Autumn reads

One of the thing I love about early autumn sunsets is more reading time.

Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins

Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins

Rickshaw Girl focuses on the life of Naima, a Bangladeshi girl with a talent for alpana patterns. Perkins writes that “Girls and Women paint these geometrical or floral patterns on the floor during celebrations and holidays. They used crushed rice power to outline the design, and decorate with colored chalk, vermilion, flower petals, wheat, or lentil powder. Some designs are passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years.” In this fictional, yet realistic, story for children Naima no longer attends school because her family can not afford it. As a girl, her options for earning money are very restricted. Beautiful charcoal illustrations are accompanied by a glossary and author’s note that complement the text.

Based on my limited understanding, alpana is equivalent to rangoli. Many beautiful rangoli designs can be seen in southern India.

Rangoli design for Pongal harvest festival

Rangoli design for Pongal harvest festival
Bellary, Karnataka, India
January 2010

Rangoli design for Pongal harvest festival Bellary, Karnataka, India January 2010

Rangoli design for Pongal harvest festival
Bellary, Karnataka, India
January 2010

Painted concrete near Gudur, Andhra Pradesh, India January 2010

Painted concrete
near Gudur, Andhra Pradesh, India
January 2010

Many readers choose books that reflect themselves: similar cultures, activities, or dreams. I challenge you to read something outside of your normal scope. One of the greatest pleasures of reading is being able to experience the life of someone or something different that yourself.

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Reading

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

When I first started working as a librarian, about nine years ago, I read 1994 Newbery Award winner,  The Giver by Lois Lowry. It was my way of reintroducing myself to children’s literature and reading a book that is often classroom reading. This dystopia is suitable for children, about grade five through adulthood. Over time I read the companion books Gathering Blue and Messenger. The recognition of adversity, use of primitive techniques, and escape appealed to me. In 2012 the fourth book of the quartet, Son, was published. Of the four books, it was least appealing to me because it too neatly tied up the story lines. In addition, the narrator of the audiobook had a “whispery” voice that I found off putting. What it did do, was make me want to re-read The Giver, to revisit it and regain the details. My recommendation: if you haven’t read The Giver, do so. It fits in well with the current popularity of dystopias such as Divergent and The Hunger Games. By the way, if you are a Divergent fan, the conclusion of the trilogy, Allegiant will be released on October 22.

One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath

One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath

The children’s book, One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath, recently caught my attention because the cover features a girl sitting in a tree stand. I do judge books by their covers. The book is set in the Pacific Northwest, one of my favorite regions! It is the second book in the Primrose Squarp series, which lead me to read the first book, Everything on a Waffle, which is good because it is a funny story but has an unappealing cover.

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath

I was going to quote a funny passage from the book right here, and thought that it would be easy, however the funny passages have simply disappeared now that I’m looking for them. You will just have to read the book yourself. The funny stuff is in there. Even though the Pacific Northwest setting isn’t featured as much as I would hope, the book is a good one. It features a hopeful girl, her community, and imperfect but lovable characters. Now I’m looking forward to the book with the appealing cover!

Happy reading!

Approaching Autumn

Some people cringe at cool days with clear blue sunshine followed by an early sunset. For me, they are both energizing and cozy. Here is a glimpse of the things that are capturing my attention.

The Waupaca Area Triathlon is held in August each year. George and I volunteer and earn funds for the library. The 2014 triathlon will be held on August 16 next year. If you have any desire to participate, let me know how to encourage you! Both the short and long courses fill up most years.

Swim to bicycle transition area

Swim to bicycle transition area

Our garden might not contain a large variety of plants, but the ones we do have are plentiful.

Tomato frog, August 11

Tomato frog, August 11

Garden spider, August 14

Garden spider, August 14

George planted hardy hibiscus from seed this spring. Most of them were transplanted into a row containing composted manure. The difference in height is apparent, but the difference in number of leaves on each is striking!

Hibiscus seedling

Hibiscus seedling

Hibiscus with compost

Hibiscus with compost

The composted row is in the foreground. The second row with zinnias and zucchinis has the small hibiscus in it.

Garden rows

Garden rows

Our property lines follow the road and perpendicular as marked by the stop sign.

Looking northeast

Looking northeast

The large tank behind the clothesline belongs to the neighbors. Jack and Ed helped us with the steps on the deck earlier this year.

Backyard

Backyard

Asian pears are ripening on a tree planted several years ago.

Asian pears

Asian pears

Grasshopper, September 1

Grasshopper, September 1

Tomatoes

Tomatoes on the vine

I estimate that I picked over 100 pounds of tomatoes on Monday. This is the second picking.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes in a pile

While I was picking, I found a monarch caterpillar preparing to form a chrysalis on one of the tomato plants.

Monarch caterpillar

Monarch caterpillar

When I checked back today, it had transformed. According to The Life Cycles of Butterflies,  “If this phase of its life cycle occurs during the warm summer months, the butterfly should be fully developed and ready for eclosion, or emergence from its chrysalis, in about two weeks. If the insect enters its chrysalis phase during the cooler months of autumn, then it may wait out the winter by going into diapause, hibernating until warmer spring weather arrives.” Since I’ve seen so few butterflies this season, I get excited when they do appear.

Monarch chrysalis

Monarch chrysalis

Each year a group of friends gathers to camp, gather mosquito bites, and eat. This was our 20th year. William, Violet, and James explored a geocache at Lake Kegonsa State Park.

Geocache explorers

Geocache explorers

Those of us without dogs checked out the White Oak Nature Trail.

Sunny smiles

Sunny smiles

Son and dad

Son and dad

A happy couple

A happy couple

Indian pipe

Indian pipe

Almost a sphere

Almost a sphere

Pollinator

Pollinator

Farmer George

Farmer George

Professor George, first day of school (again)

Professor George, first day of school (again)

Happy Autumn!