My Journey of Continual Education

My current reads and for the next few years, my main reading focus is nonfiction and studying diverse cultures-how they evolve in-depth- government entities, world history and economics.

I’ve studied and read quite a few books on American history (particular 19th Century) but lately I’ve discovered so much I’ve sorely missed out on. That said, one’s education should be a life long journey. I’m looking forward to reading and studying these books.

The Americans, Vol 1: The Colonial Experience

(The Americans #1) by Daniel J. Boorstin

Winner of the Bancroft Prize. “A superb panorama of life in America from the first settlements on through the white-hot days of the Revolution.” – Bruce Lancaster, Saturday Review

The Americans, Vol 2: The National Experience Paperback – by Daniel J. Boorstin

This second volume in “The Americans” trilogy deals with the crucial period of American history from the Revolution to the Civil War. Here we meet the people who shaped, and were shaped by, the American experience—the versatile New Englanders, the Transients and the Boosters.  Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize.

The Americans, Vol 3: The Democratic Experience Paperback by Daniel J. Boorstin

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. A study of the last 100 years of American history.

A History of the American People by Paul Johnson

“The creation of the United States of America is the greatest of all human adventures,” begins Paul Johnson. “No other national story holds such tremendous lessons, for the American people themselves and for the rest of mankind.”

In his prize-winning classic, Johnson presents an in-depth portrait of American history from the first colonial settlements to the Clinton administration. This is the story of the men and women who shaped and led the nation and the ordinary people who collectively created its unique character. Littered with letters, diaries, and recorded conversations, it details the origins of their struggles for independence and nationhood, their heroic efforts and sacrifices to deal with the ‘organic sin’ of slavery and the preservation of the Union to its explosive economic growth and emergence as a world power. Johnson discusses contemporary topics such as the politics of racism, education, the power of the press, political correctness, the growth of litigation, and the influence of women throughout history. He sees Americans as a problem-solving people and the story of their country as “essentially one of difficulties being overcome by intelligence and skill, by faith and strength of purpose, by courage and persistence… Looking back on its past, and forward to its future, the auguries are that it will not disappoint humanity.”

Sometimes controversial and always provocative, A HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE is one author’s challenging and unique interpretation of American history. Johnson’s views of individuals, events, themes, and issues are original, critical, and in the end admiring, for he is, above all, a strong believer in the history and the destiny of the American people.

Other recent relevant posts:

Cultural Nonfiction Books

A Better Understanding of Political and Social Controversies of Our Times

I’m looking forward to sharing more books I’ve discovered and as I read them, I will be writing down my thoughts on them in future posts.

Stephanie Hopkins

Cultural Nonfiction Books

I recently read Educated by Tara Westover and I must say, I have quite a bit to say about the story. I was debating on how to break down my thoughts but after I talked it over with a friend, she encouraged me to focus what topic in the story that was important to me and what would, basically make an impact. Not her words but that was the gest of the conversation. The memoir did strike a chord with me to focus more of my attention to social and cultural issues of our time and throughout recent history.

In my last post, I shared-on a small scale-about what I’m currently reading, and about my experience with Thomas Sowell’s’ work thus far. This particular journey has me wanting to study further in-depth cultural societies, economics and government entities around the world. Perhaps, you may have titles to recommend me to read.

Stephanie Hopkins

Confucius Never Said by Helen Raleigh

This book is a four-generation family journey from repression and poverty in China to freedom and prosperity in the United States. Their lives overlap with many significant historical events taking place in China, such as the founding of Communist China in 1949, the Great Chinese Famine from 1958-1960, the Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976 and the Economic Reform starting from 1980.The author recounts the enormous suffering her family had to endure under Communist China’s radical social experiment. Her great-grandfather was denounced by the Chinese Communist Party and his neighbors simply because he owned land. He died in poverty, and his dying wish was never granted. Her grandfather loaned his fishing boat to the Communist Party, and ended up losing his independence and becoming a janitor. Her father escaped his village to get educated and thus survived the Great Famine. He became highly educated, but never joined the Communist Party . . . and was sent to a re-education labor camp because of it. The author herself grew up in China and immigrated to the United States as a young adult. She sought freedom and the American Dream, and found both. This book is about freedom-and about what happens when we let people take our freedom away. 

