Ffortsa fiddles around in 2020 third song

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Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2020

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Ffortsa fiddles around in 2020 third song

1ffortsa
Editado: Out 30, 2020, 5:22pm



Empire State building in the fog

And so we continue in this strange world, approaching an even stranger election.

2ffortsa
Editado: Dez 31, 2020, 4:05pm




A new ticker for a new activity. Last year, I decided to start playing my violin again. It's been quite an effort, and of course takes time away from the books, but I think they will get along over the year.

Last year I had an off-the-shelf ticker, but I hang my head in shame - only counted 7 books. I'll keep a count this year, but quietly.

Icons denote ebooks, library books, off the shelf, etc. modified from Bianca's list
♬ audiobook
✔ off the shelf
@ e-book
✿ TIOLI
↩ reread
✗ dnf

1. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
2. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
3. I Shot the Buddha by Colin Cotteril
4. The Galapagos: A Natural History by Henry Nicolls
5. Blood From a Stone by Donna Leon
6. Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
7. Gigi by Collette
8. Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson
9. Miss Buncle Married by D.E. Stevenson
10. Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
11. Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson
12. Galapagos Wildlife by David Horwell
13. Tehran Noir by Salar Abdah
14. How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden
15. Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
16. The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty
17. A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin
18. I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty
19. The Purrfect Murder by Rita Mae Brown
20. A Voice in the Night by Andrea Camilleri
21. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lillian Jackson Braun
22. In the Morning I'll be Gone by Adrian McKinty
23. Still Waters by Viveca Sten
24. Through a Glass Darkly by Donna Leon
25. ♬Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
26. The Chessmen by Peter May
27. @Games to Keep the Dark Away by Marcia Muller
28. Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler
29. Negative Image by Vicki Delaney
30. Circe by Madeline Miller
31. ♬Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
32. ✔Speedboat by Renata Adler
33. ✔Winter Count by Barry Lopez
34. ✔Diamond Solitaire by Peter Lovesy
35. @Suffer the Little Children by Donna Leon
36. March by Geraldine Brooks
37. ✔The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
38. The Girl of his Dreams by Donna Leon
39. In The Woods by Tana French
40. The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg (dnf)
41. ✔ Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
42. The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley
43. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
44. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
45. ✔The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol
46. The Main Corpse by Diane Mott Davidson
47. The Knowledge by Martha Grimes
48. A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Dafoe
49. Roseanna by Sjowall and Wahloo
50. The Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser
51. ✔A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
52. ♬How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
53. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
54. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
55. Cobalt by Nathan Aldyne
56. The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie
57. ♬My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
58. @Hornswoggled by Donis Casey
59. First Degree by David Rosenfelt
60. Blue Water Hues by Vicki Delaney (dnf)
61. ✔ Lugging Vegetables to Nantucket by Peter Klappert
62. ✔About Face by Donna Leon
63. ♬My Michael by Amos Oz
64. The Surrogate Thief by Archer Mayor
65. Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger
66. Boundary Waters by William Kent Krueger
67. The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
68. Santa Clawed: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown
69. ♬I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
70. Death Without Company: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson
71. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
72. ♬Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
73. Cut, Crop & Die by Joanna Campbell-Slan
74. @✔Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
75. Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky by David Connerley Nahm
76. Vertigo by W. G. Sebold
77. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850 by Brian M. Fagan
78. Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars by Francesca Wade

Magazines:
Scientific American July 2020
PaknTreger Journal of the Yiddish Book Center summer 2020
Smithsonian March 2020
Scientific American May 2019
Smithsonian September 2020
Smithsonian May 2020
Scientific American August 2019
Smithsonian June 2020
Scientific American July 2019
Scientific American February 2020 (wonderful)j

3ffortsa
Editado: Nov 22, 2020, 10:10pm

I thought of waiting to create this next thread until the election, but then how do I know what shape I'll be in then??

I seem to be on track for 75 books this year, with only 8 titles to go. But I'm having trouble settling on the next one. Part of it is the wow factor of The Transit of Venus. Normally a mystery story gets me back on track, but I DNF'd the one I started. And of course I have several books hanging around temporarily abandoned, and accusing me. I'll find something.

I don't do anything fancy at the top of my thread, so the next entry is up for grabs!

4msf59
Out 30, 2020, 5:38pm

Happy Friday, Judy! Happy New Thread. Hooray for the Third Song! I hope you and Jim are doing well. I know I don't visit very often but hopefully, I will do better.

5figsfromthistle
Out 30, 2020, 6:10pm

Happy new one!

6jessibud2
Out 30, 2020, 6:51pm

Happy new thread!
Not sure if you are into memoirs but one of the (several) books I am juggling at the moment is Kamala Harris's memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey. She writes well, her story is unique and she is the real deal. Easy reading, and there are photos! ;-)

7PaulCranswick
Out 30, 2020, 7:57pm

Happy new thread, Judy.

8ffortsa
Out 30, 2020, 9:51pm

Thanks, Mark, Anita, Shelley and Paul. How nice to hear from each of you! I'm not too good at checking in with everyone, but it's always a pleasure to know you've looked in.

9LizzieD
Out 30, 2020, 11:16pm

OOooooo! That's a lovely picture for your thread-opener, Judy! I'm always interested to hear what you think about what you read.

