Norabelle414's Trilogy in Two Parts

É uma continuação do tópico Norabelle414's Trilogy in One Part.

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2024

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Norabelle414's Trilogy in Two Parts

1norabelle414
Mar 14, 5:18 pm


Rory's usual "I don't want to get out of bed" mood

Hello and welcome! I'm Nora. I live in the Washington DC area. This is my fifteenth year of having my own thread in the 75ers group! Aside from books, I also love:

animals/biology/zoology - I volunteer at the National Zoo
TV - scripted only, mostly science fiction and fantasy, especially anything based on a book
theater - I have season tickets to Arena Stage but I go to shows elsewhere as well
podcasts - especially about books
knitting (I'm on Ravelry), and also occasional cross stitch and embroidery
progressive politics (particularly urbanism)

You can find me on Bluesky @ norabelle (now open to all, no invite needed!)

My reading has been ticking up lately, so I have a few modest goals for 2024:
1) Be more present here, including actually posting on everyone else's thread instead of just lurking
2) Write reviews promptly after finishing a book
3) Read at least two books by the same author
4) Read another book in a series I've already started DONE!
5) Read at least one book in each of the following categories: romance, science non-fiction, science fiction, picture book, graphic novel, audiobook

2norabelle414
Mar 14, 5:22 pm

A selection of books I have finished recently:

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson - 3.5/5 stars
Artificial Condition by Martha Wells - 5/5 stars
Love, Vol 1: The Tiger by Frederic Brremaud and Federico Bertolucci - 3.5/5 stars
Grave Reservations by Cherie Priest - 4.5/5 stars
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Cherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
Sorry, Bro by Taleen Voskuni - 4/5 stars

3norabelle414
Mar 14, 5:23 pm

For a full list of books I have read this year, click here: https://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=norabelle414&collection=840181...

4norabelle414
Editado: Mar 20, 10:28 am

I'm going on a 11-day trip to visit my mom in Wisconsin next week, so I need to decide what books to bring with me. I'll be taking a 17-hour train trip, overnight, plus another 45-minute train trip, to get there. Staying 10 days, then a 1.5 hour flight home. This is the first time I've gone out of town since the last time I visited my mom in November 2021. I wasn't really reading much then, so I think I only finished two books the whole trip. But my reading habits are very different now.

I think I'm going to go with these, all off my own shelves (ish):
Babel by R.F. Kuang (loaned to me by my mom's husband so if I finish it while I'm there I can leave it)
Hench by Natalie Zina Malschots
I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are by Rachel Bloom
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (I intend to give it to my mom and her husband when I finish so I can leave it)
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (a gift from my mom and her husband for Christmas)

This seems like maybe not enough? Or maybe too much? All of the books I currently have out from the library are due back well after I return so I could take a library book or two. But also my mom and her husband have tons of books and would be happy to let me borrow some.

5katiekrug
Mar 14, 6:35 pm

Happy new thread, Nora!

I think if your mom and step-dad have books you could borrow, then your list is probably enough. I always htink I'm going to read more than I do when I go out of town, but YMMV. And that long train trip will probably be even longer, if my experience with overnight Amtrak trains is anything to go by ;-)

6drneutron
Mar 15, 11:21 am

Happy new thread!

7MickyFine
Editado: Mar 16, 12:04 pm

I think your list looks just right. Plus if you put Libby on your phone you could always access library ebooks or audiobooks if you're a supreme speed reader (this is what I always tell myself, anyway).

8Whisper1
Mar 16, 8:33 pm

I've added Artificial Condition by Martha Wells - 5/5 stars to my tbr list. This one seems interesting in light of your five-star mark.

9Whisper1
Mar 16, 8:35 pm

I hope your trip is lovely, and very enjoyable

10norabelle414
Mar 16, 11:12 pm

There was one more! It fell off the stack so I missed it!

The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

That feels better, I think. it's exactly 2500 pages and all of them should be pretty easy to get into (I have a habit of bringing books with me on trips that I want to have read but don't necessarily enjoy reading, which is a mistake (notice I'm not bringing The Iliad with me...))

_________________________________________________________

>5 katiekrug: Thanks Katie! Last time I took this trip the train was right on time, so I'm hopeful. Thankfully there are trains from Chicago to Milwaukee every 2 hours so it doesn't matter too much if I do end up late.

>6 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

>7 MickyFine: I don't read ebooks but I do have a big long audiobook downloaded

>8 Whisper1: Thanks Linda! I was going to let you know that Artificial Condition is a sequel, but I see you've already added the first to your TBR as well! I hope you enjoy them.

11norabelle414
Mar 16, 11:40 pm

Happy weekend!

Thursday night I went to a screening of a documentary about Bella Abzug. It's going to be airing on PBS sometime this summer. It was very good.

Friday was mostly uneventful but my friend and I went out to dinner at the Belgian restaurant below his apartment, which we just found out is closing this weekend. I had mussels.

This morning the weather was nice (58F) so I went and read on the roof for an hour! It was lovely. Then I went out to get bagels, goofed around for most of the rest of the day, and did a ton of laundry. Tomorrow I'm going to try to read on the roof again, and start actually packing.

I'm still in that awkward stage of being sick where I feel mostly fine but every 2 hours or so I have to cough up a lung or blow a ton of snot. Annoying. I hope I can get over this soon.

Currently reading:
Finished book 9 of The Iliad on the roof this morning. I'm 75% through The Trumpet of the Swan, 60% through Delilah Green Doesn't Care. I would really love to finish the latter two and There, There before I leave for my trip on Thursday!
Reviews behind: 2
Library books: 5

Currently crafting:
None

Currently watching:
s1e6 of Taskmaster Australia

12Whisper1
Mar 16, 11:57 pm

Good luck on your trip. I hope you feel better -- traveling when you feel rotten is no fun!

13PaulCranswick
Mar 17, 12:02 am

Happy new thread, Nora.

Enjoy your time in Wisconsin. x

14elorin
Mar 17, 11:50 am

>11 norabelle414: Healthy energy so you aren't traveling while under the weather.

