What I’m Reading

Identity Crises:

Two Roads 

by Joseph Bruchac

Dial Books for Young Readers, NY 2018.

The Other F-Word

by Natasha Friend

Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, NY 2017

After the disappointment of Inheritance, by Dani Shapiro, I found these two books that presented identity quests in a believable way.  Isn’t it peculiar that fiction can be better than memoir?

Two Roads is set in 1932, during the Depression in the United States. Cal Black, age 12, and his father live as hoboes.  Having lost both mother and family farm, Cal and his father, a veteran of World War I, ride the rails. When the vets converge on Washington, D.C. to demand the bonuses promised them, Cal’s Pop decides he must join them.  It is then that he reveals to his son that he is a full-blooded Creek Indian, making Cal a tribal member as well.  Pop sends Cal to a government boarding school for Native Americans in Oklahoma.  Despite the bad conditions at the school, Cal makes friends with other Creek boys, and learns about his people.

In addition to portraying the era and Cal’s self-discovery with accuracy, this novel offers readers a close and heart-wrenching look at the lives of Native Americans who endured government policies.  Be sure to read the Afterword.

The Other F-Word gives readers a handful of delightful, lovable characters as we follow four children on a quest to discover the identity of their sperm donor.  Milo and Hollis were born to lesbian couples. Noah and his twin brother, Josh, have heterosexual parents.  All share the same donor, #9677.  Included in this group is Milo’s friend, J.J. Rabinowitz, perhaps my favorite, who is adopted and looks nothing like his family.

I zoomed through this book, enjoying the personalities, the humor, and the believability of it all.  Oh, and the other f-word is family.


Raccoon Encounter


Not long ago, Pat and I were taking a walk on Cicero Road when we were surprised to see this raccoon picking its way across someone’s lawn.  It seemed to barely notice us as it made its way slowly to the drainpipe on the roadside.

Something was wrong.  The raccoon wobbled down to the water where it appeared to take a drink.  Then it returned to the lawn and started across the road.  It staggered, fell sideways, and then wobbled in a confused circle in the middle of the pavement.

Sick? Dying of old age? Rabid?

We kept our distance until it moved away.

When we got home, I called the DEC. The man I spoke to said there was an officer nearby who could check on the situation.

I’m left with an undercurrent of sadness from meeting up with this failing wild animal.  Maybe because I’ve reached the age when my peers and I are struggling with illness, solitude, and mortality.  Bodies get sick, need repair, and ultimately quit.

What comes next?  Raccoon heaven?


Outdoor Concert

Betty and the Boomers

Saturday, May 25

Waterstreet Market, New Paltz, NY



Tight harmonies, fabulous songs, sunshine, iced chai latte–what more could anyone ask?

from their website www.bettyandthebabyboomers.com:

 When Betty Boomer, Jean Valla McAvoy, Paul Rubeo, and Steve Stanne began singing together more than 30 years ago, the name made sense—a play on Betty’s name and the fact that all are children of the baby boom. Bassist Robert Bard fit right in demographically when he joined later on. If they’ve had second thoughts, it’s too late to change now. “Betty and the Baby Boomers” appears on the covers of the band’s five CDs, and the name is known to folk music fans from the mountains of Connemara in Ireland to the Catskills overlooking New York’s Hudson Valley, their home base.
I’ve known most of these performers since my days with Clearwater and the Beacon Sloop Club. In fact, I used to sing with the Sloop Singers, but mostly on the choruses.

Husband Pat enjoyed every minute.


Listen to them here:


What I’m Reading

inheritanceMountain or Molehill?


by Dani Shapiro

Alfred A. Knopf, 2019

Even though I became a bit disgusted, I read the book to the end.  How Shapiro managed to make a full-length memoir out of this event in her life was impressive. I kept wondering if this discovery–that one’s father was not the biological parent–could be that traumatic.  The answer, for me, was “no.”

The word “self-indulgent” comes to mind about the author, and perhaps, also, “drama queen.”

However, the actual situation brings up a lot of ethical and scientific questions that are certainly important and valid.  With DNA testing, and the sharing of data from 23andMe, Ancestry.com, etc., we are confronted with issues of privacy and anonymity.

As far as the book goes, I would advise reading the summary, and bypassing the memoir.

Time Away

Jm9ZRhamReqSZVG16O9hTQBeautiful, yes?

This glass design is in the ceiling of the Belchertown, Massachusetts Library.  The library is a magnificent building with many features to admire.

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It’s always so helpful for me, as a writer, to get away from my desk and out into the world to meet new people and see new sights.

This library visit was courtesy of our gracious Airbnb host, Fran Ferry, who lives directly across the street.



The lacy fan of woodwork spans the ceiling in the main entrance.

Fran introduced me to the children’s librarian.  Hopefully, we can arrange an author visit in the future.  Serendipity!

Please like, comment, and/or share.

And remember–the new Karakesh Chronicle, Awakening Magic, is available now on Amazon.

Awakening Magic cover2