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The BookBrowse Review

Published September 20, 2017

ISSN: 1930-0018

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  • Blog:
    6 Books That Help You Talk About Death and End-of-Life Care
  • Notable:
    Recycle Book Club
  • Wordplay:
    Y Can't M A S P O O A S E
  • Book Giveaway:
    If the Creek Don't Rise
  • Quote:
    The only completely consistent people are the dead

6 Books That Help You Talk About Death and End-of-Life Care

Posted: September 11, 2017 04:04 PM

Healthcare is a global hot-button issue and recent political discussions in the United States have brought the topic front and center in the national dialog. A whole slew of books have looked at the complex issues surrounding mortality and care: when to intervene, when to not, what does quality of life mean, and the importance of a life well lived without prolonging suffering. The ones we feature in this blog will give you plenty of food for thought, and angles to discuss if you're part of a book club. The topic of health might often be weighty but how better to address it than with your friends and family as part of a broader life discussion and through the accessible avenue of books!


Lloyd Russell has been the leader of the Recycle Book Club in Campbell, California since January 2014. They not only read and discuss books, but they ALWAYS have the authors of those books come to their meetings. Lloyd talks with Tamara Ellis Smith about this wonderful group of readers.

Read the Q&A

Y Can't M A S P O O A S E

Decipher this well-known saying and you could win the book of your choice.

For example 'K The B' = kick the bucket.

Wordplays are open to BookBrowse visitors worldwide (visitors outside the USA win a 12-month membership to BookBrowse).

In each contest one winner will be selected at random from the correct entries. The winner will be notified by email shortly after the draw closes.

This Wordplay will end on Oct 2, 2017.

This wordplay ended on 10/3/2017

Past Wordplays |  Past Winners |  Rules

Answer to the last Wordplay:

Question: M Y P and Q

Answer: Mind your p's and q's

Meaning: Mind your manners, be on your best behavior

Today, this expression is usually interpreted as a reminder to mind your manners and be on your best behavior, but back in the 18th century it is possible that it had a slightly different meaning given that Francis Grose's 1785 edition of The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, defines it as "to mind one's P's and Q's; to be attentive to the main chance."

Before getting into the varying origin theories of this expression, first there is the matter of how to spell it: capital letters or lower case, apostrophes or not?

I have gone through life capitalizing Ps and Qs on the basis that less is more when it comes to apostrophes; but, according to the Associated Press Stylebook (the standard style guide for most U.S. newspapers) I am wrong. The correct usage is lower case letter plus apostrophe. In fact, under the section on wrangling apostrophes the AP Stylebook helpfully provides this example: "For plurals of a single letter, add 's: Mind your p's and q's, the Red Sox defeated the Oakland A's."

Incidentally, while endorsing the use of apostrophes for the plurals of single letters such as p's and q's, the AP Stylebook goes on to clarify that apostrophes should not be used in numbers - e.g. 1980s, not 1980's

Having tackled the gritty problem of spelling, what about the source of the expression?

Here, many theories jostle for space, some more plausible than others:

  • A literal reminder to distinguish between the lower case letter "p" and its mirror image "q" when writing and typesetting. This is the interpretation used in a letter to the editors of a 1851 edition of Notes and Queries, and by the Oxford English Dictionary in its 2007 edition. It seems particularly credible in the context of printing presses where it would have been very easy to misplace a p for a q, particularly given that the type was set backwards from the point of view of the typesetter. But contrarians argue that, if this is an admonishment to typesetters and children, why choose the letters p and q and not the more frequently used letters b and d?

  • Ps and Qs are short for "pleases" and "thank yous." Given that most people use the expression to mean be on your best behavior, this source would seem to have some validity.

  • A reminder to bartenders to keep track of the pints and quarters that were consumed (and were tracked on a tally sheet using the letters p and q. This seems to be a rather convoluted option, not least because it seems to bear no relationship to how the expression is currently used.

