Fitness Tuesday

It is still super cold here.  All of my websites that I use to give me workouts are based in warmer places and they keep telling me that I should “Run 400m”.  Yeah, it is below freezing and the road is a sheet of ice.  I’m not running anywhere.

I finally decided to do something I’ve been thinking about.  I signed up for the free month trial of Daily Burn in order to do Black Fire.  Black Fire is a workout series done by Bob Harper that is basically CrossFit workouts.  There is a different one each day for 2 months.  (I’m not missing the conflict between 1 free month of the website and a 2 month program.)

I can do it inside in my basement mostly with equipment I have.  I don’t have a box for box jumps but I may be able to rig something.

I did the first workout on Sunday.  It was a tabata workout.  I did 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.  There were four moves – air squats, hand release push ups, stepping over a box, and burpees.  You do all 8 rounds of each move before moving onto the next.  It was tough.  I still hate burpees!  You score your lowest round.  Mine was 14 for the squats, 5 for the push ups, 15 for the step overs (I had a punching bag on its side), and 3 for burpees for a total of 37.  Someday this workout will show up again and you try to get better numbers.


I did the ABC 1 workout.  It stands for agility, balance, core.  It is an all bodyweight workout.  We did 5 rounds of each move with 30 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest.

  • X-squats – Squat then stand up and touch opposite knee to elbow.  Switch knees on next squat.  My lowest score was 10.
  • Surfer get ups – These are basically burpees but you land with one foot forward like standing on a surfboard.  Alternate forward legs.  My lowest score was 5.
  • Fence jumps – Jump sideways over a yoga mat.  My lowest score was 7.
  • Diamond push ups – Index fingers and thumbs together to make a diamond.  These have to be on your toes to count.  My lowest score was 5.

I’m still sore from Sunday so squats were hard.  I just looked at my fitbit dashboard.  It says I’ve had 1 active minute today.  Meanwhile, I’m shaking and sweating and climbing the stairs out of my basement was hard.

I’m also doing the 100,000 steps Challenge from Happy Herbivore in March.  This was a total math fail for me.  I thought that it was a challenge to go over 10,000 every day and then I did the math and realized that you only have to do over 3226 steps a day to finish it.

My Fitbit week – overall my step count was down.

Top Ten Books I’ve Read in the Last 3 Years


Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New AmericaDevil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my number one all time WTF? book. It is the true story of an alleged rape of a white woman by black men in Florida in the 1940s. Four men were arrested. The police knew that at least two of them weren’t involved. What happened after that was totally unbelievable. I listened to this on audio and at one point I was driving and just remember yelling sputtering curses and staring at the iPod in disbelief. I’m surprised I didn’t wreck.

My review

Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French RevolutionMadame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this historical fiction book about Madame Tussaud because I learned a lot about her life and it made me understand the mindset behind and horror of the French Revolution more than I had before.

The Saffron KitchenThe Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


An Iranian immigrant woman to England flees back to Iran after an accident involving her adult daughter. The daughter goes to try to find her and find out what is going on. She uncovers her mother’s horrifying past that she has been keeping secret.

Noah's WifeNoah’s Wife by T.K. Thorne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book imagines Noah’s Wife as an autistic woman who is obsessed with livestock and wants to be a shepherd. When a series of earthquakes leads to flooding, her family tries to survive.

Under HeavenUnder Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is high fantasy set in a world based on ancient China.

The Invention of WingsThe Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hadn’t heard of the Grimke sisters before I read this book. They were daughters of Southern slave owners who became abolitionists.

The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great (Catherine, #1)The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful historical fiction about Catherine the Great that starts when she comes as a bride from Poland to Russia.

Who Fears DeathWho Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this book. It is set in a future Sudan where the ruling class uses rape as weapon against other classes. The children of these rapes are feared because they look different but several are very powerful and now they have decided to fight back. This book is great fantasy and also powerful in its look at systemic violence and hatred towards women.

And two series that I’ve been reading and love:

Skin Game (The Dresden Files, #15)Skin Game by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Dresden Files just keeps getting better and that’s quite a feat after 15 books. I can’t wait for the next one.

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1)Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I just started reading this series this year and it is wonderful.

The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison

The Witch With No Name by Kim HarrisonThe Witch with No Name by Kim Harrison
(Website, Blog, Twitter)Series: The Hollows
Published by HarperCollins on September 9th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Urban
ISBN: 006195795X
Pages: 480
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible, Owned
All good things must end . . .After ten years and thirteen adventures, at last the triumphant conclusion to Kim Harrison's #1 New York Times bestselling Hollows series!The Witch with No Name In 2004, Kim Harrison made her debut with Dead Witch Walking, an electrifying urban fantasy novel full of action, mystery, romance, and humor, which introduced bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan. Over the course of twelve books, Rachel confronted numerous threats, vanquished a range of cunning and powerful enemies, risked her heart, suffered haunting loss, and nearly lost her life. Now, in The Witch with No Name, Kim Harrison brings back her wildly popular heroine for one final, epic battle.Rachel Morgan's come a long way from the klutzy runner fleeing a bad job. She's faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She's crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She's lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has become something much more.But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price.That time is now.To save her best friend Ivy's soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever-after and our own world from utter destruction at the hands of fanatics, Rachel Morgan will risk everything.


  • I love the world building of this series.  This all happens because genetically – modified tomatoes wiped out most of the humans in the 1960s allowing other species to come out of hiding.
  • It is a great big reunion.  Lots of characters that haven’t been seen since the beginning of the series are brought back.  I love Rachel’s mom.
  • The narration of the series is very good.  I especially like the voices the narrator uses for the pixies.

