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Ellen reads in 2017 - Chapter 7

This is a continuation of the topic Ellen reads in 2017 - Chapter 6.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: May 13, 3:59pm Top

Yosemite National Park (which I have not yet visited)

Edited: May 13, 4:00pm Top

Yosemite National Park

Edited: May 13, 3:34pm Top

My Rating Scale:

= Breathtaking. This book touched me in a way that only a perfect book can do.
= A wonderful read, among my favorites of the year.
= A great read; truly enjoyable.
= Not quite great but I'm truly glad I read this.
= A solid read, with a few things done particularly well.
= Average, and life is too short to read average works.
= A bit below average. A waste of time.
= Nearly no redeeming qualities. Really rather bad.
= Among the worst books I've ever read.

Honestly, I'm rarely going to complete any book earning fewer than two stars but I reserve the right to rate them based on my experience.

Edited: May 13, 3:34pm Top

Top Reads in 2016

Edited: May 13, 3:40pm Top

TENTATIVE plans for 2017

Rachel's Group Read: The Rise of Populism and Related Current Affairs

February: The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer - COMPLETED
April: Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild - currently reading
June: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
August: Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank
October: The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics by John B. Judis
December: White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

I'm also thinking I'll finally read The New Jim Crow which has been on my radar for a while.
And I have Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis to read.


I will host the 2017 Unregulated REREAD Challenge, for which I will reread at least four works.
Some ideas for rereads:
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison - JULY
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
The Color Purple by Alice Walker - COMPLETED
My Name is Asher Lev by Chiam Potok - COMPLETED
Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie

Edited: May 21, 6:49pm Top

American Author Challenge IV

January- Octavia Butler -- Lilith's Brood -- COMPLETED
February- Stewart O' Nan -- Snow Angels -- COMPLETED
March- William Styron -- The Confessions of Nat Turner -- COMPLETED
April- Poetry Month - Witch Hunt by Juliet Escoria -- COMPLETED
- and I Shall Not Be Moved by Maya Angelou -- COMPLETED
May- Zora Neale Hurston -- Dust Tracks on a Road -- COMPLETED
June- Sherman Alexie -- I've read a lot of his work and this may be another candidate for my reread challenge, maybe Indian Killer.
July- James McBride
August- Patricia Highsmith -- The Talented Mr. Ripley and maybe Strangers on a Train and/or The Cry of the Owl
September- Short Story Month
October- Ann Patchett -- Maybe Bel Canto, which is on the TBR shelves.
November- Russell Banks -- I LOVED Cloudsplitter so maybe that will be a reread for me. Or I have Lost Memory of Skin on my shelves.
December- Ernest Hemingway -- Maybe A Moveable Feast

Edited: May 13, 3:42pm Top

I have also said that I want to read, more intentionally, books by/about marginalized or oppressed peoples, diaspora, global regions that tend not to get represented in "mainstream" publishing circles. I don't have a clear picture of this yet but it is an intention that will guide my reading selections in 2017. I'm anxious to read A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz.

Three more books that I believe fit into my 2017 plans to read toward greater understanding of the political landscape (all are on my shelves):

The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics by George Lipsitz
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama


In April, I'm hosting the CultureCAT Challenge (gulp). My topic is Religious Diversity & Freedom.
I'm tentatively planning to read Islam: A Very Short Introduction and Judaism: A Very Short Introduction, both editions from the Oxford Very Short Introductions Series.
And maybe A History of God or The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong.
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok - COMPLETED
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid - COMPLETED


There are also a handful of authors by whom I have read one or two (or three) works and collected several others. I would like to dig into them in 2017, as well. They include:

Haruki Murakami -- I've read After the Quake. And now I have also read A Wild Sheep Chase.

William Trevor -- I've read The Story of Lucy Gault, The Hill Bachelors, and Felicia's Journey.

Mario Vargas Llosa -- I've read The War of the End of the World.

Penelope Fitzgerald -- I've now completed Offshore.

Edited: May 13, 3:44pm Top

Recommendations from an excellent NPR article about fiction works that might help us better understand current events:

Jennifer Haigh's Book Recommendations:

Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock
American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Burning Bright: Stories by Ron Rash
Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish
World and Town by Gish Jen

Nickolas Butler's Book Recommendations:

Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser
The Round House by Louise Erdrich ~ COMPLETED
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell


Book Riot Around the Globe in 80 Books which I may use to guide some of my reading

Edited: May 13, 3:45pm Top

Tentative Louise Erdrich Reading List:

February: The Round House - COMPLETED

March (optional): LaRose - COMPLETED

April: The Master Butchers' Singing Club - COMPLETED

June: The Birchbark House

August: The Beet Queen

October: The Bingo Palace

December: The Antelope Wife or The Painted Drum

Edited: May 13, 3:45pm Top

Personal Reading Challenge: Every winner of the Booker Prize since its inception in 1969
(The touchstones won't work for this post, probably due to its length.)

1969: P. H. Newby, Something to Answer For
1970: Bernice Rubens, The Elected Member
1970: J. G. Farrell, Troubles (awarded in 2010 as the Lost Man Booker Prize)
1971: V. S. Naipaul, In a Free State
1972: John Berger, G.
1973: J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
1974: Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist and Stanley Middleton, Holiday
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1976: David Storey, Saville
1977: Paul Scott, Staying On
1978: Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea
1979: Penelope Fitzgerald, Offshore
1980: William Golding, Rites of Passage
1981: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
1982: Thomas Keneally, Schindler's Ark
1983: J. M. Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K
1984: Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1985: Keri Hulme, The Bone People
1986: Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1987: Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
1988: Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1989: Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
1990: A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance
1991: Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1992: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient ... and Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
1993: Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1994: James Kelman, How late it was, how late
1995: Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
1996: Graham Swift, Last Orders
1997: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
1998: Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
1999: J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace
2000: Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
2001: Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang
2002: Yann Martel, Life of Pi
2003: DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
2004: Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
2005: John Banville, The Sea
2006: Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering
2008: Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
2009: Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
2010: Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
2011: Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
2012: Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
2013: Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
2014: Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
2015: Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
2016: Paul Beatty, The Sellout

Edited: May 14, 7:59pm Top

I'll use this post to keep track of upcoming planned shared/group reads.

I'm planning to read The Lauras by Sara Taylor, an ER book, with Mark in June.

Kim and I are going to read Kafka on the Shore by Murakami in August. Mark and Mamie are planning to join us. Others are also welcome!!!

Edited: May 13, 3:32pm Top

Currently reading:

On Kindle:

Currently listening:

Edited: May 13, 3:55pm Top

I found this on the internet and I love it. I'm still working on identifying the artist.

Kim Roberti?

May 13, 4:23pm Top

From your last thread, I wanted to say that I agree - mid-to-high 40s is a great temperature for a run! That's about what we've had in the mornings too.

May 13, 4:32pm Top

Oh, happy new thread Ellen. I see you are currently reading All the Pretty Horses which I have set aside to read later this year, I'll be looking forward to seeing your thoughts on it.

May 13, 4:49pm Top

Happy new one, Ellen.

May 13, 5:51pm Top

What a wonderful lot of reading you're doing this year. I am in awe.

Your topper is swell. I've never been there (to Yosemite) either, but one of my twin granddaughters, Helen, will be going backpacking there for a week or two this July. It is an organized endeavor, a bunch of teens led by experienced adults. She and her sister, Claire, went hiking in Vermont last summer. Helen liked the experience, Claire not so much that she wants to repeat it. Claire is going to Rome instead. They'll be sixteen in June.

