I don’t make New Year’s resolutions (too rigid with too many rules). As an alternative, I choose a WORD OF THE YEAR. Why? I believe having a word that you can concentrate on all year will bring clarity and focus (FOCUS was my Word of the Year for 3 years!).  Even AARP advocates chasing a Word to concentrate on!

I have been really doing “the work”, but it is time to see some results. That is why I chose the word ACTION. Action is defined as the process of doing something in order to achieve something.

BUT – this year my word has a double meaning. If you aren’t familiar with my artwork, every piece I create is inspired by a particular song that I also learn to play on the piano. WHY? I want to bring awareness to dementia, as your music memory is one thing you will NEVER lose.

Moon River

Moon River, 30×30 mixed media ©vickiemartin2021

Choosing  this word has another connotation for me. My father rebuilt pianos, and maintaining or rebuilding the “action” of the piano was a big part of his job. The ACTION is the heart of a piano. 

In short, it is the mechanism that causes hammers to strike the strings when a key is pressed. 

By using the word ACTION for “my word”, the action I take must be in harmony with my overall goal  – to create artwork inspired by music to bring awareness to dementia.

Do you have a word of the year? It isn’t too late!!! You can start with asking yourself what can you use more of, or what could you use less of.






In case you aren’t familiar with my reading quest, I am currently reading a book written by someone from each state in the United States.

 I read not one, but two books written by Sarah Smarsh from Kansas. Born in rural Kansas, she grew up on farms in small towns. Her family moved frequently and she attended eight schools before reaching ninth grade. Attending the University of Kansas, she received her MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University (not a small feat!).



This is not only a powerful but a very relevant book. As Smarsh says “You can go a very long time in the country without being seen.” 

Born into a family of farmers, she traces her family through five generations of teenage pregnancies – her mother was just 17 when Sarah was born.

During her childhood, in the 1980’s, family farms were going under – sometimes a victim of foreclosure, but also often the growth of giant agribusinesses. Her father began taking any job he could get, roofing, driving semi trucks and even disposing of poisonous industrial chemicals – one that almost killed him, resuting in years of debilitating psychosis.

The family was living below the poverty line, while at the same time considering themselves middle class. She writes:

“That we could live on a patch of Kansas dirt with a tub of Crisco lard and a $1 rebate coupon in an envelope on the kitchen counter and call ourselves middle class was at once a triumph of contentedness and a sad comment on our country’s lack of awareness about its own economic structure. Class didn’t exist in a democracy like ours, as far as most Americans were concerned, at least not as a destiny or an excuse. You got what you worked for, we believed. There was some truth to that. But it was not the whole truth.”

If there is an underlying question that begs to be answered, it is how did Smarsh get out?

How did a member of the sixth generation end up with a graduate degree from Columbia, a down payment for a house, and a memoir that is nominated for the National Book Award?  There is no single answer, even she doesn’t know if herself. She suggests she had supportive male role models – her father and grandfather – in a family where many women were prey to dangerous men. She abstained from teenage pregnancy – but she was talented and worked hard. Going to the University of Kansas on a merit scholarship, she also had three jobs lined up – this is the only thing that made college possible for her.

Is it a rebuttal to Hillbilly Elegy?  Could be, because she proves that poverty is not the result of laziness and bad choices, and the American Dream is not always possible for even those that work hard. 

Not a political book, she does point out most of her family are Republicans, which for them is a matter of pride, even if it means they are voting against their best interests. 

“People on welfare were presumed ‘lazy’, and for us there was no more hurtful word.”

When she is admitted to college on a federally funded program for minority, first-generation, and low income students, she found the handful of those in the program called themselves “White Trash Scholars”.

This is not a sentimental book, but she makes a powerful point that much of the “American World” has taught them they are disposable.


It seems as if the second book would be a perfect fit, but actually I read this book first. 

SHE COME BY IT NATURAL, Dolly Parton AND THE WOMEN WHO LIVED HER SONGS – While Sarah Smarsh was growing up in poverty, she heard songs by country female artists  telling powerful stories of life, hard times and surviving. It was a language among the women – and no one said it clearer for them than Dolly.

This was originally published in a four-part series for THE JOURNAL OF ROOTS MUSIC. Smarsh feels Dolly’s songs have validated women who are invisible – the “trailer trash” women who are struggling. Dolly began singing on the front porch of her family home,  achieving stardom in Nashville – a world managed by powerful men. Along the way, she managed to found both a self-made business and philanthropy empire, in her own terms. Go Dolly!



