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Witchyrichy (aka Karen) Working the Stacks in 2018 - Part 2

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Dec 9, 2018, 8:07pm Top

An amazingly cooperative yellow swallowtail enjoying our sweet william

Ready for more great reading in the second third of the year!

Edited: Dec 30, 2018, 7:51pm Top

Book Log, May - October 2018

TOTAL: January - April: 38

May 13
Educated by Tara Westover Review
Bookmarked for Death by Lorna Barrett
Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff
The Dutchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
Amish Guys Don't Call by Debby Dodds Review
The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams (Audio)
The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan
The Blueberry Years by Jim Minick
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
The Wild Book by Juan Villoro
The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea
A Quiet Life in the Country by T.E. Kinsey

June 13
Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams (audio)
The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs
All The Wild That Remains by David Gessner
Diary of a Beatlemaniac by Patricia Gallo-Stenman
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Bossy Pants by Tina Fey (audio)
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life by Liesa Mignogna
A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams (audio)
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

July 13
1776 by David McCullough
A Deadly Cliche by Ellery Adams
Laughing All the Way to the Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz
The Button War by Avi Review
Carsick by John Waters
Absolute Power by David Baldacci
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
First Family by David Baldacci
Sourdough by Robin Sloan
Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts
Blood Magick by Nora Roberts
The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay
The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

August 5
Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
The Last Word by Ellery Adams (audio)
Written in Stone by Ellery Adams (audio)
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

September 5
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
In the Market for Murder by T.E. Kinsey
One Summer by Bill Bryson
Wars of the Roses: Stormbird by Conn Iggulden

October 7
Wars of the Roses: Margaret of Anjou by Conn Iggulden
Wars of the Roses: Bloodline by Conn Iggulden
Death Around the Bend by T.E. Kinsey
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
Mattaponi Queen by Belle Boggs
The Marvels by Brian Selznick
Wars of the Roses: Ravenspur by Conn Iggulden

November 4
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell
Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams (audio)

December 4
Poisoned Prose by Ellery Adams (audio)
The Innocent by David Baldacci
Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne
Becoming by Michelle Obama

Edited: Oct 21, 2018, 1:41pm Top

AlphaKIT for 2018:

Jan: V, M
Brava, Valentine
Mountains Beyond Mountains

Feb : P, J
The Book of the People
How to Be Alone (Jonathan Franzen)

Mar: F, I
The Silk Roads (Peter Frankopan)
Hogs Wild (Ian Frazier)

Apr: Y, U
Blueberry Years by Jim Minick
A River Unvexed by Jim Miles
Instead, for U, I read The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea

May: Q, K
Q's Legacy by Helen Hanff
The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
A Quiet Life in the Country by T.E. Kinsey

Jun: G, R
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Critical Pedagogy, the State, and Cultural Struggle by Henry Giroux

Jul: S, A
Desert Solitaire (Edward Abbey)
Finding Abbey
I read the two books by and about Abbey pre-July so I am adding:
Sourdough by Robin Sloan
Absolute Power by David Baldacci

Aug: O, D
So Much Things To Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley by Roger Steffens
One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

Sep: B, E

Bringing It to the Table by Wendell Berry

Oct: N, L
The Son of Laughter by Frederick Buechner

Nov: T, H
Tash Hearts Tolstoy

Dec: C, W
All the Wild That Remains by David Gessner
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

Yearlong: X, Z
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

ColourCAT 2018:

January/Black: Whose Woods These Are
February/Brown: 84, Charing Cross Road
March/Green: The Dragons of Eden
April/Yellow: Amish Guys Don't Call
May/Blue: The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
June/Purple:Critical Pedagogy, the State, and the Cultural Struggle
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
July/Pink: The Joyful Christian by C. S. Lewis
September/Metallic: The Marvels by Brian Selznick
October/Orange: Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers by Tom Wolfe and My Empire of Dirt by Manny Howard
November/Red: The Book
December/White: Testimony by Robbie Robertson

Edited: Jun 15, 2018, 7:19pm Top

Fits at least 2 KITS/CATS: Carry On (June)
Famous Person in Title: Mrs. Lincoln's Rival (February)
Money in the Title:
Originally in a Different Language: The Wild Book
Unread 2017 Purchase: Brava, Valentine
New to You Author: Lincoln in the Bardo, George Sanders (January)
Autobiography or Memoir: Desert Solitaire
Published in 2018: Gods of Howl Mountain
Longtime TBR:
Beautiful Cover: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
Poetry or Plays:
LGBTQ central characters:
Read a CAT: Whose Woods These Are (January ColourCAT Black)
Rank in Title:
Published > 100 years:
Humorous Book:
>500 pages: America's First Daughter
X in the Title:
Relative Name in the Title: The Hummingbird's Daughter
Pacific Ocean Related:
Set during a holiday:
Something in the sky in the title:
1001 List:
Number in the title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Story Involves Travel: Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave

May 1, 2018, 1:54pm Top

Happy new thread!

May 1, 2018, 2:27pm Top

>7 drneutron: Thanks! I'm shooting for three this year!

May 1, 2018, 3:30pm Top

Happy new thread, Karen!
Lovely butterfly at the top, glad it waited so you could take a picture :-)

May 1, 2018, 3:41pm Top

Happy new thread Karen and a great thread topper photo my dear. Hope all is well with you and send love and hugs dear friend.

Edited: May 3, 2018, 12:04pm Top

>9 FAMeulstee: >10 johnsimpson: Thanks for stopping by! That butterfly was much more interested in the sweet william than me.

All is well, and I hope the same for you. We are in our second day of 90 degrees but this time of year, it isn't humid so it feels good. My husband and I took the dogs for the first long walk of the spring. It goes around the outer field which hasn't been mowed yet. Full of wildflowers and birds and although we didn't see any meadowlarks or buntings today, I know they are there.

I have two short meetings today but am tempted to otherwise take a "sick" day and just sit on the porch and putter in the garden. Working from home should have some perks, right?

May 4, 2018, 12:46am Top

Hi Karen. I was just studying my BingoDOG card, trying to think what I might read next that would check off another square for me. I need to think about what I bought in 2017 but didn't yet read...

May 4, 2018, 1:24pm Top

>12 EBT1002: I am doing exactly the same thing. I wandered through my book shelves yesterday finding matches for the ColourCAT and the AlphaKIT. Then, on to the card...I'm thinking I can complete the second line with The Essex Serpent, which has a beautiful cover, and The Dragons of Eden, which has been on my shelf forever. I've started the latter but then stalled out in favor of more light reading.

Edited: Jun 6, 2018, 10:09am Top

May Reading Plan:

I did not make a plan for April so at least a couple of my planned reads did not get completed. But, I did do a TON of reading and listening. I think 15 books must be a monthly reading record for me. Most of the titles were from my own shelves, and I gave several of them away after finishing them.

But, I am also committed to reading the planned books as most have been taking up shelf space for awhile. So, I'm pulling together the May reading list here:

Educated by Tara Westover (RL Book Group May read)

March Alpha KIT:
Hogs Wild by Ian Frazier

April Alpha KIT: Y, U
Blueberry Years by Jim Minick
A River Unvexed by Jim Miles

May Alpha KIT: Q, K
Q's Legacy by Helen Hanff
The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Colour CAT:
March/Green: The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan
April/Yellow: Amish Guys Don't Call
May/Blue: The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street

Edited: May 5, 2018, 9:37am Top

One of our favorite irises: I call it purple rain. The side garden along the house where it lives is finally coming together after about five years of work.

Now, I can concentrate on the much larger garden along the road. It's close to 1200 square feet: 6 feet wide and 200 feet long. One section is cultivated with lots of perennials that will provide a showy display in summer. But, there's a large patch of irises that need dug up, separated and replanted. I may hire some help with the digging part. Just not as good with a shovel as I used to be ;-)

The rest of the garden has a section with roses and then a naturalized area where I pull out a few more grasses every year, replacing them with bee and butterfly friendly flowers. The tansy and bee balm from last year have spread nicely. I added some yarrow this year. I plan to keep an eye out for Joe-pye weed that grows wild along the train tracks near our house.

