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Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Four

This is a continuation of the topic Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Three.

This topic was continued by Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Five.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Jan 31, 3:31pm Top

"No man can roam or inhabit the Canadian North without it affecting him, and the artist, because of his constant habit of awareness and his discipline in expression, is perhaps more understanding of its moods and spirit than others are."

– Lawren Harris. A member of The Group of Seven. I was not familiar with him, but I am now. I love that painting.

-Northern Cardinal visiting my feeder, during the polar vortex.

Edited: Feb 13, 8:31pm Top




1) Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs 4 stars (audio)
2) Thunderstruck & Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken 4.3 stars
3) Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver by Mary Oliver 5 stars Poetry OTS
4) Becoming by Michelle Obama 5 stars (audio)
5) My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok 5 stars AAC
6) Asymmetry: A Novel by Lisa Halliday 4 stars (audio)
7) The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 4.5 stars (audio/print)
8) Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver 3.7 stars
9) Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells 4 stars (audio)
10) Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea: Stories by Sarah Pinsker 4.2 stars ER
11) Winter by Ali Smith 4.5 stars
12) Golden Child by Claire Adam 4 stars
13) Upgrade Soul by Ezra Claytan Daniels 4.4 stars GN
14) Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson 3.8 stars (audio)


15) The End of the End of the Earth: Essays by Jonathan Franzen 4 stars (audio)
16) Mouthful of Birds: Stories by Samanta Schweblin 3.2 stars
17) The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel by Mary Robinette Kowal 3.8 stars (audio)
18) Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell 3.7 stars
19) These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore 5 stars (audio)
20) Red Clocks by Leni Zumas 3.6 stars (audio)

Edited: Feb 13, 8:30pm Top

^Someone, mentioned starting a "Birding" thread. Honestly, I was not up for hosting another thread but I thought it would be cool, if a few of us started a birdfeeder watch and kept it updated on the participant's own thread. I know there are several of my pals over here, that have feeders. I hope I can get you to join. I am only going to log in each species I see, for the year, along with the dates. The only species changes, I expect to find, are during the various seasons. Hopefully, this will inspire me to keep a better watch on my own feeders. As of now, the Feeder report will be in post # 6. Here is what I have so far:

1) Northern Cardinal 1/1/19
2) American Goldfinch 1/1/19
3) Downy Woodpecker 1/1/19
4) Black-Capped Chickadee 1/1/19
5) White-Breasted Nuthatch 1/1/19
6) Mourning Dove 1/1/19
7) Dark-Eyed Junco 1/1/19
8) House Sparrow 1/1/19
9) Pine Siskins 1/4/19 (F)
10) Red-Tailed Hawk
11) House Finch
12) Red-Bellied Woodpecker

(F)- First time seen at the feeders.

Edited: Jan 31, 3:48pm Top

My Favorite Poets

"My favorite poets
never met
They lived in different countries
and different ages
surrounded by ordinariness
by good people and bad
they lived modestly
like an apple in an orchard
They loved clouds
they lifted their heads
a great armada
of light and shade
sailed above them
a film was playing
that still hasn’t ended
Moments of bitterness
passed swiftly
likewise moments of joy"

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the grey feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

-Adam Zagajewski

Jan 31, 3:35pm Top

"Unearthly and unexpected, the stories in Mouthful of Birds burrow their way into your psyche and don't let go. Samanta Schweblin haunts and mesmerizes in this extraordinary, masterful collection."

"Samanta Schweblin was chosen as one of the 22 best writers in Spanish under the age of 35 by Granta. Originally from Buenos Aires, she lives in Berlin."

^I had a great couple of days of reading, so I finished up Golden Child quickly and now I am going to start Mouthful of Birds. With a title like that, how can I resist? My audio time will be limited today, but I should be able to finish up Alif the Unseen.

Edited: Jan 31, 4:04pm Top

What?! I'm FIRST?!

Edited: Jan 31, 4:07pm Top

Happy new one, Mark. Yep, Chicagoland is very famous here.

Edited: Jan 31, 4:28pm Top

>4 msf59:

Thanks for these poems - which of his books are they from?

No mail today and this message from Grocery Co-op Delivery Man: "True weather no delivery."

Jan 31, 4:41pm Top

Happy new one, Mark. I think we ought to make you an honourary Canadian, for your love of showcasing Canadian art in your wonderful toppers! :-)

By the way, I posted on my thread an article about a cardinal that you aren't likely to see at your feeder any time soon: a cardinal that is half male, half female. The article is from National Geographic and the photo is incredible

Jan 31, 4:52pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark!

Jan 31, 5:00pm Top

>1 msf59: Loving this painting Mark. I only learnt about the Group of Seven last year, and now have a beautiful catalogue and a group biography on top of one of the tbr mountains. Definitely both for consumption this year though.

Jan 31, 5:02pm Top

Happy new one, Mark!

Jan 31, 5:34pm Top

Happy New Thread, Mark!

Jan 31, 5:35pm Top

>1 msf59: My wall calendar for 2018 was a collection of images by the Group of Seven. I picked it up at a bookstore in Victoria, BC. I love their work!

Jan 31, 5:49pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark. I love that opening picture - such a sense of movement!

Jan 31, 6:36pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark!

Jan 31, 6:47pm Top

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon won the Carnegie Medal for best nonfiction work at the ALA conference. I haven't read it yet, but you have recently read it. Or did you listen to it?

Jan 31, 6:50pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark!

Jan 31, 6:54pm Top

>6 richardderus:

^Thanks, RD! And this is your reward for being Numero Uno!!

Jan 31, 7:02pm Top

>7 Ameise1: Thanks, Barb. Glad to hear that chicago is famous in Switzerland and that I have a large role in that. Smiles...

>8 m.belljackson: The first poem is from his latest collection, Asymmetry: Poems, which I am reading. I could not find a couple of the other poems, from that same collection, online, so I included another, but not sure where that one is from. He is a Polish poet and I really like him.

>9 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley and hooray for being an "honourary Canadian"! Hey, I give credit, where credit is due. These guys are awesome, although I need to explore a little deeper into the ones I am not as familiar with. Ooh, I will have to stop by your thread and check out the unusual cardinal.

>10 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry.

>11 Caroline_McElwee: Glad you like the topper, Caroline. LT is place that keeps on giving!

>12 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie.

Jan 31, 7:07pm Top

>13 EBT1002: >14 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen. Ooh, I would love a Group of Seven wall calendar. I bet it looks awful purty.

>15 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy. Glad you like the topper. I wanted a more wintry scene but that one really caught my eye.

>16 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen.

>17 benitastrnad: Thanks, Benita. I listened to the audio of Heavy: An American Memoir narrated by the author and it was awesome. I highly recommend it and any format you choose.

>18 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita.

Edited: Jan 31, 7:12pm Top

>20 benitastrnad: Thanks for sharing that list, Benita. I have listened to 4 of them and a couple of the others, including the Green sound really good. I am really glad Urrea made the cut. He did an awesome job, narrating his novel:

Jan 31, 7:16pm Top

Happy new thread Mark. Wow what a great topper. I thought when I first saw it that it was Lawren Harris (he had such a distictive style) but I have never seen that one before. It is stunning!

Jan 31, 7:20pm Top

I listened to Doubt by C. E. Tobisman. It was my first MP3 recorded book. It came with one CD and played on my car's CD player just like a regular CD. It is also the first book by this author and is the first in the Caroline Audin series by Tobisman. The second book in the series won the Harper Lee Award for Legal Fiction that is given by the University of Alabama Law school, so naturally I had to read it. When I went to get the CD of the second I saw the first one was only $7.00. Why not I said? So I did. I liked this legal thriller. It had just enough action to be dangerous, but not that bloody over the top shoot'em up bang-bang action thriller type. It was very realistic. It was the right combination of footwork and moving around in conjunction with cyber work. This is an author who should get more publicity. Read this one, then talk it up to all your friends. That is what I am going to be doing.

Jan 31, 7:20pm Top

Happy new one

Jan 31, 7:22pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark! I may have to check out Mouthful of Birds if you like it.

Jan 31, 7:37pm Top

>24 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. I plan on exploring in to more of Harris' work. I am intrigued, as well.

>25 benitastrnad: Not familiar with Tobisman, Benita. Thanks for the rec. You definitely got my interest with The Silence of the Girls.

>26 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Figs.

>27 bell7: Thanks, Mary. Mouthful of Birds is off to a pretty good start. Nothing earth-shattering yet, but solid enough.

Edited: Jan 31, 7:39pm Top

^Lucky for me The Calculating Stars just happens to be today's Audible Daily Deal. Joe and Mamie have been singing it's praises and you sure the heck can't beat 4 bucks.

Jan 31, 8:04pm Top

Ooo, Ardbeg. I’ve still got a bit of 18 year Glengoyne and I think it’s time for some!

Jan 31, 8:11pm Top

>19 msf59: OOOOOOoooooooooOOOOOOOOOooooooooOOOOOO *swoon*

Jan 31, 8:55pm Top

Checking in on the new thread, Mark! Like you, I love that painting up top. Just goes to show we have good taste.

Jan 31, 9:52pm Top

Happy New Thread. 4 already? We aren't even out of January yet. :)

>20 benitastrnad: Thanks Benita, lots of BB's there, whether or not I find them on audio.

Jan 31, 10:08pm Top

>30 drneutron: >31 richardderus: I am not sure I have ever had Ardbeg. Sounds like this is something I should remedy.

>32 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia. We like sharing and appreciating our art, around here, don't we?

>33 mahsdad: Thanks, Jeff. Yep, things have been pretty chatty around here, early in 2019. Can you imagine, what it will be like, when I retire? Grins...

Feb 1, 6:26am Top

Happy new thread, Mark! Are you getting hit with snow today, too?

Feb 1, 6:35am Top

Morning, Amber and thanks. We got maybe two inches. I heard it was much worse south and in NW Indiana. How about you?

Feb 1, 6:36am Top

>36 msf59: It looks like we've got about 4-5 inches so far and it's still coming down...

Feb 1, 6:37am Top

^Red-Bellied Woodpecker (NMP, although I tried)

^I saw one of these guys at the suet feeder the other day. First one of the year, bringing my totals up to 12. Anyone have me beat?

Edited: Feb 1, 7:21am Top

Happy February Mark! I think we are all happy that January is over.

I finished Dani Shapiro's Inheritance (no touchstones?) yesterday and started Naomi Klein's The Battle For Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists on my dog walk this am. It is short, but I already know it will be powerful.

I managed to get 10 books in during January. Must have been the weather...

Have a good Friday.

Feb 1, 7:49am Top

>38 msf59: - Hi Mark. Oddly, my feeder has been so quiet this week. I would have thought the birds would be eager for the feeder but I only saw a few goldfinches, a downy woodpecker and a hairy woodpecker, and of course, the cardinal pair. But even those have been scarce and I haven't even filled the feeder once since I did it Monday, before the storm. Just so odd.

Feb 1, 8:56am Top

Morning, Mark! Happy new one! I'm so glad you picked up the audio of The Calculating Stars.

Feb 1, 9:03am Top

Hi Mark, hope your day isn't too painful with the cold and the volume of post.

Can you do me a favour when you are home and dry, and check if Mary Oliver's poem 'Bone' is in the new volume Devotions. Thanks.

Feb 1, 9:13am Top

'Morning, Mark! Here's to the balmy blessings of 8F going to a high of 20F for you today. I hope the volume of mail isn't too onerous.

