April, 2020, recommendations

To begin and to end with Billy Collins – perfect! So here is a picture. And enjoy some of his awesomeness at the bottom.


“Deal Killer” by Neil Sanders (Judy) https://www.amazon.com/Deal-Killer-Neal-Sanders/dp/1482077817

-“Peter Pan” by James Matthew Barry (Judy, Daniela) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34268.Peter_Pan

-“The Story of Doctor Dolittle” -original unabridged version – by Hugh Lofting (Daniela) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/325421.The_Story_of_Doctor_Dolittle

-“Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes – Translated by Edith Grossman (Debbie) https://www.amazon.com/Don-Quixote-Miguel-Cervantes/dp/0060934344

-“A Piece of the World” by Christina  Baker Klein (Starr) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30255942-a-piece-of-the-world

-“American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins (Starr) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45046527-american-dirt

-“The Bookshop” by Penelope Fitzgerald (Barbara) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41015154-the-bookshop

– “Normal People” by Sally Rooney (Heather) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41057294-normal-people


Underland: A Deep Time Journey” by Robert MacFarlane (Debbie) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41817481-underland

“Becoming” by Michelle Obama (Debbie) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38746485-becoming

-“The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine:  A History of Settler-Colonial Conquest and Resistance, 1927-2017 by Rashid Khalidi (Barbara) https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/41812831-the-hundred-years-war-on-palestine

-“The Heart: Frida Kahlo in Paris” by Marc Petitjean and Adrian Hunter (Barbara)                  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48117875-the-heart

-“The Genius of Dogs:  How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think” by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods (Cathy)  https://www.dognition.com/the-genius-of-dogs

-“The Library Book” by Susan Orlean (Cathy)  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39507318-the-library-book

-“The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece” by Jonathan Harr (Cathy)  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27398.The_Lost_Painting

Non-Fiction:  Books about Homesteading & Self-Sufficient Life Styles

-“The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It:  The Complete Back-to-Basics Guide” by John Seymour and Dierdre Headen (Daniela) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/78605.The_Self_Sufficient_Life_and_How_to_Live_It

-Youtube videos and books by Charles Dowding (Daniela)


-“Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance: by M. John Storey (Debbie) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63656.Storey_s_Basic_Country_Skills


-“Tess of the d’Urbervilles” – TV Short Series (Daniela)  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1186342/

-“Unorthodox” – TV Short Series (Barbara) https://www.netflix.com/title/81019069

-“The Impressionists” – TV Short Series (Debbie)  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0496201/

-“Queen Elizabeth’s Secret Agents” – TV Short Series (Judy) https://www.pbs.org/show/queen-elizabeths-secret-agents/

-“Goliath” – TV Series (3 seasons) (Cathy) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4687880/

-“The Bookshop” – Movie (Barbara, Daniela, Cathy)  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3127022/

-“American Masters: Wyeth – TV feature (Debbie) https://www.amazon.com/American-Masters-Wyeth-Glenn-Holsten/dp/B07GWCQJ5C

-“The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo – TV Documentary (Daniela)


– “Frida” – Movie (Daniela)


– “Tiger King” on Netflix (Heather) https://www.netflix.com/title/81115994
– “Unorthodox” on Netflix. (Heather) https://www.netflix.com/title/81019069


Carmela read a poem written and sent by a friend.  Carmela – can you send us the text of that poem?

Cathy recommends all of Billy Collins’ poetry (U.S. Poet Laureate).  Quote from critic:  Dubbed “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor

Here’s a favorite from Cathy:


I am wondering what became of all those tall abstractions

that used to pose, robed and statuesque, in paintings

and parade about on the pages of the Renaissance

displaying their capital letters like license plates.

Truth cantering on a powerful horse,

Chastity, eyes downcast, fluttering with veils.

Each one was marble come to life, a thought in a coat,

Courtesy bowing with one hand always extended,

Villainy sharpening an instrument behind a wall,

Reason with her crown and Constancy alert behind a helm.

They are all retired now, consigned to a Florida for tropes.

Justice is there standing by an open refrigerator.

Valor lies in bed listening to the rain.

Even Death has nothing to do but mend his cloak and hood,

and all their props are locked away in a warehouse,

hourglasses, globes, blindfolds and shackles.

Even if you called them back, there are no places left

for them to go, no Garden of Mirth or Bower of Bliss.

The Valley of Forgiveness is lined with condominiums

and chain saws are howling in the Forest of Despair.

Here on the table near the window is a vase of peonies

and next to it black binoculars and a money clip,

exactly the kind of thing we now prefer,

objects that sit quietly on a line in lower case,

themselves and nothing more, a wheelbarrow,

an empty mailbox, a razor blade resting in a glass ashtray.

As for the others, the great ideas on horseback

and the long-haired virtues in embroidered gowns,

it looks as though they have traveled down

that road you see on the final page of storybooks,

the one that winds up a green hillside and disappears

into an unseen valley where everyone must be fast asleep.

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