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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: Dec 31, 2018, 8:38pm 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
58. ✔The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald
59. @The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson
60. ✔ Prague Noir
61. @The Fourth Secret by Andrea Camilleri
62. @The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley
63. @Burmese Days by George Orwell
64. @The Murder of Harriet Krohn by Karin Fossum
65. ✔Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie
66. ✔Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
67. @Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
68. @Rest in Pieces by Rita Mae Brown
69. @Murder at Monticello by Rita Mae Brown
70. @Pay Dirt by Rita Mae Brown
71. @Murder, She Meowed by Rita Mae Brown
72. @Murder on the Prowl by Rita Mae Brown
73. @Cat on the Scent by Rita Mae Brown
74. @Tinkers by Paul Harding
75. @Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
76. @Pawing Through the Past by Rita Mae Brown
77. @Claws and Effect by Rita Mae Brown
78. The Sense of an Ending by Frank Kermode
79. @The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
80. @The Golden Calf by Helene Turston
81. @Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson
82. @The Cereal Murders by Diane Mott Davidson
83. @The Last Suppers by Diane Mott Davidson
84. ✔Rapture by Susan Minot
85. @The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

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

May 11, 2018, 9:35am Top

Happy new thread!

May 11, 2018, 11:27am Top

Happy new one, Judy!!

May 11, 2018, 11:38am Top

Happy new thread, Judy!

May 11, 2018, 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, 2018, 3:16pm Top

Happy new thread!

May 11, 2018, 4:46pm Top

Happy new thread.

May 11, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 9:03pm Top

Happy new thread, Judy.

Hope your Sunday is a lovely one.

May 14, 2018, 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, 2018, 11:16am Top

Happy New Thread, Judy.

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

Edited: May 15, 2018, 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, 2018, 2:07am Top

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

May 16, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 4:55pm Top

Sorry to hear that MacBeth was disappointing.

Edited: May 25, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 12:25am Top

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

Jul 11, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 10:14am Top

>62 BLBera: Always good to introduce another member.

Edited: Jul 13, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 3:00pm Top

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

Aug 6, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 11:29pm Top

More meet-ups! Yay!

Aug 13, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 8:51pm Top

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

Aug 14, 2018, 11:28am Top

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

Aug 15, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 3:54pm Top

Yay for the foot!

Any news on Jim's surgery?

Edited: Aug 23, 2018, 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, 2018, 4:33pm Top

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

Aug 23, 2018, 4:45pm Top

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

Aug 23, 2018, 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, 2018, 7:15am Top

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

Aug 24, 2018, 9:17am Top

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

Aug 25, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 2:00pm Top

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

Aug 26, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 3:23pm Top

Good news that he is healing well!

Aug 28, 2018, 10:48am Top

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

Edited: Aug 28, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 12:20am Top

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

Edited: Sep 19, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 6:25pm Top

Sep 19, 2018, 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.

Edited: Sep 21, 2018, 9:48am Top

58. The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald

I haven't read any Penelope Fitzgerald before, and was almost put off by the beginning of this book, which is a little twee, but the Pearl Rule carried me past my first reaction, to good effect.

This little comedy takes place in 1912, divided in its setting between an obscure celibate Cambridge college and a less obscure poor section of London. Fred, attempting to study modern physics, is appointed to a post in the college by a professor who believes that the only physics we can know is what we can observe. Consequently, modern theories about the atom are dangerously speculative.

Let me tell you what is going to happen, over the coming centuries, to atomic research.
There will be many apparent results, some useful, some spectacular, some, very possibly, unpleasant. But since the whole basis of the present research is unsound, cracks will appear in the structure one by one. The physicists will begin by constructing models of the atom, in fact there are some very nice ones in the Cavendish at the moment. Then they'll find that the models won't do, because they would only work if atoms really existed, so they'll replace them by mathematical terms which can be stretched to fit. As a result, they'll find that since they're dealing with what they can't observe, they can't measure it, and so we shall hear that all that can be said is that the position is probably this and the energy is probably that. The energy will be beyond their comprehension, so they'll be driven to the theory that it comes and goes more or less at random. Now their hypotheses will be at the beginning of collapse and they will have to pull out more and more bright corners. There will be elementary particles which are too strange to have anything but curious names, and anti-matter which ought to be there, but isn't. By the end of the century they will have to admit that the laws they are supposed to have discovered seem to act in a profoundly disorderly way.

A pretty good description of what happened in physics in the 20th century, as predicted by a denier, wouldn't you say? Of course, Fitzgerald has the advantage of writing in 1990.

Fred's comic activities in College, and at home at his father's Rectory where his mother and sisters have flung themselves into the Suffrage Movement, are contrasted to those of Daisy, growing up exceedingly poor in London, who, after several secretarial jobs in which she found herself holding off her employers' advances, decides to become a nurse. Through a variety of mishaps, she finds herself in Cambridge, where she and Fred collide, literally. And thereby hangs this comic romance, one part physics, one part accident, one part social movement. I found it a delightful little entertainment.

eta: Here's a link to a review in the NY Times some years ago:
here. I like the reference to collision as it applies to atomic particles.

Sep 21, 2018, 10:17am Top

I like Fitzgerald but haven't read this one, Judy. It sounds like one I would like.

Sep 21, 2018, 5:25pm Top

>146 BLBera: Which of her other books would you recommend?

Sep 21, 2018, 6:38pm Top

Judy - I think Human Voices was my favorite although I also liked The Bookshop quite a bit.

Sep 23, 2018, 12:04pm Top

Now that Jim has had his medical adventure, it was time for my own. I ended up at Emergency at NYU Langone for what I was sure must be the family gall bladder disease, finally out to get me. But NO, instead it was appendicitis! APPENDICITIS! The head of the ER said she and the attending were looking at the CT scan report saying no, really? Really.

I always associate it with younger people, but my friend Karen in Dallas had the same thing happen to her last spring. So I called her and blamed her for the very idea of it.

The worse of it was, I was so miserable all day that reading was out of the question. Sigh. Poor Jim. He wouldn't leave me for a minute, so it was a long day for him too.

Sep 23, 2018, 1:54pm Top

So sorry you had to go through that. I assume you had surgery? Hopefully, if the pain is gone, you can pick up a good book again. You two really need to stay away from the doctors!! Heal quickly. Hugs.

Sep 23, 2018, 8:49pm Top

>150 Berly: My sister said the same thing about doctors. Actually she said 'you guys have to cut this out!". Which the doctors in question did. Of course, I felt pretty good today. But that led to a wee bit of overactivity, and now I'm about to retreat to bed, a painkiller, and the Times crossword.

I must say the staff at NYU Langone were peachy, always keeping me informed and prepared and expressing understanding of my condition. Of course, after the surgery they wouldn't let me go until I showed kidney function, and that took a while and a lot of water, so we didn't get home until almost midnight, and I was up all night peeing.

Sep 23, 2018, 10:02pm Top

Ah, the weary can't catch a break. Glad your kidney is functioning. LOL

Sep 23, 2018, 10:11pm Top

Whoa! So sorry to hear that your surplus organ decided to pack it up, Judy! I'm glad you got such good care and are back home recovering. You and Jim deserve a break from the medical junk, for sure.

