Literacy and Me

Adult literacy in the US is measured in terms of proficiency levels. Proficiency in reading and writing is defined as having the ability to “function in society and in the economy.” One should be able to “understand and employ printed information in daily activities at home, at work, and in the community.” One should be able “to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential” (

Worldwide (in all regions and countries), one out of every four adults fails to meet the minimum proficiency levels ( According to Parent and Teachers Association’s (PTA) national present, James L. Accomando, only 34% of 8th graders in the US are reading at proficient levels. (Our Children: The National PTA Magazine.)  In the United States, 80% of all juveniles in the court system and over 70% of inmates in American prisons cannot read above 4th grade level ( Accomando states…

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high five

Be unbeatable!

Annette Rochelle Aben

I believe in you

I support your need to try

To make dreams come true

Keep moving forward

Even when you aren’t sure how

That doesn’t matter

Just keep going strong

Always with the dream in mind

Ways will be shown you

One day, you’ll notice

The journey is exciting

Worth every minute

Here’s the finish line

Hold your arms high in the air

Open to receive

©2018 Annette Rochelle Aben

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The last time I did one of these was April 15th. I could blame it on the end of the semester; I could blame it on having back and foot trouble and having to schedule doctor’s visits and “down times,” but I guess I’d better “‘fess up” and tell the truth–I have been incredibly lazy. Not only have I not reported on books read, but I have not kept track of them at all, not even in my reading log. I am sure I have turned in to the library some books I have borrowed and read, and I KNOW I have purchased and read books and passed them along or put them in my LFL (Little Free Library).  This is the best I can do for now.

Books I have read:

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson which I borrowed from the library This one I found at the public…

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REMAINS OF THE DAY by Kazuo Ishiguro: A Review

This unusual book was the April selection for our Third Tuesday Book Club in Alvin (Texas). It was published back in 1989 and made into an award winning movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Like many of the other members, I had seen the film but never read the book.

At first I was a bit disappointed, for the writing was extremely detailed and tedious. Then I realized the author was doing this on purpose because the main character, the perfect English butler, lived a life that was precise, detailed, and tedious. His relationship with his American gentleman and employer, Mr. Farraday, and his relationship (or lack thereof) with the former Housekeeper, Miss Kenton is often told in flashbacks. The novel opens with the butler taking a “road trip” in a marvelous antique car, loaned to him by his employer. The purpose of this trip was to contact Miss Kenton about coming back to work at the estate after her marriage was over.

Much is said about the “perfect English butler” which our hero prides himself on being. On page 40, the reader finds the following:

“It is sometimes said…Continentals are unable to be butlers because they are a breed incapable of the emotional restraint which only the English race is capable of…” Our Butler is certainly that, “emotionally restrained.” When he hears Miss Kenton sobbing in her room; when his father dies and he continues his duties on an important occasion, he remains calm, serene and unemotional.

There are humorous touches as well. There is a hilarious scene where an elderly Lord or nobleman asks the butler to explain the “birds and the bees” to his young nephew, a task daunting, but undertaken because a request is never refused.  Also, many times our butler is so oblivious to reality and truth that he seems dense, yet perfectly satisfied with his reaction and performance.

The novel does not have much of a plot, the characters are shallow, and the main character (I would hesitate to call him the protagonist, for I never “rooted for” him.) is dull, restrained, and loyal to a fault–The Perfect English Butler.