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Ellen seeks balance in 2019 - Thread 6

This is a continuation of the topic Ellen seeks balance in 2019 - Thread 5.

This topic was continued by Ellen seeks balance in 2019 - Thread 7.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Jun 29, 11:20pm Top

Megan Rapinoe

Jun 29, 11:20pm Top

another photo

Edited: Jun 29, 11:30pm Top

My Rating Scale:

= Breathtaking. Maybe a masterpiece.
= Excellent! Among my favorites of the year.
= Particularly enjoyable, kept me reading.
= So good. I'm glad I read this.
= A solid read. Generally recommended.
= This was an okay read.
= Meh. Pretty much a waste of time.
= Nearly no redeeming qualities. Really rather bad.
= Among the worst books I've ever read.

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

Edited: Jul 2, 5:41pm Top


22. The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
23. Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom
24. The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
25. Berlin Noir Ed. by Thomas Wörtche
26. West by Carys Davies
27. Auschwitz Violin by Maria Angels Anglada
28. The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
29. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker


30. Benediction by Kent Haruf
31. Dancing Fish and Ammonites by Penelope Lively
32. The Merchant's House by Kate Ellis
33. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
34. Circe by Madeline Miller


35. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
36. The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
37. Sugar Run by Mesha Maren
38. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
39. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
40. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
41. How to Love a Country: Poems by Richard Blanco
42. Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston
43. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
44. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Edited: Aug 12, 3:26pm Top

SeriesCAT ~ Hoping to whittle away on my TBR shelves

January: Series in translation ~ Blessed Are Those Who Thirst by Anne Holt, Anne Bruce (Translator)
February: YA/Children's ~ The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
March: Series by a favorite author ~ Faithful Place by Tana French
April: Series You've Been Meaning to Get Back To ~ Dark Fire 2nd in series by C. J. Sansom
May: Newest book in a favorite series ~ Benediction by Kent Haruf
June: Series that are definitely complete ~ The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
July: Genre: fantasy ~ Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
August: Series set in a country/region where you do not live ~ A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths
September: Genre: Mystery
October: Historical Series
November: Series with a female protagonist
December: Series that's new to you

Edited: Aug 10, 2:03pm Top


January: Your name in print ~ The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
February: We need a break! ~ Hotel Brasil by Frei Betto
March: Brexit Madness ~ Faithful Place by Tana French
April: Greetings from the Rooster! ~ The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
May = I Could Have Danced All Night... ~ Dancing Fish and Ammonites by Penelope Lively
June = Pick a card, any card...Q♠️ ~ The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett and Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
July = All about birds ~ Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Life and Writing by Anne Lamont
August = Back to School ~ An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
September =
October =
November =
December =

Edited: Jul 20, 8:08pm Top

1. Author uses middle name or middle initial ~ Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom
2. Debut novel ~ The Marauders by Tom Cooper
3. Book about/featuring siblings ~ True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
4. Read a book bullet (meaning another LT member inspired you to read it) - House of Broken Angels (Joe)
5. Book mentioned in another book you have read ~
..... The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (in How to Love a Jamaican)
..... The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (in The House of Broken Angels)
..... A Whole bunch of books mentioned in The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
..... Another whole bunch mentioned in Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
..... Mansfield Park or Dubliners, both mentioned in The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
..... The Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carolyn Chute, mentioned in Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
6. Topic or character related to medicine/health ~ The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
7. Animal on cover/in title/plays a significant role ~ The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
8. Book with an artistic character ~ Auschwitz Violin by Maria Angels Anglada ~ violin maker and musician(s)
9. Eastern European author or setting ~ The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
10. Children’s/YA book ~ The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
11. Alliterative title ~ Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont
12. Part of a series ~ Death in a Darkening Mist by Iona Whishaw
13. Read a CAT ~ The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (January RandomCAT)
14. Prize-winning book ~ The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens ~ 1970 Booker Prize winner
15. Weather (title contains a weather word, or book involves/centers around a weather event) ~ Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles ??
16. Short stories or essays ~ Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
17. Book made into a movie ~ Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
18. Fairy tale (classic or reworked) ~ Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
19. Graphic novel ~ Good Talk by Mira Jacob
20. Main title has 6 or more words ~ A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
21. Cover has at least two human figures ~ Last Friends by Jane Gardam
22. Book in translation ~ Blessed are Those Who Thirst by Anne Holt
23. Food-related title or topic ~ The Proof of the Honey by Salwa Al Neimi
24. Book has an LT rating of 4.0 or more ~ Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
25. Title contains a homophone word ~ Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Edited: Jul 18, 10:49am Top

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

1969: P. H. Newby, Something to Answer For
1970: Bernice Rubens, The Elected Member
1970: J. G. Farrell, Troubles (awarded in 2010 as the Lost Man Booker Prize)
1971: V. S. Naipaul, In a Free State
1972: John Berger, G.
1973: J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
1974: Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist ... and Stanley Middleton, Holiday
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1976: David Storey, Saville
1977: Paul Scott, Staying On
1978: Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea
1979: Penelope Fitzgerald, Offshore
1980: William Golding, Rites of Passage
1981: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
1982: Thomas Keneally, Schindler's Ark
1983: J. M. Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K
1984: Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1985: Keri Hulme, The Bone People
1986: Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1987: Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
1988: Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1989: Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
1990: A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance
1991: Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1992: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient ... and Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
1993: Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1994: James Kelman, How late it was, how late
1995: Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
1996: Graham Swift, Last Orders
1997: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
1998: Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
1999: J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace
2000: Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
2001: Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang
2002: Yann Martel, Life of Pi
2003: DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
2004: Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
2005: John Banville, The Sea
2006: Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering
2008: Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
2009: Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
2010: Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
2011: Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
2012: Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
2013: Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
2014: Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
2015: Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
2016: Paul Beatty, The Sellout
2017: George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
2018: Anna Burns, Milkman

Edited: Jun 29, 11:37pm Top


Abby, whom I miss every single day
My hair is longer than in the photo on the right but I still love this image.

Edited: Jul 18, 10:50am Top

July "plans":

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont or A Catalogue of Birds by Laura Harrington for RandomCAT. Bird by Bird will take care of the "alliterative title" square on my BingoDOG card.
Princess of the Midnight Ball for SeriesCAT; it will also take care of the "fairy tale" square on my BingoDOG card.
If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O by Sharyn McCrumb - I've been carrying this around for a couple of months. Time to read it!

Jun 29, 11:22pm Top

currently reading

Edited: Jun 29, 11:23pm Top

Edited: Jun 29, 11:38pm Top

43. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

I enjoyed this romp through 25-year-old Queenie's relational crisis, until I didn't. And then I did again.
Tom has asked for "a break" in their 3-year relationship, asserting that Queenie never lets him in. Indeed. With a traumatic past embedded within the cultural trauma of family immigration and racism growing up in the U.S., Queenie is strong and brave but feels neither. The narrative pace is lively and the characters endearing. But the young adult angst became tiresome before Carty-Williams saw fit to shift the plot along. Once she did, I became engaged again. I have a few quibbles (the therapist sees her in her home??) but they are minor and I liked the ending. I'm glad I read it.

Jun 29, 11:23pm Top

Nice topper, Ellen. Happy new thread. Yes, I'll probably start The Luminaries soon. Can't wait.

Jun 29, 11:26pm Top

Happy new thread, Ellen.

Jun 29, 11:45pm Top

>15 EBT1002: and >16 BLBera: Thanks Beth and Paul!

Jun 30, 12:23am Top

Tomorrow I fly to Seattle for a very quick trip. I arrive in the evening, present on a panel Monday morning, have one appointment, then head to the airport to be homy by about 6:30 Monday evening.

On Wednesday, P and I are driving to Boise for a short getaway. I'm actually looking forward to the mini-vacation!

Jun 30, 12:38am Top

Happy new thread and go Rapinoe!

Jun 30, 1:33am Top

Thanks Rhonda -- and yes!!!

Jun 30, 2:00am Top

Rapinoe...just amazing...she can be the catalyst for serious change in women's soccer.

New thread orisons, topped with travel happiness whammys.

Jun 30, 6:16am Top

Happy new one - have been so impressed by Rapinoe and her comments about politics and the game. Although generally the women when asked to speak seem (to me, at least) to be more articulate than the guys' running cliches. Not sure why that would be.

Jun 30, 7:13am Top

Happy new thread, Ellen, and so glad to see Rapinoe topping your thread.

Jun 30, 7:17am Top

Happy new thread, Ellen! And yay for short get-aways!

Jun 30, 7:50am Top

At a social event on Friday, I had to contend with someone whose response to Megan Rapinoe was criticism of her resting bitch face. You know, because the ladies should be smiling. All. the. time. Give me strength.

Jun 30, 8:08am Top

Happy new thread, Ellen!

I'm not one to follow sports at all, but I already love Rapinoe from the little I've read about her. Amazing.

Yay for your upcoming mini-vacation!

Jun 30, 8:57am Top

Have fun in Seattle and hooray for mini-breaks! I pulled The Luminaries from the pile today; it's hefty. I rather wish I had it as an ebook.

Jun 30, 9:42am Top

I saw an ad on TV yesterday for a T-shirt: "Rapinoe/Bird in 2020".

Jun 30, 11:17am Top

Happy New Thread, Ellen.

Enjoy your trip to Seattle as well as to Boise. Is there a campground in Boise?

I have The Luminaries home from the library, but will probably not start it for a week or two, due to the mountains of other library books.

Jun 30, 1:40pm Top

Have a safe trip to Seattle. So glad to hear about the mini-break. People in general should take more of those, and I think you ought to build in as many as you can while you're still "enduring" the rigors of employment.

>26 lauralkeet: I think the next time someone tells me to "Smile" I'm going to say "This is my resting bitch face, and I'm quite fond of it, thank you." I've been dealing with that approach since I was a teenager. Wish I'd thought of that response sooner. I stuck out my tongue at someone once, I remember.

Jun 30, 1:58pm Top

This is the first time I've encountered the term "resting bitch face" and I have to say: I like it. I'm going to start using it as soon as I can find the right moments.

Off to a Seattle Storm game this afternoon, at the UW. Should be fun!

Jun 30, 2:07pm Top

Happy Sunday, Ellen. Happy New Thread! I loved The Luminaries. You guys picked a good one. If you can request The Long Take, I highly recommend it.

Jun 30, 3:53pm Top

Happy new thread Ellen, hope you are having a good weekend my dear and send love and hugs.

Jun 30, 4:53pm Top

Happy new thread, Ellen. Enjoy your quick trip to the coast - we are having absolutely stellar weather right now.

Jun 30, 9:38pm Top

Happy new thread, Ellen. Safe travels.

Jul 1, 10:24am Top

Happy new thread! Have fun in Boise.

Jul 2, 5:56pm Top

44. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

This is a gut-check collection of stories. Themes of consumerism and alienation run through these stories set largely in a grim future. With elements of magical realism and compelling first-person narrators throughout, the pace is quick and Adjei-Brenyah's creativity is palpable. I hate to admit it, but this is one of those reads that made me wonder "how on Earth does the writer think of these things?" I know that is the worst question a reader can ever, EVER ask but there you have it. Definitely worthwhile!

Edited: Jul 2, 5:57pm Top

Currently reading:
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
So far, SO good!

Jul 2, 5:58pm Top

I just checked out The Luminaries in eBook format. I will start it while mini-vacationing in Boise these next few days. :-)

Jul 2, 6:26pm Top

So, some of you may know that I think about writing. Not as in "I think I want to publish a novel" writing, but, well, just writing. A colleague suggested today that I should start a blog. I actually got excited about the idea! But how? I googled "how do I start a blog?" and of course several blog sites came up. Is there a best one? Any thoughts, my dear book-loving community?

Jul 2, 6:30pm Top

>22 richardderus: It's amazing how much of a lightning rod Megan has become for conservatives, Richard. "She should be kicked off the team." These are the same folks who argue that Milo should be able to say whatever he wants on college campuses because, you know, free speech. Hypocrites everywhere.

