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Ellen reads in 2017 - Chapter 7

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

This topic was continued by Ellen reads in 2017 - Chapter 8.

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: Jun 10, 11:17am 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 - currently reading

Edited: Jun 10, 11:17am 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 -- Indian Killer -- Currently reading
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: Jun 7, 10:24am 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 - COMPLETED

August: The Beet Queen

October: The Bingo Palace

December: The Antelope Wife or The Painted Drum (or both)

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.

May 22, 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?

May 23, 6:52pm Top

I am very late with happy new thread wishes, Ellen, so I will also add a thank you for your wonderful review of McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses. I was sold on McCarthy as a writer when I read Suttree - my first McCarthy book - and was confirmed in loving his writing when I read The Road. Now I can look forward to reading All the Pretty Horses!

Edited: May 25, 11:00am Top

>139 EBT1002: LibraryThing usually posts "It's Friday---what are you reading?" on Facebook each week.

Love McCarthy, but have not yet got to the rest of the Borders trilogy.

May 26, 5:42am Top

>151 ffortsa: I use the app on my phone. It has the choices of 1.25x, 1.5x, 2x, 2.5x, and 3x. Occasionally, if the narration is a little lumbering and I want to get the book done, I'll go up to 1.5x but 1.25x works perfectly for me.

Edited: May 26, 3:17pm Top

Chiming in late to the Lucy Barton discussion; I and at least two other members of Club Read also disliked it. Jennifer found its "deep thoughts" to be "trite and superficial", Alison thought it was "instantly forgettable" and "quite nothingy", and I agreed with both of them and wondered why in the world it was chosen for last year's Booker Prize longlist. In my review last year I described it as "lacking in depth" and "forgettable". At least two other Club Readers whose opinions I respect, namely Kay and Vivienne, did like it, though.

May 26, 10:10pm Top

>154 lunacat: Aha, I knew I'd seen those numbers somewhere or other. Probably on my tablet, where I would use the app. Thanks. I rather like the 1.25 myself.

May 26, 11:56pm Top

After seeing your stellar review I have moved All the Pretty Horses up the pile and will read it in June. Looking forward to it.

May 27, 3:58am Top

Hiya, Ellen. Just checking in. I'm reading another Georgette Heyer, The Toll-Gate, continuing with Julia's excellent reading guide.

May 27, 11:58am Top

I hope you are having the same stellar weather that we are in Vancouver, Ellen. Enjoy your weekend.

May 31, 11:31pm Top

All caught up again! Not that it will last long here. :) And it's not Monday, it's...

Jun 1, 12:12pm Top

Hey everyone. Thanks for keeping my thread warm! RL has been a bear. Nine days until commencement and then it's on to the summer to-do list, but it should be less hectic. I did manage to read 9 books in May so that is a good thing.

Last night insomnia. Yuck. But I started The Lauras by Sara Taylor and then I read more during my morning commute. I think it's going to be a good one. I think Mark and I committed to reading it during the first week or so of June, both of us having received it via Early Reviewers, so I'm right on track.

Jun 1, 12:12pm Top

Here is the brief summary of the last four books I've read, which catches me up with commentary, at least.

41. Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston

I'm glad I read this for Mark's AAC. The narrative was uneven but when it was good, it was very very good. A worthwhile memoir and set in Florida very near where I grew up.

42. The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

The second installment in a pure-fun mystery series. I read the first one a couple of years ago and was underwhelmed but I'm glad I decided to give her another try.

43. The Girl, the Gold Watch, & Everything by John D. MacDonald

Not a reread, which is surprising given that John D MacDonald was such a favorite during my teens and twenties. This novel was a mystery but also had a bit of magical realism weaving throughout, perhaps a bit ahead of his time? Many thanks to Joe and Megan for encouraging me to read it. It took a while for me to settle in but once I did I enjoyed it.

44. Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love

Mark sent me his ER copy and this was a great ride. Set in Los Angeles, it tells the story of a young Latinx woman who ascends to be the leader of her small gang. Her history is desperate and her inner strength remarkable. Warning to potential readers: contains violence and child abuse, not excessively vividly described but enough to take heed if such things are hard for you. Otherwise, I recommend it as an engaging read.

Jun 1, 1:13pm Top

>161 EBT1002: - I may join you and Mark in reading The Lauras this month. It is one of several ER books that I have been accumulating but not reading :-/

Edited: Jun 1, 2:15pm Top

>162 EBT1002: I really like the Ruth Galloway series, Ellen. She's an unusual sort of heroine and I've always been interested in the archaeology/anthropology stuff.

Jun 1, 2:31pm Top

>162 EBT1002: Wow...magical realism in John MacDonald. Who'da thunk it?

Jun 1, 4:28pm Top

Hi, Ellen. I'm glad you enjoyed the oddball The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything. (Where did that book come from? I don't think he ever did anything else like it).

I thought Lola was a great ride, too. I hope it catches on with more readers.

Good luck with the final sprint to commencement!

Jun 1, 7:09pm Top

Our local Barnes & Noble has a reading discussion group going, and Lola is one of the books they are considering for the group to read. I told them there had been buzz about it in the social threads of LT and that upped the appeal of the book for their group. The book they discussed last month was Where'd You Go Bernadette. That was one I wanted to read and didn't get to. It has been on my book shelves for a long time.

Jun 1, 7:39pm Top

>162 EBT1002: *mutters to self, some people just can't get any respect around here*

Jun 2, 1:54pm Top

Happy Friday, Ellen. Lola sounds good.

Hang in there for nine more days. I hope they go smoothly with no major disasters. BTW, who is the commencement speaker? Not Bestsy DeVos or Ann Coulter, I hope...

Edited: Jun 2, 4:40pm Top

Hi Ellen. As the huge slide to the end rolls in, just remember to breathe in and breathe out...


Jun 2, 11:04pm Top

Speakers at Commensment is something about which the faculty, staff, students, parents, and guests don't have to worry at the University of Alabama. We don't have them. That custom stopped back in 2004 when James Stephenson, Jr., owner of EBSCO, was booed off the stage by an irate audience for stating that the U.S. starting a war in Iraq and Afghanistan was wrong. He said we shouldn't be there. It was not a message that was well received. After that - no more speakers at graduation. Problem solved.

Edited: Jun 2, 11:45pm Top

Distinguished educator and humanitarian Dr. Johnnetta Cole to be UW’s 2017 commencement speaker

Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, former president of Spelman College and Bennett College, and recently retired director of the National Museum of African Art, will be the featured speaker at the University of Washington’s Commencement exercises Saturday, June 10.

Cole became well known on the national stage in 1987, when she became the first African American woman to serve as president at Spelman, a historically black women’s college. Under her leadership, Spelman was named the top liberal arts college in the South. Her national profile continued to rise in 2009, when she was named director of the National Museum of African Art. Cole also serves on the Scholarly Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Africa American History and Culture, which President Barack Obama formally opened in September 2016.

Edited: Jun 2, 11:49pm Top

>168 ronincats: Oh crap, it was you who strongly urged me to read The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything! Roni! I am SO sorry!

Rats. I hate when I do that.

eta: and I know you love me anyway, but still. I just need to meet you in person and all this confusion will fall away.

Jun 2, 11:49pm Top

Hi Ellen

You read some amazing books. So many are rated with four stars. It looks like you not only read a lot, but also a lot with quality.

Happy Weekend To You.

Jun 2, 11:50pm Top

>174 Whisper1: Well, that or I am just too enthusiastic and gullible as a reader! LOL.

Jun 2, 11:55pm Top

>145 PaulCranswick: Paul, I will never. ever. never again start a 40-hour audiobook. I think I have gotten much less out of it than I would have done if I had just read the darn thing.

