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Ellen (EBT1002) counts books, months, & adventures in 2020 - Stave 1

75 Books Challenge for 2020

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Edited: Jan 1, 3:50pm Top

Hello all. I'm Ellen, a university administrator living in eastern Washington with my partner Prudence (aka P). 2020 will be my 10th year in the 75ers Group and it is my favorite "social media" venue. I love this reading community and look forward to meet-ups whenever they can occur.

I'm never entirely comfortable categorizing my reading: I follow some of the prizes, especially the Booker Prize, but I enjoy a broad band of literature, mysteries, graphic memoirs, short stories, and a wee bit of poetry.

In addition to reading, I enjoy hiking, running, food and wine, and of course spending time with family and friends. I also enjoy travel; P and I will do as much of that as time and finances allow. 2020 is a big year for us with my 60th birthday and our 25th anniversary so we are tentatively planning an adventure to Peru for the summer.

In 2020, I plan to participate in a few challenges, some shared and some personal. I'm counting down to retirement (hence the "months" in my subject line) and hope to read one as-yet-unread Booker winner per month to assist with that. I will participate in RandomCAT and AlphaKIT, both designated to help me read some of the books already on my shelves. I will also do my own personal "Odd Month Atwood" challenge in which I will read a book by Margaret Atwood during each odd-numbered month of the year. Finally, I have some shared reads planned and I assume more of them will develop organically as the year proceeds.

Here's to a wonderful year for us all!!

Edited: Jan 1, 3:57pm Top

.. ..

Abby, whom I miss every single day
(I thought I might let this set of images go for the new year but I find that I cannot.)

Edited: Jan 1, 3:27pm Top

My Rating Scale:

= Breathtaking. Perfect for me at this moment.
= Excellent! Among my favorites of the year.
= Particularly enjoyable, kept me reading.
= Really good. I'm glad I read this.
= A solid read. Generally recommended.
= This was an okay read.
= Meh. Pretty much a waste of time.
= Nearly no redeeming qualities. Really rather bad.
= Among the worst books I've ever read.

Honestly, I'm rarely going to complete any book earning fewer than two stars but I reserve the right to rate them based on my experience.

Edited: Jan 17, 9:14am Top

Edited: Jan 1, 3:29pm Top

My 5-star reads from 2019

Four novels:
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

One non-fiction/memoir:
Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston

Two Graphic Memoirs:
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

I also had a good number of 4.5-star reads but these made the top cut.

Edited: Yesterday, 9:57pm Top


January: New Years Resolutions ~ Oryx and Crake and The Bone Clocks
February: Still LEAPing into the new year! ~ Oscar and Lucinda (Booker winner 1988) or Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner (Booker winner 1984)


Edited: Yesterday, 10:56pm Top


A & U January
-- U: Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
-- A: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
-- U + A: Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

F & B February
-- F: The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas
-- B: Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

G & C March
-- C: Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
-- G: G by John Berger

S & T April

L & P May
-- P: Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt

K & Y June
-- K: How Late it Was, How Late by James Kelman

J & R July
-- R: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

O & H August

M & E September
-- M: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

D & V October

I & Q November

W & N December

Yearlong letters: X and Z
-- Z: Grand Union by Zadie Smith ~ currently reading
-- X:

Edited: Jan 1, 3:35pm Top

Personal Reading Challenge: Every winner of the Booker Prize since its inception in 1969

1969: P. H. Newby, Something to Answer For
1970: Bernice Rubens, The Elected Member
1970: J. G. Farrell, Troubles (awarded in 2010 as the Lost Man Booker Prize)
1971: V. S. Naipaul, In a Free State
1972: John Berger, G.
1973: J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
1974: Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist ... and Stanley Middleton, Holiday
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1976: David Storey, Saville
1977: Paul Scott, Staying On
1978: Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea
1979: Penelope Fitzgerald, Offshore
1980: William Golding, Rites of Passage
1981: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
1982: Thomas Keneally, Schindler's Ark
1983: J. M. Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K
1984: Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1985: Keri Hulme, The Bone People
1986: Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1987: Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
1988: Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1989: Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
1990: A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance***
1991: Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1992: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient ... and Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
1993: Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1994: James Kelman, How late it was, how late***
1995: Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
1996: Graham Swift, Last Orders
1997: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things***
1998: Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
1999: J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace***
2000: Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
2001: Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang
2002: Yann Martel, Life of Pi
2003: DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
2004: Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
2005: John Banville, The Sea
2006: Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering
2008: Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
2009: Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
2010: Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
2011: Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
2012: Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
2013: Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
2014: Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
2015: Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
2016: Paul Beatty, The Sellout
2017: George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
2018: Anna Burns, Milkman
2019: Margaret Atwood, The Testaments, and Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other

***On my shelves

Edited: Jan 17, 9:37am Top

My plans* for January 2020:

1. The Bone Clocks (shared read with Kim and Beth) ~ check
2. Oryx and Crake (2020 Odd Month Atwood, RandomCAT, and AlphaKIT) ~ check
3. Unsheltered (AlphaKIT) ~ check
4. Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea (AlphaKIT double - A and U)
5. A Booker winner not yet read.....

