Karen (aka witchyrichy) Reads Around the Shelves in 2020 - #2

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2020

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.

Karen (aka witchyrichy) Reads Around the Shelves in 2020 - #2

Editado: Abr 1, 2020, 7:52pm

I'm Karen, 57, and I come to you from rural south central Virginia where I live with my husband, two dogs and one Royal Palm turkey on an 18-acre farm. We are hunkered down and fortunate to have lots of local food available including our own vegetables.

I have participated for several years in this group. I have worked from home since 2001 since I am used to being self-isolated but this feels very different. After a few weeks of craziness, I think I can finally get back to focusing on reading.

My husband and I both love watching the birds. For his birthday, he treated himself to a bird scope that easily connects to his phone. The cardinal is one of his early photos. The hummingbirds have just returned and I can't wait to get pictures!

Editado: Abr 1, 2020, 7:52pm

Here's the counter of books read:

Editado: Out 9, 2020, 4:44pm

2020 AlphaKIT

Here are the letters for 2020:

A & U January - thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/313912
I had originally considered Ulysses as it was the only U on my shelf. I wasn’t enthusiastic. Thank goodness for LadyoftheLodge who suggested Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun. My library has a copy. I have some ambitious reading for January so a book that solves both letters works plus I want to explore mysteries in general in 2020. I am happy. Perhaps I will consider Joyce for July.
Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

F & B February
The Outer Banks House
Old Filth

G & C March
Tilt A Whirl by Chris Grabenstein

S & T April
Sword of Shame by The Medieval Murderers

L & P May
The Lost Prophecies by The Medieval Murderers
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

K & Y June
In The Shadow of Agatha Christie by Leslie Klinger

J & R July
New York by Edward Rutherford

O & H August

M & E September
Moonglow by Michael Chabon
Mad Mouse
An Exhilaration of Wings

D & V October
The Deeds of the Disturber
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

I & Q November

W & N December
Whack A Mole

Yearlong letters: X and Z
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/313968

The wiki for 2020 is: https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/2020_AlphaKIT#2020_AlphaKIT

Thanks to Jean aka majkia for setting it up.

Editado: Ago 2, 2020, 9:50am

2020 MysteryKIT

January: Historical mysteries:
Thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/313974#
Monk's Hood by Ellis Peters
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King

February: Furry Sleuths
Murder Past Due

March: Golden Age
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

April: Espionage
The Spy Mistress by Jennifer Chiaverini

May: Novel to screen
Forever Rumpole: The Best of the Rumpole Stories by John Mortimer

June: Police Procedurals/Private Investigator
Still Life by Louise Penny

July: Cross genre/mashup

August: International authors

September: Series

October: New to You

November: -Noir/Gumshoe

December: Cozies

Thanks to Cheryl aka LadyoftheLodge for getting it started. I want to read more mysteries in 2020 to get beyond the cozies I usually read.

Editado: Maio 30, 2020, 3:32pm

2020 GeoCAT

January: Asia I: Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya by Jamaica Kincaid (Nepal)

February: Europe (Excluding Great Britain)
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

March: Northern Africa & The Mideast: Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey (others)
Without A Country by Ayse Kulin (Turkey)
About the Night by Anat Talshir (Israel)

April: Australia, New Zealand, Oceania
The Birdwoman's Palate by Laksmi Pamuntjak (Indonesia)

May: Any place you would like to visit!

June: Space: The Final Frontier

July: Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean

August: Asia II: Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Southeast Asia
Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro (Japan)

September: Polar & Tundra Regions

October: Great Britain, Canada, US
The Dust That Falls from Dreams

November: Africa II All countries excluding those from March. Possibilities: Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia and others
December: Catch up month or read another one from your favorite CATegory!

Wiki is here: https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/2020_GeoCAT#2020_GeoCAT

Thanks to tess_schoolmarm for getting it started.

Editado: Maio 30, 2020, 3:27pm

2020 NonfictionCAT

January - Journalism and News
Thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/313165
Midnight in Siberia by David Greene

February - Travel
The Road to Little Dribbling

March - Biography
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher

April - Law and Order
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

May - Science
How To Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

June - Society
July - Human Science
August - History
September - Religion and Philosophy
October - The Arts
November - Food, Home and Recreation
December - Adventures by Land, Sea or Air

Planning thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/312897
Wiki: https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/2020_Non-fiction_CAT

Thanks to Pam aka pamelad for setting it up.

Editado: Maio 30, 2020, 3:33pm

2020 KITtastrophe

January: Fires
Thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/313973
The Big Burn by Timothy Egan

February: Invasions
Dead Wake by Erik Larson

March: Epidemics and Famine
Gracelin O'Malley by Ann Moore

April: Riots/Uprisings/Sieges
Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution

May: Geologic Events (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, avalanches, meteor strikes)
June: Weather Events (hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, droughts, heatwaves)
July: Weather Events (hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, droughts, heatwaves)
August: Transportation and Maritime
September: Transportation and Maritime
October: Pre-1900
November: Outside Your Home Country
December: Technology/Industrial

Thanks to LibraryCin for setting it up.

Wiki https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/KITastrophe

Editado: Ago 2, 2020, 9:53am

RandomCAT 2020

Planning thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/312875

January: A Challenging Book
Thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/314037#

√ I have a bunch of big books on the shelf but the biggest and most challenging is John McPhee's Annals of the Former World. For the challenge, I am going to commit to reading Book 1. I don't want to rush through just for the sake of a challenge but it will at least get me started.

February: Leap Year Publishing Date
The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie (1924)
After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson (2008)

March: Pick a book with spring, summer, fall (autumn), or winter in the title.
Journey Into Summer by Edwin Way Teale
Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

April: For this month's RandomCAT, please read a book with a title that pertains to rain, showers, clouds, storm or a flower.
Mountain in the Clouds

May: A books that has been round for while
The Gospel of Thomas: A Guidebook for Spiritual Practice by Ron Miller

June: Take to the Sea
The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home by George Howe Colt

July: A Book with Pictures, Charts, Etc.


Thanks to Betty aka dudes22 for setting it up.

Editado: Maio 30, 2020, 3:42pm

I realized I had not planned ahead for the American Author Challenge but since I finished January, I might as well at least drop the list here:

January Charles Frazier

February Grace Paley
Begin Again: I haven't read every poem but some I have read numerous times.

March David McCullough
The Greater Journey

April Francine Prose
Reading Like A Writer

May E. Lynn Harris
Invisible Life

June Jean Stafford
July Wendell Berry
August Robert Penn Warren
September Dawn Powell
October Ward Just
November Ann Petry
December Tony Hillerman

Editado: Set 19, 2020, 4:16pm

Here's what I'm thinking about as of early January but haven't actually read anything. I am using this to read several Agatha Christie mysteries.

Title Contains A Pun:
Here's Looking at Euclid: A Surprising Excursion Through the Astonishing World of Math
Tequila Mockingbird

Library or Thing in Title:
The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

Pen Name/Anonymous Author:
Elena Ferrante

Books, Bookstores, Libraries:
Booked to Die

non-US/UK Female Author:
The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif

Epistolary or Letters:
The Screwtape Letters

Periodic Table Element in Title:
The Women of the Copper Country

From a Legacy Library:
A People's History of the United States (via David Bowie)

Mystery or True Crime:
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

3+ Letters of Bingo:

Mythology or Folklore:
Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler

Set in Asia:

Read a CAT:

Published in Your Birth Year:
The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side

Red Cover/Prominent:
The Invention of Air

Published in 1820 or 1920:
The Mysterious Affairs at Styles by Agatha Christie

Not Set on Earth:
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Published in 2020:
The Warsaw Protocol by Steve Berry

About Birth or Death:
Being Mortal

Proper Name in Title:
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

Weird Book Title:

Small Press or Self-Published:

Involves Real Historical Event:
The Spy Mistress
A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir

LT Author:
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

By Journalist/About Journalism:
Staying Tuned by Daniel Schorr
Lit Up by David Denby

Planning thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/312084

Thanks to christina_reads for setting it up and LShelby for making the cards.

Abr 1, 2020, 7:44pm

March Stats

Abr 1, 2020, 7:46pm

A new thread that I hope to fill with good reading and lots of reviews. Finally found the energy to focus and am ready for long evenings on the porch reading. The hummingbirds have returned here to south central Virginia and their presence is something of a small mercy in this stressful time.

Editado: Abr 1, 2020, 7:53pm

Is it okay to post now?

I love watching birds as well, mainly through the kitchen window.

Abr 1, 2020, 7:55pm

Happy new thread!

nice that the hummingbirds are back. I can't wait till they arrive in my area as well. Happy reading :)

Abr 1, 2020, 7:56pm

It is absolutely OK and I think you get some kind of prize for being first! Thanks for stopping by!

Abr 1, 2020, 8:52pm

Happy new thread, Karen.

Now is probably a great time to live on your own farm. Are you completely self sufficient food wise?

Abr 1, 2020, 9:09pm

>18 PaulCranswick: Not on our own but we can access local eggs, pork, beef and chicken from farmers near us. My husband does raise lots of our vegetables so right now we have beets, spinach, kale and cabbage with tomatoes and other summer crops not far behind.

