Ellen seeks balance in 2019 - Thread 8
This is a continuation of the topic Ellen seeks balance in 2019 - Thread 7.
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"King of the Alps" -- Photo by Jonas Schäfer -- National Geographic Photo Contest
A herd of ibexes in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland cross a ridge above Lake Brienz.
"Canyon First Light of 2019" -- Photo by Archie Tucker -- National Geographic Photo contest
Grand Canyon, United States
My Rating Scale:
= Breathtaking. Maybe a masterpiece.
= Excellent! Among my favorites of the year.
= Particularly enjoyable, kept me reading.
= So good. I'm glad I read this.
= A solid read. Generally recommended.
= This was an okay read.
= Meh. Pretty much a waste of time.
= Nearly no redeeming qualities. Really rather bad.
= Among the worst books I've ever read.
Honestly, I'm rarely going to complete any book earning fewer than two stars but I reserve the right to rate them based on my experience.
COMPLETED IN JANUARY
1. Death in a Darkening Mist by Iona Whishaw
2. Blessed are Those Who Thirst by Anne Holt
3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
4. Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
5. Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
6. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay ~ audiobook
7. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
8. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
9. The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens
10. Hotel Brasil by Frei Betto
COMPLETED IN FEBRUARY
11. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
12. Last Friends by Jane Gardam
13. The Proof of the Honey by Salwa Al Neimi
14. The Marauders: A Novel by Tom Cooper
15. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
16. Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey
17. The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
COMPLETED IN MARCH
18. Becoming by Michelle Obama
19. Faithful Place by Tana French
20. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
21. How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
COMPLETED IN APRIL
22. The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
23. Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom
24. The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
25. Berlin Noir Ed. by Thomas Wörtche
26. West by Carys Davies
27. Auschwitz Violin by Maria Angels Anglada
28. The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
29. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
COMPLETED IN MAY
30. Benediction by Kent Haruf
31. Dancing Fish and Ammonites by Penelope Lively
32. The Merchant's House by Kate Ellis
33. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
34. Circe by Madeline Miller
COMPLETED IN JUNE
35. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
36. The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
37. Sugar Run by Mesha Maren
38. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
39. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
40. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
41. How to Love a Country: Poems by Richard Blanco
42. Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston
43. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
44. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
COMPLETED IN JULY
44. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Life and Writing by Anne Lamott
45. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
46. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
47. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
48. The Firemaker by Peter May
COMPLETED IN AUGUST
49. Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett
50. An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
51. A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths
52. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
53. The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs by Étienne Davodeau
54. Dry Bones: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson ~ audiobook
55. Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Frances Strachey
56. Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
57. If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O by Sharyn McCrumb
COMPLETED IN SEPTEMBER
58. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Şafak
59. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
60. Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss
61. Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
62. A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
63. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
64. The Handmaid's Tale (Graphic Novel): A Novel by Margaret Atwood (Author), Renee Nault (Illustrator)
65. The River by Jane Clarke (2016-01-29) by Jane Clarke
66. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
67. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei (Author), Harmony Becker (Illustrator)
COMPLETED IN OCTOBER
68. Longbourn by Jo Baker
69. The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan
70. Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
71. Catfulness: A cat's guide to achieving mindfulness
72. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
SeriesCAT ~ Hoping to whittle away on my TBR shelves
November: Series with a female protagonist ~ Messenger of Truth or The Outcast Dead (or both)
December: Series that's new to you ~ The Horseman by Tim Pears?
5. Book mentioned in another book you have read ~
..... The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (in How to Love a Jamaican)
..... A Whole bunch of books mentioned in The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
..... Another whole bunch mentioned in Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
..... The Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carolyn Chute, mentioned in Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Personal Reading Challenge: Every winner of the Booker Prize since its inception in 1969
1969: P. H. Newby, Something to Answer For
1971: V. S. Naipaul, In a Free State
1972: John Berger, G.
1973: J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
1974: Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist ... and Stanley Middleton, Holiday
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1976: David Storey, Saville
1977: Paul Scott, Staying On
1980: William Golding, Rites of Passage
1981: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
1982: Thomas Keneally, Schindler's Ark
1983: J. M. Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K
1984: Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1986: Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1988: Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1990: A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance
1991: Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1993: Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1994: James Kelman, How late it was, how late
1997: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
1999: J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace
2003: DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
2004: Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
2006: Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering
2010: Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
2019: Margaret Atwood, The Testaments, and
Happy New Thread, Ellen. How is the Clarke poetry collection? Always interested in those. Watching the Seahawks but they are getting their butts kicked.
>14 msf59: Mark, I like the collection a lot. I will send it your way after I finish. The first poem took my breath away.
My Seahawks are playing like a pile of poop!!!! They seem to have thought that Drew Brees' absence meant they didn't need to show up either. Hmph.
Ooohhh, Canyon First Light 2019 is ethereal! Just gorgeous!
Happy new thread, my dear ol' pal, and many more to come.
Happy new thread, Ellen. Love the Abby tribute. Will there be another kitty in your future?
I love the photo topper.
Too bad about the Seahawks.
>16 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley! I love the National Geographic photo contest.
>17 jnwelch: Thank you muchly, Joe.
>18 richardderus: It almost makes you want to go hike around the Grand Canyon, doesn't it, Richard? Well, almost.
>19 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda!
>20 BLBera: There will undoubtedly be another kitty in our future, Beth, but we're not sure when. I've said I'd like to wait at least until after we return from Kauai in December. I don't know whether we'll be ready then. I do miss having a feline or two as part of our household.
The Seahawks apparently made a comeback and almost pulled out the win. Too little, too late. Oh well. It's just football.
Happy new thread, Ellen. Your enjoyment of The Skeleton Road reminded me that I have it around here somewhere. It sounds like it is one that I should track down.
Happy new thread Ellen. I just read Crow Lake and according to my infallible (cough!) credit system you were one of the ones who recommended it. Loved it! What a beautiful story.
Happy new thread.
The only part of the Seahawks game I saw was after the game the Coach making his apologies. He is a "stand up guy" as the saying goes. I know his players appreciate his sharing the "blame".
I have had Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain sitting on bookshelves for longer than I care to admit. I think it was sold in my "great purge" where I took unopened boxes of books to Half Price Books and sold. But I do have some experience with drawing unusual perspectives such as turning some object upside down and then drawing the unusual perspective. It is very informative. Use your eyes more than your brain!
Happy new thread, Ellen. I also have a copy of The Skeleton Road on my shelves and I didn't know that it's part of a series, I will have to be sure to get my order right when I go to read them.
Ah HA! I look forward to your new thread for lots of good commenting on good reading, Ellen.
Happy New Thread, Ellen. Got your lovely note today when we picked up our mail from the PO--thank you!
>11 EBT1002: Dear Abby...
A house without a four-footed occupant is not quite right, is it? We thought maybe we wouldn't "tie ourselves down" with another animal when we lost our sweet Sheltie, Callie, several years ago. But less than a year later, we found we just didn't like not having a furry companion, so we brought a kitty into our lives and now we're right back to being totally foolish about our pet.
I have to have time between pets. We got our much loved second dog too soon after Dog 1 died. For the first month or so, I resented Cubbie a little for not being Tricks. It didn't take long for me to love her completely, but it was a lesson. (We seem to have the same dog in different guises again and again. We've been so lucky!)
>30 laytonwoman3rd:, >31 LizzieD: - I have recently lost one cat and my second one is 19 and a half, and slowing down more and more each day. I prefer to always have 2 together and prefer to bring them into the house together, too, whether or not they are related. I won't get a second one until Lexi is gone but then, I usually take a bit of time, to make sure I find the *right ones*… Like many here, the house is just too quiet and not quite *right* when it's only me, rattling around talking to myself.
