The Read goes ever on and on...MrsLee 2019 part 1
This is a continuation of the topic The Read goes ever on and on...MrsLee 2018 part 2.
This topic was continued by The Read goes ever on and on...MrsLee 2019 part 2.
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Well, my mouse is fixed, and here I am in the new year! Welcome any and all who have the patience for piffle in a reading thread.
Last year I began with good intentions, had some goals, and chucked most of them within the first month. I read just over 50 books, which is half of what I normally read. But it was all in all a good year. What will this year bring? Who knows! I look forward to sharing it with all of my pub friends.
Of the SIX biggest books on my SIX TBR bookcases, I finished four, these two remain.
From my paperback TBR case: Drood by Dan Simmons (I know, pgmcc, I know, but I WILL get to it this year, sooner than later) Ick, ptui, DNF
From my fantasy TBR case: The War of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Hmm, this really is a double because it would have gone on my paperback case if there had been room and I didn't want to read it right now: Alignment Matters: The First Five Years of Katy Says by Katy Bowman (I began this last night) This has set the tone for my whole year of physical movement, perhaps changed my life, time will tell.
From my hardcover case in the livingroom: The Complete Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham 1: East and West (I began this last year, have to give myself a long time to read this) Can't right now. Keeping these to dip in and out of occasionally.
From my western case: The Allegheny in the Rivers of America series by Frederick Way, Jr. illustrated by Henry Pitz
From my weird case in my bedroom: Are you ready for this? Illustrious Career and Heroic Deeds of Colonel Roosevelt "The Intellectual Giant." Containing a Full Account of his Marvelous Career, his early life, adventures on a western ranch among the cowboys; famous leader of the Rough Riders; President of our Great Country; his Wise Statesmanship, Manly Courage, Patriotism, Etc., Etc. (Even the person who wrote this got tired of it) - Including His Famous Adventures in the Wilds of Africa in search of Lions, Rhinoceri, Elepants and Other Ferocious Beasts of the jungle and plain; journeys in unknown lands and marvelous discoveris, together with His Triumphal Journey and Receptions by the Crowned Heads of Europe
by Jay Henry Mowbray, Ph.D., LL. D. The Well-Known Historian and Traveler. Embellished with a Great Number of Superb Phototype Engravings" I feel like I've read the book already, just reading the title page. DNF, too much adoration here, I need a different biography.
One book from my mystery case for good luck: An omnibus of None of Maigret's Business, by Georges Simenon, "The Man in Gray" by Frances Crane and "Death Paints a Portrait" by William Herber Finished
I will try to work in a Shakespeare play or two, probably focusing on the royal ones since I recently bought the Hollow Crown series digital set.
Will also try to dip into some of those lovely classics with which I made my Christmas "book" tree in 2018. Although it is likely to be more random because I want them on their shelf and not stacked on the table by my chair.
Alignment Matters by Katy Bowman
The Complete Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham 1 East and West
Finished on New Year's Day:
Lone Cowboy by Will James. I reviewed this (rather surprised to see only 2 reviews) and talked about it in my last thread. Sort of over it now.
>2 Bookmarque: Well, no, he wasn't. lol, but I don't know that he is responsible for all that rigmarole. Publishers.
Happy new year, MrsLee! I'm looking forward to following your reading and other adventures this year.
>1 MrsLee: And what would a reading thread be without an adequate supply of piffle? (bo-rr-ing). I look forward to supplying a steady trickle of pun-ishment as well. A very happy and prosperous New Year to you and yours!
Glad to see you all here! I will be following all the reading threads in the GD, although I may not comment frequently. :) I sort of skim if the books being discussed are either not my type, or my type but I haven't read them yet.
>9 hfglen: Wait, what did I do wrong? Oh, pun-ishment. That is always welcome. :D
Wait! How do we tell piffle that's just to fill space from piffle with substance?
>1 MrsLee: Oh, you got The Hollow Crown! Both "seasons", or just one of them?
I've been planning to get and read the plays in question at some point, I may just do it this year.
>13 MrsLee: (makes squee-sounds and some jiggly dance!)
I can't decide if I enjoyed "season one" - the Henriad - or "season two" - The War of the Roses - the best. I think both was very good, but I especially enjoyed Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of Prince Hal's journey from rake to king.
Wishing you a happy new year filled with time aplenty to spend with some good books.
>1 MrsLee: Happy new year, I’m glad to read the mouse situation is resolved. :)
I’m a little concerned about the piffling. Piffling itself is all well and good, but one misplaced finger on the keyboard could turn it into piddling which would make a mess of your thread.
>17 YouKneeK: ... and the 'd' and 'f' are right next to each other! That was rather poor planning on the part of Mr. Qwerty.
>17 YouKneeK: In our house, procrastinating is a master art. If we are procrastinating yet doing something in the mean time to look like we are not procrastinating, we call it piddling around. So you can see that either word will be just fine here. In fact, I am piddling around right now while delaying bedtime. So desperately in fact that I am typing this all on my phone instead of taking advantage of my new mouse. And thus piffling and piddling are not all that different. Unless my cats are piddling. Then we are talking a different piddle which requires immediate action and allows for no procrastination.
>20 MrsLee: I think that is a admirable explanation of the similarities and disimilarities between piffle and piddle.
>20 MrsLee: Ah, that does seem like an acceptable use of piddling that would be much less catastrophic to your thread than the piddling I was imagining. I feel much better now, thank you!
Found and starred!
>10 MrsLee: I do the same, skim threads and comment as I like. :)
Love the puns...
I've read 4 of W. Somerset Maugham's short stories now. While I can see the mastery of his writing skills, and the insight he has into the character of people, these stories are depressing. Any reason why I need to keep reading them? Any recommendations of stories of his which are especially fine? Life is short, and it's winter. I'm depressed enough, but I don't want to miss something important before I move on.
I've begun reading The Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman as a sort of antidote and relief.
The Alignment book is challenging. Who knew it would take so much thought and care to walk with my feet straight?
>20 MrsLee: I know I'm a bit late to the discussion but may I compliment you on your precision in articulating the nuances of the terminology in question. This is exactly why you are so respected in this Pub...
>24 MrsLee: Not that you need my advice, but I'd shelve Maugham for now if I was you: to pick up later, perhaps, when living is easier. Classic or not, I've ditched my fair share of "great authors" when I just can't take any more ;-)
>26 Busifer: Yeah, I think I'm about there. I may dip randomly into the stories (I have two very thick volumes) to see if there is any change in theme, then put them away to be pretty on the shelf. Or, give them away to regain a significant space on my shelf!
Mark and I have begun the hunt for the "c" activity of the year. Last year we chose "baking" and we did fairly well. He sort of petered out in his enthusiasm when we got to the cookbook by Julia Child, then summer hit and neither of us wanted to fire up the oven, but I read about baking bread from one's own wild-caught sourdough and started that project. I have a while to go before I create the "perfect" loaf, but it suits our needs. We don't eat a lot of bread, but now and then it is great to have a sandwich. My last batch will likely need to be eaten with soup. It came out rather like bricks, and if someone breaks in at night, I know just what to hit them over the head with. Ah well, it's all about learning!
Anyway, we have crossed off so far: cope, calculate, colt and clysters. Still many words remain. Mark added some last night which I am hoping will be there until the end: cnidarians or ctenophores or cwms or cirques.
For the reading, I'm enjoying my Hillerman, and wishing that the Alignment book wasn't a collection of blog posts.
Oh, C, let's see (ha!): ceramics, crochet, cycling, crafts, cooking, crawling, crossfit, cows, coloring,
I think that's all I have in my head right now. :) Oh, wait, cats! How could I forget that one? :)
ETA: Two obvious ones that I suspect will happen anyway: CHEESE and caring for fellow denizens of the Pub.
But how about Chablis, Chardonnay, Cabernet etc.?
>29 SylviaC: We have chicken (probably leaning more toward the eating variety than keeping), and my husband added clacks, clocks, clicks and clucks. I suppose clucks could count towards that?
>30 catzteach: Oooo, we already had cycling, crafts, cooking and coloring. Have added the others.