Edited: May 5, 2018, 12:34pm Top

Tara Westover's memoir of growing up in a survivalist, anti-government family in Idaho is a riveting read. In Educated, she gives us a glimpse of life in an isolated world where she never learned about the Holocaust and only heard one version of the Ruby Ridge siege, the one where the government kills innocent citizens because of their beliefs and nontraditional life styles.

Westover writes about being part of a fundamentalist family: possessing a questionable birth date with a certificate issued nine years after she was born; working long and dangerous hours in her father's scrap yard where horrific injuries were treated with herbs and tinctures created by her mother, who herself suffered from brain damage and migraines after a car accident; and, in the most difficult passages of the book, being physically and mentally abused by an older brother who claimed he was keeping her from becoming a whore.

It is these incidents plus her parents' unwillingness to admit that they are even happening that lead Westover to finally escape for college. Her brother Tyler who also left encourages her and she miraculously passes the ACT and receives the scholarship she needs. Later, a mentor supports her work at Cambridge and she eventually earns a PhD in history.

Westover struggles with her identity throughout the book: early family lessons are hard to shake as they live in our deepest consciousness. For Westover, these lessons focused on the work of the devil even amongst religious people. Her father judged everyone in their congregation: Mormons who believed but did not practice those beliefs. He spent money on weapons and fuel that were hidden on their property, ready for the end of days that he was sure was coming. And yet, he did not keep her from leaving and following her own dreams. Even as she came to explore the wider world that challenged her father's narrow-minded lessons at every turn, Westover also saw that world through his eyes at some points.

Eventually, it is the denial of her brother's abuse and her parents' attempts to paint her as delusional that led to Westover's estrangement from her family. She keeps in touch with a few of her brothers--two of them also went on to earn PhDs. An article from a South Logan, Utah, newspaper leads with the headline that the Westover family suggests the book should be read with a "grain of salt." The family lawyer who was interviewed for the article, comments that, considering three of seven children earned advanced degrees, that the home schooling seems to have worked just fine.

A fascinating memoir made even more "fun" because the Westovers are all over the internet and Facebook. I was able to easily locate at least two of Tara's brothers, including the one who abused her. They continue the mountain life that Tara both loved and hated and, if you hadn't read the book, they would seem like every other family with conservative politics.

May 5, 2018, 10:51am Top

Happy New Thread, Karen! I love your opening topper - opening the thread is like opening spring.

The Purple Rain iris are also gorgeous!

I love your review of Educated and read with fascination the link you provided by the family's lawyer. If you post it, I'll thumb it. It sounds like a great book club book!

I hope to be reading it this month for the PBS/NYT book club. I'm waiting patiently for a copy to be available from my library system. I have soooooo many great books lined up for this month that I decided not to buy this one. I've got to get MT TBR conquered!

May 5, 2018, 12:38pm Top

One of the perks of being in the book club through the library is that we get to jump the line for the books. I didn't know that until this time around as I have mostly owned copies of the books we've read. I would have bought this one as well but, like you, I am trying hard not to add to the piles. Plus, one of the book group members mentioned that by checking it out, I help with the statistics that show the library is being used.

I posted the review on the Educated page. I think that's what you meant, right? And...the sometimes odd LT algorithm keeps bringing up a Terry Pratchett book instead of this one! I think I fixed it everywhere.

May 5, 2018, 9:27pm Top

>16 witchyrichy: Great review! Sounds like an interesting read

May 5, 2018, 10:03pm Top

Looks like an interesting monthly reading plan. Hopefully I can sort mine out when I get home from the conference.

May 6, 2018, 9:22am Top

Happy new(ish) thread, Karen.

Have a lovely Sunday.

May 8, 2018, 3:31pm Top

Happy new thread, Karen! Lovely photos.

May 9, 2018, 8:30am Top

>19 figsfromthistle: I am excited about discussing it in my book group.

>20 thornton37814: I am tackling the "easier" books first since I have been traveling, too. Now that I am home, I can make time for the longer, more challenging reads.

>21 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! It was a lovely day with gardening.

>22 karenmarie: Thanks for checking in! Hope all is well in your lovely corner of the world.

Edited: May 10, 2018, 7:26am Top

I have a little bit of an Amish theme going on this year, mostly because I visited Aaron's Bookstore in Lititz, Pennsylvania, last year.

For a Lancaster County native, Amish Guys Don't Call was a nostalgic look at my home town with lots of local references. The author attended Lancaster Country Day School and clearly loves her native soil as well. Her story of an "English" girl who falls for a former Amish boy is tender and kind with a solid dose of mean girls mixed in. Samantha has arrived in Lancaster County after being caught shoplifting in Philadelphia. Her mother seems to care little for her daughter and spends most of her time in the city and her father is out of the picture. Swept up into the cool girls' group, Samantha struggles to find her place as she starts dating an unusual young man and make sense of her "friends."

My biggest criticism of the book was that Samantha never figured out that her boyfriend was Amish. Dodds addresses this in the notes at the end, recognizing that most readers would have understood (the title is a dead give away) but suggesting that Samantha had not lived in Lancaster County long enough to make the connection.

This book would be an excellent read for young adults, helping them understand a different culture and better navigate their own.

Edited: May 9, 2018, 8:57am Top

Gardening With Turkeys

(Video: When you click, it takes you to my flickr account to watch the video.)

Edited: May 9, 2018, 7:21pm Top

Oh wow -your irises are beautiful but your turkeys steal the show. They are very handsome!

I’ve heard good things about Educated. Her interview on NPR was fascinating.

May 10, 2018, 7:16am Top

>26 Copperskye: Aren't they fun? But, I agree about them being the scene stealers: I posted the video to Facebook and everyone loved it and no one mentioned the garden around them that has taken like five years to finally get to this point! Oh well...pretty soon, the cone flowers will be blooming, too, and that will add some drama to the background.

May 10, 2018, 10:39am Top

Hi Karen!

Wonderful video. I'm not real good with flowers, but I did notice the irises and roses..... and of course the turkeys! You mentioned a while back what kind of turkeys they are. Can you post the info again?

May 10, 2018, 7:42pm Top

The turkeys are Royal Palms, a domesticated version that came into being in the early part of the 20th century. Wikipedia has a great article about them.

Thanks for noticing the flowers, too!

May 10, 2018, 9:13pm Top

Well, after reading about them, if I was going to have a couple of turkeys around, Royal Palm would be the breed I’d choose! They really are beautiful.

Edited: May 11, 2018, 11:57pm Top

>16 witchyrichy: I read a review of Educated in The Seattle Times a couple of months ago and then forgot about it. It sounds so interesting.

>25 witchyrichy: That is wild!!!

May 11, 2018, 8:33am Top

>29 witchyrichy: Thanks, Karen! I love Wikipedia - and now know a lot about heritage turkeys.

May 12, 2018, 4:24pm Top

I am reading The Dragons of Eden and A River Unvexed. I like both of them but in small doses.

For fun, I listened to the first book in Ellery Adams's new series: The Secret, Book & Scone Society. Usually, I only listen to audio in the car and I have had a couple road trips.

But, I signed up for a 10,000 step challenge that runs through the month of May. Ten thousand steps every day. Prior to May 1, I was lucky to average 5,000 steps a day so I didn't really expect to make it this far but by sheer force of will, I have so now I think I can finish. The prize is $100.

I have started listening to books to make the time and the steps move along more quickly. Today, I finished the Adams book and downloaded A Quiet Life in the Country, another cozy mystery. I also just added another Adams: Murder in the Mystery Suite.

So...here I go. I may "ride" around Wuhu Island on my Wii Fit this time. Just about 2200 steps to go. I'm trying to get the steps done by 5 PM each day, and then I reward myself with a glass of red wine and a piece of dark chocolate.

Edited: May 13, 2018, 10:49am Top

I was tempted to stop reading Dragons of Eden several times in the past week. In fact, I re-started it once after putting it aside in March. It felt a bit outdated, I guess, and I wasn't particularly interested in the science. But, I'm glad I stuck with it as Carl Sagan connects his speculations on the evolution of human intelligence to contemporary issues in the last few chapters.