>146 jnwelch: See my note to Paul, Joe. I can definitely enjoy an audiobook of ten hours or so. I do plan to listen to I Contain Multitudes as nonfiction is, for me, particularly well suited to audio format. I loved Not My Father's Son and Evicted and Destiny of the Republic in audio format. None of them were even close to 40 freakin' hours.

>147 bohemima: Hey Gail. I am also a faster reader than listener, even though I am not a fast reader. As I have said to Paul and Joe here, I will never. ever. never again start a 40-hour audiobook. It just has not kept my attention. All that said, it is a good biography. If you like detail.

Jun 2, 11:59pm Top

>173 EBT1002: :-D and yes, I do love you anyway!

Jun 3, 12:03am Top

>148 lunacat: Jenny, this is so interesting to me.
"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."
I am also a raging insomniac! And it has not occurred to me to use audiobooks to distract me from those trying-to-fall-asleep hours minutes. Many minutes. I especially like the idea of not stressing about not falling asleep, seeing that as a positive thing because I would get to listen to more of my book.
Hmmm..... It's an idea.

>149 jnwelch: "I'd like to listen to Stephen Fry do Sherlock Holmes." Okay, got me to bite on that one. Once I finish this GD narration of Alexander Hamilton, I might look for one of those. I do have I Contain Multitudes waiting for me on audio. And George Guidall narrating Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire series.... that is good stuff.

Jun 3, 12:06am Top

I am getting caught up while watching my UW Huskies lose to the Oklahoma Sooners in the Women's College World Series (softball). Sigh.

Jun 3, 12:10am Top

>150 Ameise1: Hey Barbara! Thanks for the over-the-pond waves! *waves back*

>151 ffortsa: I'm also interested in the increased speed of listening. Wondering how that would work for these last four hours of Alexander Hamilton.

>152 lkernagh: Hey Lori. I'm glad you enjoyed my comments about All the Pretty Horses. The Book Group discussion was interesting. Some in the group had hated The Road but others liked it... All the Pretty Horses is the only Cormac McCarthy I have read.

>153 laytonwoman3rd: Well. And today is Friday! So --- I'm reading The Lauras by Sara Taylor and am enjoying it so far.

Jun 3, 12:17am Top

>154 lunacat: I listen to Audible books on my phone. I'm going to see if I can activate the 1.25 speed for the remainder of Hamilton.

>155 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl, and thank you for chiming in on the Lucy Barton question. I shouldn't care but it does (regardless) help to have other readers in my camp of "what is so great about this??" "Forgettable" is the word that works for me.

>156 ffortsa: Before you know it, we'll all be listening to books at 1.25 pace!

>157 DeltaQueen50: Judy, I'm so glad to have you planning to read All the Pretty Horses next this month. I hope you love it as I did.

>158 jnwelch: Hi Joe and thanks for checking in. I NEED to read a Georgette Heyer. Some of my most respected reading buddies (yes, you, among others) love her and I have never read any of her works.

Jun 3, 12:18am Top

>159 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. I do think we were having that stellar weather along with you!

>160 Berly: Hi Kim!

Jun 3, 12:26am Top

>163 katiekrug: Hi Katie! I've started reading my ER copy of The Lauras and I'm engaged. So far, though, it is not living up to her debut of The Shore.

>164 rosalita: Hi Julia. I've now got the third Ruth Galloway mystery on my Kindle, from the library. I am definitely planning to continue with the series.

>165 laytonwoman3rd: I know! I had no idea that John D MacDonald had a magical realism streak in his repertoire, Linda! It took a couple of chapters for it to work for me but it did once I got going.

>166 jnwelch: I totally agree, Joe. The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything is such a departure for our friend John D MacDonald although it did have some loose-jointed-regular-guy-as-hero themes that felt familiar. I enjoyed it.

Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love is a good debut. I am glad Mark sent it to me and that I prioritized reading it.

Edited: Jun 3, 12:40am Top

>167 benitastrnad: Benita, I still haven't read Where'd You Go Bernadette even though I live in Seattle and it has been a huge hit. Last weekend, P and I were having lunch at a lovely Tom Douglas restaurant down by the waterfront, Seatown, and a guy at the next table was reading Bernadette with pen in hand. He also consumed three very quick glasses of wine. I wondered if he is teaching the novel....

>168 ronincats: I repeat what I said in >173 EBT1002: and I'm glad you really do love me anyway. :-)

>169 BLBera: Wow. I'm up to today in my catch-up efforts. I was SO far behind after being AWOL for days.

Hi Beth! Lola is an excellent debut if you can take the violence. It's neither gratuitous nor pervasive but it is also unflinching.

And see my post in >172 EBT1002: about our commencement speaker --- LOL. I'm glad it's not Betsy DeVos!!

>170 jessibud2: Thank you, Shelley! Commencement is one week from tomorrow. I'm going to make it.

In fairness, I should report that this past week or so has been incredibly busy but it has not been bad. It has been good! As one example, today I met with a group of students, fraternity and sorority leaders, who're developing a program called "Greeks Take Action." It's a program designed to motivate Greek chapters to take a more proactive stance against sexual assault and to develop policies and protocols that address this issue in a more direct and aggressive manner. I was impressed.

I also spent a couple of hours this afternoon (yes, Friday) working on a small grant application to (I hope) obtain a small set of funds ($1-3K) to support an anti-bias campaign on campus next year. We want to launch a more visible campaign with a motto of "Be a Better Bystander" -- or something along those lines.

So. Good stuff. And that is important to remember in the final days of a very stressful academic year.

Jun 3, 12:39am Top

>171 benitastrnad: See >172 EBT1002: Benita. I'm excited about our commencement speaker this year!

Jun 3, 12:41am Top

Jun 3, 12:43am Top

Yay! I'm all caught up!

But my Huskies lost. :-(

They're not out of it altogether but they are now in the "loser's bracket" and it means their back is against the wall. Florida and Oklahoma are looking like strong contenders to play in the final series for the national championship.

Like I care.

But I do.

Oh well.

Edited: Jun 3, 1:24am Top

June reading plans:

The Lauras by Sara Taylor -- Early Readers -- currently reading
Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie -- AAC and Reread challenge
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths -- pure summer pleasure reading
The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow -- I WILL finish this!
American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez with Paul

and more.... ??

Jun 3, 2:41am Top

Great June reading plans - thinking of you as insomnia strikes. We should start a club.

Jun 3, 4:09am Top

>110 EBT1002: >111 EBT1002: My overnight porridge means sitting it all in the pot, and then cooking it up on the stove top in the morning. It makes for a far creamier porridge. But these recipes are awesome- I would love to be making use of all these useless jars that we have been given over the last 2 years, ones that have no lids because you are supposed to drink out of them....

>178 EBT1002: when I can't sleep, listening to something (anything) will make me more awake. I just tune in and start concentrating when I hear radio or any talk. My poor lovely other is forced to wear headphones for his evening radio, as it is too distracting. I have yet to form a strong relationship with audio books, but do reckon I would if I were doing regular walking or cycling for exercise.

Enjoy Love in the Time of Cholera! One I have yet to read....like so many others!!!

Jun 3, 8:36am Top

>176 EBT1002: - Ellen, I am currently listening to I Contain Multitudes on audio and am on disc #3 (of 9). The reader is Charlie Anson, not a name I knew before but he is very good. Lovely British accent and the subtle humour in the writing comes through very well in his narration. This is an interesting book but I think, for me anyhow, the audio format is best because my eyes may have been glazing over had I just been reading the hard copy. It's a good listen, though

Jun 3, 9:48am Top

I see that my copy of The Birchbark House has arrived at the library. I'm looking forward to reading a children's book by Erdrich.

