rosalita jumps a little higher in 2017: verse 3
This is a continuation of the topic rosalita jumps a little higher in 2017: verse 2.
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This photo was taken on the Pentacrest of the University of Iowa campus. That building in the middle is the Old Capitol, which now is a museum but at the time the university was founded in 1847 was the actual State Capitol Building, until the capitol was moved to Des Moines. It served as a home for classes and also for administrative offices over the years until its current incarnation, where it has been restored to its original furnishings and interior design.
It's February. In Iowa. And yet that picture could have been taken this week, as our temperatures have been very unseasonably in the 60s-70s F (15-21 C). Such aberrations make even a winterphobe like me uneasy, even as I enjoy not having to scrape ice off the windows of my car every morning.
The book-reading slump I fell into in the last two months of 2016 may be the way of the future, which is OK. I’m going to continue reading books of all sorts (fiction, nonfiction, mystery, history, science fiction/fantasy), maybe fewer but hopefully better. (Better does not mean Serious, or Literary, or any such thing. It just means, you know, Better.)
And because I do a lot of reading outside of books, I’m going to also “review” some of that as well, which just means I’m going to be dropping some links and comments to articles I come across that I find interesting, amusing, or thought-provoking. Perhaps you will, too! None of the non-book reading will count toward my 75-book total, of course.
About those stars:
My system for assigning star ratings to books has evolved over the years, but this chart comes the closest to describing what I consider when I rate a book.
Breathtaking. This book may not be perfect, but it was perfect for me.
Not quite perfect, but I will actively recommend this book to friends.
A really great book with minor flaws, still highly recommended.
Better than average but some flaws. Recommended.
Entertaining but probably forgettable, not worth re-reading. Recommended only for fans of the genre or author.
Readable but something about the story, characters or writing was not up to standards. Not recommended.
Finished but did not like, and would not recommend.
Some redeeming qualities made me finish it, but nothing to recommend.
Nearly no redeeming qualities. Really rather bad.
Could not finish, possibly destroyed by fire (unless it's a library book)
Life Is Full of Challenges
I always start the year with such lofty reading plans. So many fabulous challenges, so many fabulous books to slot into them! And then somewhere in the middle of the year, I fall off the challenge wagon. I stop planning my reads and just start reading by the seat of my pants. Which is fun, too, so no regrets.
And it might happen again this year, and that’s OK! But I’m going to list here the challenges that have caught my eye, in hopes that it will help me stay on track. I’ll add possibilities as I run across them, and I welcome suggestions from any and all of my visitors. Some of these are from this group, and some are from our friends over at the 2017 Category Challenge group.
75ers Nonfiction Challenge
>1 rosalita: What a great photo! And I am totally jealous of your weather. Don't let it distract you from reading too much. ; ) Happy New Thread!!
Kudos on this here new thread.
I read this morning that one of your fine state legislators wants to have Iowa school teachers report their political affiliation because, you know, politics. Introduced a bill to make it law. Oy!
>4 Berly: Hi, Kim! Thank goodness the temperatures are supposed to return to more seasonal levels at the end of this week. I really can't take much more of this niceness. :-)
>5 weird_O: Oh, it's even worse than that, Bill. He not only wants the three public universities to track their faculty's political affiliation, the bill would forbid any of the universities from hiring a new faculty member if doing so would cause the percentage of one political party's affiliation to be more than 10 percent higher than the other party. This guy is notorious for proposing outrageous bills attacking higher education (he proposed a bill earlier this year to abolish tenure) and they never go anywhere. Even some of his fellow Republicans think he's an idiot.
Happy new one, Julia!
Did I ever tell you my old boss is an Iowa state rep? Nice woman but very conservative. Your and Bill's comments made me think of her :)
Even some of his fellow Republicans think he's an idiot.
The ultimate condemnation!
Happy New Thread, Julia! I like that Old Capital topper.
Hope the week is going well.
>7 katiekrug: I did not know that, Katie! Now I'm curious — there are only a handful of Republican women in the Iowa legislature, and most of them make it a point of pride to have never been outside Iowa.
>8 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte! I love this town and this campus.
>9 lyzard: Right? That's when you know you've gone too far.
>10 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!
>11 msf59: Thanks, Mark! It is a beautiful campus. You should come visit sometime. :-)
Her name is Mary Ann Hanusa, and she represents Council Bluffs, I believe. Very nice lady, but super conservative. We were an office of two and got along fine. In the afternoons, we'd secretly change the TV in the office (every office had one) from news to the Food Network :)
I think she left the White House about a year or so after I did, to run for Secretary of State in Iowa when the original candidate dropped out. She lost, but stayed and ran for the legislature a couple of years later.
Happy new thread, Julia! I still have to catch up with your previous one, but I thought I'd snag a seat here first.
>13 katiekrug: Ah yes, the western edge of Iowa, reddest of the red (it's in Steve King's Congressional district, if that means anything to you.). Her district is in the mellifluously named Pottawattamie County. Pronounced just like it's spelled. :-) One of the things I miss most about working in a newsroom is being able to watch TV at work. Especially in the evenings, it was usually tuned to sports.
>14 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie! Come on back sometime when you can stay longer. :-)
>15 rosalita: I just spent to last full minute saying "Pottawattamie" out loud over and over. So fun! Tuppence growled at me, but I got some nice face-licks from Mario (I've not spoken aloud in a couple of hours and they were startled at first, I think).
Happy new thread Julia and what a really great photo to start your thread, hope you are having a good day my dear and send love and hugs.
Hi Julia, happy new thread! And I've picked up a new word of the day - "Pottawattamie" - definitely a fun word to say.
Thank you all, John, Judy, Lynda, Jim, Beth, and Joanne! I'm glad you like my UI photo topper. This really is a beautiful campus and I'm grateful I get to work just across the street from that beautiful building. Of course, I work in an office that was converted from a shopping mall (the former shoe department of Von Maur, to be precise) and thus have no windows to the outside, but I still know it's there. :-)
>23 BLBera: I am not at all on fire this year, Beth. I just start new threads earlier than most people because I don't like when they get really laggy.
Morning, Julia! Sweet Thursday! It looks like the Meet-Up is taking mighty fine shape. Should be a good one. Sure, hope Amber can make it.
Library Hand, the Fastidiously Neat Pensmanship Style Made for Card Catalogs — Now some of you young whippersnappers may have never seen a card catalog, but we more seasoned types have fond memories of flipping through all those cards looking for exactly the right book. Most of the cards I encountered were typewritten, but perhaps some of you also remember a typeface used in those IBM Selectric typewriters that resembled handwriting? The actual library hand featured here looks remarkably similar, and makes me wonder if it was the inspiration for the typewriter font. (via Atlas Obscura)
Why Paper Is the Real Killer 'App' — A few years ago I went back to keeping lists and notes for myself on paper, either in small Field Notes-sized notebooks (I always carry one with me) or in an A5-sized hardcover notebook (I am fond of the dot-grid Leuchtturm 1917 myself) that I use as a bullet journal. I've become much more productive and you can't beat the satisfaction of crossing things off! (via BBC Capital)
I'm late arriving, but Happy New Thread, Julia!
I remember flipping through card catalogs. And we also use paper to-do lists and notes (post-its on the refrigerator these days). You're right, there's nothing like the satisfaction of crossing to-dos off the list.
I was just talking to The Wayne last night about how writing things down helps me retain it so much better. In school, I would study for exams by just copying all my notes over again...
I keep all my lists on paper. Tried apps and spreadsheets and such but it just didn't work that way for me.
Middlemarch: I loved it when I read it, tried to listen to it on audiobooka couple of years ago, and found it a good soporific. Maybe it was the reader, but that's one I think I'd need to read in paper or ebook.
>16 scaifea: My favorite when my family moved to NE Iowa was Wapsipinican (wap see pin i con, accents on the 1st & third syllable.)
