Thursday, June 4, 2020

Empires by John Balaban and Creole Son by E. Kay Trimberger: Book Beginnings

It's Friday, time for Book Beginnings! Time to share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are featuring this week. What are you reading? What are you planning to read this weekend? What books are sitting on your desk that you have aspirations to read? Hmmmmm . . . . That hits close to home!

Please share your posts with a link below. Or play along on social media and leave a comment with your opening lines or a way to find you.

If you post or share on social media, please use the #BookBeginnings hashtag so we can enjoy each other's company.

Yes, I have several books stacked on my desk that look great and I'd like to spend some time with them. I hope this weekend will give me a chance. Here are two of them:


After most of the bodies were hauled away
and while the FBI and Fire Department and NYPD
were still haggling about who was in charge, as smoke cleared,
the figures in Tyvek suits came, gloved, gowned, masked,
ghostly figures searching rubble for pieces of people,
bagging, then sending the separate and comingled remains
to the temporary morgue set up on site.

-- from "A Finger," the first poem in  Empires by John Balaban (Copper Canyon Press).

This eighth book of poetry from Balaban looks at key moments in history when culture shifts and imperial eras come to an end. Viking traders, Washington crossing the Delaware, a Romanian Jew waiting for the Nazis, and 9/11, all inspire Balaban's verse.

Mine is not the story of how an adopted son finds his birth parents and turns his life around.
-- Creole Son: An Adoptive Mother Untangles Nature and Nurture by E. Kay Trimberger (LSU Press). In 1981, Kay Trimberger became the single white mother of an adopted biracial son she raised in Berkeley, California. After watching him grow into a troubled youth struggling with addiction, Trimberger helped Marc reconnect with his biological Cajun and Creole biological relatives.

Trimberger's new memoir explores how biological heritage and the environment adopted children are raised in interact to shape adult outcomes. She hopes her book will provide support to all parents with troubled offspring. She also suggests a new model for adoption that creates an extended, integrated family of both biological and adoptive relatives.


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Freda's Voice hosts The Friday 56, which is a natural tie in with this event. 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.


One evening he spotted a mule dear
ambling up a hillside path
and he followed it to higher ground
as a huge moon rose off the ridge
and he caught the scent of pine needles.
So he kept on until dark, reaching a ledge
overlooking Phantom Lake and the ghost town.

Our success at building a community sustained the household during these childless years. Our home hosted political meetings, study groups, consciousness-raising sessions, and book talks on feminist and progressive issues.


  1. Hi Gilion,

    Oh believe me! My desk has that obligatory pile of books on it, which now seem to be more a part of the furniture, rather than a temporary home!

    Many of them were Goodreads Giveaway wins, but as those haven't been available in the UK for I don't know how long, that shows you how long they have been sat gathering dust!

    I'm afraid that once this pandemic is under some kind of control, my office and bookshelves will be being purged and some of the excess taken to my local hospice charity shop, whether I have read the books or not. Even I can't stand the clutter any longer!

    You have chosen a couple of really challenging books to share this week, although I do enjoy browsing poetry books from time to time and this does look like a very unusual style of writing.

    Thanks for hosting and enjoy your book browsing this weekend :)


    1. Yes, the book stacks! I am trying to chip away at them. I'm making a little progress and I really enjoy taking them to the Little Free Libraries as I finish. Our charity shops are closed too, but the LFLs are available, so I can get the books out of my house and into the hands of new readers. It gives me a feeling of progress.

      Have a good weekend!

    2. I love the sound of your 'Little Free Libraries', although I'm not sure that over here people would really be up for handling second hand books right now. In fact our charity shops will not be taking donations of books for the foreseeable when they do open and our high street book shops will have a policy that every book you browse but don't buy, has to be placed on a set of wheel away shelves, where they will be taken away and isolated for a period of 72 hours, before being returned to the shelves.

      We do (rather did) have a growing trend of 'telephone box libraries', which are very similar to your LFL's but on a slightly larger scale, with the same principle that you could take any book you wanted, so long as you left another in its place for someone else to enjoy. I now keep a small bag of books in the boot of the car, just in case!

      I'm not really making my book hoarding obsession any better, but at least it's a few different books to sit and admire on my desk :)

  2. Your books look interesting. Hope you have a great weekend!

  3. I added you to the linky but hope you still come by. Happy weekend, stay safe!

  4. Both of your books this week sound intense, albeit for very different reasons. The writing in the quotes drew me into the first one. The premise made me want to read the second one. Hope you enjoy this and have a good weekend.

    1. I had the same reaction to both books. His poems are visual and I like them. Her story is interesting and I want to know more.

  5. Those both sound like good books to spend time with. I used to read a lot of poetry, but for some reason haven't read much lately. Balaban's work definitely sounds interesting.

    Have a nice (book-filled) weekend. Stay safe.

    1. Thanks Joy! I hope you had a nice weekend as well.

  6. Creole Son sounds incredible powerful. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I think so too. It has an Afterword written by her son, which I think will be particularly powerful. I look forward to reading it.


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