May 13, 6:39pm Top

Ah, a new thread. Perusing your April and May reading, I must catch up with Louise Erdrich. I used to read her books as they came out and then I got distracted!

May 13, 7:41pm Top

Happy new thread! We did a backpacking trip at Yosemite maybe 25 years ago--it was magic. I have been wanting to go back.

May 13, 7:51pm Top

Yosemite is great. I've been there a couple of times, hiked up lower Vernal Fall and did the valley once, and the second time went to the eastern part of the park, Tuolumne Meadows. I'm hoping that since we will soon be living only an hour and a half away, we will visit many more times in the future.

May 13, 7:55pm Top

>15 EBT1002: Love it!

Happy new thread. I will watch for your comments on McCarthy. My son loved his work. One of my colleagues also loves his work, but he knows me pretty well, and tells me, "You'll hate it." So, I have been reluctant.

Thanks for the early birthday wishes. We share the number, only yours is in August, right? My brother-in-law's birthday is today, and his first granddaughter was born today. What a great birthday present!

May 13, 8:31pm Top

Happy New Thread, Ellen!

How are you liking All the Pretty Horses?

I'm up to what I think is #7 in the Travis McGee series, Darker Than Amber. Nice to see you re-visiting Nightmare in Pink.

May 13, 8:38pm Top

Happy new thread, Ellen. Gorgeous toppers!

May 13, 8:56pm Top

The National Parks look great as always atop your threads - thanks Theodore.

Happy new thread, Ellen.

May 13, 9:00pm Top

Happy Saturday, Ellen. Happy New Thread! Love the Yosemite topper. I have never been there, either. Sad face.

May 13, 10:36pm Top

Happy new thread!

May 14, 12:55am Top

You are now a


May 14, 10:31am Top

Happy new thread, Ellen!

May 14, 3:31pm Top

Congrats on your shiny new thread, Ellen. Lovely topper.

May 14, 5:03pm Top

>15 EBT1002: love that painting Ellen. Happy new thread.

May 14, 6:17pm Top

>15 EBT1002: I love that painting!

Edited: May 14, 7:18pm Top

>16 ursula: It's the one up-side to how cold this spring has been, Ursula. I'm still enjoying my runs and I don't have to worry about getting out of the house early in the morning before it gets "too hot."

>17 DeltaQueen50: Judy, I am loving All the Pretty Horses. It is so beautifully written and the characters are compelling. It doesn't pass the Bechdel Test but I'm okay with that.

>18 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie!

>19 weird_O: Hey Bill. Thank you for the compliment. I'm enjoying my reading this year. I feel like I'm striking a nice balance between challenging/thought-provoking and pure pleasure.

Your response to my Yosemite photos: "...one of my twin granddaughters will be going backpacking there for a week or two this July." I love your story about Helen and Claire, the twins who might have different preferences for how they like their adventures. It sounds like Helen is the outdoorsy one and perhaps Claire more interested in ancient urbanity. :-)

May 14, 7:23pm Top

>20 sibyx: Hi Lucy. I'm glad I launched the Louise Erdrich project for myself for this year. I had read Love Medicine and The Beet Queen and Tracks eons ago and had the sense that I loved her work but hadn't stuck with her to really know. It turns out that I am a fan. I would like to do the completist thing and read her entire oeuvre although I probably won't accomplish that in 2017. Maybe in 2018 I'll try to catch the rest of her works.

>21 banjo123: I've always wanted to see Yosemite, Rhonda, but I don't know when we'll get to it. I think our National Parks are such amazing treasures; magical is a good word for many of the experiences I've had at those I have visited. I worry that the current administration will undermine their protection. Our next "big" trip will likely be Palau in March 2018.

>22 ursula: Ursula! You're going to be living less than two hours from Yosemite! That sounds very cool. It can become "your" national park the way Rainier National Park is ours. :-)

May 14, 7:28pm Top

>23 BLBera: It's a great painting, isn't it, Beth? The woman does less for me than the cat does. The painter absolutely captured the languor with which a cat can reach for a book in the hands of its human.

Hmm, I wonder if you would hate All the Pretty Horses. It does not pass the Bechdel Test (hell, it doesn't even register on the Bechdel Scale!) but the descriptions of the landscape are visceral and lovely and the characters are, in my experience so far, complex and credible. I have chuckled out loud a few times. Once I finish it, I'll post comments and you can decide from there. It's not like you're hurting for something to read, right?

So you're the 18th of May? Having the same day-of-the-month should make it easier to remember..... I will be cheering for you to have a wonderful ramp-up week and an even better actual day.

May 14, 7:32pm Top

>24 jnwelch: Hi Joe and thanks for the new-thread wishes. I am loving All the Pretty Horses. As I said to Beth^, the descriptions of the landscape are visceral and lovely and the characters are, in my experience so far, complex and credible. And I have chuckled out loud a few times. The young men are in a bit of a pickle at present, though.

You know, last year (I think), I did a reread of The Deep Blue Goodbye and I was underwhelmed. I'm really glad I decided to push through on my rereads of the Travis McGee series because I'm enjoying Nightmare in Pink much more!

May 14, 7:34pm Top

>25 jessibud2: and >26 PaulCranswick: and >27 msf59: and >28 drneutron:

Thanks Shelley, Paul, Mark and Jim!
Yosemite is so familiar because of the works of Ansel Adams. I do hope to get there in person one of these days!

>29 Berly: Hi Kim and, um, thank you for the certification. (What does that mean?????)

May 14, 7:37pm Top

>30 scaifea: and >31 Ameise1:

Thanks, Amber and Barbara!

>32 Caroline_McElwee: and >33 laytonwoman3rd:

I'm glad you also like the painting, Caroline and Linda. I love how authentically she captures the cat!

Edited: May 14, 7:44pm Top

Whew. What a Sunday. P and I went to the p-patch and spent 3 hours digging in the winter's cover crop. Then she pulled weeds in the path while I took a wheel barrow back and forth between our plot of land (which is 20' X 10') and the wood chip pile, loading chips and wheeling them to the plot. It was 3 hours of honest hard physical work and it felt great! My hands are tired and my back is tired and my left (arthritic) foot is complaining but I feel so good. Our plot is now ready for planting. The weather also cooperated; it was supposed to be a much rainier day than it has turned out to be and our 3 hours were mostly cloudy and cool -- perfect for hard outdoor work in the garden.

Now I'm sitting in my favorite reading chair (by the way, those of you who remember my deliberations about the Stressless chair might be interested to know that I ADORE my chair!) catching up on LT a bit and resting my feet. Dinner tonight will be pasta with red-pepper-pesto and veggies. I do wish I had one more day off. Retirement sounds so lovely. But I remind myself that commencement is four weeks from yesterday and I don't want to wish away this next decade or so.

I'm thoroughly enjoying both All the Pretty Horses and Nightmare in Pink. Apparently my feminist self has absconded. She probably took the gin, too.

May 14, 8:29pm Top

Ellen, I asked this on the reread thread but realized it is probably more appropriate here--you are rereading the Travis McGee books. Have you ever read MacDonald's The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything? it's a singleton and an awful lot of fun and a cult classic, so I would definitely recommend it.

