Talkscaifea's 2019 Thread #13

This is a continuation of the topic scaifea's 2019 Thread #12.

This topic was continued by scaifea's 2019 Thread #14.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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scaifea's 2019 Thread #13

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Edited: Sep 10, 2019, 5:31pm

Artwork from Thud!

Hey, everybody!

From the Introductions Thread:
I'm Amber, a one-time Classics professor turned stay-at-home parent/lady of leisure. I spend my time sewing, writing, knitting, baking, and, of course, reading. Oh, and I run an Etsy shop and I'm co-writing a Latin textbook with a former colleague. So I keep busy.

My reading life is happily governed by lists, which means that I read a healthy variety of things across various genres.

I'm 44 going on 12 and live in Ohio with my husband, Tomm; our 10-year-old son, Charlie; and our two dogs, Tuppence the Border Collie and Mario the Golden Retriever.

Favorite Books from 2018
The Hate U Give
We Are Okay
Trigger Warning
Sacre Bleu
The Sleeper and the Spindle
You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
84 Charing Cross Road
In a Sunburned Country

Sep 9, 2019, 12:50pm

The five-ish or so books I have going at once and the On Deck books nearly all come from the following categories and lists:

1. A book from the 100 Banned Books book (at least currently. As soon as I finish this list, I'll replace it with another, and oh, I've got tons of lists).

2. A children's book, for Charlie's library. I'm trying to collect books from various award lists, and I like reading them before reading them to Charlie or deciding to add them to Charlie's shelves. For this category, I’m currently working through three lists:
a. 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Die
b. The Newbery Honor books
c. Cooperative Children's Book Center list

3. A book from the Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy List, in chronological order.

4. A book for the Presidential Challenge. Books for this category are read in chronological (presidentially) order.

5. A list I'm working through together with my best friend, Rob: The Hugo/Nebula/WFA/Bram Stoker (and other) lists (combined, in chronological order)

6. For this category, I cycle through 9 different stacks:
a. Agatha Christie's bibliography (in chronological order)
b. Stephen Fry's bibliography (in chronological order)
c. John Boyne bibliography (in chronological order, sort of)
d. Neil Gaiman's bibliography (in some order other than chronological (don't
e. Christopher Moore's bibliography (in chronological order)
f. Maggie Stiefvater's bibliography (in chronological order)
g. The NEH Timeless Classics list
h. The National Book Award list (in alpha order by title)
i. The Pulitzer list (in alpha order by author)

7. An unread book from my shelves.

8. A book from my Read Soon! shelves.

9. A book on Buddhism or from the Dalai Lama's bibliography.

10. Book-a-year challenge: Three years ago, along with a few others in this group (*cough* Paul *cough*), I made a year-by-year list to see how far I could go back with consecutive reads. I've since been trying to fill in the gap years.

11. A book from the couple of series that I'm reading together with my mom.

12. A full-on re-read through Shakespeare's stuff.

13. A read-aloud-to-Charlie-at-bedtime book (or two).

14. An audio book, which I listen to as I knit/sew/otherwise craft/drive.

15. A Discworld book (so many of these are coming up soon on various lists, so I'm just diving into it)

16. This slot is reserved for books that just grab me and shout that they need to be read Right Now.

Edited: Oct 11, 2019, 4:14pm

What I'm Reading Now:
-Lincoln (U.S. Presidential Challenge)
-The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More (Read Soon! Shelves)
-The Hidden Treasure of Glaston (Newbery Honor Book)
-Making Money (Discworld series)
-Educated: A Memoir (audiobook)
-Inkheart (Charlie's bedtime book)
-The Wise Man's Fear (Read Soon! Shelves)
-The Broom of the System (Read Soon! Shelves)
-The Heart's Invisible Furies (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list)

Books on Deck:
-Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism (Buddhist reading list)
-Uncle Silas (books by year - 1864)
-Read It and Weep (series read with my mom)
-The Taming of the Shrew (Shakepeare re-read)
-Peyton Place (Banned Books)
-The House on the Borderland (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list)
-Lord Foul's Bane (BSF Award)
-Secondhand Souls (Moore bibliography)
-(unread book from my shelves)
-(a book from my Read Soon! shelves)

Edited: Oct 11, 2019, 4:15pm

Books Read

1. The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric (Read Soon! Shelves) - 7/10 = C
2. Viking's Dawn (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
3. Journey Outside (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
4. Leader by Destiny (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C-
5. Eugenie Grandet (audiobook) - 8/10 = B
6. The Man Who Was Thursday (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy Books) - 8/10 = B+
7. The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring (Charlie's bedtime read) - 8/10 = B+
8. Bhimsa the Dancing Bear (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
9. Carpe Jugulum (Discworld) - 8/10 = B
10. All the Crooked Saints (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A
11. Boy with a Pack (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
12. The Robber Hotzenplotz (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
13. The Wonderful Year (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
14. Treasure of Green Knowe (Charlie's bedtime book) - 9/10 = A
15. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy Books) - 8/10 = B+

16. The Night Diary (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
17. The Poet X (Printz Award) - 9/10 = A
18. The Puppy Place: Cody (Charlie's bedtime read-aloud) - 8/10 = B
19. Next of Kin (Boyne bibliography) - 10/10 = A+
20. Darius the Great Is Not Okay (Morris Award) - 8/10 = B
21. The Fifth Elephant (Discworld) - 8/10 = B
22. The Knife of Never Letting Go (recommended by my BF) - 8/10 = B-
23. The Book of Boy (Newbery Honor Book) - 10/10 = A+
24. Wish (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B
25. Crime and Punishment (Books by Year, 1866) - 8/10 = B+
26. Merci Suárez Changes Gears (Newbery Medal Winner) - 8/10 = B+
27. What the Night Sings (Morris Award) - 9/10 = A-
28. Big Tree (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B

29. Storm Front (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy Books) - 7/10 = C
30. Young Mac of Fort Vancouver (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
31. This Is Water (Read Soon! Shelves) - 10/10 = A+
32. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (series I'm reading with my mom) - 8/10 = B+
33. The Battle of Bubble and Squeak (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
34. Nicholas Nickleby (audiobook) - 9/10 = A
35. The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A
36. A Study in Emerald (Gaiman bibliography) - 9/10 = A
37. Howl's Moving Castle (Charlie's bedtime read) - 10/10 = A+
38. The Collectors (Schneider Honor Book) - 9/10 = A
39. Unstoppable (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B
40. Gold Dust (1001 Children's Books, audiobook) - 7/10 = C-
41. George Washington's World (Newbery Honor Book) - 9/10 = A
42. The Heavenly Tenants (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
43. The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare Re-read) - 9/10 = A-
44. The Truth As Told by Mason Buttle (Schneider Award) - 8/10 = B+
45. The Truth (Discworld) - 8/10 = B-
46. The Swerve (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A-
47. A String in the Harp (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
48. Knight's Fee (1001 Children's Books) - 9/10 = A-
49. Lolita (Banned Books) - 9/10 = A
50. Pancakes-Paris (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+

51. New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B
52. The Firefly's Lovers and Other Fairy Tales of Old Japan (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list) - 8/10 = B
53. The Book of Three (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A-
54. A Visit from the Good Squad (Pulitzer Prize)
55. The Well of the Unicorn (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list) - 6/10 = D
56. The Seeing Stone (1001 Children's Books, audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
57. Down Ryton Water (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
58. Thief of Time (Discworld series) - 9/10 = A-
59. The Puppy Place: Bear (Charlie's bedtime read-aloud selection) - 8/10 = B
60. The School at the Chalet (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
61. How the Whale Became (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
62. The Mysterious Benedict Society (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B
63. Ghosts of Greenglass House (Read Soon! Shelves) - 10/10 = A+
64. Noughts and Crosses (1001 Children's Books, audiobook) - 8/10 = B+
65. Anger Is a Gift (Schneider Honor Book) - 9/10 = A
66. The Winged Watchman (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
67. The Last Hero (Discworld) - 8/10 = B
68. Witch Child (1001 Children's Books, audiobook) - 9/10 = A
69. Have You Seen Tom Thumb? (Newbery Honor Books) - 6/10 = C

70. Uncle (1001 Children's Books) - 6/10 = D
71. The Jazz Man (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
72. When Breath Becomes Air (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A
73. My Friend Mr. Leakey (1001 Children's Books) - 6/10 = D
74. The Witches of Worm (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10= B-
75. Ficciones (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy Books list) - 10/10 = A+
76. Dogsong (Newbery Honor Book, audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
77. The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld) - 8/10 = B+
78. Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World (Stonewall Honor Book) - 9/10 = A
79. Smile (the book that Charlie let me borrow as a Mother's Day present) - 9/10 = A
80. Song of the Pines (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
81. On My Honor (Newbery Honor Book, audiobook) - 8/10 = B+
82. Night Watch (Discworld series) - 10/10 = A+
83. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
84. Elidor (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
85. The Left-Handed Fate (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B+
86. The Lover's Dictionary (Read Soon! Shelves) - 7/10 = C+
87. Good Omens (reread before the show is released) - 9/10 = A
88. A Dog So Small (1001 Children's Books, audiobook) - 6/10 = D
89. Picture Us in the Light (Stonewall Honor Book) - 9/10 = A

90. News of the World (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A
91. Afternoon of the Elves (Newbery Honor Book, audiobook) - 9/10 = A-
92. The Wee Free Men (Discworld) - 9/10 = A-
93. You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack (picked up at the library today) - 8/10 = B+
94. The Winter Room (Newbery Honor Book, audiobook) - 8/10 = B
95. A Traveller in Time (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
96. The Weathermonger (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy Books) - 9/10 = A-
97. The Name of the Wind (Read Soon! Shelves) - 10/10 = A+
98. Mountain Born (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
99. Ash Road (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
100. The Ghost in the Mirror (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
101. Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter (library impulse check-out) - 8/10 = B+
102. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights (Read Soon! Shelves) - 7/10 = C
103. What Hearts (Newbery Honor Book, audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
104. The Puppy Place: Lucky (Charlie's read-aloud at bedtime) - 7/10 = C+
105. Hurricane Child (Stonewall Award) - 8/10 = B-
106. Maisie Dobbs (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A
107. Magic Maize (Newbery Honor Book) - 6/10 = D
108. Doraemon (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
109. Going Solo (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B+
110. Monstrous Regiment (Discworld) - 9/10 = A
111. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
112. Lament (Stiefvater bibliography) - 9/10 = A
113. The Silver Pencil (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C

