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Mahsdad's (Jeff) 2020 Thread - Q1

75 Books Challenge for 2020

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Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:53pm Top

Welcome to 2020.

So glad to be back in my 8th year in the group. Looking forward to a good year.

If you're new, my name is Jeff. I live in Southern California. I'm an avid reader. My wife might say I'm bordering on the obsessive. But then, I think that could apply to a lot of us in this group. I also enjoy photography, movies, hiking and playing games and hanging out with my family. Book-wise, I have a pretty eclectic taste in what I read and I hope to give you not so much reviews but my impressions about what I read.

What you will find here is mostly my rambling, way too many (according to some :) ) Wishlist and TBR pile temptations and a smattering of my photography. I don't really make a plan for what I'm going to read thru out the year. Its mostly what strikes my fancy from the TBR piles.

2013 Reading Thread
2014 Reading Thread
2015 Reading Thread
2016 Reading Thread
2017 Reading Thread
2018 Reading Thread
2019 Reading Thread

Come on in and sit a spell...

(BTW, if images aren't working try to switch to the non-secure address. HTTP, instead of HTTPS)


Edited: Feb 12, 1:52am Top

2020 Statistics - Q1

A - Audio
ER - Early Review
GN - Graphic Novel
K - Kindle
LL - Life's Library

13. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World - Fredrik Backman (K)
12. Frankenstein in Baghdad - Ahmed Saadawi (A)
11. Parable of the Sower - Octavia Butler (LL)
10. Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie (A)
9. You Have Arrived At Your Destination (Forward) - Amor Towles (K)

8. In Pieces - Sally Field (A)
7. The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Thorton Wilder
6. Last Conversation (Forward) - Paul Tremblay (K)
5. Northern Lights - Tim O'Brien
4. The Waste Lands - Stephen King (A)
3. Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders
2. A People's Future of the United States edited by Victor Lavalle (A)
1. They Called Us Enemy - George Takei (GN)
Favorite : Lincoln in the Bardo

Edited: Feb 11, 7:08pm Top

Audiobook Narrators

Too many to name - A People's Future of the United States
Frank Muller - The Waste Lands
Sally Field - In Pieces
Dan Stevens - Murder on the Orient Express
Edoardo Ballerini - Frankenstein in Baghdad

Edited: Feb 8, 2:17am Top

Life's Library Book Club

Life’s Library was created by John Green and Rosianna Halse Rojas to celebrate two of their favourite things: good books and good communities. Every 6 weeks or so, they send out a new book. Hopefully, from authors that I've never heard of.

Season 2
1. The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler :

Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 3:09pm Top

Early Review Books

- 4
- 18
- 1
- 4
- 1
- 2 (DNF)

Total Won - 38
TBR - 5
Total Read - 28
Didn't Receive - 3
DNF - 2
Not received yet - 0

Top Down - Jim Lehrer -

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere - Julie T. Lamana -
Acts of God- Ellen Gilchrist -
Invisible Beasts - Sharona Muir -
Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie (DNF) -
Dr. Mutter's Marvels - Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz -
The Future for Curious People - Gregory Sherl -
Furious Cool - David Henry -

Get in Trouble - Kelly Link -
He Wanted the Moon - Mimi Baird -
All The Days and Nights - Niven Govinden (Never Received)
Among the Ten Thousand Things - Julia Pierpont -
Tenacity - J.S. Law -
Slade House - David Mitchell -

God of Beer - Garret Keizer -
Dodgers - Bill Beverly -
The Invoice - Jonas Karlsson -
I Am No One - Patrick Flanery -
Souvenirs and Other Stories - Matt Tompkins -
The Sunlight Pilgrims - Jenni Fagan -
The Vegetarian - Han Kang -
Hag-Seed - Margaret Atwood -
Human Acts - Han Kang -
Things We Lost in the Fire - Mariana Enriquez -

New Boy - Tracy Chevalier -
Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker - Gregory Maguire (Never Received)
Strange Weather - Joe Hill -
The Feed - Nick Clark Windo (DNF) -
The Parking Lot Attendant - Nafkote Tamirat -

The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses) - Terri-Lynne DeFino -
Apollo 8: The Mission That Changed Everything - Martin W. Sandler -
Agent of Utopia - Andy Duncan -
Amsterdam Noir - Rene Appel - TBR

Berlin Noir - Thomas Wortche - TBR
Country - Michael Hughes - (Never Received)
Tiny Love - Larry Brown - TBR
Sudden Traveler - Sarah Hall - TBR
The Day I Died - Lori Rader-Day - TBR (Didn't actually win this, it was a freebie)

Edited: Jan 22, 7:34pm Top

Pulitzer's Read

Ongoing bucket list to read all the Pulitzer winning novels. Santa was very good to me this year on this front, so I got plenty to work with

Bold : On the Shelf
Strikeout : Completed

Total Read - 29

2019 - The Overstory
2018 - Less
2017 - Underground Railroad
2016 - The Sympathizer
2015 - All the Light We Cannot See
2014 - The Goldfinch
2013 - The Orphan Master's Son
2012 - NO AWARD
- Swamplandia - Nominee
2011 - A Visit from the Goon Squad
2010 - Tinkers
2009 - Olive Kitterridge
2008 - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
2007 - The Road
2006 - March
2005 - Gilead
2004 - The Known World
2003 - Middlesex
2002 - Empire Falls
2001 - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
2000 - The Interpreter of Maladies
1999 - The Hours
1998 - American Pastoral
1997 - Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
1996 - Independence Day
1995 - The Stone Diaries
1994 - The Shipping News
1993 - A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
1992 - A Thousand Acres
- My Father Bleeds History (Maus) (Special Awards & Citations - Letters)
1991 - Rabbit at Rest
1990 - The Mambo Kings
1989 - Breathing Lessons
1988 - Beloved DNF
1987 - A Summons to Memphis
1986 - Lonesome Dove
1985 - Foreign Affairs
1984 - Ironweed
1983 - The Color Purple
1982 - Rabbit is Rich
1981 - A Confederacy of Dunces
1980 - The Executioner's Song
1979 - The Stories of John Cheever
1978 - Elbow Room
1977 - NO AWARD
1976 - Humboldt's Gift
1975 - The Killer Angels
1974 - NO AWARD
1973 - The Optimist's Daughter
1972 - Angle of Repose
1971 - NO AWARD
1970 - The collected Stories of Jean Stafford
1969 - House Made of Dawn : DNF
1968 - The Confessions of Nat Turner
1967 - The Fixer
1966 - The Collected Stories of katherine Anne Porter
1965 - The Keepers of the House
1964 - NO AWARD
1963 - The Reivers
1962 - The Edge of Sadness
1961 - To Kill a Mockingbird
1960 - Advise and Consent
1959 - The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
1958 - A Death in the Family
1957 - NO AWARD
1956 - Andersonville
1955 - A Fable
1954 - NO AWARD
1953 - The Old Man and the Sea
1952 - The Caine Mutiny
1951 - The Town
1950 - The Way West
1949 - Guard of Honor
1948 - Tales of the South Pacific
1947 - All the King's Men
1946 - NO AWARD
1945 - A Bell
1944 - Journey in the Dark
1943 - Dragon's Teeth
1942 - In This Our Life
1941 - NO AWARD
1940 - The Grapes of Wrath
1928 - The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 3:14pm Top

Hugos Read

Ongoing bucket list to read all the Hugo winning novels.

