Happy Holidays! The 12 Days of LT scavenger hunt is going on. Can you solve the clues?
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Weird_O Bill's 2018 Rubber Room & Library #2

This is a continuation of the topic Weird_O Bill's 2018 Rubber Room & Library #1.

This topic was continued by Weird_O Bill's 2018 Rubber Room & Library #3.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Apr 6, 9:39pm Top

Edited: Sep 13, 10:53am Top








#47#46& #45#44

Edited: Sep 13, 10:54am Top

Books Read: Third Quarter 2018

September (5 read)
74. Benediction by Kent Haruf (9/13/18)
73. My Reading Life by Pat Conroy (9/11/18)
72. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde (9/9/18)
71. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (9/7/18)
70. Laughing Gas by P. G. Wodehouse (9/2/18)

August (11 read)
69. The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter by Ambrose Bierce (8/31/18)
68. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (8/30/18)
67. The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers (8/28/18)
66. Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman (8/21/18)
65. A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman (8/17/18)
64. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (8/15/19)
63. France Is a Feast by Alex Prud'homme and Katie Pratt (8/13/18)
62. The Quick and the Dead by Louis L'Amour (8/11/18)
61. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck (8/8/18)
60. A Dog's Life by Peter Mayle (8/7/18)
59. Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York by Paul Gallico (8/2/18)

July (7 read)
58. Thurber on Crime by James Thurber (7/31/18)
57. The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan (7/30/18)
56. The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon (7/24/18)
55. On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder (7/12/18)
54. Chinaman's Chance by Ross Thomas (7/11/18)
53. Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin (7/5/18)
52. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie (7/2/18)

Edited: Jun 25, 6:51pm Top

Books Read: Second Quarter 2018

June (13 read)
51. Michael Chabon's The Escapist: Pulse-Pounding Thrills by Michael Chabon (6/25/18)
50. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene (6/24/18)
49. The Sense of a Ending by Julia Barnes (6/22/18)
48. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (6/20/18)
47. Eventide by Kent Haruf (6/19/18)
46. The Private World of Pablo Picasso and Picasso's Picassos by David Douglas Duncan (6/17/18)
45. Crooked House by Agatha Christie (6/14/18)
44. Through Irish Eyes: A Visual Companion to Angela McCourt's Ireland by Malachy McCourt (6/11/18)
43. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin (6/10/18)
42. The Big Burn by Timothy Egan (6/8/18)
41. The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton (6/5/18)
40. The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosley (6/3/18)
39. The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy (6/1/18)

May (9 read)
38. A River Runs Through it and other stories by Norman Maclean (5/30/18)
37. TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (5/21/18)
36. Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis by Peter Kuper (5/21/18) GN
35. Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo (5/20/18)
34. I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson (5/13/18)
33. Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee (5/12/18)
32. News Is a Verb: Journalism at the End of the Twentieth Century by Pete Hamill (5/6/18)
31. Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey (5/6/18)
30. Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (5/1/18)

April (8 read)
29. The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee (4/30/18)
28. The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan (4/26/18)
27. Duane Michals: Portraits by Duane Michals (4/22/18)
26. Tales from Grimm by Wanda Gag (4/21/18)
25. The Juniper Tree and Other Tales from Grimm by Lore Segal and Maurice Sendak (4/15/18)
24. A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (4/14/18)
23. The Nazis Next Door by Eric Lichtblau (4/5/18)
22. Peril at End House by Agatha Christie (4/2/18)

Edited: Apr 6, 9:47pm Top

Books Read: First Quarter 2018

March (9 read)
21. The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty (3/31/18)
20. Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen (3/30/18)
19. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (3/23/18)
18. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (3/18/18)
17. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (3/17/18)
16. The Twits by Roald Dahl (3/11/18)
15. Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande (3/8/18)
14. This Boy's Life by Tobius Wolff (3/5/18)
13. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (3/2/18)

February (8 read)
12. Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse (2/26/18)
11. On William Faulkner by Eudora Welty (2/22/18)
10. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (2/21/18)
9. A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie (2/15/18)
8. Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead (2/12/18)
7. The Hilliker Curse by James Ellroy (2/10/18)
6. Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre (2/8/18)
5. Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley (2/1/18)

January (4 read)
4. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (1/30/18)
3. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (1/17/18)
2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (1/13/18)
1. Lucky You by Carl Hiassen (1/11/18)

Edited: Jun 10, 10:19pm Top

In January 2017, I posted a list of 24 TBRs that appear on an amalgamated table of "Best Books Lists" published by eight different (self-appointed) book-picking authorities. "If I average two reads a month," I said then, "I'll read them all by the end of the year." As time passed, I had opportunities to read two books on the amalgamated "Best Books" table that I hadn't selected for my 2017 reading subset. So I read them and added them. By year's end, I had read 15 of the 26 books on the final list.

Eleven books remain in their niche, not yet read. Five have bookmarks in them, indicating that I started reading but stalled for one reason or another. I'll just read them in 2018. I'm adding The Joy Luck Club because that's what I have for Amy Tan month of the 2018 AAC. And it also gives me 12 books. That makes this a one-book-a-month challenge.

As you can see, I didn't read a single one. Yet...

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (pub. 1868-9)
The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen (pub. 1958)
Naked Lunch by William Burroughs (pub. 1959)
The Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy (pub. 1955)
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (pub. 1880)
I, Claudius by Robert Graves (pub. 1934)
The Known World by Edward P. Jones (pub. 2003)
The Assistant by Bernard Malamud (pub. 1957)
Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (pub. 1915)
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (pub. 1759)
To a Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (pub. 1927)
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (pub. 1990)

Edited: Jul 5, 7:18pm Top

Got the Christie bug. Not serious, but I don't want to ignore it. I caught it while watching Branagh's Murder on the Orient Express. Having seen three cinematic versions, I wanted to read Dame Agatha's original. At about the same time, Christmas wish lists started circulating, and two grands, who also saw the latest movie, asked for Christie books. Christie wrote a LOT of books. Which were the best?

An acceptable list I found at The Guardian, contributed by John Curran. His selections listed in order of publication:

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
Hercule Poirot has retired to the village of King's Abbot to cultivate marrows. But when wealthy Roger Ackroyd is found stabbed in his study, he agrees to investigate. A typical village murder mystery; or so it seems until the last chapter with its stunning revelation. This title would still be discussed today even if Christie had never written another book. An unmissable, and still controversial, milestone of detective fiction.

Peril at End House (1932)
The impoverished owner of End House hosts a party where fireworks camouflage the shot that kills her cousin. Which of the other guests is a murderer? Perfectly paced, with subtle and ingenious clueing, and an unexpected but totally logical solution. Of its type, perfection; this is how the classic detective story should be written. Poirot

Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
The glamorous Orient Express stops during the night, blocked by snowdrifts. Next morning the mysterious Mr. Ratchett is found stabbed in his compartment and untrodden snow shows that the killer is still on board. This glamorous era of train travel provides Poirot with an international cast of suspects and one of his biggest challenges. Predicated on an inspired gimmick, this is one of the great surprise endings in the genre.

The ABC Murders (1935)
Despite advance warnings, Poirot is unable to prevent the murders of Alice Ascher, Betty Barnard and Carmichael Clarke. Can he stop the ABC Killer before he reaches D? One of the earliest examples of the "serial killer" novel this classic Christie is based on a beautifully simple premise. But how many readers are as clever as Poirot?

And Then There Were None (1939)
Ten people are invited to an island for the weekend. Although they all harbour a secret, they remain unsuspecting until they begin to die, one by one, until eventually … there are none. Panic ensues when the diminishing group realises that one of their own number is the killer. A perfect combination of thriller and detective story, this much-copied plot is Christie's greatest technical achievement. Mystery

Five Little Pigs (1943)
Sixteen years ago, Caroline Crale died in prison while serving a life sentence for poisoning her husband. Her daughter asks Poirot to investigate a possible miscarriage of justice and he approaches the other five suspects. This sublime novel is a subtle and ingenious detective story, an elegiac love story and a masterful example of storytelling technique, with five separate accounts of one devastating event. Christie's greatest achievement.

Crooked House (1949)
The Leonides family all live together in a not-so-little crooked house. But which of them poisoned the patriarch, Aristides? Murder in the extended family always provided fertile ground for Christie, and this was one of her own favourites. Another example of a sinister reinterpretation of a nursery rhyme with an ending that her publishers initially considered too shocking, even for Agatha Christie. Mystery

A Murder is Announced (1950)
In the village of Chipping Cleghorn, a murder is announced in the local paper's small ads. As Miss Blacklock's friends gather for what they fondly imagine will be a parlour game, an elaborate murder plot is set in motion. This was Christie's 50th title and remains Miss Marple's finest hour. Notable also for its setting in post-war Britain (a factor vital to the plot) this is arguably the last of the ingeniously clued and perfectly paced Christies.

Endless Night (1967)
Working-class Michael Rogers tells the story of his meeting and marrying Ellie, a fantastically rich American heiress. As they settle in their dream house in the country, it becomes clear that not everyone is happy for them. A very atypical Christie, this tale of menacing suspense builds to a horrific climax and shows that even after 45 years she had not lost the power to confound her readers. The best novel from her last 20 years. Mystery

Curtain: Poirot's Last Case (1975, but written during the second world war)
An old and frail Poirot returns to the scene of his first case, the country house Styles, now a guest-house. He summons his friend Hastings to help identify the killer he suspects is a fellow-guest. Christie uses every trick in the book to produce a unforgettable, yet poignant, swan song for the little Belgian. This novel was written during the Blitz and stored in a safe to be published after Christie's own death. It was actually published in October 1975 (Christie died in January 1976) and Poirot received a front-page obituary in the New York Times. In a lifetime of literary tours-de-force, this is the biggest shock of all.

The check following the title designates a book I've read, four of them in all. I have a copy of Curtain but haven't read it. Five to shop for. I think I want to read them before summer.

Young Hercule Poirot

Edited: Apr 6, 9:53pm Top

Some random books from the Colossal Colossus of TRB.

Apr 6, 9:43pm Top

Go away! I'm not ready yet.

Edited: Apr 6, 10:23pm Top

>8 weird_O: - LOL! (oops, sorry) ;-p

And happy new thread, too!

Apr 6, 10:14pm Top

I saw you gallivanting around on other threads, Bill, so I figured it was safe, to say- Happy New Thread, my friend.

Apr 6, 10:17pm Top

Yep I popped in too and popped out again at your direction!

Glad Shelley took the plunge.

Happy new thread, Bill. Have a great weekend.

Apr 7, 9:37am Top

Love those (fake?) book titles: "Well, that didn't work" is a favourite, i think.

I once heard a comedian who had written a whole routine for a comedy festival about the weird trashy paperbacks he'd picked up in second hand shops. It was amazing what someone could find in weird titles /covers when they set out to look.

Apr 7, 9:48am Top

Hi Bill and happy new thread!

>8 weird_O: Like.

Apr 7, 10:06am Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 7, 12:52pm Top

I liked the book on grammar. That should be a real title.

Apr 9, 5:12pm Top

Strange weekend, wasn't it?

I'm reading about the plague and also the plague wrought by the Brothers Grimm. The plague book is A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe, written 50 or 60 years after the event. It's a novel. In February I read Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders, also based on the plague in England in 1665. The Plague by Albert Camus, set in North Africa in the 20th century I read several years ago.

Edited: Apr 9, 5:23pm Top

Happy New Thread, Bill. That topper is mesmerizing. Any idea what they're saying? (I didn't get any audio).

>8 weird_O: = "Like" My favorite is "Well, That Didn't Work" as an autobio title.

Did I miss it? How did you like Ocean at the End of the Lane? It's up there for me with my favorite Gaimans.

Apr 9, 6:24pm Top

>17 weird_O: Drat. I have A Journal of the Plague Year by Defoe on my shelves, a nice Heritage Slipcased edition. I have been fascinated by The Black Death for decades. Year of Wonders is the only book by Geraldine Brooks that I have liked. I haven't read the Camus yet. I also really liked The Plague Tales by Ann Benson.

Apr 9, 8:25pm Top

>17 weird_O: - So, have you had your flu shot?

Apr 9, 8:53pm Top

Apr 10, 1:00pm Top

Seems like you have your on little thematic unit going with your reading. Thematic units are what teachers call it when they carry over the same topic to several different books and activities. There are lots of books out there on plagues of different kinds, but one I recommend to people is Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky. If you find it at one of your library book sales - nab it. It is worth the money.

Apr 19, 9:15pm Top

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm drawn by their brother Ludwig.

I recently steered through Grimm country, having gotten off the Reading Interstate in Eudora Welty's Mississippi for some refreshment. Turns out, I was in the realm of The Robber Bridegroom, a short novel published by Welty in 1942. In looking for some background on the story, I spied reference to a story of the same name by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the 19th century folklore scholars who published more than 200 folk stories that they transcribed and edited from European oral tradition. When I didn't find "The Robber Bridegroom" in the two collections of Grimm stories on our shelves, I looked online.

At Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org)1, I found the story, downloadable in a half-dozen formats. It's short and steeped in the ancient, Middle European broth: There's a miller with a daughter he wants to marry off, a mysterious cottage deep in the forest, a crone, a gang of blood-thirsty thugs. Runs only two pages. And it's a good jumping off point for appreciating what Miss Welty wrote.

My primary source of Grimm stories is a small two-volume set, published in 1973, that presents 27 stories selected by Lore Segal, a translator and editor, and Maurice Sendak, author or illustrator. I also have a 16-story collection, "freely translated and illustrated" by Wanda Gag in 1936; it is marked with the name of a local elementary school library, and I can't account for its presence on our home shelves.

Anyway, I've read the Segal/Sendak collection and Welty's take on the genre. The Gag collection I'll read soon. Reports on all follow.

1 By all means, check out this website. According to the site's intro of itself, "Project Gutenberg offers over 56,000 free eBooks: Choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online. You will find the world's great literature here, especially older works for which copyright has expired." There's no fee for membership or for downloading any of the books. A donation, of course, is welcomed and appreciated.

Apr 19, 9:44pm Top

A fun feature of Project Gutenberg is the page listing the top 100. Top 100 books, top 100 authors. Updated daily. Cool, Huh?

What is listed are the top 100 books and authors yesterday. Then you see the lists from 7 days ago, and from 30 days ago.

Here are the top 10 from yesterday (which would be Wednesday, 4-18-2018):

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1474)
2. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1051)
3. Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (915)
4. The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People by Oscar Wilde (893)
5. Et dukkehjem. English by Henrik Ibsen (798)
6. Moby Dick; Or, The Whale by Herman Melville (601)
7. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (552)
8. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (536)
9. Dracula by Bram Stoker (531)
10. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (530)

The number in parentheses is the number of downloads yesterday. Here are some others in the top 100, starting with the Brothers Grimm at 13th place.

