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Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Twenty-One

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

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Dec 1, 1:52pm Top

-A Winter Silence by Leonid Afremov

-Books by Leonid Afremov

Edited: Dec 4, 6:34pm Top




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
117) Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang 4.4 stars
118) An American Sunrise: Poems by Joy Harjo 4.3 stars (P)
119) Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips 4.2 stars (audio)
120) The Dutch House by Ann Patchett 4.8 stars ALA
121) Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley 4 stars GN


122) Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight 4.7 stars (audio)
123) Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko 4.2 stars AAC
124) Turbulence by David Szalay 4 stars
125) A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne 4.5 stars (audio)
126) Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston 4.6 stars (audio)
127) Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson 4.4 stars ALA
128) The Initiates: A Comic Artist & a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs by Étienne Davodeau 4.5 stars GN
129) An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson 4 stars (audio)
130) Homesick for Another World: Stories by Ottessa Moshfegh 4.2 stars
131) The Testaments by Margaret Atwood 3.8 stars (audio)
132) 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak 4.5 stars
133) The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O'Meara 4.2 stars (audio)
134) Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson 4.2 stars E
135) Ghost Wall: A Novel by Sarah Moss 4.3 stars E
136) I Shot the Buddha by Colin Cotterill 3.6 stars (audio)
137) Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry 4.6 stars
138) 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari 4.2 stars (audio)


139) Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest by Hanif Abdurraqib 4 stars (audio)
140) Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout 4.2 stars ALA
141) On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond) by Ian Fleming 3.8 stars (audio)
142) The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy 4.3 stars
143) People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry 4.5 stars (audio)
144) The Beadworkers: Stories by Beth Piatote 4.3 stars ALA
145) Your House Will Pay: A Novel by Steph Cha 4.6 stars
146) The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates 4 stars (audio)
147) The Souls of Black Folk by W.E. B. Du Bois 4.2 stars (audio) AAC
148) The River Why by David James Duncan 4 stars
149) The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan w/ DWB by Emmanuel Guibert 5 stars GN
150) The Dinner Party: And Other Stories by Joshua Ferris 3.6 stars (audio)
151) The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton 4.2 stars
152) Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham 5 stars (audio)
153) The Great Taos Bank Robbery: And Other Indian Country Affairs by Tony Hillerman 3.7 stars


154) Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid by Mark Lee Gardner 4 stars (audio)
155) Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine 4.4 stars

Edited: Dec 1, 8:30am 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: Dec 1, 8:29am Top

Winter Dawn

The trees are still; the bare cold branches lie
Against a waiting sky.
Light everywhere, but ghostly light that seems
The cast-off robe of dreams;
And everywhere a hush that seems to hark
At the doorway of the dark.
O fields, white-sheeted, desolate and dumb,—
If you knew what's to come!

-Amos Russel Wells

Edited: Dec 1, 8:41am Top

"A haunting debut story collection on friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands, centered on Latinas of indigenous ancestry that shines a new light on the American West."

I have heard nothing but glowing reports about Sabrina & Corina and I believe it was a finalist for the National Book Award. It sure sounds like my jam and I will kick off my December reading with this collection. Plus, the cover and Ms. Kali Fajardo-Anstine are perfectly lovely to boot. Wow! It has been a stellar year for book releases!

Edited: Dec 1, 8:36am Top

Good morning, Mark! Happy new thread! Ha! Winter Dawn is the perfect poem! It describes everyday from November to April.

ETA: Oops, I moved a bit too fast

Dec 1, 8:58am Top

Happy new thread, Mark. Love your toppers!! Am I the one who introduced you to Afremov? I love his style but had not seen these particular 2! Wow for both.

I am debating whether or not to start a new thread for December. My current one is getting long but I am not sure I want to bother. Yeah, I'm lazy ;-p

Dec 1, 9:02am Top

>6 Carmenere: Your timing was perfect, Lynda and thank you. Glad you like the wintry poem.

>7 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley. Great to see you. I don't recall if you warbled about Afremov to me. I was searching out winter artwork and his stuff popped out to me. I really like that style.

Hey, start a new thread! Why not, right?

Dec 1, 10:13am Top

Happy new one!

Great winter art :)

Dec 1, 10:34am Top

Happy new one, Mark. I love the topper art.

Sabrina & Corina is a great collection. I think it will be one my favorites of 2019.

Dec 1, 10:39am Top

Happy new one, Mark! Love those paintings up top.

Dec 1, 10:54am Top

Happy new thread, Mark, and thanks the for explanation of parcel assistance on your previous thread.

Dec 1, 11:18am Top

>1 msf59: That painting of books...I love it so.

Dec 1, 11:25am Top

Happy new thread. Love the art!

Dec 1, 11:33am Top

Mark! You know, just...Mark!

I think I have that GN you are reading. Pretty heavy duty.

You'll learn a lot from Tony Horwitz's last book. It is very good; no surprise.

I'll second >13 laytonwoman3rd: and the book painting love.

Dec 1, 12:02pm Top

>9 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Figs. Good to see you.

>10 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. I plan on starting Sabrina & Corina very soon. Glad to hear you were such a fan of it.

>11 katiekrug: >12 karenmarie: Thanks, Katie & Karen. Happy Sunday to you both!

