Ellen (EBT1002) reads her way to retirement - 3

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Ellen (EBT1002) reads her way to retirement - 3

1EBT1002
Editado: Abr 8, 11:20am



Carson!

2EBT1002
Editado: Abr 8, 11:28am

.

This little guy is just going to top my threads a lot.

3EBT1002
Editado: Abr 8, 11:23am

I'm a bit ambivalent about rating books. I feel like my ratings are nonscientific and therefore inconsistent. Also, I too often find that I rate a book based on my immediate reaction but am later surprised as I recall it with either more or less affection than the rating seems to indicate. But I do like being able to look back and get a sense of how a book landed on me at the time I read it, so I persist with these stars in most cases.

= Masterpiece, took my breath away.
= Stunning.
= Excellent.
= Very good.
= Good.
= Average.
= Bad.
= Very bad.
= Don't bother.

Of course, it still holds true that I'm rarely going to complete a book earning fewer than two stars but I reserve the right to rate them based on my experience.

4EBT1002
Editado: Abr 8, 11:26am

COMPLETED IN JANUARY

1. The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell 5 stars
2. Jazz by Toni Morrison 3.5 stars
3. Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir by Natasha Trethewey (audio) 5 stars
4. Magical Negro by Morgan Parker unrated (poetry)
5. Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen 4 stars
6. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson 4.5 stars
7. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones 5 stars
8. Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls 3.5 stars
9. News of the World by Paulette Jiles (reread) still 5 stars
10. The Boy in the Field by Margot Livesey 4 stars

COMPLETED IN FEBRUARY

11. The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer 4 stars
12. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman 3.5 stars
13. Paradise by Toni Morrison not yet rated
14. The King at the Edge of the World by Arthur Phillips 4 stars
15. The Long Song by Andrea Levy (reread) still 4 stars
16. The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths 4 stars

COMPLETED IN MARCH

17. How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C. Pam Zhang 3 stars
18. Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley 3.5 stars
19. Unclay by T.F. Powys 3.5 stars
20. From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell
21. The Survivors by Jane Harper 4 stars
22. The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths 4 stars
23. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi 3 stars
24. Frederica by Georgette Heyer 4 stars

6EBT1002
Editado: Jun 13, 3:05pm

AlphaKIT (my only formal challenge this year)

January......P M
✅ -- Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey
✅ -- Jazz by Toni Morrison
✅ -- Magical Negro by Morgan Parker

February.....T K
✅ -- The King at the Edge of the World by Arthur Phillips
✅ -- The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

March.....U R
✅ -- Unclay by T.F. Powys
✅ -- From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell

April.....A W
✅ -- Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Washburn, Kawai Strong
✅ -- Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
✅ -- Homeland Elegies by Akhtar, Ayad

May.....I N
✅ -- In the Morning I'll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty
✅ -- Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
✅ -- No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

June.....C D
✅ -- The Cold Millions by Jess Walter
✅ -- The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

July.....S O
-- The Death of Vivek Oji by Emezi, Akwaeke

August.....V J
-- The Distant Echo by Val McDermid

September.....F L
October.....H E
November.....B Y
December.....G Q

Yearlong.....X Z
-- The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
-- How Much of These Hills Is Gold by Zhang, C Pam

7EBT1002
Abr 8, 11:18am

reading plans (ha)

8EBT1002
Editado: Abr 8, 11:20am

Personal Reading Challenge: Every winner of the Booker Prize since its inception in 1969

1969: P. H. Newby, Something to Answer For
1970: Bernice Rubens, The Elected Member
1970: J. G. Farrell, Troubles (awarded in 2010 as the Lost Man Booker Prize)
1971: V. S. Naipaul, In a Free State
1972: John Berger, G. -- DNF
1973: J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
1974: Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist ... and Stanley Middleton, Holiday
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1976: David Storey, Saville
1977: Paul Scott, Staying On
1978: Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea
1979: Penelope Fitzgerald, Offshore
1980: William Golding, Rites of Passage
1981: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
1982: Thomas Keneally, Schindler's Ark
1983: J. M. Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K
1984: Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1985: Keri Hulme, The Bone People
1986: Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1987: Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
1988: Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1989: Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
1990: A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance
1991: Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1992: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient ... and Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
1993: Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1994: James Kelman, How late it was, how late***
1995: Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
1996: Graham Swift, Last Orders
1997: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
1998: Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
1999: J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace***
2000: Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
2001: Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang
2002: Yann Martel, Life of Pi
2003: DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
2004: Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
2005: John Banville, The Sea
2006: Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering
2008: Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
2009: Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
2010: Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
2011: Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
2012: Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
2013: Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
2014: Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
2015: Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
2016: Paul Beatty, The Sellout
2017: George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
2018: Anna Burns, Milkman
2019: Margaret Atwood, The Testaments, and Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other
2020: Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain

***On my shelves

I'm going to keep this post going so I can keep track but I admit I'm less committed to finishing the whole list than I once was.

9EBT1002
Editado: Abr 8, 11:29am

10EBT1002
Abr 8, 11:19am

The next one is up for grabs!

11laytonwoman3rd
Abr 8, 11:28am

Well, I'll just grab it then!

12vivians
Abr 8, 11:32am

Love those Carson photos! What contentment!

13EBT1002
Editado: Abr 8, 11:34am

>11 laytonwoman3rd: Way to jump right in, Linda! Thanks for stopping by.

>12 vivians: When he is contented, he is wholly contented, Vivian. When he is fretful, he does that full-on, as well. :-)

14katiekrug
Abr 8, 11:43am

Happy new thread, Ellen!

15lauralkeet
Abr 8, 12:35pm

Hi Ellen! I love your Carson thread-topper. Such a cutie!

16drneutron
Abr 8, 12:39pm

Happy new thread!

17karenmarie
Abr 8, 1:34pm

Hi Ellen, and happy new thread.

>1 EBT1002: That picture cracks me up. What a boy.

>9 EBT1002: Ooh-rah.

18PaulCranswick
Abr 8, 1:55pm

Happy new one, Ellen. Great to see you back posting.

19jessibud2
Editado: Abr 8, 6:51pm

>1 EBT1002: - Yo, Carson. It's me, Theo. How ya doin'? ;-)

20jessibud2
Editado: Abr 8, 1:58pm

>9 EBT1002: - YAY!

Oh, and happy new thread, Ellen

21msf59
Abr 8, 2:09pm

Happy April, Ellen. Happy New Thread! Glad to see you posting. You have been missed. How are those current reads treating you?

22quondame
Abr 8, 3:02pm

Happy new thread!

Carson sure looks like the ultimate cool cat.

23LovingLit
Editado: Abr 13, 1:02am

>19 jessibud2: haha, so ungainly and cat-like :) I love it when they unabashedly do things like that.

Hi Ellen, long time no see! Your 9th post heralds a significant event!!!

ETA typo!

24BLBera
Abr 8, 7:44pm

Carson is very handsome, Ellen.

>7 EBT1002: I love it!

>9 EBT1002: Congrats on choosing a date.

25ronincats
Abr 8, 8:38pm

Love the Carson pics and the firm retirement date!!!

26charl08
Abr 9, 2:10am

>9 EBT1002: Whooo! Congratulations.

Happy new thread too.

27FAMeulstee
Abr 9, 7:45am

Happy new thread, Ellen!

>9 EBT1002: Congratulations on the date set for retirement, now following your countdown :-)

28witchyrichy
Abr 9, 11:13am

Happy new thread! And you and I are on the same retirement schedule: I am looking at June 2022 as the end of my non-profit executive director work. We aren't moving but travel and camping is definitely on the list. My older sister is also retiring and we are ready to take a trip to Ireland.

Aah...

29richardderus
Abr 9, 2:35pm

Greetings and solicitations. New-threadery noted.

*smooch*

30EBT1002
Abr 9, 5:36pm

>14 katiekrug: Thanks Katie!

>15 lauralkeet: and >16 drneutron: And thanks to you, as well, Laura and Jim!

>17 karenmarie: Thanks Karen. My Carson is a silly boy, eh? He reminds me of that old Peanuts strip in which Freda (I think) has a cat over her shoulder and Linus (I think) says "cats have no bones."

>18 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. Oddly enough, I'm more likely to use a brief break in the work and/or between zoom meetings to catch up here when I'm in the office rather than at home. I think at home I get engaged with Carson or P, or I just want out of that room!

31EBT1002
Editado: Abr 9, 5:38pm

>19 jessibud2: Shelley! That is hilarious! What is it about ginger cats???

And thank you, >20 jessibud2:.

>21 msf59: Hi Mark! It is good to be finding moments here and there to spend time with my LT buddies. And the reads are treating me well. I am loving Ask Again, Yes!!

32EBT1002
Editado: Abr 9, 5:42pm

>22 quondame: Hi Susan. Carson is totally the cool cat although, this morning at 2:30am, I was the one to get out of bed and escort him to his food cups. He had kibble. He had not finished his bedtime scoop. But he likes someone to pet and encourage him while he digs the kibble out of the cups with his paws and munches them down. I didn't really mind, but it did take me a while to get back to sleep!

Yes, he is spoiled.

>23 LovingLit: Hi Megan! Yes, Carson is certainly not shy, at least not with P and me! And yes, that auspicious event feels very solidly set now. It feels really good and right.

>24 BLBera: You are the only one to comment on my post about reading plans in >7 EBT1002:, Beth. Honestly, I did plan to put something there. I have a few reads I hope to get to this month. But I sort of lost interest in making them explicit and tying myself down. I'm learning! :-D

33EBT1002
Abr 9, 5:45pm

>25 ronincats: Both make me happy, as well, Roni!

>26 charl08: Thanks Charlotte!

>27 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. The firm date is a year later than my fantasy has been but it feels right and good. :-)

>28 witchyrichy: Oh, Karen, Ireland is so on my travel list! Summer of 2022 will be a fun one for us! I think Beth may be on a similar timeline.

>29 richardderus: Hi Richard and thank you for felicitations and salutations alike. xo

34richardderus
Abr 9, 7:36pm

>31 EBT1002: Oh good, it's hit home. I so hoped it would.

35EBT1002
Editado: Abr 11, 10:23pm

I finished Ask Again, Yes. 4.5 stars. This was a unique rendering of the common themes of love, family, alcoholism, and mental illness. Exquisitely compassionate, the novel follows the Stanhope and Gleason families, especially Peter and Kate, best friends from early childhood, through tragedy and devastation. It's perfectly paced and ultimately hopeful.

>34 richardderus: Thank you for sending it to me, Richard!

36EBT1002
Abr 11, 10:25pm

37BLBera
Abr 11, 10:26pm

I was glad to see you also loved Ask Again, Yes, Ellen. I wonder what Keane is up to next?

Have a great week.

38EBT1002
Editado: Abr 12, 6:25pm

>37 BLBera: She is definitely an author I will watch for, Beth. I also saw today that Ottessa Moshfegh has a new one coming out soon(ish). From LitHub

39richardderus
Abr 12, 8:02pm

>35 EBT1002: A whole half-star above my rating, too! I'm very happy.

40streamsong
Abr 12, 8:04pm

Happy New Thread!

Congrats on your retirement date.

I loved hearing about your Oregon trip.

I haven't read any of your most recent authors, but I did enjoy my first Georgette Heyer a month or so ago. I can see why that was good vacation reading!

41msf59
Abr 12, 8:06pm

Glad you loved Ask Again, Yes, Ellen. I have added it to the list. Ottessa Moshfegh has sure been prolific. I still have her last novel on shelf.

42EBT1002
Abr 13, 11:47am

>39 richardderus: I feel like I'm being especially generous with stars so far this year, Richard. And I remind myself that it hardly matters. It's just so I can look back in the future and generally recall how a work landed on me at the time I read it. The copy of Ask Again, Yes will now go in the box of books we periodically send to family in Palau. They read (some of) them and donate them to the local public library. It helps provide good reading material on that relatively isolated island in Micronesia. :-)

>40 streamsong: Hi Janet! Thanks for stopping by. I feel like I'm on a good roll with reading and I will certainly keep Georgette Heyer on my vacation and/or stressed-out reading list.

>41 msf59: I've only read one work by Moshfegh, Mark: Eileen back in 2016. I gave it four stars but I know it wasn't everyone's cuppa. I have looked at My Year of Rest and Relaxation on bookshop shelves any number of times but never purchased it.

43EBT1002
Abr 13, 11:48am

I'm enjoying Murder in Old Bombay but it does seem to be an oddly slow read for something so light.

44richardderus
Abr 13, 3:35pm

>42 EBT1002: That's the perfect resolution to the issue of lightening the load that will, eventually, need to be shifted to Corvallis. I love releasing my books into the wild via the Little Free Library. So satisfying! And this is even better, getting the item out to the middle of the South Pacific from my beach town on the North Atlantic.

45EBT1002
Abr 13, 7:17pm

>44 richardderus: *big smile*

46BLBera
Abr 13, 7:22pm

I haven't read anything by Ottessa Moshfegh. Jhumpa Lahiri has a new novel coming soon.

47EBT1002
Abr 13, 7:24pm

Working in my office on campus again has been a good thing. I don't have to come in; we are still fully authorized and even encouraged to work from home, but I am finding that I prefer the separation of work and home. I am also both more focused and able to enjoy the little breaks in my day -- more likely to check in here on LT. When I'm here (at work), there is not a partner, nor a cat, nor a jigsaw puzzle in the other room to distract me in between zoom meetings. It is weird to be in the office and still doing all my meetings via zoom, but I'm settling back into the routine.

