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Monday, December 5th, 2016

A nearly perfect read, which came into my awareness with nearly perfect timing, and gave me a nearly perfect excuse to do nothing else except read; Exquisite.

The story begins with a 16-year-old girls voice saying:  “Hi! My name is Nao, and I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is?  Well, if you give me a moment, I will tell you.” This child’s story is compelling and sometimes funny and sometimes very difficult.  Nao is trying to figure out life and how to live it after having been living the “good” life in California and now whisked back to Japan in the dot com bust.   Her father is extremely depressed and it is affecting the whole family.  The guilt, the anger, the shame is difficult to understand and yet it draws one into the story.  The bullying and shaming that Nao must endure is horrific.

There is a second story that takes place on an island on the British Columbia Coastline.   Ruth, a writer, is wandering the beach and finds a “Hello Kitty” lunch pail in a heavy plastic shipping bag.  When opened the lunch pail contains a journal and a Kamikaze pilot’s letters and watch, it appears to be debris from the Japanese tsunami of 2011.  It is Nao’s journal and her story and history.

The story is also about the Zen experience of life as shared by Nao’s lessons from her 104 year old great grandmother, who is the mother of the Kamikaze pilot.  How can there be humor in such a story?  There is a great deal of humor in the story.  The characters on the island truly come alive and participate in the story.  Ruth and her partner Oliver are strong characters in their own right.  Fact and fiction twirl about as compliments to understanding the deeper issues facing each person-culture.  Is Nao still alive and well?  How could this person be tracked down and could they all be on the Internet?

My book group chose this book and so it is apart of my own library.  The other members of the group discovered that there was a reader’s play of this story being performed in the city and they bought tickets and went to the performance.  We cannot stop talking about this book and we all agree that there is perfection in the writing of this story, which makes it a huge recommendation and a must read for so many people I know.    I just had to share it with you

Bursting with symbolism, a story for our time – full of topics to discuss; breaks the barriers and expectations of traditional thinking.

Ruth Ozeki Webpage
Ruth Ozeki Twitter

From the website:

“Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest.Her first two novels, My Year of Meats(1998) and All Over Creation (2003), have been translated into 11 languages and published in 14 countries. Her most recent work, A Tale for the Time-Being (2013), won the LA Times Book Prize, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, and has been published in over thirty countries. Ruth’s documentary and dramatic independent films, including Halving the Bones, have been shown on PBS, at the Sundance Film Festival, and at colleges and universities across the country. A longtime Buddhist practitioner, Ruth was ordained in 2010 and is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation. She lives in British Columbia and New York City, and is currently the Elizabeth Drew Professor of Creative Writing at Smith College.”

“Tantalizing”– The Washington Post
“A spellbinding tale.” – O, The Oprah Magazine
“Fractures Clichés” – ELLE
“Delightful.” – The New York Times Book Review
“Terrific”– The Seattle Times

Breakfast with Buddha
Lunch with Buddha
A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Sand

THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER: A Northern Ireland Story ~Christina McKenna

Monday, April 13th, 2015

“You will never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.” Rose says… (Loc 92% in an unproofed, uncorrected e-copy.)

THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER whisks the reader away to Northern Ireland during all the IRA troubles in 1980’s.  We touch base with the most wonderful characters the author can devise for us to enjoy in rural Ireland and we take a small journey with a few through their “de-press-shuns” as trouble merges with the light of day and some amazing resolutions.  We are also treated to a good love story and the pressures created by the small town gossip and the marginalized.  Although not so much in Tailorstown, the activities of the IRA are part of the troubles in Belfast and not so far away.

Ruby our lead is stuck in a toxic relationship with a controlling mother.  Her supportive, protective father has recently passed away and Ruby is trying to find her place in the family.  The twins who work in Belfast are fairly abusive also and fortunately are only home on weekends.  Ruby is a farmer at heart, but now must move into the house at age 33 and do women’s work.   Her sadness leads her to open her Grandmother Edna’s forbidden case in the attic and hope with the right words begins to manifest.

Dr. Henry Shevlin comes to work in the Mental Health Clinic as a psychiatrist.  He too has an ordeal to come to terms with and yet helps some of the members of his new community cope with their lives and never need to go to St. Ita’s the mental hospital.  He is a lovely listener and his patients very must appreciate his skill.  We are treated to a John Lennon want to be – Good advice and wisdom provide some amazing healing.

