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Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Seventeen

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

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Sep 10, 10:37pm Top

^The Blue Ridge Mountains. We will be at or around these gorgeous mountains, on our trip to South & North Carolina. I have seen this beautiful range before but it never, ever gets old.

^Swainson's Thrush. I took this photo at Montrose Bird Sanctuary. I like the way it came out.

Edited: Yesterday, 8:40am Top




85) The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead 4.7 stars ALA
86) Bernie by Ted Rall 4.2 stars GN
87) Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera 3.8 stars
88) Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography by Jack Hurst 3.3 stars (audio)
89) Voices in the Ocean by Susan Casey 4.4 stars (audio)
90) The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai 5 stars
91) Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz 4.2 stars GN
92) If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais 4.7 stars
93) Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson 3.8 stars (audio)
94) Big Sky (Jackson Brodie) by Kate Atkinson 3.8 stars (audio)
95) Mohawk by Richard Russo 4.2 stars
96) Instructions for a Funeral: Stories by David Means 4.7 stars
97) Moonbound: Apollo 11 by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm 4.2 stars GN
98) Moloka'i: A Novel by Alan Brennert 4 stars (audio)


99) Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton 4.5 stars ALA
100) God Save Texas by Lawrence Wright 4.6 stars (audio)
101) Lanny by Max Porter 4.4 stars
102) Recursion by Blake Crouch 3.7 stars (audio)
103) Monument: Poems New and Selected by Natasha Trethewey 4.5 stars (P)
104) The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell 4.3 stars ALA
105) Norco '80:True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery by Peter Houlahan 3.8 stars (audio)
106) The New Order: Stories by Karen E. Bender 4.6 stars ALA
107) Let's Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir by Jeff Tweedy 4.5 stars (audio)
108) The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines 4.2 stars AAC
109) The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth) by N. K. Jemisin 4.2 stars (audio)


110) A Truck Full of Money by Tracy Kidder 3.8 stars (audio)
111) Storyteller by Leslie Marmon Silko 4.2 stars AAC
112) Pilgrim's Wilderness: Madness on the Alaska Frontier by Tom Kizzia 4 stars (audio)
113) They Called Us Enemy by George Takei 4.7 stars GN
114) Deep River by Karl Marlantes 4.3 stars
115) Beloved by Toni Morrison 5 stars (audio/print)
116) We Are Still Here: Stories & A Novella by Emily Koon 3.7 stars ER

Sep 10, 7:24pm Top

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

1) Northern Cardinal 1/1/19
2) American Goldfinch 1/1/19
3) Downy Woodpecker 1/1/19
4) Black-Capped Chickadee 1/1/19
5) White-Breasted Nuthatch 1/1/19
6) Mourning Dove 1/1/19
7) Dark-Eyed Junco 1/1/19
8) House Sparrow 1/1/19
9) Pine Siskins 1/4/19 (F)
10) Red-Tailed Hawk
11) House Finch
12) Red-Bellied Woodpecker 3/12
13) American Robin 3/13
14) Starling 3/19
15) Northern Flicker
16) Mallards
17) Brown-Headed Cowbird 4/22
18) Chipping Sparrow 5/1
19) White-Crowned Sparrow 5/2
20) Red-Winged Blackbird 5/5
21) Ruby-Throated Hummingbird 5/5
22) Hermit Thrush 5/7 (F)
23) Gray Catbird 5/16 (F)
24) Baltimore Oriole 5/20 (F)
25) Blue Jay 6/7
26) Hairy Woodpecker

(F)- First time seen at the feeders.

Edited: Sep 10, 7:29pm Top

-Semipalmated Plover

-Olive-Sided Flycatcher

^I also photographed both of these beauties at Montrose Bird Sanctuary.

Edited: Sep 10, 7:32pm Top

"Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby."

Well, it looks like I may have been reading Beloved (my first time), just as I was joining LT, in early June of 2008. A perfect marriage. I did not do mini-reviews yet, but I did give it 5 stars. Duh! I was intending to read Paradise, in memory of Morrison's recent passing, but could not squeeze the print book in, in this time frame. Someone mentioned how outstanding the audio version of Beloved is, with Morrison narrating and my library had it available so I grabbed it and started it today. It is mind-blowingly good. Her writing and narration are a revelation. Ideal revisit. I am keeping the print book at hand too. I still intend to read Paradise, in the coming weeks.