>22 drneutron: and >23 figsfromthistle: Thank you both!
>24 Familyhistorian: I enjoyed The Skeleton Road, Meg. Not only was it a good mystery/thriller but I felt like I got a peek inside the Balkans during and after the 1990s.
>25 charl08: Oh good, Charlotte. I'm glad you enjoyed Crow Lake. I hadn't thought of it in a while but I remember liking it a lot. I gave it 4.5 stars.
>26 maggie1944: I agree, Karen. I think Pete Carroll is a great coach.
Yes! -- turning objects or images upside down and drawing what you see, rather than what you project or expect -- that is the key. I haven't practiced in a while and I need to take it back up again. I was enjoying developing my ability to "see" and draw what is actually there.
>27 DeltaQueen50: Definitely check the order on the Karen Pirie series, Judy. It turns out that Skeleton Road is third of five in the series. Apparently Karen Pirie makes only a minor appearance in the first of the series, The Distant Echo. I plan to read that one soon.
>28 LizzieD: Thanks Peggy.
>29 ronincats: Thanks Roni. And thank YOU for the sweet little Abby memento. xo
>30 laytonwoman3rd: Absolutely spot on, Linda. I find myself remembering sweet moments with Abby -- preparing her treat/medicine in the morning, then gently picking her up from her usual spot in bed at P's tummy, carrying her down the hall, and setting her down in front of her treat, and then coaxing her to eat it. All of it. She was so warm and soft and sweet in these moments. I would kiss her on that little soft spot behind her ear. I miss having a kitty in our lives. After Christmas on Kauai, it will likely be time to start looking for the next furkid. :-)
>31 LizzieD: That makes sense to me, Peggy. It has been about five months since we lost Abby and I'm just starting to be ready for the next animal. But I'm not quite ready yet and I want to wait until after our holiday trip.
>32 jessibud2: Shelley, I agree that two cats is a good number. We had Edgar and Abby for a few years but when we lost Edgar in 2009, Abby was already older and settled in. It just didn't seem right to introduce another kitty to the household at that point in time. She became "The OC" (Only Cat). I know she missed Edgar a lot but she also settled in pretty nicely to having P and me all to herself. Still, we'll probably get two when it's time for the next one.
65. The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid
A skeleton is discovered on the roof of an abandoned building. A bullet hole in the skull sends Karen Pirie into a cold case search for the identity of the corpse and their killer. The trail leads to war crimes investigations in The Hague and an intimate look into the brutal vengeance characterizing the Balkan wars. This was an engaging and enjoyable police procedural. It also provided an emotional insight into the Balkan wars and their aftermath.
HI Ellen: Skeleton Road goes on my list. I've been meaning to read through the Grafton series as well. I started it years ago but would like to start from the beginning.
I hope you have a great weekend. When does the boss get back from leave?
So do you have snow coming in? Looking at that map of the weather over Spokane, Idaho and Montana and it looks COLD!
>38 jnwelch: The Walt Longmire series has help up very well for me, Joe. I like the development of the characters, including Walt's daughter and now granddaughter.
>39 BLBera: Beth, let me know if you'd like me to send my copy of The Skeleton Road. I'd be happy to pop it in the mail.
>40 ronincats: Roni, we woke up this morning to about half an inch of wet snow on the ground! It's still September!!! We watched a light wintry mix fall for a while but it finally warmed up enough to just be rain and then the precipitation stopped altogether. Crazy. It was around 40F most of the day but it's that damp bitter chill. Ugh.
Next weekend we have reservations to take our little trailer to a state park a couple of hours away. It's on a flyway for migrating birds so we're pretty excited about that. Right now the forecast is for highs in the mid 60s and lows in the low 40s. We'll see how we do!
Yesterday we drove in the rain to Walla Walla to pick up our biannual wine allotment from Mark Ryan winery. Ended up tasting wines at Charles Smith and quite enjoyed ourselves.
At the wine tasting we chatted with some folks sitting nearby and discovered that the young couple know our nephew and his wife back in Seattle. It's such a small world. It was fun making that connection.
Happy new thread, Ellen.
You've almost caught me up on Booker Prize reading.
I have read 28 winners to your 26.
I do have all of them on the shelves though now.
67. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei (Author), Harmony Becker (Illustrator)
The graphic memoir of George Takei, actor and activist, who was interned along with his family during WWII. He was four years old when Japanese Americans were declared alien enemies, imprisoned behind barbed wire and deprived of all their family possessions. This beautifully presented memoir is honest and surprisingly upbeat as Takei explores not only this shameful history of our country and the indelible impact it had on his family, but also the nuances of childhood memory. Absolutely recommended, one of my favorites of the year.
I'm leaving a quick wave. It sounds like a wonderful weekend. We had 4-6 inches of snow. UGHHHHHH!. The trees haven't even changed color yet! I'm also looking forward to the warmup promised by the weekend!
>47 EBT1002: Another fan here: I loved how he credited his parents with working so hard to protect him and his siblings from the worst of the experience.
Hi Ellen - I'll be anxious to hear about your camping trip. I hope the weather cooperates.
I also loved They Called Us Enemy. I was surprised at his lack of bitterness.
>46 EBT1002: I am actually thinking of having a few special shelves, Ellen.
One maybe all the Booker winners;
Another for all my poetry;
Maybe the 1001 books too.
>47 EBT1002: Hi Ellen - I'm taking They Called Us Enemy on my work trip to Denver after reading Beth's raves. There usually is no free time at these conferences, with sessions all day beginning at 7:15AM (!!!!). But I'm hoping I have enough self-discipline to read on the plane rather than watch movies! I'm so grateful to LT for exposing me to genres such as graphic memoirs which I otherwise wouldn't have read. Such a great community!
68. Longbourn by Jo Baker
I enjoyed this novel far more than I expected to. This is the story of the servants in the Bennett's house as the tale of Pride and Prejudice unfolds. Sarah, the housemaid, and James, the footman, take front and center: we follow their budding relationship and learn about each of their backgrounds. Elizabeth and Jane and Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are side figures although their centrality to the lives of the servants is never shirked. The novel is more than a shadow spin-off from the great classic, though. It is a rich and thoughtful exploration of the human tendency to long for that which is out of reach, and the possibility of finding contentment by focusing on what one has and being clear about what truly matters. In our current era of rampant materialism (I'm part of it too, having recently ordered my next iPhone), the themes are timely and relevant and sweetly poignant. Very much recommended, but only if you're familiar with Pride and Prejudice.
Prudence and I went camping at Potholes State Park in central Washington this weekend. It was beautiful -- cold at night be clear skies and a bit breezy. Potholes is a fascinating geological area and is on the flyway for many migrating birds. We saw white pelicans. herons, egrets, flickers, hawks, California Quail, a male Ringneck Pheasant, and the highlight of it all: several large V's of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead, probably 300-400 all told on Saturday night at sunset. It was spectacular!!!!
We also saw hundreds of stars. Stars are a treat in Pullman relative to Seattle, but this was even better, especially during the 2am bathroom run when the moon had set. Wow.
Next up in books is The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan. I've read 2-3 chapters and so far, so good.
Things are busy but not bad these days. Still, I'll just go on the record as saying that retirement may be about 34 months out now. (You know, but who's counting?)
