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detailmuse ROOTs (and triages) in 2018

2018 ROOT (READ OUR OWN TOMES)

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1detailmuse
Edited: Dec 28, 2018, 11:53am Top

Welcome!

My main ROOT goal is to read 40 TBRs that I acquired prior to 2018. In msg#2, I’ll keep a list and links if I’ve posted a review. Results: I met my goal with an extra to spare! -- close to half of my 85-book total this year.

A secondary goal is to triage: I’ve previously purged no-interest books from my TBRs, but have been stuck about low-interest books. This year I want just to triage some number of them into read ‘em or rid ‘em by reading their beginning pages. I’m thinking 50 books; I’m thinking 10-25 pages into each. I’ll try it during January to see what fits.

A third idea is to indulge: read some brand-new acquisitions (not from library, not review copies) when they’re at their shiniest

2detailmuse
Edited: Nov 28, 2018, 10:46am Top

ROOTs Read in 2018:

Fiction
40. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (4.5)
39. Sphere by Michael Crichton (dnf)
38. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (4)
31. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (4)
29. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino (3.5)
26. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (4)
25. Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley (5)
24. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (3.5)
19. The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene (3.5)
18. Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver (4)
16. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (4.5)
15. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (4)
14. Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton (4)
10. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (4)
7. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (4)
2. The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley by April Stevens (4) (See review)

Memoir
8. I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro (4) (See review)

Nonfiction
41. What to Listen for in Music by Aaron Copland (3.5)
37. The Mind of the Soul by Gary Zukav (3.5)
28. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (4)
27. The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout (3)
13. Quality Software Management: Volume 3 Congruent Action by Gerald M. Weinberg (4) (See review)
12. Second Nature: A Gardener's Education by Michael Pollan (5) (See review)
11. Up the Agency: The Funny Business of Advertising by Peter Mayle (3.5) (See review)
6. Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (5) (See review)
4. Black Holes and Baby Universes by Stephen Hawking (4)

Other
36. Bellevue Literary Review (Vol 16 No 1; Spring 2016) (3)
35. McSweeney's Issue 31 (3.5)
34. Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton (4.5)
33. The RBG Workout by Bryant Johnson (4.5)
32. Devotion by Patti Smith (3.5)
30. Plan Your Estate by Denis Clifford (4.5)
23. Tom Robbins: The Kindle Singles Interview by Mara Altman (3.5)
22. The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (3.5)
21. The Little White Book for Easter 2015 by Ken Untener (4)
20. The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of "Poetry" Magazine (2)
17. The Little White Book for Easter 2014 by Ken Untener (3)
9. Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman (5) (See review)
5. 300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso (3.5) (See review)
3. How to Think Like a Cat by Stephane Garnier (3.5) (See review)
1. Sequential Drawings by Richard McGuire (5) (See review)

3detailmuse
Edited: Jan 2, 10:12am Top

I’m always interested in a sideways look at my TBRs, and this zodiac challenge (suggested by kac522 here) to read an author during his/her horoscope sign also complements Chèli’s theme for our group this year:

✔ Capricorn - Black Holes and Baby Universes by Stephen Hawking (BD Jan 8 1942)
✔ Aquarius - Second Nature: A Gardener's Education by Michael Pollan (BD Feb 6 1955)
✔ Pisces - Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (BD Mar 6 1927)
✔ Aries - Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver (BD Apr 8 1955)
✔ Taurus - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (BD May 15 1856)
✔ Gemini - Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (BD May 27 1907)
✘ Cancer -
✘ Leo -
✘ Virgo -
✔ Libra - The Mind of the Soul by Gary Zukav (BD Oct 17 1942); The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (BD Sep 25 1897)
✔ Scorpio - What to Listen for in Music by Aaron Copland (BD Nov 14 1900)
✘ Sagittarius -

4detailmuse
Edited: Aug 11, 2018, 10:36am Top

5tess_schoolmarm
Dec 29, 2017, 1:07pm Top

>1 detailmuse: A great plan, triage! I have about 100 ebooks that I've had for 5 years that I got for free when Kindle first came out. I've probably read 20 of these free ebooks and for the most part they were meh, although there were 3-4 that were fabulous. I would like to send a good many to the cloud if I can; triage is a great word!

6rabbitprincess
Dec 29, 2017, 1:17pm Top

Welcome back and have fun reading and triaging!

7Jackie_K
Dec 29, 2017, 1:20pm Top

I like the sound of the indulging, myself ;)

Good idea re the triaging too. I think I'm more likely to do that on books I know I've not spent any money on though - if I've actually paid for them I tend to feel I really ought to make the effort. I suspect that the books I'm most likely to abandon are ones I've got from the likes of Project Gutenberg.

8connie53
Dec 29, 2017, 1:42pm Top

Welcome back, MJ.

I think I might do some purging (no-interest anymore books too) even without reading the first few pages. I have to be strong and steadfast and I'm not really good at that.

9detailmuse
Dec 29, 2017, 3:56pm Top

>5 tess_schoolmarm:, >6 rabbitprincess:, >7 Jackie_K:, >8 connie53: Welcome!

And good luck, fellow triagers/purgers :) It helps me to think of the books in the hands of grateful readers vs. sitting on my shelves -- or worse, hidden in a box! To increase chances of success, I'm planning only to triage those books, not to immediately read the ones I decide to keep. I'm hoping to have some to donate for library sales in May and November ... and more enthusiasm about the ones I keep.

Tess I'm not that facile on my Kindle and think it would be hard to wade through so many active books. Hard even to see what I have on physical shelves when uninteresting books are all mixed in.

I posted some likely first-ups above in msg #4, all of which feel shiny :)

10avanders
Dec 29, 2017, 3:59pm Top

Hi! Good luck w/ your 2018 Goals!
I'll be stopping by to say Hi when I can :)

11floremolla
Dec 30, 2017, 10:41am Top

Good luck with triage and ROOTing in 2018!

Indulging - I know that's what got us into this mess of ROOTs in the first place, but still...all things in moderation :)

12Familyhistorian
Dec 31, 2017, 3:04am Top

Reading by author's horoscope sign sounds like a fun challenge. Good luck with your ROOTing!

13detailmuse
Dec 31, 2017, 1:21pm Top

>10 avanders: any time! I hope you keep a thread.

>11 floremolla: indulging will probably be less intentional, more reactive ... an "atta-girl" when I jump with pleasure into something new on my shelves.

>12 Familyhistorian: looking up author birthdates has already pulled some languishing books out into the light!

14connie53
Jan 1, 2018, 3:13am Top



Happy New Year, MJ.!!

15karenmarie
Jan 1, 2018, 10:58am Top

Hi MJ!

I like your triage goal and the read ‘em or rid ‘em method of 10-25 pages to decide. I also like the idea of the Zodiac challenge and will check it out later this week.

Happy reading in 2018.

16FAMeulstee
Jan 1, 2018, 3:21pm Top

Happy reading in 2018, MJ!

17Familyhistorian
Jan 1, 2018, 10:14pm Top

>13 detailmuse: So do you end up with a good range of horoscope signs or are there more in some signs than others?

18detailmuse
Jan 2, 2018, 9:59am Top

>14 connie53: so festive -- cheers, Connie!

>15 karenmarie:, >16 FAMeulstee: welcome and thanks!

>17 Familyhistorian: I've only looked into Capricorn thru Aries so far (using kac522's link to a birthdate site) just to see if I had enough (any!) and it seems slim but do-able. I started to look for more BD sources and this one, when searched by zodiac sign (at top) offers some. I'm tagging possible books with "BD-{sign}"

19Caramellunacy
Jan 2, 2018, 10:47am Top

I really like the sound of your triage plan - I may try that method this year as I really need to "de-accession" before we run out of room to walk!

20detailmuse
Jan 3, 2018, 10:07am Top

>19 Caramellunacy: Good luck! I'm noticing that some of my shelves finally have space and books are tipping while other shelves are doubled up. Not pretty, so I will need to redo the shelf organization.

>17 Familyhistorian: I'm happy: I've ended up with 3-6 books for each of the year's first four horoscope signs.

21detailmuse
Jan 3, 2018, 10:12am Top



1. Sequential Drawings by Richard McGuire, ©2016, acquired 2017

Aww, what a delightful book to be my first of the year!

I love “spot” illustrations, those tiny filler drawings that magazines used to even-up things when text columns ran a little short. The New Yorker still uses them, and Richard McGuire’s are among the best. This book is exactly what I’d hoped it would be: a collection of ~30 short spot series, either taxonomies (like the wire shapes of the cover, or insects strutting their beauty on a fashion runway), or narratives with tiny story arcs (my favorite is a group of condiments on a diner tabletop that calls to mind commuters in a subway car). To read it is to spend an hour in pure enchantment, and it will stay in my collection forever. It’s the second book by McGuire I’ve loved (after Here ), so now he’s officially a “favorite” author.

22madhatter22
Jan 3, 2018, 8:39pm Top

>21 detailmuse: See, it's reviews like this that make it so hard to stick to my ROOTs! I want to be looking at this book right this second.

Good luck with this year's reading goals! I'm hoping to do a good bit of triage myself.

23connie53
Jan 4, 2018, 4:30am Top

>20 detailmuse: I love shelf organization! I do that sometimes, even without need, just for the fun of it.

24MissWatson
Jan 4, 2018, 10:46am Top

Welcome back and good luck with the triaging!

25floremolla
Jan 4, 2018, 2:12pm Top

>21 detailmuse: that does indeed look like a delightful book - not being American or familiar with the New Yorker (apart from the odd article read online) I haven't heard of this illustrator, but I do like to see long-running quirky cultural things being celebrated :)

26Familyhistorian
Jan 4, 2018, 3:58pm Top

>20 detailmuse: That's great. Good to know it is a workable plan since it sounds so interesting. Sequential Drawings sounds really intriguing.

27detailmuse
Jan 6, 2018, 3:33pm Top

>22 madhatter22: I know that feeling!

>23 connie53: True! You remind me it will be fun :)

>24 MissWatson: Thanks!

>25 floremolla:, >26 Familyhistorian: A fun little book. Donna -- I tend to go through issues of The New Yorker and tear out articles to read later. I went through some to find a "spot" to show you, and what a perfect one I came to:

28Jackie_K
Jan 8, 2018, 9:20am Top

>21 detailmuse: I love the sound of that book! Nothing too taxing, just pure enjoyment! Great way to start the year :)

29detailmuse
Jan 10, 2018, 12:46pm Top

>28 Jackie_K: Yes! And I read it in an area of the house where I never read, cuddled in a down throw ... memorably cozy! I returned to that spot when I wasn't making progress on another book, and had another good session. So that may be my new spot :)

30detailmuse
Edited: Jan 10, 2018, 3:29pm Top

Triage update: I noticed a few books that were still marked TBR from when I'd borrowed them from the library and did not renew them to finish, but had left them as TBRs in case I checked them out again. This was in 2012 for two, 2014 for two others. I thought they would be so easy to triage and was shocked when that wasn't true. But they did give me some insight into my psychology (a lingering "rule" to finish what I've started; interests that far exceed my time to pursue them). Result: I'm not currently interested motivated in reading further into any of them (and have not been interested motivated over the last 4-6 years!!), so I marked them did-not-finish, took them out of TBRs ... and feel a giddy lightness!

edits

31detailmuse
Jan 10, 2018, 1:06pm Top



2. The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley by April Stevens, ARC ©2018, acquired 2017

Eleven-year-old Frances Pauley (“Figgrotten” is the nickname she’s given herself) loves nature and science but not necessarily other people. This debut work is a solid middle-grade novel about her journey from loner to someone who accepts, and even appreciates, the differences among people. My only quibble is that some of her acceptance comes a little too quickly and so feels a little preachy. There are some realistic dark waters, but they’re dealt with gently and with curiosity and optimism. (Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.)

32detailmuse
Jan 10, 2018, 1:09pm Top



3. How to Think Like a Cat by Stephane Garnier, ©2018, ARC acquired 2017

A collection of quotes and very short essays that illuminate cat behaviors as a way of guiding humans toward better behaviors. Several dozen feline attributes are explored, for example in areas of confidence, serenity and self-care. It’s light, with lots of white space on the pages. But it’s not silly or as slight in content as I’d expected. The best part is the “cat quotient” quiz at the end, where readers learn whether they’re at the kitten or mature-cat stage ... or in such need of a role model that they should adopt a cat! (Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.)

33connie53
Jan 11, 2018, 2:07am Top

>30 detailmuse: Good job! And having some insight in your own psychology is a good thing too.

34floremolla
Jan 11, 2018, 4:08am Top

>27 detailmuse: oh, yes, nice illustration!

>30 detailmuse: I want some of that 'giddy lightness' - we make life unnecessarily difficult for ourselves sometimes with life's ingrained mottoes, don't we? ;)

Great work on the reading side too, you're rattling through them already!

35karenmarie
Jan 12, 2018, 8:46am Top

Hi MJ!