Didn’t Like

  • Wimpy vampires – I hate vampires that react to stress by sitting down and crying.  Vampires should be tough.  There were a lot of sobbing vampires in this book but the ones that annoyed me most were the living vampires in the beginning.  See also – vampires who react to danger by cowering and screaming.
  • It is a bad sign when the book starts with the near-death of a major character and I’m hoping and praying that she dies because she’s been annoying for the last few books. I shouldn’t be chanting, “Kill her!  Kill her!” in my car.
  • Angst – Rachel feels guilt that she has pulled Trent into her problems and she feels like she is bringing him down.  Do you know how I know this?  Because it is repeated over and over and over and over and then again in case you didn’t get it.  Seriously, at times it was discussed every 15 minutes or so in the audiobook.  I understood it the first twenty five times.  It was starting to seem like she needed to keep saying it to get the word count up.
  • Elves smell like wine and cinnamon.  This was also worked into the books way too many times.  I get it.  Move on.
  • The ending!  They went and hit on one of my personal hot button issues so maybe this is just my thing but I’m going to go off on it on the SPOILERS page.


Love the series – this book wasn’t great but I really, really, super, duper hate the ending!  Read the series and skip this book.



About Last Week

Reviews Posted This Week

Freedom’s Daughters by Lynne Olson – Nonfiction about the women of the Civil Rights movement

Lost and Found by Brooke Davis – Australian fiction about an abandoned girl, a widower, and a recluse on the run

A Chosen Exile by Allyson Hobbs – Is passing as another race ever a good option?

Top 10 Pratchett Heroines

About February

I read 18 books. Thirteen were fiction and five were nonfiction. They were set in the U.S., England, Suriname, Botswana, Australia, Finland, and one on the moon.

I read 8 white female authors, 5 black females, 2 black male authors, 1 white male, 1 Indian female author, and 1 Native American male. Two of the books were originally written in other languages – Finnish and Dutch.

Around the Internet

I won something! Thanks Alysia!

New to Me Book Bloggers I’m Following on Bloglovin’

It Starts at Midnight – Looking for discussion posts?  She has a linkup here. and Outlandish Lit

New on Twitter

leah renee and Talitha Nelle

Reading This Week

The Annotated Sandman, Vol. 1The Annotated Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman

Every time anyone talks about Neil Gaiman they always work in how wonderful Sandman is. I’ve never read it. I’ve decided to fix this apparently huge gap in my understanding.


Yes, ChefYes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

An Ethiopian orphan is adopted by a Swedish family and becomes a top European chef.



Blood Colony (African Immortals, #3)Blood Colony by Tananarive Due

This is the third book in the series with My Soul to Keep and The Living Blood (review publishing this week).  Can the blood of immortals be used as a medication without endangering them?


Lost & Found by Brooke Davis

Lost & Found by Brooke DavisLost & Found by Brooke Davis
Published by DUTTON on January 22nd 2015
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 320
Source: Library
An irresistible debut novel about the wisdom of the very young, the mischief of the very old, and the magic that happens when no one else is looking.  Millie Bird, seven years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her curly hair. Her struggling mother, grieving the death of Millie’s father, leaves her in the big ladies’ underwear department of a local store and never returns. Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, has not left her house—or spoken to another human being—since she was widowed seven years ago. She fills the silence by yelling at passersby, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Karl the Touch Typist, eighty-seven, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife’s skin. Now that she’s gone, he types his words out into the air as he speaks. Karl’s been committed to a nursing home, but in a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. Now he’s on the lam. Brought together at a fateful moment, the three embark upon a road trip across Western Australia to find Millie’s mother. Along the way, Karl wants to find out how to be a man again; Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was. Together they will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself feel sad once in a while just might be the key to a happy life.

Millie Bird

  • Her mom told her to wait for her in the women’s underwear department so that’s what she’s going to do.  If she has to move, she’ll leave notes so her mom can find her.  She’s been waiting for days now.
  • Fascinated with dead things like her dog Rambo, flies, and now her Dad.

Every one knows everything about being born, and no one knows anything about being dead.

Karl the Touch Typist

  • On the run from his nursing home and so far no one has noticed
  • Steals typewriter keys and a mannequin
  • Lost since his wife died

They lived such a small life.  Trees and flowers and ocean and neighbors.  They never scaled mountains, or braved rapids, or went on telly.  They never ate strange animals in Asian countries.  ….

But they had loved.  They grew plants, drank tea in the afternoon light, waved at neighbors.  They watched Sale of the Century every night and, together, were reasonably accomplished at it….  Their life was a twenty-kilometer radius around their house.”

Agatha Pantha

  • Maintained a strict schedule inside her house for the last seven years
  • Main entertainment is yelling judgements at strangers she sees through the window

“He clutches a mobile phone to his ear like a life preserver.What are you saying on that thing? she says.  What do children have to say to other children? “Fred, I didn’t wet myself last night?”  The boy shakes his head.  You’re crazy, lady, he says as he turns and keeps walking.  In my day, teenagers didn’t exist! she announces to his retreating back.  You were a child until you were two and then you were an adult!”

Now they are on the run together, trying to find Millie’s mom before the police find them. The three of them understand and compliment each other in ways none of them could have expected.


Read it!  Go now!  The insights in the writing are wonderful.  As I reading I kept thinking of the word “profound” and it is that without being heavy.

