Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Twenty-One

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Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Twenty-One

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1msf59
Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 1:52pm



-A Winter Silence by Leonid Afremov



-Books by Leonid Afremov

2msf59
Edited: Dec 30, 2019, 5:24pm





Audiobook:



Graphic/Comic:



September:

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

October:

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)

November:

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

December:

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
156) In Waves by Aj Dungo 4 stars GN
157) In Hoffa's Shadow by Jack Goldsmith 4 stars (audio)
158) Gilead by Marilynne Robinson 4.7 stars (audio)
159) The Alice Network by Kate Quinn 4 stars
160) Later, at the Bar: A Novel in Stories by Rebecca Barry 4 stars
161) The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane 4.3 stars
162) The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom 4.6 stars (audio)
163) American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins 5 stars
164) The Lost Man by Jane Harper 4 stars (audio)
165) Savage Country by Robert Olmstead 4.2 stars

3msf59
Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 8:30am



^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.

4msf59
Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 8:29am

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

5msf59
Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 8:41am



"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!

6Carmenere
Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 8:36am

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

7jessibud2
Dec 1, 2019, 8:58am

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

8msf59
Dec 1, 2019, 9:02am

>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?

9figsfromthistle
Dec 1, 2019, 10:13am

Happy new one!

Great winter art :)

10BLBera
Dec 1, 2019, 10:34am

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.

11katiekrug
Dec 1, 2019, 10:39am

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

12karenmarie
Dec 1, 2019, 10:54am

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

13laytonwoman3rd
Dec 1, 2019, 11:18am

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

14alphaorder
Dec 1, 2019, 11:25am

Happy new thread. Love the art!

15weird_O
Dec 1, 2019, 11:33am

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.

16msf59
Dec 1, 2019, 12:02pm

>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!

17brenzi
Dec 1, 2019, 12:11pm

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.

18jnwelch
Dec 1, 2019, 12:32pm

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.

19richardderus
Dec 1, 2019, 1:05pm

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

Happy new thread, and lazy(ish) Sunday.

20mdoris
Dec 1, 2019, 1:05pm

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

21quondame
Dec 1, 2019, 1:18pm

Happy new thread!

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

22msf59
Dec 1, 2019, 2:04pm

>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.

23msf59
Dec 1, 2019, 2:12pm

>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.

24msf59
Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 6:41pm



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.

25Berly
Dec 1, 2019, 4:12pm

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. : )

26kac522
Dec 1, 2019, 4:39pm

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!

27banjo123
Dec 1, 2019, 5:36pm

Happy new thread and lovely toppers!

28FAMeulstee
Dec 1, 2019, 5:51pm

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 ;-)

29PaulCranswick
Dec 1, 2019, 5:55pm

Happy new one buddy.

Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend.

30msf59
Dec 1, 2019, 6:46pm

>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...

31msf59
Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 6:58pm

>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.

32EBT1002
Dec 2, 2019, 12:01am

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.

33msf59
Dec 2, 2019, 6:33am

>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.

34alphaorder
Dec 2, 2019, 8:18am

Have a good week, Mark!

35karenmarie
Dec 2, 2019, 8:19am

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

36jnwelch
Dec 2, 2019, 10:05am

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.

37msf59
Dec 2, 2019, 11:11am

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.

38msf59
Dec 2, 2019, 11:13am

>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.

39streamsong
Dec 2, 2019, 1:12pm

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.

40mdoris
Dec 2, 2019, 3:48pm

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

41benitastrnad
Dec 2, 2019, 5:05pm

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

42benitastrnad
Edited: Dec 2, 2019, 5:11pm

>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.

43msf59
Edited: Dec 2, 2019, 6:03pm

>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.

44msf59
Dec 2, 2019, 6:05pm

>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.

45brenzi
Dec 2, 2019, 7:15pm

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

46richardderus
Dec 2, 2019, 7:27pm

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.

47msf59
Dec 2, 2019, 10:38pm

>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.

48karenmarie
Dec 3, 2019, 7:22am

'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.

49charl08
Edited: Dec 3, 2019, 7:32am

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.

50msf59
Edited: Dec 3, 2019, 9:30am

>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.

51drneutron
Dec 3, 2019, 9:51am

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

52msf59
Edited: Dec 3, 2019, 10:39am

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...

53weird_O
Dec 3, 2019, 11:55am

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.

54richardderus
Dec 3, 2019, 2:12pm

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!

55Familyhistorian
Dec 3, 2019, 3:00pm

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

56jnwelch
Dec 3, 2019, 3:07pm

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.

57lindapanzo
Dec 3, 2019, 4:12pm

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

58msf59
Dec 3, 2019, 5:40pm

>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.

59msf59
Dec 3, 2019, 5:45pm

>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.

60msf59
Edited: Dec 3, 2019, 6:05pm



"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.

61alphaorder
Dec 3, 2019, 7:25pm

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

62brenzi
Dec 3, 2019, 7:30pm

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.🤷‍♀️

63Copperskye
Dec 3, 2019, 8:09pm

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!!

64richardderus
Dec 3, 2019, 8:51pm

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...

65msf59
Dec 4, 2019, 6:30am

>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.

66msf59
Dec 4, 2019, 6:36am

>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.

67scaifea
Dec 4, 2019, 7:11am

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

68alphaorder
Dec 4, 2019, 7:27am

>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.

69alphaorder
Dec 4, 2019, 7:30am

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

70katiekrug
Dec 4, 2019, 8:27am

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

71jnwelch
Dec 4, 2019, 8:53am

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.

72karenmarie
Dec 4, 2019, 9:32am

Hi Mark, and happy Wednesday to you.

73Caroline_McElwee
Dec 4, 2019, 9:37am

Love the toppers Mark.

74DeltaQueen50
Dec 4, 2019, 9:51am

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!

75laytonwoman3rd
Dec 4, 2019, 10:39am

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.

76richardderus
Dec 4, 2019, 10:47am

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

77msf59
Edited: Dec 4, 2019, 11:03am

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.

78msf59
Edited: Dec 4, 2019, 11:29am

>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!

79msf59
Dec 4, 2019, 11:28am

>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.

80Familyhistorian
Dec 4, 2019, 12:07pm

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.

81msf59
Dec 4, 2019, 6:15pm

>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.

82msf59
Edited: Dec 4, 2019, 7:02pm



"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.

83alphaorder
Dec 4, 2019, 7:44pm

>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.

84lauralkeet
Dec 4, 2019, 9:04pm

>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.

85msf59
Dec 5, 2019, 6:26am

>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.

86msf59
Edited: Dec 5, 2019, 6:39am

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

87karenmarie
Dec 5, 2019, 7:57am

'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.

88jnwelch
Dec 5, 2019, 9:30am

>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.

89richardderus
Dec 5, 2019, 10:33am

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

90msf59
Dec 5, 2019, 10:38am

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.

91msf59
Dec 5, 2019, 10:43am

>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!!

92benitastrnad
Dec 5, 2019, 4:25pm

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?

93Familyhistorian
Dec 5, 2019, 9:11pm

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.

94mahsdad
Dec 5, 2019, 9:46pm

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?

95Carmenere
Dec 6, 2019, 7:17am

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

96msf59
Dec 6, 2019, 7:58am

>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.

97msf59
Dec 6, 2019, 8:10am

>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.

98jnwelch
Dec 6, 2019, 8:48am

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.

99karenmarie
Dec 6, 2019, 9:24am

'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!

100msf59
Dec 6, 2019, 9:36am

>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.

101richardderus
Dec 6, 2019, 10:47am

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

102benitastrnad
Dec 6, 2019, 12:49pm

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.

103msf59
Dec 6, 2019, 1:55pm

>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.

104msf59
Dec 6, 2019, 4:57pm



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."

105richardderus
Dec 6, 2019, 5:07pm

>104 msf59: *ow*ow*ow*

Book-bulleted me. That passage...!

106msf59
Dec 6, 2019, 7:08pm

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

107msf59
Edited: Dec 6, 2019, 7:15pm



^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.

108brenzi
Dec 6, 2019, 8:10pm

>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.

109karenmarie
Dec 7, 2019, 7:49am

'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.

110msf59
Dec 7, 2019, 8:00am

>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...

111jessibud2
Dec 7, 2019, 9:29am

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:

https://www.audubon.org/news/hear-differing-drumbeats-woodpeckers?ms=digital-eng...

112msf59
Edited: Dec 7, 2019, 9:42am



^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.

113msf59
Dec 7, 2019, 9:57am

>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.

114richardderus
Dec 7, 2019, 10:33am

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

115m.belljackson
Dec 7, 2019, 10:41am

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...?

116jnwelch
Dec 7, 2019, 11:52am

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!

117msf59
Dec 7, 2019, 12:06pm

>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.

118m.belljackson
Dec 7, 2019, 1:45pm

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

119Berly
Dec 8, 2019, 3:40am

I need to do my own Lightning Round!! Tomorrow..... LOL

120msf59
Dec 8, 2019, 7:36am

>118 m.belljackson: Now I understand, Marianne. Thanks for the clarification. I still don't miss snow. Grins...

>119 Berly: Hey, Kim. The old Lightning Rounds are the only way to catch up sometimes and I do feel a little ridiculously guilty, if I don't at least comment on a book, after finishing it. Good luck with your own L.R. today.

121karenmarie
Dec 8, 2019, 7:37am

'Morning, Mark, and happy Sunday to you.

I'll be missing the Panthers game today - Playmakers in Chapel Hill with friend Louise to see Ragtime, then book club tonight to discuss Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik.

122msf59
Dec 8, 2019, 8:16am

Morning, Karen. Sounds like you have a very nice day planned. Enjoy. My Bears are not playing, so more reading time for me. Yah!!

123msf59
Edited: Dec 8, 2019, 8:34am



156) In Waves by Aj Dungo 4 stars

The illustrator/author here, looks back on his relationship with his partner, who is dying of cancer and then shares his love of surfing, while also exploring the history of surfing and at it's various heroes. I heard it described as a mash-up of Blankets meets Barbarian Days, which pretty much sums it up. A nice surprise and you may also shed a tear or two.

**I also picked this up from ALA in June. The hits keep coming.





124msf59
Edited: Dec 8, 2019, 9:27am



“This is the brick & mortar of the America
that murdered Tamir & may stalk the laughter

in my backseat. I am a father driving
his Black sons to school & the death
of a Black boy rides shotgun & this
could be a funeral procession. The Death
a silent thing in the air, unmentioned-
because mentioning death invites taboo...”

“Lost in what's gone. Reinventing myself with lies:
I walk these streets, ruined by what I hide.
Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine.

Did a stretch in prison to be released to a cell.
Returned to freedom penned by Orwell.
My noon temptation is now the Metro's third rail.

In my wallet, I carry around a daguerrotype,
A mugshot, no smiles, my name a tithe.
What must I pay for being this stereotype?”

^These 2 excerpts, are from Felon: Poems. It is a beautiful but also hard-hitting collection, directing an insightful and demanding, spotlight on the Black experience in America today. It may end up being the best collection I have read this year. Warbling loud and clear...

125richardderus
Dec 8, 2019, 10:03am

>123 msf59: The illustrations look lovely! So very not down with GNs and the topic isn't appealing to me, so not for me but clearly it spoke to you.

As all the best reads do.

126EllaTim
Dec 8, 2019, 11:20am

>112 msf59: Book bullet for me with Midnight in Chernobyl. Still remember the disaster, the shock of it. Even the Finnish nightingales were affected, as the migrating birds had to cross the radioactive clouds.

127streamsong
Dec 8, 2019, 12:59pm

Congrats on the 2 x 75! And also congrats on your reviews done in a timely manner. (I'm so far behind with reviews, again. Sigh)

>107 msf59: I love the shot of your library run spoils. Enjoy The Lost Words. The illustrations are beautiful.

I should do a reread of Gilead, too. It's one of those books that I think I could find more each time I read it.