>20 detailmuse: I did a massive inventory and reorganization in 2016, the year I retired. I now have another goal but need my daughter to come over and do all the ladder climbing to get to the books in the recessed shelving over the door in the upstairs den. It's a labor of love, for sure.

>32 detailmuse: I currently have 2 cats, or they have me. That book sounds like a lot of fun yet insightful.

36detailmuse
Jan 13, 2018, 5:23pm Top

>33 connie53: for sure! Then I can figure how to do differently

>34 floremolla: we make life unnecessarily difficult for ourselves
so often!!

>35 karenmarie: haha "the ways cats have you" are the lessons in the book!
You motivate me toward the reorganization.

37detailmuse
Jan 13, 2018, 5:32pm Top



4. Black Holes and Baby Universes by Stephen Hawking, ©1993, acquired 1990s
When I was twelve, one of my friends bet another friend a bag of sweets that I would never come to anything. I don’t know if this bet was ever settled and, if so, which way it was decided.
While my first book this year got an “aww,” this one earns both “aww” and “awe.”

It’s a 1993 collection of four personal essays (Hawking’s childhood; his physics education; his experience with ALS; his experience when A Brief History of Time was published); nine cosmology essays/lectures; and an interview for BBC’s Desert Island Discs, where questions are interspersed with Hawking’s choices for eight pieces of music (and one book, and one luxury) that he’d want if stranded on a desert island. I've read about cosmology enough times, from different physicists, that I understand perhaps half of the words on the pages. And when I understand something new, my reaction is pure awe. Richard Feynman gets credit for being so entertaining (and he was), but Hawking is also a delight.

This book also fills the slot for Capricorn in my author-horoscope sub-challenge (>3 detailmuse: above). I had identified five eligible books by Capricorn-born authors, three of which I really wanted to read, and since I’m very likely to read the other two, I pulled this one for the challenge. And do the Capricorn attributes listed in Cheli’s January status thread fit Hawking? -- to a T!
Since the time of Copernicus, however, we have been demoted to a minor planet going around a very average star in the outer edge of a typical galaxy that is only one of a hundred billion galaxies we can see.

38Familyhistorian
Jan 15, 2018, 12:54am Top

>32 detailmuse: How to Think Like a Cat sounds interesting and a little more accessible than Black Holes and Baby Universes.

39floremolla
Edited: Jan 15, 2018, 4:43am Top

>37 detailmuse: non-fiction isn't really my thing - I'd love to know about cosmology without having to read about it! But perhaps it would work for me on audiobook....I shall investigate!

>38 Familyhistorian: lol!

ETA Black Holes and Baby Universes is available from Audible but I'd maybe best start with something more basic ;)

40detailmuse
Jan 15, 2018, 9:37am Top

>38 Familyhistorian: haha, true! Hawking's personal essays were very straightforward, and I see he's finally published a short autobio that I might get.

>39 floremolla: I wouldn't recommend that book as your first, or maybe anything by Hawking except A Brief History of Time (but even that is 30 years old).

How about Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (I listened on audio last year and am thinking of listening again). My highest recommendation would go to Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History, which opens with several chapters on cosmology, then moves to evolution, then civilization (I've only read through cosmology).

41floremolla
Jan 15, 2018, 12:29pm Top

>41 floremolla: thanks for the recommendations! Maps of Time... now on order from Amazon - this is exactly the sort of thing I've been wanting to read and will provide a sort of framework for some other books on my TBR. I'll also put Astrophysics for People in a Hurry on my Audible wishlist. Excited now!

42detailmuse
Jan 17, 2018, 10:30am Top

>41 floremolla: "framework" - yes! I started it three years ago, read through cosmology and then read a bunch of such books from my TBRs. I have a bunch more related to the origins of life and evolution to pair with the next section. And I've been eager to get to the civilization/world history section. I think I need to lighten up and just get through it, I tend to get carried away in marvel and awe!

43floremolla
Jan 17, 2018, 12:13pm Top

>42 detailmuse: ‘marvel and awe’ - yup, me too!

44Jackie_K
Jan 20, 2018, 9:05am Top

>37 detailmuse: I absolutely love that quote about his friend's bet! It reminds me of the guy who won the Nobel Prize the other year for some amazing scientific discovery, who revealed his school report where his biology teacher scathingly opined that he should give up his ambition of a career in science because he'd obviously never come to anything.

45detailmuse
Jan 20, 2018, 11:32am Top

>44 Jackie_K: yes! Another example this week with Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys) -- https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/17/578583184/be-true-to-your-sch...

46karenmarie
Jan 23, 2018, 5:48am Top

Hi MJ!

>45 detailmuse: I went to Hawthorne High for 3 glorious months in 1967 before my parents moved to another part of Los Angeles County. I was there when the Wilsons' younger brother was President of the Associated Student Body. I seem to think that his name was Marty, but am not sure.

47detailmuse
Jan 23, 2018, 9:01am Top

Karen, cool! Adding to the cool = the glorious part, which is good to hear in context with high school :)

48detailmuse
Jan 26, 2018, 10:17am Top



5. 300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso, ©2017, acquired 2017
Think of this as a short book composed entirely of what I hoped would be a long book’s quotable passages.
This collection of ~300 thoughts (most are a sentence or two, some are short paragraphs) evokes some interesting philosophy. Manguso’s persona is somewhere between the wholesome creativity of the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal and the darker, discomfiting quirkiness of Miranda July (both of whose work I enjoy). I marked a couple dozen favorite “arguments” and had a tough time limiting them to five to post here:
It isn’t so much that geniuses make it look easy; it’s that they make it look fast.

The trouble with letting people see you at your worst isn’t that they’ll remember; it’s that you’ll remember.

Among those with less, I try to distract them from the imbalance. Doing so feels like theft. Among those with more, I try to distract them from the imbalance. Doing so feels like charity.

The smallest and shortest pieces of art strive for perfection; the largest and longest strive for greatness.

It’s impossible to fail if one doesn’t know how the end should look. And it’s impossible to succeed. But it’s possible to enjoy.
More than just a collection of quotes, it gives a glimpse into the author’s writing and romantic life. But it never really gathers into a narrative, which left me a little unsatisfied ... and then brought that last quote to mind :) and I did enjoy it!

49detailmuse
Edited: Dec 28, 2018, 11:56am Top

Setting a space here to record non-ROOTs read this year:

Odd Girl Out: My Extraordinary Autistic Life by Laura James (4) (See review)

Broken Mary by Kevin Matthews (3.5)

The Only Story by Julian Barnes (4) (See review)

Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur (4)

Practical Houseplant Book by Fran Bailey and Zia Allaway (5) (See review)

The Crown: The Official Companion Volume 1 by Robert Lacy (5)

---------------

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff (3.5)

The All-New Fresh Food Fast by the editors of Cooking Light Magazine (4.5) (See review)

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (5)

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Bachman (4)

The Place to Be (Lonely Planet) by editors of Lonely Planet (4) (See review)

You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld (4) (See review)

The Minimalist Kitchen by Melissa Coleman (5) (See review)

Calypso by David Sedaris (4.5)

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (4.5)

---------------

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (4)

Training in Tenderness by Dzigar Kongtrul (3.5) (See review)

The Inner Life of Animals by Peter Wohlleben (3.5)

Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry (4) (See review)

Dinners for Two by Cook's Illustrated (3.5) (See review)

All-Time Best Brunch by Cook's Illustrated (4.5) (See review)

Fashion Climbing by Bill Cunningham (4) (See review)

Life Unscripted by Jeff Katzman and Dan O'Connor (3.5) (See review)

Educated by Tara Westover (5)

The Best American Food Writing 2018 (4) (See review)

---------------

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (4)

The Byline Bible by Susan Shapiro (3) (See review)

Homer and the Holiday Miracle by Gwen Cooper (3.5) (See review)

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen (5) (See review)

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott (3)

How to Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery (4)

DK Eyewitness Ireland: 2019 (4.5) (See review)

Breakfast: The Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day by the editors of Extra Crispy (4.5) (See review)

DK Eyewitness New York City: 2019 (5) (See review)

The New Essentials Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen (5) (See review)

An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago by Alex Kotlowitz (4.5) (See review)

Get What's Yours for Medicare by Philip Moeller (5)

Now & Again by Julia Turshen (4) (See review)

Cook's Illustrated Revolutionary Recipes (5) (See review)

50detailmuse
Edited: Dec 30, 2018, 2:18pm Top



Instead of saving whole issues of magazines, I’ve taken to tearing out articles of interest and collecting them to read later. Setting a space to record them here:

“Rate Your Boss! How Companies Are Adapting to the Glassdoor Era” by Lizzie Widdicombe, from the January 22, 2018 New Yorker (read it online under a different title) Profile of Glassdoor (glassdoor.com) which, along the lines of what Expedia and Zillow did for airline bookings and real estate, brings workplace reviews and salary data to the working masses.

“How to Read a Poem” by Edward Hirsch (read it online) In preparation for National Poetry Month

"The Book Fairy" by Laura Lippman from the September 2018 Real Simple magazine (read it online under a different title)

"The Day They Came for the Governor" by Daniel Cain and Patrick Murphy (read it online)

51floremolla
Jan 26, 2018, 11:34am Top

>48 detailmuse: some good quotes there. And a very good idea to write down the ones that resonated - my memory for quotes or aphorisms is sadly lacking.

52karenmarie
Feb 1, 2018, 5:15am Top

Hi MJ!

>48 detailmuse: The trouble with letting people see you at your worst isn’t that they’ll remember; it’s that you’ll remember. Yup. Sigh.

53detailmuse
Feb 5, 2018, 5:11pm Top



6. Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, ©2017, acquired 2017

What an engaging exploration into the purpose of sleep! Nature wouldn’t waste an enormous proportion of humans’ (indeed, all creatures’) daily consciousness to sleep -- and in the process put them at enormous vulnerability to predation -- unless there was enormous benefit. This book goes broad and deep into those physical and psychological benefits and the corresponding risks (physical- and mental-health problems (including dementia) and early death) associated with not getting enough sleep. (And the author shows that we’re terrible judges of whether we’re getting enough.)

It’s written by a professor of neuroscience and psychology, so while some of the substantiation is biological, more of it is via behavioral and imaging studies. He notes the differing needs, timing and composition of sleep in infants, children, teens, adults and seniors. He describes the hormones/chemicals that promote wakefulness or sleep, including how we hinder their effects, and stresses that alcohol and sleep meds sedate the brain, which is not sleep. Among other physical aspects, sleep regulates immunity (including the destruction of early cancers and mounting an adequate response to immunization) and metabolism (including appetite and cardiovascular health).

But it is the psychological effects that fascinated me. Early in the sleep period (I’ll call it “night”), the sleep cycles are composed predominately of non-REM (NREM) sleep, while later in the night they reverse to predominately REM sleep. NREM sleep serves to move what’s learned/experienced during the day into long-term storage; REM sleep integrates that new material with everything that’s already there; and dreaming (during REM sleep) serves to de-escalate emotions and enable creativity (thus truth in the adages to “sleep on it” and that “things will look better in the morning”). A key factor is that the brain does this work each night for the prior waking period, and when it’s impaired by poor sleep or a short sleep, there’s really no make-up opportunity.

Life-changing for me and recommended for everyone.

54detailmuse
Feb 5, 2018, 5:14pm Top



7. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, ©2016, acquired 2017

I’ve read seven books by Patchett, and her Bel Canto is on my all-time favorites list. The structure of this novel is especially interesting to me -- linked short stories that shuffle together, over many decades, into a narrative about the parents and children of two families that are broken and reformed by a marital affair and subsequent re-marriage. Patchett’s tone is always gentle, and her characters are complex yet sympathetic.

55detailmuse
Feb 5, 2018, 5:16pm Top

January
Beginning total TBRs: 297
ROOTs* read: 7
Other books read: 1
Books purged unread from TBRs: 4
Books acquired: 3
Ending total TBRs: 288
YTD ROOTs* read: 7 (year-end goal: 40)

*acquired before 2018

56Jackie_K
Feb 6, 2018, 5:01am Top

>53 detailmuse: Another friend raved about this book recently, so it's already on my wishlist, otherwise I'd have taken a BB for that!
>54 detailmuse: Bel Canto is on my list to read later this year for one of the monthly Category Challenges. I bought it for my real life book group but then life took over that month so I never had the chance to actually read it.

57Jackie_K
Feb 6, 2018, 12:03pm Top

>53 detailmuse: >56 Jackie_K:

And so today at Coincidence Central, just a few hours after posting here bookbub just informed me that Why We Sleep is on sale for 99p in the kobo store. I assumed it meant the universe was telling me something, so I bought it straight away :D

58detailmuse
Feb 6, 2018, 1:16pm Top

Jackie WOW! haha now talk nicely to the Jar of Fate (or forget to put its slip in there!)

I may need to look into bookbub if its recs are that well-matched and its deals that good.

