National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Night Sky by Andrew Fazekas, The Night Sky Guy

National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Night Sky.

Stargazing’s too much fun to leave to astronomers. In these inviting pages, “Night Sky Guy” Andrew Fazekas takes an expert but easygoing approach that will delight would-be astronomers of all levels. Essential information, organized logically, brings the solar system, stars, and planets to life in your own backyard. Start with the easiest constellations and then “star-hop” across the night sky to find others nearby. Learn about the dark side of the moon, how to pick Mars out of a planetary lineup, and which kinds of stars twinkle in your favorite constellations. Hands-on tips and techniques for observing with the naked eye, binoculars, or a telescope help make the most out of sightings and astronomical phenomena such as eclipses and meteor showers. Photographs and graphics present key facts in an easy-to-understand format, explaining heavenly phenomena such as black holes, solar flares, and supernovas. Revised to make skywatching even easier for the whole family, this indispensable guide shines light on the night sky–truly one of the greatest shows on Earth!

Gage wants to be a scientist. He tells me this almost every day. He knows a lot about space and loves it. He tells me this most days too. So, when Trish asked if I wanted to be on the book tour for this book I said YES! as fast as I could. As a matter of fact I said yes before I remembered that I had no interest in space, knowing that I prefer to dig my bare feet in the dirt more than sticking my head up in the clouds. Well, I’m happy to say that this beautiful book is packed with interesting and useful information and I devoured it all.

I kept thinking I was going to wow Gage with my knowledge, like this afternoon when I asked if he knew that the moon was moving farther away from Earth every year. He, of course, already knew this. I was able to surprise him by telling him that Jupiter’s moon Europa is ripe for life. I even managed to correct Jason on a few things and he considers himself fairly well versed. As I was reading in bed this evening Jason walked in and started laughing because it was not the type of book he thought he’d ever see me reading cover to cover. While I don’t that’s the best way to experience it, whatever works for you.

While I learned about our planets, stars, galaxies, comets, constellations and more, at its heart it’s a guide to find all of these things from your backyard. It tells you what’s visible when and whether you can see it with the naked eye or if you might need binoculars or a telescope. It even maps out each season and where’ll you find the constellations from 40 degrees north latitude (NYC, Columbus, Ohio, Denver, Colorado, and Northern California). My favorite chapter was on the moon. There are also sections on how to choose the best equipment and best ways to capture the night skies on camera.

If you or someone you love likes to look at the stars or is interested in space in general this is a perfect gift!

Thanks TLC and Hachette Book Group for getting me the book and National Geographic for making me way smarter 🙂

This Week

Highlights of the week… We had a Friends of the Library board meeting in record time and, weather permitting, are going to try an outdoor meeting next month. We did a few last summer and they seemed to work well so I’m hoping this happens. Also related to the Friends I made my first bookselling video to put on FB to see if I could sell some books that way. It was a horrible five minute video, but I learned something new and will try again next week (and I did manage to sell a few books :)).

We bought some yard games and had a few warm days to try them out before the freeze kicked in again (there was snow for a bit yesterday!). My favorite, badminton, came last so we haven’t had a chance to play yet.

Jason is a tennis guy and our favorite player is Rafa Nadal, so I ordered some stuff from his Academy for Jason’s birthday. It FINALLY came a week after his birthday, but it came all the way from Spain and I like to think that Rafa personally tried on the clothes before carefully packing them with love. That’s why it was late, of course, because he’s such a busy man. Don’t even try to convince me otherwise.

Finished reading…

What Unites Us by Dan Rather
A Burning by Megha MajumdarWhite Fragility by Robin DiAngelo Adult books (reviews here)
Jean Laffite by Susan Goldman Rubin
It Came from Ohio by R.L. StineArt From Her Heart by Kathy WhiteheadThe 5 O'Clock Band by Troy AndrewsA Penguin Named Patience by Suzanne LewisFamily Huddle by Peyton Manning Kids books (reviews here)

Currently reading…

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twe…
Feels Like FallingThe Black Book (Inspector Rebus, #5)The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing In…

In the Mailbox…

Runaway Train (Runaway Train, #1)
The Husbands

Movies watched…

Fences (film).png
Fairly faithful to the play,
Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle.png
My first dip into the Jumanji pool.