Dodge City is the REAL Windy City in the US – average wind speed is 14 MPH

Kansas really is as flat as a pancake as it was compared topographically to an IHOP pancake.

White Castle – the first hamburger chain was started here. Weirdly, there are no White Castles in Kansas at this time.

The amount of wheat grown here would stretch all the way to the Pacific Ocean from Kansas.

The helicopter was invented in Kansas.


Next I travel to Kentucky and then Louisianna – and I have my books picked out for these states. But then I travel to the “M” states (of which there are eight!).

If you have requests for the authors from the remaining states – let me know!








As a reader, I am familiar with quests as a literary device (think of the knights of the round table or Odyseus).  In fact, I started my own reading quest a few years back.  But, I had NEVER considered applying a quest to my goal with my art work until I listened to Alyson Stanfield, founder of Art Biz Success.

During a recent talk on Instagram, Alyson began speaking of “legacy projects”, which is what I realized at that time applies to me. If you aren’t familiar with my work, all of my art is inspired by a particular song that I also learn to play on the piano. 

BUT THEN, she pulled out the book THE HAPPINESS OF PURSUIT, FINDING THE QUEST THAT WILL BRING PURPOSE BACK IN YOUR LIFE by Chris Gillebeau. I thought “Wait, I have that book” and walked to the bookshelf and pulled it out. 

SO – I looked at the book with new eyes. Oddly, the timing was strange. I had just finished a painting that had two tiny horses appear on the horizon, so it became a painting inspired by the song “THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM” from Man of LaMancha about Don Quixote, one of the most famous questers of all time!

THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM, ©2021VickieMartin, 30×30 mixed media on canvas

It seemed as if the Universe was urging me to DO IT.  But – do what?  I needed a little more information to do a proper quest. There are certain things the “quester” (ME) must identify. Below is the list I came up with along with the actions I will take.

  • There must be a goal – I will paint a painting inspired by a song that represents every letter of the alphabet and I will also learn to play it on the piano and write a blog about each song. 
  • There must be an end point – I will complete this by the end of 2021.
  • It must present a challenge and sacrifice – In order to complete this by the end of 2021, I must stay focused and not deviate from my path.
  • It must be driven by a calling – I use music in the context of art to ultimately bring awareness to dementia. Why? Because your music memory will stay intact when all other memory is gone.

Today I’m declaring my quest that will be finished by end of the 2021. There is another reason to approach my art series this way – this give me structure to move forward.  

SO – my first step is to pick a song beginning with the letter “A”. Three pop up immediately for me, “AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH”, “A WHITER SHADE OF PALE”, and “APRIL IN PARIS”.  I don’t know which song I will choose at this point – but I will continue moving forward in the alphabet.

Back to my reading quest, I am reading a book by an author from each state. The last book I read was by Bill Bryson for Iowa, and you can read the blog here

This idea of the quest came from, as I mentioned above, Alyson Stanfield. If you are an artist, I highly recommend you look her up, from podcasts, training, blogs, just a wealth of information. Click here for the link to her page for SOCIAL MEDIA VISITORS

Follow me on my quest, subscribe to my blog and keep up with the songs I paint for every letter of the alphabet and the symbolism I use, and the stories many songs tell.

Do you have a favorite song that you think would make a great painting? Below are a few example of paintings I’ve already done.




banner for quest


As I am reading around the United States (reading a book by an author from each state) I couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate book to read for Iowa than THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE THUNDERBOLT KID by Bill Bryson.

This book is not just entertaining, it is laugh out loud funny.  Bryson was born in the middle of the 20th century (1951) in the post war years. His father was a well known sports writer for THE DES MOINES REGISTER. As the same time, his mother was the home furnishings editor at the same paper a job, ironically it was a job so busy she rarely had time to practice domestic arts at home.  The title of the book is from an imaginary alter-ego Bryson invented for himself as a child, giving himself the ability to vaporize people with heat vision when he felt powerless while sincerely believing he was from another planet. 

Told through the eyes of a child, there isn’t a shred of malice anywhere in the book. He reports on many of the events that were happening at the time, like the development of the atomic bomb (which seemed more entertainment than a threat), frozen foods and television.