59Jackie_K
Edited: Feb 6, 2018, 1:37pm Top

Bookbub is a bit of an enabler, I have to be disciplined! You specify the categories you are interested in, so at least it means I am not sent millions of (say) chick-lit romance suggestions. However, because I did specify history as one of my categories I get a *lot* of US presidential and civil war recommendations. Most days I'm not that interested in what they send, but every so often you get a gem!

I still haven't worked out how to get the Jar of Fate to give me what I want! I'll be made if I ever do!

60detailmuse
Feb 6, 2018, 2:04pm Top

>59 Jackie_K: I do get anxious thinking of bookbub... There are some "price watch" websites, I should probably enter my highest-priority wishlist books and catch them when they're on deal.

61detailmuse
Feb 6, 2018, 2:07pm Top



8. I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro, ©2016, acquired 2017
Good thing someone from the future didn’t tap me on my shoulder and whisper, “I know this appears to be rock bottom, but you’re actually only halfway there.”
“Halfway” was Notaro’s physical devastation from a life-threatening intestinal infection, followed a minute later by her mother’s sudden death from a head injury during a fall. The rest of the way (of a whole-way timeframe of just four months) included a relationship breakup and bilateral breast cancer. Notaro is a successful actress (+writer/producer/director) and successful comic, whose deadpan style is apparent in this memoir. A very fast read. I think the Amazon series, “One Mississippi” covers the same material and I may take a look at it.

62detailmuse
Feb 6, 2018, 2:15pm Top



9. Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman, ©2017, acquired 2017

Of course what I love most about this beautiful book is the food styling/photography and Perelman’s friendly, funny introduction to each recipe (the book is a lot like her website). I also love that she “spied a reference to a smeteneh kuchen online” and got so excited, only to find that it was a reference to sour-cream coffee cake, not her website :) Of the ~100 recipes, I’d eat almost all of them if offered to me; I’d order perhaps half of them if on a menu at a restaurant; and I marked 17 to prepare myself. I’m going to hold myself accountable to post the results of at least one preparation here.

63karenmarie
Feb 10, 2018, 4:52am Top

Hi MJ!

Good for you - reduced your TBR by 9, and got some good reading in.

>53 detailmuse: Excellent review of a book that I've just added to my wish list.

64detailmuse
Feb 10, 2018, 11:48am Top

Thanks Karen! I've since encountered media reports of several topics in the sleep book, so it's very timely.

65floremolla
Feb 10, 2018, 12:12pm Top

>53 detailmuse: that looks interesting! I saw it advertised but hadn't realised what it was actually about. Very interesting that anything that 'helps you sleep' isn't really helping! BB taken!

>54 detailmuse: I've had Bel Canto on my shelf for years - what can I say? The cover is dull. I'll move it up the TBR pile right now.

>62 detailmuse: I love a beautiful cook book and this looks my cup of tea - I visited the website and got sucked in immediately!

66detailmuse
Feb 11, 2018, 9:13am Top

>65 floremolla: With "sleepers" one might not be awake, but the brain isn't doing the work of sleep. I remember being astonished that Michael Jackson thought an anesthetic = sleep. I was also surprised when a recent update of the iPhone software included a bedtime reminder within the Timer app ... who would need that?! Turns out not just people who don't want to go to bed and miss the fun ... so many of us don't realize how sleep-deprived we are. And after Walker outlined the ways that individuals' lack of sleep is negatively affecting the larger populations (lower immunity, unstable emotions, unsafe driving), I say any help is a good thing!

Bel Canto is an immersion, not a quick read. It's the book I've most longed of for a film adaptation, and I think it's finally being released this year!

67floremolla
Feb 11, 2018, 9:27am Top

>66 detailmuse: I complained of not getting enough sleep for several years but it wasn't till I got a sleep-tracking Fitbit that I realised I wasn't making time for proper/meaningful sleep - I hadn't realised that seven hours of 'sleep' usually included almost an hour of being awake. Now I try to allow for eight hours in hope of achieving seven! I look forward to learning more now.

Will definitely have to read Bel Canto before it's a movie then! Fits in with my goal of reading more female writers this year too - win, win.

68detailmuse
Feb 11, 2018, 9:32am Top

Donna, what model of Fitbit do you have and are you satisfied with its functions?

69floremolla
Feb 11, 2018, 9:51am Top

It's a Fitbit Alta HR. I'm quite happy with its functions - not that I think it measures everything accurately but that it shows trends over a period of time. The device has a limited display but on my phone 'dashboard' it displays number of steps, distance covered, calories used, and minutes of high energy activity. Also tracks sleep and heart rate. If you want you can input everything you eat and drink. I did that for a few days -it was a palaver but showed me I was routinely consuming more calories than I was burning. :(

Before you start you input your age, height, weight and it adjusts for that. My HR is naturally low so it has me pegged as super fit - which I'm not - and of course a wrist based device is going to confuse arm swings with steps sometimes (I walked miles clipping a hedge) but I find the weekly round-up (which comes as an email) a useful monitoring tool. The device also prompts you to get 250 steps in every hour which I mostly ignore except occasionally can be found zooming around the house or dancing wildly while making lunch. :)

70rabbitprincess
Feb 11, 2018, 10:08am Top

>69 floremolla: Haha my BF does that too with his Fitbit -- if he's pacing around our apartment I know that he's trying to get in his hourly steps ;) I have the cheapo step-counter-only version of the Fitbit because I was creeped out by the idea of a device tracking my heart rate. Observation would have messed up the data.

71detailmuse
Feb 11, 2018, 10:15am Top

Thank you so much! Yes, trends. I'm deciding between the Alta HR and the Charge 2 and am leaning toward the latter only because it tracks stairs and I do dozens of flights daily in my house. haha, every so often I track food intake on a paper sheet, and what surprises me is that I often defer the snack because I don't want it enough to write it down and figure the calories!!

72detailmuse
Feb 11, 2018, 10:39am Top



10. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, ©1934, acquired 2017

Long ago, I read one other by Christie (can’t remember which, even after browsing her titles now) and felt indifferent about it. But so many readers enjoy the mystery genre and so I tried this one, and enjoyed it. More even than the solution to the mystery (which required some, but not an overwhelming, suspension of disbelief), I enjoyed the ending and that Poirot is a practical man who’s not above overlooking some details :)

73detailmuse
Feb 25, 2018, 10:50am Top



11. Up the Agency: The Funny Business of Advertising by Peter Mayle, ©1990, acquired 1993(?)

I love workplace-based anything (fiction, nonfiction, TV, movies) and I’ve been interested in advertising from "Bewitched" through "thirtysomething" to "Mad Men." So I pulled this 25-year-old ROOT in commemoration of Peter Mayle’s passing.* Mayle’s time in advertising (in London and New York) was during the Mad Men era and just afterward, and totally brought the show to mind. But it also seemed current re: lots of today's business/office aspects. It’s light and amusing but grows overwritten and tiresome.

*(Actually, I sat down this week to decide whether to read or purge some lingering TBRs, per >1 detailmuse:. I read the first 10+ pages of two and was captured by both (!), this being one of them. Hmm. So I stopped, thinking I wasn’t being objective enough. In retrospect, I think I just chose two that are worthy of reading. I’ll try some more next week. I want to have triaged most of them by the end of April, for donation to the May library sale.)

74detailmuse
Feb 25, 2018, 10:58am Top



12. Second Nature: A Gardener' Education by Michael Pollan, ©1991, acquired 2017
{The} garden is a place where {nature’s} ways and {the gardener’s} designs are brought gracefully into alignment. To occupy such a middle ground is not easy -- the temptation is always to either take complete control or relinquish it altogether, to invoke your own considerable (but in the end overrated) power or to bend to nature’s. The first way is that of the developer, the second that of the “nature lover.” The green thumb, who will be neither heroic nor romantic, avoids both extremes. He does not try to make water run uphill, but neither does he let it flow wherever it will.
I’ve loved Pollan’s work since The Omnivore's Dilemma, including going into his backlist for The Botany of Desire and now this one. It’s a collection of 12 essays, about nature and gardening and philosophy, organized by season. It being February, I turned first to “Winter” and read about the annual perusal of seed catalogs and how their products (and their customers) markedly differ. (Then I picked two from the dozen he described and ordered them and have them here, ready to look through!) The essays are gentle and “wondering” and show no sign of age despite more than 25 years having passed since initial publication.

I’d grown discouraged that he’d done offshoots of The Omnivore’s Dilemma to death, and I’m thrilled to see he’s moved on -- in May, he’ll release an exploration of psychedelics’ (e.g. LSD) effects on consciousness and mental health.

This book also fills the slot for Aquarius in my author-horoscope sub-challenge (>3 detailmuse: above) and was one of the dozen books (>4 detailmuse:) I was most looking forward to reading. It’s a keeper.

75Jackie_K
Feb 25, 2018, 11:54am Top

>74 detailmuse: I like the sound of that one! Gentle essays really hit the spot for me :)

76floremolla
Feb 25, 2018, 11:59am Top

>74 detailmuse: that sounds a very pleasant read - and gives me an idea for a gift for a friend who's going to be creating a garden from scratch around a new home. :)

77detailmuse
Feb 25, 2018, 4:59pm Top

>75 Jackie_K:, >76 floremolla: I really liked it. It's definitely more philosophy than how-to and would be a terrific house-warming gift. Part of it is deciding what to do with his new property. (He's Michael J. Fox's brother-in-law, by the way, but I don't recall that ever coming up in anything I've read by him.)

78This-n-That
Feb 26, 2018, 3:44pm Top

>1 detailmuse: A third idea is to indulge: read some brand-new acquisitions (not from library, not review copies) when they’re at their shiniest....

After trying to force myself to read older stuff first, I actually feel reading the new stuff while it feels more relevant (or maybe popular?) is a good strategy. Your "shiniest" description is perfect! A great way to put it. I still need to fit in some of my older stuff or just admit I am not longer interested and then feel badly about wasting money, even if I likely paid a discounted price.

Best of luck on your horoscope/author challenge; very creative!

79detailmuse
Feb 27, 2018, 9:24am Top

Hi Lisa! The horoscope challenge was another member's idea on the January group thread and I liked it! It gets me to look differently into my TBRs and uncover different books. That's why I like the monthly themes on your thread. I've looked, and I have relevant books for the seasonal bonus challenge you mention.

reading the new stuff while it feels more relevant (or maybe popular?)
This reminds me that I was disappointed to not have many 2017 titles to offer in my favorites of last year, and that my wishlist was full of books on others' best-of lists ... if I'm going to read popular books, I want to do so in the zeitgeist!

Yes...or just admit I am not longer interested...
One of my favorite economics concepts is that of "sunk costs" -- that any money/time/whatever-resource that has already been spent is sunk and in the past, and should not be factored into a decision going forward. Rather, the devotion of future resources, like time spent reading that takes away from reading other books (another economics concept: "opportunity cost"!), are completely relevant. Trying to make rational decisions in the emotional realm of books takes so much energy for me!!

80Jackie_K
Feb 27, 2018, 9:30am Top

>79 detailmuse: The one disadvantage of the Jar of Fate, at least how I'm using it, is that the new and shiny go into the Jar and have an equal chance of being pulled out as the old and dusty, so I've not managed very much in the way of zeitgeist-y reading over the past few years. Taking part in challenges alongside the Jar might help a bit, and occasionally I just read a book anyway before it gets to the Jar, but I probably need to do that a bit more :)

One really big advantage of the Jar of Fate though is that it takes that often exhausting rational decision-making about what to read next away!

81detailmuse
Feb 28, 2018, 8:44am Top

>80 Jackie_K: I also like your Jar because it encourages a decision about the book. I've passed over/saved for later some books in my TBRs many times, which feels indecisive and reduces their shine.

82detailmuse
Mar 1, 2018, 9:19am Top

February
Beginning total TBRs: 288
ROOTs* read: 5
Other books read: 2
Books purged unread/DNF from TBRs: 5 (plus 4 others that I’d never entered into my LT library)
Books acquired: 6
Ending total TBRs: 282
YTD ROOTs* read: 12 (year-end goal: 40)

*acquired before 2018

83karenmarie
Edited: Mar 6, 2018, 5:36pm Top

Hi MJ!

Congrats on such a good start on your ROOTs.

Trying to make rational decisions in the emotional realm of books takes so much energy for me!!

Except for the very few reading challenges I participate in, all my book reading choices are emotional, not rational. And even if I pick a book because I "should" read it, I'll gladly abandon it if it isn't working for me.

84floremolla
Mar 2, 2018, 6:40pm Top

>82 detailmuse: great progress MJ! Good luck for March. Hope Love in the Time of Cholera isn’t too demanding - I found it a much easier read than One Hundred Years of Solitude!

>83 karenmarie: I admire your pragmatism Karen!

85detailmuse
Mar 3, 2018, 5:57pm Top

Thanks Karen and Donna!

>83 karenmarie: I want to do that -- more easily abandon books. I'm getting practice this year. Love your "gladly," that should be a part of everything related to books!!

