Arrr! (Celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day) Thar be a hunt for treasure, Mateys!
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Ffortsa limps a little less (yay) into another year - 2

This is a continuation of the topic Ffortsa limps into another year.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Yesterday, 12:16pm Top

Hi, I'm Judy, and at the moment I am limping a little less, still with lots of books on the shelf. I've been a member of this fine group since July of 2009 and time really flies with all the good books and good friends I've encountered here. Welcome to all who stumble upon this thread!

My overall ticker:

The Ticker Factory didn't have any mountains, so this centipede will have to do my walking for me.

Books read so far:
1.↩ Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
2. ✗ Brussels Noir
3. @ 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
4. The Lewis Man by Peter May
5. The Old Buzzard Had It Coming by Donis Casey
6. ✔Tender (Pitt Poetry Series} by Toi Derricotte
7. ✔How To Be Alone by Jonathan Franzen
8. ✔Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
9. @The Deepest Grave by Harry Bingham
10✔@Best American Mystery Stories 2015
11. @From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
12. Involuntary Witness by Gianrico Carofiglio
13. ✔Ironweed by William Kennedy
14. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
15. Valentino and Sagittarius by Natalia Ginzburg
16. @Glass Houses by Louise Penny
17. ✔Why Do Men Have Nipples? by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg
18. ↩Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon
19. ✔Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences by Kitty Burns Florey
20. @Treasure Hunt by Andrea Camilleri
21. ♬Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell
22. ✔Krik?Krak! by Edwidge Danticat
23. @Ratking by Michael Dibdin
24. Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs
25. ✔Woe is I by Patricia T. O'Conner
26. A Season for the Dead by David Hewson
27. @Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
28. @The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordechai Richler
29. ♬At the Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell
30. @Death by Chocolate Cherry by Sarah Graves
31. @Death on Demand by Carolyn G. Hart
32. The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch
33. @Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle With Stuff by Dana K. White
34. @Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
35. @A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
36. @Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
37. The New Yorker May 2009 (four issues)
38. A Clubbable Woman by Reginald Hill
39. @A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
40. ↩The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
41. @The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths
42. @The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths
43. @The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths
44. ♬Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
45. @The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
46. @So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
47. @The Adventures of Dagobert Trostler by Balduin Groller
48. @Murder in the Marais by Cara Black
49. @The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths
50. @Cobalt by Nathan Aldyne
51. ♬American Pastoral by Philip Roth
52. ✔The Vice-Consul by Marguerite Duras
53. @Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
54. The State Counsellor by Boris Akunin
55. @Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin
56. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
57. @Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin

Icons denote ebooks, library books, off the shelf, etc. modified from Bianca's list
♬ audiobook
✔ off the shelf
@ e-book
↩ reread
✗ dnf

May 11, 9:35am Top

Happy new thread!

May 11, 11:27am Top

Happy new one, Judy!!

May 11, 11:38am Top

Happy new thread, Judy!

May 11, 2:02pm Top

I'm glad you're limping a little less for your second thread, Judy!

Fully in agreement about exurban-urban tradeoffs. I guess that formula applies to most things in life. Heh.

I do encourage you to google "The Palouse" to get an idea of the terrain surrounding my new home. Here is an example:

Happy New Thread!

May 11, 3:16pm Top

Happy new thread!

May 11, 4:46pm Top

Happy new thread.

May 11, 5:14pm Top

Hi, Judy. I was just reading on your first thread that sometimes you hanker to sit outdoors, maybe have a bit of a garden. I'm sitting on the deck as I surf through LT, and it is swell. A couple of huge bumblebees (maybe carpenter bees) are buzzing back and forth, a few birds are twittering, the sky is blue, most of the trees have greened out, but the dogwoods still have blossoms. It's a quiet period. I'm a lucky guy.

May 12, 8:34am Top

Hi Judy!

Happy new thread to you.

I did the trade off in 1991, from LA to rural NC. I still miss the easy variety of restaurants, theater, movie offerings, and other cultural events. It's much harder to find good things to do out here and you have to drive further. I don't miss the noise, traffic, night-time light, and just sheer volume of people and things. I'm looking at a Cardinal chowing down on sunflower seeds, and 9 windows worth of trees and blue skies.

May 13, 6:31pm Top

Happy new thread, Judy. Good to hear that you are limping less. On your last thread you asked me what courses I am taking. I finished the courses towards my diploma in professional writing a couple of years ago. They were very interesting and practical. I took one course in the history of medicine after that but haven't been tempted to go back recently, too busy!

As to exurban-urban tradeoffs, what about a compromise? I live in a city which is part of the greater Vancouver city area. I am close to shopping, transportation links and there is a theatre nearby. I have a view of trees and there is a creek right behind me which I can see from my living room deck doors. It is also steps from the park that follows the river just behind me.

May 13, 9:03pm Top

Happy new thread, Judy.

Hope your Sunday is a lovely one.

May 14, 2:48pm Top

>10 Familyhistorian: That sounds perfect. One of these days I'll visit Vancouver; we were there to change from the ship to the plane a couple of years ago, and saw some of the town from the bus, but that's not enough.

There is some of that close to New York, but the transportation is always an issue - schedules, costs, and the effort of doing the trip. Living in the city proper is very spoiling.

>9 karenmarie: I envy you the ability to make that decision. Since Jim can't drive, our options are limited, and he's a real city boy. I'm of two minds about it, so we stay here.

May 15, 11:16am Top

Happy New Thread, Judy.

It looks like you and Jim went to see Three Tall Women? Sounded great.

Edited: May 15, 11:51am Top

>13 jnwelch: It was great. Glenda Jackson is still a towering force on the stage, and the two other women, Laurie Metcalf and Alison Pill, are no shrinking violets either. The play was totally engrossing, with some breathtaking staging as well. I loved it. If you are planning to be in the area before it closes, I highly recommend it.

May 16, 2:07am Top

Judy--Happy new thread, oh one-who-is-gimping-less (congrats on that!). : )

May 16, 8:43pm Top

>14 ffortsa: Thanks, Judy. The timing may not work, but one can hope. We're big Laurie Metcalf fans from Steppenwolf.

May 16, 10:24pm Top

Photo of my new back yard over on my thread. Not to make you envious (just remember your access to restaurants, theater, bookstores, restaurants, museums, bookstores, restaurants....). xo

May 16, 11:06pm Top

I can't catch up, but I wish you joy where you are. Karen thinks she's in rural NC; she has no idea what it's like in the real boonies. (Truly, Karen!) So I find my joy here as I can.

May 17, 2:20pm Top

visitors! Cool.

29. At The Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell

Whew. I decided to listen to this personal but informed survey of the rise and fall of existentialism as a philosophy, and I finally finished. The reader is wonderful, and that helped a lot, because I am not that conversant with philosophical questions to begin with.

The book starts with a thorough exploration of phenomenology (which is tough enough for me) and the personalities and histories of the men (mostly) whose work it was. Heidegger towers in this group, of course, but the course of his life is quite problematic. He championed and then discarded several students who were, perhaps, a challenge to him, was too involved in the Nazi mission and madness for anyone to forgive, including Hannah Arendt, his student and lover. But his impressive work in the field ricocheted through the intellectual world of Europe, and his seminal work Being and Time let to Sartre's own masterpiece Being and Nothingness

Along the way, the author provides many biographical details, such as Sartre's experience in a prisoner-of-war camp, and how it changed him. He and Simone de Beauvior were intellectually inseparable (not identical, however), however they played out their sexually independent lives. Sartre also enticed and discarded students and compatriots, and at times the story feels like gossip about crotchetey old intellectuals arguing over the meaning of 'is'. de Beauvior eventually turned their philosophical frame on how women were raised, taught, inculcated with that double vision of themselves as 'other' to men, and that of course ricocheted in its own way to our time. (The author mentions that the first translations into English were awful, and bowderized, but there is a newer one I might try to read.)