13. Grimms' Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm (439)
27. The Romance of Lust: A Classic Victorian erotic novel by Anonymous (278)
30. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein (262)
47. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce (200)
78. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare (135)
86. Korean—English Dictionary by Leon Kuperman (128)
89. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (123)
90. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (121)
98. Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, Vol 1, Issue 11 by Various (113)

And rounding out the Top 100: Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P. Thompson (111). I don't believe that'll be a priority download for me, but I am gladdened to know it is available 24/7.

Apr 19, 10:07pm Top

By the bye, I did finish A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe.

>19 karenmarie: I have A Journal of the Plague Year by Defoe on my shelves, a nice Heritage Slipcased edition. Me too. That's what I read.

>20 jessibud2: Oh yes. All my shots are up to date, Shelley. :-)

>22 benitastrnad: >23 charl08: and also >19 karenmarie: Thanks for the reading suggestions. The Gawande book I read a couple of months ago included a piece on the battle to eradicate polio, focusing on a public health response to an outbreak in India. Was or wasn't the child inoculated? Who else didn't get the Sabin? Etc.

So I kinda took a week or more off from LT. Reading slowed, too. I've got a stack of books—well, maybe five or six—that have bookmarks in them. Books that I do intend to finish. Soon. Within days (weeks, perhaps). (One of my bookmarks is a paper scrap with 12 titles jotted on it, the 12 titles that I've started and fantasize about completing.) (Actually, there are 14 titles on the list, but I did finish 2 of them. So those titles are lined out. On a roll!!)

Apr 20, 7:11pm Top

Love your topper! How do they do that? : )

>25 weird_O: "And rounding out the Top 100: Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P. Thompson (111)...it is available 24/7."

Phew! I was really worried about that. Now I feel better.

Apr 21, 8:01pm Top

I miss seeing all the kids at the top - how's everyone doing?!?

Apr 22, 9:32am Top

Hi Bill!

I keep forgetting about Project Gutenberg. I need to bookmark it and look at it frequently.

Yay for Heritage slipcased editions. They are pleasing to the eye and a joy to read.

Apr 22, 12:42pm Top

I haven’t been able to get to LT much this last week either. It is the end of the semester and there is lots to do.

Apr 27, 12:34pm Top

By god, I am going to rise up from this reading slump. Working on Alice Walker and several Weird ReportsTM.

Apr 29, 5:39pm Top

Nothing like a library book sale to make me sit up. Went to the butcher's and saw a flier in the window. Kutztown Public Library. $5-a-bag, meaning of course all the books you can fit into a standard paper grocery bag for 5 bucks. My kinda sale!

Here's what I fit into my bag. (Plus one other paperback, The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler, which my wife started reading before I even had a chance to snap a "Welcome to MY Library!" photo.) Here's the list:

The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler (pbk)
The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee (pbk)
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (pbk)
I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson (pbk)
The Recognitions by William Gaddis (pbk)
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (pbk)
Huck Finn's America by Andrew Levy (pbk)
Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey (pbk)
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (pbk)
Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed (pbk)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave & Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Frederick Douglass and by Harriet Jacobs (pbk)

Jim Henson by Brian Jay Jones (hc)
Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth (hc)
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (hc)
Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen (hc)
Heart of Darkness and Selected Short Fiction by Joseph Conrad (hc)
The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin (hc)
Yankee from Olympus by Catherine Drinker Bowen (hc)

Architecture in America by Kidder Smith (2 volume boxed set)

Yes, yes. Just over two bits per book.

Apr 29, 5:50pm Top

Ooo, I want to read that one about Jim Henson!! I read the Frederick Douglass one earlier this year, and of course, I have read and loved the Bryson one. Nice haul. I am truly grateful that I don't find library sales very often....

Apr 29, 7:24pm Top

>32 weird_O: Quite a haul, Bill! Did you hit the AAUW sale in Bethlehem this week, too, or are you planning to go tomorrow (which is their bag sale day)? I went yesterday but found it disappointing: fewer books than last year overall, and I ended up walking out empty-handed (perhaps because I had just bought several at the Hunterdon County (NJ) library sale earlier in the morning. I also skipped the Friends of the Emmaus Public Library sale yesterday for time reasons; I thought I'd get there just at the time they closed briefly to get set up for the bag sale, and I thought there'd be an hour-long wait (I was wrong and will know better next year, as it's just a 15-minute interruption).

Apr 29, 7:52pm Top

>32 weird_O: You may need an intervention, Wild Bill! Grins...You are a book buying son of a gun! But I have to admit, you have impeccable taste.

Happy Sunday, my friend.

May 1, 1:42pm Top

>33 jessibud2: >34 harrygbutler: >35 msf59: When it rains, y'all, it pours. I didn't get to the AAUW sale, Harry, because we headed in the opposite direction, to West Reading for hair styling and Wyomissing for a little retail. Hairs' all good, and I had time, while my wife was being coiffed, to hit My Hometown Library to scan the availables on the book-sale balcony. Bugger! Spent twice the money for fewer than half the books. Still...

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
Farewell Waltz by Milan Kundera
Perfidia by James Ellroy (hc)
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevksy (slipcased Heritage Press edition)
The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe by Jane Wagner
Mohawk by Richard Russo
At Home by Bill Bryson

Not so bad. Already I have stuck an eyeball into the opening pages of a couple of the books.

The retail business was a huge bust. Got nothing but tired.

Finished The Crofter and the Laird by my long-form journalistic idol John McPhee. This was an early book, written in the late sixties. I got this copy Saturday in the $5 bag o' books. Very good read.

May 1, 2:44pm Top

Congrats on all the new books, Bill! I love Miss Pym Disposes (and actually everything by Josephine Tey) and lots of the other titles.

Now you just gotta read 'em, right?

May 1, 2:51pm Top

>36 weird_O: - I've read the Wagner and the Bryson, from this short list. Loved the Bryson

May 4, 11:00pm Top

Binging on Bryson - well it could be worse. It could be ice cream.

May 5, 12:19pm Top

>39 benitastrnad: Oh oh, Benita. How did you get into my head?

I read your comment to my wife. She snorked. Ice cream rules my life; gotta have some every evening. It is the substance I...I...no it isn't abuse...it is love. Oh, gotta have it.

As for Bryson, I am reading a few columns each day from I'm a Stranger Here Myself. But not binging. The collection I'm reading is nice because you can down a couple of pieces and put it aside. (Not like ice cream, where you just have to down it ALL. Heh heh.)

I'm also reading a Josephine Tey, McPhee's latest, a longish essay by Pete Hamill, that lobster thing by DFW, a novel by Alice Walker. Probably one or two others I'm pretending to forget.

May 5, 12:53pm Top

In preparation for an overseas frolic, my wife and I have to get new passports. Had them last century, but...

So we collected the forms and filled them out, collected birth certificates and made the required photocopies (in black and white, not color), photocopied drivers licenses. Made an appointment at the post office and, checkbook in hand, showed up right on time. Uh...uh...uh. The birth certificates we have aren't suitable now, because our parents names aren't on them. (The p.o. clerk seemed to enjoy telling us this.) Recommended we go to our state rep. for new ones because the rep. can expedite the application.

So we drove directly to the rep's office, 15 miles away, only to find it "temporarily closed". Go to a fire company (about 15 miles away). The bagel place beside the rep's office had a fire that cause smoke and water damage to the office, hence the temporary location. But the rep's assistant, once we found her, was helpful. Gave us the necessary forms and photocopies. Thursday's shot. And so are we.

Yesterday, as directed by said rep's assistant, we raced up the NE extension of the PA Tpk to Scranton to get same day issues. Have to be there before 11:30 a.m. or you won't get 'em same day.

Here's a cap of me zooming up the tpk.

So it worked. We got spankin' new birth certificates. Back to a selected P.O. for photos and processing and the writing of high-dollar checks. But we get the weekend off so I can mow.

May 5, 1:07pm Top

Hooray for the weekend off! I got tired just reading through all of your jumping through hoops - nicely done. Hoping that your weekend is full of fabulous!

May 5, 6:51pm Top

i hope your trip is worth all that rigmarole, Bill! When do you leave and where are you going?

May 5, 10:28pm Top

My father never did get a passport. He was born at home and didn’t have a doctor’s signature on it. He would have had to get one through his state representative as well, so he just said forget it. He didn’t like to go anywhere anyway. He always told me that his goal in life was to get so he didn’t have to leave Republic County Kansas, and that preferably any travel he needed to do was not conditional on using anything with an internal combustion engine or a horse. Given that he didn’t need no stinkin’ passport! So there US government!

May 6, 9:18am Top

>41 weird_O: I feel myself speeding along like that most of the time.

Have a great Sunday, Bill.

May 6, 10:30am Top

Hi Bill!

>41 weird_O: And are there specific places included in this overseas frolic or is that still to be decided?

Congrats on getting all the passport stuff done. BTW, you look great in your roadster.

May 6, 2:05pm Top

Happy Sunday, Bill. Wow, great book hauls. Like your wife, I'm a Raymond Chandler fan. A Prayer for Owen Meany is probably the best John Irving book I've read, and I'm a Josephine Tey fan, too.

May 6, 4:17pm Top

Since you asked, the destination is Ireland. Son the Elder and his family are taking my wife to Ireland for her 70th birthday, and they are insufficiently heartless to leave me home with dog. Leaving the dog behind is okay with all but the dog.

We'll be there about a week, leaving June 26. Son the Elder and his bestest gf spent a semester in Ireland back in the 1990s, and they've been back several times since, taking their three girls. They are setting the agenda and handling all the details. I know we'll be in Dublin and Connemara (near where "The Quiet Man" was filmed) and Donegal.

We were going in August, I thought, but our benefactors have too many different and overlapping commitments over the summer. The twins will be seniors and want to look at colleges. Tara (our DiL) is going to prison in Michigan at some point. So the trip's been moved up, and suddenly, we've got to expedite our passport applications.

Not complainin'!

Edited: May 6, 10:33pm Top

>44 benitastrnad: My grandmother was the last of 12, born on the family farm, and no one got around to listing her appearance on earth in the church records. In the early 1950s, she was invited by her younger daughter to spend several months with her and her family in Venezuela. Not having any record of her birth was an obstacle to getting a passport. I think the solution had to do with having one of her late husband's brothers testify before the DA that he had been present when my grandmother married his brother. Ergo, she existed! They did have a proper marriage license. (And I've got her passport.)

Edited to Correct: I just checked my ancestral records (ha ha): According to my mother's verbal history, recorded by my brother, a passport could be issued on the basis of a spouse's birth certificate. So my grandmother could have gotten a passport without her own birth certificate if she had my grandfather's. But he was dead and no one could find his b.c. So an older surviving brother, Frank, in the words of my mother, "went to the District Attorney and he swore that he was present at the birth of his brother, John, and with the evidence of that, a birth certificate was granted to John and because my mother was married to John before a certain year, that meant that she could get a birth certificate." See. I had it easy.

May 7, 8:17pm Top

>48 weird_O: A P.M. from Marianne alerted me to a reluctance (on you all's part) to ask why I said that my DiL Tara was going to prison. She's taking part in a literature program for prison inmates. I can't tell you the details because I don't know them. I think Tara has been assisting the developer of a curriculum for Northampton County, PA, prison. This is an off-shoot. I imagine she'll be at a prison in Michigan for a week or so.

All is well.

PS: We hit the Hamburg, PA, post office, got photos taken (no smiling. And take off your glasses!), applications reviewed, new birth certificates appropriated, and checks written. Holy moley! Almost 450 bucks! For two passports. Well, we'll be able to visit Canada now (or soon, anyway).

May 7, 8:45pm Top

Howdy, Bill. Hooray for your Ireland trip. I was there, in the early 80s, while stationed in Germany. I visited family there over Christmas. I saw very little of the country but had wonderful time. I stayed in a suburb of Dublin.

May 7, 8:52pm Top

>50 weird_O: think how many bags of books you could have gotten for that $450. 90 bags. At least 1000 books.

Our $5 bag of books sale is next Saturday. They do it twice a year. I am seriously thinking of skipping it for the first time in many years. I know I will likely go ...

May 8, 11:39am Top

>50 weird_O: Yeah that explanation is a lot less concerning than the ones my fevered imagination conjured up.

May 9, 1:42pm Top

>51 msf59: My wife was skimming through guidebooks just this morning, Mark, and expressing her doubts about how far we could go outside of Dublin. I reminded her that we don't have to fret about that. Our benefactors have some experience in the country and are contriving the schedule and map. Sounds like they'll be able to rent a van, so all 7 of us can travel together.

>52 RBeffa: My obsession isn't that crippling, Ron. :D Yes, I like the shopping, but I haven't yet accumulated at these library sales 1000 books that I think I might read (given the longevity)

I think the passports will be a better investment.

>53 Oberon: Sorry about that, Erik. I thought it would be a fun teaser. Not, as I discovered.

Edited: May 9, 2:00pm Top

So with all the sexual misconduct being exposed, I guess I'm not surprised to read that David Foster Wallace was in that brotherhood. I ran across this item on a blog I visit pretty regularly called Eschaton. The blogger is Duncan Black, an economist.

I liked Infinite Jest but it was the only David Foster Wallace book I ever read. It was clever and different and this sucky blog's name is a reference to/from it. Now that I am older and wiser (two steps forward, 1.9 steps back as always) I get a bit more how it is, despite its additional cleverness, another entry in the "justifying why men suck" genre. That doesn't make it bad, but I do know now that my life would have been better spent reading good novels about other subjects by people who were interested in other subjects. Of course the exploration of human frailty is a standard thing in fiction, but "because boners" has maybe been done enough.
  Also he was bad.

That final line was a link to a web article about the trials DFW subjected an object of his obsession to. Here it is:


May 9, 3:18pm Top

>55 weird_O:

It's starting to look like President Obama is the only male writer who hasn't abused his power.

May 9, 5:08pm Top

>54 weird_O: You know I was teasing about 90 bags of books. I got my expired passport renewed and then my wife did hers - just got it a few weeks ago. Have not been out of the country in forever.

I look at my likely remaining lifetime and know there isn't a chance of my reading all the books that appeal to me - I'm pretty sure I don't need to accumulate more - and a friend of my wife has been downsizing and routing science fiction books an magazines my way. But book sales, just like a book shop, are a form of entertainment for me even if I only buy one. I love looking and sometimes I find a pleasant surprise ...

May 9, 11:02pm Top

>56 m.belljackson: The Sunday NYTimes had a piece headlined "What Do We Do with these Men." And that's a good question. DFW took himself out.

>57 RBeffa: Of course I knew you were kidding. I too like those pleasant surprises.

May 9, 11:13pm Top

In >24 weird_O:, I mentioned the Brothers Grimm and the folk tales they collected and published in the 19th century. I mentioned too the two-volume selection of tales, translated by Lore Segal and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, called The Juniper Tree and Other Tales from Grimm. Several tales are quite short. Here's one, and new to me it was.

