Mary (bell7) Reads in 2023 - Thread 9

Den här diskussionen är en fortsättning på: Mary (bell7) Reads in 2023 - Thread 8

Den här diskussionen fortsatte här: Mary (bell7) Reads in 2023 - Thread 10

Diskutera75 Books Challenge for 2023

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Mary (bell7) Reads in 2023 - Thread 9

Redigerat: sep 4, 6:56 pm

Welcome to my ninth thread of the year!

I'm a librarian living and working in western Massachusetts, who also dog sits on the side. I have a large family of origin, but live on my own. I am officially middle aged and I'm enjoying living in a home that happens to be in the neighborhood my ancestors were living in 100 years ago. I knit, research genealogy, enjoy watching sports and read - a lot. You'll get a little bit of my life here, so I hope you'll join in the conversation.

Redigerat: okt 18, 8:37 pm

2023 Book Club Reads (library)
January - Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann - COMPLETED
February - The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris - COMPLETED
March - Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown - COMPLETED
April - Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr - COMPLETED
May - All We Can Save edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katherine K. Wilkinson - COMPLETED
June/July/August - a low key "what are you reading now?" meeting where participants can tell us about their current book(s)
September - The Overstory by Richard Powers - COMPLETED
October - Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver - COMPLETED
November - Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford
December - The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

2023 Book Club Reads (SIL and friends)
January - A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - didn't reread, but did go
February - The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan - COMPLETED
March - The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer - Nobody read it, we just met for dinner, and have been so busy we haven't met again since

Redigerat: sep 4, 7:02 pm

Best of 2023 (so far, and not counting rereads):

4.5 stars
Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
Normal Family by Chrysta Bilton
The Return of Fitzroy Angursell by Victoria Goddard
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten
Revenge of the Librarians by Tom Gauld
A Man's Place by Annie Ernaux
Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World by Barry Lopez
Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson
The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
The Redoubtable Pali Avramapul by Victoria Goddard
Say I'm Dead by E. Dolores Johnson
The Real Dada Mother Goose by Jon Scieszka
Index, a history of the by Dennis Duncan
Manifesto: On Never Giving Up by Bernardine Evaristo
This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You by Susan Rogers and Ogi Ogas
Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire
Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland
Bee Sting Cake by Victoria Goddard
Stone Speaks to Stone by Victoria Goddard
Three Apples Fell from the Sky by Narine Abgaryan
Witch King by Martha Wells
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Whiskeyjack by Victoria Goddard
You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
A Woman's Story by Annie Ernaux

5 stars
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds

Redigerat: sep 4, 7:01 pm

Bookish articles:
1. Alternatives to Book Depository

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
2017 - 114
2018 - 105 (Note: my first full year as Assistant Director)
2019 - 116
2020 - 153
2021 - 138
2022 - 131

Redigerat: okt 18, 8:37 pm

Currently reading
The Long Game by Elena Armas
Africa Risen edited by Sheree Renee Thomas et al.

148. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
147. Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling by Esi Edugyan
146. My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi
145. Happiness Falls by Angie Kim
144. City of Bones by Martha Wells
143. Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells
142. Plum Duff by Victoria Goddard
141. Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon Flake

140. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
139. Blue Horses by Mary Oliver
138. Happy Place by Emily Henry
137. Solito by Javier Zamora
136. The Overstory by Richard Powers
135. The Splinter in the Sky by Kemi Ashing-Giwa
134. Love-in-a-mist by Victoria Goddard
133. Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi
132. How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz
131. Something's wrong with us, volume 5 by Natsumi Ando
130. The Fragile Threads of Power by V. E. Schwab
129. Something's wrong with us, volume 4 by Natsumi Ando
128. The Remarkable Retirement of Edna Fisher by E. M. Anderson
127. Network Effect by Martha Wells

126. The Easy Life in Kamusari by Shion Miura
125. A Woman's Story by Annie Ernaux
124. Something's wrong with us, volume 3 by Natsumi Ando
123. Something's wrong with us, volume 2 by Natsumi Ando
122. Something's wrong with us, volume 1 by Natsumi Ando
121. Emergent Properties by Aimee Ogden
120. Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse
119. Eden's Outcasts by John Matteson
118. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
117. The Road to Roswell by Connie Willis
116. Blackcurrant Fool by Victoria Goddard
115. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
114. Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Redigerat: sep 4, 7:04 pm

113. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
112. A Soft Place to Land by Janae Marks
111. We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen
110. The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older
109. The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill
108. Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country by Louise Erdrich
107. Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
106. Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
105. The Good Life by Robert Waldinger and Marc Shulz
104. You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo
103. The Woman They Wanted by Shannon Harris
102. Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor
101. The Late Americans by Brandon Taylor
100. Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo
99. The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel
98. Whiskeyjack by Victoria Goddard
97. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

96. Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi
95. Witch King by Martha Wells
94. Sunshine Nails by Mai Nguyen
93. Three Apples Fell from the Sky by Narine Abgaryan
92. The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
91. A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin
90. Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango
89. Stone Speaks to Stone by Victoria Goddard
88. Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley
87. Bee Sting Cake by Victoria Goddard
86. Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
85. Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
84. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
83. The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell

82. The Bookbinder by Pip Williams (looks like the non-US title is The Bookbinder of Jericho)
81. The Humans by Matt Haig
80. Rust in the Root by Justine Ireland
79. The Sinister Booksellers of Bath by Garth Nix
78. Well Played by Jen DeLuca
77. How Can I Help You by Laura Sims
76. All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson
75. The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry
74. Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire
73. Stargazy Pie by Victoria Goddard
72. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Redigerat: sep 4, 7:05 pm

71. This Is What It Sounds Like by Susan Rogers and Ogi Ogas
70. Fruits Basket Another, Vol. 4 by Natsuki Takaya
69. Fruits Basket Another, Vol. 3 by Natsuki Takaya
68. Fruits Basket Another, Vol. 2 by Natsuki Takaya
67. Fruits Basket Another, Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya
66. Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price
65. Moira's Pen by Megan Whalen Turner
64. Manifesto: On Never Giving Up by Bernardine Evaristo
63. Fruits Basket Volume 23 by Natsuki Takaya
62. Fruits Basket Volume 22 by Natsuki Takaya
61. Fruits Basket Volume 21 by Natsuki Takaya
60. Fruits Basket Volume 20 by Natsuki Takaya
59. Fruits Basket Volume 19 by Natsuki Takaya
58. Index, A History of The by Dennis Duncan
57. Fruits Basket Volume 18 by Natsuki Takaya
56. Fruits Basket Volume 17 by Natsuki Takaya
55. Fruits Basket Volume 16 by Natsuki Takaya
54. Fruits Basket Volume 15 by Natsuki Takaya
53. Fruits Basket Volume 14 by Natsuki Takaya
52. Fruits Basket Volume 13 by Natsuki Takaya
51. Fruits Basket Volume 12 by Natsuki Takaya
50. Fruits Basket Volume 11 by Natsuki Takaya
49. Fruits Basket Volume 10 by Natsuki Takaya
48. Fruits Basket Volume 9 by Natsuki Takaya
47. Fruits Basket Volume 8 by Natsuki Takaya
46. Fruits Basket Volume 7 by Natsuki Takaya
45. Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr
44. Fruits Basket Volume 6 by Natsuki Takaya
43. Fruits Basket Volume 5 by Natsuki Takaya
42. Fruits Basket Volume 4 by Natsuki Takaya
41. Fruits Basket Volume 3 by Natsuki Takaya
40. Fruits Basket Volume 2 by Natsuki Takaya
39. The Real Dada Mother Goose by Jon Scieszka illustrated by Julia Rothman
38. Fruits Basket Volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya
37. Make Me Rain by Nikki Giovanni
36. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
35. My Years at The Gotham Book Mart with Frances Steloff, Proprietor by Matthew Tannenbaum

Redigerat: sep 4, 7:05 pm

34. Say I'm Dead by E. Dolores Johnson
33. Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
32. The Redoubtable Pali Avramapul by Victoria Goddard
31. The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
30. Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson
29. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
28. All Systems Red by Martha Wells
27. Unmask Alice: LSD, Satanic Panic, and the Imposter Behind the World's Most Notorious Diaries by Rick Emerson
26. Musical Tables by Billy Collins
25. Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown
24. Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
23. Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World by Barry Lopez

22. A Man's Place by Annie Ernaux
21. The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten (out Mar. 7)
20. Revenge of the Librarians by Tom Gauld
19. We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds
18. A Living Remedy by Nicole Chung (out Apr. 4)
17. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
16. The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris
15. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
14. The Return of Fitzroy Angursell by Victoria Goddard
13. Normal Family by Chrysta Bilton
12. Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper

11. So Many Beginnings by Bethany C. Morrow
10. Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
9. The God of Endings by Jacqueline Holland
8. No One Goes Alone by Erik Larson
7. Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura
6. Petty Treasons by Victoria Goddard
5. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
4. The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner
3. The Emma Project by Sonali Dev
2. The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde
1. Black Candle Women by Diane Marie Brown

1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (it was a reread and I wasn't in the mood)
2. Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien
3. Independence Day by Steve Lopez
4. Voyages from Chatham by Bob Ryder

Redigerat: sep 4, 7:06 pm

Global reads in 2023 (author's country of origin):
Unites States - most of my reading
Canada - Petty Treasons and other books by Victoria Goddard
Japan - Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura and the Fruits Basket series
UK - Revenge of the Librarians by Tom Gauld
France - A Man's Place by Annie Ernaux
Indonesia - Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Australia - The Sinister Booksellers of Bath by Garth Nix
Armenia - Three Apples Fell from the Sky by Narine Abgaryan
Nigeria - Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi

All time (since 2022):

Create Your Own Visited Countries Map

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

Redigerat: sep 4, 7:06 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.

Redigerat: sep 4, 7:09 pm

You may now post!

Now that we're halfway through the year, I'm curious what your thoughts are on your reading so far in 2023. Has it gone according to plan, or did anything surprise you? What books have stood out to you (good or bad)? Are there certain months where you read more or less than usual?

sep 4, 8:09 pm

Happy number nine, Mary.

This could be your best year for posting and reading, I believe?

sep 4, 8:26 pm

Happy new one, Mary!

sep 4, 8:32 pm

Happy new thread, Mary!

sep 4, 9:25 pm

Happy new thread Mary!

sep 5, 3:21 am

>11 bell7: Halfway through the year? This is going to be a long one ...

As for your questions, I'm surprised at how I've finally gotten back to reading a decent number of books some months this year. Although when I actually look at the stats I'll probably finish only slightly above the last couple of years, hm. Well, it feels more productive!

sep 5, 4:39 am

Happy new thread, Mary!

>11 bell7: My reaing is going as I expected, with minor ups and downs.
Two books really stood out for me, 5 star reads: Milkman by Anna Burns, and East of Eden by Steinbeck.

Redigerat: sep 5, 9:16 am

>12 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! Yeah, I'm currently on pace for both (though it's hard to compare completely since I didn't always count graphic novels and manga towards my total books read).

Thanks, Jim, Katie, and Susan!

>16 ursula: Haha, I meant slightly more than halfway, but even so was confused because I was thinking the end of July was halfway. Guess the year is flying by for me even faster than I realized! Glad your reading has been productive and consistent. I've had the opposite problem of feeling like I read less, only to count it up and realize I'd finished slightly more books than usual (my "low" month this year is 11, and I generally average 10-11 books a month).

>17 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! Hooray for having two 5-star reads this year, and here's hoping you get at least one more to finish it off :)

sep 5, 9:18 am

Wordle 808 3/6


Haven't shared my Wordle result in awhile, but this progression made me smile. ARISE, POUTY, BIRCH.

sep 5, 9:25 pm

Happy new one!

sep 6, 7:48 am

>20 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Anita!

sep 6, 8:00 am

Good morning, all, it's so nice to have LT up again (and kudos to all the staff dealing with the cyberattacks).

Life has been busy (yes, I can see your shocked faces). Monday was a holiday for me, and I spent the morning on chores and was very productive, then met up with a friend and her twins at a playground. I hadn't been able to do that in awhile and it was so good to be able to catch up with them all. I finished Network Effect too.

Yesterday I fit in a grocery shopping and post office run before work, got back at 8:30, prepped breakfast and lunch for today, tidied up a bit, read, and went to bed.

Today I work 9-5 and then have a genealogy meeting. I'm slightly annoyed I can't work on the ridiculously long to-do list that's really stuff I want to work on all month but which my brain can't quite let go of trying to cross off as fast as possible. But I'll get home tired enough tonight not to worry about it.

Tomorrow I work 9-5, and I will cook and pack for dogsitting, which will feel like a quiet night all things considered.

Reading: The Remarkable Retirement of Edna Fisher by E. M. Anderson and The Fragile Threads of Power by V. E. Schwab (I try not to read two books in the same genre, and this is bugging me)

Listening: The Overstory (reread, for book club - I'm on disc 3 of 20)

Watching: Got some US Open viewing in over the weekend, but nothing in a few days now that I can only get doubles

Crafting: Not in a bit, but I have about 24 rows left on the final sleeve and then I can start putting it all together.

sep 6, 12:24 pm

Happy new thread!

>11 bell7: So far, I'm about on track to read 175 books this year, which is slightly better than my norm of 150+. It seems like I've had a lot of really good reads this year, particularly in the first quarter -- too many to list! I suspect I will have trouble narrowing it down to a top 10 at the end of the year.

sep 6, 12:58 pm

Happy new thread, Mary!

>11 bell7: My reading has gone very much according to plan, which is almost surprising? I think I hit on a good number of "definite TBRs" for this year (40 vs. ~60 last year) -- I think it's a number where I'm still motivated to work at the list all year, but I also have enough leeway that I can read other stuff if I feel like it without feeling like I won't accomplish my goals for the year.

sep 6, 1:13 pm

New 🧵 orisons, Mary! *smooch*

sep 6, 6:52 pm

Happy new thread, Mary!