As it moves into his junior high and high school years, he begins smoking, drinking and stealing, never getting caught. You see the moment he meets Stephen Katz (remember him in other Bryson books, most notably A WALK IN THE WOODS). Bryson ends the book with these lines, “What a wonderful word that would be, What a wonderful world it was. We won’t see its like again, I’m afraid.” But, at least he’s written this book and it allows us to visit this world from time to time.


The machine that slices bread was invented here – so this is where the first sliced bread was.

The Trampoline was invented here – along with the Eskimo Pie.

The house pictured in the painting AMERICAN GOTHIC is located here.

The day the music died happened at Clear Lake, Iowa.

25% of the state’s electricity is generated by wind.

Iowa is the only state that is bordered by two nagivable rivers – the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers!

Next I’ll be traveling to Kansas and I’m reading two books by the same author. If you have a favorite author from any remaining state – I’m happy to take suggestions. 





Our internet kept getting slower and slower, and then POOF – it was gone! We were told it would be repaired in five days – FIVE DAYS!!! My first thought was I have so much to do in the next few days. Then I reframed it and decided to see what I COULD do with no distractions. It was such an amazing experience that I pushed on through and did it for a total week.

First, let me say – I rarely use my phone for social media. I was determined to keep this practice in place. 

The time had come for me to do without social media at a moments notice. I discovered I felt more present and productive than I have in – well, I don’t know how long!

What did I accomplish?

  • I hand wrote an outline for three upcoming blogs (of course, this is the first one) and I outlined an upcoming newsletter. (My handwriting stinks!)
  • I organized my music. If you aren’t familiar with my work, I am currently working on a series called DO YOU SEE WHAT I HEAR? Every piece of art I create is based on a song that I also learn to play. I had pieces of music all over the place. I began putting them into one binder – and then I sat down and played.
  • I walked 46 miles. I am a walker, but usually walking around 30 miles a week. Before you start thinking I was just wandering around, know I am a big believer in the connection between walking and creativity. I actually wrote a blog about this that you can see here.
  • I FINISHED 18 PAINTINGS!!!!! AND – on the eighth day, I finished 4 more!
  • I had been playing around with making my series into a quest. I decided to go for it – I’m going to create a piece of art for a song that begins with every letter of the alphabet. But, I’m going one step further in this quest, I vow to write a blog about each and every song individually. This gives me the opportunity to explain the symbolism I use in the pieces and also share some amazing stories about the song itself.  And, I’m going to learn to record playing them as I go.

I would call this a pretty productive week, wouldn’t you?

When the internet was restored, I looked up some statistics and it is staggering how it is taking over our lives.

In the US, 79% people check Facebook within 15 minutes of waking up, and most check it 14 times a day. In 2020, the US spent 1300 hours on social media.

I know social media helps us stay connected – which is rewarding. But there are drawbacks. It is so easy to get addicted to other people’s agendas. 

While using it in moderation doesn’t cause significant issues. But, addiction does happen.  In fact, I found a piece of research that for many checking social media is harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol.  What causes this?

  • It’s so easy to access.
  • It provides instant gratification. 
  • The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
  • There is a tendency for some to compare themselves to others.
  • Studies are showing the more frequently you visit social media networking sites, the more socially isolated you may feel.

Having balance in our lives is critical, and the time spent on social media should become part of that balance. Use social media time carefully. Realize what you are seeing is curated and edited many times – it is often not the real world. AND, NEVER compare yourself to others. 

I will continue to use social media, but I decided I want to continue living my wild and wonderful life on my own terms. Not on the terms of the ” pretend world” that social media creates.

“What do you think? 

Take a minute to follow my blog. That way you can see my quest develop over the remainder of the year. Also, it gives you a chance to follow another quest of mine – reading a book by an author from each state.  Up next? Iowa and Bill Bryson.

Taking a last look at my paintings before having them photographed


I started reading a book from an author from each state, going alphabetically. So, for Indiana, I chose CAT’S CRADLE by Kurt Vonnegut. You can look for the deeper meaning in his books, or you can just enjoy the “trippy” ride.

This is an apocalyptic tale that somehow ends up being absurdly comic. Published in 1963, it is told by the first-person narrator who calls himself Jonah – but probably really is named John. The plot revolves around a time when Jonah decides to write a book called THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED about what American’s did on the day of the bombing of Hiroshima.

