Katie K's 2017 Book of Books (and Shenanigans and Beverages and Friends) - Chapter 9
This is a continuation of the topic Katie K's 2017 Book of Books (and Shenanigans and Beverages and Friends) - Chapter 8.
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Hello, Old Friends, and Welcome, New Ones!
About me: I'm in my late 30s and besides reading, I love to travel, try new wines, indulge in shenanigans, and spend time with friends and family. Other things I love: Pimm's, snark, the New York Giants, the New York Yankees, sports in general, Cards Against Humanity, and "ethnic" (i.e. non-American) cuisine. But I like American food, too. I just like food. :) My husband and I recently moved from Dallas, Texas to the New York City-area.
My reading is primarily fiction, though I love nonfiction, too. I'll read almost anything if it has a compelling narrative - from great literature to tawdry romances. This is a judgment-free zone. Unless you use bad grammar, and then I judge you. A lot. (Ooh, look, lots of sentence fragments; I'm judging myself now...)
Other characters who occasionally make an appearance on my thread:
The Wayne - husband
Louis - The World's Best Dog (who is currently being taken care of by my sister-in-law because my mean landlord won't let us have a dog in this beautiful house...)
Leonard - a cat that thinks he's a dog, which is why I find him acceptable
Olivia, Peter, and Abby - my cousins (11, 7, and 3) on whom I dote
Charlie - my baby nephew born January 24!
Benjamin - my baby cousin born March 15!
BOOKS READ TO DATE
24. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (4.5 stars)
23. Holy Cow by David Duchovny (audio) (3.5 stars)
22. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (audio) (4.5 stars)
21. When She Said I Do by Celeste Bradley (3 stars)
20. Sugar on Top by Marina Adair (2.5 stars)
-- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (DNF)
19. Purity in Death by J.D. Robb (3.5 stars)
18. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley (audio) (3.5 stars)
-- Sophie's Choice by William Styron (DNF)
17. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (audio) (4 stars)
16. Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan (3.5 stars)
BOOKS READ TO DATE
1. And Justice There is None by Deborah Crombie (3.5 stars)
2. Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas (3 stars)
3. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (3 stars)
-- In Twenty Years by Alison Scotch Win (DNF)
4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (audio) (4 stars)
5. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer (audio) (4.5 stars)
6. The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang (4 stars)
7. Kindred by Octavia Butler (3.5 stars)
8. News of the World by Paulette Jiles (4.5 stars)
9. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (audio) (3.5 stars)
10. Everyday People by Stewart O'Nan (4.5 stars)
11. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (4.5 stars)
12. The River of Doubt by Candice Millard (audio) (4 stars)
-- Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li
13. The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths (4 stars)
14. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (4.5 stars)
15. You Can't Make This Up by Al Michaels (audio) (3 stars)
Ratings: I've stolen my star scale from Ellen and slightly modified it.
5 stars = I connected with this book in a special way. It may not be perfect, but it was perfect for me.
4.5 = A great read, among my favorites of the year.
4 = A good read and one that I recommend; truly enjoyable and/or worthy.
3.5 = Pretty good, with a few things done very well.
3 = Good for what it is.
2.5 = Average, and life is too short to read average works.
2 = A bit below average. A waste of time.
Anything worse I probably didn't finish and so wouldn't give a rating.
Some of the challenges I am following/wanting to participate in:
American Author Challenge (75ers)
Nonfiction Challenge (75ers)
Monthly Themes (Reading Through Time)
CultureCAT (2017 Category Challenge)
Why the Hell Did Donald Trump Win? (not sure of actual group read name :) ) (75ers)
I also want to save room for random/serendipitous choices, so I need to give myself permission to dip in and out of the challenges. I may bring back my LT Folly book selection or some other random means of selecting at least one book a month.
Some reflections on my reading this year (as of April 24)...