>23 charl08: I agree, Charlotte. I haven't been able to watch the matches nearly as much as I would have liked, but I'm impressed by the thoughtfulness of so many of the athletes.

>24 karenmarie: Thanks Karen!

>25 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley. I'm excited about our little mini-vacay!

>26 lauralkeet: Oh lord. When is the last time someone criticized ANY male athlete for their resting facial expression?????

Jul 2, 6:34pm Top

>27 scaifea: Thanks Amber. Rapinoe is standing up for so many things I value. It's a risk she is willing to take, along with some other women (and some men) athletes who are using their platform to speak their mind.

>28 BLBera: For that very reason, I got The Luminaries as an eBook, Beth. I just checked it out today. So my kindle will go to Boise with me. :-)

>29 maggie1944: I've seen that shirt, Karen! I want one!!!!

Jul 2, 6:36pm Top

I'd read your blog, Ellen.

Although male athletes do get criticized for their hair if they are black...

I almost pulled Friday Black from the library shelf yesterday, but then I thought, The Luminaries. I will probably start next week.

Enjoy your mini break.

Jul 2, 7:07pm Top

>30 streamsong: Hi Janet. I had a good - brief - visit to Seattle. The presentation/panel went okay and I got to visit Elliott Bay Books. *smile*

We are not camping this trip but we do plan to check out campgrounds along the way. We are thinking that one of the two free weekends we have in July we will get the trailer out and take it to just a nearby KOA or something. We have to take it out and try it on for size!

I will start The Luminaries in the next few days.

Jul 2, 7:12pm Top

>31 laytonwoman3rd: I agree, Linda. I think the mini-vacations are very helpful for maintaining sanity along the way. P and I are very good traveling companions -- our pace is similar -- and I'm looking forward to our little road trip that starts tomorrow!

>32 maggie1944: "Resting bitch face" is another way to tell women that they aren't being charming enough. Like we should have to monitor our facial expression while we're daydreaming or thinking about work ... or just sitting and thinking.

I hope the Storm game was fun!

>33 msf59: I'm looking forward to reading The Luminaries, Mark. I have wanted to read it since it won the Booker and one of our walking companions in Scotland enjoyed it so much. I will see about The Long Take.

Jul 2, 7:17pm Top

>33 msf59: I just added The Long Take to my amazon shopping cart. It looks amazing.

Jul 2, 7:18pm Top

>34 johnsimpson: Thank you, John!

>35 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy. My quick trip to Seattle was wonderful and tomorrow we leave for a less-quick, but still pretty short trip to Boise. The weather in Seattle was lovely -- frankly, it was too lovely for this time of year. I worry about how warm and dry it has been there this spring and early summer!

>36 Familyhistorian: and >37 drneutron: Thanks Meg and Jim!

Jul 2, 7:20pm Top

>44 BLBera: Well, if I ever start a blog, I'll let you know how to find it, Beth. I am completely starting at step one. I have no idea how to start (not the writing part but the technology part). And thanks for saying you'd read it!

I'm going to finish the delightful Bird by Bird and then I will start The Luminaries in the next few days. I'm looking forward to it!

Jul 2, 7:51pm Top

>41 EBT1002: Ellen, if you have a Google account like Gmail the simplest blogging platform is Blogger. My blog:
has been there since 2010. It is extremely easy to transition from LT to Blogger because the use of HTML is identical.

Edited: Jul 2, 8:23pm Top

I used Blogger a bit myself a few years back. I found it quite easy to use. Some of my favorite blogs to read also reside there., and I'd find it very easy to follow YOU, should you start one.

Jul 2, 9:31pm Top

Well done to the USA team against a brave England team in the World Cup Semis. We had more of the ball but you were the more incisive. Shame we missed the penalty and got one of our ladies sent off for being clumsy rather than malicious.

As I promised I shall root for you in the finals.

Edited: Jul 2, 11:58pm Top

>50 richardderus: Thanks Richard. I've been poking around and learning a lot (I found bloggingbasics101.com as one place for info) and I find myself thinking "maybe I don't want to create a blog. Maybe I just want to write." So. Thinking, thinking. I have seen your blog and now I'm going to bookmark it and follow along. I don't think I realized that several sites I follow occasionally read are actually "blogs." I am so out of touch.

>51 laytonwoman3rd: Easy is good. And now I find myself wanting to ask you, Linda, and Richard^ and others, what are some of your favorite blogs? I don't "follow" much of anything but I do drop in on LARB, LitHub, Book Riot....
And thank you for the compliment. I did see it. :-)

>52 PaulCranswick: I didn't get to watch the match, Paul, but P was texting me (I was at work) with its progress. Hard to believe the missed penalty kick as that is a relative rarity. And yellow/red cards -- honestly, throughout the tournament I have felt like the refs have called things that, for me (and please note that I have never actually played soccer so I have no idea how hard any given maneuver is), seemed like either incidental contact or "how is she supposed to avoid contact when she is going for the ball and, you know, her center of gravity is over there????"

ETA: I do appreciate your support in the finals. We will be on the road tomorrow so will miss the semifinal between the Netherlands and Sweden, but I'll be glued to the telly on Sunday.

Jul 3, 2:23am Top

>53 EBT1002: No hard feelings - it was a close match but one in which both teams did each other justice. Some of the refereeing in the tournament has been poor but I don't think the referee was at fault particularly last night.

Jul 3, 7:42am Top

I'd love to follow your blog.

Congrats to the USA soccer team and crossed fingers that this next step is a successful one!

I'm off to a day time, "kids day", Storm game today. I like the drive to the UW venue but have to say the seats are not comfortable! Made for those resilient bodies of college kids.

I am trying to find time to read, and in this good weather it is hard. Germaine: the life of Germaine Greer by Elizabeth Kleinhenz, an early reviewer book; Heart A History by Sandeep Jauhar, for my community's book group; the power of kindness by Piero Ferrucci, just because; and on my Kindle are Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond, also, for my community's book group; and sadly neglected Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts. I certainly can pick up a book to meet my mood, but my eyes do not always want to cooperate. They get tired very easily.

Edited: Jul 3, 8:32pm Top

>53 EBT1002: My favorite is Wonder at Six, by our (MY) very own lycomayflower, although what with one thing and another she hasn't posted anything since January.

Others I enjoy are Richard's noted above, Murr Brewster's Murrmurrs; Cliff Mass Weather and Julie Zickefoose

Margaret Atwood has a blog, although not on Blogger: https://marg09.wordpress.com/
and I like to drop in on the Maine Millennial's column in the Portland Herald, which is not a blog, but appears on-line and is easily found through Google, or through her mother's FB posts (her mother is Julia Spencer-Fleming, author of the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series).

There used to be a lot of bloggers here on LT, but I've either lost track of most of them, or they've stopped doing it. One of them, the late Charlie Callahan (LT user brainflakes) passed away a few years ago. One who is still active is dovegreyreader. Her blog is https://dovegreyreader.typepad.com.

I've kind of gone off book blogs anyway (although I check in with Book Riot now and then) because, really, there is so much book talk right here that I'm already overwhelmed with recommendations.

Jul 3, 7:51pm Top

Other bookish blogs I look at daily are CBC Books, BookPage, Off the Shelf, Criminal Element for mystery/thriller news not confined to books, Tor.com for sf and fantasy not confined to books, and the trades Kirkus Reviews and PW.

Jul 3, 9:09pm Top

>56 laytonwoman3rd: There used to be a lot of bloggers here on LT
Yeah, I had one from 2007-2012 or thereabouts, focused on book reviews. I connected with a lot of book bloggers back in the day (following each other, commenting, etc.). Eventually I decided my blog wasn't too much different from my 75 Books thread, and didn't want to maintain two things, so I let the blog go.

Jul 3, 9:52pm Top

>58 lauralkeet: I forgot about that, Laura. I read yours faithfully. It seems a good many of the bloggers were in the Virago group. How could I have forgotten Simon's Stuck in a Book or Karen's Bookish Ramblings In fact, for bookish blogs, Simon's is a great resource, as he lists tons of them on his sidebar.

Jul 3, 10:29pm Top

Happy New thread, Ellen! I'm at a loss as I don't follow sports on TV at all. Nada. I look at CBC books, like RD, and I also watch Simon Savidge on you tube for book ideas. Just in case LT was not enough to keep up with :-)

Jul 4, 9:42pm Top

I plan on joining you guys for The Luminaries. I have to dig my copy out of a box somewhere but will be joining you.

I think the idea of the small vacations is great. Sometimes they provide just the change of atmosphere and scenery that is needed. I am planning just such a break for the time right before school starts in August.

Jul 5, 4:30pm Top

I love 'resting bitch face'. And I love the Rapinoe/Bird 2020 t-shirt.

Jul 6, 10:38am Top

I understand your urge to write. I have the same. I've thought about joining the local writers' group. It may be something to explore while I'm sidelined and healing this summer.

Rachel/TheHibernator has a blog.

I also think of LT as bloggish. When I describe my thread to non-Lt'ers I call it a mini blog.

I'm not following any blogs right now. LT is enough for me, but I agree that if you start one, Ellen, I'll read it.

Jul 6, 10:47am Top

Setting up a blog is easy, as several have mentioned. I have two of them and while I don't do a very good job keeping up either one, I am happy to have them when I do have something to say. I use Wordpress and would recommend it as a way to get started even if you don't want to publish your work. You can make the whole blog private at the beginning. Using a blogging tool for a private journal allows you to track ideas through tagging and categories. And, if you do eventually want to start publishing your writing, you can change the privacy settings of the blog itself and then assign different settings to different posts, keeping some private and making others public.

Jul 7, 12:50pm Top

We had a wonderful couple of days in Boise and are actually putting it on the list of "possible places in which to retire." Our little guest house was in the northwest neighborhood, a large area of older homes mostly in excellent condition. We walked a lot and Hyde Park, a little neighborhood of eateries and shops, was an easy distance from our place. We rented bikes on Friday and rode along the river (we think it's the Boise River). I ended up with very swollen and painful knees (arthritis, I assume) but other than that it was absolutely delightful! We drove home yesterday along the Payette and Little Salmon Rivers, both of which are popular for white water rafting; that is an adventure that is in our future!

I finished reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Life and Writing by Anne Lamott and very much enjoyed it. I have started The Luminaries and realize it will occupy much of my July reading time.

Jul 7, 12:54pm Top

44. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

I loved this series of essays about creative writing. Lamott digs into some of the technical aspects of writing, including plot and character, but her narrative is more focused on the process of writing -- the commitment, the rhythm, the mindset needed to write in the face of almost certain obscurity. Lamott teaches creative writing workshops and she draws on her students' experiences with compassion, humor, and wisdom. The book made me chuckle out loud more than once and my copy, which I will certainly keep upon my shelf, is littered with little post-it flags.

Jul 7, 12:55pm Top

Currently reading:

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Jul 7, 12:55pm Top

And the U.S. wins with World Cup!!

Edited: Jul 7, 1:53pm Top

Oh, I forgot to mention a couple of exciting wildlife sightings during our drive home from Boise yesterday. Because my knees were hurting, Prudence did a lot of the driving, enabling me to watch for animals. Twice I got a great look at a Western Tanager and once I saw a badger!!! peeking out from the brush along the side of the road. Happily, the badger ducked back away from the traffic, but it was so cool to see that little face! It's my first-ever badger sighting.

Western Tanager


Jul 7, 1:09pm Top

>66 EBT1002: I love the source of the title, the story she tells about her brother!

If only she wasn't so durned religious.

>69 EBT1002: Goldarn if those tanagers aren't the purtiest family of not-seagulls ever.

Very happy for your good vacation time, and gobsmacked that Boise beguiled y'all that much!

Edited: Jul 7, 1:25pm Top

>66 EBT1002: That has now tripped into my shopping cart.

>69 EBT1002: can only see the bird, but it's a beauty.

