Join LibraryThing to post.
Can someone post me an invitation to the Pants Suit Nation group on Facebook? I think you have to have an invitation.
There's an event in downtown Dallas tomorrow and I'm hoping to go.
Karen, I tried to add you, but it said you were already a member. Hope that's accurate.
You might also see about getting added to your state group--at least for NC, it's an extra step.
Is anyone else on here using a Fire Tablet? Because I don't think the Touchstones thing works with it. I'm sorry, I meant to post it in other Loft and put this one to rest.
>8 karenwall: The link you made in the Book Title thread to The Lords of Discipline works fine, but I don't know whether or not you did that on your Fire.
What's the difference between "The Loft" and "The Literary Loft"? (It's fine if there's no answer.)
I added this one because I didn't see the other one. No way to delete but it'll go away if we quit posting. Just going to use other one now.
I kind of dig how old school LibraryThing is. I haven't used angle brackets to create a link since--well, I don't know when. Table Talk? Readerville? Refreshingly un-Facebook.
Does anyone here use Scribd? A colleague uses it for her web page to post newsletters and forms, and post writing samples. I'm not sure why she needs that service on top of her web page provider, but there must be a good reason and maybe I need it too, but just don't know it, yet. Looking at the Scribd info, they speak more about using it to read books. Could someone please explain it to me?
>16 laurenbufferd: You can, you just need to add the direct code and the URL of the image:
For example this:
turns into this:
You can also upload images to your LT account to link them if you need to. There's a place in your account for your image gallery, including something called a "junk drawer" that many people use for just this purpose.
Cool. I ended up putting the image on your FB page, SBL: it was my cat sitting on the wrapping paper from the books.
>17 southernbooklady: How'd you make the code show--a pre tag? (will now test)
that didn't work.
And if you're hand coding it and the image is huge, you can ensmaller it by adding width="250" (or whatever) before you close the bracket. With a space after your url.
Hey, can anyone recommend any books on Cuba or Castro? I have a friend who would like to learn more, but I can't think of anything off the top of my head.
As it turns out, 2016 is determined to suck til the bitter end. My beloved wife Holley is in the hospital. She woke up Wednesday morning in a seemingly intoxicated state (she's been sober for 37 years). She was unaware of it, even though her gait was all over the place and some of her language was unintelligible. She did not have any of the famous stroke symptoms (crooked smile, facial drooping, etc.). That day is a long story, but today we know that it was a stroke precipitated by atrial fibrillation. The next few days will tell us a lot, but we're assuming a full recovery followed by much happiness and longevity. I miss her in our house and can't wait to have her back home. I want people to know, but I am always reticent to post personal things. Some people do it with aplomb. So I'm starting here and working my way to Facebook, which is where I'll be able to reach many of her friends. How'd I do?
Oh Nancy! I'm so sorry to hear you and Holly are going through this. Hope her recovery is swift and strong. I'm thinking of you, dear friend. (You done good, BTW)
Oh Nancy, I'm so sorry to hear that! I'm sending her (and you) best thoughts, but if there's something more I can offer please give a yell, OK? Major vibes for a quick and not too difficult recovery, and much love. (And yes you did fine—thanks for testing it out on us.)
Shit on 2016, really.
>28 Nancy_Sirvent: Boy, that sounds scary. Indeed my very best thoughts to Holly and to you.
Thinking of you and Holly, Nancy, and sending healing vibes. Yeah this year just gets suckier -I hope by the end she is back home. Thank you for trusting us and sharing.
Oh damn -- 2016 is truly the worst on record. I'm sending lots of love and and good thoughts to you and Holly.
Oh, Nancy, I'm so sorry to hear about Holley. Jesus, this year. Glad the outlook is good, though.
Nancy! Oh my, I'm so sorry to hear about Holley. Thank you for feeling you could share this with us. I'll be sending good thoughts your way. If you feel you can, please keep us posted on her recovery. Much love, friend.
>28 Nancy_Sirvent: I'm so sorry to hear that, I hope that Holley has a smooth quick recovery and is back by your side in no time!
Oh gosh, Nancy! Many wishes for Holley's speedy recovery--and take care of yourself, too.
cd, thank you for asking. It's been a tough few days. Holley's condition hasn't really changed. She can't walk without assistance and she has trouble getting up from a seated position. Her language is somewhat befuddled; she often uses the wrong words or can't find the words she wants to say. Because it's a holiday week, we can't see a doctor or the visiting nurse or the physical therapist. It's torture for me, because I have a million questions and concerns and no answers. I don't even know what her prognosis is.
The hardest thing is that there seems to be an essential part of her missing--like a piece of her personality has disappeared. This is making me cry a lot. I miss her and I want her back. It just recently occurred to me that she might not get better, and it shocked me. The whole time she was hospitalized, I never cried and never thought any of this would be permanent. I'm really working on taking this a day at a time, but right now I can't wait til Jan 6, when she finally has a doctor's appointment.
Oh Nancy, I'm so sorry. And to have this waiting on top of everything else must be just terrible. I know there's a lot of recovery that can happen after a stroke with time and therapy, so I'll keep hoping for the best for Holley. You're both very much in my thoughts.
I'm thinking of you both, Nancy. Hang in there, as trite as that sounds.
Ahhhhh damn, Nancy. I wish we could drop in to distract, support and give hugs. How's Holly handling it?
Sending virtual hugs and cups of tea to both of you. This has to be so hard for both of you. Hope you find some help on the 6th. Make sure you are writing down all your questions so you have them ready - its impossible to remember them all when you get to that appointment. Hope you get the answers you need!
Best wishes to you both, Nancy. It's amazing what they can accomplish in rehab now. Truly. Make sure you request a facility/nurses that specialize in stroke rehab. Not all of them are expert with neuro. Also, seek out a stroke support group. They are wonderful resources.
Take care of yourself, Nancy. We're here any time you need a shoulder to cry on, or DG can always make you laugh. Here's hoping you hear encouraging news on the 6th.
Oh, Nancy. I hope getting answers will be some sort of relief. Try to find moments to take care of your needs while you are taking care of Holley. Is there anything we can do for you?
Fancy Nancy, just to reiterate Cindy's suggestion, write all your questions down as they arise. And if you can possibly get anyone to go with you to Holley's next appt, they can take notes while you and the doctor talk. Or ask the doctor if you can record the appointment. You have so much on your plate, that way you can go back look over or listen to what the dr has to say. Sometimes it's hard to take everything in in the moment.
I wish I had something useful to add, Nancy. I hope Holley is able to improve a lot with therapy. Sounds like it's not great, but definitely could have been worse. My mother had many strokes over a long period of time, and was never able to walk on her own again after "the big one." But Holley sounds like she's in better shape, so definitely listen to the suggestions above. You want to take notes as much as you can, ask questions as much as you can. Make sure you have a good doctor who listens to your concerns (I fired my father's doctor) and who specializes in whatever she needs. And occupational, physical, speech therapy and the like can be the absolutely most helpful thing she does. I wish you both the best!
(And the idea of a support group sounds really good. I wish I had encouraged my father to do something like that when he was taking care of my mother.)
Nancy, if you see this first, before you check Facebook, check your Fb messages.
Ah, honey. I'm so sorry you are both going through this. Sending love. Thanks for taking the time to keep us updated. I wish there was something more I could do or say but know I'm thinking if you.
My sympathies and best wishes for Holley's recovery, Nancy. It all seems overwhelming.
I guess I can finally come forward with my own health scare. The Monday before Thanksgiving I went in for annual. I'd been experiencing some vertigo on my walks. And this was the year I'd decided to get healthier, weight loss, exercise, interrupted by some excessive drinking a few days before and after the election. Well the PA seemed a little alarmed when he took my BP. To cut to the chase I was sent to the ER. My systolic number was 244. I think the doctor thought I was going to collapse in her office. I was there over four hours. Right now I'm on three meds (started on two) but I'm so dizzy. Going for a second follow-up in two weeks! My numbers are finally okay but adjustments are going to have to be made. I'm so grateful it was caught in time and I feel incredibly lucky reading about Holley and mourning C. Fisher. I am so glad this was the year I decided to get healthy (sneer.) Thanks for listening.
Holy cow, Karen, what a scare! I'm so glad things are improving and they're getting things sorted out. Take care, please.
Oh jeez, Karen, I'm glad you're OK. I guess this is the year you're going to get healthy or else, huh? I think a lot of us are hitting that threshold.
But mainly I reiterate:
I love that button Lisa.
I'm so glad that you decided to visit the doctor Karen, and that she sent you to emergency immediately. And thanks for sharing. We are all quite private, but knowing what's going on in our lives is important.
Oh, Karen, what an ordeal. I'm so sorry.
Wanted to give you guys a follow-up on Holley. We were able to get a visiting nurse and physical therapist to come last week. We got some good info, along with some exercises to help with cognition and balance. She has really made some progress over the last day or so. Her personality seems to be coming back. She started being her old bossy self last night, which made me very happy. I feel a great deal of hope, and I didn't even cry yesterday. Thank you all for the good wishes; they meant a great deal to me. Happy new year, and F.U. 2016.
Happy New Year to everyone - I'm going to try to stay up till midnight but it hasn't been the same since Dick Clark died. And what the hell, Jenny McCarthy?
And before Dick Clark there was Guy Lombardo. Yes I am that old.
I saw a review for Louis de Benieries new book with a horrible title: The Dust That Falls from Dreams
I haven't cared for his last few after Birds Without Wings; has anyone read this and can tell me how it is?
ETA ok, its not a new book,its new in paperback.
I hit the sack at 10:30. Happy new year to all! Tomorrow my mom will be 90 years old. Unbelievable. The woman never exercised a day in her life. We're supposed to be taking cake and ice cream to the assisted-living place where she lives, but they've been on lockdown for 3 days because of something going around. My brother came from 6 hours away to celebrate. We're hoping the lockdown is over tomorrow.
The ones I liked most (but it's been years since I read them) are the more recent in her career -- An Awfully Big Adventure, According to Queeney (but I'm a Sam Johnson fan, also) and The Girl in the Polka-dot Dress
Kat Warren likes her too, I think so she may have other recs.
I really enjoyed Polka Dot Dress but I wouldn't start with that one. It was unfinished when she died, I believe and the ending rather reflects that.
I always mix up Beryl Bainbridge and Pat Barker -- I've read both and they're so different! But still I mix them up.
Margaret Atwood wins Lifetime Acheivement Award at NBCC
How do you do a link here?
>72 southernbooklady: ok thanks I was remembering from RV days using the href, and totally forgot the a before it. Will remember now (she says, after turning 60 and assumes that getting older will mean remembering more!)
>75 cindydavid4: I think you remember more, but there is less worth remembering more about. :-)
OK, I have to pick the next book for my book club, and I'm dithering. I had been thinking Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, but we've done like a billion WWII books. So I am considering The Nix. (I want a fairly long book, because I need the extra time to clean up my house before they all come over!) For those who have read it, would it be a good book for a group discussion? I am also considering a couple of TC Boyle books, including The Harder They Come, but I only have a library book of that one, and I tend to wait until the last minute to read these books, so I can remember them for discussion.
Any other suggestions? I mean, no pressure, there are a billion books out there. Heh.
Lisa likes The Nix (I think) and I don't (I'm about 75% through) mainly because I'm struggling with the two main characters, but there is lots and lots to talk about and it is a very easy read. Plus, there is a great scene in the middle with a camel. My book group and has discussed three Boyle's and loved all and all produced great discussions.
It was announced today that Bailey's is dropping sponsorship of the formerly titled Orange Prize in the U.K. Doesn't it feel like the world is getting shittier by the day?
>79 mkunruh: Oh yeah, I did like The Nix while I was reading it. Though in retrospect I'm not sure I remember a single thing about it. Funny how books do or don't lodge in our consciousness.
>80 alans: Are they going to cancel the entire prize, or find another sponsor? Either way, the world is definitely getting shittier. No argument from me there.
I resubscribed to the New Yorker and NYRB, because I need my escapes, dammit.
No they are trying to find a new sponsor for 2018, I have no idea how that works but I guess they will have to find someone with deep pockets.
The Story Prize just released their annual long list (hooray-best news all week!!) and Homegoing is on the list. I don't know much about the book apart from hearing how much people loved it,but isn't it a novel?
Can someone please suggest a really good biography of Papa Hemingway? There are so many I don't know which to go with.
I'm not sure where to post this, but this link was on my Facebook feed today:
No, was just thinking of her yesterday. Its been a while I think. Hope she's doing ok
I'm good, thanks for asking. Just went on a little internet/TV/mental health break.
No real recommendations for a Papa bio. I've only read the Carlos Baker one, which was the big one for awhile, but also one written by a Papa friend.
I live in Papa's hometown and there's a local museum with his name on it and no fewer than three homes with plaques with his name on them. But he left town after high school and never came back, leaving behind only a likely apocryphal line that Oak Park was "a village of broad lawns and narrow minds."
To which I would add, a la Woody Allen in "Annie Hall," 'Yes, but for the left."
And then there's this:
Little bit of poison for everyone:
The publication of Ernest Hemingway’s complete correspondence is shaping up to be an astonishing scholarly achievement. We are already on the third of a projected seventeen volumes, minimum, which will include in their entirety every surviving letter, postcard and telegram sent by Hemingway. Meticulously edited, with shrewd introductory summaries and footnotes tracking down every reference, the series brings into sharp focus this contradictory, alternately smart and stupid, blustering, fragile man who was also a giant of modern literature.
We don't seem to have an "info please" thread or a "LibraryThing help" thread here, though I know they're all over the place on the site. But I am looking for info on a CURRENT bar code scanner (for Android) that I can use to scan my library into a file I can export. All the stuff I am finding through the FAQ and Wiki, etc., are from years and years ago (like 2010-we're talking the version of windows listed is Windows XP and Windows 98; even the last post in the Cue Cat group was from 2014). Most of the apps mentioned don't even exist anymore. So, can any of you help me with that? I am just hoping I can find a way to scan the bar code of my books so that they'll go into an Excel file or similar, and I can import that here. When I joined here a billion years ago, I did it by hand, and it was a pain, and is no longer accurate at all! Help! :)
To paraphrase the apocryphal Hemingway saddest short short story ever .... "For sale .... 17 volumes of letters ... never opened."
There's an android app in development for LT that will allow for scanning, Julie, but it hasn't been released yet -- they are saying April, I think.
Thank you, Nicki! If they can get a LT android app that scans directly here, I'll take it! In the meantime, maybe I will actually organize my books first, and get rid of the stuff I don't want (there's a ton of stuff I've got in boxes to get rid of, but of course I haven't done it). So when the app is ready, my real shelves will be too!
Excerpt from The Strays by Emily Bitto
"IN A HOUSE, AS IN A GARDEN, there is a point when over-mingling can occur. At first, when the new plants are dug in, there is too much space between them. They seem artificial, temporary. Then, as they grow, the bed finds a point of balance, the taller trees occupying the upper layers, the sprawling shrubs—the hydrangeas, buddleia, pittosporum—filling out the middle, and the smaller bulbs and ground covers punctuating the under-spaces. Then, without warning, equilibrium is lost. A rampant jasmine covers an adolescent tree; a hydrangea thrives, forcing out a lilly pilly that struggles for light beneath a spreading magnolia. The spaces are subsumed.
In the house, there was a period when everyone thrived. Even Heloise had been noticed by Jerome, who was sitting down with her on most days and doing sums and geography, and reading poetry. “She has real talent,” he said to Helena, over the kitchen bench. She raised an eyebrow ambiguously but didn’t comment. Then, slowly, the balance began to slip."
Start reading it for free: http://a.co/0E7eMpG
Pat, they're here. But I see them a lot on Facebook too (not sure if you use that much).
Today I turned 60, and it came as a bit of a surprise. We've had so much going on that I didn't have much time to think about the fact that I am changing decades. It would have been so easy to stay in and watch TV; it was freezing cold outside and Holley was in some pain. So we jacked her up (down?) with painkillers and ventured out this afternoon.
I had received a couple of B&N gift certs as gifts, so we headed there and I gleefully bought three books (again, painfully embarrassed that I don't yet know how to link, but there's only so much a gal can take in at 60):
SWING TIME - Zadie Smith (everyone knows about this book, and i've wanted to read it and own it for a while and now I do)
WHAT BELONGS TO YOU - Garth Greenwell (kind of the gay novel of the year, many good, thoughtful reviews, and just out in PB; have also wanted to read for a while)
THE GIVEN WORLD - Marian Palaia (debut novel, just out in PB, just heard about it yesterday, thought I'd throw caution to the wind)
I'm saving some of the gift cert for March 14 when Ariel Levy's memoir, THE RULES DO NOT APPLY is released. I like her writing very much (New Yorker) and I believe her memoir is about when everything important in her life changed suddenly. I can't wait to read it.
So for the rest of my birthday I bought a Revlon Kiss Lip Balm in (color) Berry Burst at CVS; we had a piece of Boston Cream Pie and fabulous coffee at a hipsterish place downtown; and then tonight we were treated to a wonderful dinner at a great seafood place downtown.
So given that for months I have not been reading books, drinking, or going out for dinner, I had a pretty freakin' great birthday.
>99 Nancy_Sirvent: Happy 60th birthday, Nancy! It sounds like you had a lovely day. I tell everyone that 60 is the new 40. I'm 62, and I'm living it every day.
Who's following the ToB? Gayla, you are, aren't you? Anyone else? I was all excited because I thought it started today, but I see that it really begins on Wednesday. Phooey!
Nancy, that sounds like a smashing birthday, especially the lip balm.