While researching the book, Jonah travels to Ilium, New York, the hometown of the late Felix Hoenikker, the co-creator of the atomic bomb to interview his children and co-workers. There he learned about ICE-NINE, an alternative water that freezes at room temperature. If it so much as touches a drop of regular water, that will freeze, too, spreading so rapidly that it freezes everything that comes into contact with it.

He discovers Hoenikker’s three children carry this with them. He also learned from his youngest son, a dwarf named Newt, that remembers his father doing nothing more than playing the game Cat’s Cradle with him the day the bomb was dropped.

books cover
Cover of Cat’s Cradle.

Jonah/John travels to the Caribbean nation of San Lorenzo, one of the poorest nations on earth, to find Hoenikeer’s oldest son Frank. He find a guidebook where he learns about the religious movement called Bokononism, with the sacred text written in the form of calypsos. Bokononism is based on the concept of foma, which are defined as harmless untruths.

When he gets to San Lorenzo, John finds Frank’s ice-nine particle. A scientist in control of the particle accidentally releases it into the ocean. This freezes the ocean, killing plants and sea life. Basically, this succeeds in freezing all the worlds oceans and only a handful of people survive.

That’s the short version, but the themes found are issues about free will and man’s relation to technology. It is a relatively short book, with irony, black humor and parody throughout. Vonnegut said about his books, they “are essentially mosaics made up of a whole bunch of tiny little chips…and each chip is a joke”.

The book has been optioned by Leonardo De Caprio. There has been a calypso musical adaption performed. Oddly, the Gradeful Dead’s publishing company is ICE NINE, from the fictional substance that appears in this book.

One thing Newt says throughout the book about a Cat’s Cradle – it is neither a cradle and there is no cat. hmmm.

I think the most ironic part of the history of the book, The University of Chicago turned down Vonneguts’ thesis in 1947, but they gave him a master’s degree in anthropology in 1971 for this book!

Oh, and the main character, Jonah/John, is a proud Hoosier from Indianapolis.

So – my quest will take me next to Iowa and I will spend some time with one of my favorite writers, Bill Bryson.

If you have any books by authors from either Kansas or Kentucky, let me know!!!! Some states are easier to find authors than others. As I have refined my quest, I try to find books that have some tie to the state – so this one was a stretch.

Have you read this before? I’d love to know your thoughts about it!


If I were going to a deserted island, I would definitely take Beethoven with me. (You can read my blog HOW A WALK AND A PODCAST MADE ME GET SERIOUS ABOUT MY ART here.) During the past year I spent time learning to play both Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata, so it makes sense these pieces would find their way into my artwork!

Moonlight Sonata, ©vickiemartin2020, mixed media on canvas 30×30

The inspiration for MOONLIGHT FOR ELISE is from both The Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise. While Fur Elise is not the hardest piece of music piece of music to play, it is hard to play it well. I listened to the pianist Lang-Lang discuss Fur Elise and simply said it should be played “as light as a feather”, a statement that I think of every time I sit down to play it.

Interesting, Fur Elise was not published until 1867, forty years after Beethoven’s death in 1827!! It was written in 1810 and apparently shoved into a drawer (without the nickname Fur Elise on it!). He revised it in 1827 and put it back in the drawer where it stayed until 1867, discovered by a musicologist. No one knows who is was written for, Beethoven was NOT lucky in love! There have been so many variations of this piece of music, if you look on YOUTUBE, you can find a blues version, a ragtime version and a classical guitar version. It has been referred as a “little trifle” that became a classic.

The top painting was inspired by The Moonlight Sonata. Beethoven once complained to fellow pianist Czerny (and student) “Everybody is always talking about the C-sharp minor Sonata! (Moonlight Sonata) Surely I have written better things. There is the Sonata in F-sharp major—that is something very different.”

It is interesting to note Beethoven was already loosing his hearing when he wrote The Moonlight Sonata. The name was not given to the piece by Beethoven, but rather the1830s German music critic and romantic poet named Ludwig Reilstab was the first to describe the piece as relating to moonlight. He referred to the sonata as “a boat visiting, by moonlight, the primitive landscapes … in Switzerland”.

Below are two collages based on the songs. Note the feathers in the ones inspired by Fur Elise (inspired by Lang-Lang’s description).

Fur Elise, ©vickiemartin2021, 6×6 collage on a 10×10 board

Moonlight Sonata, ©vickiemartin2021, 6×6 collage on 10×10 board.