Edited: Sep 24, 2018, 8:42pm Top

Thanks, Julia.

I'm taking this time to start the Longmire series. The Cold Dish is great so far, but every once in a while I wince. Johnson uses gauntlet instead of gantlet, and early on wrote of a 'right of passage'. Oy. Trying to ignore these because the dialogue is so good and the scenic descriptions amazing.

Sep 24, 2018, 8:30pm Top

>154 ffortsa: Oof, those are bad, Judy. I'm chagrined to say I never noticed them!

Sep 25, 2018, 5:46pm Top

Catching up and so sorry to hear about your emergency trip to hospital. Do hope you’re feeling better and that the two of you stop this stuff!

Edited: Sep 26, 2018, 8:41am Top

Hi Judy!

Sorry about the appendicitis, glad they diagnosed it quickly and took it out. I hope your recovery s swift.

I loved the first two Longmires, and am surprised that I didn't catch those gaffes in the first one.

Sep 26, 2018, 10:27am Top

59. The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

I waited a long time to start this series, and finally got hold of the first title this week. Aside from a few editing errors (see >154 ffortsa: above), the writing is lovely and gives me a real feel for the Wyoming country and its history. The dialog is funny and the characters are ones I'd like to read about again. And the case, or cases, at hand are complicated and compelling. My only complaint: I'm a little tired of everything being explained by childhood sexual abuse. But maybe this wasn't so common when this first book was written. I look forward to learning more about the Cheyanne and Wyoming in future installments.

Sep 27, 2018, 2:24pm Top

You and Jim have certainly been having your share of medical adventures.

So glad you're starting the Longmire series. I've only listened to the audio editions so those cringeworthy editing issues weren't a problem.

Edited: Sep 28, 2018, 6:19pm Top

Last night Jim and I and some friends saw the NTLive broadcast of 'King Lear' with Ian McKellen, the same production that Joe and Debbi saw a week or so ago in London. It was a well-directed production with interesting choices among the characters and casting, and should have been a stellar experience. But it wasn't.

Have I seen too many Lears? Maybe. But I think the main problem was technical. All the people on stage were trained stage actors, and they were playing in a very small theater in London. Before that, they played in a 300 seat theater in Chichester! I can't imaging that any of them needed to be miked. But for the recorded view, they were certainly miked. Perhaps as a result, everyone seemed to be shouting all the time, at least up until the intermission, which takes place very late in the play. The amplification was muddy, sometimes sound dropped out altogether for a line or two, and I desperately wanted to turn the volume down. After the interval, the play and the players got a little quieter, and that was very welcome.

Aside from Sir Ian, the players were a little uneven. I did not care for the actor playing Cordelia, but again, this might be partly because of how she was miked. The half-brothers Edmund and Edgar were excellent, especially Edgar. The first scene was wonderful, and the interwoven stories of fathers and children, brothers and sisters, was very clearly told.

So if this production comes to a cinema near you, you may or may not want to see it.

eta: Jim says in another venue in NYC, people were so distressed by the sound quality they walked out and demanded their money back!

Sep 28, 2018, 2:12pm Top

60. Angelica's Smile by Andrea Camilleri

An absolutely delightful romp, with Montalbano being led around by his nether parts even more than usual, and the food dazzling. The underlying story is one of revenge, the capers clever, and only one body, if I recall correctly, which makes it even more of a comedy than usual.

Sep 29, 2018, 11:56am Top

I hope all are well at your house, Judy. You've had your yearly supply of medical issues, I'd say.

I saw the RSC production of Lear when it came to the States. It was outstanding, so I'm sorry to hear this one was flawed technically. McKellan was Lear in our production, and everything was perfect. I will probably never watch another Lear because there's no way it can compare.

Sep 29, 2018, 1:01pm Top

>162 BLBera: Yes, the one you saw was his previous shot at it, and he specifically asked to do the play again in a very different kind of venue. The sound quality really interfered with my enjoyment and involvement. I wish I'd been with Joe and Debbi to see it in person.

Knock wood the medical issues are dissipating. I did have to go on antibiotics because one of the surgical wounds, in an awkward place, isn't healing that well, but that is pretty common. I see the surgeon on Thursday for my post-op. Thanks for your comment.

Sep 30, 2018, 3:16pm Top

Hi, Judy. You're reading two of my favorite series, Longmire and Montalbano. Both are consistently high quality - I just read and enjoyed the newest entry in both.

Oct 1, 2018, 8:41pm Top

I'm sorry that your experience seeing the NT Live rebroadcast of King Lear wasn't a good one. I loved seeing it in person at the Duke of York's Theatre two weeks ago, as did Debbi & Joe if I can speak for them, and hopefully the audio problems can get sorted out soon.

Oct 2, 2018, 9:49am Top

I hope so, but since the problems were reported at more than one venue in New York, I suspect the entire sound track would have to be re-engineered, which might not be possible with a live recording. It would have been grand to see this one with you and the Welches.

Oct 2, 2018, 5:52pm Top

60. Prague Noir

This entry from Akashic Press contains stories that reach back to WWII, to the Russian invasion, and forward to current despair and escape. Families are of paramount importance, but are often betrayed. I found each story engrossing, well worth the series.

61. @The Fourth Secret by Andrea Camilleri

This novella was not translated by Camilleri's usual translator, and it shows instantly. I had to think really hard to realize that Catarella was who he was, although his sweet innocence does come through more and more as the story progresses. Montalbano is impulsive as usual, and the usual stunning young woman piques his interest. But this story involves the carabinieri in a most unusual way, and Montalbano has a chance to show his admiration for someone he will never get a chance to work with, alas.

Oct 4, 2018, 10:46am Top

Plans are going awry all over the place. I was hoping to start playing the violin again, knowing I would have to start from the beginning, but I hadn't reckoned with the resurgence of the pain that had forced me to stop in the first place. The fear of it completely blindsided me, and turned me into a rather unpleasant potential student. Sigh. I have some advice on how to counteract my problems, but I spent years of physical therapy and other drastic measures on it decades ago, and don't know how well I can combat it now. Very much a bummer.

Recovery from the appendectomy is just about finished. The surgeon postponed the post-op till next week, but I did see my primary, who told me I was doing too much, so I've reluctantly slowed down a bit. The weather is gorgeous - I'll take a book to the park.

Oct 4, 2018, 1:50pm Top

Hi Judy!

>60 EBT1002: I am probably the only person who does not like the Montalbano series - I tried the first one based on RichardDerus's recommendation but just couldn't get through it. He and I ATD - agreed to disagree - about it.

Sorry about the violin plans going awry, and am glad that you are heeding your doctor's advise to slow down after your appendectomy. Book, park, yay.

Oct 5, 2018, 9:29am Top

62. The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley

Obviously, I'm on a mystery story binge.

Flavia and her sisters are mourning their father, and Dugger takes them on a river trip to soothe them, but he has an ulterior motive as well. Flavia, at 12, is her usual stubborn, insightful, impetuous self; her relationships with her sisters and her appraisals of them are changing as well. It's a thoroughly enjoyable village mystery. I can't wait until the next one.

