BLBera's Reading in 2019 - Chapter 1
This topic was continued by BLBera's Reading in 2019 - Chapter 2.
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Welcome to 2019!
My name is Beth. I love books – talking about them, writing about them, reading about them. I also love to read with my granddaughter Scout.
I teach English at my local community college, so I am always looking for books I can use in my classes. I like to discover new writers.
I tend not to plan my reading, other than for my book club, which meets once a month. We meet in January to plan our year’s reading.
I tend to read more fiction than nonfiction and more women authors than men.
Welcome to my thread. Lurk or stop and say hello.
Reading possibilities for 2019
My public library's "Open Books Reading Challenge"
A book adapted into a movie
A book with more than 500 pages
✅ A book with fewer than 100 pages - Mouse House
A book about the Women's Suffrage/Women's Rights movement
A book with a color in the title
✅ A book with multiple authors - Well-Read Black Girl
A book by or about a person from Africa
✅ A book originally published in a language other than English - In Search of Lost Books
✅ A book published n 2019 - The Dreamers
✅A book about religion - If the Oceans Were Ink
✅ A book of poetry
A book about sports or athletes
A book on the Great American Read list
A book about art or an artist
My Book Club's selection for 2019
✅ Mothering Sunday
The Dark Circle
The Quiet Girl
My Own Words
Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy
In the Woods
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
The President's Hat
More reading possibilities for 2019
Last year, I read several selections from Electric Lit's recommendations by women of color. Here is their list for 2019:
The Collected Schizophrenias
Lost Children Archive
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls
The Atlas of Reds and Blues
I Am Yours by Reema Zaman
The Source of Self-Regard
Where Reasons End
On the Come Up
Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi
The Other Americans
The Old Drift
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls
Dealing in Dreams
Forward ed. Megan Giddings
Sabrina & Corina
Walking on the Ceiling
The Body Papers
Home Remedies by Xuan Juliana Wang
The Memory Police
The Bride Test
The Tenth Muse
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Shapes of Native Nonfiction
The Wedding Party
The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
The Pretty One by Keah Brown
They Could Have Named Her Anything by Stephanie Jimenez
I'm Telling the Truth, But I'm Lying by Bassey Ikpi
Fall and Forward
How to Be Heard by Roxane Gay
Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste
Fairest by Meredith Talusan
Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Last of Her Name by Mimi Lok
Brown Album by Porochista Khakpour
Little Gods by Meng Jin
The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri
Happy New Year, all my LT friends. I am so pleased to be starting my ninth year on LT. I look forward to another year of discussions and recommendations.
Happy New Year, Beth!
The Library Book was recently mentioned in one of the Guardian round-ups of great new things that Charlotte posted, so I am very hopeful that it will be out here soon.
Happy 2019, Beth!
I am glad to see Home Fire in your list of top books as it's on my radar for this year.
I wish you from my heart a healthy 2019 filled with happiness, satisfaction, laughter and lots of good books.
Beth, I think I’ve just been hit by some book bullets from your Favorites list. I should have ordered a bullet-proof vest from Santa! We share the love for Go, Went, Gone. Happy New Year!
Happy New Year, Beth and Happy New Thread. Looking forward to sharing another year of books with you! I am starting Becoming tomorrow. Yah!!
Welcome to Susan, Chelle, Charlotte, Barbara, Lynda, Donna, Rachel, Katie and Mark. Happy New Year. I'll be by to visit all the shiny new threads in a bit.
Found you! Dropping a star.
Happy new year! May it be filled with great books
Thanks Anita, Twin, Anne.
Anne, I'm watching for your thread. :)
Welcome Victoria. I hope you enjoy the 75ers.
My first read of 2019!
A Killer in King's Cove is an excellent mystery set in British Columbia after the end of WWII. The protagonist, Lane Winslow, is a well developed character. Lane moves to B.C. to get away from her memories of the war, in which she worked for military intelligence. She is a smart, independent, strong young woman.
When there is a murder in King's Cove, her new home, Lane, as an outsider, becomes a suspect. In order to preserve her newfound peace, she decides to try to discover the murderer's identity. As the novel progresses, we learn there are a lot of secrets in her new community.
There are some flashbacks to the past, which didn't wholly work for me, but this is a really strong start to a series. I'll definitely look for the next one.
Happy new year! And I've already been hit with a BB. >26 BLBera: This one is going on the WL!
A year full of books
A year full of friends
A year full of all your wishes realised
I look forward to keeping up with you, Beth, this year.
Congrats on your first book. Sounds like a good reading. Unfortunately my library hasn't got a copy of it.
Beth, you know I'm dropping off my star on your thread. I wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR and look forward to book conversation, mutual book bullets, and (of course) stories about Scout.
I love that your first completed book of the year is the first in the Lane Winslow series; my first completed book of the year is the second in that series!:-)
By the way, I thought the second Lane Winslow was a bit better than the first.
>27 cbl_tn: Always happy to add to others' wishlists, Carrie.
>28 witchyrichy:, 30 It was and it's on its way to you, Twin.
>31 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. My library doesn't own them either. I hope to suggest they acquire them.
>32 EBT1002: I saw you were reading it, Ellen, and it gave me the idea. :) So, thanks. Nice to hear the second is even better.
Wishing you a year of great reading and look forward to hearing more Scout stories. Happy 2019!
Thanks Mary. I haven't seen or talked to Scout yet this year. She and her parents are in Arizona. :(
Happy New Year Beth. Just putting my cushion down quietly in the corner.
>26 BLBera: I will have to look for that one. Thanks for the recommendation, Beth!
Happy New Year!
>26 BLBera: Look at you, shooting out book bullets all over the place with your first read of the year! That does sound good; I'll have to add it to my "look for" list.
Noooooo...not another series....;)
ETA: and my library doesn't have the first two in the series. Are they worth an audible credit?
Hi Beth, stopping by to drop a star and taking a book bullet for for first book of the year!
>38 Caroline_McElwee: You are very welcome, Caroline.
>39 alcottacre: I hope you can find it, Stasia.
>40 ChelleBearss: Yes, Chelle, I am trying to pack in the reading before classes start.
>41 rosalita: I do my best, Julia.
>42 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl.
>43 vivians: I know, Vivian, right? I was very impressed with the first one, and Ellen just told me she thinks the second one is even better... Give it a try.
>44 aktakukac: Welcome, Rachel. I'm happy to do what I can to add to others' WL. :)
Hi, Beth! Stopping by to plant my star. Enormous fan of Mothering Sunday. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it.
Thanks Karen, Ella and Nora.
I'm looking forward to Mothering Sunday, Marianne. My book club meets this Friday to choose books for the rest of the year. It's always a fun time; our only evening meeting. There's wine. :)
Me too! I moved away and had to leave my bookclub. It is about to celebrate a 40th anniversary ( think I was a member for 36 years!) so I am always interested in bookclub selections. I still keep track of what they read and try to read many but of course missing the discussions and the WINE!
Hi Beth! Count me among the curious for your book club's picks... it's always interesting to see what catches people's attention enough that they want to make others read it too.
Hi Beth, I hadn't gotten around to visiting your thread yet. I'm looking forward to following your reading this year.
>50 BLBera: Another here waiting with anticipation on your book clubs lineup. Where there's PM book clubs, there's wine! Yay!
Happy New Year, Beth! I am looking forward to following your reading and also Scout's life adventures and quotes, which always make me smile.
Hi Kerry, Katie, Mary, Faith, Laura, Lynda, and Mamie. Things are crazy around here!
If you're not going to open a thread on Club Read, I'll just have to follow you here.
I love Club Read, Kay, but I can barely keep one thread going. You are welcome to follow me here. Some cross visiting is a good thing.
Roni ! I did miss your giant star. How embarrassing. Thanks for dropping by. How can I make it up to you?
Happy New Year Beth! And happy new thread!
Wishing you and your family the best for 2019.
>26 BLBera: Dropping my star. You hit me with a book bullet on your very first read. When I went to Tennessee Reads, I discovered I had already recommended it. I'm hoping other Tennessee folks will recommend it too so it will be purchased. I'll make sure it's on my Amazon/Book Depository wish lists.
Morning, Beth! Has your book club made a decision on your reads this year?
>26 BLBera: Hi Beth, Happy 2019! My first 2019 thread visit and my first BB. You got me with the Lane Winslow mystery.
Hi Beth, I am looking forward to following your 2019 reading adventures. Your "Best of 2018" list made me smile as I think I took a book bullet for just about every book that made your list. Looks like I have some good reads ahead.
Happy New Year, Beth! Dropping a star so I can follow along with your 2019 reading.
2. Well-Read Black Girl is a beautifully designed anthology with contributions from black women writers like Jesmyn Ward, Tayari Jones, Nicole Denns-Benn and N. K. Jemisin. Some write about influential works, some write about writing, and some write about the experience of being a black woman. The thought-provoking essays cover a common theme: many discuss feeling invisible or noting an absence of people like them in their reading. Ward loved reading as a kid, but notes, "I read voraciously for years, searching for a girl like me but more than me. But I never found the book that allowed me entry, granted me succor in story, and a home after the last page until I wrote my own."
These essays certainly give me a lot to consider, especially as I choose materials for my classes.