And, as promised, the Group Read for Last Friends by Jane Gardam. I’ve just created the thread, and here’s the link: Group Read: Last Friends by Jane Gardam. I hope you can participate.

Feb 1, 9:24am Top

Happy day it all changes, Mark. Sending after-work massage whammys!

Feb 1, 9:29am Top

Mark, that topper is wonderful! I don't know the Group of Seven. Have to look that one up.

Benita, thanks for the Outstanding Audio list. I have some Audible credits lying around, and this list will be helpful

And Mark, I have to keep up with the Audible Daily Deals. $4 is indeed a great price.

Feb 1, 9:52am Top

Well, not surprising at all, the volume is super heavy, and that is with a tiny amount of actual Friday mail. The volume will probably increase tomorrow and Monday, as the plant catches up. At least it isn't as bitter. Currently 10F, which is nearly 25-30 degrees different from yesterday at this time. It will inch up to 20F, which should actually feel good.

I will have to respond tonight, when I get home, since time will be precious....Thanks for dropping in.

Feb 1, 9:58am Top

Happy New Thread, Mark!

I love the topper painting. Hurrah for The Calculating Stars! I'd forgotten you also were a fan of House of Broken Angels. I loved it in print; I'm sure it was great on audio.

Good poems from Adam Zagajewski. I particularly like the Praise the Mutilated World one.

Stay warm out there - it should keep getting better as the weekend goes on.

Edited: Feb 1, 10:17am Top

Happy new thread, Mark!

>29 msf59: Shoot. I should really sign up for the daily deals email!

Feb 1, 10:31am Top

I loved The Silence of the Girls Mark, just saying. The birds at your feeder are so amazing. You've tempted me to put one up.

Feb 1, 12:07pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark. I hope things are warming up your way.

Feb 1, 12:23pm Top

Happy New thread!

Feb 1, 5:48pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark. Hope the heavy volume is not too taxing. Stay warm.

Feb 1, 5:59pm Top

Beautiful topper painting.
I have been admiring visitors to the birdfeeders today: most often a group of goldfinch who love the sunflower seed.

Feb 1, 6:31pm Top

>37 scaifea: Sorry, to hear about the snowfall, Amber. I hope you didn't get much more.

>39 alphaorder: Hi, Nancy. Hooray for reading 10 books in January. That is great. I did request the audio of "Inheritance". Did you catch her interview on the NYT Books podcast?

>40 jessibud2: Thanks, for the feeder report, Shelley. I guess there are unexplained lulls. My feeders remained active, through the worst of it. I have seen very little on the route though.

>41 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie. You and Joe got me fired up about The Calculating Stars. I plan on starting it next week.

>42 Caroline_McElwee: It was much better today, Caroline. Thanks. And a big warm-up coming for the weekend. I have that Oliver collection, so I will check it out.

Edited: Feb 1, 6:40pm Top

>43 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. It was a much better day today. I think it hit 22 and without much wind and some sunshine, it actually felt good. I will be picking up my library copy of Last Friends tomorrow.

>44 richardderus: Hi, RD! It was a much improved day. Thanks. Now, to get rid of some of this snow and ice.

>45 ffortsa: Hi, Judy. I need to explore The Group of Seven more extensively too. I love the Audible Daily Deal. I have grabbed many fine gems through that sale.

>47 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. Glad you like the topper. I hope to start The Calculating Stars soon. You guys got me pumped. " Praise the Mutilated World" was not from the collection, I am currently reading but I also really liked it.

>48 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle. Is the same Audible program available to you?

Feb 1, 6:44pm Top

>49 vivians: Hi, Vivian. Ooh, I am looking forward to The Silence of the Girls. Did you read it in print? I hope I can encourage you to start your own bird feeder. If you need any guidance, just ask.

>50 BLBera: >51 The_Hibernator: Thanks, Beth and Rachel.

>52 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. It was a heavy day, but the warmer temps really helped. I hope we can avoid anymore of these arctic blasts.

>53 charl08: Ooh, I love this European Finch, Caroline. It is a beauty. I hope to see one of these guys, one of these days.

Feb 1, 6:58pm Top

I have my eye on Silence of the Girls as well. I like Pat Barker and read her Ghost Road trilogy last year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I.

I am waiting for the Calculating Stars book to fall into my lap. The sequel is out as well. I am sure that the library will get a copy and then I can read it.

Feb 2, 12:13am Top

Mark--Glad you have some warmer weather again. Phew! That was cold.

I missed the audible special on Calculating Stars, dang it. Guess I will have to wait for the library.....

Happy Saturday!

Feb 2, 5:44am Top

'Morning, Mark! I hope your work day goes well with the increased volume and the still-cold temps.

So glad you'll be joining the group read. I read the first chapter yesterday and it flowed like honey. Her writing is amazing.

Feb 2, 6:35am Top

>57 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita. Looking forward to The Silence of the Girls and will have to get to her trilogy one of these. Somehow, I have overlooked them, but did read Regeneration. Yep, Calculating Stars looks like your cuppa.

>58 Berly: Hi, Kimmers! Great to see you stranger. Yep, looking forward to a milder few days.

>59 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. It is all ready over 30 degrees warmer right now and we eventually top out at 40. Wow. I am glad Last Friends is all ready flowing beautifully.

Edited: Feb 2, 9:57am Top

^Nope, you are not seeing things, 40F is supposed to be our high for the day. A nearly 60 degree swing, over the last few days and it is supposed to even get warmer on Monday. This is good, since we have plenty of snow to melt off.


Feb 2, 7:48am Top

Mark - heading into work myself. Summer Camp online registration goes live at 9am. First time we are doing this. Will be listening to the Klein on my way in and out.

Have a better day out there with the balmy temps.

Feb 2, 9:08am Top

>61 msf59: Punctuation is everything...I saw that post and read your dash as a minus sign. HOLY CRAP! MINUS 40F for a HIGH! My heart's still pounding a little bit. Let's hope that groundhog knows his onions.

Feb 2, 9:43am Top

Good morning, Mark. I hope the warmer temperatures make for a better workday.

Feb 2, 10:46am Top

>62 alphaorder: Morning, Nancy. I hope work goes smoothly. Much better out here today.

>63 laytonwoman3rd: LOL. Sorry, about that Linda. I was still working on my first cup of coffee, when I typed that. I corrected it. If had been -40, we would have been staying home again.

>64 harrygbutler: Morning, Harry. All ready low 30s out here, plus the volume is much better, so not bad at all. Thanks.

Feb 2, 11:34am Top

>55 msf59: Yep :) There is a Canadian version of audible but I don't think our daily deal is the same as your daily deal.

Feb 2, 11:38am Top

Yay for the better temps and the non-avalanche of mail!

Feb 2, 5:12pm Top

>66 ChelleBearss: Hi, Chelle. As long as they have some kind of Audible Daily deal, that is a good thing.

>67 streamsong: Happy Saturday, Janet. Great to see you. It was a good work day.

Feb 2, 5:15pm Top

And now Mark's reward approacheth: Readin' time! (Plus a day pleasant enough for an arboretum visit tomorrow?)

Feb 2, 5:23pm Top

>69 richardderus: Hi, RD. I made a beer stop on the way home and I am enjoying an Imperial Stout. Just kicking back tonight, with a beer and a movie. No Arboretum for me tomorrow, that is reserved for Monday but I am meeting up with Joe & Company for the Super Bowl tomorrow. We always have a good time.

Feb 2, 5:37pm Top

Good lord I forgot it's Super Bowl Sunday. Enjoy!

Feb 2, 7:22pm Top

Ohhh gorgeous toppers! Yes, the Group of Seven! I do love them. Quite a few years ago - really a long time ago, I saw a lovely display of the "Group of Seven" at the Vancouver Art Gallery. What a treat it was to see the images I was so familiar with from Calendars, and prints in real life. Now, I know I suggested a Mouthful of Birds, but in reality that thought is quite off putting. Ugh! Glad it has warmed up for you.

Feb 3, 7:28am Top

>71 richardderus: Honestly not very excited about the game, (Go Rams!) but I am looking forward to the bookish discourse.

>72 vancouverdeb: Hi, Deb. Good to see you. My Canadian pals introduced me to the Group of Seven and I have been grateful. Mouthful of Birds is turning out to be just okay, so you are not missing anything. And yes, the warm-up feels grand.

Feb 3, 7:57am Top

Happy Sunday, Mark! I hope your day with books and football is a good'un.

Feb 3, 8:36am Top

>74 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. Looking forward to it. I hope you have a great day too.

Edited: Feb 3, 8:40am Top

15) The End of the End of the Earth: Essays by Jonathan Franzen 4 stars

“We spend our days reading, on screens, stuff we'd never bother reading in a printed book, and bitch about how busy we are.”

Franzen seems to be the most divisive of all living authors. I know he is abrasive and highly-opinionated but so are many artists. I have only read Franzen's The Corrections, which I did love. I always wanted to try his essay work and when I learned that he was such an avid “birder”, I knew I wanted to try this collection. There are birds galore here, so I was not disappointed. I just wish I had the money to go to all these amazing places. Sadly, many of these pieces deal with the destruction of birds and their habitat, (the numbers are truly staggering). As a novice birder myself, it was enough to make you weep. That said, his passion and joy watching and discovering birds, helped balance his well-documented rants.
He also loves books, so a few of these essays also deal with authors and literature, which obviously I can also relate to. This collection is not for everyone and it was not perfect but, if any of those topics hold any interest, give it a try.

Feb 3, 9:40am Top

Hi Mark, we'll be in the 40s today too so I'm happy to be able to walk outside which is my preference over the god awful treadmill. The gym was actually closed on Wednesday and Thursday because in addition to the sub zero temps we got over a foot of snow and howling winds.

I won't read Franzen although I did read The Corrections before he started making a jackass of himself. Have a great Sunday. Go LA Rams!

Feb 3, 9:56am Top

>77 brenzi: Happy Sunday, Bonnie. Hooray for 40 degrees. That will also be our temp for the day. Closer to 50 tomorrow. I would love to see some of this snowpack melt off.

Of course, I have my own treadmill, I walk everyday on the route, but I have a set of weights and a bench at home, for my workout routine, which I just did. Grins...

Go Rams!!

Feb 3, 10:05am Top

^The Rainbow Stories was mentioned in the Franzen collection. Vollman was a good friend of Franzen, but I had never heard of this guy. He sure has a strong cult following and the stories look dark and twisted, which sure seems to be a good fit for me. I just ordered a copy.

Anyone else read Vollman? If so, any thoughts or warnings?

Feb 3, 10:09am Top

Happy Sunday, Happy new thread! I sniffed spring in the air yesterday! I know winter has a lot in store for us but these fleeting temps and sunshine hold so much possibility!

Yes, Go Rams, indeed. The Pats shouldn't even be there and who can forget deflate gate?!

Feb 3, 10:22am Top

Happy Sunday, Mark. Looking forward to the Super Bowl this evening, and, in a day or two, seeing pics and hearing about it from my friend who is there (her stepson works for the Rams). Outside of New England and New Orleans, is anyone cheering for the Pats?

Feb 3, 11:08am Top

>76 msf59: Like David Foster Wallace, that writer should only be read in essay form.

Re: Supperbowl, I hope they both lose.

Heavens, I'm a little ray of darkness today! Aren't we thrilled to have this return-to-sanity weather, though. Joy unbounded to be able to swish my happy ass outside without my tears of agony freezing in their ducts.