Oct 6, 2018, 11:41am Top

Glad to hear your recovery is progressing, Judy. Yes, do take care of yourself. I'm sorry to hear about the violin. Maybe another instrument?

Oct 6, 2018, 12:05pm Top

Oh, I'm not finished trying to resolve this yet.

Oct 6, 2018, 12:19pm Top

About this time every year, I wonder how I managed to fail to follow so many people whose threads I starred in January. Maybe this isn't the best way to keep up. So, fellow 75ers, do you follow the stars you drop, or do you use the threadsite to see who posted recently, or do you have another method? How many people do you try to follow?

Oct 6, 2018, 12:41pm Top

I star people I follow. I haven’t counted but it’s 20-30. They tend to be people with whom I have something in common with, generally similar reading taste.

Oct 6, 2018, 3:02pm Top

I start with a lot of stars, Judy, and end up reading/skimming all threads in this group. Just out of curiosity ;-)

Oct 7, 2018, 12:01am Top

I star threads at the start of the year and just follow those.

Oct 7, 2018, 12:20pm Top

Thanks for the feedback. I think I star too many threads at the beginning of the year, thinking I'll keep up with people with interesting libraries in addition to the people I've met face-to-face. It's a case of eyes bigger that thread-reading time. But there are so many interesting people here.

On the subject of interesting people, Jim and I attended a funeral yesterday for a member of one of our reading groups. Listening to his family and friends talk about his many interests, skills, and self-directed life, I felt I'd not taken the opportunity to get to know him better and missed at least some of a really unique person. His life story is an example of following your heart and mind regardless of the conventional paths. It's a good example to have.

Oct 7, 2018, 4:09pm Top

I also star people I've met and whose reading intrigues me, Judy. Then occasionally, I skim other threads. Less and less as the year goes on...

Oct 7, 2018, 5:02pm Top

I start the year off starring people I've accumulated over the last 10 years, then if I see somebody's posts on one of those threads intrigues me enough to check out that person; I usually star them and follow them. I've been known to drop threads occasionally, too. Right now I'm at 54 people starred, but some of them haven't been posting recently, some I just read periodically but don't post on regularly, and some I read every day and post almost every day. I've had a really busy summer, though, and I'm way behind on some threads.

Oct 8, 2018, 11:41am Top

Thanks, >179 karenmarie: and >178 BLBera:. I'm reassured. i don't want to miss too much in this group, but there are so many interesting people, it's hard to find time to keep track of them.

I'm in the middle of several books at the moment, but only one fiction, Burmese Days by George Orwell. So far it's a bit preachy, but I'll see it through. The picture of colonial life is very similar to that shown in Duras's Vice Consul, although that concerned French colonialism and this is English. The style is much more direct.

I'm one lecture away from finishing Kenmare's The Sense of An Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction. I also picked up a book by Margaret Visser, The Way We Are, which comprises short essays on various patterns and quirks of behavior we take for granted. It's a little spotty. I much prefer her book Much Depends on Dinner. And there are a few other non-fiction books on my Kindle that I wander over too now and then. Non of them require continuous attention.

After the Orwell, I will be reading Pachinko for one of my reading groups, but I won't be able to attend the discussion because I'm going to be working the election polls in November. I find the long, routine day strangely exhiliarating, but I'll be sorry to miss the discussion.

Edited: Oct 9, 2018, 6:48pm Top

I almost forgot to say that Jim and I saw the play 'The Nap' at the MTC Friedman theater on Friday. It's a very engaging farce about the culture around competitive snooker, if you can imagine that!

Here's a joyous review from The Times

eta: at least one of my friends hated it and left at intermission. Oh well.

Oct 10, 2018, 4:12pm Top

We're heading up to another book festival, this one in Boston this weekend. It's really just one day, and as usual too many presentations to listen to unless we can clone ourselves. But we'll incorporate a meetup, and that's worth the trip for sure.

Oct 11, 2018, 3:37pm Top

63. Burmese Days by George Orwell

It was interesting to read this after the Marguerite Duras book The Vice Consul, which takes place at approximately the same time and place but in the French colonial circumstance rather than the English. Where the Duras was a sort of mesmerizing dream, this is more of an account of misery, with its attendant racism and despair. We will be talking about it in one of our book groups later this month. I'm interested to hear what others think of it.

Oct 15, 2018, 9:49am Top

Hi Judy!

>181 ffortsa: I haven't seen enough live theater in my life to have seen one stinky enough to leave at intermission. A mixed blessing, for sure.

Oct 15, 2018, 4:17pm Top

>184 karenmarie: Hi back, Karen. We've seen a lot of theater and are pretty tolerant, or maybe curious. But we have walked out of a couple of really dull shows. My friend was upset with the nature of the relationships in the family. I suspect it's a personal problem.

Edited: Oct 15, 2018, 4:22pm Top

64. The Murder of Harriet Krohn by Karin Fossum

I went back in the series to read this one I had skipped, but maybe I shouldn't have. As someone else said, it takes place completely from the point of view of the perpetrator, which could work but didn't quite. The relationships between the perpetrator and family were interesting, but not what I was looking for in a police procedural.

Oct 15, 2018, 4:40pm Top

I've cleaned up my ticker numbers and can now see that I've read all of 13 books off the shelf this year. And of course, most of them stayed on the shelf too. Not really helping the shelf situation any.

So I'm going to try to read more deliberately from the shelves themselves (not counting the e-books because they don't take up space). I may start an alphabetic rhythm in the fiction, one from A then one from B, etc. And I really have to look at some of the non-fiction I've been keeping since my college days. Most likely a few of those unread books will stay unread and can go to a better home.

Oct 15, 2018, 5:24pm Top

We went up to the Boston Book Festival this weekend, and trudged around in the rain, shivering because we were ill-prepared for the sudden arrival of autumn. But the attendance was pretty good in spite of that. I especially liked the first session I attended, 'Making Poems Better' with Scott Edward Anderson, who took us through the revisions of Donald Halls 'Ox Cart Man' - there were 19 of them!. He also showed us the revisions he had done to his own poem, 'Black Angus, Winter'. It was tremendously insightful to see just how much shaping and paring and false starts went into the finished product. But then, it seems poems are rarely 'finished' - the poet just stops working on them at some point.

Donald Hall's papers are at the University of South Dakota, I think, and they contain the revisions of his poems. It would be fascinating to go there and see more of them.

Ox Cart Man
By Donald Hall

In October of the year,
he counts potatoes dug from the brown field,
counting the seed, counting
the cellar’s portion out,
and bags the rest on the cart’s floor.

He packs wool sheared in April, honey
in combs, linen, leather
tanned from deerhide,
and vinegar in a barrel
hooped by hand at the forge’s fire.

He walks by his ox’s head, ten days
to Portsmouth Market, and sells potatoes,
and the bag that carried potatoes,
flaxseed, birch brooms, maple sugar, goose
feathers, yarn.

When the cart is empty he sells the cart.
When the cart is sold he sells the ox,
harness and yoke, and walks
home, his pockets heavy
with the year’s coin for salt and taxes,

and at home by fire’s light in November cold
stitches new harness
for next year’s ox in the barn,
and carves the yoke, and saws planks
building the cart again.