10charl08
Out 31, 2020, 3:34am

Happy new one - wonderful atmospheric topper.

11drneutron
Out 31, 2020, 9:04am

Happy new thread! I love the topper!

12karenmarie
Out 31, 2020, 9:57am

Hi Judy, and happy new thread. Oh yes, strange world indeed.

>3 ffortsa: Congrats on being only 8 books away from The Big 75.

I know what you mean about stressing the election. I dither between looking at the news on cherished websites (don’t watch TV news and lately have barely listened to NPR) and just cutting myself off for a day or two. Still reading or DNF Galapagos?

13ffortsa
Editado: Out 31, 2020, 4:29pm

>11 drneutron: Thanks! >12 karenmarie: Oh, I haven't started Galapagos yet. It's due for a Nov. 10th gathering, so I have some time to regroup.

68. Santa Clawed: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown

And this series is a good way to regroup! No particular suspense, a cozy set in Virginia horse-country. silly enough to bring balm to the nerves.

14EBT1002
Out 31, 2020, 7:04pm

Happy New Thread, Judy!

Back to prior, I have ordered books from Elliott Bay Books and I ordered from a Black Woman owned bookstore in Illinois a couple months ago... trying to spread the love to various independent bookstores that need us so desperately in this pandemic.

I will think of a couple (LOL) books I want and order next from www.strandbooks.com

15FAMeulstee
Out 31, 2020, 7:05pm

Happy new thread, Judy.

16EBT1002
Editado: Out 31, 2020, 7:13pm

You will love this. I went to www.strandbooks.com and they said that, due to the volume of orders, the buying desk will be closed and they need a bit of time to get caught up. How cool is that.

I thought about subscribing to the Fiction subscription box....

17arubabookwoman
Nov 1, 2020, 12:33pm

I read Transit of Venus when it first came out (in the 80’s?), and loved it enough that I kept it. I now have no memory of what it is about or why I loved it, but enough good feelings remained that my ancient copy made the cut to move to Florida with us. Now that my books are unpacked, I can read it a second time, as you recommend. I need a good book right about now.
Our son, his new wife, and our daughter just spent 3 weeks in Florida in our “extra” condo. They got back to NYC yesterday, and now have to quarantine. Our daughter voted absentee before she left, our new d-I—l had requested an absentee ballot before they left, but came home to find that her absentee ballot still has not been delivered. And my son did not request an absentee ballot expecting to vote in person. However, they have been advised they cannot break quarantine to vote, and risk a $10,000 fine for voting in person. I’m hopeful NY will have enough Biden votes without them, since I think they are too fearful of the fine to risk voting.

18ffortsa
Nov 2, 2020, 1:51pm

>17 arubabookwoman: Wow, that's a mess about the voting. I'm pretty sure New York is a safe state, but it's aggravating to find that the ballots requested didn't arrive. If they had, a friend could drop them off in the drop box on election day.

>16 EBT1002: I had heard that! Time to favor stores across the country, I guess. My sister has started ordering from bookshop.org, which surprised me as she almost always reads on her tablet so she can increase the fonts. Of course, it might have been an art book or two.

>15 FAMeulstee: Thanks for dropping by!

19ffortsa
Nov 4, 2020, 1:21pm

Well, yesterday's election day workload was not at all what I expected. We had almost no voter traffic at the polls. In 15 hours my election district booked 92 votes. I guess early voting and mail-in ballots work. If it weren't so boring, it would have been fine. And then, of course, the mix of results and non-results afterwards was not encouraging. Sigh. Overall, I am in the slough of despond.

20Familyhistorian
Nov 5, 2020, 7:41pm

Happy newish thread, Judy. A misty Empire State Building is very indicative of the times in which we find ourselves. I hope your slough of despond eases soon.

21karenmarie
Nov 6, 2020, 8:53am

Hi Judy!

Early voting and mail-in voting sure took the burden off Election Day voting. I'm sorry you're in the slough of despond.

Here's hoping that one of AZ, NV, PA, or GA push Biden/Harris over the top today.

22ffortsa
Nov 7, 2020, 5:11pm

>21 karenmarie: we seem to be in a good place! Now to those runoffs in Georgia.

23karenmarie
Nov 7, 2020, 5:14pm

Oh yes, I can't believe how much stress has been taken off with President Elect Biden and Vice President Elect Harris.

With Stacey Abrams involved, there's a chance it might actually happen!

24ffortsa
Editado: Mar 28, 10:30pm

69. I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong

It is sometimes difficult to follow along in audio with science book, but generally I was able to do so with this excellent investigation of all the living things that live in us and everything else. The narration was clear enough for me to understand the various scientific names for both the bad and good buggies (don't ask me to spell them, of course), and if I see an ebook of this on sale I may buy it for occasional review.
From the fashionable discussion of our own gut to the hopes to find a natural defense against the fungus killing frogs, this book enlightened me and gives me a little hope that we will find ways to balance our internal and external ecosystems.

Books like these sometimes make me wish I'd understood better what the life of a scientist would be like, so that I might have made a more deliberate choice back when I was young. It would have been fun to work on the puzzles of nature described here.

