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Katie Commits to Nothing in 2019, Part 14

This is a continuation of the topic Katie Commits to Nothing in 2019, Part 13.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Aug 9, 10:19am Top

(c) Linnea Maas

Hello Old Friends and Welcome New Ones!

I'm Katie, and I've been with the 75ers since 2011. I live just outside New York City with my husband, "The" Wayne, and our cat, Leonard. I work from home for a global engineering association, which allows me to scratch my travel itch a few times a year. In addition to reading and traveling, I enjoy taking advantage of all that my current location has to offer, from bars and restaurants to theater and museums to seasides and mountainsides. I lived 12 years in "exile" in Texas and am glad to be back in the northeast :)

My only "goal" for this reading year is to not have any goals. I am hoping to read more of the 3500 books I currently own rather than shiny new ones, but I'll just be happy with a year of excellent reads, regardless of where they come from.

Edited: Today, 8:10pm Top

(Print) (Audio)

Off my shelf (pre-2019): 15
Off my Kindle (pre-2019): 12

72. The Courtship by Grace Burrowes (audio) (2.5 stars)
71. Heartburn by Nora Ephron (audio) (5 stars)
70. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (3.5 stars)
69. Janesville by Amy Goldstein (audio) (3.5 stars)
68. The Chatham School Affair by Thomas H. Cook (3.5 stars)
67. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (audio) (4 stars)
66. A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole (3 stars)
65. A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie (3 stars)
64. Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins (3.5 stars)
63. Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller (4 stars)
62. The Big Burn by Timothy Egan (audio) (4 stars)
61. Tin Man by Sarah Winman (4.5 stars)

DID NOT FINISH (Year to date)
1. Eucalyptus by Murray Bail
2. Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck
3. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
4. Census by Jesse Ball
5. Nickel Mountain by John Gardner
6. In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib
7. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
8. Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis

Edited: Aug 9, 10:21am Top


60. Bleachers by John Grisham (audio) (3.5 stars)
59. Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen (4 stars)
58. The Total Package by Stephanie Evanovich (audio) (3 stars)
57. The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths (3.5 stars)
56. Star of the North by D.B. John (3.5 stars)
55. Life on the Leash by Victoria Schade (3 stars)
54. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (audio) (3.5 stars)
53. The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (audio) (4 stars)
52. A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons by Cressida Cowell (audio) (3.5 stars)
51. Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash (audio) (3 stars)
50. Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins (3 stars)
49. Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington (audio) (3 stars)
48. The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh (3 stars)
47. I Can't Complain by Elinor Lipman (audio) (3.5 stars)
46. How To Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry (audio) (4 stars)

45. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows (4.5 stars)
44. Water Like a Stone by Deborah Crombie (4 stars)
43. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (audio) (3.5 stars)
42. The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms (3.5 stars)
41. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (audio) (3.5 stars)
40. Imagined London by Anna Quindlen (3 stars)
39. These Truths by Jill Lepore (4.5 stars)
38. The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye (4 stars)
37. Nine Women, One Dress by Jane Rosen (audio) (3 stars)
36. Black Out by Lisa Unger (2 stars)
35. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (audio) (4 stars)
34. Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward (4.5 stars)
33. The Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer (3.5 stars)
32. Unbelievable by Katy Tur (audio) (3 stars)
31. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (audio) (3.5 stars)

30. Drop Shot by Harlan Coben (3 stars)
29. All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan (audio)
28. A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin by Sophie Jordan (audio) (4 stars)
27. American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson (2.5 stars)
26. The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley (audio) (3 stars)
25. Inheritance by Dani Shapiro (4.5 stars)
24. Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch (4.5 stars)
23. The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit (audio) (4 stars)
22. My Name is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd (4 stars)
21. My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan (audio) (3 stars)
20. Anything for You by Kristan Higgins (3.5 stars)
19. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (4 stars)
18. Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco (audio) (4 stars)
17. Dream When You're Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg (3 stars)
16. Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely (audio) (3.5 stars)

15. Enlightening Delilah by M.C. Beaton (audio) (3 stars)
14. The Captives by Debra Jo Immergut (4 stars)
13. The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie (4 stars)
12. Murder in an English Village by Jessica Ellicott (audio) (2.5 stars)
11. The Garden Party by Grace Dane Mazur (4 stars)
10. In the Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda (audio) (3 stars)
9. The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld (4 stars)
8. The Governess Game by Tessa Dare (4 stars)
7. Blood on the Forge by William Attaway (4.5 stars)
6. Boo by Neil Smith (audio) (3 stars)
5. The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwan (3.5 stars)
4. Good Neighbors by Ryan David Jahn (4 stars)
3. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (audio) (3.5 stars)
2. By the Book by Julia Sonneborn (3 stars)
1. Going Back by Penelope Lively (3.5 stars)

Edited: Aug 9, 10:21am Top

My Ratings (revised, once again, as I continue the fruitless search for the perfect scale...)

2 stars = below average
3 stars = average
4 stars = above average
5 stars = perfect *for me*

(Anything below 2 stars is unlikely to be finished)

Edited: Aug 9, 10:24am Top

Read This Book

Kim Church was one of the featured authors at the Booktopia event I attended in Asheville, NC in 2014. She wrote this lovely little novel which ended up being one of my favorites of the year.

From Amazon:
Addie Lockwood believes in books. Roland Rhodes believes in blues guitar. Coming of age in the small-town South of the 1970s, they form a friendship as extraordinary as it is unlikely.

