Katie K's 2017 Book of Books (and Shenanigans and Beverages and Friends) - Chapter 10
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Cape Cod Evening by Joe Jimenez
Hello, Old Friends, and Welcome, New Ones!
About me: I'm in my late 30s and besides reading, I love to travel, try new wines, indulge in shenanigans, and spend time with friends and family. Other things I love: Pimm's, snark, the New York Giants, the New York Yankees, sports in general, Cards Against Humanity, and "ethnic" (i.e. non-American) cuisine. But I like American food, too. I just like food. :) My husband and I recently moved from Dallas, Texas to the New York City-area.
My reading is primarily fiction, though I love nonfiction, too. I'll read almost anything if it has a compelling narrative - from great literature to tawdry romances. This is a judgment-free zone. Unless you use bad grammar, and then I judge you. A lot. (Ooh, look, lots of sentence fragments; I'm judging myself now...)
Other characters who occasionally make an appearance on my thread:
The Wayne - husband
Louis - The World's Best Dog (who is currently being taken care of by my sister-in-law because my mean landlord won't let us have a dog in this beautiful house...)
Leonard - a cat that thinks he's a dog, which is why I find him acceptable
Olivia, Peter, and Abby - my cousins (11, 7, and 3) on whom I dote
Charlie - my baby nephew born January 24!
Benjamin - my baby cousin born March 15!
BOOKS READ TO DATE
37. How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse by Cressida Cowell (audio) (3.5 stars)
36. Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben (3 stars)
35. The Assistants by Camille Perri (3.5 stars)
34. Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea by Sophia Nash (3.5 stars)
33. Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes (3.5 stars)
32. Lust and Other Stories by Susan Minot (3 stars)
31. Long Lost by Harlan Coben (3.5 stars)
30. As Good As Gone by Larry Watson (4 stars)
29. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (audio) (5 stars)
28. The Lauras by Sara Taylor (3.5 stars)
27. Flight by Sherman Alexie (audio) (3 stars)
26. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (4 stars)
25. The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam (4.5 stars)
-- Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison (audio) (DNF)
24. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (4.5 stars)
23. Holy Cow by David Duchovny (audio) (3.5 stars)
22. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (audio) (4.5 stars)
21. When She Said I Do by Celeste Bradley (3 stars)
20. Sugar on Top by Marina Adair (2.5 stars)
-- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (DNF)
19. Purity in Death by J.D. Robb (3.5 stars)
18. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley (audio) (3.5 stars)
-- Sophie's Choice by William Styron (DNF)
17. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (audio) (4 stars)
16. Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan (3.5 stars)
BOOKS READ TO DATE
1. And Justice There is None by Deborah Crombie (3.5 stars)
2. Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas (3 stars)
3. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (3 stars)
-- In Twenty Years by Alison Scotch Win (DNF)
4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (audio) (4 stars)
5. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer (audio) (4.5 stars)
6. The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang (4 stars)
7. Kindred by Octavia Butler (3.5 stars)
8. News of the World by Paulette Jiles (4.5 stars)
9. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (audio) (3.5 stars)
10. Everyday People by Stewart O'Nan (4.5 stars)
11. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (4.5 stars)
12. The River of Doubt by Candice Millard (audio) (4 stars)
-- Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li
13. The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths (4 stars)
14. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (4.5 stars)
15. You Can't Make This Up by Al Michaels (audio) (3 stars)
Ratings: I've stolen my star scale from Ellen and slightly modified it.
5 stars = I connected with this book in a special way. It may not be perfect, but it was perfect for me.
4.5 = A great read, among my favorites of the year.
4 = A good read and one that I recommend; truly enjoyable and/or worthy.
3.5 = Pretty good, with a few things done very well.
3 = Good for what it is.
2.5 = Average, and life is too short to read average works.
2 = A bit below average. A waste of time.
Anything worse I probably didn't finish and so wouldn't give a rating.
Some of the challenges I am following/wanting to participate in:
American Author Challenge (75ers)
Nonfiction Challenge (75ers)
Monthly Themes (Reading Through Time)
CultureCAT (2017 Category Challenge)
Why the Hell Did Donald Trump Win? (not sure of actual group read name :) ) (75ers)
I also want to save room for random/serendipitous choices, so I need to give myself permission to dip in and out of the challenges. I may bring back my LT Folly book selection or some other random means of selecting at least one book a month.
Some reflections on my reading this year (as of April 24)...
I haven't really been happy with my reading so far. I have read some great books, but overall, I haven't gotten a lot of pleasure from my favorite activity. I don't know if it's because I've been distracted with unpacking and organizing and having lots of things to do, or my books just haven't been very entertaining, but something needs to change. I want to read books that I *yearn* to get back to when I've put them down. I don't care if they have literary merit or not - I just want them to entertain me and transport me. So you may be seeing more mysteries and romance around here. I am still going to try to keep up with the AAC and the Nonfiction Challenge, but I will no longer worry about being a "purist" in either.
This is supposed to be fun, right?
Happy New Thread, Katie! No problem with "purity" anymore. With all these challenges floating around, it has become very difficult to keep up. Yes, it should never, ever, feel like "work".
Hope you had a nice weekend.
Happy new thread, Katie. Are your shelves all reorganized now? I got about half way through the reorganization of my non-fiction - a month ago. Now all I need is for life to slow down enough to get back to it. Hope your reading becomes more enjoyable soon.
Happy New Thread, Katie! I wish you joy in your reading (AND progress in your unpacking and organizing because, well, life goes on!). How about some romantic fantasy? Hmmm?
Thank you, Paul, Mark, Beth, Kim, Meg, Roni, and Amber, for the new thread greetings!