114. I'm a Stranger Here Myself (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B
115. Feathers (Newbery Honor Book) - 9/10 = A-
116. The Swish of the Curtain (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
117. Odd and the Frost Giants (Charlie's bedtime read) - 10/10 = A+
118. Blood Water Paint (Morris Award Finalist) - 9/10 = A
119. A Fire Upon the Deep (Hugo Award) - 7/10 = C
120. A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld series) - 9/10 = A
121. Men, Microscopes, and Living Things (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
122. The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
123. Charlotte Sometimes (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B
124. Hurrah for St. Trinian's (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
125. Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B+
126. Ruby Holler (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B-
127. The Moved-Outers (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
128. A Monster Calls (Read Soon! Shelves) - 10/10 = A+
129. Damsel (Printz Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
130. Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey (Morris Award Finalist) - 10/10 = A+
131. Naked Lunch (Banned Books list) - 6/10 = D

132. Going Postal (Discworld series) - 8/10 = B+
133. The Ghost of Thomas Kemp (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
134. Naturally Tan (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A-
135. America Is Born (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
136. The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
137. His Majesty's Dragon (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list) - 8/10 = B+
138. A Heart in a Body in the World (Printz Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
139. Dreamtime: Aboriginal Stories (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
140. Men of Athens (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
141. The Girl with All the Gifts (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A
142. Jennings and Darbishire (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B
143. Apocalypse Taco (I saw this one in a Book Riot New Books list and thought it looked interesting) - 8/10 = B
144. Circe (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A
145. The Master and Margarita (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list) - 7/10 = C

146. The Avion My Uncle Flew (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
147. I Survived: The Attacks of September 11, 2001 (Charlie book) - 8/10 = B+
148. Children of Blood and Bone (audiobook) - 9/10 = A
149. Emily Dickinson: Letters (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A-
150. Thud! (Discworld series) - 9/10 = A
151. I, Claudia (Printz Honor Book) - 6/10 = D
152. Ballad (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A
153. A Slip of a Girl (found on a New Releases list) - 9/10 = A-
154. The 18th Emergency (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B
155. Down with Skool! (1001 Children's Books) - 5/10 = Blerg
156. Li Lun, Lad of Courage (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C

157. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list) - 9/10 = A
158. Dragon's Gate (Newbery Honor Book/audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
159. Wintersmith (Discworld series) - 9/10 = A
160. What Jamie Saw (Newbery Honor Book/audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
161. The Ode Less Travelled (Stephen Fry bibliography) - 9/10 = A
162. Yolanda's Genius (Newbery Honor Book/audiobook) - 8/10 = B-

Sep 9, 2019, 12:54pm

First Day of Fifth Grade:

And The Gals:

Sep 9, 2019, 1:01pm

Happy new thread, Amber!

>5 scaifea: Tuppence is such a lovely old gal, Mario looks like you did something she didn't approve.

Sep 9, 2019, 1:10pm

Hi Amber, happy new thread! Wow, Charlie is in 5th grade already? Looks like I missed a whole lot in my absence. Hope your Tuesday is wonderfully quiet and bookish!

Sep 9, 2019, 1:26pm

>6 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! Isn't Tuppence a doll? We love her, of course. And Mario was waiting patiently for me to stop puttering around with the photos and let her outside! Ha!

>7 LauraBrook: Laura! So good to see you!! Yep, fifth grade. Yoicks.

Edited: Sep 9, 2019, 1:31pm

147. I Survived: The Attacks of September 11, 2001 by Lauren Tarshis (Charlie book, 112 pages) - 8/10 = B+
A surprisingly compelling account of the attacks on the Twin Towers, geared as an introduction on the subject for lower-end Middle Grade kids. It would be a great way to start a conversation about what happened that day and how much of an impact it had on so many people. I would likely never have picked this one up, but Charlie read it and asked me about how I remembered the day. We had a really good conversation, and then he said that he thought I might like the book (he loved it), so of course I had to read it. (I take book recommendations from my favorite kiddo very seriously.)

Sep 9, 2019, 1:49pm

Happy new thread! You know, I've never read any of the I Survived books, but they're super popular. Glad that one served as a good conversation starter for you and Charlie.

Sep 9, 2019, 2:06pm

Happy new one!

Sep 9, 2019, 2:33pm

>10 foggidawn: I've read a couple of them and never was super-impressed, but I'm not going to turn down a recommendation from Charlie, and this one was surprisingly okay. I do love that this series captures the interest of early readers who tend not to go for fiction stuff.

>11 figsfromthistle: Thanks!

Sep 9, 2019, 2:59pm

148. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (audiobook) - 9/10 = A
Orïsha is a land held under the thumb of a brutal ruler, who, years earlier, gained control over his people by banning magic, slaughtering all magi, and oppressing their children. But when Zélie, the daughter of one of the murdered magi women, discovers a chance to bring back all magic, she, her brother, and their unlikely companion, Amari - princess of the land and daughter to the tyrant - set out on a near-impossible journey to set the world right again.
This is Black Girl Magic at a wonderfully literal level. Every female character in here is strong and fierce, yet still beautifully human in her hesitations and insecurities (read: fierce yet utterly believable and relatable). Just a couple of small things kept this one from being a 10/10 for me (the middle dragged just slightly, and I though the love interest stories weren't really necessary), but the story was fabulous, the characters perfectly drawn, and best of all, this is a much-needed addition to a too-small pool of books into which young black women can look and find themselves staring fiercely back. More of this, please, yes!!
Also, I listened to the audio version, and I can't recommend it enough. Gorgeously done and well deserving of the awards it has garnered.

Sep 9, 2019, 3:08pm

>13 scaifea: Oh, yes, the audio version of that one was great! There was one plot point that really bugged me ("We have a limited amount of time to save the world! Let's stop and throw a big party!"), but I agree completely with your assessment -- a great and much-needed book.

Sep 9, 2019, 3:17pm

>14 foggidawn: Well, yes, see, the party was a necessary setting for the advancement of those completely unnecessary romances. I mean, honestly. Let those fierce black girls do their thing without getting distracted by a couple of pretty boys! Yeesh.

Sep 9, 2019, 3:21pm

Hi Amber my dear, happy new thread and great photos once again, Charlie is growing fast and I hope he is enjoying school, sending love and hugs to you all from both of us dear friend.

Sep 9, 2019, 3:27pm

Happy new thread, Amber!

Sep 9, 2019, 4:19pm

Happy New Thread, Amber!

Ha! I love the Children of Blood and Bone spoiler comments. Yeesh. Excellent short review, too. More please, I agree. Nnedi Okorafor is doing her part, as is N.K. Jemison.

Your reading is happily governed by lists - we have so much in common, but not that one. I'd go crazy. My reading is happily governed by whim - I just re-read five in a row by Dick Francis, and I'm halfway through another. Suits my vacation mood for some reason.

Sep 9, 2019, 4:34pm

>16 johnsimpson: Thanks, John! He *is* growing fast, and thankfully he's back to loving school. Whew!

>17 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie!

>18 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! Ha! I'm glad you enjoyed the spoilers! And thanks - I really need to get round to Okorafor and Jemison, since they've been on my radar for a while now.

And I'd go bonkers without my lists. Whim would lead to chaos! No thanks. I love that it works for you, though!

Sep 9, 2019, 5:55pm

>13 scaifea: I'm glad you liked this so much better than I did! (I still think I would have been much happier if I had listened to the audio.) I was bothered by the same things you were (and wanted to love it for the some of the same reasons you did like it). I think the similarities in povs (and those pesky romances) are what did it in for me. I think the pov issues would have all but disappeared with a good narrator on audio.

Sep 9, 2019, 6:15pm

Happy new thread, Amber!

Sep 9, 2019, 6:47pm

Happy New Thread, Amber! Good review of Children of Blood and Bone. It is now back on the audio pile, after falling off for awhile.

Sep 9, 2019, 8:57pm

Happy new thread!

Sep 10, 2019, 1:31am

Happy new thread!

For some reason, I don't see your header. All the rest of the pictures, but not that one.

I have CoB&B lined up - not sure when I'll get to it, but in the not too distant future I expect.

Sep 10, 2019, 5:25am

>20 lycomayflower: Laura: The audio is really exceptional, so if you ever feel like trying it again, definitely go that way. I do think it likely will make a difference for you. But then again, you've already read it and there's so much more out there to read...

>21 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda!

>22 msf59: Hi, Mark! Thanks! I think audio is the way to go with this one.

>23 drneutron: Hi, Jim!

>24 jjmcgaffey: Jennifer: I'm not sure why you can't see that one, but it's just a picture of an envelope addressed to Emily Dickinson.

I hope you love Children of Blood and Bone when you get to it.

Sep 10, 2019, 5:28am

Today's agenda:
A haircut for me, and then more work in the sewing space. I somehow twisted my shoulder in my sleep last night, so no sudden movements today, at least. *sigh*

On the reading front:
I read some more of Emily's letters and also started I, Claudia, which is off to a rocky start for me. Here's hoping it picks up soonish or I may have to abandon it.

Sep 10, 2019, 8:30am

>26 scaifea: Ah, the joys of being a grown-up, when you can injure yourself in your sleep.

Sep 10, 2019, 8:44am

>27 foggidawn: Yep. And I've had constant back issues since I was in high school, but they're definitely getting worse. *sigh*

Sep 10, 2019, 11:40am

>28 scaifea: I try to go for a massage once a month to keep my should tension and my back under control and it works pretty well. This month, I'm stretching the gap to six weeks so that Mr. Fine and I can both go for massages during our week off for our anniversary and I've been feeling it in my shoulders. Pulling out the hot bean bag a bit more frequently the last couple weeks.

Sep 10, 2019, 12:26pm

>29 MickyFine: That sounds amazing and I'd love to so something like that, but our insurance won't cover it and we can't afford $100+ a pop on something like that. Yay, USA.

Sep 10, 2019, 12:56pm

>30 scaifea: Boo. That is rough.

Sep 10, 2019, 1:05pm

This may not be an option, but the place where I get my pedicures has a guy who does chair massages of the neck and shoulders. It's about $15 for 15 minutes or something like that, and you can get extra time added. It's not as amazing as a full body massage, but I've done it a few times when I've slept funny and woken up stiff and/or sore. I carry all my tension in my neck/shoulders, so if I keep those in decent shape, my back usually behaves. Obviously, ymmv.

Sep 10, 2019, 2:14pm

>31 MickyFine: Well, you know, MAGA and all that.

>32 katiekrug: Katie: Hm, that’s not a bad idea... I’ll have to check around for options here... Thanks!

Sep 10, 2019, 5:34pm

149. Emily Dickinson: Letters collected and edited by Emily Fragos (Read Soon! Shelves, 254 pages) - 9/10 = A-
I have a sentimental spot in my heart for letters, so I went in already loving this collection of Dickinson's correspondence and kept on loving it throughout. The balance between candid and styled, personal and performed in published letters makes me giddy. I also love spending some time in the writer's daily life, and Emily's life is such a lovely one to visit. Recommended, for certain.

Sep 10, 2019, 9:07pm

Time really flies doesn't it Amber?