Both yesterday and today I took real lunch breaks. Yesterday I went for a 30-minute walk, then read a chapter of Murder in Old Bombay while eating my pasta salad. Today I skipped the walk (it was super windy out!) and just focused on the murder mystery and my salad.

Things to look forward to:
Camping just outside Mt. Rainier in about 10 weeks
Camping/lodging in Yellowstone in about 5 months
A week on Kauai in about 9 months
Retirement in 473 days :-)

48EBT1002
Abr 13, 7:24pm

>46 BLBera: Oh, I saw something about the new one by Lahiri coming out soon. I'll be watching for that!

49LovingLit
Abr 13, 9:56pm

>47 EBT1002: real lunch breaks!! *sigh* I remember them. Sadly when you cram your work hours into school hours, you no longer get a real lunch break.

Glad the office is a happy (and productive) place for you :)

50BLBera
Abr 13, 11:38pm

I also like the separation of work and home, Ellen. I've been lucky enough to be able to go to my office most of the time. Now, I even see colleagues from time to time!

My desk is also much nicer. I can stand or sit.

51lauralkeet
Abr 14, 7:31am

>47 EBT1002: Ellen, your day in the office sounds weirdly nice and normal. The structure and routine can be helpful, and it signals a return to life-as-it-was, which we all need so much right now.

52karenmarie
Abr 14, 8:49am

Hi Ellen!

>47 EBT1002: I prefer the separation of work and home. I preferred it, too, but I also realized that I didn't have any self-discipline and would rather clean a closet or bake cookies than actually work if I was at home.

53benitastrnad
Abr 14, 10:19am

I am another person who likes the separation between work space and home space. That was one of the reasons why I didn't like working at home for three months. Home is my place of solitude, reflection, and peace and I did not like work interfering with that and blurring those lines. Even though I was fortunate enough to have a home office that looked and acted like an office, I did not like it being inside my home. I went back to my office on-campus as soon as I was allowed to do so (June 27, 2020) and got along much better even though it was for only three days a week.

I have been deeply disturbed however, because the doors to our library are still locked and even though currently registered faculty, staff, and students, can come in to get books and other materials, the perception is that we are closed. As a consequence we have lost two years worth of students and it is going to take us years to coax students back into the libraries. While the statistics for public libraries nationwide continue to climb upward steadily (that is for people in the doors, as well as circulation of books), academic library statistics continue a steady downward slope. I keep asking myself what public libraries are doing differently than we?

54EBT1002
Abr 14, 11:07am

>49 LovingLit: Lunch breaks have not been a thing for me in many years, Megan. I think the only reason they are happening now is that I'm often the only one in the office suite -- and one of the very few in the building. Somehow that results in a bit of quiet time in the middle of the day. I will enjoy it while it lasts!

I may have overstated the situation if you heard that the office is a "happy" place for me. LOL. But it is a better place in which to do work! *smile*

>50 BLBera: I don't have a sit-stand desk in either location, Beth. I had one back at UW and it was wonderful! Oh, and I occasionally see colleagues, too, my comment about being one of the few people in the building. That is still true but I do enjoy when I run into one of the other few who are in the office. We bump elbows and have a masked chat. I love it.

55EBT1002
Abr 14, 11:10am

>51 lauralkeet: Spot on, Laura. "Weirdly nice and normal" is the essence of what I'm experiencing being in the office. This morning I had a 7AM meeting, scheduled at the end of the day yesterday. I even got my butt moving and came into the office for that (remember, I have an 8-minute commute). It just felt better. Carson was sorry that our coffee-reading-lap time got cut short but he'll manage. He probably crawled back into bed with P after I left the house. :-)

>52 karenmarie: Oh yeah, Karen, that was part of the challenge. There are so many distractions at home! I kind of enjoyed that, but I am more productive here (in the office). And more likely to take 15 minutes and check in on LibraryThing! Yay!

56EBT1002
Editado: Abr 14, 11:12am

>53 benitastrnad: Our university library is remaining closed these days, too, Benita, and it has us very frustrated. Of course, staff, faculty, and students can make arrangements to access materials, but the building is locked. Students want to study there and I am confident some study spaces could be made safely available.

57richardderus
Abr 14, 1:52pm

>53 benitastrnad:, >56 EBT1002: Locked doors send a very clear message: "Go away."

There is no nuance in a locked door. It is rejection and refusal to interact, period end of sentence.

If all that ever faced me was a locked door, I'd never try again after a very short time. Put all the signs and banners and run all the lights 24/7, and all I'll remember is "oh yeah, locked doors."

58maggie1944
Abr 14, 7:07pm

Hi, Ellen! I am still trying to get back into reading. Unfortunately, I'm falling for playing silly games on my iPad while I listen to the TV rattle on about this and that. I like the shows about vets located in strange places such as Alaska, or in the middle of farm country. They get some interesting cases in Alaska like reindeer, or musk oxen.

I did watch the 6 hour show on PBS about Hemingway and have started on trying to read some of his novels. Unfortunately, he was treated with shock treatment for depression and I think the result was that his memory was shot, and his ability to write had fallen off. I think he committed suicide as a result.

I did not do reading of Hemingway while at the UW, I was taking history and poli sci classes. English classes intimidated me. Too much talking in class beyond "I like it a lot".

I admire your vacation planning. I've had to cancel my Nov. trip to Kaua'i due to some big dental problems which will cost me all the money I have saved, and then some.

59EBT1002
Abr 14, 7:48pm

>57 richardderus: I agree completely, Richard.

>58 maggie1944: Hi Karen! I completely understand the pull of silly games on the iPad while listening to the tv. P has been doing more of that than I but I think my hours every day on zoom make me less likely to want to spend more time looking at a screen. That said, I have been compulsively playing Spelling Bee via the New York Times every single day for a couple months now.

I'm sorry to hear that you have had dental problems and that they are sucking up your Kaua'i fund. Darn!!!! I always think of you when I think of that island. :-)

60msf59
Abr 14, 10:20pm

>42 EBT1002: In regards to Moshfegh, I also really enjoyed her story collection, Homesick for Another World: Stories, so keep that one in mind.

61magicians_nephew
Abr 15, 9:14am

>42 EBT1002: lovely to see you helping the small libraries of Micronesia - good on you!

>47 EBT1002: yes separating work and home is not an easy thing when they are separated only by the couch cushions. Sometimes going to the office helps to put on your game face.

62EBT1002
Abr 15, 7:51pm

>60 msf59: Duly noted, Mark. Thank you.

>61 magicians_nephew: Hi Jim! I really love sending books to Palau. Sometimes I finish a book I got from the library and wish I could send it. Of course, I could always buy a copy and put it in the box, but I am trying to slow down on the book-buying front (ha).

63EBT1002
Abr 15, 7:53pm

Another day on which I took a real lunch break with pasta salad and Murder in Old Bombay. What fun!

The pasta salad is from "New Recipes from Moosewood" and has shells, sauteed veggies (broccoli, mushrooms, scallions, and parsley), a light mayo dressing, and unsalted roasted cashews added at the last minute. It's pretty yummy but the prep for making it was intensive.

64jessibud2
Abr 15, 9:06pm

>63 EBT1002: - On my only visit to Ithaca, NY, I ate lunch at the Moosewood restaurant! It was fun! I used to have a couple of their cookbooks, way back when.

65Whisper1
Abr 15, 9:21pm

>47 EBT1002: Keep counting those days until retirement. You will feel so very at ease when you do not have to live a life of stressful academia.

I like the list the things you are doing.

Take care, and remember that when you retire, you will wonder what you did all those years that you worked, worked, worked.

All good things to you!

66BLBera
Abr 15, 9:25pm

>63 EBT1002: That does sound pretty yummy, and I think I have that cookbook!

67scaifea
Abr 16, 12:51pm

>63 EBT1002: Oh, that pasta salad sounds lovely! (She says as she's eating ice cream right out of the container for lunch...)

68laytonwoman3rd
Abr 16, 12:56pm

>63 EBT1002: Mmm....that reminds me that I have a recipe for pasta salad with canned salmon that is very tasty, and I don't think about making it in the winter time, so it's been a while.

69jessibud2
Abr 16, 3:56pm

Hi Ellen. I added a cartoon on my thread that pretty much explains my Theo. Don't let Carson see it, though....

70Carmenere
Abr 16, 4:27pm

Hey Ellen! Oooba Dooba on your retirement date! You go girl.
Lev and Melia say hi to Carson. Lev usually is the one to crawl over my shoulder to nibble at my hair (which is a disaster as it is) It must seem straw-like to him. Anyway, I remove him right away. Can you imagine the hair balls he'd have to contend with?!

71figsfromthistle
Abr 17, 8:02am

Dropping on to say hello. All caught up with you now. Happy newish thread!

72karenmarie
Abr 17, 8:46am

Hi Ellen!

>59 EBT1002: I couldn’t remember the name of the game or which newspaper I saw it on, but that’s it! Spelling Bee! I just played today’s game and got a 7-letter word.

>63 EBT1002: I have a favorite cold pasta salad recipe that even my daughter, who does NOT like anything with mayo in it, loves. Probably because there are only 2T mayonnaise in the dressing, along with ~7 cups of pasta/vegetables. Lots of vegetable chopping, but they’re all raw, so you only have to cook the pasta.

73drneutron
Abr 17, 9:14am

>72 karenmarie: Today’s Spelling Bee was a fun one - some really good letters.

74jessibud2
Abr 17, 9:23am

I need to subscribe. I have been playing my allotment of 2 games per day of Tiles and Spelling Bee. I am hooked on Tiles.

75ffortsa
Abr 17, 6:29pm

>74 jessibud2: I too play Tiles, but some of the patterns are more fun than others. I hate the Modrian-like one, but I'll do the others.

I thought today's Spelling Bee was a little tough. I think I stopped at Amazing.

76jessibud2
Editado: Abr 18, 9:00am

>75 ffortsa: - The tiles today and yesterday were hard but I did it anyhow. I need to try to add it to my subscription. I subscribe to the NYT online but a few days ago, I just lost patience trying to reach anyone. The so-called chat option had me hanging on *hold* (something I thought was not possible with an online chat) for over 20 minutes. I clicked off and tried to phone the contact number and could not get past the automated robot to a human. I eventually hung up. I will try again next week, when I am in a better mood. And meantime, will do my 2 free games per day. :-) (maybe it's for the better, that I can't do more than 2. It's already addictive!)

77laytonwoman3rd
Abr 17, 9:47pm

>76 jessibud2: Don't you find that after a few days playing the free Tiles games you're getting repeats? I gave it up for that reason. I have resisted adding it to my subscription for fear I'd NEVER stop.

78EBT1002
Abr 17, 11:13pm

I finished Murder in Old Bombay. A very good 3.5 star read.

Starting Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar (thanks Mark!!) and Consent by Annabel Lyon.

79LizzieD
Abr 17, 11:57pm

Ellen, I can't catch up - I'm not even trying. I can, however, speak and look forward to your retirement with you! Happy days ahead!

80jessibud2
Abr 18, 9:00am

>77 laytonwoman3rd: - I am boring that way, Linda. I don't mind repeats. I just try to better my previous score. But I didn't like those Mondrian designs of the last couple of days. They were hard and made me cross-eyed. I much preferred the patterns like today's. I suspect that I might never get off too, if I subscribe....;-)

81BLBera
Abr 18, 11:18am

I'll be interested to see what you think of Consent; I'm waiting for a copy from my library.

82richardderus
Abr 18, 11:49am

>78 EBT1002: Onto the list it goes! Well, already went; but there it stays. That's just what I need some days, a 3.5* "it'll do fine" read.

New week orisons!

83EBT1002
Abr 19, 1:51pm

Ack! Behind again! Curses!!

Anyway, I raced through Consent by Annabel Lyon and I'm giving it 4.5 stars. It started a bit weird but once I was in, I was all in. I found the two stories, both involving complicated sister relationships, interesting and compelling. I also loved the moment when the two stories intersected although the thread got a bit frayed after that, costing this novel a half-star. Still, it was an engrossing read and almost made me want to go out and buy perfume. Preferably in Paris. :-)

84EBT1002
Abr 19, 1:54pm

I am also happily reading Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar. I actually moved back and forth a bit between this beautifully written work of non-fiction and the very different Consent by Annabel Lyon, which I don't always do. I think Homeland Elegies is one I can read with mini-breaks for whatever fiction work I have going so I'll have to decide what that next novel is going to be. Don't get me wrong: HE is really, really good. It's for that very reason that it can share my attention with something else. Taking a break and returning to Akhtar's thoughtful and thought-provoking narrative does not risk a lost thread.

85BLBera
Editado: Abr 19, 2:01pm

I can't wait to get Consent after reading your comments, Ellen! I'm waiting for my library copy to become available.

86katiekrug
Abr 19, 2:01pm

>84 EBT1002: - Interesting that you refer to Homeland Elegies as nonfiction. It's billed as a novel, but I understand from some reviews I've read, that the line between fact and fiction in it is not always apparent. It's one of the reasons I want to read it...

87Berly
Abr 19, 4:28pm

Hi Ellen! Glad back-at-the-office is working for you. Nice to see some different walls and get away from the home distractions. Sounds like you are in a pretty good place, what with your retirement date fixed and some fun hikes and trips in your future. Not to mention really good books. : )

88msf59
Abr 19, 6:58pm

Hooray for Homeland Elegies, Ellen. I am so glad to hear you are enjoying it but not at all surprised. Yes, it is a strange hybrid, of a novel and a memoir, right?