The anthology can also serve as an introduction to those who are not familiar with black women writers. The essays and the lists of works give readers a place to start. I was pleased to see I had read many of the works listed, but there were many more unknown to me. I certainly have some reading ahead.
The graphics and the line portraits are pleasing and make this a book I will keep on my shelves.
>73 BLBera: Adding this one to The List and hoping that our library system has it. Thanks, Beth!
>73 BLBera: Added to the BlackHole. My local library does not have a copy. Rats!
>74 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie. I'll post some of the lists in future. And, it was an ER book, so even better.
>75 charl08: Thanks Charlotte. I was thinking there are some essays I would definitely like to use in class. I also will be checking out the lists and the authors I was not familiar with.
>76 alcottacre: I'm so happy to contribute to your BlackHole, Stasia.
Happy New Year Beth!!
>26 BLBera: That one sounds interesting. Added it to my library wishlist.
>72 BLBera: Interesting bookclub list Beth. I will be following your reviews on them.
>78 SuziQoregon: Thanks Juli. I think you would like it. I hope your year is off to a good start. Maybe we'll see each other in 2019?
>79 mdoris: I think it has a good variety, Mary. We'll see. Our group has been meeting for 17 years, so we should be getting the hang of choosing books...
>80 Caroline_McElwee: I KNEW I had seen something else by that author, Caroline. I added The Red Notebook to my WL.
>82 bell7: I loved it, Mary. It gave me a lot to think about.
>83 Familyhistorian: I've had it for a while as well, Meg. Ellen's reading of the second one reminded me of it. It was very enjoyable.
>84 EBT1002: >73 BLBera: You will love this one, Ellen. The essays are very good, and the lists will fill your WL. Have you checked out Electric Lit's new list of books by women of color? Last year, some of my favorite reads came from that list.
Yes, March for The Sympathizer and June for Pachinko - it will be fun to read them with you. Maybe we can beam you in for our discussion.
A belated Happy New Year, Beth!
I'm happy to have a copy of Pachinko coming to me from PBS. Maybe I'll be ready for it by June!!!!
I look forward to your reading and commenting!
>85 BLBera: I have another of the series but I don't think it is the next one in the series. What is the title of the second book?
Hi Beth! Somehow I had missed your thread before. Happy new year! And your book group looks like it has some great picks. The Sympathizer was great for discussion with our book group.
>85 BLBera: Oh dear. I hadn't realised there was a new list out from Electric Lit for 2019. That is dangerous! Particularly keen to see Helen Oyememi's new one, and The Ungrateful Refugee is a brilliant title for a memoir.
Thanks for sharing your book group's reading list. I'm impressed that you choose books for the entire year and then -- presumably -- stick with it. I'm in one group that chooses from month to month, and another that chooses two or three months in advance, which I prefer. I like having the flexibility to decide when I want to read each book.
Well-Read Black Girl looks excellent.
>72 BLBera: Great list, Beth! I like the mix of classics with contemporary choices. Enjoy!
>86 LizzieD: Thanks Peggy. I've had it on the list for a while, so I was glad to see another member recommend it. I had already used two recommendations for Little Women and Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy.
>87 Familyhistorian: Meg, I think the next one is Death in a Darkening Mist. I think Ellen recently read it.
>88 banjo123: Hi Rhonda. I'm glad The Sympathizer was a good discussion book. It's sometimes hard to tell what will provoke discussion.
>89 Berly: Twin, you can always join in. You will like Well-Read Black Girl, and I guarantee it will add to your WL. Powell run!
>90 charl08: Yes, more lists coming, Charlotte. I've reserved a couple from my library. Lots of new-to-me authors here.
>91 lauralkeet: We do stick to it, Laura. A lot of members order their books for the year right away. We have sometimes changed order.
>92 Carmenere: It does seem like a good mix, Lynda. Fingers crossed. I've only read three of them previously.
Hi Beth, I've wanted to read The Sympathizer for well, years really, so I'll be looking for your thoughts on that one Beth. Your book club has an ambitious year planned.
3. The Bus on Thursday is a strange little book that will stick with me for a while. I would love to discuss it with someone, especially the ending.
I am a bit puzzled by the author's purpose because this seems like two different novels in some ways. In the beginning, Eleanor Mellett is a young woman diagnosed with breast cancer. The novel begins with her descriptions of her diagnosis, treatment, support groups, and friends' reactions. She points out: "This is the whole problem with having cancer: everyone expects you to have mysteriously acquired some kind of wisdom out of the experience, and if you haven't, then it's a personal failing...but in fact, if I am completely honest with myself, I have the same old skewed perspective I've always had, except now I get to feel guilty about it."
As the novel progresses however, it takes a decided turn to weirdness, and we start to wonder about the reliability of Eleanor.
So, I would like people to read this so we can talk about it. It's hard to say too much more without spoilers.
Next: Winter, Ali Smith's second book in her seasons quartet.
>95 BLBera: Sorry, I would love to discuss that one with you, but my local library does not have it.
>97 alcottacre: :(
>98 karenmarie: Hi Karen. There were seven or eight at the party on Friday. Altogether we have about 12 members, but not everyone comes for every discussion. I will reread Maisie Dobbs; it's been years since I read it although I have kept up more or less with the series. I haven't read In the Woods, so I finally get the chance to read it.
Morning, Beth. Happy Sunday. You know I am loving this mild Midwest weather. May it continue...There is a chance I may make it up your way, to do some winter birding, up near Sax-Zim Bog, later next month. Of course, weather permitting. I would have to do a stop in the Twin Cities. I will keep you posted.
I am loving Becoming.
>95 BLBera: Hi Beth - your review intrigued me so I just reserved it at my library. I'll let you know my thoughts! I'm in the middle of This is How it Always is which is much more interesting than I thought it would be. It's about a large family (with fabulous parents, for a change) and a transgender child.
Happy New Year Beth! Dropping a star, and adding Well-Read Black Girl to the Someday Swamp.
>2 BLBera: Beth, You really had some great reading with those listed as your favorites. I'm adding a few of them to my tbr pile.
I need to check out Electric Lit's list of books by women of color. I haven't yet looked at this year's list.
I just ordered Well-Read Black Girl and a new iPad. I've never had an iPad before. :-)
>104 swynn: Thanks Steve.
>105 thornton37814: I also got it as an ER copy, Lori. I was so happy to get it.
>106 Whisper1: I'm always happy to add to others' piles, Linda. :)
>107 EBT1002: You can copy my list, Ellen. Some of the touchstones didn't work yet, but feel free. I haven't ever had a tablet, either, although I guess my E-reader does function a bit like one, even if I mostly use it for reading. You'll have to tell me how you like the iPad.
>108 BLBera: Mine was through NetGalley, but it was a good book. I'd already read it by the time it was in ER.
>81 BLBera: Wow! seventeen years! My accidental bookclub will be meeting for the second time on Friday. I wonder if we'll last as long?
>103 BLBera: I loved Autumn and thought Winter was excellent but not quite as wonderful. I had heard that the quartet would be coming out in rapid succession but I haven't heard anything about the next one.
My audio book right now is Meet Me At The Museum, which has been nominated for the Costa prize as a debut novel. The author is 70! It's very reminiscent of 84, Charing Cross Road which has always been one of my favorites. I hope it continues in the same vein!
You've intrigued me with your comments on The Bus on Thursday. I'll keep my eye out for a copy.
>109 thornton37814: Wow, you got an early copy!
>110 humouress: Well, one never knows. We have four people who have been members since the beginning; the rest have been added along the way.
>111 vivians: Hi Vivian - I am enjoying Winter, but it isn't captivating me in the same way that Autumn did -- at least so far. I've read about the first 100 pages. I think Spring is due out fairly soon, in the spring?
I've seen Meet Me at the Museum at the library and almost picked it up. I'll watch for your comments. I did love 84, Charing Cross Road.
>112 RidgewayGirl: I got mine from the library, Kay. I would really love to discuss this.
From Book Riot: https://bookriot.com/2019/01/07/most-anticipated-books-of-2019/
Margaret Atwood has a sequel to Handmaid's Tale!
I passed on Well-Read Black Girl as an ER book Beth, but your review has enticed me.
My daughter, who is always bugging me about the number of books I own, sent me this. Maybe she is coming around to my pov.
My daughter's students (first graders) were writing New Year's wishes. One little girl wrote: I want Obama to be president again. Amen.
>119 BLBera: Wonderful, true article. ...it should be obligatory that all living spaces come with built-in bookshelves. This is simply self-evident.
>115 BLBera: Thanks for the link. For some reason I've never wanted to read The Handmaid's Tale although it's still on my shelves after being there since before I joined LT 10 years ago.
The books that caught my eye:
Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s by Tiffany Midge
Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married by Abby Ellin
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and The Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
>119 BLBera: Wonderful article. My 25-year old daughter has started her own library (with some contributions from Mom but most recently by spending her own hard-earned money at the Fall Friends of the Library sale) and brags about my library to professors, classmates, and friends.
>119 BLBera: This is so funny because we were just watching Marie Kondo on Netflix last night. We loved that article, so thanks for the link. I read it aloud to Birdy and when I got to this part: "As for culling one’s unread books – while that may be essential for reducing fire and tripping hazards, it is certainly not a satisfying engagement with the possibilities of literature. (Unless it’s self-help or golf, in which case, toss it.)" Birdy asked if I had written that article, which cracked me up. She knows how I feel about self-help. Heh.