Written just four years after the passing of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark abortion rights case, Sagan tries to find common ground between the pro-life/pro-choice factions by considering the pros and cons of both arguments. I'm afraid, however, that his rational approach of trying to determine the definition of life and when it begins will not be of interest to either side who, 30 years later, are entrenched in their beliefs and not open to notions of compromise.

His ideas about computers show his uncanny ability to imagine the future. They will be common place, he predicts. But, he also suggests that we need to consider the possible problems and deal with them, something that, considering the Facebook hacks and other privacy concerns, we have not done well:

As in all such technological nightmares, the principal task is to foresee what is possible: to educate the public in its use and misuse; and to prevent it's organizational, bureaucratic and governmental abuse.

The book was also a reminder that things like computer translation and artificial intelligence were just getting started in the late 1970s and are just now reaching a level of commercial integration. His transcription of a conversation (typed on a keyboard) between a real and artificial psychologist was fascinating.

If you haven't read it and you aren't particularly interested in archaeology or brain science, you might consider just reading the last 2 or 3 chapters. They make sense on their own although you will miss his plea for releasing the apes used in scientific experiments as he makes a case for their human-like intelligence and behaviors.

May 13, 2018, 12:41pm Top

>34 witchyrichy: Sounds like something that Kyran would enjoy reading, Karen, but I'll skip it I think.

Have a wonderful Sunday. xx

May 17, 2018, 5:27pm Top

Woke up feeling a bit sickly today but nothing major so went to my meeting with the organization accountant to talk about how to clean up a pretty messy Quickbooks file. It's been used by two different non-accountants (me being one of them) for over 12 years. At the start of the meeting, I asked casually, "It probably isn't allowed to just start over, is it?" And she smiled and said, "Why not?" That made the meeting go much more quickly! We will finish out this fiscal year that ends in June and then start a new company file, transfer the balances and start fresh. She did give me a few tips about setting up the new books and I feel more confident about this part of my job.

I had started reading A Thousand Splendid Suns last night, continued in the early moments of the day today, and then curled up in bed after getting him from the meeting and finished it. (Sometimes, a girl just needs an afternoon off.)

It was a brutal book to read, with violence against women part of the fabric of the culture. But, there was also love that transcended the horror of their lives, and a sense of hope for the future at the end. Yet, we know what has happened after the ending of the book and that Afghanistan continues to be a battleground with daily news about Taliban efforts to retake parts of the country.

Not sure what I'm reading next: I may give up on my "U" book about the Mississippi River campaigns during the Civil War A River Unvexed: A History and Tour Guide to the Campaign for the Mississippi River (The Civil War Campaigns Series). It is long, with too many battle details for me along with sidebars with biographies of major players and locations. It was meant to be more of a travel guide so I'll keep it on the shelf to provide ideas when we head west again. I may just have to give up on the U book.

I picked up The Wild Book (Yonder) at the library after book group on Tuesday. It looks like a fun kids' book. But it may not be the next pick...

And for now, my focus is on getting my 10K steps finished before too late. I almost gave up on the challenge today but I'm feeling better and am over 9,000 so it won't take long to be done with it. I'm watching the PBS special Royal Wedding Watch as I walk, jog and step on the Wii. Makes the time go by quickly.

May 18, 2018, 2:24am Top

Loving all your photos here--beautiful flowers and butterflies! Okay, and the turkeys, too. ; )

>16 witchyrichy: Westover is coming to speak in Portland in December and I am super excited to read Educated: A Memoir then.

Good luck on all the accounting stuff. When my hubby sucked me into working with him in our company, I took over the accounting with absolutely no background. It was interesting to say the least. LOL.

May 18, 2018, 2:53pm Top

>37 Berly: Should be interesting to see her live. I think PBS will have an interview with her at the end of the month as it is the Now Read This selection for May. My book group usually works through the discussion questions but not this time...we started in and never stopped.

I will admit that I nodded my head a few times as though I understood even though I didn't when the accountant said a few things.

May 19, 2018, 6:07pm Top

The Library Book by Susan Orlean will be released in October 2018. I was fortunate to receive an ARC from Net Galley.

The book is, superficially, the fascinating story of the 1986 fire that essentially destroyed Central Library in Los Angeles. Orlean discusses the fire itself and the damage it caused to collections, first from smoke and flame, and then from water hoses. Paid staff and volunteers made heroic efforts to save as many books, maps and other materials as they could both from the immediate fire and then later, as the wet books, which had been frozen, were brought back to life.

Orlean also pursues the mystery of who started the fire. A suspect was arrested but there simply wasn't enough evidence to convict Harry Peake, a sometime actor whose story of that April day changed often and in startling ways but Peake admitted to setting the fire in at least one or two versions.

But, the heart of the book is the story of the libraries in general and the Los Angeles County Public Library,in particular. She traces the history of the Central Library up to the fire, through to the present day and then imagines a bit of the future. Overdrive might change the nature of libraries, making it easier to access digital resources, but the story of the library throughout its history was and is one of service that goes beyond caretaking and dispensing materials. Orlean visits various departments including those who answer the phone and answer questions that, as one of them points out, could often be easily answered using Google. Not everyone goes online and some people just want to talk with a human being.

The Los Angeles library system, along with many urban libraries, is on the front line of the homeless crisis. Beyond being a shelter during the day, the library connects homeless people to information and resources in both informal and formal ways as Orleans describes a program in which the librarians invited service providers to an organized fair where homeless patrons could be directed to the services they needed. Librarians carry a strong sense of social justice, deeply embedded concern for the "whole" person.

Orlean begins each chapter with four book titles related to the coming text, including their Dewey Decimal number. And, throughout, her own love of books and libraries shine through. We sense a fellow traveler who wrote this book out of love and gratitude. The most touching parts of the book, I think, are the interviews with those who were at the library the day of the fire, whether librarians, patrons or firemen, and those who lived through the years of restoration of both the building and the books.

May 26, 2018, 7:09pm Top

If you are looking for wonderful magical realism, a sprawling, crazy novel, I can't recommend The Hummingbird's Daughter enough!

May 27, 2018, 12:23pm Top

Spending a little time with LibraryThing, mostly updating May reading lists and checking out the Bingo card. A couple nice folks over at the BingoDOG thread helped clarify the "fits at least 2 KITS/CATS" square on the board. Their interpretation was that to meet the criteria, the book would have to be a KIT/CAT for the same month. Makes sense.

At least one person also suggested it could meet 2 CATS, 2 KITS, or one of each.

Anyway, now that I have updated the card, that is the one I need. Here's the rub: the main book on my shelf that meets that challenge is Critical Pedagogy, the State, and the Cultural Struggle. It has a purple cover (ColourCAT) and the author's last name is Giroux (Alpha KIT). This is LONG TIME TBR as well...I've had it since grad school and may have read an essay or two. But I haven't done this kind of academic reading for a long time. I also have the feeling that now may be the perfect time to read it.

Edited: May 27, 2018, 3:45pm Top

I have been playing with my Pentax's telephoto lens and thought this was a nice picture of a Cardinal. Nothing exotic but they are beautiful birds.

May 27, 2018, 5:05pm Top

Hi Karen my dear, thanks for stopping by my thread, it was much appreciated. I am getting back around the threads after being busy in the garden, taking advantage of the really good weather we have been having. We have been busy decorating Amy's old room this Bank Holiday weekend and should be finished tomorrow. Karen did her last shift yesterday and is off until the 4th of June, so after she ahs met up with her best friend on Tuesday we hope to have a couple of date days alter in the week and hope to go off to the coast.

Hope you are having a really good weekend my dear and send love and hugs from both of us dear friend.

May 30, 2018, 8:24am Top

Hi Karen!

>41 witchyrichy: Sometimes a book just calls out. Good luck with your possibly 2 CAT/2 KITs book.