My reading numbers are solid and I've been thoroughly enjoying reading only books that bring me joy.

sep 7, 4:51 pm

Happy new thread, Mary!

I've been reading steadily this year, though not exactly what I thought I would be reading, since I got reconnected to LT this year. I wound up reading books that fit the challenges that I found here on LT, and not so much the more current event books I was originally planning on clearing out. I'm also not going to reach 75 books, unless I suddenly stop reading all the nonfiction and pick up a bunch of shorter fiction titles. However, I still feel like I have gotten a lot of productive reading done, and have made a bit of a dent in the TBR pile, so I'm happy with it overall.

sep 7, 8:26 pm

>23 foggidawn: I can relate to the problem of trying to narrow down a top 10! Sounds like a good reading year in both numbers and quality, foggi.

>24 curioussquared: I am impressed with your ability to keep to a list for even part of your reading, Natalie, and kudos for sticking with it.

>25 richardderus: Thanks, Richard!

>26 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I like your reading philosophy and I'm glad that it's been so enjoyable.

>27 atozgrl: Thanks, Irene! Eh, 75 is just a number, as you know we don't worry too much about sticking to it here. The important thing is that you're enjoying your reading, and it certainly sounds like a successful year on that front.

sep 7, 8:32 pm

Well, I was going to work 9-5 but I have a cold and felt miserable, and after leaving my boss a list of volunteers to expect, I went home and took a nap. I still feel pretty miserable, so I called out tomorrow too. Needless to say, I did not work on my home to-do list nor did I cook (also, turns out today was the really hot day in our heat wave, so I wouldn't have anyways). I am dogsitting this weekend, but it's a low key dog, and they're not leaving 'til tomorrow afternoon, so I should have some time tomorrow to sort of leisurely do enough cooking to have food for the weekend and pack. I plan on resting up as much as possible to be well for the Giants game on Sunday.

I finished Network Effect on Monday and finished The Remarkable Retirement of Edna Fisher today. I'm making slow progress on my reread-on-audio of The Overstory for book club, and if anything I'm enjoying it less than the first time through. I am, however, enjoying The Fragile Threads of Power. No watching or crafting to report over the last few days.

sep 7, 8:35 pm

127. Network Effect by Martha Wells
Why now? I've had a slow reread of the series this year, partly in preparation for the new novella coming out in November

My review from 2020: Murderbot is back, and it is now officially a free entity, living on Preservation with Dr. Mensah and her family. It's on a mission with co-workers including Mensah's daughter Amena, when all hell breaks loose, because of course, and a ship captures them and brings them on board.

The first four Murderbot stories were novellas, and in case you're wondering, a full novel is just as good. I loved getting more time with Murderbot, seeing old characters return, and trying to figure out what they were up against in this new adventure. Full of surprises and a sarcastic but heart-of-gold narrator that can't quite figure out humans, what's not to love?

sep 7, 9:11 pm

128. The Remarkable Retirement of Edna Fisher by E. M. Anderson
Why now? I first heard about this on Twitter, as someone I follow was reading it and commenting along the way - put it on hold based on their enjoyment

Edna Fisher lives in a nursing home and though she may get a little annoyed with the activities director, she is otherwise minding her own business when she's informed she's the Chosen One. She must first prove herself by getting a sword, then going out to defeat Redway, the man who has been terrorizing Knights with dragons. Along the way, she collects a family including Benjamin, who works at the nursing home, and Clem, a 16-year-old that would've been the second choice (and more traditional) Chosen One.

A very enjoyable debut fantasy that starts with poking fun at the Chosen One trope, but along the way includes a variety of queer characters, including ace, and a refreshingly matter-of-factness about Edna's age and pain. The writing isn't perfect, it's choppy and rough in places, but the characters and their dynamics are fun to read about, and the revelations about this alternative, magic U.S. and exactly what's between the Knights and Redway are well done. 4 stars.

sep 7, 9:55 pm

>31 bell7: Oh, you got me with that one.

sep 8, 8:27 am

>32 foggidawn: I hope you like it when you get to it!

sep 8, 8:39 am

129. Something's wrong with us, volume 4 by Natsumi Ando

I got the next two volumes from the library, but this one was kinda disappointing. The only "revelation" was something I'd already figured out and it didn't advance the story much. We'll see how the next volume goes, and I'll decide if I'm going to keep going. 3 stars.

Redigerat: sep 8, 8:55 am

130. The Fragile Threads of Power by V. E. Schwab
Why now? She's one of my go-to authors, and I was very excited to get an ARC through NetGalley - wanted to read it before the release date (though I'm hopelessly behind on all my ARCs...)

*Free e-book ARC made available by the publisher through NetGalley - thank you!*

It's been seven years since Rhy, Kell, and Lila saved their world. Since then, the worlds have been closed off from each other. There's a new queen, Kosika, of White London. And in Red London, a group called the Hand is scheming to kill King Rhy while his lover, Alucard Emery, attempts to find the conspirators.

Though set in the same world as A Darker Shade of Magic, this also begins a new series and introduces us to a new character, Tes, who has the ability to see magic as threads and manipulate them, repairing spell work at its very source. I really loved returning to Red London and these characters, and though it had been several years since I read the original trilogy, I was able to jump right in and become invested once again. 4.5 stars.

By the way, if I weren't counting manga, this would be book 98 of the year.

sep 8, 9:03 am

Hope you're feeling better stat!

sep 8, 9:40 am

>31 bell7: This is completely not the story I was expecting to go with that title. Good fake-out, publisher. It sounds like something I'd enjoy but won't be buying. Library ho!

Weekend-ahead *smoochings*

sep 8, 4:37 pm

>36 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! I have napped today and yesterday and am feeling a lot better, so *fingers crossed* that trend continues.

>37 richardderus: I hope you'll share your thoughts when you've finished it, Richard! *smooch*

sep 8, 4:43 pm

131. Something's wrong with us, volume 5 by Natsumi Ando

Meh. Most of the story was a side character's back story and I didn't really care. I'm very amused to see that my reactions have been nearly opposite the person who reviewed the first five volumes on the work page. At this point, I have to do a request for the volumes outside of my library system (but still in state delivery), and it's a little too much trouble in comparison to my middling enjoyment of the series, so I won't be continuing.

sep 8, 4:48 pm

It's been a very relaxing day. I was glad when I woke up this morning that I'd called out of work and didn't have to even think about whether or not I'd try to go in. I read, drank a bunch of tea, had some Ramen noodles, and took a nap. I woke up feeling pretty good - now it's just a mild chest cold - but I still want to be careful not to overdo it and feel worse later.

I'm packed for dogsitting and just trying to figure out a few things to wrap up here before I head over.

Reading: The Splinter in the Sky by Kemi Ashing-Giwa and How to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz

Listening: The Overstory by Richard Powers

Watching: US Open semis (I watched the end of Gauff's match but went to bed before Keys' started), including the men's semis today

Crafting: nothing in a bit

sep 9, 9:16 am

Good morning, all! I didn't exactly sleep in, but I took my time getting ready for the day, watching the end of the Alcaraz/Medvedev semi from last night. What a match! Though I have to say, I'm not super invested in Sunday's final.

Today I'm feeling pretty good, though I have a lingering cough and I want to be careful not to overdo it. I have to stop at home to water my plants and get some food. The errands today are filling up my oil for the trip tomorrow, and I want to go into a local genealogy room to do some research. I started going through city directories in perfect timing for the presentation on Wednesday, in which the presenter talked about what info could be mined there, and also gave us a spreadsheet to use to organize all the information. Now I have done that with the research I did last month, and see some gaps I want to go back and fill in, as well as other family lines to follow. When I'm done, I may want to map it all out, too, to visualize where people lived in various years. And of course I have land records to follow up on...

Anyway, that'll keep me occupied for much of the day and doesn't take a ton of (physical) energy, either. US Open women's final to watch tonight, and taking it easy with the dog.

Reading/Listening/Watching/Crafting all the same as yesterday.

sep 9, 9:51 am

>30 bell7: You'll be pleased to know the new Murderbot is a full length novel. On the shorter side at 256 pages but still... more Murderbot!

>35 bell7: Ooh! I'm glad this was a good read for you. I'm really looking forward to it.

I hope you continue to feel better, Mary!

Redigerat: sep 9, 6:31 pm

>42 MickyFine: ooh, somehow I missed that it was full length, that is exciting. I pre-ordered it 😁

I look forward to your thoughts on The Fragile Threads of Power.

Edited to get touchstone to work

sep 10, 7:13 am

Happy Sunday! I'm feeling pretty good, though still with that cough, ugh. But I will ply myself with cough drops and try not to yell TOO loud in cheering for football and thoroughly lose my voice today.

Yesterday was a fun and really productive day. I went through more city directories and mostly took pictures, so I'm sure there are going to be nitty gritty details that I won't really completely get until I type it all up in a spreadsheet. However, in brief

-I determined that my ancestor did live on the street I thought for a year or two - but the house number wasn't listed in the directory at the time, so I need to do more research with some maps and land records

-I found what railroad company he worked for, at least for a few years

-I also found out he moved to Boston for a few years between the censuses! That was new...

-I have a death year for an ancestor that I didn't have before (possibly a full date, but the name didn't quite match and I need to see if I can confirm it with a death record)

-I discovered that one of my ancestors worked for the WPA for a few years in the 30s and 40s, and she also worked as a machine operator during World War 2

Believe it or not, I still haven't gone through all of the directory years and all of the names that I may have ancestors listed.

Then I went to a local event for a place that was doing a talk on people who had worked there and finding out more information. I was having too much fun with the city directories and I showed up late for the talk, but I had a record from NARA in St. Louis that the archivist was very excited to see (she said she's told people how to get it but she's never actually met someone who did!), and gave me her card to email her and see if we can find out more about my ancestors who worked there during World War 1 and 2. I also met a very nice ranger who gave me photocopies of what the place may have looked like when my ancestors worked there and possibly outgeeks me about history - he said 50 years ago on his wedding day on their way to their honeymoon on Cape Cod, he took a side trip to see Battleship Massachusetts. (This was after he gave me a hard time for going to NARA in Washington DC when I visit my sisters.) I'm definitely going back when I have more time to look around and ask questions and possibly dig into the archives if I'm allowed :)

I got back to the dogsitting house in time for the women's final, and watched that while I cooked dinner and a little extra to have some food for the next few days.

Today since I'm finishing dogsitting, I have a few errands to run to bring stuff home and pick up a hat. I'll go to church (probably shortened, as I need to be at my parents for 11:30), then Dad and I are driving down to New Jersey for a Giants game, where I'll meet up with Katie and enjoy the season opener, Giants vs. Cowboys.

sep 10, 8:47 am

Sounds like a full but fun Saturday.

Have a grand time at the game today!

sep 10, 9:38 am

Have a great time cheering y'all's team, Mary! *smooch*

sep 11, 3:41 am

I am now an adherent of the SF49ers given that the franchise effectively bought Leeds United, my football club.

>44 bell7: A 40-0 loss is not the most auspicious beginning to the year is it?!

The 49ers beat the Steelers handily though 30-7

sep 11, 2:49 pm

>45 MickyFine: Thanks for the good wishes, Micky!

>46 richardderus: The cheering did not last long, unfortunately, but we did get to cheer for US Open champ Coco Gauff, who was in the stadium.

>47 PaulCranswick: We heard some of the 49er game driving in to New Jersey, Paul, and the Steelers sounded like they had some trouble getting themselves in gear. And indeed, so did the Giants. That's the worst loss I've EVER seen in person.

Redigerat: sep 11, 3:16 pm

Happy Monday! I am back home, though still very tired from yesterday's outing. I did get to meet up with Katie, which was fun, though as she mentioned on her thread, we did not get a chance to talk much as it was super loud in the stadium. The Giants looked absolutely terrible and simply could not get anything together. Dropped passes, interceptions, a blocked field goal for a Cowboys touchdown, and later even a missed field goal that shoulda been a gimme for one of the best kickers in the game. An absolute debacle from beginning to end. 40-0. And yeah, I actually stayed to the end. We got back to the hotel around midnight maybe, and I didn't sleep the greatest at first but managed to sleep in until 9.

Since Katie shared the photo of us with our true feelings about the game, here is our happy one (Katie on the left, I am on the right):

My other goal of the day was to take a side trip to Madison, NJ and see if I couldn't find my ancestor's gravestone. In that, I was successful, which *almost* made up for the terrible football.

It's hard to read but it's
Geo H Talmadge
40 NY Inf
1834 - 1912

His son, Herbert (my 2nd-great-uncle who died at the age of 18), is buried next to him. I didn't find a stone for George's wife, Maria, but she died a bit later, in 1935. I had tried to email the cemetery office prior to going but never heard back. Maybe someday I can figure out where she was buried and go back if there's a marker.

sep 11, 3:59 pm

132. How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz
Why now? So I got competitive with myself over the Kindle challenges*, and when one popped up to read a book for Hispanic Heritage Month, I thought this would be a good one to fulfill that challenge (got it from the library, though, the Kindle still counts those!)

Cara Romero signs up for a 12-week program to help her get back to work, as she knows that doing so will extend her unemployment benefits during the 2008-9 recession. As she tells the person who is assigned to her, she does indeed want to work, and she's used to hard, thankless work, as she takes care of neighbors, her sister's children, and tries to keep up with the rent in her apartment where she lives alone now that her son, Fernando, left.

In less than 200 pages, Cruz crafts a beautiful story of a Dominican immigrant woman who is imperfect but whom readers will cheer for as she confesses so much about her life to the person (named only briefly at the end) who hears her story and attempts to find jobs that will work for Cara. Interspersed between the sessions are job applications, notices about the rent Cara owes, and more. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys character stories. 4.5 stars.