Edited: Feb 3, 11:58am Top

>80 Carmenere: Hi, Lynda. Winter is back here on Tuesday and will stay for awhile. At least we are getting a short reprieve. Go Rams!

>81 lindapanzo: Hi, Linda. I am traveling into the city to watch the game with Joe & Company. I took off tomorrow, so it should work out just fine.

"Outside of New England and New Orleans, is anyone cheering for the Pats?" LOL. I do not think so.

>82 richardderus: There is my little ray of darkness. Happy Sunday, Richard. Did you ever try any of Vollman's short fiction?

Feb 3, 12:17pm Top

^Good point from RD about reading Franzen and David Foster Wallace in essay form. I've loved the DFW essays I've read so far, and can't say I loved Infinite Jest, which you and I read. I'm a Franzen-avoider, but kudos to you for reading his essays. I'm glad he had many about birds; the disappearing habitats made me think of The Overstory. We collectively need to get smarter fast about preserving these treasures.

Educated is A-OK so far, and I've started a Jackson Brodie mystery from Ms. Atkinson. Some good news: I finished the third Royal City from Lemire, so I'll have the last two waiting for you. You've read the GN The Best We Could Do, yes? If not, I'll add that to the Lemires and Livestock, but I'm pretty sure you already read it.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Feb 3, 12:56pm Top

>84 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. I have been getting plenty of R & R in, so far today, which is just what the doctor ordered. Looking forward to our visit. I appreciate the invite. There is not a lot of Franzen love around here, is there? Yes, I have read The Best We Could Do. It was excellent. Thanks for the offer. Looking forward to the Lemires and Livestock.

See you in a few hours.

Feb 3, 2:21pm Top

Afternoon, Mark! You will get no Franzen love from me, but I have plenty for you. Hoping your Sunday is full of fabulous! Go Rams!

Feb 3, 3:09pm Top

>86 Crazymamie: Hooray for the Mamie love! And Go Rams!!

Feb 3, 3:10pm Top

HA! What Mamie said.

Edited: Feb 3, 4:13pm Top

I have read William T. Vollman. I read Europe Central soon after it won the National Book Award. After finishing it, I couldn’t believe that such a worthless book won that huge of an award. It it touted as being magical realism. I have read magical realism and this book isn’t that. I think the author was on drugs. The book is simply unintelligible. In my opinion don’t waste your time - go read a real book by an author whose book was nominated the same year as Europe Central and cry because their book didn’t win and that worthless claptrap did.

Edited: Feb 3, 4:22pm Top

I hope the Patriots win, win, and win.

David Zirin one of my favorite sports/political writers was on CSPAN-2 today. He has lots to say about the state of sports today. He writes about the place where sports and politics intersect. I read Welcome to the Terrordome a long time ago and his take on sports stadiums being publicly funded was very interesting.

As he said this morning, the way the St. Louis Rams left St. Louis is reprehensible and you have to admire an owner, a coach, and a player who have managed to win over a period of 20 years in a sport where the deck is stacked against winners and especially against previous winners. New England is simply the best in football and however they have managed to get there and stay there it is because they do whatever it is that they do, better than anybody else. Legal or illegal. And there you have it from a sports author. The last word is always in books.

And by-the-way, he is a Washington D. C. And a New York Jets fan.

Feb 3, 5:41pm Top

>90 benitastrnad: - So we should celebrate "winners" even if their achievements are due to "legal or illegal" means?

Hard pass from me!

Feb 4, 12:21am Top

Hi Mark! glad to see you getting some R and R in. I am actually a Franzen fan... at least I liked both The Corrections and Freedom. I should give his essays a try, I do love nature writing.

Feb 4, 7:39am Top

>89 benitastrnad: >90 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita. No Vollman love from you, right? Grins... He definitely looks like a writer who does not work for everyone. I think trying some of his short fiction, is good way to explore.

Well, you got a Patriots win and it was a good game. They are an awesome team. I don't remember what happened in St. Louis, but I was rootin' for the Rams, but it didn't do much good anyway. I never read David Zirin. I may have to read some of his work.

>91 katiekrug: Good point, Katie!

>92 banjo123: Hi, Rhonda! A Franzen fan in the house! Woot Woot! I hope I can make room for Freedom some time this year.

Feb 4, 7:45am Top

>76 msf59: Adding that one to the BlackHole! My local library does not have it, but has a couple of Franzen's other essay books, so I will have to check them out. I enjoy reading essays.

Happy Monday, Mark!

Feb 4, 7:45am Top

'Morning, Mark and happy Monday to you.

I went to my book club meeting just after Brady threw the first interception of the game, came home expecting it to be over or at least lopsided, and it was 3-3. Unfortunately the Rams blew it, but fortunately I didn't particularly care this time. My book club discussed Barracoon and it was one of the better discussions we've had in quite a while.

Feb 4, 8:04am Top

>94 alcottacre: Morning, Stasia. Glad I got you with the Franzen collection. If you like reading about birds, environmental issues, birds and literary nuggets, you might like this one.

>95 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. I had a good time watching the game with Joe & Co. The Rams kept it close but just could not hang in there. The Pats, love 'em or hate 'em, are tough team to beat. Glad you had a good book club discussion. Barracoon is on my TBR.

Feb 4, 8:08am Top

^(Not from yesterday. No photos taken).

I had a good time watching the Super Bowl with Joe, Debbi, Becca, Indy and a few of their friends. Lots of tasty snacks, a few tasty beverages and lots of book gab. I was quite content, even though the Rams choked in the end. Good, close game though.

Edited: Feb 4, 8:23am Top

^After hearing Joe and Mamie warble about The Calculating Stars, I thought this would be a good fit for me, while I take a short breather from These Truths. I began the audio yesterday, on my way into the city and back and it is off to a good start.

Feb 4, 8:23am Top

Hey Mark! I think you thought the game was good because you were in good company. IMO Brady played poorly but the Pat's SB experience outlasted/outperformed the newbie Rams in the end.
A beauty of a day here, giving me time to refill the feeders before winter returns tomorrow. Have a good one!

Feb 4, 8:23am Top

Glad you and Joe were able to get together yesterday. Looking forward to when the three of us can share talk of books over a beer.

New audio book for me: Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living. Eye-opening even for me, someone who spent a few decades in bookselling. Shows just how important it is to support the people whose work we read and love.

Feb 4, 8:49am Top

Ha! Good for you for digging a photo out of the archives, Mark. Yeah, I thought this morning - we forgot to take a photo!

It was great to have you with us. I would've preferred a high-scoring game, but the book talk, snacks and Son of Juice beer made up for it. I'd forgotten how good the last is! And thank goodness Becca saved me on my cheek-tweakingly cute and tidy TBR shelf with her 321 books on hers. :-)

We're here today, gone tomorrow. Working out with that guy Wes this morning, then packing and heading off to LA tomorrow. Hope you have a good one - it's not bad out there today.

Feb 4, 9:06am Top

>99 Carmenere: Morning, Lynda. Yep, what made the game was the company. No question about it, although the beer and snacks helped too. Mild here too. I topped off my feeders and cleaned up the birdbath yesterday.

>100 alphaorder: Hi, Nancy. I hope we can arrange a Meet Up, in the near future. We are long overdue. Glad you started another promising audio. I will be watching for your final thoughts. I take it you didn't agree with my Franzen assessment?

>101 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. Yep, I should have at least got a photo with Indy, right? Everyone is calling it a very boring Super Bowl, but I didn't mind it, other than the end result. Maybe, the good company overcame the lulls.

Glad I didn't actually tweak your cheek yesterday, but you would have had it coming. Grins...I hope you have a good workout and I wish I was heading to the west coast. Sounds great.

Feb 4, 10:38am Top

Happy the-wrong-team-won day.

Like >89 benitastrnad:, I read Europe Central and was less than enamoured. I'm innocent of any short-fiction contacts with Vollman so I'll await your sherpaing.

Feb 4, 3:57pm Top

>103 richardderus: Hey, Richard. I put in for the day off, so I have been goofing off with the books, for the afternoon. No complaints from me.

Edited: Feb 4, 4:10pm Top

"As Eiji Miyake's twentieth birthday nears, he arrives in Tokyo with a mission - to locate the father he has never met. So begins a search that takes him into the seething city's underworld, its lost property offices and video arcades, and on a journey that zigzags from reality to the realm of dreams."

^ I was introduced to Mr. Mitchell, via Cloud Atlas back in January of 2011. Just over 8 years ago. I was smitten immediately and still consider Cloud to be his masterwork. I have done a good job keeping up with his later work but I have been a bit slower ticking off his back catalog, which is why I have finally started Number 9 Dream, his second novel. Not far in, but this is trippy stuff, with an early Murakami feel. Anyone here read it?

Feb 4, 4:16pm Top

That one I haven't read. Curious to hear your thoughts when you are finished.

Edited: Feb 4, 4:35pm Top

>76 msf59: Yay! I am a fan, I liked his essays on ...was it his father? Now I will have to check my records. I'll be back.

ETA: How to be Alone (so good!) and The Discomfort Zone (really good!) :)

How goes winter?!

Edited: Feb 4, 5:13pm Top

Glad you have had some good downtime Mark.

Just a nudge, I'm hovering over ordering Mary Oliver's volume Devotions but would especially like her poem 'Bone' to be in it, can you check Mark, I can't find the contents page online, sometimes Amazon have them in their pictures. Thanks in advance.

Btw, really enjoying The Library Book, about half through.

Feb 4, 5:18pm Top

>105 msf59: Yes! Read it and loved it, as I've loved just about everything he's written! But I don't have as clear a memory of Number 9 Dream so I may have to add it to the reread pile.

Edited: Feb 4, 5:59pm Top

I have had Number 9 Dream on my TBR list for years. I just haven't read it. However, I did slog through Ghostwritten and I was very disappointed in it. It was sort of like Cloud Atlas but not, and somehow it just didn't work as well. I think it took me two months to get that thing read. I hope that Number9Dream is not like Ghostwritten and more like Cloud Atlas.

Feb 4, 7:03pm Top

>106 mahsdad: Hi, Jeff. I will let you know. It is definitely off to a trippy start. Did you read Ghostwritten? I have not.

>107 LovingLit: Hi, Megan. Great to see you. I have only read this Franzen essay collection, and it does not deal with his father. Thanks for the book report.

>108 Caroline_McElwee: Hi, Caroline. I have enjoyed a good day off. A little hiking in the morning and lots of reading in the P.M. Sorry, "Bone" was not in Devotions but I am sure glad you are enjoying The Library Book.

>109 vivians: Thanks for chiming in on Mitchell, Vivian and good to see you. Have you read Ghostwritten and if so, what did you think?

>110 benitastrnad: As we all know, Mitchell is not for all tastes. Another divisive author. I have not yet read Ghostwritten but I have not been disappointed in him yet.

Feb 4, 7:57pm Top

>102 msf59:

I think we are going to have a conversation about the Franzen in person or by phone. I read it while back so I am going a memory here about what bothered me, and some of it was not so easy to pinpoint.

I LOVE of course, that he is a birder and a book lover. And I really enjoyed a number of the essays because of it. I feel, however, that he is a bit hypocritical, as are other birders, who say they care about conserving the ecosystem for birds (and others), but will hop on a plane to fly halfway across the world when they hear about a potential rare life bird. Did it seem to you as though he has given up on long term conservation for short term advocacy? I would think we can have both.