89EBT1002
Abr 19, 10:04pm

>64 jessibud2: I think it would be great fun to eat at the Moosewood Cafe, Shelley! Decades ago, I applied for a job at Ithaca College and I was disappointed that I didn't even get an interview. I wanted to experience that place!!

>65 Whisper1: Thank you, Linda. It's interesting how one's perspective shifts as one approaches retirement-- I believe my work is valuable and meaningful. But also, not. 😀

>66 BLBera: I was trying to think of modifications I might make to the pasta salad, Beth. Not my strong suit....

>67 scaifea: Hey, Amber! Ice cream out of the carton is pure hedonism!!

90EBT1002
Abr 19, 10:10pm

>68 laytonwoman3rd: I hope you enjoy the pasta salad if you make (made) it, Linda. I'm weird about salmon: I love line caught fresh salmon grilled. I am less enamored with it any other way: smoked, canned, leftover. None of those appeal to me much. I look forward to more fresh salmon when we move back to an hour from the Oregon coast!

>69 jessibud2: I need to check it out, Shelley!

>70 Carmenere: "Can you imagine the hair balls he'd have to contend with?!"
LOL, Lynda!!

>71 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita!

91EBT1002
Abr 19, 10:12pm

>72 karenmarie: I am addicted to Spelling Bee, Karen. I can almost always get to "amazing," often to "genius," never yet to finding every word.

92EBT1002
Editado: Abr 19, 10:43pm

>73 drneutron: Jim, I wonder if I liked that day's letters...

>74 jessibud2: I love Tiles, as well, Shelley. Some settings more than others, and depending on how brain dead I am. 🙂

>75 ffortsa: Which one is the Modrian setting, Judy? Like you, I prefer some settings over others. Brighton is difficult.

My goal is always to make it to Genius but I'm satisfied when I gat to Amazing. Now and then I give up before I get there.

93EBT1002
Abr 19, 10:48pm

>76 jessibud2: I'm addicted to the daily Spelling Bee, Shelley, but I admit that I like having Tiles available for when I'm just in the mood. I tend to play Zen mode. I hope you're able to get the customer service you need!

>77 laytonwoman3rd: For a while I was playing Tiles way too much, Linda. Now I tend to play it when I'm watching something on tv that doesn't require my full attention.

94EBT1002
Abr 19, 10:53pm

>79 LizzieD: Peggy! Thanks for the encouraging words about retirement!

>80 jessibud2: Ok, I need to know what a Mondrian pattern is.

>81 BLBera: I really liked Consent, Beth.

>82 richardderus: I think you'll enjoy Murder in Old Bombay, Richard. One or two coincidences that require suspension, but generally satisfying.

95EBT1002
Editado: Abr 19, 11:04pm

>85 BLBera: I hope you like Consent, Beth.

>86 katiekrug: Hmmm, I was expecting Homeland Elegies to be more of a novel, Katie, and maybe it is. But blended with memoir? It's an unusual hybrid -- and it is excellent.

>87 Berly: I am in a good place, Kim. I still hate this place but the end is firmly in sight and I'm focusing on enjoying what I can.

>88 msf59: Hybrid of novel and memoir seems right to describe Homeland Elegies, Mark. I'm loving it!

96Berly
Abr 20, 1:20am

>95 EBT1002: Hang in there. You got this. : )

97lauralkeet
Abr 20, 7:18am

>92 EBT1002: My goal is always to make it to Genius but I'm satisfied when I gat to Amazing. Now and then I give up before I get there.
Same! I don't know what it is about that puzzle that is so fun, but it really is.

98EBT1002
Editado: Abr 21, 12:42pm

>96 Berly: Thanks Kim. Yesterday was a tough day but I took a good walk this morning and the Palouse is really quite lovely in the early morning light. Tomorrow we drive to Seattle for the weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing family and hopefully having some take-out from one of my favorite restaurants!

>97 lauralkeet: Today I did not (yet) get to Genius, Laura. In fact, I didn't even get to Amazing before giving up, reading for a bit, and heading out for my morning walk. I am merely Great today. Tough letters (B, C, A, M, Y, I, L). I did get a pangram.

99EBT1002
Editado: Abr 21, 12:43pm

Just poking in to say that Homeland Elegies is SO good. It may be headed for a 5-star rating!

100richardderus
Abr 21, 12:50pm

>99 EBT1002: Amazing! That's also heartening news.

*smooch*

101EBT1002
Abr 21, 6:34pm

>100 richardderus: I just described Homeland Elegies as "a novel that reads like a gripping memoir."
"Gripping memoir" is a phrase I think I have never uttered.

102msf59
Editado: Abr 21, 7:17pm

"Just poking in to say that Homeland Elegies is SO good. It may be headed for a 5-star rating!"

^I am so glad to hear that, Ellen! Yah! BTW- Have you read Minor Feelings? If not, I just finished it and would think this would be your cuppa. Hard-hitting and timely.

103EBT1002
Abr 22, 8:58am

>102 msf59: I saw something about Minor Feelings recently and put it on my wish list. Thanks for the confirmation to keep it there, Mark.

104richardderus
Abr 22, 11:34am

>101 EBT1002: So very seldom are those two words needed to describe a memoir. Not a very common thing at all. But that much more delightful to say for that reason.

105ffortsa
Abr 22, 5:09pm

>92 EBT1002: Ah, what I refer to as the Mondrian tile pattern is the one with all the sharp angles, where it's really hard to tell where the tile edges are. It somehow reminds me of cubicle space, too.

106jessibud2
Abr 22, 6:21pm

I caved and subscribed to the games. I just have to figure out how to change settings. Didn't even realize that was an option. :-)

107EBT1002
Abr 26, 1:01pm

>104 richardderus: Totally agree, Richard!

>105 ffortsa: Ah, the one with browns and golds? That one took some getting used to.

>106 jessibud2: I hope you enjoy a fresh Spelling Bee every day, Shelley, along with the opportunity to play Tiles whenever you want to. I always us the Zen setting to reduce my stress level when I play.

108EBT1002
Abr 26, 1:09pm

Life (and death) update:

So, my brother died on Saturday. I got an email from my sister that morning, saying he was probably nearing the end, which I figured meant a couple months or so..... Then I got a text from her in the afternoon that he had died an hour ago. He and I were not close; largely estranged for the past 25-30 years, in fact. But we had been in touch some over the past year or so, some resolution/reconciliation had occurred. He had wanted to make amends. I had released him (via a letter) from that need, saying that I'm okay and that I knew he didn't intend me any harm. He had schizophrenia. He was five years older than me. So those years growing up with his disease raging and my parents completely incapable of dealing with it -- well, those were not good years. But they were also a very long time ago.

In any case, this has been a bit of a shock and I am surprised by the depth and breadth of my grief. I'm really glad I have plans to visit my sister at the end of May.

Book update:

I'm reading How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones and Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar.
Both are excellent!!!

I also bought a copy of Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver at one of my favorite bookshops in Seattle so I'm slowly savoring the poems within.

The visit to Seattle was great, the news about my brother notwithstanding. It was so good to see and spend time with our nephew and his wife!!!!

109BLBera
Abr 26, 1:18pm

Oh Ellen, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. At least you had some recent contact and can feel that you did what you needed to mend the rift. One of my good friends has a BIL with schizophrenia, and it is a terrible disease, so tough on the family.

I'm so happy the trip to Seattle was fun.

I'm waiting for my turn with How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House; my library has been slow!

110richardderus
Abr 26, 1:25pm

I'm so sad for the loss of a future with your brother, Ellen. Your closure with him is a giant gift.

111jessibud2
Abr 26, 1:28pm

Condolences, Ellen. Death, whether expected or not, close or not, is never easy and one never really knows how it will land. I am so sorry.

I did succumb in the end and subscribed to the games. The highest score I have so far in Spelling Bee is from yesterday, at 32 words with a score of 118 points. I don't know how to do anything else other than Zen as the default but will play around and see if I can figure out something else. It does sort of bug me that you can't make words that don't use the centre letter, as I see so many, but I guess that's part of the challenge. I still love tiles. Sometimes (like today), I find them rather easy and other times, harder but I like this type of visual puzzle.

112katiekrug
Abr 26, 1:37pm

I'm very sorry about your brother, Ellen.

113Caroline_McElwee
Abr 26, 1:45pm

Adding my condolences Ellen. I hope the time with your sister will be healing.

Glad you have some fine reading on the go.

114vivians
Abr 26, 2:52pm

So sorry to read your news and sending condolences. Very sad news - I hope you give yourself some time to grieve.

115lauralkeet
Abr 26, 4:10pm

I'm so sorry to read the news of your brother's passing. And thankful that you had some reconciliation/closure recently. Sending hugs.

116quondame
Abr 26, 4:14pm

>108 EBT1002: A loss is a loss and a person is always a huge loss, sometimes especially if feelings are ambiguous. My sympathies to you and your family.

117drneutron
Abr 26, 10:16pm

Same here - so sorry for your loss, and thankful that you had at least some reconciliation.

118scaifea
Abr 27, 8:16am

>108 EBT1002: As someone who has experienced the sudden loss of a bipolar brother, well, just *long, quiet, gentle, companionable hug.*

119ffortsa
Abr 27, 10:24am

Sorry for your loss, especially as some reconciliation was going on. Hard to lose that possibility. And sorry that his disease had such an impact on your family.

120magicians_nephew
Abr 27, 10:46am

And the fever called "Living"
Is conquered at last.

Very sorry for your loss Ellen. Goddess walk with you in this difficult time.

121magicians_nephew
Editado: Abr 27, 10:53am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

122EBT1002
Abr 27, 1:30pm

Thank you Beth, Richard, Shelley, Katie, Caroline, Vivian, Laura, Susan, Jim, Amber, Judy, and Jim..... I really appreciate all the kind words and support. It is being a tough week.

>120 magicians_nephew: Jim, I just love that.

123EBT1002
Abr 27, 2:55pm

Still enjoying How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House although the brutality of the men toward the women is starting to be a bit of a drag.... I'll let you know how it wraps up.

Then I will return to Homeland Elegies.

I was planning to read Interior Chinatown and Outlawed by Anna North for May AlphaKT (I and N), but I'm pretty far down the queue for each of them via the library. I may have to identify alternative I and N reads, perhaps from my own shelves -- hahahaha.

124SandDune
Abr 27, 4:49pm

>108 EBT1002: I’m so sorry to hear about your brother Ellen.

125richardderus
Abr 27, 6:23pm

Maybe read Fugitive Telemetry? I can Kindleloan it to you...you need something about Murderbot length and weight.

126figsfromthistle
Abr 27, 9:21pm

>108 EBT1002: I am so sorry for your loss. Sending a huge * hug* your way.

127ronincats
Abr 27, 10:01pm

Ellen, I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. Hugs.

128PaulCranswick
Abr 27, 11:33pm

Ellen, I must add my condolences to those of our friends who have expressed their feelings better than I can. These are really tough times but I am sure that you realise that you have so many people here thinking about you and sending you warmest and sincerest wishes and condolences.

129charl08
Abr 28, 2:16am

So sorry to read of your loss. Difficult at any time but so hard right now when travel has those extra issues.

130FAMeulstee
Abr 28, 3:17am

>108 EBT1002: My condolences on the loss of your brother, Ellen. Even when you were estranged the grief can hit hard. I lost my estranged five year older brother nearly five years ago, without any contact in the last years. Wishing you some comfort in this tough time.

131LovingLit
Abr 28, 4:49am

Hi Ellen,
I add to the others here wishing you well after your brother's death. It sounds like it was a complicated relationship, as well as an awful shock. Take care of yourself.
I hope you enjoy Homeland Elegies- I see my library has a copy, although, I fear it may be a mistake as all the other copies are out, being transferred, or on hold. I will see!

132streamsong
Abr 28, 10:29am

My sympathy on the loss of your brother.

Many hugs. Families are so complicated.

133EBT1002
Editado: Abr 28, 11:28am

29. How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House: A Novel by Cherie Jones


This is a novel full of brutality, heart, desperation, and hope. The story is fast-paced but with moments of quiet and grace. The characters are vividly-wrought, each drenched with failings but also deserving some degree of redemption. Okay, one character maybe not so much, but you get the idea. I had trouble putting it down, even when the violence threatened to go over that tipping point into "just too much." It never did and the result is a pretty terrific read.

134vivians
Abr 28, 1:10pm

>133 EBT1002: I'm on the library wait list for this one so I'm thrilled to read your positive review! I just finished Piranesi (but not succeeding in completing the longlist before the announcemnet later today of the shortlist) - very, very weird. I'm trying to figure out what it all meant.

135richardderus
Abr 28, 1:50pm

>133 EBT1002: The title alone would make me want to read it! Thanks for putting it on my radar, Ellen.

137BLBera
Abr 28, 6:26pm

>136 EBT1002: Thanks for the list, Ellen. I've only read two from the entire list, and both are on the shortlist, so, hooray for me! I do have the others on hold at the library.

138EBT1002
Abr 29, 11:39am

>137 BLBera: I have The Vanishing Half on my kindle and I have No One is Talking About This on hold at the library. I have been unsure about whether Piranesi would be my cup of tea....

139charl08
Abr 29, 5:25pm

>133 EBT1002: Totally agree. The speed and the empathy for the characters (except for that one). I'm torn now between that one and The Vanishing Half and Transcendent Kingdom...

140karenmarie
Abr 30, 8:57am

Hi Ellen!

>98 EBT1002: Pangram – never heard of that word before. Live and learn.

>108 EBT1002: I’m so sorry to read about your brother, especially the suddenness of it.

141BLBera
Abr 30, 11:22am

>138 EBT1002: I've also been wondering about Piranesi, but I'll give it a try. I still have a bit of a wait. It's very popular right now.