25RebaRelishesReading
Nov 7, 2020, 5:22pm

>24 ffortsa: I found I Contain Multitudes to be really interesting but I can't imagine trying to absorb it as an audio book. But then, I am usually walking or driving or knitting when listening to audio so they don't have my full attention. Still, I agree it's definitely a worthwhile book.

26ffortsa
Nov 7, 2020, 5:29pm

70. Death Without Company: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

A very satisfying mystery that hinges on the real cause of death of an old Basque woman in a nursing home. Someone believes it's murder, and of course other events follow. Passion? Revenge? Money? The unraveling is accompanied by old stories, new recruits, and a frisson of sexual suspense as well. Excellent.

27ffortsa
Nov 7, 2020, 5:33pm

>25 RebaRelishesReading: That was a problem, Reba, and I'm sure I missed out on a lot of detail and maybe some diagrams as well. But I loved the sense of solving puzzles, and may well read it in print at some point, at least to get the spelling right!

28ffortsa
Nov 7, 2020, 5:39pm

Five books to go, and lots of stuff in the works. I'm reading Kurt Vonnegut's Galapagos and should wrap that up tomorrow. I started Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman on audio, but so far it's a boy's adventure with electronics, and I don't much like the tone. I'm looking for an audio of Three Men In a Boat for next month - I read it in 2011 and did not find it funny, but narration might cure that. And there are quite a few magazines around here, on various attractive topics. So I consider myself on track to make 75-80 this year. No thoughts yet for next year aside from reading what I already own (ha).

29ffortsa
Nov 7, 2020, 5:56pm

I worked at the polls on Election Day and there was scarcely any traffic - all that early voting and mail-in paid off handsomely. But I was still a pretzel by the end of the shift, and the knots continued until late Thursday when I walked them off, finally.

We will have some bumps regarding recounts, court battles, and one very angry toddler-in-chief. I can't wait for inauguration day. In the meantime, I'm planning to write postcards and do whatever else I can for the runoffs in Georgia.

The Democrats have not made a terrific showing in downballot elections, of course. The pull left, and some badly worded catch-phrases, have done damage. Maybe with really clear policies and messaging and pointed commentary as the next year or so goes, we will be able to recoup. But it's a bad year to lose statehouses to Republicans, as they will control redistricting. It's more and more evident that the Senate has become even more anti-democratic in representation than it was before, but I doubt we can do much about it for a long time. So the collective forces of equality and social progress will have a long fight ahead.

30karenmarie
Nov 8, 2020, 8:59am

toddler-in-chief Got that one right, for sure, Judy.

31RebaRelishesReading
Nov 8, 2020, 12:25pm

Toddler's are basically good people and they will grow to have control of their emotions -- don't think that applies here

32LizzieD
Nov 8, 2020, 10:54pm

And you are so right about badly-worded catch phrases, Judy. What were they thinking????? Why weren't they thinking????

33Crazymamie
Nov 9, 2020, 1:49pm

Hello, Judy! I listened to Three Men in a Boat narrated by Martin Jarvis in 2018. The narration was well done, but I confess I did not love that book as much as so many here seem to. It was a bit of a slog for me - maybe if it had been shorter.

34RebaRelishesReading
Nov 9, 2020, 2:56pm

>33 Crazymamie: First time I met Three Men in a Boat it was being read by a friend who thought it was hysterical and kept sharing parts of it. His enjoyment/laughter set us all off and it was wonderful. I finished reading it on my own and, well yes, it wasn't that funny that way.

35ffortsa
Nov 9, 2020, 4:50pm

Maybe I'm getting a little skittish, but I'm wondering what Mike Esper refused to do that got him fired just now.

36PaulCranswick
Nov 9, 2020, 10:43pm

>35 ffortsa: He was probably two months from the boot anyhow, Judy.

37karenmarie
Nov 10, 2020, 9:20am

I'm skittish, too, Judy.

38RebaRelishesReading
Nov 10, 2020, 12:42pm

Until Dump is (dead and) gone we will always feel angst at everything he does.

39ffortsa
Nov 10, 2020, 1:59pm

I'm very worried about the deep divide in the country, the susceptibility of the population to conspiracy theories, and the power of Mitch McConnell to prevent Biden and Harris from accomplishing anything. Jim is of the opinion that we could find a more effective fighter that Nancy Pelosi in the House, someone who can use the power of the budget to bring more to the table, but McConnell is such a snake, I don't know if anything except his demise would help. And I'm afraid the left wing of the Democratic Party will not have the patience to incrementally move the country in a healthier social direction. (AOC's recent grumble that maybe she doesn't belong in politics sounds like whining to me.) And then there are the statehouses, which will gerrymander the states, and the Senate, which represents the population so disproportionately.

Sigh.

40vivians
Nov 10, 2020, 2:44pm

Hi Judy - I agree with your concerns, even more so today after hearing Pompeo's treasonous statement about "transitioning to trump's 2nd term." What happened to the will of the people? I wish we could see statehood for DC and PR, and wins in Georgia as well.

41RebaRelishesReading
Nov 11, 2020, 2:32pm

>39 ffortsa:, >40 vivians: absolutely -- I'm glad Biden/Harris won but it's only one piece of the puzzle. Overall I think this country is in a mess.

