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!
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.
In the Mailbox…
Plans for the weekend…
The weather is yucky so Spring Cleaning has begun!
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).
I’m listing these in the order I liked them best. 124 books read so far this year!
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.
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.
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, 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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
Patience and other penguins at the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans were rescued during Hurricane Katrina.
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)
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.
The book was pretty good, but that cover really does ruin it.
A book about the Manning family (Archie, Peyton, and Eli) that’s good for young kids who like football.
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.
Finished this week… (in the order I liked them best linked with my review)
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.
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.
Posted in the order I liked them best. These pics are from my Instagram account, so let’s connect there as well! @stacybuckeye
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.
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.
It’s hard to believe we started the month in Tennessee with short trip to Georgia before heading home after a month away. I never did write about it and it’s not going to happen now, although never say never.
My plan for Women’s History Month was to only read books by women I had read before. Due to poor (ie none) planning for the month I was able to accomplish reading a woman everyday, but not always someone I’d read read before.
In March I read 35 books and watched 2 bookish movies. For the year I’ve read 101 books in 90 days and watched 3 bookish movies (picture books are definitely padding this number :))
In March I read 20 physical books, 3 audio books, 3 e-books.
Since my last book update I’ve finished 5 books. The first three in a romantic mystery series, one fiction, and one kid non-fiction. Obviously, I’m loving the Lucy Valentine series and expect I’ll finish up the last two soon, while I’ve still got my mom’s Kindle.
So much fun! The Valentine family has been able to read auras for generations. They turned this secret ability into a very successful Boston matchmaking service. Lucy must take the lead, but her secret ability has nothing to do with auras.
There’s a missing toddler and a skeleton buried in a shallow grave in the woods and Lucy can see them both. Enter a sexy firefighter, a meddling grandmother, two best friends, a three legged cat, and new hamster and you’ve got the makings of a fun mystery.
I read the second book of the Lucy Valentine series sooner rather than later even if it meant reading on a device – which. I HATE. But, even that couldn’t ruin it. Lucy and her merry group of family, friends, and foes were back and I was happy to spend time with them. Oh, and the sexy firefighter/PI was back too. Certainly can’t forget him!
Lucy now has her own division of her family matchmaking company, finding lost lives. She’s also helping the police on cases if she can using her special ability of being able to shake a person’s hand and locate what they’ve lost. One case from each of these, along with a myriad of other personal issues keep this book hopping. Lucy can accomplish a lot in a day!
There was no let down with this second book. The first few chapters were skimmable because they were full of info from the first book, but maybe only to me since I just read the first book two days ago.
I love all of the characters, and there are plenty, and how much each one is integral to her daily life. I don’t think Lucy would have done so well in Covid lockdown. Maybe that’s why it’s extra fun to read about her now.
The third of the Lucy Valentine series didn’t disappoint. I love the kind-hearted, special powers to save the world, Lucy. Her family, friends, and various cohorts are always a hoot. This time she’s helping the police find a missing man who may have committed suicide and also trying to find a lost love for a client that puts her in the crosshairs of the FBI. Oh, and there’s a Lone Ranger who comes along every few days to shower the city of Boston with thousands in $20 bills.
The sexy boyfriend has a heart condition that keeps the story grounded, but even that storyline pulls at the heartstrings instead of bringing you down.
This came up in a search for another book at the library and I was intrigued enough to check it out. I love the included backstory of how this book project began. Her son was interested in the presidents, so she began researching and drawing their portraits for him. She became frustrated and galvanized after drawing 44 portraits of men. Hence this book.
I loved this book! There’s a quote for each woman and a portrait full of information. There is also a follow up at the end listing all of the women, when they lived, and a powerful moment. This is inspired art and I only wish it had been longer!
The first portrait she did was the one on the cover, Carrie Fisher. Some others included are Yuri Kochiyama, Dian Fossey, Shirley Muldowney, Betsey Johnson, and Abby Wambach. I learned about some new women and spent time on Google finding out more.
I love Kristan Higgins. I’ve read about half of her books and am always entertained with laughs and heart. She has a light touch, wicked sense of humor and great characters. Unfortunately, for the first time, I found it hard to generate any excitement for this one. The only reason I buckled down and finished listening last night was because it was Higgins.
The Frost family is in turmoil. The head of the family has had a stroke, something his wife finds out on the day she plans to divorce him. As he lies in the hospital, she discovers he’s been having an affair. Their oldest, perfect daughter is going through a midlife crisis professionally and personally and their youngest daughter just got down in one knee to propose to her boyfriend of two years. He said no.
I couldn’t have cared less about them, even actively disliking most of them at any given time. I’m hoping this was just a one time thing from this reliable author. And, hey, I’m sure some people loved it 😁. I did love the multi person audio performance.
I’m so behind with this but unwilling to let a decade long tradition go by the wayside. I hope you’ll participate!
You know the drill, add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity. Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity. Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to. Anyone is welcome to join in at any time. Click here to see past movie posts.
Highlights of the week – We had a friend over to play this week (and his mama too). I’m so thankful for the warm weather so that we can do more of this.
I mentioned last week that Gage filled out a March Madness bracket this year for the first time and if he wins he gets a Yes Day. Well after the first two rounds he’s winning, lol. So, we took a look and it all comes down to Gonzaga. If Gonzaga wins the whole thing, I win. If Gonzaga loses any of these last 3 games, Gage wins. Jason is completely out of it. I’m getting nervous about what a Gage Yes Day would entail.
Spent some time at the library doing displays for the Friends ongoing book sale. Always my happy place 🙂
Currently reading –
Books finished – You can read my thoughts on all of these books here. So much good reading this week.
Plans for the weekend – Enjoying time outside. Reading. Cleaning.