I have no words

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Reading it was an assignment in lit class in high school, followed with watching the movie. The two changed my life forever. It continues to be my absolute favorite book and movie.

Today, Harper Lee, the author of this incredible, life-changing book, died at the age of 89. My heart is broken.

To Kill a Mockingbird taught me that “black lives matter”. That all men are created equal, regardless of the color of their skin. I learned that there are evil people – in all races. I read this the first time in the late 60s, early 70s when racial tensions were high. Maybe that’s why it had such a huge impact on my life.

This book taught me other things as well: the carefree days of summer, the innocence of children, respect for those less fortunate than ourselves.

And then there’s Boo. This book taught me to respect the wishes and privacy of others.

Atticus was the dad we all wished we had and Scout was the girl all little girls wished they were.

I haven’t read Go Set a Watchman yet, but I will. I can almost ensure it will never have the same impact that To Kill a Mockingbird has had.

RIP Harper Lee. I am forever grateful for the life lessons you have taught me. Your death has had the same impact on me as your book has. I will never forget you.

Spring Dreaming

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Sometimes I paint. I have a wide variety of arts and crafts I do. Growing up, mom taught me to embroider and sew. Later in life I taught myself to do counted cross-stitch, needlepoint and quilt. Much later in life I began scrapbooking, art journaling, and painting. I’ve actually sold a few paintings, although I still consider myself very much an amateur. But, it’s something I enjoy doing.

I just finished this one for a local art show. Not one of my favorite pieces, yet I like it.

This piece will be on display next week, February 21-28, 2016. And, it is for sale :).

Stay tuned for more views into my art, book reviews, and random ramblings!

The Mapmaker’s Children

   The synopsis reads: “When Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, realizes that her artistic talents may be able to save the lives of slaves fleeing north, she becomes one of the Underground Railroad’s leading mapmakers, taking her cues from the Slave Quilt codes and hiding her maps within her paintings. As the country steers toward civil war, Sarah faces difficult sacrifices that could put all she loves in peril. A century and a half later, Eden Anderson, reeling from personal disappointment, moves with her husband to an old house in suburban Washington, D.C., a last-ditch effort to save their marriage and start a family. In the house’s cellar, she discovers a long-hidden porcelain doll that holds extraordinary secrets from the days of the Underground Railroad. Sarah and Eden’s connection soon bridges the past with the present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way, illustrating the ways in which history and destiny are interconnected on one enormous, intricate map.”

     I’ve always been fascinated with stories of the civil war, slavery and their eventual freedom, and the quilts. When I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. I was not disappointed.
     The author, Sarah McCoy, successfully intertwined the two leading ladies and the two centuries in which they lived. There are only two things I would have liked to have seen: more of Sarah’s artwork being mentioned and used in the book and that Sarah and Eden would have been related. 
     Overall, an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

A Book Review: The Other Typist

When I first saw this book I was intrigued by the title. I spent my life as a secretary and was blessed by God to be a fast and pretty accurate typist. Although I hated being a secretary (and the more glorified title of “administrative assistant”), I did learn to love to type. I used to say, “Just sit me in front of a computer and give me straight typing and I’ll be happy”.

So, when I saw this book I knew I had to have it.

First, the synopsis as printed on the back of the book: “Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool.

As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.”

To me, this book was a prime example of what can happen if you fall into the wrong crowd. I had my doubts about the type of person Odalie was from the very beginning. I didn’t trust her. And Rose shouldn’t have.

I saw myself in Rose – young (well, I was once!), naive, wanting to fit in and be accepted. And when this new girl comes on the scene who is everything Rose is not – and was accepted by her – well, I can see how Rose followed after her like a little puppy dog just wanting to be petted.

This book was set in the 1920s – the days of prohibiition, speakeasies, and jazz. And sin abounded! By the end of the book, Rose was a changed woman – or was she?

I liked this book. It wasn’t exactly what I thought it was when I first started reading it, but that’s ok. I’m not even sure what I thought it would be. Yes, I would recommend this book. The end is where it gets really exciting!

Blackkatte Blogs About Books

I’ve always been a reader, but in the last year, I’ve stepped up the volume of books I read. Let’s just say I discovered Goodreads and have accepted the Reading Challenge. Last year I set a goal of reading 30 books. I read almost 50. This year I set the reading goal at 60 and have so far finished 8 books. Granted, some of those books were started in 2015.

Something else that has helped me increase my reading volume is the “Book Buddies” at my local church that I joined last year. I’ve enjoyed meeting with these ladies monthly as we discuss the books we read. And, we always visit about other things too. There’s something about the fellowship of like-minded ladies talking about things we have in common.

Last week I discovered “reading to review”, therefore, my blog will include reviews of books I’ve read. Others’ reviews will be better because sometimes I don’t get very wordy. Rather, I think it may be because my brain works faster than my fingers can type.

Probably the best book I’ve read so far this year was The Book Thief. Another book I enjoyed – and it was totally not a book I would have chosen to read had it not been recommended to me – was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

I’m not going to review those books for this blog now, because I’m just starting to do this. And, I’m not saying I’m going to review every book I read. Guess you just have to stay tuned! Continue reading “Blackkatte Blogs About Books”

Ain’t Modern Technology Grand?

I just got an external Bluetooth keyboard to use with my phone, tablet, or computer. In fact, I’m typing on it right now! This is crazy. What will they come up with next?

I mostly wanted the keyboard because I don’t have Word or any of the Office apps on my computer, but I do have them on my phone. It’s a lot easier typing on a keyboard than it is swiping the letters on my handheld device.

Speaking of typing. I’ve been typing since I was a sophomore in high school. I won’t tell you how many years that’s been, but, suffice it to say, it’s been a while. I’ve made my living my entire life on typing. I’ve scored in the 90s, and even in the 100s once on typing tests. I’m not saying all of that to brag – I know where my typing gift came from and He gets all the glory.

Why I said all that is because I’m reading The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. It’s set in the 1920s and all they had back then were big, old manual typewriters. I started out in the late 60s typing on manuals, then was introduced to electric typewriters, and finally computers. In the book, the protaganist said she could type 160 words per minute – on a manual typewriter. Right away I yelled out, “Liar!!!”. That’s impossible to do on a manual typewriter. Even on electric typewriters and computer keyboards, I’ve never typed that fast and I’m a fast typist (again, know who I give the glory to).

Regardless of that glaring lie, I’m still reading the book and hope it’s good. I think I’m about to start chapter 5.

Speaking of reading – I’ve challenged myself to read 60 books this year. I keep track of my reading on Goodreads. If you’re on there and want to follow me, please do. I like to see what others are reading as well.

The fourth day

Finally God made light. He made the sun, the moon, and the stars.

The sun is the greater light which gives us daylight. The moon is the lesser light which helps to light up the night sky. Of course, science tells us that the moon actually gets its light reflected from the sun.

And the stars. I could be fascinated by astronomy – the study of the stars, but I could never get into astrology, with all the horoscopes, signs, etc. I don’t believe in finding my life’s answers in the stars. I believe in looking to the one who made the stars!