>121 BLBera: Amen, indeed.
Happy Tuesday, Beth!
>119 BLBera: Thank you for posting that article, Beth. I will never let that person, who I have never heard of in the first place - near my bookshelves!
I'm here to stand up for Marie Kondo! I use her method to look at my bookshelves every year or two and I find it really helpful and it does make me feel more peaceful. I take all of the books off of my shelves and then put them back one at a time. Sometimes as I'm putting them back I think, "I don't really want to put this book back on my shelf" and then I get rid of it. I get rid of about 30 books a year this way, out of almost 1,000 so not a huge dent but it's just slightly less than I acquire. Most of them are books I bought for cheap a decade or two ago and probably won't ever read, or books people gifted to me that I'm not really interested in reading. I feel freer when I let those books go, because they are going to someone who will appreciate them, and I have more room for books I do want to read. I'm also more likely to read the books on my shelves that I do want to read since I have touched them one by one and remembered that I own them and want to read them.
I also don't think that the author of that Guardian article has the same definition of joy as Marie Kondo. A book that has a nice cover or one that I feel very accomplished for having read can bring me plenty of joy even if the subject matter is depressing.
Vistors! Things are hopping around here.
>122 RidgewayGirl: I think the article helped my daughter see what I've been telling her.
>123 karenmarie: Karen, The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favorite books ever. Atwood rocks, but this is her masterpiece. I've reserved several from the list, those that are available at my library, and just went back with some from the Millions preview: https://themillions.com/2019/01/the-great-2019-book-preview.html
>124 Crazymamie: Hah! Happy Tuesday to you as well.
>125 cbl_tn: I think it will work, Carrie. But I have been wrong before about what makes for a good discussion.
>126 alcottacre: You are welcome, Stasia. I think she does have some good ideas about clearing out clutter, but a lot of what she says seems like common sense to me.
>127 norabelle414: That makes sense, Nora. I do go through my shelves in the spring, usually. I'm wondering if actually handling all the books would make a difference...That is certainly something to think about.
I've been waiting for this, but Katie posted it first.
>128 brenzi: Right about that, Brenda. I was watching the morning news, and my daughter stopped by on her way to school. In about two seconds, she was screaming at the TV...
>129 jnwelch: It would be nice to have an intelligent, coherent president, wouldn't it? Happiness is one I've been thinking about reading again, but since it was my first Forna, I should maybe read something else by her first.
I hope I didn't miss anyone. I'm not used to so many visitors at a time.
Well, back to Winter. :)
Wow Beth, how do you have 130 posts already? A very lively place!
>121 BLBera: Wise little girl. I wish for that, too :(
>119 BLBera: I just read that last night. I like some of what Marie Kondo has to say and disregard some pieces of advice. When I read her book I just kept in mind that a single young woman in Tokyo leads a very different life than a suburban working mom (don't supervise someone else's purges - yes; do not keep a stock of extra toilet paper - no). As for books, I do periodically cull my collection. I have become better about moving books along once I've finished them. Some are obviously keepers, some are calling someone else's name (my mom, a colleague, etc), but some I can safely send along to a Little Free Library, etc. I do agree that if an unread book is making you feel bad that maybe it's time to get rid of it, but my unread books are full of possibility, and make me feel happy. Though occasionally I will go through them and, being in a different place than when I acquired it, I can safely pass it on.
I only know Marie Condo secondhand, but I quite liked the article, Beth.
"Unread books are imagined reading futures, not an indication of failure."
Happy Wednesday, Beth! The Kondo article is interesting. Thanks for posting the link! I tend to disagree a bit about keeping every unread book on the shelf. I occasionally purge books I purchased at the library books sale just because it's bag day and I can or books I purchased 10 years ago because that's where I was at the time but have moved on since. I sometimes want to clear my mind of old thoughts and replace them with new. It's liberating to some extent.
>127 norabelle414: Nice method. I find it very hard to cull books, but I have to, sometimes, for lack of space.
I think there are more ways that a book can bring joy, like having good writing, helping you understand something, etc. It doesn't mean that it should have a happy ending;-)
The best gift I ever received as a child was a book from an aunt's shelves. Andersen's fairy tales. We were visiting her home, and I was reading it in a corner, totally absorbed. She said 'Do you like it? Keep it.' Could never have happpened if she had been a fan of Marie Kondo.
Newshour did a great feature with Glory Edim, the originator of the Well-Read Black Girl community that led to the book. Here's the link: Newshour Interview with Glory Edim
>119 BLBera: >127 norabelle414: >131 AMQS: >133 Carmenere: Have to give my two cents on Marie Kondo as I watched an episode with my old friend last weekend. We had mixed feelings. Kondo has a process that should be personalized based on your needs, I think. I did the clothing purge and felt better for it. My clothing choices are limited now but most everything I own makes me feel good when I wear it and that's how I define joy. I really should dump my kitchen drawers and reorganize them so it's moving up the priority list. BUT, I'm willing to keep the excess books, even the ones I know I won't read, since I have space, and they are a comfort rather than a burden. In some cases, they tell the story of my life, as they represent different parts of a varied career. I will need to downsize at some point but not now.
>119 BLBera: Interesting article, Beth. I am not sure about the Kondo method but it seems popular with many.
I am in the planning stages of a trip and want to pick your brain about Ireland. Did you spend time in Dublin when you were there? If so, what were the sights that you found interesting?
Hi Beth and a late Happy 2019 as I am finally making the rounds.
Oh hooray for the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. I'm intrigued to see what it looks like skipping 15 years ahead.
It's funny, but I was never crazy about the book but I am loving the series.. I'm about a third of the way through the second year.
>119 BLBera: I so believe that Kondo is wrong about purging books. But the line of the author's (Unless it’s self-help or golf, in which case, toss it. is hilarious. I don't golf, but I do have a collection of self-help books that I pick up and then never read.
Back from school - all my syllabi are done. Just the blackboard online stuff to organize. Classes start on Monday. I came home on this chilly day with windchills of -14 F. and made chicken tortilla soup in my new InstaPot. I was a little scared of it with all the warning signs and buttons, but it was easy to use and I see lots of soup in my future.
Hello visitors! I actually logged on to write comments about Winter, but that can wait a bit.
>133 Carmenere: Hi Lynda - I think people will disagree quite a bit about the books. I know I have looked at books I've had for years and gotten rid of them because my tastes have changed and I know I will never read them. That said, however, some books are so dependent on mood. So, sometimes it's hard for me to be sure I will NEVER read a book.
>134 EllaTim: Ella - I love the story of your aunt giving you a book. I am getting better about not hanging on to books I've read and know I will not use for class or reread, but there are surprisingly few of those. :)
>135 witchyrichy: Thanks for the Glory Edim link, Karen. I will listen to it. I've been decluttering the last year or two. I usually try to do it during my break because I can take time and actually accomplish something. I usually try to do one drawer or shelf at a time. I'm not too worried about books because I do have room and I have tried to cut back on my acquisitions.
>136 Familyhistorian: Ireland! What fun, Meg. I didn't spend a lot of time there and would love to go back. I'm terrible at directions, but we stayed close to the area where the US embassy is. We could easily walk to St. Stephen's Green, which is lovely and I recommend it. They have great sculptures. I guess the area would be considered Georgian Dublin or the Southside. Trinity College is lovely and worthwhile and the National Museum of Archeology with the bog men was fascinating. Also, I loved the little Dublin Writer's Museum. I didn't get to the National Library but would have liked to, and it's next to the Archeology museum. There are lots of museums grouped together in the Merrion Square area. Dublin is very walkable.
I hope that's enough for a start. I'll look at my notes. Let me know if you have questions. Lucky you.
>137 streamsong: Hi Janet. I don't even bother to pick up self-help anymore, Janet. :)
Goops! I missed Anne and Steve.
>131 AMQS: - I know! It's busy around here. I just logged in to write some comments and found all these visitors. I'm not complaining and I at least have some time before classes start.
From the mouths of babes, right?
>132 swynn: - Steve, I think you chose my favorite quote from the article.
I love, love, LOVE making soup in my IP, Beth. Tonight is white bean with smoked turkey sausage... It cooks beans in no time flat :)
4. Winter is a novel of ideas. Smith asks us to think about our place in the world. It mostly takes place around the winter solstice and Christmas. Sophia, Art, Lux, and Iris all come together for Christmas in a big old house in Cornwall. Sophia and Iris are sisters, Art is Sophia's son, and Lux is a stand-in girlfriend. Sophia has been a businesswoman, while Iris has been a lifelong activist. There's a lot of argument about the place of immigrants, social media, etc. LOTS to think about.
At one point, Sophia is talking about the drain of immigrants on services, and Lux says, "But what will the world do...if we can't solve the problem of the millions and millions of people with no home to go to or whose homes aren't good enough, except by saying go away and building fences and walls? It isn't a good enough answer, that one group of people cam be in charge of the destinies of another group of people and choose whether to exclude them or include them. Human beings have to be more ingenious than this, and more generous." This really spoke to me in the midst of all the wall talk now.
