01 January 2011


I like leftovers, especially all those left from luscious holiday feasts.  This post deals with a few things that are left over from 2010. 

My house is still fully decorated and will remain so for a few more days and, yes, I'm still listening to Christmas music.  I'll play Handel's Messiah while taking down the tree, probably on Wednesday. 
I want to share my favorite decorating tip which might prove useful at other times.   Note the brass candle holders.  I pressed them into floral foam and used the foam to secure the bright red elongated ornaments.  The visual effect is candle-like but it was much safer than a lighted flame close to my drying-out-by-the-minute Noble fir.  I keep thinking of using this trickwith things other than ornaments.  Maybe pussy-willows, or tree limbs, or peacock feathers?

I monetized this blog several months ago.  Being an Amazon associate allows me to display images of book covers and provides an easy link for readers wanting more information.  In the interests of full disclosure, I would receive  a small % of any sales which my links generated.  To date, there has been no money.  If there are ever any proceeds, they will be donated to a library or children's reading program.

What I'm reading:
The Children's Book of Christmas Stories
Among my Christmas celebrations was a reading of  The Children's Book of Christmas Stories edited by Asa Don Dickinson and Ada M. Skinner, originally published in 1913, a Project Gutenberg eBook downloaded to my Kindle for free from manybooks.net although it is also available at Amazon's Kindle store. 

I have added links to several of my favorite sources for Kindle books to My Favorite Web Places in the right side bar.

The Book of Psalms: A Translation with CommentaryAlter, Robert: The Book of Psalms. A translation with commentary. New York:  W.W. Norton & Company, 2007.  This is my current bedside book and I'm lingering over a psalm or two each night.  I have read through the 53rd Psalm of this superb and well-annotated translation.  Alter's notes compel me to notice how much the Psalms are related to the Prophets--particularly Isaiah and Micah--and of their commonality with Wisdom literature--particularly Ecclesiastes and Proverbs.  A note on Psalm 48:17:
"Like Your name, so  Your praise--
to the ends of the earth.
With justice Your right hand is full."
Alter comments on the word justice:
"the Hebrew  tsedeq can also mean "victory" or "bountiful act."
What a rich and challenging concept is God's justice!

As I read the Psalms in this translation, I note the frequent repetition of the word "breath" and am reminded of a by-gone resolution which, as I kept it, helped restore my health.  Both spiritual and bodily health and, indeed, life itself require breath.  The only New Year's Resolution currently on my list is:  Breathe deeply.

An Annie Dillard ReaderIn my Annie Dillard Reader, Kindle edition, I've read her Poems and The Book of Luke (1989)which made wonderful Advent reading.   Kindle location 3899 "It is a fault of infinity to be too small to find.  It is a fault of eternity to be crowded out by time."  3922 "This Bible, this ubiquitous, persistent black chunk of a best seller, is a chink--often the only chink--through which winds howl.  It is a singularity, a black hole into which our rich and multiple world strays and vanishes.  We crack open its pages at our peril."  3925 "...it is the book that kidnaps the children, and hooks them."  The author writes about her experiences in Christian summer camp and Sunday School and offers insightful commentary on the Gospel text, concluding with these selected quotes:  4095 "What a pity, that so hard on the heels of Christ come the Christians.... flawed to the core, full of wild ideas and hurried self-importance....  They are smug and busy, just like us, and who could believe in them?  ...Who could believe that salvation is for these rogues?"  "Unless, of course--  Unless Christ's washing the disciples' feet, their dirty toes, means what it could, possibly mean:  that it is all right to be human."  4109 "If they were just like us, then Christ's words to them are addressed to us, in full and merciful knowledge--and we are lost.  There is no place to hide."  Annie Dillard's lovely meditative prose, her keen observations, and the way her mind interweaves everything make her one of my favorite authors.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyAt least a half dozen of my friends have urged me to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, Dial Press, 2009.  I finally found time for a nice uninterrupted reading of this book which I enjoyed at least as much as my friends thought I would.  I knew nothing of the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.   Kindle location 145 "That's what I love about reading:  one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you into another book, and another bit there will lead you to a third book.  It's geometrically progressive--all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment." 

I suppose I've just added a second, continuing, resolution: Read as many good books as I can and  share them in my blog with as many friends and strangers as possible.
I've been downloading many, many samples as I explore titles and plan my reading for the New Year.

My favorite Christmas present:

Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, White, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl TechnologyDMP insisted that he be allowed to up grade my original Kindle to the latest generation Kindle with Wi-Fi and 3G. I'm really enjoying the upgrade which came loaded with my media library from the first Kindle. The first night I opened my Kindle and began reading where I'd left off. The improvements are really improvements and I love the larger memory and the ability to organize my eBooks into collections on the home page. It's much faster, too. The e-Ink Pearl offers better resolution and more choices for fonts and line spacing. Wow!

Some sort of eBook reader is the future of reading. No one loves the "book experience" more than I, but a Kindle in a leather cover is an acceptable substitute. It opens up a world of reading materials that I couldn't otherwise find or afford.

Remember that you can download all Kindle books on multiple devices and have your reading synced across devices.visit Amazon to download free reading apps.

Happy New Year!