>31 ScoLgo: Would you believe that was NOT on the list? Although cigarettes and cannabis are! Funny how when you set out to make a list of "c" words your mind goes blank, but when you aren't trying they come easily.
>32 Sakerfalcon: Added!
>33 pgmcc: Haha, I presume you meant to begin that sentence with "is" but it is funnier the way you typed it. I presume there are cross-dressers who crossfit. Anyway, both words are now on the list.
>34 hfglen: Heh, I had chill, and Chili, but had neglected chillies of all things! Silly me. That has been rectified along with the wine varieties. Yes, CHEESE and caring were already on the list.
For the record, the following have already been crossed off: colt, calculate, chat, coiffure, comfort, cope, cozy, Chad, cycling and I believe I mentioned clysters.
Since the list is so long, we are each crossing off at least three a day. More if we remember our turn.
>35 MrsLee: "Chooks" is another synonym for chickens. Our egg farmers' newsletter is called "The Cackler". Lots of c words in the chicken world.
>35 MrsLee: I see what you mean. I shall leave it for effect. It always pays to keep people guessing. Disinformation never hurt nobody.
>35 MrsLee: Some more for your list: café culture, charcuterie, cinsaut, claret, clairette blanc, coffee ...
Coriander, coffee, confabulating, cougars, canning, calisthenics, coopering, crossword puzzles, cranberries, chinchillas...
I always enjoy reading what word you end up with and the amusing ideas people come up with for the current year’s letter. :)
Here are a few random words of my own that Ctrl+F claims haven’t already been used in this thread:
* Canada – Read about Canadian history, read fictional books or watch movies set in Canada, take a trip to Canada, eat/cook traditional Canadian recipes, etc. This could work for any 'C' country of interest – China, Cuba, Chile, etc.
* Clandestine – Practice sneaking and spying.
* Collecting – Pick something fun to collect and start a collection. Bonus points if you collect a ‘C’ word like Coins.
* Complete – Focus on completing projects that you started but never got around to finishing.
* Crazy – Each week, do something that strikes you as completely crazy, preferably in public so that everybody thinks you’ve lost your marbles. Wash your car in the rain, dance a jig on your roof (with proper safety precautions), try to climb a tree, run down the street acting like something is chasing you.
Happy New Year, my friend. May the vast majority of your books be gems this year. :o)
(Well, every year... really.)
Canada is on the list, perhaps if we "cackle" in "Canada" that would go with the "crazy" selection!
>39 hfglen: You add the most delicious words!
>40 Busifer: That's what I thought when I saw that word! If only my husband or I had any practical engineering skills. Well, I suppose learning that would be an activity together to grow our brains.
>42 Marissa_Doyle: "confabulating" is something we do more and more as we age. We are always saying to each other, "That's not what happened!" when recalling events. :) Other new words have been added, thanks.
>43 YouKneeK: If we got good enough at "clandestine" perhaps we could go to "France" with pgmcc! Ah, "collecting" I am trying to de-collect all the things I've collected over the years. I do like your idea of "complete" though.
By the way, when my husband saw the 4th column of words added by you all, he wrote at the top, "cheating!"
>45 MrsLee: Mr Mistoffelees has just reminded me that the most important "C" activity of all is missing from your list (shock horror!). Your first priority undeer this head is, of course, Cuddling Cats. Although the most important activity of all comes in 3 years' time: Feeding Cats.
>47 hfglen: Oh no, it is on the list. At least, "cuddling" and "cats" are separate entries. Possibly "cursing" as well, depending on the activities of the cats. ;)
I finished The Shape Shifter. While I enjoyed reading it, just because I love Hillerman's world and characters, the mystery and story underwhelmed me.
Will begin Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner tonight. This has been on my TBR shelves for probably 15 years. Today is the day!
>48 MrsLee: I shall be sure to inform Himself that your Feline Overlords' needs receive attention ;-)
What about Czechoslovakia? Or a Cryptography course? Calligraphy? Could you do something with calendars or with cartography? Celtic sports (although I don't know what that might entail)?
>51 jillmwo: Mark's heritage is Czech. Also, one of my cousins asked me to make a skeleton calendar. That could go under "completion" of projects. I would have to retake a lot of photos of Death Bredon, and fin appropriate quotes.
53 Curling is on the list! My husband likes to watch it. I listen while I read until it is too annoying, then I make him put on his headphones.
There's a curling club down in Wausau. You can join to play on a team or you can join just to watch and drink beer. It's hilarious.
>55 NorthernStar: I think it would be fun to do, but I maintain that it sounds silly, especially if one is only hearing it and not watching/participating. :)
(I have a bad hip, and tried curling despite it. Didn't work out, in that it was very painful. Otherwise it seems a fun thing to do.)
While curling started in medievil Scotland it does not registrr as a Celtic sport but one coukd argue the toss. (See what I did there.)
Speaking of Celtic sports do not forget gaelic football, handball and the fastest sport on the planet, hurling.
Stone the crows! Can't leave you lot alone for a minute without a pun thread starting up.
Happy belated New Year! I'm kind of scared that you're reading Drood but looking forward to your thoughts.
More 'c' suggestions? Camping, carpentry, creating, car maintenance, carrier pigeons, crown bowls... Sure there must be more.
I've wanted to tackle these...I do love Dickens though I haven't read him in ages, and I've read one Simmons and liked it although I won't ever read it again. Should we try them together???? Group read?
>68 pgmcc: I have read Dicken's mystery, although it was a few years ago, so I plan to refresh my memory before I read Drood.
>69 Bookmarque: I am reading the Stegner novel right now. Do you think you would be interested in reading Drood in February? I don't read very fast right now. You will find The Mystery of Edwin Drood quite unlike other Dicken's novels. I both liked and disliked it.
>71 Karlstar: While I was glad to have read The Mystery of Edwin Drood before reading Drood, I would not say it is a prerequisite. I did get the pleasure of spotting what Simmons had used from the original and what he had changed, but in terms of story line there is no real dependency. I shall say no more lest I let spoilers slip but I enjoyed reading both of them.
In terms of The Mystery of Edwin Drood I found I got as much pleasure from a section in my copy of the book that reported the various conjectures that arose after Dickens's death as to how he would have finished the novel had he lived.
I rather enjoyed Dickens' The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I'll have to go back and look at some of my reading threads to see what I thought in more detail at the time.
Edited to note which of the two titles I'd actually read. I have not read Drood by Dan Simmons. I thought you were using shorthand for the Dickens title, not talking about the second one.
Feb or March...I need to get on with my Dumas...which means I have to step lively. I'm flexible though I would like to read them both. Maybe March would be better?
March it is!
Do you have both books? I can probably get the Dickens easily from Project Gutenberg, but the other I'll have to hunt down. Shouldn't be too hard.
I have horrendous memories of the Dickens as a Matric set work. Not even an inspired English teacher could make it bearable.
>79 catzteach: Um, we don't really want to experience in- carceration, so that's not going on the list.
Does it count that several times a year I answer a call at the car dealership where I work, from the hospital, and hear someone telling me that "a bull is out." If I didn't know that the brother of the dealership owner is a rodeo bull rancher and organizer, I would think it was a practical joke.
Thank you for the well wishes, and >84 Bookmarque:, for the lovely photo! Sadly, my petition for the world to stop what they are doing today and allow me to stay home and read, was misplaced. I am working as usual, but I have special plans for the weekend and get Monday off!
Happy Birthday, Lee!!
I hope you like the Stegner, I'm sure you will find the local history fascinating. Some of it is a bit dated, but not REALLY, if you know what I mean, and I think you will.
I wish my knee would let me try curling. It looks like fun!
>87 littlegeek: - lots of people with knee, back, or other health problems curl using a special pole to push the rock, so they don't have to get right down. I've been borrowing one this year due to my surgery in the fall.
>88 NorthernStar: But isn't part of the technique about gliding along with the stone and then release it, just right and just so?
Never seen it done with a stick like you describe, it hasn't been an option when I've been at a curling hall (which admittedly only has been for events arranged by my employer, and last time was long ago.)
