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Ellen seeks balance in 2019 - Thread 3

This is a continuation of the topic Ellen seeks balance in 2019 - Thread 2.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Feb 6, 10:44pm Top

Photograph by NITIN VAYAS, 2017 National Geographic

Greetings all! I'm Ellen, a university administrator living in Washington state with my partner Prudence (aka P) and my beloved elderly cat, Abby. I've spent the last 25 years or so in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.). I'm a handful of years away from retirement and looking forward to it more than I had expected. I love wine, milk chocolate, and ginger snaps. And popcorn. And salad (really!).

I'm a runner and walker (around town or in the woods), collector of bookmarks, and lover of books. 2019 will be my 9th year as a member of the 75ers (this month is my 8th Thingaversary!) and it is my most beloved on-line community. I try to read widely but my go-to genres are literary fiction and mysteries. LT has expanded my reading horizons more than I could ever have imagined. And, as Jim says in his description of this group, "...we care less about the numbers than we do about the exchange of book info and the community of readers." Yes.

I'm participating in a few challenges this year:
I''ll dip into the American Authors Challenge now and then as well as the Nonfiction Challenge.

I'm also participating in Kim's group read of These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore over the first four months of the year.

I love nothing so much as a LibraryThing meet-up and I hope to manage at least a couple of them in 2019.

Edited: Feb 6, 10:47pm Top

Not my cat but I do love this photo. It illustrates three of my favorite things.

Edited: Feb 6, 10:47pm Top

My Rating Scale:

= Breathtaking. Maybe a masterpiece.
= Excellent! Among my favorites of the year.
= A great read; truly enjoyable.
= So good. I'm glad I read this.
= A solid read. Generally recommended.
= This was an okay read.
= Meh. Pretty much a waste of time.
= Nearly no redeeming qualities. Really rather bad.
= Among the worst books I've ever read.

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

Edited: Feb 17, 5:22pm Top

1. Author uses middle name or middle initial
2. Debut novel ~ The Marauders by Tom Cooper
3. Book about/featuring siblings ~ True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
4. Read a book bullet (meaning another LT member inspired you to read it)
5. Book mentioned in another book you have read
6. Topic or character related to medicine/health
7. Animal on cover/in title/plays a significant role
~ The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
8. Book with an artistic character
9. Eastern European author or setting

10. Children’s/YA book ~ The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
11. Alliterative title
12. Part of a series ~ Death in a Darkening Mist by Iona Whishaw
13. Read a CAT ~ The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (January RandomCAT)
14. Prize-winning book ~ The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens ~ 1970 Booker Prize winner
15. Weather (title contains a weather word, or book involves/centers around a weather event)
16. Short stories or essays ~ Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
17. Book made into a movie ~ Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
18. Fairy tale (classic or reworked)
19. Graphic novel

20. Main title has 6 or more words ~ A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
21. Cover has at least two human figures ~ Last Friends by Jane Gardam
22. Book in translation ~ Blessed are Those Who Thirst by Anne Holt
23. Food-related title or topic ~ The Proof of the Honey by Salwa Al Neimi
24. Book has an LT rating of 4.0 or more ~ Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
25. Title contains a homophone word ~ Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Edited: Feb 17, 5:20pm Top


January: Your name in print ~ The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
February: We need a break! ~ Hotel Brasil by Frei Betto
March = Brexit Madness ~ Faithful Place by Tana French
April =
May =
June =
July =
August =
September =
October =
November =
December =

Edited: Feb 17, 5:20pm Top

SeriesCAT ~ Hoping to whittle away on my TBR shelves

January: Series in translation ~ Blessed Are Those Who Thirst by Anne Holt, Anne Bruce (Translator)
February: YA/Children's ~ The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
March: Series by a favorite author ~ Faithful Place by Tana French
April: Series You've Been Meaning to Get Back To
May: Newest book in a favorite series
June: Series that are definitely complete
July: Genre: fantasy
August: Series set in a country/region where you do not live (hosted by me!)
September: Genre: Mystery
October: Historical Series
November: Series with a female protagonist
December: Series that's new to you

Edited: Feb 17, 5:02pm Top

Personal Reading Challenge: Every winner of the Booker Prize since its inception in 1969

1969: P. H. Newby, Something to Answer For
1970: Bernice Rubens, The Elected Member
1970: J. G. Farrell, Troubles (awarded in 2010 as the Lost Man Booker Prize)
1971: V. S. Naipaul, In a Free State
1972: John Berger, G.
1973: J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
1974: Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist ... and Stanley Middleton, Holiday
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1976: David Storey, Saville
1977: Paul Scott, Staying On
1978: Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea
1979: Penelope Fitzgerald, Offshore
1980: William Golding, Rites of Passage
1981: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
1982: Thomas Keneally, Schindler's Ark
1983: J. M. Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K
1984: Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1985: Keri Hulme, The Bone People
1986: Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1987: Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
1988: Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1989: Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
1990: A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance
1991: Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1992: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient ... and Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
1993: Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1994: James Kelman, How late it was, how late
1995: Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
1996: Graham Swift, Last Orders
1997: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
1998: Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
1999: J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace
2000: Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
2001: Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang
2002: Yann Martel, Life of Pi
2003: DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
2004: Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
2005: John Banville, The Sea
2006: Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering
2008: Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
2009: Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
2010: Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
2011: Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
2012: Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
2013: Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
2014: Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
2015: Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
2016: Paul Beatty, The Sellout
2017: George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
2018: Anna Burns, Milkman

Edited: Feb 7, 11:17pm Top

Plans for 2019

January - April
These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore with Kim and others.

Last Friends with Karen (karenmarie), Bill, and others?

The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker with Kim, Megan
The Sympathizer with Kim and Beth
AAC - Jon Clinch

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee with Beth and Kim


I'm not sure what else I will do but I'll be hoping to break the century mark (100 books completed).

Edited: Feb 7, 11:19pm Top

Faulkner House Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

Edited: Feb 7, 11:19pm Top

Woman Reading on a Bench, with Cat and Dog by Carl Larsson

Edited: Feb 6, 10:58pm Top

Edited: Feb 6, 11:05pm Top

13. The Proof of the Honey by Salwa Al Neimi

Imagine an erotic book cover image here.

This short novel, translated from the Arabic by Carol Perkins, is an exploration of the power of women's sexuality, especially in the context of Arabic culture. It is a meditation on sensuality, self-determination, and unabashed desire. And it barely moved me. There were moments of brilliance, but as a self-proclaimed aficionado of the erotic, the narrator fell so far short of, well, of being erotic. I admit that there are also layers: even as she claims to live for pleasure and to eschew notions of loyalty or faithfulness, even as she proclaims that women are by nature polyamorous, she also describes a passion for one of her lovers, known as The Thinker, a desire so fraught with devotion and ardor that the end of the relationship leaves her feeling empty and lost. Surely the lady doth protest too much. And I would be fine with that; in fact, a thoughtful exploration of the tension between intense attachment to a love object and the inevitable desire for others along the way -- or even an exploration of the perhaps deceptive appeal of a life of unfettered and unashamed sex with a variety of lovely others -- any of that would have been a worthy endeavor. But I'm just saying that this wasn't erotica. It was what I describe here, with one or two not-very-affecting sex scenes along the way.

Goodness, I feel like I'm being terribly harsh.