They meet again in their disillusioned thirties, this time in California, where Roland's music career has landed him. Venice Beach is exotic, a world away from North Carolina and Addie's cloistered life as a bookstore clerk. Over a whirlwind New Year's weekend she falls in love with the place, if not with Roland.

When she comes home pregnant, reality sets in. Conflicted, unready to be a mother, she gives birth to a son--Byrd--and surrenders him for adoption without telling Roland, and without imagining how the secret will shape their lives.

Told through letters and sharply drawn vignettes, Byrd is an unforgettable story about making and living with the most difficult, intimate, and far-reaching choices.

Edited: Aug 9, 10:24am Top

Aug 9, 10:21am Top


Edited: Aug 9, 10:25am Top

>7 Crazymamie: - Smart ass ;-)

(PS: Good to see you!!)

Aug 9, 10:31am Top

*settles in with second third cup of coffee* Can't wait to see what's coming in Chapter 14.

Aug 9, 10:40am Top

Happy new thread, Katie. Just in time for the weekend. >:-)

Aug 9, 10:43am Top

Happy Friday, Katie! Happy New Thread! Any big plans for the weekend?

Aug 9, 10:54am Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 9, 10:57am Top

>9 laytonwoman3rd: - Probably a whole lot more of boring ;-)

>10 Helenliz: - Hooray for the weekend!

>11 msf59: - Hiya, Mark! Just moving related stuff, Mark... It's never ending.

>12 figsfromthistle: - Thanks!

Aug 9, 11:54am Top

Happy new thread, Katie! Hopefully you have some relaxing time during your productive weekend. :)

Aug 9, 12:35pm Top

Happy Friday and Happy New Thread, Katie. The "Dining Under the Stars" event you mentioned on your previous thread sounds like so much fun. I love that even the liquor store is in on it.

Aug 9, 12:44pm Top

Happy new one. Hope you're having a great weekend.

Aug 9, 1:16pm Top

Party-on, Katie! You be always in da party mood.

Aug 9, 1:55pm Top

Happy new thread! Have you actually moved in yet or is the date still in the future? I have been out of touch on many threads lately....

Aug 9, 2:30pm Top

Happy New Thread, Katie. Hope you have a great weekend.

Aug 9, 2:37pm Top

>14 MickyFine: - We'll see, Micky! I am getting impatient to have this transition period over with.

>15 lauralkeet: - It'll be our first time going, so I hope it's not lame, Laura :)

>16 RebaRelishesReading: - Thanks, Reba! Still waiting for the weekend to start!

>17 weird_O: - Thanks, Bill :)

>18 jessibud2: - Thanks, Shelley. We have not moved in. We've been moving some stuff over ourselves on the weekends, but home base is still our rental. That said, I am getting tired of the back and forth and am trying to convince The Wayne that we should just hire a company to pack us up and move us in one fell swoop, like when we left Dallas.

>19 jnwelch: - Thanks, Joe! Back at ya :)

Aug 9, 3:22pm Top

Happy new thread! How was Dining Under the Stars?

Aug 9, 4:20pm Top

>21 drneutron: - Hi Jim! I'll be sure to report back :)

Aug 9, 6:42pm Top

Happy new thread, Katie. I loved Byrd! You are right -- everyone should read this one! Have a lovely weekend.

Aug 9, 7:11pm Top

Happy new thread, Katie.

Aug 9, 7:39pm Top

Dining Under the Stars sounds *ideal* for couples with divergent food-tastes. Hope it's delightful because it's the perfect night for it.

Happy new thread! I really liked John Scalzi's novella The Dispatcher that Roni Kindlelent me. Check it out.

Aug 10, 9:20pm Top

Happy new thread, Katie! I hope that tomorrow's weather forecast is equally as nice as today's was.

Aug 10, 9:22pm Top

Happy new thread, Katie.

I'm in the process of moving and resorting my books in their new home. I need to buy a lot of book shelves in the next week or so.

Edited: Aug 10, 9:43pm Top

Oops. Posted in the wrong thread. Sorry! Hope you had a good weekend, Katie!

Aug 11, 2:52am Top

Happy new thread, Katie. How's it going with convincing the Wayne to do the major move now?

Aug 11, 8:19pm Top

Hope you enjoyed the beautiful weather weekend! I took my mother to see The Farewell (movie) in the city, and regret that we didn't spend the time on a bench in the park instead.

Aug 12, 8:38am Top

And *Poof* the weekend is over...

>23 BLBera: - I wish she'd write a new one, Beth...

>24 DeltaQueen50: - Thanks, Judy!

>25 richardderus: - It was a lovely night. I'll keep the Scalzi in mind, but he's not really my cuppa....

>26 kidzdoc: - It was, Darryl! A gorgeous weekend all around.

>27 PaulCranswick: - Good times, Paul! I'm excited to get my books organized in the new place.

>28 jessibud2: - Thanks, Shelley!

>29 Familyhistorian: - Hey Meg. We made some good progress this weekend, so we're talking about getting the movers scheduled for early September.

>30 vivians: - It was lovely, wasn't it, Vivian? We spent both days focused on moving stuff, but it was nice to not have it so hot.

Aug 12, 8:44am Top

Friday night, we enjoyed 'Dinner Under the Stars' with sushi and a well-chilled sauvignon blanc. The weather was perfect, but the music was not very good and a little too loud. Whatever. We'd go back. After dinner, we walked over to another restaurant a couple of blocks away and had dessert (ok, actually cocktails).

