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Ellen reads freely in 2018 - Thread 9

This is a continuation of the topic Ellen reads freely in 2018 - Thread 8.

This topic was continued by Ellen reads freely in 2018 - Thread 10.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Aug 12, 2018, 4:26pm Top

Photograph by NITIN VAYAS, 2017 National Geographic

In honor of the Earth, and in acknowledgement of my fear for its demise, my 2018 threads will be topped with nature photos. This regal lion gets to stick around.

Edited: Aug 12, 2018, 5:10pm Top

Icelandic Horse -- Photo by E. Arencibia

Edited: Aug 31, 2018, 9:16am Top

My Rating Scale:

= Breathtaking. This book touched me in a way that only a perfect book can do.
= A wonderful read, among my favorites of the year.
= A great read; truly enjoyable.
= Not quite great but I'm absolutely glad I read this.
= A solid read, with a few things done particularly well.
= Average, and life is too short to read average works.
= A bit below average. A waste of time.
= Nearly no redeeming qualities. Really rather bad.
= Among the worst books I've ever read.

Honestly, I'm rarely going to complete any book earning fewer than two stars but I reserve the right to rate them based on my experience.

Edited: Aug 12, 2018, 4:34pm Top


1. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
2. A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
3. Any Other Name by Craig Johnson
4. The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan
5. Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson
6. Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions by Valeria Luiselli
7. God Stalk by P.C. Hodgell
8. Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright
9. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott audiobook


10. Winter by Ali Smith
11. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff audiobook
12. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
13. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
14. The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie
15. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
16. The Way I Found Her by Rose Tremain


17. The Power by Naomi Alderman
18. Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
19. An American Marriage: A Novel by Tayari Jones
20. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
21. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
22. Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson
23. Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos
24. How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall

Edited: Aug 12, 2018, 4:36pm Top


25. The Birth House by Ami McKay
26. Alpha: Abidjan to Paris by Bessora (Author), Barroux (Illustrator), Sarah Ardizzone (Translator)
27. Hounds of Spring by Lucy Andrews Cummin
28. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo audiobook
29. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
30. For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu
31. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
32. Saving Mozart by Raphaël Jerusalmy


33. The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
34. The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide
35. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
36. Halsey Street by Naima Coster
37. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
38. Sunburn by Laura Lippman
39. Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
40. A Killer in King's Cove by Iona Whishaw


41. Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn
42. A Purple Place for Dying by John D MacDonald
43. Blind Goddess by Anne Holt
44. The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John Le Carré
45. Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu
46. Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat
47. Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

Edited: Aug 12, 2018, 4:48pm Top

I will be reading African American Autobiographies. I won't create individual threads for these because I just can't keep up with more than one thread, but I certainly welcome co-readers as I make my way through the list (and the order of the reads will be random rather than predetermined).

Here is the reading list that inspired this personal challenge; it's from a course being taught at the Asheville OLLI. I'm not saying these are exactly the books I will choose but this is the list from which I'm starting.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass √√
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B. DuBois
Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
A Voice from the South By a Black Woman of the South by Anna Julia Cooper
Crusade for Justice by Ida B. Wells
Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neal Hurston - read in 2017
Black Boy by Richard Wright
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody
Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin - read in 2013
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou - read twice already
Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family by Pauli Murray
Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

Negroland by Margo Jefferson
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass

Edited: Sep 19, 2018, 1:01am Top


✅January/Black - Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
✅February/Brown - The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie Jr
✅March/Green - Turtles All the Way Down by John Green and Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos
✅April/Yellow - The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
✅May/Blue - The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald and Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
✅June/Purple - A Purple Place for Dying by John D. MacDonald
✅July/Pink - Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
✅August/Grey - Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
✅September/Metallic - Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
October/Orange -

November/Red -
December/White -

Edited: Sep 19, 2018, 12:38am Top


✅January="Ack! I've been hit!" ~ Negroland by Margo Jefferson (BB by kidzdoc)
✅February="Laissez les bons temps rouler" ~ The Way I Found Her by Rose Tremain
✅March="Ripped From the Headlines" ~ The Power by Naomi Alderman
✅April="April Loves Books!" ~ Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
✅May="a flower ... in the title ..." ~ The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
✅June="Unusual Narrators" ~ Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spenser Quinn
✅July="Getting to Know You" (reading from/about a different generation) ~ The Overstory (multigenerational!)
✅August="Let's Go to the Mountains" ~ Above All Things by Tanis Rideout
✅September="Happy Birthday" ~ Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
October="Playing Cards" ~ The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne


Edited: Aug 25, 2018, 6:40pm Top

BingoDOG Completed

1. Title contains name of a famous person, real or fictional ~ Saving Mozart by Raphaël Jérusalmy
2. Published more than 100 years ago ~ Nicholas Nickleby
3. Originally in a different language ~ Go, Went, Gone (German)
4. New-to-you author ~ God Stalk by P.C. Hodgell
5. Relative name in title ~ Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat
7. Published in 2018 ~ An American Marriage: A Novel by Tayari Jones
9. Fat book - 500 plus pages ~ The Overstory by Richard Powers (502 pp.)
11. LGBTQ central character ~ Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
12. Book on the 1001 list ~ The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le Carré
13. Read a CAT (middle square) ~ Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions by Valeria Luiselli
14. Number in title ~ We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
15. Book that is humorous ~ Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos
16. Book bought in 2017 that hasn’t been read yet ~ Bad Feminist
17. Title contains something you would see in the sky ~ Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
19. Book that fits at least 2 KIT’s/CAT’s ~ Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
20. Book with a beautiful cover (in your opinion) ~ Hounds of Spring by Lucy Andrews Cummin
21. Autobiography/memoir ~ Negroland by Margo Jefferson
22. Poetry or plays ~ Heartbeat by Sharon Creech (novel in verse)
24. Story involves travel ~ The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie
25. Title contains a person’s rank, real or fictional ~ Killer in King's Cove by Iona Whishaw

BingoDOG ideas

6. Money in title - any form of currency, type of payment, etc. ~ Sugar Money
8. X somewhere in the title ~ Autobiography of Malcolm X
10. Set during a holiday
18. Related to the Pacific Ocean ~ The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
23. A long-time TBR

Edited: Aug 31, 2018, 9:22am Top

PopSugar Challenge 2018

1. A book made into a movie you've already seen ~ Tales of the City
2. True crime
The next book in a series you started ~ Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
4. A book involving a heist
5. Nordic noir ~ Snare (Reykjavik Noir) by Lilja Sigurdardóttir
6. A novel based on a real person
A book set in a country that fascinates you ~ Blind Goddess by Anne Holt (Norway)
8. A book with a time of day in the title
9. A book about a villain or antihero
✅ A book about death or grief ~ How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall
11. A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym ~ James Tiptree Jr?
✅ A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist ~ Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
13. A book that is also a stage play or musical
✅ A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you ~ Negroland: A Memoir
✅A book about feminism ~ Bad Feminist
✅ A book about mental health ~ Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift ~ Sugar Money or Lawnboy (Mark)
18. A book by two authors ~ Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman ??
19. A book about or involving a sport
✅A book by a local author ~ So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
✅A book with your favorite color in the title ~ A Purple Place for Dying
22. A book with alliteration in the title
23. A book about time travel
24. A book with a weather element in the title
25. A book set at sea
✅ A book with an animal in the title ~ Magpie Murders
27. A book set on a different planet
✅A book with song lyrics in the title ~ So Lucky by Nicola Griffith
29. A book about or set on Halloween ~ Something Wicked This Way Comes
✅ A book with characters who are twins ~ Godstalk
31. A book mentioned in another book
32. A book from a celebrity book club
✅ A childhood classic you've never read ~ A Wrinkle in Time
✅ A book that's published in 2018 ~ An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
35. A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner
36. A book set in the decade you were born
37. A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to
38. A book with an ugly cover
39. A book that involves a bookstore or library
40. Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges ~ A book set in your home state (2016)

Advanced Reading Challenge

1. A bestseller from the year you graduated high school (1978) ~
~~ The Holcraft Covenant or EVERGREEN (Belva Plain) or EYE OF THE NEEDLE or THE EMPTY COPPER SEA or PRELUDE TO TERROR (Helen Macinnes)
2. A cyberpunk book
3. A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place
4. A book tied to your ancestry
5. A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title
6. An allegory
7. A book by an author with the same first or last name as you
8. A microhistory
9. A book about a problem facing society today
10. A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge ~ Just Mercy (recommended by Katie)

Edited: Aug 15, 2018, 11:14am Top

2018 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge

1. A book published posthumously
2. A book of true crime
3. A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance)
✅A comic written and illustrated by the same person ~ Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu
5. A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa)
✅A book about nature ~ The Overstory by Richard Powers
✅ A western ~ The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie
✅ A comic graphic novel written or illustrated by a person of color ~ Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
9. A book of colonial or postcolonial literature
✅ A romance novel by or about a person of color ~ The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
✅ A children’s classic published before 1980 ~ A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
12. A celebrity memoir
✅ An Oprah Book Club selection ~ An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
14. A book of social science
✅ A one-sitting book ~ Alpha: Abidjan to Paris
16. The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series
✅ A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author ~ The Power by Naomi Alderman
18. A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image
19. A book of genre fiction in translation
20. A book with a cover you hate
✅A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author ~ Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
22. An essay anthology
✅A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60 ~ Evensong by Kate Southwood
24. An assigned book you hated (or never finished) Just no.

Edited: Aug 12, 2018, 4:56pm Top

Personal Reading Challenge: Every winner of the Booker Prize since its inception in 1969

1969: P. H. Newby, Something to Answer For
1970: Bernice Rubens, The Elected Member
1970: J. G. Farrell, Troubles (awarded in 2010 as the Lost Man Booker Prize)
1971: V. S. Naipaul, In a Free State
1972: John Berger, G.
1973: J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
1974: Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist and Stanley Middleton, Holiday
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1976: David Storey, Saville
1977: Paul Scott, Staying On
1978: Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea
1979: Penelope Fitzgerald, Offshore
1980: William Golding, Rites of Passage
1981: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
1982: Thomas Keneally, Schindler's Ark
1983: J. M. Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K
1984: Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1985: Keri Hulme, The Bone People
1986: Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1987: Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
1988: Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1989: Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
1990: A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance
1991: Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1992: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient ... and Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
1993: Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1994: James Kelman, How late it was, how late
1995: Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
1996: Graham Swift, Last Orders
1997: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
1998: Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
1999: J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace
2000: Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
2001: Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang
2002: Yann Martel, Life of Pi
2003: DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
2004: Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty - I may pass on this one.
2005: John Banville, The Sea
2006: Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering
2008: Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
2009: Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
2010: Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
2011: Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
2012: Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
2013: Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
2014: Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
2015: Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
2016: Paul Beatty, The Sellout
2017: George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo

Edited: Aug 31, 2018, 9:23am Top

2018 Booker Prize Longlist

Belinda Bauer (UK), Snap

Anna Burns (UK), Milkman

Nick Drnaso (USA), Sabrina

Esi Edugyan (Canada), Washington Black

Guy Gunaratne (UK), In Our Mad and Furious City

Daisy Johnson (UK), Everything Under

Rachel Kushner (USA), The Mars Room

Sophie Mackintosh (Wales, UK), The Water Cure

Michael Ondaatje (Canada), Warlight ~ COMPLETED - 3.5 stars

Richard Powers (USA), The Overstory ~ COMPLETED - 5 stars

Robin Robertson (Scotland, UK), The Long Take

Sally Rooney (Ireland), Normal People

Donal Ryan (Ireland), From a Low and Quiet Sea ~ currently reading

Edited: Aug 12, 2018, 4:58pm Top

Here is a list of 46 books by women of color, to be published in 2018. I'm not saying I'm going to read them all but I want to keep an eye out for them.

Electric Literature 46 Books by Women of Color to Read in 2018

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele
This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins
Halsey Street by Naima Coster ~ COMPLETED
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo ~ COMPLETED
Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory ~ COMPLETED

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones COMPLETED
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik
Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad by Krystal Sital
Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith
Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot
The House of Erzulie by Kirsten Imani Kasai

Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen
The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat (I was supposed to get this as an ER)
Everyone Knows You Go Home by Natalia Sylvester
Go Home!, edited by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
My Old Faithful by Yang Huang
The Beekeeper by Dunya Mikhail
Happiness by Aminatta Forna
Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith

Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar by Kavita Das
Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, translated by Tina Kover (I purchased this one)

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel
Not that Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay

Sick by Porochista Khakpour
Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li
Tiny Crimes, edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Old in Art School by Nell Irvin Painter

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
Love War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez
What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan

Edited: Aug 12, 2018, 4:57pm Top

Currently reading:


Edited: Aug 12, 2018, 4:32pm Top

55. Above All Things by Tanis Rideout

I very much enjoyed this fictionalized account of George Mallory's last attempt to reach the summit of Everest. Told from the perspectives of Mallory, his wife, and Sandy Irvine, the novice climber who made the last push with Mallory in 1924. Rideout's imagining of what happened on Everest is gripping. Her exploration of Ruth Mallory's experience waiting for her husband to return once again was less compelling than I had hoped for. Still, it was an engaging and worthwhile read and it has piqued my interest in the legends of Everest.

Aug 12, 2018, 4:51pm Top

Hoping I'm not too early - happy new thread, Ellen!

Good to hear you are settling in and feeling ever more confident in the job.

Aug 12, 2018, 5:08pm Top

Your prodigious reading plans, and accomplishments, flat out amazes me. Because, after all, you are also a busy woman with a challenging career; and because recently you have packed up a house and moved all your belongings, and need to settle in.

I'm impressed.

So this Sunday our little house bulletin has announced the books the retired folks here will be reading: Grace Eventually by Anne Lamott; The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben; The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin; All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren; Origin Story: A Big History of Everything by David Christian; Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I've Loved by Kate Bowler; The Plot Against America by Philip Roth; Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner; and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

I just thought you might be interested as the list is made up by asking the people who attend the group what they would recommend, and would be willing to lead the discussion. An interesting look into the minds of a selection of retired folks ages 70-95.

So, carry on! I'll do a little reading this afternoon, too.

