Updates from Cannonball Read
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May 2020

MsWas's Message Corner

Hello CBR12 participants and friends of Cannonball Read,

How’s everyone doing these days? In our home, we’ve been spending a lot of time in our vegetable garden getting everything ready to plant (it’s still a little too cold). MrWas joined a gardening group on Facebook and has been encouraged to try potatoes and carrots this year. If you are getting your garden ready for this summer, I encourage you to plant a couple of extra plants if you have space, and donate that produce to a local food pantry. They can use the fresh food too. (Shoutout to Fish Inc. in Dunellen NJ.)

What have you been able to get your hands on and read lately? I was able to swap a couple of library books with my mother and so just finished The Girl in the Glass Box by James Grippando. It was a decent read, but halfway through I found that it was part of a series. As a standalone, it was ok, but I wonder how it is as part of a longer whole. Anyone read the Jack Swyteck series? Next up, I have Dread Nation by Justina Ireland via Hoopla through my local library. This is a quick reread for me, before I track down the next in that series, Deathless Divide. Check out Bea Pants’ review - looks great, can’t wait!

Hope you are all hanging in there and are getting some time out in the sun (with sunscreen!) and have plenty of books to read.

Take care and Happy Reading!
Bonnie (aka "MsWas")

Q&A with a Cannonballer: KimMiE"


You and MsWas used to do long-distance George R.R. Martin book discussions? Did that early incarnation of reading and internet chatting help prepare you for CBR?

Yes, that was back in the days before Zoom, before smartphones, even before any decent chat system. We sometimes communicated by Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels, where there could be a 10-second delay between responses. It was hilarious.

Anyway, the first thing I learned from that is MsWas reads way faster than I do. We would agree to read up to a certain chapter and then regroup, and she’d always have to wait for me. What I really liked about it was, like any book club, it let us talk about our observations, and we’d often share something the other person missed. Because we planned to discuss, I think I was more focused and took note of interesting points, which is what I do now when reading for CBR. It was also a great way to stay connected since we lived in different states. Books bring people together!

See what else KimMiE" has to say »


New feature: Lightbox


Want to embed images in your review without making them huge and overpowering, but you still want people to be able to see the full glory of your photos? The new Lightbox feature lets readers click on a photo and get the full size image in a pop up. 

To add the Lightbox to any image, when you are inserting (or go back and edit) a picture, on the screen where you can pick the size and add a caption, there's the field: "Link to" - select "Media File" > Publish/Update and that's all you have to do. The link will pop up the full size version. (Technically that could be a huge  file, but it's your choice to click it so if you're on a  slow connection, you can choose not to click.) If your  image is already in the post, click the image and then the pencil icon to edit.

Images with a double border line can be popped up. For a good example of how this works in the wild, see Ale's roundup of gorgeous Game of Thrones costumes. Click to embiggen and see all of the amazing detail on Sansa's dresses! 

While we're talking images, remember that WordPress doesn't always like huge file sizes. If your picture is too large, it likely won't upload. One weird trick: change the file name completely if you resize an image. WordPress remembers that you tried it already. So if CatBook1 is 8MB and won't upload, but CatBook2 is 1.5MB and still won't upload, try saving the second one as AdorableFeline or something totally unrelated to the first attempt. And if all else fails, MsWas is here to help!


New CBR Diversions

Things are weird right now! You know it, we know it. If you need somewhere to connect and chat, join us in one of the new Diversions! Even if you haven't been reading or posting much lately, we'd love to hear from you (and hey, we're all struggling with focus these days). 

The second Diversion just posted yesterday. Weeks of sheltering in place have been isolating for a lot of people, so we invite you to introduce your stay-at-home office assistant, new co-worker, or reading buddy. Share your stories and photos about the kids, creatures or inanimate objects that are keeping you company right now.
Have an idea for a Diversion? Let us know what you want to chat with your fellow CBRers about! 


Next month (June 19 and 20), the #CannonBookClub theme is The Future is Queer. Celebrate Pride Month the Cannonball way, with a focus on speculative and science fiction written by queer authors and/or featuring queer characters. Check out this short list of four choices to pick your thematic book, and join us for a wide-ranging discussion next month.

Cannonballers should count for extra


Have you filled out your 2020 Census yet? For those of you (us) who tend to procrastinate, good news! The Census deadline has been extended till October 31. You can fill it out by phone or by mail, or you can make history by filling it out online for the first time since the Census was invented! (Random aside: I put something in my employee newsletter at work about the Census being online for the first time in human history, and my boss edited out 'human' because she said ALL history is all of human history. Speciesist!) 

Due to COVID-19 social distancing concerns, the door-to-door Census taker portion has also been delayed. But if you do your Census now, you don't have to worry about anyone coming to your home!    

Stuff We're Reading

Lady Sherlock makes for great audio books: lowercasesee's review of A Study in Scarlet Women, A Conspiracy in Belgravia, The Hollow of Fear

May 14, 2020 11:50 am
I mentioned having read A Study in Scarlet to my book club in a conversation about classics and someone mentioned having heard of a gender-swapped detective series of which the first book was A Study in Scarlet Women, so we added that for 2020. I accidentally borrowed the audio book instead of the ebook from the library but hey, it’s our nightmare of 2020 and I’m going for a lot of very long walks, why not give it a try. And reader, these are great audio books. […]
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Circe: Not the One from Game of Thrones: The Chancellor's review of Circe

May 13, 2020 10:23 pm
Circe by Madeline Miller My rating: 5 of 5 stars If you’ve read The Odyssey before you may remember that Circe’s island is where Odysseus’ crew is turned into pigs but using his charm, Odysseus is able to undo the charm and ultimately gain aid from Circe. In the abridged version I teach in my freshman English class, Circe’s island is one of the few events that survived the abridging process. Circe, the book, provides a complete picture of who the character is from birth […]
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Audience Matters: octothorp's review of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

May 13, 2020 09:44 pm
I have to confess that rating this book is difficult. Obviously the life of a man born into slavery is a compelling and difficult one, so it’s hard to read. But the real reason that this book is difficult to rate is that the author is writing for those with the power to end slavery – he is effectively convincing the reader of his personhood, and that he needs to is depressing, and creates a remove from his experience. Some of this might be attributable […]
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A grand celebration of fall that I’ve never experienced: Sophia's review of Pumpkinheads

May 13, 2020 08:41 pm
I probably first saw Pumpkinheads (2019), written by Rainbow Rowell and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, on the Cannonball website, but it was so long ago I can’t remember now. I’m a big fan of Rainbow Rowell, and I’ve been reading a couple more graphic novels here and there. So, Rowell’s new graphic novel seemed like a perfect choice. And it turned out to be an enjoyable story. It’s not my favorite graphic novel, and it’s not my favorite Rowell novel, but it was short and sweet […]
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All hail N. K. Jemisin: lowercasesee's review of The City We Became

May 13, 2020 02:57 pm
The City We Became lines up with The Starless Sea for my top book of 2020 (with a third hot on their heels, but I’ll get to that in a later review). It’s so mind bogglingly bananas good I have no idea how I’m going to put it to words, but I’m going to try. Late last year I finally read N. K. Jemisin’s short story collection, How Long Till Black Future Month, and of course it was amazing and I loved seeing the genesis of so many […]
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Amanda Howard (aka "Bothari43")

The Cannonball Read Newsletter Editor
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