Mrs. Gertrude

Once upon a time there was a little girl and she was obstinate and willful and did not obey her parents when they spoke to her. What good can come to such a child? One day she said to her parents, "I've heard so much talk about Mrs. Gertrude I want to go and see her. People say her house is very strange and they say there are such queer goings on there that I've become curi­ous." Her parents strictly forbade her and said, "Mrs. Gertrude is an evil woman who does wicked things. If you go there, you are no longer our child." But the girl paid no attention, and though her parents had told her no, went anyway, and when she got to Mrs. Gertrude, Mrs. Gertrude said, "Why are you so pale?" "Ah," the girl answered, trembling all over, "because I'm fright­ened at the things I've seen." "What have you seen?" "I saw a black man on your stairs." "That was a collier." "Then I saw a green man." "That was a hunter." "And then I saw a man red as blood." "That was a butcher." "Ah, but, Mrs. Gertrude, it made my skin crawl when I looked through the window and didn't see you but it must have been the devil himself with his head on fire." "Oho," said she, "so you have seen the witch in her true ornament. I have been expecting you a long time and have hankered for you, you're going to brighten up my house for me." And she changed the little girl into a log and threw it into the fire. And when it was at full glow she sat down beside it, warmed herself, and said, "There now, isn't that nice and bright!"

May 10, 10:00am Top

Hi Bill!

>55 weird_O: Sigh.
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
>59 weird_O: I'm glad my mom and dad didn't have Grimm's Fairy Tales at home. I'd still be having nightmares.

May 10, 7:17pm Top

>50 weird_O: I thought it was something like that (DIL going to prison). I thought I saw a little wink in your eye. So glad that this was the case!

Karen O.

May 11, 9:07am Top

Happy newish thread, Bill. Love the pictures of the books.

Edited: May 13, 7:25pm Top

Just finished John McPhee's latest book, Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process. What a great read! Stuff I wish I'd learned 50 years ago. Both thumbs up.

Next to finish the Bryson collection I'm three-quarters through, and then on to some Irish writers I've plucked from The TBR Colossus. Just this afternoon I noted Paul C. listed Irish writers as a category from which to read, one a month. And I'm going to Ireland in about six weeks.

May 12, 8:06pm Top

>60 karenmarie: This one is for you. Another short tale by the Brothers Grimm from the Segal/Sendak collection The Juniper Tree and Other Tales from Grimm.

The Goblins

There suddenly came a lot of little goblins.

Once there was a mother and the goblins had stolen her child out of the cradle. In its place they laid a changeling with thick head and staring eyes who did nothing but eat and drink. In her misery, the woman went to ask her neighbor for advice. The neighbor told her to take the changeling into the kitchen, set him on the hearth, light a fire, and boil water in two egg­shells. This would make the changeling laugh, and when a changeling laughs, that's the end of him. The woman did just what the neighbor told her, and as she was putting the eggshells full of water on the fire, the blockhead said:

    "Now am I as old
    As the western woods
    But never heard it told
      that people cook water in eggshells,"

and he began to laugh and as he laughed there suddenly came a lot of little goblins who brought the right child and set it on the hearth and took their friend away with them.

May 12, 8:10pm Top

>61 klobrien2: I'm glad someone recognized a fun fib. :D

>62 BLBera: Hi, Beth. Thanks for stopping in.

May 13, 12:24am Top

>41 weird_O: Ha, you need a vehicle like that to take you through the hoops of officialdom, Bill.

Edited: May 15, 9:15am Top

# 32. News Is a Verb: Journalism at the End of the Twentieth Century by Pete Hamill Finished 5/6/18

The Weird ReportTM

To me, this is a fairly forgettable small book published in 1998. As the twentieth century drew to a close, in other words. Hamill begins with his account of working as a reporter and editor for several big-city newspapers, prominently the New York Daily News. He gives his view of the decline of newspapers and his thoughts on how a resurrection might be achieved. Focus on serious news, devoting more space to serious news, and eschewing vapid celebrity and entertainment piece. Give meaningful roles to women. But all is built on newspapering in 1998, 20 years ago.

I sat up and took notice in the final chapter, when Hamill addressed "the celebrity virus." I quote:

Newspaper people have more reason than others to know that some of these big names are mere creatures of hype and self-promotion. After all, they take the calls that are soon eagerly converted into stories. One entire subgenre flows from the jowly megalomania of New York real estate operator Donald Trump. There are many real estate people of more solid achievement and greater power than Trump's, and certainly many more accom­plished businessmen. But such men and women usually prefer to live outside the spotlight; like people who really
have money or those with truly interesting sex lives, they don't brag about them. They don't invent their lives in cahoots with press agents; they live them.
  But Trump flies to the spotlight, even demands it. His motto seems to be "I'm written about, therefore I exist." He personally telephones gossip columnists and reporters to present them with stories about the wonders of himself, his great love life, his brusque divorces. In the spirit of true collaboration, the newspapers quote "sources close to Trump" as their authority, a code known to other editors and reporters but not revealed to the readers. In a way, Trump has his own brilliance. He has a genius for self-inflation, for presenting an illusion of accomplishment that often becomes the accomplishment itself. A tiny solar system now revolves around Trump's own self-created persona: his ex-wives, Ivana Trump and Marla Maples Trump, followed by his poor teenage daughter, Ivanka Trump, who as I write is being hurled into the world of fashion models under the benevo­lent gaze of Daddy. This vulgar saga threatens to go on and on.
  No offense against taste is beyond Trump and his journalistic collaborators. Months after the death of Diana Spencer in a car wreck in Paris, Trump was publishing an­other of his ghostwritten hardcover hymns to his own ge­nius. He gave an interview to the New York Daily News, which was serializing this book, even though most editors knew it was a second-rate exercise in self-promotion. Trump knew exactly what the publishers of the Daily
News wanted, and the next day's front page showed his face, his book, and a nauseating headline that screamed "I WISH I HAD DATED DI."
  When I was editing the Daily News, I tried to control the virus of which Trump was the local symbol. Trump was not banned from the newspaper, but he did have to do something to appear in its pages. The "stories" slowed to a trickle, and one result was that we were beaten by the New York Post on the story of Trump's divorce. We had a rumor; they had Trump, speaking as a "source close to Trump." It was my responsibility and I chose not to run an unverified rumor. I was glad I made that choice. After I was canned, Trump "stories" came back in a fetid rush.
  Trump is virtually a genre now. But another genre

Best passage in the book. Now you don't have to read the entire 100 pages.

May 15, 9:42am Top

The Moravians are going to transmogrify their historic bookstore—the oldest continuously operated book store in America—into a Barnes & Noble-run college bookstore. The shop was established in 1745 and has been in different locations, but it has been operating continuously. Ownership is transferring to Moravian College, and the college is going to give management over to B&N. Sad.

The truth is, it's a pretty crappy bookstore. If you go in looking for a specific title, they won't have it. Judi and I stopped in to get information about the pub date of a Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling book that was due out (this a couple of years ago) and the clerk never heard of the book. Then we were told that two copies had been ordered, but one of them arrived with a damaged jacket. Two copies?!!

Instead of B&N, the Moravians need to seek tutoring from those successful independent book stores—the Strand, Powell's, those backed by Ann Patchett, Garrison Keillor, Louise Erdrich. It needs to be a BOOK store.

May 15, 10:53am Top

Hi Bill!

>64 weird_O: Ah, a happy ending. Not something I was expecting. Thank you.

>67 weird_O: Nice to see another Weird Report. Thank you for quoting that passage. I definitely won't read the book, but Hamill must be preening himself a little bit for being on the mark so early in drumpf's career.

May 15, 6:25pm Top

I, too, enjoyed the Weird Report on the Hamill book.

Edited: May 17, 2:34pm Top

>69 karenmarie: >70 benitastrnad: Oh, I'm glad you liked it.

I see that Tom Wolfe, long a favorite author, has died. His early stuff was wonderful; I remember reading articles of his in the Sunday Herald Tribune, back when I was in college. I did reread The Right Stuff just a few years ago, but I've not read any of his novels after The Bonfire of the Vanities.

Having just finished John McPhee's Draft No. 4, his disdain for authors who alleged total recall of interviews and conversations without taking notes. McPhee named Truman Capote in particular, but I wonder how assiduous Wolfe was about his note taking and fact-checking.

He certainly was flamboyant, wasn't he? He was an alum of Washington & Lee in Lexington, VA, where my sister lives, and she'd roll her eyes when recounting his grand visits to his alma mater. I don't care what she says or thinks about him, I am going to miss him.

May 15, 11:43pm Top

>67 weird_O: Pete Hamill was on the money there wasn't he?

"No offense against taste is beyond Trump" indeed and twenty years ago he was the same.

May 16, 2:41pm Top

>67 weird_O: I am reminded of Al Wilson's song "The Snake". We knew what he was when we picked him up... (Interestingly, I just found that Trump has used that song himself in the context of immigration. I love the irony.)

>68 weird_O: I visited the Moravian Bookshop a few weeks ago, and I have to say I was underwhelmed. It's not set up for comfortable browsing. As you noted, the inventory was not impressive, the clerks were not helpful. I asked them if they didn't have any bookmarks with the shop's name on them, after seeing several piles of bookmarks promoting new releases and such. They looked at each other and agreed that there was a "box of them here somewhere". They rustled them up, asked me how many I wanted and gave me a handful, putting the box back under the counter where they found it. If you were managing the "oldest continuously operating bookstore in the country", wouldn't you be SELLING things (refrigerator magnets, bookmarks, totebags) that SAID that? Sad, indeed.

May 16, 6:56pm Top

>55 weird_O: Another sad and disturbing revelation. Thanks for sharing it, Bill. Why does this happen only with super-talented authors, and not crappy ones? The power-trip, thing? i am quite bothered by the Diaz accusations too. I love this guy's work!

>67 weird_O: Sorry, your Hamill pick was not more satisfying. I am really enjoying Tabloid City. He is a talented story-teller.

May 16, 8:48pm Top

>55 weird_O: >74 msf59: Despite all the praise I could not plow very far through Infinite Jest. Well, I guess I got pretty far but it was huge. I don't like seeing this stuff come out, but better it does than remain buried.

May 17, 3:02pm Top

>72 PaulCranswick: Hamill certainly had Trump pegged. And I'm sitting here speculating about bookhorning A Drinking Life into the remaining days of May. I recalled that you liked it.

>73 laytonwoman3rd: I wish we could like that book shop, but it isn't to be. Ownership currently is vested in a pension fund for Moravian ministers. On June 1, I think, ownership goes to Moravian College. Yes, sad.

>74 msf59: No good answers to gropers (and worse). I pretty much knew what I was getting into with the Hamill I chose, Mark. Note that Paul C. commented favorably on A Drinking Life, which I have, and I will try to fit it in before Memorial Day. A lotta lotta books competing for my attention. With more arriving every week.

>75 RBeffa: I kinda wanted to tackle Infinite Jest, but I never wanted to commit the necessary time to it. And don't own a copy. Now there's another reason to put it off.

May 17, 3:09pm Top

>76 weird_O: I saved an email that an old friend wrote me almost 7 years ago - it piqued my interest enough to have a look at Infinite Jest. But as i said I did not get far. Here is what my friend wrote:

Me? I've been reading the same book for over 6 months now and I'm
barely halfway through, which might be a little more understandable
when I tell you it has over 400 footnotes.. If anyone has actually
made it to the end of Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, without
his or her head exploding, lemme know, i got a few (hundred) questions
for you...

May 18, 8:17am Top

Hi Bill!

I loved Tom Wolfe's social commentary - Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. I also loved The Bonfire of the Vanities even though for some reason I didn't keep it on my shelves.

A lotta lotta books competing for my attention. Oh yes, way too many good recommendations and reviews in our lovely group.

May 20, 1:02am Top

>77 RBeffa: Gee, Ron. Mark liked it. Funny thing about footnotes. Nicholson Baker used footnote, loong ones, in his novella The Mezzanine, and they worked fine for me. DFW's use of them in his pieces collected in Consider the Lobster just didn't work for me. Just the technical issue of the point-size of the type making them difficult to read worked against them.

>78 karenmarie: The obituary in the NYTimes brought back Wolfe's over-the-top word salads in his early writing. I haven't read anything more recent than The Bonfire..., but I do have Charlotte Simmons and A Man in Full making my TBR Great Still. Ought to dash through one of them. Hahaha.

The "lotta lotta books" owe less to LT recommendations and reviews and way more to library book sales. :D

Just finished Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo, which I bought for a buck on Wednesday.

May 20, 9:37am Top

>79 weird_O: I've got the two you mentioned plus Back to Blood on my shelves. All chunksters, alas.

May 20, 2:15pm Top

The "lotta lotta books" owes less to LT recommendations and reviews and way more to library book sales.

And so, once again I hit the Bethlehem Area Public Library book sale. Twice. Built The Colossus TBR up another three-and-a-half feet. Just what I needed; I feel so much better now.

On Wednesday, I went by myself and discovered the facility overrun by those scurvy pickers, building inventory for used book sellers. Nevertheless, I did find some first-rate books, including two Man-Booker winners, a National Book Award winner, and an almost Pulitzer winner. I went on Saturday with my book-shopping pal Gig, a mostly retired elementary-school librarian, whose daughter married my son. She went with a list, and actually found a couple of books she wanted. She pointed out Elmet to me, a Man-Booker finalist last year. I saw one scurvy picker/scanner, but the aisles weren't obstructed, as they had been Wednesday. So here's what I got:


World's End by T. Coraghessan Boyle (pbk) (dupe)
Broken Harbor by Tana French (pbk)
Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 by Garrison Keillor (pbk)
The Salterton Trilogy by Robertson Davies (pbk)
The Likeness by Tana French (pbk) (dupe)
A River Runs Through It and Other Stories by Norman Maclean (pbk)
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (pbk)
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride (pbk)
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (hc)
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (hc)
The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings (hc)
Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbø (hc)
A Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (hc)
Agatha Christie: An Autobiography by Agatha Christie (hc)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (hc)
John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead (hc)
Life Case by Pat Barker (hc)


The Moor's Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie (pbk)
The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman (pbk)
Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson (pbk) (dupe)
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (pbk) (dupe)
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (pbk)
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, retold and illustrated by Peter Kuper (pbk)
A Pound of Paper by John Baxter (hc)
Winston Churchill by John Keegan (hc)
End in Tears by Ruth Rendell (hc)
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (hc)
August 1914 by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (hc)
Zoo Time by Howard Jacobson (hc)
Pontoon by Garrison Keillor (hc)
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood (hc)
Dead Awake by Erik Larson (hc)
Georgia O'Keeffe by Britta Benke (hc)
Through Irish Eyes by Malachy McCourt (hc)
Dali: The Paintings by Robert Descharnes (hc)

May 20, 2:22pm Top

Yay. You got some good'uns, Bill.

