Happy Holidays! The 12 Days of LT scavenger hunt is going on. Can you solve the clues?
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Hibernator approaches September, in which she will have more time to read

This is a continuation of the topic The Hibernator is married!!!.

This topic was continued by Hibernator closes out the year with new goals.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Sep 17, 7:48am Top

Hi, my name's Rachel (the_hibernator). I'm recently married to a science-fiction reader/gamer (Aaron) who has two kids: D (8yo) and M (6yo), who live with us 85% of the time. I am pregnant with my first, L (- 6mo). I have two handsome nephews and one beautiful niece: J (14yo), B (4yo), and L (3yo) on my sister's side, and two nephews on Aaron's sister's side N and C. I have three cats: Myra, Hero, and Puck.

Besides being a homemaker and caretaker of my aging parents, I also volunteer for a crisis textline (I'm in training right now) and as a coach for D's Lego League.

I try to read a variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction, but despite being a homemaker, I can't find time to read much right now! :(

Edited: Oct 2, 10:55am Top

2018 Books Read

1. American Psychosis, by E. Fuller Torrey
2. Incarceration Nations, by Baz Dreisinger
3. Roots, by Alex Haley
4. Against the Tide, by Tui T. Sutherland
5. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
6. Get Ready to Get Pregnant, by Michael C. Lu
7. Mouse Guard Fall 1152, by David Peterson
8. Shadow Land, by Elizabeth Kostova
9. Caesar's Last Breath, by Sam Kean
10. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
11. The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher
12. The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H. G. Wells
13. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
14. I Stop Somewhere, by T. E. Carter
15. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J. K. Rowling
16. Time Jumpers, by Brandon Mull
17. Hammered, by Kevin Hearne
18. Owl Diaries: Eva Sees a Ghost, by Rebecca Elliott
19. Kung Pow Chicken, by Cyndi Marko
20. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J. K. Rowling
21. Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes
22. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
23. No One Cares About Crazy People, by Ron Powers
24. Beyond Belief, by Jenna Miscavige Hill
25. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J. K. Rowling

Edited: Oct 22, 2:36pm Top

2018 Books Read

26. Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan
27. Doctor Who: 10th Doctor Tales, by various
28. How to Train Your Dragon, by Cressida Cowell
29. How to Be a Pirate, by Cressida Cowell
30. Grimoire of the Lamb, by Kevin Hearne
31. How to Speak Dragonese, by Cressida Cowell
32. How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse, by Cressida Cowell
33. Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
34. The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner
35. Going Clear, by Lawrence Wright
36. Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance
37. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
38. And I Darken, by Kiersten White
39. Beyond These Walls, by Tony Platt
40. The Lions of Valletta, by Ursula Murray Husted
41. Them, by Ben Sasse
42. Cresswell Plot, by Eliza Wass

Aug 9, 2:05pm Top

Create Your Own Visited Countries Map

This is a project starting in 2018 – I would like to read books from a larger variety of international authors (especially books in translation), so I will keep track of the international authors I read, marking them on this map and listing the book below. I will only list one book per country – my favorite.


Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes

United Kingdom (UK)

The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H. G. Wells

United States of America (USA)

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Aug 9, 2:08pm Top

Happy new one! I LOVE that topper. And best of luck with the world map. What a fun idea!

Aug 9, 2:11pm Top

Today I am resting. Tomorrow I will take the kids to the county fair. It feels good to start a new thread, as I feel my new reading goals make a good place to start.

Currently Reading

Courses currently working on

Completed this week

Edited: Aug 9, 2:13pm Top

>5 Berly: Thanks Kim! As I said above, it's nice to get a new thread started, as I feel I'm starting new goals. :)

ETA: Also working on getting around to people's threads, finally. It's been a while.

Edited: Aug 9, 3:08pm Top

Phew! Been going around to people's threads, but I'm getting overwhelmed by all the information I've missed since the last time. If I haven't gotten to your thread yet, I'll be back soon!

ETA: also been having "morning" sickness feelings on and off all day. I'm tired of this!

Aug 9, 7:03pm Top

Hi Rachel! Nice picture up there.

Yes, visiting threads can get really overwhelming when you've been away for a few days.

I hope that morning sickness will leave you alone soon, must be very annoying.

Happy new thread!

Aug 9, 8:18pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel! Love that topper!

Aug 9, 9:05pm Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 9, 9:22pm Top

Happy new thread :)

Aug 10, 2:36am Top

Rachel--Guess what? I am following in your footsteps...I have pneumonia!! Grrrrr. At least I am not at risk for morning sickness. LOL Hope you get over that soon. ; ) Happy Friday.

Aug 10, 7:52am Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 10, 12:44pm Top

Happy New one, Rachel!

>6 The_Hibernator: I need to find a way to get Doctor Who Big Idea audios on cd. The library does not carry many.

Aug 10, 2:14pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel!
I hope the sickness will be over soon.

Aug 10, 6:07pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel! I'm not one of the most prolific as far as threads go, but I think most of us would agree that it's okay if you're not completely caught up with everything. I've had to skip threads instead of catching up and I know I've "missed" some stuff, but it's overwhelming to try to stay on top of it all too :)

Aug 10, 7:13pm Top

Love the reflecting ball pic up top! Happy new thread!

Aug 10, 7:22pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel.

Get better soon. xx

Aug 11, 7:52am Top

Hi, Rachel! I hope that you're feeling better today.

Aug 11, 6:41pm Top

Hi, Rachel. Happy new thread! Hope you feel better.

Aug 12, 3:27am Top

Happy new thread, Rachel. I hope things are going well.

Aug 12, 6:41am Top

Happy new thread Rachel! Reading through your last thread it sounds like you have had such a lot to deal with lately - sending hugs and hoping you feel better soon. Also I really respect all you are doing for M and D.

Edited: Aug 12, 6:58am Top

Took a spontaneous trip to Wisconsin Dells (the water park capitol of the world...because we need one of those). We camped overnight at a running water / electricity camping pool resort. It's the first camping trip ever for the kids, so it was nice to ease them in, I guess. We will be going to Noah's Ark today (the erstwhile biggest water park in the world - still the biggest in the Dells), and then home again.

We listened to How to Train Your Dragon (D read along in the hard copy) on the way out. Will listen to How to be a Pirate on the way back.

I will get to answering comments and catching up on threads when I actually have a computer instead of just my phone.

Aug 12, 4:05pm Top

Happy new thread Rachel. I perused your last thread, getting caught up on wedding photos and your pregnancy (congratulations!). The photos of all the kids were so delightful.

I remember Wisconsin Dells. :-)

I enjoyed the audio of How to Train Your Dragon a couple years ago. It was fun.

Aug 13, 12:13am Top

Chicago native here and frequent visitor to the Dells when I was younger. Loved it there! It's a fun place for kids, that's for sure! Have a great time!

Edited: Aug 13, 12:38pm Top

>9 EllaTim: Thanks! Yes, visiting threads can be overwhelming, though if I kept up with it on a weekly basis, things wouldn't be quite as hard. It's just that with everything that's been going on in my life, it's hard to keep on track with things like that.

>10 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie

>11 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

>12 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita!

Aug 13, 12:42pm Top

>13 Berly: Wow, sorry to hear that, Kim. Hopefully the antibiotics work quickly and you feel much better soon.

>14 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle!

>15 brodiew2: Hi Brodie! I have an Audible account on account of the fact that I listen to so many audiobooks, and I hate wait lists at the library. I DO use the library, of course, just not for the books that I want immediately.

>16 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! The morning sickness was mostly just that day. It gets a lot worse with stress, and I was feeling stressed by the drama with my stepkids' mom. Things are starting to calm down, though they might get exciting again at any moment.

Aug 13, 12:45pm Top

>17 bell7: I do a lot of skimming, Mary. Mostly I glance at the book reviews and any comments made by the thread-owner not in response to another person's comment. Then if I find something to comment on, I may look at the rest of the comments. Especially if there is an interesting discussion going on.

>18 Storeetllr: Thanks Mary!

>19 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul! I'm tired out from my trip to the Dells, but other than that I'm doing well today.

>20 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl! Morning sickness is gone today! :)

>21 tymfos: Thanks Terri! I am feeling much better, thank you.

Aug 13, 12:51pm Top

>22 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg! I'm feeling optimistic this week that things will start looking much less stressful. Though we've got a LOT of appointments coming up for the kids before our vacation to Oregon the last week of August.

>23 souloftherose: Thanks so much Heather! Yes, I've been dealing with a lot of drama lately, but I'm happy to take care of M & D. They are good kids and deserve a stable mother-figure.

>25 EBT1002: Yes, How to Train Your Dragon is delightfully funny, and everyone enjoyed it short of M, who was on his tablet the entire trip. I had already listened to it several years ago, but I thought it would be a good road-trip book for the kids and Aaron.

>26 Storeetllr: This is only my second trip to the Dells, but we're hoping to do it on a yearly basis from now on. It can be done with a moderate amount of vacation money, is fun for the kids, and can be completed within a weekend.

Edited: Aug 13, 1:15pm Top

Well, we got back from the Dells last night around 9:30 completely exhausted. But we had a great time. Poor Aaron had to go to work in the morning, but I am taking it easy, doing mostly computer tasks today while the kids get a TV day. Tomorrow, I'll get some housework done and play some games with the kids instead of letting them watch ALL day.

ETA: I'm hoping to get in my first walk in quite a while tonight, after Aaron gets home to look after the kids. I have a 5-mile walk planned, though perhaps that is a bit optimistic.

Aug 13, 4:10pm Top

Happy new thread Rachel!

‘...recently married...’ ; doesn’t that sound nice to say.

>13 Berly: You made me blink for a second, Kim :0)

They say morning sickness is only for one trimester, so you should be over it soon. Though my mum was in the Middle East when she was expecting me and the pervasive smell of oil made her nauseous for the whole nine months. She took a triple hit for the team - I was lucky enough to escape morning sickness for both my pregnancies. (Aren’t I wonderful?)