The above piece integrates my own music into the collage. The vertical pieces are inspired by – from left to right, the octave in the bass, then moving to the right, there are two sets of three vertical pieces that symbolize the broken chords that make up the theme of Moonlight Sonata.

One last interesting fact about Beethoven is there is no proof that he ever met Mozart. But, both Beethoven and Mozart studied under Haydn.

Also, Beethoven played with so much passion and was so intense, he often broke the strings of the pianos in performances. Pianos back then were no where near as resilient as they are today, the cast iron frame commonly used in pianos wasn’t developed until after Beethoven’s death.

Do you have a favorite piece of music you couldn’t live without?


Even during a pandemic – reading continues! Yes, I still read every day, I start every day with a book and a bath. During February and March I completed  10 books, four were actually rereads. So – I’ll start with those.

FOREVER, A NOVEL by Pete Hamill -Published in 2003, this follows Cormac O’Connor, who arrives in New York in 1740. Granted immortality, as long as he stays on the island of Manhattan, we watch the city evolve from a tiny community to the city it is now (it concludes after 9/11).  Cormac will stay on the island until he finds his true love, but in the meantime, he takes on a hell of a ride!

A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN – by Betty Smith – I reread this because a crumbling copy of this was left in my Little Free Library. The story focuses on  Francie Nolan from childhood to early adulthood and  It also revolves around her parents and brother as they struggle to survive in the tenements of Brooklyn in the early 20th century. I’m glad I reread it because I got much more out of it this time around. The lesson taught is perseverance through hardship, using the symbol of the tree that grows in adversity!

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens – This was the third time I’ve read this book. I read it when it first came out, and the subsequent reading were the result of book club selections. As much as I like this book, it didn’t really stay with me, but then again, I’ve probably read 350+ books since the first time I read it. 

BEACH MUSIC by Pat Conroy – I read this when it first came out, in fact I took it to Italy with me not realizing how important Italy is to the story.  This is the story of Jack McCall, living in Italy with his daughter after his wife’s suicide. Somehow he integrates the horrors of the Holocaust and Viet Nam in to this book. I love Pat Conroy’s writing, in fact, I found his cookbook entertaining. My one complaint about this book, it takes place among a group of wealthy Charlestonians – not one minority in sight.

GO SET A WATCHMAN by Harper Lee – I am a big fan of TO KILL A MOCKINBIRD so I pre-purchased this book when publication was announced. This was the book Harper Lee wrote before TKAM. But, the press was so harsh when it came out I didn’t read it until now. It picks up with a 26 year old Scout who returns home from New York. It was a pleasant read, but not the same earth shattering book that TKAM is!

THE OTHER AMERICANS by Laila Lalami – This book is centered around Driss Guerraoui, who is hit and killed in California. This brings together a cast of characters searching for answers. Driss is a father, husband, business owner and a Moroccan immigrant. Around him are a list of characters, divided by race, religion and class, and each has a different story – which is told in their voice.  Both a family saga and a murder mystery, it is a very timely read.

I also completed THE CEMETERY OF FORGOTTEN BOOKS cycle by finishing up both THE LAYRINTH OF THE SPIRITS and THE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  First of all, how could I ever resists a series that has a cemetery of forgotten books in every novel. These are set in a post Civil War Spain, the four books span from 1938 through the 1970’s.  Written in the style of magical realism, much of it is set in a bookstore, with wonderful characters, elaborate twists and great dialogue. I read them in the order they were written, not in the order they happen. It was not a waste to go through the 2200 pages (I read the first two books in January. 

Set in Barcelona from 1938 through the 1970s, these books deftly combine the world of bookselling, the long shadow of the Spanish Civil War, gothic literary interplay, wonderfully salty characters, sublime dialogue and verbal sparring, along with elaborate and satisfying exposition. Taken together or individually they represent a reading experience not to be missed.


How have I coped with this time of social distancing? I took a walk, then another one, and it turned into over 364 walks! From 3/29/2020 until 3/21/2021 I logged in 2200, the length of the Appalachian Trail. Walking daily is probably the best decision I never made! Things I’ve noticed are:

  • I began to listen to nature, and my observational skills increased
  • My concentration level increased
  • I feel in better shape than I have been in decades
  • I am eating much healthier
  • I fit into all my clothes
  • My most creative ideas have come while walking – and I’ve learned to take a notebook with me

According to a study done by Stanford University, walking can increase your creativity by 60%!!!!
If I had read this a few years ago, I would have laughed. But – it Is true. You can read about about this study HERE.

