British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) #BriFri

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish 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, Sim continued her virtual walk in London with an exploration of the delightfully picturesque sights in Dulwich Village, complete with paintings. Heather reviewed Strange Gods, a mystery set in British East Africa in the early 20th century. Tina told us about the British show, Doc Martin.


The 69th British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) will be handed out at a gala event at the Royal British Opera House in London on Valentine’s Day, two weeks before the Academy Awards in the US.

Idris Elba
Idris Elba as Luther in a promotional photograph for the series on BBC

Since the BAFTAs honor all the films shown in the UK during the previous year, their list of nominees aren’t that different from the award-season lists here. Although they did manage to avoid some of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy (see Variety’s cover article last week for more information) by nominating Idris Elba and Benicio del Toro in the best supporting actor category.

More interesting, from a British Isles Friday perspective, are the two categories that focus on British films.

45 Years
Film poster for 45 Years

The nominees for Outstanding British Film in 2016 are:

  • The Danish Girl
  • Brooklyn
  • Ex Machina
  • Amy
  • 45 Years
  • The Lobster

The nominees for Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director or Producer in 2016 are:

  • Sean Mcallister, Elhum Shakerifar for A Syrian Love Story
  • Naji Abu Nowar, Rupert Lloyd for Theeb
  • Debbie Tucker Green for Second Coming
  • Stephen Fingleton for The Survivalist
  • Alex Garland for Ex Machina

I’ve already seen Ex Machina and it wasn’t my favorite movie of the year although the special effects and setting were good. I thought the writer should have read Isaac Asimov who did much more interesting things with robots, in part because he didn’t allow them to do the stuff that makes stories like this too easy.

I’m staying away from Amy, so far. I wasn’t paying much attention to music when Amy Winehouse was active, so I don’t have a big interest. Without that interest, I fear it will just be depressing.

A Syrian Love Story isn’t showing up on Netflix. What’s up with that?

Otherwise, I’ve got all of these saved to Netflix and I’m looking forward to seeing them. Have you seen any of them?



New Month of #ReadersWorkouts

Readers' workouts
banner designed by Isi

Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

I met my January goals on the last two days of the month, with ordinary effort. It was nice that I did not have to pull off extra long workouts at the end (like I do some months) — I was caught up! We had some nice warm days that made it easy to want to get out for a walk.

February is a shorter month, but not as short as some years! I’m going to keep my goals the same as January because I think I can make that work:

  • 1200 minutes
  • 23 days with 8000 steps or more
  • 8 strength-training sessions

How is exercise going for you? Are you setting goals for February? Share on your blog and link your post below. Or tell your story in the comments. Be sure to visit the other participants for support and encouragement.




Conference Table Display — a plea for help

One of the “fiercely creative projects” that I committed to yesterday in my final post for the Read Along of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was:

  • Learn in Public about how to make a table display about my book group for a conference on February 27
Learn In Public Workbook by Doug Neill
The process we’ll explore in the soon-to-be-released Learn in Public Workbook

I’m anxiously awaiting the publication on February 5 of the Learn in Public workbook by Doug Neill (available now at a half-off pre-order price!). In the meantime, I need to get this thing rolling.

I’ve done a couple of poster sessions at library conferences in the past, with a poster on an easel. I’ve also occasionally set up a table for my book group, but I just threw some books on the table — this event calls for better than that! Have you put together a table display before? What advice can you give me?

Here are the details:

Educating for Change conference flyer
Educating for Change conference, February 27, Maplewood-Richmond Heights Elementary School

I’ve been asked to provide a table display about my book group at the Educating for Change Conference at the end of this month.  If you live in the St. Louis area and are interested in education and social justice, this looks like it will be a wonderful day.

My book group’s formal title is the Community for Understanding and Hope Book Group, but I often call it the Diversity Book Club on my blog. We have been meeting since the summer of 2008 to discuss books about race in America. Here’s our most recent book list and here’s the most detailed description I’ve written about the history of our group.

My goal on February 27 is to encourage new participants to join our book group among the educators, parents, and citizens who will be attending the conference.

The conference will provide a table that is approximately 2.5 x 4 feet. What shall I put on it?

Tri-fold Display. Those folding display boards like kids use in Science Fairs are what was shown on the example tables that the conference sent me.