I'd also like to read the next in the Ruth Galloway series and I'm sure I'll have books coming available from the library that I put on hold last year!

*Plans are always subject to change.

Edited: Jan 1, 4:10pm Top

Edited: Jan 1, 3:59pm Top

Jan 1, 3:34pm Top

Best wishes for 2020!

Jan 1, 3:36pm Top

Of course, you're starred!! Happy 2020.

Jan 1, 3:41pm Top

Happy New Year, Ellen! I've also started The Bone Clocks.

Jan 1, 3:45pm Top

Jan 1, 3:48pm Top

Happy New Year Ellen! I hope all is well with you.

That seahawks game last week was a killer and I'm glad it was not a playoff determiner.

My resolution this year is to read more. Since a produced so much last year I can only do better.

Jan 1, 3:49pm Top

Happy reading 2020, Ellen.

Jan 1, 3:51pm Top

Hope you have a great 2020!

Jan 1, 4:12pm Top

Happy New Year Ellen. And a year full of celebration too. Wonderful.

Edited: Jan 1, 4:18pm Top

Happy new year, Ellen, and new decade and new thread! The time will FLY!

Jan 1, 4:21pm Top

Wishing you a wonderful year of great books, and of course good health! Happy 2020.

Jan 1, 5:16pm Top

Happy New Year, Ellen!

Jan 1, 5:37pm Top

Dropping my star!

Edited: Jan 1, 5:51pm Top

>12 DianaNL: Thank you Diana!

>13 Berly: :-) I can't wait for our meet up in June, Kim!

>14 BLBera: Hi Beth. I have only completed the first "day" in The Bone Clocks but I think it's going to be a good read.

>15 richardderus: Awww. I love that image, Richard. Thank you.

>16 brodiew2: Brodie! Hello and happy new year! That Seahawks game was a tough one but having our three RBs out with injuries made for tough sledding. My fingers are crossed for a good showing in Philadelphia.


Touchstones seem not to be working this afternoon. Hmph.

Jan 1, 5:53pm Top

>17 Ameise1: and >18 ChelleBearss: and >19 Caroline_McElwee:
Thank you, Barbara, Chelle, and Caroline!

>20 jessibud2: and >21 mdoris: and >22 lauralkeet:
Thank you, Shelley, Mary, and Laura!

>23 thornton37814: Glad to see you here, Lori. I now plan to make the rounds and be sure I've starred folks' 2020 threads.
This time of year is hectic in the 75ers Group!

Jan 1, 6:05pm Top

The last day of 2019 was an odd one. I had an eye doc appointment first thing in the morning and I ordered two new pair of prescription eyeglasses. I have struggled with progressive lenses in the past and resorted to over-the-counter readers (P will tell you that I have them all over the place!!!) but I liked this optometrist a lot. I felt like he listened well and worked with me. He also gets that I read a lot and that is an important element of correcting my vision. Anyway, he dilated my pupils and I had no idea it would take most of the day to recover! I had planned to go work at the office for a while but that was not happening. P and I did some errands and I wore sunglasses the whole time, even while we ate our lunch at MOD ("not a pizza place," as they say). I took a nap in the afternoon and finally felt normal in the evening but we had plans to go hang out with some friends for part of the evening. The upshot is that I hardly read at all and I didn't get on LT either.

All that said, I did start reading my paper copy of The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell last night and I think I'm going to enjoy it.

One thing the doc and I discussed is the impact of blue light in devices on insomnia. Most of you know that my struggles with insomnia are a huge deal for me so I'm wondering if the kindle is exacerbating the situation. I have a new kindle Oasis and I have it programmed to go to amber light after 8pm, but does that mean the blue light is truly filtered out? Or is it still blue light but it "looks" amber? In either case, why would I not keep my device on the amber light all the time, rather than just at night?

One reason I like the kindle is that I can sit up and read when I'm not sleeping but P is. But if doing that is contributing to my massive sleep issues, she may just have to suffer the reading light even in the wee hours of the morning.

Ah, first world problems.

Jan 1, 6:11pm Top

Happy New Year, Ellen! My eyes take a half day to get back to normal after dilation during my annual eye exam, so I'm unable to read or do anything on my computer that whole time. So I'm 'forced' to just lie on the couch and watch TV until my eyes come back to normal. ;-)

I do find the amber light of my Kindle more soothing and leave it on that setting the whole time. I hope this helps and doesn't contribute to your insomnia. Have you tried using those white noise machine things? My brother-in-law swears by his gadget that spits out sounds of ocean waves for curing his insomnia.

