Thanks, Aly! #bookreview Volume II, #TheSpannersSeries
Thanks, Aly! #bookreview Volume III, #TheSpannersSeries
This series is very interesting to me. It has it ups and its downs. But I think so far I am enjoying the adventure whit the family and there friends. You should check out this series if you like Sci-fi and see what you think. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review* 4/5
#Summer #Camp as Sanctuary and Crucible
Some of the best memories of my whole life are from the seven years I spent at Camp Hawthorn, 1963 – 1969. This was a St. Louis-based, Jewish Community Center Association [JCCA, or “J”]-run residential summer camp in central Missouri. Camp Hawthorn was very rustic (no electricity in the sleeping cabins, no air conditioning even in the few buildings that had electricity except for the main office and infirmary, latrines instead of flush toilets, showers without roofs or doors, gravel roads).
Camp meant: campfires, friendships, canoeing, waterskiing, swimming; first crushes, kisses and dances; camping in tents and under the stars; games, sing-downs, folk singing and dancing; art projects, camp-crafts and nature walks; motor and sail boat rides and much more. Humid, sunny, summer heat filled our time, with the occasional thunderstorm or even tornado warning, for three- to four-week-long sessions. When I was lucky, I got to stay for seven weeks.
Camp was a sanctuary from my sometimes dangerous and often dysfunctional home life. Camp was also a crucible for my development as a competent, skilled, courageous feminist, comfortable in my body and in nature, able to make friends easily and become a leader.
Camp Hawthorn‘s property had been a fire and low-security prison before the J turned it into a summer camp in Missouri on the Lake of the Ozarks from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. Near a small town, Kaiser, Missouri, but not much else but forests and the lake, we felt as if we were millions of miles from “civilization.” Our dad had been a camper there in the 1930s. I and all of my siblings were campers at the JCCA camps, but only we three eldest were lucky enough to have been at Camp Hawthorn.
Housing only about 200 people, total, in four “Villages” of about 40 campers and 10 staff per Village, and one CIT [Counselors-In-Training] section for up to two dozen teens and six or more staff [which had its own camp for the last four weeks each summer, Red Bud, a few coves over from Camp Hawthorn], Hawthorn had some general staff cabins and bunkhouses, one “Mess Hall,” one outdoor amphitheatre, five “Rec” Halls (one for each Village and one central one), one swim dock/area next to the one “boat house” and boating dock/area on the lake, and some outbuildings for arts and crafts, nature, the infirmary and office and one central “Specify” bathhouse (to use it, one had to stand at the door and call out “WIC” or “MIC” [Woman In Camp or Man In Camp]: depending on the response from those inside, you could enter or wait (you had to match). You could walk all over its property, including “down the hill” to the lake and over to each Village’s furthest corner, in under two hours, easily. Camp Hawthorn was compact and knowable.
When the JCCA got kicked out of its rented space, it negotiated to purchase/buy out another Jewish summer camp’s property (Camp Wah-Kon-Dah). Sadly, after 1969, Camp Hawthorn was no more.
The J relocated its residential summer camp to a different part of the Lake of the Ozarks, morphing into the larger, much more modern and ever-expanding and -improving Camp Sabra starting in 1970, near Rocky Mount, MO. This coincided with my being too old to be a CIT and too young to be a regular staff member, so I had started working from home for the summer, resigned to working at the local pre-schoolers’ camp at the J, attended by my youngest sister (11 years my junior), until I got the call. The assistant director and his wife had a three-month-old baby but they both had jobs at the camp (she worked in the office) and needed a part-time babysitter to come live at camp and help out. Was I interested?
I took my leave from the pre-schoolers camp, said a tearful but joyful good-bye to friends and family, and took the next ride from the J to Rocky Mount. There, I was reunited with many of my beloved staff members and fellow campers (but only one about my age) and also “joined” my (begrudging) one-year-older brother (who worked there at the boating dock for a few weeks, but he got sick and had to go home), to work at Camp Sabra during its premier summer.
It was weird being there as the babysitter: not really staff, certainly no longer a camper. I had all the freedoms of being on staff, especially at night, but no actual affiliation to anyone who talked to me or worked with me (six-months-old Craig didn’t speak, yet). Seeing some of my beloved counselors from Hawthorn working at Sabra was almost great, but they were not there “for me,” which was also strange. We didn’t quite know how to relate to each other.
