All. The. Poetry.

As with last Friday where I was off from work, this Friday, today, I also am off from work, this time, though for a vacation day. Like last Friday, I also am not going anywhere, thanks to the weather. Last week, it was snow that kept me in; this week, a bitter cold with wind chills below zero (Fahrenheit). I am spending the day the same as last week, though, with reading.

Last Friday I finished two books:

  • Heaven, My Home, the second in the Highway 59 series, by Attica Locke.
  • How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.

with the former being better than the latter for me. It wasn’t that Xendi’s ideas weren’t good, it’s just that I didn’t care for the way the book was structured. Locke’s book, on the other hand, flowed for me like poetry in places.

This Friday, in keeping with that theme of poetry, I am starting by reading and listening to poetry. Last week I mentioned signing up for the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day service as part of Poetry Reading Challenge 2020. This past week I signed up for a poem-a-day podcast called The Slowdown with former Poet of the Laureate of the United States Tracy K. Smith mentioned by Melissa Firman in her Sunday Salon post last week. So now even though, as part of the challenge, I intended to pick a favorite poem each week from the Poem-a-Day service and write about it here on the blog, now I am split. Should I also pick a favorite from Smith’s podcast, produced in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and write about it here or is that too much?

While I’m not sure, for today, I think I’ll just share one favorite poem from both with a link to the poem or the podcast or the poet reading the poem. This week’s poem is, as shared by the Academy of American Poets is “Aubade” by Ishion Hutchinson:

As with last week’s poem, I am most impressed with the way the lines break, especially at the end of the poem:

and immeasurable slow leaves bring down our morning.

Today, I might also dip into a couple of books of poetry borrowed from the library at a local state university a few weeks ago. Then later in the weekend, I want to continue reading Pillar of FireAmerica in the King Years 1963-65, the second part of Taylor Branch’s history of the Civil Rights Movement in America, that I began last weekend and will be reading over several weekends, if not several months. I might also read the next Nero Wolfe novel by Rex Stout: Where There’s A Will. And while this past week, I didn’t do great with my planned short bursts of reading mentioned two weekends ago and only read one Sherlock Holmes short story, I hope to read a few more maybe this weekend and next week.

So…how is your reading going this past week? Or anything good you’re planning to read this weekend? Anything to recommend (or not)? Please share in the comments.

Also referenced in this post:

Unexpected snow day but expected reading

I had today off anyway since I work tomorrow, but I had planned to go to the local state university library, about 20 minutes away, to read. Really, the only thing that has changed is that I’ll be reading at home and, let’s be honest on a day like this, napping.

I’m starting my day this morning with a poem through the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day service that I’ve signed up for for the Poetry Reading Challenge 2020. The challenge, as outlined by Serena, is to read a poem-a-day for a week once per month and write about which poems were your favorite and why on your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or your blog. I am adjusting it to pick out my favorite from each week and write about it here on the blog, providing a link to the poem. So here’s a link to this week’s favorite, “Entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral” by Malachi Black.

These are the lines that stuck out for me:

and there, brightly skeletal beside it,
the organ pipes: cold, chrome, quiet 

but alive with a vibration tolling
out from the incarnate 

source of holy sound. I turn, shivering
back into my coat. 

especially the middle couplet there, with the way the line breaks: out from the incarnate” before striking the next line, like a note “source of holy sound.”

I’ll be continuing my reading this afternoon with:

  • Heaven, My Home, the second in the Highway 59 series, by Attica Locke.
  • How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi,

both of which I started last Sunday. I am about three-quarters through Kendi’s book, but to be honest, while I like it, I don’t love it because I am finding the structure offputting and overall more academic than I wanted. However, I am maybe a quarter through Locke’s book and am loving it. She continues to impress.

On Sunday as I mentioned last week, I would to begin digging into Pillar of FireAmerica in the King Years 1963-65, the second part of Taylor Branch’s history of the Civil Rights Movement in America. I had planned to begin reading the latter on MLK Day but that didn’t happen (I finished a book of King speeches instead). Based on the length of Pillar of Fire, it will be one I’ll be delving into over several weekends, not just this weekend.

I didn’t do as well with my planned short bursts of reading during the past week with the Sherlock Holmes short stories, but I’m hoping to do better this coming week. I’ll let you know on next weekend’s Sunday Salon.

Until then….

How is your reading going this past week? Anything to recommend (or not)? Please share in the comments.