I particularly like seeing Erik Larson and George Saunders. Plus, I read Agatha Christie’s Autobiography exactly 10 years ago, in May of 2008, and was fascinated.

May 20, 4:33pm Top

Nice haul! I have read 3 titles from Wednesday's pile and 2 from Saturday's though I own a few of them as yet unread as well.

May 20, 5:33pm Top

Wow, that’s quite the haul!

May 20, 5:57pm Top

Great hauls Bill. I'm amazed libraries get rid of so many nearly new books.

May 20, 8:00pm Top

You got some good titles in that Cranswickian book haul! Now you just have to read them.

May 21, 7:17am Top

Great book haul, Bill!

May 21, 9:21am Top

What great book hauls, Bill. A River Runs Through It is one of my favorite books ever.

Edited: May 31, 5:03pm Top

Things Are Queer (1972)

# 27. Duane Michals: Portraits by Duane Michals Finished 4/22/18

The Weird ReportTM

Duane Michals is a photographer whose work has fascinated me for a long time. Mention Michals to me and what pops into my mind is the enigmatic kinds of series he creates, typified by the nine-shot "story" at the top. For Christmas, I got copy of Michals' newest book, Duane Michals: Portraits. There's not a whole lot to read in it. But what a lot to ponder.

Michals' images are thoughtful, whimsical, playful, uninhibited, provocative, intelligent, innovative, ethereal, spiritual without being religious, challenging. His subjects included in Duane Michals: Portraits include:

Meryl Streep, the most celebrated actress of our time, 1975.
Stars of the film Taxi Driver, Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel, 1976.
Andy Warhol, the Pop Artist who made a career out of Campbell's Soup cans, 1972.
British painter David Hockney and friend, 1975.
Influential conceptual artist and chess player Marcel Duchamp, 1964.
Duane Michals with Robin Williams, c. 1980, after his success on the TV seriesMork and Mindy) and before his first film starring role in Popeye.
Poet Maya Angelou, author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1970.
Buster Keaton, patron saint of silent-film slapstick, 1965.
Martin Scorsese, masterful director of Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and Raging Bull, 1970s.
Versatile actor Robert Duvall, 1964.
Johnny Cash, no small change as a country singer, 1970s.
Belgian Surrealist Rene Magritte, photographed at his home in Brussels, 1965.

"The easiest kind of portraiture is making stars look beautiful," he writes.

Fame is its own reward. Faces have become celebrities' brands, as instantly identifiable as a Heinz Ketchup label. Fans are impressed that the photographer was actually in the presence of Angelina Jolie, and somehow her fame has spilled onto the photographer and anointed him with spin-off glamor. Cheap thrills.
  The acclaim of some high-profile portrait photographers rests exclusively on head-shots puffing Hollywood glitterati. As photographs, they are essentially passport pictures, which have been garnished with theatrical lighting. There is something to be said for the honesty of actual passport pictures.

A Letter from My Father, 1975 (below)

"Brother and sister humorists David and Amy Sedaris, with complementary injuries, 2000s."

"Gravelly voiced singer and composer Tom Waits, 1980s."

"Chuck Close, celebrated portrait artist, 2016"

"Portrait of Electroman and Parents, 20124; Electroman is an unsuccessful writer of children's stories."

May 21, 11:03am Top

>89 weird_O: - Oh, I love this!! It is as if each picture in this series pulls back the zoom lens a little bit more in each pic of the sequence. Very clever, and mind-bending. I have not heard of Duane Michals before. Thanks for this!

May 21, 11:34am Top

What Shelley said, Bill. Thanks for posting those.

Edited: May 21, 7:33pm Top

>81 weird_O: Congrats on the book haul! Wow! You do mange to find some fantastic titles, Bill.

The Duane Michals photos are pretty awesome. Honestly, I have to admit I was not familiar with him.

May 21, 10:04pm Top

>81 weird_O: Wow...you done good. And I second what Joe said in >88 jnwelch:. A River Runs Through It is one of those books I discovered all by myself (long before LT), and fell in love with.

May 22, 3:43pm Top

FWIW, I've started reading A River Runs Through It. How could I not with recoms from both Joe and Linda.

I'm pleased to have introduced a few of you, Shelley, Joe, and Mark, to Duane Michals.

May 23, 12:16am Top

And now Philip Roth has died.


May 23, 12:48am Top

What?! No! : (

May 23, 8:23am Top

Good morning, Bill!

>89 weird_O: Thanks for a wonderful and interesting review. I'm another person who has never even heard of Duane Michals. Things are Queer 1972 is amazing, and I didn't recognize David Sedaris, much less his sister Amy until I read the caption.

May 23, 10:49am Top

>95 weird_O: Even though I didn't care for his fiction, and am fairly sure I would have strongly disliked him as a person, I am nevertheless saddened to have lost an unquestionable giant of the American literature scene.

May 23, 11:30am Top

>95 weird_O: And Clint Walker, too. 90 years old. RIP Cheyenne Brodie.

May 23, 2:20pm Top

The Weird ReportTM

Reading that a Hogarth Shakespeare take on Macbeth had been published caught my interest. But who was this Jo Nesbø who authored it? Wiki informed me that Nesbø is a Norwegian author of crime/mystery novels. Blood on Snow revealed to me just how skilled an inventor and writer of such material he is.

Olav Johansen, Nesbø's narrator, tells us he's a "fixer," by which he means a killer. An Oslo drug lord took Olav on and tried him in several capacities before realizing that the one task Olav is good at is killing, mostly competitors. But Olav struggles with the greater context of every murder. Tormented by knowing that one of his victims had a wife and several small children, he gives her the payment the killing earned him. Assigned to wring money from an addict, Olav learns that the girlfriend has offered to work as a prostitute to liquidate the debt. He extricates her from her bargain and tries to hide her from both her addict boyfriend and the drug lord's debt collector. Moreover, though she's plain looking and has a limp, he's drawn to her.

Olav's torment ratchets up when the boss commissions him to fix his (the boss's) wife; she's having an affair. Renting a hotel room directly across from the boss's apartment (yeah, convenient, isn't it?) he spends several days observing the unfaithful wife. Her lover shows up and beats her and then fucks her. (Sorry, but that's what he does.) What to make of this? Is the wife really unfaithful? Or is she a victim of this brute?

Olav's considered response to what he's witnessed releases a blizzard (it's Norway) of unpleasant violence and woe. A masterful creation, a masterful conclusion. I give 'er both thumbs up.


Now I must find a copy of Nesbø's Macbeth.

May 23, 9:33pm Top

>100 weird_O: Glad you liked your first Nesbo, Bill. I enjoyed this one too and highly recommend reading his Harry Hole series. I started with The Redbreast and thought it was excellent.

I am also interested in his Macbeth book. It is a Chunkster, though.

May 24, 10:28am Top

I haven't tried Nesbo before either, but I've ordered his Macbeth...I have all the other Hogarth Shakespeares except Dunbar, which is due out in paperback next month. I've enjoyed the three I've read, but am currently reading New Boy, and it isn't working for me at all.

May 24, 8:29pm Top

>101 msf59: >102 laytonwoman3rd: I haven't read a Hogarth Shakespeare, though I recall a lot of chatter about the Anne Tyler and Margaret Atwood books. I've read several books by both. But other than those two, and now Nesbø, the writers of the series are unknown to me. I did just acquire a novel, Zoo Time, by Howard Jacobson.

Linda, I thought maybe you'd enjoy this dismissal of one of your least-favorite writers. Duncan Black, who blogs as Atrios on the blog Eschaton, commented yesterday on Philip Roth:

"I think the books I read weren't his more dick lit-ish ones, for which many great white men authors of a certain generation have received an overdue backlash due to their creepiness and cluelessness about women (charitably). I don't know how anybody can read Updike, and not just because of that."

May 24, 8:33pm Top

The Weird ReportTM

Who has not at least heard of the plight of Gregor Samsa, though probably not knowing the name, who awakens one morning to slowly realize he's turned into a cockroach. There is a problem around which to construct a plot! This story was written by Franz Kafka and published in 1915. The characters and settings and conflicts all had to be mentally visualized by the reader. Kafka created the story with words. Just words.

But The Metamorphosis is extremely visual, so it is only natural it would be embellished with illustrations by some publisher. Storyteller and cartoonist R. Crumb published an illustrated biography of Kafka, and he included in it a version of The Metamorphosis in a comic format.

Illustrator Peter Kuper adapted the story as a graphic novel. Very effective, with shifting framing and viewpoints. Kuper has a heavily inked style and packs a lot of emotion—mostly angry emotion—into his drawings. I don't particularly like his style, but that didn't keep me from reading/viewing the entire book. It is, of course, consumed more quickly than Kafka's text, but it leaves less to the imagination. It's okay.

One of the early pages:

Edited: May 24, 10:39pm Top

While I was scanning the shelves in the sale room of the Bethlehem Library, my twin granddaughters, Helen and Claire, were at the DMV taking—and passing—their driving tests. A piece of the afternoon, they spent getting dolled up for the Junior Prom.

Helen on the left, Claire on the right.

I know, I'm only the granddad. But WOW!

May 25, 4:53pm Top

>105 weird_O: It's OK, Granddad....your opinion is worth more than most, unless I miss my guess. And they are both gorgeous young women. My daughter and my niece were my Dad's only granddaughters, and they thought he hung the moon. What he thought of them was fairly well summed up by "WOW!" as well.

May 26, 4:28pm Top

The Weird ReportTM

After a rapid decline, Molly Lane dies, leaving behind a husband and many past lovers. Two in particular, classical composer Clive Linley and newspaper editor Vernon Halliday, are miffed about her passing and especially about the way it transpired.

Poor Molly. It began with a tingling in her arm as she raised it outside the Dorchester Grill to stop a cab—a sensation that never went away. Within weeks she was fumbling for the names of things. Parliament, chemistry, propeller she could forgive herself, but less so bed, cream, mirror. It was after the temporary disappearance of acanthus and bresaiola that she sought medical advice, expecting reassurance. Instead, she was sent for tests and, in a sense, never returned. How quickly feisty Molly became the sickroom prisoner of her morose, possessive husband, George. Molly, restaurant critic, gorgeous wit, and photographer, the daring gardener, who had been loved by the foreign secretary and could still turn a perfect cartwheel at the age of forty-six. The speed of her descent into madness and pain became a matter of common gossip: the loss of control of bodily function and with it all sense of humor, and then the tailing off into vagueness interspersed with episodes of ineffectual violence and muffled shrieking.

Outside the funeral chapel, Clive and Vernon, vent quietly to each other; they avoid George and Molly's other friends and lovers, including the foreign secretary. Says Clive:

..."I mean, to die that way, with no awareness, like an animal. To be reduced, humiliated, before she could make arrangements, or even say goodbye. It crept up on her, and then . . ."
  "She would have killed herself rather than end up like that," Vernon Halliday said. He had lived with her for a year in Paris in '74, when he had his first job with Reuters and Molly did something or other for Vogue.
  "Brain-dead and in George's clutches," Clive said.
  George, the sad, rich publisher who doted on her and whom, to everyone's surprise, she had not left, though she always treated him badly. They looked now to where he stood outside the door, receiving commiseration from a group of mourners. Her death had raised him from general contempt. He appeared to have grown an inch or two, his back had straightened, his voice had deepened, a new dignity had narrowed his pleading, greedy eyes. Refusing to consign her to a home, he cared for her with his own two hands. More to the point, in the early days, when people still wanted to see her, he vetted her visitors. Clive and Vernon were strictly rationed because they were considered to make her excitable and, afterward, depressed about her condition. Another key male, the foreign secretary, was also unwelcome.

The foreign secretary, Julian Garmony, stirs animosity because he is one of Molly's former lovers, because he's success and powerful, and because he doesn't let Clive or Vernon—or George—quite forget it. Clive is beholden to Garmony for a commission to compose a symphony celebrating the millennium, which he is struggling to complete on time. Vernon, as he gets back to work at the sensationalist—and failing—newspaper he edits, is served with a court injunction directing him to NOT publish, distribute, disseminate, etc. etc,. any photos of John Julius Garmony.

In short order, both Clive and Vernon recognize that the same slow death could take them. Clive approaches Vernon, asking him to be his representative to execute his desired end when the time comes. A day later, Vernon asks the same of Clive. Two like-minded souls.

Clive is almost finished with his symphony but for the signature melody. He's just can't come up with anything. Back at Vernon's newspaper, the editor must decide whether or not to publish sensational, scandalous material that's been brought to him by, of all people, George Lane. Vernon shares his dilemma with Clive, who argues vehemently that it would be immoral for him to publish. Then Clive heads off for a hike in the Lake District, hoping it will inspire him. It does. But it also exposes him to a potentially dangerous confrontation between a man and woman. Suddenly the moral dilemma is his. Hearing several days later about Clive's choice to sneak away rather than intervene—he had the melody in his head; he had to get it written down—Vernon is horrified.

The denouement comes in Amsterdam, where Clive's symphony will be performed for the first time. And I liked it. (Nooo! Not the symphony, the denouement.) The entire book brought Evelyn Waugh to my mind. A Handful of Dust. Scoop. The Loved One.

Amsterdam won the 1998 Booker Prize.


May 26, 4:48pm Top

>105 weird_O: - Well, they are certainly lovely young ladies, and there is nothing like a prom to point that out and make one feel old! Wow, indeed!! :-)

May 28, 9:30am Top

Great review of Amsterdam, Bill. I enjoyed it as well.

Your granddaughters are lovely!

>108 jessibud2: Yep. These photos, and ones of my friends' children graduating from high school and college reminded me that next month marks my 40th year of graduation from high school. Many of the physicians and nurses I work with, and all of the residents and medical students, weren't alive when I received my high school diploma. Yikes.

May 28, 11:14am Top

>109 kidzdoc: - I know that feeling, Darryl. Most of my friends have grandchildren already yet I always feel *younger* because I don't! How's that for warped (or delusional) thinking! ;-)

And I am older than you!

May 31, 3:04am Top

>109 kidzdoc: Ahh, Darryl, you are such a kid. I went to my 50th class reunion several years ago. Got a school bulletin just today and saw that one of my best friends at that time has died. He and his wife were married 48 years. Judi and I will be married 48 years at the end of July. I think 2/3 of my classmates have died. Morbid.

Hey, I'm still here!

>110 jessibud2: My wife has a friend, a younger friend, who has great-grandchildren.

I finished a book last night. How about that!

May 31, 7:05am Top

>111 weird_O: - My mother was only a week past her 20th birthday when I was born so if I had followed that trend, I'd be in that league by now too. But I didn't. Ha!