15The_Hibernator
Mar 17, 4:03 pm

I loved Doomsday Book. I'd been thinking of reading the rest of the loosely connected series.

Hope you feel better soon!

16norabelle414
Mar 18, 4:05 pm

>12 Whisper1:, >13 PaulCranswick:, >14 elorin:, >15 The_Hibernator: Thanks Linda, Paul, Robyn, and Rachel!

>15 The_Hibernator: I'm glad to hear you liked it. I've never read Connie Willis before, despite having several of her books on my shelves, so hopefully I will enjoy it too.

17bell7
Mar 18, 4:37 pm

Happy new thread, Nora!

Your book stack for the trip sounds great, and second Micky's suggestion that having Libby as a backup. Like you, I tend to think I'll read more on the trip than I end up doing (mostly during the actual travel part I do, but the during-the-trip time isn't as much as I think it's going to be), and having that keeps me from over packing. I like your plan of leaving a couple of books behind, too!

18norabelle414
Mar 18, 4:41 pm

Happy Monday!

Yesterday I did not get any roof reading time. It was very overcast in the morning and by the time the sky cleared up in the early afternoon my vegetation had taken root. Here's a photo from Saturday, though:



I did get some packing done, including taking my big suitcase down from the top of the closet, which is the hardest part of packing, really.

I'm still feeling a little congested, but not terrible. Today I'm at the office, then I'm going over to my brother's house to have dinner with him and my dad. I was too tired to read on the bus this morning, but maybe I can read some on the Metro on the way home.

Tomorrow I'm back in the office. I need to pack some more, maybe do one more load of laundry, and my friend is going to pick up Rory some time Tuesday or Wednesday evening. I logged on to the library website to freeze the rest of my library holds, but I wasn't fast enough and I'll have one to pick up tomorrow. I also need to cancel my newspaper subscription for the duration of my trip.

Currently reading:
So close to being done with The Trumpet of the Swan!
Reviews behind: 2
Library books: 5

Currently crafting:
None

Currently watching:
Caught up on John Oliver, season 2 of Animal Control, The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin, The Regime, the series finale of Good Trouble (which I had been putting off for a couple weeks because I'm too sad about it ending), the season finale of Masters of the Air (which I was unprepared for because the season weirdly has 9 episodes. The show often teetered on the edge of being interesting (for example, they introduced the Tuskegee Airmen (one played by Barbie and Doctor Who and Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa) in episode 8 of 9 and then didn't do much with them) but overall I don't think I can recommend it). I started new shows Apples Never Fall (boring), Manhunt (slightly interesting, I'll probably keep watching), and The Girls on the Bus (much less cringey than I was expecting, I actually enjoyed it)

19MickyFine
Mar 18, 5:42 pm

>16 norabelle414: I will say Doomsday Book is my least favourite of the series and having now lived through a pandemic, I have no desire to re-read a plague book (obviously your mileage may vary). But I do LOVE the rest of the series and have added them to my personal collection (the highest compliment I pay a book as it means I'll re-read them). If Doomsday Book isn't your jam, I highly recommend trying To Say Nothing of the Dog before abandoning the series as it's a very different reading experience.

20norabelle414
Mar 19, 10:16 am

>19 MickyFine: I find media about pandemics/plagues to be comforting, particularly early in the current pandemic. I felt weird watching/reading anything with a "normal" setting because all my mind could think was "where is your mask, why are you so close to each other, why are there so many people in this poorly-ventilated room, did you test before attending this school dance, etc."
I feel better about normal settings now but the plague setting still doesn't bother me.

21norabelle414
Mar 19, 10:26 am

Happy Tuesday!

Yesterday I went straight from my office to my brother's house for dinner and didn't get home until about 10pm. Got a lot of reading done on the Metro on the way home and a bit before bed. I've been using the Bookly app to track my reading time (which I've seen a couple other people mention here, I think Ursula and Kro?) and I'm finding it very motivating. Definitely not going to use it for tracking all of the books I read (e.g. pictures books and comics) but it's good for tracking how long I spend reading every day and the number of pages. It can also track time listening to audiobooks, which I haven't tried out yet.

Today after work I'm going to pick up a hold from the library and then I need to pack up Rory's stuff and my friend is coming to pick him up. Then all that's left for tomorrow will be packing and cleaning.

Currently reading:
Finished The Trumpet of the Swan last night and read a lot of There There on the bus this morning. Only about 15 pages left. I probably need to read Delilah Green Doesn't Care on the bus tomorrow if I want to finish it before I leave, even though I usually don't read spicier romances in public.
Reviews behind: 3
Library books: 5(+1 ready for pickup)

Currently crafting:
None

Currently watching:
None

22Ravenwoodwitch
Mar 19, 2:11 pm

Hey Nora!
Glad the cold is clearing up and I hope you have fun on the Wisconsin trip!
>20 norabelle414: I don't mind them myself much either; mostly because I'm already seeking media that spooks me anyway. Captain Trips and the Superflu? The more-the-merrier.

23norabelle414
Mar 20, 9:56 am

Happy Wednesday!

Yesterday after work I picked up my library hold and packed up all of Rory's stuff and then my friend came to pick him up. He's a mad little kitty right now but he always has a good time after a few days when he settles down.

Today I'm at the office. After work I'm hoping to catch up on reviewing books, then packing and tidying. I've eaten most of the perishables from the fridge except for the milk so I might have cereal for dinner.

Tomorrow I'll telework in the morning and then leave around 2pm to catch my 4pm train. I'll arrive in Chicago in the morning then transfer and get to Milwaukee around noon. Theoretically there is wifi on the train but it always sucks so I might not be back here to update until Friday evening.

Currently reading:
Finished There There on the bus home yesterday. I have about 80 pages left in Delilah Green Doesn't Care and its a very quick read so I think I'll be able to finish before I leave.
Reviews behind: 4
Library books: 6

Currently crafting:
None

Currently watching:
Caught up on Wild Cards (no cat this week but unfortunately I'm already hooked), Family Law, and John Oliver.