Basically, Smith is asking what kind of people are we. It's a good question to consider.
I didn't like this one as much as Autumn, but I will definitely reread it. Recommended. It's certainly the best one I've read this year.
>138 BLBera: Were they Irish bog men, Beth? The Museum of Anthropology sounds like something I would enjoy. Are museums free there like they are in London? The writer's museum looks like it is right up my alley too. I knew you would be a good person to ask. Thanks
I think there was a small fee for the Writer's Museum but the archeology one was free. Yes, they were Irish bog men. The gold they've found was pretty amazing as well.
>141 BLBera: There was a lot to think about in this book, and I should reread, Beth. In my (fallible) memory I was struck by the family being split by politics so dramatically.
Charlotte: There's nothing wrong with your memory. I found it interesting that each sister had very different memories of growing up. And poor Art - he was in the middle.
Hi Beth! I forgot you lived in Minnesota too. I wondered where you lived that had such a low windchill, but of course. lol. I was about to say "it's been cold here, too." :)
Enjoy what's left of your break before classes start. Lots of great books being mentioned around here. I'll probably read the Handmaid's sequel eventually.
5. West is a short, surprisingly compelling novel. When Cy Bellman reads about the discovery of dinosaur bones, he becomes obsessed and is convinced that the animals still live. So, he leaves his daughter Bess with his sister and goes West to find the animals.
As I read, I began to admire Cy, who follows his dream, even though people laugh at him. In fact, without people like him, who are curious about the unknown, we would have no discoveries.
There are few characters in this novel, but they are deftly drawn. I really liked this. Thanks Katie? I think for bringing it to my attention.
>149 BLBera: - Glad you liked that one, Beth. Yes, I was a big fan of it.
I read the Kondo book, Beth. Adopted the vertical folding of my clothes for my drawers, which I LOVE. Totally ignored her advice about books. Hers was a library book, so I didn't have to worry about whether it gave me joy or not.
Good luck on the coming semester, Beth, and good for you being prepared in advance so you can enjoy your last free weekend.
I read the article and thought "NA." I always wanted a library. I have a library beyond my wildest dreams. If lots of them are ratty and tatty, I love them anyway. Parting with one tears at my heart even if it's 70s trash. I might want to read it again sometime. I really might.
Best wishes to you for the coming semester, Beth. I hope you have some interested/interesting folks in your classes.
Kondo! All I have to say is "I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library in such days as these. "
Good to hear you liked West, Beth. I reserved it after Katie loved it :-) It's supposed to be "in transit", but it may be driving around the M25, because there's no sign of it yet.
I watched the first Marie Kondo episode on Netflix. But I don't understand why she folds clothes, when surely they should be ironed and hung up. Or maybe she doesn't iron. I'm confused. However, I tried her "joy" method on my office, and it is now completely empty, except for the flame-thrower in the corner which is finally cooling down.
>155 banjo123: I love this quote!
I would also say that sometimes books aren't meant to give us joy - they are meant to remind us to *pay attention*. And that is also incredibly important in these crazy days.
>151 DeltaQueen50: I think you'd like it, Judy. And it's short.
>152 katiekrug: Thanks for the recommendation, Katie.
>153 ronincats: Thanks Roni. I generally ignore self-help books. They always make me feel inadequate. I intend to relax this last weekend of break.
>154 LizzieD: Thanks, Peggy. The students are generally good. There are always a few challenges, which keep things interesting.
>155 banjo123: Excellent quote, Rhonda.
>156 susanj67: I hope you get your hands on West soon, Susan. I'll watch for your comments. Hmm - a flame thrower might be what I need... It would cut down on paper piles...
>143 BLBera: Gold too! Sounds like I should add a good chunk of time to my trip to take in Dublin before the cruise starts. Have a relaxing weekend before starting back up again on Monday, Beth.
>158 vivians: Hi Vivian. I knew there was someone else who liked West. It packs a punch, doesn't it. I should read more Rachman; I remember loving The Imperfectionists. I start classes again on Monday, so I am trying to pack in as much reading as I can this weekend.
>159 Familyhistorian: I could easily have spent more time in Dublin, Meg. Where does your cruise go? What fun.
6. A Fatal Winter is the second in a series. The mystery was well plotted with a neat solution, but I thought it dragged a little in the middle. The local lord is murdered while his family is visiting. All have motives. The local vicar, Max Tudor, who is ex MI5, is asked by the police to help. Entertaining mystery but seriously, the author could stop mentioning how hot Max is for a vicar. By the end of the second book in the series, I think we all get the idea that he is attractive.
I may pick up the next one, but I'm not in any hurry.
>162 charl08: I think you're safe in passing on this. It was horrible, but there are too many excellent books to waste time on those which are merely OK - although sometimes we need a little mediocre entertainment, I guess.
I haven't read Luiselli yet. I have her new on on reserve at the library.
I need to get a copy of West. It seems to be getting all the right kind of love around here. And I think I'm going to have to reread both Autumn and Winter. I know I loved them both in the moment but they haven't stuck with me as much as I would have expected. Autumn has stuck with me more. Maybe I'll wait until the whole quartet is published and read them together.
Hi, Twin! Just catching up here after you shot me with a BB on my own thread. It sucks that your aim is so good. LOL
As to book purging, I want to let a few go and plan to trade them in for cash at Powell's in a week. I am hoping for 15-20. And then, of course, I'll buy some new ones. Like Well-Read Black Girl (the BB). We'll see!
I am very excited for the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale!
Hey Twin! Happy Sunday. Always happen to pass out BBs. I did let a few go recently - you'll be getting a package shortly. :) For two days, I had purged more than acquired.
I am also psyched about the new Atwood! My WL has grown already, and we aren't even two weeks into the new year.
Belated happy new year Beth!
>72 BLBera: Those look like interesting picks for your book club. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy should make for an interesting read after Little Women.
>141 BLBera: Excellent review Beth, and a reminder to me that I wanted to read Autumn. Part of the problem is that I feel I need to wait until it's Autumn again to read a book with that title (which is a bit silly)! I think I saw somewhere that the next instalment (Spring?) may be out this year?
>156 susanj67: 'I tried her "joy" method on my office, and it is now completely empty, except for the flame-thrower in the corner which is finally cooling down.'
>169 souloftherose: I'm hoping we have a great discussion of both Little Women and the book about it. We'll see. Sometimes I miscalculate.
I think you can read Autumn at any time.
>170 banjo123: I know!
>171 brenzi: I think you will like it, Bonnie. It's a short book but there's a lot to think about.
I'm reading The Golden State right now and thinking of all the teachers I know. The author doesn't use commas for items in a series. I am generally not a grammar police, but this is bothering me. And there is much to love in the novel.
The Golden State looks interesting - keep us posted! The lack of commas would bug me too.
It is interesting, Vivian. I should finish in the next day or two.
Australian Open has started. Go Serena. Vamos Rafa.:)
>174 BLBera: Have fun with the tennis. Coverage here focused on
Great discussion of the Handmaid's Tale at book group today. The leader loved the book, so had done so much research!
Hi Charlotte - I saw lots of Murray discussion last night. I am really proud of myself that I haven't been staying up too late to watch. It helped that Serena played early and took about 30 minutes to win her match!
I will try to get in a reread of The Handmaid's Tale before the sequel comes out. I LOVE that book.
7. The Golden State is a very good first novel. Daphne, a young mother, is losing it. One day she leaves work early, picks up her 16-month-old from daycare and heads to the high desert to a house she inherited from her mother. Kiesling does a great job with the descriptions of the small, depressed town. Where she really excels though, is in her portrayal of the challenges of motherhood. The conflicting feelings are clear: "...I think this is the happiest moment of my life not only because of the smile on her face the smallness of her body the love for me she communicates with her entire being but because of the almost erotic knowledge that soon she will be in bed, the whole evening ahead of me without her."
This passage also shows the stylistic weakness of the novel. I don't generally police people's grammar (if they are not my student), but the inconsistent use of commas bugged me. If she never used commas or only used them in certain ways, I could respect her choice, but the lack of commas seems random to me. It made reading certain sections feel like wading through concrete.
So, overall, good novel. I guess it depends on your tolerance for idiosyncratic punctuation.
Next: my book club book: Mothering Sunday.
And some tennis.
>177 Berly: Twin! I just finished one! Now, though, I can watch some tennis. I deserve it. I taught for six solid hours today.
Hi, Beth! I wish I had just finished one. Alas!
I don't think I could tolerate the disuse/misuse of commas. Why make people work harder than is good for them? Glad you stuck with it since you liked it.
Six solid hours? Girl, you deserve a medal! And a BIG HUG! (((((Beth)))))
>145 BLBera: My kids memories of just last week tend to differ wildly (from reality), usually proving they were not to blame but I was.
>156 susanj67: The important thing is I hope the flame-thrower method gave you joy. (And I hope, in case you have to refer to things in the future, that your filing is more up to date than mine.)
Thanks for the Elizabeth Strout companion read recommendation on my thread! I have WL'd it at the library :)
>178 BLBera: you know, I just don't think there is enough fiction about motherhood. Given how many people are living it, and how isolated you can feel in that role, I reckon more novels explaining the experience would be nothing but good. (BB)
Enjoy your tennis watching, Beth! I think we root for different fellas (I'm Team Fed) but I have been enjoying watching the Australian Open this week. I watched Venus' second-round match on Monday (I think) and she looked great.
