Thursday, September 8, 2022

Look for the Helpers

 An elderly man came into the library where I was working and asked for help finding his nephew's house. The Fallston library is not located in a town, It's in the middle of a field with a development behind it, so it was the only building he could see from the road. After a discussion with him, I realized that he really didn't know where he was or where he was going, but when he mentioned his son, I asked him if he knew his son's phone number. When I called his son, the son was shocked that his father had driven so far away - because he had Dementia. The son came to get him and guided him back to his own home. 

Even in his reduced mental ability, this man knew he could get help at a library

 Mr. Rogers always said, "Look for the helpers."  This man knew that he could get help at a library.  

Friday, September 2, 2022

The first word processor v. coffee

 One of my jobs as I worked my way through college was as a typist in the engineering department. Nice people, mostly. However, most if not all the professors were male with us typists all being females. One day I was ordered by the head of the department to make the morning coffee. I tried to explain that I didn't drink coffee and didn't know how, but he cut me off. So I tried. They never asked me to make coffee again. In fact, I think they might have figured out that I wasn't simply a high school grad, but was actually in grad school there, so they moved me from being a simple typist into a separate room with the very first MT/ST machine that had just been invented. (The IBM MT/ST was a model of the IBM Selectric typewriter, built into its own desk, integrated with magnetic tape recording and playback facilities) In other words -- the first word processor.  

Now, Imagine the shock of those professors - and businessmen all over -- when their companies dropped a desktop computer on their desk and fired all the female typists. What? Type their own reports? That's women's work. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

More adventures with clothing

 Since I've lost so much weight (others gained during the pandemic, but I lost weight), I was looking through my favorite clothing websites (LL Bean and Talbots) searching for smaller clothing.  I happened  upon a nice white skirt at  Now, I had put my original white skirt into the Donate to Thrift Store pile, so I was interested.  Then I noticed it was available at my (sort of) nearby Talbots store.

So I drove up to that store, only to discover that the website was wrong - they had already sold it.  It wasn't a wasted trip though, my favorite Mexican restaurant was nearby so I got a take out meal that lasted me four days. 

When I got home, I got back onto the computer, only to discover that the website told me that the skirt was now sold out.  (insert crying emoji here)

Four days later (this morning) I got back onto the computer and just for the heck of it looked for that Talbots skirt.  Hey! it was available again.  So I ordered it.

It will arrive mid-September.

The clothing rule is - don't wear white after Labour Day.  YIKES! (insert crying symbol here)


Oh, Lookee -- Blogger now HAS emojis!

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Why are there Supermoons?

 I had never heard the term SUPERMOON until the past few years. Granted, the moon looked larger in the Fall of the year and was called the Harvest Moon, but Supermoon? 

When the first one was announced a few years ago, they said it was unusual and seldom happened. But recently there have been more and more Supermoon events. 

And I've been a moon watcher all my life. What could be causing the moon to seem larger/ to be closer to the earth/ to have changed its orbit? Could it possibly be those rockets (most lately from other countries) landing and taking off there? Pushing it a tiny bit out of orbit? (For every action, there is a reaction and tiny actions can cause larger events) One of the things that I worry about in the middle of the night 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Parking my car in a crowded parking garage

 Once I managed to park my car in a tiny space, made tiny because of the flashy sports car that was trying to take up 2 spaces. I managed to get out of the car without damaging his. (did I mention this was Christmas time and the parking garage was full, full, full.) 

When I returned with my purchases, I was accosted by that car owner (a guy, of course - showing off for his girlfriend) and a police man. Arrest her! he said. What? I said to the policeman, You need to arrest him. Look at that? He parked way over into my parking space. The car guy was soooo mad. He claimed that he had taken two spaces in order to protect his car. He accused me of scratching his car with my car door and insisted that I unlock my car and open the driver's door to prove that my door matched the scratches on his car. Sure, I said and did it. They did NOT match. (Did I mention that I was pregnant at the time and actually did need to open my car door wider than normal.) After a lot of huffing and puffing and swearing at the cop who refused to arrest me, he pulled out of the parking space and left.  

Actually, those scratches might have been made by my car, no matter how careful I'd been, because when I got out of the car, my weight placed the car door at a different angle than opening the car door with nobody in the car. I knew that, but didn't tell those men, because what man in those days thought that any woman knew anything about cars? ๐Ÿ™‚

Friday, August 19, 2022

The perils of losing weight

 Yes, I know that a lot of people have gained weight during the pandemic, but I've lost weight.

Intending to do some shopping, I rummaged through my closet looking for a skirt to wear.  This one was too large.  That one was too large. (they dragged on the ground)  So was another one.  YIKES!

So, I looked online to buy a smaller size long skirt. (that's what I wear -- long skirts.)  Sold out on the Talbot's website and none to be found on LL Bean. (that's where I shop because I know what fits me there)

I thought that maybe, the skirt I had wanted to buy might still be available in stores, so I headed to La Jolla to the nearest Talbot's store.  You would not believe the traffic just wanting to get into La Jolla.  I finally gave up and headed back home. On my way home, I discover the other roads leading to beaches were also clogged.  Which was a surprise because schools are in session in my area of Southern California. (then I remembered that the surrounding schools don't begin until next week, so I guess that parents and kids are starting their last weekend before school headed for the beach.

Meaning that 

1) I'll have to find a Talbots that's not located near a beach and 

2) I'll have to keep on avoiding the beaches for another couple of weeks if I want less traffic and less people on the beaches when I do my daily walk.  

