Stepping and Stretching #ReadersWorkouts

logo for Readers' WorkoutsWelcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

I didn’t make my August goal of exercising for 1400 minutes, but I got to 1300 minutes so I’m pretty happy with that.

For September, I’m formatting my goal a bit differently since travel will be a feature of the month. Instead of minutes, I’ll use my FitBit and count steps. My goal is to get to 8000 steps a day. I’d also like to stretch for 15 minutes most days because I think that will help me function well this month. So, I’m setting my goal as 8000 steps and/or 15 minutes of stretching a day — with the hope that I actually manage both most days.

How did your August go? What are you looking forward to in September with your exercise?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.



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Fall in Love Author Tour #SundaySalon #Giveaway

Fall in Love TourDon’t you love it when something like an author bus tour comes to your town? And, don’t you hate it when circumstances conspire so that you can’t attend? Sigh. That’s where I am with the Fall in Love Tour.

The Fall in Love Tour features three New York Times bestselling authors with their latest books Abbi Glines (One More Chance), Colleen Hoover (Ugly Love), and Jamie McGuire (Beautiful Oblivion). Left Bank Books will host the St. Louis region’s stop on the tour, September 8, at the St. Charles County Library, Spencer Road Branch in St. Peters.

Check out the Fall in Love tour schedule to see if it will stop in your town. They are stopping in 10 cities, in 8 states, plus a stop in Toronto!

Fortunately, the folks at Atria Publishing Group have graciously allowed me to host a giveaway, even though I can’t attend the event. Woohoo! Here’s the giveaway package: One Paperback copy of BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION by Jamie McGuire, a signed postcard, a “My Book Boyfriend is ____” button, and several Fall in Love Tour temporary tattoos.

I’m going to try my first ever Rafflecopter for this giveaway, so bear with me. And good luck on your entry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Travel the World #TraveltheWorldinBooksRAT #BriFri

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!

Last week’s British Isles Friday post revealed my answers to the British Tag questions about Britishness. These were fun to answer and would make a great British Isles Friday post if you are looking for a way to participate. The link-up included a recipe and a couple of book reviews, including Becky’s glowing review of A Street Cat Named Bob.


Travel the World in BooksIf you’re living outside of the British Isles reading books about Great Britain or Ireland, or if you’re living on the British Isles reading books about other parts of the world, check out the Travel the World Readathon. The Readathon, taking place for the first two weeks of September, invites us to read books from other countries. This event that includes chats, mini-challenges, and giveaways is hosted by Mom’s Small Victories, Lost in Books (aka Becca, a frequent participant in British Isles Friday), and Savvy Working Gal.

I’ve been reading lots of books about England in preparation for my trip there this fall. For me to read yet another book by a white author about England didn’t feel like a worthy challenge. After all, the Travel the World Readathon was partially inspired by the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. So, I decided to combine the Travel the World theme with my usual reading for the Diversity Book Club and find a book by a black British author.

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie BlackmanFortunately, Tricia of Black Book News, with the help of some friends, compiled a list of 50 Black British Books. For the purpose of this Readathon, I’m going to read Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, a YA science fiction novel that looks like a lot of fun.

While I’m in England, I will look for books that are more like the books we usually read for book club, nonfiction histories and experiences. We’ve discovered in some of our recent reading (especially Sugar in the Blood by Andrea Stuart) how much of our past and present problems with race in the US are a direct result of our English cultural heritage. I want to see if one of these three books would help us explore that further:

  • There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation by Paul Gilroy
  • The Oxford Companion to Black British History edited by David Dabydeen, John Gilmore, and Cecily Jones
  • Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-Racial Britain by Trevor Phillips and Mike Phillips

Are you participating in the Travel the World Readathon?



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Readers’ Workouts — August 26

logo for Readers' WorkoutsWelcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

A heat wave sapped my enthusiasm for exercise, but I can’t complain too much since it’s the first of our summer. I still managed a little something every day, but I’m not on track for my goal of 1400 minutes this month, but I might still make it — especially if it cools off a bit.

How are you doing with your exercise?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.



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Travel the World in Books #Readathon #SundaySalon

logo for The Sunday SalonTime: // 8:15 am.

The scene: // Hot, hot, hot. Our first real heat wave of the summer. We’re expected to get to three digits today. St. Louisans aren’t mad dogs or Englishmen, so the chaos that made the news last week has calmed for now. Michael Brown’s funeral is tomorrow. Please pray for the family, the thousands of mourners who are expected, and the many people (including the police) who are tasked with keeping this whole thing well-organized.

