Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Four

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Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Four

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Edited: Feb 3, 2017, 6:28pm

^Estrella Mountain Regional Park. This is near Goodyear Arizona, where we will be staying. It is just west of Phoenix. We plan to hike there.

-Cactus Wren. Arizona state bird.

Edited: Feb 3, 2017, 6:33pm



Books Read So Far...


1) News of the World by Paulette Jiles 4.7 stars (E)
2) My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir by Chris Offutt 4.3 stars audio
3) One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives by Bernd Heinrich 4 stars audio
4) Kindred by Octavia E. Butler 4 stars AAC
5) Battleborn: Stories by Claire Vaye Watkins 4.2 stars
6) Victoria: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin 3.7 stars (audio)
7) The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart 3.8 stars (audio)
8) The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore 4 stars BAC
9) Nutshell: A Novel by Ian McEwan 4.4 stars (audio)
10) Lady Cop Makes Trouble (A Kopp Sisters Novel) by Amy Stewart 3.6 stars (audio)
11) Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria & Iraq by Sarah Glidden 3.8 stars GN
12) Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami 4.2 stars
13) The Mammy by Brendan O'Carroll 4 stars
14) I Will Send Rain: A Novel by Rae Meadows 3.6 stars


15) Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson 5 stars (audio)

Edited: Feb 3, 2017, 6:34pm

Welcome to the AAC IV! It should be another fun year. Some interesting and diverse authors.

January- Octavia Butler Completed Kindred
February- Stewart O' Nan
March- William Styron
April- Poetry Month
May- Zora Neale Hurston
June- Sherman Alexie
July- James McBride
August- Patricia Highsmith
September- Short Story Month
October- Ann Patchett
November- Russell Banks
December- Ernest Hemingway

The General Discussion Thread:

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 8:22am

^This is Baron, my new buddy. I went horseback riding with Bree yesterday. She goes every Monday. It was chilly, but not bad. There were only four of us.
And yes, I tried doing some bird-watching, along the way. Saw a couple of hawks.

Jan 24, 2017, 8:16am

Am I first?! Happy new thread, Mark! And good morning

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 8:30am

>5 jessibud2:

You nailed it, Shelley! Yah!

Jan 24, 2017, 9:08am

Eeeee-ha, cowboy! Looks like your preparing for your trip out west. Try to lasso up some good reads when you're out there!

Jan 24, 2017, 9:29am

Morning, Mark. Happy new thread. Looks like your vacation is full of adventure - great picture of you and your buddy, Baron, and of the warmer looking topper where you intend to hike.

Jan 24, 2017, 9:45am

Happy new thread, Mark!
>1 msf59: Beautiful landscape, although it looks almost alien to me, no desert anywhere in Europe.
Yes, I try to read evrything ;-)

>4 msf59: Looking good buddy! Between my 12th and 19th I was an enthusiastic horsback rider too... sweet memories!

Jan 24, 2017, 10:06am

>7 Carmenere: Howdy, Lynda! Not sure how much reading time, I will squeeze in on this quick trip, but I will do my best.

>8 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. We hope to get in plenty of hiking and see some interesting sites. Should be a nice getaway.

>9 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. I have been to Arizona, although it has been quite a few years. This will be the first time, we have gone, when the temps will be cool. Good for hiking, though, in the desert mountains.

My daughter loves horseback riding. I like it enough, to do it, now and then.

Jan 24, 2017, 10:08am

Happy new thread, buddy.

Jan 24, 2017, 10:16am

Love your thread topper! Looks like a beautiful place to go for a hike! Enjoy

Jan 24, 2017, 10:18am

>11 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul!

>12 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle! It is only supposed to be about 60F, the whole time we will be there. So, it should be perfect for outdoor activities.

Jan 24, 2017, 10:49am

Happy New Thread, Mark! Pretty topper. "We're going to Arizona on Wednesday". Nice! Should be around the 60s F this time of year? Hiking sounds great.

>4 msf59: Way to go, Lone Ranger! Baron is a very dignified name for a horse. Our kids love to tell the story of when we all went riding, and they and Debbi all had exotically named horses, and my horse's name was "Fred".

I'm nearing the end of Hillbilly Elegy. It hasn't knocked my socks off, but he's engaging, and it's good. It gives a lot of insight into that community that was so important in the last election, and the Reagan one, doesn't it.

Jan 24, 2017, 10:52am

Happy new thread, Mark!

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 11:25am

Am I to understand that you were not bird-watching AND riding at the same time? That might have been a bit tricky.... ;-)

Jan 24, 2017, 11:19am

Good morning, Mark! Happy new thread!

>4 msf59: Nice shot on the horse. I'm glad to hear it was fun, if cold.

Jan 24, 2017, 11:36am

>16 jessibud2: I often make note of the birds and animals I see as I'm riding, but I'm sure I scare an awful lot off before I see them!

Jan 24, 2017, 11:51am

Happy new one, Mark!! My horseback riding stories are few and far between (I am kinda allergic), but my most memorable one involved the whole family in Arizona. They didn't tighten the saddle enough on my Mom's horse. She was riding ahead of me (this was the part of the trail on the open field where you can let your horse run) and she suddenly started to tilt left and down and she fell off! I was right behind and had no time to do anything but pray that my horse would be smart enough to jump. She did. My Mom was fine and I stayed on the horse. I think that was my second time riding. We tightened the saddle. Crazy!!

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 12:41pm

Hi Mark, happy new thread.

I'd like to get out and see more of the best picture Oscar nominees. Glad to see that Hidden Figures was nominated for best picture. I think Octavia Spencer got a nomination for best supporting actress, too.

Oh and my friend just let me know that she snagged a pair of tickets to the Short Fest or whatever they call it. The old timey Catlow Theater in Barrington shows all the Oscar nominated shorts, both live action and animated, in one big festival the day before the Oscars.

Jan 24, 2017, 12:34pm

>14 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe! It should be a short & sweet trip. And hooray for Baron. He was a good boy.

It looks like we had similar feelings about Hillbilly Elegy. Good, but perhaps not great.

>15 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!

>16 jessibud2: LOL. I did not have my binoculars. That would have been tricky. It was all just, naked eye observations.

Jan 24, 2017, 12:42pm

>17 brodiew2: Thanks, Brodie! I will join my daughter again, riding but I will wait for it to warm up a bit. We did have fun.

>18 lunacat: It is hard to be exactly quiet, while walking horses through the woods, but the bare winter trees, do make it easier to spot the birds.

>19 Berly: Thanks, Kimmers. That is a good "horse" tale and I am glad your Mom was okay. Yes, you have to watch for those slipping saddles. It does happen. While riding, a few years ago, the horse Sue was riding bucked suddenly and she went down hard, plus she was kicked in the leg. Nothing serious, but she was sore for weeks.

>20 lindapanzo: Thanks, Linda! I would like to see a few of those nominated films too, including Hidden Figures. I really enjoyed La La Land but Sue didn't like it. I managed to find a copy of "Moonlight", so we will watch that soon.

Jan 24, 2017, 12:56pm

>22 msf59: I'd like to see La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Jackie, and maybe a few of the others. Hacksaw Ridge, too.

I saw Hidden Figures and Florence Foster Jenkins (the Meryl Streep one with the horrible opera singing). Can't think of many other nominees that I've seen.

Jan 24, 2017, 1:06pm

Happy new thread!

Jan 24, 2017, 1:59pm

>23 lindapanzo: Manchester by the Sea is also at the very top of my list. I have also heard good things about Lion & Jackie.

Hell or High Water was also very good.

>24 drneutron: Thanks, Jim.

Jan 24, 2017, 2:12pm

>23 lindapanzo:, >25 msf59: - Hidden Figures is my number one pick so far of the current crop of new films. It was excellent. Manchester by the Sea has gorgeous cinematography but is a deeply sad and sometimes grim story. I wouldn't suggest it if you are in a sad or depressed mood. I really want to see Lion as I read the original book and it was un-put-downable. I hesitated about the movie, not wanting to be disappointed but everyone I know who has seen it said it was very well done and now I will have to see it alone because everyone I know has already seen it! lol
I would like to see Lala Land (I think) and hear it got a ton of nominations for the Oscars.

Jan 24, 2017, 3:20pm

Happy new thread, Mark!

I went through a horse-obsessed phase when I was around 8 or 10 (mostly fed by voracious reading of the Saddle Club books). However, once I had an actual experience riding a horse, it freaked me out (my horse spooked a bit while on a lead line and went far faster than 9ish year old me was interested in) the horse phase died out.

Jan 24, 2017, 3:28pm

>27 MickyFine: - Hehe, that sounds like me. It was no *phase*, though. I went once. Horse was perhaps bored and took off. I fell, no damage done and I got back on, but that was enough adventure for me. I was, um, considerably older that 9....;-p

Jan 24, 2017, 3:31pm

My dad gave me a horse for Christmas when I was, oh, probably 8 or so. He and one of my sisters are big fans, and my sister still goes on trail rides and has a couple of horses of her own. I never took a shine to it, much to my dad's disappointment, I think.

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 3:56pm

>29 scaifea: Our daughter will be envious, Amber. Growing up, she constantly asked us for a pony. We live in the city for goodness' sake.

Jan 24, 2017, 3:56pm

>26 jessibud2: I will have to see Hidden Figures soon, Shelley and I want to see if I can get a copy of Manchester by the Sea. Like my books, I don't mind grim, if it is done well. Lion looks real good too.

>27 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I have liked horseback riding, off and on through my life, but living in the suburbs, I don't get many chances. My daughter loves horses.

>28 jessibud2: Glad you weren't hurt. Whew!

>29 scaifea: I am sure my daughter wishes I would have bought her a horse. Grins...Where does your sister live?

Jan 24, 2017, 5:34pm

>4 msf59: Oh, wow. That must have been so much fun! I adore horses.