Four hours to go on Hamilton! - yup you **will** get it done! The end is in sight! This month I requested the audio of Team of Rivals from the library. I was dumbfounded when it came and the box said it was only ten hours. I found that even though the audio doesn't say it is abridged, the uncut version is forty hours. I decided to pass on the uncut version, partly due to your experience with 40 hours of Hamilton.

Instead, I'm listening to the quick and easy YA Flight (no touchstone!) by Sherman Alexie. Next up in audio will be Memoirs of a Geisha which is twenty hours. Even that may be a bit long for me to listen to, although I do also have a print copy to hurry it along.

Edited: Jun 3, 10:30am Top

I have also started The Lauras and feel the same way - engaging but not quite up to par with The Shore.

Do give the 1.25 listening speed a try - it's my default, as you can barely tell the difference in the sound, and it does seem to move things along a bit faster. I try to stick to audio of no more than about 10 hours. There are some exceptions, of course, and if I can alternate the audio with a print version, I am more likely to take on a longer book.

Enjoy your weekend!

ETA: How was the new book group? I think I've FINALLY found one that will work for me :)

Jun 3, 11:14am Top

I also plan to read The Birchbark House this month.

Jun 3, 1:54pm Top

>181 EBT1002: No Heyers, Ellen? Her Regencies are great but one of my favourites is set just before that time. These Old Shades is a really good one.

Jun 3, 2:00pm Top

Hiya, Ellen.

I just read a positive review of Lola in the NY Times Book Review, so word is spreading, and that should help garner some readers for it.

I imagine you'd appreciate The Road. It's really well done. I'm not sure I understand those who hate it. If they don't like anything by McCarthy, that's one thing. But it's hard for me to wrap my mind around liking others of his books but not The Road. Maybe the postapocalyptic theme?

Jun 3, 3:11pm Top

I was one of those who didn't like The Road especially Joe, despite loving other of his books. I let it go after I read it, but have recently bought a Kindle copy, after reading James Wood's essay on the novel. I think either I read it in the wrong mood, or more likely fell foul of the publicity which called it original, which it so isn't. The postapocalyptic theme has a long history.

Wood has convinced me to give it a second chance. Interestingly, I did think the film they made of the book was very well done. How's that for conflicted views?

Jun 3, 11:10pm Top

>189 BLBera: My insomnia is less onerous than it used to be, Beth, but when it hits it hits with a vengeance. Sometimes I wonder why I wait as long as I do to sit up, turn on the light, and read. How often does insomnia happen for you? Is it related to particular stress or worries?

>190 Ireadthereforeiam: You do need a lid for overnight oats, Megan. I guess plastic wrap would do.... But it also sounds like you have a breakfast oats option that works for you!

Yeah, I'm not sure how the listening would work for me as a cure for insomnia. P and I used to read to one another to help unwind toward sleep. We went through the whole Little House on the Prairie series many years ago and the James Herriott All Creatures Great and Small books are great for read-aloud, too. Still, it worked better for P than for me. Whether she was reading or listening, she would doze off!

I have never read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and have always wanted to do so. I don't know that I'll get to Love in the Time of Cholera this month but since Paul is reading it, I'm going to try to shoehorn it in.

>191 jessibud2: Shelley, Charlie Anson is the narrator I have for I Contain Multitudes, as well. It will likely be my next audiobook once I finish Alexander Hamilton. I swear, finishing AH might warrant a bottle of bubbly!

Jun 3, 11:15pm Top

>192 streamsong: Oh good, Janet! I picked up my copy of The Birchbark House just today and will read it as soon as I finish The Lauras. I have to admit that the NCAA Softball World Series has distracted me from reading these past few days. My Huskies are in the series and have made it to the semi-finals.

I loved Team of Rivals when I read it a few years ago. I am generally opposed to abridged/cut editions on principle but 40 hours is 40 hours. I think some folks would still just whip through it: someone who listens while walking and walks a lot, maybe a postal carrier or just an avid walker. I just don't listen very often.

I could do a 20-hour book, I think, although I prefer them 15 hours or less. Memoirs of a Geisha is a good one.

Edited: Jun 3, 11:27pm Top

>193 katiekrug: I keep liking aspects of The Lauras, Katie, but honestly I'm just not buying the story. Maybe it will come together, though. I'm only about halfway through.

I will try the 1.25 speed. And I like my audiobooks no more than 15 hours long and if they are under 10 hours that is best. I haven't actually done the listen-and-read thing that I know works for some folks. I guess I just haven't had both an audio and a print copy of anything.

The book group was good! The guy who had nominated All the Pretty Horses came with questions for discussion and we really did talk about the book for a substantial bit of time. There were mixed reactions to the novel and that provided for good discussion. That group meets twice a month, once in Seattle and once in Bellevue (suburb across the lake, actually a city in its own right as it has been the headquarters of Microsoft for a long time). I can get to either location pretty easily. Because of where I live, getting over to Bellevue is actually easier than some locations in Seattle for me. Anyway, I will continue to go to the little group that is Karen, Bill, Karla and me but I am also going to give this one a couple more tries.
The June Seattle discussion is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance tomorrow. I won't be there.
The June Bellevue selection is The Last Painting of Sara de Vos which I've never heard of.
In July it's Problems with People: Stories by David Guterson and The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra.

Jun 3, 11:37pm Top

>194 BLBera: Oh good. We have a little group read of The Birchbark House going in June!

>195 Familyhistorian: I've brought a Heyer home from the library a couple of times, Meg, but never got around to reading either of them. I see that These Old Shades gets an average of 4.12 stars on LT so maybe I'll try that one sometime this summer. I admit that I probably have a bias against any novel that gets tagged "romance" (remember all those teenage years I wasted reading Harlequin Romances!) but I also know that her works are comedies of manners and that can work for me.

>196 jnwelch: Hey Joe! I'm glad to see Lola getting good press. I thought it a worthy debut novel.

A couple of the people in my book group had hated The Road and they also disliked All the Pretty Horses. I think they are in that group of folks who just don't like McCarthy's works. They did acknowledge that his use of language is sophisticated and admirable, but that didn't make them like the book. We had a great discussion!

>197 Caroline_McElwee: Hmm. I need to find that essay by Wood about The Road, Caroline. It sounds like it would be a good pre-novel read.

Jun 4, 12:19am Top

There is another book club that is pretty new, called "Absurdly Challenging Book Club." They are discussing Infinite Jest in June, 2666 in July, Ulysses in August. It sounds intriguing but I would need to know enough in advance what they are reading in a given month to tackle it. I have and want to read 2666 but of course I didn't put it on my June reading list. The discussion is scheduled for July 1 so I will need to make a decision about that.

Jun 4, 2:55am Top

Hi Ellen! Just skimming through and waving.

Interesting about the overnight oats, though I have a lifelong distrust of oats after I discovered that both muesli and instant porridge gave me a day-long tummy ache (though I do like the porridge that's been cooked for hours, if I can muster my courage). Maybe I'll experiment on my husband ;0)

Jun 4, 7:46am Top

Happy Sunday, Ellen. Hope you are having a lovely weekend. We are back home, getting back in the groove. Once I wrap up "Cages", (I am having a difficult time finding the right touchstone) I will begin The Lauras and then I will have to start an Alexie.

I hope you can find time to read The Tsar of Love and Techno. It is fantastic.

Jun 4, 8:20am Top

Love the idea of an absurdly challenging book club, although your new one also sounds like they are planning a lot of varied reading.

I had forgotten about The Lauras - I need to pick this up again.

Jun 4, 9:00am Top

Happy Sunday, Ellen. Just passing through and waving. RL Was/is busy.

Edited: Jun 4, 9:37am Top

Hi Ellen - It sounds like All the Pretty Horses is a good book group book. I'll have to suggest it for mine. It sounds like it's a good group.

