Jim's (drneutron's) Reading and Playing in 2020 - Fifth Round

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2020

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Jim's (drneutron's) Reading and Playing in 2020 - Fifth Round

Editado: Out 6, 2020, 1:52pm

I'm Jim, 57, husband of 34 years, father of a son in a PhD program in Comp Sci at Notre Dame, who reads pretty much anything. We're in central Maryland with roots in Louisiana. I like to read (obviously), cook, want to learn to fly fish, and trail bike riding/kayaking with mrsdrneutron. Of course, LT is a big time sink, but mrsdrneutron seems to have come to terms with my LT addiction...

What with Covid-19, working from home, and all, we’re not getting out much. So these days, we firepit! A good book, a libation, the occasional brat cooked over the fire makes a fine evening!

Editado: Out 6, 2020, 1:52pm

Total Books: 72

Author Gender
Male: 52 (65%)
Female: 28 (35%)

Author Status
Living: 77 (96%)
Dead: 3 (4%)

Publication Medium
Hardback: 12 (16%)
Trade: 15 (20%)
Mass Market: 4 (5%)
eBook: 43 (58%)

Fiction: 54 (73%)
Nonfiction: 20 (27%)

Library: 56 (76%)
Mine: 18 (24%)

ARC: 8
Re-Read: 6
Series: 25
Group Read: 9

Out 6, 2020, 1:53pm

And we're open for business!

Out 6, 2020, 2:39pm

Happy New Thread, Jim!

Out 6, 2020, 3:25pm


Out 6, 2020, 4:14pm

Happy new thread, Jim!

Out 6, 2020, 4:23pm

Happy new thread Jim, mate.

Out 6, 2020, 4:35pm

Happy new one, Jim!

Out 6, 2020, 5:58pm

Happy new thread, Jim!

Out 6, 2020, 5:59pm

Happy new thread! Keep at it!

Out 6, 2020, 6:14pm

Happy new one!

You are almost at the 75 book mark :)

Out 6, 2020, 6:37pm

Happy New Thread, Jim. Hooray for a firepit! I love an outdoor fire on a cool night.

Out 6, 2020, 6:37pm

Happy new thread, Jim

Out 6, 2020, 6:47pm

Happy new thread!

Out 6, 2020, 7:03pm

Happy new one, Jim.

Out 6, 2020, 7:36pm

Happy new thread!

Out 6, 2020, 9:12pm

Thanks, everybody!

Out 7, 2020, 8:45am

Happy new thread, Jim!

I'm happily wrapping up the 3rd Orphan X book, Hellbent. It's a great series so far.

Out 7, 2020, 9:15am

Good morning!

Out 7, 2020, 9:54am

Love the firepit!

Out 7, 2020, 10:32am

Happy new thread, Jim!

Out 7, 2020, 10:36am

Happy new one, Jim :)

Out 7, 2020, 2:05pm

Thanks, folks!

>21 karenmarie: It is good, isn’t it!

Out 7, 2020, 11:14pm

Just dropping by to make sure I have this #5 thread starred.
Have fun with the fire pit.

Today, American Rose is now downloaded onto my e-Reader after a longish wait. That was a BB from you so I'll perhaps let you know when I post some comments, hey?
I have a novella to read first, The Ghosts of Sherwood.

Out 8, 2020, 11:26am

>27 SandyAMcPherson: Great! I hope you like it, will look for your thoughts.

Out 8, 2020, 12:09pm

Update Time!

73. The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Anyone who has studied some psychology/psychiatry has probably been exposed to David Rosenhan’s groundbreaking study, “On Being Sane in Insane Places”, where 8 volunteers checked themselves into various psychiatric hospitals, representing themselves with minimal symptoms of schizophrenia. The purpose was to test whether psychiatry was able to distinguish between “healthy” and “unhealthy” people. The result was a pretty resounding “No” - which led to a major revamping of the mental health system, diagnosis of mental illness, and treatment methods. This study became almost Bible-like in its reputation and regard within the field.

Some 40 years later, Cahalan herself was nearly diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and pushed into the mental health care world when a persistent doctor found a rare brain condition with symptoms very similar to schizoaffective disorder. She was successfully treated, but her experience led her to dig deeply into the question of mental illness diagnosis and the state of psychiatry today.

Using her journalistic experience, one subject Cahalan dug deeply into was the Rosenhan study - its history and impact. The book shares her investigation to show this study wasn’t quite the iconic work most people familiar with it assume, and Rosenhan wasn’t the unbiased researcher many have learned about. It’s a fascinating look at a complicated issue and complicated people that changed psychiatry across the board - and not always for the better.

74. Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks

When Mt Rainer erupts, the residents of an isolated high-tech community are cut off from the rest of the world. Besides scrambling for food and preparing for winter, it turns out that something else is out there - something that makes very big, human-like footprints. And it’s hungry too...

Brooks, author of World War Z, has written a tightly plotted, closely focused story that gradually ramps up the tension that comes from deep isolation in the midst of hidden dangers. If you like this sort of thing, Devolution will satisfy.

75. Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Eighth in the Agent Pendergast series. This one ramps up the supernatural aspects of the series a bit, to pleasing effect. These books are all way beyond realistic, and this one’s definitely so. Still, it’s fun if you can suspend some disbelief. Not my favorite of the series so far, but was the right brain candy at the right time.

Out 8, 2020, 2:21pm

Happy new thread and congratulations for reaching the Magic Goal, Jim!

Out 8, 2020, 4:12pm

>29 drneutron: Congrats on the magic 75!
Book 74 would scare the socks off me!

Out 8, 2020, 4:29pm

Yay for finishing off 75, Jim! Primary goal achieved!

Out 8, 2020, 7:06pm

Happy new thread & congrats on your 75th!

Out 8, 2020, 8:08pm

Congrats on 75.

BB for the Max Brooks. I loved WWZ, I think I'm going to have to get Devolution.

Out 8, 2020, 9:08pm

>30 SirThomas: Thanks, Thomas!

>31 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks, Sandy! It can be a bit dark, for sure.

>32 quondame: Thanks, Susan!

>33 mstrust: Thanks, Jennifer!

>34 mahsdad: I think you’ll like it!

Out 9, 2020, 8:02am

Congratulations on reaching 75!

Out 9, 2020, 10:34am

Happy new thread, Jim and congrats on reaching 75!

Out 9, 2020, 3:37pm

>29 drneutron: Congratulations on reaching 75, Jim!

Out 9, 2020, 5:26pm

Thanks, everyone!

Out 9, 2020, 9:16pm

Adding my congrats for getting to 75!

Out 9, 2020, 9:19pm

Congrats on hitting the 75 book mark already, Jim1

Out 9, 2020, 10:37pm

Hi, Jim! Congrats on Book 75 of the year!

Out 10, 2020, 9:17pm

Thanks, Mary, Roni, and Terri!

Out 10, 2020, 9:36pm

Well done Jim on passing 75.

Out 10, 2020, 9:51pm

Congratulations on surpassing the magic number!

Out 11, 2020, 9:51am

Thanks, Paul and Lori!

