lindapanzo's 2017 reading
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Hi everyone, welcome to my 2017 reading thread. Yikes, looking at my groups list, I note that this is my 9th year in the 75er group!!
As usual, much of my reading will be guided by my 2017 category challenge topics, which again are simplified.
CATEGORY 1: Henry David Thoreau and Walden Pond
CATEGORY 2: Nonfiction
CATEGORY 3: Sports
CATEGORY 4: Real Print Books I Actually Own (ROOTs)
CATEGORY 5: Mysteries
CATEGORY 6: More Mysteries
CATEGORY 7: Fiction
BOOKS READ IN MARCH
17. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan--finished on 3/3/17 (4)
18. Tasty Trials by Jessica Beck--finished on 3/5/17 (3.5)
19. Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch--finished on 3/16/17 (5 stars!!)
20. The Crepes of Wrath by Sarah Fox--finished on 3/20/17
21. By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates--finished on 3/21/17
BOOKS READ IN FEBRUARY
9. Moonglow by Michael Chabon--finished on 2/4/17 (4)
10. Whale of a Crime by Karen MacInerney--finished on 2/5/17 (4)
11. Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam by Gordon M. Goldstein--finished on 2/10/17 (3.5)
12. Faithful by Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King--finished on 2/15/17 (4)
13. Walking by Henry David Thoreau--finished on 2/16/17 (3.5)
14. Thoreau at Devil's Perch by B.B. Oak--finished on 2/19/17 (4)
15. My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King--finished on 2/23/17 (4.5)
16. Ill Met by Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan--finished on 2/25/17 (3.5)
BOOKS READ IN JANUARY
1. Throwback by Jason Kendall--finished on 1/3/17 (4)
2 A Gentleman in Moscow--finished on 1/8/17 (4.5)
3. When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World by Carli Lloyd--finished on 1/8/17 (4)
4. At the Drop of a Hat by Jenn McKinlay--finished on 1/13/17 (4)
5. Sum It Up by Pat Summitt--finished on 1/17/17 (5)
6. Mixed Malice by Jessica Beck--finished on 1/19/17 (3.5)
7. Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau--finished on 1/20/17 (3.5)
8. Our Man in Charleston: Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South by Christopher Dickey--finished on 1/26/17 (5)
Nice to see you all here.
2016 was a very good reading year. I finished 117 books, which is exactly one more book than I read in 2015.
I've got a few books in progress but I'm unlikely to finish any of them, not even A Gentleman in Moscow, which I'd hoped to finish.
I'm still puzzling over my top 5 for the year. For the LT Top 5, I think I will go with:
1. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry--this has become one of my all-time favorite books
2. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
3. A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny--my favorite mystery of the year
4. The Train To Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell--my favorite work of nonfiction for the year
5. The Echoing Green by Joshua Prager--my favorite sports book of the year
Happy New Year, Thread, Linda! Looking forward to following your reading life for another year. Glad you might be tagging along on a few AAC reads.
>7 lindapanzo: Like that Best of the Year List!
>8 msf59: I'm thinking about half of the AAC books would be about right. My new O'Nan baseball book for Feb, for sure.
I'll read a lot of mysteries and sports, of course, but am thinking about more NF than usual for 2017.
I am part of the group.
I love being part of the group.
I love the friendships bestowed upon my by dint of my membership of this wonderful fellowship.
I love that race and creed and gender and age and sexuality and nationality make absolutely no difference to our being a valued member of the group.
Thank you for also being part of the group.
My mom gave me The Train to Crystal City for Christmas--I'm looking forward to reading it this year!
>17 carlym: Hope you like it. I got it as a Santa Thing book last year, or maybe from LT Christmas Swap. Very grateful that my Santa chose it for me.
>19 rretzler: Happy New Year, Robin!!
One family tradition is the annual new year's concert on PBS from the Vienna Philharmonic (with Julie Andrews). As excited as I am about the Packers clinching a playoff spot, I still won't miss this.
>21 Familyhistorian: >22 Berly: Happy New Year to you both, too.
Last night, I finished my first book of the year!!
Throwback by Jason Kendall--finished on 1/3/17
When it comes to baseball, hockey, other sports, even most life matters, I'm an old school, throwback sort of person. I believe in working hard and doing things right, not striving for shortcuts, so this book was ideal for me.
I also pride myself on my baseball knowledge. I thought I knew a lot about the game but this book was eye opening. While reading it, I realized how little I know, even though I've been following baseball for 50 years.
The language in this book often isn't what I'm used to but Kendall was a big league catcher for many years and knows his stuff and explains it well.
I thought of this as almost a master class on the inner workings of the game.
The only off putting thing, as is often the case, is the "guys today are soft and things were better in my day" attitude. I tried to read around that.
Very good baseball book but not a quick read, because there's just so much there.
Happy New Year, Linda!
Congrats on finishing your first of the year.
I like that "bests" list, too. I read the first three and felt the same way.
Happy Sunday, Linda! Did Mom Panzo have a nice birthday?
I really enjoyed Hidden Figures, so I hope others take advantage of that great deal.
And hooray for finishing A Gentleman in Moscow. Such a wonderful book.
What a Packers game. Now I've got the Hawks on.
During the second half of the game, I got wrapped up in reading the autobiography of soccer star, Carli Lloyd, but managed to follow the game a bit, too.
Yesterday, I went to a different place and got my tire fixed. They saw nothing wrong with the tire but, in the dunk tank, small bubbles were coming out from around a part of the rim. They sanded it down and put some sealant on it. I was severely losing air on bitterly cold days, after I'd driven at high speeds on the tollway. Today, it was about 15 degrees, so, for my own peace of mind, I drove my car about 65-70 mph on the tollway. No tire pressure light came on. Knock on wood. Keeping my fingers crossed.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles--finished on 1/8/17 (4.5)
This novel was outstanding. In lieu of execution for being an unrepentant aristocrat, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel, a top, grand hotel across from the Kremlin. In what ought to be thought of as a small, confined world, the count really lives. He's a well-read, thoughtful man, and makes a number of friends, both in the hotel and others who come to visit.