(Happy birthday, Lee! Double greetings, here and on FB - I wish double fun and happiness as well!)
>89 littlegeek:, >90 Busifer: I don't think the stick is allowed in most high-level competitions, but it allows a lot of people to curl who couldn't otherwise. This link describes how it works:
Sorry for hijacking your thread, MrsLee!
Thank you for the birthday greetins!
Still very much enjoying my book. I'm afraid curling didn't make the finalcut, but thank you for that link. I like to learn stuff.
We are toying with the idea of narrowing it down to12 "c" words and focus on one a month. That way creamy ice can happen in the summer.
>92 MrsLee: Narrowing it down to twelve sounds like a good plan. I can't wait for summer and some creamy ice myself :-)
Having changed the rules to suit us (well really, rules are more like guidelines, right?), we have now decided on 11 "c" words for the rest of the year to inspire, focus and challenge us. Mark came up with the one-a-month word to provide flexibility and prevent that middle of the year lack of enthusiasm. Oh, and since it took us so long to winnow them down, we decided the word for January was "choosing."
Here are the words, not sure what the order is yet.
I can't believe Mark let "crafts" stay on the list. That's really not his thing. He even circled it in red, which meant a particular saved word. I wonder what he has in mind?
On the reading front, I'm still enjoying my current reads, but have been too busy to do much reading at all.
Does this mean that for the entire year with the exception of the month designated for “chocolate” that you cannot have any chocolate?
That is tough.
>95 pgmcc: Try and stop me!
>96 clamairy: :D We already started on that one by bringing 5 cheeses home from Napa. Three blues we tried out last night, actually 4, because I had one in my fridge already. France, a British Stilton, one from Sebastopol, CA and one from Point Reyes, CA. The winners were the one from France, and the one from Point Reyes. I also brought home a truffled brie and I forget what the other one was, but when I taste it I will report. Although, most of my "foodie" talk is in the Cookbookers group on my cooking thread.
>94 MrsLee: That looks like a fun list! I notice it’s 36% edible. :) I like the idea of picking 11 different words to add more flexibility and variety.
.94 I want to know what you're going to do for the word "concert". Make a concerted effort to attend a concert? What if you're disconcerted by the musical selections? That is, what if you don't care for the concerto?
Otherwise, I think YouKneeK has raised a good point. There is a good deal to be done with food in 2019.
Happy, happy! My son sent me a surprise birthday gift of Backup by Jim Butcher. One of the off-shoots of the Dresden series in a sweet little hardcover version. I am saving it for a special treat to read when I finish one of the two BIG books I'm reading at the moment. A motivation to keep reading, not that the books are not good reading, they are, it's just that life is busy and distracting at the moment.
>101 suitable1: I believe that may have been an early cross off. I only like to eat them. :P Kind of like chickens. I mean, that's the only thing I like about chickens, too, is the eating thereof. And sheep.
>102 haydninvienna: This Harry Belafonte song has been in my head ever since I made that post. Don't click the link unless you want it in your head, too.
>103 MrsLee: One of my brothers is a great fan of Harry Belafonte and in the 60s his music was often heard in our house. I now have "Yellow Bird" playing in my mind and I like it.
"Jamaica Farewell" is queued up behind "Yellow Bird" so it looks like I shall be having a Harry Belafonte afternoon. Thank you!
>104 pgmcc: You could do worse for a brain worm. :)
Oops. Amazon seduced me into the following book purchasing binge. All on Kindle, so they don't count, right? I mean, they were offering a $5 credit if I spent $20! So, each book averaged $5 when it was over, which is more than I usually spend on ebooks, however, these were almost all on my wishlist, rather than random cheap purchasing in the hopes of getting a good book. Also, my mother asked me to purchase $10 a month of books for her Kindle, and she will enjoy these, so they should get good mileage.
A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard
Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King
Rules of Prey by John Sanford
The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt (this was a random guess purchase for my husband)
>102 haydninvienna:, >103 MrsLee: Prepare to be disconcerted. (OK, I know the bayan is an accordion, not a concertina, but I couldn't resist...)
>104 pgmcc: Argh. I will now have "Jamaica Farewell" playing in my head all day, whether I listen to it or not! I may as well surrender, and join you in listening to Harry's dulcet tones.
Oooh the first Davenport novel. I’ve been reading those since the early 90s and still love them. Enjoy!
>107 Bookmarque: Yes, YOU are the one who influenced me to put it on my wishlist. :) Now the problem is, finding time to read them all! Books sit sad and lonely on my Kindle because those in my house are much louder in their unread presence.
>106 -pilgrim-: Oh wow. That'sa lotsa! Accordions are sort of grown up concertinas, no?
Incidentally, all this talk of accordions and concertinas--you know there is such a thing as a classical accordion, right? (See, e g, "James Crabb" on Wikipedia.) In 2017 I was at a chamber music festival and Crabb and Mahan Esfahani performed Bach's Goldberg Variations, alternating between Crabb on the accordion and Esfahani alternately on the piano and harpsichord (which meant that he had to run back and forth between the two keyboards). After that I felt the only thing to do was hit the bar for a stiff shot of Jameson.
>110 haydninvienna: Do you mean that the instrument itself is different, or just that there us a classical repertoire for the accordion?
I was aware of the latter, having been acquainted with a classically trained bayanist who was an exchange student here. (Hence the links.)
I'm wondering if I should click on any of those links. I do my web-surfing/pub visits in the early morning hours before work, while my husband is sleeping. Guess I will wait until the weekend when he can enjoy them too. He is a master at finding odd musical things online. Especially when I'm trying to read.
So, here's one for the odd bucket. Anyone remember a couple of years ago when my boss got a package from Amazon with her new Dell laptop in it, and on top of the laptop was a raw beef shin or large bone? Well two days ago, her husband received a package delivered by UPS. It had his name on it, handwritten, and the handwritten name and address of someone he had never heard of. I told him to go open it in the parking lot. He laughed at me. I was serious. Anyway, inside were four plastic drink bottles which had been opened, they had fluid in them, and had been sealed in plastic seal-a-meal type bags. The labels were a brand of flavored water. One peach, one apple, one berry, one which someone had hand-written "straight" on. Underneath those, were three glass mason jars, carefully wrapped in bubble-wrap. Each jar contained one piece of fruit in a plastic ziplock sandwich bag. One slice of peach, one slice of apple, about 5 or 6 berries, maybe raspberries, hard to tell. That's it. No letter, no instructions or explanations.
The package was sent from Summertown Tennessee. We Googled the address, not known. There was a phone number somewhere that my boss found, he called it, not known. The name of the sender and Summertown, TN, no results. Weirder and weirder. The most innocent thing we can think of it being is moonshine. Perhaps someone there wanted to send someone here some moonshine, but since it is illegal, they sent it to my boss thinking he would throw the package in the trash since it was so weird, then the person they were sending it to could check our dumpster each night and retrieve it. So weird.
Well I hope you like them. I read the Flowers books, too. They’re a spin off, like Laverne and Shirley.
>115 Bookmarque: We are not opening any of the sealed things unless someone we know fesses up. All the terrorist/germ warfare conspiracies jumped right to the front of my mind. Granted, Red Bluff, CA would be an odd place to start germ warfare, but who knows?! :)
I told him to call Homeland Security, but he won't, I know. In fact, I wouldn't put it past him to open the bottles at some point out of curiosity. Just what an evil germ-lord would count on.
Oh I think that’s wise...I didn’t mean anyone should take a nip, just commenting in general.
And hey, we’re in the same time zone now!
>113 MrsLee: wow, that is really strange. I guess the bottles of liquid could certainly be illegal alcohol, but what are the pieces of fruit in jars for?
I guess if it were me, I would start to wonder if my address were living a secret life online? Maybe try to Google your boss' mailing address and see what comes up...
>113 MrsLee: That's a real mystery. I look forward to hearing if you ever find out more.
And I'm also looking forward to hearing about your year of "C" adventures!