Bold : On the Shelf
Strikeout : Completed

Total Read - 36

2019 - The Calculating Stars
2018 - The Stone Sky
2018 - All Systems Red - Novella
2017 - The Obelisk Gate
2016 - The Fifth Season
2015 - The Three-Body Problem
2014 - Ancillary Justice (DNF)
2013 - Redshirts
2012 - Among Others
2011 - Blackout/All Clear
2010 - The Windup Girl
The City & the City
2009 - The Graveyard Book
2008 - The Yiddish Policemen's Union
2007 - Rainbows End
2006 - Spin
2005 - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
2004 - Paladin of Souls
2003 - Hominids
2003 - Coraline (novella)
2002 - American Gods
2001 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2000 - A Deepness in the Sky
1999 - To Say Nothing of the Dog
1998 - Forever Peace
1997 - Blue Mars
1996 - The Diamond Age
1995 - Mirror Dance
1994 - Green Mars
1993 - A Fire Upon the Deep
Doomsday Book
1992 - Barrayar
1991 - The Vor Game
1990 - Hyperion
1989 - Cyteen
1988 - The Uplift War
1988 - Watchmen - category : Other forms
1987 - Speaker for the Dead
1986 - Ender's Game
1985 - Neuromancer
1985 - The Crystal Spheres - David Brin - Short Story
1984 - Startide Rising
1983 - Foundation's Edge
1982 - Downbelow Station
1981 - The Snow Queen
1980 - The Fountains of Paradise
1979 - Dreamsnake
1978 - Gateway
1977 - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
1976 - The Forever War
1975 - The Dispossessed
1974 - Rendezvous with Rama
1973 - The Gods Themselves
1972 - To Your Scattered Bodies Go
1971 - Ringworld
1970 - Left Hand of Darkness
1969 - Stand on Zanzibar
1968 - Lord of Light
1967 - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
1966 - Dune
This Immortal
1965 - The Wanderer
1964 - Way Station
1963 - The Man in the High Castle
1962 - Stranger in a Strange Land
1961 - A Canticle for Leibowitz
1960 - Starship Troopers
1959 - A Case of Conscience
1958 - The Big Time
1956 - Double Star
1955 - The Forever Machine
1953 - The Demolished Man

Retro Hugos - this are given for years when no award was given (more than 50 years ago). Of those...

1939 - The Sword in the Stone
1951 - Farmer in the Sky
1954 - Fahrenheit 451

Edited: Jan 11, 1:39pm Top

National Book Award Winners

2015 - Fortune Smiles
2014 - Redeployment
2001 - The Corrections
1988 - Paris Trout
1985 - White Noise - Don Delillo
1983 - The Color Purple - hardback award
1981 - The Stories of John Cheever - paperback award
1980 - The World According to Garp - paperback award
1953 - Invisible Man

Man Booker Books
2002 - Life of Pi
2009 - Wolf Hall - sadly I never finished this, never hooked me.
2015 - A Brief History of Seven Killings
2016 - The Sellout
2017 - Lincoln in the Bardo

Edited: Dec 31, 2019, 8:02pm Top

2019 Top 5

Total Read - 85

Yea, I met my arbitrary goal for how many books I'd consume this year. BAG. Whether I reach a goal or not, I'm happy that I'm above ground and that I can keep on reading. There were plenty of good books that I experienced this year. Heck, if I finish them, I generally like them. The complete list is still in my 2019 Thread (see above), but in no particular order, here are my 5 favorites from last year.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean
Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

Edited: Dec 31, 2019, 8:02pm Top

2019 Recap

And now for some statistical charts of my reading year. If it weren't for the Book Riot Big Ass Spreadsheet I found, I would never have done this. They were pretty much built in. Enjoy...

Dec 28, 2019, 3:20pm Top

Welcome back!

Dec 28, 2019, 4:06pm Top

Hey Jeff! First Foto Friday wishes!

Dec 28, 2019, 4:53pm Top

Happy New Year and Thread, Jeff! Always interested to find other compulsive self-challengers; a Pulitzer challenge is on my list of future possibilities too.

Dec 28, 2019, 10:06pm Top

I hope you have a great reading year, Jeff. Your challenges are daunting!

Dec 29, 2019, 12:08am Top

Hey everybody, thanks for stopping by.

As far as my challenges go, the beauty of personal challenges is that you can go at your own pace. I've been working on the Pulitzers and Hugos for YEARS

Dec 29, 2019, 3:51am Top

Dec 29, 2019, 6:14am Top

Hi Jeff, I'm here to see your stories and photos!

Dec 29, 2019, 10:34pm Top

Aloha Jeff and happy 2020! I'm dropping off my star and looking forward to another year of obsessive reading with this awesome group.

Dec 30, 2019, 7:00am Top

Happy New Thread, Jeff. Looking forward to following your bookish exploits, in 2020. The only challenge I am making for myself, is reading more older titles off shelf. It won't be easy, but I hope to make a dent.

Dec 30, 2019, 12:55pm Top

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!

Dec 31, 2019, 5:33am Top

Best wishes for 2020!

Dec 31, 2019, 9:11am Top

Another resolution is to keep up in 2020 with all my friends on LT. Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2019, 5:26pm Top

Happy reading in 2020, Jeff!

Dec 31, 2019, 6:38pm Top

Happy new thread and new decade!

Dec 31, 2019, 6:39pm Top

Wishing you 12 months of success
52 weeks of laughter
366 days of fun (leap year!)
8,784 hours of joy
527,040 minutes of good luck
and 31,622,400 seconds of happiness!!

Dec 31, 2019, 8:02pm Top

Happy New Year Everyone! For those who popped up to say Hi, I am most appreciative of your company. For those of you who mostly lurk around the threads, like me. Your subtle presence is felt as well. In a final bid to say farwell to 2019, I updated a couple posts above with my Top 5 for the year, as well as more charts that you'll want to see from my 2019 tracking sheet.

Have Fun, stay safe, don't drink too much, or at least the right amount. :)

>9 mahsdad: Top 5
>10 mahsdad: 2019 recap charts

Dec 31, 2019, 8:05pm Top

Jan 1, 2:33pm Top

Book 1 Done.

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. A graphic novel telling his story of his time in the Japanese internment camps during WWII. A profound story. I visited Manzanar (not where George was), and it is the absolute middle of nowhere about halfway between LA and Reno in the high desert.

Maybe this year I'll try to do snap/quick little reviews/impressions instead of trying to do full on reviews, maybe not get so far behind. I'll leave reviews for experts around here.

Jan 1, 2:44pm Top

>28 mahsdad: Yay! A good first read of the year.

