Mary's (bell7's) Reading Log in 2024 - Thread #4

É uma continuação do tópico Mary's (bell7's) Reading Log in 2024 - Thread #3.

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Mary's (bell7's) Reading Log in 2024 - Thread #4

1bell7
Editado: Mar 30, 9:07 pm

Hello all, and welcome to my fourth thread of 2024! I've been participating in the 75 Book Challenge since 2010 and look forward to seeing what my 15th (!) year in the group will bring.

Should you have missed any of my previous intros, my name is Mary and I'm a librarian in western Massachusetts. I'm part of a large family (oldest of five), single, and live in my own home.

I like to read fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, a smattering of mystery and romance, nonfiction about books and history and... basically, pretty widely and eclectically. I usually have some form of reading goals for the year, and I've decided that this year I want to intentionally read more globally. I'm going to focus on France and aim to read 12 books by authors from that country, plus 12 more books from other countries that are not the US, UK, or Canada. Since I typically read about 120-130 books a year, this will not be a hardship for me.

Outside of reading, I enjoy watching sports (football, hockey and tennis in particular), I dogsit as a side hustle, I knit for fun (usually gifts for friends and family), and research genealogy (as very much an amateur, but I'm learning).

Hope you'll make yourself comfortable and chat with me about books and life.

2bell7
Editado: Mar 30, 9:08 pm

2024 Book Club Reads

One of my work responsibilities is facilitating one of our book discussions. Here's what we're reading in 2024 (we take a break for the summer):

JANUARY - Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher - COMPLETED
FEBRUARY - The Lioness of Boston by Emily Franklin - COMPLETED
MARCH - Brave the Wild River by Melissa L. Sevigny - COMPLETED
APRIL - The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende
MAY - Rough Sleepers by Tracy Kidder
SEPTEMBER - The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
OCTOBER - The Paris Daughter by Kristin Harmel
NOVEMBER - The Soloist by Steve Lopez
DECEMBER - The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

3bell7
Editado: Mar 30, 9:12 pm

Top Reads of 2024 (in order read)

5 stars
The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard (reread)

4.5 stars
The Tower at the Edge of the World by Victoria Goddard
The Anomaly by Herve Le Tellier
The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng
The Postcard by Anne Berest
To Shape a Dragon's Breath by Moniquill Blackgoose
Derring-Do For Beginners by Victoria Goddard
Making It So by Patrick Stewart
Foster by Claire Keegan
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

4bell7
Editado: Abr 13, 8:05 pm

Random things I'm tracking

Bookish articles:
1. Oulipo: Freeing Literature by Tightening Its Rules
2. Great Big List of Beautiful and Useless Words
3. 2024 Pacific Northwest Book Awards
4. 75 Books by Women of Color to Read in 2024
5. Romantasy Books (BookRiot)
6. An interview with Moniquill Blackgoose
7. The Scandalous Legacy of Isabella Stewart Gardner
8. Nonfiction books for SFF fans
9. Tournament of Books 2024 Championship Round
10. Top 10 Most Challenged Books in 2023

How to make pretty block quotes (directions from Richard):
{blockquote}TYPE OR PASTE QUOTED TEXT HERE{/blockquote} and replace the curly braces with pointy brackets.

Number of books read since keeping count on LT:
July - Dec 2008 - 65
2009 - 156 (plus over 70 graphic novels and manga volumes)
2010 - 135 (Note: in June, I started working a second part-time job for full-time hours)
2011 - 150
2012 - 108 (Note: accepted a full-time job in February)
2013 - 107
2014 - 126 (plus 8 graphic novels)
2015 - 120 (plus 6 graphic novels)
2016 - 141 (I stopped counting graphic novels separately)
2017 - 114
2018 - 105 (Note: my first full year as Assistant Director)
2019 - 116
2020 - 153
2021 - 138
2022 - 131
2023 - 180
2024 - ???

5bell7
Editado: Abr 17, 8:26 am

Currently reading
How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair

Bible/Devotional Reading
Knowing God by Name by Mary Kassian

DNFs in 2024
1. Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson by Sally H. Jacobs
2. Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

6bell7
Editado: Abr 17, 8:26 am

April
39. The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo
38. Sharks in the Rivers by Ada Limon
37. The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende
36. At the Feet of the Sun by Victoria Goddard
35. Dominicana by Angie Cruz
34. With Us in the Wilderness by Lauren Chandler

7bell7
Editado: Mar 30, 9:16 pm

March
33. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
32. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
31. And What Can We Offer You Tonight by Premee Mohamed
30. The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard
29. The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann
28. The Bible
27. Brave the Wild River by Melissa L. Sevigny
26. Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
25. Ribsy by Beverly Cleary
24. House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J. Maas
23. Foster by Claire Keegan
22. Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth
21. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

February
20. Making It So by Patrick Stewart
19. Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong
18. The Lioness of Boston by Emily Franklin
17. The Casuarina Tree by W. Somerset Maugham
16. Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers
15. The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers
14. Derring-Do for Beginners by Victoria Goddard
13. The People We Keep by Allison Larkin

January
12. To Shape a Dragon's Breath by Moniquill Blackgoose
11. The Postcard by Anne Berest
10. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros
9. Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher
8. A Girl's Story by Annie Ernaux
7. Big Tree by Brian Selznick
6. The Lost Journals of Sacajewea by Debra Magpie Earling
5. The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng
4. The Pachinko Parlor by Elisa Shua Dusapin
3. In the Company of Gentlemen by Victoria Goddard
2. The Anomaly by Herve Le Tellier
1. The Tower at the Edge of the World by Victoria Goddard

8bell7
Editado: Mar 30, 9:19 pm

Global reads in 2024 (author's country of origin):
Canada - Victoria Goddard, Premee Mohamed
France - Herve Le Tellier, Elisa Shua Dusapin, Annie Ernaux, Anne Berest
Ireland - Claire Foster
Malaysia - Tan Twan Eng
New Zealand - Chloe Gong
UK - W. Somerset Maugham, Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Worth

All time (since 2022):


Create Your Own Visited Countries Map


Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

9bell7
Editado: Mar 30, 9:19 pm

Rough guide to my rating system:
I'm fairly generous with my star ratings - generally a four is a "like" or "would recommend" for me, while a 4.5 stars is a book I would reread. I break it down roughly like this:

1 star - Forced myself to finish it
2 stars - Dislike
2.5 stars - I really don't know if I liked it or not
3 stars - Sort of liked it; or didn't, but admired something about it despite not liking it
3.5 stars - The splitting hairs rating of less than my last 4 star book or better than my last 3
4 stars - I liked it and recommend it, but probably won't reread it except under special circumstances (ie., a book club or series reread)
4.5 stars - Excellent, ultimately a satisfying read, a title I would consider rereading
5 stars - A book that I absolutely loved, would absolutely reread, and just all-around floored me

I see it more in terms of my like or dislike of a book, rather than how good a book is. My hope is that as a reader I convey what I like or what I don't in such a way that you can still tell if you'll like a book, even if I don't. And I hope for my patrons that I can give them good recommendations for books they will like, even if it's not one I would personally choose.

10bell7
Editado: Mar 30, 9:20 pm

*Lays out the welcome mat*

You may now post!

11weird_O
Editado: Mar 30, 9:23 pm

I'm going to assume, Mary, that you've put your post number on all the slots you have info for. And therefore, I can jump in here, plant my flag, and call this spot Mine.

Yes...Mine, ALL mine. I wonder what sort of neighbor will show up? Loud music? Lots of dawgs. Carousing 'til all hours.

Happy Easter.

12elorin
Mar 30, 10:08 pm

Happy New Thread!

13atozgrl
Mar 30, 10:15 pm

Happy new thread, Mary!

14PaulCranswick
Mar 30, 10:59 pm

Happy thread #4, Mary!

15quondame
Mar 30, 11:19 pm

Happy new thread Mary!

16Familyhistorian
Mar 31, 1:16 am

Happy new thread Mary! From your last thread, what database were you looking on for the Civil War Pension record? My 2 of my 3 x great uncles fought for on the Union side in that conflict.