The author is especially fond of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, whom she finds calm, pleasant, and more realistic than other French phenomenologists (if I understood her correctly!). And she relates the impact of existentialist though on Iris Murdoch, another author I don't know enough about.

All in all, a really compelling history of the philosophers, mostly French and German, whose ideas so influenced Western thought in the last century.

May 18, 12:52pm Top

I started Iris Murdoch's The Sea, the Sea yesterday, using an old paperback from my shelf, but it proved hard on the old eyes. Grayish paper and small type are not kind. So I took the advice of another member of my downtown reading group and downloaded the audiobook. It will be a lot of hours by no eye strain.

May 18, 1:32pm Top

Last night, Jim and I and a friend saw the latest NTLive production, this one 'MacBeth', starring Rory Kinnear. We were really looking forward to it, but the direction and, alas, Kinnear's acting choices were just bad.

MacBeth is a tough play to handle, and I've seen a number of productions that missed in one way or another, but this was near the bottom. And we so loved Kinnear in 'Hamlet' (I think it will be rereleased sometime this summer - I recommend it highly).

Edited: May 20, 12:12pm Top

Great review of At the Existentialist Café, Judy. That definitely goes onto my wish list.

I'm sorry to hear that Macbeth wasn't a good production. I was looking forward to seeing the NT Live version of it when it comes to Atlanta.

BTW, did you & Jim see Yerma, starring Billie Piper, when it came to NYC earlier this spring? Claire (Sakerfalcon) and I saw it at The Young Vic in 2016, and we absolutely loved it, especially Piper's shattering performance.

May 21, 9:53am Top

>22 kidzdoc: Sorry to have to report like that on the 'MacBeth'. YMMV, of course, but we were unhappy.

We didn't see 'Yerma' yet. The Armory prices were high, high, high, and we were pretty booked, but Jim is a big Billie Piper fan, so when it returns to NTLive in this vicinity, we'll certainly go. In fact, we should check the schedule of NTLive perfomances in San Francisco, since we will be there the week of June 11th, and our SF friend Jayne is a devotee as well.

May 21, 9:59am Top

30. Death by Chocolate Cherry by Sarah Graves

I didn't realize that Graves had extended her Home Repair series in another guise, but the cast of characters and place are the same. Now who recommended this to me? Hm. Can't recall, but it is delicious. I had stopped reading the Home Repair series because it was getting just a little weird and of course repetitive (how many murders can there be on an island off the coast of Maine?). But Graves has a nice way of drawing the reader in and then pushing the narrative trolley down the hill. I was up until 1AM and still didn't finish, but my eyes wouldn't stay open after that. Finished it the next day.

Graves's books are formulaic, of course, but written well and you can't beat the scenery and community. Definitely comfort reading.

May 21, 10:02am Top

Now I have the audio of The Sea, The Sea, complete with a very scholarly introduction which I wish I had the text for; it might be easier to read. And I've started from the beginning of the novel. Why haven't I really studied Murdoch before? She deserves attention.

And just to cushion the length of this effort, I have three mysteries on my Kindle from the library.

May 21, 12:33pm Top

I'll read Sarah Graves a lot sooner than I'll read Sarah Bakewell (which is to say, NEVER, for SB). Glad that you made it through and are happy.
I think I've read a bunch of Murdoch, and *Sea 2ce* is my very least favorite. That means that I should reread it now that I'm more mature. (!)

May 21, 4:55pm Top

Sorry to hear that MacBeth was disappointing.

Edited: May 25, 7:16am Top

>25 ffortsa: The Sea, the Sea was a favorite the year I read it -- I loved the weirdness, and how some of it had an explanation and some didn't. But mostly, I loved her writing.

I had a book about her from NYPL, but alas someone else requested it before I got too far in. From what little I've read, she seems to have lived a very interesting life.

May 26, 10:16am Top

>28 ELiz_M: Liz, so nice to hear from you! I've been remiss. But the good news is that I am back on my feet (foot, I guess) finally, as long as I don't overdo it. Maybe we can meet at the Botanical Gardens?

The Murdoch has really captured me. I"m about half-way through it, listening while reading, which slows me down enough to attend to the language instead of racing ahead of the amazing descriptive stuff to the next folly. I have until a week from Tuesday to finish, plenty of time to wallow in it.

And yes, she was quite an interesting character. I recently learned that her devoted husband, who wrote the book Iris after her death, never read her books. That must have been a very interesting relationship.

May 27, 9:34am Top

Hi Judy!

>20 ffortsa: Grayish paper and small type are not kind. Absolutely. I've been toying with the idea of purging all my old ratty yellowed or grayed paperbacks. Even if I wanted to read the book again, I'd need a clean and bright copy. A positive result would be freed-up shelf space.

I'm glad to hear that your foot is doing better.

May 31, 11:27am Top

31. Death on Demand by Carolyn G. Hart

A little break from the intensity of The Sea, the Sea was needed, and I had picked up this recommendation, so I tried it. It's very light, somewhat unrealistic even for the genre, I think. An amateur detective makes all the wrong moves, accompanied b her rich lawyer non-boyfriend who has followed her to a tiny island community in the south.

I may read the next one - not sure yet. So much is already on my list!

Edited: Jun 6, 10:24am Top

32. The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch

I read this and listened at the same time, trying to save my eyes from having to read every word of the old paperback I had. I probably did anyway. But the audio comes with a very erudite introductory essay that I wish I had on paper.

More after tomorrow's reading group meeting, and maybe additional comments after our June 18th meeting uptown to discuss the same.

I thought it was wonderful, and definitely the kind of book I could read several times over.

eta: we had an interesting discussion last night on this book. I was surprised by the number of people who did not like it (maybe that was just my biased perspective), and also the people who so disliked the narrator that they could not accept any arc of his personal growth and self-awareness. To me it's a book of many layers, the topmost perhaps not totally realistic, but full of riches underneath.

More talk about this on June 19th, with a different population.

eta again: Wasn't there a thread devoted to reading Murdoch a while ago? I just looked for it but didn't find it.

eta yet again: Ah, I found it - a group, not a thread. And it looks like I signed up for it, way back in 2013. Appetite exceeded capacity for sure.

Edited: Jun 7, 8:22am Top

Happy newish thread, Judy.

Hi Judy: I'm a Murdoch fan, but I hear you about those mass market paperbacks; I have a few on my shelves and am tempted to give them away.

The Bakewell definitely goes on my list.

Too bad about Macbeth; I think it's a hard play to stage. I've seen a few productions, most of them pretty unsatisfactory.

Edited: Jun 8, 1:17pm Top

32. Knockdown: A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery by Sarah Graves

Definitely fun. Sooner or later Jake's unwholesome past was bound to catch up with her. At least one cinematic reference provides a suitable soundtrack. Taut and scary, even though we all know Jake will survive.

Jun 8, 1:20pm Top

Foot problems continue. I did get in a longish walk yesterday, 3.65 miles, with breaks, but my foot started complaining on the way back home, and the doc sent me back for another MRI this morning. That is, I didn't actually have the MRI this morning, and as it's Friday, and I'm away next week, I don't expect an appointment until the week after.

Of course, San Francisco is no place to have a bad foot. I will ignore it as much as I can. There's a book I've had on my shelves for years (maybe 35 years) titled 'Stairway Walks in San Francisco', and I've gotten to only a tiny bit of them. I hope to climb a bit more next week, foot or no foot (well, not NO foot, of course. Gotta keep things in perspective.)