I haven't really been happy with my reading so far. I have read some great books, but overall, I haven't gotten a lot of pleasure from my favorite activity. I don't know if it's because I've been distracted with unpacking and organizing and having lots of things to do, or my books just haven't been very entertaining, but something needs to change. I want to read books that I *yearn* to get back to when I've put them down. I don't care if they have literary merit or not - I just want them to entertain me and transport me. So you may be seeing more mysteries and romance around here. I am still going to try to keep up with the AAC and the Nonfiction Challenge, but I will no longer worry about being a "purist" in either.
This is supposed to be fun, right?
Happy new one, Katie. And yes, reading should be enjoyable. Find your blissful reading.
Bliss...There's something to be said for challenging yourself. Of course, not challenging yourself, not even reading, can be experienced as blissful.
Just to be contrary.
>9 BLBera: - Thanks, Beth! I was looking at a stack of books the other day, and most of them were ones I bought because I felt like I "should" read them. Blech! No thanks.
>10 weird_O: - We all read for different reasons, Bill. I have a lot on my plate and don't need reading to feel like another chore. And one can certainly still be challenged while enjoying a book!
>11 jnwelch: - Great combination, Joe!
Hi and happy birthday week! Hope you keep enjoying all things NY - you're off to such a great start. I'm looking forward to another meet-up sometime.
Mixing it up sounds like a good idea Katie. I've picked up some Rabbi Small mysteries, which I'm enjoying so far. I like the feeling of achievement when I've read something difficult, but can't do a lot of that when I'm doing lots of thinking at work.
>13 vivians: - Thanks, Vivian! I guess we don't need a specific reason to meet-up, though bookish events are always fun :)
>14 charl08: - I think part of my issue, Charlotte, is that I have so little reading time (relatively speaking) that I don't want to "waste" the time I do have. I agree about the feeling of achievement when finishing something difficult, but it's not so much shying away from difficult things... Difficult can still be engaging and compelling. I just want to shy away from those books that I spend most of my time wondering when it will end :-P
I often feel like it goes in waves for me - periods when I am mired in books that I think will never end. Sometimes they're just not great books, sometimes they're things I feel like I "have to" read, sometimes they're just a chore for some other reason. But it does feel like all of those often pile up together! I think recently it's been essentially for the same reasons as you - the moving thing, the time thing (Russian is taking up a decent amount of what would normally be reading time). Maybe it will settle a bit for both of us in the near future. Maybe. :)
Happy new thread, Katie. I keep telling myself that I won't try to be a purist with the challenges but myself just doesn't listen *sigh*. Lately the books have been a bit of a struggle so I have an idea what you are going through. I hope you find a way to put some sparkle back into your reading.
Happy new thread. Love the topper. :)
I think this may be the time of year when all our shiny goals from the New Year start to look a little over-ambitious. Nothing should ever take the fun out of reading. Especially now that we're out of school...
Happy new thread and here's to books you long to get back to!! A toast to whimsy.
Happy new thread, Katie, the topper is intriguing: it looks like a photo, but feels like a painting.
Reading should always be fun. What is fun depends on mood, available reading time etc. Sometimes it isn't easy to get the right books at the right time.
Happy new thread, Katie! From your last thread, I will pick up one of the mugs next time I am out there. I nearly bought one last week, but wondered how much room you would have in your luggage. I hope I'm worth missing Edinburgh for :-) But it will be lovely to see you. I'll adjust my calendar for those dates. I had the whole week blocked out so the needy couldn't get me without calendar invitations alerting me to the fact that I had a potential clash :-)
Happy New Thread, Katie! Love the topper. I hope you get the bookish spark back in your life. I am sure it will return. There is joy there.
>23 Berly: - A perfect toast! Thanks, Kim!
>24 FAMeulstee: - Anita, you are so right about it not always being easy to find the right book at the right time. I shall persevere!
>25 susanj67: - I shall make room in my luggage for the mug! But really, I usually have to bring so much over for these meetings that then gets used or left or handed off to others, I am sure to have lots of space on the way back!
>5 katiekrug: Yes, it's supposed to be fun! I know you will find something to spark your book lust again, and I love that you are casting your net wide to find that special something. Whatever it takes!