We have seen Charlie grow pictorially in your threads over the last number of years and sort of shared in his steps through life with you from our interested and respectful distances.

Happy new thread my dear.

Sep 10, 2019, 10:36pm

>35 PaulCranswick: Hi, Paul! Yes, I can barely believe that Charlie will be 11 in a few days. Unreal. And I'm so grateful that you all are okay riding on the Charliemagne Train with me and putting up with all the photos and Momma Brags that go on here. *hugs all round*

Sep 11, 2019, 1:40am

>25 scaifea: Huh. And now I can see the topper - and it's artwork from Thud!, it says. I really should read some Discworld - I started, way back when, with the Rincewind books and found him so infuriating I've never been able to convince myself to continue, even though he's not the major character he was in those two (mostly doesn't appear, even, I believe). Though I have started reading the Tiffany Aching books, and those are fun. Maybe I'll get at it backward, the way I read Vorkosigan.

Sep 11, 2019, 5:17am

>37 jjmcgaffey: Yeah, I changed it yesterday once I finished the Emily Dickinson collection.

Rincewind is one of my least favorite characters, honestly. The Aching books are great, and any of the witch books, really, and the Night Watch ones are fun, too.

Sep 11, 2019, 5:19am

Today's agenda:
Treadmilling and sewing, again. No errands today, so comfy pants all day - woot!

On the reading front:
After finishing up the letters collection, I read a few pages of I, Claudia, which has started to improve slightly, so I'll stick with it for now.

Sep 11, 2019, 6:41am

Hi, Amber.

Happy Comfy Pants Day!

I’m reading Stephen Fry’s Mythos, and it struck me that it’s one you’d appreciate. A witty retelling of the myths of ancient Greece - how’s that sound?

Sep 11, 2019, 6:57am

>40 jnwelch: Morning, Joe!

I'll likely read the Fry at some point, because I love him tons, but I know those stories backwards and forwards already, having taught Classical Mythology for years, so I'm not in a rush to get to it. Audio will likely be the way I go, so I can fade in and out of paying attention.

Sep 11, 2019, 11:15am

Just putting on your radar, Amber, that Call Down the Hawk, the first book in Maggie Stiefvater's new trilogy featuring Ronan (from The Raven Boys), is scheduled for publication on November 5. :)

Sep 11, 2019, 11:37am

>42 MickyFine: Already pre-ordered, but thanks for thinking of me!

Sep 11, 2019, 11:43am

>43 scaifea: Keener. ;)

Sep 11, 2019, 11:54am

Sep 12, 2019, 5:24am

Today's agenda:
Treadmilling, menu planning and grocery list prepping, an afternoon in the sewing space, and then Charlie has his first ballet class of the fall semester tonight, too.

I need to hustle a bit with my current sewing projects: I have some fall-themed things I want to get finished and posted to the shop before it's time to make Charlie's fall pajamas, and then it'll be time to start working on his Halloween costume. He's changed his mind (again) and now wants to be Crowley from Good Omens (he has until his birthday to make up his mind completely - no changes in mind allowed after that).

On the reading front:
I read a bit of Thud! yesterday and a bit of I, Claudia, and listened to a bit of Dragon's Gate, but didn't make great progress on anything, really. I'd like to finish Thud! today, but we'll see. I should have at least an hour of solid reading time while Charlie's in ballet class, so I'm looking forward to that.

Sep 12, 2019, 6:35am

Morning, Amber! Sweet Thursday. Last work day before vacay, so it is super sweet. I am not sure if you read Beloved but even if you had, I highly recommend listening to it on audio, with Morrison narrating. It is a stunning achievement. Just sayin'...

Sep 12, 2019, 7:14am

>47 msf59: Morning, Mark! I've read Beloved, but it was a long time ago and I don't remember much about it. I'll keep the audio in mind if I decide to revisit it!

Sep 12, 2019, 6:24pm

>46 scaifea: and now wants to be Crowley from Good Omens Yes, correct. ;-) Which iteration/time period?

Sep 12, 2019, 6:35pm

>49 lycomayflower: Laura: The main, modern-day Crowley:

Sep 13, 2019, 6:27am

Today's agenda:

Charlie has the day off from school (teacher professional day), so his birthday long weekend has officially begun! Grocery shopping this morning, then we're headed to Easton for some shopping and a Birthday Lunch at Piada, Charlie's pick, of course. Tomorrow is the sleepover: three 10-/11-year-old boys in the house. Overnight. *brave, deep breath*

On the reading front:
I finished Thud! and will report with a mini-review soon. I also spent some time with I, Claudia, Dragon's Gate, and started Ballad.

Sep 13, 2019, 7:41am

>51 scaifea: I originally read that as 10 11-year-old boys in the house haha. Not that three 10-11-year-olds isn't daunting enough but my first thought was, wow, Amber's brave. And much more energetic than me. Happy birthday long weekend to Charlie and hope you have a great time celebrating (and hopefully get some relaxation in there too!).

Sep 13, 2019, 7:51am

Happy birthday weekend to Charlie!! Let the festivities begin!!

Sep 13, 2019, 7:51am

>52 bell7: Mary: *snork!* Oh, heck no. NOPE. Three of them are plenty for me, and they're even well-behaved!

Sep 13, 2019, 7:51am

>53 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda! I'm looking forward to spending the day with him today.

Sep 13, 2019, 8:18am

150. Thud! by Terry Pratchett (Discworld series, 373 pages) - 9/10 = A
Commander Vimes vs. Trolls vs. Dwarfs and their ancient feud. Also vs. an ancient evil that is stalking around Ankh-Morpork. Spoiler: Vimes wins, because, well, Vimes.
Vimes and his city watch have really grown on me, to the point that I just love them all tons, and their stories are always a hoot. Vimes is gruff and irritable and angry and sharp and also a big old softy, and who wouldn't love that?! Highly recommended.

Sep 13, 2019, 8:18pm

Happy newish thread and Happy birthday weekend to Mr Charlie! Hope the birthday party is a blast

Sep 14, 2019, 7:22am

>57 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle! Fingers crossed...

Sep 14, 2019, 7:30am

Morning, Amber! Happy Saturday! Hooray for Charlie's weekend! Have a great time at the Scaife Manor!

Sep 14, 2019, 7:32am

Today's agenda:
Welp, today's the day. Sleepover Party Day. Charlie's first ever and my first as a parent. Three boys, two pizzas, 1 cake, 21 hours, countless video games and playing pretend games and giggling. I'll spend the morning cleaning the house and baking & decorating the cake, then the fun descends upon us at 2pm. Oh, did I mention that Tomm doesn't get home from his trip until 1:30 today, conveniently missing all the house cleaning? Awesome.

We had a blast yesterday on our day together at Easton. Charlie spent the birthday money my mom gave him on a new video game (Civilization VI for the Switch), a book (a paperback Good Omens with Crowley on the cover (I have the matching Aziraphale cover)), and a necklace and keychain set with interchangeable Legend of Zelda charms. We ate at Piada for lunch and had Godiva Chocolixers (shakes made with chocolate truffles) for dessert. I even picked up a Gaiman book for myself that I didn't have but have wanted since it came out: Art Matters. All in all, a lovely day.

On the reading front:
I spent the little reading time I had yesterday on I, Claudia. I'd love to finish it up today, but I'm not sure that will happen. We'll see how things go.

Sep 14, 2019, 7:32am

>59 msf59: Morning, Mark! Thanks! Happy Vacation, friend!!

Sep 14, 2019, 7:39am

>60 scaifea: Sounds like you had a pretty perfect day yesterday. Hope the slumber party is fun for all concerned (including you)!

Sep 14, 2019, 8:16am

Good luck with the party, Amber! I'm sure the boys will have a blast. And I bet everything will go swimmingly.

Sep 14, 2019, 8:34am

>62 foggidawn: We did have a perfect day! And thanks! Here's hoping...

>63 lauralkeet: Thanks, Laura! I've heard from both moms that this sleepover is all the other two boys have been talking about for two weeks, so yeah, everyone is excited. I'm glad they're at the age where the burden of entertainment isn't on my shoulders, and in fact that's mostly why I've waited until now to let Charlie *have* a sleepover.

Edited: Sep 14, 2019, 8:41am

So glad you liked Children of Blood and None! No surprise, I liked it a lot too, and also could have done without the romance.

Sep 14, 2019, 8:45am

>65 swynn: Hi, Steve! I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't think the love stories were necessary.

Sep 14, 2019, 12:29pm

Happy Sleepover Day! Smart move to wait until Charlie's old enough to play host more or less on his own. :-)

Sep 14, 2019, 1:54pm

>67 rosalita: Julia: Ha! Yup. I do *not* have the energy nor the inclination for babysitting. NOPE.

Okay, cake is done. Nothing too fancy this year, but I suspect it'll taste alright, just the same:

Sep 14, 2019, 1:58pm

That looks delicious! And I'm impressed at how neat and even your lettering is.

Also the origami birds are very neat!

Sep 14, 2019, 2:11pm

>69 rosalita: Thanks, Julia! I trace out the letters with a toothpick first to make sure I get them looking semi-okay before I even pick up the piping bag.

Sep 14, 2019, 5:49pm

>56 scaifea: Congratulations on reaching 2 x 75, Amber!

>60 scaifea: Good luck with the sleepover.

>68 scaifea: WOW! Looks delicious!

Sep 14, 2019, 6:34pm

>71 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! I hadn't even noticed that I'd crossed 75 times 2! Ha!

So far so good with the sleepover. Tons of giggling.

And thanks! The cake *was* pretty good, if I do say so.

Sep 14, 2019, 6:41pm

Birthday boy with the birthday wishin' expression:

Sep 14, 2019, 9:23pm

>73 scaifea: Happy Birthday to Charlie!

Sep 14, 2019, 11:55pm

Happy long Birthday weekend to Charlie!!

Sep 15, 2019, 7:03am

I hope all went well last night, Amber, and that you and Tomm managed to get a little bit of sleep yourselves.

Sep 15, 2019, 8:22am

>74 thornton37814: >75 EBT1002: Thanks, Lori & Ellen! I'll pass along the birthday wishes!

>76 lauralkeet: Laura: Everything went fine and we did manage a bit of sleep! Whew! I'm not celebrating with a slice of birthday cake to go along with my morning coffee...

Sep 15, 2019, 8:27am

Today's agenda:
The sleepover party continues today until 11 or so, so we don't really have any other plans for the day. Charlie has requested fish cakes and broccoli for his birthday dinner (11 going on 90, still), so I'll work on that later today. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to an afternoon in my rocking chair, reading.

On the reading front:
While the boys giggled and ate popcorn and giggled and watched movies last night, Tomm and I were in the backyard relaxing by the firepit (with window open to listen to said giggling), and I managed a chunk of Ballad after finishing I, Claudia (mini-review to follow).