Jan 24, 2017, 6:13pm

>30 jnwelch: Joe: I think lots of girls go through a horse/pony phase. I just wasn't one of them. How unfair, no?

>31 msf59: Mark: She lives in Cory, Indiana, but she travels fairly extensively for the trail riding, I think. In her younger days, she was a barrel racer. It was fun to go to the races and watch her when I was a kid.

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 6:14pm

>32 Morphidae: It was fun, Morph! But low-key and easy going. My daughter and the leader were bareback and the muddy conditions, gave us no choice.

My horse was spirited. He wanted to GO!!

Jan 24, 2017, 7:01pm

>34 msf59: all you gotta do in the rodeo to win is hold on for 8 seconds!

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 7:25pm

>33 scaifea: So, does she live on a farm or a ranch? If so, I am jealous.

>35 drneutron: I will keep that in mind for next time, Jim. LOL.

Jan 24, 2017, 7:32pm

Hi Mark, to carry on from your previous thread, I too am a "lefty". That is a beautiful picture of Estrella Mountain Park. I loved Arizona when we went there, such a contrast to the Pacific Northwest! That's also a great picture of you and Baron.

Jan 24, 2017, 9:45pm

Happy new one, Mark. Stay warm.

Jan 24, 2017, 10:42pm

>37 DeltaQueen50: Hi, Judy! Yah, for being a lefty. I think our timing is good, for visiting Arizona, at this time. We will be able to hike, in the desert hills, in cool conditions.

>38 BLBera: Thanks, Beth! We will be leaving as temps drop here. It looks like Chicago will be returning to seasonal temps. Hope it's not to bad on our return.

Jan 25, 2017, 12:05am

Happy new thread!

Jan 25, 2017, 12:10am

Way behind, Lone Ranger! Glad you had fun on the horse. When I was young, I tried riding a Shetland Pony, only to be scraped off the back of the pony as it took me underneath a low lying tree branch. I never had a fascination with horses and being scraped off the back of a Shetland Pony was all I really needed as far as riding horses went :) Glad you are enjoying The Mammy - there are three in the "series " if you want to read them. I enjoyed them a couple of years ago.

Jan 25, 2017, 7:14am

>40 banjo123: Thanks, Rhonda! Good to see you.

>41 vancouverdeb: That is a horrifying Shetland Pony story, Tonto! I thought sidekicks rode better than that. Oh, well...

Nice to see you, Deb. I am really enjoying The Mammy, nearly done and I am sure I will read the others.

Jan 25, 2017, 8:14am

Happy new one, Mark. Have a good time in Arizona!

Jan 25, 2017, 8:17am

>41 vancouverdeb: I have had a few tries at horse riding and it isn't my favourite pastime - all that bouncing up and down plays havoc with page turning.

Jan 25, 2017, 8:21am

Have a great vacation, Mark!

>44 PaulCranswick: - snerk!

Jan 25, 2017, 8:36am

>43 DianaNL: Thanks, Diana!

>44 PaulCranswick: I want to see Paul on a horse! I want to see Paul on a horse? Reading or not.

>45 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley. We will be heading to the airport after lunch.

Jan 25, 2017, 8:41am

The Stewart O' Nan thread is up. Stop by and let us know what you will be reading:

Jan 25, 2017, 8:44am

Happy new one, Mark! Love the photo of you and Baron together - I'm more of a walking kind of gal. I like to keep my feet on the ground. Heh.

Hooray for Stewart O'Nan - going straight over there. I just love his stuff, for which I blame Katie.

Edited: Jan 25, 2017, 8:55am

>48 Crazymamie: Morning Mamie and thank you! I like keeping my feet on the ground for the most part too, or on the pedals, but a horseback ride now and then, is a nifty change of pace.

Look forward to your O' Nan pick(s).

Jan 25, 2017, 9:08am

>36 msf59: She doesn't really live on a farm - she has a house on a couple of acres and she's built a pole barn and an exercise arena for the horses there. My parents, though, live on a 40-acre farm with four barns, a chicken house (sans chickens - it's where my mom keeps her rug loom), smoke house (which we fixed up as my playhouse when I was a kid), and a summer house (which my mom used to use as her candle-making workshop and now houses their gardening supplies and their two giant deep freezers). The 40 acres also includes, besides my dad's farmland, a bit of wooded area and a small stream. It was the PERFECT place to grow up.

Jan 25, 2017, 9:23am

>50 scaifea: Wow, that sure beats a house in the suburbs, Amber.

I hope you have a great trip to Arizona, Mark. I'm off to check out the O'Nan thread.

Jan 25, 2017, 9:30am

>51 Familyhistorian: It was fabulous. Still is. Charlie loves visiting there, of course.

Jan 25, 2017, 9:31am

>52 scaifea: No surprise that young Charles loves to visit and that you visit frequently.

Jan 25, 2017, 10:19am

>50 scaifea: "It was the PERFECT place to grow up." Your parents farm sounds ideal, Amber! Does Charlie like the farm life?

>51 Familyhistorian: "sure beats a house in the suburbs." Amen, to that, Meg!

And thanks. Looking forward to our trip.

Jan 25, 2017, 10:26am

>53 Familyhistorian: Meg: I visit to see my BFF (my mom) and my dad (Best Dad Ever) these days and generally stay indoors while I'm there. Charlie loves going because he's crazy about his Granny & Pa, and because there's so much to do outside in nice weather.

>54 msf59: Charlie loves the huge open spaces to run and play in, but he, like his mom, is not a fan of the horses. He's also leery of the big farm equipment, although I loved it when I was a kid. I was driving a tractor by the time I was 5.

Jan 25, 2017, 10:32am

Hi Mark! Yes, I'm back and will start catching up on threads this week.

Horses. Hmmm. We bought the property we're on now for horses. We built two barns, fenced in about half our acreage, and had horses from 2003 'til daughter went off to college in 2011. Since then we've rented out pasture space sporadically.

I've ridden a couple of times, but it really isn't something I particularly enjoy. And I've been injured twice. Not riding - once when Chance stepped hard on my boot-covered foot and I limped for a week, and another time when I was lunging Dolly and the rope got caught up in my hand wrong, she bolted, and I had a rope burn on my left palm. Blech. I'm glad we don't own horses any more. We do need to find a new boarder since our last one left in October. Husband loves looking at the pastures and seeing horses, and we both love not doing the work.

Have fun on your Arizona trip!

Jan 25, 2017, 10:40am

Morning, Mark, and Happy New Thread!!! I like the thread toppers, and love the horse stories. We went horse back riding once. I believe we were in South Dakota at the time. Anyway I got a horse named Chief. All the horses were in a line (we were waiting for are guide to start), and Chief decided to bite the.. well the "hind-quarters" of the horse in front of me. I remember being impressed that the woman stayed on. Aside from that nothing out of the ordinary happened I had a good time, though I was pretty young. I wonder if I would like it as much now.

Jan 25, 2017, 11:03am

Good morning, Mark! I hope all is well with you.

I finally finished one of my 2016 holdovers and will be posting a review shortly. It is a relief to move into my 2017 reading plans.

Jan 25, 2017, 11:55am

>55 scaifea: My paternal grandparents had a farm in northwestern Illinois and I spent a lot of time, in my childhood there. Some of my fondest memories. There were very few farm animals but we loved spending summers there. I am sure my fondness for birds began, in that setting.

Any photos of Amber, riding a tractor, at a tender age?

>56 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. Great to see you check in. It sounds like your home, with it's acreage, would be something I would die for. Now, my wife...that would probably be a different matter. I think she is a city girl, at heart.

Jan 25, 2017, 11:58am

>57 thearlybirdy: Morning, Birdy! Thanks for sharing your horse riding experience with us. And Go Chief! Good name for a horse.

>58 brodiew2: Morning, Brodie. The vacation is going grand and we are getting ready to kick off the second leg of it.

Hooray for finishing up your '16 reading plans.

Jan 25, 2017, 11:58am

>59 msf59: Ha! I know think there are any of me on the tractor, but there may be of me and my horse. I'll see what I can dig up...

Jan 25, 2017, 12:02pm

>59 msf59: I was a city girl, having been born and raised in Los Angeles. Husband was fearful that I wouldn't take to country life when I agreed to marry him and move to rural NC 26 years ago, but those fears were unfounded. I love the quiet, the dark, the isolation. And of course if I want people and lights and noise and etc. I can drive 45 minutes to Chapel Hill, or Durham, or Raleigh. When I was home in the LA area the 19th-23rd, the background light and noise were disturbing, and I was glad to get back to stygian darkness, very low hum of traffic a mile away, and just husband and the kitties to socialize with.

I loved the pic of you on the horse, by the way!

Jan 25, 2017, 12:19pm

>46 msf59: I will arrange that for you Mark at some stage, promise. I have a lawyer and partner who is 130 kgs and whose favourite pastime is horse riding. He was using the National Equestrian Centre and was told that they wouldn't let him ride certain of the horses out of it being cruel to the animals! (true story).

Jan 25, 2017, 12:19pm

You reminded me, Mark, of your infatuation with Ms. Millard. Here's the author photo from my review, but a little larger. :-)

Jan 25, 2017, 12:37pm

>62 karenmarie: "I love the quiet, the dark, the isolation. And of course if I want people and lights and noise..." We are two peas in a pod, my friend.

I really like North Carolina. I want to see more of the state.

>63 PaulCranswick: Paul on a horse! Paul on a horse!

>64 weird_O: Ooh, baby! Thanks, Bill! The best gift I had all day. This may become my desktop background. Grins...

Edited: Jan 25, 2017, 12:58pm

^ I received an advanced copy of I Will Send Rain about 6 months ago and it has languished on my Must Read Now Shelf, since. Why? Good question but it sure seems like my cuppa. I will start it today. It will be my airplane book.

