Paul is Undead: the British Zombie Invasion by Alan Goldsher.
Romeo and/or Juliet: a Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North
Crochet Taxidermy: 30 Quirky Animal Projects, From Mouse to Moose by Taylor Hart
.Three days ago, a man who appears to have no moral compass and no concern for anyone but himself was elected to be President of the United States. I'm very afraid of what this means for the values society holds.
Today, November 11, I'm witnessing the Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa, and it is easing my concern just a bit.
My personal primer on values:
One of my mentors died earlier this year and one of the things I recall him saying was that it was a waste of time to set a bunch of rules for the classroom. His only rule was that everyone in the class respect each other. If we can respect each other, we don't have to fear and mistrust differences of opinion. Think before speaking and acting. When you fail at this, say you're sorry and mean it.
Remembrance: value the past and remember. The values I hold were given to me by my family and wise, caring people I've encountered. But don't get stuck, remember to keep learning and accepting what people have to teach you. The world doesn't stop evolving; respect change.
Integrity: be willing to sacrifice and speak up when there is injustice.
Show appreciation: celebrate people's achievements, thank them for doing things that have made you feel better or made your life better.
Don't despair, do what you can: work at making the part of the world you are in a better place. Never underestimate the power of love and laughter.
Protect yourself from things that hurt and diminish you.
Take comfort in what is life-giving to you.
I'd recommend this author to anyone.
Louise Penny, Canadian mystery author. She writes beautifully, and includes references to other books and poetry that have made me smile, laugh, and sigh, in a good way.
Most of the stories are set in Three Pines, a fictional small village in Quebec.
Her main character, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, is someone you'd trust and wish you could meet. All the characters are so wonderfully portrayed. If you read any of the Inspector Gamache novels, watch out for the character Ruth Zardo. Ruth is elderly and embittered, and rarely speaks without profanity. She is also a world-famous poet. Much of the poetry Penny attributes to Ruth is actually written by Margaret Atwood.
I suggest reading these novels (there are 12 so far) in order. The stories within can stand alone but Penny has woven an overarching story throughout them. I starting reading them in the order I could get them from the library. I soon realized I'll have to buy a paperback copy of each title so I can go back and savour them.
Just a list -- a few books I've read lately that are worth recommending:
The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Children's novel about children evacuated from London to the country during WWII. In this case, a brother and sister are taken out of an abusive home and discover how life should be.
Beswitched by Kate Saunders
Children's novel. Themes include time travel, English boarding schools, friendship.
Crenshaw by Kathryn Applegate
And another children's novel, because some of them are so good. This story, about possibly imaginary friends, reminds me of the wonderful movie Harvey.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
This one is considered a young adult or teen novel but the subject and the writing are totally appropriate for adults. The link from GoodReads says it all: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25614492-salt-to-the-sea
I also have to recommend Ruta Sepetys' Out of the Easy.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
And let's throw an adult novel in for balance. This is a kinder, gentler novel set in the 1950s. A 70-ish father writes a long letter to the very young son he knows he will not live to see grow up. This is a book so full of wisdom and love that I had to buy a copy so I can underline and make margin notes.
For A Teacher by Shane Koyczan
They will suggest
that you could not do it
that you could not become
the thing you first dreamt of
astronaut, rock star, unicorn handler, mermaid harpoonist
whatever it was
you once wished to be
they will say that you
could not become it
and that is why you teach
they will assume that teaching
was an easier path
that you chose a lesser struggle
they will be wrong
those who think that
are those who still
the purpose of a teacher
is to guide us toward sunlight
so we may grow toward understanding
life has no text book
and there is no answer key
in the back of its pages
why one becomes a teacher
is not a single sentence answer
it is an essay
being constantly revised
as the answer evolves
the question is unchanging
why be a flower
when you can be a garden?
why be a tree
when you can be a forest?
All It Is by Alfred Corn
The flexible arc
described by treetop leaves
when breathing currents ripple
a branch to one,
then the other side.
Or the level, quickened swell
that follows a gust over wetlands
home to a million reeds.
Any terrain you find arises from all
that came before: succeeding
event horizons from earlier eras
brought forward by today's considered
impetus to lift the way it looks,
out toward whatever senses you are there--
breathed into completion, a sphere,
into all it is.
I, Too by Langston Hughes
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.
Sonnet by Alice Notley
The late Gracie Allen was a very lucid comedienne,
Especially in the way that lucid means shining and bright.
What her husband George Burns called her illogical logic
Made a halo around our syntax and ourselves as we laughed.
George Burns most often was her artful inconspicuous straight man.
He could move people about stage, construct skits and scenes, write
And gather jokes. They were married as long as ordinary magic
Would allow, thirty-eight years, until Gracie Allen's death.
In her fifties Gracie Allen developed a heart condition.
She would call George Burns when her heart felt funny and fluttered
He'd give her a pill and they'd hold each other till the palpitation
Stopped—just a few minutes, many times and pills. As magic fills
Then fulfilled must leave a space, one day Gracie Allen's
And hurt and stopped. George Burns said unbelievingly to the doctor,
"But I still have some of the pills."
The Writer by Richard Wilbur
In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.
I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.
Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.
But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which
The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.
I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash
And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark
And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,
And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,
It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.
It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.