Tag Archive | books

In praise of Libraries

Some of my first memories are libraries. It was one of the first places I could be free of parental supervision. We got our library cards before we were 5. I was reading at 3 and my mother who at the time was a stay at home mom but an ex 1st grade teacher was probably desperate after we ran through all the books at home. (And we had a lot of books) We got read to in the afternoon before a nap by mom and before bed at night by dad.

Some of my few memories of being safe from dad’s temper was in his arms being read to while he did all the voices and before he did games like “Shoe a Little Mare” or “Giddy up Napoleon, it looks like rain” and reduced my brother and I to giggling puddles.

We were allowed to take 10 books out at a time which lasted about a week before mom would take us again. I know in first grade I remember mom taking me after a doctor’s appt as a bribe and a lady leaned over to my mom and pointed at her daughter and said she had the mumps and guess who got the mumps a week later? Twice, once on each side a week a part, it was horrible. Books got really important really quick because then my little brother got the measles and then I got the chicken pox and then my brother got the chicken pox so bad they had to tape his eyes shut. I didn’t get the measles until 12th grade and he never got the mumps that I know of but we got most of the childhood diseases done in one span. This was in 1961 right about when the first polio vaccine was released. The others didn’t exist yet.

I remember when I was 10 and we moved to Glendale and I had run out of children’s books that didn’t bore me to tears. I hated girly books except for Nancy Drew and I loved boy’s books but like Danny Dunn and the Mad Scientist’s Club books. (Loved that book to death) So mom somehow talked them into letting me have an adult card. Oh boy! The first adult book I wanted was Don Quixote and the librarian had a fit and called my mom to the desk wanting to know if it was alright. I bet she wished she hadn’t. Mom told her I could read anything I wanted and that I probably wouldn’t understand the parts that the librarian disproved of children reading. And I didn’t, at least the parts about Dulcinea’s line of work but I had overheard somewhere it was a good story and I loved it. The next book was a biography of Mary Queen of Scots and she wasn’t happy about that one either but she couldn’t do a damn thing about it. I think she was happier when I started to read my way through all the fairy tales and stories about the Fae and things like Scottish bogles which quite frankly gave me nightmares for a while, she should have been more worried about reading things like the original Grimm tales that she was. I have a feeling the librarian had never read them.

Another librarian was a Scot at a different branch and would lead me to different books she thought I would like, she was an aider and abetter of the first water. She didn’t care what I read as long as I was reading. The downside of the reading in the adult section was that I could never enter the summer reading competition because I didn’t read approved children’s books and I think it was partly because they thought I’d win every time. I just read too fast even with Summer School and other activities.

The library let me travel to places I had never been and times that were long past. It took me safe places when home wasn’t. It gave me things to think about and things to talk about, (usually only to adults) other kids thought the shit I read was weird.

When I was in 8th grade I got in trouble at school because math was not my thing and they kept putting me in advanced classes because I was advanced in everything else, so therefore I should be good at math. NOT! Anyway I got tired of being yelled at for getting Ds and I forged my dad’s signature on my report card. I thought I had done a pretty good job but I guess not because I got called into the school counselor’s office who was a friend of my dad who used to teach at the elementary school next door. So busted but it had a good outcome once I explained the problem since no one had bothered to ask me before. He made me a deal, he’d lower the math level if I would work harder in other things. So I told him I wanted to take Latin and he said not until 9th grade and offered me the library science class for 8th grade. O gee what kind of deal was that? I jumped at it and he never told my parents about my life of crime attempt.

I had been put through the ringer when I moved to Glendale schools from the Valley. They spent 2 weeks pulling me out of my class room and giving me various IQ tests. I have no idea why they thought they had to do that but it ended with them telling me what they thought it was and that I wasn’t working up to my potential. Well duh. They were boring me to tears. They were just teaching the water cycle in the 5th grade and my old school did that in 1st grade and is now incidentally a science center. I’d gotten my own microscope for Christmas when I was 6. Stop boring me!

Anyway, I loved taking Library Science, we got to read anything we wanted in the school library. We had to read something from every section of the Dewey Decimal System. Oh break my heart, tell me to read more? I read more fairy tales from around the world. I discovered Heinlein’s young adult stuff. I read the Hobbit for the first time and in short went right down the sci fi/fantasy rabbit hole and never looked back. I learned how to mend books with the really nasty orange library glue, I learned to make bulletin boards for holidays (loved that). I learned how to do all the lending/check out and in functions and to update the card catalogue. (Yeah, yet another archaic skill) I learned how to research and find the right book for people.

The teacher/librarian, Mrs Castlen was a crack up. She never got my name right until the end of the year. I was Rosemary, Mary Anne, Mary Ellen anything but Mary Beth. I have no idea if it was on purpose but it’s funny now.

When I got out of college and got a real job I went to bookstores more than I went to the library and when Amazon was invented I was one of the first ordering books that I couldn’t get any other way and Amazon UK was another rabbit hole when Amazon US didn’t have what I wanted.

