The Joy of Reading

In the spring and fall, publishers release some of the best new books of the year, the ones that most support the joy of reading.  This year’s releases have been no exception.  The past few months have brought an abundance of great new fiction titles. Sometimes, as is currently the case, my recommended books appear to be lifted straight from the best-seller lists.  Generally, I select my reading material from professional reviews published or posted in advance of publication, or through word-of-mouth by friends who read and review galleys, or advance readers copies.   Whatever the source,…


The Book Club

The secular book club, or reading discussion group, is a long-standing American tradition, dating back to the late 18th century.  Earlier versions of reading groups were generally religious oriented.  Today, 88% of participants in private book clubs are women, almost two thirds of whom have advanced degrees.  Women today account for 80% of all fiction sales. There are many forms of book clubs.  Publishers of popular books sometimes will include a discussion guide, printed in the book itself.  There are national reading groups, touting specific books recommended by celebrities, such as Oprah or Reese Witherspoon.  There…


Censorship and Book Banning

Libraries across the country are under threat, with a significant rise in censorship and book banning.  Library directors, individual librarians, and community leaders have all been under attack, including calls for resignation, and even bomb threats and other acts of violence. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library, San Francisco 2010 Two of the principal reasons for banning books are titles with LGBTQI content, or books deemed to include sexual content, especially those written for children and youth.  Books written by women of color are also a frequent target.  During the school year…

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Never Too Young

An expression of gratitude is always welcome. An expression of gratitude is always welcome, and one is never too young to write that all important thank you note.  As an added bonus, children who are taught to write thank you notes tend to craft more creative and thoughtful notes when they become adults The act of hand writing a thank you note has the added benefit of becoming a learning experience for a child.  It is an exercise in manual dexterity, helps teach spelling, and encourages creativity.  For this reason, some schools sponsor letter-writing exercises, such…


How the MTST Changed My Life

Before computers, there were word processors, and before that, electric typewriters. These machines did not come with apps or software, and the functionality was limited, but they opened up whole new worlds of efficiency beyond handwriting or typing on a manual typewriter. In the late 60s, early 70s, I worked as a secretary, which required typing, filing, and simple accounting skills. While typing for a living was not a glamorous career, the ability to type provided jobs for many women, both young and old, at a time when women’s career options were limited. The company I…

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