128msf59
Dec 8, 2019, 2:52pm

>125 richardderus: Hey, your YGC, likes to surf, maybe he would like this GN. He is a reader, right? Barbarian Days is also a very good read.

>126 EllaTim: Hi, Ella. Great to see you. Oh, those poor Finnish nightingales. Nature, along with humankind, truly suffered over that disaster. I hope you can find time to read the book. It is excellent.

129msf59
Dec 8, 2019, 2:54pm

>127 streamsong: Happy Sunday, Janet and thank you. It looks like you need to do a Lightning Round yourself. A nice way, to catch up, when you get back-logged. I think I dip into The Lost Words this afternoon and I hope you consider doing a reread of Gilead.

130msf59
Edited: Dec 8, 2019, 3:00pm



^Well, I did get out for a couple of bird strolls today, taking advantage of a fairly mild day in Chicagoland. I clocked in almost 3 hours. I did not see anything special, mostly our usual winter residents but I really enjoy traipsing around in the woods and I am glad I made time. Now, I need to set the sights on the books...

131DeltaQueen50
Dec 8, 2019, 3:21pm

You sound like you have your Sunday activities well in hand, Mark. I intend to do some reading this afternoon as well. I have also read The Alice Network and liked it well enough but not as much as many others. Currently I am reading Lolita, offset by the charming Christmas story of Miracle on 34th Street.

132Familyhistorian
Dec 8, 2019, 6:36pm

I see you put a mild day to good use today, Mark. It was mild and not raining here today so I took advantage and returned that large book to the library. Hope you are enjoying it.

133msf59
Dec 8, 2019, 7:19pm

>131 DeltaQueen50: Hi, Judy. It has been a very nice long weekend. No complaints here. Is this your first time reading Lolita? It has been many years, but I remember loving the book.

>132 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. I did dip into The Lost Words. Beautifully executed. I especially love the owl illustrations.

134DeltaQueen50
Dec 8, 2019, 9:51pm

>133 msf59: Oh dear, I think Lolita may be a book that we disagree on. All the beautiful writing in the world can't get me past the subject matter!

135banjo123
Dec 9, 2019, 12:11am

>124 msf59: Wow! I am going to have to look for that book.

136msf59
Dec 9, 2019, 6:33am

>134 DeltaQueen50: Yes, this novel deals with a very, disturbing subject matter and much of it made me cringe but how brilliantly the author handles this material, is what is a marvel. That said, it is not for everyone.

>135 banjo123: Hi, Rhonda. This collection is filled with passages like that. I hope you can track a copy down. I am sure I will be buying a copy for my "Keeper" shelf.

137Carmenere
Dec 9, 2019, 7:17am

Hey Mark! Dare I say, happy Monday!? Glad you spent time with your feathered friends yesterday. Can not complain about this weather.

138karenmarie
Dec 9, 2019, 7:33am

'Morning, Mark! I hope #1 in the silver-lining days goes by quickly.

139richardderus
Dec 9, 2019, 9:08am

Monday as hell here, fog drizzle headache weather. Hope it's not like that there. The upside is that I feel no compunction swaddling up, drinking coffee, and reading all day.

140jnwelch
Dec 9, 2019, 10:00am

Happy start to the week, Mark. Sorry to hear that it's going to be a long one for you.

I'm glad you got in that lengthy bird stroll. Perfect thing to do on a warmish day for this time of year.

The kids keep urging me to read Lolita, but so far I haven't been able to do it. The creepiness outweighs the need to read great writing.

Speaking of which, I've been enjoying the creepy Dublin Murders tv series, based on In the Woods and another Tana French novel.

141msf59
Dec 9, 2019, 11:11am

>137 Carmenere: Hi, Lynda. It is actually a bit balmy out here at the moment, with a light mist falling. This will change tomorrow.. Big Time!

>138 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. One foot in front of the other and the next thing you know, it will be Saturday. Smiles...

>139 richardderus: Yuck, RD. Enjoy your day curled up with your coffee and your books.

142msf59
Dec 9, 2019, 11:14am

>140 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. It was a fine weekend and now I am back to the six day grind. At least, the weather is cooperative for a heavy Monday.

I hope you give, Lolita a try one of these days and glad to hear about the Dublin Murder Squad TV series. I have been recording them but have not heard any LT praise...until now.

143weird_O
Dec 9, 2019, 11:49am

Finished Housekeeping last evening, and I admit to bafflement. Ha. So as a followup, I am starting Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy, another book that baffled me when I read it several years ago. And also, ...Tristram Shandy, another baffler. Is this weird?

144msf59
Edited: Dec 9, 2019, 5:54pm

>143 weird_O: Hey, Bill. It looks like you are on a completely baffling stretch. Poor guy. It has been more than a few years, since I read Housekeeping, (I read it 6 years ago) but I remember enjoying it, just not on the same level as the Gilead trilogy. I have not read the Auster trilogy or Tristam Shandy. Bad Mark?

145brenzi
Dec 9, 2019, 6:48pm

Hi Mark, I have to admit I loved Lolita when I read it ten years ago. I thought it was brilliant. That doesn't mean I approved of Humbert Humbert. Heck, I don't approve of Jack the Ripper but I'll still read about him. The writing was astoundingly beautiful.

146msf59
Dec 9, 2019, 7:38pm

>145 brenzi: Hi, Bonnie. Thanks for chiming in on Lolita. I think are completely on the same page with this classic novel.

147karenmarie
Dec 10, 2019, 6:39am

Good morning, Mark! I hope your workday goes well.

148msf59
Edited: Dec 10, 2019, 6:47am



^The first time I read Gilead, in June of 2008, coincided beautifully with me joining LT. Serendipity, right? I went on to read the other 2 books in the Gilead trilogy and they were equally as wonderful. Thanks, to the AAC, I am going to revisit Reverend Ames and this small Iowa town. I am going to try it on audio, but I will have the print book at hand, as well.

I am also still enjoying The Alice Network. It is a long book and I am about halfway.

149msf59
Dec 10, 2019, 6:57am

>147 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen and Good Morning to you!

150richardderus
Dec 10, 2019, 8:37am

Happy Tuesday, Mark, spend it pleasantly in the Iowa of the mind.

151msf59
Dec 10, 2019, 10:38am

Frigid morning in Chicagoland. Still hovering in the mid-teens, with a brisk wind. Brrrrr....

>150 richardderus: Hey, RD. I don't know how the weather is currently in Iowa, but it is damn chilly here. I am bundled up.

152streamsong
Dec 10, 2019, 10:55am

>129 msf59: Yes, I should do a Lightning Round to catch up on my reviews. Unfortunately, it usually takes me 2 or 3 days to do a review before it says what I want it to say. I know I overthink things. Sigh.

My version of 'getting 'er done' is to work several reviews at a time: a rough draft of one, a second draft of another which will be posted that day and to work on my most recent book finished - because that one is always the most fun to write.

Stay warm out there. We are pleasantly warm at 30 degrees, but will dip into the icebox on Thursday.

153streamsong
Dec 10, 2019, 11:08am

>129 msf59: Yes, I should probably do a lightning round of book reviews. Unfortunately, I tend to overthink things sometimes (ha!), so it takes me several days of thinking to have a review say what I want. Slowest lightning ever!

So my version of 'get er done' is to polish the next review that I will post today; work on a rough draft of the review that I will polish and post tomorrow; and also work on the review for the latest book completed which is always the most interesting to do.

Going to try a 'get er done' push to be all caught up by the end of the year.

154jnwelch
Dec 10, 2019, 12:15pm

Oh, a revisit of Gilead on audio. That sounds great. I'm going to enjoy that vicariously, buddy.

I'd forgotten The Alice Network was long. I hope it continues to carry you along.

I'm still working my way through A Field Guide to Getting Lost. It's not long, but it's dense. She's so smart I have to really dig in.

The Franny Choi arrived, so I'm looking forward to that. My GN is the second Rainbow Rowell Runaways.

Man, it was a chilly commute this morning! I'm at work . . . goofing off on LT. It brings back memories! :-)

155Caroline_McElwee
Edited: Dec 10, 2019, 3:46pm

>140 jnwelch: I read it and loathed it, years ago Joe.

>148 msf59: Those books will definitely get a reread over the winter Mark. Such gems.

156msf59
Edited: Dec 10, 2019, 5:48pm

>152 streamsong: "Slowest lightning ever!" Hey, that should count for something, right, Janet? Hey, at least you are eventually getting them done. That is what counts. I think I did pretty good job this year, keeping up.

>154 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. Gilead on audio, has been going remarkably well. I wasn't sure if it would work. Her writing is so glorious. The Alice Network is 530 pages. I have about 200 left. It has been keeping my attention, so that is all that matters. Glad the Solnit is still keeping your interest.

Wow! Rainbow Rowell has sure been busy!

>155 Caroline_McElwee: Not a fan of Lolita, eh, Caroline? Glad to hear you love the Gilead trilogy. I am enjoying my revisit.

157msf59
Edited: Dec 10, 2019, 6:57pm



"The first book of its kind, this glorious National Geographic Atlas of the National Parks showcases America's spectacular parks with an inspiring and informative collection of maps, graphics, and photographs, inviting newcomers and longtime park visitors alike to experience these magnificent landscapes."

Ooh, I want to get my greedy mitts on National Geographic Atlas of the National Parks. It looks and sounds amazing. It just came out in November. I will add it to my Christmas Wishlist but, with the hefty price tag, I am sure I will not get it, from family. Maybe, from book & nature-loving friends? Grins... I guess I could try to scrap together some of my Christmas tip money too. So not all is lost.

158jessibud2
Dec 10, 2019, 7:03pm

>157 msf59: - Or try your library. They may have a copy or may be wiling to purchase one, if you request it.

159msf59
Dec 10, 2019, 10:16pm

>148 msf59: Hi, Shelley. I will probably request it from the library but this looks like a volume I would like to own.

160alphaorder
Dec 10, 2019, 11:00pm

Curious to hear what the local thinks of this wrap-up.

https://lithub.com/how-to-spend-a-literary-long-weekend-in-chicago/

161msf59
Edited: Dec 11, 2019, 6:55am

>160 alphaorder: Nancy stopped by! Nancy stopped by! Yippee! Ooh, I will have to check out this link. Thanks.

ETA- I love the link! A literary weekend in Chicago. I am sure Joe has been to several of these locales. The Poetry Foundation looks particularly interesting. I have not been to the Green Mill in many years. Great jazz club

162alphaorder
Dec 11, 2019, 7:11am

Morning, Mark

Felon arrived. It looks to be a very powerful collection. I am going to need to take time with this one.

>161 msf59: Maybe we should explore some during a LT meetup?

163jnwelch
Dec 11, 2019, 8:41am

>160 alphaorder: Love it! Yes, I've been to most, but certainly not all of those. I want to get Mark to the Poetry Foundation for a performance; it's a cool building besides all the great things that happen there. He's probably heard me talk about Young Chicago Authors more than he needs to; Debbi is a former Prez of it and still on its Board.

Happy Mid-Week, Mark. Woo, good thing we're hearty, right? This weather is a real test. Stay as warm as you can today; supposedly we get some relief tomorrow.

164karenmarie
Dec 11, 2019, 8:47am

'Morning, Mark! Your weather is a real challenge this week, isn't it? Stay warm and dry.

You're already read some great books in December, keep up the good work!!

165streamsong
Dec 11, 2019, 10:38am

Atlas of the National Parks looks wonderful. National Geographic publications are true quality. And maybe it will entice you out to Montana to see Glacier or Yellowstone. :)

Stay warm!

166msf59
Dec 11, 2019, 10:52am

>162 alphaorder: I am so glad you have Felon on the docket. Take your time with it. It is an amazing work.

Yep, we need to pull together a Meet Up, at some point.

>163 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. Actually, it is better today. A lighter wind, really helps. The snowfall was unexpected though. It should be gone quickly. I would love to make it down to the Poetry Foundation.