The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King

The Inconvenient Indian is at once a “history” and the complete subversion of a history—in short, a critical and personal meditation that the remarkable Thomas King has conducted over the past 50 years about what it means to be “Indian” in North America.

Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, this book distills the insights gleaned from that meditation, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.

This is a book both timeless and timely, burnished with anger but tempered by wit, and ultimately a hard-won offering of hope—a sometimes inconvenient, but nonetheless indispensable account for all of us, Indian and non-Indian alike, seeking to understand how we might tell a new story for the future.

Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies by M. Stanton Evans

Accused of creating a bogus Red Scare and smearing countless innocent victims in a five-year reign of terror, Senator Joseph McCarthy is universally remembered as a demagogue, a bully, and a liar. History has judged him such a loathsome figure that even today, a half century after his death, his name remains synonymous with witch hunts.
But that conventional image is all wrong, as veteran journalist and author M. Stanton Evans reveals in this groundbreaking book. The long-awaited “Blacklisted by History,” based on six years of intensive research, dismantles the myths surrounding Joe McCarthy and his campaign to unmask Communists, Soviet agents, and flagrant loyalty risks working within the U.S. government. Evans’s revelations completely overturn our understanding of McCarthy, McCarthyism, and the Cold War.

Drawing on primary sources–including never-before-published government records and FBI files, as well as recent research gleaned from Soviet archives and intercepted transmissions between Moscow spymasters and their agents in the United States–Evans presents irrefutable evidence of a relentless Communist drive to penetrate our government, influence its policies, and steal its secrets. Most shocking of all, he shows that U.S. officials supposedly guarding against this danger not only let it happen but actively covered up the penetration. All of this was precisely as Joe McCarthy contended.

“Blacklisted by History” shows, for instance, that the FBI knew as early as 1942 that J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the atomic bomb project, had been identified by Communist leaders as a party member; that high-level U.S. officials were warned that Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy almost a decade before the Hiss case became a public scandal; that a cabal of White House, Justice Department, and State Department officials lied about and covered up the Amerasia spy case; and that the State Department had been heavily penetrated by Communists and Soviet agents before McCarthy came on the scene.
Evans also shows that practically everything we’ve been told about McCarthy is false, including conventional treatment of the famous 1950 speech at Wheeling, West Virginia, that launched the McCarthy era (“I have here in my hand . . .”), the Senate hearings that casually dismissed his charges, the matter of leading McCarthy suspect Owen Lattimore, the Annie Lee Moss case, the Army-McCarthy hearings, and much more.

In the end, Senator McCarthy was censured by his colleagues and condemned by the press and historians. But as Evans writes, “The real Joe McCarthy has vanished into the mists of fable and recycled error, so that it takes the equivalent of a dragnet search to find him.” “Blacklisted by History” provides the first accurate account of what McCarthy did and, more broadly, what happened to America during the Cold War. It is a revealing expose of the forces that distorted our national policy in that conflict and our understanding of its history since. 

Book Titles That Stand Out

Not only does the design of a book help catch a reader’s eye but the title does as well. I’m drawn to clever book titles and how the writer decides what to caption the story. Often times, when I’m reading a book, I look for the phrase in the story or a situation that the writer might have decided on to use.

Titles matter in the scheme of things when it comes to not only selling a book, but by giving a reader’s imagination of what is inside. What and how the story is weaved and so begins the world building.

In this post, I’m sharing three book titles I came across recently that has captured my interest.. -Stephanie Hopkins

The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick

Have you ever wished you were someone else?