Feb 6, 11:03pm Top

Currently reading:
True Story of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

. . .

Currently listening:
nothing going

. . .

On my kindle:
These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

Feb 6, 11:05pm Top

>14 EBT1002: A dry, abrasive example of erotica. How not enjoyable that is.

Feb 6, 11:07pm Top

>16 richardderus: Exactly. I mean, if I'm going to feel somewhat sheepish reading a book on the plane, wondering if anyone can see - and what they think of - the cover, I should at least be enjoying myself!

Edited: Feb 6, 11:18pm Top

You took my advice!! Happy new thread, Ellen.

>14 EBT1002: Erotica is no good unless it is ... erotic! LOL

>10 EBT1002: I also have this list on my thread and I thought you wanted it on a few reads. Any of these? Yes?

March--The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker with Ellen, Megan
March--The Sympathizer with Twin and Ellen
June--Pachinko With Twin and Ellen

Feb 6, 11:36pm Top

Happy New Thread, Ellen!

New Orleans: Mulate’s for great Cajun food, and Cafe du Mond for beignets. There’s usually top notch street jazz outside the latter, which in large part is open air.

Feb 7, 12:22am Top

Happy new thread, Ellen. Enjoy New Orleans. I've never been, but my nephew (and godson) is moving there in the spring, so I suspect a visit is in order.

Feb 7, 1:08am Top

>18 Berly: yes, Ellen definitely wants to read The Sympathizer and Pachinko. Two of my favorite reads from the last couple of years.

And happy new thread, Ellen!

Feb 7, 5:33am Top

>12 EBT1002: I like that Larson. How lovely to lay and read there.

Glad you are enjoying New Orleans Ellen. It's a place I'd love to visit sometime. Have you read Poppy Z Brite's Lost Souls? great vampire novel set there.

Had to look up 'beignets', yum. Still haven't tried oysters, slimy food is not my thing, but I guess I should try them once.

I hope your call throws up some useful and interesting information.

Glad you have found a way to deal with your boss's Jackyle and Hyde behaviours for the time being.

Enjoy the rest of your NOLA visit Ellen.

Feb 7, 8:00am Top

Good luck with your call today, Ellen!!

Feb 7, 8:35am Top

Happy new thread! I hope you enjoy NOLA. I haven't been there in a couple of decades - but I've always enjoyed going, especially when we honeymooned there 34 years ago. 😀

Feb 7, 9:11am Top

Sweet Thursday, Ellen. Happy New Thread! I hope your week is going well. I plan on reading Last Friends as soon as I finish my Mitchell novel.

Feb 7, 9:45am Top

>18 Berly: I will almost always take your advice, Kim. xo

And thank you for reminding me of some shared reads in which I had expressed interest! I have added them to >10 EBT1002: which I will try to do better to keep updated (you know, as I enthusiastically say "oh, I'll join you!"). Otherwise, I forget.

>19 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I have been to Cafe du Mond for beignets before and I may swing by there this trip as well. No where else on earth can you get one of those beignets.

>20 BLBera: Hi Beth. Yes, it does sound like a visit to New Orleans will be in your future. This is my fourth (I think) visit to the city and I only wish I were going to have more free time.

>21 banjo123: Hi Rhonda. You cracked me up. I remember your positive comments about both The Sympathizer and Pachinko. I own both of them so I'm glad Kim reminded me of plans for shared reads!

>22 Caroline_McElwee: Hi Caroline. I have not read Poppy Z Brite's Lost Souls but I'll look into it. I read some Anne Rice way back. I still say her first, Interview with the Vampire, is excellent. I also rather liked Lasher but other works by her didn't live up to the ability she demonstrated with IwtV, especially.

Oysters are not really my thing, either, but the char-broiled one I had last night was quite tasty. Of course, from my perspective, it's the butter and parmesan that make them yummy.

Beignets, on the other hand.... They are one of the foods of the gods.

I'll be interested to see how I feel after today's phone call. I imagine it will set me thinking.

Feb 7, 9:47am Top

>23 lauralkeet: Thanks Laura!

>24 drneutron: So cool that you honeymooned in NOLA all those years ago, Jim. It's a lively and romantic city. My nephew who lives here says that eating is pretty much THE thing to do here. I love eating but I'm trying to be conscious about that aspect of my life, so I'll be making choices. I am up now, sipping on my not-strong-enough room coffee, and getting myself ready for lots of walking.

>25 msf59: Hi Mark! I'll be interested in how you like Last Friends. Gardam is such a wonderful writer.

Feb 7, 9:57am Top

Okay, so Crescent City Books is right around the corner!!! from my hotel. They open at 10:00am so I will go there this morning, back here to my room for my noon phone call, and then spend the afternoon walking around more of the city. I am feeling less brave than I expected, I admit. Not about anything bad happening, but just about finding my way around, riding the streetcar, etc. I'll get over it. ;-)

Feb 7, 10:01am Top

And here are the directions for my ten-minute walk to Pirate Alley and Faulkner House Books:

Head southeast on Canal Street (two blocks).
Turn left onto Royal Street (6+ blocks).
Turn right onto Pirate Alley. There it is.

Okay, my courage is returning. I can possibly do both of these before my noon phone call.

Feb 7, 10:03am Top

>28 EBT1002: Uh oh. I'd best let P know to expect a packing crate to be delivered soon....

So hoping for a deeply productive phone call today. Crossing whatever still crosses.

Feb 7, 10:16am Top

And this afternoon I could walk (about 2 miles) to the Garden District and the Garden District Book shop, but I can also take the trolley, which I know I "should" do....

Okay, enough googling. Time to shower and get out there in search of food. All the bookshops open at 10:00.

Feb 7, 10:17am Top

>30 richardderus: LOL, Richard. I cannot check my bag on my return trip (it's actually cheaper and easier to just not get on the second leg of my flight so as to end up in Seattle, rather than Pullman, so I can hang out with P and family) so that will limit my purchases. On the other hand, my suitcase is rather sparsely filled for this brief jaunt to a warm climate. Heh.

Thanks for crossing whatever still crosses. :-D

Feb 7, 10:24am Top

>28 EBT1002: your bravery will return Ellen, it's not you, it's your hormones. I shake my head at myself when I get like that, feeling like I can't do things I've done standing on my head (not literally) for years.

Ooo, bookshops. I look forward to hearing your snaffles.

I liked Rice's Interview with the Vampire, and even liked the film. But had heard she was uneven. I do have The Vampire Armand in the tbr mountain, as I rather liked him, or, ahem, perhaps him in the guise of Antonio Banderas (*sigh*).

Edited: Feb 7, 11:22am Top

I hope you definitely decided on the streetcar rather than walking the two miles to the one in the Garden District. It will be far safer. I'm fortunate that one of my college roommates lived in a New Orleans suburb and that I made numerous trips with her to the Crescent City. I learned my away then, and now the city is like an old friend.

Edited: Feb 7, 5:33pm Top

I have to quickly get ready for the evening opening session (it does include dinner, making the red beans and rice I had about two hours ago perhaps a bad idea), but I just wanted to say --- what a GREAT DAY I just had!! I went to three bookstores about which I will warble loudly later. I walked around the garden district. I had a delicious late lunch of red beans and rice with smoked sausage. I also had an interesting conversation with the search firm which gave me much to think about and, honestly, has me leaning against throwing my hat in the ring. But for some very good reasons.