>8 msf59: - Funnily enough, Mark, I am still a purist with the AAC :)
>9 BLBera: - Is that image so peaceful, Beth? I am hoping to manage some time on the Cape this summer - hoping my aunt and uncle haven't rented their house for the whole season, so I can slip in for a few days :)
>10 Berly: - Kim, in a way, getting my books organized is helping me get re-enthused (is that a word?) about books and reading in general, as it reminds me how many books I've got that I want to read!
>11 Familyhistorian: - No, Meg, I am still only in the Gs. I didn't work on it at all over the weekend - oops!
>12 ronincats: - Romantic fantasy, eh? Would a JD Robb "In Death" book count? That's probably the closest thing I have!
The Lauras by Sara Taylor
I did not hate this novel. Taylor can certainly write an engaging story and interesting characters as originally evidenced in her debut, The Shore (which I loved). But there is something very oblique about this book, a purposeful distance the author keeps between the reader and her characters. We never really get to know them, and while I recognize her message about how we never really do or can know anyone, her method of driving it home prevented me from ever warming up to the novel. The writing was compelling but the story itself never completely caught me up and ultimately left me cold.
(Read for Early Reviewers)
Hi Vivian! It was such an odd book - the whole time I was reading it, I just couldn't figure out if I liked it or not... I will definitely read whatever she produces next, though, since she's obviously a good writer.
Blech. Heat. I'm ensconced in the a/c so can't really complain, but I resent having to run it :) Looks like it will cool down by Wednesday, though. I'm used to Texas where this (and hotter!) lasts for 3 solid months, so I should count my blessings!
>15 katiekrug: I think I will give that one a pass at this point. I hope your next read is a better one for you, Katie!
Happy new thread, Katie. I've also been having a stretch of reads where I wasn't just that wild about them and I can't figure out if it's me or the books or some combo thereof. Here's hoping both of us find some more awesome reads in short order.
>14 katiekrug: No, that's romantic science fiction, which is also lots of fun!
ETA this is also Georgette Heyer month on the BAC, and there are lots of her books that would be pure entertainment.
>6 katiekrug: Amen to that!!
Hope you find some books that totally delight you.
I'm sitting very still and don't have the A/C on, just running the fan. For that matter, the only A/Cs I have installed are the ones in my bedroom and the kitchen/bookroom, not the office/living room. I'm fine as long as I'm sitting still!
I have a galley of The Lauras on my tbr and to be review stack. Oh well...
>22 RebaRelishesReading: - Thanks, Reba!
>23 Chatterbox: - My office is in the basement, which stays pleasantly cool (of course, it was freezing in the cold weather...), so I can turn up the a/c during the day. The second floor can get a bit uncomfortable, though. It's very stuffy up there on a good day.
You might like The Lauras - you never know... :)
Something to look forward to: I got tickets to the US Open! My tennis-loving friends here have encouraged me to renew my love of the game, so The Wayne and I and our friend, Eileen, decided to check it out. We're taking the Friday before Labor Day off and got tickets for the day session at Arthur Ashe Stadium. I've never been to a professional tennis event - should be fun.
(Have I mentioned lately how glad I am that we moved up here?!?!)
You lucky Katie! US Open. That's on my bucket list. Unfortunately, as long as I'm teaching, it will probably have to wait.
I'll still give The Lauras a try, just manage my expectations. I'm glad you read it first.
I'd love the painting on my wall - good luck getting to the Cape.
>14 katiekrug: Well, I did kind of wonder when you said your friend was coming to help with the reorganization. Bet there was wine involved too. Good for you that you got as far as the "G"s. LOL.
>15 katiekrug: Glad to see I am not alone on that one, Katie. Mentioning the "distance" is a perfect way to look at it. Hope she can come back strong next time.
Katie-- I have been to Roland Garros and it was awesome! I am jealous that you are going to the US Open: I'd love to watch some matches there. Great move to get the tickets. ; )
>25 katiekrug: ooh, the US Open!! That's exciting. I've never been to a professional tennis match either, which is weird now that I think about it, because we always watch the major tournaments on TV and lots of other lesser-known matches because we get the Tennis Channel on cable.
>25 katiekrug: That sounds great! I've been to Wimbledon a couple of times (a long time ago now) and it was a great experience.
You've done things in this area in a few months that I haven't done in mphmfgm decades! I want to be like you when I grow up.
Morning, Katie! Happy new one. Most exciting about the tennis tickets!! *envy eyes*
>26 BLBera: - I can see how the timing of the US Open would be hard on teachers who want to attend, Beth. Something else to look forward to after retirement! Do you have a copy of The Lauras? If not, I'd be happy to pass mine along...
>27 Familyhistorian: - There was a little bit of wine, Meg, but not too much because my friend doesn't drink alcohol. We were just having fun chattering away and watching crap TV!
>28 msf59: - She's such a good writer, Mark. I will definitely pick up whatever she comes out with next...
>29 drneutron: - Thanks, Jim!
>30 Berly: - I'm really looking forward to it, Kim! You should plan a trip out this way for a late summer one year :)
>31 LovingLit: - Hi Megan - it's nonfiction about "the world's frozen places." It is a great cover, isn't it?
>32 lauralkeet: - Erm, Laura, you're retired now. You should come on up!
>33 SandDune: - I would love to go to Wimbledon, Rhian. It's my favorite of the big 4...
>34 ffortsa: - LOL, Judy. I don't expect to keep doing so much, but it's fun exploring and seeing what's worth doing. I'll either succumb to exhaustion or go bankrupt and that'll be the end of all the fun ;-)
>35 Crazymamie: - Mamie, maybe it's time for a little Mamie time and a quick trip to New York? I have extra space!
>25 katiekrug: Yea for you!! I used to play a little very bad tennis but I've always loved the game. When I lived in the U.K. I planned Wimbledon season around the TV broadcasts and tried not to miss a minute. I still watch from time to time but have never been to a professional game. It sounds wonderful and I'm sure is only one of many, many reasons you're happy about the move :)
>37 katiekrug: erm, yeah, we've talked about that. I'm a little overwhelmed with our planned move to Philly which is supposed to happen in late September or October. We already have a couple of commitments on our calendar in that timeframe and even though I know it's probably doable, I can't get my head around it right now.
