Tag Archives: books

when valdez couldn’t be taken out by sunny sundown


artist: Aeppol


A coupla weeks ago, I had shared with y’all about my excitement that one of my fav authors, Leif Enger, had this new book out.  I’m a-gonna check again later to see if the library might have received it yet.


One of my favorite parts in Enger’s previous book, Peace Like A River, is the close relationship between a young boy named Reuben, and his younger sister, Swede, who’s an avid writer on their home typewriter.

I always get a kick outta the name of Swede’s main character in her stories, Sunny Sundown.  And I began to enjoy using the word “smouched” (a nicer way of saying that someone had stole sumthin’), after having read it in this book.


An excerpt ~


One morning Swede didn’t come out of her room and foiled my snoopish concern by propping a chair beneath her doorknob.  “I’m working,” she declared.  “Don’t bother me.”

Her tight-throated resolve gave me new wells of unease to plumb.  “Working on what?”

“Isn’t your business.”

She was writing, of course; I could hear the whir of the typewriter carriage as she rolled in a sheet.  The fact made me nervous in some abstruse way.  What I wanted was for Swede to be Swede; that is, glad and funny and belonging to me, as usual.  We’d always been an exclusive pair, she being smart enough for the two of us and never begrudging me her secrets.

“Is it Sunny Sundown?” I asked – sounding, I know, like some dumb jealous boyfriend, but all the same you should’ve heard the passion she was pouring on those keys.

“How come you been in your room so much anyhow?  Don’t you know others of us live here?”

She was quiet a moment, during which I regretted being harsh; then she said, “Well, I’ll tell you about it if you want – you grump.”

I sure had missed my sister.

What happened to Swede, which I’ll admit didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time, was that she couldn’t kill Valdez.  That is, Sunny Sundown couldn’t kill him.

“One day an upturned stagecoach and its driver’s ghastly hue,

The next a blackened farmhouse and its family blackened too – “

I said to Swede, “What do you mean, you can’t kill him?”

“It doesn’t work.  I’ve been trying and it doesn’t work.  What can I do?”

She sounded a little panicked.  I thought something might be happening to her mind.  I said, cautiously, “Can’t you think of a word to rhyme with dead?”

She didn’t answer.

“Ill help you, Swede.  Let me help you – how about head?  Like he got shot in the head, and fell down dead.  Or spread – he fell down dead, with his arms outspread.  Or lead – say, lead is a natural – ”

“Reuben, that’s not what I mean.”  How quietly she interrupted – out of respect, I judged, for the literary roll I was on.  “It’s not that I can’t write it.  I’ve written it already ten ways.  More than ten.”

If she could write it, what was the problem?  I sat confounded.  Mistaking my silence for doubt, Swede recited:

“And as the gunshots echo back against the canyon walls,

Valdez begins to totter – now he staggers – now he falls.”

“Yeah,” I said, “yeah!”

“And later, Sundown finds a match and lights it with a stroke;

‘Cause graves in sunbaked ground come hard – a man can use a smoke.”

“Swede, that’s great!  He buries him and everything – now what’s the matter?”  She’d flopped back on the pillow.  So much weight my praise carried.

“Just because I write it doesn’t mean it really happened.”

I had to hold that in my head awhile.  I knew she knew what she meant, and I hoped she’d assume I did too.

She said, “It doesn’t matter if it sounds good.  I can’t write it so he’s really dead.”

You see what I mean.  I said, “It’s just a poem, Swede.  Here, tell me another ending.”

Heavy sigh.

“When judgement came as gunfire to determine bad from good,

And Valdez lay all soaked in blood, and weary Sundown stood.”

“What’s wrong with that?” I demanded – though honestly I wasn’t crazy about it either.  I preferred the other one, where Sunny lit the cigarette after putting Valdez in the ground.

“It doesn’t work,” she declared.

I tried to making my voice gruff, like Davy’s.  “Listen, Swede, who’s running this story anyway?”

She didn’t answer.  She was right not to.  It was a dumb old question.





illustrated books







a book of the little stores gone by



remembering a bookstore drop by

Whenever I go downtown, I keep forgetting to stop by a Korean bookstore before heading home.  Because the drive is a too long one for me, I try to do all of my shopping for at least the next 2 weeks.  There wasn’t really any particular book that I was looking for.  Just maybe something the bookstore owner might suggest to me that my Mom would like to read.  Because my Mom had a small selection of Korean novels at home, but none of them really seemed to be exciting reads.  So I always wondered if there might be a book or set of books that I could get for my Mom, that might become her new favs, that she’d pick up and read and reread years down the road.