>27 rosalita: >29 katiekrug: >30 rosalita: I do journaling and list making to organize myself on paper, but have started using Google Keep to keep a running grocery list and take notes when I'm out and about. And oh boy, do I need the digital calendar!
>31 RebaRelishesReading: There are many of us!
>32 markon: I am really enjoying Middlemarch, Ardene, but I can't imagine listening to it on audiobook. I think the 19th century writing style would put me right to sleep, or I'd get distracted and lose the plot.
The Wapsipinicon River (Wapsi for short) is not far from me. And of course there's a Wapsi State Park, and even a literary journal, the Wapsipinicon Almanac. Gotta love those native names!
Well, I'll be the contrarian. I've converted over to Evernote for all my note taking and to-doing. I like having everything synced up on the phone, iPad, computer.
>34 drneutron: Tomm uses Evernote, too, and has set it up so that we scan in all of our receipts and bills and such. There are some things about it that still confuse me, but it does seem generally pretty handy.
>34 drneutron: I've tried Evernote and OneNote and Wunderlist and all manner of electronic list and note apps, and while they were useful for some things I just couldn't get comfortable with using them for everything. Which completely defeats the purpose. I think my problem is that I really really hate typing on my iPhone, and that's generally the only technology I have when I'm out and about, so I was resisting jotting down things as they occurred to me. Which also completely defeats the purpose. But I know a lot of people (including you!) who love Evernote and find it does everything they want.
>35 scaifea: As I said in my note to Jim ^, I hate typing on my phone so that defeated the purpose of an electronic app for me. And I also would get way too caught up in what notebooks to have and what tags to use and all the metadata, but that's just my weird personal quirk. :-)
Morning, Julia! Happy Friday! ^I do not know if you saw me up there, but I did drop in yesterday.
Hope the week went smoothly.
>37 msf59: You did indeed, and I completely missed it! Thank you for stopping by again to give me a poke — I need it sometimes. :-)
I am getting very excited for the Meet-up, and I'm not even sure who all is coming. I've really got my fingers crossed for Amber, and if Katie were to make it, well ... "Katie bar the door" is what my Uncle Roscoe would say. :-D
Julia - I actually had a job in college typing cards for the library card files. There were a lot of do-overs.
>6 rosalita: he proposed a bill earlier this year to abolish tenure
We have one of those guys too. He's also proposed a bill that will prohibit the use of food stamps to buy seafood.
He's also proposed a bill that would require any patient seeking an abortion to get permission from the "father" ... except in case of "legitimate rape." (Yeah, he said that. And you shouldn't make fun of him because his "legitimate rape" is *totally* different from that other Missouri yahoo's "legitimate rape.")
Fortunately, even with with the legislature and now the governor's office controlled by this guy's political party, he's pretty much a fringe job. So far.
>27 rosalita: Library hand
I find it very hard to imagine the importance placed on handwriting in the early education of librarians even after the advent of typewriters, but professors and mentors have told me that it was once very much A Thing. One colleague, retired now after a long and valuable career, told me that she barely graduated library school because her penmanship wasn't up to standards. I'm pretty sure she wasn't joking.
>39 BLBera: One thing I do not miss about the typewriter days is having to start over whenever you made a mistake. I had one of those eraser-pencil things with the little brush on the other end to get rid of the crumbs, but it never really did a great job and if you overdid you ended up with a hole in the paper.
>40 swynn: he's pretty much a fringe job. So far. That's the part that worries me, the "so far" part. It seems like that changes awfully quickly these days.
That's fascinating that penmanship was so important for librarians, but I guess it makes sense. If people can't read your card catalog, it's not much use.
Over on Kim's new thread she's taking a survey of whether visitors ever lend books, or give books away. I mentioned that there is a book Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow that I buy whenever I see a copy in a used bookstore, just so I can give it away to someone who I think needs to read it. I think I've given away three copies so far.
So, I'm wondering: Do other people do this weird thing? Or alternatively, how far would you go to get a friend to read a book you love?
Hi Julia, hope you are having a nice Friday my dear and wish you a really good weekend dear lady, sending love and hugs.
Hi Julia - I have bought books I loved for people, but don't do it regularly and don't have one book, like The Sparrow that I want to put into people's hands. It's a great idea, though.
>42 rosalita: Hey! You are talking about Kim...That's me!! I've been referenced!! LOL. I love the idea of a favorite book to give my friends, but I am going to have to give some serious thought to what that best book would be. In the meantime, I have piles of "read-but-don't-need-to-keep" books I can hand out. And I love The Sparrow. : )
Happy Sunday, Julia. You were wondering about the Meet-Up: Joe & Co. will be in attendance, along with Linda P and Kathy, all from the Chicago area. I invited both Laura and Nancy from Milwaukee and both showed interest. Of course, there is Amber and then Katie and Judy are possibilities. It should be a fine and memorable one.
The starting time, will be 1pm, so Amber can visit for awhile longer.
>44 michigantrumpet: There's a handwritten card catalog entry — thanks for that, Marianne! It makes me want to practice my handwriting, which used to be quite good (bragging on myself) until I spent more time with a keyboard than pen and paper. Now that I'm back to a notebook I'm trying to get it back up to snuff.
>45 nittnut: It wasn't bad, Jenn, thanks! I've got a bit of a cold but nothing debilitating. And now it's the M-day again.
>46 BLBera: It's a fun thing to think about — what book would it be for you if you did it? And just an inch of snow for us Friday night/Saturday, and it's already gone. Just the way I like my winter!
>47 Berly: Ha! I wasn't sure if you would visit in time to find yourself being talked about, Kim. It really is an interesting question to ponder, isn't it?
>48 msf59: Thanks for the details on the Meet-Up, Mark. I am so much looking forward to it. I am already soliciting suggestions from my beer-drinking friends for some good Iowa craft beers to bring with me, but if you know of something you'd like to sample let me know and I'll try to track it down.
>49 rosalita: Julia: Ha! I was already planning on bringing Mark some New Glarus (which you apparently can't buy anywhere but in WI and it's supposed to be pretty good) - great minds, eh?
Friends, I am so close to finishing Middlemarch! I am into Book 7 (of 8) and various plotlines are starting to coalesce. It's remarkable how such a lengthy book has managed to hold my interest even as my reading got interrupted by other books along the way.
Over the weekend I finished watching this Australian TV series based on Kerry Greenwood's series about 1920s lady detective Phryne Fisher. (Confession: I might have started watching just to figure out how to pronounce Miss Fisher's first name, but stayed for the lighthearted romantic banter and mystery plots with a strong feminist streak). I've not read the books yet, but they are definitely on my TBR list. All three seasons/series are streaming on Netflix US. Recommended.
>42 rosalita: Me me me!!! My favorite book to give away is The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. It's short, sweet and was my introduction to mindfulness. I don't give it away to everyone due to the religious theme, but it's a good book.
When Being Mortal came out, I bought a few copies for family.
I also work in a office with no windows. I don't have that lovely view >1 rosalita: when I step outside though.
Thanks for helping me get my collections organized at the start of the year. It has been so very helpful.
Hi Julia, I too have been known to buy favorite books to give away but it's usually to family members. I remember when I first read Lonesome Dove both my sister and mom didn't read "westerns" but I knew if I placed a copy in their hands they would give it a try. They did and both loved the book as well.
I have put "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" in my Netflick lineup and hopefully will start them soon.
>52 rosalita: Agree with your recommendation of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Such a great show, and I'm sad there probably won't be any more series.
>53 luvamystery65: Those are excellent choices for books to give away, Ro. I'm glad your collections are working for you!
>54 jnwelch: They are so good, Joe. Is it just the last episode that you haven't watched, or the last (third) season? That season is only 8 episodes long instead of 13, which was disappointing, too. I learned while Googling around that they are tentative plans to do a series of feature films, which could be fun.