Rose and Paddy drive us to many of the locations in the story and provide the support systems to get several locals to their appointments and unravel confusions while working on match making for their favorite couple.

The characters are quite well developed and yet the story has so much more to offer.  How do we treat others and how does that play out within a community and how does it affect the individual?  How does the child, which is treated poorly or in a toxic relationship with a parent, find reprieve and understanding from her community and the freedom to find understanding into relief?  How do politics change us and play out within lives, even when it seems distant?

I received this uncorrected, unproofed e-copy from TLC BOOK Tours for review and enjoyed this read very much.  I recommend this story  “tae yous”.

About the Author:

“Christina McKenna grew up on a farm near the village of Draperstown in Northern Ireland.  She attended the Belfast College of Art where she obtained an honors degree in Fine Art and studied postgraduate English at the University of Ulster.  In 1986 she left Northern Ireland to teach abroad.  She has lived, worked, and painted pictures in Spain, Turkey, Italy, Ecuador, and Mexico.  THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER is the third novel in the Tailorstown Series.”  -From the book.

Christina McKenna Wikipedia 

Letters From Skye
The Scent of Butterflies

THE PACT: No One Should Ever Have To Stand Alone ~Mitchell S. Karnes

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

This story begins with almost too many problems for any eighth grader to deal with at any one time, and yet Scott Addison does just march into his new life and move forward.  I think that boys have a huge territorial problem to deal with when they enter a new school system, mid – term, particularly during the teen years of uncertainty and confusion.  Scott’s father has died just a few months into the start of the school year and his mother moves away from their life in Iowa City to be closer to her parents in Southern Illinois.  Scott arrives at his new school just in time to see the smallest boy in his class being slammed into a holly bush and his lunch bag being destroyed.   Other kids are not getting involved with the 4 bullies, but Scott just steps into the fray and sends the 4 scurrying.   He has made 4 enemies and 1 new friend.

The boy in the holly bush attack – Paul, also loves to play the role-playing fantasy game Warriors and Thieves and introduces Scott to 2 high school fellows, Chris and Luke, who are also game players.  They become quite a team; a welcome relief from past and present struggles.  I believe that many readers will enjoy the game playing segments in this book and I felt included in the process and found excitement as they built their story lines and their community.  Good problem – solving tools being developed and yet they were still young boys and they were not perfect.

THE PACT is also about father – son relationships.  So many of the father figures portrayed in the media these days are often too remote and powerful or buffoonish characters.  Scott’s father was very focused on his son and was concerned about teaching his boy about his work as a popular fantasy writer; wanting Scott to become a good and moral person who could succeed in a culture and a society.  He also wanted his son to be able to accept and carry on his legacy as a writer.  Chris’s father was also a college professor and highly valued his son’s intellect and reasoning skills, but was distant and remote.   One father was abusive to his son and another wanted his son not to be a sissy artist but a “real” man who used his hands at “real manly” work.  It was very interesting to watch the boys try to accept their father’s expectations and work to manifest them within their parent’s modeling.

The women in the story are respected and kind but none are leaders or exceptional, several are bright.  THE PACT is definitely a white, middle class tale and I think my daughters would have enjoyed reading this book when they were in about 4th or 5th grade.  It is not a story about big city issues and male behaviors in poverty or marginalized situations.    The fundamentalist Christian youth are also addressed and the boys make their opinions known and they discover ways that are acceptable for their own, diverse beliefs.  THE PACT is a very good story about problem-solving and maturing in a community.

Differences in people are addressed in this story and in the fantasy games.  Acceptance is a big idea and being open to learning is stressed.   I so enjoyed the English teacher in the story and liked her rewards from the Hero.    The issues of computers, science, math, poverty, inequality, racism, global partnership are not addressed in this story at all and yet it is full of big insights on the personal level.  Mitchell S. Karnes did a good job of telling this story and the book is catching on as there were only 4 copies of the book left on AMAZON’s shelf as I write this review.    I know there are lots of young readers who would enjoy THE PACT.

Michell Karnes on LinkedIN 
Michell Karnes page on TLC online Book tours

Mitchell S. Karnes resides in Tennessee with his wife and seven children. He is an English teacher and the Pastor of Walker Baptist Church.