But yes, morbid. I have recently found myself reading obituaries. And even knowing some of the names there. Sigh...

May 31, 9:45am Top

On the subject of generations and age and what-not, my daughter was home for a week recently, and her best friend from college visited. The friend is a college professor (they are both in their late 30's),and noted that the incoming freshmen will have been born in the 21st century. This freaks them out. Imagine how WE feel, I said. My high school graduation was 50 years ago as well. Nobody seems to be gearing up for any kind of reunion, and I know they're not ALL dead...

Edited: May 31, 3:47pm Top

>113 laytonwoman3rd: John McPhee has a chapter called "Frame of Reference" in his book Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process. Writers need to ensure that examples they provide are meaningful are known, to the target readership. As a sort of continuing education project, he visited a granddaughter's senior English class at Brookline (MA) High School and polled the 19 students.

Raise your hand if you recognize these names and places: Woody Allen.
  Nineteen hands went up. Everybody present in the class that day was aware of Woody Allen. As we went through my list, nineteen hands went up also for Muhammad Ali, Time magazine, Hallmark cards, Denver, Mexico, Princeton University, Winston Churchill, Hamlet, and Toronto. So those perfect scores reached around about fifteen per cent of the frame.
  Sarah Palin, Omaha, Barbra Streisand, Rolls-Royce—18.
  Paul Newman—17.
  Fort Knox—15.
  Elizabeth Taylor, My Fair Lady—11.
  Cassius Clay—8.
  Waterloo Bridge, Maggie Smith—6.
  Norman Rockwell, Truman Capote, Joan Baez—5.
  Rupert Murdoch—3.
  Hampstead, Mickey Rooney—2.
  Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh—1.
  "In England, would you know what a bobby is?"—1.
  Calabria, St. John's Wood, Peckham Rye, Churchill Downs, the Old Vic, News of the World, Jackie Gleason, David Brower, Ralph Nelson, David Susskind, Jack Dempsey, Stephen Harper, Thomas P. F. Hoving, George Plimpton, J. Anthony Lukas, Bob Woodward, Norman Maclean, Henry Luce, Sophia Loren, Mort Sahl, Jean Kerr, James Boswell, Samuel Johnson—0.

May 31, 3:52pm Top

>108 jessibud2: >112 jessibud2: Hi Shelley. I owe you at least one visit. More, probably. Us ol' farts is movin' kinda slow. Yup, kinda slow.

May 31, 4:00pm Top

# 31. Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey Finished 5/6/18

The Weird ReportTM

Lucy Prim is invited to talk to students—all girls— at the Leys Physical Training College. A former French teacher, Miss Pym was delivered from the classroom when she received a modest legacy upon the deaths of her parents. Pursuing an interest in psychology, she researched and wrote a psychology book, which became a best-seller. It's through her book and her friendship with the college's head, Henrietta Hodge, that she gets the invitation.

She's put up in a spartan room in a dormitory, and she's introduced to the college's routine and students when an alarm bell rings at 5 a.m. She hears girls calling to one another, exchanging gossip and rumors, getting washed up and dressed for a new day. Then she actually meets several girls face to face. She's drawn in, and when the students urge her to stay for several days, she agrees. She gets to know more of the students and to know more about individuals. She mixes with the faculty. Increasingly impressed, Miss Pym finds herself willingly staying through finals and graduation.

At one point, Miss Pym has a chance encounter with the parents of a star student, sharing tea with them in a picturesque tea room. (Well, it's picturesque in my mind.) The girl doesn't know her parents are so close by but not contacting her; they don't want to distract her during finals. Miss Pym develops impressions of the parents, but also fleshes out her impression of the girl.

Interesting, to me, is that only three men play significant roles in this novel. One is the star-student's father, a country doctor of modest means who is greatly loved and respected by his daughter. Another is the janitor in the gym, who opens and closes the much-used facility and who keeps it clean and all its equipment in top shape. The third is a once famous, now fading stage actor, who serves to cast light on a particular faculty member, his cousin as it turns out, who routinely avoids and disparages him.

The vast majority of the story is used to introduce the characters, allowing them to reveal themselves, and be observed and (privately, in her own mind) assessed by Miss Pym. Conflict is introduced quite early in the story with the revelation that Miss Hodge has been asked by officials of Arlinghurst (only the best girls' school in England) if there is a Leys student suitable for a post at the school. Everyone—students and teachers alike—is astonished. Weirdly, to me, this highly selective school seems to have delegated all authority over filling their vacancy to Henrietta Hodge. ("Just send over your best girl, and she's got the job.") Naturally, students and faculty and Miss Pym alike really chew over this appointment. Who will it be?

The choice is revealed as the book is running out of pages. Naturally, Miss Hodge bungles the opportunity by naming the least felicitous candidate, then stonewalling dissent from faculty and, ultimately, the students. It does end, and it is left to the reader to decide if a crime has been committed, if justice is served for all parties, if all's well that ends well.

Both of my thumbs are up. Well, actually it's only my left thumb, but it is up twice.

Jun 3, 8:51am Top

Hi Bill!

Nary a spoiler! Good review, interesting point about Arlinghurst allowing Miss Hodge to fill the vacancy. The ending really is a shocker.

Jun 7, 2:02pm Top

>81 weird_O: Nice haul, Bill. Our library sale is in a couple of weeks. We'll see what happens...

Your granddaughters are lovely. What fun grandkids are!

>114 weird_O: I always think about this when I'm teaching. I gave the students a choice to argue that Bob Dylan deserved the Nobel Prize for literature, and someone asked, "Who is Bob Dylan?" When my kids were younger, I was more in touch with concerns of students, but now I frequently have to ask them about their references.

Jun 7, 6:57pm Top

Good review of Shadow Catcher by Tim Egan. I have got to get to the two books by him that I have on my shelves. But the more time I spend on LT the less there is for reading.

Jun 7, 9:54pm Top

>105 weird_O: What lovely granddaughters, Bill. You both must be proud.

>107 weird_O: Good review of Amsterdam. I have not read that one and I hope to read another McEwan this year.

Sweet Thursday! Do you have a Walter Mosley lined up? I really enjoyed Always Outnumbered.

Jun 8, 7:53am Top

Hi Bill! Your wish to me returned to you: Be happy.

Jun 11, 9:32am Top

Keith Haring, 1983

Yeah, it was that kind of week.

Jun 11, 5:02pm Top

7 June 1971

This one got past me 'cause I wasn't paying attention. But...

I had, on this June day many years ago, spent the afternoon being introduced to a new job that I'd accepted. In the evening, I showed up for work at the local newspaper, gave my two-week notice, then absented myself from the newsroom. Several hours later I returned and observed a fellow reporter sorting through clippings about J.I. Rodale. Rodale had started the publishing company whose job offered I'd accepted.

"What's up, Dan?" I asked.

"He just died," Dan replied, meaning of course J.I. Rodale.

"Ah, come on," I said.

"No, it's true. He was on the Dick Cavett show and just died right there." So that confirmed to me that he was making it up.

Except, well, he wasn't. As is the norm in network television, Cavett's program was broadcast after the 11 p.m. news, but was taped earlier in the day. J.I. had been featured in a cover story in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, and this "organic gardening" thing was catching people's interest. So Cavett had him on his show, allowed him to make his ill-timed assertions, and rotated to his next guest, newspaperman and writer Pete Hamill. J.I. had moved from the guest chair to the couch, but then made what was described as a snoring noise. And Cavett got to ask if there was a doctor in the audience.

Despite being asked repeatedly if I knew what I was doing, I did leave the paper and I worked at Rodale Press for the next 27 years. And 7 June was my so-called anniversary date, from which years-of-service benefits were calculated.

Quite a day.

Jun 11, 8:17pm Top

>123 weird_O:

Quite a story and, I'm guessing, quite a job!

Jun 12, 10:20am Top

Trying to sort out competing reading interests; too many things I want to read right now.

On Thursday last (7 June 2018) photographer David Douglas Duncan died. He was 102. He photographed combat in the Pacific theater in WW II, in Korea, and in Vietnam. Yet he survived to a very ripe old age.

I've got five of the many books he produced. This Is War! A Photo Narrative in Three Parts, about the Korean War, and I Protest!, about Vietnam. Picasso's Picassos and The Private World of Pablo Picasso about THAT Spanish artist. And Self-Portrait USA about the 1968 political conventions. Not a lot of words in any other them, but I'm shifting attention from one to another to another, reading what words there are and studying the photos.

I sifted through a photographic impression of Limerick, Ireland called Through Irish Eyes, which tosses around references to Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. Prepping for a week in Ireland. But nowhere near Limerick. Hmmm.

In addition, I'm tasting various "chapter books", looking for a compelling read. In the mix: Christie's Crooked House and Doyle's A Star Called Henry.

Jun 12, 10:23am Top

>124 m.belljackson: The job was usually interesting, Marianne. Good times and bad. And now that company is gone. Just keep that pension check coming!

Jun 12, 10:35am Top

Monday was (minor) coincidence day. Had a secondary cataract removed in a laser treatment. An hour of form-signing before a 2-minute procedure. But I had along The Private World of Pablo Picasso, and it caught the eye of the doctor. He snatched it up and looked through it, questioning me about which of Picasso's amours was "best". Oh boy.

So a doctor interested in Picasso. And I'm interested (now) in Picasso.

On the way home from the treatment, I snuck into the Goodwill store to see if I could get a comforting fix of used books. Very poor selection. BUT—coincidence number two—I found a clean copy of Kitchen Confidential by the recently deceased Anthony Bourdain.

Jun 13, 11:49am Top

Hey Cataract Buddy! I had one removed on Monday as well. You are exactly right, more time doing prep and waiting around after to make sure I didn't pass out than the actual procedure. Mine was a full on removal and insert of implant, so it took a whole 10 minutes. Now a month's worth of drops.

I was reading a Philip K Dick novel, no one was sophisticated enough to ask me about it. :)

Jun 13, 2:39pm Top

I had the lens-replacement cataract surgery more than 15 years ago. This was a laser procedure, by the same doctor, to erase a film forming on the right eye's replacement lens.

I might have asked about a PKD novel.

I revisited The Private World of Pablo Picasso because the author/photographer died on 7 June. David Douglas Duncan. I'm realizing that I've had the book roughly 50 years. Holy smokes! A paperback edition for $1.95. Holy smokes!

Jun 14, 2:08am Top

>129 weird_O: Yeah my Mom told me that that could be an eventual possibility.

As far as PKD is concerned. I'm reading The Maze of Death. Its (I think), Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians on an alien planet on acid. It was written in 1970 and it shows. :)

Jun 14, 6:46am Top

Hi Bill!

It only took just under three years for me to need that laser surgery. I asked my doctor as he was zapping my eyes if he liked doing this part of his job and he said it was his favorite part - he likened it to a video game.

Edited: Jun 15, 3:20pm Top

>130 mahsdad: Well okay. I'll take that as a caution and maybe pass on The Maze of Death. Imagining And Then There Were None, which I have read, on acid is disconcerting, never mind the alien planet. Hahaha.

>131 karenmarie: See, that's why I didn't take up eye surgery. Never good at video games.

But I'm surprise what a difference that two minutes has made. When I got my eyes checked in March, the doc said a prescription change in the right eye wouldn't improve its vision; left eye pretty much does it all. But I do believe my right eye is seeing much more better.

Finished Christie's Crooked House. Real good.

Jun 17, 2:51pm Top

Happy Father's Day, Bill. I hope you are having a great day and getting some reading in to boot.

Jun 18, 5:34pm Top

Annalise, sixth and final granddaughter, on the day of her coming out, 6.16.18

Jun 18, 7:57pm Top

>134 weird_O: Oh, my gosh, is she beautiful! Hooray for Annalise. They could not have picked a better grandchild for the finale.

Edited: Jun 18, 9:17pm Top

Used for testing purposes. I'll put som'thin' here.

Jun 18, 9:18pm Top

What a cutie!! Hope you had a great father's day. : )

Jun 18, 9:46pm Top

>134 weird_O: What a sweetie! You are so lucky in your grandkids, Bill.

Jun 18, 9:47pm Top

>134 weird_O: - Well, doesn't she look comfy! And content and sweet! :-)

Jun 18, 10:18pm Top

>134 weird_O: Time for a library card, Poppa!

Jun 19, 1:48am Top

What a cutie!

Edited: Jun 19, 7:23am Top

Hi Bill! Definitely a cutie. Happy Tuesday to you.

Starting to pack for your trip yet?

Jun 19, 1:02pm Top

>134 weird_O:

Your Annalise looks ready to take on the world!

I think that Wisconsin author Michael Perry (Population 485) also has named a daughter Annalise.
(Checked WIKI, but no listing of names.)

Jun 19, 2:17pm Top

>135 msf59: Thanks, Mark. Other than getting Annie's father conceived, I had nothing to do with picking her to be the final grand. She just is (grand) and I am just very very lucky.

>136 weird_O: Hmmm. Is that IT, Bill. Another empty promise.

>137 Berly: She is, she is, Kim. And meeting her and holding her and smooching her made Father's Day all the more better.

>138 Familyhistorian: I am that, Meg. I think it all is my wife's doing. Our kids are The Best, and now their kids are The Best.

>139 jessibud2: Annie is nothing if not sweet and content. In 5 hours, she didn't cry or squawk, but she did make steady eye contact and smile, a lot.

>140 laytonwoman3rd: We did give her a book for her older sister Olivia to read to her. Liv is finishing the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia, which we gave her for Christmas. She's not quite eight.

>141 BLBera: :-)

>142 karenmarie: Yet again, :-). We haven't yet got the luggage off the shelf, Karen, but we're getting our costumes set. It was 94F here yesterday, about 84F today; in Ireland, the daytime temps are in the low to mid 60s. We're also getting the eyes dotted and the tees crossed for the kennel. Bridie will hate us for a week after we return.

>143 m.belljackson: She does, doesn't she?

Jun 21, 8:07pm Top

WoW! We're back on line (and with a landline that has a dial tone) after 2 1/2 days. Dump truck with the bed tipped up snagged the Verizon cable, ripped down about 200 feet of it, and snapped the pole in two, launching a substantial chuck across the road. I drove by the spot four times today and still can't imagine what the truck driver was doing.

Dealing with Verizon on the (cell) phone Tuesday night was maddening (gosh, what a surprise!) First, Rosie the Robot offered to have a tech come to my home on...oh...let's see, Monday is the earliest availability. After 45 minutes in the queue, I spoke to a person who checked this and that, then promised a tech would be out the next day (Wednesday) between 8 am and 12 noon. At noon, the guy shows and tells us what's happened and promises service will be restored Thursday late afternoon. And so it was.

Our first call was a spammer.

I don't understand why Verizon didn't know the line was cut as soon as it happened. I don't understand why Verizon didn't know, six hours after the mishap, that that was why I didn't have dial tone or Internet. Bozos. %#$...