>55 DeltaQueen50: That's another great choice for a book giveaway, Judy! I am going to try to read the Miss Fisher books perhaps starting later this year. I hope you like the show!
>56 PawsforThought: No more series is sad, but as I mentioned to Joe up there ^, they are apparently trying to work out a way to do a series of movies. Fingers crossed...
>57 rosalita: Just the last episode, Julia. A friend (and fellow Phryne fan) points out we can watch the last episode, and re-watch it and the other episodes if we don't want it to end. We will watch the last one at some point, but I wish there were going to be more. I hope the feature films happen.
>1 rosalita: Pretty picture! We haven't been seeing anything like that around here in the UP, although we did have a couple of days around 40 when things melted off a bit. Then more snow, of course. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 50s and raining the entire day, then the next day turns into snow and then back below freezing. Which means it's going to be a wintry hellscape.
>59 jnwelch: Oh, I can totally relate to that, Joe! I have done that so many times. We'll have to hope for the films.
>60 ursula: Ugh! Snow, then rain, then snow and freezing? Wintry hellscape might be a bit too mild a description.
*crosses UP off list of potential retirement sites*
*leaves it on list of summer vacation sites*
Hmm, That's a hard one, Julia. I suspect it would change, depending on the friend and on the time. How's that for a definite answer?
Our snow is melting during the day, and freezing again at night, so streets alternate between sloppy and slippery.
>42 rosalita: The books that I have done that with have tended to be professional books. I used to keep multiple copies of The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner to share, and also Breaking the Patterns of Depression by Michael D. Yapko simply because they are excellent, excellent books. Actually, I still have two copies of each.
>62 BLBera: The melt/freeze cycle is the least pleasant part of winter, especially for people with mobility issues. I hope it all goes away soon for you.
>63 ronincats: That makes a great deal of sense, Roni. I'm sorry to say I've forgotten what your profession was — were you in counseling? I've heard a lot of good things about the Lerner book.
I have finished reading Middlemarch. Yes, only 43 days after I first picked it up, the travails of Dorothea and Casaubon and Ladislaw, Lydgate and Rosamond and Ladislaw, Fred and Mary and Mr. Farebrother, have finally come to an end. I was starting to suspect that my ebook was adding pages to itself at night while I slept, but I got the better of it, at last!
Review to come once my eyes have uncrossed.
Congrats on finishing Middlemarch! I started it in April last year and finished it in December, so you flew through it from my perspective!
I am very sad to hear that there won't be another season of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. They left a loose end or two, but maybe a film spinoff will take them up.
You made me curious to look back and see how long it took me to finish it - 11/23-12/7, so pretty comparable.
>64 rosalita: Yes, I was a school psychologist for 31 years. And Lerner wrote three more books in that vein, but I always thought the first was the most powerful.
starting to suspect that my ebook was adding pages to itself at night while I slept
This is exactly how I feel about a couple of the books I'm currently in the middle of (minus the e-part, but still).
>66 katiekrug: >67 swynn: Thank you, Katie and Steve.
>68 cbl_tn: I am with you on the loose ends, Carrie. It made me think that they may not have known that would be the end of the series at the time they filmed it.
>69 ursula: Well, that makes me feel a little better, Ursula. I think it felt especially long to me because I almost always read one book at a time, and so I finish them more quickly. But this one kept getting interrupted and it threw me off my game.
>70 ronincats: What an interesting career you must have had, Roni. Were you concentrated on a particular age group? Perhaps my impression that the approach would be very different among different ages is a mistaken one, though.
>71 PawsforThought: So you know exactly what I mean! The last few days it felt like I would read and read and read and I never got any closer to the end.
Congratulations on finishing Middlemarch, Julia! I was starting to suspect that my ebook was adding pages to itself at night while I slept, Ha! Yes! I know that feeling well. I'm one who got a kick out of Middlemarch, but I've sure had others that felt that way. Reading Infinite Jest, I thought the paperback was somehow adding pages (and footnotes) while I slept.
>65 rosalita: Congratulations on finishing!! It took me waaaaaayyyy longer to
I agree, Jenn. The various plot elements were all good and interesting and necessary for the payoff, but that 18th century writing style that never used 5 words when it could use 30 wears me out!
Congratulations on finishing Middlemarch. I enjoyed it but it did seem to go on forever.
>27 rosalita: I LOVE my Leuchtterms! I have three new ones - berry, teal, and light blue I think (I'm not home right now.)
LTs for LTers!
>27 rosalita: & >82 Morphidae: I thought about buying a Leuchtterm but went for a Rhodia (dotted) instead. Can't remember what swayed me. The pages are slightly too thin for my taste (bit of bleed through when using markers) and I'd prefer if they were a little bit whiter, but otherwise it's great. Don't know if I'll stick to Rhodia or go with another brand next time.
...and yet you people happily watch TV series that go for years and years and years, and bemoan it when they end! You need to remember that the 19th century writing style was the contemporary equivalent. :)
>72 rosalita: Well, I worked with ages 3-13, but I taught grad students, and the two books I mentioned are for adults. I had loads of picture books on death, divorce, anger management, anxiety, phobias and the like as well, but let most of them go when I retired (sold most of them off to my grad students!).
>82 Morphidae: We are practically Leuchtterm twins, Morphy! I got three new ones late last year as well — berry, teal, and royal blue. I am using the royal blue one for my 2017 bullet journal.
>83 PawsforThought: I have a Rhodia dotted pad as well, Paws, and the paper is beautifully smooth. The Lueuchtterm is more of an ivory paper as well, so probably not what you are looking for. It doesn't bother me, but if they offered a choice I'd go with white paper myself. I've heard good things about the Quo Vadis Habana notebook, but I have never seen one in person.
>84 lyzard: You are so right, Liz! And if I had lived back then, and my brain was "trained" to read that style as normal, I doubt it would have bothered me at all. But alas, I live in the 21st century where our brains have been trained to consider television as normal.
>85 ronincats: Ah, that makes sense. I did know just enough about the Lerner to know that it was geared toward adults, so I was wondering if perhaps you had recommended/given it to your colleagues. But grad students makes perfect sense. I'm glad your professional library went into good hands when you retired!
>86 Ireadthereforeiam: Thank you, Megan! Ten years, eh? Do you still remember anything about the beginning at this point? I say that with no recrimination, as I have the world's worst memory and can barely remember books a year after I read them, let alone 10!
>87 rosalita: Yeah, the smoothness is incredible. I've never even heard of the Quo Vadis Habana so I'll have to look that up.
Researchers Bury Their Noses in Books to Sniff Out the Morgan Library's Original Smell — What is that contraption? That's a device used by perfumers to capture the smell from objects. Here it's being used to figure out what old books in New York City's Morgan Library & Museum might have smelled like back in 1906, when the library was opened. (via Hyperallergic)
Senate Bill Would Require Library in Every Nevada School — Finally some good news about schools and libraries! Let's hope this bill passes into law, and the idea spreads to other states as well. (via Las Vegas Review Journal)
>89 rosalita: Loved my first Fiona book! And I read a short story, too. I don't want to read them all at once though, so I have to slip in some other authors now. BTW...what exactly is your definition of Clickbait? I keep meaning to ask...
Hey Julia - I was thinking about you today. I visited the library used bookstore, and The Sparrow was on the shelf. And I thought, Julia would want me to buy this. :)
Was stuck up above, savoring all the Phrynne Fisher love. Aren't all her dresses marvelous? I could watch endlessly just for that, but then there's the dishy Jack, too!
When I finally advance, I see that there was even bigger news in store -- Huzzah! Congrats on finishing Middlemarch! I've never attempted it myself, but am thrilled to know someone who has! you rock, Girlfriend!
Hi Julia, hope you are having a really nice weekend my dear and send love and hugs.