Hooray for They Called Us Enemy! Terrific GN. Your camping trip sounds fantastic, with the stars and the plentiful wildlife. I have not heard or seen any migrating Sand Hill Cranes yet.
BTW- I am loving and nearly done with A Ladder to the Sky. Boyne has delivered again.
My reading time is being cut into a bit by the delightful "Frankie Drake Mysteries." What fun.
>48 streamsong: We had a drastic week of winter here, too, Janet, but autumn seems to have reasserted herself. Thank goodness!
>49 richardderus: Hi Richard. They Called Us Enemy is SO good. And, while I've got your attention, have you watched "The Frankie Drake Mysteries"? They border on cozy but manage to weave wonderful exploration of gender, race, and sexuality through the mysteries. Unrealistic as hell but fun as hell, too.
>50 jnwelch: Yep, I knew you'd be pleased by my love of They Called Us Enemy, Joe.
>51 charl08: I liked that, too, Charlotte. It was a great example of retrospective appreciation of one's parents' efforts and sacrifices.
>52 johnsimpson: Thank you, John!
>53 BLBera: The camping trip was magnificent, Beth. I'm really enjoying the little trailer. And the birds! See above.
George Takei's equanimity and calm as he tells the story of his childhood is pretty remarkable. That kind of compassion and humility is so needed in our leaders. He doesn't flinch at calling out the injustice and horror of the experience for others, though.
>54 Carmenere: Thank you, Lynda!
>55 PaulCranswick: Oh, I love that idea, Paul. After our move last year I rearranged my books, somewhat vaguely by genre, etc. And since I have some shelves that are just too darn short, the size of the volumes also dictated some arrangements.
>56 vivians: I wholly agree, Vivian! LT has introduced me to genres I would never have otherwise tried. Graphic Memoirs are one of my favorites.
>57 kidzdoc: That is good to hear, Darryl. I have a copy of Girl, Woman, Other and plan to read it later this month. I'll be interested to see in just a few days which of the finalists wins.
>58 The_Hibernator: Rachel, I hope your husband finishes They Called Us Enemy. It's definitely one of my favorite reads of the year.
>61 msf59: I thought of you several times over the weekend, Mark, as we saw so many birds. We saw lots of waterfowl that we could not identify and I thought of the guided bird walks you've been on. It seems like it would be so helpful to have someone along who knows the birds.
I've looked at A Ladder to the Sky several times in the past couple of months. I think I'm waiting until it comes out in paperback. But I'm glad to hear it's another winner!
Hi, Ellen. I'm another fan of Longbourn. I thought she was very clever in complementing Pride and Prejudice from that different point of view, and also in bringing in surrounding world events.
>66 jnwelch: Absolutely, Joe. I wasn't sure where Baker would land on the happy ending scale; she balanced it perfectly (IMO).
>67 Caroline_McElwee: The stars and birds were pretty special, Caroline. Being able to see stars - and the Milky Way! - is becoming more and more of a rare experience as we pollute our little planet with so much artificial light. And yes! to Longbourn! I was ambivalent about reading it. I'm not sure why as I have loved some other works that used a similar premise. I thought Valerie Martin's Mary Reilly was excellent. It may be because I'm not nearly the Jane Austen fan that so many others are. I'm not among those who started reading her at a young age and have reread her throughout adulthood. In fact, were it not for the 6-hour A&E production of Pride and Prejudice, I would not know the story as intimately as I do. That helped make this read even more enjoyable.
>68 jessibud2: I'm glad you agree, Shelley!
Hello, there!! Yes, I am alive. LOL. Glad you had such a fun camping weekend under a beautiful starry sky. And, like you, I loved They Called Us Enemy--definitley one of my faves of the year.
Hi Ellen: Your camping trip sounds wonderful. I'm glad work is fine now. Is your boss back yet? Thirty-four months will fly!
You've convinced me to add Longbourne to my list. I've loved the other Baker novels I've read, but the description of this one didn't appeal. You've changed my mind!
>71 Berly: Hi Kim! I am so glad you are alive. I mean, I'm really super glad. :-) xoxo
Good Talk and They Called Us Enemy are two of my favorite graphic memoirs of all time!
>72 karenmarie: Hi Karen. I keep thinking I'm going to quit signing up for the challenges, but then something like this happens and I realize that the challenges do nudge me out of my comfort zone, often to my great delight!
>73 BLBera: Hi Beth. No boss yet. We expect her to return first week of December. Work is still work and the acting VP (not me, which is another story) is making several of us crazy, but we do still feel a bit of room for exercising our own leadership styles. We will see
Oh yes, if you are at all a fan of Pride and Prejudice, I think you would enjoy Longbourn. And I need to read some of Baker's other works! What might you particularly recommend?
I also enjoyed Longbourn and need to go somewhere else in order to see the stars. I miss them!
>75 brenzi: Hi Bonnie. It's crazy for us to have snow this early -- and it was pretty much melted by mid-day but it never really warmed up. I feel like I'm having to skip all my autumn wear and go right to winter!
Ah, I remember much warbling about The Body Lies so I will put that one on hold.
>76 BLBera: Another nudge to read The Body Lies. Thanks, Beth. I will also add A Country Road, A Tree to the wish list (what a great title!).
Yes, work is going as well as can be expected. There are vexations and irritations, but that is work. I feel like I'm making a difference and for that I feel grateful. I don't really want to be done with work, but we'll see how it goes. I'm still reserving the option of retiring August 2022.
>77 LizzieD: I hope you can take a little road trip to see the stars, Peggy! It's such a treat to look up at the sky and see so many constellations and the Milky Way.
Hi Ellen! Glad that work is going better. And that sounds like a lovely camping trip.
I shared this on Peggy's thread but wanted to also share it here.
I will share a really moving experience I had this evening. I dined with three colleagues, two of whom I don't (yet) know well. As we consumed the two bottles of wine and lovely appetizers, we warmed up into really wonderful conversation about all sorts of things. The two colleagues whom I don't (yet) know well work in Washington DC; they are advocates for higher education and I learned that they are both Republicans -- and neither of them Trump fans. Quite the opposite. We shared astonishment at his continuing absurdity (the tweet in which he referred to his own "great and unmatched wisdom..."!!!) and our hope that the country will be rid of him soon. One of them worked in the George W. Bush White House and talked about -- agree or disagree -- W's compassion and integrity. And I found myself agreeing. We talked about Ellen Degeneres' recent situation where she is defending her friendship with W, challenging the notion that one cannot be friends with someone with whom one disagrees. One of my colleagues said tonight "I have been thinking that something big is going to happen that will reunite this country -- and I believe Donald Trump is that big thing." This was so surprising to me. These are Republicans. One of them wondered out loud whose name she could write in since she does not agree with Elizabeth Warren on specific issues (to which I thought "oh, write in all you want, just don't vote for this incumbent disaster!").
This was important for me. I lived in Seattle for over a decade, a deep blue political bubble in which I was rarely in conversation with someone who disagreed with me. These women are caring, compassionate, smart, and dedicated to higher education. We may disagree on many things but we agreed that the current president is an unmitigated failure. It gave me hope.
>81 EBT1002: the extremes make one forget that agreeing to disagree is a common standpoint Ellen. Probably half my friends don't share my position, we dispute, we don't often move much in either direction, although can find some common ground from time to time. Acknowledging the right to hold opposing or disparate views is important though.
>81 EBT1002: This gives me hope in multiple ways, Ellen. What a great conversation. It is so impossible to talk politics with Trump supporters; it helps a lot to hear there are still thoughtful Republicans like this. In my view, George W was a well-meaning "Gentleman's C" student who unfortunately let Cheney run the show. But I'd take him in a blink over the current prez.