Edited: Jan 1, 4:34pm Top

Happy 2020, Jeff!

Oh man, I loved 4 of your 5 favorites. It probably would've been 5 of 5, but I haven't read The Library Book. Mountains Beyond Mountains made me a lifelong fan of Dr. Paul Farmer and Partners in Health. They Called Us Enemy is a great book to start the year with.

Jan 1, 10:36pm Top

Hey Jeff. Good on you for already notching the first read of the new year. Excellent.

I'm reading Asimov's Foundation and expect to finish it tomorrow.

Jan 2, 10:24am Top

Jan 2, 2:48pm Top

Happy new year, Jeff. I am of the quick-comments-rather-than-real-review school. Sometimes I'll say more for a book I really loved or hated, but I don't force myself. It comes to feel too much like work for me.

Jan 2, 3:36pm Top

>33 katiekrug: I agree. When I started, many moons ago, it was more quick impressions, then I tried to give "real" reviews and that's when it became work. If I don't keep up with the as I finish them impressions, I still have the lightning round concept to fall back on.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy New Year!

Jan 2, 4:48pm Top

Hope 2020 is kind to you, Jeff!

Jan 3, 2:27am Top

#2 - A People's Future of the United States edited by Victor LaValle (Audio)

An interesting collection of speculative fiction about what the future is like for us in the good old US of A. Some gems, some slogs, but over all a worthwhile read. An interesting group of authors, some I know, some that are new to me....

Violet Allen • Charlie Jane Anders • Lesley Nneka Arimah • Ashok K. Banker • Tobias S. Buckell • Tananarive Due • Omar El Akkad • Jamie Ford • Maria Dahvana Headley • Hugh Howey • Lizz Huerta • Justina Ireland • N. K. Jemisin • Alice Sola Kim • Seanan McGuire • Sam J. Miller • Daniel José Older • Malka Older • Gabby Rivera • A. Merc Rustad • Kai Cheng Thom • Catherynne M. Valente • Daniel H. Wilson • G. Willow Wilson • Charles Yu


Jan 3, 9:10am Top

>36 mahsdad: How lovely to have a good pair of reads to start you off right. I'm in a reading funk and have abandoned six books. The next one will be the curse-lifter! I know it!

Jan 3, 12:34pm Top

Happy New Year, Jeff! I see we share an appreciation of the Akashic Noir series of short stories. I just won one from the ER list!

Jan 3, 1:57pm Top

>38 ffortsa: Hi Judy. Thanks for stopping by. I currently have 3 of the Noir series. The first was Pittsburgh. Since I"m from there, it was a very fun collection to connect with. The other 2 I got from ER. I'm slowly reading the Berlin one. A story at a time, when I'm between books.

Jan 3, 2:11pm Top

A Fantastic Foto Friday to you all!

First of the new year. Hooray!. Its been only 2 days since my last day off, and I need more. :) Today's image comes from a walk around the garden center had Home Depot the other day. My wife was looking at plants, I was looking for interesting pictures. Enjoy...

Book Update
>2 mahsdad: Q1 books

Reading -
Lincoln at the Bardo by George Saunders. Very interesting book. Just about half way thru. Took me a minute to connect with the style of writing, but its working for me.
Reading - Northern Lights by Tim O'Brien
Reading - Berlin Noir edited by Thomas Wortche. Judy reminded me that I'm still reading this. Got to finish it up
Listening - The Waste Lands by Stephen King

Jan 3, 4:32pm Top

>40 mahsdad: Quite beautiful!

Jan 3, 11:26pm Top

>40 mahsdad: - Beautiful!

Edited: Jan 4, 6:58am Top

Happy Saturday, Jeff. Hooray for They Called Us Enemy being your first book of the year. Great one. Love the Foto Friday. And yes, get back on the Murderbot train. They are also perfect on audio. Quick listens.

Jan 4, 12:35pm Top

>40 mahsdad: Ooo, such a lovely color of yellow. Like buttered lemonade. (Which sounds disgusting in words but was really pretty in my head.)

Jan 5, 12:48am Top

>40 mahsdad: Makes me long for spring!

Jan 5, 9:06pm Top

Finally found your thread! Hope you have a great year of reading!

Jan 6, 3:32am Top

Happy New Year, Jeff!

Jan 6, 4:35pm Top

>43 msf59: Thanks for the audio suggestion Mark. I'll have to see if Libby has them with my library

>44 richardderus: Yeah, buttered lemonade does not sound appealing, but it is an apt visual metaphor.

>45 ChelleBearss: >46 thornton37814: >47 kidzdoc: Thanks for stopping by my little neck of the woods. Happy New Year to you all!

Jan 6, 4:45pm Top

I just made a conscious decision to ignore the ER books for this year (just got the January announcement). As I look at the TBR pile next to my desk, that contain 4 ER books, I think its time to give it a break for a while.

Jan 6, 4:47pm Top

>49 mahsdad: - I've stopped requesting for a similar reason - I think I have 3 or 4 still to be read. It helps that there has been very little I've been interested in on offer lately.

Jan 6, 4:49pm Top

Hello Jeff and Happy New Year! I hope all is well with you. Dropping a star to check in and see what you are up to now and again.

>1 mahsdad:>40 Excellent photos as usual.

Jan 6, 5:30pm Top

>50 katiekrug: I agree, with the selection. What I've always wondered is that there seems to be an auto repair book on the list every time. :)

>51 brodiew2: Thanks! I'll be sure to stop by and reciprocate.

Jan 6, 6:03pm Top

>49 mahsdad: I wasn't all that excited over this batch of ER books anyway. I requested one, but I don't really care whether or not I get it. I'm probably not the best fit for it, but it did sound interesting.

Jan 7, 7:39pm Top

>49 mahsdad: I've made the same decision, Jeff. I've also found the ER offerings to be a bit rubbish the past couple of years, and that reading those books keep me from reading ones from my shelves that are much more compelling.

Jan 7, 7:45pm Top

Happy New Year, Jeff!

Jan 8, 4:41pm Top

>53 thornton37814: >54 kidzdoc: Yeah I think my resolution for the year is to be fine with not having FOMO (fear of missing out) over so many books, especially the ones that just sound interesting in the ER list. To many books already on my shelves to read.

>55 ronincats: Happy New Year to you to Roni. Thanks for stopping by!

Jan 10, 12:45pm Top

A Fantabulous Foto Friday to you all.

First full week of 2020 and I survived. Looking forward to the weekend tho. Last weekend, we took a little field trip to get some culture. We went to the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in downtown LA. Really trippy stuff. Along the way from the parking lot to the museum, we pass a couple other interesting places; the Walt Disney Concert Hall (one of my favorite buildings) and the Broad Museum, another contemporary art museum that recently opened up. This image is of the Broad building. Very interesting architecturally. Enjoy...