I'm back after a month in California. Mom's mail is forwarded, her safe deposit box permanently closed, and the house on the market. Back to retirement!
Drawing a line in the sand, and just moving forward seems wisest, otherwise I'd never get caught up! Hope things have been going well for you.
Hi Vivian! It might have been here, as I am a Pritchett fan :) I preferred HBCO to STars Go Blue but still very much liked the latter. Apparently her newest, The Blue Hour, has some crossover with characters.
I've also read her debut, Sky Bridge which wasn't bad but not as strong as her other stuff. I have its follow-up, Red Lightning, to get to... Thanks for the reminder - ha!
Ok then, I'm giving you full credit - thanks! I'll add The Blue Hour for sure.
Howdy KAK! Your US Open plans sound fun.
It's so hot here. AC was not cooling, but the AC folks came out early today and it seems to be working just fine now. Needed a little freon and there doesn't appear to be leak. Thank goodness that is all. Fingers crossed there is no slow leak.
>44 vivians: - *grin*
>45 BLBera: - OK. I look forward to your thoughts on it....
>46 luvamystery65: - Hi Ro! I'm definitely not missing the Texas heat! It was hotter here than in Dallas the other day, but it was bearable because (1) a/c and (2) I knew it was only going to last a day or so. Today we are in the mid- to high 70s :D
Morning, Katie! Stopping in to wish you a weekend filled with fabulous.
Thanks, Mamie! Weekend should be quiet - I need to get a pedicure but don't feel like shaving my legs - ha!
I am also hoping to make some progress on my book organizing/shelving... I'm about to start the Ms, which will fill up the last shelves in the "public" rooms. Then I'll need to figure out how to distribute the rest throughout all the random shelves in random places upstairs :-P
That made me laugh!
Have fun with the books - I started reorganizing mine and now I have short stacks of them in various places while I'm "thinking" about it. *blinks*
Congrats on the US Open tickets! Even for a non tennis watcher like me I think that would be a cool event to see!
>5 katiekrug: I love that post, Katie. I was musing the other day that my reading has been leaning toward more mystery novels lately. For a long time that genre was my go-to and the wonderful thing about LT is that it has expanded my reading horizons. I love that about LT. And I want to keep exploring the vast universe of literature and narrative nonfiction. But when it comes down to pure enjoyment, a good mystery novel is often exactly what I crave. I think I naturally returned to the genre when life became so hectic in spring quarter but, regardless, it's a fun terrain to which I'm pleased to return.
>15 katiekrug: I think there is consensus that Sara Taylor's second novel is not living up to her debut. I'm hoping her third novel recaptures the magic. :-)
Stopping by to get caught up. Happy new thread, Katie! Congratulations on scoring tickets to the US Open. What fun!
>49 katiekrug: Shave the legs and skip the pedi or go au natural?? These are important decisions!! LOL Since the massage is my favorite part of the pedi, I usually try to shave before I go. Usually!
Lucky you, US Open! That will be fun. I hope you get some good matches.
I'm looking forward to watching Wimbledon this year, as always. Roger's my man, and I hope he gets a good draw and overcomes the shock loss to Tommy Haas at Stuttgart.
>50 Crazymamie: - Yep, I now have stacks everywhere, too. And I did zilch about it over the weekend...
>51 ChelleBearss: - Hi Chelle! Good to "see" you :) We're looking forward to the US Open.
>52 EBT1002: - Yeah, The Lauras didn't really seem to grab anyone around here like her debut did.
>53 lkernagh: - Hey, Lori! Thanks for stopping by.
>54 Berly: - Kim, a friend and I ended up going on Sunday morning, so I did shave. Finally :)
>55 karenmarie: - I come squarely down on the side of Federer in the Federer/Nadal "pick a side" argument. I'd love to see him play. I won't get to see much of Wimbledon this year, which is ironic since I'll be in the UK. But work and duty call.
>56 Crazymamie: - Hi Mamie! I successfully avoided the worst parts of Monday, so hooray for that.
I've been reading As Good As Gone by Larry Watson, an LT ER win from months and months ago. It's good, but I had to set it aside to finish my re-read of The Handmaid's Tale for book group tonight. I had been listening to it, but I wasn't going to finish the audio in time. And I still have Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places going for the Nonfiction challenge. I read a chapter here and there, and it works well, as it's rather episodic.
I leave in just under 2 weeks for my work trip/mini-break, so I'm starting to think about what I want to bring to read... Always the most fun of getting ready for any trip!
Yay for trip/mini-break! I tend to go for fluffy things when I travel as I don't want something super dense at the end of long days. You?
>59 MickyFine: - Definitely the same, Micky. I'll probably opt for some mysteries and romances :)
*Wave* A mini-break sounds nice.
I am definitely getting in the mode for mysteries and romances. Maybe it's that it's summer? I don't know.
Hi Jenn! It was supposed to be a mega-break with The Wayne, but he ended up not being able to go (or thought he couldn't), so I'm just spending a couple of days in Edinburgh with a friend/co-worker and then a couple of days in London on my own. This after 6 days of work first :-P
I have a really short attention span at the moment, so I need things I can pick up and put down easily, and mysteries and romances definitely fit the bill!
Your trip sounds wonderful. Too bad the Wayne couldn't go. Are you going to meet any LTers besides Susan?
Hope you have fun planning the books to take. We've got a big event at the beginning of July and then I'm hoping to get some time off to go North.