>121 Darth-Heather: Moonshine can be brewed from more bases than rye. I would assume that the fruit represent samples of what was used to flavour each of the bottles, with "straight" being the unflavoured version.
>113 MrsLee: That's just weird. Yeah I'd file a report. I hope it's moonshine but why risk it?
That is truly odd. Maybe they had him mixed up with someone else. Does he have a common name?
>126 clamairy: Not really, but it is easy to find his name online as owner of the dealership if you want to.
>127 MrsLee: Being new around these parts, I don't know what sort of dealership you work at. Is it something where, if your boss were shady, it would be an appropriate marketing outlet?
If so, then this could be either a hamfisted marketing ploy (and there is someone waiting to hear whether the gossip is approving) or, more likely, someone copied the address wrong, and it was intended for the name either above or below on some dealership list.
But your and pgmcc's theory is also plausible.
Do let us know what the cops say.
Nothing in the least ever happens to me. (I believe I'm quoting the dramatic 12-year-old Dinah in "Philadelphia Story".) MrsLee, you have a life fraught with incident and excitement. I want to know if its moonshine, germ warfare be d**ned. Cry havoc and let loose the dogs... (or let loose the cats, if you prefer. I'm not fussy. )
>1130 Yes, that is probably the worst possible outlet for moonshine distribution. Sampling licit product A and illicit product B simultaneously is likely to have results that invite police investigation!
I finished Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. So good, on so many levels. I'm glad I didn't read this when I was younger, because I may have dismissed it as dreary or depressing. It isn't though. It is about survival when your dreams die and you face the reality of life and get on with it. Love, love, love it. He is one of the few authors I know who could make me love this story. The way he writes about the land is marvelous. Then there are his characters. Full of life, individuals, you feel their every glance and mood, it is as if you are in the room with these people and know them. Sometimes you want to shake them, your heart bleeds for them. Though it took me a month to finish, it was worth it.
Now for something very light, my birthday present from my son Backup by Jim Butcher. Since we are sharing covers here and there, I like this one.
So glad you like it. He pulls off the same kind of magic with Big Rock Candy Mountain.
>136 Bookmarque: I will keep that one in mind. I've read Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs, my first Stegner, and when I fell in love with him, and Wolf Willow, both of which I enjoyed at different levels. Looks like I have Crossing to Safety in my library, but I have no memory of having it and haven't read it. They are good books to have on hand when you know you need a good read with excellent writing.
I have Crossing also, but haven’t gotten to it either. Something to look forward to.
>135 MrsLee: I loved that book so much. It's one of those "written for grownups" kind of books. Such a high percentage of novels are first novels or "coming of age" types, and once you get to a certain age, those just are no longer compelling. Angle of Repose is a novel no one should even attempt until they are at least 40 IMO.
One weird thing I noticed from some of the reviews: people call the 60s' ish sections "dated." It was contemporary at the time the book was written, and the intergenerational disconnect is still valid. I chose to look at those sections as similarly "historical," just much more accurate!
I need to read more Stegner.
I recommend The Spectator Bird - it features an older couple looking back at an earlier time in their lives/ marriage and it goes to a place you don’t expect. There is an audio version narrated by Edward Hermann which is wonderful.
Well, you all have hit me with an author book bullet. Today in the local charity bookshop they had a copy of Crossing to safety. So of course I had to buy it after reading all your praise for Stegner.
>142 Sakerfalcon: I don't think you will regret it. :)
Finished Backup last night. It's very short, and although I found myself crossing out the word "just" four times in half a page, it was a good, fun tale about Thomas Raith, Harry's brother. A sweet little hardcover to add to my collection.
Today I will begin Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch. Keeping to the light side for another book. I'm still working on Alignment Matters, I feel no need to read this quickly (other than to be done with it) because I'm trying to implement the information into my daily routine and that takes time.
Yesterday my husband was offered the opportunity to volunteer as accountant for the local concert society, so we may be attending local concerts this year, which is one of our "c" words!
Mystery package solved! A customer called yesterday and asked if we had received a package for him. After a little verbal confusion, it was determined that it was the mystery package. He thought the sender would have put his name and not my boss's on it. The contents were what we all thought they were, and the empty jars were just to fill the space! My boss told him he was an S.O.B. They are good friends. :) No plague involved.
>144 MrsLee: Wow! I am amazed that old story worked.
;-) Mums the word!
>144 MrsLee: And it took him a week to decide that his package needed follow-up?
>147 -pilgrim-: He had to keep his distance for a few days to make sure the authorities were not onto him.
Finished reading Broken Homes last night. A rather sad/poignant/depressing entry to the series of The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. I didn't know what everyone was doing until I was over half finished with the book. Who were they chasing? What exactly was the crime? Where on earth was the story going? However, after that it became gripping and held me until the end. I still enjoy the way he works architecture into his stories, but in this book, I had a difficult time visualizing it. Perhaps that is because I've never been exposed to Council flats, except when I saw the episodes of Doctor Who which showed where Rose's mother lived.
I picked up The Literary Garden to read next, but it is a collection of articles, and so I think that in addition to that, I will try Heat Rises by "Richard Castle." I'm missing The Rookie right now, so perhaps this will help.
>135 MrsLee: You are the second person to recommend this one to me. But when I read this bit that you wrote "It is about survival when your dreams die and you face the reality of life and get on with it..." Well, I think I might wait a little longer to read that one. At least I'll wait for full Summer.
>135 MrsLee: I believe you would find the treasure in it, but I agree that perhaps waiting for the summer is a good idea. :) The winter worked for me because of cozy blankets, cats, hot tea, and some time on the weekends to actually sit down with it.
It's not relentless in a bleak approach though. There are moments of joy, recovery and discovery, too. Plus I liked the narrative frame - the grandson doing research. He's got a disability and people treat him like a child sometimes and he's cantankerous as you'd expect. He also sometimes can't square the life/times he's researching and the swinging permissiveness of the 70s (when he's writing and when the book was written).
>153 Bookmarque: Yes, all of that made it a tremendous story for me. The fact that several branches of my family tree were in some of the places, or places similar to those mentioned, made it all the more interesting. I was not depressed at the end of this story, but it isn't the kind of story where everything turns out the way you "think" it should.
My mother is reading it now. She says she really is unhappy with the woman in it. Then she says, "I know her too well because I've felt some of the same things she has." I believe that would be true for most women, especially of my generation and older.
Might I suggest a companion book? Check out San Miguel by T.C. Boyle. I found it reminiscent of the Stegner book when I read it. It is set on that island off the southern California coast and features a couple of different tenants/families separated by a few decades. Early 20th cty. Beautiful writing. I have two copies - one physical and one audio. I'm weird that way.
>155 Bookmarque: Well, now I'm doubly intrigued. I used to be a huge fan of T.C. Boyle. He graduated from my college a decade before I started there, and was still friends with several of my English professors, one of whom used to talk about him ALL the time. World's End is incredible, and The Road to Wellville is hilarious. I didn't enjoy Riven Rock much though, so I am afraid I stopped reading him after that.
>152 MrsLee: I will give it a shot when the warmth returns for good. (It made a brief but fleeting appearance this week!)
Boyle is one of my favorite authors - the man can write the walls down, but I don't love everything equally. While I really enjoyed Riven Rock, I couldn't finish The Women. I didn't understand the point of Water Music (an especial appeal to tropical disease specialists?) Wellville was meh for me. I felt it was a bit drawn out and over-the-top. Plus I wanted to shake the main character - why didn't he just leave??!!
Anyway...now Boyle is one of my go-to authors and I have been collecting his books. World's End is fab as you say, clam. Drop City is another I have two copies of, audio and hard cover. I have When the Killing's Done and a big anthology of short stories on my TBR shelf waiting for me.
I finished Heat Rises yesterday. When I read the first in this series, I didn't think I needed to read more, but then this one fell in my lap for free. It was fun. I like the whole play with Richard Castle being the author, the wordplay throughout, with even a reference to Firefly, just like the TV show, "Castle." Probably more "falling into passionate sex" than I prefer, but easy to skim that stuff. I like the action bits and it kept me reading, even on my breaks at work.
