sharing my love of books with you

Month: April 2023 (Page 2 of 2)


Flotilla – a group of small naval vessels, especially a naval unit containing two or more squadrons

“Despite great effort, however, Roosevelt was not able to accumulate an especially impressive flotilla. He sourly wrote to a friend that he had scored only one unarmed cruiser, two second-rate torpedo boats, and twelve tugs, yachts, and merchant steamers.”

Lion in the White House, Aida D. Donald


Palaver – profuse and idle talk; a conference or discussion

“Almost inevitably, given the emotional state of the nation, Congress stepped into action, passing a bill authorizing fifty million dollars for the construction of three battleships, sixteen destroyers, fourteen torpedo boats, four submarines, and funds to buy auxiliary ships abroad.

Roosevelt was elated, if puzzled, by the sudden activity after so much delay and palaver.”

The Lion in the White House, Aida D. Donald

(I have to add that this word, Palaver, is used in a song in Les Miserables, my favorite musical. I was delighted to find the word in my book so I could share it with you!)

Mr. Roosevelt on Mrs. Roosevelt

“There is nothing the world – no possible success, military or political which is worth weighing in the balance for one moment against the happiness that comes to those fortunate enough to make a real love match – a match in which lover and sweetheart will never be lost in husband and wife… I am just as much devoted to Mrs. Roosevelt now as ever I was.”

from a personal letter by Theodore Roosevelt, as quoted in Lion in the White House by Aida D. Donald

From My Library: Blue Horses, by Mary Oliver

This is my newest book of poems by Mary Oliver. It’s a small paperback volume with thirty-eight poems, but I’m sure it holds beauty and wisdom between it’s covers.

I studied two poems by Mary Oliver for one of my last college classes, Nature Writers. I fell in love with how she loved the natural world. Her works are inspiring. She writes about the beauty of nature and the majesty of the elements, but she never glosses over the ugliness. Love and sorrow, joy and rage, hard work and idleness all have value in Mary Oliver’s works. Her world is real, and her writings are about that real world.

I can’t wait to start reading Blue Horses and see the world through Mary Oliver’s eyes again. It’s been several months since I read anything she wrote. Here are some of the poem titles that intrigue me:

  • “Rumi”
  • “If I Wanted a Boat”
  • Good Morning
  • “The Wasp”
  • “Watering the Stones”
  • “Loneliness”
  • “Do Stones Feel?”
  • “What Gorgeous Thing”

You can’t read poetry like a novel. Each poem is a part of a whole, but they must be taken slowly and carefully. I’m not sure how long it will take me to finish Blue Horses, but as I find poems that I love, I’ll share them with you. Hopefully you will want to find one of Mary Oliver’s books and see for yourself the world as she saw it. Happy Reading!

Major General Wood on Roosevelt

“In December 1898, Major General Leonard Wood wrote to the adjutant-general of the army in support of the initiative to grant Roosevelt the Medal of Honor. Wood’s letter is, even today, the best nonpartisan account of the colonel’s bravery ever written:

Colonel Roosevelt, accompanied only by four or five men, led a very desperate and extremely gallant charge on San Juan Hill, thereby setting a splendid example to the troops and encouraging them to pass over the open country intervening between their position and the trenches of the enemy… He gathered up a few men and led them to the charge… The charge in itself was an extremely gallant one, and the example set a most inspiring one to the troops in that part of the line… There was no doubt that the magnificent example set by Colonel Roosevelt had a very encouraging effect and had great weight in bringing up the troops behind him. During the assault, Colonel Roosevelt was the first to reach the trenches in his part of the line and killed one of the enemy with his own hand… His services on the day in question were of great value and of a most distinguished character.

Major General Leonard Wood
Lion in the White House, Aida D. Donald

Finished: Rumi

Though I haven’t read much in the last few weeks, I did reopen my Rumi book this morning. I had shelved it in my newly rearranged library and left it there – unread – for some time. Poetry books are nice in that you can stop reading a book of poetry, but when you pick it back up, it’s like you never closed the cover. I didn’t realize I only had a few poems left and a selection called “Two Discourses”.

Rumi was very hard for me to read. Sometimes, I fully understood the meaning of his poems, and sometimes I just didn’t. I think part of what makes Rumi hard to read is the difference in language and culture. Something is lost when a poem has to be translated. The author’s original words and phrases don’t seem to make sense in English, and culture is also a large part of that disconnect. Rumi was Persian, Islamic, and lived centuries ago. I am American, Christian, and quite modern. I don’t fully understand Rumi’s culture, just as he might find mine confusing. But it was still good for me to read outside of my comfort zone. It is part of growing and learning. Perhaps one day, a year or two from now, I will return to my book of Rumi and find that I love more of his works because I have matured in my knowledge. I hope so.

I encourage you to try reading some of Rumi’s poems. You can start with the ones I posted here. He isn’t always hard to understand, and it will be good for you to stretch yourself by reading something hard. If not Rumi, maybe something else. Do you have a book on your shelf you keep meaning to read, but you think is too big or too old or too hard? Now is the time to start it. Don’t worry about how long it takes you to finish. Enjoy the journey. You may come away from it, like I have from Rumi, with a feeling of accomplishment because you have done the hard thing. Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 1

Good morning, almost afternoon my friends! I can’t believe we have finally entered April 2023. Time slows for no one, that’s for sure. Do you have plans for today? I have already finished my mug of tea: cherry and matcha latte. It was nice, but now I’m ready for another cup. I also vacuumed my house this morning before I sat down, so I would feel like I accomplished some housework. Now I can sit and share my book world with you.

Or I should say my lack of book world. You see, I haven’t read much in the last two weeks. I found a large collection of my favorite old-time radio show, The Shadow, and I have been devouring it. I am on my second time listening through all the episodes on Spotify. It is so much fun! The Shadow is in reality Lamont Cranston, wealthy young man about town. He has the hypnotic ability to cloud men’s minds so they cannot see him. Lamont Cranston’s friend and companion, Margot Lane, is the only person who knows the real identity of the Shadow. Today’s drama… Well, you can see I have the opening lines memorized. I’ll return to my books in the next few days though, as I do miss sitting quietly and reading. Reading can be calming in this world of constant movement and busyness.

Well, I have Yiruma playing piano in the background and a cat purring at my side. I’m ready to do some writing and reading. I hope you have a delightful Saturday!

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