42ffortsa
Nov 11, 2020, 4:58pm

71. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut

I was not much impressed with this book when I read it, but it made for a very interesting discussion in our reading group. Even people who, like me, found the tone annoying were adding to the discussion, and it did give me some added perspective. So maybe three stars, for its ability to stir the discourse.

43ffortsa
Editado: Nov 16, 2020, 3:16pm

I finally found what I think is the right book on the Little Ice Age, The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850 by Brian M. Fagan. Unfortunately, the electronic version from the library was via an online service and the convenience of the slap and scan text was pretty awful. Some copies are available on Amazon, and there's a Kindle version, but it's a little more than I like to spend on Kindle. So I'll look around as long as I can bear - it's very well organized and written, to the point that I was feeling rather desperate for the people of the 1380s.

eta: Abebooks to the rescue!

44ffortsa
Editado: Nov 18, 2020, 11:42am

Jim and I heard an extraordinary concert last night from the 92nd Street Y, jazz/classical by the pianist Aaron Deihl, in which he played both written concert music of the 20th century and stride piano pieces. I have a lot to learn about jazz and its precursors, and about 20th century music that blurs genres. He played

William Grant Still, Seven Traceries
Sri Roland Hanna, Century Rag
Willie the Lion Smith, Fading Star
James P. Johnson, Keep Off the Grass
Wyton Guess, J-Walking
Duke Ellington, New World A-Comin’

The Still and Guess work just floored me. I'm going to have to look for Diehl's recordings of these pieces. It says a lot that the Ellington was to me the least interesting of all the pieces.

We heard this live-stream from the 92nd St. Y.

45LizzieD
Nov 18, 2020, 12:20pm

>44 ffortsa: Wow, Judy! I'm listening to him on YouTube right now, playing "Round Midnight." There's a lot more available. Thanks for the tip.

46ffortsa
Nov 18, 2020, 2:44pm

>45 LizzieD: The video of the concert spent a lot of time showing his hands, which are beautiful and look so relaxed and delicate! I'm glad you found him on YouTube.

47ffortsa
Nov 18, 2020, 2:48pm

Years ago I stopped subscribing to Scientific American because all its articles seemed to involve calculus and other stuff I couldn't understand. Recently (maybe last year) Jim subscribed because he found the articles considerably less abstruse and hence more interesting. I just read through the August 2019 issue and found most of it quite interesting, including, for instance, measurements taken of viral life in the ocean and specifically in the Arctic, which brought me back to I Contain Multitudes and my (amateur) fascination with biological interactions. Then I got to the article on attempts to solve the 3-body problem, and while no actual formulas were included, they were discussed with accompanying diagrams, all of which made my head spin. I have not equipped my brain for such investigations!

I think I'll read a mystery story.

48Familyhistorian
Editado: Nov 19, 2020, 3:13pm

Science is pretty fascinating but mostly over my head too, Judy. Reading a good mystery sounds like a plan.

49Whisper1
Editado: Nov 19, 2020, 10:24pm

Hi Judy! The image of the Empire State building in the fog is lovely. I recently finished a Newbery Honor titled Fog Magic. Published in 1943, thee writing was so very beautiful.

It is while since I found such wonderful writing. Basically, the story line is set in Nova Scotia where a young girl is enthralled by fog. Whenever there is fog, she begs her mother to allow her to walk.

Her travels through the fog take her to a village over the mountain where she meets a family from another time period where she longs to belong. The short 107 pages took me to a magical place!

Count me in with those who find science too difficult to comprehend. I admire those who can understand and enjoy it.

All good wishes to you and Jim.

50LizzieD
Nov 19, 2020, 11:30pm

I am in such good company! I made an abortive attempt to read a book on basic quantum physics several years ago with Jim (not your Jim, Founder Jim) coaching. My tiny little mind rebelled, and I certainly read a mystery or two to lure it back. Meanwhile, I was trying to remember where I encountered the 3 body problem, and I've tracked it down to Lords of the Horizons, which I am also not reading at the moment. I'll get back to it though, since his point (I think) was that origins of the Ottoman Empire are way more complicated than dealing with the movements of only 3 bodies. That first chapter was not an encouragement to keep going. The second was more my speed.
As to Aaron Deihl, those relaxed hands were the first thing I noticed - rare to see a jazz pianist with such splendid technique!

51ffortsa
Nov 20, 2020, 12:18pm

Sometimes technology is wonderful. On YouTube (where else?), someone recorded the piano accompaniment to the piece I'm playing in my lessons, and I can play it through my bluetooth speaker and practice with the piano part! Amazing.

52magicians_nephew
Nov 20, 2020, 4:45pm


I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
--Isaac Newton


That's how i feel about it too

53ffortsa
Nov 22, 2020, 10:31am

After our sojourn at Mohonk, Jim and I felt it prudent to get Covid tests, even though the resort was scrupulous about distance and masks and cleaing. but all the kids were lining up to get tested before going home to Mom and Dad for Thanksgiving. The first time we got on line we were told our position would get in after 4 hours! We left. The next day we got on line an hour and a half before the place opened at 9AM and were out by about 10AM., so only a two and a half hours overall, and we brought chairs and books. What was nice was that the walk in center offered the rapid test, so we knew the answer in half an hour, by email., both of us negative.