For those of you who knew me during the mid-2010s, I've lost 30 pounds since I graduated from VCFA. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Book Recommendation

 If you like Georgette Heyer's sweet romance/ mystery Regencies, or are a fan of Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes mystery series which takes place in the 19th century, you'll love the new series by Tirzah Price.

Her first one was = Pride and Premeditation.

And now she has come out with Sense and Second-Degree Murder. NY: Harper Teen, 2022. 

Yes, both are based on Jane Austen's books that have very similar names. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Book review: Healer & Witch

 I just finished reading Nancy Werlin's excellent new middle grade fantasy = 

Healer & Witch.  

Highly recommend.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Ask a Librarian -- you know they can help

An older gentleman came into the library where I worked and asked for directions. He was trying to find his niece's place. From his vague description, I finally found it on a map, but when I tried to show him how to get there, his conversation kept wandering so much that I asked him if he had his son's phone number so that his son could help him get to his niece's place. The old man searched his pockets and came up with a piece of paper with his son's phone number, so I called it. The son was shocked that his dad, who has Alzheimers, actually was able to drive so far away by himself and had actually had the sense that librarians could help and had stopped at a library. 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

The first year of school is important

 My child's kindergarten teacher told her kids that she was 100 years old. And therefore since she's older than their parents, she knows more than their parents. (she was younger than me by far) Oh, and she also told them she was a witch and if they misbehaved she'd turn them into a flowerpot - pointing at the flowerpots with flowers in them at her windows. 

Of course the children believed every word. 

(they also behaved, loved her, and learned a lot from her.)

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Writer's brain takes a Left Turn

Today I gave up on the book I had been trying to piece together. Put it aside and went back to revising my will - which I should have been doing months ago.  

Completed my will revisions and turned back to my writing... and decided I actually didn't want to work on it anymore. My brain took a complete left turn and began shoving ideas for a similar but quite different book.

Ho-Kay. Off I go on a new bit of writing, one that needs a lot MORE research than the one I've abandoned. But it tickles my interest more, which means my readers will enjoy it more - when it's finally done.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

The futile Act of saving things digitally

 The problem with digital is that things change.

 I wrote my first book and many magazine and newspaper articles on a typewriter. Had paper copies done with carbon paper. (If I had kept them, they'd be all smeary today.) Then I wrote on a Commodore 64. There was no digital record saved. Wrote more on various Apple computers, but nothing can read those 5-inch floppy disks anymore, so I tossed them. The next books were recorded on 3-inch disks. Also now in the trash.

 In the late 1990s and early 2000s, my husband told me to stop printing out copies of what I wrote because they were all saved on the computer. Yeah - Right. (not) They were saved , but no way can my 2022 computer read those old versions of AppleWorks and ClarisWorks. 

Now, my latest Apple iMac grabs everything to save on the 'cloud.' Which means I can't access them if I have no internet service. (which is why I now save writing stuff on Dropbox, because I can work on those files even without internet as long as I save them to Dropbox once I reach Internet service again.)

 I imagine that saving digital files of photographs may have gone through the same history -- and that everything saved today will be unreadable in the future.  ๐Ÿ™

Friday, May 27, 2022

Attacks on schools - too many attacks on schools

 Every time there's a mass shooting, parents worry about their own children in school. Many of us have had similar, if not quite the same thing happen.  Too many of us. 

A few years ago I was sitting in my car in the school parking lot along with other parents of high schoolers who lived too far away to be able to walk (and California has no free bus service for schools) when no kids showed up. We waited and waited. 

One of the parents was able to overhear police reports and discovered that several schools, including this one had received bomb threats. So the school was locked down while police searched for the possible bomb. The teens had not been told. At this point, every teen had a cell phone, so we parents were able to text messages to them to keep them from panicking. Eventually the kids were being let go, building by building, so we parents let the kids know. My kid was in building 4, so it was a while before that building was released. 

Did they not tell the kids to keep them from panicking and running? Even though they were sitting quietly, they still were frantic and it was only the ability to text to their parents that kept them relatively calm. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Why families need two cars

I worked for a few years after college, then retired to have a baby.

Therefore, we gave one of our cars to my newly graduated sister. I did a lot of walking to the (over a mile away) grocery store with her in a baby carriage, using the carriage to get bags of groceries home. 

But when she was one-year-old and got sick, I had to wait until my husband got home (at 9:30 in the evening) before we could take her to the hospital. (had called the Doctor and he order us to the hospital - she had croup and had gotten worse while I waited for my husband to get home) Believe you me - we got a second car after that, so that I could handle emergencies, and eventually went back to work part time. 

Our doctor happened to be the head of pediatrics at the hospital, so we got immediate care. They were going to cut her throat open (a tracheotomy) so she could breathe, but our doctor held them back from doing that and tried other remedies first, which did work. 

Oh the tales I have about that hospital stay. I brought board books for her to look at in her oxygen tent thinking they would be sturdier in that damp environment, but -- she kept thinking the pages were just stuck together, so she kept trying to tear them apart. (All our books at home were regular picture books, not board books.) 

I told the nurses to NOT let her see how her IV tube was attached when they changed the tubing but of course they didn't listen (all children are dumb, don't cha know), so she immediately unattached the tubing and was gleefully spray painting the plastic sheeting of her oxygen tent with the liquid spurting out from the tubing.  ๐Ÿ™‚ They attached it more securely after that. 