Hi Katie and happy new thread.
I love that topper, too; intriguing and deceptive.
It is absolutely supposed to be fun! What I called 'free' reading when I was in school should not be a chore. Find that romance! Find that mystery! No guilt allowed.
Every time I accept a challenge I immediately feel 'cabined, cribbed, confined' although I finish the books (except the Michael Chabon AAC challenge a while back...). The relief when finishing one is almost more than the benefit of reading it. The only challenge I'm not feeling antsy about is the year long Bible-as-Literature read here on LT. I'm at a boring part of the OT right now, but am almost a third of the way through. I deliberately haven't joined any challenges this year except Bleak House, glad I did it, glad I'm done with it.
I hope your Tuesday is going well. We're getting rained out here in central NC, about 4" inches since Sunday with up to an inch more before it clears. It is a good reading day.
>32 rosalita: - Julia, I think if I'd just turn my brain off and stop obsessing over it, I would be fine. But I am feeling kind of bleh anyway, so nothing seems right, you know? I hate that.
>33 karenmarie: - I looked at what's coming up for the AAC and the NF Challenge, and they both involve stuff I want to do - I think it's the schedule I struggle with sometimes, in feeling like I *have* to read something at a certain time, so I may just make a pile of books that fit what's left, and read them as the mood strikes.
It's drizzly here for the 2nd day in a row, and I would love to just curl up with something mindless. Instead, I'm in the dungeon working :(
In the past few days, I've finished two books in series I'm following:
This was a much better entry in the series than the previous one, and there is some good personal growth and maturation for Flavia. I hope the twist at the end that it ended on is not what it appears to be.
Still enjoying this series, even after 15 books. They are pretty formulaic but there is comfort in that. And I appreciate the humor.
I got to page 359 in Cutting for Stone and then decided to read a chapter-by-chapter summary of the last half of the novel on Schmoop. And then I read some blogger reviews. Ugh. No thanks. Glad I waffled on finishing it - I think I would have been mad if I ended up spending more time with it.
Verghese and I are donesies.
I have no use for very literal people who don't understand a joke.
*slurps from a giant glass of red wine*
>40 katiekrug: Ha! I saw that conversation and was waiting for your response. Perfectly done!
>41 PaulCranswick: - Thanks, Paul!
>42 rosalita: - Gah! As much as I love my friends in this group, I don't love how overly familiar others can be sometimes.
>43 scaifea: - Just me venting because I'm in a bad mood anyway :-P
Thanks for the birthday wishes! It's been a shaky start to the day but I have hopes for improvement!
>44 msf59: - Thank you, Mark! And so appropriate... B.A.G.
This made me think of you. Hoping that your birthday is full of snark, shenanigans and at least two glasses of wine. Wishing you happy and hoping you know how much fabulousness you bring to the threads.
>48 Crazymamie: that is a work of genius, which I saved to share with some coworkers who will also appreciate the snark.
Happy birthday Katie!!!
Happy Birthday, Katie, and may the coming year bring you all good things!
Thank you, Joanne, Laura, Joe, Karen, Rhian, Roni, and Amber!
I ended up having a great birthday, the highlight of which was seeing Kevin Kline on stage in Noel Coward's Present Laughter. It was very funny, and we had a great time. Kevin Kline was just perfect in the role of an aging stage actor.
The only bad part was how late we got home and how tired I am today!
Happy new thread, Katie! I'm glad that you had an excellent birthday in NYC.
Glad to hear the birthday evening was a big success but hope you get to bed early tonight.
>63 katiekrug: Glad you enjoyed the Coward play. He's so delightfully funny and Kline would be perfect for that role. :)
>48 Crazymamie: lol!
And I love that this can be posted here and everyone knows that "this made me think of you" is said with the warmth and love of a friend :)
Happy Birthday, Katie. It sounds like you had a great day. I hope your Friday goes smoothly and that you get a nap.
Safe travels. Nap on the plane? Notice on Friday I am always thinking about naps.