My parents were moderate Republicans who raised three Democrats, and they despaired over the Repubs' swing to the right. My mother ended up voting for Obama, deciding McCain (who we all respected) was "too old".
Anyway, what a wonderful evening you had. Kudos to the rational if not Democrat two. :-)
P.S. I'm still hoping Kamala Harris moves to the front, however unlikely it seems right now. I have confidence in her ability to handle drumpf, among other things, which Elizabeth W. has struggled with.
>81 EBT1002: - Thanks for sharing that story, Ellen. I was a moderate Republican for a long time. I follow a lot of "Never Trump" Republicans on Twitter, and they are very thoughtful and smart. Of course, as I've gotten older, I've moved much more to the left, so now about the only thing I agree with them on is that Trump is a disaster.
Having met GWB on several occasions, I can attest to his warmth and compassion. One of my favorite memories from my time in Washington is of him charming my baby cousin in the Oval Office. She had been screaming her head off as we waited to go in and I was dying a slow death inside, but as soon as we went in, he started talking to her and she calmed down immediately. I should find the photo...
I always felt - and still do - that he had a good heart but was, as Joe says, too easily led by Cheney and others.
>81 EBT1002: Heartening message indeed. The universe gave you a great boost!
>81 EBT1002: Wow that's terrific Ellen. It's so good to know that there are some reasonable Republicans out there. I wish I knew some but my conversations with the ones I know have been so heated we avoid the subject of Trump at all costs. I like the idea that he may end up being the thing that finally unites the country. That would be wonderful.
>82 Berly: :-) indeed, Kim!
>83 Caroline_McElwee: It's interesting, Caroline, when I think that the conversation might have been different in a different era. I don't know that I would have been as open-minded to their perspectives prior to the current presidential term. One thing I said to them is that I want to hold myself to the same standard I felt many Republicans did not hold themselves to in 2016 -- that is, I won't vote for the Dem nominee "no matter what." Of course, any of the Dem front runners and some of the back-of-the-pack contestants are within my range of appreciation. And mostly I want this man, whom I honestly fear may yet undermine our fragile democracy, OUT.
>84 lauralkeet: It was heartening, indeed, Laura. Not only was I glad to have such intelligent conversation with women with whom I disagree on some fundamental issues, but I was heartened by the reminder that good people can disagree respectfully.
>85 jnwelch: Hi Joe, and thanks for sharing that family context. My father was a yellow-dog Democrat and honestly I'm not sure my mother thought much for herself (lots to unpack there but that is for another place and time). I agree that I would like to see Kamala Harris gain some ground. I like Elizabeth Warren a lot but what it takes to withstand trump's low and dirty way of engaging is ... I don't even know how to finish this sentence.
>86 katiekrug: I thought of you during the dinner, Katie, remembering your encounters with GWB and your experience of him as warm and compassionate and authentic. Like Joe and you, I believe he was a man of integrity, perhaps not the smartest on the block but smart enough, and too easily led by those around him. Integrity, warmth, compassion, humility, authenticity.... those are what we are missing in our current "leadership."
>87 richardderus: Yes, Richard, I am grateful for the universe's boost. On social media, I only see the extremes and it was so great to engage genuinely with thoughtful humans.
>88 brenzi: I'm thinking that the distinction of importance here is less political party and more stance on trump, Bonnie. These two were anti-trump Republicans, the first with whom I've had the opportunity to converse. Like you, I would not be able to comprehend any rationale trump supporters might articulate to me. He is too far beyond the pale.
>89 BLBera: Yep. And we need hope, Beth.
Do authors make more money in royalties if/when we buy their books in hardcover rather than waiting for the softcover release?
69. The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan
This was a good police procedural set in Galway, Ireland. Cormac Reilly has moved to the Gardai in Galway after a successful twenty years on the force in Dublin. At first it seems that the local crowd are intent on making it hard for him to integrate but soon he gets caught up in a murder case that harkens back to his very first case, one in which he removed two badly neglected children from the ruined house in which their alcoholic mother lay dead. As the current case intertwines with that cold case, an open-and-shut suicide, we learn more about Cormac's own history. With only a wee bit of excess coincidence, the plot is engaging and the ending satisfying. Definitely recommended for fans of police procedurals.
>59 EBT1002: I had never read any Jane Austen before I read Longbourne so I decided to read Pride and Prejudice in tandem with i. It was a very interesting experience as one read informed the other.
Your conversation with the thoughtful Republican ladies puts a different perspective on things, doesn't it?
>94 EBT1002: This one does sound good, Ellen. And I'm always looking for good books set in Ireland.
>95 Familyhistorian: Reading them together must have been quite interesting, Meg. I've only read Pride and Prejudice once and it was a few years ago, but I thought it interesting that Baker said, to wit, that if the meal was eaten in P&P it was prepared in Longbourn, and if Elizabeth and Jane were dropped off at a gathering in P&P, James drove them there in the carriage in Longbourn. I must reread P&P soon, while the details of Longbourn are still fresh for me.
It was a great reminder of the silent majority of Republicans. I say silent because they are not who I see on social media. Apart from LT, I think social media may be one of the most divisive elements of our time.
>93 EBT1002: Yes. Also, the advance against royalties "earns out" faster when you buy a hardcover; the retail price it's calculated on is higher. Even after deeper discounting is taken into account...after 45% off retail, royalties drop like rocks...hardcovers still out-earn paperbacks.
I thought Longbourn was surprisingly good, too. It was a great, inventive backstory. I've read several other pastiches of P&P that just didn't hold up such as Death at Pemberley and my most recent, a Bollywood style romance called Pride Prejudice and Other Flavors.
Love the stars. Definitely one of the 'things' about my backyard which faces east toward the Sapphire mountains.
I think a lot of Republicans would like to see a viable candidate run against Trump. Right now the choices aren't stellar.
I do wish more Republicans would speak up. I'm pretty sure there are a LOT of them who aren't happy with their fearless leader.
>100 BLBera: Mysteries as go-to comfort reading was long true for me, too, Beth, but I feel like I got away from them a bit. Clearly I'm needing that easier reading space at present because it's just what I feel like. I have the usual stacks and shelves of "literary" works to which I will of course return.
I tweeted in response to LibraryThing Friday what are you reading inquiry and called Pardonable Lies "escape reading." Another LTer responded that they don't think of Masie Dobbs as escape reading but rather a sad look at post-WWI England. I knew what they meant but didn't know how else to express it. Your use of the word "comfort" is perfect.
>101 richardderus: Thank you, Richard. Having never published a book, I have not known how all that works. I assume(d) the system is set up with the publishing company's bottom line most in focus. I'm a great lover of libraries and I use both mine liberally but I also like supporting authors (and one look at the stacks and shelves around my house suggest that I do my part!). I'm not sure what you mean by the advance on royalties "earning out"... I can google this.
>102 streamsong: Hi Janet!
"...my backyard which faces east toward the Sapphire mountains." That just sounds breathtaking!!!!!
I'm not generally a fan of pastiches. In fact, this is a new vocabulary word for me. But I was impressed by Longbourn and I will read more Jo Baker.
>103 thornton37814: As far as I can tell, no one is really stepping up to the plate, Lori. It's not uncommon for incumbents to go unchallenged by their own party but in this instance, I wonder.
>104 laytonwoman3rd: Yes, I think you're probably right, Linda. As it is, it's easy to get the feeling (it's my feeling) that Republicans are willing to risk it all just to get the tax cuts, spending cuts, and most especially the conservative judges that they want. From where I sit, it's an incomprehensible risk.
