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ffortsa retires to read in 2017 - second reading chair

This is a continuation of the topic ffortsa retires to read in 2017.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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1ffortsa
Edited: Today, 12:16pm Top

Ah, I had such lofty goals last year! My shelves are as full as ever, and my two face-to-face book clubs totter on taking up my time. But that's ok with me. I got to 66 books - 67 if I count The Shipping News, which I finished listening to this morning.

I retired last May, but it didn't increase my reading time by much. I had a lovely summer vacation, topped by a trip to Alaska, a rather busy autumn and end of year, and here I am, ready for another round.

So what do I plan? Aside from the aforementioned f2f groups, I hope to participate at least part-time in some of the challenges (British, Canadian, American, Non-Fiction, etc.) as well as some of the group reads. I'm still working on catching up with my vast New Yorker collection, too. I'm all the way up to March of 2009.

And I hope to keep up with a few more of my fellow LTers this year - I lost track of so many of you in 2016! Of course, I'm already behind on that plan.

My ticker, as always, will be




(although at the rate I'm going, maybe I should have switched to the snail!)

1. The Five Books of Moses translated by Robert Alter - Genesis
2. @Erewhon - Samuel Butler
3. Love Songs From a Shallow Grave - Colin Cotterill.
4. @The Bible: A Biography - Karen Armstrong
5. The Dance of the Seagull - Andrea Camilleri
6. @The Last Coyote - Michael Connelly
7. ♬Sad Cypress - Agatha Christie
8. Better Than Before - Gretchen Rubin
9. ✔NIghtwood - Djuna Barnes
10. @Trunk Music - Michael Connelly
11. ♬October Light - John Gardner
12. The Ghost Runner - Parker Bilal
13. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd - Alan Bradley
14. @Buried (Twisted Cedar Mysteries) - C. J. Carmichael
15. @Talking To the Dead - Harry Bingham
16. Written in Stone - Ellery Adams
17. The Master Butchers Singing Club - Louise Erdrich
18. The Redeemer - Jo Nesbo
19. ♬Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right - Hochschild
20. @Sophie's Choice - William Styron
21. The Garden of the Finzi-Contini - Giorgio Bassani
22. @The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths - Harry Bingham
23. ♬Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
24. @Fatal Remedies - Donna Leon
25. @Secrets From the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again - Traci Mann, Ph.D.

I'm carrying over the icons from last year to denote ebooks, library books, off the shelf, etc. which Bianca kindly provided.

♬ audiobook
✔ off the shelf
@ e-book
✨ shared TIOLI
✿ TIOLI
✗ slow read

Here's to another fine year of reading for us all!

2alcottacre
Apr 23, 8:43pm Top

Happy new thread, Judy!

3katiekrug
Apr 23, 8:57pm Top

Happy new one, Judy! Hope you got out today to enjoy the gorgeous weather. Have I mentioned I'm not really missing Texas? ;-)

4ffortsa
Apr 23, 9:12pm Top

>2 alcottacre: AND >3 katiekrug: Thanks for dropping by!

Katie, my friend Shanni mentioned a political group that meets once a month for dinner in a town near you. It's a Yahoo group, and if you're interested I'll send you the details.

5katiekrug
Apr 23, 9:18pm Top

Sure, send it on and I'll see if it floats by boat!

6Ameise1
Apr 24, 7:18am Top

Congrats on your shiny new thread, Judy and wishing you a wonderful start into the new week.

7scaifea
Apr 24, 7:54am Top

Happy new thread, Judy!

8_Zoe_
Edited: Apr 24, 8:29am Top

Happy new thread!

ETA: In belated response from your last thread, I have a wrist Fitbit—the basic Flex.

9jnwelch
Apr 24, 1:48pm Top

Happy New Thread, Judy.

Ellen has convinced me to try The Master Butchers Singing Club. You liked it, yes?

10ffortsa
Apr 24, 11:11pm Top

>9 jnwelch: I think I may have quibbled a bit when I reread it last month, but that may have reflected my f2f reading group discussion. It's very good.