Saturday we packed a lot, made three trips to various home improvement stores, and moved some stuff. Yesterday we rented a truck and moved A LOT of stuff, including about 8 bookcases and some random smaller pieces of furniture, 12 boxes of books, and assorted other stuff. It felt good to make some progress, and now we are talking about getting the movers for the final push in early September. I'll be in Dallas the first week of the month, and The Wayne said he didn't mind handling it on his own, so we'll see. I'd love to *not* be around for it :)

In books, I'm listening to Janesville: An American Story and reading The Chatham School Affair, both of which are good. Not getting a whole lot of reading time, but I'm trying....

Aug 12, 8:54am Top

>31 katiekrug: Your statement that the weeked is over had me going "eh? What!" Then I rememebred that it *is* Monday and that I'm on holiday for 2 weeks. >:-) A very lazy day being had today.

Aug 12, 8:55am Top

>33 Helenliz: - Trying not to think mean thoughts about you, Helen... ;-)

Aug 12, 9:00am Top

>34 katiekrug: *chortles to self*.

Aug 12, 9:07am Top

>35 Helenliz: - *glowers eastward*

Aug 12, 9:41am Top

Since we're both retired (*ducks to avoid Katie's glare*) the meaning of the weekend has sort of flipped around here. We try NOT to do the cool things on Saturdays and Sundays, 'cause that's when everybody else is doing them.

Aug 12, 10:08am Top

>37 laytonwoman3rd: - Oh, *retirement* is acceptable, Linda. It's those vacationers I have a problem with.....

Aug 12, 10:29am Top

>36 katiekrug: Impervious. >:-D
It's not like I'm *actually* doing nothing. I've put a load of laundry on, which is now in the tumble drier, unpacked the dishwasher and loaded it again, been food shopping and tidied the study so my cleaner can clean it on Wednesday (I'm usually working when she comes). And read a few chapters of my latest book in the midst of all that. I'm actually not very good at doing nothing at all.

Our weekends end up so busy (last weekend involved a 4:15 alarm call to get to Portsmouth for 9:30 and we didn't get home until gone 8pm, Sunday was parish barbeque, so that was most of the day done as well) that I tend to take the advantage of holiday to do things like have my hair cut (Tuesday) and nails done (Wednesday).

I really like my job, but sometimes that time to turn off and just have 2 weeks of Saturdays in a row is just very very nice.

Aug 12, 10:32am Top

>37 laytonwoman3rd: now that Judy and I are BOTH retired we have to stop and check the calander sometimes to see exactly what day it is! Sunday? Maybe.

The fun is going to the movies during the day on a weekday and avoiding the kids and the crowds.

Aug 12, 10:43am Top

>39 Helenliz: - I do find weekends to be way busier than the rest of the week. I am a big believer in taking random days off when possible, to get a bit of a breather and to make the next weekend a bit more manageable.

>40 magicians_nephew: - Weekday movies are utter bliss, for sure!

Aug 12, 12:25pm Top

Oh boy, oh joy, it's Monday! The weekend beachgoers are weekdaying wherever it is that they usually weekday and I had the boardwalk largely to myself this morning. I'll go out after my sammy and hawkeye the lunchtime runner-boys as they glisten past my perch.

So what're you up to?

Aug 12, 12:33pm Top

>42 richardderus: - What am I up to? Not much, just wondering why I've been cursed with such cruel friends is all.... Ha!

Hawkeye some of the runner-boys for me!

Aug 12, 5:25pm Top

>43 katiekrug: I did, and it paid off in a very nice chat with Dadbod at the Laurelton Diner. You're so thoughtful to encourage me to do my cruising!

Aug 12, 8:53pm Top

>45 katiekrug: - Glad to help!

Aug 12, 8:57pm Top

Had some sad news this afternoon - my boss told me his older daughter (about 30 or so) was diagnosed with cancer last week. Bad enough, but his wife had been diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma just a month or so ago. Talk about a double whammy. I mean, what does one say to that?! I feel awful for him and his family. I've not met his older daughter, but I know his wife reasonably well, as she often accompanies him to Board meetings. The universe is just mean sometimes.

Aug 12, 9:20pm Top

>46 katiekrug: That is so deeply sad. Poor guy, poor women, it's not going to be an easy passage through this time in his life and that includes you having to go there with him. So sorry for all y'all.

Aug 13, 4:10am Top

>46 katiekrug: that is sad. The world does do some nasty things sometimes. I don't think there are words that help, all you can do is just keep making the job the least of his worries.

Aug 13, 6:48am Top

>46 katiekrug: that is very sad news indeed. I feel so helpless in situations like that, wishing I could *do something*. I like Helen's advice though.

Aug 13, 9:29am Top

>47 richardderus:, >48 Helenliz:, and >49 lauralkeet: - Thanks, Richard, Helen, and Laura. I only mentioned it here because I can't say anything on other social media outlets and just felt the need to acknowledge the suckiness of it and put it out into the world.

After he told me, we were talking about work stuff, and I offered to take something on that isn't usually part of my responsibilities, and he was so sadly grateful. I appreciate that he trusts me to do it (the benefit of having worked for him for almost 14 years!) and am just glad there is something I can do to lighten his load even a little bit.