I was concerned because my trio is meeting on Tuesday, and I didn't want to unknowingly bring any unwanted gifts. The cellist is 87! I think we waited long enough that any infection fro the weekend would have shown up in the test.

54ffortsa
Nov 24, 2020, 4:46pm

Maybe I should have decided not to join my trio today. Played miserably. Oh well.

55ffortsa
Editado: Nov 25, 2020, 3:21pm

72. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

I had read this back in 2011, and didn't understand why it was considered a comic classic, but one of my reading groups chose it and I thought it might be funnier if I listened to it.

This is a perfect example of arch, late 19th century British silliness. Listening to it was eventually better than reading it. The first third or so was deadly, and I actually fell asleep. But I persevered, and also sped up the audio just a little bit (1.2), and the rest of the book gained in humor. Some of the small, serious interludes are thought-provoking as well.

The three men in question (and the dog) decide to take a boat trip the way young men might decide to take a motorcycle getaway these days. There's a lot about the Thames itself, and if I were familiar with the river that part would have been much more interesting. Some of the small, serious interludes are thought-provoking as well.

Still, I don't plan to read it again.

73. Cut, Crop & Die by Joanna Campbell-Slan

I can't recall why I borrowed this book from the library. I'm not a scrapbook enthusiast, it's not the first in the series, and I can't find a recommendation. However, it was an amusing cozy, with a little too much detail about scrapbooking materials and techniques. It's set in St. Louis, which makes for a nice change. One of the subordinate characters speaks with a terrible imitation of backwoods grammar - very irritating - but the rest is tolerable, and distracting on a cold, gray November day.

56PaulCranswick
Nov 26, 2020, 10:16pm



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

57ffortsa
Nov 27, 2020, 10:24am

Next up is a re-read of Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. I had read it in 2015 for one reading group, and now will read it again for another. I've got a few ebooks on my Kindle from the library, and my copy of The Little Ice Age:How Climate Made History came in the mail on Wednesday, so I can continue to feel sorry for the people of the 15th century. And then there is Sebold's Vertigo for December.

Thanksgiving was unexpectedly nice. We were going to eat a deux, but a friend called at the last minute and asked to join us. I generally don't care for such suprises, but it turned out to be a nice threesome, and the food came out pretty good, especially the sweet potatoes, roasted and lovely all by themselves. The Prosecco didn't hurt any either.

I hope everyone who reads this has had a pleasant and safe holiday.

58katiekrug
Nov 27, 2020, 11:22am

I'm glad you had a nice holiday, Judy! Ours was very quiet, too. I'm glad the surprise guest worked out :)

59LizzieD
Nov 27, 2020, 12:15pm

Hi, Judy. Just catching up and glad for the negative test and the good holiday with a guest.

60ffortsa
Nov 27, 2020, 11:03pm

The temptation to get together with friends is pretty constant, isn't it? We eat with one or two friends who live alone and rarely see others, but I've become less inclined to take risks as the possibility of 'long haul' effects become more obvious. My cousin is coping with some of that now, a good eight months after she caught the vitrus. We have temporarily shut down our trio - The violist was getting more and more concerned and finally decided to wait until she feels safer. We did have that guest for dinner, and we have a standing date with one other for outdoor dining as long as the weather permits, but zoom will have to do for the rest of our contacts.

Well, more violin practice, more reading, more deliberate searching for museum shows and online learning. And exercise. I took the first in a series of video classes for yoga this morning and felt so much better. Must keep that up.

I look forward to seeing you all as soon as science permits!

61karenmarie
Nov 29, 2020, 8:47pm

I'm glad you had a good Thanksgiving with your friend, Judy, sorry your trio has prudently shut down for the duration. Especially glad to hear about your negative Covid tests.

Once since March only, Bill and I shared a pizza with a couple we know, outside, for a total of one hour, about a month ago, masked when not eating, and I felt nervous about that and won't do it again, especially as outdoors won't be an option soon. It was just the two of us for Thanksgiving, not even our daughter. I'm not even sure we'll be able to see her for Christmas, although if her tutoring ends soons enough to allow for 7-10 days quarantine, we might be able to see her just at Christmas or a bit after for a week or so. Not confident about that, though.

I'm so grateful for the masks you made for me and think of you every time I wear them.

62ffortsa
Editado: Nov 30, 2020, 10:51am

>61 karenmarie: I hope you get to see Jenna for Christmas. We all need some close contact these days.

My siblings are far away, alas, so we won't be able to see them for at least another 6 months. My nephew, who lives near San Francisco, is getting married on Labor Day Weekend next year, and I hope we can fly out there without incident or quarantine by then! It would be the first time in ages that my sibs and I can see each other together.

63ffortsa
Dez 1, 2020, 2:11pm

One of our reading groups meet tonight to discuss Moon Tiger, a second read for me. I'm embarrassed to say I remembered the first third or so, and then found the rest of the book delightful but unremembered. Good thing I got a chance to read it again.

I received my copy of The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850, a good clean copy in paperback. So I'm in the middle of that. Sebald's Vertigo is the next Zoom group read, then The Yiddish Policeman's Union' for January. It's been on my shelf, in hard cover for ages, but I never got to read it. So my first for the year will be off-the-shelf!