Book Update
>2 mahsdad: Q1 books

Reading -
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. I'll finish this one tonight.
Reading - Northern Lights by Tim O'Brien
Listening - The Waste Lands by Stephen King. Slowly relistening to the Dark Tower series, this is Book 3. Must be popular, I'm on a 6 week waiting list for the next book. Or they perhaps, they only have one download copy for all of LA

Jan 10, 12:55pm Top

Seen on twitter... (actually on Mary Doria Russell's fan page)

If you're tempted to seek supernatural assistance to finish your manuscript, please remember, do not summon demons for developmental aid. They're much better at copy editing. The devil's in the details

Jan 10, 1:09pm Top

Lincoln in the Bardo is a very winning, imaginative book, one of the best I read in 2019. Hope you are liking it.

Jan 10, 1:27pm Top

>57 mahsdad: That's a beautiful shot of the museum.

>58 mahsdad: *moan*

>59 weird_O: Not to be contrary or anything, but a contrarian PoV on this is it's a hot mess without a point. It's a polarizing book, I haven't run across anyone with a "meh" response to it yet.

One boggles at Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly adapting it to screen...HOW?!?

Jan 10, 4:33pm Top

The Walt Disney Concert Hall? He seems (to me) an odd choice to name a concert hall after. Did he have anything to do with music, and concerts, really? But what do I know, I'm Canadian....

Jan 10, 4:55pm Top

>60 richardderus: Thanks RD for the image love.

And yes that was a serious groaner.

I heartily appreciate yours and >59 weird_O: Bill's opinion on the book. I am enjoying but you're right it is really just a point in time kind of "story". As I'm thinking about it, the analogy that comes to mind, is bebop jazz solo by Charlie Parker or Miles Davis. I don't quite understand it, but I like it. Different strokes...

Jan 10, 5:01pm Top

>61 jessibud2: Hi Shelley, Walt's wife Lillian and the Disney family are big supporters of the arts and the LA Philharmonic. She commissioned the building back in the late 80's. It was designed by Frank Gehry. It is a wonderful concert space. Excellent interior acoustics, despite what the exterior looks like.

Here's a "classic" image of mine that I took a while ago (not on this weekend's explorations)

Jan 10, 6:09pm Top

>63 mahsdad: - Oh, thanks for explaining that, Jeff. It makes sense now (trivia tidbit: Frank Gehry is Canadian. :-)

Jan 10, 7:26pm Top

>64 jessibud2: Not a problem. Good to know about Gehry, I don't think I knew that Have a great weekend. Stay warm, in the Great "White" North :)

Jan 10, 7:30pm Top

>65 mahsdad: - No problem with warmth here. We are having very spring-like temps and a big storm is coming our way this weekend. We could get something like 2 months worth of RAIN, as well as ice, by Monday. Lots of flood warnings. It's really crazy, being January and Canada! There is barely any snow in Toronto at the moment. Climate change is scary.

Edited: Jan 10, 7:33pm Top

>63 mahsdad: Wow! That is gorgeous! Great capture!

Happy Friday, Jeff. Hooray for getting to Lincoln in the Bardo! Such a terrific read. Saunders is a genius. Not familiar with Northern Lights, although I like O'Brien. Good?

Jan 10, 8:48pm Top

>67 msf59: Thanks! It helps that I had a cool subject

Northern Lights. Its his first novel, and it shows a bit, but its good so far. Small town, one brother stayed home, one went to war came back injured. Rivalries and a ski trip that seems to be going bad. (About half way thru, its worth the time).

Jan 10, 9:12pm Top

>57 mahsdad: Awesome pic!

Jan 11, 1:44pm Top

#3 - Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders

Very interesting book. It takes place on the night after Willie Lincoln dies and in the Bardo, an intermediate place between death and rebirth. Not so much a story but a point in time, stream of consciousness about all the people who are "living" in this Bardo and haven't moved on. Willie and Lincoln (tho not really major characters in the book, more like McGuffins) are the lynchpins that will drive these people's future.

It won the Man Booker in 2017 and is worth your time, IMHO.


Jan 11, 5:03pm Top

Hi Jeff and a latish Happy 2020! Wonderful photographs!

Great reads going on. I really enjoyed Lincoln in the Bardo although it did remind me a bit of Our Town.

And I was blown away by They Called Us Enemy.

Jan 12, 12:15pm Top

I agree, Jeff; Lincoln in the Bardo is a superb novel.

Edited: Jan 14, 10:14am Top

>70 mahsdad:
I read Lincoln in the Bardo and hated it. I finished it because it was for my real life book club, but I hated it. I got the main story, but hated the way he did it. Nothing in that book to like - IMO. And where was Lincoln? Aside for two minor appearances, he wasn't even in the book. The title should have been "Willie in the Bardo." Or maybe the Giant (insert p-word here) in the Bardo. For a book of symbolism it wasn't bad - but for a novel - it stank.

Jan 14, 1:24pm Top

>71 streamsong: Thanks for the photo love, Janet

>71 streamsong: >72 kidzdoc: >73 benitastrnad:. Don't hold back Benita, tell me how you really feel. :) JK! There's no middle ground with this book is there. :) Its all good, there's plenty of well loved books that I couldn't stand (or at least couldn't get thru) either. Ancillary Justice and Wolf Hall come immediately to mind. :)

Edited: Jan 15, 6:07pm Top

>74 mahsdad:
I loved Ancillary Justice. I read all three books in that series! :-) I do tell people that it is not for everybody and it takes some time to become accustomed to the style. If you can do that it is a good series.

I also have a list of books that I just couldn't "get" when others seem to have done so. I think it is a good thing that there are so many books out there that we can all find books that work for us. But Lincoln in the Bardo did not work for me. I appreciate what he was trying to do with the literary style, but for me it just didn't work. I think I even got the symbolism that he used, but I just couldn't take the crudeness and unlikable characters.

Jan 16, 12:33am Top

#4 - The Waste Lands by Stephen King

Relistening to this series on audio. Book 3 of the Dark Tower series. A good mix of dystopian fantasy, with time travel and cowboys, and insane trains. Comfort reads for me.


Jan 17, 1:43pm Top

>76 mahsdad: It was a little sad when I learned that Ammy passed on the screen version of the series. I hope they find a new home for it.

...so...it's Friday....

Jan 17, 1:50pm Top

>77 richardderus: I watched The Dark Tower movie and I "liked" it, but mostly because because I'll watch most things King (tho I have no desire to watch IT), but it was really if the Dark Tower was written in an alternate universe, it didn't stay true to the books I know. I liked Idris as Roland, would have like to see where a full series would have gone. Oh well.

....And yes I know its Friday.... I just got off a couple conference calls I had back-2-back. I already have the image picked out. Have to go get some more caffiene and I'll post it in a few minutes. :)

Jan 17, 2:05pm Top

A fabulous Foto Friday to you all.

My apologies for the delay, I hate it when work life gets in the way of real life. :) Its been a pretty good week, but I am glad that its Friday. Today's image was taken over the Christmas holidays. My wife's sister and her family came to town to plan and participate in their other sister's memorial service (she passed in August). As a part of the "festivities" of celebrating her life we went on a late afternoon whale watch boat ride. We did see a couple whales and dolphin, but better was the spectacular sunset we got to see. Hope you like this image. Have a great weekend.