Feb 4, 8:05pm Top

Hiya, Mark. I didn't watch a single moment of the Super Bowl. Good on me. (I did check the score from time to time on ESPN.com, and that confirmed I made the right decision.)

I'm wading into These Truths, and I have Little Women on deck. Those women might be little, but the book sure isn't. Prof. LePore is readable. I've read some of her writings in The New Yorker. She sure is productive.

Haven't read anything by David Mitchell, though I've had Cloud Atlas in The TBR ClosetTM for a couple of years. Slipped Slade House into my shopping bag on Saturday. Is it any good?

Feb 4, 8:47pm Top

Did you have a good day with the books, Mark? Too bad no one thought to take a photo of your super bowl get together yesterday but sometimes talking books just puts it right out of our minds.

Feb 4, 10:18pm Top

>112 alphaorder: Hi, Nancy. Yes, we should chat more extensively about the Franzen collection. Great point about his potential hypocrisy, in flying around the world to see birds. It is hard to always agree with him, but I sometimes like his contrarian views.

>113 weird_O: Hi, Bill. If I would have stayed home, I wouldn't have paid as much attention to the game either. You did not miss much.
I also have Little Women on the docket. I have never read it.

I loved Slade House and it was a shorty. Yah!!

Feb 4, 11:27pm Top

Ice storm tomorrow, Mark. Getting really tired of this.

Edited: Feb 5, 1:37am Top

Kind of funny because I have had Cloud Atlas sitting beside me on the couch for ages so the dog doesn't inhabit this end of the couch but I have never read it. I guess I should. I have read some of his other books., Black Swan Green and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

Feb 5, 2:18am Top

Hi Mark! Glad you had such a good crew for football watching. We are finally getting hit with some cold weather here. Little bit of a slip and slide getting home from my daughter's tonight. Snow/rain at 31 degrees on the hills....yikes! But home safe and sound. We'll see how it goes in the morning. Stay warm! Eagerly awaiting your thoughts on David Mitchell's Number 9 Dream.

Edited: Feb 5, 10:10am Top

>111 msf59: Thanks Mark. I suspect I'll cave in and buy that volume, I can always copy 'Bone' into the back of it.

Feb 5, 6:39am Top

>114 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. Yes, I had a good afternoon with the books yesterday, but I am surprised I didn't get deeper into the Mitchell book. Oh, well. And yep, when Joe & I get gabbing everything else is out the window. Grins...

>116 lindapanzo: Morning, Linda. I did hear something about the ice storm. Fingers crossed it isn't as bad as predicted or just stays north. Grins...

>117 mdoris: Hi, Mary. Cloud Atlas is great but I would suggest you read it with a group or a friend. It is complex and mind-bending.

>118 Berly: Hi, Kimmers. Great to see you. Sorry, to hear you are getting a "little" weather out your way. I am eagerly waiting for this one to get over. You have read Mitchell, right?

>119 Caroline_McElwee: Sounds like a perfect plan, Caroline.

Feb 5, 7:24am Top

Morning, Mark.

We head to the airport soon. Thanks for the tip on Number9dream. From the description, it sure does sound like my kind of read. As we discussed on Sunday, I liked Slade House, too, although Cloud Atlas remains my favorite of those I've read so far (Bone Clocks being the other one).

I'm going with lighter reading for the trip, with a Dick Francis for the group read and the second Jackson Brodie.

Have a good one today, buddy.

Feb 5, 8:34am Top

Good morning, Mark, and happy Tuesday to you.

>105 msf59: I've read The Bone Clocks, rated it 'good' but don't remember a single thing about it. I have Cloud Atlas on my shelves. I'll be interested in your take on Number9Dream.

Feb 5, 9:06am Top

Quick wave.

Montana is locked into the low single digits with an ocassional high in the teens for the next 10 days or so. I'm over this, too.

Feb 5, 9:45am Top

Hey, nearly all the snowpack is gone, it is dry and just below 30F. I think I can handle this...I also think I can finally visit My Birding Break Spot, after a lengthy hiatus.

Feb 5, 10:11am Top

I hope your feathered friends are there to welcome you Mark.

Feb 5, 10:17am Top

Happy Tuesday, Mark! Glad you had a fun visit with Joe and family!

Feb 5, 2:48pm Top

Lots of Mitchell discussions over here, so I'll throw my pennies.

Mark - Nope haven't read Ghostwritten, but it sounds really interesting.

I've read Black Swan Green, Slade House, Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas. From my ratings, Cloud and Bone were my favorites (both 5 stars). I didn't like Slade House quite as much as Bone Clocks (they are both in the same "world", BTW), for some reason but I didn't actually review it.

I also read The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida, about his experiences with autism. Mitchell did the translation

Feb 5, 2:56pm Top

I read The Reason I Jump too. Mitchell has some good personal response pieces about autism as his son has the diagnosis.

Feb 5, 5:05pm Top

>121 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. I am sure you are in LA now. I hope the trip was smooth. Have a great time. You picked some good, entertaining reads.

>122 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. Like most of Mitchell's work, Number9Dream is not going to be for everyone. I am about a 100 pages in and quite liking it.

>123 streamsong: Hi, Janet. Sorry, you are stuck in the Arctic freeze out in Montana. Good luck, my friend. We have a wintry mix the next few days, and drop into the teens on Friday, but nothing horrific.

>125 Caroline_McElwee: My Birding Break Spot was completely quiet and I saw nothing, but it was still nice strolling back there.

Feb 5, 5:09pm Top

>126 ChelleBearss: Hi, Chelle! I always have a good time with Mr. Joe. We were all ready planning our next visit.

>127 mahsdad: Hi, Jeff. Thanks for chiming in on Mitchell. I really think you will like Number9Dream. I also enjoyed The Reason I Jump. It was a spare but moving read/listen.

>128 mdoris: Hi, Mary. I also liked The Reason I Jump.

Feb 5, 6:15pm Top

I read Thousand Autumns of Jacob by David Mitchell and liked it. I stopped reading Black Swan Green about half way through. I was listening to it in the car, and it just wasn't working. However, I think that was because of the narrator not the writing. I believe that Ghostwritten was Mitchell's first novel and I think it shows. It has a good plot, and foreshadows some of the techniques that he uses in Cloud Atlas, but it simply isn't as polished or finished as Cloud Atlas or Thousand Autumns. There is no doubt in my mind that Mitchell is a talented author and I think his work is very interesting. He certainly isn't afraid to try new things as an author.

I read somewhere that Mitchell is doing the same thing as China Mieville - trying to write at least one book in every genre they can think of. Simply to say that they can.

Feb 5, 9:38pm Top

Hi Mark, I loved Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas and The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob de Zoet and then attempted to read Number9dream but stalled after a few chapters and ended up giving up on it. I haven't really seen anything else he's written to pique my interest.

Feb 6, 6:41am Top

>131 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita. I ended up really enjoying Black Swan Green and along with a Thousand Autumns seem to be his most conventional work. For some reason, Mieville doesn't really click for me, other than The City and the City which was excellent.

>132 brenzi: Thanks for chiming in on Mitchell, Bonnie. I am only a 100 pages into Number9dream, but it seems to have leveled off, with a pair of narratives, that are easier to follow. I really like his writing.

Feb 6, 6:55am Top

Morning, Mark!

I just had a peek at the forecast for the next few days - 50s today, up to 60 tomorrow...and then a high of 25 for Friday. Whak?! Can't wait for that temp-change headache to hit on Friday... Yoicks.

Feb 6, 6:59am Top

>105 msf59: I have not yet read that one. I will have to see if I can get a copy. I loved Cloud Atlas and also enjoyed Black Swan Green. I still need to read The Bone Clocks and Slade House too.

Happy Wednesday, Mark!

Feb 6, 7:00am Top

Morning, Amber! We are getting similar weather, but we did dodge the predicted ice storm last night, so I am happy about that. Yep, they are only talking teens for Friday, but at least it is just for one day.

Feb 6, 7:11am Top

Hi Mark. We have freezing rain/ice pellets in our forecast today and tomorrow. A ton of schools closed and school buses cancelled. Hope your run today is ice-free!

Feb 6, 7:20am Top

Good morning, Mark. I'm glad you escaped the ice storm.

Feb 6, 9:13am Top

42° and sunshine. Not a bad February day, all in all.

Feb 6, 9:25am Top

Good morning, Mark, happy Wednesday to you.

Ice storms are the bane of North Carolina. In addition to total paralysis - although we should know how to deal with all this we don't seem to be able to - the ice causes massive power outages that frequently last for many days. Do you ever lose power because of the weather?

Feb 6, 9:31am Top

>135 alcottacre: Morning, Stasia. Thanks for chiming in on Mitchell. I hope you can bookhorn in The Bone Clocks and Slade House this year. Good reads.

>137 jessibud2: Morning, Shelley. Your ice storm sounds like what we were expecting but did not receive. Whew! At least, you don't have to go outdoors, right?

Feb 6, 9:34am Top

>138 harrygbutler: Morning, Harry. Yep, we dodged that icy bullet. Yah!

>139 richardderus: Morning, RD. Sounds like a pleasant February day. We hope to see a little sunshine later.

>140 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Boo to ice storms, although we very rarely lose power due to them. It should be a good day out on the route.

Feb 6, 10:13am Top

Happy Wednesday, Mark! Have you read Mitchell's Slade House . If you haven't, please do. I highly recommend it!

Feb 6, 5:51pm Top

>143 Carmenere: Hi, Lynda. Yes, I have read Slade House and I loved it. I wish he would do more shorties!!

Edited: Feb 10, 7:58am Top

-Barred Owl (NMP), but I did take a couple of fuzzy shots.

^Hooray!! I finally saw my first Barred Owl! A lifer. Yippee! I have been targeting this guy, since I got a solid tip from a birder pal, at a specific location at the Arboretum. I stopped over there on Monday, with no luck but my friend saw them there on Tuesday, so I dropped by there after work, and got a long look at one, perched high. This is six different owl species in one year. Not bad for a rank amateur.

Feb 6, 6:15pm Top

>145 msf59: WOW, such a beautiful owl, Mark, congratulations on spotting one!

Feb 6, 6:40pm Top

>145 msf59: how lucky you are Mark.

Feb 6, 6:46pm Top

>145 msf59: That's the kind of not-seagull I think of whenever people talk about owls.

Feb 6, 6:59pm Top

Congratulations on the Barred Owl! Your persistence has paid off. And FIVE species in one year.

Feb 6, 7:05pm Top

Thanks, Anita, Caroline, Richard & Karen! Weather permitting, I am planning a trip up to upper Minnesota, (Yep, I am completely bonkers!) weekend after next and hope to see 2 more different owl species, plus a score of other life birds.

Edited: Feb 7, 7:53am Top

^"The Sax-Zim Bog is prime habitat for bog specialists such as Great Gray Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Connecticut Warbler. Bobcat, Lynx, Pine Marten, Fisher also use this habitat. Mature bogs are also important wintering habitat for Great Gray Owl, N Hawk Owl, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll and Hoary Redpoll."

Feb 6, 8:08pm Top

>145 msf59: Congrats on another lifer!!! But I am confused. It says the habitat is Eastern US, but I swear that is the guy that is out back behind my house. I listened to the bird call and it sounds EXACTLY the same. He keeps me up at night.

Have fun in MN. Are you going to the Boundary Waters?

Feb 6, 8:24pm Top

>136 msf59: We did NOT escape the ice storm last night. I was not pleased. Extremely slippery. I worked from home today, as a result. Another ice storm in the offing here tonight and into tomorrow. We don't live that far apart and it's incredible how different the weather can be.