(She looks dead serious, doesn't she? I am not sure I would mess with her.)

Jan 25, 2017, 1:04pm

Have fun in Arizona, Mark. Happy new thread.

Jan 25, 2017, 1:08pm

Happy Wednesday, Mark! Safe travels, buddy. We'll look forward to hearing about your adventures - including ones in books.

Jan 25, 2017, 1:16pm

>66 msf59: She does look rather intense, although is that a hint of a smile?

Have a good flight!

Jan 25, 2017, 1:19pm

>63 PaulCranswick: Yep, I've heard of places that won't let you ride if you are over 250 pounds (113 kgs.) There are even some who's limit is 200 pounds (91 kgs) and everything in between.

Jan 25, 2017, 1:28pm

>67 Ameise1: Thanks, Barb!

>68 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe! You know I will be in touch when I can.

>69 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle! I definitely do not see a hint of a smile. Grins...

Jan 25, 2017, 1:53pm

Have fun in Arizona, Mark.

Jan 25, 2017, 2:07pm

>72 BLBera: Thanks, Beth! It should be a nice getaway!

Edited: Jan 25, 2017, 2:16pm

^Getting ready to disembark...

Jan 25, 2017, 2:19pm

>63 PaulCranswick: and >70 Morphidae:

The general weight limit for the places I've worked is 14st for beginners, which equates to 168 pounds. It would be different for Western riding as you are all discussing, as there is much more weight support from the saddle. It spreads it over a wider area and the rider is kept in a much more stable position. There is also no rising trot done in Western riding so there is no loss of balance or heaviness coming down on the horse's back.

That being said, I have winced often at overweight people getting on horses that are completely unsuitable when I've been on holiday.

English riding is very different as the saddles rely much more on the rider's ability to keep their own balance, and rising trot is done. Rising trot is where you stand up in the stirrups on one beat of the horse's trot and sit down on the next beat, etc etc. As you can imagine, beginners will always struggle with their balance doing this and tend to bump up and down. The accumulative stress on a horse's back is considerable. The saddles are SO different and need you to hold your own core and stabilise yourself, and actively work to keep your position and centre of gravity whereas good Western saddles put your body in one place and keep you there so less work is required.

There are so many different types of horse/pony but generally the 'weight carrying' horses are bigger and therefore cost more to keep, so many riding schools cannot afford to keep them. Hence the limits. Horses are now also generally living longer and their owners, whether private or owned by a riding school, want them to have longer working lives so don't want to increase the stress on the horse and cause problems earlier on in their lives.

An experienced rider who is heavier will have less of an impact on their horse as they can hold their own balance and support themselves, and don't bump or jolt around on the horse's back.

Jan 25, 2017, 2:53pm

>64 weird_O: Bill/Mark. Hot, brainy authors...The perfect combination. I think I'll have to put her stuff on my NF radar, especially the Garfield book.

But more importantly, I WANT her desk. Built-in with 3 perfectly angled monitors. Office of my dreams. :)

Edited: Jan 25, 2017, 5:21pm

>75 lunacat: So basically children, most teens and young women.

Jan 25, 2017, 5:57pm

>77 Morphidae: No, we have a lot of middle aged men around the 14st mark who ride. My boyfriend is larger than that but would be fine because he has been riding since he was a child and can therefore carry and support his weight better. I'd say (and this is just those I've taught at) 50% of a riding school's clients would be children, 30% adult women and 20% adult men. I have never asked but I wouldn't say it was due to the weight limit that there are less men than women - more a bias towards women who had been desperate for lessons as children and couldn't have them for whatever reason, so take lesrning up as adults, or mothers who bring their children to ride and then want to give it a go themselves.

The majority of the men either take it up because their wives have done so and they want to do something together, or have children who are riding, so are not slim young men by any stretch of the imagination. That would definitely be our lowest demographic in riding schools, the 18-30 range of either sex, because they simply don't have the disposable income to spend on an expensive hobby. There are the exceptions, men who come along because they want to do it for themselves, but they would tend to be more towards middle age or older.

There are, of course, horses that can carry a lot more weight than that. Even the horses in the riding school can do so for short periods but riding schools need longevity from their horses and so don't want to put undue strain on them. The big horses that are drum horses in the cavalry, or horses like the Budweiser Clydesdales are perfectly capable of carrying much bigger people but they also cost an awful lot to keep and wouldn't be very comfortable at all to ride, particularly not for a beginner. The stretch on the legs and pelvis would be pretty extreme and takes a LOT of getting used to.

As I say, this is just general rules in place in the schools I've taught in. Some of them will take up to 16st (224 pounds) if they are a big school and have appropriate horses. And Western riding will have much higher weight limits because it is SO different and done in an entirely different setting, it's like the difference between an ice hockey player and a figure skater. Both are going round on the ice but doing very very different things.

Jan 25, 2017, 5:57pm

Sorry Mark, I seem to have taken over your thread with a thesis on horse riding! My apologies.

Jan 25, 2017, 6:28pm

>4 msf59: Little Lenny also loves a horse ride. He's not very heavy :) Here he is last week being led about the paddock by my friend Jazz.

My dad took riding lessons in his 40s so that he could accompany a team of musterers out on their annual sheep muster. They still use horses as the terrain is too rough for 4WDs and helicopters are only used when absolutely necessary as the cost of running them is prohibitive.

Jan 25, 2017, 7:38pm

>42 msf59: As far as my riding a Shetland Pony and falling off due to the pony deciding to walk under a low lying branch, it was not so bad when I was 12 or 13. I'd never ridden any sort of horse / pony before ( not one of those teenage girls with an interest in horses ) . But it was a neighbouring teen age girl of my grandparents who offered me the chance to ride the pony. I had no idea what I was doing and thankfully at the age of 12 or 13, a fall from the pony was not so bad. Just a scraped arm from the branch. It did not endear me to pony's and horses, but I think that was already the case! :)

Have a great trip, Lone Ranger!

Jan 25, 2017, 8:58pm

Hi Mark, hope you got to your destination safely, getting out before the weather got too bad. Not horrible but the snow is starting up. I'm afraid that, since it's been so long since we've had snow, people will act like this is the first snow of the seaosn.

Jan 26, 2017, 3:10am

>70 Morphidae: >75 lunacat: >77 Morphidae: >78 lunacat:

I would not qualify by the looks as I am currently at 107 kgs and despite promising consistently to get my weight down havestruggled with it since I turned 40 to be honest. I would be worried about the horse suddenly gaining the gift of speech and roundly abusing me for the presumptiousness of taking a ride.

I stick to my bicycle because it won't complain and I can keep pumping up the tyres.

Jan 26, 2017, 6:44am

Morning, Mark! I hope your vacation is off to a fabulous start!

Jan 26, 2017, 9:28am

Greetings from Goodyear. The flight went well. Cooler here, than one would expect from Arizona. Mid-50s. It will probably be close to the low 60s, for the rest of the week.

Our friend's home is beautiful and they are wonderful hosts. Gorgeous pool, but we will not be using it. Not a solid plan for the day yet but I am sure it will involve exploring and some hiking.

There is not any LTers in the Phoenix area, as far as I know, so no Meet Ups planned. WTH?

Jan 26, 2017, 9:30am

Morning, Mark! Hoping the vacationing is full of fabulous.

Jan 26, 2017, 9:35am

>75 lunacat: >78 lunacat: Thanks, Jenny. I find all that horse expertise fascinating. I am a very casual rider, so I have not gave weight restrictions or distributions much thought.

No wonder so many of these horses get sway backed.

Edited: Jan 26, 2017, 9:41am

>76 mahsdad: Hooray for hot & brainy authors! Along with very cool desks. Read some Millard. She is one of the best.

>80 LovingLit: Yah, for Lenny and his pony! It is good to start them early. Wilbur is not a fan?
I would like to go on a sheep muster. I am sure that would be an interesting experience.

>81 vancouverdeb: I am glad Tonto survived her early traumatic experience. Whew!

I am sure we will have a lovely trip.

Jan 26, 2017, 10:00am

Vacation!!! Have a blast, Mark. I am sure the cooler weather will not stop you.

Jan 26, 2017, 10:27am

>82 lindapanzo: It looks like Chicago will be back to seasonal temps, with light snow in the forecast. Our timing was perfect.

Hope it is light snow for you guys.

>83 PaulCranswick: Sticking with your bike sounds like a fine idea, Paul.

>84 scaifea: >86 Crazymamie: Morning, Amber & Mamie. Hugs to my pals.

Jan 26, 2017, 10:30am

>89 Berly: Lots of sunshine at the moment, Kimmers. Should be a good day. Thanks.

Jan 26, 2017, 10:49am

Enjoy your time away, Mark!

Jan 26, 2017, 11:12am

Good morning, Mark!

>74 msf59: Taking a boat to Arizona can't be easy, but at least you have a nice outfit to wear.

I've started Queen of the Tearling finally (Benita will be happy!), and a GN I think you might like, called The White Donkey: Terminal Lance, a fictionalized story of Marine training and deployment in Iraq. Very good so far.

Hope the vacation is off to a good start.

Jan 26, 2017, 11:31am

>93 jnwelch: I got Queen of Tearling for Christmas. Perhaps I shall read it in February.

Jan 26, 2017, 12:53pm

Wishing you the ab fab-est of vacations, Mark!

Jan 26, 2017, 2:03pm

Hi Mark! Happy vacation!

Jan 26, 2017, 2:42pm

Enjoy your time in Arizona, Mark!

Jan 26, 2017, 4:36pm

Hi Mark. Be sure to keep your eyes open for western birds! Maybe you will see a roadrunner!! Beep, beep! ;-)

Jan 26, 2017, 6:00pm

>92 rosalita: Thanks, Julia. So far so good.