Sep 15, 2019, 10:40am

151. I, Claudia by Mary McCoy (Printz Honor Book, 418 pages) - 6/10 = D
I, Claudius meets Watergate meets Clueless, or Cruel Intentions, or something. I felt repeatedly thwacked over the head with the references and parallels to the Roman Empire and at the same time completely uninterested in the plot. So this one didn't work for me.

Sep 15, 2019, 3:47pm

What a beautiful cake, Amber. Happy Birthday to Charlie!

Sep 15, 2019, 6:05pm

>80 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe!

Sep 16, 2019, 5:11am

Today's agenda:
I'll be spending most of the day in my sewing space, I think, after treadmilling this morning and a bit a house cleaning.

On the reading front:
I finished Ballad yesterday (mini-review to come) and started A Slip of a Girl.

Sep 16, 2019, 7:06am

152. Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater (Read Soon! Shelves, 353 pages) - 9/10 = A
James plays the bagpipes, and he's extremely good at it. So good, in fact, that the special conservatory where he attends high school doesn't have an instructor good enough to teach him. But he didn't choose the Thornking-Ash School of Music to help his playing; he's there because of a girl. Because of course he is. And the two of them are mixed up with the Them, who chase teens with exceptional musical abilities. But James becomes more involved with the Fey than even he would have guessed at this new school, and becomes torn between his oldest friend/object of his unrequited interest, and his new and also very interesting friend, who happens to be a leanan sidhe. They're all in danger when they discover that the queen of Faerie is planning something big with the horned king of the dead, and James will have to make some tough decisions before it's all over.
I enjoyed this one a good deal, and it's a great follow-up to Lament. Stiefvater has fast become one of my favorites because she has that fabulous talent of blending the supernatural into the real world so effortlessly, and her love of myth and folklore shows, and I love her for that.

Sep 17, 2019, 5:17am

Today's agenda:
More of the same: treadmilling this morning, a bit of odds and ends at my desk, etsy work in the sewing space for most of the rest of the day, and then Charlie has a haircut appointment after school. I forgot to mention that yesterday, being the day after Charlie's birthday, is traditionally our Halloween Decorating Day, and so now we are officially fall-ready here at Scaife Manor.

On the reading front:
I started The Lies of Locke Lamora yesterday and finished up A Slip of a Girl.

Sep 17, 2019, 6:42am

>84 scaifea: yesterday, being the day after Charlie's birthday, is traditionally our Halloween Decorating Day

Because of course it is! Actually my youngest was born Dec 6 and early on she decided we should decorate the Christmas tree on her birthday. That is, until she went to college and then insisted we move the birthday celebrations and associated tree trimming forward to Thanksgiving break. Come to think of it, this is the first year we are truly on our own when it comes to the tree. I hope we can handle the responsibility LOL.

Sep 17, 2019, 6:57am

>85 lauralkeet: Ha! Do you think you'll keep the traditional timeline, then? Charlie and I both agree that Thanksgiving Weekend is our very favorite weekend, because we spend Wednesday-Friday with my parents, then come back home on Saturday and have a second Thanksgiving with Tomm and decorate the house for Christmas on Sunday. Perfect, and we love it.

Sep 17, 2019, 7:05am

>86 scaifea: well, that's a good question. We are likely to have the whole family together for Thanksgiving so maybe we should do the tree then. I have given it no thought until this very moment but you might be on to something.

Sep 17, 2019, 7:21am

153. A Slip of a Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff (found on a New Releases list, 234 pages) - 9/10 = A-
A free-verse novel about a young Irish girl living with her father and younger sister on a poor bit of land during the Irish Land Wars. This small girl with not even shoes on her feet learns to stand up to the English Lord demanding rent they can't pay, as she fights to save her family farm.
Simply and beautifully told. Anna is a strong and smart character, and you'll root for her from the beginning. It's also a great introduction for kiddos to this bit of history, and Giff includes actual photos of families being evicted from the time. Definitely recommended.

Sep 17, 2019, 7:22am

>87 lauralkeet: It's a little early, likely if you do a real tree (we don't), but Thanksgiving has always felt like the beginning of Christmas to me, so yeah.

Sep 17, 2019, 7:29am

Morning, Amber. Greetings from South Carolina. Having a great time. It sounds like Charlie's birthday weekend was a success. Yah!

Sep 17, 2019, 7:39am

>90 msf59: Morning, Mark! I hope you're having a great time down there!

Sep 17, 2019, 10:25am

Glad to see that the birthday party went well!

Sep 17, 2019, 11:15am

>92 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle!

Sep 17, 2019, 1:09pm

So, I finished a thing - the cowl I've been working on to match my fingerless mittens:

I love these colors so much, and the yarn is soft and lovely. I'm excited to wear them this fall!

Sep 17, 2019, 1:12pm


Sep 17, 2019, 1:14pm

>95 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie!

Sep 18, 2019, 3:13am

Congrats on a successful birthday celebration and on your beautiful cowl and mittens!

Sep 18, 2019, 5:18am

Sep 18, 2019, 5:22am

Today's agenda:
Treadmilling this morning, then more etsy work this afternoon.

On the reading front:
I read a bit of The Lies of Locke Lamora yesterday, listened to a bit of Dragon's Gate, and started The 18th Emergency.

Sep 18, 2019, 11:59pm

Congratulations on reading past 150, Amber, and for surviving the sleepover birthday party!

Sep 19, 2019, 12:33am

My parents have done a caroling party in early December for the past...I think we're up to 43 years in a row. We generally buy the tree (live tree) just before the party, leave it on the porch (in a bucket), then set it up during the week after (after we've recovered!). The caroling party is a lot of fun and a lot of work. And we found that if we don't buy the tree until after the party, either there's nothing left but scraggly ones, or we're buying it on Christmas Eve Eve, which gets complicated.

Sep 19, 2019, 5:13am

>100 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg!

>101 jjmcgaffey: A caroling party sounds like so much fun! Wouldn't fly in my family, though, as none of us can sing worth our salt. No one would want to come!

Sep 19, 2019, 5:19am

Today's agenda:
More morning treadmilling and afternoon etsy work in the sewing space. I'm nearly finished with the fall-themed projects I want to have ready for my shop, and then I'll move on to Charlie pajamas and then the Charlie costume. Ballet class tonight, so I should have some good reading time while Twinkle Toes is doing his thing.

On the reading front:
I made a bit of progress with Dragon's Gate and finished up The 18th Emergency yesterday. Mini-review to come.

Sep 19, 2019, 6:20am

154. The 18th Emergency by Betsy Byars (1001 Children's Books, 120 pages) - 8/10 = B
A short novel about a middle school boy dealing with the fear of being stalked by a school bully. At just 120 pages and taking place over the course of two days, this one is a vignette of how roller-coaster-like middle school can be, and how sometimes adults don't remember or understand how life-and-death those emotions and situations can seem.

Sep 20, 2019, 5:15am

Today's agenda:
Grocery shopping, cookie baking (crunchy chocolate chip), weekly bill sorting, and then more sewing this afternoon. Charlie has Nutcracker rehearsal this evening, too, so more reading time for me!

On the reading front:
I spent time with Dragon's Gate and The Lies of Locke Lamora yesterday.

Sep 20, 2019, 11:30am

>105 scaifea: Do you get to listen to Tchaikovsky over and over again or do you read and wait somewhere else during rehearsal?

Sep 20, 2019, 12:37pm

>106 MickyFine: I sit in my car and read when the weather's nice and I can have the windows down; once it gets too cold for that, I'll go in, but I bring my headphones and listen to music of my own while reading in the parents' lounge area. I can't read while listening to inane upper-class housewives chittering at each other. Blerg. I do occasionally look up and watch Twinkle Toes at work, which is always adorable, and part of the time I'll be working on the costumes, too, as one of the few parent volunteers who knows how to sew.

Sep 20, 2019, 5:25pm

>107 scaifea: I get that. If people are too chit-chatty on my train ride home I turn on music so I can focus on my reading. Enjoy your reading time!

Sep 21, 2019, 8:31am

Today's agenda:
Vacuuming, baking (Cinnamon Raisin Bread and Lemon Pudding Cake), and hopefully lots of reading.

On the reading front:
Yesterday's reading time was spent with The Lies of Locke Lamora and Down with Skool!, the latter of which I read through fairly quickly. I'll try to get my very-mini-review (essentially I didn't like it and don't have much else to say about it) up later today.

Sep 21, 2019, 10:48am

155. Down with Skool! by Geoffrey Willans (1001 Children's Books, 105 pages) - 5/10 = Blerg
Written from the viewpoint (complete with bad spelling) of one of its students, this is a guide to living at St. Custard's boarding school, and is apparently the first of a series of such books. I'm afraid the charms of this one are lost on me.

Sep 21, 2019, 12:13pm

Happy Weekend, Amber.

I can't remember whether you are a Montalbano fan. Camilleri's latest, in translation, is one of his best, IMO: The Other End of the Line. Camilleri unfortunately died recently, may he rest in peace, and I think we only have two more Montalbanos coming our way. Sigh.

Sep 21, 2019, 1:13pm

>111 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! I haven't read any of Camilleri's stuff, but it's certainly on the list.

Sep 21, 2019, 1:35pm

>110 scaifea: I am afraid that I had about three or four of the Molesworth books when I was a kid and thought they were hilarious. Haven’t looked at them since though.

Sep 21, 2019, 2:28pm

>113 SandDune: I think they haven't aged well, plus that's just a genre of children's books that I don't enjoy.

Sep 21, 2019, 11:15pm

>94 scaifea: That is a beautiful cowl, Amber. And if it's cooling off there like it is cooling off here, you'll get to wear it pretty soon!

Sep 22, 2019, 7:52am

>110 scaifea: Oh wow...I read that as a child. I remember the spellings made it incredibly hard going but I still loved it.

Sep 22, 2019, 9:04am

>115 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen! It's still 70's weather here, but hopefully soon...

>116 sirfurboy: I think you need to be under a certain age to tolerate this one; as an adult, the misspellings were simply annoying. I get that kiddos might go for it, though.

Sep 22, 2019, 9:34am

>94 scaifea: Love the cowl. Nice photo of you too!

Morning, Amber! Happy Sunday. I hope you are enjoying the weekend, at the Scaife Manor. Just getting back from vacay, so trying to catch up a bit, on LT.

Sep 22, 2019, 10:07am

>118 msf59: Thanks, Mark!!

We're having a nice, lazy weekend, which is good since I've been battling a bit of a migraine for about 4 days now. Yoicks.

Sep 22, 2019, 7:14pm

Oh, ouch. Sorry to hear about the migraine. I'm glad you're getting a nice, lazy weekend to help with it.