^I am not very religious, but Toni Morrison reading a book to me, while I work, may be one of the most blissful things I have experienced. Of course it helps, that Beloved is such a DAMN good book, to boot. B.A.G. I am a 110 pages in.

Sep 10, 7:38pm Top

Thought you might appreciate Zoe's latest A Walk in the Woods. I think it has both great information and excellent photos. I need to get outside more.

Sep 10, 7:53pm Top

Happy new thread!

>1 msf59: First photo, The Blue Ridge Mountains, isn't displaying for me.

Sep 10, 9:04pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark.
The group is awfully slow just now with late summer taking many of our number away from their computers so I am pleased to see you at least ticking over.

Sep 10, 9:10pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark. Love the topper. I would love to listen to Toni Morrison read one of her books.

Sep 10, 9:58pm Top

>6 alphaorder: Hi, Nancy. I love Zoe's fall photos. Thanks for sharing them with me. I agree with her about the fall warblers. They are tough to ID.

>7 quondame: Thanks, Susan. I will check out the topper.

Sep 10, 10:01pm Top

>8 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. I just keep plugging away, like I normally do. I miss seeing your around.

>9 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. I am loving Beloved, read by Morrison. She is a pro.

Sep 10, 11:01pm Top

>10 msf59: It is lovely!

Sep 11, 12:07am Top

Happy new one Mark!! I plan to read They Called Us Enemy on my plane ride home tomorrow. Glad you liked it so much!

Sep 11, 5:22am Top

Morning, Mark! Happy new thread!

Edited: Sep 11, 6:18am Top

Happy New Thread, Mark!

Great photos up top of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Swainson's Thrush. Lovely ones in >4 msf59:, too, especially that first one. I've lost track, but I know you start your vacation soon!

I'm glad They Called Us Enemy got a high rating from you. The American Nightmare seems to always exist right alongside the American Dream, doesn't it.

I love your description of the blissful experience of having Toni Morrison reading Beloved to you. That book is just plain a knockout.

I'm back to reading Mythos, and appreciating Stephen Fry's wit and intelligence. I never had a "Myths" course or section in school, so I'm enjoying his playful sorting of it all.

Sep 11, 6:29am Top

>12 quondame: I had to switch images, Susan. Glad you can see it now.

>13 Berly: Thanks, Kim. You should be able to polish off They Called Us Enemy on the flight. It is excellent.

>14 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!

Sep 11, 6:34am Top

>15 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. Happy Wednesday. Hooray for the Blue Ridge Mountains. We leave on Saturday morning. I saw and photographed the thrush at the same place we saw all those warblers, at Montrose, back in May, near the water puddle.

They Called Us Enemy was incredibly well-done. FDR's biggest and ugliest blunder. Shameful. I read Beloved eleven years ago but it is like I am reading for the first time. Just blowing me away.

Sep 11, 7:05am Top

'Morning, Mark, and happy only-two-work-days-to-go Wednesday!

That's a beautiful photo of the Swainson's Thrush. I can see why you like it.

I guess it's really time for me to read something by Morrison - you finally got me. I tried to be good and get Beloved from the library but it wasn't available, so off to Ammy I went.

Sep 11, 7:31am Top

Happy new thread!

Sep 11, 10:36am Top

>18 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. I still have problems IDing the thrush. There are 3, that are very similar. Fortunately, I had help with this one. I am so glad I got you to pick up Beloved. I cannot recommend it high enough.

>19 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Figs.

Sep 11, 12:28pm Top

>1 msf59: >4 msf59:

Photographs so beautiful, inviting, and evocative - they could win in the Bird Watcher's Magazine contests!

Happy to see that the Plovers made it safely at Montrose.

Sep 11, 1:21pm Top

Hi Mark! Happy New Thread!

Gorgeous photo of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It sounds like a wonderful trip planned.

I read Beloved BLT (Before Library Thing). I love the idea of listening to Ms Morrison reading it, so I've requested that from the library as my next audiobook. I'm definitely doing more rereading this year than I have in the past.

Thanks to >6 alphaorder: for posting the link to Zoe's blog. I usually miss it. Such amazing photos!

Edited: Sep 11, 2:19pm Top

i liked your Swainson's Thrush photo in >1 msf59: too. Happy new thread and have a wonderful vacation break!

Sep 11, 2:33pm Top

Happy new thread! I'd like the Palm-Oil Pastrybird and the Olive-Sided Martinishaker to visit me.