Plans for the weekend…

The weather is yucky so Spring Cleaning has begun!

Non-Fiction Wins the Week

This has been a weirdly non-fiction reading week. It’s been nice, but I’m craving a quick thriller or romance! I loved all 13 books I read this week (except for those last 3 kids books, I could have skipped those).

Weekly breakdown- 5 Picture books (4 non-fiction), 3 Kids Non-Fiction, 2 Non-Fiction (social issues), 1 Inspirational, 1 Thriller, 1 Fiction.

I’m listing these in the order I liked them best. 124 books read so far this year!

What Unites Us by Dan Rather
What Unites Us by Dan Rather

Rather talks about our country’s past, present, and future in relation to freedom, community, exploration, responsibility, and character. It’s about what the country is and what it could be if compromised politicians and non truth tellers get out of the way. It was inspirational and also aspirational and made me feel all of the good feels about our country and a desire to do more to shape its future.

Part memoir, part essay – all heart.

It Came from Ohio by R.L. Stine
It Came From Ohio!: My Life as a Writer by R.L.Stine

This has been our bedtime family reading. We all really enjoyed it and laughed often. Gage fell for the ‘cliffhanger’ at the end of each chapter forcing us do sneak peeks every night :). He made turn into a book guy yet!

Stine is from Columbus and graduated from Ohio State, a little ahead of my time, but I still loved reading about his time on campus and working on the school magazine, The Sundial. He headed to NYC after that and never looked back. Some of his writing jobs were funny and some seemed way wrong, like writing celebrity interviews that he never conducted, but he paid his dues before hitting the fame train. This was a lot of fun and included lots of photos and original drawings from Stine.

The Affair by Lee Child
The Affair by Lee Child

I listened to The Affair by Lee Child, #16 in the Jack Reacher series. I’ve read the series in order, but this is a flashback novel and takes place 6 months before the first book in the series. I always love spending time with Reacher and it was a nice change of pace since he was still in the military.

A woman is murdered in Mississippi near an army base and Reacher is sent undercover to assess the situation. He finds that this isn’t the first murder. Not surprising to any Reacher fan he also ends up under covers with a beautiful woman (with a little too much detail, especially when you’re listening to the audio). After 16 books you finally get the WHY of Reacher leaving the military police.

Another solid entry into the life of Jack Reacher.

A Burning by Megha Majumdar
A Burning by Megha Majumdar

A Burning, Megha Majumdar’s debut novel, tells the story of ambition from three different points of view. Set in her homeland of India, the politics were different, but sadly recognizable.

Javan, a Muslim is accused of being a terrorist after posting on Facebook. Lovely is a transgender woman who faces ugliness everyday, but still manages to shine. PT Sir, a gym teacher who becomes ‘important’ by doing things he knows are wrong. All three are connected, but will have very different fates.

I liked quite a lot about this book. I was at different times fascinated by the class structure, rooting for justice, and horrified by the lack of compassion. It left me unsettled, as was its intent I’d guess. If you want to try a different kind of thriller this is a good one!

The Four Doors by Richard Paul Evans
The Four Doors by Richard Paul Evans

The Four Doors: A Guide to Joy, Freedom, and a Meaningful Life is written by Richard Paul Evans of The Christmas Box (etc.) fame. It’s based on a talk that he has given to different audiences around the world. There are four doors, choose one or choose them all, each will lead to a richer life. Believe there’s a reason you were born. Free yourself from limitation. Magnify your life. Develop a love-centered map.

I admit that I really didn’t have high hopes for this so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this short book. He is God centered, but this book didn’t feel church centered. He included quotes from a wide array of unexpected people, like Emerson, Dostoyevsky, Churchill, and Einstein, as well as a multitude of quotes from his books.

He glossed over some things, but in the spirit of an hour or two with an uplifting book that may change your perspective I’m giving it a thumbs up. I really liked it.

