Patchwork Prose and Quilted Poetry

Notes on reading


I discovered that when I pre-order a book at B&N when it is first available for pre-order, I am charged the cover price, even though there is a substantial discount online as the publication date nears. Therefore, I have canceled my pre-orders, there, and am not putting in the order until the price reduction is posted. And so Anne Bishop’s Wild Country is arriving this coming week with a 30% markdown. I should start making a list of release dates for the authors whose books I also order in Hardcover (in addition to the ebook edition from ebooks dot com).

Also, Sharon Shinn, whose books I try to buy in hardcover, is publishing a new series first through Audible. Since I prefer silence and often tune out the sound of people talking, I must wait too many months to get the ebooks.

I have gotten Jude Deveraux’s new book, A Justified Murder, ebook edition, which I will be reading this weekend. I liked the first book in the series. As soon as I finish rereading Sheila’s Connolly’s Relatively Dead mysteries—my favorites among her books. The series has six books to it, now.

My next reread is Travels with Charley, by Steinbeck, which Dad and I read when it first came out. Big selling point was he and his poodle having stopped along his way in Fargo, North Dakota, in which town Dad was born many decades previously.

In other excitement, the bottom heating element in the kitchen oven developed a hot spot and broke, and so my husband is out searching for (a) a replacement part at a reasonable price or (b) a replacement kitchen range for not too much over the price of the expensive replacement part.

And…Friday is another Snow Day.

fresh snow on the shrubs

Snow on a Twig

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New books to read


Last week my husband ordered Rachel Mankowitz’s Yeshiva Girl: A Novel for me (see Goodreads (link)), which arrived yesterday. I’ve read three or four chapters, so far, and I’m finding it quite interesting and well written. Since it’s a paper edition, it will take longer, because of the eye strain, but it’s next to my chair in the front sitting room, ready to pick up again as I am able.

Naomi Beth Wakan’s The Way of Haiku has been republished by Shanti Arts LLC, and I have ordered a paper copy, which will arrive from Barnes and Noble on Monday. I also have The Way of Tanka and Poetry that Heals, both of which I recommend. In 2017, I enjoyed a four-week workshop given by the author: Introduction to Writing Japanese Poetry.

I pre-ordered L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s latest book, Endgames, which comes out on the fifth of February.  The Imager Portfolio is a favorite from among his fantasy series.


New Books to Read


I am done with rereading L.E. Modesitt Jr.’s Imager series and now anticipating Endgames, the last book in the series, as I understand it.

I have picked up two ebooks by Amos Oz, not having heard of him prior to his death. Only, now that I look through the list of titles, it seems to me that I may have read one of his books, but not remembered it. Anyway, I have started Dear Zealots,which consists primarily of three essays. I also bought Judas, which I believe to be a novel.

I also came across mention of The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan. I hope that it was meant to be humorous. Think I’ll enjoy it.

The last two are The Cobbler’s Boy, by Katherine Addison and Elizabeth Bear (I so adored The Goblin Emperor that I searched for another book by that author. I know that she writes under a different name, also, but those books did not interest me. I have, however, hope) and  Sheila Connolly’s Tied Up with a Bow.

And sometimes…a find!


In the course of shopping, a couple weeks back, an acquaintance at a store where we shop regularly mentioned a book that he remembered fondly, but had not been able to find. We thought it sounded interesting, also, and found a couple of hardcover (1st editions, autographed, used) copies online at and ordered  both copies: New York to Nome, by Rick Steber and Shell Taylor. We stuck one copy in the car, and hope to remember, next time we stop by the store, to offer it to the acquaintance.  We’ve shopped there once, since the books arrived, but he wasn’t working that shift.


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Collecting paper book editions


Although I have over 1,700 eBooks in my library, I am slowly accumulating paper editions of books that I have read in excess of 10 times each, figuring that at some point we may not have access to digital editions, but I will still want to continue rereading them. For example, if B&N were to fold, I might lose access to all of the books that I have bought from them for more than a decade. (Fiction-Wise and Peanut Press made it easy to download PDFs of the non-DRM documents;. B&N won’t let me touch the files that I obtained through them; I have since switched vendors to buy non-DRM files.)

My major problems with paper&ink books is that I have some sensitivity to paper and ink. I still have rough patches on the sides of my hands where books rested during my reading, or where my hand rests as I write a letter or an entry in a paper journal. Buying them far enough ahead, though, they have an opportunity to outgas, dispersing the fumes over time.

My latest acquisitions are a trade paperback 1st printing from Kensington of The Glass Butterfly, by Louise Marley and four books (to date) of the Elemental Blessings series by Sharon Shinn. I bought  the last two books as hardcovers through B&N and the first two in paperback, only to discover that I could get hold of hardcover editions by way of independent booksellers. I am waiting for the delivery of those books on Friday and Monday.