>84 floremolla: Am enjoying the opening pages!

In other news, I downloaded audio of Sherman Alexie's memoir, and from its title I've had an earworm of Dusty Springfield's You Don't Have to Say You Love Me all day, arggghhh!

86Jackie_K
Mar 13, 2018, 12:22pm Top

You're doing great with tackling the ROOTs - fewer at the end of Feb than you started with, that's great! This is something I aspire to, but this month has been way too acquisitive! Maybe next month...

I've heard lots of interesting things about Sherman Alexie's writing, but haven't read any myself yet.

87detailmuse
Mar 13, 2018, 12:45pm Top

Jackie, some TBRs have been starting to weigh on me, feeling more like clutter than treasure. With new acquisitions, I've been asking do I really want to read the new one right now? and more than other shinies in my TBRs? Almost always, it's no, especially if it's in hardcover (I'm preferring the feel of trade paperbacks (not mass-market size) in my hands these days).

Sherman Alexie ... I enjoyed The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian and have an interest in Native American history. Alas, I came to the top of the library queue for his memoir just as accusations of sexual impropriety came up about him (maybe others in the queue had cancelled their holds?); he apologized for some accusations and denied some. I listened to the opening of his memoir but my interest had fizzled. (Plus the stupid earworm title!) I returned the download early; I'll get it again if I get interested again.

88Jackie_K
Mar 13, 2018, 2:31pm Top

>87 detailmuse: Oh that's very sad - I don't think there's any way for things like that to not spoil the reading/listening experience, is there? Not sexual impropriety, but I remember last year I was reading a book (about mindful eating) and about half-way through I discovered that the author (a very distinguished and much-lauded professor at, IIRC, Cornell) was being investigated for falsifying research. That put quite the dampener on what I was reading.

89detailmuse
Mar 14, 2018, 9:15am Top

>88 Jackie_K: yes especially with nonfiction. The author you referred to -- a huge and relevant dampener!

Another dampener is an author's death ... thinking of Stephen Hawking and glad I've read all by him in my TBRs. Quite the mind (including goodwill and humor) and I'll get his memoir-ish My Brief History after awhile.

90detailmuse
Mar 16, 2018, 1:11pm Top



13. Quality Software Management: Volume 3 Congruent Action by Gerald M. Weinberg, ©1994, acquired 2000(?)
Perhaps, I thought, I would first learn to understand computers, and that learning would help me understand why people acted in such mysterious ways. I didn’t know the term then, but I decided I would become a programmer/analyst, first for giant brains, then for human beings.
Weinberg began working with computers at their literal dawn and became a guru first at IBM ... and then when he applied the principles of the pioneering family therapist Virginia Satir to the workplace via a consulting practice, and indeed improved the work and personal lives of innumerable people worldwide, including me. This volume is about congruence -- matching one’s interior (thoughts and feelings) to their exterior (words and behaviors) -- but I’d recommend others of his nonfiction books to general readers.

91detailmuse
Mar 16, 2018, 1:16pm Top



14. Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton, ©2015, acquired 2017

The more I’d been saving this to read during April’s poetry month, the more it called me to read it right now. So I did, and am glad, because it seemed less free-verse poetry and more just free-structure sentences. I did like it -- a middle-grade novel in vignettes about a Japanese American-African American girl coming of age in 1969 Vermont -- but would first recommend Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming, or some by Kwame Alexander.

92Jackie_K
Mar 16, 2018, 2:46pm Top

>91 detailmuse: I have Brown Girl Dreaming on my wishlist, a number of people on LT recommended it highly last year. I really struggle with a lot of poetry (which is a shame, because my brother-in-law is a published poet, and I'd like to have a vaguely knowledgeable conversation with him about it!). I can appreciate that the poet is expressing things more profoundly than we would in normal conversation, it's just that more often than I'd like, I can't quite figure out what it is they're expressing! It's definitely a genre that makes me feel a bit thick.

93detailmuse
Mar 16, 2018, 4:33pm Top

>92 Jackie_K: Yes, me too, thick!! I am a poetry novice, I find it difficult and I don't know or appreciate its rules/conventions. But I am trying with it, and have encountered lines that stun me, and "accessible" poetry that's fun (Billy Collins, Hal Sirowitz). I like its economy, its attention to the senses, and that it brings things into my mind that aren't written (but are intended; how'd they do that?!). Envious of your having such a brother-in-law :)

The middle-grade books mentioned above (by Kwame Alexander and Marilyn Hilton) are so accessible and have so much white space on the page that I'd recommend them for reluctant young readers. Brown Girl Dreaming is also a children's/YA book, but it's a step above in style and substance, and with an adult's wisdom looking back on childhood.

94Familyhistorian
Mar 19, 2018, 12:07pm Top

>71 detailmuse: It's been ages since I followed your thread MJ. I now have the sleep book on my for later shelf at the library (there are multiple holds on it.) About the Fitbit. I wear mine all the time. It is a very basic Fitbit One that counts steps and stairs. I use myfitnesspal to track food - no math involved except for figuring out how long I was walking for to input my activity. You've been doing some interesting reading!

95detailmuse
Mar 21, 2018, 11:45am Top

Thanks Meg! I've had my Fitbit for a little more than a month and am liking it for all the usual reasons but especially for the sleep tracking. I've had lighter sleep for some years, and reading Why We Sleep made me intent on trying to improve it. It tracks sleep stages (light, deep, REM, awake) based on heart rate and body movement and I'm shocked how accurate it is. If I wake to use the bathroom or wake from a dream, I sometimes note the time and wow -- the "awake" or "REM" is right there on the graph when I look the next day!

96avanders
Mar 22, 2018, 11:48am Top

Hello!! Just dropping by. It has just been TOO long. But I'm happy to see you're doing so well with your ROOTing! Life for me has been a bit crazy these past couple months, but maybe in the couple months to come, it'll calm down ;)

97detailmuse
Mar 30, 2018, 11:03am Top

>96 avanders: Glad to see the update on your thread, yes crazy!! Happy to see you here.

In ROOT news, I'm infatuated with Gabriel Garcia Marquez and hoping to finish Love in the Time of Cholera for March.

98detailmuse
Apr 1, 2018, 3:33pm Top



15. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, ©2017, acquired 2017

I liked Egan’s 2010 A Visit from the Goon Squad (such a fun style and structure), and when this “magnificent novel” about WWII-era New York City by “one of the great writers of our time” got so many critically starred reviews, I bought it last year in hardcover. Though for me it fell short of those superlatives, it was very good in its historical aspects of the domestic front of wartime, family and neighborhood, and the place of women in a workforce and society mostly absent of men. Its passages about sea-diving (in 200-pound diving suits ... pre-SCUBA) were riveting.

99detailmuse
Apr 1, 2018, 3:37pm Top



16. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, ©1985, acquired 2007
{I}nside the house the name cards were in confusion and people sat where they could in an obligatory promiscuity...

He persuaded her {...} while they made love, to replace the conventional missionary position with the bicycle on the sea, or the chicken on the grill, or the drawn-and-quartered angel, and they almost broke their necks...

{F}or many years she had erased him from her life, and this was the first time she saw him clearly, purified by forgetfulness.
I loved Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s playfulness in this story of a young woman and two men -- one who loves her with romantic obsession and one who does so with practical intellect. Set in the decades before and after 1900 in (probably) Colombia, it feels so authentically of-the-period that I keep thinking of it as a literary classic rather than a novel written just 30+ years ago. It’s my Pisces-author read for the zodiac challenge and I’ll read more by GGM.

100detailmuse
Apr 1, 2018, 4:17pm Top

March
Beginning total TBRs: 282
ROOTs* read: 4
Other books read: 3
Books purged unread/DNF from TBRs: 2
Books acquired: 6
Ending total TBRs: 279
YTD ROOTs* read: 16 (year-end goal: 40)

*acquired before 2018

---------------

Q1 Notes

Favorite ROOTs:
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
Sequential Drawings by Richard McGuire
Smitten Kitchen Everyday by Deb Perelman
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education by Michael Pollan

Favorite non-ROOTs:
The Only Story by Julian Barnes
The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1 by Robert Lacey

Books read YTD (ROOTs and non-ROOTs): 22
Books acquired YTD: 15

(Note to self: Your Library = 589)

101floremolla
Edited: Apr 2, 2018, 8:12am Top

>99 detailmuse: I agree with your assessment of Love in the Time of Cholera - you're right about it having a period feel, it's one of those books you can get lost in.

I read One Hundred Years of Solitude last year. I wish I'd known a bit more about Colombia's history before I read the book, so that I could appreciate the timeframe and the imagery (especially the magic realism) better. I did a bit of reading up afterwards which helped but I'm sure I missed a lot of references.

Good work for March and Q1, and admirable ROOT-to-acquisition ratio. I'm a big fan of Julian Barnes so I'm looking forward to acquiring that myself. :)

102Jackie_K
Apr 2, 2018, 9:04am Top

Excellent ROOTs:acquisitions ratio - I'm hoping to emulate you in the next quarter (we'll see - we all know what road is paved with good intentions). I've bought Why We Sleep and hope to get it in for a challenge at the end of this year.

103detailmuse
Edited: Apr 2, 2018, 11:14am Top

>101 floremolla: One Hundred Years of Solitude has markedly higher ratings than ...Cholera and that has me curious. I will take your recommendation to read a bit about Colombia.

>101 floremolla:, >102 Jackie_K: Acquisitions ... my husband and I are considering a move to a more temperate climate in the next few years, so I'm interested in de-bulking my library. I'm also interested in finding better homes for books that I. simply. will. never. get. to. (Which I'm finding ridiculously difficult.) So that keeps me tight on the acquisitions -- only books I intend to read right now. I doubt I'd be able to resist if I came upon fabulous prices for books that I want to read "someday" ... so I keep my head in the sand about those sites (I did recently look at bookbub and dashed away, so tempting! If they offered print books, I'd have no willpower.)

104detailmuse
Edited: Apr 2, 2018, 11:26am Top



I’m tackling (sometimes, it feels like that) poetry during April (National Poetry Month, as designated by poets.org). First up is the primer, How to Read a Poem. Then something from my TBRs:

Fiere by Jackie Kay
The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010
The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine

or a new acquisition:
A People's History of Chicago by Kevin Coval

105Jackie_K
Apr 2, 2018, 11:27am Top

>103 detailmuse: I'm pretty sure we'll move at some point too, and so I have started to think about decluttering. Actually the main stuff I need to declutter are old articles that I printed out when I was doing my PhD - I still intend to scan them all ("just in case") before recycling them though. Most of the books I have I want to keep, and those I don't I'm having to make a judgment call about is it likely my daughter might like them in the future, or shall I get rid of them? If the latter, we always enjoy our trips to Barter Books (big old second hand bookshop) where we would get book credit for the ones they accept, which I suppose defeats the object of decluttering, but does mean that we would just get books we want to keep in return for the ones we don't. I'm also actively trying to mainly only acquire ebooks now (doing well on that - 24 acquisitions so far this year, of which 22 are ebooks). Bookbub is a bit of an enabler (although I am being stronger this year with it than last year!), as are the periodic kobo website sales.

106floremolla
Apr 2, 2018, 8:06pm Top

>103 detailmuse: One Hundred Years of Solitude is a much weightier novel - even though I found it a bit of a slog, and the characters confusing, I still rated it highly as an achievement. It's a feat of imagination that's also a chronicle of a nation, through independence, to civil war, till it became the original 'banana republic'.

Oh, good luck with the de-bulking! "Finding better homes for..." sounds so much more palatable than "getting rid of".

>104 detailmuse: nice idea! I might steal it sometime.

>105 Jackie_K: I'm not moving but decluttering is on the agenda, including selective culling of books. Or rather "finding better homes for them" - hoping my daughter will volunteer, then I could borrow them back ;)

107detailmuse
Apr 4, 2018, 11:18am Top

>105 Jackie_K: ooh retirement moves -- in the US it's likely to a southern (humid) or southwestern (arid) state. Where are you considering?

I see that I have read only 17 e-books, ever. I like my e-reader (Kindle Paperwhite) for all the usual reasons (in the dark, adjustable font size, portability), but I just don't become immersed in the text in the way I do with paper. Is it a familiarity thing, an adjustment curve? I'm a tactile person; I returned some years ago to a paper desk calendar because of its scrapbook-like permanence.

>106 floremolla: "Finding better homes for..." I first thought that when I was going through winter coats: weren't the coats better served on people who needed them than in my closet, as a third-string backup kept just in case? Now I apply it to lots of my stuff.

