A fascinating spectacle

Joyce Carol Oates, whose latest novel is Carthage, says that the book that changed her life was Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, a combination of the two classics in one volume. Her grandmother Blanche Morgenstern gave her the volume for her ninth birthday in 1947, Oates writes in the June/Jul […]

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The woman who defeated Al Capone

Mabel Walker Willebrandt was a remarkable woman who earned a law degree in 1916 and served as assistant attorney general in President Harding’s administration, the most senior woman in the federal government at the time. In the 1920s, mobsters seemed “invincible,” writes Bill Bryson in his book One Summer—America 1927. It was almost impossible to […]

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Phone calls with friends

I have had some lovely, leisurely phone conversations with friends recently. These are friends that I usually send email messages to, but I have been having major issues with my email—problems too frustrating and complicated to explain. As a result, I have had to communicate with phone calls. I’m happy that my email is working […]

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Jog just five minutes a day

I love to walk, and I thoroughly enjoy my three-mile walk with my dog, Ginger, almost every morning. Some days, however, I’m extra busy, and I don’t have time for a long walk. How long do I need to walk to keep healthy and in shape? A recent study, reported in The New York Times, […]

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Eat five fruits and vegetables

I have a friend who is a vegan and another who takes a handful of nonprescription pills every morning. Newspaper, magazines, books and friends are full of advice about what I should eat and what I shouldn’t eat. What should I eat? I was reassured by a recent study, reported in the August 4, 2014, […]

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Give a child a book

The Common Sense Media reports that 22 percent of 13 year olds and 27 percent of 17 year olds say they “hardly ever” or never read for pleasure. Frank Bruni, a New York Times columnist, is dismayed by those statistics. “When it comes to books, I’m relentless,” he writes. “I’m incessantly asking my nephews and […]

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Be who you is

I like the quote used one Sunday earlier this year by my church’s pastor Dr. Stan Copeland in his sermon. “Be who you is, because if you is who you ain’t, you ain’t who you is.” –Joy

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What’s reasonable?

I’ve noticed that other people often think they are reasonable even when I don’t think they are the least bit sensible. George Eliot in her book Middlemarch reminded me that some people may think that my opinions are not as reasonable as I think they are. Sir James, Eliot wrote, “did not usually find it […]

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Everything’s better with friends

My husband, Jerry, and I just returned from an action-packed vacation in Maine. We hiked up Sabattus Mountain, canoed on the Saco River and kayaked on Keyes Pond. We visited Cathedral Ledge in nearby New Hampshire, shopped at L.L. Bean in Freeport and drove along the magnificent Maine coast. We ate lobster with lots of […]

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Food and friends

The last night we were in Maine, we gorged on lobster with lots of butter, corn on the cob, fried green tomatoes and warm blueberry pie with ice cream. It was a spectacular feast, and I enjoyed every bite while sitting on the cabin’s screened porch. I ate slowly, talking to my good friends and […]

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