They warned me, but I was still shocked that, when we brought her home after a week's stay at the hospital, she didn't want to associate with us at all.  She was mad at us for abandoning her at that strange place.  (news note, we were there with her most of the time) 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Zoom meeting, Video, and me

I participated in a Zoom meeting this week. For several years I didn't turn the video on in these meetings. Just had a black square with my name on it. Then I figured out how to do it. Don't have a ring light, but I do have a window that would put light on my face. Also a sliding door to the right.

At the meeting this week I logged in and had no video of me. Just an orange square. Couldn't figure out what happened. Halfway through, I realized that I had a posta note over the video camera on my computer. HA! So I removed it.
(forgot about opening the blinds that would put light on my face, so I sat there, sideways, with the light from my sliding door on my back. It worked.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Memories of The Lion King show

 I once went to a showing of the touring company of The Lion King, knowing that I had tickets for me and my granddaughter , and that I had put them in a 'safe place.' And then couldn't find them. So I took her there anyway. Told the ticket booth people my sad tale. Of course she could find my name on any ticket holder -- because someone else had bought a whole group of tickets. Thought of my friend's name. Nope, not on their records. I finally remembered the name of the school. Someone at that school had bought a bunch of group tickets. 

Naturally the ticket booth people didn't know which seat I had tickets for, but I was allowed to go in. So I stood in the aisle (in the balcony) in the general area our group was to sit and waited while all the rest of them filed in. Finally we figured out the two empty seats, which had to be ours. Yes, we very much enjoyed the show. (granddaughter was seven - and it turned out that the song her dance class performed at the dance recital was one of the Lion King songs. (That's MY song! she gleefully whispered)

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking

 I just finished reading (and loved):

Kingfisher, T. A wizard’s guide to defensive baking. Dallas, TX: Argyll, 2020.

(self published but very good fantasy by author, Ursula Vernon.  
I’d place it in middle grade, myself instead of YA. Although she writes YA horror under this name, I hope she does more like this one, and gets a traditional publisher who will place it solidly in middle grade)

NOTE: just because I occasionally talk about books I've read, this does not mean that you can ask me to review your book, because I'm not a professional book reviewer anymore. Thank you for not sending.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

State of Terror by Clinton and Penny

 Wow. When a great crime writer and a great politician/ Secretary of State get together to write a political thriller the result is an edge-of-the seat read! I highly recommend Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny's new book = State of Terror.

They thread together Clinton's experience with being Secretary of State with the fact that, when the Soviet Union broke up lots of fissionable material went missing - enough to make many bombs. What if terrorists planted those bombs in cities around the world? In the United States? In the White House? 

 The writers say there were three nightmare scenarios that woke Clinton up in the middle of the night. This was just one of them. I'm hoping they're going to write about the other two as well. 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Girls don't go to college (in olden days - 1950s-60s)

 My mother went to college in the late 1920s and met my dad there. Therefore as the oldest girl who was given the responsibilities for everything at home, I assumed that I would go to college, too - in the late 1950s. 

Nope, they were only saving money to send my brother to college. I could be a salesclerk or something. Still determined to go to college, I negotiated going to a Junior college (now called Community college). Got a Yes, but only if I prepared for a career - so signed up for the secretarial course. Once there, I transferred into the academic course in the second year. 

Since my parents only promised 2 years of post high school training for any of us four children, I worked summers and had part time jobs during the school year. My husband and I continued with college plus working part time and getting scholarships after we were married, finally both of us graduating with a MSLS 10 years after we had graduated from high school. 

(as for my brother -- he didn't go to college. He went right into the Air Force after high school.)

Yes, almost EVERY male I met in the 1960s in college assumed I was only there for my MRS. degree. And yes, I gave those guys a glare and a cold shoulder.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

You need to Read this Book


I highly recommend everyone read Lisa Yee's latest middle grade book - Maizy Chen's Last Chance.

It's getting rave reviews:

Review: Packed with surprises, heart, and stories within stories, this irresistible novel from an award-winning author celebrates food, fortune, and family
Rave review: “I love this book. This is a big story and brings up much-needed discussion about the importance of community, history, and truth.” —Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor-winning author of One Crazy Summer.
Heartfelt, personal, and real—this book is a gift. Readers will cheer and feel for Maizy as she bonds with her grandparents, discovers the joys and pains of growing up, and learns about her family’s Chinese American history.” —Tae Keller, Newbery-winning author of When You Trap a Tiger
“Bursting with humor and heart, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance celebrates the power of food, family, understanding our roots, and stepping up to help others when it mattersthe most.” —Kate Messner, New York Times bestselling author of Breakout and Chirp

Friday, February 25, 2022

Three types of Rejection

 When writers send out manuscripts to editors, there are three types of responses they'll get.

1 -- Nothing. No response. They've read your submission on their computer or cell phone and just deleted it and went on to read the next submission.

2 -- A rejection, usually by email, which often makes a comment about your lovely writing and that they like it, but that they just didn't love it enough to buy it.  Sometimes they include a statement that they'd like to see more of your work, which is nice.

3 -- Acceptance.  They want to buy it and publish it !!!

Recently I've been mostly getting numbers 1 and 2.  

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Talking to cats when they talk back

 We were given a cat along with his vet record and discovered his 'name' was Eliot. Who the heck gives a cat that name? 

But we continued to call him by that name, and he was the first (and only) cat who would come when we called that name. Huh. How about that? He would also answer when we called. He would Meow a 'hello' when we let him inside and he did expect a response from us, so we would. 