Jun 8, 9:26pm Top

Oh wow, Judy! Good luck dealing with S.F. with a problem foot. My BFF, who is one extremely fit lady, spent a whole week a couple of years ago trying to climb all of the stairways in the book. It sounds like a lovely idea to me...in theory. Actually I can walk all day on the flat but I don't do well on stairs.

P.S. If you're looking for restaurant ideas two of my favorites are The Slanted Door at the Ferry Terminal Building. It's spendy but has amazing Asian fusion food. For breakfast I love Rose's on Steiner in "Cow Hollow". A really great local place with fantastic hot chocolate (served in a bowl) and pastry basket. Their breakfast pizza is pretty darned good too.

Anyway, hope you have a great time in one of my favorite cities.

Jun 9, 3:34pm Top

>36 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks for the recommendations! In spite of the foot, I hope to walk a lot around town. Up isn't as bad as down, so maybe I'll find a stairway walk we can do from bottom to top and then call Lyft!

And I hope to eat yummy food that doesn't make me blow up to a size xxxx, if that's possible. Jim has some favorite places, not so much for the food as for the associations (that restaurant Sam Spade supposedly frequented, for instance.) And a visit to City Lights is probably required, even though we are Kindle-savvy readers.

It's funny that no one knows any LTres in SF, isn't it?

Jun 9, 7:40pm Top

If you're going to be in Marin County at all don't miss The Book Passage in Corte Madera. They have a small shop in the Ferry Landing Building too but it's nothing like the big one.

I seriously love San Francisco!

Jun 10, 12:08pm Top

I'm having a rough time getting Audible downloads to my iPod. Has anyone else been having this experience? Last time, I called Audible, and they helped me get the book in question all the way to my iPod, but the techie seemed as surprised as I was that what he did worked, and he admitted that Apple and Audible were having, shall we say, difficulties. I want some additional books to listen to on my trip, but so far, I may have to settle for what I have, which isn't bad and will probably be enough, but it bugs me, you know?

Jun 10, 2:14pm Top

>39 ffortsa: - That sounds frustrating. I loathe Apple interface and iTunes, especially. Can you just download the app to your phone?

Jun 10, 3:57pm Top

>40 katiekrug: yes, and I have, but my phone charge duration is not that great, and it's a little clumsier to carry when I'm walking. And it just pisses me off (do I have to asterisk that out around here?)

Of course, walking is still not completely safe. I clocked 3.65 miles on Thursday and I hurt at about the 3 mile mark and after that all evening. Going in for another MRI the week we get back from San Francisco, to see what else is wrong. Still, I can get a lot of listening in between the gym bicycle and what walking I do and the occasional subway ride. And I can listen on my tablet, as long as I have a wifi connection, or download to my Kindle beforehand.

Lately, Audible has been running a sort of sweepstakes if you listen on their app, which I'm sure is something of a response to their cranky relationship with Apple.

I don't have an iPad or iPhone (my own rebellion against the track-beam draw of Apple). (I'm not giving in, I'm not giving in, I'm not giv...)

You've been in the city a lot. What energy! Except for the theater, we don't take as much advantage as we might, but we did see the Grant Wood exhibit on Friday. The Whitney is pay-what-you-want Fridays between 7PM and 9:30. Next time we'll get there early - the line was pretty long, although they moved it quite fast.

Jun 10, 5:14pm Top

Waiting for a driver to pick him up ``at John`s, Ellis Street,`` Spade had dinner.

He went to John`s Grill, asked the waiter to hurry his order of chops, baked potato, and sliced tomatoes, ate hurriedly, and was smoking a cigarette with his coffee`` when the driver walked up to him.
-- Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon"

Edited: Jun 10, 7:01pm Top

33. Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle With Stuff by Dana K. White

I read this a while ago but seemed not to mention it (or did I?) Anyway, funny, helpful, practical. And I need it. I just packed up for my trip to San Francisco, and realized that one of the reasons I obsess so much about traveling is that I have to constantly make choices of what to take, because I have TOO MUCH STUFF. Marie Kondo didn't do it for me, but this book may just do the trick.

I seem to be packed, Kindle and tablet and iPod and phone loaded and charged. I just need to eat dinner and set the alarm for (gulp) 4:30 am.

Jun 11, 2:31pm Top

Sorry to hear your foot problems continue. Good luck in San Francisco with that. Hope you have a great trip despite the foot.

Jun 11, 4:06pm Top

Hi Judy!

Sorry to hear about your foot problems.

I love visiting San Francisco but haven't been there in a long time. So many good restaurants and fun things to do...

Jun 18, 3:40pm Top

Home again, home again, jiggedy-jig!

We spent a lovely week with my brother's family, taking the ferry into San Francisco for a couple of days and otherwise enjoying Tiburon and the surrounding area. Highlights were the Magritte exhibit at the SFMoMA, seeing our friend Jayne in town, visiting the Army Corps of Engineers model of the San Francisco Bay, made years ago for environmental study before computers could do the trick (it's in Sausalito), and great food provided by my sister-in-law and several really fine restaurants. One dish in particular made me want to really learn to cook - tender swordfish over paella. Out of this world.

Given the splendid weather and company I didn't read much, but on the way back last night I started and finished

35. A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

I'd missed this in my march through the series, and it was very much the characteristic story of Gamache, Jean-Guy and a crusade against corruption. This one takes place in the Academy, where Gamache has taken over as Commander and where he feels the moral rot persists. Some new characters are very interesting, and could lead to other books if Penny wants to continue. There's also a mystery about Three Pines itself that is quite beguiling.

While outbound to San Francisco, I finally finished

34. Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

A mostly very engaging history of human relationships with salt, from pre-Roman times until now. An important commodity from those early times, it was mined and traded in eastern Europe, evaporated from the sea and brine springs in many place, and stimulated interesting invention throughout. The Chinese taxed it, the British outlawed its production in India to support their own salt imports, the Union Army captured salt evaporating areas along the seacoast and mines elsewhere to deny salt to the Confederate Army. And until refrigeration was invented, salt was a necessity for preserving fish and meat.

In spite of warnings today, we consume a lot less salt than before refrigeration. Of course, we do less hard manual labor as well, sweating less of it out of our systems. But its necessity lingers in production of foodstuffs such as caviar and cured meats and fish, and wherever hunting and fishing is a local source of protein.

Aside from a few slow spots, I recommend this book as an enriching viewpoint to more traditional histories.

Jun 18, 9:01pm Top

Sounds like you had an awesome time! And you didn't mention the foot problem, so I am hoping it behaved.

I love salt!! Might have to find this one. : )

Jun 19, 1:08pm Top

>47 Berly: It was a lovely time, thanks. The foot didn't act up any more than it has been. I go for another MRI this afternoon to check on what's going on on the outside of my right foot. Maybe tendinitis. I have a long life of foot exercises ahead of me!

Jun 19, 2:46pm Top

>46 ffortsa: You made me smile all around. My last, and favorite, job before retirement was Assistant City Manager of Sausalito. I love the place. Isn't that model interesting? I also love the Penny books and read Salt a few years ago and found it quite interesting. Glad you trip went well and hope the news from your MRI is good.

Jun 23, 3:36pm Top

I have a thread over in the group 'Magazines!!!!! New Yorker, Science, Atlantic, Mad......' named 'Fortsa Reads 2009'. You notice it doesn't say 'in 2009', because it's way past 2009 but I'm still reading it. I have this thing about not throwing out New Yorker issues until I read them. Obviously, I'm not doing so well keeping up.

But I must say May 2009 was a GREAT month for the New Yorker. I've just reviewed all the articles I liked this month, and it's a long entry on the thread. The range of topics are vast.

the thread is here entry 5 for May

Jun 29, 7:29am Top

>48 ffortsa: How did the MRI go? Glad to hear you made it through May 2009 in the New Yorker!! LOL. Do you still get the magazine? I had no idea there was a magazine group in the first place.