A Chosen Exile by Allyson Hobbs

A Chosen Exile by Allyson HobbsA Chosen Exile by Allyson Hobbs
Published by Harvard University Press on October 13th 2014
Genres: History, Nonfiction, United States
ISBN: 9780674368101
Pages: 382
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Between the eighteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, countless African Americans passed as white, leaving behind families and friends, roots and community. It was, as Allyson Hobbs writes, a chosen exile, a separation from one racial identity and the leap into another. This revelatory history of passing explores the possibilities and challenges that racial indeterminacy presented to men and women living in a country obsessed with racial distinctions. It also tells a tale of loss.As racial relations in America have evolved so has the significance of passing. To pass as white in the antebellum South was to escape the shackles of slavery. After emancipation, many African Americans came to regard passing as a form of betrayal, a selling of one's birthright. When the initially hopeful period of Reconstruction proved short-lived, passing became an opportunity to defy Jim Crow and strike out on one's own.Although black Americans who adopted white identities reaped benefits of expanded opportunity and mobility, Hobbs helps us to recognize and understand the grief, loneliness, and isolation that accompanied and often outweighed these rewards. By the dawning of the civil rights era, more and more racially mixed Americans felt the loss of kin and community was too much to bear, that it was time to pass out and embrace a black identity. Although recent decades have witnessed an increasingly multiracial society and a growing acceptance of hybridity, the problem of race and identity remains at the center of public debate and emotionally fraught personal decisions.

“Passing” didn’t always mean changing racial identities. At the beginning of the United States, both black slaves and white indentured servants sometimes passed as free people to run away. But as slavery became more entrenched in racial identity passing came to mean black people living as white.

Some people just did it occasionally to go into a certain segregated area. Others moved away from their hometowns where everyone knew them and cut off all contact with family and friends.

Immediately following the Civil War there as a period of more opportunities for black men. Some of those who might have passed in an earlier generation chose not to at this time.


P.B.S. Pinchback was the first black governor in the U.S. He was also elected to Congress but had difficulty being seated because of his race.

As Jim Crow laws were passed in the South, passing started to happen more often again until the rise of the Civil Right movement.


  • The stories of people who had to decide what was best for them to do and the impact on their families
  • The story of the man who integrated a southern college decades before the college fought against integration. He got his degree because everyone thought he was white.
  • It was sad to read about changing social mores that allowed a man to go openly to an integrated college but then barred his grandchildren because the college no longer admitted black students.

Didn’t Like

  • This isn’t the most narrative book so it could be slow going to read it. I had to take some breaks and then get back into it.


“I decided some time ago that the Negro people need all the good, intelligent, unbelligerent representatives they can get in this world, and I’m trying to be one.”

– Herb Jeffries, an actor that producers tried to convince to bill himself as Latin, on why he refused.

“…although many of her friends would pass without a moment’s hesitation just to be free from color problems, poor-paying jobs and all the other vicious injustices that all too often go with being a Negro,’ she had a different perspective after experiencing the darker side of passing.  Listening to white coworkers speak about blacks with bitter contempt, teetering on a ‘state of nervous collapse,’ and living in constant fear that her secret would be discovered, she felt relieved to be ‘through with passing.’ No longer did she have to worry about returning coworkers’ social invitations or getting sick on the job and being taken home by a coworker who would discover that she lived in a black neighborhood.” 

– based on an anonymously article in Ebony in March 1951


Adventures in Babysitting

I have a coworker who was going to have exploratory brain surgery. She texted me on a Tuesday two weeks ago to see if I would keep one of her cats whenever her surgery was scheduled. I agreed to this theoretical question. Ten minutes later she texted back and said that she had just gotten off the phone with the doctor and her surgery would be Friday. They had to leave to get to the doctor on Wednesday so could she drop off the cat in a few hours? That gave me no time to kitty proof a bedroom since I was at work.

The cat has cerebellar hypoplasia. That is a birth defect where the part of the brain that controls motor function didn’t develop correctly. This cat is pretty severely affected. She is able to stand but can only walk for a few steps before she falls over. She can’t climb or jump. She’s been this way since birth though so she thinks she is normal. I didn’t think she could get into anything but I asked anyway and was assured that she didn’t get into anything. <— That’s called foreshadowing in English class.

She was pretty freaked out by going to a new house and especially freaked out about going home with the evil vet. On Wednesday morning before work she ran away from me and hid under the bed.

At 5:30 Wednesday night the husband called me at work.

“Did you take the cat with you to work?”
“She’s not in the bedroom.”
“She has to be in the bedroom. She was under the bed when I left.”
“She’s not under there. There is that crawl space in the wall. She’s in the wall!”

The crawl space has a heavy panel in front of it. It opens a space behind our bathrooms to access the plumbing. I had a hard time getting it open. My cats have never bothered it. There is no way a disabled, uncoordinated cat can get in there. That’s the logical response. I started to panic. If you are babysitting a cat for a person having brain surgery of course the cat would find a way to get in there.

“Is the panel open?”
“It moves.” Imagine the whole string of expletives about the cat in the wall from the husband.
“Go in there and see if she’s there.”
“I have to move the bed to get to it. I’ll call you back.”

I’m shaking at work. I have an hour and a half until I can leave. I’m imagining having the call the cat’s owner. “So, I killed your cat in less than a day. Have a happy brain surgery!”

He texted back. “She’s not in there. She’s gone.”
“Where could she go from there? Basement?”

I’m having visions of her falling through holes for the plumbing. A normal cat could fall one story. She can’t catch herself. Dead cat in the basement visions start.

He texts back. “Not in the basement.”

Then nothing for 10 minutes and I am in full panic mode.