Aug 13, 6:26pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel! Aren't Great Courses the bomb! I haven't done as nearly as many as you but I need to find the time to get re-aquainted.
I think I've missed something. Will you soon be sporting a baby bump?! Congratulations!!

Aug 14, 9:01am Top

>32 humouress: Hi Nina! It is nice to be married! I'm almost 23 weeks in, so the morning sickness should actually be gone. Part of my problem is I have an anxiety disorder, and all the drama from the kids' mother stresses me out. The anxiety causes me to dry heave, which can then lead to throwing up. I usually don't throw up due to my anxiety disorder (though I do dry heave), so I'm blaming it on the pregnancy.

>33 Carmenere: Hi Lynda! I already have a baby bump, actually. I'm 23 weeks on Wednesday, as I just said to Nina above. Which meant I didn't get to ride any of the rides at Wisconsin Dells. How sad! I DO love the Great Courses. I'm rather obsessive about buying them, and I have a whole bunch of them waiting to be studied - problem is that I have this need to read all the supplemental reading as well as listening to the lectures. So it takes me a long time to get through the courses. I just decided it's time to get cracking on one or two of them...then I realized that if I'm going to be studying philosophy, I should study the history of the philosophical time I'm learning about because I'm sure it has a lot to do with the philosophy.

Aug 14, 9:06am Top

Well, yesterday I got a lot of housework done, but I didn't get to go for my walk. I decided that in my current walking pace (waddle due to back pains), it'll take about a half hour per mile, which would put me after sunset in a lonesome park. I like walking in parks because it doesn't have as much background noise, so I can listen to my audiobook at a reasonable volume. I will start regular walks the last week of August, when grandma can watch the kids (I'll be in Oregon visiting her). Then the kids will be in school, and I can walk to my heart's content until winter. I tried my stationary bike this morning, but the exercise is too vigorous for my lungs, which are still a bit inflamed after the bout of pneumonia. Oh well.

Today I will be getting some housework done (although I got a lot more done yesterday than I expected).

Edited: Aug 14, 10:12am Top

2018 Book 26: Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan

Summary: In this allegorical novel, a pilgrim named Christian travels a journey in which he loses the heavy weight of his sins, is tempted to sin again, and eventually reaches paradise.

My thoughts: I’m not sure why this is the most printed book in English, other than the Bible. I love allegory generally, but this allegory beat you over the head with obviousness. Everyone and everything was given a name (like Christian) that said explicitly what the character or impediment represented. The story itself was interesting enough, I suppose, as a concept, I just wish it were more subtle. This is also not a book for non-Christians, unless they are reading for the sake of learning about classic literature.

This is my analysis using the method proposed by Susan Wise Bauer in The Educated Mind. It will contain spoilers.

👽What is the most central life-changing event?

Meeting with Evangelist after discovering the prophecy that his city would be destroyed by fire was the life-changing event which lead Christian on his journey. Evangelist told Christian what path to follow to lead to paradise.

👽Am I transported? Do I see, feel, and hear this other world?

Not really. It all felt a little flat because of the obviousness of the allegory.

👽Can I sympathize with the people who live there? Do I understand their wants and desires and problems? Or am I left unmoved?

Yes, I understood exactly what was wanted by each character, as they were named after their characteristics.

👽Is this a fable or a chronicle?

This novel is a fable. It represents a spiritual journey rather than actual events.

👽What does the central character want? What is standing in his or her way? What strategy is pursued to overcome this block?

Christian would like to reach paradise, but it often led astray by temptation and hardships.

👽Who is telling you this story? Is this person reliable?

The story is third person limited. It told exactly what was happening to Christian (allegorically), but did not tell the thoughts of the other characters.

👽Where is the story set?

The story is set in a fantastic land which Christian has to traverse in order to reach paradise. It is filled with both glorious and horrible things. It is a universe that cares deeply about Christian, whether its motivations are to lead him astray or to encourage him to reach paradise.

👽Images and metaphors: Are there any repeated images? If so, is this a metaphor, and if so, what does it represent?

I’d say the most repeated image is the cross and the savior – but every character and impediment that Christian comes across is a metaphor.

👽 Does the end have a resolution or a logical exhaustion?

Christian eventually reaches paradise, which is the resolution to his problems.

👽Do you sympathize with the characters? Which ones, and why? Did the author choose characteristics to make a statement about the human condition?

I guess I sympathized with the character in the sense that I would not like to burn in Hell. 🙂 Yes, every character and impediment in the story made a statement about the human condition. The human condition was represented as destined for destruction unless a straight and narrow path were followed to the safety of paradise.

👽Does the author’s technique give you a clue as to her argument: her take on the human condition?

Oh yes, it does. The human condition is pounded into the story with hammer and ax.

👽Is the novel self-reflective?

Yes. This story represented the struggles that Bunyan went through in his younger years (and expected to go through in his later years). At first, he struggled to see the goodness of God, but eventually repented his feelings of sin and moved on to a life that he hoped would lead to paradise.

👽Is there an argument in this book? If so, do you agree?

The argument to the book is that if you don’t follow a straight and narrow path, you will not be led to paradise. As a Christian, I believe it is true for myself, but I do not judge those who follow other religions or no religion at all. That is their choice, and I believe that, for the most part, that choice is right for them.

Aug 14, 2:13pm Top

Hi Rachel and belated happy new thread.

Aug 15, 8:54am Top

>37 karenmarie: Thanks Karen!

Aug 15, 9:11am Top

Yesterday was uneventful, with some reading and housework. I talked briefly with the kids' mom, realizing that she now seems to be holding a grudge against M's therapist for disagreeing with her about whether it was ok to cut your own 6yo child out of your life due to poor behavior. We are now concerned that the weeks she's agreed to go to therapy with M will lead to nothing, or worse, be destructive to his relationship with his mom. I want to tell her how I feel (I am angry), but, based on my experience with her, I don't think she is capable of taking that conversation well. Our goal is now to diffuse her resentment and ignore our own, because that's the only way we can expect productive therapy with M.

Problem is, I am a naturally assertive person, and become aggressive if I brood - which is what I'm currently doing. I tried to make an appointment with my own therapist so I could emotion dump, but she hasn't called me back. (Usually she's pretty good about it. She may be out of town.)

So I'm tired today because I lost sleep brooding about how destructive M's mom is to him. *sigh

Anyway, I will be taking my mom to a doc appointment today, then go swimming with the kids. I've also got to pound back the rest of Hillbilly Elegy as quickly as possible because I decided I want to go to a RL book club meeting on Sunday.

Aug 16, 9:25am Top

Yesterday didn't go as planned at all. When I took mom to her neurologist, I found out that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's-like dementia back in February and had been on meds for memory since then. The diagnosis wasn't a surprise, I'd been fighting dad on getting her a memory eval for over a year. However, I am shocked that dad forgot this rather huge event. To the point that two weeks earlier, when I took her to her GP, and they asked who had prescibed the dementia med and why, he said he had no clue - she'd never had an eval. Yesterday, when I brought up THAT conversation with him again, he had forgotten all about that, too. He's been having smaller memory problems, too, but I hadn't known about these huge ones. He's also had very distinct personality changes in the past half a year (first noticed it around Jan) - impulse control issues and firey irritability. I had been wondering if he had a stroke that none of us are aware of, and this memory loss adds to the worry that something is going / has gone wrong with him, too. This all coming hard upon him losing his license (impulse control issue with a cop). They are still living alone in their house, and refuse to move to assisted living.

I feel like the poo is hitting the fan both with my parent's health and with the kids' mom's ability to handle M in an emotionally non-abusive manner.

We didn't end up going swimming yesterday, as I was busy talking to my dad and calling my sister and aunts/uncle with updates. I also checked mom's med box because I'm taking it over...found that she had not been taking her anti-seizure med, and for how long is anyone's guess. *sigh

Today I will take some morning time to self reading while kids zombify in front of TV. Then we will go to the pool in the afternoon.

Aug 16, 9:35am Top

Hi Rachel.

Wow, I'm sorry to hear about the escalating issues with your parents. Can other family members who help? because ... marriage/pregnancy/step-kidsa whole lot of new things going on. It's too bad that M's mom is holding grudges and causing (more) issues, too.

You and Aaron have a lot on your hands and I hope you can find time for each other and some peace with all that's going on.

Aug 16, 11:06am Top

Another idea you may want to consider is in-home help. We have someone in my mother-in-law's home three afternoons a week for a couple of hours each day. Idea is to get eyes on her, check meds, make sure she gets a meal that day, provide a little exercise. She doesn't like it, but is going along with it because we finally convinced her that we can't do it all ourselves.

Aug 16, 11:16am Top

Rachel--wow, that is a lot to handle. I agree with Dr N the maybe some outside help might be good, if you have no other relatives nearby who can help out. Sending you good juju and I hope some reading and the pool help with your mood today. And that your therapist calls you back. : )

Aug 16, 5:19pm Top

>39 The_Hibernator:, >40 The_Hibernator: Oh Rachel - you have such a lot on your plate at the moment. Some self-care reading time sounds like a good call even if the kids have to watch TV for a bit. Sending hugs.

Aug 16, 9:37pm Top

Rachel, I am so sorry to hear about your father’s health problems on top of everything else you’re experiencing. I remember when he was on LT and you and he would engage in some delightful and witty bantering back and forth. *sigh* It hits home with me because I am around that age... Please keep us posted.

Aug 16, 9:43pm Top

Happy new-ish thread! Sorry to read about your parent's problems. I think many of us understand the aging parents thing and empathize with those who find themselves faced with it.

Aug 17, 12:42pm Top

Wow, Rachel. So much going on. Seconding everyone’s good wishes and advice.