May 14, 9:14pm Top

>41 ronincats: Hi Roni. I don't think I ever did read The Girl, the Gold Watch, & Everything. It's kind of surprising given how much of a John D MacDonald fan I was but I was pretty loyal to ol' Travis McGee so that might explain it.

I will put TGTGW&E on hold at the library!

May 14, 9:48pm Top

I'll watch for your comments on All the Pretty Horses, Ellen. I think Jeff thought I would be turned off by the violence? I'm pretty squeamish although I guess if I could get through Feast of the Goat, I can probably read anything.

I don't think I've every read and MacDonald. I've watched you enjoy your reread of the series, but I don't know whether I would appreciate them, reading them for the first time now.

It sounds like you had a lovely day. I visited my daughter and granddaughter this afternoon. My daughter gave me some gel pens and a new blank notebook. Perfect for book notes.

Yes, the 18th is my day -- that was how I could remember yours, that and the fact that it's a few days after Scout's. Can you believe she's going to be four?

May 14, 9:54pm Top

Julia posted this poem on her thread and I absolutely love it. She said I could borrow. :-)

Good Bones
by Maggie Smith (not Dame Maggie Smith, in case you're wondering)

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I've shortened mine
in a thousand delicious ways, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I'll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that's a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

May 14, 10:02pm Top

>43 BLBera: Hmm, violence. So far it hasn't been bad. There have been hints, though, that it might get worse before it gets better. I'll let you know.

It's hard to say whether the Travis McGee series would land well if they weren't tied to a positive set of memories, Beth. As I noted above, The Deep Blue Goodbye left me with a "meh" sort of reaction but Nightmare in Pink is feeling more like I remember them. The Florida setting in the time during which I grew up there is definitely part of their appeal for me.

I always think I want to use one of my notebooks/journals (I have several) for book notes and I almost never do. Well, I guess I will sometimes make notes when I'm sitting up in bed and something particularly strikes me that I want to mull over..... I think the idea of keeping a journal is more appealing to me than the actual keeping of the journal is. In any case, though, I'm glad you got some lovely new pens and a new blank notebook for Mother's Day. And I'm glad you had a good day with the next two generations!

I can not believe Scout is going to be four years old already! When we were having all our family activities earlier this week, I was dumbfounded to be reminded that our grand-nephews both turned 8 years old in April! Time does that thing it does.

Now I will remember your birthday, too. :-)

May 14, 10:17pm Top

"For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged..."

^Good poem. Packs a punch. There has been some life over on the AAC Poetry Thread. You should share it over there.

Happy Sunday, Ellen! Sounds like you had a busy and tiring day. Glad you are enjoying All the Pretty Horses. I LOVE this trilogy.

May 15, 2:09am Top

>38 EBT1002: I don't know. That you are a major part of the life here on LT! Congrats on the new thread. LOL

May 15, 4:21am Top

Apparently my feminist self has absconded. She probably took the gin, too.

LOL. Happy new thread, Ellen!

May 15, 4:34am Top

Coming in way late with my response to your response to my comment (which was probably in response....well, you get the picture) from the last thread. I love your story of your sister giving you a book that you loved at age 15/16 and that kick starting something for you- I hadn't heard that before. I remember some of my friends having books in their rooms and me thinking, I wonder how they got those....(!!)...clearly their parents bought them for them! But as mine didn't, I didn't get it ;) We just had adult books and left over kids picture books at our place.

>40 EBT1002: I loved All the Pretty Horses, but my memories of it are entwined with my BF of the time loving it so much that my love for him may have influenced my love for it....One thing I definitely did love was us frying up home made tortillas on the flat rooftop patio we had (covered in grape vines, ones so low you had to bend over or sit on rugs/cushions- which we did). All inspired by the roaming boys in All the Pretty Horses. That remains a magic memory.

Enjoy the gin!! Maybe your feminist self will come back drunk?

May 15, 9:05am Top

>44 EBT1002: Such a terrific poem! I came across it a while ago, and went on a Maggie Smith reading binge.

Yay for All the Pretty Horses! I liked it so much I even gave it to a non-reader old buddy. I'm very happy you're enjoying it. I've re-read the last part of the book many times.

I can join Roni in recommending The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything - great fun. She's the one who talked me into reading it!

I didn't like The Deep Blue Good-bye that much either. I've liked every one since much more.

May 15, 11:57am Top

>46 msf59: I just posted the poem over on the AAC Poetry thread, Mark. Happy to keep sharing the poetry love!

Yes, my Sunday was exhausting but rewarding. Now I'm at work, taking a wee morning break after coming in early to tackle the things that had accumulated over the weekend.....

>47 Berly: Well, I'll happily take that certification, Kim! :-)

>48 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl!

May 15, 12:01pm Top

>49 Ireadthereforeiam: I think whomever it is who turned each of us onto reading, Megan, deserves a special place in our hearts! My parents were 100% distracted with their own things and my brother's mental illness so after about age 6 I was pretty much left to my own devices in discovering reading material. Thank goodness for my older sister!

I love how entwined All the Pretty Horses is for you with former BF. The early scenes in the novel of the young men making their way south via horseback were magical. And I have been craving Mexican food since I started reading it! And, of course, to eat said beans and tortillas outside under the stars would be ideal. :-)

"Maybe your feminist self will come back drunk?" Well, I hope she only comes back a little bit tipsy. :-)

May 15, 12:06pm Top

>50 jnwelch: I can well understand the Maggie Smith reading binge after just that one poem, Joe. And thanks for including the touchstone; I will look for one of her collections.

I just finished the third chapter of All the Pretty Horses (the book is just over 300 pages and has but 5 chapters; I'm on about page 210) and that third chapter was a doozy. Much less dreamy than the first two! Its still a great novel and I'm so glad I'm finally reading it! I started it because I want to try out a new (to me) book club in the area, one that I found on line through meetup.com. It won't be a replacement for my current f2f book group but may have the potential to fill a different niche for me. Anyway, it meets next Sunday and the book is All the Pretty Horses. I figured I should show up to my first meeting having actually read the book! :-D

I now have The Girl, the Gold Watch, & Everything waiting for me on my Kindle. Along with a few other books....

And I'm interested that neither of us much liked the inaugural Travis McGee book. I'm so glad I decided to give the second one another try. Having so loved the series in my late teens and early 20s, I am glad to see that they weren't all just so-so.

May 15, 12:06pm Top

Happy Monday everyone!

Edited: May 15, 1:36pm Top

I just came up with this idea over on Beth's thread. I'm pretty toasted this year, more than I remember being in a while. It has been a colder and wetter winter than usual and the tension on campus and in our world is wearing. I'm tired of people being ungenerous with one another. I'm tired of demands from students, staff, and faculty at all points in the multi-dimensional political space to "make those other people change." I'm ready for Commencement and the start of summer. SO.....

I'm going to count down until the day after Commencement. Sunday June 11 is what I seek.

May 15, 1:47pm Top

>55 EBT1002: It will fly by, Ellen.

Edited: May 15, 2:00pm Top

>53 EBT1002: The Travis McGee books are much better than I expected. He's obviously a smart guy - MacDonald, I mean. His "asides" on the state of the world contain a lot of thoughts worth pondering (some dated, of course), while the reader enjoys a fast-paced adventure.

May 15, 2:11pm Top

I hope that time flies and it comes as quickly as possible! Fingers tightly crossed for you. I can't believe how fast this year is going, but it also seems to be one disaster after another (politically). Roll on the summer.