After a few weeks, I even dated one of them, a young man I had known while a camper with him on the staff at Hawthorn (he is almost 6 years older than I). We had brief somewhat chaste sexual encounters and hurried conversations that didn’t go well. Extremely surreal. For me, it was like dating a teacher or something equally bizarre.
He claims not to remember this….I remember a lot.
I left that summer gig at Camp Sabra near the end of August, just before my 16th birthday, to get my driver’s license and get ready for my junior year. Even though I was hired (by that very same young man, later Camp Sabra‘s director for many years) about seven years later to be a Village leader, I never did work at Sabra again, because the Missouri camps’ schedules for staff didn’t work for me, who was then working in Rhode Island: I couldn’t go to staff training week because I had to finish out the school year at my teaching job.
I held on to my memories of Camp Hawthorn and attempted to “find” it again by working at several other camps (in New York, Maine and New Hampshire), and another day camp at the St. Louis JCCA. Throughout college and my young adult to middle-aged adult life, I tried to replicate my experiences at camp, but nothing I ever did or anywhere I lived for a summer felt as great as being at Camp Hawthorn had.
However, the abilities I developed, the sense of myself as strong and capable, having so much fun while being busy every day, being outdoors most of the hours for weeks at a time, making such great friends (several are STILL my friends, 50+ years later!): how great is all that for youth? Irreplaceable, for sure.
Are you an alum of one of these or another great camp? Find your former bunkmates and counselors, donate photos and funds, enjoy reunions and family weekends at Camp Sabra (or yours) and more: http://www.campsabra.com/alumni/
Aubrey Herman, one of Camp Sabra‘s first Directors and former Camp Hawthorn staff (and that erstwhile boyfriend I mentioned, but he denies it…), with long-time Camp Hawthorn and first-year Sabra Director, Mike Lainoff [his wife and office manager for the camp was recently deceased, 11/29/15; miss you, “Fritzi”!], 2012
I vividly remember the wonderful smells of the lake and rivers, the views of the tendrils of fog and dew rising from the early morning water and grass, the soft sounds of our canoe paddles in the water when no motorboats were around. The scent of an outdoor fire, the smell of motorboats running on freshwater lakes, young kids’ sweat and earnestness when trying hard to learn new skills all bring me right back to being at summer camp, every time.
Shabbat [Jewish Sabbath, Friday night service], campers all in white, Camp Hawthorn, 1950s or 60s One of the only times I didn’t mind attending Jewish rituals were these Friday nights at Camp Hawthorn. The services were blissfully brief, and we then sang, danced, did skits and had fun. Perfect.
photo from Camp Sabra website, sailing on the lake
I thank you all (most are nicknames), and sorry if I forget anyone!
STAFF: Big Mike, Fritzi, Bunny, Maxine, Big Mama, Stolie, Soapy, Nate, Ned, Pinky, Twinkle, Howdy, Nix, Ron, Susie, Jay, Frank, Corky, Brenda, Chuck, Aubrey, Woody, Paula, Mimi, Big Al, Randy, Craig, Vicki, Sue, Melanie, Nancy, Linda, Candy, Buddy, Aaron, Glen, Bobby, Mark, Amy, Joanne, Fred, Rich, Vic, Gary, Frank, Cookie, Bobbi, Stan, Frank, Jerry, Barry, Smokey, Fritz, Danny, Sue, Johanna, Little Mike, Hawk, Katie, Kim, Renee, Mark.
CAMPERS: Suzanne, Terry, Terri, Diane, Janet, Sam, Joyce, Marlon, David, Jeff, Sheldon, Glenn, Jon, Walter, Bob, Jack, Steve, Marty, Beth, Marcy, Debbie, Sharon, Ronnie, Katie, Kathy, Melissa, Jay, Elice, Diane, Phyllis, Wendy, Judy.