Ampitheater found in the woods

In looking back through history, many of the great creatives walked daily. 

  • Aristotle gave his lectures while walking. His followers were known as peripatetics – Greek for wandering about.
  • Wordsworth walked an estimated 175 thousand miles during his life
  • Dickens walked everyday after writing from 9a-2p – and 20+ miles was not unusual.
  • Thoreau felt walking was a pilgrimage to his Holy Land.
  • Beethoven  took breaks throughout the day to “run into the open”. 
  • Virginia Woolf and James Joyce  took several of their characters on walks that she took herself.
  • Nietsche felt it was where he worked best.
  • Mahler walked up to five hours a day. He had a jerky weird walk which his daughter claimed came from his shift in rhythms.

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Nietsche


I have discovered a hidden world of treasures in my own neighborhood. I have collected over 80 bird feathers, I found a hidden beach, a hidden teepee, a hidden ampitheater – all in my neighborhood!

I have seen a gleeful boy and his father take a bike ride throughout the neighborhood every day after lunch. I have seen a neighbor taking her bird on a walk. I discovered there are three greyhounds (in different homes) on one street, and three standard poodles. There is a cat that likes to walk with her favorite dogs. 

So, get out there and take a walk. Don’t use weather as an excuse, learn to dress properly. As Roger Miller said. “Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet”.

And, I know a lot of you will say – you just don’t have time! I have found I don’t have the time NOT TO WALK. As I said, I walk often these days – often working out a problem in my head while moving. A fifteen minute walk outside is better than no walk at all.  Out of ideas? Again, take a walk!

One last observation, 99% of all dead-end streets or cul-de-sacs have a basketball hoop. I wonder what that means?

Basetball hoop

Do you have an walking stories to share?





Well, I didn’t break any reading records in January because I’ve been doing alot of research for two upcoming art shows. But, I still managed to read six books.

THE SHADOW OF THE WIND and THE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafòn  – These are the first two books (of four) in the series The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. I have read The Shadow of the Wind before, but I got so much more out of it on the second go! Written in the genre of magical realism in Barcelona from the 1930’s through the 1970’s, it is set in the  long shadow of the Spanish Civil War. You don’t know what is real, what is imagined, or who really exists. The Shadow of the Wind is one of my all-time favorite books, and while The Angel’s Game is a prequel, I am reading this series in the order they are published.

THE SECRETS WE KEPT by Lara Prescott – A historical fiction novel, there are two primary stories here. The first is the story of Irina, a Russian-American typist for the CIA turned spy. Her mission? To get Dr. Zhivago published in Russia. The second story follows Boris Pasternak and his mistress Olga (who Lara in Dr. Zhivago is based on – also note the author’s name!). I had no idea about this story, he was not allowed to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 (his family was able to accept it in the 1980’s). I consider a historical fiction book a success if I am compelled to do further research – and I vow to read Dr. Zhivago someday!

A GESTURE LIFE by Chang-Rae Lee – This is a stunningly beautifully written book – in fact while reading it I would get so caught up in the beauty of the words, I’d have to stop and ground myself to remember there is a story here. It is the story of “Doc” Hata, a Japanese man of Korean birth that has immigrated to the US. He is careful to never overstep his boundaries and tries to make every one comfortable around him. But, as his life begins to unravel  he looks back over his life. Gradually you learn the mystery – his forbidden love for a “comfort” woman when he was a medic in the Japanese army during WWII.  This was a book club selection, and on a scale of 1-10, the lowest rating given was an 8! 

THE ATOMIC WEIGHT OF LOVE by Elizabeth Church – Another historical fiction book which takes place from the 1940’s in Chicago to the 1970’s in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Meridian Wallace gives up her aspirations to be a scientist for love and moves to Los Alamos, where her husband is working on what would become the Atomic Bomb.  She begins studying a group of crows (actually it would be a Murder of Crows), which I found fascinating. It also shows how the women’s movement really changed the world. 


AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie – This too was a book club selection and it was so much fun to read!!! I haven’t read Agatha Christie in years! There are ALOT of characters to keep up with – but I bookmarked the first chapter to go back to refresh my memory (and also the page that lists all the accusations). I think I’ll read more Agatha Christie – there is no shortage of her books at the library.

Right now I’m reading another classic – A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN – which some generous should left in my Little Free Library!

Do you have any suggestions for upcoming books?