I second Mark's suggestion that you try out Blue Rodeo.

17vancouverdeb
Mar 31, 1:31 am

Happy New Thread, Mary! Many good new reads ahead!

18curioussquared
Mar 31, 1:44 am

Happy new thread, Mary!

19figsfromthistle
Mar 31, 6:07 am

Dropping in to wish you a happy new thread before I head off to work!

20bell7
Editado: Mar 31, 2:59 pm

>11 weird_O: Yup, that's exactly why I put the numbers in there as placeholders like I do, Bill. Welcome! Can't say I'm much for loud music or late hours, but who knows what company you might find on my thread? Happy Easter!

>12 elorin: Thank you, Robyn!

>13 atozgrl: Thanks, Irene!

>14 PaulCranswick: Nice to see you, Paul!

>15 quondame: Thanks, Susan!

>16 Familyhistorian: It was on Fold 3, Meg. My understanding is that the National Archives are working on getting more of those up and digitized, though most of the time I have gone to NARA in DC to look at the record myself. Depending on what state they fought for, the service records may be up on Fold 3, too - I could get the ones for Massachusetts last summer, though the ones for NY were not yet up. I'll definitely keep Blue Rodeo in mind!

>17 vancouverdeb: Thank you, Deborah!

>18 curioussquared: Thanks, Natalie!

>19 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Anita! Hope work goes well today.

21msf59
Mar 31, 8:38 am

Happy Easter, Mary! Happy New Thread! I give you credit for giving my musical recommendations a spin. Obviously, I have very eclectic tastes so not everything will work for everyone. I am listening to Jeff Buckley's album Grace. This is definitely more in your ballpark, especially with his anthem "Hallelujah".

22bell7
Mar 31, 8:40 am

Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

I'll be heading out shortly to go to church, but then the rest of the day will be pretty quiet. I'll have bread to bake and may take a walk up to the local cemetery where some of my ancestors are buried. I didn't make much of a dent in The Fox Wife yet, which I'm hoping to rectify today. And I'll be paying at least some attention to the NCAA basketball tournament this afternoon - if Purdue beats Tennessee, my chances of winning the family bracket become very high (I had UConn and Purdue in the final). A come-from-behind victory would be sweet!

Reading: The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo and Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Listening: "Exile in Guyville" by Liz Phair, which I'll be finishing up today, I think

Watching: yesterday I watched Hamlet with David Tennant as the title character and Patrick Stewart as Claudius. It was good, but long at 3 hours (if I'm to watch it again, I think I'll give myself an intermission), and the disc started skipping at the end too

Crafting: just a scarf a little yesterday, though I'm hoping to make some progress on my niece's Christmas stocking today

23bell7
Mar 31, 8:42 am

>21 msf59: Happy Easter, Mark! I'm willing to try new things in both reading and music - after all, I don't have to keep going with what I don't like, and I may discover a gem I wouldn't have otherwise! I'll add Jeff Buckley to the list, but I am a bit slower in listening through albums than you are (I mostly listen in the car, and drive only about four songs' length to get to work, so unless I'm doing more driving than usual, it can take me a week to listen through two or three times, which is what I like to give each one).

24katiekrug
Mar 31, 8:44 am

>22 bell7: - I had Purdue to win it all, and they are the only team left standing in my bracket :-P

25bell7
Mar 31, 8:49 am

>24 katiekrug: UConn and Purdue are the only ones left standing in mine. Quite a year for upsets!

26Owltherian
Editado: Mar 31, 8:50 am

Hiya Mary, hope you're having a good day!

27msf59
Mar 31, 8:58 am

I thought you might have been familiar with Jeff Buckley. At least you can get many of these cds through the library system.

28elorin
Editado: Mar 31, 9:28 pm

Happy Easter Mary

29bell7
Mar 31, 2:59 pm

>28 elorin: Same to you, Robyn! (I just noticed I misspelled your name in my earlier post - it's corrected now, and my apologies)

30drneutron
Mar 31, 4:53 pm

Happy Easter, and happy new thread!

31EllaTim
Mar 31, 8:02 pm

Happy new thread, Mary.
From your last thread I found Nettle & Bone to read, and loved it, so thanks!

32FAMeulstee
Abr 1, 6:34 am

Happy new thread, Mary!

33bell7
Abr 1, 8:29 am

>30 drneutron: Happy Easter, Jim, and thanks!

>31 EllaTim: Thanks, Ella! I'm so glad you enjoyed Nettle & Bone as much as I did. I'll definitely be reading more of T. Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon.

>32 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita!

34bell7
Abr 1, 8:32 am

Oops, missed a couple upthread...

>26 Owltherian: Hi, Lily, yes, yesterday was a good day.

>27 msf59: The name sounds vaguely familiar, Mark, but not one I recognize as having listened to albums. "My" era of pop music is late 90s/early 00s and mostly at the mercy of what was on the radio at the time and what my siblings or cousins were listening to.

35bell7
Abr 1, 8:37 am

Happy Monday! And happy April (how did that happen?).

I'm out of here shortly to go to work, and after work will be texting my SIL to see if I can go over for a visit. It'll depend on what she says and what the timing is for my afternoon plans, but I may try to fit in a gym run, too. I've got dinner plans with the folks I used to live with, and that'll be the day for me.

Yesterday was very pleasant. A friend of mine had made me a plate for Easter dinner so that I wouldn't have to cook. I baked bread, took a walk up to the cemetery and worked on adding memorials to FindaGrave, watched a Sight and Sound production of "Jesus" and knit more of the stocking for Ramona. Before I knew it, the day was over and I hadn't read anywhere near as much as I thought I would. But it was a very pleasant day to myself, and I'm ready to start the work week, which is more than I can say for many weekends!

36foggidawn
Abr 1, 9:37 am

Happy new thread!

37BLBera
Abr 1, 10:02 am

Happy new thread, Mary.

38bell7
Abr 1, 2:11 pm

>36 foggidawn: Thanks, foggi!

>37 BLBera: Thanks, Beth!

39bell7
Abr 1, 2:16 pm

Listening report: "Exile in Guyville" by Liz Phair

Raw sound, lots of guitar and gritty vocals. I usually like a lot of those elements, but no one song particularly spoke to me as "love" or one to add to the playlist. I was decidedly not a fan of F*** and Run or Flower. I only listened through twice, though, and I'll be re-encountering it some months from now since it's on the Rolling Stone 500 list. As others have mentioned, it was a song-for-song reply to "Exile on Main St." When I listen to it again, I would like to do a back-to-back comparison of the two and

40bell7
Editado: Abr 1, 2:32 pm

March in review
33. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
32. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
31. And What Can We Offer You Tonight by Premee Mohamed
30. The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard
29. The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann
28. The Bible
27. Brave the Wild River by Melissa L. Sevigny
26. Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
25. Ribsy by Beverly Cleary
24. House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J. Maas
23. Foster by Claire Keegan
22. Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth
21. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

Books read: 13
Did not finish: 0
Rereads: 4
Children's/Teen/Adult: 2/0/11
Fiction/Nonfiction/Plays/Poetry: 10/3/0/0

Because I want to awards:
Best reread in a month of rereads - The Hands of the Emperor
Best book by a new-to-me author (that now I NEED to read more of) - The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store
Little book with a lot of wallop - Foster by Claire Keegan
I can't believe I read the WHOLE thing - House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J. Maas
Love a good fantasy/original fairy tale - Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
Taught me so much - Brave the Wild River

YTD stats -
Pages read:
10,743
Avg pages a day: 116
Books by POC authors: 10 (31%)
In translation: 4 (12.5%)
DNF: 2

Thoughts:
What a contrast to last month in so many ways! I read a couple of BIG books, so while my total number is about average for me, the page number for March alone was over 4,000. I also reread more than usual, including the two Beverly Cleary books. I didn't have any DNF's but really should've DNFed the Sarah J. Maas book. Oh well... she has one more shot with her next title, and if that one doesn't work for me, I am pretty sure I'm done. Oh but... most of the books I read this month were truly excellent, and even those I wouldn't reread were still thought-provoking and good books I'd be happy to put in the hands of the right reader.