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin D’Angelo

Jason and I listened to a little of it together and I read the rest (reading is the way to go on this one). You need to be prepared to just take it in, without getting defensive. That is not to say you have to agree with everything she says (I didn’t) but giving yourself the time and space to reflect on what she says is important.

Why is it so hard to talk about race without people (whites in this case) retreating behind excuses and denials without really taking the time to try and understand? The book is spot on in the things I’ve heard people say, myself included, that completely dismiss racism, whether intentional or not. I am SO GLAD I read this.

This is a book to understand a bit better how our whole way of living here in the States was built and is maintained by at least some level of racism, and how you define racism is important.

It did not make me feel bad about being white. It made see ways that I can be better as a person. We should all strive for more knowledge and perspective.

Jean Laffite by Susan Goldman Rubin
Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America by Susan Goldman Rubin

This is for older elementary as there is lots of reading, but the story, illustrations, and information page at the end are fabulous. It generated discussion all through dinner. Jean Laffite was a privateer (a new term for me) whose ancestors had been kicked out of Europe for being Jewish. He grew up wanting to take out his revenge on Spanish ships on the open seas. And he did. How did this boy from the Caribbean go from thief and slave trader to national hero with a pardon from the President? If you don’t know the story I’m not going to spoil it! We both loved this book.

Art From Her Heart by Kathy Whitehead
Art From the Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter

One sentence reviews from Gage.

Art From Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter. When Clementine was 50 years old she began painting and eventually became so famous her art was hung in museums. 

A Penguin Named Patience by Suzanne Lewis
A Penguin Named Patience by Suzanne Lewis

Patience and other penguins at the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans were rescued during Hurricane Katrina.

The 5 O'Clock Band by Troy Andrews
The 5 O’Clock Band by Troy Andrews

A fictional story about Shorty, a kid who played in a second line band and learned about dedication, tradition, and love. (Based on the author’s experience) 

Time For Kids by Elaine Israel
Jesse Owens: Running Into History

I always thought Jesse was born in Cleveland, but he didn’t move here until he was 9, even though his middle name is actually Cleveland! When he ran for Ohio State he broke FIVE World RECORDS and tied a sixth all within 45 MINUTES! How is this humanly possibly? Lots of pictures and commentary about his place in the social issues of the time.

Tecumseh by John Micklos Jr.
Tecumseh by John Micklos Jr.

The book was pretty good, but that cover really does ruin it.

Family Huddle by Peyton Manning
Family Huddle by Payton, Eli and Archie Manning

A book about the Manning family (Archie, Peyton, and Eli) that’s good for young kids who like football. 

This Week – So much sun!

Highlights of the week… The rockets with friends got off to a slow start after getting the first rocket ready and realizing that the batteries in the starter no longer worked. Jason went to the closest drug store. When the rocket went off it went so high that we lost it, most likely across the main road. We had more engines and spent the next hour setting off the smaller ones and managed to keep track of the last rocket. I’m having trouble loading the one video I have so I’ll try again later.

It was Jason’s birthday this week and we made him waffles for breakfast and went to a new metropark in the afternoon with my mom that had a street full of blooming cherry blossom trees. So beautiful.

For the first time in about 35 years I wrote poetry. It was an enjoyable and relaxing way to finish a day and I may have to keep at it.

Our library and 7 others closed for a day this week when someone that goes to all 8 branches (delivery or maintenance most likely) tested positive for Covid. They spent a day doing a deep clean and then opened back up. I’m glad that they are choosing to take precautions in addition to mask mandates. I always feel safe when I visit.

And last but not least, with Gonzaga’s meltdown last Monday, GAGE WINS A YES DAY! He’s been coming up with ideas this week, including a family water gun fight before breakfast to start and spending the night in a tent in our yard to end the day. I’ll keep you posted when this day is officially on the calendar, lol.