Mother of two Liv Green barely scrapes by as a maid to make ends meet, often finding escape in a good book while daydreaming of becoming a writer herself. So, she can’t believe her luck when she lands a job housekeeping for her personal hero, mega bestselling author Essie Starling, a mysterious and intimidating recluse. The last thing Liv expected was to be the only person Essie talks to, which leads to a tenuous friendship.

But when Essie dies suddenly, a devastated Liv is astonished to learn of her last wish: for Liv to complete Essie’s final novel. But to do so Liv will have to step into Essie’s shoes, and as Liv begins to write, she uncovers secrets from the past that reveal a surprising connection between the two women–one that will change Liv’s own story forever…

The Myth of Perpetual Summer

Tallulah James’s parents’ volatile relationship, erratic behavior, and hands-off approach to child rearing set tongues to wagging in their staid Mississippi town, complicating her already uncertain life. She takes the responsibility of shielding her family’s reputation and raising her younger twin siblings onto her youthful shoulders.

If not for the emotional constants of her older brother, Griff, and her old guard Southern grandmother, she would be lost. When betrayal and death arrive hand in hand, she takes to the road, headed to what turns out to be the not-so-promised land of Southern California. The dysfunction of her childhood still echoes throughout her scattered family, sending her brother on a disastrous path and drawing her home again. There she uncovers the secrets and lies that set her family on the road to destruction.

Catching Broken Fish by Matthew Stewart Simon

It starts with understanding the paradigm of others and the words we choose.

More than ever we live in a world in constant conflict, and Christians are not exempt from the battleground. In fact, we are as broken as the next person, our own tragedies, mistakes, and poor choices shaping us, leading us to rely on Christ even more. As believers walking out our faith daily, facing our own challenges, we travel a road with weary and even lost souls-but that route is a target-rich environment for those who would use Christ’s message to revive God’s mission of grace on earth.

Blogger Matt Simon believes there’s a track to healing, and it begins with believers choosing to encourage, uplift, and offer words and acts of kindness to those who cross their paths. In his devotional Catching Broken Fish, based on Matthew 4:18, the author inspires each of us to step out of our comfort zones and to embrace being examples of God’s love. Using illustrations drawn from his own life as a farmer and school bus driver, Matt takes the reader on a humble trek of discernment and serving-products, he discovered, of his own failure and growth. He invites you to practice discipleship with him, no matter where you are in your life journey, in the belief that by uniting together in a goal to catch broken fish, we can change the destiny of the world.

My First YouTube Video is Live!

Tag Made on YouTube

This video shows you one of the techniques I use to make collage fodder for my mixed media projects. Today I’m making an art journal tag out of the painted papers. I do have a lot to learn on how to video and I realized afterwards, I wasn’t working in the camera view enough. Will have that fixed in the next video!

Please like and subtribe to my channel! Lot’s more crafty tutorial videos to come!

Follow me on Instagram

ICAD 2021 Challenge Part IV

Day 20

I’m excited to be sharing with you all this week’s ICAD’s. The abbreviation ICAD means, “Index Card A Day.” This challenge was created a few years ago by artist Tammy and her challenge has really grown over the years. Below, is her IG account where you can find out more about her and her art.

I have to admit that after the first week, I stopped following the prompts. Which is entirely optional for the artists to decide which way they go with this challenge. I tend to go my own path when it comes to my craft. This week I really mixed it up. I received some new craft items in the mail in the last three days, so I wanted to play with them! I will share which items are new in the descriptions below.  

Day 20: On this day was Father’s Day and my birthday. I was born on Father’s Day many years ago and it is rare when that day is celebrated on the same day. When it happens, my father and I celebrate both together with the family. It’s not too often when I make orange my dominant color. I think it turned out lovely! Plus, it gave me a reason to use this scrap of my painted paper for this project. I’ve been hoarding the paper, you see.

Day 21: Monday’s card represents a start of a new week. The possibilities were endless to make it a positive one and what a lovely week it has been. On this card I used scrap book pages, ink and ephemera from my older stash.