Jan 26, 2017, 6:05pm

>88 msf59: my kiddos aren't yor riders really, they just take the opportunity to have a go when they can. W had a go too, but I accidentally emailed myself two of L instead of one of each...
Happy hiking!

Jan 26, 2017, 6:12pm

Howdy Mark!

Jan 26, 2017, 6:48pm

#93 & 94

Yeah! What happened to Fantasy February? And great that you started Queen of the Tearling. I love that series.

Jan 26, 2017, 7:22pm

>93 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! Glad you like my traveling outfit up there. Grins...

You must have not heard my warbling a couple years ago- we loved Queen of the Tearling and it's follow up.

So glad, you are enjoying it. Still looking forward to reading the third book.

>94 Morphidae: I hope you can bookhorn it in, Morph. Great read.

>95 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky. All good so far.

Jan 26, 2017, 7:24pm

>96 karenmarie: >97 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Karen & Judy. We are having a good time.

>98 jessibud2: Hi, Shelley! I am watching for western birds, especially roadrunners. I will keep my pals posted.

Jan 26, 2017, 7:28pm

>103 msf59: I did hear your warbling. Last I knew, I thought you said you'd read the first one only (Queen of the Tearling)? Did you read the whole series? I mentioned Benita because she's recently been enthusiastic about the whole thing.

Jan 26, 2017, 7:36pm

Happy Vay-Cay, Mark!

WAAAAAAY too much nature going on around here!

Jan 26, 2017, 8:13pm

>105 jnwelch: I remember hearing about the Tearling books at one of my last Booktopia events and when I went to search them out both were available on ebook for a super price, so I ended up reading both and so did Sue and Bree.

I have the 3rd, saved on audio but have not got to it.

>106 michigantrumpet: Thanks, Marianne. We like our nature, my friend.

Jan 26, 2017, 8:16pm

>102 benitastrnad: Hooray for the Tearlings! I am taking a pass on hosting FF, but there is an active fantasy thread on the 75. I have not stopped by.

Jan 26, 2017, 8:18pm

>107 msf59: With nature as with reading, there is enough diversity for everyone. Me, a well manicured golf course is about as wild as I'd like.

Jan 26, 2017, 8:40pm

Growing up in southern California and going to Lake Isabella, up past Bakersfield to camp as a youngster, we saw lots of roadrunners. I hope you get to see one, Mark!

Jan 27, 2017, 6:47am

Morning, Mark! What's on the vacation agenda today?

Jan 27, 2017, 8:13am

Morning, Mark! Happy Friday to you!

Jan 27, 2017, 8:48am

>109 michigantrumpet: I think you are a "city girl" through and through. Smiles...

>110 karenmarie: No roadrunners yet...eyes wide open.

>111 scaifea: Morning, Amber. Looks like more hiking and more adventure.

>112 Crazymamie: Morning Mamie! Happy Friday, my friend.

Jan 27, 2017, 8:58am

We enjoyed hiking yesterday and the terrain was much like it is, in my topper up there. Rugged, sparse and beautiful. Not many birds, although I saw a few flicker around here and there, but could not identify quick enough. There were a couple of hawks soaring and one bird perched on a cactus, I glassed it but could not make it out for sure.

We are going to Tonto National Forest today. South of Phoenix. We are hoping to spot wild horses along the Salt River there. Fingers crossed.

It will be about 60 degrees again but with the sunshine,it is perfect temps for hiking and exploring.

Jan 27, 2017, 9:13am

Sounds great, Mark. "Perfect temps for hiking and exploring" - can't beat that.

Debbi is in LA to visit our nieces, but I'm keeping track of the chilly temps here for both of you.

Have a good time today, buddy.

Jan 27, 2017, 10:03am

>115 jnwelch: Morning Joe! Enjoy your bachelor time. Going to any breweries? Grins...

Jan 27, 2017, 10:08am

I can't see a worse seat than perching on a cactus! Ouch!

Enjoy your hiking today!

Jan 27, 2017, 10:13am

>114 msf59: Enjoy your day at the National Forest today, Mark!

Jan 27, 2017, 11:05am

Happy hiking today!!

Jan 27, 2017, 11:17am

>117 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle. No plans to sit on a cactus.

>118 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. Hope we see some wild horses.

>119 Berly: Thanks, Kimmers.

Jan 27, 2017, 11:18am

Jan 27, 2017, 11:36am

Getting ready to head out on our next adventure. Lots of Sun but windy.

Come on roadrunners...

Jan 27, 2017, 5:27pm

I hope you see a road runner!!!

Jan 27, 2017, 6:00pm

I warbled because Mark's book bullet about Queen of the Tearling got me. It is a good series and I think that it would make a great audio book.

Jan 27, 2017, 6:02pm

I started listening to another book that Joe liked. War That Saved My Life is really great as a recorded book. It is a children's book, but the story is wonderful. When you get back you should see if your library has it available for downloading. It might keep you warm as you walk your rounds.

Jan 27, 2017, 6:14pm

>125 benitastrnad: If you like The War That Saved My Life then I'd recommend Good Night, Mr. Tom. It's a very similar book though was written before The War That Saved My Life and, for me, packs more of a punch. It also doesn't have the annoying mistakes that only a Brit would be able to notice from an American author. For me, they detracted from TWTSML a lot, and made a good book into a middling book, but that's only coming from a British reader :).

Jan 28, 2017, 2:36am

Enjoy your hiking, Mark. I would have thought that there would be more birds in that relatively warm spot. Speaking of birds, I noticed a lot of geese in the skies, maybe they think that it is time for spring around here. Not sure they are right though as colder weather is forecast for next week.

Jan 28, 2017, 7:20am

>114 msf59: - Mark, just a guess here but could it have been a cactus wren? I can't think of any other birds that would just sit on a cactus!

Jan 28, 2017, 7:46am

Happy weekend, Mark.

Jan 28, 2017, 8:21am

Hey Mark! Glad you made it safely to AZ! No roadrunners?! It's a little know fact, lets say an alternative fact, you wont see this in the bird books, but my friend, you need to stand quietly and loudly call the roadrunner. "Beep, beep!" That's all you need to do. Have fun!

Jan 28, 2017, 8:30am

Morning, Mark! Look at Lynda giving you insider birding advice - you'll be the envy of all your friends!

Edited: Jan 28, 2017, 9:10am

>123 LovingLit: I did see a roadrunner! I did see a roadrunner! And very close too.

>124 benitastrnad: More Tearling love. Yah.

>127 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. The hiking has been wonderful and the cooler temps make it all possible. I could not see us trudging in the summer heat.
Speaking of geese, there was a lot of activity in the Chicago area last week, with birds flying back north.

Jan 28, 2017, 9:10am

>128 jessibud2: Morning Shelley. You just might be right about the cactus wren. I have been on the watch for them. It was just far enough away, even with binoculars, that I couldn't quite make a identification, but studying the various images, it definitely had the right shape and color. Thanks.

>129 Ameise1: Happy Saturday, Barb.

Jan 28, 2017, 9:14am

>130 Carmenere: Morning Lynda! I wish I would have had you along on the hike, with those valuable pointers. Grins...
We did see a roadrunner and close too. Yah!

>131 Crazymamie: Morning Mamie. This is why we value our LT friends. They are always ready for support and comfort.

Jan 28, 2017, 9:15am

Morning, Mark! Woot for roadrunners!

Jan 28, 2017, 9:26am

Happy Saturday from Goodyear. Sadly, I still do not know how to post pictures on my iPad, (WTH?) so I can't share some terrific photos from our hike yesterday. I did post a few on FB.

The Tonto National Forest was stunningly beautiful, just what you would expect from desert mountains. Funny, we met 2 older couples, on the trail, that had just retired out here, from the northern suburbs of Chicago.

Surprisingly, no birds, on the trails, but we did spot a javelina, (a wild pig) and a fox, (a kit or a grey).

Jan 28, 2017, 9:30am

Yay for seeing a roadrunner and a javelina. I know I'd love the nature out there. The only time I was ever in Arizona was when I was 14 years old, and visited with relatives we had out there. I wasn't into birds then... I do have a good friend in Tucson but still haven't found my way back so far.

Sounds like the weather is cooperating and that's great! Enjoy the rest of your time

Jan 28, 2017, 9:33am

We found a nice picnic area, along the Salt River, to have our lunch. My friend Kathy, said to me,"There is one of your weird birds," and sure enough it was a roadrunner and it came right up to our picnic table, looking for scraps. We obliged.

And on the river, I spotted a few common goldeneyes, which are beautifully marked ducks. There was also a snowy egret.

No wild horses. Boo. But they are known to hang along the river, at certain times. Saw some horse apples, but no owners.

Jan 28, 2017, 9:36am

Sounds like a lovely time! Lots of cool wildlife for you to see!
Enjoy the rest of your trip

Edited: Jan 28, 2017, 9:38am

>135 scaifea: I feel complete now, Amber. Grins...

>137 jessibud2: This is the perfect time to come out here, for outdoor activities. Sadly, it is too chilly to sit out by the pool in the evenings.

I would love to see a bobcat. They are very common around here.

I hope you make it out at some point.

Jan 28, 2017, 9:38am

Hi Mark! Congratulations on your roadrunner sighting. Sounds like this is a perfect vacation for you.

Jan 28, 2017, 9:40am

Oh, a bobcat would be fabulous to see. Are there any coyotes around to go with your roadrunner? Hope you catch sight of some wild horses too.

Jan 28, 2017, 9:53am

Good morning, Mark!

>138 msf59: Sounds like a great get-away, buddy. Did you try to trick the Roadrunner by painting a tunnel on a tree, or anything like that? Any coyotes hanging around?

I bet the snowy egret was beautiful. You're missing out on some lousy gray weather in Chicago, BTW.