I turned 50 last October with absolutely no fanfare (by design) and my closest friend does the same this coming October, so we decided to avoid having birthday parties (it involves two cities and way too much who-gets-invited politics for me at this stage) and we're just going to New Orleans at the end of the month for five days, just to bum around. It'll be interesting to visit New Orleans not drinking, not during Mardi Gras, and not when it's blisteringly hot. We've declared it a no-voodoo, no-cemetery no-beignet trip -- we have a house on a streetcar line and the idea is to just ride it to different neighborhoods each day and just wander around and see what strikes us in each one.
The only definite plan is to see The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore -- we're there the weekend after the Tennessee Williams Festival, but this production is a holdover from that.
How can you have a no beignet trip in New Orleans? Is that even possible?
I turned 60 this year too - I don't feel any different tho I did notice the beginning of crepy skin on my arms yesterday! Ah well. My sis turned 70 and we had a huge combination party with friends and family. Many of my friends who also turn 60 this year were there. Thinking about it, would have been fun to have planned something like a NOLA trip. Ah well, we'll wait till next decade
It's just shorthand for "no things we did the other times we went"
Plus, eh, it's a funnel cake.
Happy birthday, Nancy. I have that same lip balm! It's the best!
I like the 60 is the new 40 thing, because also 40 is the new 28, so that makes me about 25, I think (I was an art history major so I haven't done algebra in a long time), which is super because I very much enjoyed 25 the first go round.
Happy happy birthday, miz Nancy! That sounds like a good one. I think you'll like The Given World—I enjoyed it, and Swing Time too.
At 25 I had a 1-year-old, so I wouldn't mind a do-over. Then again, if I hadn't had the kid, I'd have been more of a danger to myself than would have been healthy, so maybe I'll just stick with this 54-is-the-new-19 or whatever I'm looking in the eye.
Kat.Warren, did you see this on the New Yorker blog?
Grace Paley, the Saint of Seeing. By George Saunders, no less, who seems to be this season's go-to guy for writing about literary matters of the heart and soul—a good choice. It's a lovely vignette, and a terrific piece of writing on its own.
Paley’s approach is to make a dazzling verbal surface that doesn’t so much linearly represent the world as remind us of its dazzle. Mere straightforward representation is not her game. In fact, she seems to say, the world has no need to be represented: there it is, all around us, all the time. What it needs is to be loved better. Or maybe: what we need is to be reminded to love it, and to be shown how, because sometimes, busy as we get trying to stay alive, loving the world slips our mind.
All these agitated manic New York voices explaining themselves! You feel the stress and pace and wild aspirations of the city as it was. And is. The city is the energy coming off a million hustling souls who have both forgotten they will die soon and are very actively feeling that, ah God, they most definitely will. So what do they do? They talk.
It makes me want to get out my old copy of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute. (Come to think of it, someone yesterday liked my ancient review of that book on Goodreads... that must be the mysterious link. Or not.)
Kat, this isn't about a plague, but it still might be up your alley:
Also, an article:
Please, please, please do not deprive yourselves of this extraordinary article in last week's New Yorker:
THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FOR REFUGEES by Jake Halpern.
"Vive occupies a former schoolhouse next door to an abandoned neo-Gothic church with boarded-up windows. More than a quarter of the nearby properties are vacant “zombie homes,” and the area contains some of the cheapest real estate in America. Vive residents rarely venture into the neighborhood. A staff member told me, “Agents from the Border Patrol circle the building all the time.” So far, the schoolhouse has not yet been subjected to a raid, which would require a warrant.
In theory, people who come to Vive could have stayed in their home countries and applied for a visa through the U.S. State Department’s lottery system. But in 2015, out of more than nine million visa applications, fewer than fifty thousand were granted. For people in urgent situations abroad, there is another option: they can simply show up in a safe country and request asylum. Those with money fly directly to the U.S. on tourist visas and, upon arriving, request protection. Poorer migrants stow away on boats, hop on freight trains, and cross deserts. After making their way out of Africa or Asia, they often head to Latin America and then travel overland to the U.S. border. Some hire human traffickers to smuggle them. Many show up at Vive almost penniless.
Of the people who arrived at the schoolhouse last year, roughly ten per cent came from the seven countries included in the Trump Administration’s proposed travel ban. Most arrivals do not intend to stay in the U.S. In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to win asylum in America, and since 2011 the number of pending asylum requests has grown tenfold; applicants often wait years for an answer, and in the end more than half are rejected. But there’s another option, just four miles due west of Vive’s schoolhouse, across the Niagara River: Canada...."
It's very long and would require a good chunk of your time, but I promise you won't regret it. Several individual and arduous journeys are described in detail, along with the amazing work being done at the Vive House. The author winds up the piece with a specific and intimate report of one young refugee's desperate cross-country attempt (he aids the young man for most of his trip)
Omit the Oxford comma at your peril:
Well, this is cool!
I was also completely bowled over by the NYer article on the underground railroad to Canada. I think that journalist deserves an award for that work. it was just increcibly moving and so well told.
Via LitHub, this just made my night, and my week, and reaffirmed why I keep my New Yorker subscription:
Reciting Walt Whitman at a Drug Court in Alabama
I love love love Ms. Virginia Mae Schmitt's video.
Agreed, and agreed. I'm so glad I resubscribed... it just didn't feel right, not getting the New Yorker.
hey fellow readervillians, remember RML? He is trolling on the FB page there. My suggestion is to not respond. Do not feed the troll. Just sayin
Does anyone have a subscription to Publisher's Weekly? I am trying to access an interview with Janet Benton from March 24.
>121 laurenbufferd: I have one Lauren. Email me and I'll send you login info
I'm back from a long almost-week in New Orleans -- it's a tough town if you're not drinking! It's like Las Vegas a little bit that way. There's stuff to do, but the city has definitely turned its face to the warm sun of tourist dollars and the few things that thrive in the shade were happy to get mine. I ate five hundred thousand calories a day.
I also went to see the rarely revived Tennessee Williams play The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore. It's terrible AND I MEAN TERRIBLE but also fascinating. It's the basis for Boom!, the legendary Taylor/Burton movie and I actually think the movie is an improvement over the play (and it was Williams' own favorite of allll the movie adaptations of his work, so that's how fucked up HE was). But I'm glad I saw it; I need another Glass Fucking Menagerie like I need a hole in the head.
That new Glass Menagerie on Broadway isn't doing so hot, despite Sally Fields as Amanda
(edited, wrong thread)
I hope some of those calories were consumed at the Buttermilk Drop Bakery.
Some poor secretary at one of our schools sent out a reply all email to about 6000 teachers and other staff telling them about an 8:00 meeting to introduce them to the new principal. She's getting lots of emails .....This happened today at 7 - Im really hoping her day goes much better from here out!
Some of the replies have been very funny - one shows Oprah and is captioned 'everybody gets an email!' Others are asking if this is a district wide party and is asking what they can bring, and others are making suggestions. Another says 'its the Russians!' Very entertaining, tho I think the poor woman could use a break from it all
An interesting article about James Baldwin's home in France:
(Sorry, I don't know how to make that shorter.)
My blog, Falling To Pieces With Jim
With thanks to SP, my enabler and all-round savvy kind person.
I've been lurking hereabouts, and enjoying the various (varying) posts.
>130 Kat.Warren: brought me out of my hidey-hole. I found the post "In the Face of Adversity" especially affecting. I am not there, but suspect when the time comes it will describe me well. I see it already with parenting, and my most successful gambit so far in countering it is through meditation.
Thank you for sharing your blog, Kat. I'll be following and hope we all can be an encouragement.
I have a strange question--how would you characterize the magazine The Week? I saw it in a place that shocked me today.
Kat, it's a lovely, honest blog and I appreciate your sharing your days with us.
And hi, elenchus--nice to see you over here.
Thanks all for the hospitable welcome. I like to stretch my figurative legs here on LT, and the Literary Loft seems like a lovely place to do it!
Not reading consistently enough, but currently have going Gottfried Benn's Primal Vision, a re-read from my undergrad days, and a Library of America collection of the writing of Frederick Law Olmstead, one of the creative mind's behind Central Park and other landscaping projects. I usually have one fiction and one non-fiction, but I've recently completed a set of Isaac Asimov short stories, so I'm not sure what fiction is next. Probably first need to make more progress on Benn or Olmstead, the non-fiction usually goes a bit more slowly.
So stuff like this gives me hope for the human race:
Baghdad's Mobile Bookstore
"I adore reading," said al-Moussawi, who holds a bachelor's degree in English translation. "I have long wanted to meet people like me, so I was thinking of creating something where all readers could gather at any time, regardless of where they are."
That's interesting. I just read somewhere about a really old bookstore in, I think, Tehran that is open 24 hours a day. The owner sleeps on a cot in the back and you are welcome to come any time. It was a great article; I wish I could remember where I saw it. Brain like a sieve.
I read that, too, and also can't recall the details.
There was a bookstore called Morgh e Amin that was set on fire back in the 90s:
I don't know if it is still open.
Ah, here it is -- the bookshop is in Amman, Jordan not Tehran (and I gratefully learn that I'm not the only reader to so readily confuse places!). The article I read was featured on Atlas Obscura, here.
>146 elenchus: Yes, Atlas Obscura is where I saw it. Thank you so much for finding it. That's such a great story.
Ok, my friends, I need a virtual hug right now...in the form of helping me figure out what (how) to read! I'm feeling a bit lost, a bit sad, a bit depressed, a bit lonely and unloved (just a little bit!). Like I need to "find" myself or something. I think it's temporary. But I think part of it is ongoing and is because I just simply can barely read anymore. I kept thinking it was a temporary reading slump, but it's been going on for around two years now, maybe longer. That's not a slump, that's a complete change in me and my life. So I miss reading, I miss having the feelings I felt when I was reading. I think the only way around this problem is through it, so I need to just make myself read...scheduling time, making a chart I have to check off, setting reminders/timers, something!
That said, what books can you recommend that will help me get through this? I don't mean inspirational life guides or anything. I just mean fiction books that have helped you personally when you've felt alone, lost, sad. We are not all in the same situations, and I have a jillion books I have and want to read. I can just try to pick a few of those, of course. What I'm hoping for is someone to say, "When I was in a really bad place, I read XX and it woke me up. It wasn't really connected to my real life, but it made me see my real life in a different way and I felt better in my worldview, in general. you can do it too!" This might be a tall order, but I know you guys are so well read and so good at cheering me up when I need it. So, throw me your suggestions, your lists, your web links to lists you think are good, etc. I would sincerely appreciate it.
Oh, Julie, dear heart.
OK, here is my when-I-was-in-a-bad-place book list:
Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod
by Gary Paulsen
Foreign Affairs: A Novel
by Alison Lurie
The Course of Honor
by Lindsey Davis
by Judith Tarr et al.
by Joe Kane
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
by Anthony Bourdain
West With The Night by Beryl Markham
by Beryl Markham
A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons
by Robert M. Sapolsky
The Communist Manifesto
by Karl Marx et al.
What better virtual hug than that by a book? Which makes your dilemma all the more poignant.
I recall one such period in my life, also stretching a couple of years and also marked by an irritating desire to read but not supported by any interest in reading a specific book once in my hands. I recall just one book, I don't think it necessarily broke the logjam but perhaps was the first log to break free. Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
I do wish you a door, a window through which you can make your escape!
Ugh, Julie. Don't beat yourself up over this.
When I need to clear out the cobwebs, I curl up with an Agatha Christie, preferably Miss Marple. They go down so easy.
I am also a firm believer in Jane Eyre.
Mapp & Lucia, Mapp & Lucia, Mapp & Lucia.
Foreign Affairs is a great suggestion; all of Lurie is, actually.
I'm trying to think of something useful to offer here, but I'm really not sure what to suggest... turns out I have no comfort reads, I guess. If I had to pick one, though, that I always come back to with a warm heart, it's Harriet the Spy.
Not fiction, I also like to read collections of correspondence when I'm feeling blue—articulate people exchanging personal words makes the world feel like a slightly better place. Two that I really like are Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell by Elizabeth Bishop and What There Is to Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell. An added bonus being that dipping in and out is totally kosher, depending on your attention span.
Oh, I thought of one that I'd recommend—and it's actually a fictional correspondence, Carlene Bauer's Frances and Bernard. I read it I guess three years ago, but I'd reread it in a minute (if I owned a copy—it was a library book). It was a very smart and warm book, a little sad, but not in a bring-you-down way.
When I'm feeling really down, I return to what I call my "touchstone" books -- not comfort reads, exactly, but books that made a huge impact on me, made me see the world differently. Rereading them when I'm feeling low tends to remind me of that "OH!" moment, and kind of reaffirms things for me. I usually find I still see in them whatever it was that made such an impression the first time I read them:
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
The Alexandrian Quartet
On Lies, Secrets, and Silence
Coming Into the Country
Song of the Lark
Dust Tracks on a Road
Transformations (Anne Sexton)
Woman at Point Zero
William Trevor's Short Stories
Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
....I could go on. I guess when I feel like the world is closing in, I look back to the books that opened it up for me.
I don't have any suggestions, Julie, but you've got company. I'm reading plenty--pretty much constantly--just not many books and not anything that is even remotely satisfying.
>158 southernbooklady: Niki, I don't reread these much now, but they were my go to books as a child and a young adult that I often went to when I was in a mood:
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Once and Future King
How Green was my Valley
Julie, you might find the last two particularly interesting right now. The first is a book that you really find yourself in the story from beginning to end. The last his a hilarious send up of the Apocolypse. Really well worth reading
Not saying this is your situation, Julie, but some meds have a deleterious effect on reading. In my case, one of them is prednisone; I call it the devil drug: makes me hyper, decreases focus, increases appetite, causes insomnia and intereferes with my reading.
Julie, The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt worked a miracle for me when I was in a big reading rut. There's a lot of symbolism about isolation and identity, a great deal of intriguing educational substories, and a sort of Renaissance intelligence I found so energizing that it was one of a handful of books I immediately reread when I finished it.
Also, I always, always get reinvigorated by randomly picking up one of my many volumes of short stories and searching until something sticks. Until your attention span returns, don't set yourself up for failure. Read something short.
I'm also a big historical fiction buff, so it's often one of those that works for me. Maybe choose an especially appealing historical figure and look for a superb bio of that person?
I suspect a fiction based upon some kind of biological science... something with great writing and characters and a believable plot might do it for you. In other words, marry your passion to your reading when you can't focus.
EDIT: Not sure if you read this article: Science in Fantasy Novels Is More Accurate Than in Science Fiction:
"The prime example of this is Marie Brennan's new series that begins with the novel A Natural History of Dragons. It's set in a vaguely Victorian world whose geopolitics are a lot like our own — except that there are several species of dragon, ranging from giant, poison-belching swamp wyrms to tiny dragonfly-like creatures. Our hero is a naturalist who studies these dragons, and makes a number of startling discoveries about their taxonomic relationships to each other, as well as their place in the environment. That's right — the main plot of these so-called fantasy novels is building a realistic taxonomy."
I haven't read them, yet, but I started buying all the books in that series after I read that article. Plus, they are really pretty books.
I was going to suggest short stories too, though I think I remember Julie not being a short fiction fan. But I always like collections like Best American or Pushcart when I need to keep changing up what I'm reading.
Thank you all so much! I knew I could count on you! I'll be writing down many of these suggestions and trying what I can.
This weekend was not bad. I read a bit of my P.D. James book I've been working on. And Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, so we went to several new shops and got a bunch of comics (and since I can't stand not to buy at least something, I got a little Pusheen keychain with Pusheen in a coffee cup). So I read a bunch of comics, which is not normally something I am able to do. Not exactly reading a novel, but it's something that kept my interest for hours at a time! That's progress.
As I said, I'll be making a list with your suggestions and seeing what I can make stick. I may start with some short stories and essays, though I'm not often a fan of short stories. Who knows? I may be different now.
I'm with you on this Julie -- I thinking I'm easing out of my slump but I did wonder for a bit if I was done with reading.
Something that worked for me was listening to audio books on the way to work (I have a very short commute -- about 15 minutes) and getting the kindle print version as well and alternating between the two. It was a bit like a running jump. I also look for opportunities to read with limited access to technology (like the bath), so that when my brain wandered I couldn't pick up my iPad and play a game (plus I wouldn't be interrupted, which is a big problem in my house). And for a brief time I set a timer for 20 minutes and read for that period. I also stopped looking for the silver bullet book and just trudged through some books -- I'm still doing that. Even when they weren't great I feel really good finishing them. Oh, and I'm returning to my old habit of opening my Kindle app on my phone and reading when I'm in line or waiting for someone rather than playing 2048 or Bubblewitch.
Finally, finally, be aware of books that push buttons, acknowledged that they do, and ditch them. It's better to read a book that is a bit boring or less challenging than one that could lead to less than positive introspection. You can always return to the book when you're in a better headspace/less tired.
I'm listening to books, because I have a commute of over an hour each way, so that is something. And I listen in bed.
I think a big part of it is that I don't live alone anymore. My brother lives in my house and is unemployed, so he's almost literally always there. I can go back in my bedroom and read any time I want, but for some reason, it's not the same when there's someone else in the house...weird, right? But I'm going to fight through it!
But I think I'm going to try at least 30 minutes several times a week, and see how that goes (not every day, because that's too much pressure if I'm in the mood for a tv show or I'm hanging with my brother).
Interesting article linked on the "Former Readervillians" Facebook page by Jessica Black. YOU ARE WHAT YOU READ: https://psmag.com/news/why-sci-fi-fans-are-morally-loose
One of the coolest things about it is that it mentions BOOKBALLOON!