Though the story itself was completely different, it reminded me a bit of Another Brooklyn in its very spare writing but complete story of a person and place (in this case, Washington Heights).

*I have now completed 12 out of 15 - I should get Gold Reader after a couple more days of reading, one more mystery reveals on 9/20, and I will only manage to get "Trendsetter" if one of my holds comes in faster than it's currently predicted to, so I'll either tie my best of 13 out of 15 or beat it by one, depending on that mystery reveal. Oh, and I'm now on a streak of reading 119 days...

sep 11, 4:17 pm

133. Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi
Why now? After finishing How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water, I needed an audiobook to fall asleep to, and this was available as an e-book and audio from the library collection; added it to my TBR list early last year based on book emails thru work

Octavia Estelle Butler dreamed of the stars, and Ibi Zoboi uses prose and poetry to give us what she terms a "biographical constellation" of a Black woman writing science fiction when it was very much still a white boy's club.

Though written for children, the biography offers much for adults familiar with Butler's work may appreciate, from the titles of the sections ("Parable of the Sower," "Parable of the Talents") to lines in the poems referencing Butler's work. Zoboi does a nice job of introducing the time frame in which Butler grew up as well as giving biographical details. The poetry was less successful for me, but I just let the words wash over me and went with it. I get from the author's note that she was doing something very intentional with that aspect of the biographical "constellation," and I admit as a very picky poetry reader, it was generally lost on me, though others may appreciate her craft. The final section was interesting, in which Zoboi talks about meeting Butler herself and what affect she had on Zoboi's own writing. Mostly, though, I was left wanting to read a full-length adult biography to answer all the questions I still have. 4 stars.

sep 11, 5:03 pm

This is going back aways, but I owe a report on a couple of albums:

"Largo" (Brad Mehldau)
An interesting instrumental collection, some with instruments I wouldn't necessarily have thought to put together. Some of the songs, like "Sabbath" were intriguing to listen to as part of the album, but not necessarily ones that I wanted to listen to over and over again on my own playlist. Both "Dusty McNugget" and "Dear Prudence" made the playlist cut. I liked the end of "Wave/Mother Nature's Son" but the beginning was a little too much for me.

"A Beginner's Mind" (Sufjan Stevens)
When I saw the cover for this one, I thought mmmm, this isn't going to be my thing, but I still listened to it several times through in the car. Again, lots of intriguing songs if not a lot I would choose to listen to on my own. Some of the harmonies are Simon & Garfunkel-esque. But it turns out, I really don't love a really high male falsetto so not a lot made the playlist. "Reach Out", "Olympus" and "(This is) The Thing" were my favorites.

I temporarily put music on pause while I listened to The Overstory in the car, but my commute isn't quite long enough for me to finish it on time, so I'm going to have to supplement with listening at home if I'm going to finish the reread in time for book club on September 20 (there are 20 CDs, and I am on Disc 8). At least this means I'll make progress on my sweater?

sep 11, 7:35 pm

>49 bell7: Too bad the Giants did not perform well. Yay for having time for a meet up!

Happy week ahead reads!

sep 11, 11:21 pm

>52 bell7: I was going to suggest speeding up The Overstory but I guess you can't do that with CDs huh

sep 12, 9:31 am

Happy *new-ish* thread, Mary!

>49 bell7: Sorry my husband's Cowboys ruined the game for you and Katie. I still love seeing the meet up pictures though!

>50 bell7: I read Cruz's Dominicana and enjoyed it, so I will give that one a shot too. Thanks for the review and recommendation, Mary.

>51 bell7: Sounds interesting. I will give it a shot. Into the BlackHole it goes!

Have a terrific Tuesday, Mary!

sep 12, 9:58 am

>53 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Anita! Hope you have a great week's reads as well :)

>54 norabelle414: No unfortunately not - my version of speeding up will be reading instead of listening, as I've listened to enough that I could get away with 30 pages or so a day, which isn't terrible. (This is a reread, and if anything I'm liking the book even less than the first time around so I'm in a mood haha.)

>55 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia! We did enjoy meeting up, if not the game itself. Glad to hear you liked Dominicana, I've added it to my list since I enjoyed How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water. I finished Love in a Mist this morning and will have to write up a review soon. Looking forward to your thoughts on it :D

sep 12, 11:21 am

Happy Tuesday!

After getting home mid-afternoon yesterday, I spent much of the time listening to The Overstory and knitting my sweater. I have finished the second arm, and the next step is to block and start sewing everything together. I am not quite halfway through The Overstory, but I'm far enough that if I switched to reading, I could read only 30 pages a day and still be finished in time for book club. I am... not enjoying the reread. I half suspect that my book club will love it, however, so as the facilitator I will probably temper my comments and mostly ask questions (being the facilitator AND the one person who hated the book tends to put a damper on things, so I try not to do that, even though most of the time I'm pretty forthright with my opinions).

After I decided I'd listened enough (and finished the arm, happily coinciding), I turned on the Manning Cast of Monday Night Football. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Peyton & Eli are very entertaining, they had John McEnroe on as their first guest, and then Aaron Rodgers got hurt and instead the game becoming a blow out, the Bills couldn't get any traction and it ended up being a very exciting game that went into overtime. So of course I had to watch 'til the end... Completely bizarre game with a fitting ending, as the Jets returned a punt for a touchdown to win after all. I expect I'll watch more Manning MNF games now, too - this was the first I'd watched in its entirety.

Well, then I got caught up with Stasia in Love in a Mist, reading 'til the 11th chapter before going to bed last night And this morning I got up and read the rest of it instead of listening to another CD of The Overstory (#sorrynotsorry). I had a Zoom meeting with some librarian friends to talk about what we've been reading and watching lately, and now it's time for me to get ready for work and be productive, I guess.

Reading: The Splinter in the Sky by Kemi Ashing Giwa

Listening: The Overstory by Richard Powers

Watching: Football

Crafting: finished the knitted part of the sweater and will start sewing it up soon

sep 12, 11:29 am

The beginning of The Overstory is good! The rest of also there.

sep 12, 6:29 pm

>58 norabelle414: Yeah, that was basically my first impression.

On my second time around I'm all... wait, is that a stereotypical portrayal of an Indian American family? Someone in a wheelchair wouldn't necessarily be a stick thin and ridiculously unhealthy like you describe. What exactly kind of women do you write, sir? (Mostly in response to Olivia, but the others are... pretty flat as well) Speaking of, why are all the characters horny? My hypercritical brain is on, not helped by listening to it instead of reading it, so while there are a lot of pretty sentences, they're not carrying the story for me anymore like they did for me (for the first half) the first time around.

sep 13, 7:45 am

134. Love-in-a-mist by Victoria Goddard
Why now? Continuing my read through Goddard's works with Stasia

Jemis and his friends attempt to return home after their trip to Orio City, only to be stopped by a snowstorm forcing them to find hospitality at a country manor. The manor just happens to be owned by an eccentric old man who isn't well and has asked his potential heirs to join him for Winterturn. And then one of the guests is murdered.

The fifth book in the series picks up right where the last one left off. Jemis doesn't catch a break from finding adventure, and this one was probably my favorite of the series so far. Questions from previous books begin to be answered, and the locked room mystery at a manor house is well done. I'm very excited to see where the next book in the series takes us. 4.5 stars.

sep 13, 8:05 am

I woke up this morning after a really vivid dream, and now I'm all discombobulated. It's Wednesday... I'm working 9-5. No exact plans for the evening, but there's plenty of things that need doing around here, from grocery shopping to yard work (once the weather cooperates). I will likely just cook dinner and listen to my book club book and call it a night.

And I can't remember, have I mentioned that I steward a Little Free Library now? It's all set up on one of the cinder blocks by the road and sidewalk to my front door, with a charter sign and everything. Though it's not stuffed by any means (and some of the books I put in to get it started are still there), it's getting some use and I've noticed both books getting dropped off and some being selected. So exciting! I picked up a couple of books at the ongoing library book sale my library has to add to it today, as well as a copy of Disability Visibility for myself.

Reading: The Splinter in the Sky and just started the e-book of Solito last night

Listening: The Overstory (a CD a day, plus an extra over the weekend should have me finishing it in time for book club)

Watching: nothing yesterday

Crafting: knitting a simple hat while listening to The Overstory

sep 13, 9:51 am

>61 bell7: Unpopularly at the time, I really disliked The you see why. YAY for doing a Little Free Library! They really make a difference.

It was weird-drem night last night. I woke up really early to chat with Rob and thus started out my day utterly unlike the majority of them, so it feels weird.

sep 13, 12:21 pm

>61 bell7: I'm glad you are doing a little free library -- how fun! My parents sent me a picture of one they came across in North Carolina, and it made me happy to see it. I contribute to a free book table at a local diner when I have books to pass along.

sep 13, 12:32 pm

Love that you steward a little free library! I'd love to have one outside my home someday but our current house is behind another house (sharing a driveway) so we don't actually have any real estate on the road itself. Boo.

I bought a copy of The Overstory a while ago... you are not making me excited to read it :)

sep 13, 3:43 pm

>60 bell7: I am very ready for the next one! I cannot see how everything resolves (I hope?)

sep 13, 7:04 pm

>62 richardderus: Yeah, I remember talking with you about it on my first read-through. And thanks, I'm enjoying doing the Little Free Library. There are a couple kinda close to here, one within walking distance and one a little further on. Glad I'm not the only one easily thrown off by a change in morning routine, and hope you had a lovely chat with Rob.

>63 foggidawn: The free book table sounds like a lot of fun, too! One of my friends has a shelf at her business in the next town over, and I've contributed to that on occasion too.

>64 curioussquared: Oh, too bad about the shared driveway and no road real estate. I was very excited to be gifted the actual box part of the library when someone moved out of a house that they were renting from friends of mine. Sorry re: The Overstory...

>65 alcottacre: I am too! Let me know if you want to move it up instead of waiting 'til next month. I'm never going to get a TIOLI sweep so I'm flexible haha.

sep 13, 8:01 pm

>66 bell7: Honestly, October would be better for me since I am pretty well booked this month and next month I will be out of town for 2 weeks (including the Joplin meet up) and now even trying to attempt a TIOLI sweep.

sep 13, 8:43 pm

>67 alcottacre: it's probably just as well for my library stack 😄 Looking forward to another joint read in October.

sep 14, 2:55 am

>52 bell7: But it turns out, I really don't love a really high male falsetto

Haha I love high male voices. Through listening to lots of music in the last few years, this is something I've identified about what I like.

sep 14, 9:50 am

>69 ursula: I think it's a general preference for a chest voice rather than a head voice, because I don't love the highest of female voices, either. But I do like some, like the harmony on "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" and Jordan Smith (The Voice winner from a few years back), both of which are high male voices. Maybe it's 'cause I'm an alto who can't harmonize - I like to sing along!

sep 15, 8:25 am

TGIF! I'm working 9-5 today, and not planning on much of anything for the evening since we're supposed to get rain and wind from Hurricane Lee coming up the coast. The weekend will be another busy one.

Reading: The Splinter in the Sky by Kemi Ashing-Giwa and Solito by Javier Zamora

Listening: The Overstory by Richard Powers

Watching: nothing over the last few days

Crafting: just about finished the hat I was working on (I need to weave in the ends), and starting on a pink scarf for a collection my library's doing

sep 15, 1:28 pm

I'm playing catch-up on threads today. Just dropping in to say hi.

sep 15, 2:40 pm

*smooch* for the busy weekend ahead

sep 16, 8:06 am

>72 thornton37814: Nice to see you, Lori!

>73 richardderus: *smooch* back, Richard :)

sep 16, 8:31 am

Happy Saturday, everyone! The forecast changed (or perhaps I misunderstood it), and we didn't get rain/wind last night after all. I was super tired, though, and after having a snack-y dinner and listening to the required amount of The Overstory, I went to bed early.

As a result, I woke up kinda early and spent some time reading Solito before I got up for the day. I have a few errands I need to run to get everything together for a busy weekend. In the late morning, I'll be picking up my Little and we're going to the library. After I bring her home, I'm headed to my brother and SIL's for... oh gosh, let me back up. My sister-in-law is pregnant, and I will have a new nibling come March! We are all very excited - they have been trying since they got married three years ago, and it has been a long journey for them. This afternoon, they're planning a family party for a gender reveal. After that, I'm headed to the birthday party of a friend's kiddo, which could be over in the late afternoon or could keep going late into the night, there's no knowing. And then I will go home.

Tomorrow, there's church, potluck with friends, and football with family.

Reading: The Splinter in the Sky by Kemi Ashing-Giwa and Solito by Javier Zamora

Listening: The Overstory by Richard Powers

Watching: nada

Crafting: a pink scarf for a collection my library is doing

sep 16, 6:31 pm

>75 bell7: Congratulations to your brother and SIL on the baby. A new nibling is very exciting. I hope the party is a grand time for everyone.

sep 18, 7:51 am

>76 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! We had a great time

sep 18, 8:18 am

Happy Monday, all! As expected, it was a busy weekend, but a good one. My Little and I had fun, and the party at my brother's was good. It was actually a bigger deal than I expected (I think they did it primarily to celebrate their pregnancy with friends and family, it's been a long road for them getting here). And it's a girl! Very excited for a new nibling, and one that will (most likely) share my birth month. The birthday party after was also fun, but I was very tired at 7:30 or so and went home.

Yesterday was church - I've decided where I'm going, officially (and quicker than expected). It's the same as where one of my friends recently ended up, but it also met the most important criteria I'd laid out, and the times I've visited, it just felt homey to me. I visited a different one last week that was very much not - nothing wrong with it, just not my style, small with few people younger than me only a handful of kids (and I like helping out in nursery and such). I went over the list I'd made of places to look into Saturday morning, reviewed websites, eliminated most of the others and thought... why delay the inevitable, since I already know the first place I visited is a very good fit?