24norabelle414
Mar 20, 9:58 am

>22 Ravenwoodwitch: Thanks Angela!
I used to like pandemic stories because they were kind of spooky but now I find them comforting. Particularly those that are about normal people just trying to get by as opposed to something action-y.

25MickyFine
Mar 20, 1:06 pm

Wishing you smooth and safe travels, Nora.

26_Zoe_
Mar 20, 9:18 pm

Have a good trip!

27elorin
Mar 20, 9:20 pm

Safe travels!

28norabelle414
Mar 20, 9:50 pm




21. A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long

Learn about lots of different caterpillars, their life cycle, and the butterflies they turn into.

Beautiful drawings in this nice non-fiction book. I learned the names of dozens of species of butterflies!

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

29katiekrug
Mar 20, 9:53 pm

Hope you have a smooth journey and a good visit with your mom and her husband.

30norabelle414
Mar 20, 9:54 pm



22. Frederick written and illustrated by Leo Lionni

Frederick seems like he is not helping his mouse family prepare for winter. But when the cold, dark nights come, Frederick has more to contribute than they realized.

A nice antidote to the fable of the ants and the grasshopper. Frederick does contribute to the society, even if his contribution doesn’t look the same as everyone else’s. Really nice artwork that looks like cut paper.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

31norabelle414
Mar 20, 10:05 pm



23. The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White, illustrated by Edward Frascino

Louis the trumpeter swan is born mute. He goes to a human school and learns to write, and then to play the trumpet. He gets odd jobs to save enough money to pay for his trumpet, from a summer camp bugler to a Boston Commons tour guide to a jazz musician in Philadelphia. Finally, he finds the female swan of his dreams.

Weirder and longer than I remember from when I was a kid, and has way less of the human boy on the cover in it. I enjoyed the beginning, and the views on disability are slightly more progressive than I expected (though the book uses a word for “mute” that we would not now). It’s nice that Louis finds accommodations but does not get “fixed” at the end. Louis’ quest for money is rather boring. The reader already knows that the full insurance cost for the trumpet is $900 so it’s a little annoying to see Louis work so hard for so much more than he needs/wants. But overall it’s pretty charming, there's some very funny bits, and the illustrations are lovely.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (3.5/5)

32norabelle414
Mar 20, 10:17 pm



24. There There by Tommy Orange

This book presents an assortment of Native American characters from different backgrounds with one thing in common - they don’t live on a reservation. They are urban, and trying to figure out what exactly that means to them. What does it mean to be Native if you live surrounded by white people and white culture and colonialism? Are you Native because of your blood? How much? How do you know if you feel native enough?

The characters are all heading toward a big event - an urban powwow in Oakland, California. Some of them are helping to organize it, others are dancing or playing instruments or meeting family they barely know or just attending. But life under colonialism takes a toll, and things don’t end well.

I really enjoyed the characters here, and I wish I had gotten to know more about them. Some of the teenage/young adult boys blended together in a way that was hard to follow, but that might have been on purpose. Some of the connections between characters seemed a little far fetched, but connection is a theme of the book so it worked. The writing style is very stream-of-consciousness, which is very much not my thing, but if you like it this is an incredible example. I really did not care for the ending, but it did feel appropriate to the story. Certainly a book I appreciate having read, but I won’t be reading it again.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

33norabelle414
Mar 20, 10:21 pm

>25 MickyFine:, >26 _Zoe_:, >27 elorin:, >29 katiekrug: Thanks Micky, Zoe, Robyn, and Katie!

34norabelle414
Mar 21, 10:42 am



25. Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake

Delilah Green returns to her hometown after a decade away to photograph her estranged step-sister Astrid’s wedding. She doesn’t particularly want to see stuck-up Astrid or her horrible step-mother again, but it’s a lot of money. She’ll just get in and out and never think about it again. But Astrid’s fiance is unconscionably horrible, and Astrid’s best friend Claire is very beautiful and sweet, and seeing her step-mother again brings up a lot of feelings she had repressed. Maybe Delilah cares more than she thought?

A very fun, spicy, queer romance. I liked that basically all of the obstacles are related to external factors and not actually anything between the couple. There is a Chekov’s bet which was really unnecessary, but other than that it’s all about Delilah’s childhood trauma and Claire’s young single motherhood. The story is just as much about Delilah and Astrid as it is about Delilah and Claire, which made it feel like a really full story. I found ALL of the characters pretty relatable, Delilah and Claire and Astrid and Iris. I don’t usually like to pick up romance sequels but I might here.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

35norabelle414
Editado: Mar 22, 11:24 am

Happy Friday!

Hello from Chicago! The train ride was lovely and we arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule. I got some coffee and now I'm sitting in the station waiting for my next train which leaves in 40 minutes. It's allegedly snowing outside but there aren't any windows in this waiting room.

Not sure what's coming up this week except that we're going to a show/play/musical of some kind on Sunday.

Currently reading:
105 pages of Babel, or The Necessity of Violence, 50 pages of The Thursday Murder Club

36curioussquared
Mar 22, 1:09 pm

Have a great trip!

37elorin
Mar 22, 2:32 pm

Stay warm!

38Ravenwoodwitch
Mar 23, 12:26 pm

Welcome to Illinois!
(Wish we were in a better state of the state now, but welcome!)
Hope you have a good trip. Recommend the Adler or Shedd if you have some spare time.

39MickyFine
Mar 23, 9:46 pm

Hope the rest of your travels went smoothly and you're having a good time with your mom and her husband!

40norabelle414
Mar 31, 12:20 pm

Thanks Natalie, Robyn, Angela, and Micky

>38 Ravenwoodwitch: I was just passing through Chicago on my way north. One of the times I pass through I should stay for a few hours, though. I haven't spent time in Chicago since I was in high school.