Want to send your child or sponsor another child to attend camp this or any summer? NOW is the time to register! http://www.campsabra.com/
New Reviews for Volumes I, II, III in The Spanners Series
from “Aly” on Amazon, 3 Stars for Volume I, This Changes Everything, The Spanners Series, posted 1/1/16
This book has a good storyline but for me it was a little hard to follow. I enjoyed the idea and I think I understood the book in some instances but others lost me. But I think Sci-fi sometimes will do this to me anyway. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
from “Allie” on Smashwords and “Aly” on Amazon, 4 Stars for Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, posted 1/1/16
“This book helps me to understand book 1 better. I enjoyed this book more. I got introduced to more of Clara’s family in this book. There are many people in this family. I think you should check out this series. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*”
from “Allie” on Smashwords and “Aly” on Amazon, 4 Stars for Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, The Spanners Series, posted 1/1/16
“This series is very interesting to me. It has it ups and its downs. But I think so far I am enjoying the adventure whit the family and there friends. You should check out this series if you like Sci-fi and see what you think. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*”
For more reviews, book trailers, author interviews, all download links (Volume I is free as an ebook) and purchase links, go to http://www.sallyember.com Look right; scroll down.
All covers and logo art by WillowRaven.
My reviews are on “SF SIGNAL” “MIND MELD” #SciFi #TV of 2015!
James Aquilone was kind enough to invite and include me in this amazing roster of sci-fi authors’ TV reviews for science-fiction series in 2015.
Mine are at the bottom, for the mini-series on the SyFy Channel, Childhood’s End, based on Arthur C. Clarke’s short story, and the Agent X series on TNT, starring Sharon Stone and Jeff Hephner.
Visit, comment, subscribe!
“Best of 2015” Book Lists from several sources, including PASTE online zine’s “30 #Best” in #Fiction, #Nonfiction and #YA Fiction from 2015
I present only the lists, here, with titles and authors for fiction and a brief categorization for nonfiction. Go to the links to read each reviewer’s summary and opinions of each entry, below. I also present a few alternative lists and authors, just so you know some of what else is out there.
Read! Enjoy! Buy/borrow books! Write reviews!
(NOTE: PASTE also provides the 30 best cookbooks, 18 documentaries about writers, and more at http://www.pastemagazine.com/books )
30 Best Fiction of 2015 from PASTE
[20 of 30 are male. Sigh.]
By Frannie Jackson & Tyler R. Kane | December 16, 2015
1. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
2. Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos
3. The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall
4. City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
5. Purity by Jonathan Franzen
6. The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
7. The First Bad Man by Miranda July (short story collection)
8. So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood by Patrick Modiano
9. You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman
10. Woman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine
11. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
12. Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson (short story collection)
13. The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
14. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
15. The Incarnations by Susan Barker
16. The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus
17. Sweetland by Michael Crummey
18. Suitcase City by Sterling Watson
19. Submission by Michel Houellebecq
20. Paradise City by Elizabeth Day
21. The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway
22. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
23. The Rocks by Peter Nichols
24. Girl at War by Sara Nović
25. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
26. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (short story collection)
27. Golden State by Stephanie Kegan
28. Morte by Robert Repino
29. A Poet of the Invisible World by Michael Golding
30. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Here are some other fiction lists “best of 2015” from different perspectives, which I appreciate enormously. Please go peruse these annotated lists at the links provided, below, to pick from each a few to read yourself! Ask your local library and bookstores to carry your favorites! Write reviews!
“Top 10 Feminist Books of 2015” 12/23/15 by Kitty Lindsay from Ms. Magazine
Has a mix of fiction, poetry and non-fiction with titles almost no one else lists (big surprise), with several written by some of feminism’s iconic leaders and award-winning authors (even has two male authors!), including:
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison (Fiction)
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Autobiography; poetry) (a re-issue from 1969, commemorating her passing in 2015)
Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood (Fiction; short story collection)
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (Memoir)
Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA by Roberta Kaplan with Lisa Dickey (Non-Fiction)
How To Grow Up by Michelle Tea (Memoir)
Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy (Non-Fiction)
Octavia’s Brood: Science-Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements Edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown (Science-Fiction Anthology; including authors Tananarive Due, LeVar Burton, Terry Bisson and essayists, activists, artists, filmmakers, journalists) ALSO, editor adrienne maree brown, “an independent science-fiction scholar and a social justice activist, has been chosen as the 2015-16 Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellow. Brown lives in Detroit, Michigan…. The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship, now in its third year, is sponsored equally by the Center for the Study of Women in Society, Robert D. Clark Honors College, and the UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives. The award supports travel for the purpose of research on, and work with, the papers of feminist science fiction authors housed in the Knight Library”; AND editor, Walidah Imarisha wins the Tiptree Award (named for feminist female author who wrote under the name “James Tiptree, Jr.,” in order to get published in the sci-fi world as a woman) and cash prize for 2015!