More later!

Feb 7, 5:34pm Top

>35 EBT1002: Setting my cushion down and trying to be patient Ellen. I'm glad you had such a delightful day.

Feb 7, 5:36pm Top

Ellen, last night on Jeopardy, there was a whole category on independent bookstores. Faulkner's was mentioned. As soon as Portland was mentioned, I knew the answer would be Powell's. :-)

Feb 7, 5:58pm Top

How could I have forgotten red beans and rice with sausage! Glad you found them even w/o our help.
I must confess, I never ate an oyster till my son and husband ordered them in NO. Mussels, oysters, clams, They all seemed icky to me. But the aroma of garlic and butter ooooo an dipping bread in the sauce was more than I could bear, so I broke down and tried them and there is no going back :oD

Looking forward to reading about your day!

Feb 7, 6:39pm Top

>35 EBT1002: Like Caroline, trying to be patient and glad you had a great day!

Feb 7, 6:48pm Top

Jambalaya!! Oh how I love the food there. And muffalettas! Oh my yes.

Eager to hear what's what when you're possessed of time and space, Doctor Who.

Feb 7, 7:39pm Top

>35 EBT1002: So glad you had such an enjoyable day, Ellen! Bookstores and purchases. Here is where I confess I don't like any seafood at all, despite living on the coast where oysters, clams etc etc are plentiful. I blame it on being born on the prairies. ;-) It's just not in my genes, I guess.

Feb 7, 9:39pm Top

>33 Caroline_McElwee: My bravery did return, Caroline! I wandered around the French Quarter this morning, got off Bourbon Street and found Royal, instead. There are some lovely art galleries and "vintage" jewelry stores along there. And, of course, Pirate Alley with the Faulkner House Books....

In one of the bookshops I wandered through today, they were talking with a patron about Anne Rice. New Orleans is so very much about place so all bookshops have at least a section on local interest. I heard the bookshop proprietor saying that The Witching Hour is worth reading, partly because it gives such a rich sense of the garden district, and I think they mentioned one other (Queen of the Damned?). I read The Witching Hour years ago and I think I liked it although it was super long. They also said she has two "trilogies" that she has not yet finished -- and I heard one of them saying that her "Jesus trilogy" - not yet finished - is actually quite good. I assume they meant Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana and whatever the third installment is going to be. I know nothing about these. Still, I recommend Interview with the Vampire to anyone. Beyond that, I think her work is definitely uneven.

And, um, yes to Antonio Banderas as Vampire Lestat. :-)

Feb 7, 9:46pm Top

>34 thornton37814: I did ride the streetcar to the garden district, Lori, and I rode it back, too. I think I would have been fine making that walk in the middle of the day (a couple of sketchy sections, to be sure) but it was probably best that I took the streetcar until I feel more familiar with the territory. I did walk around the garden district and may return to it on Saturday. Certainly St. Charles Street is well-known and beautiful but it was wonderful to get onto some of the side streets -- Chestnut and Seventh and Eighth. What beautiful homes! The Magnolias are in bloom -- just past peak -- and the smell was so lovely.

>36 Caroline_McElwee: The whole story is about to be told, Caroline. :-)

>37 jessibud2: Shelley! I love that! And I have to say that I would recommend Faulkner House Books, hands down, over so many bookstores I have meandered through. More in a moment but it was special. And I chuckled - Powell's would be the only response to a Jeopardy question answer about a bookstore in Portland.

>38 Carmenere: The red beans and rice were pretty yummy, Lynda. And the meal they served us tonight was pretty good, although not so good that I couldn't show restraint. The warm bourbon bread pudding with vanilla bean sauce was irresistible.

Feb 7, 9:51pm Top

>39 ronincats: Sit back, Roni, and I'll tell you about my day. (I hope I haven't hyped it too much!)

>40 richardderus: I had a muffaletta last time I was in NOLA, Richard. YUM. And so not on my eating plan. Of course, neither are red beans and rice with sausage, nor bourbon bread pudding with vanilla sauce, but, you know, we have to make choices.

>41 vancouverdeb: I think it's totally fine not to like seafood, Deb. I admit that there are lots of things that come out of the sea that I don't care for, but there are a few items I LOVE. Gulf shrimp is one of them. Growing up in central Florida, before it was ruined, we would sometimes go to this rustic restaurant over in Daytona Beach Shores (a very back-woods Florida area in those days) and eat at a restaurant that was right on the docks where the fishing and shrimping boats brought in their catches. I which I could remember the name of it; it was so plainly descriptive. Anyway, I remember as a kid ordering a half pound of steamed shrimp. They would come with cole slaw and a baked potato but it was the shrimp.... I would peel them and eat them and I was SO happy.

Edited: Feb 7, 10:14pm Top

This morning I wandered the French Quarter. I left Bourbon Street pretty quickly and walked along Royal Street instead. There were shops and galleries and little cafés. I picked up a bran muffin at Café Beignet (I know... but the beignets come in threes!) and munched on it while I walked along, looking for Pirate Alley so I could go to Faulkner House Books. Well, I missed it but I'm kind of glad I did. I ended up beyond the shops and into the residential section of the French Quarter. It felt like Old New Orleans. When I realized I had gone too far, I turned around. Along the way I went into the Martin Lawrence gallery that had art by Marc Chagall and Takashi Murakami and Pablo Picasso for sale. Wow.

Then I found Faulkner House Books. Oh my. This little bookstore is a gem. I had been in there only a few minutes and I commented to the guy working there that I have never seen so many beautiful editions of books - editions that reflect the beauty of the book as held object, as well as book as content. He said the owner is an avid reader and indeed tries to find beautiful editions of great books. The room I was standing in was, according to him, a room in which Faulkner lived and wrote.

I purchased a leather-bound copy of Persuasion, a lovely little collection of the poems of Edna St. Millay, and New Orleans Noir: The Classics. They have first editions of some of Faulkner's work, too. A few people came and went while I was there. One woman was looking for "a light read" because her husband has come down sick on their NOLA vacation. He did find something to recommend but "light" is not their forté.

Then I used google maps to find my way to Crescent City Books. There I petted Isabella, the 17-year-old bookstore cat (SO sweet!) and I wandered among the stacks. I was running out of time but I purchased a small-press book by a local writer, Rampart & Toulouse by Kristin Fouquet, and Empire of Sin by Gary Krist.

I came back to my room for my phone call with the search firm (more about that in a bit) and then out for more adventures. I hopped on the Green Streetcar toward the Garden District. There, my primary destination was Garden District Books. This is another little gem, a bit more mainstream than the first two but with a good local focus and a good diversity of reads. I purchased a copy of The Marauders by Tom Cooper, set in the swamps of Louisiana shortly after the BP Oil Spill disaster.

Based on a recommendation by the lady in Garden District Books, I walked to Magazine Street and found Joey K's Restaurant & Bar. I had an excellent plate of red beans and rice with smoked sausage. I started reading The Marauders while I ate (isn't that the height of luxury? -- to eat in a good restaurant with a good book for company!). The I walked back, slowly and meanderingly, through the garden district to the streetcar line. I had a long wait for the next trolley and my feet were hurting by now. I was glad to get back to the room for a brief rest before I had to attend the first session of the conference.