>104 laytonwoman3rd:, >107 EBT1002: What's their incentive to do so? Given that these are politicians we're speaking of, moral high ground is long lost in the quest for office. And their Agenda (capitalized to indicate its formal, explicitly stated nature) is getting met. I suppose many are repulsed personally by the nauseating figurehead enabling their Agenda's passing into law, but what price success?
I had the great good luck to attend Rachel Maddow's Seattle appearance for her book tour, last night. As expected the Seattle audience was more than enthusiastic and interrupted her multiple times when she said something with which "everyone" agreed. Her book Blowout is a Must Read for every American, I think. We are in dangerous times with Democracy itself under attack worldwide. I appreciated Rachel's optimism, she believes we will stand up for Democracy, and she also has great faith that the Climate Change crisis will be addressed successfully. She looks to all the work being done by younger people, and she believes they will succeed. So nice to be in the presence of such a smart woman and hear her being optimistic. Please read the book.
>105 EBT1002: I think of the traditional mysteries as mini morality plays. The world is righted at the end, which is very comforting when the world around one is in chaos. Mysteries nowadays are more nuanced, but still, I think there is an expectation that a mystery will be solved and wrongs righted.
>108 richardderus: I tend to agree with you, Richard. Integrity and morality appear not to be powerful enough to override the "rewards" they are reaping with him in the white house. Even if we can get him out of office next year, the conservative judicial that is being set in place will affect our country for decades to come. They seem not to care that our freedoms, environment, and the constitution itself are in danger.
>109 maggie1944: That sounds like a great event, Karen. I appreciate Rachel's optimism and I hope she ends up being correct. I'm naturally pretty optimistic (ask anyone who knows me!) but I fear for democracy and our fragile Earth.
>110 BLBera: Spot on, as usual, Beth. I like that many contemporary mysteries are, as you say, more nuanced and the characters more multidimensional, but I still like immersing myself in a fictional world in which Good generally triumphs over Evil.
>112 msf59: Hi Mark. Yes, as I'm risking my health by watching the Cougs play football (and probably lose), I'm futzing around on LT at the same time. P and I tried to dig in the yard to plant bulbs earlier today but the ground is just too hard. As we think about retirement, we're definitely thinking about places where we can garden more.
I haven't been reading any poetry lately. Just not in that kind of mood. I will dig into it again at some point, though.
Enjoy 10 Minutes 38 Seconds. It's a terrific read, IMHO.
>111 EBT1002: They seem not to care that our freedoms, environment, and the constitution itself are in danger.
It's not that they don't care; it's that this is their aim, their purpose for everything they're doing. The lower class of their cohort wants to "own the snowflake SJWs;" the upper class wants to be sure decent people have no opportunity to oppose their vile, irresponsible, murderous agenda of "permanent" (haw) ownership and domination of the planet's resources.
>114 richardderus: Methinks you are too correct, Richard. It's disheartening.
This is exactly what Maddow's book is about. I'm only started but I think it will be a great read.
Mysteries are one of my preferred genres. It is comforting that most come with a neat ending, so not like real life!
>116 maggie1944: I'll be interested in your thoughts about Maddow's book once you read it all, Karen.
I have found myself thinking about this issue the past 24 hours or so. For me (and perhaps I am naive) there is a difference between the agenda of Republican leadership and the voters they represent. Or at least the thoughtful voters like my two colleagues. I understand the reprehensible agenda of the "leadership" who are all too happy to watch it all fall apart as long as it lines the pockets of the rich and undermines all and any progress we have accomplished toward a more equitable society. What I don't understand is the silence of the Republican voters who don't care for trump but seem willing to let it ride in order to get conservative judges. Why do they not demand better of their elected officials? Why do they not call Mitch out? Why do they not organize around a Republican alternative to trump? Of course, I say this with the assumption that there are a lot more like the two women with whom I had such a delightful dinner. But trump's approval ratings hover around 40% no matter what. That I really don't get. If I were a Republican and the pollsters called me, I hope I would say I do not approve of his performance. I hope I would say "I want to see a return to a conservative agenda that is based in respectful discourse and mature politics and at least some modicum of compassion." It's the absence of that voice that befuddles and infuriates me.
>117 Familyhistorian: I agree, Meg. I'm enjoying my current Maisie Dobbs mystery quite a bit!
Ellen, I agree that the perspective which is the most troubling is not the horrible misbehavior of "45" but the overwhelming silence of the entire Republican party. I asked a lady here, who clearly has been a life-long Republican, whether she still "supports" Trump even though clearly he lies every day. She shook her head and said yes. I asked how could she do that, and she said: "I try to just focus on the good he does". I stopped at that point as she was one of our older residents and I'm not sure she would be up to a real conversation about current affairs.
Oh, shoot, Seahawks just lost their lead. But there is time in the fourth quarter to do all kinds of stuff!
>120 maggie1944: "I try to just focus on the good he does".
Not being sarcastic: What good thing has 45 done?
>120 maggie1944: That mentality astonishes me, Karen. The good he does? That is what I mean by the focus on the installation of conservative judges who will affect this country for decades to come. Other than that, I'm not sure what "good" she could mean. (I'm allowing for the judges; though it leads me to believe that the country will head in a terrible direction in the coming decades, I'll allow others their conservative views.)
The Seahawks came back and won that game! They just keep pulling wins out of the hat this season. Incredible. I didn't watch it as we were at the volleyball match (Cougs won - yay!) but we watched some of the post-game coverage when we got home.
>121 richardderus: I can't think of a single thing, Richard, but it actually supports my point: there are too many in the country willing to watch democracy undermined to its core if it means we can undo anything progressive that has been accomplished since the 1950s. Racism and xenophobia are at the heart of it, IMHO.
>122 brenzi: Bonnie, I had to look up The Wolf and the Watchman. I saw your review and the comment "An impressive debut mystery that is so gruesome that I wasn’t sure I could finish it." I also saw the comment about its similarities to The Alienist, which I just purchased on Friday! Now I want to read that one soon.
It's a gray day in eastern Washington and the Sunday afternoon blues have hit. Time to brew a mug of hot tea, settle down in my favorite reading chair, and let Maisie Dobbs distract me.
On the plus side, I saw a Flicker taking a bath in the deep bird bath we have set up on our back deck. He was about 6 feet away from me and he dunked his whole head in the water, the dunked his tail in, gave himself a good shake, and flew away. It was a fun moment.
I downloaded A Woman is No Man and American Spy from the library as my turn had come up in the queue for each of them, so I'll read one of them next. I think the Booker Prize winner will be announced tomorrow so I'll be interested to see which novel wins. I saw a tweet by @TheBookerPrizes that, when someone asked Lucy Ellman about the length of her 1000+ page novel, she said she thought it was "time for men to shut up." Or something to that effect. Made me chuckle.
I rather enjoyed this Guardian piece about the odds of each short-listed novel winning the Booker Prize.
I read American Spy earlier this year, Ellen, and was not a fan. I gave it 2.5 stars. My comments:
"I ended up hate-reading this. It was just not well done at all. The premise of a black woman in the 1980s working for the FBI and being recruited by the CIA to destabilize a regime in Africa was so promising and potentially fascinating, that I was eager to read this debut novel. Unfortunately, it didn't deliver, mostly due to the weakness (and that's putting it mildly) of the espionage part which was so ridiculous as to be cartoonish. There was no nuance or complexity, so the larger themes of racism and sexism, not to mention the intriguing political themes, were reduced to mere supports for an over-wrought, yet over-simplified, plot that had large holes further marring it. And the ending seems to leave open the door for a sequel, and please, god, just no."