Dec 1, 12:11pm Top

Hi Mark, I'm in the middle of making Christmas cookies but had to stop to let you know I am laughing out loud at at my first Dr. Siri audio. That is once I figured out who Sill-ee was lol. Thanks for suggesting the audio. So far it's terrific.

Dec 1, 12:32pm Top

Happy New Thread, Mark!

Nice toppers. I hadn't heard of Sabrina & Corina, so I'll look forward to hearing your reactions to it. And good reminder on The Photographer.

I hope to make some progress on Felon: Poems today. Great to hear it's hitting the spot for you.

Enjoy the day, buddy.

Dec 1, 1:05pm Top

Oh, those Afremovs! Gorgeous. I like his work.

Happy new thread, and lazy(ish) Sunday.

Dec 1, 1:05pm Top

Snow threatens here on the west coast!
Happy new thread Mark and great toppers.
Look forward to seeing your" best of "2019 list!

Dec 1, 1:18pm Top

Happy new thread!

>1 msf59: I love the way the books echo the leaves. Brrr.

Dec 1, 2:04pm Top

>13 laytonwoman3rd: >14 alphaorder: Thanks, Linda & Nancy. Glad you like the toppers.

>15 weird_O: Howdy, Bill. I hope you can find time for The Photographer. It is truly an excellent GN. One of my favorites of the year.

>17 brenzi: Hi, Bonnie. Hooray, for making Christmas cookies and enjoying Dr. Siri. All the books are this entertaining, IMHO.

Dec 1, 2:12pm Top

>18 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. Happy Sunday. I will be dipping into Sabrina & Corina very soon. I hope you can get your mitts on The Photographer. It is stunning work. Looking forward to sharing more thoughts on Felon: Poems. It packs a beautiful punch.

>19 richardderus: Thanks, Richard. I will be exploring more of Afremov's work. I was impressed immediately.

>20 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. Good luck with the snow. I hope you dodge it. I won't be posting a best of list, for at least a couple more weeks. Several very promising books, await in the wings.

>21 quondame: Thanks, Susan. It was a happy accident with the toppers. I found the first image and saw the second image, just a few rows down. Match made in heaven.

Edited: Dec 1, 6:41pm Top

153) The Great Taos Bank Robbery: And Other Indian Country Affairs by Tony Hillerman 3.7 stars

“The author of myriad best-selling mysteries set in the American Southwest presents nine extraordinary, true tales of daily life in New Mexico, including the comical title story, about a bank holdup in Sante Fe that never was. “

I have read and enjoyed several of Hillerman's Navajo tribal police novels and was expecting this to be a story collection. It turned out to be essays, told in a novelistic style. Featured front and center, is New Mexico. The state's past, including prehistoric times, along with the battles of Native Americans and the Mexican people and more modern times, with poverty and corruption, that have plagued Hillerman's adopted state. Hillerman was a newspaper man for many years and these stories have that journalistic feel. The writing isn't as polished as his later Leaphorn and Chee novels but there are plenty of passages to sink your teeth into:

“It is November of a year of almost unbroken drought. The air smells of autumn, pine resin, dust, and empty places. The only living things in sight are a sparrow hawk and a disconsolate Hereford. The hawk is scouting the rim of the red mesa for incautious rodents. The cow resting its search for something to eat, is staring moodily in the direction of Gallup.”

**Funny, my chiropractor, Sue's former boss, passed this book onto me, some time ago. I have passed several books onto him, over the years. I am glad I finally got to it.

Dec 1, 4:12pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark! Look at you...2 x 75!! Congrats. It is also a good thing me because I think you have excellent taste in books and that gives me more options for future reads. Like >24 msf59: for instance. I love Hillerman's mystery stuff, and now I will keep an eye out for this one. : )

Dec 1, 4:39pm Top

Beautiful toppers on the new thread, Mark! Hope the weather improves for you this week--and hope you made it through without getting sick in all that rain. My choir group did caroling at The Bean Friday night, and I've got a bit of the sniffles now. Boy, there were a LOT of people at Millennium Park Friday night, checking out the Bean, the skaters and the big lit-up tree!

Dec 1, 5:36pm Top

Happy new thread and lovely toppers!

Dec 1, 5:51pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark!
Like everyone else, I love the toppers. A Winter Silence is the perfect winter scene, and we all love books. I woudn't mind to have one of these paintings on the wall ;-)

Dec 1, 5:55pm Top

Happy new one buddy.

Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend.

Dec 1, 6:46pm Top

>25 Berly: Thanks, Kim. I may have excellent taste in books but that is because I surround myself with such fine "book" people. This Hillerman collection has a different style and tone than his mysteries, but I still recommend it.

>26 kac522: Hi, Kathy. Great to see you. I am glad you survived your caroling adventures. It sounds like a beautiful setting. I rarely make it into the city these days, unless it is a bird or beer outing. Smiles...

Edited: Dec 1, 6:58pm Top

>27 banjo123: >28 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Rhonda & Anita. I am glad you both like the toppers. They seem to have been a big hit. The book painting was a happy accident.

>29 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. Good to see you. I worked a chunk of the holiday weekend but I made the best of it.