167msf59
Dec 11, 2019, 10:55am

>164 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. A bit better today, with the bitter cold and much better tomorrow. Yah! And hooray for reading good books.

>165 streamsong: Hi, Janet. I figured the National Parks book would catch your eye. It looks like a beauty. I retire next year, so that will open up my schedule. Glacier is always at the top of my list, for places to visit. It is ridiculous, that I have not been there yet.

168richardderus
Dec 11, 2019, 2:01pm

Ugh, snow that won't stick meets pavement that can't dry. It's 38°/3C. I hate the in-between stages of the seasons!

169msf59
Dec 11, 2019, 5:47pm

Hey, RD! It has definitely been winter temps here. We did have a coating of snow early on, but it didn't amount to much. I am sure you stayed indoors with your tea & books, which is a perfect plan.

170karenmarie
Dec 12, 2019, 7:14am

'Morning, Mark, looks like a milder day for you out there.

171richardderus
Dec 12, 2019, 10:00am

172msf59
Dec 12, 2019, 10:42am

>170 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Not bad out here but I hope to see and feel more sunshine, as the day goes along.

>171 richardderus: It is our fuel, Richard, although I usually finish up my last cup around 8am. I do not drink it through the day, like many folks do.

173Copperskye
Dec 12, 2019, 10:48am

I’m pretty sure you were a big fan of this book, too, Mark. I hope they did a good job with it! I can see Kevin Costner and Diane Lane in the roles.

From Shelf Awareness:

Focus Features has set August 21, 2020 as the release date for Let Him Go, based on Larry Watson's novel, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Directed by Thomas Bezucha, the movie stars Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Lesley Manville. Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan (owner of Books & Books in southern Florida and the Cayman Islands) of the Mazur Kaplan Company produced alongside Bezucha.

174jnwelch
Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 11:45am

Sweet Thursday, Mark. I'm having my most important meal of the day - I'm normally a morning coffee drinker, although on workout days that stretches to early afternoon, and on theater days I'll sometimes have a cuppa before it starts, so I'm ready to jump up on stage if need be, I guess.

Better day out there, although it's sure all relative this time of year. I'd thought I'd read every Agatha Christie ever there was (except Curtain, which I've got no inclination for), but found Destination Unknown and just finished it. More of a thriller than a mystery, and definitely not on the A list of her books, but still fun. Morroco, an international cast, people who aren't who they seem to be - all done with her clever style.

We went to the Art Institute's Warhol exhibit last night, have a Steppenwolf play tonight (with Ladysmith Black Mambazo!), and I head to a Bulls game tomorrow night. Busy week! The Bulls crushed Atlanta last night, so I'm hoping we get a good one.

>157 msf59: looks really good, btw. It's such a good idea, I'm surprised it hasn't existed before now.

175msf59
Dec 12, 2019, 8:06pm

>173 Copperskye: Thanks, Joanne. I had heard about the film adaptation of Let Him Go, awhile ago, but I had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder. I hope they pull it off. Good cast.

>174 jnwelch: Sweet Thursday, Joe. You are a busy guy. Glad to hear you guys have such fun stuff planned.The Steppenwolf play sounds good. Enjoy.

176msf59
Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 8:46pm



"Located in the gap between the "Big Easy" of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power."

After finishing a solid revisit of Gilead, on audio, I decided to go with The Yellow House, which has been receiving a massive amount of buzz and recently won the National Book Award for NF. Less than an hour in, but the writing is just beautiful. Waves of warbling to follow...

177brenzi
Dec 12, 2019, 9:21pm

>176 msf59: I've been waiting for someone to read this one Mark. I should've known it would be you lol.

178LovingLit
Dec 12, 2019, 10:14pm

Mark! Hello!
>176 msf59: I am sure I am not the only on awaiting waves of warbling....

179Familyhistorian
Dec 13, 2019, 1:18am

Is your long week almost done, Mark? The weather doesn't sound like it is helping but then you have books to keep you going.

180msf59
Dec 13, 2019, 6:29am

>177 brenzi: It has been out since August, so I gave others a chance to be first...grins. I am sure you will love this one, Bonnie.

>178 LovingLit: Hi, Megan. Great to see you. Looking forward to getting back to The Yellow House, so the warbling will be sure to follow.

>179 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. 4 days down, 2 to go and then I can enjoy 2 days off, plus I love having a Monday off. The weather has been cold but at least we are not dealing with snow and ice.

181jnwelch
Dec 13, 2019, 8:18am

Happy Friday, buddy. I'm another one looking forward to the waves of warbling about Yellow House.

Poor Debbi's under the weather, so we moved going to the Steppenwolf play to next week. Not all bad, as I watched a couple of episodes of C.B. Strike, based on the J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith mysteries. I liked it a lot.

I hope to start the Franny Choi collection today. Optic Nerve and A Field Guide to Getting Lost continue to be good, and I'm enjoying the latest Paper Girls GN.

Is Yellow House on audio for you? Should be a good day. :-) Although the mail carriers around us are hauling an awful lot of packages along with the usual.

182karenmarie
Edited: Dec 13, 2019, 9:30am

Hi Mark! Happy Friday to you.

Jenna's coming home today for the holidays. I've hidden her presents away - in the last couple of years I've had to make notes about what's where so I don't forget!

>182 karenmarie: I'm jealous, Joe - do you have Acorn? If not, how do you watch it?

183msf59
Dec 13, 2019, 10:39am

BBS Report: There was a police vehicle hiding out at the break spot today, so I did not linger. BTW- they have moved most of the cars away too, which I am glad to see. Nothing much seen this week, other than a few winter residents, along with a trio of mallards, hanging out in the creek.

184msf59
Dec 13, 2019, 10:43am

>181 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. Sorry to hear Debbi is under the weather. Are you skipping your workout, as well?
The Yellow House is completely captivating. I can't see why this one, won't be a top read of the year. Yes, I am listening to it and the author is a wonderful narrator.

Sounds like you have a nice variety of books going, like usual.

185msf59
Dec 13, 2019, 10:44am

>182 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Hooray for Jenna coming home for the holidays. I know you love these visits. Enjoy!

186richardderus
Dec 13, 2019, 4:56pm

Well, you oughta be slidin' in for home cleats down at this point. One more day...just one....

187msf59
Dec 13, 2019, 5:22pm

>186 richardderus: Hey, RD. Just got home and just poured a beer. A very nice day on the route today. Perfect for mid-December. The books have been treating me fine too.

188msf59
Edited: Dec 13, 2019, 6:55pm



"A collection of ten interwoven stories, Barry's debut tells the sad and funny tales of the forlorn denizens of Lucy's Tavern, a gathering place and watering hole for the hapless, lonely, and lovelorn."

^Joe recently warbled about Later, at the Bar. He is not a short fiction nut, like I am, so this caught my attention. I have to give a shout-out to Katie too, who first served this one, on the LT platter. I will start it tomorrow.

BTW- The Yellow House continues to blow me away...Just sayin'...

189katiekrug
Dec 13, 2019, 7:54pm

>188 msf59: - Hope you like it!

190laytonwoman3rd
Dec 13, 2019, 10:12pm

Just plugging the planning thread for 2020's American Authors Challenge. I expect to make up the final list next week, so any input over the weekend would be appreciated!

191msf59
Dec 14, 2019, 6:32am

>189 katiekrug: Looking forward to digging in today, Katie.

>190 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks, Linda. I thought I had it starred and you reminded me that I did not. I will get over there, later today or tomorrow morning.

192charl08
Dec 14, 2019, 7:54am

>176 msf59: Have added this to the wishlist - sounds great!

Hope you have a good weekend. Hailing here...

193karenmarie
Dec 14, 2019, 8:09am

Happy last day of your work week, Mark! What a slog, 6 days in a row. I hope you have some book-reading time slotted into Sunday and Monday.

194msf59
Dec 14, 2019, 10:32am

>192 charl08: Hi, Charlotte. I highly recommend The Yellow House to all my LT buddies. I hope everyone catches a BB with that one. Boo, to the hail!!

>193 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. If you don't think about it much, the week goes by pretty quickly. As you would expect, I plan on squeezing reading time in, whenever possible, the next 2 days.

195jnwelch
Edited: Dec 14, 2019, 10:59am

Morning, Mark.

I believe Later, at the Bar was written for you, and I'm grateful that you've let others read it, too.

The Bulls were terrible last night - couldn't shoot the ball for the lives of them. But we had a great time anyway, per usual. Keith's looking more and more recovered.

I'm in stereo right now - texting you about Reginald Dwayne Betts on the phone. Ha!

Hope the last day of this long work week goes well, buddy.

196richardderus
Dec 14, 2019, 11:53am

It's a craptastic day out there, hope you're ensconced in comfortable, attractive surroundings without the need to step toe out of doors.

197EBT1002
Dec 14, 2019, 1:13pm

Hi Mark! Happy weekend!

I have The Yellow House firmly on my wish list as it has shown up in all sorts of best-of-year lists.

I hadn't seen the warbling about Later, At the Bar but I love the title and will look forward to your comments.

198benitastrnad
Edited: Dec 14, 2019, 2:14pm

I am on my way to Kansas and then on to Germany next week. I am listening to books along the way. Most of them are for work. I listened to two children’s books yesterday on the short leg of the trip. Crenshaw, one that they are using in the local schools down here, and then decided it was time to finally listen to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I thought that both books were mediocre. But, I realize that the latter is a product of its time - 1998, and the former deals with a difficult subject; homelessness among elementary school students, so I guess it is all in what you are expecting and I expect better from both books.

Now I am listening to one for me. Sourdough by Robin Sloan is Sloan’s second book, and it was on the YA Alex Award list in 2017. That is a list of adult titles suitable for Young Adults. So far, so good.

199msf59
Dec 14, 2019, 6:07pm

>195 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. Yes, Later, at the Bar has been a perfect fit for me. You were spot on. Sorry, to hear the Bulls were so bad last night, but you had a a good time with Keith anyway. Not surprised, in the least. I hope you get a chance to listen to the Betts interview on the podcast.

>196 richardderus: Hey, RD! I worked today, (it was raw and chilly) and now I am looking forward to a couple of days off. B.A.G.

200msf59
Dec 14, 2019, 6:12pm

>197 EBT1002: Hi, Ellen. Yes, I highly recommend The Yellow House. A beautiful memoir and Later, at the Bar is off to a very good start. Thanks to Joe & Katie for putting that one on my radar. I love me some short fiction.

>198 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita. It looks like you have some wonderful adventures ahead of you. Enjoy! Sorry, you couldn't connect with Harry Potter. I listened to Sourdough a couple of years ago. I thought it was okay. I hope it works better for you.

201msf59
Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 9:07am



^It would sure be nice, to get a photo like this. Wowza! Someday??

202richardderus
Dec 14, 2019, 9:34pm

>201 msf59: Ooo! Purty.

Have a lovely few days out of the yuckiness.

203msf59
Dec 15, 2019, 7:41am

>202 richardderus: Thanks, RD. I will enjoy it!

204msf59
Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 7:48am

THE RETURN: ORIHUELA, 1965

You come over a slight rise
in the narrow, winding road
and the white village broods
in the valley below. A breeze
silvers the cold leaves
of the olives, just as you knew
it would or as you saw
it in dreams. How many days
have you waited for this day?
Soon you must face a son grown
to manhood, a wife to old age,
the tiny sealed house of memory.
A lone crow drops into the sun,
the fields whisper their courage.

-Philip Levine

This is from Levine's collection The Simple Truth, which won the Pulitzer for Poetry in 1995. I liked it very much. Thanks to Joe, for lending me his copy.

205karenmarie
Dec 15, 2019, 8:02am

'Morning, Mark, and happy day off to you.

206alphaorder
Dec 15, 2019, 8:08am

Big day today, Mark... :)

Appreciating Felon on a quiet Sunday morning.

207msf59
Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 8:20am

>205 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Looking forward to it!