>91 drneutron: Isn't that so cool? I knew a sciencey guy like you would find it interesting, Jim. :-)
>92 Berly: I have been the same with the Fiona books, Kim. I read the first one last November, after being tipped off by Mary, but then took my time before reading this second one just so I don't blow through the whole series too quickly. They are good, though, aren't they?
Definition of Clickbait? I guess it's meant to be articles that I found interesting and that I'm hoping somebody else might as well. I'm "baiting" you to "click" through and read the linked article, essentially. And then come back here and talk about it, of course!
>93 BLBera: I was surprised, Beth, that even though it took me longer than usual to read Middlemarch, and I read other books in between, I still kept up really well with the various storylines. Eliot creates very memorable characters — that certainly helps.
>94 alcottacre: Well hello, Stasia!
>95 BLBera: You know me so well, Beth! I hope someone picks it up and falls in love with it the way I did.
>96 michigantrumpet: The costumes in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries are divine, Marianne! And yes, dishy Jack indeed. :-)
>97 johnsimpson: Thanks, John. Same to you and Karen.
15. Middlemarch by George Eliot.
I am so happy I tackled this 19th century classic, and even more glad that I persevered even through repeated pauses while I read books that were due back at the library. Truthfully, once I got into the heart of the book, there was no question about finishing it eventually. I found myself thoroughly invested in the parallel stories of marriage presented by saintly young Dorothea and her elderly clergyman/scholar husband Casaubon, by beautiful spoiled Rosamund and ambitious medical man Lydgate, and by plain but smart and secure Mary and careless layabout Fred.
The course of true love does not run smoothly for any of our three couples, and all three face challenges from outsiders who may or may not be a better match. Eliot had a fine touch for drawing characters; where I started the book by finding Dorothea rather annoying and naïve, I ended it by admiring her incessant desire to do good. And where I started by wanting to slap some common sense into Rosamund, I ended by ... well, wanting to slap some common sense into Rosamund. Not everyone has a conversion on the road to Damascus, you know.
All of the denizens of Middlemarch County are worth getting to know, saints and scoundrels alike. And I still find myself thinking about some of them, and wondering what happened to them after the book ended, although Eliot does do a nice wrap-up at the end by fast-forwarding to show us what the future had to hold for these people we just spent 1,000 pages with. If you can fight your way through the elaborate 19th century language (really the only "fault" I can find with this book) you will be richly rewarded for your time.
I marked so many passages for quotation, but I'll just leave you with just a few:
Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.
A woman dictates before marriage in order that she may have an appetite for submission afterwards.
To know intense joy without a strong bodily frame, one must have an enthusiastic soul. Mr. Casaubon had never had a strong bodily frame, and his soul was sensitive without being enthusiastic: It was too languid to thrill out of self-consciousness into passionate delight; it went on fluttering in the swampy ground where it was hatched, thinking of its wings and never flying.
A man is seldom ashamed of feeling that he cannot love a woman so well when he sees a certain greatness in her: nature having intended greatness for men.
>78 rosalita: Ten years, eh? Do you still remember anything about the beginning at this point?
It's fair to say that I will have to start it again. From the beginning.
>98 rosalita: Well then, I have correctly interpreted "Click Bait" and will continue to look forward to them!! I loved Thursday's smelling device.
>100 BLBera: Lovely of you to say, Beth.
>101 lyzard: OMG, she was infuriating! I have known people like that, who never argue with you but just go on and do whatever they want behind your back, and I salute Lydgate for not seeking a more permanent solution.
>102 RebaRelishesReading: It was, indeed, Reba.
>103 Ireadthereforeiam: Well, someday you will read it perhaps and then you can cross it off the list.
>104 Berly: Oh, good! I'm a little curious as to what you thought it might mean, though. I apologize for not explaining better in my opening post what it was all about.
Am I hopeless because every time I read "Causabon" all I can think about are casseroles and Cinnabon and what would a food kiosk at the mall look like that sold casseroles and buns?
Perhaps I should finish my coffee before trying to engage with the world :-P
The story of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis, who famously claims to have pitched a no-hitter in 1970 while high on LSD. That incident is only a piece of this absorbing biography of an African-American player who was a complex figure. He was part of a group of black players who pushed back against MLB's desire to homogenize baseball even after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Among Dock's contradictions: a deep sense of reverence and respect for the players who had come before him, and a boast that he never pitched a major-league game without being high on something, whether amphetamines, cocaine, or acid. (Currently available on Netflix US)
>41 rosalita: When I was in the Army, back in '66-'67 (yeah, typewriter days) one of my tasks was to type up a monthly report in six-duplicate. A stack of one sheet of "good" paper and five onion-skin sheets interleaved with carbon paper. Fixing typos was a pain.
I want to add that the first lieutenant who generated this document (one I think may have been classified--hohoho) titled it "Monthly Activities Report for the Month of July." I was a fresh-out-of-college holder of a degree in journalism, and I knew editing was essential, and I supplied it. When he read "Monthly Activities Report for July", his fuse blew (we didn't have breakers back then, only fuses) "You don't need to tell them July is a month," I told him. Ahh. I should have typed "July Activities Report" or just "July Activities."
I don't think I had to retype it.
Congrats on finishing and reviewing Middlemarch. Even though you obviously enjoyed it, I don't think I'm going to give it another try - at least not anytime soon. I remember having a hard time with the language (though I've read other 19th century novels and enjoyed them) and with the sexism portrayed in the book, as illustrated by some of your quotes. And I wanted to slap Dorothea AND Rosamund. Both characters were that annoying to me.
In other book news, so glad you are enjoying the Fiona Griffiths mysteries! The next in the series is coming out later this year, I think, and it's going to be titled The Deepest Grave). Can't wait.
Also, someone hasn't read The Sparrow yet?
>113 weird_O: Oh, carbon paper! What a royal pain in the neck that was. And look how brave you were, editing a 1st lieutenant's work!
>114 alcottacre: It was very good, Stasia! I definitely want to read more George Eliot sometime.
>115 Storeetllr: I can't tell from what you wrote if you finished it or not, Mary? If not, I think Dorothea would have redeemed herself for you, although Rosamund was a hopeless cause from start to finish. I am spacing out my Fiona Griffiths reading in hopes of avoiding a big gap, so we'll see how that goes. They are awfully good, though.
I did not finish Middlemarch. Not sure how far I got, but it couldn't have been more than a few chapters.
That makes sense, then. Dorothea's redemption happens fairly far along in that mammoth book. I'm sure she was still annoying when you stopped reading!
F*** Work — This article is a thoughtful dissection of the good old American/Puritan work ethic: The idea that work builds character and gives meaning and structure to our lives. The only problem with that is in the 21st century economy, "These beliefs are no longer plausible. In fact, they’ve become ridiculous, because there’s not enough work to go around, and what there is of it won’t pay the bills – unless of course you’ve landed a job as a drug dealer or a Wall Street banker, becoming a gangster either way." So the article asks, "What would you do if you didn’t have to work to receive an income?" (via Aeon)
How To Be a Reasonable Prescriptivist — We all have our ingrained prejudices about language and what we think about people who use language "wrongly" (which too often just means differently than we would). Here, my favorite lexicologist, Kory Stamper, offers some guidance on how to get your word-nerd on without offending everyone around you. (via Merriam-Webster)
16. Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham.
The second entry in Bingham's innovative Fiona Griffiths series, about a Detective Constable in South Wales whose personal situation makes her both a very good detective and a very bad team player. In this one, Fiona and colleagues are faced with the discovery of two dismembered corpses: one turns out to be a missing persons case from a few years earlier, and the other is a recent murder. The discovery of the various body parts in the same general vicinity argues for the two cases to be connected, but the police struggle to make a connection between the victims until Fiona expands the range of possible motives.