>63 BLBera: - Hi Beth! No other meet-ups. I'll be there during the work week, and I don't know any other LTers in London itself (I don't think - if I'm wrong and someone is reading this, speak up!!)... Maybe if it was over a weekend I could entice some people, but them's the brakes! And I'm only there lated Wednesday afternoon, all of Thursday and to early afternoon Friday, so not much time at all.
>64 charl08: - How far North, Charlotte? I know you have an affinity for Edinburgh.
My book group meeting went well - if I ignore the annoying ones who either didn't finish the book or did finish it but apparently absorbed nothing, including very basic plot points. *eye roll* There was a core group of about 5 of us, though, who had a good discussion about it. I'm so glad I found this group! Not sure what we are reading next - they pick by an online poll after each meeting - I'll be interested to see what the options are..
And after the meeting, I met up with The Wayne who had been killing time in a gastropub near the train station, and I had two glasses of wine and some oysters. It felt very decadent for a Tuesday night!
>66 katiekrug: Sounds like a lovely Tuesday evening, Katie. I look forward to hearing what the group picks next too. :)
I'm glad your book group is turning out to be a good find, Katie. A core of a half-dozen dedicated and intelligent readers seems like it will sustain the group and your need for book conversation.
P and I keep talking about going to the US Open at some point in the future. I think it would be tremendous fun. Of course, I'd also love to go to Wimbledon one of these years. :-)
>65 katiekrug: I think I'm going to be in Edinburgh for a couple of days, then head a bit further north and do a walk. We'll see if my enthusiasm for the idea of exercise translates into the real thing though...
>65 katiekrug: You might check with our knower-of-all-LT-British, Darryl, to see if he or anyone else will be in London, if you're a-hankering for company.
Hi Katie! Happy Thursday to you.
>57 katiekrug: Yay Roger, of course! it is ironic about Wimbledon, for sure.
>66 katiekrug: Your book club sounds good - I'm afraid that I'm the occasional one who doesn't finish the book in my RL book club. Our book-choosing method allows each person to pick a book regardless of what anybody else thinks, and although it has worked well in the past, in recent years I've been only finishing about 50% of the books. I'm an original member from when we started 20 years ago and don't have the heart to quit, but it gets really trying some times. I read about 15 pages of Spill Simmer Falter Wither before putting it down for July's discussion. I simply refuse to waste time on something that doesn't appeal to me.
>70 EBT1002: - Well, Ellen, if you ever make it to the US Open, you had better let me know!
>71 charl08: - I, too, have great enthusiasm for the *idea* of exercise, Charlotte :)
>72 ffortsa: - Darryl definitely won't be, and I don't know the people he most often meets up with there. The British LTers I do know aren't in London, except for Susan. Plus, I'm not there for very long. And plus plus, I don't mind being on my own - it's cathartic after being "on" for a week straight for work, where my cheeks hurt from grinning and bearing it when 50 people view me as their own personal assistant. Heh.
>73 karenmarie: - Karen, I didn't mean to make it sound like one shouldn't go if one hasn't finished the book. It was just that she then tried to dominate the conversation with her questions and insights that made no sense since she hadn't finished it. And with your group, you know the people well so half the fun probably is the fellowship and socializing and it doesn't matter so much about the book. Mine is a group of random people, all strangers to one another, so the dynamic really depends on people reading the book and contributing to the discussion.
One should NEVER waste time on a book that isn't working for them!
Yesterday was the summer equinox, so I celebrated with my first Pimm's Cup of the season! It wasn't very good, but oh well - I'll keep trying ;-) I also had a Bibb lettuce salad with fresh burrata, bacon, and a horseradish dressing, and grilled octopus over chorizo and potato hash. I love living in a place where small, independent restaurants are the rule and big chains the exception. In Dallas, there were some great restaurants, but mostly high-end; if you wanted a more reasonably-priced, informal place that wasn't Tex-Mex or a chain, pickings were slim...
>75 katiekrug: Sounds like you are getting right into summer!! We mostly have chain restaurants in our town, which greatly disappoints Nathen. We drive the extra time to go to the next couple towns over to eat at their small restaurants instead sometimes. We can only eat at Boston Pizza so many times!
>75 katiekrug: When you master your recipe for Pimm's please post! I would like to try my hand making some this summer too.
>76 ChelleBearss: - When we lived in Dallas, we'd get in such a rut going to the same places, Chelle. The extra drive for you is probably worth it!
>77 Oberon: - Erik, this was at a restaurant last night. I hate making them myself, but I did have some success last summer. I'm wracking my brain trying to remember what I ended up using as a mixer. I think it was just ginger ale, though carbonated lemonade is more traditional, I think. I discovered that you don't want to pre-mix the Pimm's and mixer, which is what I had always done. I did mix the Pimm's and all the fruit and cucumber (I used sliced lemons, oranges, strawberries, and cucumbers) and let that sit in a big pitcher. Then I made them to order in large glasses with ice, the ginger ale, and the Pimm's/fruit mixture. I did not use exact measurements but it was probably 2:1 mixer to Pimm's.
It's fun to experiment 'til you get it right! Even a bad one is still pretty refreshing on a hot day ;-)
I had a fun lunch with Roni today at one of my favorite restaurants/chocolate factories. It's really nice to have a local LT friend. Extra nice because she brought me some beautiful apricots from her tree :) A photo was taken on her phone and I'm sure she will post it.
5 stars for this excellent audio of an excellent book.
And now for something completely different, I'll be starting the audio of How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse by Cressida Cowell :)
Hi, Katie! Hooray for 5 stars for the audio The Handmaid's Tale. This will be perfect for a reread for me. Still making our way through the Hulu series. They have done an excellent job.
Hope you had a good week, my friend.
Hi Katie--Hooray for the 5 in your book group who can discuss...books!!! I am on a mystery romp the month and loving it. Just what I need with the craziness in my life. I hope to fit in a Georgette Heyer, too. Have fun packing for your trip.