In the down time, I raced through Kate Atkinson's Case Histories, apparently the first Jackson Brodie novel. Good but not great. Now alternating between Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending and Michael Chabon's The Escapist (a graphic short-story collection).

Jun 21, 8:13pm Top

Is this guy walking or bicycling? Wouldn't two bicycle tires be cheaper than 6 pairs of Adidas shoes?

Asking for a friend.

Jun 21, 8:22pm Top

>146 weird_O: - LOL! You mean 7 pairs..... ;-)

>145 weird_O: - Something similar happened to me last week. After being in Montreal for 5 days, I came home to no landline, no tv and no internet. Apparently someone down the road was digging and broke the line. I used my cell to call and was told it would be 3 days for a tech to come out. Called 3 times, got 3 different people and the last one sent a tech out the next day. But sheesh!! 15 minutes and all was restored.

Jun 21, 10:29pm Top

Verizon is pooh. I've been struggling with their service for my Mom lately. They really discourage you from holding on the line when you call. They want you to leave your name and number for a call-back. The one time I did that it was six hours later before they called me, and I was no longer at my mother's, so couldn't implement their suggestions. I've had the automaton tell me wait time to speak to a representative was 45 minutes to an hour and 12 minutes; waited 5 minutes and got a person. Not a person who could solve anything, but still.

Edited: Jun 21, 10:33pm Top

I have read all of the Jackson Brodie novels by Kate Atkinsoni and really like them. I am sorry that she hasn’t written more about him and his tops turvy life, but I understand the need for a writer to move on to other topics and characters that they want to explore. I feel that the series is not finished, but know that I will have to wait for the author to get back to it.

The books were made into a BBC TV series. I saw it on Masterpiece and that’s how I found out about the books and was inspired to read them.

Have fun in Ireland - I love that place. Of course, I was only in Ulster but it was great. I came home and finished reading the Leon Uris on Norhern Ireland and the IRA and then read the Irish trilogy by Thomas Flanagan.

Edited: Jun 23, 12:09am Top

Talked to the most senior neighbor, the most senior in the sense of having lived here longer than anyone else, who, as I knew he would, had the straight poop on the phone/internet mishap. The dump truck was towing a backhoe on a flatbed trailer and the backhoe was high enough to snag the cable. The resident opposite the splintered pole called 911, Verizon, and the State Police, but none were inclined to do anything. Ho hum.

Mowed today.

Finished the 2011 Man-Booker Prize recipient, The Sense of a Ending by Julian Barnes. Short but savory. Excellent novel.

Gotta finish Michael Chabon's The Escapist next. End June at 50 books read.

Jun 24, 11:35pm Top

Just finished Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene. Number 50 for the year. Makes completing 100 this year almost doable. Huzzah!

For Father's Day, my daughter sent me Michael Chabon's The Escapist: Pulse-Pounding Thrills. Amazon delivered it last Tuesday (the 19th), which is the day it was published. So new that LT doesn't have a Touchstone for it. What comes up, without alternatives, is the first volume. Anyway, I'm half-way through it. It purports to be a collection of tales of the Escapist's exploits from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. The character was originated by Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, back in "the Golden Age of comics".

A van's coming for Judi and me on Tuesday afternoon, and we're assured that it'll take us to Easton, where our son and his family will board. Then off to Newark. Followed by Dublin.

Jun 25, 6:35am Top

Happy Monday, Bill. I am sure this will be a packing day for you. I am sure you are getting excited about your Ireland trip.

Congrats on hitting #50! And hooray for the new Chabon.

Jun 26, 9:12am Top

I did finish The Escapist, a graphic novel. The Touchstone for this newly published book is not yet to be found; dozens of publications feature "The Escapist" in their titles, and I could find this particular one. Go figure.

Signing off until late next week. We're off to our own adventures in Ireland. See y'all when we return.

Jun 26, 9:25am Top

Have a great time in Ireland, Bill.

Jun 27, 1:15am Top

Being without internet is frustrating, especially the way that it happened for you, Bill. Sounds like you made good use of your time. Your time in Ireland is getting closer. Safe travels.

Jul 2, 2:45pm Top

My oldest did a semester of college in Dublin and LOVED it! I am sure you will have a great time.

Jul 5, 5:06pm Top

We're baa-ack. Up at 4:45 a.m. Dublin time, home in Pennsylvania by 2 p.m. EDT. I have lots of photos to process. And more due next week when photos from five other photographers in the party become available.

And I even finished two books. And only bought two books, one by Edna O'Brien, one by Colum McCann.

We had a great time, although I sure wish there had been a port-key between Easton and Dublin.

Jul 5, 8:12pm Top

Welcome back home, Bill! I am sure you had a fantastic time in Ireland. Looking forward to hearing about it and enjoying those upcoming photos.

Jul 6, 11:24am Top

Photos will be coming, but I've got a fair bit of sorting and editing to do. More than 1,200 images. Plus photos my son is sharing via Google Photos. Soon enough, I'm sure Helen, Claire, Tara, and Gracie will be uploading their photos to Google Photos too.

Jul 6, 11:39am Top

What was the one place that you will remember from this trip? I loved Ireland, but spent my entire trip on the Antrim coast and Belfast.

Jul 6, 7:25pm Top

There must have been lots to see if you have 1,200 images, Bill. I will be going to Ireland for my first visit next year. What would you say would be the sights I shouldn't miss?

Edited: Jul 7, 7:45pm Top

Bill and Judi at Grianan of Aileach, County Donegal, on July 3, 2018.

Jul 7, 7:50pm Top

What a lovely sight!

Jul 7, 8:06pm Top

American tourists. From the top: Helen and Gracie, Jeremy and Tara, Claire with locks of blue, Judi and Bill. Taken inside the ringfort, Grianan of Aileach, by an anonymous Bostonian.

Jul 7, 8:21pm Top

How fun! Can't wait to see the pictures you post here.

Jul 7, 8:32pm Top

Aw, so lovely. I've never been there but as I look at your pictures, this song comes to my mind instantly. Connie Kaldor is one of my favourite Canadian folksingers. The particular CD that this song is from is one of her best. I've also seen her perform live many times and she is a delight:


Jul 9, 1:31am Top

Wow, what a view! Looks like a great trip Bill, welcome back.

Jul 9, 4:09pm Top

Sounds like a great trip, Bill. Love those two photos! What a beautiful part of the world.

How large a part of Clan Weirdo is the group in >164 weird_O:? What a treasure.

Jul 9, 7:51pm Top

Glad to hear you had a good trip, Bill! I look forward to seeing more of your photos from the visit at some point.

Jul 9, 8:22pm Top

Hooray for the first couple of photos, Bill. Looking forward to seeing more.

Thanks to you, I am starting Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher tomorrow, on audio. I can't believe this came out in '12. I thought it was newer than that.

Jul 10, 9:43pm Top

Welcome back, Bill. Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Edited: Jul 13, 3:52pm Top

Jul 13, 4:08pm Top

Out final evening in Dublin, we walked to Merrion Square, across Merrion Street from the Irish government buildings and several Irish Museums—Archeology, Natural History, the National Gallery. At the northwest corner of the park is the statue of Oscar Wilde lounging on a rock. I took several photos of the installation, then got an offer from our tour host to photograph me, lounging against the rock too.

The cameraperson might have said something like, “Hey, Dad, you ought to move a little to your right. So it doesn’t look like you’re going to get kicked in the head by Mr. Wilde.”

But no. Click goes the shutter. “Thanks, son.”

Edited: Jul 13, 4:45pm Top

>165 Berly:, >166 jessibud2:, >167 charl08:, >168 jnwelch:, >169 harrygbutler:, >170 msf59:, >171 BLBera:

Aw, we had a marvelous time. Not only did we get squired through a portion of a foreign land, we got to mix with family that we don't see as often as we'd like.

I'm still plodding through my photos. My camera seems to have a slight misalignment, since all the photos seem to tilt 1 to 3 degrees to the right. (Oh, wait! Maybe it was the Guinness. Nahhh, couldn't be.) So while I'm correcting that, I figure I might as well tweak the color and light and stuff. Takes a while.

On the way over, I read most of Agatha Christie's Five Little Pigs, one of her ten best. Once I finished that, I read the first in Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series, finishing it shortly after we got home. Knots and Crosses. It was written as a standalone novel and the Inspector was resurrected some time later to lead a series.

I read during the trip about the angry white gunner who killed five employees of the Baltimore Sun's Capital Gazette, based in Annapolis, MD. Googling the incident after we got home, I learned that one of murdered reporters was Ron Hiaasen, brother of Carl, a newsman in Miami and one of my favorite crime novelists. Crap.

Read On Tyranny yesterday (the day before?) and paged back through it this afternoon, highlighting sentences. A very valuable message; excellent lessons.

I also heard that Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient was awarded the Golden Man-Booker Prize, signifying its selection as the best of the 50 Booker and Man-Booker Prize winners. So, having never read it (though I've inattentively watched the film made from it a couple f times), I got it off the shelf and have started it.

Jul 13, 10:58pm Top

>8 weird_O: I love them and want them ALL!!!

New here

Hope I haven't got the reference wrong

Jul 14, 12:09am Top

>173 weird_O: LOL!!! I love that photo. Your son did the right thing.

Good luck correcting the Guiness tilt and lighting. : ) The English Patient is a good one -- hope you enjoy it. Happy weekend!

Edited: Jul 14, 7:45pm Top

I read that about the English Patient and thought it was a good choice, but I would have voted for Penelope Lively’s book Moon Tiger. I think that the English Patient steals some of its ideas from Moon Tiger. I don’t think it plagiarizes I just don’t think it is that original. But it is a good book.

Jul 15, 1:10pm Top

"One novel known by millions of young Americans that offers an account of tyranny and resistance is J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you or your friends or your children did not read it that way the first time, then it bears reading again."
—Timothy Snyder

Jul 15, 3:19pm Top

I thought On Tyranny ought to be compulsory reading. By everyone.

Jul 16, 2:56pm Top

>179 jessibud2: Agreed.

>173 weird_O: Sorry to see you got kicked by Oscar Wilde.

Actually I think that is a great picture.

Jul 16, 6:03pm Top

I have enjoyed the pictures of your Ireland trip that you posted here. I don't do Facebook for reasons of principle and as time goes on am more and more glad that I don't. However, that means that I miss out on lots of pictures from lots of people. Thanks for posting a select few here for those old stick in the muds like me.

I can't believe what happened today in Helsinki. How long are people going to put up with this? For the first time in my life I have been actively sending e-mails to my Senator's about everything from Internet access to Supreme Court appointees. I don't think that either of them will listen to me, as they are both Republicans, but I am trying.

Jul 16, 6:38pm Top

>168 jnwelch: Joe, I neglected to answer your question about our clan. The photo shows about one-half of us. Our younger son is also married with three daughters. Between the sons is our daughter.

>175 roomsofbooks: Halloo. You can't go wrong here with the 75ers. As for the books in >8 weird_O:, I must admit I have failed to catalog any of them. Would it be weird if I did? It might be kinda fun.

>176 Berly: >180 Oberon: How can you two be so wrong?

>179 jessibud2: >180 Oberon: How could you two be so right?

>177 benitastrnad: Not having ANY knowledge of the Lively book, I'll take your word for it.

Edited: Jul 16, 7:00pm Top

>179 jessibud2: "I thought On Tyranny ought to be compulsory reading. By everyone." Amen, to that, Shelley!

Thanks again for the nudge on Shadow Catcher, Bill. I really enjoyed this bio. Egan Rules!

Jul 17, 1:53am Top

>182 weird_O: I can't face recording my books, so if you can't either, I can hardly complain.

I haven't the time!

Plus I couldn't, as I would have to pay for excess and I am such a ditz with computers\smartphones that I won't buy anything or pay anything on it, so there are no accounts etc for hackers to find, so I could only partially list my books..

I pay someone $5 to order me an item. It's worth it, to have a fairly useless phone for the bad guys. I tend to buy from opshops and garage sales and fetes and have no facilities for reading ebooks, so apart from losing access to some things, and having someone I would not choose as a friend, know everything I buy online, I get by. I don't have a lot of chums left alive and most of them are as bad or worse in the realms of computers Happily, my tastes are mainly chasing WW2 books I have nearly no chance to find 2nd hand and a few similar Brit comedy series and a hard to get washing machine - and chasing kitten/cat harnesses, means that I have no really awkward interests to explain.

The books I WOULD probably put up, every so often, are the joyously mad titles that caused me a wheeze or 2 of laughs in my initial contact with you.

I remember thinking I should start such a collection, probably nearer 40 years than 30 years ago, but I was always fighting for space just for books I WANTED to read. Plus half the joy of those books is sneaking them into the eyeline of a bookie person. I daresay you could make some assumptions on how well you would get along with people, by their reactions.

Jul 17, 3:15am Top

PS I see you like the odd Agatha Christie, are you acquainted with Colin Watson?

The Flaxborough Chronicles?

He writes with humour - I think he described Inspector Pirbright's sergeant as not adept at placing people under surveillance - his extravagant air of nonchalance making members of the public follow him in the expectation of him suddenly throwing fivers into the air...

It's been a few decades since I read them

I THINK it was Private Eye that reviewed one of his books as P G Wodehouse without the jokes - and I THINK CW was the first to successfully win a case against them, on that claim. Very sadly, he died in the 80s.

He looked like a mature age Bletchley Park escapee.

Jul 18, 9:59am Top

As usual, Roddy Doyle is spot on... This from his Facebook page this morning.

-Just to be clear.
-When I said I’d like a pint, I meant I would like a pint.
-I know, yeah.
-Just in case you thought I meant I wouldn’t like one.
-Why the fuck would I think tha’? It’s settlin’ there in front of yeh, look it.
-Grand. I just wanted to be sure. Because –
-There was an incident there earlier – at home in the house.
-Wha’ happened?
-I told a plumber to fuck off.
-Well, the cistern’s broken, like.
-The jacks?
-Yeah – it’s cracked. Haven’t a clue wha’ happened, but anyway. The brother-in-law. He’s a plumber. An’ he’s puttin’ in the new one for us – the new cistern, like. But I reckon it’s a bit crooked. So I tell him. And he – he’s a snotty enough cunt. He says he sees no reason why I’d say it was crooked. So I told him to fuck off.
-Did yeh?
-I did, yeah. But I misspoke.
-I meant to say, ‘Don’t fuck off.’
-Wha’ I really intended to say was, ‘Don’t fuck off, stay here an’ finish the job, you’re grand.’ But I left out ‘don’t.’
-Wha’ did he do?
-He fucked off.

Jul 18, 8:44pm Top

Wait...Roddy Doyle has a Facebook page?

