Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan; 2017; $16.99; 296 pages; dial books for young readers, New York, NY; 978-0-399-18621-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Albina; 6/28/17-7/6/17

Why did I read this?  I have read all of Holly’s books and thoroughly enjoyed them, also she attended the same high school I did.

Julia Marks is short for her age and that influences her life in so many different ways.  School is out and she is looking forward to enjoying the summer doing as little as possible when her mother makes her audition for the local college’s summer production of the Wizard of Oz.   She becomes a Munchkin and learns a lot from various people associated with the production, from the director, to a little person who is also a Munchkin and a costumer who lives down the street.  She learns from them and through reflecting on what she has heard she learns about herself and the world around her.


Possibilities by Herbie Hancock

Possibilities by Herbie Hancock with Lisa Dickey; 2014; $29.95; 344 pages; Viking, New York, NY; 978-0-670-01471-2; purchased from Multnomah County Librarys’ Title Wave Used Bookstore; 2/19/16-2/23/16

Why did I read this?  Back in the day when I was attending South Eugene High School the school district had a radio station and some of us got to have a show on the station.  I remember playing almost all the cuts from Herbies’ album Headhunters, along with a lot of Dave Mason.  When I saw this come through the bookstore I knew I wanted to read this.

Herbie chronicles his life through all its various ups and downs.  He started playing classical piano when he was 7 and made his concert debut before he was a teenager.  As he attended Grinnell college he discovered jazz and has been redefining his music ever since.  He got a major push playing with the great Miles Davis, who always encouraged to try different sounds.  Herbie is not content to sit on his laurels and continue to make the same record over and over, even if that is what his fans seem to want.  His desire is to explore the possibilities of music and the many ways to make.  He details his Buddhism, his marriage and even his drug habit.  He explores his regrets and his accomplishments.


Did I enjoy it?  Yes as I fan of Herbie and all his various sounds I was interested in knowing his philosophy of music and why he has done what he has.

From running to writing

DSC04340Thump, Passionate Poems by Amy Ballard Rich; 2015; 41 pages; Express Press, Berkeley, CA; 978-1-4951-5920-6; a gift from the author; 12/21/15-12/21/15

Amy has put together a good book of poetry that covers topics including running, self esteem and current events.  Many of them are very powerful, causing an emotional reaction in some and thinking about the state of the world in other cases.  She writes of social injustice and how it makes her feel.  She writes powerfully.


Did I enjoy it?  Yes, it was poetry that I was able to relate to and made me think.

What is with the title of the review?  I first knew Amy when she was a member of the South Eugene Cross Country team.  Now she is a writer who writes powerful poetry.

All kinds of monsters

Appleblossom the Possum by Holly Goldberg Sloan, Illustrated by Gary A. Rosen; 2015; $16.99; 275 pages; Dial Books for Young Readers, New York, NY; 978-0-8037-4133-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hollywood;9/8/15-9/10/15

The story of a young possum as she ventures forth into the great wide world.  The most exciting thing is that it is told from her point of view.  Since she doesn’t have the same vocabulary as a human she speaks of things differently .  This is a story of family and friendship.  I am looking forward to reading this with Nola and Franklin as they get older.  It is an engaging story that is really fun,  I want to listen to the audiobook since the authors friend Dustin Hoffman  does the reading.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes it is a very enjoyable story that is well told and it is very engaging.

What is with the title of the review?  There are things that the possums view as monsters that we don’t think of as monstrosities, but it is fun to realize why the possums view them as monsters.



I don’t care how you vote, get off your ass and vote*

Off Center, The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson; 2005;$25.00; 261 pages; Yale University Press, New Haven, CT; 0-300-10870-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 7/31/15-8/7/15

The authors show that the polarization of the two major parties in the United States is not the result of equal movement away from the center but by the Republicans sprinting as far to the right as they can.  The authors walk us through that sprint at a pace that allows us to see how often and how far the right will go to pander to the wealthy.  They point out how they use the rules to sell us on things that good for us in the moment but will bite us in the rear a few years down the road.  Wait until you hear some of the ways they have taken the rules and warped them to fit their own special wants.

Grade A

Did I learn something?  Yes that the poor & middle classes have to rise up and stand up for themselves.  There are many more of us than there are the wealthy.  One place we can make our voices heard is in elections, urge people who think you to run for office.  Campaign for people who stand what you stand for, not just on one issue, but across a broad spectrum of issues.  Inform yourself, seek out information, the mainstream media is controlled by corporations and will not give you the truth, it will be tilted one way or another.

What is with the title of the review?  For too many years we have let money talk.  We need to make our voices heard and we can do that by voting for the candidate of your choice.  *Some states like Oregon (where I live) make it so you don’t even have to get dressed or go anywhere to vote.  Fill out your ballot and drop in the mail and you’re good to go.