I like that Bookballoon citation to be sure.
Interesting article. Freighted with judgmental words, could not be helped, I expect. Kudos to Jessica for tackling this.
The article makes the conclusions seem facile, don't you think? It all pretty much rests on the (unstated) definitions of what is "morally dubious" or "morally strict" but the truth is that any literature -- even literary fiction -- can be read narrowly, and thus without engendering any empathy. And even the most formulaic genres can evoke in us a sense of empathy and sympathy if we open ourselves to the experience.
>168 Kat.Warren: Yeah I remember this survey, ended up not finishing it because of the wording of questions and answers. Way too much ambiguity to make any conclusion of the resutls.
>169 southernbooklady: . the truth is that any literature -- even literary fiction -- can be read narrowly, and thus without engendering any empathy. And even the most formulaic genres can evoke in us a sense of empathy and sympathy if we open ourselves to the experience.
Exactly. Not to mention the fact that the readers who I know here and elsewhere are unlikely to stick to just one type of book - I read 'lit fiction', sci fi, fantasy, historic fiction, historic fantasy, speculative fiction.... as well as non fiction biography, history and travel narratives, among others. How do you get any match on my moral standing from that melting pot?
Update on my reading problems: I'm still trying! I've been making myself read for at least 30 minutes a night. So far, not a problem. Sometimes I read for longer than that, but not more than an hour or so, so far. BUT, something I've been actively working on that I think is helping me: I'm really trying to "get into" everything I watch and read. So, if I'm watching a sci-fi or fantasy show, I'm trying to really put myself into the show. Same thing when I'm reading. Rather than just passively sit there, I'm trying to get my mind more into it, to use my imagination. I think it's helping me enjoy things more, so I'm going to keep trying. It sounds really weird, right? But in adulthood, especially since I started taking anti-depressants about 12 years ago, I feel like I lost my imagination. So I'm trying to get it back, bit by bit! And I hope this will help me enjoy reading again. THE END (for now).
(Current read: Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James. Also started His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik, because I started the book Pat D recommended, The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, which I was really liking. But I can't decide if I should buy a hardback or just the Kindle version, and I discovered I already owned Novik's book, which I saw recommended by someone, so I started reading that to see if I could stomach dragons. I have never liked high fantasy before, much, but I'm willing to try!)
I think of Novik's dragon books more as Regency romance (with the dragon as the romantic partner) rather than fantasy.
And, glad you're making progress on reading. Working to be in the moment is hard, speaking as someone who struggles with that, but does make a difference.
I've been having the same issues with my reading this year. It happens to me every few years and this year it has been especially bad. My problem is severe OCD,I am a terrible reread er,which can be crippling. Last year I was reading a book a week,today I have read two books since January and one was a super quickie with big print. I am seeing someone for my condition and that is great. I don't know if this is your situation Julie,but I try and read things that are super easy for now just to relax and get the flow.
I think the wonderfulness of sites like librarything and goodreads is that we are a people who live to read. When something gets in our way,for me my terribly debilitating OCD,it's like the world is all garbage and not flowers. I have to find my way back to reading,sort of like learning a new way to walk I guess. I understand the frustration Julie,take lots of deep breathes and take it slowly. Dare I say,take it one line at a time?
>173 mkunruh: I think of Novik's dragon books more as Regency romance (with the dragon as the romantic partner) rather than fantasy.
Yup, my thought exactly. And in her book Uprooted was similar, but this time it was a 17 year old girl with a 100+ wizard named Dragon. That name should have been my first clue..
>174 alans:, reading super easy books is a good idea, even if they aren't fabulous, they don't demand a great deal of brain energy yet they sill require you to stay focused on a print page for a period of time.
>175 cindydavid4:, heh. I forgot his name was Dragon. I didn't love the Dragon series but I quite enjoyed Uprooted.
Does anyone listen to Podcasts? I've really been grooving on the New Yorker Fiction podcasts lately. Last night I listened to Tony Earley reading William Maxwell's "Love" and it was rather magical.
>177 LuRits: I listen to quite a few podcasts--many book and politics centered. Have you listened to S-Town?
I love podcasts—I do a 2.3-mile power walk some mornings (when I can get up early enough) and have a few that I pick from: Longform, Design Matters, On Being, and the New York Public Library Podcast. There are a few I have lined up to check out, too: The Memory Palace, Stoner, and 99% Invisible (sorry, I'm too whupped to make links, but they're all easily Googlable)... if I were better about walking every morning I'd be able to listen to everything I want to. (But that means getting up at 5:30 and lately I've been prioritizing sleep over exercise because, you know, life.) None of them are serials, though—I like the kind that are discrete episodes.
I also love podcasts. S-Town was riveting but disconcerting. I wanted to talk about it a lot, but only one other person I knew listened to it. I might listen to the whole thing again because I continue to have more thoughts and feelings about it.
I regularly listen to Strangers, the Moth, Mortified*, Beautiful/Anonymous, Snap Judgment, Fresh Air, This American Life.
*Mortified is hilarious. It's adults of all ages doing public readings from their own teenage diaries. I like the good story-telling in all of the above.
>180 Nancy_Sirvent: *Mortified is hilarious. It's adults of all ages doing public readings from their own teenage diaries. OK, I'm going to have to check that one out for sure.
I haven't been able to get into podcasts consistently, but I looked up some of the ones mentioned above and I might give a few a try.
Julie, I don't think Novik's books have much in common with Brennan's except, of course, dragons. I could be wrong. I remember reading the first in the Temeraire series quite a while back. It was when I was first getting into YA fiction.
>178 AprilAdamson: I loved S-Town and have listened to it twice already.
I would have thought that if John hadn't been the one who initiated contact -- he KNEW it was going to be an NPR sort of story, whatever "it" turned out to be.
But I'm not LuAnn or April.
>184 mkunruh: I haven't finished the podcast, yet, but at this point I'm inclined to agree with DG. I'll let you know when I finish if my thoughts change.
>185 DG_Strong: -- fair enough and he and his world is fascinating so there's that -- I just can't quite shake the feeling that we're rubber necking a particularly gruesome accident.
I kind of thought the bigger problem with some of the storytelling was how - especially early on -- we were a millimeter away from slander a few times, what with the repeated chit chat about the KKK lumber yard and murder and father-covering-up-son-crime and whatnot -- using their real full names! All of which was untrue, but that wasn't really mentioned except for like a single sentence later.
I didn't have an issue with it in that he was well aware of the intent -- even initiated it. And I actually thought it was a rather sympathetic portrayal of a deeply odd, troubled but fascinating guy.
At the end especially I felt that it was exploitive. And there were some things we didn't have the right to know. My heart broke for him. He was born into the wrong life, and that made him a freak.
Miriam, Alan, et al., thanks for the support! I've been making some progress, I think. I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself or expect to be reading James Joyce anytime soon. I'll keep plugging away!
I keep trying to get into podcasts, but I rarely stick with them. A lot of times, the "hosts" (or whatever they're called) really annoy me. It might just be a certain type of podcast (the type that is recommended by Entertainment Weekly, mostly), but a lot of the hosts just think they are sooooo hilarious, and they just laugh at themselves and have so much vocal fry I could kill them. (Most of these hosts are women, coincidentally. I'm looking at you, Bitch Sesh and My Favorite Murder.)
BUT, I loved S-Town. Yes, it seemed somewhat exploitative, especially at the end (the recording of the tattooing bothered me, and I started to really question whether Tyler and those guys were really friends of John or were just laughing at him). But I really felt for John B. What a sad life, in the end. I still think about it.
I heard that In the Dark is a good serial podcast about a crime (child kidnapping in the 80s, just to warn you, but I believe they finally caught the perpetrator recently). I never did listen to Serial, because it was too popular, and I am a contrarian, apparently. But if there are others like that, I would like to know.
BackStory is a great, engaging history podcast. I enjoy listening to and disagreeing with the Dear Prudence podcast, and Mallory Ortberg is funny. Desert Island Discs is fun to dip into when there's someone interesting, and there are about three million episodes. If you watch The Americans, Slate has one that airs after each episode and features cast and crew members. My main guilty pleasure is Again With This, a rewatch/recap of Beverly Hills 90210 by former Television Without Pity people. The podcast no one in the world but me listens to is InDesign Secrets. If you like InDesign and LOVE secrets, give it a try!
I think Bitch Sesh is funny, but less so as it's gone on. BTW, the worst, most unlistenable-to vocal fry I ever heard in my life was a man on a podcast about being a TV production assistant. Like no vocal, just all fry. So definitely avoid that one.
I recently read about the opening, but not all these: thanks for posting.
I want to get there this summer with my kids -- let them see it, without turning it into a "gee Mom & Dad what a boring thing, can we go home now?".
I may be there at the end of June, and in that case I'm stealing whatever time I need from my conference and making a beeline there.
I've been listening to the New York Times podcast for years. They change the format every few years..now they have a roundtable where editors talk about the books they are reading. The
interviews are hit and miss. There is a lot of politics that doesn't interest me and not enough writers of fiction, but sometimes they do a social issue book that is very interesting.
I also listen to a number of theatre podcasts but I can never keep up.
NPR used to have an excellent books podcast but for some reason they dropped it. It was really wonderful.
And of course if you want great literary podcasts check out Writers and Company from Canada. It has been running for years and every episode the interviewer interviews the most famous writers
of the world.
Julie if you ever want to chat off-line, I'd be glad to try and assist you with your reading. I just went through a terrible period and it was killing me. But thanks to help I just completed four books
in two weeks, the most I've read in ten months. Albeit three were very short-but I feel so much better. here for you if you want to talk. I know very well what's its like to be cut off from what many
of us love most of all.
I second Alan's recommendation re: Writers and Company. Almost always a good listen, and she does get a stellar group of writers on her show. Most recently she interviewed Anita Desai and last month, George Saunders.
Thank you, Alan! I'm going to see how it goes this weekend. I need to start A Gentleman in Moscow for my book club, but I'll see what sticks and probably just read whatever I want.
So, out of curiosity, what were the books that you read in two weeks? Was it the books that kept you reading, or your mood?
I actually just finished Where all Light tends to Go. I started it on my way to work and just finished it. Lovely,powerful and very sad. I was recently exposed to the idea of not rereading..just letting the words pass and continuing on. When I'm not inhibited by my issues I can read at an incredible speed. Today was a great day for that.i very much want to read A Gentleman in Moscow. I think the best thing is to try and let go of barriers you may have to reading,perhaps put yourself in the head space as if you were a child again and there is so much wonder in reading. I think sometimes we get so caught up in thinking we need to read what is right or read some way we think we need to read. I'm trying to have fun again with my reading,not looking at it as a test or a chore.
I hope some of this helps.enjoy your book,reading is such a joy.
The Nobel Prize winners are given a due date for receipt of their lectures or they must forfeit their $900,000.00 prize money.
Of course, our man Bob kept everyone in suspense until almost the 13th hour.
You can listen to the recorded version or read the text here. I highly recommend reading it first. It starts off as a ho-hum music bio thing, but stick with it. He gives lovely, poetic and very personal readings of the three books which most influenced him and his music. His recall is amazing, and I was completely impressed.
Huh! I'd just learned her name when I won a LTER poetry book she edited, Melissa Range's Scriptorium. Haven't read any Smith poetry, I'm curious what others suggest.
I'm so excited! LibraryThing's Android app is here! If I wasn't going out of town this weekend, I'd be cataloging all my books! Sounds like a good project for the hot days of summer. When I originally got my LT account, I did add all my books and most of my boyfriend's (at the time) books. Of course, it's all totally different now. Well, a lot of it. Still, I'm excited to be able to just scan my books in!
I've got the iOS app, but have recently purged scores of books and need to withdraw them from my library. I have a dedicated collection for withdrawn books, because I want to know what works were in my collection at one time and document when I weeded them. I assume the barcode scanner will help with this, but haven't tested yet.
Has anyone heard from Lynn R lately? Am I missing her posts, or has she disappeared?
I was wondering the same; i do miss her, she's one of my reading sisters!
Recommendations for a boy who is 11, is having surgery and will be house-bound for a while this summer. I don't personally know him or his parents, but a friend is asking. (She was a school librarian, but I think for high school age.) You guys always have good recs for kids. If you have any, I would love to pass them along!
I loved the series The Three Investigators as a kid, though they may be more difficult to find these days. Not necessary to start with the first book, but I'd recommend it. My daughter read the first and still remembers it, but she didn't feel compelled to read further in the series. Still, my re-read as an adult found it well written, an interesting story, and interesting characters.
First book is The Secret of Terror Castle.
I also read aloud Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library with my son, and we both enjoyed it quite a bit. It's written at a slightly lower level than The Mysterious Benedict Society, with which it is similar in premise and plot. I read the latter aloud with my daughter, and it remains one of her favourites.
>193 Pat_D: I am kind of a walking dark cloud these days, but I WILL be going to the American Writers' Museum in Chicago that Pat D mentioned, for a big American Library Association gala where Nikki Giovanni will be reading... I'm thinking it'll be a black dress kinda thing. I'll be covering the event for work, but it'll still be fun, I think. Which is to say I can probably get away with a few of those local Chicago beers, yeah? As long as I can record everything and take semi-decent pictures and not fall down, I can patch it all together.
A pro, that's me.
I was just looking through a summer reading list over at io9 and thought I'd check out Neal Stephenson's new book that he wrote with Nicole Galland. It's called The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.. The Kindle price is $17.99 and the hardcover is $21.00. That's just nuts.
>216 Pat_D: Here ya go, Pat (and whoever else feels like reading this):
New Writers Museum Hosts CCF Benefit | ALA Annual 2017
Thanks, Lisa. Off to read it now.
EDIT: That article led me to check out the Dublin Writer's Museum, only to find it's shamefully under-represented on the web.
I reviewed three of them. I like to think I am personally responsible when something I review wins.
Yep, kind of usual-supect-y. With one dark horse--any of you Amazon.uk orderers read Elmet? I like the cover.
Some in this crowd probably have access to it, but otherwise, it has yet to be published...
From the newsletter Shelf Awareness:
English Bookseller's Debut Novel Makes Man Booker Longlist
Among the books by many well-known authors on the longlist for the Man Booker Prize there's an unusual one, the Bookseller noted. The debut novel Elmet, "a book about family as well as a meditation on landscape in South Yorkshire" that will be published only August 10, is by a bookseller. Fiona Mozley, 29, works weekends at the Little Apple Bookshop in York while completing a Ph.D. in medieval studies. She wrote the novel "while commuting on the train," according to her editor, Becky Walsh, at JM Originals, an imprint at John Murray Publishers, a Hachette UK subsidiary.
The bookstore posted this on Facebook: "Fantastic news. The Booker Prize Longlist includes our very own Fiona Mozley, one of our talented Little Apple staff. We read it and loved it. Out in August. Watch this space."
Hmmm, I've read four and am in the middle of two more. I own Autumn and will get that read before the shortlist comes out. The most I've ever read before from the long list was 2 or 3.
I don't have a dog in this fight, though out of the books on that list that I haven't read or don't have, the Barry's the one I'd like to read. And Elmet, just because I always like an outlier.
I finished a novel the other day that had a starred Kirkus review. I thought it was dreck. Now I don't know if I should distrust Kirkus' judgement or my own.
Kirkus has been useful as a secondary source for children's fiction reviews because they are willing to be critical, unlike most professional journals I read. But now, I don't know.
I think it was a while back when Kirkus began publishing "pay for play" reviews.
I just have to get this out (I'm one of those people who can't think about things, I have to say it or write it to get it out of my head): I'm kind of thinking of doing some reading based on Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge (a bit late, so I probably can't finish it this year). I've always been interested in reading challenges, but I rarely stick to them. Listening to some celebrity bios has given me some interesting suggestions and has inspired me to get out of my comfort zone a bit (yes, many celebs are readers!)...for example, I am currently reading Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan because Anna Kendrick mentioned it in her book.
Anyway, my juvenile complaint is that reading through the Goodreads threads about each challenge task is getting really annoying. Almost every single post is "Would this book work?" even when it's ridiculously obvious that yes, it works! The category is books about sports? "Would this book called The Book About Sports work?" over and over and over. Jesus.
Sorry, I'm not feeling good, so I'm pretty whiny.
Where is everyone? Every time we have moved sites, we have lost a significant number of members, it seems. And now, we only get a few posts every few days. What's going on? No one's reading? Everyone's caught up with politics? People hate LT? I don't get it, and I miss the discussions, even when I was just reading them and not necessarily participating. :(
It seems to me that BookBalloon has been pretty active since moving to LT. It is regularly listed on the "active this week" list of groups.
I've just been really, really busy, and honestly not very good company a lot of the time. I'm reading a lot and writing about it but otherwise I'm not sure I'm super engageable. But hey, everyone's welcome to try.
I'm sick and crabby and behind and have a bad attitude. But hey, I lurk!
I come here every day, but I often realize after I've left the site that I didn't leave a post about what I was reading. I think reading everyone else's posts makes me feel like I've participated in a conversation when in fact I haven't said a word. Twitter is also taking up too much of my time, but I can't seem to tear myself away, which is very bad for my mental health.
Life changes. New challenges. I am much much less chatty than once I was. Head too full of serious stuff. And, to be honest, not a little self-pity.
Also, the August thing Nancy cited. We must be closet Europeans or shrinks.
Do we have a writing thread? Well, no matter, I'll dump it here.