I like the idea of an absurdly challenging book group as well. I have 2666 on my shelves, and I have wanted to read Ulysses for a long time.

My insomnia started with menopause. I used to wake up at three in the morning and not be able to sleep. Now, sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep. Sometimes I can relate it to nerves about something, but sometimes there doesn't seem to be any reason at all. Oh well. One of my colleagues used to joke that we should have the 3 a.m. club.

Jun 4, 10:36am Top

>207 BLBera: If Ulysses was a group read I'd join up. I started reading it years ago and was making pretty good process with the help of an audiobook (listening as I was reading along in the physical copy of the book). Got sidetracked when I went back to work (I was reading during summer vacation) - I needed long stretches of reading time to really get into the book and I didn't have that when I was back at work.

Jun 4, 1:07pm Top

>1 EBT1002: Saw a piece on the news this morning about the Yosemite falls, and thought I would share it here. It is a good season for them, and some waterfalls that have been dry for years are gushing.

Edited: Jun 4, 1:16pm Top

I have never read a Cormac MacCarthy novel and don't think that I ever will. He hasn't written anything that has a review or a written or spoken blurb that appeals to me. In my opinion nothing he has written could be classed as a "western." Furthermore, from the blurbs his work sounds like urban fiction or gang fiction, and those genres don't appeal to me either.

I think that for many readers it is not a case of liking the work of an author, but rather liking the subjects that author chooses to write about. It is also a matter of presentation. I like fantasy, but won't read another George R. R. Martin novel for a good long time. He is just to violent for me. Same is true of crime thrillers. like them, but stopped reading Jo Nesbo because I couldn't stomach the psychological terror.

Jun 4, 1:20pm Top

I was surprised to learn that our local Barnes & Noble has a strong book discussion group going. They meet late in the afternoon on Sunday and that time is just perfect for me. I have belonged to another real life book discussion group for almost ten years and love those members. However, the group never has more than four people who attend. It makes it hard to have a consistent discussion. The B&N group has about 10 people of mixed age that meet. They are a much more dynamic group than my regular group so I am sorely tempted to switch groups. But I won't for the time being.

Jun 4, 1:22pm Top

>201 EBT1002: here you go Ellen:


I have it in his volume The Fun Stuff and Other Essays. I'm rationing myself, I do love his essays.

Jun 4, 2:01pm Top

Hi Ellen!! I totally agree with you about the length of audio books...12 hours is about my limit. And not ones I would be tempted to bookmark or refer back to. Good luck with Hamilton. Happy Sunday!

Jun 4, 5:10pm Top

Hi, Ellen.

I'm glad your book club had a productive discussion of All the Pretty Horses. Kudos to the leader for bringing questions to stimulate that. I finally saw the ATPH movie with Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz, and it was okay. But it didn't come close to moving me as much as the book did.

>197 Caroline_McElwee: Sounds like it might have been a matter of timing, Caroline. I sure agree that the story in The Road isn't notably original; archetypal is more like it. It's just beautifully told, IMO. The father-son dynamic at the center is powerful, as is the ending. It won the Pulitzer Prize, and deserved it, as far as I'm concerned.

Ellen, have you read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? I loved that one as a teen, and keep thinking I should re-read it. Sorry you're missing the book club discussion of that one; I could imagine it being a very good one if members read the book all the way through. It's not a shorty.

Jun 4, 9:00pm Top

>214 jnwelch: Joe, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was part of my high school English curriculum. It had a huge impact on everyone. I've often thought of rereading it too, but never seemed to get around to it. Did you know the author, Robert Pirsig, just passed away?

Jun 5, 6:38am Top

>214 jnwelch: >215 lauralkeet: Zen and the Art... has been on my list for a very long time. I really need to get round to it soon.

Morning, Ellen!

Jun 5, 9:02am Top

>215 lauralkeet: I did see that Pirsig passed away, Laura. Too bad. I wonder whether he had another one in the works. I love that ZATAOMM was part of your high school curriculum. I'd like to see that idea spread.

>216 scaifea: I remember Zen and the Art as worth every minute, Amber. It's been a long time since I read it, but I think it would resonate with your academic interests.

Good morning, Ellen!

Edited: Jun 5, 12:06pm Top

46. The Lauras by Sara Taylor

"It's bothered me for as long as I can remember, the way the human compulsion to classify stands at odds with my feeling of falling outside the available categories. When I was a child at home it mattered less: my father was Man, my mother was Woman, I was myself. But when I went out into the world, or even to my grandparents' house, everyone seemed determined to put me into a box that I had no business being in, expected to think and act and want in ways that were consistent with a label with which I could not identify."

This adventure starts when gender-nonspecific 13-year-old Alex is awakened by her/his mom, trundled into the car, and told that they are leaving. As the miles roll along, mom tells stories of growing up, moving from foster home to foster home, making her way pretty much on her own. Thus enter the Lauras, a series of girls and women who meant much to mom as she made her way to adulthood. This road trip takes Alex and Alex's mom to various places of interest in mom's youth: through the south to Florida, then to Texas, Las Vegas, eventually to California and British Columbia. Along the way, Alex goes through the teenage coming of age, learning from mom's stories and discovering her/his own yearnings. One of the most compelling stories within this story is that of Annie, the daughter of an old friend whom they visit in Texas.

Taylor's exploration of categories, societal expectations and the internal experience of falling outside those, is rich and respectful. They are also subtly applied, leaving the reader to consider questions of gender, gender roles, and the notion of family at the reader's own pace.

This novel started slowly and it took a while for Alex and her/his mom to develop for me. However, it gained momentum around the halfway point and flourished into a satisfying read. It never quite lived up to the promise of Sara Taylor's debut novel, The Shore, but it's a solid contribution and I will continue to look forward to Taylor's future works.

Jun 5, 1:03pm Top

>217 jnwelch: I'd like to see that idea spread.
Yeah, well, that would have been around 1977ish so it's sure not spreading quickly!! :)

Jun 5, 1:30pm Top

>203 humouress: Hi Nina! If oats and muesli give you tummy problems, I would not recommend Overnight Oats. They might work for your husband, though! I have been making two servings each evening. I bring mine to work in my new Weck jar, which I love. P eats half of hers at home and saves the other half for the next day. :-)

>204 msf59: Hi Mark and welcome home! It sounds like your visit to Tennessee was pretty awesome.

I finished The Lauras last night and wrote my review this morning. It was good but not as great as The Shore. Still, she is an author to keep on the radar, in my opinion.

I downloaded Indian Killer onto my Kindle just this morning. It's a library loan and a reread for me. I also started The Birchbark House last night I'll get to the Alexie either next or after I read the third Ruth Galloway mystery (also a library loan). So many books in the June lineup!

Edited: Jun 5, 1:35pm Top

One of the New Times Book Review podcasts featured Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance because the author had just passed away. I have a copy of that book, but have never read it. It may be time to get it out, as the NY Times Book Review crew said that it had a high impact on them.

Jun 5, 1:41pm Top

>205 charl08: Hi Charlotte. I really like the idea of the Absurdly Challenging book group but I don't know how it will play out in reality. The founder said "This is a book club for the more challenging novels. If you ever wanted to give yourself a reason to read the books that always seem to end up on the lists of books folk know about but never get around to reading, this is it" when she started it. I think the June discussion of Infinite Jest is the inaugural meeting.

I'm remembering (accurately?) that you started The Lauras but set it aside in favor of more engaging options. Yes? In any case, the second half of the novel was definitely more compelling for me. I ended up giving it 3.5 stars.

>206 Ameise1: Hi Barbara. Thanks for passing through. I totally agree: RL is busy!

>207 BLBera: I do think All the Pretty Horses is a good group option, Beth. Our discussion was lively and focused ~~ and I think it's a book to which people will just have differing reactions.