As far as my reading goals go, I read no books in translation or by authors from France. That's gotta change soon to make my goals attainable. Claire Keegan is Irish, so I do have one book from another country. I had said at the end of February that I'd like the authors of color to tick up a bit, and they did, but only by 1 percentage point. That wasn't really a stated goal for the year, but I'm still tracking it because I don't want it to get as low as it would if I weren't paying attention (when left to my own devices, I read a lot of books by American white women, which isn't really surprising giving my own demographic, but I do want to intentionally branch out from that).

All in all, an excellent reading month, and I'm excited to see what April brings.

41The_Hibernator
Abr 1, 6:23 pm

Wow! A year to date update. I count minutes read per month, as I want to read 100 per day, but I never thought of yearly tallies. Do you find them helpful?

42bell7
Abr 1, 8:48 pm

>41 The_Hibernator: I use the BookRiot spreadsheets every year to keep track, and it does the year to date tallies automatically for me. I copy over the ones I pay attention to most to my monthly reviews, and do find it useful in comparing year to year. Sometimes the book count is lower but the page count is higher, for example, so it helps me see when I'm reading longer books versus shorter ones. And my average pages read is usually a little over 100 pages, so when it gets higher or lower, it gives me a way of measuring how much I'm reading. So in that sense it's useful to me, yeah 😊

43bell7
Editado: Abr 2, 8:54 am

Good morning! Yesterday was a lovely day, I did not get to my SIL's to visit or to the gym, but I spent some time reading, caught up on a few chores that I didn't get to over the weekend, and went to dinner at the home where I used to live with an older couple from church. It was great to catch up with them, and we stayed chatting til close to 9 before I made my goodbyes.

Today I have a morning dentist appointment for just a regular cleaning. We rescheduled the visit with my SIL and niece for after that, and from there I'll go to work 12-8. I'm helping cover the desk since the teen librarian has a program.

Reading: The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo, Dominicana by Angie Cruz and At the Feet of the Sun by Victoria Goddard

Listening: um, a CD Micky mentioned awhile ago and I'm blanking on the name

Watching: nothing

Crafting: working away at the Christmas stocking

44MickyFine
Abr 2, 4:47 pm

>43 bell7: Hmm is it Noah Kahan?

Also after catching up on your threads I realize I should apologize for not giving you a heads up that Waitress the Musical is based on Waitress the film. The latter is also a weirdly enjoyable piece (weird because of the heavier subject matter) and I'm very fond of most of the cast in that one.

45bell7
Abr 2, 9:12 pm

>44 MickyFine: yes, that's it! Not your fault about Waitress the Musical. I actually had the CD out around the same time, and if I'd looked closely at it, I would've realized the musical was based on the movie. And I think you or maybe Nora had told me about the movie before. I'll check out Waitress the movie at some point too. The casting of the musical was very well done!

46bell7
Abr 3, 9:14 am

Happy Wednesday! We're in for a rainy one today.

I had a big to-do list for the morning, but I slept like crap last night and let myself sleep in instead of doing any of it. I might venture out to do a grocery shopping, but it will be a small one to tide me over 'til my next dogsitting job starts on Friday. I'll be working 12-8 today, making sure volunteers are all set with projects and virtually attending a genealogy meeting. The weather is rainy and blah today, and I'm planning on parking in the garage tonight since they aren't sure how much of a "wintry mix" or accumulation we're getting overnight. My plow guy will come if there's more than 3 inches of snow, and I'm superstitiously not putting away my snow shovel and ice melt just yet.

Reading: The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo, Dominicana by Angie Cruz, and At the Feet of the Sun by Victoria Goddard

Listening: "Stick Season" by Noah Kahan

Watching: nothing yesterday and probably nothing today

Crafting: didn't have time to pick it up lately, though I'm at the foot of the stocking, and then I have all the embellishments left

47alcottacre
Abr 3, 9:59 am

>31 EllaTim: I read Nettle and Bone in March due to Mary too! I also loved it and am now passing it on to my daughter, Beth, who I think will love it as well.

Thanks, Mary!

>40 bell7: Looks like an excellent reading month to me! I hope April treats you at least as well.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

48johnsimpson
Abr 3, 4:32 pm

Hi Mary my dear, Happy New Thread dear friend.

49MickyFine
Editado: Abr 3, 5:27 pm

>46 bell7: I was just saying to Mr. Fine this morning that while I was tempted to move my winter boots out to the garage (where we keep off-season footwear), I wouldn't because then it would definitely snow.

50bell7
Abr 4, 8:27 am

>47 alcottacre: Oh yay, glad I could pass on the enjoyment of Nettle & Bone to both you and Beth. March was an excellent month, and though I have only finished my Bible study book so far, I think April will be a good one too.

>48 johnsimpson: Thank you, John! Good to see you here; I should check in on your thread soon.

>49 MickyFine: Right? We did get a coating, and it's back to a wintry mix now, but it should be warm enough today to melt it all. I am glad I parked in the garage, I hate cleaning off the car more than walking through the basement with all my work bags to get to it. (It's on my list to someday get an electric garage door opener...)

51bell7
Abr 4, 8:34 am

Good morning, all! I'm heading out of here shortly to work 9-5 and have Bible study tonight. My parents are unavailable for dinner tonight so I'll have to figure out something for that, but I think I might take a walk in one of the cemeteries near the library and take some photos for FindaGrave.

Tomorrow after work, I'm heading out to dogsit and should have a quiet evening with two small dogs and two cats.

Reading: The Fox Wife, Dominicana, At the Feet of the Sun

Listening: "Stick Season" Noah Kahan (almost done, then I'm switching back to the 500 Albums project)

Watching: nothing

Crafting: didn't pick it up yesterday

52msf59
Editado: Abr 4, 8:37 am

Sweet Thursday, Mary. Glad you toughed it out with Exile in Guyville. I know it is a raw, profane LP and not for everyone. I should have thoughjt of that before recommending it. I love Exile on Main Street too but never gave it a comparison listen.

On the lighter side of music, I heard that Sheryl Crow had a new LP out, called "Evolution" and it was well-reviewed. I listened to it and it is good and it sparked me to go back and listen to her first 2 albums- Tuesday Night Music Club and her self-titled from '96. Good stuff.

The Fox Wife sounds good. I will watch for your final thoughts.

53alcottacre
Abr 4, 10:21 am

>51 bell7: I know that Deborah (vancouverdeb) really liked The Fox Wife so I will be curious to see your thoughts on it as well.

54bell7
Abr 4, 10:44 am

>52 msf59: I'm pretty sure you either mentioned that on my thread or yours, so no worries. I like what I've heard by Sheryl Crow on the radio but never did listen to any of her albums through.

>52 msf59: and >53 alcottacre: I'm enjoying The Fox Wife when I pick it up, it's very atmospheric and has a compelling story at the center of it, but it's definitely the sort of book that's better to read in large chunks rather than ten minutes at a time, which is why I've been so slow about it (that and for whatever reason, I've been slightly faster reading e-books than paper books this year). I'm hoping I'll have more evening reading time this coming week with this dogsitting job - sometimes it's easier to sit and read when it's not my house and there aren't chores calling my name!

55bell7
Abr 5, 9:19 am

TGIF! I'm working 9-5 and have a dogsitting job starting tonight. When I got up this morning, I decided I didn't have it in me to rush around finishing my packing and getting everything into the car, so I'm stopping back home and doing that tonight on my way. Oh well! Once I do arrive, it should be a pretty quiet night otherwise. Tomorrow I need to come home to bring my recycling for the one-day-a-month drop off, and have a funeral to go to (a friend's father passed).

Reading: same

Listening: Elvis Presley's self-titled album (funnily enough the CD seems a mashup of the original US and UK versions from the '50s, so it has 18 songs in total), which I didn't expect much from but have found surprisingly enjoyable so far

Watching/Crafting: nothing the last couple of days, but I'm planning on bringing the stocking with me and hopefully making some good progress on it. Also, since I'll have the TV and whatever stations they have, I'm going to see if I can get the Final Four basketball games over the weekend.