Book Update
>2 mahsdad: Q2 Books

Reading :
Northern Lights by Tim O'Brien After finishing up Bardo last week, I got back into this one. Should be finished this weekend.
Listening : In Pieces by Sally Field. After finishing up The Waste Lands, I went scrolling thru the Available Book list and this struck my fancy. Its her memoir and she reads it as well. Should be interesting..

Jan 17, 2:08pm Top

>79 mahsdad: The image is glorious! The reason for it is poignant, but the image makes it very fitting.

Happy weekend, old man.

Jan 17, 2:17pm Top

Thanks buddy.

Yes, yes I am old. :) I changed my profile picture to a more current one. One that reflects my current state of fuzziness. I'm not quite as grey as you, but I'm getting there. (Tho my head is just about completely grey, getting whiter with every hair cut)

Jan 17, 2:24pm Top

>81 mahsdad: I loathe you for having (head-)hairs to cut.

Jan 17, 2:27pm Top

Its getting thin tho. I'm ahead of the curve, but in looking at my father and grandfathers, its only a matter of time. I'm okay with that. Besides, I look good in hats.

Jan 17, 2:42pm Top

Happy Friday, Jeff. Love the sunset. I really enjoyed In Pieces. A solid memoir and she is a good writer too.

Jan 17, 2:52pm Top

>84 msf59: Happy Friday to you too, Mark

Jan 18, 7:59pm Top

#5 Northern Lights by Tim O'Brien

This is O'Brien's first novel, written in 1975. A brother to brother drama set in rural Minnesota. Paul's the brother that stayed home and Harvey is the one that went to war. He comes back injured. The story is how the two brothers and come back together. To bond, they go off on a cross-country skiing adventure that turns dangerous. I can see a great writer learning his craft. And although, I didn't really like the way he developed some of his characters (especially the women), its ultimately a really good read.


Jan 19, 11:22am Top

>79 mahsdad: - Beautiful!

Jan 19, 10:38pm Top

Thanks Katie.

Jan 20, 2:00am Top

Read #6 Last Conversation (Forward) by Paul Tremblay

One of the Forward series, put together on Amazon Prime by Blake Crouch.

You wake up, in pain and not knowing where you are or who you are. A disembodied voice tells you it will be all okay, and helps you get your memories back, or do they? Only took me a day to read, and the penny didn't really drop until I was almost done. Another good short read in this series. Could come right out of a Twilight Zone episode. If you have Prime, you should get this series, its free.


Jan 20, 8:54pm Top

So this fall I had to catalog my SIL's books, when we were cleaning out her place to sell it. I used the LT app with great success. The idea was to put them in a list where the rest of the family could review them and pick want they wanted.

Due to the fact that most of the family isn't as sophisticated as the rest of us here, I had to transfer that catalog over to GR, cause its "easier" :)

Boy is importing into GR, NOT easy. First, it wouldn't take the Tab-delimited export from LT, like it said it would. Then, I decided to build the import to exactly what it wanted, only to have it give me obscure error messages "bad byte data in UAT-8", or some such thing.

LONG story short, GR doesn't like it when you put any special characters in the author or title names. So any foreign names with umlauts or accent marks won't work, or in one case, the "registered trademark" symbol. So I had to break up the file, in many chunks just to be able to narrow down where the problem was. THEN, just when it could be bad enough, I figured out that you couldn't reuse the same file name. Had to give the import file a new name each time. So 30 or so import attempts later, the 280 books are in GR for family review. Would have almost been easier to scan them in again.

Bottom line, I'm sticking to my home right here, and if Tim every sells out and moves on, I'm going back to paper for tracking.

Rant over. :)

Jan 20, 9:04pm Top

>90 mahsdad: - You are already talking more tech than my little pea brain can/will ever understand. I would have probably made one master list and emailed it to everyone. :-)

Jan 20, 9:18pm Top

>90 mahsdad: Their data source is Amazon. Source. Singular. *shudder*

Jan 21, 12:58am Top

>91 jessibud2:. Yeah it almost came to that. 😜

>92 richardderus: and yet it’s surprisingly easy to get your Ammy purchases in or update your kindle reading position. 😂

Jan 21, 1:50am Top

>28 mahsdad: I just brought that one home from the library the other day, so I am hoping that I enjoy it as much as everyone in the group seems to have done.

>70 mahsdad: I really need to get to that one. I have owned it for a while now.

>90 mahsdad: I know that when I imported my GRs stuff to here on LT, it was a nightmare. I can sympathize!

Belated Happy New Year, Jeff!

Jan 21, 6:41pm Top

>93 mahsdad: ...do...hey...do you suppose...nah, they wouldn't...maybe those things are connected?

Jan 21, 7:25pm Top

>94 alcottacre: Imports - maybe its just that neither one wants to play nice with the other. Thanks for stopping by Stasia.

>95 richardderus: Oh my stars and garters, I think you might be on to something..... ;p

Jan 22, 1:24pm Top

First book of Season 2 of Life's Library arrived. Its Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.

Never read any of her stuff. This will be my next read, once I finish Bridge of San Luis Rey

Jan 24, 1:00pm Top

A fantastic Foto Friday to you all.

Today's image comes from the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Los Angeles. Its by Carlos Cruz-Diez. Its a room with 3 chambers, individually light with a red, green and blue light. As you move, the light overlaps and mingles and makes colors that aren't really there. Very trippy.

Book Update
>2 mahsdad: Q1 Books

Reading -
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thorton Wilder.
Listening - In Pieces by Sally Field

Jan 24, 1:19pm Top

Jan 24, 1:26pm Top

My break with GR came within a few days of signing on. I wanted my catalog to show the cover of the book I had; a lot of them were old—40 years and more. I invested more than a few hours working on it, then threw in that towel. LT's setup is vastly superior.

I don't think I've tried this, but could you export/import your LT spread into Google Docs? Then share it with others via Google Drive?

Jan 24, 1:30pm Top

>99 richardderus: I know, right

>100 weird_O: That was my first thought, I had it in a spreadsheet, but it didn't really have good visibility to the covers, and the powers that be, AKA,my wife asked if I could put it in GR. Happy wife, Happy life.

Jan 24, 1:38pm Top

>101 mahsdad: Ah, yeah. I forgot about the covers. :-) I know about my wife; you are SOOO correct there.

Jan 24, 6:10pm Top

Happy Friday, Jeff. Yep, that Foto is quite trippy. My audio, is Spying on the South. It is one I highly recommend. You have read Horwitz, right?

Jan 24, 8:12pm Top

>102 weird_O: :)
>103 msf59: Horwitz, yep. Read Confederates in the Attic last year. I'll add Spying to the list as well. Hey, do you want the O'Brien, I just finished? Northern Lights

Jan 24, 8:21pm Top

Hello Jeff! I hope all is well.