Edited: May 15, 2:16pm Top

>44 EBT1002: Marvelous poem, Ellen. Like all good poetry, it compresses a lot of ideas and emotions into a very few words.

I remember Travis McGee from my voracious reading days in my twenties and thirties. I enjoyed most of them and was sometimes amazed at McDonald's insight. He wrote a page-turning stand alone called...um...Condominium about the building craze on the beaches which certainly scared the daylights out of any Florida reader who was paying attention. Since he lived in Sarasota and I lived in Bradenton at the time, he managed to get my attention and to begin my lessening satisfaction with the powers that were (and still are, sad to say).

Good to know P is feeling better and has more energy. I hope that the new regimen will keep her from felling as though she's drowning under the weight of her job.

Have a wonderful week.

May 15, 2:17pm Top

Happy (relatively) new thread.

I absolutely adore the painting in >15 EBT1002: and you're right in that the painter captured the cat perfectly.

From the previous thread - yes The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is the one in Woodburn - wanted to get there this year but the weather on my available weekends was not cooperative at all. Maybe next year.

May 15, 2:41pm Top

>55 EBT1002: You can do it, Ellen!

May 15, 3:00pm Top

>56 BLBera: Yes, I know it will, Beth. Also, wishing days away from my life goes against my usual personal policy but I'm making an exception just this one time. :-)

>57 jnwelch: Hi Joe. Yes, I always enjoyed MacDonald/McGee's philosophical musings. They may be dated but I almost always agree(d) with him about the fate of Florida at the hands of developers and tourists.

>58 lunacat: Hi Jenny. Thanks for the encouraging words. "...it also seems to be one disaster after another..." That's a bit of what has me so intellectually and emotionally tired, I think.

May 15, 3:04pm Top

>59 bohemima: Hey Gail. I agree. The best poetry succinctly covers deep and/or broad emotional territory.

I think I did read Condominium back in the day. And yes, his indictment of developers in Florida always resonated deeply for me!

Thanks for visiting and for leaving kind words. :-)

>60 SuziQoregon: Didn't the artist do an excellent job capturing the languor of that cat, Juli? It grabbed me immediately.

I hope you get to see the tulip fields next year. It's the kind of thing that we "locals" only do now and then ~~ it's so easy to think we have forever to get to those local activities. I think this was our first time up in the Skagit Valley during tulip season and it's our 10th summer in Seattle! Now we're talking about a long weekend in the Willamette Valley this summer..... consolation prize for the delayed hip surgery..... :-)

>61 rosalita: Thanks Julia!

May 15, 4:37pm Top

Happy new thread, Ellen. Love the reader and cat picture. Yay for early morning runs. You will catch up with that Crazy person yet!

May 15, 9:32pm Top

Happy New Thread, Ellen! Lovely new topper! My son and DIL just let me know that they are off to see Lake Louise, Banff and Jasper in the summer. I think Lake Louise is among the most beautiful places in Canada. Enjoy Yosemite ! My son and DIL are travelling to Banff etc with another couple and were discussing how to keep bears away and what to do if you meet them , bearing in mind that Canadian's don't carry guns - and it's illegal in National Parks ( and most every where else). I think they should be fine - just make a lot of noise as you hike. Personally I don't like to hike in bear country!!!

May 15, 9:34pm Top

Lake Louise and the old Hotel that site beside it.

May 15, 9:47pm Top

>55 EBT1002: Okay, cheering you on...27 to go!! You can do it!

>63 EBT1002: Did I hear Willamette Valley? As in near me? A summer trip? Do I get to meet P? : )

>66 vancouverdeb: Simply gorgeous!!

Edited: May 15, 11:53pm Top

Oh, and you can go here to make your own ticker! For your day-after commencement countdown.


May 16, 1:08am Top

>65 vancouverdeb: Personally I don't like to hike in bear country!!! Then you better not go walking in the eastern part of greater Vancouver, Deb. We are in bear country over here and didn't have to leave home.

Sorry, Ellen, I couldn't resist.

May 16, 9:36am Top

There are some beautifully interesting lines in Good Bones and overall I like it a lot. I love the ending:

"Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.


"For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake.

Is life really that bleak? I tend towards pessimism and depression and while life ain't always a bowl a cherries .... 50% Oh no, I hope not. Can't be.

May 16, 10:46am Top

Willamette Valley this summer?
What Kim said in >67 Berly:

May 16, 11:52am Top

>64 Familyhistorian: LOL Meg. I will never catch up with Mamie at the rate she is going! Averaging 20K steps per day; not gonna happen. But I'm feeling good about my current pace. I had a low day yesterday, trying to rest my feet after being on them so much, doing digging and other hard work in the garden on Sunday. But I'm going for a mid-morning run today. :-)

>65 vancouverdeb: and >66 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb. Just to clarify, I have no plans to go to Yosemite any time soon. It's on the bucket list, though.

I LOVE Lake Louise!! A number of years ago (12?) P and I went to our nephew's wedding in Nelson, BC, and then did a camping trip north to Banff and Jasper. It was one of our best trips ever. Hiking around Lake Louise was truly special. We even had tea at that hotel, and they didn't blink an eye that we were in camping/hiking clothes and hadn't showered for at least a couple of days. :-)

May 16, 11:56am Top

>67 Berly: Hi Kim, and thanks for the encouragement! I'm staying home from work today. I had to take Abby to the vet again this morning -- just for a booster shot of her antibiotic but she hates going to the vet and I hate taking her (except I get to see and give treats to the two clinic cats, Bubba and Tiny Tim). I am going to work from home, so I'll need to be on email and I'll have a couple of work phone calls but I just need to be at home. I have chicken curry already heating in the crock pot and I'm in my running clothes, getting ready to face the gray day out there.

If we come to the Willamette Valley, I would love for you to meet P! We are thinking we'd try to stay in McMinnville, maybe at the McMennamin's there, but we haven't made specific plans yet. It's a bit difficult with the surgery up in the air but we think some long weekend trips would help the summer feel more vacation-y. So, I'll let you know!

May 16, 11:59am Top

>68 Berly: Thanks for the ticker link. I will do that today!

>69 Familyhistorian: Cracked me up, Meg. My sister lives on the edge of Asheville, NC, and they occasionally have black bears visiting their back deck. It gave me pause when I was visiting them last summer and just wanted to walk around the neighborhood!

>65 vancouverdeb: I'm very cautious when I hike in bear territory. I have a big voice and I tend to use it. I'll sing anything and I whoop and talk with the bears as I walk, especially when we come to any blind corner in the trail. It means we don't see anything much in the way of wildlife but that seems like a good compromise for one's life. :-)

May 16, 12:03pm Top

>70 streamsong: Janet, it is an interesting tension between optimism and pessimism. I tend toward optimism but I can also be a cynic. I'm not sure how that works but the combination appears to be in my DNA. As you may know, I'm currently reading Hate Crimes in Cyberspace by Danielle Keats Citron and it blows my mind how heartless and mean people can be. I don't understand that at all, and watching our current national climate steadily decline into mean-spiritedness and vindictiveness (and I don't just mean the White House; I see it all over the place!) can bring me to a place of deep despair. Then I go for a run and I feel better. Or I interact with a colleague who is generous of spirit and my faith is renewed. It's kind of crazy.

And, without that tension, without despair and angst, I believe there would be no poetry. Or very little of it.