56bell7
Abr 6, 4:18 pm

Happy Saturday!

I'm dogsitting for a week and keeping a semi-busy schedule throughout. Because I'm not home, though, I do tend to read (or stream TV shows) rather than keep busy with chores when I'm not out and about, so I've brought a healthy stack of library books and my Kindle.

Today was going to be pretty quiet, but the father of one of my friends unexpectedly died and the services were today. I left early enough to get home and run some errands on my way (today is recycling day, and if I didn't get it I'd have to wait another month...). And then I stayed through the graveside service and lunch, not getting back 'til close to 3. I'm done for the day, though. The Bruins are on and I'll be following the basketball as best I can this evening to see if I win the family bracket challenge or not. I'll be picking up a book to read while I watch, and am planning on leftovers for dinner tonight.

Reading: The Fox Wife, Dominicana, At the Feet of the Sun

Listening: Funny story. I *thought* I was listening to Elvis Presley's self-titled album, but yesterday I took a second look at the case, wanting to figure out what the first song on the album was. The case said "Blue Suede Shoes." Friends... the song was decidedly NOT "Blue Suede Shoes". Turns out, 2 CDs got switched and the one in the case isn't even from the same library. I've been enjoying whatever it is I've been listening to, though, so I've decided to keep going 'til Monday when I go back to work and can look up the library barcode and start to straighten it all out. Will report back what I *have* been listening to and thoughts on the songs after that.

Watching: Bruins

Crafting: nothing yet, I brought the stocking with me and will surely get it out soon

57MickyFine
Abr 6, 5:51 pm

Enjoy your quiet evening in with the critters, Mary. Much luck with your bracket!

58bell7
Abr 6, 9:07 pm

>57 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! With Purdue's advance, I have officially won... but I still am going for UConn so I get more points :)

59bell7
Abr 6, 9:26 pm

34. With Us in the Wilderness by Lauren Chandler
Why now? Group Bible study pick

Lauren Chandler presents a 7-week study on the book of Numbers. Each week is five days of homework (to be paired with a video at the end of each week that somewhat builds on but often goes in a slightly different direction from the finished homework), and covers about 6 chapters of Numbers per week. The content was solid, though I sometimes wished it would go into more detail (theological or historical, in particular). The questions focused more on content than emotion, which I prefer, and when I didn't entirely understand what she was getting to, she usually answered the question in the next paragraph. I learned some and was challenged. Overall, a solid study. 4 stars.

60bell7
Abr 6, 9:35 pm

35. Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Why now? Looking for an audiobook/e-book combo last week, I was happy to find this one available. It was on my TBR list since I really loved How to Drown in a Glass of Water

At the age of 15, Ana is the hope of her family in the Dominican Republic. El Jefe has just died, and her Papa sells land to the Ruiz brothers - and as part of the deal, Juan Ruiz and Ana marry and go to New York. Mama is determined she will send them money and eventually the family will migrate as well. But Ana finds herself alone in a strange place where she doesn't know the language and her husband, in love with someone else, suddenly doesn't seem all that interested in helping her family.

Author Angie Cruz tells a story inspired by her own mother and others who had similar experiences moving from the Dominican Republic to Washington Heights. Ana is a strong character and really grows into her own as she becomes pregnant and carves out a life for herself. Her experiences and that of her family are sometimes hard to read about it, but it's realistic and still allows glimpses of hope. 4 stars.

61vancouverdeb
Abr 7, 12:17 am

I hope you do enjoy The Fox Wifewhen you a proper chance to read it, Mary. I did really enjoy and I'm often not much for books with fantasy element.

62bell7
Editado: Abr 7, 6:41 pm

>61 vancouverdeb: Have you read any of her others, Deborah? I liked The Night Tiger a lot. I am enjoying The Fox Wife, and I forgot my Kindle at home this afternoon, so I will have to focus on this book for the rest of the day (or read my e-book on my phone, which I don't love...). I'm glad you enjoyed it! I do read a lot of fantasy, but this one is much more grounded in the real world/historical fiction than some.

63bell7
Abr 7, 6:49 pm

This was the weekend for a busy Sunday. I was scheduled to help out in the toddler room at church, so I played with three kids whose ages ranged from 2-4, along with the other helpers. Two of the three were my friends' kids. The hour plus flew by, and it was time to go home and then to potluck/Bible study. I brought cookies this time, making peanut butter ones with sourdough discard that came out quite good. I baked bread again, and now have dinner in the oven. Dinner is a savory bread pudding with asparagus and pesto from the always-reliable Dinner in One.

Tomorrow is eclipse day. We ran out of the eclipse glasses we were giving away and just have some saved for staff and anyone who's in the library during the time. I was originally taking the day off, but I'm working 9-5 to help out coverage on the circ desk. Our part-time circ person officially moves up to her full-time position, and my boss is out a few days next week, so I'll be in charge from Monday to Wednesday, and then I'm off on Thursday for working Saturday. Phew!

Reading: The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo and At the Feet of the Sun by Victoria Goddard

Listening: radio today, I'll finish up the Elvis CD tomorrow and request the right one

Watching: the Red Sox are on, but I'm not so much watching as putting it on for background noise

Crafting: I have not picked up the stocking yet...

64bell7
Abr 8, 11:03 am

Happy Monday! Jumping back into the work week, we are keeping track of our reference question stats for the next four weeks, and our phone has been ringing off the hook asking if we have eclipse glasses. We ran out Friday and only have a small supply for staff and anyone who's in the building when the eclipse occurs (in retrospect, maybe we should have had a program?). Everyone else around us has run out as far as we are aware, too, including Home Depot who had them for sale. Fun times!

Reading: The Fox Wife and At the Feet of the Sun - I forgot my Kindle at home yesterday in all my running around, so I'm planning on picking it up on the way back from work tonight, since reading on my phone is not fun

Listening: more radio today. I brought the CD back (it was disc 2 of the Elvis Presley "Legacy Edition" from one library, in the case of the 1-CD version of "Elvis Presley" from another library that I actually wanted to listen to, which is checked out to yet another patron in another town). I have placed a hold on the Legacy Edition (2-CD) this time so I can sort myself out a little with what's on which CD. It's going back to the library whose case it was, and then they will try to hunt down their actual CD and get it straightened out.

Watching: They have Netflix where I'm dogsitting, so I started Season 6 of The Crown

Crafting: nothing, and probably not tonight either

65foggidawn
Abr 8, 11:05 am

>64 bell7: My library ran out of eclipse glasses about a week ago, too, and have had lots of calls ever since. Our clerks, who handle the bulk of the phone calls, will be very glad when the eclipse is over!

66norabelle414
Abr 8, 11:54 am

My local library had eclipse-related events over the weekend, but I don't think they're doing anything today. We're only at about 85% coverage here though. I bought some eclipse glasses pretty early, because I saw some warnings about "fake" (non-certified) glasses floating around.

67Berly
Abr 8, 11:43 pm

Starred! Glad you had fun with the kiddos. I didn't have to worry about the glasses because we were way too cloudy to see anything here in Portland and we only had a partial eclipse, too. Have a great week!

68bell7
Abr 9, 10:54 am

>65 foggidawn: and >66 norabelle414: The phone was so insanely busy all morning that I went out to the desk from about 11:15 to noon just to answer the phone so the person on reference could help patrons with other questions. We had a grand total of 191 requests for eclipse glasses, right up until 3:30.

>67 Berly: Thanks, Kim! We had glasses for the staff and a few of us had fun peeking out here and there. We streamed the totality from NASA's Youtube channel and even on a phone it was pretty amazing!

69bell7
Abr 9, 11:05 am

Happy Tuesday!

I'm working 9-5 today including a meeting with the Friends, and then hightailing it to the gym for a lesson on using the circuit machines. Then I'm back to dogsitting, but cooked yesterday so that I can just have leftovers and hang out the rest of the evening.