My librarians saw I'd put a hold on The Testaments: A Novel and, if you can imagine such a thing, decided to buy a copy so I wouldn't be waaaay down the list for the system's many copies! It pays to visit them 3x/week every week.

Sep 11, 3:17pm Top

Love the toppers Mark, that is a great shot of the thrush. He/she is quizzically asking you what you are up to.

Have a great break. Breathtaking scenery.

Sep 11, 3:33pm Top

>24 richardderus: That is so cool. The Los Angeles City libraries have a "Hot Shelf" in some branches where bestsellers can circulate with no reservations - I can check online to see if one of the close ones has the title and scoot on over there - there are at least 4 branches I can get to within 1/2 hour and one within 5 min.

Sep 11, 4:00pm Top

>26 quondame: That's a great idea! As many branches as the system has, it's got to make sense for them to keep the holds manageable that way.

Sep 11, 4:09pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark! Beautiful photos! You're quite talented!
I just finished The New Order Dang! was it good!!
It will be on its way to Ellen in a few days. Thanks my friend :0)

Sep 11, 6:24pm Top

>21 m.belljackson: Thanks, Marianne. I have a long way to go in the photography department, but I appreciate the love. I hope to focus more on the mechanics in the next year. Hopefully, I can move up, to the big gear, post-retirement.

>22 streamsong: Thanks, Janet. We have another action-packed trip planned and this time my sister, from Oregon will be joining us. I think revisiting Beloved on audio is an excellent idea, especially with Morrison narrating. It is a revelation.

>23 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. Hooray for the thrush and the fast-approaching vacay.

Sep 11, 6:42pm Top

>24 richardderus: Thanks, Richard. I did not see either a Palm-Oil Pastrybird or the Olive-Sided Martinishaker today but I will keep my eyes peeled. Obviously, both would be lifers. Grins...

Great idea ordering The Testaments. The early reviews have been fantastic. Atwood is a treasure. I think I may hold out for the audio. It supposed to be an excellent full-cast production.

>25 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. Glad you like the thrush shot. Looking forward to returning to the Carolinas and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Edited: Sep 11, 6:47pm Top

>28 Carmenere: Aw, shucks, Lynda and thanks. I am surrounded with seasoned bird photographers, every time I go on a guided walk, so I am very, small potatoes, compared to these pros, but I hope to continue to get better and then upgrade my equipment.

I am so glad you also enjoyed The New Order: Stories. I loved that collection and I am glad you are passing onto Ellen and keeping the book joy going.

Edited: Sep 12, 6:33am Top

^Well, it is official: Bree and Sean are engaged. We are happy and it looks like the dogs are too. Sean will make a fine son-in-law.

**I tried posting this last night and LT was being loopy.

Sep 12, 7:01am Top

>32 msf59:. Congratulations to Bree and Sean, and you and Sue! So great. I’m glad you like Sean as a SIL. Debbi sends her congrats and good wishes.

AND it’s your last day before vacay! Go Mark!

Sep 12, 7:05am Top

>33 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. We have been waiting patiently for this day and it has arrived. It will be a banner year in 2020, that is for sure. Off to work...

Sep 12, 7:11am Top

'Morning, Mark. Happy last day before vay-cay.

Congrats to Bree and Sean.

Sep 12, 7:15am Top

Congrats to Bree and soon-to-be-Mr. Bree! That's wonderful!

Sep 12, 7:17am Top

Big congrats, Mark! And to Bree and Sean, too, of course! Have they set a date yet?

Have a great vacation. How long?

Sep 12, 7:29am Top

Congratulations to Bree and Sean! (>36 scaifea: soon-to-be-Mr Bree, I like that!) That's wonderful news.

Have a great vacation Mark!!

Sep 12, 8:04am Top

Congratulations to Bree and Sean and their pooches! What wonderful news for you and Sue!
Mimosas for everyone!!!

Sep 12, 9:41am Top

Congratulations to Bree and Sean and all around! How exciting :)

Sep 12, 10:15am Top

Best wishes to the happy couple!

Sep 12, 10:41am Top

Sweet Thursday! Thanks for all the good wishes for Bree & Sean. Really appreciate it, everyone.

They are aiming for next May! I might just sneak a mimosa in between stops. Grins...

Sep 12, 10:45am Top

As you come south be prepared. The weather here is awful. It is a real heat wave. I have been miserable this last week.

Sep 12, 12:02pm Top

Happy new thread!

Sep 12, 12:36pm Top

>32 msf59: That's wonderful news, Mark, I'm happy for them!

