Norabelle414's Trilogy in Two Parts

This is a continuation of the topic Norabelle414's Trilogy in One Part.

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Norabelle414's Trilogy in Two Parts

Edited: Aug 5, 2019, 12:30pm

My cat, Rory Pond, and his best frenemy Lunar.

Hello and welcome! I'm Nora. I live in Washington DC. This is my TENTH year of having my own thread in the 75ers group! Aside from books, I also love:

animals - on the weekends I volunteer at Smithsonian's National Zoo
TV - scripted only, mostly science fiction and fantasy, especially anything based on a book
theater - I have season tickets to Arena Stage but I often go to shows elsewhere as well
podcasts - especially about books

You can find me on Twitter @ norabelle414

Edited: Aug 5, 2019, 12:39pm

Let's move on from the previous very whiny thread, shall we? My carpets are getting cleaned today and hopefully that will be the end of this (that's what I thought last time).

Edited: Aug 5, 2019, 12:40pm

9. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Read for the zoo book club that I run. This book is extremely depressing, but interesting to read as a historical artifact.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Aug 5, 2019, 12:37pm

Happy new thread! I relate very strongly to your meme above.

Aug 5, 2019, 1:08pm

>5 foggidawn: Thanks foggi! Last night I had a stress dream that when I had my back turned a little kid got into the giant panda exhibit at the zoo. The giant panda was sleeping and didn't care, but I knew it was somehow my fault! So the meme is my anxiety stuffing that weird dream into my head :-)

Aug 5, 2019, 1:11pm

>6 norabelle414: Yep. I mean, in my case it would be the anxiety waking me up way early in the morning, but still. It let me sleep in until 5:45 today (desired wake-up time: 7:00), so I feel like that's progress?

Aug 5, 2019, 1:23pm

Happy new thread, Nora.

>4 norabelle414: I am currently reading Silent Spring and I am surprised how relevant it still is.

Aug 5, 2019, 1:29pm

>7 foggidawn: Yeah I'm just coming to terms with the fact that I can't sleep in anymore, and if I want to get more than 7 hours of sleep I will have to get in bed and turn out the lights before 11:30, whether I have somewhere to be the next morning or not. Ugh!

Aug 5, 2019, 1:55pm

>8 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul! Lots of it is still very relevant, but I also think there's a lot that has changed since then. Carson advocates several times for introducing new predators to areas with invasive insects, which most conservationists know now is an extremely bad idea!

Aug 5, 2019, 2:55pm

Happy new thread!

Aug 5, 2019, 7:31pm

Happy new thread!

Aug 6, 2019, 9:58am

>11 ChelleBearss:, >12 drneutron: Thanks Chelle and Jim!!

Aug 6, 2019, 10:00am

Happy new thread! Very cute cat topper

Aug 6, 2019, 10:29am

>14 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita!

Edited: Sep 30, 2019, 9:54am

Got my carpet cleaned again yesterday. Today I'm going to try to get someone from management to come up and inspect and confirm that my apartment does not smell. Then I'll set up one litterbox and bring Rory back home. I've moved some furniture around and I think I can fit the litterbox between the dining table and the kitchen trash can (which is well outside the kitchen because my kitchen is extremely small). It's not ideal but it's away from the front door and away from the neighbors who are complaining. Since it's so close to the wet trashcan it should be easier to scoop immediately after he uses it.

I'm thinking of hiring a cleaning service, just once a month or so (if they'll do it that infrequently?). I'm good about vacuuming and cleaning the toilet and bathtub and kitchen counter but there are just so many things to clean (baseboards?? blinds?? behind the fridge??) and I feel like I can't keep up.


I currently have Evvie Drake Starts Over (which I have started) and An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good checked out from the library. Since the last time I checked out a book from the library (maybe 6 months ago?) they have implemented automatic book renewals, which is cool! If a book is available to be renewed, the system will automatically renew it for me 3 days before it is due.
Soon I'm hoping to get to Dealing with Dragons (reread) and A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, which will both be covered on podcasts I listen to.
The next book my zoo volunteer book club is reading is The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife by Lucy Cooke, for the November meeting.


Recently watched:
Jane the Virgin, series finale - amazing!
Andi Mack, series finale - amazing!
NOS4A2, season one - boring
The Good Fight, season one - very entertaining. Subsequent seasons are not airing on broadcast TV so I won't get to them for a long time.

Grantchester, season 4 ep 1-4 - the mysteries of these episodes were perfectly fine but the rest is kind of anti-climactic after the drama of season 3. Amanda is just gone and we don't talk about her again and Sidney moves on after an off-screen time jump. When the whole point of the first 3 seasons was that he could never move on from her?? I don't buy it. He left Amanda last season because he didn't want to leave Grantchester or the church and now he's leaving Grantchester and the church AND ENGLAND? I'm fine with him leaving, the show will be fine without him, it just does not make sense. Ah well. The new Detective Hot Vicar seems fine.

Veronica Mars, seasons 1-3 (rewatch) and season 4 - very good! I liked it better than the movie, but I also like season 3 a lot and I've been informed that's a very unpopular opinion. So what do I know! {MAJOR SPOILER, SERIOUSLY DO NOT CLICK}Though I did not want Logan to die, I do like the closure of it. Veronica isn't really Veronica if she's happy - this is a noir, not a romance novel. Either Logan or Keith had to go, and I'm happy with the result. Plus did you SEE that dream she had about Leo??? Because I did. Several times. #TeamLeo.
Unfortunately, I got the ending of season 4 spoiled for me within 2 days of the season being posted (which if you recall was a week before it was scheduled to be). I very diligently muted all Veronica Mars related words on Twitter, like I now have to for any show I don't watch in real-time, but an account that I follow retweeted a screenshot of a tweet that had spoilers in it. Wild!! It was the account of a romance novel reader podcast, warning their listeners not to watch Veronica Mars season 4 because it doesn't have an HEA (the tweet explicitly said what the end was). VERONICA MARS IS NOT A ROMANCE NOVEL! I watched Veronica Mars for the first time a decade after it was off the air, and now new episodes come out and I *still* don't get to enjoy the twists in real time. Sigh.

Aug 6, 2019, 2:33pm

Happy new thread, Nora.

I've used two different cleaning services (national, franchise chains) and they both offered once-a-month service, so that shouldn't be a problem. Not sure they'll do the level of detail you are looking for, but it can't hurt to ask.

Re: the litter box, we recently changed to the Breeze system, which eliminates A LOT of the odor and is way easier to clean up.

Aug 6, 2019, 2:51pm

>17 katiekrug: Thanks for the tip, Katie! I will keep that litterbox in mind if things don't get better.

Aug 7, 2019, 12:08am

>16 norabelle414: FINALLY!!! I'm convinced that Logan's death was faked. They spent a weird amount of time on him doing security with the politician and then that whole thread was mostly left just dangling. And there was a car pulling up right before the explosion that seemed really unnecessary for them to linger on. I think he was snatched by the politician or the military for some next season plotline.

I just can't figure out if Veronica knows or not... Is she heading out to look for him? Are they investigating something big together? Or does she think he's dead and then is going to start getting weird clues about him?
I know, it's grasping. But all the released reasons seem to be weird and I think it's misdirection. I'm probably wrong.

Aug 7, 2019, 9:46am

>19 leahbird: The reasons I've heard are 1) it's a noir so Veronica can't be happy for long and 2) Rob Thomas wants the next season to pull Veronica away from her high school acquaintances and move her out of Neptune, which he thinks is the only way the show can transition into a real adult noir story instead of a nostalgia-fest. I think there might be a slight possibility that he survived and comes back at some point in the distant future, but I don't think you could read this interview and think he's going to be a major character ever again:

The car that they focus on when Logan gets into Veronica's car is parking enforcement, who is going to get the car towed if he doesn't move it right away for street cleaning. It's to show that he HAS to move Veronica's car right away, he couldn't have waited a few minutes and avoided getting blown up.

Edited: Aug 8, 2019, 11:27am

This time of year I *always* end up doing a book inventory, whether I intend to or not. Something about long days and hot weather, maybe? I started last week when I was supposed to be cleaning in preparation for my carpet treatment. I check what books from my catalog I actually have on my shelves (I tend to lend out books and they tend to not come back), re-shelve books that were out because I read them (or I pulled them with the intention of reading and then did not), shelve new books, pull books I want to read soon, and get rid of some books. This year, that includes all 5 A Song of Ice and Fire books, freeing up a full 10 inches of bookshelf space all by themselves. Saying goodbye to:

Storm Front by Jim Butcher (not read)
Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card (read)
First Meetings in Ender's Universe by Orson Scott Card (not read)
When a Gene Makes You Smell Like a Fish: And Other Amazing Tales about the Genes in Your Body by Lisa Seachrist Chiu (read)
The Arctic Incident (Artemis Fowl, Book 2) by Eoin Colfer (read)
Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse) by James S. A. Corey (read)
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl (read)
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen (read)
I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle (not read)
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (read)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (read)
October Sky by Homer Hickam (not read)
The Gunslinger (revised and expanded edition) by Stephen King (read)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (read)
The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire (read)
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (read)
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (read)
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin (DNF)
A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin (not read)
A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (not read)
Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore (replaced with a different copy)
Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette by Sena Jeter Naslund (read)
them by Joyce Carol Oates (read)
The Red Queen by Matt Ridley (replaced with a different copy)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (read)
Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith (read)
Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith (not read)
America (the Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart (not read)
Earth (the Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race by Jon Stewart (not read)
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells (read)

That's 30 books out, compared to 36 books gained so far this year. A lot of the books in have been graphic novels/comics so I probably have a net gain of bookshelf space! I've also moved all of my graphic novels/comics to their own shelf underneath the TV, so my four main bookshelves are looking pretty nice! I'll post pics when I'm done.

Aug 8, 2019, 11:54am

>21 norabelle414: Ooh, nicely done, Nora!

Aug 8, 2019, 12:21pm

Edited: Aug 9, 2019, 5:59pm

re: Veronica Mars (and I've no plans to watch the new eps), I do think the criticisms about female detectives always portrayed as broken and incapable of happiness in personal relationships are interesting. I don't require a happy ending, but I also don't think a noir designation always needs to exclude it. Again, no specific opinion on this particular show's ending, but I saw a couple of Twitter threads by feminist media critics who touched on the sexism behind male show writers consistently writing female characters with trauma in their pasts as unworthy of healthy relationships.

Congrats on the deaccessioning!

ETA: male show writers of a large number of shows, not just VM. Sorry, that paragraph is a jumble.

another edit: I've had Alice Bolin's essay collection, Dead Girls, on my TBR for ages. I might have to bump it up.

Aug 9, 2019, 8:10pm

>24 libraryperilous: I think that's generally true, but there are other female characters who have trauma and have healthy relationships - {spoilers for seasons 2 and 3} Mac and Parker were both very traumatically raped but they have perfectly fine relationships after that. Also, {season 4 spoilers} Rob Thomas explicitly says that the reason he killed off Logan was so that the show could continue as something else - he doesn't intend for this to be the end for Veronica. If this was the end for her then maybe he wouldn't have killed Logan. Veronica did have a happy ending at the end of the movie, because at the time he intended for that to be Veronica's end.
I don't really think it's fair to paint Rob Thomas with that brush when he's written plenty of other complex female characters on both Veronica Mars and iZombie, with varying levels of trauma and relationships.

Aug 12, 2019, 2:21pm

Last Tuesday I had someone from the management office come up to my apartment to inspect. She said it did smell a bit like cat to her but it wasn't overpowering and she is very sensitive to cat smells. She said she would try to address the issue from my neighbor's side of the wall going forward (though she is just the person who happened to be in the office when I stopped by, I don't know if she can single-handedly decide that.)
Rory came home Tuesday night. I moved a bunch of his stuff out of the bedroom (the room abutting the complaining neighbor) and cleaned the cat tree in there just in case the problem is dander/fur. I'm experimenting with not allowing Rory access to the bedroom when I'm not in it. He's mostly okay with it (a little complaining but I can easily distract him) when I am at home, though I have no way of knowing if he complains when I'm not home. I'd like to think he's smart enough to know it's pointless. We'll see if I get noise complaints along with the odor complaints.

My mom announced last Tuesday that she was coming down to visit us on Saturday. She told my brother she would walk his dog around dinnertime on Saturday (he was getting home very late that night) and then told me that her flight wasn't getting in until 10pm. So I ended up walking the dog, which I don't mind at all but my brother should know better than to trust our mom with something like that.
My mom stayed with me Saturday night, then Sunday morning she came with me to the zoo. Sunday was my brother's birthday so we all went out for dinner. She's staying with my brother and sister-in-law for the rest of her trip (they have a real guest room, I just have a pull-out couch in the living room), and leaving on Wednesday.