Just checked out Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle by Heyer. Sounds like a good one, right?! ; )
>82 msf59: - Hiya, Mark! You'll love the Claire Danes audio - GUARANTEED! I am hoping to start the series this weekend.
>83 Berly: - Hey, Kim! I'm pretty happy with my book group :) I think I have that Heyer on my Kindle. I snapped up a TON when they were on sale a few years ago. I've still only read 2 or 3 of them, though :-P
Hi Katie and happy Friday!
>74 katiekrug: What I always find amusing is when one of us doesn't finish the book and then doesn't want us to 'spoil' it for her because she plans on finishing it. Doesn't ever work, though. You're right about our book club - although we got a huge influx of new members about 10 years ago, our book club is 20 years old this year and we've been stable for quite a while with membership. It's fun to get together with them. Wine, women, books! Great combo.
Heyer has been one of my favorite authors since I was 13 and first read Faro's Daughter. I still have that original ratty copy although I've replaced most of the others over the years, especially when I see these new wonderful trade paperbacks in good condition at thrift shops or the Friends of the Library Sale. I love the Georgian and Regency periods, and Heyer's mastery of them makes the books a joy to read.
I love The Handmaid's Tale. I'll watch for your comments on the series. I'm always hesitant to watch a film version of a book I love. They never live up to my expectations.
As Good As Gone by Larry Watson
“No matter how long they’ve been there, the people who live out here believe that whatever life demands of them they can meet it on their own. And perhaps they can. But Bill Sidey knows he’s not cut from that cloth. The infinite sky that inspires certainty in some people breeds doubt in him, and he’s never been sure what the truth of human endeavor is: Are we meant to do it on our own or with the help of others?”
A very well-written tale of family, exile, and the ties that bind no matter what. Ultimately, it's about the folly of rejecting the help one needs in favor of going it alone, whether out of fear, pride, or ignorance. The sense of place - a large town on the Montana prairie in 1963 - is excellent, with the changing landscape echoing the broader changes becoming evident in the Western ethos.
I'll add that to the wishlist Katie. Hope you're feeling more the thing by the time you read this. The heatwave here seems to have passed over, which I would say was a relief except for the neighbours' open garden event is this weekend, and a sunny day would help!
Katie, I hope you've recovered today. I love the look of As Good As Gone, but it hasn't hit the library yet. I'll have to Amazon wishlist it as a reminder :-)
Ok, back to normal this morning. 9 hours of sleep helped :)
>85 karenmarie: - The spoiler thing is tricky, but honestly, if I didn't read the book, that's on me. I was slightly worried there would be spoilers during our conversation about the Hulu series, but only one person had seen it (so far), so we didn't talk much about it.
I will probably include a Heyer in the books I download for my upcoming trip. But which one? Decisions, decisions....
>86 BLBera: - Beth, I agree the films/TV shows are never as good. But I do love seeing books brought to life (and then critiquing the results!). They've signed on for another season, which should be interesting, since the first season ended as the book did (at least that's what I heard) - apparently Atwood is involved in the writing and story development, so it will be cool to see a further exploration of Gilead.
>89 charl08: - I am feeling better, thanks, Charlotte. I have been eating more healthy, and less, and then kind of splurged last night on Indian and wine, and I obviously was not ready for it! But a good sleep helped, as it always does... I am glad you all had a heat wave earlier, as I am convinced you won't have two in short order, so my time in the UK won't consist of me melting! Now I've probably jinxed it, and it will be record-breaking heat... ha!
>90 susanj67: - Hi Susan - feeling much better! I find I really love these books set out West with spare prose and taciturn characters. Not sure what's so appealing to me, but they are becoming reliably enjoyable to me. I'd only read one other Watson - Montana 1948 - and I liked it but it was pretty short and I wanted more. I still have a couple others on my shelf (well, technically, in stacks on my floor because I'm *still* not done organizing and shelving...)
>91 karenmarie: - Hi Karen! Is it the qualifying rounds that start next week or did I totally misread the dates? Your enthusiasm is making me think I should spend my day in London in front of a TV with a pitcher of Pimms ;-) Perhaps just my lunchtime....?
Glad you're feeling better, Katie. Oh, it's interesting that Atwood is involved. I wonder what they will come up to continue. I'll look forward to your critique.
You're right, it's the qualifiers that start on the 27th. I need to be more patient. I might watch a bit of the qualifiers, but I'm really more anxious to see the draws, of course.
I've got the house all to myself until Wednesday night :) The Wayne is at a conference. This is good because my week will be hectic before my trip, and now I get three days of making my own hours, not having to worry about getting him to and from the train, figuring out dinner, etc. Also, I like to have some Katie time :)
I've made progress on my book organization, and will start on the Ts tomorrow. I've run out of shelf space on the main floor and have filled two tall bookcases in the guest room. I am now filling two chest-high cases in my She-Cave. I think half the Ts and the rest of the alphabet will be up in the attic bedroom. Oh, well. At least I can find things now!
Hi Katie, my realtor told me my bookshelves would take too much of the buyers attention away from the house so I've been taking loads over to the apartment every night. So far we are just tossing them on the shelves but I am looking forward to spending some time sorting and putting them in alphabetical order. I have been recording The Handmaid's Tale and I think I may just go and start watching it tonight.
>100 DeltaQueen50: - It's definitely a fun (if overwhelming!) project, Judy :)
All three books in The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben H. Winters are on sale for Kindle (US) for $1.99. This was a great mystery/speculative/sci-fi trilogy following one cop during the last days of Earth, before a meteor slams into it.
>103 rosalita: - Sure was. I am thinking, though, I don't need to hold onto my paper copies. I'm really trying to be ruthless in getting rid of books, especially ones I've already read...
We interrupt our regularly scheduled book talk for my cousin Ben's first trip to the beach:
Ben and his sister, Abby (and presumably their parents but they aren't nearly as cute) are on Cape Cod, where I so wish I was right now *SOB*.