142laytonwoman3rd
Abr 30, 12:23pm

I'm sorry for the sudden loss of your brother, Ellen. I'm glad you were able to "settle" the matter of your past with him to some extent before he passed. It sounds like he had a very difficult life, and I, too, love Jim's reference in >120 magicians_nephew:.

143jessibud2
Maio 1, 10:22am

Hi Ellen. Hope you are doing well.

So, I subscribed to the NYT games. I have been playing Tiles and Spelling Bee. Suddenly, this morning, I ventured over to see what else there is. I fell down a rabbit hole. I can now add a third game to my addiction: Letter Boxed. It's hard but I was so proud of myself for getting 20 words. Until I noticed that the point seems to be to *complete* the game in 5 words. Hmm. This will take work (but I guess that's the point, and the challenge!). Have you tried that one yet?

144banjo123
Maio 1, 6:39pm

So sorry to hear about your brother's death. Hope you are taking care of yourself.

145EBT1002
Maio 1, 11:56pm

>124 SandDune: Thanks Rhian.

>125 richardderus: How does kindleloan work, Richard?

Thanks Anita, Roni, Paul, and Charlotte. I really appreciate how supportive everyone here has been. It means a lot.

>130 FAMeulstee: Anita, I am sorry you have had a similar loss in your life recently. The fact that my brother, also 5 years older than me, had reached out to me in the past year or so -- and that I had responded, enabling at least the start of a reconciliation -- makes it both easier and harder in an odd sort of way.

A friend of my brothers -- a guy I knew when I was a kid, they go back that far -- wrote a nice tribute to my brother on FB. I connected with him briefly and he said B "regretted not being a better big brother to you, and he understood the distance you kept." That was awfully nice to hear.

146EBT1002
Maio 2, 12:02am

>131 LovingLit: and >132 streamsong: Thank you, Megan and Janet. Families are indeed complicated!

>134 vivians: Hi Vivian. Hmm, that you are still trying to figure out what Piranesi "meant" gives me pause. I am not sure yet whether it's one I want to read. I have to admit that I haven't read much about it so I'm going on very little information.

>135 richardderus: I felt the same way, Richard. It's a great title and the way it weaves into the story is pretty wonderful. If ever a novel was rich with characters who were determined to overcome their lot, well, this is it.

>137 BLBera: I really need to read The Vanishing Half, Beth. So many friends have recommended it to me. Not sure why I haven't "gotten to" it yet.

>139 charl08: I loved Transcendent Kingdom, too, Charlotte. I still need to read The Vanishing Half. I have it waiting on my kindle.

>140 karenmarie: Hi Karen. I had never heard the word "pangram" before, either.

147EBT1002
Maio 2, 12:05am

>141 BLBera: Ha. I may let you go first with Piranesi, Beth. You can tell me whether you think I would enjoy it. ;-)

>142 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks Linda. He did, indeed, have a very tough life. Part of my sadness is about how hard it all was for him. It was certainly not fair.

>143 jessibud2: Hi Shelley. Hmm, I do not know Letter Boxed.... I will investigate. (Like I need another addiction -- ha!). :-)

>144 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda.

148EBT1002
Maio 2, 12:10am

30. Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar


I've already mentioned that this novel reads "like a gripping memoir." It is really an excellent work. I know it's fiction and I don't know how much of it is "autobiographical" -- but it is an excellent meditation on the experience of being an immigrant, or the son of an immigrant; being Muslim in the United States in the 21st century (and before this century, too); being an "other" in what is truly and unequivocally your home. It weaves musings about politics and religion and current events through deeply personal stories about family and love. Highly recommended.

Thank you, Mark, for sending this one to me.

149PaulCranswick
Maio 2, 1:31am

Hugs aplenty still for you, Ellen.

I must admit that Hani losing her father has set me thinking about my own father more. We have been estranged for more than a decade (since 2008) and he is the same age as Hani's dad. What he did to my brother was way beyond the pale but I think that I will try to reconcile myself with him when we get back to the UK.

150quondame
Maio 2, 1:39am

>149 PaulCranswick: Ouch. Has your brother reconciled? I consider my father's treatment of my brothers horrendous, and he was pretty shitty to my sister at times too, but while they still were vocal about his faults until and likely after his death, they each maintained a relationship with him except for the years he wasn't speaking to my elder brother, but we've all had those years. I never had the same issues with my father, but I had the benefit of watching what didn't work for them and not doing that, not because he would have treated me better than he treated them.

151PaulCranswick
Maio 2, 2:09am

>150 quondame: It is a difficult one because he cheated my brother out of a business they shared and my brother built up. My brother who almost ruined himself by taking badly to drink managed to get himself together - joined AA and started again with another business which eclipsed the previous one. My father on the other hand has not flourished in the same way.

My children still keep in touch with their grandpa and we haven't discouraged that but it will be difficult for me to make my peace with my father and keep the peace with my brother.

152ursula
Maio 2, 2:31am

>148 EBT1002: This sounds excellent. It's available through one of the libraries I use for ebooks, but it'll have to wait a bit because I've got kind of a backlog there all of a sudden.

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. The comment from your brother's friend sounds like exactly the kind of thing that would make a big difference to hear though.

153BLBera
Maio 2, 9:32am

You got me with Homeland Elegies, Ellen. I already reserved my library copy.

Nice of you to let me go first with Piranesi. Who knows? We may be surprised.

Have a great Sunday.

154FAMeulstee
Maio 2, 2:58pm

>145 EBT1002: How nice that your brothers friend shared this, Ellen.

In some ways my brothers death didn't change much, I had been deeply grieving for him after he broke with us. There was no sight on reconciliation.
He was my guardian angel in my youth, and tried to intervene as much as he could when things got out of hand between me and my mother. Later in life he changed, became overly controlling, even had an app to be able to locate his wife and two (adult) daughters at any time. He broke with me when we disagreed about my parents, he suddenly blamed my father for everything, as I still had most problems with my mother. The saddest part was that he also took my nieces away. Even now, five years after his death, they still won't talk to us.

155quondame
Editado: Maio 2, 5:21pm

>151 PaulCranswick: I'm glad your brother was able to get back on his feet. That sounds devastating on so many levels and I hope that I would do whatever would best support my brother in a situation where my father had clearly chosen so badly. As both my older brother and my dad could be first rate dicks in their own very different ways, our family dynamics were pretty muddy and for me to openly take that brother's side would have involved inconceivable emotional gymnastics.

>154 FAMeulstee: Families are just plain hard. So much of what we really feel doesn't fit into any shoulds I've ever heard.

156ffortsa
Maio 3, 12:11pm

From time to time, hearing about other people's family woes, I remind myself how lucky I've been to have a sane and loving family. It's easy to take that for granted.

157Berly
Maio 3, 12:18pm

Hi Ellen. I am so sorry to hear about your brother: his passing, the difficulties he had and the broken relationship you shared. I hope his friends words are a comfort. Very glad the Seattle trip was a good one! Hugs.

158EBT1002
Maio 6, 7:39pm

>149 PaulCranswick: I'm not surprised that got you thinking, Paul. I did not know my brother was so near death but over the past year I just found myself wanting some peace with him. Not connection, per se, but peace. I am glad I created a bit of that, and I hope I released him from what I know were feelings of regret at how his illness affected me and our relationship. Time is our most precious commodity, and it can't be stockpiled. xo

>150 quondame: So interesting to have been able to watch your siblings in their relationship with your father and let that be one guide for your own relationship with him.

>151 PaulCranswick: Ouch. Feeling like you have to choose sounds painful.

>152 ursula: I definitely recommend Homeland Elegies, ursula. My library holds have gotten wonky for some reason. I can pause them which I love; when I attend to it, I can (usually) pace the incoming books by "unpausing" them a few days apart from one another. But lately the pause function has not been working. I just know I'm going to have about seven books come available all on the same day! :-|

159EBT1002
Maio 6, 7:46pm

>153 BLBera: Hi Beth. I have a copy of Homeland Elegies that I thought I'd send your way. I can always place it in the box for Palau since you have reserved a library copy. Just let me know what you prefer.

>154 FAMeulstee: Oh, Anita, I am so sorry to hear about that break with your brother, and especially the continuing chasm with your nieces. I have not had any contact with my brother's son and he now has a son of his own. I am not sure whether he would welcome contact from me (I can just imagine "oh, great, you wait until dad is dead and then you show up??"). I don't have a strong feeling about it because we have never met. Losing a relationship with nieces you knew, that would be very painful.

>155 quondame: "Families are just plain hard. So much of what we really feel doesn't fit into any shoulds I've ever heard." ~~ Absolutely true!

>156 ffortsa: I'm glad you have that, Judy. Honestly, I feel very loved on the earth, but my brother's illness, along with my mother's, made for a pretty difficult childhood and adolescence. I feel lucky that, for whatever reason, I seem to have a resilient constitution.

>157 Berly: Thanks Kim. As you and others have acknowledged, his friend's words were indeed a comfort.

160EBT1002
Editado: Maio 6, 7:57pm

I have finished two more books, both of them receiving 4.5 stars from me. I'm on a roll!

31. In the Morning I'll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty is the third in the Sean Duffy series and my favorite so far. Set in Northern Island in 1984, it is set right in the middle of The Troubles and provides a snapshot of how that terrible time was for the ordinary soul. Duffy is a Catholic cop in the Protestant-dominated police force outside Belfast. He has been demoted but MI5 comes calling: they need his help finding an escaped IRA operative and Sean knew the guy as kids. Sean Duffy is a great hard-boiled cop (and where he came from, you don't grow up to be a copper), angry, impulsive, prone to violence, flawed but also likeable (for a reader; I doubt I'd care for him in real life). I'm definitely continuing with this series.

161EBT1002
Maio 6, 8:00pm

32. Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu 4.5 stars

I loved this novel. Presented partly as a screen play, it is the story of Willis Wu, an actor who from childhood has wanted to grow up to be Bruce Lee. Or at least Kung Fu Guy. Really, the novel is a rich and creative exploration of identity, immigration, stereotyping, and the dynamics of assimilation across generations. It's a quick read, a literary delight, and a poignant nod to the power of the need to belong.

162BLBera
Maio 6, 8:24pm

I'll take the copy of Homeland Elegies, Ellen. I am about # 20 on the library list. Thanks!

I need to start the McKinty series. I'm pretty sure I have the first one on my e-reader.

Interior Chinatown sounds good, too, but it is already on my list.

163richardderus
Maio 6, 8:41pm

Four and a half stars! Good gracious, Ellen, your streak will need a fancy hashtaggy name soon.

Lovely weekend ahead!

164karenmarie
Maio 6, 8:46pm

Hi Ellen!

Like Beth, I need to start the McKinty series. I've got the first 6 on my shelves.

165PaulCranswick
Maio 6, 8:51pm

You really have been doing some excellent reading this year, Ellen and you have probably read the winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize already this year without realising it yet! The award is announced on June 11 this year and I reckon the following are the outstanding candidates:

Homeland Elegies
Interior Chinatown
The Vanishing Half
Shuggie Bain
Transcendent Kingdom
Deacon King Kong
The Children's Bible

I would be astonished if the winner came from anywhere else and surprised if it is Shuggie Bain as it doesn't really meet the qualification criteria on American life.

166magicians_nephew
Maio 7, 9:20am

It would be exciting in this year of horrible violence against Asians to have Interior Chinatown win the Pulitzer.

It's such a terrific book.

167EBT1002
Maio 9, 2:13pm

>162 BLBera: Okay, they didn't get in the mail last week but I'm packing them up today so they will definitely get in the mail this week, Beth!

Yes, you need to start the Sean Duffy series. I ordered and have received the fourth and fifth in the series. But yesterday I started Land of Careful Shadows by Suzanne Chazin. It's a Jimmy Vega mystery and 19% in, I'm hooked. Another series!

>163 richardderus: #OnlyReadFourStarPlusBooks --- LOL Richard.

>164 karenmarie: I think you'll like the Adrian McKinty Sean Duffy series, Karen. The third is the best I've read so far. I feel like I'm learning more about Northern Ireland during The Troubles as well as enjoying the narrative ride. :-)

168EBT1002
Editado: Maio 9, 2:23pm

>165 PaulCranswick: Paul, that is a great list. I have not yet read The Vanishing Half or Deacon King Kong although I own both of them. I neither own nor have read A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet. I looked at that one in a bookshop not too long ago and was not convinced I wanted to read it.

>166 magicians_nephew: I agree, Jim. It's such an original (in my experience) creation. And the timeliness would be spot on.

169EBT1002
Maio 9, 2:22pm

I finished No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood last night. More about that in a bit. I did not enjoy Part I at all but Part II was moving beyond words, and the totality ended up being a memorable and noteworthy read.

Then I started Land of Careful Shadows by Suzanne Chazin, first in the Jimmy Vega series. So far I am quite enjoying it.

P went to Seattle for the past couple of days, visiting friends of hers as well as getting to see our nephew from NOLA and his wife and their 9-month-old son. I just could not get away from work and, honestly, I rather enjoyed a couple of days of the house to myself. I watched Hamilton all the way through with closed captioning turned on so I could get some of the lyrics I haven't yet been able to catch, read, went to a Cougs baseball game with a colleague/friend, and slept the sleep of the angels. Carson has been very good. His middle-of-the-night restlessness seems to be specific to Prudence. Not sure what we can do about that.....