Aug 17, 4:19pm Top

>41 karenmarie: Hi Karen! My sister also lives nearby, and intends on helping - but in my experience she has good intentions with little follow-through on such things. Dad does not like depending on her for rides because she backs out at the last minute and leaves them with no ride. So I need to do all the appointments. However, Colette might be fine helping with cleaning and driving them places when a precise schedule is not required (shopping, hair cuts, etc.)

>42 drneutron: Getting a PCA will probably be a good idea, though for right now I will see what my sister is willing and able to do. That way, we can decide how much time we need to hire a person for. Cleaning and driving will be most of the work for now, as they are fine (so far) with cooking and personal care.

>43 Berly: Thanks Kim! I'm sort of hoping that they'll suddenly realize that assisted living is a great idea. One can always hope! But I will certainly get someone hired to help if they do not do that soon.

>44 souloftherose: Thanks! I feel a lot better today than I did yesterday. Just because I realized things are worse than I thought, does not mean a sudden change will happen soon with their health. It just means preparations need to be made now, rather than later. 😊 I'll get over my stress!

>45 Donna828: Hi Donna! Yes, I had forgotten that he was online here for a while. My mom is 80 this year, and my father is only a couple years behind. He may be a bit older than you think? They were on the older side when I was born, as I will be when my baby is born.

Aug 17, 4:29pm Top

>46 thornton37814: Yes, I see others talking about parent care as well. It is nice to be understood. 🙄

>47 humouress: Thanks Nina!

Aug 17, 4:39pm Top

I am feeling much better today. We got M his 6yo checkup today. Then I took the kids to the library. They are going to their mom's family reunion in Wisconsin tonight, and Aaron and I will have Indian pick-up and eat while we're watching Whose Line is it Anyway on Prime. Thought that would be less expensive than a comedy club for date night.

Aug 18, 9:47am Top

L's 3rd birthday party:

J's gigantic pile of tickets from ChuckECheese's, L and D

M and B, L with one of her presents

L making a funny face, D making a funny face

B and M

Aug 18, 9:51am Top

Today is a kid-free day, and I plan on taking a walk - hopefully about 5 miles, though it will be my first walk in a while, so maybe I should take it easy. After that, I will hang out with Aaron and my friend Liz, who turned 38 yesterday. We'll take her to Olive Garden, and then watch some Doctor Who.

Currently Reading



Aug 18, 12:07pm Top

Enjoy your kid free day, you deserve a day off!

Aug 20, 4:22pm Top

>53 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda!

Aug 20, 4:39pm Top

>29 The_Hibernator: This is very similar to what I do, too. The threads that get skipped are from those most prone to a thread or more a month - then I may just give on the 100+ messages I missed and catch up on a newish one later.

Sorry to hear about all the challenges with M's mom and your parents. Mine just turned 60 so while we haven't reached the stage of my getting involved with health-related issues, I know it's coming. My brothers live locally and would pitch in some, but as the oldest I think a lot will be falling to me. I hope you had a wonderful weekend & celebration with Liz.

Aug 21, 7:55am Top

>55 bell7: Hi Mary! If they're 60, hopefully you have a little time left before elderly care really starts. My dad was about 75 when he broke his hip several years ago, and that's when it started for us. Hopefully your parents will hold out for a while too. 🙂

Aug 21, 8:16am Top

My weekend and Monday went really well. I had fun on my Saturday off, we got M trying to ride his bike on Sunday. (We had to bribe him with screentime! That's a go-to now. We're bribing him with 15 minutes extra screentime for flushing the toilet and washing his hands. D gets a quarter, which motivates her. I don't know why an 8 year old can't just wash her hands by habit, though.)

Yesterday we tried M out on a new stimulant (for attention) for the second time, but it kept him awake till 10:45 again. Def not our pill! I feel a bit squimish over trying meds on a 6yo, but the impulse control med worked so well that I feel a bit better about attacking his attention problems now.

Today I will take the kids for their literacy tests - 45 minutes each! Both are good readers, though D has trouble with writing and oral communication. Last year, D did poorly and I'm interested to learn whether that result was due to the teacher (who thought D was lazy and defiant, and didn't believe us about her anxiety diagnosis), a fluke, or if maybe her other communication problems/anxiety lead her to do poorly again. Because that girl can read! Even more than I could at that age.

After the literacy tests, we shall go swimming, and then Aaron and I will have an unmediated dinner with the kids' mom, trying to diffuse her resentment and negative attitude. However, true to her borderline personality, she seems to have flipped and is now viewing her relationship with M in an optimistic way instead of a pessimistic way, so the dinner is probably pointless now. Lol. After all that stress! I wish I could believe that this was an isolated resentfully pessimistic period for her, but apparently this is just what she's like.

Aug 22, 10:08am Top

Both kids passed their literacy tests. 😁 And the meeting with the kids' mom was fine, she was optimistic as expected. *shrug She'll become pessimistic again, but at least she's ready to work things out right now.

Today is busy with a therapy meeting for Malcolm, a shopping trip with mom, a dinner with my sister where we will discuss parent care, and a leader's meeting about Deirdre's Lego League. Busy day!

Aug 22, 10:44am Top

Whew!! You are on a roll! Stop by the Portland thread and let us know what day/time will work best for you and Aaron next week. Can't wait to see you!

Aug 24, 9:09am Top

Edited: Aug 24, 9:39am Top

Today should be mostly low key...just getting some last minute housework done before we go on our trip on Monday. The kids have swim lessons later tonight, and then after that D has a meet-and-greet with a language therapist. I suspect she'll present within the "low-normal" range for her age. She just gets confused easily when speaking and then feels anxiety when people try to figure out what she means. But Aaron is really intent on getting her assessed for a language disability. I suspect part of our problem is that M is so intelligent and articulate that the lower end of normal for his older sibling looks impaired to us. However, the only risk in having her assessed by a language therapist is to enhance her anxiety, and she doesn't seem worried about it...

As for the meeting with Colette about elder care - she says she doesn't want to hire a PCA (neither does dad). She doesn't want to drive them to doctor appointments or drive mom shopping. She feels they should "get over" going to church. But she IS willing to send her son over to clean the bathrooms once a week. And she wants the job of reminding mom to take her meds, but wants to do so in a rude, forceful way that has already gotten her the "go away" from dad. She thinks mom is being unreasonable taking the meds right before sleep instead of whenever it is convenient for Colette to tell mom to take them. I had to explain that some meds simply need to be taken just before sleep, because rhey make her drowsy. *sigh

So it looks like I may not have the responsibility of cleaning the bathrooms? Luckily, the cooking and cleaning is mostly under control right now, besides the bathrooms.

Edited: Aug 24, 10:47am Top

Hi Rachel! You have a lot on your plate, and your sister doesn't sound very helpful.

Going to church: sometimes churches have some kind of volunteer service, willing to collect people from their homes?

Hope you get to relax sometimes as well. I loved the pictures of all the kids!

Aug 24, 11:37am Top

>62 EllaTim: I'm not aware if their church has volunteers who do that. I can certainly call and ask. Church generally isn't an issue if I'm available, since I can just go with them on Sundays. They can otherwise walk the mile there and back. Problems will arise when I give birth in December and may be unavailable for a couple weeks. It'd be too cold and icy to walk.

Edited: Aug 25, 11:57am Top

Well, I had a complete reader's slump last week. No books finished. But I have high hopes for my upcoming vacation. And I'll get some Going Clear listened to today as I try to sort all the clean laundry for packing into suitcases.

We will also do some last minute back to school shopping and stop by the library. I'd also like to talk them into going to the State Fair, but I think I'm the only one interested.

ETA: Books for trip: The Hate You Give, Foucault's Pendulum, Hillbilly Elegy, and The Gene. We are also packing the 3rd and 4th How to Train Your Dragon books for D to read during our intra-Oregon roadtripping.

Aug 25, 7:27pm Top

Some good choices for the trip!

Aug 27, 4:23pm Top

Good news on the literacy tests for the kids and (temporarily anyway) with their Mom! Less good news from the meeting with your sister - at least clean bathrooms will help I guess?

Hope your vacation is restful and you get some good reading done!

Aug 27, 5:21pm Top

>64 The_Hibernator: That is some pretty heavy reading for a road trip!

Aug 27, 9:11pm Top

Love all the books you are bringing on the trip--either because I have read them or I want to!! Safe travels and see you soon. : )

Aug 28, 12:49am Top

>65 drneutron: Hi Jim! I'm looking forward to them!

>66 souloftherose: lol, Heather. Funny thing is that dad took insult to having his bathrooms cleaned. He didn't want the help! Oh well.

I hope I get some reading done too. And some audiobook listening while walking!

>67 Oberon: Hi Erik! We flew to Oregon. We will be doing some amount of driving within Oregon, but I have some softer audiobooks for that purpose...so the kids and husband will enjoy, too.

>68 Berly: Hi Kim! What a coincidence! I want to read all of those books, too! 😁

Aug 28, 1:02am Top

Today's flight to Oregon was relaxing, as was the 2hr drive from Portland to Corvallis. I didn't get much reading done today because I was busy herding kids and catching some zzz's. But I think I'll have time tomorrow.

My first evening of vacation was more productive than any vacation should be, lol. I ordrered a new laptop (they were on Labor Day sale!) It'll be at my parent's house when I return home. I needed one because I am going to volunteer at a crisis text line again, and (as I understand it) this one requires people to work from home with their own computer. Training for the text line starts Sept 17th. I also read through some information on FIRST Lego League, which D's mom and I will be skillfully mentoring together for a team of 9-11 year olds in September through November. This year's topic is SPACE. They have to come up with a project about how space travel impacts people socially and physically - they ask questions to a mentor, then find a new solution to an existing problem. They also need to build and program a Lego robot to perform a set of space related tasks.

Edited: Aug 29, 9:39pm Top

Yesterday, I took a 3 mile walk as I listened to Going Clear. A lot of spare time was spent talking to my inlaws, but I also made progress on Gene: An Intimate History, and The Hate U Give. The kids managed to mostly behave themselves, though we discovered that D hadn't packed a sweatshirt and Aaron hadn't packed M any shirts at all.