Jun 29, 3:50pm Top

Hi, Kim! yes, I still get the New Yorker. I've been losing ground (obviously). I used to be only 6 years behind!

The MRI was done but I won't see the doctor until the end of July. That's ok with me - I've been missing some of my exercises because of travel, the primary election I worked, and my own laziness. I can reform before I see him. My foot wasn't hurting much the day I had the MRI, so I don't know if it will show anything that is addressable.

My reading has not been going well lately. Eye strain from paying too much attention to my phone is a problem. But I did get to read one book recently.

36. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

This book has some really unusual twists! It's really two books more or less sandwiched together, one in a sort of Poirot style and one more modern. Murders abound across the divide. I guessed the modern murderer, but not why he did it. I didn't guess the Poirot style murder, but that kind of book seems to be a little more arbitrary, don't you think? Anyway, I had a fine time.

Jul 1, 10:26pm Top

>50 ffortsa: It seemed remiss for me to point people to my reviews of articles that were not themselves pointed to, so I've added the links to all the New Yorker articles I reviewed for May 2009, and will count the month as a book read. Be careful if you want to link to them; the New Yorker limits the number of free reads you get per year if you are not a subscriber, so if something especially interests you, choose that one first!

37. The New Yorker May 2009. see post 50 above for the link to my comments and links to the articles mentioned.

Jul 2, 6:00pm Top

Last night, when I was typing #53, for some reason I checked the Louise Penny series in my book list. I was missing TWO books completely! I'd read them, but couldn't remember when, so I went looking. Had to go back to 2011 to find dates and comments on my thread. Sheesh.

There are surely more series in my library that are incompletely recorded. Right now, I'm not going to bother going through everything (maybe I should adopt Fictfact, but it sounds like another technique to forget to use). Since the threads still exist, I can check back as I go.

Who has the oldest thread in our group? Maybe DrNeutron??

Starting a new book has proven difficult. I've picked up The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier, and I still have Roxanne Gay's Bad Feminist on my iPod, but I have been nattering around doing not much instead. We'll be on a long weekend jaunt starting Thursday, so maybe I'll get back in the groove then.

Jul 3, 11:49am Top

>54 ffortsa: I usually have the first threads in each year, but they're the group organization threads. As far as reading threads go, it's usually one of our eagle-eyed members who see that I've made the group and then jump in quickly. Varies from year to year.

The very first 75 Challenge group was started by Cariola, who probably has the oldest thread across all years.

Edited: Jul 4, 7:19pm Top

38. A Clubbable Woman by Reginald Hill

I read on EYEJAYBEE's thread a while ago that this was the first of the Dalziel and Pascoe police procedurals, and as I loved the TV shows, I thought I'd give it a try. The reprint I received through paperbackswap was put out by felonyandmayhem.com, the imprint that grew out of one of my favorite bookshops, Partners & Crime, now, alas, closed. But the publishing imprint remains, and it looks like they are building their list. Hooray.

This first in the series is quite good, with lots going on and more hinted at, although Hill states he had no thought of a series when he wrote it. I learned a (very) little about rugby, a bit more about the inevitable and disruptive building booms in the British Isles, and a lot about how people can be nasty by nature. If a hint of misogyny puts you off, this isn't a book for you, but I think it might accurately represent a smallish community centered on a game like rugby with its masculine biases set in a class-conscious society. The denouement is quite original.

Jul 7, 1:00am Top

Hi Judy. I hope the foot is improving.... or that the MRI indicates some kind of treatment that can make you more mobile and more pain free! Of course, I see that you walked 3.65 miles about a month ago, even with the foot issues.... I think you may be as good at taking a break as I am. Ha.

A few comments: The Sea, the Sea may be the only Murdoch I've read (must check on that) but I quite liked it. I'd like to read more of her work; I have a couple on the shelves in the boxes.

Sarah Graves sounds like a fun comfort read and I'm needing some of those these days. Not because I'm unhappy but because moving is so stressful. Still, I'm starting to feel settled in a bit now and I start my new job next Wednesday. I am gong to miss the theater in Seattle, though....

Hmm, I've not had any issues with Audible books on my iPhone although I have been having other issues with said iPhone. Your experience sounds frustrating!

I have had New Yorker stacks over the years; have finally stopped keeping them beyond about a year. I wish I had more time to read; I would like to read more from that magazine as well as The Atlantic. I subscribe to both but that doesn't mean they get read as often as I'd like. The nice thing about subscribing is that I can read them on line if I fall too far behind (ha).

Jul 9, 11:01am Top

39. A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

Next for me in this series. A somewhat preposterous archaeological find brings Ruth in touch with old classmates, and takes her to Nelson's home town. This mystery touches on the British version of white supremacy. Characters are good as usual.

Edited: Aug 4, 12:32pm Top

Jim and I spent the last few days in Indianapolis attending a Mensa Annual Gathering. Jim is a member and I sometimes hitch a ride. In previous visits, we've had a very good and interesting time, but this was not one of those, alas.

There were some compensations. The food, both catered and in the restaurant in the JWMarriott Hotel, was superb! It's pretty unusual to have great food at a dinner banquet, but this was truly marvelous.

And we discovered, thanks to a waiter in the restaurant, the Eiteljorg Museum of Native American and Western Art, which was right across the street. We saw a lovely exhibit of Native American crafts, including woven baskets and videos of how they are made. Some of the details and planning are exquisite. You can see a little sample at the website.

We also saw an exhibit of the work of Harry Fonseca. Much of his work is modern, playful interpretations of Native American folklore and images, but he also takes inspiration from petroglyphs, and he has some strikingly modern 'striped' paintings, one of which I stood before for some time. Unfortunately, I can't find the image to show you. However, you can look at some of his work

My own pictures are a bit fuzzy.

Here's Jim having a little talk with the Duke, from the exhibit on movie westerns. I think the film was running a little too fast for me:

We couldn't get a sense of the city because we were surrounded by hotels and convention halls and the government buildings (it's the state capital and the capitol building is only a few blocks away.) But there is a lot of sculpture, both traditional and modern, and the White River State Park was also at our doorstep. Quite lovely.

Jul 11, 12:25am Top

I've been to Indianapolis. A few times.
You actually may have gotten a sense of the city! :-0

Jul 11, 11:14am Top

>60 EBT1002: LOL! I'm going to post a link to a NYTimes article on your thread, about a scientist associated with WSU at Pullman. It caught my eye.

Jul 11, 7:13pm Top

Hi Judy - It seems like you've been doing traveling this summer as well. I'm sorry the foot is still bothering you. At my family reunion, I tried to recruit my aunt who lives in the Bay Area to LT. We'll see what happens.

Jul 12, 10:14am Top

>62 BLBera: Always good to introduce another member.

Edited: Jul 13, 1:45pm Top

40. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin

I originally read this book in March, but for various reasons our book circle didn't get to discuss it. It was a pleasure to read it again for a discussion scheduled for the end of the month.

I've managed to get sick - there's something going around and the problem is that I'm supposed to see a lot of people tomorrow, some of whom are what I consider old, meaning older than me. I don't want to spread this around. It's not terrible - sore throat and fatigue, but older people may be more susceptible than the general population. Boo.

Jul 14, 3:11pm Top

Sorry the Mensa meeting was a letdown this time and bad timing on the sickness. : (

I loved the LHoD! Try to get well soon!!

Jul 15, 4:22pm Top

>63 ffortsa: Trying hard. I never get colds - how awful for people who are really susceptible.

However, colds are a good time to read mysteries. Well, when is it not a good time to read mysteries?

