This Week’s Reading

The Rules of Love and Grammar: Mary Simes
Beauty and the Werewolf: Mercedes Lackey
When We Were Sisters: Emilie Richards

Unexpected death in a book

I’ve been reading The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, by Dominic Smith, this week, and I have decided I can no longer bear books where a young child dies. The death of the child, while central to one of the story’s threads and to her mother’s behavior and emotions, is by no means central to the story.

And yet, I find myself unable to forget it. The death of a child used to be commonplace, and we can see in contemporaneous fiction that mothers took it with varying degrees of equanimity. Having almost lost my children (at different times and for different reasons), I find that the death of a child is not something I can contemplate with equanimity. It is taking over the book for me. I cannot tell if that is intentional on the author’s part — it may be, but at this point in the book (I have not yet finished it), that is still ambiguous.

It is hard to write accurate historical fiction without including the death of a child,as it was so common before the advent of modern medicine with its vaccines, antibiotics, and scientific knowledge. I am tempted to stick with inaccurate historical fiction, or at least that with only adult characters. On the other hand, that would not have kept me from beginning the book, as the book jacket is inaccurate as to why the painter began her important work that is at the heart of the story. In the book, she begins the painting in response to her daughter’s death. On the book jacket, she is merely haunted by the image of a young girl she saw. Rather a large difference.

A ritual for the new year

At my Unitarian Universalist congregation today, we had our annual ceremony to usher in the new year. Instead of a traditional service with a message (sermon), the worship leader guided us in thinking through what we most wanted to give up from the old year. We each wrote it on a slip of paper, and burned it in a burning bowl (a bowl of sand and our flaming papers). Then we considered what positive words to make our own for the new year.

These types of rituals never interested me in past years, but this year it seemed especially meaningful. I found myself really considering what I would like to discard from this year, and what traits I could be focusing on in the coming year.

To watch your fears and angers from the year past burn up is powerful. Release your fear, your anger, your despair. Burn it up. It is yours no longer.

Find your power, your love, your compassion, and hope. Find your courage, your mystery, your ability. Find them, and use them. Seize the moment and soar into the future, ready to succeed.

Happy New Year!

This Week’s Reading

2 AM at The Cat’s Pajamas — Marie-Helene Bertino
The Applebeck Orchard — Susan Wittig Albert
Waifs and Strays — Charles De Lint
Sweet Liar — Jude Devereaux

This Week’s Reading

The Heiresses — Sara Shepard
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street — Susan Jane Gilman
three story house — Courtney Miller Santo

Tuesday Treasure: Custom Ombre Tassel

Custom ombre tassel in green (4 inches long with a keychain top)

Custom ombre tassel in green (4 inches long with a keychain top) {Click image to view Etsy listing}

I was getting lots of requests from my pink ombre tassel, so I’ve updated the listing (don’t worry, the pink one is still available) to make a custom ombre tassel listing, and now you can request any ombre set of colors. Green, pink, blue, red, and lots more. You can also specify size, top, and beaded or unbeaded.

Tuesday Treasure: Red Rose Ribbon Tassel

This little red, beaded tassel is a perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, either alone or as decoration on a gift package. It ships wrapped in purple felt, ready for gift-giving.

The tassel is 2 inches long, with a red satin ribbon at the top. 3 red roses are stitched onto a satin ribbon, with another rose on the tassel top. Heart beads adorn the sides.

Red Ribbon Rose Beaded Tassel

Red Ribbon Rose Beaded Tassel {Click image to view Etsy listing}

Tuesday Treasure: Valentine’s Day

A selection of Valentine's Day tassels from Lizbeth's Garden

A selection of Valentine’s Day gifts from Lizbeth’s Garden {Click to see the entire collection}

Frog Music: Mini Book Review

This is a mini book review of Frog Music, by Emma Donoghue, because I never got past page 81. It felt like we were going round and round in circles and never getting anywhere. It was a murder mystery (of a true historical crime) that opens with the murder, and yet by page 81, we (the protagonist and by extension, the reader) still had no more thoughts or ideas than on page 2 or so. I couldn’t bear to keep reading — there were words on the page (on page after page after page) but nothing happened.

Blog Note: I know many readers are expecting another installment of Emily this afternoon, but I have run fresh out of ideas for that story. Hopefully next week, but not until further notice.

This Week’s Reading

The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush — Susan Wittig Albert
The Long Mars — Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
Otherwise Engaged — Amanda Quick
Frog Music — Emma Donoghue

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