Anyway... that decision is behind me, and now I have to do the hard work of becoming a part of new community (where, fortunately, I know several people already who are also working on getting connected).

After that was potluck at my friends. They have a pretty open-ended invite, and today there were more than I recall having in the past. I left around 3:30 to go to my brother's and watch the Giants game.

The Giants game... my word, y'all, the yo-yo of that game was incredible. They were down 21-0 and then 28-7 and came back to win it 31-28. Saquon Barkley is probably pretty badly injured, which was a huge downside, but my brother and I (my parents left during the 3rd quarter and somehow followed the end from home) were on cloud nine at the end.

Whew! So much for the weekend.

I work 9-3:15 or so today, adding on a bit of time that I owe from a couple of weeks ago when I was running late from walking dogs. After that, I want to do a little shopping at Home Depot. I need some wood to replace a rotted step on my back stairs and materials to stain the stairs, which I haven't done since moving in and it's past due. I can't do the actual work today because it's raining, but I am going to try to do the staining this week before more rain is in the forecast. And also mow in there somewhere, because the lawn is getting long again. *sigh*

Believe it or not, I am getting some reading in. I finished The Splinter in the Sky on Saturday night, and should finish The Overstory today or tomorrow at the very latest.

Reading: Solito by Javier Zamora (about halfway through)

Listening: The Overstory (a little over 1 CD left)

Watching: football (and probably some Monday night football again tonight)

Crafting: pink scarf (I am hoping to block the pieces of the sweater today, too)

sep 18, 8:50 am

Busy weekend as always, Mary. I'm sure mowing is totally worth the time, not like it'll just grow back or anything...why not look into rewilding your lawns to give pollinators a break?

The rain here's been pretty steady, and since it's much to be desired, I'm not going to complain too much about how the changes in pressure make various bits hurt. *grumble*

New-Sunday *smooch*

sep 18, 9:41 am

Good luck on your Home Depot quest after work!

sep 18, 12:52 pm

Yay for finding a church you're excited about!

sep 18, 1:06 pm

>79 richardderus: I would love to do some sort of rewilding, the truth is though... it ALL costs time or money. It is on my "maybe someday" list. One thing I am doing this year is refusing any fall cleanup and just mowing over the leaves to mulch the yard. *smooch* back and may the rain be helpful and short. I get enough of a SADD effect with the dark that I'm pretty low-energy on rainy days.

>80 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! *fingers crossed*

>81 curioussquared: Thanks, Natalie!

sep 18, 1:28 pm

135. The Splinter in the Sky by Kemi Ashing-Giwa
Why now? I picked it up off our library new shelf, intrigued by a debut space opera the publisher recommends to fans of Nnedi Okorafor and N.K. Jemisin

When her sibling is taken away, Enitan volunteers herself as a hostage to the Vaalbaran empire, where she hopes to discover what happened to to Xiang. While traveling to the capital, the Splinter, she is asked to spy for the Ominirish Republic, an entity who just had a treaty but expects more war from Vaalbaran, who already took over Enitan's homeland of Koriko.

If you enjoy speculative political intrigue, this is a good one to add to the list. The author has a lot to say about empire and colonialism, museums and stealing from other cultures. And sometimes, when it's set in a world that's not our own, outside of our own experiences, people will listen and ponder when they otherwise may not. That being said, it is a debut, and it's not a perfect read, either. Those themes are pretty transparent to the point of being on the nose and repetitive. And occasionally I'd be reading along and tripped up by a plot point or location. It was occasionally my fault in mixing up a character's name (there are a lot, and the Dramatis Personae at the beginning doesn't actually list them all), but I think sometimes it was just an awkward transition that I expect will get cleaned up as the author writes more. If she does, I will be very interested in seeing where she goes from here. 4 stars.

sep 18, 6:40 pm

136. The Overstory by Richard Powers
Why now? This month's book club choice

Here's what I wrote in 2020 the first time I read the book:

To be human is to confuse a satisfying story with a meaningful one, and to mistake life for something huge with two legs. No: life is mobilized on a vastly larger scale, and the world is failing precisely because no novel can make the contest for the world seem as compelling as the struggles between a few lost people.

This is a story about trees. There's really no other way to describe it. Yes, there are "lost people" we meet along the way, but the real story is the way in which humans have become divided from the natural world, and whether or not they can - or care enough to - reverse the damage. Covering generations (only a brief moment to a tree), this sweeping story begins with a chestnut in the Midwest, tells the story of clearcutting the redwood forests and the environmentalists who opposed it in the 90s, right up to the present day. The characters, only some of whom ever meet in person, nonetheless connect to each other much like an old forest with intersecting roots.

Reading the book was a unique experience. I enjoyed reading the first half of the book immensely, enjoying the beautiful sentences and descriptions, and the slow unfolding of each character's story. But it is long and meandering, and my interest flagged at times. There was a streak of reading towards the end that was immensely difficult, because you wonder if anything the characters have done meant anything, have accomplished anything. The story was successful in giving me a lot of information about trees, much of which I did not know, and making me think about why I prefer to take walks outside. It made me want to read up on trees and learn more about them. It left me continuing to ponder the story long after I'd turned the last page, and paying attention to my outdoor surroundings more. At the same time, the actual experience of reading it was excruciating at times. Would I recommend it? Only to certain readers willing to wrestle an ambitiously thought-provoking, ponderous tome.

I generally stand by that, but I'll say that I enjoyed it even less on a reread. I listened to it, and the fact that it barely holds together but for beautiful sentences is... even more apparent on audio. Suzanne Toren does a good job with a variety of characters, both male and female, but I really disliked how exaggerated Patricia Westerford's speech impediment is. I have a cousin who has a bit of one from being hard of hearing when she was a young child learning to speak, so I'm perhaps a bit extra sensitive to that, but either the way it's written or Toren approached it was a much stronger, sounding more like an oral deaf person's speech. There were other issues, too, but that one stands out to me. Generally a pretty boring reread I'm glad to be done with. I expect the book discussion will be better.

sep 18, 9:40 pm

>78 bell7: I'm so glad to hear that you found a new church home so quickly! It will help to have some people there that you already know. I'm sure you will make new friends and fit in soon! Best of luck with the change!

Redigerat: sep 19, 3:34 pm

>85 atozgrl: thanks, Irene! It's nice to have made the decision, and being able to connect along with my friend will help for sure.

sep 19, 3:39 pm

Happy Tuesday a bit late! I got what I needed from Home Depot yesterday but did not work outside today. I had a few other "catch up" items to knock off my to-do list instead, including calling a couple of places and making an appointment for my boiler's fall tune up. Working 12-8 today, and hopefully working on a new step tomorrow morning before working 12-8 again for book discussion.

Reading: Solito by Javier Zamora and The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Listening: Started "Sand and Water" by Beth Neilsen Chapman

Watching: Meh, put on a little Monday Night Football last night but wasn't really paying attention

Crafting: Blocked the sweater this morning, progress on the pink scarf last night

sep 20, 9:49 am

>83 bell7: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Mary!

>84 bell7: I loved The Overstory on my initial read of it, but like you I am not sure that I would enjoy it as much on a re-read.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, Mary!

sep 20, 10:17 am

>88 alcottacre: I hope you enjoy it when you get to is, Stasia! And yeah, I think The Overstory is the kind of book that falls apart on a reread. I rated it 3.5 on a first read, I'd probably go down to 2 stars on the reread.

sep 20, 10:23 am

Happy hump day! This morning I'm catching up on a few things at home, finishing the laundry and making taco soup.

I'm working 12-8 today, will be making sure there's enough for volunteers to do, and in the evening we're discussing The Overstory. I daresay the discussion will go better than my reread was. It's also time for us to start planning next year's reads, so I'm asking folks for their suggestions for next year to be turned in by the end of the month. I'll put together the master list (including my own suggestions) to hand out at our October discussion and start getting votes in.

Reading: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn and Happy Place by Emily Henry. I finished Solito this morning and will probably pick up I Want to Die, but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki soon too.

Listening: "Sand and Water" by Beth Neilsen Chapman

Watching: nothing

Crafting: Continuing knitting the pink scarf

sep 20, 10:56 am

137. Solito by Javier Zamora
Why now? We had a second copy at the library that we deleted when it wasn't so new, and seeing it on the new shelf had me intrigued initially, so I purchased it. Did I read my own book? No. I downloaded the e-book from the library because it fit a Kindle challenge for this quarter, and I was curious to see if it would give me credit for reading two (it did not).

Javier Zamora lived his first nine years in El Salvador with his grandparents after his parents fled to the U.S. as a result of the Salvadorian civil war. He doesn't even remember his father, who left when he was one, and then four years later, his mother followed. They've told him for years that he will come to them, and after trying to legally immigrate and then bend the truth, eventually he is sent, alone, with a group of migrants and a coyote who promises to get them to the United States.

This is simply an incredible, moving, riveting and intense story. Javier's memories of what happened during the journey in 1999 had me on the edge of my seat from the moment his grandfather left and he was on his own, with each change in plans to the challenges of the journey, the fear and terror but also the kindness of strangers he met along the way. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.

sep 20, 11:29 am

>91 bell7: Oof, that's a book bullet!

sep 20, 1:46 pm

Wow, you sound like you are going to keep the day packed! I generally try to quit running around after dinner. Do you get to relax today?

sep 20, 8:27 pm

>92 curioussquared: Oh good, I hope you get a lot out of it, Natalie!

>93 The_Hibernator: Believe it or not, Rachel, that *was* the relaxed Wednesday plan. The original, more ambitious one was to repair the bottom stair of the stairs from my walkout basement, but I decided not to. "Finishing the laundry" was just taking a load out of the dryer and putting the final one in, and taco soup is one of the less demanding recipes I make but was necessary to have dinner at work tonight haha. I'll probably fold the laundry before I go to bed, but yeah, now that I'm home from work I'll relax and read too.

sep 21, 12:17 pm

Afternoon, everyone! Today is extra-busy even by my standards: I'm working 'til 5, going to my parents for dinner, going to Bible study and then going to my brother's to watch the rest of the Giants game. Now that my Thursday night Bible study is officially starting, I'll be going over to my parents' house for dinner because it's close to where I need to be, rather than driving all the way home and back out again, so that part is actually to make it *less* running around.

Tomorrow will be quieter. I should have someone coming to do some electrical work finishing up the project with the 220 line from earlier this year (the GFCI breaker was on back order), then I'm going to work and dogsitting. I'll have to do a quick grocery shopping/pick up something for dinner, but it will be a quiet night in with the dog and a good book.

Reading/Listening/Crafting: all the same as >90 bell7:

Watching: Giants tonight on Thursday Night Football

sep 21, 2:59 pm

>91 bell7: Adding that one to the BlackHole! Thanks for the recommendation, Mary.

sep 21, 3:50 pm

Hiya Mary!

sep 22, 3:17 pm

>96 alcottacre: Oh good, I hope it's a good one for you, Stasia!

>97 richardderus: *smooch*

sep 22, 3:24 pm

Less said about the game last night the better (they were 10 point underdogs and looked the part).

I may have gone to bed close to midnight, but I got a little Kindle reading so my streak remains unbroken. I got up not early, but in a timely manner with my alarm because I had at 8-10 a.m. service call to finish the electrical work that started with running the 220 line for my new electric stove. The breaker had been on back order and came in - the good news is it works, and did not trip when we turned the stove on. I now can't remember if I turned it off (I'm... pretty sure I did, but my brain won't let it go), so I'm going back home after work and before dogsitting just to set my mind at ease. The electrician had put in a GFCI breaker that had tripped and when he was working with the box, I mentioned it had tripped. He was good enough to offer to test things and see what the problem was. Turns out the breaker itself had failed, so he put in a new one and I'm a happy camper that it was something covered under warranty and nothing that would involve rewiring the entire upstairs.

Tonight I'm planning on takeout and hanging out with the dog. I was going to try to mow tomorrow morning, but oh sadness, it will be raining again. So I'll plan on a quiet morning before meeting my mom at my grandfather's house to get all the papers that may or may not be genealogy-related so I can go through them at my leisure (ha).

Redigerat: sep 23, 9:48 am

Happy Saturday, everyone! I'm taking a much-needed relaxing morning, and still just starting to feel awake. I've had coffee and breakfast, and I've been reading my e-book. I finally sent a few texts to make plans that I didn't have the energy for all week (confirming what my Little and I are doing next week, and accepting an offer for help with my hedge trimming with dates that I'd be available). I need to do a grocery shopping at some point to make a dish for the potluck I'm going to tomorrow, but the only actually timed plan is meeting my mom at my grandfather's at 1. Otherwise, it should be a quiet day of staying in, reading and relaxing.

Reading: Happy Place by Emily Henry and The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Listening: going to start Unstoppable Octobia May on audio soon

Crafting: While I was waiting for the electrician in the morning and last night after work, I finished sewing up the sweater. I'll weave in ends today, which will just leave finishing the neck.

Watching: I might start a rewatch of the first two seasons of Only Murders in the Building today. Or maybe some college football.

sep 23, 2:16 pm

Glad it's been a solidly good day so far, Mary. We're still not seeing the higher winds from Ophelia, thank goodness, just a nice stiff breeze. Good luck so far and may it continue.

Happy reading! *smooch*

sep 25, 8:09 am

>101 richardderus: Glad to hear that's the case, Richard. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

sep 25, 8:14 am

Hi, Mary. Just checking in. I hope you had a good weekend. It was gorgeous here. I remember enjoying The Alice Network. I hope you do too.