Aug 12, 2018, 5:15pm Top

>18 katiekrug: Not too early, Katie! Thanks for stopping by to say hi.

>19 maggie1944: Well, Karen, as we all know, my plans and my accomplishments are not the same thing. I clearly overcommitted this year. I think that would have been true even without the move which was certainly disruptive. But I appreciate the acknowledgment and pat on the back. :-)

That is a great list! I have a copy of The Hidden Life of Trees and I'm more interested in reading it now that I've read The Overstory. Angle of Repose and Gentleman in Moscow are among my lifetime favorites. All the King's Men is a classic and perhaps timely at present. I loved The Left Hand of Darkness when I read it in college (just a few years ago). The Plot Against America also seems timely and I have been tempted by it in the past year or so.

Now I'm going to check in on just a couple more threads and then go stretch out with my current book.

Aug 12, 2018, 6:05pm Top

Happy new thread, Ellen. I love the Icelandic pony!

Above all Things sounds entertaining.

You must be nearly done with the Coates essays. My favorites were the reparations one and the last one.

Aug 12, 2018, 6:14pm Top

Happy new one Ellen. Hope those Booker books arrive before the shortlist announcement!

Aug 12, 2018, 6:36pm Top

Happy new thread Ellen. I've pulled the Coates and Roxanne Gay to the top of the pile, and plan an essay or two of each this week.

>19 maggie1944: I've read the last three on the list, and the Le Guin. All very good in different ways Maggie.

Aug 12, 2018, 7:29pm Top

Ellen--Happy new thread!!! Love all your lists up top.

>19 maggie1944: Your friends have great taste in books!

Aug 12, 2018, 10:38pm Top

Catching up with you---trying to imagine taking on a new job, new house, new town all at once. And a newly retired partner to boot. That is a load of adjustment. It sounds like you're handling it as well as anyone could. As a good friend of mine always advises...just remember to breathe. (Sounds like that's unnecessary advice for you, though.) It's good that the Seattle house closing will be finalized shortly---one less thing to think about.

Aug 12, 2018, 11:01pm Top

>21 BLBera: Hi Beth! Isn't that Icelandic pony lovely?

Above All Things was more engrossing than I expected, to tell the truth.

Yes, I have two essays to go in the Coates collection. I should get to them in the next couple of weeks.

>22 charl08: Thanks Charlotte! I know the Booker nominees I ordered (not all of them, I admit) are on their way across the pond! :-)

>23 Caroline_McElwee: "...an essay or two of each this week."
An excellent way to approach both Coates and Gay, Caroline.

Aug 12, 2018, 11:05pm Top

>24 Berly: Hi Kimmers! I agree that Karen's friends have great taste in books. I think that is a pretty great reading list for a book group.

>25 laytonwoman3rd: Linda, thank you for stopping by and offering your support.
"That is a load of adjustment." Validation. Never underestimate its power.

Aug 13, 2018, 12:08am Top

Back to your last thread questions. I think you will love The Time Of Our Singing. It combines themes of the civil rights movement over the 20th century with classical music. I hope you get to it sooner rather than later. It’s a book I definitely want to reread.
We are moving to the east coast because for some silly reason 4 of our 5 kids settled there (with the 5th in Houston), and we feel very remote from them. The 4 were all in NYC until this month when the oldest moved to Tampa. Still being on the east coast will make it easier to visit. We have found a small beach town on the Delaware coast where we can afford an ocean front condo and that’s where we’re going. It’s small, but we will see and hear the ocean 24/7 as well as be within 2 to 3 hours of all of our family.

Aug 13, 2018, 1:11am Top

Happy new thread, Ellen. What Linda said in >25 laytonwoman3rd:. You have ticked off most of the stressful life events boxes in one go. It takes a while to adjust. Ease with the situation will come.

Aug 13, 2018, 7:02am Top

>28 arubabookwoman: small beach town on the Delaware coast
Would that be Lewes?

I moved to Delaware in the mid-80s, right after college, and my career was anchored there until I retired last year. We've lived in both DE and PA (currently in Philly), and enjoy proximity to all things east coast.

While we chose to retire to the city, I completely understand the appeal of 24/7 ocean!

Aug 13, 2018, 7:24am Top

Happy new thread, Ellen!
We're getting settled into our new house and our old one recently closed, so I'm right there with you - this moving business is exhausting but wonderful, no?

Aug 13, 2018, 7:50am Top

Hi, Ellen! I look forward to your thoughts about this year's Booker Prize longlist.

Aug 13, 2018, 8:48am Top

Happy New Thread, Ellen.

Beautiful photos up top. That Icelandic horse photo really pulled me in.

Aug 13, 2018, 9:42am Top

Happy new thread !

Aug 13, 2018, 10:15am Top

>28 arubabookwoman: That sounds pretty wonderful, Deborah.

I think the last essay is "My President Was Black," and I loved it.

Happy Monday.

Aug 13, 2018, 11:35am Top

>30 lauralkeet: It is Bethany Beach, Laura, which is south of Lewes, almost to the Maryland border. Lewes is actually a pretty "hot" retirement town right now, and there are lots of 55+ communities (which we're not interested in) developing in the area, none on the ocean that I know of. We will probably get to Philadelphia regularly for my husband's cancer care.

>35 BLBera: Hi Beth.

Sorry for the hijack Ellen.

Aug 13, 2018, 1:12pm Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 13, 2018, 1:30pm Top

Hi Ellen, happy new thread. I, too, love that picture of the Icelandic Horse, it cools me down just to look at it! As always you are doing some great reading and look forward to following along as you tick off the Booker List.

Aug 13, 2018, 6:46pm Top

>36 arubabookwoman: Bethany is lovely, too. We aren't regular beach goers, but rented a place for a family vacation there several years back and had a nice time.

Aug 13, 2018, 7:01pm Top

Hi Ellen - I think I heard about The Overstory from you, well before the Booker nominations. Is it possible you said your sister had read it and loved it? I should really write down from whom all the LT recommendations come. Anyway, I just purchased it on Audible for our trip....I figured it would be great for long plane rides. Now I just have to worry about keeping my phone charged.

Aug 14, 2018, 4:06pm Top

Happy new thread!

Edited: Aug 15, 2018, 11:12am Top

56. Evensong by Kate Southwood

"I could never have explained to Estelle what it felt like to have daughters, to feel that they had been with me all of my life, and that if they didn't figure in my early memories, it wasn't because they hadn't been born yet, they had simply been off somewhere else, as if out of sight in the next room."

Margaret Maguire, nee Maggie Doud, has suffered a heart attack at 82. She returns from the hospital to the house in which she has lived for 40 years and this wonderful novel proceeds to walk us through her life. This isn't a tale of tremendous adventure or dramatic tragedy; it's the story of a rather ordinary life, one full of joys and sorrows, regrets and appreciations. Never maudlin, Maggie's voice is steady and honest, at times funny, often poignant. Her husband Garfield, her daughters Joanne and Lee, her siblings and in-laws, they all come to life gradually and richly as the narrator escorts us through her memories. Reminiscent of authors like Elizabeth Strout, Anne Tyler, and Penelope Lively, I think Kate Southwood warrants a read.

Aug 15, 2018, 11:44am Top

You sold me, Ellen. I will add this to the "read soon" list. It sounds lovely.

Aug 15, 2018, 11:48am Top

>42 EBT1002: - That sounds very good, Ellen. I still have Falling to Earth to read...

Aug 16, 2018, 11:29am Top

RIP Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul

So sad to lose one of the greatest voices from our earth.

Aug 16, 2018, 11:37am Top

>28 arubabookwoman: "We have found a small beach town on the Delaware coast where we can afford an ocean front condo and that’s where we’re going." Deborah, that sounds lovely, and to be closer to 80% of your "kids" will be so wonderful. Take good care during the moving process.

>29 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. I was on the phone with a colleague back at UW yesterday - we are writing a book chapter together, along with a third colleague. The one colleague just moved to UW and Seattle about two years ago and I was remembering the numerous times I encouraged her to be patient with herself, to recognize that transitions like this one are demanding and take time...… I'm having to turn those sentiments back on myself now!

>30 lauralkeet: "I completely understand the appeal of 24/7 ocean!" As do I, Laura! Living so far from the ocean now, P and I keep talking about retiring back in Oregon or at least on the west side of the mountains in Washington. Closer to family, closer to the ocean, closer to a lot of things. We knew when we moved here that it is unlikely that we'd want to retire here and now we have a few years to think about the best place for that last stage of this journey. The first step might be to purchase an Airstream Sport (16' trailer). *BAG*

>31 scaifea: "this moving business is exhausting but wonderful, no?" Indeed, yes, Amber! Our Seattle house closes TOMORROW. We've signed, they've signed, the paperwork just has to be filed at the King County Courthouse by the title company. Yay!

Aug 16, 2018, 11:39am Top

>32 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl! I'm looking forward to making my way through the Booker long list.
I have Warlight from the local library but I already had the ebook of Happiness by Aminatta Forna from the Seattle library so I'm reading that one first.

>33 jnwelch: Hi Joe! I'm glad you like my topper photos. I'm sticking to my wild places theme for the year (maybe forever).

Aug 16, 2018, 11:46am Top

>34 figsfromthistle: Thank you!

>35 BLBera: Hi Beth! Now it's Sweet Thursday (as Mark would say). :-)

>36 arubabookwoman: Deborah, no need to apologize for the hijack; I rather like it when my thread gets hijacked (by friendlies). Your retirement plans sound like they are coming together. When is the move scheduled to happen?

>37 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel!

>38 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy. I need to get started on that Booker list! I'm currently reading Happiness by Aminatta Forna (which is, of course, not on said list). So many people raved about it and it is already captivating. I read while sipping on my mug of coffee this morning and I so wished I could spend the day on that sofa with that book.

Aug 16, 2018, 11:49am Top

>39 lauralkeet: I have an aunt who lives in Delaware. They were in Smyrna for the past, I don't know, decades, but I believe she has retired to a beach location. I will investigate. And maybe I'll visit!

>40 vivians: Vivian, your memory is remarkable. Yes, my sister read it and recommended it. She said it was the best book she had read since A Gentleman in Moscow so I figured that was a must-read. I hope you enjoy it. I find myself thinking about it every day even though it's been a couple of weeks since I finished it. The fires in this part of the world, wherein we are burning up our forests at an alarming rate, keep reminding me of that novel. Trees. It's all about trees.

>41 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

Aug 16, 2018, 11:51am Top

I loved Happiness, Ellen. It was one of those books, that when I finished it, I wanted to start it again. I am confident you will love it. And why wasn't it on the list??

Aug 16, 2018, 11:51am Top

>43 BLBera: Oh good, Beth. I will be interested in your experience of Kate Southwood's Evensong. I loved it but I also know that, since she was a friend in graduate school, I might be biased.

>44 katiekrug: I'm on a mission to encourage reading of Kate Southwood's work, Katie. You and Beth can tell me if I'm just way off base. I think she is very good.

Edited: Aug 16, 2018, 11:53am Top

>50 BLBera: I remember that, Beth. I put Happiness on hold when you recommended it and it has taken this long for my turn to come up! I'm prioritizing it over the Booker long list because I don't want to have to get back in that queue again! :-)

Why it wasn't on the list is a good question. It would presumably have been eligible, yes? I'm only about 20% into it but I'm loving it so far. I have a feeling it's going to break my heart, though.....

Edited: Aug 16, 2018, 11:58am Top

Currently reading:

I'm using a new web browser at work -- Edge -- and I can't figure out how to copy the image address for a photo....

ETA: So I opened Chrome and did it in that browser.

Aug 16, 2018, 12:02pm Top

And I love the cover, too!

Aug 16, 2018, 12:03pm Top

So far I'm loving The Overstory. The narrator (Suzanne Toren - very prolific) somehow keeps herself in the background, and in this case that's a very good thing.

I'm glad you're enjoying Happiness - I think it will be one of my top 10 this year.

Adding Kate Southwood to my list!

Aug 16, 2018, 12:41pm Top

>45 EBT1002: - Even though I knew it was coming (hints all over the news these last days), it makes me so sad. She was in a class of her own. I have many tapes and CDs by her and while I think, in her later years, she could have benefitted from a fashion consultant, somehow, that never mattered. She was a force. What a legacy.

>53 EBT1002: - Exactly. It took until Meg (FamilyHistorian) was here visiting in June that I figured out the problem that I have always had about not being able to post pics: I always use Edge. When I suddenly switch to Chrome, it worked! :-)

Aug 16, 2018, 12:54pm Top

A colleague just gave me this book; she bought a bunch of copies for our team. I'm looking forward to reading it!

On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life by Sara Ahmed

Aug 16, 2018, 12:59pm Top

>54 BLBera: Me too. My copy is an e-copy from the library but I love that little fox on the cover.

>55 vivians: I'm glad you're enjoying The Overstory, Vivian, and that the narrator is doing a good job of letting the work be the focus.

I wish I could just go home and spend the day reading Happiness. I feel like I've been on a roll with good reads. Yay!

"Adding Kate Southwood to my list." Another yay!

>56 jessibud2: Yes, I agree, Shelley. We knew she was ill but it's so sad to lose someone whose music served as a big part of the soundtrack of my younger years.

At the recommendation of our IT folks, I use Edge at work for other things, now I am switching to Google Chrome when I have a few minutes to spend on LT (which happens pretty rarely -- I had a cancellation this morning and I'm waiting on a couple of other people to respond to some documents I've started drafting, so I had a little time this morning).

Aug 16, 2018, 3:25pm Top

Aha! That's the tree book. I was trying to remember where I saw a book about trees that communicate with each other, and here it is. The Overstory goes on the priority list.

Aug 16, 2018, 4:32pm Top

>45 EBT1002: Yup. Been listening to Spotify's all-Aretha play-list today.

Aug 16, 2018, 5:05pm Top

>56 jessibud2:

Loved Aretha's music! hated the obsession with furs.

Aug 16, 2018, 6:05pm Top

>49 EBT1002: if you visit Delaware, be it by airstream or airplane (!!), I'll be there! I recommend the beach location over Smyrna. 😉

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

So sorry we have lost Aretha. What an amazing woman.