Jan 28, 2017, 10:16am

>130 Carmenere: Oh yes, I failed to mention that food attracts roadrunners too! Congrats!! What a successful trip!

Jan 28, 2017, 10:55am

>139 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle. 2 more days.

>141 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. It is going very well.

>142 lunacat: Yes, they say bobcats, are seen trotting though the housing complexes. And plenty of coyotes too. My friend hears them yapping at night.

Jan 28, 2017, 11:03am

>143 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. No tricks to attract the roadrunner. Lol. Just food. Yah, for snowy egrets.

>144 Carmenere: I did not realize roadrunners liked to beg for food. We had a good time with our feathered pal.

Jan 28, 2017, 11:21am

Mark--It sounds like you are making the most of your trip and I am glad the wildlife is cooperating. Beep! Beep! and a Beer. : )

Jan 28, 2017, 12:33pm

>146 msf59: You didn't try any Acme tricks to catch that roadrunner, did you? Cause you know how well that works out for Wile E. Coyote! :)

Jan 28, 2017, 3:31pm

Hi, Mark - You sound like you're having a blast in Arizona! This is the perfect time of year to visit, too. The summer is unbearable or I'd consider moving down that way. I am a heat lover, but Phoenix summers are just too much, even for me.

I hope you got a shot of the roadrunner and javelina. I have never seen either IRL. Hawks, bobcats, coyotes, yes, but not those two. If you get a chance, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is a wonderful place to visit.

Jan 28, 2017, 7:30pm

Hey, Mark. It sounds like you've been having a lot of fun on your vacation. I'm glad you got to see a roadrunner. I hope your vacation continues to be excellent! Happy Saturday.

Jan 29, 2017, 3:56am

Did you get a picture of the roadrunner, Mark? Don't you have coyotes back home? We have lots of coyotes here. They live in the woods in back of me and howl when the freight trains blow their whistles.

Jan 29, 2017, 4:10am

Glad you are having a great trip. The sunshine sounds pretty good to me!

Jan 29, 2017, 4:39am

It sounds like you have a blast, Mark. Happy Sunday.

Jan 29, 2017, 8:53am

>147 Berly: Happy Sunday, Kimmers. Beep, Beep and a Beer sounds about right. We did visit 3 breweries. Duh! And saw several roadrunners yesterday too.

>148 drneutron: Did not have to use any wily Acme tricks, Jim. Lucky for us. Grins...

>149 Storeetllr: Hi, Mary. Our friends here are trying to convince us to retire here but I could not stand the summer heat, plus I would not like to be this far away from my "kids".

No photos of javelins. Saw it for mere seconds, but did get a few of the roadrunner.

We will try to get to the Botanical Gardens on our next visit. Thanks.

Jan 29, 2017, 8:58am

>150 thearlybirdy: Hi, Birdy! Lots and lots of birds on this trip. I am in my glory and yah, for a roadrunner. Hope you are enjoying the weekend.

>151 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. Yes, I did snap a few photos of our hungry roadrunner. I will post one or two when I get back home.
And yes, we have coyotes in the Chicago area. I have seen them near our home and at work.

>152 charl08: Hi, Charlotte. The trip is going great. Thanks. And the weather has been just fine.

>153 Ameise1: Happy Sunday, Barb. Hope you are having a great weekend yourself.

Edited: Jan 29, 2017, 9:13am

Last full day in Goodyear. Boo! And it looks like it will be the warmest. Nearing 70.

I was in bird heaven yesterday. We stayed local. Hiked the desert foothills and then walked a nature trail, that ended near 2 small lakes. We clocked in about 6-7 miles.

We saw: quail, hawks, hummingbirds, (iridescent green) more roadrunners, finches, woodpeckers, northern flickers, ducks, coots, (dozens), doves and pigeons. I am sure I am forgetting a couple too.

Later, we visited a brewery, shocking, and then went out for a nice dinner. It was an early night. Grins...

Jan 29, 2017, 9:03am

The very rare double post. And I was here to see it. Morning, Mark!

Jan 29, 2017, 9:15am

>157 Crazymamie: Morning Mamie! I have no idea why that double-posted. Weird. I added a new post in that slot. My daily update.

Jan 29, 2017, 10:43am

Good morning, Mark!

It all sounds wonderful. I'm glad we'll get to see a pic or two.

We've had coyotes in our Chicago neighborhood. Apparently they come in along the river. In my running days, I came across one in the early morning in the middle of a nearby street. We surprised each other, and he/she quickly loped away down an alley. We even had a bobcat on Roscoe a few years ago.

Jan 29, 2017, 10:51am

Morning, Mark! Happy last vacation day!

Jan 29, 2017, 11:53am

>159 jnwelch: Happy Sunday, Joe. I did not know there were bobcat sightings in the city. Cool. I knew. They were downstate.

>160 scaifea: Morning Amber! Thanks!

Edited: Jan 29, 2017, 3:16pm

I read Goodnight Mr. Tom many years ago. I read it out loud to 5th graders. (That would be 11 year olds) and at first they did not like it. The reason was all the Britishism's. I had to sort of translate. By the end of the book they liked it. (This was back in the middle 1980's.) Now British accents and language is hip and popular.

I am listening to War That Saved My Life and the narrator, Jane Entwhistle is perfect. She is the reader for the Flavia DeLuce books. The novel was a Newbery Honor Book here in the U.S. in 2016 and will be a good book for teacher's to use as a read aloud. The narration is very good and if you listen to books I think this one will be a winner.

I also like the fact that it has a British perspective to the war that is different from the U.S. view.

I see that the author has a sequel coming out in 2017. The title for that one will be War I Won.

Jan 29, 2017, 3:14pm

Coyote story: I live at what is called the towncentre of Coquitlam, a suburb of Vancouver and am just up from a park beside a river. I used to walk our dog at 4:00 am and would keep a wary eye out for coyotes. One morning I saw one after a neighbours cat. This cat was black and big and lazy. I never saw it move so fast. It squished down under a fence and the coyote was too big to follow. I would have cheered but it was 4:00 am. My dog was a big guy, part golden retriever and part shepherd so the coyote didn't mess with us but I knew it was thinking about it.

Too bad your vacation is coming to an end, Mark. But the short time period you have for vacation makes you treasure every moment more which is probably why they are so special in the first place.

Jan 29, 2017, 3:20pm

We hear the cayotes yipping at night here in central NC, too. The pack seems to be about a mile from us, fortunately too far away to endanger our indoor/outdoor kitties.

Happy birding! Happy beering! I hope your last vacation day is special.

Jan 29, 2017, 5:20pm

>126 lunacat: >162 benitastrnad: Good Night Mr. Tom was probably the favorite book from all those I read for the YA lit class in library school. I'll have to look for The War That Saved My Life. Sounds like one I'd enjoy.

Jan 29, 2017, 8:35pm

So how many birds added to the life list on this trip? :D

Jan 30, 2017, 2:47am

Mark--We have a city forest behind us and we frequently hear the coyotes. In fact, I have awakened to see some of them sunning on our backyard basketball court once or twice! Welcome back soon. : )

Jan 30, 2017, 8:26am

>162 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita. I will have to look for The War That Saved My Life. Sounds good.

>163 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. Great coyote story. Glad the fat black cat escaped. Smiles...Vacation is sadly coming to an end but we had a terrific time.

>164 karenmarie: Morning Karen. "Happy Birding & Happy Beering" were a big part of this vacay. Good time.

Jan 30, 2017, 8:32am

>165 thornton37814: Waves to Lori!

>166 Morphidae: Morning Morph! I still have a few more to add to the list. I want to make a perfect confirmation, before committing. I hope it ends up being a dozen or more.

There will probably be a few, I will not be able to identify.

>167 Berly: Morning, Kimmers. Yah, for sunning coyotes!

Getting ready to head to the airport in an hour.


Jan 30, 2017, 8:58am

Safe travels home! Photos look like it was a great trip!

Jan 30, 2017, 9:07am

>170 ChelleBearss: Leaving in a few minutes, Chelle.

I don't want to go back to the cold. I don't want to go back to work. Wah!!

Jan 30, 2017, 9:14am

>171 msf59: I don't blame you!! I wouldn't want to come home either!
It's gone from plus temps here to -11c. Brrrrr

Jan 30, 2017, 9:18am

Hiya, Mark.

Safe travels home. Ha! I don't blame you for not wanting the cold or work.

I'm with Benita on The War That Saved My Life. I warbled about it way back when.

I finished the second Tearling and immediately grabbed the third. Go Kersea!

Jan 30, 2017, 9:25am

Morning, Mark! Wishing you safe travels home today.

Jan 30, 2017, 9:40am

Safe travel day, Mark! You will be able to read on the flight(s)?

Jan 30, 2017, 10:51am

Good morning, Mark! I'm glad you enjoyed your vacation. Be safe getting home.

Jan 30, 2017, 11:45am

>169 msf59: A dozen would be NICE!

Jan 30, 2017, 12:30pm

Hi Mark, have a safe jouney back home.

Jan 30, 2017, 1:07pm

Safe travels, Mark. Colder here, of course, but not too bad for the season.

Yesterday, I started reading Michael Chabon's new novel, Moonglow. I'm liking it. I don't think I've ever read anything by Chabon, though I might've.

Jan 30, 2017, 2:14pm

Afternoon, Mark. I'm glad you had a good vacation. I hope you have a safe flight back. Fingers crossed for a dozen added to your bird list.

Jan 30, 2017, 4:01pm

Safe travels back home. Wish you could take more time off but glad you had a great vacation!

Edited: Feb 3, 2017, 6:23pm

^The Warbler at the Tonto National Forest. You can not see them, but I am wearing my trusty binoculars. They became invaluable. I am so glad I brought them. Yes...Full Fledged Bird Geek!

^I think I have a future thread topper up there...What do you think?

Jan 30, 2017, 5:56pm

We are home...