Oh No, I missed your birthday! At least I am in time to wish you a very happy Birthday Week!
When I get bogged down in my reading and need a "sparkle" or two - I reach for a good zombie book with lots of violence and plenty of gore. Guaranteed to perk me up!
Another Happy Birthday Week Wish!! Just in time for the weekend celebration. Phew. : )
Edited to add that I love JD Robb.
>71 BLBera: - Nap on the plane is a possibility, depending on if I get upgraded or not :) I think about naps EVERY day....
>72 DeltaQueen50: - Thanks, Judy! I just made note of your latest zombie read - sounded fun!
>73 Berly: - Thank you, Kim! Birthday week wishes are just as welcome as day of wishes! The JD Robb books are nice and reliable, aren't they?
Ack, I missed your birthday and I missed wishing you a Happy New Thread....
So, I will wish you safe travels and an upgrade on the plane!
>77 EBT1002: - Thanks, Ellen.
>78 karenmarie: - Thank you, Karen. Arrived after an uneventful flight and drive yesterday evening. Today was a bit hectic as a lot of things had not been done that needed to be. I am just here helping out a colleague, and she left a lot undone, so I was scrambling. But all will be well, I'm sure. It's nice to see my work buddies :)
There is no way I can catch up, but I hope your trip goes as smoothly as possible :).
Katie, have a great weekend in Texas especially meeting up with family there.
Sorry I missed your birthday, Katie. Sounds like it turned out well. Safe travels.
I have seen you sneaking comments here and there on LT. Using the slow re-entry method I see. : ) Missing your shenanigans.
Welcome back. We're all looking forward to hearing how you're doing and how re-entry really has been.
Hey Katie, good to see you popping up around the threads. Hope NY is treating you well.
Hello Friends! Thank you for your messages. I am lurking here and there but mostly taking a break from LT. I am keeping my reading and my catalogue updated, though...
All is well here. I got back from my trip over a week ago - it went fine and it was great to see most of my family at the end of it. My cousins had a Cinco de Mayo party and invited my close circle of friends, so I actually got to see almost everyone I'd want to. And they had a surprise birthday cake and presents for me, which was so thoughtful and made me realize how lucky I am to have such a great group of friends, even if I don't see them all that much anymore.
We went to a panel discussion on Friday at the New York Public Library with Judy and Jim on the current state of politics and civil engagement. One of the panelists was George Packer, author of The Unwinding, and he was, unsurprisingly, very interesting. The four of us went to dinner afterwards and chattered away :)
This week we are going to a concert put on by the Glimmerglass Opera at the NY Botanical Gardens, which also has a Chihuly exhibit on, and we also have tickets to a screening of one of my favorite movies - 'Young Frankenstein' - followed by a talk by Mel Brooks, whom I adore. So it should be a fun and busy week!
I'll try to post some comments on the few books I've finished.
Katie--Chihuly, Young Frankenstein AND Mel Brooks?! Totally jealous. ; ) Glad you had a fun time reconnecting with friends and family at Cinco de Mayo. Happy Monday.
Hi Kim, Beth and Ellen - We are really looking forward to the YF event on Sunday.
Ellen, I'll have to look up The Frisco Kid. I'm not sure I've seen it, but it sounds familiar.
Sugar on Top by Marina Adair – A not very good contemporary romance, trying to do Southern small-town quirkiness and not being successful. 2.5 stars
When She Said I Do by Celeste Bradley – A decent historical romance. Racier than a lot of them. 3 stars
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson – A remarkable history of the Great Migration, including 3 compelling portraits of real people who made the journey. The audio read by Robin Miles is excellent. 4.5 stars
Holy Cow by David Duchovny – A funny tale about a cow, a pig, and a turkey who leave their farm to find a better place in the world. The audio is read by Duchovny, with his usual deadpan delivery. 3.5 stars
I've set aside the excellent The Golden Legend about human connections and religious conflict in Pakistan to read The Underground Railroad for a book club meeting on Tuesday. It caught me up right away.