We qualified for an unheated greenhouse called a high tunnel that allows us to get an early start on spring and summer crops:

We would miss all the usual stuff: coffee, sugar, milk.

Abr 1, 2020, 9:39pm

Happy new thread!

May your crops be bountiful!

Abr 2, 2020, 7:15am

Happy new thread, Karen!

I know that the hummingbirds have come through here, too, but so far I haven't seen one.

Abr 2, 2020, 8:01am

Happy new thread!

Abr 2, 2020, 12:48pm

Happy new thread, Karen!

Abr 2, 2020, 2:35pm

Happy new thread, Karen. Love the greenhouse.

Abr 2, 2020, 3:20pm

Happy new one, Karen. Love the tunnel greenhouse! What do you mean you qualified for it?

Abr 2, 2020, 4:20pm

Happy new thread Karen my dear.

Editado: Abr 2, 2020, 5:47pm

>20 quondame: >22 karenmarie: >23 drneutron: >24 FAMeulstee: >25 BLBera: >27 johnsimpson: Thanks for stopping by!

>26 Storeetllr: We were doing commercial farming for a little while although very small scale. But, we qualified as a farm and the National Resources Conservation Service (part of the USDA) gave grants that mostly covered the cost of both the tunnel and its installation. It is designed to help small farmers extend their growing seasons in the spring and winter. My husband does the bulk of the growing but I've been raising ginger and turmeric. They are tropical so need to stay in the ground for a few months past our last frost date so we put them in the high tunnel.

Abr 2, 2020, 7:16pm

Happy new thread, Karen! I love the picture of the cardinal up top.

Good luck with your crops!

Abr 2, 2020, 8:20pm

>28 witchyrichy: Oh! Turmeric! I tried to grow it once in a pot when I lived in Colorado. It didn't turn out well. I suppose, like garlic, you need root stock rather than a root you buy at the grocery store. I haven't been able to find fresh turmeric here in NY at any grocery store, which is a bummer. I used to use the root in shakes.

Abr 2, 2020, 8:21pm

This user has been removed as spam.

Abr 3, 2020, 1:11pm

>29 alcottacre: Thanks! Right now, there are three tiny tomatoes on the plants on the sun porch. Makes me hopeful.

Abr 3, 2020, 1:15pm

>30 Storeetllr: Supposedly, turmeric from the grocery store should work as it isn't treated the way the ginger roots are. My original plants came from the college up the road that is part of the Virginia extension service for farmers. They are doing research into niche crops and then either provide grants or low-cost plants and training as well as ideas for marketing. I have no intention of scaling up for now but who knows? It might be fun to be the ginger lady ;-)

Abr 3, 2020, 1:19pm

Happy new thread! Man, I was checking out your challenges--you do a lot of them!! LOL Happy reading, vegetable growing and bird watching.

Editado: Ago 2, 2020, 9:55am

The Somewhat Overly Optimistic Reading Plan for April Since It Starts with Three Books from March:

Gracelin O'Malley by Ann Moore (March's Kitastrophe
Tilt A Whirl by Chris Grabenstein (March's AlphaKIT: C & G)
The Greater Journey by David McCullough (March AA)

And...update...I missed the RandomCAT challenge of a book with a season in the title:
Wandering Through Winter by Edwin Way Teale
√ NB: I read Teale but Journey Into Summer
Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

And then the various April challenges:

Sword of Shame by The Medieval Murderers (April AlphaKIT: S & T)
The Spy Mistress by Jennifer Chiaverini (April MysteryKIT: Espionage)
The Birdwoman's Palate by Laksmi Pamuntjak (April GeoCAT: Australia, New Zealand, Oceania): This is set in Indonesia.
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon (April NonfictionCAT: Law & Order)
Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick (April Kitastrophe: Riots/Uprisings/Sieges
Mountain in the Clouds by Bruce Brown (April Random CAT: title that pertains to rain, showers, clouds, storm or flowers)
Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose (April AA)

It's doable but it means taking a cuppa to the sun porch right now and reading away the rest of the day.

Abr 3, 2020, 7:25pm

I read Gracelin O'Malley, the first book in a trilogy focused on Ireland during the potato famine and civil war for the Kitastrophe challenge for March. We meet the title character, a young woman in a family of farmers, just as she is married to the local English land owner. The youngest son of an English baron, he has been exiled to the Irish estate. Eventually, his violence and hatred of the Irish spill into his marriage even as the potato famine takes hold. Historical fiction at its best as author Ann Moore deftly weaves the history of this time period into the story. Grace is a strong, forthright character and I am looking forward to reading the next two books.

Abr 5, 2020, 11:10pm

Hope you have had a lovely, peaceful, safe and healthy weekend, Karen.

Editado: Abr 8, 2020, 1:01pm

>34 Berly: Too many challenges, I'm afraid. I was recovering from hip surgery when I set this all up. Part of me just wants to chuck them but there are some good books on there!

>37 PaulCranswick: We did, Paul. Thanks for stopping by. I'm going to do a short post with some pics as we hunker down on the farm and go into preserving mode.

Abr 8, 2020, 1:09pm

Stayed up late reading Tilt A Whirl, the first John Ceepak mystery from Chris Grabenstein. Fortunately, I have the next two ready to go on the Kindle. I was taken in by the charming seaside community in New Jersey and the somewhat snarky tone of Danny, the narrator, and expected more of a cozy mystery. The ending was shockingly dark and shook both the reader and the characters. A well constructed mystery that showed how perceptions and assumptions can drive us to make mistakes.

Abr 8, 2020, 1:16pm

I have been writing reviews of every book I have read this year. Somehow, I missed The Road to Little Dribbling, Bill Bryson's sequel to Notes From a Small Island. I read the latter last year, I think. This one was classic, curmudgeonly Bryson, but his love for Britain comes through. He is a quirky man who lives in a quirky country, it seems. I read it in bits and pieces and am not sorry I read it but cannot enthusiastically recommend it either. If you like this side of Bryson's writing, then enjoy. I much preferred his recent history: One Summer: America, 1927.

Abr 8, 2020, 4:44pm

Oh, I love the John Ceepak mysteries! Yes, they are not really cozies (glad, because I don't care for cozies anymore), but there is a lot of fun mixed in with the dark. You've got a lot of good reading ahead with this series!

Abr 11, 2020, 11:17pm

Hi Karen.

>39 witchyrichy: Got me with that one; I'm adding it to the wish list!

I hope you are doing well in these surreal days.

Abr 11, 2020, 11:24pm

Actually, the first three in the John Ceepak series were available from KindleUnlimited for 99 cents each so I went ahead and bought them.

Abr 12, 2020, 8:50am

I wanted my message this year to be fairly universal in a time we all should be pulling together, whatever our beliefs. Happy Celebration, Happy Sunday, Karen.

Abr 12, 2020, 11:14am

>43 EBT1002: I think I took advantage of a similar deal as I have all three of them as well.

We're doing well and hope you are, too.

Editado: Abr 12, 2020, 11:24am

Editado: Abr 12, 2020, 4:50pm

I’m happy to see that the Ceepak series has a new fan. Especially now, they are a mighty fine diversion!

Happy Easter, Karen!

Abr 12, 2020, 5:19pm

Happy Easter!

Abr 12, 2020, 6:23pm

Hi Karen! I love the glimpses into your life on the farm - I hope you'll keep sharing.

You got me (back on your last thread) with The Outer Banks House. I also LOVED And Then There Were None when I was a girl and read it aloud some years ago to the girls.

Abr 15, 2020, 4:19pm

>44 PaulCranswick: Hope you are finding love and peace in the midst of the craziness.

>41 Storeetllr: >47 Copperskye: They seem to appeal to my quirky side even though they aren't my usual fare.

>48 quondame: Beautiful! Happy Easter to you, too.

Abr 15, 2020, 6:01pm

>49 AMQS: We live very peaceful lives here on the farm. I've been trying to get outside to take pictures every day as things change so quickly. Including the weather: after a mild winter, April has been cold with a pretty bad frost the other night. My hydrangeas took a hit and folks who had put out tomatoes and peppers lost some depending on location.

We also were on the receiving end of some pretty bad storms. This is a view from the second story window of the ominous clouds on the horizon. We escaped any real damage but others were not so lucky.

Editado: Abr 15, 2020, 6:55pm

David McCullough is one my favorite historians. He has found a way to balance of facts and story, just enough historical details to provide context for the stories of people, and in the case of The Greater Journey, the city of Paris itself.

It seems as though everyone who was anyone in the 1800s made the trek to Paris. There were artists and painters, of course, but also Elihu Washburne, President Grant's Minister to France during the turbulence of the Franco-Prussian War and the violence of the Commune. We watch events unfold through his eyes as both politician and family man.

McCullough paints loving portraits of these Americans and the city that inspired them.

Read for American Author Challenge

Editado: Abr 15, 2020, 7:16pm

Notorious RBG is a fan biography of the legendary Supreme Court Justice. Written in lively, loving prose, the book includes excerpts from her major cases, both those she presented to the court and those she has written as part of a course. A bit gossipy at times, we get glimpses into her personal life that bely her reputation as a no nonsense professional who lacks a sense of humor. And we cry with her as her great love, Marty, dies early, a champion of his forward thinking, feminist wife. She is a role model for so many women, including me.