Feb 7, 10:13pm Top

Phone call update: I don't know that this is the right time for me to pursue this. It's complicated but I would actually risk a lot if I pursue it and don't get it. The primary issue is how quickly this transition would be after taking a new job, and the professional community is small.... I run the risk of damaging my reputation, etc. The search rep didn't say all that but we did talk about the position and the issue of how quick it is... she mentioned that I would need to be able to articulate why so soon (and I think I can do that) but it just got me thinking. And I'll keep thinking.

The conference is going to be worthwhile, I think, so that is good.

Feb 7, 10:31pm Top

>45 EBT1002: I'm glad you enjoyed the bookstores! Sounds like you found a good "local" place to enjoy red beans and rice!

Feb 7, 10:40pm Top

>47 thornton37814: Indeed I did, Lori!


The internet - or just LibraryThing - is moving very slowly now. I was making some rounds to various threads but I think it's time to read until sleep comes. I have an early morning and a full day tomorrow.

Happy Friday everyone!

Edited: Feb 7, 11:19pm Top

WOW! You are doing Nawlins properly! I applaud your good manners in buying a little something in every bookstore you visit, and you have found some great stuff.
The food! The food! I love shellfish; finny fish, not so much.
I'm also glad that the conference is going to be worth your time.
Again, I wish you well as you think about another possibility.

(I read The Twin that Kim mentioned a year or so ago and was intrigued.)

ETA: Nope. I read The Quiet Twin, not the Bakker, and was intrigued. Never mind.

Feb 7, 11:22pm Top

>48 EBT1002: I did feel compelled to buy at least one thing at each store, Peggy. I also bought a bookmark at Garden District Books. :-)

"I love shellfish; finny fish, not so much." Other than salmon and halibut, that is largely true of me, as well. I'll be interested to see what "gulf fish" my nephew grills for me tomorrow evening. As long as it's not too "fishy," I should be okay.

Feb 7, 11:51pm Top

It's not that I don't love New Orleans. I do. And my hotel window looks right out onto Bourbon Street. And it's Thursday night. It's not exactly peaceful....

Edited: Feb 8, 12:24am Top

New Orleans is known for its nightlife. And Bourbon Street? Ha! : )

Feb 8, 7:06am Top

Woot for having such a good day!! And I'm cheering you on, no matter what decision you make about the job.

Feb 8, 7:21am Top

You go, Ellen! Sounds like good things are happening both book and life-wise.

Feb 8, 7:40am Top

Hi Ellen! Your NO journey sounds quite wonderful. I love the bookstore crawl…

>42 EBT1002: I loved Interview with the Vampire, liked The Vampire Lestat, and lost interest in The Queen of the Damned. The first four of the series are still on my shelves, along with Violin and Servant of the Bones. I should probably cull them…

>44 EBT1002: Oysters and mussels are the only shellfish I won’t eat. I’m not even tempted by garlic and Parmesan cheese, but good for you for opening up a whole new (expensive) vista. Don’t like mackerel (oily) or sole (squishy) but love all other finny fish I've tried.

Feb 8, 8:32am Top

>45 EBT1002: Ooooh, thanks for taking us out for the day Ellen, I enjoyed that, and want to visit New Orleans even more now.

>46 EBT1002: I get a sense that in some way you are a little relieved that this prospect may not be worth parting with your hat for Ellen. It was certainly worth exploring, and continuing to think about a little more. The trouble with dream jobs is they are so tenuous, so fragile. The best dream jobs probably evolve from jobs that once didn't seem to be dreams.

Feb 8, 8:43am Top

Your day sounds great, Ellen. Thanks for sharing. I have definitely put NOLA on my bucket list.

I know you'll make a good decision regarding the job, Ellen.

I've never been a fan of vampires.

Feb 8, 9:25am Top

Great travelogue, Ellen. I've never been to NO, but I now have an idea of what I would do there. Sounds like a great trip, except for my waistline.

I liked The Vampire Lestat better than its predecessor, and that's saying a lot, but Queen of the Damned was a little too over the top for me, as I recall. All three read many years ago.

Your job considerations sound interesting. I can only say that I hope and wish that your current job problems ameliorate enough to make work more enjoyable, and you don't feel the need for difficult decisions.

Feb 8, 9:57am Top

Happy new thread,Ellen!

Feb 8, 10:25am Top

I loved hearing about your day, Ellen! There is something so empowering and exhilarating about being alone in a strange city and finding one's way. And using the bookstores as goals is simply inspired! Hope the conference is worthwhile and that you have some time to sort through your options for the future.

Feb 8, 2:51pm Top

>52 Berly: Yes, New Orleans is a lively city. The drumming settled down a bit and I slept well last night.

>53 scaifea: Thanks Amber. My feet were hurting today, not because of the walking but because of a fair amount of standing that I did. But then, today is all about sitting and listening to speakers (or, as I'm doing right now, catching up while sort of listening to the panel). I'm leaning against pursuing the job opportunity but I have a couple of weeks to think about it.

>54 alcottacre: Thanks Stacia!

Edited: Feb 8, 3:02pm Top

>55 karenmarie: My bookstore crawl was truly a delight, Karen. I'm curious to see what I do with my time tomorrow.

When it comes to seafood, I love shrimp and I love seafood stews. A good bouillabaisse with fish, shrimp, clams, etc.... yum.

>56 Caroline_McElwee: It's an amazing city, Caroline. I don't yet know but I'm thinking about looking for more ways to experience its history tomorrow ... I have wandered among the cemeteries before but maybe a museum or something.

I think you may be right about the sense of relief I'm feeling. One thing I talked with P about last night is that this potential job would be a step up -- and a significant increase in responsibility. The job I have now is a big one but that would be a really big one! I'm not sure that is the mental space I'm in at this point in my life and career. I love the work that I do and if I can hang in there for 4-7 more years, that will be good.

Feb 8, 3:09pm Top

>57 BLBera: Beth, how many vampires have you hung out with? (heh)

>58 ffortsa: New Orleans is definitely hard on the waistline and cholesterol count, Judy. I'm trying to be "good," but it is difficult. But I will say that the bookstores are pretty special. Of course, remember that I'm now living in a town with no good bookstore available to me. But even with that in mind, as one who has had regular access to marvelous bookstores in Portland and Seattle, the three I visited here were pretty awesome.

>59 figsfromthistle: Thanks figsfromthistle!

>60 vivians: I'm glad my little travelogue post was enjoyable to read, Vivian. I'm proud to have re-gained my courage to wander the city on my own. It does help to have a goal -- and what better goal than a bookstore or two (or three)!

The conference has been more valuable than I thought it might be. It hasn't been what I expected but it has been good nonetheless.

Feb 8, 3:11pm Top

After the last session ends, I'll be walking to the ferry and riding it across the Mississippi River, then walking just a few blocks to my nephew's house. A light (I hope) dinner, and then back to my hotel room for more reading. I'm very much enjoying my two current reads: The Marauders by Tom Cooper and True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey.

Feb 8, 3:56pm Top

Having such a good time walking around NO with you! Enjoy dinner and your books.