I really want to read 2666 but I can't imagine getting to it in time for a July 1 discussion. Perhaps we can organize a LT group read because I do think it's a book that would lend itself well to discussion. And I have to admit that I have never (well, almost never) had a strong pull toward reading Ulysses. Maybe I just don't know enough about it....

Interesting that your insomnia started with menopause. I think mine has improved since that period (ha) of my life. And mine is almost always initial insomnia. If I can get to sleep, I'm usually good for the rest of the night. I do remember waking up in the midst of menopause and going out on the front porch in my bare feet and pajamas in the middle of winter because I was simply on fire. I had a relatively easy menopause but those night sweats were brutal.

>208 PawsforThought: Hi Paws. You know, I have been thinking I have no interest in reading Ulysses but it does seem like a group would be the way to go. And adding the audio.... that might help.

Jun 5, 1:51pm Top

>209 laytonwoman3rd: That is awesome, Linda. I know we have lots of snowpack in the Cascade mountains here in Washington (and in Oregon) after a colder and wetter winter than usual. Thank goodness. And yet, I worry. It has now been dry for about two weeks and as much as I have enjoyed the weather, it is far too early for the dry season to start. We are usually still rainy until July 4 with July and August being our dry months. If June is also dry, the mountains are in for a tough fire season. And I worry about the animals. :-(

They say that climate change can be seen in greater extremes of weather so it makes some terrible sense that our colder and wetter winter would be followed by a drier and hotter summer. Not good.

>210 benitastrnad: Hi Benita. Well, I beg to differ. All the Pretty Horses is definitely a western, in my opinion. But I can well understand that his work might not appeal. His writing is beautiful but this novel (it's the only one I've read so it's the only one I can comment upon) had elements of violence that were difficult at times. However, none of the violence was gruesome nor was it overblown. It felt very accurate.

I do totally agree that whether one "likes" an author's work is as much about the subject as it is about the writing itself. I know there are some magnificent fantasy/sci-fi writers but the content so rarely appeals to me that I almost never read them.

>211 benitastrnad: That experience somewhat mirrors my own, Benita. I love our little LT-connected book group but it's only four of us at present and life is so busy and complicated, it is hard even to get all four of us together sometimes! I wouldn't say the little one is less dynamic, just little. :-) So, I will attend that one as I am able and continue to look for another (the one I tried last month is worth another go) to fill in the gaps.

Jun 5, 2:00pm Top

Gosh it's been ages since I've been here so much of this is from WAY upthread.

So I might be in the same boat as you with Strout. I finished My Name is Lucy Barton and I have extremely mixed feelings. The further I get away from finishing the more middle of the rating scale it feels to me.

>138 EBT1002: It's Monday What Are Your Reading? is a weekly blog meme among book bloggers. It's been around for years.

My limit for audiobooks is around 14 hours. I only listen when I'm in the car by myself so it's all in 10-15 minute increments. It takes me a long time to get through them.

Jun 5, 2:00pm Top

>212 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline! I might see about nabbing a copy of The Fun Stuff and Other Essays. I generally love essays.

>213 Berly: Oh! I meant to tell you all this! I listened to some of Alexander Hamilton at 1.25 speed this morning and it worked! I don't think I would want to go any faster than that but this worked just fine.

>214 jnwelch: Hi Joe. This book group seems to expect the bringing of questions to help guide the discussion, so if a book I nominate ever gets selected in the future, I will have some homework to do. They referred me to LitLover.com for ideas. It seems like an interesting website.

I am getting more and more interested in reading The Road. I'll wait until I've read the Wood essay to decide. :-)

Yes, I have read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It was published in 1974 and I graduated from high school in 1978, so I read it somewhere in that window of high school and college. I remember loving it. I might have been interested in rereading it and joining in the discussion if it weren't for the short timeline I encountered.

>215 lauralkeet: Hmmm, maybe a group reread of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is called for.... I did not know that Pirsig had just passed.

>216 scaifea: Morning Amber! Do I sense a Group Read developing?

>217 jnwelch: Morning Joe!

Jun 5, 2:00pm Top

>219 lauralkeet: Cracked me up!

Jun 5, 2:13pm Top

Jun 5, 2:15pm Top

Last night I started reading my Louise Erdrich selection for June. It's children's literature but so far I'm quite enjoying it!

Jun 5, 4:58pm Top

I just ordered book 4 in this series for our library. The series has been quite popular.

I didn't mean to dis Cormac MacCarthy it is just that what he writes about just doesn't appeal to me. I read lots and lots of reviews of his stuff, and nothing clicks. I think that something about the book has to appeal to the reader or it doesn't matter who wrote it. Unless we are talking about the classics, and then I find myself reading it because I "ought" to have read it, rather than from I "want" to read it.

I read somewhere that the guy who produced the Sci/Fi space opera Firefly, used High Noon as the pattern and just changed the setting. I wonder if that makes "Firefly" a western?

Jun 5, 5:03pm Top

>229 benitastrnad: - Indeed. Space western is apparently a whole sub-genre of sci-fi. I learned this from my nerdy husband who introduced me to 'Firefly', for which I am forever grateful :)

Edited: Jun 5, 5:17pm Top

> Yep Outland (with Sean Connery) is a classic Space Western remake of High Noon.

Jun 5, 5:49pm Top

Great comments on The Lauras, Ellen. I will definitely read it at some point. I loved The Shore.

Ooh, I have to finish The Essex Serpent and start The Birchbark House. Or maybe I'll pause and pick up the Erdrich...

Jun 5, 7:13pm Top

I started The Birchbark House and what a lovely book. I think it will be a great read paired with the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. In fact, I just bought a set for my daughter for her birthday. Since they will have more room in their new house, she can start to accumulate some books. Also, about the only thing she has time to read is children's books. She loved The Poet's Dog.

Jun 5, 7:16pm Top

I am 70 pages into The Lauras. I like it in the early going. I will come back and read your review.

I am interested in hearing about The Birchbark House.

Jun 6, 4:27am Top

>198 EBT1002: ...great for read-aloud, too. Still, it worked better for P than for me. Whether she was reading or listening, she would doze off!
I have only read aloud to/been read aloud to another adult a few times, (of course, all the time with my kids- although I don't recall my parents ever reading aloud to me). Once travelling in Asia a friend and me used to read from a small hard cover poetry book to each other, and once, in Australia on a loooong drive, I read to my sister who was driving. That was a great experience, as we had never done that before, and it made the journey go so fast! Luckily neither of us fell asleep!!

>218 EBT1002: oh, you have already read it! I was just reading on Mark's thread that you and he were tackling that one.

>230 katiekrug: nerdy husbands are the best!! ;)

Jun 6, 11:56am Top

From the reviews I have read The Birchbark House series is quite well done. Erdrich has written four books for that series. They are Birchbark House, Game of Silence, Porcupine Year, Chickadee, and Makoons. I have not read them and didn't realize that they were a series until a patron told me they were. Then I went and looked them up to make sure we had the entire series.

I have never read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. They just never appealed to me, so I can't advise how they would work with the Birchbark House series. However, I recall that Joe and his wife Debbie, were reading the Wilder books aloud to each other a few years ago. I wonder if they finished the series? I do know that the Birchbark House series has had great reviews and that critics say that Erdrich is one of the few adult authors who can write as well for children as she does for adults.

Jun 6, 12:09pm Top

As Benita mentions, we're reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to each other right now, Ellen. We haven't finished them yet, Benita. There are a lot, and we fit them in around RL adventures and other reading. It's a great way to travel back to a remarkable time in our history.

Jun 6, 2:23pm Top

Speaking of Laura Ingalls Wilder, there is a new book called The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder coming out soon. I snagged an ARC from NetGalley which I hope to read soon.