>153 ronincats: I did follow Kondo's suggestions for books, and got rid of old textbooks and a bunch of books that a relative gave me that are not at all to my taste in books. The textbooks were obsolete, but I'm sure the cat books found happy new owners who will find they do "spark joy" in them. I regarded them as obligations. No joy there for me! But all my lovely, dark crime novels are on display and that makes me happy.
>178 BLBera: Yeah, the comma thing was interesting. I thought it was just for emphasis at the beginning, but as it continued, I noticed that it forced me to slow down in order to fully understand what she was saying. I was constantly taken out of the story when I noticed it. My guess is that this stylistic choice was to reflect the pell-mell nature of her chaotic thoughts.
>180 LizzieD: Hi Peggy - If there is some kind of logic in the punctuation, or lack of, I don't have a problem with it, but when it isn't consistent, I just find it annoying.
>181 ronincats: Thanks Roni. I also realized that even though all six hours are three classes repeated, I need to change up the third one. I can only repeat the same material so many times, and I guess twice is the number. Back to the planning this weekend.
>182 humouress: Haha Nina.
>183 LovingLit: I hope you like it Megan. I always worry about recommending things.
>184 rosalita: Thanks Julia. Well, I still love you. The Fed is good, too. But Rafa is my guy. I need to start choosing someone younger. All of my favs will be retiring soon: Serena, Venus, Rafa. I do like the young Greek, Tsisipas -- and I'm sure I spelled that wrong. I wish Madison Keyes would win one, as well.
>185 RidgewayGirl: Hi Kay - I do try to go through my shelves, usually during spring cleaning and I have gotten rid of some things that I will never read. My criteria is whether I will read it or reread it or if it is a possible candidate for a class. Everything else goes to a good home.
I'll have to check your comments on the novel. I liked much about it, especially her portrayal of motherhood, and I agree, she was trying to reflect the chaos of her life, but she wasn't consistent. Cormac McCarthy, for example, hardly uses any punctuation, but as one of my colleagues says, "He teaches us how to read him." KIesling needs to find another way to get her message across. I just found the style annoying. And that is saying a lot because I teach English!
8. If the Oceans Were Ink took me a while to finish, but I am glad I persisted. This was a National Book Award nominee a few years ago, and deservedly so. Carla Power, a journalist spends a year studying the Quran with Sheikh Mohammed Akram Nadwi. During that time, she learns a lot about misconceptions and mistranslations of the Quran. Her account of her conversations with the Sheikh and others make me want to learn more about Islam These are the types of conversations we should be having. Fascinating.
One of my favorites: "Only through diversity, says the Quran, can you truly learn the shape and heft of your own humanity:
O humankind, we created you from a male and a female,
and We made you races and tribes
for you to get to know each other. (49:13)"
Hi Beth! Yes, I'd agree that both The Haunting of Maddy Clare and The Broken Girls would be great vacation reads, or just for when you need a mental vacation, which I have found myself needing lately. I really loved Home Fires. I have Go ,Went, Gone in my TBR pile and Halsey Streetis on a hold at the library. Lots of great reading going on your thread.
>187 BLBera: Adding this to my cart Beth. I read the Quran twice in my 20s as part of informal reading I was doing into the Arabic culture. I found much beauty to be had. I have intended to read it in a translation into English by a Muslim, and have a copy now. What I'm looking out for is the translation that was in the making by a female Muslim, I need to check if that has been published yet. I heard mention of it about three years ago.
I've learned that people who have not read it often say it is simplistic and childlike, which was not my experience of it. As an Abramic faith, it shares values with Judaism and Christianity.
Much of what people 'complain' about the faith seems to come from some of the cultural traditions it resides in, rather than the Quran.
>132 swynn:, >139 BLBera: "Unread books are imagined reading futures, not an indication of failure."
That was the quote that stood out to me too in the Marie Kondo article. As my TBR list (books I actually own) approaches 2000, I have to remind myself of this approach in order not to feel too guilty.
Of course, at the present moment all my physical books are packed, and my Kindle books don't stare at me resentfully.
>188 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah - I hope you enjoy some of my favorites.
>189 Caroline_McElwee: I think you'll appreciate it, Caroline, even more if you have read the Quran. She does discuss various translations. If I hadn't already promised this to someone else, I would pass my copy on to you.
>190 arubabookwoman: Hi Deborah! Great to see you. I hope all is well with you and your husband's treatment is going well. I also have 2000+ unread books and feel they are full of possibility while at the same time feeling a bit guilty...I'm hoping not to add too many to that total this year.
Do you have any idea of when you will be moving East?
9, Mothering Sunday is a gem of a novel with a lovely elegiac tone. Set on a Sunday in March 1924, it's the story of Jane Fairchild, a maid in a house that lost two sons in the war. Jane's lover, Paul, is the sole surviving son of a neighboring house. At first, I wasn't convinced I would like this; the maid and the son of the house seemed a little cliché. But Jane is not just any maid. Throughout the day, Swift gives us glimpses of her future life. He has created a memorable character, while writing beautifully. In the process, he also raises questions about language and fiction. Lots to think about. I'll reread this.
My book group founds lots to discuss. As one member stated, it's a short book with lots of ideas. Our next book club selection is Maisie Dobbs, set during the same time. It will be interesting to look at the two books together.
My daughter told me today that Scout has gotten into a STEM choice school and the Spanish immersion program for kindergarten. My daughter teaches in the Spanish immersion program, and her school is very diverse, but there is a lot of violence as well. It's a huge school. The STEM choice school is a small school, without fights in the hallways. So, they have options.
Scout will be in school! I'm enjoying every minute with her. She's taken over her mom's old clubhouse in an upstairs closet. Every time I go near it, she demands some "paper money." I think she has about six dollars in her bag by now. :)
We read Mouse House, and she loved it.
Sitting up in bed in our luxurious hotel room, waiting for Serena's match. Enjoying this year's Australian Open.
>193 BLBera: It's good to have choices. STEM or Spanish immersion. I admit that I found myself thinking that arts and languages may be more easily accessed along the way (especially with a literary grandmother!) while our school systems still, I think, may steer girls away from math and science. Regardless, Scout is smart and either option will provide her with great learning.
>187 BLBera: I've never heard of that one. I love the quote.
I thought Mothering Sunday was a gem, too.
Oh my! Scout in school!!!!!
That's exciting for all of you, and I'm happy that she has such a fine choice at this early age. Absolutely, enjoy every minute with her.
>187 BLBera: That's wonderful!
I really enjoyed the only G. Swift I've read so far. Thanks for the review of *MS*. I'll surely get back to him.
>194 EBT1002: Well, I am looking at the snow and wondering what the temp will be when I have to shovel tomorrow! :) Are there openings in your hotel?
I think you're right; Scout will do great wherever she goes to school.
I will look for more by Swift - have you read others by him?
>195 LizzieD: It seems impossible that Scout will be in school, right?
Her mom surprised us early today because school was closed at noon due to the snow. My daughter asked me, "Does she always boss you around?" She wanted me to put away the Legos. She said if I didn't listen, I would have to pay her some more paper money.
Which Swift book did you read, Peggy?
Wondering if there is an introductory business school Scout can join? :-)
I liked Mothering Sunday too. I went through the Swift back catalogue a while back, but haven't reread. I liked how he described East Anglia.
I remember being intrigued by Mothering Sunday when it first came out, and then it slipped off my radar. Thanks for bringing it back. With your review and Ellen's endorsement, I know it's a good one.
>197 EBT1002: He's another one that goes on my list, Ellen. I'd like to read more by him. I'm adding Last Orders and Waterland to the list.
>198 Caroline_McElwee: Yes, Caroline, Scout is my granddaughter, my one and only. She is awesome, and I love being a grandmother. I will add Swift to my list of authors to read further.
>199 charl08: Right, Charlotte. She might support me in my old age.
>200 lauralkeet: Laura, I'll watch for your comments when you get to it. One of my book club members said the cover of the library book had a naked body on it, and she thought it was erotica. :)
>201 EllaTim: Hi Ella - I think Power does give some recommendations for translations. Yes, it would definitely be a project. I would like to take a class so I would have some guidance.
I've added Waterland to my WL.
>202 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie - Scout does brighten my days. Yes, thanks for bringing Mouse House to my attention. She is starting to like longer stories, so I am always looking for good ones. She's read some Ivy and Bean with her mom, and we read one Magic Treehouse book, so there are some good ones. You will love Mothering Sunday.
>203 katiekrug: All caught up, Katie!? I wish I were! You could give The Golden State a try. I want to see if her punctuation bothers anyone else. You should read Mothering Sunday. I hope your weekend of Katie is relaxing.
The first week of class went well. I'm teaching a full load, four sections of the same class, an intro to lit. I've realized that I have to change things up because I can't repeat/do the same things four times. One of my book club members also pointed out that I might want to stagger due dates, which will be harder. So, when essays are due, I'll have about 30-35 hours of grading...