Monday, February 14, 2022

Part time college jobs -- the typing pool

 One of my part time jobs in college was in the science department typing pool. I was moved from the typing pool into a separate room to use the just invented MTST machine. What an amazing change. I could type with the Selectric typewriter on paper while a wire connected my actions into a desk high 'computer' sitting beside my desk and my actions were recorded on computer tape. Then I could edit the paper copy, mark corrections, then have the computer type out what I had written while I had the ability to stop it and make corrections, which were instantly saved on the tape in the computer. Once everything was corrected or re-written, I'd order the computer to print out a fresh copy - perfect. !!! Next to the computer box was a large storage cabinet of typing supplies and fresh computer tape. Yes, this was the first 'word processor.'

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Adult books I read in 2021

 And here's the list of the books for adults that I read in 2021:



Anthony, Piers and Mercedes Lackey. If I pay the not in gold. Riverdale, NY: Baen, 1993.

Bradley, Marion Zimmer. Domains of Darkover. (Edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley)  

            NY: DAW books, 1990.

Cline, Ernest. Ready player two, a novel. NY: Ballantine Books, 2020.

            (Sequel to Ready player one)

Deveraux, Jude.  The girl from Summer Hill. NY: Ballantine books, 2017.

    ….   As you wish. NY: Mira/ Harlequin books, 2018. (2nd Summer Hill book)

    ….   Met her match. NY: Mira/ Harlequin books, 2019. (3rd  Summer Hill book)

    ….   A forgotten Murder. NY:  Mira/ Harlequin books, 2020.   (Third of her mysteries)

    ….   Meant to be, a novel. NY:  Mira/ Harlequin books, 2021.

Deveraux, Jude and Tara Sheets. Chance of a lifetime, a Providence Falls Novel. NY: 

            Mira/ Harlequin books, 2020.   

    ….   An Impossible promise. a Providence Falls Novel, book 2. NY: Mira/ Harlequin books,


Follett, Ken. The pillars of the earth. NY: William Morrow and Company, 1989.

    ….   World without end.  (book 2 of The pillars of the earth.) NY: Dutton, 2007.

    ….   A Column of Fire. (book 3 of The pillars of the earth.) NY: Viking, 2017.

    ….   The evening and the morning, the prequel to The Pillars of the Earth.  NY:

             Viking, 2020.  (Re-reading his Kingsbridge series – this is the prequel to it.)

Harkness, Deborah. A Discovery of Witches. Book 1 of series. NY: Viking, 2011.

    ….   Shadow of Night. Book 2 of series.  NY: Viking, 2012.

    ….   The Book of Life. Book 3 of series. NY: Viking, 2014.

Heyer, Georgette. The Black Moth. Originally published in Great Britain.

            (her first book published in 1921 and has been continually in print ever since)

    ….   These Old Shades. Originally published in Great Britain in 1926. She made the villain

             from the Black Moth into the hero of this book with a slight name change.

    ….   Devil’s Cub. Originally published in Great Britain in 1932. This tale focuses on the son

             of the hero and heroine from These Old Shades.  

    ….   The Corinthian. First published in USA in 1941; Bantam/E.P. Dutton edition, 1974.

    ….   The Foundling. First published in USA in 1948; NY: Harlequin edition, 2003.

Holmberg, Charlie. The paper magician, a novel. Book 1. Seattle, WA: 47North, 2014.

    ….   The Glass Magician, a novel. Book 2 of the Paper Magician series. Seattle, WA:

             47North, 2014. 

   ….    The Master Magician, a novel. Book 3 of the Paper Magician series. Seattle, WA:

             47North, 2015.

    ….   The Plastic Magician. a novel. Book 4 of the Paper Magician series. Seattle, WA:

             47North, 2018.

    ….   Spellbreaker. Seattle, WA: 47North, 2020.

    ….   Spellmaker. Seattle, WA: 47North, 2021.  (sequel to Spellbreaker)

Korelitz, Jean Hanff. The Plot, a novel. NY: Celalon Books, 2021.

Lackey, Mercedes. The complete Arrows Trilogy, in a single volume. NY: Daw books, 2015.

            Includes— Arrows of the queen. NY: Daw books, 1987.

                        Arrows Flight. NY: Daw books, 1987.

                        Arrow’s Fall. NY: Daw books, 1988.

….       Take a thief. NY: Daw books, 2001.

….       Moving Targets and other tales of Valdemar. (edited by Mercedes Lackey) NY: DAW

             books, 2008.

   ….    Beyond, the founding of Valdemar, Book 1.  NY: Daw books, 2021.

Lackey, Mercedes. The Fire Rose. NY: Baen Books, 1995.

            (This is actually her first Elemental Masters book, where she figured out the rules of this

             world.  However, this one is in San Francisco, CA, USA around 1906, whereas the rest 

            are in Europe &Great Britain. All are based on folk tales. This one Beauty and the Beast.)  

    ….   The Serpent’s Shadow. Elemental Masters, Book 1. NY: Daw books, 2001.

    ….   The Gates of Sleep. The Elemental Masters, Book 2. NY: Daw books, 2002.

    ….   Phoenix and AshesThe Elemental Masters, Book 3. NY: Daw books, 2004.

            The Wizard of London. The Elemental Masters, Book 4. NY: Daw books, 2005.