>206 alphaorder: LOL. Yes, ma'am you are correct. We are going over to Bree's house to watch the game, and visit with the dogs. Food and beverages will be included. There will also be a die-hard Packers fan there, for a little emotional color.

I hope you are getting lost in Felon: Stories. Wonderful collection.

208msf59
Dec 15, 2019, 8:47am



-Harry Bliss

209BLBera
Dec 15, 2019, 9:09am

I'm waiting for my turn with The Yellow House. I think I'm next on the list.

210msf59
Dec 15, 2019, 9:24am

>209 BLBera: That is great, Beth. I am sure it will be right there at the top of my NF list for the year and it has been an outstanding year for NF. That says it all.

211Caroline_McElwee
Dec 15, 2019, 12:09pm

>201 msf59: Wowza indeed Mark, what a great photo.

>204 msf59: I like that Levine volume.

>208 msf59: Tee hee.

212jnwelch
Dec 15, 2019, 12:13pm

>204 msf59: You're welcome! I love that poem you picked from The Simple Truth. That's my favorite collection of his.

>201 msf59: Lovely.

Yay for Later, at the Bar. Just thinking about it, I find myself back at Lucy's.

Enjoy the day off! And another after that, it sounds like? The Bulls bounced back last night and beat the very good Clippers. Keith and I are grumbling that they didn't play that way Friday night.

Go Bears! The biggest game of the season, right? Maybe they can stay in the wild card race.

213richardderus
Dec 15, 2019, 1:41pm

>208 msf59: Ha! I love that.

Have a great time watching...football? Is that the Bears?...today!

214alphaorder
Dec 15, 2019, 5:23pm

Sorry about the loss, Mark. :) What a game!

I finished Felon and THe Mueller Report Illustrated this weekend. Both worthwhile reads.

At your reminder, I am pulling Late Migrations off my stack. I really want to read The Yellow House and a number of others, but as you know, I am needing to read five more before the end of the month to reach 100.

215msf59
Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 6:15pm

>213 richardderus: Hey, Richard. Yep, it was the Bears/Packers game. The Pack won but the Bears made an admirable go of it. Their playoff hopes have been dashed. We had high hopes for our team. Drat!!

>214 alphaorder: It was a good game, Nancy and the Bears did keep it exciting, right until the end. The Pack was not at their best and still pulled off a win. Hooray for pulling Late Migrations off the pile. I might get to it, after American Dirt.

216msf59
Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 6:22pm



^My library run from yesterday. The National Parks book is HUGE, and looks amazing. I hope to acquire it someday, for my permanent collection. I picked up a Lucille Clifton poetry collection, another monster of a book, and Late Migrations, an essay collection, which has been getting some serious buzz. I also received an ARC, of Amnesty, which is an upcoming novel by Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger. Yep, the books are treating me fine. Might as well, end the year with a bang, right?

217FAMeulstee
Dec 16, 2019, 7:31am

Hi Mark!
I haven't been around for 10 days, so a bit late in response. I am reading Gilead and Lolita at the moment and was surprised to find them both on your thread. My first impression of Lolita makes me think I will agree with you. But halfway Gilead I am afraid I don't like the book at all. I will finish, but will be very glad when it is done.

>216 msf59: Nice library haul!

218karenmarie
Dec 16, 2019, 7:40am

'Morning, Mark! Happy Monday to you.

>217 FAMeulstee: I love the holiday-themed book/beer/postal truck display. You've got some major reading slated for sure.

I'm reading Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale and really enjoying it.

219jnwelch
Dec 16, 2019, 8:26am

Hey, buddy. Day off, yes?

Good game yesterday, wasn't it. If that tight end had made one more lateral to Robinson, that trick play at the end might've worked.

I tabbed a lot of poems in Franny Choi's Floating, Brilliant, Gone for re-reading. Much better collection than I expected.

Getting ready to head out - I'll have to clear snow off the car. What?

220msf59
Dec 16, 2019, 8:26am

>217 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. Good to see you. Sorry, Gilead flopped for you. I still think it is an incredible novel, but I am glad you are finding the genius behind Lolita.

>218 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Glad you like my display. These are becoming works of art. Grins...Ooh, Secondhand. I want to read that one too. I think Bill first put it on my radar.

221msf59
Dec 16, 2019, 8:29am

>219 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. I was just heading over to your thread, after my workout. Yep, I am enjoying the day off and it looks like a good one, to remain indoors. We will see...I will request the Choi. Thanks.

Just a coating of snow here too. Not bad.

222msf59
Dec 16, 2019, 8:58am



157) In Hoffa's Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth by Jack Goldsmith 4 stars

I have been a proud union member, for over 30 years and I was sixteen, when Hoffa disappeared, so I do remember that event, but I really never knew Hoffa's full story. With the film, The Irishman being recently released, along with this well-researched account, it gave me the perfect opportunity, to learn about this powerful union leader and what led up to his demise.
What also makes, this book special is that the author, a prominent lawyer and former government official, has a strong connection to this story. His step-father, Chuckie O' Neal, was Hoffa's right hand man for many years and was also arrested for his suspected involvement with Hoffa's disappearance, which destroyed Chuckie's life, despite his likely, innocence.
The author packs a lot into this book, and we get historical snapshots, of the FBI, Hoover, RFK, the teamsters, the mob and the sinister world of surveillance. Solid nonfiction.

**I also recommend seeing the Netflix film The Irishman, although the details, based on a book, by the alleged hitman, are highly questionable, it still is a terrific movie.

223msf59
Dec 16, 2019, 9:07am

December Morning in the Desert

The morning is clouded and the birds are hunched,
More cold than hungry, more numb than loud,

This crisp, Arizona shore, where desert meets
The coming edge of the winter world.

It is a cold news in stark announcement,
The myriad stars making bright the black,

As if the sky itself had been snowed upon.
But the stars—all those stars,

Where does the sure noise of their hard work go?
These plugs sparking the motor of an otherwise quiet sky,

Their flickering work everywhere in a white vastness:
We should hear the stars as a great roar

Gathered from the moving of their billion parts, this great
Hot rod skid of the Milky Way across the asphalt night,

The assembled, moving glints and far-floating embers
Risen from the hearth-fires of so many other worlds.

Where does the noise of it all go
If not into the ears, then hearts of the birds all around us,

Their hearts beating so fast and their equally fast
Wings and high songs,

And the bees, too, with their lumbering hum,
And the wasps and moths, the bats, and the dragonflies—

None of them sure if any of this is going to work,
This universe—we humans oblivious,

Drinking coffee, not quite awake, calm and moving
Into the slippers of our Monday mornings,

Shivering because, we think,
It’s a little cold out there.

-Alberto Ríos from Poem-A-Day

224EllaTim
Dec 16, 2019, 12:34pm

>223 msf59: Hi Marc. I quite like that poem!

Have a nice day.

225jnwelch
Dec 16, 2019, 2:09pm

>223 msf59: Nice one - particularly as we move into the slippers of our Monday mornings.

226msf59
Dec 16, 2019, 2:46pm

>224 EllaTim: >225 jnwelch: Glad you like the poem, Ella & Joe. I would not mind tracking more of this guy's work down.

227msf59
Edited: Dec 16, 2019, 7:32pm





-Short-Eared Owl, (NMP)

^Well, this made my day off, even more special- I saw a Short-eared Owl, right at dusk. I did have an experienced birder pal along, and as usual, he knows his stuff. I was able to watch this bird, flying low, just over the high grass, hunting, for at least 2 minutes, probably more. I think someone saw a second one, moving in the opposite direction but I could not take my eyes off the first one. I didn't even have my camera with me, because it is very difficult to photograph these guys, even for seasoned photographers. This is a Lifer for me and this owl has been high on my Must-See list for nearly 3 years. Yah!!

228quondame
Dec 16, 2019, 7:25pm

>227 msf59: What a wonderful sighting!

229msf59
Edited: Dec 16, 2019, 7:30pm



"Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope."

American Dirt has been buzzing like crazy, for at least the past 6 months and it doesn't even come out until the end of January. I was lucky enough to snag an advanced copy, a couple of months ago, and was just waiting for the right time, (I don't like to read things, too far in advance). Well, the time has come and I did read a few pages today and it is quite gripping. I will dive into it tomorrow... completely.

I also can't wait to get back into The Yellow House, which has been fantastic. I am certainly trying to close out the year with a serious bang!

230weird_O
Dec 16, 2019, 7:54pm

Hey, Mark, that Bears game was bonkers. Well, the Bears fourth down play at the end, for sure. So close. So close.

231katiekrug
Dec 16, 2019, 8:30pm

>229 msf59: - I'm looking forward to reading this one, Mark. Even more now that our local iterary festival announced that Cummins would be a participating author.

232brenzi
Dec 16, 2019, 8:43pm

>229 msf59: I can't wait for that one either Mark. I hope the hype doesn't get us all lol.

233msf59
Edited: Dec 16, 2019, 10:25pm

>230 weird_O: It was a bonkers Bears game, Bill, unfortunately, the better team persevered. Always next year, right?

>231 katiekrug: >232 brenzi: Look forward to digging deeper into American Dirt, Katie & Bonnie. I have a feeling this one will live up to the hype.

When is the festival, Katie?

234LovingLit
Dec 16, 2019, 10:31pm

>227 msf59: amazing image- that bottom one.

235katiekrug
Dec 16, 2019, 10:46pm

>233 msf59: - It's at the end of March. They are slowly unveiling the authors. They will have a few of pre-festival events with Isabel Allende, Malcolm Gladwell, and Colum McCann. The latest author announced for the festival itself is Madeline Miller. They get a really good line-up and it's been improving every year. I think proximity to NYC helps, as does the fact that the town is home to a lot of people who work in publishing and have connections.

236msf59
Dec 17, 2019, 6:29am

>234 LovingLit: Hi, Megan. I did not see the owl, that distinctively but this does capture the beauty of their flight.

>235 katiekrug: That festival sounds fantastic, Katie and I love McCann too. He has a book coming out early next year too. I am sure you will have a great time.

237Carmenere
Dec 17, 2019, 6:44am

Happy back to work day, Mark! Wow, Monday's lifer must have been thrilling for you. Congratulations!
I know people are really pumped about American Dirt making it, for me, a must read in 2020.

238msf59
Dec 17, 2019, 7:02am

>237 Carmenere: Morning, Lynda. Yep, I am both pumped about the short-eared owl and starting American Dirt. I am also loving The Yellow House, so also keep this one in mind.

239karenmarie
Dec 17, 2019, 7:23am

'Morning, Mark, and happy Tuesday to you! Congrats on your newest lifer!

240jnwelch
Dec 17, 2019, 9:32am

Happy Tuesday, Mark. It's nippy out there.

Very exciting that you have a copy of American Dirt. Your dip into it sounds promising.

I finished the excellent Optic Nerve, but I'm not sure it's your cuppa. I'll have to think about how to articulate it in a mini-review.

I'm near the end of A Field Guide to Getting Lost, and that one I can recommend. I'm already thinking about which one of Rebecca Solnit's to read next. It's tempting to read Men Explain Things to Me, and get her take on how frustrating mansplaining is.

241msf59
Dec 17, 2019, 10:31am

>239 karenmarie: Good Morning, Karen and thank you. I am pumped.

>240 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. Did you see my latest owl up there? I would sure like to show you one, one of these days.

Yep, really looking forward to jumping back into American Dirt. And you have definitely stoked my interest in reading more Solnit.

242richardderus
Dec 17, 2019, 10:36am

Hi Mark! A lifer and a cool-looking owl! What a way to end a 2019 that's been superb for reading, stinky for politics, and appalling for the social fabric.

Onward through the fog go we.

243Caroline_McElwee
Dec 17, 2019, 2:20pm

>216 msf59: will be looking forward to your thoughts on Late Migrations Mark, being a big essay fan.