This was a beautiful book, a book that is meant to be savored. There were parts of the first half that were a bit slow for me but once it got going, it was an absolutely top notch book, one I'd recommend to anyone. Absolutely loved it. The count has to be one of my favorite fictional characters ever.
I will look for Towles' breakout book, Rules of Civility.
My Thingaversary is coming up this Friday, January 13th. It'll be 8 years!!
In the usual LT spirit of buying books for the number of years, plus one to grow on, here's what I've picked up for myself:
1. Ill Met by Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan
2. Books for Living by Will Schwalbe
3. Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander
4. At the Drop of a Hat by Jenn McKinlay
5. The Case of the Caretaker's Cat by Erle Stanley Gardner
6. Mixed Malice by Jessica Beck
7. Whale of a Crime by Karen MacInerney
8. The Last Innocents by Michael Leahy
9. Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver
Linda--Happy early Thingaversary!!! I am slowly making my selections, too, and I love how little guilt I feel about BUYING BOOKS!!
>34 lindapanzo: I enjoyed Oliver's book. I snagged an ARC of it. I hope you enjoy it. Her prose is almost as poetic as her poetry.
Happy Thingaversary, Linda! Mine is January 20 ~~ it will be six years for me. I'm still thinking about what seven books I'll purchase. :-)
>35 thornton37814: Thanks for the info, Lori. I've never read her.
>36 EBT1002: Thanks. I've already finished one of them.
For 5 weeks (since Dec 8), I've obsessed over my leaking tire. I planned my day around it. it was the first thing I thought of every morning and the last thing I thought of every night. I had it into 2 different shops a total of 5 or 6 times. I tested the air pressure at least twice a day and added air probably, on average, of every other day (more if I was going to or from work). At long last, I think they've finally gotten to the bottom of it. I think. I pray. Keeping my fingers crossed. Knock on wood.
Last week, I took it to our local, independently owned tire shop in town. They said the tire itself was fine but that there was some corrosion around the rim so they sanded it down and sealed it. Worked fine for a couple of days, til about Thursday, when it got cold again.
Brought in back in this morning. Told the owner that the pressure was 31.5 after I left the movie theater (I saw Hidden Figures which was excellent, though I wouldn't advise sitting in the front row, as we did). Drove for a half hour at less than 55 mph and the pressure was down to 25.5 when I got home. In fact, it should go up a bit since I was driving, not down so substantially.
Sitting in the waiting room and the woman at the desk came by and apologized and then apologized again. It seems that, last week, once they found the rim leak, they stopped there, though their policy is also to examine the sensor valve (I think this connects the TPMS to the spot where you measure the air pressure). At any rate, she said that they should've caught it last week so they felt that they couldn't charge me for the additional labor today. Only for the sensor valve kit or whatever it's called so my repair cost me $6.25 plus tax.
I love that they're an honest, ethical business.
Happy Saturday, Linda. Glad you finally got that tire fixed. What a hassle.
Glad you liked Hidden Figures. I want to see that too. Liked the book.
>38 msf59: The movie focuses mainly on Katherine with some Dorothy and a bit of Mary and looks pretty much only at the early NASA years.
Very good though and, surprisingly, the theater was sold out, which is why we had to sit in the front row.
We saw lots of terrific coming attractions. Dunkirk looks excellent. Last year, I read A Dog's Purpose and loved that one. Might take my nephew to that movie since, last February, I bought him a bunch of that author's books and he absolutely devoured them.
At the tire store last week, I was reading (and finished) Carli Lloyd's autobiography, When Nobody Was Watching. I am not a big soccer fan but I like to watch the U.S. National Women's Team in international competition and Carli is my favorite. Oddly, as I was reading, the tire store had a soccer game on TV in its "TV area." I was sitting in the separate, much quieter "reading area."
Today, as I waited for my car at the tire place, I started reading the autobiography of famed women's basketball coach, Pat Summitt, called Sum It Up. Oddly enough, in the TV area, the tire store had a basketball game on.
I'm also reading an overdue ER book. Our Man in Charleston by Christopher Dickey, about Britain's secret agent in the South during the Civil War. I really need to get this one read and reviewed.
I'd say if you find an honest repair shop, go back! I'm glad it got sorted out.
>41 drneutron: Honesty like this seems so rare. They are definitely a keeper.
Before the Packers playoff game, I've been reading the Pat Summitt book.
Also, pondering a 2017 category challenge change so you'll probably be seeing some different reading from me than usual. It's only a few weeks into the new year but I feel a change of category coming on. I was reading the New York Times today and saw a review of a new Thoreau bio. I hadn't realized that this is the 200th anniversary year of his birth. I think this would be an ideal time to re-read some of HDT's works and to read some of the ones I've missed, as well as essays, HDT bios and even a mystery series I've come across featuring HDT.
I've visited Walden Pond and, going back as far as I can remember, I buy two Walden Pond wall calendars I've been a member of the Thoreau Society.
The more I think about it, the more a Henry David Thoreau category this year feels right to me. I've already got about 20 possibles.
>37 lindapanzo: What great customer service. So hard to find these days, especially with chains. I am actually amazed these days when I try to get tech support or have an issue with something I've purchased and the person that I talk with actually HELPS me! That is so rare!