Jun 6, 4:55pm Top

Those of you on FitFit know that I'm walking and running a lot. It's that or kill someone.
Okay, not really, but I need this week to end!

Jun 6, 5:16pm Top

>239 EBT1002: Weeks like that are horrible. Sorry to hear you're having one. Running is really good for getting those feeling if not out of your system then at least lowered.

Jun 6, 5:17pm Top

>239 EBT1002: - I know this won't fit with the *health* aspect, but you know, there is very little that ice cream won't fix... just saying.

In Niagara-on-the-Lake, a gorgeous little town about 2 hours from Toronto, there is an ice cream store called Cows. When I was last there I bought a postcard that is on my shelf above the computer. It reads: "You can't buy happiness but you can buy ice cream. And that's kind of the same thing"

Tomorrow is hump day, and then it's nearly over.....


Jun 6, 5:40pm Top

Ice cream is wonderful, even Wonder Woman agrees!

Jun 6, 5:43pm Top

Hang in there, Ellen.

I am loving The Birchbark House. Certainly it would be a great companion to the Little House books. I love the detail of the daily life.

Jun 6, 9:10pm Top

I did just read an Erdrich! A friend insisted I read this one right away and he was right: The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse -- since you have read Love Medicine you will recognize many of the characters - these are the stories of their grandparents mostly, set in the early 1900's.

Oh, you've sold me on All the Pretty Horses.

And your countdown is almost there!

Jun 7, 2:42am Top

Hope the week is picking up speed Ellen. I could do with a weekend about now!

Jun 7, 11:06am Top

Has anybody on this thread heard of The Skim? Here is a link to an article of interest to readers regarding The Skim and its book list.


Jun 7, 1:38pm Top

>242 PawsforThought: The ice cream seller "should be very proud." :-) We just saw the movie, and enjoyed it.

Jun 7, 2:36pm Top

>247 jnwelch: I saw it on Monday and have been high on it ever since. I walk taller now. Might seem excessive for "just a movie" but it was more than that to me.

Jun 9, 12:39am Top

47. The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

"Like Andeg, she couldn't help being just who she was. Omakayas, in this skin, in this place, in this time. Nobody else. No matter what, she wouldn't ever be another person or really know the thoughts of anyone but her own self."

Andeg is a crow and he is one of the highlights of this charming children's book. Omakayas is a 7-year-old Ojibwe girl living in Minnesota in the 1840s, witness to the smallpox outbreak of that year as well as the gradual erosion of her people's independence and way of life. Even so young, Omakayas has a hidden history and she learns about this as she develops a greater sense of herself and her strengths.

Jun 9, 12:42am Top

48. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow


I don't read a lot of biography. This detailed history of the life of Alexander Hamilton is truly excellent. And long. Forty hours of audiobook. I learned a lot. I missed a lot. If you like detailed histories or detailed biographies, I think you'll love this. I'm glad I listened to it. And I'm glad I'm done.

Jun 9, 12:58am Top

Okay, I need to do some real catching up but for now I just have time for this ~~

>242 PawsforThought: I love that!

(and I love ice cream!!!)

Jun 9, 12:59am Top

Jun 9, 1:01am Top

And, honestly, I went to commencement rehearsal today and was again reminded of how awesome this time of year is. I'm swamped, it's true, and I look at next week's schedule and think "hey! It's 'break week'! How is it that I don't have any empty spaces in my schedule? How will I play with my buddies on LT?" But I know that this Saturday will be fun and rewarding. I love watching them graduate.

Edited: Jun 9, 1:02am Top

And I started reading the next Elly Griffiths installment in the Ruth Galloway series, The House at Sea's End.
Pure pleasure reading. Perfect for this week.

Jun 9, 6:25am Top

>253 EBT1002: I love commencement, too. I've been a volunteer for the past 3 or 4 years, and it never fails to lift my spirits to see all those bright faces getting ready to go out into the world. It's a corrective against the rest of the world.

Jun 9, 9:22am Top

Have a great time at commencement, Ellen. I hope next week you can take a breath.

Congrats on finishing the bio of Hamilton.

Great comments on The Birchbark House; I was very impressed by it.

Elly Griffiths is a perfect read for a stressful week. I love Ruth.

Jun 9, 10:54am Top

I have finally caught up with you, Ellen! LOVE Ruth, so I completely agree with Beth that Griffiths is a perfect answer to a stress filled week. Hoping that the next few days go by quickly for you.

You have made the entire Pecan Paradisio into fans of overnight oats, so thanks for posting about them and for the link to the recipes. We also ordered the Weck jars and have been thrilled with them.

A huge HOORAY for finishing the Hamilton book - I almost always listen at the 1.25x speed.

Jun 9, 12:06pm Top

"I'm glad I listened to it. And I'm glad I'm done. " Hehehe....the perfect response to a long, well-done biography. Sometimes it's better to look back on those than it is to be listening, or reading, them.

Edited: Jun 9, 1:03pm Top

Yay! Commencement! Yay! for a break week even if it is breakless. Yay for completing Hamilton!

I haven't started The Birchbark House yet. I keep telling myself I'll finish the current books. :-) Your comments were interesting, though, and I'm looking forward to it.

Today's forecast is more rain and thundershowers so reading is in *my* forecast.

Jun 10, 11:19am Top

49. The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

Another fun installment in the Ruth Galloway series. This is perfect reading for a stressful time of the year. I'm so glad I decided to give Ruth and Nelson another go.

Edited: Jun 10, 11:19am Top

It's Commencement Day!!

Jun 10, 11:21am Top

Next up:

This is a reread and will count toward Mark's American Author Challenge.

Jun 10, 11:27am Top

>229 benitastrnad: "I think that something about the book has to appeal to the reader or it doesn't matter who wrote it. Unless we are talking about the classics, and then I find myself reading it because I "ought" to have read it, rather than from I "want" to read it."

That second sentence cracked me up, Benita. I am trying not to let myself get sucked into "should" reads but it does happen sometimes. And sometimes I end up being glad I did as I learn why the work is considered a classic! And I totally agree with the first sentence. And I also think that the work of authors, no matter who they are, can land on readers differently at different times of life.

>230 katiekrug: Huh. Space western. Probably not my gig.

>231 SuziQoregon: Well now I want to watch High Noon and Outland. I may have seen High Noon at some point but I am sure I've never seen Outland.

>232 BLBera: The Birchbark House is a quick read and won't distract you from whatever else you're reading, Beth. I hope you enjoy it.

Jun 10, 11:34am Top

>233 BLBera: I adored The Poet's Dog, too, Beth. And Pax. Don't forget Pax. Just in the realm of wonderful children's books. :-)

I don't think I had realized that The Birchbark House is a series until I saw Benita's comments and then yours. I'm not sure how motivated I am to read the whole series. I enjoyed it but I have to admit that children's literature doesn't really effectively engage my brain. I mean, it's not like the Ruth Galloway mysteries require much thought, either, but at least they are directed at my age group. :-)

By the way, Beth, did you see that an unseeded Latvian won the French Open? Kind of fun....

>234 msf59: Hey Mark. I think you'll like The Lauras. The second half is better than the first. Or maybe it's just that the first half is solely in service of the second (which is usually true, of course, but more so than usual in this case).

>235 Ireadthereforeiam: I think reading aloud on road trips sounds like a great idea, Megan. I might suggest that P and I try that when we take our long weekend to central Washington later this month. And yes, we'll need to be sure neither of us falls asleep. Or at least not the driver/listener. :-)

Jun 10, 11:37am Top

>236 benitastrnad: I hadn't realized that The Birchbark House is part of a series, Benita (and is it four or five books -- you list five in that post). I don't know that I'm motivated to read them all as, honestly, even excellent children's books aren't my priority for my reading time, but it might happen. I will certainly keep them on my radar for recommending to friends with young children.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder series is one that I have only read in read-aloud format. P and I went through the whole series a number of years ago as we worked to tackle my persistent insomnia. I enjoyed it in that modality but I don't have any desire to go back and read them on my own.