Bulletproof: British-import cop show. Did not like.
BH90210: A fictional behind-the-scenes show of a fictional Beverly Hills, 90210 revival. I really like the concept but I've never watched the original show so it's lost on me.
Two Sentence Horror Stories: A webseries based on, I think, a Tumblr meme? I'm not opposed to it in theory but the first two episodes were both about sexual assault so that's a big ole NOPE from me.
iZombie, series finale: The show has gone downhill the past couple seasons but the ending was very nice.

I have a few episodes from last week to catch up on, and then I'll watch season 1 of Ramy and season 3 of Harlots before disabling my Hulu account and heading back to Netflix to watch season 2 of Derry Girls and season 3 of GLOW.

Aug 12, 2019, 2:23pm

10. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Fine, but not my thing. Very readable. I liked the ending and it somewhat made up for the earlier parts that I did not like.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Aug 12, 2019, 7:58pm

*Fingers crossed* that everything goes well in addressing the odor issue from the other side of the wall and that Rory is not complaining while you are gone. Hope the rest of the visit with your mom goes smoothly - and looking forward to your thoughts on Derry Girls, I'll be watching it too over the next few days.

Aug 13, 2019, 3:26pm

>28 bell7: Thanks Mary!


I'm going to post reviews below for all the books I've already read this year, nobody get too excited!

Aug 13, 2019, 3:39pm

3. The Bees by Laline Paull, read by Orlagh Cassidy

This is a reread, for a book club that I run for zoo volunteers. I originally read the book in 2014 as a combination of audio and paper, this time I listened only on audio. I still found the book to be far too long, and ended up skipping sections. There are sections of the story that work really well, and others that fundamentally cannot because it is impossible to get inside the mind of an animal that does not have a mind of its own. I did not get anything more out of it reading it a second time. No one showed up for this book club meeting except me, which could be a coincidence or could be an indication of how the other members felt about the book.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (3.5/5)

4. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, read by Bernadette Dunne

18-year-old Mary Katherine Blackwood (Merricat) lives in a big old house with her sister and her uncle. Something traumatic happened to the rest of her family, and the nearby townspeople blame the Blackwoods for it. They resent the money the Blackwoods (used to) have, and only come by to gawk and gossip. When a long-lost relative comes out of the woodwork to claim family money, the tentative truce with the townspeople is broken.

Very Shirley Jackson-y. The story raises more questions than it ever answers. Merricat is an extremely unreliable narrator, to the point where it’s possible some supernatural shenanigans are going on, but we have no way of knowing. A very enjoyable, short audiobook.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

5. Josie and the Pussycats, Volume 1 by Marguerite Bennett, Cameron Deordio, and Audrey Mok

Josie and her best friend Melody start a band with Melody’s veterinarian, Valerie. Josie is an ambitious dreamer, Valerie is practical and brings Josie back to reality, and Melody loves animals. They get picked up by an agent and tour the world. Adventures ensue.

This series is *extremely* funny and entertaining, but has no plot whatsoever. Josie does something stupid out of ambition and Valerie reminds her of the value of friendship. Melody loses it over a kitten. Villains include music venue staff wielding contracts with exploitative fine print, animal traffickers, and Josie’s rich ex-bestie. A fun diversion but nothing deep. The artwork is fantastic.

This volume also includes Jughead #9. I’m no Jughead fan, but this issue was written by Ryan North, and boy is it charming. There’s footnotes galore and it involves Jughead meeting Sabrina! My fave. I just might read more of this version of Jughead.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

6. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

Wayside School was supposed to be 30 classrooms side-by-side but instead it was build sideways – 30 classrooms tall. This is a book of stories about the class on the 30th floor.

The whole “sideways school” thing never made much sense to me as a kid; I’ve always lived in an urban area and I never went to a school building that had less than 4 stories. A 1-story school would have been far more bizarre to me than a 30-story school. Other than that, this book really holds up! It’s a great intro to absurdism for kids. My particular favorite was the story about Sherrie, who sleeps all through class and the teacher lets her because she assumes Sherrie must be concentrating on learning so much that she falls asleep. Even a story which could have aged poorly, about a boy with a girl name and a girl with a boy name who decide to switch names, turned out to be well-handled. If you remember this book from childhood and have considered revisiting it, I highly recommend doing so! Or give it to your own kids with confidence.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

7. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, illustrated by Edward Gorey

A book of odd poems about various cats and kinds of cats. As a kid I thought this was weird and boring, and as an adult I still do. I’m not a poetry person and not even illustrations of cats can change that. There are brief moments of imagery in the poems that spark my interest, but not much. I associate much more with Gorey’s delightful drawings than the poems themselves.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

8. Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat: Vol. 1: Hooked on a Feline by Kate Leth, Brittney L. Williams, and Natasha Allegri

Super hero Patsy Walker and her super friends thwart goofy villains and make even more friends while trying to pay New York City rent.

This is definitely not the Patsy Walker from the Jessica Jones TV show! She is light and frothy and funny. I really enjoyed the adventures of her and her friends: She-Hulk, Valkyrie, Squirrel Girl, etc. The story is very accessible, with little notes and sidebars telling the reader who various characters are. I loved the tone and the artwork. I highly recommend it if you want something fun, and I will definitely be reading more.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

9. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

A 1962 expose on the long-term costs of humanity’s abuse of the environment. Rachel Carson worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and she saw firsthand what pesticides, herbicides, and invasive insects were doing to animals, humans, and the ecosystem.

This book was also for the book club I run for zoo volunteers. We had a very good discussion about it. The statistics and anecdotes were very shocking, though 57 years later none of us were exactly sure where society stands on any of the specific cases Carson discussed. Many of our current environmental problems are ones she could not have imagined – there’s no way to know what she would have thought of GMOs or organic panic or plastic vs. paper straws. Some of the solutions Carson proposed seem shockingly nearsighted to me, such as introducing invasive non-native predators to areas with invasive non-native pests. Noooooo! But it was still fascinating to read the origin of so much of our current knowledge about the environment.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

10. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Evvie Drake was getting ready to leave her husband when he died in a car accident. A year later, her life still doesn’t feel normal. To make ends meet while she gets back on her feet she takes in a boarder – a former major league pitcher who can’t pitch anymore.

This gentle romance was perfectly fine, but romances aren’t really my thing. The writing was very readable. I don’t care about baseball, which isn’t a problem for understanding the book but I might have appreciated it more if I did care at least a little. I had some suspension of disbelief issues toward the beginning, mostly involving Evvie and Dean’s transition from complete strangers to close friends, and Evvie’s relationship with her other friends. However, the ending had a lot of really great things to say about trauma that made up for it.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Aug 13, 2019, 8:11pm

11. An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten, translated by Marlaine Delargy

Maud is 88, which is the perfect age to murder people who bother you, because no one will ever suspect you did it!

A tiny* book of clever stories. I enjoyed it a lot! Some characters from the author's other books (more traditional Scandicrime) show up toward the end, but you definitely do not need to know who they are to enjoy this funny little collection.

*I've only read a few books this year but two of them have been teeny tiny hardbacks about female murderers. What's up with that?

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Aug 14, 2019, 10:35am

>31 norabelle414: That is an excellent cover.

Aug 15, 2019, 3:14pm

Well, it never ends.

Tuesday night I did not sleep well at all so I decided that I would take Wednesday off as a mental health day. My boss is out this week and I have accumulated a lot of paid leave so it would have no impact on my work if I took the day off to snoozle. I got up at my normal time to text my coworkers that I wouldn't be in, then went over to my computer to update my timecard.

And my computer wouldn't load Windows.

So I spent the entire day trying to fix it, or get my data off of it, or anything. I did get Windows to run in Safe Mode once, but it was early in the process so I spent the time trying to fix Windows instead of backing up my data as I should have. I can't get it to run in safe mode at all anymore, and when I try to restore to a save point I get an error that there's something wrong with my C drive. Then I run some diagnostic tests to find out what's wrong with my C drive and it says everything is fine (for a 6yo mid-range laptop).

I've purchased a new computer and it will be here Tuesday. Until then I will try a couple more ways to copy my data. If that doesn't work I have to decide if I had any data on my laptop worth saving (I struggle to think of anything that isn't saved online somewhere) and maybe pay to get it recovered. Data recovery costs a lot!

I'm very tired.....

Aug 15, 2019, 3:50pm

>33 norabelle414: Ugh! Sorry about your computer problems (and sleeping problems -- I've had those lately, myself).

Aug 15, 2019, 4:13pm

Oh Nora. If I were closer I'd be taking you out for a cup of tea right about now.

Aug 15, 2019, 9:51pm

Crisis averted, for now! I managed to get my old computer up and running and copied all my files to an external hard drive. I had to reinstall Windows, which involved uninstalling all other programs, and I lost some stuff that way, but not much.

Quite the wake-up call! I'm looking forward to my new computer next week.

Aug 16, 2019, 7:22am

>36 norabelle414: Oh good, so glad you were able to get it all onto an external hard drive. Hope your new computer is excellent!

Aug 16, 2019, 11:11am

>36 norabelle414: Huzzah for saving data!

Aug 16, 2019, 11:33am

Unrelated, the actress who played Gigi Darcy in Lizzie Bennet Diaries was in the episode of The Flash that I watched last night and it made me happy. Also, Supergirl watched the episode where Barry accidentally crosses over to Kara's universe and it was a delight from start to finish. I just want them to be best buds and be in the same universe all the time. Add in Felicity and it would be my perfect adorably charming trio.

Edited: Aug 16, 2019, 12:36pm

Gigi Darcy!! She was so good on that episode. I'm still wondering what exactly was going on with her hair.

There is so much future crossover goodness waiting for you ♥

Aug 16, 2019, 1:44pm

>40 norabelle414: I loved how excited she was about the ice cream.

I am looking forward to all the crossovers awaiting me. :D

Aug 16, 2019, 2:20pm

>41 MickyFine: Both Kara being so excited about ice cream and also Barry being like "hmm I need to show people I can run fast, I'd better get them ice cream" are so so good.

Aug 16, 2019, 2:54pm

I'm caught up on all of my non-streaming TV. I watched the first few episodes of Ramy on Hulu and enjoyed it.

This weekend I have free HBO so I'll be catching up on Barry s2 and Veep s7, and checking out new shows Gentleman Jack, Los Espookys, and Chernobyl. I expect to get a lot of reading and TV watching done this weekend, since my computer no longer has any games on it and I'm not going to bother reinstalling them before my new computer arrives on Tuesday.

Edited: Aug 16, 2019, 3:16pm

>43 norabelle414: I've got Monday off and I'm trying to figure out what balance of reading/TV time I want. I'm super behind on West Wing for keeping up with West Wing Weekly but I also have barely watched season 4 of Outlander (even though I bought a season subscription on iTunes). But there's also a stack of 6 books waiting for me...

Aug 16, 2019, 8:09pm

>21 norabelle414: that’s a decent book cull! I see you offloaded the No.1 Ladies Detective book. Did you enjoy that?
I recently finished one of McCall Smith’s Paul Stuart novels and it was decent.

Aug 16, 2019, 8:47pm

>45 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle! I enjoyed the first one when I read it many years ago but I didn't like the second one nearly as much. I think I'm in a different place in my life now and I'd rather read stories about Black Africans that are written by Black Africans, but I would definitely try one of his Scottish novels if I came across one.

Aug 17, 2019, 10:04am

12. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Cimorene is a princess, but she hates doing princess-y things like dancing and etiquette. So she runs away to become the personal assistant to a dragon, and foils the plans of some conniving wizards in the process.

This was my very favorite book as a kid, and it really holds up. I love that the things Cimorene runs away to do (cooking, cleaning, organizing) aren't exciting or glamorous, she just wants to be able to do things for herself. It's kind of a reverse Cinderella. (Though of course Kazul is respectful and friendly and not abusive.)

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

Aug 17, 2019, 5:11pm

>47 norabelle414: Ooohhhh, need to read this.

Aug 17, 2019, 5:44pm

>47 norabelle414: >48 libraryperilous: One of my all-time favorites!

Aug 17, 2019, 6:30pm

>48 libraryperilous: Diana, you are in for such a treat!

Aug 18, 2019, 10:16pm

I have some other books I want to read....but also now I want to read the sequels to Dealing with Dragons.... hmmm

Aug 19, 2019, 8:56am

>47 norabelle414: I love that series so much.

Aug 19, 2019, 11:55am

>50 norabelle414: I've put it and Tam Lin (via curioussquared) on this week's to borrow list. I'm excited to read both. Thanks, Nora and Natalie, for the book bullets!

Aug 21, 2019, 11:06am

I'm almost done with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and really loving it. Next I think I will read The Wangs vs. The World, because it was mentioned on NPR's 100 Favorite Funny Books this week. I'm on the library holds list for Bunny by Mona Awad, which was recently covered by a podcast I listen to, but the list is very long so it will be awhile. I figured while I was putting holds on library books I could get on the list for Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng, who just won a Hugo award, only to find out that my library didn't have it! So I requested that the library order it, and now I think I'm going to order myself a copy along with the next two Becky Chambers books and The Truth About Animals by Lucy Cooke, which is the next zoo volunteer book club pick.