Anderson has a poetry blog as well, and he talks a lot about Hall, who was a mentor of his.

Edited: Oct 17, 2018, 4:17pm Top

65. Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie

I am in a state of bliss. What a collection of stories! What a voice! I started this book last night and read right through it, pulled along by the amazing characters in these stories. Alexie is by turns wry, sarcastic, realistic, full of pain and laughter, showing people in paih, in love, trying to find their way, trying to lose themselves. I loved every page.

How had I let this linger on my shelves unread for so long???

Oct 18, 2018, 10:20am Top

Hi Judy!

>189 ffortsa: So glad you found a jewel already on your shelves, unread.

Oct 18, 2018, 12:18pm Top

Interesting. I looked at my books with authors whose names begin with 'B' and discovered a first edition of one of Linda Barnes' Carlotta Carlyle titles, but not the next one in the series. And I can't get them at the library! Amazing. So I may skip this one until I come across the missing titles. The next one I should read is Flashpoint, then The Big Dig, then Deep Pockets. The first edition I have is Heart of the World and then there is just one more, Lie Down with the Devil. So, a little project for next year. I can get the missing titles on Amazon for about $6.15 each, but I wouldn't mind finding the paperbacks in some thrift store instead.

So I'm still deciding on a 'B'.

Oct 19, 2018, 11:31am Top

'B' book chosen. It's Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden. I also should read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, although I won't be able to attend the reading group discussion because I'll be working at the polls. Too bad.

I just gave away four Ian Rankin books that I must have picked up somewhere, and didn't even catalogue yet. That's ok. They are the kinds of books I don't mind reading on my Kindle, getting them from the library so they don't cause me real estate. Of course, I could win the lottery tonight and just buy a huge apartment here, but I'm not counting on it.

We saw the musical 'Smokey Joe's Cafe' last night with Jim's cousins. The songs by Leiber and Stoller were of course great, and the dancing was terrific, but the 90 minute show was too much the same, and no plot at all. I could easily have left at the hour mark - smart of them to have a show with no intermission so people couldn't easily defect.

So now I'm back to shredding or tossing old paper, scanning photos, and reading. Tomorrow I can go back to the gym or take a really long walk to start getting back to some semblance of shape (ha). The sun is blazing in the window and so far, all is well.

Oct 19, 2018, 11:45am Top

This sunny, brisk weather is perfect for walking, isn't it?

(Just don't ask if I actually have been... *sigh*)

Oct 19, 2018, 7:26pm Top

Oh, I had a copy of Flashpoint, Judy, but I gave it away earlier this year! Darn.

Edited: Oct 21, 2018, 10:59am Top

>193 katiekrug: It is gorgeous, my favorite time of year, but I didn't get out myself until 4PM. My excuse? Writing postcards to potential voters in a district upstate. Not much of a halo, but maybe a small glow.

Monday I get all my winter stuff from the storage locker and try to cram it into my closets.

Did you get up to the New York Botanical Garden to see the O'Keefes?

>194 BLBera: Ah, that's a pity, but no matter. What surprised me is that my library doesn't have it. I guess the series is a little old. But there's plenty to read around here!

Oct 21, 2018, 9:02am Top

>195 ffortsa: - I think that first comment was meant for me?

I didn't go to NYBG - having a quiet weekend on this side of the river :)

Have you seen it? Is it worth trying to shoehorn in before it closes in a week?

Oct 21, 2018, 11:00am Top

>196 katiekrug: Right you are - corrected.

We haven't seen it, but I'm tempted to go up before it closes. Strangely, we don't get to do much except the theater, and I want to change that. There's so much to see.

Oct 23, 2018, 4:30pm Top

A beautiful fall day in NYC. I took advantage by walking up to 44th St. and back. The excuse? Lunch at the Yale Club. Woohoo! The only problem - I left my earbuds at home so had to be content to think up and back.

Oct 23, 2018, 6:11pm Top

>188 ffortsa: That sounds great, Judy. I would've loved to have seen and heard Anderson go through the revisions. But then, it seems poems are rarely 'finished' - the poet just stops working on them at some point. So true! Debbi has said that about mine many times.

That one by Donald Hall is a treat.

Edited: Oct 28, 2018, 2:15pm Top

>188 ffortsa: I found the Hall very powerful and very visual.

66. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

What a powerful, terrible view of war this is. Two Cree boys enlist in the Canadian army to fight in World War I. The description of the trenches is visceral, and puts you right there, on the boards in the muddy trenches. The boys are excellent shots, and soon their kill rate as snipers brings them much attention.

There are poisons here, the poison of killing and other poisons. If you take them in, they change you.

One boy comes home, to an aunt who has her own story of prejudice and freedom. She is a spiritual leader of a tribe that barely exists anymore, and she holds the power of her heritage to heal. On the three day trip home, she uses them. And she tells the soldier her stories and he remembers his own.

Wonderful book, but very sad.

Oct 28, 2018, 2:24pm Top

Now that I've said such positive things about controlling my insomnia on Ellen's thread, I'm wasted on lack of sleep. Maybe I haven't been getting enough exercise (well, surely I haven't been getting enough exercise). Or maybe it's the time of year. Whatever. I need some way to reset this, so I will read over the advice given on Ellen's thread and think about how to ensure that I don't wake up at 3 AM and 5AM, etc.

About books: I'm reading the third Cormoran Strike book, and find it a bit in need of an editor. Rowling hasn't met a description or an adjective she didn't like, I think. But the characters are interesting. It seems a bit early in the series for a revenge plot, but I'll see where it leads.

About photographs: I'm back to scanning family photos, these mostly of more recent years. And I'd forgotten how slow the flatbed process is. Oh well. I can see the end of the task, so I'll persevere, even though I wonder why I'm doing it. At least when I'm done, the collection won't take up any physical space.

I think I'll sneak off and read a bit before Jim gets back from his workout. Maybe I'll have the energy to go look at rugs for the bedroom, which current rug is just about down to the backing all over. It's so easy for me to get used the things as they are, even as they deteriorate. Watching some HGTV shows lately, I am amazed when a person looks at a perfectly good bathroom or kitchen and declares that it must be COMPLETELY renovated and modernized. The results are usually lovely, but it's an expensive proposition, and sometimes with no gain in function, just appearance. I must be missing a decorating chip in my brain.

Which will now take itself off to read.

Oct 30, 2018, 5:12am Top

Well, here I sit up in bed at a bit after 2am local time and I find myself on your thread reading about insomnia! Normally P would be here and I wouldn't feel that I could sit up hammering away on my laptop. I'm not sure killing an hour or two on LT is the best antidote for insomnia but it's what I seem to have chosen tonight. I will regret it when the alarm goes off at 5:50am.

I think lack of exercise is contributing to my sleep difficulties, as well. It's harder with the shorter days to get in a walk or run, and my job is taking up more time at both ends of the day. I'm starting to really look forward to retirement!

I also thought Three Day Road was powerful and terrible (and excellent).

I have had Pachinko on my kindle for a long time now. I need to get around to reading it!