It feels a little like that Ice Age outside - we've had a sudden drop in temperature and the wind is up. Glad I don't have to tend any fields today!

64ffortsa
Dez 2, 2020, 11:44am

74. Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

This was a re-read for my downtown reading group, and I was a little surprised at how many people didn't like it, for both its form and its emotional reserve. I read this first in 2015, and remembered the first section, then rediscovered the rest of the book all over again.

I think this starts out as a great book. The theme of time, and how paltry our own is compared to TIME, and of course death, are deep in this book. Our protagonist, Claudia, is feisty, independent during and after WWII, a personality strong enough to be scary. She is dying (not a spoiler) and reviewing her life, which she calls writing a history of the world. Well, it was her world. Her relationship with her brother and her time as a reporter in Cairo during WWII impact the rest of her life and her reaction to other people. She has some regrets.

Lively writes this as a kaleidescope of memory, spiraling, reforming, returning, sometimes told from other people's points of view. At the time considered experimental, I think it sits within the modern tradition now. The writing is gorgeous. I hope to read more of this author.

65LizzieD
Dez 2, 2020, 11:53am

Hi, Judy. I see that I gave Moon Tiger 4½ stars, and I remember almost nothing about it. I'm happy to have a copy so that I can reread sometime.

66katiekrug
Dez 2, 2020, 12:01pm

I have loved everything by Lively that I've read (and I have several more of her novels on my shelf to look forward to...). MT was the first of hers that I read, and it was ages ago, when I was a teenager. I keep meaning to re-read it, as I expect I'll get more out of it now.

67Berly
Dez 4, 2020, 11:30pm

Hi, Judy!! I have a working laptop so I am snuggled in bed, making the rounds. : ) It's been awhile since I made it here. Glad you are still healthy, sorry the trio is not happening right now. Understandable. We celebrated Thanksgiving only with those in our household and tonight I passed on an outdoor happy hour with friends. Sigh. We just have to hang in there until it's safe.

>64 ffortsa: Love Lively and you are definitely gonna make the big 75!!

Happy weekend.

68PaulCranswick
Dez 5, 2020, 8:50am

>64 ffortsa: One of my favourite authors, Judy and I had the pleasure of meeting her too (not that she would remember me) as her husband was my tutor in University for a year.

Have a lovely weekend.

69ffortsa
Dez 6, 2020, 7:25pm

>68 PaulCranswick: Cool, Paul

>67 Berly: Nice to see you, Kim. I haven't had much craving for social interactions, but I have been wrestling with the possibility of our 'new' gym opening at the end of this month, not sure if I trust the low-risk statements I've been hearing, but dying to get in the pool again. Having to weigh the risks of everything is probably the worst of it so far for me personally. If I'm lucky, as a senior, if I keep careful a little longer I might make it to a vaccine without incident.

70ffortsa
Dez 7, 2020, 7:02pm

Scientific American February 2020:

I've been reading the issues of magazines that litter our coffee table, and this one is exceptional. There isn't a clinker in the five main articles, which run from how the brain uses spacial perception to build social maps to how scientists still don't really know why planes stay up. If you are scientifically inclined or curious or both, you might look for this issue at the library or online. A real treat.

71ffortsa
Dez 9, 2020, 9:20pm

75. Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky by David Connerley Nahm

Wouldn't you know that my 75th book this year would be one I know I will have to read again. The last book I read, Moon Tiger, expressed the idea that all of our life is contemporaneous in our mind, all happening at once. That is true of this story as well, but much darker, crueler, sadder.

Nahm tells the story of a family hit with disaster, in a small town like any other town in Kentucky or any other mainly rural state, with a kaleidescopic eye for pattern and color and image. We hear Leah's fragmented stream of consciousness ruminating over her past and present, sometimes within the same sentence, the same phrase, as if we ourselves were captured in her dream world of history. The sliding scraps of memory video, small town and farm and day and night and fairground and school, childhood and adolescence, circle around a moment of suspense set up quickly and not resolved until the end. And the suspense held me in thrall, sometimes against my will, so that I would also see all the images in Leah's head.

I read this because of a review from Richard Derus, and it lived up to his praise.

72FAMeulstee
Dez 10, 2020, 5:12am

>71 ffortsa: Congratulations on reaching 75, Judy!

73PaulCranswick
Dez 10, 2020, 6:42am

>71 ffortsa: Well done, Judy, on reaching 75 books.

74ffortsa
Dez 10, 2020, 12:33pm

Thanks!

75drneutron
Dez 10, 2020, 12:53pm

Congrats!

76LizzieD
Dez 10, 2020, 1:02pm

WOW! Congratulations on 75 and on rounding out that number with such a good one! I'm not sure that I can tackle that one right now, but it's on the list for sure.

>69 ffortsa: Oh the pool! I can't tell you how much I miss my 3-days-a-week tension reliever. I certainly won't be going back anytime soon because I will not risk my mother. I might be willing to risk myself sooner otherwise, but I'm thankful for the otherwise. I know I'll never recover the endurance I had before the virus.

77katiekrug
Dez 10, 2020, 1:13pm

Well done, Judy!

78charl08
Dez 13, 2020, 5:17pm

>71 ffortsa: Congrats on the 75 - sounds like a compelling read, too.