I've had it with winter.

Feb 6, 8:33pm Top

Greetings from LA, Mark. All is well here - absolutely no ice storms happening or predicted.

I finished the Dick Francis and Jackson Brodie mysteries (nice twist at the end of the latter), and now I’m a ways into Bryson’s Notes on a Small Island.

I hope things are going well on your end.

Feb 6, 8:40pm Top

Wow, on that barred owl! Congrats. By the way, I am not seeing anything but an *x* in >151 msf59:

Feb 6, 8:52pm Top

>152 Berly: Thanks, Kim. I am going to try to stack up the lifers this year. I am wondering if you are just hearing a Great Horned Owl. I know they are very common in your area. They don't make exactly the same hoot, but it might sound similar to you. I am not going to the Boundary Waters, but just south of there, at the Sax Zim Bog, which is supposed to be an incredible seasonal birding area.

>153 lindapanzo: "I've had it with winter." I am with you, Linda, even though we are not getting hit as hard as you guys. One more full winter of this crap and I am done.

Feb 6, 8:55pm Top

>154 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. Thanks for checking in and supplying that book report. Did you see my Barred Owl report up there?

>155 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley. He or she was a beauty. Sorry, I tried posting a Harry Bliss cartoon up there and it doesn't appear to be working.

Feb 6, 10:28pm Top

>156 msf59: Didn't the NY Times do a piece on the birding at that bog? Hope you have a good trip.

Feb 7, 6:13am Top

Morning, Mark! Congrats on the owl sighting!

Feb 7, 7:04am Top

>145 msf59: Good morning, Mark. Congratulations on the barred owl sighting.

Feb 7, 7:16am Top

>145 msf59: OWLS!! I love owls and have since I was 14. Congrats on the lifer, Mark!

Feb 7, 7:36am Top

>158 Oberon: Thanks, Erik. I am not aware of the NYT Times piece but I do know that Sax Zim Bog is a major birding Hot Spot and well worth the winter trip. You know, I will be reporting back.

>159 scaifea: >160 harrygbutler: Morning, Amber & Harry and thanks.

>161 alcottacre: Morning, Stasia. Have you ever been able to see any owls, in the wild? If not, it is quite a treat. I am hoping to see a Great Grey Owl and possibly a Northern Hawk Owl, on my trip to upper MN.

Edited: Feb 7, 8:35am Top

Hi Mark and happy Thursday to you. I hope your day includes lots of reading.

>152 Berly: Kim, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website shows that the Barred Owl's range map includes a few parts of Oregon. Looks like one of the bands just might include Portland. Barred Owl I love this website because it has info, range maps, photos identifying marks, and their sounds.

Feb 7, 9:24am Top

>163 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Ooh, I am going to check out that Barred Owl website. Owls have a surprisingly wide range. Remember, I saw a barn Owl on my Mexico trip.

Feb 7, 9:26am Top

Mark - this is a wonderful website. It has thousands of birds and wonderful information.

Feb 7, 9:27am Top

16) Mouthful of Birds: Stories by Samanta Schweblin 3.2 stars

“My god, Sylvia, your daughter eats birds!”

“I can't do it anymore.”

“She eats birds! Have you taken her to the doctor? What in the hell does she do with the bones?”

Sylvia stood looking at me, disconcerted.

“I guess she swallows them too...”

^Obviously, that was from the title story, Mouthful of Birds, which was one of the only highlights here. I so wanted to love this story collection. I like dark, slightly bent and inventive. These contained all those traits but nothing ever really sang out to me. I am thinking it could possibly be the translation, but I don't want to put the complete blame on that. I will have to just write it off as a rare misfire for me and see what she does next. Of course, I still love that cover art.

Feb 7, 9:36am Top

I've always wondered if ranges weren't simply observations of reality that got set in stone...life is always in the process of growing or withering, there's no stasis in nature. So why expect that animals will hang in the same areas when their numbers are growing or shrinking? More successful owl parents = larger range needed = barn owls in Bogota.

Just a thought. Hi Mark! Happy Thor's Day.

Feb 7, 9:38am Top

Brought you a visitor:

Vincent Van Gogh's owl, looks like a self portrait to me...

Feb 7, 9:39am Top

Morning, Mark! Sweet Thursday to you! Congrats on the owl sighting.

Feb 7, 10:19am Top

Wow, that's a beautiful owl. Congrats on the lifer!

>163 karenmarie: Neat website, Karen! I often use the Cornell site which is similar, but a bit different. ;) Love being able to hear the sounds.

Feb 7, 10:48am Top

Driving home last night, a big bird flew across the road right in front of my car. Hit the brakes, missed it, then realized later it was a big owl, though I don't know what kind. Awesome sight!

Feb 7, 12:05pm Top

>167 richardderus: "life is always in the process of growing or withering, there's no stasis in nature." You sure have that right, Richard, especially with climate change, screwing up the natural world. The "irruption" of Snowy Owls here last year, is a perfect example. They are forced down out of the Arctic and have expanded south during the winter months, to find food. Ooh, "barn owls in Bogota". Sounds like a song.

>168 Caroline_McElwee: I LOVE the Van Gogh owl, Caroline. I'll have to sue that as a topper, one of these days.

>169 Crazymamie: Sweet Thursday, Mamie and hooray for the Barred Owl!!

Feb 7, 12:09pm Top

>170 streamsong: Thanks, Janet. I sure hope to add a couple of more owls to the Life List, this year.

>171 drneutron: Glad you didn't hit him, Jim. Owls are very susceptible to vehicle collisions, since they fly fairly low, while hunting. We just missed one, while visiting the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky.

>172 Oberon: Thanks for supplying the link, Erik. I will check it out a little later.

Feb 7, 12:18pm Top

>173 msf59: I went here and found there *are* barn owls in Bogota!

Feb 7, 1:43pm Top

I've started my Spring Training Read thread at: https://www.librarything.com/topic/303497

Cubs pitchers and catchers report in just a few days. Spring is just around the corner.

Feb 7, 2:31pm Top

>175 richardderus: Hooray for Barn Owls in Bogota! Hopefully, I can make a trip down there one of these days.

>176 lindapanzo: Hooray for Cubs spring training! I am sure hoping for a stellar year, from our Cubbies!

Edited: Feb 7, 3:18pm Top

Edge of concrete porch, wood chip path to drive, gravel driveway, truck, and road all totally iced over this morning after hail and ice storms.

I packed away my snowshoes and got out the Yax Trax. Usually, they work fine, but with this ice-over-ice, they were just okay.

Wonder about ordering Trail Spikes - know anyone with experience with these?

Spring training? What about Monday - Bucks at Chicago? Beware Giannis!

Edited: Feb 7, 4:41pm Top

>178 m.belljackson: Sorry, to hear about all the ugly ice, Marianne. We managed to dodge that one. Go Yax Trax! Be careful. And, oh yeah- Boo Bucs!! Grins...

Actually our Bulls are pretty bad this year, so whatever...

Feb 7, 6:30pm Top

Sweet Thursday, Mark.

>157 msf59:Did you see my Barred Owl report up there? Yes! Way to go! Congratulations on spotting one I know you've been looking for. Five different species of owl in one year - most excellent!

Feb 7, 7:45pm Top

>166 msf59: But the title and cover art are so glorious, you could almost forgive the content? Owls, so cool! They are around, but I only recall seeing on on a night time walk with my husband and Poppy. It flew so close it startled me. But I did not get a look at it. And then there was that terrible time at night on the I-5 in Washington state where an owl hit the windshield - a big one and I thought it was going to come right through the windshield and land in my lap. That was rather dreadful.

But owls are so cute. I love the barred owl and the barn owls. I have trouble telling the names apart.

Feb 7, 9:04pm Top

>163 karenmarie: I am redeemed! I am sure it is a Barred Owl. : )

We have snow coming tomorrow night, Saturday and Sunday. I am supposed to see Michelle Obama on Saturday. She just cancelled her appearance the day before two hours north of us. I think she might cancel Portland, too.....

We are supposed to get several inches so the whole city might shut down.

Edited: Feb 7, 10:52pm Top

>23 msf59: I bought The House of Broken Angels when you warbled about it. I have it in hard cover so I won't be listening to it but I agree that it's cool to know that he narrated it so well.

>182 Berly: I have a colleague who was traveling to Tacoma to hear Michelle speak tomorrow (Friday). Her two daughters were also flying in. She is going to be BUMMED. And I hope Portland doesn't get canceled, too!

Hi Mark! Sorry for the side chatter on your thread.

Congrats on seeing the Barred Owl, Mark. The more owls, the better! We saw a pair of Spotted Owls in the Oregon Cascades many years ago -- that was pretty special.

Edited: Feb 7, 11:22pm Top

I bought House of Broken Angels too. I got my copy at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville in October. I even got to hear the author speak. (That’s why I bought the book. He was very persuasive as a speaker.). I haven’t started reading it yet, as life, and other books have gotten in the way, but I will be reading it.

Edited: Feb 8, 6:37am Top

>180 jnwelch: Happy Friday, Joe. Good to see you. Hooray for the owls!

>181 vancouverdeb: Hi, Deb. I remember you telling me about the owl collision awhile back. Owl strikes are fairly common. Glad you were okay. This is a Barn Owl:

Feb 8, 6:42am Top

>182 Berly: Good luck with the Portland snowstorm, Kim. I sure hope the Obama event isn't cancelled. Fingers crossed.

>183 EBT1002: Hi, Ellen. Looking forward to your thoughts on The House of Broken Angels, no matter what format you read it in. Ooh, I want to see a Spotted Owl. I think they are only in the far western states.

>184 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita. I agree, Urrea is an engaging speaker and seems to be a truly good guy. I was able to chat with him, at the Petoskey event. He lives, near here, in the western suburbs.

Feb 8, 6:58am Top

^Back down to 14F today, nearly 20 degrees below normal, but at least it will be a one-off. Ten degrees warmer tomorrow. Just a few more weeks of winter...

Edited: Feb 8, 7:06am Top

^I have about 2 hours left, on the audio of The Calculating Stars, which has been a fun ride and then I'll be returning to These Truths and finishing it. I am currently into Part 4- The Eisenhower and Nixon era. Very interesting info about Billy Graham and forming the evangelical right, during the communist scare.

I am also halfway through Number 9 Dream, which I am also having a good time with.

Feb 8, 7:22am Top

'Morning, Mark, and happy Friday to you. Brrr. Stay warm. It's very bizarre here - Wednesday and Thursday were 80F, today will get to about 70F.

>166 msf59: Rare, indeed. Do you ever abandon books?

Feb 8, 7:25am Top

>162 msf59: No, I have never gotten to see owls in the wild, more's the pity. I think I would love birding as a hobby, the problem is I am very (read deathly) allergic to a lot of the bugs that are also out in the wild, so I spend virtually no time outside.

Feb 8, 10:24am Top

Morning, Mark! YIKES to that 14F! Like Karen, we are also experiencing weird weather - after several 80F days, we are just going to 65F today and 60F tomorrow.

Edited: Feb 8, 11:09am Top

With these gusty 20 mph winds, it is wickedly cold out here. The wind chills well below zero. Send warm thoughts...

ETA- I am putting on everything, I have with me. Hope my audio keeps me distracted.

Feb 8, 1:37pm Top

Happy Friday, Mark, what with its freezy frosty weather and lead up to Saturday.