Today, I will take another 3 mile walk and then head to the coast, which is about 1.5 hours away. I'm hoping I will be able to get some reading done on the drive but talking to the inlaws is a likely scenario too. Aaron has to stay at home working, as he is technically on workcation.

Aug 29, 8:53pm Top

Hope you had fun at the coast. Can't wait to see you tomorrow night!! I'll PM you my phone number so we can find each other. : )

Aug 31, 11:50am Top

Things at the coast were a lot of fun, despite the children's over-developed sense of bravery in the waves. We tried to impress on them that this was not the wave pool at Noah's Ark, but a much more dangerous thing. But they didn't really listen that well. Too much excitement. I'll post pictures when I have access to a computer at home.

The next day, there was an article in the newspaper warning us to stay out of the water at this beach, because of fecal matter runoff. They haven't developed any symptoms yet, so I think we're good.

Yesterday evening, Aaron and I drove to Portland for a meetup with Juli, Rhonda, and Kim. We had a lovely dinner and went to Powell's afterwards. I'm sure Kim will post the pictures. Aaron and I carefully bought over $100 in books to get our free parking. Can't post the haul picture, since I'm on my phone, but I can list them.

Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
Behave, by Robert Sapolsky
High Price, by Carl Hart

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
Furies of Calderon, by Jim Butcher
Naked Pictures of Famous People, by Jon Stewart
Why Liberalism Failed, by Patrick J Deneen

Today, we will drive about 3.5 hours to a resort town Sun River for a family reunion of Aaron's. We will listen to How to Speak Dragonese, by Cressida Cowell while D reads along in the book.

Aug 31, 7:01pm Top

It sounds like you have a lot on your plate, Rachel. Hope the vacation is relaxing especially with a meet up thrown in!

Sep 1, 9:55am Top

Nice how you just had to buy books so you could park... 😀👍

Sep 1, 9:59am Top

Hi Rachel!

Fun and interesting times - no shirts, dangerous waves, meet ups, and books. I read Sapiens last year and thought it was stunning. I started Homo Deus on my Kindle, but haven't read much recently.

Sep 2, 2:49pm Top

>74 Familyhistorian: Vacation is going great, Meg! Though I will be happy to get home and back to a routine again. Having so many people in one house is exhausting!

>75 drneutron: I know, right? All those free books just for parking!

>76 karenmarie: Glad you enjoyed Sapiens, Karen. I am looking forward to reading it.

Sep 2, 5:40pm Top

Hi Rachel! It was great to meet you and Aaron!

Sep 6, 7:15am Top

>78 banjo123: It was great to meet you, too, Rhonda!

Edited: Sep 6, 7:34am Top

Well, here I am at home with my new computer! The rest of the vacation went well. We went for a lovely hike on Saturday...well, technically I drove to the top of the mountain, but everyone else hiked up. M really dragged on his way up and took an hour longer than the rest of the group (Aaron and M's grandmother stayed with him). D arrived up in the first group, about an hour and a half before her brother.

Sunday, I took a 4 mile walk (on a nice flat path). I figured the three mile walk on Tuesday had gone well, so why not 4 miles? Well, apparently 3 miles was my limit. I was really dragging that last mile, and ended up taking a full 2.5 hours to walk 4 miles! I am stuck wondering if 3 is my limit while pregnant, or if I am still recovering from pneumonia and will improve. At least I know I can safely make 4 miles, though, so I can always try it again.

Monday, the flight back went smoothly, and we finished How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse driving from Sun River to the airport.

Tuesday was my first day of "mommy vacation" - the kids were back in school! I got SO much done! First thing I did was rush over to my parent's house and make sure mom's pill box was assembled correctly for the week. It wasn't. Extra pills here, missing pills there. *sigh. At least it was put together properly until Sunday. I postponed my trip the previous weekend for that sole purpose.

On the agenda for today - I take mom to her pulminologist, and then do a checkup for my bun-in-the-oven. Then in the evening Aaron and I will be talking with M's therapist alone with concerns about the kids' mother. That's something that's impossible to do in front of M, for obvious reasons.

On to pictures of the trip! (If Facebook will let me log in on my new computer with all the security settings I have up...sigh. ETA: Ok, that wasn't as hard as I thought. They just sent a code to my phone.)

Sep 6, 7:40am Top

This is all the people who hiked up the mountain

Aaron's sister's kids (which I guess makes them my nephews now) at the summit

D at the summit

M and D at the summit

Sep 6, 10:25am Top

Rachel--Glad you are back home safe and sound! Good catch on your mom's pills (yikes). LOVE all the pictures and I am very glad you managed to find enough books to qualify for the free parking. LOL. It was really great to meet you and Aaron in person. Hope to see you in MN next year! Enjoy new computer.

Sep 10, 4:12am Top

Great holiday/babymoon photos, Rachel! It looks like y'all had a great time.

Sep 10, 6:10am Top

>82 Berly: It was great meeting you, too, Kim! My mom insisted on setting up her own box this Saturday, too, so I got to see the same mess on Sunday morning. *sigh

>83 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl! It was a great trip!

Sep 10, 7:02am Top

>81 The_Hibernator: Great photos, Rachel

Sep 11, 11:42am Top

>85 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul!

Sep 11, 11:50am Top

Well, despite my thread title, I still have not had time to read more. lol. But we did get some significant work done on the nursery, and I've been cleaning the house pretty vigorously. I've also had to take my mom to a bunch of doctor appointments that we'd been putting off until school started, and I wouldn't have to drag the kids around. So things should settle down soon. My sister says I'm beginning the "nesting stage," though I think it's just that I finally feel ok after that bout of pneumonia and have time because the kids are in school.

Today, we are getting a new furnace, so I am spending time at home cleaning and working on Lego League stuff (I'm coaching D's Lego League team to build a Lego robot that will do cool space-related tasks to Lego ramps and payloads and solar panels, etc.

Tomorrow I will have to face the hard decision of whether to keep my mom on Latuda. There is increased risk of death by stroke for elderly patients with dementia, but we're afraid that if we take her off the Latuda her bipolar disorder will destabilize and she'll lose quality of life. Of course, it depends entirely upon whether her doctor is willing to keep up the prescription himself. But I still want to be prepared to discuss the options with him. yikes!

Also, I'm hoping that I can finish Handmaid's Tale today, so that I can focus on The Hate You Give.

Edited: Sep 11, 1:05pm Top

Hi Rachel! I would have loved to have been able to make the trip to Portland to meet you! Perhaps next time you go there - attending a Portland meetup is high on my bucket list.

Good catch on the pills!

A possible suggestion - buy a second pill box. Then you two can each do one, under your direction. "Here's the xxxx; it goes in each of the boxes on the top row". You can ask her to double check what you've done - after each pill addition 'Does mine look right, Mom?' and tell her it's a load off your mind to have the extra box ready in case you are too tired or not feeling well enough to make it over to help her on 'pill day' and you really appreciate her help. And if things are too mixed up, you can take the box she did, give her the good box you did and sort pills quietly somewhere else.

Mom was usually sharp but she had some confused days, and she had wicked rheumatoid arthritis so it was hard to get the pills in the right little box. And the pill directions were darn complicated (heart disease, high blood pressure, RA).

Finally her cardiologist told her he would no longer treat her unless someone else was doing the pills. That's an option you can use, too. Tip off the nurse when you make the appointment.

I had a horror of mixing something up, especially when I was tired, so she 'supervised' me while I did it. She was very worried that she wouldn't have her pills ready as the box became empty, so we went to the two box system, so she always had the security of a new box.

My small town local pharmacy offered to do the same thing - they put the pills in daily cardboard push out blisters, - but I'm not sure Mom's hands would have been up to it. Also she didn't want people at the local pharmacy to know she needed help. :) I see there's a commercial for a national company called something like Pill Pak which has little plastic bags clearly marked with day of the week and time in a pop up system.

Worrisome about the Latuda. I'll send good thoughts and prayers your way.

I never liked The Handmaid's Tale, although I do enjoy the series. The Hate You Give was one of my favorites last year.

Many hugs! You have a lot on your plate!

Sep 11, 3:31pm Top

Hi, Rachel. I fell way behind when we were away in August and am just catching up on many of the threads, so Happy New Thread and wow, you've been busy and productive! We were off to visit my mother, who is 87. Fortunately, she is still independent, although I can see her getting frailer. My sister lives in the same town with her, rather that 1500 miles away, so she has to deal with day to day stuff (like when stuff breaks down in the house). I'm sorry to hear that both of your parents are dealing with memory issues--that is so difficult!

Sep 17, 7:24am Top

>88 streamsong: Hi Janet! Thanks for the thoughts and advice! Some of it may come in pretty handy. Right now, how I'm handling it is letting mom do the med box in the evening on Saturday, and then I come in and check it on Sunday. It doesn't hurt for her to be thinking about her meds...even though she invariably makes mistakes. Both her neurologist and her psychiatrist said it was important that I take over her meds - in front of her. But I don't think she remembers those bits of the conversations. She seems to remember some bits and not others, so I'm not sure what she understands at any given time.

>89 ronincats: Hi Roni! I fall way behind all the time (I'm behind right now, in fact), so I certainly can't lay any blame your way for falling behind. :) It is nice that your mother has someone to take care of her, and that you can rest easy on that situation. My husband and I have been discussing what to do when my parents are no longer here...should we move to Oregon so that we can take care of his parents (who are younger and are in fine shape right now)? Aaron's sister lives right next door, and she will be a great help to them, but depending on how hard the care-taking is, she might not be able to handle it on her own very easily. She has some pretty pronounced depression she's dealing with.

Sep 17, 7:38am Top

Hi all! Last week was a mess of appointments for myself and my mother, and I felt that I got nothing done for myself. Meaning, I didn't get in any walks or reading. I finally managed to get some cleaning in on Sunday, which sort of counts, as it is something I wanted to do all week and couldn't because I was doing stuff for other people.