244msf59
Edited: Dec 17, 2019, 6:52pm



>242 richardderus: Yep, RD and it is going to be a heavy fog, we will be wading into. It is going to be a contentious year. I hope I can balance it out with the happier things, that will happen in the next twelve months.

>243 Caroline_McElwee: Hi, Caroline. I plan to start Late Migrations, after I finish American Dirt.

245Familyhistorian
Dec 17, 2019, 7:15pm

>227 msf59: Nice photos and congrats on a lifer, Mark. I hope your Tuesday went well although I know it couldn't match yesterday.

246Berly
Dec 18, 2019, 1:30am

>227 msf59: Congrats on another Lifer!!! Hope American Dirt lives up to the pre-release chatter. : )

247karenmarie
Dec 18, 2019, 4:04am

A very early good morning to you, Mark! Happy Wednesday.

248msf59
Dec 18, 2019, 6:29am

>245 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. Yep, yesterday was no match for Monday. Grins...Cold couple of of days here but it is supposed to warm up nicely for the weekend, so no complaints here.

>246 Berly: Thanks, Kimmers. Less than a 100 pages into American Dirt but I am getting that feeling, that this will be a winner.

>247 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. You are up very early. Nap, sometime today?

249The_Hibernator
Dec 18, 2019, 1:45pm

Hi Mark! I've guessed you're my LT gift exchange. Eager to see what you have chosen for me! If not, I'm totally confused.

Merry Christmas!

250charl08
Dec 18, 2019, 3:35pm

Great to hear about American Dirt - I'll have to look out for it.

251EllaTim
Dec 18, 2019, 5:18pm

>227 msf59: Great pictures! They looked familiar, and yes, I have seen those owls as well. Years ago, they are rare here, three birds hunting in the fields, in the middle of the day. Beautiful, and I was delighted, so congratulations to you. And yes, it's a kick to see birds like these.

252msf59
Dec 18, 2019, 6:53pm

>249 The_Hibernator: Hi, Rachel. You are not confused at all, my friend. I PMed you.

>250 charl08: A few distractions, the past 2 days, Charlotte, so I am only about a 130 pages into American Dirt but it has been excellent.

>251 EllaTim: Hi, Ella. Glad you like the short-eared owl photos. I am also glad to hear, that you think you may have seen them in the wild. I think they can be seen hunting during the day, but primarily they are dawn and dusk predators.

253msf59
Edited: Dec 18, 2019, 7:28pm





"On paper, the Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada is a resource for thousands of economic records and newspapers of yesteryear. But step inside this research library tucked away in Mexico City’s Centro Histórico, and you’ll find the unassuming home of psychedelic frescoes depicting revolutionary scenes throughout history."

^This research library is mentioned in American Dirt. I have have not been to Mexico City. Has anyone been there?

254katiekrug
Dec 18, 2019, 7:21pm

I've been to Mexico City (which is definitely worth a visit!) - wish I'd known about this place!

255msf59
Dec 18, 2019, 7:29pm

>254 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie. I know the vast city is riddled with poverty, but it also offers much beauty. I hope to get there someday. Thanks, for chiming in.

256msf59
Edited: Dec 18, 2019, 7:34pm



159) The Alice Network by Kate Quinn 4 stars

“I was in a car with an ex-convict and an ex-spy, barreling down on an unknown future- if that wasn't a set of mathematical variables that equaled adventure, I didn't know what was.”

"Poetry is like passion--it should not be merely pretty; it should overwhelm and bruise.”

In 1915, Eve Gardiner was recruited as a spy, and joined the Alice Network, a ring based in occupied France, to keep tab on the Germans.
In 1947, Europe, in the tumultuous aftermath of WWII, we are introduced to Charlie St. Clair, an American, who is pregnant, unmarried and in search of her beloved cousin, who disappeared in, Nazi-occupied France. Charlie crosses paths, with Eve, who is living in London, as a drunken, broken-down ex-spy. How these two, team together to face a dangerous past and a precarious future, is the heart of this fun, entertaining, espionage novel.

257brenzi
Dec 18, 2019, 8:59pm

>256 msf59: Heh I didn't realize it was an espionage novel Mark. I know Joe loved this one too so I may read it next year which is only a couple of week away. Gah! How did that happen already??

258benitastrnad
Dec 19, 2019, 5:34am

Hello! From Augsburg, Germany. I got in here yesterday and went to the Christmas Market last night. The town looks lovely. Full of Christmas lights and decorations. It is good to be here. My friends come in today and tomorrow we will be joined by my German friends. I decided to stay in this morning and read. My hotel is beautiful in that distinctly European way and I am happy to sit and linger over a big German breakfast and a nice quiet morning to recover my time equilibrium.

Last night I met a really nice man at the Christmas Market. We were both listenting to two young boys who were playing Christmas music on trumpets. These guys were about 10 years old (one older, one younger) and they were so cute. The man walked up and put some money in their basket. When he turned around he had the most magnificiant mustache I have seen in a long time. It was not a handlebar mustache, but long and amazing. He was dressed in a loden green wool coat with that Bavarian top hat, so I thought he was Bavarian. I complemented him on his mustache. We struck up a conversation and he told me he was from Switzerland. He and his wife were in Augsburg celebrating his birthday. Every year they go to one German Christmas market for a couple of days to celebrate his birthday. This year it was Augsburg’s turn. It was great fun to talk to him and I do have to say that it is Christmas in Germany. There are decorations everywhere.

259msf59
Dec 19, 2019, 6:31am

>257 brenzi: Hi, Bonnie. I think there is plenty for you to enjoy in, The Alice Network. A lot of it, I did not know about, especially the WWI angle.

>258 benitastrnad: Guten Tag, Frau Benita! It sounds like you are having a wonderful time in Deutschland. I think I popped into Augsburg, a time or two, while I was stationed there. I am glad you are making friends, with men with large handlebar mustaches. Grins...Have a beer yet? Dumb question?

260alphaorder
Dec 19, 2019, 7:13am

Morning Mark!

Ann Patchett recommends American Dirt! https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/19/books/review/inside-the-list-ann-patchett.htm...

Also good to see Hope Jahren has a new book coming out. I hadn't known that.

261karenmarie
Dec 19, 2019, 7:34am

'Morning, Mark, and Sweet Thursday to you.

I've been to Mexico City but even though I was in my 50s at the time was told that I shouldn't go out alone. The hotel I was in was hosting a conference I was attending so was inside for 3 days except for one foray out with a male coworker. I'd have loved to have seen La Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada.

262msf59
Dec 19, 2019, 7:53am

>260 alphaorder: Morning, Nancy. I am not at all surprised that Patchett loved American Dirt. I am too. I hope to get to the halfway point, by the end of the day.

>261 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Thanks for chiming in, on your Mexico City visit. I would love to visit that city, one of these days. There is no question, that there are dangerous places, throughout the country, especially cartel related.

263mdoris
Edited: Dec 19, 2019, 12:07pm

>253 msf59: I am reading Paul Theroux's new book about Mexico On the Plain of Snakes and REALLY enjoying it. There is a section on Mexico City but I have not been there myself but almost feel that I have with his wonderful descriptions. Theroux drives from the borderlands south on his own and has many observations, experiences and adventures (some quite scary). At the time he was 78. There is quite the focus on the borderlands (the wall) and what the U..S. is to the Mexican people.

264jnwelch
Dec 19, 2019, 3:31pm

Sweet Thursday, Mark. Congratulations on seeing the short-eared owl and being able to watch it hunt for quite a while. I can just picture it.

I'm glad American Dirt is looking like a winner for you. Can't wait until it comes out in January for mere mortals. I finished another Georgette Heyer (Charity Girl), and now I'm going to give The Man Who Planted Trees a try. It has many enthusiastic fans.

Oh, I just finished a surprisingly good Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass GN - the reason it's a good one is it's written by Mariko Tamaki. My poetry book is Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed, which won the National Book Award last year. So far it's not ringing the bell for me, but we'll see.

Stay warm! We're looking forward to going to much warmer Galveston next week.

265msf59
Dec 19, 2019, 4:59pm

>263 mdoris: Hi, Mary. Good to see you. Thanks for the heads up on the new Theroux book. Sounds good and I haven't read him in a few years.

>264 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. I am still buzzing over seeing the SEO. I hope to see more, this winter season.

I am loving American Dirt. It is shaping up to be a top read of the year for me. Not familiar with The Man Who Planted Trees. Sounds like my cuppa. Harley Quinn sounds good too. Also on the GN front, I started Laura Dean which I am enjoying.

266jessibud2
Dec 19, 2019, 5:00pm

I read The Man Who Planted Trees many moons ago but it was a keeper and is still on my shelf.

267msf59
Dec 19, 2019, 7:10pm

>266 jessibud2: Hi, Shelley. Good to see you. Thanks for chiming in on The Man Who Planted Trees. I will have to add that one to my list. Sounds like a good fit for me.

268msf59
Edited: Dec 19, 2019, 7:17pm



"Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland, in this stunning new standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane Harper."

^I really enjoyed The Dry. I like Harper's atmospheric writing and how she makes the Outback a living, breathing character. The Lost Man has received plenty of good reviews, through the year, so I am glad I am finally starting the audio. I am three hours in and it is keeping my attention.

269Familyhistorian
Dec 19, 2019, 8:13pm

>268 msf59: I found The Lost Man to be very different from her series, Mark. Good but different.

270Berly
Dec 20, 2019, 2:31am

Just popping in to say Hi!!

271msf59
Dec 20, 2019, 6:31am

>269 Familyhistorian: I agree with you, on The Lost Man, Meg. It does have a different tone but I am enjoying it.

>270 Berly: Happy Friday, Kimmers! Great to see you.

272PaulCranswick
Dec 20, 2019, 7:11am

>268 msf59: I, like you, really enjoyed The Dry but the follow-up in the series not so much and I abandoned it. I hope The Lost Man is a return to form.

273jnwelch
Dec 20, 2019, 8:24am

I was not a big fan of The Lost Man, but I did enjoy The Dry. I'm glad you're reading Laura Dean! I hope you enjoy it. Debbi's reading it, too.

I've got an Inspector Morse mystery going now, along with the others, and then I plan to read American Spy. Did you read that one? It sure sounds good.

Happy Friday, buddy. At least we have a clear sky; stay warm out there.

274msf59
Dec 20, 2019, 9:38am

>272 PaulCranswick: Hi, Paul. Good to see you. I have heard that the follow up, to The Dry was somewhat weak, but I will probably give it a go, at some point. The Lost Man is off to a solid start.

>273 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. I have a feeling I will enjoy The Lost Man, a bit more than you. I want to get back to Laura Dean. I have put her aside for a few days.

It is shaping up to be a pretty decent day out here. No complaints.

275Carmenere
Dec 20, 2019, 10:10am

Good Friday to you, Mark! Every time my eyes see the name Laura Dean, my brain sees Laura Dern.
Yeah, ya got me with The Lost Man, I need to read more related to that corner of the world.

276richardderus
Dec 20, 2019, 10:38am

Happy Friday, Mark, and a weekend of delights this Sunday and Monday.

277msf59
Dec 20, 2019, 10:43am

>275 Carmenere: Hi, Lynda. Are you reading any GNs? If not give Lauran Dern, I mean, Laura Dean a try.

Glad I sparked interest in you, reading The Lost Man, but also put The Dry on your list. Also pretty impressive.

>276 richardderus: Hey, RD. Good to see you. I do work Monday, but I am very fortunate to have Tuesday, Wednesday off, this time around. And the weather will be mild. Win, Win!!

278richardderus
Dec 20, 2019, 10:46am

Well, two in a row is good no matter what.

279BLBera
Dec 20, 2019, 12:34pm

>256 msf59: This does sound interesting, Mark. I hope you are not too weighed down at this time of year.

280msf59
Dec 20, 2019, 7:51pm

>278 richardderus: Absolutely, Richard! Amen!