41norabelle414
Editado: Abr 3, 9:50 am

Happy whatever day it is! (I'm still on vacation)

My train getting into Milwaukee on the 22nd was 30 minutes late but no bother. It snowed the whole time so I enjoyed looking out the window. When my mom and her husband picked me up we went to a deli for lunch.
On the 23rd we went to Sheboygan for the day. We went to a bakery to get bread for the week (and a donut), then to a very queer coffee shop for breakfast (I had cornmeal pancakes with fried eggs, avocado, and salsa). We went to a very queer bookstore, WordSmith BookHouse, where I bought:
How Far the Light Reaches by Sabrina Imbler (new)
A Psalm for the Wild-Built and A Prayer for the Crown Shy by Becky Chambers (both used)
Then we went to a used bookstore, Inkling Books, which was very nice but I didn't get anything. And we went to a chocolate shop, a game store, a sock factory store (they're very nice socks since warm socks are serious business up here), a cheese store (I got my favorite cheese - a very stinky blue with juniper berries in it) where we ate bratwurst from a shack outside in the snow. Then we went to a new art museum that focuses on whole collections from folk artists. Very interesting.

On the 24th we went to Milwaukee to a famous old German restaurant, and then to a secret show that I wasn't allowed to know about until I got there...it turned out to be Brett Goldstein! Very fun. Tuesday night we played trivia and came in 3rd. Thursday morning we went to volunteer with an organization that is rewilding an abandoned golf course. We planted "live stakes" (you can cut off a branch of a tree and stick it in the ground and as long as it stays wet like 75% of them will grow into new trees!), saw some birds, spread seeds, and got to help with a controlled burn fire! After a long nap we played trivia Thursday night and came in 2nd. Friday we went to Racine for the day and went to the Racine Zoo and the Racine Art Museum which had an exhibit of Peeps art. Saturday we cooked and baked to get ready for Easter, yesterday we had Easter lunch. Today we went for a short hike and now it's raining so we'll probably stay home for the rest of the day.

Heading home on a plane tomorrow, then back to work on Wednesday.

Currently reading:
I finished Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution! It was great! I'm still only 50 pages into The Thursday Murder Club so I won't finish before I leave.
Reviews behind: 0

Currently playing:
I *finally* got my mom and her husband to play Wingspan, which I bought them years ago, and they're obsessed. I also showed my mom's husband how to play it online.

Currently crafting:
I'm about 2/3 finished with the baby blanket, which needs to be finished by the baby shower on April 13.

Currently watching:
We've watched a hodgepodge of stuff - Some old episodes of Abbott Elementary, the last two episodes of Saturday Night Live, the season premiere of Call the Midwife, all three episodes of the miniseries Nolly, two episodes of Top Chef (which I do not like but it's set in Milwaukee this season), and the season premiere of Taskmaster (featuring Nick Mohammed from Ted Lasso)

42norabelle414
Editado: Abr 3, 9:53 am



26. Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution by R. F. Kuang

A young boy is taken from his home in China, renamed Robin, and raised by an unfeeling linguistics professor in Victorian England. He learns a variety of languages and eventually matriculates to a real school: Babel, a college in Oxford that creates magic using the slight differences in meaning between words in different languages. Babel students provide all of upperclass Britain and the government with engraved silver bars that make their ships faster, their buildings stronger, and their gardens greener. For awhile Robin is intrigued and proud to be a cog in this glorious machine, but soon the scales begin to fall from his eyes - the college only wants him because he’s “foreign” and therefore has stronger language powers, but he will never belong in Britain because he’s not white. He wakes up to the toll colonialism takes on all of its lower class subjects, and joins an underground revolutionary group trying to fight against the status quo. But can they actually do anything against the goliath British Empire?

I loved the philosophy of language, I loved the magical academia, I loved the examination of colonialism. I felt like the consideration of various subjects was thoughts from my own head that I have never been able to put into words. It’s an incredibly topical book, involving Luddites (skilled artisans who fight against their work being replaced with dangerous machines making shoddy products, but get painted as technophobes) and state violence against nations who won’t allow themselves to be exploited, but really those are just timeless topics under capitalism. This book really scratched an itch for me, and reminded me of a lot of my other favorite books: The Golden Compass, The Magicians, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

43katiekrug
Abr 1, 3:46 pm

Sounds like you've had a nice (and busy!) vacation. We saw Brett Goldstein's show in Newark and enjoyed it a lot.

I admit I am a Top Chef fan (I like that it's not focused on personal dynamics and drama) and I've been enjoying the new season.

44MickyFine
Abr 2, 12:53 pm

Glad to hear it's been a good trip. I hope the flight home goes smoothly!

Speaking of Wingspan, Mr. Fine and I just picked up Wyrmspan (the dragon-themed spin-off game from the same company) and had a grand time playing our first game of it yesterday.

45curioussquared
Abr 2, 3:06 pm

I really need to get to Babel sooner rather than later!

46norabelle414
Abr 3, 11:22 am

>43 katiekrug: I'm glad Top Chef fans are enjoying it! My mom has been to most of the restaurants they mentioned in the first two episodes. We thought the choice of bar snacks in the second episode was pretty weak, though. My mom thought they should have had to use pickled gizzards.

>44 MickyFine: I've been seeing a lot of posts about Wyrmspan! My local(ish) game store is doing a demo this weekend I think. It looks beautiful.

>45 curioussquared: I think you'll love it!

47norabelle414
Abr 3, 2:40 pm

Happy Wednesday!

Yesterday I packed and we went to a famous burger place for lunch and then to the airport. My suitcase was 1 lb overweight so I had to rearrange things which was slightly annoying because I'm specific about what goes in my suitcase and what goes in my backpack. I ended up with one shoe and my PJ pants in my backpack. But I got it to 0.5 lbs under! This suitcase, my largest, is pretty wrecked and I need to get rid of it once I fully unpack. (I've been saying this since, uh, 2019 and it's still limping along (I've only used it 3x since then) but I need to replace it *before* it falls apart, not after.)
My flight was uneventful. There was one other person in my row but the middle seat was empty, which was nice. I got home and unpacked a little bit, but not much. I'm out of milk for my coffee and I left a dirty dish in my sink which is now a little moldy, ick. My Roomba was out of battery (my previous Roomba had physical buttons on it so I could turn it off to prevent it from vacuuming while I'm not home but my new-ish one can only be controlled by a phone app which often doesn't work, so I flip my Roomba over like a turtle when I don't want it to run) so I didn't get to vacuum.