Sep 12, 1:53pm Top

Such happy news for Bree and Sean.

Sep 12, 2:08pm Top

Congratulations to Bree and Sean, and the dogs, and happy parents Mark.

Sep 12, 3:09pm Top

>32 msf59:

Congratulations All Around and trust Engagement will speed healing!

Will the Best Dogs march up the aisle?

Sep 12, 3:12pm Top

Congrats to Bree and Sean! So you're not only gaining a son-in-law but a new granddog.

It's a great photo - all look so happy!

Sep 12, 5:08pm Top

>43 benitastrnad: Our family member in South Carolina, mentioned it is hot there. We will be prepared. It might effect the hiking but they have a boat, which will be nice.

>44 drneutron: Thanks, Jim.

Thanks, Richard, Mary and Caroline.

>48 m.belljackson: I would not be surprised, Marianne. Bree loves her animals. Grins...

>49 streamsong: Thanks, Janet. Both dogs are Bree's but they love Sean.

Sep 12, 5:43pm Top

Felicitations to Bree and Sean!

Edited: Sep 12, 6:03pm Top

Thanks, Susan. Much appreciated.

Sep 12, 7:05pm Top

Oh what wonderful news Mark. Congratulations to Bree and Sean! And btw Bree is a real beauty.

Sep 12, 10:53pm Top

Such exciting news! Congrats to Bree and Sean. Great way to head off on vacation...

Sep 13, 6:53am Top

>53 brenzi: Thanks, Bonnie. We are proud of our Bree.

>54 alphaorder: Thanks, Nancy. First day of vacation. B.A.G.

Sep 13, 6:58am Top

Morning, Mark, and Happy Vacation!!!

Sep 13, 6:59am Top

Good morning, Mark, and Happy Friday and First Day of Vacation.

Sep 13, 10:05am Top

Happy Vacation, Mark!

Sep 13, 10:12am Top

Lots to be happy about, Mark. Enjoy yourselves.

Edited: Sep 13, 10:18am Top

Thanks, Amber, Karen, Katie & Bill. Much appreciated. Just taking care of some stuff around the house. I will mow the grass and pack this afternoon and then we are meeting Bree and Sean for a celebratory drink...or two.

Edited: Sep 13, 9:10pm Top

^I am bringing a couple of story collections for our trip. I have all ready dipped into We Are Still Here: Stories & A Novella. It isn't bad. Fans of Kelly Link will like it. It is an ER book. It is relatively short, so I will probably finish it on the flight tomorrow. Then I can move onto Stories of Your Life and Others. I have not read Ted Chiang and I am getting pumped about this one. I am sure my reading time will be limited for the next week or so, so I thought short fiction would work better.

Sep 13, 4:28pm Top

Have a great vacation, Mark!

Sep 13, 7:14pm Top

Happy new thread! Enjoy your vacation

Sep 13, 9:10pm Top

>62 jnwelch: >63 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Joe & Chelle. Looking forward to it.

Sep 14, 8:26am Top

^Heading to the airport. I will check in when I can.

Sep 14, 8:46am Top

Safe travels and have a wonderful trip!!!

Sep 14, 11:09am Top

Have a great trip! Looking forward to hearing about it.

Sep 14, 4:34pm Top

A little late "happy new thread", Mark, I was only two days away from LT...

>32 msf59: Congratulations on the engament of Bree and Sean, nothing can go wrong if the dogs like eachother ;-)
>65 msf59: Enjoy your vacation!

Edited: Sep 14, 9:38pm Top

Speaking of vacations -

The Ozarks is, and has been, the vacation destination of most of the people I lived with for most of my life. It was the honeymoon destination, Senior Class sneak destination, and summer getaway for millions of people from the vast middle part of the country starting in the 1950’s and it is still going strong. It started out homespun kitschy and is now as sophisticated of a place to go as is Nashville. In fact, if you want to see or hear country music acts - this is the place most people from my home go. Nashville is too big city. Branson, Missouri is authentic country. When I saw the reviews for Bill Geists new book, Lake of the Ozarks: My Surreal Summers in a Vanishing America, I had to read it.

The book turned out to be a nice nostalgic trip down memory lane for the author, and I thought it would be for me. It wasn’t. I wish he had written more about the area and why Bagnell Dam was built in the first place turning a back water area, the Ozarks, into one of the most visited tourist spots in the U.S. THe book started out that way when the author writes about the early tourist entrepreneurs of the area and what they did to try to get people to drive to an out-of-the-way area in the vast middle of the country served by poor roads, but it soon becomes another teen-boy-obsessed-with-sex book making this an average memoir for me.