Day 21

Day 22: The Leftovers: The reason for the title is that I took paper towel that I’ve used to clean up paint and over time, it turned to this color. Isn’t it beautiful?! This card was an absolute blast to make! I also used Maple Samara from outdoors, needle and thread.

Day 22

Day 23: I wanted to create something a bit grungy on this day and this card is made from that feeling. I quite like how it turned out. I used my order supplies with this piece and the others above.

Day 23

Day 24: This card is vintage theme and I used my below products for the top layer. The bottom layer is is pages I used to paint black circles. Next week, I will be sharing a product review on everything I ordered. I loved how this turned out!

Day 24

Day 25: Abstract Tree: Okay, this one was a blast to make! I love trees and I’ve been drawing them since I was a kid. These days, I tend to create them in an abstraction medium. Some would say this could be a flower, but remember that in the spring time, many trees bloom flowers. For example: Cherry, Dogwood, Pink Mimosa, American Fringe and other sorts of trees.

Day 26: For this card, I used up the last of my homemade red, yellow theme painted paper. I thought it a great background for these pressed flowers and leaves. They’re from my new craft haul. I absolutely love how this turned out!

ICAD 2021 Challenge Part I

ICAD 2021 Challenge Part II

ICAD 2021 Challenge Part III

Tammy IG @gypsy999

I look forward to sharing the rest of this week’s challenge and the following week with you next Saturday! My wish is for you to be inspired and encouraged. Have a blessed weekend! -Stephanie Hopkins

Check out my art journey on Instagram and at my Mixed Media Art Gallery here at Layered Pages!

Cover Crush: The North Water by Ian McGuire

About the cover: Let me start by saying that I believe whale hunting is horrific and it is extremely hard for me to read novels about the subject. Anyhow, I’m totally feeling the summer vibes with this cover. Yes, the wale is in deep ocean but it still makes be long for the beach! I thought it clever to add the image of the whaling ship on the tail. I love the colors and the dramatic imagery of the ocean.

There is a better image of the book on IG @eatingtheirwords

Thoughts about the story: This looks like a story worth reading and the period the story is set in, is my favorite! I’m guessing it’s focused more on an evil person on board that is confronted? Hmm… I refuse to read any reviews on this book. I want an unbiased opinion. -Stephanie Hopkins

About the Book:

A 19th-century whaling ship sets sail for the Arctic with a killer aboard in this dark, sharp and highly original tale that grips like a thriller.

Behold the man. Stinking, drunk, brutal and bloodthirsty, Henry Drax is a harpooner on the ‘Volunteer’, a Yorkshire whaling ship that is due to set sail for the rich hunting waters of the Arctic Circle. Also aboard for the first time is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money and no better option than to embark as ship’s medic on this violent, filthy, ill-fated voyage.

In India during the Siege of Delhi, Sumner thought he had experienced the depths to which a man can stoop and imagined he’d find temporary respite on the ‘Volunteer’, but now, trapped in the wooden belly of the ship with Drax, he encounters pure evil and is forced to act. As the true purposes of the expedition become clear, the confrontation between the two men plays out in the freezing darkness of an arctic winter.

Index Card Art Challenge 2020: Part 5

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Index Card Art Challenge 2020 is still going strong! Today I’m sharing part 5 of this challenge which entails day 25- 31.

There are several challenge days you can choose for this challenge and I chose 100 days. Check out Part 4 post in this challenge HERE, where I include more details of this art adventure.

********

Stephanie Hopkins

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins

 

Balance Rock Moab Utah

 

Balance Rock Edited

By Stephanie Hopkins 2020

My artistic rendition of Balance Rock in Moab, Utah inspired of Walker Scott Moore’s photo taken at night.

When creating the sky, I envisioned illimitable depth and movement. I am pleased with the results! I took pictures of this piece in different lights and the camera captures the many layers of colors of the night sky in each location I took the shot. It’s truly astonishing how viewing this art piece from different angles reveals another layer or change-if you will- of color in the night sky. Having said that, I used my ancient phone camera to take the pictures and it really doesn’t do the painting justice.