41. The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

A nicely complicated set of investigations, and we get to see Tim trying to find his place in the Norfolk team.

Jul 16, 3:14pm Top

Not to complain, but if anyone is traveling to the NYC area soon, be aware that there is a really nasty virus going around. This is day 6 for me and I'm not feeling much better than on day 3, and day 3 was a killer. You are WARNED.

Edited: Jul 17, 1:57pm Top

42. The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths

A local set of landed gentry, a World War II plane in a chalk field by the sea, and a Bronze-Age dig all feature in this episode of the Ruth Galloway series. Along with the mystery, there's plenty of romance here, although not quite where the reader might expect it.

Kate is 5 years old and starting school(!), Judy is living with Cathbad and heavy with her second child, and things are not all they should be in Nelson's happy marriage. When the plane is unearthed in a building site, with a body inside, Ruth is called in to apply her forensic skills, and determines that the body has been recently planted, although not recently dead. Identified as a member of the U.S. Air Force as well as a member of the Blackstock family, this corpse brings U.S. television interest and Frank Barker back to Norfolk. And when members of the family get attacked, it becomes urgent to ask where the body came from, and why?

Edited: Jul 19, 12:24pm Top

43. The Woman in Blue: A Ruth Griffiths Mystery by Elly Griffiths

Well, I've been reading these at the pace of eating popcorn, and that may be why I didn't like this one as much as the others. I suspect Griffiths had to end some threads of romantic tension that were getting a little histrionic, but the central mystery is filled with coincidences and conveniently hidden relationships among the quick and the dead. And the characters are a bit more cardboard than I have come to expect from her. Oh well. I hope the next one's better.

Edited: Jul 21, 3:53pm Top

It's easy, living in NYC, to get complacent about all the goodies the city affords. For instance, I rarely go to any of the many museums, even though I have a membership to one of them and have had other memberships in the past. Dumb.

So I made a list of exhibits coming up, or already up and about to close, hoping to catch at least a few.
Yesterday we went to the Met Breuer, an extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for the show Like Life: Sculpture, Color and the Body (this YouTube video goes by in a hurry but does show you some highlights.) Many of the earlier works are religious icons (the Church was where the commissions were, of course), and they tend to be painted (polychrome), while the earliest Greek works have lost their colors and were often assumed to be done only in white. The newer ones were sometimes a little odd (see the YouTube video for Jeremy Bentham) and there were several death masks. There was one dynamite auto-animatronic man delivering a lecture, with very lifelike gestures, and several very political pieces, of course.

I'm not sure what the show was trying to show, aside from a lot of good sculpture about the body. But if I pay more attention to the art available, I might learn something now and then.

Jul 22, 11:18am Top

Hi Judy!

Just a quick skim and hello. I totally agree with you about reading mysteries - when sick AND all the time anyway. Recently I have read the first two in the Longmire series by Craig Johnson, the first of the Frieda Klein series by Nicci French, and the first three of the J.P. Beaumont series by J.A. Jance. That's in addition to still working on a few other series as new books become available AND re-reading some of my favorites - Christie, Sayers, Coben, and etc.

I like the idea of your checking out exhibits - my husband Bill recently mentioned that we should plan one 'adventure' a month - museum, historical site, etc., so I'll start doing homework too, here in central NC.

Jul 22, 5:00pm Top

I've been reading these at the pace of eating popcorn. Ha! That's what happened to me, too, Judy. Ruth is addictive.

Jul 22, 5:21pm Top

>70 ffortsa: I just missed you, then! I went to that exhibit on Saturday. I think the exhibit was trying to make too many points. One of them is to disabuse people of the preconception that the "best" sculpture is white -- the idealized white marble forms such as David or Venus de Milo or The Kiss by Rodin -- but possibly also to show the under-representation of people of color. I also suspect some pieces were included purely to force viewers to ask what is sculpture, what is art.

I loved the juxtaposition of these two:


Edited: Jul 25, 9:52pm Top

>72 jnwelch: and >73 ELiz_M: yes, there's something completely addictive about mysteries, especially those in a series. Karenmarie, those are series I haven't started yet. Now I'm in real trouble!

>73 ELiz_M: Ah, too bad we weren't coordinating. I did like that introductory pair, and also the sculpture of the worker in a heroic pose. But I'm glad to hear you agree that the show was not exactly coherent in its aims.

To finish off the weekend, we went to the Adrian Piper exhibit at MOMA. Nothing incoherent about that, but I felt preached at by most of her angry, gloomy work, and we left without quite finishing the retrospective.

My cousin Bonnie Meltzer also makes art that speaks to the current economic and political climate, but she employs much more humor, and her work is always engaging. But I doubt her work will show up at MOMA. Too bad. But she has had an effect on the issues of Portland, Oregon and the surrounding area, getting involved in the fight to prevent shipment of coal through Oregon and Washington to China, for instance.

I was looking at your thread on Club Read, which took me to your thread on 1001 Books, which inspired me to get the spreadsheet you mentioned, which in turn inspired me to compare it to the other lists I have. Do you think I'm a little OCD? Nah. Anyway, I'm impressed by all the progress you've made on that big list. My reading has been a lot more random, and some of the books on my other lists aren't included, of course. But I will take this list under advisement, and tiptoe back to your thread from time to time to see what you've thought of the books you read.

Jul 23, 8:34am Top

44. Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

The essays in this book range from several relating to the title to reviews of books and movies from Gay's very personal point of view, which I like a lot. But because the reviews tended to be short, I listened to only a few at a time. It's the kind of book I'm tempted to get in print (electronic or otherwise) so that I can dip back in to see what she thought of this or that film. Gay also gets very personal about her own painful backstory, and why the title of the book fits her and what she means by it.

The reader, Bahni Turpin, was excellent. Gay narrates her next book, Hunger, herself. It will be interesting to compare the two voices.

Jul 25, 4:14pm Top

45. The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

Yep, another one. This is quite superior to the previous The Woman in Blue, nicely paced and connected just a bit more to archaeology. But Griffiths throws quite a curve at the end of the book regarding the relationships between Nelson and his wife, on the one hand, and Ruth, on the other. There's always the next book.

Edited: Jul 26, 7:47am Top

>74 ffortsa: There's nothing wrong with being a little OCD and following multiple lists. :) My level of, shall we say dedication, might be a bit constraining, but it still works for me.


Any interest in (the logo s a link to the expected authors)

I will definitely go the morning of the 16th to peruse the publisher/bookseller booths. I don't usually have the patience to wait in line for the Author talks, but could be persuaded with the promise of good company.

Edited: Jul 30, 7:34pm Top

>77 ELiz_M: re Brooklyn Book Festival, we went last year and had a very nice time - some really exciting discussions. We do plan to go again this year, but I'm not sure of the dates. (Jim will be in Dallas part of the week, alas, and if I don't go with him, I will work the primary poll on Thursday (!). I hope the phone bank folks are going to work hard - who votes on a Thursday???)

We'll take a look at the list of author talks and see if any stand out to us. The best panel last year was toward the end, in the law school; a discussion of time from the points of view of philosophy, physics and psychology. Fascinating, and worth the (fairly short) line. It would be great fun to meet you some time that week.

Edited: Jul 31, 6:27pm Top

Hey, folks! There was a meetup!!!

Caroline (Cameling), Marianne (MichiganTrumpet) and their spouses, and Jim and I, and our non-LT friends gathered for a weekend of theater in Williamstown this past week. No photos yet, but I'll be sure to post them when I can get them downloaded and uploaded etc etc.

We had a grand time, of course. Two plays:

"Seared" by Theresa Rebeck is set in the kitchen of a small Brooklyn restaurant disrupted by a casual review of their seared scallop dish in the magazine New York. Ambition and art collide as demand for their food grows. I think this play is ready for prime time, and I hope to see it in New York soon.