108detailmuse
Edited: Apr 4, 2018, 11:43am Top



In my attempt to be “tight on the acquisitions” and read from my TBRs, I took a baseline of the last five years. x-axis is the year and the number of books I acquired that year; blue line is the % of that year’s acquistions that I’ve read (in any year) since then; red line is the % still in my TBRs. So I note that, although I’ve had more years to read books I acquired longer ago, my %s don’t reflect that happening (e.g. I’ve had ~5 years to read books I acquired in 2013 yet still have 22% of them in my TBRs). *hmm must look into my better stats of 2015.* And must keep in mind that I’m on track to acquire 64 books this year, which does not seem “tight”! :)

eta: Realizing 2013 was an outlier in # acquired, I took a look graphing # not %:


109Jackie_K
Apr 4, 2018, 2:22pm Top

>107 detailmuse: Sadly retirement is a long way off for me :( (I'd retire tomorrow if I had the chance - and money!). I think we'd both like to move somewhere more rural, and I definitely want to stay in Scotland. Actually my dream is to move to a Scottish island, but my husband is yet to be convinced (his dream is somewhere with its own wood, but also more accessible for work).

>108 detailmuse: Cool - one for the stats (and graphs) nerds!

110floremolla
Apr 4, 2018, 5:26pm Top

>108 detailmuse: that's a neat way to review your reading programme!

>109 Jackie_K: I don't know about the rural idyll - the thought of having to get in the car to go buy a pint of milk has always put me off! I like that we're rural enough to walk into the countryside in minutes, but our kids could walk to school by themselves from a young age. Don't like that we're so far from a rail station. It's a tough call choosing a forever home!

111Jackie_K
Edited: Apr 5, 2018, 4:07am Top

>110 floremolla: Yes - what I don't want is to be up a track in the middle of nowhere, for precisely that reason. Walking distance to countryside and basic facilities (school, post office, shop) is great, and easy enough access to a bigger town for more facilities would be my ideal.

And of course, I'm thinking about all this from my current state of reasonable health. Oh well - a girl can dream, even if it never actually happens! :)

112karenmarie
Apr 5, 2018, 4:21am Top

Hi MJ!

Interesting conversations about moving. 3 years ago we made a 10-year plan, spent lots of money on HVAC, some new doors/windows, repainting the exterior of the house, and a propane stove for the living room instead of the wood-burning stove we had. So far so good. We like living rural even if it means 8 miles into town. We just shop on the weekend with mid-week trips if necessary. If we downsized we'd still stay in NC most likely.

And look at your graphs! Impressive.

113detailmuse
Apr 6, 2018, 11:25am Top

I'd love to live near mountains, forest or water. I'd like to be able to walk and bike, have culture (e.g. university) and good dining nearby, and my husband requires a great workout facility. Tax-friendliness is also important. I acquired a couple books last year that might help us define our priorities.

>112 karenmarie: I may message you someday about NC areas (not as rural as yours :)

I looked into the data from my graphs above and found nothing notable except in 2014 (which seems to be my worst for reading what I acquired) -- hmm half of the books remaining unread are ebooks, no surprise!

114connie53
Apr 10, 2018, 1:06pm Top

Hi MJ, just popping in to say Hi and see what you are up to. Nice job on the ROOTs and I love your stats in >108 detailmuse: !

115detailmuse
Apr 11, 2018, 11:03am Top

Hi Connie! and thanks!

116detailmuse
Edited: Apr 22, 2018, 1:03pm Top



17. The Little White Book for Easter 2014 by Ken Untener, ©2014, acquired 2014
21. The Little White Book for Easter 2015 by Ken Untener, ©2015, acquired 2015

The “little books” are a series of daily devotionals for the Advent, Lenten or Easter seasons. Instead of acquiring this year’s Easter edition, I decided to “root” two prior years’ editions that I hadn’t read.

117detailmuse
Apr 15, 2018, 1:51pm Top



18. Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver, ©1993, acquired ??
{Native Americans} don’t distinguish between father, uncle, mother, grandmother. We don’t think of ourselves as having extended families. We look at you guys and think you have contracted families.
A follow-up novel to The Bean Trees (which I haven't read), this picks up a few years ahead in the lives of single-mom Taylor and her adopted young daughter, Turtle. I acquired it long ago without realizing it was a sequel, but for me it read beautifully as a standalone with emphases on family, nature, and Native Americans.

Also, it was very different from The Poisonwood Bible -- it was an easy read, with some nicely connected subplots but little subtlety; informative without being preachy; and sympathetic characters. Until I read this, I wouldn’t have pursued more by Kingsolver. While I probably won’t go back to read The Bean Trees, I’ll likely read Prodigal Summer, Animal Dreams, or her sustainable-food memoir, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

It’s my Aries-author read for the zodiac challenge.

118detailmuse
Apr 15, 2018, 2:00pm Top



19. The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene, ©1930, acquired 2003

I had some hours to myself and craved an easy, woman-in-peril thriller a la Mary Higgins Clark (whose books I loved back in my twenties). Most in my TBRs were too big to gulp down in the time allotted ... so I pulled a Nancy Drew from a boxed set of the first six in the series. (I loved these as a child and acquired them to reread someday.) I chose this volume based on the lilacs in the title (since spring is apparently never going to come this year and my lilac bush will never bloom). It’s the first time I’ve read Nancy Drew with a glass of wine in hand and it was fun, both for the clues that escalated in frequency and danger over a very short time (so much drama!!), and for the ridiculousness (Nancy had been robbed, impersonated, and three attempts had been made on her life, yet her dad sent her off with just a “Be careful” !!).

I can see why I loved these in my youth and Mary Higgins Clark in my early adulthood ... I so wish I could find a thriller author / series I’d enjoy now.

119rabbitprincess
Apr 15, 2018, 2:18pm Top

>118 detailmuse: Have you seen Kate Beaton's riffs on Nancy Drew covers? This book is featured in her comic: http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=317

120detailmuse
Apr 15, 2018, 2:35pm Top

>119 rabbitprincess: haha!! I like the comic on the bagpipes and sky phantom too!

121rabbitprincess
Apr 15, 2018, 3:54pm Top

>120 detailmuse: There are a few more sets of those covers in the site's archives. They are all hilarious!

122Jackie_K
Apr 16, 2018, 4:07am Top

>117 detailmuse: I'm so glad you like it! Your review did ring a few bells (I think I said on my thread, I remember reading it but remember nothing about it other than that I really enjoyed it!) - the name Turtle, and Native Americans. I might see about getting hold of a copy of it again and giving it a long-overdue reread. I don't think I ever picked up at the time that it was a sequel - it certainly read great to me as a standalone book.

>118 detailmuse: I discovered both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys thanks to the 1980s TV series, so the books I got all had stills from the series on the front. I don't have them any more, but haven't ever quite dared try to access them again, as I worry I'd be disappointed (I'm currently ploughing my way through another childhood favourite and the disappointment means that it is taking literally months to read, I wish I'd just left it with the good memories). I must say though, I really like the idea of reading them with a drink! Perhaps you could turn it into a drinking game (dismissed by a man - one swig; use of a decoy - drain the glass).

123floremolla
Edited: Apr 16, 2018, 6:36am Top

>118 detailmuse: >122 Jackie_K: I was also a fan of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys but when I was growing up, my local library was pretty rubbish. They never had full series and if there was such a thing as inter-library loans they kept it pretty quiet. And in the early 70s, aged about 12-14, I wouldn't have known where to start looking or have enough pocket money to buy the missing books...well, not after I'd bought a Curly Wurly, a Jackie magazine and paid my youth club subscription. I already have too many books I want to read languishing on the shelves but you've inspired me to promise myself a Nancy Drew wine-athon one of these days :)

>119 rabbitprincess: lol!

124detailmuse
Apr 17, 2018, 5:18pm Top

>122 Jackie_K:, >123 floremolla: yay, Nancy Drew fans! For me, the re-read needed a major suspension of disbelief and acceptance of Nancy's enormous privilege. Donna, we had a den full of books in my childhood home but they were more so academic or reference books (or Reader's Digest Condensed Books -- novels). People used the library; they just didn't buy personal copies of popular books that they'd read once, except maybe mass-market paperbacks. I remember some of those paperbacks would have more titles listed on order forms at the back and I'd be mesmerized with the possibility of so many more books.

125detailmuse
Edited: Apr 22, 2018, 2:09pm Top



20. The Open Door: One Hundred Poems One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine, ©2012, acquired 2013
It is for moments like this that one perseveres in {a} difficult poem, moments which would be less beautiful and meaningful if the rest did not exist, for we have fought side by side with the author in her struggle to achieve them.
-- John Ashbery
I know how that feels with poetry, and it is indeed fabulous. Alas, I hated this anthology. I started it four years ago, restarted it several times since, and finally finished it now during National Poetry Month. I was in 'way over my head (what with the poems having been drawn from a leading poetry journal), even though I looked up some of the more famous poems and poets along the way to gain insight. In the end, my head feels wooden and stupid. I felt zero connection to most of the poems; felt “meh” about a dozen or two; and liked one.

And I loved one, a tiny poem but one of those moments:
“In a Station of the Metro” by Ezra Pound

The apparition     of these faces     in the crowd     :
Petals     on a wet, black     bough.

126Jackie_K
Apr 22, 2018, 3:28pm Top

>125 detailmuse: Oh I can so relate! Poetry often makes me feel so thick, and you're right, like there's 'zero connection'. Occasionally I'll be surprised, so I do persevere sometimes, but I wish I had a more poetic brain. The moments of connection are worth the perseverence, but it's hard work sometimes!

127karenmarie
Apr 29, 2018, 10:53am Top

Hi MJ! I've been remiss in visiting. I hope you're having a lovely Sunday.

>113 detailmuse: I'd love to discuss NC with you sometime.

>118 detailmuse: My first mysteries were Nancy Drew. I recently acquired some of the original blue-cover Nancy Drews at our Friends of the Library Sale. I'm glad to hear that re-reading is fun and not a disillusionment. It’s the first time I’ve read Nancy Drew with a glass of wine in hand and it was fun, Ooh. That sounds like the best way to go!

>125 detailmuse: At least after four years you can finally be done with it! Congrats.

I can relate, for sure. I went to a poetry reading at the library for National Poetry Month last week by a woman who read NC poets. As a rule I tend to like rhyming poetry and was treated to a bunch of prose statements with pretentions. Give me a Shakespeare sonnet any day. Or Burns, or Whitman, or.....

128floremolla
Apr 30, 2018, 6:45am Top

Hi MJ! I understand about the poetry. Since I was blown away by Tennyson's Ulysses in high school I've had a predilection for romantic allusion - it doesn't rhyme but there's poetry in the rhythm. I don't read enough poetry, never mind modern poetry, to expand my horizons.

My book group's only foray into modern poetry went awry - Don Paterson's Landing Light - we didn't understand his poems so there was nothing much to discuss :/

129detailmuse
May 3, 2018, 9:27am Top

>126 Jackie_K:, >127 karenmarie:, >128 floremolla: I'd like to get a beginner's guide to poetry, I know virtually nothing about its rules/structures/mechanics. Maybe that's why I like free-verse -- it's hardly poetry except for the vivid imagery.

>128 floremolla: haha I hear crickets chirping in your book club's silence :)

>127 karenmarie: original blue-cover Nancy Drews
Yes those are the editions I read, too! I just watched a rerun of some TV sitcom with a prop Nancy Drew and a one-sentence mention, and it was a blue cover :) It reminded me of The Brady Bunch, where Marcia had the same algebra textbook that my school used, and it was cool to see it on the screen.

130detailmuse
May 3, 2018, 9:42am Top



22. The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ©1855, acquired 2013
Forth upon the Gitche Gumee,
On the shining Big-Sea-Water,
With his fishing-line of cedar,
Forth to catch the sturgeon Nahma,
Mishe-Nahma, King of fishes,
In his birch canoe exulting
All alone went Hiawatha.
Through the clear, transparent water
He could see the fishes swimming
Far down in the depths below him;
See the yellow perch, the Sahwa,
Like a sunbeam in the water,
See the Shawgashee, the craw-fish,
Like a spider on the bottom,
On the white and sandy bottom.
My second book for poetry month was this novella-length epic that recounts Native American legends of ancestors and origins and Hiawatha’s own adventures, friendships and rivalries, romance with Minnehaha (“laughing water”) … and encounter with the pale-face man and conversion to Christianity (which felt preachy and too-tidy, but it was 1855).

The legends are magical and the scenes are resplendent with nature. The meter and syntax feel unfamiliar enough to evoke Native American linguistics (but grew repetitive and sing-song-y nearly to the point of vertigo!). I listened to some chapters via Librivox with Peter Yearsley’s narration, which was wonderful.

131detailmuse
May 3, 2018, 10:06am Top

April
Beginning total TBRs: 279
ROOTs* read: 6
Other books read: 3
Books acquired: 5 (+2 already in TBRs but not entered into LT ‘til now)
Ending total TBRs: 277
YTD ROOTs* read: 22 (year-end goal: 40)

*acquired before 2018

132Jackie_K
May 3, 2018, 12:23pm Top

>130 detailmuse: I don't know this one, and haven't read any Victorian poetry since I left school (we won't talk about how many years ago that was!). I remember finding it a bit dull at school, so have never felt inclined to try again. Your comment about good narration makes me wonder if I should listen rather than read?