Glad your mini-break was a success Ellen. Sounds delightful.

Jul 7, 1:40pm Top

>68 EBT1002: Congratulations!

It is sad we lost, but the USA was the better team.
Rapinoe was rightfully choosen best player of the tournament.

Edited: Jul 7, 2:25pm Top

I'm usually pretty bad about posting photos (sheer laziness) but I did just download some photos from our recent jaunt to Boise.

The guesthouse in which we stayed ~~ we had most of the downstairs, including that porch and those red Adirondack chairs

Little Free Library in "our" Boise neighborhood

Boise Fourth of July Parade ~~ I'm not much for 4th of July parades but we happened upon it and I did like this group.

Jul 7, 1:50pm Top

Boise Library! ~~ I love a town that adds an exclamation point to their public library's logo.

Jul 7, 1:51pm Top

And on a separate note...

My purchases at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle (from last weekend)

Edited: Jul 7, 1:59pm Top

>70 richardderus: Her religiosity did not bother me at all in this book, Richard. I appreciated her irreverence her frankness about her own faith without any indication that she believes others "need to" or "should" adhere to her beliefs.

The Tanagers were so stunning! A lovely flash of color in bright sunlight with green trees for background. P was very jealous that I got to see two of them!

>71 Caroline_McElwee: I hope you enjoy Bird by Bird, Caroline. I will return to reading Writing Down the Bones but this was an enjoyable read that may or may not actually inspire me to write. Lamott is a good storyteller.

I tried a different picture from the web for the badger. I've had terrible luck lately posting photos. I should just stay away from even trying it.

>72 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. It was a good match, overall, which I appreciated. I still don't understand when something is a penalty, when it isn't, when a yellow card is issued, when it's not. I mean, I understand the rules but I don't get the subtleties of soccer/European Football well enough to have confidence in my assessment of particular replays. I'm glad Rapinoe scored and got recognized as the best player in the tournament.

Jul 7, 2:00pm Top

I'll catch up with posts above ^ after I hang up another load of laundry. It's a sunny, breezy day ~ perfect for drying clothes on the line!

Edited: Jul 7, 2:33pm Top

I just put Deep River by Karl Marlantes on hold at the Seattle Public Library after reading this review in this morning's Seattle Times.

And I'm in library-book-trouble, so familiar to many around these parts: I have The Luminaries from the library and it's a chunkster (and I go back to work tomorrow - gah!), I just got My Sister, the Serial Killer, as well, and I have two more ready to be checked out.... I need another week of mini-vacation!

Jul 7, 2:38pm Top

Nice book haul, Ellen. I loved All My Puny Sorrows although it is a sad one. I was underwhelmed by My Sister, the Serial Killer, if that helps. I am ALMOST ready to start The Luminaries -- you will have a jump on me, but I'll try hard to catch up. I'm reading Kate Atkinson's Big Sky right now, and loving it, and I have another library book The Flight Portfolio to read before I start The Luminaries. That may change if The Flight Portfolio doesn't grab me.

Have a great Sunday and hope work goes well tomorrow.

Love the photos.

I love the pipes and drum bands! Bands are my favorite parts of parades.

Jul 7, 2:39pm Top

>54 PaulCranswick: I agree completely, Paul.

>55 maggie1944: I'm not sure the blog will actually happen, Karen, but if I do set one up, I'll let folks around here know the URL. I'm so not interested in being published, but I'd like to start writing more and I'm thinking I will do it better using a computer ~ perhaps I'll be more successful than I have been with pen and journal ~ and the thought of just writing into Word on a computer doesn't inspire me. Maybe if I knew that at least some people would read what I wrote, I'll "get around to" doing more of it! I tend to write in my head. Time, perhaps, to put it out into the universe. Heh.

I hope you had fun at the Storm game. I know they are not having a great year but watching them is always still fun (uncomfortable seats notwithstanding!).

You have some great reads going right now, but none of them strike me as "vacation" reading. I know, you're retired so "vacation reading" may be moot, but you know what I mean. :-)

Jul 7, 2:43pm Top

Thanks for the photos, Ellen. I love seeing other places through LT travelers' eyes. And I've never wanted a "LOVE" icon more on LT than I do for >74 EBT1002:!

Jul 7, 2:49pm Top

>56 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks for the recommendations, Linda. I agree completely that there is so much book info right here that I don't "need" a lot more book blogs to follow. I check in on our expendablemudge occasionally and I also check in on Book Riot and Electric Lit now and then, as well as the LA Book Review and the NYRB.... I guess there are a few others I also check in on now and then.

IF I start a blog, it won't be a book blog. Therein lies some of the dilemma: what do I call it when I don't yet know what I will write about? I mean, I think it will be a hybrid of memoir, fiction, "musings" (ugh), and something like social anthropology, but..... Anyway, stay tuned. If I do this, I will share here!

>57 richardderus: Good list, Richard! There are SO many book blogs! (not complaining, mind you...)

>58 lauralkeet: That makes total sense. It's why I'm not thinking that my blog, should I ever create one, will not be a book blog but a creative writing blog. Not much may happen on this until retirement....

In Boise, P and I were lunching at the Basque Market (delicious paella!) and chatting with the folks sitting with us at the "family seating" table. I said something about retiring in a few years and the woman from San Francisco asked "what will you do when you retire??" Oh my. I responded "read, write, draw, hike, bike, garden, read (yes, I think I mentioned that twice), volunteer...."

Jul 7, 2:54pm Top

>59 laytonwoman3rd: And "Stuck in a Book" is a great name for a blog!

>60 vancouverdeb: Hi Deb. I don't think you're alone in this group as a non-sports-watcher. Honestly, I watch more of it because P is such an avid sports fan than I probably would if left to my own devices. I enjoy it, but she watches a lot more than I do. Still, I can get sucked in....

>61 benitastrnad: I started reading The Luminiaries while in Boise, Benita. It is going to consume some hours in the coming week or two....

I agree that mini-vacations are an excellent way to rejuvenate. I love big vacations, but mini-ones are helpful in maintaining balance. I admit that I wish I didn't have to go back to work tomorrow even though I'm not dreading my job as much as I was for a while there.

>62 karenmarie: I still need to order that Bird/Rapinoe 2020 t-shirt, Karen!

Edited: Jul 7, 3:00pm Top

>63 streamsong: Janet, one of the things Lamott talks about in Bird by Bird is the usefulness of writing groups. I will probably look for one once I start writing. At this point, a writing group would look at me and say "so, what? You just want to come watch us write?" Ha.

Writing while laid up, healing and recovering, sounds good. I hope you do it. And I'd love to read anything you write!

"When I describe my thread to non-Lt'ers I call it a mini blog."
That is a great description and it fits my experience even though I haven't used those words. I refer to LT as "a sort of on-line book group," but I will borrow your words to describe my thread. It's interesting how LT has served the purpose of a writing outlet for so many of us. I think it has served in that capacity for me and I admit I have found myself thinking how that would change if I started a blog. Maybe if I think of this as my mini-blog, it will also enable me to give myself permission to put some of the in-my-head writing down here. Hmmmm.....

Edited: Jul 7, 3:03pm Top

>64 witchyrichy: Karen, thank you so much for that post. I've added it to my favorites.

I like the idea of starting with a private blog. I want to write but, other than LT, I haven't given myself much permission for it. I have a traditional hand-written journal and I'm a mucket about keeping up with it. I have no aspirations to publication, per se, but I do admit to thinking I'd like others to be able to read my work if they are so inclined. It's an interesting distinction....

Jul 7, 3:07pm Top

>79 BLBera: I won't have much of a head start on you, Beth. I've only read the first two chapters of The Luminaries so far and the long day of driving yesterday kept me from any reading at all. That, and I got caught up in a complicated jigsaw puzzle on my iPad. :-D

I'm interested that you were underwhelmed by My Sister, the Serial Killer. It has gotten a fair amount of love around here and among the critics. Of course, neither of those facts necessarily means it will be a 4+ star read for me (or you)!

I'm resting my knees today. It means there are several things P and I thought we would do today but my knees were so painful yesterday that I could hardly walk! I don't think it was just "overdoing it" on the bikes on Friday, but perhaps it was just that. They were so swollen! I suppose this could be "overdoing it when you also have arthritis." Sheesh.

Edited: Jul 7, 3:09pm Top

>81 laytonwoman3rd: I know, isn't that library sign in >74 EBT1002: the best, Linda?! I loved it so much that it motivated me to download photos here on LT, which I'm usually too lazy to do!

That photo may have to top a thread or two as I move through this year.

Jul 7, 3:11pm Top

Like Beth, I was a bit underwhelmed by My Sister, the Serial Killer...

Glad you enjoyed your mini-break!

Jul 7, 3:24pm Top

>88 katiekrug: Hmmm, two of my most reliable book-recommenders suggesting it would not be the end of the world if I gave My Sister, the Serial Killer a pass. I will continue making my way through The Luminaries and if I get to the Braithwaite, fine, but if my time is up before I get to it, I won't lose sleep! Thanks, Katie.

Jul 7, 4:53pm Top

Funny you mentioned not having been much of a sports "watcher" prior to connecting with P's appreciation of sports. I really do not care much for sports; however, in retirement having more time on my hands I find I love the opportunities to yell encouragement, laugh with happiness, and groan, on occasion. When I watch stuff on TV (like today's soccer match!) I usually get out of my chair and stand in front of the TV. And of course, when I go to Storm games I love to jump up with joy when I see a great play. I find it all to be a welcome relief for the quiet, peaceful, environment around this forested retirement community. Yup! I like to yell.

Congratulations to the great women' soccer team! And I am of course all the more happy for my favorite basketball player, Sue Bird, as her partner is the incomparable Megan Rapinoe! What a pair.

I am hoping you do decide to write a blog, it will make up for the fact that I do not have the chance to have conversations with you in real life as we had. I do miss that!

Jul 7, 6:22pm Top

>90 maggie1944: I love the image of you standing in front of your telly yelling as Rapinoe makes a beeline for the goal. And YES to watching Sue Bird make a tremendous pass to a player zooming for the basket. Interesting that the two of them, while respectable scorers in their own right, are both best known for their excellence in accruing assists throughout their careers.

I miss our conversations, too, my friend. I would love to wander up the Ave knowing that I'm meeting you for yummy food and lively conversation!

Jul 7, 6:23pm Top

It looks like I'll be traveling to Asheville to visit my sister around Labor Day. Her move to the progressive assisted living community is coming together very nicely. So, actually, I'll mostly be in Black Mountain rather than Asheville....

Jul 7, 7:24pm Top

Well done to team USA!

Jul 7, 8:11pm Top

>92 EBT1002: I hope your sister's move does go smoothly, and her adjustment to her new home is not difficult. I believe there is much progress in the field of assisted living, and I hope your use of the word "progressive" indicates that they are working with up to date thinking about what is appropriate assistance. And best wishes for your trip!

Jul 7, 8:15pm Top

Hi Ellen. I had not known about your sister. I do hope everything goes smoothly and well for her. Is she moving by herself of does she have a partner she is moving with?

Jul 7, 8:32pm Top

>75 EBT1002: Unclay! Oh my dear, do enjoy your time in Little Dodder!

Jul 7, 9:03pm Top

I wanted to chime in on the blog conversation, Ellen. This is a link to my blog http://genihistorypath.blogspot.com/. It's also on blogger. I write about history and genealogy and find that putting my thoughts together to write about a family line or a piece of history helps me to better understand what happened and figure out what I want to know more about.

Jul 7, 9:33pm Top

We were driving back home today, so we couldn’t watch the World Cup final, but our DIL texted us what was happening throughout (Debbi took the texts while I drove). Great win - what a World Cup Rapinoe had!

Edited: Jul 8, 9:48am Top

Reading update: I'm about a third of the way into/through The Luminaries and I'm quite enjoying it. The characters are colorful and the narrative style is distinctive.