And Marianne and her husband John are devotees of this festival and know all the great places to eat. At Mezze we learned that the cast members of "Seared" did research in that restaurant's kitchen so that the cooking (really, cooking on stage) and management of the stage kitchen was realistic. (Several of us had the scallops.)

"Lempicka" by Carson Kreitzer (book and lyrics) and Matt Gould (music) is a musical based on the life and art of Tamara de Lempicka during the turbulent years between the world wars in Europe. Set in Poland, Paris and California, it tracks not only her career but the seething artistic and experimental atmosphere of Paris. There have been several reviews like this one in the Times and elsewhere, and I agree that the music and staging is exciting but the three-hour drama needs some tightening and shaping. I hope it too comes to New York eventually.

Each of these productions were put together in a shockingly abbreviated time (two weeks for a musical??) and were wonderfully performed.

We also went to the Clark Art Institute, a short walk from our hotel, to see some wonderful wrought iron work from Paris, and also an exhibit of women painters in Paris 1850-1900.

Pictures when I can find them.

Edited: Aug 4, 12:48pm Top

I'm rereading The Man Who Was Thursday for Tuesday's book discussion, or rather, listening to it. I can't decide if the reader is a good match for this strange little book or not. Jim has an annotated edition which I hope to get a chance to look at before the meeting.

This week I finished scanning an album my parents created during the first five years of their marriage (part of the reason I haven't been reading so much). Lots of small b/w snapshots mixed with marriage certificate, army discharge, hotel bill and 'do not disturb' sign for their three-day pass honeymoon. They were a really good couple together. Some pictures were missing, alas, leaving rubber cement marks on the grey pages, but it's a pretty good record of those years. 77 plus pages!

my folks, about 1947, in a hand-colored portrait

My father was in the Philipines in 1945. Here he is writing to my mother, whose photos are behind him on the shelf

Aug 4, 1:52pm Top

Oh, an annotated version of The Man Who Was Thursday would be useful, wouldn't it, Judy. When I read it, I felt like I was watching a black and white Saturday afternoon movie.

Great photos of your parents. My father was on a destroyer (relatively) near there in 1945.

Aug 6, 11:37am Top

I'm casting around for reading these days, trying to find something to my taste. Yesterday I picked up Marguerite Duras's novel The Vice-Consul, which has quite a powerful start, but i haven't really dived in. I have So You Want To Talk About Race on my kindle, about 1/3 read - want to pay attention to it, not race through. Next after Tuesday I need to start American Pastoral. Then there's The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science, which I dipped into recently, although I haven't learned anything yet! And I'm continuing to scan albums, which takes a lot of time. I should read while the scanner is chugging along.

We are seeing Terri Loeffler tonight for dinner! She's in the big city to see as many theatrical productions as humanly possible, but she still has to eat, right? I'll try to get proof.

Edited: Aug 6, 12:06pm Top

I forgot to mention that we went to the Met Breuer Museum yesterday to see Obsession: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele, and Picasso From the Scofield ThayerCollection." The three artists are very different. Klimt's painted work is characteristic of his portraits, but they are also showing his drawings, some of which are really hard to see, they are so lightly drawn. Copies of his paintings are painted right on the museum walls. Schiele's work is almost all drawings, very sexually explicit. I found them wonderful, with use of line somewhat like Matisse, spare and suggesting form. And Picasso is of course Picasso, not much I hadn't seen many times before. You can see a little of it if you click on the link above.

Here's a not very shocking painting by Picasso:

Aug 6, 2:45pm Top

So I finished my physical therapy session, and the following conversation ensued:

-the elevator isn't working
-oh. Can I take the stairs?
-no, the painters are painting the stairwell
-there is a freight elevator. But you can't use the fire escape. We bolted that window shut.
-gee, the freight is taking a long time to arrive.
-I wonder if it's working.

So the staff kept wandering in to the kitchen area where the freight elevator is behind a door (how they get freight in I do NOT know). I suggested rope ladders from the third floor windows, and pulled out the crossword when they demurred.

Eventually the freight elevator did come. The arriving clients, with their braces and crutches and bad knees, and the members of the gyms and spas and what-have-yoiu in the building all have to find and then walk through this totally scuzzy loading dock area on the side street. Staff was a little bemused.

Aug 6, 3:00pm Top

>84 ffortsa: A fire escape with the window bolted shut!!?!?!?! Does the Fire Marshall know about that?

Aug 6, 4:30pm Top

>84 ffortsa: There are internal fire stairs. It's an old building that was retrofitted with fireproof stairs, but they left the structure of the fire escape bolted in. At least that's what they tell me!

Aug 6, 7:36pm Top

Hi Judy. I'm glad you're making your way (slowly) through So You Want to Talk About Race. I'll be interested in your take on it.

Edited: Aug 10, 1:06pm Top

A picture from Williamstown finally appeared on my phone. I wonder where it was hiding? Anyway, here we are:

meetup in Williamstown 2018.
Left to right: Jim (magicians_nephew), me, our friends Rich and Kate, John and Marianne (michigan_trumpet), Caro (cameling) and Edd.

Aug 10, 1:22pm Top

Terri Loeffler (tloeffler) was in town this week to gorge on theater, and we ate with her and her son Keith on Monday. Then I remembered that Julia (Rosalita) was coming into town to see the Springsteen show, and Terri and I and Jim got together for breakfast!

clockwise from the lower left, Julia, Terri, Jim and me. You might notice that Jim's right eye is covered by a patch. More troubles with that troubled organ surfaced this week. Lots of medical appointments ensued.

Aug 10, 1:45pm Top

Nice photos, Judy! In both, it looks like a good time was had by all. I hope Jim's eye becomes trouble-free asap.

Aug 10, 2:24pm Top

Yay! Meet-up photos! So glad they finally showed up indoor phone. : )

Your museum forays sound great. I really should make more of an effort to go to mine here.

Sending good mojo to Jim--yikes!

Aug 10, 3:50pm Top

Nice photos. I love being able to put faces to names even if not in person. Sorry to hear about Jim's eye.

Aug 12, 11:29pm Top

More meet-ups! Yay!

Aug 13, 2:26pm Top

>89 ffortsa: It was so great to see you and Jim again, Judy. And of course my Joplin buddy Terri. Thank you again for fitting me into your schedule. I wish I could have stayed longer, but alas.

Edited: Aug 13, 4:52pm Top

>90 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. Jim's eye will indeed become trouble-free because it's going to be removed. The medical magicians have done their best over the years, but he has no possibility of sight in the eye, and the cornea has developed a hole that will, if left unattended, invite infection. We see the surgeon tomorrow. In the meantime, it's Pirate Jim aka the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Edited: Aug 13, 5:13pm Top

>87 EBT1002:

46. I finished So You Want to Talk About Race a couple of days ago, and I'm trying to gather my thoughts. The first half of the book felt especially insightful and pertinent, and certainly made me wiggle a bit remembering the stupidities of my undiplomatic youth. I hope I do better these days. The second half felt like Oluo was belaboring the point, but that's ok too. I definitely understand the discomfort of the 'model minority' garbage.

I actually think the book has helped me be more sensitive to certain types of comments made by people of color. There was a spot by Roy Wood Jr. a few days ago, on The Daily Show, about how the character of Franklin was portrayed in the Peanuts comics and then in the animated Peanuts version, and I think I was considering the points being made more subtly than I would have before.

And I've rewritten several of the sentences above as well. So the book has made a difference.

eta: I went back and reread your review, so very articulate and pointed. Yes, I am a white person who wishes I felt more comfortable and confident engaging in discussions about race and racism in the US, and this book was so forthright it might help me do just that.