Today I'm in the office. It was hard to get up this morning, having not gotten up before 7 in almost 2 weeks and also coming back from Central Time. But I did it! I didn't bother to grab the souvenirs I got for my coworkers (some candy from the candy shop in Sheboygan) because I figured I have plenty of time to hand them out, but I forgot that today is Wednesday, not Monday, and several of my coworkers are leaving for a work trip on Sunday, so I won't be able to hand out the gifts until April 15 at the earliest. Whoops!

After work I need to buy milk (I had to put vanilla ice cream in my coffee this morning, poor me), pick up a few packages that arrived while I was gone (the package office completely changed while I was gone and I don't even know how it works anymore), drop off a library book (one I've already finished...all the others I have out auto-renewed while I was gone, yay), vacuum my apartment, and unpack. I also need to get caught up with my March Mammal Madness bracket, since I've missed most of the battles and the final is tonight. Whoops! Rory isn't coming back until probably tomorrow.

Nothing going on this week except playing catch-up. Saturday I have a meeting at the zoo.

Currently reading:
Read some of The Thursday Murder Club on the plane and this morning on the bus. I'm on page 150. Started a new bedtime book which is Yours for the Taking by Gabrielle Korn. Only about 20 pages.
Reviews behind: 0

Currently playing:
I will probably be playing quite a bit of Wingspan online with my mom's husband until they leave on an international trip in mid-April.

Currently crafting:
Did not get any work done on the baby blanket on the plane, but I have quite a bit of TV to catch up on so hopefully I can get a lot more done.

Currently watching:
Caught up on Taskmaster Australia s1e9, but very behind on absolutely everything else.

48MickyFine
Abr 3, 5:19 pm

Glad you made it back safely!

Good luck with all the settling back in and I hope Rory is pleased to be reunited with you when he gets home.

I was delighted by your improvisation of using ice cream for your coffee creamer. I'll have to share that with Mr. Fine as an option (he's the coffee drinker at my house).

49norabelle414
Abr 4, 4:36 pm

>48 MickyFine: I *must* have some kind of creamer in my coffee so I almost always have milk in my fridge, but ice cream is nice in an emergency. I've considered freezing some cubes of milk but ice cream is a lot easier and tastier.

50norabelle414
Abr 4, 6:25 pm

Happy Thursday!

Yesterday after work I bought some milk (and discount Easter candy), vacuumed a little, unpacked a very little, and picked up some packages that arrived while I was gone (skirts that I was planning to wear on my trip but they arrived too late, some coffee, and an LTER book: The Wildcat Behind Glass by Alki Zei). I got caught up on March Mammal Madness to find my bracket busted in the final four and followed the finale half-heartedly. Great white shark beat giant squid.

Today I vacuumed quite a lot while working ("vacuuming" means baby-sitting the Roomba while it poorly does the actual work). This morning was sunny so I was planning to read on the roof but now it looks like it might rain. Rory's coming back this evening.

Currently reading:
Read some The Thursday Murder Club on the bus yesterday. Did not read before bed.
Reviews behind: 0

Currently playing:
A game of Wingspan online with my mom's husband.

Currently crafting:
None

Currently watching:
Spent quite a while making a list of what shows I need to catch up on and in what order, but didn't watch anything.

51Ravenwoodwitch
Abr 6, 5:09 pm

>50 norabelle414: welcome back!
It sounds from your posts like you had a very eventful and active trip. Hope you get some time to rest before heading back to work.
Also, thank you the image of a Roomba spinning with its part in the air. It's going to keep me giggling all day.

52elorin
Abr 6, 6:03 pm

It sounds like a good trip. I like what you wrote about Babel and I am considering checking it out with my library.

53norabelle414
Abr 8, 3:59 pm

>51 Ravenwoodwitch: Thanks Angela!
Unfortunately the Roomba does not run his wheels if he's upside down, but he does make a sad "beep boop" sound.

>52 elorin: I hope you enjoy it! I was glad I could borrow it from a person instead of the library because it is a big book. It would have taken me a month to finish if I hadn't been on vacation.

54norabelle414
Abr 8, 4:18 pm

Happy Monday!

Rory came home on Thursday, Friday I worked from home. Saturday I went to a zoo meeting. There was one in-person meeting (the first in-person meeting since COVID) for all zoo volunteers last week, but it was while I was gone. The one on Saturday was for just my zone, 1/3 of the zoo, which was still nice. I got to see lots of people and ask lots of questions of the staff. I was offered the opportunity to interview for the working group which will organize a new zoo book club, but I think I'm still too hurt by the dissolution of my old book club and volunteer group to participate at this time. Maybe next year.

Sunday I had dinner with my dad and did my taxes.

Today I'm going straight from work to dinner at my brother's house. I don't expect I'll be home until late.

Currently reading:
Did not do a ton of reading this weekend but I'm about 2/3 through The Thursday Murder Club (I didn't love it at first but it's growing on me) and almost halfway through Yours for the Taking (really enjoying it)
Reviews behind: 0

Currently crafting:
Finished the striped section of the baby blanket and halfway through the first row of bobbles. I need to finish the first row of bobbles, knit the second row, and then just a few end rows and I'm finished knitting. Then I need to weave in approximately one million ends and block. I don't have anything else going on this week so I should be able to get it done.

Currently watching:
On Saturday I caught up on a lot (several of which I'm behind on again): Call the Midwife, John Oliver, season 1 of Taskmaster Australia, The Girls on the Bus, The Regime, Wild Cards, Family Law, Abbott Elementary, and Not Dead Yet. I started new shows A Brief History of the Future (awful PBS docu-series that I heard an ad for on NPR. It's only concerned with new technology for rich people and not with improving the lives of the non-rich) and Sight Unseen (another bad show where a non-blind actor badly pretends to be blind and solve crimes). A lot more to go!

55norabelle414
Abr 9, 9:17 am

Happy Tuesday!