Text “Freckles found her. She was under the dresser.”

Under the dresser. She never left the room. Of course she couldn’t leave the room. Of course he didn’t look under the other piece of furniture before he started imagining disaster.

“She seemed pretty scared.”

Of course she did. There was a crazy man who came in the room and started swearing and then moved the bed and disappeared into the wall. I’d be freaked too.

After I calmed down I was talking to other people at work. We imagined what we could have done if we hadn’t found the cat. It wasn’t like we could go find another orange and white wobbly cat and pass her off as the same cat.

  1. “Um, I had some time with her this week so I managed to fix her brain.”
  2. “Wow, brain surgery must of messed you up to make you think you had a twitchy orange cat instead of this perfectly normal black cat that you’ve had all along.”


It has been two weeks since the events described in this post and I think I’ve mostly recovered. It took a few years off my life, I think.

Top 10 Pratchett Women

The topic today for top Ten Tuesday at Broke and Bookish is Heroines. I decided to narrow that down and discuss 10 women from my favorite series of all time, Discworld.

1. Cheery Littlebottom – Sergeant in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch

Cheery is a dwarf. She’s a female one to be precise about it but polite dwarves don’t talk about that. She decided that she wants to be open about being female and starts wearing a skirt and using pronouns like him and her. She causes quite an uproar in dwarf society with her outlandish ways.

2. Adora Belle Dearheart

She runs the Golem Trust making sure that Golems aren’t being abused by heartless masters. She’s tough and smokes like a chimney.

3. Angua – Ankh-Morpork City Watch

Angua is a werewolf and a woman on the police force. The bad guys think that the cops are using a wolf but no one suspects it is her. She gets sent in when things need to end quickly.

4. Lady Sybil

She starts out a gentlewoman dragon breeder who marries Commander Vimes of the City Watch and civilizes him against his will. She’s tough and big and loving and makes him be the best version of himself whether he wants to or not.

5. Polly Perks

She disguises herself as a boy to join the army. She wants to rescue her brother and get away from the life women are required to lead. She fins out that she’s better at soldiering than at hiding who she is.

6. The Keldas

The Keldas are the leaders of the Nac Mac Feegle, a type of fairy folk. They are the only females in groups of hundreds of men. They do the thinking. They can magically connect with the memories of all the previous Keldas and the Keldas yet to come. They also enjoy the occasional sip of Special Sheep Liniment, which is way too dangerous to give to actual sheep.

7. Petulia Gristle

She is a young witch who specializes in pig medicine. The other young witches make fun of her until they realize how much she is valued by others in a rural community that relies on pigs. She’s the closest the Discworld has to a vet so I have to cheer for her.

8. Tiffany Aching

She’s a young witch who was mostly self taught until she attracted the attention of some very senior witches. She has the help/burden of the Nac Mac Feegle. She’s saved the world a few times too.

9. Nanny Og

She’s a powerful witch who is the matriarch of a vast clan of Ogs. She torments her daughters-in-law. She loves her cat who everyone else thinks is an evil creature. She’ll drink you under table while singing bawdy songs like, “The Wizard’s Staff has a Knob at the End” and “The Hedgehog Song” which is so filthy that it can’t be written down.

She even has her own stamp.

10. Granny Weatherwax

She’s such a powerful witch that she doesn’t even need to do much magic anymore. Just her glare makes people do what she wants.

She doesn’t hold with nonsense.

Granny: “I don’t hold with paddlin’ with the occult. Once you start paddlin’ with the occult you start believing in spirits, and when you start believing in spirits you start believing in demons, and then before you know where you are you’re believing in gods. And then you’re in trouble.”
Nanny Ogg: “But all them things exist.”
Granny: “That’s no call to go around believing in them. It only encourages ’em.”

The only things that scares her is knowing that she could take over the world so she tries extra hard to stay sort-of good.

Besides, her soul can hitch rides on animals and that’s really cool. I want to be her when I grow up.

Bonus – An extra shout out to the Mother Goddess who isn’t an actual character but is the topic of one of my favorite quotes ever.

Fitness Tuesday

I have been such a slug lately.  I think the weather has me in hibernation mode.  That’s my only excuse.


On Friday I got myself to the gym and did 2.5 miles on the track. I also worked on bench press using a Smith machine. That is my worst lift by far.

On Sunday it warmed up to 32 F. so Freckles and I went for a walk.

I’m taking an online course that incorporates some energy work.  One of the things that we are supposed to do everyday is the Five Tibetan Rites. We started doing 7 of each exercise and are adding three each week until you get to a maximum of 21.


Five tibetan rite 1.gif
Five tibetan rite 1” by J. LunauOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The first one is to turn clockwise.

Five tibetan rite 2.gif
Five tibetan rite 2” by J. LunauOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The second is this leg lift followed by three deep breaths with your hands on your lower abs.

Five tibetan rite 3.gif
Five tibetan rite 3” by J. LunauOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The third is this chest opener that reminds me of preparation for camel pose.

Five tibetan rite 4.gif
Five tibetan rite 4” by J. LunauOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The fourth is this table pose followed by three breaths.

Five tibetan rite 5.gif
Five tibetan rite 5” by J. LunauOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The fifth is upward dog to downward dog.

It doesn’t take long to do these in the morning (when I remember to do them) so at least that’s a little bit of exercise in my sluggish time.

