Category Archives: books

Start of Year 5783: Last Two Parshiot of the Torah, On Doing Better

    This week we’ll hear Parashat VaYelech, and then Ha’azinu, at the end of the Torah.

These last two parshiot of the Torah essentially are the founding leader handing over the mantle to his protege, while telling the people that they will certainly fail, but that they could Do Better.  If only they wanted to.

Project Do Better is founded on the idea that by building empathy while educating around community mutual aid and public infrastructure, we can build a world that does indeed Do Better, starting right now.

I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better. -Shira

                                       Last week was: Parashat Nitzavim (נִצָּבִים) 5782: Rule of Law -It’s Not Across The Ocean, Folks. …  ,

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in to create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Guest posts are always welcome.  Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better. What would yours be, if you had the spare time and energy?

*****************

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The ProtectorLupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic College Algebra & GED/HiSET Night School Lesson Plans,

           or My Nonfiction  & Historical Fiction Serial Writing

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.
Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs
Creative Commons License Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Review: Murat, and Loyalty

    I found this book both interesting and oddly inspiring.

It was very good:  a good reader and a nice short story with loyalty, sacrifice, empathy, and above all, death with dignity.
Bon c’était très bien :
une bonne lectrice et une histoire courte avec la loyauté, les sacrifices, l’empathie , et surtout de mourir avec le dignité.
“Merci, librivox.org !
Bonne lectrice mais he n’aimes pas trop la musique avec.”
January 5, 2022 –

25.0% “Quel traison ! Dommage que la poudre etait mouillé.

Et quelle sauvetage !!
“… 5 segunds encore…””

January 5, 2022 –

29.0% “5/6 obéirent, mais 2 espagnols n’avait pas la lâcheté d’obéir !
Chouette !!”

January 6, 2022 –

30.0%dumas_by_nadar2c_1855“Dumas   is the master of suspense in this one!”

January 7, 2022 –

50.0%”Ça semble un bon offre d’asile, quand même.”

January 7, 2022 –

60.0% “Pas de Vive Joachim : pas bon.”

***
     I liked the story, and I gained a bit of hope for loyalty, and thus renewed hope in humankind.

Shira

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Click here to read, if you like:

Shira

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Writing Process Wednesdays, and Writer’s Block

So, I have finally experienced the dreaded block: staring at my WiP, words stumbling over themselves refusing to be put in order, and refusing to be put down on paper, much less typed into the word processor.

After a few minutes of agonized worry that this would take up valuable time, I reached for a sheet of scrap paper meaning to write a throw away paragraph, but instead, out came the sketch of the scene that you see featured above.

Did it help?  Sort of.

Shira

Action Items:

1.) Share your thoughts, please.

2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.

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Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan: Muhafiz/The Protector, Sihirli AnnemLupin, or La Casa de Papel/Money Heist Reviews

Holistic College Algebra & GED/High School Lesson Plans,

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

ShiraDest

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Logic and Voting For Our Future, on Day 29/67

      My thoughts on  Day 29 of my 67 night-school class set of lesson plans for GED/HiSet learners, the middle of week 8/18, have been on applying mathematical proofs to the history of voting in the US (and on how reading transfers to other materials, like voters registration and ballot text…):
  similarity_proof_pythagoras27_theorem
History and applying that history logically to our present circumstances are also crucial in the voting process

register_to_vote_african_american_1960s_sign

   Voting in the upcoming midterms is crucial to our republic, and to our future.

Shira

*****************

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan: Muhafiz/Protector & Sihirli AnnemLupin, or La Casa de Papel/Money Heist Reviews

Holistic College Algebra & GED/High School Lesson Plans,

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

Shira

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Parashat Nitzavim (נִצָּבִים) 5782: Rule of Law -It’s Not Across The Ocean, Folks.

    This week’s Torah portion,Nitzavim (נִצָּבִים),  is the 51st (51/53 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 53…) reading in the annual cycle.  It’s the 8/10th parashah in the book of Dvarim,  (although this parsha is normally read on the same Shabbat as Parashat VaYelech…) with the full reading in Dvarim/.  Nearly the end of the year.

I love how Moshe basically tells people, in the words of the USNA class of 1990, “it’s not that difficult,” in Parashat Nitzavim.  “Lo baShamaim, hi … ”   It’s not in the heavens, and not across the ocean, so no on has to go search for it, because it is right here.  I used to love preparing for leyning (chanting) those verses.  So clear and ‘smack myself in the head’ obvious that the foundation of a stable society is agreement upon a set of humane laws.  These laws obviously left a lot to be desired, but they were a start, and now, we can Do Better.

full moon on a blue sky
Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

Project Do Better is founded on the idea that by building empathy while educating around community mutual aid and public infrastructure, we can build a world that does indeed Do Better, right here on Earth.