Out 13, 2020, 2:00pm

Happy New Thread, Jim! And Happy 75!

Out 13, 2020, 2:00pm

Congrats on reaching your goal!

Out 13, 2020, 2:55pm

Thanks. Joe and Anita!

Out 14, 2020, 9:01am

Update Time!

76. The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

Cities are organic, messy things, almost alive in some sense. And in Jemisin's latest, they do come to life - born of the collective history and culture that define them. But when they're born, cities are attacked by a force from outside this universe, and are defended by an avatar, the living embodiment of the city. When New York's avatar is laid low in an attack, the city raises five more - one for each borough in the city - who must come together to protect the city from some pretty Lovecraftian horrors.

So I'm really conflicted about the book. On one hand, it's very well written, and I love the idea of subverting Lovecraft's racist imagery. On the other hand, Jemisin picks up every hammer she can to smack the readers in the name of social justice. Characters here didn't have much depth - they're all more caricature than anything else - and so the message degrades into a series of sketches built around stereotypes, which left me feeling disappointed more than anything else.

Editado: Out 14, 2020, 11:04pm

>50 drneutron: I was rather relieved to see that you were similarly finding the social justice diatribes intrusive (my review). There is a lot of LT admiration for this author, even for this particular title. I'm finding my self-confidence in giving my true opinions on books now that I'm comfortable on LT, but it is pleasantly reassuring to see I'm not an all-alone-outlier.

Out 14, 2020, 9:43pm

Out 14, 2020, 10:17pm

Not a fan of jemisin either. Feel like the heavy handedness runs through everything in thing I read.

Out 15, 2020, 8:46am

>51 SandyAMcPherson: I’m glad you feel that you can be open with your opinions here - mostly, I think people here understand that not everyone experiences a book the same way, and that it’s ok. One of the things I like about this community!

>52 richardderus: Thanks, Richard!

>53 blackdogbooks: I have mixed reactions to her work. I thought this one was over the top, but her previous short story collection worked for me. Early on, I read Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and enjoyed it, but never got to the rest of the trilogy - and I should at some point.

Out 15, 2020, 9:51am

Happy newish thread and congrats on 75!!! I took a BB from your last thread: American Rose and just finished a great Sci-Fi you might like: The Gift of Time by Jerry Merritt, awesome time travel!

Out 15, 2020, 12:11pm

Thanks! I'm a sucker for a good time travel story. On the list it goes!

Out 15, 2020, 8:04pm

>50 drneutron: Sorry that one was a mixed bag for you. There was some heavyhandedness, but it didn't bother me as much. My personal favorite of hers, though, is the trilogy that starts with The Fifth Season. I'd never finished the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms trilogy either, so I'm finally reading The Kingdom of the Gods now.

Out 16, 2020, 8:14am

The Fifth Season’s on my Overdrive list, but the waitlist is more than six months. So I’ve been putting it off. 😀

Out 16, 2020, 11:06am

Hi Jim!

>29 drneutron: Congrats on #75.

>58 drneutron: I recently got a lovely boxed trade paperback set of Broken Earth Trilogy and am on about page 76 or so of The Fifth Season. The problem is that I just finished the 4th Orphan X book and am picking up the 5th from the Library today. Brain candy at its finest for me, thanks to you.

Out 16, 2020, 12:44pm

😀 Not sorry!

Out 18, 2020, 3:02pm

Happy New Thread and Congrats on 75!

I just posted a review for The City We Became, too.

I liked it better than you did, but I have never read any Lovecraft or been to NYC so I'm sure references went over my head. I regret reading it before the next two books in the trilogy are out since everything is left hanging. I won't read the second one until the third is also available.

I really enjoyed her Broken Earth trilogy. Three Hugo's in a row with this series is an amazing accomplishment.

You gotcha'd me with Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre. I have sooooo many books home from the library right now that it will be a bit until I request it.

Editado: Out 18, 2020, 5:14pm

>50 drneutron: I haven't read anything by Jemisin as far as I'm aware. I keep bouncing off the descriptions of The Broken Earth trilogy.

Your description of The City We Became has me wanting to get my hands on that book, though. (It is available from an accessible library!) I'm a little desperate for what's called "social justice" at this time, and I think sentient cities is a lovely trope not explored enough. The last book I remember with anything like an avatar for a city (near the end) doesn't go deep into that perspective, as its focus is on a human's relationship with her city.

By the way, 🎉 congratulations on reading 75 books this year! 📚

Out 18, 2020, 6:43pm

>61 streamsong: Thanks! She’s a very good writer, and I plan to get back to her books soon.

>62 aspirit: Thanks! You should definitely give it a try!

Out 24, 2020, 10:47am

Congratulations on your 75 Jim! It sounds like number 75 was a good one and just after (/on?) my birthday.

>1 drneutron: The kids annoy me sometimes but I wouldn't go that far. At least, I think I wouldn't ...

Out 24, 2020, 2:53pm

>64 humouress: 😂 Well, I was thinking of the sausages when I wrote it... 😂

Out 24, 2020, 8:43pm

Update Time!

77. Network Effect by Martha Wells

Latest in the Murderbot books - and probably my favorite so far. ‘Nuff said!

78. Lord of the Horizons by Jason Goodwin

Not so much a history of the Ottoman Empire, but a series of vignettes spread over its 500 year history - from the steppes to the fall of the last Sultan in the 20th century before the transition to a republic. It’s a good book, but short on facts and events, and oddly seems heavily based on Western sources rather than Ottoman.

79. A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill

The Turner family runs a haunted house, with horrors built around a monster. But Noah Turner sees real monsters too.

A bit of the Weird, a lot of wondering how much of this is really happening, this one’s quite well done. There’s lots of messed up people here - after all, the first line is “I started collecting my older sister Eunice’s suicide notes when I was seven years old.” There’s also love, and sacrifice, and loss. Quite well done.

Editado: Out 25, 2020, 8:16am

Ooh, Network Effect. I forgot about this one. It is back on the radar. Happy Sunday, Jim.

Out 25, 2020, 10:45am

>66 drneutron: #77 I can't wait for Fugitive Telemetry! Shockingly, April 2021 is only six months away.

#79 ...!!!...

Out 25, 2020, 12:12pm

>67 msf59: happy Sunday! Yeah, you definitely should read this one.

>68 richardderus: Yeah, I definitely want to know what ART’s next mission is!

And yeah, you should check out the Hamill book. I’ll repeat, though, that this is one messed up family.

Out 29, 2020, 6:21pm

Hi, Jim.

I agree with you about The City We Became. Well said. I'm not looking forward to two more, unfortunately.

On the other hand, wasn't Network Effect great? She just keeps the hard-to-put-down stories coming.

Out 29, 2020, 9:43pm

Oh, yes! Wells is fantastic. Can’t wait for the next one.

Out 30, 2020, 3:49pm

Update time!

80. Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump

Honestly, I'm hoping that in a few days, this one will have been made moot... My only real thought on Mary Trump's book? This is one screwed up family and it's no wonder he is the way he is.