Freedom’s Daughters by Lynne Olson

Freedom’s Daughters by Lynne OlsonFreedom's Daughters by Lynne Olson
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2001
Genres: 20th Century, Civil Rights, History, Nonfiction, Political Science, Social Science, United States, Women's Studies
Pages: 460
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
The first comprehensive history of the role of women in the civil rights movement, Freedom's Daughters fills a startling gap in both the literature of civil rights and of women's history. Stokely Carmichael, Andrew Young, John Lewis, and other well-known leaders of the civil rights movement have admitted that women often had the ideas for which men took credit. In this groundbreaking book, credit finally goes where credit is due -- to the bold women who were crucial to the movement's success and who refused to give up the fight.

I found this book because I wanted to find out more about Diane Nash, who was featured in the movie Selma.

The book starts with Ida B. Wells who was a journalist in the 1800s reporting on lynching.

After the Civil War, black women were able to apply their educations in jobs such as teaching more readily than black men were allowed.  These educated women organized social services and groups to fight against injustice.  The backlash came swiftly.  Black pastors accused them of being too powerful and taking on roles that should be filled by men.  The sexism grew.

“Once male slaves were freed, they sought to claim what they saw as those rights of ownership, particularly control over black women to which white men had previously laid claim.” pg 44

It was women who kept pressing for more rights during the early 1900s. Pauli Murray and Eleanor Roosevelt were featured among others.

A recurring theme is that women would start a project and then when it was getting successful, men would come in and take over.

“News coverage, which the leaders sought, was, as Murray pointed out, a matter of men reporting on men.  Stories on the movement often read like accounts of sports contests or wars, keeping score of who was up and who was down, who won an dwho lost.  Conflict was always emphasized, whether between civil rights organizations or between local white aurthorities and activitis.  The behind-the-scenes activity that women specialized in – organizing, building consensus, sustaining a  sense of community – did not make good television, nor did it lend itself to dramatic newspaper or magazine headlines. page 235

During the 1960s black and white women worked together in most of the major campaigns. Opposition to Civil Rights was often because of fears of black men sleeping with white women. For this reason, white women were often kept in the office and not allowed to go out into the field with black men. They started to chafe under the restrictions of their “women’s work.” Black women often did not see their point about sexism because they didn’t have the same prohibitions. This led to splits in organizations and several of the white women who had been very involved in the Civil Rights movement started working with feminist organizations. This disconnect between black and white women over sexism can still be seen in discussions today around race and feminism.

I learned about women that I didn’t know anything about previously, including Diane Nash. She was incredible!

This book was a good compliment to the Rosa Parks biography I read. I’d recommend this for anyone interested in women’s history that they may not have heard before.

Week in Review

Reviews Posted This Week

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen – Magical realism about a group of writers in Finland.  Amazing, must read

Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson – More magical realism about people in London losing what is most dear to them

The Waters Rising by Sherri S. Tepper – Fantasy about the preparations for the end of land civilizations on Earth.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert – What happens when your best friend who was kidnapped four years ago is rescued and you find out that you know more about the crime than you think you did?

The Free Negress Elisabeth by Cynthia McLeod – Historical fiction about a self-made black woman in colonial Suriname fighting for the right to marry.  It is an unbelievable story that is actually true!

Around the Internet

I read only white authors for 12 months.  What I learned surprised me.

“Rather than restricting myself, my decision to be conscious about what I read introduced me to books I ordinarily would not have bothered with. Instead of my usual crime/procedural/legal thrillers, I actually read some science fiction. And some fantasy. And I loved it. Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon and Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death are now two of my favourite books. I would never have heard of them had I not deliberately sought them out.”


Perceptions of Diversity in Book Reviews – This is interesting for those of us writing reviews.

“These reviews reveal a few specific issues or perceptions about diversity: the idea that diversity in a book is contrived; the critique that a book contains too many issues; the question of believability; the demand for glossaries; and finally, unsupported assumptions relating to race.”

-Malinda Lo

How Strong Female Characters Still End Up Weak and Powerless

“We think of Abilities and Skills like they’re stats on a character sheet rather than thinking about what abilities women possess inside the story to affect that story. We think of Powers like She Can Fly or She Knows Kung Fu or She Has Mastered The Ancient Art Of Laser Kegels when we should be focusing on the character’s internal power, her narrative power to push on the story, to be a well-rounded human being, no matter how vulnerable, no matter how strong.”

-Chuck Wendig


Reading This Week

The Living Blood (African Immortals, #2)The Living Blood by Tananarive Due
“Jessica Jacobs-Wolde’s life was destroyed when her husband, David Wolde, disappeared after killing both their daughter Kira and Jessica herself–and reviving Jessica to immortality with his healing blood. David was a Life Brother, member of an ancient, secret, and immortal African clan. Now Jessica, hiding with her surviving daughter in rural Botswana, attempts to make sense of her new existence as she uses her altered blood to save the incurably ill. But her daughter Fana was born with the living blood in her veins, and at the age of 3 can raise a storm, kill with a thought, and possess her mother’s mind. The true extent of her abilities is unknown. Jessica’s only hope of teaching Fana to control her dangerous talents is to travel to Ethiopia and find the Life Brothers’ hidden colony.” – from Goodreads

I read the first book in this series and am interested to see what comes next.

Power Forward: My Presidential EducationPower Forward: My Presidential Education by Reggie Love
“Reggie Love is a unique witness to history, whose introduction to Washington was working in Junior Senator Barack Obama’s mailroom. As body man; to Obama during his first presidential campaign, Loves job was to stay one step behind the candidate, but think and act three steps ahead during a typical eighteen-hour workday. As President Obama’s personal aide during that momentous first term, Love sat yards from the Oval Office and often spent more time with the President than anyone else.” -from Goodreads

Charlie was always my favorite part of The West Wing so I jumped on the chance to read this book by a real body man.