Aug 13, 10:33am Top

Bless you for making a specific offer of help, rather than a generic "if there's anything I can do". So many times we just don't know what we can do that will be welcome for people in distress.

Aug 13, 10:40am Top

>51 laytonwoman3rd: that's a great point, Linda. And Katie, I suspect you'll have more opportunities to do that as your boss weathers this s**tstorm.

Aug 14, 9:53am Top

Thank you, Linda and Laura.

Aug 14, 10:24am Top

I feel like I'm making zero progress with my current reads, but I should finish The Chatham School Affair tonight (if I really apply myself!), and I have about 3.5 hours left of Janesville.

Not sure what I'll pick up next...

Aug 14, 10:51am Top

The mood is the master of my reading, so I know that sense of anticipatory uncertainty well.

Happy Humpday.

Aug 14, 11:12am Top

Hi - I started The Bookish Life of Nina Hill last night - thanks for the rec! It's the perfect antidote to my other, slower read An Orchestra of Minorities.

Aug 14, 11:16am Top

>55 richardderus: - Yep, I can try to plan, but as soon as I do, I don't wanna do *any* of it!

>56 vivians: - Ooh, I hope you like it! Not high art, but entertaining, and very funny in parts. I'm also partial to it, because The Wayne and I used to play bar trivia all the time (and got engaged during a match!) :)

Aug 14, 11:42am Top

>46 katiekrug: That is sad, Katie.

>50 katiekrug: How nice to do something concrete to help. Sometimes it's hard to know what needs to be done.

Aug 15, 10:12am Top

>58 BLBera: - I hope I can find other ways to help, Beth.

Aug 15, 10:18am Top

Yesterday, my elbow started hurting, and I thought it was just irritated from constantly rubbing and pressing against the arm rest of my office chair. But it was especially bad overnight, and I hardly got any sleep. And then this morning, it was distinctly swollen and red and warm to the touch. So off to the doctor I went - just kidding, I did what everybody does, and went to WebMD. I decided it was probably bursitis, and then read that it can include an infection and if it goes untreated, YOU DIE. So after I dropped The Wayne off at the train station, I drove to my doctor's office and called from the parking lot the minute they opened, and begged for an appointment. The nurse took one look at it and said "Bursitis" and the doctor confirmed it. And because it's warm to the touch and all red, she thinks it probably is from an infection, and put me on an antibiotic. And now that I think of it, I had a bug bite on my elbow a couple of weeks ago, and it was super itchy, and I scratched it raw, and probably let the bacteria in. So anyway, that was my fun morning, but I no longer think I am going to die, so that's good. But it hurts like hell.

The end.

PS: I finished a book!

Aug 15, 10:21am Top

I'm glad you aren't going to die and hope your elbow stopped hurting really soon!! Good excuse to sit and read though, don't you think? :)

Aug 15, 10:26am Top

>60 katiekrug: ouch. Glad you took care of it so quickly.

Aug 15, 10:29am Top

Bug bites....bad.
Quick doctor appointment...good.
Katie not dying...EXCELLENT!

Hope the antibiotics kick in and reduce the swelling and pain really soon.

Aug 15, 10:34am Top

Thanks, ladies!

The Wayne thought I was over-reacting, so now I can make him my slave while I convalesce. Heh.

I am back at work, minus the arm rest on my chair.

Aug 15, 10:37am Top

I'm taking that as a happy ending, no dead Katie.
at least you went to the GP and got it treated, even if it was entirely self inflicted by having scratched the bite in the first place. You can see I missed my calling as one of the caring profession, can't you? >;-)

Aug 15, 10:44am Top

I stopped by to find out about your latest shenanigans, and what do I find? The heavy labor of moving household goods from one house to another. Reports of cancer and lymphoma afflicting friends. Bursitis and infection. Good Lord. Keep on keepin' on, Katie.

Oh, and thumbs up on finishing a book. :-)

Aug 15, 12:16pm Top

Oof, sorry to hear about the bursitis. Hoping the antibiotics do their work right quick!

Aug 15, 1:00pm Top

Yeah yeah yeah, ow, but what book did you finish?! Tell us the *good* stuff!

Aug 15, 2:13pm Top

So glad you're not dying or dead already. Whew!

Seriously, I hope the antibiotics kick in quickly and the pain goes away. And tell us more about the book please!

Aug 15, 2:41pm Top

>60 katiekrug: - That was awfully mean of Dr Web to scare you like that but you did the right thing. I think I have bursitis in my hip. The mosquito bites I have scratched raw are on the same leg but lower down, on the calf. No connection. Calomine lotion did nothing to ease the itch but the hydrocortisone cream the pharmacist suggested did the trick. If only bursitis was so easily resolved...

Aug 15, 3:38pm Top

Thanks, everybody. Forgive me for not responding individually, but typing isn't very comfortable at the moment....

The book I finished was a mystery, The Chatham School Affair by Thomas H. Cook. It was good but had some elements that annoyed me. I rated it 3.5 stars. More later!

Aug 15, 3:54pm Top

Recover first, type later. *smooch*

Aug 15, 4:00pm Top

Hi Katie, hope your elbow clears up soon and you are back up to typing speed. Such sad news about your the family of your boss. Kudos to getting a big part of the moving done - in my book, moving bookcases and books is a major part of a move.

Aug 15, 9:25pm Top

May I just suggest the application of a dab of toothpaste to those pesky mosquito bites BEFORE scratching (not after they're already raw, OK?). Especially the baking soda and peroxide variety. Helps minimize the itch if done soon after the bite, and dries them up a bit. Just plain baking soda and water paste will do it as well.