    ….   Reserved for the catThe Elemental Masters, Book 5. NY: Daw books, 2007.

    ….   Unnatural Issue. The Elemental Masters, Book 6. NY: Daw books, 2011.

    ….   Home from the sea. The Elemental Masters, Book 7. NY: Daw books, 2012.

    ….   Steadfast. The Elemental Masters, Book 8. NY: Daw books, 2013.

    ….   Blood RedThe Elemental Masters, Book 9 NY: Daw books, 2014.

    ….   From a High Tower. The Elemental Masters, Book 10. NY: Daw books, 2015.

    ….   A Study in Sable. The Elemental Masters, Book 11. NY: Daw books, 2016.

    ….   A scandal in Battersea. The Elemental Masters, Book 12. NY: Daw books, 2017.

    ….   The Bartered Brides. The Elemental Masters, Book 13. NY: Daw books, 2017.

    ….   The case of the spellbound child, The Elemental Masters, Book 14. NY: Daw books,

             2017.   (Actually the title should say ‘children’ because there were lots of them)

    ….   Jolene. The Elemental Masters, book 15. NY: Daw books, 2020. (read twice)

Lackey, Mercedes. The Fairy Godmother, a tale from the Five Hundred Kingdoms.

            NY: Luna/Harlequin, 2004.

    ….   The Snow Queen, a tale from the Five Hundred Kingdoms. NY: Luna/Harlequin, 2008.

    ….   Beauty and the Werewolf, a tale from the Five Hundred Kingdoms. NY: Luna/Harlequin,


   ….    Briar Heart.  NY: Little Brown & Co., 2021.

McCaffrey, Anne.  The Wings of Pegasus. NY: Build America Books/DelRay/ Ballantine Books.

                        (Actually, it contains two other books under this title: To Ride Pegasus, 1973

                         And Pegasus in Flight, 1990. These are two of the three prequels to 

                        The Rowan/ The tower and the hive series)

    ….   Pegasus in Space.  NY: Ballantine Books, 2002. 

                        (Third prequel - a new novel in the saga of the Talents.)

    ….   The Rowan.  NY:  Ace/ Putnam, 1990.

    ….   Damia, sequel to The Rowan. NY:  Ace/ Putnam, 1992.

    ….   Damia’s Children. sequel to Damia. NY:  Ace/ Putnam, 1993.

    ….   Lyon’s Pride. sequel to Damia’s Children. NY:  Ace/ Putnam, 1994.

    ….   The tower and the hive. sequel to Lyon’s Pride. NY:  Ace/ Putnam, 1999.

McCaffrey, Anne and Elizabeth Moon. SassinakVolume one of the Planet Pirates. NY: Baen 

            books, 1990.

            Generation Warriors. NY: Baen Books, 1991. (last book in her Sassinak/ Planet Pirates

                         series. I can’t find the rest.)

Putney, Mary Jo. The bartered bride. NY: Balantine Books, 2002.

Quinn, Julia. How to marry a marquis.  NY: Avon/ HarperCollins, 1999. 

   ….    First comes scandal. NY: HarperCollins, 2020.

Schwab, V.E.  The invisible life of Addie LaRue. NY: Gale/ Thorndike large type, 2020.

Smith, Alexander McCall. How to raise an Elephant, a No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novel. 

            NY: Pantheon Books/ Penguin Random House, Great Britain: Little Brown, 2020.

Sutanto, Jesse. Dial A for Aunties. NY: Berkley/ Penguin Random, 2021.

Tevis, Walter. The Queen’s Gambit. NY: Vintage books/ Random House, 1983.

            (heavy with chess movements – made into a streaming series)

Thomas, Will. Some danger involved, a novel. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2004.

            (The first Barker and Llewelyn mystery)

    ….   To Kingdom Come. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

    ….   The Limehouse Text. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2006.

    ….   The Hellfire conspiracy, a Barker & Llewelyn novel. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2007.

    ….   The Black Hand. a Barker & Llewelyn novel. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2008.

    ….   Fatal Enquirya Barker & Llewelyn novel. NY: Minotaur books/ St. Martin’s Press, 


    ….   Anatomy of Evil. a Barker & Llewelyn novel. NY: Minotaur books/ St. Martin’s Press,

             2015.  (based on the search for Jack the Ripper, discovering the actual Ripper.)

    ….   Hellbaya Barker & Llewelyn novel.  NY: Minotaur books/ St. Martin’s Press, 2016.

    ….   Old Scoresa Barker & Llewelyn novel.  NY: Minotaur books/ St. Martin’s Press, 2017.

    ….   Blood is Blood. a Barker & Llewelyn novel.  NY: Minotaur books/ St. Martin’s Press,


    ….   Lethal Pursuit. a Barker & Llewelyn novel.  NY: Minotaur books/ St. Martin’s Press,


    ….   Dance with death, a Barker & Llewelyn novel.  NY: Minotaur books/ St. Martin’s Press,


Winspear, Jacqueline. The consequences of fear. NY: Harper, 2021.



B-Bly              Goodman, Matthew. Eighty Days – Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s history-

            making race around the world. NY: Ballantine books/ Random House, 2013.

                        (This was my introduction to the fact that two women raced)

B-Bly              Kroeger, Brooke. Nellie Bly, daredevil, reporter, feminist. NY: Times books/

             /Random House, 1994.  (very readable, also very thick – 400 pages or so)

B- Broom        Broom, Sarah M. The yellow house. NY: Grove Press, 2019. (autobiography) 

B-Fitzhugh.     Brody, Leslie. Sometimes you have to lie, the life and times of Louise Fitzhugh,

             renegade author of Harriet The Spy. NY:  Seal Press, 2020.  