The eclipse yesterday was pretty cool. We didn't get the totality, but it was something like 94% coverage, down to an itty-bitty sliver. I used the eclipse glasses my library had gotten - feeling very weird as I did so, remembering how nervous my mom was when we were kids about looking at the sun - and peeked out a few times during the hour when it was quiet on the desk. We actually had pretty good viewing, it only getting cloudy at the end.

I won our family brackets on the basketball tournament and, since I was right about the finalists AND the winner, managed to be in the top 1% of ESPN's brackets, which absolutely floored my brother (whom I came back from behind to BEAT, thank you very much!). I had... well, I knew the seedings, but I went mostly on vibes and very quickly picked my bracket while at work. I'm still competitive enough that I had been watching developments closely, and was pretty sure I'd been knocked out when Kentucky lost in the first round (I'd had them in the Final Four). So it was particularly satisfying to come back from behind like that.

Reading/Listening/Watching/Crafting: nothing new to report

70richardderus
Abr 9, 11:11 am

Tuesday orisons, Mary! I'm glad you got to see that much of an eclipse. I was thrilled to see our over-80% coverage.

I got your lovely note...the desk lady has read the handwritten ones to me before now, so I haven't not known what you were saying. The only thing I was a little worried about is that you'd somehow out yourself as an avatar of the Buddha or something similar. Wouldn't do to let the world know suchlike until the time is right, after all.

*smooch*

71bell7
Abr 10, 10:29 am

I'm glad you got to see it too! And I'm glad to know you were still able to get the notes, handwritten though they were. *smooch* back

72bell7
Editado: Abr 10, 10:35 am

Happy Wednesday! I am a little sore after the gym: I did half the circuit twice, upper and lower body, and it's upper where I'm feeling it today. Not awful pain but that good sore where you know you did a workout. I expect I'll be a little more sore tomorrow, so I'm planning on going in but will use the treadmill primarily.

Today I had the morning to putter around the house where I'm staying, and I cleaned up a bit of the dishes and took care of the kitty litter. I'm working 12-8, and have no big plans for the day, but I'm sure I'll find plenty of things to keep me busy. I also got a fair amount of reading in, and I'm planning on starting my book club book today. Tomorrow I'm off, and planning a mostly relaxed day.

Reading: At the Feet of the Sun, The Fox Wife and Sharks in the Rivers

Listening: radio

Watching: Bruins last night, which was not a great game

Crafting: still no

73weird_O
Abr 10, 10:39 am

Heavy cloud cover over my house obscured (completely) the show. I'll have to catch the next one in twenty years.

74bell7
Abr 10, 3:14 pm

>73 weird_O: Sorry you got cloud cover, Bill! Here's hoping you get a chance to see another one :)

75atozgrl
Abr 10, 10:45 pm

>72 bell7: Well, here in NC we thought last night's game was pretty good. ;-)

Enjoy your day off!

76vancouverdeb
Abr 11, 1:49 am

I'm quite sure I recall the solar eclipse in 1979. In my area, there was nothing to see yesterday. Only a small fraction of the sun was obscured , maybe 17% and I didn't notice.

77bell7
Abr 11, 9:19 am

>75 atozgrl: Ha! That's fair, Irene.

>76 vancouverdeb: I'm glad you got to see the earlier one! I remember there being something about an eclipse when I was a kid (not '79), but I have a very hazy memory of not being able to see it at all, mostly because my mom did not trust the combination of us and flimsy glasses to keep our eye sight safe. I do remember a lunar eclipse when I was young, and thinking it took *forever*.

78bell7
Abr 11, 9:27 am

Morning, all! It's my day off for working Saturday (normally would've been Monday, but I worked 9-5). I have a few things on my to-do list, but little of it is set in stone. I'm planning on going over and babysitting my niece for a bit this afternoon while my SIL goes shopping, and I am looking forward to baby snuggles. I figured I'd save the reading I want to do for then and bring my Kindle in case she's sleepy. My muscles are still sore from two days ago, so if I do any working out, it's gonna be treadmill only. And I want to get food at Uno's tonight (our Friends of the Library have a fundraiser today) and go to Bible study.

Reading/Listening: same

Watching/Crafting: nothing

79richardderus
Abr 11, 9:46 am

My grandmother woke me up to watch a lunar eclipse in 1967 or 1968, and all I remember is that it was slow and I was really excited to be up at 2am like a real grownup.

The 1979 eclipse was the occasion for me to visit my stepmother's family in Portland so we could all go view it. That was fun!

80bell7
Abr 11, 11:16 am

>79 richardderus: Right? Being up was exciting, but it *was* slow (not that I know the one from the '60s, the one I referred to was probably around 1992). That's a cool memory to have of the 1979 eclipse!

81richardderus
Abr 11, 1:00 pm

>80 bell7: LOL

You mean pre-embryonic Mary doesn't remember things that happened in your as-yet-unacquainted parents' lives? *tsk*

82bell7
Abr 12, 8:14 am

>81 richardderus: *snort* no, 'fraid not!

83msf59
Abr 12, 8:18 am

Happy Friday, Mary. Glad to hear you are enjoying Elvis. I especially like his earlier The Sun Sessions. You really get to hear how he started and then evolved. I am a fan.

84bell7
Abr 12, 8:22 am

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm working tomorrow, so it's not *quite* my end of the week, but things are winding down a little and Sunday-Monday should be a fairly quiet weekend (Monday is a state holiday, Patriots' Day).

Yesterday's quiet start busied up in the afternoon as I babysit my niece while my SIL did some errands and my brother worked from home. I put baby girl to sleep (after a bit of bouncing and singing) and got baby cuddles for about an hour 'til she woke up to eat. At a little over a month old, she's getting more alert. She definitely lets you know what she likes and doesn't like, she'll kinda bounce or move around in ways that indicate "stand up" or "move!" and if I do something different (like putting her down on a couch cushion while I grabbed my purse) her face scrunches up in a full-on pout before she lets out a cry. So expressive! She's always kinda grunted in her sleep, but now she'll make noises like she's trying to communicate, and I expect she'll have a lot of Opinions when she does start talking.

Today I'm working 9-5 and planning on stopping at the gym on my way back to dogsitting (I did not go yesterday, but I did the rest of my expected plans). I'll have leftovers for dinner tonight as I try to finish up all the food I made earlier this week before going home tomorrow after work.

Reading/Listening/Watching/Crafting: nothing new to report

85bell7
Abr 12, 8:23 am

>83 msf59: Happy Friday, Mark! The CD I wanted came in for my yesterday, and I'm looking forward to listening today. Thanks for the suggestion of The Sun Sessions, I'll have to check it out.

86PaulCranswick
Abr 13, 12:57 am

>83 msf59: & >85 bell7:

Another fan here. I love "Tryin' to Get to You" & "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" especially.

87bell7
Abr 13, 8:13 am

>86 PaulCranswick: I'll have to listen for those, Paul. Thanks for stopping in!

88bell7
Abr 13, 8:17 am

Yesterday was a good day, the work day flew by and I did stop at the gym on my way back to dogsitting - spent time on the treadmill and doing the circuit, which should give me enough time to recover before I get trained on the remaining machines on Monday.

I woke up a little early this morning, so I'm just about packed but also have time to come back here for food and any last-minute cleanup. I'm working 9-2, mostly around the volunteer breakfast, but with about an hour or so to recover after being hostess for a bunch of people. I'm planning on stopping at the gym for the treadmill only, then coming back for a last check on the animals and cleaning up after myself, and then I will be home sweet home tonight. I finished At the Feet of the Sun this morning too.

Reading: The Fox Wife, Sharks in the Rivers and about to start The Wind Knows My Name for book club

Listening: "Elvis Presley" by Elvis Presley (for real this time - the other CD turned out to be "Elvis")

Watching/Crafting: nothing

89richardderus
Abr 13, 8:28 am

>84 bell7: Did I remember incorrectly that Patriots' Day was the 19th, for Lexington and Concord in 1775? Or are we on the Monday-holiday thing that moves stuff around?

