Friday, September 7, 2012

read it in books

Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.
 Voltaire (1694-1778) writer, philosopher, playwright

wednesday night my bookgroup, the cleveland bookwomen,  gathered for our annual book selection meeting - the evening was a feast in terms of both food prepared for the potluck that precedes the selection part of the meeting and in the bounty of books from which to choose our upcoming year of reading.

the group is fourteen women strong - a number that we have found to be ideal.  this year we tried to limit the number of suggested titles, each person only brought between one and three titles; oy, those  years when most of us would bring between four and six books! those meetings would go on forever!  limiting the number of books worked out great as i was able to get home in time to hear the terrific speeches by elizabeth warren and bill clinton at the democratic national convention.

i have a  tradition to share our reading list with other booklovers.  although it  appears i broke tradition last year, what was with that?   if you are curious about our cumulative lists from 1989 through 2010, click on the link and you will be on your way.    

the cleveland bookwomen year of reading 2012-2013
(for a description of the book click on link embedded with the title)

october doc (2011) by mary doria russell

november american made: the enduring legacy of the wpa (2009) by nick taylor

december pope joan (1997) by donna woolfolk cross

january  swann in love (1922)  by marcel proust

february  bruno chief of police (2009)  by martin walker

march  destiny of the republic: a tale of madness, medicine and the murder of a president (2011) by candice millard

april  let the great world spin (2009)  by colum mccann

may  the hangman's daughter (2010) by oliver pötzsch

june the sense of an ending (2011) by julian barnes

july  a lady cyclist's guide to kashgar (2012) by suzanne joinson

august the shadow of the wind (2004) by carlos ruiz zafón

echo & the bunnymen read it in books from their 1980 debut album crocodiles

photos:  top - mural created by gene epstein on the side of the building which houses loganberry books, cleveland.  second - cleveland bookwomen, september 2012 meeting

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

which side are you on?

tattoo tuesday is BACK!

i planned on posting this photo yesterday in honor of the labor day holiday, but then the activities of the day got in the way and i never found the time! pretty much what has been happening to me with blogging all summer!

i took the photo sunday. we came home from a wonderful day out to find two electric company trucks in front of the house. curious mouse that i am went up to one of the trucks to find out what was up. while talking to kyle and getting the 4-1-1 on the electrical situation, i couldn't help but notice his wonderful tattoo in praise of the working class.

kyle has had  this tat for about four years - he told me the name of the artist who did it, of course i didn't write the name down so i forgot it, but i do remember he said the guy worked out of the gen x tattoo studio in willoughby (a town in the greater cleveland area) . i found the inner arm ink as interesting as the outer - here's a snap of that side:

since it is heavy duty election season we are hearing a lot about "working americans" and the "middle class" by both the democrats and the republicans.   although i take issue with how both parties exploit the terms and the issues, i really take umbrage with the republicans trying to portray themselves as the people's party.  oh yeah - how much money did the romneys make over the last few years?  oh yeah, we don't really know since working-man mitt refuses to release multiple years of tax returns, but we do know that estimates of his net-worth range from $190,000,000 to $250,000,000.  (and seriously this guy thinks he knows about what its like to be an average working american!)

at the recent republican convention, and in a large percentage of republican political advertisements, they are trying to convince the electorate that they are the party for working, middle america.  oh yeah, if you believe that, let me tell you about this bridge i have for sale!

cleveland's own nationally syndicated columnist connie schultz most recent column does a great job revealing the disconnect in the walk and talk of the republican party.   i particularly appreciate this passage:
So, here's the thing about all those Republicans bragging about their working-class roots:
 Either they're exaggerating about their meager beginnings or, worse, they're betraying the people they come from.
If you want to destroy unions, you are not a champion of the working class.

If you won't stand up to China, you aren't fighting for American workers.

If you support cuts to education that make it impossible for poor and middle-class kids to go to college, you're defiling the America that changed your life.
 If you want to force women to have babies they cannot afford to raise, you are condemning another generation of children to a life of poverty.
If you don't think every American has the same right as you to affordable health care, I don't know the God you claim is on your side.

pete seeger performing the folk and labor-organizing standard which side are you on? the song was written in 1931 by florence reese, florence was the wife of sam reese a united mine workers union organizer in harlan county, kentucky. florence wrote the song, during the harlan county war of 1931-1932 when mineworkers were engaged in a particularly long and bloody struggle with mine owners.

like every good folk song, musicians have taken the song to fit new times and new situations. one of my favorite versions of the song is one that traveled across the pond.  while holding on to the message, the song was reworked by billy bragg who added a bunch of new lyrics to reflect a british miners strike of 1984-1985. billy's version may be found on his back to basics album (1987).

 in addition to billy's version, i also love natalie merchant version. what's not to love with a voice like natalie's - here's natalie's cover which accompanied by a terrific set of images of past and present union and class struggles.