Began I am the Cheese by Robert Cormier. This was a book I bought for my husband a few years ago. He enjoyed it, so thought I would try it. I have no idea what to expect, but husband said it was reminiscent of the story, Holes.
Wow. I am the Cheese was not at all what I expected! I couldn't put it down yesterday. Finished in the evening. This is what authors should write like for young adults. Mind stretching goodness. Now how have I missed Robert Cormier's writing all these years?
I chose one of my big five to read next, the omnibus of mysteries. None of Maigret's Business, The Man in Gray, Death Paints a Portrait. I haven't started it yet, and have company coming this week, so not sure how much reading will happen.
Is anyone ready to start reading Drood? Or would you rather wait until next month? I'm thinking I could start that now just as easily, but I can wait if needed.
None of Maigret's Business is one of my favorite Maigret stories yet. He is on "vacation," what we would now call a "staycation." None of his colleagues know he is staying in Paris with his wife, enjoying the city in the summer when most others have left. A complicated murder happens, and rather than reporting in, he resolves to follow it like any other citizen, through the newspapers. His resolve is tested, temptation abounds. A fun short story.
"The Man in Gray" by Frances Crane is another matter. It is the second story in the omnibus I'm reading, 170 pages long. Probably the worst story I've read since I quit reading cozy mysteries. No, I don't mean that. The mystery itself was not actually all that bad, although I'm not sure it played fair. I didn't pay enough attention to know. Very clunky writing. Odd character reactions. Clunky. The only reason I skimmed it to the end was because it was set in the California wine country in the 1950s, and San Francisco, and so held an element of interest for me. This was before California was accepted as a quality wine producing area.
Hopefully I will have time to read the last installment in this omnibus today, because I want to put it behind me and read one of my Kindle books.
>162 MrsLee: I love Maigret. I must see if I have that one. It sounds like good fun.
I finished the last story in the book called Death Paints a Portrait. The writing was excellent it was a noir story and so the characters behaved somewhat flamboyantly or over-the-top? Still the mystery was good and a nice conclusion to the book.
I think I need to look for some more books by William Herber or maybe at least read them if I come across them. I he was a good writer and used his words well.
Will begin Rules of Prey by John Sandford sometime today. Bookmarque loves this author, so I'm hoping it will be a good read for me, too.
>166 clamairy: At least it is very short compared to adult novels. :)
>167 Bookmarque: How about I start a thread this weekend? I think it would be a good idea to have read The Mystery of Edwin Drood before reading Drood. I have read it, but since it was a couple (five or more?) years ago, I plan to find some Cliff Notes, or Wikipedia to review.
I may have to quit Rules of Prey. The bad guy is a serial rapist/killer who tortures. Yuck. I'm going to give it a couple more chapters, but I don't enjoy reading about nasties like that. Pretty much why I don't watch most of the TV crime shows, either.
>168 MrsLee: & >167 Bookmarque:
I read the Dickens first and would strongly agree with reading them in that order.
I shall not be reading them again, but I will be interested in lurking around your discussion thread. I promise I will not post any spoilers. I shall just stand quietly in the corner and listen to the grown-ups talking.
Yeah, Sandford doesn't pull his punches, but I love Davenport and so...I put up with it. As of late though, I've been skimming some of the more visceral parts. The way he takes them down is worth it. Davenport doesn't pull his punches either.
OK. Mystery it is. I'll DL it from Gutenberg and get a-going. Anyone else joining us??
I read The Mystery years ago, and will probably lurk. I don't remember enough of it for spoilers to be a problem anyway.
Finished The Rules of Prey. If the writing had been poor, I would not have finished this. The content is not my cup of tea at all, but it was a good book for those who enjoy the genre.
I don't think I will start Drood until the weekend. Want to make a little progress in two of the nonfiction books I already have going.
Finished reading Alignment Matters by Katy Bowman. This will be a book I refer to often in my life. Mind bending, muscle stretching, alignment goodness for less pain in life. However, I am going to look at her other books to see if I can find one that is more concise, less bloggy.
Now I can concentrate on Drood.
Talking about Drood in the Drood thread, so here I will talk about cats.
Mostly to confess that I have been a very bad cat mamma. I've never had a long-hair cat before. It wasn't my preference, but it is what chose me. Anyway, poor Jinn Tawney. I hadn't brushed him since the weather turned foul as that was an outside task. He developed great big matted clumps on his neck mane in a short period of time recently. They were horrible! In the space of a week, he lost most of the hair on his neck to them. I had no idea this could happen.
Anyway, I clipped the ones I felt I could do safely, then put avocado oil on the others for a few days. The last one came off this morning. I found him playing with it when I woke up this morning. Never again! We have a new routine of brushing every day after work, and possibly more than once a day on the weekends. Happily, he isn't fighting me much about brushing now, and amazingly, he was very cooperative when I was working on the masses of clumped fur.
>174 MrsLee: I hope you will both come to enjoy the daily brushing sessions. I don't envy you having to deal with those hair clumps so anything that prevents their return has got to be a good thing.
>174 MrsLee: My last cat was a Persian and that long hair was a lot of work. My current short-haired cat is much less trouble, at least in the grooming department. He’s a lot more trouble in other ways. :) With my Persian, I also had to keep her well-clipped in the rear-end area or else certain things would tend to get stuck there and hang around after litter box visits. It was very disgusting.
>174 MrsLee: Both our cast were long haired. Thankfully we have not had much difficulty with their hair. I do not know if they kept it in good condition individually or if they helped one another. We shall find out the answer to that now that George is on his own.
Needing a break from Drood, I picked the slimmest book off my nearby TBR shelves to read, Vaca-Peña Los Putos Rancho and The Peña Adobe by Wood Young. It is the story of the pioneers who founded Vacaville, CA. I have no idea how/where/when it got on my shelves. My husband's grandfather was a de la Peña whose family could be traced back to Spain (via Mexico), but related to these Peñas so far as I know.
>174 MrsLee: I have twin long-haired angoras. Cherise tends to her own fur and has never had a mat. Reuben is lazy about his grooming and develops really big ones on his legs and belly. He's not at all cooperative when the clippers are involved. When they get big I have to take him to the vet to have them shaved off, but if I catch them when they are small i use this Mat Comb - it has little razors inside that slice the mat off safely:
Reuben is also prone, as >176 YouKneeK: mentions, long hair on the backs of the legs can pick up "trailers" from the litter box, so I trim that fur with scissors to keep it short.
>182 Darth-Heather: I can't see the photo, but I will look in the morning when I can get on my desk computer. I can't even imagine trimming this fella's backside! There have been one or two issues, but mostly he likes to do his business outside, and it stays there.
>182 Darth-Heather: I still can't see the photo.
I quit reading Drood more on that in the Drood thread if you care.
Finished Vaca-Peña Los Putos Rancho and the Peña Adobe last night. Informative, unimaginative (a good thing for a history), some nice photos. This would be more meaningful to a descendant of the family. I wish I could send it to one of them. I think it was written to explain why the Historical Monument was erected in Vacaville at the adobe home. Written in the 1960s, it highlights one (or two) Spanish families and shows how they pioneered much of California. It is fairly shallow in facts of how they lived however. More caught up in the "romance" of the Spanish lifestyle, and then focusing on the disputes over the rights to the land. This focuses on one small rancho in California and the families who founded it.
I began A Small and Charming World by John Frederic Gibson yesterday. I believe this is about the native tribes of the Northwest Americas. I don't think it is a fiction, it is a paperback book I kept out of the bags of books my FIL used to give me from the senior center.
Finished The Literary Garden yesterday. It wasn't quite what I had hoped, although I am not clear what it was I was hoping for. I did enjoy the literary excerpts though.
Quit reading A Small and Charming World. I thought from the description on the cover that it would be an amusing book of anecdotes about the author's time with the native peoples he was assigned to help. It wasn't much amusing. Written in the 1970s, he put the people under a microscope trying to suss out what made them tick. He may have had good intentions, trying to see the people as they were, and find out their real needs/wants rather than what the "white man" assumed they needed/wanted, but he came across as a scientist giving a dissertation for a thesis rather than a fellow human caught up in their world.