170EBT1002
Maio 9, 2:22pm

Oh, and I totally splurged and bought myself a Yeti camp chair. It arrived and next weekend you can imagine me sitting in it at our campsite with book in hand. :-)

171EBT1002
Editado: Maio 9, 3:22pm

I just did something that evokes such wonderful memories of my childhood and youth. I sat at the kitchen counter eating tortilla chips with Trader Joe's Pineapple Salsa while I read my book. Okay, it wasn't chips and it certainly wasn't TJ's salsa when I was a kid, but sitting at the dining table or wherever, eating some kind of snack while totally engrossed in a book... that is a visceral and precious memory. I know it wasn't always the healthiest, it probably counts as mindless eating, but it is still a favorite thing to do.

I spent the summer I turned 14 in Santa Fe with my dad. He was teaching a poetry workshop at a kind of hippie school there and I was all too free (read: unchaperoned) to do what I wanted. One thing I remember is sitting at the dining table in our little apartment, eating saltines and peanut butter and going through book after book after book. I got up to some other trouble that summer, as well, although nothing egregious (thank goodness - and lucky, that).

172BLBera
Maio 9, 4:20pm

>171 EBT1002: I love it! I like to snack while I read, too. It's a habit I am trying to break - not good for the waistline.

I loved the Jimmy Vega mystery. I read the first one a while ago and have been meaning to pick up the next one. I have it on my e-reader.

173BLBera
Maio 9, 4:21pm

Oh, and no worries about the books. :)

174streamsong
Editado: Maio 9, 4:38pm

Hi Ellen! I loved Interior Chinatown. I thought the format was so original and fun - it took the story to a completely different perspective.

Right now, I'm having my heart torn out by Transcendent Kingdom. So beautiful and sad. I prefer it to Homegoing, although it's a tough read for me. Daughter C, whom you met in Washington, has not spoken to me for several years now.

I also pause my library holds, but they also come in in swarms and herds. I went to copy tax forms at the library on Friday and five holds had come in for me, bringing my total to 11 checked out.

175benitastrnad
Maio 9, 7:44pm

I don't know if it helps improve your opinion of A Children's Bible but a friend of mine read it and can't stop talking about it. She wants me to read it. Like you, I saw it, then left it on the bookstore shelves. Saw it at the public library and left it on the shelves. I even read the reviews and didn't put it on my wishlist. But then - I did the same thing with Hamnet and everybody who has read it has loved it and highly recommended it.

176EBT1002
Maio 9, 9:31pm

>173 BLBera: Thanks. :-)

>174 streamsong: Hi Janet. I also loved Interior Chinatown; I agree that the format was original and fun. It added a dimension to the reading experience that I really appreciated.

I also loved Transcendent Kingdom. I feel like I need to go back and read it and Homegoing more closely together in time. I loved them both but the more direct comparison would be interesting. I am sorry to hear your daughter has not spoken to you in years.... you know I am exquisitely aware of such rifts in families right now and, while I respect that people need to do what they need to do, I worry that time lapses before we know it. I think for someone who is "younger," that reality is less viscerally true and it can make for some lost years. My heart goes out to you, Janet. While I don't know the particulars, I can only imagine that it's very painful.

>175 benitastrnad: Thanks for the notes about A Children's Bible, Benita. That actually helps. I will say that I LOVED Hamnet but I had no hesitation about that one. A Children's Bible has not yet sounded like my cup of tea, but your comments about your friend's comments at least nudge me in the direction of giving it a try.

177EBT1002
Maio 9, 9:32pm

P is home. We're going to watch the recorded production of The Long Song tonight. We both read it recently so we could watch, so it's time to bite the bullet and do it. We expect it to be good, but just painful.

178brenzi
Maio 9, 9:32pm

I'm so sorry to hear of your brother's death Ellen. I'm glad you were able to come to terms with him to some satisfaction.

I'm looking forward to reading Homeland Elegies in July with my book club. And it sounds like I need to get to the Adrian McGinty series too.

179EBT1002
Maio 9, 9:33pm

I also know it's Mother's Day. My mom died almost 40 years ago so it's not been "a thing" for me for a very long time, but I do wish a Happy Mother's Day to those of you who celebrate it.

180EBT1002
Maio 9, 9:35pm

>178 brenzi: Hi Bonnie! Oh, I hope you enjoy Homeland Elegies. I think it deserves all the praise it has received. It has been a good year for novels.....

Thank you for the kind words about my brother. It will be interesting to have the opportunity to process some with my older sister at the end of the month when I get to visit her for the first time since September 2019!!! We had very different experiences with him: she was 12 when he was born and I was born when he was 5 years old. But we still had enough overlap to make for some needed processing.

181BLBera
Maio 9, 9:39pm

It's so great you get to see your sister soon, Ellen.

182benitastrnad
Maio 9, 11:38pm

I am leaving to return to Kansas in a few days. I will be taking FML to care for my Mother and the lingering effects of COVID. She was in the hospital this time for an ear infection. 10% of the people who had COVID get an ear infection that is very stubborn to treat. She is one of those. We put her in a nursing home so that she would get physical therapy and good nutrition for a few weeks. I will go home and spend almost 3 weeks with her and then we will see if she can stay by herself.

183Berly
Maio 14, 2:30am

>171 EBT1002: Just popping in to say Hi! As a kid I used to sneak Saltine's up to my bedroom and I loved to eat those while reading a book in bed at night. I didn't get too many crumbs in the bed. ; )

184richardderus
Maio 14, 7:59pm

I too used to snack while reading! Now I snack while watching...less time overall, and my YGC asks pointed questions like "what's that you're munching on?" as we're normally watching stuff together over whichever service he sends me a link to. He never tuts but he notices and that's really enough to confine me to blueberries or veggies'n'hummus.

185maggie1944
Maio 17, 8:08pm

Ellen, I'm late to this thread, but I do send my empathy and condolences. I also was somewhat alienated from my older brother, 8 years older. Sadly, he was a troubled soul all of his life, and died a hermit in a mess of a house on Orcas Island. It had been his and his wife's dream to have acreage but really the poverty was overwhelming for them both. I am so sad he died so young. As did our father. Died young.

I do have the blessing though of his two daughters live near me and we are connected as family can be. Lovely. Looking forward to the holidays this year! It has been way too long since I've seen them.

Hugs to you. Glad your trip to Seattle was great. Do it again sometime soon, and maybe we can connect at a book store....

186LovingLit
Maio 18, 5:15pm

>171 EBT1002: It is funny which things can take you right back to a childhood memory. I never read much as a kid, so I would have just been eating the snacks in between climbing trees, and playing in the local cemeteries!

187ffortsa
Maio 20, 3:42pm

Hi Ellen. Today's tile puzzle is the one I dislike
I think I referred to it as Mondrian.

188jessibud2
Maio 20, 7:08pm

>187 ffortsa: - Lol, I agree, Judy! But I am definitely getting better at *Tiled Boxed*.

189msf59
Maio 20, 10:27pm

Hi, Ellen. Sorry, I have not been by in awhile. My condolences on your brother's passing. It sounds like you weren't very close, correct?

I am so glad you loved Homeland Elegies. I hope your current reads are treating you well.

190EBT1002
Maio 21, 11:06am

>181 BLBera: I am super excited about this upcoming trip, Beth!

>182 benitastrnad: I hope your visit to your mother is positive, Benita. I'm so sorry she has had some of the lingering effects of COVID-19.... and it's great that you can be there for a few weeks.

>183 Berly: Oh Kim, saltines in bed? Just no. I mean, I hear that you didn't get too many crumbs in the bed but even one is too many (yes, I am that person). xo

>184 richardderus: I still like to snack while reading. Blueberries, though? I mean, I LOVE blueberries but they just don't have that same decadent feel to them. Still, we're all getting older and trying to take care of ourselves, right?

191EBT1002
Maio 21, 11:10am

>185 maggie1944: Karen, thanks for sharing those common bonds you and I have. I am glad I get to see my sister next week. She is much older so our relationships with our brother were very different, but the sadness about how hard his life was, and just his passing, is certainly shared.

I would love to connect at a bookstore on one of my Seattle visits!

>186 LovingLit: It sounds like you may have been a bit more active than I was as a kid, Megan. I did climb trees (I well remember falling out of that grapefruit tree in our back yard) and rode my bike a lot and all that. But I loved to sit and read, especially during the summer when it was so hot outside.

192EBT1002
Maio 21, 11:13am

>187 ffortsa: Got it. It's funny how some of the tiles are just more appealing than others. Partly it's about difficulty level, but for me it is also about the visuals.

>188 jessibud2: I tried the boxed game, Shelley, and I kind of got the hang of it, but I found it to be quite difficult.

>189 msf59: Hi Mark! I have had a streak of pretty wonderful reads this month. Yay!

I also thought of you when we went camping last weekend -- we saw a Pileated Woodpecker and a Hairy Woodpecker. Both so lovely and fun to spot!

193EBT1002
Maio 21, 11:16am

I finished Outlawed by Anna North last night and I really enjoyed it. It was a different spin on The Kid and The Hole in the Wall Gang.

Started Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters this morning. In the first few pages, I wasn't sure, but it very quickly grabbed my attention. Now I'm sucked in.

I fly to North Carolina on Tuesday for a few days with my sister. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing her as it has been 21 months!

194BLBera
Maio 21, 1:57pm

I thought Outlawed was very original, Ellen.

Safe travels.

195EBT1002
Maio 21, 10:09pm

>194 BLBera: Agreed, Beth. It was your recommendation that led me to Outlawed. Thank you, as usual!!

196EBT1002
Maio 21, 10:12pm

I reserved a 30-minute browsing session at the library today. It was wonderful! I checked out three books even though I'm traveling next week and won't want to take library books with me.

197richardderus
Maio 21, 10:13pm

*stops munching a decadent blueberry* Oh hi! I got a lovely Mercedes'd card today, and it's living on my mirror.

Safe travel, joyous reunions, and happy homecomings!

198EBT1002
Editado: Maio 21, 10:15pm

I've never read anything by Kristin Hannah. Recommendations, anyone? Do those of you who know my reading tastes think I'd like her work?

199EBT1002
Maio 21, 10:15pm

>197 richardderus: You snarf up those blueberries, Richard. It's Friday night and I'm drinking red wine. P and I are going to watch Jeopardy! and Wonder Woman. Can you say hot date??? 😀

200richardderus
Maio 21, 10:20pm

>199 EBT1002: Well, no red wine and you're describing my dates with Rob. I asked once if he wasn't a bit bored by the routine.

An hour of close interrogation of my meaning, my motive, and my ancestry later, I just count myself lucky that he gives me so much of his time.

201BLBera
Maio 21, 11:03pm

What did you check out, Ellen? I was at my library today, too. I finally got Piranesi, so as instructed, I will read it and let you know.

I'm not a big fan of Kristin Hannah.

202LizzieD
Maio 21, 11:46pm

Dear Ellen, I'm so seldom here for more than five minutes that I'm seldom at your thread. Please accept my sympathy, late as it is, on the death of your brother. I don't have one of those, but I do have a dear cousin who has schizophrenia, and the relationship is difficult. I'm glad that you and your nieces have a good relationship, and I'm thrilled that you can get to NC to visit your sister. I wish I thought that the two of you were planning to drive to the beach. You'd likely come through my hometown, and we could have a meal together. Maybe someday! Meanwhile, peace to you.
And --- I've never read Kristin Hannah and haven't been tempted. My mother's best friend, a reader of Maeve Binchey and others of that ilk, loves her. There's nothing wrong with that, but they're not my cup of tea. In fact, I just finished my glass of red wine, not tea, and I think it's time to get ready for bed.
I know that Lucy has loved Piranesi, but I was so disappointed by *J Strange and Mr N* that I have resisted this one. I expect that I'm wrong, but I won't get to it anytime soon.

203quondame
Maio 22, 12:44am

>202 LizzieD: I enjoyed Piranesi, though there was a enough about Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel that over all left a bad taste in spite of bits that were right up my alley.

204lauralkeet
Maio 22, 7:39am

Hi Ellen! It's nice to catch up here. I'm excited you'll soon be traveling to see your sister. I wanted to weigh in on Kristin Hannah. I read The Nightingale several years ago. It was for a book group I belonged to for a brief period, but found their book choices a bit too lightweight for my taste. The Nightingale had a promising plot premise, but the writing was melodramatic and some of the plot elements were a bit too tidy. Just my $0.02!

205karenmarie
Maio 22, 8:53am

Hi Ellen!

>193 EBT1002: How wonderful that you are visiting your sister.

>198 EBT1002: My sister gave me Hannah’s Between Sisters for Christmas. Contemporary fiction is not my go-to-genre, but it does sound interesting and I just moved it to my “on deck” shelf.

206benitastrnad
Maio 22, 12:27pm

Kristen Hannah is classed as a women's fiction author. Her new one Four Winds has been a big best seller. Huge! I have not read anything by her, but figure that I should do so since she is so popular. From what I have heard Nightingale or Four Winds would be good airport reading. I have also heard that Four Winds is much more bleak than her other books have been.

I am not generally a fan of women's fiction, but I do read it from time-to-time, when I don't want to concentrate on something too much. I am currently reading a book by Jojo Moyes. This author is classed as a "women's fiction" author, but I have found that I have been immersed in the story and like the characters. It has proved perfect for reading with my early morning coffee. I also think that it is not as light and fluffy as I thought it would be. I will confess that I am reading this one because I am going to join a bookclub out of Lincoln, NE while I am here in the borderlands of KS/NE and this is not a book I would have given much thought to reading right now, but, as I said, it is proving to be perfect. The book is Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes.

IMO - if something about the book attracts you, go ahead and give it a try.