This Side of HomeThis Side of Home by Renée Watson
“Identical twins Nikki and Maya have been on the same page for everything—friends, school, boys and starting off their adult lives at a historically African-American college. But as their neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, suddenly filled with pretty coffee shops and boutiques, Nikki is thrilled while Maya feels like their home is slipping away. Suddenly, the sisters who had always shared everything must confront their dissenting feelings on the importance of their ethnic and cultural identities and, in the process, learn to separate themselves from the long shadow of their identity as twins.” – from Goodreads

Invaded (Alienated, #2)Invaded by Melissa Landers
“The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe…until a threat to both their worlds reunites them.

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.” – from Goodreads

I see they are still whitewashing the covers of this series about aliens with brown/red skin.

Love-A-Thon 2015 Intro Post

The Book Bloggers Love-A-Thon is designed to be 2 days of spreading positive vibes around the web.  Check it out at Alexa’s blog.

My name is Heather and I’m in Ohio.  I’ve been blogging here since 2005.

Mostly I blog about books but I also write about fitness, quilting, and anything else that I feel the need to rant about.

When I’m not blogging I like to:


We went to France and Monaco in October and I’m going to England in May.  I also went to Orlando in January for a conference and snuck in some Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Universal time.


I’m the state coordinator for Quilts of Valor, a group that gives quilts to veterans.

Play in the woods with horses

I’m a vet judge for competitive trail rides.

Mostly I read:


The Summer PrinceThe Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Who Fears DeathWho Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Historical fiction

The Skystone (Camulod Chronicles, #1)The Skystone by Jack Whyte

My rating: 5 of 5 stars




Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French RevolutionMadame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran

My rating: 4 of 5 stars




Everyday SexismEveryday Sexism by Laura Bates




The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour, and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV NewsThe News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour, and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News by Sheila Weller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


My goal for this reading year is to read more books in translation and more non-American and British authors.


The Free Negress Elisabeth by Cynthia McLeod

The Free Negress Elisabeth by Cynthia McLeodThe Free Negress Elisabeth by Cynthia Mc Leod
Published by Arcadia Books Limited on 2008
Genres: Fiction, Historical
ISBN: 190514783X
Pages: 316
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Elisabeth Samson, a free black Surinamese woman who lived in 18th-century Dutch Guyana, is the central character in this compelling novel. Challenging the prevailing racial stereotypes by demonstrating her intelligence and business acumen, she is determined to marry a white man in defiance of all established norms and conventions. Set amidst the rich backdrop of the Golden Age of Suriname, this biographical account depicts the complex social and racial stratifications which were features of slave colonies of the era as well as this remarkable woman who overcame institutionalized discrimination and prejudice to become one of the wealthiest individuals in the slave colony of Dutch Guyana.

Sometimes a book is a perfect fit for what you are looking to read.  This book checked off all the boxes for me.

Set in a country that I’d never read about before?  Yep, Suriname.  Here’s where it is.  Elisabeth was most annoyed when people didn’t know.

Written about a person of color by a person of color who has lived in the area? Yep, Cynthia McLeod (right in the picture) was born in Suriname and is the daughter of the first President of the country.

Written in a language other than English? Yep, written in Dutch and translated to English.

I was so excited that I was getting that all in one book that before I started it I had a moment of panic.  “What if this book isn’t any good?”

I was worried for nothing though.  This is historical fiction about Elisabeth Samson.  She was born to a black woman who had been freed following the death of her owner who had fathered two of her children.  Elisabeth was born two years later and had no white blood in her.  Black women were the lowest rung of Suriname society but she was raised as a free child by her half-white older sister and her sister’s white husband.

Black women were caught in a logical loop.  They were not allowed to marry so many lived with men out of wedlock.  Because so many lived with men out of wedlock, they were considered too immoral to be allowed to marry.  Mulatto women could marry freely.  When she became one of the richest people in the colony, she decided to fight for her right to marry.

The author spent years researching her.  At the beginning of her work it was known that Samson had a fortune but everyone assumed it came from a white man who either freed her or was sleeping with her.  Going through the primary sources the author found that Samson was a self-made woman who was involved in several prominent court cases.  After publishing her research, she wrote this historical fiction version of Samson’s life.

She was a fascinating woman and is presented here faults and all.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

Pointe by Brandy ColbertPointe by Brandy Colbert
Published by Penguin on April 10th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
ISBN: 0399160345
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Theo is better now. She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor. Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse. Brandy Colbert dazzles in this heartbreaking yet hopeful debut novel about learning how to let go of even our most shameful secrets.

I’ve seen this book featured on a lot of lists about dance. The main character is a dancer but this not a book about dance.

Theo was 13 her first boyfriend broke up with her and then her best friend Donovan disappeared. She buried her feelings in dance and trying to control her life in ways that developed into an eating disorder. When Donovan is found, it is revealed that he was taken by the person who Theo still thinks of as her first love – except he is much older than he told Theo.

No one knows about their relationship except Donovan and he hasn’t spoken since he came home. Theo is going to have to testify but she doesn’t know if she should tell the whole truth.

This is a book that is hard to read as an adult. Of course you testify! The author did a good job getting into the mind of a teenager who has been abused and whose abuser’s voice is still in her head telling her that it is their secret.