(TLC logo)  This book was sent to me by the author and TLC online book tours for review.  The author is offering a copy of his book for a comment on this blog site.  This book is part of a series of stories with the same characters and Book Two THE DRAGON’S PAWN is scheduled for release April 3, 2014.  Thank you TLC and Mitchell S. Karnes for the opportunity to read – THE PACT.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed. – See more at: http://patriciaswisdom.com/#sthash.DsiDqYI8.dpuf

Recommended Reading:
The Sowing 
The Highest Tide
Confessions of Joan the Tall


Thursday, March 8th, 2012


Bullying has been on my mind a lot lately, so I have been involved with a number of Internet searches on the subject.   I found that KUOW the radio station was going to run an hour long program done by Teens on being Bullied.   It was an outstanding hour spent listening and taking notes.

So who are these bullies?

Nearly everyone has experienced a time of being bullied or has been a bully over an idea.  Yep, just about everyone has experienced both sides.   Sometimes we bully when we do not mean to but rather an emotion runs away with us.  Most teen bullies do not know any better, and usually the bullying begins at home and it is a way that their family interacts.

Bullying is an enculturation error by society.   It is sometimes promoted in a society, such as on sitcoms and in teasing and by looking at the flow of money.

Bullies usually are feeling how they want to make you feel:
–    Insecure
–    Bullied themselves
–    Transferring own emotions onto the victim
–    Learned behavior from Media, School and HOME
–    Sign of fear
–    Self hatred
–    Wanting to feel powerful

The teens are trying to help other teens understand and I am proud to say that a number of suicide attempts by victims have been thwarted because teens are taking the lead – especially on social media sites monitoring and setting up interference with the  interaction.   TEENS are saying,  “That is not an appropriate thing to say/to do  to someone else.”   They are teaching the words that need to happen and they are not just standing around.   They are Naming the Problem and tracking it down quickly.

Parents think teens just have to endure this and toughen up.  If they really want to accomplish those things, they need to find another teen that is willing to stand up face to face and stop the barrage at the moment it is happening; they need to fund the classes on EMPATHY that the students need.

The ROLE OF THE BYSTANDER is the most crucial role in stopping this behavior.

The program on bullying was excellent and I learned a great deal.   The reason that I was researching bullying was that I am a bystander watching the Bullies make such huge amounts of money and be rewarded for their inappropriate behavior and language.    In 2008, I recommended that as bystanders we take on the Banking Institutions by Move your Money .  The BIG BANKS have become the Devil to so many individuals and are being left unchecked: large numbers of people are suffering and being victimized.

Whole Denominations are asking their membership to MOVE their MONEY now because of the banks human rights violations, illegal use of funds and investments, and Bullying behavior over housing issues.

This bystander repeats again MOVE YOUR MONEY and here are the three biggest bullies in this country  BANK OF AMERICA, CHASE, and WELLS FARGO.   I am sure you can name a few more.  You are feeding the problem by leaving your money there.

Just say NO to the Party of NO, be like Senator OLYMPIA SNOW and tell it like it is.  We elect “you” to office, not to take money from all the PACs and lobbies, we elect you to represent us the people and to be a voice for us and get the work done that we pay you for.   YOU are bullies and your behavior is inappropriate and noisy and it is creating victims and suffering that you do not care about. “ You” are the ones who are insecure and hurting and your media representatives have become a Bullying pulpit.

But what are we teaching our young, our communities when a Bully like Rush Limbaugh is rewarded daily for being a bully on the air.  He is rewarded with Millions of dollars of advertizing and a huge audience.   He is an aggressive cyber bully.

Stop listening to these media bullies and purchasing products from their advertisers, be a great bystander.

Teens are telling their peers and friends that he is just that, because the adults in our society are getting their jollies off imitation.  If children are not taught appropriate behavior by their parents then the teens are stepping in and saying, “We do not want this Bullying Kind of Society.”

The bystander should not be whipping folks into a frenzy by bullying.   I think the correction on Facebook and Twitter needs to be “If you cannot say anything encouraging or supportive, then do not say anything at all”   We can all find ways to run down another person and attack them – that is the way of the ignorant and the unaware – it is the way of the bully.  CYBER BULLING is Rampant.

Have you had to name language as being “bullying”?  Could you follow the example of the teens who are boldly letting others know that the bullying is inappropriate behavior and language?  They are teaching empathy?  Do you?

Please use the share button with this post, I would like to share my thoughts loudly and appropriately and I could use your assistance.  Thank you

Related Reading:
 Move you Money
Agenda For a New Economy
Leaving With Rake
Situations Matter
On Facebook – Public Radio Exchange