207katiekrug
Maio 22, 4:02pm

I'll weigh in - I don't think you'd like Kristen Hannah much at all. Pretty lightweight and when she tries to do more, I don't think she has the writing chops to back it up. *shrug*

>206 benitastrnad: - Ack! Women's fiction. I know what it is supposed to denote but I loathe that term so, so much.

208Berly
Maio 22, 4:18pm

Hello, Ellen! Happy Saturday with Sunday to follow. And then a three-day weekend...hurray! Glad the books have been treating you well and your adventures sound fun. Hope you have a grand time with your sister next week. : ) Can't offer any advice on Kristin Hannah. Go with your gut.

209richardderus
Maio 22, 5:10pm

>207 katiekrug: We should call it "girl talk" maybe?

:-P

210Caroline_McElwee
Maio 22, 5:32pm

Enjoy your trip Ellen.

211brenzi
Maio 22, 8:23pm

The book club I belong to Ellen is just a group of pickleball players who decided to get together and discuss books. I got dragged in because some of them know I read a lot. The books they picked are all what I'd call "popular fiction." I don't read an awful lot of it normally. The only exception is the book I picked which is Homeland Elegies which will probably blow their minds when we read it in July. We're reading Kristin Hannah's The Four Winds next month and I will definitely skip the month we read Meg Clayton's The Wednesday Sisters. Not sure how long I can continue with them.

212PaulCranswick
Maio 22, 11:20pm

Katie and Chelle introduced me to the 52 Book Challenge - one of which is read a book by Kristin Hannah. Firstly, I had not heard of her but I scoured Kinokuniya and The Nightingale looked like the least forbidding premise. I will read that one fairly shortly but wisha strong sense of foreboding seeing some of the comments!

213ursula
Maio 23, 1:33am

>207 katiekrug: Same. There's fiction for everyone and then there's "women's fiction"! Oh joy.

214eric63555
Maio 23, 4:36am

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215BLBera
Maio 23, 8:38am

Women's Fiction can be a very deceptive label. Meg Wolitzer has a great essay about that in one of the NYT issues. I'll have to look for the link. It's a good essay.

216EBT1002
Maio 23, 12:03pm

>200 richardderus: Every once in a while either P or I checks in with the other as we realize we are in what some would call "a rut" with our evening routines. It seems that we both truly enjoy reading together, watching Jeopardy!, and sometimes watching something else.

"...I just count myself lucky that he gives me so much of his time." It's the best gift of all, isn't it???? xo

217EBT1002
Maio 23, 12:06pm

>201 BLBera: I checked out:

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
and
Munich by Robert Harris

Thanks for your input on Kristin Hannah, Beth. Her work seems like something I would like but I have this feeling that it would fall short for me.

218EBT1002
Maio 23, 12:10pm

>202 LizzieD: Hi Peggy and thank you for your visit. I'm certainly not keeping up with LT the way I once did and, best intentions aside, I expect I won't be able to until I retire. But I do love keeping up as best I can with all my LT friends!

I think your comments about Kristin Hannah are tapping into my expectations. I may give one of hers a try, but then I think about all the books I have on my shelves and all the books I have not yet acquired and all the books I can get from the library (see >217 EBT1002:).... why bother if I'm not truly pulled to read her?

I would love a meetup at the North Carolina coast -- or anywhere else! -- sometime. This trip will be all about helping my sister with SIL whose dementia has been so exacerbated by the isolation of the pandemic. Sigh.

219EBT1002
Maio 23, 12:16pm

>203 quondame: Hi Susan! I started Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell once and it didn't grab me. I may give Piranesi a try.

>204 lauralkeet: Hi Laura! Thank you for your input re Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. I think you are describing what I find myself expecting from her. The premise of The Great Alone has grabbed my attention in more than one bookshop or library, but I get the sense that her writing would not live up to my snooty standards. ;-)

>205 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I am so excited to see my sister after this long hiatus. I'm also rather excited about a day of travel. It will be long but I always enjoy the time to myself (even in the crowd of airports and planes) with my kindle and/or a book.

I'll look forward to your thoughts about Between Sisters.

220richardderus
Maio 23, 6:26pm

I got Mercedes'd! So perfect.

221msf59
Maio 23, 7:58pm

>217 EBT1002: I loved Migrations and I hope you feel the same. I WANT to read The Pull of the Stars.

222benitastrnad
Maio 24, 12:08am

>217 EBT1002: and >221 msf59:
I have tried to read several of Emma Donoghue's books and have never managed to make it to the end of a single one. Not even to the middle of one. Not even a third of the way through one. If you want to talk about misery porn I think she is your author. Slammerkin was the first one of her's I tried and at 50 pages I Pearl Ruled it. Then I tried Life Mask with the same results. Room didn't even interest me. I came to the conclusion that not all authors write for all readers.

I will say that if you think you want to try reading it - go ahead and do so. You may like what I didn't. That is not a bad thing.

223ffortsa
Maio 24, 12:27pm

Hi! Jim and I are trying to decide if we will be in Portland September 7-14 or later in the season, when my cousin's installation opens at the museum. Any chance you can get away to Portland that week? Is later in the year better?

224EBT1002
Maio 24, 3:42pm

>206 benitastrnad: Thanks for chiming in, Benita. I think I have had the same preconceived notion about Jojo Moyes as I have about Kristin Hannah -- anticipating less than stellar writing and less depth than I like. Of course, I will happily devour mystery novels and they don't have to have "substance" for me to enjoy them!

>207 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. That kind of confirms what I have been thinking. I especially appreciate the comment about not having the chops to do more when she wants to.

Yes -- "women's fiction" -- there are so many things wrong with that "classification." Is there such a thing as "men's fiction"???

225EBT1002
Maio 24, 3:44pm

>208 Berly: Thanks Kim! This time tomorrow I'll be somewhere at 30,000 feet. Reading, of course.

My gut says to leave Kristin Hannah on the shelves.

>209 richardderus: Exactly.

>210 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline!

226EBT1002
Editado: Maio 24, 3:48pm

>211 brenzi: Well, as someone who has recently purchased pickleball equipment, I love that story Bonnie! Homeland Elegies is SO good. I can't wait to hear how it lands for your book group.

I don't have a RL book group but after retirement, when we move back to the Oregon town that I consider truly home, I will either find one to join or bust my butt creating one!

>212 PaulCranswick: Oh Paul. I will be interested in how The Nightingale lands for you. I think I might start with The Great Alone if I were to wade into Kristin Hannah territory....

>213 ursula: Exactly. Makes me so damn mad.

227EBT1002
Maio 24, 3:48pm

>215 BLBera: I'd be very interested in that essay, Beth.

228EBT1002
Maio 24, 3:52pm

>220 richardderus: *smooch*

>221 msf59: I remember your comments about Migrations, Mark. I will read it as soon as I return from this trip (too lazy to carry the hardcover book to North Carolina and back again!).

>222 benitastrnad: I loved Room, Benita, so I'm happy to give Emma Donoghue a try any time. As you say, I may not like what you like. Always true in our diverse reading community. :-)

>223 ffortsa: Oh Judy, I would LOVE to get to Portland to see you and Jim!!! We will be trekking off to Yellowstone the last week of September so it may be difficult for me to get away from work just a week or two in advance of that longer vacation. Still, let me know when you cement your plans. Maybe I can make a quick trip!

229BLBera
Maio 24, 4:22pm

It's an older one, Ellen. She talks about how if a women writes it, it's often described as women's fiction, no matter the subject matter. I'll see if I can find it.

230brenzi
Maio 24, 6:18pm

>226 EBT1002: You are going to love pickleball, Ellen. I can almost guarantee it. It is sooo much fun. I play three or four times a week. Great exercise, great fun, and a whole new circle of friends.

231ffortsa
Maio 25, 10:09am

>228 EBT1002: Our dates have changed- we will probably be in Portland the last half of October, when my cousin Bonnie's show is up at the museum. I'll keep everyone posted on Kim's Oregon Visitors thread.

232EBT1002
Maio 27, 8:53pm

>229 BLBera: Thanks Beth. That premise resonates for me. Is a book authored by a male ever called "women's fiction"? For that matter, is it ever called "men's fiction"? Ha.

>230 brenzi: Oh good, thanks for that encouragement, Bonnie. When I'm back home, P and I will get out and give it that first try. The Palouse is so windy, one of my least favorite weather phenomena, that it has gotten in our way the first couple times we have planned to get out and get the feel for it.

>231 ffortsa: That just might work out, Judy!

233EBT1002
Maio 27, 8:59pm

Last night I finished Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters and I recommend it. At first I wasn't sure it would be for me but I became intrigued by the characters and the storyline. It is less melodrama than I feared at first, ended up being a unique exploration of life as a trans woman, the vicissitudes of gender, and the multilayered meanings of motherhood and the complicatedness of wanting to be a mother. Reese, Ames, and Katrina are complex individuals who very much came to life for me, especially Reese who is sassy and smart and cynical and vulnerable.

Now I am reading The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel, another graphic memoir from one of my favorite artists.

The visit with my sister is going well. It's difficult with SIL being so shaky and confused, but we are managing. Everything is just complicated and harder than I'm used to things being. But tonight we brought in Mahi Mahi tacos and had a lovely bottle of rosé wine and talked for a good hour at the dining table after eating was done. SIL followed along and participated quite well.

234magicians_nephew
Maio 28, 7:09am

I had a good time with The Secret to Superhuman Strength. "Graphic Memoir" is a good way to describe the genre

235karenmarie
Maio 28, 8:41am

Hi Ellen!

I'm glad the visit is going well, even with the health issues. You're within an hour of my daughter, who's currently working in Asheville part time until her apartment is available June 14th.

236EBT1002
Editado: Maio 29, 3:07pm

38. The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel


Alison Bechdel and I were born within about three weeks of one another. I have been a fan for so many years -- when I came out in the mid 1980s her comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For" was a significant cultural mirror. I knew those characters. I knew those internal battles. I certainly knew those cultural referents. The Secret to Superhuman Strength may resonate for me especially because our lives have been so parallel. Don't get me wrong: our lives have been different in SO many ways! But her 20s were my 20s; her 40s were my 40s. This graphic memoir is sold as an exploration of the role of exercise in her life but it is so much more than that. It is a memoir about the search for inner peace, the desire for both autonomy and intimacy, and how, for her, exercise has been a central element of coming to terms with these fraught human strivings. I've also been a runner for my entire adult life (until last August's knee replacement) and Bechdel's descriptions of the numbing and exhilarating effects of vigorous cardio exercise spoke to me in a visceral and sweet way.

Her drawings are, as always, a joy. I love her inclusion of background images that center each story firmly in its place and time (picture George W. Bush on the television in the background while she and her girlfriend are arguing over whether Alison should take a vacation). I also love her inclusion of her pets over the years; there is almost always a cat -- and occasionally a dog -- in her drawings of home.

I also appreciate that Bechdel does her research. She is an intellectual and a historian. The detours about Wordsworth, Emerson, Coleridge, Margaret Fuller, and Kerouac were delightful if a bit hard sometimes to keep straight (no pun intended). Her notice of themes in their lives and how they are mirrored in her own were a compelling element in the universality of her introspection.

My sister had this book sitting on the bedside table when I arrived here. It's not quite as good as the five-star Fun Home but it's a wonderful read. I'll probably purchase a copy to place on my shelves next to Fun Home, Are You My Mother?, and The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For.

237EBT1002
Maio 29, 9:58am

>234 magicians_nephew: I thing graphic memoirs are my favorite sub-genre of the graphic world, Jim. As you can see in >236 EBT1002:, I quite enjoyed The Secret to Superhuman Strength.

>235 karenmarie: Hi Karen. This CCRC in Black Mountain is really nice. The surrounding mountains are so beautiful. The visit has settled down a bit. Today is my last full day here and I think I'm going to help my sister put some plants in the ground. I'm also hoping to drive over to North Asheville to the Fresh Market. It's a bit silly but they have a snack mix in their bulk section that is my favorite mix in all the world.

238streamsong
Maio 29, 11:16am

Hi Ellen I'm glad your trip is going well. I'm sure your sister loves having you there, although I'm sorry about your SIL's declining health.

I loved Fun Home but it's the only one of Bechdel's that I've read.

I just finished Shaun Tan's Tales From the Inner City. No idea how to classify it - not gn, but beautifully illustrated with very unexpected stories of animals and cities.

Your plans for the day sound awesome and relaxing.

239richardderus
Maio 29, 12:02pm

>236 EBT1002: How familiar and comforting to go back there with a coeval, isn't it. Not too many gay men I knew back then are even alive...but it's still a draw, let's go back and look at it again.

>233 EBT1002: I've avoided this book since TERFing entered my emotional orbit. The subject...just too raw for me.

*smooch* Have a lovely long weekend!

240lauralkeet
Maio 29, 12:46pm

It sounds like you've had a really nice trip, Ellen. I'm glad you've been able to spend time with your sister and enjoy the gorgeous countryside.

241BLBera
Maio 29, 1:17pm

The Bechdel sounds great, Ellen. I loved Fun Home and Are You My Mother?.

It sounds like your visit is going well. It's sad to hear about your SIL's decline. How is your sister doing?

242EBT1002
Editado: Maio 29, 2:03pm

>238 streamsong: Hi Janet. The visit has picked up. SIL is having a better day today.

Tales from the Inner City looks really interesting and right up my alley! I'm adding it to the burgeoning wish list. I remember quite liking The Singing Bones.