Jul 8, 3:09pm Top

I pulled Luminaries out of the box last night and started reading it. Unfortunately, I got sleepy and only got 3 pages read. However, I am joining you for the read.

This morning, with my morning coffee, I finished one of the longest held books in my TBR pile. Riding with Rilke: Reflections on Motorcycles and Books by college English professor Ted Bishop. This turned out to be a really fun memoir. It was all about motorcycles, archives, and books. And a road trip by motorcycle. It covered everything from why you need a specially made motorcycle jacket to dust jackets on different editions of James Joyce's Ulysses. It was a fun read and now I can turn my attention to the Luminaries.

Jul 8, 3:58pm Top

I decided to start House of Broken Angels before The Luminaries. It's the July PBS/NYT Now Read This book, so I imagine there is a library queue waiting for it and I decided to be kind and return it as soon I can. When I added it to LT, I saw it was also in your library, but can't remember what you thought about it ... So far it's a lovely (but somewhat sad) read.

Jul 9, 7:13am Top

>99 EBT1002: Ooh I liked this one. Hope she writes another.

Jul 9, 8:15am Top

>99 EBT1002: I'm glad that you're enjoying The Luminaries, Ellen!

Jul 10, 7:34am Top

Wow, Ellen! You are zipping through it. I'll START it this weekend. Tennis is eating into my reading time. :) Go Rafa! Go Serena!

Jul 10, 4:28pm Top

>94 maggie1944: I think the "progressive" part means that as a person's needs change over time, the same facility is equipped to increase the level of assistance/care provided so that another move isn't necessary. But that in itself is progressive in the way you mean it!

Jul 10, 6:09pm Top

Just like a "progressive" dinner. Hopefully, the place that serves the dessert has a good cook!

Edited: Jul 11, 6:51pm Top

OK...I had to skip ahead...I am very jealous that you saw a badger in the wild.

>99 EBT1002: >100 benitastrnad: >101 streamsong: Have now added three books to the wish list at the library. Thanks!

Jul 11, 9:22pm Top

>102 charl08: An update on Catton from late last year - 'Celebrated New Zealand writer Eleanor Catton has hinted she wants to hit pause on writing novels, and focus more on writing for the screen.'

I've been waiting for her next book for ages, she seems to have taken a long break from writing. It was 13 years for Markus Zusak to get his latest book published. She was part-time teaching creative writing at a local tertiary institute but I'm not sure if she still does that.

Jul 13, 10:20pm Top

>108 avatiakh: The most frustrating for me is Rohinton Mistry. Where has that fellow gone? It is a generation since he published Family Matters. Does he still have anything to say?

Have a great weekend, Ellen.

Jul 14, 1:35pm Top

On Friday, the Seattle Storm's game was treated to a visit from Stewie, looking good, and from Megan Rapinoe, and the mayor of Seattle. Rapinoe and Sue Bird joined the major for a joint happy picture! It electrified the crowd and the Storm went on to play the best game I've seen this year (not that I'm really qualified to judge). It was a very fun game to attend. Nice to have experiences like this in these days.

I am housesitting and garden watering for friends in Seattle. They have an outdoor cat who needs feeding and protecting from Gretchen, and there's a crow who chimes in on how good the cat food smells. A bit of a three ring circus.

A good friend at Silver Glen loaned me a library copy of Make Trouble by Cecile Richards and I've been having a great time actually reading it for long periods of time, using new reading glasses! Oh boy, I am so glad to have new reading glasses. I recommend the book highly, as a great accounting of how one can make a difference. It should be required reading for any one even vaguely interested in public service, and politics.

Jul 14, 1:37pm Top

I finally started The Luminaries., Ellen. You, I imagine, are way ahead of me. I'll try to catch up!

Jul 14, 3:31pm Top

Happy Sunday, Ellen. I hope you are having a good weekend and I hope you are still enjoying The Luminaries.

Jul 14, 9:14pm Top

Hi Ellen! Happy reading this week. Hugs to you and P.

Jul 15, 10:57pm Top

So far, (the first 100 pages) I am enjoying The Luminaries, Ellen. It reminds me of Dickens or Wilkie Collins in a way, with the hints at some horror and the long stories.

Jul 15, 11:28pm Top

I'm caught up at last, sort of. Glad for your mini-vac and your finding Boise wonderful! Sorry about your knees and hopeful that they are back to normal.
Good for you for enjoying Luminaries! I tried, and I finished, but it was hard work for me, and that made me sad because I had had such high expectations.
Oh! Black Mountain!!!!! As far as I'm concerned, Montreat is as close to heaven as we can get on earth. I hope your sister is completely satisfied with her move as she works her way into her new community. Think of me while you're there!
AND all good wishes to you as you have returned to work today.

Jul 16, 3:03pm Top

Hope you had a lovely weekend and the return to work wasn't too stressful.

>110 maggie1944: Thanks for the tip on Cecile Richards' book. I did not know she was Ann Richards' daughter either but it makes sense.

My library doesn't have either Luminaries or Make Trouble and I am over my limit for making suggestions for purchases so I may have to buy them.

Jul 17, 3:26pm Top

Hey, Andrea Camilleri died today...and since y'all live in Pullman, I thought you'd like to catch the MHz network tribute/rerunfest of the Montalbano TV shows on KWSU channel 10.

Jul 17, 9:48pm Top

>117 richardderus: No more Montalbano. :-(

Jul 17, 11:35pm Top

>117 richardderus: oh, that's sad. I knew he was an oldster, but the stories are so much fun, I wanted the series to last forever.

Jul 17, 11:59pm Top

>118 thornton37814:, >119 ffortsa: No fears, y'all. Three already-published novels haven't been translated yet; one series-ending novel hasn't even come out from Sellerio yet (Camilleri took a page out of Dame Agatha's book and wrote a final, final ending for the series); and there are four untranslated collections of short stories in store!

Jul 18, 10:11am Top

>120 richardderus: Oh, rats....I didn't realize Camilleri had written a conclusion to the series. I sort of gave up on those after No. 10. I was getting a bit of a same-old-same-old feeling and really tired of the dynamic (or lack thereof) between Montalbano and Livia.

Edited: Jul 19, 10:06pm Top

Hi everyone. I'm still here, but not here.

I finally finished

45. The Luminaries this morning. A solid read.

It's only my 2nd completed book this month ... between work and that book being a chunkster, and my recent addiction to my jigsaw puzzle app (which is sometimes easier to focus on than reading when work is particularly stressful), it's going to be a slow month. I have committed to setting aside the puzzles and focusing on reading!

I'm hosting the SeriesCAT this month and I will set up that thread this weekend (thank you, Judy, for the reminder!!).

More soon.

Jul 18, 12:15pm Top

Hi! Summer in the Palouse? Is it warm enough for you? I'm deeply embedded in The Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny. I finished reading Make Trouble and it did cheer me up a bit in regards to our current public life. Then, of course, the current events makes me want to cry, again. So, I guess it is a Rollercoaster Ride.

Set aside the puzzles to focus on priorities. Now, there's a concept. I don't know whether I could do that or not but I will say the responsibilities of housesitting, and watering a large garden has made me more active, which is a good thing.

Jul 19, 7:24pm Top

After swimming laps at the local pool Wednesday night, I came down with an eye infection! I came home early yesterday with Rx eyedrops. The only good thing about this is that I stayed home today and alternated between reading and resting my eyes. They feel better but are still irritated.

Still, I finished another novel.

Edited: Jul 19, 7:26pm Top

46. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

I read this retold fairy tale for July's SeriesCAT and square number 18 on my BingoDog card. It was a fun read but I won't likely bother with the rest of the series.

Jul 19, 7:29pm Top

>123 maggie1944: Actually, it has been rather cool out here on the Palouse so far, Karen. It is supposed to climb into the 90s next week but I have been lying on our couch with two blankets keeping me warm! Really, it has been lovely -- partly sunny with highs in the 70s and breezes that have a bit of a chill on them.

The current political climate is terrifying and demoralizing. He knows exactly what he is doing. The next 16+ months are going to be so ugly. And I assume that college campuses will continue to be a primary venue for the ugliness to play out. Ugh.

I'm glad you're being more active! Gardening seems like such a good way to incorporate more physical movement and just being outside into one's life.

Jul 19, 7:32pm Top

As I continue to recover from this eye infection, I plan to spend some time on LT this weekend. I need to set up the August SeriesCAT thread (I'm hosting) and do some checking in with my various reading buddies. We also plan to go to the Saturday farmer's market in Moscow, do some laundry and housecleaning, oil the Eucalyptus rocking chairs on our front porch, and other mundane household activities. And I'll be resting my eyes at least a little bit.

Edited: Jul 19, 8:16pm Top

I have four books on my kindle from the Seattle Public Library: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, The Firemaker by Peter May, Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett, and The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny. They are due back in that very order. I have to admit that I'm rather desiring to read an old-fashioned book book as the past few have been kindle books from the library. So, I don't know what I'll choose but I certainly have options!

I'm also listening to Dry Bones by Craig Johnson, having found a way to integrate audiobooks back into my eastern Washington life. I'm enjoying it as much as I enjoyed the earlier ones in the Walt Longmire series.

Happy weekend, everyone!!

Edited: Jul 21, 11:18am Top

>93 PaulCranswick: A belated thanks, Paul.

>94 maggie1944: Thanks Karen. They are moving into a zero-lot-line place with three bedrooms and two baths. Not yet really needing the "assisted" in "assisted living," although the time will of course come for that. Her partner who is 7 years older than she, is experiencing some signs of confusion so this move may be coming "just in time" to allow her to adjust to the new digs.

>95 jessibud2: Hi Shelley. My sister is 17 years older than I am. Her partner of 44 years is 7 years older than she, and has diabetes. This move will be good for them. The new place doesn't have stairs which have become difficult for them and it's in a community with care available based on what they need. They seem to have gotten lucky and are moving into a place kind of on the edge of the community with a view of a pond and mountains beyond that. I'm looking forward to seeing them and seeing the new place!

Edited: Jul 19, 8:26pm Top

>96 richardderus: When I get to it, Richard. :-)

>97 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg. I have occasionally perused your blog and have enjoyed it. I don't know where I'll land on this, and it may simply wait until retirement. And it has kind of helped to think about my LT thread as a sort of blogette. :-)

>98 jnwelch: It was a fun match to watch, Joe. I'm glad you were able to get updates!
I saw a young woman on campus last week -- she was tall and fit, and had dyed her hair light purple with a mild spiky style, and was wearing an REI shirt with "Outside with Pride" on it. I smiled.

Jul 19, 9:36pm Top

>100 benitastrnad: I'm glad you dug The Luminaries out of your boxes, Benita. I ended up quite enjoying it although there was a bit early on when I found myself thinking "this is just too complicated." But in the end, I so enjoyed the subtleties, the characters, and the underlying, um, intrigue (spoiler avoidance, that).

The book you read that was such a long-held TBR puts me in mind of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I'm guessing they actually had very little in common....

>101 streamsong: Hi Janet. I quite liked The House of Broken Angels. It is indeed sad but the family's story, the relationships -- it ended up being a memorable and poignant read. I hope you enjoyed it.

>102 charl08: I wonder if Eleanor Catton is writing another novel, Charlotte. I can't imagine that she is not working on something and, if it's at all like The Luminaries, it will be complex and nuanced and it will take her a while to complete.

>103 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl!

>104 BLBera: Ha, cracked me up. Tennis ate into your time reading The Luminaries and I got sucked into my jigsaw puzzle app. I watched tennis, too, at least the women's draw. I was disappointed in Serena's final but Halep was just playing out of her mind!!

Jul 19, 9:38pm Top

>105 laytonwoman3rd: Yes and yes. Perfectly put, Linda!

>106 maggie1944: Haha! I love that one, Karen.