The rock formation was my biggest challenge and I enjoyed exploring this technique in creating landscape. I have used paste before in my art projects but not to this extent. I have learned a lot with this piece-as I do with all my art-and look forward in seeing where my next big project takes me.

BalancingRock_Milkyway01

Photo Taken by Walker Scott More

To see more of Scott’s photography, please visit his website at WSM Photography

“Balanced Rock is one of the most popular features of Arches National Park, situated in Grand County, Utah, United States. Balanced Rock is located next to the park’s main road, at about 9.2 miles (14.8 km) from the park entrance. It is one of only a few prominent features clearly visible from the road.” -Wikipedia

Close Up Shots

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My process

I used wood from my Father’s wood shop and cut the wood to size and sanded it for a smooth surface. I believe the wood I used is Birch and it was great to work with.

I collage the front and sides of the wood with outdated dictionary paper and used Matte Medium to adhere the paper. When dried I applied two coats of Gesso, allowing each layer of coat to dry. Then sketched the rock formation and tower with a regular number two pencil.

I used Ranger Ink Grit Paste for the texture of the rocks. As that was drying I painted Sky with Teals, Purples and several shades of Blues and used Matte, Satin and Gloss Acrylics. Then painted the rocks with blends of Raw Sienna, Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna, Milk White, Black and Yellow OCHRE. Through this process I added White Gesso at times to help with the look of movement I wanted to crate and to lighten some of the colors for depth. Gesso is also good for helping with the spread of paint which was needed since I was painting over collage.

After the sky and towers were completely dried, I added the stars by using Platinum White Acrylic mixed with a little water. The Acrylic Varnish is the last step and it is  important to wait a few days until applying. The mediums used in the painting need time to set properly. I’m not sure I will apply the Acrylic Varnish to the rock formation seeing as I used paste. I need to research that a bit more first being sealing it. Having said that, there are several layers of paint on the paste so I wonder…

The Brands of Acrylic Paints I used for this project are Golden, Liquitex, Master’s Touch and Folk Art.

Gesso and Matte Medium by Liquitex

-Stephanie

************

Images are subjected to copyright. In order to use art images, photos or any content on Layered Pages website, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins

Cover Crush: The Social Graces by Renee Rosen

The Social GracesPaperback, 400 pages
Expected publication: April 20th 2021 by Berkley

The Cover: I love the background image, colors and the ladys’ hats! This cover definitely gives you the glamorous upper crust feel to it.

The Story: You know how I said above, “This cover definitely gives you the glamorous upper crust feel to it?” While we go see the gilded age as glamorous and such, more times than not, it wasn’t.  Not to put a damper on things here. Let’s get back to the story.

I’ve said this many times before that I love stories taken place during the Gilded Age and Especially New York!

I’m highly interested in this story on several scores and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book! -Stephanie Hopkins

About the Book:

The author of Park Avenue Summer throws back the curtain on one of the most remarkable feuds in history: Mrs. Vanderbilt and Mrs. Astor’s notorious battle for control of New York society during the Gilded Age.

In the glittering world of Manhattan’s upper crust, where wives turn a blind eye to husbands’ infidelities, and women have few rights and even less independence, society is everything. The more celebrated the hostess, the more powerful the woman. And none is more powerful than Caroline Astor—the Mrs. Astor.

But times are changing.

Alva Vanderbilt has recently married into one of America’s richest families. But what good is money when society refuses to acknowledge you? Alva, who knows what it is to have nothing, will do whatever it takes to have everything.

Sweeping three decades and based on true events, this is a gripping novel about two fascinating, complicated women going head to head, behaving badly, and discovering what’s truly at stake.

Previous Cover Crush

A cover-crush-banner

Curiosity Explores Reality

Curosity

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. “- Albert Einstein