Dec 2, 12:01am Top

Happy New Thread, Mark. I do love coming to see what art you have selected each time around. Once again, you've found some great images to top off your new thread. I wonder if this will be the last one of 2019.....

2020. How weird is that.

I look forward to your final thoughts about Sabrina & Corina. It's on my wish list. And I have been a fan of Hillerman's mysteries -- Jim Chee, Jow Leaphorn, and company are firmly settled in my brain as characters. I know there has been some controversy over the years about his writing those stories but I did enjoy them.

I hope you have a great week, my friend.

Dec 2, 6:33am Top

>32 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen. Glad you like the toppers. I am glad I returned to the artwork, for now and you know I like my landscapes and seasonal scenes.

Sabrina & Corina is off to a fine start. The Hillerman is an interesting read but not a must, IMHO.

Dec 2, 8:18am Top

Have a good week, Mark!

Dec 2, 8:19am Top

'Morning, Mark, and happy Monday to you. I hope you were able to devote many hours to your books yesterday.

Dec 2, 10:05am Top

Happy start to the week, Mark.

I did like the Tamir Rice poem a lot, and there's another one in Felon Poems that stuck out for me that I'll get the name of later today. I'm maybe halfway through.

BTW, if I didn't mention it, I LOVED the GN Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me. I'm going to have to buy a copy.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a ton 'o fun so far, and Rebecca Solnit continues to be enlightening.

We're off to work out. Hope it's a good one for you today.

Dec 2, 11:11am Top

Not much to report from the BBS, these past 2 weeks or so, including today. Oh well, the mysteries of our avian friends...

>34 alphaorder: Thanks, Nancy and it will be a short work week too. Yah!

>35 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. It was a fine day with the books yesterday. Thanks.

Dec 2, 11:13am Top

>36 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. Chilly out but at least there is some sunshine. I sure loved that Tamir Rice poem. I am glad you did too. Good to know on the Nina Hill. My cuppa? I will have to request the Laura Dean GN. Thanks.

Have a good workout.

Dec 2, 1:12pm Top

Happy New Thread, Mark! Congratulations on the 2 x 75.

Darn on the shoulder. I hope the PT is improving the situation.

And I hope you are avoiding the worst of the weather. We've been down to the single digits with only(!) a few inches of snow - which is not all that great, but the true blizzards headed south and east missing the Bitterroot Banana Belt.

Great reviews on The Water Dancer and The Taos Bank Robbery. Sabrina & Corina also looks very intriguing.

I need to don some kind of book-bullet proof armor before reading your thread. Perhaps stuff up my ears to avoid warbling.

Maybe just give up and enjoy the ride.

Dec 2, 3:48pm Top

>39 streamsong: Well said Janet! It is a dangerous place over here on Mark's thread.

Dec 2, 5:05pm Top

>26 kac522:
Ouuu! Ahhh! Christmas at the Bean. How cool is that?

Edited: Dec 2, 5:11pm Top

>24 msf59:
I have not read Great Taos Bank Robbery but I really like Hillerman's writing style. If you haven't read Hillerman's autobiography/memoir I recommend it. Seldom Disappointed. It is quite good. The recorded version of the book is read by the author, but I never listened to it. That was back in the day before I had a CD player in my car.

Edited: Dec 2, 6:03pm Top

>39 streamsong: "I need to don some kind of book-bullet proof armor before reading your thread. Perhaps stuff up my ears to avoid warbling." LOL.

Thanks, Janet. Great to see you. Sorry, about the BBs but I just keep reading, damn good books. I honestly, can't help it and I think they would all be a good fit for you too. Just sayin'...

>40 mdoris: See my comments, to Janet, up above, Mary. B.A.G.

Dec 2, 6:05pm Top

>42 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita. I think you would like the Great Taos collection. I think Hillerman led a very interesting life, so I would like to try his memoir. I will have to add it to this list. Thanks.

Dec 2, 7:15pm Top

Hi Mark, I'm torn about The Water Dancer. I saw the unfortunate tag "magical realism" which normally makes me shudder and withdraw. Lol

Dec 2, 7:27pm Top

Hey Mark, my lunatic BF came out here to go surfing (!!) today in the 38° rain and wind. I thought of you braving the nastiness of winter for work lo these many years and scratched my head at his want of sense.

I put up three reviews for a gay space opera series in my thread. Good stuff, though not for the squeamishly off-put by gay sex.

Dec 2, 10:38pm Top

>45 brenzi: Hi, Bonnie. This will probably not be enough to change your mind, but the magic realism elements in The Water Dancer are pretty subtle. I am not sure the novel even needed it. Hey, there is always a million other books out there, right?

>46 richardderus: Hey, Rd. Your BF is one hardcore dude! Wow! Did he say how it went? LOL. I will have to stop by your thread and check out those reviews.

Dec 3, 7:22am Top

'Morning, Mark! Happy Tuesday to you. Looks like your weather for the week is more tolerable than some of it so far this fall... I hope the PT continues to go well for you.

Edited: Dec 3, 7:32am Top

Very late new thread wishes Mark. I love the art you've used for your topper. I'm trying to clear my "currently reading" shelf, so will dodge the bbs for now, fortunately I'd picked up Sabrina and Corina from Beth's thread already.