>107 witchyrichy: It was but a mere glimpse, Karen, if that takes the edge off you envy. It was pretty cool to see that Badger, though, no matter the fleeting nature of it. And I'm glad my thread has added to your wish list! :-D

Jul 19, 9:42pm Top

>108 avatiakh: How interesting, Kerry. I would be interested in what she develops for the screen. I do hope she gets around to writing another novel eventually as this one was well worth the time investment.

I've only read The Book Thief by Zusak; I loved it. What else might you recommend?

>109 PaulCranswick: A great reminder to read what an excellent author has already published, Paul. I thought A Fine Balance was brilliant but I've not yet read Family Matters. I must get to it.

It is interesting how some writers just push the completed works out the door at a rapid clip; others go quiet for what seems like ages!

Jul 19, 9:47pm Top

>110 maggie1944: I saw photos on Twitter and elsewhere, Karen. So cool! I think the president of UW joined the mayor of Seattle -- what a great city. I miss that aspect of it. A lot.

Hmm, your description of the cat, the crows, Gretchen, and the whole circus remind me of why our cats were always exclusively indoors. Of course, out here in eastern Washington, the large population of raptors would be a major threat, along with the coyotes.

We had a kestrel swoop into our yard this afternoon as we sat out there reading. He landed in a tree not 10 feet from us and it was so cool to watch him. I could see his feathers ruffle in the breeze and I could see his incredible eyes checking out the territory. All our little birds were very quiet until he flew away.

Make Trouble is going right on the wish list and next time I'm in a book store I will find a copy. I need something to give me hope in what feels like a terrible time in our country's history!

Edited: Jul 19, 9:59pm Top

>111 BLBera: I may have had a head start on The Luminaries, Beth, but I just finished it yesterday. It was an investment of time that was worth it in the end. I'll come over to your thread to see how you're coming along.

>112 msf59: Thanks Mark! It's now Friday and this was an up-and-down week. Tuesday we had a leadership retreat that I came away from exhausted but upbeat and feeling good. Then by 10am Wednesday I was saying "I hate my freaking job" again. I guess that is the way of employment, eh?

>113 richardderus: Thanks for swinging by and saying hello in the midst of my awol, Richard. I'm quite touched that people still check in on me here even when I go vewy, vewy quiet. xo

>114 BLBera: I'm glad you're enjoying Catton's storytelling, Beth. I think she has a gift for it.

Jul 19, 10:04pm Top

>115 LizzieD: Peggy! Your mention of Montreat is so wonderful. I went to church camp there several summers in a row in my teens. I have special memories of the place and that part of the world is just so darn beautiful. They've been in/near Asheville since 1983 but I'm kind of excited that their address will now be Black Mountain. I can't wait to visit them -- six weeks from tomorrow!

>116 witchyrichy: There is a limit for how many suggestions you can make to the library for purchases? Hmph. I am thinking I will buy a copy of Make Trouble, too, just to support her.

>117 richardderus: I had not heard about his death, Richard! (and I have not been on LT, needless to say). I wonder if that is why the flags were at half-mast around town yesterday. (ha).

Perhaps I'll read the next in his series soon. I still have several to enjoy.

>118 thornton37814: and >119 ffortsa: It makes me all the more glad that I haven't yet read them all!

Jul 19, 10:06pm Top

>120 richardderus: And I haven't yet read all the novels that are available and in translation! Lucky me.

>121 laytonwoman3rd: I read somewhere that he didn't start writing until age 69 or so.... I wonder what he did to make a living before that.

Jul 19, 10:48pm Top

Have a great weekend, Ellen. I hope your eyes feel better soon. I am envious of your temps; we have heat advisories here this week. I think today is the worst, heat index of 105. The dew point is in the 70s and it is miserable.

I have the farmer's market on my list tomorrow, and a nature hike if 1. my knee behaves and 2. it's not hellishly hot.

I am enjoying The Luminaries. I love all the homage to 19th century novels. There are a LOT of characters. I do have to look back occasionally when a character reappears.

I'm also working on Scout's sampler. After I showed it to her, she keeps telling me to finish "her picture." I try to post a photo of what it looks like so far.

Jul 20, 12:25am Top

>138 BLBera: I had read that there was a heat wave in your part of the world, Beth. I hope you can stay cool. If you go out for a nature hike tomorrow, don't forget lots of water (like you need me to remind you about that).

I'm interested in the "homage to 19th century novels." I admit that went over my head. Say more, please?

I love Scout's sampler!! My aunt Jean who lives in Tennessee has a few samplers framed and hanging in her house; the history of samplers as an art form and an element of house-holding culture is wonderful, I think.

Your knee? It sounds like we are peas in a pod on that one. The arthritis in my right knee has progressed in the past year or so. I was so proud to have swum laps Wednesday night and then this eye infection cropped up. Hardly fair.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Keep enjoying The Luminaries!

Edited: Jul 20, 12:31am Top

Prudence and I watched the film of Penelope Fitzgerald's The Bookshop this evening. Emily Mortimer and Bill Nighy. It was as slow as one might expect a film version of Fitzgerald's fiction to be, but also really sweet and well-done. I have read some of her work - Offshore and The Blue Flower - but not this one.

Jul 20, 8:00am Top

It's nice to see you back among us, Ellen, although the eye infection sounds nasty. I hope it heals quickly and you enjoy your LT-ing and other weekend activities.

Jul 20, 8:35am Top

Morning, Ellen! I'm sorry to hear about the eye infection and I hope it clears up soon. A few Christmases ago, I woke up the morning we were getting in the car to drive from Wisconsin to Ohio to visit family with pink-eye! Yoicks.

Jul 20, 10:38am Top

Hope you are having a good weekend and the eye infection is easing. I like doing the jigsaws and also have discovered "time management building" games. Enough challenge to engage the mind but only for the minutes it takes to complete a level.

Jul 20, 10:55am Top

Mostly I meant that it seems very Dickensian, Ellen. There's a huge cast of characters, lots of foreshadowing about some horrible events, direct address to the reader are just some of the things I've noticed.

I wimped out on my hike. It was pouring rain, and it was meant to be a fun thing, which it wouldn't be if I were soaking wet. At least it is cooler this morning.

I love samplers. I've done a few. I never take pictures of them, which I should do.

I am keeping on with The Luminaries.

I must watch THe Bookshop; I should probably give it a reread as well. It has been years.

I hope your eye is better. I might have to start swimming; walking is a huge stress reliever for me, and if my knee is painful, it really cuts down on my steps and my stress goes way up.

Jul 20, 2:38pm Top

Now that both you and Beth will have read The Luminaries I am probably the last person on LT who hasn't opened her copy yet. Will have to work it into my reading challenges!

Jul 20, 4:34pm Top

Hi Ellen, hope you are having a good start to the weekend my dear, sending love and hugs dear friend.

Jul 20, 4:45pm Top

Sorry to hear about the eye Ellen, but hope it's on the mend. Glad it's abetted some reading and LT time though.

Edited: Jul 20, 7:56pm Top

47. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

"I know better than to take life directions from someone without a moral compass."

This is an interesting and amusing (!) short novel set in modern day Nigeria with themes of sibling loyalty, murder, and the legacy of family brutality. A quick, entertaining read.

Edited: Jul 20, 8:04pm Top

This was a good Saturday. After coffee and cereal, P and I went to the farmer's market in Moscow, Idaho. It's a really good market; we came home with strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pluots, huge green onions, pie cherries and Rainier Cherries (nectar of the gods).... and a cookie for Ellen!

We cleaned and oiled our Eucalyptus front porch rockers, did laundry, and took turns reading in the hammock which we have out under the huge Aspen tree in our back yard. We have a turkey in the oven and I'll be mashing potatoes in a little while. Oh, and we swung by the library. P gets to go there whenever she wants but I rarely make it to our little local library and depend almost exclusively on eBooks from the Seattle Public Library. Today I snagged a copy of The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin. You all will swoon when I tell you there were two copies of Kate Atkinson's Transcription on the shelves. I'm still surprised by how easy it is to get copies of relatively new novels by popular authors here. I would be in a long queue for that one if I still lived in Seattle.

Jul 20, 8:10pm Top

Just four more days until the Booker Long List is announced!!!!

Edited: Jul 20, 8:30pm Top

We cleaned and oiled our Eucalyptus front porch rockers
Is that the type of wood? A brand? Why were you drawn to them? I have an image of a lovely -looking and -smelling rocker, but I've never heard of these before.

P.S. I'm looking forward to that Booker Long List, too. I got a kick out of My Sister, the Serial Killer.

Jul 20, 8:44pm Top

I'm intrigued by the idea of eucalyptus furniture too...does it discourage bugs?

>137 EBT1002: I think Camilleri wrote before the age of 70, but that's when he began his Montalbano series, which really brought him to the reading public's attention. Before that (maybe even after that), he was a theater director, according to the Washington Post.

I hope the eye infection is on its way away.

Jul 20, 9:07pm Top

Your day sounds lovely, Ellen. It's so hot here (nearly 100F) that we just stayed indoors. That had its pluses -- lots of reading time, for example -- but I would have enjoyed a jaunt to a farmers market and the library.

Jul 21, 7:45am Top

Woo! I'm eagerly looking forward to this year's Booker Prize longlist.

Jul 21, 8:10am Top

Happy Sunday, Ellen. It sounds like you are enjoying the weekend. I have to stop by and warble about If You Want to Make God Laugh. Put this on your list, if you haven't all ready. Super cool author too.

I am starting Big Sky tomorrow.

Edited: Jul 21, 11:19am Top

Good morning!

>151 jnwelch: Hi Joe. The rockers are made of Eucalyptus wood, more sustainable than many others. They are lovely but they don't smell of anything other than the oil we use to protect them. We got them at Pullman Building Supply which is one of the most delightful stores on Earth. You can find almost anything there.

"...got a kick out of My Sister, the Serial Killer" is a great way to put it.

>152 laytonwoman3rd: I don't know whether the wood is a bug deterrent, Linda. We bought them because they are beautiful and the wood is more sustainable than teak, which is very much what they look like they are made of.

I guess the good news is that waiting three years until I retire to really start writing is not, well, too late. Of course, I have no real ambition to be published but it's nice to think of an actively writing retirement.

My eyes are well on the way to health. I'm still putting Rx drops in them three times a day. Mostly I notice they get tired and irritated more quickly than usual, which you would think would slow down my reading. On the contrary, it has been a nice three days with lots of reading time.

>153 lauralkeet: We have been enjoying an absolutely lovely spell of weather, Laura, unlike most of the country! I do believe it is about to end as the temps are predicted to climb in the next few days.

Jul 21, 11:15am Top

>154 kidzdoc: I thought you might be, Darryl. ;-)

>155 msf59: I will take your word for it and add If You Want to Make God Laugh to my list, Mark. I haven't heard about it before now. Thanks for the recommendation!

I have one more Jackson Brodie novel to read before I get to Big Sky. Started Early, Took My Dog has been on my list for a while now.

Edited: Jul 21, 11:17am Top

I started reading Peter May's The Firemaker last night. It is the first in his "China Thrillers" trilogy. So far it is engaging enough.

Then this morning, while my kindle was getting a recharge, I started The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin. This one is, I believe, right up may alley!

Jul 21, 11:27am Top

Happy week ahead, Ellen, with low stress and high reading time.

And a trillion dollars, while we're dreaming.

Jul 21, 12:01pm Top

>156 EBT1002: I did a little research on eucalyptus wood. Apparently it's rather hard to work with, and can split and crack unexpectedly at various stages of woodworking processes. But if that doesn't happen, it's strong. One source says it is moderately resistant to termites, but later in the same article says didgeridoos are made from eucalyptus logs hollowed out by termites! Anyway, it does look quite lovely, and as you say, similar to teak.