I have a long weekend, which is nice. It gives me an opportunity to grade and comment on the first week's work and to plan. I would also like to get some reading done. I started a library book, The Dreamers, which is interesting. It suffers in comparison with Swift's writing in Mothering Sunday, but the story is compelling.
And, of course, there is tennis.
Thanks for the visits!
Last year, I tried to do a monthly reading report, so I wouldn't have to compile a year's reading at the end. I never posted it, and now, as a break from grading, I took a look at the year's reading:
2018 Reading Numbers*:
In translation: 6
Short story collections: 4
Graphic novels: 2
Men: 28 - 21%
Women: 106 - 79%
This year I would like to increase my poetry and nonfiction reading. I would also like to increase my reading of works in translation.
* If these numbers don't add up, it's probably an error in addition on my part.
Scout in school! Where did the years go? They grow up so fast - I still can't believe my granddaughter is in high school. It's great that you enjoy every minute you have with her.
Hi Judy - Because I know I'm only getting one, I am savoring each moment with her. She is awesome.
10. The Dreamers was disappointing to me. The description made it sound like an interesting dystopian novel, but it fails in comparison with Station Eleven, for example.
A college student falls asleep and doesn't wake up. This is how the novel begins. It is set in an isolated college town in Southern California. Soon others fall asleep. Tests show that their brains are active, and they are dreaming. When this seems to be turning into an epidemic, the college and town are quarantined.
Walker focuses on several characters and how the epidemic affects them. Following them kept me turning the pages and held my interest, but in the end, the novel felt very superficial. I didn't see any profound questions asked or answered, and the novel felt incomplete. I doubt this will stick with me.
>211 BLBera: I think I'll skip that one. Thanks for taking the hit. And ten books already!!
This Barty-Sharapova match is something! Barty up 5-3 in the 3rd set.
Go Barty - I've never been a Sharapova fan. I'm cheering for Tiafoe as well. And, of course, Rafa. :)
Zuleikha - the description. I love those big Russian novels. Soviet Russia, 1930. Zuleikha, the “pitiful hen,” lives with her brutal husband Murtaza and her mother-in-law in a small Tartar village. When Murtaza is executed by communist soldiers, she is sent into exile to a remote region on the Angara River in Siberia. Hundreds die of hunger and exhaustion on the journey and over the first difficult winter, yet exile is the making of Zuleikha.
As she gets to know her fellow survivors ― among them an eccentric German doctor, a painter, and the conscience-stricken Commander Ignatov, her husband’s killer ―Zuleikha begins to build a new life far removed from the one she left behind.
Guzel Yakhina’s outstanding debut ― inspired by her grandmother's childhood memories of being exiled to the Gulag ―has been translated into twenty-one languages, capturing the hearts of readers all over the world.
>160 BLBera: The cruise goes from Dublin to Belfast, takes in Inverness, LeHavre, Southampton and Guernsey and a few other places. Should be fun. This will be the first time I have been in Ireland except for refueling stops in Shannon - probably pre-jet air travel, Gander was also a frequent stop. I want to get there a few days before the cruise leaves to see some of Dublin. Once I have been to Ireland once I will probably return as I am a member of a clan association that meets up there every couple of years and I want to attend one of those conferences.
Ohh, I'm a big fan of Maisie Dobbs. I read every book in the series . I'm not sure how it will hold up against Mothering Sunday , which I have not yet read. I am sure that Mothering Sunday is definitely the more literary novel of the two, but the Maisie Dobbs series is hugely enjoyable, at least for me.
>178 BLBera: I hate when a potentially good novel is ruined by weak editing.
>127 norabelle414: I like the idea of taking a shelf of books down and deciding which ones to put back on. I've never done it that way before and will try it soon. It’s also a good way for me to identify the ones I need to scan covers in for and scan 'em while I have 'em out.
>138 BLBera: My daughter uses Blackboard at her community college. It’s a brave new world out there since I graduated from college in 1975.
>186 BLBera: The Fed is good, too. But Rafa is my guy. I need to start choosing someone younger. Roger’s my guy but he’s 38 and I need to find someone younger, too, to become my New Guy. Anybody you think I should look at?
>187 BLBera: Very interesting. It’s a BB for me simply because it’s time I learned a bit more about the Quran. I have a copy of the Quran on my shelves, but still need more time to recuperate from reading the Bible cover to cover in 2017.
>191 BLBera: I’ve also got over 2000 books tagged ‘tbr’ and don’t feel guilty at all. The only thing about having that many is that I don’t crave needing to buy more like I used to. One or two here and there, but I’ve gotten quite good at not stopping at the thrift store, Habitat store, and second hand book store every time I’m in town.
>205 BLBera: Interesting stats. 79% women. Is that deliberate or luck of the draw of interesting books? I keep a yearly spreadsheet, and it’s easy to add to as I finish a book. It totals and calculates % and summarizes most things, and is always eye-opening as the year progresses.
>220 Familyhistorian: I loved Belfast, Meg. It was a fascinating city. The cruise sounds wonderful.
>221 vancouverdeb: Maisie Dobbs will be a reread for me, Deborah. It's been a while, though. I read it when it was first published. While Mothering Sunday may be more literary, it will be interesting to see how the time between the wars is treated in both books.
>222 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. I have a long weekend with Monday off, so that is always nice.
>223 souloftherose: Hi Heather. I really liked Mothering Sunday. I hope you can get to it soonish. I know, it's hard to believe that Scout will be in school already. It's funny that we aren't getting any older. ;)
>224 charl08: Ooh, Soviet Milk sounds good as well, Charlotte. Onto the WL it goes.
>225 ChelleBearss: I don't even know if the editing is to blame, Chelle. I think she was making some style choices that, frankly, just don't work.
>226 karenmarie: Karen you were busy posting, while I was busy replying.
>127 norabelle414: I do like the suggestion of handling each book. When I next try culling, I will try it.
>138 BLBera: We use Brightspace, which is like Blackboard.
>186 BLBera: I just watched the end of the Fed Tsitsipas match. Tsitsipas is a guy to watch. I like that he has good variety in his game and isn't a jerk. I also like Francis Tiafoe.
>187 BLBera: I think you would like If the Oceans Were Ink, Karen. I would like to take a class on the Quran as well. I have never read the Bible in its entirety. What an accomplishment.
>191 BLBera: I agree. The urge to acquire books is balanced with the knowledge that I have a lot of books I haven't read. I'm much more deliberate about buying books now. I often check with my library first.
>205 BLBera: I tend to prefer women writers, Karen, but it is also deliberate. Marketing, prizes, and reviews still, unfortunately, skew male, so I do my part to support women writers. There are so many good ones! Even in anthologies that I use for school, tend to include more selections by men. I keep telling textbook reps that I'll use their books when there are equal selections by women and men and good representations of writers of color. I'm seeing some changes there, so I feel like I can make a difference in my own little way.
>228 Caroline_McElwee: I agree, Caroline, about the Titanic museum. I wasn't that excited about going to it, but it was a great experience. I also enjoyed the black taxi tour of the city. And I liked Harp more than Guinness. :) Although I'm not much of a beer drinker.
>230 BLBera: I think it is because it focuses so much in the life of the city, and the skills that had evolved there that became vital for the ship building industry Beth. It isn't just about sadness and tragedy.
Years ago I went to an exhibition about the Titanic at the science museum, three great things there: they created an iceberg in one room, so you could feel what it felt like to be close to something that big and cold. Your ticket was the name of a traveller, and you didn't find out whether you survived or not until you got to the list at the end - we were all survivors. And you got to touch I small piece of the ship, through a hole, of a piece in a perspex box. Touching history is always extraordinary.
>231 Caroline_McElwee: Absolutely, Caroline. There was so much about the building of the ship and walking through the various levels was also fascinating. The science museum exhibit sounds great as well. I love history, and the museums usually do such an excellent job with the exhibits.
One thing I loved about my Ireland trip was the great sense of history that pervades so much of it. It has such a rich and fascinating history. I definitely want to read more. I went to a great bookstore in Galway and they pointed me to some good books. Now, I just need to find time to get back to them.
Two to add to the neverending list due to your wonderful reviews: Mothering Sunday and If the Oceans Were Ink.
Great statistics in >205 BLBera:. I like seeing not only what you accomplished, but your very non-cluttered way of reporting it. I'm inspired to do something like it.
"Unread books are imagined reading futures, not an indication of failure." Wonderful quote! I've stolen it to post on my thread.
Hi Janet: I hope you're having a lovely weekend, staying warm.
I'm always happy to add to others' WLs.
I loved Mothering Sunday too Beth. I don’t understand about the STEM. Everything in New York is STEM. I like the idea of the Spanish immersion though. Mia is in Pre-K right now and will be in Kindergarten next year. Luckily, she got into the Universal Pre-K but only by winning the lottery. We were thrilled.
Happy Sunday, Beth. I hope you are having a good weekend. Sorry, to hear you were underwhelmed by The Dreamers. I have heard good things. Well, I have it one shelf, so I guess I will have to see for myself.
Okay, I even though I knew he lost, I watched some of Federer and Tsitsipas' match. I think F looked a little off, but honestly, T totally earned that win. Awesome! And Kerber is out, too. Lots of shaking up happening in tennis!
Hi, Beth. Finally visiting and dropping a star.