>172 ChelleBearss: It is cold in Chicago, but at least there is no snow. Yah!!

>173 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! Back in the Land of Lincoln, my friend. It looks like I will have to add The War That Saved My Life to the hefty list.

Wow, you are plowing right through the Tearling books. They are really good, right? I will have to join you on the 3rd.

>174 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie! Back safe and sound.

>175 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. Yes, I read a lot on the flight. Nearly 220 pages, on both flights. I am glad, because I read nothing while we were there. Just busy.

Edited: Jan 30, 2017, 5:59pm

^This is our roadrunner buddy, who paid us a visit, while having our lunch, along the Salt River. She liked potato chips.

Jan 30, 2017, 6:00pm

>182 msf59: - Great pic. Yep, topper material, for sure :-) Welcome home

Jan 30, 2017, 6:00pm

>184 msf59: - Cool !!

Jan 30, 2017, 6:02pm

Welcome back, buddy. Yes, I agree with Shelley. >182 msf59: is a great pic, and topper-worthy. Glad you had such a good time.

Jan 30, 2017, 6:10pm

>176 brodiew2: Thanks, Brodie! Home safely and we had a terrific time. It just went super fast.

>177 Morphidae: Hope to do more research tonight, Morph. There were a couple really interesting geese, that I want to track down, along with a couple more duck species.

>178 Ameise1: Thanks, Barb.

>179 lindapanzo: Hi, Linda! It was chilly getting picked up at the airport, but I am very glad to see the complete absence of snow.

I like Chabon, so I am glad you are enjoying Moonglow. I plan on reading it in the coming months.

>180 thearlybirdy: Thanks, Birdy! All is good. And yah, for my Life List!

>181 Storeetllr: Thanks, Mary! I had a great vacation, but back to the grind tomorrow.

Jan 30, 2017, 6:27pm

>185 jessibud2: >187 jnwelch: Thanks, Shelley & Joe! I was not even posing for the photo, since that is not my best side. Grins...

Always good to be home, but I am not looking forward to getting back to the work grind.

Jan 30, 2017, 6:38pm

>184 msf59: LOVE it! Certainly deserves topper status.

Jan 30, 2017, 6:45pm

Welcome Home, Mark!! Warbler indeed. And you are almost ready to use that new thread topper!

Edited: Jan 30, 2017, 6:49pm

>190 Morphidae: >191 Berly: Thanks, Morph & Kimmers! It looks unanimous! Now, I will have no choice.

Jan 30, 2017, 6:50pm

>184 msf59: What a cutie! Although I think the person who drew the roadrunner cartoon wasn't really paying attention to what they actually look like!

Jan 30, 2017, 6:50pm

>182 msf59: Definitely topper worthy. Also >184 msf59:.

Jan 30, 2017, 7:03pm

>193 ChelleBearss: You are right about that, Chelle! I think this roadrunner was a female. I did see a couple others, with red markings on it's head and neck and I assume these were the males. Still nothing like Beep...Beep!

>194 Storeetllr: Thanks, Mary! Glad we got a few good photos.

Edited: Jan 30, 2017, 7:11pm

-The Red Mountain in the Tonto National Forest. Something out of a John Ford western. What great hiking trails. There were many mountain bikers using these trails too. Crazy! It was steep and rocky in a few points. This is where we also met some people from Illinois. Small world...

^This is also where we saw one of these guys, a javelina. (not my photo) They can get aggressive too, especially when protecting their young.

Jan 30, 2017, 7:55pm

Excellent pics, Mark! For some reason I have always loved looking at saguaros.

Welcome back.

Jan 30, 2017, 8:03pm

Brings back fond memories of my visit to Phoenix a few winters ago. (The visit in the summer was hell.)

Jan 30, 2017, 8:05pm

Welcome home, Mark. I'm glad you had a good trip. I agree with everyone else >182 msf59: should be a topper for sure.

Jan 30, 2017, 8:49pm

>197 karenmarie: I never really gave cactus, much thought before, Karen but now I am a fan, especially saguaros.

>198 Storeetllr: I have been in Phoenix in the summer too. No, thank you. Next time, we go, we will probably travel, closer to March. It was still pretty chilly in the evenings there and we could not sit out.

>199 thearlybirdy: Thanks, you so much, Birdy. Glad you like the future topper.

Edited: Jan 30, 2017, 8:57pm

^This is a Arizona sunset, from last night. This is a man-made lake near our friend's home. beautiful location. I also saw many different duck species here. Yes, I am geek...ask my wife.

Edited: Jan 31, 2017, 7:09pm

^I will be starting Songs For the Missing for February's AAC.

On audio, I am looking forward to finally getting back to Just Mercy.

Jan 30, 2017, 10:18pm

>182 msf59:, Loved the photo! I am a very fond of cacti and succulents. Glad that you had a great holiday!

Jan 30, 2017, 10:51pm

Tonto National Forest! I knew there was a place named after me somewhere! :) Glad you had such a lovely holiday!

Jan 31, 2017, 1:04am

Glad to know you made it safely back home. Morning, Mark. Thanks for sharing the photos. I've read Songs for the Missing five years ago.

Jan 31, 2017, 6:37am

Oh, I love your new topper, Mark!

And that roadrunner is much smaller than I thought. And much less cartoony... Huh...

Jan 31, 2017, 6:38am

>203 mdoris: Hi, Mary! Good to see you! Hooray for cacti and succulents!!

>204 vancouverdeb: Hi, Deb! See? I thought about you the whole trip. Great name for a national park, right?

>205 Ameise1: Hi, Barb! Have you read any other O' Nana? Are you reading one for Feb?

Edited: Jan 31, 2017, 7:03am

^Yep, this is what I will be returning to. Sighs...

>206 scaifea: Morning, Amber! Actually, the roadrunner was about 12-14 inches long. Pretty good size for a bird.

Jan 31, 2017, 7:10am

Back to work already, Mark? Or do you have another day or two to relax?

Jan 31, 2017, 7:14am

Good morning, Mark! Big change from 60F to 38F with rain/light snow.

Jan 31, 2017, 7:15am

Hey, sorry I forgot to let you know the book arrived safely! In the queue for Feb...

Jan 31, 2017, 7:15am

>207 msf59: It was the only one I read so far. For the February challenge I'm going to read Last Night at the Lobster.

Jan 31, 2017, 8:35am

Welcome back, Mark! Your photos are lovely.

Jan 31, 2017, 8:35am

Morning, Mark. >201 msf59: This is a beautiful photo.

(I know the writings a little blurry, but it says "Friends waiting for the mailman together.")

Jan 31, 2017, 9:36am

I have a copy of Just Mercy somewhere. Bryan Stevenson worked for the Southern Poverty Law Center based in Montgomery, Alabama when he started working on this case. It is a book I have wanted to read for some time, but just haven't gotten around to doing so. How is the narrator on this one? I ask because I am tempted to try to find the audio of the book. Not something I do very often with non-fiction.

Jan 31, 2017, 9:43am

Morning, Mark! Welcome home! Your photos are lovely, and it sounds like you made the most of your time there. Well done.

Jan 31, 2017, 10:08am

Morning, Mark!

Good to have you back - sorry about the grind part.

I'm going to try a poet named Eileen Myles. I'll let you know what I think. The Rilke collection was worthwhile. He'll never be a favorite for me, but now I appreciate him a lot more.

Jan 31, 2017, 10:31am

Definitely a topper worthy photo, Mark. So that's what a roadrunner looks like!

Jan 31, 2017, 11:31am

Love all the visitors but no time for individual replies. The route was messy and the volume is heavy, so I am hustling on my first day back.

Really glad to be back listening to Just Mercy but it is getting my blood-boiling, much like the March Trilogy.

Jan 31, 2017, 4:45pm

>219 msf59: looks like you had a great time. Hope it's not too much of a grind for you now. Maybe you'll be a able to make some changes for the better now. Lovely pics. How's the horse?

Jan 31, 2017, 5:56pm

Thanks for sharing your vacation pictures, Mark, it all looks so peaceful there! Love the sunset :-)

Jan 31, 2017, 6:20pm

>209 ChelleBearss: Hi, Chelle! Nope, back to work today. Next day off Sunday. Little weary today but I survived.

>210 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. The weather change was a bit jarring but we have had a mild January, so it is hard to complain.

>211 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. I'll be watching for your thoughts.

>212 Ameise1: Hi, Barb. Last Night at the Lobster is a good choice. I hope you enjoy it.

>213 rosalita: Thanks, Julia! We had a great time.

>214 thearlybirdy: Hi, Birdy! LOL. I like that one. I would just hope they were friendly.

Edited: Jan 31, 2017, 7:07pm

>215 benitastrnad: Just Mercy has been excellent, Benita. This one is going to be as good and as important as Evicted. Heart-breaking and guaranteed to get your blood boiling. It is narrated by the author and he is doing a fine job.

>216 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie! I had a great vacation but back to the grind today.

>217 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! Busy day today. No time for visiting. I will try to drop by a few threads tonight. I am pooped though.

I have not heard of Eileen Myles. Always excited to hear about a new poet.

>218 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg! Hooray for a roadrunner!

>220 justmum: Hi, Justmum! Nice to see you. Is this your first visit to my humble abode? If so, I hope it will not be your last.

Not sure, how the horse is doing. I will have to ask my daughter.

>221 FAMeulstee: Hi, Anita! Arizona is very hot in the summer months. I do not like intense heat but this was comfortable., especially for outdoor activities.

Edited: Jan 31, 2017, 7:18pm

^Yah, I won a copy of Ill Will, from E.R. I have wanted to read more Dan Chaon. I really liked Await Your Reply. I like his style.

Any other Chaon fans out there?

Jan 31, 2017, 7:59pm

Bryan Stevenson did a TED talk. I don't have the url for it, but I am sure that you can find it.