                        (Lesbian life as we never knew it.)

B-Fox              Fox, Michael J. A funny thing happened on the way to the future, twists and turns

             and lessons learned.  NY:  Hyperion, 2010.

B-Fox              Fox, Michael J. No time like the future, an optimist considers mortality. NY:

            Flatiron Books, 2020.

B- Packard.     Moore, Kate. The woman they could not silence – one woman, her incredible fight 

            for freedom, and the men who tried to make her disappear.  Napperville, IL: 

            Sourcebooks, 2021. (she helped pass laws against men putting outspoken women in

             mental institutions and exposed the horrible treatment therein.)

B- Priestley       Johnson, Steven. The Invention of Air – a story of science, faith, revolution, and

             the birth of America. NY: Riverhead books/ Penguin, 2008. 

B- Takei          Takei, George. To the Stars – the autobiography of George Takei, Star Trek’s 

            Mr. Sulu. NY: Pocket books, 1994.  

            (the first chapters of this are used in the Graphic Novel.)

GN B-Takei    Takei, George and Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott. Illus. Harmony Becker.

            They called us enemy.    San Diego: Top Shelf, 2020.   

            (San Diego Library 2020 ONE BOOK of the childhood of the actor

             who portrayed the much loved Captain Sulu of the original TV show, StarTrek)

B-Washington             Shirley, Craig. Mary Ball Washington, the untold story of George

             Washington’s mother.  NY: Harper, 2019.  

            (is actually a bio of George Washington with occasional mentions of his mother)

B-Washington             Saxton, Martha. The widow Washington, the life of Mary Washington.

            NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. (highly praised as the best book about her)

B-Washington             Coe, Alexis. You never forget your first, a biography of George 

            Washington.  NY: Viking/ Penguin Random 2020. 

            (So much better, much more readable, much more interesting than Shirley’s)






070.92             Bly, Nellie. Around the World in Seventy-two Days and other Writings

            NY: Penguin Classics, 1890/ 2014.

302.231           Stephens-Davidowitz, Seth. Everybody lies – big data, new data, and what the

             internet can tell us about who we really are. NY: Day St/ William Morrow, 2017.

306.512           Wilkerson, Isabel. Caste – the origins of our discontents. NY: Random House, 

            2020. (compares caste in India to the black and white division in the USA) 

324.2734         Benen, Steve, The Imposters, how Republicans quit governing and seized 

            American Politics. NY: William Morrow/ HarperCollins, 2020. 

324.2734         Stevens, Stuart. It was all a Lie, how the Republican party became Donald

             Trump.  NY: Alfred Knopf, 2020.

358.388           Baker, Nicholson. Baseless – my search for secrets in the ruins of the freedom of

             Information Act.  NY: Penguin Press, 2020. (Info about Biological Warfare in 1950s)

363.283           Leonnig, Carol. Zero Fail, the rise and fall of the secret service. NY: Random

             House, 2021. 

363.32             Perlroth, Nicole. This is how they tell me the world ends, The cyber-weapons arms

             race. NY: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021.  

                                    (It turns out that there’s a lot more about this that we didn’t know.)

576.5               Zimmer, Carl, She has her mother’s laugh – the powers, perversions, and

             potential of heredity. NY: Dutton, 2018.

614.5924         Lewis, Michael. The Premonition, a Pandemic story. NY: WW Norton Co, 2021.

616.898           Kolker, Robert. Hidden Valley Road, inside the mind of an American family

            NY: Doubleday, 2020.  (family of 12 children, half of them with schizophrenia)

818.6               Seinfeld, Jerry.  Is this Anything?  NY: Simon & Schuster, 2020.

            (If you are a Seinfeld fan and want a book of his jokes – this is it.)

910.41             Goodman, Matthew. Eighty Days, Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s history

             making race around the world. NY: Ballantine books/ Random House, 2013.

940.9725         Fox, Margalit. The confidence men – how two prisoners of war engineered the

             most remarkable escape in history. NY: Random House, 2021.

970.0049         Nesteroff, Kliph. We had a little real estate problem, the unheralded story of

             Native Americans and comedy. NY: Simon and Schuster, 2021.

973.93             Osnos, Evan. Wildland – the making of America’s fury. NY: Farrar, Straus and 

            Giroux, 2021.

973.933           Leonning, Carold and Philip Rucker. I alone can fix it – Donald J. Trump’s 

            catastrophic final year. NY: Penguin Press, 2021.

973.933           Schiff, Adam. Midnight in Washington, how we almost lost our democracy and

             still could.  NY: Random House, 2021. (behind the scenes of two impeachments.)

973.933           Wolff, Michael. Landslide, the final days of the Trump presidency. NY: Henry

             Holt and Co, 2021.

973.933           Woodward, Bob and Robert Costa. Peril.  NY:  Simon & Schuster, 2021.

976.403           Burrough, Bryan and Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford. Forget the Alamo – 

            the rise and fall of an American myth. NY:  Penguin press, 2021.  

            (excellent close look at this legendary place)


Books that I read in 2021

 Here's the list of Children's Books I read in 2021:

Booklist of Books Read in 2021



Picture Books


Angleberger, Tom. Crankee Doodle. Illus Cece Bell. NY: Clarion, 2013.