81. Angry Weather by Friederike Otto

Fredericke Otto lead a team trying to understand whether extreme weather events are "caused by" climate change (though this could apply to climate change from any source, they are specifically looking at human-induced climate change). I use the quotes above because the question they're really asking is whether likelihood of a particular extreme weather event is increased due to climate change, and this is a different question than the one advertised.

The question of weather attribution is a very interesting and useful one, but one not really fleshed out here. Their method is to derive weather predictions from a model of an Earth in which the Industrial Revolution never happened (so no human-induced climate change) then compare this to weather predictions of the actual Earth. So, for instance, if the frequency of getting a massive amount of rain in a hurricane at a location is one in 9000 years on the imagined Earth and only one in 3000 years on our Earth, they would claim that the difference is due to climate change, which has made the extreme event 3 times likelier.

This is a reasonable claim, as such, and one that would be really interesting to understand. But other than a pretty brief explanation of their methodology, there's no real meat here. Instead, the book tries to be first a science thriller describing the team's race to make these calculations during Hurricane Harvey, then wanders into social and political ramifications of climate change. And unfortunately, in doing this, the writing is just boring.

The interesting questions: How do we create the model of this imagined Earth to compare against, and how do we figure out what the frequency of these extreme events is despite a lack of long-term data records? If Otto had spent time on these things, this could have been a really good work. And yeah, that could have been done and still kept it at a popular science level.

Out 31, 2020, 9:02am

Hi, Jim!

#80: Ooof, nope. I've done my voting and am now staying as far away from Trump-related stuff as possible, as a form of self-care.

#81: That's too bad. It's so frustrating when a book *could* be amazing but falls so short.

Here's hoping your next read makes up for these two!

Out 31, 2020, 9:15am

Well, I put the Trump book on reserve on ODrive about six months ago. I kinda felt obligated waiting all that time.😀

As for my next, I’m torn between Piranesi and The Library of the Unwritten, both of which I picked up from the library yesterday.

Out 31, 2020, 9:17am

Oh, I really want to get to Piranesi soon, too.

Out 31, 2020, 11:19am

>72 drneutron: #80 That's why I read that book at all..."how could this demented, damaged person come to be?"...and the book rewarded me on every level. Would I read it again? Never. Glad I read it, though.

Piranesi is a delight.

Have a lovely Halloweekend.

Nov 1, 2020, 12:15pm

It's been many moons since I started the Halloween Read here in the 75'er club. This year, I tried to go back to my roots a little and get some of these Halloween books in again - what fun.

Nov 1, 2020, 3:09pm

Yeah, me too. I’ve just finished Wylding Hall, a nicely spooky story by Lizabeth Hand. Need to get a proper review up.

Nov 7, 2020, 7:41am

Thoughts and prayers would be appreciated today. Friday evening, my mother-in-law came down with some serious medical concerns and has been in the hospital since. Mrsdrneutron and I have been taking shifts sitting with her since she’s 91 and has some dementia. Generally, she’s pretty healthy, so we’re hoping she’ll bounce back from this. At least I’m able to bring a book and read some while she rests.

Nov 7, 2020, 8:26am

Sending good and healing thoughts for your mother-in-law, mrsdrneutron and you, Jim.

Nov 7, 2020, 8:35am

I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts, Jim, and sending hugs.

Nov 7, 2020, 9:07am

Sending good wishes your way, Jim.

Nov 7, 2020, 9:15am

My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.

Nov 7, 2020, 9:29am

Sorry to hear the news, Jim about your MIL. You are in all of our thoughts.

BTW- If you are in the mood for a story collection, track down The Hidden Girl and Other Stories. it has been a gem and your cuppa too.

Nov 7, 2020, 10:33am

Sending thoughts and best wishes Jim.

Nov 7, 2020, 10:35am

Thoughts and prayers winging their way to you, your wife, and your MiL.

Nov 7, 2020, 12:18pm

Good morning Jim.
I was sad to see that your family is facing this hospitalisation of your wife's Mom.
A very difficult time to be in medical care. Very best wishes for a good outcome.

Nov 7, 2020, 12:45pm

I'm sending you and your family my best wishes for a quick recovery.

Nov 7, 2020, 1:52pm

I do hope your mother-in-laws health recovers quickly. So sorry for the extra stress at this time.

Nov 7, 2020, 2:58pm

Jim - good thoughts and prayers to you and your Family, with hope for a smooth recovery.

Nov 7, 2020, 3:44pm

Hi Jim, mate, sorry to hear about your MIL and hope she has a smooth recovery, we both send thoughts and prayers from over the pond for you all, sending special Yorkshire love and hugs to both of you from both of us and Felix, dear friend.

Nov 7, 2020, 6:34pm

Best wishes/warm thoughts for you, your family and your MIL

Nov 7, 2020, 6:54pm

Sending best wishes for you and your family Jim. I hope your mother in law recovers soon.

Nov 7, 2020, 7:47pm

My most sincere best wishes for Ma-in-law's rapid recovery. After all, this is 11/7! The good stuff should be rolling around everywhere.

Nov 8, 2020, 2:26am

Best wishes and prayers from me too, Jim.

Nov 8, 2020, 9:38am

Sending healing thoughts your way, Jim. I hope your MIL recovers soon.

Nov 8, 2020, 9:45am

Thanks, everyone. I’ve been off line for a couple of days with the MIL in the hospital. She’s got pneumonia, but appears to be improving, breathing-wise. The staff here have been great, but I have to confess it’s been draining taking care of a disoriented 91 year old. At least I’ve got a little reading done and got to watch all the great news and celebration of our ridding ourselves of the horror of the last four years.

Nov 8, 2020, 9:50am

>97 drneutron: Hi Jim. Pneumonia can be really scary in elderly folks.
It is indeed very draining when our senior members in their 80's & 90's are ill like this. Very best wishes.

Hope you'll have some fun visiting the threads on Talk, now. I was staying off LT for a few days there. I was so wound up, I was surprised at how involved I was in the American election news. A nail-biting roller coaster, for sure.

Nov 8, 2020, 9:50am

Oh, that's great news that your MIL is getting better! I hope you and your wife can get some rest soon, too.

Nov 8, 2020, 10:00am

>97 drneutron: Best wishes, Jim

Nov 8, 2020, 10:20am

>98 SandyAMcPherson: yep. Mrsdrneutron has been with every night and it’s really starting to wear on her. Fortunately, the son was visiting so he could vote - his residency is still in Maryland - and he’s been a big help making meals and running errands. Hopefully in a day or two, we’ll be able to get her to her apartment where she won’t be so confused.

>99 scaifea: looks like her breathing is improved with the antibiotics, so I’m hopeful another day or two and we’ll have her home.

>100 London_StJ: Thanks! We really appreciate all the good thoughts.

Nov 8, 2020, 10:26am

I hope the upward trajectory holds, Jim. You and Danita are good kids!

So satisfying.

Nov 8, 2020, 10:46am

>102 richardderus: I might have wandered down to the Whit House with the son if other things weren’t keeping me busy.

>84 msf59: Saw it on Richard’s thread and immediately WL’d it. 😀

Nov 8, 2020, 12:01pm

Glad your m-i-l is doing a bit better. Modern medicine can do wonders and I hope she'll be able to be back in familiar surroundings soon.