Abr 15, 2020, 10:05pm

>51 witchyrichy: Those are some ominous clouds! We have been having very typical Colorado spring weather, which means alternating between beautiful sunny days and pelting snow. It's snowing now and us expected to continue through tomorrow.

Abr 16, 2020, 10:58am

>54 AMQS: There were actually flurries near Richmond two days ago and that after a very mild winter. Nothing like Colorado but for us southern flowers, it can be downright cold ;-)

Abr 17, 2020, 9:00am

I'm even further south than you are, Karen, and it was 32 this morning. This is a serious reminder that last frost date here is still almost two weeks away.

Abr 17, 2020, 9:51am

>56 karenmarie: Similar temps here as well this morning. We look to about April 15 as the earliest to plant out and try not to get fooled by that short warm spell we seem to get in March. In our case, losing a few plants is not a problem. My husband has decided the way we can help our low income community is to feed them so we have plenty of extras, tomatoes especially. We're also planting in the high tunnel that offers protection on the cold nights.

Abr 17, 2020, 10:31am

Good morning, Karen! We've had snow twice in the last week. It's unheard of for April to get six inches of snow that actually sticks, but there it is. Our last frost date is usually about 10 days into June.

I love that you are using your tunnel to help the low income community. Fresh produce is always such a treat! I'd love to have a (small) greenhouse.

My indoor kitchen garden is keeping me happy. My pots of lettuce and spinach are looking good. The cilantro is up. The beans and zucchini which I hope to experiment draping around my garden window are growing enthusiastically. And sprouts - oh my!

I enjoyed Notorious RBG. What an amazing lady!

Abr 18, 2020, 9:05am

>58 streamsong: Stay warm and cozy! This morning we woke to heavy rain. The weather seems to be as crazy as the world these days.

Cheers for your kitchen garden. There is much that you can grow for yourself and I believe that food you grow yourself has an extra bit of energy in it. My husband is the farmer but for the past few years, I've put old potato pieces in pots outside the back door. We get a decent harvest. I planted them last weekend and by Thursday had green sprouts above the dirt!

I used to do sprouts and would like to get back to it. Any that you recommend?

Abr 21, 2020, 1:35pm

>57 witchyrichy: What a wonderful idea! I was wondering, with the tunnel, if you grow enough to sell or is it for your own use? I wish I had more of a green thumb. Our weather here this spring has been more Colorado-ish than normal. Cold snow and then warm temps in constant battle. Last week, after a week in he 60s, it got down to 10° overnight and the new leaves on our aspens, which always seem to leaf out a little too soon, turned black. That’s never happened before and I hope they can recover.

Editado: Abr 22, 2020, 2:15pm

>60 Copperskye: When we moved here nine years ago, my husband was planning to farm commercially. Turns out he is better at growing stuff than selling it. We have other income so he has now turned his attention to supporting other farmers on our land. This year, we are experimenting with hemp.

My hydrangeas and hostas got pretty frosted but I think all but the smallest ones will survive.

Abr 22, 2020, 2:50pm

>51 witchyrichy: Great photo, Karen. Glad the storm missed you.

>52 witchyrichy:, >53 witchyrichy: Both sound great.

Abr 22, 2020, 3:50pm

Hi Karen my dear, it was lovely to see your post on my thread and even more so when you said that during a bit of a clean out you found some Fountain Pens and got some cartridges to get them back working, what a lovely surprise.

It would be lovely if you could post a couple of photos of them so i can have some pen envy, ha ha. I have seen some nice American pens on a couple of websites such as Goulet Pens, the prices are pretty good but unfortunately when postage and shipping is added and then import taxes make them on the expensive side sadly. If we ever get over to the US i will have to have a side stash of money to pick up a few pens that i cannot get over here.

I hope this finds you and Bob well despite the Covid-19 crisis and you are managing to cope despite all the restrictions as we are managing to do, sending love and hugs to both of you from both of us dear friend.

Editado: Abr 23, 2020, 8:06pm

Hi, Karen! Glad you and yours are doing well and staying safe!

Go Ceepak!

>51 witchyrichy: Love the ominous clouds!

>53 witchyrichy: I've been meaning to read this. She is a national treasure.

ETA I had a cardinal at my feeder the other day! First one not only this year but, you know, EVER! (We didn't get them in Cali or Colorado.) It wasn't quite as red as the one in >1 witchyrichy:, but it was definitely a cardinal.

Abr 25, 2020, 8:49am

>64 Storeetllr: Even though cardinals are typical backyard birds for us, they are still a thrill. Right now, we are waiting for the onslaught of the hummingbirds. We've seen one or two at the feeder.

Editado: Abr 25, 2020, 2:51pm

Sword of Shame is the second book in the mystery series written by The Medieval Murderers. They take an object with a past and then each tells a story related to the object using their own historical detective. The stories are linked because the later characters often know the suspect history of the object. In this version, the object is a sword with a tragic history that seems to cause deaths on its own. I am enjoying the series and will continue it. This one went from England to Venice with lots of good history and mystery.

I read this for the Alpha KIT for April (S and T). I'm counting the The in the authors name as the T.

Abr 25, 2020, 3:15pm

Like many lifelong readers, I hold the dream of writing a great novel. I think I am really a personal essayist but I haven't given up completely. So, with Francine Prose as the American Author challenge for April, I chose Reading Like a Writer. Prose shares her love affair with literature and writing in chapters that offer guidance and examples of the bones of creating compelling fiction including characters, dialog, and gestures. Her books to read makes me want to ditch all the challenges and dive in. You can find it here: https://www.giraffedays.com/?page_id=5899 I've read many of them over the years but never with the fine toothed comb practice by Prose. I have been trying to apply her techniques to the books I am reading.

Abr 25, 2020, 3:34pm

I am always open to historical fiction set during the American civil war. I have enjoyed Jennifer Chiaverini's other books set during this period. Spy Mistress tells the story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Unionist who stayed in Richmond during the war and served as a spy, running a spy ring in the city that provided information to the Union and helped prisoners escape to the north. Chiaverini provides powerful descriptions of the suffering of the prisoners in Confederate prisons as well as the city's inhabitants as they begin to starve as the war progresses. We get on the ground views of the bread riots. And, since Van Lew's family had once owned Mary Bowser, the African American woman who served as a servant in Jefferson Davis's household, we get a glimpse into the lives of Jefferson and Varina Davia. Mary Chestnut even makes an appearance. Not my favorite of Chiaverini's books but I enjoyed learning some details I hadn't known about life in Richmond during the war.

Abr 25, 2020, 4:47pm

Hi Karen my dear, thanks for posting the Pen photos, i also have a couple of Sheaffer No Nonsense pens in my collection. I had a look at them a while back online and didn't realise how many colours they came in and that a lot were done with advertising on them, a chap showed his collection and it was massive.

I have posted what Karen baked yesterday, as you will be able to see i have a lot to go at, lol.

I hope that you and Bob are having a good start to the weekend and hope that it is a good one for both of you, we have had a very lazy day but tomorrow i will have to put some ink into one or two pens as at least a couple are running low and i have some book notes to write up.

Sending love and hugs to both of you dear friend.

Abr 26, 2020, 1:25pm

>65 witchyrichy: Thanks for the reminder to get the hummingbird feeder up!
>66 witchyrichy: >67 witchyrichy: Two new BBs for my never-ending TBR list. I

Wishing you a lovely Sunday. Hope it's nicer there than here where it's just cold rainy gloom.

Editado: Abr 26, 2020, 3:08pm

>70 Storeetllr: It is a lovely Sunday but the weather sounds just like yours. Overcast, chilly, and the rain made it too muddy to garden. I'm working on Bunker Hill and puttering around inside. I did manage to get the dogs out for a walk. I have gotten back into baking from scratch and made a lovely whole wheat sourdough soda bread with my discard.

Abr 28, 2020, 11:23am

>59 witchyrichy: Hi Karen!

The sprouts are all I've harvested so far from my kitchen garden, although the lettuce is looking close.

I have alfalfa sprouts and mung bean sprouts. I also like radish sprouts, but the seeds were too old to sprout very well. I am LOVING the alfalfa sprouts on avocado toast (toast, mushed avocado with splashes of EVOO and hot sauce, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, and an egg on top.)

I love your comments in >67 witchyrichy:. Like you, I have also thought about writing.

Abr 28, 2020, 1:39pm

>72 streamsong: So, can I use regular radish seeds? We can plant those almost all year round with the high tunnel so probably have plenty. I could start without investing any case.

The toast sounds wonderful. No avocados here but I do have home made sourdough bread for the toast and we'll have tomatoes very soon as my husband has plants on our south porch that he has been babying all winter. They have impressive almost baseball sizes fruit.

Abr 28, 2020, 3:43pm

>73 witchyrichy: Sometimes garden seeds are treated with things like fungicides, so unless you know they haven't been treated with anything (seeds from your own plants), it's safest to use seeds specified for sprouting.