Feb 8, 4:26pm Top

>64 EBT1002: I started to read The True History of the Kelly Gang some years ago and was so distressed I put it down. Few books hit me that way. Let me know how you find it.

Feb 8, 8:14pm Top

You make New Orleans come to life for me, Ellen. We had a family vacation there in 1984. It wasn't the best place to take young children but the fair part of the trip was delightful. We also went to Mississippi and had some beach time on that trip. The kids picked up a lot of shells which we left on the counter in the bathroom where we were staying. We were awakened in the middle of the night to the creepiest screeching noises as the Hermit Crabs emerged partially from their borrowed "homes" and began to explore their new surroundings. We took them back to the ocean the next morning.

Feb 9, 12:42am Top

Great reports from N'Orleans, Ellen. You found bookstores that I hadn't heard of! We did get to Faulkner House and had the same reaction as you. It probably packs more enjoyment per square inch than any other store around.

Sounds like you're having a lovely trip there.

Feb 10, 4:11pm Top

Hi Ellen, happy new thread my dear, hope you are having a good weekend, sending love and hugs.

Edited: Feb 10, 4:27pm Top

Happy Sunday, Ellen. How did you survive the snowstorm? Was it bad by you? Fingers crossed. I am finishing up These Truths tomorrow. Lepore did a pretty amazing job with this one. I will also start Last Friends.

Feb 11, 10:13am Top

I'm hoping your travels home weren't derailed by the snowstorm! we're expecting one here tonight/tomorrow.

I've just started Tombland and am loving it (as I did the earlier ones in the series). And...I'm listening to the first volume in a Peter May trilogy called The Blackhouse. It takes place on the northern Scottish Isle of Lewis and now there's another destination to add to my Scotland wish list!

Feb 11, 1:16pm Top

I actually think I'd prefer a snowstorm to the flooding we're predicted to get. It was quite bad Wednesday night in our area. Now we're expected another 2 to 3 inches. At least we are not predicted to receive the 4-6 inches predicted for the state's western part.

Edited: Feb 11, 2:18pm Top


I barely got out of New Orleans with the Seattle Snow-mageddon, but I did. Then P and I left yesterday instead of today because there was a short window when driving over the passes and across the state would be relatively safe. In the last 24 hours, we've gotten about a foot of snow in Pullman, as well, so WSU was closed today. Yay! P and I just walked to the grocery store and back. I am going to call in for one work conference call, then I will make spaghetti sauce, do a couple loads of laundry, read, and catch up on LT.

I have stories to tell about our drive across the state yesterday (can you say TWO OWL SIGHTINGS?!?!?).

They are predicting another 4-7" in the next day or so.

Also, I read The Marauders: A Novel by Tom Cooper and, while it doesn't even register a failing grade on the Bechdel Test, it was a great romp through post-Katrina, post-BP oil spill Barataria in Louisiana. Delightful characters, almost none of them likable but several of them sympathetic, and a storytelling that kept me wanting to know what would happen next. Four stars.

More soon.

Feb 11, 2:26pm Top

Two owls! Cool!!

Feb 11, 5:25pm Top

>65 richardderus: Thanks Richard. I'm glad my adventures have translated into vicarious enjoyment for you and others!

>66 ffortsa: Hmm, Judy, that is ominous. I'm back into True History of the Kelly Gang now, having finished the thrilling The Marauders: A Novel. I'm only in "Parcel 3," so it's early yet. I'm impressed with the narrative voice so far.

>67 Donna828: "...awakened in the middle of the night to the creepiest screeching noises as the Hermit Crabs emerged partially from their borrowed "homes" and began to explore their new surroundings."
Yikes, Donna! That would be a memorable part of the trip, that's for sure!

>68 jnwelch: Joe, your comment that the Faulkner House Bookshop "...packs more enjoyment per square inch than any other store around" resonated perfectly for me. I did return there on Saturday morning and purchased just one more book (it was so hard to resist more!!). I picked up a copy of If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. I was tempted by Colum McCann's Letters to a Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice but in the end I decided that I would remember that one more easily (McCann being a familiar author) so I could find it another time.

>69 johnsimpson: Thanks so much, John!

Feb 11, 5:35pm Top

>70 msf59: Hi Mark. We are surviving the snow storm but it changed our travel plans! It prevented us from connecting with P's brother and sister-in-law who are in Tacoma, visiting from Palau. We had friends and family planning to convene in Tacoma (up from Olympia, down from Seattle) for dinner to celebrate a 70th birthday, a 40th wedding anniversary, and two other birthdays. None of it happened. Still, I will tell you about our slow trek across the state yesterday -- it included some amazing wildlife sightings!

I need to get back to These Truths; I haven't started Part II yet.

>71 vivians: Hi Vivian. As you can see from a couple of comments above, my travels were not completely derailed but they were made more complicated.


In New Orleans, we were all hoping we'd be able to get out (really, it was a matter of getting in to Seattle where they had 10" of snow!). The flight was delayed and we were waiting..... The pilot came out and got our attention -- and he said we had a small window for getting on our way. Essentially, Seattle had said, "if you get wheels up in the next 47 minutes, we'll be able to let you land. Otherwise, the flight is canceled." So he said we needed to board that plane as quickly and orderly as possible. He said "let's go to Seattle!" We all cheered and it was an amazing boarding process. The flight attendants were pretty funny. Once they got us all on board, the one on the speaker said "Okay, you know the drill, you're all grown ups -- tray tables up and locked into place, seat backs up, seat belts buckled, electronics on plane mode." We did get in the air and he made up some time on the way. He said he would try to make up some time by "taking some shortcuts." Um. Shortcuts? In the air? But whatever. I was so glad to land in Seattle. I was disappointed to miss friends and family on Sunday but heading home that day instead of waiting until today was the right call. Snoqualmie Pass got 23 inches of new snow overnight last night.


I loved The Blackhouse and the whole trilogy by Peter May!

Feb 11, 5:38pm Top

>72 thornton37814: Hoo boy, Lori, I wholeheartedly agree. Flooding is so terrible -- and dangerous.

We got about a foot of snow over the past day or so, and they are predicting another 4-7" tonight (hoping for another snow day). Then it's supposed to warm up, so we'll have some flooding issues, too. I just hope the basement in this new house of ours stays dry.

Stay safe, Lori. I hope the predictions turn out to be worse than the reality.

>74 drneutron: Yep, Jim, two owls. I guess I'd better tell about our drive across the state now. :-)

Edited: Feb 11, 5:51pm Top

So, P and I got on the road around 10am on Sunday, knowing we had a short window in which to get across Snoqualmie Pass and then across the state. In fact, the pass wasn't bad at all -- and it was beautiful! We stopped for lunch at our favorite Mexican place in Othello and it was snowing when we got back on the road. From there east, we're on a 2-lane highway and as we progressed, the snow increased and the evidence of plows having been there became less. We ended up behind a pretty timid driver going about 38-40 MPH (I'd have been comfortable at about 45-50 but it was probably for the best that we were behind him). It was so beautiful. The fields and hills were just covered with snow -- out the side windows of our car it was almost a white-out, not with snow in the air but because of the snow on the ground, you just couldn't see the contours of the land. It was funny, noticing how my eyes tried to adjust at times. My brain just couldn't make sense of the data coming to it from my visual apparatus.