Buchet, Nelly. Cat Dog Dog the story of a blended family. Illus. Andrea Zuill. NY: Schwartz &

             wade books, 2020.  

Cabrera Cozbi. Me and Mama. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2020. 

            (2021 Caldecott Honor book and Coretta Scott King honor book.) 

Colleen, Marcie. Survivor Tree. Illus. Aaron Becker. NY: Little Brown, 2021. 

Coville, Bruce. The thief of worlds. NY: Random House, 2021.

Doyon, Samara Cold. Magnificent Homespun Brown. Illus Kaylani Juanita. Thomaston, Maine: 

            Tilbury House publishers 2020. (2021 Corretta Scott King Honor book)

Elliott, Zetta. A place inside of me, a poem to heal the heart. NY: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2020.

            (2021 Caldecott Award.) 

Grady, Cynthia. Write to me, letters from Japanese American children to the librarian they left 

            behind. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2018.  

            (San Diego, CA - city 2021 One Book for children)

Henderson, Leah. Illus. Floyd Cooper. A day for Rememberin’  NY: Abrams, 2021. 

Hunter, Anne.  Where’s Baby? Canada: Tundra books, 2020. 

            (2021 Theodor Seuss Geisel award honor book)

Kusel, Susan. The Passover guest. Illus Sean Rubin. NY:  Holiday House/Neal Porter books,


Latham, Irene and Karim Shamsi-Basha. The cat man of Aleppo. Illus. Yuko Shimizu. NY: 

            G.P. Putnam’s sons, 2020.

Leung, Julie. Paper son, the inspiring story of Tryus Wong, immigrant and artist. Illus. Chris

             Sasaki.  NY: Schwartz & wade books, 2019. 

            (2021 ALA Asian Pacific American award for best picture book.)

Lindstrom, Carole. We are water protectors. Illus Michaels Goade. NY: Roaring Brook Press,

             2020.  (2021 Caldecott Award)

Newman, Leslea. Welcoming Elijah, a Passover tale with a tail. Illus. Susan Gal. Watertown, 

            MA: Charlesbridge, 2020.  (2021 Sydney Taylor Book Award, Pura Belpre Award)  

E Spanish Raul           Raul the third. !Vamos! Let’s go Eat.  illus Elaine Bay. NY: Houghton 

            Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. (2021 Pura Belprรฉ Award Winner: Randolph Caldecott Honor

             and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor)

Scott, Jordan. I talk like a River. Illus. Sydney Smith. NY: Neal Porter Books/ Holiday

             House, 2020. (2121 Schneider Family book Award – about stuttering.)

Tatsukawa, Maya. The bear in my family. NY: Dial books for young readers 2020.

            (2021 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award)

Underwood, Deborah. Outside In. Illus. Cindy Derby.  NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020.

            (2021 Caldecott Honor book)

Van Draanen, Wendelin. Sammy Keyes and the hotel thief. NY: Alfred Knopf, 1998.

Wang, Andrea. Watercress. Illus Jason Chin.  NY: Holiday House/ Neal Porter Books, 2021.

Yamada, Kobi. What do you do with a Problem? Illus. Mae Besom. London, UK:  Compendium,


   …     What do you do with a chance? Illus. Mae Besom. London, UK: Compendium, 2017.

Yolen, Jane.  Miriam at the River. Illus Khua Le. Minneapolis, MN: Kar-Ben publishing/Lerner, 

            2020. (2021 ALA Sydney Taylor honor book)

    ….   Owl Moon. Illus John Schoenherr. NY: Philomel books, 1987.

            (1988 Caldicott Award winner) (A poem about Owling expeditions her husband and

             daughter Heidi made every year. Heidi still participates in the December Owl count.)

    ….   What to do with a String. Illus. C.R. Payne.  Mankato, MN:  Creative Editions, 2019.

Yolen, Jane and Heidi Stemple. I am the storm. Illus. Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell.  NY:

             Rise/Penguin Workshop, 2020.


I Can Read


Higgins, Ryan. What about Worms!? A Mo Willems Elephant & Piggie like reading! Book.

              Hyperion books for children, 2020.  (2021 Geisel Honor Book)

LaRochelle, David. See the Cat. Illus. Mike Wohnouka. Sommerville, MA: Candelwick, 2020.

            (2021 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner)

Lyons, Kelly Starling. Ty’s Travels – Zip, Zoom. Illus. Nina Mata. NY: Harper, I Can Read!,

             2020.  (2021 Geisel Honor Book)




Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. Fighting Words.  NY: Dial books for young readers, 2020.

            (2021 Newbery Honor book. Her second honor book.  Trigger Warning!  This is about

             sexual abuse. Be prepared to cry.)

Durst, Sarah Beth. The girl who could not dream. NY:  Clarion Books, 2015.

                        (This one was the most emotional of her books)

    ….   Journey across the hidden islands. NY:  Clarion Books, 2017.

    ….   The Stone Girl’s Story. NY:  Clarion Books, 2018.

    ….     Spark. NY:  Clarion Books, 2019.

    ….   Catalyst. NY:  Clarion Books, 2020.

    ….   Even and Odd. NY:  Clarion Books, 2021.

Johnson, Varian.  Playing the cards you’re dealt. NY: Scholastic Press, 2021.

Juster, Norton. The phantom tollbooth, special 35th anniversary edition. NY: Random House, 

            1961.  (boring book. I managed to trudge through it, trying to see why others thought it

             was so special. I’m not sure that modern children would like it.)