A few months ago, I actually did remember to finally check out a Korean bookstore, which I knew was located right above a grocery store (I usually have to use my phone for directions to go to any joint in this city).  I rode the escalator up to 2nd floor.  But when I got to the bookstore’s unit among all of the different shops on that floor, the store owner and another person were both stacking up all of the books.  They were in the process of moving, they said.  Rats.  Missed me a bookstore browsing opportunity when I had finally remembered to go.

take two

Today, I needed to go to a particular grocery store to buy something that I knew was sold for the cheapest price at this store.  So after my church service, I headed to that store because the church I go to is located not too far from where that store is.  But when I got to there, talk about traffic!  The store’s parking lot has 2 entrances/exits.  Both had a long line of cars going in and out.  After waiting for what seemed like forever (was probably a whole whopping 5 minutes, though, I’m sure), I finally gave up on trying to find me a parking space, and decided to just come back later.

As I was waiting for the traffic light to change, I tried to recall in which direction my next store stop was at.  That’s when I noticed there was a bright yellow building in front of me with a big sign that said “Bookstore” on it.  And an OPEN sign was blinking on its front tinted windows.  I felt like Dorothy – except I was heading to a yellow building, instead of traveling on a yellow brick road.  A Korean bookstore!  Yeah!  I drove straight to there.

The bookstore was the first Korean one that I had ever seen sell used books, along with the new ones.  Totally loved it, cuz I was a fan of used bookstores (and thrift stores, period).


Me gots da book!

I’m a major fan of book illustrations.  Color pencil and watercolor illustrations are my favorite to see.  So when I had come across Lee Me Kyeoung’s work on the Internet, I was in utter awe.  Her drawings made me smile and brought back memories of the grocery store down the road from my grandmother’s home, which I would go to with the sis to go buy ice cream from.

Lee Me Kyeoung is an artist who had spent about 20 years of her life drawing small Mom ‘n Pop grocery stores all around Korea.  She says the best time for her to begin her drawings (which she uses acrylic pens to create) is during the noontime, when there are no shadows cast around the stores during that time of the day.  Here are some of her work, which I’m a-gonna absolutely enjoy looking over and over again in her book.  You can check out more of her work and future works from her website here.





This one looks like the front of my family home with its unmatching chairs and lotsa plant pots.








a new book by fav author


Well, it appears Christmas is right around the corner again and…my Christmas cards are still in my stationery box.  Looks like them family folks are once again gonna get a combo greeting card from me that says, “A belated Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year to you!”. Hehe.  Shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that I have unfortunately been doin’ that like every other year now.  Oy, what a patootey relative I is.

Guess what I saw on an online library, folksies?  A new book written by my all-time favorite author, Leif Enger!  If y’all might recall, he’s the dude who wrote these other 2 great books: Peace Like a River (2001) and So Brave, Young, and Handsome (2008).

This is what his new book looks like, titled Virgil Wander, which was published in October of this year.  I tell ya, as soon as I saw it, I had gasped aloud.  I was just so surprised to see that the dude had finally written another book – before either he or I had died from this earth.  Yay!

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger

Here’s what the book says about itself:​

“​The first novel in ten years from award-winning, million-copy bestselling author Leif Enger, Virgil Wander is an enchanting and timeless all-American story that follows the inhabitants of a small Midwestern town in their quest to revive its flagging heart​.​

With intelligent humor and captivating whimsy, Leif Enger conjures a remarkable portrait of a region and its residents, who, for reasons of choice or circumstance, never made it out of their defunct industrial district. Carried aloft by quotidian pleasures including movies, fishing, necking in parked cars, playing baseball and falling in love, Virgil Wander is a swift, full journey into the heart and heartache of an often overlooked American Upper Midwest by a “formidably gifted” (Chicago Tribune) master storyteller.”


​But the dagnabbit online library didn’t have it on its eBook shelves.  But, it did give me the option to “Recommend” it to ’em (by clickin’ the Recommend button), so that they might consider makin’ it available among their online library eBooks.  Well, I done recommended it 3 times already and it’s still not there.  Carumba.

After I had finished reading his first book, I decided to search on the internet what other books he had written.  And to my uttermost major surprise, the dude hadn’t written any other.  None.  I was stunned.  Flabbergasted.  And just all around bummed out about it.  He only wrote one book?!, was what went through my mind for some days afterwards.  So that’s why it was very surprising to me when I had discovered that he had written a 2nd book (So Brave, Young, and Handsome) a whole 8 years later.  Because I had thought that another book, after Peace Like a River, wasn’t a-comin’…ever.

And here he goes, writing a 3rd book!  Have ya read this book already?  If so, hope ya thought it was a swell one, like his other two.



sitting and eating alone preferred, please


“My idea of everything going smoothly on an airplane is…

…that none of the other passengers try to talk to me.”


~ Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott



Yesterday came along and I thought I was in sheer misery.  Okay, I’m being dramatic.  But I sure was not a happy camper about the situation that I was in.  Nope, I didn’t have a flat tire.  That was last week, and the week before that.