>105 katiekrug: What a cutie.
Speaking of cuties. Scout went to a wedding last weekend and had an adorable dress on, with fluffy lion slippers. That was her footwear for the day. Now that she is choosing her own clothes, I am seeing some hilarious combinations.
Cousin Ben is mighty cute, Katie!
Thanks for the PSA about The Last Policeman trilogy, I nabbed all three!
>88 katiekrug: Good Review of As Good As Gone. Thumb. We love Mr. Watson around these parts.
Looks like Ben was having a great time and who wouldn't be when on Cape Cod?
>106 rosalita: - Exactly. On both counts :)
>107 ChelleBearss: - Thanks, Chelle. I am!
>108 charl08: - The hat is so great. Very dapper, I think.
>109 BLBera: - Love that, Beth! Go Scout!
>110 DeltaQueen50: - Hope you enjoy, Judy!
>111 msf59: - Yes, indeed, Mark.
>112 RebaRelishesReading: - Too true, Reba. I'm sad to miss seeing them all up there...
>105 katiekrug: That photo cracks me up.
Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday.
Thanks, Kim and Karen!
Kim- the alone time comes to an end this evening, but that's okay. I miss The Wayne :)
Karen - the photo cracks me up, too!
102> another upward pointing thumb for The Last Policeman really draws you in functions wonderfully on so many different levels
>117 magicians_nephew: - Very true, Jim. Definitely more than just a mystery or end-of-world series.
>118 charl08: - We did, thanks! Went out to dinner where I had a perfect summer meal: cucumber vichyssoise with potato, leek, smoked trout, and spruce tips; and then a salad of white and green asparagus with almonds, bearnaise, and a soft egg. And 3 glasses of sauvignon blanc :)
I finished a book this morning:
I don't really have anything to say about it - it was an entertaining thriller, well-paced, with some humor. Exactly what I look for in this kind of book. It's something like #10 in a series, so I've downloaded the first one to bring on my trip with me.
HI - just wanted to wish you a good trip! Hope you enjoy your downtime in London and hope the business part goes well.
I went into the city last night and met a friend for dinner and then went to see a performance of the American Ballet Theater at Lincoln Center. Apparently, I am not a ballet person. I feel like a philistine just saying that, but Lordy Moses, what a snoozefest. I guess it's one less thing to spend money on...
Dinner was good - I had some delicious Tuscan chicken liver paté and an Italian white wine I don't recall the name of.
I leave Monday evening for 11 days in the UK, so this weekend will be the battle of relaxing and spending time with the husband vs. getting organized and prepared to leave. I *hate* the run-up to a trip.
>122 katiekrug: I'm glad you said that. I keep trying to enjoy dance but failing. I thought perhaps if I understood it better so I asked a dancer friend to help me but it didn't make any difference. There are several dance performances each summer at Chautauqua so now I just use those as lovely evenings to read.
>120 katiekrug: I'm just about to finish Home, the 11th in the series. I really like Myron, Win, Esperanza, and Big Cyndi.
Snoozefest - ha. I love the ballet but can't abide opera. For several years in LA I made it a point to see the ABT when they came to town, but except for a few arias that I'll listen to, avoid the opera like the plague.
I'm drooling over the idea of Tuscan chicken liver paté. I was debating making some for book club at my house on July 9th, (not Tuscan, though), but have nixed that idea in favor of being lazy.
Sorry about the stressful run-up to a trip, but I hope all goes well getting to the UK and while you're there.
I'm curious to one day attend a ballet and an opera, but I don't necessarily expect that I will enjoy either. (I mean, I might - I'm open to it, but I don't have any expectations.)
I think I might have gotten enough opera from living across the street from an opera singer in Italy. She practiced every day.
I saw in my searches for book-related meetings here that there is a group that meets in bars for an hour or so of sustained silent reading, with talking and mingling for half an hour before and half an hour afterward. Sort of an interesting concept.
>124 BLBera: - Beth, I'll try to post a bit, but the first part is all work, and I will barely leave the hotel, so.....
>125 RebaRelishesReading: - "Lovely evenings to read..." - perfect, Reba!
>126 karenmarie: - Hi Karen - it's so interesting how different people react to similar experiences. My best friend with whom I went to the ballet, is the one who introduced me to opera, and we both love that. And we have similar reading tastes and interests, but while she loved the ballet performance, I could barely keep my eyes open!
>127 ursula: - I guess it's always good to manage one's expectations, Ursula. I really thought I'd like the ballet more than I did. Oh well.
That reading group sounds kind of ideal - meet other readers but not be forced into potentially stilted conversations about a shared read. Do you think you'll give it a try?
My wife and I went to a ballet at Lincoln Center, Saturday matinee. Judi's dance teacher had extra tickets and invited us. A brief announcement told us that the lead danseur was unable to perform, so a sub would take his place. Baryshnikov. His entrance was a stupendous leap and drew a collective gasp from the audience. I'll never forget that. The rest of it...well...meh.
>122 katiekrug: Katie, I'm not a ballet person either. Years ago I went to a ballet with someone who was a big fan, and the lead was Mikhail Baryshnikov (hey, twice in two posts!). The audience was full of crazy female fans, and all the little opera glasses for hire got a lot of looking that evening. It was almost more fun watching the audience than the stage, and the interval was hilarious as they all oohed and aahed. I hope he had good security on the way to his car afterwards...
Ballet. Just no. I tried it. Living in a city, I thought "well, this will be fun." SNORE!!!! It was even a ballet that "everyone" loves! -- "The Nutcracker." I barely stayed awake.
Maybe there would be other ballets that I would love but not that one. And I'm too stingy with my time and my money to give it a second go.
Musical theater, I love. Including "A Chorus Line." But not ballet.