>42 witchyrichy: Very nice photo. I love watching Cardinals. They're in my "usual suspects" category.

Jun 1, 2018, 5:04pm Top

>43 johnsimpson: >44 karenmarie: Thanks for stopping by!

It has been a stressful week that is ending with happy news: My 83-year-old father passed out on Tuesday at breakfast. (He has done this on and off over the last few years but never on a regular basis.) He got checked out by the retirement community nurse but after she left, he knew he just wasn't feeling right so he and my mother headed to the local hospital. They were just starting some testing when he passed out again. This time, the monitors showed that his heart stopped. The doctor did CPR and brought him around in a few seconds, but you can imagine how terrified my mother was as she watched. The only good part of this episdoe was that it gave the doctors a sense of what was going on when he passed out. They recommended a pacemaker, and it was installed on Wednesday. He responded well and came home on Thursday.

They live in central Pennsylvania. My sister in Maryland headed up immediately, and I was able to get here by evening on Tuesday. I have been here all week, helping out with driving and chores.

I head home tomorrow but not before a stop at the retirement community's Treasure Trove, the thrift shop on campus. They are celebrating their one-month anniversary and selling books for $1/bag.

Jun 2, 2018, 10:52am Top

Hi Karen!

Wow, how scary for you all. I'm glad things are settled down. And that's the $1/bag you mentioned on my thread! Have fun and I hope you find many bags worth.

Jun 3, 2018, 12:53am Top

>25 witchyrichy: Great photo, Karen! I was attacked by a gang of wild turkeys in March. It was scary! Yours look much nicer:)

>42 witchyrichy: Cardinals seem exotic here. I can't think that I've ever seen one, but Marina loves them. Not that she's seen one either...

>45 witchyrichy: Oh, how scary! I'm so glad you and your sister could be there quickly, and that the scary situation ended with happy news. i hope your father continues to recover.

Jun 3, 2018, 9:26am Top

>46 karenmarie: >47 AMQS: Thanks for your good wishes. I was particularly proud of my mother. She is a worrier who is easily distressed. But she held up amazingly well. I did convince her to use a wheel chair on the first day, and she admitted it made everything easier. The biggest lesson: go with your instincts when it comes to how you feel. If you don't feel right, do something, even if the health people say you are fine.

>47 AMQS: RE: Wild turkey: while in PA, I walked along the rail trail where my father's doctor said he was attacked while jogging by a wild turkey who was protecting a nest. I saw no sign of mama or babies. They are big birds, indeed. Mine are mean to each other, and we have to keep the rooster penned as they would kill him but all I have to do is say, "Who wants a hug," and walk towards them with my arms out and they move away.

Edited: Jun 15, 2018, 7:20pm Top

June Reading Plan:

Alpha KIT, G, R:

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell* (ColourCAT)

Finish All The Wild That Remains
Finish Diary of a Beatlemaniac
Finish Hogs Wild

Mountain Man: John Colter, The Lewis & Clark Expedition, and the Call of the American West

Loaners From My Parents:

The Rainbow Comes and Goes (Mom's pick)
The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality (Dad's pick)

I will be traveling quite a bit in June so am also going to dig into the Kindle books:

The Color of Magic: A Novel of Discworld (Finally getting started on Terry Pratchett: please don't judge me)
The Birdwoman's Palate (This one sounds delicious!)

And, I may dive into those $1 bags I brought home. I'll catalog them next.

*Fulfills a BingoDOG category

Jun 3, 2018, 4:58pm Top

Hi, Karen - Just catching up and see I somehow missed the debut of your second thread. Beautiful photos! You have a good eye (and a steady hand and quick reflexes).

I like Carl Sagan but never read Dragons of Eden. It looks really interesting. I'm putting it on my TBR list.

Jun 3, 2018, 5:07pm Top

>51 Storeetllr: Thanks for stopping by! I'm trying to make photography a more intentional part of my life. But that butterfly really was posing for me ;-)

Sagan was fascinating, really, partially because we know what has happened since he wrote the book. And he got some of it right, I think.

Jun 4, 2018, 8:35am Top

Hi Karen!

Wow, what an excellent haul! I can recommend the Larson, 1776, and One Summer: America, 1927 and have some others on my shelves. I read The Thorn Birds in the late '70s. I don't remember a single thing about it except that I thought it was wonderful.

Jun 6, 2018, 10:11am Top

>53 karenmarie: I think I did OK. Thanks for the recommendations. Several folks suggested Larson. I may do a month of American history with the Chernow bios and 1776. Pretty sure I didn't read The Thorn Birds when it came out.

Jun 6, 2018, 7:58pm Top

Hi Karen-

Wow so glad things turned out well for your father. How scary for your Mom and your whole family. I'm glad you could be there to help support her.

Great book haul! I love the variety!

>52 witchyrichy: "I'm trying to make photography a more intentional part of my life." I love this statement. It's probably one I should also take to heart. Your photos are beautiful.

Jun 7, 2018, 10:17am Top

>55 streamsong: Thanks for checking in. All continues to be well in Pennsylvania. I'll see my parents and my sister again at the beginning of July.

And thanks for your nice comment on my photos. At one point, I tried doing a photo a day challenge but found myself forgetting to take a picture until bedtime. So, this is more about remembering that I carry a pretty darn good camera in my pocket (aka my phone) and when I see something, I can snap a picture. This time of year, it is all about the birds and the flowers. I'm experimenting with the iPhone portrait mode for the flowers.

This hydrangea is in its second year. I call it the White Wonder:

Jun 7, 2018, 10:45am Top

I posted about my book group on someone's thread: this is the first time I have recommended a book for the group, and I am not going to be there to talk about it in June. I suggested Turtles All the Way Down. My husband saw one of the members at a meeting the other night, and she said she loved it! YAY!

Jun 7, 2018, 12:56pm Top

In Diary of a Beatlemaniac, Patricia Gallo-Stenman reprints her diary from the mid-60s along with a few photos and newspaper articles related to her love for the Beatles and, really, all things British. While Gallo's diary could probably sound like thousands of young women from that era, her willingness to go beyond the usual fandom to make connections with the band and their friends, lead her to writing a column called Teen to Teen for her local newspaper. She shares several of the columns that include information about the Beatles and other rock groups from appearances in the United States, to concert reviews, to plain old gossip. In addition, she and her friends start the Victor Spinetti fan club. Spinetti was an actor who appeared in the three Beatles' movies.

This was a light read: a few jabs at the conservatism of her parents but mostly filled with the joy that comes from being young and in love with Paul McCartney. There are edges of darkness in the later pages as the Vietnam War heats up. And a little bit of bittersweet pang when Gallo's mother suggests that she is getting too old to be a groupy and Gallo realizes that her mother might be right.

The book includes two interviews that Gallo conducted later in life with Spinetti and a local Philadelphia DJ who helped bring the Beatles to Philadelphia.

Jun 10, 2018, 4:58pm Top

I really tried today...went upstairs to a quiet room, settled in and opened (for the second time) Critical Pedagogy, the State and Cultural Struggle. It is an important work, written in the 1980s in response to A Nation at Risk. This report lamented the poor state of our education system, focusing on the lack of knowledge. I believe you can draw a direct line from that report to our current high stakes testing environment where students and schools are judged on their test scores above all us. School in the 1980s, according to Giroux was about conformity to conservative values with little room for diversity or student voice.

Henry A. Giroux and his writers explored the problems of their day, and much of what they write about in the introduction is playing out in contemporary schools as well. Their message is important as they want to link school to more than just an economic necessity. Yes, an education should help with that, but it should also go beyond to support democratic ideas of access and diversity.

It is a passionate argument and one towards which I lean in support although I don't think schools can achieve this on their own, but I just can't imagine reading 250 pages of it.

Here's the problem: it was my CAT/KIT to complete one line of my BingoDOG card. Even that incentive is not enough. I'm traveling a lot and want something easy to read in a hotel room.

That's when I noticed that the cover of Rainbow Rowell's book, Carry On, is primarily purple! I had already planned to read it for AlphaKIT for June and now it can be ColourCAT, too.