Redigerat: sep 25, 10:23 am

Happy Monday! Yesterday was very busy, going from dogsitting to church to my friend's for a potluck/Bible study. I ended up staying through dinner ("You're staying for dinner again, huh?" my friend's middle child asked me) and catching up with my friend some, too. I got home around 7:30 but it was already dark and I was tired, so I got all my packing out of the car but I basically dumped it all on the couch and did nothing else with it. I called my parents and chatted with them awhile, but started reading in bed at 8:30 and went to bed early.

It took me a bit to get up this morning, so I'm slowly waking up, getting coffee and breakfast before I work 9-2. I'm on the desk for the first couple of hours, and at the end I've got meetings with my boss. It's still raining, and I expect I'll stay in and relax in the late afternoon/evening. If I have energy for errands, I may try to do a grocery shopping. I owe a review of Happy Place, so I hope to catch up on that, updating my reading log, and maybe peruse some of the threads I've been neglecting visiting.

Reading: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn and City of Bones by Martha Wells

Listening: Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon Flake

Watching: a tiny bit of football was on the background yesterday, so I saw some of the Patriots game and the score of the Dolphins game. Oh and on Saturday I started a rewatch of Only Murders season 1.

Crafting: finished the sweater entirely on Saturday

sep 25, 10:31 am

Congratulations on finishing your sweater!

Your plans for your afternoon after work sound great. Enjoy the relaxation after such a full weekend.

sep 25, 10:41 am

Monday *smooch* for a pleasant and easy day today, Mary.

sep 25, 8:40 pm

>105 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I'll try to post a picture of the finished product soon.

>106 richardderus: Thanks, Richard. *smooches* back!

sep 25, 8:42 pm

>104 bell7: Did you get the new revised City of Bones?

Redigerat: sep 25, 8:47 pm

>108 quondame: Yes, I have the ARC of it on my Kindle & that's what I'm reading.

sep 25, 9:02 pm

138. Happy Place by Emily Henry
Why now? I like what I've read by her, and I put the e-book on hold at the library because I was trying to complete all the Kindle challenges for this quarter (success! This was #15)

Harriet and her college roommates have always gone to her "happy place," a home owned by Sabrina's family in Maine, for vacation no matter how hectic their lives have gotten. This will be the final one, however, as the house will go up for sale. So Sabrina, Parth, Cleo, Kimmy, Wyn, and Harriet all meet up for one last hurrah that Sabrina has planned for them down to the minute. The only problem? Harriet and Wyn haven't told their friends they broke up.

This was an okay second-chance romance that somehow I wanted to be more. Harriet is our narrator, and it goes back and forth between the story now and what happened in past years - first her and Wyn getting together secretly, and eventually why they broke up. Neither of them, for different reasons, is good at communication and I found myself impatient with them as often as I was charmed. The friendship aspect of the story was much more interesting to me than the romance. 3.5 stars.

Book Lovers is my favorite of hers, and I DNFed Beach Read so my reactions to Henry's romances are all over the place. *shrug*

sep 26, 8:24 am

Happy Tuesday! I picked up a prescription on my way home from work and confirmed that my pharmacy had the new COVID booster, so I went home to schedule an appointment only to find they still had some that day. So, I got my COVID and flu shots. My upper arm is definitely painful when move it, but with some Ibuprofen I expect I'll get through the day. I also got a big grocery shopping in, and while I won't cook today, I have plenty for the next week plus.

Today I have a dentist appointment at ten, will get lunch at a local sandwich shop, and work 12-8. I have some volunteers coming in throughout the day, and my boss will be out so I will be in charge. I daresay it'll go by quickly. I've lingered over my coffee and breakfast, updating my reading log with books finished and recently begun.

Reading: The Alice Network, City of Bones and Blue Horses

Listening: Unstoppable Octobia May

Watching: finished up my Season 1 rewatch of Only Murders in the Building last night

Crafting: pink scarf, which is nearly done and is going to be really close whether I finish the pattern or the yarn first (oops)

sep 26, 9:49 am

>111 bell7: Good luck with your game of yarn chicken :-)

sep 26, 9:55 am

General-purpose *smooch*

sep 26, 1:10 pm

>110 bell7: It's so interesting to see people's different reactions to Henry's books. I feel like Book Lovers is the overwhelming favorite of most, but then rankings for the others are all over the place. Happy Place is my least favorite, but I still liked it overall. I have a hard time deciding between Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation for #2.

sep 26, 1:36 pm

>110 bell7: / >114 curioussquared: - Book Lovers is my favorite, followed by Beach Read. I found People We Meet on Vacation kind of boring, and Happy Place only a little less so.

sep 26, 1:46 pm

I'm behind, but I see you are as busy as ever.

Slightly odd comment: the title of one of your recent reads Blackcurrant fool makes me want a blackcurrant pudding, but the bushes did not do well this year (again) so I might go looking online.

As far as Emily Henry goes, I enjoyed Beach Read, and Book Lovers but I can't say the reviews of Happy Place (including yours) make it something I want to pick up!

sep 27, 9:31 am

>112 norabelle414: Ha! Thanks... and that's a great name for it. (Speaking of great names you have come up with, I have shared "Murphy's Law of library holds" many times with my patrons)

>113 richardderus: *smooch* back

>114 curioussquared: I would have to give Beach Read another try to be certain it's my least favorite, as I think it was partly the mood I was in that led me to abandon it.

>115 katiekrug: It is interesting to see the different reactions to her books, though it sounds like Happy Place is no one's favorite.

>116 charl08: The series will certainly make you hungry, as most of it is named after food! Hope you're able to find blackcurrants to scratch that itch. And yeah, it seems the consensus on Happy Place is "not her best". I did love Book Lovers, though.

sep 27, 9:33 am

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Should be fairly straightforward work day, and I have a lot I want to do at home (when don't I?) when I get back, particularly cooking and packing for the next dogsitting gig that starts on Friday. I'm busy all day Thursday, thus the big push tonight.

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

sep 27, 9:47 am

>117 bell7: I can't take credit for yarn chicken! I learned it from someone else here, maybe Amber or Laura?

sep 27, 8:30 pm

>119 norabelle414: Yarn chicken is a pretty old one. A friend does competitive sock making and yc comes up a lot.

sep 28, 8:19 am

>119 norabelle414: >120 quondame: Well, in any case, I like it and I'm stealing it ;)

sep 28, 8:22 am

Morning, all. This is my nutty busy day when I go to work, my parents' for dinner, and then Bible study. Not to be confused with my nutty busy day tomorrow in which I start a dogsitting job (but I will be there at dinner time and don't plan on doing anything in the evening).

Reading: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn and City of Bones by Martha Wells (finished Blue Horses last night)

Listening: Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon Flake

Watching: Nothing in a few days, I'll probably start my rewatch Only Murders (Season 2) tomorrow

Crafting: Nothing in a bit, but I want to pick up the scarf tonight when I get home, since I'm nearly finished.

sep 28, 8:33 am



sep 28, 9:31 am

>123 richardderus: *snort* yeah, I know. I'd say it's gonna get better soon, but it's not unless I take some time off from work (which I really should, I have a bunch of vacation time as of July 1).

sep 28, 10:44 am

139. Blue Horses by Mary Oliver
Why now? Met the criteria for the Massachusetts Book Awards reading challenge to read a book by an author that shares your first or last name. I knew a book of poetry would be a quick read, and I've liked what I've read by Mary Oliver before

For a self-described non-reader of poetry, I've read a fair amount of poetry this year. Blue Horses takes its name from the common subject of Franz Marc's paintings, and the poem by the same name is about the painter. Much of the poetry is about nature and the poet narrator's relationship to it, a common theme of Mary Oliver's poetry. I especially liked "The Hummingbirds" and "Such Silence", followed by "The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac" which was longer than the others and in reaction to the author's cancer diagnosis and thoughts on the transience of life and how we always want it to be a bit longer. It's not my favorite of Oliver's collections, but it's one that I think her fans would enjoy, full of clear writing and plenty of natural imagery. 3 stars.

sep 28, 3:35 pm

>94 bell7: I have a taco soup recipe that I make for my husband's lunches occasionally. It smells delicious, but I'm never hungry when it comes out of the crock pot. 🤦‍♀️

Redigerat: sep 29, 7:43 am

>126 The_Hibernator: Mine is one I got from a library patron to cook on the stovetop and it's great because it's a "dump it all in the pot and simmer for 30 minutes" kind of recipe, easy to swap out a different kind of meat or beans if I have different things on hand. Anyhow, I love soups for this time of year. Easy to make and have lots of leftovers.

sep 29, 8:08 am

Happy Friday! I woke up early this morning suddenly remembering I'd never paid my water bill and it is due today, so that was fun. I paid it online and went back to bed, but now I'm up for the day. I have to finish packing for dogsitting before work this morning, and then I'm off to work 9-5 and go to the dogs and cats from there. I'm planning a quiet night tonight of reading or streaming TV.

Tomorrow I have plans with my Little in the morning, a fairly quiet afternoon, and then I might go see one of my brother's bands play at a local brewery. Sunday I just have church. I would've tried to fit in some yard work over the weekend, but it's going to rain, so mowing is delayed once again. I'm not sorry about that in the moment, but I am slightly dreading when I have to do it next, knowing that it's going to be an absolute pain in the neck to mow the thick, long grass that will jam up the blade. Ah well, the season is almost over for good.

Reading/Listening/Watching: Same as yesterday

Crafting: I did not pick up the scarf and won't tonight either, but when I stop home tomorrow to get food (I didn't want to drag it all to work and try to store it there), I might grab what I need to finish it. And I need to decide on my next project.

sep 30, 9:45 am

>128 bell7: Sounds like a really chill weekend for you, Mary. What are you and the Little up to today?

sep 30, 3:42 pm

>129 MickyFine: We went to the Emily Dickinson house and then got lunch and window shopped in the area. It was a lot of fun! I'd never been there before, though I have enjoyed her poetry. Now I want to see what I can look up for biographies and such. One of the women who apparently had a hand in publishing might be a relative of mine - her name was Mabel Loomis Todd, and Loomis is a family name, so I kinda want to see if I can make a connection now.

sep 30, 3:55 pm

Happy mellow weekend, Mary!

okt 1, 7:40 am

>131 richardderus: Thanks, Richard!

okt 1, 8:07 am

Happy October! I nearly can't believe I'm saying that - this year has flown by.

I'm currently dogsitting for two dogs and two cats, and they are keeping me on my toes. The dogs like to sleep with me, and one of them can't do the stairs to the bedroom because he has a bum knee, so I've been carrying him. One of the cats got into my hair ties so I only know where two of the four I brought are...

Today the only thing I *must* do is go to church. I was thinking I might drive out to where an old childhood friend of mine works for an afternoon excursion. We've both been working in libraries professionally, but haven't seen each other in years. Other than that, I have no commitments for the day.

This is the house where I can often catch up on reading and streaming services. I finished The Alice Network last night and have been speeding through Season 2 of Only Murders in the Building.

Reading: City of Bones by Martha Wells and Fugitive Telemetry by... Martha Wells. Oh wow. I never do that. Anyway, at least they're different enough that I can keep track of the stories just fine.

Listening: Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon Flake (I'll probably finish it today if I do all the driving I plan to)

Watching: Only Murders Season 2

Crafting: finished the yarn before the scarf *sigh* so now I want to stop at home and see if I can find one last skein of the yarn or another that's a close-enough color rather than frog a bunch of it. Started on some preemie-sized baby hats to have some quick & easy projects for TV watching

okt 1, 8:20 am

>133 bell7: The two Wells books are so antithetical in tone and topic that I don't imagine you're having any trouble keeping them separate in your mind. Isn't it wonderful that a writer of talent can use it so versatile-ly (such an ugly kludged-up unword but my brain's filing elf won't deliver a better one)?


okt 1, 7:49 pm

>134 richardderus: She is one of the only authors I'd even consider doing it with, but they are so different in tone that it's not a problem at all. I kinda forgot, to be honest, when I picked up Fugitive Telemetry last night to start my reread.

okt 1, 8:22 pm

140. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Why now? Oh, I needed an audiobook to listen to before bed and it was available from the library. I've been meaning to read it for awhile, and ended up getting the paper book from the library and fitting it into a TIOLI challenge

Nineteen-year-old Charlotte "Charlie" St. Claire is traveling from the U.S. with her mother, but she takes a side trip to meet Evelyn Gardiner, whom she thinks might be able to help her find her French cousin, Rose Fournier, who disappeared during the second World War. Eve was a British spy in 1916, and has her own set of secrets, but she reluctantly helps Charlie on her quest, revisiting places from her past.

The narrative goes back and forth between 1947 with Charlie's story and 1915-1916 with Eve's story. The historical details about a World War 1 network of spies, headed up by a real woman that we meet in the story, were especially fascinating to me. In fact, I was surprised that there was more about World War 1 as I had it my head it's a World War 2 story. There's some references to it, but it's not explored in great detail here, and Eve's and Rose's roles in it only hinted at. Charlie's love story and the ending was a little forced, to my mind. But it was a compelling story and taught me something I didn't know about the past, like the best historical fiction does. And I'll definitely want to read more about the Alice network. 4 stars.

