Ladies’ books, Wilford Brimley, and Betsy Sholl

h1 August 11th, 2006 by jules

Jules here, a.k.a. Miss Link-A-Lot, according to Eisha. I can’t stop adding author and illustrator links to the right.

So, we told folks about our blog yesterday, and that included my father. I was a bit nervous about what he’d think, ’cause he’s so dang smart. If I were half as smart as he is, I’d be set for life. And he said he enjoys it. He also said, “My only comment would be that it seems to be slanted to ‘ladies’ books since I did not recognize any of the books you are reviewing.” I love it! And, before anyone cries sexist!, let me say: a). he says it with no guile and in all sincerity and innocence, and b). don’t be pickin’ on my dad, yo. I’m sorry, but that’s just so cute (you have to imagine Wilford Brimley saying this, since he kinda looks like him sometimes). So, maybe I can find some books to read on model ship-building, which is his favorite hobby (and which I’m sure lots of ladies like to read about, too); I need to expand my reading horizons anyway (actually, I’d be better off reading about the ships and history behind the models he builds; any model I tried to put together would tumble to pieces pretty quickly, since graceful I ain’t and since I seem to have no right brain, but I digress). However, as for me reading other books he likes to read, I will not — I repeat, will not — read The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind that, yes, he tried to get me to read once. Lordy lord and sorry, but I gotta draw the line some where, Dad.

Switching gears, as I was warming up baby food today for my wee babe, I heard my favorite radio voice — the honorable Mr. Garrison Keillor, whom my husband unfairly calls ‘Ol Valium Voice (but you gotta laugh) — on The Writers Almanac. Always good to catch that when you can; a poem-a-day is a lovely thing. And today’s poem, “To Walt Whitman in Heaven” by Betsy Sholl, made me turn off the microwave so I could hear it more clearly in all its beauty. She grabs your attention right away with:

“Things that look good and aren’t: high fashion,
Manifest Destiny, limp wires the electrician thinks
are dead till he grabs hold and then, O Infinite—
coursing-through-finite—thank God his spastic dance

is only a shock—one yelp and he shakes
it off. Not so easy for the girl next door
feeling her first kiss begin to fester
as the young man’s buddies drive by hooting

and one calls out, how far did ya get? Whadda
we owe?
It’s enough to make everything
look bad . . .”

And then when she writes,

” . . . What doesn’t change
and remain, remain and grow strange? The lace
bodice from my mother’s slip my daughter

now sews onto the cuffs of her new jeans,
the crooked front tooth that has traveled through
how many kisses from my mother’s mouth
to mine, and on to my son . . .”

. . . well, I just about swooned.

You can read the entire poem here.

7 comments to “Ladies’ books, Wilford Brimley, and Betsy Sholl”

  1. Great blog. I’ve been reading all day and yes, I am at work. Interesting read on Dad. I agree, one of the smartest people I know and does look like Wilford.
    Since reading the blog, I’ve decided to find the time to read! Keep inspiring me.

  2. Okay, since you brought it up try reading “A Most Fotunate Ship- A Narrative History of Old Ironsides” by Tyrone G. Martin. The daily lives of the crew onboard ship and the story of having to depend on the weather to power the Constitution is my kind of book. Or what about Tolstoy’s epics.

  3. Okay, will do. Just give me time, ’cause I always have a stack of books, but I promise I’ll add it to my reading list (Blaine is, surely, rolling his eyes now, since there are books on that list he’s been trying to get me to read, too, for the longest time). And to tie this into children’s lit., let me say that one of my top-ten favorite picture books EVER is ‘The Three Questions’ by Jon J. Muth … it is based on a Tolstoy short story (by the same name, I believe). Dad, I’ll loan that one to you, and I’ll add Martin’s book to my list. I need to read more history.

    Hey, this is fun! — Love,
    Your Daughter

  4. I’ll loan you the Martin book so you won’t have any excuse for not reading and reviewing it.


  5. I LOVE the poem, Jules! The crooked tooth kisses… they are mine!

    BLOG… hmmm… that is a word that I learned about maybe as recently as six months ago. Had no idea what it was at first What came into my mind when I first heard the word was, “Hey, you have a blog of mayonnaise on your lower lip.” NOT! Now I know.

    This is a cool idea. However, I have read very little recently except for books on phenomonon and psychic experiences and doubt very many want to hear about those. Am currently reading “The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History” by Joseph M. Marshall III.

    My favorite book of all times is “Angela’s Ashes”, Frank McCourt, of course. I recently read it for the third time. It will make you cry and laugh at the same time.

    I don’t know anyone that reads more than Julie, so I will enjoy getting recommendations on here and expanding my horizon as far as choices for books. I never know what to “pick” when I go into a bookstore, except that I’ve always loved southern literature.

    Julie’s Momma Bev

  6. I have resisted the blog-o-sphere for many reasons–some of which have a philosophy behind them and others that do not. Laziness is an example of what might fit into the latter category. We should make time “off-line” to chat about my humble philosophical take on blogging, but that statement alone kinda hints at it. 🙂

    I do, in all honesty, LOVE the idea of this one though. Since high school (way back then–when I was “Susie” and on my silly sophomore clever days–“Siouxsie”) Jules and I magically seem to be on the same page about many things. She flips more pages than I do reading and probably always has, so I am eager to get her take on what’s out there and what’s good. I get a bit overwhelmed in a book store too and even more so in a library!

    I have been recently lured into the world of ravenous readers by a series of incidents that have excited me to be more diligent about making time for reading and reflecting. I happened to pick up a brand new magazine yesterday called “In a Public Space” that attempts to create a forum for fiction and fiction writers to more literally reflect on the world around us, as their work invariably does anyway. I’ll let you know how good their first effort is.

    I’m also reading The Omnivores’ Dilemma for Hands On Nashville’s book club community conversation series. You guys should join us for that. The idea is that we’ll read certain books that hint at various community issues and then have a real “town hall-style” chat about them. We’re talking about this book on Sept. 12th. (I really did not mean to make this a pitch for my organization; they really are fun and combined now with this blog, have helped reignite a desire to read more for pure joy.

    Thanks, Jules. I think this is fantastic. (See? We’re on the same page again. :))


  7. Sus says: “so I am eager to get her take on what’s out there and what’s good” … But you see, everyone, this entire blog is just selfishness on my part — I get to hear MORE about what eisha’s reading AND, when folks respond to our posts, what everyone else is reading, too, so I echo her comment! Heaven only knows I need to expand my reading horizons. Sus, I hope you finished the ‘Zippy’ book, too, and loved it. — j.

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