I finished Mythos, and Stephen Fry does discuss Hope in the jar in the Appendix. He describes 3 interpretations: (1) it underscores the terribleness of Zeus's curse: all the ills of the world are let loose, and we're not even given hope; (2) "Elpis" means more than hope - it's expectation, including foreboding, and that it really was the worst of the evils- the sealing away "at least denied a presentiment of of the awfulness of {our} fate and the meaningless cruelty of existence"; and (3) Nietzsche's that Zeus wanted to "torment man every day with the false promise of something good to come", and the sealing away was a good thing that gave us a chance to at least "live free of delusional aspiration."

None of those seems satisfying to me.

Sep 23, 2019, 5:23am

>120 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! Good news: the headache seems to be one the way out this morning.

Yes, those do seem to be the bleakest of the interpretations and not all of them by a long shot. Well, I do love Fry, but no one would claim, I think, that he's an expert in that particular field, so he deserves some slack cut, yeah?

Sep 23, 2019, 5:28am

Today's agenda:
Treadmilling this morning, sewing room work this afternoon (with a quick trip to the post office to drop off some etsy packages in there somewhere), and then this evening we're going to the Lego Discovery Center in Easton for their members-only 1-year birthday party! Apparently there's to be a balloon drop, and I'm fairly certain I'm more excited about it than Charlie is, even. I mean, BALLOON DROP, folks! Tomm is taking us out to dinner afterwards at one of our favorite places, The North Star Cafe ( ).

On the reading front:
I read a bit of The Lies of Locke Lamora and Li Lun, but not much of either this weekend, since I was battling that migraine.

Sep 23, 2019, 9:07am

>121 scaifea: Yeah, re the slack. The entertainment quotient, for me, outweighs the relative lack of expertise. It's a labor of love, dating back to his childhood, and his enthusiasm is contagious.

I may have to study up on Hope in a jar. It's striking, and I can't stop wondering about it.

I'm glad the headache is leaving town. Lego Discovery Center - our older (much!) boy would love that. Have fun!

Sep 23, 2019, 10:08am

>122 scaifea: Ug, migraines. Especially the sort that stick around. (Mind seem to be more and more those sort these days. Blech.) So glad it seems to be on its way out!

Balloon drop! That sounds so fun.

Edited: Sep 24, 2019, 5:29am

Well the Lego party was adorably...tiny. They had cake for everyone, but it was a small sheet cake from Kroger, and the balloon drop involved *maybe* 15 balloons. I don't know why I envisioned *so* much more, and for a second I was almost hugely disappointed, but it was so much less than I had it built up in my head that it was kind of excellent. We had a blast, anyway. I'll try to remember to share the couple of photos I took once I'm more awake and out of my pajamas (spoiler: there may be a rare Tomm sighting!). We changed dinner plans and decided to try the newly-opened Shake Shack because there's been a fair amount of buzz here about it. Big Fat MEH from me, I'm afraid. The burger was really good, but then I got to the wacked-out sauce they put on it and just EW. Charlie and Tomm said the chicken was good, though, and I tried the BBQ dipping sauce, which was pretty great, but I got a coffee shake and, well, also ew. SADNESS when a shake isn't good. *sigh* But, again, I kind of love tiny adventures, even when (to be honest, especially when) they turn out hilariously not great. So, all in all, we had a great time last night.

Today's agenda:
Treadmilling this morning and more etsy shop work this afternoon. This evening we're headed back to Easton to see Tangled in the theater again - AMC does a Disney Princess movie thing once a week in the fall and this is one of our favorites. Likely we'll pass on the Shake Shack dinner, though.

On the reading front:
I'm struggling to find reading time these days, it seems, and I'm super-far behind on my September Challenge stuff. Yoicks. I only manages to finish up Li Lun yesterday (mini-review to come).

Sep 24, 2019, 6:34am

Sorry that your dinner was meh. It is sad that the shake wasn’t good at a place named “Shake Shack”!

We had a similar LEGO experience at the Boston LEGO Center. I think we were expecting so much more than a couple of tubs of legos on the floor and 2 rides. Owen was about 5 when we went and he enjoyed making a car to race down the ramp but for the price of admission we have not returned. I hear other LEGO centers are better though, so maybe on one of our travels...

Sep 24, 2019, 6:35am

Here are a couple of photos from the Lego Discovery Center yesterday - they have an area where you can build your own race car out of Legos and then there are several tracks you can test them on, so here are Charlie and Tomm testing their cars:

The release:

And watching for the results:

Sep 24, 2019, 6:37am

>126 jayde1599: The Lego center in Chicago is fantastic, and we do love this one (we are annual pass members). For some reason, I was just expecting a more...professional? I guess?...production for the anniversary party.

I think Shake Shack is a California thing? And people rave about it, so for me it just didn't live up to the hype. But again, the weirdness that is me sort of loved the colossal failure of it. Sometimes big NOPEs are just hilarious.

Sep 24, 2019, 7:03am

Hi Amber! Shake Shack was originally a New York thing -- it wasn't too long ago they had only one location, in Manhattan. There are now a few restaurants in Philly (and I confess to loving both burger and sauce). I thought they were still an east coast thing and didn't realize they'd expanded so far. Sorry it didn't work out for you! I'm pretty sure I've been to NorthStar Cafe in Short North -- it looks familiar -- and can understand why that's a favorite.

Sep 24, 2019, 7:10am

>125 scaifea: Glad you all had fun! I love that you enjoyed the "meh" for being spectacularly so instead of being disappointed.

>127 scaifea: They look so intense in that second picture!

Sep 24, 2019, 7:25am

>129 lauralkeet: Laura: Ooof, I'm so sorry I mixed up NY with California! *embarrassed* North Star, however, is definitely amazing.

>130 lycomayflower: Laura: I'm a good mix of not easily disappointed and very easily amused, to be honest. I tend to find potentially disappointing situations pretty funny; again I point to the weirdness that is me.

And don't they?! I kind of love that second photo for that. Plus, just look at those two handsome dudes. Lucky gal, me.

Sep 25, 2019, 5:28am

Today's agenda:
Treadmilling this morning and sewing for the afternoon, mostly. I should be able to finish up the fall-themed items for my shop today, and hopefully tomorrow I can get them sorted, photographed, and posted.

On the reading front:
Nothing to report from yesterday. We had a great time at the movies last night, but I was too tuckered when we got home for any bedtime reading.

Sep 25, 2019, 6:37am

Morning, Amber! Happy Wednesday. I remember really enjoying The Lies of Locke Lamora, when I listened to it, a few years ago. I never did follow-up on the rest of the trilogy though. I hope the week is going well.

Sep 25, 2019, 6:47am

>133 msf59: Morning, Mark! I'm not too far into Lamora yet, but I'm really enjoying it so far. We'll see if I decide to keep going with the series.

Sep 25, 2019, 9:03am

Morning, Amber.

Crap, I missed it. What movies did you see? Good?

Sep 25, 2019, 10:52am

>135 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! We went to see Tangled again. AMC does a Disney Princess re-showing of several movies in the fall and we love it. Tangled is one of our very favorites.

Sep 25, 2019, 4:12pm

Well, I was embarrassingly far behind on your thread....maybe I was scared off by the prospect of the sleep-over and subconsciously avoided popping in? Dunno. Anyway, sorry. And I'm glad the boys had a good time and the grown-ups survived. It's always great to get a glimpse of Tomm, especially having fun with Charlie.

Sep 25, 2019, 4:42pm

>137 laytonwoman3rd: Good to see you, Linda! Charlie is still talking about how much he loved the sleepover and it went well enough that I'm certain there will be more in future.

And yeah, Tomm is a rare, elusive bird, so sightings are special.

Sep 25, 2019, 4:53pm

156. Li Lun, Lad of Courage by Carolyn Treffinger (Newbery Honor Book, 96 pages) - 7/10 = C
A young boy is shamed by his father for being too afraid to go on the family fishing boat with him, who makes him take seven grains of rice up the mountain to plant and harvest. Li Lun braves the elements and lives on his own for four months, determined to bring a successful rice harvest back down the mountain to prove his worth.
Meh. A bit dated and not overly engaging. Certainly not one of the better Newbery Honor Books.

Sep 25, 2019, 6:55pm

>136 scaifea: *thumbs up* We enjoyed Tangled, too. Nice that you could revisit it on the big screen.

Sep 25, 2019, 8:51pm

>140 jnwelch: Joe: I love that they bring back back catalog stuff occasionally. It's great to see it, as you say, on that big screen.

Sep 26, 2019, 5:24am

Today's agenda:
Menu planning and prepping the grocery list for tomorrow, treadmilling, then this afternoon I'll be working on photographing and prepping the new stuff for posting to my etsy shop. Charlie has ballet class tonight, so I'll get some reading time in, hopefully.

On the reading front:
I can report at least a few pages in The Lies of Locke Lamora from yesterday, but still not many. I'm so far behind on my September reading, it's ridiculous. *sigh*

Sep 26, 2019, 10:13am

Sweet Thursday, Amber!

Enjoy the day. I hope you get some of our great weather.

Sep 26, 2019, 10:54am

>143 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! It's really nice out there today, isn't it?

Sep 27, 2019, 5:32am

Today's agenda:
Grocery shopping, library visiting, weekly bills, baking (Pumpkin Spice Bars), and then Nutcracker rehearsal for Charlie this evening.

On the reading front:
I did manage a handful of pages in The Lies of Locke Lamora yesterday, which I'm really warming to, now that I'm about 100 pages in. I'm more than halfway in love with Locke at this point already...

Sep 28, 2019, 5:55pm

(catching up from being without computer for a while)

>125 scaifea: We got a Shake Shack about a mile from us in San Diego a year or so ago and gave it a try. Neither of us liked the burgers ("meh" would be an understatement). Shakes were OK but not nearly as good as In-and-Out or Jack in the Box or Steak and Shake.

Sep 29, 2019, 9:12am

>146 RebaRelishesReading: Reba: Oh, relief! I'm glad I'm not the only one! The actual burger wasn't bad, but that sauce was pretty much ew for me, and you're right about the shakes, too.

Edited: Sep 29, 2019, 10:55pm

We've been to the Shake Shack in Mission Valley here in San Diego too, and were not particularly impressed.

ETA Amber, could you post your Etsy link again?

Sep 30, 2019, 5:13am

>148 ronincats: Hi, Roni! Maybe Shake Shack isn't as big of a deal as I thought! Ha!

Here's the link (and by the end of today or tomorrow, I should have new items posted):

Sep 30, 2019, 5:17am

Today's agenda:
Most of the day will be devoted to working on getting those new items posted to the shop - taking and editing the photos takes a long time).

On the reading front:
I finally managed to put in some quality reading time this weekend and am nearly finished with The Lies of Locke Lamora, which is really excellent. I can't wait to see how it ends.

Sep 30, 2019, 5:17am

I will definitely avoid Shake Shack when I am next Stateside.

Sep 30, 2019, 5:18am

>151 PaulCranswick: Paul: Ha! Come to Columbus, and I'll make sure we take you somewhere much nicer for dinner!