<121> Well, Richard, as I stated I did not pursue the conversation. This is a woman well into her 90s who is relatively healthy and able however does get confused easily. I am sure she is relying on her lifetime of commitment and spends no time thinking about the situations Trump has created and made worse. I try to not "bedevil" our "little old ladies" who really are not competent to think deeply about politics. I catch myself hoping they will forget to vote, which many of them do.
I at the age of 75 am a youngster here and am treated very nicely by everyone, and I hope to do the same to them. We are living together in one great big home.
I hope you can see my point of view that further conversation with this lady would be fruitless and potentially cruel.
I know of nothing that Trump has done which is "good".
>130 maggie1944: Oh no, I'd never ever encourage having that kind of conversation with your fellow dwellers! Disagreements that can't be resolved poison the air for absolutely everyone. I avoid the desire to scream at the people I (at 60, FAR the youngest person here voluntarily) know do not have the desire or the ability to examine issues without resorting to name-calling.
I just wonder what *any*one* can point to that 45 has done that benefited them personally, leave aside the country.
70. Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
I'm glad I decided to revisit this series. Maisie Dobbs is maturing well as a character and the complexity of the mystery is quite satisfying. Set in England and France in 1930, the fallout of the Great War in Europe is a central theme. In this installment, Maisie is intent on proving that a young girl relegated to the streets is innocent of murder when she is hired to prove that a judge's son who was killed in the war was, well, actually killed. It seems that the boy's mother was always convinced that he still lived; the judge made an ill-advised deathbed promise to his wife that he would find their son. He hires Maisie to find his son dead so he can put the whole thing to rest. Maisie is led back to the area in France where her own Hell on Earth transpired and must slay some of her own emotional dragons in solving the mysteries. I'm not a huge fan of the use of "seeing," of Maisie's innate ability to sense deeply what another is thinking and feeling, but other than that this is a series worth following.
>127 richardderus: I remember seeing that post, Richard. Your comments about Ducks, Newburyport are somewhat similar to those in the Guardian piece. He said that most people simply won't get it but that those who do will really get it - and will love it. I'm intrigued, I must say, although the notion of a novel with more than 1,000 pages but only 8 sentences is intimidating!
My Booker ratings so far (includes long-listed works that did not make the cut for the short list):
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Şafak
I wasn't as intent upon reading all of them as I sometimes am, though I own copies of Lanny (thanks Mark!), Girl, Woman, Other, and Ducks, Newburyport. I have a copy of Frankissstein on its way from Book Depository.
>128 Berly: Hi Kim. Yes indeed, those are all good things!
>129 katiekrug: Hi Katie. Thanks for sharing your comments about American Spy. I know you are just one reviewer but given how many books I have that I really want to read, I may give this one a skip. I did read through some of the other reviews and the kinds of criticisms directed at the novel are, I think, the kinds of things that would turn me off.
>130 maggie1944: All makes sense to me, Karen. I contrast your situation with the lovely dinner I had with thoughtful colleagues with whom I could have intelligent, respectful conversation. Part of what is different is that they do not see him as having done anything good. Also, they are in their 40s, I think, and much more able to engage in that kind of discussion. I cracked up at your comment about hoping they forget to vote. :-)
>131 BLBera: I think it was your comments that led me to put A Woman is No Man on hold, Beth. I think it will be my next read. Although, honestly, I'm rather tired of reading things on my kindle and longing for a more traditional format. So, even though I just checked AWiNM out from the library, and as an eBook it cannot be renewed (I don't get that, but it wouldn't matter in any case since the Seattle Public Library won't let you renew a book if other patrons have it on hold), so I have limited time to read it, I may read something else first and that one next. **** That is one awkward sentence but I don't have it in me to edit just now. Hopefully my meaning comes through. Haha.
>132 richardderus: Yep, yep, and yep.
My parents were both life-long Republicans. We stopped talking about politics when I was 13 because I realized we'd never agree. Dad said I'd change my mind when I started earning a good living and become conservative, but at 66 I can attest that I haven't yet and don't plan on it any time soon.
My father was so upset with George HW Bush that he said he would vote Democratic in the 2004 election but couldn't quite bring himself to do so. However, he did NOT vote for president at all, which I thought huge progress. Alas, it was his last presidential election.
>136 lauralkeet: It took me a while to "get into" Pardonable Lies, Laura, but I think it was my own preconceived skepticism. That, and her annoying habit of describing what everyone is wearing, especially Maisie, in every scene change. But I think it's my favorite of the series so far.
>137 karenmarie: Morning Karen. The party loyalty you describe your father as having is, I think, pretty common. I'm sorry that was his last presidential election; if he was upset with George HW, I can only imagine (hope) that he would be horrified by the current administration. I was so struck by my two colleagues' talk about trying to think who to write in; they would be unlikely to vote Democrat as, like your father, I think they just couldn't bring themselves to go there. But I was comforted by the fact that they won't (at least, I am pretty sure they won't) vote for reelection.
I started reading my hardback copy of Girl, Woman, Other last night and it's already excellent. I've only read the chapter dedicated to Amma, but in which we meet some of the other characters whose chapters are yet to come (based on the table of contents).
I checked the Booker Prizes website, no announcement yet. Being on the west coast of the United States, I thought it might be late enough for the announcement to have occurred in London. Does it happen in London?
Maybe I should check the media as it might take a little while for the website to get updated.
Happy Monday everyone! (Ugh) I am presenting to the university president's cabinet today. My dreams reflected my anxiety about it and I'll be glad when it's over.
I thought I'd see if the image addresses for the book cover images is working again. Or yet. Or something.
This is the cover of the book I'm currently reading, Girl, Woman, Other. We'll see if the image remains visible for all to see.
>140 EBT1002: Ellen, I can see the image but a few folks have mentioned on my thread that they can't see Amazon cover images. The solution to this is to always use an LT image from the member-uploaded covers. If there isn't one that matches your cover, you can add it. Get the URL for your cover, go to the "Change cover" section, and paste the URL into the "Grab one from the web" box.
71. Catfulness: A cat's guide to achieving mindfulness by CATA
I hesitate to even count this but it's a book. And I read it. I worked my way through it (sort of) in the recommended seven weeks and found it to be just off most mornings. It makes recommendations for, say, a Tuesday or a Wednesday that just don't fit for someone heading off for an 11-hour work day! I'm not saying one can't be mindful during a long workday; one can, and I'm trying to be more so. But this guide didn't help me get there. The illustrations are charming and it's for them that I purchased the book.
>118 EBT1002: I find it hard to understand people who continue to vote against their own interests, as so many do Ellen.
>71 Berly: With a title like that, it fully deserves to be counted whether you liked it or not. Meow! (Sherlock dictated that while his brothers were sleeping.)
>135 EBT1002: Makes perfect sense to me, Ellen.
Great Booker news! Two winners. And you are reading one of them.
TWO winners of the Booker Prize for 2019. I don't know, somehow that seems like a cop out by the committee. I haven't yet read The Testaments and I've only just started Girl, Woman, Other but I wonder if the prize was given to Atwood for, well, for being Atwood, and given to Evaristo for the novel itself. And just to be clear, I don't begrudge Atwood's nod; she is an amazing novelist. But perhaps The Handmaid's Tale should have been given the prize way back when.
On the other hand, maybe this is just the committee's way of saying "we really couldn't pick one of these two; they are both That Good."