This book has one of the best designed dust jackets I have seen in years. If the text isn’t stellar the dust jacket is, and the home photographs included add to the book.

The writing is lighthearted and at times funny, but somehow it lacks the homespun folkseyness I wanted. In short this isn’t a great work of nonfiction but it isn’t a waste of time either.

Sep 15, 12:02am Top

Congratulations to Bree and Sean -- and safe and happy travels for you!

Edited: Sep 15, 7:07am Top

>66 karenmarie: >67 alphaorder: Thanks, Karen & Nancy.

>68 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. Good to see you. We are happy for Bree, Sean and the dogs.

Sep 15, 7:15am Top

>69 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita. Thanks for your thoughts on the Ozarks and the Geists book. I have never been to the Ozarks but I did basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, which is nearby. We will get there someday. Sorry, the book wasn't more satisfying.

>70 EBT1002: Thanks, all around, Ellen.

Sep 15, 7:29am Top

Greetings from Lake Keowee, South Carolina. We are near Clemson University, in the western part of the state. Our family member has a big, beautiful home on this lake. And it is in the woods, which I love. We plan on going for a short hike around the marina, in a little while. Lots of cool places to explore in this area, so I will be reporting back.

Sep 15, 8:18am Top

Have a great time with family and exploring!

I finished off Writers & Lovers in a day. It was a perfect Saturday read for me. You know how I love books about writers...

Sep 15, 3:42pm Top

Hope you’re having a good time in the Carolinas, buddy. On the lake, in the Woods - sounds beautiful.

Edited: Sep 15, 6:50pm Top

Clemson University is also a great place to visit. The John C. Calhoun House is there and they give a great tour. I had no idea that Clemson was a plantation donated to the state of South Carolina by Thomas Clemson. How and why it got to be the site of Clemson University is a very interesting story.

You could also see the stadium in the Canyon. It is a very impressive sight and the structure is beautifully situated. It is an impressive place to play football and to attend a game.

You are also not to far from Cowpens National Battlefield. Since it is a National Battlefield the park service does some really good tours of the battlefield.

You could combine a Civil Wargasm with a Revolutionary War Tour and then go home and read or listen to the first Rick Atkinson book about the Revolutionary War.

If you go to Biltmore/Ashville area be sure to stop at King's Mountain National Battlefield - another Revolutionary War battlefield.

Sep 16, 7:24am Top

Hi Mark!

I hope you're having a wonderful time and adding a lifer or two to your bird list.

Sep 16, 7:29am Top

>74 alphaorder: Thanks, Nancy. We are having a great time. Glad you enjoyed Writers & Lovers.

>75 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. All good here, in the Carolinas. Gorgeous area. My kind of stuff.

Sep 16, 7:34am Top

>76 benitastrnad: Once you retire, Benita, you need to become a professional tour guide. You have so many terrific suggestions. Once again, time is limited on this trip, so we will mostly be hanging with family, but I hope to relocate to this area, in the coming years and will have time to check it all out.

>77 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. We dipped into North Carolina yesterday, as we explored a couple of nearby state parks. The scenery is gorgeous. We are boating today.

Sep 16, 3:19pm Top

>79 msf59:
A few years ago I attended a wedding in Willmington, N.C. It was about the time that the Outlander TV series was starting. I had read the books when they first came out, so on the way back, I did a Jamie and Claire Fraser Memorial Revolutionary War tour. I stopped at the Moore's Creek National Battlefield, King's Mountain, and then Cowpens. I have to say that prior to reading the corresponding Gabaldon novel I had little to no interest in the Revolutionary War battlefields. Funny how reading makes one interested in things they never thought they would be.

I visited Clemson because I had a co-worker who graduated from Clemson and she took me on a drive around the campus. I then stopped at the Calhoun house to take the tour and found out all sorts of information that I didn't know. The area around Clemson is a very interesting historical area.

Sep 17, 7:07am Top

>80 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita. Our family member is living in S.C. permanently, so we will be coming back to do more exploring. I do like visiting historical sites too.

Sep 17, 7:20am Top

Greetings from Keowee Key! Either, I am busy with activities or socializing with family, so my online time is limited. I have been hiking this great path around the marina, every day and seeing some birds here and there. No lifers, but you never know.