Edited: Dec 3, 9:30am Top

>48 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Cold start out here but it shouldn't be a bad day. PT tomorrow. Unfortunately, only once this week.

>49 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte. Good to see you. Glad you were able to dodge my BBs but I am glad you have Sabrina & Corina on your pile. It has been a terrific collection.

Dec 3, 9:51am Top

Happy new thread! Still haven't gotten the book out to you... I promise it'll be soon. 😀

Edited: Dec 3, 10:39am Top

Aw, shit!! The last part of my audiobook of Shot All to Hell is missing. Of course, I all ready requested the print book from the library, so I can finish this baby up. Without missing a beat, I moved smoothly on to my next NF audio. More on that later...

>51 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. No problem with sending out the book. Mountains to read...

Dec 3, 11:55am Top

The forecasted weather dodged us, I am pleased to report. The TV threatened us with 3" to 6" of snow over the weekend, but somebody else must have gotten it. Some sleetiness we got, but it vanished by mid-day Saturday and nothing else turned up. Bright and sunny today.

Finished Spying on the South and started Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.

Dec 3, 2:12pm Top

I think the boy's nutso for immersing himself in ocean water during the winter, but surfing is his Thing.

That completely rots about the missing audio! Will there be a wait for the print version?

Spend a warm day!

Dec 3, 3:00pm Top

Happy newish thread, Mark. Hope you are keeping warm as you trudge through your day.

Dec 3, 3:07pm Top

Hey, buddy. After a poetry-intensive morning at Blue Sky Bakery near us (lots of Toi Derricotte and Stephen Fry) I'm watching some of the Bulls win last night (taped).

I saw Felon Poems and Be Recorder are both on NPR's Book Concierge "best of the year" list (Katie posted the link). So is Deaf Republic - I forget, did you read that one? Really good.

I hope the day's going okay for you. It's gradually warming up where we are.

Dec 3, 4:12pm Top

Is there a 75 books challenge for 2020? I don't see anything.

Dec 3, 5:40pm Top

>53 weird_O: Howdy, Bill. I am glad you dodged the weather bullet! Hooray! I hope you enjoy Housekeeping. I am a fan too, but it has a different feel than her Gilead novels. Of course, that is not a bad thing.

>54 richardderus: Hooray for the nutso BF, RD. The dude has cojones, which I am sure you can attest to. Grins...I have all ready picked up the print copy of Shot All to Hell, but I also found the missing audio part, so I will be concluding that tomorrow.

>55 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. It was a chilly day, but when the sun came out, it made it a tad better.

Dec 3, 5:45pm Top

>56 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. Hooray for a poetry-intensive morning, but I am not familiar with Toi Derricotte. A little help here? I did do a some warbling on Deaf Republic, when I read it. I loved it. One of my favorites of the year. You may have been gallivanting across the country, at that time.

>57 lindapanzo: Hi, Linda. Great to see you, old friend. I am sure we will not see the 2020, 75 Thread for a couple more weeks. That is the way Jim rolls and I agree with that tactic.

Edited: Dec 3, 6:05pm Top

"In Hoffa’s Shadow is compulsively readable, deeply affecting, and truly groundbreaking in its re-examination of the Hoffa case . . . a monumental achievement."

Okay, I also love movies and I adore the director, Martin Scorcese, so I can not wait to watch The Irishman, on Netflix. I listened to an excellent podcast recently, where the author of this book is being intensely interviewed and I knew I wanted to get to In Hoffa's Shadow before I see the film. I started the audiobook today and it delivers an informative education on Hoffa, labor unions, and his affiliation with the Mob. Goldsmith also has a strong personal. connection wit this story, which is also fascinating. I want to add, that this film version is based on a different book, about an aging hitman, that admitted, killing Hoffa. I plan on seeing the film this week.

**Update: I did find the last part of Shot All to Hell, yippee, so I will finish that up tomorrow before continuing the Hoffa book.

Dec 3, 7:25pm Top

>53 weird_O: Housekeeping left a big impression upon me when I read it 30 years ago.

Dec 3, 7:30pm Top

I watched The Irishman over the weekend Mark and enjoyed it. Not sure how factual it is though. It is really long but I understand Scorsese has answered that by saying it's not a mini series.🤷‍♀️

Dec 3, 8:09pm Top

We watched The Irishman last week, too. I found the first half to be excruciatingly slow and we all alternated saying not nice things about it. But, we stayed with it and the last hour or so made up for the slow start. So if you find that the beginning needed some editing, stick with it, it’s worth your time. Then again, you may love it from start to finish!

I highly recommend seeing “Knives Out”. So much fun!!

Dec 3, 8:51pm Top

The Irishman is so amazing and SO. DAMN. LONG. I spent more time explaining stuff than I did watching it, but in fact that made for a better experience for me than just staring for sixteen hours would've.

...it IS sixteen, right...or is that just how it felt to me...

Dec 4, 6:30am Top

>61 alphaorder: You read the Gilead trilogy too, right, Nancy? Say, it is so?

>62 brenzi: Hi, Bonnie. Glad to hear you enjoyed The Irishman. Looking forward to it.