Jul 21, 12:32pm Top

>159 richardderus: LOL, Richard. I would settle for a cool million, truly I would. But actually, I should have a not-very-stressful week ahead of me. I need to go in to the office for about an hour today to take care of some things that languished while I was recovering from my eye infection, but I'm only in the official office three days this week. On Thursday I am driving to the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland) with a couple of colleagues for an extensive meeting on the WSU campus there. Then I am using a conference room there to do some work remotely. Prudence is driving down on Thursday afternoon. We have a room at a lodge on the Columbia River and two friends from Seattle are joining us on Friday. I'll work some on Friday but then the weekend is all about friends, food, and wine-tasting. I'm taking that next Monday as a vacation day for our drive home. See? It could be so much worse. :-)

Jul 21, 12:32pm Top

>160 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks for the research, Linda. I will take a photo of our rockers and table and post them later today.

Jul 21, 12:39pm Top

Hi Ellen!

Congrats on Western Tanagers, Badgers, and finishing The Luminaries. I want to read it this year but we’ll see.

Sorry about the eye infection, glad to hear that it’s clearing up.

Jul 21, 1:33pm Top

>161 EBT1002: ooh, I like weeks like that, which conclude in a long weekend Ellen. I had one a couple of weeks ago. Bliss.

Now I'm nudging, as I was looking forward to photos of you bracelets and other acquisitions from your Taiwanese trip. I shall enjoy seeing the rocking chairs too.

Jul 21, 2:22pm Top

>161 EBT1002: That's a lovely summer work-week indeed. I know conferring is not the beau ideal of academia, but it means a change of scene and that is a net good in my book.

Have a lovely time wining and dining with P! (To whom I extend my most respectful greetings.)

Jul 21, 3:42pm Top

>161 EBT1002: what a perfect week you have ahead of you, Ellen. A nice mix of business and pleasure.

Jul 21, 5:20pm Top

I don't remember if you and I have talked about Maryhill or not, but if you do not know of it, be sure to do a little research, and then go see this isolated, mansion which has been turned into a museum. There are some Rodin studies there, as well as some "crown jewels" from Bohemia. At least, I think those things are still there. They were there the last time I checked, and I did get to visit the museum when I was young. I believe a railroad millionaire built it for his wife, but I don't think they ever lived there. It is worth checking out on the computer if nothing more.

I do like Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon, and Idaho.

Edited: Jul 21, 7:28pm Top

I have never been one to iron my clothes. BUT with this warmer climate, I now have several linen shirts for work, so this afternoon I ironed and ironed and ironed. It's not so bad when you have a good audiobook to listen to! I'm in the midst of Dry Bones by Craig Johnson -- the next installment in the Walt Longmire series, narrated so wonderfully by George Guidall.

Oh, and I spent some time in the hammock with The Unpassing. It's a bit slow but I'm interested in where it's going to go. I have visited the south central part of Alaska where it is set so I can picture the territory quite well.

Jul 21, 7:34pm Top

Ironing, Ellen! I remember when my kids were young and they had so many cotton t shirts that really wrinkled up in the wash. I used to iron them in batches of 5 , 10 and so on. I don't do much ironing any more. And by the looks of my younger son, neither he nor his wife care much about ironing!:-)

Edited: Jul 21, 7:42pm Top

Here are the Eucalyptus-wood rocking chairs we have on our front porch. This is where I sit on work mornings drinking my first mug of coffee and reading.


Jul 21, 7:47pm Top

>163 karenmarie: Hi Karen. We saw more Western Tanagers when we went camping last weekend. That was so cool!

>164 Caroline_McElwee: Yeah, I am both looking forward to this week and kind of dreading it. I suppose my dread is just ordinary late Sunday afternoon dread, though, rather than dread of any particular thing. And I'm excited about the trip to Tri-Cities!

Thanks for the nudge, Caroline. Posting photos isn't really all that difficult, I'm relearning....

>165 richardderus: Meetings are the bread and butter of my work, Richard. I don't mind meetings but there are times when I wonder if it really makes sense for the state of Washington to pay me for so many hours spent, as you say, conferring. I have been known to joke that "I meet for a living" is the best way to describe my work. Ha.

P and I will indeed have fun wining and dining. We have Thursday evening to ourselves before Seattle friends arrive so we're thinking of finding a good Mexican place. We have Mexican food in Pullman but not good Mexican food.

Jul 21, 7:52pm Top

>166 lauralkeet: Yes, Laura, it should be a good week. BIL and SIL from Seattle are arriving on Tuesday, on their way to Montana. So we also have the pleasure of their company for a couple of nights. They are the ones we usually stay with when we are in Seattle so it will be nice to return the favor.

>167 maggie1944: Hi Karen. We have been to the Maryhill winery in Goldendale (about 100 miles east of Portland). I think the museum was closed when we visited (this was several years ago, perhaps when we lived in Oregon!). We are fans of their wines, that is for sure. I'll keep the museum on our list of places to visit one of these days.

>169 vancouverdeb: I have never been one to iron, Deb! I'm compulsive about getting clothes out of the dryer as soon as possible or hanging them on our outside line to dry. But linen just gets so wrinkled. So we'll see how long this new trend lasts in my life!

Jul 21, 8:07pm Top

Linen clothing is the sole and entire reason gawd invented laundry/dry cleaning services. There is no reason an adult person with an income, not incarcerated, and free of obligations to people who regard smallish body parts in much the same light as large bills, should ever so much as smell a hot iron.

Jul 21, 8:30pm Top

I used to find ironing quite satisfying, actually. But I really don't think I've plugged mine in since I stopped working.

Jul 21, 9:12pm Top

>171 EBT1002: I suppose my dread is just ordinary late Sunday afternoon dread. Now that is one feeling I don't miss at all! Looks like you have an excellent week ahead, Ellen. Hope everything goes to plan (or even better).

Jul 21, 10:00pm Top

>173 richardderus: LOL - it's true. But I listened to almost two whole chapters of my Walt Longmire book!

>174 laytonwoman3rd: Oh, once I stop working (can you say 37 months?), I will give away the iron and the linen shirts to go with it!

>175 Familyhistorian: Thanks so much Meg. Thirty-seven months and counting...

Jul 21, 10:39pm Top

>173 richardderus: - I second this. I love linen, and my dry cleaner loves me :) I will do almost any chore imaginable rather than iron.

Jul 21, 10:40pm Top

Lovely chairs, Ellen!

Jul 21, 10:49pm Top

I only iron when I am sewing, Ellen. I live in jeans and cotton knit tops. I'm glad you have a lovely weekend to look forward to this week!

Jul 22, 1:41am Top

Ellen--Here's to happy knees and eyes, no ironing, good books and visits from Seattle relatives!! And 37 months (but who's counting) to retirement and writing. : )

Jul 22, 4:58am Top

Ha, so glad I'm not the only one who does not have a close relationship with my iron!

Jul 22, 7:05am Top

>173 richardderus:, >177 katiekrug: adding my virtual nod to this. And the thing about linen is, within seconds of putting it on your body it's wrinkled again (part of its charm I suppose) so achieving that perfect ironed look is pointless. I use a steamer much more than the iron, to freshen things up to "good enough."

Of course, I don't have to actually report to a job or impress anyone anymore, so I may have lowered my standards. 😂

Jul 22, 10:19am Top

We donated our iron about 20 years ago.
When (rarely) needed, I hang clothes on a hook in the bathroom,
take very hot showers, and sometimes use a small steamer.

We also use the dryer bag method and have saved for many years with no trips to Dry Cleaners.

Jul 22, 1:01pm Top

Ironing. Ah yes, I remember that. Actually I do iron a few blouses from time to time, but they are more likely to stay in the closet in their wrinkled state. And then there is the occasional sewing. I'm planning to get a small steamer which will allow me to avoid the ironing board and iron.

Your chairs look terrific, especially in the weather you describe. I hope to bring my Kindle to the park some time today and sit out under the trees if it's not too steamy.

Jul 22, 1:24pm Top

I used to iron occasionally for work, usually when traveling. But since retiring, fuggedaboutit.

Jul 22, 3:35pm Top

I've been thinking of ditching the iron, and the ironing board (very small apartment, don't cha know) and buying a small steamer. I think it might do just as well for a retired lady.

Jul 23, 10:28am Top

>177 katiekrug: I have always been in the same camp as you and Richard, Katie. I've had irons rust due to lack of use! This is an interesting experiment. It's also the first time I've had a house large enough to leave the ironing board just up - so the chore is ironing, not setting up the board, getting the iron out, etc. And we'll still see how long this lasts. Ha.

>178 LizzieD: Thanks Peggy! They are very comfortable, too.

>179 ronincats: "I live in jeans and cotton knit tops." Spoken like a true retiree, Roni! Thirty-seven months and I'll be joining you!!

>180 Berly: xo my dear friend.

Jul 23, 10:32am Top

>181 Caroline_McElwee: It's sounding like most of us eschew ironing, Caroline. I'm chuckling at the energy we have around NOT ironing.

>182 lauralkeet: Our new house came with a very elaborate steam-drying attached to the regular dryer, Laura, but I haven't yet figured out how to use it. And I'm laughing at the comment about linen getting wrinkled again within two minutes of wearing. SO true. But since I'm not a perfectionist (at least, not in this territory), I can live with that. And yes, once I no longer have to report to a job anymore, I anticipate taking my iron and ironing board right to the thrift store along with most of my work-related clothes. I can hardly wait!!

Jul 23, 10:36am Top

>183 m.belljackson: What I haven't chimed in about yet, Marianne, is that I avoid using the dryer whenever possible, too. That is more related to my effort to reduce my carbon footprint, so I hang clothes on the line much of the year. That's a chore I actually rather enjoy. So just for clarification: I don't enjoy ironing, but I'm experimenting with tolerating it. Audiobooks help. :-)

I don't know the dryer bag method, though....

>184 ffortsa: I have a couple of other friends who have also sung the praises of their little steamers, Judy, so I may look into that if the ironing becomes intolerable.

>185 jnwelch: Thirty-seven months, Joe, and I'll be right there with you!

>186 maggie1944: Ditch 'em, Karen. I hear the steamers work really well and with a small living space, the iron and ironing board are just a nuisance.

Edited: Jul 23, 10:39am Top

SO - about those books I'm reading. :-D

The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin is good but slow.
The Firemaker by Peter May is keeping my attention rather nicely.

I'm still listening to Dry Bones by Craig Johnson and it's excellent in audio format.

Edited: Jul 23, 11:44am Top

I kinda stopped on Luminaries as I have to get a Camilla Lackberg mystery read for my real life Book Club, but I am slowly making progress on it, and will keep up with it. I am also reading a really good biography for Suzanne's Non-Fiction Challenge here on LT. The challenge this month is biographies, memoirs, or autobiographies. I chose to read about a little known English author Patience Gray who was one of the founding members of the Italian Slow Food Movement. The book is Fasting and Feasting. Patience and her partner, Norman Mommens (a well known scupltor), lived in Carrera, Italy and then moved clear south to Puglia. She was a gardener and cookbook author and she loved to forage and live off the land. She and Norman were hippies of the first rank. I am now up to 1970 and the move to Puglia. The chapter is describing how she learned to "put-up" tomatoes (that is what we called in back in Kansas). What she describes in the canning and preserving and making of that famous Italian tomato paste, sounds just like what we did for several weeks in the summer when I was growing up. We spent every evening picking tomatoes, then the mornings cleaning and cooking them and water bathing the jars of tomatoes and tomato juice. As soon as I get done with this biography I will be back to the Luminaries.

Jul 23, 12:15pm Top

>191 benitastrnad: I have Fasting and Feasting in the pile Benita.

Virginia and Leonard Woolf commissioned Norman to do a sculpture for their Monks House Garden, and it's still there.

Here he is working on that sculpture:

I'll try and find some of my photos of it taken a few years back. Obviously it is not in the same condition now.

Edited: Jul 23, 12:45pm Top

>189 EBT1002:

We used to hang all our clothes outside until our little Wisconsin forest acreage became Tick Central. Blech on too many levels.