>279 BLBera: I think you will like The Alice Network, Beth. And no, the volume was pretty light this week.

281Familyhistorian
Dec 20, 2019, 10:01pm

Ah, clear skies, I remember those. You finally got me with all the talk of Laura Dean. I'm now on the hold list.

282msf59
Dec 21, 2019, 6:38am

>281 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. Another nice one today, sunny, mid-40s. I will take it. Laura Dean is a good read. I NEED to get back to it.

283alphaorder
Dec 21, 2019, 7:04am

Morning Mark! Have a good day out there! Glad the weather is decent.

I am up early. The house is quiet. So I may just start The Yellow House.

284msf59
Dec 21, 2019, 7:12am

>283 alphaorder: Morning, Nancy. I like waking up early and having a quiet house to myself. Unfortunately, there was a glitch in my audio of The Yellow House and it froze up, in the last hour or so. I have been listening to snippets of it, on my laptop but I am going to see if I can get the print version from the library, just to finish it up. I hope you start it. I am sure you will love it.

285karenmarie
Dec 21, 2019, 9:02am

‘Morning, Mark, and happy Saturday to you!

>268 msf59: I really enjoyed The Lost Man. I’ve read her other two books and so far she’s 3-for-3 with me. I actually read The Dry first, loved it, then went back to the first in the series, then the standalone. Have fun!

>284 msf59: Early morning quiet time is wonderful. I remember craving it when I still worked, but it’s still a pleasure to have a cup of coffee going and watch it gradually get light and lighter all by myself.

286msf59
Dec 21, 2019, 10:40am

>285 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Thanks for chiming in on the Jane Harper books. I am enjoying The Lost Man. And hooray for quiet time in the A.M. I can't wait to experience this regularly.

287jnwelch
Dec 21, 2019, 11:30am

Happy Saturday, Mark. Another pretty good one - clear and not too cold.

All is well here. I've got to get my act together and wrap some presents. I need to jump the queue with Bowie: An Illustrated Life by Maria Hesse (the author of the excellent Frida Kahlo: An Illustrated Life). I want to return it to the library before we take off for Galveston.

Have a great day, buddy.

288weird_O
Dec 21, 2019, 12:25pm

Getting down to it, Mark. I gotta stop reading the books I got for our kids and grandkids and start wrapping them. But reading those YA books sure does bolster the numbers as the reading year ends. Yipeee!

289richardderus
Dec 21, 2019, 3:39pm

Soviet Santa says "Happy Yule!" Solstice Greetings to all. Read more here: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/soviet-santa

290msf59
Dec 21, 2019, 6:25pm

>287 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. It was a very nice day in Chicagoland. I wish I could have been walking the trails instead of the streets. I am also interested in the Bowie GN. I am sure you will supply the appropriate nudge. Hooray, for the upcoming trip.

>288 weird_O: Hi, Bill. It sounds like reading the kid's books, pulled you out of your reading funk. High-Five! Now, get wrapping!

>289 richardderus: Hey, RD. I did not know this about Soviet Santa. I just scanned the article and it sounds very interesting. Not like our, dull, sanitized version. Thanks for sharing.

291Familyhistorian
Dec 21, 2019, 6:29pm

>282 msf59: Was it a work Saturday or a fun Saturday, Mark? Either way I hope it went well. I cracked the covers of The Nichol Boys last night. Looks like it is going to be a good one.

292msf59
Edited: Dec 21, 2019, 6:46pm



160) Later, at the Bar: A Novel in Stories by Rebecca Barry 4 stars

“But it was daytime. The sun was out and the rules were different. He dropped his eyes and they passed each other without speaking, the way people who drink at the same place often do once they step out of the bar and into the world.”

“Across the street she could see the mourners staggering out of the lodge, two or three at a time, some singing, one woman weeping. 'Say what you will about drunks,' she said out loud to the dark room around her, 'but no one will love you like they can.'”

I like linked stories and I like drinking, so this collection, centered around Lucy's Tavern, in a small town, in upstate New York, turned out to be a perfect fit for me. The same broken and lovelorn characters, weave in an out of these stories, buying rounds, mooching drinks, and finding someone to go home with, after “last call”. My friends know, I love my craft beer and an occasional cocktail, but drinking on this level, with this kind of reckless abandon, has no appeal for me, but I sure like reading about it. Another round, bartender!

*Thanks to Katie & Joe for putting this on my radar.


293msf59
Dec 21, 2019, 6:50pm

>291 Familyhistorian: It was a work Saturday, Meg, but it went smoothly, plus it was a beautiful winter's day. Hooray, for starting The Nickel Boys. One of my favorite books of the year.

294EBT1002
Dec 21, 2019, 10:38pm

>201 msf59: Truly beautiful. May the next photo like that be yours. :-)

Okay, Later, At the Bar is on my wish list. It sounds like my cuppa as I also like linked stories and, um, drinking.

295karenmarie
Dec 22, 2019, 6:37am

'Morning, Mark! Happy Sunday to you. A nice quiet day is planned here in central NC. Is today a work day for you?

296msf59
Dec 22, 2019, 7:09am

>294 EBT1002: Aloha, Ellen. I would love to get a clear shot, of any owl. They are so elusive, it is amazing when folks come up with such incredible photos.

I am sure you would have a good time with, Later, at the Bar.

>295 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. It is Sunday, so it is an off day. It will be a book and football kind of day. Looking forward to it.

297msf59
Edited: Dec 22, 2019, 8:20am





161) The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane 4.5 stars

This is a gorgeous picture book, celebrating a bond between nature and poetry, along with magnifying the importance of words. The words are written by Macfarlane and the brilliant illustrations are by Jackie Morris. Talk about a perfect pairing. If you would like to spend some time, with an smile lighting up your face, give this lovely edition a try.

**Thanks again, to my precious LT pals for turning me on to this one. I am seeing a trend here. Grins...

298msf59
Edited: Dec 22, 2019, 8:18am



299jnwelch
Dec 22, 2019, 9:31am

Good reviews! I love that one of Later, at the Bar. Thumb a-comin'!

As you expected, you got me with The Lost Words. Beautiful illustrations. We'll see; that may be a post-holiday present to myself, as for some reason relatives like to give me book-related gift cards. Go figure.

Consider this a nudge for Bowie: An Illustrated Life by Maria Hesse. It's surprisingly (to me, anyway) frank and informative, and her illustrations are lively and engaging, as they were in her Frida Kahlo: An Illustrated Life. As I said to Debbi, a couple of the illustrations seemed goofy to me- e.g., his wife Iman's head has never been round, but I guess that adds up to a big "so what".

I also liked a lot a GN I was a bit leery of - Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass. I reviewed it over on my thread. The reason it's so good: Mariko Tamaki.

Man, in the 50s today? Enjoy! I suspect a stroll and some bird watching may be on the menu?

We've got one of my godsons in town, so we're leaving soon to take him out to breakfast. We're packing today, but I plan to get out in the good weather again one way or another.

300msf59
Dec 22, 2019, 10:01am

>299 jnwelch: Morning, Joe! Glad you like the reviews and I always appreciate the Thumb! The Lost Words would make a lovely gift. I really enjoyed the Kahlo GN, so I will look forward to trying her Bowie one. It does look like a beautiful day. Maybe, i will get out for a stroll.

Have a good time with your Godson.

301SandyAMcPherson
Edited: Dec 22, 2019, 11:15am

>292 msf59: An enticing review.
Also, I'm loving these painterly images from Kingfisher (>298 msf59:) that I've seen here and on a few other 75-er threads.

Merry Yule and Happy 2020!

302msf59
Dec 22, 2019, 12:42pm

>301 SandyAMcPherson: Hi, Sandy! Great to see you stop by. Hooray for the kingfisher! And Happy Holidays to you, too!

303mdoris
Dec 22, 2019, 1:14pm

Thought you might get smitten by The Lost Words.

304Caroline_McElwee
Dec 22, 2019, 1:51pm

>297 msf59: >298 msf59: it's a beautiful book isn't it Mark. I bought it for several folk at Christmas the year it came out.

305msf59
Edited: Dec 22, 2019, 3:48pm

>303 mdoris: >304 Caroline_McElwee: No, surprise, that The Lost Words would be a good fit for me. I plan on starting Macfarlane's, Underland soon. Have have either of you read that one?

306bell7
Dec 22, 2019, 4:02pm

Waving a quick hello, Mark, before the new year rolls in. Hurrah for good books and adding new birds to the life list!

307brenzi
Dec 22, 2019, 6:27pm

>298 msf59: ohhhh that's a beauty Mark.

308msf59
Dec 22, 2019, 6:37pm

>306 bell7: Thanks, Mary. Good to see you. Yes, it has been a fine year for books and birds, my friend.

>307 brenzi: It is a quick read, if you are interested, Bonnie. Just sayin'...

309mdoris
Dec 22, 2019, 8:01pm

>305 msf59: Underland is a rare book for me because I purchased it. i am an almost exclusive library user. I started it and then got swamped with library books so had to put it aside. It is top of the list to complete in 2020 though. P read it and really liked it.

310Caroline_McElwee
Dec 22, 2019, 9:13pm

>303 mdoris: it's in the tbr mountain Mark, but not started yet.

311DeltaQueen50
Dec 23, 2019, 1:58am

Hi Mark. It's been awhile since I've visited so I've been catching up and taking a couple of book bullets as both The Yellow House and American Dirt sound interesting. I came by to wish you a happy holiday.

312EBT1002
Dec 23, 2019, 2:53am

>297 msf59: and >298 msf59: That book looks gorgeous!!!!! Like Joe and others, I'm thinking that may need to be a gift to myself. For no particular occasion. Heh.

313karenmarie
Dec 23, 2019, 5:36am

'Morning, Mark, and happy Monday to you.

314msf59
Dec 23, 2019, 6:30am

>309 mdoris: Well, then I hope it lives up to your expectations, Mary. I start it this week.

>310 Caroline_McElwee: That unforgiving and relentless, TBR Mountain, eh, Caroline. I know it, well.

>311 DeltaQueen50: Hi, Judy. Well, at least I got you with a couple of deadly BBs. Both The Yellow House & American Dirt will end up being 5 star reads or very close to it.

>312 EBT1002: Hi, Ellen. Yep, The Lost Words would be a lovely gift, for yourself or another book lover.

>313 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Big waves!

315jnwelch
Dec 23, 2019, 8:20am

Have a great holiday, buddy. We're off to the airport soon.

316ChelleBearss
Dec 23, 2019, 9:30am



Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family!

317msf59
Dec 23, 2019, 10:42am

>315 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. Happy Holidays with the family and safe travels.

>316 ChelleBearss: Merry Christmas, Chelle. Great to see you, my friend. I have missed your visits.

318Familyhistorian
Dec 23, 2019, 1:05pm

The Lost Words is a beautiful book, isn't it Mark? I hope your day is treating you well and it will be a short week.

319vivians
Dec 23, 2019, 4:26pm

>285 karenmarie: I'm with Karen on Jane Harper - I enjoyed all 3 of hers and an hoping for more! Thanks for the heads up about American Dirt -I'm adding it to my library queue. Best wishes for a merry Christmas!

320msf59
Dec 23, 2019, 5:28pm

>318 Familyhistorian: I may purchase a copy of The Lost Words but if I don't, I will most likely revisit it, Meg. Lovely book.

>319 vivians: Great to see you, Vivian. I can not wait to see what my book pals think of American Dirt. I just finished it. 5 stars, baby!

321Storeetllr
Dec 23, 2019, 10:11pm

Hi, Mark - It's been awhile since I've been on LT, and I may not be getting back in the next day or two, so I wanted to be sure and wish you a very Merry Christmas and

322msf59
Dec 24, 2019, 7:16am

>321 Storeetllr: Merry Christmas, Mary! Great to see you. Hope to see you around more often next year.