>57 mahsdad: I have Lincoln in Bardo in hand but it is 4 or 5 on the present order of things. I've heard great stuff over the last 3 years.

>97 mahsdad: The Bridge of San Luis Rey is one I have always wanted to read but never have. I am eagerly awaiting your comments.

I just started Killers of the Flower Moon on audio.

Jan 28, 1:16am Top

Just catching up, Jeff, after my trip to the UK.

Jan 28, 11:24am Top

>105 brodiew2: Hey Brodie, thanks for swinging by. Bardo seems to be either all in, or no way from what I've seen. I was all in for it.

San Luis Rey was a great little book, more later.

I read Killers of the Flower Moon a couple years ago, I enjoyed it a lot. Martin Scorsese is doing it as a film this year.

>106 PaulCranswick: Always a pleasure seeing you Paul. Especially given your current family strife. My best to you

Jan 29, 2:24am Top

New David Mitchell book coming out this summer. Huzzah!

From EW - The best-selling author of novels including Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks returns this year with his long-awaited new book, a genre-bending period piece centered on "the strangest British band you've never heard of". Slated for summer release, Utopia Avenue runs nearly 600 pages and promises the kind of epic puzzle-box narrative that the author's ardent fans have come to expect and love.

Here's the official synopsis: "Emerging from London's psychedelic scene in 1967 and fronted by folk singer Elf Holloway, guitar demigod Jasper de Zoet, and blues bassist Dean Moss, Utopia Avenue released only two LPs during its brief blazing journey from the clubs of Soho and drafty ballrooms to Top of the Pops and the cusp of chart success, and on to glory in Amsterdam, prison in Rome and a fateful American fortnight in the autumn of 1968"

Yeah, I'm in for this....

Jan 29, 7:02pm Top

Touchstone Rant (okay not quite a rant, but more like, why do it do that?)

Why isn't the default search logic for finding a touchstone, the full name.

If I put in In Pieces, Sally Field's memoir, the default book that comes up is Rest in Pieces (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries) by Rita Mae Brown. And when you click on the Others link, the right book is the 4th or 5th one listed.

One of life's great mysteries.... :)

Jan 30, 11:31am Top

No more of a mystery than how an Oprah Book Club pick can generate so much of a brouhaha!

Jan 30, 11:39am Top

>110 benitastrnad: Its not the first time she stirred the pot. Remember A Million Little Pieces?

Edited: Jan 30, 5:45pm Top

Book #7 The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thorton Wilder

This won the Pulitzer in 1928, deservedly so. The opening of the book doesn't bury the lede. "On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714 the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below".

The rest of the story is about Brother Juniper, a monk who witnesses the tragedy and proceeds to want to investigate to prove if these people were taken thru divine intervention or pure chance.

It is a very good, but short, quick read. It shows the interconnectedness of people and their perceived worth vs who they truly are. It also touches on the awaking of science in the early 18th century and how it clashes with the Church.


"Some say that we shall never know and to the gods we are like the flies that the boys kill on a summer day, and some say, on the contrary, that the very sparrows do not lose a feather that has not been brushed away by the finger of God."

"There was something in Lima that was wrapped up in yards of violet satin from which protruded a great dropsical head and two fat pearly hands; and that was its Archbishop. Between the rolls of flesh that surrounded them looked out two black eyes speaking discomfort, kindliness and wit. A curious and eager soul imprisoned in all its lard...."

Jan 30, 5:59pm Top

>112 mahsdad: One of my all-time favorite novellas. I'm very glad you liked it as well.

Jan 30, 6:29pm Top

Its one of those books that I had always heard of (heck who's never heard of Thorton Wilder), but knew absolutely nothing about it before I picked it up in a dusty packed used bookstore in Long Beach.

Jan 30, 6:32pm Top

>112 mahsdad:- I rarely reread a book but this is one I feel I should revisit at some point. I read it eons ago and don't really remember much about it except that I remember loving it and thinking about it a lot afterwards.

Jan 30, 6:44pm Top

>114 mahsdad: I was always a little in love with Thornton Wilder. Theophilus North was a big influence on my taste for discreetly gay literature.

Jan 30, 7:15pm Top

>115 jessibud2: The older I get the less I want to reread stuff, SOOOOO many new things on my WL, but sometimes you do just have to dip into comfort reads

>116 richardderus: I know I'm a straight-laced white guy, but I'm open minded enough to want to read more of Wilder's stuff. I'll put this one on the WL.

Jan 30, 7:20pm Top

>117 mahsdad: You'd have to be gay or be looking for it to see the subtext, and the 1988 film (Mr. North) left it out entirely without doing violence to the charm of the story.

Jan 30, 8:24pm Top

Hello Jeff. Excellent review of Bridge of San Luis Rey.

There is also a 1988 film of Theophilus North entitled Mr. North. I enjoyed the film back in the day.

Jan 30, 10:02pm Top

>118 richardderus: >119 brodiew2: I think I remember that movie, but not sure if I ever saw it. You can rent it on Prime.

>119 brodiew2: Review - Thanks Brodie, tho I'm not sure I'd actually call it a review. Not like learned tomes that Mr RD produces. :)

Edited: Jan 30, 10:12pm Top

How about nice comment, then? :-p

Jan 31, 12:31pm Top

A Fabelhaft Foto Freitag to you all.

Since August, I have been loaned out to another company and I have been doing some consulting where that, while I like the product (sales tax calculation software), I truly hated the implementation process and I wasn't enjoying life. Well today is my last day on that contract and I'm going back "home" on Monday. I'm sure after a week or so, I'll think the grass is greener back over there, but I"m looking forward to doing my real job again.

Today's image was a quick cellphone shot I took in a turkish stained glass lamp store we saw while walking around downtown Palm Springs last weekend.

Book Update
>2 mahsdad: Q1 Books

Reading -
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. First book in Season 2 of Life's Library. I love me some dystopian literature, and this one is coming from a unique perspective (at least unique to me). Not quite halfway. Enjoying it a lot.
Listening - Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Cause, why not. Surprisingly, I've never read this

Jan 31, 12:36pm Top

>122 mahsdad: That's beautiful! A random moment from life. Goodness.

OEB's prose makes even dystopia delightful.

Have a great adjustment.

Jan 31, 12:53pm Top

>123 richardderus: Thanks RD. You are so right about her writing. It just reads like butter. I'm sailing along at much higher than my usual rate. (The down, or up, side of having a tracking spreadsheet is that I can keep count of the page rates that I'm reading at)

Feb 1, 2:23pm Top

Book #8 In Pieces by Sally Field

This is Field's memoir and I listened to it on audio read by the author herself. It was a nice well written memoir, perfect on audio. It focuses mainly on her early life, where she doesn't pull any punches about her relationships (especially with her step-father). A lot of stories about her initial start in Hollywood; Gidget, the Flying Nun, etc. She talks about her tumulteous relationship with Burt Reynolds, and finishes up with her time making Mr. Lincoln. The overall arc is about her relationship with her Mother and family. A worthy read.