I've added Overstory to the WL. Okay, and Happiness. You are dangerous...I am leaving now! : )

Aug 16, 2018, 9:16pm Top

Happiness is already on The List but Evensong is new to me. It sounds like my kind of book. Very cool that you know the author. Thanks, Ellen. And thanks for squeezing in some LT time.

Congrats on the Seattle closing. Celebration time this week end?

Aug 17, 2018, 5:24am Top

It seems I am in the mood to seek out a book...I have just read the lists you have in your top posts, and feel inspired to a) fit my reading form this year into the PopSugar challenge, and b) read some that you have listed already! I just finished one, so am adrift :)

>42 EBT1002: I am intrigued! I like stories of 'ordinary' lives.

Edited: Aug 17, 2018, 9:00am Top

Hiya, Ellen. Just checking in, my friend.

Aug 17, 2018, 9:12am Top

Congratulations on selling your Seattle house! I bet it feels good to be well on the path to finishing this big transition!

We've been complaining here about the smoky air, coming from Canadian fires. Expectations are that the fires will continue for about another month. Oh, boy! Halloween, come on in!

I'm happy to hear you are finding those spots in the new job where you feel the "oh, I know how to do this"!

I'm trying to get started reading the first of the Silver Glen Reading Group's books: Grace (Eventually), I think I've read it before as I know Anne Lamott's writing and liked it even though I'm not much for religiosity. "Set aside the prejudices"

Aug 17, 2018, 9:34am Top

Happy new(ish) thread Ellen!

Aug 17, 2018, 9:36am Top

Hi Ellen!

From your previous thread, you got me with Florida by Lauren Groff – it turns out that I read, loved, and still have The Monsters of Templeton on my shelves.

Congrats on the sale of your old house and its closing today. Onward and upward.

I've started having some "I know what I'm doing moments" to accompany the "what the hell was I thinking?" moments, so that is relieving. And finally, good words to see about your new job.

Aug 17, 2018, 10:09am Top

Greetings from Colorful Colorado, Ellen. And Happy New Thread. We are wrapping up our vacation here but it has been a lot of fun. We will be back.

Congrats on the sale of the old house and I hope the job is going well.

Aug 17, 2018, 10:35am Top

Congrats on the closing on the Seattle house. I bet it's slightly bittersweet - wonderful that it sold so quickly, but I always feel like a house is almost a character in my life story.

Aug 17, 2018, 9:27pm Top

I'm interested to hear what you think about Happiness, Ellen. I am now number 19 in line for that book at the library although with the way my holds are showing up lately, it could be here at any minute. I need more hours in the day to fit in all my library reads.

Aug 18, 2018, 1:17am Top

>59 ffortsa: Yes! Read The Overstory. It's the best. And it will make you want to spend time among the trees.
Me, I'm thinking about my next tattoo and how trees will figure into it. :-)

>60 drneutron: She was an amazing singer, Jim, and a good soul, as well.

>61 m.belljackson: Yeah, I must say that I do agree with the furs thing.

>62 lauralkeet: It's a date, Laura, if I do visit Delaware. No fears about Smyrna; they lived there for decades but I have no reason to visit that town at present. Heh.

>63 Berly: I wholeheartedly recommend The Overstory and you will love it, Kim. It's an amazing book in any case but perhaps especially for those of us with roots (ha) in the US Pacific Northwest.

Aug 18, 2018, 1:18am Top

>63 Berly: I'm about 30% into Happiness. It's compelling and delightful. And a bit painful.

Aug 18, 2018, 1:24am Top

>64 Donna828: Hi Donna. I hope you find a copy of Kate Southwood's Evensong (there are several books by that title) and enjoy it. I have very fond memories of long evenings of conversation in Kate's apartment in Champaign, Illinois. She was working on her MFA; I was working on my doctorate in psychology. We may have enjoyed a shot (or two) of Jameson's Irish Whiskey. I love that she has become a published author.

Celebration of the house closing will coincide with my birthday celebration (yep - Saturday is my birthday!). We're going out for a nice dinner at the best restaurant in town. And I'll be buying a CRV in the next couple of weeks. :-)

>65 LovingLit: Megan, I am glad to provide some inspiration for you. I hope you seek out Evensong. I think it's pretty darn good. Sorry you're a bit adrift with reading (it happens). I have a list of possibilities I can recommend. *grin*

>66 jnwelch: Hiya, Joe. Thanks for the drive-by!

Aug 18, 2018, 1:35am Top

>67 maggie1944: Thanks, Karen. We got word that the house did close today and the proceeds (after paying off the mortgage on that house, paying the realtors, and covering a few associated costs) will be wired to us on Monday. How weird it will be to see that injection into the bank account. This weekend we plan to write a note to the new owners, a couple with two young daughters (ages 2 and 4). I want them to love the house as much as we did.

P read that the air quality in Seattle is currently one of the worst in the world, but only temporarily. I hope the autumn rains come early..... We've had a lot of smoke here from fires in the eastern part of the state but it's been a bit better the past day or two.

Cool that you are participating in the Silver Glen reading group. I will be interested to hear how it goes. I think I read some of Ann Lamott's work a long while ago and liked it.

>68 humouress: Thanks Nina!

>69 karenmarie: Karen, I continue to think that Florida will make my top-reads-of-2018 list. The Overstory is also bound for that list, and Happiness is competing for a spot. So amidst the stress of the transition, I have had some great reads.

Aug 18, 2018, 1:41am Top

>70 msf59: Hi Mark! I'm glad your Colorado trip has been a good one. I will head over to your thread to get a bit more detail.

I was out and about on campus today; it was convocation and the all-campus picnic and info fair. I got to see a Great Horned Owl and a pair of Red Shouldered Hawks up close and personal. The WSU Raptor Club had them. SO cool!!

I hope you have squeezed in some good reading on your vacation!

>71 streamsong: Janet, the closing on the Seattle house is indeed bittersweet. I miss so many things about that city and that neighborhood. We'll be going back in September for our nephew's wedding, and I have two (two!) trips back planned in October, and one in December. After that, it's hard to say.... I love many things about our new home but it is, honestly, not yet fully home.

I love your notion of a house being a character in your life. YES! It is so true. And I have such wonderful memories of that Seattle house.

>72 Familyhistorian: Happiness is wonderful so far, Meg. It's a bit of a painful read for an animal lover, but the writing is wonderful and the characters are imbedding themselves in my consciousness the way I love for them to do. :-)

Aug 18, 2018, 1:47am Top

>77 EBT1002: Ellen--Keep me posted when you come back into town. If Portland isn't on the list, maybe I can meet you up in Seattle. My SIL is up there and I owe her a visit, too. : )

Aug 18, 2018, 2:59am Top

Happy Birthday, Ellen. Celebrate! Many happy returns.

Aug 18, 2018, 6:49am Top

Happy birthday, Ellen!

I clicked through to your review of Evensong . Sounds a bit like a lovely novel I read a few years ago by Canadian writer Frances Itani, called Remembering the Bones. She is a wonderful writer, if you haven't heard of her. Just saying...

So good to hear that things are falling into place for you, and congrats on the house closing. I love that you are going to write to the new owners of your old home. What a thoughtful gesture; I'm sure it will mean so much to them.

Aug 18, 2018, 10:43am Top

Happy Birthday, Ellen, and many happy returns of the day!

Aug 18, 2018, 11:24am Top

I have been away from LT for several weeks but came back just in time to say Happy Birthday! I hope it is a good one.

Aug 18, 2018, 12:02pm Top

Happy birthday!

Aug 18, 2018, 12:11pm Top

Me too sending you great birthday wishes.

Edited: Aug 18, 2018, 12:21pm Top

Brunch is served

Happy Birthday!

Aug 18, 2018, 1:09pm Top

Happy Birthday, Ellen!

Aug 18, 2018, 5:58pm Top

Happy Birthday, Ellen, and congratulations on the closing of your former house. It's always good to have the paperwork over and the money in the bank.

I'm sorry to hear about the eastern Washington fires. This is continuing to be a bad year; I suspect Mother Nature is trying to chase us off the planet. Fire, flood, earthquake, volcanic activity - all the biggies. Even from this relatively safe distance, in a man-made place, it's scary.

Aug 18, 2018, 6:51pm Top

Happy Birthday Ellen. Have a wonderful year in your new home and your new job,

Aug 18, 2018, 11:18pm Top

OOoo! Hope you've had a wonderful birthday, Ellen!
I'm glad that both R. Powers and W. Davis are on your Read Soon list. You know what I think of them!
The Hired Man is one of the 4 that I'm actively reading at the moment. I feel the darkness hovering just at the edge of the bland present. Today was The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson though. Jerome Charyn is a real find for me. He captures ED's voice, and I'll be compelled to read a straight bio when I've finished, I'm sure.
Meanwhile, I wish you a restful/energizing rest of the weekend and more "I know what I'm doing," moments next week.

Edited: Aug 18, 2018, 11:29pm Top

^Happy Birthday Wishes to Ellen! I hope you had a great day, my friend.

Aug 18, 2018, 11:53pm Top

Happy Birthday!!!

Aug 19, 2018, 6:46am Top

Happy birthday, Ellen! A CRV as a present - wow! Tomm loved the one he had a few years ago and still misses it sometimes, I think (we were leasing it before we bought his Accord).

Aug 19, 2018, 11:55am Top

Happy Birthday, Ellen!

Aug 19, 2018, 12:43pm Top

Thank you for the birthday wishes, Beth, Shelley, Karen, Karen, Rhonda, Mary, Linda (brunch! yum!), Katie, Judy, Caroline, Peggy, Mark, Kim, Amber, and Joe!

Aug 19, 2018, 12:50pm Top

>78 Berly: You got it, Kimmers. We will connect again in one of the two cities, of that I am certain.

>80 jessibud2: I'm making note of Remembering the Bones, Shelley. I'm always happy to learn about a new author who writes well about ordinary lives.

>87 ffortsa: The fires are bad this year, Judy, but not as bad as last year. I too fear that we humans are burning up the forests that provide shade, oxygen, and habitat. A friend posted on FB a couple of days ago that her 5-year-old son said he hopes he dies before we run out of water. :-( I noted that so many works of literature I'm reading these days have climate change as a theme, major or minor. It's becoming the normal backdrop.

>89 LizzieD: Which Davis is your favorite, Peggy?
And now I'm adding The Secret Life of Emily Dickenson to my wish list, as well. You're dangerous, woman! (in the very best sense, of course)

Aug 19, 2018, 12:52pm Top

I got my silver CR-V yesterday. I only woke up twice in the night in a mild panic about how much money I had spent.

In other birthday news, I learned late yesterday that I was the high bidder on a Little Free Library at the Annual Lentil Festival! It was a silent auction to support Friends of Neill Library and my bid was highest. At noon today we'll go pick it up and figure out how to install it in front of our house. Photos to follow (although it may be a while).

Aug 19, 2018, 12:58pm Top

Congrats on the new car and the new LFL!! Woo hoo! And yes, Frances Itani is a beautiful writer. I've read 3 by her so far and have another on the shelf, waiting.

Aug 19, 2018, 1:07pm Top

Congrats on your new car AND your little free library. I love having one. Scout and I have had several discussions about how people aren't stealing the books. :)

Aug 19, 2018, 1:24pm Top

>97 jessibud2: I'm so excited to have my very own LFL, Shelley. We had already decided that we would order one and put it together and put it out front. Now it will happen sooner, cost us less, and benefit the local public library. Yay!

I've added Remembering the Bones to the wish list. I notice that her novel, Deafening, is in the libraries of a few more folks on LT. Is it one of the one's you've read?

>98 BLBera: Thanks Beth. You know I'm excited about both the car and the LFL. Does yours get lots of traffic -- both additions and (what to call it?) withdrawals?

Aug 19, 2018, 1:24pm Top

I think it's great you won a LFL. I can't wait to hear about your experience with it. Have you decided how you'll keep it stocked and what type of books you'll offer?

Aug 19, 2018, 1:33pm Top

Yes, Deafening was the first one I read and the one that awaits on my shelf is its sequel, Tell. The other one I read was called Requiem and I listened to it on audio. It was wonderful. The narrator was excellent. It's a story about relationships, the internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII and the story unfolds in the present and in flashbacks. The writing, as expected from Itani, is spare and beautiful.

Edited: Aug 19, 2018, 1:48pm Top

>100 lauralkeet: Well, Laura, I have a stack of read books that I've been saving for when we got one of these. I had a larger stack but when my BIL and niece (and grandniece and grandnephew) were here a couple of weeks ago, I sent many of them home with them. So I'm not sure.... I figure any book I finish reading and don't want to save forever will go out there.

>101 jessibud2: I look forward to reading her, Shelley. Thanks for the recommendation!

Aug 19, 2018, 2:45pm Top

A little free library! What a swell win at an auction. Fits you just fine.

Happy New School year, buddy!

Aug 19, 2018, 3:10pm Top

It seems to go in spurts, Ellen. Lately, it seems that the kids' books are flying off the shelves. If my supply gets low, my library will give me a box of books, which is nice. A friend just gave me three grocery bags full of books, so my supply is good right now.

Edited: Aug 19, 2018, 7:51pm Top

I love this quote from Happiness by Aminatta Forna:

"And what is life without incident? Is such a life even possible?... How do we become human except in the face of adversity?"

Aug 19, 2018, 7:51pm Top

>103 maggie1944: I know, right, Karen? I'm so excited. We picked it up today. It's Crimson and Gray. :-)

>104 BLBera: When we picked up the LFL today, I learned that I have a coupon to stock up on books from the perpetual book sale at the local public library, just to get me started. I hope I can find some interesting books to put out for passers by. I love that your local library will help you stay stocked up if you run into a dry spell, Beth.

"A friend just gave me three grocery bags full of books, so my supply is good right now." *smile*

Aug 19, 2018, 8:09pm Top

It sounds like you are loving Happiness, Ellen. You will love your mini-library.