Jan 31, 2017, 8:21pm

Thanks for sharing your vacation photos with us, Mark!

Jan 31, 2017, 8:43pm

>225 benitastrnad: Thanks, Benita. I will see if I can track down the Stevenson TED Talk and share it over here.

>226 kidzdoc: Thanks, Darryl. We had a nice trip.

Feb 1, 2017, 1:10am

Happy Wednesday, Mark.

Feb 1, 2017, 6:29am

>228 Ameise1: Hi, Barb! Hope the week is going well.

Feb 1, 2017, 6:37am

Morning, Mark!

Feb 1, 2017, 6:55am

Morning, Amber!

Feb 1, 2017, 8:02am

Two bird books you may enjoy, Mark

Birds Art Life - I have just received this. Haven't read, but looks terrific!

The Someday Birds - This is a YA novel, but doesn't matter your age. I loved it.

Feb 1, 2017, 8:05am

Morning, Mark! Happy February!!

Feb 1, 2017, 8:34am

Good morning, Mark!

Feb 1, 2017, 9:00am

Good morning, Mark!

I think you'll like Eileen Myles. Very straightforward and good. Her novel Chelsea Girls supposedly is a cult classic, too.

No progress in Infinite Jest, but I'm near the end of the last Tearling book.

Feb 1, 2017, 9:07am

Morning, Mark. I'm sure the dogs are friendly.

Feb 1, 2017, 9:24am

Happy February, Mark. We are on the downhill into spring now. Keep telling yourself that, I know I am.

Feb 1, 2017, 9:37am

Much better today...cold but dry.

>232 alphaorder: Morning Nancy. Thanks for the bird book recs. I will look for both.

>233 Crazymamie: >234 karenmarie: Morning Mamie & Karen.

Feb 1, 2017, 9:55am

Feb 1, 2017, 11:01am

>235 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. The Myles sounds good. I will keep it in mind. I might try IJ on audio.

>236 thearlybirdy: Morning, Birdy! Yah, for friendly dogs, especially big ones.

>237 Familyhistorian: Morning, Meg. Hoping Feb is as mild as Feb. Fingers crossed.

>239 Berly: Morning, Kimmers. That made me thirsty. I will be forced to have a beer tonight. Grins...

Feb 1, 2017, 11:18am

Good morning, Mark! I hope all is well with you.

Feb 1, 2017, 3:56pm

Hiya, Mark! I was terribly behind but am now caught up. Sounds like your trip to AZ was great!

I also won the Chaon from ER. I haven't read anything by him yet, but have a couple on the shelves...

Feb 1, 2017, 5:18pm

>241 brodiew2: Hi, Brodie! All is good here. Trying to get back into the swing.

>242 katiekrug: Hi, Katie! I have missed you. We had a terrific time in AZ and plan on going back.

I like Chaon. I hope he works for you too.

Feb 1, 2017, 7:34pm

Here is the URL for the Bryan Stevenson TED talk.

It is my night for looking up lots of bits of information that I otherwise won't have time to get to this week. I have a two day workshop to attend tomorrow and Friday. It is on a "New" liaison model for librarians. Yeah right - I have heard that one before. About every 5 years since I became a librarian. Does that make me jaded? or cynical?

Feb 1, 2017, 11:45pm

>184 msf59: that's a road runner?! I had no idea. Of course, you know where my knowledge of such birds comes from. The cartoon....
Cool that you saw one, and cool that you went prepared with binoculars!

Feb 2, 2017, 12:22am

Enjoy your Thursday, Mark! : )

Feb 2, 2017, 2:16am

I'm loving your vacation photos, Mark. thanks for sharing. Congrats on scoring the latest Dan Choan too. I've only read Stay Awake and You Remind Me of Me and liked them both.

So a javelina is a little wild boar?

Edited: Feb 2, 2017, 7:05am

>244 benitastrnad: Thanks for the Stevenson TED Talk, Benita. I will check it out. I will finish Just Mercy today and it is outstanding.

>245 LovingLit: Hi, Megan. I think everyone expects the roadrunner to be much more colorful but their dull natural color is perfect camouflage.

>246 vancouverdeb: Hi, Deb! Back to the cold today, but not complaining.

>247 cameling: Hi, Caro! Great to see you, stranger! I also read and enjoyed Stay Awake and I WANT to read You Remind Me of Me. Looking forward to the new one.

A javelina is actually a peccary, a wild pig.

Feb 2, 2017, 6:45am

Feb 2, 2017, 7:03am

^I received an advanced copy of Lola. I know a couple of my buddies, including Joe, liked this one. Yah, me!

It will be released next month.

Feb 2, 2017, 7:13am

Good morning, Mark! It's always a shock to go from the southwest to the east. Hope you're settling back in nicely, even with heavy work loads and the weather.

Feb 2, 2017, 7:59am

>249 msf59: LIKE!

Morning, Mark! It's not just Groundhog Day - it's also Abby's birthday. Hoping Thursday is kind to you.

Feb 2, 2017, 8:01am

Morning, Mark!

Feb 2, 2017, 8:33am

Good morning, Mark. >249 msf59: This is too funny. Happy Groundhog's Day!!!

Feb 2, 2017, 8:38am

>249 msf59: Silly groundhogs!
Apparently the Canadian ground hogs are tired of winter and Wiarton Willie and Shubenacadie Sam have both predicted early spring. Bless their tiny rodent hearts!

Feb 2, 2017, 8:45am

>249 msf59: - LOL! He looks like he's either playing a harmonica or rolling a cigarette!

Feb 2, 2017, 10:10am

Sweet Thursday, buddy!

>250 msf59: Perfect! I think you're going to eat that one up.

I'm alternating IJ with a sci-fi re-read. This is going to be quite a journey with IJ. The hard copy, as I'm sure you know, is a whopper. Not one to easily carry around.

I'm nearing the end of the GN The White Donkey: Terminal Lance. I suspect I'm going to recommend it to you. Well done Iraq War and return home story.

Feb 2, 2017, 10:16am

Cold start to the day. Only 15...brrrr.

>251 karenmarie: Morning Karen. Chilly weather but can not complain. After Tuesday the mail volume has been light.

>252 Crazymamie: Morning Mamie. I will have to stop by and wish Abby a Happy Birthday.

>253 scaifea: Morning Amber!

Feb 2, 2017, 11:16am

>254 thearlybirdy: Morning Birdy! (I love saying that!)

>255 ChelleBearss: Morning, Chelle! Yah, for the groundhog prediction.

>256 jessibud2: Morning, Shelley! I thought he was playing the harmonica. Grins...

>257 jnwelch: Sweet Thursday, Joe. Cold out here but lots of sun. It helps.

I will have to request The White Donkey.

Feb 2, 2017, 12:05pm

No doubt that the Chicagoland ground hog saw his shadow this morning. After only 10% sunshine in the past month, he has to go outside in the sunshine today so forecast 6 more weeks of winter. Ugh.

Still savoring Moonglow. I think you'll like it when you get to it. It seems very unusual for me to be reading a top-notch work of fiction before you.

After this, I'd like to get to Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk but mainly, some nonfiction ahead for awhile.

Feb 2, 2017, 2:45pm

Sweet Thursday, Mark. We had a very foggy day. Couldn't see my own hand.

Feb 2, 2017, 3:05pm

Feb 2, 2017, 5:09pm

Afternoon, Mark! Happy Groundhog Day! We'll be watching Bill Murray's masterpiece tonight - a Scaife Manor tradition!

Feb 2, 2017, 5:14pm

OK, yes, request The White Donkey. I finished it, and it's one you'll appreciate. I got it from the library, so hopefully yours will be able to get it, too.

Feb 2, 2017, 5:47pm

>260 lindapanzo: Well, we knew there was going to be at least 5 weeks of winter left anyway. Hey, at least if we stay snow & ice-free, I will be happy.

I will have to add Moonglow to the mix. glad you are enjoying it. I have Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk on my WL. I read her husband's book, The Mirror Thief and met him at the last Booktopia. Talented couple.

>261 Ameise1: Hi, Barb! Hope the fog has departed.

>262 weird_O: Thanks, Bill! It sure is. Grins...

>263 scaifea: Enjoy the film, Amber. Perfect choice. I love the movie but have not seen it in a few years.

>264 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. I will request it. You rarely steer me wrong.

Edited: Feb 2, 2017, 5:52pm

^^I gave Just Mercy 5 stars!! Just sayin'...

Nice way to kick off the month, eh?

Edited: Feb 2, 2017, 6:00pm

Feb 2, 2017, 6:11pm

>267 msf59: LIKE! LOL!

Feb 2, 2017, 6:17pm

>267 msf59: Keith! You know that cartoonist!

Edited: Feb 2, 2017, 6:27pm

>265 msf59: My Lillian Boxfish is a print copy so, if I do in fact read it soon, I can add it to the "Mark pile." I think that Civil War book is in there, too.

It was chilly today. Glad it's Feb at least. Chilly in Feb doesn't seem as bad now that the days are longer, etc. Despite the ground hog, the actual weather forecasters think that at least the next two weeks will mostly be warmer than normal. I don't mind it a bit.

Besides Moonglow, I've also just started my O'Nan baseball book for the AAC and also started a book about McGeorge Bundy and the Vietnam War for the Obama Book Club. While I was alive then, I was a kid and, in most of my history classes, we never got beyond World War 2 so I don't know all that much about that war.

Oh and read a great review of an Icelandic mystery author in the Trib today. One of his books has finally been translated into English so I put Ragnar Jonasson's Snowblind on reserve at the library.

Feb 2, 2017, 6:23pm

>267 msf59: Noooooooo!

I have Moonglow waiting in the wings...

Feb 2, 2017, 6:25pm

>268 kac522: This is a Chicago artist too!