>115 BLBera: Really looking forward to Atwood's sequel to The Handmaid's Tale - I've already preordered it!
>161 BLBera: I really enjoyed GM Malliet's St Just series when I read it several years ago, but I didn't care for Weycombe, her recent standalone. I've been thinking I should start the Max Tudor series for years, so I've finally planned to read the first one this year.
>235 banjo123: I hope you like it, Rhonda, when you get to it. I will look for more by Swift.
>236 brenzi: I don't entirely understand the STEM thing either, Bonnie. It seems like too much of education now is run by test scores, which are not all that great for measuring things. I really don't know what they'll choose. Whatever they do choose, Scout will be a star.
>237 msf59: Mark, definitely read The Dreamers; it's gotten some stellar reviews. If we all liked the same things, it would be boring around here.
>238 Berly: Hey Twin - I'll refrain from discussing scores until I know you've watched it. Except, go Serena! Go Rafa!
>239 alcottacre: My work is done, Stasia. I'm always happy to add to the BlackHole.
>240 rretzler: Hi Robin - I will try the St. Just series. I've only read Malliet's Max Tudor series. I liked the first one more than the second.
>211 BLBera: I know you said you were underwhelmed, but just wondering for one of my challenges (POPSugar, I think?) - does this take place primarily on a college campus? Or just in a college town?
ALL of the area schools, except for the college were closed today. Why couldn't we have a snow day? No fair, I say.
So one of my new favorite men's tennis players is 20-year-old Tsitsipas. He has been killing it! Also I like Nishikori.
>250 BLBera: Oh, I know, Twin!! I was just commenting on other players that I am enjoying this match. : )
I also like on the women's side (Go Serena!) Osaka and Halep (who is out already). I just like seeing some new players coming up.
Have a great evening!
Glad you're having fun with the tennis!
>247 BLBera: This does sound unfair!
Hello there, Beth. I've been fighting with a bad chest cold for the past week or so, and deeply behind on LT as a result. But I wanted to chime in to say I enjoyed your review of Mothering Sunday — I'm pretty sure I have that one on my reader somewhere.
I stayed up to watch Federer to lose to Tsitsipas, which was sad but I like the young Greek's game. I think he's going to go far, and soon even if not this tournament. I think he faces your boy Rafa next!
I saw your post about what you're teaching this semester. Four sections of the same class sounds daunting, especially at grading time! If you had your preference, would you rather teach that way, or mix it up with a couple of different topics? I've never been a teacher, but I think it must be challenging and rewarding either way.
Winter stinks. Bring on spring!
>184 rosalita: >186 BLBera: I sort of purposely avoided LT this weekend until I could find time to watch the Federer/Tsiptas match. I liked the youngster who had pretty decent moves and, like you, need to start connecting with the next generation. I feel VERY old when they show the champions of my youth like Bjorn Borg sitting in the stands.
>253 charl08: Hi Charlotte - well, at least I got a lot done.
>254 rosalita: I hope you feel better soon, Julia. I am not looking forward to the upcoming cold weather. I am ready for spring as well.
You are a better person than I am; I cannot function if I stay up past 11 p.m. I do like Tsitsipas's game; he has variety and seems like a nice kid. He does play Rafa, so Tsitsipas will have to wait until next year to reach a final. :) Rafa's been looking good, but the kid does have game.
I have never taught four sections of the same class before. I think I would rather have a mix, even though there is more prep time. As is, I do have to vary the assignments because I can't repeat the same thing four times and remain sane.
>255 witchyrichy: Hi Karen - I admit to being a spoiler about the tennis. I will refrain in the future until the next round is reached. I forget that people tape them to watch later. Borg still looks good, doesn't he?
>201 EllaTim: I read the Quran in English translation a couple of years ago. It's fairly short and, if you're familiar with the Old Testament of the Bible, it's quite familiar. Don't be intimidated :)
I have some overnight guests. My son-in-law is at training, so the girls and I are having a sleep over. Scout spent her Barnes & Noble gift card. She has some new Ivy and Bean books and some Calvin and Hobbes. She loves Calvin!
>186 BLBera: I hope you like it Megan. I always worry about recommending things.
Me too! I feel the weight of their tightened expectations. But rest assured, I won't hold you responsible if I don't like it :) I was reading about the author Lydia Keisling the other day, and her involvement with the book blog, the Millions. I love those connections!
Well, I have to say my interest in the tennis down under has taken a nose dive. First Federer lost, then Serena, and now Tsitsipas (I'm trying to be happy about that one on your behalf). I'll keep watching, though, and find some new players to root for. I was sorry to see Danielle Collins lose in the semifinals, but she's also a young one to watch. Rafa is looking awfully good; this might be his year, although it seems Djokovic is also playing very well. Could be an exciting final if Joker gets through tonight.
Also, can I just say all the Melbourne commercials are really making me want to book a flight to Australia?! It just looks spectacular. And warm, which is a particular attraction right now. :-)
>259 LovingLit: Thanks Megan. You can blame me if you do like it!
>260 rosalita: I am ready for some warm weather, Julia, but I don't know if 100 degrees is what I am looking for, either. But, you're right, Australia looks lovely. On the bucket list.
Thanks for trying to not be sad for Rafa's win. I really like Tsitsipas and Tiafoe, among the young men. And I do like Osaka and Kvitova. I would have liked for Serena to be in the final so I have no preference now. Collins does look like she will go far. I do also like Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens.
I've been very poor about watching tennis this week--of course, many of the matches are well after my bedtime. I'm rooting for Osaka again at this point, and it looks like it could be another Rafa-Novak final on the men's side.
Scout in school--simply amazing!
>196 BLBera: Waterland is my only Swift so far, Beth. I did really, really like it.....4 stars worth, I see. I'll be on the lookout for a copy of Mothering Sunday.
>199 charl08: HA! HA! HA!
> ??? I can't find it again. My ER copy of Zuleikha has just arrived, and I've read a little bit. I can't quite settle to it or anything at the moment, but I'm looking forward to it.
The weekend is on the way. Enjoy!
>262 Copperskye: Hi Joanne - Mothering Sunday was lovely. I will look for more books by him.
>263 ronincats: The timing is hard, Roni. I can't watch tennis in the middle of the night and function the next day. Luckily, they have repeated some matches, so I could see the replay.
>264 LizzieD: Hi Peggy - I am liking Zuleikha so far. I'll watch for your comments.
11. Henrietta Who? is an entertaining mystery with an interesting storyline although a bit dated in today's world of DNA evidence. Grace Jenkins is the victim of a hit and run on a "bad" stretch of road. Her heartbroken daughter Henrietta arrives from college to identify the body. But the autopsy reveals that Grace was run over twice, so it wasn't an accident, and that she never had a child. This turns into a complicated case in which nothing is what it seems. Of course, some of the points could have been cleared up with a DNA test, but still an enjoyable mystery.
I laughed when I read this Mary Oliver poem because it speaks to our discussion on getting rid of things:
When I moved from one house to another
there were many things I had no room
for. What does one do? I rented a storage
space. And filled it. Years passed.
Occasionally I went there and looked in,
but nothing happened, not a single
twinge of the heart.
As I grew older the things I cared
about grew fewer, but were more
important. So one day I undid the lock
and called the trash man. He took
I felt like the little donkey when
his burden is finally lifted. Things!
Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
fire! More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing -- the reason they can fly.
This is from Felicity.
I''ll have to put Mothering Sunday on the list. I know I've seen it the library.
>267 BLBera: Oh that's lovely. I'll have to look up that collection - it's not one my library owns.
>267 BLBera: Like!
I'm always thinking of the stuff I need to let go Beth. The trouble is, the majority of my stuff is books, and that's harder to let go for me.
>268 vancouverdeb: I think you'll like it, Deborah.
>269 bell7: It's a 2015 collection, Mary, and has a very elegiac tone. There are other collections that I have liked more, but this is a collection by someone who is obviously looking back at life. There's more about death and letting go and although there is nature, as in all of her collections, it isn't at the forefront. A great example is "The Tall Distance."
The Tall Distance
That tall distance where
the clouds begin,
the forge that pounds out the lightning
and the black porch where the stars
are dressed in light
and arrangement is made for the moon's path --
it's these I think of now, after
a lifetime of goldfinches,
the passionate hands of the sun,
the coolness under the trees
talking leaf to leaf,
the foxes and the otters sliding on the snow,
the dolphins for whom no doubt
the seas were created,
the spray of swallows gathering in autumn--
after all of that
the tall distance is what I think of now.
>270 Caroline_McElwee: I have the same problem, Caroline. Most of my "stuff" is books, and while I try to be judicious about what I keep, it is hard to let them go.
12. In Search of Lost Books is a fascinating little volume, a mixture of gossip, research, and speculation about lost manuscripts from writers like Hemingway, Lord Byron, and Sylvia Plath. Book lovers will find this entertaining.
Thanks Charlotte! I think I got that right!
>267 BLBera: That is a wonderful Mary Oliver poem! We moved several years ago after being in the same place, a 5 bedroom house for 34 years so I can relate! We started with the photos and then moved on to the books and then the old family silver. It became a distribution centre!
>274 mdoris: I've been in my house for 30 years, Mary, and I can't imagine moving. On the other hand, it would be a good way to divest of things...