Jun 12, 2018, 10:22am Top

Hi Karen!

Beautiful hydrangea, and am glad that your recommended book was a hit with one of the members.

Edited: Jun 20, 2018, 9:36pm Top

Hi Karen, I hope all is well with your dad - that must have been so scary for everyone. A friend of mine was told she needed a pacemaker. The cardiologist said she could just pass out at any time which convinced her, needless to say. She was only 50 at the time, though.

Love your cardinal photo! I miss seeing them (we had them in NJ but not here in CO).

And what a book haul! Nice!

Jul 1, 2018, 10:15am Top

>60 karenmarie: >61 Copperskye: Thanks for checking in! I have been on the road for the past three weeks with just two days at home in between various consulting and conferences and no time to post to LT.

My dad seems to be doing well and I will see them and my sister next week for a few days. They have a time share near Skyline Drive so it's an easy trip and we'll hit up the Green Valley Book Fair, a book mecca near Harrisonburg. I don't usually get to go on this trip as I'm away at the national conference but that was last week so somehow the real calendar and the time share calendar are off by one week.

Edited: Jul 2, 2018, 1:15pm Top

It has been a blessing to be home for several days in a row after three weeks on the road. The travel has been a bit of a mix of fun (dinner with my sister in Philly: she just happened to be there for a conference when I was there for a workshop) and sightseeing. I visited the American Writer's Museum and took the architectural boat tour in Chicago last week. I also ate lots of good food.

I took way too many pictures of Chicago from the boat tour but I think I chose a few good ones to share. I think this is one of my favorites as I am fascinated by the reflective glass.

I have also been woefully absent from LibraryThing. I have been doing some reading and need at least some kind of plan for July.

Jul 2, 2018, 1:20pm Top

>63 witchyrichy: Woefully absent and now gleefully back!! LOVE the photo here with all the reflections. Glad your dad continues to do well. Welcome home!

Jul 5, 2018, 6:02pm Top

>64 Berly: I feel the same way! I am actually away from home again but this time hanging out with my family at their time share in the Shenandoah mountains so a little more restful. Thanks for checking in! I’ll be checking threads when I get home this weekend.

Edited: Jul 6, 2018, 5:20pm Top

Aah...I have been home for only 8 days since June 11. Work-related travel followed up by a few days with my parents and sister in the Virginia mountains. We took a lovely drive on Skyline Drive yesterday and had lunch at Skyland complete with blackberry ice cream pie: graham cracker crust, ice cream made with local blackberries, topped high with merigue and drizzled with blackberry compote. Wonderful! We made sure to confirm that they had it and reserved two pieces just in case they were close to running out.

The wildflowers were beautiful as we had a wet, cool spring. I have a few pictures to upload. We didn't see any wildlife. I suspect they were away from the road, chilling out in the woods. The resort was full of deer and groundhogs, or whistle pigs as we called them in Pennsylvania.

A relaxing vacation but I am glad to be home for the next three weeks. Work is slow this time of year so I can tinker with some electronics. My new Pi-Top laptop, which is built around a Raspberry Pi, is put together and ready to go. You can open the keyboard area to access a place to do electronics using a breadboard. The software is also designed to help you learn programming. I am building a robot that uses a Raspberry Pi and requires a bit of C programming. I know just enough to understand the code and hope to learn more.

Finally, I lost my momentum on writing reviews and plan to do one of day for the next few weeks.

Jul 7, 2018, 2:05am Top

Hi Karen - great Chicago photo!

Jul 7, 2018, 10:45am Top

>69 AMQS: Thanks! And I forgot to link to a few others I took from the boat ride. There is something fascinating about looking up at those buildings from the water. It is different from being amongst them.

Link to Flickr Album

Edited: Jul 7, 2018, 10:48am Top

NOTE: I received an early reader's copy of this book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Twelve-year-old Patryk lives with his family and friends in a small Polish village when The Button War, a new novel by Avi, opens in August 1914. Russian soldiers occupy their village but mostly leave the villagers alone as they go about their lives. Suddenly, planes appear overhead and a bomb destroys the school, killing a child and the school master. Germans are coming and their peaceful life is disrupted in harsh ways described in stark prose through the eyes of Patryk. Even as their world falls apart, the group of boys, led by the bully Jurek, start their own war: a "button war" that challenges the boys to steal buttons from the various soldiers. The boy with the best button will be king. It seems innocent at first but like the real war around them, it escalates and Patryk finds himself unable to control events as Jurek becomes increasingly brutish.

Avi does not spare the reader from the callousness of violence and death at the beginning of World War I. The lives of the Polish villagers mean nothing to either side of the conflict. Patryk's father warns him that they are stuck between the two sides and life has become very dangerous. Avi masterfully weaves the two wars together in sometimes brutal ways. The prose moves quickly. The tension mounts from the moment that first bomb falls with little time for the reader to breathe; it is as though the reading experience mirrors the experience of the characters whose world is shattered. They face life and death decisions that must be made within moments.

I read it through in one sitting, unable to pull myself from the story. While it is appropriate for young adult readers, I would suggest that, at least for the pre-teens, parents read along and talk about some of the more violent images. The relationship between Patryk and Jurek also provide valuable opportunities for discussions about how we are influenced in positive and negative ways by other people and what we can do to avoid being bullied into making decisions.

Jul 14, 2018, 1:17am Top

Love your FLICKR album and your book review. I am not usually a fan of war stories, but this one sounds really good.

Jul 14, 2018, 12:32pm Top

>72 Berly: Thanks! I agree about war stories but this one was very good as it connected the two wars together.

Jul 14, 2018, 10:04pm Top

Terrific review, Karen! Avi is just as prolific as he ever was. I think he's about 80 or so! He's a Colorado author:)

Jul 15, 2018, 8:26am Top

Hi Karen - I love your photos.

I've been talking and thinking a lot about Educated as well. Interesting that you found them on Facebook.

The Orlean book sounds wonderful; I put my name on the library reserve list.

Jul 15, 2018, 8:43am Top

>74 AMQS: When I ran my middle school reading workshop, Avi was always a favorite. And he still is...didn't realize how old he was but then I keep forgetting how old I am sometimes!

Jul 15, 2018, 8:45am Top

>75 BLBera: Thanks! I have been having fun taking pictures and sharing them so glad to know folks enjoy looking at them.

Jul 15, 2018, 8:46am Top

A photo from the garden: Bee Balm with Bee

Jul 15, 2018, 8:49am Top

Finally, at 56 years old, I know what I want to be when I grow up: a professional reader! I discovered the term at NetGalley when I was reading their tips for writing a book review. Why didn't anyone tell me this was a job?

The key to being a professional reader, however, is to actually write reviews. I have been reading more book reviews, and I think I'm going to take the Amazon approach to begin with: short reviews that force you to do a quick summary and get your ideas about the books into just 250 words or so.

Edited: Jul 15, 2018, 9:35am Top

Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams (audio)
Storyton Hall, an estate in the mountains of Virginia, is a retreat for book lovers. But a dead guest and a missing book during the Murder and Mayhem weekend make the estate a real life murder scene. Jane Seward, the estate manager, must work to solve the mystery without scaring away the other guests. Ellery Adams creates a beautiful setting with an intriguing set of characters that include Jane and her precocious twins and her eccentric aunt and uncle. My only disappointment was a somewhat odd twist to the ending that took the book beyond a typical cozy mystery. I may read the next one just to see where that twist takes us. The audio book, read by Johanna Parker, was engaging.

The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs
A.J. Jacobs decides to read the Encyclopedia Britannica in an effort to "know it all." His memoir of this feat takes us through the process as he attempts to find ways to show off his new-found knowledge. In most cases, he ends up looking silly, and his self-deprecating style makes him an amiable guide to both the encyclopedia and the wonderful world contained in its pages.