No real matter, enjoy the day off. *smooch*

90BLBera
Abr 13, 12:16 pm

I loved Dominicana, When I saw her at the Iowa City book festival last year, Cruz talked about how hard it was to get it published.

91curioussquared
Abr 13, 1:16 pm

Happy Saturday, Mary! Interested to see what you thought of At the Feet of the Sun.

92bell7
Abr 13, 7:59 pm

>89 richardderus: Right, the actual day would be April 19 but this is one of many that will be observed on a Monday. The ones always observed on the exact day (in my state, anyway, if not federally) are Veterans Day and Juneteenth, in case you were wondering :)

>90 BLBera: It's too bad that a book like that would be hard to publish! I liked Dominicana, and liked How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water even better. I'll have to see if I can find any author interviews.

>91 curioussquared: Happy Saturday, Natalie! I liked it, I'll try to write up a review now.

93bell7
Abr 13, 8:24 pm

36. At the Feet of the Sun by Victoria Goddard
Why now? Stasia and I are reading through the Nine Worlds books together, and we are returning to Lays of the Hearth-Fire - this was the next in the series

While His Radiancy is off on adventures finding his heir, Cliopher is fulfilling his duties as the Viceroy of Zunidh and head of the government, preparing to hand the government off when he and his friend both retire. But he rather wishes he could be on adventures, too, and his misses his friend, His Radiance, the last Emperor of Astandalas, greatly.

Whew boy, where do I even start? That plot summary doesn't even come close to a true plot summary of this sprawling sequel to both The Hands of the Emperor and The Return of Fitzroy Angursell, but I had so much fun seeing how everything developed that I hesitate to give anything away. And yet, how do I talk about my reactions to the book in a review that is cohesive without abounding in spoiler tags? Well. Suffice it to say, then, that I enjoyed returning to Cliopher's story. I had thought a lot of his hesitancy about himself had been resolved in The Hands of the Emperor, but he still has some things to work through here and I did get a little impatient at points when the plot seemed to flag while he vacillated. The characters, though, are fantastic and I care deeply about them to the point where I was both laughing with delight and nearly crying when more emotional things happen to them. Getting to see Cliopher go off on an adventure of his own was very satisfying, and seeing him become the equal - not that he hadn't been, but in his own mind - of his great friend, made me so very happy. 4.5 stars.

The part where Cliopher discovers that the Emperor and Fitzroy Angursell were one and the same delighted me to no end because I was just as startled when I read The Return of Fitzroy Angursell.

94quondame
Editado: Abr 13, 9:09 pm

>93 bell7: Weren't there so many delightful bits past the 50% mark? I'm sure I've read most of it more than 3X and there are still little sparkling passages I discover. Watching Kip be his own flavor of legendary is a total blast! He doesn't need the earplugs!

95bell7
Abr 13, 9:10 pm

>94 quondame: Yeah, I think that was the hardest part in trying to describe it - I liked the second half much better than the first! I could see myself regularly revisiting several of Goddard's books.

96bell7
Abr 14, 8:30 am

Happy Sunday! I woke up early before my alarm, but feel well-rested all the same. I've had my coffee and got what's become the weekly bread dough mixed and rising, which will ready to bake tomorrow since it's a holiday. I'm going to church shortly, and planning on stopping at the grocery store on my way back. And... that's it! Should be a pretty quiet day, I'm hoping to focus on reading my book club book and may take a walk (or go to the gym, if it's raining) later this afternoon.

Reading: The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo, Sharks in the Rivers by Ada Limon, and The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende

Listening: "Elvis Presley" by Elvis Presley

Watching: I put the Bruins on for background noise last night, but didn't stay up for the third period

Crafting: I knit up the foot of the stocking, and just have to finish the toe. Then there's a few hours' worth of duplicate stitch, sewing on sequins, weaving in ends and sewing up the side to finish it off!

97curioussquared
Abr 14, 12:27 pm

>93 bell7: I think we felt about the same about this one! I still need to read The Return of Fitzroy Angursell so I had the pleasure of learning that secret along with Kip 😂

98bell7
Editado: Abr 14, 6:33 pm

>97 curioussquared: bahaha well The Return of Fitzroy Angursell kinda plunges right into it and I was so surprised I thought I missed something! Rereading The Hands of the Emperor and knowing makes it a very different reading experience.

I'll look forward to your thoughts as you read other Nine Worlds stories.

99Berly
Abr 15, 2:44 am

>96 bell7: You and my hubby can hang out together -- he's on a baking frenzy!! Made two sourdough loaves this weekend and now he has to make another because one of his business associates wants one! : )

100msf59
Abr 15, 8:35 am

Morning, Mary. You asked about more Limon recs. I highly recommend Bright Dead Things: Poems & The Carrying: Poems. Have a good week.

101bell7
Abr 15, 10:13 am

>99 Berly: Oh most excellent! Does he bake with the discard, too? I may make rosemary crackers soon...

>100 msf59: Thank you, Mark! I can get Bright Dead Things from the library where I work, and I will endeavor to grab our copy tomorrow.

102bell7
Abr 15, 10:37 am

What I've been listening to lately...

I don't think I ever reported back on the Noah Kahan CD. I liked the musical sound overall. The lyrics were hit and miss for me, liking some songs but then others would sort of have a line crammed in there because he wanted to say something rather than it match the flow of the melody (kinda reminded me of Dar Williams in that sense). And sometimes he went for a more twangy sound, which isn't a timbre I love. But, I did add "All My Love" and "Come Over" to my playlist.

"Elvis Presley" by Elvis Presley - #332 on the Rolling Stone list, 1956
Rolling Stone's comments
Elvis's debut full-length album includes classics like "Blue Suede Shoes" (which, I know, I know, I'd never heard before) and "Blue Moon". I don't love the kind of "hup, hup, hup" sound when Elvis sings in his lower register, but my gosh, he has quite the range and I was super impressed with the songs that show off his falsetto. And are those really the lyrics to "Shake, Rattle, and Roll"? Huh. I really liked the music, the ragtime-y piano, drums, and some guitar. My personal favorites were more ballady, however, "I'm Counting on You" and "I Love You Because".

"Elvis" by Elvis Presley - this one was a bonus, because it was disc 2 on the "Legacy Edition"
I listened to this one accidentally before "Elvis Presley" because the case I got out of the library for "Elvis Presley" had the wrong CD in it (we're STILL getting straightened out, it involved at least 3 different libraries and their patrons). Amazingly, it was released only months after "Elvis Presley". Musically, I liked it better than "Elvis Presley". I like the musical style, and Elvis really sings out the notes (there's one song that, if I didn't know better, I would have thought Steven Tyler covered the song). "Rip It Up" was my favorite from the original album; this particular version (the 2-CD Legacy Edition) included some singles, and "Love Me Tender" was my favorite of those.

I'm listening through "Elvis" one more time before I return the 2-CD set to the library, and then I'm moving on to "Here's Little Richard".

So because I'm listening to the list in chronological order, it's fun to me that first listened to Frank Sinatra and right after to Elvis. Apparently, Sinatra didn't think much of Elvis or burgeoning rock 'n roll in general when this album came out (it was, serendipitously, mentioned in the book I was reading this past weekend).

103bell7
Abr 15, 10:45 am

Happy Monday! It's a holiday in my state (Massachusetts and Maine, if you're wondering) commemorating the start of the Revolutionary War. After the very busy work day on Saturday, it's very nice to have today off and be able to putter around at home.

Yesterday was the quiet Sunday I had hoped for. I went to church and my name was announced as a new member, so that's official now. I did a grocery shopping, came home and had lunch, read my book club book and chatted some with my younger sister, who's away traveling now. I also went through my books and selected some to put out in my Little Free Library and others to donate to the Friends Book Sale next week.

Before I went to bed, I made up a whole long list of to-dos for today (and the rest of the week, really), but now I find myself not really wanting to do some of the things I thought I wanted to do today. Some of it is that I woke up for an hour in the middle of the night, then slept in and was tired and hungry, getting a slow start in the morning. There's very little on it that actually MUST be done today, so we'll see how motivated I am in the end. I definitely need to do some cooking, and I have an appointment at the gym this evening to learn the rest of the circuit machines. And I finished my book club book, so that's plenty of accomplishment, really.