Edited: Aug 19, 2018, 10:04pm Top

Another quote from Happiness:

Atilla is riding on a bus. He sits next to a man with a sweet-looking dog in his lap. The dog appears friendly but Atilla is nervous. He doesn't know "the etiquette of petting other people's dogs." He checks his phone for messages. "For a few moments he rested in the thought of her. The feeling it gave him was articulated through the physical senses, a pressure within his chest, the tightening of the belly and guts, for fear and love produced similar physical responses. Atilla looked at the dog, he let go of his phone, withdrew his hand from his pocket, reached out and patted the silky crown of the dog's head."

Aug 19, 2018, 10:03pm Top

>107 BLBera: I am indeed loving Happiness, Beth, but it is also (as I predicted) breaking my heart. The best novels often do.

Aug 19, 2018, 11:34pm Top

Belated Happy Birthday wishes, Ellen! Hope you had a good one! I was on the road all day, from Santa Rosa NM to Gila Bend AZ, so wasn't online. Sorry I missed it. The car looks gorgeous.

Aug 19, 2018, 11:57pm Top

>96 EBT1002: Ellen--Hurray for the new wheels!! And the Free Library. Perfect. : ) I think I might suggest that as a fundraising idea for the fall Literay Arts fundraiser--thanks!

Aug 20, 2018, 9:16am Top

>109 EBT1002: Your comments make me want to reread it, Ellen.

>111 Berly: What a great idea for a fundraiser.

Aug 20, 2018, 9:45am Top

>110 ronincats: Thanks Roni! It was a great day and a good weekend.

>111 Berly: Hi Kim. I know, right? TWO wonderful birthday presents! And I'm glad to help out with ideas for LA. I predict yours will go better than the local library's did. I mean, from my perspective it turned out well but the sad fact is that I'm the only one who bid on the LFL. I put in a bid at the entry level, walked around the festival, came back and bumped it up. I knew that was my last bid (I didn't plan to return to the festival or the booth) and I wanted to help them earn more money. Lo and behold, my bid won the prize. I'm pleased but I wish there had been more interest. I predict that Portland will rise to the occasion with more gusto!

>112 BLBera: It's a great novel, Beth. Thanks for recommending it. I finished it last evening and I'm thinking about it.

Aug 20, 2018, 9:47am Top

I finished reading Happiness by Aminatta Forna last night. I think it's headed for a 4.5-star rating.

This morning I started reading "Notes from the Seventh Year," the introductory pre-essay for the seventh of eight essays in Ta-Nehisi Coates' We Were Eight Years in Power. Wow. This man can write and this volume is one I will be keeping.

Aug 20, 2018, 9:56am Top

Congratulations on the silver CR-V (what fun to have a new ride!) and the Little Free Library. We have them all around us now, and they're such a positive addition to the community. If you have time, post a pic when you get it installed.

We've gotten a bunch of good books that way for Becca's schoolroom, and a few keepers for ourselves. We've also recycled a lot of ours that we're not keeping through the LFLs.

Edited: Aug 20, 2018, 12:35pm Top

I take about ten books most weeks to the local LFL on my way grocery shopping Saturday mornings.

Aug 20, 2018, 6:35pm Top

Happy Belated Birthday!!

2018 Olive Editions - on sale September 4th


I hate Wuthering Heights and don't seem to have the Jane Austen gene, but might buy the rest.

Aug 21, 2018, 8:50am Top

I've been seriously considering a LFL for our front yard, too (but still need to bring it up with Tomm - he'd have to mow round it, of course, and that's a huge factor, apparently). I love them so much, and I haven't seen any round here, plus we're well positioned for one - a school literally right round the corner, and we're on the main development street and pretty much at the main intersection. I need to do some research...

Aug 21, 2018, 9:38pm Top

A CR-V? I thought maybe you would get another Outback.

Aug 22, 2018, 11:15am Top

Congrats on the car and the LFL. We don't get enough foot traffic to have one so I donate a box every now and then to a friend with one. I suspect you will not lack for books ;-)

Aug 23, 2018, 12:15am Top

Hi Ellen, so many good things to comment on here! First off, congrats. on closing on the house and on the new vehicle. You will have fun zipping around in that! I am excited for you to have a Little Free Library, I think they simply amazing. You will have to tell us what books you put in there - and what others leave as well. :)

Aug 23, 2018, 2:49am Top

Sweet Thursday, Ellen. Krakow is a wonderful place. For how long have you been there.

Aug 24, 2018, 5:54am Top

>53 EBT1002: I se on fb that Darryl is now reading this one, all the way from Scotland.

>75 EBT1002: My book funk was resolved by reading the dregs of my half-finished ones that sit about for weeks, while I read all the good ones. They are both pop-science ones, The Wandering Mind and The Pleasures of Leisure, neither are ringing my bells, but they are vaguely interesting. One great tid bit from the latter one is the retelling of a story of someone, when invited to the (horse) races, who replied "no thanks, I already know that some horses run faster than others". Fantastic!

Edited: Aug 25, 2018, 7:31pm Top

57. We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates

"I don't ever want to forget, even with whatever personal victories I achieve, even in the victories we achieve as a people or a nation, that the larger story of America and the world probably does not end well. Our story is a tragedy. I know it sounds odd, but that belief does not depress me. It focuses me. After all, I am an atheist and thus do not believe anything, even a strongly held belief, is destiny. And if tragedy is to be proven wrong, if there really is hope out there, I think it can only be made manifest by remembering the cost of it being proven right. No one -- not our fathers, not our police, and not our gods -- is coming to save us. The worst really is possible. My aim is to never be caught, as the rappers say, acting like it can't happen. And my ambition is to write both in defiance of tragedy and in blindness of its possibility, to keep screaming into the waves -- just as my ancestors did."

Thus ends Coates' "Notes on the Eighth Year," the pre-essay for the eighth essay in this amazing collection of essays written over the course of Barack Obama's time in the White House and all published in The Atlantic. That eighth essay, "My President Was Black," is one of my three favorites in the collection. The other two are "The Case for Reparations" from the sixth year and "The First White President" which is actually the epilogue but was also published in The Atlantic after the election of 2016.

The entire collection is breathtaking and my copy is now littered with little post-it flags. Coates provides a pre-essay for each of the published essays. In these, he provides context from his own life at the time of the writing, articulates some of the intent of the essay, and critiques his relative success in light of that context and intent. This approach to the collection works. It provides a taste of memoir to accompany the more academically oriented pieces and enables us to witness Coates' development as an essayist -- or at least his perception of his own development. In the same pre-essay quoted above, he notes that he struggled with balancing his preference for feature writing with the relative ease of essay writing. Indeed, his greatest talent lies in the feature. This requires access to the subject of the writing and Coates never underestimates the gift provided to him by Barack Obama's willingness to sit down with him, to discuss and argue and share his inner thoughts with him. In feature writing, Coates' narrative voice is crystal clear and compelling. His more academic essays (e.g., "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration") are simply excellent and persuasive; his features can make the reader cry.

This collection of essays is not an unfiltered approbation of Barack Obama. Even while Obama was still in office, Coates criticized some of his policy decisions as well as his "respectability politics." Coates fully understands the reasons Obama walked some of the lines he walked but refuses to endorse rhetoric that negates the systemic forces underlying the statistics. Coates is also interested in something larger: the historical and political dynamics that both enabled the election of the first Black president and, from Coates' perspective, ensured the subsequent election of the brashest, most overtly hateful, and least qualified White president ever. His analysis is compelling.

Reading essays is presumably always an exercise in learning. Reading this collection was, for me, transformative. Highly recommended.

Aug 25, 2018, 7:33pm Top

Currently reading:

Aug 25, 2018, 7:58pm Top

What a week. Monday the smoke from the fires in the region was so bad it was unhealthy to be outside, much less to do anything active outside. It was the first day of classes for the semester and we were canceling outdoor activities, making sure students knew where they could purchase a N95 mask, etc.... Of course, it's also harvest time in these parts so the dust in the air is a bit higher than usual even without the smoke.

The rest of the week was better and this morning I even went for a run. Yay! I worked late every evening except Thursday. That night P and I went out for dinner and a movie. We saw Crazy Rich Asians which had been recommended by every Asian, Asian-American, and Asian-Canadian friend I have. It was delightful.

We have figured out where and how we're going to mount our new Little Free Library. That is one of tomorrow's projects. Also, my new bookshelves for the office arrived so tomorrow we'll take those to work and put them together. That will help with organizing papers and such in the office and will enable me to unpack the box of work-related books I have. I do still plan to get a taller bookcase for my home office but haven't yet found the one I want. When we're in Seattle in September for our nephew's wedding, we'll pick up the mid-century desk I ordered from West Elm. :-)

Aug 25, 2018, 8:06pm Top

>115 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I am loving the CR-V. I've been driving it to work and back (and not much else) and it just drives so nicely. It also has a terrific sound system which I'm still figuring out. My commute isn't long enough to listen to books effectively. I may try podcasts but, honestly, with an 8-minute drive each way I may just end up listening to music. Or silence. :-)

I will definitely post pictures of the Little Free Library once we set it up! We're planning to do that tomorrow.

>116 Caroline_McElwee: Do you ever obtain books from the LFL, Caroline?
I hope people do put books into the one we're going to put out front. I will keep it stocked but I want it to become all that it can be. In our neighborhood in Seattle, there were five LFL's within 6 blocks of our house and at least two more that I passed on my longer run routes. I loved peeking in them to see what was making the rounds.

>117 SuziQoregon: Thanks Juli! I admit that I was disappointed in this year's collection of Olive Editions. But I ordered Frankenstein, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights. Honestly, like you, I don't seem to have the Jane Austen gene but I'm willing to give it another try. I love both Jane Eyre and Frankenstein and I'm not sure I've read Wuthering Heights. I was NOT going to order anything by Charles Dickens!
Still, I love the covers on every single one of them.

Edited: Aug 25, 2018, 8:17pm Top

>118 scaifea: Amber! Do it! You and Charlie could promise to trim the grass around the post of the LFL. :-)

>119 benitastrnad: We still love our Outback, Benita, but I have always wanted a CR-V. My first two new cars were Hondas.

>120 witchyrichy: Karen, I think it's cool that you donate books to your friend who has a LFL and who is in a better location for it to thrive. We get a fair amount of foot traffic on our street so we'll see how it goes.

>121 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy! Thanks for swinging by. I'm loving the CR-V and closing on the Seattle house has been a huge relief. It went very smoothly.

It will be so fun to see what books come and go in my LFL. Along with the structure itself, I "won" a trip to the local public library sale room to select a bag full of books to get started. Of course, I already have a stack of books on the floor waiting for just this eventuality!

>122 Ameise1: Hi Barbara. I spent three months in Kraków in 1981. I have not been back since and I'm confident it has changed incredibly since then!

>123 LovingLit: I wonder how Darryl is liking Happiness.... I know how he is liking Scotland! :-)

I'm glad you bounced out of your book funk, Megan, and I agree that the line you shared from your current read is a wonderful one!

Aug 26, 2018, 12:46am Top

We've been watching "Broadchurch" on Netflix. Balancing it out with episodes from the first season of "West Wing."

Aug 26, 2018, 4:48am Top

>126 EBT1002: I hope the Little Free Library finds a good spot and is a success :)

Aug 26, 2018, 12:47pm Top

Lovely review of We Were Eight Years in Power.

Love your closing:

"Reading essays is presumably always an exercise in learning. Reading this collection was, for me, transformative."


Aug 26, 2018, 3:45pm Top

>124 EBT1002: Wow, just a great review of We Were Eight Years in Power, Ellen. Thumbsie from me, too. Love that opening quote.

I'm in one of those stages where I'm feeling overwhelmed by the number of books waiting for my attention, but I'm adding this one to the WL anyway.

Aug 26, 2018, 4:13pm Top

>124 EBT1002: I agree about the best essays, Ellen. I think his writing gets better over the years.

I hope the fires are dying, and your air quality improves.

I can't wait to see your LFL. You will love it.

Aug 26, 2018, 5:00pm Top

>124 EBT1002: I'm so looking forward to getting to this collection Ellen. Great review.

Aug 26, 2018, 5:32pm Top

>130 LovingLit: Thanks Megan. We're having a chilly day with a few much-needed showers so the installation of the LFL will have to wait. It may be a good project for Labor Day weekend. I'm on emergency duty that weekend so we can't go any adventures that take us more than 30 minutes away from home.

>131 streamsong: Thanks, Janet! It's an amazing collection of essays and he is a terrific writer.

>132 jnwelch: I predict that you will love Coates' collection, Joe. I wish everyone who finds themselves befuddled by the current national conversation about white supremacy as a philosophy, everyone who thinks the phrase "white supremacy" should be reserved for reference to men in white hoods and not to the foundational worldview on which our country has been built, would read this collection. Coates' transparency and emotion are so engaging.

>133 BLBera: We're getting a bit of light rain today, Beth, so that should help. Hopefully this period of chilly temps and increased humidity will help douse the fires!

>134 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. It's a keeper collection.

Edited: Aug 26, 2018, 5:47pm Top

I'm watching the Seattle Storm play the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA playoffs. No way can I read with basketball on the telly, so I'm going to catch up on LT a bit. GO Storm!

Aug 26, 2018, 6:39pm Top

Happy Sunday, Ellen. Great review of We Were Eight Years in Power. Thumb! I have that one saved on audio and hope to bookhorn it in, soon.

Sorry, to hear about all the smoke. What a bummer. It has devastated the whole west coast. Good luck with it, my friend.

Aug 26, 2018, 7:02pm Top

>137 msf59: Thanks Mark. I think you'll appreciate Coates' essay collection. It is really, really good.

We got a bit of rain today along with cooler temps (I'm sitting here in a fleece pullover!) so that should help with the smoke. Hopefully some rain fell on the fires themselves.

Aug 26, 2018, 7:03pm Top

Seattle won game one in the semifinal series of the WNBA. It was close there at the end. Now I can turn my attention to some reading for the rest of the afternoon.