The psychiatrist appointment went better than expected. He gave me a long speech about how I shouldn't pay a whit of attention to those silly warnings on the drug inserts. Mom was fine! lol. I think he overstated his case a bit, he's likely to get sued someday if he's so blase about the warnings. But I'm glad he was willing to continue giving us the meds and assured us that the risk of stroke was very low. I had already decided that this is the path I wanted - I knew the risk of stroke was low, and the benefits of the Latuda are very high. I wasn't sure if he'd agree to give us the meds, though!

I also finished Handmaid's Tale last week, and continued work on The Hate U Give, which is excellent so far. Still listening to Going Clear as my audiobook.

This week, I am starting a brand new training to work for the National Suicide Prevention textline. You can text CONNECT to 741741 to get hold of someone. I think they have different keywords depending on what state you're in, but I'll learn more soon. All of this training and the actual text-line answering, takes place in my own home (as I understand it). That's why I got a new laptop, the old one was too slow to handle that sort of thing. There are 38 hours of training, and it lasts for a month. I plan on doing 2 hours every weekday and playing catch-up on the weekends if I must. That means I probably won't get much reading done for the next month. :(

On the agenda for today: I take D to the orthodontist, then run some errands for my parents, train for the crisis hotline, prepare for Lego League (I had a 6-hour training on Saturday, so I have lot of information to share with the kids in the upcoming meeting on Tuesday). And take M to his social skills group and then individual therapy. Right now, we're celebrating a victory with him. We half-starved him until he agreed to eat a grilled cheese sandwich yesterday, and then he loved it. We're trying to get him to eat a larger variety of foods because he is extremely limited in what he will agree to eat. I suspect a sensory issue may be involved, but part of it is definitely a control issue.

Sep 17, 3:13pm Top

Ugh! I ordered a sleeper sofa from Slumberland Furniture last weekend. On Friday, the delivered the sofa, and did significant damage to our front door and stairwell wall. They offered us $100. A new door costs $2000. I would know, because I just bought one. Luckily, the door that was damaged is NOT the new door. However, if it was, we'd be screwed. I am so pissed off.

Sep 21, 10:40am Top

Well, today I decided to clear my to-do list and take a sanity day. I had a very productive day yesterday...I got a call from Slumberland that said that since I wasn't accepting their insulting offer, they would refer the issue to their insurance. I got hold of someone competent at Home Depot, who is helping us reorder the new door (which was damaged when it arrived, which is the only reason the old door was damaged by Slumberland and not the new one).

I sent out a slew of emails for other stuff that needed to be taken care of, including notes to the kids' teachers and the school counsellor that we are thinking of getting a 504 for D (so that she can type composition assignments instead of hand writing them - she has anxiety attacks when asked to hand-write compositions) and an IEP for M's ADHD. (We're beginning to run out of attention stimulant med choices because they either cause sleep loss or mood swings - though his med for impulse control is a miracle med. We'd rather him have attention problems than mood problems given his suicidal thoughts last year.)

The counsellor wanted to meet right away to discourage me from going through the IEP process. I told him I expected reluctance on his part, as he'd seemed reluctant last year, and I've now researched the topic to find a lot of schools are reluctant. He backed off a little then...but he's a bit of a smooth-talker. Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way is that every time I talk to him, he brushes off children's behavior as "are you sure there isn't an element of manipulativeness there?" Yes. All kuds are manipulative. They have little control over their environment, so must manipulate what resourses they do have. What's your point? Ladt year, he asked me if maybe M's suicidal talk was manipulative! Of course it is! But that doesn't make it any less of a plea for help. Now it's D's anxiety at writing. Is there a manipulative element? Always. Of course. Does that make the anxiety less real? No! Grrr.

Anyway, now I'm feeling the pre-partum blues. So I'm taking that sanity day - I've not had a break for almost 3 weeks. I'll read and catch up on LT today. Then I'll go to dinner with my parents and family.

Tomorrow, the Ren Fest!

Sep 21, 5:04pm Top

Yay for being productive yesterday, and yay for taking a sanity day today! I hope you enjoy it.

Sep 23, 1:20am Top

Rachel--Sounds like you are going in a million different directions! Glad you are taking a sanity day; I think you have more than earned it. Sorry about your door--glad Slumberland is going to come through. How is the sleeper sofa anyway? And follow your gut on the IEP thing. It was a great thing for my daughter.

Sep 23, 3:32am Top

Happy Sunday, Rachel. You have really lots of different things up. Take care of yourself. Hugs

Sep 23, 10:04am Top

>94 norabelle414: Thanks Nora! I enjoyed a good deal of it. I think I need another one, as part of it was just spent sleeping and I didn't get all the reading done that I wanted. Perhaps I'll take a half-sanity day today and get back to the grind on Monday.

>95 Berly: Hi Kim! Well, we still don't know what Slumberland's insurance is going to come up with, so I'm not raising my hopes yet. But this is more promising than the $100 they originally offered.

>96 Ameise1: Thanks Barb!

Edited: Sep 23, 10:18am Top

Well, yesterday was an adventure. We wanted to go to the Ren Fest, and I figured we'd get out of there early enough for me to drop J off at Valleyfair (our local amusement park) by 6. Unfortunately, everything took longer than expected, and by the time we got through the hour-long line to get our car into the Ren Fest parking lot, I wouldn't have had much time to turn around and go pick up J. And I would have worried the whole time about whether I'd be on time. So Aaron and the kids went to the Ren Fest without me, and I went and picked J up a tad early and took him to Valleyfair. I got back to the Ren Fest in time to go in and enjoy myself for a while with Aaron and the kids. :)

Then, I was supposed to pick J up from Valleyfair at 10:30. As I was driving through Savage, a cop passed me with flashing lights. As I entered Shakopee, two more passed me with flashing lights. At this point, I said to myself "They'd better not be going to Valleyfair!" As I was turning into Valleyfair, two more passed me, cruising on in to the park. My initial guess was that there were about 20, but upon looking further, there may have been up to 30 squad cars out there. All the patrons of the park were milling around in the entryway/parking lot. A police helicopter was circling. Soon after I entered, they closed off the entrance to the park, so parents could only pick up their stranded kids at the park gate, which impeded traffic leaving the park. There were rumors of many fights, stampedes, a gunshot, and a stabbing. (Newspaper this morning said it was just several fights and a few stampedes.)

Anyway, since I made it into the park before they closed the gate by sheer luck, none of the other of J's friends' rides had arrived yet - they were all caught in the traffic jam of worried parents. So I didn't even try to leave until the teens had all been picked up. Then, of course, as J and I got into the car and started programming Waze to get us to his house, a cop came up and rudely told us to clear out. I wanted to ask him if he'd wanted me to abandon a bunch of teens to be HIS problem rather than mine, but I just sweetly showed him my phone and said that I was programming the address in right now. There was really no need to be so rude! I don't know what that was about.

Today, Aaron and J will be building our pre-fabricated shed in the backyard, and I will either entertain the kids or I will take a sanity day and plunk them in front of the TV. lol. The TV might win this time. I'm tired from going to bed late after the Valleyfair fiasco.

Sep 24, 2:28pm Top

Currently Reading this week

Still working on The Hate U Give and Hillbilly Elegy. I decided to pick up The Mars Room when it made the Booker Prjze shortlist. I was torn between it and The Overstory. But I’ll start with the short one first.

Completed last week

Sep 27, 2:19am Top

>98 The_Hibernator: Yikes!!! I was going to say I miss Valley Fair and then you went on about stampedes...

My reading plans are so booked and I really want to get to the Mars room!! I just have to read faster I guess. My bookclub had a great discussion of Hillbilly Elegy--hope you enjoy all three.

Sep 27, 5:14am Top

>98 The_Hibernator: That doesn't sound fun at all, more like lots of stress and anxiety! I hope you have a good day to recuperate a bit, Rachel.

Sep 27, 7:04am Top

>99 The_Hibernator: These are some great current reads, Rachel. I loved all 3, plus I am crazy about The Handmaid's Tale. I also want to read The Overstory.

I hope you are having a great week. I love this cooler weather.

Edited: Sep 28, 1:48am Top

>99 The_Hibernator: *whispers * I still haven't read The Handmaid's Tale.

Sep 28, 9:00am Top

>100 Berly: I am enjoying all three books. Mars Room is very good so far, though I am listening more slowly than I intended.

>101 EllaTim: The Valleyfair scare was probably a lot worse for the parents that were trapped in traffic on the highway, with their kids calling them with rumors of a bloody stab victim being hauled out by ambulance (just a rumor - didn't happen). I was "safely" within the gates and could see that nothing scary was currently going on. I was frustrated at J, who was very vague about his location, but it was clear he was safe. And I told him I would wait until all his friends' parents had made it through the evacuation so, really, I had little to complain about. I was lucky.

>102 msf59: I was really pleased with Handmaid's Tale as well. I shall write a review soon.

>103 charl08: lol. I hadn't until last week....

Sep 29, 11:36pm Top

I didn't enjoy Handmaid's Tale too much but then, I guess guys are supposed to be uncomfortable.

Have a lovely weekend.

Oct 2, 10:50am Top

Hi Paul! Yes, I think it was meant to make men feel uncomfortable. Too bad you didn't care for it, though.

Oct 2, 10:53am Top

2018 Book #33: The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood

Summary: Offred lives in a dystopic world in which the society she knew fell apart and was replaced by a militaristic, uber-religious, man-controlled culture. She has been taken as a “handmaid” – a new form of the Biblical consort with whom married men of wealth can have children if their own wives can not conceive. (That is, of course, the men believe that the problem of conception is with the woman and not with the man.) When people around her begin to act in ways that the new culture will not abide, she must make a choice of whom to trust.