Jun 10, 11:40am Top

>237 jnwelch: I'm glad you and Debbi are reading that series aloud, Joe. As I have mentioned, that is how I experienced them several years ago and I did enjoy them in that modality.

>238 thornton37814: I'll be interested in how that book is, Lori. I do think the series is a great way to explore that period of history. I also think it requires that from-a-distance compassion for the biased perspectives that some of the "characters" displayed.

Jun 10, 11:43am Top

Okay, I know I have more catching up to do, and then I want to start a new thread and get around to visiting some of your threads! but for now I need to eat breakfast and get all gussied up for the commencement ceremony. Luckily, getting gussied up just means dressing in black slacks and a black shirt for under my gown, hood, and tam. It's a lovely day in Seattle so that is a good thing since the ceremony is outside in Husky Stadium.

When I come home in a few hours, I will be on mini-weekend and the summer will officially be started. As you all know, I work year-round and I expect this summer to be both busy and stressful. But I also expect some down time here and there. I am so looking forward to that!

Jun 10, 11:44am Top

Happy commencement day, Ellen. Enjoy the day.

Yes, I was happy that Ostapenko won. For tomorrow, vamos Rafa!

I agree with you regarding The Birchbark House; I might read them to Scout, but doubt I will read the rest of the series on my own. I wonder if she's done with it? Last year when I saw Erdrich speak, she talked about wanting to finish it for her mom. I think some parts are based on her family stories.

Pax will have to be my next young reader book. :)

Jun 10, 1:03pm Top

Howdy Ellen. I'm a stranger in these parts lately.

Woohoo for your countdown! I loved All the Pretty Horses Here is a link to my very brief thoughts. http://www.librarything.com/topic/170845#4610545 It still reminds me of back home and my Dad. I may need to reread this before I move on to the next one.

Happy Saturday

Jun 10, 1:20pm Top

Hi, Ellen.

I probably missed your comments before - if you're re-reading Indian Killer, you must think it's a good Alexie book, yes? I've been thinking I might read Ten Little Indians.

Can't get the touchstones to work this a.m.

Jun 10, 2:50pm Top

The Birchbark House series is now five books. They are like her other books - all loosely connected, but they don't have to be read together.

Today is National Iced Tea day, so fix a cold one and enjoy it after you get home.

Jun 10, 9:12pm Top

Happy Commencement Day!! Whoohoo!!!! : )

Jun 11, 3:24am Top

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Ellen.

Jun 11, 7:49am Top

Happy Sunday, Ellen. I ended up with mixed feelings about The Lauras. I really wanted to like this one. She is a good writer but something was missing.

I hope your reread of Indian Killer works out for you. It was my first Alexie and I did not care for it, although it was many years ago.

Jun 11, 9:46am Top

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Jun 12, 12:35am Top

>240 PawsforThought: Thanks Paws. I am glad the week is over and now that it is behind me, I admit to feeling just a bit sheepish. It has been a tough year and this was a tough final week of it, but it could be so much worse. Still, I'm glad to see the back of the 2016-17 academic year.

>241 jessibud2: Thanks for the encouragement, Shelley! ""You can't buy happiness but you can buy ice cream. And that's kind of the same thing." Indeed! I'm not eating much ice cream these days but P and I just decided today that our long weekend in central Washington (June 22-25) will include ice cream. At least once. :-)

>242 PawsforThought: We're going to see Wonder Woman on Friday! I can't wait.

>243 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I enjoyed The Birchbark House. I might even read further into the series, wondering if I can download the next one on audio from the library. I don't want to spend an audible credit on such a short work. :-)

>244 sibyx: Hi Lucy. I really want to read Last Report of the Miracles at Little Big Horse. What a great title!

I think you would appreciate All the Pretty Horses. If you give it a try, I will be interested in your take on it.

>245 charl08: Hi Charlotte. Luckily, the week is now behind me!


Today was the day after Commencement. It wasn't an exciting day but it was just what I needed: I slept in a bit, then we spent about 90 minutes down at the p patch. I watered and pulled weeds. Then a trip to a favorite mediterranean restaurant (yummy grilled chicken on a salad with excellent mediterranean flavors), grocery shopping, a trip to the library.... I got to spend a few hours reading, mostly out in our front yard and then in our shadier back yard. P grilled a piece of salmon for dinner and we had a lovely bottle of Pinot Noir from Broadley Vineyards....

Jun 12, 12:37am Top

>246 benitastrnad: I had not heard of TheSkim, Benita but this bit caught my eye:

"TheSkimm, which does get a percentage of sales of the products its editors recommend (though they declined to share exact numbers), has also begun suggesting wines that pair well with certain reads. They'll name a rosé that goes well with a new beach read, for example."

I kind of chuckled but the honest truth is that any wine goes with any book.


Jun 12, 12:39am Top

>247 jnwelch: We plan to see the movie this Friday, and I'm looking forward to it! I'll think of you all when I see that scene....

>248 PawsforThought: Oh, I like that endorsement, Paws. Walking taller is a good thing and if a film can make us do that for a while, so be it!

Jun 12, 12:39am Top

Jun 12, 12:46am Top

>255 rosalita: It was a great day, Julia. The weather cooperated (mostly sunny and a high of about 70F, with light breezes) and the speaker was exceptional. They had expedited the ceremony itself a wee bit this year (shorter speeches by all) and that went well. I was on my feet for too many hours but otherwise it was a well-spent Saturday!

>256 BLBera: I'm loving Ruth, too, Beth! I do think the coming week will be better. I have one particularly stressful situation I'm dealing with and it may get ugly this week but I know my boss has my back on it. We had a great meeting on Friday and I feel fully supported by him. That is a good thing. Otherwise, it is projects, projects, projects. I just need to get organized, develop a functional to-do list with enough detail to keep me moving, and all will be well.

I also have a massage scheduled for Tuesday. My back started giving me fits a little more than a week ago but I've had two massages that have just focused on my upper back, shoulders, and neck. I'm feeling better. Yay! Back pain is not a thing for me so this got my attention.

>257 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie. I do think the coming week will be less stressful. And magnificent summer has arrived in Seattle which is a very good thing. I got to spend a lot of time outside today -- sunny with a high of 70F. Perfect for reading in the sun or in the shade!

I'm glad overnight oats are a hit at your house! I made a batch tonight for P and myself: mashed banana, oats, milk, vanilla yogurt, maple syrup, and crunchy peanut butter. It will be great!

Jun 12, 12:48am Top

>258 laytonwoman3rd: Yes, Linda, I feel the same way. It's funny how a long biography like Alexander Hamilton can seem so burdensome in the middle but quite delightful in retrospect. Well, maybe not delightful. Worthwhile, though. Definitely worthwhile.

>259 streamsong: Thanks for the cheers, Janet! I do recommend The Birchbark House and it will fit quite nicely in between a couple of other reads. It's a quick one and very sweet. I love crows and it has an excellent crow thing happening within. :-)

Jun 12, 12:54am Top

>268 BLBera: Beth, have you not yet read Pax? How is this possible?

>269 luvamystery65: Hi Roberta! Thanks for stopping by! I don't know if you have been seeing my comments about reading more mysteries since I got my kindle....

I can see how All the Pretty Horses would evoke memories of your dad and "back home." McCarthy did a particularly good job of describing the landscape, I thought. I could smell the sagebrush and feel the heat and dust..... I truly loved it as much for that as for anything.