Yesterday was a different kind of unhappiness.  Yesterday, I had to mingle.  That’s right, it was “forced mingling” amongst other people, which I didn’t much care to take part in.

Ya see, maybe like some of ya fellow bloggers, I too consider myself to be an introvert.  I’d very much rather write about my life, than to talk about it.  Or to talk to others, period.  That’s probably why many folks prefer to send texts, rather than to actually call a person up to speak with them, no?

Well, yesterday, I was at a location in which I was required to stay put.  Let’s just say that I could not leave at my own free will, until I was given authorization to take my leave outta there.  I bet you can already tell from reading this far, that the situation really stunk for me.  It was sheer patootey.

And so, I was feelin’ all grumpy inside.  To pass the time, I made myself actually do some chatting with the folks around me.  I asked some questions, I admired their kids, I admired their dogs, and I tried to endure the hot outdoor sun with a smile on my face.  But inside my head, I was wishing to goodness that I could get into my vehicle and skiddadle outta there already, so that I could go back to my personal life, where I didn’t have to fake being happy, having to chat with the folks around me.

I know, I know.  Yes, God calls us to be “a light”.  To be someone of good cheer and loving to all.

Well, I would like to state that I do at least try.  I even got up once to walk to the other side of the gathering and had made myself chat with the folks on that side of the group.  I admired what they were doing and complimented this and that about ’em.  But because I am fully aware of my having a very lousy ability to make small talk, I gave up trying to do so with that side of the gathering after about 10 minutes.  Before my fakeness of being pleased to be there got a little too fake-looking upon my face.

So I went back to my spot again and sat down.  I smiled at those around me and tried to think real hard of what else to say to those around me.  I wondered if I should probably just get up to go grab me a buncha candy and be chomping on them for awhile, so that I could make myself look “busy” at eating them for some minutes.


Just when I thought I couldn’t bear another hour of being present at the mandatory event, its “meal time” came around.  Oh, great.  I knew it was gonna happen and sure enough, it did.  Someone had sat right in front of me at the table I was sitting at by myself, because this person thought that I might need a “friend” to sit in front of me, so that we could eat together.

Because I didn’t want to embarrass this person (and because my mouth was full from already being in the middle of eating my first bites of the chow), I held myself back from saying that I preferred to eat alone.  I would like to state here sumthin’ that might be big news to some folks:

Not everyone wants to eat a meal with others.  Some folks (like me) prefer to eat alone.


My reasons for preferring to eat alone:

– Very often, I’m the last one to finish eating my meal at the table, no matter whom I’m eating at the same table with.  So because I’m a slow-eater, I prefer to focus on trying to finish my meal in a timely manner, but at my own pace.

– I’d rather not talk with my mouth full.  But just about 100% of the time, the other person who sits themselves in front of me, thinking that I need an eating companion (out of pity for me), asks me countless questions as they’re also eating, that I have to try to answer with my mouth full.

– Now I have to make uncomfortable small talk as I’m eating, rather than just sitting there (in misery).


Koreans have a saying that goes sumthin’ like:  “Eating with others makes the food tastes better.”  May sound similar to “the more, the merrier” saying.  Well, I am writing this post to make this info statement to folks out there who might agree with that saying wholeheartedly.  I would like to declare here that that is not the case.

Not every person prefers to eat their meals together with another person.  And not every person prefers to make small talk chit-chats with those sitting or standing around them.  Because ya see, there are some folks in the world who may be like me.  A person who prefers to be, eat, and sit alone.

Therefore, for those of ya who personally know me, I would like to make this request: please do not sit in front of me if you might see me sitting at a table alone at a particular event or gathering.  Because most likely, I am not there voluntarily, and am just waiting for the signal (or the polite timeframe) for me to make my exit.

Thank you and very much grateful for your understandin’.




Currently readin’ ~

Small Victories:  Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott





free classic book reads


Project Gutenberg is a website that has over 50,000 eBooks to read for free online, including beloved classics such as:

  • Jane Eyre
  • Moby Dick
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Count of Monte Cristo (illustrated too)
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Wuthering Heights

And you betcha, they sho do have Agatha Christie mysteries and also The Return of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries to read from there as well.  Yippee!





library books


On a bookmark that I had gotten at a library in 2005.


“Do’s and Don’ts for Library Lovers”


I am a library book

Treat me with care

So I can be passed on

To others and share


My contents can be read

From cover to cover

Please turn my pages gently

So I can recover


Don’t leave me open

Just in case I am broken

Please use a thin bookmark

As a reminder token


If by chance

Should I need repair

No sticky tape please

Pass me to a Librarian for care


I trust in you

To care for me

So I can be read



~ Jeanette Morre