It's hard to overstate how interesting Fiona is as a main character. On one hand, these are standard police procedural mysteries, though tightly plotted and peopled with interesting characters, good guys and bad guys alike. On the other hand, the notion of a first-person narrator who openly acknowledges her personal (and ongoing) history of mental illness is not one I can recall ever encountering before. Bingham excels with his sympathetic and unsentimental portrayal of Fiona: She asks for no sympathy or accommodation either from the reader or her police bosses. Most valuably, Fiona is portrayed as a productive member of society not despite her mental illness but in many ways because of it. It's an invaluable viewpoint in a world where too often mental illness is treated as something shameful or as a stigma that completely cancels out any abilities the person might have.
I'm looking forward to reading the next in this series later this year.
>125 msf59: Shameful, isn't it, Mark? At least Beth has finally seen the error of her ways. Of course, my biggest fear is that she will read it and say "Meh." :-)
>120 rosalita: Oh, I like that review, Julia. Thumb from me. Excellent description of Fiona, who has joined the pantheon of my favorite characters.
I'm all caught up on the series, darn it. You have some equally good ones ahead of you. I can't wait for the next one.
>127 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe! Normally I am the one who barrels through a series I love but I am trying to practice restraint. It's not easy!
>129 jnwelch: I kind of got that impression, yes. :-) Truthfully, I'm tickled that a recommendation from me was such a hit with you!
Truth be told, I haven't read The Sparrow yet, either. It's waiting patiently on my shelf.
Wow, Juliak! Yours has been a busy thread since my last visit near the end of February!
>27 rosalita: Back to click bait re: Paper is the real app, When I retired I ditched my day planner and it wasn't until this year, 8 years after retirement, that I've found what my life has been missing. Yup, I went back to a day planner and now use it mainly for book related things but also for RL items too. I feel so grounded and attuned....more focused. Maybe my old school's showing.
Wonderful review of Middlemarch! I own it, one day I'll even read it.
I currently have The Sparrow checked out from the library, although I haven't started it quite yet.
>131 coppers: Joanne! Well, now that you're retired you have no excuse. Seriously, it's so so good.
>132 Carmenere: That's exactly it, Lynda. And I don't think it's about being old school, although I am that, too. Studies show that our brains just process information better when we write it rather than type it.
>133 ursula: I will be patient, Ursula. FOR NOW. :-)
>99 rosalita: Belatedly wishing you congratulations on finishing Middlemarch!
'And where I started by wanting to slap some common sense into Rosamund, I ended by ... well, wanting to slap some common sense into Rosamund.' Yes!
Wonderful review - I agree with Beth, you make me want to read it again.
Also embarrassed to say that I haven't read The Sparrow yet either. I did start it a couple of years ago but found the knowledge of impending tragedy too difficult for my mood at the time. It's definitely on the list of books to try again at some point.
>120 rosalita: Great review, Julia! I'm like Joe, barreling through the series and now waiting impatiently for the next one.
>135 souloftherose: Thank you, Heather! Wasn't that Rosamund a pill, though? I'd forgotten how much fun it is to so thoroughly detest a well-drawn literary character. :-)
I guess you know how I feel about The Sparrow by now, so I won't belabor the point. (Just ... you should read it.)
>136 Storeetllr: It's not easy to wait, Mary, that's for sure. Thank you for introducing me to Fiona.
Mucho congrats on finishing Middlemarch. I don't think I finished more than twenty-five pages and I have no desire to try again. I admire people who complete it!
>138 Morphidae: It is a challenging read for 21st century sensibilities, Morphy! I found a group read thread from the 2010 75ers group that was a big help for explaining a lot of the context and the time period.
"Of course, my biggest fear is that she will read it and say "Meh."
The Beth I know has exquisite book taste, so I am guessing that verdict is highly doubtful. Then again, I have erred before and will again...
Your eyes uncrossed! Congratulations on finishing Middlemarch, and terrific review! Hope you are having a good week.
>141 AMQS: They did, and I'm so glad I read it. I am finally kicking a terrible chest cold to the curb, so the week is definitely heading in the right direction. Last night was the first good night's sleep I've gotten in over a week, and I feel so much better.
>142 scaifea: Thank you, Amber! I was starting to think I was the only one who had read it on LT after all the "confessions" up there ^. :-)
>139 rosalita: Oh, I understood it just fine. But the overblown style and what would be called overacting characters nowadays, annoyed the heck out of me.
I have Hunting Badger out from the library but I decided to read Tana French instead.
>142 scaifea:, >143 rosalita: Oh, no worries about being the only one to read and enjoy The Sparrow. I've reread it at least 5 times and own it in both print and as an audio. And it's one of the few books I've ever purchased multiple copies of just so I could give them away to friends. And for miserly me, that's saying something!
Well, I don't feel so bad about not having read The Sparrow yet. This year, I promise.
Clearly, someone NEEDS to set up a Group Read for The Sparrow. This travesty needs to end...
>148 Storeetllr: You have restored my faith in humanity, Mary! (OK, not really, but I'm thrilled that you love The Sparrow as much as I do.)
>149 BLBera: Apparently you are very much not alone, Beth! I will look forward to your thoughts when you get to it, and hope we haven't hopelessly skewed your perspective with all this nonsense.
>150 luvamystery65: Yay having another Tana French to read. I hate being caught up. And all I will say about the other thing is that you should read it — I really think you would like it very much.
>151 msf59: Right, Mark?! These people, I tell ya. *shakes head*
Hey, I read it! Didn't like it near as much as you all, but I did read it!
I just finished The Garden of Lamentations, Julia. It's a good one. Want to know what happens?
17. Hunting Badger by Tony Hillerman.
A better -than-usual entry in this series, probably because there's a large focus on Leaphorn and less on Chee and his hopeless romantic entanglements. When a policeman is shot in the course of a casino robbery, the ensuing manhunt brings dread to the minds of the Navajo Tribal Police who remember an earlier snafu involving the FBI and a botched search of Indian country in search of possible eco-terrorists. As always, the insights into Navajo culture are the highlights of the book.
Happy Friday, Julia! I saw MDR go off on some scumbag trolls over on FB. God, I love that woman.
Have a great weekend.
Well, I can't say I'm having a great weekend. Last night I went out to dinner with a friend after work, and when we came out of the restaurant my car wouldn't start. She gave me a ride home, and this morning I called a towing company to take it to the service center, but of course since they are only open until noon on Saturdays they likely won't get to it until Monday.
AND if that wasn't enough, in the midst of arranging the towing I realized I never renewed my car registration, which means I've been driving around illegally for four months. I was able to renew online (paying a $33 penalty for being late, ouch), and will hopefully get the sticker shortly after I get my car back.
AND after being in the 70s (F) just a couple of weeks ago, we're supposed to get several inches of snow on Sunday night into Monday.
AND it's the start of DST this weekend, which means it will go back to being dark when I get up in the mornings. I think (let me count) that's a quadruple UGH.
On the plus side, not being able to go anywhere this weekend should mean some extra reading time. So I've got that going for me, which is nice. :-/
I hope everyone else is having a much better weekend out there in LT Land!
Here is a bit of sunshine to make you smile. I'm sorry you are having such a rough time. I've also been late with my registration. There are instances when we simply cannot keep up with everything. I do hope the rest of your weekend goes well.
>161 rosalita: Holy moly, Julia!! When it rains, eh? I'd say it can only get better, but I don't want to jinx anything... Here's hoping, at least!
>161 rosalita: Oh, that is a rough start to your weekend. I'm so sorry. I hope your car will need something easy and inexpensive. You have a good outlook, though: if you can't go out, then you should surely enjoy guilt-free reading time!
My sympathy, too, Julia. I've had bad dreams like that, but at least I got to wake up from them. Hopefully Monday will put everything back in place. (I think that's the first time I've ever said that about a Monday!) Enjoy your reading time - you deserve something positive in return.
>1 rosalita: Your opening photo is lovely...lots of possibilities for sunshine!
>162 Whisper1: >166 Whisper1: Thank you for the lovely flowers, Linda! They definitely brighten a dreary day.
