later Life: An Ethics of Aging.

Dowling, Tim, How to Be a Husband.

Eco, Umberto, Five Moral Pieces.

Erlingsson, Ulf, Atlantis from a Geographer's Perspective.

Gaines, Ernest J., A Lesson Before Dying.

Hanff, Helene, 84 Charing Cross Road.

Hanh, Thich Nhat, Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise.

Hayek, Friedrich A., The Road to Serfdom.

Heschel, Abraham Joshua, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, edited by Susannah Heschel.

James, William, The Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study of Human Nature.

Johnson, Wendell, Listening As a Way of Becoming.

Lewis, C. S., A Grief Observed.

Nearing, Helen, and Scott Nearing, Living the Good Life: How to Live Sanely and Simply in a Troubled World; and other titles.

Nuland, Sherwin B., How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter.

Rand, Ayn, Anthem.

Ray, Jr., Stephen G., Do No Harm: Social Sin and Christian Responsibility.

Scruton, Roger, An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Philosophy.

Seabury, David, The Art of Selfishness: How to Deal With the Tyrants and the Tyrannies in Your Life.

Shlain, Leonard, Art and Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light.

Weil, Simone, The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties Towards Mankind.