May 16, 12:04pm Top

>71 SuziQoregon: If we make the trek to the Willamette Valley, we'll let folks know, Juli. I'd love for P to meet you all, and of course we always like to make a stop in Portland. I like to go to Powell's and she likes to go to that liquor store nearby (on 10th? 11th?). Heh.

May 16, 12:10pm Top

May 16, 12:18pm Top

>65 vancouverdeb: - Deb. just last week, a brown (or maybe black) bear was spotted in a residential neighbourhood in Toronto! No idea how that happened or where it came from but when the appropriate people from wildlife could not be contacted, the police were called and it sadly had to be shot. They shot it in someone's backyard!! In suburban Toronto! Yikes. Scary stuff

May 16, 12:41pm Top

>78 jessibud2: That is kind of scary, Shelley. I assume that our persistent development of land is encroaching more and more on wildlife's habitat, leading to an increase in close encounters. It makes me terribly sad.

Edited: May 16, 12:42pm Top

Well! I was just about to set my laptop aside and go for my run. Here I sit in the right clothes and all ready to go, and it suddenly started POURING rain!! I don't mind running in the rain but this is a bit much, especially for the start (it's always easier if it starts raining on me after I'm already out there and warmed up). Perhaps I'll wait a few minutes....

May 16, 4:10pm Top

I did go for my run and it was lovely. I only got rained on a little bit. It is still freakin' cold, though. It was 45F at almost 10am. Sheesh.

I've showered and eaten my favorite "Ravishing Radishes" salad from the local PCC (food co-op). It has radishes, tomatoes, chick peas, feta, parsley, and some dressing. I did a bit of work and have tried to catch up around here a wee bit.

I have about 20 pages to go in All the Pretty Horses which is, I fear, about to break my heart. I'll finish that, take a work-related call at 1:30, and read at least one more chapter in Hate Crimes in Cyberspace. Then I might either return to Nightmare in Pink on my Kindle or start Dust Tracks in a Road for Mark's AAC.

Of course, Abby has just awakened from her nap and is looking up at me with longing in her eyes. She would like me to set aside the laptop and put a blanket on my lap for her. She loves to sit on a lap but only if it has a blanket upon it. This works in Mayvember; in August it's a bit challenging. Her standards don't relax for hot weather.

May 16, 4:20pm Top

The end of All the Pretty Horses is great, IMO, Ellen.

May 16, 4:24pm Top

Another steal, this time from Mark's Poetry thread.

Instructions on Not Giving Up

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf

-Ada Limón

May 16, 4:27pm Top

>82 jnwelch: I could hardly put it down to go to sleep last night, Joe, and it's only my fun with LT that is keeping me from it so far today. I do have a work-related call in 5 minutes so I gave myself permission to play on LT until that call and then I plan to spend much of the rest of the afternoon reading.

It never fails that when I take a day "off" from work (ha), I think I will be able to accomplish so much and the day ends up providing less free time than I expect! How does this happen?

I shouldn't complain. I put together chicken curry in the crock pot, took Abby to the vet, went for a run, showered and ate lunch, put together tomorrow's overnight oats, and have spent lots of time messing about on LT.

Ah, but retirement. I do look forward to that.

May 16, 4:32pm Top

Speaking of overnight oats, this is my new passion. I'm completely obsessed with overnight oats. I do this. I learn about something and I get totally consumed by it. I have been looking up all kinds of recipes for overnight oats. Today I made some which I will eat tomorrow. Here is the combination I did:

1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 TBSP unsalted natural almond butter
1 tsp maple syrup

Mix together well and put in a Ball jar (or whatever) with cover. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy.
No cooking needed. Some folks microwave them for 20-30 seconds just for heat but I eat them cold. YUM.

There are hundreds of recipes, some involving yogurt, some involving nuts and fruits, some involving chocolate. All involve basic rolled oats (not quick cooking oats!), a Ball jar, and a refrigerator.

May 16, 5:32pm Top

>77 EBT1002: Love it.

If you do head to the McMinnville area this summer be sure to put Remy Wines on your To Do list.

I need to get the supplies for overnight oats.

May 16, 7:02pm Top

>86 SuziQoregon: I'm not familiar with Remy Wines, Juli, but will put them on the visit list. I so love that region..... I have wonderful memories of both planned and impromptu wine tastings. One day P and I had been off getting supplies for building a fence and we were on our way home, passes a winery and just went in and tasted some wines. Then we went home and started on the fence. There are not many places in the world where you can do that. :-)

I definitely recommend giving overnight oats a try. They are fun and delicious.

May 16, 7:03pm Top

Well. I finished All the Pretty Horses and I loved it. I'll write a "review" later (for now I do feel like I need to get some more work done....sigh) but suffice it to say that I'm very glad I finally pulled it off the shelf and read it!!!

May 16, 7:24pm Top

>88 EBT1002: Hooray!

May 16, 9:57pm Top

Hooray for overnight oats and loving All the Pretty Horses! I had not heard of the oats before but Sue has. I may have to try that. I love breakfast but I am the only one in the family that eats it regularly.

The good news is, the rest of The Border Trilogy is excellent, as well.

May 16, 10:13pm Top

>84 EBT1002: I'm glad Abby is doing better. I look forward to retirement also. It's too bad I still have a few years to go.

Edited: May 18, 12:27pm Top

39. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

"And after and for a long time to come he'd have reason to evoke the recollection of those smiles and to reflect on the good will which provoked them for it had the power to protect and to confer honor and to strengthen resolve and it had the power to heal men and to bring them to safety long after all other resources were exhausted."

After the family patriarch passes and it becomes clear that the family ranch, the only home he has ever known, will be transferred away from the family, sixteen-year-old John Grady Cole heads for Mexico. His best friend, Lacey Rawlins, joins him and they reluctantly pick up the company of a youngster who claims his name is Jimmy Blevins. It's about the dead-center of the 20th century and border crossing is no more difficult than stripping down and riding one's horse across the river. Cole and Rawlins are looking for work with horses; Blevins seems to be looking for trouble. It turns out that all three of them find trouble and the middle section of the novel depicts a series of violent and terrible events. McCarthy doesn't flinch from the violence but he doesn't dwell on it, either. It's just what is there. And it doesn't overwhelm the love and loyalty and optimism that our young Cole appears to be blessed with.

This is a western and a coming of age story and a beautiful homage to the relationship between a man and his horse. McCarthy's prose is eloquent, falling just this side of overdone. His descriptions of things, of landscapes and buildings and men, are vivid and sometimes breathtaking. This is an author who notices details and renders them such that you can feel yourself standing in the place:
The floors were of narrow pine boards and the grain was etched by years of sand trod into them and the windows along both walls had missing panes of glass replaced with squares of tin all cut from the same large sign to form a broken mosaic among the windowlights.

Though the story is laced with heartbreaking tragedy, it also made me laugh. After the bumbling and blustery Blevins has become separated from his horse and his pistol, along with most of his clothes, the trio rides on two horses into a pueblo. Blevins wants desperately to find and reclaim his horse.
"...the first thing they saw was Blevins' pistol sticking out of the back pocket of a man bent over into the engine compartment of a Dodge car. John Grady saw it first and he could have named things he'd rather have seen.
Yonder's my goddam pistol, sang out Blevins.
John Grady reached behind and grabbed him by the shirt or he'd have slid down from the horse.
Hold on, idjit, he said.
Hold on hell, said Blevins.
What do you think you're goin to do?
Rawlins had put his horse alongside of them. Keep ridin, he hissed. Good God almighty.
Some children were watching from a doorway and Blevins was looking back over his shoulder.
If that horse is here, said Rawlins, they wont have to send for Dick Tracy to figure out who it belongs to."