>131 detailmuse: So, fewer TBRs than at the start of the year - way to go! I aspire to that every month, but am starting most months 4 or 5 books over, so I have a bit of an uphilll task! I started the year with 395, and am currently sitting at 399. I want to be back at 395 for the start of next month.

133floremolla
May 3, 2018, 7:24pm Top

Good stats, MJ!

I'm not sure how I know The Song of Hiawatha but I do, can only presume it was in school. I don't suppose we read the whole thing though!

134detailmuse
May 4, 2018, 3:54pm Top

>132 Jackie_K: As a rule, I don't engage as well with audio vs written ... too easy for my mind to wander. I only listen while on my morning walk or if ever on a solitary road trip. I'm better with nonfiction audio, though am doing well with an historical fiction tome right now. I listened to a portion of Hiawatha one evening and it was so relaxing I nearly fell asleep. So when I couldn't sleep a few nights later, I listened to another passage, and it was too stimulating, didn't lull me at all! Who knows.

>133 floremolla: I think it does have school-age appeal, and I found myself respecting young students for tackling it.

Regarding fewer TBRs -- I'm very happy about that, 20 fewer than Jan 1. Note that 11 of those are TBRs I've purged unread or unfinished (which I'm trying to do more of, but with the easy choices already purged in previous years, I'm finding it ridiculously hard!). The other 9 are the result of more Roots than acquisitions. It's taken me several years to get from wanting to decrease acquisitions to the point of actually seeing some decrease. Wanting fewer possessions around me (and being shocked that some of my books feel like clutter!) has motivated me, too.

135detailmuse
Edited: May 12, 2018, 2:33pm Top



23. Tom Robbins: The Kindle Singles Interview by Mara Altman, ©2014, acquired 2014

I see by the placement of my bookmark that I read 332 of 388 pages in Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume in the late 1980s. I recall loving it (yet put it aside with 50+ pages to go?!) and stayed so enamored of the writing that I acquired three more of his novels. I occasionally think to read one but keep bypassing them because I don’t have the energy required to appreciate his abundant creativity, cleverness and craziness.

Yet I'm thinking of it again for the upcoming cancer-sign selection in my zodiac challenge, so I pulled out this Q&A now. I enjoyed it, especially for his comments about taking LSD, which he names, "the most rewarding day of my life":
I learned the nature of reality … {that} matter is just slowed-down energy … {to have} respect for all living things and even for inanimate objects.
Psychoactives have long fascinated me, and it’s coincidental timing that I came across this when I’m beyond eager to get Michael Pollan’s new book on the topic when it’s released on Tuesday.

136detailmuse
May 12, 2018, 2:37pm Top



24. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, ©1900, acquired 2016

I’d wanted to read this to see how it was different from the film. It’s okay, but the film is much better -- more fully developed, more fun … and scarier. The book’s Kansas feels like Little House on the Prairie, except completely desolate and dead. It’s striking how full of brains, heart and courage the scarecrow, tin woodsman and lion are, despite their respective beliefs of the opposite. And it clearly shows the power we have when we believe in ourselves and accept help from friends.

It’s my Taurus-author read for the zodiac challenge.

137detailmuse
Edited: May 14, 2018, 11:49am Top



25. Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley, ©1998, acquired 2011

Walter Mosley writes near-noir novels full of African American characters in gritty locales -- most recently in contemporary New York City, but most notably in south-central Los Angeles after WWII through the 1960s Watts civil rights upheaval (and possibly to today; I haven’t read his recent releases). They’re crime/mysteries, but really they’re social-history character studies about race, and they’re riveting.

This book is a novel told via linear, linked short stories. It introduces Socrates Fortlow, a 58-year-old who’s trying to make a life after serving 25+ years in prison for rape and double-murder. He’s still a troubled and violent man but he’s also a thinking man, with pervasive regrets and a resolve to do better. He reminded me of Red in The Shawshank Redemption, and his stories broke my heart and inspired me. The dangers and indignities inflicted upon him circa-1985, in a book published in 1998, are still occurring in the walking/napping/etc-while-black incidents right now in 2018.

138Jackie_K
May 14, 2018, 2:42pm Top

>136 detailmuse: I've got a feeling I read that when I was a child, but probably didn't appreciate it then. It's not in my possession any more so I wonder if it went in the great charity shop donation when I went to university. I'd much sooner watch the film now :)

139Miss_Moneypenny
May 15, 2018, 6:01pm Top

>136 detailmuse: My mother tried reading that series out loud to my siblings and I when we were little but she quickly abandoned it because of the superiority of the movie. It's a classic film for a reason! I do remember liking Ozma of Oz though!

140karenmarie
May 17, 2018, 7:31am Top

Hi MJ!

>136 detailmuse: I've read The Wizard of Oz, apparently, (tag 'read') but don't remember much about it. There were fourteen books, I have #s 1,2,5, and 6. We used to get so excited when the movie was going to be shown on NBC. I think it was once a year and it was a family event.

>137 detailmuse: I didn't know that he wrote books that take place in South-Central LA. I'll have to look for 'em. Being from LA I tend to like authors who write about it - Michael Connelly, James Ellroy, and Erle Stanley Gardner come to mind.

141detailmuse
May 26, 2018, 4:52pm Top

>138 Jackie_K:, >139 Miss_Moneypenny:, >140 karenmarie: I wasn't interested in pursuing any more of Oz ... until >139 Miss_Moneypenny: and now it seems like I should at least get to know Princess Ozma...

>140 karenmarie: Mosley's Ezekiel ("Easy") Rawlins series is set there. I plan to acquire the first, Devil in a Blue Dress, and decide if I want to read the series. I did read The Narrows by Connelly and liked it.

142detailmuse
Jun 2, 2018, 4:21pm Top



26. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, ©2013, acquired 2013

I HATED Gilbert’s memoir, Eat, Pray, Love. I abandoned it and couldn’t comprehend reading anything else by her. And then ... an LTer reviewed this novel and I bought it soon after release in hardcover (!) and finally got to it now on audio.

It’s a sprawling tome about an Englishman (who makes a fortune in botanicals, particularly quinine), and his family -- notably his daughter, Alma, who becomes a scientist specializing in mosses. It’s terrifically evocative of place (especially Philadelphia and Tahiti), gender and class in the late-1700s to mid-1800s, culminating in the time of Darwin and the theory of evolution.

It’s characterized as a “breathless pace” but I never found it so. I’m not sure I would have kept with it if reading on paper, but I really looked forward to listening. That listening occurred during a difficult period of real life, and the novel’s discussion of evolution and the tenacity, resilience and perseverance of living things honestly felt like a spiritual message. I NEVER would have expected a palatable spiritual message from the author of Eat, Pray, Love!!

143detailmuse
Jun 2, 2018, 4:29pm Top

May
Beginning total TBRs: 277
ROOTs* read: 4
Other books read: 3
Books acquired: 6
Ending total TBRs: 276
YTD ROOTs* read: 26 (year-end goal: 40)

*acquired before 2018

144detailmuse
Jun 2, 2018, 4:38pm Top



27. The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, ©2005, acquired 2012
”Good people are always so sure they’re right.” – A sociopath’s last words, recorded at her execution

In fact, one of the more striking characteristics of good people is that they are almost never completely sure they are right. Good people question themselves constantly, {…which} seldom admits absolute certainty into the mind, and even when it does, certainty feels treacherous to us, as if it may trick us into punishing someone unjustly”
I’d listened to audio of this overview of sociopathic (conscience-less) people a few years ago and now read my paperback copy. A decent overview, but more light-theory than practical.

145floremolla
Jun 2, 2018, 7:25pm Top

>142 detailmuse: sorry to hear you've been having a difficult period in RL, MJ - sounds like this audiobook was a fortuitous choice.

Well done with the stats too!

146Jackie_K
Jun 3, 2018, 5:13am Top

>142 detailmuse: Echoing Donna, I'm sorry life is tough right now, and hope things settle down soon. I must admit Eat Pray Love is not a book that has ever appealed to me, but The Signature of All Things sounds interesting, I might add it to my library wishlist.

I read a library book once called Eat Pray Eat (about a food writer who took his family to India, ate and drank loads, discovered yoga and that he was an alcoholic, marriage nearly breaks up, eventual happy ending). I found him a bit insufferable, but I did like the title.

147karenmarie
Jun 3, 2018, 12:05pm Top

Hi MJ!

>142 detailmuse: I'm glad that you connected so deeply with a novel at a time in life when it seems like you needed "a palatable spiritual message." It's a BB for me.

148Miss_Moneypenny
Jun 5, 2018, 9:31am Top

>142 detailmuse: I'm sorry to hear that life is rough right now, but I'm so happy you connected with The Signature of All Things. I also absolutely haaaaaaated Eat, Pray, Love but really adored Signature. The spiritual message was really lovely and uplifting, and I'm so glad that you felt the same way! I hope life starts looking up for you soon!

149detailmuse
Jun 8, 2018, 10:22am Top

Donna, Jackie, Karen, Miss Moneypenny -- thank you for such kind comments! My husband's mother had a crisis but the suffering came when his sister unleashed a flood of chaos that lasted weeks. I'm glad to see the love for The Signature of All Things … it won't be an all-time favorite, but parts will be in my mind, likely forever.

David Sedaris just released a new collection of essays, mostly about family, and I've been devouring it, enjoying his ability to turn difficulty into exaggeration and hilarity :) I hope to catch up on threads soon!

150karenmarie
Jun 12, 2018, 8:00am Top

Hi MJ!

Calypso - I've got it on my shelves and since you reminded me of it, I just pulled it down right away and am going to start it in a few minutes! I've picked up and put down 3 books since finishing a very good mystery, Montana, by Gwen Florio, so I think Sedaris is a good preventative for a potential reading funk. I'm in the fortunate position of being able to see him and hear him speak on August 21st at an indie in Raleigh, and I'll be able to get him to sign my book, too.

151detailmuse
Jun 14, 2018, 10:10am Top

>150 karenmarie: Sedaris is perfect for that, isn't he? So easy to dip into and I hope you are enjoying Calypso! I recognized quite a few of the entries from having read them (probably The New Yorker). But they hold up to re-reading and make me think it might be time to re-read Me Talk Pretty One Day. Enjoy his book event!

152Jackie_K
Jun 16, 2018, 3:51pm Top

>149 detailmuse: >150 karenmarie: I've never read any Sedaris, but have heard him on the radio and would really like to get to his books sometime. I've put Calypso on my wishlist.

153detailmuse
Jun 19, 2018, 12:16pm Top

>152 Jackie_K: A lot of the essays in Calypso are about his family -- his husband and siblings, his mom and one sister who have died, and his very-old dad. It seemed more poignant than his other collections, but there are still sentences that made me laugh out loud!

154detailmuse
Jun 19, 2018, 12:19pm Top

"Is this the biggest book cover trend of the year?"

I don't like it! (specifically, the font)

https://lithub.com/is-this-the-biggest-book-cover-trend-of-the-year/

155Jackie_K
Jun 19, 2018, 2:15pm Top

>154 detailmuse: I think I like it! (and they're right, I'll be noticing it everywhere now!) The other thing I like is the arty swirly backdrops (from your link, The Immortalists is probably the closest example). But as I mainly go for ebooks these days, I pay much less attention to the cover. I love ebooks, but there's nothing like a good book cover (much like downloading/streaming music versus a really good vinyl LP cover).

156detailmuse
Jun 28, 2018, 11:45am Top

>155 Jackie_K: I do like some of the botanical backgrounds. And I also enjoy cover art! In 2003, a friend and I researched book covers for a light-hearted adult "science fair," and found that as the predominance of the author's name on the cover increases, the quality of the book decreases. There were some other fun studies in the fair, one that I recall was how the body measurements for ladies' clothing sizes have changed over the years.

157Jackie_K
Jun 28, 2018, 11:52am Top

>156 detailmuse: That sounds like a really fun thing to research! I can well believe the name size/book quality ratio!

158detailmuse
Jul 3, 2018, 1:57pm Top



28. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, ©1962, acquired 2014

This is the classic – the very readable (and depressing) 1962 expose on the dangers of pesticides/herbicides, stunning in its detail of the enormity of damage done throughout nature and up and down the food chain. None of it should be surprising now, 56 years later; the surprise is how much of the stuff we’re still using. I’ve been much more active in my yard/garden over the past few years and have, several times, thought to get some Round-Up to spray on the broadleaf weeds. Now each time I’ve weeded the flower beds by hand this spring, I’ve been glad for never having gotten around to it. The crew that mows my lawn does apply a couple treatments in addition to fertilizer tho...

This was my Gemini author for the horoscope challenge.