Oh, I am sooooo jealous of your tomatoes! Applause for your husband!

Abr 30, 2020, 9:21am

Hi Karen!

I'm with Janet - jealous of your tomatoes. Ditto for your husband.

Abr 30, 2020, 7:25pm

>74 streamsong: Thanks for the tip. At some point, I bought a fancy sprouter with mutliple sections. I've been trying to eat a vegetable salad for lunch everyday. I lost 30 pounds last year and am fearful of gaining it back as we hunker down. I am a baker and now have three sourdough starters going in the fridge! Sprouts would be a good addition to my diet ;-)

>74 streamsong: >75 karenmarie: I am married to Mr. Green Jeans. He has the greenest of greenest thumbs. This weekend is all about sauerkraut as the cabbages are coming in!

Maio 1, 2020, 7:42am

Sauerkraut? ::drool::

Maio 1, 2020, 5:47pm

>77 fuzzi: I have two 1 gallon crocks to fill this weekend and then ordered a fancy kimchi/sauerkraut "system" the doesn't require the weighting and may be a bit more sanitary. We're also going to try to make a vinegar-based coleslaw that could be put in the freezer.

Editado: Ago 2, 2020, 9:56am

May Reading Plan

5/29/2020 NB: May was a busy month for new projects both inside and outside. My reading suffered but I got a few things finished. We've been working on the swimming pool so June should be better as I can float and read.

Wandering Through Winter by Edwin Way Teale
√ I ended up reading Journey Into Summer for the Random CAT March season challenge
Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

The Birdwoman's Palate by Laksmi Pamuntjak (April GeoCAT: Australia, New Zealand, Oceania): This is set in Indonesia.
Mountain in the Clouds by Bruce Brown (April Random CAT: title that pertains to rain, showers, clouds, storm or flowers)

MysteryKit: Novel to Screen
Forever Rumpole: The Best of the Rumpole Stories by John Mortimer CURRENTLY READING

GeoCAT: Anywhere you would like to visit
Our National Parks by John Muir

NonfictionCAT: Science
How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan CURRENTLY READING

KITastrophe: Geologic Events
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee (San Francisco Earthquake)

RandomCAT: Believe in Your Shelf (something audio or printed that has been knocking around for awhile)
The Gospel of Thomas: A Guidebook for Spiritual Practice

American Author: E. Lynn Harris
Invisible Life

Maio 2, 2020, 2:28pm

Hi, Karen! You are really busy on the farm! Baking sourdough, making sauerkraut! Sprouting is fun. I've been growing radish sprouts for the past couple of months to add fresh greens to my and my parrot's diets. Love them, as does Nickel. I ran out of seeds a couple of weeks ago, so I ordered a few packets of sprouting seed mixes online and just got them. I plan to start a salad mix that includes radish, alfalfa, and broccoli seeds. Sounds good, doesn't it?!

Maio 2, 2020, 5:19pm

>78 witchyrichy: kimchi? ::double drool::

Maio 3, 2020, 9:38pm

>80 Storeetllr: It does sound good! Ordering now...

>81 fuzzi: I'm sticking with sauerkraut for now ;-)

Maio 6, 2020, 9:19am

We have a post office box in town and were already very bad about picking up our mail. The stay at home orders have made it worse. I made the trek on Monday, though, as I knew I would be rewarded with books! I have been supporting a friend's indie bookstore by doing weekly purchases. They choose and they have done a great job, only sending one book that I've read. They may be checking my LibraryThing list and I did mention British mysteries. Here's what I've gotten so far since we started:

A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss (The one I've read)
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
Quite Honestly by John Mortimer
Forever Rumpole by John Mortimer
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
A Dublin Student Doctor by Patrick Taylor

Maio 6, 2020, 9:29am

Hi Karen: I hope you and yours are well.

>66 witchyrichy: This sounds like a good one. I like good historical mysteries.

The Prose book sounds like one I would love.

Maio 6, 2020, 11:03am

>84 BLBera: Same to you! I ate fresh snow peas from my husband's garden this morning. Doesn't get much better than that. I have enjoyed the Medieval Murderers because I get an introduction to some of the medieval detectives and may follow up with their longer books. I think the cast of writers may change from book to book.

Maio 6, 2020, 12:44pm

>84 BLBera: have you read any of Sharon Kay Penman's mysteries? She has a series that starts with The Queen's Man, which I enjoyed very, very much.

Editado: Maio 6, 2020, 1:07pm

>79 witchyrichy: Mmmm. I have Wandering Through Winter and have often wondered about it. I'll try to keep in mind my need to find out what you think of it, Karen.

Maio 6, 2020, 1:18pm

>86 fuzzi: I have read the first two of the series and really enjoyed them! Thanks for the reminder. Maybe I'll get to the others soon.

Maio 6, 2020, 2:42pm

>86 fuzzi: >88 BLBera: I had forgotten that series. I read the first one and remember liking it. Isn't Eleanor of Aquitaine of the main characters? She is a favorite of mine.

>87 LizzieD: I ended up starting the summer part of the series, Journey Into Summer. I think the series started with Spring and ended with Winter. I don't have the whole series.

Maio 6, 2020, 3:14pm

Love Penman's historical mysteries, but her Sunne in Splendour is probably THE best historical fiction novel I've ever read. It's a doorstop of a book, but, if you're into historical fiction, it's one to at least check out.

Maio 6, 2020, 7:43pm

>90 Storeetllr: I think it may be the only one I haven't read from those books. I have a copy on the shelf and will be moving it up the list. It is a chunkster but it seems like perfect reading for this summer. Best gift my husband ever gave me: an above ground pool. I buy a fancy floaty every year and spend long afternoons reading and floating and enjoying adult beverages.

Maio 6, 2020, 9:12pm

>88 BLBera: you're welcome. Maybe it's time for a reread...

>89 witchyrichy: yes, Eleanor is the queen during the series.

>90 Storeetllr: I read most of that many years ago. I was a mother of young children, working too, so with time constraints. I had to return it to the library before I could finish it, and never went back.

Maio 8, 2020, 10:29am

Hi Karen!

>85 witchyrichy: Oh wow, fresh snow peas. Yum.

I have two Penman’s on my shelves, the first two of the Justin de Quincy Medieval Mystery series. Hmmm. Maybe I should think about one for this year.

Maio 8, 2020, 10:30am

>93 karenmarie: do it! Do it!

Maio 8, 2020, 7:31pm

>93 karenmarie: >94 fuzzi: And while I have been having fun with the challenges, I'm ready to ditch them and dive into The Sunne in Splendor.

Maio 29, 2020, 3:07pm

May has been interesting and exciting and scary all at once.

My small nonprofit that focuses on integrating technology in teaching and learning was tapped for a grant from the state's department of education to support the rollout of a statewide learning management system. With the increase in online learning, our state is opening its virtual school platform to any division for free. They will be able to access already created courses in almost every grade level and content area and teachers will be able to create their own courses. Close to 50 school divisions have already signed up and we are going to be providing the professional development and community aspects.

We hosted an introductory webinar last week and maxed out our room with 1000 participants! We're doing a few more introductory pieces for more focused stakeholders (division leaders, school leaders, and teachers) and then diving into more specific training in July.

Add to that some personal consulting related to developing some online course, writing a guide to adult learning, and a presenting a webinar for anti-violence technical assistance providers related to moving their work online and life is busy. But, it feels good. I had fallen into the coronavirus doldrums and having meaningful work to do helps reenergize me.

All that by way of saying I have been absent from LibraryThing. I am getting some pleasure reading done outside of the three books about adult learning but haven't finished anything substantial yet.

Jun 1, 2020, 7:19pm

>96 witchyrichy: Karen, that is fantastic, and such important work! I've enjoyed catching up here, and read about your garden with envy. I know you'll be busy but I hope you can keep posting!

You got me with your review of Reading Like a Writer.

Jun 6, 2020, 7:32pm

A Garden Tour

Jun 6, 2020, 7:33pm

A Garden Tour

Click the picture to see the whole gallery.

Jun 6, 2020, 9:25pm

>99 witchyrichy: nice! So many familiar flowers, love it. Was that Monarda/Bee balm in front of the white Hydrangea?

Jun 6, 2020, 10:18pm

Beautiful garden, Karen! Not to mention Kermit.

>96 witchyrichy: Good for you! Making a difference!

Editado: Jun 9, 2020, 2:11pm

>100 fuzzi: I'm frugal so I spread flowers rather than buying new ones so I tend to have the same flowers in different beds. The white hydrangea was a gift! In front of it are cardinal flowers that get beautiful lipstick shaped red blossoms later in the summer. We also have a ton of chocolate mint that fills in as well.

>101 Copperskye: The pool isn't ready yet but I sat beside it and another kermit joined me. At dusk, they all started their singing. At those moments, the world seems far away.

Jun 9, 2020, 2:42pm

I love your flowers, Karen.

I was teaching, so was happy to be busy. Now that school is done, I have to make a list to keep busy so that I don't get the COVID blues. My granddaughter and I have been collaborating on doll clothes, so that is fun.