Dec 4, 6:36am Top

>63 Copperskye: Hi, Joanne. I have heard the same thing about the last hour or so, of The Irishman. Sounds fantastic. Honestly, I don't mind slow, deliberate, film-making, as long as it gives me something to sink my teeth into. Thanks, for recommending "Knives Out". That might be a date night, with Sue. We do not get out to the movies very much.

>64 richardderus: Hey, RD. Thanks for chiming in on The Irishman. The Godfather films were long too, and I had no problem with them, so as long as it keeps my attention, I should be fine. I am glad I am reading the Hoffa book, for some informative context.

Dec 4, 7:11am Top

Morning, Mark! I'm glad you found the rest of your audiobook - how frustrating!

Dec 4, 7:27am Top

>65 msf59:. Nope... I tried when Gilead first came out and it just didn't work for me at the time. I know I need to so.

Dec 4, 7:30am Top

Finished Creation. Would love to hear what you and Joe think of it. Happy to send it to you.

Dec 4, 8:27am Top

I saw 'Knives Out' over Thanksgiving, and it was fun.

Dec 4, 8:53am Top

Morning, Mark! At least it's clear out, if not balmy.

Intriguing pick with the Hoffa book. Probably not my cuppa, but I'll look for your comments.

I'm near the end of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, and it's good, light fun. Lots of well done humor in it. I've been reading GNs by the French guy who did Flight of the Raven, Jean-Pierre Gibrat. These are set during the first World War. The art is excellent, and the stories engaging. Matteo books one and two.

We're into season 3 of the Crown, and just finished that harrowing third episode in the Welsh town. Woo.

Hope today goes well, buddy.

Dec 4, 9:32am Top

Hi Mark, and happy Wednesday to you.

Dec 4, 9:37am Top

Love the toppers Mark.

Dec 4, 9:51am Top

Hi Mark, we watched "The Irishman" last Saturday and I loved it. Yes, it was quite long but hey, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel together in a "mob" story being guided by Martin Scorsese - what's not to like!

Dec 4, 10:39am Top

We're planning to watch The Irishman tonight. It's "big" here in Northeastern PA, where Russell Bufalino lived a very low profile life and died of natural causes at the age of 90.

Dec 4, 10:47am Top

Happy Hump Day! I hope the BBS gives you an early Yule gift of a lifer.

Edited: Dec 4, 11:03am Top

Ooh, a nice flurry of visitors. I love it. I may not be able to reply to all, on my short break...

>68 alphaorder: >69 alphaorder: I hope you can give Gilead another go, Nancy. These are wonderful books. Creation is poetry?

>70 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie. I hope to get out to see Knives Out. Sounds fun and the wife will like it too.

Edited: Dec 4, 11:29am Top

>71 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. Not bad out here at all. I sure like the sunshine. I may give Nina Hill a try at some point. Ooh, the GNs sound good. I will keep them in mind. Hooray for The Crown. I am enjoying season 3 too.

>72 karenmarie: >73 Caroline_McElwee: Happy Wednesday, Karen & Caroline!

Dec 4, 11:28am Top

>73 Caroline_McElwee: Hi, Judy. Good to see you. I am both, glad to hear you enjoyed The Irishman and are a fan of Scorcese. I am, as well. I hope to see the film tomorrow.

>75 laytonwoman3rd: Hi, Linda. We will have to compare notes on The Irishman.

>76 richardderus: Hey, RD. Nothing at the BBS, this A.M. A bit strange, if you ask me.

Dec 4, 12:07pm Top

Interesting talk about the Irishman. I hadn't heard about it until I picked up the book which is a movie tie in.

Good to see that you found the end of your audiobook, Mark.

Dec 4, 6:15pm Top

>80 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. Yep, it looks like several of my pals have all ready seen The Irishman. I plan on seeing it tomorrow night. Let me know if you get to the book. I am curious about that one.

Edited: Dec 4, 7:02pm Top

"In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption."

Benita snagged me an ALA copy of this ages ago, (it was published in 2017) and it has continued to languish on my Must Read Now Shelf. Well, I am happy to report, I will finally start it tomorrow. I was intending to read American Dirt, but that does not come out until early next year, so it gets slightly bumped. I am sure I will read it, immediately after. BTW- Joe read and enjoyed The Alice Network, so this may have been the nudge I needed. It looks like Quinn is a prolific writer, but I had not heard of her before.

Dec 4, 7:44pm Top

>71 jnwelch: Glad to hear that you are enjoying Nina Hill, Joe. You described just how I felt about the novel. With books and a bookstore!

>77 msf59: Creation is a GN. I am not as versed in them as you and Joe, so I want to hear what you two think. I will send it your way the next time I get to the PO.

Dec 4, 9:04pm Top

>82 msf59: I just read The Alice Network for one of my book groups. I'll be interested to see what you think of it.

Dec 5, 6:26am Top

>83 alphaorder: Looking forward to trying out Creation, Nancy. Thanks.

>84 lauralkeet: I thought one of my other pals over here, had read The Alice Network, Laura. Thanks for chiming in. I will dig in today.

Edited: Dec 5, 6:39am Top

Personal History

The world’s largest Confederate monument
was too big to perceive on my earliest trips to the park.
Unlike my parents, I was not an immigrant

but learned, in speech and writing, to represent.
Picnicking at the foot and sometimes peak
of the world’s largest Confederate monument,

we raised our Cokes to the first Georgian president.
His daughter was nine like me, but Jimmy Carter,
unlike my father, was not an immigrant.