Ben's hat, on the other hand, is quite stunning. He's a cutie!
I'm looking forward to the Larry Watson novel, having been a fan of Montana, 1948. I think there are several others, though, that I haven't yet read.
And, no fear my friend. If we ever make it to the US Open, or even just to NYC, you will be the first to know!!
Aaaand Charlie starts ballet lessons this month. Good to know I've got so much excitement waiting for me. Awesome.
>129 weird_O: - Well, at least you had the leap to appreciate, Bill!
>130 susanj67: - My goodness, Susan! Who knew ballet fans could get so wound up ;-)
>131 EBT1002: - Ellen, I think my reaction was so strong because I really expected to like it! I love opera and theater and music and all that good stuff, but ballet really did nothing for me. I suspect modern dance would elicit the same reaction...
>132 scaifea: - Well, Amber, I'm sure it's different when it's your child.....? (At least I hope so, or else you have my condolences - ha!)
>133 katiekrug: Ha! Thanks. I'll definitely be taking a book along to the lessons.
I really need to pack but I don't wanna.... waaaaahh! I hate packing.
In other news, I FINISHED my book alphabetizing and shelving project yesterday :)
And I was only short about 4 feet of shelf space, so my small collection of fiction by authors with a last name starting with Y or Z is sitting on the floor, along with all my Whartons and Wesleys. And I don't care (at least at the moment). I wish the books didn't have to be spread all over the house*, but c'est la vie.
* ETA: There are books in the family room, dining room, front parlor, guest room, she-cave, and attic bedroom...
>136 katiekrug: "I FINISHED my book alphabetizing and shelving project yesterday" Oh NO! What will you do for fun now? *grins*
Hooray for book arranging. It sounds like fun.
I do like ballet, opera not so much.
The packing is all done, and I didn't need my ginormous suitcase. Go me! I really wanted to try to stick to a normal size suitcase since I'll be taking the train from Aberdeen to Edinburgh and then from Edinburgh to London, but packing for 11 days is HARD. My backpack weighs a ton but I can deal with that...
Congratulations on finishing your bookshelf organizing! I recently took on a much smaller task -- organizing our gift wrap, tissue, bows, ribbons etc. into a new storage thing -- and every so often I open the closet just to admire how great it all looks. It's just so satisfying, isn't it?
I love going to the ballet but I have yet to find a love for opera. I've been to the opera twice now (Turandot and Elektra) and it didn't blow my socks off like I expected (other than Nessun Dorma, but I've always loved that piece). Our local opera is doing HMS Pinafore in their upcoming season so I think I'll try that one and if I'm still not impressed than I think I'm done with opera. I'm sure it's not an either/or scenario but it sure is looking that way around these parts.
Congrats on completing your packing!
>141 weird_O: - That's a good spread, Bill. Are they organized in those places and can you find what you need easily?
>142 lauralkeet: - Very satisfying, indeed, Laura!
>143 MickyFine: - Interesting on the possible ballet-opera divide, Micky. Of course, all you ballet lovers are wrong ;-) Comic opera is much different from the more "traditional" ones, so you may very well enjoy HMS Pinafore. I know some Gilbert and Sullivan songs but have never seen one of their works performed.
>144 weird_O: - 'Murrica!
Hi from Scotland. Easy flights to get here and the hotel is charming but I'm not sure how conducive to business meetings it will be. As long as everyone remains relaxed and understanding all will be well. But I already got an earful from a colleague last night complaining about *everything* so my expectations are low.
Just need to make it through Sunday and then I can have fun!
>146 susanj67: - Hi Susan! I was afraid you'd forgotten about me... *sniffle*
>147 katiekrug: Yikes. I've been stressing about a conference here but at least I get to go home at the end of the day... Hope you have some great times, I'm looking forward to getting north and drinking Edinburgh gin and checking out the bookshops. Possibly not at the same time though.
Good luck with your meetings, Katie. Ply them with alcohol. Unless, of course, they are mean drunks. :)
I do like Gilbert and Sullivan even if I don't appreciate traditional opera.
>145 katiekrug: Organized?! Can I find what I want easily??!!? Pfffb! Not on your life.
So jealous that you're in Scotland. Hope you get some downtime between meetings to really enjoy it.
Re liking the ballet: I find classical ballet rather tiresome myself, but some modern dance is to my taste. And I always feel that if I had had any dance training myself, I might appreciate the nuances of classical performance better, but for now, I don't. I can admire the athleticism and control and beauty of it, but a full evening is a bit too much for me.
Katie, see if they do deep-fried Mars bars. That would give the moaners something to talk about...
>154 susanj67: Or pizzas- they used to do them at the place near the bottom of the royal mile, for when you get a craving Katie....
Hope all goes well with your meetings and that people end up having a fun and productive time. Meanwhile, hope you get to have some fun.
Hang in there. I hope things go well for you.
For a laugh, here's another take on ballet: Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Glad to hear you have landed and all well so far! Hope your meetings are not too annoying and hope you get lots of time to relax and be a tourist!
Hope the larger surroundings make up for any lack in the immediate facilities, Katie!
I don't want to make anyone jealous, but I'm meeting everyone's favorite Kiwi lawyer/London transplant, Susan, for dinner tonight!! Shenanigans may ensue.
Howdy, Katie! It looks like the trip is going well. Enjoy dinner with Susan.
When do you head home?
I hope you got to spend some you time in Edinburgh, Katie. Enjoy your time in London.
Katie--Hope you have an absolute blast on your trip! Can't wait to hear all about it! Not a fan or opera. Ballet is OK. ; )
>161 katiekrug: And I got to meet the awesome Katie-from-New-York! We had a lovely evening, and I'm so glad that the dates worked and you could come to London.
Oh my goodness, you're in Edinburgh and London?! Have an amazing trip!