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer (Non-Fiction)
Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism by David S. Cohen and Krysten Connon (Non-Fiction)
AND another “best of” list from Ms. Magazine: “15 Women Writers Every Badass Woman Should Read” by E. CE Miller on 12/14/15
Ths list includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry and cross-genre feminist authors, some of whom appear on other lists, here, but several who do not. Enjoy!
—-“55 Best Indie [Self-Published] Books of 2015,” 12/2/15, from Indie Reader‘s year of reviews. Their lists are divided into subgenres of fiction, including: Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Inspirational, Kids, Literary, Mystery/Thriller, Science-Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult (YA). They also have nonfiction (which includes poetry) in a separate list.
What’s fun about this self-pubbed list is that I am “friends” with one of the authors on social media sites! Mazel Tov to D. Hart St. Martin (Blooded, in YA).
AND, I now have an entirely new list of authors to invite to my online video talk show for 2016, CHANGES conversations between authors (see https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/ for past and upcoming shows and details about how to watch an Episode or how to be on one.
I resume my almost-weekly Wednesdays at 10 AM Eastern USA time one-hour live format on January 20 with returning guest, author John Howell.
Three other fiction lists:
—-“My Favorite African Science-Fiction and Fantasy (AfroSFF) Short Fiction of 2015″ by Wole Talabi, 11/28/15 https://wtalabi.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/my-favorite-african-science-fiction-and-fantasy-sff-short-fiction-of-2015/
—-“Best Books 2015: Genre Fiction” on the Library Journal Reviews page, has several genres (African-American, Christian, Historical, Mystery, Romance, Thrillers, Women’s Fiction and Science-Fiction/Fantasy).
The African-American Fiction list by Rollie Welch includes:
Mama’s Boy by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
Caught Up by Shannon Holmes
Playing for Keeps by Deborah Fletcher Mello
Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray
Stone Cold Liar: The Misadventures of Mink LaRue by Noire
The Science-Fiction/Fantasy Fiction list by Megan M. McArdle & Jessica E. Moyer includes Water Knife (see Paste‘s list), and:
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
Uprooted by Naomi Novi
Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp
—-Entropy mag‘s “Best of 2015 Fiction Books” from 12/8/15 includes only one or two that overlap Paste’s list and is a much more multicultural/global (includes several translated-into-English novels) and fascinating group of 50 titles, plus one “Honorable Mention.”
—-Let’s get political, please! Here are lists created by The Guardian and The Observer‘s reviewers, which they endearingly call “2015’s master list” of books, from 12/11/15, subdivided into: Fiction [Thrillers, Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Children’s, Graphic Novels (no one else remembered these, apparently!)]; non-Fiction [Sports, Food, Drink, two lists for Biographies, History, Nature, Politics, Music, Poetry, Architecture, Art, Photography, Science, Celebrity Memoirs]; and a few groups by odd categories [Paperbacks, Stocking-fillers (size-related? cost-related?), Novels].
You can also go cruise on Google for other “best of 2015” fiction lists, such as those from or by Small Presses, Independent Publishers, more Indie/ Self-Pubbed authors, Debuts, Flash Fiction, and on and on. Have fun! https://goo.gl/itQw0i
—-Brain Pickings has several “best of 2015” lists. Here are links to two of them (Children’s, list of lists and All Books):
Also from PASTE:
30 Best Young Adult (YA) Fiction of 2015
[only 4 male out of 30 writers here…hmmmm…]
By Eric Smith | December 10, 2015
1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
2. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
3. Blood & Salt by Kim Liggett
4. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
5. Joyride by Anna Banks
6. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
7. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
8. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
9. An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay
10. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
11. Winter by Marissa Meyer
12. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
13. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
14. My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
15. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
16. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
17. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
18. Hit by Delilah S. Dawson
19. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
20. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
21. Shutter by Courtney Alameda
22. Those Girls by Lauren Saft
23. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
24. Tracked by Jenny Martin
25. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
26. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
27. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
28. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler
29. For the Record by Charlotte Huang
30. Half Wild by Sally Green
—-How about a YA list of the best of 2015 from the United Kingdom? 12/15/15 from Martin Chilton, Culture Editor of The Telegraph, Rebecca Hawkes and other reviewers/ contributors, offers 45 titles in this genre, with a few overlapping from the above list.