My Thoughts: This is my first Atwood book, and I’m very impressed. Yes, ok, it’s not for people who dislike books that make you uncomfortable. But if you’re in the right mood, this was thoughtful feminist writing full of symbolism. Atwood is a real pro at subtley-but-somehow-harshly making a point. I know, it sounds like making such a point is impossible, but somehow Atwood managed. I am eager to read more of her books.

I am currently on a project outlined by Susan Wise Bauer in her book The Educated Mind. In it, she provides a list of questions to ask while you’re reading a book. Although this is not one of the books in her list, I think it is worthy of asking those questions.

👽What is the most central life-changing event?

This “central life-changing event” usually takes place at the beginning of the book, according to Susan Wise Bauer…and understandably so. But in this case, the book takes place with a lot of flashbacks. I’d say the revolution that overturned society would be the central life changing event for Offred. It is because of this that she lost her job, her husband, and her child. It is because of this that she was forced into handmaidenhood.

It is easy to confuse the reader with too many flashbacks that inform the reader (possibly a little late) what happened to bring the character to her current spot. However, Atwood did an amazing job, and I applaud her seamless work of giving us just as much information as we need, but still leaving mystery and not forcing information into the narrative unrealistically. This takes talent. I could easily believe that Offred really was writing the story with the understanding that her audience would know the background of the revolution and the norms of her society. Facts were not forced upon us, they were casually, and naturally, dropped.

👽What does the central character want? What is standing in his or her way? What strategy is pursued to overcome this block?

Now this is a hard question. Offred wants a lot of things, and some of them conflict. She wants life to be back the way it was before the revolution. She also, more realistically, wants to be safe – and therefore to get pregnant. But she also wants to live her life, which is why she dares to do things that endanger her. She wants to be unique in a world where even her name is taken away from her.

How do you even list all the things a character like Offred wants? Some of the things she wants are specific to her character, but I think Atwood meant her to represent every woman who has ever felt oppressed. In which case she wants freedom. She wants to speak out. She wants equality. She wants to be an individual who is valued. It is because of these more subtle desires of Offred that I can say Atwood can be harsh but subtle at the same time.

👽Who is telling you this story? Is this person reliable?

Offred is telling this story, but who Offred is has become a question at the end of the book. Is she reliable? Well, yes and no, I think. I think she is honestly relaying what is in her heart at any given point in the narrative, but she also has a constricted view of what is going on in the world. She is not allowed to see the mechanizations of society or of the people around her from her current position, so she has to relay things only as she perceives them and perhaps not as they are.

👽 Does the end have a resolution or a logical exhaustion?

In the end, the story is artfully left open to interpretation. Did she escape? Was she caught and punished? We don’t know. But this, I think, was the best ending that could happen given the overall meaning of the book. Since Offred represents the wants and needs of all women in the world, and some women are eventually liberated and some continue to be oppressed, there is only one way to end the story – by leaving it open.

Oct 4, 9:59am Top

2018 Book #34 The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner

Summary: Following the stream-of-consciousness of a few different characters, this is mostly the story of Romy Hall, who is serving two consecutive life sentences in the California State prison system. Kushner’s story slips back and forth between the now and the past, so the reader slowly learns about how Ms. Hall ended up where she did. It is a gritty, realistic book that gives a fairly accurate view (as I’ve heard from prison inmates) of what women’s prison is like.

My Thoughts: I started listening to this right after it made the Booker Prize shortlist. Although I understand perfectly why it made the shortlist (the writing style is superb), I wasn’t overly impressed with the story. Don’t get me wrong…I had emotional investment in Ms. Hall, and felt the other characters were realistic and well-written. And I think Kushner achieved exactly what she set out to do: flawlessly executing the stream-of-consciousness style. I was just in the mood for a story with more plot. But this book wasn’t about plot. It was a book about character and setting. And the characters and setting were superbly written. So I will still give the book 4 stars, even though it wasn’t what I was in the mood for.

Edited: Oct 4, 11:19am Top

And yes, it's my 39th birthday. My mom just turned 80. Next year's the big 40 for me. We had been planning on going to Duluth to see the fall colors for the weekend, but we are thinking again because of the weather. I haven't checked the weather today, though! I'd still like to go. We were going to replace the trip with Book of Mormon tickets, but for some reason I'd prefer this silly camping trip. It will be our last chance, sans kids, as I'll be giving birth in December and we'll have L around ALL the time.

Oct 4, 12:14pm Top

Happy birthday, Rachel. Wishing you a fabulous day. May all you wishes come true.

Oct 4, 12:18pm Top

Happy biiiiirthdaayyyyyyy!

This thread is going to get confusing soon with two different "L"s!

Oct 4, 1:04pm Top

>110 Ameise1: Thanks Barb!

>111 norabelle414: Ha! Oh dear. His first name is actually I. But we are going to call him by his middle name, which is also the name of a kickass Norse god.

Oct 4, 2:30pm Top

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Oct 4, 5:45pm Top

Thanks Karen!

Oct 4, 6:41pm Top

Happy birthday Rachel!

Hope this camping trip idea will work out.

And you made me want to reread The Handmaid's Tale

Oct 5, 6:53am Top

Happy belated birthday, Rachel! I hope that your pregnancy continues to go well.

Nice review of The Mars Room. I plan to read it before the year is out, probably in December.

Oct 5, 8:31am Top

>115 EllaTim: Thanks EllaTim!

>116 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl!

Edited: Oct 5, 9:38am Top

Happy weekend everyone! It’s been a busy two weeks.

D’s been having increased anxiety again, and we’re still trying to figure out if there’s a root cause that we should consider when creating an IEP. We had her assessed by a speech language therapist, and she turned out to be above average in spoken language. So when she DOES hesitate and have an anxiety attack while talking, it’s not because she can’t find the words first. The anxiety comes first, THEN she can’t find the words. We are now discussing assessing her for mild autism, based on some small sensory issues, a preference for structure, and some awkward responses to social cues. I’m about as convinced that she has autism as I was that she had a spoken language problem (which is, not very), but perhaps an assessment will at least rule out a problem that we can now just ignore. Or perhaps they’ll find something that I don’t expect. I am still relatively convinced that she has dysgraphia, but we are waiting for the first parent/teacher conference to determine what the teacher thinks about her writing skills.

M, on the other hand, has been excellently. We finally got a stimulant for the attention that seems to work and have no adverse side effects. We had a form filled out by the teacher, which said that M was in the normal range on the ADHD indicators and that he was above average both academically and behaviorally. That’s right. M’s better behaved then the other kids. That’s a far stretch from last year, when he was getting in trouble every day. So, yay! Something’s going right! We are thinking of not doing an IEP for him right now, since he’s in such a good place.

Aaron and I are doing well. There’s no news for Aaron. On the other hand, I made the mistake of going to the dentist on my birthday. Booooo! I’ve never had dental problems in the past, other than a couple of cavities, so it came as a shock when I was told I had periodontal disease and one cavity (underneath a silver filling – meaning I’ll have to get a partial crown). I’ve never had a crown. And the deep cleaning process for the periodontal disease sounds awful. Ugh! I’m going to be listening to that Dentist song from Little Shop of Horrors for the next couple of weeks, I think.

Periodontal disease is a risk factor for early-term birth (pre-37 weeks) and low birth weight. I’m not overly worried, as I haven’t noticed any symptoms of periodontal disease (even bad breath) other than the bleeding gums. But I DO trust my dentist. So, yay, even MORE appointments over the next two weeks. I’m SOOOO tired of appointments right now. I take me to all of mine, the kids to all of theirs, my parents to all of theirs….soooo tired.

Currently Reading

I’m on the last 50 pages of The Hate U Give, so I should finish that today. The Passage is my scary book this month – I’m hoping to get through the whole series before Halloween, but we’ll see what happens. The Gene, so far, is excellent. And I Darken and Beyond These Walls are both ARCs from NetGalley. Yes, I’m behind on And I Darken, but I’ve decided to be responsible and catch up on some of my unreviewed books.


I finished three books last week.


I didn’t want to give up on this beautiful book, but I just couldn’t find myself interested in the words. I found my mind wandering instead of concentrating on how to move on after I am dead. I guess I better not die. 🙂 Not in Ancient Egypt, anyway. The book, otherwise, is beautiful and highly recommended.


Beyond These Walls, The Witch of Willow Hall, and Them are all ARCs from NetGalley. I went crazy and requested a bunch of stuff. 🙂 The Greeks is a textbook that is suggested by a Ancient Greek history Great Course that I’m working on currently. The Mahabharata replaces The Egyptian Book of the Dead in my classical literature studies. To Be a Machine will be the next Nonfiction book I listen to (chosen because it won the Wellcome Book Prize), when I am done with my Halloween reading. And, finally, I gave up on reading Gulliver’s Travels in lieu of listening to it. Haven’t started the audiobook yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

Oct 5, 3:18pm Top

Belated happy birthday, Rachel!

Oct 5, 5:34pm Top

Late happy birthday, Rachel!

I loved The Hate U Give. I'll probably try to go to the movie if it makes it here to small town Montana. It will be interesting to see how they handle it.

I'm also listening to The Gene. Although I did lots of bacterial gene manipulation, much of the human stuff is new to me.

Oct 5, 6:34pm Top

Hello Rachel.

>118 The_Hibernator: I am sorry to hear of your dental woes, but glad to hear that you are learning more and having success with your kids. I have a SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) 12 yo. We suspected that he could be on the autism spectrum but testing and counseling have ruled it out. I just wish he would take his therapeutic exercises more seriously.

I am also interested in Them Sasse. I look forward to your thoughts on this one.

Oct 6, 4:36pm Top

Good comments about The Mars Room, Rachel. I'll be interested in how it lands on me when I get to it later this month.

I hope you're enjoying The Hate U Give. I thought it was excellent.

>107 The_Hibernator: I feel like The Handmaid's Tale, which I read eons ago, is becoming less and less like speculative fiction....