Jul 18, 9:30pm Top

>187 laytonwoman3rd: Yes. But I haven't a road map to get to it. I'm sort of in avoidance of Facebook. "Sort of" meaning I have maybe a couple dozen "friends" and check it out about once a day. But I haven't added anyone in a year or two. I think I got Roddy Doyle through a friend (likely Son the Elder).

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking you've clicked a few keys and already have the page.

Hahahaha on me.

Jul 19, 2:18am Top

>186 weird_O: Ha! Thanks for posting this Bill.

Jul 19, 1:49pm Top

Quoting Dr. Yen Lo, the sinister Asian controlling the brainwashing of a squad of U.S. soldiers captured during the Korea War:

"Although the paranoiacs make the great leaders, it is the resenters who make their best instruments because the resenters, those men with cancer of the psyche, make the best assassins."

Jul 19, 9:32pm Top

>186 weird_O: " I'm thinking you've clicked a few keys and already have the page." Oh, yeah. Nothing to it.

Jul 22, 2:02pm Top

I saw on one of the other threads that you asked about non-fiction graphic novels. Yes. there are lots of non-fiction graphi novels. For all age levels. Some for children and some for adults. There are a ton of memoirs in the graphic novel category.

If you look on the frontispiece of the book (every book has one of those - it is the page right behind the title page) there will be lots of information for you. There will be a section called Library of Congress Cataloging-in-publications data. This is usually located below the ISBN but sometimes the ISBN is included in that data. There will be a number with letters in it. Sometimes the publisher will have this labeled as LC call number sometimes not - most of the time not. If the number begins with the letter “P” or any combination of letters beginning with a “P” that book is probably a work of fiction. If that number starts with any other letter of the alphabet that book is non-fiction.

An example of a fiction call number in LC nomenclature is PS3618.E5474 Y33 2012
This is a call number for fiction because the sequence starts with a P. There are some exceptions to this rule. For instance works of literary criticism have P call numbers, but as a general rule this is an easy way to tell if a book is fiction or nonfiction. You can find that information on the frontispiece of any book, regardless of genre.

Jul 22, 4:55pm Top

Edited: Jul 22, 9:53pm Top

TRIGGER ALERT!! Book Porn below. Continue at your own risk. You have been warned.

The Bethlehem (PA) Area Public Library had its bimonthly book sale last week. As I've mentioned on several threads already, I was forced...FORCED, I say...to attend on Saturday and actually to buy a few books. Only prime books, most assuredly.

And so I did. I believe I did pretty well. Here's the list:

The Quick and the Dead by Louis L'Amour (mmp)
Travels with Charley… by John Steinbeck (mmp)
The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett (pbk)
Nemesis by Jo Nesbo (pbk)
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (pbk)
Across the River and into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway (pbk)
You Can't Get There from Here by Ogden Nash. illustrations by Maurice Sendak (pbk)
The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers (pbk)
The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett (pbk)
Legs by William Kennedy (pbk)
The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (pbk)
Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes (pbk)
Women by Charles Bukowski (pbk)
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane (pbk) DUPE, actually.
The Great Shame by Thomas Keneally (pbk)
A Sligo Miscellany by John McTernan (pbk)
A Traveller's History of Ireland by Peter Neville (pbk)
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (pbk)
Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge (pbk)
Family Man by Calvin Trillin (pbk)
The Man Who Smiled by Henning Mankell (pbk)
The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell (pbk)
The Pyramid by Henning Mankell (pbk) DUPE, apparently.
Sidetracked by Henning Mankell (pbk)
Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni (GNF)

Bettmann Moments: Celebrating the Bettmann Archive by Otto Bettmann (hc)
The Secrets of Ireland by Kevin Eyres (hc)
Ireland by Simona Tarchetti, photos by Guilio Veggi (hc)
An Autobiography by Anthony Trollope (hc)
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (hc)
Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (hc)
Wouldn't Take Nothing for my Journey Now by Maya Angelou (hc)
Forrest Gump by Winston Groom (hc)
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (hc) DUPE

The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin, read by Edward Herrmann (CDs)

Jul 22, 9:46pm Top

>194 weird_O: Wowza, Bill. You might be surpassing Paul in the book haul department! Looks like many promising reads there.

Jul 22, 10:14pm Top

You are right, Mark. I really DO want to read them all, but it's unlikely to happen, I know. I just keep thinking, "Well, it's only a buck." But this time I spent more than I have at any library sale I can think of. Manahatta cost extra, as did The Thirst. And you may not believe this, but I swear it is true: The sale room was still packed with books when I left.

Oh, I want to explain that audio book I got, The Bully Pulpit. I was given the book the year it was published, and it is such a brick, and I figured that Mrs. Goodwin knows more about Roosevelt and Taft than I want to know. So it has languished on the shelf. But when I saw the box of CDs, I had to take it. Edward Herrmann. The late Ed Herrmann. Herrmann performed in a play about Galileo and the Pope, written by Richard Goodwin (DKG's husband) and presented at the Huntington Theater in Boston. My daughter "built" costumes for Herrmann and she had the chance to chat with him during fittings and the like. Now both Goodwin and Herrmann are dead. Alas.

I just may listen to it. (And Becky too.)

Jul 23, 5:44am Top

>194 weird_O: So sorry you were forced to go there, Bill ;-)
I see you got some books I enjoyed like Travels with Charley and the Kurt Wallander books by Henning Mankell. I hope you like them as much as I did!

Edited: Jul 23, 9:13am Top

No. 2 and No. 10 in the Modern Library series! Score. But I'm puzzled, because all the lists I have (they used to be printed on the inside of the dust jackets) list the Buck as No. 15. (You'll look inside those DJ's now, I know you will.)

Jul 23, 12:07pm Top

>198 laytonwoman3rd: I did look, Linda. Interesting. The jacket of the Buck novel of course lists it as #2. Clarissa doesn't appear at all amongst the 274 books in ML catalog. The Clarissa jacket puts that novel at #10 (of course), and bumps The Good Earth to #15.

[Touchstones can't get results.]

Jul 23, 12:16pm Top

>194 weird_O: Quite a haul, Bill! I made it there on Saturday as well, but I only managed a couple books from the sale — not nearly so impressive.

Jul 24, 2:57pm Top

>195 msf59: Ha, Mark. Can Mr. Cranswick ever be outdone? I think not. Although I understand that with so many awesome projects he's overseeing, he doesn't have as much reading time. But I don't think that should limit his acquisitions.

>197 FAMeulstee: The copy I got of Travels with Charley is exactly the version I bought and read way back in the mid-60s. Then it cost me 75 cents. And since then, I lost it or tossed it. So replacing it cost me 100 cents.

As for the Wallander books, I knew I had at least two but didn't know the titles. So I called home, told my wife (who is the only person to read them) where I thought they were, but she could only find one. Naturally, I bought a dupe; already had a copy of The Pyramid. So I guess I better read them all. We watched quite a few episodes of the Wallander TV series with Ken Branagh.

>198 laytonwoman3rd: >199 weird_O: I do have some other Modern Library editions with jackets, and some have the catalog listed on the jacket back. Now I'm interested in checking out the listings. (Not interested enough to do it RIGHT NOW, but interested nonetheless.)

>200 harrygbutler: Sorry I missed you, Harry. Of course, I don't know what you look like, so for all I know, you could have been right beside me.

Jul 24, 2:59pm Top

I've posted this before, but in light of the pile o' books I picked up on Saturday, I think I'd reaffirm the message.

Jul 28, 1:56am Top

>202 weird_O: I can relate to that! I have a lot of possibilities at my house, bet you do to by the look of your last book haul, Bill!

Aug 7, 11:57am Top

Hi Bill!

Congrats on the haul you were forced to purchase.

If you have a smart phone I strongly suggest downloading the LibraryThing app - you can search for a book or author and see if you already have it. I've start saving money on NOT getting duplicates this year.

Aug 9, 12:25pm Top

Wow wow wow. Been away, kinda sorta. But reading steadily, if not quickly. I did read an Amy Tan, which I started with trepidation, and finished with admiration. The Bonesetter's Daughter was what I read, and I am glad I did. Then I enjoyed some light reading: a collection called Thurber on Crime, a short novel by Paul Gallico called Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York, and a memoir written by a French mongrel dog owned by Peter Mayle titled A Dog's Life. Last night, I completed a return trip around the country with John Steinbeck and his French poodle Charley: Travels with Charley.

Now I'm reading L'Amour. The shortest L'Amour novel available at the last library book sale. The Quick and the Dead. It's going okay, but I remain tepid about the western master's oeuvre

Aug 9, 12:47pm Top

Drove south to Lexington, VA, to spend the weekend with my sister and her husband. Went through some very intense rainstorms, and barely averted calamity in one. The car in front of us bashed the car in front of it and caromed to the right into a guard rail. Antilock brakes stopped us shy of contact. Curiously, the car that got back-ended didn't stop. No injuries.

Saturday was another of those days. My sister took me to the LexLib and the library just happened to be having a book sale. And we arrived just 15 minutes ahead of the hour-long $2 bag sale. Surprisingly, I managed to find a few books. Then we stopped by The Bookery, a shop selling new and used books, and I acquired an autographed copy of Sally Mann's memoir, Hold Still.

Loafed on Sunday. Made a quickish trip home on Monday. No rain. Hurray!

Aug 9, 4:44pm Top

Dr. Frederick Lepore, professor of neurology and ophthalmology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, has written a book called Finding Einstein's Brain. The owner of a used and antiquarian book shop near me posted a photo of the author in his office/library, commenting:

“A...tantalizing photograph. Finally, it seems, we have a worthy competitor in the arcane science of structural book-stacking.”

Lepore is way ahead of me.

Edited: Aug 9, 9:18pm Top

Good to see you back! And safely. Lexington is a very pretty part of the country and it seems it even has books! I love those stacks. I think they are better than mine. At least there are more of them.

Aug 10, 1:57pm Top

>207 weird_O: But I can't read any of the titles from here...

Aug 10, 3:44pm Top

>207 weird_O: This makes me feel much better about the stacks in my (shared) office. Clearly I am not trying hard enough...

Aug 10, 6:49pm Top

>207 weird_O: - see my current thread topper.... ;-)

Aug 11, 7:50am Top

>207 weird_O: Ha! That looks familiar...

Aug 11, 9:41am Top

Hi Bill! Happy Saturday to you.

Another book sale, an averted accident, and a great photo of a book stacker. Fun times.

Aug 11, 4:00pm Top

>207 weird_O: Book stacking.... my favorite decorating technique. Much to the chagrin of my wife.

BB on the Einstein book.

Aug 15, 4:05am Top

I am so sorry that you have been forced to go to all these book sales. What are people thinking? You poor, poor man.

Aug 15, 10:15am Top

You have been silent since your return. Are you at another book sale?

I finished up my very good summer read Seeing in the Dark. I was inspired to pick up this book because of Suzanne's Non-Fiction Challenge for the month of June. That challenge was outdoor activities. What could be more outdoor than stargazing? The book was really good and I spent many an enjoyable lunch hour reading it. Indoors of course, since the summer has been so beastly hot and the doors to the patio were locked most of the time. Somehow a change in housekeeping staff resulted in unlocking the patio doors getting overlooked. Oh well - it was cooler inside.

Aug 15, 11:46pm Top

>216 benitastrnad: Well, it's like this, Benita. One of the books I got at the library sale interested me, and I raced through it. Then I tried applying what I learned, and then I wasn't here. Or, I was, but...

Aug 16, 10:58am Top

>217 weird_O: 😂 Can I borrow that book?

Aug 16, 12:26pm Top

>217 weird_O: - You are a man of many talents. :-)

Aug 17, 1:16pm Top

>218 drneutron: I'd loan it to you, Jim, but it seems to have disappeared.

>219 jessibud2: Aw shucks.

Feeling pretty good about the reading in the last two weeks. Just now finished with A Man Called Ove; it was excellent. Well deserving of all the complimentary reports I've read here. Before Ove, I enjoyed Cold Comfort Farm.

What's next? I don't know. I have to view my non-structural TBR stacks and see what catches my eye.

Aug 22, 11:36pm Top

>217 weird_O: Love it! And Ove. You should Fforde in order. Just saying. : )

Aug 25, 9:18am Top

Hi Bill!

So, what has caught your eye? Enquiring minds and all that.

Sep 3, 1:06pm Top

Stats, yr 2 date, 9/2/17

Author gender
Male: 54
Female: 17

Author Birth Country
US: 41
UK: 23
IE: 2
Sweden: 1
Norway: 1
Sri Lanka: 1
Austria: 1

Dead or alive
Currently breathing: 39
Deceased: 32

First published
1700s: 1
1800s: 3
1900—1925: 2
1926—1950: 9
1951—1975: 11
1976—2000: 13
2001—2010: 16
2011—2018: 16

Fiction: 49
Non-fiction: 21
Graphic/Photo/Art: 7
Juvie: 1

Hardcover: 27
Paperback: 36
Mass-market paperback: 7

Off my shelves/stacks: 69
Loaner: 1

NOTE: The numbers don't always add up; don't make yourself nuts or rag on me, please. One book, for example, had no listed author or editor. Two had two authors. I counted two GPA books on Picasso as one in my overall for-the-year tally, but counted the author of each in the authorial stats. What are you going to do?

Of what I read so far in 2018, my ten faves are:

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan 

Draft No. 4 by John McPhee 

TransAtlantic by Colum McCann 

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin 

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes 

On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman 

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje 

Sep 3, 1:42pm Top

Nice stats! Mine often don’t add up either - one of the books from this year was a composite work with 10 authors and I counted them all. 😀

Sep 3, 2:21pm Top

Excellent stats, Bill! I like the 'currently breathing' and 'Platform" where I use 'Medium'. I just changed over, so next month's stats will show Platform. No going nuts or ragging, either, promise. *smile* I might start including 'ten faves', too. You da bomb!

Sep 3, 3:05pm Top

Love the stats and the top 10. Also your categories made me smile. : )

Sep 4, 11:30am Top

Great stats, Bill! Yes, of course I add the numbers, when my adding numbers are different I put (x books by 2 authors) next to it ;-)

I like your top ten, I loved The Sense of an Ending, On Tyranny and A Man Called Ove.

Sep 4, 2:18pm Top

Glad you all liked my stats. I feel better about them now.

We had a splendid long weekend, beginning with a birthday clam bake on Saturday, a rather exclusive pizza party Sunday, and a birthday roast on Labor Day. Our three kids, two daughters-in-law, and six granddaughters feted Judi for her 70th birthday. Sadly, several lobsters died so we could enjoy lobster rolls. Sadly, clams died too; but they were really good. Fresh corn on the cob. Homemade cole slaw. Pound cake hot from the oven with strawberries and home-whipped cream. Cool beverages.

Annie was passed from lap to lap. Lia charged around like a hyperbot. Helen shared her mammoth Lego constructions with Olivia. Gracie and Claire stayed calm throughout. And Judi basked in the attention.

