Showing posts from May, 2023

Audiobook Review: Marmee & Louisa

I hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day holiday. I skipped posting because hey, a holiday (okay, and it was my birthday). I'm back now, though, with a review of Marmee & Louisa, a biography of Louisa May Alcott and her mother, Abigail May Alcott. Title: Marmee & Louisa Author: Eve LaPlante. Narrated by Karen White Publication Info: Tantor Media, 2012. 14.5 hours. Hardback, Free Press, 2012, 384 pages Source: Library Publisher's Blurb: Since its release nearly one hundred and fifty years ago, Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women has been a mainstay in American literature, while passionate Jo March and her calm, beloved "Marmee" have shaped generations of young women. Biographers have consistently credited her father, Bronson Alcott, for Louisa's professional success, assuming that this outspoken idealist was the source of her progressive thinking and remarkable independence. But in this riveting dual biography, Eve LaPlante explodes those

Photo Friday: The Grand Canyon, Part 2

Last week we took a walk along the South Rim. This week, we're hoisting our packs and heading down. Since I'm not currently able to hike and make more exciting photos, I'll probably take it nice and slow through this trip report and share lots of photos over the next few weeks. Below the Rim, Day 1: BA and Tonto West to Horn Creek With cool temperatures and a reasonable mileage, we made no effort at a crack-of-dawn start, planning to meet at the Backcountry Office Parking (where it's okay to leave a car for days) at 8 a.m. Eventually, we actually met about 8:15 at the trailhead itself. Close enough.   Traction devices at the ready, we started down the trail. There were already quite a few smart dayhikers out, making sure they got down and back up before it got too warm. Even with frosty overnight temperatures, the Canyon was warming up. Within a couple of hundred yards we had to stop and put on our microspikes to deal with the icy trail. Many dayhikers were doing withou

Non-fiction review: Nature Beyond Solitude

A few weeks ago I reviewed a book in the spirit of Thoreau, which ended up irritating me a great deal. This book felt like the antidote.   Title: Nature Beyond Solitude: Notes from the Field Author: John Seibert Farnsworth Publication Info: Blackstone Audio, 2020. 8hrs 50 min. Original hardback Comstock Publishing, 2020. 216 pages. Source: library Publisher's Blurb: John Seibert Farnsworth's delightful notes are not only about nature, but from nature as well. In Nature Beyond Solitude, he lets us peer over his shoulder as he takes his notes. We follow him to a series of field stations where he teams up with scientists, citizen scientists, rangers, stewards, and grad students engaged in long-term ecological study, all the while scribbling down what he sees, hears, and feels in the moment. With humor and insight, Farnsworth explores how communal experiences of nature might ultimately provide greater depths of appreciation for the natural world. In the course of his travel

#WritePhoto: Continuing the saga

It's been a long time since I last posted in this rambling on-going story of a few fierce defenders of human liberty in a ruined castle in Scotland. The last installment was here , with links to Parts I to III , Part IV, and Part V . Or you can go with the simple summary: the castle's defenders have defeated and driven off the aliens with a combination of water balloons and dungball bombs. Now they are faced with uncertainty over what's next, and a nasty clean-up job. My story this week drew some inspiration from the last several WritePhoto pictures. It was mostly written before this week's photo came out, but I think that gave me the idea where things will go next. Photo by KL Caley   The #WritePhoto challenge is a weekly bloghop challenge where KL Caley posts a photo on Thursday and you have until Tuesday to write and post a story. I got started on this one and can't seem to let go! Visit the challenge page to join in or to see what others who are

Photo Friday: The Grand Canyon, Part 1

Along the South Rim Although the main point of my recent trip to the Grand Canyon was to hike in the canyon, I arrived a day early and thus had time to walk the South Rim Trail as well, in part as a scouting expedition: I wanted to know how far the ice extended down the Bright Angel Trail. The afternoon I arrived, I walked a short stretch of the trail east from the BA trail. Late-afternoon sun makes for an extra-special shadow-and-light show. Yes, that's snow. There was a lot of it around; the campground, though open, was still melting out. Low light on the Canyon. The large side canyon directly across on the right side of the photo is where the North Kaibab trail runs.   The paved trail is marked of in millions of years, with signposts here and there to describe what the place was like at that time. The next morning I had time for a longer hike, and headed west along the rim from the Bright Angel trailhead for several miles. Conveniently, when you get tired of walking, you can gra

Writer's Update: Editing

The Writer At Work (maybe) Summer-like weather has resulted in some writing happening outside. "Editing" is the word to describe most of what I'm doing just now. Not only is there the on-going work on A Coastal Corpse , but there are all those photos from my trip last month. I'm currently enjoying reliving my time in the Grand Canyon. In a way, what I'm doing in my yard is also editing: pruning, weeding, choosing space for some veggies over a decorative plant. I'm rewriting my little piece of land to reflect me, rather than the previous owners. As for the novel, somehow my efforts to tighten the point of view and locate and eliminate redundant bits has morphed into time spent with the word list I use to locate and fix my most common writing flaws and errors. This is the real work of trying to up my book from a good story to good prose. I'm a little worried because I'm still not 100% confident about the story, so maybe I'm getting ahead of myself? I

Middle Grade Monday: What Stars are Made Of, by Sarah Allen

Running a bit behind this Monday morning. I totally forgot to finish my post yesterday thanks to Mother's Day fun.  I picked up the recommendation for this one from J emima Pett's W pos t in the A to Z challenge. Title: What Stars Are Made Of Author: Sarah Allen Publication Info: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2020. 279 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Blurb: Twelve-year-old Libby Monroe is great at science, being optimistic, and talking to her famous, accomplished friends (okay, maybe that last one is only in her head). She’s not great at playing piano, sitting still, or figuring out how to say the right thing at the right time in real life. Libby was born with Turner Syndrome, and that makes some things hard. But she has lots of people who love her, and that makes her pretty lucky. When her big sister Nonny tells her she’s pregnant, Libby is thrilled—but worried. Nonny and her husband are in a financial black hole, and Libby knows that babies aren’t always born healt

Friday Flash (re-run): The Quick and the Quicker

I first wrote this story in 2013, not long after I started blogging. It's kind of creepy, and kind of fun. It might originally have been inspired by a photo? 997 words.   The Quick and the Quicker I never trusted that statue in the garden behind the house. The place was crawling with statues, but the rest remained well-behaved, doing as they were told and returning to their appointed places when asked. It creeped me out a little, but Mom and Dad took it all for granted, and said I was much too sensitive. Mom liked it. She said it was like living in an art gallery and that helped her create.   Mom’s an artist, and she’s had a lot of trouble working lately. She says all artists go through dry periods, and she just needs inspiration. I don’t know what inspiration one gets from statues that won’t stay put, and I’m not sure I want to know. Mom’s work is a little weird.   There was one statue that did the washing-up for us every evening. She looked like s