Oct 8, 8:14am Top

>119 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita (and Frank)

>120 streamsong: Hi Janet! I'm beginning to think I don't want to see the movie. I loved the book, but it's just not the type of movie I like watching. I like happy movies, or adventurous movies, not deeply moving movies. I prefer to read that sort of stuff.

>121 brodiew2: Hi Brodie! I'm thinking M may have some sensory issues which make him a very picky eater. He'll only eat a very few things, and those things have to be from a certain brand - no Wendy's chicken nuggets, they must be McDonald's, for instance. But sometimes it's just bogus "I don't like the Cheeseits you send to school, I only like the ones at home." No, honey, those are exactly the same. They're from the same box.

>122 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! Hopefully you enjoy The Mars Room! Yes, unfortunately I can see a reality creeping up on us as far as The Handmaid's Tale goes. :(

Oct 8, 8:16am Top

Summary: Wright’s book covers the history of Scientology from the youth of L. Ron Hubbard, to Scientology’s founding, to the current scandals.

My Thoughts: Going Clear is meant to be impartial, though I found it to lean heavily in the anti-Scientology direction. For instance, it provides pages and pages of stories that make the reader cringe, followed by a short statement saying that the Church of Scientology does not verify those claims. If it were impartial, it would spend the same amount of time presenting the Church’s side as the opposing side.

It is, however, clearly well researched. I had some knowledge of L. Ron Hubbard previous to reading this book – my grandpa knew him for a short time while he was still an aspiring writer, and so my dad has stories about that. I had no clue that he was so cruel, dishonest, and mentally ill. (Other than having a clear problem with believing in his own invented stories.) The only other book I’ve read on Scientology was Beyond Belief, by David Miscavige’s niece Jenna Miscavige Hill. My view of David Miscavige was colored by Ms. Hill’s rendition of him, which was much kinder than that in Going Clear. She did briefly mention that there was rumor of his violence, but not anything that would make me suspect the violence that Wright reports. I found this book to be believable, well-researched, and eye-opening. Definitely worth reading if you’re interested in learning about Scientology from the non-Scientologist’s view. It gets four stars (loses half a star due to claims of impartiality).

Oct 10, 7:16am Top

Summary: Vance reminisces about his Appalachian childhood in a struggling Ohio town. He describes why he (and people with the same poor white-kid background as he) switched from Democrat to Republican over the past decade. Despite this being touted as a book that helps you understand why Trump was elected, it was mostly a memoir and not a political book.

My Thoughts: This was an enlightening book, as it did a good job of showing how the attempts of the Democrats to help poorer people backfired on the poor white Appalachian folks, and why they would want a major change. Vance described how people flocked from deep in Appalachia to steel-working towns in Ohio before and during the Cold War. But when steel became a lagging industry after the Cold War, many people lost their jobs and struggled to find any job to support themselves. The welfare system (according to Vance) only made things worse, because it encouraged people not to find jobs.

I found Vance’s life story quite compelling, and his description of why his family switched from Democrat to Republican when they did was mostly reasonable. However, I wasn’t completely convinced by his argument that it isn’t racism that turned people like himself against Obama. Vance claimed it was because they couldn’t relate to Obama because he was Ivy-league educated, from a big city, and wore a suit everywhere. That’s a load of bull. If THAT were their reason for not liking Obama, then they wouldn’t like Trump either. Unfortunately, that few paragraphs of the book colored my view of the rest of his argument.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy and it made a lot of good points. And, importantly, the narrative was interesting and always brought me back for more. And I would have been perfectly willing to listen to a valid argument about why their issue with Obama had nothing to do with race (I’m sure they have other reasons), but he gave a very poor excuse, which made me think it was simply that – an excuse. Vance literally couldn’t come up with a valid reason to say why they related to Trump better than Obama (other than race). This book would normally have gotten four stars, but I’m going to dock it .5 because of that big problem.

Oct 11, 9:30am Top

Well, today's a 2.5 hour dental procedure on my right side - followed by another 1.5 hours on my left side next week. I am NOT looking forward to this, but I hope that at least they'll let me listen to an audiobook while I'm sitting there. To give me some distraction. I'm still listening to The Passage which is interesting, but I think he could have made it a lot shorter. The beginning seemed really long, then it got exciting for a while, then it slowed down again. He does a lot of unnecessary character-building considering how long some of these characters remain important to the plot. Or maybe those character details will become important later? I guess I can't really judge yet.

Oct 11, 10:59am Top

Good luck with the dentist. That's a great idea to listen to an audiobook while the work is being done :)

Oct 11, 5:10pm Top

Hope the dentist went OK Rachel - that does not sound fun, to put it mildly. Admire you doing the serious reading >124 The_Hibernator: and >125 The_Hibernator: with so much else you have going on.

Oct 11, 5:33pm Top

Sweet Thursday, Rachel. Great review of Handmaid's. Big Thumb. 5 stars is just about right. I also loved The Mars Room. Close to 5 stars for me.

Edited: Oct 11, 5:41pm Top

Your reviews have been awesome. I WANT to read/listen to Going Clear. Thumb. I hope to get to it, FINALLY, before year's end.

Oct 12, 8:25am Top

Nice review of Hillbilly Elegy, Rachel. I'll try to get to it sometime next year.

Oct 12, 10:07am Top

>127 figsfromthistle: Thanks! The dentist visit went fine. Much less stressful than I expected, in fact. Though the audiobook worked a lot better when they were cleaning my teeth than when they were drilling, lol.

>128 charl08: Thanks Charlotte! I guess I have been reading pretty heavy books lately. Even the YA book I just finished, The Hate U Give, is heavy reading! But now I"m working on the 4th Harry Potter book. :)

>129 msf59: >130 msf59: Thanks Mark! Glad you enjoyed my reviews!

>131 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl! I think it's definitely a book that's worth reading.

Edited: Oct 19, 9:16am Top

Hey everyone! There are 87 days left of this year, and I’ve decided to change my goal of 75 books this year to 60 books. That’s another 23 books I need to read in 87 days, at an average of 1.85 books per week. 🙂 I have separated my goals categorically:


I have currently been approved 8 NetGalley books, and my goal is to finish and review them all by the end of the year. That’s approximately 1 book every 11 days.


Rotating between fiction and nonfiction, I plan to finish these 8 audiobooks by the end of the year. Again, a total of 1 book every 11 days.

Litsy Markup Postal Bookclub

For the first time ever, I have signed up for the a postal bookclub through Litsy. In this one we join a group of 4 people. In November, we each pick a book, read it, and make highlights and notes in the margins. At the end of the month, we mail our book to the next person in our group, and receive one from someone else. Then we read, mark, and mail that one, and so on. As I have not been assigned a group and discussed what types of books to read, I will not venture a guess as to what my book choice will be. But this will be 2 books over the months of November and December.

General Reading

And my final 5 books will be these.

ETA: And I Darken and Beyond These Walls have been completed.

Oct 14, 4:35pm Top

It snowed here today!

Edited: Oct 16, 9:26am Top

Summary: This is the story of a female Dracul of Wallachia. (In other words, I think she’ll develop into Dracula by the end of the trilogy?) In this first book of the trilogy, Lada and her brother Radu are taken hostage by the Ottoman Empire as insurance against their father’s uprising. Lada and Radu grow up friends with the Sultan’s son, growing in power.

My Thoughts: This book had a slow beginning but picked up about a quarter of the way through. I wasn’t invested in any of the characters until then. But at that time, the characters became very interesting. The concept of a female Dracul is also creative and fun. It’s nice to see a strong female anti-hero. I am very interested in reading the rest of the series to see how Radu and Lada develop.

Edited: Oct 16, 10:25am Top

2018 PopSugar Challenge so far. Considering that I did not actually try to complete this challenge, I didn't do half bad.

1.A book made into a movie you've already seen Roots, by Alex Haley
2. True crime Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
3. The next book in a series you started Time Jumpers, by Brandon Mull

4. A book involving a heist - no progress
5. Nordic noir - no progress
6. A novel based on a real person The Picture of Dorian Grey, by Oscar Wilde
7. A book set in a country that fascinates you Shadow Land, by Elizabeth Kostova

8. A book with a time of day in the title -no progress
9. A book about a villain or antihero And I Darken, by Kiersten White
10. A book about death or grief The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

11. A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym - no progress
12. A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist And I Darken, by Kiersten White
13. A book that is also a stage play or musical - no progress
14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
15. A book about feminism Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
16. A book about mental health No One Cares About Crazy People, by Ron Powers
17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift No One Cares About Crazy People, by Ron Powers

18. A book by two authors - no progress
19. A book about or involving a sport - no progress
20. A book by a local author – no progress
21. A book with your favorite color in the title - no progress
22. A book with alliteration in the title Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
23. A book about time travel Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by JK Rowling
24. A book with a weather element in the title When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
25. A book set at sea How to Be a Pirate, by Cressida Cowell
26. A book with an animal in the title Grimoire of the Lamb, by Kevin Hearne

27. A book set on a different planet - no progress
28. A book with song lyrics in the title - no progress
29. A book about or set on Halloween - no progress
30. A book with characters who are twins - currently reading Cresswell Plot (triplets, but I'll let that go)
31. A book mentioned in another book Don Quixote, by Cervantes
32. A book from a celebrity book club The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

33. A childhood classic you've never read - no progress
34. A book that's published in 2018 - Time Jumpers, by Brandon Mull
35. A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
36. A book set in the decade you were born Going Clear, by Lawrence Wright
37. A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to Hillbilly Elegy, by JD Vance
38. A book with an ugly cover Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
39. A book that involves a bookstore or library - plan on reading Ink and Bone, by Rachel Caine

Oct 17, 6:21pm Top

Good luck with your reading goals! 1.85 books per week does seem quite do-able! Best wishes!

Karen O.

Oct 18, 2:24am Top

I will be intrigued to hear more about the postal reading group, Rachel. I wondered how these worked!

Good luck with the reading goals to the end of the year.

Oct 19, 9:09am Top

Thanks Karen and Charlotte!