>163 scaifea: Indeed — here's hoping!
>164 AMQS: I have my fingers crossed, Anne. First choice is something inexpensive; second choice is something expensive but under warranty. We won't talk about the third choice!
>165 jnwelch: So true, Joe. I've seldom looked forward to Monday. This might be a first for me!
I hope you enjoy your enforced stay-at-home-and-read weekend, Julia, and that the repairs are nothing big.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed about your car, Julia. I'm with you on DST - I HATE getting up in the dark.
I hope the rest of the weekend is better.
Hoping your week gets monumentally better!!! I've been pulled over by a cop for having old tabs on my license. Got away with a warning luckily! & I agree about DST. Not looking forward to it.
Here's some sunshine - wish it were real.
I found a cute sun with petals and an affirmation underneath it, but I could feel you wanting to wipe its cartoon smile right off its face all the way through the internet, so I'll spare you that!
Bummer about your car! I join those hoping it turns out to be inexpensive and easy to fix. Meanwhile, also hoping you're having a great reading weekend.
Well that was a heck of a way to start the weekend! I'm glad you were with someone, though.
Hope it's an easy (cheap) repair!
Julia, I'm sorry you are having a terrible no-good very bad week end. It's good you weren't stranded, though. I hope you're finding some comfort in your books. Speaking of which, congratulations on reading Middlemarch. I really enjoyed it when I read it but it is very dense. No skimming in that one! And, I've read The Sparrow twice now. I will probably read it again if and when I get to my first reading of Children of God.
Sounds like a recipe for a crappy weekend, sorry. :/
For us, daylight savings time moving the sunrise back an hour is a godsend because the dog tends to get antsy when the sun is up but our alarm hasn't gone off yet. She becomes the new alarm, annoying us every 5 minutes to make sure we haven't overslept. *sigh* So this gives us a little bit longer where she actually lets us sleep to when we're trying to sleep. :)
>168 Storeetllr: Thanks, Mary. Me, too.
>169 BLBera: There was a bill in the Iowa legislature this session to end DST for good, but I guess they've been too busy destroying collective bargaining for public-sector workers, implementing discriminatory voter ID laws, passing a bunch of guns-rights bills including Stand Your Ground, and gutting workers compensation law to get to it. :-(
>170 cammykitty: Thank you for the sunshine, Katie! I think your instincts were sound with the cartoon sun, though. :-)
>171 RebaRelishesReading: It's been fine, Reba, if a little dull.
>172 coppers: Me too, Joanne.
>173 Donna828: Thanks, Donna. I saw your comments in the Middlemarch group read thread from 2010, which I dug up while I was reading it. It was a good companion to the book.
>174 Berly: Nothing is falling from the sky yet, Kim, but I'm bracing myself. I wish it had snowed back in February when I was more mentally prepared for it, rather than now after a string of beautiful weather.
>175 ursula: Well, at least someone finds DST useful. Thanks for chiming in, Ursula. I hope Penny let you sleep in this morning.
Happy Sunday, Julia! I hope you are having a good weekend. I thought we were through with winter...sighs. Back to cold and snow.
>177 msf59: I'm not enjoying my weekend at all, but thanks for stopping by. Yep, back to snow.
^I missed your post up there, Julia! What a bummer, my friend. I hope you are getting some reading in and taking comfort in the books.
Hey, in just about a month, the Meet Up will be happening. Yah!
An auto update:
The service center just called to say that they couldn't find anything wrong with my car other than a dead battery. They charged it up and Emmylou (that's my car's name) started just fine. I am highly skeptical this was the only problem, as in the past when I've had battery issues they haven't manifested themselves in the space of an hour between starting perfectly and not starting at all, but we'll see. If that does turn out to be the only problem, at least it's a relatively cheap one!
Hi - same thing happened in our driveway with my Toyota on Friday.
The local towing company also does charges, but I told them just
to bring a new battery so we aren't stranded again.
Cost was high (insurance may cover), but battery was from 2012!
- that might be good to check with Emmylou...
>181 m.belljackson: Thanks for the tip! In fact I bought Emmylou brand-new in 2012 and I've never replaced the battery so perhaps it was just its time. The towing charge was just under $100 but my insurance will cover that, so that's good.
I always hate car problems because I feel like I don't know enough to be a really informed consumer. I do trust this place that is working on her, so that's a relief.
>120 rosalita: I am going to have to look for that series. Thanks for the recommendation, Julia!
>183 alcottacre: It's really good, Stasia! I can't remember if you do ebooks, but they have been on sale off and on lately, so you might check Amazon.
>184 rosalita: Yes, I have both a Nook and a Kindle, so I do ebooks. I will check Amazon. Thanks, Julia.
Hi Julia, sorry to hear about your car problems. DLT is killing me this year, both hubby and I slept in this morning and even now at mid-afternoon, I am still disorientated! I know I will appreciate having longer summer evenings later on, but right now, it's a pain!
>185 alcottacre: Happy hunting, Stasia!
>186 DeltaQueen50: I feel that DST is one of those things that made sense when people didn't have electric lights on every streetcorner and room, but needs to go away now. Unfortunately for now, we seem to be in the minority!
>187 scaifea: Thank you, Amber. I am dreading going out there this morning to see if it will start. Once a car loses my trust, it's hard to gain it back!
Eesh, Julia, what a weekend indeed! My thoughts are somewhat like yours, when I get behind the wheel......the car must start. When I sit at my desk the computer must turn on and it must connect to the internet. When that doesn't happen there's little reason to go on. OK....not that bad but darn close.
Hope your mechanic was correct and Emmylou will be fine.
Hope by now everything's looking up :0)
She started! Emmylou is back on my good side — for now. :-)
>189 Carmenere: I tell myself it's silly to get so worked up when mechanical things don't work the way they are supposed to, but then I go and do it anyway.
18. Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie.
The latest in the series featuring the crime-fighting husband-wife police duo Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. This is a slightly unusual entry, as for the first time in the series (that I can remember) there is a continuing mystery plot involving possible corruption in the Metropolitan Police. That's where Duncan's obsession lies, and his fear of exposing his wife and fellow officers to danger has him keeping secrets and worrying Gemma. She, in the meantime, is working a murder case involving a dead nanny, a young male ballet prodigy, and a variety of colorful characters whose homes share a common garden. I wasn't enthusiastic about the corruption storyline when it surfaced in the last book, but it was resolved quite nicely here and ended up furthering the relationship between Duncan and Gemma, which is really the main attraction of this series for me, if I'm being honest. This is a series worth starting at the beginning.
Julia, I'm glad you and Emmylou are friends again. I'm sure she felt badly about letting you down when you needed her. I hope your week is going better now that she is back on track again.
Spring is on it's merry way though it seems we are having our coldest winter weather this week. We sure picked the wrong week to visit Florida!
19. The Children by David Halberstam.
If lesson number one had been that their numbers were not small because their idea was powerful, then lesson number two was about shedding the most powerful of all feelings — the shame of being black in a white nation which had chosen, as it suppressed its black citizens, to create a philosophy of shame and vulnerability among the very people whom it had suppressed and exploited, saying in effect that it was the victim's fault for turning out to be the victim.
This is a masterful overview of The Movement, as the struggle for civil rights in the 1960s came to be known. Halberstam astutely focuses on a group of college students in Nashville who formed the backbone of what became the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and pushed the older, more conservative Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) into challenging segregation with direct action, beginning with lunch-counter sit-ins and ending with the bloody March to Montgomery and voter registration drives across the Deep South.