323Storeetllr
Dec 24, 2019, 10:58am

Thanks, Mark! I've missed the 75ers. It's been a busy year, what with moving (twice!), granny-nannying (pics of my "boss" are in my Gallery), and getting used to New York, but I hope next year calms down some so I can maybe have time to make a 2020 thread.

324SandDune
Dec 24, 2019, 11:35am



Or in other words, Happy Christmas! And have a great New Year as well.

325karenmarie
Edited: Dec 24, 2019, 12:40pm

'Morning, Mark! Happy Christmas Eve to you. Enjoy your time off.

326Berly
Dec 24, 2019, 12:32pm

>314 msf59: My RL Bookclub #1 chose Yellow House for our February read--glad it is a winner for you! Off to the store for some last minute ingredients and then I will be cooking for tonight's Christmas Eve family dinner. Hopefully I can get back to books sometime soon. ; )

327quondame
Dec 24, 2019, 12:36pm

Have a comfy, caring, and very

Merry Christmas!

328richardderus
Dec 24, 2019, 2:59pm

Eat, drink and be merry!

329msf59
Dec 24, 2019, 3:12pm

Thanks, Sandy, Karen, Kim, Susan & Richard. Seasons Greetings, to you all!

>323 Storeetllr: I definitely miss, our book chatter, Mary. Fingers crossed, for next year.

>326 Berly: I think The Yellow House will be a perfect Book Club read, Kimmers!

330EllaTim
Dec 24, 2019, 5:34pm

Here's a fitting book to wish you a Very Merry Christmas!



Happy holidays to you and yours, Mark.

331Caroline_McElwee
Edited: Dec 24, 2019, 5:55pm


Merry Christmas Mark. May the new year be full of birdy sightings.

332mahsdad
Dec 24, 2019, 8:04pm

Merry Christmas! Thanks for all the bookishness this year!

333EBT1002
Dec 25, 2019, 1:50am



Merry Christmas to you and the whole family, Mark.

334Caroline_McElwee
Dec 25, 2019, 4:28am

I thought you might enjoy this Mark:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50822772

335msf59
Dec 25, 2019, 7:58am

Thanks, Ella, Caroline, Jeff & Ellen. Happy Holidays to you all!

>334 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks for sharing the bird/tagging link, Caroline. Very interesting. Maybe, this is something I could learn, after I retire.

336streamsong
Edited: Dec 25, 2019, 12:13pm

Merry Christmas from Montana!



337msf59
Dec 25, 2019, 1:07pm

Merry Christmas, Janet!!

338msf59
Edited: Dec 25, 2019, 1:17pm



"This is a gripping, historically accurate account of that infamous hunt, which decimated the bison population to near extinction, and the story of a moment in our history in which mass destruction of an animal population was seen as the only route to economic solvency."

Okay, I started a story collection, Why, Why, Why? and it just was not clicking for me, so I will stamp it a very rare, DNF and I quickly moved onto Savage Country, which is an ALA selection, I have had on shelf forever. It begins well. A gritty western. I liked his earlier novel, Coal Black Horse and have wanted to read more of his work.

339mdoris
Dec 25, 2019, 2:11pm

All the best to you and family Mark. Look forward to lots of book talks in 2020!

340PaulCranswick
Dec 25, 2019, 9:26pm



Thank you for keeping me company in 2019.......onward to 2020.

341ronincats
Dec 25, 2019, 10:33pm

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, some other tradition or none at all, this is what I wish for you!

342AMQS
Dec 26, 2019, 2:16am




Merry Christmas to you and your family!

343msf59
Dec 26, 2019, 6:28am

Thanks, Mary, Paul, Roni & Anne! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

344msf59
Edited: Dec 26, 2019, 7:03am



"An exploration of the Earth’s underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.
In this sequel to The Old Ways, Macfarlane takes us on an journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind."

I have been having issues with my iPod Nano, the past week or so, mostly holding a battery charge. I may have to look for another device. I would rather not use my cellphone. Any Recommendations?. All that said, I will be starting, (or trying to start) Underland, which will probably be my last audiobook or the year. I didn't realize this was a sequel until now, so I will have to look into that one, as well. I recently read and enjoyed Macfarlane's lovely picture book, The Lost Words.

345scaifea
Dec 26, 2019, 8:44am

>344 msf59: Ooooh, that one sounds really interesting. I'll have to put it and the first one on the list.

I hope you had a great Christmas, Mark! Are you right back to work today?

346karenmarie
Dec 26, 2019, 9:57am

'Morning, Mark! Happy Thursday to you. What >345 scaifea: Amber said, are you back at work today?

347msf59
Dec 26, 2019, 10:41am

Morning, Amber & Karen. Yep, I had a very nice Christmas and yes, I am back to work today. Beautiful weather, though. I could go in shirtsleeves.

>345 scaifea: Underland is off to a very interesting start. Super smart guy.

348drneutron
Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 3:16pm

calm and I could use some friends over here in this new joint...

The 2020 Group is up!

349The_Hibernator
Dec 26, 2019, 12:47pm

Merry Christmas Mark! I should start putting the photo of the author of the book I'm reading too. Perhaps I'll start doing that in 2020. Glad you enjoyed my Christmas swap books!

350lindapanzo
Dec 26, 2019, 1:05pm

Hi Mark, hope you had a wonderful Christmas!! No books/Amazon gift cards in my stocking this year though I did get several Santa Thing Kindle books a few days ago.

351brenzi
Dec 26, 2019, 1:20pm

Hi Mark, hope you had a great Christmas with your family and Happy New Year. May the books be plentiful and excellent.

352richardderus
Dec 26, 2019, 1:22pm

Hi Mark! It's not a Nano, and isn't on the small scale of suchlike, but I myownself think the Fire tablet with earbuds would do everything you could ask of a multifunction device, and given that you're seldom out of the range of a good set of earbuds would be a great daily-use device. Hikes and so forth could be handled by the phone.

Have a great Boxing Day.

353Familyhistorian
Dec 26, 2019, 8:33pm

>344 msf59: I didn't realize that Underland was a sequel, Mark. Since I have read the first book, The Old Ways, I should probably read this one as well.

354Donna828
Dec 26, 2019, 9:49pm

Mark, I didn't get any books in my Christmas stocking; however, I just requested both Underland and The Lost Words from the library. Santa must know my bookshelves are full and my stack on the floor is getting dangerous!

Aren't you loving this spring weather in late December? It got up to 70 degrees here yesterday. I hope you and your family had a wonderful celebration. I am waiting for my son and family to get in from Colorado tonight. Daughter and family will arrive tomorrow. Party on!

355weird_O
Dec 26, 2019, 10:26pm

Underland is one of only 17 books I got for Christmas this year. Oh, Lordy! Such riches. I been blessed.

356Berly
Edited: Dec 27, 2019, 12:29am

Best wishes this holiday season to my favorite mail man!! I actually got real paper Christmas cards out this year. Trying ot keep you employed. ; ) You know I'll be seeing you around the threads in 2020!


357msf59
Dec 27, 2019, 6:27am

>348 drneutron: Hi, Jim. You know I will be starting my 2020 thread soon. Thanks for all you do.

>349 The_Hibernator: Hi, Rachel. I like putting the author's photo on my book previews. It helps put a face to the book, for me, instead of an unknown being. i sure loved the books you picked for me. I keep forgetting to post that photo over here.

>350 lindapanzo: Hi, Linda. Great to see you over here. Glad you got some Kindle books, at least.

>351 brenzi: Hi, Bonnie. We had a nice holiday and we spent the evening with Bree and Sean, again last night. Fun times.

358msf59
Dec 27, 2019, 6:34am

>352 richardderus: Hey, RD. Thanks so much for chiming in on an audio device for me. The Fire tablet sounds great and I have considered it before, but I NEED something very portable. I need to be able to tuck it into my shirt pocket and be able to click it off, at a moment's notice. I will start exploring options with my android cellphone, though. I just don't want to suck up all my data, if I am streaming anything from Audible. Decisions, decisions.

The good news is, my player worked just fine yesterday.

>353 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. It looks like I will be looking for The Old Ways, for sometime down the road. I like Macfarlane's style.

359msf59
Dec 27, 2019, 6:59am

>354 Donna828: Hi, Donna. I hope you had a great holiday with the family, despite the dearth of gift books. Glad to see we sparked your interest in Macfarlane, and yes, I am loving the weather. It topped off, at about 62 yesterday. Crazy for late December, but I will gladly take it.

>355 weird_O: 17 books? Your family knows you well, Bill. That is a terrific haul. I will have to stop over.

>356 Berly: Thanks, Kimmers and I appreciate you doing your part for the postal service, with sending out cards. I have been sending out about a dozen or so.

360alphaorder
Dec 27, 2019, 7:16am

Hi Mark -

Glad for the nice weather for you. It is a bit bizarre, I must say. We had a campfire in the backyard on Christmas Day!

Sam got me up early so I decided to stay up on my day off to do a little reading. 2.5 to go to get to 100! We're heading to Madison today for my brother's annual visit and to see some cousins.

I haven't forgotten that I have a book for you; I just haven't made it to the PO yet. A treat for the new year.

Have a great day Mark!

361karenmarie
Dec 27, 2019, 7:31am

'Morning, Mark! Happy Friday to you. I hope the crazy weather continues for you. I have my first cup of coffee and am going to finish my book before my family gets up and we let the kitties out.

362msf59
Dec 27, 2019, 9:23am

>360 alphaorder: Morning, Nancy. Have a great day in Madison, with the family and enjoy your long weekend. You have nearly 5 days to read those remaining 2.5 books. You can do it!!

>361 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Much cooler today, with heavy cloud cover, at the moment, but still nothing to whine about.

363Berly
Dec 27, 2019, 3:10pm

>359 msf59: Hopefully you got yours from me. : )

364laytonwoman3rd
Dec 27, 2019, 4:01pm

Just dropping this here, where I hope many will see it---in case you want to get a head start on the 2020 AAC, the Charles Frazier thread is live.

365Familyhistorian
Dec 27, 2019, 5:36pm

Sounds like your weather is treating you well, Mark, which is good since you have to be out in it. Do you have much time off around New Years?

366msf59
Dec 27, 2019, 7:07pm

>363 Berly: I do not think I have got your card yet, Kim. Sad face...

>364 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks, Linda. I have it starred.

>365 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. It was seasonably chilly today, but I can't really complain. My regular day off, falls on New Year's Day this time, so I will be off Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Yah!!

367katiekrug
Dec 27, 2019, 9:01pm

Hi Mark - just a note about using your phone for audio books. When you download a book from Audible, and then listen to it, it's not using your data. The only data you might use is to download it, but you can do that when connected to wifi at home or wherever.

368charl08
Dec 28, 2019, 5:53am

>367 katiekrug: Yes, this is how I listen to audible - and podcasts - download at home on the wifi and then walk with them stored on the phone. The android app has a handy "car" option that simplifies the control screen too (I just pull out the headphones).

369msf59
Dec 28, 2019, 6:31am

>367 katiekrug: Thanks so much for that, Katie. I was going to call my cellphone provider and didn't get around to it. Much appreciated.

>368 charl08: Thanks, for confirming, Charlotte.

370karenmarie
Dec 28, 2019, 9:47am

'Morning, Mark! Happy Saturday to you. Yay for light work loads and yay for both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day off next week.

I've decided that I'm going to finish up 2019 book-wise with recording the number of pages read on 3 books, tag them abandoned, and put them back on my shelves so except for A Tale of Two Cities for my January Book club discussion, I'll have a clean slate for 2020.

371msf59
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 10:38am

Despite the damp chill, the BBS, was hopping this morning - most of the winter residents were present, flitting about, foraging for breakfast. Always puts a smile on my face...

>370 karenmarie: Happy Saturday, Karen. Hooray for clearing the slate and getting ready for 2020. We are still doing Spying on the South, next month, right? I will be ready.

372jnwelch
Dec 28, 2019, 11:03am

Hey, buddy. We're back in town. I hope you've been having a good holiday. It'll take me a while to catch up!