Jun 9, 2020, 3:30pm

>99 witchyrichy: Beautiful! Your grounds look so peaceful!

Jun 10, 2020, 12:11pm

>102 witchyrichy: me too, I thin my perennials and plant them elsewhere in the yard, or give them away. My most prolific plants are Canna lilies and Coreopsis.

Jun 16, 2020, 8:03pm

>103 BLBera: Thanks! They keep me at least a little sane. I've overseeded a large bed with zinnias, four o'clocks and wildflower mix. Hoping for something to come of it this year. I found a bag of homemade doll clothes that my grandmother made for me. She sewed and knitted so my Barbie and Ken had their own fashion line!

>104 Storeetllr: Thanks! Lots of weeding still needs done. And we opened up a section of the garden under the tree that I will plant this fall.

>105 fuzzi: I don't have any canna lilies and they are standard around here! There are a few beautiful spots of them in town so maybe I'll see if they want to trade. We do have Coreopsis. My excitement this year is getting a bed of Cleome going.

Jul 1, 2020, 1:35pm

It's July! How did that happen? We've been designing and delivering training at the same time as well as creating the foundation of a state wide users' group related to Canvas and the Virtual Virginia site. It's exhilarating work and we are reaching so many educators, especially in our traditionally underserved school divisions who could have never afforded a Canvas license or all the PD we're offering. There are days, however, when I wonder if I should have retired last year ;-)

I have been reading mysteries: House of Shame and The Lost Prophecies by The Medieval Murderers continue to be good. I like getting glimpses into various different Medieval mystery series and having them each revolve around some ancient object or legend is fascinating.

And...I finally discovered Louise Penny and Three Pines! Read the first three back to back. I am on the waiting list at the library for the next ones.

Jul 1, 2020, 7:35pm

>99 witchyrichy: What a lovely garden! Thanks for sharing.

Jul 1, 2020, 9:04pm

Your gardens are lovely as always!

Good for you, doing work that matters in these difficult months. Congratulations!

Of to look at The Medieval Murderers.

Jul 4, 2020, 1:24pm

>108 figsfromthistle: I have a few more pictures to get uploaded.

>109 bohemima: Thanks! This year, my new hips means I can take care of them myself rather than trying to pay people to weed. No one weeds the way I do, on my hands and knees. Hope you enjoy the Medieval Murderers!

Editado: Jul 4, 2020, 1:50pm

I have large gaps in my reading. Elmore Leonard is one of them. Get Shorty came via my weekly book subscription service from a friend's indie bookstore. Having decided at some point that I was probably going to abandon the various challenges, I picked it up. So glad I did! I loved it: Chili Palmer is a smooth, small scale loan shark. But his attitude is just cool. When he ends up in Hollywood, his outsider status and ideas seems to help him navigate the waters infested with much larger sharks. Like his movie idea, there is a girl and a satisfying ending, something Chili discovers is the hardest part of the movie. His style reminds me a little bit of Carl Hiaassen where the bad guys are kind of dumb and the good guys aren't always perfect.

And, when I went to grab the image of the book cover, guess what? All the recommendations were for Hiaassen books that I have already read! I think he does have a new one on the way.

Jul 4, 2020, 4:25pm

Hi Karen my dear, Happy 4th July dear friend.

Jul 4, 2020, 11:10pm

In this difficult year with an unprecedented pandemic and where the ills of the past intrude sadly upon the present there must still be room for positivity. Be rightly proud of your country. To all my American friends, enjoy your 4th of July weekend.

Jul 13, 2020, 1:13pm

Hi Karen! Congrats on all the good and exhilirating work and your beautiful garden.

Jul 19, 2020, 6:12pm

It sounds like you have really been busy, Karen.

Editado: Ago 1, 2020, 11:17am

>113 PaulCranswick: >114 karenmarie: >115 BLBera: Thanks for stopping by. You've been to my thread more than I have in July and I appreciate the check ins.

I am busy enough that when I do have free time, I end up floating on the pool, often with a book but sometimes just enjoying a quiet float. Here's the upside: I love all the work I'm doing. We're seeing the impact of our outreach, especially now that most of our school divisions in Virginia are going fully online for at least the first six or nine weeks.

Now, my organization is pivoting to figuring out how to do our two main events--a one-day leadership forum in October and our annual three-day conference in December--as virtual ones. To that end, we experimented with doing a two-day virtual conference last week that was well received. But, even us techies were pushed to our limits of screen time. Learned some good lessons about taking breaks and doing other kinds of sessions beyond Zoom. We did get to add some amazing content to our YouTube site. Here's the link if you are interested in taking a peak at the kinds of things I do when I'm not reading or gardening: https://www.youtube.com/user/vstevideo

In addition to this, I have two other clients for whom I'm doing training development and instructional design work.

August will be spent planning for the three classes I will be teaching online this fall. I'm only really "teaching" one of them, a graduate course called School Technology, geared toward MEd students at University of Richmond, a course I've taught both face to face and as a hybrid. This semester it moves fully online. The other two come with developed curriculum and I act as facilitator so a bit less intense with no live meetings.

Gardening has mostly stopped for me: it's been too hot, humid and dry. My husband has been watering the vegetable crops but the flowers seem to be doing okay with the occasional storm and morning dew. The weeds have also moved in although the cardboard and mulch I laid in the spring has kept them down a bit: they are mostly big stalks that come out by the roots. Just need the tropical storm to bring a little rain to wet the ground down an inch or so.

I have been reading and need to update my list. Pretty much given up on challenges for right now.

Happy August! I have been trying to take pictures. Here's an album from July:

Ago 17, 2020, 8:16am

Worked, worked, worked for the first two weeks of August with an average of two zoom meetings a day. This week gets much better! A few things to do early but then somehow I have three completely meeting-free days! Shhh....don't tell anyone!

I have been having fun reading: discovered Amos Decker and read two in a row, loved Wish You Well, and am now immersed in the past with Thirteen Moons and Lonesome Dove.

Ago 20, 2020, 9:34am

Lovely to see you posting, Karen.

Set 15, 2020, 12:44pm

>118 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. And then another three weeks went by!

Editado: Set 15, 2020, 1:50pm

Life is finally settling down a bit. I worked really hard so I could be offline and with family around Labor Day. My older sister rented a place in Deep Creek, Maryland, and my parents were able to come down from Pennsylvania. My husband stayed at the farm with our dogs so I could go and hang out. Haven't seen them since January! My mother had a hip replacement in the summer and is doing pretty well for an 85 year old dame.

I explored for the future as this is our dream place: country roads, mountain vistas and easy to paddle water. Click the picture to view and album with a few pictures from my explorations:

Set 15, 2020, 5:40pm

>120 witchyrichy: lovely pictures! I especially like the mushroom pics, the Monarch, and those interesting rocks...it looks as if they are worm-eaten wood. I wonder what did that?

We've been looking at areas of West Virginia where it would be less expensive to live once we retire (2-5 years away), and much of the scenery is similar to what you posted of Maryland. Very nice, indeed.

Set 16, 2020, 2:09am

Set 19, 2020, 10:32am

>121 fuzzi: The rocks are sandstone, I do know that. There is natural history interpretation along the trails in the Form Run Recreation area. But they don't say anything about the way the rocks have weathered. They are used by the public for climbing.

Deep Creek was gorgeous with lots of public accessibility to wilderness via parks, forests and wildlife management areas. I picked up one of those real estate magazines but haven't looked but I suspect it's pricey. West Virginia is an enticing idea for retirement. One real draw for me: the weather. It was perfect in the mountains while it was miserably summer in Tidewater Virginia. I could get used to that.

>122 quondame: Thanks! I had sort of run out of picture taking opportunities at the farm so having a new landscape was fun!

Set 19, 2020, 5:40pm

>123 witchyrichy: but consider the snow...some areas of WV get 160" per year!

I can deal with snow, but not that much!

Set 21, 2020, 8:42am

>124 fuzzi: Agreed...my husband grew up in Erie and it was good year when they didn't have snow for Halloween. I'm not thinking it is a full time location ;-)

Editado: Set 21, 2020, 9:25am

I am determined to get caught up with reviews and threads. I'm sure some of you are in the double digits by now. I am watching the finals of the Italian Open in anticipation of the French. Trying to get to know the newer players. Sadly, Pliskova is obviously in pain and not doing well at all and just withdrew.

May Reading Reviews

Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick was everything I appreciate about Philbrick's work. Detailed without being fussy with a focus on individual stories. What has stuck with me through this summer of racial protest was the description of the provincial soldiers (Philbrick rarely calls them patriots) heading to Bunker Hill and passing through the Charlestown common past the place where “Mark was hung in chains.” Philbrick describes this gruesome landmark:

In 1755 the slave Mark had been executed for conspiring to poison his abusive master. Whereas his female accomplice had been burned to death, Mark had been hanged; his body was then stuffed into an iron cage that was suspended from a chain at the edge of the Charlestown Common, where the corpse was left to rot and be picked apart by birds.

The site was well-known, according to Philbrick, and he reminds us:

Slavery was more than a rhetorical construct for the city’s white residents; it was an impossible-to-ignore reality in a community where African men, women, and children regularly bought and sold and where anyone taking the road into or out of nearby Charlestown had no choice but to remember what had happened in 1755 when a black man threatened to overthrow his oppressor.