I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better. -Shira

                                       Last week was: Parashat Ki Tavo (כִּי־תָבוֹא) 5782, and Let’s Just Do Better, Please …  ,

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in to create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Guest posts are always welcome.  Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better. What would yours be, if you had the spare time and energy?

*****************

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The ProtectorLupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic College Algebra & GED/HiSET Night School Lesson Plans,

           or My Nonfiction  & Historical Fiction Serial Writing

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.
Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs
Creative Commons License Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Review: Nous Les Dieux, by Werber Showed Me My Bias

    I found this book both interesting and enlightening, about my own biases against imagination.  Werber  bernard_werber_-_foire_du_livre_de_bruxelles_-_2010_-_01  reminds us that no ideas are entirely without value, and that no human talent can afford to be wasted, even at the risk of driving ourselves crazy by following those imaginative ideas where ever they may lead.

Ce livre c’est vraiment Bon!
This book kept me riveted.  The topic was derivative but done in a way that was still really imaginative and really interesting. I also enjoyed seeing all of the various historical characters mixed in.  I will stop here before I end up giving spoilers.
There is also a question at the very end of the first page that has always haunted me, especially after being told that I had “un imagination debortant.”  It is a scary idea, that one’s own “fertile imagination” could drive one around the bend like that.   Ca me donne peur…
 Interesting final observation.  At the bottom of one page, the gods and us, a human child, sit watching ants.  I wonder if this led him to write his famous trilogy about Ants (Fourmis)???
***
     I may not have liked the story, but I did learn that greater versatility is possible, from it.  And it also reminded me how important reading, any sort of reading, is, during early childhood and adolescence, as preparation for citizenship.

Shira

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Click here to read, if you like:

Shira

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Review: The Souls of Black Folk, By W.E.B. Du Bois

I listened to a book by a pioneering scholar whom I have admired since elementary school: web_dubois_1918
This book is one that should be on every shelf in America, and I mean that in the widest sense, as in North America and South America. Since it’s in the public domain, it is available freely as an audiobook, beautifully read on librivox.org, and presumably also on both the project Gutenberg and the internet archives sites. Du Bois mentions, in fact, very nearly the same subjects spoken of by Dr. Anna J. Cooper in her work a decade earlier in A Voice From the South, By a Woman of the South, except that he rarely mentions women except for Phyllis Wheatley and one or two other women. He does however, not explicitly, but still, mention the Episcopalian clergy problem, bringing up the same issue that Dr. Cooper mentioned in her work about black people being trusted to lead and educate the black community. And also the problem of the history of slavery having very real lasting impacts into the present day at that time, and unfortunately still today. What he says is the same thing that she said earlier which is that both context and history matter.
1.0%“Librivox.org has a well liked reader for this classic. Excellent”
August 19, 2022 –

2.0%“Beautiful poem to start with by Ms. Simmons.”

August 19, 2022 –

3.0% “Had never thought of the Freedmen’s bureau as a government.

Going to SC, taking back the little land already issued to freed slaves.

😦

The Bureau and Gen. Howard had an impossible job, given the circumstances.”

August 19, 2022 –

4.0%“Mamon, unfortunately, appears to have won…”

August 19, 2022 –

6.0%“Had this call for education across the South, for all citizens, been heeded at the time, current events could have been avoided.”

August 19, 2022 –

7.0%“Exactly. Better living conditions give better work results.”

August 19, 2022 –

8.0%“Interesting, the irony of the fact that Booker T. Washington’s policies would in fact undermine the very existence of his own school, given that his de-emphasizing higher education would mean they wouldn’t be any teachers for Tuskegee.”

August 20, 2022 –

9.0%”Cunningly devised laws … to be preyed upon… handicapped… dangerous for the future… Here is the imperative for trained Negro leaders. … Educate them. Then by the ballot…”

August 20, 2022 –

11.0%”Beautiful homage to the risk of death in childbirth.”

August 20, 2022 –

13.0%”Same call as that of Dr. Anna J. Cooper for the Episcopalian clergy.”

August 20, 2022 –

14.0% “I will go to the king
… If I die, I die.”