159detailmuse
Jul 3, 2018, 2:22pm Top

June
Beginning total TBRs: 276
ROOTs* read: 2
Other books read: 3
Books acquired: 5
Ending total TBRs: 276
YTD ROOTs* read: 28 (year-end goal: 40)

*acquired before 2018

Q2 Notes
Books read YTD (ROOTs and non-ROOTs): 46
Books acquired YTD: 30

Favorite ROOTs:
Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley

Favorite non-ROOTs:
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (outstanding light background into race-related hot-buttons, the pages flew; the section on cultural appropriation explained that the issue isn’t so much “appropriating” aspects of the cultures of people of color, but that it’s done while continuing to oppress the people of color … made memorable by the fact that I read this section in early May, when so many were partying for Cinco de Mayo while raging about Mexicans)

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (wow! beautiful writing and outstanding audio narration; I must read everything this woman has written)

Calypso by David Sedaris (laugh-out-loud funny; but the predominance of aging and loss make it more poignant than his other collections)

(Note to self: Your Library = 579)

160Jackie_K
Jul 3, 2018, 4:30pm Top

>159 detailmuse: I've really liked the articles I've read online by Ijeoma Oluo, and this book is on my wishlist. As is Calypso, too.

161detailmuse
Jul 3, 2018, 5:05pm Top

>160 Jackie_K: I envy that you have these books ahead to read someday :)



29. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino, ©1979, acquired 2010

As with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I think of Calvino as an old-timey writer and of his works as “classics” … and am surprised that they are relatively recently published and have contemporary feel. I enjoyed this meta-fictional, experiential meditation on reading (and writing, and publishing, …), though less so than I’d expected. I liked the added aspects of mystery and quest, but grew tired of the engagement needed to enter all the stories, only to have them abandoned. It reminded me of Bartleby & Co by Enrique Vila-Matas (a collection of abandoned short stories in homage of Melville’s Bartleby), which was also delightful until it grew tiresome.

162karenmarie
Jul 29, 2018, 9:39am Top

Hi MJ!

I hope you're having a good month.

I loved Calypso. Hmm. Touchstone is not working. Now I can't wait to see him on the 21st of August.

That article about book covers was a hoot. I think I mostly find them irritating, but I'm sure I'll end up with some of them on my shelves.

163detailmuse
Aug 2, 2018, 4:54pm Top

Hi Karen, yikes summer is flying! Enjoy Sedaris later this month!

164detailmuse
Edited: Aug 2, 2018, 5:00pm Top



30. Plan Your Estate by Denis Clifford, ©2016, acquired 2016

We’d danced around estate planning long enough and finally spent about six weeks getting it done. We worked through an attorney, but this book is an extremely readable, helpful and thorough reference for background on wills, trusts, powers of attorney, etc.

165detailmuse
Aug 2, 2018, 5:02pm Top



31. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster, ©1985, acquired 2017

I never give Auster’s books my highest ratings but I love to read them, the pages practically turn themselves. This is a collection of three atmospheric novellas (with a few links between the three) about writers turned private detective, whose stories take place in dreamy partial-reality till they wane and stop (instead of “end”). I began each one fascinated and ended exhausted. I suspect much literary criticism has been published about this novel, and I may look up some of it.

166detailmuse
Aug 2, 2018, 5:05pm Top

July
Beginning total TBRs: 276
ROOTs* read: 3
Other books read: 1
Books acquired: 8
Ending total TBRs: 280
YTD ROOTs* read: 31 (year-end goal: 40)

*acquired before 2018

167Jackie_K
Aug 5, 2018, 9:29am Top

>166 detailmuse: You're doing so well with your total TBRs - only +4 on the start of the year! Good job :)

168detailmuse
Edited: Aug 5, 2018, 4:08pm Top

>167 Jackie_K: hee I'm even happier -- the "beginning" in >166 detailmuse: was start of July; year-to-date I'm down from 297 TBRs to 280! Have not been at all successful in purging books unread ... m-u-s-t get serious about that so I can donate books to the November library fundraiser!

169Jackie_K
Aug 5, 2018, 4:52pm Top

>168 detailmuse: Oh my goodness that is AWESOME! I can only dream of minus TBR numbers ... (although I am getting better this year and my + number isn't as big as it usually is by this point in the year. That's progress, right?)

170connie53
Aug 9, 2018, 9:13am Top

>168 detailmuse: That's a good feeling, isn't it, MJ?

171detailmuse
Aug 13, 2018, 3:38pm Top

>169 Jackie_K:, >170 connie53: smaller +'s are definitely progress! And it does feel good! It's definitely evolutionary not revolutionary ... I've been in ROOTs and its predecessor groups since 2010 and it's taken that long to really read more from my TBRs AND acquire fewer new books.

172connie53
Aug 14, 2018, 1:07am Top

>171 detailmuse: I think it took me that long too, MJ.

173detailmuse
Aug 19, 2018, 2:30pm Top



32. Devotion by Patti Smith, ©2017, acquired 2017

Since reading Just Kids, I’ve been eager to experience whatever Patti Smith writes. “Experience” is a good word, because her writing is literary and dreamy, and her references and influences (far more classical and literary than mine) keep me off-kilter, trying to understand.

This is a tiny volume in three parts -- an opening essay about a trip she took to Paris; then a short story with aspects seemingly inspired by parts of that trip; then a reflection on why she writes. It’s one to keep in order to get a deeper second look, and because her writing feels calming and grounding.

174detailmuse
Sep 2, 2018, 3:08pm Top

Not much ROOTing to report, but in ROOT prevention I'm already well-into or have finished 7 of the 11 new August acquisitions :0

August
Beginning total TBRs: 280
ROOTs* read: 1
Other books read: 6
Books acquired: 11
Ending total TBRs: 284
YTD ROOTs* read: 32 (year-end goal: 40)

*acquired before 2018

175Jackie_K
Sep 3, 2018, 9:42am Top

Well done on the ROOT prevention! Nice job!

>173 detailmuse: That sounds really interesting. I'm not sure if it's my cup of tea or not, but I'm curious!

176karenmarie
Sep 19, 2018, 7:59am Top

Hi MJ!

I like your ROOT-prevention technique - read new books when they come in. I'm doing that today with the newest Cormoran Strike book, Lethal White, which showed up in my mailbox yesterday.

177Familyhistorian
Oct 2, 2018, 3:07pm Top

I should try your ROOT prevention technique. I am supposed to be cutting down and culling but somehow or other I ended up with a new pile of books at the end of September.

178Jackie_K
Oct 2, 2018, 4:58pm Top

I like it too. I'm thinking I might incorporate it into my overall ROOTs system (given that I count all books, however old or new, as ROOTs) - maybe each month allow myself to read one of my new books along with the older ones I pull from the Jar of Fate.

179detailmuse
Oct 3, 2018, 5:30pm Top

Jackie, Karen, Meg -- how much better does it get than that -- get a book, open it, read it!!

180detailmuse
Oct 4, 2018, 4:39pm Top



33. The RBG Workout by Bryant Johnson, ©2017, acquired 2017

The long-time personal trainer of 85-year-old U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg presents RBG’s workout routine in a terrific little book. The routine is nothing to scoff at -- the succession of exercises includes all the strength-building standards that would challenge fitness buffs half her age. It’s informative, motivational, fun … I can see why people hire trainers instead of going it alone.

181detailmuse
Oct 4, 2018, 4:42pm Top



34. Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton, ©2016, acquired 2017

Equal parts wanderlust and “wonder-lust,” this is an atlas of easily 1000 interesting and/or odd locations and events from around the world. They’re obscure (I’d heard of only 5 or 10) but shouldn’t necessarily be, each entry well illustrated and described in detail. I marked about 50 to add to my travel wishlist spreadsheet in case I’m ever nearby, not including entries in countries I’m unlikely to get to.

182detailmuse
Edited: Oct 4, 2018, 4:57pm Top

September
Beginning total TBRs: 284
ROOTs* read: 2
Other books read: 3
Books purged DNF from TBRs: 1
Books acquired: 3
Ending total TBRs: 281
YTD ROOTs* read: 34 (year-end goal: 40)

*acquired before 2018

----------

Q3 Notes
Books read YTD (ROOTs and non-ROOTs): 63
Books acquired YTD: 52

Favorite ROOTs:
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton

Favorite non-ROOTs:
Educated by Tara Westover

(Note to self: Your Library = 595)

183rabbitprincess
Oct 4, 2018, 5:50pm Top

>181 detailmuse: Good review of Atlas Obscura! My BF's dad has that book and it looks like the sort of book that would be fun to flip through.

184Jackie_K
Oct 5, 2018, 2:14pm Top

>181 detailmuse: If it wasn't already on my wishlist, it would have been added after that review! That is exactly my kind of book :)

185Familyhistorian
Oct 5, 2018, 10:18pm Top

>179 detailmuse: Since I started ROOTing I feel guilty reading a book I just got. Sometimes it does feel like a guilty pleasure though.

186detailmuse
Oct 6, 2018, 4:09pm Top

>183 rabbitprincess:, >184 Jackie_K: I love travel guides, both the practical kind and the inspirational kind. I finally tagged my inspirational ones with “wanderlust” to make it easy to pull them out for ideas when I start planning a trip.

>185 Familyhistorian: Such a pleasure! So much so that I usually save new books, loving the anticipation of them. But it’s also hard to keep tamping down my excitement and deferring. Plus ROOTing has shown me that my choices aren’t always winners… I’m starting to believe the best time to read a book is when I acquire it.

187detailmuse
Oct 7, 2018, 1:53pm Top



35. McSweeney's Issue 31, ©2009, acquired 2009

I wanted something light, clever, funny, so I turned to one of several issues of McSweeney's literary journal that I’ve had for almost 10 years(!). (I do go on the website much more often, especially the Lists section.)

The theme of this issue is in its subtitle, “Vikings, Monks, Philosophers, Whores: Old Forms, Unearthed.” Here, some abandoned literary genres are given new life: the Socratic dialogue; the Chinese biji (my favorite to read or write; this entry is the musings of a producer on the Survivor TV show); the Icelandic legendary saga; the erotic whore dialogue; the monastic consuetudinary (??); the Graustarkian romance (??); the nivola (??); and two poetic forms, the pantoum and the senryu (also a favorite; similar to haiku).

Each form is introduced with an excerpt from an original writing, and the McSweeney's version has marginal annotations that draw attention to where it’s particularly expressive of the form. So it gets 5 stars in premise and 3.5 in experience (I skimmed several entries).

188detailmuse
Oct 7, 2018, 4:23pm Top



36. Bellevue Literary Review (Vol 16 No 1; Spring 2016), ©2016, acquired 2016

I’ve subscribed to this literary journal for 10 years and have read 2/3 of my issues. All of the short stories, essays and poems touch in some way (often very peripherally) on health or illness, and they are profound and moving. But I’d love to see more literary creativity and especially some humor. I took a break in the middle of this issue to lighten up with the McSweeney’s I posted about above.

189Jackie_K
Oct 8, 2018, 7:12am Top

>186 detailmuse: I'm actually thinking about modifying my Jar of Fate next year - I put all the new ones in it so they all count as ROOTs even if I pull out a very recent one, but I'm thinking about maybe letting myself read one new and shiny each month as soon as I buy it, and use the Jar for the rest of my reading choices. Then I've got the best of both worlds! I know what you mean, sometimes I get to books which at the time I was really keen to have at the time, and they really don't do it for me at the time I eventually come to read them.

190detailmuse
Oct 8, 2018, 1:28pm Top

>189 Jackie_K: So much to think about. (And so much fun to think and plan about books!) No matter what, and like your Jar of Fate, I'm so glad to have the ROOTs group for extra motivation on reading what I already have.

191Jackie_K
Oct 8, 2018, 2:17pm Top

I've just noticed I wrote "at the time" 3 times in my last sentence there! Note to self: get an editor! :D

>190 detailmuse: You're absolutely right, I love the planning what to read probably as much as the actual reading. And as for buying - the fun goes off the scale! But yes, having this group has been so helpful, I'm sure Mt TBR would have been twice as high by now without it.

192karenmarie
Oct 13, 2018, 9:34am Top

Hi MJ!

I like this discussion of ROOT rules, new books, and tbrs.

I'm definitely a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants reader with the exception of my RL book club. I love dipping into my stacks and seeing what comes up for air. However, certain authors are always read the minute the book comes in the door - Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Robert Galbraith, perhaps a few others.

I only count a ROOT if I had it in my shelves by December 31 of the previous year. I tried modifying that methodology last year but didn't like it.

My real problem is that once I read a book, I rarely get rid of it. I'm getting better but still keep way too many.

193detailmuse
Oct 13, 2018, 11:04am Top

>192 karenmarie: Hi Karen -- ditto everything! except lately I'm keeping fewer read books. Definitely the reference books and sentimentals, but very few to read again (I look at my tags and see only 3 "reread"s ever).

After zero activity on my zodiac-sign reading all summer, I wanted to get back on track. So I pulled out 4 of the 5 books I’d marked for Libra and decided to read the first 10 pages of each … to see which I wanted to read now and also finally to put some kind of effort toward the “triage” goal back in >1 detailmuse: :0

Well the first (Sphere by Michael Crichton) was interesting enough; the second (The Mind of the Soul by Gary Zukav) was something I wanted to get to; and I braced myself for the third (The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner) and found myself finally looking up on page 16! Yay, 3 books “primed” to read!