By the way, in case you don't memorize the Giants schedule as soon as it comes out and start plotting which dates would be good to go to a game like my dad does, my family's looking at going down for the game on Columbus Day weekend. No tickets yet, but if you were available we could try plotting a meetup. We'd probably drive down on Sunday morning for the game and stay over Sunday night, going home Monday.
>168 susanj67: - Thanks for meeting me for dinner, Susan! I had a great time and it was good to catch up. And thanks for the great gift :-D
Other responses later, but thanks to everyone for keeping my thread warm. I'm at Heathrow, waiting to fly home. Hope to catch up over the weekend.
Hey everybody - I'm really not up for much in the way of responses, but I do appreciate the visits. I'll try to get back into the swing of things this week and start fresh.
My trip went fine - work was work with some good and some bad, but I had a great time in Edinburgh with my colleague/friend and then on my own in London. I don't feel like doing a detailed wrap-up - I documented my trip pretty well on Facebook so if you're on there and we aren't friends, send me a request (Katie Simonds Krug). If you're not on FB, you'll just have to imagine lots of pictures and updates featuring food and drinks :)
I finished 4 books - all of which were entertaining but certainly not high literature.
A decent collection of short stories chronicling the ins and outs of love and lust in the New York City of the 1980s. 3 stars
Another collection, with some cute stories and one longer novella. 3.5 stars
First in a new-to-me historical romance series. A bit ridiculous in parts but overall a fun romp. 3.5 stars
If one can set aside the fact that an assistant to the CEO of a media empire would in no way be paid as little as the main character in this novel is, this was a diverting tale of a Robin Hood-esque scheme that runs into problems. 3.5 stars
>169 bell7: - Mary, let me know when you know for sure what your plans are. I'll be out of town most of the first half of October but hopefully we can make something work!
Welcome home, Katie! I'll just close my eyes and pretend I can see the pics on Facebook of you having lots of fun. :-)
Welcome back, Katie! I enjoyed following your travels on Facebook. I hope that you won't go into Pimm's withdrawal, though.
Welcome home, Katie. I'm glad the trip was mostly enjoyable (with work being work -- so well said). I'm not on FB very often but I did enjoy checking in on your adventures now and then.
Have a great re-entry week!
>174 katiekrug: will do! Welcome back and hope getting back to work goes smoothly for you.
Welcome home, Katie. It's been a long while since I commented on your thread .. *hangs head*... glad you had a great trip. Any trip that includes a lot of great food and copious drinks can't be anything but fantastic!
I have Paris for One in my TBR Tower so I'm glad to see that you're positive about it.
>178 rosalita: - Hi Julia! Just for you, here's my favorite picture from my trip - stumbled across a pub in Edinburgh named in my honor...
>179 kidzdoc: - I only had two Pimms the whole time, Darryl! Both from the Pimm's stall in Grosvenor Square. They were a bit pricey at 9 pounds each, but definitely the best I've ever had...
>180 EBT1002: - Thanks, Ellen. Re-entry is going as well as can be expected. Blerg.
>181 bell7: - Thank you, Mary!
>182 cameling: - Hey Caro! Good to "see" you. You are so right about any trip with good food and drinks being a success!
>183 katiekrug: Aww, thanks! That is a great picture but only half the name seems to relate to you. UK pub names are so good. Who wouldn't want to drink at The Boozy Cow, as opposed to Dave's Bar and Grill?
And of course, being in Scotland, it would be pronounced the Boozy Coo :)
Finished a book while eating lunch --
I read #9 in this series earlier this month and enjoyed it, so decided to go and start at the beginning. This was a decent page-turner with a bit of clunky dialogue and a ridiculous plot, but still a page-turner and that's all I ask for in my thrillers :)
>188 katiekrug: I read the first three in that series but for some reason that escapes me I rated the third one really low and never read another one. But some of his standalone thrillers are decent page-turners.
A couple of his stand-alones have been on sale for Kindle so I picked them up. I have a friend who really likes them.
Another fun entry in this series; superb on audio read by David Tennant.
>183 katiekrug: I love the photos, Katie, especially The Boozy Cow!
Hope you are getting back into the groove, without too much difficulty.
Hiya, Mark! The groove is proving to be somewhat elusive, but I'm sure I'll locate it. Probably by Friday - ha!
Love the pub name, Katie. Martha Grimes' Richard Jury series has titles that are all pub names. I love them.
Good luck getting back into the groove. School starts in a month, and I will suffer through the same problem.
>197 jnwelch: - If I were any calmer, Joe, I'd be dead. Part of my problem is no sense of urgency to get my work done. I am a Master Procrastinator :)
>198 BLBera: - Beth, I didn't realize all those Richard Jury titles were pub names! I have several on my shelf - my Mom was a big fan. I will get to them some day - right now, I need a new series like I need a hole in the head!
>188 katiekrug: I read #9 in this series earlier this month and enjoyed it, so decided to go and start at the beginning
LOL! Susan, in my defense, I didn't realize it was part of a series when I started it!
Just started The Golden Legend on audio thanks to you! So far so good. Thanks for the Grosvenor Sq idea - will definitely check it out. I'm still trying to make plans for those few London days, trying to figure out some must-see tourist spots for my daughter (who has no recollection of having been there) and other things for the older kids. I have two tickets for the Harry Potter plays, which is her birthday present. Please pass along any other brilliant ideas!!!
>188 katiekrug: I would have to start at the beginning too! Drives me nuts to read out of order. My hubby does that all the time and it doesn't bother him.
>202 vivians: - Vivian, I hope you continue to like it! I'll try to think of other things for London. But really, I'm all about the bookshops, food, and drinks :)
>203 ChelleBearss: - I don't mind it for romance series, Chelle, but those are usually more loosely connected. I've become quite obsessive about reading in order for mysteries/thrillers...
I've become quite obsessive about reading in order for mysteries/thrillers...
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