Thursday, October 17, 2019

Book Beginnings: A Place in the World and Birds of Wonder

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS
THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

I have two books again this week, one I am reading now and another I plan to read on my upcoming trip to New York state.

MY BOOK BEGINNINGS



Mira stood in the center of the entry hall, her head throbbing.

A Place in the World by Amy Maroney. This last book in Maroney's Miramonde series just came out. I am racing through the second one, Mira's Way, so I can read this one.

The Miramonde series follows a female artist in the early 1500s in Basque sheep country, and the modern day art historian tracing her story. It starts with The Girl from Oto, continues with Mira's Way, includes a preqel novella called The Promise, and concludes with A Place in the World.

Read my interview with Amy Maroney about her series, female artists, and what drew her to historical fiction.



Jes tossed the contents of the glove compartment onto the passenger seat – flashlight, two ossified sticks of gum, an old breathalyzer, the pre-digital model.

Birds of Wonder by Cynthia Robinson. This debut novel is a family drama and murder mystery set in upstate New York. Things start off complicated since Jes the police detective is the daughter of the woman who just discovered a dead body.



Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up. Please find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING





TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.


MY FRIDAY 56

From A Place in the World:

“I made a promise to someone who knows the artist. I told him I would repair this painting and bring it to her one day.”

From Birds of Wonder:

A disturbing number of men would, if given the chance. Especially if they thought there wouldn’t be consequences – foster kids were low-risk targets, right up there with prostitutes and junkies.



Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Author Interview: Mimi Bull, Author of Celibacy, A Love Story


Mimi Bull grew up in New England, the adopted daughter of an older single mother who raised her alongside her adult "sister" who she later learned was her biological mother. Mimi's memoir (now out from Bauhan Publishing) tells the story of growing up the unacknowledged child of a Catholic priest and what that meant to her as a child, her mother, and raising her own children.


Mimi talked with Rose City Reader about her new book Celibacy, a Love Story: Memoir of a Catholic Priest's Daughter:

Can you give us a little of the story about your parents, so we understand why you wrote a book about your family life?

In 1936 when I was conceived and born, my parents, a single woman and a young Polish pastor together with my maternal Grandmother made the difficult decision to keep me and raise me. It would have been far simpler for them to put me up for adoption given the web of secrets and danger of exposure they would face during that rigidly strict and judgmental time in the predominantly Irish Catholic Boston Diocese and the small town where we lived.

My grandmother and mother owned a prosperous hairdressing business. Finding work for my father, had he left the priesthood, would have been hard going in the depth of the Depression and even had they married, disgrace and shame would have driven my parents out the Boston area. I speculate here, I never knew them as my parents and could not discuss any of this with them. The book sketches our early family life but moves on to the impact on my life of finding that nothing I was told as a child was true.

What prompted you, in your 80s, to write your memoir: Celibacy, a Love Story?

I actually began the book nearly twenty years ago. It was part of my effort to integrate into my life story who my parents were, who they were as a couple and as my parents, and what they had sacrificed to keep and raise me. I needed to think my way into the reality of what they had experienced, to understand their relationship, and to root myself in the truth rather than the web of protective lies necessitated by how they were constrained to live their lives. I wrote it for my family initially and began to see the impact of the unusual story on my fellow writers who encouraged me to speak out to a larger audience. There are universal themes of secrets, depression, marriage, the importance of claiming one’s roots, one’s identity.

What was your relationship like with the man you later learned was your father?

My father was a consistent part of my life until his sudden death at 48 at the end of my freshman year in college. He was like a loving uncle who lived nearby. We were members of his Polish parish. He came to dinner at our home every one or two weeks. I spent a lot of time with him after school, during trips to Boston, and at his fishing camp. He was my “guardian,” my parish priest, my teacher and disciplinarian.

There is more awareness of the many children, like yourself, fathered by Catholic priests. How has the Catholic Church responded to these revelations?

In the 900-year history of required celibacy for its clergy, there was in Canon Law (which governs all aspects of the Catholic Church) nothing to guide bishops dealing with priests who had children. Only in the last year have as-yet-secret guidelines been formulated. It came about with the addition of children of priests to the Office of the Welfare of Children, along with victims of abuse by priests. Meanwhile, the conservative estimate of the worldwide number of children of priests today is 44,000.

You mention Coping International in your book. Can you tell us a little about that organization? Are there other organizations for children of priests?

Coping International was founded in Ireland by a child of a priest, a psychotherapist who had himself studied in Spain for the priesthood. He felt the need for a center for children of priests to “meet” online and share their stories, thereby being aware that there are so many others like them. Coping is also a clearing house of information, a voice, a lobby for issues that affect this community. It was instrumental, for example, in pushing for inclusion of priest’s children in the Vatican’s Office of the Welfare of Children. If there are other such organizations, I am as yet unaware of them.

Who is your intended audience and what do you hope your readers will gain from your book?

Readers dealing with difficult issues in their life and looking for an example of a search for self-knowledge. Celibacy: A Love Story, is as yet an unusual story. People who are drawn to odd tales will like it. I am surprised by the response of younger readers in their 20s and 30s who have written me in detail about grappling with identity issues that resonated with them in my book. While it has primarily been women who have written, there are many sons of priests and men in general who experience the secrecy, shame, or separation from a parent, among other issues, who would find much that is familiar in this book.