Keller, Tae.  When you trap a tiger. NY: Random House, 2020. (2021 Newbery Award winner)

            (I don’t care that it won this award; I could not finish this book.  Too sad. I hate books

             that make me cry.)

LeZotte, Ann Clare. Show me a sign. NY: Scholastic Press, 2020. 

            (historical fiction about the deaf community on Martha’s Vineyard.) 

            (2021 Schneider Family Book Award )

Nix, Garth and Sean Williams. Have Sword, Will Travel. NY: Scholastic Press, 2017.

    ….   Let Sleeping Dragons Lie. NY: Scholastic Press, 2018. (sequel to Have Sword…)

Park, Linda Sue.  Forest of Wonders, Book 1 of Wing and Claw series. NY: Harper, 2016.

    ….   Cavern of Secrets, Book 2 of Wing and Claw series. NY: Harper, 2017.

    ….   Beast of StoneBook 3 of Wing and Claw series. NY: Harper, 2018.

Pincus, Greg. The Homework Strike. NY: Arthur Levine Books/ Scholastic, 2017.

Selznick, Brian. Kaleidoscope. NY: Scholastic Press, 2020. 

            (there should be a note at the beginning that these are flash fiction- short stories)

Soontornvat, Christina. A wish in the Dark.  Sommerville, MA: Candlewick, 2020.

            (2021 John Newbery Medal award)

Valentine, Nicole. A time traveler’s theory of relativity. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda books, 2019. 

            (I love time travel books and I loved the fact that I knew at least half of the people she

             acknowledged at the back of the book.  Hurrah for VCFA folks and Highlights folks)       



YA Fiction:


Boulley, Angeline. Fire Keeper’s Daughter – keep the secret, live the lie, earn your truth. 

            NY: Henry Holt & Co., 2021.  (went to Loonsong/ Turtle Island retreat) 

            (Should be a Printz winner 2022 if ALA has any sense. Already tapped to be a Netflix


Garcia, Rita Williams. A sitting in St. James.  NY: Quill Tree books/ HarperCollins, 2021.

            (VCFA retired professor.  I predict multiple awards for this one.)

Jones, Diana Wynne. Dark Lord of Derkholm. NY: Greenwillow/ Harper Trophy, 1998.

Nix, Garth. Frogkisser! NY: Scholastic Press, 2017.

    ….   The left-handed booksellers of London. NY: HarperCollins/ Katherine Tegen books, 

            2020.  (fantasy)

Nix, Garth and Sean Williams. TroubleTwisters. NY: Scholastic Press, 2011.

Paulsen, Gary. The time hackers. NY: Random House/ Wendy Lamb books, 2005.

Price, Tirzah. Pride and Premeditation, A Jane Austen murder mystery. NY: Harper Teen, 2020.

            (VCFA grad – first of a series of books)

Springer, Nancy.  Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche. NY: Wednesday books/ St. Martin’s

             publishing group, 2021.





Kimmelman, Leslie. Write on, Irving Berlin!  Illus. David Gardner.  Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping

             Bear Press, 2018.

Rose, Caroline Starr. Illus. Alexandra Bye. A Race around the world, the true story of Nellie Bly

            and Elizabeth Bishland.  Park Ridge, IL: Albert Whitman & Co., 2019.

Slade, Suzanne. Exquisite, the poetry and life of Gwendolyn Brooks. (see J 8ll.54)

Weatherford, Carole Boston. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul. Illus Frank 

            Morrison. NY: Atheneum, 2020.  (2021 Corretta Scott King Illustrator Award)





JB- Bly            Gurevich, Margaret. Who was Nellie Bly? (a big head book) Illus. Laurie A.

             Conley. NY: Penguin Workshop, 2020. 

JB – Bly          Knudsen, Michelle. She Persisted – Nellie Bly. NY: Philomel Books/ Penguin

             Random House, 2021.

JB -  Paulsen   Paulsen, Gary. Gone to the Woods, Surviving a Lost Childhood. NY: Farrar Straus 

            Giroux, 2021.  (Excellent autobiography – I predict awards for this book soon.)

YB – Paulsen. Paulsen, Gary. Guts, the true stories behind Hatchet and the Brian books.

            NY: Delecort/ Random House, 2001.




J 595.799        Fleming, Candace. Honeybee, the busy life of apis mellifera. Illus. Eric Rohmann.

            NY: Holiday House, Neal Porter Books, 2020.  (2021 Sibert Medal winner)

J 614.49          Messner, Kate. History Smashers, Plagues and Pandemics. NY: Random House,

             2021.  (includes info about COVID-19) 

J 633.74          Stewart, Melissa and Allen Young. Illus. Nicole Wong. No monkeys, no 

            chocolate. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2013. 

J 811.54          Slade, Suzanne. Exquisite, the poetry and life of Gwendolyn Brooks. Illus Cozbia

             Cabrera. NY: Abrams books, 2020.  (picture book biography) 

            (2021 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor and Robert F. Sibert Informational honor)

J 811.54          Weatherford, Carole Boston. BOX- Henry Brown mails himself to freedom.

            Illus. Michele Wood. Sommerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2020. 

            (2021 Newbery Honor Book, Coretta Scott King author honor book award) 

J 910.41          Rose, Caroline Starr. Illus. Alexandra Bye. A Race around the world, the true 

            story of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bishland.  Park Ridge, IL: Albert Whitman & Co., 2019.