Feb 1, 3:46pm Top

>125 mahsdad: I love the idea of Gidget reading me a book, for some reason. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Feb 2, 4:01pm Top

>126 richardderus: That was part of the reason I selected it. :)

Some musings from the Arts and Books section of the LA Times this morning:

The Alchemist is #1 on the Paperback Best Seller list, and Neuromancer is #5. How? Did they just recently reissue them. Not that I'm complaining, especially with Neuromancer.

Review of the much discussed on threads other than mine : American Dirt (Here's the full article, hopefully, you won't get stuck outside a paywall, if you want to read it : https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2020-01-30/jess-row-on-se...). The subtitle was "THE story - for the wrong reasons". I'm not sure if I'll ever read it (the book), the reviewer made a couple interesting points that stuck with me.

"Imaginative projection, the ability to 'get inside' a fictional human being or situation, is one of those mysterious human impulses that no critic, neuroscientist or psychoanalyst fully understands."

(In reading other books about border stories) "...and I can attest that in this regard, 'American Dirt' is less valuable than, well a handful of dirt, which properly handled can make things grow."

"I sometimes wonder whether Americans actually love transformational social melodramas as much as they love the idea of them. It's certainly easier to absorb the history of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' - which decisively changed Northern public opinion about slavery in the 1850s - than to encounter its cringeworthy stereotypes and mawkish dialogue."

"I hope American Dirt reminds American readers that a vibrant literature of the border already exists and deserves their attention. Also, nearly 70,000 migrant children were held in US custody in 2019. No American should need a book packaged in barbed wire to remember that."

Feb 3, 8:01pm Top

>127 mahsdad: The whole conversation got aimed in the wrong direction very early. It's never been clearer that what someone says isn't as important as what the listeners hear.

Feb 3, 8:49pm Top

Oooo, I like that...."It's never been clearer that what someone says isn't as important as what the listeners hear."

Feb 4, 9:18pm Top

Book #9 You Have Arrived at Your Destination by Amor Towles

One of the Forward collection on Amazon Prime, where authors give their own take of what the future will look like. This one was where Fertility counseling is taken to the extreme. Do you actually want to know, not just that you're having a boy or girl, but how successful they're going to be, I think not. A good story, but not the best one of the series, IMO.


Feb 4, 9:29pm Top

Book #10 Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

A classic that I'd never read before. A closed "room" murder mystery on a train stuck in the snow. Where everyone is suspect and Hercule Poirot has to figure out who-dun-it. It would be cliche if it wasn't the mother of all murder mysteries.

I listened to this on audio; read, more accurately performed, by Dan Stevens. Excellent job with voices and characterizations.


Feb 6, 5:15pm Top

Due to the rabbit hole that is Youtube, I stumbled upon an album that I hadn't listened to in probably 20 years. (To be honest, I don't listen to too much music lately). And its literary, too.

Alan Parson Project's take on Edgar Allen Poe - Tales of Mystery and Imagination https://youtu.be/y7htAlPqwBI. Tho this YT version doesn't have the version of the opening song with Orson Welles reading "Dream within a Dream" that my CD does. :)

Feb 6, 7:27pm Top

Oh, that’s a good one! I still listen to it on Spotify every now and then.

Feb 6, 7:38pm Top

>108 mahsdad: Woot! I had not heard that. I still have to read The Bone Clocks yet, but I loved Cloud Atlas.

>112 mahsdad: I read that one quite a while ago, but very much enjoyed it too. I still have a sentimental place in my heart for Wilder's Our Town, but think this book is its superior.

>116 richardderus: >117 mahsdad: I have never heard of Theophilus North, RD. Thanks for the recommendation - even if I am a straight-laced white gal :)

Edited: Feb 6, 7:40pm Top

>132 mahsdad: Here it is two-plus hours later and here I am still down the YT rabbithole...whole albums going by, Pink Floyd and Rick Wakeman so far after Alan Parsons.

I miss being 20!

ETA >134 alcottacre: Loosen your stays, Stasia, Theo will rock your world.

Feb 6, 8:47pm Top

>135 richardderus: Oh I'm so glad I could inspire you. There's so much stuff out there. My latest kick is to look for reaction videos of people watching/listening to 70's/80's music. Stuff like Rush or Boston, etc. Just hilarious watching someone listen to YYZ for the first time, or Foreplay/Longtime.

This one is YYZ - https://youtu.be/TJ3ilucduko

>134 alcottacre: You got a lot in the Mitchell-verse to choose from. I loved Black Swan Green, and there's Slade House which is a prequel/sequel to Bone Clocks, if I remember correctly. There's also, The Reason I Jump by a young autistic japanese boy that Mitchell helped translate, that's really good.

Feb 6, 11:27pm Top

From Prog Rock to Pop Rock/Hip Hop.

I had this saved in FB for a while and just watched it. Damn this girl can sang...

NPR's Tiny Desk Concert with Lizzo. Warning for the faint of heart, she swears....a lot. :)


Feb 7, 11:57am Top

Fantastiese foto Vrydag

Second week of a new thing here at the Helm. I'm going to cycle thru Google Translate to find more interesting ways to say Fabulous Foto Friday! (I'll let you figure out the language, no cheating by just using Google Translate :) ) Looking forward to the weekend. Tomorrow we're going to the LA Convention center to go to the LA Art Show. More like a trade show of Modern/Contemporary Art galleries. Its just a cool place to jones over art we could never afford. Haven't been to it for years.

Today's image is one of my favorite subjects... fences and rust

Book Update
>2 mahsdad: Q1 Books

Reading -
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. Almost done, will finish it tonight or tomorrow
Listening - Frankenstein in Bagdad by Ahmed Saadawi. After Orient Express, I wanted to see what other books Dan Stevens had read. He read Frankenstein, which I haven't read in years. But in trying to find Dan's version, I saw this book. Had it in the WL for a couple years. Mark had read it and it sounded interesting. It certainly is. Its a little hard to keep track of the names since my prejudice western mind doesn't have enough points of reference for the Arabic, but its really enjoyable.

Feb 7, 2:08pm Top

On John Scalzi's blog, he talks about another writer who said that he cuts long books in half so they are easier to carry (Oh my stars :) ), and he posted this image about where you might find yourself on the spectrum of how you treat your books. At my best, I am definitely in the Good camp, hovering between lawful and neutral. :)

Feb 7, 5:47pm Top

>138 mahsdad: - Love that picture!

>139 mahsdad: - Ha, I fall into the neutral (good and true) camp. My mind boggles at the "chaotic evil" camp.

Feb 7, 5:56pm Top

Happy Friday, Jeff. I like the fences & rust foto! Glad to hear you listening to Frankenstein in Bagdad. I remember really liking that one.

Have you ever read or heard of Cruddy? A real dark, twisted, coming of age tale. I like discovering gems like this. It might be your cuppa.

Feb 7, 6:09pm Top

>140 lkernagh: Thanks for swinging by Lori. I'm with you. Heck, I even don't like chaotic neutral folks.