And that, folks, is my 1800th posted review on LibraryThing.

okt 1, 8:26 pm

1800 reviews! Incredible!!

okt 1, 8:39 pm

September in review
140. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
139. Blue Horses by Mary Oliver
138. Happy Place by Emily Henry
137. Solito by Javier Zamora
136. The Overstory by Richard Powers
135. The Splinter in the Sky by Kemi Ashing-Giwa
134. Love-in-a-mist by Victoria Goddard
133. Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi
132. How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz
131. Something's wrong with us, volume 5 by Natsumi Ando
130. The Fragile Threads of Power by V. E. Schwab
129. Something's wrong with us, volume 4 by Natsumi Ando
128. The Remarkable Retirement of Edna Fisher by E. M. Anderson
127. Network Effect by Martha Wells

Books read: 14
Did not finish: 0
Rereads: 2
Children's/Teen/Adult: 0/1/13
Fiction/Nonfiction/Plays/Poetry: 11/2/0/1
Massachusetts Center of the Book Challenge: Blue Horses by Mary Oliver, a book by an author who shares a name for it

Because I want to awards:
Broke my heart and put it back together again - Solito by Javier Zamora
Such a great character sketch - How to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz
So excited to see a continuation to this series - The Fragile Threads of Power by V. E. Schwab

YTD stats - (as of October 1)
Pages read: 31,051
Avg pages a day: 114
Books by POC authors: 72 (51%)
In translation: 37 (26% - though most of that is manga translated from Japanese)
DNF: 4

I read a lot of short books, but I also read a couple over 500 pages and I'm kinda impressed that I read as many as I did in the end - 12 if I don't count the manga, which is still not too shabby. I have been reading a lot of fantasy this year, and that shows in this month's round up, but there's also some SF, romance, and contemporary fiction. Angie Cruz is a new-to-me author and I hope to read more by her soon. My book club book was the least favorite of the bunch, but the rest were enjoyable. And I'm holding steady with my reading goals. Looking forward to seeing what October brings!

okt 1, 8:42 pm

>137 norabelle414: Thanks, Nora! It represents just over 15 years of reading and reviewing.

okt 1, 8:58 pm

141. Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon Flake
Why now? Picked it up when my Little and I went to the library a couple of weeks ago as a next audio to listen to in the car after finishing my not-favorite The Overstory.

In 1953, young Octobia May lives with her aunt Shuma who runs a boardinghouse, and she's convinced that Mr. Davenport, far from being the reliable boarder and war hero he appears to be, is actually a vampire. Her friend Jonah's mother thinks she's been allowed to get above her place as a young Black (the word of the time would be "colored") girl, and she has far too good of an imagination. But Octobia May already died once and she's come back strong, determined to make her way in the world.

I particular like the narrator of the audiobook, Bahni Turpin, who does a fabulous job with a variety of characters, from young Octobia to an Irish cop. The story itself is sometimes episodic but also has this mystery of Mr. Davenport threaded throughout, which made it include an awful lot and became hard for me to follow on audio. There are details I picked up on early as an adult that wouldn't have been so obvious to a young reader, such as "passing." Other times, I recognize I would've liked it better reading it as a child - the ending is completely over the top and I couldn't quite shut off my analytical brain and just enjoy the adventure. 3.5 stars.

okt 2, 10:51 am

Morning, everyone! I got up with my alarm, but everything just seemed to take a little longer this morning, and I got out of the house late so came into work late. I'm making up for it on the other end, staying about 20 minutes late to make up for it, but it's my short day, so I should still be back to the dogs and cats by about 3.

I should have a quiet afternoon of reading, followed by Giants watching for Monday Night Football.

Reading: Fugitive Telemetry, City of Bones, and Plum Duff

Listening: radio

Watching: Finished season 2 of Only Murders in the Building and started watching McEnroe's Places where John McEnroe has fun and explores tennis history

Crafting: baby hats

okt 2, 11:02 am

>136 bell7: BRAVA

Quite an achievement!

okt 2, 2:33 pm

Happy Monday, Mary! Looks like you had a productive September reading month. Looking forward to your thoughts on City of Bones -- I still haven't read any of Wells' fantasy but it's on my list.

okt 2, 5:19 pm

>142 richardderus: Thank you! You're getting close to a nice round number, too, it appears (I will most likely reach 2000 reviews in 2025).

>143 curioussquared: Thanks, Natalie! I am liking City of Bones so far, and will *highly* recommend the other fantasy of hers that I've read, Witch King. Those are the only two so far...

okt 3, 11:13 am

Morning, everyone! Not much to report since yesterday. I had some time between work and the Giants game hanging out with the animals. The Giants could not get a game together against the Seahawks and I went to bed with about 11 minutes left in the 4th - but apparently didn't miss a score.

I thought I'd sleep in today, but didn't really, the dogs were up before my alarm and ready for the day. I forgot that I had a librarian book club meeting this morning - I'd thought it was next week, and haven't read a lick of the book, which I'll just return today instead. But it was fun to Zoom with everyone and hear about paranormal suspense. Working 12-8, I have projects for volunteers and the night on the desk.

Reading: City of Bones, Fugitive Telemetry, and Plum Duff

Listening: Shostakovich's Symphony no. 7 - I don't know, I picked up a few CDs at random at work yesterday, and I like what I've heard by him

Watching: The terrible football game last night, finished McEnroe's Places, and episode 1 of Season 3 of Only Murders

Crafting: Didn't pick it up yesterday, as one of the cats is far too interested in my knitting

okt 3, 11:57 am

I went to bed about the same time last night... Grrrr.

okt 3, 9:33 pm

>146 katiekrug: Yep... rough night

okt 4, 8:12 am

Morning, all! This is my Friday of the week, as I took the next two days off. After a couple of days running late to work, I have left early and I'm sitting at Dunkin' having breakfast and reading a book before I go to work. The animals were driving me slightly batty, the dogs kept barking at the cats for merely existing in their space, and I was done.

I'm working 9-5, have one more evening of dogsitting, so I'll do some packing up tonight, but otherwise get to relax with book reading or TV watching. Heading home tomorrow and meeting up with someone to get some hedge trimming done.

okt 4, 9:00 am

Reading: City of Bones, Fugitive Telemetry and Plum Duff

Listening: Finished the Shostakovich - I liked it overall, but it's not for car listening. The dynamics were very broad, so I found myself fiddling with the dial so I could turn it all the way up to hear the quietest parts only to turn it down again for the crescendo. Now onto Pentatonix's "The Lucky Ones".

Watching: Nothing last night, focused on reading

Crafting: nada

okt 4, 9:04 am

>149 bell7: Pentatonix is perfect car listening. Unless you're in the back seat of a Rolls-Royce being chauffeured everywhere, not much orchestral music's good car listening.

Wednesday *smooch*

okt 4, 11:14 am

>138 bell7: What a great reading month you had!

Congrats on 1800 reviews!

okt 4, 12:39 pm

>110 bell7: That one is already in the BlackHole, although I forgot who recommended it. I agree about Book Lovers, which I really liked.

>136 bell7: I already have that one in the poor, neglected Black Hole too. Congratulations on 1800 reviews!

okt 4, 8:40 pm

>150 richardderus: Indeed, I've listened to orchestral music at home prior to this, and now I know there's a very good reason why. I'm liking the Pentatonix CD reasonably well, though.

>151 figsfromthistle: Thanks on both counts, Anita!

>152 alcottacre: I hope you enjoy them whenever you might get to them, Stasia. The TBR list/black hole grows faster than we can read, doesn't it? And thank you!

okt 4, 8:50 pm

142. Plum Duff by Victoria Goddard
Why now? Continuing my joint reads of Goddard's work with Stasia, this was the next in the series

Now returned from their adventures in Orio City, Jemis and his friends settle in at home and prepare for the Winterturn holiday festivities.

After the frenetic pace of Love-in-a-mist, the slower pace and more reflective tone of this story took me by surprise. It makes sense, however, as Jemis is starting to make sense of all of his adventures to date, figuring out riddles and the ramifications of what he already has experienced. I daresay that like the poetry he likes to plumb for second meanings, this series would have layers more easily understood in a reread. I loved the descriptions of all the holiday preparations, and the ending left me with a smile on my face and a hope that Goddard returns to this series and characters, as she's definitely left the door open for that possibility. 4 stars.

I feel nitpicky about my rating... Did I like it as much as the last book? No. Would I reread it on it's own (not part of a series)? Maybe. If I gave quarter stars, it would be 4.25.

okt 4, 11:14 pm

>154 bell7: I agree down the line with your thoughts on this one. I did not care for it as much as the last book but part of that I felt was because of my own expectations which is certainly not the fault of the book itself.

I discovered the existence of The Saint of the Bookstore this afternoon shortly after finishing up the book and have already downloaded it to my Kindle :)

okt 5, 3:19 pm

>155 alcottacre: I just downloaded The Saint of the Bookstore and Clary Sage (a novella set before the series centering on Hal). Let me know what you want to tackle first in November, since we've got a nice bunch of possibilities lined up for joint reads.

And agreed, I think my own expectations affected my initial reaction to the book. It makes perfect sense that after all the action from the last two, Jemis would need time to reflect and collect his thoughts. We got some answers, but also it opens a whole new avenue... and Jemis's story isn't "caught up" to the encounter in Fitzroy Angursell either. I do hope she writes more, those characters and that corner of the Nine Worlds were so much fun.

okt 5, 3:28 pm

Hello, everyone! It's been a busy day and I'm catching my breath before heading out for more.

I finished dogsitting, so packed up my stuff. I came home to meet up with someone who was kind enough to offer to help me with my hedge trimming. We worked hard for over three hours. I did about an hour of hedge trimming, but my arms gave out, and he did the majority of it, including the tall and out-of-control forsythia. I did a lot of clean up and some weeding I'd been wanting to do. It looks soooo much better, and it's a chore that takes me a lot of time and frustration, so it was really great to have that help and get it done in one day.

I'm not completely unpacked, but after the hedge trimming I got a little bit done, and also did a grocery shopping, because I have snack tonight at Bible study. I'm bringing cheese and fruit, so just need to do some slicing and assembly when I get there. I'm planning on making a bank stop, too, and I want to do a little work on my October budget before I go to know how much fun money I will get for the next couple of weekend plans. Then Bible study, then I'm done for the day.

Tomorrow will be much more relaxed - I have the day off from work, and the only "must do" is going back to where I was dogsitting for some stuff I forgot. Other than that, I will mostly putter around the house and decide how much of my to-do list I actually feel like doing.

okt 5, 3:31 pm

143. Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells
Why now? Finishing my reread of the series leading up to the new book coming out next month (yes, I pre-ordered it)

My review from 2021:

Soon after returning to Preservation with Dr. Mensah safe and sound, Murderbot (okay, that's it's private name, so SecUnit) is reluctantly accepted onto the planet and Dr. Mensah's team is nervously waiting to see if there's any backlash from GrayCris. When a man is found murdered, Mensah convinces SecUnit to work with a team to uncover what happened, and whether or not their nemesis, GrayCris, is involved.

This series has been a delight from start to finish, and this entry is no exception. I was pleasantly surprised to have a nice genreblend of mystery and science fiction, as well as return to Murderbot's sarcasm, anxiety, and discovering more about the world now that it's free to roam. The only disappointment is the wait I'll have for the next one.

This happens prior to the events in Network Effect but was published after. I'd forgotten a lot of the events in it and enjoyed it just as much on a reread.

okt 5, 5:01 pm

>158 bell7: I'm so pleased the re-read made you as happy as the first one.


okt 6, 9:00 am

>159 richardderus: Oh yes, Murderbot has fast become a comfort reread series. I'm very excited for the new book, and I'm sure it'll be a moment of "drop everything and read" when my pre-order arrives.

okt 6, 9:13 am

Happy Friday! Today is supposed to be an icky, rainy day and thankfully I got a bunch of outdoor work done yesterday.

Today I have an indoor to-do list and a handful of errands I want to run, but it's nothing too strenuous and primarily has to do with preparing for fun weekend plans over the next couple of weeks - like running to the bank to get some cash, and getting oil so when I drive an hour plus tomorrow I won't run into any problems with my car.

Tomorrow I'm getting together with my Little and we are driving (said hour plus) to a fall fest which includes maple cream fried dough and possibly a library book sale, then I'm going to my brother and SIL's for a family dinner while my youngest sister and her friends are visiting.

Sunday I have church, potluck/Bible study at a friend's, and then I'm headed to a wedding.

And on Monday I'm sleeping in, but I'm also hoping to get together with my friend and her twins.

So yeah, taking time off yesterday and today turned out to be a really smart move, and I'm planning on doing what I need to today, but also making sure I have some time to relax and have the energy for the next few days.

okt 6, 10:13 am

>158 bell7: I’m just behind you with my reread of Murderbot, which I am loving (again). I should finish Fugitive Telemetry soon. I also am champing at the bit for the next one.

Have a great weekend!

Karen O

Redigerat: okt 7, 8:51 am

Fall fest sounds amazing. I want to go fry pancakes now.

This has proved a rather expensive visit to your thread, as I've just pre-ordered the next murderbot. I'm holding off on the audio though!

okt 7, 9:01 am

>158 bell7: I’ve preordered the new Murderbot on audio too and put the Kindle edition on hold at the library. Can’t wait!

Have an amazing fun weekend!

okt 7, 4:07 pm

>162 klobrien2: Enjoy your reread, Karen! I'll enjoy comparing notes with you when you get the new one.

>163 charl08: Oh good, Charlotte, I hope it's a good one for you. I haven't purchased the audiobooks, but I have borrowed them from the library and enjoy them as well. The fall fest is pretty great small-town fun. It was quieter than usual because the rain scared some folks away, but we got our fried dough and did indeed get to the library book sale. I'll have to post my haul soon :)

>164 Storeetllr: Woohoo! Looking forward to your thoughts on it, Mary.

okt 7, 4:13 pm

Happy Saturday! We made it to the fall fest between the raindrops and had a good time. The book sale was back, and I got an most excellent stack of books that I'll have to post when my nails are not tacky with new polish (for the wedding tomorrow) and I have a little more time. We also had some delicious food and I splurged and bought nice yarn to make myself a pair of socks. I had a little time at home to change into dry footwear, and I'm headed out shortly to my brother's for the rest of the events today.

