Read a Studs Terkel book this New Year (or how my book collection shrank)

As I pondered my approach to the last book recommendation of the year, I looked over my bookshelf and through the several boxes of books that sit in my bedroom because I didn’t have a shelf to put them on (our house is small and already fits seven people).  Many of the books there would have worked, but I wasn’t struck by them so much as I was struck by the books that were missing.  Then I remembered when I had gotten rid of them, and I couldn’t help but feel a little sad and a little happy at the same time.

I was thinking of my collection of Studs Terkel books–selections of paperback editions that had been highlighted and underlined here and there, but that for the most part, were surprisingly clean copies for college editions.  It isn’t that I didn’t use these books as much as my other texts, but that I chose to use notecards instead of in-copy marks because I wanted to share the books with friends and family. 

Continue reading


A Kinda-Sorta Christmas Poem

I don’t usually have a lot of trouble writing from a prompt, but this year, as I sat down to write my annual Christmas letter to go out with Christmas cards, I decided I’d try to write a Christmas poem to go with it.  Perhaps because this year has been so full of trials, I had a hard time getting any particularly Christmas-y words down.  Not because I don’t feel the holiday spirit, but because I’m thinking so much about what that really means to me.  The villanelle that arose wasn’t what I expected, but perhaps will offer a little hope to someone during a difficult holiday season.  Sometimes we forget to be thankful for the trials in our lives, but without them, there would be no life to remember.  Enjoy, and happy holidays:

Caveats for Hope

Harken well each tribulation
without which we could not know glee.
Heralds of joy and celebration,

Continue reading