>270 jnwelch: Hi Joe. I remember liking Indian Killer a lot when I read it many years ago so that is what motivated me. I have to say, though, that it is nothing like I remember. It's engaging (and the Seattle setting is kind of cool) but it's not what I remember. I haven't decided yet whether that is a good thing or not.

>271 benitastrnad: I had no idea today was Iced Tea Day, Benita! I have to say that I didn't celebrate but P did have a tall glass of iced tea on our back patio this afternoon so that will have to do. :-)

>272 Berly: Thanks Kim!

Jun 12, 12:57am Top

>273 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul! It has been a wonderful weekend. The commencement ceremony went well and was worthwhile and today, well, today was excellent. See my comment in >276 EBT1002:

>274 msf59: Hi Mark. Yes, I think you and I had similar reactions to The Lauras. I liked it well enough but it did not live up to the promise of her debut. Still, when her third novel comes out I will certainly give it a try.

I remember liking Indian Killer when I read it years ago but it is nothing like I recall. It's kind of engaging but I'm not sure where he's heading with this. I wonder if the vivid Seattle descriptions appealed to me (I did not yet live in Seattle when I first read it).

>275 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle! It has been a great weekend!

Jun 12, 1:03am Top

I mostly missed one exciting aspect of our weekend. I was at commencement when I got a text from P that our power was out. She said it had seriously freaked her out when it happened because it was so loud. Apparently a xxx (what are they called? not a generator, not a junction box.... post-stroke brain, it makes me crazy) blew when a mylar balloon got caught in a wire or junction or something.... It was right in front of our house and the explosion was apparently quite loud. P said she screamed when it blew and everyone we have talked to who was home at the time has said the same thing. Our neighbor said she was vacuuming and flames shot out of her vacuum cleaner! There were several lines down and the power was out for about 10 hours. Needless to say, when I got home from commencement we had to go out to dinner. (Rats.) We tried a new (to us) place down in Rainier Beach. Excellent cocktails and a wonderful Cubaneau Sandwich with slaw. And when we came home we could read because we both had adequately charged kindles! So, that was all good.

Jun 12, 1:45am Top

>284 EBT1002: Ellen--Way to take advantage of the power outage (dinner out)! Congrats on making it through this last week; good luck with the sticky situation and enjoy that massage!

Maybe time for a new thread?

Jun 12, 3:17am Top

>284 EBT1002: flaming vacuum cleaners!! Yikes, that is reason enough not to vacuum, in my book ;)

Adequately charged kindles, lol. A phrase that would have been nonsensical only a few years ago, but a state you will no doubt now aim for on a regular basis!!

Jun 12, 3:20am Top

Oh, I'm jealous you get to watch it this week! I'd love to see it again but have too much else to do (and cinema tickets are expensive!).

Power shortages can be horrible, but making the most of it is absolutely the way to go!

Jun 12, 5:51am Top

Glad your weekend was good. Hope the tricky issue this week will turn out OK. Having your boss at your back makes all the difference.

>280 EBT1002: I really did NOT need to know how well peanut butter goes in oats (porridge as we say here), thanks Ellen!

Jun 12, 6:26am Top

>284 EBT1002: Goodness, how scary for P! Was it a transformer, maybe? That would be nerve-wracking but at least you got dinner out and you've found a new use for Kindles — no need for candles. :-)

Jun 12, 9:44am Top

>284 EBT1002: Wow, a flaming vacuum cleaner would be enough to ensure I didn't do any housework for a while!!

Jun 12, 11:45am Top

>285 Berly: We are very good at finding reasons to eat out, Kim. It's one of my favorite things about living in a foodie city. :-)
And yes, it is time for a new thread. I might get to that today.

>286 Ireadthereforeiam: LOL. I actually like vacuuming once I get started at it, Megan, but I prefer my vacuum cleaners sans flames.
And yes, I believe keeping our kindles ready for any extended power outage will now be a priority in our household!

>287 PawsforThought: It seems that Wonder Woman is a great excuse for a Friday night date and I'm looking forward to it!

Jun 12, 11:48am Top

>288 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. Yes, having my boss at my back is a very good thing. I love working with him but he is sometimes hard to read. When I talked with him about this matter on Friday, it was clear that we are on the same page and that he will support me in standing up to the faculty member who is throwing his weight around a bit. I hate conflict and the faculty-administration dynamic can be very dicey. I'm always flabbergasted when a faculty member seems to automatically 1. question my competence, 2. assume ill intent, and 3. just think they can treat me with rudeness. Time to stand tall and stand my ground. Respectfully, of course. Because I will take the high road simply on principle.

*deep breath*

Jun 12, 11:50am Top

>289 rosalita: Transformer! That's the word! *whew* Thank you, Julia. I hate it when I can't think of a word that is absolutely in my lexicon.

>290 ChelleBearss: LOL. I wonder if our neighbor's house will take a nosedive in cleanliness. :-)

Jun 12, 11:58am Top

>293 EBT1002: That happens to me all the time these days! Words right on the tip of my tongue but I can't quite spit them out. Usually they come eventually if I stop thinking about it, and then I blurt it out in the middle of a completely different conversation. :-)

Edited: Jun 12, 12:23pm Top

>292 EBT1002: we are standing behind you along with your boss Ellen.

Jun 12, 12:57pm Top

>291 EBT1002: It'd make a great Friday night date movie! I hope you have a great time and enjoy watching the film.

Jun 12, 5:07pm Top

>292 EBT1002: We were just talking about this issue of rudeness today at my curriculum meeting. I'm not sure how much is misogyny. I asked my colleague Mike to send out the e-mails because if they come from me, there are a couple of people who have fits. And I don't want to deal with that.

Good luck with your problem.

Jun 12, 10:23pm Top

>294 rosalita: I have done the same thing. :-)

>295 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline! Today he came in to my office with another couple of thoughts about it. He and I are thinking in such concert on this matter and that is kind of cool all by itself.

>296 PawsforThought: Oh good. I think we're going to see it at the Sundance Theater up in the U District. It's a bit more spendy but the screen is visible from all the seats (I'm really rather short) and we can each have a glass of wine during the show.

>297 BLBera: In this particular instance, I do think some of it is good old fashioned sexism, Beth. Honestly, I don't have enough experience with this particular faculty member to know for sure but I can't imagine that he would speak so condescendingly to another male faculty member. I hope I don't have to call in my (male) boss/VP but if I do, it will be interesting to see how that goes. Of course, the other faculty member somewhat involved in the situation is a woman but it't not like women can't be sexist. And (present company excepted, of course) faculty can simply treat staff/administration like second-class citizens.

I'm sorry to hear that you have to deal with rudeness in your work, too. I must say, I just don't get it. I am totally comfortable with disagreement but I have never understood any person thinking it's okay to, for example, yell at a colleague at work. But it happens. How is it that anyone thinks that is okay????

Whew. I will add that today was a good day at work. A couple of good meetings, some work that got done, and campus is nice and quiet. And I had my sugar consumption under much better control. It has been going haywire of late and I got very determined this weekend to reel it in a bit. Today felt good.

Edited: Jun 12, 10:34pm Top

Never mind

Edited: Jun 12, 11:07pm Top

I was wondering why your Fitbit stats were so good, Ellen. Now that I caught up with your thread I understand that you needed a stress reliever with all that has been going on! >298 EBT1002: And yay for a venue where you can see the screen from all the seats - one of my pet peeves. Good luck with your work contretemps.

Jun 12, 11:35pm Top

>300 Familyhistorian: Yes, I have been walking and running a lot lately, Meg! It feels good although I gave my feet a bit of a break today. Tomorrow I plan to be back at it. Even if the stress level is going down a bit, I'm feeling good about getting so much exercise!

Jun 12, 11:35pm Top

Come on over to my new thread!

This topic was continued by Ellen reads in 2017 - Chapter 8.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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