Aug 23, 2019, 4:01pm

Things at work have been stressful so I haven't quite finished any books yet. I have been waking up at night worried about what Rory is doing (running around, playing with toys, meowing, using the litterbox) and whether the neighbors will hear/notice. The night before last I had a dream that I was trying to illegally keep a lion in my apartment as a pet and I was really stressed about getting caught.

My computer arrived on Monday and it's fine. When I was downloading updates and programs and stuff it was taking a very long time and I noticed that my wifi is *astoundingly* slow. I found an old ethernet cable and my wired internet speed is 80Mbps and my wifi speed is 2Mbps. Yikes. I'm paying for 75Mbps and while I wouldn't expect it to be that fast all the time, it's been between 800kbps and 2Mbps for several days. I've tried all the usual things - unplugging things and plugging them back in, changing the wifi channel, factory reset - to no avail, so I guess my next step would be either getting a new router or calling Verizon, who would probably give me a new router and charge a bunch for it.

A bit of family drama going on right now too.

But this should be a relaxing weekend! I've got nothing to do but my friend's birthday dinner tomorrow night, so I will definitely get some reading done.

Aug 23, 2019, 4:05pm

>55 norabelle414: Sorry about your stress! I hope you can find plenty of time to relax this weekend.

Edited: Aug 24, 2019, 11:08am

13. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

A motley crew in a patchwork spaceship make their living picking up odd jobs creating tunnels through space. Some of them get along better than others, but they're all still family. After hiring a new space-administrator (with a dark past), the captain decides they're finally ready to take on a big, high-profile, high-paying job - tunneling through space to connect galactic society to a new alien species - one with a history of violence.

This is the warmest, loveliest space travel story I've ever read. It's much more about the characters than it is about dramatics, and it was such a joy to spend time with. Although theoretically it shares a lot of DNA with other contemporary space operas like Ancillary Justice and Leviathan Wakes, I connected with it much more than I did with either of those books. Aside from a few scenes, most of the drama of the story comes not from thrills but from ethics and empathy - how different species with different mores interact with each other, and how to make decisions in a truly diverse culture. There are a lot of politics involved, but they're the politics of social justice, not who will get elected to what powerful office. Chambers does such a great job of creating character and backstory for alien species and the individuals within them. The Wayfarer crew feels instantly familiar. Highly highly recommended.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

Aug 24, 2019, 12:05pm

14. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol 1: BFF by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, and Tamra Bonvillain

Nine-year old inventor Lunella Lafayette has Inhuman DNA, the result of alien Kree meddling in the human bloodline thousands of years ago. This means that if she's exposed to the cloud of terragen gas hovering over Manhattan, her home, she'll turn into .... something else. Lunella doesn't want to be anything but herself, so she spends all her time inventing a way to protect herself, and everyone else with Inhuman DNA, but in the process accidentally brings a T. rex forward in time to 2016. Whoops!

A very enjoyable comic. Lunella is very fun, and the art is fantastic. There's some backstory going on with Devil Dinosaur and the Neanderthals (?) that travel through time with him that I didn't understand, (apparently Devil Dinosaur was an existing Marvel character from the 70s that just hung out in his normal time period) but Lunella's charisma more than makes up for it.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

Aug 24, 2019, 12:58pm

Sorry for to hear about the life stress but glad to see you've had some excellent reads to escape into.

Aug 24, 2019, 6:30pm

I came to say almost exactly what >59 MickyFine: said :)

Aug 26, 2019, 9:33pm

>57 norabelle414: That sounds delightful. A bit like the family dynamic of Firefly but with less stealing and more social justice. Perfect!

Aug 26, 2019, 10:46pm

>61 leahbird: Yes I was definitely getting strong Firefly vibes, but there are more aliens and they are just freelancers, not criminals.

Aug 27, 2019, 11:54am

>57 norabelle414: I liked The Long Way immensely. As you say, it's a cheerful adventure with good politics. I read it around the time I read The Goblin Emperor, and it struck me as similar. Both authors were interested in kindness, to both their characters and their readers. The other two books in the Wayfarers series didn't quite work for me, but I think I may have wanted too much from them. I'll be interested in your thoughts if you read them.

Hope the stress is a bit less for you soon, Nora.

Aug 27, 2019, 12:09pm

>63 libraryperilous: I've been warned about the subsequent books not featuring the same characters (albeit after I ordered them) so I'm hoping I can keep my expectations tempered and just enjoy them.

Aug 31, 2019, 10:23am

Sorry to see that you are stressed and dreaming because of it! Hope you get to relax this weekend

Aug 31, 2019, 12:38pm

>64 norabelle414: Fingers crossed for you! She has a novella, To Be Taught, If Fortunate, not set in the Wayfarers universe, out in September. It sounds interesting.

Aug 31, 2019, 10:54pm

Well, I was planning to read and relax and go to bed early on Friday night, but then I got a call from my dad at 5:30 that he had to have emergency retina surgery and needed someone to pick him up from the hospital at 7:30, which ended up being more like 9:30. I got home around 11:30 and was too amped up to sleep much.

Today was the National Book Festival all day. I met up in the morning with WildMaggie, then saw:
V. E. Schwab
Seanan McGuire
Ann M. Martin and Gale Galligan
Nathan Englander (who I saw incidentally so that I could get a good seat for the next session)
and the grand finale of Emily Wilson and Madeline Miller

I got home at 8:45 and I'm exhausted! Hopefully tomorrow can be quiet and relaxing.

Sep 1, 2019, 8:51pm

Glad you got to see some good authors at the Book Fest. I wish I could have been there.

On another note, D and I are watching Carnival Row on Amazon Prime. If you have it, I think it’s definitely a series you’d like.

Sep 2, 2019, 7:31am

>67 norabelle414: Sorry to hear about your dad's emergency surgery, but glad you had a great time at the National Book Festival. It felt a little weird not to be there this year, but I'll try really hard to keep my dogsitting schedule free next year :) Hope you had a quiet Sunday to catch up on rest!

Sep 3, 2019, 11:20am

I missed both of you being there!

>68 drneutron: I use Amazon Prime sometimes (one or two months a year) and I have that one on the list to watch when I do! Thanks for the rec!

>69 bell7: Thanks Mary! He's physically doing fine but his life is a little weird right now. He has to spend most of his time laying face down?? Thankfully he already owned a massage table with a hole for his face.

Sep 3, 2019, 11:44am

Hi Nora! A big fat "no thanks, universe" to all of the stress in your life. Hope your week is off to an okay start, and give Rory a smooch from me!

Sep 3, 2019, 1:15pm

I received an order of books last Thursday:

The Truth About Animals by Lucy Cooke
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

I did not buy any books at the Book Festival, partly because I had no one there to enable me *cough* and partly because the books I was interested in I either already own (Circe, The Odyssey) or they were not the author's most recent books and thus were not available (Seanan McGuire, V.E. Schwab)

I did get my copy of The Odyssey signed by Emily Wilson, which was very exciting.

The panel with Emily Wilson and Madeline Miller was good, except that the moderator, Alberto Manguel, was not good. He asked each of them to read particular scenes from their books several times to compare them, which is not a good choice for a 50-minute session, and at one point he asked Madeline Miller to read the last page of Circe?? She refused after the audience protested loudly. Then he interrupted people who were asking questions to tell them to hurry up (which then caused them to take longer to ask their question)

But Wilson and Miller themselves were great, and the panel is definitely worth watching when it's available online.

Sep 3, 2019, 1:15pm

>71 LauraBrook: Thanks Laura! Will do.

Sep 3, 2019, 4:08pm

Other things I've been doing lately:

On Thursday I went to a live taping of the NPR news quiz "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me". The guest was local hero Jose Andres, and he (and the rest of the show) was extremely funny.

I watched all of season one of Gentleman Jack and loved it. It's like lesbian Poldark.
Ramy was very good. I think the hyper-specific autobiographical series genre is pretty saturated at the moment (Shrill, Special, Better Things, etc.) but this one does stand out from the crowd.
Season 2 of Derry Girls was just as great as season one.
I finished all 3 seasons of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, which is leaving Netflix in mid-September (presumably for Acorn or PBS Passport or wherever the new spin-off show is airing)
Season 3 of GLOW was very interesting, though I am not terribly happy with some of the decisions they made. Rhonda/Bash and Ruth/Sam are both very uninspired choices, though I liked where they ended up eventually. I liked the episodes that got more specific, like the one about Tamme's back, and I loved Sheila's arc.
I watched a new show on Hulu (in the US) called This Way Up, a kind of Fleabag-ish story about a young woman trying to get her life back on track after a trauma. I really, really loved it.

Sep 4, 2019, 9:22am

I'm working on reading The Wangs vs. The World, but it's slow going because I hate all of the characters. It's kind of a cross between Crazy Rich Asians and Schitt's Creek, which seems like it would be very much my jam, but almost all of the book is spent wallowing in the thoughts of genuinely awful people, with no respite. I have figured out how to skim over the especially egregious parts, though, so I should be done soon.

Sep 4, 2019, 12:38pm

Oof, hate reading sucks. Hopefully your next book is way more enjoyable.

Edited: Sep 7, 2019, 10:43am

I finished The Wangs vs The World, review to come. I also read Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!, Volume 2: Don't Stop Me-Ow. I started reading Impostors by Scott Westerfeld, because I got an ARC of the sequel at ALA, but after 50 pages or so I realized that while it is technically a new series, it's set in the same world and after the events of the Uglies series, which I haven't finished. So back to the library it goes.

Now I'm reading Captain Marvel: Liberation Run by Tess Sharpe.

Sep 8, 2019, 3:05pm

>75 norabelle414: I tried Wangs and noped out. Everyone is terrible, in an edgelord way that feels like it's very common in literary fiction these days. I'm not the right reader for those kinds of domestic dramas, so I probably was harsh.

>74 norabelle414: My mom and I enjoyed the Miss Fisher series. I gather the books are fun reads, too. I read a comment online that described the TV show as 'wardrobe porn.' The costumes definitely were my favorite part.

Congrats on the Emily Wilson autograph!

Sep 8, 2019, 9:49pm

>78 libraryperilous: I'm glad it wasn't just me! I thought it would be like Schitt's Creek, which I really love, but nothing much happens in the book except extensive flashbacks of people being terrible. I did enjoy the ending but it wasn't worth the journey to get there.

I've read a couple of the Miss Fisher books and I did enjoy them. Definitely recommended if you like cozy mystery books.

Sep 10, 2019, 2:16pm

>79 norabelle414: Schitt's Creek looks like tons of fun, judging by the .gif usage it gets on Twitter.

I'm intrigued by the Fisher series especially because I gather it's rather different on the romance front. I'll check out the first couple of books. Thanks for the rec!

Edited: Sep 12, 2019, 9:10am

I was having weird trouble with Talk last night. Anytime I tried to post the message below, it would say "duplicate post", and also wouldn't let me post any message that was more than a couple words long. Odd.

Edited: Sep 16, 2019, 1:51pm

Due to Murphy's Law of Library Holds, I have to rearrange my reading schedule:

Loki: Where Mischief Lies (library)
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
Captain Marvel, Vol 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More
Captain Marvel: Liberation Run (library)
Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Vol 3: Careless Whiskers (library)
The Truth About Animals
Down Among the Sticks and Bones (library)

I am dog-sitting for my brother this weekend, and next weekend I'm traveling to Wisconsin to attend a family wedding, so I should get some solid reading time.

I also received an LTER book today: Almost Human: The Story of Julius, the Chimpanzee Caught Between Two Worlds.

Sep 12, 2019, 9:19am

>81 norabelle414: I had the same issue last night, and even tried to reply to your post asking if anyone else was having trouble. I was hoping they'd show up today but apparently not.

Sep 12, 2019, 9:27am

>83 bell7: They must be in the ether somewhere, because I still got the "duplicate message" notice when I tried to post >82 norabelle414: this morning.

Sep 12, 2019, 9:31am

>84 norabelle414: Oh weird. I had replied to someone on my own thread and tried to reply to yours, kept refreshing Talk and then gave up *shrug*. I was afraid of losing a longer message if I were to try to write up a review or anything.

Hope you have a good weekend dogsitting!

Sep 12, 2019, 12:05pm

Sep 13, 2019, 11:58pm

15. The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang

Charles Wang emigrated from Taipei to Los Angeles in the late 70s, and used his father’s business connections to build a makeup production empire and become very, very rich. Then, in the Great Recession of 2008, he lost everything. Charles packs up his second wife and their housekeeper, checks his youngest child out of her expensive boarding school, and leaves his foreclosed house to drive across the country. They pick up the middle Wang child, Andrew, from college, on their way northeast to the home of the oldest child, Saina, in upstate New York. When they get there, Charles plans to return to China, where he technically never lived, to reclaim the land stripped from his ancestors by the communists.