I do, of course, have eBook editions of these five books, so that the paper copies will last longer. I also got an eBook edition of Summers at Castle Auburn, by Sharon Shinn. I know that I have a paper copy around here somewhere, but most of my books are in boxes in the basement, not having been reshelved after we had water seepage—which problem has been dealt with by means of resloping the yard and replacing the eaves and gutters.

Other series/books/authors I double-buy for would be L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (as each new book comes available for pre-order) and the Summoning series by Robin D. Owens, which I just finished reading in eBook format, the paper copies that I started with being on the verge of becoming … delicate. I don’t recall Luna putting out hardcover editions.

I have ordered some books through independent booksellers that I remember from childhood (Cluny Brown by Margery Sharp, and Van Loon’s Lives, for example) and my teens (Odyssey: A Modern Sequel by Nikos Kazantzakis),

There are other books that I cherish, but which are so embedded in my mind that I no longer need a physical or digital copy to enjoy them again.



New Year’s Eve


It looks as though I will be starting the new year on the sick list. Al and I both came down with serious colds.  Although Al’s is a head cold, which is bowing to zinc  lozenges, mine went to my chest, of course. Finally the tightness is beginning to lift, thanks to rest, lots of tea and sleep (and dark chocolate), and one dose too many of the Albuterol via nebulizer. Racing pulse like I’ve never seen happen before! Al and I have decided to buy vitamin C tablets (that are not past the expiration date) to see if that will help things along.

I have been too tired to write for a week. Too tired to think. I have been reading my way (again) through L. E. Modesitt Jr.’s Imager novels, which has been a nice distraction. Started out with The Octagonal Raven (science fiction) and moved on from there.

While the dogs were eating, first thing this morning, I took some more photographs of frost on the windows. I am adding my favorite: Ocean Waves & Mountains.

frost pattern(s) on the kitchen window during a cold snap

Ocean Waves and Mountains: A Frost Impression

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Just thinking


I had been thinking about my latest visit to my doctor and the RN diabetes educator, a few days ago, and recalling the pleasure of their company as we work together to plan out ways of modifying my activities and interventions to optimize my health while under treatment for T2 diabetes. They really are fun to work with. Outside of my own family, there are very few who take the time to visit, interact, laugh, smile, and share an occasional hug. To discuss real matters. Thinking!

I also am happy that I can learn so much about what to do and how to do what’s needful. Glad that I am making my own decisions, thanks to my own research and the guidance of medical staff. Their willingness to take time to discuss alternatives and offer honest opinions while helping me to carry out my health care plans to fit my life.

It might sound odd, but this past year has been a lot of fun. In the midst of all the family deaths during the past fourteen months or so, spending these twelve months working at improving my health and maintaining my joy in life has been a blessing and a welcome activity. The hours that I have been able to spend, also, during the summer and fall, with the bereavement counselors, have turned this time to exploration of additional facets of my life that have profited me and my family.

This week, I went back to reading Fukuyama’s Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy, with particular attention paid to chapters 30 through 36. The first volume, The Origins of Political Order, helped me to make sense of what I saw happening in the larger world surrounding me as things played out. This second volume is helping me to firm up my convictions about how I would live during this time. What decisions I would wish to make. Who I can be, and who I can’t.

I was going to say, “Earlier today…”, but that time has passed. Yesterday evening, six or seven hours ago, I found myself writing a sketch for a poem, which I shall not write as is, but I want to follow the ideas farther…I will share the sketch here.

I reach…
not to live
this life forever
but for immortality

I would not cling
as though the end
were just
a cliff
off which I’d slipped
and then could
claw my way back
into life again

[breathing hard
fingers bloody]

there is a proper end
as were beginnings

what are minutes…seconds more
when stacked beside eternity eternal life

[sketch]. Copyright © 2017-12-22, by Lizl Bennefeld.

I think, also, about an article (at that a friend/Friend posted on his FB page, last night, the article describing the unhappiness that must devolve among Americans at their declining quality of life and their slipping steadily into poverty of various types. Miserable and not recognizing that their lives are growing shorter and their quality of life is vanishing. And further, that those in Europe, whose standards of living and life expectancy are so much beyond those of those in the United States, do not recognize or appreciate how well off they are in comparison.

I think that these are odd, broad generalizations. There are, I am sure, many of us who dropped out of the “rat race” decades ago to continue enjoying what of life that really matters. Taking time to nourish self. To smile and exchange a word or two with friends and strangers. To laugh and to appreciate the small beauties around us. Surely not so many are so harried by life that they cannot or will not see the realities of the people around them.

Life is not perfect, and most of life is beyond our control. This always has been true, and it’s not likely to change. But we continue to do what seems right to us and do what should be done. Continue to be who we have determined to be in the face of whatever comes to pass.

Speaking of beyond control, I am not going to be up for grocery shopping in advance of the holiday if I do not get to sleep. Having too much fun thinking? 😊