194detailmuse
Oct 21, 2018, 4:44pm Top

So far, two completed for Libra authors in my horoscope challenge. Interesting that both authors were introduced to me by Oprah’s show or book club.



37. The Mind of the Soul by Gary Zukav, ©2003, acquired 2000s
Responsibility is not a burden you must carry, but a doorway to your freedom. Without it you remain confined to your fears
Twenty years ago, I was profoundly moved by Zukav’s new age-y The Seat of the Soul, particularly its exploration of intention as the spiritual “cause” that prompts the resulting “effects” that come our way. Zukav’s was one of the first websites I visited for understanding and hope in the aftermath of 9/11.

I’ve been disappointed by his follow-up books and thought I’d triage this one out in 10 pages ... but no, it was reinforcing and helpful. And (sigh) it’s back onto the shelves, not the donation bin.

195detailmuse
Oct 21, 2018, 4:53pm Top



38. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, ©1929, acquired 2005

I read Faulkner’s insanely experimental As I Lay Dying and was agape at his ability to communicate things without putting them on the page. It took me a dozen years to try him again, but I felt the same here.

The stream-of-consciousness narration seems impenetrable, yet a story accumulates. This story is tragic, depressing and angering -- a family that has sunk from a seat of political and social power to essential ruin in about a generation. I did go online after each section to catch things I’d missed. For such a foggy narration, these are extraordinarily memorable characters.

196detailmuse
Oct 25, 2018, 11:23am Top



39. Sphere by Michael Crichton, ©1987, acquired 1990s

Mixed feelings on this one. Decades ago, Crichton’s Disclosure brought me back to reading for pleasure, and I enjoy the science in his thrillers. This one wades into cosmology and physics -- is an underwater vehicle crashed from aliens ... or time-traveling Americans from the future? -- but feels more science-fictiony than I care for, and the characters are barely even one-dimensional. When I realized I was avoiding it and then avoiding all reading (!), I called it quits.

I don’t use Nancy Pearl’s Rule in general (read “100 pages - your age” and then DNF the book if you’re not enjoying it), but I use it to determine ROOT status, so at 102 pages this one is a ROOT.

197detailmuse
Oct 28, 2018, 5:52pm Top

Yay, GOAL!!



40. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, ©2014, acquired 2014

OMG what fun!! I wanted a good read to get me to my ROOT goal, so I browsed my LT TBR Collection by Rating, top-rated first, and chose this one. I got a great 2-hour start on it while waiting with someone in a doctor’s office and then could.not.wait to get back to it every time I put it down over the next couple of days. It’s a social satire about the parents and kids and administration in an Australian elementary school, and it’s a mystery about someone who ends up dead. It’s fun and entertaining and I floated along just enjoying myself, not guessing the ending till near the end.

It’s also been adapted into a TV series, and while a domestic-violence subplot looks very dark in the series, I cannot wait to watch the DVDs. Also cannot wait to read something more by Moriarty.

198Jackie_K
Edited: Oct 29, 2018, 6:28am Top

Yay, well done on meeting that goal! Even better that you did it with a book you loved!

199MissWatson
Oct 29, 2018, 8:05am Top

Congratulations!

200karenmarie
Oct 29, 2018, 8:30am Top

Congrats, MJ!

I have read 3 by Moriarty and have loved each one. I have Truly Madly Guilty on my shelves waiting to be read, and I need to keep my eye out for Big Little Lies.

201detailmuse
Oct 29, 2018, 1:56pm Top

>198 Jackie_K:, >199 MissWatson:, >200 karenmarie: Thank you! And Karen, I'm excited to see how much you've enjoyed Moriarty! -- I'm in the library queue for audio of The Husband's Secret.

202rabbitprincess
Oct 29, 2018, 6:36pm Top

>197 detailmuse: Congrats on meeting your goal!

203detailmuse
Oct 30, 2018, 8:40am Top

204detailmuse
Oct 31, 2018, 4:07pm Top

October
Beginning total TBRs: 281
ROOTs* read: 6
Other books read: 2
Books acquired: 7
Ending total TBRs: 280
YTD ROOTs* read: 40 -- GOAL! -- and more to come!

*acquired before 2018

205MissWatson
Nov 1, 2018, 4:06am Top

Yay, you have reached your goal! Congrats!

206karenmarie
Nov 2, 2018, 8:57am Top

Congrats on reaching your goal, MJ!

207detailmuse
Nov 3, 2018, 3:53pm Top

>205 MissWatson:, >206 karenmarie: Thank you! haha I'm celebrating by losing all focus and starting three books yesterday!

208karenmarie
Nov 3, 2018, 5:17pm Top

Sampling, eh?

I've started two and am feeling 'meh' about both. I need to find one to really dig into.

Good luck on focusing.

209connie53
Nov 16, 2018, 4:19am Top

Congrats!

210detailmuse
Nov 21, 2018, 10:05am Top

>208 karenmarie: Still have not found focus (amid a lot of "real life"), but managed to finish one...

>209 connie53: You bring such cheerful motivation!!

211Jackie_K
Nov 22, 2018, 4:35pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving, MJ! I'm grateful for getting to know you on LT, and wish you a really happy day.

212detailmuse
Nov 24, 2018, 10:59am Top

Thank you, Jackie, I feel the same!!

213detailmuse
Nov 28, 2018, 10:50am Top



41. What to Listen for in Music by Aaron Copland, ©1939, acquired 2010

I took piano lessons for many years during grade school but they didn’t touch much on music theory. Then, ten years ago, I read Daniel Levitin’s This is Your Brain on Music, and felt my life changed in his opening chapters on pitch, rhythm, tempo, timbre, meter, key, melody and harmony.

I acquired this by Copland soon after and have saved it, excited by the promise of deeper understanding from the acclaimed composer. Unfortunately, it missed for me. The writing is accessible but the content is nearly impenetrable because, written in 1939, it’s all about classical/orchestral music (even the “film” and “popular” music is pre-1940) -- samples of which are almost impossible to locate, especially when a specific movement is needed to be able to hear via notes what is being described via words. I continue on my quest for a music-theory primer.

What did stick with me is the imperative to engage -- to actively listen to music, not just let it flow by. It’s my selection for the month’s Scorpio author.

214haydninvienna
Nov 28, 2018, 12:10pm Top

>213 detailmuse: I read Copland's book far too many years ago but as far as I remember got nothing from it. It's not entirely clear from your post whether "classical" is your focus of interest. if it's not, disregard everything I say from here down.

I think you hit it with your second last sentence--the key is to engage. What did it for me (says he who has the radio going practically 24/7, even when asleep--it masks the exterior noise) is going to concerts. Listening to a recording, it's far too easy to just let it sink into the background. Even better if you can go with somebody who actually knows something.

I see from your profile that you're in Chicago. If you have the cash and the time you have easy access to one of the world's great orchestras.

And can I offer you an odd little book which you can find used for pretty cheap? It's called Beethoven or Bust, by David Hurwitz. Hurwitz's approach isn't so much theory as working out how to listen, and how (say) Haydn's symphonies differ from Beethoven's, and how Beethoven's approach to the symphony changed over his lifetime. Mind you, you'll have to spend a bit on getting hold of some recordings. The first part of the book is theory, although it's mostly the theory of musical forms. In the second part of the book, he sets out a bunch of "groups" of pieces of music, asks you to listen to them, and then to think about how they are the same and different. Usually there are 4 pieces in a group (a piece might be a whole symphony). Group 10, for example, is Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, Rossini's overture to "The Barber of Seville", Weber's overture to Der Freischutz, and Leonard Bernstein's Candide overture.

215detailmuse
Nov 29, 2018, 10:40am Top

>214 haydninvienna: I noticed your username and eagerly read your post! Yes Chicago is lucky to have the CSO -- my brother and his wife attend regularly. She's a musician (not by career) and has hugely improved his knowledge/appreciation of orchestral music, just as you suggest. I am classically naïve, but learned a bit via Google/Wikipedia/YouTube/iTunes while reading Copland's book. Renovation at my library has affected the availability of some collections, but I look forward to sampling CDs there next year. That makes me think: instead of wishing the music books were accompanied by CDs, maybe I should look into CDs or podcasts, where the music is annotated with words.

I appreciate your recommendation of Beethoven or Bust. It's available through interlibrary loan and I'm interested to see a CD with the same name -- recorded 5 years prior to book's publication, so likely not connected...

216haydninvienna
Nov 29, 2018, 11:30am Top

>215 detailmuse: Thanks! Glad you liked it. I've been going to concerts on and off for most of my life, but it's only relatively recently that I've been able to do it in any concentrated way. Stilt very far from musically learned but I do get more of the subtleties than I used to. My "home" in the UK is an hour on the train one way to London and an hour the other way to Birmingham. At least 4 major concert halls and 6 great orchestras between the two cities. And all the riches of Europe's music no more than a couple of hours away by air. I just need a few more lifetimes to absorb it all.

217detailmuse
Dec 1, 2018, 9:38am Top

>216 haydninvienna: You inspire me, it seems like you are living this lifetime so fully!

218detailmuse
Dec 1, 2018, 9:40am Top

November
Beginning total TBRs: 280
ROOTs* read: 1
Other books read: 8
Books purged unread/DNF from TBRs: 1
Books acquired: 12
Ending total TBRs: 282
YTD ROOTs* read: 41 (year-end goal: 40)

*acquired before 2018

219karenmarie
Dec 26, 2018, 11:14am Top

Hi MJ!

Christmas has come and gone - I hope you had a wonderful one - and I hope you're getting some good in reading before the end of the year.

220detailmuse
Dec 28, 2018, 11:50am Top

Thank you and Happy New Year, Karen! I'm getting caught up on magazines and it's been inspiring to look through all the pretty visuals. And I do love this time of year and getting organized.

221karenmarie
Dec 31, 2018, 1:06pm Top

Thanks, MJ! I have quite a few 'organizing' plans for January - we'll see how many come to fruition!

In the meantime,



Wishing you a new year filled with joy, happiness, laughter, and all the wonderful books you could wish for.

222Jackie_K
Dec 31, 2018, 4:39pm Top

Happy new year, MJ! Hope you have a great 2019 when it comes!

223detailmuse
Jan 2, 4:39pm Top

Karen and Jackie, thank you so much! Looking forward to ROOTing with you through 2019!

224detailmuse
Jan 2, 4:41pm Top

December
Beginning total TBRs: 282
ROOTs* read: 0
Other books read: 4
Books acquired: 8
Ending total TBRs: 286
YTD ROOTs* read: 41 (year-end goal: 40)

*acquired before 2018

(Note to self: Your Library = 618)

225detailmuse
Edited: Jan 2, 4:53pm Top

About my 2018 Reading
(all books, not just ROOTs)

Total books read: 85
• Fiction: 30%
• Nonfiction: 65%
• Poetry: 1%
• Mixed: 4%
• Most common book “genres”: Cookery, Essays, Memoir

• Male authors: 40%
• Female authors: 39%
• Mix of genders: 21%
• Author nationality: 68% USA
• Authors new-to-me: 33, plus more in the anthologies (favorites of these: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jesmyn Ward)
• “Favorited” authors with books in this year’s mix: Paul Auster, Alex Kotlowitz, Anne Lamott, Walter Mosley, Ann Patchett, Michael Pollan, David Sedaris, Patti Smith, Gerald M. Weinberg

Original publication date:
• Pre-20th century: 1%
• 20th century: 23%
• 21st century: 76% (and yikes: 33% of these were pubbed in 2018 :0 !)
• Mean ROOT age (duration as TBR in my library): 5.6 years

• Paper: 85%
• Audiobook: 9%
• e-Book: 6%

• # books acquired in 2018: 80; # purchased: 40 (others were borrowed from library, received as gifts or copies for review)
• #TBRs Jan 1: 297 ... #TBRs Dec 31: 286

• I rated 61% of the 85 books at 4 stars or above (i.e. “good” to “great”) and another 19% at 3.5 stars (“okay”); this is a huge improvement from last year’s rated group, and is despite my having reviewed my ratings on all of the books and the dozen or so that I changed were all decreases, usually by a half-star.

Favorites:
Fiction
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Sequential Drawings by Richard McGuire
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Nonfiction
Calypso by David Sedaris
Educated by Tara Westover
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Second Nature: A Gardener's Education by Michael Pollan
The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1 by Robert Lacey

226Jackie_K
Jan 3, 4:28am Top

Excellent, I love nerdy stats! Looks like 2018 was a really good reading year for you!

227detailmuse
Jan 3, 10:55am Top

>226 Jackie_K: It was! haha I too need to drill into the data and then reassemble it into the big picture :)

Group: 2018 ROOT (READ OUR OWN TOMES)

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