Mountain in the Clouds: A Search for the Wild Salmon by Bruce Brown

Brown's description of his wanderings in the Pacific Northwest to learn more about the impact of environmental degradation on the wild salmon and the people who rely on it for their lives and their livelihood is a classic in the field, written in the mid-1980s. He came out strongly against hatcheries in the book and continued to resist them in a 2010 article in the Seattle Times. The story of the salmon and Native Americans is particularly difficult to read as it is the story of so many native peoples, forced to give up their lives as the resources that formed the foundation were devastated by the advancement of white people.

Journey Into Summer by Edwin Way Teale

Written in the 1950s, Teale's four book series chronicle his road trips across the United States accompanied by his wife as they explore the four seasons. This is another classic and ranges from history to nature. My retirement dream is to recreate these trips. I had meant to read Wandering Through Winter but ended up with summer. Winter will come and I'm looking for copies o the other two as well to round out the collection. I also discovered he wrote A Naturalist Buys An Old Farm and may have to order it, too.

All three books are recommended reads but the latter two may be harder to find.

Set 22, 2020, 2:44pm

I pursued several series in June:

The Collected Stories of Rumpole by John Mortimer
One of the books from my random book of the week deliveries: I asked for classic mysteries. Fun, so very British, and now I realize I need to watch the television shows.

Still Life by Louise Penny
A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
As I mentioned somewhere else, I feel like I have big gaps in my reading. Not sure how I missed Louis Penny and Armand Gamache. Read the first three in the space of a week and am going to get started on the rest of the list this fall. Atmospheric--I think it's the frigid temperatures--but also intriguing with a second story from the past weaving the books together, glimpsed at first and then slowly revealed.

The Lost Prophecies by The Medieval Murderers
House of Shadows by The Medieval Murderers
Two more in the series where mystery writers share a common element and create short stories with their detectives. I haven't pursued any of the individual detectives further, but I enjoy getting the flavor of various settings and characters.

Editado: Set 24, 2020, 9:57am

Queen Victoria: Twenty-Four Days That Changed Her Life by Lucy Worsley

I read this more because I like Lucy Worsley's various series on PBS related to English history. But, I've also been introduced to Victoria through the series and figured it was a chance to get behind the myths. It was an enjoyable summer afternoon read with that balance of story, gossip and history that brings the past into the present for lay readers. I don't need to know the exact words uttered or the debates among historians: Worsley tells about the people and their relationships and their world in fascinating details.

Set 24, 2020, 10:04am

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

I have the whole series and had been waiting for a few long summer days to get started. I was not disappointed.

It is one of those sprawling stories, following a group of family and friends near Naples. Elena and Lila from the center of the novel, the beginning of their friendship and its twists and turns through the early years of their lives as they take different paths but remain connected to each other. Now, I am looking forward to a few long winter night to dive into the rest of the series.

Set 24, 2020, 10:50am

The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home by George Howe Colt

I was glad I read this book when I did as my vacation in Maryland was in a big house with a similar, if shorter, history as the one Colt describes in this book. The house we stayed in had been built in the late 1990s for an obviously big family with lots of interests from boating to skiing to tennis. This was the first year it was rented, and the family was still very much in evidence via photos on the wall and holiday decorations stored in the laundry room.

Colt's family home in Cape Cod has been built long before the one I stayed in and had seen several generations pass through, women and children staying for the summer months as the men traveled back and forth for work. Family rituals dotted the summer calendar. But now, the cost of maintaining such a place, pummeled as it was by sea and sand, was beyond the means of any of the family members and they faced the fact that it was going to have to be sold.

The book takes place during the last summer as Colt considers the past and his own family connections. It is full of nostalgia and details about the lives of the family as well as the house and its furnishings and family memories. I enjoyed the book but occasionally found it tedious with Colt much more interested in his family minutiae than I was. I didn't need ten or so pages describing every item the family members chose during the closing, for instance. But a little skimming and I still enjoyed the read.

Set 25, 2020, 2:33pm

August was about David Baldacci. I began the Amos Decker series and was hooked. I read the the first two back to back. I think it was the characters the Baldacci brought together with Decker. They have their own personalities and intelligences to contribute to the solution of the mystery rather than just being the kindly sidekicks. The plots were twisty and deftly woven. Looking forward to continuing the series.

Memory Man
The Last Mile

Wish You Well by David Baldacci is loosely based on his genealogical research. Baldacci's loving descriptions of the SW Virginia mountains pulled me in along with his story of the Cardinal family. I didn't mind the mystical elements, just the edge of fantasy, wanting to believe that the universe does work towards justice. I gave it to my mother to read on vacation and she asked if it was sad. I was able to say honestly that there were sad elements and certainly ones that made me angry as they showed the injustices suffered from the mountain dwellers but ultimately it was a good story. She enjoyed it. So did I. We left it on the book shelf at the vacation house.

Set 25, 2020, 2:43pm

thirteen moons by Charles Frazier

What a novel. At its heart, it is the historical story of the Cherokees and their ultimate relocation to Indian territory. But what a way to tell it. Orphan Will Cooper is sent off to the Cherokee Nation as a bound apprentice at 12 years old. His job is at a rural trading post. He is quickly absorbed into the culture, befriended by a man named Bear, seduced by the beautiful Claire daughter of the enigmatic Featherstone. The novel follows the course of his life, his love and his loss. Hysterically funny, tragically sad, gripping prose...it was a reading experience from Frazier.

Set 25, 2020, 4:50pm

More Agatha Christie

The Body in the Library
The Moving Finger
Murder is Announced
4.50 From Paddington

Classic mysteries was an intentional focus this year and it doesn't get much more classic. These four were packaged as a volume. They are not in order but come from the first half of the series. it is nice to get lost in the world of the English village even if it is around the subject of murder. I haven't watched the television series. For now, I have this vision of Miss Marple with knitting thread wafting around her in clouds.

Set 26, 2020, 4:51pm

Hi Karen my dear, it has been quite a while since i last visited your thread, i have been busy most of September taking advantage of the good weather finally to get a couple of big jobs in the garden done and have not posted much or read that much to be honest.

I see that you are reading some Agatha Christie, these are Any's favourite and she is reading one at the moment that she had not read before.

I hope things are good with you and Bob my dear, we are both well apart from now having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome due to cleaning the driveway, sending love and hugs to both of you from both of us dear friend.

Out 7, 2020, 11:29am

Hi Karen - hope things are continuing to go well.

I'm also way behind on visiting and on reviews.

I like your focus on classic mysteries. Is this a result of the pandemic or had you planned this at the beginning of the year?

Out 9, 2020, 4:24pm

>134 johnsimpson: I am having trouble just keeping up with my own thread much less visiting others! So glad you stopped by and I do see you on Twitter now and again. I have enjoyed Agatha Christie and am ready to dive back in. Going to see what the library might have for digital loan. Things are going well for us: my nonprofit is surviving and maybe even thriving, the farm provided us with lots of fresh vegies this summer and a few frozen ones for the winter, and fall has arrived with its lovely temperatures. I think it is the nicest time of year here in Tidewater. Like you, I've been out gardening and I added bike riding. It's been ten months since my hip replacement and I feel like a new woman!

All our best to you and yours with big hugs!

Out 9, 2020, 4:27pm

>135 streamsong: I had decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted to read some of the classics. I had a few from Poisoned Pen Press's British Library but thought I should get to the heart of it with Agatha! Also way behind but was getting caught up on the reviews. We had our first formal virtual event this past Tuesday and considering everything that could go wrong, it went pretty well. Small and for a group we often meet with so it was friendly. But it also managed to suck a lot of air out of the room the past week or two. Now I'm seeing some light ahead: fewer meetings, space to think and plan and READ!

Out 9, 2020, 4:42pm

I managed to start two chunksters at the same time: The Mirror and the Light on the Kindle and then Edward Rutherfurd's New York for the bedside book. Today was the start of my long weekend and I was determined to finish one of them. I went for Rutherfurd after one of the dogs woke me at 5:30 AM to go outside. Instead of trying to go back to sleep, I made a latte while I waited for him and took that back to bed. By the time the sun rose, I was well into the 20th century of Rutherfurd's story of New York. Finished it off just now with my afternoon cocktail.

While New York is both setting and main character, it is Rutherfurd's people, with their dreams and beliefs, that really create the rich tapestry of New York city. Each generation builds on the last but also stakes it own claims and follows its own paths. And as with all his books, the various family strands intertwine over the story. They may be a bit contrived but they show how the citizens of New York interact with each other even though they live in different neighborhoods and come from different backgrounds. Rich or poor, they are New Yorkers.

Out 10, 2020, 10:49am

After months of shopping for books online, I took the chance and visited a bookstore in Oakland, Maryland. It is a family vacation tradition for me as I always spend time (and money) at Island Books in Corolla, North Carolina. I missed that old village store but it was fun to find a new independent bookstore.

