Today is probably a good day to re-watch the movie 1776 – or listen to the original cast recording of Hamilton. More likely both. Both are stories about the beginning of what was sometimes called the “American Experiment” – as in the experiment of democracy. It was kind of a new thing in the late 1700s.
If you are wondering whether that experiment may have run its course this Independence Day, you’re not alone.
Once upon a time, it was glorious. Flawed, often extremely so, but glorious all the same. I think we’re all going to miss it if it’s gone.
Today is Memorial Day in the United States. Based on the Wikipedia article, the exact history of this holiday is still up for debate. But then, isn’t everything these days.
It seems to have begun as Decoration Day, a day to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. And it seems to have “officially” been set to May 30 after the U.S. Civil War. Needless to say, that was observed differently between the North and South in the late 19th century.
In the (not quite) end, all of the various Decoration Day and Memorial Day observances coalesced into one day, May 30, to become Memorial Day, to honor the sacrifice of all soldiers who fell in uniform regardless of which war (or not) they fell in.
And things stayed that way until the whole “Monday Holiday” thing, otherwise known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, moved four holidays from their traditional dates of observance to their nearest convenient Monday in order to create 3-day weekends and boost tourism. So here we are, many, but not all of us able to celebrate the unofficial start of summer.
But that’s not how this all began, and not how it should be remembered. Today is Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor the fallen. And so we should.
Welcome to the Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop, hosted by Bookhounds!
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so people are thinking romance. Having it, losing it, keeping it and especially reading about it! Or at least especially so for this blog hop, which is all about romance books.
Speaking of reading about romance, I have a few (dozen) on my TBR pile right now. What about you? The two I’m most looking forward to in the coming months are Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev and The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai. But I’m sure there will be plenty more as the year goes by.
But speaking of years going by, if you’re looking for something that’s already out, take a look at the SFR Galaxy Awards, just announced on January 31. The judges (full disclosure, including moi) have selected yet another terrific list of science fiction romance that would make a perfect Valentine’s Day read – or a perfect read any day of the year when you want to put a little rocket fuel in your romance read!
My book for tomorrow is a surefire winner, as has been everything by this particular author that I’ve read. And that’s mostly everything. Who are your “go-to” romance authors? Answer in the rafflecopter for your chance at either a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a book up to $10 in value from the Book Depository.
Today is a day of mixed feelings for me. It always is, but this year especially.
My mother passed away one year ago today. So last year at this time we were with her in Cincinnati, at her bedside in hospice, waiting for what had become inevitable. She was 89 years old, the last person of her generation on either side of the family, had been a widow for over 25 years and was basically just done. In the end, the COPD was what got her. Unlike Spock, she never did quit smoking.
Some of you are probably wondering if her death on Xmas will spoil my future holidays. It can’t. This is not my holiday, and never has been. I’m Jewish – not always a convenient thing but certainly it is in this case.
There was an op-ed piece posted recently on Facebook, from someone else who is Jewish, attempting to explain how the ubiquity of Xmas and its aggressive foisting upon the entire U.S. for at least an entire month feels from the perspective of someone who does not participate in the holiday. (I can’t find it now, and wish I could – if you have a link, please leave it in the comments!)
She echoed many of my own feelings over the years. And the comments she received echoed many of the responses I’ve gotten over those same years. For those for whom Xmas is not their holiday, the constant “pushing” of it is very “othering” for lack of a better word. It is a continuous reminder that we are member of a minority. An entire month of that gets very, very old. We don’t want anyone to stop celebrating their own holiday, we would just love it if the atmosphere didn’t shove it down our throats 24/7 every day from Black Friday to Boxing Day.
Entirely too many commenters on the post entirely missed the point. They exhorted her to “get a life” or a sense of humor or just let it slide. We all let it slide, all the time, every day for an entire month. It’s ironic that for a post where one woman talked about how she felt, most posters felt obligated to deny her feelings and tell her how she should feel. And doesn’t that happen to women entirely too often as it is?
I also have my own personal pet peeve about Xmas programming – it’s beginning to sound a lot like Halloween – or at least the Day of the Dead. In order to fill 24/7 Xmas programming, too many carols by many too many dead people get played way too often. Xmas is starting to feel like the season when the dead come back to life.
I’ve been fairly assertive this year about saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Xmas”. After all, I don’t know what holiday the other person celebrates unless they tell me. And I don’t need to know. In that spirit, I’ll leave you with this one final thought:
If you have today off as a paid holiday – or if you are working today but get a paid day later to make up for it, or if you get time and a half or doubletime for working today, it’s thanks to the labor movement that is celebrated today.
And if you don’t, that might be thanks to the way that the labor movement has been beaten back in recent years.
Today also marks the unofficial end of summer in the United States, even though the lines between seasons have gotten much blurrier over the years. School used to start after Labor Day and now it starts before. Football season still officially begins, but baseball season used to be winding down towards the playoffs about this point. Now the regular season has another month to run before the playoffs, and the World Series doesn’t begin until the end of October.