Nov 8, 2020, 12:29pm

>103 drneutron: "I might have wandered down to the White House"

I'm glad you didn't... the crowds are CRAZY man. Social distancing and masks don't cut it in those situations.
#staysafe #stayhome

(Just some concern for your and the family's well-being)

Nov 8, 2020, 12:36pm

Update Time!

82. Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand

Short, spooky novel of a British band back in the 60s that rented an old manor house to record their next album, and the mysterious events that happen there. Told as a series of interviews with a documentary filmmaker some 30 or so years afterward, Hand’s voicing of the characters is great - each different, each interesting. The spooky elements are a quiet horror, more designed for chills than scares.

83. The Library: a Catalogue of Wonders by Stuart Kells

A love letter to books and bibliophiles, Kells gives an episodic history of writing, books, book collecting, and libraries. Its fun, interesting nuggets made it fly by, and Kells is definitely in love with his subject. Good read!

84. The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

It turns out He’ll has a library - one filled with all the unwritten books that have ever been imagined. And these books can occasionally wake up and escape to Earth to find their author, usually with bad consequences. As the Librarian, Claire’s job is to keep them in place, to keep them safe. Until an escapee entangles her in an ages old conflict between angels and demons.

Interestingly, I accidentally read this one overlapping with Kells’ book above, and clearly Hackwith read it too when writing this novel. I kept finding little references to tidbits from it as I went along. Serendipity!

Nov 8, 2020, 12:39pm

>104 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks!

>105 SandyAMcPherson: no worries. Since we’re her primary caregiver, we’ve been pretty strict about staying safe so we don’t give Covid to her. But it would be interesting to witness the history-making. Maybe things will be safe enough to go to the inauguration. 😀

Nov 8, 2020, 3:54pm

Good to know things are looking up for your MIL.

>106 drneutron: Serendipitous coolness.

Nov 8, 2020, 4:45pm

Sending continued healing vibes down your way for your mother-in-law.

Nov 8, 2020, 7:15pm


Nov 9, 2020, 9:57am

Sending more support for you and Mrs.Dr.N as you care for MIL. I know the frustration and sadness of dealing with an ill relative who doesn't understand what's happening.

Nov 10, 2020, 9:17pm

>111 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks! Today was a much better day. She’s much more coherent, though much more cranky! 😀

Nov 10, 2020, 9:18pm

Just to spread the word, the Christmas Swap has begun!


Nov 10, 2020, 9:22pm

Thanks for spreading the word. I'm going to make my way around the horn and go visit the most densely populated threads to do some pestering. :)

Nov 11, 2020, 1:33am

>112 drneutron: - oh dear, she's gotten to the stage where she's well enough to notice how sick she is. My least favorite part - as patient or nurse - of any illness, down to a bad cold...

Nov 11, 2020, 2:18am

Hope she continues to improve and is home soon (if not already), Jim.

Nov 11, 2020, 9:16am

Well, looks like we won't get her home today, but tomorrow's looking good. We really need to get her back in familiar surroundings.

Nov 11, 2020, 9:20am

Hi Jim!

I'm glad to hear that your MiL is doing better. Coherent is good, and if cranky has to go along with it, oh well. I'm sure you and mrsdrneutron are happy that she'll be coming home soon. Good luck on its being tomorrow.

Nov 11, 2020, 9:58am

I always looked on "cranky" as an improvement, but the quicker that phase passes, the better! Continued good luck.

Nov 12, 2020, 1:08pm

All caught up with you, Jim. Sorry to read about your MIL - hoping she gets to go home today and continues to improve.

Nov 12, 2020, 2:11pm

Yup, she’s headed home today! She’s in a senior apartment so mrsdrneutron will be moving into her second bedroom until she gets her strength back. And hopefully, she can get back into a normal sleep schedule again!

Nov 12, 2020, 2:57pm

>121 drneutron: This was a great update ~ thanks Jim.

Nov 12, 2020, 4:45pm

>121 drneutron: Great news, Jim.

Editado: Nov 12, 2020, 7:08pm

Cranky is my dad’s normal state and I suspect I may have inherited that tendency.

>121 drneutron: Good to know she’s going home; hopefully being back in familiar surroundings will speed her recovery.

Editado: Nov 12, 2020, 9:00pm

And she’s home, resting. I came home and disinfected, then was handed this by The Son:

Yes, he got Family Drama... fortunately, it’s a really good beer!

Nov 12, 2020, 10:04pm

>125 drneutron: The Son evidently has a brilliant sense of humour.
All good. Sleep well!

Nov 13, 2020, 1:17am

Good news, good beer, good books....
All the best wishes for you and yours.

Nov 13, 2020, 9:12am

Glad your MiL's home and that you got rewarded with beer.

Nov 13, 2020, 1:49pm

I'm so glad your MIL is doing better and back home. Sounds like you deserve a case of Family Drama.

Nov 13, 2020, 2:24pm

>127 SirThomas:, >128 karenmarie: Thanks!

>129 mstrust: 😀 There may be more in my future. It was really good!

Nov 13, 2020, 2:53pm

Hooray for good news and brews, and long may the Offspring's humor wave.

Nov 13, 2020, 10:29pm

Editado: Nov 14, 2020, 10:30am

Glad your MIL is home, Jim.

Your "library" books sound interesting. My library has both volumes, and I placed them on hold. Did you know The Library of the Unwritten has a sequel?

Nov 14, 2020, 1:06pm

Glad things are looking up at your house and that you enjoyed that beer :)

Nov 14, 2020, 1:14pm

>125 drneutron: The perfect beer. That is a magic moment when the name of the beer speaks to you AND it tastes good. Glad to read that your MIL is back home.

Nov 14, 2020, 4:10pm

>133 BLBera: Thanks! I placed it on hold.

Nov 14, 2020, 8:18pm

>133 BLBera: Yup, saw that, already on my list! 😀 I hope you enjoy both the Library books.

>134 RebaRelishesReading: Me, too. It’s been an interesting week. 😀

>135 Crazymamie: Yup. Now to see if we can get her to eat again. The Son suggested fruit smoothies with protein added. Mrsdrneutron tried one today, and mom loved it, drank a huge one. So we’re making progress, however slowly...

>136 quondame: Me too!

Nov 15, 2020, 8:40am

>137 drneutron: What a smart suggestion from Son about the smoothies! I'm glad they're helping.

Nov 16, 2020, 7:58am

Yeah, she’s sucking ‘em down like she does the Starbucks mocha lattes. 😀

Nov 16, 2020, 8:22am

Hiya, Jim.
I'm shopping for books as gifts... have you read The Spy and the Traitor?
We're Ben MacIntyre fans in this house and it might make an excellent choice for the Hubs (and I'll get to read it, too, 'cause I like non-fiction espionage stories).

Nov 16, 2020, 3:30pm

>140 SandyAMcPherson: Haven't read that one, though it's on my Overdrive wishlist. I've read Rogue Heroes and the one about Kim Philby, gave them both 4 stars, so I'd say it's very likely he'll like it.

Nov 17, 2020, 9:32am

Update time!