Judi was gobsmacked to get an Irish tweed cape that she had looked at (longingly) in the gift shop at Kylemore Abbey in Ireland. The look was noted, and when Jeremy took Judi and me to Cong, where scenes in John Ford's The Quiet Man were filmed, Tara said the girls wanted to go to the beach instead. They did go to a beach, but first they went back to Kylemore and got that cape.

In the photo above, Judi is paging through a book of 100 photos taken during our vacation trip to Ireland. A service of Google and Google Photos.

Edited: Sep 4, 2:40pm Top

I'm up to 70 for the year. Memorializing my wife's 70th year. My magic number is now 30. I want to get 100 books read this year. Four months in which to complete those 30.

After putzing around with preliminary reads of three or four books, I settled on The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fford. Borrowed it from granddaughter Helen on Saturday. I have a copy of Lost in a Good Book, the second in the Thursday Next series (a library-sale pickup). I'm liking the first book in the series, (The Eyre Affair) so I'll surely follow it up with the second book. [Edited to Ask: Does this qualify as a Series and Sequel entry?]

Prospects beyond those two include Endless Night, one of Dame Agatha's top 10, The Name of the Rose, Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust, and perhaps some other selection on my multitude of TBRs. I expect to read Pat Conroy's My Reading Life for September's AAC.

Edited: Sep 4, 11:53pm Top

I really dropped the camera, so to speak, to putting up some Ireland photos from our trip. Here's one that Google produced from two or three shots my son took of me at Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Weird_o EDITORIAL NOTE: The solution to the "gray circles with a white horizontal line through them" is for y'all to just switch to Google Chrome, a stellar—and FREE—browser.

Sep 4, 9:17pm Top

>228 weird_O: - Sounds like a wonderful celebratory long weekend. For some reason, though, the 2 pics in that post are not showing up, only as gray circles with a white horizontal line through them.

Sep 4, 9:52pm Top

Hi, Bill. Thanks for the updates. I have not been by in awhile, so it is nice to see what you have been up to. I can't see the photos in, #228.

Glad you had a nice Labor Day weekend and I am happy your are going to read My Reading Life. Nice choice.

You should hit #100, with no problem.

Sep 4, 11:57pm Top

>229 weird_O: Yay for Fforde!! And, yes, I'd say the two qualify for the Series and Sequels. I predict you'll make it to 100 no prob.

On the other hand--can't see the photos in >228 weird_O:.

Edited: Sep 5, 12:43am Top

>228 weird_O: >230 weird_O: Getting some of my photos into my LT thread is problematic. I have a lot of photos in Google Photos, which allows me to access my photos from both my Mac and my PC without having to load them onto each device's hard drive. GP doesn't have size limits, has a decent photo editor, and allows me to share albums with selected people—family and close friends. I can link to Google Photos from Tumblr without problems. LT sometimes chokes on links from Google Photos, and not every browser, it seems, will display them. In the past, I've downloaded an image from Google Photos to my computer hard drive and then uploaded it to my LT junk drawer. Then link from the post to the junk drawer image.

But a secondary problem I have with LT is that it sometimes rotates an image. I think it's isolated to images taken with cell phones. In #228, I linked to cell phone shots on Google Photos. I see them fine, but others can't see them at all. So I downloaded the two photos to my computer, then uploaded them to my LT junk drawer. One shows up there rotated 90 degrees left. I tried rotating the image 90 degrees right on my computer, and then uploading it to LT. Still shows up rotated to the left. LT doesn't seem to enable one to rotate photos.

So here they are:

SUGGESTIONS anyone? Anyone... Anyone...

Sep 5, 1:27am Top

The only solution I've found, Bill, to the rotation issue, is to slightly crop the image in GP before uploading to LT junk drawer. I've never managed to get an image link from GP to work in an LT post- wish I could! Tips?

Edited: Sep 5, 2:49pm Top

I have had the same rotation problems, Bill. I rotated them on my computer but on my gallery, they still are sideways. And that's as much technology talk as you will get from me. Sorry! ;-)

Sep 5, 10:04am Top

Hi Bill!

Nice photos, rotated or not. *smile* Unlike quite a few people, I've never had problems with photo rotation. I have an android smartphone. I usually send a photo to my email (which I only have on my PC laptop. I never use e-mail on my smartphone). If it comes in rotated, which is rare, I use Photo Gallery to save it to my computer after rotating back, then upload to LT Junk Drawer or Gallery.

>229 weird_O: I've picked My Reading Life, too. It's staring reproachfully at me from the left side of my desk, just waiting for me to open it. Perhaps today...

Sep 5, 4:06pm Top

>235 charl08: Yipeeeee!!! Thanks for that tip, Charlotte. I cropped the photo ever so slight—bottom and sides—and loaded it once again to my LT Junk Drawer.

Bingo! It works. Thanks again for the tip.

Sep 5, 9:52pm Top

Great photos, Bill, lovely baby, and perhaps after yesterday college students will know who Bob Woodward is? So glad you are enjoying The Eyre Affair. I love that series. And yes, they count!

Edited: Sep 6, 10:50pm Top

>238 weird_O: I think almost anything you do as an "edit" will eliminate the rotation issue. Can't imagine why, but it seems to be true. I've loaded a few photos for a friend who e-mails them to me after someone else took them with a phone (don't know whether it's an Iphone or Android). I always have the rotation problem with those, but if I resize them, or crop them, they come up fine on LT.

Love the photos...that cape is gorgeous, and the baby, well, perfect. Happy Birthday, Judi!

Sep 7, 1:17am Top

Yay for photos...especially upright ones!! : )

Sep 7, 8:45am Top

'Morning, Bill! Glad you've got a method for unrotated photos now.

Happy Friday to you.

Edited: Sep 7, 12:16pm Top

>239 ronincats: >240 laytonwoman3rd: >241 Berly: >242 karenmarie: Thanks. Who knew how simple it could be to correct this photo rotating business? Glad some of you did and could pass the trick along.

Finished The Eyre Affair very early this morning. I think I'll chug right into Lost in a Good Book. Although...although maybe I should actually read Jane Eyre, if only to learn what the true ending is.

Sep 8, 1:57pm Top

Love Fforde, read just about everything by him. I totally agree with you about Jane Eyre. I never read it.

Sep 10, 12:26am Top

Yay for another Fforde fan!! And, yes, some day you should read Eyre. ; )

Edited: Sep 11, 2:32pm Top

>243 weird_O: >245 Berly: Ha ha. My wife confirmed the true ending to Jane Eyre. So I don't have to read it. But I might just read it anyway.

>244 mahsdad: >245 Berly: I definitely enjoyed the two Ffordes I've read. Coincidence: I checked the shelves at Goodwin this afternoon and discovered a clean hardcover of The Eyre Affair. That paperback edition I read last week can go back to Helen without hesitation. Gotta keep an eye out (I know. Eeewwww!) for more of his Thursday Next novels.

Finished with Pat Conroy, maybe forever. I read My Reading Life and to me it was above "meh!" but well below a thumb up.

I think Benediction is next.

Book sale on Saturday. Heh heh heh.

Sep 13, 11:03am Top

Benediction is done. A three-book series wrapped up. Dad Lewis died. (So too the Touchstone.)

The next book will be No. 75, so I want to choose wisely. Why? I don't know. Maybe I should select something goofy. Perched on atop the TBR peak: Christie, Doyle, Ecco, Edna O'Brien, Faulkner. Faulkner merits a notable slot, me thinks. How about you?

Sep 13, 11:34am Top

>247 weird_O: - Well done! You want goofy? How about closing your eyes, turning around three times carefully!), and reaching out. Whatever your hand touches, that what you read.

Just a thought...

Sep 13, 11:34am Top


A facebook friend posted this link, and since the product relates to reading...

"Need a book recommendation? How about 100? Scratch that literary itch with this stunning scratch-off chart of essential novels from 1605 to present. Each timeless work is represented by an evocative, hand-drawn cover design—gently scratch the gold foil off each novel you’ve read and reveal an additional, narrative-specific design detail hidden underneath!"


THE SECOND LINK is for a list of 60 books recommended by Bill Gates. Not surprising, he does not include any novels, poetry, or short stories. I've read one or two books on this list, and I have maybe a half-dozen others on The TBR. Several others look good.


Sep 13, 11:37am Top

Um, pardon this non-techy question, but how does one do scratch (even without the sniff) on a computer screen...?
Curious minds want to know.....

Edited: Sep 13, 1:11pm Top

Sweet Thursday, Bill. What didn't click for you, in My Reading Life? It has been more than a few years since I read it, but I remembered it being a solid read.

I hope Benediction is much more satisfying. I loved that book.

Sep 13, 4:04pm Top

>248 jessibud2: Ha ha, Shelley. That spinning around and reaching out could be just awful. I could end up condemned to Grant by Ron Chernow (1068 pages). Or James Joyce by Richard Ellmann (888 pages). Or Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer (946 pages). Any of those would terminate my reading for the year. Maybe for ALL time. Just toooooo risky.

I think Intruder in the Dust by Faulkner is next.

>250 jessibud2: The answer to your question is found at the link I provided. It's a poster! You hang it in your reading place to keep track of Your Essential Reading. And the website has dozens and dozens of other posters of architecture, beer, coffee, birds, plants, and oh so much more.

>251 msf59: I knew you'd want to review that conclusion of mine. Consider it under review. The Umpire is looking at the tape, replaying every angle. I'm standing by and reconsidering my call. I think it'll stand, but I will (any day now) tell why.

Edited: Sep 13, 9:21pm Top

My book riches are getting embarrassing. Early in the week, while my wife was at an appointment, I strolled a few doors down the sidewalk to a thrift shop, where I got clean paperback copies of Timothy Snyder's Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning and Sarah Helm's Ravensbruck: Life and Death in Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women.

A couple days later, I dropped by Goodwill and picked up nearly a dozen interesting (interesting to me, at least) titles.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (hc)1
Sisters by Carol Saline, photos by Sharon J. Wohlmuth (hc)
A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin2 (hc)
The Kindness of Women by J. G. Ballard3 (hc)
The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams (hc)
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (hc)
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee (pbk)
The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett (pbk)
Germinal by Emile Zola (pbk)
Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder (pbk)
The Innocence of Father Brown by C. G. Chesterton (mmp)

1Yes, I just read this one. But now I have my own copy. A hardcover. The start of a seven-book set!
2Geez, I read this one too; borrowed from my daughter. But still, a hardcover for mine own shelf.
3A sequel to Empire of the Sun, which I liked.

Today, my brother and his wife stopped by. I had a box of dupes for Frances' library to sell, but I wasn't expecting to get a box of books from her library's sale.

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (hc)
Concussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas (pbk)
Son of a Gun: A Memoir by Justin St. Germain (pbk)
Joseph Anton: A Memoir by Salman Rushdie (pbk)
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (pbk)
The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal by Jared Diamond (pbk)
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond (pbk)
See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism by Robert Baer (pbk)
How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker (pbk)
From the Field: A Collection of Writings from National Geographic1
The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan2

1With contributions from Shelby Foote, Paul Theroux, Jane Goodall, David Remnick, Diane Ackerman, and others.

That isn't enough, of course. The Bethlehem library is having their bi-monthly book sale on Saturday. Yes, I will be there.

Sep 13, 9:35pm Top

'Tis the season for the books sales. SPL's 3rd quarterly sale is ongoing, and I went yesterday. The Abington Community Library will have their twice-yearly sale in about 3 weeks. We do what we must do.

Get going on that Faulkner, though...don't let the new stuff distract you!

Sep 14, 10:54am Top

>249 weird_O:

What a great fun idea the Scratch Off 100 Essential is!

Yet, why do the authors still think the horrifically racist GONE WITH THE WIND is "Essential" reading?

Sep 14, 1:46pm Top

Love the footnotes Bill. Fforde rubbing off on you much?

Sep 15, 2:16pm Top

>230 weird_O: The Giant's Causeway was one of my favorite places, Bill. Great picture.

>207 weird_O: Love this picture. Now I don't feel so bad.

Edited: Sep 16, 8:46pm Top

When read Eyre Affair I set out to read Jane Eyre for the same reasons you did. I also read all of the then published books in the Thursday Next series. I have the last one to rea as that one wasn’t out when I read the others. I also loved the Nursery Crimes series by Jasper Fforde

Sep 17, 4:10pm Top

Books that followed me know from Saturday's Bethlehem Public Library sale.

Camera Portraits by Malcolm Rogers (hc; oversize)
Pilgrimage by Annie Leibovitz (hc; oversize)
Einstein by Walter Isaacson (hc)
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (hc)
The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike (hc)
Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje (hc)
The Brinksmanship of Galahad Threepwood by P. G. Wodehouse (hc)
Light in August by William Faulkner (Modern Library hc)
Aphrodite by Pierre Louys (Modern Library hc)

Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart (pbk)
Citizens of London by Lynne Olson (pbk)
Less by Andrew Sean Greer (pbk)
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells (pbk)
Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin (pbk)
Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley (pbk)
Andrew's Brain by E. L. Doctorow (pbk)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (pbk)
XPD by Len Deighton (pbk)
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde (pbk)
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde (pbk)
Can't Argue with Sunrise: A Paper Movie by Lou Stoumen (pbk)

Sep 17, 4:40pm Top

>254 laytonwoman3rd: Why yes, Linda, it is the season of book sales.

Fear not; I AM reading Faulkner. About halfway through.

>255 m.belljackson: I kind of like the poster. Put it in my private reading room. Of course, I've read about 70 of the books on the poster. On the other hand, it includes a number of works that aren't on other "100 books" lists.

Can't say anything about Gone with the Wind, since I haven't read it. (I did buy a hardcover copy on Saturday). I've seen most of the movie. It is a record of the time, of the Southern mindset. It's doubtful that reading it will make you a racist. The Pat Conroy I read (My Reading Life) devoted the second chapter to Conroy's mother's devotion to the book. Did make me a bit ill-at-ease.

>256 charl08: The footnotes stem from a reading of some of David Foster Wallace's articles. But also from Nicholson Baker's The Mezzanine, which some pretty zany footnotes.

>257 BLBera: Giant's Causeway was indeed amazing. I had seen photos of it in books, and now that I've been there, I wonder what all was involved in shooing all the tourists off the site.

Isn't that office spectacular? Have to be a brainiac to successfully stack books, I think. I've got a few such stacks going in my private reading room; the books in them are accessible only with great effort.

>258 benitastrnad: I probably won't read Jane Eyre soon, Benita. Sounds like you did read it. I did get the third and fourth books in the Thursday Next series (just on Saturday), and I already had the fifth. So I'm good for a while.

Sep 17, 6:12pm Top

Nice haul. I know nothing of this book but LOVE the title: Absurdistan. Sounds like it's a real place, for some of us, these days.

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