Reading Rarities: The Fun Of It

2022 will be the eighty-fifth anniversary of Amelia Earhart's mysterious disappearance at the tail end of her around-the-world hop. Nowadays, this part of her life garners most, if not all the attention because we want to know what happened, and it's totally understandable. Eighty-five years is a long time to be in suspense (I have … Continue reading Reading Rarities: The Fun Of It

Page To Screen: The NeverEnding Story

I don't know about anyone else, but one of my favorite movies as a tween was 1984's The NeverEnding Story. Jolly pink Luckdragons. Racing snails. Cute young warriors. A geeky kid who loses himself in a book. And we can't forget that cool earworm of a theme song by Limahl and Beth Anderson, the latter of … Continue reading Page To Screen: The NeverEnding Story

Bonjour, Par-ee

I'm doing a standalone book review for once--whaddaya know? I'd like to do more of these, so keep watching this space. Anyway, today's offering is Siri Mitchell's 2005 novel, Kissing Adrien. Go ahead and make Rocky Balboa jokes. You know you want to. Anyway, this Adrien is a guy, and he's been friends with Seattle accountant … Continue reading Bonjour, Par-ee

Reading Rarities: Mount Vernon: The Story of A Shrine

Ever been to Mount Vernon? I have, twice, and it's a fascinating place. Like more than a few other historically significant sites, though, George Washington's home came very close to fading into oblivion, only to be saved by conscientious souls. In this case the benefactors were, and are, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, who have … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Mount Vernon: The Story of A Shrine

Reading Rarities: I Take My Religion Seriously

There was way more to Charles M. Schulz than Charlie Brown and Snoopy, and from the mid-1950s until early 1965 Schulz drew monthly or bi-weekly single-panel comics for Youth and Reach Magazines. It's been said that these characters are the Peanuts kids as teenagers, but Schulz tried to keep the two strips as separate as he could. He … Continue reading Reading Rarities: I Take My Religion Seriously

Page To Screen: Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday

Who's been to Cannery Row? For those who haven't, it was a group of fish canneries, flophouses and dive bars on Ocean View Avenue in Monterey, California. It was a tough, wild, colorful place, and its king was marine biologist Ed Ricketts, best friend of John Steinbeck and collector of strange scientific samples. Of course, … Continue reading Page To Screen: Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday

Earth In A Bottle

Today is the thirtieth anniversary of the first Biosphere 2 crew entering their enclosure. It's also the twenty-eighth anniversary of the crew's exit from their enclosure. It's not often talked about today, but it's a fascinating story, and while I don't agree with all the motivations for the project, lately I've been reading and rereading … Continue reading Earth In A Bottle

So Many Books

"Books are much more than an escape. They are a way of being fully human." So opens the 2020 documentary, The Booksellers, a Parker Posey-produced ode to the Holy Grails of the printed word, Rare Books, and the people who sell and collect them. Who else is a book person? You longtime "Room" readers know … Continue reading So Many Books

Reading Rarities: 100 Greatest Songs In Christian Music

At one time, contemporary Christian music was the fastest growing subgenre in the industry, and the years between 1969 and the year 2000 seem to be its golden period. Artists covered all genres and appealed to all age groups, making the secular side of the music business sit up and take notice. 2006's 100 Greatest … Continue reading Reading Rarities: 100 Greatest Songs In Christian Music

Reading Rarities: Silent Echoes

Southern California and LA in particular are notoriously cavalier about architectural history. Everything's got to be new and fresh. With all the movies that have been made there over the past hundred-plus years, not to mention the periodic earthquakes, it's amazing anything stands longer than a few decades. Still, remnants of old Hollywood manage to … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Silent Echoes

Reading Rarities: The American Frugal Housewife

We all know that for as long as there have been houses and households, there have been housekeeping gurus. Today's guru, Mrs. Child, wrote several such books, but today we're talking about her 1826 volume, The American Frugal Housewife. Eloise and Martha have nothing on Mrs. Child, who isn't well-known today, but Housewife ought to be. … Continue reading Reading Rarities: The American Frugal Housewife

Reading Rarities: Irish Americans

Most of my family came from Ireland, although we're still unearthing the details of what parts they hailed from. So far we know my paternal grandpa's ancestors were Irish Catholics from Wexford (yes, just like the Kennedys), but that's about it. The story that I've always gotten about my mom's side of the family is … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Irish Americans

Reading Rarities: The American Home Front, 1941-1942

When most people think of Alistair Cooke, at least people of my generation and before, we think of the dapper English gentleman on Masterpiece Theatre or Upstairs Downstairs, sitting in the posh wing chair bidding all of us a good evening before introducing that night's program. Mr. Cooke was an institution, and Masterpiece Theatre hasn't … Continue reading Reading Rarities: The American Home Front, 1941-1942

Reading Rarities: So You Think You’re A Bookworm?

I love reading. Put me in a library or a bookstore and I will happily stay until I get hungry or it's closing time, whichever comes first. Who else can relate? Yep, a lot of people consider themselves bookworms, but according to Joan Hoare there's more to being a bookworm than meets the eye. Way … Continue reading Reading Rarities: So You Think You’re A Bookworm?

Reading Rarities: Bobbi Brown Beauty

I can't speak as to how it is now, but when I was a student at Sac State the Hornet Bookstore was a treasure trove of unique books, and one of my finds was the 1997 volume, Bobbi Brown Beauty. Before there were beauty gurus, YouTube, or social media as we know them, there was Bobbi … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Bobbi Brown Beauty

Reading Rarities: A Baggage Car With Lace Curtains

Like local history? I love it. Some years ago I found an intriguing little book at the Rocklin Library: A Baggage Car With Lace Curtains by Kay Fisher, a native of the Sacramento area. Kay's husband, Bill, worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad starting in the nineteen-forties, and their story gives a whole new meaning to … Continue reading Reading Rarities: A Baggage Car With Lace Curtains

The Great Shakeup

2020 is one of those years when the entire world said, "What the heck?" We masked up, locked down, and tried to make sense of the craziness getting thrown at us week by week. It's been ugly. It's been enlightening. It's been scary. It's also been ludicrously comical. I don't know about anyone else, but … Continue reading The Great Shakeup