  • Is there an alternative? I’m willing to commit to a tri-fold display, but I don’t want to miss out on other possibilities.
  • Foam or cardboard? The cardboard tri-fold display is considerably cheaper. I do hope to re-use this, but it will likely only be a couple of times a year. And, it will get dated since we keep reading new books.
  • Size? According to Elmers.com, they come in 28″ x 40″ or 36″ x 48″. I think the small one is plenty big and the large one might be overwhelming — what do you think?
  • What goes on it? For posters, I’ve made a giant “slide” in Power Point that I had printed at Kinkos. Is that the same sort of procedure one uses for these things? Or, are there better ways to decorate the display board?
  • What content goes on it? What would you want to know about our book group? What would make you want to take the list of current books and consider joining us?

Decorations. I know I’ve come to events with my stack of books and, after witnessing other tables, wished that I’d brought a table cloth. I suppose I should also think about a color scheme so the display board and the table cloth and anything else goes together. Do I want to use a fabric, plastic, or paper “cloth” to cover the table?

I’ll certainly want some of our favorite books. And, there will be handouts.

Is there anything else I should be thinking about to put on the table?

Thank you! Thanks for any ideas, best practices, stories of experiences, or other information that you can provide me as I tackle this project.

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

#NewYearBooks Final Check-in

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeHappy February! Did your New Year get off to a good start? What books helped you reflect, re-examine, and resolve your thoughts about 2016?

The New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge started my year with a burst of creativity and compassion — and the combination made me feel contented, much more than I expected. I didn’t complete all of my challenge books, but I’m very happy with where these books took me in January, setting me up for a terrific 2016!

If you read any books in January that helped with your New Year goals, resolutions, and projects, please link their reviews in the link list below for the rest of us to learn from, too. If you participated in the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge and want to wrap-up the event in a post, please link that, too.

Here’s my final progress report:

Karen Armstrong, The Charter for Compassion, TED Prize talk
Notes taken from Karen Armstrong’s TED Prize talk: The Charter for Compassion, delivered in February 2008.

Resolution 1: Kick my addiction to outrage. The book Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong really helped here. I quit seeking out things to be outraged about. When I encountered outrageous things, I managed somewhat more grace in handling them so that I didn’t increase my own outrage rendering me ineffective.

I’m looking forward to continuing to improve in this area in 2016. I’ve set up a year-long project called Compassionate Sunday to explore each of the Twelve Steps more deeply — 12 steps, 12 months, 52 weeks of Compassionate Sundays. You’re welcome to join me in small or big ways during that time. Check out the details on my review of the book.

Resolution 2: Write a travel article. The Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing by Don George is inspiring. So inspiring that I kept stopping to write so I’m only about half-way through the reading. I bought a copy. The initial exercises, especially, are ones that I expect to repeat over and over again.

Resolution 3: Learn about the e-book business. Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant helped in the best way — I decided that I wasn’t ready for this yet. I have so many ideas and projects (see Big Magic below), that it is truly a blessing when I can let something go. The authors made it clear that this business works for prolific writers. So far, I’ve proven to be prolific in blog posts, journal entries, and Facebook status updates. I’m not at all sure that will translate into e-books. Until I’ve determined that it can, this resolution is on hold and Write. Publish. Repeat. will remain a DNF.

Resolution 4: Be more creative. We had our fifth and final discussion for the Read Along of Big Magic  by Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday about trust and creativity. I confessed to my fear of drowning in my creativity and declared four fiercely creative projects, three of which will make appearances on this blog. Watch for the first later today–if you have ever given a poster session or done a table display for a conference, you can help me!

I wish each of you a wonderful 2016! Thank you for playing along with this year’s New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge.



Trust in Creativity #BigMagic #ReadAlong

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Today is our final link-up for the Big Magic Read Along. What a great way make a creative start to 2016!

Here are our previous discussions:

Today, we wrap up the book with Part V, Trust, and Part VI, Divinity.

Share your thoughts on your blog and post it on the link list below, or on tomorrow’s list that will feature our final progress reports on the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge. Or, simply share your experience in the comments.


What trust issues do you have with creativity? What, from the Trust chapter of Big Magic, helped you?

Nothing in Big Magic directly dealt with my greatest fear about creativity, but the Trust chapter helped me, anyway.

When I open myself up to creativity, I’m inundated with ideas, overwhelmed. Everything feels equally important. Everything wants my full attention. Everything feels like it must be acted on this very minute – never mind that I haven’t implemented the idea that arrived a minute previously.

My creativity is like a fire hose. I fear drowning.