I struggled to write a plot summary of this book that sounded at all interesting. There’s a lot of aspects to the story that seem like they could be interesting, but never pan out to anything. Ostensibly, the Great Recession is the cause of the Wangs’ downfall, but actually Charles just made a bad business decision, against the advice of his business advisors, and stupidly bet his whole house and his children’s multi-million dollar trust funds on it. I couldn’t see any actual connection to the Great Recession besides the timing. The characters are deeply unlikeable - Charles cheats on his wife constantly, his wife Barbra hates everyone, and eldest child Saina cheats on her boyfriend with her ex-boyfriend who she knows just got another woman pregnant. Being in any of their heads is very unpleasant. I did enjoy the ending, but it was not worth the trip to get there.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ (3/5)

Sep 14, 2019, 7:37am

>87 norabelle414: Thank you for reading that one so I wouldn’t have to. I kept seeing comparisons to Crazy Rich Asians, but it sounds safe to skip it.

Sep 14, 2019, 8:06pm

>88 foggidawn: I thought it was going to be similar to Crazy Rich Asians, or Schitt's Creek, but it feels totally different! I didn't find any of it funny at all.

Sep 15, 2019, 12:03am

16. Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!, Vol. 2: Don't Stop Me-Ow by Kate Leth, Brittney L. Williams, Megan Wilson, and Rachelle Rosenberg

Patsy's childhood rival Hedy hired Jessica Jones to investigate Patsy, not knowing that they used to be friends. Whoops! Though of course Patsy doesn't remember that they were friends. She-Hulk got very badly injured in "Civil War II" and Patsy is worried about her. Hedy tricks both of Patsy's ex-husbands into attacking her. A villain named Black Cat is jealous of Patsy, and sends her cronies to kidnap one of Patsy's friends.

This issue was extra long (6 issues instead of 4 or 5) and very episodic, and I loved it. I wish Patsy and her friends could live forever, but unfortunately the next volume is the last.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

Edited: Sep 16, 2019, 3:29pm

Another library hold is being shelved right now!!! I didn't freeze it last week when all my other holds came in because I was number 19 on the list for 9 copies but Murphy struck again. Will I ever learn??? (no)

Sep 16, 2019, 5:04pm

I like to view my library holds as potential TBRs, not absolute TBRs. It makes it less stressful and more like a smorgasbord when they all hit at once. Sometimes I just return all of them unread and place them on hold again. :)

Sep 16, 2019, 5:12pm

>92 libraryperilous: I definitely want to read all of them, but I don't have the time when they all come in at once! I try to prioritize the ones that can't be renewed but I always end up sending something back to the library half-read and then when my turn comes back up again, I've half-forgotten what I already read.

Sep 19, 2019, 3:48pm

After a week away on vacation, I've got a Murphy's Law of Holds level of books to take home for Mr. Fine. I managed to set up my reading life so no holds came in while I was away (except for one DVD). Of course, now I've placed a bunch of holds so we'll see how that goes. :)

Edited: Sep 23, 2019, 9:27pm

>92 libraryperilous: >93 norabelle414: >94 MickyFine: I feel the same way about library holds! Just today I picked two up, and because people were waiting for them, and I have so many books in the works, I handed them back and requested again. Maybe I'll clear up the logjam soon!

Karen O.

Sep 22, 2019, 3:56pm

>93 norabelle414:, >94 MickyFine:, >95 klobrien2: I tried to manage my holds by not placing any new ones, but I went through my active TBR a couple of days ago. The library has more of them than I expected, so ...

Fingers crossed they also order at least one of the five suggestions I submitted.

Sep 23, 2019, 3:38pm

>94 MickyFine: I managed to not have any holds come in while I was out of town! Where is my medal?

>95 klobrien2: My library does let you "freeze" holds, but sometimes I forget! Or I don't freeze them because I think it will be ages until my number comes up. And then if I do freeze them, I always forget to unfreeze them ...

>96 libraryperilous: I have an extremely bad habit of keeping my unowned-TBR list as library holds! I do not recommend!!

Edited: Sep 23, 2019, 3:43pm

Sep 23, 2019, 3:51pm

>97 norabelle414: My library also lets me freeze holds, but I still have a total hold limit of 20. I currently have 10 books checked out which is stressing me out some, so I've frozen all 13 holds I currently have and I'm going to try very hard not to add to that while I read over the next few weeks! (Two of them are books I'd returned unread and put new holds on already...)

Nice job on not getting holds in while you were away ;)

Sep 23, 2019, 4:01pm

>98 MickyFine:

>99 bell7: Very briefly last week I had 9 books checked out (limit 10) and I was getting very anxious about what would happen if two more holds came in!! But now I'm down to a much more reasonable 5 checkouts.

Sep 23, 2019, 5:24pm

>100 norabelle414: Library nerdery: does your library have limits per format?

Sep 23, 2019, 5:51pm

>101 MickyFine: Unsure. They definitely have separate limits for e-materials even though the e-materials show up on the general checkouts page, which I do not care for. It gives me a heart attack every time I see a book on the checkouts page that is not in my physical stack of library books.

Sep 23, 2019, 6:48pm

For real though, her dress is gorgeous. I've never seen the show, but she seems pretty rad.

>97 norabelle414: Ha! Right before I read this comment, I had cancelled several holds. And shortly before that I had nuked my TBR. It was all just too much!

Sep 24, 2019, 11:36am

>102 norabelle414: Resisting the urge to librarian out and explain why both those things are true but no one asked. :) Good luck with getting through the stack of things!

Sep 30, 2019, 4:14pm

Dog-sitting went very well. My brother and sister-in-law are doing a fantastic job of training their dog and he's very well-behaved now. He was raised in a breeding/kennel situation so he was not used to being around people or indoors, but now he's fine with almost any person once he gets to know them. He's totally out of the crate at night and when alone in the house. He doesn't chew things up but he does like lightly carrying around items that smell like his people (including the remote control??)

My family trip to Wisconsin also went well. My brother and sister-in-law and I stayed at my mom's house for a couple days. On Friday we went to see Taliesin (Frank Lloyd Wright's house), Saturday we went to the farmer's market and then to my uncle's wedding. Sunday everyone else went to a Brewers Game and I went to the Milwaukee Zoo.

This past Thursday was the start of the theater season; I went to see Jitney, the 1970s entry in August Wilson's Centennial Cycle. It's pretty similar to last year's Two Trains Running, which is about a diner in the 1960s that is about to be torn down, while Jitney is about an illegal cab company that is about to be torn down. There's similar themes of tight-knit neighborhoods, climbing the class ladder, and young-ish black men recovering from incarceration. The similarities don't make either less enjoyable, though.

Sep 30, 2019, 9:35pm

17. Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee

When the Asgardian Loki was a teenager, his father Odin saw a vision of one of his sons raising an army against him. Loki tried to sneak a peek but it didn't really matter - he knew it would be him committing treason and not his perfect hero brother Thor. Now that he's an adult Loki can do no right in his father's eyes and eventually gets himself banished "assigned" to Midgard - a boring, magic-less realm called Earth. Loki arrives in 1890s London to find an epidemic of living death - possibly caused by magic. He teams up with the lowly, distrustful agents of S.H.A.R.P. to understand the cause of the mayhem and earn his way back to Asgard and his father's good graces.

Pretty good, if shallow (as these Marvel YA novels tend to be). I am not a huge Loki fan, and I can't tell if I would like this book more or less if I was. (Though he is canonically bisexual, and frequently gets chastised for wearing women's heels, which I believe would be popular with his fandom.) The 1890s setting, with magic, is very cool. The ending is by far the most interesting part of the story - there basically isn't one. Loki confesses what he's done, and Odin says he is going to declare Thor to be the heir to the throne (which Loki already knew was going to happen). Odin asks Loki what he's going to do next, and then the book stops. It's fascinatingly open-ended. Recommended if you're into it, but if you're unfamiliar with the current popular representation of Loki/Thor, don't start here.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Sep 30, 2019, 11:06pm

>106 norabelle414: Marvel are doing a great job of cashing in on the success of the Thor movies, Nora.

Oct 1, 2019, 10:52am

>107 PaulCranswick: I don't know how much a book counts toward cashing in on such a huge franchise, but they definitely got my library to order copies and I'm sure it adds up.

Oct 1, 2019, 2:06pm

Reading Update:
Almost done with Bunny by Mona Awad. A weird book.
Next I hope to read Captain Marvel, Vol 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More (mine) and Captain Marvel: Liberation Run (library)
Today is publication day for Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia, and I'm number one on the holds lists.
Starting to think about what books I want to bring with me on my next trip, 15-20 October.

TV Update:
It's new TV season! I've watched the first episode of a bunch of new shows.
All Rise - A show about a female judge. It's fine. It's got Wilson Bethel in it.
Bob Hearts Abishola - The guy from Mike & Molly has a heart attack and falls in love with his Nigerian nurse. It's bad and stalker-y.
Bluff City Law - A corporate lawyer returns to her estranged father's famous social justice oriented law firm. It's fine. Kind of a reverse Burden of Truth.
Prodigal Son - A criminal profiler is very good at profiling serial killers because he is a sociopath and his father was a serial killer. It's fine. I'm 85% sure no one on the show knows what "prodigal" means (or at least they're catering to people who don't know what "prodigal" means?). Michael Sheen plays the serial killer father and it's been interesting seeing fans for whom Good Omens was their primary exposure to him go nuts over this.
Emergence - A small-town sheriff finds a mysterious girl who is on the run from the government and secretly has electricity powers. It's fine for now but I don't have high hopes. It's basically Stranger Things without all the good or enjoyable parts. But it does have Allison Tolman in it.
Mixed-ish - Another spin-off of Black-ish, about Bow's mixed-race hippie family in the late 80s/early 90s. It was fine but I'm worried it's going to lean too hard on nostalgia instead of actual story/characters.
Stumptown - An adaptation of the graphic novel. An alcoholic, gambling-addicted Iraq War veteran starts a PI business but everyone thinks she's a screw up. Surprisingly clever and funny? Stumptown is a nickname for Portland, OR so it's a little weird and everyone talks about coffee constantly. Cobie Smulders is delightful, of course, and Nick Miller from New Girl plays a bartender on the exact same set as his bar from New Girl, which I find hilarious.
Carol's Second Act - A divorced, retired teacher goes to med school and starts as an intern. Better than I thought it would be but still traffics in stereotypes about millennials (they don't know what anything is!) and doctors (they're heartless!). But all the characters are nice to each other and all the actors are charming.
Evil - A pragmatic psychologist and a Catholic priest(?) team up to investigate possible demonic possessions, which are definitely not real, right? A very good pilot. Great acting by Katja Herbers, Mike Coulter (Luke Cage), Aasif Mandvi, and Michael Emerson (Lost). Definitely recommended if you liked The Exorcist (2016-2018)
Sunnyside - A disgraced ex-city-councilor decides to redeem himself by helping a rag-tag group of immigrants get their citizenship. A surprisingly great pilot! Kal Penn is charming, and the members of the study group are complex and funny without being stereotypes. Also Bill Nye is in this pilot for almost no reason?? except to utter the words "I'm really more of a science guy".
Perfect Harmony - A disgraced ex-choir teacher moved to his wife's Kentucky hometown and then she died, and he gets drunk and agrees to conduct a rag-tag church choir. An astoundingly bad pilot. The show could end up being good, but this pilot tries to cram a movie's worth of plot into 22 minutes, and is terrible at conveying information. Seems like someone wrote it in about 20 minutes while high on caffeine. What is Bradley Whitford doing in the lead role of this?
The Unicorn - A widowed father is still a total mess a year after his wife died, so his friends tell him he needs to start dating. There's a disconnect here. The idea of a widowed dad being a hot commodity in the dating world is entertaining, but I don't know what that has to do with him cleaning his house and cooking dinner and setting boundaries for his kids. Seems like his friends are just assholes who don't want to hang out with a single guy?

I had free Epix last weekend so I watched almost all of Pennyworth, a show set in 1960s London about Batman's future butler Alfred Pennyworth when he was young. The pilot and the first few episodes were amazing, but then Alfred's fiancee gets killed off and it goes very sharply downhill. He spends the rest of the season moping around and doing nothing. Incredibly boring.

Oct 1, 2019, 4:03pm

LOL, Michael Sheen is a great actor! Wait, he's fifty?!?!? Where does the time go?

Oct 1, 2019, 4:10pm

>110 libraryperilous: He is! The grey hair looks good on him.

Edited: Oct 2, 2019, 11:32am

>109 norabelle414: Oooh, Wilson Bethel. I assume on a legal drama he has to wear more clothes.

I read your spoilers on Pennyworth and now I'm less inclined to watch if it ever makes its way to Canadian Netflix. Ah well. My list on there is massive anyway.