Meh. I have little patience at the moment for a book I'm not enjoying, plus the print was tiny.
I began We are Legion (We are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor. It's going fairly well. I had some issues with the original premise of the ruling government, but nothing I couldn't shrug off. One can put any name/tag on a government such as that and it will offend someone, and certainly there have been many of those governments in our time from all sorts of starting beliefs. They have no room for individual thinking is the point.
>186 MrsLee: I love the Bobs :) Yeah, the government thing doesn't stick around long thankfully. Hope you can enjoy the rest of the book anyway.
That is probably quite an appropriate description of how it ended. No offence taken. :-)
I finished Madness in Maggody last night. Not my thing. Happily, this was the 4th book in the series, and not the 1st. If it were the 1st, I might have hope it would improve, but if the things which annoyed me are still present in the 4th, I can happily say Finished.
There wasn't a character in the town that was likable, except the narrator, which then makes me suspect the narrator of having a very mean, dim and judging outlook on those who are supposed to be near and dear to her. I suppose it is meant to be funny, but what it comes across to me as, is caricatures of small town folks, and not nice ones at that. I do not deny the foibles of small towns, but there is a lot of love, common sense and hard work which goes on in them as well, but apparently not in any of the lives of those in this book.
Continuing my quest for a body which performs the basic functions of life as long as there is breath in it, I have purchased two books Whole Body Barefoot Transitioning Well to Minimal Footwear, and Don't Just Sit There Transitioning to a Standing and Dynamic Workstation for Whole-Body Health, both by Katy Bowman. This is the author of the book I read in January about alignment. Still working on implementing it, but not without kinks. I'm hoping, that since the word "Transitioning" is in both of these titles, they will help me do just that, so I don't create more problems as I try to solve earlier issues.
Finished reading Whole Body Barefoot. This is a good book to explain the whys and wherefores and hows of minimizing your shoe-wear and discovering all those lost muscles in your feet. Good pictures and instructions at the end and throughout. I look forward to implementing it.
Also, I found News of the World last night, and began reading it.
With age I have started to greatly appreciate the ability to flex my toes, and one of the worst things with not-summer is the need for warm and dry shoes.
Finished News of the World. I will go along with others here in saying that it was an excellent read. Hard to put down in fact. I would like to know why no quotation marks. At first it was annoying to me, but soon it didn't matter so much. It gave the tone of the story a reflective mood, rather than a present action mood. It also slowed me down, which could be a good thing, when you are reading a good story, and this was a good story.
If there is time today, I will probably begin Don't Just Sit There by Katy Bowman. Still trying to assimilate all this information into my daily life.
I don't think there was a weekend thread this week, but Mark and I attended a local concert, to celebrate our year of "C." This time the concert was in the afternoon, by what is called the North State Symphony. It was a tribute to Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. Being in the afternoon, and having discovered a "transport chair" (a wheelchair not meant to be operated by the occupant, but used to transport them easily), we were able to take my mother to the concert. It was a lovely afternoon. The symphony was terrific, the music that which she loves, and even the rain held off. The conductor was a delightful young man, reminded me of Martin Short in a way. There was also a young man who played a cello right in the front who was obviously having the time of his life. While we were loading mom in the car afterward (a 25 minute process due to her lack of mobility and the fact that her brain "freezes" from time to time so prevents her from going back or forward), the cellist was getting in his car nearby and we were able to tell him how much we enjoyed the performance, and him in particular. He was so sweet.
>194 Busifer: me too on flexing toes. I hate getting cramps in my feet. And, like a cat, I do not like wet or cold paws...
>196 MrsLee: how nice. I'm glad you were able to access a "staxi" as our local hospital calls them. I never got to see Arthur Fiedler, but I was blessed by a mother who took me and my infant son to Tanglewood in 1983 to see Seji Ozawa conduct the Boston Symphony!
Finished the Domínguez-Escalante Journal yesterday. Interesting, but long and repetitive. Not written to be a gripping tale, rather written to describe the land and natives as pertained to Spanish domination. It described the land in much detail, as to whether it had pasturage, water and arable land. Repetitive details. Also which direction they traveled, the landmarks they named (again, repetitive) and how many leagues they traveled each day. Sprinkled here and there were little tidbits of information about the traveling companions (mostly negative) and the natives they encountered (mostly positive). These particular monks took pains to not frighten, hurt or take advantage of the natives, as they passionately wanted them to convert to Christianity. The encounters were interesting and varied from fear to hostility to open and receptive. This gives an excellent perspective on what it was like to travel back then. They did not make their goal of Monterey, California, having no idea what the physical obstacles would be when they set out.
Due to the repetitiveness, and lack of personal knowledge of the area involved, I skimmed a lot, but read the bits like encounters with natives, and eating horses to avoid starving, and the various plants (bamboo!? I hadn't realized there was any native in the Americas, let alone that the Spaniards of that time, 1776 would know it by that name) that they found along the way.
The translators and editors added lots of footnotes. Some to explain the culture and times, most to tell the modern names of the physical areas traveled over.
Sorry, that kind of turned into my review.
Please, any comments about the monks, their beliefs and their goals with the natives should be directed to my personal page if desired, so as to avoid the topic in the pub. Thanks.
Finished reading Don't Just Sit There by Katy Bowman. If you are thinking about setting up a standing station at work, read this first. She helps us understand that going from sitting all day to simply standing all day is a sure way to injure yourself, and that standing is no better (well, a little better) than sitting if you are only in one position all day. The key is to work movement into your day. That may mean micro-movements when you are stuck in front of the screen, or walking when you are on the phone, and stretches on your breaks.
I worked in the garden and kitchen this weekend instead of reading, because it was beautiful weather and I couldn't sit inside. The weather reports now say we are in for another week of rain, so maybe more reading will happen.
Thought I would start Three Men in a Boat, which I have on my tablet. Think I'm due for a Shakespeare as well, but not sure which one. A comedy. Have to look in my collection and see what one is next.
When I worked from home I transitioned to a standing/sitting/pacing situation. I'd alternate during the day and usually when I was on the phone I'd walk around the room. It worked pretty well and my back was a little better than when I was in a cube farm and sat basically all day. I hope you can get this into your day job.
Am jealous of your weather. It's still cold with a lot of snow on the ground here.
>200 Bookmarque: We had 2 days of paradise weather, but will be in the gloom again for another week. Still, it's April, so one has hope. I know that when we are done with our rainy spells, the oven heat will descend, so I am careful to avoid complaining about the rain. Sort of.
I am able to have a standing work station, my boss even had some of the necessary equipment at home and brought them in for me. One thing I will set up this week is a cobblestone mat/tray thingy to stand on and walk on. Not sure how that will go over. Everyone thinks I'm loco anyway, so I do like to meet their expectations. The other day was so dark and gloomy I had to put on a Harry Belafonte station. Of course you can't have that without dancing, so people were entertained.
March and April can be cruel months. It's snowing a little bit right now.
>199 MrsLee: I've seen some work environments where there were no chairs, the employees had to stand all day, usually in one place. I wouldn't last long there. I did my time with fast food and waitressing, and while we rarely sat, we rarely stood still either!
In my current work situation I do sit a bit, but I also have to walk over to another area a couple times a day. It's about a 7 minute walk one way, so it gives me a good stretch of the legs.
>199 MrsLee: I look forward to reading what you think about Three Men in a Boat! I have a four-book series I plan to read after my current book, but then that’s next on my list.
Othello will probably follow it, but I may rearrange things depending on how the timing works out. I’d like to start Othello on a Friday or a Saturday so I have the time and motivation to watch an adaptation immediately afterward. I regretted finishing Macbeth on a weekday last year because it took me weeks to get around to watching the adaptation.
>201 MrsLee: Living up to one's reputation can be very rewarding ;-)
Rather loco than a bore, and who can stand still when Harry Belafonte's on the airwaves?!?!?!
>207 littlegeek: I am very much enjoying it, but finding that I don't want to read more than a chapter or two at a time. I recommended it to my nephew because at Christmas he told us a joke that went on for hours because of all the sideroads it took. This reminds me of that joke.