79ffortsa
Dez 15, 2020, 1:33pm

I was reading Mamie's thread and the discussion about the spreadsheet offered by Bookriot, and I remembered that I had made a spreadsheet of book bullets some time ago. Found it and added The Salt Road, and realized rather grimly that I have read NONE of the books already on the list. I guess I have to LOOK at the spreadsheet. What a concept.

A bright but cold day here. I'd go out for a walk, but I'm falling asleep as I type, so maybe a nap instead. We await the Great Nor'easter Snowstorm tomorrow.

Currently reading Vertigo by W.G. Sebald. And I've got some ebooks due at the library soon.

80katiekrug
Dez 15, 2020, 1:37pm

"I guess I have to LOOK at the spreadsheet. What a concept."

This made me snort. It's an awfully familiar sentiment... :)

I'm looking forward to a snow day or two! But not shoveling. Or losing power. Or any of the bad parts. Heh.

81ffortsa
Dez 15, 2020, 5:44pm

82karenmarie
Dez 16, 2020, 10:01am

Hi Judy!

Congrats on #75. I hope there are no bad parts to the Great Nor'easter Snowstorm for you and Jim. Just warm and safe inside with enough food, drink, books, and etc.

83ffortsa
Dez 16, 2020, 6:24pm

>82 karenmarie: Refrigerator stocked, staff will shovel, and we are ordering delivery tonight, so all is good. Of course, we might kill each other, but that is regardless of the snow.
And as of now, it is definitely snowing.

84karenmarie
Dez 17, 2020, 11:23am

I saw something on the NYT about Central Park getting 10" of snow. Nice to not have to go anywhere, isn't it?

85ffortsa
Dez 18, 2020, 2:41pm

>84 karenmarie: Yes, it is, although I wish the city hadn't been so quick to plow the streets the first night. We didn't get a chance to see that nice pristine swath of white before practicality took over. I could walk over to Union Square Park to get a look, but I'm feeling lazy. and it's cold out!

86ffortsa
Editado: Dez 26, 2020, 10:02am

76. Vertigo by W.G. Sebold

A strange, dare I say 'European' book, divided in several parts by our historian narrator: Stendhal crossing the Alps with Napoleon's army; Dr. K in the same territory; the narrator himself, ricochetting around Italy, remembering relentlessly his own life history.

I will have more to say after the discussion group meets.

87ffortsa
Dez 18, 2020, 3:26pm

I started the book IQ, highly recommended by a number of us, but found it disturbing, with a level of foreboding I can't really handle right now. I may come back to it, but for now, the library can have it back.

88ffortsa
Dez 20, 2020, 6:05pm

I forgot to mention that I'm listening to The Wind in the Willows, which I never read as a child. It's great company on the treadmill at the gym!

89ffortsa
Editado: Dez 23, 2020, 2:37pm

77. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850 by Brian M. Fagan

Ah, someone recommended this but I can't remember who. Bad me.

After the amazing warm period of the 13th century, climate change had a profound effect on human behavior and well-being. Brian Fagan takes us step by step through the cold, unsettled, rainy, dry, hot and otherwise completely unpredictable years of the Little Ice Age, when the subsistence farmers of Europe and elsewhere suffered repeated bad harvests and terrible privations. He is blunt, and after the description of life in the 1300s and 1400s, I was consumed with empathy for these people who had to live through such uncertain times.

Starting in the early 1300s, weather became increasingly destructive to farming, with repeated cold spells, drenching rains and unexpected droughts. Fagan takes us all the way through to the 1800s and the blistering Irish famine that pushed so many to emigrate or die. In between, he notes the persistent rain in the 14th and 15th centuries that turned farmlands and pasturelands to seas of mud and certainly contributed to the outcomes of battles (for instance, Agincourt) as well as privation. He notes calamity in the New World as well, as early settlers in North America fought to live through one of the coldest winters of the age, the Incan Empire and other indigenous societies were ruined by drought, volcanic eruptions blocked the sun, and the Thames froze solid.

And of course, he ends the age with our own interference in climate. This book, published in 2000, is cautious about laying all the global warming at our feet, citing other contributing possibilities. But his description of one possible outcome is literally chilling, as fresh water melt covers the north end of the Gulf Stream and shuts off the downwelling of that great warm river in the sea. Once we scorch the Earth, another Ice Age may come again.

90karenmarie
Dez 22, 2020, 9:22pm

Hi Judy!

>87 ffortsa: I liked IQ quite a bit, but started and abandoned the second book.



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

91ffortsa
Dez 23, 2020, 2:43pm

What is going on with the touchstones?? The same title works in some places but not in others, touchstones that were fine before are messed up. That last surprises me.

92Berly
Dez 24, 2020, 5:50pm



Judy--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! ( I love The Wind in the Willows!!)

93PaulCranswick
Dez 25, 2020, 3:25am



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

94ffortsa
Dez 26, 2020, 10:11am

I see touchstones are still messed up. Sigh. And I went to donate blood today and was turned down! Not enough iron, evidently. Never my problem before. Very annoying - it's an easy good deed to do.

I'm reading Square Haunting, and will probably pick up a mystery before starting The Yiddish Policeman's Union for the first downtown zoom book group meeting of the year.