The up-side of all this is that we were going slowly enough to really see wildlife along the way! Red-tailed hawks are a dime a dozen out here but I still love seeing them. We also saw a few Kestrels and one bird we think was a Western Harrier. We saw one pheasant, a few deer, a couple of bald eagles, lots of crows and ravens. We also saw a pair of coyotes hoofing it across the snowy tundra and later we saw a lone coyote cross the road ahead of us and then hustle himself up a steep hill. Very cool.

But the BEST part was the owls! We saw a Snowy Owl in flight!!!!!! And then we saw a smaller owl sitting on a fence post; we think it was a Short-eared Owl.

And we made it home safely. All in all, leaving Seattle early was worth it.

Short-eared Owl
They are diurnal and hang out in fields where they can hunt for rodents by day. They are medium-sized, about 15", and are often seen on fence posts.

Edited: Feb 11, 5:51pm Top

I'm so glad you got home before the snow hit. A foot of snow, that's quite a lot! So I'm also glad you were able to just hunker down today and stay warm & cozy. Hope you get your wish for tomorrow. 😀

ETA: just read your owl post, which went up while I was writing my message. Wow. Lucky you!

Edited: Feb 17, 5:31pm Top

>79 lauralkeet: Thanks Laura. The last time I saw this much snow, I was living in Wisconsin.

I hope I get another snow day, but even if I don't, today has been lovely. I did some work on line and participated in a couple of phone conference calls, but I also made a huge batch of my famous spaghetti sauce. :-)

Feb 11, 6:02pm Top

Such a wonderful time all round Ellen. And the owls and other birds on the way home too. Glad you got through the snow safely and are snug at home now. Adding to the wishes for another snow day.

A snowy landscape is stunning despite how disruptive it can be.

Feb 11, 6:38pm Top

So very cool, your wildlife sightings. Almost like your own Tucson outdoor museum! :-)

We are also expecting up to around 20cm of a nasty mix of snow/ice tomorrow (that's a bit over a foot), similar to what we got 2 weeks ago. I will be very happy to stay home!

Feb 11, 7:49pm Top

>78 EBT1002: A snowy owl in flight...oh MY...what a beautiful gift to compensate for your very annoying hassles. Home safe, day off, all's well.

Feb 11, 8:02pm Top

The snow must be beautiful.

I'm sorry you and P. missed the family gathering. Does her brother come in from Palau on a regular basis? Quite an exotic location.

If you're far enough into the Kelly Gang to have that chapter heading, you're farther along than I got. Some books just give me a really bad feeling. That was one, Snow Falling on Cedars was another that I will try to revisit some day. I saw what was probably coming and couldn't continue.

Happy to hear that you're home safe. My fingers are crossed for no basement moisture as this snow melts.

Feb 11, 8:52pm Top

I've enjoyed catching up with you Ellen. Your time in NO sounds fabulous. I hope to get there at some point myself. As far as your trek through the snow goes I've found that parts of the country that don't normally get a lot of snow get easily overwhelmed so I'm glad you got home safely. Owl sighting? Wow! Good luck whichever job you decide will be best for you. It's never an easy decision.

Feb 11, 9:32pm Top

I'm glad you got home OK - and SNOW DAY! We are expecting another seven to ten inches tonight, so perhaps another snow day for us tomorrow?

Feb 11, 9:58pm Top

I'm another who has really enjoyed your travelogue, both in NO and across the state of Washington, Ellen. I've never been to New Orleans; my parents honeymooned there but I was born a full 12 months later.

Feb 11, 11:46pm Top

Wow! Glad you're home safe and sound with a snow day under your belt, Ellen! I loved reading about your travels and am fundamentally pleased that it was you and not me who got to live all that.
Just so you'll know --- I have a copy of *Kelly Gang* on the way. Thanks!

Feb 12, 6:16am Top

Wow, what an adventure! I'm happy that you made it home safely, and yay for a snow day and spaghetti sauce!!

Feb 12, 10:15am Top

>76 EBT1002: haha I loved your boarding story! One of my sons is a commercial air pilot and has some amazing stories to tell (some of which I'm less than eager to hear). I still have trouble with the reality that my little thumb-sucking angel now flies 100 passengers in a manner he describes as very "routine".

It's snowing heavily here so I'm staying home. Unfortunately, there never seems to be a snow day for emails, which continue to flow in at their regular rate. I'm hoping to grab some time to sit near the radiator (we have an old and draughty house) and read.

Feb 12, 12:39pm Top

Wow! A snowy owl in flight and a short eared owl! Not to mention all the other wildlife ...

I've never been to NO, so I'm enjoying your adventure.

Feb 12, 7:27pm Top

I loved Where the Crawdads Sing, Ellen, but one of my colleagues and I were discussing it and we both thought it could have ended after the trial. I didn't feel like I needed to know who killed Chase. And I certainly didn't suspect Kya. What did you think?

Feb 13, 2:34pm Top

It has been a while since I caught up with your thread, Ellen. When I looked at the dates of your New Orleans to Seattle flight and plan to drive back home I wondered what had happened. We had basically the same weather. Quite a shock here near Vancouver. Hope you got another snow day out of it. All the schools in our district were closed yesterday but the students went back today even though there was more snow on the ground this morning.

I will be interested to see what you decide about the job. It is very soon after starting a new job and that doesn't look that good on the resume but for a promotion, maybe?

Feb 13, 3:59pm Top

>78 EBT1002: Glad your trip was great, even if you had to leave early and drive slowly. Seeing a Snowy Owl in flight is worth it.

Feb 14, 1:46pm Top

Happy Valentine's Day!! ❤️💚💗💙

Feb 14, 9:53pm Top

>11 EBT1002: Be still, my heart! (That's as far as I got with this thread...just had to comment before reading any further!)

Feb 14, 10:24pm Top

>78 EBT1002: Glad you made it home safely, Ellen. I LOVE your wildlife report, especially the birds and notably the owls. So cool that you saw a Snowy. I saw my first about a year ago, on the lakefront. I have not seen a Short-Eared yet, but they are around here. A matter of time. I wonder if your Harriers are similar to ours. I will have to research. Very cool raptors.

Feb 14, 11:34pm Top

Hi Ellen! The snow was crazy! Well, out where you were. Here, we were only threatened with and it was a no show. Sorry you had to miss friends and family, but life happens. Glad you made it home safe and sound with the added bonus of seeing some very cool wildlife. Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day. : )

I am just starting These Truths Part Two. A tad behind, but with good intentions.

Feb 15, 6:26pm Top

Hi Ellen!

Congrats on two owl and various other fauna sightings.

Edited: Feb 15, 9:30pm Top

SO now I've read everything...thank you for sharing your travels, particularly the New Orleans stay. I spent a full day alone in the city shortly before we left to move back north (my husband and I lived across the river in Gretna "on the West Bank" for three years immediately after we were married, while he was in the Coast Guard). I had a lot of nerve for a 23-year-old country girl, but I remember gathering my courage to do the things I wanted to do....just as you describe it. (We had visited the Quarter and the Garden District together as part of our honeymoon when we first arrived there, and rode the St. Charles St. streetcar. We also attended a couple of daytime Mardi Gras parades later. But we didn't have much money to spare in those days, so the great restaurants were out of our league.) I sympathize with the sore feet...I walked and walked and walked, and before the day was over I had to find a store where I could buy myself a pair of soft sandals; it was either that or sit somewhere until my return ride (a neighbor of ours who worked in NO and drove me in and out) was ready to leave. I had coffee and beignets for breakfast, gumbo and french bread for lunch, and a couple of pralines in between. I bought an oil painting from the artist who was "exhibiting" on one of the wrought iron fences somewhere in the Quarter (paid $60.00 for it, which felt a bit like an investment at the time). It still hangs over our piano. It was one of the best days I ever spent by myself, even though it didn't include a single bookstore!