Oct 30, 2018, 10:21pm Top

67. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

As I said in post 201, this book could benefit from some trimming. It was eventually an enjoyable mystery, and I was pretty sure who among the cast of villains would be the perpetrator. I was misled by the psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, because I didn't think that ever went into remission, and there was no mention of the possible psychiatric effects of the prednisone with which it is treated. The relationsihp between Cormoran and Robin is too fraught for the ending. I wonder where the author is going with that.

Oct 31, 2018, 4:57pm Top

This Halloween is very weird in NYC today. It's warm and comfortable, and walking in the stores and the outdoor market are strange creatures with totally straight faces, women with cat ears, men in cosplay outfits or parts of them. The parade doesn't start until about 7PM, so it's not those strays, it's just people who thought they should dress up a little to shop for string beans and toilet paper.

Got some stuff done today. Tutored, did the laundry, got my flu shot (finally). I think I'm done.

Nov 4, 2018, 3:34pm Top

Flu shot. I need to do that, too. Along with the shingles vaccine.

Nov 5, 2018, 12:13am Top

Speaking of following too many people, I am having a hard time staying current, but I am here!! Hi. : )

Sorry the violin didn't have a great re-start. Have you decided to quit it again, or muddle on with some care?

I have the fourth Cormoran Strike perched on my night table waiting for me to pick it up. I am hoping in a week or so....

I got my flu shot. : )

Nov 5, 2018, 11:31am Top

>206 Berly: Oh, I'll start playing eventually. I just had a bit of a stutter start.

Good that you got your flu shot. Some people who got the senior version (stronger) were complaining about a few days of discomfort, but I sailed through. Better than getting the flu.

Nov 5, 2018, 2:22pm Top

I have to laugh at myself. When I stopped in to a Benjamin Moore store to pick up some paint chips for the bedroom, I managed to pick the exact color we have in the living room. I couldn't remember the name of it, but it's the exact match. 'Camoflage'.

Nov 5, 2018, 6:16pm Top

I won't be posting or reading posts tomorrow; I'll be staffing the polls in New York City. In New York, there is no early voting, unless you consider 6AM on election day early! We poll workers start at 5AM, setting up the equipment and materials, and after the polls close at 9PM (or the last person on line at that time has voted), we balance our counts to the machine counts and pack up. Balancing can sometimes take a while, and I don't expect to be home before 10:30PM at the latest. And thank goodness the polling place is just one city block away.

If we get the Democratic State Senate I'm hoping for, we stand a chance of considering the early voting issue, which should take the pressure off election day crowds in the cities. It's not such an issue in the northern and more rural areas, which is why the Republican State Senate has never allowed discussion. I have mixed feelings about early voting - election day has always been a sort of community ritual to me - but we need to make it easier, especially for those who work extra jobs and long hours.

Tomorrow, of course, i will wear my best non-partisan face and help everyone with our extraordinarily long paper ballot, registration issues, and general confusion. It's strangely energizing, which is good, considering the hours we work!

Nov 5, 2018, 6:22pm Top

Thank you for working the polls, Judy! Such an important job.

Nov 6, 2018, 7:53am Top

>209 ffortsa: Happy Election Day, Judy! One of my goals for when I retire is to become a poll worker. It's so important and around here there is always a chronic shortage of people able and/or willing to do it.

Nov 6, 2018, 1:42pm Top

>209 ffortsa: Hooray for you for working the polls, especially with those grueling hours! Maybe your legislature could/should consider mail voting. Some states, like Oregon, only vote by mail and get much better turn out (sorry those who love the ritual but I admit I do prefer it plus if it helps more people vote I'm for it)

Nov 6, 2018, 10:05pm Top

Good for you for poll working! I am a big fan of early voting, also.

Nov 7, 2018, 2:44pm Top

Now that the Democrats have established a majority in the State Senate, we stand a chance of creating some kind of early voting in New York. There were a good many reported problems with scanners yesterday (not in my district, however), and a very long two-page three-sided ballot meant voting took a bit longer. So that might push the issue a bit.

That said, we had a very large turnout in the morning, then a steady but easily handled stream of people the rest of the day. And, as I said, we finally took back the State Senate.

Other outcomes were more disappointing. We didn't oust Peter King out in Suffolk County, N.Y. Of course, Beto lost, and Florida was not a bright spot (although it seems there may be a recount challenge in one race). Heidi Heidkamp lost. Republicans gained in the Senate, which means they will pack the federal courts. Sigh. More work to be done.

I don't know if I can find a way to spend my energy better than poll-working, but it seems to be a positive thing to do, even if I am dragging the next day. I did get home before 10:30, which is pretty good considering the turnout. I'm still looking for some involvement going forward that suits my energy and overall goals.

I'm really whipped today. We spent the morning getting Jim's last fitting for his prosthetic eye, so now it looks like there's a real eye there. Quite an artistic and engineering marvel, even if he can't see with it. Very glad it's done. I find it almost impossible to sleep during the day, so recovery will continue tomorrow. Then we will be going up to Mohonk on Friday for our annual participation in The Wonderful World of Words, a weekend of puzzles and good company. After that, I don't want to do anything for a while. Except maybe read.

Nov 7, 2018, 2:59pm Top

Glad to hear NY now has a Dem. majority in the Senate. At least there was some good news yesterday but not nearly as much as one could hope. There were two northern San Diego County House seats that we should have been able to flip and lost both. In one case the incumbent, who is facing a bunch of charges from mis-use of campaign funds for which he has blamed his wife, was handily re-elected. I've concluded the is no morality left in the Republican party. (stepping down from soap box)

Glad to hear things are progressing with Jim's eye. I hope you will both have a nice long stretch of good health now.

Your puzzle weekend sounds like a lot of fun!!

Nov 7, 2018, 7:49pm Top

I would love to do some poll work, Judy. Thanks for doing it. I imagine it can be a fun day. Statewide, we elected a Dem governor - thank god, the other candidate vowed to take Minn. the way of Wisconsin (right to work). Our legislature also turned blue again. I wish nationwide, especially the Senate the results had been a little better.

Nov 7, 2018, 8:30pm Top

Judy, While it is truly a pain to have many health issues, it is a good thing that you and Jim are there for each other. I hope you continue to recover from removal of your appendix. And, all good wishes to Jim for his eye surgery.

Sending hugs and love,


Nov 8, 2018, 11:15am Top

>216 BLBera: The good news in your state is very comforting. I hope the governor and legislature get it together to improve whatever needs improvement!

>217 Whisper1: Linda, the eye surgery was in August and he is completely healed now. In fact, he just got the last piece of the prosthetic so that it looks like he has a real eye now. It's quite remarkable how it matches the eye that still functions.

Nov 8, 2018, 11:37am Top

Judy--How awesome that you help out with the polling! Good luck getting early voting started. Glad Jim is back to his handsome self with the latest eye insert. They can look pretty amazing now, right? Have fun on your puzzle weekend!!

Edited: Nov 12, 2018, 1:25pm Top

We are back from our puzzle weekend, and as usual it was great fun, although we both conked out in the evening and didn't participate in some of the more intense challenges. The weather was PERFECT for walking the trails, and aside from some quibbles about temporary changes in the dining room, we were pretty happy.