>92 Berly: and >93 PaulCranswick:, thanks for the seasonal greetings. I wish everyone a better, healthy and happy 2021. Coming soon!

95karenmarie
Dez 26, 2020, 10:47am

Hi Judy. I'm sorry about your not being able to donate blood.

I loved The Yiddish Policeman's Union and hope you and your group do too.

96EBT1002
Dez 27, 2020, 10:08pm

The touchstones have definitely been touchy lately.

I still have The Yiddish Policeman's Union on my TBR shelves and a comment in Wendy Lesser's Why I Read made me think I'd really like to get to it soon.

I missed coming round to drop of holiday greetings but I'm early for the Happy New Year sentiment. :-)

97LizzieD
Dez 27, 2020, 11:13pm

I'll put in another plug for *Yiddish Police* - really liked it! Sorry about the blood donation. Sometimes I was able to give and sometimes not, with anemia being a sort of thing in my mother's family. It was never easy for me, and the last time I volunteered, the nurse said (after pressing her whole weight on my arm to finish the test samples after I had told her that I clotted quickly and she ignored me) (my whole forearm was bruised a solid black for 3 weeks), "You might want to consider not doing this again." So I did, and I haven't, but I always felt stoked to have done it.

Maybe they should just go ahead and call them TouchyStones.

98ffortsa
Dez 28, 2020, 3:50pm

>96 EBT1002: Oh, I've seen plenty of holiday posts on other people's threads. Quite all right that you skipped them. I did too! But I hope yours was pleasant, and your New Year as well.

>97 LizzieD: I'd better get going on Yiddish Policeman's Union. Our group meets January 5!

I never had trouble donating before, always with a good iron count and easy-to-find vein (right arm only, mind you), so this is new. Luckily, I'm already scheduled for my annual physical on January 7, so I will surely discuss it then. In the meantime, I must remember that I actually like spinach, and should eat it even if Jim doesn't.

I've been listening to The Wind in the Willows as I exercise, and I'll probably finish it tomorrow. A sweet story I missed as a kid, well narrated with a variety of English accents. After that, I've got a pile of credits to spend at Audible. I'm thinking of cancelling my subscription, but not before I use up what I already have. Where else do people get audiobooks, aside from the library?

99Berly
Dez 29, 2020, 6:03am

I get my "free" Audible books because I have Amazon Prime so it is only 1 freebie a month and I use it consistently. Additional ones, I get from my library. And I loved The Wind in the Willows when I read it as a kid!! I wonder how I'd like the audio...

Sorry you couldn't donate this time. Bummer. Hope is it an easy spinach fix and you can do it the next time. : )

100katiekrug
Dez 29, 2020, 12:29pm

I just use Audible and the library for audios. You might look into Chirp and/or Libro.fm as other sources. I am listening so little, that I haven't really investigated them much. I can't keep up as it is...

101ffortsa
Dez 29, 2020, 5:55pm

>99 Berly: Oh, I have Amazon Prime. But I had Audible first, and I pay a monthly fee. Hm. I think I might have to change that. More phone calls. Sigh. Thanks for the tip.

>100 katiekrug: Yeah, it's the keeping up that's the problem. If I can find a way to use up my credits ahead of the monthly accumulation, I'll quit the subscription, especially because of what Kim said just before you.

102katiekrug
Dez 29, 2020, 8:08pm

>99 Berly: and >101 ffortsa: - I have Prime and Audible isn't included. I checked and I don't see that as a benefit, so I'm confused...

103Familyhistorian
Dez 30, 2020, 11:26pm

Congratulations on reading 75, Judy. Have a wonderful New Year!

104ffortsa
Editado: Dez 31, 2020, 4:01pm

78. Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars by Francesca Wade

Recommended by Ellen!

This is something of a five-part biography of 5 women writers who resided in Mecklenburgh Square in Bloomsbury between the two World Wars. Not all of them lived there at the same time, but they all spent some of there writing life there, and most knew the others and the people in between them as well. Their stories form a picture of women's struggles, successes and failures in this era, some of which, most of which certainly echo today.

The five are H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Dorothy L. Sayers, Jane Ellen Harrison, Eileen Power, and Virginia Woolf. Of the five, I have read two (Sayers and Woolf), heard of another (H.D.) and was clueless about Harrison and Power, although they were certainly as influential in their time as the other, better known names. I was impressed by all their struggles: to be heard, to live without depending on men, to find causes and nerve and their own value in their time. I learned the most from the sections on Harrison and Power, on their impacts and on the history of the time, especially on the lead-up to World War II and the visceral experience of that war in London and the surrounding areas. The psychological as well as professional struggles of these five women are not over, almost 100 years after the fact.

Strongly recommended.

105katiekrug
Dez 31, 2020, 4:06pm

Happy new year, Judy!

106ffortsa
Dez 31, 2020, 5:07pm

I hope all who come here and have come here in the past and all those they love have a Happy and healthy New Year, filled with wonderful books and loving people.

107PaulCranswick
Dez 31, 2020, 9:34pm



Judy

As the year turns, friendship continues

108ffortsa
Jan 1, 10:20am

>107 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul, you sentimentalist. May this be a good year for us all.

And with that, this thread closes. I'll see you all in 2021.