The Waters Rising by Sherri S. Tepper

The Waters Rising by Sherri S. TepperThe Waters Rising by Sheri S. Tepper
on August 31st 2010
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
ISBN: 0061958875
Pages: 512
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library


A princess is dying from a mysterious illness.  A young soul carrier has been found to take her soul from Norland to her homeland across the sea.  But first the child must do a favor for the princess and retrieve a package that she has hidden.  She is told that her highest priority is to get herself and the contents of the package back across the sea to the land of Tingawa that the princess came from.

Neighboring kingdoms are controlled by an evil family who have been trained as killers by a mysterious Old Dark Man.  They have an absolute hatred of Tingawans.  They will stop at nothing to make sure the soul carrier doesn’t make it to her ship alive.

Meanwhile the waters are rising.  Eventually they will swamp all the land on Earth.  Already villages have had to move to higher ground.  While the people of Norland try to adapt to the changing landscape, the leaders of Tingawa and the Sea King have decided to plan for the eventual demise of the Earth.

This book is actually telling two different stories.  The first is the story of the evil family and why they are trying to kill the Tingawans.  That wasn’t that interesting to me.  It covered the first part of the book and did drag.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I love this author and that there is a sequel to this book now that I want to read I’d have stopped.

The second story is the plan for survival when there is no more land.  This story I was interested in.  I think this is the story that continues into the sequel.  When the book got to this part it started to really move quickly for me.

I’m looking forward to reading Fish Tails to see what happens.

**I just looked it up on Goodreads to get that link and there are characters in there from a series that I have but that I haven’t read yet.  Crap.  It looks like she is tying together her entire lifetime of books into one big finale.  Now I have read the others to properly appreciate it! **


Bad Attitude Sewing

It is no secret that I hate Disney stuff.  Before 2008 I was mainly just not that interested but since then I’ve been dealing with an autistic child whose obsessions are always Disney and something else.  The something else varies but Disney stays the same.  That means at any given time she only has two topics of conversation and she talks nonstop.  I want to scream, “Please, for the love of all that is holy, shut the $%# up about Disney!!” but that is considered rude.  For the last year she has been obsessing about Disney cruises to the point that she knows the layout of all the ships and the number of bars.  She gave me a whole monologue this weekend about how I have failed her father because I am holding him back from going on a Disney cruise.  Explaining that her father thinks going on a Disney cruise would be a new level of hell that Dante hadn’t even imagined didn’t work.

The child and her mother are going on a Disney cruise in June.  This weekend when I went to pick up the child, the mother held out a bag and said, “We were wondering if you could make this up this weekend.  I mean, if you can’t we can do it with Grandma.”  Note the lack of a please, thank you, or question in there.  The child explained that I needed to make something for them for their cruise.  The level of stabby was high before this project even started.

Apparently, on Disney cruises you need something called a fish extender.  There is a fish decoration on the door and you hang pockets from it and people give you presents.

They provided me with fleece and a nasty crunchy fabric with glitter that dulled my blade and needle.  I decided to make it fancy and then threatened to sign it so they had to think of me every time they saw it.

I cut two pieces of fleece 8″ x 24″. I layered them with batting in between.


I sewed 1/4″ along the long sides to hold them together.

I cut the pocket fabric 6″ x 11″. That was suggested on other sites I read in order to make pleated pockets. I folded over the top and bottom and topstitched the top so it wouldn’t fray. I didn’t stitch the bottom. I figured it will get sewn down when it gets sewn on the background.

Of course I had to get fancy and fussy cut the Tinkerbells. Pin the sides, center the design, and then fold the pleats. I just eyeballed this.

I did a double row of stitching across the bottom to reinforce that weight bearing seam and to make sure I caught the folded edge. I started with the first pocket at the bottom and then put two inches between the pockets. I bound the edges with the Tinkerbell fabric.

I put a fleece hanging pocket on the back for a dowel rod.

One finished fish extender (what a stupid name!). The husband has helpfully pointed out that there was no thank you forthcoming from either of them. I just love making projects for hateful people!

In happier sewing news, I started sewing the fourth row onto my hexie quilt.

Top 10 Bookish Problems

  1. Trying to read a sequel when I don’t remember what happened in the first book.  Would it kill you to put in a summary page at the beginning?
  2. Falling asleep while reading and the book hitting you in the face
  3. Not being able to read on an iPad outside with sunglasses on.  Too many times I’ve smacked it and wondered why the screen won’t turn on.
  4. Not being able to safely read in the bathtub on anything electronic.  Someone also needs to invent a book that can be read in a steam room.
  5. Books breed.  I don’t buy physical copies of books unless there is no other choice and I still have overflowing bookcases.  Where did they come from?
  6. I hate it when waiters ask me what I’m reading.  Seriously, it is probably about zombie princesses trying to stop wizards from taking over the world following an ecological disaster in Colombia and now you are going to look at me funny for the rest of my meal.
  7. Worrying about not having anything to read. I store my library books that I’m not currently reading in the car so if I’m out somewhere I can pick up a book to take with me.  I have books on my iPad.  In a pinch I can access the Kindle app on my phone.  I have a book in the bathroom and a book in progress in the bedroom.  Why do I have panic moments when I think I’m not going to have something to read?
  8. Why do you read X and not Y?  The husband thinks I read books that are too frivolous.  I have stats on this, buddy.  I read 25% nonfiction last year and I made you fall in love with Terry Pratchett and fantasy worlds too. Sometimes I get blog comments about how much nonfiction I read.  People think I’m too serious.  You can’t win.
  9. People who are proud that they don’t read. The ex was proud that he hadn’t read a whole book since Island of the Blue Dolphins in fourth grade.  Is it any wonder that marriage didn’t last?  Other people tell me that they’d like to read but are just too busy. Whatever.  They drive so they have audiobook time.  They watch tv so they have reading time.  Quit thinking your time wasters are better than mine.
  10. There’s no time to read ALL the books.