Aug 13, 8:51pm Top

>95 ffortsa: Yikes! Poor Jim. Please give him my best, Judy.

Aug 14, 11:28am Top

>95 ffortsa: Oh dear!! All the best to both of you with the surgery and recovery.

Aug 15, 5:48am Top

>95 ffortsa: Best of luck leading up to the "Trouble-Free" status, and perhaps a wee bit afterwards, too. Sending best wishes to Jim (and you) as you guys deal with this.

Edited: Aug 16, 9:59am Top

47. The Adventures of Dagobert Trostler by Balduin Groller

This is an ER book I received electronically and finally got around to reading. It comprises 6 stories featuring the amateur detective Dagobert Trostler in the high society of Austro-Hugarian Vienna, and while the promo cites him as the 'Austro-Hungarian answer to Sherlock Holmes', it is not a fair comparison. True, Trostler can distinguish among many types and qualities of writing paper, and he is a sharp observer of people and place. But he is more interested in solving problems without involving the police, and he relies on a miscreant's sense of honor or fear of social exposure more than any sort of force.

The stories are set in a rich and often titled milieu, and are quite clever. If Father Brown were not Father or Hercule Poirot not so finicky, one or the other might have acted in this way, avoiding scandal and protecting both victim and perpetrator. The only time Trostler calls the police in, the perpetrator is a known murderer and thief, and even he is handled gently.

Kazabo Press is dedicated to finding 'best-selling books from around the world' which have not yet been translated into English and remedying that oversight. In addition to the six stories by Groller, the ebook contains several chapters from another release, The Man in the Cellar by Palle Rosenkrantz, which the publisher calls the father of Danish mystery novels. You can see their published list at Kazabo.com. While the books currently available seem to be older, and probably old enough to be past copyright, the site promises more contemporary work to come.

Aug 15, 10:56pm Top

Hi Judy, I'm usually more of a lurker here but I wanted to pop in to say how much I enjoyed your review of So You Want to Talk About Race. It sounds like a topic we all should reconsider. I know I need to.

Aug 16, 6:46am Top

Hi Judy!

I love the meet up photos and thank you for putting user and real names.

>96 ffortsa: made me wiggle a bit remembering the stupidities of my undiplomatic youth. Well put. Me, too.

What >99 Berly: Kim said. Not the best way to become trouble free, alas.

Aug 17, 10:02am Top

There's a lively discussion over on KatieKrug's thread on planned reading. For me, it's either planning, reading threads, or reading books. Usually threads win these days.

Aug 18, 5:45pm Top

48. Murder in the Marais by Cara Black

I am pretty sure I read one of the books in this series, and deliberately looked for the first of them. But I can't find it in my LT library or my recent threads, so maybe it was a long time ago.

This first entry in the Aimee Leduc series was unexpectedly long (382 pages or so), and very involved with the afteraffects of WWII even though it takes place in the 1990s. Aimee is approached to deliver something to an old woman in the Marais district of Paris, but finds her freshly murdered. In attempting to identify her murdere, Aimee gets involved with both wartime history and European trade and immigrant control decisions. I found the story a bit overinflated, especially so for some characters. However, I like that the stories take place in Paris, so I will continue the series and see if the author gets better.

Aug 20, 10:20am Top

Hi, Judy.

I read a couple of the Cara Black Aimee Leduc books for the same reason - the idea of mysteries set in Paris appealed to me. But I lost interest. I'll look forward to hearing your reactions.

Aug 20, 11:49am Top

Second day of temperatures in the 70s! Yay. I was so tired of the heat, and the air conditioning as well. Forecasts for New York keep us well below 90 degrees for the foreseeable future.

I'm about to start listening to American Pastoral, which Jim says is exceptionally well-read. It's about 15 hours, and we are due to discuss it the Tuesday after Labor Day, I think, assuming Jim is not in the immediate aftermath of eye surgery. We have an appointment with a backup surgeon on the 23rd, but if he can't get Jim in to the OR immediately, it will be the week before Labor Day that the surgery will happen - I hope. It will be such a relief when this is over.

Edited: Aug 21, 1:01pm Top

49. The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths

more popcorn for a stressful week.

Ruth is invited to Italy to work with a former colleague on a Roman dig.
But nothing at the dig and in the local town is as it seems, of course.

Back home, Nelson is warned that a villain he has put away, and who vowed to get revenge on him, has been put on parole. When he goes to find Ruth and Kate after news of an Italian earthquake, Michelle calls Tim.

Griffiths cuts back and forth between Norfolk and Italy and we pursue the plotlines in parallel until they resolve. As has become a bit common in her books, the ending gives each main character a separate spotlight. Sometimes it feels like the multiple endings of one of Beethoven's symphonies.

Aug 22, 3:06pm Top

It was such a nice day yesterday that I decided to walk to my hairdresser's. 2.8 miles and nary a complaint from the foot. A little achy today, but no crisis. Whew.

Aug 22, 3:54pm Top

Yay for the foot!

Any news on Jim's surgery?

Edited: Aug 23, 4:21pm Top

>109 katiekrug: Maybe tomorrow. There are two procedures to choose from, literally. I'm not sure which Jim will decide on.

eta: Surgery tomorrow afternoon, the procedure we think is safer, and as usual with eye surgery, outpatient. With lots of pain meds afterwards.

Aug 23, 4:33pm Top

I'll be thinking of you both tomorrow. Hope all goes well and that recovery isn't too painful.

Aug 23, 4:45pm Top

What Reba said. Take care - both of you!!

Aug 23, 10:14pm Top

On another topic, I've started listening to American Pastoral by Philip Roth. At first I was worried that listening was not a good idea, but once past the first few chapters it really caught me. I'm about a quarter through it, and Roth has really won me over. This is for a reading group meeting on September 4th, so i have time to listen.

Aug 24, 7:15am Top

>110 ffortsa: Best wishes that all goes well and for a speedy recovery!

Aug 24, 9:17am Top

Sending lots of good wishes and healing vibes from Iowa to Jim! I hope all goes smoothly, Judy.

Aug 25, 1:18pm Top

Thanks for all your good wishes >115 rosalita: >114 ELiz_M: >112 katiekrug: >111 RebaRelishesReading: >99 Berly: >97 jnwelch: and anyone I may have missed. Jim had his surgery late yesterday, and we didn't get home until almost 2am. The immediate aftermath was very tough, but he's resting pretty comfortably now. And it's done. Eventually he will get the second part of the prosthesis, the one that everyone sees, and that will be that. This was a long road.

Aug 25, 1:48pm Top

So glad it's done and that he's doing well. Wishing strength and comfort to both of you in the journey ahead.

Aug 25, 2:00pm Top

Thanks for the update, Judy! I hope Jim's comfort continues as he heals.

Aug 26, 3:57pm Top

What Julia said, Judy. I'm glad it's done, and that Jim's resting pretty comfortably. How long until he gets the second part of the prosthesis?

Aug 27, 2:32pm Top

>119 jnwelch: He won't get the second part of the prosthesis for 4-6 weeks, after the eye socket heals. And if I understand correctly, he first gets a sort of off-the-shelf one and then a custom-fitted one in a couple of months.

He's quite comfy now, and we removed the patch today to reveal a somewhat swollen and bruised eye area. We will see the surgeon on Thursday for a post-op.

Aug 27, 3:03pm Top

Hi Judy!

I'm glad to hear that Jim's quite comfy now after a rough immediate aftermath. Sending healing thoughts to him and comforting thoughts to you both as you continue to go through this big change.

Aug 27, 3:23pm Top

Good news that he is healing well!

Aug 28, 10:48am Top

The body is a remarkable thing. Feeling well, Jim went in to work today!