Reading: City of Bones by Martha Wells and Happiness Falls by Angie Kim

Listening: finished up the Pentatonix CD and I'm planning on trying out another Beth Nielsen Chapman CD to see what I think of her more current stuff (the 1st CD I tried was from the 90s)

Watching: nothing today, but I watched through Only Murders in the Building Season 3, episode 5 in a binge-watching session yesterday

Crafting: frogged the other pink scarf and started another pattern that doesn't need as much yarn

okt 7, 6:51 pm

Yay for books and yarn! A successful outing for that alone. :)

okt 9, 7:57 am

>167 MickyFine: Yes, it was!

okt 9, 8:02 am

How is it Monday again already? Folks asked me yesterday how my week was, and darned if I could even really remember, it had gone by so fast.

I went to church, a potluck and my cousin's wedding yesterday, so it was filled but fun. The wedding was lovely, and it was wonderful to catch up with family we don't see all that often and some that we see regularly. I came home pretty tired and went right to bed.

Today is a holiday, so no work for me. I'm having a cup of coffee and then heading out to visit my youngest sister before she goes back home, and meeting up with my friend and her twins.

Reading: Happiness Falls by Angie Kim and Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling by Esi Edugyan

Listening: primarily the radio since I forgot to bring the CDs I wanted out to the car over the weekend

Watching/Crafting: Been to busy to do anything the last couple of days

okt 9, 8:23 am

Morning, Mary. Just checking in. It sounds like you had a lovely weekend. Enjoy your off day.

okt 9, 10:02 am

>169 bell7: Glad you have a holiday Monday to recover a bit from your very full weekend. Wishing you some chill down time between your visits.

okt 9, 11:36 am

Hi, Mary.

I’ve been intrigued by the discussion of re-reading The Overstory, and your lesser enjoyment the second time. I’m like Stasia; I enjoyed it the first time but I wonder whether it would do so well on a re-read.

In contrast, you’ve got me thinking about re-reading the Murderbot books!

How fun that you and Katie got to go to a ballgame together.

Oh, good review of the Angie Cruz book. I will probably give that one a go. Did you read her Dominicana? If not, I can heartily recommend it. She’s a good friend of our DIL.

okt 10, 10:28 am

>170 msf59: Thanks, Mark! Nice to see you.

>171 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I got a little chill time, in the end.

>172 jnwelch: Hi Joe, thanks for stopping by! I think my reread of The Overstory wasn't helped my listening to the audiobook, in this case (the narrator did an okay job, but I didn't like her choice regarding one character's voice, and it slowed me down enough to be even more nitpicky than I might've been reading on paper). In contrast, however, the audio is an excellent way to enjoy a Murderbot reread. And thanks re: How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water. How cool that she's Adriana's friend! I have added Dominicana to my TBR list and hope to get to it soonish.

okt 10, 10:37 am

Happy Tuesday! I work 12-8 today, but after the busy weekend have given myself the morning off from being productive and am relaxing and reading instead.

Yesterday was a busy start to the day, though it was fun. I went over my parents' for a couple of hours to visit with them and my sister before she traveled back home. Then I met up with my friend and her kiddos and played at a playground for a few hours. I tried to stop at a town hall nearby to do some genealogy research, forgetting it was a holiday, and after that side trip headed home. I ate dinner, but having neglected lunch, I was tired and headachey, and felt all around blah. It was all of 6:00, but I laid down in bed to rest my eyes, turned on podcasts on my phone and zoned out. I got up around 7:30 to start turning off lights, felt sick to my stomach, and puked. Then I got back into bed, dozed off with the podcasts still going, and when I really woke up it was 9:45 and I was really tired. Stopped the podcasts, plugged my phone in to charge, read a tiny bit on my Kindle, and went to bed for the night.

I'm feeling fine this morning, so I think it was mostly a combination of not eating for so long (which alone can make me nauseous and headachey), and then eating as much as I did for dinner? Anyway, apparently I needed the sleep, as I woke up here and there, but not for long and not like I can if I take a nap too late in the day.

Reading: Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling by Esi Edugyan and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi

Listening: still the radio, hopefully I'll remember a CD today

Watching: just one episode of Only Murders last night

Crafting: nothing yesterday, hopefully I'll make progress on the scarf today or tomorrow

okt 10, 10:39 am

>156 bell7: I do hope she writes more, those characters and that corner of the Nine Worlds were so much fun. If she does not, I am going to be very put out with her!

>158 bell7: I preordered it too. I finished Fugitive Telemetry back in July as I was reading through the series to catch up, planned long before I even knew there was another book coming out.

>169 bell7: I hope you enjoyed your day off, Mary!

Have a terrific Tuesday!!

okt 10, 10:53 am

144. City of Bones by Martha Wells
Why now? Decided my latest e-book should be one of the ARCs on my Kindle, and I was in the mood for this reprinted, updated edition of one of Wells' standalone fantasies (came out Sept. 5)

Khat is a krisman living in the city of Charisat, an outsider and second-class citizen, but he has built a life and a partnership with Sagai. They deal in relics of an ancient people who left behind only hints of the technologies people were once proficient in, the Waste where most krismen live, and the kris themselves. Then, a powerful Warder demands Khat's help, first as a guide into the Waste, and then in finding two specific relics that may help unlock the past.

I really enjoyed the time I spent with Khat, Sagai and Elen, the understudy of the powerful Warder who works most closely with the pair in their adventures. The world-building and descriptions of the city were complicated, and while I like a good complex world, it did slow things down for me in the beginning as I struggled to wrap my head around what everything must look like. But the characters are great, their struggles and initial distrust of each other believable and empathetic, and I became invested in their story. I will look forward to reading more of Wells's backlist. 4 stars.

Martha Wells writes very convincingly in different genres and tones. There are not many authors I can read two books of simultaneously like I did with this one and Fugitive Telemetry, but when I picked this one up I genuinely forgot it was written by the same person.

okt 10, 10:56 am

>175 alcottacre: If she does not, I am going to be very put out with her!
Same! I think we haven't seen the last of Jemis and friends, though :)

Glad to see so much love for Murderbot. I still remember getting the first four novellas free from, devouring them on average a book a day, and promptly pre-ordering Network Effect.

Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday, too, Stasia!

okt 10, 11:16 am

145. Happiness Falls by Angie Kim
Why now? I liked her debut, Miracle Creek, quite a bit, so put this one on hold at the library soon after it came out

"We didn't call the police right away," Mia tells us from the get-go. On that fateful day when her father went missing, her brother Eugene came running back from the park where he was hiking with her father, shoving Mia down on his way to the house. Then, she thought, her father returned as well, but by the time she figures out the mistake, he's been missing for hours.

What starts out as a missing persons investigation shifts focus when it becomes clear to Mia, her mother, Hannah, and her twin brother, John, that Eugene is the prime suspect in her father's disappearance. He has both autism and Angelman's, and is unable to communicate what happened on the hike. As the family tries to piece events together while protecting Eugene from an overzealous police officer, they come to learn their own biases and misunderstandings about each other. Narrator Mia, a twenty-year-old college student home during the COVID shutdown, reflects on events in her hyperverbal way, including footnotes for some of her tangents. Ultimately, she asks how well we can know another person and what it means when we humans tend to equate verbal acuity with intelligence. 4 stars.

okt 10, 12:47 pm

Sorry you weren't feel well but glad it appears to have been temporary. And glad to see you enjoyed City of Bones!

Redigerat: okt 10, 3:11 pm

>156 bell7: >175 alcottacre: There are certainly supposed to be more Greenwing & Dart books - and Victoria Goddard is clearly busy writing in that multiverse, though that doesn't mean we're going to see Jemis again in less than a couple of years. Have you read Clary Sage?

okt 10, 9:32 pm

>179 curioussquared: Thanks, Natalie!

>180 quondame: We still have Clary Sage and The Saint of the Bookstore ahead of us, Susan.

okt 11, 8:56 am

>178 bell7: I didn't like it quite as well as you did, Mary, and never got around to writing my responses up. I really was a DRC...but it's hard to express politely why I didn't care for it.


Have a lovely slide into the weekend, dear lady.

okt 11, 9:01 am

>182 richardderus: I enjoyed it though I can also see flaws, Richard. The author's points are transparently expressed by the narrator, and repetitively so (plus sometimes info-dumped), though I chalked some of that up to Mia being a twenty-year-old. It is billed as a "mystery" and it's not (I took the library genre sticker off, figuring the ending leaving what actually happened completely unanswered would really annoy mystery readers - oh, and I suppose I should clarify, I had the book from the library I work at and I'm the one who decides what genre sticker, if any, goes on it)...

Anyway, all that to say if you do find your way to writing up your response, I would be interested in seeing what you say.

okt 11, 9:07 am

Happy Wednesday, all! I'll be getting ready for the day shortly, but enjoyed a little bit of a sleep-in (I got up at 8), and I'm working 12-8 to cover for someone who's out. I will probably get going making some food, since I won't really have time to cook again until Friday.

Reading: My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich and Out of the Sun, and I need to start Demon Copperhead for next week's book club today

Listening: I started listening to a Duke Ellington recording "And his mother called him Bill"

Watching: another episode of Only Murders - only 3 to go for the current season

Crafting: little bit of work on the pink scarf while I watched Only Murders last night

okt 12, 9:03 am

146. My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi
Why now? Picked it up a couple of weeks ago when I went to the library with my Little since I'd read other things by the author and wasn't familiar with this title; actually ended up primarily reading the e-book

Ebony-Grace Norfleet Freeman has to temporarily stay with her father in Harlem, while her mother back in Alabama is caring for her Granddaddy. She doesn't adjust well, wanting to go back home, keeping in her head and carrying on the imaginings her and her Granddaddy would have of Captain Fleet and E-Grace Starfleet, which the kids in the neighborhood aren't having. It's 1984, and they're much more into break dancing and hip hop, things Ebony-Grace can't wrap her head around.

Despite also being a giant nerd with an imagination, I had a tough time with Ebony-Grace's story. Supposedly twelve, she reads much younger as she imagines her father as "King Sirius Julius" in No Joke City, keeping her prisoner and not allowing her to rescue her grandfather (from what, we really never find out). I wondered if she were on the spectrum, but that's never really explored. And while I could see it for the church scene, the emphasis on her wearing "boy clothes" because she preferred t-shirts to dresses seemed a little odd for 1984. Ebony's "growth" at the end is really sudden and mainly seems to be about shutting off her imagination to live in the real world in a heavy-handed way after the adults (and a bunch of the kids that Ebony doesn't want to play with) spend much of the book telling her to stop messing around. It was a weird sort of duality both celebrating nerdy sci-fi culture and tamping down on it at the same time. 2.5 stars.

Huh... the more I think about it, the less I actually like the book. I was originally thinking 3.5 stars, but as I wrote the review it went downhill from there.

okt 12, 9:05 am

>185 bell7: I felt the same way about that one.

okt 12, 9:14 am

Happy Thursday! The work week is winding down, but of course I have plenty on my to-do list there and at home.

Yesterday I spent the morning tidying up the house and changing over my wardrobe from summer to winter clothes, so now all the sweaters are out and much of the short sleeves are packed away. At work, I had volunteers, extra time on the desk since I was covering for someone who was out, and prepping a quarterly report of materials the library purchased for next week's Trustees meeting.

Today, I have another report to prepare for the Trustees using our people counter statistics, and I'm giving a class on using Ancestry Library Edition. I do it after-hours so we can use all the computers without interruption, so I'm working 11:30-7:30. At home this morning, I won't be quite as busy bee as I was yesterday, but may try to tidy up some more (primarily going through some mail and recycling things I don't need), knit, or read my book club book.

Reading: Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling by Esi Edugyan and Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Listening: same as yesterday

Watching/Crafting: nothing yesterday, we'll see if I get to Only Murders tonight

okt 12, 9:16 am

>186 foggidawn: Glad it wasn't just me! I liked Pride and American Street much better.

okt 12, 9:25 am

Book haul from the library sale on Saturday:

The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami
Old Friends by Tracy Kidder
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Inciting Joy by Ross Gay
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Thunderstruck by Erik Larson
A Mercy by Toni Morrison
Beloved by Toni Morrison*
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine*
Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon
Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley*

*Already read

okt 12, 10:46 am

Thanks for stopping by my thread, Mary. Also thanks for the happy picture of you and Katie at the ball game. It’s hard to smile when your team is taking a beating. ;-)

>84 bell7: I admire your honesty about your experiences with The Overstory. I would have trouble keeping my opinion to myself but I know my librarians also do a good job of not trying to sway any opinions they may have about a book.

Fantastic job on posting all those reviews!

You certainly got some good books at the library book sale. I see some of my favorites there including Cloud Atlas and Old Friends, although you might not be old enough to appreciate the latter.

okt 12, 11:40 am

>176 bell7: I need to read some of Wells' fantasy books since I enjoy her Murderbot books so much.

>177 bell7: I certainly hope we have not seen the last of Jemis and company!

>178 bell7: Adding that one to the BlackHole! Thanks for the review and recommendation.

>185 bell7: Sounds like one I can bypass easily. I hope your next read is better for you, Mary.

>189 bell7: Nice haul!

okt 12, 12:14 pm

>189 bell7: Great haul! I am still mourning the massive friends of the library sale for my city library system that died as a result of COVID, but I'm looking forward to the smaller sale at my branch of the county library system this weekend.

okt 12, 8:14 pm

>189 bell7: Excellent haul! I can't wait to my local library to have a sale.

okt 12, 8:17 pm

>190 Donna828: Yeah, at one point I looked at the clock, saw it had 5 minutes and almost said "We'd better take the obligatory picture before time runs out" only to realize it was still the 3rd quarter. Ugh... it's been a tough season, but one thing I'm looking forward to about my other game (Dec. 31) is being able to go down on the field afterward.