86. The Cult of the Dead Cow by Joseph Menn

Back in the early days of computers, when we were still dialing up bulletin boards by modem, and disparate group of computer junkies organized themselves into the Cult of the Dead Cow. Never just hackers, these folks were mostly just interested in exploring how things work and how to make them better, but along the way discovered just how bad computer security and infrastructures were. So they decided to do something about it. And so started a long history of hackivism and disruption designed to call attention to problems, both computer and social, that maybe folks could do something about.

Menn's book is an interesting one, and the wide array of people involved in the story really brings out questions like just how far do you go when you big corporations and the government are hurting people through inaction or lack of concern? What lines should be crossed in doing these things?

87. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

A little bit Gothic, a little bit Romantic, Clarke's tale of an other-worldly labyrinth and its mysterious occupant really hit the right notes for me. The thing that's gorgeous about the book is the words - Clarke's descriptions just sparkle here. Definitely a five-star for me!

Nov 17, 2020, 9:34am

>142 drneutron:. Thanks for the review of Piranesi, I've had my eye on it. Now I want it.

Nov 17, 2020, 9:39am

Definitely worth it!

Nov 17, 2020, 9:39am

>142 drneutron: Okay, I can't believe I'm saying this but The Cult of the Dead Cow sounds interesting. And Piranesi is a direct hit - onto The List it goes.

Hoping your Tuesday is full of fabulous, Jim!

Nov 17, 2020, 9:46am

>145 Crazymamie: Thanks! I actually decided to try Dead Cow on The Son's recommendation. His PhD advisor is friends with a few people who were involved and have had them give guest lectures to their Comp Sci grad students. It was pretty good and didn't bog down too much in nerdspeak.

Nov 17, 2020, 3:53pm

>141 drneutron: Thanks, Jim.
I reviewed Rogue Heroes a while ago. Didn't finish the Kim Philby one... I forget why. I think it was sold (it *was* The Man's book after all!)

Nov 17, 2020, 3:55pm

>142 drneutron: OK, I want to read The Cult of the Dead Cow as well!
Especially as you reassure that the nerd speak is down to a minimal level.

Nov 17, 2020, 4:47pm

The Wayne was just telling me that Twitter recently hired "Mudge" as head of security and mentioned he was a leader in the Cult of the Dead Cow! Apparently Beto O'Rourke was a member at some point,too... I might have to look into the book as a Christmas gift for TW.

Nov 17, 2020, 5:55pm

>142 drneutron: Your review makes me glad I've got Piranesi on hold!

Nov 17, 2020, 6:17pm

>149 katiekrug: ...not to brag, but I've known pooh since she was 13....

Nov 17, 2020, 9:41pm

>147 SandyAMcPherson: Definitely worth finishing!

>148 SandyAMcPherson: It’s more about the people than about the hacking. And some interesting people they are!

>149 katiekrug: Probably a good choice. I think he’d like it!

>150 quondame: 😀 One of the few books this year I was sorry was over!

>151 richardderus: Cool!

Nov 19, 2020, 6:20pm

Had a fun time this evening listening to a Smithsonian Institute Zoom event with Steve Berry talking about his book The Lost Order and secrets of the Smithsonian (which plays heavily in the book). He's a hoot! Really dynamic and, I'd bet, a boatload of fun to hang out with.

Nov 21, 2020, 11:15am

Hi, Jim.

Good to hear your MIL is back on track.

I just started Piranesi, and I'm glad it has your enthusiastic support. It's a strange one, without any Jonathan. I've met the well-supplied Other, and Piranesi has new shoes he's delighted with.

I can't remember whether you ever read sci-fi GNs. I just read Warren Ellis's ginormous Planetary Omnibus, and parts of it were really good. Now I have to schlep it back to the library in my backpack.

Nov 21, 2020, 6:00pm

Glad you’re enjoying Piranesi!

I do read the occasional GN, especially sci fi. Will check it out!

Nov 24, 2020, 7:23pm

Here's the Thanksgiving social distancing readathon: https://www.librarything.com/topic/326629.

Nov 26, 2020, 4:29pm

Hi Jim, mate, Happy Thanksgiving Day and hope that you and the family are having a good day dear friend.

Nov 26, 2020, 4:39pm

Thanks! In spite of everything, we’ve had a good day. Turns out my mother-in-law has developed a disintegrating disc in her lower back, so we’re still working with her. So Thanksgiving was roast beef with potatoes and carrots instead of turkey. In the true spirit of a thanksgiving, we made do with what we had on hand. 😀

One thing for sure - things could be a lot worse. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to keep working, D’s been able to quit work to take care of mom, and we’re both healthy.

Nov 26, 2020, 4:46pm

>158 drneutron:, Hi Jim, i am sorry to hear that your MIL has a disintegrating disc in her lower back, in true spirit you have made do with what was on hand whilst making sure you were both with her.

With everything going on in the world you are right in saying you are working and that you are both healthy mate and as long as that maintains, everything else can be sorted out. Best wishes for your MIL from both of us mate.

Editado: Nov 26, 2020, 4:53pm

Update time!

88. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Classic Gothic set in a new and interesting place. Lots of reviews and comments here on LT, not much I can add. Except I loved it!

89. Lady Mechanika Volume 1 by Joe Benitez

Excellent steampunk/fantasy graphic novel. Artwork is top notch and the story was fun. Will keep going with the series.

90. Never Going Back by Sam Wiebe

A fun little caper story about a burglar fresh out of jail coerced into pulling off one more job for her former fence. It’s light and the characters aren’t super developed, but as a novella, I wouldn’t expect it would be. I hope the author writes more!

Nov 26, 2020, 6:55pm

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 26, 2020, 7:40pm


Nov 26, 2020, 10:08pm

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

Nov 27, 2020, 12:22pm

Thanks, Paul!

Nov 27, 2020, 9:26pm

Just dropping in to say hello. Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving.

Nov 28, 2020, 12:28am

>158 drneutron: Happy thanksgiving! Roast beef sounds like a delicious meal. I heard or read something in passing recently that the makings of the first thanksgiving meal were nothing like today's traditions.

Disintegrating discs aren't fun. You have to strengthen your core, but I'm not sure how you'd encourage your MIL to do that. I do remember my dance teacher saying that when you're going down stairs, you have to kind of bend your knees as though you were going to sit down on a chair which I've found does help.

It sounds like, all thing considered, you're doing well.

Nov 28, 2020, 8:34am

Happy Saturday, Jim. Glad to hear you liked Mexican Gothic. I was on the fence, about that one.

Nov 28, 2020, 10:01am

Looks like you are on the way to 100 this year!

Nov 28, 2020, 12:01pm

>165 figsfromthistle: Thanks!

>166 humouress: yeah, I think they had whatever was at hand, so kinda what we did. 😀

We have an appointment with an orthopedist/spine doctor next week, so we’ll find out what’s possible. At 91, there are probably some things that just can’t be done, but we’re hoping a spinoplasty will help.