I almost never get performance anxiety about nonfiction writing anymore—sitting down at a desk to write five days a week for the past three years pretty much broke me of that. And I don't fangirl out much either. But right now I'm working on an article that features, in part, a journalist/essayist/editor I've liked a lot for years, and I'm suddenly feeling an acute need to make it REALLY GOOD. Not that I don't want everything I write to be good, but this is another level of aspiration because I know he's going to read it and I want him to like it. We had a super rollicking hour-long phone conversation and I really hope some of that energy can come through. I get props from the library community all the time, so it's not like I'm going to live and die on his saying something nice about it when it posts, but I do have to admit that having a real live respected journalist/essayist compliment the piece would be a nice thing.
Not that I'm blocked or anything—I'm writing the damn thing. But I'm second guessing a lot of sentences. Lame, but there you go... and I'd never write this on regular social media, so you all get to read it. (I know, I know, this isn't private either. But anyone who bothers to search me out on LibraryThing deserves to read my fangirl dithering.)
a) we need a writing thread.
b) I felt a little like that when you first asked me to submit to Bloom. :)
>245 southernbooklady: Aww. But I think hungering for approval isn't a bad thing when it makes you write better. Or me, anyway.
I don't have much of a fantasy life—happily married, dig my job, don't play Powerball—but it's fun to have a secret little daydream of someone saying, "Lisa, you are such a wonderful writer! Let me introduce you to the editors at the Paris Review!" Not gonna happen, but hey, it beats daydreaming about having sex with movie stars. Or thinking about what I'd do with the Powerball money when I don't actually buy tickets.
I need your help. I'm going crazy trying to remember the title of a book I read some time ago. It was written by a man who was in a coma for quite a while. Much of the book reads like a beautifully conveyed fever dream, interspersed with remarkable and specific recollections of his care and of his healthcare team. It's probably the best book I've ever read about the subject. I want to recommend it to a former ICU PCT who is now a nursing student for a project she's working on.
I know I have the book somewhere in the overwhelming stacks waiting to go up on the shelves in my new library, but the library has had to take a backseat to more important Irma repairs, and I just don't have the time to search the books.
I can't believe I can't remember the title of that book. It's such an unforgettable story.
So lisapeet 's new essay in The Millions on packing up her mother's books is beautiful:
And I'll say here, rather than broadcasting the feelings on facebook, that it really, really hit home for me. Partly, because I loved House of Twenty Thousand Books, and partly I recognize the feelings evoked in packing up a library. LisaP gets it exactly right, to the surprise, I'm sure of no one.
But mostly I found myself reading with a unsettled mix of fond familiarity, and faint but deep dread:
My own mother is the most important "book person" in my life. No one else even comes close, which is something, when you think about it. I live and work surrounded by book people. But mom is the one I think of first whenever a new book comes into my hands. We have sometimes found ourselves recommending books to each other only to discover that yes, we'd already read -- and loved -- that, and yes, wasn't the author amazing? We never finish a phone conversation without talking about what we are reading, we prolong phone conversations far past the "well I should really let you go so you can get on with your day" point, just because one of us read something we loved and had to tell the other about. This morning it was me, describing how much I thought mom would like Rebecca Solnit's books on walking. And if my bookshelves are somewhat overwhelming for most of the family, my mother's are, well, familiar things that I know intimately, and think of fondly. As in Lisa's essay, many of Mom's books are from me. "Gifts," to use an overly generous term for the many books I've foisted on her because I wanted her to read them.
Mom had a health scare earlier this year that had all of us thinking that our time wit her was drawing to a close. A matter of months or even weeks. Maybe days. And while that scare did pass and mom has recovered, I found myself right back in the middle of it reading this piece. I have a feeling that I am fated to be the person to deal with my mother's books, and all I can think at the moment is I never, ever want that day to come.
OK, this is very strange. I swear I left a post in this thread asking for suggestions for Halloween reads for the month of October. I have no idea where that post went. Any suggestions?
249> Thank you, Nicki—not so much for the link (though of course I appreciate that) as for the affirmation that it resonates for you. I'm not always a fan of the personal essay by itself (and I even couched this one as a semi-review), but writing something and then hearing from folks that it gives them a window into their own experience, or their thoughts about going through something similar in the future, means a lot. I feel like I'm surrounded by reminders of mortality these days—this constant drumbeat that life is short and that we're all fragile vessels, not designed to last. So this is one way to think about all that, I guess.
Nicki, wow. My mother passed away a few years ago, but she hadn't been able to read for many years prior to that (lots of strokes). But I still think about books she would have loved (and movies/tv also, since she was a big Dark Shadows and Star Trek fan), and no one else in our reading family would like them other than us two. We never had a close relationship, and now it makes me sad, because we could have shared so much over books we both loved. We were never able to share that, really. Although I am a reader because of her, and my favorite book is entwined with my memories of her reading it to me when I was really small. So I guess I'd better take some time tonight and read Lisa's essay!
I still share books with my mom. It's one of the few, ah, non-fraught ways we can connect. Now my 3 year old daughter and I read together often, and it's always a high point in my day. She has recently started learning how to use books to manage her emotional state when she is flooded ("I need a story to help me calm down!", she'll shriek, purple-faced, body rigid.) I'm thrilled by the burgeoning love of reading. I hope she still lets me read to her for a long time, even when she can read on her own.
I'll bring my roller suitcase to NYC! Your books are usually big hits. (The Spooky Box is a current favorite for calming herself down.)
Oh gosh no, don't be hauling a big pile of books home on the train—I'll mail them. It gives me an excuse to write her silly postcards.
I also meant to say from a ways back—PatD, are you faring OK post-Irma? As far as the book, that sounds familiar, but I can't place it. There's a thread for finding books here—Name That Book. You'll probably have better luck there.
Well, I'd be bringing a roller suitcase anyway, because is a lot easier to haul my company issued million pound laptop around in
But at some point you have to put that roller suitcase in the overhead compartment, and also take it down without giving yourself (or anyone else) a concussion. Those ancient company laptops are bad enough. (I just got mine upgraded this summer after almost three years—from a ten pound brick to a flimsy piece of plastic, but I'll totally take the latter.)
Oh, what's a concussion or two among strangers on a train? (You make a good point. And she does love postcards! She can read and write her name, also "zoo" and "zoom". Heh. Not always with the letters in the correct order.)
I love that Zoe is learning to look to stories to help her with her emotions. I should do that!
Hey, Lisa, yeah we have some major issues post-Irma, but I'd feel petty discussing them considering the suffering ongoing in Puerto Rico.
I still haven't solved the coma book problem, so I'll check out that thread. Thanks, Lisa.
BTW, I read your lovely essay at The Millions and loved it... as I do almost all of your pieces.
Pat, it's not really a coma book, so this is a long shot, but maybe The Diving Bell and the Butterfly?
You could also email Tomato Nation, she does boom finds and has a good literate readership
Dying, A Memoir
Still, as the British psychotherapist and essayist Adam Phillips says, we are all haunted by the life not lived, by the belief that we’ve missed out on something different and better. . .
I'm not really into confessional-type memoirs -- they always feel so self-indulgent -- but I might be into this.
OK, anybody have their copy of The Weight of Ink handy? I need to know how long chapter 29 is because my library copy is MISSING IT. And I need to figure out if it’s one of the short chapters, and I can go to Barnes & Noble and read it in my way home tomorrow, or if it’s long enough that I need to take out a hold on the physical book, which will probably be weeks and will drive me ABSOLUTELY FUCKING CRAZY. But it’s a really enjoyable book and I feel like I should read the damn chapter somehow.
It's longish, but I never have a really good sense on Kindle. I tried to copy and paste it and send it to you, but apparently Kindle as its content limits . . . sorry. Personally I'd go, get a latte, and camp in Barnes and Noble. The chapter's not that long. (Although my sense of long and short is a bit out of wack sense I started reading Moore's Jerusalem).
Well that was sweet of you to try, Mir, and thanks. I cannot imagine ever having enough free time to have a latte and sit in a B&N and read—I know that's sad, but so it goes. I put a hold on a physical copy, for which I'm 88th in line. Thinking that even though I've pledged not to spend money on anything not bill or food or household repair related, I may break down and buy a copy to give to a friend for her birthday and try to stealth-read that chapter.
I still love NYPL and its wonderful ebooks. But that's annoying.
Yay, Miriam to the rescue! She’s sending me her copy via book orphan train from Canada, so I can satisfy my literary OCD without having to haunt B&N late at night. Thanks, Mir!
My pleasure Lisa! It's Amazon that's sending it though, which is why you'll have it soon. Amazon, frankly, is ideal for absent minded/lazy people like me.
It's only 9 pages long, Lisa. I was going to take pics with my phone and send them to you, but Mir beat me to it.
Well you’re both good to me. And my high school best friend, who got all stoked for the book when I talked to her last week, will thank you too, Mir.
For those few who haven't read "Interpreter of Maladies," Amazon is offering it free today for Prime Kindle accounts.
I love that! And unlike some of the memes that get replayed in the library social media universe, that one never gets old—I smile every time I see it.
I've been feeling a little overwhelmed by work lately, so as a form of retail therapy I just subscribed to The Paris Review. Am I mad? I don't think I'm mad. But I took the two year subscription. Maybe I am mad.
I'm so tempted by both Paris Review and Tin House. If I ever find that I'm staying current on my New Yorkers and NYRBs, I'll probably have to reward myself with one or the other.
Speaking of Paris Review, I started out proud of myself that I didn't click on their new Women at Work anthology when it was half price and now am a bit pissed that I didn't, because I'm not ruled by any kind of normal logic apparently. Anyone read it yet?
Another book I'm curious about, because I'm a sucker for sales, is Adam Haslett's Imagine Me Gone. Anyone?
Not yet. It's on my list. I am a fan of his and still can't believe that Union Atlantic didn't get more attention. I thought it was an amazing very American novel and was surprised that it didn't make more of a splash.
Lisa, did you see that analysis that The Millions linked to the other day about literary mags and their ratio of female:male published writers? I might be misremembering, but I think Tin House topped the list (most women to men).
It's not really something I pay attention to when buying/reading books/articles, but it's a (not surprising) revelation. The big, mainstream mags are still oldboy networking.
>247 Pat_D: And the nurse is Irish and he sort of falls in love with her, daydreams about what will happen when this is all over. That was the book selection that Table Talk was doing when I first started (with Greg Hyduke leading) The World I Made for her by Thomas Moran (he has written a few others that I really enjoyed) Hope thats the one, sounds like it!
Also interesting about the book collections of your moms - my mom wasn't a reader, and we really didn't get along (have always been envious of other people's relationship with theres, but we were just to totally different people we just could not connect) And Lisa, I also read that piece, just loved it!
It was my dad who I shared reading with. There are so many books i read in Jr Hi and HS that he read as well and we could talk about them all. Into college was the same; when he passed, I was able to take some of my favs back with me. And its often that I'll be in the middle of a story and realize how much its a daddy book. He's been gone over half my life, still miss him and those discussions
BTW do we have a Drama thread here? There isn't one in LT and am surprised by that. Anyway my sis and I went to see Bette Middler in Hello Dolly, which was just outstanding, and a quiet little gem of a musical called Come From Away, about the canadian town who welcomed all the passengers on the grounded planes from 9/11. (this won the Tony for best musical this year) Well worth a visit to NYC (tho the 5 hour plane ride is getting harder to take. I feel like a sardine in those seats, esp with the guy in the middle seat hogging both arm rests, no matter how many times I pushed...)
Cindy, you star! That's the book. Thank you so much (I wish there was a way to revisit those old TT, RV, and especially, The Atlantic book discussions).
That's one of the things I loved about growing up in New England. The proximity to NYC and all that culture.
Yes, the VIDA count. It's published every year, and I confess this was the first year I didn't have much interest in it—I know that incremental gains are still gains, but they're so small and halting. But I'll definitely put that stat in my "reasons to subscribe to Tin House" bucket.
Cindy, who was starring in Hello Dolly when you saw it? We really wanted to see Bette Midler doing her thing in it, but tickets were way too expensive. The downside of NYC and all that culture is not having the time or money to enjoy it. I've still never seen Hamilton.
Come From Away didn't win the Tony, though it was nominated. Dear Evan Hansen won.
Bernadette Peters is taking over for Bette in January, though I think Donna Murphy is still covering for Bette one night a week. I wish I liked the show more; I don't wanna see anyone in it! Though I would like to see all those people in other things.
THIS POST HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY ALL THE THEATER PODCASTS I LISTEN TO.
>290 DG_Strong: I would love some theater podcast recommendations. I’m a Theater Talk watcher, but my podcast listening mostly involves books.
I don't actually listen to any on a regular basis -- a lot of them get started, have two episodes and then never do another one. I'm still hunting for a good one, honestly, one that's not two super enthusiastic teens from White Plains or whatever.
I am saving audio books for when my eyes no longer can read. Assuming I'm not deaf by then.
I know -- I shouldn't have been so flip. It's those kids who keep theater alive, I think, way more than the $1k Hamilton ticketholders.
The broadway podcast-This Week on Broadway has been running for maybe six years now and it's the best and incredibly informative. It is taped every sunday and the three hosts see everything. One of
them is Peter Filichia and he's one of the top Broadway critics/historians around. I've been listening faithfully for about five years and you learn absolutely everything about the New York scene, not only
Broadway but also off broadway and sometimes theatres around the country. it is the best . They started a five day a week twenty minute podcast called Today on Broadway and I listened for about a
year and then it just drove me insane. Every day talk about Hamilton, which just doesn't interest me. I know Hamilton-the second coming of Christ-but enough is enough. But their main podcast This week is excellent, I never miss an episode. Sometimes they have a guest at the top of the show-these tend to be artists who are coming out with a new cd or perhaps an actor in a show. These guests
tend to drive me crazy because there is this chummy idea about inside Broadway folk and they tend to loooooooooove all of their fellow actors and just looooooooove this performance. Its too drama
queeny for me. One of the best things of the podcast is that they always start the show off with a short excerpt from a show and then end with another one. Its great.
>288 Pat_D: Hee glad I could help. I so loved that discussion, the way Greg led it; made me feel like I was part of the conversation, when that time in my life I seldom did. So that book meant so much to me. And yeah, it would be nice to go back to those discussions -
So I saw a reference to a book called The Corner That Held Them . Recognized the name and realized it was the author of Lolly Willowes one of those gems that I found by being here. Need to find the first one, and reread the second.
>289 lisapeet: Lisa, we went particularly to see Bette. I know other actors are taking turns; Im so glad we got to see her in it! And I hear you about the prices. Not too long ago, we could come to town and see three or four shows. Now it seems two is as much as we can afford and really its too much. Its a shame so much art and talent that is kept from so many (and yeah, Hamilton was on our list but no way. Its coming here in January and since its our birthday month we are going to see if we can finangle tickets....not holding my breat)
>290 DG_Strong: Oh thanks for the clarification. Glad it got nominated, certainly well worth watching
RE Dolly, I saw the film, and it was ok but it wasn't really something I wanted to see. Then big sis calls, \all excited about Bette. And honestly I was pleasantly surprised by how much i liked this. Also enjoyed David Hyde Pierce in it, but then I always like him. Silly story perhaps but the production was unbelievable!
Hey, I'm back from a two-week vacation to New England. We had a wonderful time, but now I need to catch up on the news around here. It has taken me two weeks to get over my vacation!
There doesn't appear to be a tech help thing here (at least not one that I can find) so perhaps you guys can help me out.
For some reason, my text has migrated to the center of the page. I am viewing all comments two inch window, and the name of the poster is squised in with the date so its almost impossible to read. It only happens on this site.I have Chrome, Windows 10. Any suggestions how I can make it look readable again?
>301 cindydavid4: Cindy, usually that happens to me when someone has posted a really huge image in the thread topic. LT doesn't re-size gracefully -- the site is not mobile friendly. So when it happens my browser sometimes shrinks everything down in order to fit the whole image on the page.
Jim and I are just returned from a Thanksgiving respite in the Brandywine River Valley, staying with my dear friend Pat (we were in kindergarten together in Panama).
Jim was perfectly to home, instantly adopted by two dogs and two cats. I was Thanksgiving chef and that turned out well, the pies especially (pumpkin and key lime). Pat gave us turkey tetrazzini the following day, I had forgotten how creamily delicious it is.
Excursions aplenty: Brandywine River Museum, Winterthur, Longwood Gardens, the Barnes Foundation. Best of all: time with Pat for stories and fun.
It was a lot like going home, again.
The visit sounds lovely Kat, and probably just what you needed. Old friends that know you well are such a balm.
So mom and dad were with me for all of Thanksgiving week. Dad only brought one book to read (a David Weber novel). Mom DIDN'T BRING ANY. "I knew there would be something here to read" she says. Still. That's a first. She usually brings at least three books and six knitting projects.
I immediately shoved Umami in her hands. She finished it in a few days. So I gave her MacFarlane's Landmarks, and she proceeded to read bits of it out loud to my dad for the read of the week, interrupting his attempts to finish the Weber book, or watch season six of Longmire.
I sent mom home with both books, plus Darwin's Backyard, an arc of Sing, Unburied, Sing, Tim Gautreaux's Signals and Mansfield's The Garden Party and Other Stories.
After she left, I found more books I wanted to give her (H is for Hawk, Book of Migrations, Hidden Life of Trees, The Door, Ministry of Utmost Happiness) so I've just packed a box. I threw in a copy of Artemis for dad, because he loved The Martian, and the new Walter Isaacson on Da Vinci, which I think both of them might be into.
