Wednesday, July 27, 2016


The BBC published a list of books (see below) it considers that we should read. Their survey shows that most people have read only 6.   

I do not necessarily agree with the list as there are some books which have been omitted which I would have chosen and some on the list which I think should not be on the list;  e.g.: although I like Phillip Pullman's books--they have positive role models for girls--and I have given them as presents to girls--they are not "great", but as a friend reminded me, "It's not the GREATEST BOOKS list or that damned Finnegan's Wake would have been on it because it and Ulysses are on EVERY damned list and NOBODY has ever read them!" I was surprised at the inclusion of John Irving, Douglas Adams, Arthur Golden, and Stella Gibbons.  I wondered why The Moonstone by Willkie Collins was not included rather than The Woman In White and why Hamlet was Number 99  while the Complete Works of Shakespeare was already Number 14.  I notice that Fitzgerald was included but not Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, or Dreiser.  Grapes Of Wrath  and Of Mice And Men were chosen, but not East of Eden.  I was glad to see that my all-time favorite Thomas hardy had several selections.

I have read 65 of the list; my husband has read 10 (he reads only sci-fi and car magazines).

In the Time Magazine  List of the 100 Best English-Language Novels From 1923 to the present, I have read 77.

In Modern Library's  list of the 20th Century's 100 Best Books In English: I have read 84.



1 Pride And Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord Of The Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess Of The D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22- Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit  - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher In The Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War And Peace- Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime And Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes Of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind In The Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles Of Narnai - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Morelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs Of A Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie The Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years Of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer For Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman In White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne Of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord Of The Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life Of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense And Sensability - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Timet - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice And Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History  - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count Of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude The Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows And Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession- A.S. Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains Of The Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes -  Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart Of Darkneww - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet- William Shakespeare
99 Charlie And The Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


I love Van Morrison's song Tupelo Honey.  My favorite rendition of the song is by Richie Havens and that is the precise reason I bought the first jar of Tupelo honey;  now I buy it each year for my own Tupelo honey Gerald!

We use a great deal of honey throughout the year;  the only place I could find to buy Tupelo honey locally is from a Mennonite store and it is quite expensive.  Of course Gerald checked online but learned it was more economical to buy it locally. 

After I read an article about contaminated honey from Asia being banned in Europe but was flooding the U.S. market, my ever witty brother Les said, "I can just see it--like cocaine smuggling--they'll have honey mules swallowing condoms filled with honey defecating the honey--they can't stop the honey trade!"  He continued by asking, "Will the President need to appoint a Honey Czar;  will we have a War On Honey?"

I doubt that Asians have actual Tupelo honey,  but what would deter them from mis-labeling?  I could check the country of origin, but what would deter their falsifying that?

To be safe, we bought five quarts of clover honey from a local apiary.

Monday, July 25, 2016


When we're together, or on the telephone, a friend always asks, "What are you reading?"  Yesterday, when she asked, I answered, "Commander In Chief."  I didn't get to complete the title before she replied, incredulously, "You mean by Tom Clancy?"  I said, "No, it's by Nigel Hamilton and the full title is FDR's Battle With Churchill, 1943;  I thought I'd celebrate my birthday week devouring that tome!"

She said, "Oh, no, Quote Girl, this means I'll be hearing more Churchill quotes!"

She also calls me "Quote Girl" because I'd told her about a guy at the New York Times who was dubbed "Quote Boy" because he always seemed to have a perfect quote for every story.

Recently, I saw an article about quotes wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill. Even the extraordinary William Manchester misquoted Sir Winston in his otherwise exemplary book The Last Lion when he wrote that Churchill had spoken the words: "The government had to choose between war and shame. They chose shame. They will get war too."

Churchill, along with Twain and Lincoln, is perhaps the recipient of the most mis-quotes.

See my BLOG article (click here) about an instructor who was perturbed with me because I told him that George Santayana had spoken the words, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," when he'd told the class that it was Churchill. It sounds Churchillian, I guess.

My grandmother would say, "The Bible says." to whatever point she wanted to make. Once, when I was around twelve years old she said, "Well the Bible says that God helps those who help themselves." I said, "No, that was Ben Franklin." For that statement she told my mother that she should slap my mouth for correcting my elders. My mother said, "No, I'll go by that suffer the children thing."