Sister and I got a tomato, two cucumbers, and three rows of green beans in the ground. Then we pulled a gazillion weeds from her flower garden. After that, strawberry soup which I had never had before. It's delicious! Fresh strawberries and milk blended together until they are frothy. YUM.

Now both sister and SIL are napping while I read and mess about on LT. :-)

243EBT1002
Maio 29, 2:11pm

>239 richardderus: It is a special sort of trip down memory lane, Richard. I know it's absurd for a "fan" to feel like they have a "special connection" with a famous person, but I still feel that way just a bit about Alison. The AIDS epidemic, fight for lesbian and gay rights, all sorts of "issues of the day" make their way into the story, mostly via the drawings as the story itself stays very focused on her own inner life and connections to those closest to her. I really enjoy that rich contextualizing.

Although Torrey Peters doesn't explicitly say anything about TERFs, the character of Reese alludes to that as part of the larger political landscape and the many ways that bigotry asserts itself. One thing I appreciated about Detransition, Baby is that no one goes blameless. Neither is anyone vilified wholesale.

Tomorrow is travel day. I'll leave here around 10:45am Eastern time and arrive home around 11:30pm Pacific. It will be a long day but I am armed with reading material, peanut MnMs, and a comfortable linen face mask.

244EBT1002
Maio 29, 2:15pm

>240 lauralkeet: Thanks Laura. I am so glad I was able to make this trip. I both wish I had a few more days and am ready to be home.

>241 BLBera: Hi Beth. I recommend The Secret to Superhuman Strength if you were a fan of Bechdel's two other graphic memoirs. For me, this one was not quite as good as Fun Home but better than Are You My Mother?.

My sister is holding up. She said the other day "one of the things about this situation is that I'm just so tired." She is also 77 and she really does have to do pretty much everything herself. I mean everything, including testing SIL's blood sugar (she has been diabetic for about 30 years), giving her shots, helping her get dressed..... A certified nursing assistant comes in three times a week to help SIL with a shower and a hospice nurse comes in twice a week to check on her. SIL adores both of these people so that is good.

245EBT1002
Editado: Maio 29, 2:18pm

I have now started reading The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, which I think I'm going to enjoy.

I brought Slow Horses by Mick Herron with me in old-fashioned book form but this one came up in my library queue so I'm digging into it first. This keeps happening. I want and intend to read books off my shelves and then books I put on hold at the library keep coming available! First world problems.... :-)

246banjo123
Maio 29, 3:00pm

Hi Ellen! Sounds like you are having some good family time and some good reading. I didn't realize that Bechdel had a new book out---I will have to look for it. And maybe I will read Detransition Baby I have been on the fence about that one.

247msf59
Maio 29, 4:03pm

Happy Saturday, Ellen. I am glad you are enjoying your time with your sister. Have you been able to hike at all? I had not heard of Superhuman Strength. I will have to check it out. Like you I loved Funhome but did I not like her Mother follow up. When do you fly back?

248BLBera
Maio 29, 6:08pm

It's good that your sister gets help, Ellen, but it sounds like she could use more. That is tough. It's too bad you don't live closer.

249richardderus
Maio 30, 1:58pm

>243 EBT1002: I don't think it's absurd to feel a special connection to someone who's spoken your life to you in four decades (and counting), Ellen. What better source of a connection can there be than that? She's worked hard to build that feeling in all her fans!

Travel safely, and I'm so happy for you that you *could* go to be with them. It's always sad to realize any visit could be one's last. But it's better to have that memory than not.

250witchyrichy
Maio 30, 2:12pm

Somehow April and May just passed me by. I actually entered one of those online auctions as the prize was two weeks in Ireland in summer 2022. Bought 25 tickets.

Hope you are well. My last year starts July 1.

251ffortsa
Maio 31, 1:17pm

>248 BLBera: I agree. There should be more options available for your sister, Ellen. The burden of dementia is very heavy for the caregiver.

252EBT1002
Jun 2, 5:05pm

>246 banjo123: The visit was a good one, Rhonda. I'm glad I could visit. And I'm glad my sister had purchased The Secret to Superhuman Strength just for me!

>247 msf59: Hi Mark. I was not able to fit any hikes into this trip. I spent every precious moment with sister and SIL, helping as much as I could. I washed a lot of dishes. LOL. I did get one walk in, just on the "campus" of the continuous care retirement community where they live, and it was quite lovely. HUGE White Oaks and lots of birds. :-)

I flew back on Sunday, power washed the deck and rested on Monday, and am back at work this week. 423 days to go.

>248 BLBera: I do wish I lived closer, Beth. I found myself thinking that I could retire to Black Mountain, NC, but I would have to pull P along kicking and screaming. Honestly, we both love the Pacific Northwest too much, but I could live in those mountains of western NC.

253EBT1002
Jun 2, 5:11pm

>249 richardderus: Thank you for that, Richard. It's a good point -- just because I'm not the only reader who feels a special connection with Bechdel doesn't mean that the special connection I feel is invalid. Whew. Crush renewed and embraced for what it is. :-)

I agree wholeheartedly. It's hard to say how much longer SIL will be on this Earth, but I am very glad I got to visit while she is still relatively aware, and certainly knew who I was at all moments. I know that can change....

>250 witchyrichy: Oh my, two weeks in Ireland next summer would be wonderful!! My fingers are crossed for you, Karen. We enter our last year of work together.

>251 ffortsa: Yes, it is very hard for my sister, Judy. They are navigating what they need. My sister said they had the caregiver coming in four times a week and that felt like too much. They went back to twice a week and that was too little. Three times a week seems to be about right. For now. I am going to reach out to SIL's nieces who are my age and all very close to her, and ask if one (or two) of them could go stay with their aunt (my SIL) for 2-3 days while my sister goes somewhere. I don't know if my sister would take them up on it but I'm going to suggest it anyway.

254EBT1002
Editado: Jun 2, 5:23pm

39. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams


I enjoyed this poignant story of the creation of the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary and the words, the meanings, that didn't make the cut. Williams appears to have successfully blended fiction and nonfiction, creating characters and storylines that fit into the real story of the making of the OED. What an endeavor! I appreciated Williams' comment in her afterword:
By the time I had finished the first draft of this novel, I had become acutely aware that the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was a flawed and gendered text. But it was also extraordinary, and far less flawed and gendered than it might have been in the hands of someone other than James Murray.

So this is the best kind of historical fiction: a good story set as accurately as possible in its time and place that made me want to read more about the central events. I'll be looking for a copy of The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester. I read The Professor and the Madman several years ago and I may give it a reread, as well. Of course, WWI and the suffragist movement are also central events, but it's the making of this remarkable book, the OED, that gives this novel its spark.

255BLBera
Jun 2, 5:40pm

>254 EBT1002: Hi Ellen - I am waiting for this from the library. I've heard only good about it.

I hope your return to work goes smoothly.

We had a family picnic for Memorial Day. My mother, who has been very lonely for the past year, called me the day after to tell me how much she enjoyed it. There were some great grandchildren there, and we all sat outdoors. It was good to see my siblings as well. I think the pandemic has made us all realize that our time with loved ones can be limited, so we must make the most of it. I'm glad you got this visit with your SIL and your sister. Would your sister ever move to the Pacific Northwest?

256jessibud2
Editado: Jun 2, 6:46pm

>254 EBT1002: - Glad you got that visit in, Ellen, and especially while it's still a good one with your SIL. Things can change quickly and every moment is precious.

Just FYI, The Surgeon of Crowthorne is in fact the same book as The Professor and the Madman, just different title in North America and the UK. I found out the hard way...;-)

257quondame
Jun 2, 6:32pm

>256 jessibud2: That hurts. And it's not even something that having your LT catalog in you pocket can absolutely prevent happening.

258lauralkeet
Jun 2, 6:45pm

I'm so glad you were able to visit your sister and SIL, Ellen. It sounds like it was worthwhile on many levels. It would be great if you could get those nieces to provide a little bit of respite for your sister.

>254 EBT1002: Like Beth, I'm waiting on this one from the library. I'm really looking forward to it.

259jessibud2
Editado: Jun 2, 6:53pm

>256 jessibud2:, >257 quondame: - Winchester did, however, write a second book about the OED that is not the same as the other 2 titles. It's called The Meaning of Everything and after googling, I see it was published in 2004, 6 years after The Professor and the Madman. I have read both and though there is obviously overlap, given that it is the same topic, both were fascinating, with Winchester's terrific writing carrying the day. I read them all many years ago and no longer own them but they were my first Winchesters and I have since read many more titles by him.

260EBT1002
Jun 2, 7:34pm

>255 BLBera: I was thinking it was you who turned me on to The Dictionary of Lost Words, Beth. Hmmmm....
I think you'll enjoy it.

My sister loves where she lives. They moved to western North Carolina in 1983 and I cannot imagine her ever moving. Also, the CCRC they live in is one of those you buy into, so she is there for life.

>256 jessibud2: I just figured that out, Shelley! I felt a little silly. I don't know whether I'll really do that re-read, but I'll keep it in mind.

Yes, as you and others are saying, time is so precious. This visit felt like a gift for all three of us.

>257 quondame: Yep. I'm glad I figured it out before I went on too long a goose chase!

261EBT1002
Jun 2, 7:37pm

>258 lauralkeet: I think you'll enjoy The Dictionary of Lost Words, Laura. I had a couple quibbles with it but overall it was a good -- and interesting -- reading experience.

>259 jessibud2: I've read two by Winchester: The Professor and the Madman and Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers. Both were excellent. P said she really enjoyed Krakatoa which I haven't yet read.

262jessibud2
Jun 2, 8:55pm

>261 EBT1002: - Ellen, I forget if you are into audiobooks but if so, you should know that Winchester is a superb narrator of his own books. Not all authors are but he sure is. I listened to him read several of his books to me, including Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards and can highly recommend that format.

263EBT1002
Jun 3, 9:03am

I’m reading Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy and it’s beautifully breaking my heart.

264vivians
Jun 3, 12:57pm

My book group just chose Migrations for our next meeting so I'm glad to hear you're enjoying it.

I loved your comments about Bechdel. I've been finding that listening to certain podcasts and even following some authors on Twitter has the effect of making me feel I "know" them. Then when I hear or see them in another context, such as on an NPR interview, there's a recognition that I know is ridiculous ("oh look, that's my friend so-and-so".)

265EBT1002
Jun 3, 3:05pm

>262 jessibud2: I actually listened to Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards on audio, Shelley. It was one that kept me engaged, which doesn't always happen with audiobooks. I read The Professor and the Madman in book form. I remember that Winchester was a terrific narrator!

I started listening to The Splendid and the Vile a couple months ago and I stalled, partly because I got tired of riding the stationary bike. My best listening to audiobooks was back when I had a significant commute. I would read on the light rail or bus but listen to an audiobook in the car. I also listened to Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow -- all 42 hours of it!

266EBT1002
Jun 3, 3:19pm

>264 vivians: I think you will appreciate Migrations, Vivian. The writing is beautiful. I'm only on about page 80 and it actually made my heart ache this morning. I had to set it aside and just breathe for a couple minutes.

The territory of "connecting" with an author is interesting. It's different now with social media and podcasts. I'm curious: do you have a favorite book/author related podcast?

267jnwelch
Jun 7, 10:16am

Hi, Ellen.
I thoroughly enjoyed Interior Chinatown. thank you for the postcard recommendation! Funny, smart and woefully on-target. I ddn't know America historically had that anti-Chinese legislation. Awful.

I'm also reading Americanah, probably the last 75er to do that. You also hit me with a BB with Dictionary of Lost words.

I don't know whether she has a podcast, but i would recommend hearing/seeing Mira Jacob whenever the chance arises.

268streamsong
Jun 7, 1:21pm

I'm glad you're enjoying Migrations, Ellen. It is one of my favorite books for the year.

And woot for Interior Chinatown. That was the last selection for the PBS Now Read This book club - they are now defunct. I read so many great books with their suggestions (and of course, a few duds DNF, too).

269msf59
Jun 7, 1:43pm

>263 EBT1002: "I’m reading Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy and it’s beautifully breaking my heart." Music to the Warbler's ears. Did you finish it?

270EBT1002
Jun 8, 11:18am

Quick check-in: I finished Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy last night.
FIVE STARS

271EBT1002
Jun 8, 11:35am

>267 jnwelch: Hiya Joe! It's great to "see" you.
I'm glad you enjoyed Interior Chinatown. I agree whole-heartedly with "funny, smart, and woefully on-target."
I hope you like Americanah. It's one I think I'd like to reread. I think I whipped through it pretty quickly the first time so I liked it, but didn't absorb it as much as I'd like.

Oh, I will look for opportunity to hear Mira Jacob. You know I am still spreading the gospel of Good Talk wherever possible.

272EBT1002
Jun 8, 11:37am

>268 streamsong: Hi Janet. I loved Migrations. It is one of my favorites of the year, as well. And I'm pleased to see the love for Interior Chinatown. It was an original work.

>269 msf59: Hi Mark. I did finish Migrations and I thank you for the recommendation! I loved it.

273EBT1002
Jun 8, 11:40am

I have gotten swimming back into my life. I used to swim as one of my regular forms of exercise but haven't done it regularly since I left Oregon 15 years ago. I joined the student rec center here. They are still doing reservations for a lane for lap swimming (COVID) and I actually prefer that -- I know I will have a lane and it gets me there because I have a reservation. I swam at 6AM Friday and 7AM yesterday. Today I have a noon reservation so I can burn off frustration after my 10AM meeting, which I expect to be tense. How many days until I retire?