Many of The Movement's most well-known names got their start in the Nashville group — John Lewis, Marion Barry and James Bevel among them. But Halberstam also shines a light on activists who were lesser-known or completely unknown to me, showing how essential they were to the ultimate success of the struggle. He interweaves chapters exploring the backgrounds of each of these disparate characters and how they came to be in Nashville with direct reporting on the actions they took and the reactions of the white establishment. His writing brought home the very real physical danger that they all faced, and the constant indignities and humiliations that were visited upon them simply for daring to think themselves equal to whites:
It was a bitter evening for both of them. One of the waitresses had come over and said that they did not serve niggers, and when they still did not leave, she returned and poured milk on both of them, and when they still did not leave, she returned one more time and poured hot tea on them. Then, as if to top it off, one of the other employees went in the kitchen and returned with a container of Ajax and poured it on both of them. Then the police came and arrested them both. It was a moment when Gloria Johnson felt an overpowering sense of sadness, not about herself, or about the others who were protesting with her, but instead about the city and the country. Here were the two of them, she thought, graduates of an uncommonly good college, now on their way to becoming doctors, trying to order simple meals in what was not a very fancy restaurant, and being abused and then arrested for it. She wept that day, for her country, not for herself.
One of the most valuable takeaways for me from this book is the reminder that African-American culture is not and never has been a monolith. The activists in the book come from a variety of backgrounds, from financially secure to desperately poor, from the Deep South of Mississippi and Alabama to northern cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. By continuing the book beyond the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — really the signature achievement of The Movement — Halberstam shows how black activism experienced a schism of its own, between those whose ultimate goal was full integration into society and those who advocated for black power and separating themselves from whites. As he follows many of the activists from their 20s into their 50s and beyond, he also shows how their time in The Movement affected them all profoundly even as they moved into the next phases of their lives. Many struggled with depression as they tried to find some other cause or pursuit that would mean as much to them as the civil rights struggle had.
Reading this book in 2017, as voting rights are once again under attack across the country (including right here in Iowa), I find myself filled with fresh determination that the gains those activists fought so hard to achieve must not be conceded without a fight. The stories Halberstam tells in The Children filled me with awe at a group of young people who faced incredible danger and violence — not fearlessly like superheroes, but with fearful conviction in the rightness of their cause, like flawed but focused human beings.
>192 Berly: Thanks, Kim, now I'm going to hear Willie Nelson in my head all day. There are worse things, for sure. :-)
>193 Donna828: I think she did, Donna, and I'm sure she will try very hard not to do it again. Ha! I resent this current snow and cold even more after the days in the 70s during February. I feel like Mother Nature is just jerking us around at this point. Not funny, Mother Nature!
>194 rosalita: Excellent review, Julia! I've put The Children (and why does this book not have a Touchstone?) on hold at the library.
Glad to hear it was just the battery!
We are starting a book club at work, and Hillbilly Elegy is the first book up for discussion. That's the vegetable in my current reading diet. And the dessert is the latest Ian Rutledge mystery.
BB on the Halberstam. Hilbilly Elegy is in the swamp; I'll be interested to hear your comments.
>200 swynn: I hope you find The Children worth taking a bullet for, Steve. I am trying to psych myself up for Hillbilly Elegy, as it's a book I had already decided I didn't want to read right now, and here I am reading it.
>124 rosalita: I crave intelligent discussion
...is why I love my university supervisors meetings. I ask one question and they talk to and fro for ages intelligently with me piping in every now and then for clarification. It is always rewarding.
>199 rosalita: I saw Hillbilly Elegy on the shelves in the shop the other day, it was full price, very expensive. And it reminds me that LT is a dangerous place for me. All these book recs are pricey here! I generally wait til the buzz dies down and get them from the library or second hand.
How is it going anyway? The book, and just general ;)
>202 EBT1002: I'm always happy to push good books on good people, Ellen. :-) And you may be waiting a while for Hillbilly Elegy comments — I have not yet been able to force myself to pick it up and read it. Instead I've been re-reading favorites and binge-watching Great British Bake-Off episodes.
>203 Ireadthereforeiam: Re: the Hillbillies, see my message to Ellen. I've been avoiding it like it's a contagious disease. I think I am just not in the mood to read it right now, and I'm disinclined to force myself to do it. So we'll see if I actually get it read before book club next month!
I always try to read a baseball book during spring training, just to get ready for the season. I had originally planned to read David Halberstam's October 1964 but in light of the death of longtime New York newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin over the weekend, I pulled this one off the pile instead. It's the story of the New York Mets' first season in 1962, which set new marks of ineptitude. It's the kind of story Breslin tells well, and I'm looking forward to diving in.
205 rosalita - Have you read THE BROTHERS K? - an older, but really wonderful baseball & life novel -
Howdy Julia! I'm glad your car problems were only the battery. I hope the weather turns beautiful soon for you.
Hi Julia - I'm glad the car thing was only the battery. Fingers crossed.
You got me with the Halberstam. Great comments.
I was happy with the resolution in the Crombie book. I'm not always thrilled with the multiple books story arcs -- it takes too long to find out what happens.
Well, do you think spring is really here?
>206 m.belljackson: Hi, Marianne. I have not read The Brothers K, but I will look for it at the library. Thanks for the tip!
>207 luvamystery65: I think we have lifted our heads above freezing for good, so that's something to celebrate, Roberta. Of course, now that I've typed that, we'll probably get a blizzard next week!
>208 BLBera: We cross-posted, Beth! I think you will really enjoy the Halberstam. I ended up liking the Crombie quite a bit — she really has a knack for drawing memorable characters. Do you think she is angling to set up Melody and Doug as a romantic duo? It feels that way, but she's taking her time about it if so!
One thing I didn't mention in my review is that I was quite taken with the concept of a common garden, which my American brain interprets as a sort of shared backyard amongst the whole block. I'm not sure we really have those over here, though maybe that's just true of where I've lived. It sounds quite lovely, save the occasional dead body popping up.
>211 nhlsecord: I have read and really enjoyed that one, Norma! Luciano has a great personality, and I remember when he was umpiring. Some umpires nowadays are rather showy but in a way that seems designed to call attention to themselves rather than the game. I don't think that was Luciano's aim at all.
I perused your profile and see that we have a number of my favorite authors in common — Rex Stout, Georgette Heyer, Dick Francis, among others. If your LT name a tribute to the hockey player Al Secord? I don't follow hockey as much as I'd like to but I vaguely remember him playing for the Chicago Blackhawks back in the day.
Just popping in and claiming a new spot. I've enjoyed your clickbait. Per >90 rosalita: and the library bill, I think it's essential for schools to have libraries, but they also need to let the students use them. My daughter's biggest complaint at her middle school is that she is hardly ever allowed in the library. They rarely go, it's barely used. This is a great sadness. Why is it so? I must investigate further.
>213 nittnut: That seems crazy, Jenn, doesn't it? To have a library but not allow students time to use it? I'd be interested to know what you are able to find out about why that is. My cynical side is going to blame it on the prevalence of never-ending test prep, but as I don't have kids of my own in the school system I may be completely wrong about that.
Which reminds me, we haven't done this for a while ...
Books N Bros' 11-year-old Founder Wants to Help Boys Love Reading At an Age When They Often Don't— Now this is a young man with an entrepreneurial spirit and a love of books! I would love to see this idea catch on elsewhere.
Breslin: Digging JFK Grave Was His Honor — I mentioned earlier that legendary New York newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin died last weekend. This is a reprint of what most people consider to be his signature column. It's a classic Breslin move, looking for the untold story inside a big event that everyone is covering. I'm not sure anyone did it better.
I did a bit of research and found that according to polls 82% of people want DST to end. Keep in mind that I wasn't able find a poll that I consider reliable. The best source was Accuweather.
>216 Morphidae: - Is there an Anti-DST organization that is collecting signatures?
With all the publicity supporting starting school later to support teen age brains,
it's amazing that the easy fix to give them an extra hour by NOT setting clocks
ahead in the Spring hasn't been promoted.