>269 jnwelch: I was on FB briefly, just before punching out, saw this and knew I had to share it, Joe. Go Keith! Tell him, he is growing in popularity over here.

Feb 2, 2017, 6:29pm

>272 msf59: Ha! He'll be happy to hear it.

Edited: Feb 2, 2017, 6:46pm

>270 lindapanzo: Now, don't go spoiling Marky-Mark. You know how he can get, but then again I would not turn down the offer of a promising book.

How is Faithful coming? My O'Nan has been okay but it has not grabbed me, like he usually does, plus I am reading it very slow.

I saw that review of "Snowblind". Looks like it could be a winner.

>271 Berly: Maybe I will follow in your Moonglow footsteps, Kimmers...

>273 jnwelch: I would still like know what Keith is reading, Joe. We are inquiring minds after all...

Feb 2, 2017, 6:51pm

>274 msf59: I am not too far into it yet. While I like Moonglow, it jumps around the grandfather's life. Some parts, like the World War 2 memories, are far more interesting to me than others, like the wife's mental health issues. When I get to a part that isn't as interesting, I thought I'd turn to Faithful but quickly got wrapped up in the Vietnam War book, Lessons in Disaster.

Did you see that the Cubs are loading up the Spring Training bus today? I shared a link on FB. Anyway, pitchers and catchers report on Valentine's Day, which isn't all that far away. It seems like the season just ended but that's probably because the afterglow of our World Series win has continued to linger.

Feb 2, 2017, 6:51pm

>274 msf59: I keep trying to get him to join LT. He's a holdout so far.

Edited: Feb 2, 2017, 7:07pm

^Joe and I have been talking about reading Infinite Jest for a couple of years now. We decided to slot it in, for January. Full disclosure: I started getting spooked and jittery. (This book is HUGE and daunting!!) I was secretly hoping Joe, was feeling the same and we could quietly ignore it, slip on past and joyfully read other things. Well, Joe started reading it, a week or so ago and now I began to feel guilty. Should I leave my pal, dangling out there in the wind or join him, like a true comrade?

I decided on the latter. I have had it saved on audio and in print. I thought I would give it a try on audio and so far I like it in this format, although some sections work better than others. I am also toting around the print book, (my biceps will be huge!) to cross-check things and follow the footnotes.

^The audiobook, narrated by Sean Pratt, is 56 hours long, making this my longest audio. WTH? I am definitely considering reading it in sizable chunks and then switching to something else. It is not my usual practice but it may help me keep my sanity.

Feb 2, 2017, 7:09pm

>275 lindapanzo: Hooray for the Spring Training Cubs Bus! Getting excited, Linda.

>276 jnwelch: We will have to slowly keep chipping away at him, Joe.

Feb 2, 2017, 7:12pm

I think I need to move Moonglow from the wishlist to the, go out to the bookstore to get it list.

On my thread I posted a recommendation of a podcast interview with Michael Chabon. This sounds like a pretty interesting read.

Feb 2, 2017, 8:10pm

>277 msf59: A story well told, Mark - yours, I mean. :-)

I'm already switching on and off with Infinite Jest, so no worries if you end up doing that. This is going to take a while!

Feb 2, 2017, 8:20pm

>279 mahsdad: We may have to get a group to read Moonglow, Jeff. Seems to be a lot of interest in that one.

>280 jnwelch: IJ seems to be a big puzzle, with each chapter being a piece, so I hope switching around, will not become difficult. I listened to nearly 60 pages today, which is about a grain of sand.

How far are you?

Feb 2, 2017, 8:23pm

You've already passed me - I'm on p. 50. Big puzzle sounds right, but so far at least it's not hard to keep the characters sorted.

Feb 2, 2017, 8:54pm

Good luck with IJ, Mark. 56 hours? I will add Just Mercy to the list.

Edited: Feb 2, 2017, 9:03pm

These are my reads for January:

1) News of the World by Paulette Jiles 4.7 stars (E)
2) My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir by Chris Offutt 4.3 stars audio
3) One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives by Bernd Heinrich 4 stars audio
4) Kindred by Octavia E. Butler 4 stars AAC
5) Battleborn: Stories by Claire Vaye Watkins 4.2 stars
6) Victoria: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin 3.7 stars (audio)
7) The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart 3.8 stars (audio)
8) The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore 4 stars BAC
9) Nutshell: A Novel by Ian McEwan 4.4 stars (audio)
10) Lady Cop Makes Trouble (A Kopp Sisters Novel) by Amy Stewart 3.6 stars (audio)
11) Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria & Iraq by Sarah Glidden 3.8 stars GN
12) Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami 4.2 stars
13) The Mammy by Brendan O'Carroll 4 stars
14) I Will Send Rain: A Novel by Rae Meadows 3.6 stars

^A nice, well-rounded month. News of the World was my favorite, just edging out Nutshell. I read and enjoyed my first Butler and I read a good bird book, a good memoir and a solid story-collection with Battleborn. Victoria was a perfect companion piece to the PBS series. I discovered many tasty drink recipes with The Drunken Botanist. I fit in a Murakami and had a good time with an Irish family in The Mammy.

A dandy start...I say.

Feb 2, 2017, 10:08pm

>277 msf59: Good for you! Chris said the first 100 or so pages were kind of a slog....but then he loved it.

I missed all the horsey talk! :( I spent most of my formative years hanging around horse barns in Northern New Jersey, riding western, hunt seat, and dressage, and have a degree in Equine Science. Sadly, I haven't been on a horse in at least 10 years and that degree didn't help in my real life of reading cable tv contracts...hah! Oh well, I'm still a horse person at heart!

Feb 2, 2017, 10:12pm

Oh, Mark! Your considering leaving dear old Joe flapping in the breeze? :) I didn't think any book made you anxious! What! 5i6 hours of audio. Now I understand and it looks like Joe might want out too. Fourteen books in January! Nice work, Lone Ranger!

Edited: Feb 2, 2017, 10:31pm

>282 jnwelch: Good thing with the audio, Joe, I can keep plowing forward.

>283 BLBera: Thanks, Beth! Have you read IJ?

>285 Copperskye: Hi, Joanne! Great to see you, stranger. I was following Chris's progress with IJ, on Good Reads. Admirable accomplishment. You have a fine son. Have you suggested to him, to start a thread on LT?

Any thoughts about getting back in the saddle?

>286 vancouverdeb: Yes, I thought about leaving Joe flapping in the breeze, but I pulled back just in time. Whew!

56 hours! Why did you have to remind me, Tonto?

Feb 2, 2017, 10:46pm

>287 msf59: Aw, thanks Mark! I couldn't talk him into LT, but at least he's on GR which means I can keep up with what he and his friends are reading! Back in the saddle...maybe. I think about it every now and then. I tend to want to go all in with things and that's a big commitment.

Feb 3, 2017, 6:29am

>284 msf59: - Impressive!
Happy TGIF, Mark

Feb 3, 2017, 6:32am

>288 Copperskye: Chris sure seems to have good taste in books. He have taught him well.

>289 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley. Infinite Jest will surely rob me of a few numbers this month but let's hope the quality remains the same.

Feb 3, 2017, 6:35am

Morning, Mark!

Ooof, I need to get round to Infinite Jest soon. Love him tons.

Edited: Feb 3, 2017, 6:34pm

Feb 3, 2017, 7:03am

>291 scaifea: Morning, Amber! I am glad IJ is working on audio, at least in the early going, otherwise I may have balked.

So far, so good.

Feb 3, 2017, 7:38am

Hi Mark! I'm glad the mail load has been lighter.

I can't take on another chunkster, although I do have Infinite Jest on my Kindle.

>267 msf59: and >292 msf59: Nothing bothering you, is there? You can tell us, you know!

Here's a topic that will curl your hair: The (further) Nazification of America

Feb 3, 2017, 7:52am

>267 msf59: - eeek!

>292 msf59: - LOL!!

Feb 3, 2017, 10:16am

>294 karenmarie: Morning Karen. Happy Friday. Having IJ in ebook form is brilliant.

>295 jessibud2: Trying to keep it to mild indignation over here, Shelley, otherwise we would be torching the place.

Feb 3, 2017, 10:19am

Happy Friday, Mark. Sending big waves over the pond.

Feb 3, 2017, 11:03am

Happy Friday, Barb. Love the big waves.

Feb 3, 2017, 11:38am

It's Friday!!! Nice reading list for January. Infinite Jest should cut your numbers for February in half or so. ; )

Edited: Feb 3, 2017, 1:26pm

>292 msf59: Ha! Good one.

Happy Friday, buddy. Sorry we won't be seeing you Super Bowl day.

I finished City and really enjoyed it. Thought-provoking, well done sci-fi from Clifford Simak. This was a favorite when I was young, and it's one that has held up really well. Now I'm reading Eggtooth, a bit of an oddball one that someone in the 75ers reveiewed recently. It's good. And ... I need to get back to Infinite Jest!

ETA: The Eggtooth reviewer must've been Lucy (sibyx).

Oh, GNs: I started Paper Girls Vol. 2, and so far I'm enjoying it as much as the first one.

Feb 3, 2017, 1:25pm

>287 msf59: re >286 vancouverdeb: You gotta be careful leaving me a opening like that...

Feb 3, 2017, 5:57pm

>299 Berly: Happy Friday, Kimmers! Yes, I am afraid that IJ will rob me of some reading numbers, but if it turns out to be awesome, (and I have faith) it will be worth it.

>300 jnwelch: Happy Friday, Joe. I hope I can join you guys for the SB, next year.

Thanks for the reminder about Paper Girls Vol. 2. I will have to request that one. Really enjoyed the first one.

>301 Morphidae: I did not realize you had such a dirty, wicked mind, Morph. Grins...

Feb 3, 2017, 7:33pm

>302 msf59: Oh, baloney.
This topic was continued by Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Five.