Sep 30, 2019, 5:25am

>152 scaifea: I will try to make that a date, Amber!

Sep 30, 2019, 5:26am

Sep 30, 2019, 5:31am

>154 scaifea: Charlie and Tomm and Hani and Belle of course all invited along too!

Sep 30, 2019, 5:33am

Sep 30, 2019, 6:36am

Morning, Amber! I hope you had a fine weekend at the Scaife Manor. Sounds like those books are treating you well.

Sep 30, 2019, 7:14am

>157 msf59: Morning, Mark! We had a wonderfully lazy weekend and I'm happy with the amount of reading time I squeezed in. I'm hoping to finish up the Locke Lamora book in the next couple of days - have you read that series?

Sep 30, 2019, 1:37pm

Happy Pre-Tuesday, Amber.

Hooray for a wonderfully lazy weekend. I tried The Lies of Locke Lamora a couple of times, and unfortunately it's not for me.

Sep 30, 2019, 1:42pm

>159 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! Lazy weekends mean that it's hard for me to get going on the pre-Tuesday, though. I'm working, but I'm not happy about it.

What about Lamora didn't click with you, if you don't mind me asking? I'm always curious where folks' tastes vary.

Sep 30, 2019, 4:55pm

And in case you're interested in what's been going on in my sewing room lately, here's a sampling:

Skirts made from flannel shirts:

And literary lightswitch plates:

Sep 30, 2019, 11:20pm

>159 jnwelch:, >160 scaifea: Me too - I dislike manipulators, and there are just too many in Locke Lamora. I did finish the first book, didn't find the end a salvation from the rest, and have not read any of the others (nor intend to). Very well written, but not for me.

Oct 1, 2019, 5:12am

>162 jjmcgaffey: Interesting! I'm a little surprised that I like it as much as I do, considering that it is a little rough around the edges in that way (not writing-wise).

Oct 1, 2019, 7:38am

>161 scaifea: -- cute!!

Oct 1, 2019, 7:39am

Oct 1, 2019, 7:41am

Today's agenda:
I have more lightswitch plates that need to be photographed and posted, so that will likely take up most of my afternoon. If I do manage to finish that up with time to spare, I'll go back to sewing Charlie's new pajamas.

On the reading front:
Still working on The Lies of Locke Lamora and still loving it.

Oct 1, 2019, 9:44am

I love those skirts! And I especially admire the way you re-purpose old shirts into such original clothes for young'uns.

Oct 1, 2019, 10:43am

>167 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks so much, Linda! I love giving old things new purpose, especially when other people have given up on 'em.

Oct 1, 2019, 3:41pm

>160 scaifea: You know, I've noticed that I don't get interested in stealing or heist stories. I've no idea why - I sure enjoyed the Robin Hood stories as a kid. But that kind of story generally just doesn't grab me - I'm not an Ocean's Eleven guy, I unsuccessfully tired Megan Turner, etc.

Oct 1, 2019, 3:57pm

Hi Amber my dear, I am loving the skirts and the light switches dear friend, you are so talented I would never have thought about doing something like this with the switches. Sending love and hugs to you, Tomm, Charlie, Mario and Tuppence.

Oct 1, 2019, 4:09pm

>169 jnwelch: Joe: That is absolutely fascinating to me, because I LOVE those kinds of stories and in fact usually fall in love with the thief character. Not sure what that says about the moral quality of my taste in men, but, *shrug*.

>170 johnsimpson: Thanks so much, John! Love and hugs right back to you and Karen!

Oct 1, 2019, 4:48pm

>160 scaifea: I am with >162 jjmcgaffey: Jennifer and >169 jnwelch: Joe in this case. I did finish The Lies of Locke Lamora, but never felt the need to read any further. I very much disliked the main character and most others.

Oct 1, 2019, 6:10pm

>169 jnwelch: And I did enjoy the Thief series - at least, the first and second, haven't gotten any further. I don't _love_ them, but I did like reading them and intend to read more, unlike Locke Lamora. So many angles to a book...

Oct 1, 2019, 6:40pm

>172 FAMeulstee: Hi, Anita! That's cool. I love how various the reading habits are in this group. I'll happily read books like this for you!

>173 jjmcgaffey: Jennifer: Oh, MWT's Thief series is one of my all-time favorites! Again, though, of course it's totally fine and understandable that others don't feel the same.

Oct 2, 2019, 5:24am

Today's agenda:
I'm having lunch with a friend from grad school, who's in town for a conference; otherwise I'll be working on finishing up postings for my etsy shop and possibly sewing pajamas.

On the reading front:
I finished The Lies of Locke Lamora yesterday and will try to get a mini-review up today.

Oct 2, 2019, 6:29am

Morning, Amber! Happy Wednesday. I did read the first Locke Lamora and remember enjoying it too. I just never followed through with the others.

Oct 2, 2019, 6:41am

>176 msf59: I have from a very trusted source (today's lunch friend, in fact) that other two in the trilogy are even better than the first...

Oct 2, 2019, 7:14am

157. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list, 722 pages) - 9/10 = A
A fantasy romp involving a too-smart-for-his-own-good thief up against impossible odds, with cool world building and unseen twists everywhere you turn the page? Yes, please! Megan Whalen Turner's Thief series meets Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles, but with more blood and swear words. So, yeah, definitely recommended, and I will absolutely be continuing with the trilogy.

Oct 2, 2019, 8:13am

Happy Wednesday, Amber! Have a great lunch time meet up with your friend. What will you be having?

Oct 2, 2019, 8:34am

>179 kidzdoc: Morning, Darryl! My friend suggested her favorite pizza joint - a transplant from Cincinnati, where she grew up - called La Rosas. I've never been and I'm excited.

Oct 2, 2019, 8:34am

Morning, Amber!

>171 scaifea: As long as Tomm doesn't have to live a life on the lam, this all seems fine to me.:-)

I'm usually a pushover for smart alecks fighting against the odds, but once they start planning a heist, my eyes glaze over. One exception is Catwoman, but she has, uh, other appealing attributes. Plus she doesn't seem to plan much.

Oct 2, 2019, 8:44am

I love a good fantasy heist novel, and both Gen and Locke are literary crushes of mine. To each her (or his) own!

Oct 2, 2019, 9:10am

>180 scaifea: Sounds good!

Oct 2, 2019, 9:13am

>161 scaifea: Absolutely beautiful and creative.

Oct 2, 2019, 9:26am

>181 jnwelch: Morning, Joe! *snork!* No, Tomm's not wanting by the law or anything. He doesn't tick the thief box, but he *is* too smart for his own good, has a wicked sense of humor, and is handsome as all get-out. So close enough, I guess...

Catwoman, eh? Subtle, Joe.

>182 foggidawn: Exactly! Have you read The Name of the Wind? Because I suspect you could go for a boyfriend triumvirate with that main character, too...

>183 kidzdoc: Darryl: Doesn't it? And Amy is a long-time friend with whom I'm always excited to catch up. And she's a librarian!

>184 figsfromthistle: Aw, thanks so much!

Oct 2, 2019, 9:31am

>185 scaifea: It's on my list, but I maybe should move it up. Always room for another literary boyfriend! Don't worry, in real life I don't go for thieves, either -- but I think it's their wit and intelligence that we're really attracted to.

Oct 2, 2019, 9:35am

Oct 3, 2019, 5:16am

Today's agenda:
Charlie and I are headed to Indiana tomorrow for the weekend to visit my parents, so I'll spend part of the day packing, and then I'll do the menu planning for next week and get my grocery list ready for Monday, then work on the pajamas.

On the reading front:
I started Wintersmith and The Treasure of Glaston yesterday, and both seem to be off to a pretty good start.

Oct 3, 2019, 11:13am

Catwoman, eh? Subtle, Joe. Ha! My first good laugh of the morning - thanks, Amber.

I get crap about that at home, too. But the reimaginings by Joelle Jones and Lauren Myracle are less ... ahem, buxom . . . and more intriguing.

At some point, when you feel like you've read enough of them, I'm going to ask you to recommend your favorite Pratchett books. Other than Good Omens with Gaiman, I've yet to get hooked.

Oct 3, 2019, 12:42pm

>189 jnwelch: Re: Pratchett: Try the City Watch books in the Discworld series, or the Granny Weatherwax/Tiffany Aching ones. For me, they're the best.

City Watch (in order):

Guards! Guards!
Men At Arms
Feet of Clay
The Fifth Elephant
Night Watch

Granny Weatherwax (in order):
Equal Rites
Wyrd Sisters
Witches Abroad
Lords and Ladies
Carpe Jugulum

Tiffany Aching (in order):
The Wee Free Men
A Hat Full of Sky
I Shall Wear Midnight
The Shepherd’s Crown

Oct 4, 2019, 5:18am

Today's agenda:
Well, it depends: Charlie's had an on-again-off-again stomach ache this week (no fever, vomiting, or diarrhea with it - just the ache); it got bad enough yesterday afternoon that the school called to see if I wanted to pick him up early (I did). By bedtime he was feeling better again (I gave him acetaminophen, but I'm not sure whether the stomach ache was on its way out on its own or if the medicine helped). So. We'll see how he's feeling this morning and then decide whether we'll actually drive to Indiana for the weekend today.

On the reading front:
Not much reading time yesterday between the packing for the trip and then the stressing about whether I'd be unpacking later, but I did manage a bit of Wintersmith.

Oct 4, 2019, 7:45am

Update: Charlie woke up feeling just fine this morning, so we're going to take some medicine with us and hope for the best...

Oct 4, 2019, 8:17am

>178 scaifea: Megan Whalen Turner's Thief series meets Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles

Well, you just put that on the list.

I hope Charlie continues to feel fine and you have a good weekend trip!

Edited: Oct 4, 2019, 8:21am

Morning, Amber. I'm glad Charlie has bounced back.

>190 scaifea: Thanks! Wow, you've read a lot of them. I know Ellie Moses also suggested The Wyrd Sisters, so maybe I'll give Equal Rites and that one a go. I'll save that helpful list.

Oct 4, 2019, 8:44am

Glad Charlie is feeling better today and hope it lasts through the trip (or better yet, forever)

Oct 4, 2019, 8:56am

Glad Charlie is feeling better. Have a good trip!

Oct 4, 2019, 9:30am

Safe travels to Indiana today, Amber! I hope that Charlie continues to improve and tolerates the trip well.

Oct 4, 2019, 9:37am

Enjoy your weekend, Amber and Charlie!

Oct 4, 2019, 11:15pm

Just saw this on Facebook. Here's a grandma who would give you a run for your money on creating Halloween costumes!

Oct 6, 2019, 1:44pm

Oct 6, 2019, 3:38pm

>199 ronincats: OMG! I don't even want to think about it!

Oct 6, 2019, 4:23pm

>193 bell7: Mary: Woot! I hope you love it!!