Along the way, I read three Mrs. Murphy mysteries. I can't say they are really good - the cuteness of the formula can be trying, and each had its aggravating subthemes, but I needed some bubble-brain reading and they did just fine.

They were:

68. Rest in Pieces by Rita Mae Brown
69. Murder at Monticello by Rita Mae Brown
70. Pay Dirt by Rita Mae Brown

Murder at Monticello centered on Thomas Jefferson's time and family, and was a little too quite to sanctify his behavior and disbelieve the 'rumors'. Aggravating - just tell the story. Pay Dirt was more focused on the murders at hand, but oh my, infidelity certainly reigns in this little town. There are a lot of books in the series - you would think that newcomers would be warned off and the population dwindling!

And that brings my numbers up to 70. Looks like I'll make it to 75 before the end of the year, a goal that has eluded me in the past.

I was reading Pachinko and may get back to it, but it hasn't caught me, alas. And the reading group that discussed it was on Election Day, so I didn't hear other people's comments. Next book for that group is Tinkers - should be different.

Nov 14, 2018, 8:43pm Top

I'm glad you had such a good time at your puzzle weekend, Judy. Kudos to you for working at the polls. The national results just get better and better - someone says it's more like the 8 days of Hanukkah than the one day of Christmas.

That's good news on Jim's prosthetic eye - completely healed and looking like the other. Please give him our best.

Nov 17, 2018, 9:37am Top

Hi Judy!

>207 ffortsa: I never even realized ‘til I turned 65 this year that seniors (meaning me) get a stronger version of the flu vaccine. I got mine a while back and had some discomfort in my left arm for a couple of days, but no other problems.

>214 ffortsa: Congrats on getting the state Senate back. Here in NC we at least got rid of the Republican Super Majority and defeated two bills that would have taken even more power away from the Governor.

Nationally things were mixed, although getting the House of Reps back was huge.

>218 ffortsa: I’m glad to hear that Jim’s prosthetic eye is in place and matches the other eye.

>220 ffortsa: I loved Rita Mae Brown’s Wheezie and Juts series (except for the last two, which were shallow), but have never gotten into the Mrs. Murphy series. I went to a reading with Rita Mae Brown in Feb of 2008, and she signed the copy of The Purrfect Murder for me that I sorta had to buy to attend the event. More important, I also had her sign my favorite ratty old copy of Six of One. She’s a very engaging speaker.

Nov 17, 2018, 4:38pm Top

>222 karenmarie: I think the 'senior' vaccine is pretty new. I don't recall it last year - maybe I was just in denial!

Sorry you couldn't make more of a dent in your legislature. Next time.

Nov 17, 2018, 4:56pm Top

I've started reading O Africa! by Andrew Lewis Conn, only because the author's last name started with a 'C', I was up to 'C' in the alphabet order I've set myself, and it was an ER languishing on my shelf. Nothing too wonderful yet - it feels like a wanna-be of other work that covers the 1920s, but there's lots yet to read.

Jim and I went to American Museum of Natural History today, because of a members' special that let us access the Planetarium show for free. I'd forgotten how full of kids this place gets. On weekdays, they appear in reasonably controlled groups, but this time it was parents and kids, some VERY young, and the noise level got to me. I've been a member for a while, but haven't taken advantage of the membership. Now I'll try to go in the members-only hours, and definitely not on weekends.

Yesterday we saw 'India Pale Ale' at Manhattan Theater Club, about the Sikh community in Wisconsin in particular and non-white communities in general. Well done, but nothing new except a heartfelt appeal to the audience complete with somosas handed out at the end of the show.

And Wednesday we saw Tom Stoppard's 'The Hard Question' at Lincoln Center. For Stoppard, it was generously easy to follow - he left the difficulty to the question itself, which is how consciousness arises from the brain, and if it does. I thought it was quite good - a friend told me she wasn't surprised since I like those intellectual, talky plays. Well, sometimes. She prefers dancing and singing, which isn't bad either.

Tonight we have a concert locally, and I don't even want to look at the calendar going forward. There should be as little as possible between now and when we go to Saratoga in December. We don't even have plans for Thanksgiving, unless you count hibernation.

And, as you may have heard, it snowed here on Thursday! A little early, and for a Manhattanite with no place to get to, it was lovely. We did have a house-guest, someone who couldn't get home to N.J. in the awful mess of that evening's rush hour. Since it's early for snow, a lot of trees are down under the weight of the snow on the leaves. Parks are a mess. But it smelled delicious. There will be the obligatory investigation of why the commuter buses didn't run and why the metropolitan area officials didn't know the forecast was upped to 6" to fall between 3PM and 5PM. Today, most of it is gone.

But between the early snow and the Saratoga trip to come, I'd better get my boots and such attended to. Also a pair of YakTrax to avoid slipping.

Nov 17, 2018, 11:51pm Top

Judy, you and Jim are so good at taking advantage of all that NYC has to offer. You make me long for the city. P and I are going to Seattle the first weekend in December for a show at the 5th Avenue, a couple of meals at favorite restaurants, etc.

Oh, I loved Tinkers when I read it a few years ago!

Nov 19, 2018, 4:43pm Top

>225 EBT1002: The one really good at taking advantage of the city is Katie. She and the Wayne are always going somewhere, and they have to come in from New Jersey! But Jim and I do get around a bit. Tonight we are going up to see an art exhibit of work by a cousin of mine, to show support.

Glad to hear you loved Tinkers. I hope our book group does as well.

Nov 19, 2018, 4:45pm Top

71. Murder, She Meowed by Rita Mae Brown

More bubblegum for the brain. Must be the season.

Nov 20, 2018, 12:36pm Top

>227 ffortsa: "bubblegum for the brain" -- love the vision. I too am doing a lot of that lately, mostly audio, and I blame needing it for walking with :)

Nov 21, 2018, 8:06pm Top

>227 ffortsa: Yay for bubblegum for the brain!!

Edited: Nov 23, 2018, 3:55pm Top

Just the encouragement I needed.

72. Murder on the Prowl by Rita Mae Brown

More bubblegum.

If it weren't so easy to get the next installment from the comfort of my own apartment, I might read something on the shelf.


73. Cat on the Scent by Rita Mae Brown

This one was a little more interesting, although the number of murders and infidelities in Croziet is rather astonishing.

Nov 26, 2018, 12:18am Top

Just wanted to stop by to express the hope that your Thanksgiving Weekend was a joyful one, Judy.

Nov 26, 2018, 2:51am Top

Hi Judy! Glad your puzzle weekend was a success! And there is nothing wrong with some bubblegum for the brain now and again. ; )

Nov 27, 2018, 4:34pm Top

>231 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. We had a quiet weekend, went out for a just-the-two-of-us dinner, which was very nice. Glad to see you back posting again!

>232 Berly: The bubblegum is over for now. I'm in the midst of Tinkers, and if I didn't have other things to do I would probably read it straight through. And I'm glad to see you posting now, recovered (I hope) from your successful TKD event.