11DianaNL
Apr 25, 4:07am Top

Happy new one, Judy.

12PaulCranswick
Apr 25, 6:42am Top

Happy new thread, Judy. xx

13drneutron
Apr 25, 11:29am Top

Happy new thread!

14ffortsa
Apr 29, 1:38pm Top

20. Sophie's Choice - William Styron

I missed reading this when it was published, although there was a lot of talk about it then. This read was for my Tuesday f2f reading group, and I'm very interested what they have to say. Some of this book feels very dated, and the point of view was sometimes a problem for me. But the elliptical shape of the narrative interests me, and maybe we'll leave some time to talk about that after we bash Stingo.

15EBT1002
May 1, 4:54pm Top

Happy New Thread, Judy!

16ffortsa
May 3, 10:26am Top

>15 EBT1002: Hi, Ellen! Sort of sorry you won't be closer to us in the future, but I can certainly see the reasons to stay where you are. Great feedback, though.

We had a rather meager showing for Sophie's Choice at our downtown reading group last night. We've had some fall-off in attendance recently, and we don't know if it's the books that were selected or just a normal cycle. Investigation is certainly in order. Discussion was not as interesting as I usually find it, and I think that was because some of our more outspoken regulars were missing. Ah well.

Our uptown group read The Garden of the Finzi-Contini, which I will list shortly, and then we watched the film. I didn't find much of interest in either medium.

Next up for the book group readins: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Bradbury, and Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe. So two more books that are new to me. That's all good.

17ffortsa
May 4, 7:47am Top

21. The Garden of the Finzi-Contini by Giorgio Bassani

Bassani's novel chronicles the life of the Jewish population in Ferrara in the years leading up to WWII, and how the 'racial laws' affected them. The focus is on the exceptionally rich family of the Finzi-Contini, secluded on their garden estate behind stone walls, and their involvement with a few select young men in the town. Central to the story is a friendship and attempted romance between the narrator and the daughter Micol Finzi-Contini.

The looming disaster of the war hangs over this story without ever becoming present, which denies the story any sort of expected climax. I read the Quigley translation, and I have no way of evaluating it against the Italian but I didn't feel particularly drawn into the story.

My book circle also viewed the De Sica film that was derived from the novel, and there De Sica makes the decision to show the beginnings of the deportation. 183 Jews were deported from Ferrara; few if any returned.

18karenmarie
May 4, 9:03am Top

Hi Judy, and happy new thread.

I somehow unstarred your previous thread, but here I am again, all caught up.

19ffortsa
Edited: May 5, 4:43pm Top

22. The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths - Harry Bingham

Another winner! Wow, what an engrossing story, in which Fiona, of course, gets herself into trouble for all the right reasons and all but loses herself in the process. Excellent details, characters, and plot, and from my knowledge of the IT world, entirely possible. Why didn't I think of that?

My basic arithmetic tells me I'm on track to make 75 if I read 1 book every 4 1/2 days. That's better than I've been doing, but a reasonable pace. Fiona gobbled up all my reading energy today, especially as I seem to have acquired Jim's nasty cold (I NEVER get colds - if he weren't so sick still I'd make him miserable all over again). And the worst is, when I get sick like this I get bored, and I was already bored, what I was always afraid of about retirement. (I know, sounds like a first world problem, as so many have been saying, but still...)

Now for some tea. Or brandy. Or maybe tea WITH brandy. Hm.

20jnwelch
May 5, 4:50pm Top

Feel better, Judy! I vote for tea WITH brandy. Kind of a tea toddy.

Yay for another winner! As you know, I love that Fiona Griffiths series.

21karenmarie
May 5, 5:00pm Top

Hi Judy! I'm sorry you're sick. Before retirement I always wanted to be sick enough to stay home but not too sick to read. Now I just don't want to get sick.

I just finished book 5 of the Fiona Griffiths series, now waiting on a new one. C'mon Harry Bingham, write fast!