  • French dance instructors cautioned their students to mind their pieds and queues (feet and wigs), but there is no known equivalent expression in French past or present, and why would someone be in danger of confusion something on their head with their feet. In the same light, the theory that sailors were reminded to pay attention to their peas and queues (pea coat and pony tail) seems less than compellling.

The earliest known usage of the expression is also a bit murky as in Thomas Dekker's 1602 play, The Untrussing of the Humorous Poet, 1602 there is a line that reads, "'Troth, so thou'dst need; for now thou art in thy Pee and Kue: thou hast such a villanous broad back..." But the mysterious Pee and Kue in this sounds more like an item of clothing than a metaphor.

Things are a little clearer in 1607 when Dekker teams up with John Webster to write "Westward Ho" in which the expression appears to have been used to mean something similar to its usage today: "At her p. and q. neither Marchantes Daughter, Aldermans Wife, young countrey Gentlewoman, nor Courtiers Mistris, can match her."

If the Creek Don't Rise
A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.
If the Creek Don't Rise
by Leah Weiss
Paperback: Aug 2017
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With a colorful cast of characters that each contribute a new perspective, If The Creek Don't Rise is a debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

He's gonna be sorry he ever messed with me and Loretta Lynn

Sadie Blue has been a wife for fifteen days. That's long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby.

Sadie is desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out of town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out.  When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline...if she can just figure out how to use it.

This intimate insight into a fiercely proud, tenacious community unfolds through the voices of the forgotten folks of Baines Creek.

This giveaway closed on October 3, 2017.

Rules |  Past Winners |  Enter Now

"The only completely consistent people are the dead" - Aldous Huxley

Aldous Leonard Huxley was born in Godalming, in the south of England, in 1894. Grandson of the prominent biologist T.H. Huxley and third child of the biographer Leonard Huxley, he was educated at Eton and went on to study at Balliol College, Oxford. As a teenager he became practically blind for two years from keratitis (a condition in which the cornea becomes inflamed which can lead to scarring), which disqualified him from military service.

He wrote his first, unpublished, book in 1916, the same year he graduated from Oxford. After an unsuccessful year teaching at Eton (he is remembered as a hopeless teacher who could not keep discipline) he worked for three years at Athenaeum, a literary and scientific periodical which merged with the left wing The Nation in 1921 (and both merged with The New Statesman in 1931). After leaving Athenaeum in 1921 he devoted himself largely to writing, and spent the best part of the next two decades in Italy with a short period in the 1920s when he worked at the Brunner and Mond chemical plant in the north of England, which partially inspired Brave New World.

He established himself as a major author with his first two published novels, Crome Yellow (1921) and Antic Hay (1923); satires on the pretensions of the contemporary English literary society. Two similar works followed: Those Barren Leaves (1925) and Point Counter Point (1928). But he is undoubtedly best remembered for Brave New World (1932), a vision of a future dystopica in which psychological conditioning supports a scientifically determined and immutable caste system.

In 1937 he moved to Hollywood, California with his wife and son. Soon after his friend Gerald Heard introduced him to Veda-Centric Hinduism; after which most of his writing reflected his growing interest in this philosophy, most notably The Perennial Philosophy (1946). During World War II he also earned some money as a Hollywood writer on films such as Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.

Huxley was introduced to the psychedelic drug mescaline in 1953, and became a pioneer of self-directed drug use 'in search for enlightenment', taking his first dose of LSD in 1955. He described his psychedelic drug experiences in a number of essays that were popular with the early hippies. In 1960, five years after his first wife died of cancer and four years after he married his second, he was diagnosed with cancer. He died on 22 November, 1963. Media coverage of his death, and of C.S. Lewis, who died the same day, was overshadowed by the assassination of President Kennedy.

Aldous (pronounced OLDus or ALDus depending on who you ask) is from Old German meaning old. It has never been a common name in England but can be found occasionally in records dating from the 15th century, usually in the region of East Anglia.

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