Aug 16, 7:28am Top

Dang, life is just hopping for you right now! Hope your elbow recovery is smooth & quick.

Aug 16, 8:54am Top

>72 richardderus: - *smooch* back!

>73 Familyhistorian: - Thanks, Meg. Still need to do the books on the second floor, and there are a few on the third floor, but it felt good to get the majority of it done.

>74 laytonwoman3rd: - Thanks for the tip, Linda! I'd never heard of using toothpaste before.

>75 bell7: - Non-stop fun over here :-P

Aug 16, 9:01am Top

The good news: I think the swelling in my elbow has gone down, and it seems slightly less angry red, and not as hot to the touch. Amazing what just two doses of antibiotics can do...

The bad news: It still hurts :(

I can type reasonably comfortably now, though, so that's good. And I got a decent night's sleep, despite staying on my back with my arm propped on a pillow.

Anyway, lots to do at work today, and then a full weekend of house stuff. I'll be on the management, rather than labor, side this weekend :)

Aug 16, 9:08am Top

>77 katiekrug: For heavens' sake, hire movers! After one's 40th birthday, it's a New Jersey state law that movers move you. I'm sure I read that somewhere.

But YAY on less swelling!

Aug 16, 9:16am Top

>78 richardderus: - Oh, we are definitely hiring movers! It's been a complicated situation for various reasons, and we wanted to move some stuff ourselves, especially out of the main floor. We are almost ready to set a date and hire the movers - probably sometime in September.

Aug 16, 9:29am Top

>79 katiekrug: Oh thank GOODNESS now we can all breathe easier because the orthopedic injury ifrit will stay bottled.

Aug 16, 9:45am Top

I had to look up "ifrit" :-P

Aug 16, 10:20am Top

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

A delightful audio, with plenty of snark and humor and book-y love. I think I might purchase a hard copy for my personal library.

4 stars

Aug 16, 10:22am Top

The Chatham School Affairs by Thomas H. Cook

An elderly man reflects on events from his youth, when a love affair between two of his teachers went very wrong. It was intriguing, for the most part, but the framing device was a bit clunky at times and slowed down the narrative.

3.5 stars

Aug 16, 10:57am Top

>82 katiekrug: Good stuff. I read the digital version, but I'd quite like my own copy too, the cover is calling me.

Aug 16, 12:46pm Top

I'm glad your arm is improving already, Katie. Happy Friday!

Aug 16, 3:08pm Top

I'm sure you'll be back "bending the elbow" in no time>

Aug 16, 7:23pm Top

>84 charl08: - It is a fun cover, Charlotte.

>85 lauralkeet: - Thanks, Laura. Hope you have a great weekend!

>86 magicians_nephew: - Ha! Good one, Jim.

Aug 16, 8:02pm Top

>60 katiekrug: glad to see you aren’t going to die! How did it go with the slave request of The Wayne? Hopefully he is taking care of you!

Aug 17, 8:51am Top

>83 katiekrug: Intriguing. But how I hate awkward framing devices---they have spoiled several good books for me.

Aug 17, 9:03am Top

>88 ChelleBearss: - He wasn't really into the idea, Chelle :-P But he is taking care of me, so it's all good.

>89 laytonwoman3rd: - Linda, it's well-written and may still be worth a look. It won an Edgar Award. I just thought the present narration intruded a bit too much into the telling of the story.

Aug 17, 9:17am Top

We are going to pick out carpet today for the family room in the new house. I don't love carpet, but decided to go with it for a coupe of reasons, namely that I didn't want to try to match the hardwoods in the rest of the main floor, and I hate when flooring of the same type doesn't match, especially when the rooms abut each other. Also, I don't hate good quality berber, so hopefully we can find one we like.

Elbow seems about the same as yesterday. As long as it's not worse, I am happy with it.

I finished the audio I was listening to - more on that in a bit. I think I'll probably start Heartburn by Nora Ephron, read by Meryl Streep, next.

And I'm really enjoying Shades of Milk and Honey, which is not my usual fare, but is nicely done.

Aug 17, 9:35am Top

Hi Katie! I'm also glad that you didn't die :-)

Good luck with the carpet. I am a carpet fan - so warm! So snuggly! But I suppose it's harder to keep clean, particularly if you have pets.

Aug 17, 9:38am Top

Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein

In 2008, General Motors closed its production plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, laying off thousands of people. Goldstein chronicles the direct impact, and less dramatic reverberations, this has on the community - from laid-off workers trying to pay the bills to teachers trying to help students suddenly dealing with uncertainty and stress at home.

The strength of this chronicle is the manageable but diverse group that Goldstein chooses to follow over the next five years. There is the bank president/community booster, the school social worker, several laid-off GMers who take different paths to forge a new life, the head of the local job resource center, and a few others. The group provides Goldstein a large canvas to trace various effects, but never becomes unwieldy. She also includes a few more meta themes in the book, particularly the widening political divide, and the election and recall effort of Governor Scott Walker is included, as are the fortunes of Janesville's native son, now-former Rep. Paul Ryan. But she always returns to the "regular" people and tells their stories with genuine care and empathy.

Janesville reminded me in some ways of The Unwinding by George Packer, particulary in the emphasis on the decline of the middle class and widening political and economic divisions in America. Both are worth reading, but Janesville is probably more accessible. It's an important read, and certainly a worthwhile one.