Wait a minute...none of that's very happy...anyway, I watched the Malkovich take on Poirot last night, was inspired to give The A.B.C. Murders another whirl, and came way surprised at how much I liked the changed version of the story.

Feb 8, 4:27pm Top

Brrrrr! Here's hoping you kept warm on your trek, Mark! Or at least get some warm food & drink to hit the spot when your shift is over!

Feb 8, 4:32pm Top

I am just so green with envy over your owl sightings. I've heard them all my life, seen a couple in captivity, found the remains of their dinners from time to time in the woods, and caught their shadowy swoop in the dark once or twice. But I've never just SEEN one, you know? I suppose all it takes is a little effort and determination, which you obviously have in abundance, and a smidge of good luck. Have fun in Minnesota!

Feb 8, 8:22pm Top

>189 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. It was a tough day on the route today but I survived the windy onslaught. 80F? WTH? Can I come visit?

I rarely abandon books. I have tried to be more diligent in this area, but still have a problem cutting loose. Fortunately, there are very few books, I would consider "chucking".

>190 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia. Sorry, to hear you haven't had the immense pleasure of seeing an owl in the wild. They are very, very difficult to see, which adds to the allure.

>191 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie! Glad you are able to enjoy some fine weather, my friend. Are you still getting out on your strolls?

Feb 8, 8:31pm Top

>193 richardderus: Hi, RD. Finally getting home and trying to visit a bit on LT. I am not familiar with "The A.B.C. Murders". Where is this show located?

>194 bell7: Hi, Mary. I am home and I am warm and having a beer. All is good. Hope all is well with you.

>195 laytonwoman3rd: Hi, Linda. I am an owl fanatic but despite my best efforts, they are incredibly difficult to see. Most of the ones, I have seen, have been on well-informed tips. Owls do have set patterns and if you can learn their daily roosting locations, this will give you the best opportunity. I sure hope to add a couple more in MN.

Feb 8, 9:10pm Top

M--I am under the weather. We are getting bad weather. Michelle Obama postponed. It is going to be a quiet weekend. Enjoy your beer. : )

Feb 8, 9:11pm Top

>198 Berly: I am so sorry to hear this, Kim. What a bummer. Have they set a date?

Feb 8, 9:13pm Top

March 19th. I should be well by then. And no snow. : )

Feb 8, 10:05pm Top

>197 msf59: It's a new Amazon Prime show, they got it from the BBC. The Christie estate decided to give ITV the heave-ho. (Honestly, I am a little hazy on which shows are ITV and which BBC, since they're all pretty and the actors all sound the same, but I checked my sources twice and I'm confident this is right way round.)

Feb 8, 11:00pm Top

Congrats on your barred owl viewing, Mark. Have a great weekend! Hopefully you have a few days to spend with the books.

>152 Berly: Probably a barred owl, Kim. I took a photo of one that was sitting in a tree outside my living room window and I am on the same coast as you are although I don't think that BC is included in the range according to the books but things are subject to change.

Feb 8, 11:22pm Top

It got cold down here overnight and today the temperature kept falling. Winter is back down South.

I haven’t had a chance to report on the Seattle Meetup, and since I ensconced in my local Starbucks and have an hour until closing time I will give you the lowdown.

Attendance at the Seattle American Library Association Mid-Winter Conference was up this year. The official number is 9,200. (Last year in Denver it was 8,000.). That number looked good to the exhibitors and they were pleased with the traffic on the exhibit floor. However, those numbers are nowhere near the highs of 11,500 of the pre-recession years.

It seemed to me that the book publishers did not have as many ARC’s to give away and in a conversation with my friend Golda Radamacher (the library sales division head at W. W. Norton) said that she didn’t ask for enough ARC’s to be printed and shipped to Seattle. She based her estimates on attendance last year in Denver and since attendance was up she was short of ARCs. She also said that ARC’s were costing the publishers more so they were being conservative on what they had printed. Since print book sales, especially for hardbacks, is up I expect that the ARC hunting in Washington, D. C. Will be better than it was in Seattle.

We had the meetup on Saturday night at a brew pub that was close to the convention center in downtown Seattle. It was at Seattle Tap House. I had an amazing pear/cherry cider and several other people had an apple cider and we all praised the cider’s. Those who had beers thought highly of them as well.

We had a full table. There ended up being 12 of us in attendance. That was 4 more than I had made reservations for, but I was pleased with the turnout. Tim Spaulding, Loranne Nasir, and one other LT employee were there. People at the table really bent Loranne and Tim’s ears about the problems they were having with posting pictures to the threads. Tim said that he was not aware that this was such a problem or of that much importance to LT users, so he was going to move it higher in the software queue to be fixed.

Of course, we talked about books. What we were reading and what we were looking for on the exhibit floor. There were three in the group who were looking for children’s and early YA stuff suitable for placement in schools, but mostly we talked about the conference itself and why attendance was down so much in the last three years.

ALA will only have one more Mid-Winter Conference and that will be January 2020 in Philadelphia. ALA’s coffers are dry and the membership does not want to pay more dues. In order to keep conference costs down, ALA has moved the winter conference to cheaper cities, but that in turn has affected attendance. It seems that people don’t want to go to places like Boston or Denver in the winter. Add to that the fact that public institutions like libraries find that boards and administrators doen’t want to contribute towards the cost of people attending the conferences. ALA’s only choice is to cut back on services, so Mid-Winter is not profitable and it has to end. There is also talk that ALA is going to not replace employees who work at the Chicago headquarters as they retire.

All of the people who attended the Meetup supper had successful day on the exhibit floor snagging ARC’s. Most of the ARC’s presented were from the publishers mid-list authors. There are going to be some hits with these books and some misses, and that is the fun of gathering the ARC’s - reading them to see which are the winners.

The highlight of the conference for me was attending the Sunday morning assembly. Rick Steves was the speaker and he was entertaining and insightful. He runs a travel company and has been in the travel business since the 1970’s. The librarians loved him. He said that he hates to hear American’s tell other Americans to travel safe. He says this is a hidbound and fearful attitude. Americans need to travel to other countries more, and be less fearful and more intrepid. It wasn’t the State of the Union speech, but Steves got lots of applause and laughs from the audience during his speech.

It was a good meetup and a good conference. I was happy to see everybody who attended the Meetup and hope that we have one that is just as good, or better, in Washington in June.

Feb 9, 12:39am Top

^ Good report from Benita. Glad to hear that Tim et al are going to address the problems with posting pictures.

I loved House of Broken Angels, too, and it's great to see it's getting some traction with our 75er pals.

I broke down and bought the new Marlon James, so that's teed up for when I finish my current reads.

Feb 9, 6:33am Top

>200 Berly: I am so glad they rescheduled the Obama event, Kim. Good luck this weekend.

>201 richardderus: Thanks for the info, Richard. I do have Ammy Prime.

>202 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. Hooray for the Barred Owl! I am just off tomorrow but I am looking forward to a long weekend, next week, which includes an upper Minnesota trip. Yep, in the dead of winter. Grins...

Feb 9, 6:37am Top

>203 benitastrnad: Thanks for the great ALA report, Benita. Thanks to you and Marianne, I received my ALA swag yesterday. I will post a photo, sometime this weekend. Sorry, to hear that ALA is cutting back. I have enjoyed these events and look forward to the DC one, in June.

>204 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. I sure wish I was in sunny SoCal with you, especially after a bone-chilling Friday. Like you, I also broke down and ordered Black Leopard, Red Wolf. I may save it and kick off my March with it.

Feb 9, 8:52am Top

Good morning, Mark! Happy Saturday to you.

>192 msf59: Not as dangerous as the polar vortex, but still dangerous weather for you.

>193 richardderus: Thanks, RD. Bill and I will watch tonight. Still not how I envision Poirot's moustaches, but certainly better than Branagh.

>196 msf59: Mi casa es su casa. Sure - anytime!

Feb 9, 9:03am Top

>201 richardderus: Are you actually my mother-in-law?? She's always threatening to give something the "heave-ho".

Edited: Feb 9, 9:44am Top

It is only about 7F out here, as I start my route and it will probably take most of my work day to inch up, to 24F, the high for the day. That said, very light winds, sunshine, and no snow to trudge through, should all help me along, and of course there are the books...

>207 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. It should be a decent work day. Thanks.

Feb 9, 10:05am Top

>208 laytonwoman3rd: Heh. Yep, had reassignment surgery and did not tell. Mm hm.

>209 msf59: It's 28°/-2.5C now, with winds pretty brisk at 20mph, so it feels like it's 13°/-10.5C; in short, I am not touching trotter to pavement today. It's not weirdly cold, by NY winter standards, but it's not pleasant and I don't wanna.

So pity poor me, stuck in bed with the books and blankets and coffee, wah wah boo hoo.


Feb 9, 10:19am Top

>166 msf59:

Hi Mark - looks like Illinois weather is preparing you for NORTHERN Minnesota!
Hope you see and photograph many more Owls and other brave northerners.

Does MOUTHFUL OF BIRDS cover the question of how birders -
even famous ones like Yeats with his beautiful Peacock,
poem and feast - can bear to eat birds?

Feb 9, 11:02am Top

>208 laytonwoman3rd: LOL.

>210 richardderus: Morning, Richard. Your day sounds perfect. Enjoy. I hope to get some of that in tomorrow.

>211 m.belljackson: Morning, Marianne. It looks like the weather in MN, might just cooperate next weekend. Fingers crossed.

I did not feel like Mouthful of Birds went that deep, although that would be an intriguing approach.

Feb 9, 11:31am Top

Mark - an online magazine, iai news Issue 70, 5th February 2019,
has this up today: "How We Think of Boredom in Contemporary Literature" by Ralph Clare.

He deals with a few authors, then adds this -

We can also put down all six volumes of Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle (2009-2011).
To be sure, the Norwegian writer's categorizing of the minutiae of Scandinavian life could
be said to emerge as the definitive modern epic on boredom.

The sweeping Norse sagas here pass into a slow-motion dissection of the myth of the good life
under state-sponsored socialism. Slow down, you move too fast, Knausgaard seems to be saying,
but it doesn't exactly all lead to fun and feeling groovy.
Knausgard's struggle was many a reader's as well (myself included) - even just getting through book one.

- I'm still looking to find Book 6 on sale somewhere.

Feb 9, 12:48pm Top

>210 richardderus: Also means you're 90 years old, btw.

Edited: Feb 9, 1:24pm Top

Morning/Afternoon, Mark!

Great to hear that you're enjoying the Andrea Gibson collection. I'm really looking forward to reading the new Marlon James book. Right now I've got a Bill Bryson going and A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy, the sequel to a good sci-fi novel.

We leave soon to meet up with another niece and her hubby. Much of what we're doing is within walking distance for us, which makes it easier.

Feb 9, 3:52pm Top

>214 laytonwoman3rd: ...so THAT'S why my hip hurts so much today...

Feb 9, 4:12pm Top

Happy Saturday, Mark! Stay warm!!

Feb 9, 6:20pm Top

>213 m.belljackson: Thanks for your thoughts on the Clare piece, Marianne. I know you liked Knausgaard's My Struggle books, to have read five of them. I liked the first one enough, to want to the second one, hopefully within the next few months.

>215 jnwelch: Happy Saturday, Joe. I am sure your loving that LA sunshine. Thanks for the reading report. How is the Bryson?

>216 richardderus: LOL!

>217 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia. It was a smooth work day, but I am glad to be home, chillin' with a cold one.