Oct 2, 2019, 2:15pm

>112 MickyFine: Well, it's only on episode 2! He also does not have a southern accent, but he does have daddy issues.

Re: Pennyworth, the pilot and the first few episodes are so fantastic it would be worth it just to watch those. You can pretend it's a movie!

Oct 2, 2019, 2:39pm

>113 norabelle414: Duly noted!

Oct 5, 2019, 8:04pm

Ooh, good haul! I love Hild—an all-time favorite. I've heard tons of good things about the Lady Astronaut series and The Sparrow. My mom read The Other Einstein and really liked it.

Oct 5, 2019, 9:44pm

I loved The Screaming Staircase. That's a good series. :)

Edited: Oct 6, 2019, 10:57am

18. Bunny by Mona Awad

Lonely creative writing graduate student Samantha completely resents her classmates - a close-knit clique of four perfect rich girls who call each other "bunny". One day the bunnies invite Samantha to one of their mysterious parties - the Smut Salon - and Samantha leaves her co-dependent best friend Ava to fall into the bunnies' weird, disturbing world.

This could have been so good, and I could have loved it. The intersection of the twee and the macabre is where I live, but I do NOT live on the cul-de-sac of "this doesn't make sense". A lot of interesting threads are just dropped (the school is in a city so dangerous that no one can go outside at night and there are beheadings on a regular basis, but that's only mentioned once or twice and never directly addressed.) The bunnies seemed like they could be interesting, Stepford-Wife villains, but somehow they're not well drawn enough to be automatons. And in the end, it turns out that almost nothing in this book was real, which could have been compelling if the story was good but since it's not everything just collapses into a puddle of boring.
Nothing in this story feels fully formed (literally or figuratively), and while that might be the point it is deeply unsatisfying to read. It is, in the end, about the stories we tell ourselves when we are very lonely, but I really wanted there to be more here.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ (3/5)

Oct 6, 2019, 11:15am

19. Captain Marvel, Vol 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez

Captain Marvel and Iron Patriot (Rhodey) find a cryo-chamber hurtling toward Earth. It contains a young alien woman, and Captain Marvel sets off to deliver her back home. Upon arriving on the planet (after running into the Guardians of the Galaxy along the way), Captain Marvel discovers the cryo-woman's people are refugees whose planet was destroyed by the Builders. Another civilization has granted them sanctuary on an uninhabited outer planet, but the refugees are being abused by their hosts and Captain Marvel will NOT stand for that.

The general plot of this story is easy enough to follow, but there is SO MUCH backstory that I do not know at all. I don't know who the Builders are, or who the Galactic Alliance is, who J'Son is or who the Spartax are. That didn't affect my understanding of the overall plot, but there were lots of references I didn't get.
The art fantastic. This six-issue collected volume is very structured; there's a teaser at the beginning and the plot is wrapped up at the end. Enjoyable to read, except for all the references I didn't get.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Oct 7, 2019, 12:19pm

>115 norabelle414: Shirtlessness! Huzzah! Also, very nice library sale haul.

>119 norabelle414: Glad to see you enjoyed that one. I'm tempted to dive into Captain Marvel but all the backstory intimidates me. I have the same feeling about X-Men.

Oct 7, 2019, 1:51pm

>120 MickyFine: There were some parts that I skimmed because they were a lot of backstory that I didn't understand. (They might be Guardians of the Galaxy-related backstory? Some Googling tells me that the Big Bad, J'Son, is Peter Quill's dad. I saw the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie but I found it very boring and don't remember a lot.)
I might try going back to the beginning of the previous iteration (Captain Marvel Volume 1: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios) to see if that's an easier place to start.

Oct 7, 2019, 2:07pm

I'm going on another trip, Oct 15-22. Trying to decide what books to bring with me.
I still don't have Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts in my hands even though it was published last Tuesday. The library still lists it as "in processing". Maybe they're behind on processing because of the book sale?

I've still got a ways to go on the holds list for Wayward Son, so I'm picking up Carry On to re-read in preparation.

Oct 7, 2019, 4:09pm

More TV:

Almost Family - A US remake of the Australian show Sisters, about the adult daughter of a famous fertility doctor who finds out that her father used his own sperm to impregnate dozens and dozens of patients in the 1980s. I watched Sisters this summer and really enjoyed it. Almost Family is not nearly as good. The father comes off as much more of a creep, Brittany Snow is not believable as a weirdo, etc. Everything about it is just slightly worse. But I'll keep watching for awhile to see if it gets better.
Workin' Moms, season 3 - not as good as season 2
Batwoman - a very pilot-y pilot. But am I ever going to not watch an Arrowverse show? No.

Still watching:
All Rise

Dropped after episode 2:
Bob Hearts Abishola
Bluff City Law
Prodigal Son
Carol's Second Act
Perfect Harmony
The Unicorn

Also still watching my usual shows:
The Terror, Bless This Mess, black-ish, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Good Place, Just Roll With It, Raven's Home, Saturday Night Live, The Durrells, Poldark, Supergirl, Mr. Robot

Oct 8, 2019, 11:45am

>122 norabelle414: Depends on how your library does things. In my experience, it's pretty rare for a book to hit a library bookshelf any earlier than a week or two after its publication date but I know the systems you use are much bigger than any I've worked for so maybe they've got a quicker turnaround.

Going anywhere exciting for your trip?

It is going to be SO LONG before I get to try Batwoman. We're getting closer to starting new seasons on our Arrowverse viewing (we've finished Supergirl season 1) but it'll probably still be a few more weeks before we've wrapped up Legends s1, Flash s2, and Arrow s4.

Oct 8, 2019, 11:56am

>124 MickyFine: Turns out my library had listed the publication date as last Tuesday but it's actually today. Annoyance level back down to zero.

I'm going to Texas, spending a few days with my paternal uncle in Austin, then going to my mom's husband's son's wedding in San Antonio. It should be a good time but I'm very tired of traveling.

Oct 8, 2019, 12:48pm

>125 norabelle414: Hopefully you've got a hermit weekend booked for shortly after you get back. :)

Oct 23, 2019, 11:56am

I did not get much reading done on my trip, as expected. I did finish knitting a dishcloth with bluebells on it to give to my aunt and uncle. I was planning to make four of them but the pattern was VERY DIFFICULT and it did not come out looking like it was supposed to. So they just got one. I also started knitting another dishcloth, which is much easier.

I'm going to return unread several of the books I have out from the library (Captain Marvel: Liberation Run, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Patsy Walker Vol 3) just because they're staring at me from the coffee table.

Reading Plan:
The Truth About Animals (book club book; must finish by Nov 1)
Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts (library; should return by Nov 1 (but probably won't))
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge (LTER)

TV Update:

Unbelievable: Netflix fictionalization of a ProPublica article about a woman who was raped in 2008, but no one believed her, juxtaposed with the story of two detectives investigating a serial rapist in 2011. Really sensitively handled. Great acting all around. The first episode or two should be watched with care; there's no graphic imagery but it is very emotional. Everything after that is cathartic, systematic police work. I'm not a fan of true crime, but this isn't sensationalized in any way. I intended to watch it slowly but once I got to episode 3 or 4 I just kept going through the end.
Raising Dion: Netflix show about a mom whose husband disappeared in a science experiment and now discovers that her 8yo son has super powers. Very good acting all around, including (but not limited to) Michael B. Jordan as the dad (in flashbacks) and Jason Ritter as the best friend/godfather. I've only watched 2 episodes so far but I hope I have time to give it the attention it deserves soon. It scratches the Stranger Things itch (minus the 80s nostalgia).
The Politician: Ryan Murphy's Netflix show about a rich private high school boy's campaign to be class president and go to Harvard so he can eventually become US President. I've watched the first 3 episodes. Every character on this show is very dry and emotionless? And they're all so blandly pretty that it's hard to tell them apart. I find the show uncompelling but Ryan Murphy shows are easy to let wash over you while you're doing something else.
Nancy Drew: Very bad. No resemblance to anything Nancy Drew besides the name. It's like Riverdale (which I also don't like) stripped of anything fun or funny.
Press: PBS airing of a BBC drama about the staff of two newspapers - a highbrow paper struggling to make money and a lowbrow paper struggling to be taken seriously. I'm very picky about modern-set PBS dramas; this one is fine but not great.

I've heard several people say that Emergence is good so I might give it another few episodes (I previously dropped it after 2).

Oct 23, 2019, 2:04pm

Yay! Nora is back! I missed you! Ok, one sentence without an exclamation point to avoid looking like a psychopath.

I watched the first episode of iZombie on Netflix last week. I think it'll be my "I'm home alone today" show for now. So progress on it will be VERY slow.

Oct 23, 2019, 2:13pm

>128 MickyFine: I've been here! Just not posting on this thread while there's exciting stuff going on over here.

The first two seasons of iZombie are really fantastic, but then it kind of peters out. Sounds like a good "I'm home alone today" show.

Speaking of which, before I left (while I was knitting) I watched Bridget Jones' Baby. It was... a movie.

Oct 23, 2019, 5:19pm

>129 norabelle414: Good stuff! I'm excited for less tabs at the top and I like the new color scheme.

I have a couple of users on that thread blocked, and I made the mistake of clicking and uncovering one of their comments. Of course, it's not a constructive critique, it's an "LT is MY Precious, you are Pure Evil for changing anything" type of comment. Like, humans do find change difficult, but, also, your brain adjusts in a few weeks if you try something new.

Oct 23, 2019, 10:57pm

>130 libraryperilous: Oh yeah, I have several of them blocked too. I click through to see what they say but the extra click is a reminder that I know I'm going to get frustrated with them and it's my own fault for clicking to see their post.

This is how every announcement of every LT feature goes:

Tim: We're going to do change X. What do you think?
One User: Ok as long as you don't take away our ability to do Y (completely unrelated thing)
A Million other Users: OMG no why are you going to take away our ability to do Y???????

Oct 23, 2019, 11:21pm

>131 norabelle414: I caved and regretted it instantly. "You blocked them for a reason, Diana!"—me, two milliseconds later.

Also, in addition to fearing small changes and, as you've noted, freaking out over unrelated things, there seems to be quite a bit of snobbery re: Goodreads. I don't like Goodreads, but lots of people do and use both sites. It doesn't make sense to think that every change is going to turn LT into Goodreads. Plus, adding some social features probably would be fun!

LT's staff are super hands on and accessible, and it's obvious Tim cares what users think. He always seems to get shouty feedback from a very small number of hardcore, longtime users, and they make it difficult for him to push back. It feels like it's the same 5-10 people every time.

Oct 23, 2019, 11:48pm

>132 libraryperilous: I am one of the most anti-goodreads people you will find, but the internet in 2019 is the internet in 2019. A lot of sites look similar. LT looks like Goodreads looks like Facebook looks like Ravelry looks like Mint looks like whatever. (I don't know what cool people do on the internet.) They look that way because looking that way works, and people expect them to look that way.

They're not even adding features at the moment, just changing how the header looks!

I find it funny that there was an article a few weeks ago about how Amazon hasn't much improved Goodreads since they bought it and has essentially left it to fester, and then people on LT are complaining that changing LT will make it too much like Goodreads.

Oct 24, 2019, 10:05am

Well..... I finally did the thing I've been scared of doing for years. I returned the wrong library book. I had a stack of three books to return and I thought the middle one was Captain Marvel: Liberation Run but actually it was Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts. So now I'm back down to number 15 on the holds list.

Oct 24, 2019, 10:58am

>129 norabelle414: Ah. I like to be surprised so I haven't dipped my toe there. Also all the things you and Diana noted will probably keep me away.

>134 norabelle414: Noooooo! Hopefully you make your way back to the front quickly.

Edited: Oct 24, 2019, 1:15pm

>134 norabelle414: Oh, oof. Sorry that happened to you. Well, at least you know you can survive the scare.

>133 norabelle414: I'm not cool on the internet either. I visit LT and Twitter regularly, and that's about it. I'm trying not to use Twitter as much, because the 2020 Democratic primary is much less stressful when I'm not around social media.

ETA: I've now caught up on the latest comments on the troublesome thread, and I have been amply reminded of why I blocked the Talk About LibraryThing group itself in the first place.

Oct 24, 2019, 1:44pm

>136 libraryperilous: There are usually really great conversations in the Talk About Librarything group, but anything involving the slightest change can get testy. I do think it's important for saner people to speak up, so Tim knows there are plenty of people who will not leave the site because there's slightly more dark red in the navigation bar, or whatever.

Oct 25, 2019, 1:37am

I usually go on those threads to say "Good job team" almost regardless of whether I have thoughts or not. The couple of screamers that ALWAYS have reams of negative things to say are just the worst gatekeepery types.