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Oh, yes, I have MORE RESTROOM TALES from my past experience:


I am a neurotic hand-washer.  My mother didn't believe that cleanliness was next to godliness; she believed that cleanliness IS godliness! The amount of time one should take to wash his/her hands is the amount of time one needs to sing  one verse of Happy Birthday.  I was in a public restroom today and I thought I was alone. As I was washing my hands, I began singing "Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me..............". As I finished washing my hands, another woman came out of a stall and she said, "Happy Birthday!" I was slightly embarrassed, but I told her that it wasn't my birthday and explained about the hand washing routine. She said that she would have to start doing that; she and I sang "Happy Birthday" as she washed her hands, and we had a good laugh.


One of our relatives has a child whose every fault is excused. Everything that happens to him is always someone else's fault; if he doesn't do well in school, it is the teacher's fault; if he has a problem with interpersonal relationships, it is always the other person's fault; nothing is ever his fault. Never making a child take responsibility for one's actions cannot possibly be a good child rearing technique, but since I am nonparous, I hesitate to criticize and usually just keep mum in these situations.  However, one incident displayed such effrontery to common sense that I had to comment. In our house, we have a half-bath right off the kitchen and when the door is closed one can hear one flushing and water running. When the "faultless child" was six years old, he used the bathroom and came out the door; I had been standing there waiting for him to finish and I knew that there had been no water running after flushing. I gasped and exclaimed, "You didn't wash your hands!" His excuser immediately spoke and said, "He doesn't touch anything!" It was difficult to believe that not washing hands after using a bathroom would be excused! I believe that every other member of my family would have merely told a child to wash his hands, but this child was being excused in such a fatuous way, I was momentarily nonplussed, but as usual, I resorted to humor! I started yelling, "Gerald, Gerald, come here, you MUST learn how to do this!" Of course, my ridiculing of them was not well received.


This may be an apocryphal story, but I enjoy it: before they were married, Arthur Miller took Marilyn Monroe to meet his mother. Mrs. Miller lived in a small apartment in Brooklyn. Marilyn needed to use the bathroom and when she went in, she didn't want them to hear what she was doing, so she turned on the faucet. After coming out of the bathroom and after a nice visit, she and Arthur left the apartment.  A few days later, Arthur called his mother and asked what she thought of Marilyn. Mrs. Miller said, "She's a nice-enough girl but she pisses like a horse!"


One night after work, I asked my husband to stop at a gas station restroom. When I went in, there was some very interesting graffiti on the wall. One in particular amused me: it was written: "My name is Debbie and if you don't like me, you can kiss my butt" [I cleaned that up!]. Below it someone else had written, "You're probably just a greasy prostitute!" [I cleaned that up too!] The next night I asked my husband to stop again and he told me that was so peculiar, because I would usually go hours instead of using a public restroom. I couldn't tell him that I only wanted to see the graffiti! Debbie had obviously returned and she had written: "You probably perform fellatio on hairy donkey penises!"  [I REALLY cleaned that up!] Below that someone had written: "I can get the donkeys for you!" The third night I eagerly anticipated Debbie's response and I asked my husband to stop and he suggested that I might want to "consult a physician" for my problem. I couldn't tell him that I didn't really have to pee, that I just wanted to see the graffiti, because he would've suggested a psychiatrist rather than a primary physician!

When I went in the bathroom, I was very disappointed: the bathroom wall had been painted. So much for the Debbie/Donkey saga!

Saturday, July 23, 2016


This week, I have used public restrooms daily and  I am embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed reading the assortment of graffiti.  I began regaling my colleagues with my collection of GRAFFITI GEMS recalled from my past:


One of my employees, a young black man, Willie, came to me and said, "I want you to go into the men's restroom with me because I need you to see something." I assumed it was a safety issue and I responded, "Check to see if it's empty and put the sign up that it's closed." When we went into the restroom, he pointed out graffiti which was anti-black, anti-female, anti-Hispanic, anti-gay, anti-Semitic, and there were Aryan Nation signatures proudly accepting responsibility. I was as upset as he and I told him that I would have it painted as soon as I could. He said, "You know they'll just do it again!" I told him I would try to think of a deterrent. I was talking about the graffiti to one of my Team Leaders, Dave, and he said, "I hear that BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL;  maybe you should paint it black!" I told Dave that I wished that I had thought of that. At that time, the employees worked four 10-hour days and I arranged for the painting to be done on Friday. The walls were painted glossy black up to six feet of the wall and then off-white the remainder of the wall.