This week’s shout-out goes to Chris Wolak and Emily Fine of the podcast Book Cougars. The two went to see Jeanine Cummins, author of American Dirt, which I’m sure by now you have heard about, on January 23 of this year at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut. They shared their thoughts on the book, Cummins’ talk, and the controversy surrounding the book on Podcast 95 (click the link to be taken to a page where you can download the podcast).

Pushing Forward Back September/October 2018

Back at September

Pushing Forward Back September October (1)

The month began, as planned, with a four-day weekend, but not as originally planned was a funeral with my aunt Eleanor passing away at the end of August at the age of 87 after being in declining health for several years. While it was naturally sad, it wasn’t unexpected and it was good to see cousins I hadn’t seen in several years at the funeral on Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. Monday, I finished mowing the lawn before noon and then chilled “day drinking,” concluding with watching Drunk History with Kim, which has become somewhat of a Monday night tradition.

The first week of September ended with my college roommate Joe visiting us for a few days. As for the rest of the month, I worked two Saturdays this month and had one Friday off and a couple of days one week with shorter hours. I had planned to use that one Friday to go to the Corning Museum of Glass, fitting my goal of one day trip a month as outlined in my 25 before 50 post earlier this year. However, that didn’t happen.

I finished two books this past month: The Late Show by Michael Connelly and Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke, both of which were good. Highlights on the TV and movie front were Kim’s Convenience and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, both on Netflix.

The month ends today with Kim and I going over to our neighbors for pizza. Earlier in the day, I’ll be watching NASCAR with my neighbor Mike and another neighbor Fred, and then later Kim and Mike’s wife, Kathy, will join us as we’re getting pizza for dinner. So the month will end with friends just as it began with family.

Forward to October

The first weekend in October is another long weekend for me as I took a vacation day off for Columbus Day, not because I am a fan of Christopher Columbus, but because I had a vacation day to use. In fact, I’m more in agreement with this image that my wife has on a shirt she wears often on Columbus Day:


On that Monday, Kim and I invited our neighbor over for a Drunk History binge-watch/drinkalong. We attempted to have one last month but her plans changed a few times, but she has off that Monday afternoon and evening. We are caught up with Drunk History on Hulu so I think we’re going to pick out a few of our favorite episodes to binge-watch to introduce our neighbor to the show.

On the reading front, I’ll be participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon on Saturday, Oct. 20. I don’t know what I’ll be reading yet, but I will keep you posted. On the TV front, I know I’m looking forward to the third season of Daredevil on Netflix.

So how was your month of September? Read any good books, seen any good movies and/or TV shows, listened to any good music? What was the highlight of your month? What are you looking forward to in October? Share in the comments.

Something to write about…

I was going to write a post earlier this morning, but then I realized I hadn’t done anything anything to write about. So I finished a book I had started reading earlier in the week and mowed the front lawn. Now I have something to write about…


The book, Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke, was my 30th for the year and my second for this month, with the first one, The Late Show by Michael Connelly. Both were very good, but I think liked Bluebird, Bluebird a little bit better, perhaps because of part of its plot dealing with blues music. The book I learned after going on Goodreads is the first of  a planned trilogy and already has been bought by FX to be created as a drama series.

When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules–a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders–a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman–have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes–and save himself in the process–before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.

A rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas, Bluebird, Bluebird is an exhilarating, timely novel about the collision of race and justice in America.

That is the description on Goodreads about the book and while I don’t know if it’s quite accurate in its description as the book as “noir” or “exhilarating,” it was well done. Locke, who is a screenwriter by trade, knows how to weave a story. I still like her first novel, The Cutting Season, the best, but enjoyed her other two novels, Black Water Rising and Pleasantville, also as I did this one.

As for the lawn, it seems like I’ve been mowing our lawn in pieces lately. Last week I mowed part of the back section and now today I mowed the front lawn. Probably tomorrow, I’ll mow all of the back section if the ground dries up by then. We got quite a bit of rain Thursday night in our area so the grass is still wet in the backyard. That same night, in part of our county was flash flooding, with people having to be rescued from their houses. My wife, a 911 dispatcher, was called in early Thursday night (usually goes in at midnight) because of the unexpected weather.

Lastly, on weather, while I am glad fall has arrived, it almost has come in too quickly with temperatures dropping too quick. However, that also might be because our summer was extremely humid even up until the last couple of weeks. Today, though, wasn’t as chilly as yesterday here so I guess I can’t complain…too much. Naturally, as you probably know by now, I can, and do, complain about the weather…a lot.

How was your past week? Read anything good? Watched anything good? Listened to anything good? How is the weather where you are as fall begins?