>167 msf59: I did like it - was definitely different from her last one. I’m a sucker for creepy houses, decaying families, supernatural things. 😀

Nov 28, 2020, 12:02pm

>168 ChelleBearss: Yeah, things have picked up a bit, reading-wise. We’re spending a lot of time taking care of the mother-in-law, which gives me time to read and not be distracted by other things.

Editado: Nov 28, 2020, 3:49pm

Happy "new" thread, Jim. I was hesitant to stop here, and for good reason. I took about a half-dozen hits from that BB shooter of yours. Not to worry, they'll scab over pretty quick.

The two library books
Murderbots (I did get dinged with that on several other threads)
Piranesi (another that peppered me on visits to other threads)
The Cult of the Dead Cow

There it is; six more tomes on the Wish List. Thank you. You do good work! :-)

Editado: Nov 28, 2020, 3:50pm

See there. So torn up, I forgot to ask your opinion on Terry Pratchett. Is it worth reading any of his books? How about Hogfather? It has been recommended as a holiday read. Have you read it?

Nov 28, 2020, 4:48pm

Yep, I’m a fan of Pratchett’s, though it’s been a while. Hog father is a nice one to start! Very British humor, fun characters, great world-building.

Nov 28, 2020, 6:59pm

>173 drneutron: Ok. Thanks.

Nov 29, 2020, 8:45am

>172 weird_O: If you've watched The Omen then I think you'd appreciate Good Omens which he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman.

Nov 30, 2020, 12:02pm

Stopping by to say hello and dropping off a picture of my holiday tree for some inspiration on this dreary Monday morning. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Nov 30, 2020, 12:03pm

Oh, nice tree!

Our holiday was quiet, and my mother-in-law is improving gradually, so yeah, a pretty good one!

Dez 2, 2020, 12:26am

>177 drneutron: Glad to hear your MIL is improving.

Dez 5, 2020, 6:51am

Wishing you a great weekend, Jim. Hopefully your MIL keeps the steady improvement.

Dez 5, 2020, 10:20am

We’re in the process of getting some in-home care for her to take some of the burden off us. I think we’ll have to find some residential care in the next few months, but it’s tough with covid affecting nursing homes and assisted living facilities so badly. One way or another, we’ll figure it out.

Dez 5, 2020, 10:28am

>180 drneutron: We almost put mom in a nursing home right before COVID hit. We had one picked out an everything. Then, we didn't want to be kept away from her when COVID hit. She probably wouldn't have fallen and died if we'd put her in, but what kind of life would she have had? So I totally get how hard it is to try residential homes right now. Good luck with your choice.

Dez 6, 2020, 10:23am

Thanks! So many of our friends are in this same situation with aging family members. It’s nice to have the support.

Editado: Dez 8, 2020, 7:22pm

Hi, Jim! Somehow I lost track of your thread so am just reading the last hundred or so of the current thread, then I can keep up (she says with probably misplaced optimism). So sorry to hear your MIL is having so many heath issues. Glad she's recovering from the pneumonia so well, and that she's able to enjoy the smoothies.

Dez 7, 2020, 3:21pm

You've had some good ones since I've been away! Cheers to ending the year on a good streak.

Dez 7, 2020, 4:35pm

>125 drneutron: LOL. Love the name of that beer.

>142 drneutron: Dang. First Ricardo and now you? 4.9 and 5 stars? Guess I better add Piranesi by Susanna Clarke to my WL. : )

Oh and BTW, sorry I have been absent for so long. Computer issues. Now fixed. Wishing the best for your MIL.

Dez 8, 2020, 8:16am

>185 Berly: Yes, you should add it to your list! 😀 Glad your computer troubles are behind you.

Dez 9, 2020, 7:50pm

Update time!

91. The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem by Stacy Schiff

In 1692, Salem village in Massachusetts was rocked by accusations of witchcraft by a small group of teenage girls and an indigenous servant. For more than a year, the hysteria, the fear lasted, with hundreds accused, thirty found guilty and twenty people executed on the basis of medieval tests of guilt and the say so of this group of girls who found themselves with power over nearly everyone around them.

The puzzle is how could this have happened? Though, really, is it any different than what’s happening with the recent election? Schiff gives a detailed (at times a bit too much detailed) account of the trials and their aftermath, for some fascinating insights into just how wrong things can go in the name of power over others.

92. Cold for the Bastards of Pizzofalcone by Maurizio De Giovanni

Fourth in a police procedural series by De Giovanni, all centered around a group of misfit police in Naples that turn out to be quite a bit more capable than expected. I’ve really enjoyed the whole batch.

93. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

Fifth in the series, and frankly, my least favorite. Still gotta read it to get the whole story!

Dez 9, 2020, 8:16pm

>187 drneutron: After reading The Witches I poked around a bit and though I haven't really done the research to prove it, I think I could trace my lineage back to Rebecca (Towne) Nurse. I'm with you on Order of the Phoenix, too, it's my least favorite of the bunch (and next in my reread), though it makes a LOT more sense having read the end.

Dez 9, 2020, 9:15pm

>187 drneutron: #92 I read the crocodile one in the series but wasn't really happy about it...the stalking, the sex "crimes" so shameful as to...never mind, it's just so disappointing not to be able to get in the groove w/Lojacono & Fans.

*envious sigh*

Dez 10, 2020, 8:32am

>188 bell7: Oh wow! Hers was one of the saddest stories, I think.

>189 richardderus: Yeah, I know it wasn’t for you. I suspect the rest in the series would hit you the same way.

Dez 10, 2020, 9:58am

Hi Jim, we went out on a country road last night to try and see the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction.
Gah! Our city has so much light pollution that trying to see something low on the horizon was a waste of time. But looking straight up was gorgeous. The Pleiades and Cassiopeia were really easily identifiable. Looking forward to the Geminids on Sunday night when it is *supposed* to be clear.

OK, I guess this wasn't a "book" post... I simply wanted to delurk!

Dez 10, 2020, 10:57am

Cool! We've had cloudy weather here, but when it's clear I can usually get some good views overhead. Washington and Baltimore pretty much wash out anything on the horizon, but we can usually get a good view of the planets.

I'm really hoping to get a view of the aurora, but the predictions are that I'm just south enough that we probably won't see anything.

Dez 12, 2020, 9:36pm

>188 bell7:
Giles Corey is among my ancestors. It's a brutal story.

Dez 12, 2020, 10:07pm

Wow, two people with ties to the accused. That’s pretty amazing. It was definitely a brutal story.

Dez 14, 2020, 12:13pm

Started a new book over the weekend - The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton, author of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. Mystery set in the late 1600s on a Dutch East India Company ship traveling from Indonesia back to Amsterdam. Main characters have a real Holmes and Watson vibe, and the mystery is nicely spooky. I'm really enjoying the heck out of this one.

Dez 14, 2020, 1:24pm

>195 drneutron: - Oh, that sounds good! Adding to my WL...

Dez 15, 2020, 7:41am

Dez 15, 2020, 9:55am


Dez 15, 2020, 10:41am

>195 drneutron: I'm in for that voyage.

Dez 15, 2020, 2:23pm

>199 richardderus: Eagerly awaiting one of your spectacular reviews on it!