ETA: I also gave The Marauders 4 stars when I read it. He really nailed the Cajun noir thing.

Feb 17, 5:00pm Top

15. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

This was a good read but not a great one. It won the Booker Prize in 2001 and, while I can appreciate the literary skill and research that went into creating this fictionalized account of the late 19th century Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly, the story was uneven. At times gripping, at other times almost dull, I still wanted to find out what happened. The characters are richly wrought and the setting is vividly developed. It certainly made me glad not to have been a settler (selector, as they were called) in that time and place.

Edited: Feb 17, 5:09pm Top

Finishing True History of the Kelly Gang gets me one book closer to reading all Booker winners. I was just perusing the list of works I have yet to read and I think I'll tackle it by starting with the works by women:

1974: Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1984: Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1990: A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance
1997: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
2006: Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering
2013: Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries

Feb 17, 5:18pm Top

I love Possession and also really liked Hotel du Lac, Brookner books are quiet observations. The Gathering was good, and I did like The Inheritance of Loss too, Ellen. So of the ones I've read, you have some treats ahead.

Btw Kiran Dessie s Anita Desai's daughter.

Feb 17, 5:59pm Top

>81 Caroline_McElwee: I have been very much enjoying this snowy landscape, Caroline. I know it's not for everyone and after a few years I may get tired of it, but for now I'm relishing its beauty. Also, I kind of like that a good snowstorm is like Mother Nature reminding us just who is in charge....

>82 jessibud2: I do feel like I've had quite the wildlife month, Shelley! Staying home when it snows is just the ticket.

I walked to work on Friday and I had gone only about one block when it started pelting snow. It snowed pretty hard on me all the way to work (about 40 minutes on foot). I loved it!

>83 richardderus: I totally agree, Richard. I had no thought that I would ever be so lucky as to see a snowy owl in the wild. I've admired the one at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, but....

>84 ffortsa: Hi Judy. Prudence's brother gets here from Palau more often than one would think but it's a very long and expensive trip. We are hoping to go there this May!

True History of the Kelly Gang didn't bother me much, Judy, other than having dull spells. There was one disturbing scene very near the end involving a horse. So I won't be recommending it. Snow Falling on Cedars, on the other hand, is well worth working your way into. I read it years ago and I still remember its impact.

Feb 17, 6:03pm Top

>102 EBT1002: I loved Possession, Ellen, and have had The Luminaries on my desk for a while. I was thinking of tackling it this summer. Shared read, perhaps?

Edited: Feb 17, 6:22pm Top

>85 brenzi: Thanks for swinging by, Bonnie. I have decided not to throw my hat into the ring for the other job. It's just too soon and this one is going better (for now, at least). My preference would be to have this be my last gig, followed by a joyous and comfortable retirement *smirk* -- so we'll see if I can pull that off.

>86 BLBera: This has been quite the snowy February, Beth. We were only closed last Monday, but had delayed openings on Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday was actually the snowiest day after that Sunday/Monday, with another 7" or so falling. It has been a long time since I lived somewhere that it snows and then the snow stays around, keeping the landscape so white. It is quite lovely.

>87 ronincats: I'm glad you enjoyed my stories, Roni.

I recently acquired the thirtieth anniversary edition of Writing Down the Bones and I've read the forwards and introduction. I don't expect I'll ever publish anything but I would like to start writing more.

>88 LizzieD: I hope you enjoy True History of the Kelly Gang, Peggy. You can see that I liked but didn't love it.

>89 scaifea: Thanks Amber! I feel like the past few weeks have been quite full of adventures. This weekend has been very quiet in contrast (okay by me!).

Feb 17, 6:15pm Top

>90 vivians: With my relatively limited life of travel, flying has become rather routine for me so I can only imagine how it would be for a pilot, Vivian! I was very impressed with our captain for that NOLA - Seattle trip.

I hope you managed to get that time nestled by the fire with a good book!

>91 streamsong: Hi Janet. The owls were pretty darn special. :-)

>92 BLBera: I don't disagree with your comment about Where the Crawdads Sing, Beth. I wonder about the author feeling that she had to wrap up loose ends rather than leave it out there.

>93 Familyhistorian: The trip into Seattle and the trip from there to Pullman were squeaking it out, definitely, Meg.

Regarding the job, it is terribly soon for me to be thinking about switching. I have been very stable in my employment in the past and I'm close enough to retirement that I don't worry so much about it not looking good as I do just explaining it to the search committee. I think you're right -- for a promotion and what I could easily articulate as my "dream job," it would probably be do-able. But I have decided that I want to stay put for now. This job is going better (for now) and my preference would be to have this be my last gig before retirement. 😎

>94 The_Hibernator: "Seeing a Snowy Owl in flight is worth it." Indeed it was, Rachel!

Feb 17, 6:24pm Top

>95 ChelleBearss: Thanks for the valentine wishes, Chelle!

>96 laytonwoman3rd: It may be my favorite bookstore on earth, Linda. I mean, Powell's is amazing but the soul of Faulkner House Bookshop is so special. I was looking at the books and my eyes got misty!

>97 msf59: Hi Mark. I love all the raptors I'm seeing in this part of the world. Of course, with wheat and garbanzo beans and lentils growing so much around us, there is plenty of food for them. The snowy owl was a treat, one I honestly never expected to experience. We're not very certain about the Harrier -- it seems like that is what we saw based on shape and size but it was a pretty quick glimpse.

>98 Berly: Hey Kim. The snow this month has been crazy. And here I sit on this Sunday afternoon watching it, well, snow more outside. P and I walked to the grocery store earlier today in the snow. Not much accumulation but it just keeps falling!

I haven't yet started These Truths Part II. I need to get on it. True History of the Kelly Gang, along with snow and work, sidetracked me.

Feb 17, 6:27pm Top

>101 EBT1002: Your thoughts inspired me to see what I thought of The True History of the Kelly Gang: 4.5 stars waaaay back in 2007. Hmmm. My review notes that this isn't my usual cuppa, and likens it to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (a movie I love), so that must have been what did it.

>102 EBT1002: I like the idea of reading Booker women. Have you already read Molly Keane's Good Behaviour? If not, that should also be on your list. My Booker journey led me to Anita Brookner, and I've enjoyed a few more of hers since. Slow and quiet, but very good. I think I still have one or two on my shelves.

Feb 17, 6:29pm Top

>99 karenmarie: Hi Karen! Thank you!

>100 laytonwoman3rd: Hi again, Linda. 😀
Thank you for sharing your memories of NOLA. I can picture the spot where you may have bought that painting. There were a lot of artists working on the sidewalk in front of a wrought iron fence -- and it was across the side street (not Royal, which was the more major street along which I was walking) from the Faulkner House Bookshop! I don't know for sure that it is the same square but it certainly could be. I was frankly surprised by the quality of much of the art that was being displayed and sold (I don't know why, some uninformed stereotype I seem to have).