Aug 26, 2018, 7:22pm Top

Enjoy your reading, Ellen. Will you be watching the US Open? Go Rafa! and Go Serena!

Aug 27, 2018, 2:22am Top

Congrats on your new acquisitions, Ellen. I love it that they offer you starter books for your LFL. I guess the average person doesn't have enough books to stock a little free library at the beginning and then there is a member of the 75ers. I am looking at the three large stacks of culls that I have been working to recycle so my tongue is firmly in my cheek when I say this.

I hear you about the smoke. We have had smoky skies and air advisories for weeks now. The rain of the last few days has helped but the air advisories are back for tomorrow.

Aug 27, 2018, 1:43pm Top

Packages arrived from Book Depository today. Four of the Booker Long List nominees:

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Everything Under by Daisy Johnson
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
Milkman by Anna Burns

Edited: Aug 27, 2018, 1:46pm Top

>140 BLBera: Hi Beth. Prudence will definitely be watching the US Open. I'll watch when I can. And yes: Go Rafa! and Go Serena!

>141 Familyhistorian: I had a huge stack with which to get my LFL started, Meg, but I sent a bunch of them home with my niece and grandniece earlier this summer. My 15-year-old grandniece is a huge reader and I'm happy to encourage her in this!

More rain in the wee hours and this morning. This is a very good thing. And my run was great this morning: 52F with a light mist. Perfect.

Aug 27, 2018, 3:21pm Top

Glad the rain has come to help with the smoke.

Your review of Coates was powerful and I will add the book to my sooner-rather-than-later reading list. Sounds like I might want a print version, too.

Aug 27, 2018, 4:25pm Top

>124 EBT1002: Great review. You make me think that I erred in reading the book through with a couple of days.

Aug 28, 2018, 6:53am Top

>142 EBT1002: and it's only 23 days until the shortlist is announced. Plenty of time. 😂

Aug 29, 2018, 7:41am Top

Happy very belated new thread, Ellen and happy somewhat belated birthday! Your Booker reading is going well, I see. I'm just about to start my fifth,Sabrina and Overstory is waiting for me at the library. Like you, I'll purchase the books not available in the US from bookdepository, but only in the event they make the short list.

Edited: Aug 30, 2018, 9:07am Top

Great review of We Were Eight Years in Power, Ellen. I agree with your assessment and recommendation of it, as the quality of his essays did noticeably improve over the years. I should have written a review of it, but I'm sure that I'll revisit it soon, hopefully no later than next year.

I'll have to start paying attention to the Atlanta Dream, who are playing the Washington Mystics in the other WNBA semifinal matchup.

I'll also have to get cracking on the Booker Prize longlist. I did precious little reading when I was in Edinburgh, and have only finished two of the longlisted books so far. I'll start reading In Our Mad and Furious City next week, and bring it and Washington Black wih me when I travel to London on Wednesday.

Aug 30, 2018, 6:57pm Top

We are watching the Seattle Storm, doing well! Tuesday's game was a nail biter.

Aug 31, 2018, 8:34am Top

Hi Ellen - Happy Friday. I hope the start of the semester is going smoothly. I now have one week under my belt as well.

I've been watching as much of the US Open as I can -- I find I nod off during the late matches. Rafa is looking great, and Serena is getting her form back as well. It's too bad the sisters have to play each other so early in the tournament.

Aug 31, 2018, 9:29am Top

August has been a tough reading month for me in terms of numbers. I completed Warlight last night. I'm giving it 3.5 stars as I liked many things about it and I'm absolutely glad I read it but it didn't knock my socks off. Next up is From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan.

I'm on emergency duty for a week (started Wednesday morning) and yesterday was a doozy. I was also on campus late for an event with our First Scholars (1st-generation college students who receive a scholarship and are required to participate in a series of developmentally intentional programs over the course of their four years). It will be interesting to see how this 3-day weekend goes. Our football team is away and many students will leave campus to visit home, but anything can happen. I won't be going for runs because I want to have the duty phone with me at all times. So it will hopefully be a quiet weekend with some good reading time. We'll watch some football and US Open, as well.

Aug 31, 2018, 9:43am Top

Good luck with the emergency call, Ellen. Fingers crossed that it's a quiet weekend.

I just started Warlight. I'll be interested in your comments on the Ryan book. Have you read others by him?

Aug 31, 2018, 2:05pm Top

Hi Ellen! Happy Friday. I hope you have a very uneventful Emergency Duty week. That way you can get some reading and tennis watching in. : ) Glad your temps and air are cooperating. IT is much better here, too. Missed you at a LT/Powells meet-up last night.

Sep 2, 2018, 11:15am Top

That's so great that you are setting up a Little Free Library!

Sep 2, 2018, 1:04pm Top

>151 EBT1002: Sorry about starting out with a doozy. I hope the rest of your week is much quieter.

Before becoming a research technician, I worked and took call in several hospital labs. Being on call really does limit your activities - lots of empathy for you there. Just when you most need a run (or for me a horseback ride), you find yourself tied down.

I hope you have time to enjoy your weekend. Has the smoke cleared?

Sep 2, 2018, 1:22pm Top

Hope you are having a quiet weekend, Ellen!

Edited: Sep 3, 2018, 7:54pm Top

58. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

"But it was an old house. She knew each slight incline of hall, every stiff window casing, the noise of winds during different seasons. She could have walked blindfolded through its rooms into the garden and stopped with assurance an inch from a lilac. She knew where the moon hung each month, as well as which window to view it from. It was her biography since birth, her biology. I think it drove her mad."

Michael Ondaatje's prose is often exquisite. This novel, set in London in the immediate aftermath of WWII, is the story of 16-year-old Nathaniel who is left, along with his older sister, in the care of a shady and mysterious man they nickname The Moth. His parents' whereabouts is unknown as is the reason for their departure. Nathaniel and Rachel each navigate this odd circumstance differently but they both find ways to fill the parental void. In later years, Nathaniel is working in the national archives and he is able to learn some, but not all, about his parents' involvement in post-war espionage. The archives, along with his memory, serve as an escort through years shrouded in half-light and fog. The Moth and other characters are memorable; my favorite, and Nathaniel's favorite, is The Darter, a former boxer who navigates the back alleys and waterways of the nighttime city with poise and courage. The mood of the novel is also memorable and, along with the beauty of the prose, it is this palpable mood that sets the novel apart. I admit that I wanted the suspense to be more palpable. I wanted more visceral tension. I wanted the plot to assert itself a bit more. Still, this is a lovely read.

Sep 2, 2018, 4:54pm Top

Hi Ellen! Hope the weekend is quiet. Nice review of Warlight

Sep 2, 2018, 4:58pm Top

>144 witchyrichy: Hi Karen. The rain not only took care of the smoke, it ushered in a spell of beautiful weather! It has been sunny with crystal blue skies, lows in the upper 40s and highs in the 70s. Absolutely perfect for sitting on the front porch or in the back yard hammock with a book!

I'm glad you liked my review of Eight Years in Power. It is such a great collection of essays.

>145 Oberon: Hi Erik. I definitely took my time with Eight Years in Power. I don't know if that affected my experience of the collection as a whole but I certainly loved it. I will reread a couple of the essays.

>146 lauralkeet: Ha! I'm almost finished with my third of the set, so we'll see how far I can get by the time the short list is announced, Laura.

Sep 2, 2018, 5:07pm Top

>147 Carmenere: I hope you enjoy The Overstory, Lynda. I probably should wait until the short list is announced to start purchasing books from book depository but it's too often the case that I can't get very many of them otherwise.

>148 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl. I am almost done reading From a Low and Quiet Sea, which I am loving. I brought Washington Black home from work with me so I'll pick it up next.

The Atlanta Dream are up 2-1 in their series against Washington, although the Mystics are up late in the fourth quarter so they are headed to a fifth and final game. My Seattle Storm dropped a game (and badly, I might add) so they are up 2-1 over Phoenix. I hope they close it out in the fourth game.

>149 maggie1944: Hi Karen! Tuesday's game was a nail-biter and then Friday's game was just bad. I'm not sure I can stand to watch them again this evening (but I will).

>150 BLBera: Hi Beth. I'd say the semester has started out pretty smoothly although we had some drama on campus on Thursday. I won't go into detail but I will say that I'm glad the outcome was positive and the student involved is safe. I'm on emergency duty and so far this weekend has been quiet (knock wood).

I'm watching Serena play Kanepi this very moment. Kanepi is up 5-4 in the second set....

Sep 2, 2018, 5:16pm Top

>152 BLBera: Hi again, Beth! :-) I liked Warlight a lot but not as much as I hoped to.

I'm loving From a Low and Quiet Sea. I've read The Thing About December by Donal Ryan and it put him on my authors-to-watch list. I have both The Spinning Heart and All We Shall Know on my wish list.

>153 Berly: Hi Kim! So far the weekend has been quiet. I've done some reading, watched some tennis. Yesterday I rode the stationary bike while watching football. My Huskies lost but my Cougs won. I'm also watching some WNBA finals.

Today we set up our Little Free Library and I registered it. I took a couple of photos but the sun was in the worst possible spot for photography. Once the official plaque arrives, I'll take more photos and post them.

>154 ChelleBearss: I'm excited about the Little Free Library, Chelle! I've wanted one for a long time!

>155 streamsong: Hi Janet. So far the weekend has been quiet and relaxing. It's definitely limiting carrying this phone around with me but we've made the most of it. Yesterday we went to the farmer's market. Today we set up the Little Free Library. I did ride the stationary bike yesterday while watching football and that helped. I'll do that again tomorrow and later today P and I are going to walk around the neighborhood. The weather is BEAUTIFUL. The smoke has definitely cleared (thank goodness). Is the air quality okay where you are?

>156 ronincats: Thanks Roni! So far, so good.

Sep 2, 2018, 5:17pm Top

>158 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda! (You snuck in there while I was typing.) :-)

Sep 2, 2018, 7:15pm Top

I'm reading Warlight right now, Ellen. I'm about halfway through (Nathaniel is an adult & just bought the house). I agree with your review -- wanting more ... something ... but still enjoying it.

Sep 2, 2018, 7:58pm Top

Go Serena! After the first set, my daughter and I thought it might be a third-minute match. Still, both Serena and Rafa won today, so I'm happy.

I'm almost done with Warlight. I think I am liking it more than you did. I ended the Ryan book wanting more at the end. I'll be interested in what you think of it.

Sep 2, 2018, 8:56pm Top

So glad you are having some crystal blue skies these days, Ellen. The forest fires out west have been harrowing to read about and see the pictures on the news. I felt much the same about Warlight which I just finished. I think I gave it 3.8 stars which rounded up to 4 but it didn't knock my socks off for sure. I am finally getting around to reading The Warmth of Other Suns and am totally immersed in it. My book group will be discussing it next week. It's been awhile since we've had one that I can be this enthusiastic about.

Edited: Sep 3, 2018, 6:19am Top

>157 EBT1002: >163 lauralkeet: Agreeing with you both. Deserves to be on the longlist, even maybe the shortlist, it's an interesting, enjoyable ride. But it hasn't got that final something.

Sep 3, 2018, 12:38pm Top

Ellen--Mmmmm...I am thinking Warlight is not for me. Can't wait until you get the official plaque and take a better photo of the Library! Enjoy the beautiful weather and your day off. : )

Sep 3, 2018, 5:30pm Top

Hi Ellen! It looks like I enjoyed Warlight more than you did. It took me a while to get into it, and I was annoyed at times when I felt he was deliberately obfuscating and making the narrative more confusing than necessary. But something clicked about halfway through and I ended up loving it and even rereading the first third or so.

I am a huge Donal Ryan fan.

We just returned from our fabulous trip and I had an enormous bit of luck in the Amsterdam airport bookstore....I spotted the newly released Transcription by Kate Atkinson which isn't due out here until later this month or next. Oddly enough it was a paperback edition. She's one of my all time favorite authors so I can't wait to start it.

Sep 3, 2018, 7:53pm Top

2018 Booker Prize Longlist

Richard Powers (USA), The Overstory ~ COMPLETED - 5 stars

Donal Ryan (Ireland), From a Low and Quiet Sea ~ COMPLETED - 4 stars

Michael Ondaatje (Canada), Warlight ~ COMPLETED - 3.5 stars

Esi Edugyan (Canada), Washington Black ~ currently reading

Belinda Bauer (UK), Snap

Anna Burns (UK), Milkman

Nick Drnaso (USA), Sabrina

Guy Gunaratne (UK), In Our Mad and Furious City

Daisy Johnson (UK), Everything Under

Rachel Kushner (USA), The Mars Room

Sophie Mackintosh (Wales, UK), The Water Cure

Robin Robertson (Scotland, UK), The Long Take

Sally Rooney (Ireland), Normal People

Sep 3, 2018, 8:01pm Top

>163 lauralkeet: I worry that I was a bit too hard on Warlight, Laura. I mean, 3.5 stars is a high rating (and I'm still rather lacking in confidence about my ratings -- the difference between 3.5 and 4.... the difference between 4 and 4.5.... ???) and I honestly liked the novel a lot. But I struggled with feeling attentive to it so that is represented in my rating and my comments. I'll be interested in how it lands on you, especially in light of Vivian's comment in >168 vivians:.

>164 BLBera: So interesting, Beth. I ended Warlight wanting something more and you ended From a Low and Quiet Sea wanting more. I liked it better than Warlight but so far all three Booker nominees that I've read are outstanding in their own way. And I am LOVING Washington Black so far!

Sometimes I think I should eschew the rating game and just write how I feel about a novel when I finish it....

Edited: Sep 3, 2018, 8:13pm Top

>165 Donna828: Hi Donna. Yes, the clear skies are wonderful after that fortnight of horrible smoke and dust. Today P and I hiked to the top of Kamiak Butte and the view was amazing. There was still a strip of smokey haze out on the horizon but the air quality here has been excellent.

Thanks for your comments about Warlight. I really liked it more than my review or rating seem to have conveyed. But indeed it did not knock my socks off. The mood was so palpable; that was a wonderful facet of it.

