These Shallow Graves

by Jennifer Donnelly

I was at a retirement party for a local teen librarian and this book was propped up in the display area.

I can be a sucker for a great New York story.

I love this story and it was a page turner from beginning to end. This video sums it up nicely:

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Love simply is.

It took me a while to read Paulo Coelho’s The Witch of Portbello. The story is a murder mystery with mystical interweavings. The Witch asks the question: what truly is a witch? Is someone a witch because of another person or because they feel more of something than everyone else?

There are questions about identity, how we create identity, how we change our identity and our identity is different to each person we have in our lives. The main protagonist, Athena, means different things to different people. Athena inspires crowds who must be dispersed.

How do people see us?

And The Heart That Fed

Love this!

Fourteen Lines

ozymandias The Relic of Ramses II that inspired Ozymandias

Ozymandias

by Horace Smith

IN Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desart knows:—
“I am great OZYMANDIAS,” saith the stone,
“The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
“The wonders of my hand.”— The City’s gone,—
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.

We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.


Ozymandias

by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822)

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage…

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Why be a traitor?

So maybe I’ve walked or driven over the location of the house where Benedict Arnold owned in New Haven, CT. Maybe I did the same of the house where he lived before New Haven. Why would people mark the location of a house of a man who is the most vilified of the American Revolution?

Why did Benedict Arnold become a traitor? History tends to gloss over this question. I had a client who was telling me about learning about Arnold in class. After they told me what he had been learning, I asked if they had discussed Arnold living in New Haven and what he did for the Continental Army before his betrayal?

Guess what answer I got?

Betrayal doesn’t happen overnight. Keep that in mind.

Read The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold by Joyce Lee Malcolm.

Thomas Hickey

Have you ever heard this name before? I hadn’t until a few days ago.

Perhaps because, unlike John Wilkes Booth, his plan (or was it?) didn’t succeed to kill George Washington.

The plot Hickey was involved in happened even before the Declaration of Independence was written. There were many others who were involved, some of whom were Washington’s own Life Guards, yet Hickey has the notoriety of being the person hung in the first public execution for treason against America.

Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch walk through the timeline of the plot to assinate George Washington step-by-step in their book The First Conspiracy.

What history has recorded and left behind, Hickey was the fall guy, the example. Washington made the call for a swift execution and Hickey was the most named and thereby became the example.

I know I’ve walked near, or maybe on, the spot where Hickey was executed. So have millions of others. Another piece of American history brought to light.

Spit like a Tommy Gun

Dear Eunice Hunton Carter,

I wish I had a chance to meet you and I want to get a copy of the picture from the cover of the book your grandson, Stephen, wrote about you.

The picture of you standing and holding the floor at a Republican convention, refusing to yield, is awesome. The picture is what drew me to the book. You stand out with the white ruffled collar and as you look closer, the dignity and poise become clear. I especially love the finger pointing down, showing that either you aren’t going anywhere or are calling someone to come and speak directly to you. Again, I would have loved to witness that confrontation.

Stephen’s book really struck a chord with me in a way that few books, especially biographies, ever really have. I may not have been there on your level, I don’t foresee myself ever working for a federal prosecutor, but I can only imagine the frustration, disappointment, and criticism you received and experienced. You made your choices. I just wish that you had left more of a personal record like journals and letters. Did you have them and throw them out, burn them, or chose not to keep them? I would love to know what you thought about what happened in your life.

What you thought would be such an inspiration. For women the word “ambition” can still be a dirty word for many different reasons, even among other women . You had it and never hid it and no matter how imperfect you were, I admire that. You never stopped and I admire that as well.

You obtained a position that many would envy to have yet were left with the “women’s issues” that ironically brought down a gangster that seemed not only untouchable, but invincible. This is something not even the best script writers can come up with.

I can only begin to imagine the sense of mourning and disappointment to want so much and even after giving up so much in time, family, and energy to be passed over it. Again, the reasons for this can only be guessed at. Stephen does an awesome job framing this and working through the possible reasons and rationale behind certain decisions. Yet we will never know the real reasons.

I’ve had my share of working tirelessly for people only to be publicly humiliated and shunted aside. For me this has led to showdowns in parking lots, nasty social media exchanges, nasty phone calls, etc. The story about the tea party made me laugh as I have been in similar situations. How did you handle this? On to Plan B? I know that’s what I would do. Onwards and upwards.

By the way, I went on the Internet and saw pictures of your house on Jumel Terrace. Gorgeous.

Wherever you are, I thank you for the inspiration.

Sincerely,

Angela

Gehrig & The Babe

Last year was my first ever time at the new Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, I never made it to the old one. To get there, we took the train and had to walk by where the old stadium was across the street. The area has now been turned into a public park and there were plenty of people out and about as the crowds gathered for the daytime game we attended. How much history we were walking by. From our seats, we could see the memorials and the retired numbers. Reading Tony Castro’s Gehrig & The Babe has helped some of those numbers mean a lot more now.

Mr. Castro goes through the backgrounds and history of the two of the men, who for many people, are baseball, while at the same time analyzing their relationships both with each other, their teams, their families, and the world at large.

Are there any earth shaking surprises? No. Yet for someone like myself who glazes over at the statistics and likes watching the game for the game, this book is a huge help in gaining the background needed to understand why baseball is The Sport for a lot of people.