Nov 27, 2018, 4:42pm Top

Aha! I've won an ER book, The Collector of Lives by Ingrid Rowland. Not my usual fare, but I'm looking forward to it.

Nov 27, 2018, 9:29pm Top

74. Tinkers by Paul Harding

Comments to come. The book discussion will be next week. I thought I'd listen to it after I read it, but I'm not sure I like the quality of the reading.

Edited: Dec 2, 2018, 6:57pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Dec 2, 2018, 7:03pm Top

Dec 2, 2018, 7:25pm Top

Chag hanukkah sameach, Judy.

Dec 2, 2018, 7:30pm Top

Happy Chanukah!

Dec 3, 2018, 10:52am Top

>238 rosalita: >239 banjo123: And to you too!

I've decided to spend December trying to finish the books I've set aside. I need to read Muriel Sparks' Memento Mori for Thursday (!). Off the top of my head I have part of the followoing to finish:

...And The Ground Did Not Devour Him by Tomas Rivera
O, Africa by Andrew Lewis Conn
The Sense of an Ending by Frank Kermode
Rapture by Susan Minot
In Pursuit of Silence by George Prochnik, a book I really must return to Suzanne

There are a few others floating around on my Kindle:
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science my Matalie Angier
The Way We Are: What everyday Objects and Conventions Tell Us About Ourselves by Margaret Visser

Some of these might get Perl-ruled (or is that Pearl?), for instance, the Visser. I've like some of her other books a lot, but this one is rather thin. And probably Pachinko, even though many have liked it. It's not grabbing me.

And then there is the cast of thousands - of almost a thousand - marked 'to read'. But they will wait until next year (ha!)

Dec 3, 2018, 11:09am Top

Happy Hannukah, Judy!

I really liked Memento Mori when I read it several years ago. I don't remember much about it now. I'll be interested to hear what you think.

Dec 3, 2018, 2:16pm Top

Happy Chanukah, Judy. I love the menorah!

Dec 4, 2018, 4:16pm Top

75. Memento Mori by Muriel Spark

Comments to come. The book discussion will be this week.

Dec 4, 2018, 7:40pm Top

>237 ffortsa: Lovely.

Happy Hanukkah, Judy.

Dec 5, 2018, 6:50pm Top

Happy Hanukkah, Judy.

I liked Tinkers a lot when I read it a few years ago. I look forward to your comments when you get to them.

I've been carrying Pachinko around on my Kindle for several months.

Dec 6, 2018, 3:51pm Top

>243 ffortsa: Congratulations on reaching 75, Judy!

Dec 6, 2018, 4:30pm Top

Thanks to all my visitors! So nice to see you here.

So, Tinkers. It is lovely, truly lovely. Harding has a great eye, and a wonderful way of putting the reader in nature, whether the environment of the Maine backwoods, the urban market, or the mind of a man having a seizure that is as much visitation as affliction. The man in question, Howard, is a tinker, a itinerant fixer of pots and pans, a vendor of soaps and brooms. His father was a preacher who suffered from early dementia, his son George a successful teacher who also lovingly repairs clocks, another kind of tinkering. As George lies dying, amidst his large family, his life is counted down in hours, and he remembers his life, his father's life, their connections to nature and time, and their different philosophies.

The structure goes back and forth between these two men, as boys, as fathers, together and separated. Memories, hallucinations, are all mixed as the story of both men, but mainly Howard, unfold. It's quite magical.

One point my book discussion group examined closely was the nature and personality of Howard's wife Kathleen. She is, perhaps understandably. an exemplar of the hard life of the backwoods, poor and struggling to raise four children. It is up to the reader to determine how much her actions are justified and why.

Dec 6, 2018, 4:34pm Top

76. Pawing Through the Past by Rita Mae Brown

More bubblegum! And a nice twist at the end.

Dec 6, 2018, 4:39pm Top

>247 ffortsa: Well, that sounds quite intriguing. I will look for it at the library, Judy. Thanks for the review.

Dec 6, 2018, 5:53pm Top

>248 ffortsa: Oh do, I really recommend it. The author had shopped it around to publishers for years, and when he finally found one and got it published, it won the Pulitzer. Really beautiful writing.

Dec 7, 2018, 8:04am Top

Hi Judy!

Happy Hanukkah.

Congrats on 75.

>240 ffortsa: Pearl rule. Nancy Pearl. I have my own rule, which is If for any reason you don't want to continue reading a book, put it down. You may keep it, get rid of it, re-start it, never finish it, or finish it from where you left off, but put it down.

>248 ffortsa: Bubblegum works. *smile*

Dec 7, 2018, 12:16pm Top

Congrats on zipping past 75!

Edited: Dec 7, 2018, 4:58pm Top

>251 karenmarie: Yep, that's a good rule. I haven't given O Africa! much of a chance yet, but I may not get back to it before the first. I've just committed to lead a discussion on Love in a Cold Climate, and discovered that it is the second of a trilogy, so I need to read the first one first.

I rarely don't finish a book, but sometimes books sit around for a long time before I come back to them. I think I have a few like that in the mix.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying my bubblegum.

>252 drneutron: Thanks for the congratulations, Dr. N. I'm rather surprised, but I have zipped through a lot of mysteries this year, and some of the more complex books have been short ones. Nevertheless, I've gotten there! Yay!

Dec 7, 2018, 5:42pm Top

Congratulations, Judy!

Dec 8, 2018, 11:14am Top

Hi Judy - Happy Chanukah!

Congrats on reaching 75. Nice comments on Tinkers, which I have never read. Maybe next year.

Dec 9, 2018, 5:11pm Top

77. Claws and Effect by Rita Mae Brown

Next on the list

Dec 9, 2018, 5:14pm Top

>253 ffortsa: So I went to borrow The Pursuit of Love from the library - it's the book before Love in a Cold Climate - only to find I had acquired it this summer. It was probably on sale on Amazon. So now it becomes a book on the shelf, which I can read before the end of the year to add another to that count.

Dec 9, 2018, 11:29pm Top

Edited: Dec 12, 2018, 3:38pm Top

78. The Sense of an Ending by Frank Kermode

It's taken me a long, long time to finish this book of six essays, originally delivered as lectures by the academic literary critic Frank Kermode. I initially came across it when I was researching the Julian Barnes novel of the same name, and there is a strong relationship between them; Barnes clearly set out to write a novel exemplifying the simplest understanding of Kermode's ideas, that awareness of the end informs the preceding events.

There's a lot more. Basically, Kermode identifies the idea of a beginning and and end of the world, or existence, as having a profound effect on both literature and philosophy. Living as we do in a society where most of us have casually assumed the idea, along with our own (usually shuttered) awareness of our own eventual end, the opposite idea may not have occurred to us, the idea of a circular unending time. The early Church philosophers were intensely occupied with this eschatology, and of course influenced the expanding Christian world. The author goes over, in sometimes excruciating detail, the various points at which the end of the world was prophesied and eagerly, or not so eagerly, anticipated, and how he feels that the existentialists, all those years later, were in some ways the logical if rebellious extension of that thinking.

Or at least I think that's what the author was saying. It's a very dense book, which I read with my trusty online dictionary at hand. I will be reading it again, I'm sure, because as dense as it is, it is equally fascinating to see how our modern fiction as well as our modern society embodies these ideas.