Finished Three Men in a Boat (to say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome. I love this book. I want a hardcover version so that I may become intimate with it, underlining, writing thoughts in it, flipping the pages back and forth. I don't feel that way with many books, but this one, yes. I was chuckling throughout, yet there were many poignant passages as well. The author spoofs the Victorian prose, and yet, even the spoof can be lyrical. Most of the time, I was hard put to remember that I was reading a book which had been written in 1889, then a comment or passage would bring it to mind in an abrupt fashion. I love this book.
Began reading Illustrious Career and Heroic Deeds of Col. Roosevelt "The Intellectual Giant" by Jay Henry Mowbray last night. At least, I got through the title, which is actually much longer than I wrote here, and it doesn't play nice with touchstones. For the whole title, see post one in this thread. This is a book from my long-held TBR shelves, I feel no need to finish it if the rest of the book is written as the title. That the author is in love with (or paid well by) Theodore Roosevelt, I have no doubts, but I like some interesting facts along with a love-fest of idolatry. :)
>210 MrsLee: Hmmmz. Yes. Theodore Roosevelt went to East Africa, didn't he? Scuttlebut has it that this may have been a disaster for the local wildlife. I am not inspired to look for the book.
>211 hfglen: The full-color engravings in the book dealing with exotic wildlife play fast and loose with where animals are actually found. In the African animals picture, there is a kangaroo, which I believe are only found in zoos in the African continent. I'm not zoologically educated enough to tell about the one with birds, but there is a kiwi with lots of of other birds. Perhaps they are all from Australia though. The other drawings of animals from Africa, such as a lion jumping over a stockade, a rhinoceros and a hippopotamus are all labeled as "monsters" which he heroically shot. Three lions on his first day. :/
So far I am able to wade through much of the hype and idolatry. Theodore Rooseveldt was an interesting man, after all. I have only got to the point where he was elected as a representative at the age of 23, and I learned what a Knickerbocker is, which he was, in spades.
>213 GeorgiaDawn: This might be worth you trying it again, but the humor is very British, and not everyone enjoys that? So much of it is tongue-in-cheek, but a lot of the prose may not read that way if you haven't read a lot of other literature from that era. Even though it is full of humor, there were many passages I wanted to underline because they resonated with me.
>215 catzteach: It would if I were in the book club! To my mind there is a lot for discussion, especially if the group were familiar with older writing styles, and the manners/habits of upperclass young men of that day in England. Hard to say for sure not knowing the members.
>218 MrsLee: Ha! I wish you were in my book club! They’ve liked the books I’ve chosen so ... I think I’ll recommend it.
I skimmed the rest of the book on Theodore Roosevelt, enjoyed the photos, looked skeptically at the engravings, and set the book aside as an antique which I may keep for its interest as an old book, but I want a biography on him that is a bit more even-handed. I really do admire Roosevelt, but I don't have that much enthusiasm for any man.
Barely began The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. One of my ebooks, which I can read at work when it is slow.
I am very much enjoying The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, and in fact, it took all of my adult self control to put it down and go to bed at a reasonable time last night. Not because it is a gripping thriller, but only because I like being there with the characters and want to see them work life out.
I also learned another word which is confusing from here to across the pond. A character put a "flapjack" into his pocket. Huh? I could not imagine that, so I did a bit of Googling and found that a "flapjack" is what we would call a granola bar. I've only known it as a pancake.
>221 MrsLee: I liked that one too. I tagged it 'old fart' and would enjoy more of the same. A Man Called Ove and The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared qualify as such.
>221 MrsLee: Heh. One lives and learns. I have never heard of a flapjack as a pancake, but I wouldn't describe it as a granola bar either. The version that I am most familiar with is basically a shortbread base, but made with golden syrup or demarara sugar, not white sugar. Google does not appear to agree.
>221 MrsLee: >223 -pilgrim-: You learn something new every day. When my kids and I moved the the UK in 2006 we first encountered the "flapjack" as what we would have called a muesli bar in Oz (although Australian "muesli bars" are generally less bulky than UK "flapjacks"). I have never encountered a flapjack that is a shortbread base.
To me, flapjacks are basically oats, butter, sugar and golden syrup baked in a tray. Super easy to make and not nearly as healthy as granola bars :-)
Do you remember the thread (or threads) from ages ago were we posted pictures and the other told what they'd call the thing pictured? I definitely remember one for paprika/bell pepper/sweet pepper...
Guess it would work the other way around, too - word "flapjack" and then see who posted what picture :D
Finished the Arthur Pepper book last night. It wasn't what I was expecting at all. I thought it would be silly, or fantasy, but instead it was a charming and thoughtful exploration of the effect we have (for better or worse) on those nearest and dearest to us when we aren't even trying. Pretty good stuff, and while not exactly upbeat, not depressing, either.
Next book up, pulled off of the TBR shelf that I am trying to eliminate, The Mockery Bird by Gerald Durrell.
Sadly, The Mockery Bird wasn't doing it for me. I ended up skimming the story to confirm my suspicions, and gladly put it aside. Sad, because the dedication inside says, "This is for Lee."
I've begun Mandala by Pearl S. Buck. I like it better, but had to put it down last night and watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel last night.
Started reading Nearly Nero by Loren D. Estleman yesterday at work. It has been talked about in the Nero Wolfe/Rex Stout group here on LT. This is a story written in honor of Wolfe about a character who is trying to mimic the great detective. I've only read the intro so far, so I can't say whether I like it or not. The author wrote the Introduction to Fer de Lance when the books were republished in paperback form in the 1990s.
I am still reading Mandala, but it is thick and clunky and not easy to carry back and forth to work, so I decided to start a book on my tablet as well. Mandala seems a bit derivative. Is that the right word? I feel as though I have met all the characters and most of the plot in some of the novels Pearl S. Buck wrote about China. Still interesting, because of the setting, although I find myself impatient at some of the navel gazing a couple of the characters indulge in. I suppose with a title like "Mandala" one should expect some navel gazing, else how would they sort out their lives to find completeness and self-unity? Essentially, I am an impatient woman at the moment. Physician, heal thyself. :)
I had a dream the other night where one character kept exclaiming at odd moments, "Who the Hell is Lee!?" lol
Finished Mandala. So disappointing.
I am enjoying the Nearly Nero book though. It is great fanfic.
Not sure which book I will pull out of the darkness of the shelf which will be no more next. I will be busy today plucking elderflower blossoms to make a new batch of syrup, so will probably be watching TV while I do that. The Green Book is available to rent on Prime, so that is on the list.
The Gypsies, Wanderers in Time by Katherine Esty is the next book from my buried shelf to read, but I just remembered that we will be staying at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, in the Herman Melville room, when we go to Newport, Oregon. I am also going to start Billy Budd and Other Tales by Herman Melville, to get in the spirit of things.
>232 MrsLee: when are you going to be at the Sylvia? I’ll be there in June! We get the Emily Dickensen room.
>233 catzteach: Lovely! We will be there for Mother's Day weekend. I'm excited, never been as far as Newport before, at least on the coast.
I finished Nearly Nero. By the last stories, I was enjoying them almost as much as the Nero Wolfe tales. That is high praise indeed. One may even say, satisfactory.
>232 MrsLee: The Katherine Esty book that you mention has piqued my interest; could you say a little more about it please?
>236 -pilgrim-: I am only to chapter four. It is a nonfiction she wrote about Gypsies. So far it has proven very interesting. She talks about the various mythologies of their origins, and now she is getting down to what science has been able to prove through blood typing and language (science up to the 1970s when this was written). So far, it seems that their origin was India, and by the various words Romani has picked up through the centuries, scientists have been able to determine where they traveled, etc.
I'm not sure where the book came from. I must have picked it up at a library sale or some such. It was an old library book, possibly intended for juveniles, simply written, but not simple. Does that make sense? It is the type of book I would have given my kids to read because it isn't writing down to anyone, but it doesn't go on and on like a textbook, either.