>141 msf59: Hey buddy. You're just too darn busy on your thread, you've already forgot my comments about Cruddy on your thread (I know, I'm soooo memorable). Read it many years ago, pre-LT, but I don't think I still have it on the shelf. (Just jaggin' ya) Hope you have a great weekend, stay warm over there.

Feb 7, 6:15pm Top

Oh, shoot! That is right! I think you were the only one that had read it. No worries, you are still memorable in my book!

Feb 7, 6:30pm Top

Ha! No worries!

Feb 7, 7:46pm Top

>136 mahsdad: I am with you on Black Swan Green. I really enjoyed it too.

Feb 7, 8:10pm Top

>138 mahsdad: Wonderful...textures, colors, volumes, all balancing fore- and middle- and backgrounds into one story.

Happy weekend reads!

Feb 7, 8:29pm Top

>139 mahsdad: - Hmmm. I love real bookmarks and I have a ton and vary them. My bookmarks don't have to be leather, embossed or monogrammed but I always use them. However, I do like to mark paragraphs or passages that speak to me, so I can go back and refer to them if I need to quote them; I sometimes use pen, though usually pencil, but ONLY if I own the book. I would never do it in a library or borrowed book.

So where does that leave me in the scheme of this diagram...?

Edited: Feb 7, 9:09pm Top

>147 jessibud2: Yeah Shelley, I do have set bookmarks, but they're not very fancy. I don't typically write in the books, but put quotes in my notes app on my phone.

>146 richardderus: Lovely analysis. Thanks!

Feb 7, 9:11pm Top

My bookmarks aren't fancy, Jeff, just fun and different. There was a thread last year that someone started, about cool bookmarks. I can probably find it if I searched but usually, I get them from the bookstore (the freebie ones), or the library or sometimes I buy pretty ones. Sometimes, I try to match the bookmark to the book but not necessarily. I also make bookmarks when I'm feeling artsy-crafty. :-)

Edited: Feb 11, 9:32pm Top

Book #11 The Parable of the Sower - Octavia Butler

Book 1 of Season 2 of the Life's Library Book club. I had heard of this one for years but never read it. That's what I like about LL's book club, it puts books not on my radar on my TBR pile.

A becoming dystopian world set in the 2020s where society has largely collapsed due to climate change, growing wealth inequality, and corporate greed, boy is that hitting a little too close to a possible home. It centers on Lauren who lives in a gated/fenced-in neighborhood with her preacher Father and her family. When society goes haywire and her community is destroyed, she finds herself on the road looking for a place to build her Earthseed community (based on a new belief system of her own creation). It's really a scary story that I thought could truly happen, though the descent into national anarchy might be a bit accelerated in her story, it is a powerful story nonetheless. The only interesting sci-fi twist is her hyperempathy condition that causes her to physcially feel the pain of those around her, which is especially troublesome when the clash with the "bad" guys on the road.

Have to get the sequel now; The Parable of the Talents

"God can't be resisted or stopped, but can be shaped and focused. This means God is not to be prayed to. Prayers only help the person doing the praying, and then, only if they strengthen and focus that person's resolve."

"Intelligence is ongoing, individual adaptability. Adaptations that an intelligent species may make in a single generation, other species make over many generations of selective breeding and selective dying. Yet intelligence is demanding. If it is misdirected by accident or by intent, it can foster its own orgies of breeding and dying."


Feb 11, 10:13pm Top

>150 mahsdad: I read Kindred a couple of years ago and liked it, Jeff. I will certainly look out for this one too.

Feb 11, 10:41pm Top

>150 mahsdad: I do deeply love OEB's books. What an imagination!

Feb 11, 11:59pm Top

>151 PaulCranswick: >152 richardderus: This is the first of hers I’ve read. Gotta read some more.

Feb 12, 10:35am Top

>150 mahsdad: Written in 1993. I think Butler had a better grasp of the dystopian future than Orwell, and I know I don't have the fortitude to read about it.

Feb 12, 1:11pm Top

Yeah Linda, just enough sci-fi to kick things off, but very plausible.

Feb 14, 11:44am Top

E Premte Foto Fantastike

Happy "Hallmark Makes its Earnings Estimates Day". Had a pretty mellow week, looking forward to more of the same this weekend.

Today's image comes from a batch of pictures I took last weekend when we went to the LA Art Show (if you follow me on FB, you've seen these already). A trade show with a big room full of artists and art dealers selling their wares. I went mostly to see the Escher exhibit. Always loved his stuff. Laura's primary objective with the Roger Dean (of Yes album cover art fame). She was successful in buying a copy prints and actually meeting Roger himself. This image is one of the Escher's I saw (prints of his stuff was way out of my price range)

(BTW, last week's greeting was in Afrikaans)

Book Update

>2 mahsdad: Q1 Books

Reading :
Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Listening : Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Feb 14, 11:46am Top

A bonus pix for Mr. Derus. I thought of you when I saw this...

Feb 14, 2:04pm Top

>156 mahsdad: Escher's work makes my eyestalks retract.

>157 mahsdad: That's more like it! I love that, it's so whimsical and adorable. Thanks!

Feb 14, 7:54pm Top

>158 richardderus: ...eyestalks retract... I like that imagery.

Edited: Feb 14, 8:20pm Top

Book #12 Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawai

Listened on Audio. An Arabic novel set in Baghdad during the war. The basic premise is that its a retelling/reimagining of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. From a description of the story... "After he constructs a corpse from body parts found in the street, Hadi wants the government to prepare a proper burial, but when the corpse goes missing, a series of strange murders occur and Hadi realizes he has created a monster. I'm not sure if I "got" it entirely, there was a lot of specific cultures and traditions that I wasn't familiar with, but overall, it was a very interesting and worthwhile read.


Feb 14, 8:37pm Top

Happy Friday, Jeff. Thanks, for the heads-up on the new Jess Walter. Glad you liked Frankenstein in Baghdad. It has been awhile since I read it, but that one really grew on me. Hooray, for finally getting to Underground Railroad. Whitehead Rules!!

Feb 16, 3:51pm Top

wish you a good new week

Feb 16, 4:57pm Top

>161 msf59: Thanks for stopping by Mark. Yes, Whitehead does rule, he's putting out some powerful words here.

>162 paulstalder: Hey Paul, thanks for a great pic! Good week wishes to you too.

Today, 6:16pm Top

Did anyone do the Valentines Day treasure hunt? Just got my new badge, here's the badges I've got over the years...

Today, 6:35pm Top

>164 mahsdad: I did. I was surprised it showed up so soon. I've missed a couple of hunts because I was too busy or just didn't notice them (probably because I was too busy). I have most of the treasure hunts though.

Today, 9:56pm Top

I love Frontline. I'm watching their documentary about Amazon. Its like, you know that smoking is bad, or eating doritos every day for breakfast lunch and dinner is bad for you, but you just really don't want to know.

Boy, makes you want to not buy from Amazon sometimes. https://youtu.be/RVVfJVj5z8s

45 minutes into a 2 hour show.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2020

231 members

27,811 messages


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