Reading: The Fox Wife, Sharks in the Rivers and How to Say Babylon

Listening: "Elvis" by Elvis Presley

Watching: nothing planned

Crafting: hoping to work on the stocking some

104bell7
Abr 15, 11:31 am

37. The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende
Why now? April's book club choice

Two families, two immigrant stories. Samuel Adler was sent away from Austria on the Kindertransport after Kristallnacht in 1938, first going to England and eventually settling in the U.S. Anita Diaz came to the U.S. from El Salvador with her mother, Marisol, in 2019 but they were separated and she's in the foster care system while waiting for her court case to potentially grant her asylum.

It's obvious that Allende cares deeply and knows a lot about asylum seekers immigrating to the U.S. Unfortunately, the story here is superseded by her theme, and the result is an expository, clunky, didactic book that I wouldn't have finished if it weren't for book club. I could pick a sentence or two almost at random to illustrate the style, so here's a random taste from early on: "That afternoon, the stink of dread stirred up by the wind was suffocating, making him feel dizzy and nauseous. He decided to turn away the patients left in his waiting room and close up early. Surprised, his assistant asked if he was ill. She'd worked with the doctor for eleven years and had never known him to shirk his duties; he was a punctual, methodical man." Information about every character is presented in a similar way, and we get an extensive back story for everyone by this detached omniscient narrator that randomly tells readers things that happened before, filling in blanks between time periods (the story spans 1938 to 2020 and jumps in time a little, while mostly focusing on 2019-2020), and even sharing what will happen to a character in the future. The point of view changes among various characters: besides Samuel himself, a woman named Letitia who came to the U.S. after a massacre in El Salvador, Anita - whose first-person narration, as she talks to her (dead) younger sister Claudia, was the only one I could connect with - and Anita's social worker Selena. And then, because I was so focused on the mechanics of the story instead of the plot itself, little things that didn't make sense, like how a Californian lawyer is suddenly practicing law in Arizona with no explanation*, really bothered me. I could go on, but I'll stop there. I read and enjoyed Zorro several years ago, and I know that Allende's work is highly regarded, but this one was a miss. Not recommended. 2 stars.

*For those unfamiliar with either the American legal system or, well, lawyers and bar exams, generally speaking a lawyer needs to take a test to be able to practice in that state. So the character, Frank, would need to have passed the bar in both California and Arizona and kept his credentials up-to-date. Some states have reciprocity so if you've passed the bar in one state, you may have other ways of getting the credentials in another instead of taking another test, but I don't think Arizona and California do. This is... never mentioned, at all. Selena - who lives and works in Arizona - goes to the fancy law firm where he works in California and all of a sudden he dives into pro bono work in Arizona. Also, while we're on the subject, Frank and Selena together really annoyed me. We're told straight off that Frank is weirdly attracted to Selena despite the fact that she's "a few pounds heavier" than the women he usually likes, no mention of how unprofessional (and the potential for conflict of interest) it would be for the lawyer and social worker to start seeing each other?

105bell7
Abr 16, 10:27 am

Morning, everyone, happy Tuesday! After I cooked myself lunch, I spent a very productive afternoon and - though I didn't do any weeding or other yard work - I knocked a lot of other things off the to-do list, including some household chores that were starting to annoy me because they weren't done (yes, this is how I prioritize things).

Today is back to work, 9-5. I have some things to finish up post-volunteer breakfast, and I'm prepping for both book club tomorrow and a genealogy program on Thursday, so that will keep me plenty busy with work things. I haven't quite decided what the evening is going to look like (it depends on lot on how I feel at the end of the day), but it might involve going to the gym or it might involve weeding in my garden and I definitely want to cook dinner, but whether that's baking fish or making soup in the Instant Pot is also yet to be determined.

Reading: The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo, Sharks in the River by Ada Limon (I should finish it today), and How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair

Listening: I finished the 2-CD Elvis Presley/Elvis Legacy set, and will start "Here's Little Richard" by Little Richard on my way home

Watching: a frustrating Bruins game last night, probably not much tonight

Crafting: I finished knitting the Christmas stocking and have begun on the other parts, right now working on duplicate stitch for the strings which the baubles hang down from, and next baby's name and year born. If I can get that done in the next couple of days, and then move on to blocking, weaving in ends, and putting all the embellishments on (very possibly after dogsitting, let's not kid ourselves), I'll be pleased.

106richardderus
Abr 16, 10:58 am

>104 bell7: ...erm...so maybe not so much for me, either...

>105 bell7: Boo hiss on the Bruins being soooo bad.

It's a drunk day for Old Stuff and the timing couldn't be better. It's GORGEOUS here which usually means another hour or so out, yay!, and I have a corner shelf unit coming on Thursday so I needed the extra time sans his delightful company to get the corner ready.

Read my annual random poetry collection to see if I really hate poetry or just think I do, and yep, still hate it. Happy souping! *smooch*

107bell7
Abr 16, 1:04 pm

>106 richardderus: No, I think that's one you can safely skip. I do hope you get a beautiful day out - it's lovely here, too, and it's one reason I'm leaning towards skipping the gym and weeding at home instead (outside, warm, still exercise).

I will check out your poetry review as soon as I get a chance. I may try one or two other collections in the next month, but the one I finished on my lunch break this afternoon was not one that convinced me I like poetry, either.

*smooch*

108Whisper1
Abr 16, 1:24 pm

Simply stopping by to say hello Mary!. It is a beautiful spring day in NE Pennsylvania. The grass is incredibly green. My neighbor, and friend, Andres put fertilizer on the lawn, and it is obvious it works.

You read some great books this year!

109bell7
Abr 16, 6:41 pm

>108 Whisper1: So nice to see you, Linda, and to hear that Andres is continuing to help you with the yard (and more, I'm sure). I have read some good books this year! This month has been a little slower so far, but mostly because I've read some long books.

110bell7
Abr 16, 6:48 pm

38. Sharks in the Rivers by Ada Limon
Why now? I don't read much poetry, but when I do it's for National Poetry Month. This was one of a couple I got out from the library, since Limon is the Poet Laureate of the United States

Not much to say about this one, I'm afraid. I don't read a lot of poetry and I don't think there was one poem in the bunch I could really make head or tail of. There's a fair amount of imagery of water, fish, and birds in this collection, but her point is not as clear as Mary Oliver. It also did what a lot of current poetry seems to do and sound pretty prosy and just randomly break the lines so that the periods are in the middle of the line. Not rating it or reviewing it on the work page, since I don't really know what to make of it.

On Mark's recommendation, I have Bright Dead Things out from the library and I'll give Limon another try. I also have Above Ground by Clint Smith out from the library, and after those two books I will most likely be done with poetry for the year.

111bell7
Abr 17, 7:56 am

Hey all, happy hump day! I'm working 12-8 today and still deciding what to do with my time this morning. The problem is that everything on my to-do list is annoying me that it's undone and because I'm starting a dogsitting job either today or tomorrow it all feels urgent, so my usual ways of prioritizing are not working. I say that somewhat tongue in cheek, laughing at how my brain works. None of it is *actually* urgent, mind you, except perhaps packing. I suspect that once I get started on something, my morning will roll along and I'll be pleased enough with whatever I accomplish. I'm leaning on starting some weeding projects outside because it helpfully doubles as exercise.

Work today will involve working with volunteers, prepping for tomorrow's Ancestry program (which is fun, I read through my notes on what to talk about and... research my family or someone else's on Ancestry), and book club this evening.

Reading: How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair - I have the pleasure of choosing a new fiction book today

Listening: "Here's Little Richard" by Little Richard

Watching: I put on the Bruins last night, but as it was pretty much background noise while I read my book, "watching" the game is putting it generously

Crafting: nada - maybe today, I've got more duplicate stitch I'd like to get done before dogsitting, but I might bring the finishing with me and hope the cat leaves it alone?