Listening to: // Spotify has a version of John Barrowman’s new album, You Raise Me Up, with commentary from the singer for each track. He does covers, so it’s fun to hear the story about why he wanted to record each one. I’m really enjoying it.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel JoyceReading: // The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Thanks to Judith of Leeswammes’ Blog for this recommendation. It’s taking me on a walk across England.

Blogging about: // How British I am. Heh. Or not. But it sure was fun to answer the questions in The British Tag!

Participating in// The Travel the World Readathon, taking place for the first two weeks of September, invites us to read books from other countries. This event will include chats, mini-challenges, and giveaways is hosted by Mom’s Small VictoriesLost in Books, and Savvy Working Gal.

Since I’ve been reading books about England all year, it wouldn’t be much of a challenge for me to read yet another book by a white author about England. So, I’m looking into black British authors and I found some exciting possibilities. I’ll let you know what I decide in my Travel the World Readathon goal post on Friday.

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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The British Tag #BriFri

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Lift a pint and join our link party!

Last week’s British Isles Friday posts included fun bits of the history and present in Great Britain and beyond. I loved the photos of book benches in London that Abigail of The Story Factory Reading Zone posted. These benches are a summer public art installation around the city — what a great theme!


The British Tag logoLast week, Katrina of Chased By My Imagination challenged me to complete The British Tag, a series of questions that seem to get at how British you are and how you express that. As an American, this is a test I’m bound to fail, but how I do it should be amusing.

1) How many cups of tea do you drink in the day? And how many sugars?

Two. Occasionally, three. No sugars, but I like milk in it. I went to Ireland just a few months after giving up soda for good. Tea proved to be an excellent alternative.

I have questions about tea for you Brits, though. Do you really drink tea for Afternoon Tea? And, if so, how do you sleep at night? I drink my last cup of tea before noon. If I want to experience Afternoon Tea, will herbal tea be offered as an option?

2) Favourite part of your roast?

Without reading Katrina’s answer or seeing restaurant offerings for Sunday roasts, I wouldn’t have understood this question. I’ve never had a roast in the British sense of the traditional foods eaten for Sunday’s big meal, but I loved Yorkshire Pudding the few times I’ve tried it, so I’m guessing that will be my favorite part.

3) Favourite dunking biscuit?

Sometime in the mid-80s, I went to New Zealand and discovered chocolate digestives. So, I’ll go with those. I have no idea what most of the things are in Katrina’s answer to this question, so clearly, I have lots of experimenting to do!

4) Favourite quintessentially British past-time?

Listening to The Archers, the world’s longest running soap-opera, still broadcast six days a week as a 15-minute show on BBC Radio 4. For the past few months, I’ve been downloading the podcasts and listening when I walk or at bed time. It’s making me feel very connected to the issues of the day, at least in rural England.

5) Favourite word?

I’m going to go for ‘bum.’ I use it because it sounds more polite in the US than the other words for that part of the body.

6) What would your pub be called?

The Purple Giraffe.

7) Cockney rhyming slang?

Don’t know a word of it. But I found this fun website that aims to keep it alive.

8) Number one British Person?

Ada Lovelace, because I love that the world’s first computer programmer was a woman.

9) Favourite shop/restaurant?

I’m trying to make our first trip to England about something other than shopping, but three made it to the itinerary, anyway:

As for restaurants, I’ll let you know when we get back from our trip!

10) One British Pop Song that pops into your head?

“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

11) Marmite?

I have no idea. And, I’m a little afraid to try it….

I challenge every one who has participated in British Isles Friday to make a stab at The British Tag. And, any one who has considered participating — this would make a great first post for the meme.



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How to Cook for a College Freshman

Midlife Boulevard badgeMidlife Boulevard republished a post of mine from the October Memoir challenge a couple of years ago, a timely piece for back to school about how to feed college freshmen. I’d love it if you would visit my post at Midlife Boulevard and comment, like, or share.

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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Walking Away Stress #ReadersWorkouts

logo for Readers' WorkoutsWelcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

I’m still a little behind my goal, but catching up fast. Walking has become my go-to activity when the news raises my stress levels too high. I listen to British radio dramas saved as podcasts. The different dialects and far-away concerns take me elsewhere for a little while.

What exercise works best for you when the goal is stress relief?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.