Speaking of endings, we did have a discussion about Muriel Spark's Memento Mori - how appropriate. You can't get more aware of your own end than the people in this novel get, with some mysterious stranger or strangers whispering it in their ears every so often. I enjoyed the caustic descriptions of foolish people at the end of their lives, still fighting old fights. Those in care were just as determined to have an effect now, which they still could, and later, reaching back out of the grave.

Spark wrote this soon after her conversion to Catholicism, and it shows in the one person who has come to accept her position and her end. That doesn't stop her from influencing others, but she has different motives.

It reads quickly, and lets the reader laugh at the foibles of others, but for the most part carries out the instructions of the title.

Dec 17, 2018, 12:17pm Top

79. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

After I committed to reading Love in a Cold Climate, I realized it was the second of a series of novels Nancy Mitford had written, so I started here with the first. It took a while for the story to capture me, but ultimately it was an amusing look at the life of the landed gentry between the wars, and especially the lives of women at this time. Ultimately, it is the story of Linda, who longs for romantic love with all the naivete of haphazard education and impracticality, along with her parents, siblings, and mentors. Her course is narrated by her cousin Fanny, who in contrast to her own abandoning gadabout mother has become practical, educated, resilliant, and happily married. Nevertheless, she loves Linda and portrays her with great sympathy as well as humor.

Dec 17, 2018, 12:40pm Top

Jim and I spent the weekend in Saratoga Springs with Marianne (MichiganTrumpet), Caroline (Cameling), spouses and several other couples and had a chatty, foodie time of it. There's a great bookstore on Broadway, the Northshire Bookstore, where I indulged in a copy of Emily Wilson's translation of the Odyssey. We stayed at a restored Victorian bed and breakfast called the Batchelor Mansion, which is quite breathtaking in its decor (but not accessible for the handicapped - must add that warning - stairs everywhere.) We took the train there, and were very glad to take it back amidst the freezing rain.

I was surprised to learn that Saratoga Springs has become - or maintained - its catchet as a weekend and resort town even outside the racing season, with an upscale downtown strip and excellent restaurants. It's home to a cultural center with a well-known ballet (not in season just now), and you can even sample the waters.

Dec 17, 2018, 1:40pm Top

>260 ffortsa: I discovered the Mitfords a couple of years ago and have read several of Nancy's books plus a bio of the family. I've enjoyed them all. I don't think I've ever known a family with siblings as different (from each other) as that group! I find them quite interesting.

Dec 17, 2018, 1:54pm Top

I have many happy memories of Saratoga from my childhood. My aunt and uncle had a house there, as they were big into horse racing. I'd like to go up some weekend (in the off-season) and check it out again...

Dec 19, 2018, 2:58am Top

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Dec 19, 2018, 3:16am Top

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Dec 19, 2018, 2:56pm Top

80. The Golden Calf by Helene Turston

Next in The series

Edited: Dec 23, 2018, 9:41pm Top

81. Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson
82. The Cereal Murders by Diane Mott Davidson
83. The Last Suppers by Diane Mott Davidson

I'd forgotten how much I enjoy these giddy mystery romances until I went back to see which ones I had skipped over.

Dec 23, 2018, 10:53pm Top

>261 ffortsa: That sounds like a fun meet up! I have met Caroline and she is delightful company.

>267 ffortsa: Ha! Fun!

Dec 24, 2018, 7:51am Top

Dec 25, 2018, 1:49am Top

It's been a while since I checked in, Judy. Congrats on breezing past 75. Hope you have a Happy Holiday Season.

Dec 25, 2018, 3:10am Top

Happy holidays, Judy

Dec 25, 2018, 7:40pm Top

>268 EBT1002: , >269 Ameise1: , >270 Familyhistorian: , >271 PaulCranswick: Oooh, visitors! Hello and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Everyone tucked in after the mulled wine? Our particular indulgeance this evening was blueberry cheesecake. Yum.

>269 Ameise1: I do love the minions, goofy little things that they are.

Edited: Dec 25, 2018, 7:49pm Top

84. Rapture by Susan Minot

I'm so glad this book was short. Even so, I picked it up and put it down several times, before finishing it off on a subway ride from Queens in spite of, or maybe because of, the fact that it takes place during one sex act. That says a lot. Don't bother.

Dec 26, 2018, 9:31pm Top

Uh-oh. The new 2019 group is UP! I did leave a post for Zoe, but aside from that I think I'll wait.

Dec 28, 2018, 5:48pm Top

Hm. I started The Remains of the Day and then took a detour to Through the Evil Days when it was available from the library, but I find I can't read it. Somehow the portents of doom at the beginning of the story weighed me down. Think I'll go back to the Ishiguro.

Also, I realized that I haven't yet read all the New Yorkers from 2009. This is the worst lag I've ever had, so I will try to finish up the year before we finish up the year. Three days to go.

Jim and I saw the movie 'Roma' today. In spite of the title, it takes place in Mexico City, in a neighborhood called Roma, in 1971. There's lots of underlying unrest, but the basic story is domestic. Black and white with subtitles for the Spanish but none for the indigenous language spoken from time to time, preserving the point of view of most Mexican audiences. See it in a theater - the 360 degree sound is marvelous, and you probably won't get that at home unless you have surround-sound. The movie and the sound are very immersive.

Dec 31, 2018, 12:49pm Top

Dec 31, 2018, 2:30pm Top

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

Dec 31, 2018, 5:49pm Top

Happy New Year's Eve!!

Dec 31, 2018, 8:46pm Top

85. The Remains of the Day by Kasuo Ishiguro

Just under the wire! Last but definitely not least, Ishiguro's novel is a memoir of a strikingly unselfaware butler of a great house in between-the-wars Britain. Determined to be always in control of himself as well as the house, Mr. Stevens is emotionally estrainged from his father, also in service, and unable to respond to the overtures of the housekeeper, Miss Kenyon. As he takes an unusual vacation, by car, to meet her after a gap of several decades, he thinks over his life with Lord Darlington, Miss Kenyon, and his current American employer who has purchased the estate. His reminiscences reveal, albeit grudgingly, the seduction of Lord Darlington by British and German Nazis and sympathizers, a seduction that relies on his old-fashioned sense of honor as much as anything else. The language is wonderful without dropping for a moment the character of the first-person narrator.

A nice way to end the year.

Happy New Year to all!

Dec 31, 2018, 9:23pm Top

>279 ffortsa: That is such a lovely novel -- a great way to round out your year!

Dec 31, 2018, 9:38pm Top

>261 ffortsa: That sounds like a wonderful experience!

Happy New Year to you and Jim!

Jan 1, 10:25am Top

I wish you from my heart a healthy 2019 filled with happiness, satisfaction, laughter and lots of good books.

Jan 2, 11:52am Top

Happy New Year, all. Meet you in 2019!

Jan 2, 12:24pm Top

And your thread would be where???? : )

Edited: Jan 2, 12:37pm Top

just put it up, dearie. Ffortsa hops to it.

eta: New year starts

Jan 4, 12:06am Top


Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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