This quote helped:

This is my question, and I think it’s a fair one: Why would your creativity not love you? It came to you, didn’t it? It drew itself near. It worked itself into you, asking you for your attention and your devotion. It filled you with the desire to make and do interesting things. Creativity wanted a relationship with you. That must be for a reason, right? Do you honestly believe that creativity went through all the trouble of breaking into your consciousness only because it wanted to kill you? (p. 216)

What if I trusted that my creativity is not, in fact, trying to drown me? What if my creativity is just exuberant when it gets a little attention, like a puppy that hasn’t learned to stop jumping on people? What if my creativity and I can train each other to work together better? I’ll pay more attention; creativity will come at me with a little more gentleness, a little less speed, and keeping all four paws on the floor.

This question came from the reading guide (pdf) on Elizabeth Gilbert’s website: What Big Magic do you want to make? Write down four fiercely creative goals.

My creativity lately has been drawn to Learn in Public, a notion from Doug Neill that there are many benefits to sharing our learning experiences with others on the internet. My first blog, begun in 2003 or 2004, called Wanderings of a Student Librarian, logged what I was learning in library school. That blog helped me get my first library job.

So, I’m a big believer in learning in public and I look forward to the release of Doug’s workbook (now available at a special pre-order price) on February 5th so that I can approach my learn in public projects in a more structured and conscious way.

So, here are my four fiercely creative goals:

  • Work through the Learn in Public workbook
  • Learn in Public about how to make a table display for a conference on February 27
  • Learn in Public about how to give a travel presentation on Cuba for late March
  • Learn in Public about how to be compassionate by following Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong, a month of Sundays for each step, for the next year (see today’s other post for more details on this project).

I have lots more ideas (see the fire hose discussion, above), but some of these will be done fairly quickly and I can add new things, as I complete the ones listed.

Have you read Big Magic? Did it help you engage better with your creativity?



Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life #CompassionateSunday

Book: Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date: 2010
Pages: 222

Source: Library (but I purchased a copy to use for the coming year)

Summary: Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life corresponds to the TED Prize that Karen Armstrong received in 2008. The Prize consists of a cash award plus the assistance of the TED community in granting a wish of the recipient. I watched and sketchnoted the talk where Karen Armstrong declared her wish.

Karen Armstrong, The Charter for Compassion, TED Prize talk
Notes taken from Karen Armstrong’s TED Prize talk: The Charter for Compassion, delivered in February 2008.
Click to see a larger version.

I encourage you to watch the talk for yourself because it’s also a great introduction to the book.

Her wish, a Charter for Compassion, came true and continues to function.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong
A process for developing personal compassion to engage in compassionate community for a more compassionate world

Thoughts: As I read through Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, it became clear pretty quickly that reading wasn’t enough. These are steps that need to be worked to have an impact on my life and on my way of being in the world. Armstrong admits this in the preface:

I suggest that you begin by reading the entire program all the way through to see where you are headed, then return to work on the first step. Each step will build on the disciplines and the habits acquired in those that have gone before. The effect will be cumulative. (p. 24)

My plan, then, is to work through one of the Twelve Steps each month for the next year. In the spirit of Learn in Public, I’ll be taking this on as a blog project called Compassionate Sunday. Every Sunday for the next year, I’ll examine my progress on the step I’ve assigned myself for that month.

Compassionate Sunday

Who? Me and anyone who wants to play along. You can join in a big way by doing the whole thing with me – 12 months for 12 steps, 52 weeks of Compassionate Sundays. Or, in smaller ways by piping up with a blog post or comment whenever you have something to share on the current topic.

What? Each month, we’ll cover one of the Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life in the order presented by Karen Armstrong in the book:

  • February. The First Step: Learn about Compassion.
  • March. The Second Step: Look at Your Own World
  • April. The Third Step: Compassion for Yourself.
  • May. The Fourth Step: Empathy.
  • June. The Fifth Step: Mindfulness.
  • July. The Sixth Step: Action.
  • August. The Seventh Step: How Little We Know.
  • September. The Eight Step: How Should We Speak to One Another?
  • October. The Ninth Step: Concern for Everybody.
  • November: The Tenth Step: Knowledge.
  • December: The Eleventh Step: Recognition.
  • January: The Twelfth Step. Love Your Enemies.

Where? On my blog and yours and anywhere else that you like to share thoughts and things that you’ve learned.

When? Every Sunday from February 7, 2016 through January, 2017.