Teachers and tour guides stressed the achievement
of turning three vertical granite acres into art.
Since no one called it a Confederate monument,

it remained invisible, like outdated wallpaper meant
long ago to be stripped. Nothing at Stone Mountain Park
echoed my ancestry, but it’s normal for immigrants

not to see themselves in landmarks. On summer nights,
fireworks and laser shows obscured, with sparks,
the world’s largest Confederate monument.
Our story began when my parents arrived as immigrants.
The world’s largest Confederate monument
was too big to perceive on my earliest trips to the park.
Unlike my parents, I was not an immigrant

but learned, in speech and writing, to represent.
Picnicking at the foot and sometimes peak
of the world’s largest Confederate monument,

we raised our Cokes to the first Georgian president.
His daughter was nine like me, but Jimmy Carter,
unlike my father, was not an immigrant.

Teachers and tour guides stressed the achievement
of turning three vertical granite acres into art.
Since no one called it a Confederate monument,

it remained invisible, like outdated wallpaper meant
long ago to be stripped. Nothing at Stone Mountain Park
echoed my ancestry, but it’s normal for immigrants

not to see themselves in landmarks. On summer nights,
fireworks and laser shows obscured, with sparks,
the world’s largest Confederate monument.
Our story began when my parents arrived as immigrants.

Adrienne Su -from Poem-A-Day

Dec 5, 7:57am Top

'Morning, Mark, and happy last-day-of-your-work-week!

>86 msf59: You got my attention with this one. We've had a big kerfuffle here in Chatham County, NC for quite a while now because of the conflict between the local government and the UDC over the ownership of and potential removal of the Confederate statue in front of the court house. The county wanted it taken down. The UDC and others didn't. The County has won. It was taken down last month and we've still got Confederate-flag waving protestors on one side of the main street in town every Saturday. A couple of weeks ago 11 were arrested, on both sides. Here's the most recent article in our local newspaper: Confederate Statue.

Dec 5, 9:30am Top

>86 msf59: Nice. I'm not familiar with the form she's using. Maybe she mentions it on Poem-A-Day?

Hooray for The Alice Network! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. With Nancy's nudge, among other things, I'm waiting on American Dirt, too. Looks like a good 'un.

>83 alphaorder: Oh, good, Nancy. Nina Hill was a fun one, wasn't it. Like a hibernating bear in springtime, you've got to come out of the dark at some point, Mr. Mark, and read a light one. :-)

Sweet Thursday, buddy. Hope the books treat you well today.

Dec 5, 10:33am Top

Thursday orisons, Mark, and a much-improved-shoulder *whammy*

Dec 5, 10:38am Top

Okay, the juncos are back at the BBS, this morning. A flock of them, flitting about the underbrush. Also saw a lovely pair of cardinals, with the male flashing a vivid red.

>87 karenmarie: Hi, Karen. Thanks for chiming in on the confederate monument poem. I will check out the link. Thorny subject.

Dec 5, 10:43am Top

>88 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. Sleepy Bear here...grins. Looking forward to starting The Alice Network. Do you have a copy of American Dirt handy?
Glad you like the confederate poem. Not sure what the style is called, but it does remind me a bit of Levine. Check out her comments from Poem A Day. Interesting stuff.

>89 richardderus: Sweet Thursday, Richard. Lovely day in Chicagoland and my last work day of the week. Yay!!

Dec 5, 4:25pm Top

I laughed when I read your poem. I have been to Stone Mountain and can't understand how such a beautiful batholith was allowed to be defaced and turned into an instrument of comedy, parody, and tragedy. Comedy because the ending of the laser light show makes me laugh every time I see it. The laser lights show Bobby Lee, Stonewall, and Jeff trotting off the side of the mountain while Elvis Presley sings Battle Hymn of the Republic. The irony of that convoluted ending sums up the results of the American Civil War nicely. Confederate heroes trotting off a mountain while the stirring music of the winning Union side's battle anthem blares across the valley. And to dot all the i's and cross all the t's of the patriotic symbolism used in the performance, the National Anthem, and the U. S. Flag are never displayed. (or at least they weren't, in 2007 when I was there last.) The audience is being carefully manipulated into thinking the whole display is uber patriotic, when the reality is that it is one sided, totally favoring those who opposed freedom and democracy. The Confederate Battle Flag is not the flag of the U.S.A. Not then and not now.

Confederate monuments cause trouble all over the South. We have several of them on the UA campus. They can't be removed because Alabama has a state law that says that if a monument has been there more than 40 years it is considered historical and can't be removed. A recent lawsuit about a city of Birmingham move to cover up a Confederate monument in downtown Birmingham with plywood barriers proved that tactic won't work either. At least not in Alabama. The ruling by the state supreme court was that according to the Alabama Historical Monuments Act it can't be covered up either. Now the state is stuck with it.