4 stars

Aug 17, 9:40am Top

>92 susanj67: - Hi Susan! Not dead yet :) I think the carpet will work well in that particular room - it should be cozy since we'll spend most of our time there. I'm a little worried about the fireplace and keeping the carpet clean from ashes and such, but since I'm scared of fire, I'm not sure how much we'll actually use it anyway...

Aug 17, 9:46am Top

>91 katiekrug: Here's an idea!

Spilled wine? Pshaw! Who could tell?

>93 katiekrug: *heavy heavy sigh* ...and these are the base for this craptastic clown-show administration...

Aug 17, 9:52am Top

>93 katiekrug: I thought Janesville was really well done too. And apparently I've read The Unwinding, but I can't say I remember it...

>94 katiekrug: I'm with you on the whole fire thing. Maybe a hearthrug, though?

*must not look up rugs*
*clicks to - *

Aug 17, 10:09am Top

>95 richardderus: - Except I want a light-colored carpet....

And Janesville, at least as of 2016, was still pretty Democratic. Ryan actually lost his own ward in the town, and overall, the town went for Clinton. And when Ryan was on the Presidential ballot in 2012, he couldn't carry the town.

>96 susanj67: - I might consider a hearth rug. I think the hearth itself is actually pretty "generous" which might limit ash invasion... I'll have to take a look when we are over there today.

Aug 17, 10:30am Top

>97 katiekrug: Nothing could make me happier than Janesville rejecting that POS Ryan.

Aug 18, 8:36am Top

I'm glad you're not dying, Katie. I hope the arm feels better soon.

>82 katiekrug: I'm waiting for a copy from the library. It sounds good. I'll have to check to see if they have an audiobook.

Janesville sounds good. Another one for the list.

Aug 18, 9:20am Top

>98 richardderus: - :)

>99 BLBera: - Hi Beth! Arm is getting better, thanks. I really loved the audio of Nina Hill - I think snark works better in that format :)

Aug 18, 9:30am Top

Yesterday was busy - we set up a time for the carpet installers to come to measure, and I think we decided on the carpet we want. It's a very low pile (Berber, duh), kind of nubbly/wooly one called "Jute" which is light-colored but still warm. Unfortunately, if all goes well, the whole process won't be done for 3 weeks, which complicates things a bit, as I still need to get a new couch for that room, but don't want to do that, obviously, until the carpet is down. Bah! Anyway, just a minor inconvenience. It's fun to realize we are making progress.

I realized at some point yesterday that I could straighten my arm with zero pain in my elbow - hooray! The elbow is looking much better, and there is only a little bit of swelling and redness around it. And it's only maginally warm to the touch, so I am very pleased.

Today is grocery shopping, organizing a bit at the new house, making sure The Wayne doesn't fall off the ladder, all sorts of fun stuff. I also hope to finish Shades of Milk and Honey - my Kindle says I have 82 minutes left in it.

Aug 18, 10:46am Top

Sounds like a pleasant Sunday. Especially if the no-falling-off-ladders bit works. Distinctly less pleasant if it doesn't.

Aug 18, 12:11pm Top

Hi Katie!

Happy new thread, and good luck with your slow-and-easy move.

>46 katiekrug: That’s terrible. Two cancer diagnoses for your boss’s family. The Universe is just mean sometimes.

>50 katiekrug: I can understand not wanting it posted on social media. There are things over the years I haven’t posted on LT per family requests because even though I consider us ‘safe’, we’re still social media. Poor guy. ‘Sadly grateful.’

>60 katiekrug: It’s good that you took immediate action and have gotten antibiotics. So glad you don’t think you’re going to die, sorry about the pain.

>91 katiekrug: I love berber carpets, and we have them in most of our house. I regret that we didn’t put them every place we put carpets. I hope you had fun. ‘Jute’ sounds great – all of our berbers are light and still look pretty good even after 21 years in this house with cats and a kid. I can't imagine that Leonard will get them too dirty...

Aug 18, 12:42pm Top

Glad to hear that the elbow now has no pain. I'm now very tempted to go look at rugs though, as I'm not really sure what a berber is. This kind of thing makes me wonder if there was a class I missed at school!

Aug 18, 1:21pm Top

Oof - by the time I caught up with your thread the elbow was bad and then better. Phew. I just finished Nina Hill - a great read so thanks. Otherwise, just packing up Jo for move-in on Tuesday, when D.C. will be 97 degrees, ugh.

Aug 18, 2:03pm Top

I think you deserve an award, Katie, for getting to the doctor so quickly. I have been struggling with a little finger that I may have broken or strained or simply have arthritis in yet I am still too lazy to go to the doctor about it. Actually, I think whatever was wrong is slowly getting better but I know I should have gone and seen about it. I just couldn't stand the thought of long hours at the X-Ray Clinic. Another award for you for being such an understand friend and employee for your boss. Sorry to read about his wife and daughter.

Good luck with the continued move - are you at the place where you are looking for something and then remember it's already been moved to the new house?

Aug 18, 5:01pm Top

Hey...where's Flora the Ghanaian chicken?!

Aug 18, 5:15pm Top

No pain in the elbow and new carpet ordered -- Hooray! Good weekend.

Aug 18, 7:45pm Top

I had bursitis in my shoulder so I feel your pain Katie. Did I miss it or did you mention if there was a cause for the sore elbow.