Currently reading…

A Burning
The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing In…It Came from Ohio: My Life as a WriterWhite Fragility: Why It's So Hard for W…What Unites Us: Reflections on Patrioti…

Finished this week… (in the order I liked them best linked with my review)

A Girl Returned by Donatello Di Pietrantonio

When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing by Virginia Hamilton

The Affair by Lee Child

The Four Doors by Richard Paul Evans

Who Was Annie Oakley? by Stephanie Spinner

Perfectly Matched by Heather Webber

The Power of Being Positive by Joyce Meyer

Time For Kids: Jesse Owens: Running Into History by Elaine Israel

Tecumseh: Get To Know the Shawnee Chief Who Fought to Protect Native Lands by John Mickos

On TV

We’re watching the third season of Schitt’s Creek. Such a fun show that guarantees laughs. Because so many people keep talking about Supernatural (all 15 seasons of it) we gave the first few episodes a try last night.

Movies…

Really enjoyed this one!
Hm. I spent the second half only half watching while working on a puzzle 🙂

Plans for the weekend…

Walks, family games, and soaking up the sunshine.

I’m linking up with the Sunday Salon

April reading is off to a good start

A week into April and I’m having a nice reading month so far. I’ve read 11 books: 4 picture books (all black folklore), 2 kids biographies, 1 thriller, 1 romantic mystery, 1 fiction, 1 poetry, 1 inspirational.

This is my April TBR, I’ve read 8 so far.

Posted in the order I liked them best. These pics are from my Instagram account, so let’s connect there as well! @stacybuckeye

I love the Myron Bolitar series and everyone who loves Myron, most likely, loves his BFF Windsor Horne Lockwood III. With Myron off living his dream, it was time for Win to get his own book.

Win is rich. No, not just rich but like uber elite, you’ll never know anyone this rich, rich. He’s old money (duh, his name) and has a family legacy to protect and questionable morals when it comes to violence and sex. He’s very open about all of this in this first person thriller. Someone’s been murdered with a priceless piece of art stolen from the Lockwoods and also an old suitcase of Win’s at the crime scene. Win steps in, at the behest of an old FBI buddy, to right some wrongs. But what can he find out 20-30 years later?

Win is a different kind of hero and this book was really good. I loved getting to know more about his background and family. And the mysteries were excellent, as always. Another winner by the master.
My book of the day is a beautiful Italian novel so my guys helped me finish the beautiful panoramic Venice puzzle (1000 pieces) we started last week.

A Girl Returned by Donatello Di Pietrantonio (translated by Ann Goldstein) was a fantastic read. I first saw it reviewed by Diane and I’m so glad our library had a copy.😁

A 13 year old has been raised by two loving parents who one day, inexplicably, ‘return’ her to a family she never knew existed. Once a well taken care of only child, she becomes one of six who all sleep in the same room and receive daily abuse from the parents. Told from the girl’s point of view, you can feel her anger, sadness, and confusion.

It’s such an achingly vivid short novel (170 pages) that shouldn’t be missed.
Crumb-Sized: Poems by Marlena Cherrock was a lovely way to start the National Poetry Month. Cherrock shares her experience with skeletal dysplasia, which is why she was called crumb-sized on the playground. She also talks about space and her (our) place in it.

I’m not typically a poetry reader, but I loved this little collection. It was full of hope and pain, you know, life. I read about a life that is different than my own, yet completely recognizable.

I’m positive I’ll be picking this up to read again. I loved the smaller, crumb-sized, size of the book and the way they separated the poems inside, reminding me of a clock and the rings of a tree. It was perfectly done.
Let me tell you about a lady from Ohio, Virginia Hamilton. The young reader’s biography by Rubin came through the library cast offs and I thought I’d take a look. I read the 100+ page book in one sitting and felt true embarrassment that I really hadn’t known anything about this treasure from my state. She won nearly every award in her field and became the most honored author of children’s literature ever. She was a rock star, speaking and accepting awards around the world before her death in 2002.

As soon as I finished the bio I read 3 of the picture books I had checked out. They. Are. Beautiful. The way that Hamilton wrote stories about African American fables and stories that she first heard at her grandpa’s knee was groundbreaking at the time. I adored the stories, the artwork, and most especially the page at the end of each one telling the history of each story.

The People Could Fly was the first tale in her American black folktales book by the same name and was published as a stand-alone picture book after her death.