All The Wild That Remains by David Gessner
David Gessner takes on two major voices in Western writing and environmentalism: Edward Abbey and Wallace Stegner. Abbey and Stegner both loved the west but approached that vast landscape in different ways. Abbey immersed himself in the wilderness, almost dying during one trek, and then was buried in that very wilderness. Stegner, much more refined, was the "grown up," and served as Abbey's teacher (along with lots of other writers) in the Stanford writing program he founded. While Abbey advocated "monkey wrenching" as a way to stop environmental degradation, Stegner worked within the system and was part of the development of the 1964 Wilderness Act. Readers can connect with Gessner's work even if they haven't read either author. But, I can only hope reading Gessner will open a world of great western literature.

Jul 15, 2018, 5:34pm Top

Hi, Karen! Hope you're having a good weekend!

>70 witchyrichy: Great pics of architecture in downtown Chicago!

>78 witchyrichy: Lovely pic. Love bee balm. Planted some this year that didn't make it. :( Oh, well, maybe next year.

All the Wild That Remains sounds fascinating!

Jul 19, 2018, 7:39am Top

>Thanks for stopping by. I can only get the native bee balm to grow. The others tend to get black spot from the humidity.

Jul 19, 2018, 7:45am Top

Well...I have to leave the house for meetings today when what I *really* want to do is stay home and finish The Bronte Plot, which will be my 75th book for the year!

Jul 20, 2018, 5:37pm Top

A few more reviews of books from June 2018:

Bossy Pants by Tina Fey (audio)
I listened to Tina Fey read her memoir of growing up as the daughter of Don Fey and an active member of the local theater group. She is refreshingly self deprecating as she describes her journey from Second City to Saturday Night Live to 30 Rock. I laughed out loud as she discussed everything from breastfeeding to honeymooning to Thanksgiving. Funny and sweet prose from a famous woman who seems wonderfully normal.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
I loved Eleanor and Park. Rainbow Rowell created seemingly innocent yet complex characters navigating the often confusing world of teenage love. I am less in love with Carry On. Maybe it was too much like Harry Potter except with vampires? We are thrown into a battle of good and evil at a school for magicians where the main character is something of an outlier but also the hoped for leader. The story was told well and there were some surprises so if you are a fantasy fan who doesn't mind a bit of fan fiction, this would be a good read.

The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper
My mother loaned me this book. It isn't my usual fare but I really enjoyed it. I find Anderson Cooper to be very engaging and seemingly even kindly under his journalistic exterior. His month, Gloria Vanderbilt, has lived quite an adventuresome, glamorous life but endured great sorrow. The emails they exchange explore their lives together and apart with both of them offering ideas and lessons to the other. This was not a typical celebrity tell all: much of what Gloria discusses is well known. Instead, she is able to discuss her experiences from the perspective of many decades and help guide her son through the murky waters of stardom.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
A lovely fairy tale with villains, damsels not so in distress and a hero plus twists and turns. I enjoyed every second of it: Gaiman at his best.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
I know I read this book multiple times in middle school but the prose was not familiar as that from another favorite, The Phantom Tollbooth. I was a bit surprised by the overly Christian prose as part of the battle between good and evil. But the story held up more than four decades later. I traveled through time and space with Meg and Charles as they struggled to save their father while facing their own challenges. If you haven't read this for awhile, take a few hours to connect with this story again.

Edited: Jul 21, 2018, 5:32pm Top

I finished my 75th book last night: The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay. This was a very recent acquisition: I bought it during my excursion to the Green Valley Book Fair on July 4. But, I am going to visit a dear friend who loves all things Bronte, Austen and British so I will take this to her. And, I have The Austen Escape sitting next to me. Also purchased at the book fair and also going to be passed along. I'm sure she will have a pile for me as well.

Jul 21, 2018, 5:28pm Top

>85 witchyrichy: Congratulations on reaching 75, Karen!

Jul 21, 2018, 7:14pm Top

>86 FAMeulstee: Thanks! It feels pretty good...this is the most quickly I have reached the milestone.

Jul 21, 2018, 9:08pm Top

Congrats on reaching 75!

Jul 22, 2018, 1:30am Top

Oh 75 already - congrats! You have a few books here that I'e enjoyed recently, including Bossypants, Stardust and (well, kind of mentioned in a review for a different book) The Phantom Tollbooth. Happy summer!

Jul 22, 2018, 9:48am Top

Congrats on reaching 75, Karen. I must get to the Tina Fey. My daughter thought it was hilarious.

Jul 22, 2018, 9:57am Top

Hi Karen! Congratulations on reaching 75.

I have the Cooper/Vanderbilt book on my shelves, would like to reread A Wrinkle in Time and indeed read books 2-5. I never realized it was a quintet until recently and only acquired book 5, An Acceptable Time in April.

Nice book hauls, and how lovely to meet up with your sister in a town neither of you lives in.

Jul 22, 2018, 10:58am Top


Jul 22, 2018, 3:36pm Top

Hi Karen my dear, congrats on reaching 75 books for the year, I have just completed my 29th and hope to reach 60 by year end. Reading this month has slowed down due to the hot weather (by our standards) we are having and the Tour De France on television.

We are looking forward to our pre-Christmas visit to Salisbury and to see the area in winter time as we do love this area and surrounding towns and villages.

Hope you are having a good weekend and send love and hugs to you from both of us dear friend.

Jul 22, 2018, 9:11pm Top

>78 witchyrichy: That is a great photo! We had lots of bee balm growing in our back yard in Seattle. I'm not sure if it would thrive in this warmer and drier climate. We do have bees buzzing around in the honeysuckle and the ubiquitous and beautiful lavender!

All the Wild That Remains sounds wonderful.

And congrats on reaching 75. I hope I can still make it to 100 this year even though I have barely passed 50. But... five months to go. :-)

Jul 23, 2018, 9:41am Top

>88 thornton37814: >89 AMQS: >90 BLBera: >91 karenmarie: >92 drneutron: >93 johnsimpson: >94 EBT1002: Thanks! And I just added 76 to the list: The Little Paris Bookshop. I loved it!

>94 EBT1002: I think I’ll make 100 so may shoot for 125. I would have to do 10 a month.

Jul 23, 2018, 9:48am Top

It is Monday morning and most working folks have headed out to their jobs. I shuffled to my desk, latte in hand, updated the to do list and then decided I could afford a LT update. I’m trying to be less work focused and take better advantage of working from home after all these years. Mostly doing more prioritizing and not trying to get everything done every day. The work will get done in a timely manner and I can have some personal time, too.

And...I am also procrastinating doing the books for the org I head. One of my least favorite jobs plus I have to put all the documents together for the end of the fiscal year. I did meet with my accountant earlier this month and we are going to start a new Quickbooks file for this year as the old one is quite the mess after some 10 years of us by two non-accountants. I am actually looking forward to organizing that but need to get last year’s file together first.

Aug 11, 2018, 1:26pm Top

Congrats on the 75!!!

We also use QuickBooks, but just found out that it won't be supported on Macs anymore, so now we have to find a new system. And we also want to close the books and get a fresh start on the accounting. Wishing us both luck!!

Aug 17, 2018, 4:32pm Top

Dropping by to wish you a wonderful weekend :)

Aug 18, 2018, 11:35am Top

>97 Berly: Thanks!

As for Quickbooks...the week after I made that post, my beloved Macbook Air died. Electrical malfunction. I was able to restore all the data but couldn't find a backup of the QB installer. I poked around the website, tried finding a Mac download, and eventually called them. They were able to confirm that I had a license and provide a download link for the Mac version so forr now, I'm doing OK. I would love to know what system you choose, if you don't mind sharing. I can also check with my accountants that do the nonprofit taxes.

Aug 18, 2018, 11:38am Top

>98 figsfromthistle: Thanks! As you can see from my posts, I've been away since July 23, practically a whole month! Not sure what happened to the past four weeks but finally have a Saturday at home to get caught up.

Aug 18, 2018, 11:50am Top

July 23 was my last post on this thread. It was a lovely Monday of coffee and LibraryThing and then, seemingly, all heck broke loose.

I spent ten days traveling for work and pleasure, did several back-to-school events around educational technology, worked on pulling together an October event (herding cats), and tried to keep up with my bees and ginger here at the farm.