My only constructive criticism was that I hate the colors. But the world will keep turning and I will keep coming to LT even if everything stays red 🤮

Oct 25, 2019, 12:12pm

>138 leahbird: The negative screamers do bother me, but I find them less annoying than the people who go completely off topic to ask for some random other (usually complex) feature that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, or the people that assume that because LT is adding feature A that means they are going to get rid of feature B. Or people who insist that absolutely every feature must be optional.

Edited: Oct 25, 2019, 1:01pm

>138 leahbird:, >139 norabelle414: That was exactly why I left my "I like it!" comment and my silly request for a new nav bar color on the Pirate site. I had typed a longer comment, but I realized it would not affect the people to whom it was aimed in the slightest.

>135 MickyFine: I would feel surprise if they reverted the site back to its previous iteration tomorrow, because I remember nothing about how LT looked before the last change that had people on their fainting sofas. I'm sure I'll forget what the current version looks like after the next one goes live. :)

On a side note, it almost is time for SantaThing—yay!—and I chuckled at the thought of how pear-shaped a thread of proposed SantaThing changes would go.

Edited: missing word

Oct 25, 2019, 1:26pm

>140 libraryperilous: You can technically still revert back to the old version at the bottom of the widgets page:
There are still people on this site who lose their minds at the idea of having to convert to the "hideous" "new" (2013) version. The idea that a website would maintain access to a previous version just for some people is so wild.

I don't usually agree with what lorax says (or how they say it) but I'm glad they brought up the fact that the color that people are comparing to excrement is, in fact, the color of some people's skin and so maybe people should examine their choice of descriptors.

I think they do put up a thread for suggested changes to SantaThing, after SantaThing is over. (Which is the correct time to do it, imo.) I don't participate anymore but when I did it would really bother me that I couldn't access the descriptions from my previous year's entry.

Edited: Oct 11, 2020, 10:41am

>141 norabelle414: Yes, I've never felt the need to revert or even revisit it. Thanks for the link. I'd forgotten where to find it. LT has so many Easter Eggs. In this new thread, Tim nixes keeping old versions, so they're going to have to deal with it. What a weird thing to expect on the internet.

Good on them for correcting that. *goes off to look at that thread* Oh, god, how awful. Plus, everyone is just repeating themselves. I've red xed it.

I'd like not to have to code paragraph breaks in my SantaThing entry. A better matching algorithm would be nice, but I doubt it would ever be any kind of priority—understandably. I've only had one year where I had to pick for someone whose requested books were both outside my scope and unpleasant for me to deal with. I managed to do it and then snagged an orphan to have fun with later.

Edited: clarity of general point

Oct 25, 2019, 2:40pm

>142 libraryperilous: I had two years in a row where my santee had signed up for LT only to do SantaThing and had zero books in their account and it was so frustrating and unrewarding that I just stopped. I still like making recommendations and snagging orphans, though.

Oct 25, 2019, 10:33pm

>141 norabelle414: I didn't see that comment of Lorax's (because at this point I scroll past, I just can't) but I appreciate that inclusivity.

Oct 26, 2019, 8:19am

people who go completely off topic to ask for some random other (usually complex) feature that has nothing to do with the topic at hand

Noooo, but this is the only way to get Tim to consider a feature. RSI threads just get completely ignored, so you have to strategically catch his attention by finding some possible link to a thread he's actually reading :P

Oct 26, 2019, 9:50am

>143 norabelle414: Oh, that would be frustrating! I'm trying something new with my entry this year. I've made a wishlist account and am going to ask for books off it. I know people feel that takes the joy out of picking, but I'm so behind on 2019 releases I want to read. I have around 75 titles on the list, so there's enough variety, I hope.

>145 _Zoe_: Optimistic of you to think even this strategy will work :)

Oct 26, 2019, 1:58pm

>145 _Zoe_: I do not believe that telling Tim that you don't want wishlisted books to count in "all collections" on a thread about the design of the top navigation bar is a good way to get him to see that, and it's incredibly frustrating for those of us who ARE interested in providing feedback on the design of the top navigation bar.

>146 libraryperilous: If you have 75 books on your wishlist then you will definitely be surprised by which 2-4 of them you end up getting ;-)

Oct 27, 2019, 10:57am

>147 norabelle414: For sure. I'm up to 100+, so the Santa also should not have any reason to grumble. Lots of choices for them to make :)

Nov 1, 2019, 11:04am

Last night I saw Right to be Forgotten by Sharyn Rothstein at Arena Stage. An awkward 28yo PhD student can't get a job or a social life because a mistake he made when he was 17 has developed a life of its own online. He hires a very enthusiastic lawyer to help him sue the tech companies that won't remove his search results, but the line between privacy and free speech is never easy to navigate. A good play; complicated, morally ambiguous, and timely.

We were supposed to see Newsies at Arena Stage on November 7, but my dad has a conflict so now we're going on December 4th so I have to wait a WHOLE MONTH :-(

Nov 1, 2019, 1:21pm

The last time I participated in Santa Thing (which, I believe, Nora gifted me!) my Santa sent me books from the small publishing company they worked for. They basically used Santa Thing to sell their own books. Lame!

Nov 1, 2019, 1:35pm

>150 Ape: I had forgotten about that! What a bummer.

Nov 1, 2019, 2:27pm

Tomorrow's Zoo Volunteer Book Club meeting is at the same time as the Nationals victory parade downtown, so probably no one is going to show up. Which is a bummer! Because the book is excellent.

Here's what we're reading in 2020:
Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
Raising America's Zoo: How Two Gorillas Helped Transform the National Zoo
In the Shadow of Man
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
A History of Rock Creek Park: Wilderness & Washington DC
Oryx and Crake

Nov 2, 2019, 10:24am

>150 Ape: Oh, that's awful! I can't imagine being that self-centered and forward about it.

>152 norabelle414: I have the Frans de Waal book on my TBR.

Nov 4, 2019, 12:48pm

On Saturday the book club had a great discussion of The Truth About Animals by Lucy Cooke, which was unanimously beloved. I'll review it soon.

The schedule for 2020 went over well. There was some excitement about the Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake, which is surprising to me because there was push-back when I suggested including an occasional fiction book, and no one showed up to the meeting back in May to discuss The Bees. Probably because everyone in DC has been reading The Handmaid's Tale/The Testaments lately. I printed up a schedule and posted it in the volunteer lounge, emailed it to the rest of the board, and

I'm a little concerned about Raising America's Zoo and A History of Rock Creek Park, which are both local-interest books from small publishers and I'm not sure what their availability is like (I already own both books).

I'm also struggling to find any books about nature by authors of color to add to our list in the future. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Nov 7, 2019, 5:56pm

Most of the scant few nature books by POC I have on my TBR are academic press titles. I do have Lauret Savoy's Trace on my TBR, but it's about geology. I believe J. Drew Lanham has written some books about birding.

Edited: Nov 7, 2019, 7:50pm

Glad to hear the book discussion went so well! I haven't read any books about nature by POC authors to be able to recommend them, but I looked up what I could to find some...

Black Faces, White Spaces by Carolyn Finney talks about why so few visitors to national parks are African American
Enrique Salmon is an indigenous ethnobotanist who wrote Eating the Landscape
Then there's The Colors of Nature edited by Alison Hawthorne Deming, a collection of essays

I also found a syllabus for a course on African American Nature Writers that includes Tar Baby by Toni Morrison as well as other books, short stories and a film I hadn't known about.

It's... really very few, sadly. This is stretching things a bit (okay, enormously) but author Nnedi Okorafor is super into insects. It doesn't come into her fiction really, but it does in her tweets and *might* be in Broken Places & Outer Spaces but I haven't read it yet so I'm not sure.

Nov 8, 2019, 2:58pm

Finished season 2 of The Flash last night and while I only have to wait a week until we start the new season (just have the last two episodes of season 4 of Arrow to finish up before we start new seasons of things) but I still have so many questions? Why Barry??? If you stop your mom's death are you even still able to be the Flash and stop the murder in the first place? Is there going to be evil Welles again? Will Wally end up being the Flash since Barry logically shouldn't be? Will we still get as much Joe? And on and on. Just thought I'd share my rantings with you. :)

Nov 8, 2019, 4:12pm

>155 libraryperilous: Thanks! I've put Lauret Savoy and J. Drew Lanham on my list.

>156 bell7: Thanks so much! Those look great. I've already got N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season on the list under the hand-wavy guise of "climate change??"; I'll keep an eye on Nnedi Okorafor too to see if there's any nature/conservation that comes into her future work.
I'll just be adding these to a list that the other members will vote on so I think it's fine to add books that are a bit of a stretch.

>157 MickyFine: You're thinking too hard! It doesn't make that much sense, just go with it. Because he's dumb. Kinda. Kinda. Kinda. Yes.
I'm so excited for you to start season 2 of Legends!

Nov 8, 2019, 5:09pm

>158 norabelle414: Me too. Although I was very sad that Captain Cold died in the first season and I'm hoping we'll get a typical (for comics) return from the dead because he's probably my second favourite character on that show; my first favourite is Heat Wave (even though I can NEVER remember his superhero name).

Nov 8, 2019, 5:23pm

>159 MickyFine: The best part about the Arrowverse is that anyone can come back at any time :-)

They almost always call Heat Wave "Mick" or "Rory", the latter of which is very confusing when Arthur Darvill is also on screen!

Nov 8, 2019, 5:36pm

Yes, because Arthur Darvill will always be Rory to me no matter how much they try to make Rip Hunter work *sigh*.

Nov 8, 2019, 7:57pm

>160 norabelle414: >161 MickyFine: And then there are those of us who pay no attention to television or actors, momentarily confused about why this person will always be Nora's cat.

Nov 8, 2019, 10:19pm

>162 _Zoe_: Lol that too! But Rory Pond (the cat) was named after Rory Pond (the Doctor Who character), played by Arthur Darvill who was later on a different show with a character named Mick Rory who is always called Rory, so it's all connected.

Nov 9, 2019, 1:46pm

Oh, definitely the cli-fi trend in SF and fantasy will yield some interesting titles. For historical fiction, there is Washington Black, Slave Old Man, and Landfalls (Naomi Williams).

If your book club is amenable to poetry, Camille Dungy, Tommy Pico, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil are good choices. Dungy also edited the anthology Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.

Nov 12, 2019, 3:53pm

>164 libraryperilous: Yeah I have lots of fiction ideas but we read mostly non-fiction and that's harder to find!

Nov 25, 2019, 3:24pm

I'm home from what was finally my last trip of the year. I was in Boston for 4 days for a work conference, and stayed an extra 3 days. Boston is one of my favorite places so I had a very good time. I socialized with coworkers/former coworkers, had lots of good food and LOTS of good drinks, and ran around in the cold foggy weather I love. For the last three days my best friend came up from South Carolina, and we went to the New England Aquarium and wandered around Cambridge. We stopped by Harvard Bookstore and I bought:
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (used)
Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich (used) (book club book for January! What a great find!)
Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia (new) (I was first on the library holds list for this new book but accidentally returned it, and now a month later I'm still only 12th in line for one copy)

I'm behind on reviews, behind on reading, behind on TV, behind on podcasts. I did buy Pokemon Sword though......

Nov 25, 2019, 4:00pm

>166 norabelle414: Happy to see you back and glad to hear it was an awesome trip!

Nov 25, 2019, 4:06pm

Also glad you had a great trip! I know what it's like to be behind on everything, and I'm sad to say Pokemon Sword probably won't help with that. :P

Dec 3, 2019, 3:42pm

>169 norabelle414: Canadian content!

Dec 3, 2019, 6:48pm

>169 norabelle414: Ooh, that one looks interesting! I wonder if you could find more books than I did by messing with tagmashes?

Edited: Dec 3, 2019, 6:52pm

>169 norabelle414: I'm also interested in this book! This might be the most destructive note to self in history!

Dec 12, 2019, 10:42am

20. The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife by Lucy Cooke

People have weird ideas about animals. They think that sloths are lazy or pandas can't breed or bats attack humans. This is nothing new - people used to believe that storks migrate to the moon, or beavers will hand hunters their testicles, or barnacles transform into geese. People now, just like people in the past, are doing their best with the information that they have. Armed with this book you can learn the truth laying underneath the myths, as well as the plethora of things we still don’t know about: eels, beavers, sloths, hyenas, vultures, bats, frogs, storks, hippopotamuses, moose, giant pandas, penguins, and chimpanzees.

I read a lot of general-interest nature/animal books and this is by far the best one. My zoo volunteer book club absolutely adored it. It reads like a TV series, which makes sense since the author is a nature TV show presenter/host, with each chapter exploring the history, myth, and truth of one particular animal. The author does a good job of reminding the reader where they have heard of prolific scientists or philosophers before, so there’s no need to skim back through previous chapters. This book is a pleasure to read for newbies and knowledgeable animal lovers alike, though be warned if you have a particular affection for any of these animals, they are probably a secret sex freak.