112katiekrug
Abr 17, 8:05 am

Once my to-do list gets too long, I am paralyzed by indecision of where to start. So then it just gets longer as I procrastinate. :)

113bell7
Abr 17, 8:09 am

39. The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo
Why now? I loved The Night Tiger and was very excited to read Choo's latest

A young woman calling herself Snow - a fox - travels on a revenge trip, intent on killing the photographer Bektu Nikan in Manchuria, 1908. Meanwhile, an investigator Bao who has the talent on being able to tell truth from lies is asked to investigate the mysterious death of a young woman - could it be the work of a fox?

Choo draws on the Chinese mythology of foxes to tell a compelling, lyrical story of Snow and Bao, and the family that Snow meets and gets involved with in the course of her mission to find the photographer. With an evocative atmosphere and complex characters but very deliberate pacing, this is a book to sit down with for long stretches and get lost in. 4 stars.

My reading suffered a little bit from *not* having the time to sit down for long stretches much - it took me three weeks to read, not because it wasn't good, but because I didn't have the time and kept picking up other books instead. I might've rated it higher if I'd been able to concentrate on it differently.

114bell7
Abr 17, 8:15 am

>112 katiekrug: Yeah, I can do that, too. Actually my to-do list was longer on Monday, but because it was a holiday it didn't feel as intimidating as the to-do list before work (or after, depending on the day) can be. And it has the really annoying things left on it like "weed around the azalea," "weed the daffodils" (yes, I broke it up into sections) and long, satisfying but unimportant things like "sort genealogy papers into folders".

I haven't even put "mow the lawn" on it yet (how can it be time to do that when just a couple of weeks ago there was the possibility of shoveling?), but nonetheless will probably come back home on Saturday primarily to do just that.

I'm glad that in addition to being a place where the number of books I read a year is perfectly average, LTers (75ers) also understand and appreciate the intricacies of the to-do list :D

115norabelle414
Abr 17, 9:01 am

I also like to break to-do list tasks down into smaller bits, or put things I've already done on the list so I can check them off (including putting "make to-do list" on my to-do list). It helps me feel motivated and then I get more done.

116richardderus
Abr 17, 9:44 am

>114 bell7: When this climate nightmare *really* gets going you'll be using the new SnoBloMow to get the ice-9 off your synthgrass.

*sigh* I wish i was really only joking.

117bell7
Abr 17, 9:16 pm

>115 norabelle414: I don't generally put "make to-do list" on my to-do list, but I have been known to add things to the bottom that I have already completed and then check them off. But like you, I find breaking things into smaller pieces and checking each one off motivating. I broke the weeding into four different sections, and the other reason for that is I can't realistically do it all in one go anyway.

>116 richardderus: Ugh I can't even. One of my long-term goals (probably after I retire, let's be honest) is to (pay someone to) pull up all the grass and put in irises and native plants and a spot for a vegetable garden over the whole yard. I have not had a year where I can successfully keep up with both the mowing and the weeding, but I do what I can.

118bell7
Abr 17, 9:21 pm

Well, I spent two hours weeding this morning so I'll call it a win, though I only was able to check one of the sections off on my list. I did enough by the rhubarb so that I won't be mowing more than I need to on Saturday. The rest can wait...

My dogsitting job started today, so I packed in a hurry before and after work, and forgot a charger for my phone and Kindle. They use the same type as my laptop, so that plug is currently charging my phone and I'll pick up the charger (and food, which was planned) tomorrow morning before work. I anticipate being here for a week and back home next Wednesday. Lots of walking in my future!

119bell7
Abr 18, 10:18 am

Happy Thursday! I'm going in to work late today because I'm staying late to run a program on searching Ancestry Library Edition. This one is always fun because 1. I get to talk about genealogy and 2. it's always different because of what people are researching and how much they already know. I start with a 15-20 minute presentation showing the basics of searching with examples from my own family, then we have a little less than two hours where participants do their own searches on library computers and I wander around helping them. There's always a handful happy on their own, and then there are some that need help with computer-y things - click here to go back to the search, here's how to navigate back to your search results, here's how to print - and some that need assistance finding a person or document or what have you. Keeps it the perfect blend of routine and unpredictable for me. Anyway, both prepping for and running that will be my main focus today. I'll have a volunteer come in and help me with the program to let people in the locked doors (we're doing it after the library closes) and be a second person there to alert me when folks need help since the computers are a little scattered.

Yesterday's book discussion went well. We had five of us all together, including one new person who said she'd never come to a book discussion before, but she participated well and had some great observations. I think most of us were mixed, and one woman who had read a lot of Isabel Allende's books didn't think it was one of her best. As the facilitator, I'm always a little more measured in my comments when I don't like a book because nothing dampens discussion more than *me* being a wet blanket. But I think we did a good job of teasing out some points for discussion as well as sharing some criticisms. Next month's pick is Rough Sleepers by Tracy Kidder.

The dogs are enjoying my leisurely morning. I turned off the alarm before it went off so they'd let me sleep in a little (tomorrow I need to get up right at 7 to have them all walked before work), fed them and walked them, and then went out for coffee and home briefly to pick up most of what I forgot to pack (I could use a sports bra for the walks, but I'll live for a couple more days) and food. I should leave in about a half hour or so, but for now all five labs are out of their kennels and sleeping on various dog beds or furniture in the family room.

Reading: How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair and The Perfect Guy Doesn't Exist by Sophie Gonzales

Listening: finishing up with Little Richard today; I'll share some thoughts on the album later

Watching: nothing yesterday

Crafting: nothing yesterday - I brought a scarf I'm knitting rather than the Christmas stocking

120bell7
Abr 19, 9:56 am

TGIF! Yesterday's Ancestry program went well - we had 13 out of 15 show up, and everyone seemed pleased with what they were able to do/find. I went back to the dogs, fed them (poor things were hungry!) and walked them, then had a little time to read before I let them out for a final pee and we all went to bed.

I forgot to change my alarm to 7:00 a.m. so we all got a little bit of a late start today, but I got to work just a few minutes late. Should be a fairly low key day. I have volunteers coming in at various points throughout the day and will tidy up things after having so many programs and work on small but regular projects, like having up-to-date book lists and bookmarks out by the new books. Cooking peanut chicken tonight for dinner.

Reading: How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair and The Perfect Guy Doesn't Exist by Sophie Gonzales

Listening: radio in the car this morning; the next album in my Rolling Stones list is "Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley" which I'm borrowing from Hoopla, and will possibly hook up to my aux cable on the way home if I think of it. Also with all the dog walking, I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts that I'm perpetually behind on (I'm up to October 2023 now)

Watching/Crafting: nothing, probably won't have time 'til tomorrow

121bell7
Ontem, 2:08 pm

Happy weekend!

It's been a busy day already. I woke up to rain, which nixed going home and mowing, so I went to the gym after walking all the dogs - but forgot the keychain with my card to sign in. Instead, I went to do a quick grocery shopping, and it occurred to me that I could stop at home, but I didn't have my house key either. Ugh. So back to the house I went, dropped off the groceries, and got all the right keys. I went to the gym, went through the circuit machines (ran into one of my co-workers who's a member of the same gym), and then stopped at home to water the plants and check on my sourdough starter. I got back to the dogs, let the exuberant ones out in the pen, and cooked myself lunch.

I have just a little bit of a break now in the afternoon, while the dogs are now tuckered out and sleeping, to read my books a bit before I start the next round of feeding and walking the dogs. I'm going to get them an early dinner today, since my cousin's in a community theater production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" tonight, and I'm headed there for the evening.

Reading: How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair and The Perfect Guy Doesn't Exist by Sophie Gonzales

Listening: "Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley" by Bo Diddley

Watching: eh, I have golf on right now because while I can't listen to music and read at the same time, I can have sports on as background noise

Crafting: nothing

122vancouverdeb
Hoje, 12:59 am

>113 bell7: I'm glad you enjoyed The Fox Wife, even if it you didn't like it as much as I did. I have not yet read any of her other books, but I purchased The Ghost Bride because I enjoyed The Fox Wife so much. My local library had already culled the book.