Janesville sounds as depressing The Unwinding was. Unfortunately everything Packer talked about is now reality for millions of people. This country needs such big changes I don't see how it's possible.

In considering your new couch keep in my How long it takes to actually get a new piece of furniture. It took two months from the time I ordered a new LR chair until the day they delivered it.

Aug 19, 9:27am Top

>102 richardderus: - He never made it up the ladder, so no falling. Win!

>103 karenmarie: - Hi Karen! Thanks for catching up - did you fall asleep reading all my boring updates? ;-)

>104 charl08: - Hi Charlotte. I may have spoken too soon, as my elbow is kind of sore again. Not as bad as it was, and I may have overworked it this weekend. And I stopped taking ibuprofen and icing it. Oops.

>105 vivians: - Good luck with the move-in, Vivian! I moved to DC the summer after college, and the group house I lived in for the first year had no a/c. It was awful.

Aug 19, 9:31am Top

>106 DeltaQueen50: - Judy, I can usually tell if something is really Not Right, as opposed to just annoying. And I am so paranoid that the threat of infection freaked me out. I didn't want to be one of those stories in People magazine about the woman who had a sore elbow and ended up dead :) The move is progressing well, but most of our most-used stuff is still with us in the rental, so I haven't lost track of anything yet!

>107 richardderus: - Ha! She's safely roosting on the family room mantle :) I love that dumb chicken...

>108 RebaRelishesReading: - Well, a bit of pain again but still a good weekend! Thanks, Reba :)

>109 brenzi: - I think it got infected from a bug bite, Bonnie. I am super sensitive to bites, or very attractive to biters, or something. The Wayne and I can be outside and he doesn't get bothered, meanwhile I get eaten alive and everything stays really itchy for a long time. *sigh* It's why I prefer to stay inside :)

Good point about how long furniture can take to arrive...

Aug 19, 9:39am Top

Elbow update: this morning it's a bit swollen but not red or warm to the touch. It's kind of sore/stiff but that may be due to the swelling. I think I tried to use it too much this weekend - hard not to when it's the right elbow and I'm right-handed... I painted a bookcase, and I could tell the repetitive motion wasn't doing anything good for it. I'll try to baby it for the next few days - also hard when I can't just not work. Oh well.

I'm having fun figuring out where to put things in the new house. It's going to take a while. But, as alluded to by Richard above, I did find a home for Flora, my Ghanaian folk art chicken.

Some of you may remember I purchased Flora when I was in Ghana last year. She's made of recycled trash (mostly plastic bags) by a local artist, and I love her. At the time, my colleagues made fun of my purchases, but I think they were just jealous that I spotted her first. She was the only one of her kind at the little shop in Accra. :)

In reading news, the audio of Heartburn, read by Meryl Streep, is laugh-out-loud funny. And I've started Plainsong, which I already love, 20 pages in.

Aug 19, 10:37am Top

Flora is lovely and she looks very happy in her new home (although I'm sure she'll be happier when you're living there too)

Aug 19, 10:43am Top

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

I am not a frequent reader of fantasy, but this one was of interest because of the setting and homage-ish-ness to Jane Austen. I liked that the magic wasn't explained in boring detail, just weaved into the story. A pleasant read, though I doubt I'll continue with the series.

3.5 stars

Aug 19, 11:29am Top

>112 katiekrug: There's Flora! I love her. She's got Style.

>115 katiekrug: Yeup. Concur on all fronts. And did you see that The Calculating Stars won the Best-Novel Hugo last night? Yay Mary!

Aug 19, 11:56am Top

>116 richardderus: - I did not see that. I have that one saved on audio :)

Aug 19, 2:53pm Top

If you liked Heartburn you might poke a nose into Carrie Fishers Postcards from the Edge. The audio book is read by Miss Fisher herself and is also laugh out loud funny all the way.

Aug 19, 3:01pm Top

Hurrah for The Calculating Stars! That’s great news.

Aug 19, 3:08pm Top

>118 magicians_nephew: - Thanks for the tip, Jim! I read that way back when I was probably too young to get it. I will look for the audio.

>119 jnwelch: - Guess I had better move that one up the audio list, Joe :)

Aug 19, 4:48pm Top

Aww, Flora is a delight. I can't imagine Katie ever overdoing it. Oh no. You'd better go easy on the elbow. Try a cold compression bandage. Or a straight jacket. Either of those will help rest it.

Yesterday, 12:36am Top

Hi Katie. I just had a good time perusing your list of books read this year and picking out the 4- or 4.5-star reads. There are some good ones in there. I'm especially anxious to get to Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. I've only read one of hers but I liked it a good deal.

I'm glad your elbow is better now. And I'm glad you're enjoying Plainsong. It's a good trilogy.

>46 katiekrug: Ugh. That is just too unfair.

Yesterday, 10:56am Top

>121 Helenliz: - A cold compression bandage actually sounds like heaven right now! I may see what I can rig up from what I've got at home.

>122 EBT1002: - Hi Ellen! I think you'd really like Ghost Wall - it's very atmospheric, and a short read.

Elbow is okay, not great yet. I am not a patient patient...

Yesterday, 11:03am Top

I spent most of the morning at the new house, waiting on the guy to come take measurements for the carpet. Once he arrived, it took all of 5 minutes. Back at my desk now.