Woolite and other companies make cloths (and some use large reusable zipper bags) that go into the dryer with wool coats, etc.

Haven't found an organic version, but still better than the chemicals and expense of dry cleaners.

Norman Mommen's sculpture is very similar to Loredo Taft's Fountain of Time at President Obama's University of Chicago.

Jul 23, 1:16pm Top

I do love linen, so that is about the only thing I iron. If something has been sitting on my ironing board for six months, it goes into the Good Will box, so I have gotten rid of a lot of things that needed to be ironed. I don't mind it occasionally. I put on some music and think thoughts. :)

Jul 23, 9:34pm Top

"Molly's kitchen was fragrant with the smell of freshly ironed linen
and she felt her satisfaction mounting with the pile."


Jul 23, 10:54pm Top

>188 EBT1002: I eschew it for sure - Erni, the maid, does it!

I think she secretly eschews it too judging from my often crumpled appearance. Don't mind either so long as she remains the Princess of Arabica.

Jul 23, 11:11pm Top

>189 EBT1002: Here's how I'd know if I were really rich. I'd have clean sheets on my bed every night, washed in old Tide and Clorox and hung out to sun dry. (The rich comes in at the point that I'd have them flown in from somewhere the sun was shining if I were in a place where it hadn't that day.)

Jul 24, 11:00am Top

>193 m.belljackson: Ticks. Yuck.

Jul 24, 4:20pm Top

>192 Caroline_McElwee:
That photo is in the book! It is one of the first commissioned sculptures that Mommens did. It is titled Goliath. The biography is really good. You should move it up on your TBR list.

Jul 24, 4:40pm Top

Lol, love the ironing talk. A few years back I dragged one out of the cupboard to iron some old curtains that had been stored in the garage. Both the kids were like "What IS that THING?" It was hilarious.

Love the top image too- your soccer gals are amazing! And their attitudes, and politics, and Megan's hair (and name...). All coolness.

Edited: Jul 25, 10:09am Top

2019 Booker Prize Longlist

I've read My Sister, the Serial Killer. 3.5 stars
I own a copy of Lost Children Archive.
I've put An Orchestra of Minorities and Lanny on hold as eBooks through the Seattle Public Library.
You know I'll be ordering on line before too long....

Jul 25, 9:41am Top

>201 EBT1002: Heh...I'm on my way to the library to pick up Lanny. I'm hell-bent on ONLY checking out the nominees.

...we'll see how long it lasts...

Jul 25, 9:45am Top

>201 EBT1002: Good luck with reading through the longlist, Ellen. I'll count on you to tell me which ones to read. :)

Jul 25, 10:13am Top

>202 richardderus: No hope. None whatsoever. And really, why should you? You'll help the circulation numbers, even if you don't read them all. And trust me, that's a good thing.

Jul 25, 10:34am Top

Hi Ellen! I loved Lanny, liked Serial Killer, and barely finished Lost Children Archive. So many of the others aren't even available yet, but eventually I'll track them down. The Booker has definitely broadened my reading in the past, so I'm hopeful about this year's list.

Jul 25, 12:56pm Top

I still bring out the ironing board from time to time and even iron T-shirts especially the ones you have to hang to dry. But then, I don't mind ironing. I wonder if that is from years of sewing where actually ironing things made so much difference.

Jul 27, 1:53am Top

I've switched from the iron to a portable steamer--love it!! But mostly I avoid buying clothes that need to be ironed. LOL

I have the Lost Children Archive waiting for me, but none of the other Booker Longlist books. We'll see...

Happy weekend!

Jul 27, 10:37am Top

Stopping by to wish you a happy weekend!

Love the convo about ironing. My mother and sister do laundry and iron almost every day of our vacation. I evidently did not get the gene as I might do one load over the course of two weeks and probably no ironing.

I do little or no ironing at home except for blocking crocheted pieces.

Clothes ironing takes place in hotel rooms as I prepare for the next day's work. The rest of the time, I am comfortable working at home in what my husband calls "lounging pajamas." They look fine from the neck up so are OK for online meetings and I might even be able to get away with a quick trip to the bank drive through.

Jul 27, 9:43pm Top

It is so hot down here that I do have a few linen pieces in my wardrobe. These have to be ironed - every time you wear them! But mostly I stick with knits and things I don’t have to iron.

Jul 28, 8:59pm Top

Just put the ironing board away after doing a load of cotton and linen shirts which I love. If you love those fibres, you are a bit of a slave to the iron but I don't mind.

Edited: Jul 29, 12:27am Top

48. The Firemaker by Peter May

Although contrived at times, this was an engrossing thriller set in Beijing. Li Yan and Margaret Campbell are a sweet and formidable couple, he a detective in the Beijing police force, she a forensic pathologist visiting from Chicago. In this first installment in this series, three murders occur over the same night. There is an odd clue connecting the three murders, and clearly they were all committed by a true professional, but three different methods were used and no motive that makes sense for all three can be discerned. Dr. Campbell specializes in burn victims so she is asked to participate in the autopsy on the man who was burned to death. From there, she and Li find themselves tracking down a brutal and cold-blooded killer while they sort out their cultural differences and their emerging love for one another.

Jul 29, 10:35am Top

>211 EBT1002: Peter May almost always delivers the goods...I wasn't mad for Runaway but was gaga about The Coffin Road...and his TV training shows in the way he paces his stories.

Happy week ahead.

Jul 29, 10:50am Top

>207 Berly: Kim, what brand of steamer do you have? Would you recommend it?

Edited: Aug 10, 2:04pm Top

49. Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

"'It's a good thing when you can't stop thinking about a piece,' she said. 'That's when you know it's done the work. When you can't get it out of your head afterward.'"

I think this is what Arnett was hoping to achieve with her edgy, dark, and oddly humorous novel. Our narrator, Jessa, is the daughter of a taxidermist in central Florida. More aligned with his passions than her brother Milo, she is the heir apparent to the taxidermy business but, it turns out, also to the sense of responsibility for the family after her father dies by suicide and leaves her a burdening note. (No spoilers here; these details are the introductory foundation on which the novel is built.) As Jessa's relationships with her mother, brother, and beloved Brynn unfold, we are taken into the dark spaces of a soul determined not to feel, not to be vulnerable, not to be exposed. Of course, being human precludes all of those refusals and Jessa's transformation is compelling. Getting there is at times a difficult ride. The details of the taxidermy as well as Jessa's persistent angst make this novel the anti-cosy. Like, really. Get ready for some painful passages. But also be prepared for some delightfully funny scenes which transcend the angst and highlight the ability of humans to experience pleasure even when the world around them is totally insane.

Other than the alligators, water moccasins, and palmetto shrubs, this is not exactly the central Florida in which I grew up. But Arnett's descriptions of roadways, woods, and late night lakes took me back and made me smile.

Edited: Aug 3, 9:18pm Top

I was able to download An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma from the Seattle Public Library today, It's a Booker Long List nominee and I'm 11% into it. So far, I love it!!

Edited: Aug 3, 9:24pm Top

Lord, I'm about 25 posts behind on my own thread. Suffice it to say that work has been kicking my butt as usual. There are some complicating details with which I won't bother with here (just know that my boss had major surgery and is out for 6-8 weeks; it's a nice break but I'm covering for her in addition to my other two jobs and she tends to lean on P and me to take care of her.... !!!!!!!).

Last weekend's wine tasting in the tri-cities with Seattle-based friends was quite fun and relaxing. We stayed in a lodge/hotel right on the Columbia River and it was lovely. We saw pelicans!

A week from today is move-in so the students will be back. Still, my birthday is this month which means that I can retire in three years. Somehow getting under 3 years feels so freeing..... We all know how fast three years can fly!

Okay, more later. I'm going to read a bit more in An Orchestra of Minorities and I'll catch up around here when P and I are watching reruns of "Lewis." :-)

Aug 3, 10:06pm Top

So, Ellen, you're back to doing three jobs. You will need to retire in three years.

>214 EBT1002: Nice comments. I have this waiting at the library.

I finished The Luminaries :)

Aug 3, 11:50pm Top

Cheers to you, Ellen! You persevere!!!!!
I am shaking my head at your needy boss. It would be lovely if she were to realize how much you are doing for her. Allow me to doubt.
Hope your weekend is both restful and invigorating.

Aug 3, 11:57pm Top

>216 EBT1002: I was chatting with a good friend who is two years my senior and who I am trying to get employed with me by Samsung Construction. The present project has the possibility of running for 9 years and it is the first time that I have thought ; "this could be my last one!"

Have a lovely weekend, Ellen.

Aug 4, 6:27am Top

So, Ellen, if you are doing three jobs and can retire in 3 years, if you ditched one of those jobs, could you retire in 2 years? The math sounds about right....you certainly will have earned that much!

Aug 4, 8:06am Top

Keep finding those ways to get out of town and change of scene. Put one foot in front of the other. One day at a time, and all those other clichés (is that right spelling?) Three years is not too long but can also feel like forever.

Aug 4, 12:00pm Top

>214 EBT1002: Hmm..I had Mostly Dead Things pretty high on my list after the NY Times review but I think I'll slide it down after reading your thoughts - thanks! I'm picking up An Orchestra of Minorities at the library tomorrow so I'll be right behind you on that one.

My book club will be discussing The Three Body Problem at the end of the month - an unusual science fiction pick. Not my favorite genre but willing to give it a try.

Good luck with the work week ahead. I'm feeling swamped too but am enjoying it quite a bit.

Aug 4, 12:04pm Top

>216 EBT1002: - "just know that my boss had major surgery and is out for 6-8 weeks; it's a nice break but I'm covering for her in addition to my other two jobs and she tends to lean on P and me to take care of her.... !!!!!!!). "

Erm, what? Your boss expects you and your partner to take care of her? WTactualF?

Aug 4, 12:30pm Top

>224 lauralkeet: Erm, what? Your boss expects you and your partner to take care of her? WTactualF?

Yes ... what's that about? *raises eyebrow*

Edited: Aug 4, 12:31pm Top

Oh my, your book club is taking on some challenging sci-fi, Ellen. Translated from Chinese, to boot! Our son Jesse LOVED The Three-Body Problem, and read all three. I had a more mixed reaction, and haven't gotten to the second or third book. I suspect you're going to have quite a varied reaction within the book club. That's an ambitious pick!

Aug 4, 2:35pm Top

>223 katiekrug:, >224 lauralkeet: I add my "...?!?..." to the ladies' genteely raised eyebrows.

Still...THREE. MORE. YEARS!! Sounds divine, doesn't it?

Aug 4, 8:16pm Top

>223 katiekrug:, >224 lauralkeet: I had a boss like that....thankfully it wasn't ME he expected to run for his prescriptions, make his tea or schedule his doctor's appointments (and then call to see if "doctor was running on time" because godforbid HE might have to sit in the waiting room with the common herd for more than a minute).

Aug 4, 8:34pm Top

Hi Ellen! Good luck with the Three-Body Problem! It looks like it might be quite complex.

Aug 4, 8:37pm Top

It seems like with three jobs you should be able to retire in one year!

Aug 5, 7:46am Top

Congrats on being a mere three years from retirement! That will fly by!

Aug 5, 8:21pm Top

>213 ffortsa: The steamer I use is by XSteam. I have nothing to compare it to, but I like mine and it works. : )

>216 EBT1002: Three years -- you can do it!!!

And let me know if you want to do wine tasting in Portland next...I missed you over the Fourth.

Aug 6, 6:44pm Top

>229 banjo123: My thoughts exactly!

But seriously, Ellen, why is your boss relying on you and P, especially P, to look after her? I am another one who wants to know WTactualF?

Aug 10, 9:29pm Top

>233 EBT1002: I was going to start An Orchestra of Minorities this week, until I opened my copy of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World. I look forward to your review of it.

Aug 11, 3:56pm Top

How's it going Ellen? I hope you are getting some support juggling your three jobs. It seems out of whack that you are expected to shoulder two, let alone three.

