Last week went very well. Denis's procedure had the best possible results, and although there was a hitch with the transportation, we loved spending the afternoon at the Desert Botanical Garden. Naturally, I'll be sharing some photos with you in the near future.
One thing I'm ready for is some warmer weather. Temperatures here in the Phoenix metro area have been consistently in the 50s and 60s (that's 10-15° for you Celsius folks), with temperatures dipping down to freezing (-1°C) at night. That's a tad chilly for me-- and even Denis has acclimated so he gets cold, too. Now... I can hear gales of laughter from many of you who experience an actual winter, but let me tell you, your blood thins out after living in the desert for any length of time. At least Denis and I don't bundle up like we're setting out on an Arctic expedition like I've seen many others around here do. The Midwesterner in me still laughs when I see that!
I am happy to say that the cold weather has provided some free entertainment. The one group that's seemed the most perplexed about the cold is the resident flock of starlings. I have to admit that I've never been a particular fan of starlings, but I've never seen any other bird enjoy communal bathing like they do. Their twice-daily ablutions mean that their favorite birdbath needs constant replenishment. That is, until the freezing temperatures came to stay. Watching those starlings flock to the birdbath and then peck at its frozen water first thing each morning has been good entertainment.
Lastly, here's a photo of my birthday gift to myself. Courtesy of The Poisoned Pen, I'll be traveling to New Zealand (Michael Bennett's Better the Blood) and Sweden (Christoffer Carlsson's Blaze Me a Sun) as soon as Inspector Montalbano solves his case in Sicily.
Enjoy the links!
►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
- The Renaissance lets its hair down.
- The objectively objectionable grammatical pet peeve.
- How one person survived the closure of her library.
- The LA Public Library is tops in the world for digital lending.
- Is your TBR pile threatening to topple? Let go of the guilt. (Join me. I've never felt guilty about the size of my TBR!)
- A bookstore owner tweets about an $800 return and finds support from book lovers.
- Why cozy mysteries deserve more respect.
- How Barnes & Noble transformed its brand from corporate bully to lovable neighborhood bookstore.
►Book Banning & Censorship◄
- A Virginia school board has banned 21 books from its local high school library.
- There is proposed legislation in several states to eliminate LGBTQ+ and "obscene" books. (As if there are no other pressing matters that need to be dealt with.)
- The McKinney (Texas) Independent School District has changed its definition of obscenity.
- The Owasso (Oklahoma) Public Schools has completed its review of 6,000 graphic novels. Seventeen books have been flagged for further evaluation.
- Students at Big Walnut High School (Ohio) walked out over a proposed book ban.
- These books and authors were challenged the most at Louisiana libraries.
- Funding for the Crawford County (Arkansas) library system has been approved, although the LBGTQ+ book controversy continues.
- Library controversy has rocked Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
- The Punxsutawney (Pennsylvania) area school board approved its curriculum guide despite some opposition.
- Violent threats (rape and death threats!) have been directed at the Milan (Michigan) school board.
►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
- Police have recovered $400,000 worth of stolen artwork in Colorado.
- A 2,000-year-old sarcophagus with human remains has been uncovered in Istanbul.
- Neutron imaging has revealed tiny bones inside an 800-year-old pendant.
- A Connecticut archaeologist will be unearthing the mysteries buried at Cahokia, a massive Midwestern Indigenous city.
- A long-lost copy of Newton's famous book Opticks is set to be auctioned for $500,000.
- "Trash mounds" of 1,300-year-old fabrics-- still vividly colored-- have been unearthed in Israel.
- The Frick adds its first Renaissance portrait of a woman to its permanent collection.
- How an unorthodox scholar uses technology to expose biblical forgeries.
►Channeling My Inner Elly May Clampett◄
- 20+ winning dog photos from the 2022 Dog Photography Awards.
- Genetic mutations could help lizards survive city life.
- Watch a rescued baby beaver meticulously build an indoor "dam" out of random household items.
- What the social lives of koalas tell us about ourselves.
- Consider the lobster (and the Greenland shark): On the animals that don't age.
- Did you know that there's a memorial to Félicette, the first cat in space?
- A staggering number of titanosaur nests discovered in India reveals controversial findings about dino moms.
- More baby beaver fun, this time Finn and Sawyer turn a mud puddle on their human's yard into a pond.
- Scientists guide lightning bolts with lasers for the first time.
- The Katy (Texas) Independent School District has cancelled a visit from author Emma Straub after learning that she uses the "F word" online.
- The U.S. finally renames public sites to replace a racist term for Native American women.
- North Atlantic noir.
- Native Americans share the trauma of Arizona boarding schools.
- It takes a book village (like Hobart, New York).
- Twenty-two-year-old Edward Tian created an app to detect essays written by AI.
- Lorraine Louie, the artist whose book covers distilled the Nineteen-Eighties.
- Rachel Maddow on how cell phone spyware threatens privacy and democracy.
- Colin Cotterill is on a mission to write something that will make you shout with glee.
- Ghostwriter James Fox reveals the tricks of his trade-- and why J.R. Moehringer shouldn't be blamed for Harry's memoir.
- When he was nine-years-old, Joe Whale was reprimanded for doodling in class. Now twelve, he's been hired to cover a restaurant in his drawings.
►I ♥ Lists◄
- Snuggle with this selection of bookish blankets.
- Twenty chucklesome slang terms from the 1910s.
- Nine cheerful books to chase away the winter blues.
- New book puzzles for cozy winter enjoyment.
- The most anticipated cookbooks of 2023.
- These works are now in the public domain.
- The best historical fiction of 2023.
- Ten newly published historical mysteries set periods from the 1880s to the 1970s.
That's all for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.
Don't forget to spend some quality Me Time curled up with a good book!