My Macbook Air died on Monday, July 30, right at the start of a three-day training that kicked of a certification program I'm pursuing. I had my iPad and was in a place with an Apple store so by Wednesday AM had a new Macbook Pro and the data from the hard drive of the Air. (It had died an electrical death and the drive was fine.)

Yesterday was my last event in a four-week run. I spent the day showing high school math teachers how to use Makey Makey, keyboard controllers that can be used to interact with the Scratch programming language. It was fun and I had great respect for their willingness to take their last week day of summer break to do professional development. I made sure they got out early ;-)

I tended to the bees this morning before it got too hot. I am down to one hive but it appears to be thriving. I've already harvested a little honey from it and am hoping they will fill a few more frames for me before winter comes. There was lots of larvae and brood so I'm confident I have an active queen. Being able to find the queen is not a skill I have mastered, probably because when I am working on the hive, I am in an overheated, oversized suit with big Mickey Mouse gloves on and a veil, dripping sweat and wondering why I thought playing around with 30,000 stinging bugs was a good idea for a hobby. Just not patient enough. Nor do I have the nerve to go into the hives without pretty serious protection even though I have a couple friends who rarely wear gloves and don't seem to mind getting stung. I may donate my hive to them at some point.

The doggies also got a walk and now I'm settled in to reading thread and updating my reading list. I haven't even done much book reading. Listened to two more Books by the Bay mysteries from Ellery Adams and am really enjoying them. My family has always vacationed and my husband and I have gone birding along the Carolina coast. Adams has mastered the landscape and weaves local history into the stories.

Hope everyone is well and enjoying a nice Saturday!

Edited: Aug 21, 2018, 10:04am Top

Hi Karen!

My, you've been busy. Sorry about the computer issues even though they're now resolved. Yay bees and your own honey.

... and enjoying a nice Saturday! Since I've been retired, I've come to think that Monday's my favorite day of the week. Strange, I know, but not getting up to an alarm and usually having the whole day to myself makes this introvert very happy.

Aug 22, 2018, 11:19am Top

>102 karenmarie: I completely understand about Mondays even though I am not retired. Since I work from home, I can set my own schedule mostly so I try not to have out-of-the-house meetings on Mondays or Friday and I try to end the week at noon on Friday.

I have also learned to live with the ups and downs of work: after the craziness of the past three weeks, now I am in a lull. Folks are heading back to school or trying to enjoy the last bit of summer so not paying much attention to me or my organization. I have some breathing room to get caught up. My family vacations in September in Corolla for two weeks and it is a wonderful break!

Edited: Aug 22, 2018, 11:33am Top

I dove into August without any reading plan. Here are the books from various challenges:

So Much Things To Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley by Roger Steffens
One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

August/Grey: ?? Seems I never chose one...time to head to the library

Leftovers from other months:
Hogs Wild
Mountain Man: John Colter, The Lewis & Clark Expedition, and the Call of the American West
The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality*
ColourCAT from July/Pink: The Joyful Christian by C. S. Lewis

Still lots of unread Kindle books, too.

So, what did I do: borrow Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War from the library. So far, it's good, although she often uses phrases familiar to those of us who have watched the Burns' series more than once.

*My dad loaned me a couple science books and I would like to finish one of them before I see him in September. I started this book but didn't have the brain power or uninterrupted reading time to really dive in.

Aug 24, 2018, 12:17am Top

>104 witchyrichy: Grey--I have lots of these!! Some are the object some are the color of the cover: Disappearing Spoon, Consider the Fork, The Silver Star, A Gentleman in Moscow, The Song of the Quarkbeast, Magical Thinking. Have fun choosing! I'll be interested to see what you come up with.

And the bees? You are a braver woman than I!!

Aug 25, 2018, 8:20pm Top

>96 witchyrichy: "...take better advantage of working from home after all these years." Sounds wonderful.

With six days to go, I started reading Warlight which has a gray cover. So it will work for ColorCAT. :-)

Sep 2, 2018, 9:18pm Top

>105 Berly: >106 EBT1002: I ended up starting a hard cover edition of Mansfield Park that is gray. It came as part of a set of Austen.

But I got nowhere with it. I teach a graduate class called School Technology at University of Richmond and the first class was this past Tuesday. I was busy with preparation and then the actual teaching. I am also trying to get through my to do list as I head to the Outer Banks this coming week for vacation with my parents and sister. It would be nice to be able to put it all aside for a couple days at least. It's doable but it means working on the holiday tomorrow and that's fine.

I did finish Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott. It was a different view of the Civil War and I learned a lot about the role of the four women in the title as well as women in general. The book was overly long, I thought, with descriptions of battles and events that were only peripheral to the women.

I thought some of the phrases in the book sounded familiar and went exploring. I wrote a bit about Abbott and her brushes with plagiarism.

Sep 8, 2018, 11:43pm Top

>107 witchyrichy: Oh, I love the Outer Banks! I hope you were able to get away.

Sep 10, 2018, 12:43am Top

How did vacation go? I liked Manssfield Park -- Did you abandon it for good or only until life calms down?

Sep 13, 2018, 7:42pm Top

>108 EBT1002: >109 Berly: We had a wonderful time last week and then were part of the mandatory evacuation on Tuesday. I scooted out late Monday afternoon to avoid traffic. The storm is not going to be a problem for us after all but I am praying for everyone in the path.

Sep 13, 2018, 7:50pm Top

>109 Berly: I really want to read Austen. I started watching the BBC 1 film about Jane Austen: Miss Austen Regrets.

Not sure how life got so crazy. My organization is doing a lot more these days so I have more meetings. It's all good stuff and I thrive on the work, but I am also looking forward to a few long winter days to curl up by the fire and read.

Edited: Sep 24, 2018, 6:16pm Top

I have really stalled out and I'm not sure why as I don't feel like I'm all the much busier than usual. I started Bill Bryson's One Summer at the OBX but never got very far. Read Maria Semple instead and loved it! I was at the beach mostly to hang out with my parents so didn't escape for hours of reading and that's OK.

The books are piling up around me, it seems. But I'm home for awhile now so should be able to get caught up with event planning and then have some free time before the next wave of work. It's all good.

I have been enjoying listening to the T.E. Kinsey series about Lady Hardcastle and her efficient and effective lady servant Armstrong. The two main characters are like an old married couple and they have endeared themselves to their new country home. The local constabulary is happy to consult them and their crime board. And Armstrong occasionally finds her circus background helpful for ferreting out criminals. The audio is a joy to listen to and I was able to finish In the Market for Murder on my way home from the Outer Banks.

Hoping to find time to get back to One Summer and Mansfield Park.

Sep 16, 2018, 8:51am Top

You sound super busy, Karen. Bees are so fascinating, but I'm not sure I would want a hive. I got stung this summer for the first time I can remember, and it really hurt!

The beginning of the school year is always crazy; I need a check list to make sure I get everything done. This semester I am teaching an online class for the first time (got assigned late, not by choice) and have been trying to negotiate that.

Happy Sunday.

Sep 21, 2018, 9:12am Top

Hi Karen!

Glad you got away before Florence did her damage to the Carolina coast. OBX wasn't as hard hit as Topsail, I think. Our daughter is home, still can't get back into Wilmington. She came home on Tuesday, making this mom happy. *smile*

I hope you can get time for some reading in soon.

Oct 12, 2018, 12:59pm Top

Another few weeks have gone by without a post from me. A weekend of meetings, a conference in Lexington, Virginia, and then my own two-day event in Culpeper, Virginia, earlier this week have kept me moving along. Not to mention teaching a course at University of Richmond.

I put a big X across today on my calendar and put an out of office message up as well. The rain and wind from Michael passed by quickly in the middle of the night. Our only damage was a shattered storm door window. The door rattles normally and must have gotten slammed shut at some point.

The storm brought cooler air such as we haven't had for many months. Lovely breeze, low humidity, and I was able to sit on the sun porch and not be bathed in sweat in seconds. I will probably head out to do some weeding as well. I took down most of the hummingbird feeders but just saw one hummer at my pineapple sage blossoms. Probably a traveler.