—-Bustle‘s YA best fiction list from 12/10/15, Caitlin White
—-Pop Crush‘s 10 best YA from 2015 posted on 12/7/15 by Emily Maas, here:
My favorite, from an fantastic site that promotes excellence in girls and young women with daily info posts (subscribe!), MIGHTY GIRL, offers: “Top Read-Aloud Books Starring Mighty Girls,” which gives you and your favorite child a lot of choices for spending time together. Become and share being inspired by the amazing achievements, courage, insight, smarts and talent of these MIGHTY girls and women! This site also reviews TV/films (by category), toys (by category, type and ages), music ((by category) and clothing. MIGHTY GIRL also provides an incredible list that they call their “Character Collection,” which you have to peruse, their “Best of…” lists of almost everything, and offers resources to educators and parents.
If you’re (your girls are) really into reading, join the MIGHTY GIRL Book Club!
There are 172 books on this list. Some are for younger, some are for older, many are for all ages. These books are selected from several decades and countries, but all are available in English (although many have been translated into several other languages and you can find those versions easily).
The left menu bar lets you sort the list by target age (88 are for younger and 73 are for teens), award-winners (National Book—12, literature [Newbery—39], civil rights [Coretta Scott King—2], Parents’ Choice—15, and others), and price (free to under $20, and over $20 [only 2], but don’t forget: most are in local libraries as well).
Many of the older books have been turned into films, TV specials and series, so you can share the stories together aloud, then go watch some on screen together.
30 Best Non-Fiction of 2015 from PASTE
[18 male authors for 17 of the books; a bit more balanced, gender-wise, here]
By Frannie Jackson & Tyler R. Kane | December 23, 2015
1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates—memoir/current events
2. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein—music history/memoir
3. M Train by Patti Smith–memoir
4. Red Notice by Bill Browder—biography/social commentary/current events
5. Missoula by Jon Krakauer—social commentary/current events
6. The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper—music criticism collection
7. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell—history
8. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari—social commentary
9. The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander—memoir
10. Dead Wake by Erik Larson—history
11. One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Åsne Seierstad—biography/social commentary/current events
12. The Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret—radio journalist’s collection
13. The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck—memoir/history
14. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson—memoir
15. Country Soul by Charles L. Hughes—history
16. Dime Stories by Tony Fitzpatrick—print journalist’s collection
17. We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War by Doug Bradley and Craig Werner—history
18. On the Move by Oliver Sacks—memoir
19. Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello—autobiography
20. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough—biographies
21. The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery—about octupi
22. Once in a Great City by David Maraniss—history
23. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson—poetry, philosophy, criticism, memoir
24. Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt—memoir
25. Madness in Civilization by Andrew Scull—history
26. Ongoingness by Sarah Manguso—essays/opinions
27. Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon—autobiography, of Sonic Youth founder/member
28. The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits—memoir
29. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald—about hawks
30. Gumption by Nick Offerman—profiles of 21 individuals
—-In case you want another set of opinions about Non-Fiction (but they duplicate many of Paste‘s), here you go:
EarlyWord‘s Best Non-Fiction of 2015 from 12/8/15
—-Also, several more lists from EarlyWord: http://www.earlyword.com/category/best-books-2015/
—-For those of you who haven’t caught up with your reading and don’t much care about being trendy or up-to-date but keep looking for good books to read, try this list from 5/22/15, by Nina Bashaur, posted on HuffPost Women:
“21 Books From The Last 5 Years That Every Woman Should Read” (but I would say every PERSON…).
[Oh, oh: I’ve only picked up 5 of these and actually read only 3. Sigh.]