Several years ago, I had a strange issue with my computer. I'm pretty good with technology, but this just had me baffled. Norton had a help desk where you could call in, and for $60, they were supposed to help you with the problem. So I did, explained what my issue was, and what I had already done. The support rep had me do again all the things that I had already done, which, of course, did nothing. He then said my problem was unfixable and proceeded to charge me the $60. I complained and spoke to someone higher up, who did the same thing. So I hung up and immediately called my credit card company and denied the charge. I then took my computer to a local person, who had it for 4-5 days, and he couldn't figure out the problem, but at least he was honest about it and didn't charge me. Finally, after more research on the internet and more poking around, I figured out what the problem was - ironically, it was a problem that Norton's own software had actually caused. Yikes! Needless to say, I no longer use Norton software!
>40 lindapanzo: Don't you just love coincidences like that!
>42 lindapanzo: Walden Pond is one of the places I definitely want to revisit when I go back to the Boston area again. I like Thoreau better than many people do.
Sum It Up by Pat Summitt--finished on 1/17/17
As you probably all know, I am a huge sports fan but my main focus is on baseball and hockey. I do occasionally follow basketball and football (especially the Packers) but not as often. I certainly don't follow women's basketball as avidly I did back during my college years + early 20s.
This book would make me change that. This autobiography of the legendary coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team is probably the best sports autobiography I've read in recent memory. Knowing that she wrote it after her dementia/Alzheimer's diagnosis make it even more incredible.
In particular, I loved reading about the team members and the team dynamics and how Pat motivated them.
I wish I'd paid more attention to her when she was in her prime. I was vaguely aware of her diagnosis and, last year, of her death. What an incredible life story she had.
I've been meaning to read The Train to Crystal City for some time now but don't seem to have managed it - glad to hear it's one of the best in your view!
>50 lindapanzo: I'm certain her players hated it when she gave them "the look." I'd love to know what went in the locker room during those times. I will, however, share how much she meant to the women's basketball players at the smaller liberal arts university where I work. Our team usually played UT for one of the annual opening games where they play outside their division. Pat always took about 30 minutes to talk with our team, and they received so much encouragement from her, and they will always cherish those thoughts. The women's athletic director was Joan Cronan. She's written a book entitled Sport Is Life with the Volume Turned Up. Her husband was a professor at my university, and I'm certain she's the one who engineered some of those meet-ups. She does include some talk of Pat in the book.
>51 thornton37814: I'll have to look for that one. In the book I read, Pat was grateful to Joan and the chancellor because, when she went in to tell them her diagnosis, she thought she'd be gone.
>52 lindapanzo: I actually cataloged our autographed copy today, but it was already in OCLC.
Morning Linda! Happy Friday! I listened to a podcast yesterday with David Axelrod interviewing Theo Epstein. He is such a fascinating guy. If you can find the podcast, try to listen to it.
Stopping by to drop my star, Linda! Better late than never! Great comments on the Pat Summit book. My mother is a huge Pat Summit fan. She and I may have to have a group family read. Looking forward to following your reading for 2017.
>56 michigantrumpet: Good to see you here, Marianne. I love following your LT and FB posts.
Sad to say that I was not that aware of Pat Summitt during her lifetime. My small liberal arts college has a women's hoops coach who started around the same time (she was almost new when I started there in 1978). Ours hasn't been quite as successful but close and has been coaching for 40 years.
Anyway, as to Pat Summitt, I'd like to read more about her life and her teams and have been getting suggestions.
I need to get out and visit more LT threads. I haven't been around much yet this year.
Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau--finished on 1/20/17
I thought this was an appropriate day to read this Thoreau essay. I didn't realize how radical Thoreau was.
Interestingly, this was written to show his opposition to the Mexican War of 1846. He refused to pay a poll tax and was imprisoned for a night.
Lots of food for thought here.
>60 FAMeulstee: I didn't know that about his Dutch followers.
I'll be re-reading it soon. Maybe in February.
Feel free to come visit and see Walden Pond for yourself! Caroline (Cameling on LT) and I don't live too far away and we're always up for an excuse for a meet up!
Speaking of Walden Pond, I'll share the blog posts I made back in 2008 when Carrie (cbl_tn), her father, and I visited prior to a conference we were attending.
This post is mostly at Walden Pond: http://familyhistorian.blogspot.com/2008/06/boston-diary-june-6-part-1.html
This post is other parts of Concord and includes Thoreau's tombstone: http://familyhistorian.blogspot.com/2008/06/boston-diary-june-6-part-2.html
Thanks, Lori. I will have to check those out.
I was thinking that my sister and I were there about 10 years ago but now I realize it was farther back than that. She was still single at the time (she got married in the late 1990s) so I'm thinking it was probably 20 years ago since we were at Walden Pond.
In the current atmosphere, I'm thinking that a re-read of George Orwell's 1984 might be in order, too.
In the meantime, I am totally engrossed in the wonderful Civil War book, Our Man in Charleston, which is about Britain's consul at Charleston.
>65 drneutron: For me, it's an ER book and I should've read it a few months ago.
Besides the consul Bunch's reporting on events in Charleston, it's also interesting for all the info on day to day life and, as passions grew heated, how dangerous he felt it becoming to put his thoughts into letters to the British higher ups (for fear of interception). I'm only halfway through and eager to see what happens (i.e., whether his true feelings are ever found out).
Very interesting book once I got going into it.
Hi, Linda! Our Man in Charleston sounds good. I want to get my mitts on that one. My Civil War reading has been slacking off, these past few years.
>67 msf59: I can hang onto it for when I see you.
I was going to suggest meeting at Home Run Inn after the conference swim meet again in Feb, like last year, but I see that conference is at my niece's home pool in West Chicago, which isn't all that convenient for you.
>63 thornton37814: Drove by Walden Pond on my way home from court this afternoon. Sadly, too dark and gloomy to pull over and take any pictures. Lori hit it out of the park with the various things to do in Concord. On Patriot's Day in April, there is a big reenactment of the battles at Lexington and Concord. People get up pre-dawn to get a good spot for the festivities.
