"The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer ... like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning."
--- Natalie Babbit in Tuck Everlasting
Yes, my friends. August has arrived! I know many of you lamented the "end of summer" in posts this week (shoot ... Mary can't even find patio furniture in stores anymore!). But I'm here to tell you that there is PLENTY of summer left! (Unless, well . . . maybe not so much if you're a teacher or a student. But for the rest of us, plenty!)
So I challenge you all: Get out there and enjoy it while it's here! Step out . . . into the summer. Eat some ice cream. Get your feet wet. Ride a bike. Read outside while you sip lemonade. Just DO . . . the summer things you don't want to miss!
And now, let's have a Friday Fish Wrap. (Click here if you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about.)
I base much of my fiction reading queue on three literary prizes each year: The Women's Prize for Fiction, the National Book Award, and - my favorite - the Man Booker Prize. These three lists provide me with endless selctions to read! I rarely read all of the books on the longlists, but they do provide a deep well of books from which to choose.
The Man Booker Prize 2018 Longlist came out last week -- and there look to be some great titles in the mix. I've already read one - Snap (highly recommended), and I'm at the half-way point of another - Warlight. Three more titles are battling it out for read-me-next-please honors - Sabrina, From a Low and Quiet Sea, and The Overstory. And there is one I can't wait to get my hands on - Washington Black (because I love Esi Edugyan's writing so very much) (but it won't be published in the US until September). There's one I'm gonna skip right over, though - The Mars Room (because I just don't enjoy Rachel Kushner's books and life is too short. . . ).
Check out the list and see what you might want to read this year.
Speaking of books . . . Harry Potter is celebrating his 20th anniversary next month. (Here are some fun facts about the Harry Potter book phenomena.) New covers, people! (And they look pretty cool.) Much hoop-la.
My daughter and most of her friends did a bit of freaking out when they heard the news. Because How-Can-Harry-Potter-Be-Already-20-Years-Ago-Mom??? Erin tells me that, for the first time, she now feels . . . old. Erin - who was always the exact same age as Harry when the books came out - grew up with Harry Potter. Literally.
Ah. Time. (Reality bites.)
Speaking of time . . . in the better-late-than-never department, I read a little blurb in the New York Times this week about Gray Panthers founder, Maggie Kuhn (who died in 1995). Her story (which, of course, I didn't know. . . ) is fascinating! The NY Times blurb piqued my interest, so I went searching more. Here's a nice little bio if you'd like to learn more about her, too.
"I made a sacred vow that I would do something outrageous, at least once a week."
--- Maggie Kuhn, age 85
Back when I was in high school, I had this pair of denim OshKosh overalls that I wore all the time. (I know; they were A Thing.) (Thankfully, it didn't last long.)
I used to embroider things all over my overalls, so they were Very Unique. (I wish I had a photo to share, but I do not. We just didn't photo-document every little thing back then. . . )
The other day, I came across a treasure chest full of free, downloadable embroidery patterns here. (The photo above is one of the free patterns you can download.) There are tons of fun designs there, and it's safe to say . . . my embroidery-crazy-overall-wearing former self would have had a field day.
And, finally . . . as much as I hate to admit this . . . THIS is pretty much always the state of my desk.
I straighten it up and organize it often . . . but THAT (above) is my desk's normal state. Its angle of repose. Every day. All the time.
Lucky for me, I just read about a study at the University of Minnesota that concludes that . . . messiness can be good for us! According to professor Kathleen Vohs, "Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe."
(Note that she is talking about "messy" - not "dirty" - environments. There is a a difference.)
So. That's my story. And I'm sticking to it!
"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"
--- Albert Einstein
And . . . that's a wrap! Have a great weekend - be sure to have some summer fun. I'll see you on Monday.