Beautiful use of Esther’s words…”

   and yes:

“Exactly: the Toutons 1000 years ago were woefully barbaric, while knowledge came from beyond Europe.”

Hang on:  How did he manage not to mention Dr. Anna J. Cooper in this book?!

Doctor Anna J. Cooper anna_j._cooper_1892  essentially builds the same  case that he does, and I love that question that she poses “who will care for our souls”.  I still wonder if that’s where W. E. B. Du Bois took the title for this book ‘The Souls of Black Folk’ from, as I’ve read somewhere that it was a response to this book by Dr. Cooper.

The United States can totally Do Better, can’t we?

Shira

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Click here to read, if you like:

Shira

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Terrible Review in Honor of Al Bester: The Stars My Destination

JMS has been trying to get a Babylon 5 related hashtag trending today, for the reboot, which reminded me of a book I read, and disliked, which was mentioned somewhere as the reason for the  name of the villain in the series whom we all love to hate.  DustDust

Secretes -Babylon 5 as Devil’s Advocate (PsyCorp villian ‘Al Bester takes opposite tack from end of Bester’s book)?
***
   I read it, but really had to force myself to finish it, since it was just not my style or cup of tea.  Not sure where the rumor comes from that this is where Bester of the PsyCorps gets his name.

Shira

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Click here to read, if you like:

Shira

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Reading Octavia Butler for Fun, and For Our Future, on Day 28/67

      My thoughts on  Day 28 of my 67 night-school class set of lesson plans for GED/HiSet learners, have been on what makes a choice or situation equitable, and on a fiction series that provokes interesting thoughts around that question.  So, reading even fiction, even just for fun, can also lead to learning, to questioning, and to a better future (not to mention that reading fluidity transfers to other materials, like voters registration and ballot text…):
As an aside, both Octavia Butler and Toni Morrison are writers whose works should receive far more attention…

Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1)Dawn by Octavia E. Butler

This book had me hooked from about the first five pages. The complex and well-drawn protagonist is very well matched with the ethical dilemmas presented and with the complexity of the ‘rescuers ‘ of Earth. Now I’m dying to get my hands on the next book in the series!

Update: I’m still tempted to give it five stars, which I only reserve for reference books and books that I feel the need to own, rather than check out from or donate to the public library system. This book has so haunted me since I finished reading it that I feel compelled to put aside my work and check out the next one from the library! 🙂 I note that I especially feel this way after having read Toni Morrison’s The Origin of Others and suddenly really seen how this protagonist being Black affects the rest of the story.

Reviewed in June, 12018 HE

Octavia Butler  butler_signing   has always given us much to chew on, but this series topped all of her question sets, for me.  The ethics of a choice imposed on a nearly dead planet by a species which is sacrificing many of its own members to save those of another, while claiming the right of the rescuer to do as they will, regardless of the desires of those being rescued.

   Voting in the upcoming midterms is crucial to our republic, and to our future.

Shira

*****************

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan: Muhafiz/Protector & Sihirli AnnemLupin, or La Casa de Papel/Money Heist Reviews

Holistic College Algebra & GED/High School Lesson Plans,

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

Shira

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Parashat Ki Tavo (כִּי־תָבוֹא) 5782, and Let’s Just Do Better, Please

    This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo (כִּי־תָבוֹא),  is the 50th (50/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 54…) reading in the annual cycle.  It’s the 7/10th parashah in the book of Dvarim,  (although the next two parshiot are normally read on the same Shabbat) with the full reading in Dvarim/Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8.  Nearly the end of the year.

Again with carrots and sticks.   Sorry, too tired to deal.  More next week, as we see some of the most beautiful imagery of redemption in all of the Torah, in Parashat Netzavim (chapter 30 of Dvarim).  I used to love preparing for leyning (chanting) those verses.

Project Do Better is founded on the idea that by building empathy while educating around community mutual aid and public infrastructure, we can build a world that offers more emotional carrots, and needs fewer sticks.  Of any kind.

What do you think this parashah full of carrots and sticks does to help us build an empathetic society?

I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better. -Shira

                                       Last week was: Dvarim: Parashat Ki Tetzei, and Humanity vs. Law …  ,

Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in to create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Guest posts are always welcome.  Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better. What would yours be, if you had the spare time and energy?

*****************

Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The ProtectorLupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic College Algebra & GED/HiSET Night School Lesson Plans,

           or My Nonfiction  & Historical Fiction Serial Writing

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.
Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs
Creative Commons License Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.