>144 Caroline_McElwee: It is befuddling, Caroline.
>145 lauralkeet: Yes, I'm very excited, Laura. So far Girl, Woman, Other is captivating.
>146 thornton37814: *scritches Sherlock on the head* Hi Lori!
>147 BLBera: Yeah, I'm interested to read about the two winners thing, Beth. I had a busy day at work so I kept checking for the announcement, and when I saw it, I thought "whaaaat?" Now I'm at home, exhausted, watching the NLCS and catching up on LT a bit. P and I will go to our Monday evening exercise class in a little while. Part of me wants to skip it (did I mention that I'm exhausted?) but I know I'll be glad I went.
>148 ronincats: I remember that book, Roni, though I didn't read it at the time. I'm glad you're enjoying my thread!
Yes, total cop out Ellen. In my opinion you hit the nail on the head with the Atwood remark.
So I was just thinking more about Margaret Atwood. She won the Booker in 2000 for The Blind Assassin which I read and gave 4.5 stars. But I've read rather too little of her oeuvre. So, in addition to thinking about dedicating 2020 to Dorothy L. Sayers, I'm thinking about dedicating it to Margaret Atwood. I know there was a year-long Atwood focus a few years ago, but I might just have to go rogue and do it all over again (I didn't participate the first time around).
And yes, I know I keep saying "no challenges," but a year-long focus on a remarkable author is different. I so enjoyed the Steinbeck-athon I did with Smiler69 a while back, as well as my own personal Erdrich focus I did a couple of years ago.
No commitments yet. Just thinking.
>152 EBT1002: Ellen, apparently Atwood is donating her share of the prize to the Canadian Indigenous charity Indspire. The Guardian has a good article with reactions from both winners:
I might be tempted into a Year of Atwood. I have several of her books on my shelves. Just saying.
>154 lauralkeet: Thanks for the link, Laura. That's a nice essay and I appreciate what both authors said. I love Atwood's comment that she is "too old and has too many handbags" to spend it on herself. And I love Evaristo's comment that of course she would prefer to have all the prize money (dumb question) but that she is happy to share it with "an amazing author."
>155 BLBera: You know having company will nudge me toward a commitment, Beth. :-)
>155 BLBera: I'm thinking a hybrid author read for 2020, Beth. Maybe six books over twelve months?
I should have read The Testaments by then so others I think I would be interested in reading include
Oryx and Crake
The Year of the Flood
The Robber Bride
I'm saying this when I have not generally been drawn to speculative fiction. I'm interested in input from true Atwood aficionados.
Hi Ellen! Kindle/Library trick. If you put your kindle on airplane mode, it won't sync, and you can keep your library books on it forever. (although you can't get NEW books during this time. ) When I am traveling I just put a lot of library books on the kindle and put it onto airplane, and then I don't have to worry about having nothing to read. (unless, of course, the kindle breaks in which case there is the emergency back-up paper book.)
I am a huge Atwood fan, actually I like her literary work more than the speculative fiction. Cat's Eye is my favorite. I have been wanting to re-read Alias Grace. I am also a big fan of her short stories, and Stone Mattress is an amazing short story collection, which really highlights her sense of humor.
>157 EBT1002: I would be up for some of those!! I have read most of those, but would be happy to read the few I haven't and a re-read or two and, of course, I would love to add my thoughts. Yay!!
>157 EBT1002: - Good list. I don't want to commit to reading the entire MaddAddam trilogy (but I definitely want to finally get to O&C), so would substitute others, including a re-read of Alias Grace. I also loved Lady Oracle and would recommend that for anyone wanting to read one of her earliest novels.
>158 banjo123: Morning Rhonda. I have definitely used that kindle/library trick before and will still use it when I need a book for a couple more days, but the Seattle Public Library system is very savvy -- if you keep the book beyond its due date, the system still charges you a fine. I don't mind library fines when necessary (although in Seattle, the fines go into the general fund, not a library-specific fund, so I'm less happy with that). In any case, I wish the local library on-line system was just a bit more sophisticated.
I've never read any of Atwood's short stories so there is an option for 2020, as well.
>159 Berly: Cool! I'm glad to see some interest in a Margaret Atwood 2020. It might be good for a US election year (what, oh what, will this new year bring??). I want to design it so it's as flexible as possible so I'll have to think about that.
>160 katiekrug: I'm not sure I want to commit to the whole trilogy, either, Katie, so I'm going to think about how to make this as flexible as possible. I might add Lady Oracle in, as well. I may have read it eons ago (I read Surfacing eons ago and remember loving it). It would certainly feel like a fresh read at this point even if I did read it (back in the 80s?).
Tuesday morning. Last night I stayed up a bit late reading Girl, Woman, Other. This morning I read the "Carole" sub-chapter with my coffee. What an excellent, excellent work!
I'm in a bit of a funk this week, not with my reading so much as just life. I want to retire. I know, I know.... I find myself thinking about "34 months" and this morning I though of another way to view it: after this semester, (8 weeks to go) I will have five regular semesters to go. I can do it. I know I can. And if I can't I'm in the enviable position that I could retire early. It would not be ideal from a financial perspective but it would be doable.
>165 EBT1002: Bernadine read from the Carole section at the event I went to on Sunday Ellen, all shortlisted novelists read from their books.
Hmmm, I too would love to retire now, but it's not doable. My best alternative now is to start working a 9 day fortnight from January, which will give me two days off a month, doubling my annual leave.
Then maybe in 2022 I'll drop to 4 days a week.
The earliest I can probably retire is end of December 2024.
>166 Caroline_McElwee: What a great event that must have been, Caroline.
I see that you and I are in a similar position in that we're sorting through the balance of continuing to work and retirement. It's interesting to be thinking about it every day. What a shift from most of my career when I was thinking about what might be next in said career. It sounds like you're exploring a somewhat gradual reduction in work as you slide toward actual retirement.
>167 msf59: I do remember those Atwood Aprils, Mark. I probably should have participated more frequently! I read The Blind Assassin in 2015 and gave it 4.5 stars. I read Alias Grace in 2013 and gave it 4 stars. If I do this, I want to figure out a way to do it flexibly. I may just do alternating Atwood months and let people choose what they want to read. Or perhaps I'll do "either-or" months. But if I do that and say, for example, that February is either The Blind Assassin or Oryx and Crake, then people who want to read both don't have that flexibility.
So, I'm still thinking about it. I may just say that every even-numbered month is an Atwood month. I would choose what I want to read and let others do what works for them based on their interest. Kind of like with your Atwood Aprils, I'm guessing a number of LTers would read the same thing for that shared read experience.
We're switching back and forth between the Cardinals-Nationals game and the debates.
After dinner I will read more in Girl, Woman, Other. Yay!
Today I purchased copies of The Girl With All the Gifts (it was on the "horror" promotional table at the bookstore) and The Dutch House. The TBR stacks do keep growing. :-)
Ellen I have been unconvinced by Atwood despite liking Alias Grace. I didn't like The Handmaid's Tale and am not particularly looking forward to the follow-up.
That said I have plenty of her work on the shelves and wouldn't be averse to joining in to reading through her catalogue in 2020.
If you took her series books away; she has 12 full-length books that would lend themselves ideally to a monthly read:
The Edible Woman (1969)
Lady Oracle (1976)
Life Before Man (1979)
Bodily Harm (1981)
Cat's Eye (1988)
The Robber Bride (1993)
Alias Grace (1996)
The Blind Assassin (2000)
The Penelopiad (2003)
The Heart Goes Last (2015)
I agree with >158 banjo123: that Stone Mattress is an amazing collection of short stories. And I'm also fond of her poetry with one of my favorites being an older collection called Morning in the Burned House.