The novel doesn't even register on the Bechdel Test but these male characters are rough and tender and true (okay, John Grady Cole is a bit shinier than your average 16-year-old cowboy). Four and a half enthusiastic stars.

May 16, 10:43pm Top

^Okay, that is a long spoiler. It's really just dialogue so it looks like it's longer than it is.

May 16, 10:51pm Top

>89 jnwelch: It's an exquisite novel, Joe. Have you read the others in the Border trilogy? Are they as good?

>90 msf59: Overnight oats are perfect for breakfast, in my opinion, Mark. And they can just be simple. You can just do 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 cup of milk (cow or almond), 1/4 cup walnut pieces, 1/4 cup raisins, and a teaspoon of honey. As long as the oats are all under the milk when you put it in the fridge, then when you stir it up in the morning it is ready to go!

I'm glad you answered my question about the rest of the trilogy. I don't think I have The Crossing or Cities of the Plain on my shelves but I will seek them out.

>91 thornton37814: Thanks Lori. It's good to have Abby acting like her usual self again. And I am with you on feeling ready for retirement! I hope I can maintain my good health to be able to fully enjoy it when my turn comes. Coincidentally, I got a call today from a guy at the company that does the UW retirement program. I get a "free" consultation with one of their people and they're going to be on campus later this month. So I will take advantage of that. It's just sort of a "check-up" to be sure I'm "on track." He'll probably tell me to stop buying so many books.

May 17, 12:27am Top

>55 EBT1002: fingers crossed for respite until then!!

>92 EBT1002: McCarthy's prose is eloquent, falling just this side of overdone.
Hehe, yes. He does paint a picture!

I can't pinpoint how or why his writing works for me when others doesn't, but in his case I like the listing of many descriptive phrases in a single sentence.

May 17, 1:18am Top

I loved All The Pretty Horses, but I haven't gotten to the rest of the trilogy. I need to.

May 17, 7:00am Top

Overnight oats, you say? I'd not heard of them, but they sound pretty amazing!

I'm happy that All the Pretty Horses worked so well for you. I read it a couple of years ago and it really didn't for me. Too, too bleak, although I do recognize that his writing is stunning.

May 17, 8:01am Top

>92 EBT1002: I haven't read anything by him. I've been trying to focus more on women writers (with the exception of the writers I really like, an important, rather random caveat), but keep finding I want to change my mind...

Love oats soaked in yoghurt and berries.

May 17, 8:22am Top

I kind of really dislike McCarthy, but I keep trying. All the Pretty Horses is probably the next one I'll attempt (eventually).

Edited: May 17, 9:00am Top

Nice review of All the Pretty Horses, Ellen. (Are some words missing from the first sentence?) I'm so glad you had a good time with it. Ha! I hadn't thought of the Bechdel test for this, but you're so right. :-)

>94 EBT1002: I did read and enjoy the next two in the trilogy. They're also beautifully written. I can't say that they quite reach the level of All the Pretty Horses, but ATPH is an extraordinary book. The second one follows a boy named Billy Parham, and the last one has John Grady Cole and Billy Parham working together later in their lives. The last one Cities of the Plain pulls it all together, and you understand their lives in the context of the west's evolution.

May 17, 9:20am Top

Lovely review of Pretty Horses, Ellen. I really liked that one.

May 17, 9:35am Top

Great review of All the Pretty Horses, Ellen. I might have to give it a try. I am a sucker for beautiful writing.

I have a breakfast like yours, only it has quinoa instead of oats. It also has hemp hearts and Chia seeds to add protein. I might try your oats though, I have to cook the quinoa.

It sounds like you enjoyed your day off.

May 17, 10:22am Top

>94 EBT1002: "He'll probably tell me to stop buying so many books."


May 17, 10:45am Top

Thumbsie for the excellent review of All the Pretty Horses. I really enjoyed it, too, and have always meant to go on with the other books.

It's very hard to find beautiful, intelligent fiction where the horses are not cartoon horses. I enjoyed it for that reason, too.

I love your poetic remarks in >75 EBT1002: and totally agree with what you said. I just like to believe it's not quite as bleak as the poet suggests.

May 17, 10:49am Top

>92 EBT1002: Nice review! I read it a few years ago, but never got back to the rest of the trilogy. I need to do that.

Edited: May 17, 12:18pm Top

40. Nightmare in Pink by John D. MacDonald

This second installment in the Travis McGee series is a reread for me. It's the usual fun (leave your feminist sensibilities at the door and remember that it was originally published in 1964) with a hallucinogenic facet. It kept me up past my bedtime until I could finish it; for that it gets a warm 3.5 stars.


Having now read two consecutive books which miserably fail the Bechdel Test, but having thoroughly enjoyed them both, I need to read something with feminist angle. Or at least strong female characters.
Next up:
Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston and
Swing Time by Zadie Smith and the continuation of
Hate Crimes in Cyberspace by Danielle Keats Citron.

Edited: May 17, 12:20pm Top

>77 EBT1002: It updates all by itself! No wonder people put these at the top of their threads....

May 17, 12:21pm Top

>106 EBT1002: With this 40th book completed, I'm on track to reach my (secret) goal of 100 books in 2017. That feels good.

May 17, 2:35pm Top

I am so glad you mentioned overnight oats! I had not heard of them but it sounds like a great way to add a little variety to my breakfast routine. I also passed it along to my daughter Julia, who is trying to find creative ways to prepare healthy meals for herself.

May 17, 4:48pm Top


1/2 CUP ROLLED OATS (not quick oats!)
2/3 CUP MILK OF CHOICE (I tend to use milk from cows or from almonds)



May 17, 4:59pm Top

>95 Ireadthereforeiam: I agree, Megan. I love his descriptions of things! And you're right, he will describe multiple things in one sentence, making it almost a run-on.... but it totally works for me.

>96 banjo123: Hi Rhonda. I am notorious for reading and loving the first in a series and failing to finish the series. With a trilogy, I ought to be able to do this! But I still have Benediction by Kent Haruf on the shelves. I LOVED Plainsong and Eventide but haven't gotten around to finishing the trilogy. There are just too many distractions....

>97 scaifea: Hi Amber. You can see that I'm still warbling about my overnight oats in >110 EBT1002: and 111. I'm a fan. I even ordered a six-pack of special Weck half-liter jars in which to make them.

I'm sorry that All the Pretty Horses didn't work for you. It is definitely not for everyone, I could tell that as I read it. I also found it bleak in the middle but I thought it ended on a hopeful note. And I think I like bleak in my literature more than some folks. I'm pretty sure P would agree with you.

>98 charl08: Hi Charlotte. You can see in >106 EBT1002: (below the bar) that I am now ready for some female writer energy! And I love your comment that you make exceptions for "the writers I really like, an important, rather random caveat" ~~ I guess the question is how you know whether an author falls in that category until you try their work. :-)

May 17, 5:12pm Top

>99 ursula: Well, Ursula, as Katie said to me when I commented that I keep reading Elizabeth Strout's work even though I just keep thinking "well, it's okay but it didn't knock my socks off" while everyone else is walking around barefooted, you could just decide that Cormac McCarthy is not your cup of tea. There are so many wonderful things available to read (as I know you know).....