Dez 15, 2020, 2:29pm

Update Time:

94. A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris

Second in the Gunnie Rose alternate history/fantasy Western series, and a great follow-up it is! Nice plot and setting, interesting concept, great characters made for a fun read that I had trouble putting down.

95. Space 2069: After Apollo: Back to the Moon, to Mars … and Beyond by David Whitehouse

David Whitehouse's part history, part speculation on the subject of human exploration of our solar system is both a nice introduction to what's been done since Apollo and what we might do in the next fifty years. Most books on the future of space travel tend to be naive about what can be done, and how quickly, and underestimate the difficulty and cost of the exploration they propose. Space 2069 is typical in that regard. It's inspiring and uplifting on the one hand, but with a sense of unrealistic imaginings on the other.

Along with most other authors on this subject, Whitehouse never tackles two hard questions: why should we explore outer space and why should we send people to do it? The first has been asked since Apollo days - given how much space exploration costs, are there better uses for the money to solve problems here on earth? Given my more than 30 years building spacecraft, I believe the scientific return has been worth it, but I get why people ask. The second question of why *human* exploration is an even harder one - given the success of robotic exploration, why take the risk and the extra cost of protecting the astronauts as they go? Again, I think this an inevitable an worthwhile risk, but it's a difficult sell, as one can see with the end of the Apollo missions and transition to Shuttle/ISS low Earth orbit operations. You'll get inspiration from Whitehouse, but no real discussion of these questions.

Dez 19, 2020, 10:35pm

Hi, Jim! This is just a quick hello, though I did catch up just a little. I'm sorry your MIL has had health problems, but glad the pneumonia is better! Good luck with the disintegrating disc.

Dez 19, 2020, 11:00pm

Hey! Thanks for stopping by and for the good thoughts about the MIL.

Dez 20, 2020, 3:48am

>201 drneutron: Sounds like there is a gap for a book that realistically addresses what can be done alongside a coherent "why it matters" argument. Maybe by a knowledgeable and experienced space guy (technical term) who runs a book group online?

Dez 20, 2020, 6:13am

>204 charl08: There's a project for you Jim! I confess to having the same questions, for the most part about that project of the Mars mission. The idea of colonising Mars as a solution for problems on earth...

Dez 20, 2020, 7:52am

Happy Sunday, Jim. I hope you guys are doing well. The Devil and the Dark Water sounds like a good one. I never read the first one.

Dez 20, 2020, 10:55am

>201 drneutron:

It would be good not to invest any more in Space
until we have found cures for diseases
have restored earth's environment - water, air, soil, birds, insects, and animals!

Dez 20, 2020, 11:54am

Hi Jim!

>201 drneutron: My dad was an aerospace engineer who worked on Mercury and Apollo. It put food on our table, but I always questioned the expense and the why. Your comments about Space 2069 just made me realize that humans have always wanted to explore something and why not space, since most of the earth has been mapped and somewhat understood. I also see a bit more why just unmanned and robotic spacecraft aren’t enough.

I think your work and enthusiasm about space and science and exploration have helped me understand my dad better.

Dez 20, 2020, 12:45pm

>204 charl08: 😀 I might have a few thoughts on the subject...

I’m a big fan of robotic exploration. We’ve done a tremendous amount that way to understand our universe, and there’s value in that. Human exploration is way harder and way more expensive, and so tough to justify. Very few authors want to tackle that!

>205 EllaTim: I agree that there are some problems colonization would solve - but it’s unlikely we’ll have a self sustaining colony in less than 100 years. Still, it’s worth continuing to work the technical issues that have to be solved.

>206 msf59: Hey, Mark! I finished it yesterday evening. It’s a great read, one I think you’d like. I haven’t read Turton’s first book, but am gonna go get it now!

>207 m.belljackson: generally, I agree that the problems here on Earth should take priority. Our work in building up our science infrastructure in space, though, has given us capabilities to do climate change science, etc that couldn’t be done otherwise. And studying other worlds also enhances our understanding of Earth. So these are worthwhile doing, I think. Some of the things being discussed, like commercial utilization of space, are more questionable.

>208 karenmarie: I do think there’s a drive to explore built into us, and that’s the one counterargument to my comments above that makes some sense to me. It’s like everything else - we need to strike a balance that makes sense.

I’m glad I can help you!

Dez 20, 2020, 10:19pm

There's a song, Wings of Human Knowledge by Echo's Children. The last verse goes:

When we take its measure, won't the bulk of all our treasure
Be the tools we build to get there, long before the ship arrives?
If the old Apollo marks the patterns we will follow
We will change the face of commerce and the structures of our lives.

Consider how much of modern technology - satellites, computers, computers small enough to carry around (aka smartphones and tablets), etc etc et cetera - derived from the space race. There's not a lot of stuff out there that we can use - but the tools we can use to fix Earth can be found/made because we're going out to look at what is out there.

Dez 21, 2020, 12:09pm

Love the verse! The interesting thing is that technology development is synergistic. We innovate in ways that are adopted for some Earth-bound purpose, we adopt technology invented to solve problems here on the ground. The circle of life... 😀

Dez 21, 2020, 2:30pm

Tachyon Publications, an SFF house, posted this on Twitter. Says it all, no?

Dez 21, 2020, 3:07pm

Nice! I'm stealing that one!

Dez 21, 2020, 3:26pm

>213 drneutron: Can't think of anybody who wouldn't agree.

Editado: Dez 23, 2020, 8:14am

Dez 22, 2020, 3:51pm

Thanks! You too!

Editado: Dez 22, 2020, 4:03pm

Dez 22, 2020, 4:03pm

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Dez 22, 2020, 4:39pm

Happy everything, Jim. Here's to good health, above all, and of course, good books.

Dez 22, 2020, 5:30pm

Dez 22, 2020, 9:34pm

Hi Jim!

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

Dez 23, 2020, 8:10am

>219 jessibud2: I love the book tree! Happy everything to you too.

>220 figsfromthistle: Merry Christmas!

>221 karenmarie: Oh, yeah, can't wait to see the back of 2020!

Dez 24, 2020, 3:26am

Or in other words, Happy Christmas! And have a great New Year as well. Here’s hoping 2021 is an improvement on 2020.

Dez 24, 2020, 3:31am

I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a peaceful time, remain healthy and full of hope.
I took this picture 2 years ago when we were on our pre-Christmas vacation.
Last year there was no snow, this year we were not allowed to go. Therefore, we revel in fond memories and look forward to next year.

Dez 24, 2020, 8:45am

>223 SandDune: Happy Christmas! I hope so too!

>224 SirThomas: That’s a beautiful spot! Hopefully, in 2021, we can all start traveling again. Merry Christmas!

Dez 24, 2020, 8:47am

Wishing you and yours a lovely holiday season and a joyous 2021!

Dez 24, 2020, 8:52am

And to you too!

Dez 24, 2020, 12:38pm

Dez 24, 2020, 12:54pm

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
May next year bring you greater peace and joy, good health and many books.

Dez 24, 2020, 1:04pm

Hi Jim. Wishing you peace, joy and happiness this holiday season and best wishes for the New Year!