22EBT1002
May 7, 12:20am Top

I downloaded the first in the Fiona Griffiths series a while back and haven't gotten to it yet. The raves around here are persuasive!

I hope you're having a good weekend, Judy. Recovering quickly would be good....
>21 karenmarie: "Before retirement I always wanted to be sick enough to stay home but not too sick to read." LOL -- I can totally relate to that and I look forward to retirement so I can just enjoy reading all the time!

23PaulCranswick
May 7, 2:01am Top

Take care of yourself Judy - brandy is a good tonic of course whatever your medical condition!

Have a lovely weekend.

24ffortsa
May 7, 3:46pm Top

>21 karenmarie: LOL My mother sometimes hoped the law would find some reason to toss her in the klink so she would have time to read. I can hear it now! 'But Mrs Astroff, why did you rob the grocery store?" "Your Honor, I need some uninterrupted reading time."

Being sick on my own time, on the WEEKEND, and too tired to do anything but sleep, is boring.

In spite of being sick, I went with Jim to see the NTLive showing of 'Twelfth Night' last night. A very funny production, but a little light on subtlety and depth. Very clear, but I've seen better. Oh well. If you've never seen the play before, it's a good production to start with.

I do need to start reading for my f2f reading groups again. They're on successive nights, AGAIN, which Jim and I dislike. Neither book is on my shelf, alas.

Thanks for all your good wishes. I hope to be ok by midweek.

25Berly
May 9, 12:34am Top

Judy--Hope you are feeling better ASAP! And my Dad swears that red wine fixes everything. ; ) My RL book groups often meet close together and I wish they were more spread out. What are you reading for them next? I just finished Hillbilly Elegy for Wednesday and then I have America's First Daughter up next.

26ffortsa
May 9, 12:42pm Top

>25 Berly: I think I am better, still stuffy but otherwise my energy is back, so I count that as done. Stuffiness is eternal.

We almost exclusively read fiction in both of my f2f groups. This month we are reading the second (or third, depending on who's counting) component of Chinua Achebe's trilogy that started with Things Fall Apart - it's called Arrow of God, which makes me shiver a little.
For the other group we're reading Something Wicked This Way Comes, something else to make me shiver. Jim finally got his wish to read something from Bradbury. I like Fahrenheit 451, but this sounds more like a scary story.

Off to play bridge this afternoon. First, coffee.

27Berly
May 9, 12:52pm Top

Usually, my one group reads Fiction, but this is our one NF for the year. The other group seems to be reading a lot of NF and for the most part they have been contemporary ones and I have liked them, but we are due for some F again. I loved SWTWC, so I hope you enjoy it too!

28ffortsa
May 10, 1:34pm Top

Oh, this is not good. The disadvantage of having a comfortable computer setup is that I never leave. Sigh.

Anyway, yesterday I took pictures of all my shoes. Of course, since I was busy shooting before aiming, I took shots of both shoes of the pair, which made the pictures bigger than necessary, so I spent most of the morning resizing them for printing, so I could tape them to my translucent shoe boxes (supposedly transparent, but really..) and remember all the shoes I have. Since I've been living in two or three pairs and a pair of boots all year, I thought it best to remind myself.

To do this, I bought a photo editor called PhotoPad. It was pretty cheap, and seems handy. Does anyone use it? What is your favorite photo editor? I'm curious, especially if you do anything with your photos besides store them electronically. All advice welcome. Thanks.

29banjo123
May 11, 12:34am Top

I will be curious to see how people manage their photos! I seem to have billions, and many are repetitive, but I can't bring myself to delete. And organizing is beyond me... I tell myself that I will do it in retirement.

30katiekrug
May 11, 10:14am Top

I have nothing to offer on the photo front. I'm terrible about organizing them. Right now, most are just sitting on a hard drive...

And I have no idea how to edit photos. I'm quite the troglodyte when it comes to graphics!

31ursula
May 11, 11:31am Top

>28 ffortsa: At a glance, PhotoPad looks pretty good for most users. Photo editing software can have a pretty steep learning curve.