>100 jnwelch: Hi Joe and thanks for the compliment. And no, words are not missing from that first sentence/quote. But I can totally see why you would think that! It takes a couple of reads (and maybe even a read out loud) to catch that sentence's rhythm. I know I had to read it twice but then I loved it.

You comments make me want to keep reading the trilogy.

>101 rosalita: Thanks Julia.

>102 BLBera: Hi Beth. I don't want to predict how All the Pretty Horses will land on you but his writing is pretty magnificent, imo.
I like the oats because I don't have to cook them. The oats are wet overnight and they soften and the flavors meld, but it's not at all gloppy like some cooked oatmeal can be.

>103 SuziQoregon: :-)

May 17, 5:33pm Top

>104 streamsong: Thanks for the thumb, Janet! And I agree. These horses were, well, they were horses. McCarthy didn't anthropomorphize them but he gave them life and made them real. I loved that.

>105 drneutron: Hi Jim. There seem to be a lot of us who have read All the Pretty Horses, liked or loved it, and not gotten around to the rest of the trilogy despite good intentions. Maybe there needs to be a group read.....

>109 lauralkeet: You can see from >110 EBT1002: and >111 EBT1002: that I'm currently totally obsessed with overnight oats, Laura. Last night when I was having insomnia, I kept feeling excited about breakfast, knowing I had overnight oats in the fridge!

May 17, 6:12pm Top

>113 EBT1002: Whoops! I didn't mean words missing from the quote, but words missing from the first sentence of your review. "After the family patriarch passes and it becomes clear that the family ranch which is the only home he has ever known . . ." seems like it's hankering for a few more words.

May 17, 6:43pm Top

Thanks for posting the recipe for overnight oats, Ellen! I'll give it a try soon.

May 17, 7:23pm Top

>113 EBT1002: Yeah, I know what you mean, and I'd say the same thing to someone else too! :) But for me there are 2 things - 1. ATPH is on the 1001 books list, so I'll give that one a shot, and 2. Everyone seems to think I should like McCarthy, and on paper I kind of agree, but wow was it a mismatch so far. I'll investigate a little further, but I have no intention of hate-reading his whole catalog. :D

May 17, 7:46pm Top

>112 EBT1002: I also fell in love with the late Kent Haruf's trilogy, except in my case I don't want to read Benediction because I know there won't be any more. I'm not ready to say goodbye yet. :-(

May 17, 8:19pm Top

>92 EBT1002: Great review of Pretty Horses, Ellen. Big Thumb! I have the entire trilogy on my keeper shelf. They are that good.

Edited: May 18, 12:18pm Top

>114 EBT1002: That's funny, Ellen. Thanks for the recipes too!

>118 rosalita: Julia, have you read Our Souls at Night? It's also set in Holt, CO and just as good as the trilogy.

edited to correct book title/touchstone

May 18, 6:17am Top

>75 EBT1002: I was eyeing Hate Crimes in Cyberspace Ellen, as it is so predominant at the moment, I'll gird myself for it.

Glad you loved All the Pretty Horses, it must be due for a reread for me.

May 18, 8:55am Top

Ellen - your oats recipe is almost the same as the quinoa version. I'm going to give it a try. I love it, and I find it keeps me going all morning.

Thanks for the recipe.

I will give McCarthy a try one of these days...

May 18, 9:12am Top

Delurking to say Hi! Hope Thursday goes well. : )

May 18, 12:20pm Top

>115 jnwelch: Joe, you are so right! I remember sitting there, messing with that sentence a bit and clearly I didn't mess with it enough! I will edit.

>116 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl. I admit that I like the overnight oats recipes with a bit more panache than the basic. The one I made the other day with mashed banana, almond butter, and maple syrup was super tasty.

>117 ursula: All that makes total sense, Ursula. I hope you like ATPH when you get to it. And if not, I'll be curious about what it is that doesn't work for you. I also love your comment about McCarthy's work looking "on paper" like it should work for you. I think I feel that way about Elizabeth Strout. I wouldn't call it a serious mismatch but I don't adore her work the way it seems I should.

>118 rosalita: LOL, Julia. Maybe that is the explanation for my tendency not to finish series! I hate saying goodbye to a cast of beloved characters! Maybe we could do a shared read of Benediction to soften the blow?

>119 msf59: I could see how the Border Trilogy would earn a place on your keeper shelf, Mark. I don't know when I'll get around to reading The Crossing but I will definitely read it.

Edited: May 18, 12:26pm Top

>120 lauralkeet: Hi Laura. Last night I slept better. I may be emerging out of the other side of my obsession. Not that I'll stop eating and loving overnight oats but my exuberance may be on the verge of reaching more normal levels. :-)

>121 Caroline_McElwee: Hi Caroline. I am reading Hate Crimes in Cyberspace rather slowly, not because it's not excellent (it is) but because I have it mentally categorized as "work reading," which means I'm MUCH less likely to read it during my commute or at home. When I only read something during "free" moments at work, it can take a looooong time to get through the material! In any case, I do recommend it (so far).

I can absolutely see All the Pretty Horses earning reread status.

>122 BLBera: I'd be interested in how ATPH lands on you, Beth, but don't pressure yourself. There are lots of excellent reads out there!
I hope you enjoy the overnight oats. As I said to Darryl, I like the combinations that include some fruit and/or nut butter best, I think. The basic recipe is, well, basic.

>123 Berly: Hi Kim! Thanks for the Sweet Thursday wishes. I'm ready for the weekend. I think I'm always ready for the weekend! :-D
I hope your Thursday goes well, too!

May 18, 5:46pm Top

>94 EBT1002: You should tell him that's your retirement stash! LOL

May 18, 7:39pm Top

I'm sad to say that McCarthy didn't work for me when I tried him last year. I can see that he's an excellent writer, but as you say about Strout, he's just not a good fit for me. There are far too many books out there for me to worry about it, but instill wish I could find the a reading groove where he would fit.

I like the overnight oats idea as I cannot abide the texture of any cooked cereal. I don't know why. Cottage cheese affects me the same way: just...no.

Edited: May 19, 9:52am Top

>126 thornton37814: Exactly!

>127 bohemima: Hi Gail. You know, I'm always intrigued when an author who "should" work for me just doesn't. It's a testament to the subtlety and complexity of our reading experience. We are not simple creatures. :-)

And I can't promise that you'll like overnight oats although the oats do hold their integrity some and don't become gloppy and cottage cheese-like. I would say they are worth a try though since oats are so good for you and I'm learning all sorts of things about the benefits of chia seeds (who knew?). I love cottage cheese (although I only love one brand and it simply must be 2%, not 4% and not fat free), especially with fresh ripe tomatoes!

May 19, 11:07am Top

Happy Friday, Ellen. Rainy and cold in Chicagoland. Sighs...

I want 80 degrees and my shorts back on.

May 19, 3:24pm Top

I need to get better about healthy eating, breakfasts in particular. I have always liked the idea of chia seeds and put some in my muesli of a morning, but then again I rarely get round to eating it..........

Must make more of an effort. I grew up on porridge, but I'm not sure about overnight oats yet.

Re: authors that don't work - Murakami is one I wish I could get on with. As is Neil Gaiman (he's quite hit and miss for me). I did NOT like My Name is Lucy Barton but I've got another couple of Strout's on my Kindle so I guess I'll give her another go. Actually, come to think of it, there are quite a few authors that I feel I should like, but don't.