Yesterday I looked (with proper eye protection) at the partial eclipse. We had about 87% totality here. There were some clouds but it came out from behind them in the end. I went straight from work to my brother's house for dinner with our dad. I gave my brother the stuff my mom and I got him in Wisconsin - socks and cheese, of course. It was in the 70s so we ate outside at their new outdoor table. Got home a little before 10pm and checked in at the front desk to pick up a package...and got served because while I thought I paid my rent on the 1st it didn't go through and I was on vacation so I didn't wait around for the confirmation email (which can sometimes take a couple hours) like I normally do. The last time I forgot to pay my rent I got an email from the front desk about it and of course paid immediately, but this was my third time forgetting to pay (in almost TWELVE YEARS) so I guess they don't do that anymore. I had no time for any activities yesterday and I didn't sleep well last night.

Today is a new day. I'm in the office and don't have any plans for the rest of the week.

Currently reading:
Putting The Thursday Murder Club on ice for a few days because Yours For the Taking is due back at the library. I read on the bus this morning and the office is quiet so I might try to read some during lunch too.
Reviews behind: 0

Currently crafting:
Did not get any time to knit yesterday.

Currently watching:
None

56The_Hibernator
Abr 9, 3:13 pm

We couldn't watch the eclipse here. It was cloudy. How did you like Doomsday Book? (Sorry if I missed the review in there. I tried to scan, but I don't read everything on everyone's threads - no time. So I skim.

57norabelle414
Abr 9, 3:42 pm

>56 The_Hibernator: I haven't read it yet! I loved reading Babel so much that I didn't alternate reading it with anything else like I usually do. I'll get to Doomsday Book one day!

58Berly
Abr 9, 3:56 pm

>55 norabelle414: A reminder might be nice especially since you've been there 12 years....

No eclipse here. Only a partial covered by clouds. Oh well.

Happy Tuesday!

59norabelle414
Abr 10, 1:34 pm

>58 Berly: You would think! I'm sure it's just their process (I live in a huge complex of 3 high-rises). The worst part is that they served me AND put a note under my door AND sent one through the mail. So even though I paid immediately upon being served, I also had to get the note again when I got to my apartment, and a third should reach me in 2-3 days.

60Berly
Abr 10, 1:36 pm

>59 norabelle414: They get points for being thorough?! Ugh! LOL.

61norabelle414
Abr 10, 2:09 pm

Happy Wednesday!

Yesterday at work I ended up with my computer in IT for a couple hours so I got quite a lot of reading done! After work I knitted.

No plans this week until Saturday, when I'm going to a baby shower for my brother and sister-in-law, and then dinner out with friends on Sunday.

Currently reading:
I read sooo much of Yours For the Taking yesterday! I might finish it on the way home (Don't worry, I have a backup book!). After that I'll finish The Thursday Murder Club then The Wildcat Behind Glass (an Early Reviewers book) and the 3rd Murderbot. I'd also like to fit a few She-Hulks in there.
Reviews behind: 0

Currently crafting:
I finished the first row of bobbles, the interstitial stockinette, and half of the final row of bobbles before my hands got tired. Then, I wove in about 3/4 of the ends! Then, I finished the rest of the bobbles! I should be able to finish today no problem, and maybe even start to block it.

Currently watching:
I watched the first episode of a nature docu-series called Queens, about female animals. I usually find these kinds of series too anthropomorphic (the footage is great but the voice-over is a lot of imagining of human emotions and motivations) but most nature series are just about male animals so this one is worth watching. This first episode was about three lion sisters w/cubs and two hyena sisters w/ daughter/niece. Content warning for animal death, as expected.

62MickyFine
Abr 12, 6:28 pm

Sounds like you're settling back into your routine. Congrats on making so much progress with the blanket. I look forward to seeing it (if you manage to snap a picture before it gets gifted).

Your apartment building's notice system sounds like my dentist who sends ALL THE REMINDERS. For a while I was getting phone call, text, and postcard reminders about upcoming scheduled appointments, although they've mellowed out in the last couple years. It's a good thing I don't have any dental fears because all those reminders would not have been helpful. :P

63norabelle414
Abr 12, 8:40 pm

>62 MickyFine: The multiple notices are required by law since they are informing me that they will evict me in 30 days if I don't pay, and I do appreciate that. A phone call or text would have been nice! It's just traumatizing to get the notice and then get another in a few days whenever the mail comes through.

64norabelle414
Abr 12, 9:05 pm

Happy Friday!

Not doing great, self-care wise, but I've been worse. This time of year is always so bad, when its warm out but the AC isn't turned on yet. It hasn't gotten too hot but I know it's coming.

Tomorrow I have a baby-shower in the early afternoon. Sunday I plan to bake a cake to take to work on Monday and then go to a new dumpling restaurant with my friends for dinner.

Currently reading:
I finished Yours for the Taking on Wednesday (technically Thursday morning). I've written most of a review but I want to noodle on it a bit more. Almost done with The Thursday Murder Club. I really need to get back into The Iliad, I haven't read any since I left for my trip almost a month ago.
Reviews behind: 1

Currently crafting:
Finished the baby blanket, wove in the ends, and washed it. I should have properly wet-blocked it but I wanted to make sure it would do fine in the washing machine, so I put it in a mesh bag and washed it with some socks and underwear, and now it's laying flat to dry. I have SO MUCH of the yarn left - almost enough for a full second blanket - so I should probably make a hat or something as well, but that can wait until after the baby shower.

Currently watching:
Caught up on Animal Control, Not Dead Yet, and watched two more episodes of Queens. The third episode was about insects and I wanted to know more about how they filmed it. Sticking a GoPro inside an anthill is one thing, but following a flying bee through the rainforest is incredible. I watched the making-of episode from the end, despite the fact that I haven't finished the series, and was so pleased to see they had an all-female film crew, mostly from the areas they were filming in, including several who were the first ever female documentary filmmakers in their country. No info about the insects, though.

65PaulCranswick
Abr 12, 11:09 pm

>42 norabelle414: Great review, Nora. I must get to that soon.

>64 norabelle414: Take good care of yourself. x

66Ravenwoodwitch
Abr 13, 10:10 pm

>64 norabelle414: Self-care struggles are always, well, a struggle. Good luck and I hope things improve :)
I'm excited to see the blanket too. I'm still working on one myself (so long) and I'm always impressed when someone else gets it done.