Linking with The Broke and the Bookish.

Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson

Of Things Gone Astray by Janina MatthewsonOf Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Limited on August 28th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Literary
ISBN: 0007562470
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Book Tour
Mrs Featherby had been having pleasant dreams until she woke to discover the front of her house had vanished overnight On a seemingly normal morning in London, a group of people all lose something dear to them, something dear but peculiar: the front of their house, their piano keys, their sense of direction, their place of work. Meanwhile, Jake, a young boy whose father brings him to London following his mother's sudden death in an earthquake, finds himself strangely attracted to other people s lost things. But little does he realise that his most valuable possession is slipping away from him. Of Things Gone Astray is a magical fable about modern life and values.

Mrs Featherby lost her front wall.

Delia has lost her sense of direction. Now anytime she wants to go somewhere she can’t get there.

Marcus is a pianist whose piano keys have disappeared.

Robert lost his job. He didn’t get fired. The building that his office was in disappeared and none of the neighbors remember it ever being there. None of his coworkers are in his contact list anymore.

Cassie’s girlfriend didn’t come on the flight from Brazil so she sat down to wait for her. Now she’s turning into a tree right at the arrivals gate in Heathrow Terminal Two.

Jake keeps finding lost things but he has a feeling that something he should remember is slipping away.


This was a great book.  Losing the things that were most important to them, made all the characters reevaluate what they wanted out of life.  Magical realism is perfect for this book.  I loved the fact that no one was the least bit surprised that Cassie was turning into a tree.  It was just one of those things that happens.

The stories of the people start to intertwine so they all end up helping each other break out of the routines that they were in before they lost things.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari JääskeläinenThe Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
Published by Pushkin Press, Limited on 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Literary, Occult & Supernatural, translation
ISBN: 1908968982
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Laura White wrote a series of children’s books featuring magical creatures. Now her hometown of Rabbit Back is in the business of Laura White tourism. Sculptures of her creatures are all over town. (Imagine if J.K. Rowling lived in a small English town dedicated to all things Harry Potter.)

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Laura White started a literary society consisting of children from the local school who she thought had the potential to be great writers. She trained them and now they are the top writers in Finland. She never added anyone past the original nine but has been on the lookout for talent.

Now, Ella, a substitute teacher, has been picked to be the tenth member.

Ella notices that there are a lot strange happenings in town and they seem to center around the Literature Society members. Library books are changing the endings of the stories. All the dogs in town are running away from home and congregating in the front yard of one of the writers. On the day that Ella is to formally inducted into the Society, Laura White disappears in a swirl of snow – inside her house.

Ella is determined to figure out what is going on in Rabbit Back.

I loved this book.  It is a wonderful mix of magical realism edging up close to fantasy and into psychological thriller as Ella probes the memories of the original members to find out what they are hiding.

And that epilogue?  I heart, heart, heart the epilogue!  There is enough of a twist to surprise and to smack you right in the feelings.


“Shit,” Ella said.
“There you go,” Ingrid said happily. “When life gives you plums, spit out the stones.”


“Free coffee and cake will get the masses out better than resurrection day.” She looked around, smiled broadly, and said, “But if you want to find characters for a book, this is a good place to do it, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I found bits of a serial killer’s mother, half of a hero’s lover, and three whole peripheral characters today. A nice haul.”


Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

If you like this book try The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.  It is a Swedish novel that is also very funny.

Sunday Week in Review

Books Posted This Week

Fairest by Marissa Meyer – See the series from the evil Queen Levana’s point of view

The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King – Essays on what it means to be Native American in North America

Harry Potter World pictures

Received This Week


I received this Valentine’s Day package from Lost in Literature. Thanks!

Coming Up This Week


African American Read-a-thon

“There’s no minimum or maximum to read here. This should be fun! Up for reading are any books authored by people of African heritage/decent. This includes African American authors and other who may identify as being Black without being American. All genres count! YA, MG, Adult, Fiction, Nonfiction, etc.” from Becoming Books

I’m hopefully going to be reviewing three books during this time.  Or, reviewing two and finishing the last one.  You know how it is.

The Book Bloggers Love-a-Thon

“The Book Blogger Love-a-Thon is an event dedicated to spreading the love for blogs + bloggers! It’s time dedicated to exploring the blogging community, leaving a comment or two, meeting new friends and fostering positivity among the bloggers of the community. The event includes an introduction post, mini challenges, Twitter chats and a giveaway! The full schedule will be sent to the participants after they sign up.”

Sign up here.

 Listening To This Week

The Witch With No Name (The Hollows, #13)The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison

Rachel Morgan’s come a long way from the clutzy runner of Dead Witch Walking. She’s faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She’s crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She’s lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has become something much more.

But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price. That time is now.

Reading This Week


A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in AmericaA Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in America by Allyson Hobbs

Between the eighteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, countless African Americans passed as white, leaving behind families and friends, roots and community. It was, as Allyson Hobbs writes, a chosen exile, a separation from one racial identity and the leap into another. This revelatory history of passing explores the possibilities and challenges that racial indeterminacy presented to men and women living in a country obsessed with racial distinctions. It also tells a tale of loss.


Around the Web

How to do a book review – What do you think?  What do you like to read in a review?

Why Americans don’t read foreign fiction – I’m finding lots of good books in translation but it takes some searching.

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