Anyway, it feels so good. It cuts into my morning reading time a bit but it is so necessary for my mental health. Running will always be my first love in terms of exercise but swimming comes close in terms of meditativeness and feeling good in my body when I'm doing it regularly.

I know I need to start a new thread.

274lauralkeet
Jun 8, 12:57pm

>270 EBT1002: FIVE STARS eh? It's now on my list. Eagerly awaiting further thoughts when you're able.

275BLBera
Jun 8, 8:04pm

I have Migrations on my shelf. I'll try to get to it soon. Great that you have been able to get back to swimming. I've been doing some strength classes - they certainly make me realize how out of shape I've gotten.

276scaifea
Jun 9, 8:26am

Yay for swimming! Especially if it makes you feel good in all sorts of ways. I've recently upped my treadmill game and instead of just a fast walk every morning, I'm trying out the incremental walk/run/walk training program setting. I super-hate it, but I also feel good about myself for doing it. So. Meditative it is not, but I know it's good for me.

277EBT1002
Jun 9, 4:23pm

>274 lauralkeet: Comments on their way, Laura! (I got a cancelation this afternoon so don't tell anyone but I will use the time to write.)

>275 BLBera: I think you'll enjoy Migrations, Beth.

The swimming feels so good. I'm taking today off - my knee is aching just a wee bit and I don't want to overdo it with my enthusiasm. I think I cannot do breast stroke, at least not now. The frog kick is a bit hard on the knee. So I will stick with freestyle (my main stroke anyway) and backstroke. I'm glad you're doing the strength training - we need to take care of our bodies!

>276 scaifea: Hi Amber! As you may remember, I have been a long-time runner. I know many people hate the activity but for me it was one of the great joys of life. I was especially happy when I lived in Oregon and did trail running and when I lived in Seattle and just had beautiful areas to run -- I would often run in sight of Lake Washington, and the city is so lush and beautiful. Also, I am very susceptible to runner's high. *smile* So, good for you for upping your game even though it doesn't feed your soul the way it did mine.

278EBT1002
Editado: Jun 9, 4:26pm

So far I am quite enjoying The Cold Millions.

Also, I plan to stop by the library (!!!) on my way home this evening to see if their copy of The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey is available. I saw it in the campus bookstore today (oh how I miss Seattle bookshops!!) and it looked interesting. P said she read the series and liked it. Has anyone else had experience with Massey's work?

Off to a meeting but I'll be back later this afternoon.
It feels like summer around here: I'm working but meetings get canceled more frequently and my boss is doing 4 tens, so she is not in the office today. It's very quiet. :-)

279richardderus
Jun 9, 4:30pm

>278 EBT1002: I loved the 4-tens schedule when I was on it! So perfect...three days off always felt like a treat.

280msf59
Jun 9, 4:47pm

"So far I am quite enjoying The Cold Millions." Hooray, but I am not at all surprised.

Oh yeah- The Interior Chinatown Club continues to grow. B.A.G.

281EBT1002
Jun 9, 6:09pm

>279 richardderus: Our internal policy is that a 4-tens schedule can't result in a 3-day weekend, Richard. Normally I might push on this but since it's the Vice President who is doing it, I think it's good for her to be taking Wednesdays as her fifth day. Prudence used to work a "9-80" schedule and loved it. She would work 4 9s and an 8, then 4 9s and every other Friday off.

>280 msf59: Yeah, I can see why you thought I'd like The Cold Millions, Mark. And it is different from his other work that I have read. I didn't love Beautiful Ruins as much as others did, so I'm glad to be enjoying this one so much.

282EBT1002
Editado: Jun 9, 6:33pm

40. Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy


Set at some unspecified point in the future, this beautiful novel paints a picture of what our future could look like. Specifically, McConaghy starts with the question "what would the world be like if, no, when most wild species are extinct?" This is not a gory post-apocalyptic scenario. Rather, the author leans into what is perhaps more likely: a gradual but no less catastrophic extermination of all wild animals (mammals, birds, fish, everything) due to global warming, habitat loss, pollution, and food source scarcity. Set against this backdrop is a story of love, guilt, human and animal migration and transformation, and the search for redemption.

Franny Lynch is a bird enthusiast who is determined to follow the Arctic Terns on what she expects will be their last migration to Antarctica. These birds migrate further than any other but their food source is on the verge of extinction; the likelihood of them surviving this migration cycle, much less any further into the future seems miniscule. Franny fenagles passage on a fishing boat, promising the captain and crew that the three terns she has tagged and can follow on her laptop will lead them to fish. As they journey south in search of "the golden catch," that large catch that will ease the financial strain experienced by those who rely on fish for a living, the narrative moves back and forth in time and place. We meet Franny's husband, an ornithologist who ignited Franny's passion for the terns while inadvertently shattering her complicated psychological defenses. We also meet the captain and crew of the boat and the few family members who populated Franny's past. Every character is uniquely and viscerally and honestly wrought. The story of the terns is, of course, all our story: the determination to survive, the urge to stay true to what is in our particular nature, and the miracle that we are, individually and collectively.

Heartbreaking and beautiful, this is a novel that rises above other novels of our dark and dismal future. It is terrifying and devastating in its plausibility, perhaps its inevitability. But it still made me glad to be alive on this Earth and even a bit glad to be human.

283lauralkeet
Jun 9, 8:06pm

Wow that sounds soooo good Ellen.

284richardderus
Jun 9, 8:13pm

>282 EBT1002: No, no, no Ellen! *I* am supposed to book-bullet *you*, not you book-bulleting me!

*stomps off to Overdrive*

285EBT1002
Jun 9, 8:16pm

>283 lauralkeet: As you can see, I truly loved it, Laura.

>284 richardderus: *smooch*
By the way, Richard, I think I'm ready for that e-book loan we talked about.... 🙂

286brenzi
Jun 9, 8:49pm

I was already planning to read Migrations Ellen but you've clinched it for me.

>278 EBT1002: I read The Widows of Malabar Hill and plan to read the second book in the series. I loved reading about the Indian culture and really found the areas she brought out to be quite fascinating. The mystery itself was not what made the novel compelling for me.

287PaulCranswick
Jun 9, 9:56pm

>282 EBT1002: Yep you got me with that one too, Ellen. I will have to look out for that one.

288charl08
Jun 10, 12:36am

>282 EBT1002: And me.

Your description of the joy in swimming is lovely. I'm still not keen to risk it having been unimpressed with my local pool's cleaning pre-covid.

289richardderus
Jun 10, 1:01pm

>285 EBT1002: BLOODY BOLLOCKING HELL

The stupid book's unlendable!! I am so irked!! I *specifically* bought it so I could lend it and Tor.com has made them all unlendable!!!

290laytonwoman3rd
Jun 10, 2:54pm

>289 richardderus: That's unconscionable.

291EBT1002
Jun 11, 1:59pm

>286 brenzi: Thanks for that perspective, Bonnie. I did check out The Widows of Malabar Hill and now I just need to get to it. Helpful to know that the mystery may be somewhat secondary to the setting.

I hope you enjoy Migrations when you get to it.

>287 PaulCranswick: I hope you like it, too, Paul!

292EBT1002
Jun 11, 2:02pm

>288 charl08: "...unimpressed with my local pool's cleaning pre-covid." *shudder*
One thing I'm pleased about, Charlotte, is the loveliness and cleanliness of the facility where I swim. I still don't love this place but I'm relishing the nice things when I spot them. I swam again this morning and it feels good to be "getting it back." Slowly but surely regaining some cardio fitness and my rhythm and my confidence in the pool. All that leads to a better experience and more effective stress management.

>289 richardderus: Well rats, Richard! No fear, I have plenty to read.

>290 laytonwoman3rd: I agree.

293magicians_nephew
Jun 11, 5:48pm

Our local health club re-opened in April and they have a lovely huge swimming pool under a skylight.

We also have to reserve a lane in advance but good news bad news that means when you go in at 1:30 to swim there will be a lane for you.

New York is going through a massive hot spell so swimming is just heaven.

294streamsong
Jun 12, 12:16am

I definitely need to read Americanah - sigh to that neverending list.

Lovely review of Migrations - the story is just sooo good.

Yay for swimming! If I start going to a health club for my knee, that is what I plan to do. I was told that even just walking laps in the water would help strengthen it. So far, I'm just riding my exercise bike and doing my PT exercises at home.

295Berly
Jun 12, 8:52pm

Ellen! Hi there. : )

>233 EBT1002: I just started Detransition, Baby! So glad to hear you liked it. Yay!

>236 EBT1002: I have loved Bechdel's books, and so this one is added to the WL.

>252 EBT1002: Glad you go to spend time with your sister and SIL. A lot of work, but fun, too.

Swimming. I love everything about it except what it does to my hair. LOL. I was a competitive swimmer as a kid and then played Water Polo on the men's team in college. I do miss the water. Hmmmm...might have to join a gym again.

Wishing you a most happy weekend!!

296BLBera
Jun 12, 8:55pm

>282 EBT1002: Great comments, Ellen. I hope to get to it this summer.

297EBT1002
Editado: Jun 13, 3:20pm

41. The Cold Millions by Jess Walter


I loved this plot-driven historical novel. Set in the state of Washington in the first decade of the 20th century, this is the story of the IWW, the "Wobblies," a conjoining of many labor unions fighting for fair wages. Gregory (Gig) and Ryan (Rye) Dolan, two Irish-American brothers living rough, looking for work when they can get it, ride the rails west from Montana to Spokane. When their paths cross that of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, a young woman at the forefront of the labor fight, they find themselves embroiled in one of the most notorious anti-union actions of the early new century. Both are arrested, along with hundreds of others, but Gurley Flynn gets young Rye released based on his age (not quite 17) and his innocent face. Rye is determined to secure his brother's release as well; after all, his brother really just fell into the Free Speech Action that day, he was not really an organizer or leader of the movement. And besides, it's hard for Rye to imagine life without Gig, his older brother who has looked after him since they were orphaned.

How the brothers' fortunes unfold within the context of this fascinating and important bit of our national history provides for a captivating story. The narration moves between characters in an unusual manner, one which only the most skilled writer could pull off successfully. Jess Walter makes it work. Rye is the centerpiece but we get some first-person narrative from a handful of other characters, giving us a glimpse into their backgrounds and motivations of which Rye is never fully aware. This enriches the reading experience and, in the end, I could not put it down until I finished.

298lauralkeet
Jun 13, 7:16pm

>297 EBT1002: I liked that one, too, Ellen. Hope you've had a great weekend!

299BLBera
Jun 13, 9:20pm

The Cold Millions sounds great, Ellen. It's gotten a lot of love around here.

I did read Piranesi - you can look at my comments and decide. It was good, but I didn't love it as some did.

300LovingLit
Jun 14, 12:11am

>273 EBT1002: swimming t burn off frustration, that tickles me, because it applies to me too. After a particularly fraught half-day at work the other week I left early (actually, on time, but I so seldom do that it seemed early) so that I could do a frustration walk before seeing the kids after school.
I haven't swum regularly in a long time though...now I prefer to sit in the sauna and/or spa at the local pool :)

I just saw on RDs thread that your neighbour introduced himself to say happy pride month, because of your flag- result! That is cool.

301jnwelch
Jun 14, 10:18am

i like that story of your neighbor introducing himself because of your pride flag, Ellen. Very cool.

I'm glad you finally got the snail mail! Jeez, that took a while.

I'm enjoying Dictionary of Lost Words and Americanah right now, both very good.

i hope your week goes well.

302richardderus
Jun 14, 10:58am

>297 EBT1002: That warble of delight is almost enough to overcome my strong distaste for Jess Walter's books.

ALMOST being the key word. And how wonderful is it that you're so excited about it!

303EBT1002
Jun 16, 6:48pm

>293 magicians_nephew: I'm with you on the lane reservation thing, Jim. I love knowing I have a lane (or at least half a lane) reserved for me. It will take some adjustment when the pool is full of other swimmers and I have to gauge which lane I want to swim in. But it feels great to be getting my stamina back!

>294 streamsong: I think the pool is a great venue for taking care of joints, Janet. But I have realized that doing the frog kick (breaststroke) isn't a good idea.

>295 Berly: Hi Kim!
Um.... You "played Water Polo on the men's team in college." How cool is that.
I know it's weird but I love that my skin smells faintly of chlorine.

Yes to Alison Bechdel's new book on your wish list! I think you'll like it.

>296 BLBera: I think you'll enjoy Migrations, Beth.

304EBT1002
Jun 16, 6:54pm

>298 lauralkeet: I have only read two of Jess Walter's novels, Laura, and this was by far my favorite of the two.

>299 BLBera: Hi Beth. I will go to your thread to see what you said about Piranesi. It's outside my usual lane so I'm tempted to skip it. I'd like to save my reading in that genre for books that have a good chance of overriding my less than full enthusiasm.

>300 LovingLit: I tend to swim in the mornings, Megan, just as I tended to run in the mornings. Sometimes it's the noon hour and that works too. ANY time helps burn off the frustration!

>301 jnwelch: Thanks for the snail mail, Joe. It was fun to receive something other than bills and things I've ordered on line! :-D

Americanah and Dictionary of Lost Words -- that is a pretty good duo to be enjoying!

>302 richardderus: I'm slightly tempted to remind you that I am not a huge fan of Jess Walter, Richard. But the truth is that there are so many great books for us to read, and even if we narrow it down to historical fiction, there are so many great books for us to read. I respect your pass despite my warbling. xo

305BLBera
Jun 16, 6:56pm

I think you can probably skip Piranesi, Ellen.

306EBT1002
Jun 16, 6:58pm

>305 BLBera: Done. Thanks Beth.
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