Biggest shocker of the week? (Well, aside from the incident where the crisco was mistaken for cream cheese, we're not talking about that) Dad telling the both of us that he'd like to read all the founding father biographies mom and I have been nattering about to each other over the last four years. Apparently, that's first on the list to do when he retires (which he's been talking about doing for 10 years now, so yeah, right. Believe it when I see it).
Ho ho ho, it’s Guardian Swap time!
What it is:
Each participant chooses, purchases, and orders/mails a book carefully selected from the Guardian Best Books of 2017 lists (see below) to another participant, round-robin style. This is a long-standing BookBalloon tradition, full of ritual and mystery. Not really! It’s just lots of fun!
How it works:
1.Indicate your interest in participating in the designated thread OR
2.Send a message to me, the Designated Swap Organizer (DSO). I have a highly scientific method of matching gifters to giftees. You can reach me via private comment or email me at fufferdatcomcastdotnet. I need your email address and shipping address. Please include books that you have already read or authors that you really have zero interest in. For me, this year, it would be Joshua Ferris.
3.Once you receive your person, peruse the Guardian lists, make your choice, and send it along. Since many of the books on the list are British, it’s often the case that they arrive after the holiday season is over and call potato chips “crisps.” This is not a big deal.
4.Once you receive your book, rush back to this thread to report what you got and how excited you are to read it. This won’t be hard, because you will be very excited!
The Guardian Best of 2017 list:
Lynn, I did. I will wait until 12/8 to send out list.
right now, I have Lynn, myself, Nikki, Julie, Miriam, DG, and LuAnn.
I won't be joining you this year, but the rest of you all have fun. I can't wait to see what everyone gets!
April, we will miss you!
Fancy Nancy, send me what you have read, own or just plain do not want.
DG, LuAnn and SP, love to hear from you.
Newbies, come join the fun. The more the merrier and all that rot. In all seriousness, though, I think of it as a testament to the way virtual friendships transcend the computer, reach through the ether and make lasting and fulfilling relationships. I just love you guys so much.
"I just love you guys so much."
Ditto. Do you know that my kids know who you all are? I was talking about one of you and started provide context and my 17-year-old interrupted me to say "I know them all Mom, get to the point"
And, I second Lauren on encouraging newbies to join the exchange. It's fun and a nice additional way to get know people.
And to find that you know even more about them than you thought. Whenever I get a book from a readerville/book ballooner, my husband just shakes his head in disbelief. It's always uncannily right.
So the gates to the Great Guardian Book Swap of 2017 close on 12/11 and there are still a few folks I am waiting to hear from. But if you have never participated before, this form of non-secret secret santa, that has an extra snobbish appeal because it's based on British lists, is really quite a bit of fun. Let me know if you have questions (see my explanation above) or throw all caution to the winds and sign yourself up. It's easy than donating a kidney!
I’m in and I’ll get you everything you need by Fri/Sat. The lists this year are freaking fabulous. I spent a lunch hour making notes this week. LuAnn
The earliest swap notice I’ve kept is from 2010 but I’m thinking it started a year or two before that. I think the first year there were four of us and it started on Facebook. Nancy, Lauren, Karen Wall, and me if I recall correctly. The fact it is still going after all this time is totally to Lauren’s credit.
Do you know I've never done one of these? There were a bunch of years when I just didn't have any holiday spirit, and then the past few I've felt like I have too many books to justify inviting yet another into the house on purpose... usually they just sort of follow me home. And the fact that I'm completely dismayed at how much time it will take me to make a list of the books I have or have read should be a good indicator of that. But what the hell, I think I shouldn't say no to nice things right now. Plus it's Lauren in charge of this, so it's got good vibes all over it. So I'm in.
It'll definitely take me until the weekend to put together my don't-want list, though. Be patient.
I was surprised by the lists this time around; hardly any don't wants, and I think that's rude anyway!
Heh. I think this is the first year I have some books I don't want. I normally say I'm happy with anything (and have been!).
Woot on Lisa joining.
I can't help it. There is always something I don't like and I need to make a little fuss bout it.
Hey, strangers. I’m in if it’s not too late. I’ve had an absolutely dismal reading year in terms of books (one reason I haven’t been around much in a while) and I want that to change!
Yay! You know what to do but in case you've forgotten, shoot me an email or message about what you've read and if there's anything you really don't want, include that. And your mailing address, please.
Will do. My evening plans just got cancelled due to weather, so I will dive in to the lists tonight!
I confess that, for years, I refused to play well but was given a pass by gracious Lauren. (Besides, I'm really good at giving books.) For me, at least, it usually is an enormous task to sort through the lists to note:
--what I've read
--what I've purchased but not yet read
--what I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole, rude am I
Nevertheless I did it this year! Redlining entire genres and formats helps.
I just mailed out the lists. So if you think you are participating but haven't heard from me, drop me a note.
Hi all, I just wanted to take a minute for a personal update. As many of you know, Holley and I have had a rough couple of years. Big thanks for your listening, compassion, and reach-outs. I'm thrilled to tell you all that we are in much, much better shape.
Holley's stroke was just a year ago this month, but she's doing unbelievably well and back to her old self. I'm so thrilled and grateful to have her back.
Also, I'd been having giant work problems, which led to (seemingly) giant financial problems and I was in a constant state of panic. I'm happy to report that things in that arena are also much better. We may never get back to where we were, but we can definitely live with that.
I'm currently in a foot cast because I had bunion surgery. It's a real ordeal, but it'll take away the pain I've been having and I am fortunate to have health care that covers it. After everything else that's happened, this feels like a luxury problem.
I'm learning so much about what is important, what we really need in order to live happily, and how different things become as you age. I was trying so desperately to hang on to my life as it was that it's taken a while for me to accept that things DO change and there are things you can do besides panicking.
Anyway, thanks again to all you sweeties who've been so sympathetic and generous. I'm so happy to be in the Guardian swap this year and to know that my invisible friends are always there.
Edit: Oh, and to my holiday-card friends. I am unable to get it together to send cards this year. Don't want you to think that you're off the list or that things are really terrible here. I'll be back next year with glitter and dangly things.
Nancy, I totally get what you mean about figuring out how to roll with change. I'm so glad to hear that Holley's doing well, and that you're both doing OK. This year, man... I have nothing good to say about it other than how important my friends have been. I hope your foot heals up quickly--like before we all get too much more snow.
And no worries about the card. This year I'm actually sending cards for the first time in something like 20 years, so it all come out in the wash.
Many sparkles to you, my dear.
Glad to hear you and Holley are coming up for air, Miss Nancy!.
My card-sending was a little erratic this year -- the eternal problem of two address books and one piece of paper, that last of which went missing (and it was almost all Readerville people, so), so if someone out there didn't get one, don't freak out -- they were store-bought this year, not up to my usual stellar blasphemous standards. But I have a REALLY GOOD IDEA for next year.
More sparkles for Nancy and Holley.
I also am not up to much hohoho and fahlala. Jim is losing words.
Yes, indeed, more sparkles for Nancy and Holley.
I'm sorry to hear about Jim, Kat. I hope you're finding ways to do things that give you joy.
DG, the Christmas post card, even though store bought, is up to the usual DG standards. So delightfully irreverent. Good for a giggle.
Hi Miriam, your xmas package should arrive on Dec. 27th. The shipping on getting it to you by Christmas was $148.00 so I figured you wouldn’t mind a couple of days delay. Please let me know if you DON’T get it on that day.
On another note, my poor city is on fire and everything is unbelievably smoky and we were all given N95 masks - it looks like some dystopian movie outside. We are probably going to be evacuated soon so will report back later. I’m pretty sure our house will be fine so it’s more to keep the area clear for firefighters. Interesting factoid - firemen are cute!
Edited for typos.
>335 Nancy_Sirvent: I'm so glad things are looking up, Nancy. And especially glad for Holley. Very good thoughts for you on the foot thing -- my sister went through that and it was a bear to deal with and very painful. What a year for you and yours.
Re the Guardian Swap -- cindydavid4 -- your book is not going to get to you until after Christmas, but I'm really hoping it will be worth the wait.
Yikes, Lynn, thinking of you. That Thomas Fire is horrific.
Also, selfishly, thinking of myself. We have reservations to celebrate our anniversary at San Ysidro Ranch mid-January ... if it's still there.
Wonderful news that Holley is doing so much better, and that life in general is smoother, despite your foot.
Kat, I'm sorry Jim's disease is progressing. You do seem to be making the best of your time together.
Keep safe, Lynn.
It's been a drama-free year, here. Nothing great has happened, and if something terrible happened, it has slipped my mind, which is a good thing.
LynnR, a mystery series recommended: Broadchurch. Super fine and gorgeously filmed.
Hey all. Here's to a better 2018. This year sucked for a lot of us, and I'm sorry for everyone. I want to forget everything that happened, almost.
Guardian swap: Am I the first to receive my gift? Not sure where to report, so here it is! Thank you so much, Lauren! Both of the books you sent were on my short list to buy for myself after Christmas, so perfect choices! I love them, thank you.
I received The Long Drop by Denise Mina and Women & Power by Mary Beard. Woo hoo!
My pleasure, Julie. There's one more coming - I couldn't decide. But they all shouted your name.
Nancy, I am really happy to hear that about Holley. Lisa, girl, you are always in my thoughts. Kat, my heart is breaking for you a bit - I can't imagine how hard this must be and you seem like the epitome of grace. Not that I think that's important. It would be fine if you were a basket case bitch. Just saying.
Lynn, stay safe.
Best wishes to everyone in the coming year and don't forget, resist!
My Guardian Book Swap surprise arrived from Kat today -- I'm assuming, since Amazon's perverse habit of including ZERO paperwork continues unbroken -- Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray. It looks so good! Thanks, Kat!
Julie, those are great choices for you. Now it's getting more exciting. I really enjoyed selecting gifts this year.
And what an excellent job you did, lady! Too Much and Not the Mood which looks fantastic, the juicy looking Conversations with Friends and the Peggy Seeger memoir which I so secretly wanted. Over the moon!
DG, F+F looks great. Patience Gray has been an interest of mine since reading the odd and enigmatic Honey from a Weed.
God, this is fun.
Wow, they arrived early. So glad you like them. And thank you for organizing the swap.
Nancypants, yours is gonna hit your mailbox closer to Christmas, give or take a day in either direction. Hopefully worth the wait.
I made a 2017 Guardian Holiday Swap thread:
um ok I am really embarrassed, but I never received an email back from Lauren and have been so busy this month I didn't think about it till just this morning. Lauren if you paired me with someone, please let me know who. I will gladly send it after the holidays - sorry if I messed up!
And Niki as you probably notice, I haven't noticed that it hasn't gotten here yet, so no worries!! (besides my birthday is Jan 8 so I'll call it perfect timing :) )
Lynn, I've been thinking about you for days - please keep in touch if you are able to, just to know you are safe. This fire is just horrendous!
I’m doing fine Cindy, thanks for asking. Still lots of ash around so we’ve all got our N95 masks handy (good time to rob a bank.)
Kat, I really liked the first season of Broadchurch but bailed early on the second. I think that second one was the season that had a court scene where the victim’s mother (?) or someone sympathetic was being badgered by the defense attorney and it never would’ve happened in real life. Drove me nuts. (I have a low nuts threashold nowadays.)
Also, the San Ysidro Ranch is fine - the firefighters (literally) circled their wagons and personnel around it because that was one of their top priorities.
I started subscribing to the email newsletter Longform because Longform journalism is my most favourite to read. I had printed up a huge batch of articles and started to read them over this holiday break. I also printed up all of the articles I could access through the American Magazine Awards site. I am currently reading the 80 page article that won an award for Mother Jones. It’s very brutal and really becoming tiring. But what I find in almost every article I read,and my choices were not deliberate,I just selected what was on these sites,that overwhelmingly American journalism is concerned with Black lives, and that Black lives are pretty horrible in the US. Health care,education,prisons-I know you are all well-educated and you live down there,but to read one horrific article after another has just rattled me. Canada has a very serious shameful history of relations with our Indiginous population and a tremendous amount is being written about it. Our own jails are overwhelmingly populated with Indiginous men.
Last night I watched the Ellie awards for 2017 on YouTube. It is fascinating (the awards are produced by the American Association of Magazine writers and eventually produce The Best American Magazine Writing which appears next week)because every nominated magazine operates today on what they refer to as multiple platforms. Thinking about the articles I had been reading earlier in the day,I couldn’t help but noticing that not one editor of a magazine,and we’re not talking about the big Madison Avenue magazines here,some are incredibly obscure, were edited by a person of colour. As a matter of fact the only person of colour was the host handing out the awards,I think he was Sid Holt,the editor of the anthology and editor of which magazine I can’t remember. Many of the editors of top magazines are women today-National Geographic, Highline,Mother Jones,but they’re all white. I know i’m Naive,but it really hit me between the eyes this week.
Alan, do you listen to the Longform podcast? It's my favorite out of all I listen to, I think—good meaty interviews with journalists and general writers.
Agree, there's a big disconnect between the talk people are talking and their hiring/HR practices. Lots of shit hitting fan at Vice this week, which doesn't surprise me at all—it started out as bro culture and I've never heard anything to the contrary even as it outgrew the college humor niche.
I do subscribe to the Longform podcast but I subscribe to so many that I just can’t keep up. I am actually years behind my Times book review podcast which is one of my all-time favourites. I tried to update it a few months ago and when I couldn’t I wrote in panic to Pamela Paul,the editor. She wrote me back the sweetest email,just really really nice. I’ve since fixed the problem but will definitely start to pay more attention to the Longform podcast.
Interestingly,because of the sources of their culled articles you get to experience far more journalistic styles then I could ever afford to buy or keep up with. And I i have to say,no one continues to write like the folk at the Nyer,man is their writing tight.
What’s the buzz on Ryan Lizza? Such a gifted writer..he says he wS unfairly sacked..a real blow to the magazine,one of their top. I imagine many men in journalism are rightfully shitting their pants these days.
Lisa are you a trained journalist or a trained librarian? I remember years ago there was a woman on Readerville going to library school and somewhat anxious about her job prospects,was that you?
>361 alans: I'm a trained librarian, and I definitely was worried about finding a job. But I didn't start on my MLS until 2011, a few years after RV closed up shop, so chances are that wasn't me. I think there were other folks there going for the same degree, though, and—especially between 2008 and say 2012—they would have been wise to be anxious about their prospects in the field, because it was pretty tight for a while there. Opening up a lot now, which is a good thing.
I'm not a trained journalist by a long shot, and am still working at learning the trade. Bless Library Journal, they hired me with exactly zero published clips—just a whole lot of blog posts.
Well, I say pish tush, Lisa. You are an accomplished librarian journalist well recognized by your byline at LJ.
Wow,great for them and great for you. I keep meaning to look for your byline. I guess you’re getting ready to go to ALA. and I guess your editor colleague may know the shortlist for the story prize. I can’t wait until the big reveal.
ALA this summer in New Orleans?
Lynn, appreciated your take on Broadchurch, thankee.
Relieved your home is spared.
Whilst San Ysidro Ranch was spared the flames, it was sprayed with fire retardant which will take weeks to clean. Thus it is closed until February.
Hello, fine people! Very long time, no typing. I’m going to be starting a book soon (writing, not reading) and was looking for the old gang of writery-types for advice. Are they still around?
Hey there and welcome! I think the discussion here is probably more readery than writery but absolutely feel free to start a writing thread! I’m not around here a ton, but you should see some familiar names from BB days. And LT in general has millions of discussions and groups—I’m sure there are some good writing ones as well.
Ok, I just had one of those reader moments that sent shivers down my spine. So on in the 'Reading Through Time' we were talking about what we wanted to read next year. Decided I want to see what they have done already and in 2014 a topic jumped out at me: Travel and Travelers. So scrolled down the list of touchstones and saw many that I had read, but many that interested me enough to write it down. Well one book was The Travels of a Dairy Maid written in the mid 1900s about an Icelandic woman who diceds its time to travel. well I must hav this book! Notice that there is an English version from 2010. Great.. Except no one has it. Went through all my usual site, nada.
So came back here Club READ group and started a thread asking for help. Well one person came up short but his comments gave me some ideas so I did my search and BINGO! Not only is there a hotel with the authors name in Rekjavik, but the hotel has exhibition about her and her writing! Wheeee! no I am not flying out to Iceland tomorrow :) I did email the hotel with the story and asked how I could get a copy but I just had to share this. I swear Im glowing like a new mother, what?
I miss that feeling. There have been a handful of times in the pre amazon days, pre google days where threads connected me to some place or person who had a book I wanted. Now its just so easy the thrill is lost But I am still excited to perhaps be reading it.
ETA the book is sold only at the hotel, its $17 !
Im just always amazed how we each are connected to each other, not only on the wide world web, but on our earth. Makes me grateful.
You know of course I am not going to tell you the book is bad so don't even say it (yes Im looking at you mr. strong :)
Quote from a friend's email. I chortled.
"Meanwhile, let me thank you for yet another thoughtful, generous and of course unsigned gift — The Weight of Ink. While I might not normally mention the fact that I’ve already received it, I think the fact that Nancy (a mutual good friend) sent it to me several months ago seems to complete the circle of friendship — as I’m guessing you turned her onto the book (yup). I have not yet read it, but look forward to doing so."
um well just saw your post in movies and well? I notice that people are panning it. Maybe need to watch again and see if my views change. But hey its about Barnum - perhaps im just another fool caught up in the songs and hoopla. It would make ironic sense, you know!