The Girl Who Spun Gold is a West Indies retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl was another story from Plantation era storytellers and published after her death.
When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing. These stories were first collected by Martha Young who had grown up on plantations where her father kept slaves. After the Civil War they became house servants. Young became Alabama’s most well-known collector of black folktales. Hamilton has taken the tongue-twisting dialect and turned them into a collection of easy-to-read animal stories.

I loved it. Why is the male cardinal red? Why is the bat ugly and why can’t he sing? Why does the swallow look the way she does? Will the buzzard ever get his just desserts? These questions and more are answered! 😆

I love reading Virginia Hamilton’s African American folktales and look forward to more.
Annie Oakley (Phoebe Ann Mosey) was born and raised in Ohio before marrying Frank Butler at 15. The two sharpshooters then began touring the country in their very own show before eventually joining the biggest traveling show at the time, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, in 1885. She traveled the world and became a household name everywhere she went. A far cry from her humble beginnings when at the age of 9 her mother had to send her to the Darke County Infirmary to work for room and board.

She was a woman ahead of her time to be sure. She was the best at what she did (shooting), knew how to sell herself, and loved her life. I loved learning about her later years, especially her 55 libel cases against newspapers who smeared her good name. She won 54 cases, but collected less than the legal fees. She wasn’t interested in the money, only the truth being told. Loved getting to know her better with Gage and Razzi 🙂
Perfectly Matched by Heather Webber (also known as Heather Blake) is the 4th in the Lucy Valentine series. As much as I love Lucy and her psychic abilities AND her first 3 books, this one just had too many psychics running around. There were 5 Boston psychic in this one competing/helping Lucy and the arsons involving Sean’s past made this one a disappointment. I’m hoping the 5th and final one brings everything to a happy conclusion.
In honor of Easter I read this little gift book by Joyce Meyer, The Power of Being Positive: Enjoying God Forever. Each page had a verse from the Bible and thoughts on how it affects your life. It dressed how important it is to fill your mind and heart with positivity because that’s what God wants. That part of the message worked for me, a few of the other things not so much. It was a quick read.

This Week – April Fool’s Day Snow


Fave pic
Gage spent the night with my parents last weekend and Jason and I went to a park to take a walk and then play a game or two on the picnic table. You, know, dating Covid style, lol. And we followed the moon because it was gorgeous that night. This is the photo I took when we got back home.

Highlights of the Week – Hm. We had nice weather for a minute and then it snowed. All day long. But the day before we had another picnic in the park with some swinging and that was great.

It’s neck and neck in our March Madness contest. Gage is still winning by two points and Jason and I are tied in second place. My fate comes down to Gonzaga. If they win it all I beat both of my guys 🙂 If not I must prepare myself for a Gage Yes Day.

When my dad came back from where I grew up he brought my favorite pizza. The downside is that I already ate my half and now what Jason has left in the fridge taunts me.

This has obviously been a pretty boring week.

Currently reading…

A Burning
The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing In…It Came from Ohio: My Life as a WriterWho Was Annie Oakley?

Finished this week…

Win by Harlan Coben – review coming. Loved it.

Limitless: 24 Remarkable American Women of Vision, Grit, and Guts by Leah Tinari

Deeply, Desperately by Heather Webber (Lucy Valentine series)

Absolutely, Positively by Heather Webber (Lucy Valentine series)

Always the Last To Know by Kristan Higgins

Virginia Hamilton: America’s Storyteller by Julie Rubini

The People Could Fly (The Picture Book) by Virginia Hamilton

The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton

Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl by Virginia Hamilton

Crumb-Sized: Poems by Marlena Cherrock

On TV

We continued Schitt’s Creek, Ginny and Georgia, and the March Madness basketball Games.

Posts this week

March’s Favorites and Stats

Finishing Up March Reading

January, February, and March Movies and Money For Charity – always time to add your two cents!

Plans for the weekend

Celebrating a friend’s 11th birthday by setting off rockets at a local park, lol. I’ll post pics if I can get a good one. The last one we did went 600 feet straight and this one is supposed to go 1000.