Again - should you come to check it out, Caro and I live very close by and are happy for a Meet Up!
>64 lindapanzo: Joining in the Our Man in Charleston love. One of my very top books for 2016. What a diplomatic tightrope he walked!
>69 michigantrumpet: One thing we recall from our Concord visit...every time we were anywhere near a road, due to state law I think, all the cars would come to a screeching halt. We felt obligated to cross the road, even if we didn't really want to, after that. We have a nearby town in IL where everyone does the same and we still call it the "Concord rule."
Is there a Friendly's Ice Cream nearby? I think I remember that, too.
Now there are designated crosswalks -- but they seem to be everywhere. I would still stop, especially as pedestrians seem to dart out of any where. :-D
Sadly, no Friendly's Ice cream particularly near Walden Pond, but there are some good little ice cream shops still.
Our Man in Charleston: Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South by Chirstopher Dickey--finished on 1/26/17
First 5-star book of the year!!
I've read quite a bit on the Civil War but had never heard of the forgotten man, Robert Bunch, Great Britain's Consul in Charleston, SC during the pre-war and war years. Despite his abhorrence of slavery, Bunch cultivated contacts among the pro-slavery crowd and offered honest, perceptive dispatches to his superiors both in Washington and in London of events, people, and his perceptions, even in the face of rising danger as passions grew as the war approached.
One of the cover blurbs said something about this being a "beach read." When I first saw that, I was doubtful, though, in the end, I would agree. It's not quite a page turner but it's close. A fascinating look at pre-war and wartime Charleston. Quite possibly the best ER book I've ever won.
Beach read history book??? That sounds kind of weird. It does sound interesting, but I think of beach reads as being thick and fluffy. Good review.
I can see what it meant though. Some narrative nonfiction would definitely beach reading, if it weren't so cold. LOL.
Many history books are basically analytical. This is a narrative.
I'd seen him called a spy in some comments/reviews, but I wouldn't call him that. He was a diplomat reporting to his higher ups. I think Seward him a spy but I need to rad more about Seward to see if he was as delusional as this book made him out to be. His actions regarding England nearly had the opposite effect from what he wanted.
>72 lindapanzo: Good review of Our Man. Looking forward to it.
Happy Friday, Linda. Getting any snow?
>76 msf59: Just a lingering flurry.
It's windy and damp and feels colder today.
I was so excited about stumbling upon that 1967 Chicago Blizzard photo (on FB) with me as a 5-year old, my pregnant mother, my father, and my godmother in it that I didn't even read anything last night. Trading family stories.
>78 Berly: I am totally inept at posting pics on LT. I got it on FB and Twitter though.
Swim meet tomorrow, my first one in almost 3 months. My niece is in her usual mid season, mid winter lull. Full of energy during the fall HS season but not to the point of the post season meets, regional and state, at the end of Feb/beginning of March. Maybe a bunch of fans will help spur her on.
>79 lindapanzo: Have fun at the meet! I am watching my son's soccer game and the Australian open women's finals tomorrow for sports. Go sisters!! : )
Yesterday, I started reading Michael Chabon's new novel, Moonglow. I'm liking it. I don't think I've ever read anything by Chabon, though I might've.
Our Man in Charleston sounds like a great read. I'll keep an eye out for it!
I think you'll enjoy this article from one of our local TV stations. The World Series trophy was in town this week.
>82 tymfos: I've had some good ER books and maybe a great one here or there but can't remember those right offhand. This one was excellent.
>83 cbl_tn: I think you'd like it.
Thanks for that article. Even though I'm just over an hour away, in a Chicago suburb, I think the trophy has come to my county only once and, despite reminders from friends, I forgot. I think it was one of those snowy days in December.
Finally my finished my long-running Chabon novel. Reading something a bit lighter, a cozy.
Moonglow by Michael Chabon--finished on 2/4/17
I'd never read any Chabon before but, after this, I definitely will. Chabon spends time with his dying grandfather during his grandpa's last days. Normally a reserved man, the medication he's taking has loosened up his tongue and, in this autobiolgraphical novel, Chabon tells his grandfather's story.
Let me say, overall, I loved it. However, it was slow starting and, by the end, he seemed to run out of gas. The middle 80% or so was excellent, though.
For me, the best parts involved his exploits during World War 2, especially.
Happy Saturday, Linda! Glad you enjoyed Moonglow. It is on the docket.
Enjoy your evening, with your Blackhawks.
Whale of a Crime by Karen MacInerney--finished on 2/5/17
One of my favorite cozy series is the Gray Whale Inn series set in Maine. This newest one, the 7th in the series, does not disappoint. As usual, I love reading about what the characters have been up to.
I also visited Walden's Pond, but I've never read the book - another of those that everyone else seems to have read, but I'm a little hesitant. The things I remember most about the area near Concord are Walter Gropius's house and Marcel Breuer's house. Both so different from the rest of the architecture in the area and much more in line with what I like. There was also a fantastic art museum right down the road too.
I started reading Coretta Scott King's memoirs, My Life, My Love, My Legacy last night. Little did I realize that she'd be in the news.
An ER book I need to finish. I've got to take the train downtown tomorrow and prefer to bring an actual book, not my Kindle, with me.
>91 msf59: Except I'm going downtown, via Metra, so lots of traipsing around on the coldest day in a long time. And I'm feeling a sniffle coming on. Hopefully, it's not too bad and I can get a lot of Coretta Scott King reading in. Or else catch up on my sleep during the long train ride.
Hi Linda! It's supposed to be cold here tomorrow, too. 39F may not sound cold to you, but yesterday and today it's been in the 60s here. This is typical winter weather here - a few cold days, then a warm spell, then a few more cold days, then another warm spell. Last year and the year before it got cold and stayed cold for several weeks. I hated it!