But about 10 years ago I got laid off from my job for 5 years and because I’m older it took a long time to get a new one and back to the library I went. Thank heavens I had a laptop, I could go and use their internet and upload all the resumes I needed to. I could get books, both physical and ebooks since buying them was no longer an option, we could take out movies and tv series we couldn’t see after the cable had to go. Sometimes I went just so I wouldn’t be alone in the house, which for a rather severe introvert is saying a lot. When I wrote my books I could go upload them to the publisher. And an added perk is that we live in a neighborhood that is split between being very ethnic and across the street it’s very affluent and a lot of famous actors use the library and you’d look up and they would be picking up a book with their kids looking like the rest of harried moms and dads. You could listen to tutoring sessions or literacy sessions for people from other countries that had never learned to read or just not in English and hear how excited they got when they succeeded. There were lonely older people who would just sit and read the newspapers and occasionally look around. There were older people taking computer classes to learn new skills and talk to their grandchildren. There was story time in English and in Spanish for the little ones.

We need Libraries, they are so much more than a house for books, they are cathedrals of learning and doorways of wonder.

 

 

2017 Witchy reading challenge so far

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

ge”>2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

Initiate: Read 1 – 5 Witchy Books
Maiden: Read 6 – 10 Witchy Books
Mother: Read 11 – 15 Witchy Books
Crone: Read 16 – 20 Witchy Books

First two books are done. I think I’m driving myself crazy to do this paper on allegedly pagan literature for the Pagan Studies Conference at Claremont because I’m finding most things aren’t pagan and they really don’t qualify as literature.

If you know of any good pagan fiction authors other than the ones I have already confirmed, let me know in the comments.

Most are self identified or I know them

Diana Paxson – Former COG president

Kevin Hearne- OBOD – Iron Druid Series

Penny Billington – OBOD, Druid Detective series

Laurel K Hamilton

Yasmine Galenorn

Starhawk

M.R. Sellars

Morgan Daimler

Ellen Everett Hopman- FOI (Fellowship of Isis)

Patricia Kennealy Morrison – Keltiad series

Dion Fortune

Rosemary Edgehill

Cate Tiernan

Mercedes Lackey

Deborah Blake

Mindy Klasky ? Cupcake Tarot?

Michael Munz

Caitlin Matthews FOI

John Matthews FOI

Silver Ravenwolf

Alice Walker

Philip Carr Gomm OBOD

Kevan Manwaring OBOD

Gail Nyoka

Ann Finnin – Roebuck

Barbara Ardinger – FOI

I turned my abstract in!

This is my proposal for the Panel on the Arts at the Conference for Contemporary Pagan Studies at Claremont Graduate University in January. My friend Alfred is doing the future of Pagan Music and Loren Raine is doing the Visual Arts and I’m supposed to be doing Pagan Literature, hopefully, I can do justice to the topic.

Pagan Literature – Where are we going and where are we now?

A review of the presently available pagan fiction by pagan authors, pagan- friendly authors (or at least the one that try not to offend us, and by non-pagan authors.

What is good pagan fiction? Is there more than Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter wannabes? Is there more than retelling of old legends? How are our deities  and belief/knowledge systems reflected?

Pagan authors are filling bookshelves and Kindles with good fiction that reflects our community as accurately as it can and still retain readers. Do you know who they are? How can we support them best? How do we find them?

Non-pagan authors are also filling the shelves with dreck and really offensive or just plain stupid drivel. (If this weren’t a proposal I’d use a different word. The Twilight series is not pagan literature!)

Where is this all headed if anywhere at all?

A current list of reasonably readable fiction in the fields of mystery, fantasy, paranormal romance and urban fantasy which seems to be where pagan authors end up.  (Or at least as much as I can track down and hopefully read.

Confessions of a Book Mangler

I have a confession to make, I mangle the physical books I read. If I really love a book or series I may buy two copies. That is why I have hardbacks and paperbacks of the entire Harry Potter series. I also have both the American and the British versions which have all been read once on the day they came out and since then I have only read the paperbacks which are well loved and mangled.

Fewer physical books are now endangered due to my owning a Kindle which just lets me get finger prints all over the screen and does not allow the turning down of pages or the breaking of backs of books which is almost always the first thing that happens when I love a book. Unless I have borrowed it then I treat it with care and by it on my own if I need to, then I can mangle it.

I’ve been trying to replace my well loved books with Kindle books but that isn’t always possible since some authors don’t like Amazon or they are old and mostly out of print like Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. A book that is definitely of its period but it still funnier than hell since it’s post WWI. And if it was on Kindle I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

I’m sorry but Kindles do win on things like being able to make the type bigger and to change the brightness of the page. I would have been in trouble if I’d had one as a kid because I wouldn’t have needed a flashlight under the covers.

I see nothing wrong with mangling a book you truly love and that you own. It makes them real like the Velveteen Rabbit.

Loving Eleanor

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27422182-loving-eleanor?ref=ru_lihp_up_rs_23_mclk-up3210621970

I don’t recommend books that often and maybe I should but I read this book when it came out a few months ago and there is a giveawy on Goodreads today for it.

I loved this book and I read a few books about Lorena Hickox and her relationship with Elenor Roosevelt before that I had really disliked because they were so insistant that they weren’t lovers when their letters and behaviour clearly showed they were.

I highly recommend the book but then I like just about anything she writes. She has several excellent series and she has a great bio of how the Little House books were written