We went boating yesterday. This reservoir is enormous. 17 miles long, so we explored a small chunk of it. With the mountains, lounging in the background, it is a beautiful panoramic view. It has been hot here. In the 90s, so being out on the boat was perfect.

Of course, we had dinner at a local brewery, last night. It will be our last full day here, so we will mostly hang out at the house and near the pool and soak up each other's company. I am sure I will squeeze in some reading too.

Sep 17, 8:04am Top

Sounds wonderful so far. Safe travels to Hendersonville!

Sep 17, 1:24pm Top

Sounds mighty relaxing, Mark. Enjoy!

Sep 17, 3:03pm Top

>80 benitastrnad:

My daughter recently became intrigued by the Outlander series released on Netflix enough to request 2 DVDs a month.
(First binge-watching event ever for me)

While waiting for their delayed arrival, I started reading (my 4th time) OUTLANDER to her every evening.
I've also been reading AND THE LAND LAY STILL by James Robertson. (zero Touchstones today)

Between the two, and with some Scottish "Bell" heritage, I've become totally interested in how the Scots
could not possibly have voted for independence, notably with Gabaldon's involvement and inspiration.

Edited: Sep 18, 6:54am Top

>83 karenmarie: >84 jnwelch: Thanks, Karen & Joe. We leave for North Carolina in a couple of hours. We will miss this place and our fine hosts.

>85 m.belljackson: I have never read the book or seen the adaptation of Outlander.

Sep 18, 7:27am Top

Hi Mark, and welcome to the Old North State today.

Outlander is more than one book or the series. There are 8 books so far. My combination of mass market paperbacks and hardcovers runs to about 7600 pages, as I recall. Time travel, high romance, nitty gritty life, violence, beautiful writing - you should dip a toe into the world of Claire and Jamie.

Sep 18, 3:09pm Top

Happy newish thread, Mark. Looks like you are having a great vacation kicked off by the exciting news about Bree and Sean. Congrats to the happy couple and Bree's parents, of course. Safe travels and enjoy the rest of your vacation.

Sep 18, 7:50pm Top

>86 msf59:

The first OUTLANDER book of the Gabaldon series is great,
as is the first season of the movie.

I just don't recommend watching it with your daughter!

Sep 19, 7:09am Top

>87 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Hooray for N.C. I love your state. Thanks for your input on the Outlander series. Someday?

>88 Familyhistorian: Thanks, for all the good wishes, Meg. Always good to see you. We are having a terrific time.

>89 m.belljackson: Hi, Marianne. Thanks for the nudge on Outlander. I may visit that world some day.

Edited: Sep 19, 7:25am Top

-View from Jump Off Rock. NMP

Greetings from the Blue Ridge Mountains! We are in Hendersonville, N.C. A nice reunion, with my brother and his wife, who live just outside of town. On our way up here, yesterday morning, we stopped at Whitewater Falls State Park. A gorgeous set of falls. Reportedly, the highest falls east of the Rockies. I will share photos when I get back home.
My brother showed us around a bit yesterday, stopping off at Jump Off Rock, where there is a panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mtns. Of course, we ended up at a brewery or 2, after that. My brother and his wife, do not drink, so we applaud their patience. We are staying at a motel in town and my sister is staying with them. More adventures planned, for today...

Sep 19, 7:36am Top

-Whitewater Falls, NC (NMP)

Sep 19, 8:10am Top

Have fun today, Mark!

Sep 19, 1:12pm Top

Hi Mark, first off, congratulations on the engagement of your daughter. And before I forget, your bird photography is excellent!

I have a sister-in-law from North Carolina so the Carolinas have long been on my bucket list - obviously they are beautiful! Have a wonderful trip. :)

Sep 19, 1:27pm Top

>92 msf59: Whitewater Falls! Such an amazing sight. I love that part of NC.

Happy Blue Ridging and safe travels home.

Sep 19, 5:48pm Top

Sep 19, 9:21pm Top

Geez, Mark. I'm sure glad you didn't jump off that there rock. We'da missed you, fer sure.

Sep 20, 7:27am Top

>93 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. It has been a good time. Last full day here.

>94 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy. Good to see you. We are excited about Bree. Yes, visit the Carolinas sometime. Beautiful here.

Sep 20, 7:31am Top

>95 richardderus: Thanks, Richard. As you can see, we are having a great time in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

>96 jnwelch: It sure is, Joe. Welcome home.