67norabelle414
Abr 15, 8:57 am

>65 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul!

>66 Ravenwoodwitch: Thanks Angela! It's a tiny baby blanket so don't get too impressed. I did take a picture, I'll try to remember to post it later today.

68norabelle414
Editado: Abr 16, 12:04 pm

Happy Monday!

This weekend was okay. Saturday I went to the baby shower for my nibling, it was very low-key (since it's a second baby) and nice. Single-gender parties always freak me out, though. It was weird that my brother and my dad weren't there, and several women there were the girlfriends of my sister-in-law's male friends and didn't even know anyone at the party. But it's my sister-in-law's party so she can do what she wants.

Also Saturday I emptied the trash can in my bedroom and found out where all the carpet moths were coming from! They were living in the trash can between the can and the bag/liner. Why? Why would they want to live there?? Thankfully a small plastic trash can is easy to sanitize.

Yesterday I had a No-Specific-Book-Club meeting and then baked a cake to take into work today, cocoa yogurt cake with vanilla bean glaze. Haven't tried it yet but what I licked out of the bowl tasted good. I used up the last bit of TWO containers of cocoa powder so I'm pretty pleased. I went out to a new dumpling place with my friends for dinner. I got there early so I browsed the nearby Barnes & Noble but nothing called my name. This weekend is the big library book sale so I will have plenty of opportunity to get books.

Thursday after work I'm going to a play, other than that it should be a quiet week. I'm hoping to catch up on TV (or at least not get further behind).

Currently reading:
Yesterday I read She-Hulk (2022) #4 and finished The Thursday Murder Club. I'm halfway through The Wildcat Behind Glass (it's middle-grade so a very quick read) and I think I should finish tomorrow. Next up are the 3rd Murderbot and the sequel to Grave Reservations which I read in February. I'd also like to get back into short story collections so I think I'll re-start Exhalation which I started before the pandemic and never finished. And maybe I'll start rereading some books I haven't read in a couple decades? And get caught up on The Iliad? And and and...
Reviews behind: 3

Currently crafting:
Nothing

Currently listening:
Eurovision season is upon us so I have listened to the full playlist a couple times through now. My favorites currently are Doomsday Blue by Bambie Thug (Ireland), Pedestal by Aiko (Czechia), and Fighter by Tali (Luxembourg) but that always changes.

Currently watching:
Catching up chronologically, I watched one episode each of Resident Alien, Shogun, Manhunt, Extraordinary, and The Completely Made-up Adventures of Dick Turpin (still behind on all of them). I watched the first episode of the new show Palm Royale but it's not for me.

69norabelle414
Editado: Abr 16, 12:03 pm

Happy Tuesday!

Yesterday I brought my cake to the office for my birthday (which was on Sunday) but someone else brought in a cake as well (even though I told everyone I was making a cake) and everyone ate that cake and not my cake. Annoying. But now there's more of my own cake for me, I guess. After work I just fussed around on the internet and caught up on TV. Last night was hot and the AC in my apartment won't turn on for another couple weeks. Very unpleasant but I did manage to sleep okay.

Today I'm going to try to go to the library on my way home from work (though the usual route from my bus stop to the library is under construction so I have to walk right past my apartment building and it's not really "on the way" anymore...)

Currently reading:
Read a lot of The Wildcat Behind Glass on the bus yesterday afternoon but not a lot this morning since the shuttle driver had the right-wing radio station on again (today's rant: John Mellencamp "went woke" by changing from his stage name (Cougar) to his real last name in 1991. Not a rant I've ever heard before, I'll give them that). Last night I decided to pivot from my plan and start Scarlet by Genevieve Cogman, a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel with vampires. I've never read The Scarlet Pimpernel so we'll see how this goes.
Reviews behind: 3

Currently crafting:
Nothing

Currently listening:
More Eurovision favorites: Europapa by Joost (Netherlands), The Code by Nemo (Switzerland), Rim Tim Tagi Dim by Baby Lasagna (Croatia) (the video for this one has a one-eyed orange cat in it)

Currently watching:
Watched the two latest episodes of Call the Midwife (Not a huge fan of this season... first they almost kill off Fred and then they almost kill off May and now they might be taking May away from the Turners because, how horrible, her birth mother wants what's best for her. What's supposed to be wrong about that? The whole May storyline has always been kind of gross and white savior-y. ). I also watched the first two episodes of the miniseries Mr Bates vs the Post Office, the true story of a bunch of postal workers across the UK who were prosecuted for theft but fought back to prove the theft was actually the result of bad computer software. It's really excellent so far and I highly recommend it.

70katiekrug
Abr 16, 11:28 am

Belated happy birthday!

71norabelle414
Abr 16, 11:31 am

>70 katiekrug: Thank you Katie!

72Whisper1
Abr 16, 11:37 am

Reading about your vacation was a nice experience. It sounds like you had a wonderful time, except for having to repack your baggage in the airport.

Congratulations on reading so many good books thus far this year.

73qebo
Abr 16, 11:49 am

>69 norabelle414: Happy birthday!
John Mellencamp
I thought wasn't he around when I was in high school (note: I'm 65)? But it was a somewhat after, sez Wikipedia. Seems a heckling incident made the news recently, and maybe the ranters were seeking fresh material that their audience would recognize.
Mr Bates vs the Post office
I just watched this, would also highly recommend.

74norabelle414
Abr 16, 12:56 pm

>72 Whisper1: Thanks Linda! If having to move 1 lb of stuff from a suitcase to a backpack is the worst thing that happens on my vacation, I'll take it! :-)

>73 qebo: Thanks qebo!
John Mellencamp
Ah, that explains it. I really was not expecting to hear "the guy who sings 'Jack & Diane' is TOO WOKE" first thing in the morning but I Wikipedia'd him as well and he seems like a cool guy.