Ok this is how sick I am. For the last 15 year on Janurary 1, you would find me up at 6 in the morning, going out to breakfast with fellow book lovers, and showing up at the doors of Changing Hands Bookstore to stand in line for their 'everything 25%' store event. By the time the doors open at noon, I am one of the first in line in the door. I get all of my books from my list, see some other must haves, make it to one of the 8 cashiers, buy and check out, often returning around 5 just in case I forgot something.
I woke up at 9:30. Looked at the clock remembered the day, rolled over groaned and went back to sleep. Two hours later I realize there is no way Im making it there at least at the opening. But I did have a good laugh, before I took my meds, got some hot tea, and went back to bed. Maybe I can send David Dear off with a list. It won't be the same but at least i'll get my books!
Kat, bad news for the San Ysidro Ranch. I posted on FB about the catastrophic mud slides in Montecito and heartbroken to see the picture/video of the Ranch at the bottom. If this link works:
A little shameless self-promo - yours truly is going to interview Meg Wolitzer for BookPage next month. Excited! Scared!
I was also a huge fan of her mother's books which makes it extra special
That's super cool Lauren! Lisa's right, you are a great match for her. You got some really fabulous interviews this past year.
Silber's Improvement is the Kindle deal today -- it's $1.60 at .com & $1.99 (CND) at .ca.
>382 mkunruh: This was weirdly timely. A couple of weeks ago my library hold on a print copy of Improvement and another ebook both came in at the same time. So I read the ebook first, because when those are due they just disappear, as opposed to the physical book, which you can hoard. And that's just what I was doing—my copy of Improvement was already a couple of days overdue when I started it this morning, and I was having just a little bit of guilt on that count. I am, after all, a Prominent Library Spokesperson, and sitting on the book would mean that someone else couldn't get their hold, because I read slowly enough that it would be at least a few more days until I could return it, etc. etc. So I was at my desk wrestling with my conscience when the email advertising the deal on that very book popped into my inbox—I subscribe to about ten ebook bargain alerts—and I one-clicked on it at approximately the speed of sound, then jumped up and told my boss that I had to make an emergency library run, and returned the print version.
Other than the serendipity of that, there's also the joy of working in a place where "making an emergency library run" is a totally valid reason to duck out of the office for 20 minutes.
The ebook of Kim Gordon's Girl in a Band is on sale all over the place at $2.99, and that's definitely worth clicking on.
Kim Gordon's book made me itch all over - I found it so painful to read and I'm not sure it should have been written. But I'm glad to have it too - if that's not too weird.
Yeah, it had its decidedly uncomfortable aspects. But as the panoramic portrait of a particular musical time and place, I thought it was a lot of fun.
It's Sue Russell's birthday - hug your loved ones, sing a song and read a short story.
I miss you, Sue.
Sending you a big virtual hug, Lauren. And read a wonderfully sad story from Ann Beatties last collection this morning.
I think she would have also liked Joan Silber’s Improvement, which I finished this morning literally as the train pulled into my stop. But dammit, unfair in the extreme that I can’t ask her.
I finally cancelled my subscription to the New Yorker for the third time. So much of the content is on their blog now and the rest really doesn't interest me. I really wanted to support them as I've heard David Remnick say almost all of their revenue now comes from subscriptions, they just can't live by advertising anymore. But they were piling up and so much of the fiction just doesn't interest me anymore
I got an email from Esquire yesterday offering me a year subscription for five dollars! I thought about it, I grew up in the seventies loving that magazine, but it's just too much too much. I've also
cancelled my sub to the Sunday New York Times. Just too much content and too much Trump all the time.
I'm just the opposite. I am a fairly recent subscriber to the NYer (in my third year) and I LOVE it. I am not a good blog or online reader - I could never have read the ginormous article on South Pole exploration online - so the magazine does it for me.
I keep my subscription active for the same reason as >392 laurenbufferd:. Plus, I'm much more likely to page through old issues sitting in a basket by my chair than I am to visit the website regularly. The last thing I need is another website to keep up to date on.
I haven't read the South Pole article yet but it seems to be the article with the most buzz in a very long time. He's a wonderful writer.
Oh, that South Pole article was excellent. I'm way behind on New Yorkers—I read that one out of order, just because it looked so enticing—but I can't give up my subscription. I usually have an issue going in print form and on my iPad at the same time, so I can pick it up wherever I am... and I'm still behind. But I love having them around, in the house, even in big piles.
I'm grappling with whether to renew my NYRB subscription right now. Again, I love having it around, but I rarely read a full issue through and they're charging something like $88 for a year. Not sure if the ROI is worth feeling vaguely guilty about not reading them. But again, I do like having them around for when I am in the mood. Maybe I'll let it expire and see if I miss it (or if they offer me some kind of good "come back" rate).
I subscribed to NYRB for years but stopped about 10 years ago, in part because I was no longer taking public transportation and lost a big chunk of my reading time. I miss it but not enough to resubscribe. I confess the NYer scratches my itch for good journalistic writing.
That South Pole article was crazy good and the Rachel Kushner story was intriguing too. A great issue.
I don't know. It's a short story about a GRE teacher in a women's correctional facility.
I've not read anything by her previously but I'm going to now.
(The Flamethrowers, which happens to be on sale for Kindle for $1.99, if you're cool with Amazon. But you should read it anyway.)
Anyone else like to look at the LibraryThing recommendations? There are the ones in the middle of each book's page, which you can click on and expand, but also in "Recommendations" in the menu on the left. And there are several different kinds of recommendations on that page, and I don't know what the difference in the algorithm is but I'm totally fascinated by how they differ as far as the books I have or have read that are recommended for each title—like I always have the greatest overlap in the "People with this book also have (less common)" category.
Someone who knows the ins and outs of LT better than I do, is there a FAQ page on how the different types of recommendations are generated?
>400 lisapeet: There's this:
I have enough trouble supporting my book habit without seeking out recommendations, but just out of curiosity I looked up Umami, since I loved that book so much. The "less common" recs didn't seem uncommon to me -- Szabo's The Door was listed, and The Story of My Teeth. Most are books that are at least on my radar.
I don't know how you'd do it, but I'd love a recommendation algorithm that said "You love Umami? Here's ten books you should like that you've never even heard of"
Niki, I loved Umani as well (read it because you rec'd it). Made my mom read it too. We both loved The Door as well, so very much in our wheel house.
Lisa, thanks for the Amazon alert -- I now have Flamethrowers on my Kindle (although as I typed this, I thought . . . don't I have it in paper too? And I do, so sad). Note, Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley and Fates and Furies are also for sale.
I have a subscription to NYRBs and I rarely read more than an article and often forget about it. I should cancel my subscription but I keep putting it off.
>401 southernbooklady: Ah OK, cool. Though it still doesn't say what "Special Sauce" recommendations are.
I'm less interested in getting actual recommendations for things I might want to read as just seeing what books I have or have read are considered read-alikes for a given book. That definitely gives me a feel for what it might be like, or whether I'll like it, but more than that I'm just kind of fascinated by the whole family tree aspect of a book, and how that fits in with my own library or just books that are on my radar. Looking at the recommendations for Umami, for instance, I would totally pick it up even if both of you hadn't said you'd liked it (though you all are my top-shelf recommendations).
>402 mkunruh: Yeah I think Samuel Hawley and Fates and Furies are one-day sales, so better jump on 'em if you're going to. I enjoyed them both, though the Groff had its infuriating aspects. But still, fun reads.
Heh. You were furious with Fates and Furies?
I confess, I'm not sure whether I'll ever read it, but for 2.99, it was worth putting on my kindle.
I thought it was definitely flawed, but entertaining. But I’m glad you still love me.
I do. And I hope you got my email. Which you can answer at your leisure :)
Why has BookBalloon been so quiet? Ive been going through withdrawal I think - Table Talk got me hooked on these conversations, Readerville and Book Balloon continued that. But since we have been here, its been really quiet - sometimes days go by without a post. Was this a good idea, moving here? don't get me wrong, I have been enjoying the whole website, but I miss the folks here and the conversations we used to have. And FB just doesn't give that to me. Ah well
I still keep up my NYer, because every issue seems to have at least one article that really moves me, and/or informs me. Just can't give it up.
And I enjoy getting the recs from LT - picking up on more international reads, and other books I wouldn't have noticed otherwise.
Oh and Lynn, I could not finish the new Dana Horn book, sad to say. I might try again this summer, when I am not so distracted by other things like walkouts and such......
>409 cindydavid4: FWIW, if you click on the "groups" link on the right, you get the main groups page, which includes a list of "groups active this week." Bookballoon has been on that list pretty consistently since it came to LT.
The site has been very quiet lately. I think part of the reason is that many of the old RVillians chat about everyday things on FB. And lots of us post our latest reads and wishes on Goodreads--not a lot of discussion that I know of, but many thoughtfully written reviews and recommendations, and you always know what people are reading. Then there's twitter, which I'm pretty new to, but folks are there, too. I found Daniel from RV there (remember Daniel??) who posts a daily morning observation as he commutes to work. I quickly got hooked on his daily musings, although we haven't connected yet (I'm registered under my dog's name, so people don't know it's me. I don't know why I did that.) Then there's Instagram, which is not me at all because I never take photos, but I love people who do. DG posts gorgeous and fun photos there, as do several others. And Karen Templer has the awesome Fringe Association, which I lurk on and is brilliant, as is KT. And teep is on FB a lot--he should come back here. There are a lot of us floating around out there. It's all more spread out now. We need a few herding dogs.
edit: I tried to link to Fringe Assoc, but I screwed it up and so had to delete stuff.
Nancy, I see you under your own name on Twitter. And you can always change how your name appears—as opposed to your user name—in your profile settings.
I haven't done much over at Instagram because I just have so little time already, though that could change at any moment, but yeah—it's a diffuse social media world. I don't even like FB much, but there's a lot of conversation happening there, for better or worse. And Goodreads has a really good feed for friends' activity—I get an email digest of what my friends are reading and reviewing every morning, and it's one of the first things I read every day. I wish Librarything had the same (or if it does, I wish I knew about it, heh). And I know people's energies are limited. Mine certainly are. But I do wish there was more activity here—I check in at least once or twice a day, and lord knows I have a lot to say about literary things, if anyone actually wants to chat.
I think FB has taken some of the chat component away and honestly RL is intervening much more - I don't always have it in me to chatter away. Sometimes things just suck and I'm not feeling it.
But I am (almost) always reading and I like to hear about what YOU are reading so please, people, keep checking in.
I'm not on FB much, so miss that, but the past two years have been a bit of a stall for me and last year I quit writing (even essential work writing was a struggle) and thus posting-- I couldn't martial my thoughts, so down time was mostly spent playing mindless iPad games. Life continues to be complicated but I'm creeping back, reading more and making an effort to write. Posting here is a small step in that direction. I do appreciate that this group still exists in some form that isn't FB and so don't plan to go away any time soon!
Well, I know I’m not round here much, which I always mean to change, especially since I’m the one who made the decision to move the group here. Also, Facebook, real life, new job, not reading enough, new hobbies, too much worrying about the shitty state of current affairs, blah blah blah.
One thing to understand was that it was either moving here or some other free (in terms of someone shelling out-of-pocket every month and in terms of devoting a lot of time to technical stuff) managed platform like Facebook or Goodreads, or no more group anywhere. Period. There really wasn’t a way to keep an independent forum up and running for the dozen or so people who actively used it. LT seemed like the best option to retain the existing BookBalloon vibe.
I like this as a venue, and I think it's easier for other people to drop in and out here. I think it was a good decision to move it over.
When life gets shitty I mostly want to bury myself ten feet under in work, which is both good—there's a lot of overlap between what I do there and what I do here—and bad, because by day's end a lot of time the well of articulacy has run dry, and my ability to string more than three words together is kinda spent. I'm also a bit hesitant to constantly bring work stuff over here even if it is germane, because who wants to be That Person? Then again, some of it is a really good source of content, so maybe I should be more forthcoming, with the caveat that I'm really not looking for pats on the back but the opportunity to surface some content, as they say.
Good to see everyone dropping in! And yes its a good place to be with so many familiar faces!
I actually haven't been on, or reading much, with the walk out happening.Very anxious about this. I know we are doing this for all the right reasons but I know there is a lot of push back and in the end not even sure if this will matter. Today was our first day - district has closed so its basically a 'snow day' that we will have to make up at the end of May. Im hoping its the last and we can get back in the classrooms. Anyway off to the capitol!
I'd be anxious too Cindy, but this walkout seems to be necessary and important. I'm thinking of you and your colleagues and hope that these walkouts keep the issue of poorly funded education visible and impossible to dismiss.
Somehow I missed this news. Cindy, best of luck. It's an important fight and you're doing it for everybody.
I saw an aerial shot of all the teachers massed at the capitol, wearing red. Raising my fist in power for you all!
Hee thanks! Its exciting to see the energy here, I just hope that it will be enough to make a difference. I ended up not walking yesterday - 2 hours in 100 degree heat with bad knees was not happening. So Ive been helping out at one of the rec centers with kids out of school. Lots of fun, and I feel like I am contributing without killing myself in the meantime.
Whats frustrating to me is that I do not know what the end game is - What do they have to do to stop the strike. I've heard some people say that all five demands must be met before we return to schools. Honestly thats not going to happen, and Im afraid the more radical of the leaders are going to put us back for a while.
Lady on tv just said that all we wanted was a four day holiday. Yeah right, spending all day in 100 degrees in down town phx is a great way to spend a vacation. Bah
Family history from a Panama Canal Zone thread:
Born in the Canal Zone / Panama, or transplanted as a child -- how did your parents get there? In the armed forces, one goes where one is told. But civilians? How did your family come to call the Canal Zone home?
Dad was born in 1910 on a ranch in the Okanogan Highlands of northeast Washington State, a mere 5 miles from the Canadian Border. Guess what his older brothers did during Prohibition. He was studying ichthyology (Washington State -- think SALMON) at university in Seattle when the Depression hit and there was no more money to study and there were no jobs to fund study.
So, back to the ranch upon which, it turns out, the bank had designs. He worked several years for the Forest Service fire spotting, timber tending and so on. Then poured concrete for the Grand Coulee Dam. At the dam, a friend of a friend talked about jobs in the Panama Canal Zone and caught Dad's attention. He set about getting hired long-distance.
All went well until he received a request for a medical physical. Yikes, bad news. Dad had only one eye, the other having been kicked out of his head by a startled horse at age 12. He could not take the physical, he would fail being less than able-bodied. But, he had friends who were able-bodied so he sent one of similar build and coloring to take the physical. And it worked! No computer systems. He was hired and sailed to Cristobal, Panama in 1939.
In the meantime, Dad had been interested in a lovely young lady named Gretchen at his boarding house, younger daughter of the owners. Not much happened but, when Dad left for Panama, the two agreed to write. And they did. Sufficiently so that the correspondence became intimate and the two fell into love. In 1941, Gretchen Radak took the train from Seattle to NYC, then booked passage on the Panama Line for Cristobal where Dad met her on the wharf. They married two days later.
Meanwhile, Mother's family was horrified by the notion of their unmarried daughter traveling solo by rail from Seattle to NYC, then boarding ship to the end of the earth, as they saw it. Gretchen's mother told her sternly, "If you don't marry that man, you come straight back home." I love thinking about the the 25-year-old Gretchen embarking on this fabulous journey. Taking hold of her life by going to the end of the earth.
They left the Canal Zone in 1973 for New Orleans and later for Florida, north of Tampa.
They were married 59 years, Dad died in 1999, Mother in 2001. Two children born at Hospital San Tomas in Panama City -- David Radak Warren in 1947; Kathryn Ann Warren in 1949.
That's the Warren story about how we got to the Panama Canal Zone.
Aw, thanks, y'all.
Meanwhile, I have a confession to make. I have done the dirty deed. After years of hankering, I subscribed to the NYRB Press. $149 For 13 books, one each month plus bonus, no shipping fees.
Kat, that was a terrific story. I hope you have it (them?) saved in a folder somewhere. They'd make a great vanity/self-pub collection someday.
Also interested to hear what you think of the steady stream of NYRB offerings. A different experience from picking and choosing, I think—you get to live in the acquisitions editors' heads a bit.
That NYRB thing is a pretty good deal, I think.
edit: I'm looking at the NYRB Press for a book subscription. Nada. What is it, Kat?
Here's the link, Nancy:
does anyone remember a novel from about 12 or so years ago - a comedy of manners set in a small Vermont town - The somebodies of somewhere? I am sorry, this is so obnoxious - I believe the name of the family and the place started with the same consonant. Perhaps an H. And there was a sequel but it wasn't very good.....................
Three of Weissmann's of Westport? (not Vermont -- Connecticut, but that's close-ish, isn't it?)
No, but that's a good suggestion. I have a friend who is looking for that kind of read.
Hmmm, it's bothering me now, because I have a book in mind but can't pull the title. Was it read here? Any more details?
Ages ago. Readerville maybe. I know DG read it.
I feel like one of those people that come into a bookstore and I say - I am looking for a book. It's red.....
Nancy, I have a vague image in my head of the book Lauren is talking about and it is associated with you! So, fingers crossed.
That's funny. I can almost taste it, but I can't come up with it. I'll probably think of it in the shower tonight. It's killing me.
for some reason I keep thinking of a kitchen. Definitely family involved. I'm pretty sure the author wrote a second book that you (?) didn't like as much . . . silly that I remember all that, but not the book. I reviewed my "to read" shelf on GoodReads hoping something would pop out, but nothing.
Of course, I could also be delusional . . .
That's the one I was thinking of! I had 'H' in my head and Nancy -- odd because I haven't read it. (now we have to wait to see if that's the one Lauren was thinking of).
We can't be certain until Lauren confirms.