Dez 24, 2020, 5:42pm

Wishing you and yours 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, 5:43pm

Dez 24, 2020, 9:34pm

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Dez 24, 2020, 10:31pm

Lots of images going the rounds, so I'll just say "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a Goodnight". (quoting Clement Clarke Moore, 1949 edition).

Dez 24, 2020, 11:12pm

Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Dez 25, 2020, 12:56am

Happy Holidays Jim!

Dez 25, 2020, 1:37am

Wishing you and yours the very best of the season.

Dez 25, 2020, 3:09am

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

Dez 25, 2020, 4:13am


Dez 25, 2020, 6:07am

Dez 25, 2020, 8:04am

Merry Christmas, Jim. Have a great holiday with the family, my friend.

Dez 25, 2020, 9:04am

Thanks, everyone! And keep an eye out for kicking off the new year soon!

Editado: Dez 25, 2020, 9:39am

>242 drneutron: Yes! Bring it on baby!!!

Dez 25, 2020, 10:46am

Dez 25, 2020, 12:05pm

>244 richardderus: Is that ... a cat Richard?

Dez 25, 2020, 12:49pm

Happy New Year and thanks again for all your hard work on this site.

Please let us know if you ever see a Scientist documenting how many of the nearly 350,000 people dead or dying from COVID in the U.S. would be alive if trump had acted quickly.

Dez 25, 2020, 1:17pm

A very merry day to you and yours!

Dez 25, 2020, 2:51pm

>246 m.belljackson: happy new year to you! I hope there will be some interesting research on covid response and how to do better next time.

>247 London_StJ: and to you!

Dez 26, 2020, 10:16am

Wanna help me kick 202 to the curb? 2021 group is here

Dez 26, 2020, 10:36am

>249 drneutron: YAY! I looked a little earlier. Can't wait.

Dez 26, 2020, 12:29pm

Happy Holidays, Jim!

You BB'd me with Lady Mechanika. Looking forward to it. Order of the Phoenix was my least favorite, too.

Dez 26, 2020, 12:36pm

Happy holidays!

Dez 26, 2020, 1:56pm

Happy holidays, Jim. 2021 will be better -- right?

Dez 26, 2020, 7:07pm

It better be... 😀

Dez 27, 2020, 1:00am

>160 drneutron: Hi Jim, I received Never Going Back as an ER book but I figured that was because I own a couple of his other books, Vancouver Noir and Cut You Down. He's a Vancouver author who at one time was the author in residence at the Vancouver Public Library. I've also seen him at the Surrey International Writer's Conference and at the Vancouver Writers' Festival. At the Festival he was on with two other mystery writers, one of whom was Peter Robinson. He acted like the young novice to the mystery literary gurus.

Dez 27, 2020, 9:03am

>249 drneutron: Yay! Thanks for doing this for us every year!

Dez 27, 2020, 9:36am

>255 Familyhistorian: Interesting. I thought it was a clever, but light, novella. He’s got potential, I think.

>256 ChelleBearss: My pleasure!

Dez 27, 2020, 12:19pm

Thanks, Doc - you made my day, tossing that awful year into the dumpster for the dumpster fire it's been.

Dez 27, 2020, 1:41pm

The son just tipped me off to a new band called The HU. "Mongolian folk rock" - mix of metal and traditional Mongolian music, including throat singing. It's a blast!

Dez 27, 2020, 2:34pm

Thanks for keeping the group going through this unlikely year. Wishing you a great 2021.

Dez 27, 2020, 9:04pm


Dez 27, 2020, 10:16pm

Jim, thanks again for keeping us going and for getting us started for 2021. I agree with Beth, it has to be an improvement, right? Although reading was as good as it always is....

Dez 28, 2020, 8:35am

Yeah, I just worry about all those 2021 “hold my beer” memes... 😀

Dez 28, 2020, 9:57am

Update Time!

98. The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman

Want a good, twisty vampire story? This is definitely it! No sparkly vampires here, just old school blood. It’s a bit gory and a bunch violent, so fair warning.

99. The Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina

NY Times journalist’s deep look at the world’s oceans and how we use them. There’s lots here from his investigations of the deep sea fishing industry, piracy, shipping, even cruise industry, that will horrify you. The politics of governing/policing on the seas is fascinating, and one I hope we as a world body can get our arms around.

Dez 30, 2020, 3:07pm

Thanks for all you do here! LT is key to my happiness. : )

Are you gonna make the big 100?!

Dez 30, 2020, 4:06pm

Happy New Year Jim and Danica.

Dez 30, 2020, 6:29pm

Happy new year to you and Karen!

Dez 30, 2020, 9:14pm

>267 drneutron: All the best Jim. Hope you and the extended family stay well.

BTW, you might care to comment on Laura's thread. OK. Let me rephrase that ~ could you clarify a few things?

Dez 30, 2020, 9:51pm

Anybody else seen the Match.com ads where Satan and 2020 meet up? I’ve not laughed so hard all year...

Dez 31, 2020, 12:40am

>269 drneutron: Yes, those are a hoot!

Dez 31, 2020, 1:25am

Time to take out the trash!

Dez 31, 2020, 2:40pm

Yes, indeed!

Dez 31, 2020, 3:55pm

>271 weird_O: And on a different trajectory...

I started a new thread ~ for 2020 *giggle*.
My 8th thread was going to be my final one of 2020, then I thought why not use the 'continue' function? It announces my intentions for 2021.

Just saying, in case you wonder where I disappeared in the group.
I did sign in to join the 75-ers, I just don't plan to overwhelm my brain this coming January. Happy immunizable 2021!

Dez 31, 2020, 4:44pm

>273 SandyAMcPherson: Saw that! I think it's a nice way to end the year. I hope you start another thread in the 2021 group. It's been fun watching your reading.

Dez 31, 2020, 4:49pm

Final Update!

100. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Wonderful, heartbreaking story of a family struggling with life. Easily one of my favorites of the year.

101. The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

Deeply disturbing history of racism as practiced by our local, state, and federal governments in housing, jobs/wages, even union representation. This is systemic racism at its worst, and a must read for folks who want to understand why our country is still so screwed up.

Dez 31, 2020, 4:52pm

The Final Tally!

Total Books: 101 (lowest since I started keeping track)

Author Gender
Male: 66 (61%)
Female: 42 (39%)

Author Status
Living: 105 (97%)
Dead: 3 (3%)

Publication Medium
Hardback: 20 (20%)
Trade: 20 (20%)
Mass Market: 4 (4%)
eBook: 57 (56%)

Fiction: 72 (71%)
Nonfiction: 29 (29%)

Library: 80 (79%)
Mine: 21 (21%)

ARC: 1
Re-Read: 7
Series: 34
Group Read: 11

Dez 31, 2020, 9:12pm

Great stats, Jim, even if you read fewer books than usual. There were provocations, after all...

Dez 31, 2020, 9:16pm

I thought it was a decent reading year overall, even if the total was down.

Dez 31, 2020, 9:19pm


As the year turns, friendship continues

Dez 31, 2020, 10:08pm

Happy New Year, see you in 2021.

Jan 1, 1:07am

Jan 1, 8:45am

😂 Best one yet!