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Wet, Sad, and Resilient #SundaySalon #Ferguson

logo for The Sunday SalonTime: // 8:49 am.

The scene: // Wet and humid. It feels warmer than it is because it’s so muggy. We needed the rain, for all kinds of reasons

Listening to: // “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley: “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cuz every little thing gonna be all right.”

"Ain't But a Place": an anthology of African American Writings about St. Louis, Gerald Early

This month’s book club selection turned out to be very relevant to the time, even though we chose it nearly a year ago

Reading: // “Ain’t But a Place”: An Anthology of African American Writings about St. Louis edited by Gerald Early. Our book club selected this almost a year ago, but it’s turned out to be very helpful in processing and understanding current events.

Blogging about: // Ferguson. I pulled together what I learned from “Ain’t But a Place” with something from the radio to give a hug to St. Louis and investigated the London Riots of 2011 for my British Isles Friday post.

Participating in// Obsessively monitoring news events and trying to help white people figure out how to respond. Starting with: have a response. Better to be awkward than silent. Be engaged without being paternalistic. Listen more than speak. Share the good things you see, because the headlines are more negative than the facts on the ground. This morning, for instance, the events of an hour or two in the middle of the night obscure the many, many hours earlier of peaceful (but not quiet — honking horns is part of the scene) protest.

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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London Riots 2011 #BriFri

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Lift a pint and join our link party!

Last week’s British Isles Friday posts included a nice mix of places, book reviews, and history. Becca got her link in last, so don’t miss her fun list: Top 10 Facts About the British Isles That You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know.


As you know from the news (and my post on Wednesday) we’re preoccupied here, with developments in Ferguson. Right now, it’s hard to see where the path is to healing or if any of us are brave enough to walk it. There were riots in London a few years ago that were horrific at the time, but ended after several days. I thought I might find some hope in learning a bit about that.

I gathered from the book Sugar in the Blood by Andrea Stuart and other sources that Britain (or, perhaps, just England) likes to think of itself as less racist than it actually is. That’s something that the St. Louis region has in common with London.

Like our current crisis, the London riots began with the shooting of a young black man. Michael Brown, in Ferguson, was unarmed. In London, there remains controversy about whether or not Mark Duggan possessed a firearm at the time of his death, some witnesses at the inquest believed the gun at the scene was planted.

The Mark Duggan article in Wikipedia traces racial tension in the area to at least 1985, the Broadwater Farm and Brixton riots. That’s discouraging. There’s a lot of time for healing between 1985 and 2011. Or, a lot of time for further grievances to develop. One of those grievances, like here, was the Walking While Black phenomenon — black men are many more times likely to be stopped and searched than white men.

Delays in investigations, reports, and trials, contributed to frustration and distrust. The officers involved in the Mark Duggan shooting were never revealed, only referred to by code names, like “V53.”  The inquest didn’t begin until September 2013 and the results didn’t finally get released until January of this year — concluding that the death was a “lawful shooting” and that Duggan possessed a gun but dropped it near the car before he was shot.

Social media, in 2011, aided in organization of the protests, including some messages that were inaccurate and inflammatory. I’ve seen some Twitter messages that could be described that way, this week. (Here’s a librarian tip: know your sources and their motivations. I’m relying this week on the St. Louis American and the Twitter feed about half-way down the right side of their front page.) Social media took on a creative and healing role in the aftermath of the London riots — I remember the #riotcleanup campaign.

The riots in London spread to other cities. A terrible thought. What I’ve seen so far from other locations in the US are peaceful and creative expressions of support.

Suggested causes of the London riots are also likely present in Ferguson: distrust of the police, unemployment, social exclusion, poverty, disaffected youth, and criminal opportunism.

I’d hoped to reach the end of this little investigation with some clear path for recovery, but I’m not seeing one. I suppose that was too much to hope for given such complicated situations. A BBC article, One Year On, profiles several different people and their activities, offering some hope.

I saw some pieces about changes in police procedure since the 2011 incident, including this one just yesterday that cited Mark Duggan’s death in a policy that would require police officers to write their own notes of an incident before conferring with other officers. Anyone who reads mystery novels will recognize the wisdom in that.

Edited to add: things are much improved, here, this morning from when I drafted this yesterday afternoon. Turns out protests can be quieter when people believe they are being heard.

Do you remember the London Riots? Are you paying attention to what has happened in Ferguson? Are some of the same elements present in your community?



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