Time to update my reading list and then maybe take a nap...weeding can wait for the weekend!

Oct 12, 2018, 8:53pm Top

Sounds like a great day!

Oct 15, 2018, 2:25pm Top

Hi Karen my dear, hope all is well with you. Seems like you have been very busy of late but nice to see you posting, sending love and hugs dear friend.

Oct 15, 2018, 11:03pm Top

>115 witchyrichy: I took down my hummingbird feeder last week and replaced it with a suet feeder. I also took my fuchsia plant inside temporarily when we had a hard freeze last night. I felt so bad when I saw a hummer looking for the fuchsia plant this morning before I had a chance to put it back out. :(

Hope all is well with you, Karen!

Oct 19, 2018, 12:25pm Top

>116 drneutron: It was and I am mostly doing the same today, although someone squeaked a meeting on my calendar for this afternoon.

>117 johnsimpson: Thanks for stopping by! I haven't been able to get to others' threads but am always happy to get love and hugs from you!

Oct 19, 2018, 12:28pm Top

>118 Copperskye: The overlap of the seasons is the toughest! I'm sure he came right back when he saw the plant! Was probably waiting nearby, in fact. I keep suet out all year as it attracts the woodpeckers.

Thanks for checking in! All is well here and we are seriously talking about MY retirement! Not immediately ready but starting to get that feeling that the next journey awaits me.

Oct 21, 2018, 10:54am Top

Hi Karen!

I took down our hummingbird feeders two weeks ago. I keep suet out all year, too. It attracts the woodpeckers, but I've also seen cardinals and blue jays hanging off the cage going at it. I keep the feeder on a squirrel-proof pole - it really is squirrel proof.

Retirement? I remember those hints of possible retirement in late 2015 and how excited I was when 2016 turned out to be the year I actually retired. Anticipation is half the pleasure - enjoy!

Oct 21, 2018, 12:23pm Top

>121 karenmarie: Just washed the last feeder and put it on the shelf. Sigh...

It is exciting to think about it although it may be closer to three or four years but planning ahead could mean it happens sooner. I'll keep you posted.

Edited: Oct 21, 2018, 12:42pm Top

I figured I owed everyone a few reviews:

Sourdough by Robin Sloan was a wonderfully mysterious, just on the blurry edges of reality tale of life in San Francisco. Sloan built on the food scene I encountered when I wandered through the San Francisco ferry terminal market with its diverse selections of artisanal everything from pork to chocolate to vegies. Secret recipes, spiritual vibes, food with a purpose and, seemingly, a life of its own clashes against a tech culture that encourages "food" that can be consumed easily while coding. The main character, Lois, is part of that world but has not embraced the culture and can cross over the boundary to find an equally obsessive world.

Oct 21, 2018, 1:07pm Top

One Summer by Bill Bryson was a detailed and fascinating dive into the summer of 1927. Charles Lindbergh's historic transatlantic flight in May sets the stage for what really was an extraordinary summer in the life of America. Bryson weaves the threads of history together from the Great Mississippi flood to the rededication of Mt. Rushmore to execution of Sacco and Vanzetti. He connects to our own time in his descriptions of nationalism and the eugenics movement with Iowa, at one point, outlawing conversations in any language than English even on the telephone. Iowa's governor commented that there was no use for any other language for prayer as God only listens to English (p. 165).

There are light hearted anecdotes as well and Bryson's description of the rise of radio reminded me of many other technology adoptions. In the early days, anyone could start a radio station. It was an immediate connection to the world that people had not experienced before in a wide way. Bryson believes Lindbergh Day in 1927 was the day that really made radio as everyone wanted to be part of the celebration as the hero was honored with a ticker tape parade.

I just glanced at someone else's review and realized all I have missed that Bryson manages to both include and connect to the threads. Ruth Snyder and Henry Judd Gray, in an effort to stage a murder, left an anarchist newspaper behind as evidence that foreign agents had murdered Ruth's husband and stolen some jewelry. It was that kind of anti-immigrant sentiment that made it easy to accuse and execute Sacco and Vanzetti. Bryson really teases out that thread to come to a conclusion about this trial. I won't spoil it for you.

There was Babe Ruth, Showboat, Prohibition, Al Capone, talkies, just a huge slice of American history served in a jaunty style even as he uncovers some of the ugliness that lurked pretty close to the surface.

Nov 14, 2018, 10:06pm Top

Just a few weeks away from my organization's big event: our annual conference. We have about 1300 attendees and have closed registration. 1300 educators learning and sharing around educational technology. It will be quite a party. Our biggest conference yet!

I have been reading but not doing much else except working on the conference and also planning ahead for 2019. I am hosting Thanksgiving but I have a small family and would rather cook the bird--a locally grown turkey that is still wandering around the barn yard--than drive on 95! We are eating on Wednesday and I will have the blessing of four day weekend at home with just my husband and the dogs.

Nov 15, 2018, 9:17am Top

Hi Karen!

>124 witchyrichy: I loved this book by Bryson. Perhaps my favorite, actually, always excepting In a Sunburned Country.

I hope your conference goes well.

Lots of good reading ahead for you - I particularly like Erik Larson and The Devil in the White City was my first foray.

I'm the same way about Thanksgiving (excepting the very local turkey) - I'd much rather host with all that entails than drive. We keep getting smaller every year as elderly relatives pass away and some of the younger ones are out of state or country, but we'll still have 6 this year, including our daughter. Have a wonderful Wednesday and more wonderful four-day weekend with just your husband and dogs.

Dec 9, 2018, 7:30pm Top

>127 karenmarie: Thanks for stopping by.

I have been going at full tilt for the past three weeks. The conference was amazing: 1400 attendees, 100 vendors in the exhibit hall, almost 300 breakout sessions, and...the network held! I've been in ED since 2010 and this is definitely our best conference ever. Really good energy and community.

The snow has been lovely today...I am making a miniature green house for my sister and spent most of the day working on it next to our wood stove, watching it snow. I was supposed to be out of the house on Monday and Tuesday but think both days will probably be cancelled and that's fine with me.

Life slows WAY down over the holidays and I am looking forward to a visit to an old friend in early January. I gave up an online teaching job so that will free up some time as well. I have seriously started considering what retirement might look like...

Dec 9, 2018, 8:36pm Top

>128 witchyrichy: Congrats on an excellent conference! And I'm glad life will slow down over the holidays. I think mine will, as well, and I'm looking forward to it. :-)

Dec 16, 2018, 12:12pm Top

Karen: Congrats on an amazing conference. I think you deserve a break now. :)

Dec 20, 2018, 1:40pm Top

>130 BLBera: Thank you! I decided to do one last message to our members with some resources from the conference and a best wishes for the holiday this morning as I got a few from other orgs. But, the "offices closed" message is hanging on the email now and I am ready for that break.

Dec 23, 2018, 3:51pm Top

Hi Karen, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and festive season and send seasonal love and hugs from both of us dear friend.

Dec 23, 2018, 7:07pm Top

>133 johnsimpson: Thanks, John! I haven't been visiting threads so am glad to have you stop by here! Best wishes to you and your family, too.

Dec 25, 2018, 5:07am Top

Happy holidays, Karen.

Dec 26, 2018, 1:28am Top

Best wishes to you for a very merry Christmas!

Dec 26, 2018, 9:04am Top

Hi Karen!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are getting some good reading in.

Dec 26, 2018, 3:59pm Top

>135 PaulCranswick: >136 AMQS: >137 karenmarie: Thanks for the good wishes!

Preparing for *NEXT* year!

Dec 31, 2018, 8:47am Top

Hi Karen my dear, we would like to wish you and your husband a very happy new year and hope that 2019 is a good one, sending love and hugs to you both from both of us dear friend.

Dec 31, 2018, 11:07am Top

Dec 31, 2018, 1:30pm Top

Wishing you a new year filled with joy, happiness, laughter, and all the wonderful books you could wish for.

Dec 31, 2018, 5:45pm Top

Happy New Year's Eve!!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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