On Monday, several men approached me complaining about the restroom being too dark because of the walls being black; I responded that I would add more wattage to the lighting. Someone complained to my boss, and he came to look at the restroom and asked me why I'd done it and I told him about the graffiti and then I said, "BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL". At that moment, Willie approached us and he said, "Thank you, Sue and thank you Mr. Wood for bringing Sue here." I told him that it had been Dave's great idea about the black paint.

It took a long time for the walls to be defaced but someone came up with white markers and knives scratching into the paint. Each time I would just add more black paint. BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL!


My boss, Mr. Schubert, was walking through the Department with me at the beginning of the shift and he said, "Suzy, I must tell you something, because I know you will hear about it eventually, but I don't want you to be upset." He proceeded to tell me that there was some graffiti about me in the men's restroom.. I laughed and asked, "Did they say I do it well?" He looked astounded and said, "I thought you would be upset." I asked, "Then WHY didn't you just have it painted over?" He said, "I just thought you would want to know." I was angry with him and I answered, "What I WANT is to see it!" He said, "I don't think that's a good idea." I told him that I was going to the restroom and yell that I was going in or he could go over and clear out the restroom. Everyone left the restroom and I went in and walked up to the graffiti, took out my pen and wrote, "Just remember--I DO IT WELL! xxxooo Sue R."

As my friend John Steinhauer said, "You're not doing your job unless you make the bathroom walls!"


I was a Junior Achievement adviser and we held our meetings at a manufacturing facility. Several of the girls in the group were together outside the women's restroom and they were giggling. I asked what was funny and they told me about something written in one of the stalls. I went in and on the wall was written "For an ADEQUATE time, call Bill." and a phone number was written below the graffiti. When I went outside, one of the girls said, "Mrs. Raypole, I think we need to leave right away." When I asked why, she said that she and the other girls thought it would be fun to call Bill. I asked what happened and she said, "I told him I saw his name in the restroom and that I heard he could show a girl an adequate time and this number showed on his caller ID and he said he was coming over here right away and he's really mad!" I told the girls to leave and go home. I waited for the man to arrive. He was very irate and I apologized for the girls' behavior and he said that he was going in the restroom to see it. He went into the restroom and marked over the message.

The following day, I was advised that I needed to find another facility as our meeting place.


My colleague Jim told me that there was a wonderful graffiti drawing of me in the men's restroom. We waited until the shift was over and he and I went in to view the "artwork". The drawing was of me and another female in an amorous depiction. It had my name written under one of the females and Margie's name under the other. I said, "Oh, Margie has to see this!" I was upset because my name was misspelled. I wrote under it, "I don't care what you do, just spell my name right and say I do it well!" The next day, I told Margie about it by saying, "You've ARRIVED--you made the bathroom wall!" She wanted to see the drawing also. She wasn't as amused as I was. She asked, "You actually wrote that?" I said, "Yes, and I'm going to leave it up there for a few days and then I'll have it painted." She said, "Well, you know my Dad works here and I wouldn't want him to see it." I put in a work order to have the wall painted immediately. The next day Margie said, "I told my Dad about the drawing and you know what he said?" I asked, "Was he upset?" She said, "No, he laughed and said that he knew I was doing my job if I made the bathroom wall!"

I told her, "That's what my brothers and my friend John always told me!"

Friday, July 22, 2016


At a recent party, as some of the people were leaving, one of the men said to another man, "Aren't you glad you were able to see me?"

I was taking a drink at that moment and I did a spit-take; I asked the man sitting beside me,  "Do you know that there are things that ONLY men say?"

He asked what I meant and I mentioned what had just been said and I continued, 'Here's another: what can I do you FOR'; no woman would say that."

He asked, "What are some other examples?"

I said, "Only men say 'are you working hard or hardly working' and 'ever since Christ was a Corporal'."

My companion laughed in obvious recognition of the quotes. I said, "But my favorite is when men are in stores and they see a male acquaintance they will ask 'are you going to pay for mine too'?"

He laughed, obviously feeling guilty himself.  He asked, "Anything else?"

"When you say 'Hi.', men will answer, 'Not for a long time.'."

I said that I had never heard any women use those conversational gambits.

I told him that I'd written a BLOG article entitled THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN (see here) and that I'd mentioned that men seem to have a problem with small talk.