>97 weird_O: Life is good, Bill, so no fear of me jumping off anything. I just enjoy soaking in the view and there is plenty of that here.

Sep 20, 11:58pm Top

All good things end too quickly. Safe travels.

Sep 21, 6:49am Top

>100 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. It has been a good trip. I will miss my family members and mountains.

Sep 21, 8:59am Top

Safe travels, Mark! Come back to NC soon and come to the Piedmont.

Sep 21, 12:15pm Top

Safe travels home, Mark. It sounds like you had a most excellent trip, with family and the great outdoors. I'm glad you have a day off to regroup at home when you get back.

Sep 21, 2:50pm Top

Congratulations to Bree! And Sean! and the Dogs!

And I am glad that you had a nice trip!

Sep 21, 9:01pm Top

Sounds like a wonderful trip Mark. I love NC too.

Sep 21, 11:26pm Top

Hendersonville, NC - just down the road from where my sister lives. She is moving from Asheville to Black Mountain this week.
It sounds like a terrific trip, Mark. Have a safe trip home.

Yesterday, 8:07am Top

It's a small western NC world - a dear friend moved from Black Mountain to Hendersonville earlier this year and loves it.

Edited: Yesterday, 9:32am Top

>102 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. We intend to return to NC, for visits and are considering relocating to that area in a few years.

>103 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. It was a great trip and my regular day off is Monday, for next week, so I get 2 cushion days. B.A.G.

Yesterday, 8:33am Top

>104 banjo123: Thanks, Rhonda. I appreciate all the best wishes. It was a good trip.

>105 brenzi: Thanks, Bonnie. One of my very favorite parts of the country and it's proximity to Chicagoland is a bonus.

>106 EBT1002: We saw signs for Black Mountain, Ellen. I would be interested in hearing what your sister thinks of the area. We will be scouting that entire region for possible retirement locations.

>107 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. We saw signs for Black Mountain, along with signs for a town called Bat Cave. Grins...

Edited: Yesterday, 9:04am Top

^Chimney Rock State Park, North Carolina.

I loved this location, just a few miles from east of Hendersonville. They filmed Dirty Dancing and Last of the Mohicans in this area. We got a nice hike in too. Plenty of trails to explore here. These photos are from my cell phone but I took many photos with my "good" camera, that I will share later.

Edited: Yesterday, 9:17am Top

^For some reason, I can't seem to find time to read while I am away on vacation. Just not enough down time, I guess. We stay pretty active through the day and I don't read much in the evenings. Mostly socializing. I did finish We Are Still Here: Stories and I started Stories of Your Life and Others, while traveling yesterday. 2 stories in. Very good stuff, but this guy is a deep thinker. I have to stay focused. I hope to get plenty of reading time in, today and tomorrow.

Yesterday, 1:15pm Top

>109 msf59:

Many years ago, I alerted my sister in Arizona to the Oglala Aquifer drying up,
so just mentioning now that you might want to investigate mounting projections for rising sea levels
& other heat climate changes around the beautiful Carolinas =
as well, though you have endured and survived Chicago's bonkers scary & shifting politics,
not sure how you would fare with the rising of the Klan and other baseline red state dealings.

Good Luck on finding a GREAT place to relocate!

Yesterday, 3:00pm Top

>112 m.belljackson: Thanks, for the fair warnings, Marianne. I have a few years, so plenty of time to investigate. Illinois is a tough state to live in and retire in, so I am definitely considering alternatives. If we do decide on NC, it will be in the western part of the state.

Yesterday, 3:14pm Top

>113 msf59: Curious to know what you mean by "Illinois is a tough state to live in and retire in".

Yesterday, 3:24pm Top

>114 alphaorder: Happy Sunday, Nancy. Good to see you. I was just going to PM you. I think Illinois is an expensive state to live in and the taxes are very high. It is not a retirement friendly state. I think I am also done with the harsh winters, although, that will get easier, after I leave the P.O.

Yesterday, 3:27pm Top

Ah, was just curious what you meant and that explains it. I like you being nearby though. :)

Yesterday, 3:53pm Top

Welcome home, Mark. Glad to learn you had such a fine vay-cay.

Yesterday, 4:10pm Top

Welcome back! Hope your two cushion days are wonderful.

Socializing instead of reading! Scandalous! Did you plunder visit any book stores on your journey?

Yesterday, 5:14pm Top

It sounds like your vacation was great, Mark.

