Who Needs Donuts (When You’ve Got Love?)

This was one of my favorite books as a kid. I remember puzzling over the bizarre and extremely detailed drawings again and again. The book slipped out of my memory for a while and didn’t re-enter until a conversation I had with my mom.

We were talking about children’s books in regard to my daughter. I ended up buying Who Needs Donuts online (thankfully it was re-printed in 2003). S— was also mesmerized by the artwork. We read it together last night. She wanted to know why the Sad Old Woman was so sad? Why the pigeons were part horse? Why did a bull run into a coffee tank? Why does Sam look like that? What are those people saying?

Each page brings more questions as you get drawn in to the frenetic intricacies. So, if you’re looking for a new kid’s book, check this one out. It’s great. For an interesting interview with the author / illustrator, read this.

Dorothea Lange’s War Relocation Authority Photographs

I saw a couple of these photos on another website and they’re heartbreaking. They’re a reminder of how the United States violated its own citizens human rights. They show families and children forced out of their homes and communities. These photos offer a window into the current fears that some Americans are experiencing. The whole collection can be viewed online thanks to the University of California.

Byron, Calif.–Third generation of American children of Japanese ancestry in crowd awaiting the arrival of the next bus which will take them from their homes to the Assembly Center. — Photographer: Lange, Dorothea — Byron, California. 5/2/42

Hayward, Calif.–These people of Japanese ancestry are awaiting the special bus which will take them, and other evacuees, to the Tanforan Assembly Center. The father of this small family is attending to their luggage and bed rolls. They will spend the duration at a War Relocation Authority.–Photographer: Lange, Dorothea–Hayward, California. 5/8/42

Byron, Calif.–Youngsters in this family of Japanese ancestry, from a farm in Contra Costa County, await bus for assembly center at Turlock Fairgrounds, 65 miles away. Evacuees will be transferred later from assembly points to War Relocation Authority centers where they will spend the duration. — Photographer: Lange, Dorothea — Byron, California. 5/2/42

Hayward, Calif.–These people of Japanese ancestry are awaiting the special bus which will take them, and other evacuees, to the Tanforan Assembly Center. The father of this small family is attending to their luggage and bed rolls. They will spend the duration at a War Relocation Authority. — Photographer: Lange, Dorothea — Hayward, California. 5/8/42

All The World Is You And Me


Amidst the depressing news cycle it’s a joy to read this book to my daughter. Hopeful and connecting,  it’s centered on love. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a children’s book.

Feels Like The Night Before A Snow Day

It’s not snowing. There’s no chance. It’s in the 50’s. And yet, I have this feeling that we could be home bound, secluded, the impression of an encompassing silence surrounding the world, our world.

And that world will be broadened with the birth of our daughter. It could happen any time now. We could wake up tomorrow and she may be born. We will return to our house. Hold her tight and let the world continue on without us for a few weeks.

Keep Hoping Machine Running

My last departure from social media lasted a whole twenty-four hours. This time, I plan take a more extended break, assuming I can fight back the tiny endorphin release of seeing likes and notifications. However, I don’t want to completely lose touch with friends. So, if you feel like getting occassional emails from me about books, family, life in Arkansas, and whatever else comes along, sign-up. I’ll still post some things to my blog, but I’d like these emails to be geared more for friends and not any random person on the Internet.

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Taking a break from social media. Email me. Call me. Say hi, in person.

Update on Madeline Ashby’s Company Town

We own everything.

We own everything.

I’m on page 158 of 285 and will be trying to share some thoughts on the novel without spoiling anything for other readers. Picked up this novel as part of Bryan’s online book club.

Resonant Books

Snow Crash. In terms of character, Hiro Protagonist is far more flamboyant than Hwa (the main character of Company Town); but, both share kickass martial arts skill, get sucked into an adventure / mystery bigger than they realize, and live in a nearish future dominated by corporations.

Future Casting

Gene manipulation and body augmentation are mainstream. Technology is woven into people’s bodies so that they can communicate and be monitored by devices. The internet of things meets the internet of organic. Urban engineering allows a whole city to be optimized for a desired effect in the population. Food scarcity is a theme. Dependence on fossil fuels with hope for a new energy source. Reference to the singularity and powerful AI manipulating the present. Are they from the future or in the present?

Writing

Quick pacing. The plot is engaging and picks up when a character is murdered. Character of Hwa is great. She’s an outcast and totally organic. Has no augments or gene manipulation. Distrustful of authority. Quickly takes offense. Suffers from a condition that stained the skin on one side of her body and makes video feeds unable to read her face.

Bending Tropes

I recently read Annie Proulx’s Barkskins, which starts in the 1700’s and spans into our present time. It’s about the logging industry, specifically the deforestation of North America. I enjoy how Madeline Ashby takes the concept of the company town, something I associate with the past and industries like logging and mining, and moves it out into the future. The company town is always a scam. But, in Company Town, it’s more insidious. The population feels ownership, but their entire town is purchased. And for the company, Lynch Ltd. it’s a captive market. They can sell their wares from other aspects of their empire, but they are also able to perform market research and testing. How valuable is that?