I like the idea of everyone choosing their own books and reporting back to a common thread.
Hooray for a bit of spooky in October. I'll have to see what I can come up with, too.
Hi Ellen, I'm not a huge Atwood fan but the favorite of the few I've read was Alias Grace which everyone will tell you is an outlier and not typical of her writing. I liked The Handmaid's Talewhich I read a few years ago and her story collection Wilderness Tips. The Blind Assassin was just ok. I might consider doing one or two others and I am planning to read The Testaments.
>157 EBT1002: You're a trendsetter, Ellen! I've read all those you listed except Cat's Eye and The Robber Bride. I think I own both though and would like to read those. Hag-Seed is great.
I would like to read Lady Oracle and the collection of short stories Stone Mattress as well. I loved her collection Moral Disorder.
We have plenty of choices!
I've read a few of the historical novels -
The Robber Bride (1993)
Alias Grace (1996)
The Blind Assassin (2000)
Plus The Penelopiad and Hag-Seed (2016)
Would be up for expanding my reading beyond this! Great plan.
While I'm not really making commitments to challenges or author reads (other than the continuing Donna Leon portion of the one challenge), a couple of her books are on my wish list and I might join in to read those. Of the ones I've read, Hag-Seed is my favorite in the Hogarth Shakespeare series.
I was looking for a list of Atwood books I've read, and couldn't find any in my catalog. Finally realized I'd read it in 2005, before my tenure here, although some of the scenes are still vivid in my mind. If you care to do an Atwood read nexr year, I would be happy to join in.
There are so many books I've read that are not in my catalog, many more than I have listed. Oh well.
Ellen, I've read 10 of M. Atwood's books and some I read such a long time ago that I can't remember them well. Most recently I loved Hag- Seed and the Stone Mattress stories. I think she is amazing. I think I loved her early novels the best though. I have never read any of her poetry. I must! I am waiting in the hold queue at the library for The Testaments.
Oh, I read on Mark's thread you are loving the Evaristo, and I came here and I shall have to become a more patient person, clearly....!
72. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
This novel captured my attention from the first page and never let go. Told in a series of vignettes, each focusing on a different woman, with a narrative style that straddles prose and poetry, it is a rich, funny, poignant, and honest exploration of identity, gender, race, culture, family, belonging, and love. The stories are individual but they also intersect, sometimes in surprising ways. The characters' unique voices are overridden by the persistent narrative style but they still emerge as complex human beings with virtues and faults and foibles. Near the end I worried that Evaristo was about to blow it with too much coincidence (the after-party almost lost her a half-star) but she resisted the temptation and delivered a perfect finale.
>180 EBT1002: - I just bought the Evaristo as part of my "Treat Day" yesterday, Ellen. Really looking forward to it!
>180 EBT1002: That is great news Ellen. I'll get to it next month.
>180 EBT1002: Ooh five stars! That's good to see. I'm on the library list, but it looks like they have yet to acquire copies for circulation. I'm not entirely opposed to buying it, but I'm not in a hurry either.
>180 EBT1002: Great review, Ellen. I think my favourite characters were based on the farm, it has stayed with me, in my head rather like the awful, larger than life family in Cold Comfort Farm - but in a good way. I really hope the Booker win has a great effect on her career - I really liked her Mr Loverman and look forward to buying some reissues of her earlier books too.
>170 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. That is an impressive list of works, isn't it? I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to a work a month but I will think about it. That list is tempting. I'm favoriting the post.
>171 karenmarie: I'm pleased with how many people are interested in reading Atwood in 2020, Karen. I'm definitely going to do something but may not decide until around Thanksgiving how significant a commitment I'm going to make.
>172 streamsong: "...everyone choosing their own books and reporting back to a common thread." That would be the most flexible approach, Janet. I'm still undecided about how I want to approach it, but I will likely keep it in flexible territory. I may choose my six or twelve works to read (and I'm adding Stone Mattress to the list) and then let others either join me or read something else and "report back." I know I don't have the time to host a true group read each month. Maybe I'll do that with a different author in 2023 after I'm retired!! :-D
>173 brenzi: Hi Bonnie. I gave The Blind Assassin 4.5 stars when I read it a few years ago but I admit that I don't remember it terribly well now. Atwood certainly has her fans but I have read too little to land on one side or the other of the fence. I have mostly liked what I've read.
>174 BLBera: I don't know about trendsetting, Beth, but I'm pleased to see how much interest there is in some kind of group Atwood endeavor in 2020.
>175 charl08: I'm glad you're interested, Charlotte. I still don't know what kind of structure I'm going to launch but I think I'm definitely in for some kind of Atwood year.
>176 thornton37814: Hi Lori. Of course, folks around here will remember the numerous times I've said I wasn't committing to challenges "next year." Ha. For 2020 I seem to be committing to some kind of Atwood group read and I've been chiming in on the BingoDOG planning thread. I like the BingoDOG because the prompts are not attached to any particular month. I have also been thinking about a personal Dorothy L. Sayers challenge, too. I need to remind myself that I still have almost three years until I can retire. After that, I can do all sorts of challenges! LOL
>177 ffortsa: I have the same challenge sometimes, Judy. I created a collection called "Read before 2011" which is the year I joined LT. Of course, there are hundreds of books I read before 2011 that never made it into my LT library but sometimes I add one to that collection. Surfacing is one Atwood I read well before 2011. I think I probably read it in the 1980s when I was in graduate school.
>178 mdoris: Hi Mary! It sounds like you might join in for at least part of a Margaret Atwood challenge next year. I will certainly include Hag-Seed on the list as I haven't yet read any of the Hogarth novels and I very much want to do so.
>179 charl08: You can see that the Evaristo landed very well for me, Charlotte. I loved it.
>181 katiekrug: I hope you enjoy Girl, Woman, Other as much as I did, Katie!
>182 BLBera: I'll say the same to you as what I said to Katie, Beth. Enjoy it when you get to it!
>183 Caroline_McElwee: Enjoy, Caroline!
>184 lauralkeet: I hope they acquire their copies soon, Laura. Are you able to put yourself in the queue before they arrive? The Seattle Public Library would let me put a book on hold once they had placed their order.
>185 charl08: Thanks Charlotte. I also loved the characters whose stories centered on the farm.
I've always wanted to read the MaddAddam trilogy, Ellen, so might get the inspiration to actually do it from you if you set up a thread next year.
Hugs to you and P; those last few years before retirement are always the hardest, but you have so much positive you are accomplishing to balance it out--that's what kept me going!
>190 EBT1002: yes Ellen, I was able to add my name to the library list. I think I'm #20, which isn't too bad. I'm a little confused about the book's availability in the US. On Amazon, it's only available through a third-party seller. So I'm not sure when my library will have it.
Great to hear re Girl, Woman, Other, Ellen. I hope to read it before the end of the year.
>193 ronincats: Oh good, another vote for some kind of hosted Margaret Atwood read in 2020. I'll make it flexible so folks can read what they want! And many thanks for the hugs and kind words, Roni. I appreciate the reminder to focus on the positive impact I'm trying to have. I received a couple of cards for "Boss' Day" and the expression of appreciation was moving. It is indeed the reason I can keep going for another 34 months or so.
>194 lauralkeet: I'm trying to remember from where I ordered it, Laura. It must have been through Book Depository. In any case, you have a good read to look forward to!
>195 jnwelch: I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Joe!
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