THANK YOU, MIMI!

CELIBACY, A LOVE STORY IS AVAILABLE ONLINE, OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOK SELLER TO ORDER IT.

NOTES

If Mimi's memoir sounds good, Bauhan Publishing has a couple of other new books out this fall that may also appeal to you:

Someday this Will Fit: Linked Essays, Meditations & Other Midlife Follies by Joan Silverman, a collection of "bite-sized narratives" that evoke the richness and humor of daily life.

From the Midway: Unfolding Stories of Redemption and Belonging by Leaf Seligman, linked short stories depicting the lives of sideshow oddities in an early twentieth-century carnival traveling through the rural south.




Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Teaser Tuesday Twofer: The Melon by Amy Goldman & Frank's Revenge by Don DuPay

I have two teasers this week because I have stacks of new books on my desk!



These types of plants may not be as easy to grow as tomatoes, but you don’t need a staff of gardeners and a greenhouse, either. If you are blessed with a long, warm, dry summer, and a garden with lots of room to sprawl, plants produce flavorful fruit in just a few months.

The Melon by Amy Goldman. Goodman is a gardener, writer, and heritage seed advocate, Her latest book is a voluptuous, picture-filled celebration of melons and watermelons, a revamp of her original melon book. It would make a great holiday gift for gardeners, heritage seed savers, and anyone who loves beautiful photography.

Our summers here in Portland are typically cool and damp, not warm and dry. We do not grow melons here (although Hermiston, Oregon in the eastern part of the state is known for a particularly sweet melon variety), but the gorgeous pictures in this book make me wish we did.



Bart turned and staggered out the back door leaving his empty Hennessey bottle on the poker table. Roosevelt tucked the .38 back in his belt, and the two men looked at each other, both taking deep breaths and looking out the window at Bart’s disappearing, bobbing head, bent forward and slumping down the darkened street.

Frank's Revenge: Albina After Dark by Don DuPay. This new crime novel set in 1970s Portland is as gritty as it gets. DuPay is a former homicide cop and his debut novel is great urban noir.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from the book they are reading or featuring. Please remember to include the name of the book and the author. You can share your teaser in a comment below, or with a comment or link at the Teaser Tuesday site, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.




Friday, October 11, 2019

Book Beginnings: The Preserve by Steve Anderson and Choosing Diversity Diversity by Lance Izumi

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS
THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

Please pardon my delay this week. I was arguing an appeal yesterday in the Oregon Court of Appeals, which is not my usual law work, and I forgot to post Book Beginnings. I only just realized this morning that I forgot to put my post up yesterday.

I have two book beginnings this week because I am still working my way through the stack of new books on my desk.

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Wendell Lett had tried to catch up on his sleep but only ended up in another nightmare episode.

-- The Preserve by Steve Anderson. This fast-paced thriller is set in Hawaii just after WWII and is based on true events. Wendall Lett is a war hero and deserter trying to cure his combat trauma at The Preserve. But his sanctuary turns deadly when he discovers a secret plot that runs all the way to General Douglas MacArthur.



Allan Pickens's life was in a downward spiral. Not only had there been constant physical conflict in his school life, violence was claiming those he knew.

-- Choosing Diversity: How Charter Schools Promote Diverse Learning Models and Meet the Diverse Needs of Parents and Children by Lance Izumi. This book profiles 13 charter schools with different approaches, methods, and experiences available to families.




Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading or featuring, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up. Please find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING




TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.


MY FRIDAY 56

From The Preserve:

Two men approached, the athletic types with angular faces, their expressions relaxed. They wore Army coveralls like mechanics or tankers, but their khaki was spotless, with creases even.

From Choosing Diversity:
For the students at the online high school, there is a large common area where they can do their self-directed learning activities. There are always credentialed teachers in there, a couple of lab supervisors, and support staff if needed.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Teaser Tuesday Twofer: Generation Share and Listening at Lookout Creek

I have two teasers today because I have so many new books stacked up on my desk. Just like I've double dipped for Book Beginnings posts lately, here are two teasers:



"The Share Shed is trying to cut down on stuff that people buy by sharing and borrowing instead. I want people to think, 'Could I borrow that instead of buying it?'"

Generation Share: The Change Makers Building the Sharing Economy by Benita Matofska and Sophie Sheinwald, a new release from Policy Press. This new book features interviews and photos highlighting 200 case studies of the new worldwide sharing movement.

I admit I have mixed feelings about the quote above. I have warm fuzzy feelings about a sharing tool shed. Sharing sheds are popular in Portland, where I live. On the other hand, what if you owned the neighborhood hardware store or you were the tool manufacturer? Tony, who runs the Beaumont Hardware Store in my neighborhood, is a nice guy, trying to make a living. He'd like people to buy a  hammer.

I like a book that gets me thinking.



The bottom line is this: Different forests have different spirits about them. The spirit of the woods is a  spirit of a particular place located in a specific region's biota and culture.

-- Listening at Lookout Creek: Nature in Spiritual Practice by Gretel Van Wieren, a new memoir from OSU Press. Van Wieren went to the Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon’s western Cascade Mountains to reconnect with the natural world. It is a beautiful book.

And now I have to go look up "biota."


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from the book they are reading or featuring. Please remember to include the name of the book and the author. You can share your teaser in a comment below, or with a comment or link at the Teaser Tuesday site, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

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