Teaser Tuesday: 1916: The Easter Rising

Once again the wheel of time has turned to

Teaser Tuesday

Just in case you don’t know, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share two sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!*

*I wish I could take credit for this introduction, but I shamelessly stole it from Heather over at bitsnbooks. To help me make amends, you should go check out her blog.

This week I’m reading 1916: The Easter Rising by Tim Pat Coogan. I’ve had the book for several years but never tried reading it until I started a MOOC on Ireland between 1912 and 1923.

Redmond Howard, a politically aware witness to the 
Rising and a critic of the rebels, wrote in its 
aftermath: 'There never was, I believe, an Irish 
crime -- if crime it can be called -- which had 
not its roots in an English folly.

Irish history is not my forte; hence my reason for taking the class.

Perhaps I’ve whetted your appetite!

1916 The Easter Rising

In Retrospect

I haven’t yet finished The Long Mars, but it’s proving quite enjoyable.

In case you missed it, here’s my 5-Star review of Amanda Palmer’s Art of Asking.

Seeing Double

This assignment had me seeing double. Not out of anger, mind you, but out of necessity. It took me longer than usual to find something to photograph. Unless, of course, you want to see multiple high school text books.

Personally, I think the wait was worth it.

A downpour darkened the ground and amplified these lines in the afternoon light.

A few feet away, rainwater pools in a storm drain.


Stating your opinion is giving your “two cents.”

People only want to pay a “penny for your thoughts.”

Where does the other cent go?






Salad Ingredient?

Who cares – they look good in this bottle.


Life at the Edges

IMG_2415Life is lived at the edges:

Between life and death,

Between light and dark,

Between good and evil,

Between today and tomorrow,

Between this world and the next,

Between many others.

Watch over and guard these edges.

Think fast, because edges can shift quickly.

Adapted from the works of Sir Terry Pratchett and this article


Review: The Art of Asking

I don’t know why I started following Amanda Palmer on Twitter.

I’d never heard her music.

I’d never seen her show.

I’d never read her name in the news.

I only knew she was the wife of Neil Gaiman.

Amanda Palmer HuffPo
When I saw she had written a book, I thought “yeah, I’ll add that to the list and read it someday.” Then, it started to take over my Twitter feed. One Saturday I decided to see if my small-town library even had a copy; they did, and it was available. I tweeted about it, and much to my surprise, Amanda Palmer herself retweeted me. Twice:

Amanda Palmer Retweeted Me

I used her book for my second-ever Teaser Tuesday and almost couldn’t put it down:

Here's the thing: all of us come from some place 
of wanting to be seen, understood, accepted, 
Every single one of us wants to be believed.

Artists are often just . . . louder about it.

Art of Asking is also the first book in a long time I received flak over. Apparently, the cover “isn’t appropriate.” Really, people? Ulysses and Lolita were fine, but AoA needs to be hidden away? Perhaps you forgot the phrase

"Don't judge a book by its cover."

And what a book it is. Amanda recounts her early artistic career as a Living Statue, the growing pains of the Dresden Dolls, her falling-into-love with Neil Gaiman, the backlash of a successful Kickstarter campaign, her current tour, and many personal relationships. Through it all she delves into the basic human need to be seen and understood without being judged, to ask without fearing the possible – inevitable? – rejection, to trust unconditionally.

Amanda lets us into her world and barew her own fears and faults and foilables. She does not claim perfection, far from it. What she offers is light.

A flashlight on a dark path, keeping others from stumbling.

A spotlight on an exit ramp, showing the way.

Track lighting on fine art, highlighting beauty and grace we might have missed.

The best books reach inside and change the very essence of our being. They change how we see ourselves, those around us, and the world we live in. They are unavoidable catalysts for change in a static world. In my last twenty-nine years, only three authors spoke to me in such a way:

J.R.R. Tolkein

C.S. Lewis

Dante Alighieri

Now the Triumverate becomes a Tetrarchy:

Amanda Palmer has arrived.

For Richard

It’s not often that we history teachers can stand in front of our class, point to a current event, and declare with authority “This is Historically Significant.”

This week, though, was different. This week Richard III was finally laid to rest. A king many know only from Shakespeare, perhaps Richard wasn’t all that bad. After all, the Bard did manage to besmirch John as the Worst King in England, right? Or maybe that’s just my opinion of Will’s opinion.

Therefore, I read with great delight the poem written specifically for the occasion by England’s Poet Laureate:

  by Carol Ann Duffy

My bones, scripted in light, upon cold soil,
a human braille. My skull, scarred by a crown,
emptied of history. Describe my soul
as incense, votive, vanishing; your own
the same. Grant me the carving of my name.