Why? Because the world needs as many voices of compassion as we can get, especially as an antidote to this year’s US presidential election and similar harsh, fear-based, political forces in other countries. Or, in the words of the Charter for Compassion: “We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world.”

Appeal: Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong will appeal to anyone who is troubled by the combative climate in the world and wants to experience internal movement toward peace with an external impact toward harmony.

Reviews: I see from Bonnie’s Books that I wasn’t the first to have this idea. The Book Buddies made a year-long study of Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life their project for 2014.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

I’m attaching a link list in case you want to write a blog post announcing your intention to participate in Compassionate Sunday. Such posts are the most efficient way to spread the word in the book blogging community — thank you!

Signature of Joy Weese Moll



Plaza de la Catedral, Havana #SaturdaySnapshot

A couple of weeks ago, I shared photos of Plaza de Armas with its old government buildings and new book stalls. From there, we walked to the Plaza de la Catedral, featuring the Catedral de San Cristóbal, an 18th century church. The Christopher in the name is Christopher Columbus whose remains, according to legend, once rested here.

Catedral de San Cristóbal, Havana, Cuba
Bell tower of the Catedral de San Cristóbal, Havana, Cuba

The Plaza is surrounded by grand 18th century homes, now mostly housing museums and galleries.

Balcony, Plaza de la Catedral, Havana, Cuba
An upstairs balcony with a mediopunto window
Plaza de la Catedral, Havana, Cuba
Plaza de la Catedral as viewed from the Cathedral steps

I’ve been slowly re-capping my October trip to Cuba, sharing most posts to Saturday Snapshot at West Metro Mommy Reads:

Next week, I’ll share photos from a less-touristed area of Havana.

View from the Bus #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 and Irish 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, Heather posted a review of More Ketchup than Salsa about British expats in the Canary Islands. Tina compiled a list of interesting and fun British Twitter accounts to follow. Sim took us on a tour of Dulwich Park and the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London.


I’ve had a busy week, so I’m going to share a story from BBC – Culture that I think you’ll like about a photographer who took photos from one of those iconic red buses every day: Striking photographs from a London bus.



The Long Month of January #ReadersWorkouts

Readers' workouts
banner designed by Isi

Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

We’re nearing the end of January, so this is a good time to see what it will take to reach my goals.

  • 940 of 1200 minutes, 260 more minutes or about 45 minutes a day
  • 19 of 23 days with 8000 steps or more, 4 more days
  • 5 of 8 strength-training sessions, 3 more times — if I want to space them out so they aren’t on back-to-back days, I need to stay on top of this one

I was challenged by cold days, but got a bunch of minutes and some strength-training by shoveling snow. So, January has both helped and hindered my exercise. How is it going for you? Share on your blog and link your post below. Or tell your story in the comments. Be sure to visit the other participants for support and encouragement.



#NewYearBooks 4th January Report

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeWhat do you want to accomplish in the New Year? Will reading a book help you reach your goal, keep your resolution, or complete your project? Start the year off right by reading books that support your goals, resolutions, and projects — join the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge!

As we’re nearing the end of January, how are your resolutions faring? Are you off to a good start on your New Year projects? What books have you started to help you reach your goals? Record your progress on your blog and use the link list below. Or, report your progress in the comments on this post so that we can all cheer you along.


I had a minor rebellion to non-fiction this week and dove into a couple of novels. Fortunately, they hit the spot just right (Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton and Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn). Now, I’m afraid that any novel I pick up will weaken that magic, so I’m ready to dive back into my nonfiction picks for the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge.

Resolution 1: Kick my addiction to outrage. I still haven’t reviewed Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong, but I have committed to my idea of Compassionate Sundays beginning in February to explore the 12 steps over 12 months. I even purchased a copy of the book since the library won’t let me keep this copy for a whole year.

Resolution 2: Write a travel article. I’m back to reading sample articles in The Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing by Don George, learning about guitar-making in Mexico and rodeo riders in Wyoming.

Resolution 3: Learn about the e-book business. I’ve started Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant as recommended by Heather. These guys are fun to read!

Resolution 4: Be more creative. We had our fourth discussion for the Read Along of Big Magic  by Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday about the role of persistence in creativity. We’ll finish up next Sunday talking about trust. It’s a short book — you can catch up with us if you want to!

What do you want to accomplish in 2016? What books might help? Let me know if you want suggestions — I’ve compiled a few ideas from hosting previous years of the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge.



a librarian writes about books