On audio, I'm listening to a "chick lit" (is it just me or is that term kind of offensive?) novel with a great title - Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger.
>97 katiekrug: I've read the print version of that audio. It was enjoyably fluffy. And I agree "chick lit" is a terrible term. However, I hate "women's fiction" more.
>98 MickyFine: Same. At least "chick lit" sounds cute and fun while being offensive.
>97 katiekrug: I love that title, Katie.
I'm playing chase the book this evening. I read a review on someone's thread and can't remember the flipping title. Argh.
Hi, Katie! Just checking in with my pal. Hooray for The Warmth of Other Suns & The Underground Railroad. Both are favorites of mine,
>102 RebaRelishesReading: - I did, Reba. I marveled at the depth of her research.
>103 msf59: - Hiya, Mark! Two good ones. I'm really loving the Whitehead and have high hopes for the book club discussion of it. It'll be my first time at this particular group...
>104 ronincats: - Can't forget that, Roni! The whole cast is just fabulous.
>105 Berly: - It would make a great light read, Kim. I can't remember if you do audios, but I loved Duchovny reading it.
>106 BLBera: - Things are good but busy, Beth. I just got a minor reprieve from something at work that was making my life difficult, so I'm grateful for that!
Tonight is the concert and Chihuly exhibit - I leave in an hour or so to head into the city. We are staying overnight, so I am getting a Lyft to the train station and then checking into the hotel.
>97 katiekrug: I love that title.
And yeah, chick lit is kind of offensive. But I can also see the problem with women's fiction. There's fiction, and then there's women's fiction. That's obnoxious in its own way.
I find most genre classification kind of arbitrary. Just persuse a bookshelf at the library or bookstore and grab something that looks interesting or sounds appealing. Done and done.
>107 katiekrug: Have a wonderful time tonight. That's at NY Botanical, right? I get up there so seldom.
You guys really are taking advantage of your new location. An evening in the city including a concert and Chihuly sounds wonderful!!
Thanks, Beth, Judy, Reba and Juli! We had an okay time - it was fun to do something different and see a different part of the city (the Botanical Garden is a lovely green oasis in the Bronx). Unfortunately, it was really hot which makes me cranky and the concert was just kind of "meh." The acoustics weren't great, and it was billed as opera but was mostly musical theater. I have nothing against musical theater, but it's not the same. And it ended while it was still light out, and I wanted to see the Chihuly illuminated at night, so I'll go back. The exhibit runs until October something.
ETA: Reba - well, I figure I should get my money's worth for the rent I'm paying to be near the city ;-)
>114 katiekrug: That's too bad that it wasn't a great outing, Katie. Sounds like you will have to time your shows there so that it will get dark earlier. I would like to be able to complain of the heat - just saying. Have a great weekend.
Meg, it's always fun to do something different, so it wasn't a total loss. I would gladly send you some heat, but it's gone now :)
Happy Saturday, Katie! Hooray for Underground Railroad.
I am only 2 stories into Anything is Possible, but I am completely hooked. Happy Camper.
Fingers crossed for a good book meeting Katie. I still haven't read The Underground Railroad. Oops.
Too bad the evening wasn't all it was hoped to be. I'd love to see a Chihuly outdoor display after dark. I've seen pictures and it looks amazing.
The Kindle Daily Deal today int he US has lots of goodies included. I picked up 9 titles :)
>119 msf59: - Mark, the only Strout I've read is Amy and Isabelle years ago. She is an author I always mean to get around to more... I am glad you are enjoying her latest.
>120 charl08: - It'll be there when you get around to it, Charlotte :) Fingers crossed for the book group...
>121 RebaRelishesReading: - They can't all be winners, I guess! I will try to get back one evening to see them properly.
>122 drneutron: - This was my first Whitehead, Jim, but I own a copy of Zone One.
Fingers crossed indeed. I have just been giving myself itchy feet looking at the NY public library programme. I love that they chose one of Adichie's books for their book programme. Maybe they do live streaming though. Will have to check that out...
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