I enjoyed The Man Who Planted Trees and A Christmas Memory, and I'm about in the middle of Girl, Woman, Other, which I think will be a natural for you. My GN is Equinoxes by Cyril Pedrosa, the guy who did the excellent Portugal.

Still a pretty mild December - who would've guessed?

373DeltaQueen50
Dec 28, 2019, 12:28pm

Hi Mark, hope you had an excellent Christmas with your family. Glad to see you enjoy reading Robert Olmstead, he's one of my favorites. And I am excited to see Mary (storeetllr) posting and have my fingers crossed that she does set up a 2020 thread.

374brenzi
Dec 28, 2019, 7:23pm

Ahem.....did I somehow missed your review of American Dirt???****wanders off***

375msf59
Dec 28, 2019, 9:53pm

>372 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. Once again, I have been running around again, after work, with family functions, so no time to stop by. Great to see you. I have The Man Who Planted Trees on the list and I also have a copy of Girl, Woman, Other waiting in the wings. It will be one of the very first books, I will get to in the New Year. Glad you are enjoying it. Yah!

>373 DeltaQueen50: Hi, Judy. I had a very nice Christmas holiday with the family. Thanks. Glad to hear you are a fan of Olmstead. Have you read Savage Country yet? If not, terrific western.

>374 brenzi: Sadly, I have not got around to my mini-review of American Dirt, Bonnie. Sorry to disappoint, but I will get to it soon. I will supply a small teaser- it will probably be 5 stars! An amazing novel.

376msf59
Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 9:17am



163) American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins 5 stars

“In 2017, a migrant died every twenty-one hours along the United States-Mexico border. That number does not include the many migrants that simply disappear each year.”

“It's also true that in 2017, Mexico was the deadliest country in the world to be a journalist. The nationwide murder rate was the highest on record...”

“As Rebecca reveals what scraps of story she does have to Luca, he starts to understand that this is the one thing all migrants have in common, this is the solidarity that exists among them, though they all come from different places and different circumstances..., each of them carries some story of suffering on top of that train and into el norte beyond. “

Lydia Quixano Perez and her eight year old son, are living a comfortable middle-class life in Acapulco. Her husband is a crusading journalist and Lydia owns a bookstore. On one fateful afternoon, during a family celebration, Lydia's world upends in a horrific event and she finds herself fleeing, with her son, from a vengeful and ruthless drug lord. This is in the opening pages, and will leave the reader shaken. The rest of the story follows the mother and son, as they make their way north to the U.S. with danger on their heels at every waking moment. The suspense and terror never flag, but they also bond with many other migrants, on the same precarious mission.
I think this is a perfect novel. The writing is incredible, along with the pacing and character development. I believe it also succeeds, in putting a face on these desperate people. It is easy to sit here in the comfy north, and shake our heads at “walls” and “caravans” but the author reminds us here, that these are living, breathing human beings, trying to make a life for themselves, despite the harrowing odds.

**This will be released on Jan 21st. Pre-order it, or put in your library holds now. That is an order.

377karenmarie
Dec 29, 2019, 8:37am

Happy Sunday to you, Mark! I hope you have a good day.

>371 msf59: Thanks for the reminder. I have it written down in my 2020 desk calendar, but haven't thought about it for a while. Do we want a group read thread or just wing it?

378msf59
Dec 29, 2019, 8:43am

>377 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. I say we wing it, with Spying on the South. I know there are several other challenges going on next month, why add to them. I will keep it in my audio queue, so just let me know, when you are ready.

379alphaorder
Dec 29, 2019, 8:56am

>376 msf59:

As you know American Dirt was easily one of my top reads for 2019. You captured how I felt about it too.

If anyone is planning on picking it up from their local indie, please do pre-order. It helps them and publishers. Like Mark, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

380msf59
Dec 29, 2019, 9:21am

>379 alphaorder: Morning, Nancy. I am glad I found some time to review American Dirt, which should easily make my best fiction of the year list. I hope my warbling pays off. Yep, buy local indie! Great advice.

**Visit me, on my 2020 thread, which I just finished constructing.

381kidzdoc
Dec 29, 2019, 9:58am

Great review of American Dirt, Mark. I just heard about this book yesterday, so I'll look for it in my favorite local independent bookshop next month.

382msf59
Dec 29, 2019, 11:32am

>381 kidzdoc: Thanks, Darryl. American Dirt is a truly great novel. I hope my warbling pays off.

383alphaorder
Dec 29, 2019, 11:38am

>380 msf59: I will visit your thread! I am not starting mine until I finish my 100 books!

384mdoris
Dec 29, 2019, 12:47pm

>376 msf59: Great review of American Dirt Mark and the book is now top of my list. I think you will like Theroux's new book about Mexico. Books about the border that I found amazing were Jaguar's Children by John Vaillant (a novel) and Coyotes: A Journey Through the Secret World of America's Illegal Aliens (NF) by Ted Conover (now an older book but still interesting I think).

385jnwelch
Dec 29, 2019, 1:02pm

I love that review of American Dirt, Mark. Thumb from me, and I can't wait to read it.

As I mentioned over on my thread, Girl, Woman, Other has gone from "good" to "really good", and I've got a lot left to read. I know you've already got it; you'll be happy with it, I'm sure.

386brenzi
Dec 29, 2019, 1:16pm

>376 msf59: I can only assume I nudged that great review out of you Mark lol. It's been on my request list for some time now so I hope I get it at the end of the month. Thumb!

387streamsong
Dec 29, 2019, 2:02pm

>376 msf59: Pre-requested from the library as ordered, sir!

I still have a few more books that I'd like to finish and review on my 2019 thread.

And... I need a topper.

And ....I have no idea what if any challenges I may participate in. I like to put them in my thread.

Two days yet! Plenty of time to sort out my life!

388lauralkeet
Dec 29, 2019, 2:17pm

>376 msf59: put in your library holds now. That is an order.
Yes boss! Done!

389Familyhistorian
Dec 29, 2019, 6:41pm

Good to see your book warbling and projected time off Mark. Hope your weather continues to be on the mild side.

390msf59
Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 7:01pm

>383 alphaorder: How did you reading go today, Nancy? Fingers crossed.

>384 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. I am happy with the review and it looks like a few BBs landed on folks. Yah!! Thanks for the reminder on Jaguar's Children. I have been wanting to read that one forever. I LOVED his tiger book.

>385 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. Thanks for the Thumb, on American Dirt. I want the word to get around on that one. Great news, about Girl, Woman, Other. I should be starting that in a week or less.

391msf59
Dec 29, 2019, 7:07pm

>386 brenzi: Your nudge, definitely helped me on, crafting my mini-review on American Dirt. I appreciate the Thumb, my friend. I am sure you will love the book, once you get to it.

>387 streamsong: Hi, Janet. I love the way you follow orders. Grins...It looks like you have some work to do, wrapping up your old thread and starting a fresh one. Good luck.

>388 lauralkeet: It looks like my work here is done, Laura. Saunters off into the dusk, whistling softly...

>389 Familyhistorian: I still got those warbling chops, Meg. I can't wait to see what my book pals think of that novel. Balmy day here, today, but back to cold the next 2 days. Nothing to complain about though.

392katiekrug
Dec 29, 2019, 8:30pm

Oh, yes, do read Jaguar's Children, Mark! It is excellent.

393weird_O
Dec 29, 2019, 8:43pm

I sure hope you watched Dem Bears slip out of the Vikings' grasp, Mark. A win to build on next season. The Iggles did good, locking up their division and securing a playoff spot.

I spent a good part of the day gathering my end o' the year reading stats, musing about the best of those books I read, yahda yahda. That and thinking about which of the books, ALL of which are demanding to be read FIRST, I might get to in 2020. I keep looking at that stack of new books I got for Christmas; not a one of them is a dog. Wowee!!

You working the next couple of days? Stay warm, my friend.

394karenmarie
Dec 30, 2019, 8:19am

Hi Mark and happy Monday to you. Brrr! You do have winter weather, don't you?

>378 msf59: Will do.

395richardderus
Dec 30, 2019, 8:58am

Happy Monday. It really feels like the Moon's Day outside, watery pale light and the air lookin' grey and grim.

So glad I won't be forced to go out in it.

396msf59
Dec 30, 2019, 10:58am

>392 katiekrug: That is right, Katie. I do recall your warbling on Jaguar. Glad to see it back on my radar.

>393 weird_O: Hey, Bill. I did not watch the Bears win. I was on a dune hike. Disappointing season for them. I am happy for your Eagles, though.

I also want to start compliling my best of the year books.

397msf59
Dec 30, 2019, 10:59am

>394 karenmarie: >395 richardderus: Morning, Karen & Richard. Damp, chilly and breezy out here today, but really nothing to complain about. At least, I should stay dry.

398charl08
Dec 30, 2019, 12:42pm

>376 msf59: Well, I may be late but adding American Dirt to the wishlist.

Can I check you've read Tell me how it ends? Same theme. Also good writing. Apologies if you've read it already though!

399richardderus
Dec 30, 2019, 1:01pm

So! The new theme is up! Y'all got plenty interested when I asked which of the two themes, the Ladies of Science Fiction or the year 1960 in the world's doings, so I'm happy to announce the decision:

It's the Ladies of Science Fiction...AND 1960 in Kulcher. Each month I'll alternate between the themes. This thread, it's Andre Norton, and I focus on her 1960 book Storm Over Warlock. January's thread(s) will all be Ladies. February's will be the year 1960 in some way or shape or form...whatever is bright and shiny and catches my eye. A lot happened that year in politics and film and business, so...well...it's fertile ground.

Come take a look!

400jnwelch
Dec 30, 2019, 1:35pm

Hey, buddy. Just checking in. I'm glad you have the next two days off!

We're off to see the Bulls play a strong Milwaukee team tonight. They've been playing better recently, so I'm hoping they can put up a good fight.

401m.belljackson
Dec 30, 2019, 2:21pm

Giannis!

402msf59
Dec 30, 2019, 6:03pm

>398 charl08: You are never too late to catch a BB around here, Charlotte. You should love American Dirt. I have read and really enjoyed Tell Me How It Ends, but I forgot all about it. It was about 2 years ago. I also had forgot that she went on to write Lost Children Archive, which I also loved this year. Man, I am getting old.

>399 richardderus: Hooray for choosing both themes, Richard. I think alternating months, will be perfect.

>400 jnwelch: Hey, Joe. Have a great time at the game tonight. Go Bulls!

>401 m.belljackson: Giannis??

403m.belljackson
Edited: Dec 31, 2019, 11:32am

Antetokounmpo!

404karenmarie
Dec 31, 2019, 6:50am

'Morning, Mark! Happy New Year's Eve. Party plans? We're going to be quiet as mice here at home, just the three humans and three kitties.

Hope your day is a good one.

405msf59
Dec 31, 2019, 7:26am

>403 m.belljackson: I gotcha now, Marianne, but I had to look up Giannis Antetokounmpo. LOL. I don't follow basketball much, as you can tell. I did see that the Bucks pounded the Bulls pretty good last night. Joe was at the game.

>404 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. No plans for tonight. Sue works until 1230. We might go see Little Women and then go to an early dinner. We are okay with staying in this year.

406jnwelch
Dec 31, 2019, 4:35pm

Happy Last Day of '19, Mark. Marianne's right, Giannis is awesome. Fun to watch, too. We had a great time at the game, even with the Bulls eventually getting pounded (they let down in the third quarter; can't do that). That Milwaukee team will be competing for the championship this year.

Girl, Woman, Other ended up being five stars. Impressive!

I hope you enjoyed Little Women.

407Familyhistorian
Dec 31, 2019, 10:19pm

Enjoy your New Year celebration, Mark.

408weird_O
Dec 31, 2019, 11:11pm

Got some champagne chillin'. When the ball drops, the star blinks out here, Mark. See you next year!