Edited: Yesterday, 6:03pm Top

>116 alphaorder: Aw, thanks, Nancy. The good news is, we would be coming back here often. Of course, a lot can change before now and then too.

>117 weird_O: Thanks, Bill. It was a good trip and I have another full day off too.

Yesterday, 6:08pm Top

>118 streamsong: Thanks, Janet. I am enjoying the first of my two cushion days. Yep, it was a scandalous week. Grins...I did not hit any bookstores, not even Malaprop in Asheville. My brother is having issues with his legs, so walking makes him uncomfortable. I didn't want to drag him around to much. At least he can sit in a brewery. Another grin...

>119 BLBera: It was a good time, Beth. Everything went smoothly.

Yesterday, 6:22pm Top

I would totally retire to Black Mountain. When I was there a couple of weeks ago we went to see the place they're moving into and it's quite pretty. The town is a little artsy community. We ate at a restaurant called the Black Mountain Bistro and it was quite tasty.

Yesterday, 6:24pm Top

Oh, and sorry you missed Malaprop's but honestly, when you have access to the kinds of bookshops you have in Chicago (or I used to have in Seattle), that little place isn't as special. It's nice to visit and has a wonderful indie bookstore feel but the selection wasn't that unique.

Yesterday, 6:49pm Top

>122 EBT1002: >123 EBT1002: I know this will require a compromise or two, between Sue and I, but I would like a place just a bit on the outskirts of town, with some trees and some privacy, preferably with a pleasant view from my front porch.

I loved Malaprop Bookstore when I visited it, for Booktopia. I will go back.

Yesterday, 6:59pm Top

Welcome home, Mark!

I'm with Nancy - it's better having you close by. Maybe you need to rethink this retirement plan. Harsh winters just make us better appreciate the two days of Spring we get, don't they?

I'm glad you get another day's cushion. Aren't those Chiang stories well done? What an imagination.

Yesterday, 7:09pm Top

Bonus: Retiring to NC will, by 2030, be like retiring to FL was in 2000. Climate change is moving that quickly...I'll be living in VA even if I don't move a muscle. And that assumes the Feds keep funding our beach reclamation projects.

Yesterday, 9:33pm Top

I know that feeling of missing mountains. That was one of the reasons I didn't think about moving after retirement. There is a lot to consider when thinking about relocating with a life change like that. Best of luck figuring it all out.

Yesterday, 10:05pm Top

>125 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. It was nice having a lazy day with the books. It will be a few years, before we make any move, plus anything could alter those plans.

The Chiang collection is very deep and impressive.

Yesterday, 10:12pm Top

>126 richardderus: Yes, there will be some catastrophic changes in the near future, Richard, but I am an optimistic person, by nature, so I hope we can navigate those looming events.

>127 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. Yep, all ready missing those mountains. Both our kids live here, along with most of my wife's family. Lots to consider, in the next couple of years.

Today, 6:52am Top

'Morning, Mark, and happy R&R day to you.

Today, 7:23am Top

>130 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Thanks. Looking forward to another quiet day off. Bird walk(s) and books.

Today, 7:25am Top

-Tufted Titmouse (NMP)

^I saw a couple of these beauties while in South Carolina. One visited my feeder about 3 years ago, for about ten seconds. Not as common around here.

Edited: Today, 7:40am Top

-Carolina Chickadee (NMP)

^These are very similar to our local Black-Capped Chickadees and I saw plenty in the Carolinas. My only lifer on the trip. Plenty birds seen and enjoyed but nothing else to add to the list. I do like the southern mockingbirds, though.

Bird Feeder Report: All feeders hopping yesterday, welcoming me back, with all the regulars in attendance, including the hummers, who were happy to get a fresh mixture.

Today, 9:02am Top

Happy Cushion Day, Mark!

Love that bird feeder report - I'm sure they missed you. Lovely photos of the Tufted Titmouse and Chickadee, too.

We're back to training for the first time in a while today. Yikes. I pulled a muscle lifting one of our heavy suitcases, too (yes, acquired books had something to do with the weight!), so that'll make it even more interesting.

I finished and very much liked Mythos; what a treat it would be to be as brilliant as Stephen Fry. I hope his book ends up being used in some classes. It's a heck of a lot more entertaining than some of the dry alternatives.

Today, 9:48am Top

>134 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. My cushion day is planned out: bird strolls, books and Bears tonight. Good luck getting back into the workout mode. Careful with that pulled muscle. I did my workout earlier and I am sore.

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