I use Adobe Lightroom, which is great for organizing your photos - you can import them into the Lightroom catalog and it will move everything into folders that are by year, and underneath that by date taken. I made the mistake when I first started out with it of not letting it do that, but it's really the best way. As for editing, it is great because all editing is always reversible. It doesn't change your original file, and you can then export a new copy with your changes. It's not entirely intuitive, but there are lots of tutorials out there to figure out how to do everything.

I also use a couple of the programs in the Google Nik collection. These are a lot of fun to play with, but they are the opposite of Lightroom in that they will overwrite your original file when you hit "save". So it's better to make a copy to start off with and then play around with filters on that copy.

32ffortsa
Edited: May 12, 2:50pm Top

>31 ursula: What a wealth of info! Thanks. I was afraid I'd have to head for PhotoShop, and even the Elements edition sounds intimidating just now. I'll check out Adobe Lightroom and Google Nik to see if they are any easier than PhotoPad and its attendant add-ons.

>29 banjo123: and >30 katiekrug: Yeah, the first grand pass on my father's slides was a huge undertaking. I tossed about half of them, sent the rest out to be scanned, organizing by event or carousel tags, along with ones I'd taken. Since then I've found some more slides (help!), but the big deal now are the albums and old photos. It takes merciless triage, and sometimes I remember that few if any of the people in my family are interested anymore. Not many descendants to laugh at the old folks when young. But some of the photos are objectively beautiful, and I do want to save those and perhaps set them up in electronic picture frame files or reprint for the walls.

Categorizing, of course, is an agony, much worse than organizing books.

33ffortsa
May 12, 3:04pm Top

Today so far has been fun but exhausting. Three of us from the League of Women Voters went to see our State Senator, Liz Krueger, to talk about early voting and other election reforms in NY state, and she gave us 40 minutes of her time! Amazing. A very good discussion. One of the women on our team is a bit compulsive, so the last minute review of our presentation was a bit exhausting to me (where do I find all these people?), but the discussion with Krueger was worth it.

Then I was just in time for an excellent yoga class at my health club, and now I'm just about falling asleep. Got to wake up, though. Jim and I are going to a discussion at the NY Public Library this evening, and meeting Katie and the Wayne for dinner afterwards!

All this activity sometimes gets my back screaming, and I was stretched out on it in front of the bookcase when I noticed a skinny book on the shelf. So I read it.
23. Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenter - J. D. Salinger

This novella is a mix of fun and impending doom, as Buddy Glass attempts to attend his brother's wedding and gets tangled up with some other extraordinary wedding guests, listening to them criticize his brother, who has not shown up. The portraits of upper class, opinionated New Yorkers in the full throes of the intense fad of psychoanalysis were dead on, and amazingly funny, but Seymour (the brother), in his absence and in Buddy's reminiscence and love, is anything but.

34katiekrug
May 13, 5:13pm Top

We had a great time last night with you and Jim, Judy. On the way home, we were talking about how nice it is to (a) have great events like that to go to so close to us; and (b) intelligent people to attend them with and discuss them with afterwards!

35ffortsa
May 13, 7:41pm Top

We feel the same way. Jim was sort of asleep on his feet, otherwise we might still be there.

36EBT1002
May 14, 10:07pm Top

I do not organize my photos.

Actually, P had her brother here from Palau and her other brother who lives just about a mile from us came over. They were going through a HUGE box of photos that have been taking up space in our not-very-large basement for years. Joel, the brother who lives in Palau, had lived with their parents for about two years, the last two years of MIL's life, taking care of them. One thing he did while he was there was scan all the photos he could find. So many of these went in the trash. It's hard to throw them away (less hard for me as they are not memories of my childhood or my family history) but knowing Joel had scanned them made it easier.

"...I was just in time for an excellent yoga class..." Good for you! I keep saying I'm going to get myself back to yoga. I keep saying it.