>216 Morphidae: >217 m.belljackson: It seems like every year there's a chorus of people (both regular folks and experts on how our body clocks work) who advocate for getting rid of it, but inertia and a Congress that can't agree on whether to tie their shoelaces left over right or right over left means I doubt anything will happen anytime soon. Alas. And the info about how teen brains work is so true! But school seems to start earlier and earlier. Certainly when I was in high school (back when Tige was a pup) we never started before 8:30 and now I see schools routinely starting at 7 or 7:30. Madness!
When I was a kid in school - back when dinosaurs were still roaming the Earth - we went to school from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with an hour for lunch and short recesses morning and afternoon. I thought that was too early.
School over here start at 08:15 (cirka, the exact minutes are up to the school to decide) and I'm pretty sure it's always been that way. Was when I started school 25 years ago (I feel old), was when my parents started school ca 60 years ago, was when my grandparents went to school nearly 100 years ago.
But then most people here start work at around 08:00 as well (standard working hours are 08:00-17:00, including an hour off for lunch).
I wonder if there is a reason for DST to continue? I can't imagine what that might be though.
>219 Storeetllr: Ha! Trying to one-up me on the age thing, Mary? I think we went 8:30-3:00, if I'm remembering right, but maybe it was 9:00. That was an awfully long time ago ...
>220 PawsforThought: You bring up a good point — I think one impetus for moving up school start times was so working parents wouldn't have to leave kids home alone to make their own way to school. Of course, I am the product of a single-parent household and nobody was holding my hand to get me ready for school in the morning. My mom went to work at the local hospital at 5 a.m., and she would call at 7:30 to wake me and my brother up, and from there it was up to us to get up, eat breakfast, get dressed and walk to school. Nowadays it seems most kids get dropped off by parents at school.
>221 BLBera: Well, I hate to be cynical, Beth, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess someone somewhere is making money off it.
The earliest I ever had to be at school was 8.50am. And we finished at 3.15 for little kids, 3.30 at middle school and 3.40 for upper school. The school start times of the US seem madness to me. Particularly, as you've pointed out, with the research done on teenagers and early mornings. I would have missed SO much more school if I'd had to be there at 7am. It was bad enough at nearly 9am!!
Growing up, my school days started around 8:30 and ended right around 2:30. When my son was going to school, elementary school started at 8:40, middle school around 8, and high school, in the dark, at the ridiculous 7:20. Also, early classes were offered that started at 6:45.
A large school district here in CO just voted last month to have the HS start an hour later and elementary an hour earlier. Makes sense to me!
>215 rosalita: cool! My friend is a high school teacher, and he started a boys reading club. He is a very cool guy, so it made reading seem cool for the kids I guess. I think he also took food, which may have helped :)
Wow re: school start times. My kids school day officially starts at 9am, and they are not allowed into their classrooms before 8.30am. So I take them at 8.30 and they play until the bell goes. Pick up time is 3pm! Just as it was for me as a kid. High school for me was 8.40 - 3.20. Not too bad, especially as I lived within easy walking distance.
Reading through the school time posts, I realize that I can't remember when school started for me as a kid! Yeesh. I do know that it was over at 2:30, though. Charlie now goes from 8:15 to 3:15, but he insists on being there at 7:30, right when the doors open, so that he can spend those precious 45 minutes in...wait for it...the school library. Of course. Chip and block and all.
My high school was apparently running some sort of experiment in torture. We went from 7:25-2:15.
>224 BLBera: The more things change ...
>225 coppers: That's great news about the Colorado district moving back start times! I've been reading this research for a while now but hadn't heard of any schools actually taking action. I hope they see a big difference and it encourages other schools to follow suit.
>226 Ireadthereforeiam: I love the Books N Bros kid, Megan. Anything that gets more boys reading is great. And that sounds like a good schedule for Lenny and Wilbur.
>227 scaifea: Well, of course he does! :-)
>228 ursula: Ugh, that sounds awful, Ursula. I am very much not a morning person, even though I now have a job that requires me to set the alarm for 5 a.m.!
>221 BLBera: "Studies suggest that consumers are more inclined to go out and spend money if there's more daylight after they leave work."
"Industry groups representing big-box stores, sporting and recreational goods manufacturers, barbecue and charcoal retailers, shopping malls and golf courses all lobbied the U.S. Congress to extend daylight time."
"Among its biggest supporters were professional baseball leagues (afternoon games could be scheduled after work hours) and garden-supply retailers."
>230 Morphidae: Well, I don't know how old some of those quotes are, but MLB games have been virtually all at night for decades. The Cubs were the last team to get stadium lights, and that was in 1988.
>231 rosalita: I think that particular quote refers to when DST was first coming out.
Nope. I took it out of context. This was the preceding paragraph. Sorry. That's what I get for skimming.
"A. Lincoln Filene, owner of the now-defunct U.S.-based Filene's department store chain, founded the National Daylight Saving Association — perhaps the first organized daylight time lobby group — in 1917, writes Mike O'Malley, a professor of American history at George Mason University in Virginia."
Ah, OK. That makes more sense — thanks for checking it, Morphy!
DST in general made more sense when not everyone had electric lights either in their homes or on the streets. But nowadays I just don't see the point of manipulating the hours of daylight when we can essentially create daylight whenever we want, 24 hours a day.
Morning, Julia! I am SO with you on the DST front. Most annoying.
I have finally caught up on your thread after stopping in here and there and reading a few posts at a time. I am another that has not read The Sparrow, but Linda sent me a copy of it, so I will be sure to read it this year, and I will think of you when I do so.
Hooray for finishing Middlemarch - and you liked it!!!
I love all of your clickbait items - very well chosen and so interesting to see what you post for us. It's a really fun feature of your thread, which was already full of fabulous.
I am way behind you in that Crombie series, which you might want to post a spoiler for - I did not know that
Your car fiasco reminded me of something that happened to me several years ago - I went to get the kids cell phones and that's how I found out that my driver's license had expired. SO I had waited all that time in line and then went through all the agonies of picking out phones and a contract, only to find that I could not proceed with the purchase because my license was not valid. UGH. Glad your car was a simple fix and that you got your registration renewed.
Hoping that today is kind to you, my friend.
20. No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd.
It's 1920, and Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge continues to cope with the shellshock/PTSD that engulfed him while serving in the trenches during World War I. Once again he's sent away from London to investigate a provincial case. This time, it's due to pressure from the wealthy families in Cornwall whose daughters are accused of attempted murder. The young women were rowing on the river when they spot a male acquaintance whose boat is sinking. In their attempts to help, he gets whacked in the head with an oar and falls unconscious. A witness accuses them of deliberately trying to kill him, but why would they want him dead?
All in all, another strong outing in this series, though there's less commentary than usual from Hamish, the voice of one of his fallen war comrades who haunts Ian's head. I wonder if that's the authors' way of signaling that perhaps Ian is recovering? I reckon I'll have to keep reading to find out!
>234 Crazymamie: I'm so sorry I ruined the Crombie book for you, Mamie! That particular event happened so many books ago it never occurred to me that it would be a spoiler. I will try to do better in the future!
A couple of re-reads that I won't count in my yearly total:
Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer.
Lord Desford, who normally spends all his time mingling in high society Regency London, finds himself chasing all over England to try to fulfill a promise made to an orphan girl who has run away from the family who wanted her only to be a mindless drudge. The characters are winning but the hero and heroine don't spend nearly enough time in each other's company to let the reader fully root for their romance to bloom.
Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout.
The first great book in this long-running series, as far as I'm concerned. All of the characters' personality traits and quirks are fully engaged by now, making the deviations all the more enjoyable. Archie and Nero Wolfe find themselves in upstate New York solely so Wolfe can make a monkey of a fellow orchid grower, and along the way they stumble into murders that cross species lines. This book is also notable for being the one where Archie meets his longtime romantic sparring partner, Lily Rowan. Great fun.
Hi Julia, hope you are having a good day my dear and wishing you a relaxing and enjoyable weekend dear lady. Sending love and hugs from both of us.
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