>137 klobrien2: I have decided to add a bunch of graphic novels to my reading for the rest of the year in order to get up to 75, after all. Hopefully I can pull it off. :)

>138 charl08: I am interested too. I'll let you know how fun it is. It may be too high of pressure for me to HAVE to finish a particular book within a month, as I read so many books at a time. But we'll see. Reading other people's notes might be a lot of fun.

Edited: Oct 19, 9:13am Top

Not much to report in my personal life over the past couple of weeks. It snowed last Sunday, which was a surprise to myself. I caught this picture well before it stopped snowing – so there was more accumulation by the end of it.

This being MEA weekend, I am spending Thursday and Friday with the kids. So far, we haven’t done much interesting, though today we plan on going to the library. This weekend, I will participate in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. My goal is to read 12 hours – which would be more than I am usually able to pull off for a readathon. But I like to challenge myself. 🙂

Reading plans for the following week

These are the books that I expect to make progress on (though not necessarily complete) over the next week. The Witch of Willow Hall, Them, and The Re-Origin of Species ARCs. The Passage and The Wasp Factory are my Halloween season reads. And The Lies We Told is this month’s Book of the Month pick.


I finished 4 books over the past two weeks. Reviews for The Hate U Give and The Lions of Valletta are coming up next week. Beyond These Walls will not be not published until January, and the review will wait until then. Though I will say that I enjoyed it quite a bit.


Perhaps I overdid my acquisitions over the past two weeks. I requested way too many books from NetGalley and Edelweiss, so my focus for a while will be to catch up on those ARCs. American Overdose, Fade, Bone Lines, The Patriot Bride, the Liberty Bride, The Cumberland Bride, and Beneath a Prairie Moon are NetGalley books. The Re-Origin of Species and The Torture Machine are from Edelweiss. Room and Steelheart are both Daily Deals from Audible. The Wasp Factory is a book I purchased because I wanted to read it for Halloween season. And The Lions of Valletta as a birthday present.

Oct 21, 4:43pm Top

I watched the first 5 episodes of The Haunting of Hillhouse on Friday. I didn't pass out or vomit from fear as I hear has been happening to Twitter users. Do I risk watching the next 5 episodes? 😂🤣

I DID find out that Aaron gets scared watching horror, though. Lol. He was actually hiding his face sometimes.

Edited: Oct 22, 9:20am Top

2018 book 41: Them, by Ben Sasse

Summary: Senator Sasse’s book describes how the breakdown of community due to advancing technology, changes in the way we consume news, and general changes in how we interact with each other has led to heated tribalism.

My Thoughts: I totally agree with Sasse about several subjects – especially how we consume news. Instead of reading accurate, important, and informative news, our media outlets and social media feeds are focusing on stupid, distracting tribalism. For instance, why are we focusing on whether Melania Trump slapped Donald’s hand away (or what she’s wearing) instead of focusing on major issues like healthcare and border security? Focusing on things like this is hateful, useless, and silly. Because we are inundated with this information, it is more difficult to find the important news. I also agree with Sasse about addiction to screens, and how it is causing a breakdown in family and friend communication. However, despite agreeing with his main points about technology, I found his chapter on technology too long for the point he was trying to make. He’s not an expert on technology, he doesn’t need to write pages and pages of descriptions of upcoming technologies.

I did not relate to Sasse’s argument on a number of points. For instance, he grew up in a small town and describes the breakdown of that small town culture over his lifetime. Despite growing up in the same decade as Sasse, I can’t relate to this loss at all. I’m sure it’s great that everyone was able to sit around every Friday night at a small town football game and chat about politics amicably. But that’s not the life I grew up in. How does Sasse’s argument about the breakdown of culture apply to great number of people who, like myself, did not grow up in that situation? Or am I not his target audience? I can see Sasse’s point that loneliness and lack of occupation leads to depression-like symptoms, which can then lead to hateful speech and focusing on the negatives of life. However, I have not been lonely or lacked occupation. Though I mainly avoid hateful speech (I like to think), I do lean heavily to the left politically. (In other words, I have my tribe.) So there’s more to tribalism than the loss of small town dynamics, loneliness, and lack of occupation.

I thought Sasse did an excellent job of remaining as unpartisaned as he could, considering his strong right leanings. Of course, he had to include some partisan points because he needed to talk about subjects he was familiar with (which is why he focused so much on the breakdown of small-town life when many of his readers will not be able to relate to that subject). But he did a good job of keeping it down to a minimum and not saying anything strongly controversial for the sake of his more liberal-leaning readers. I really admired his restraint on staying as unpartisaned as he could.

In fact, the only objection I had to what was in the book was one comment in which he used the word “schizophrenic” in an inappropriate sense, using it as an adjective to describe people who move from job to job in an erratic way. Misuse of words like “bipolar” and “schizophrenic” is one of my pet peeves. Mental illness is real, Mr. Sasse, and it’s painful. Misusing these words minimizes the pain people with mental illnesses (like myself) go through. I would say that this is not a partisan thing, but I guess sensitivity to others’ feelings (a.k.a. political correctness) IS actually a partisan thing sometimes.

Anyway, enough of my rant. I want to give the book 3.5 stars because I felt that it made some very good points, but had some rather boring sections (like the overly-long chapter on technology). I’d like to give him an extra half of a star for remaining as unpartisaned as possible, however, so I’m settling on 4 stars.

Edited: Oct 22, 9:54am Top

Just wanted to share Audible's description of George R. R. Martin's new book:

Overstatement? Anybody?

Oct 22, 10:00am Top

Hi Rachel!

>141 The_Hibernator: - I'm with Aaron. *smile* I also can't watch too much blood-and-gore or weird medical stuff.

>142 The_Hibernator: Interesting and thoughtful review. stupid, distracting tribalism - I think people are thrilled to easily find people they have things in common with via the internet/social media. LT is an example of technological tribalism at its best.

Much social media, though, is a trivialization of and distraction from the important issues, like you said. The title, Them: Why We Hate Each Other - And How to Heal implies suggestions for moving forward - were there any?

Edited: Oct 22, 10:07am Top

>144 karenmarie: “The alternative is restoring community for our new moment, recognizing that we need to figure out a way to realize a sense of home in a world that looks very different than anything we’ve seen before. Ultimately, it will require habits of heart and mind that introduce neighborliness into a new, more rootless age.”

I guess that's the solution. But he doesn't really delve very much into how to do that. The book focused a lot more time on what is going wrong than on how to fix it.

I didn't mean to imply that tribalism is always stupid, only that there is a huge focus on us vs. them in social media - and to the point of focusing on very silly subjects in a hateful manner.

Oct 22, 10:12am Top

Well, that's a pretty weak and general way on 'how to heal'. He shouldn't have put that in the title, IMO.

I know you didn't mean to imply tribalism is always stupid. I just immediately thought that 'we're a tribe here on LT' and I like being part of this tribe. *smile*

Oct 22, 2:55pm Top

>142 The_Hibernator: I agree that this is a well thought out review. I appreciate it. I picked up this book at the library and have not had a change to crack it. I'm not sure I will at this point. I think I may have gotten what I need out of your review.

Oct 23, 9:41am Top

>146 karenmarie: I agree that his "how to heal" was very weak. I almost included that in my review, but I figured it was starting to get a little long and if I'd spent too much time thinking about it I would have gone back down to 3.5 stars. lol. I'm a little torn about that one - not sure it REALLY deserves 4.

>147 brodiew2: Glad the review was helpful. Yes, I did pretty much put his entire argument into my review, so you're probably safe not reading it now that you know the gist of what he was saying. He had a lot of pages that just simply weren't necessary to make the arguments he made.

Edited: Oct 23, 9:43am Top

2018 book 42: Cresswell Plot, by Eliza Wass

Summary: Castella Cresswell lives in a world that is different from those she goes to school with – her father is abusive to her and her 5 siblings, and they are encouraged to believe that he is a prophet of God. When she meets a boy that talks to her as if she’s a “normal” person, Castella becomes confused about what she should believe about herself, God, and her family.

My Thoughts: I’ve seen plenty of mediocre reviews for this book, and I’m not sure why. The writing was engaging, and I cared (and worried) for the characters. There was enough suspense to keep me interested all the way through. And the plot was, on the whole, believable. I believe that families like this are rare, but they exist. And what’s more believable is the way the rest of the town ignored the obvious abuse that was going on in the Cresswell household. Overall, I thought this was a good book, and I would suggest it to people who like teen realism.

Oct 23, 9:49am Top

Hmmm, I'm at 149 messages and I've been wanting to start a new thread to put my new goals at the top of the thread where they belong. So I guess I'll just have to make my 150th message right here. Not much to say, though. Today I will be cleaning, reading, and taking my mom to get a haircut. When the kids get home from school, I'll take D to her Lego League - which I dread. She has anxiety EVERY time and refuses to participate and it's two hours of slow torture because I'm torn between trying to be understanding of her anxiety and to encourage her to participate with her team so that I don't look like I'm ignoring her lack of participation. She's really starting to annoy the other students. :(

Edited: Oct 23, 9:50am Top

Bah! Why didn't that work? Doesn't the new thread link appear after 150?

Oct 23, 9:50am Top

YAY! That worked!

Nov 11, 10:14pm Top

Extremely belated happy birthday, Rachel. You’re almost exactly a decade younger than me (shh ... don’t tell anyone) and your baby (son?) will be a decade younger than mine.

>150 The_Hibernator: It takes my older son forever to warm up to something new and participate effectively. He loves all aspects of football but it’s taken him a couple of years to gain enough confidence to chase the ball down rather than wait for it or flinch away from it; this even though he wanted to be a goalie and went for special goalkeeper training. It’s frustrating, I know (gosh, how I know) but maybe you have to let D warm up in her own time. To be honest, I think my son gets it from me, but I still have no better advice from that perspective. Focus on the other kids and the Lego and D will join in eventually.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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