Feb 9, 6:25pm Top

Happy weekend, Mark! Stay warm.

Edited: Feb 9, 6:42pm Top

Mark - I loved "...the definitive modern epic on boredom." Some things you just wish you'd written yourself.

Good that you are giving Book II a chance. You may just be reading along, wondering why you are absorbed
in this man's sandwich or walk to the bathroom, when suddenly there you are in the midst of beautiful and enduring insights.

Feb 9, 6:45pm Top

>219 banjo123: Back at you, Rhonda! How are you surviving the snowstorm?

>220 m.belljackson: "when suddenly there you are in the midst of beautiful and enduring insights." I am sure this is what keeps readers coming back to this epic "Life" tale. I know Darryl is a big fan of these books, as well.

Edited: Feb 9, 7:13pm Top

^Thanks to my pals, Marianne and Benita for this book booty from the Seattle ALA. 21 books. Their kindness, knows no bounds. I am especially excited about the Whitehead and the Heller. Anyone else see any books on here, that you have heard good things about? Many of these titles and authors, I am not familiar with, so help is appreciated. I know Nancy just read and loved Save Me the Plums, a foodie memoir. Sadly, I have still not read Louis Bayard and I all ready have a couple of his on shelf. The Last Stone by Mark Bowden looks like a promising true-crime tale.

The tasty beverage is Heretic Juicier Than Thou. Yum.

Feb 9, 7:10pm Top

Feb 10, 7:29am Top

>223 richardderus: That is what I said, RD!! B.A.G.

Feb 10, 7:33am Top

That is quite a haul!

As you know, I read Save Me the Plums in 24 hours and loved it.

My current reads:
Fiction: Friend of My Youth
Nonfiction: Thick: And Other Essays - Touchstones not working
Audio: America's Original Sin
Poetry: Why I Wake Early

Have a great Sunday!

Feb 10, 7:55am Top

>225 alphaorder: Morning, Nancy. Yep, I am quite pleased with the book haul. Is there anything in those stacks, that you have had an eye on? (If you can read the titles). I could pass it along to you. I will move Save Me the Plums to my Must Read Now Shelf.

Looks like you have some good books going and an Oliver collection always makes the day a bit brighter.

Feb 10, 8:15am Top

Good morning, Mark, happy Sunday to you!

Fantastic haul!

Feb 10, 8:38am Top

>227 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Looking forward to making my way through the book booty.

Edited: Feb 10, 8:43am Top

^I have to correct a glaring oversight on my part. It is nearly shameful. I forgot to add an Eastern Screech Owl to my yearly owl list and I was lucky enough to see a family of these cute guys, early last summer. Bad Mark! That brings my total to 6!!

Feb 10, 8:52am Top

>226 msf59:

I just looked at your books. Curious to hear what you love. Shawn read the Mark Bowden - be prepared for a dark read!

Edited: Feb 10, 8:57am Top

>211 m.belljackson: Good question! Made me think first of an album I owned Larks Tongues in Aspic. And then of the famous Nightingales tongues. Looked it up and found this in the Sunday Times:

There have been many birds imbued with beauty and symbolism that have ended their lives as culinary delights. The nightingale, the bird that Keats wrote “Singest of summer in full-throated ease” and Vera Lynn rhapsodised over, was killed by ancient Romans for its tongue, favoured as a delicate snack.

In medieval Britain, swans were a royal delicacy. In recent times the last meal eaten by the French President François Mitterrand, in 1995, has become one of the more notorious anecdotes attached to his extravagant personality. He chose to eat the now-endangered ortolan bunting, a thumb-sized bird, which was prepared by being drowned in armagnac and served whole, eaten with its bones and — as with the robin — its brains and softened skull.

As a birder I find the eating of an ortolan bunting close to sacrilege, as I know how scarce they are, but I do like my chicken!

Happy Sunday, Marc! Nice owl, up there.

Feb 10, 9:42am Top

>222 msf59: wow that looks like an interesting haul Mark. Looking forward to your thoughts on the Heller.

Feb 10, 9:53am Top

>230 alphaorder: I swear I would have read more Mark Bowden but it looks like I have only read Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million, which I do not remember at all. Well, you know I like dark, so I will be looking forward to this new one. Hope Shawn enjoyed it.

>231 EllaTim: Is that King Crimson? I have not heard that album in a long, long time. Hooray for the ortolan bunting. I had never heard of that one. We just have blue buntings in this region.

>231 EllaTim: Morning, Bonnie. I am looking forward to the new Heller, as well, although I was a bit underwhelmed by his last one, Celine. Did you read that one?

Feb 10, 10:18am Top

Congrats on 6 for your owl list!

This morning I've seen three different Goldfinches, a Red-Bellied Woodpecker, AND a Downy Woodpecker. This is in addition to Cardinals, Titmice, and some LBBs (little brown birds).

Feb 10, 11:30am Top

>229 msf59: What a cutie.

Feb 10, 12:19pm Top

>229 msf59: How could you forget me? {{read that in a SCREEEEECHY voice}}!!!

Congrats on #6.

And awesome book haul!! Lucky guy.

Feb 10, 12:56pm Top

Happy Sunday, Mark.

Nice book haul from ALA! Santa, Benita and Marianne - all wonderful gift-givers and, curiously, the names of the ships Columbus sailed on.

Last day in LA. Boo! We've had a grand time. Today we spend with little Sam and his parents. I know Griffith Park is involved.

I'm enjoyed Last Friends. What a smooth writer she is.

Have a good one - I hope it's not too cold.

Feb 10, 1:22pm Top

>234 karenmarie: I still can't believe I forgot the Screech Owl, Karen and one was such a treat to see. Thanks for the bird feeder report. It looks like things are hopping there. Mine is too: Goldfinch, juncos, sparrows, chickadees and cardinals. Oh, lets not forget the chubby squirrel.

>235 laytonwoman3rd: >236 Berly: And I saw three young ones, sitting on a branch together. How could I forget that indelible image, Linda & Kim? It has gotta be an age thing!

>236 Berly: Book people are the best people. Ain't that right, Kimmers?

>237 jnwelch: Happy Sunday, Joe. Thanks for the check-in from LA. Sorry, it is your last day but it sure sounds like you both had a terrific visit. Yep, my LT pals are the gifts, that keep on giving. I am forever grateful.

I will start Last Friends tomorrow. Just wrapping up the Mitchell, which I think you will like.

Feb 10, 2:10pm Top

>222 msf59: what a fabulous haul Mark. I've only read Colson Whitehead and Donna Leon before. Both fine in their respective genre's.

Feb 10, 3:17pm Top

>239 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. I am a big fan of Whitehead too. I have never read Donna Leon but I know she has her admirers around here.

Feb 10, 3:55pm Top

Great Birding News in Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal:

Once listed on the state and federal endangered species list, bald eagles have made a soaring comeback.

Nesting surveys conducted last year by the Wisconsin DNR revealed a record number of nesting birds,
with 1,695 nests occupied by breeding adults.

Edited: Feb 10, 8:07pm Top

Most of the books you got are what publishers call midlist. These are up-and-coming authors, or authors who have had one bestseller and need more publicity.

D-Day Girls and Darwin Affair should be good reads. The Auntie Poldi series was billed as being like the Andrea Camerilli books as they are set in Sicily. Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna should be good. I am not sure if there is another Heavy: An American Memoir in that batch of books or not. That is the chance you take on ARC'S. Heavy was somewhat of a surprise best seller and award winner. That author was in New Orleans last summer speaking at several librarian functions.

There seem to be lots of story collections coming out this spring, but there were few of them to be found as ARC's. I think the shortage of printers has been the big reason why. There was a discussion of the shortage of books, particularly hardbacks, on the NY Times Book Review podcast before Christmas. Fewer printing companies in the U.S. Combined with increased sales of books over Christmas made publishers rather cautious with the number of ARC's they had printed and shipped to Seattle.

Feb 10, 11:18pm Top

Hey Mark, here before midnight (though only 40min before here in God's Own Time) so happy screechy Sunday.

Feb 11, 12:05am Top

Mark, we have snow! And it threatens to remain around of maybe up to a week. Yikes. I don't know if I can handle it. Sweet haul!

>242 benitastrnad: Interesting, Benita. " Midlist" books. A term new to me.

Feb 11, 6:28am Top

>241 m.belljackson: Hooray for the Bald Eagle comeback, Marianne. You can't get anymore majestic.

Feb 11, 6:32am Top

>242 benitastrnad: Thanks for chiming in on the ALA books, Benita. I may have to try the Aunt Poldi series, which I could pass on to Joe. I was surprised by the lack of story collections, but I am very fortunate to have more that a half of dozen left from past book hauls. Once again, I appreciate all you & Marianne did.

>243 richardderus: Morning, Richard. I hope you had a good Sunday. We sure did.

>244 vancouverdeb: Hi, Deb. Sorry, to hear about your snow. Good luck with that and i hope it doesn't stick around.

Edited: Feb 11, 6:42am Top

^"The third installment in the Old Filth trilogy, Last Friends will surprise and delight Gardam fans and appeal to new readers as it concludes a portrait of a marriage equal to any in the English language."

^For the Group Read I am finally getting to Last Friends. It has been nearly 3 years since I read book 2, The Man in the Wooden Hat, which I loved.

I should also be wrapping up the audio of These Truths and I think I may start Red Clocks...

Edited: Feb 11, 7:48am Top

'Morning, Mark, and happy Monday to you.

Yay for Last Friends. I need to get going on part two of These Truths and part 3 of A Suitable Boy. I happily veered off course a bit with my book club book The Essex Serpent, Last Friends, and Freddie Mercury: A Kind of Magic.

Feb 11, 7:50am Top

>247 msf59:
I have Gardam on my shelf, but have never read her.

Feb 11, 7:52am Top

>222 msf59: Wow, what a haul. I do not think I have read a single one of those, so I will be curious to see what you think of them, Mark.

>229 msf59: Owls!

>247 msf59: I am really going to have to finish that trilogy at some point. I have only read Old Filth and liked it.

Happy Monday, Mark!

Edited: Feb 11, 9:58am Top

>248 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Looks like you have some fine books going. I am nearing the end of These Truths. Lots of ugly reminders of our current political and fractious state. Boy, it is bad!

>249 alphaorder: Morning, Nancy. Start with Old Filth, if you have that one shelf. She is such a good writer.

Feb 11, 9:59am Top

Monday benisons, Mark. If you think current politics are bad, wait until 2020 unless 45 is impeached and tried before then. The election won't take place if 45 has any way to prevent it...gotta get the scumbucket out now.

Feb 11, 10:01am Top

Hey, buddy. We head out to the airport in a few minutes. We're looking forward to being back in crummy weather; enough of this decent stuff already.

I've got Bill Bryson and Jane Gardam for company on the way back. And Debbi, of course. :-)

Feb 11, 10:53am Top

>222 msf59: A new Peter Heller!!! Can't wait, even though I liked Celine less than his earlier two. The Dog Stars is still one of my all-time favorites.

Feb 11, 11:29am Top

>251 msf59: Morning, Stasia. I believe most of those books are advanced copies, in my ALA haul, so very few have been read ahead of time.

I hope you get back to the Old Filth trilogy.

>252 richardderus: Morning, Richard. We NEED the Dems to finally show a spine and a specific course for the future. I think they put us in this repellent state. We can not have anymore Trumps, in moving forward.