>93 cbl_tn: Except for tomorrow, all of our high temps are at least upper 30s/low 40s. Only 26 tomorrow. Fortunately, I can walk through the train station and just have a quick walk across a bridge over the Chicago River to get to the Civic Opera House. Not too bad unless it's bitterly cold or snowy, then that brief walk is an adventure.
We're having a blizzard/Nor'Easter here today. The governor asked that no one drive on the roads if they didn't have to. Even though he's a REpublican, it seemed a pretty reasonable request, so I didn't! I've been on LT for HOURS now and have only gotten partially through the threads. Ye gads, we're a talkative bunch! Glad to catch up with you, my friend!
Hope you're managing to stay ahead of the flu bug (icky! nasty!) and enjoyed the opera.
Sweet Thursday, Linda! Cold one today but all the sunshine, really helped. Better tomorrow.
We've got rain here (Northern California) - one of the reasons I live here rather than East Coast! (used to be in Virginia). Rain is annoying, and does make driving more difficult, but it's not nearly as hard to deal with as snow.
>95 michigantrumpet: Oddly, no sniffles or sneezes whatsoever today. The only time I needed a kleenex was at the sad part of the opera. I always cry. Oftentimes, during the slow parts, I nod off a bit Norma is so dramatic that I was riveted the entire time.
>96 msf59: It wasn't as bad as I thought I traipsing around the Loop today, not even walking over the Chicago River Bridge near the opera house.
>97 jjmcgaffey: Very true, it isn't as bad as snow, unless there's a large accumulation. I think we've had more rain than snow, surprisingly, in Chicagoland this winter. In my county, they've said that the ground is frozen down 10 inches so we don't want too much rain here, though.
Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam by Gordon M. Goldstein.
I finished my Feb Obama Book Club book, Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam by Gordon M. Goldstein. It was very well done but, unfortunately, I'm not as familiar with the Vietnam War as I am with many of America's other wars and I'm afraid that much of this flew over my head. At some point, I think I'd like to read The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam to get a better understanding of what was going on.
Even so, the book provides an interesting look at horrible wartime decisionmaking, in both the JFK and the LBJ administrations, particularly in LBJ's. These advisors were incredibly smart and shrewd yet they provided incredibly stupid, uninformed, poorly thought out advice.
The author was working with JFK/LBJ security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, on a book about 30 years after the fact and was garnering insights in order to write a retrospective look at the war with Bundy. Alas, Bundy died and his estate refused to let the book get published. Even so, the author generally would talk about what was happening, what Bundy and the other advisers suggested, and also, somewhat, what Bundy said about those decisions in hindsight, during the mid 1990s.
Of most interest to me was the chapter involving what might've happened in Vietnam had JFK not been assassinated. When JFK died, I think American casualties in Vietnam numbered only in the hundreds but, by the end of the war, I think they exceeded 50,000.
What Bundy thought in hindsight doesn't excuse his poor leadership/organization regarding the Americanization of the Vietnam War but he was honest 30 years later and willing to consider what could be learned from his 1960s actions.
For a knowledgeable reader, this would probably be an excellent book. For me, just very good.
If anyone's interested in reading any baseball books, I've started my now annual Spring Training Read thread.
It's at: https://www.librarything.com/topic/249087
Also finished my first one at lunch today, which reminded me.
Happy Wednesday, Linda! Chilly one today but another warm up is on it's way.
I have been getting the Meet-Up invites out. It looks like we will have a decent turn out. I did talk to Laura and she was up for it too. Yah!! We will have a great time. Duh!!
Yes- Julia, Laura, Nancy, (also from Milwaukee) and I sent an invite to Amber too. Think of anyone else?
Yes, I am interested in Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, but I found it on audio, so I may get to it sooner, in that format. I will let you know.
>100 lindapanzo: So what is the focus of your Spring Training thread? I saw you already posted a book, which didn't sound very baseball-ey to me....
>104 Berly: I aim to read one baseball book during each week of spring training. It doesn't have to be about spring training itself, just about baseball.
I didn't put the subtitle of the O'Nan book in but it's about the 2004 Boston Red Sox. That year, I went to game 3 of the World Series, my first ever WS game, in St Louis. I recall the Boston fans celebrating at my hotel after the game.
When I have more energy, I'll start listing some of the others I want to read. Many of these are 2016 Cubs related but I'm not sure they'll be out in time so I might need to substitute.
66 degrees in Chicago on February 17th. Woo-hoo. Unbelievable. A 3-day weekend ahead.
Dinner and La La Land tonight.
>99 lindapanzo: Excellent review. I don't think you are alone - seems most American history classes seem only to make it up through WWII. If anything, the Korean conflict seems to get short shrift. I read Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest. Excellent book. I believe he is a much underappreciated historian.
>107 michigantrumpet: I need to pick up a copy of that one. I should get my wellness report by the end of March. $250 Amazon gift card, if I'm not mistaken. Then I can go on a spending spree.
Went to my niece's club conference swim meet today. She had a pretty good showing with a first place medal, two second place medals, and two fourth place medals.
Earlier, I'd mentioned the Henry David Thoreau mystery I'd picked up. Thoreau at Devil's Perch by B.B. Oak. Finished it this morning before I left for the meet. Really enjoyed it and will certainly pick up the second in the series soon.
It took some getting used to at first. Set in the mid 1800s, a different era from the usual mystery. Dr. Adam Walker and his first cousin Julia Bell are ably assisted by Henry David Thoreau. In the end, absolutely loved it.
Hi, Linda! Gorgeous President's Day, eh? I took advantage of the day off and went on a solo bird walk. Lots of activity out there.