I hope someone else has taken up the slack of looking after the boss.

Aug 11, 6:11pm Top

>233 EBT1002: Just started it! Eager to hear what you thought.

Aug 11, 7:49pm Top

Hope all is well, Ellen, and you aren't wearing yourself out!

Aug 12, 3:41pm Top

Hey everyone, and thanks for the kind words from so many of you. I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed and starting to think seriously -- really seriously -- about what my next steps can be. I swore I would hang in there until our Kauai trip in December at which point I would consider my options. I don't know whether I can do this for that four months. But I'm going to try. One step at a time, one day at a time, and just doing what I can do and letting the rest of it go. That's my intention, at least. There is so much going on I can't even explain it all. To add to the stress, a colleague stepped out of bounds and reprimanded my admin support (my admin support is AWESOME, but he did make a mistake) -- the way she went about reprimanding him led to his resignation. AAAAARRRRRGGGHHH!!! I cannot do this job without him. SO, another colleague and I are having to address that (she and I share him as our admin support; we're both furious that the other colleague reprimanded him in the way that she did).

Prudence and I had a great one-night visit to Spokane this past weekend. I know we said we liked Boise, but Spokane might be a better option for retirement. It would keep us in Washington, it has many amenities of a city (including an excellent public library and outstanding medical care community) but is smaller and less expensive. I'm still hoping to hang in there for three more years but if I have another stroke before that time is up, it won't have been worth it. SO -- breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.

In books, you can see that I finished An Orchestra of Minorities. I loved many things about it but felt that he tried to do too much in this novel.
A Room Full of Bones was a fine installment in the Ruth Galloway series.
Up next is either On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous or 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World.

Aug 12, 4:59pm Top

Ellen, NO JOB is worth your health. Ever. Smaller, less expensive Spokane sounds ideal. None of my business but I would just do it and be done with it. Now. Your current place of work, for all the good points, is having more negative impact than is healthy. Don't tempt fate.

End of rant.

Aug 12, 5:55pm Top

I have stuck it out with less than perfect job situations for the longer range benefit. I don't know if I recommend this, but I can say that now, from today's perspective, I don't really even remember what was so horrible. Well, there is one year that I do remember, but it was good that I stuck it out as it conserved my credentials for teaching.

Be very, very analytic about the pros and cons. And then test your feelings. I'm sorry it has turned into such a pit of unpleasant situations.

Aug 12, 6:17pm Top

>238 EBT1002: {{{Ellen}}}

Breathe. Eyes closed, in then out, and don't tense up holding your breath!

Aug 12, 6:31pm Top

Ellen - So sorry to hear about your job situation. But it sounds like you are handling it very well. Breathe. And read.

Aug 12, 7:25pm Top

Thinking of you, Ellen. You're definitely thinking this through, balancing pragmatism with health and well-being. I'm sure the best way forward will emerge. Hugs.

Aug 13, 5:42am Top

Sending you all kinds of support and hugs, Ellen. You're amazing, and you're particularly amazing at sorting through pros and cons and making informed and carefully considered decisions, so I'd easily put all my chips on you making the right decision for yourself here, too.

Aug 13, 6:52am Top

Sending more positive wishes from me - Amber has nailed it.
(and joining the chorus of raised eyebrows also.
Can eyebrows be in a chorus?
Hmm. )

Aug 13, 11:05am Top

>239 EBT1002: So to be sure I understand....the colleague who ripped into your Admin support was not one of his supervisors? You suffer the consequences and she goes merrily on with her day?

Edited: Aug 14, 5:53pm Top

>239 EBT1002:

Guess you don't have a Union or you would have gone on Strike!

Is there no head-Head Boss to appeal to = to tell them you are already doing THREE JOBS
and cannot possibly handle the work, energy, and stress overload of what has come down as the result of the recent resignation?

Would others join you to protest this obvious ridiculous situation?

Buena suerte and try to relax without too much alcohol and drugs! OTC Benadryl can help with sleep - even a half tablet works.

Aug 13, 12:07pm Top

Nothing new to add, but sending support your way.

I like Spokane. I love coming over to shop, see shows, etc. I hate the WA sales tax, but I know you are used to it.

I am not crazy about the countryside surrounding Spokane. Luckily, it is within easy driving distance of northern Idaho which is beautiful. What can I say? I need mountains and trees.

I am trying to arrange things so I can do a quick trip to Spokane this weekend. Horses, horse sitter and stars must all align for me to do so.

Edited: Aug 13, 11:49pm Top

I started reading On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. Lord. I'm 20% into it and it is painful. It is beautiful and lyrical and poignant and, if emotional impact is a measure of excellence, it is an excellent novel. The bit I just read made my stomach ache and my feet tremble.

Aug 13, 11:58pm Top

Regarding work, I will just say this: I have started some courageous conversations that I need to have. I have set a limit in one venue and I am setting a meeting with someone in an appropriate position of power. I have to risk telling the truth. One person I talked with today, someone who I can trust to keep confidence because of their work, said that she would be very upset to lose me, that she knows that I am loved and respected across campus. She really encouraged me to follow through with the someone(s) who can do something. So, I am working toward that. It's that or leave. P is, of course, being magnificently supportive and encouraging. It's going to be okay.

Aug 14, 12:00am Top

Thank you again and again for all the love and support around here. I know I am being a rather pathetic community member and I also know that you all know that when life allows, I will return and check on threads other than my own. In the meantime, I so appreciate knowing that this community of book-loving friends is here. ❤️❤️❤️

Aug 14, 2:58am Top

Hugs to you, Ellen. xx

Aug 14, 6:42am Top

>251 EBT1002: this sounds like a bold and also completely appropriate step, Ellen. I'm glad you have a trustworthy colleague to talk to, and am glad they are encouraging you in your next steps. Good luck with your courageous conversations.

Aug 14, 8:22am Top

Sending more hugs and positive thoughts, Ellen. Kudos to you for being proactive.

I liked Ocean Vuong's book of poetry, but I'm on the fence about On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. I'll look forward to hearing your reaction when you finish.

Aug 14, 9:10am Top

>251 EBT1002: "It's going to be okay. " If you know that, then you've already done all the really hard work. The rest is just details.

Edited: Aug 14, 9:35am Top

It will be okay but definitely rocky to get there.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous was my book club pick for this month. I didn't read it :-P Not sure I should call it my book club anymore, since I haven't read the last three or four books, nor been to the last two or three meetings!

Aug 14, 11:31am Top

>252 EBT1002: We have your back, Ellen. :) BTW, I hope you have some fabulous plans for your upcoming birthday. You deserve a celebration.

>257 katiekrug: You can still call it your book club, Katie, at least by my club's definition. We have some people who only come to the party to choose books! And we are glad to have them. :)

Aug 14, 12:08pm Top

>251 EBT1002: You'll be fine. But you're blazing a trail, so the accustomed issues of trailblazing, like branches slapping you, and they will sting as they swat you! Walk the path before you, my friend, knowing your posse's behind you. And we're armed.

Aug 14, 12:34pm Top


Aug 14, 12:54pm Top

The school will be the better for having you work there, and for having you brave enough to assert what you know is right. The are lucky to have someone who knows how to tell the truth of a situation. I hope they have it within their resources and imagination to provide some workable solutions. Hugs for you and P.


Aug 14, 4:21pm Top

Joining the posse. Very glad you have some support on campus too Ellen.

Aug 14, 5:01pm Top

>262 Caroline_McElwee: - Add my name to the list...

Aug 15, 10:21am Top

And mine. Setting reasonable limits is critical. I hope your discussions lead to better arrangements.

Aug 15, 11:19pm Top

Very good wishes for getting RL sorted out. It sounds tricky but the "it's going to be okay" is such a good and postive approach.

Aug 17, 6:58pm Top

Oh cr*p, Ellen. So sorry for the job woes. I am hoping for you that there is some drastic change for the better.

Aug 17, 8:02pm Top

Sending hugs your way as you deal with a stressful work environment. In the meantime...deep breaths in...deep breaths out. Hang in there :)

Aug 17, 8:17pm Top

Best of luck as you grapple with this untenable position, Ellen. I hope it all goes quickly and well.

Edited: Aug 17, 10:00pm Top

52. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

This was one of the hardest books to rate. I loved aspects of it. Vuong's prose is lovely and many scenes are so evocative as to be painful. There is one scene of animal torture which I regret that I will never be able to un-see. At the same time, Vuong's unflinching honesty about love, family, coming-of-age, in-belonging, and our human capacity for cruelty to one another and other species is part of what makes this a compelling and worthwhile read. Taking the form of a letter to his mother, the narration is boldly intimate, bordering at times on experimental. That Vuong is a poet shines through regularly.

I realize that I'm not writing anything about the "plot" here. It's not that kind of novel. There is a storyline and there is forward progress, but this is less story than it is journey.

Edited: Aug 17, 10:05pm Top

I have updates about work but I will wait until I start my new thread, which I plan to do tomorrow. The upshot is that I talked with the two highest-ranked people in Human Resources and I'm feeling much better. No magic wand, no immediate solution, but I'm feeling more empowered to serve and operate commensurate with my level in the organization. When my boss returns from medical leave (probably early October), I'll wait a couple of weeks but then I will have a conversation with her. I'm feeling able to do that and confident that, if it should not go well, I will be alright. A colleague joined me for yesterday's meeting with HR and it felt so good to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and speak our experience. As we told them, our goal is not a coup. Our goal is to make things better.

More soon!

Aug 17, 10:05pm Top

Ha, I guess I gave more than the upshot there, but I'll still likely go into a bit more detail tomorrow.

Aug 18, 12:23am Top

Happy Birthday Ellen!

I'm glad you had a positive meeting in HR and will keep fingers crossed.

I hope you have all kinds of fun planned for today. Scout did mini golf AND bowling on her birthday. :) The bowling pics are hilarious. She also spent most of the day in a tiara, which isn't a bad idea.

Edited: Aug 18, 7:37am Top

>270 EBT1002: I'm really happy to see this, Ellen. Go you.


Aug 18, 7:40am Top

Happy birthday, Ellen!! Wishing you a year ahead of calmer days, more *play*, and of course, tons of books! :-)

Edited: Aug 18, 10:09am Top

Oooh, birthday celebrations. Happy Birthday Ellen, I hope you are planning a pampery day, and I hope there is cake.

>270 EBT1002: a good starting gift.

Aug 18, 10:14am Top

Happy Birthday, Ellen!

Edited: Aug 18, 10:55am Top

>270 EBT1002: That's just EXCELLENT news.
I couldn't begin to rate or review Ocean Vuong's book because of that scene. I won't say more, but that's the sort of thing I simply won't engage with. I put the book down and carried it the next day to the library.

Aug 18, 1:04pm Top

I'm glad you can enjoy your birthday with a clear mind about the job, Ellen. Your positive approach to the situation is admirable...meet it head-on, and be ready for anything. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Aug 18, 1:18pm Top

Happy Birthday, Ellen! I'm sorry to read about your continued woes with the Boss from Hell, but I'm glad that you've decided to confront her personally about her abusive behavior.

Aug 18, 1:52pm Top

All the best for a wonderful birthday!

Aug 18, 2:03pm Top

So glad your birthday falls on the weekend--relax and ENJOY!!

Aug 18, 2:16pm Top

I come bearing lots of hugs and good wishes for you and P, Ellen. I hope things get better for you cause you certainly deserve some peace and relaxation on your Birthday!

Aug 18, 2:53pm Top

Beth, Laura, Shelley, Caroline, Katie, Richard, Linda, Darryl, Vivian, Roni, and Judy -- thank you for the birthday wishes!
And to everyone who has been supporting me through this terrible time at work, thank you for that, as well!

Aug 18, 3:37pm Top

Happy birthday Ellen my dear.

This topic was continued by Ellen seeks balance in 2019 - Thread 7.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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