Seattle Sky (and weather) by Maria Semple

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I enjoyed reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple a few years ago, but knew that I’d really enjoy it now that I lived in Seattle, so I just re-read it. It is hilarious and wise. For those of you who think it is always gray/ raining in Seattle, ponder Semple’s description from Where’d You Go, Bernadette:

“The sky in Seattle is so low, it felt like God had lowered a silk parachute over us. Every feeling I ever knew was up in that sky.Twinkling joyous sunlight; airy, giggling cloud wisps; blinding columns of sun. Orbs of gold, pink, flesh, utterly cheesy in their luminosity. Gigantic puffy clouds, welcoming, forgiving, repeating infinitely across  the horizon as if between mirrors; and slices of rain, pounding wet misery in the distance now, but soon on us, and in another part of the sky, a black stain, rainless.
The sky, it came in patches, it came in layers, it came swirled together, and always on the move, churning, sometimes whizzing by. It was so low, some days I’d reach out for the flow, like you, Bee, at your first 3-D movie, so convinced was I that I could grab it, and then what– become it.
All those ninnies have it wrong. The best thing about Seattle is the weather.”

 

MLK

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an eloquent person. (see photo below at CSU Fresno campus) I admire him so and wonder where he’d be and what he’d be doing were he alive today…

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I mean, have you heard any speakers lately use the word “elegy”?

Thank you for your work with humanity, Dr. King.

On a related matter, I just read about Americanization schools for Hispanic students in California and the southwest in the first part of the 1900s in Pam Munoz Ryan’s excellent book Echo (It’s one of three historical fiction type related stories that comprise the book). Who knew? I have known about Brown v. Board of Education for years, but somehow missed the story that led to Mendez v. Westminster. You can read about it here: http://www.tolerance.org/activity/tale-two-schools .

Books and Reading

On a related topic: The other day in an article in the Fresno Bee, owners of a local bookstore, Petunia’s Place were interviewed about their store. They were asked by the reporter: What is the appeal of reading?

 

Hello? How far have we fallen?! What. is. the. APPEAL???!!!of. reading? Hmm… what is the appeal of eating? What is the appeal of sleeping?

p. 49 Quindlen …

p. 49 Quindlen writes in How Reading Changed My Life, “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” I know that my life is marked by the road signs of my beloved books, each one symbolizing who I was when I read it, shaping who I have become. The uninitiated might say that I am lost in my books, but I know I am more found than lost.”

p. 51 “…Stephan Krashen reveals that no single literacy activity has a more positive effect on students’ comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, spelling, writing ability, and overall academic achievement than free voluntary reading.”

p. 107 “We have created a culture of reading poverty in which a vicious cycle of aliteracy has the potential to devolve into illiteracy for many students.”

Miller, Donalyn. The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child. 2009.