I think The Overstory is one of those polarizing things... my book discussion ended up being three of us, and the other two hadn't finished the book. I generally share my opinions with my group, but if I happen to hate it when others love it, I'm more measured in what I say. Thanks re: the revlews :)

Glad to hear about both Cloud Atlas and Old Friends. The latter was a Tracy Kidder I wasn't familiar with, and I daresay I'd have different appreciation for it reading at different stages in life. I'm officially middle aged, but still on the young side of it.

>191 alcottacre: Well yay to adding to your BlackHole, Stasia! I highly recommend Witch King as a Wells fantasy to try, though it *is* complicated and I had to go back to the beginning when I reached the end. Hope you enjoy Happiness Falls when you get to it. And yeah, if you want a bit of Ibi Zoboi's flavor I would recommend Star Child about Octavia Butler or Pride as a better example. And thanks, re: the haul.

okt 12, 8:20 pm

>192 curioussquared: Oh that it too bad that they haven't had a massive library sale since COVID. I hope you're able to find some good things at the sale this weekend!

>193 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Anita! My own library sale was back in September and there's another one I know of this weekend which is always dangerous haha.

okt 13, 12:14 pm

TGIF! Not much to report for the day, I'm working 9-5, hope to get started on mowing my lawn tonight and will probably give myself the treat of takeout because of it.

Reading: Out of the Sun by Esi Edugyan and Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, the latter of which I need to average reading about 100 pages a day to be done in time for book club

Listening: Switched to a Beth Nielsen Chapman CD, forgot which title

Watching/crafting: none last night, we'll see if I get to it today

okt 13, 12:17 pm

>127 bell7: I finally had some of my Taco soup. It's quite delicious. Where has this been all my life? Are there any other stews you like?

Redigerat: okt 16, 11:56 am

>197 The_Hibernator: Glad you like the taco soup! I do all sorts of soups this time of year:
Potato soup can be a go-to because it's so easy to mix & match ingredients.

I do a French onion soup in the Instant Pot where you leave the onions slow cooking for 10 hours in soy sauce, thyme, and I add about 1/4 c. white cooking wine. Then when I get home from work, switch to saute and add the beef broth, stick some bread with shredded cheese on it in the oven to melt the cheese, and voila.

There's also a red lentil soup recipe I got from Darryl (kidzdoc) a few years ago, and it's one of my go-tos as well.

Edited for a broken link

okt 14, 3:33 am

>189 bell7: Pretty book stack!

okt 14, 7:52 am

>189 bell7: Nice haul up there, Mary. I LOVED Cloud Atlas. First time reading it? I also enjoyed The Snow Child, Thunderstruck & Firekeeper's Daughter.

Ooh, you are reading Demon Copperhead. That is a great read. Happy Saturday.

okt 14, 3:21 pm

Mmmm, soup! So comforting on these cold wet days. I made a simple turkey vegetable noodle soup last week, and it was just perfect for dinner with melty cheese toast made in the air fryer, which is my new favorite kitchen appliance.

Happy weekend!

okt 15, 6:06 pm

>199 quondame: Oh that's great news. Thanks, Susan!

>200 ursula: Thanks, Ursula!

>201 msf59: Thanks Mark, and that's great to know about Cloud Atlas, The Snow Child and Thunderstruck (I already read and loved Firekeeper's Daughter). Yes, whenever I get to Cloud Atlas it will be my first time reading it, though I admit I am absolutely terrible about reading my own books. I work at the library and always have a large stack with due dates that tend to push down the books I own that I can read anytime :D

Demon Copperhead is sad, but very well done as I would expect from Barbara Kingsolver. I've had to average 100 pages a day to finish for book club on Wednesday, and have not had any trouble keeping that up so far.

>202 Storeetllr: Mmmm, turkey vegetable noodle sound delectable. I don't have an air fryer (yet), but the folks I know who have them love them.

Redigerat: okt 15, 6:18 pm

Happy weekend a little late...
Friday night I got home tired and decided I didn't feel like mowing, but I still felt like takeout. So I tried a new-to-me place down the street and had a gyro (delicious) and baklava (disappointing).

Saturday, my parents came over and my dad lifted some air conditioners for me, so the one that's been banging around in my car all summer is now in the basement and the one that was in my bedroom window is now out in the sun room ready for next summer. We then went out tag saling, bought a bunch of stuff for Baby Bell (my brother and SIL are expecting) and had fun. I picked up a few small things, nothing amazing to report. Then I spent the afternoon mowing (conveniently also mulching the leaves so I don't have to rake) and got takeout again - this time pineapple fried rice from one of the 3 Chinese restaurants in town.

Today I had church and potlock/Bible study at my friend's. I stayed late enough to get to hold her six-month-old until baby got fussy, and chatted some after everyone left. I'm now home, baking the rest of the cookies I started for the potluck, and planning on reading the rest of what I need to in Demon Copperhead before the Giants game. I fully expect it will be a terrible game and I'll go to bed at halftime, but I figured I'd at least give it a chance.

Reading: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver and Africa Risen edited by Sheree Renee Thomas et al.

Listening: Beth Nielsen Chapman CDs, but I decided she's not for me and I'm going to switch to the Duke Ellington one tomorrow

Watching: finished Only Murders on... Friday, I think? Very fun, and now of course I'm really excited for Season 4. Football tonight, though we'll see how long that lasts.

Crafting: finished the pink scarf and started blocking it on Saturday; I'm probably going to weave in the ends on Tuesday morning. Started on a wrap, and I'm experimenting. I wanted to make a hooded one and couldn't find an exact pattern for what I wanted to do, so I'm making up my own and basing the decreases of the wrap part on one pattern, and then I'm going to have to look up some others to figure out how to do the hood. So... wish me luck?

okt 16, 10:08 am

>198 bell7: There's also a...? Don't leave us hanging! :-)

okt 16, 12:05 pm

>205 foggidawn: oops! I fixed the link so it should be complete now

Redigerat: okt 16, 1:25 pm

>206 bell7: Glad I asked, because that sounds delicious. I could eat soup all the time, I think.

okt 17, 10:49 am

>207 foggidawn: It IS delicious - don't skip the mint butter, though, it really adds to the flavor of the whole thing.

okt 17, 11:08 am

Happy Tuesday, y'all! I've been busy as ever over the last few days as you can see from my just checking in every other day or so.

The Giants game stayed close enough that I stayed up till the end, so got to witness the heartbreak AND was short on sleep.

Yesterday was a library conference. I left the house early and stayed through the last session, getting home at dinner time. It was smaller than I expected (New England region, where the state conference when I went last year had more attendees), but still got some useful things to bring back and share with colleagues. I had leftovers for dinner and read what I needed to for book club.

Today I got up and finished Demon Copperhead, then puttered around a bit. I'm getting ready for work now, going to stop at the post office to send out a request for a couple of death records, and working 'til 8. Much of my focus today will be on prepping for book club tomorrow. Tomorrow I'd also be working 12-8, but I'm going in to Town Hall to be in on some job interviews for a part-time position at the library, so working a split instead.

Reading: Africa Risen edited by Sheree Renee Thomas et al., and I'm planning on starting The Long Game by Elena Armas next as it's due soonest and will probably be a fast read

Listening: I owe a quick CD recap, don't I? I went back to the Duke Ellington CD yesterday, but I'm planning on returning all the CDs to the library today and starting something new

Watching/Crafting: didn't watch anything last night or pick up the shawl since Sunday Night Football

okt 17, 11:18 am

Quick CD recap:

I can't remember if I mentioned why I started listening to Beth Nielsen Chapman. I heard a story she told for the Moth (one of the podcasts I listen to), in which she talked about both her husband's terminal diagnosis and a song she was writing that he encouraged her to complete. The song was in "Sand and Water". I liked that album okay, but only three songs made the cut for my playlist - "The Color of Roses," "Beyond the Blue" and "No One Knows but You". Funnily enough, the one that made me seek out that album, "Seven Shades of Blue", did not make the cut.

I enjoyed the Pentatonix CD, mostly because the first two and last two songs were the best - "Happy Now," "Love Me When I Don't," "It's Different Now" and "The Lucky Ones."

The Duke Ellington CD choice was "And His Mother Called Him Bill." The library record has Billy Strayhorn as the author, but Ellington and his orchestra are the performers. I enjoyed the sound quite a lot, but choosing one song from the other is impossible, because in at least in what I've listened to of instrumental jazz, it kinda runs from one track to the other and I have a really hard time telling when one stops and another begins.

I listened to 2 other Beth Nielsen Chapman CDs to see if my lukewarm reaction had to do with "Sand and Water" being older and sounding it, but no, I didn't particularly care for either "Deeper Still" or "Hearts of Glass". Some songs would have an intro of 40-60 seconds of music before she came in, and all of a sudden the mix would be such that the vocals overpowered the music. And her voice is... fine? But nothing overwhelmingly amazing that I didn't want to hear more of the piano or other instruments. I got the sense I would've liked it if I grew up on it and had some nostalgia for it, but as I don't, I'm fine moving on. Didn't add anything to the playlist from either of these, and I think it was "Hearts of Glass" that I didn't even finish listening to the first time through. Not terrible, just not my taste.

okt 17, 12:20 pm

Have an interesting time at the interviews, Mary, and I hope someone truly wonderful will join your team as a result.

Battling a seasonal cold, and Old Stuff's off on his Tuesday binge, so I'm gonna nap for a while. *smooch*

okt 18, 6:23 pm

>211 richardderus: I do find it interesting, Richard. We had a good slate of candidates that would all bring something rich to the position, and we also all agreed on the top ones. Hopefully we'll have someone in place in a few weeks and be a set staff for a bit. Hope your Wednesday has been a good one! *smooch*

okt 18, 6:29 pm

Hump day, hooray! 🐪

I'm taking my break at work before heading over for book club. It's been a busy day of interviews in the morning, dropping off our collection of pink scarves, and then I had enough time to go grocery shopping and make myself lunch before it was time to go back into work. The abbreviated time has been on the desk and working with volunteers, so I feel slightly under prepared for book club, but the truth is there's a lot to the book and my ladies are smart readers who will have plenty to say. I'm looking forward to it.

When I get home, I may try to catch up on reviews.

Oh and I gave in finally and turned the heat on yesterday.

Reading: The Long Game by Elena Armas and Africa Risen

Listening: radio (maybe I'll grab a couple CDs from work)

Watching: nothing

Crafting: wrap for myself and baby hats

okt 18, 9:18 pm

147. Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling by Esi Edugyan
Why now? I like the fiction I've read by Edugyan, and I was intrigued late last year when I saw this title mentioned in one of the bookish work emails I get

In five essays, Edugyan explores the ways in which race is portrayed in art and storytelling all around the world.

She begins with art in Europe, investigating the ways that Black people were portrayed in paintings (when they were at all), such as using symbols to show the "other". "Canada and the Art of Ghosts" was an interesting look at the ghost stories that do - and don't - get told, what we are collectively afraid of and what we allow to be forgotten.

I was particularly struck by the middle essay, "America and the Art of Empathy", in which she takes on the idea of transracialism, briefly talking about "passing," but spending more of her time on folks such as Rachel Dolezal who was born white but self-identifies as Black. There was a lot to chew on there, and I highlighted this quote:
Perhaps all our arguments around transracialism come down to a larger social disconnect between the individual freedoms we all cherish and the authenticity we now demand of everything. We want to everyone to be able to live out exactly the lives they wish, for our children to grow up to be anything, for everyone to be free to experience their true selves. But we are also living now in a time when the concept of identity is fragile, and we put great stock in absolute authenticity. We ask that art transport us to places and into lives we could not have otherwise fathomed, but we also put fences around those imaginative acts, by demanding, for example, that only gay actors play gay roles, or that only Black writers write Black characters.
That resonates a lot with me, as it's a tension I find in my reading. I want to read diversely, and sometimes that means I notice when a book is all-white characters, but a lot of the time it means that I'm purposely seeking out books by people who are Black or Asian American or Latinx, and yes, I do look for a certain "authenticity" in that I don't want all the diverse stories I read to be written from a white lens. But, at the same time, I do think that a creative act should allow a writer to write about things they have not personally experienced. It can be a fine line to walk sometimes, and the lack of diversity in publishing with the decision-makers adds another layer to this.

Finally, in "Africa and the Art of the Future" she talks about Afrofuturism and her experience watching Black Panther, and "Asia and the Art of Storytelling" (possibly the weakest of the bunch, but still good) details her own story of traveling Asia and the challenging relationship China and Japan have with race, particularly in accepting Black people and why their attitudes are what they are.

There is a lot to unpack in this fairly slim book, but it's well worth the effort. 4.5 stars.

The essays are from the CBC Massey Lecture series.

okt 18, 9:26 pm

148. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Why now? This month's book club book

In this retelling of David Copperfield, Damon Fields ("Demon" to all early on) recounts his life growing up in Lee County, Virginia - Appalachian coal country, where the people are poor and before long the opioid crisis is in full swing. He was born to a mother who was a drug addict, but Demon is smart and full of hope for the future.

A really superb tale that has a lot of heart. Demon often reflects how his area is the butt of the job in a lot of entertainment, and the book has a lot of sympathy for the people and place it portrays. There are a large cast of characters and though readers of David Copperfield will most likely recognize their classic counterparts, this is very much a story that stands on its own and is just as good to read with no knowledge of the original. I almost said "pleasurable" to read, but truthfully there is a lot of sadness and hardship along the way. Still, Demon is a memorable character you can't help but root for, and I was totally satisfied in the end. 4.5 stars.

We had a really excellent discussion tonight. There was so much to talk about (much of which didn't make my review!), from the characters to the opioid epidemic to the way in which comics were a lifeline for Demon. We had seven of us altogether, and everyone there liked it and had a lot to say.
Den här diskussionen fortsatte här: Mary (bell7) Reads in 2023 - Thread 10