Hope you enjoyed the holiday.
>109 thornton37814: Absolurely. I picked up the second and the third in the series. One of them was only $1.99 for Kindle.
>110 msf59: Had a beautiful, relaxing day. Went to Texas Road House in Kenosha for a late lunch. Because LT was down later, I've read quite a bit of Coretta Scott King. After I browse LT and my favorite websites, I'll get back to my book.
Dagnabit. I hate factual errors. When I need a break from my Coretta Scott King book, I've been reading a mystery from one of my favorite cozy authors. An annoying factual error. Is it a clue or just an error? Hmmmmmm.
My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King--finished on 2/23/17 (ER book)
Earlier, Mrs. King wrote about her life with Martin. This time around, her informative memoir focuses on her own life story (and the hurdles she had to overcome) as Coretta (Corrie to family and close friends), as well as on her love for Martin and her children, and the MLK Center for Nonviolence and other matters she worked on after Martin’s assassination. She also provides insights into her friendships and interactions with world leaders, such as Nelson Mandela and Corazon Aquino, as well her thoughts on Jesse Jackson and other black leaders. I learned plenty in this book and now I want to read more on this topic. Excellent book.
>113 lindapanzo: MLK Jr deservedly gets a lot of praise and adulation. So pleased, though that Coreeta Scott King is coming out from his shadow. sounds like an incredible woman!
>114 michigantrumpet: The timing was odd. She passed away in '06. Not sure why this came out now.
I went to a session of all the Oscar shorts this afternoon. Loved all 5 live action shorts but my favorite is the one about the Swiss woman and the train. I think it's called The Lady and the Train. The Hungarian one called Sing was excellent and the ending got the crowd cheering. The French one about an interrogation of an Algerian man, Enemies Within, was powerful, but simple.
I didn't like the animated shorts as much. My favorite is the Canadian entry, Blind Vaysha, about a woman born blind to the present but who, in one eye, can see the past, and, with the other, can see the future. For a 6 or 7 minute film, it was thought provoking.
As for niece swimming news, she and her 3 200 medley relay teammates came in second at regionals. Amazingly, she swam the fly leg. I don't think that's ever happened before. In the 100 fly individual race, she beat her old personal best by 3 seconds.
Linda-- The Coretta Scott King book sounds like a winner, and the movies sound great! Congrats on the personal best in the fly to you nice. Second in regionals is awesome!!
>116 Berly: Someday, I'll get to a regionals but not this year. Four more individual events tomorrow. They're not shown on the psych sheet for a 200 free relay. Can't think why not, unless they've got a state time. Can't do regionals if they're going to state in that event. Unless they get a state time at regionals.
I've started Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch but am taking a bit of a break with a cozy, Ill Met by Murder, the second in the Shakespeare in the Catskills series.
Proud of my niece. At regionals the first day, she and her medley relay teammates got a second place medal. She set a new personal best in one of her Sat races (by 3 seconds, which is huge) and had her second best times in her other three.
Then, on Sunday, a 6th place medal, an 8th place medal, 9th place (just missed the medals stand) and then set a new PB in the 200 IM, finally breaking the 2:20 barrier that has plagued her for so long. She was in an early heat, which she won, and then had to watch to see if her time would hold up. Two of the six girls in the final heat beat her but that 3rd place finish was still her best individual finish at regionals ever.
She has one event at senior state this weekend. It'll be good experience and hoping she does well. Seeded 92nd, out of 93 girls though. Only 3 girls on the senior state team, along with 4 boys, so they don't even have enough for a relay. They'll have more at summer senior state when the college girls are home.
Factual errors in books are a pet peeve and one in the recent Duncan mystery really bugged me. I sent the author an email and she was appalled that it got through the fact checkers but thanked me for alerting her to the error so that they could fix it in the paperback edition.
In other news, I found out this morning that I've completed all the steps, no pun intended, to receive my $200 wellness credit. I hope that Amazon gift cards are included on the list of available choices. I loved being able to go on a spending spree last year and would love to do the same.
Sigh. I'm taking off on Wed in the hopes of having birthday festivities. Now, mind you, we didn't have any measurable snow in January or February. In fact, none since about mid December. Well, not surprisingly, we may get some snow tomorrow.
A quick lunch nearby followed by reading and sports watching is fine, as far as I'm concerned.
Oh, books. I've got a few of those going.
I'm reading the Icelandic mystery, Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson. I'm also reading the weighty tome, Parting the Waters, the first in the MLK trilogy by Taylor Branch. Beyond that, I'm also reading a lighthearted novel about a librarian who loses her job and wants to open a bookstore. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan.
VERY excited about my ER win just now. Last month, I tried to win The Chilbury Ladies Choir, a World War 2 British homefront novel by Jennifer Ryan but didn't get it. This month, I did.
>121 lindapanzo: Hope you like it. I snagged a copy through NetGalley.
Happy birthday tomorrow! I hope snow doesn't ruin your plans for the day. Adrian will be getting his teeth cleaned tomorrow, and I'll be getting a new floor in the kitchen.
Congrats on your ER win! I found out that I'll be getting Hell and High Water, a YA historical mystery.
>123 cbl_tn: I was surprised. My ER wins usually involve mysteries or nonfiction.
I think we'll postpone it til the weekend. Maybe head out to lunch closer to home. Things have been hectic and it'd be nice to get some R&R.
>125 thornton37814: Good for you. I'm not all that far along in the AP series and don't want to pick up the newest ones til I get closer to being caught up.
Thanks, Mark. Not as much snow as expected but, even so, went to lunch instead of dinner and I've been reading my lighthearted novel, The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan. Now, of course, I've got the Hawks game on.
>126 lindapanzo: I am not caught up either, but I've read many out of order so it doesn't bother me.