37SuziQoregon
Edited: May 16, 11:04am Top

Hi Judy! Stopping by for a much belated visit.

I really need to get the first Fiona Griffiths book.

My photos are a mess. At least I have them all backed up on Dropbox so I won't lose them but organizing seems daunting. It would take months for me to get them all tagged appropriately. What I really need to do is start now with tagging so I'm not just making the current problem worse.

38ffortsa
May 18, 5:54pm Top

23. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

I'm not usually interested in scary books, but this was a very happy listen. The narration was as lyrical as Bradbury's style, and it was quite captivating - I didn't even fall asleep when I was listening to it in the dark in bed!

More on this the first week of June when my f2f reading group discusses it.

39jnwelch
May 18, 5:58pm Top

I have fond memories of Something Wicked This Way Comes, Judy. I'm glad it worked so well for you.

40SuziQoregon
May 19, 2:41pm Top

>38 ffortsa: love that book. Who narrated the audio?

41ffortsa
Edited: May 19, 7:04pm Top

>40 SuziQoregon: Hm Don't recall the name. I got it from the library, so I'll check to see if the name is listed.

eta: Aha. Stefan Rudnicki. Excellent.

42PaulCranswick
May 21, 4:14am Top

Have a lovely weekend, Judy.

43ffortsa
Edited: May 22, 5:59pm Top

I recently reread a long piece on Ian McEwan from the New Yorker, Feb.23, 2009. I guess I kept the issue around after reading it the first time partly because of this article, although I now can get it on their archives. For those of you who like McEwan, it's a very interesting portrait of him and his closest writer friends. I'm not sure how available the New Yorker archives are to non-subscribers, but I will find out as soon as I get my own access cleared up.

eta: for those who have access online, the link is here

hey, that works!

Before that, I read
24. Fatal Remedies by Donna Leon

The usual Brunetti police procedural, spiced up by actions that Paola takes to thwart sex-tourism. Lively as always.

I didn't get any walking in today, in spite of a bang-up challenge start yesterday. Rainy out all day, and I spent it doing volunteer work, housework, closets, reading. Now, of course, I have cabin fever.

44ffortsa
Edited: May 23, 11:48am Top

Well, I just spent a very informative and annoying hour with Amazon, first in chat, and then on the phone.

Jim has an Amazon Prime account. He has added me in what I now understand is 'invitee' status. We were under the impression that by adding me, I got all the benefits of Prime that he had paid for. But NOOOOO.

As an invitee, I get
- free two day shipping
- free streaming video
- 30 minute advance on 'lightning deals'
- unlimited storage for photos
- access to the Kindle Owners Lending Library

What I don't get
- ability to borrow books designated as Prime for free
- ability to read selected magazines free
- ability to listen to Audible items for free

The only way I can get Prime status for ebooks and magazines is to buy my own prime membership. Or use Jim's logon.

So, folks, if you are thinking one Prime membership will do for all your Amazon needs, now you know the truth.

45ffortsa
Today, 12:19pm Top

25. Secrets From the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again - Traci Mann, Ph.D.

Well, I'd suggest saving your money. Any of us interested in slimming down have read most of this before. Mann outlines all the dishonest studies, all the evil effects of semi-starvation, all the tripe about willpower, and concludes with strategies to keep you at your low-end set point without too much struggle by changing your habits. Yawn. And, by the way, fat people face discrimination in any number of ways. There. I've saved you the read.

46ffortsa
Today, 7:41pm Top

Lovely day today, real spring at last. I took a long walk with a couple on the upper West Side whom I have known for decades, but see too seldom. They live near Riverside Park, which borders the Hudson River, and after a little more than a mile we came back down via Broadway, through a street fair selling mostly food (but I did buy a new wallet), and I walked to a subway station and took the train home. I was especially eager to get out today because tomorrow rain is scheduled, which means I can read and go to a movie without feeling guilty about being indoors.

I'll probably finish Arrow of God tomorrow, and have some time to research discussion of it before next week's book circle uptown. And I'll have an entire week without planned reading!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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