I think I need to figure out how to end my reviews with a more accurate description of my overall emotional reaction to a book. Even as I wrote my review of Warlight and gave it 3.5 stars, I thought folks might think I was more disappointed in it than I was.

On the other hand, The Warmth of Other Suns was an unambivalent 4-star read for me. Keep enjoying!

>166 Caroline_McElwee: Yes! You captured my feelings exactly, Caroline. Maybe I communicated more accurately than I thought I had.

>167 Berly: Don't let my comments warn you off from Warlight, Kim. It's a worthwhile read! As Caroline said, it deserves to be on the long list and maybe even the short list but it didn't hold my attention as much as I want from a Booker winner.

Sep 3, 2018, 8:12pm Top

>168 vivians: Hi Vivian. The second half of Warlight was definitely stronger than the first half. And I felt like the opaqueness of the narrative was intentional as Ondaatje tried to weave his novel with layers of fog -- the fog of memory, the fog of London, the fog of mystery and espionage. And it mostly worked. But it made for a less engaging read than I hoped for.

I am becoming a huge Donal Ryan fan, too. I loved From a Low and Quiet Sea.

Lucky you on your acquisition at the Amsterdam airport! I didn't realize Kate Atkinson had another novel coming out although I'm not really surprised. I'll be interested in your take on it.

Sep 3, 2018, 8:24pm Top

>`170 I agree Ellen! I feel that sometimes rating a book is difficult.

Edited: Sep 3, 2018, 9:53pm Top

59. From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan

This novel is composed of three stories, each written in Ryan's characteristically spare and vivid prose. Farouk decides to purchase his family's passage to freedom from war-torn Syria. Lampy tries to get on with his life after his girlfriend Chloe breaks up with him, leaving him to his stagnant life with his mother and grandfather. John sorts through his life of self-serving decisions in a late-stage confessional narrative with a priest. Each of the narratives is compelling but unconnected. Or are they? The end stretches credibility but it's meant to do so. That three such disparate lives could share a fine thread that weaves them together is Donal's point and he makes it well. Our choices along the way result in connections with other humans that are unpredictable and sometimes astonishing. And someone may be connected to us in ways we don't even realize. Imbedded in that truth is both beauty and tragedy.

Sep 3, 2018, 8:31pm Top

I have the same problem when commenting on books, Ellen. Often the parts I don't like seem to outweigh what I did like. I guess I'll have to work harder on that. :)

Great comments on From A Low and Quiet Sea; I think our reactions to the Ryan and Ondaatje were reversed!

Edited: Sep 3, 2018, 8:40pm Top

>169 EBT1002: - Hi Ellen. I am currently in Montreal, visiting family again. There was a very long article in the paper this weekend about Esi Edugyan and her book, Washington Black. I cut it out and will try to read it on the train ride home tomorrow. I did read another by her a few years ago, Half Blood Blues and quite liked it. How is this new one, so far?

Edited: Sep 3, 2018, 9:53pm Top

>175 BLBera: Yes, I think they were, Beth. I liked Warlight a lot. I loved From a Low and Quiet Sea. You seemed to have the opposite reaction. But neither of us panned either work. ;-)

>176 jessibud2: Hi Shelley! I am love, love, loving Washington Black so far. I'm about a quarter of the way into it. I have Half Blood Blues on my TBR shelves and, given how much I'm enjoying this one, I will move that up on the to-read plans. But I also want to read everything Donal Ryan has written. Too many books, too little time. Story of our lives.

I'm sorry you're doing the Montreal duty again. I need to swing by your thread and see what's currently up. Take good care of yourself, my friend.

Sep 3, 2018, 10:26pm Top

Hi Ellen, I enjoyed both your recent reviews and I am eager to read your thoughts on Washington Black as well. I find the 5 star rating system is very difficult to make truly reflect my feelings about a book as well. I use a decimal point system (eg. 4.2 or 3.8 stars) but even so, it's often just a shot in the dark to assign a point value to a book.

Sep 3, 2018, 11:34pm Top

Ellen- Glad to see you are enjoying the Booker Long list, even if rating the books is proving difficult. I don't think you need to change either your ratings or your reviews, and over time, people come to learn what a 3.5 means from you. So no worries!

Sep 4, 2018, 1:56am Top

>172 EBT1002: Kate Atkinson is appearing in Vancouver on September 29 to promote her new book, Ellen. I know because I have a ticket. Maybe she will head south after that.

Good to hear that Washington Black is going down well. Is it written in the vernacular? The speech in Half Blood Blues was.

Edited: Sep 4, 2018, 11:27am Top

I SO wanted to play hookie today and stay home to read Washington Black! But here I am... at work... settling in for the day.

Sep 4, 2018, 11:39am Top

>178 DeltaQueen50: I have often gazed in wonder at your decimal point system, Judy (and there are a few others who use a similar system). It's interesting that it feels like it gives you better ability to represent your reactions to a book. I worry that it would just make it even more difficult. But I guess it enables you to make those finer distinctions. Warlight just didn't quite earn 4 stars from me but it's a bit better than 3.5 and that manifests in my ambivalence and my feeling that my rating (and/or my comments) don't do the novel justice. I guess this one would be a 3.8-star read.

Hmmmm. You've got me thinking. That actually might give me more latitude.

>179 Berly: Hi Kim! I was thinking about you yesterday as P and I hiked in the woods and along the ridge of Kamiak Butte. I just thought about how much you also like being able to walk, your connection with the woods.... I hope you are well. I need to find an excuse to make a trip to Portland. And thanks for the pep talk. :-)

>180 Familyhistorian: Hearing Kate Atkinson talk about her new book would be wonderful, Meg! This is one of the things I will miss about living in Seattle, and of which I took far too little advantage when I did live there. I'm guessing she won't make an appearance in Pullman. Heh.

Washington Black is not written in the vernacular. Quite the contrary. And I'm wondering a bit about that detail because the protagonist, a first-person narrator, was being taught to read and write by his master's brother, Titch, and he is telling this story just seven years later. Reading and writing were coming hard for him but he was spending enough time with Titch to have adopted at least some of his diction. I'll see what else develops in the five years or so remaining in the story. Regardless, it is an excellent read so far!

Sep 4, 2018, 12:07pm Top

>127 EBT1002: I too love Jane Eyre and Frankenstein so will definitely pick up those Olive editions

Wonderful review of We Were Eight Years in Power

Glad your weather and air quality has improved. We were down in Ashland over the weekend and totally expected awful air but it was lovely and a nice surprise.

Congrats on getting your LFL set up. Looking forward to photos.

Sep 4, 2018, 3:11pm Top

I hope you have a great week, Ellen. I am waiting for the library to let me know Washington Black is available. But it's not as though I don't have anything to read. And there's tennis. Stephens lost today.

Sep 4, 2018, 4:27pm Top

>181 EBT1002: I had the same feeling. Great book! My copy was new to the library - a beautiful thing decorated with golden bits, and a pleasure to read.

Sep 4, 2018, 10:07pm Top

>169 EBT1002:
Re: Robin Robertson (Scotland, UK), The Long Take
I recently met and had this lovely author sign a copy of his book for me when I was volunteering at the Word Festival here in Christchurch. I missed his talk (as was manning the artists arrivals desk- cool!), but I was told he spoke *amazingly*.
Luckily the talks are available online or as podcasts at some point, so I will have to remember to come back with a link.

Sep 5, 2018, 4:33pm Top

Hi Ellen, well, September has arrived and as far as I can tell there is no big movement to reestablish our little f2f book group.

I read the Louise Penny murder mystery, which has been sitting on my shelves for months, while house/dog sitting in Seattle. I do like her mysteries with quirky characters and lots of good people in a not so good world.

The little cottage I'm in has a spectacular view of Lake Washington, and it is blue blue blue today. The smoke was awful, but has not really returned and we are ever so grateful. September is one of the most beautiful months in Seattle, and I have a bright orange Japanese maple tree outside the front windows, so when I'm not appreciating Lk. Wash., I'm appreciating the Japanese maple.

I hope your new year is off to a great start!

Sep 6, 2018, 5:41pm Top

Just want to be sure everyone knows that today is #ReadABookDay. (I know, for us, EVERY day is #ReadABookDay, but still....)

I'm about 3/4 into Washington Black. It stretches credibility and it's wonderful!!!!

Sep 6, 2018, 6:26pm Top

>188 EBT1002: No reading yet...but soon I hope!!

Dang you...Washington Black goes on the list.

Edited: Sep 6, 2018, 8:38pm Top

>188 EBT1002: - I knew that but agree with your bracketed comment! lol :-)

Sep 6, 2018, 9:25pm Top

Tennis has been cutting into my reading...

Sep 7, 2018, 10:37am Top

Thanks for all the comments on the Booker list. I never seem to get to listed books in the year they are listed, but I will keep them on the very long, long list. Thanks.

Sep 7, 2018, 1:02pm Top

>188 EBT1002: I did not know that it was read a book day. Good thing I am always prepared to add that into my day :)

Sep 7, 2018, 5:55pm Top

Haven't checked in since your birthday...I see you've been up to a LOT, and a lot of it was good reading. I'm excited you're going to have a Little Free Library in your yard. I would love to do that, but we don't have enough traffic past our house to make it feasible. There is one in the village that I try to visit once a month or so with a donation.

Sep 8, 2018, 6:24pm Top

Happy weekend, Ellen!!

Sep 8, 2018, 9:40pm Top

2018 Booker Prize Longlist

Richard Powers (USA), The Overstory ~ COMPLETED - 5 stars

Esi Edugyan (Canada), Washington Black ~ COMPLETED - 4.5 stars

Donal Ryan (Ireland), From a Low and Quiet Sea ~ COMPLETED - 4 stars

Michael Ondaatje (Canada), Warlight ~ COMPLETED - 3.5 stars

Belinda Bauer (UK), Snap

Anna Burns (UK), Milkman

Nick Drnaso (USA), Sabrina

Guy Gunaratne (UK), In Our Mad and Furious City

Daisy Johnson (UK), Everything Under

Rachel Kushner (USA), The Mars Room

Sophie Mackintosh (Wales, UK), The Water Cure

Robin Robertson (Scotland, UK), The Long Take

Sally Rooney (Ireland), Normal People

Sep 8, 2018, 10:03pm Top

60. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

I loved this novel that starts with 10-year-old George Washington Black, a young man enslaved on a sugar plantation on Barbados in 1830, finding himself taken on as assistant to the plantation master's brother, a naturalist and abolitionist. Wash, and his new sort-of master Christopher, "Titch," work together to construct a hot-air balloon as an experiment in modern travel. (And let's be clear; Titch may be an abolitionist and he may be a kind man, but Washington is still a slave, he is still "owned" by Titch's brother and certainly feels no sense of self-determination.) The first half of this story was particularly compelling. Washington and Titch find themselves compelled to flee the plantation and then follow a lead to find Titch's father, a naturalist himself and last known to be living and studying in the deeply cold terrain of the arctic. Washington and Titch follow leads and find the father. After a tragic turn of events, Washington finds himself alone and seeking both security and solace; Titch is gone and, while slavery has been abolished in Barbados, America is still deeply steeped in its shameful antebellum era and as far as Washington knows, he is being tracked by one of the most renowned slave-hunters of all time. His travels take him to coastal Canada and later to Amsterdam.... He finds love and the possibility of scientific recognition of his own. Honestly, in the second half of the novel, the narrative arc starts to stretch credibility almost too much. Still, "Wash" is a compelling narrator. His story is layered and fascinating and adventurous and empathic. The writing is exquisite. And the novel is almost perfect; Edugyan just tried to do a wee bit too much with one work. Highly recommended and absolutely a worthy contender for the Booker short list.

Sep 8, 2018, 10:07pm Top

61. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"You risk tears if you let yourself be tamed."

I read this children's classic decades ago (not as a child). I'm not sure what made me want to read it again but I'm glad I did. It's a bit preachy but also delightful and amusing and sweet.

Sep 8, 2018, 10:08pm Top

Currently reading:

Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander

Sep 8, 2018, 10:10pm Top

You're doing well with the Booker long list, Ellen. I am waiting patiently for Washington Black from the library.

Right now I'm reading an interesting book, Severance. I heard a review of it on NPR.

Sep 8, 2018, 10:12pm Top

>189 Berly: Washington Black belongs on your list, Kim!!

>190 jessibud2: There were folks tweeting similar sentiments, Shelley, which was heartening for a reader like us!

>191 BLBera: Tennis has been cutting into my reading, too, Beth. Today's women's final was so crazy. I actually tried to text you in the midst of it but realized that I don't have your cell number. I feel so badly for both Serena and Naomi (who played magnificently!) that the umpire's lack of restraint (can you say Implicit Bias?) affected the match so much. I don't know that Serena would have made a comeback but with the full game penalty putting her down 5-3 and with such high emotions.... it essentially eliminated the possibility. And it means that even Naomi will never know if she could have beat a Serena enabled to bring her full come-back potential to the day.

Sep 8, 2018, 10:15pm Top

It was a mess, Ellen. Serena has been the recipient of so many calls that other players NEVER get that it amazes me she can go on. You don't have my cell? I'll PM you right away, so we can be in touch at such momentous moments. :)

Sep 8, 2018, 10:15pm Top

>192 ffortsa: I don't always acquire the Booker nominees this early in the season, Judy, but I'm enjoying this year's selection so far.

>193 ChelleBearss: I'm with you, Chelle!

>194 laytonwoman3rd: Linda, we have had lots of folks admiring our Little Free Library but, as far as I can tell, no one has taken any of the books we put out in it. And only one book has been added: The Book of Mormon. I will give it time....

>195 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda! My weekend has so far been occupied by the US Open (bah), football, reading, and a couple of errands. Tomorrow (Sunday), I have to work 9-4. Bah again.

Sep 8, 2018, 10:20pm Top

>202 BLBera: Yay! (for shared cell phone numbers).