May 19, 4:21pm Top

>130 lunacat: - I think I am firmly in your camp, though I am not so sure it's the authors as much as it is the genres, for me. I just never *got* the magical, mystical realism or whatever it's called, nor sci-fi, per se. They just never turned my crank. I am simply not drawn to those genres and with so many other books to read that DO call to me, well...... oh well...

May 19, 7:10pm Top

>129 msf59: Really, Mark? Pantsless?

Edited: May 19, 11:13pm Top

>129 msf59: Hi Mark and Happy Friday to you, as well! This sunny, warm(ish) Friday could not have come soon enough. It was our first (truly!) lovely day in Seattle in 2017. Maybe I'm exaggerating but I don't think so. Anyway, everyone in town was in an expansive mood. Yay! P and I met at a new watering hole near our house after work and each had two cocktails. Yikes. But no alarm-setting tonight. We have a contractor coming to talk with us at 11am tomorrow about the possibility of a new front porch....

May 19, 11:16pm Top

>130 lunacat: Jenny, I swear you are the first person (besides myself) who has not raved about Lucy Barton! I'm so glad to find you! I mean, it wasn't torture or anything like that...

"...come to think of it, there are quite a few authors that I feel I should like, but don't."
Kind of makes you want to rethink the notion of "should," doesn't it? :-)

May 19, 11:17pm Top

>131 jessibud2: I'm not a fan of sci-fi, either, Shelley, with a couple of notable exceptions. Magical realism? It depends. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

>132 ffortsa: LOL Judy! I do agree that Mark should keep his pants on. :-)

May 19, 11:22pm Top

There have been loads of authors I thought I should like and didn't. Sometimes there is a timing piece, and I will like them better later. Also, sometimes it's kind of rough when EVERYONE raves about a book, because then you are started out with high expectations.

May 19, 11:54pm Top

>136 banjo123: I totally agree, Rhonda. I think the hype around a book can have an adverse impact on my reading experience.

May 20, 9:55am Top

May 20, 9:59am Top

So I googled "It's Saturday, what are you reading?" and got nothing. Tons of images came up for "It's Monday, what are you reading?" Is that a thing?

May 20, 10:03am Top

So here is what I'm reading even though it's not Monday:

And what I'm (still) listening to:

May 20, 11:49am Top

>140 EBT1002: lol. No idea if the Monday reading group is a thing. Hope you have a great weekend with the books, Ellen.

May 20, 2:38pm Top

Hi Ellen - I don't think there is any "should like" in reading. Our tastes are all individual, based on our life and reading experience. That said, I also do like to share enthusiasm about a book/author.

I hope you get some down time this weekend. It sounds like your week was exhausting.

Edited: May 20, 2:43pm Top

Hi, Ellen.

>140 EBT1002: Oh, good for you, Ellen. Our daughter is reading Hamilton and liking it a lot, but she says it's a real chunkster.

May 20, 5:52pm Top

>141 charl08: Hi Charlotte, It was weird to find so many images about it being Monday and wondering what people are reading. I mean, I read on Mondays as much as any other day, but.... Maybe it's a start-of-the-week thing.

Anyway, it has been a good Saturday so far. Minimal reading but some weeds got pulled, lots of laundry is hanging on the line, my hair got cut and my purple streak refreshed, and we met with a guy about building our new front porch.... I am SO excited about that! And it's sunny and gorgeous! After Sae-Lee finishes mowing our lawn, I plan to go sit in the sun with a book.

>142 BLBera: Hi Beth. I actually agree with no "shoulds" when it comes to what we like in reading (or anything else, for that matter) but I am sometimes surprised when an author whose work seems to match up with my tastes just doesn't work for me. On the other hand, sometimes an author whose style is a stretch for me ends up being a favorite! :-)

It was kind of an exhausting week, even though I'm not quite sure I can put my finger on the reason(s). Maybe it's just the phenomenon of the last few miles of the marathon. Anyway, thank you.

Tomorrow P and I will work for three hours at the plant sale at our local community garden. That will take care of our required volunteer hours for this summer. We'll do more, but the pressure will be off.

>143 jnwelch: Joe, Alexander Hamilton is taking me forever to listen to! The audiobook is just over 40 hours long!!!! It's good but honestly, the level of detail is perhaps excessive. I think I have about 6 hours left to listen to.

May 21, 1:17am Top

>144 EBT1002: 40 hours of listening is a bit of a marathon, Ellen. I have it on my bucket list as I need to read more biography.

Have a lovely weekend.

May 21, 4:16am Top

>144 EBT1002:. Honestly, Ellen, that's a great example of why I don't often listen to audiobooks. I can read a lot faster than I listen. The problem with that is I often miss great narrators.

At least you're within 6 hours of finishing. 40 hours of listening would've been way too much for me.

May 21, 7:03am Top

Alexander Hamilton sits in my shelf, glaring at me, waiting to be read. I'm with Joe on reading speed; it's much faster for me to physically read a book. On the other hand, I'm trying, lazily, to get into audiobooks. Right now the best "listens" for me are books I've already read, even if it was long ago. Since I spend a fair amount of time in the car now--living in the deep end of nowhere has a few drawbacks--I hope to get with it soon.

I hope your energy returns this week, and that you continue to have good weather.

May 21, 7:19am Top

I hope you have a nice time at the plant sale, and that the weather treats you kindly. Fingers crossed for some relaxation as well.

>146 jnwelch: I love audiobooks, but they have to be the right ones. Some simply don't work for me, whether because of the pace of the book, or the narrator. I am VERY fussy over narrator. I've found them a lot easier to get on with now I listen to them in 1.25 speed rather than 1 as it seems to match my reading speed a little better. I can still read faster, but I love being able to 'read' a book and do other things at the same time. They have been a saving grace while doing things like wallpaper stripping, or on the long drive to my boyfriend's house. Plus, with the right book, they can shut my anxiety and whirling thoughts down, or at least subdue them.

Also, I ALWAYS listen to audiobooks when trying to go to sleep at night. I am a raging insomniac and my thoughts get seriously out of control, so being able to 'read' in the dark with my eyes closed is brilliant. And means I can stop stressing about whether I'm going to doze off or not - if I don't, it means I get to listen to more. However, the length of time it takes me to fall asleep is probably halved when I am listening to a book. Normally it would be at least 45 mins to an hour, but with an audiobook, I can often reduce it to 20-30mins. Of course, I then have to track back to the last bit I remember when I try and listen the next day, but it's a hassle I'm willing to undergo in the name of sleep. There are still plenty of nights when I get 2-3hrs of listening in because I can't drop off, but even then, I feel better for knowing they aren't completely wasted hours.

Edited: May 21, 7:33am Top

>148 lunacat:. Good points, Jenny. The idea of speeding up the audio does appeal to me, although I haven't tried it yet. Agreed re some narrators being particularly appealing. A bad one almost killed a Rainbow Rowell book for me on a car trip; Neil Gaiman is always a pleasure. I'd like to listen to Stephen Fry do Sherlock Holmes.

Our daughter similarly relies on audio books and podcasts as a pleasant way to ease into sleep. I just read until I realize I'm no longer making any sense of what's in front of me.

May 21, 8:23am Top

Big Sunday waves from over the pond.

Yesterday, 11:46am Top

>148 lunacat: Jenny, I was recently listening but could only choose between 1x and 2x on my iPod. What device do you use for listening? Or do you use the Audible app?

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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