The Book Mark'et and Antique Mezzanine was mostly books with a few antiques. The selection was small but well chosen. I came away with an eclectic selection:

Outsider by Linda Castillo
Warriors, Witches, Women by Kate Hodges
Writers & Lovers by Lily King
Jackpot by Nic Stone
No Brakes by Ellen Ann Callahan
Plowed Over by Ellen Ann Callahan
Apeirogon by Colum McCann
The Dry by Jane Harper
Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life by Marta McDowell
Forest Life by George Washington Sears
Morning Glory on the Vine by Joni Mitchell

Out 11, 2020, 4:04pm

Hi Karen my dear, i hope you enjoy Edward Rutherfurd's New York, i loved it and hope to read Paris before years end.

Sending love and hugs to you and Bob, dear friend.

Out 15, 2020, 2:45pm

>140 johnsimpson: I really enjoyed Rutherfurd's work. And laughed at the two characters who were named Vorpal and Bandersnatch. I read Paris some time ago and remember enjoying it. What's not to love: interesting characters, intriguing locations, great history!

Love to you and Karen as well.

Out 15, 2020, 11:39pm

Just popping in to catch up and say Hi! Nice book haul--I don't know most of them so I will have to wait for your reviews.

Out 25, 2020, 10:04am

Hi Karen!

>128 witchyrichy: I love Lucy Worsley’s various series related to English History. I didn’t realize she wrote books, and is quite prolific. Live and learn.

>132 witchyrichy: I’ve had this book on my shelves for at least thirteen years… I’ve tagged it 2020 read and we’ll see if I have the right emotional energy for it this year.

>139 witchyrichy: Nice haul, and browsing physical books is something I seriously miss. Glad you took the chance.

Nov 7, 2020, 3:53pm

Hi Karen my dear, i hope that you and Bob are both well and having a good start to the weekend, sending love and hugs to both of you from both of us and Felix, dear friend.

Nov 17, 2020, 5:05pm

>142 Berly: Thanks for stopping by! Add those books to the 30 or so I got as part of an indie bookstore weekly "mystery book" shipment and I am awash in books! So, what am I doing? Reading The Memory Man series by David Baldacci.

Nov 17, 2020, 5:11pm

>143 karenmarie: I think there is a new Worsley series coming up but now I can't find it between YouTube TV and PBS passport. Have you discovered Dan Jones? I loved his histories of the Plantagenets and the rose of the Tudors. He has a good series about castles that I think I am getting through Britbox or Acorn.

As for thirteen moons, it is incredibly tragic and yet there is this comical edge. The characters are almost gothic sometimes and that deepens the storytelling.

And my days of browsing are over, I'm afraid. We are hunkering down as numbers rise in Virginia. Plus, if I stay home for the holidays, it encourages my 85 year old parents to stay home in Pennsylvania. We'll be zooming the holidays ;-)

Hope you are well!

Editado: Nov 17, 2020, 5:17pm

>144 johnsimpson: Thanks so much for the love! Have you won those pens yet? I spend more time on twitter these days as it is easy to do from my phone. I hope you both are doing well and a special shout out to Felix. We have been adopted by a cat ourselves that we are calling Circe. She arrived just at the start of the pandemic and it was clear she was domesticated. No chip but she is spayed. The dogs are learning to live with her but she has her own space in the master bedroom that she can access via a window. We never thought the dogs would accept a cat so we haven't had one for years. It is good to have some feline energy in the house.

Editado: Nov 17, 2020, 5:30pm

Karen Richardson, aka witchyrichy, checking in from the field hospital behind the front lines of the education response to COVID. My nonprofit continues to do what we can to support educators who are learning to teach virtually even as they are doing it. When I first got started in educational technology in the mid to late 1990s, we used to show a video as part of our professional development. It was from a company and the metaphor was perfect for those early days of computers and internet in schools.

View the Video

It is similarly perfect today. Teachers are asked to do things no one really knows how to do, let alone do well:
teach kids both online and face to face at the same time
teach kids who have internet and those who don't in an equitable way
teach kids online while their own kids/spouses are also online
learn how to use the tools to do all of the above while they are using them to do all of the above
and in many cases operate without a whole lot of leadership or guidance

So my little nonprofit is trying to step into the breach along with our department of education. We're bringing in a national expert to kickstart the conversation and then taking our annual conference online in just a few weeks. We're doing some free stuff for those who can't afford even $75 and then a paid version that is more like our regular face to face conference. We're experimenting with formats for people who are tired of zooming and google meeting and webexing. Our biggest challenge is recreating the "hallway conversations" that are so important.

We continue to support the rollout of Canvas as the statewide LMS and I have been asked to write another grant proposal for us to provide PD related to online learning. It's been a whirlwind and I am seeing a bit of a lull. I've been able to hire project managers and my conference chair is a gem of a man who loves the details. If I can keep the energy going, I may be able to take off the whole week next week.

I have missed LT and appreciate the visitors to my thread. I haven been reading a bit. I stalled out on The Mirror and the Light as I don't have the capacity to concentrate and navigate that level of prose. But David Baldacci's Memory Man series has been perfect. Short chapters, intriguing mysteries, and startling twists.

Nov 18, 2020, 7:15am

>147 witchyrichy: I love it how cats "adopt" us.

Nov 19, 2020, 4:08pm

>147 witchyrichy:, Hi Karen my dear, Circe looks gorgeous and i am so glad your Dogs have accepted her. I didn't win any of the pens sadly but i will keep trying, one of these days my number will come up.

It is always nice to see you on Twitter my dear, i am glad you like Cult Pens but as i said you would be better off with Goulet Pens and there are one or two other good US outlets online. I have been hoping that Cult Pens or Pure Pens would be able to get an exclusive pen to retail from one of the big brands like Goulet seems to do but it hasn't happened yet. I would be in serious debt if i lived in the States as i would be a regular customer of Goulet as they also have some really good priced pens available but until the pound/dollar rate gets better for me, this and the customs bill and delivery costs prevents me from purchasing. If i win a decent amount on the lottery then i can say to hell with the costs of the charges and make a purchase from Brian and Rachael at Goulet.

Hope all is well with you and Bob and the Dogs and Circe, we are both well and i have my Op in the morning, the only downside apart from the pain is that i cannot write for two whole weeks, my Fountain Pens will wonder what is going on, lol.

Sending love and hugs dear friend from both of us.

Nov 25, 2020, 12:19am

Hey stranger! Hope all is well, sounds like you’re busy in a good way!

Little Circe is a cutie. It’s a special thing to be adopted by a cat - congratulations!

Nov 25, 2020, 12:34pm

Hi Karen!

>146 witchyrichy: I have not discovered Dan Jones, but will check him out. Thanks for the head’s up.

>147 witchyrichy: Sweet picture, congrats on being adopted by Circe.

>148 witchyrichy: Brava for the expanded role your non-profit's having to help support educators in these perilous times.

Nov 26, 2020, 4:28pm

Hi Karen my dear, Happy Thanksgiving Day and hope that you and Bob are having a good day dear friend.

Nov 27, 2020, 2:21am

This Brit wishes to express his thanks for the warmth and friendship that has helped sustain him in this group, Karen.

Nov 29, 2020, 9:41am

>149 fuzzi: She showed up just as we settled in for the pandemic. I figured her for one of the barn cats, but she stuck close rather than running off. Once I started feeding her, it became clear she was domesticated. Deciding she could be an outdoor cat because of the dogs, (she would hang out with us at the pool this summer), I took her to the vet. We both thought she was pregnant, but it turns out she had been spayed. The vet didn't find the mark until they shaved her for surgery. She has an enlarged kidney that showed up as a potential baby. It doesn't seem to be causing any trouble. She is getting to be fat, happy, and sassy.

Nov 29, 2020, 9:44am

>150 johnsimpson: I have some pens from Goulet in my shopping cart right now! Taking a moment to decide which ones I really need and which ones could wait. I suppose I can only use one at a time.

I am heading to your thread right now to see what has happened with the op. I need to work LT into the daily schedule, I think, or life quickly gets in the way.

Nov 29, 2020, 9:50am

>151 Copperskye: I am enjoying the challenge. My team was just such a well-oiled machine when it came to the face to face conference that I didn't have to sweat any of the details so we are back to the early days of planning. I joke that there are days when I wish that I had retired early but then other days when I realize I am glad I can be of some help.

And, it isn't just PK-16 educators who are having to rethink all this. I am doing some gig work with Futures Without Violence, a group that does professional development for people working in areas related to domestic violence. We were planning a three-day workshop this fall that we have turned into an online course. It is all about how to do PD online. Again, we are trying to demonstrate that there are more tools than just Zoom that can support your work.

Nov 29, 2020, 9:56am

>152 karenmarie: Dan Jones has a new history channel out that features all his documentaries. It's called History Hit. It's $50/year. I may try the free trial.

Nov 29, 2020, 9:57am

>153 johnsimpson: >154 PaulCranswick: Happy Thanksgiving to both of you! I am grateful for this community although as with many things you love, I do tend to take it for granted. I am filling up my cup and will be heading out to post to a few threads. I wonder, Paul, if you are in three digits yet?