75bell7
Abr 16, 7:10 pm

Belated happy birthday! Interested in seeing what you make of Scarlet... I remember reading & liking The Scarlet Pimpernel in high school but doubt I would think much of it now so I'm not willing to reread it :)

76norabelle414
Abr 17, 9:19 am



27. Yours for the Taking by Gabrielle Korn

It’s 2050 and the world is falling apart. In order to save what humanity they can, the world government devises the Inside Project - a couple dozen billionaire-funded sealed compounds across the globe that will safely house a few million survivors while the world burns. The residents are randomly selected for every Inside except one - the Sheryl Sandberg-esque girlboss author-and-CEO Jacqueline Millender secretly micromanages her Inside to be a perfect utopia. Everyone is young, thin, upper middle-class, female or non-binary, unattached to men, and equal. Everything about their lives is perfect, right down to the perfect amount of drugs pumped through their vents. The only requirement is that they work, with the cushiest job of all being that of mother. But how are the residents going to do as pawns in Jacqueline’s experiments?

Shelby, a trans woman and Jacqueline’s personal assistant, was not picked for Inside but gets to accompany Jacqueline on the billionaires’ space ship with all the other assistants. Olympia, a non-binary doctor, successfully convinces Jacqueline to include people of all races in Inside, and so thinks that she can manage Jacqueline's other quirky requests from the inside (so to speak). And Ava, an insecure lesbian, gets injured Inside and cannot work, so there's only one option left.

I really enjoyed all of the things this book made me think about. It's about the systemic failures of non-intersectional rich white feminism. It’s about how any kind of equality is impossible while any one person or group has more power. You can control for gender and race and age and temperament and culture and personal property, but as long as billionaires still exist a utopia will never. They can’t save us from a world of climate change and social injustice because they cause it. There are some parts of Inside that don’t make sense (Why can’t people change jobs? What is the enforcement of rules? Why is everything so boring?) but the flaws are part of the world. The project wasn’t well thought out! Unlike some similar stories about attempts at utopia, the plot here is not a puzzle to be solved. The reader knows what is happening the whole time, but there is enjoyment in seeing the characters figure it out and decide what to do.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

77norabelle414
Abr 17, 9:46 am

>75 bell7: Thank you!
I've chickened out a little bit on Scarlet... I looked up The Scarlet Pimpernel and it seems like I would absolutely hate it? So I think I'm going to read that first. I own a copy but the audiobook is only 8 hours and I haven't read an audiobook yet this year so that seems like the way to go.

78norabelle414
Abr 17, 11:31 am

It's Wednesday.

Had an okay morning yesterday but after lunch I got a double-whammy of my new boss making a flippant decision that will make everyone in my office's work much harder for the next several months, and a text message from my dad to the family group chat where he basically said I have obligations to him and my brother does not because he "is busy raising my {dad's} granddaughter and grandson". Annoying.

On my way home from work I went to the library to return a book and check out a hold and I also poked around the shelves and checked out two others. It's like retail therapy, but free and not wasteful and good for society.

I've really been enjoying using the Bookly app to track my reading, so I'm thinking of getting a paid subscription. Does anyone else pay for this app?

Stayed up too late doing nothing so I'm quite tired. Today after work I'd like to go to the grocery store, but I don't have a list ready yet so I doubt it's going to happen.

Currently reading:
Did not read before bed last night. I have about 20 pages left in The Wildcat Behind Glass so I left it at home today. On the bus I started Rogue Protocol.
Reviews behind: 2

Currently crafting:
Nothing

Currently listening:
Nothing

Currently watching:
Catching up chronologically again: one episode of Manhunt (I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would, in a background-y kind of way), one episode of Queens, one episode of Grown-ish, one episode of Extraordinary.

79katiekrug
Abr 17, 12:39 pm

If you didn't send your father back the middle finger emoji, you are a better person than I!

80ursula
Abr 18, 4:33 am

>69 norabelle414: Thanks for reminding me about Eurovision, I have a playlist queued up for today to check the songs out!

>78 norabelle414: I pay for Bookly. I like it, I'm not sure what features aren't available on the free version (aside from more books), but I like to support them. Oh, I just looked - stats and syncing across devices are huge for me. Oh, and I use the photo feature for entering quotes. So I guess I use the pro features quite a bit!

81norabelle414
Abr 19, 9:59 pm

>79 katiekrug: The nice thing about getting rude texts as opposed to in-person conversations is that I can just not answer and archive the text so I don't have to see it anymore :-)

>80 ursula: Looking forward to your thoughts on the Eurovision songs!
I'm mostly just looking for more books, and to support the creators. I got some kind of Google Play coupon for $10 off any purchase over $50 and I figured that was a sign and bought the lifetime membership.

82norabelle414
Abr 19, 11:42 pm

Happy Friday!

Last night I went to see a play, a new musical called Unknown Soldier. I didn't love it but my dad really liked it so that's nice.

Today I went to the twice-annual library book sale. I got:

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen
Flying Solo by Linda Holmes
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard
Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

as well as a couple books for my niece.

This weekend I plan to do NOTHING (except read and catch up on tv and buy bagels and maybe go to the grocery store.)

Currently reading:
Still need to finish those last few pages of The Wildcat Behind Glass. I'm also about 75% done with Rogue Protocol, and I started and am now 25% through The Scarlet Pimpernel on audio. I have the next Murderbot waiting in the wings, then probably one of my many library books (brag).
Reviews behind: 2

Currently listening:
After seeing the musical (the songs were fine but not memorable) I had a real craving to listen to the Ride the Cyclone cast recording, so I did. Then it was back to Eurovision. I haven't listened to the new Taylor Swift yet because I just cannot deal with 30-something Eurovision songs AND 30 something Taylor Swift songs at the same time. That's too many songs.

Currently watching:
One episode of the new show We Were The Lucky Ones (based on the book; good but sad), one episode of the new show Franklin (about Benjamin Franklin in France. It's fine.), one episode of the new show Renegade Nell (very fun!! though pretty dark at the beginning), one episode of the new show Under the Bridge (true crime, based on the book which I have heard is not very good so the show might be better), and one episode of the new show Conan O'Brien Must Go (good for what it is, but not my thing). Also watched an episode of Resident Alien, the season finale of The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin, and caught up on Abbott Elementary and Animal Control.