If I'm correct I'll tell you how I did it.
Oh Nancy, I just exhaled! That's it. Thank you thank you thank you. No second 'h; but that's the funny memory.
You are my hero forever.
It was a fun investigation. You said it was about 12 years ago, which was 2006, so I started by looking at the 2006 NYTBR Notable Books of the Year. I figured that most people when estimating time in years usually think something happened sooner than it actually did. So I went further back and looked at the Notable Book lists for 2005, 2004, and 2003--and bingo.
You weren't wrong--"home" begins with "H."
My husband is constantly describing books/movies to me about stuff he consumed before we met. Maybe this should be a paid service.
Hi, everyone! I was missing Readerville this morning and I decided to see if this group was still going.
Hee thats funny I was feeling the same a few weeks ago, esp coz it seemed the group was really quiet. But it seems to be picking back up. Glad to see you here (and love your 'not normal' FB lists, I share them every time)
>418 SP_Rankin: A bit late, but SP I have no complaint about the decision to move, and agree it was the best of the options available. I thank you for all the work you put into this site, and do not blame you at all for anything. Just was feeling like we were losing touch - but as I see, once I mentioned it, people responded! A good thing, that :)
Scrabble Mania by Judith Thurman in the New Yorker, featuring Meg Wolitzer
gorgeous, but all I could think of was all the money that house, pool and garden required.
Need to vent. Dear friend who is suicidal (we grew up together in Panama and have kept pace throughout the years). Objectively her life sucks and she has, over the last years sustained great losses: divorced (second time) after 22 years and two kids (adopted girls, one with developmental issues); one girl just graduated from college (engineering) and is off on her own. Younger daughter living with adoptive father, refuses to interact with Pat. She's been through three separate rehab for alcohol stints of 28 days in the last six years. She retired from work (assistant State DA). I think she's drinking. She is a puddle of utter misery, hopeless and distressed, full of despair. God, when she calls the first thing I want to do is reach for a drink myself.
I can't even say "thoughts and prayers," for all thst is worth because I'm a non-praying atheist.
Basta indeed. The hardest part is that there is so little you can do. Although sounds like you are providing love and support, which is worth something.
It's a rocky irony to navigate these days—that as we get more fragile, everyone around us is more fragile as well. I'm sorry to hear that, Kat, and I'm sure your voice on the other end of the line is a comfort to her, but I know there's a cost on your end as well.
So I get those Book Bub notifications and today a wonderful blast from the past appeared. Amazon has Kindle editions of Elizabeth McCracken’s The Giant’s House for $1.99 today. Oh how I adored that book when I first read it and have pushed it on others over the years. If you haven’t read it, I recommend highly.
Other than that, in local news, I got downsized a week ago. So that’s fun, especially when your husband isn’t working and you are about five months away from retirement. Fortunately I have a library full of unread books to keep me occupied until we get settled. But yeah, I’m feeling a little bruised.
Oh Lu, books are a great refuge, but that's crappy news. Virtual hugs are stupid, but I'm still thinking I'd like to send you one.
That, and I need to look at my Book Bub email . . .
Aw shit, LuAnn, that really bites. Another virtual hug (and a virtual bourbon, or the comforting substance of your choice) from here. What books do you have lined up?
I saw that Book Bub notification too. If I didn't have a print copy sitting in a place of honor on my bedroom bookshelves, I'd have clicked. I'm a sucker for those ebook sales notifications—I just nabbed myself a $1.99 copy of Barbarian Days—not that surfing books are my thing, but I read an excerpt in I think the New Yorker a while back and really liked it.
LuAnn, I'm so sorry about the downsize. Lisa is so right about being and feeling more fragile as time goes on. I had a wonderful get together today with a friend I've known since childhood and haven't seen for a few years. I was a little nervous going into it, afraid that I would be a downer if I talked openly about my life and thoughts now. But it turns out she has at least as much stuff going on as I do: health, the health of loved ones, the deaths of loved ones, the limitations of aging, fears and realities about money and work, the terror of vulnerability, the state of humanity in general, etc. It was good to be reminded that we're all riding the same sinking ship. Made me feel less afraid and more like I might be at the coolest party ever.
It was good to be reminded that we're all riding the same sinking ship. Made me feel less afraid and more like I might be at the coolest party ever.
yes, this :)
Thanks, Cindy and Kat. I'm feeling this all so powerfully lately, and I think I'm making some good changes as a result. For starters, I recently called Kat ON THE ACTUAL TELEPHONE and we spoke to each other with our real voices for the first time since we "met" twenty-something years ago. And I hope to do it again very soon.
I also made a decision to stop thinking of my mother so much as someone I'm "caretaking" and more like a person who needs to be encouraged to live the rest of her life doing and saying whatever the fuck she wants. I realized that all of us were telling her what to do and making decisions on her behalf because she's old and has memory problems and we are all focused on keeping her "safe." She kind of collapsed into it because there's a lot of us and we're all loud and opinionated and she did not have the wherewithal to take us on. I had a kind of epiphany about it. She was very young when she had me, and my wife is 15 years older than I am, so let's just say we're all around the same age. I had a conversation with her about how we should all talk openly and about how she should be able to make any decisions she wants to about her life and how she spends her time. The first thing she said was, "Even if I decide to be with another man?" No better response than that from the woman who's been telling you for ages that she's at death's door. I think I'm learning that we can all help set each other free.
Oh, gee. Virtual whatevers (hugs, Scotch, sea breezes) to everyone. I feel you--after several solid years of dealing with the death and decline of most of the parental figures in my life, and the requisite logistical nightmares of wills and estates and closing up houses and mollifying unreasonable people with unreasonable expectations of yours truly, and various other personal situations shifting fairly tectonically (I'm trying to enjoy the new mountain ranges that have appeared, and some rivers in new courses), along with whatever dark games history is playing on us all...well, I guess shell-shocked was the word? One unalloyed good thing is the return of books and reading and music as part of my days. I missed them!
You got that right, Kat. With family room dance parties a close second.
Music is essential.
"personal situations shifting tectonically" is well said. And although I wish we all weren't dealing with this -- it is a comfort that there is such excellent company along the way.
Nancy! Calling! My mind is blown. And you are a brilliant. All these years and I never once considered picking up a phone and just calling one of you. Or, hell, using FaceTime or Skypeing.
Love you all.
Six years ago, one of my closest friend died in a freak accident -- he suffocated to death in a restaurant walk-in full of dry ice when the door malfunctioned. I was a pallbearer at his country funeral and accompanied the casket all the way to the end, when gravediggers jumped in the hole and tamped down the dirt and replaced and restitched the grass back on top, like a little toupee, and it looked as if nothing had ever happened in that space at all. It was a really really rough week, but somehow Beth Lee (you might remember her from Readerville) knew that the thing to do after the service and the burial and then the muted "party" afterwards was to have everyone still standing over to her house at 11pm that night and she flipped the switch on her disco ball (yes, she has one in her living room) and the saddest twenty people you've ever seen danced with such vigor and release and sweat until 4am that there was no grief left in us that night. It came back the next day, of course, but man, I'll forever be grateful for her for knowing exactly what was needed.
Fuck, that’s one of the most beautiful gestures I’ve ever heard of. I’m sitting here crying.
Sorry, LuAnn and good wishes to everyone going through troubles. I haven't been to this thread in awhile. i, too, have thought of just phoning people up. After ten years I still have only met three people from the group, Julie, Sue RIP) and David, who's on FBt but not here.
I'm seeing one of my best friends tomorrow for the first time in a long time. She is going through a horrible divorce and hasn't felt like doing anything. So I'm looking forward to that.
>486 DG_Strong: I love that, DG. My pleasure receptors have pretty much completely shut down in the past year, but they woke up for about half an hour when I was in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago, in a funky Christmas-light-lit space listening to a real-deal brass band and dancing around with a bunch of sweaty librarians and old Mardi Gras queens. Any pleasure-to-flatline ratio, I'll take it.
The only person I talk to on the phone is my best college friend in Colorado who had a traumatic brain injury 12 years ago, but still holds up her end of the conversation just fine. She gets a bit repetitive when it comes to current news, going over a lot of the same scripts every time, but she remembers stuff from our wastrel youth, details and names and events, that knocks me out. So it all averages out to a good conversation once every week or two. Other than that I'm not much of a phone person. But hey, come to New York and we can have some pasta.
What a moving and life-affirming thing to do and to be part of. I'm sorry about the loss of your friend, DG.
i'm not a phone person at all, but still ... I'll continue to throw out the occasional text though and dream of pasta in NY with Lisa. (And Paletas with Lauren and DG) and another round of sea food with the crew in Boston (and hope that Nancy can make it) and the list goes on.
Lisa, I'm glad you got a little joy in NO. Important when so much else is not.
I'm off to TO tomorrow with Bruce and our youngest. I'm looking forward to hanging with my bf (he lives in the funkiest part of TO, so going there is always cheap and fun) and showing my baby child a bigger city. Winnipegers usually spit when TO is mentioned (cf https://youtu.be/D4lYienii0I) but I love how diverse downtown TO is -- plus great food, the ROM and AGO and lots of vinyl stores!
Is anyone in touch with LynnR? Just saw the news of the wildfire in Santa Barbara and it mentioned evacuations in the area she lives. Just wondering if she is ok...
Lynn and Marc are OK, and their house is safe too, but they had to evacuate to a hotel in a hurry and a lot of the homes around them were burnt. Just from her brief description it sounded really terrifying.
Thanks for the update - oh my goodnesss thats so awful, Tell her Im thinking of them.
Jim and I are hosting a chosen-family reunion in the hills above Calistoga. There will be 15 of us including five kids 12 and under. No surprize many of us are book lovers. I am bringing a small shelf of favorites:
The Pesthouse by Jim Crace
Ants on the Melon Poems by Virginia Adair Hamilton
Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor
City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin
Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks
Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker
Four Frightened People by E. Arnot Robertson
Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O'Nan
Theory of Bastards
by Audrey Schulman
God's Favorite: A Novel
by Lawrence Wright
The Legend of Colton H. Bryant
by Alexandra Fuller
Meanwhile, back at the Old Farts Home, my current book column:
Books that prompt me to laugh out loud are treasured reading experiences so I am sharing some with you.
"Corrigan" by Caroline Blackwood -- Mordant humor runs amok in this novel of manners and morality when a wheel-chair ensconced Irish con artist meets his match. A perfectly terrific read.
"Breakfast with Scot" by Michael Downing -- Gay male couple takes in the orphaned 11-year-old son of a dear friend. The boy is not what they expect so hilarity and sweet compassion ensues.
"The Course of Honor" by Lindsey Davis -- A romantic mystery set in Rome in the First Century A.D. Emperor Vespasian's forbidden love is a slave woman who has an unlikely duo facilitating her trysts.
"Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly" by Anthony Bourdain -- The shocking and deliciously hilarious memoirs of a NYC chef. Caveat: spicy language.
"Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" by Alexandra Fuller -- Fuller's memoir of her gun-toting childhood in Rhodesia and Namibia is a climactic reading experience. You don't want to miss out.
"Harnessing Peacocks" by Mary Wesley -- Wesley is one of my favorite novelists. She has a knack for depicting the hilarity of our ordinary expectations. This novel is a masterpiece of unexpected expectations.
"Household Gods" by Judith Tarr -- A woman with single-mother issues and attorney office concerns goes to sleep in Los Angeles to wake in a second century A.D. Roman frontier town. Such a good read!
Just a couple of weeks ago I moved the library from one room to another and that's always like book shopping because I run across things I had forgotten about -- the Caroline Blackwood books jumped out at me this time.
Yes! Too often I forget to post my appreciation of posts like these. Kat, thanks. I saved both to One Note -- I had to stop myself from clicking and purchasing all of them. But the library has many of them, so I can work through them as the mood strikes.
DG, Blackwood's fiction has got your name on it. Sly, clever, smart. I SO wish she had written more.
Some of the old farts really go for historical romances and I am glad to oblige with the few I have up my sleeve.
Shameless self-promotion here - I took a chance and applied to the DJ training program at our local community supported radio station and was accepted. I start assisting another DJ with her show next week and may work up to having my own slot by the fall.
I am 100% feeling myself and super excited.
>505 laurenbufferd: I'm trying to say yes to more things.
Can you give me a million dollars?
ohhh, remind me to tell you my terrible "I was once a DJ" story from my Memphis days when we have lunch next week. It ends with a friend throwing up on the air and me telling everyone in "Simfuh" to bring their trash to the station. It involves drinks.
>502 laurenbufferd: Ohhh that is fabulous! Does the station stream? Will you put up playlists?
>496 Kat.Warren: I should check out some of those. When I think of genres I don't tend to pick up, humor is one of them. But I'm more inclined to read a thriller or sf for the hell of it. I think I'm always secretly worried that I won't think the humor is funny and I'll be disappointed... but I guess the only way to find out is to do it.
Super cool, Lauren. You know, one of my big regrets was having to turn down an announcing spot with the local public radio station in Wilmington a hundred years ago. It was a classical station and I did a pronunciation test and a headline read and everything. They wanted me to cover all day on Sundays but I was a single mother and the kids were teeny-weeny and I just couldn't swing it.
Provincetown has a great and often hilarious public radio station and, when we lived there, I always considered doing the DJ training. I co-DJed a couple of times with DJ friends who had shows and it was really fun. Thanks to the internet, I can still listen to the station. Have fun, Lauren--you're going to be great!!
A dear friend of mine has had a show on WBRS at Brandeis since we were in high school. When I'm in Boston, I often go hang out with him at the station on Monday nights but I hardly think of that as a co-DJing, rather I am the silent coffee runner.
If it's any solace, Lisa, these books are not unremittingly funny or necessarily written to be primarily funny. In the main, these are smart books that bring to light the humor we encounter willy nilly.
I have not thought about Breakfast with Scot in years. Such a sweet and quirky book. Congrats on the DJ gig, Lauren. I used to be on the air all the time, but I’m not begging for money!
Has anyone here read Pamela Paul's My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues? I just heard her on Design Matters and it made me really love the idea of keeping a book journal. I feel like I kind of do that here, but it's public, which makes it a slightly different thing. What really won me was her explanation of how evocative her book journal is of times and places in her life in a way that a conventional diary never was.
Coudal Partners, which makes everyone's favorite little blank book Field Notes, used to have this feature on their site called Field-Tested Books, which had authors writing about a particularly memorable book-time-place combination—I think readers of the site could contribute too, because I always meant to send one in (the one I had in mind was dark: reading A.L. Kennedy's horribly grim drinking novel Paradise during the weeks I spent sitting in the waiting room of the emergency vet with my little dog Milo). Anyway, I'm really interested by that idea of a sense of time/place recalled by what you were reading. Some books I've read were utterly unmemorable that way, but some call up the period in my life or the location so vividly.
Do any of you know any experienced freelance fiction/nonfiction editors who are looking for work? An acquaintance, who is now a literary agent, is looking for someone to assist his authors. I'm unable to do it--I just don't work much in trade publishing these days, and I fear I would make a potentially lovely novel read like a science manual. It might be a great gig--but I can't be sure. I don't know anything about the money--I'll just make the connection. Thanks.
Nancy, I have a friend who proofs manuscripts for grammar, typos and such but she doesn't fix plot or characterization, etc. She has worked with novelists and is on call at several publishing firms. But I gather that may not be what is needed by your friend.
Yes, Kelly Cozy might be a good one. I know Caroline Leavitt does some stuff, but I think she helps more with the plot (etc.) type writer stuff, whereas I think Kelly is more on the editorial (actual writing, grammar, etc.) side?
Hey all, good to hear the local news. Does anyone have suggestions for books set in Austria? I'm doing a #backpackacrosseurope activity over at Litsy and my next stop is in Austria. I'd like something more contemporary because my last book, The Pope's Daughter, took place at the end of the 15th century. I'd prefer literary fiction or mystery--not interested in romance. I can't believe I don't have anything on my shelves.
The Third Man by Graham Greene
Anything by Stefan Zweig
The Hare with the Amber Eyes (not fiction, but a life changing read)
Airs Above Ground by Mary Stewart
and my personal favorite
The story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Von Trapp. I read that over and over as kid.
I think Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd is set in Austria but I don't remember loving that.
The BEST book on Austria and my favorite is Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914 by Frederic Morton.Which is also on this list:
Is this where the chit chat goes?
My mother-in-law died yesterday. My husband and her younger sister were with her. It was a hard week but a peaceful one. I feel like god was merciful and finally took her home. She was ready.
Also, hospice=angels on earth.
I'm so sorry, Lauren. And yes, hospice people are amazing. They should be in charge of everything. We'd have world peace overnight.
I've wondered what kind of training it takes. I don't think I'd make the cut.
Thanks sbl. It's a big transition, for sure.
I was trained as a hospice volunteer at Illinois Masonic in part to get over my fear of hospitals and the potential messiness of death but also as a way to more concretely deal with how AIDS was affecting my little circle of friends. It was the most extraordinary experience and I find myself calling on those lessons now, years later. But day in, day out, I don't think I could do it.
Hospice workers are angels. I've played with the idea of doing that kind of work. It would be hard, but so purposeful. What a gift to give.
Lauren, I'm sorry for your loss.
Lauren, I'm so sorry for loss. Please also give Cal and your boys my sympathy.
I spent a lot of time in hospice facilities in the 80s when my friends were dying of AIDS. I've also often thought about doing that work. I think it would be satisfying and I bet it would give me a whole new definition of my own problems and troubles.