If you’re at all interested in learning weird things about animals, and especially if you’re not sure you want to read a whole 350 page book about just one animal, definitely pick this one up.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

Dec 12, 2019, 10:59am

>173 norabelle414: Now, see here! I have already purchased birthday and Hanukkah gifts for my animal-loving housemate; you really don't need to be recommending things that he would obviously love. :-)

Dec 12, 2019, 11:32am

>174 foggidawn: Mea culpa, as I finished this book almost 2 months ago but had not taken the time to review it!

Dec 12, 2019, 12:47pm

>173 norabelle414: Oh, bumping that up the TBR. Thanks for the review. I had thought it might read as a little too basic, but it sounds great.

Dec 12, 2019, 1:40pm

>176 libraryperilous: It's not complicated, but it's very entertaining at any level. While I knew a lot of the current knowledge about the animals, I really enjoyed learning about the weird things that people used to think about animals, particularly pre-Enlightenment. I think it made me more accepting of people who believe myths about animals now. I don't think less of Aristotle because he insisted that eels form spontaneously from mud, why should I think less of a zoo visitor who keeps calling giant pandas lazy? (Though of course I will gently correct...)

Dec 18, 2019, 4:06pm

My neighbor has complained about my apartment again, probably a result of one day a couple weeks ago when I forgot to close the windows before I left for work, causing a draft.

Because I have lived in this apartment for seven years the management has offered to replace the carpet for free. I took yesterday off of work so management could come by and do an assessment. They'll be replacing the whole carpet in one day, on January 2nd. They wanted to do it earlier but my friend who usually takes my cat when I have to get my carpet cleaned is out of town which means I would have to find some place to board him which I'm sure would cost an arm and a leg around the holidays. So I lied and said my mom is staying with me (She will be visiting, just not at my apartment) until January 1st.

They're going to remove the old carpet, remove the padding, paint the floor and baseboards with odor-killing paint, add new padding and new carpet. They're also going to replace the carpet in the entryway with linoleum/vinyl tile. (Which if you recall was something I was going to ask for in a previous iteration of this process but decided not to.)

All of this means I will have to box up everything I own that is in a carpeted area and could fall down when large furniture is moved. Mostly books and random knickknacks! Thankfully I won't have to pack up anything in my kitchen (the hardest stuff to pack) or any clothes (which take up the most room). I'm going to try to collect boxes & bins from my friends/family but I'm also debating renting some moving bins. I got a quote for $80 for 25 bins (2.5 cubic feet each) for a week, including pickup and delivery. That's definitely overkill (Librarything estimates I own 25 cubic feet of books; several of those feet are on a built-in shelf in a closet and won't need to be moved.) but it's the least amount of boxes I could find that could be delivered to my apartment.

I knitted a pair of socks for my mom, which is what she asked for for Christmas. They look weird but mostly because she asked for cotton. They'll look fine when they're on her feet. My dad asked for a knitted scarf to replace one I made him a few years ago so I'm working on that. Hoping to get the rest of the presents wrapped today and possibly pick up a few more things this weekend.

Dec 18, 2019, 4:17pm

>178 norabelle414: If there's a liquor store near you, they often have boxes to give away and they're usually decent sized for books.

Sorry to hear about the stress of the carpet removal and replacement but hopefully your apartment will look super swank afterwards!

Dec 18, 2019, 5:35pm

>179 MickyFine: There are probably places I could get boxes but even if they're within walking distance I can't carry more than a few assembled boxes at a time and I don't have time next week to run around looking for them. Thankfully, since the boxes are not actually leaving my apartment, just getting moved from room to room by people who are not me, the boxes don't actually need to be appropriately sized for books. If I can find someone with a few large tubs I could borrow that would be more helpful.

Dec 18, 2019, 6:35pm

>178 norabelle414: Ugh, sorry to hear that there's more stress with the complaints and now carpet removal. A post office may have free unassembled priority boxes you could snag too... *Fingers crossed* that things go smoothly Jan. 2.

Dec 18, 2019, 8:06pm

I'm glad they are replacing the carpet for free but it seems like they would be better off just putting down hard floors. I've never understood why apartments have carpet, it's just asking for problems.

Good luck with the boxing headache. I guess it gives you a chance to try a new layout!

Dec 18, 2019, 9:23pm

>182 leahbird: Most apartments have carpet because it muffles sound, whereas hard floors amplify sound. But having carpet all the way up to the front door of my apartment was a little excessive!

I'm not sure I have a lot of wiggle room with regard to layout, but I do love organizing books so I'm looking forward to reshelving everything in January :-)

Edited: Dec 19, 2019, 12:40pm

Other Updates:

I went to see Newsies at Arena Stage earlier this month and it was *fantastic*. My dad really loved it, and audibly gasped when Katherine is revealed to be Pulitzer's daughter. The lead was no Jeremy Jordan (as if anyone could ever be) but he was very good.
Tonight we're going to see Dear Jack, Dear Louise, a new play by Ken Ludwig. I've previously seen Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery which was *hilarious*, but this is a WWII drama/romance so I don't know if it will be very funny. But it is apparently based on Ludwig's real parents so at least it will have a happy ending.

I went to see the movie Parasite. It's about two families living in South Korea, one in deep poverty and the other in insulated luxury. Members of the poor family tell a few lies and forge a few documents to get hired as staff of the rich family, but the nature of vast inequality means there are many more poor people than rich people, and it's every person for themselves. Things get wild, and the movie is very tense, and I really enjoyed it.

I also got invited to be in the test audience for a movie coming out next year and I'm not allowed to talk about it! I had to sign a document and everything. How thrilling.

Dec 19, 2019, 11:34am

Glad to hear you've been having some great cultural outings. I went to see Waitress at the tale end of last month and loved as much as I expected based on my frequent listens to the soundtrack.

Dec 19, 2019, 12:38pm

TV Updates:
Someone told me recently that they enjoy my quick TV updates, so if you don't like it blame them!

The Durrells in Corfu (series finale) - I love this show so much and I'm so sad it's over.
Poldark (series finale) - This show was good but Ross Poldark was still a shitty person. Just tell your extremely smart and capable wife you're only pretending to be a traitor but are actually a spy!!! It's not that hard!
Watchmen (up to episode 7) - Wow wow wow! This show is a complicated and bold move that really pays off.
His Dark Materials (up to episode 5) - Other people seem to be saying this is bad but I really enjoy it. They've done a good job of expanding on the themes of the book, and are not shying away from the religious aspects.
Emergence - Glad I picked this show back up, it's definitely the good kind of puzzlebox show.
Charmed - Season 2 is very bad. In what I guess was an effort to diverge this show from the original Charmed they erased everything that had been good about the first season.
Star Trek Discovery (season 2 up to episode 8) - I'm enjoying this show but I've found if I try to binge-watch I stop paying attention after the first or second episode, so I'm trying to be more judicious.
Kim's Convenience - I'm up to date, finally! Still good. Excited for next season.
Supergirl - This season's arc with Lena and Andrea Rojas is very good.
Batwoman - About as good as late-seasons Arrow. But I'll keep watching.
Black Lightning - Something about the structure of the show (the plot is in story arcs of 3-5 episodes) doesn't click as well for me as the other Arrowverse shows, but it's nice to have something different. I really like Jennifer's arc this season, especially the last episode before the crossover.
Crisis on Infinite Earths (Arrowverse crossover, parts 1-3 of 5) - Delightful and nonsensical as always. This one includes about a dozen other DC shows that are not in the Arrowverse for extra delight and extra nonsense. I will definitely need to rewatch these episodes before the remaining two air in January.
Black-ish - Good as it ever was.
Mixed-ish - Still good. Charming actors all around. Doesn't rely too heavily on 80s tropes, which is what I was worried about.
Bless This Mess - Still a very blah show but it auto-plays on the ABC app after I watch Mixed-ish. Also Lennon Parham is a regular and Jessica St. Clair just guest-starred as her sister and I could never say no to that. Strangely the most interesting character is the teenage boy?
Vikings - Yes, this show is still on. Yes, I am still watching it. No, I don't know what's going on.
Evil - Still so good and so creepy!
Legacies - Season 2 is so great! If you like supernatural teen dramas, this is the cream of the crop. It's almost making me think I should watch The Vampire Diaries???
Stumptown - Starting to sag a bit in the middle. We haven't seen Dex's janky car and its magical tapedeck in weeks!
Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj - The "a few weeks on, a few weeks off" format of this show is really working for Netflix. Some episodes that have been particularly interesting to me recently are "The Ugly Truth of Fast Fashion" and "Why Can't We Retire?"
The Moodys - A 6-episode US adaptation of an Australian series about a mildly dysfunctional family at Christmas. Closer to the Bravermans than the Bluths. Great performances from all the cast members. It's a little messy and cheesy but you can watch the whole thing in less than 3 hours so why not?
The Crown (season 3) - Great as usual. Prince Philip sucks. I like the more episodic episodes better than the multi-episode arc about Charles and Camilla but I know that's important information for later seasons so whatever. There's also an official aftershow podcast, and I do love an aftershow podcast.
All Rise - This show continues to be a delight. This episode engaged directly with what could could be considered a quibble if I had one - the main character is biased toward defendants. Her answer: So fucking what? I like it.
Good Trouble/The Fosters (Christmas Special) - I did not watch the final season of The Fosters, and while mostly that has not affected my viewing of Good Trouble, I did not know who a lot of the characters in this Christmas special were.
Mr. Robot (season 4 up to episode 11) - Unlike some I have enjoyed this show throughout, but this season is particularly good and I'm excited that it gets to end on the writers' terms next week.
Raising Dion - I mentioned this previously but now I've actually finished the first season. It was fine but not great. There was a twist at the end that I appreciated because I did not see it coming and it upended a thing about the show that had really been bothering me.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (season 3 up to episode 6) - It seems like the Sherman-Palladinos have actually listened to some criticism and this season is actually engaging with some issues of politics, race, gender, and sexuality. It's really fucking gorgeous, as usual, and so far I think it's the best season yet.

Made for TV Christmas movies:

The Knight Before Christmas (Netflix) - An Arthurian knight time travels to 2019 and Vanessa Hudgens thinks he's an actor who has amnesia so she takes care of him until he can get his memory back. So bad it's good.
Same Time Next Christmas (ABC) - Lea Michele goes to Hawaii for Christmas every year her whole life and runs into the same guy. Extremely bad. An utter mess, and not in an enjoyable way.
The Christmas Prince 3: Royal Baby (Netflix) - Just as nonsensical and delightful as the previous two. An important treaty needs to be signed every 100 years to prevent two countries from going to war, and so the re-signing is scheduled for 2 days before it expires. Sure.

Dec 19, 2019, 12:39pm

>185 MickyFine: Waitress! So good.

Dec 19, 2019, 1:54pm

Somehow you have watched the only 2 Christmas movies on Netflix I HAVEN'T watched yet this year (also the one with Rob Lowe, which I think I'm going to watch tonight).

Love your TV notes, as always. We've paused all regular TV viewing for December and are alternating between my various Christmas movie picks and all of the Star Wars films because Mr. Fine wanted to watch them all before the new one. So still SUPER behind on all things Arrowverse.

Dec 20, 2019, 10:40am

Poldark being a shitty person is exactly why I've never had any desire to explore the books or the show, even though some of the rest of it sounds very interesting.

I've not seen Snowpiercer, Bong Joon-ho's earlier film, but he's a director I think I'd like. Parasite sounds very intriguing, although I don't do well with horror. And I've added the Durrells series to my "To watch" spreadsheet.

Speaking of TV Christmas movies, my aunt had on Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas on my last visit. Hoo boy. I did catch the tail end of a Rupert Penry-Jones offering on another visit, so that was nice. Oh, and I see that he is going to be in the Miss Fisher film! I love the Miss Fisher TV series, mostly for the wardrobe porn and her saucy behavior.

Dec 20, 2019, 11:40am

>189 libraryperilous: The discourse around Ross Poldark bothers me much more than the events of the show itself. All of the other characters are so well written, but Ross is treated like a big hero (by marketing/fans) when actually he's pretty full of himself though occasionally does good things (after his wife tells him to, of course). The particular ways in which Ross is shitty rub me the wrong way because they remind me a lot of some people I know in real life - he complains about the ills of society and how the government doesn't fix anything and is then offered a position in the government where he could make a real difference but refuses out of "principle". Starting in season 3 several additional major characters are introduced and thus less time is spent with Ross and it's much more bearable.

If Poldark sounds intriguing but you don't want to have to deal with the man himself, I highly recommend Gentleman Jack. It's pretty much the same plot but the main character, a butch lesbian, is as actually as discriminated against and romantically unlucky as Ross thinks that he is.

I don't know if I would call Parasite a horror movie? It does get very suspenseful toward the end but it's not got any supernatural elements at all. The title refers to the way that the poor family attaches itself to the rich family, not some kind of creature. I'd say it's about as much horror as Get Out?