Here on the UA campus the Confederate monuments bug me. Huge plaques and monuments celebrating the people in the Confederate military who died defending their country are in prominent places on the campus, and nobody says a word about it. What fascinates me is how the history of that war got twisted. Thomas L. Connelly, dealt with the issue in his fantastic 1978 book Marble Man: Robert E. Lee and His Image in American Society and Carol Reardon tackled the issue with Pickett's Charge in History and Memory. Currently, Tony Horowitz and Mitch Landrieu are exploring it in Spying on the South, Confederates in the Attic, and In the Shadow of Statues that have all been recently published or updated with new additions. I have read numerous scholarly works on the subject and it comes down to a determined group of women between the years of 1890 - 1930 who worked diligently to revise the history of the American Civil War turning the losing side into the winners by creating a myth. We have the genteel old ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to thank for these monuments, because who can turn down the request, or the money, from a nice genteel lady, or ladies organization, to put up a monument?

Dec 5, 9:11pm Top

I just finished The Lost Words and think you will really like it, Mark. There are lots of illustrations, many of which are birds, and the descriptive words are written as poems.

Dec 5, 9:46pm Top

Hey Mark, I've been remiss and having been round this thread until today. Work's been pretty annoyingly busy and stressful. Oh well, they're still paying me so I guess that's alright.

Thought I'd share this with the main birder around here. My wife, who is the primary birder in the family heard this guy on the telephone pole across from our house. My SLR with super high ISO let me take this when it was pretty much full dark. He's still hanging around. I heard him the other night again, a couple days later. Loving having top predators in the yard, means we have a good ecosystem going.

Reading Howl's Moving Castle for Life's Library Bookclub. Its pretty fun, ever read it?

Yesterday, 7:17am Top

Happy Friday, Mark!
>24 msf59: I love Hillerman's stories of the southwest! I really need to read the 5 or so I have waiting for me on my bookshelf.

So, I'm just curious............Are you seeing less Christmas cards in your mailbag? I was wondering if it's a phenomenon or people just don't like us anymore? Haha

Yesterday, 7:58am Top

>92 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita. Thanks for chiming in on the confederate monument discussion. I find it so interesting and scary how this revisionist history is so firmly in place. I heard some of that talk, while on my Gettysburg trip, mainly from southern volunteers. It reminds me of our current political environment too, where everything is skewed and one-sided.

Yesterday, 8:10am Top

>93 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. I have a copy of The Lost Words home from the library. Yah! I can't wait to get to it over the weekend.

>94 mahsdad: Hi, Jeff. I love the GHO! Great shot! They are in the midst of their courting season and will be active and vocal over the next few weeks. Thanks, for sharing. I have not read Howl's Moving Castle. I think I have it saved on audio.

>95 Carmenere: Morning, Lynda. I wouldn't mind revisiting Hillerman's mystery novels at some point. I definitely want to read his memoir. It is still early in the month, but I have noticed a decline in Christmas cards. Nothing like it used to be. The new generation doesn't send out cards, or at least it seems that way.

Yesterday, 8:48am Top

Happy Friday and Day Off, buddy.

Life with Debbi is a Broadway show, and she's busy right now dancing around the kitchen to Diana Krall. How can I be grumpy? She makes it hard.

I wasn't connecting with her early poems in Toi Derricotte New and Selected Poems, but I've been loving them since. I'll likely finish it today. I don't know whether you'd go for it like I have, but if you get a chance to browse, see what you think.

Nice Bears win last night! Maybe people will start believing in Trubisky now. He's only in his third year, for goodness' sake.

Yesterday, 9:24am Top

'Morning, Mark, and happy Friday to you. I hope you have a good day off that includes many hours reading.

Bill was okay with the Bears beating Dallas because your QB, Mitchell Trubisky, played for Carolina 2014-2016. And as far as Bill's concerned, Carolina all the way!

Yesterday, 9:36am Top

>98 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. Happy Friday! Hooray for Debi, the Broadway show and Diana Krall. All winners! Glad she makes it hard for you...grins.

I will have to try out the Derricote at some point. You never know until you sample it, right? Great Bears win! I am sure it is their best game of the season and Mitch looked great. We just need this kind of consistency.

>99 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. I am glad to hear Bill is a Mitch fan. The Cowboys have really stumbled after a promising start.

Yesterday, 10:47am Top

Happy "who-cares-I'm-off"day, Mark! Read hearty.

Yesterday, 12:49pm Top

Got a notice today from one of the publishers about a Vietnam War memoir that might be of interest to you. Whispers in the Tall Grass is the sequel to We Few by Nick Brokhausen. Whispers came out November 15 and had a starred review by Booklist. I think it is aimed at YA's but when I read the blurb I think it is more straight up military history. Check it out on Amazon and you might add it to your TBR list.

Yesterday, 1:55pm Top

>101 richardderus: Hey, RD! I have been busy running around, sadly no bird stroll time, but I hope to spend a few precious moments with The Alice Network, in between Christmas decoration tasks.

>102 benitastrnad: Thanks for lobbing a couple of BBs over here, Benita. They do sound interesting.