These relics, bless. Imagine you re-tie
a broken string and on it thread a cross,
the symbol severed from me when I died.
The end of time – the unknown, unfelt loss –
unless the Resurrection of the Dead . . . 

or I once dreamed of this, your future breath
in prayer for me, lost long, forever found;
or sensed you from the backstage of my death,
as kings glimpse shadows on a battleground.

Now see and hear it read by Benedict Cumberbatch, famous actor and third cousin sixteen times removed from Richard III:

Powerful. The sense of loss and pain and regret juxtaposed with future hope and joy. So much history contained in fourteen lines.


Teaser Tuesday: The Long Mars

Once again the wheel of time has turned to

Teaser TuesdayJust in case you don’t know, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share two sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!*

*I wish I could take credit for this introduction, but I shamelessly stole it from Heather over at bitsnbooks. To help me make amends, you should go check out her blog.

This week I’m reading The Long Mars by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, the third (and most likely final) installment of the Long Earth series. I’ve only read the first few pages, but it already appears to be a significant improvement over the other two.

Enough chatter; you want the teaser! Happy to oblige:

Well, there are plenty of contingencies we couldn't 
survive at all. A massive enough meteor strike.


In Retrospect

I gave last week’s read The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer 5 out of 5 stars; I’d give more if I could. I’m actually working on writing a review to post here and on Goodreads – unlike the review for Republic of Pirates, which I still haven’t gotten around to . . .

Three Treasures

My Wife is my greatest treasure, but as I’ve mentioned before we’re rather particular about sharing personal photographs.

I already shared how coffee is my daily dose of bliss; spoiler alert: it makes another appearance here!

First, there are the family treasures: the kind of thing you’d want to grab in case of fire.

IMG_2355For me, that’s my great-grandfather’s matchsafe. He was a printer on turn-of-the-century banana boats (that’s the 1890s-1900s, by the way) as well as almost serving on the Titanic, but didn’t. This particular matchsafe is from the SS Almirante, a merchant vessel out of Belfast, Ireland that sank off Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1918. I don’t believe Great-Grandpa was on board.



Second, there are the daily treasures: the little things that help make life worth living.

You guessed it, time for more coffee:


Finally, there are the rare treasures: things that are only here for a short time and then gone for good.

Like lebkuchen from Day’s Bakery:

IMG_2364Because even if someone buys the bakery, it just won’t be the same, you know?


The Seven Deadly Sins . . .

The Seven Deadly sins may bring to mind one of two things.

For Catholics (and several other religious denominations), the phrase refers those faults that may or may not send one directly to Hell without passing Purgatory or collecting $200. Although thirty pieces of silver may be an option, I hear the gift shop is terrible.

For the more musically-minded, the phrase might plant an earworm:

Sail away where no ball or chain
Can keep us from the roarin' waves
Together undivided but forever we'll be free
So sail away aboard our rig
The moon is full and so are we
We're seven drunken pirates
We're the seven deadly sins

Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive. Anyway, Heather over at bitsnbooks recently posted her Seven Deadly Sins of Reading; being tagged by proxy, here is my own list:

LUST: a strong sexual desire

What attributes do you find most attractive in male (or female) characters?

Intelligence and strength of will. This means I often find myself sympathizing with the antagonists of a story rather than the intended protagonist.

Gustave Doré Francesca and Paolo

GLUTTONY: intense over indulgence

What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

The Discworld novels by Sir Terry Pratchett

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis

Third Circle illustrated by Stradanus

GREED: an intense and selfish desire for something

What is your most expensive book?

I’m not sure; there are several contenders:

A large coffee table book on Raphael

A leather and gold edition of 100 Decisive Battles from Ancient Times to Present

Several turn-of-the-last-century encyclopedias and almanacs (valuable for their prints)

Gustave Doré The Hoarders and Wasters

SLOTH: a reluctance to work or make an effort

What book have you neglected to read due to laziness? 

Until recently that distinction would go to To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It was the only book I’d ever lied about reading, too.

Now, I’m probably neglecting Atonement by Ian McEwan; it’s been on my Currently Reading list since January and I haven’t even cracked the cover.

Gustave Dore The Slothful
Gustave Doré The Slothful

WRATH: extreme anger

What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

Nicholas Sparks in that I love to hate him. Lacking originality, his books are highly predictable; never mind the fact that he’s literally sold the exact same story many times over.

Fifth Circle illustrated by Stradanus

ENVY: a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities or luck

What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

Anything signed by Tolkien, Lewis, Pratchett, or Dante (good luck with that last one!)

Gustave Dore The Envious
Gustave Doré The Envious

PRIDE: satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements or from qualities or possessions that are most widely admired

What books do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

Everything I’ve ever read.

Gustave Dore Titans and Giants
Gustave Doré Titans and Giants

What about you?

What, if any, are your reading sins?

Do you have any bad reading habits?

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