Edited: Aug 28, 10:58am Top

Back to books. Currently reading:

American Pastoral
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science
The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction (with a New Epilogue) by Frank Kermode

Along with the aforelisted mysteries for when my brain isn't up to the other stuff.

Aug 28, 11:47am Top

>123 ffortsa: Great to hear!

I thought Astrophysics for People in a Hurry was really good. If you're like me, you may find the first chapter pretty challenging. But it all gets easier after that.

Aug 28, 5:15pm Top

>125 jnwelch: I am finding The Canon variable. The first few chapters were definitely missable, as she explains what constitutes science, but the chapters on the structure of the atom and on the four forces have been a nice refresher. Her writing is a little too cute, alas, but it's easy reading.

Aug 29, 9:53am Top

Hi Judy!

>125 jnwelch: I 100% agree with what Joe says. The first chapter was intimidating, but the rest was easier.

Glad to hear that Jim went to work.

Aug 29, 2:57pm Top

>123 ffortsa: I'm impressed and very glad to hear Jim was feeling well enough to go to work yesterday. I hope it went well and that he's still feeling good today.

Aug 29, 5:05pm Top

>123 ffortsa: I am quite impressed that Jim is already back at work! A hearty soul, indeed. How's the Roth coming along?

Aug 30, 3:02am Top

Glad everything went so well for Jim. Phew!! I also enjoyed Astrophysics. Eager to hear what you think of the other three. Oh, and glad the foot did well on your long walk. : )

Aug 30, 1:16pm Top

>129 rosalita: The Roth is coming along. I'm about a third through the Audible recording, so I have to hurry up if I'm to be finished by Tuesday. The way the daughter's stuttering is represented really moved me, as I had a similar stutter until well after college. Her struggle and her parents' struggle are very real.

Aug 30, 10:24pm Top

>131 ffortsa: It sounds like audio version was the way to go, taking into account the portrayal of a stuttering character. You may convince me to give it a try after all!

Sep 4, 11:37am Top

Well, I'm back from a visit to friends in the Boston suburbs, where we actually were able to have a meetup with Caro (Cameling) and Marianne (MichiganTrumpet) and their hubbies. Very nice to see them again.

And since it was the season opener for the U of Michigan football team, against their arch-rivals Notre Dame, we had to watch the first half of the game before Marianne and John went home. I gather the final score was not in their favor, so I offer condolences!

Meanwhile, on the way back on the train, I finished my next book.

51. American Pastoral by Philip Roth

Reading group discussion tonight. I will say I found it both engrossing and irritating. More later.

Sep 5, 5:30pm Top

52. The Vice-Consul by Marguerite Duras

This short novel has been on my shelves for a long time. I'm not sure what I think of it, so I'll wait a bit before commenting.

Sep 7, 10:16am Top

53. Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

This is the first of the Rebus mysteries, and provides the truly horrific background of the character. The reader is pretty much one or two steps ahead of the detective, but the writing is good and the pace is taut.

I read this because I have a number of Rebus mysteries on my actual physical shelf, unread, and an I wanted to start at the beginning.

Sep 7, 10:25am Top

>89 ffortsa: Meet ups are so fun! There were two when I had great conversations with you and Jim!

I hope that when I retire, I'll be able to attend more!

Sep 10, 12:20am Top

How fun to have a meet-up!! And in MA, where I have lived many times. Aaaaawww. : )

Edited: Yesterday, 12:29pm Top

The nice thing about accompanying one's partner on a business trip is that there is nothing to do but relax and maybe meet people for lunch. Jim and I just got back from a trip to Dallas, and I was able to have lunch with an old friend from a job I had decades earlier, a former boss and some co-workers, and some cousins I had never even met! And I made it to the Dallas Museum of Art (posting with lots of pictures on Facebook). The weather was pretty much crummy, so I didn't go swimming more than once, but I had expansive mornings where I read, watched golf on tv, did my foot exercises, and otherwise relaxed.

I read this first book in HARD COVER! Wow. I borrowed it from the library just before it would have gone back to the circulating shelves, so I had to take it along.

54. The State Counsellor by Boris Akunin

This is the latest entry I could find in the series by Akunin that features Ernst Fandorin, a gifted and sometimes cursed detective operating in old Russia before WWI. I think the first of these occurs during the Crimean War, or at least a war with Turkey.

In this one, Fandorin has signed on as a Counsellor with a prince who also runs the various police departments in Moscow, just as the anarchist movement is blowing things up. The dual track of the anarchist leader and Fandorin is well managed, and the subtle politics is definitely worth the read.

note: Fandorin has spent time in the East, and has a Japanese manservant and physical trainer who could have been the straightfaced basis for Inspector Clouseau's manservant in the Peter Sellers movies. Fandorin's guests are inevitably surprised by the man and the physical training they witness.

55. @Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin

The second in the Rebus series. The underbelly of the newly moneyed class is at the center of this book, as Rankin begins to put together Rebus's team and environment. Not much backstory - the text focuses on the down and out in Edinburgh as the London money moves north to disrupt the real estate and criminal patterns of the old city. A good read.

Edited: Sep 14, 1:12pm Top

On the way back from Dallas, I started reading Nassim Talib's latest book, Antifragile. It's very snarky - Talib is definitely annoyed with the people in power. I can't always tell if he's a devotee of Ayn Rand or just a conservative economist who thinks debt is a bad risk, but he throws sarcastic remarks around very freely indeed. And he tends to make statements that assume you have read the research he has read and would of course agree with his premise without supporting documentation (there are footnotes, however). I found myself making notes on a Kindle book for the first time that I can recall.

But the concept of antifragility, which might be summarized by the old saw 'whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger', is an interesting one, so I will continue with this.

We got in late last night because of schedule delays, but did not experience any really bad weather, which was quite a relief, considering Hurricane Florence. We must have some LTers in the path of the storm. I hope everyone is well and the property damage is not too bad. Roll call?

eta: Although I'm rather tired today, the trip and the people I met on it seem to have energized me. Thank goodness. It's either that or the break in the weather - I was sinking into a puddle of slothfulness (not to malign sloths, of course).

Sep 15, 1:53pm Top

Hi Judy - You have had a lot going on. Sending healing thoughts. I will keep my fingers crossed that all stay well for the next little while.

Hooray for meet ups.

I agree mysteries are great for sick days, rainy days, and pretty much any time. :) I love the Ruth Galloway series as well.

Sep 15, 2:24pm Top

>140 BLBera: I can't wait for the next Ruth. We are at a bit of a romantic cliffhanger at this point.

Those cousins I had never met before have our addiction. Eileen, my cousin's wife, took the time a while back to cull their books, and ended up bringing 2000 volumes to Half-Price Books! I was immediately sure the bloodlines were true. BTW, if she offered them a book with a special value, they gave it back to her with advice to have it priced. Great service.

Sep 15, 2:53pm Top

I'm pretty good at passing on books that I've read, Judy. I just have so many unread ones. At some point, I need to do some serious thinking and get rid of the ones I don't think I will ever read. That is tough for me.

Edited: Sep 16, 6:25pm Top

Yesterday, 12:23pm Top

57. Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin

This was a disappointment, a series of not quite credible events and an all-at-once ending. Rebus is seconded to London because of his supposed expertise in solving serial murders. We see the murderer at work, but can't quite figure out who he or she is. A psychologist offers her insights, but we don't really know her credentials. Rebus's daughter is seeing a young man who is part of the family of a man that the Old Bailey's star prosecutor can't convict. And somehow, from all that, Rebus has the insight that identifies the killer. Rankin throws in the killer's childhood and background at the last minute to provide the motivations, which is a cheat. The whole book feels arbitrary.

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