Edited: Feb 11, 11:32am Top

>253 jnwelch: Happy travels, Joe. Have a safe trip back home. Our lovely weather awaits. And enjoy those books.

>254 vivians: Morning, Vivian. I am looking forward to the new Heller too. I also loved The Dog Stars and I was fortunate to meet him, on 2 occasions, at author events. Good guy.

Feb 11, 11:52am Top

Morning, Mark! Just made it!

Feb 11, 12:11pm Top

>247 msf59: I've still got to get to the third one Mark. I have a volume of her short stories in the pile too.

Edited: Feb 11, 3:55pm Top

Mark - Woke up with this idea for a cartoon
(yet another road that would have been fun to take):

(with sign): Trump Medicare Plan: Free Mandatory Castration for All Male Republicans

Maybe NON SEQUITUR would like it!

Feb 11, 3:33pm Top

Mark, I'm so glad you spotted your Barred Owl for the first time. They are plentiful where I live, along with the Great Horned Owls. Now Screech Owls and all the smaller ones are another matter. It's good news about the Bald Eagle Comeback. I usually see several this time of year when I drive from Springfield (MO) to Kansas City, however, I only saw one (he flew right over my car) on the drive up here Saturday morning. I'm doing my yearly week-long babysitting stint for 3 of my grandchildren. I hope I get some time for books while they're in school.

P.S. I'm super jealous about the new Heller book. Lol.

Feb 11, 5:52pm Top

>257 Crazymamie: Mamie made it! Mamie made it! Yah!!

>258 Caroline_McElwee: Last Friends is off to a great start, Caroline. I am very curious about Gardam's short fiction. Let me know if you get to it.

>259 m.belljackson: I think that cartoon would be perfect, Marianne. And it is not a bad idea. LOL!

>260 Donna828: Hi, Donna. Good to see you. I am planning on taking a long weekend trip up to upper MN. I would LOVE to add a couple more owl species to my growing list. We are fortunate to see Bald Eagles in our area now. It is an amazing comeback.

Good luck with the baby-sitting stint and I hope to slot in the Heller, in the coming months.

Feb 11, 6:02pm Top

Mark = one more for today = our Rural Mailman showed up this afternoon wearing HIS Yax Trax
and said the De Forest Post Office keeps a box of them ready to go~!

Feb 11, 6:21pm Top

>262 m.belljackson: Hooray for Yax Trax! Although, I rarely wear them. We are supposed to get quite a wintry mix, right though tomorrow. Snow, freezing rain, sleet and snow again, tomorrow afternoon. Sighs...

Edited: Feb 11, 6:28pm Top

^ "In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom."

I remember Red Clocks getting some good reviews, about a year ago, when it came out. I have had it saved on audio for quite some time and thought it might be a good time to start it, especially with the new season of The Handmaid's Tale getting ready to come out. I am two hours in and I am enjoying it. Good audio performance too.

Feb 11, 7:26pm Top

Dagnabit. Another 6 to 9 inches of snow here. Good thing it warms up afterwards, for the most part, and nearly all melts within a few days. This is getting old fast.

Feb 11, 9:24pm Top

Dagnabit. Too much snow here for us to handle and more on the way. DRAT. We have about ??? 5 inches and more on the way. Vancouver is really not geared for snow and of course it's a real problem. Some years we don't get any snow at all, and this is first snow we've had this winter. It threatens to hang around for ?? 5 days to a week. The buses don't run very well, and neither does our mass transit system, nor do our ferries. I think a number of things contribute to the problem. The temperatures hover around 28 - 34 F , so it gets really icy, the city does not have a lot in the way of snow plow equipment and we have hills to navigate. Plus, most people only have all season tires, including me. Melt, snow. Give me rain any day.

Mark, I have to tell you about Vancouver's latest initiative to control our pigeon population. Never mind snow stopping our ' skytrain " -above ground subway, ( and it goes below ground too ) , pigeon poop and the pigeons themselves stop the sky train. Transit is putting out birdseed for the pigeons, with " birth control" mixed in with the birdseed. You have to give the city credit for thinking out of the box. :-)


Edited: Feb 12, 6:33am Top

>265 lindapanzo: Waking up to snow and ice, Linda. Looks ugly. I hope you didn't get that much snow. We might have got an additional inch or so. It has been a tough stretch. Good luck today.

>266 vancouverdeb: Hi, Deb. Sorry, to hear about all the snow. I am sure it is especially difficult there, without the snow & salt vehicles. Be safe, my friend.

Thanks, for sharing the pigeon article. Boo to poop! They really seem to be trying to solve this in the most humane way possible. Hope it works. I think it is pretty cool, that they hired a falconer.

Feb 12, 8:00am Top

Morning, Mark! Hoping Tuesday is kind to you.

Feb 12, 8:10am Top

'Morning, Mark! stay safe and warm in the weather nastiness today.

I'm glad you've started Last Friends.

Feb 12, 8:33am Top

>222 msf59: Good haul! I'll be interested to see what you think of Cemetery Road as I enjoyed Greg Iles Natchez burning series.

>264 msf59: Yeah! Enjoy!

Feb 12, 8:48am Top

Mark, I'm way behind (what's new?) but love the owl news and the book haul looks fabulous: one day I want to cross the pond for an ALA! I've only heard of the Mosse so it's even more exciting to me - so many new authors.

Feb 12, 9:04am Top

Stay safe out there Mark! Schools etc, are closed here. We're open, but I am working from home because who knows how long it would take me to get there...

Feb 12, 1:17pm Top

I may have missed a thread. Or two. Or mostly three.


Feb 12, 1:54pm Top

Goddesses. Winter's steel jaws are back around my feet and ankles after yesterday's hoofin' around. Ow.

Feb 12, 5:16pm Top

Hey, buddy. Just checking in. We're glad to be home, and taking care of business. No reading yet today, but I hope to do some soon. Back to Educated for me, and so far, like you, I'm enjoying Last Friends.

Edited: Feb 12, 5:59pm Top

My Hotspot at work, wasn't cooperating today, teamed up with the freezing rain/snow/slush and afternoon winds, I did not have a chance to check in. I did see a dejected, somewhat scrawny coyote, cross my path, though. Made up for the lack of bird sightings.

>268 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie! It wasn't exactly a kind Tuesday, but I survived it. Thanks.

>269 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. I am continuing to enjoy Last Friends, as I pass the halfway point.

>270 ChelleBearss: Hi, Chelle. Good to see you. Sadly, I have yet to read Greg Iles. Bad Mark?

>271 charl08: Hi, Charlotte. Always good to see you. We would love it, if you made a trip over here. I am sure you would be welcome with open-arms, no matter where you landed.

Feb 12, 6:39pm Top

>272 alphaorder: Hi, Nancy. I am finally getting the chance to respond. I am glad you had a chance to work from home. Much safer that way. I have two more works days and then i can enjoy a long weekend.

>273 BekkaJo: Hi, Bekka. Long time, no see. I am glad you dropped by and I hope all is well.

>274 richardderus: Sorry, to hear about the weather woes, RD. We are in it's nasty grip too. This shit is gettin' old! Hope you made the best of it.

>275 jnwelch: Welcome back, Joe. I am sure it is nice to be back home but this ugly weather...Jeesh!!

Glad you are enjoying Educated.

Feb 12, 9:25pm Top

>222 msf59: Looks like you made a nice ALA Midwinter haul.

Feb 13, 6:35am Top

>278 thornton37814: Hi, Lori. Yes, I did. I will have to start slowly working those titles into the rotation.

Feb 13, 7:58am Top

'Morning, Mark! I hope your hotspot works and that lots of birds make up for yesterday.

Poor dejected, scrawny coyote.

Feb 13, 8:28am Top

Hey Mark! Happy Hump Day! It's terribly windy over here and snow, once again, is in the forecast. I need a beach break!!!

Feb 13, 10:17am Top

The Weather Goddess is clearly going through the change. It's warmish (40°) and the small accumulation of snow is already gone at 10.15a. This Sunday? More "wintry mix." Yeesh.

I finished Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd. It's likely to be the next-to-last in the 81-year-old author's series about Flavia de Luce...maybe that's a good thing.

Feb 13, 10:23am Top

Hi, Mark. Just got back from my sinuplasty - not the most pleasant experience, but I'd love it if it helps open up my sinuses.

I hope to get some reading in today, and to return to reading some Andrea Gibson. I've also got the new Terrance Hayes collection, which has gotten lots of positive buzz. We'll see.

That was a chilly start, but it's gotten better out. Hope it goes okay for you today.

Feb 13, 10:49am Top

Hope your Wednesday is kinder than your Tuesday!

Nasty here in Montana, too - rain snow-melt-a-bit dive to below zero.

Enjoy your expedition to the Great White North. I'm heading to the Great White South-of-Me this weekend - off to Yellowstone Park. Taking the snow coach to Old Faithful has been on my bucket list forever.

Feb 13, 10:57am Top

For some reason, every time I see the book Calculating the Stars, I think I'm seeing someone else who's read Calculating God. Probably because I couldn't think of the name of the second book until just now. I probably won't make the mistake again.

Looking forward to seeing you. Hopefully Erik can make it too. Regardless, it'll be fun!

Edited: Feb 13, 11:05am Top

It is not snowing and there is some sunshine but it is still bitterly cold. Hovering in the high teens but adding in the wind chill....Brrrrrrrrrr.

>280 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Hotspot is working but no birds seen...yet.

>281 Carmenere: Morning, Lynda. It is also very windy here and has been blowing since early yesterday afternoon. Boo winter!!

>282 richardderus: Morning, Richard. Enjoy those warmer temps. We hit the 40s tomorrow but only a very temporary reprieve. February all ready feels like a very long month.

Feb 13, 1:29pm Top

>286 msf59: Off today, sounds like. The gale force wind nearly blew me over this morning. Felt like I was out in a winter hurricane. At least the sun is out though and, as a result, some of the ice is melting.

Feb 13, 5:36pm Top

>283 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. Finally getting home and finishing my responses. I hope the sinuplasty procedure, gives you some relief. Does not sound pleasant. Which Gibson collection are you reading? I am loving her latest. Am I familiar with Hayes?

>284 streamsong: Hi, Janet. Good to see you. Yes, today was a bit better, precipitation-wise, but still breezy and cold. I know you guys are getting hit pretty hard too. Another 2-3 weeks, we should be over the worst of it. Have a great time in Yellowstone.

Edited: Feb 13, 5:41pm Top

>285 The_Hibernator: Hi, Rachel. I think you would have a good time with The Calculating Stars. A quick, fun read. Looking forward to Friday and it does look like Erik will be joining us. Thankfully, it appears that the weather will cooperate, despite the frigid temps.

>287 lindapanzo: Hi, Linda. I definitely worked today and despite the sunshine, it was windy and cold. I have a long weekend coming up and this is why I am making the MN trip. I head up Friday morning and will stay the first night in the Twin Cities and attend a Meet-up. Yah!!

Feb 13, 6:12pm Top

>289 msf59: LOL, I'm confusing you and Joe. I thought you had the procedure.

It felt like a gale force wind today.

Have fun in Minnesota. I've also got a 4-day weekend but, except for Oscar Shorts at the Catlow, don't have much planned this weekend.

Edited: Feb 13, 6:52pm Top

>290 lindapanzo: No procedures for me, Linda, although some people think I should have my head examined for going to upper MN, in mid-Feb to look at damn birds. They may have a point, but my passions drive me. I should get some quality audiobook time in too.

This topic was continued by Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Five.

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