Nov 29, 2020, 3:07pm

>155 witchyrichy: my grandmother had a cat that got pregnant at 5 months. From the litter she decided to keep my favorite kitten, a girl I'd named Minx...or so we thought. After her belly was shaved at the vet's they discovered she was a slow developing male. Oops.

Nov 30, 2020, 1:27pm

Hi, Karen! Just stopping by to say hi and how much I enjoyed the pic of your tree that you left on my thread when you dropped by.

>147 witchyrichy: What a sweet kitty! Looks exactly like a cat I had in the late 70s: Spooky T. Alexander (don't ask), who was my absolute favorite kitty out of all the cats I've had.

>148 witchyrichy: Wow! You've had a lot going on! I appreciate what you're doing; my son-in-law is a middle-school teacher who's been teaching in the classroom AND online at the same time until a week ago when NYC closed the schools again because the virus was getting out of control again. He's also taking a class online. In some ways, it's more convenient (the other day, he was teaching in his usual shirt and tie with pajama bottoms and socks), but he'd rather be teaching in person, if it was safe. I hope for your and all our sakes we get this pandemic under control soon.

Nov 30, 2020, 4:01pm

Hi Karen my dear, thanks for stopping by my thread, the picture you posted cheered me up on this dreary Monday.

I saw on post 156 that you have been shopping at Goulet online and i am intrigued to find out what pens you had in your basket, perusing a site like this just drops you through the rabbit hole as you see so much that you would like or is this just me and my fountain pen addiction.

Sending love and hugs to both of you dear friend.

Nov 30, 2020, 6:55pm

>160 fuzzi: Oops, indeed! My vet charged me for the pre-op prep and I was OK with that. But we are confident she is a she!

Nov 30, 2020, 6:58pm

>161 Storeetllr: I have taught higher education online for awhile but it is very different from teaching K-12. I suspect some kids don't mind it and may be thriving in the online environment. But our society as a whole is not prepared for kids to be home, in general. In case you check this thread, you can share this link with your son-in-law. Dr. Catlin Tucker is the leading expert in concurrent teaching (teacher with both face to face and online students) along with online learning in general. We're hosting it and offering it for free next Tuesday, December 8, at 7 PM ET. Here's the link: Catlin Tucker Webinar Anyone can register and attend.

Nov 30, 2020, 7:07pm

>162 johnsimpson: I emptied the cart and tried to show some control. I bought the first timer package and then, for fun, the Pilot Plumix Hand Lettering Calligraphy Set - Hydrangea. Really looking forward to getting started with them. I love that the website has a category for "novel writing" tools. I think I know what I am going to do when I retire: write a novel/memoir using fountain pens!

Editado: Nov 30, 2020, 8:05pm

>161 Storeetllr: >162 johnsimpson: Glad you liked the tree. I couldn't muster the energy to put up the regular tree as my mother usually helps me decorate it and they are staying put in Pennsylvania. I am pretty happy with the book tree but have some design ideas for the future. It is in the library, which seems appropriate. The big tree is just lighted and in the upstairs window seat area so it can be seen from the road. It is also cheery in the dark winter nights.

Nov 30, 2020, 11:32pm

>163 witchyrichy: Thanks, Karen! I'll let James know about that webinar.

Dez 1, 2020, 7:48am

>166 witchyrichy:, Hi Karen my dear, having a book tree and a standard tree for Christmas sounds good and i love that the book tree is in the library. Having the lighted tree in the upstairs window seat so that it can be seen from the road is a genius idea. We have started with a couple of Christmas items so far, the advent swag is hanging from the fire surround and the Christmas tree advent is on the room door, sadly my idea to fill it for Karen had to go by the wayside for this year but i will do it for her next year as she put my advent ink samples in it last year.

We will start to put up decorations tomorrow, the tree will be put up but no baubles on for a couple of days to see what Felix makes of it and other decorations will go up over the next few days.

Dez 1, 2020, 7:56am

>159 witchyrichy: Books read or threads, Karen?! Yes to the first and most definitely nada to the second. xx

Editado: Dez 8, 2020, 3:27pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Dez 8, 2020, 3:28pm

>168 johnsimpson: Even with the shutdowns, it is nice to get along with the traditions in some form or another. Hope you are enjoying the season.

Dez 8, 2020, 3:29pm

>169 PaulCranswick: I was thinking threads but books are always good, too!

Dez 8, 2020, 3:38pm

Can you tell I have gotten hooked on Louise Penny? The storyline that runs through the novels is riveting. I really care more about the people than the murders in some cases. But I also love how they are drawn from Canadian history. Maybe when we can travel again, we'll take The Three Pines Tour!

Dez 22, 2020, 12:10pm

Just reconciled my book list with the books on the thread and each one equals 75! I feel as though I am late this year but I may get to 80. Finally, blessedly on break. Doing some crocheting, maybe some baking, definitely some reading.

My husband gave me a monocular with a mount for my iPhone and I've been spying on the birds that come to the second floor porch. This little bird is the one I've been waiting for. It's a red-breasted nuthatch. We have a pair that nest in the tree near the smokehouse and come flitting across with a little chipping sound.

I originally id'ed this as a brown-headed nuthatch as we are used to seeing them. But I knew the markings were different. The challenge, now, is to get a picture of the brown-headed version, too.

Dez 22, 2020, 1:05pm

Nice pic! I should look into a monocular for mrsdrneutron.

Dez 22, 2020, 4:08pm

Dez 22, 2020, 4:10pm

Dez 22, 2020, 9:19pm

Hi Karen!

... and here's to a better 2021!

Dez 22, 2020, 10:53pm

>176 witchyrichy: Congratulations on your completion of 75! Best wishes for getting through 80!

Dez 23, 2020, 4:46pm

>176 witchyrichy: Congratulations on reaching 75, Karen!

Lovely picture, looking forward to a picture of the brown-headed version :-)

Dez 24, 2020, 11:28am

>177 drneutron: Mine is a Gosky which is evidently pretty well known. Not sure what model. I was very happy to be able to site back from the window so the birds got comfortable. I am fortunate to be on the second floor of the house and the birds like the shelter of the porch.

Dez 24, 2020, 11:29am

>178 johnsimpson: Merry Christmas to you, too, my friend! I am coming to visit you and the family someday. For now, lots of love and hugs are coming to you from the farm. Best wishes for the holidays and the new year!

Dez 24, 2020, 11:31am

>179 figsfromthistle: Thanks for the holiday wishes! I am just getting ready to do some thread hopping myself! All my best wishes to you and yours for the holiday break and the new year.

Dez 24, 2020, 11:33am

>180 karenmarie: Best wishes to you and yours, too! I LOVE the tree image. And we are certainly hoping for a better new year. At least we all have reading to sustain us!

Dez 24, 2020, 11:34am

>182 FAMeulstee: Thanks! I wasn't sure I was going to make it. As for the nuthatches, I don't think the brown headed ones come upstairs. I will have to stake out the feeders in the back yard. I am *fairly* confident I have seen them.

Dez 24, 2020, 5:12pm

Wishing you and yours (and all your pets) a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May 2021 bring you less need for masks, loads of peace and joy, good health and, of course, books!

Dez 24, 2020, 5:54pm

Dez 24, 2020, 9:01pm

>188 Berly: >189 AMQS: Thanks for the good wishes!

Dez 25, 2020, 12:48am

Dez 25, 2020, 1:00am

Happy Holidays!

Dez 25, 2020, 12:28pm

I hope you get some of those at least, Karen, as we all look forward to a better 2021.

Dez 25, 2020, 8:12pm

Happy holidays to you and yours, Karen!

Dez 28, 2020, 3:18pm

>191 Copperskye: >192 quondame: >193 PaulCranswick: >194 Storeetllr: Thanks for the best wishes! It has been a quiet holiday as we met with family via the screen. But we are hopeful for the new year!

Dez 28, 2020, 3:20pm

>176 witchyrichy: I love nuthatches, my favorites after chickadees.

I've found nuthatches challenging to photograph: they're dark little birds, with quick and unexpected movements.

Where I live I get to see all three varieties that frequent the eastern US, though the red-breasted variety we see only in the winter.

Did you know they are the only North American bird that travel down a tree head-first? Woodpeckers and Brown creepers only go UP trees.

Editado: Dez 30, 2020, 1:13pm

>196 fuzzi: The red-breasted nuthatches are new to us this year. I suspect they've been here all along but, as you say, they move quickly. We have gotten used to seeing the I wonder if they prefer having the feeders on the second floor porch as we are at tree top level up here and it is well-protected.

We regularly see the white-breasted and brown-headed nuthatches.

I knew they travelled head first but didn't know they were the only ones that did so. An Exhilaration of Wings is on the TBR pile for this year.

Dez 30, 2020, 4:24pm

Happy New Year Karen and Bob.

Dez 30, 2020, 7:31pm

>199 johnsimpson: Thanks, John! Same to you. Looking forward to another year of reading and sharing.

Dez 31, 2020, 10:28pm

Dez 31, 2020, 11:56pm


As the year turns, friendship continues

Jan 1, 10:39am

>201 quondame: >202 PaulCranswick: Happy new year to you! Getting ready to set up my new thread right now.