Ah Lauren, I'm sorry. And yeah, bless the hospice folks. My experience of it is also from friends with AIDS, and yes, bless the folks who do the work. Love to you, and your family.
Lauren I am so sorry. And hospice folk were life savers for us so many times with helping my mom, brother in law and mother in law. Wishing you and your family peace and comfort.
Thanks all. It was an amazingly peaceful transition and for someone who had a lot of health problems along the way, it felt like a small blessing that there was so little suffering. As my husband's aunt said, God was merciful and took her home. And even though I don't believe that, I did for that moment and it felt really good.
Hey Lauren. I'm glad she's at rest and will be thinking of you.
I was a hospice volunteer for a number of years in the 1990s - until I started commuting to a job and felt I couldn't manage the schedule. I've thought about going back to it now. You see people at their absolute best -- and rarely but sometimes at their worst. I always felt I got so much more out of it than I was able to give -- and I absolutely prepared me for caring for my MIL when she got cancer. Hospice nurses are my heroes.
We head to the beach soon. I'm taking way to many books in addition to those I've Kindled up, but it is always good to have choices!
It's been so long since I've checked in, I forgot my LibraryThing password.
Next week it will be a year since my hurricane-related repairs/renovations on our two properties began, and it's been a year-long life-sucking nightmare. Florence's impending arrival motivated me to check in on any/all BB buddies who may be affected and to send my heartfelt best wishes. I hope any coastal dwellers have long since evacuated. Please stay safe.
I haven't had the time to catch up on any other threads, but I just saw Lauren's sad post about her mother-in-law's passing. Not sure if you're around, Lauren, but please know you're in my thoughts.
As are you, Kat.
>537 Pat_D: good to hear from you, Pat! I'm glad you checked in. Hurricane Florence is currently making landfall on top of my house. Unfortunately, I am not in it. SP and I are both in Tampa for SIBA's annual show, which is both a welcome distraction and yet incredibly stressful. The person who normally housesits for me during this event was forced to evacuate and took my dogs and cats with her. So I'm feeling very frantic on behalf of all of them and weirdly enough would rather be the one in the midst of the storm with a pile of unhappy cats and dogs in carriers, than sitting in a luxury golf resort talking to people about their favorite books of the fall season.
That, I totally get (wanting to be home in danger, but with family), but I'm really glad that you and SP are currently safe. And that you have a person who is in a safe place with your animals (even if the situation isn't ideal).
And Pat! Great to 'see' you here. I think about you lots.
Pat ditto what Mir said, wondered how you were doing, glad to stopped in. And pls everyone stay safe.
I totally get your anxiety, Nicki, but I'm really glad SP, your sitter, your pets and you are safe. Take my word for it, the aftermath is almost as dangerous and miserable as sitting through a 30 hr. storm. I will never "hunker down" again. It's just not worth the trauma and you can't really do anything to save your property during a storm, anyway. Keep us updated, please.
Missed y'all, too, but I have barely read a handful of books this past year. It's been a real hurricane repair nightmare: fired two different contractors and the third one keeled over on the job and died of a heart attack :((((. Plus, taking care of an 84 y/o dad has all made for quite a retirement.
Things are starting to finally wind down. I'm about a third of the way through Bob Woodward's new book, and I'm hoping to get back to a normal life soon.
Pat! Nice to see you! I hope your hard year is over. It is weird being in Florida, taking pictures of authors and books and palm trees, and trying not to check the weather channel every five minutes and worry, worry, worry about family and friends in Wilmington. I'm in the Charlotte area, so my situation is not nearly as dire as Nicki's (and good lord, she is a model of calm), but I think the drive home is going to be...eventful?
When are you two planning on returning?
If your aftermath was anything like ours you won't have power for weeks.
Most of the structural work is all done, but we are still living among boxes and boxes and boxes everywhere.
Getting back will probably be a problem for me since I drove to Tampa and I'm sure most of my usual routes back will be flooded. I'm really more concerned about that than I am about the house. I won't know anything for awhile though. Not until someone can get to the place to check and report back. Most of the roads will be blocked by debris right now.
one more report: I am still stranded out of town, if you can call staying with a friend who has power and hot running water being "stranded." I can't, not really. Because the roads are impassible and the airport is still closed, I'm here for a few more days. However, my friend who was housesitting and evacuated with all the critters was able to check on my house today, and all is good. No leaks, no damage, no holes in the roof. All the trees still standing. So I'm hugely relieved and now it is just a matter of getting back home to clean things up.
Fabulous news Niki, I'm so relieved (although not as much as you, I'm sure). Thank you so much for keeping us updated.
What a relief- and to hear from you as well, Pat.
SBL - at least you have stuff to read!
Phew, Nicki—glad you and yours are all OK. Hope you get home quickly.
And Pat, how nice to see you. I owe you a letter! Good to hear you're digging out from under, however slowly it may feel.
I had a very lovely Readervillesque weekend with Lauren, with Thai food, books, bagels, and kittens. In a couple of days I'm headed off to Minneapolis to have what I'm guessing will be a very lovely Readervillesque day with Terri Wentzka and Amy Rea, if anyone remembers them. I'm there for an all-day conference Friday, but am playing hooky on Thursday to hang out with them, go look at art, and eat somewhere nice, with my wheelie suitcase in tow.
Nicki, great news! Phew.
Yeah, Lauren and Lisa and everyone else. I've missed hanging with my reader buds. My participation will still be spotty for a bit longer, but there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. As soon as everything is completed, I'm putting the rental property on the market. It's hard enough dealing with one after a hurricane, never mind two.
>550 Pat_D: I just got home today. I am now doing massive amounts of laundry. :-)
seriously, all is good. I got off very lightly. The only real casualty was one of the fake plastic shutters the landlord had bolted to the house for show. I'm not mourning the loss.
Everything totally back to normal where I am, but the situation is still very dire for the eastern part of the state as the rivers continue to rise. And we are paying and will continue to pay a massive, and completely preventable, price for state governmental negligence in regulating coal ash (from power plants) ponds and hog farm waste lagoons. All even more toxic and disgusting than they sound.
I saw the clips on MSNBC of the ash-covered turtles and the sludge meandering down the river. Truly awful.
Has anyone else noticed that Halloween is the new Christmas? On Oct 1 there were pumpkins everywhere, the news is full of Halloween stuff, the movie theaters are faeturing horror flicks, and full-grown adults in their 50s have actually said to me, "It's almost Halloween!" Really? To top it off, I live in Salem MA where Halloween is the tourist industry--there are already werewolves walking around downtown at 10:30 in the morning. I remember when Halloween was a cute thing that children did one evening at the end of October.
I was going to say I don't think it's quite as big here in NYC, but maybe I'm just not noticing. There are werewolves walking around here all the damn time. But to answer your question, I'm guessing it's largely driven by commerce--big box stores that invest heavily in their Halloween displays starting around August, and then those pop-up Halloween emporiums (emporia?). Used to be the merch was all rubber masks, vampire teeth, and candy.
Then again, you're talking to someone who eats those Halloween Cadbury eggs with the green shit inside, so I should probably just stay in the house until November 1.
>556 lisapeet: Can I chime in as a non-USian and non-celebrator of Hallowe'en? Could it have anything to do with the arguments about the supposed "War on Christmas"? Hallowe'en doesn't pose any risk of angry protests if you call it by someone's non-preferred name. If I'm talking out of turn, I apologise in advance.
Oh there are always angry protests about Halloween being a pagan, Satanic holiday so I'm don't think that's probably it. It is the commercialization of everything. Christmas decorations have been on display in some places for a month already.
And this forum is open - you aren't talking out of turn!
Yes, Salem gets a ton of street preachers in October who tell everyone in costume that they're going to hell. Charming.
I'm sure you're right about it being commercialization. I just find Halloween to be kind of a boring pain in the ass and I've already heard all I can stand.
Oh dear. No doubt such people would also say that the author of this was damned: https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2010/september-online-only/what-did-jesus-mean-by-judge-not.html .
I just find Halloween to be kind of a boring pain in the ass and I've already heard all I can stand.
I feel that way about Christmas.
The only thing I really dig about Halloween is that it's a good excuse to read horror and scary stories. I don't always get around to it, but I consider it, at any rate. And this year I was thinking that an interesting departure from the usual stuff might be Wasteland: The Great War and the Origins of Modern Horror, which is coming out in a couple of weeks from Counterpoint. It's got an interesting thesis:
From Nosferatu to Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolf Man, from Fritz Lang, F. W. Murnau, and Albin Grau to Tod Browning and James Whale, the touchstones of horror can all trace their roots to the bloodshed of the First World War. Historian W. Scott Poole chronicles these major figures and the many movements they influenced. Wasteland reveals how bloody battlefields, the fear of the corpse, and a growing darkness made their way into the deepest corners of our psyche.
That's if I ever finish reading all these short story collections.
>555 Nancy_Sirvent: Having been a teacher for the last 40 years I can attest that it has always been thus, just that we have more of it now
I have always loved Halloween (and coincedentally,, Purim was my fav jewish holiday for the costume parties and acting out stories) I still dress up every year for the kids at school and stay in costume as kids come to the door for treats. I think its harmless fun.
Y'all, I got my DJ slot. I'll be on starting Monday 4-5. You can listen on line at wxnafm.org and the shows are archived so you can look at playlists and listen if you think it's your cup of tea My show is called Different Every Time which is a)pretty much a description of what you'll hear and b) a line from a post-Soft Machine Robert Wyatt song .
In the last month, my MIL died, then our car, then our air conditioning and my younger son is looking at rehab or jail time or both (don't drive around with weed and guns - that's my tip for you for today), not to mention the political situation, its really nice to be happy about something.
I agree with lisapeet -- things become "big" in the United States because they get commercialized. We are culture that considers "shopping" a valid pastime, so naturally, stores make the most of every opportunity. And if you put a big pile of Halloween stuff near the cash register, people are going to buy it. We are lemmings at the mercy of merchandisers.
I do like carving pumpkins though.
I jotted it down and I'll be listening, Lauren.
I'm so sorry about your son. Jesus, that's a nightmare. I hope the best for all of you.
>567 laurenbufferd: Damn mama, that's a lot of stuff on your plate. But I think finding something that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning is definitely key. I’m pondering that one myself.
Your audition show was great, and I really look forward to becoming one of your regular listeners (albeit the archived version, since I can't listen Monday afternoons). Man I wish NYC had a station like that. You'd think, right? But no.
Rats. I missed Lauren's radio show. And I even wrote it down. I will search for that archived version that Lisa speaks of.
The archive is easy to find. www.wxnafm.org. Click on schedule, go to Monday, I'm the 4:00-5:00 slot, presto whiz bang. I'm in your living room! And all my nattering too.
Lisa, I may have said this earlier, but the seeds of this station were at Vanderbilt University WRVU which was simply fantastic college radio station. About 7 years ago - or more - the school sold the airwaves or however you do that and a core group of people worked very diligently to create a true community station. We are totally self-supporting, we aren't a NPR affiliate, there are community shows, but no news breaks or things like that. it's quite amazing. We are very strict about abiding my FCC rules and such which both makes us kind of anti-corporate and the Man at the same time. Still, no profanity on the air. Which makes finding a Martha Wainwright song to play surprisingly hard.
I've got it bookmarked, Lauren. I'm going to check it out after I catch up on my online newspaper reading.
Michael's pressure just dropped to 923mb! I know The Weather Channel lately describes almost every storm as "historical" and "catastrophic," but this one is really going to be horrible. It reminds me of when we were tracking Andrew. There's going to be a wide swath of tornado-like devastation. I hope everyone evacuated or got to shelters. This is going to be so bad.
I don't usually share a lot of personal stuff online, but I think I have an honest-to-goodness form of hurricane PTSD. I'd been through several hurricanes since the late '70's and they were all scary, but we'd pretty much just accepted them as part of life down here. That all changed after Frances and Jeanne. Frances made landfall just a few miles from our house, a 350-mile wide storm that traveled horizontally across us (Jeanne landed in exactly the same spot 3 weeks later and only a few days after we'd gotten power back). That meant we were bombarded by the entire width and breadth of no less than 90-100 mph winds for about 36 hours... the last 12 hours huddled in a walk-in closet after the northeast section of our roof blew off. Now, every time any hurricane gets named, I get so anxious, I can't concentrate on anything else. My reactions lately are so uncharacteristic for me. I actually feel panicky whenever they show storm video clips with audio of that very peculiar hurricane wind sound (the incessant, unrelenting howling and weird whistling while all sorts of objects bang against your house). There's no way now we'll ever again sit out anything stronger than a Cat2, or anything that has the possibility of being stronger than a Cat2. I so hope people who live anywhere between Pensacola and Apalachicola have long since evacuated. One of the most beautiful beachside towns/beaches in Florida is Destin and it's going to get demolished :(
Pat, I saw the news just now, and thought of you immediately. I'm not surprised about PTSD. I can't imagine it not happening considering how many you've experienced. I know you're not in the path of this one (right?) but take care of yourself regardless.
Lauren, I really do have an email in draft, and will send it today or tomorrow. But, I listened to about 5 minutes of your first show yesterday, and hope to finish it today. Loved hearing your voice. And, kids are tough on themselves and on us. Lots of love to you, your husband and your boy.
I think we all need copies of Lisa's kittens (except I need the non-allergenic kind) that can provide comfort and then leave to other loving homes before they become cats -- I am very cognizant that Lisa does not want to have 9 (10?) cats in her home if her current batch is not adopted.
Pat, that is so horrifying. Please stay safe. I can't even imagine what you are going through.
Those kittens are cute!
Mir, I look forward to it. One thing that feels esp hard right now is that my son's life is stagnating while mine is abloom. Really feeling the pull there.
No, we dodged a bullet this time. I think I would have completely lost my shit if one had hit right as we're about to complete all the repairs/renovations.
Michael's small comfort is that it's moving really fast. However, I think we're going to see some terrible wind damage in the next 24 hours when rescue can get in and survey the areas that were hit. I remember after Andrew all the radio stations were announcing that there was significant damage, but at first, it appeared as though it wasn't as bad as they'd thought. Then about 10-11a.m. pics started coming in from Homestead.
Good lord, Pat, I'd have PTSD too—that's thoroughly understandable. I still flinch internally when we get a big wind, remembering standing at the big picture window in my kitchen during Sandy and watching the huge 100-year-old mulberry tree in our back yard come down (which could have ended all kinds of badly, but missed our roof and the aforementioned picture window), and the cold week with no power or heat after. And that was nothing compared to what you had (and are still dealing with—so, so relieved for you).
My kittens are a huge mood fix, but I need to find them homes NOW. All my potential adopters fell through, and I have six cuties who aren't going to be quite as cute or adoptable in another few weeks. But man they're cute now.
Lisa, do you have a No-Kill Pet Shelter in your area? We have several Dogs and Cats Forever shelters in our area. I actually visited one. My son kept taking in abandoned and abused animals (he had a friend at The Humane Society and she knew what an easy touch he was), and at one point he had 3 dogs and 3 cats. One of the dogs was a beagle who needed way too much medical care than my son could afford, but he refused to take it back to THS. We visited Dogs and Cats Forever and we were really impressed. Buddy wound up dying before the process was completed (he was full of cancer).
>581 Pat_D: We do... I'm hoping to find some rescues that will list them for me, though, rather than send them to a shelter. At least that's Plan A. They're such happy little outdoor cats, running through the yard and wrestling with each other, jumping over plants and hunting bugs... the thought of them ending up in cages just breaks my heart. A woman I met at the bird hospital (we found an injured warbler) suggested I offer to make a donation to a kitty rescue in return for a courtesy listing, which would work for me. It's just a matter of finding one who's game.
The little girl kitten I love has taken to jumping into my lap when I sit down, and burrowing under my arm and purring. NOT PLAYING FAIR, KITTY.
Hi everyone! I haven't been around here much lately, because reasons. :) But I still read some of the posts and keep up with many of you on FB.
I have a question for Nicki and anyone who uses Evernote.
I've been using just the free version, but I have had several problems where it's saving multiple copies of a note, or it won't save all my writing (it'll just have a screen blip and my words will disappear, and it'll save a duplicate copy but they are all missing the words I typed past a certain point). Have you seen this? I assume you (Nicki) have the paid version, and I wonder if I'm just reaching my data limit on the free account (doesn't seem like it, really, but I can't tell what size my notes are). So, is this a known issue and do you see it with the paid version? I really just use it for some writing (journal-type stuff) and keeping some lists, etc. But what I like is that I can access the same notes from my work computer, my home laptop, and my phone, which makes adding to them very easy, no matter where I am
And Lisa, your little kitties are so cute. Hope you find them great homes!
Aw, thanks Nancy! I did a little better this past Monday (fewer dead air bits) but I think the archives bit has gone a bit wonky so I don't think it can be accessed just yet.
I really am having a stupid good time and it feels creative and a little obsessive which is just what I need right now. TBH, as the kids say, this thing with my son has blown a hole right through my heart. To have something to turn my attention to is really good.
>583 JulieCarter: I do use the paid version, Julie, since it doubles as a work-related tool. But to be honest I think all that does is get rid of the ads. Probably not worth the subscription price. I've never come close to hitting my data limit, which is something ridiculous like 10 GB.
That said, I use the desktop version on my laptop, and the android app version on my phone, and I've never had a problem with either, except for the time I accidentally turned off automatic sync. On the other hand, there is some kind of desktop app version in the microsoft store for the Windows operating system, and I never use that-- I couldn't get my head around it and kept losing notes and losing my place when I was writing. I know I'm old fashioned, by I like to have a directory structure at hand so I can tell where the hell I'm putting things.
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