But still, no matter what else is happening, or what the weather is doing, Labor Day still marks the beginning of the end. The year always feels like its winding down from this point.
If you have a three-day weekend, be sure to enjoy the last gasp of summer. After all, it’s only 58 days to Halloween!
To those in the United States, Happy Fourth of July. So as not to be completely remiss, to those in Canada, a belated Happy Canada Day.
Now that I’ve lured you in with a picture of Independence Day fireworks, I’m going to share a different picture. This has been going around on Facebook for a few days, and I think we all need the reminder.
I check the box for immigrants. All four of my grandparents came to the United States from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. I only exist because they fled to the this country before the Holocaust. All of my family who did not leave died in the concentration camps.
My husband’s family has been here a bit longer. On one side, he has ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. On the other, Scots-Irish who came to the U.S. just after the Civil War. But he is still the descendant of immigrants.
And whether or not you are also able to tick off some of the other boxes on that short list, so are you.
On the one hand, for most of us, today is a happy day. Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. marks the unofficial start of summer. And it’s a three-day weekend, and for those of us who get to take the whole thing off, three-day weekends are always excellent.
On that oh-so-infamous other hand, the holiday we are celebrating is not technically happy. Memorial Day was set aside to honor all those who served our country, and who fell while wearing its uniform.
Today I’d like to welcome one of my favorite authors, Lori Foster, to share some of her own holiday traditions here at Reading Reality as part of the Winter Holiday Traditions (+ reads!) tour from TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Books.
The book that Lori is featuring this time around (we were part of this tour last year too!) is Close Contact, the third book in her marvelous Body Armor series. I read it a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I hope that it’s one of the book that you might be thinking of curling up with this holiday season!
Bestselling Romance Author Lori Foster Shares
Her Own Family Holiday Traditions
While I detest cold weather, I LOVE the holidays. Ever since my husband and I first married – more than 39 years ago – we’ve been the holiday people. Family parties are at our house and as the family has grown, we’ve learned to adjust.
To make it easier on families with kids, we do Christmas Eve vs Christmas Day. With both sides of our families attending, we get anywhere from 40 to 70 guests. Much depends on whether or not the young adults bring dates. This year we’ll have kids from 6 months to 21 years. (Yes, I still count them as kids.)
I decorate the house inside and out (I hire decorators for the outside!) and I buy gifts for everyone who will be there. I prefer something wrapped to simple gift cards. Because there are so many people, I start my shopping early!
Before Christmas Eve, I get together 200+ Christmas cards to mail. I also do Christmas packages for my grandkids and a few other very special children who I adore. I’ve found that kids love getting mail! I include a Christmas card, a few pieces of candy, and some fun little toys that mail easily.
In early December, I have a luncheon for local authors and some reader friends. It’s so fun to get together with plenty of time to chat and catch up. We usually do an ornament exchange and (when I’m lucky) I end up with lots of cookies from guests. 😊
About 2 weeks before Christmas, I have a kids’ party – just to help the little ones unleash all that anticipatory energy. LOL. We play games, they win prizes, everyone gets a small gift, and then we chow on kid-fun food and desserts.
This year, we’ll probably have Christmas Eve in our new house! The contractor has been working on it for more than a year, but I think we’re close to it being done. It’ll work out better for us because it’s all one big open space – perfect for so many people to mingle. (Plus there’s still a large lower area where the young adults can go to play video games.)
In the middle of all, I still write! I’m like an ogre when I can’t spend at least a little time each weekday working on a story. However you celebrate the holidays, either in a frenzy of activity as I do, or more calmly, at a slower pace, I hope you have lots of love and peace.
About Close Contact:
There’s no resisting a desire like this…
MMA fighter Miles Dartman’s casual arrangement with personal shopper Maxi Nevar would be many men’s fantasy. She seeks him out, they have mindblowing sex, she leaves. Rinse, repeat. Yet lately, Miles wants more. And when Maxi requests his services via the Body Armor security agency, he’s ready to finally break through her defenses—and protect her day and night.
Receiving a large inheritance has brought chaos and uncertainty into Maxi’s life. Her ex has resurfaced, along with lots of former “friends,” and someone is making mysterious threats. Then there’s Miles, who doesn’t ask for anything…except her trust. Pleasure is easy. Now Maxi has to give her heart as well as her body…or risk losing a man who could be everything she needs.
“Foster writes a tale that is off-the-charts hot and steeped with mystery.” – RT Book Reviews on CLOSE CONTACT
“Mysterious things that go bump in the night fuel this romance right into a blaze.” -Night Owl Reviews on CLOSE CONTACT
About Lori Foster: Lori Foster is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author with books from a variety of publishers, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin and Silhouette. Lori has been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. For more about Lori, visit her Web site at www.lorifoster.com.
~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~
Lori and Harlequin are giving away a$50 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky entrant on this tour!