And thanks! We've been there and back again, all with zero stomach issues! Whew.

>194 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! I'm glad about Charlie, too. Such a relief that making the trip turned out to be the right decision.

And yup, I'm nearly through with the whole series. Just a few more to go!

>195 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks, Reba! So far so good - the stomach stuff seems to be gone (fingers crossed that your forever works).

Oct 6, 2019, 4:27pm

>196 lycomayflower: Thanks, Laura!! We had a great trip, as always!

>197 kidzdoc: Thanks, Darryl! Charlie was great and there have been no more signs of stomach trouble. I did some 'research' (aka The Dread Google Thing) and I'm wondering if Abdominal Migraines might be a possibility. Tomm and I both get the normal kind of migraines, and I'm wondering if Charlie has inherited a predilection; I gave him nsaids, which either helped or simply coincided with the ache going away, so, *shrug*. He goes for his annual check-up next week, so I'll be bringing up the stomach ache thing and we'll see what his pediatrician says.

>198 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks, Linda! We definitely did!

Oct 6, 2019, 4:28pm

>199 ronincats: Roni: Ha! Well, yes, that lady has me beat from the start, since I don't crochet. I'll be headed to the fabric shop later this week to pick up what I need for Charlie's costume this year, but yarn won't play any part, I'm afraid.

Oct 6, 2019, 7:16pm

I was thinking more of her being in your league due to the effort and originality involved in making costumes for a loved child, regardless of the medium. What has Charlie decided on this year?

Oct 7, 2019, 5:20am

>205 ronincats: Roni: Don't forget level of insanity, which must be part of the criteria here...

Charlie's decided that he wants to be this version of Crowley from Good Omens:

Oct 7, 2019, 5:23am

Today's agenda:
Grocery shopping to tide us over until Friday's normal shopping, then I'll be in the sewing room working on new pajamas.

On the reading front:
I have a couple of finished books to report from the weekend, and I'll try to get those done today. I also started The Ode Less Travelled, which isn't exactly what I thought it would be, but it's still a fairly enjoyable read so far.

Oct 7, 2019, 6:40am

Morning, Amber! I hope you had a fine weekend, at the Scaife Manor. Sounds like you are pounding through the books! Yah!!

Oct 7, 2019, 7:16am

>208 msf59: Morning, Mark! We had a great weekend, but Charlie and I weren't at Scaife Manor. Our Indiana trip was wonderful!

Oct 7, 2019, 8:55am

Happy Pre-Tuesday, Amber. I love that >206 scaifea: Crowley look (what a hoot Tennant was in that - perfect pairing of actors), and look forward to the Charlie/Amber take on it.

I don't know whether you liked the His Dark Materials books from Phillip Pullmann, starting with The Golden Compass. I'm reading the second Book of Dust one from him, The Secret Commonwealth, which features a somewhat older Lyra and Pan. It just came out. So far it's very good.

Oct 7, 2019, 9:03am

>206 scaifea: - Erm, which one is Crowley?

Welcome home!

Oct 7, 2019, 10:50am

>210 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! It shouldn't be too difficult a costume, since we'll get a grey shirt and some dark jeans, so I'll just need to make the vest, jacket, and teeny scarf thing. I'll go shopping for supplies later this week.

Tomm and I read His Dark Materials aloud to each other and *loved* them. I've listened to the first of the Book of Dust (read by Michael Sheen, coincidentally, and he was of course amazing), but not the most recent one. I should do some research to see if Sheen reads this one, too...

>211 katiekrug: Hi, Katie! Tennant is Crowley. I'd love to make the Michael Sheen costume, but Charlie prefers Crowley. For the best, perhaps, as the Aziraphale look would take me a bit longer and would be significantly more pricey.

I hope the unpacking is going well!

Oct 7, 2019, 2:24pm

158. Dragon's Gate by Laurence Yep (Newbery Honor Book, audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
Otter travels from China to the States to join his father and uncle in the land of the Golden Mountain. But all he finds there is bitter cold and unfair working conditions as the white men overwork and exploit the Asian workers who are building a train tunnel through the mountain. Still, he manages to learn some valuable life lessons, including how to stand up for what's right in the face of terrifying authority, and by the time he begins his journey back home, he is ready to take that fight back to the Manchu.
This Newbery Honor book was fair but not earth-shattering. I admit to falling in and out of attention as I listened to it, although it did have its occasional gripping moments.

Oct 7, 2019, 2:47pm

159. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (Discworld series, 323 pages) - 9/10 = A
Tiffany Aching is a nearly 13-year-old girl who made a minor misjudgement and danced when she should have stayed still. For any normal 13-year-old girl, this would be a simple, silly mistake (or, honestly, no mistake at all) and life would go on. But Tiffany is a witch, and a right powerful one at that, and the dancing she did was at the Winter Morris Dance, and her partner was the Wintersmith. So now, unless she can fix her mistake, lots of folks will likely freeze to death under the snow that keeps piling on when it rightly should be spring. Oh, and the flakes all look like her.
The Aching books are fast becoming some of my favorite in the Discworld series, with Tiffany herself being such a fantastic character and the support players including Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and the adorable and hilarious Feegles. Such a fun and happy-making read.

Oct 7, 2019, 3:02pm

160. What Jamie Saw by Carolyn Coman (Newbery Honor Book, audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
A young boy, his mom, and his baby sister flee from the abusive Van, after Jamie (the boy) sees Van throw his baby sister across the room. They move into a tiny trailer out in the middle of nowhere and both Jamie and his mother struggle to sort out their emotions and fears, while Jamie's mother also struggles to make ends meet.
A powerful subject and a fair-to-middling treatment. Still, possibly a good introduction to breaching the subject with young minds.

Oct 7, 2019, 4:49pm

>211 katiekrug: They're a devil and an angel - so Crowley is the one in black/grey. I don't know if >212 scaifea:'s answer would have helped you, it wouldn't me...I seldom recognize actors, and I don't think I know Tennant well anyway. I am so out of popular culture... (video, anyway).

Oct 8, 2019, 5:24am

Today's agenda:
I need to go *dramatic sigh* shopping today. For clothes. *eye roll* For myself. *ugh noises* I'm attending the Ohio Classical Conference on Saturday (as a way to let people know I'm back in the area, in case there ever may be a sweet little 1-2 course adjunct position open up nearby), but all my non-jean non-comfy-pants, professional clothes are at least 10 years old. So. Shopping. For clothes. For myself. The *actual* worst thing. I may need to treat myself to a Graeter's milkshake lunch to make up for all the trauma that will certainly befall me.

On the reading front:
I spent more time with The Ode Less Travelled and The Treasure of Glaston yesterday, both of which are continuing to be nice, cozy reads.

Oct 8, 2019, 6:04am

>217 scaifea: I'll be thinking of you during this time of tribulation, Amber. ;-)

Oct 8, 2019, 6:26am

>218 rosalita: Julia: I appreciate you. *grins*

Oct 8, 2019, 6:42am

Good luck, Amber. I like the milkshake idea!

Oct 8, 2019, 6:44am

>220 lauralkeet: Thanks, Laura. I'll take all the luck I can get! And that milkshake idea is what will pull me through, I'm certain. Dessert is the best inspiration.

Oct 8, 2019, 11:45am

>217 scaifea: - I see from FB that your shopping trip was short and successful, so hurrah for that! I hate having to shop for something specific.

Oct 8, 2019, 12:43pm

>222 katiekrug: Katie: Yes! I can't believe that I found pants that I like in the first shop I entered (and it was only the second pair I tried on), and then in the very next shop I found a shit and sweater that I love. That *never* happens to me. So yeah, I celebrated with 5 Guys...

Oct 8, 2019, 12:48pm

Huzzah for a successful shopping venture!

Edited: Oct 8, 2019, 4:25pm

>223 scaifea: It's always good to have a lovely shit and sweater. ;-)

Oct 8, 2019, 1:12pm

>225 rosalita: *snork!* I was just going to say something about that myself, but I'm not sure I should pile on (shit ... pile ... HA HA HA HA!)

Oct 8, 2019, 1:38pm

>226 lauralkeet: Ha! It's getting higher and deeper in here ... :-D

Oct 8, 2019, 2:05pm

>224 MickyFine: Yes!!

>225 rosalita: >226 lauralkeet: >227 rosalita: OMG, *SNORK!!!!* I'm letting it stand. Too funny not to.

Oct 9, 2019, 12:29am

A Milkshake sounds like just the ticket for after clothes shopping. I don't know what I would do without LLBean and Lands End and Orvis. My clothes mostly arrive at my doorstep. Ha.

Oct 9, 2019, 5:22am

>229 EBT1002: Ellen: I wish I could mail-order pants, but I never get the size right, plus I'm *way* too picky about how they look to buy without trying them on first. I was so happy to find the pair I found yesterday, which have wide legs; the style has been, for so long it seems, legs that taper toward the bottom, and I *loathe* that look.

Oct 9, 2019, 5:24am

Today's agenda:
Back to the sewing room today to work on those pajamas again. I also need to get some measurements from Charlie so I can sort out my shopping list for the fabric store tomorrow.

On the reading front:
I finished The Ode Less Travelled (mini-review to come), read a bit of The Treasure of Glaston, and I think I'll start The Broom of the System today.

Oct 9, 2019, 7:26am

>230 scaifea: I have problems mail-ordering pants as well, although I have a couple of go-to brands where I know which size will fit me. Some retailers, like Nordstrom, offer both free shipping and free returns which makes it much easier if the item doesn't fit right. I've occasionally ordered two sizes and kept the one that fits. Anything to avoid the dreaded shopping excursion.

Oct 9, 2019, 7:43am

>230 scaifea: Laura: I like the idea of ordering two sizes to start - smart! I also have returns anxiety, for no reason whatsoever, but there it is. At least with Dreaded Shopping Excursions, there's the possibility of cheeseburgers and shakes...

Oct 9, 2019, 7:48am

161. The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry (Stephen Fry bibliography, 353 pages) - 9/10 = A
An exhortation to everyone that anyone could - and everyone should - write poetry. Fry sets out a course on the various meters, styles, and techniques, including brief histories, a scattering of close readings for snippets of poems, and exercises for the reader to try. He does it all with his usual wit and charm and gleeful cleverness.
I admit that Fry would likely be annoyed with me, because I didn't follow along as I was meant to do: I didn't do any of the poetry-writing exercises, because 1) despite the title, I wasn't expecting a crash course on actually creating poems, and 2) I completely enjoyed thinking about poetry from a different approach. I love reading what people have to say *about* poetry (close readings and such, discussions of how the conjunction of meter and word choice flavor meaning,...), and I was absolutely giddy at the prospect of reading what Fry has to say about those things. Reading his approach to how to *write* the stuff (which includes significant bits of those things I love mentioned above) was absolutely enjoyable without me even touching a pencil. As someone with a degree in English and also a more-than-average knowledge of how to write poetry in Latin (no, really, I have the grad school course work to prove it), most of the technical bits on the various meters and how they work wasn't news, but he does such a lovely job of it that I enjoyed the review. So, maybe I didn't do the book properly, but I still loved it and I definitely recommend it, either for folks like me, who just like reading about poetry and what others think about it, or for those wanting to learn how the innards of poetry work, or for those who want to try their hand at creating the stuff.