Yes, Tom Cooper captured the New Orleans Noir quite well in The Marauders! I also bought New Orleans Noir: The Classics and look forward to reading that sometime soon.

Feb 17, 6:34pm Top

>103 Caroline_McElwee: I'm looking forward to all the books you mentioned, Caroline, although I tried The Inheritance of Loss a few years ago and couldn't get into it. But I will give it another go. I've had Possession on the shelves for a long time.

>105 BLBera: Hi Beth. Since I have Possession on the shelves and both you and Caroline have mentioned it, I'll try to get to that one soon. I have The Luminaries on my kindle and would love to do a shared read this summer! I have a little story about this one: when P and I were walking the West Highland Way, we befriended a couple from Australia and the woman was reading The Luminaries on her kindle (one would not otherwise want to carry that doorstop the 100 miles of that trek!). She was really enjoying it and I have such fond memories of our conversations with them, so I'm looking forward to tackling it (perfect word). July?

Feb 17, 6:39pm Top

>109 lauralkeet: Hi Laura! I can totally see the association of True History of the Kelly Gang with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid! And I gave it three stars, which is "a solid read, generally recommended." I just found the story dragging at times.

I seem to have Good Behaviour on my shelves but I am not picturing it right now, Laura. My challenge is to read all the Booker winners, but I kind of like your spin on it: just focus on Booker short- or long-listed works by women.

I've not yet read anything by Anita Brookner but your comments and Caroline's make me think I will find her compelling.

Feb 17, 6:46pm Top

Hi Ellen! I really liked the Kelly Gang, but it's been so long I don't remember the details very well. I have thought about re-reading it.

Feb 17, 7:10pm Top

16. Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey

This is a wonderful graphic biography of Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. The illustrations by Julia Sardà are exquisite and the underlying theme of creativity - its origins, its risks, its unlockings - is poignant. We recently watched a film about the life of Mary Shelley and I'm rather glad to have learned more about her before reading this illustrated book. Highlights (lowlights?) include the death of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft when Mary was but 11 days old; her father's remarriage to a woman with whom Mary did not get along; her years spent on the wild Scotland coast with a kind and caring family; her elopement with Percy Shelley and subsequent friendship with Lord Byron.... what a dramatic life!

Thank you, Lori (thornton37814), for this Christmas gift!

Feb 17, 7:11pm Top

>113 banjo123: I definitely don't want to discourage either reading or re-reading of True History of the Kelly Gang, Rhonda! It's a good novel.

Feb 17, 7:27pm Top

>114 EBT1002: Mary Shelley had a really interesting life. I often think she'd've chuckled appreciatively over the curse, "may you live an interesting life in interesting times."

I liked Peter Carey's novel better than you did, bar that *dreadful* scene with the horse. But Carey's best work was, IMO, The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith. One day I need to revisit that one so I can review it...fascinating...a strange alternate Indonesia, a truly peculiar narrator...hm, I wonder if I have it here or if I need to library it up...

Feb 17, 7:44pm Top

>116 richardderus: This is my first work by Peter Carey, Richard, although I have had Parrot and Olivier in America on my shelves for a while. I see that he also won the Booker Prize for Oscar and Lucinda so I'll eventually "have to" read that one. I'm not familiar with The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith; I will investigate.

I am finding myself rather fascinated all of a sudden by Mary Shelley. I will be seeking out more about her.

Edited: Feb 17, 9:50pm Top

Hi Ellen, Do you know about the movie Mary Shelley 2017? Here is the descriptor.

Mary Shelley is a 2017 romantic period-drama film directed by Haifaa al-Mansour and written by Emma Jensen. The plot follows Mary Shelley's first love and her romantic relationship with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, which inspired her to write Frankenstein.

We saw it and thought it was good!

Feb 17, 9:10pm Top

>111 EBT1002: July sounds good. I have a couple of tomes I'd like to tackle over the summer but no preference for the order. I'll pencil you in.

Feb 17, 9:25pm Top

>114 EBT1002: I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Feb 17, 9:59pm Top

Currently reading:

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

So far, so good.

Feb 17, 10:02pm Top

>118 mdoris: We watched that film just last week, Mary! It was quite good. A bit dark, but any story of the life of Mary Shelley would be.

>119 BLBera: Okay, July it is. I'm not picky either but that seems like a good midsummer target for a tome.

>120 thornton37814: 😀 📚

Feb 18, 12:27am Top

Hi Ellen. Happy new thread! I've missed quite a bit; your trip to NO, owl sightings, snow, job decisions...

So if you do definitely decide not to throw your hat in, will we get to find out why it could have been your dream job? Not necessarily where or what, just why.

Feb 18, 2:53am Top

Ellen, wow, what a life you're leading. I'm also in the snow, but in beautiful weather and spring-like temperatures. We had closed roads in late January and also a lot of avalanches. Now we just enjoy skiing.

Feb 18, 6:54am Top

>112 EBT1002: Hey Ellen, my mistake. I thought Good Behaviour won the Booker. Sorry about that! For what it's worth, I loved it.

Feb 18, 8:38am Top

>114 EBT1002: I'm sure you'd be fascinated by the life of Mary's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, Ellen. Claire Tomalin's The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft is very good.

Feb 18, 2:04pm Top

>123 humouress: Hmm, that is actually a good question for me to think about, Nina. It would be in the same town I lived in 1995-2007 so that is part of it. It's a VP job so one step up from what I'm doing now (I'm an Associate VP at present). Being a VP is a BIG job but it also means I would get to set the tone for the division I'd be leading. My style, my values, my vision -- all of that would be front and center rather than me supporting another person's style, values, and vision. I think that is the upshot.

>124 Ameise1: The skiing sounds lovely, Barbara. I grew up in Florida so I came to skiing very late in life and then I decided that it was just putting my knees at too much risk. SO - we do snowshoeing but not skiing. This morning it was 11F and it was clear and beautiful as the sun rose. They are predicting more snow tomorrow....

>125 lauralkeet: It was short-listed, I believe, Laura. SO it could still fall into a "Women of the Booker Prize" category. I'm not closed to options and I will definitely seek out Good Behaviour (id I no longer have it on my shelves) and read it. If you loved it, that is good enough for me!

>126 Caroline_McElwee: Ooh, thanks for the specific recommendation, Caroline. I'm adding it to the wish list.

Feb 18, 2:09pm Top

Okay, according to my catalog I have a copy of Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon on my shelves ("To Read"). I need to find it!

Feb 18, 2:25pm Top

Hi, Ellen.

I loved Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein, too. Nice gift from Lori!

Of those on your Booker list, I join Caroline and Beth - I loved Possession. I wasn't enchanted by The Luminaries, but plenty of readers were.

Feb 18, 6:23pm Top

I read your post about not living where the snow stays around for a long time. If Seattle is anything like Vancouver, you really didn't have to move for that to happen. *sigh* It's a good decision to stay put, job-wise, at this point, I think. Besides when you change jobs you move, much too soon for that to happen as well!

Today, 6:34am Top

>127 EBT1002: Ah! I see the draw.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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