>129 thornton37814: I'm about 15 behind I think, so I've got a long way to go.
Really enjoying The Bookshop on the Corner. Not great literature by any means but something that people who love books would love.
I didn't travel into the city to see my niece swim at state today but I did watch on their live webcast. She was seeded second from the bottom and absolutely did not want to finish last. Well, she had her second best time ever and beat out 3 other girls. Now she'll have a few weeks of easy practice and then start training around the end of the month for the spring/summer long-course season. She is better at that--fewer turns.
Happy Friday, Linda! I have the weekend off, so I have been chillin' with the books. Nat Turner has been long but excellent.
My next weekend off will be for the Meet-Up. How cool is that?
>131 msf59: That's good to know about Nat Turner. I should be getting into that one more soon.
Besides a lunch get together with some friends we meet with once a month on Sat and a birthday breakfast with some old friends on Sunday. Beyond that, and Blackhawks watching, I'll be reading.
Next week, I work only on Mon and Tues. I'm going to Hamilton on Wed and the Chicago Symphony on Fri (Yo Yo Ma on Fri).
Thanks, Kim and Stasia.
Stasia, it's so great to see you back on LT now that school is done. Congratulations on finishing.
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan--finished on 3/3/17
We all love books and I, for one, tend to love books about people who love books, including this one.
Nina loses her job as a librarian in Birmingham, in England. A few people will be hired on but the focus of the new jobs really isn't on books so Nina uses her life savings to buy a van and run a mobile bookstore in Scotland.
A lovely book that has a fair share of romantic elements. I'm wondering whether it's the first in a series or a standalone. I hope it's the start of a series.
Loving reading about your niece's swimming competition. Wow! She is sooo talented! And I love that they had a live webcast for you to follow.
Will be interested in your thoughts about Nat turner and if it was worth all the controversy when it first came out.
>138 michigantrumpet: For Kindle loans from the library, we get only two weeks and my time was almost up so I returned it, paused a moment, then checked it out again. They don't allow renewals on Kindle books. Amazingly, it came back to exactly where I'd left off.
I have, I think, a first generation Kindle Fire Kindle. The wifi downloading isn't working that well. If it gets worse, I may be forced to buy a new top of the line Kindle.
Thanks for your kind words about Jill. She's a great kid but very quiet. Her brother talks constantly and is very huggy. She hardly says a word and prefers to listen and isn't huggy at all. Extremely smart though (tied for first in her HS class through her first 3 semesters).
Hi, Linda! Hooray for a short work week. And hooray for Hamilton. I am sure it will be wonderful.
I started Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk on audio. It is good little read. I think you will like it and a nice change of pace, after The Lost City of the Monkey God, which I highly recommend.
I know you offered me the print book, which I appreciated, but the audio was handy. Joe might like this one as well.
>140 msf59: If I get to it, I'll bring it next month. I don't like to take my Kindle on the train and may grab Lillian Boxfish or a pb mystery or something for my 2 train rides.
Not sure I'll continue with The Confessions of Nat Turner right now. Not in the mood for it.
However, I am reading Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore right now. Along with Parting the Waters which I am hoping to finish this month. Maybe.
Whoo-hoo. There's a baseball book amongst the other ER selections this month. Well, baseball along with football and basketball. I think that'll be the only one I ask for. I'd love to get it but, if not, maybe I can reduce my stack of ER books.
Hope you had a good time seeing Hamilton. Did you get a nosebleed?
I finished Lillian Boxfish today. It is a good, little novel, with a wonderful character, at it's center. I think you will enjoy it.
>144 msf59: Hamilton was outstanding. I wasn't sure I'd like the hip hop but it seemed natural to me.
I didn't know much about AH except that he was Secretary of the Treasury and was killed in a duel. Now, I want to read the Chernow bio of him.
TV personality Wayne Brady had the role of Aaron Burr today.
As for the nosebleed seats, I climbed up 4 or 5 flights and the usher said "for goodness sake, someone should've told about the elevator." So I took it up the rest of the way. Got into my aisle and walked down a flight. Turns out that my section, row and seat were fine but they sent me to the wrong aisle. I actually had about a dozen rows behind me.
So glad you enjoyed Hamilton. I hope I can see it, at some point. I also would like to read the Chernow book.
Hooray for not being in the very last seat!
>146 msf59: Once I got to my seat, turns out it was right next to the exit so I was first in line for the ladies room at intermission and first in line for the elevator afterwards so I got to the train with plenty of time to spare.
After finally getting to experience Hamilton on Wed (and I'm making plans with a friend to go again, perhaps in the fall), I had a day off, filled with R&R today. I made good progress in the really long Taylor Branch book.
On Friday afternoon, I'll be attending the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The highlight of the performance is Yo Yo-Ma, the world's foremost cellist. Another highlight, for me at least, is Stravinsky's Petrushka. I've never heard that performed live. When I took a music appreciation class in college, that was one of the pieces we focused on.
Wow! You are getting so cultured! I don't know which I'm more jealous about, the Hamilton, or Yo Yo-Ma. Both sound stellar. Couldn't happen to a nicer person!
I am glad you enjoyed Hamilton! Maybe one of these days I will get lucky and get to see it.
>149 klobrien2: Thanks, Karen. In a few weeks, I'm taking Mom and Dad to see Carmen at the Lyric Opera.I have a friend who laughs about how I'll attend the opera, make a brief wardrobe change, and then head over to a hockey game. Mom and Dad aren't interested in hockey so that'll be on a different day.
I'm with Kathy in >149 klobrien2: - I love that you're having these great cultural experiences, Linda. Isn't Hamilton amazing? And a chance to hear Yo Yo Ma and the CSO, wow.