>236 -pilgrim-: Those sound more appealing than a granola bar. Granola bars are yuck.
>237 MrsLee: They are yummy. They would be comfort food for my wife and some of the children. I am known to enjoy one myself on occasion.
>234 MrsLee: I love Newport. Nye Beach, the area of Newport where the hotel is, is super cute. There is a really yummy Irish Pub. And Cafe Mundo is fabulous! The beach is flat and easily accessible. Too bad we aren’t there at the same time.
>239 catzteach: It is too bad. The Sylvia Beach Hotel would be a perfect location for a Green Dragon meetup! Hmmm, maybe I should leave you a secret message in the library. I would make it a treasure hunt, but it would be a shame if someone found one or more of the clues and removed them.
I began my project last night, which I had thought to save for retirement. Then I realized that I might not retire for 10 or more years and who knows what life will serve between then and now. Also, this project will require lots of research, and therein lies the fun. My plan is to pick one of my ancestors (I will do more than one, but one at a time) and learn as much as I can about the place and times they lived in, then write a short fictional tale about them. These tales are not for publication, but for my own family albums. For me, mostly.
So last night I picked Bartholomew de la Hele. I do not have his date of birth, death or who he was married to (I am assuming he was because there was a son). He was born in Bradninch, North Devon, England. His son, Roger, Lord of Hele, was born in Hele, England. The history I have says he lived during the reign of Henry II, which was 1154 - 1189.
I spent the evening reading a brief summary of Henry II (Wikipedia) to find other topics to research. Three pages so far. This was perhaps during the time of Anarchy, when Stephen of Blois was fighting against Empress Maude (who seems also to be Matilda, mother of Henry II), so, during the time the Cadfael books center on. Also, Henry's careless words done in Thomas Becket, so, Murder in the Cathedral. Since Henry's sons, Richard and John were kings of England, does that mean this is also the time of Robin Hood?
Next plan is to find some good maps to learn about the area and what has gone on there in Devon over time. I plan to read the histories in my own house first, then from there, find other histories I need to read. I can't be sure whether Hele, England was in Stephen or Maude's control, if Henry II hunted there, etc. I do wonder that Bartholomew was not known as "Lord" but his son was. So I need to learn about how that happened. I have some vague ideas, but there is so much I don't know.
I foresee this research taking some time, and that is fine with me, because the fun is in the hunting out interesting facts and how they might tie in to my family, if only in my imagination. :)
>240 MrsLee: Depends on how long Roger lived. But Robin Hood lived quite a long way (especially if your fastest transport was a fleetfooted horse) from Devon. I'm sure there's Devonian folklore that you'll find interesting and that may shed light on the period.
>241 hfglen: Yes, this is why I need a good map in front of me. Very unfamiliar with regions of England, their topography and geography. It's not that I know nothing, having read so much, I have ideas, but they won't stick in my brain until I have a map in front of me to study the whole. Little bits on a computer screen are unsatisfactory. Will go digging for my Atlas tonight to see if it will help. In my head, Devon is rolling hills and pasture, very calm. I will enjoy finding out what it really is/was.
by the way, new thread will begin when I hit 250 posts, so soon I hope.
>240 MrsLee: Ha! That would be fun. It reminds me of two things: one, when my friend was over at my apartment for a small gathering. She left tiny smiley faces all over the apartment. My roommates and I were finding them weeks later. We'd move the soap dish and there'd be one under it. Always made me smile. And, two, one time when I visited mom and dad, dad hid a pair of stuffed eyeballs in my suitcase (they were off some dog toy). When I got home and unpacked, I found them. This started a little tradition of me hiding them when I visited and him finding them and hiding them when I went back. I still have them. :)
Your research project sounds awesome! I'm impressed you know your ancestors that far back. I don't even know the names of my great-grandparents.
>242 MrsLee: We'll have to send Sakerfalcon to Stanford's of Long Acre (or, when I was at Kew, any halfway decent W.H. Smith) for the relevant 1:250 000 and 1:50 000 Ordnance Survey maps for you. I have an idea there's also a 1:25 000 tourist map of Dartmoor (or Bodmin Moor?) that might be useful as well.
>240 MrsLee: Robin Hood is set during the time of King John, who was regent while Richard I, aka Richard Lionheart or Richard Cœur de Lion, was off crusading. They were both sons of Henry II, whose reign ended the Anarchy.
I'm currently listening, on and off, to a book about the Knights of the Temple (which is kind of entertaining, but not that good, imho), and has spent some 40 hours in total on three lecture series on the European Middle Ages (plan to veer off towards the Ottomans, after) which could explain me knowing these things at the moment.
I fully expect to forget most of the details as I start to learn other things ;-)
I found this book - The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy very helpful for me to understand the ins and outs of different kings and queens. It's out of print, but I got one used a while back. Comprehensive and very detailed.
used starting around $4 on Amazon.
Robin Hood firmly dates from the period when Richard I was away fighting the Crusades (a ten year period). Some versions have him raising money for the ransom collected by Blondell to free Richard from his captivity in Auztria; others have him rrturning to the Holy Land in Richard's entourage afterwards, to expiate his sins. (I was very interested in English legends in my youth, and collected a large range of material on the subject.)
You might be interested in the famous outlaws of the preceding generation: Adam Bell, William of Cloudesley and Clym of the Clough. There were some rousing ballads about them too, although they hale from further north.
Robin Hood firmly dates from the (ten year) period when Richard I was away fighting the Crusades. Some versions have him raising money for the ransom collected by Blondell to free Richard from his captivity in Austria. Some include Robin then following Richard on his return to the Holy Land, to expiate his sins.
A pilgrimage was a legally effective way of getting a sentence of outlawry reversed in those days.
For some famous outlaws of the preceding generation (and therefore more contemporary with your ancestor), you might look into Adam Bell (mentioned by Shakespeare), William of Cloudesley and Clym of the Clough (although they hale from further north).
(A few years back, I was very interested in researching the historicity of Robin Hood. I can still remember a certain amount of it...)
>243 catzteach: My dad did something similar with smiley face stickers back in the day. We were still finding them 10 years after he did it! :)
Almost all the research on our family lines has been done by others, my grandmother, a great-aunt, my brother. I'm aware of all the pitfalls in tracing one's family history, but I don't worry about it. For me, the project is more about having a connection to history than trying to find a "star" in our family line. The overwhelming majority of my family seem to have been farmers or teachers, and that suits me well.
>244 hfglen: I may get to that, but for now, I'm using my world atlas and a book of historical maps which my mother had on her shelves. Haven't cracked that open yet, but I did get a better sense of where Hele and Bradninch, England are.
Last night I read a bit of the history of those towns, and learned that my ancestor (Roger) was a second son and the first son is the one who stayed in Bradninch. Then the first son, and his heir (a daughter) died, so the title came to my ancestor, but the original manor went to the daughter's husband's family.
I also learned that one of the Barons of Bradninch was one of the four who killed Thomas Becket! Not in my family line thankfully. That would grieve me. I guess there was a group of manors in the Bradninch area which now falls under the Duke of Cornwall's control, since about the 1300s.
What fascinates me in reading these things, is that the reason becomes clearer for the name/title changes in my barebones genealogy, and the places people were born/lived in. Pretty sure my story will center around the Thomas Beckett murder, since my family member was a close neighbor, underlord? of one of the perpetrators. I'm still gathering the basic facts of the area though.
I found WikiTree late last night, and some great info there, but sadly it was my bedtime as I have to work today. Sigh.
>245 Busifer:, >247 -pilgrim-: & >248 -pilgrim-: Thank you, yes, after studying the maps, I see that Robin Hood lore is unlikely. I will follow the links though for fun.
>246 Bookmarque: Thanks for that, I will put it on my list!
>244 hfglen: OS maps are the best! I remember being extremely disappointed that the equivalent US maps aren't to the same standard. My then husband said that the US was too big to map in that detail for everyday usage, which I thought was a feeble excuse.
Sorry about the double post. My phone is being weird both about wiping the screen randomly when typing, and being slow to refresh; I mistook a slow refresh for a delete.
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