The more I think about this book and the actual try-your-hand-at-writing-the-stuff bits, the more I think it would, in fact, be a hoot to do it. So, if anyone would be interested in a group read, I'd definitely be willing to organize a thread for it where we could share our 'answers' for Fry's recommended writing exercises...

Oct 9, 2019, 9:58am

>234 scaifea: Oh man, sold! Must get my hands on The Ode Less Travelled. There is a ton I don't know, and a ton I don't know well. And there's probably another ton I'm not thinking of. And Stephen Fry - well, all right then.

The Aching books = "a fun and happy-making read". Who can resist that? I'll keep an eye out when I get into Pratchett mode.

Oct 9, 2019, 10:04am

>235 jnwelch: I think you'd love the Fry book, Joe, for certain.

Oct 9, 2019, 10:18am

Woot! for easy clothes shopping and for excellent lunch after!

That Fry looks really cool.

Oct 9, 2019, 11:38am

>237 lycomayflower: Thanks, Laura! And yeah, I think you might like the Fry, too.

Oct 10, 2019, 5:30am

Today's agenda:
A much more pleasant kind of shopping trip in store today: I'll be heading to the fabric shop for Halloween costume supplies! I also need to do the menu planning for next week and prep my grocery list for tomorrow's shopping. Then, if there's time leftover in the afternoon, I'll work more on Project Charlie Pajamas. And I'm looking forward to my built-in reading time tonight at Charlie's ballet class.

On the reading front:
I started The Broom of the System yesterday, which is pretty good right from the start, and I read a bit more of The Treasure of Glaston, too.

Oct 10, 2019, 6:38am

Morning, Amber! Sweet Thursday. Hope the week is going well and hooray for Project Charlie! I am sure you will do another stellar job!

Oct 10, 2019, 6:48am

>240 msf59: Thanks, Mark! Sweet Thursday to you, too!

Oct 10, 2019, 11:41am

>203 scaifea: Abdominal migraines are a very definite possibility to explain Charlie's symptoms, although I also think of it as a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that I would want to rule out, at least by history, more serious conditions, such as appendicitis, intestinal volvulus, intermittent testicular torsion, renal colic from nephrolithiasis (kidney stones), gastric or duodenal ulceration or inflammation, etc., and common problems such as constipation or stress related chronic abdominal pain.

Oct 10, 2019, 12:26pm

>242 kidzdoc: Darryl: Thanks for the list, Doc! He hasn't has another stomach ache since Thursday, but we'll definitely be talking about it with his pediatrician next Monday in case it comes back. I always fret about potential appendicitis when he says his "stomach" hurts, but so far so good. It's funny how your common dialogues change when you become a parent:

Charlie: "My stomach hurts"
Me: "Where, exactly? Is it a sharp pain, or do you feel like you might throw up, or do you think you just need to poop?"

Which has gradually (d)evolved into:
Charlie: "My stomach hurts"
Me: "Where? Sharp? Puke-y? or Poop-like?"

You're welcome to incorporate that shorthand into your own day-to-day work if you like; I have no plans to patent it.

Oct 10, 2019, 12:32pm

Soooo far behind here. Hope Charlie feels better. I am sure new PJs will help. Happy reading!

Oct 10, 2019, 12:36pm

Ha! Great comments from Darryl, and I'm sure he'll appreciate the shorthand you've developed. He probably will come up with a Spanish version to use as well. I know it starts "Donde?", but then I'm lost.

Broom of the System - can't wait to hear what you think of it. I loved Consider the Lobster, and slogged through Infinite Jest with Mark (like Ulysses for me, lots to like and lots to grumble about in IJ - Wallace makes me wish that footnotes had never been invented!) I've been thinking about reading Broom of the System for a while, so I'll take a keen interest in your reaction.

Oct 10, 2019, 12:49pm

>244 Berly: Hi, Kim! Charlie is better, thanks! And he's always pretty excited about new PJs, which is so sweet.

>245 jnwelch: Joe: Maybe I should patent that goldmine...

I have a soft spot for DFW, as you may remember, but I haven't read as much of his stuff as I'd like. This is the start of a possible remedy, and it's really good so far!

Edited: Oct 10, 2019, 10:06pm

I've never read anything by DFW, admit to being a bit intimidated. I'll be interested in your thoughts about The Broom of the System.

I love the medical shorthand!

Oct 11, 2019, 5:19am

>247 EBT1002: Ellen: He's not known for being the most accessible writer, although this one is more so than his other stuff, I think.

And thanks! Ha!

Oct 11, 2019, 5:20am

Today's agenda:
Grocery shopping, weekly bills, cookie baking. Charlie has Nutcracker rehearsals tonight.

On the reading front:
I read another small chunk of The Broom of the System yesterday, and I'm really enjoying it so far.

Oct 11, 2019, 3:05pm

>245 jnwelch: I greatly enjoyed Infinite Jest (footnotes and all!) so I'll keep an eye out for The Broom of the System.

Oct 11, 2019, 4:14pm

>250 jjmcgaffey: Good for you! I have a copy on my shelves (well, still in a moving box, actually), so I'll get there eventually. (Footnotes don't scare the likes of me.)

Oct 11, 2019, 4:16pm

162. Yolanda's Genius by Carol Fenner (Newbery Honor Book, audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
Yolanda is big for her age, but she knows how to handle herself when the 'whale' jokes happen. She's smart but surly, and she doesn't really have any friends. Her little brother is quiet and has trouble reading, but Yolanda becomes convinced that he is a genius with their father's old harmonica, so she sets out to create a scheme that will convince her mother he needs special schooling to foster his gift.

There were things I really appreciated about this book, but then there were others that I really didn't. From the start, I didn't at all like Yolanda's character; I assumed that the story was traveling along the 'closed-off and prone-to-roughness kid learns to open up and empathize' theme so prevalent in Newbery Honor books, but Yolanda remains fairly selfish, unsympathizing, and unsympathetic throughout. The ending was abrupt and too pat, with a last-minute attempt to make Yolanda seem as if she has changed (although not done well enough for me to buy it). There are also a few threads to the story that fail to connect by the end, which leaves the whole thing feeling incomplete. And then the narrator made some strange choices in the character-voice department, making one fifth-grade girl sound like an old diner waitress with a decades-long smoking habit. Strange.

All this is too bad, really, because of the good things here: Yolanda's little brother and his musical abilities are nicely painted, especially in contrast to his struggles with reading and speaking. It seems clear that he's on the autism scale, and although his mother doesn't seem to want to admit that, he finds a strong ally in a speech therapist at school, and that relationship (although not completely fleshed out) is nicely portrayed. Also, Yolanda's family is made up of her mother and her aunt, who are self-made black women from Chicago and are easily members of the upper-middle class there. What I love about this is that it's presented as no big deal, as in clearly achievable to the point that it's not something to make the focus of the story. Most Middle Grade books featuring black families seem to revolve around those families living in poor neighborhoods and struggling financially, and those stories are important, yes, but it's also important to show other possibilities and other realities to young readers of color. I want them to live in a world in which successful women of color are so commonplace that that idea takes a far back seat to the rest of the story in the books those young readers read. So I'd like to see more of this, but I'd also like this particular story to live up to this background setting.

Oct 11, 2019, 6:03pm

Yay for the fast fairly painless clothes shopping, Amber. I’m impressed with your new Etsy products.

Oct 12, 2019, 6:37am

Oct 12, 2019, 6:40am

Today's agenda:
I'm off to the Ohio Classical Conference today, which happily is happening here in Columbus so not a lot of traveling for me. The Scaife Men will hold down the fort, one working on my bookshelves, which are coming together nicely so far, and the other working on writing a skit for the school talent show (which isn't until the last day of school, but we're clearly very anti-procrastination around these parts). This evening we may visit the local nursery to look for some outdoor fall decorations for porch-sprucing.

On the reading front:
Still working on The Broom of the System and The Treasure of Glaston and enjoying both fairly well so far.

Oct 12, 2019, 10:26pm

When you're all done, I'll ask whether you would recommend The Broom of the System as a first DFW. :-)

Oct 13, 2019, 7:07am

>256 EBT1002: I'm interested in Amber's thoughts on this, too. I have yet to read any of DFW's books, but I really like his essays, and I think there are at least two books of those.

Ellen, have you read any of his shorter stuff? Two essays I've enjoyed are Consider the Lobster and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never do Again.

Oct 13, 2019, 9:02am

>256 EBT1002: So far so good, Ellen! It's much more accessible than I supposed it would be.

>257 lauralkeet: Laura: I would also add This Is Water, which is very short, but so powerful.

Oct 13, 2019, 9:03am

Today's agenda:
Lunch with The In-Laws. Tea and a book and my rocking chair for the rest of the day as therapy.

On the reading front:
The conference yesterday was great but tiring, so no reading was accomplished all day. Will try to make up for that today...

Oct 13, 2019, 9:05am

>258 scaifea: oh yes, of course. Ellen, you'd appreciate that one as well, since it was originally delivered as a commencement address.

Oct 14, 2019, 5:22am

Today's agenda:
I really need to finish up Project Pajama so I can get started on Charlie's Halloween costume, which needs to be finished by the 26th. So, hopefully I'll manage to spend some time in the sewing space today. I need to pick Charlie up from school early today, though, for his annual check-up and flu shot, and then we'll head to Easton for some window shopping and dinner.

On the reading front:
I made some progress with both The Broom of the System and The Treasure of Glaston yesterday afternoon, and both remain pretty enjoyable so far.

Oct 14, 2019, 7:34am

Morning, Amber! I hope you had a nice weekend. I have the holiday off today, so I am a Happy Camper, with not much planned, other than book time. Enjoy your day.

Oct 14, 2019, 8:03am

>262 msf59: Morning, Mark! We had a busy but good weekend. Enjoy your day off!

Oct 14, 2019, 8:52am

Morning, Amber. It must've gone okay with the in-laws? My first DFW was Consider the Lobster, a gift from our DIL, and that seemed like a pretty good starting place for him.

Oct 14, 2019, 10:00am

>264 jnwelch: Morning, Joe! The In-Laws lunch went fine, relatively speaking. Nothing disastrous, at least.

DFW is one of those authors whose stuff I'd like to read through completely, so I'll get to Lobster at some point. I'm happy to hear that it worked well for you!

Oct 14, 2019, 1:03pm

This topic was continued by scaifea's 2019 Thread #14.