Hi Linda! I am so jealous that you saw Hamilton. I definitely want to see that some day. And Yo Yo-Ma...I have heard him play several times as both my dad and FIL have been on the boards of the symphonies, one in Minneapolis ages ago, and then here in Portland recently. Love him! Happy weekend.
Funny how I visit LT, but not as often, but don't visit my own thread.
Hi Joe and Kim. I love being able to access these cultural activities in the Chicago area. Sometimes, I'll go local, such as our local professional community theater. Friday night, I'll join my usual group for dinner and a stage show, the fun (but minimally plotted Mamma Mia). My friends will need to make sure I don't sing along as I love Abba music.
Then on Sat night, many of the Fri night people and I will be going to an old, former traditional movie theater which has now been converted to a venue for live stage shows. We often go there for oldies concerts, though I've also seen Sheryl Crow and kd lang, just to name a few. On Sat, we're going to Tommy James and the Shondells, along with the Association.
But first, I am hoping to read Me, the Mob, and the Music by Tommy James.
But first, tomorrow, taking Mom and Dad to the Lyric Opera to see Carmen. Our favorite opera. Probably the third time I've seen it at Lyric, along with once at the Madison (WI) opera and once at the Met. Love it, love it, love it
Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch--finished on 3/16/17
Subtitled America in the King Years, 1954-1963, this LONG book (1,100 pages long) provides an overview of the civil rights movement during the years in question, with an emphasis on Dr. Martin Luther King.
One of the most eye opening books I've ever read, yet one of the most difficult, painful books I've ever read. I'd read an hour or two before bed every night and alternated between cheering their victories and nearly crying at the horrific portions, such as murders, bombings, beatings, vicious dogs being let loose on children, and power hoses being used to knock down kids.
It's an unforgettable read and, after spending some time reading other lighter books, I'd like to start volume 2 in the MLK trilogy.
Highly, highly recommended!!
>155 lindapanzo: I need to get back to reading that trilogy. Thanks for the reminder!
Have a great time at the Lyric Opera! Color me jealous :)
Oh, all you "Hamilton" fans--have you seen this? Hamilton: The Revolution (touchstone is wrong). It's the libretto/memoir of the show. I've got it from the library, but haven't gotten to it yet. Looks delicious! I've only listened to the audio recording of the songs from the show and seen a few pictures, so I'm looking forward to "seeing" more of it.
>157 klobrien2: Thanks. I'll have to look into that.
Ugh, I've violated one of my cardinal reading rules. I'm reading two different cozies at the same time but I'm confusing them. My "ride the train downtown" cozy got good and I read quite a bit yesterday but now I'm confusing the characters/suspects with the cozy I was reading.
Argh. Bad Linda.
>159 lindapanzo: Oh no! So what are you going to do? Stop reading one until you finish the other? Difficult decision!
>160 klobrien2: I brought my Kindle to work and finished The Crepes of Wrath at lunch.
Maybe I'll pick up By Book or by Crook again tonight but I certainly won't start another mystery til I finish that one.
One confusing thing was that, in both, the woman sleuth was new to her locale. In the book one, she is a librarian on the Outer Banks of NC. In the other, the woman fills in for her cousin who owns a pancake restaurant in Washington state. I could keep the main character straight but the secondary characters were confusing me.
Glad that's over.
>155 lindapanzo: So glad you loved Parting the Waters. I definitely need to get to this one...someday.
Hi, Linda. Hope you had a good weekend and your new week is off to a good start.
I know you like some historical NF, so you might enjoy my current read Spain in Our Hearts. This is a tumultuous, moment in history, that very few people know much about. I like the idea that Hemingway and Orwell also play substantial parts in this story.
Hi Linda! Knoxville has an opera company that does 3 operas each season. I've been to several, but I missed Carmen when they did it. Gianni Schicchi is my favorite of the ones I've seen here. It was funny, and it has that beautiful aria, O mio babbino caro.
I'm usually juggling at least 3 books in different formats, and I follow a similar rule to yours. I try to avoid two in the same genre. Earlier this year I was listening to Homegoing while I read Someone Knows My Name. Both are historical fiction about slavery, and the details started to blend in my head.
I read as much of an ER book as I could, gave it an honest review, and marked it DNF. Ugh.
Why the Monkees Matter by Roseanne Welch has its moments but it's a scholarly book about the TV show, not about the music, and it was a huge disappointment to me.
>162 msf59: Hi Mark, not a bad day today but chilly by the time I got off of work. I heard it was pretty mild out so I had to quickly put my jacket on when I got outside. It's spring and the temps are up, the temps are down. Sometimes, moments apart.
>163 cbl_tn: Hi Carrie, I'm very familiar with that song, having last heard it on the Andre Rieu show, but have never seen that opera.
I hate when I have an ER book I dislike hanging over my head. I still feel bad when I DNF one but, when I just can't read anymore, I finally decide to put it aside. This one wasn't bad, just dry and scholarly and not what I expected.
I really need to read the ER book descriptions more carefully. I have 3 ER books left to go. One I'm excited about, one that doesn't sound too bad, and one that I wonder to myself why I even asked for that one.
>165 lindapanzo: I requested and won one or two McFarland books that sounded interesting, but they turned out to be really dry. I avoid them now.
>166 cbl_tn: Sometimes I get some good baseball history books from them but yes, I ought to pay more attention to the publisher. Theirs tend to be a bit more scholarly than I'd like, unless it's a subject I really love.
I ought to finish my other concurrent mystery tonight. We are going to the Tommy James and the Shondells concert on Sat, as I think I've mentioned and hope to finish the Tommy James book by then. The early days of his career were pretty typical. In a band with a bunch of guys he knew. Worked at a record shop while he went to school.
Sad news. Inspector Morse is one of my all-time favorite mystery fiction characters.
Sorry to hear about the death of Colin Dexter.
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