Yesterday, 4:57pm Top

155) Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine 4.4 stars

Wow! This is an impressive story collection. I love discovering a fresh new voice, and this young author delivers. Mostly female characters populate, these stories- mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins and friends and all of Latina heritage, living in the Denver metropolitan area. There is some joy found in these pages, but are struggles too, along with a hefty dose of grit. This was a National Book finalist and I clearly think it is deserving. Here is a sample of her lovely prose:

“Her stance was wobbly and undefined, as though she had given someone else permission to wear her skin. That's when I knew she was forever caught in her own undercurrent, bouncing from one deep swell to the next. She would never lift me out of that sea. She would never pause to fill her lungs with air. Soon the world would yank her chain of sadness against every shore, every rock, every glass-filled beach, leaving nothing but the broken hull of a drowned woman."

Yesterday, 5:07pm Top

>104 msf59: *ow*ow*ow*

Book-bulleted me. That passage...!

Yesterday, 7:08pm Top

>105 richardderus: I hope my little warble pays off, RD! It is a heck of a collection.

Edited: Yesterday, 7:15pm Top

^The spoils of a recent library run. The Lost Words is a picture book, that Meg recently enjoyed and will be my introduction to Macfarlane, before I take on his book, Underland, in a few weeks. Laura Dean is a GN Joe recommended and Later, at the Bar is also from Joe, via Katie. The Octopus Museum is a poetry collection and Gilead is from my "Keeper" shelf and represents my revisit of this wonderful novel for this month's AAC. I will be doing the audio this time, but will have the print copy at hand.

Yesterday, 8:10pm Top

>104 msf59: Can't wait to get to this one Mark. I'm reading a really good narrative non fiction right now.....Guest House for Young Widows. 25% in and I'm loving it and learning a lot about ISIS and the Middle East.

Today, 7:49am Top

'Morning, Mark! Happy Saturday to you.

I've added Gilead to my wish list. I really need to cull my wish list - it's got 415 books on it.

Today, 8:00am Top

>108 brenzi: Hi, Bonnie. I am sure you will love Sabrina & Corina. I had not heard of Guest House for Young Widows. Sounds really good. It would be a good audio fit.

>109 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. I would recommend that everyone read Gliead. It is an absolute gem and the other two in the trilogy are wonderful too. Yep, you better start culling that obese WL. Grins...

Today, 9:29am Top

Hi Mark. I saw your comment over on Karen's thread about your suet feeder and the woodpeckers. Lucky you to see so many different ones!! The downies are my regulars and the hairies, once in a while. but that's it for me. So, I thought you might enjoy this article I read recently in one of my bird-related online newsletters:


Edited: Today, 9:42am Top

^Once again, I have fallen behind in my mini-reviews, so I need to do a quick lightning round. Maybe, I should just stop reading so many damn books...yeah, right!!

151) The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton 4.2 stars

This is a multi-generational novel, that follows several different timelines, beginning in the Civil War/slavery era, then into 1920s, New Orleans and then follows these descendants into current times. The author masterfully weaves these stories together, emphasizing the African American experience, and their constant struggle, witnessing very little change over the many turbulent, decades. An impressive work.

152) Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham 5 stars

If you were a fan of the HBO series, Chernobyl and are looking for a more in depth look at the nuclear disaster, that occurred on April 25th, 1986, or if you just want to read a definitive account, of this horrifying event, pick up this book. Told in perfect narrative form, explaining everything in a concise, easy to digest style, that was truly a marvel to read. Highly recommended. Also excellent on audio.

154) Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid by Mark Lee Gardner 4 stars

In the summer of 1876, the James/Younger gang robbed a bank in Northfield, Minnesota. A spectacular shootout commenced, that the gang did not expect, followed by a breath-taking escape and ending with a massive manhunt. I love reading stories about the Old West and this one really delivers. I learned a lot about that time period and about the gang members themselves. I will be reading more Gardner. Also excellent on audio.

Today, 9:57am Top

>111 jessibud2: Hi, Shelley. Thanks for the link on woodpeckers and their drumming. I am always fascinated with these birds. I have never had a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker visit the feeders, but I have seen them in the woods. My new suet feeder has been working well.

Today, 10:33am Top

>112 msf59: #152 & #153 are solid hits, book-bulleteer.

Today, 10:41am Top

Not sure about your driveways in the Chicago area, but up further north in middle Wisconsin,
we've got grass seriously growing in the driveway.

If this is more global warming,
I'd prefer the 6 feet of snow...you can deal with that, right,
since it is your last working winter...?

Today, 11:52am Top

Morning, Mark!

Good review of Sabrina & Corina - you've got me tempted. I'll look forward to hearing what you think of Lost Words.

I'm glad you'll be taking a look at the Toi Derricotte collection at some point. I'll be starting Franny Choi's Floating Brilliant Gone - she's a winner of our local Ruth Lilly prize. (Jose Olivarez won, too).

We're off soon to see a goddaughter's production of Sondheim's "Company" at the U of Chicago. My fingers are crossed that they've got some good voices in the college ranks.

Enjoy another day off!

Today, 12:06pm Top

>114 richardderus: Yah! The BBs have hit their mark.

>115 m.belljackson: Hi, Marianne. Good to see you. No grass on our driveway. Why is grass on your driveway, a global warming issue? Inquiring minds, and all that...

>116 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. I think you would like Sabrina & Corina. Solid writing. Ooh, the Choi collection sounds interesting. Have a great time at your goddaughter's play. Sounds fun.

Today, 1:45pm Top

December is not usually warm enough for grass to grow up here!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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