The Durrells is so fun! I hope you enjoy it.

Ugh I really wanted to watch Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas! It looked so dumb! And I love Aisha Dee! Unfortunately my particular cable setup does not let me watch Freeform movies. (I don't think I'm supposed to be able to watch Freeform TV shows either but I can and I'm not going to complain about it!)

Dec 20, 2019, 4:15pm

I could do my top books of the year right now, but to do so seems like admitting that I will not finish any more books this year (which I definitely won't).

Ken Ludwig's Dear Jack, Dear Louise was fine. The format was interesting - it's basically two one-person shows going on simultaneously. The two characters are writing letters to each other so they are each in their own space on the stage and only look at the audience and never at each other. But the plot - a WWII Army doctor in Oregon and an actress in New York City become pen pals and fall in love - was predictable and boring. If it wasn't based on the playwright's parents, it would be far too sappy to work.

One of my coworkers saw CATS yesterday with absolutely no prior knowledge of the musical and had a full meltdown in my cubicle today trying to explain how confused she felt about it. A fun last day of work before Christmas week!

Dec 20, 2019, 4:19pm

>191 norabelle414: I went ahead and did my top five, though I'm determined that I will finish more books this year. I figure I can always edit the post if a late-season contender emerges.

Dec 21, 2019, 2:59pm

>191 norabelle414: I sat through the Cats trailer when it dropped a few months ago. That's all the time I'm willing to spend on the film.

Thanks for the rec of Gentleman Jack. It looks fantastic!

Yes, Get Out is too much for me as well. I don't like a lot of grim suspense in my films. Perhaps that's the better way to describe it.

You definitely should watch Ghosting if you get a chance. It looks dumb, and then ... it gets even dumber.

Dec 21, 2019, 11:35pm

My life has a giant Durrells shaped hole in it that I don't think will ever be filled. It's next to the Pushing Daisies shaped one. 😭

I'm waiting to watch the Netflix Christmas movies while group chatting with some friends who I usually hate watch these with but who have almost all moved in the last year. We're convinced someone at Netflix is blackmailing Vanessa Hudgens.

Dec 23, 2019, 12:51pm

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Dec 23, 2019, 2:01pm

>194 leahbird: I loved the mystery aspect of Pushing Daisies so much. I got bored pretty quickly with the quirky romance, but I, too, remain angry it was cancelled too soon.

We're convinced someone at Netflix is blackmailing Vanessa Hudgens.

LOL. I was astonished to see Rupert Penry-Jones in one! Flashback to that Luke Wilson Colgate ad. Someone on Twitter asked WTF he was doing in a toothpaste ad, and someone quipped back, "Paying his mortgage, probably."

Dec 23, 2019, 4:22pm

I watched The Knight Before Christmas while baking butter tarts yesterday (butter tarts may be a super Canadian thing? they're more delicious than the name implies). I wasn't paying super close attention to it but did crack up when Netflix did product placement for itself and had the Knight watching the Rob Lowe Christmas movie that Netflix made this year.

And because I didn't have time for another fluffy Christmas movie after that I watched an episode of iZombie ("Very festive!" was Mr. Fine's comment). I have some ranting for iZombie. Season 2 What the heck is up with Major's character?! I've watched two episodes of this season and he's gone from zombie hunter to drug addict. The writers really have a hate on for this guy because last season I just kept feeling more and more sad about him. Also, can we give Liv something else to do besides be wild caricatures of various groups (old people and frat dudes)?

Dec 24, 2019, 4:35pm

>197 MickyFine: I think butter tarts may be a Canadian thing. I spent part of the afternoon baking a chess pie, which may be similar (it’s custard-like), and has the added benefit of an inexplicable name.

Dec 25, 2019, 9:27pm

Thank you for keeping me company in 2019.......onward to 2020.

Dec 26, 2019, 9:48am

>194 leahbird:, >196 libraryperilous: Re: Vanessa Hudgens - yes, she's getting paid a lot of money to chastely peck generically handsome white men while fake snow falls, and good for her. I'm very excited for The Princess Switch 2 next year, which will feature not two but THREE Vanessa Hudgenses.

>197 MickyFine: Yes, butter tarts are a Canadian thing. I mostly only know them from the intro to Steal My Sunshine. I've never had them but I love butter and tarts so I'm sure they're great.
Did you catch the connection to The Christmas Prince in The Knight Before Christmas? Vanessa Hudgens holds up a giant-ass wooden acorn and says "our parents got this in Aldovia"
Yeah, that's pretty much iZombie's arc from here on out. Aside from season 1, the finale of season 2 and the series finale are the only really high points, everything else just stays the same, for better or for worse.

>195 ChelleBearss:, >199 PaulCranswick: Thank you Chelle and Paul! Happy holidays!

Edited: Dec 27, 2019, 10:51am

Lots of Christmas events down, still several to go!

My mom and her husband and their two dogs arrived Saturday night and I went out Sunday night for Bolivian food with them and my brother and sister-in-law. Monday night I went out for Korean barbecue with my dad, my brother and sister-in-law, my cousin and his wife and their two kids (who live about an hour away), and my cousin's parents (my aunt and uncle) who live in Texas and are visiting for the holidays. Tuesday night was Christmas Eve, per tradition I went to the apartment where my mom and her husband are staying and we had lobster, lots of wine and cookies, and opened presents. I got, among other things, a small leather purse, a scarf with caribou on it, some potted plants, coffee, a bookmark, and a copy of Exhalation by Ted Chiang.

Books I got for other people:
Mom - Vanishing Fleece: Adventures in American Wool by Clara Parkes
Mom's Husband - Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg
Brother - A Bite-Sized History of France: Gastronomic Tales of Revolution, War, and Enlightenment by Stephane Henaut and Jeni Mitchell
Sister-in-Law - How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell
Dad - Marooned: Jamestown, Shipwreck, and a New History of America’s Origin by Joseph Kelly

Christmas Day I went back to my mom's for breakfast and coffee and Christmas stockings. I love seeing what random items from their stockings everyone gets really into. I thought that the Smithsonian Bird-Friendly Fair-Trade coffee ( would be the biggest hit but everyone loved the bamboo toothbrushes (which I've been using for a couple years now) and the Ferrero Rocher (even my brother who shouldn't have eaten it because he's trying to avoid gluten--oops!). In the evening my brother and sister-in-law hosted dinner for me and my dad at their house (we normally do this on the 26th but my sister-in-law needed to reschedule) after which we opened more presents. I got a cocktail shaker, an eyeglass-holder shaped like an owl, and an inscribed copy of Larry Felder, Candidate by Bob Levey (which looks truly terrible). Tonight I have a respite to clean my apartment, actually spend time with my cat!, and catch up on TV.

Tomorrow I'm having dinner with my mom, her husband, my brother, and my sister-in-law again before my mom and her husband drive back to Wisconsin. Also my mom's husband asked me to teach him how to use LibraryThing to catalog his books, so hopefully we will get a chance to work on that. Saturday morning I will receive my rented moving boxes so I can pack up all my stuff before my carpet gets changed on the 2nd. Saturday evening my brother, sister-in-law, and I are having dinner with my aunt and uncle (the ones from way up at the top of this post). Then I'll spend the weekend packing up my stuff. Also throughout all of this I am feeding my friend's cat every day while he is out of town.


Dec 26, 2019, 2:16pm

Re: both The Durrells and Christmas, my mom says she bought me My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell and it is being shipped straight to my apartment.

Dec 27, 2019, 4:47pm

Sounds like a hectic but lovely holiday break. Hopefully you get some introvert time at the end of it all.

Dec 30, 2019, 11:38am

Packing up all of my stuff is really difficult and stressful!

My 2019 statistics are ready because obviously I am not going to finish any more books. I'm also working on a special surprise: (click if you want to know what the surprise is, or just wait a few days) I'm adapting my 2019 statistics spreadsheet to make statistics for the entire 2010-2019 decade.. I probably won't create a thread in the 2020 group until the surprise is done, which may be a few days after the New Year.

Dec 30, 2019, 2:10pm

Waits eagerly for surprise and for Nora to join the 2020 group (which I haven't technically done yet, either).

Jan 5, 2020, 10:14pm

2019 Statistics

In 2019, I read 20 books.
4,134 pages, plus 15 hours and 48 minutes of audiobooks.
I averaged 9 days per book, 11 pages per day, 1.67 books per month.
Average book length was 207 pages.

The longest book was The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet at 443 pages. The shortest was Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats at 56 pages.

I acquired 65 books.
I bought 49 books.
I deaccessioned 33 books.

16 (80%) of the books I read had female authors/artists (for graphic novels I am counting only the artist, not the author).
11 (55%) were marketed for adults, 5 (25%) for young adults, and 4 (20%) for children.
8 (40%) had authors/artists of color, and 3 (15%) had a main character of color.
6 (30%) had LGBTQ authors/artists, and 3 (15%) had an LGBTQ main character.
1 was translated from another language.

8 books (40%) were purchased by me. 8 (40%) were checked out from the library. 0 were free. 0 books were borrowed from another person, 3 (15%) were gifts and 1 (5%) was a free early review copy.
18 books (90%) were physical books, 0 were digital, and 1 (5%) was an audiobook.

13 (65%) were prose books. 0 were plays. 6 (30%) were comics. 1 was poetry.
18 books (90%) were fiction, and 2 (10%) were non-fiction.

3 books (15%) were rereads. 3 books (15%) were published in 2019. 17 books (85%) were published before 2019, and 5 (25%) were published before 2009. The oldest book I read was Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, first published in 1939.

My best reading month was August, in which I finished 6 books. My worst reading months were February, March, April, and December, in which I finished 0 books.

My most-read genre was speculative fiction/science fiction/fantasy/horror, of which I read 10 books (50%). 4 books (20%) were general fiction. 2 books (10%) were adventure/mystery/thriller. 2 books (10%) were science nonfiction. 1 book (5%) was historical fiction & fantasy. 1 book (5%) was romance.

My Top Five Books of 2018:
Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!, Vol 1: Hooked on a Feline by Brittney L. Williams
My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
The Truth About Animals by Lucy Cooke

Dishonorable Mention:
The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang
Bunny by Mona Awad
(neither of these were that bad)

Jan 5, 2020, 10:16pm

Surprise! It's my statistics for the entire decade!!!!!

2010s Decade Statistics

From 2010 through 2019, I read 525 books.
139,583 pages, plus 36 days, 0 hours, and 19 minutes of audiobooks.
I averaged 20 days per book, 38 pages per day, 4 books per month.
Average book length was 321 pages.

The longest book was War and Peace at 1,482 pages. (Followed by A Clash of Kings with 1009 and The Pillars of the Earth with 1008). The shortest was the short story Cat Person at 23 pages (Followed by the one-act play No Exit with 26 and Catwings with 40).

267 (51%) had female authors/artists (for graphic novels I am counting only the artist, not the author).
318 (61%) were marketed for adults, 138 (26%) for young adults, and 68 (13%) for children.
55 (11%) had authors/artists of color, and 68 (13%) had a main character of color.
39 (7%) had LGBTQ authors/artists, and 50 (10%) had an LGBTQ main character.
14 were translated from another language.

207 books (39%) were purchased by me. 241 (46%) were checked out from the library. 17 (3%) were free. 16 bookw (3%) were borrowed from another person, 22 (4%) were gifts and 22 (4%) were free early review copies.

432 books (82%) were physical books, 3 (1%) were digital, and 90 (17%) were audiobooks.

446 (85%) were prose books. 9 (2%) were plays. 65 (12%) were comics. 4 (1%) were poetry.
468 books (89%) were fiction, and 57 (11%) were non-fiction.

25 books (5%) were rereads. 260 books (50%) were published within the decade. 265 books (51%) were published before 2010, and 126 (24%) were published before 2000. The oldest book I read was The Odyssey, unless you don't count modern translations of ancient works, in which case it was A Midsummer Night's Dream, first published in 1600.

On average, my best reading month was August, in which I finished 12% of books. My worst reading month was November, in which I finished 6% of books.

My most-read genre was speculative fiction/science fiction/fantasy/horror, of which I read 249 books (47%). 86 books (16%) were historical fiction & fantasy. 70 books (13%) were general fiction. 41 books (8%) were adventure/mystery/thriller. 22 books (4%) were biography/memoir. 18 books (3%) were science nonfiction. 16 books (3%) were romance. 10 books (2%) were general nonfiction. 8 books (2%) were short stories. 4 books (1%) were history nonfiction. 1 book (0.2%) was essays.

My Top Five Books of the decade:
LOL I could never narrow it down to five

Jan 5, 2020, 10:17pm

Happy 2020! I have a new thread going over here:

Jan 6, 2020, 2:05pm

>207 norabelle414: Love the decade statistics, Nora!
I am tempted to make my own :-)

Jan 6, 2020, 2:37pm

Oooo, decade stats. Cool!