I was also so impressed with Serena's comportment during the post-match ceremony -- asking the fans not to boo, acknowledging Naomi's play and trying to give the moment to her. And then, in the press conference, holding firm that standing up for herself is something she will continue to do, for herself, for other women, and for her daughter.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out with her coach saying he was, indeed, coaching her from the box (and pointing out that ALL coaches do that ALL the time -- why this call, at this moment in time, in this match??) and Serena saying that she was not aware of that or attending to it. P predicts that Serena will fire him and find a new coach. I don't know....

Sep 8, 2018, 10:21pm Top

A debacle!!! I just don't understand what was up with the umpire! He is apparently at the highest ranking and only 1 of 22 worldwide at that level, but seriously. I also think Serena should have just not engaged him so much, but she was emotional and never seems to get a break on these things. Osaka also was playing brilliantly and I wish the match had been decided on the basis of tennis on the court. Sigh.

Sep 8, 2018, 10:37pm Top

>199 EBT1002: I liked that one a lot when I read it.

Sep 8, 2018, 10:59pm Top

>205 Berly: I agree across the board, 100%, Kim.

>206 thornton37814: Hi Lori! I'm only a couple chapters into Blind Justice but so far it's quite fun. I'm not sure I need another series with which I can't keep up but this one is fun so far. :-)

Sep 8, 2018, 11:26pm Top

I can't quite catch up, Ellen, but I can appreciate your reading and reviews!
I'm glad that you are enjoying your first Sir John/Jeremy mystery.... I have let the series lag as I've been devoting myself to an almost exclusive reread of The Disorderly Knights.
To answer your question a long way above, my favorite Wade Davis so far is Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest. It is hands down my non-fiction of the decade - even if it's this decade. It has everything: history, geology, social history, true adventure.....

Sep 8, 2018, 11:46pm Top

>208 LizzieD: Thanks for the tip, Peggy. I will add Into the Silence to my wish list. A bit of everything is a good thing!

Sep 9, 2018, 4:48am Top

I'd love to know if umpires on the tour have any training in implicit bias. And if not, why not.

I thought your review of Washington Black was great - although I agree that it wasn't perfect, but close enough for me. I was thinking of the lives of Frederick Douglas and Olaudah Equiano whilst reading - and being impressed at it all.

Sep 9, 2018, 11:27am Top

>203 EBT1002: now where is that photo of the LFL?

Sep 9, 2018, 12:39pm Top

On the basis of your wonderful 5 star review, I've started reading The Overstory. What a bleak ending to the first chapter! It actually took me a couple days to pick it back up.

Edited: Sep 9, 2018, 2:06pm Top

Are there any female umpires of color on the tennis tour?

Not that this would guarantee fairness, but it would indicate balance.

Sep 10, 2018, 7:57am Top

Nice review of Washington Black, Ellen. I'll probably start reading it later this week, after I finish In Our Mad and Furious City.

Sep 11, 2018, 12:19am Top

Tonight we went to hear Tara Westover speak at University of Idaho. It was a packed house; P and I had to sit on the floor against the wall to the very side of the stage (which was probably better than sitting on the floor further back where we would not have been able to see her). She was wise and funny and engaging and absolutely worth sitting on the floor to hear!!

One of my favorite quotes is from a section of her talk where she was talking about what education is, and what it is not. She was arguing against our higher education system moving too radically toward "career preparation" and she said "job training prepares you to be useful to your employer; education prepares you to be useful to yourself."

She has done lots of interviews but this was only her second talk -- ever -- and she hit it out of the park. I can't wait to read the book (P has absconded with my copy)!!

Sep 11, 2018, 12:32am Top

>210 charl08: Washington Black is certainly one of my favorite reads of the year, Charlotte. I find myself feeling like George Washington Black is someone I know. The character is so richly created and developed.

>211 Caroline_McElwee: Ah yes, I must get around to connecting my iPhone to my laptop and downloading one of those photos, Caroline. It's a pretty cute LFL.

>212 streamsong: Hmm, I'll need to go back and remind myself which story is the first story in The Overstory, Janet. I should perhaps have provided the caveat. It's not a joyful ride although it has joyful moments. It's just so freaking brilliant.

>210 charl08: and >213 m.belljackson: I think training in implicit bias would be a good start. I'm not sure of the diversity of identities represented among the chair umpires in professional tennis. I believe the chair umpire in question is a Latinx man, actually, although I don't know how he would identify himself -- and of course being a person of color or a woman or LGBTQ or anything else doesn't inoculate one against implicit bias since it is a standard feature of the human brain and included in every single model. I'm guessing they don't get trained in implicit bias along with understanding the rules of the game.

>214 kidzdoc: I'm interested in how you're liking In Our Mad and Furious City, Darryl. It's a great title. :-)

Sep 11, 2018, 12:41am Top

>215 EBT1002: Super excited to hear Tara Westover was great in person because she is coming to Portland later this year!! Love that quote. So true.

Sep 11, 2018, 10:37am Top

So interesting to hear your comments about the Open. I'm not a big fan but my 93 year old mother is passionate and watches all the tournaments. Initially, her take on the calls was that they were fair given Serena's outburst, the broken racket and the coaching from the stands. Part of her reaction is certainly generational - she still wistfully remembers the days of regimented attire. But after reading the Washington Post analysis, and after listening to me harangue her about the extraordinary bias contained in the calls, she mellowed and admitted that a grave error had been made.

Sep 11, 2018, 3:10pm Top

>215 EBT1002: I've heard her on NPR, Ellen. How great to see her in person. I really enjoyed Educated; it reminded me a lot of The Glass Castle, in a good way.

>218 vivians: Way to go, Vivian's mom, changing her mind after consideration!

Sep 11, 2018, 3:49pm Top

Lucky you and P to go to the Tara Westover talk. She is pretty amazing! I know you will like Educated when you get to it.

Sep 12, 2018, 2:14am Top

>215 EBT1002: I'm jealous about the Tara Westover talk. The book is amazing, but difficult reading in parts. Hopefully P will zip right through it.

>218 vivians: I love this story, Vivian!

Sep 12, 2018, 3:01pm Top

I love that you were able to hear Tara Westover speak. I'm sure you'll enjoy the book once P lets it out of her hands. ;) Maybe you'll get her onto LT yet!

>216 EBT1002: Let's see - if I said it was the one where the family was gathering for Christmas, would that help? Actually I'm really enjoying it - that first one was just not what I was expecting.

Sep 12, 2018, 10:16pm Top

Hi, Ellen. The Tara Westover author event sounded amazing. I loved the book and I can't wait to hear your thoughts about it. I hope P finishes it soon.

Sep 13, 2018, 5:49pm Top

Hmmm - I might have to read Blind Justice

Sep 13, 2018, 10:10pm Top

Have a great weekend, Ellen.

Sep 15, 2018, 1:17am Top

62. Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander

This was a good start to the series. Thirteen-year-old Jeremy Proctor, newly orphaned, finds himself in the court of Sir John Fielding, a kind and fair chief magistrate who happens to be blind. Jeremy has been falsely accused of thievery; he ends up serving as assistant to Sir John in the investigation of an apparent suicide. Set in London in 1768, the setting is as much fun as the complicated mystery solved by Sir John and young Jeremy.

Sep 15, 2018, 1:18am Top

Up next:

Sep 15, 2018, 1:22am Top

P and I are in Seattle for our nephew's wedding. It has been so interesting to spend the day in this city, our city. Mostly the time has been spent with family and there will be more of that tomorrow. But I did squeeze in a visit to Trader Joe's and REI. And I picked up my new desk from West Elm! My home office will be more fully furnished now. Yay!

Sep 15, 2018, 6:26am Top

>226 EBT1002: Sounds good, adding it to the wishlist. >227 EBT1002: Thought this was brilliant - hope she has a novel in the works.

Sep 15, 2018, 8:49am Top

>62 lauralkeet: Another series to add! This one sounds good, thanks. Enjoy your Seattle weekend!

Sep 15, 2018, 10:53am Top

Enjoy your weekend in the city, Ellen. I hope we get to see pictures of your fully furnished office.

Enjoy What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky. Fingers crossed.

I'm trying to resist adding Blind Justice to the list...

Sep 15, 2018, 11:31am Top

Last night and this morning I read in What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky. Wow! It's a wonderful collection of stories. I just finished the story called "Light." Beautiful.

Edited: Sep 15, 2018, 11:36am Top

>217 Berly: You are going to love Tara Westover, Kim. She is so unprepossessing and yet so poised and wise. I would hear here again and again.

The first question in the Q&A section was a request for her to sing a particular hymn (I don't remember the name of the requested hymn). I have to admit that my internal reaction was "WTF? This woman has just spoken with all brilliance about her life and about the role of education in our society and you're asking her to sing a hymn??" Then she sang a couple of verses of "How Great Thou Art" (not the one that was requested). I was blown away, partly by her voice but also by her presence and the inexplicable way the hymn wove into her talk and the sense of larger-than-us I experienced. Tears to my eyes; it was that powerful.

Sep 15, 2018, 11:42am Top

>218 vivians: I love that story, Vivian. It's such a wonderful illustration of how implicit bias works, how our interpretations of others' behavior and a situation like the one at the Open are always, always influenced by unconscious assumptions and perspectives. Yay for your mother's openness to rethink!

>219 BLBera: One of the questions during Tara Westover's post-talk Q&A was about The Glass Castle, Beth. She had talked about categories of memoirs with the defining quality being how bitter the writer is, how reconciled they are with their past, their family, etc. She said she did see commonalities between her memoir and The Glass Castle although she also thought that her location along the reconciliation spectrum is different, not because she is reconciled with her family but because she is more reconciled with her childhood. She praised Jeanette Walls' work.

One thing about Westover that was so impressive is her complete lack of all-or-nothing thinking, her firm assertion that two stories (memories) can be in opposition to one another and each can still hold some validity. It was fascinating.

Sep 15, 2018, 11:48am Top

>220 mdoris: Hi Mary! I agree that I was lucky to hear Westover talk. And I'm looking forward to reading the book! I'm also looking forward to reading The Glass Castle, which I have on my TBR shelves. :-)

>221 lauralkeet: P is not zipping through Educated: A Memoir, Laura. I think the difficult parts are overwhelming her a bit.

>222 streamsong: Hi Janet. You cracked me up with your thought about P getting on LT. I don't think it's likely to happen but she benefits from my wider awareness of books in the world. :-)

And yes, that hint brings it back some. I'm so glad you're enjoying The Overstory. I thought it was brilliant and I loved its deceptive complexity.

>223 msf59: Hiya Mark! Yes, I'm anxious to read Educated. Luckily, I have other things to keep me occupied while P takes her time. Heh.

>224 SuziQoregon: Blind Justice was a pleasurable read, Juli. I will seek out and read the second in the series although I'm not sure how much I'll prioritize it. I have too many series that are started-but-not-finished!

>225 BLBera: Thanks, Beth! I'm having fun in Seattle.

Edited: Sep 15, 2018, 11:49am Top

P and I are headed out to get a few steps in (my Fitbit is not syncing so my steps won't register until I get home and can restart it). We're meeting family for breakfast, then we have to pick up the rental linens for the wedding, then dress for said wedding, etc.

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Sep 15, 2018, 1:51pm Top

Enjoy the happy event Ellen.

A new desk, I shall look forward to a photo of that when it moves in,

Sep 16, 2018, 9:47am Top

Hope you had a great time at the wedding!

Sep 18, 2018, 9:22am Top

Ellen, you will be happy (and probably not at all surprised) to learn that the longlist for Canada's Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced today and Esi Edugyan's Washington Black is on it. Short list to be announced on Oct. 1 and winner on Nov. 19.

Sep 18, 2018, 4:15pm Top

>234 EBT1002: She said she did see commonalities between her memoir and The Glass Castle although she also thought that her location along the reconciliation spectrum is different, not because she is reconciled with her family but because she is more reconciled with her childhood.
Interesting! I wondered about how similar The Glass Castle would be to the the education one.....I was recommended Tara Westover's book at book club, but decided to pass it over (partly as the queue for it at the library was mammoth!!!).

Sep 18, 2018, 6:57pm Top

Hi, Ellen. I recall enjoying What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, but it did not stick with me, like other story collections do. Hopefully, that is just me. I am LOVING The Carrying: Poems though. I am sure I won't have a problem remembering this one.

Sep 19, 2018, 12:28am Top

63. What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

I loved this collection of stories. Told in various voices, exploring various genres, but always compelling and poignant, the stories share the threads of Nigeria and strong women. The last two stories dropped off a bit for me but this is still one of the best collections I've read in a long time. Highly recommended.

Sep 19, 2018, 12:37am Top

64. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

I was prompted to reread this classic (yes, to me it is a classic -- it was one of the earliest graphic memoirs and is still one of the best) to fulfill my September ColorCAT (metallic). I'm so glad to have revisited Alison's honest, funny, and literary exploration of her childhood, her relationship with her father, and the themes of family, hometown, coming of age, and truth. I am about 3 weeks older than Bechdel and, while I came out several years after her, I enjoyed finding parallels in our experiences. Our fathers were both English teachers, both tortured by demons and secrets that alienated them from their families. We are both queer, we both love cats, and we both love to read (she is much more literary than I). Oh, and the drawing of her reading a book with her hand in a generous bag of M&Ms. Well. As I said, we have much in common.

Edited: Sep 19, 2018, 1:11am Top

Just notes to myself:
ColorCAT = orange --- Tangerine by Christine Mangan???
RandomCAT = Play Cards --- The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Edited: Sep 19, 2018, 1:15am Top

Proud moment:

I successfully injected Abby, our 17-year-old cat, with subcutaneous fluids this evening. I was SO anxious about doing this. I received a lesson at the vet's office yesterday but doing it at home, on my own, was so scary. I worried that I would hurt her. Or do some terrible damage. The first try, I simply didn't get the needle in and our cat got wet (the gentle and cat-whispering vet had said "sometimes the cat just gets wet"). The second try, less wet cat but still not successful.




Third try: success! I'm so proud of myself.

And Abby even purred.

Edited: Sep 19, 2018, 5:14am Top

>245 EBT1002: Yay. Third time lucky Ellen. Will you have to do that often going forward?

How was the wedding btw. Is the new desk in situ. Qvestions, qvestions!