I would really like to get a good night's sleep one of these days. I keep waking up at 2am or 3am and tossing and turning for an hour or more. My mind starts going, mostly imaging terrible things wrong with my elbow, and I can't shut it down. Fun times. The elbow is holding steady at better than it was, but still a little swollen and a little red. Less warm but still not normal. And every now and then I get a weird, short-lived needle-like pain. I may be back to being on death's door. :-P

Last night, I finished the delightful audio of Heartburn which earned 5 stars, due largely to the wonderful narration by Meryl Streep. Certainly not great literature, but it was funny and sad, and I just loved the whole tone of it. My category rotation tells me I should pick a romance as my next selection, so I may start a historical romance novella I have saved on audio.

Edited: Yesterday, 3:05pm Top

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

This autobiographical novella about a woman, 8 months pregnant, who discovers her husband is cheating on her, shouldn't be funny, but it is. I LOLlered several times. But I also teared up. And I may have drooled a bit, because there is a lot about cooking and food. Laughing, crying, and being made hungry are three of my favorite things :)

The outline of the story is that Rachel, a successful cookbook author, tries to figure out what to do when she discovers her husband's unfaithfulness. I appreciated the honesty of the debate - it's easy to say "Kick him to the curb!" but difficult to do (I imagine) when there are real emotions involved (not to mention children). There is genuine depth to the story, along with the laughs, and if it sounds at all interesting to you, I urge you to listen to it, read by Meryl Streep (who played Rachel in the film). Her tone is just right and she brings each character to life, because she's Meryl Streep - duh.

5 stars

“My mother was a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking was that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you.”

“My marriage to him was as willful an act as I have ever committed; I married him against all the evidence. I married him believing that marriage doesn't work, that love dies, that passion fades, and in so doing I became the kind of romantic only a cynic is truly capable of being.”

“In the end, I always want potatoes. Mashed potatoes. Nothing like mashed potatoes when you’re feeling blue. Nothing like getting into bed with a bowl of hot mashed potatoes already loaded with butter, and methodically adding a thin cold slice of butter to every forkful. The problem with mashed potatoes, though, is that they require almost as much hard work as crisp potatoes, and when you’re feeling blue the last thing you feel like is hard work. Of course, you can always get someone to make the mashed potatoes for you, but let’s face it: the reason you’re blue is that there isn’t anyone to make them for you.”

Yesterday, 3:56pm Top

>125 katiekrug: Nice review! I enjoyed the book even more when I learned that Ephron wrote it as a fictionalized account of her marriage to Carl Bernstein, he of Watergate journalist fame. And Streep reading the audio must have been divine.

Yesterday, 4:06pm Top

Nora Ephron and Meryl Streep -- wow, how could it not be fun. I've got some Audible credits so "BYE"

Yesterday, 4:11pm Top

>125 katiekrug: A film I remember with great fondness for the chortles it elicited. I steadfastly refused to read the book, then; now, maybe I'm old enough not to take it personally.

Yesterday, 4:16pm Top

>126 rosalita: - Thanks, Julia! And yep, the Bernstein connection makes it more interesting. Apparently, he was super mad she wrote about it. And her response was basically, "I'm not the bad guy here" :)

>127 RebaRelishesReading: - Well worth a credit, Reba! I could see myself listening to it again.

>128 richardderus: - I saw the film ages ago and now want to re-watch it. Why would you take it personally?

Yesterday, 4:30pm Top

>129 katiekrug: It's now in my library. Not sure when I'll get to it but at least it's there waiting.

Yesterday, 4:43pm Top

>129 katiekrug: Oh, no reason, said "Nora Ephron with a dick" (my ex-wife's description of me).

Yesterday, 4:52pm Top

>129 katiekrug: Yeah, I'm not sure the guy cheating on his eight-months-pregnant wife has any leg to stand on!

Yesterday, 4:57pm Top

>131 richardderus: - Oof. Though she was funny and sly and a good writer, so..... ? I'd just assume it was a compliment :)

>132 rosalita: - Right?!?

Yesterday, 5:18pm Top

Yesterday, 9:07pm Top

Love Nora Ephron and even though I "hated" Meryl Streep in this season's Big Little Lies I think she would probably be absolutely divine as this books narrator. Onto the list it goes, Katie. Devil.

Yesterday, 9:26pm Top

Plainsong? Swoons a bit...One of my all time favorites. Enjoy!

Today, 5:58am Top

Oh, that mashed potatoes passage...so good! I may have to add this one to the list.

Also, gentle elbow hugs. I hope it's all the way better SOON.

Today, 9:43am Top

>135 brenzi: - Hope you enjoy it, Bonnie!

>136 msf59: - Yep, finally getting to it. And Enjoying it very much so far!

>137 scaifea: - It's a fun listen, Amber. Maybe for when you want something light. And thanks for the elbow hugs...

Today, 12:28pm Top

Katie, sorry your elbow is still vexing you. I hope it realises that it has to get better soon.

>125 katiekrug: My library has this very audio, so I've reserved it. I don't usually get on with audiobooks, but you said it's a novella and also there's Meryl Streep, so I'll try. I'm #2 on 3 copies.

Today, 1:01pm Top

>139 susanj67: - Hi Susan! I am tired of this nuisance of an elbow...

Heartburn would be a good audio while doing light cleaning, ironing, etc. I think. I hope you like it!

Today, 8:32pm Top

Just passing through with my magic wand....just see if that elbow isn't significantly better in 2 or 3 weeks, once I wave this at it....

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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