Beth in many ways it is liberating and a push of a re-start button. There is not much that I have regretted passing on. One thing recently though was a beautiful baby dress that we never even put on our baby girls (I just thought it was too nice!) and I was hoping to find it to give to our new grand daughter but alas it is gone.
>267 BLBera: Wow does this hit home for me. Literally. I gave up my big house in 2015 and moved to a house about one third the size. That forced me to face the fact that I wouldn’t have room for a lot of the “stuff” that had accumulated over the 43 years we lived there. I started selling and then tossing and then donating and then hiring a company that would clear out my basement, garage and shed. I managed to get down to a reasonable level and after I moved discovered that I still had stuff I didn’t really want anymore so I still find myself getting rid of stuff. I ended up feeling very liberated but I look at what I have every day and see things I don’t really want anymore.
Mary - I can see that. During my summer break, I've been going through drawers, closets, boxes and have made many trips to Good Will and many trips to the recycling bin. It does feel good to get rid of stuff.
>277 brenzi: Hi Bonnie. It seems like after we reach a certain age, the urge to accumulate goes atrophies. Except for books, and even for books I tend to check to see if my library has a copy before I purchase one.
I need to get my copy of Dog Songs off the shelf and read it. I love that poem, "The Tall Distance."
>277 brenzi: I can relate to this, Bonnie, as well as the poem in >267 BLBera:. We went through a similar process to yours over the past 12-18 mos., moving to a new house and having to get rid of a lot of stuff. We, too, got to the point of just hiring a company to take it all away. It was simultaneously liberating and sad. Not sad to be letting go of things, but sad about the waste. Now, one year into our current home, we are finally opening the as-yet-unpacked boxes and deciding what to do with that stuff. And again, like you, there's a lot we don't want or need anymore.
" More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing -- the reason they can fly."
^I love it! It is so nice to see so many fans of Oliver, right here on LT.
Happy Sunday, Beth. It looks like another brutal week ahead. Thoughts of going up to upper MN are dwindling but you never know, if we get a turnaround. Enjoy your day. I plan on being lazy with the books.
>279 EBT1002: I love that one, too, Ellen. In fact, it would have been a great title for the book. Many of her poems seem to be looking at the end of her life.
>280 lauralkeet: I imagine it would be good to get rid of the stuff -- it's the process of doing it that makes me shudder.
>281 msf59: Hi Mark - You'd better get out all the warm clothing you own. It sounds like it is going to be cold this week.
Snow day today!
On the other hand, I have about 8 inches of snow to shovel in -15+ windchill. Later.
Reading about Zuleikha's winter in Siberia seems fitting.
>273 BLBera: Adding that one to the BlackHole! Thanks for another contribution ;)
>285 alcottacre: I hope you like it, Stasia.
>286 katiekrug: I shoveled for an hour, needed a rest, and while I was thinking about going back out to do the rest, my kiddos drove up and finished for me.:) It didn't seem too cold while I was shoveling, but the temp is definitely going down. K-12 here has already canceled for tomorrow too, and since Wed. the expected high air temp is -20, with -65 windchills, she's expecting they probably won't have school on Wed. either.
Wow, can't believe those temps. And you were out shoveling!!! Hope the house is nice and toasty and you're well supplied to ride out the cold.
>288 katiekrug: They're keepers, Katie. Yes, I am ready for spring.
>289 The_Hibernator: Glad you liked it, Rachel.
>290 charl08: I have a long down coat with a hood and I was actually sweating while I was shoveling.
>291 vivians:. I think you'll get the cold temps, too, Vivian. Yes, I am well supplied. And if it stays cold, I think I have a few bottles of wine and some good books. I am so ready for spring. I'm just glad I'm not in Siberia (I'm reading Zuleikha right now.
Spring is right around the corner! (Sort of. Not really.)
The University of Iowa has canceled all classes from 5 p.m. today through noon Thursday because of the cold. Of course, they are not actually closing the university, so staff are still expected to report, but I have gotten permission to work from home Weds-Thurs, which is a relief. Stay warm and safe, Beth!
Hope you're managing to stay warm.
Glad the kiddos showed up to finish shoveling the snow for you.
13. Felicity is a Mary Oliver collection of poems from 2015. It has an elegiac tone and many of the poems look at past happiness or forward to death. "The Tall Distance" is representative of the tone, and would have made a good title:
The Tall Distance
That tall distance where
the clouds begin,
the forge that pounds out the lightning
and the black porch where the stars
are dressed in light
and arrangement is made for the moon's path --
it's these I think of now, after
a lifetime of goldfinches,
the passionate hands of the sun,
the coolness under the trees
talking leaf to leaf,
the foxes and the otters sliding on the snow,
the dolphins for whom no doubt
the seas were created,
the spray of swallows gathering in autumn--
after all of that
the tall distance is what I think of now.
This is not my favorite Oliver collection, but I am glad I read it. I suspect that with time, my ideas about it may change.
Stay warm, Beth. I am grateful that our temps are moderate (28 deg. F right now) even though it's been snowing all day. Accumulation is not daunting, happily. It just better not interfere with my scheduled library sale trip tomorrow.
I like that poem, Beth. Thank you for posting it.
We're promised snow tomorrow (although nothing like your amount, of course). It seems appropriate that I am reading a crime novel set in very snowy 1950s Finnish Lapland.
>297 weird_O: I hope you don't get the cold stuff, Bill, although I wouldn't mind sending it on its way. It is supposed to be in the 30s here on Saturday, which will feel balmy, about a 60 degree change in temps. I hope you get to your library sale.
>298 charl08: You are welcome, Charlotte. I hope your snowfall is just enough to be pretty. Yes, I'm reading Zuleikha, who is currently in Siberia, so it's all relative.
"it's these I think of now, after
a lifetime of goldfinches,
^I like "The Tall Distance". Thanks for sharing.
Hi, Beth. I am glad they have cancelled classes until Thursday. Smart move. I will return Thursday also, but it is still supposed to be just above zero. Ugh.
Frigid greetings, Beth! I am enjoying the Mary Oliver works mingled in so many posts. I am not keen on poetry in general but I will check my library for her works.
Schools, even colleges, are taking a Snow day for tomorrow some thru Thursday. As for me, I'm calling it a jammie read all day day :0)
>296 BLBera: I pulled my Mary Oliver books off the shelves for a bit of a reread and found that Felicity is not a favorite of mine either. I have really been enjoying The Truro Bear and Other Adventures and it may be my second favorite Oliver (behind Dog Songs).
Stay warm! Stay inside and read a book! Your weather this week sounds dreadful. Everybody around here is complaining about the snowstorm we got yesterday. It was forecast to be just an inch or two but was closer to 6-8”. But heck, the sun was out by lunchtime and with the sun and dry air, 20° was pretty comfortable. (Of course, I didn’t have to drive to work in it).
>267 BLBera: Do you remember George Carlin's monologue on "Stuff"? I'm in the process of redoing my office and getting rid of lots of nonessential stuff myself at the moment, so I can identify!!
Sounds like it is so cold there, Beth. Hope you are keeping warm and that you don't have to go in to work.
Happy snow day, Beth! I hope you get lots of reading in and not too much shovelling.
>302 Carmenere: Hi Lynda. Tomorrow we'll still have highs in the minuses, but by Friday, we'll be back in the plus temps, so I hope that will be it. I plan to go nowhere today. I can catch up on school work. And do some reading...
>303 Copperskye: Hi Joanne - It is great news that your son published a story. I'll look for it. I haven't read Dog Songs. I'll add that to my WL although I think I have other Oliver collections I haven't read. My favorite so far is A Thousand Mornings.
We got 8 inches on Monday. Now it's just the low temps and blowing snow. I can hear the wind howling around my house.
>304 ronincats: I don't remember the Carlin routine, Roni, but I am a fan of his.
>305 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg. I do get to stay home today.
>306 susanj67: I'm done with the shoveling for now, Susan.
>307 Crazymamie: It does make one wonder why one lives here, Mamie. I think you're getting cold weather as well, right? A pause while I order The Mousewife. She did like Mouse House.
>308 alcottacre: I think Oliver does appeal to people who generally don't like poetry, Stasia. Blue Horses is also a good one.
Beth, we've got bitter cold and howling winds, too. All the schools and libraries in the county are closed. Snow day! I'm trying to catch up with LT folk. Your comments about The Bus on Thursday caught my eye and made me curious. I'm debating adding to to my list. Winter also appeals to me. So many books, so little time!
How are you doing in the polar vortex? It's COLD in Columbus but I assume it's even colder in Minnesota!!
I forgot to get the Mary Oliver off the shelf. On this trip I brought with me my current read (of course), Hotel Brasil, and my Kindle so I can read in These Truths, and The Power of the Dog which I have been wanting to read since my sister recommended it to me. And if Amber and I can arrange for a meet-up on Friday, I may acquire a book or two, you know.... They are now predicting snow for Friday. Sheesh.
Stay warm, my friend!
Happy Wednesday, Beth. Hope you are keeping warm & cozy. I looks like mail delivery will also be suspended tomorrow. I guess we will just go in and work in the office. The volume will be incredibly heavy on Friday though. Ugh!
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