Sep 19, 2018, 5:42am Top

Congrats on the cat injection, Ellen.

I KNEW you would love the Arimah stories. Yay! Ooh, I also loved Fun Home. I've been thinking about what to use for the memoir class I'm teaching in the spring. That would be perfect.

Sep 19, 2018, 7:11am Top

>245 EBT1002: Been there, Ellen. Our cat Pumpkin needed fluids to help manage his kidney disease. I was a total wreck the first time I tried, and had about the same results as you did. Eventually it became routine and fortunately he was pretty accepting of it. My biggest problem was finding a good place to administer the fluids where I could keep the bag high enough to ensure good flow. I hung it from a knob on a kitchen cabinet. As I write this, I realize if I ever have a need to do this again, my current kitchen cabinets won't work. Okay. I'll just stuff that little bit of pet care anxiety way deep inside ... deep breath.

What condition is Abby being treated for?

Sep 19, 2018, 8:21am Top

>245 EBT1002: - Me, too, Ellen, I have walked that road, too. I was lucky, in a way, when my last cat, Buddy, had kidney disease, I was still working. I worked my whole career in a school for physically disabled kids, so I was lucky to be able to borrow a stand with a hook at the top from the nurse's office. That made it ideal to hang the bag of fluid from. However, despite instruction from the vet, I never succeeded in doing the injection myself. I tried, but was also lucky that I had a friend who was able to manage it successfully, and she came over to do it.

One of my current cats, Mia, is also 17 and just yesterday started another medication that is meant to (hopefully) to slow the kidney disease. I am hoping it works so I can put off having to deal with the infusions. My friend no longer lives in my city so if I get to that point, I will have to try again on my own.

Kind, gentle hugs to you both, Ellen.

Sep 19, 2018, 8:28am Top

This has bothered me for a while: why is it that almost all older cats begin to suffer from kidney disease? Is it something we feed the kitties? Is it because we don't give them enough reason to drink enough water?

Why? or why?

Happy fall! It is cooler, and more often cloudy here, now. But we still occasionally have those wonderfully beautiful days with brilliant blue sky, and cool crisp temps.

I am still working on reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. Very interesting and I'll bet there are some at WSU who find it ground breaking.

Sep 19, 2018, 9:31am Top

>237 Caroline_McElwee: Hi Caroline. The event was fun. The trip was more family-of-family-of-family than I had anticipated (duh - it was a wedding!) but it was still terrific. The venue was very funky and the vows and ceremony were nontraditional. It was also fun to be back in Seattle (and to be reminded of how noisy the city is compared to our current rural home!).

The desk is beautiful! I will take a photo this weekend and post it. I don't have a chair yet.

>238 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle! The wedding and surrounding weekend were indeed fun.

>239 jessibud2: Shelley, I'm definitely pleased to hear that Washington Black made the long list for yet another prize. I shall go to the website to see what other works made the long list for Canada's Scotiabank Giller Prize.

>240 LovingLit: Hi Megan. I now have both The Glass Castle and Educated waiting to be read. I am kind of liking the idea of reading them one after another to be in a better position to compare them.

>241 msf59: I'm surprised that the stories from What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky didn't stick more, Mark. Although, as I say that, I'm now thinking back and finding that the mood and some of the characters are rolling around in my brain more than the stories, themselves. I particularly appreciated Arimah's writing, her use of language and her development of voice.

Sep 19, 2018, 9:37am Top

>246 Caroline_McElwee: The plan is to give Abby subcutaneous fluids every evening, Caroline. She is an old cat with kidney disease. The kidney disease has been progressing quite slowly but in recent months she has been drinking, drinking and showing signs of persistent thirst. The vet says her kidneys are simply not doing their job so she feels thirsty, drinks lots of water, but does not experience the slaking of thirst that should occur. Poor bean. The fluids should flush out her kidneys and relieve some of this for her. She's had fluids twice now -- the first time was at the vet's office on Monday with the tech teaching me how to do it -- and already she seems to feel better.

The desk is beautiful! I will post a photo this weekend.

>247 BLBera: The Arimah collection was pretty spectacular, Beth. I'm glad I read it.

Fun Home would be perfect for a class on memoir. It was one of the earliest graphic memoirs (as far as I know) and I think it set the stage for the genre. I loved it the first time I read it and this time I picked up on new facets. It's more layered than I had remembered.

Sep 19, 2018, 9:41am Top

>248 lauralkeet: Hi Laura. Abby also has kidney disease (see more detail in >252 EBT1002:). Your post is so validating. I was pretty much a wreck last night as I tried to inject her. Not only was I anxious, I was also worried that she would pick up on my anxiety and that would make it worse. Luckily, she was pretty patient with me. And yes, getting the bag high enough is a trick! We hung it on a hook over a lamp in Prudence's study where Abby's heated bed is. She stayed in the bed and I sat on the floor next to her for our successful attempt.

My other fear was that she would hate me. A long time ago I tried to give her daily pills and after about three days she began avoiding me all the time. I would walk into the room where she was lounging and she would skulk away. I stopped giving her the pills. I now give her pain meds for her arthritis every day but I crush the pills up into a treat that she loves (and that wasn't on the market those years ago). The injections seem to be less distressing than having me shove a pill down her throat. Ha.

Sep 19, 2018, 9:49am Top

>249 jessibud2: The vet who started us down this road is leaving the local clinic to become a mobile vet, Shelley. If I could not learn to do this, I was figuring I would shell out the money to have her do home visits about three times a week to do the injections. I've only been successful the once but I'm now more optimistic. I'm definitely not over my anxiety about it but it's better than it was yesterday. I totally understand your experience with it. Honestly, if Prudence weren't here to help soothe Abby and hold her still, I don't know whether I'd be able to do it. As soon as she starts to move while I have the needle in her, I start to panic. SO -- I hope the medication staves off Mia's kidney disease for a good while!

And thank you for the gentle hugs. Much appreciated!

>250 maggie1944: It's a good question, Karen. We have always given Abby pretty high-end food but it's surely true that most cats develop kidney disease if they live long enough. I lost Dorian to kidney disease when he was about 14 years old. Edgar didn't live long enough to develop it; I lost him to heart disease at the very young age of 9 years (sniff). I'm pleased that Abby is living so long and if I can become competent and confident about the daily injections, I hope we have her for a few years more.

Autumn may turn out to be my favorite season in Pullman. We're having highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s with clear skies. The trees are just starting to turn and it's truly lovely. The sunrises and sunsets here are the best I've had since leaving Florida!

I have a copy of The Hidden Life of Trees. My sister sent it to me for Christmas last year. Are you enjoying it?

I miss seeing you and the RLBG.

Sep 19, 2018, 9:50am Top

Currently reading:

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson
Booker Long List

Sep 19, 2018, 9:50am Top

Time to get ready for work!

Edited: Sep 19, 2018, 11:34am Top

The Giller Prize Long List:

Zolitude by Paige Cooper
French Exit by Patrick deWitt
Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric Dupont, translated by Peter McCambridge
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan - COMPLETED
Beirut Hellfire Society by Rawi Hage
Motherhood by Sheila Heti
Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper
An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
Something for Everyone by Lisa Moore
Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq
Vi by Kim Thúy, translated by Sheila Fischman
Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Sep 19, 2018, 1:20pm Top

I miss the RLBG, too. But 3 people just isn't enough for us to try to do it, I think. It was fun while it lasted, but I think I will get some ideas for books I wouldn't necessarily have chosen for myself from LT. It is why I love LT. I found a copy of Fun Home sitting in our "elevator lobby" and snatched it up. Started reading it today, and I wouldn't have picked it up except that I read some comments about it here! Thanks.

The weather is beautiful today, here, too.

I am enjoying The Hidden Life of Trees but it is not fiction and does not call me back to itself the way a good fiction book can do, for me.

Sep 19, 2018, 3:42pm Top

>257 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen. Some of these look good.

Sep 19, 2018, 4:06pm Top

>253 EBT1002: Isn't it funny how you think you're the only one dealing with a situation and then find out there are many of us? I also understand the pill avoidance issue. We've had several cats, and most of them seem to end up with hyperthyroid, including our current kitty Midnight. Midnight has stayed healthier longer than any of her predecessors, simply because the meds now comes in liquid form and she doesn't avoid me or make me chase her down.

Sep 19, 2018, 4:06pm Top

>250 maggie1944:

Not sure about kidney disease being caused by not enough water,
but vet
did an exam last year and said that my female cat was retaining water
and so needed to get more going through.

She suggested a cat fountain - found on Amazon for around $40
(after trying out a cheaper one which had to be sent back) - she now drinks about twice as much!

Sep 20, 2018, 7:04am Top

>250 maggie1944:, >261 m.belljackson: While kidney disease can be caused by trauma, poisons, or infection, it's also one of the most common conditions in older kitties (hyperthyroid is another). Cats' kidneys begin to fail with age. As I understand it (and I'm a cat mom not a vet), in an older cat it can be treated with diet and fluids but can't be cured. Treatment helps keep the cat as healthy as possible under the circumstances.

Edited: Sep 21, 2018, 11:07am Top

I want to read Everything Under but it's hard to get my hands on a copy, of course.

Sep 21, 2018, 11:20am Top

Hi Ellen, kudos to you and to all the kitty-moms who go that extra mile to ensure the healthiest life for their cats. Beth had already put What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky on my wishlist, but your review helps to nudge it upwards. :)

Edited: Sep 21, 2018, 1:53pm Top

2018 Booker Prize Short List

Anna Burns (UK), Milkman

Esi Edugyan (Canada), Washington Black ~ COMPLETED - 4.5 stars

Daisy Johnson (UK), Everything Under ~ currently reading

Rachel Kushner (USA), The Mars Room

Richard Powers (USA), The Overstory ~ COMPLETED - 5 stars

Robin Robertson (Scotland, UK), The Long Take

Sep 21, 2018, 1:54pm Top

It took me a while to get into Everything Under by Daisy Johnson and I'm still reserving judgment but I can hardly wait to get home this evening so I can return to reading it. I'm about halfway through.

Sep 21, 2018, 2:44pm Top

I'll watch for your comments on Everything Under, Ellen. I haven't read any from the short list. First, I'll read the ones available at my library. I should be getting a copy of Washington Black any day.

Sep 21, 2018, 2:49pm Top

I just have 3 left and will be picking up Washington Black at the library tomorrow. But neither the Johnson nor the Robertson are available in the US I thought - how did you get Everything Under?

I was disappointed that Warlight didn't make the shortlist. I'm hoping The Overstory will take the prize!

Sep 21, 2018, 4:48pm Top

Like Vivian, I am surprised about Warlight not making the list. Sure, Ondaatje was recently recognized for winning the Booker Gold Prize, but that shouldn’t be held against him. Personally, Warlight appealed to me much more than The English Patient did. Still, I’m thrilled about The Overstory and hope it is the winner. I’m patiently waiting for a library copy of Washington Black.

I’m proud of you for successfully giving that injection, Dr. Ellen. I don’t even cut my dog’s toenails anymore. Too stressful for me. Abby sounds like a sweetheart, and I wish her more years of good health. My neighbor had a cat that lived 21 years!

Sep 21, 2018, 9:45pm Top

So far behind on your thread!!!

>233 EBT1002: So glad you enjoyed Tara's talk (and singing) so much...can't wait!

Sorry about your kitty and glad you mastered the injection technique.

Eagerly awaiting pictures of the new desk...

Glad the wedding went well.

>265 EBT1002: Nice job on the short list so far.

Phew! Caught up again. : )

Sep 21, 2018, 11:15pm Top

>258 maggie1944: Yeah, three is too few for a robust book group, Karen. I'm glad you feel that you still learn about new and different books from LT. I feel the same way. And YAY! for Fun Home. It's still my favorite graphic memoir.

>259 BLBera: I admit that I pay less attention to the Giller Prize than I do to the Booker, Beth, but I'm trying to read more Canadian authors.

>260 lauralkeet: It's a phenomenon that happens in so many places of life, isn't it, Laura? It's nice to feel less alone. I have now given Abby the injection four times and it has gone better each time. She whines when I put in the needle and again when I start the flow of liquid. Then she lies there fairly contentedly while Prudence and I pet her as the fluid flows in (getting it to body temp is key). Then she whines when I pull the needle out, but otherwise she is just pretty mellow about it. I'm so proud that I am doing this! I would have thought it impossible.

>261 m.belljackson: Hydration is apparently an important consideration for cats as well as humans!

Sep 21, 2018, 11:19pm Top

>262 lauralkeet: "...it can be treated with diet and fluids but can't be cured." That is my understanding, as well, Laura. Also that kidney disease is just common in older cats.

Abby had hyperthyroidism when she was much younger, as did Dorian, my cat from long ago (yes, he was gray). Both of them did very well with the radioactive iodine treatment. Abby had that about a decade ago and she is now 17 years old and doing pretty well.

>263 The_Hibernator: I ordered my copy of Everything Under from Book Depository, Rachel. Otherwise I would not have been able to acquire a copy.

>264 DeltaQueen50: I'm happy to nudge What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, Judy. It was excellent!

Sep 21, 2018, 11:25pm Top

>267 BLBera: I'll be interested in how you like Washington Black, Beth. I loved it. P is reading it now.

>268 vivians: I ordered Everything Under from Book Depository, Vivian. Now I'm trying to decide whether I should do the same for The Long Take which is not scheduled to be published in the US until January(!!). It's the only one on the short list that I don't own (or haven't read -- I read The Overstory in e-format from the library).

>269 Donna828: I'm not as disappointed as you and Vivian that Warlight didn't make the short list, Donna. I liked it (4 stars) and I admit that it has proven to be quite memorable, but I'm more a fan of The Overstory. It's my personal front-runner with Washington Black in a close second. Everything Under is perhaps more creative than either of them, though!

Sep 21, 2018, 11:27pm Top

>270 Berly: I'm behind on your thread, too, Kim. I'll toddle over there in a moment to see what's happening. I like your quick drive-by technique, though. :-)

I will try to take a photo of the desk this weekend, as well as our Little Free Library. And post them both!

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Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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