Jan 1, 6:13pm Top

>27 cameling: - I think hearing the sound of the ocean would make me have to get up and pee all night long! Just saying. ;-p

Jan 1, 6:24pm Top

Happy reading in 2020, Ellen!

Jan 1, 6:29pm Top

Hi Ellen, and Happy New Year! I hope to be more active on LT this year now that things are settling a bit.
You are originally from Florida (or lived there), aren’t you? I ask because we are living Seattle and moving to Florida in April/May, somewhere between Tampa and Sarasota, tbd.

Jan 1, 6:41pm Top

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

Edited: Jan 1, 7:06pm Top

And Happy New Thread, Ellen! You remain one of my favorite LT pals and I look forward to spending another bookish year with you! It has been great seeing you posting around these past two weeks or so. We have got spoiled.

Jan 1, 7:40pm Top

I have tinnitus and use a rain-sounds generator with 12-hour cycles and earbuds to conquer the nasty side effects.

Jan 1, 7:59pm Top

Happy 2020, Ellen!

Jan 1, 8:04pm Top

Happy new year, Ellen.

I know the tribulations of pupil dilation well. I wear contacts and thus have to get checked at least once a year, and they often (but not always) do a dilation. I've actually started recovering from them faster the more I've done them. The worst part of eye exams for me is when they check on the inside of the eye lid because they flip the lids and I hate that.

I have occasional issues with insomnia too, and have turned on "night view" (no blue light) on all my devices after 9. I think it's improved things, but it's difficult to tell. I don't know how
There are glasses that you can buy that filter blue light, but it might be tricky if you need reading glasses as well. I know there are filter you can buy and clip onto computer screens but I have no idea if they'd work on Kindles.

Remember that any light, not just blue, interferes with sleep so it might be a good idea to dim the light around your home when it gets late.

Jan 1, 8:13pm Top

Welcome back!

Jan 1, 8:31pm Top

>27 cameling: Hello Caro!

I hadn't had my eyes dilated for several years so I had no memory or expectation of what it would be like. We had snow on the ground so that added to the brightness of the world. I have to admit that the eye-resting nap was welcome and a rare treat for me!

I think I'm going to change the kindle setting to be on amber light at all times. I haven't tried a sound machine. I've been thinking it's so quiet here that I can't imagine it helping but after spending 10 days in Hawaii over the holidays, I have been reconsidering. The sound of ocean waves might be just the thing. I also think I may revisit my "head space" app which has a really wonderful guided body scan into relaxation.

>28 jessibud2: LOL, Shelley. I'll report back if I try ocean waves and just end up in the loo all night.

>29 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita!

Edited: Jan 1, 8:39pm Top

>30 arubabookwoman: Hi Deborah. I saw on your introduction that you are thinking about moving to Florida. I did indeed grow up in Florida, in a small town about an hour north of Orlando and 20 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. We spent a week every summer on Sanibel Island which was, in those days, a rustic back-woods with beaches full of seashells and sand fleas and not much else. I know the Gulf Coast has changed tremendously, along with the whole state. Have you read Carl Hiaasen's mysteries? Starting with Tourist Season, I think, they are a Florida native's dream -- really good satire and an homage to the state as it was before tourism and development ruined it (for those of us who loved it in the 60s). I think it would be a wonderful place to retire if you can stand the heat and humidity. To quote Frances in the B-film, Desert Hearts, "lots of iced tea and no deep thinking."

touchstones not working

Jan 1, 8:45pm Top

>31 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul, and I share the hopeful resolution for 2020!

>32 msf59: Mark, my friend, thank you for the new year's wishes. I hope to be able to keep up a bit more in 2020 but you know it will be up and down as RL does its thing. Regardless, I am looking forward to another year of great reading, great book conversation with you and all my book-loving buddies, and a Chicagoland meetup around Memorial Day! (BAG)

>33 richardderus: Hmm. I have a white noise app that I use mostly when I travel (as I despise overhearing strangers' conversations on the plane!!) and it has one that I particularly like: rain on an umbrella. I don't need to block out sounds at home but some kind of soothing background noise might help with the insomnia. Retiring would really help with it! :-D

>34 banjo123: Thank you, Rhonda!

Jan 1, 8:49pm Top

Ellen--I have only had my eyes dilated once and, yup, it lasted the rest of the day. Sorry. Hope you get some great glasses out it though!! Good luck on the insomnia. I hope you can continue to use the Kindle. Happy New Year!!

Jan 1, 8:52pm Top

>35 PawsforThought: Hi Paws. I'm also not a fan of the various things they do with eye exams and I was so pleased by this doc's demeanor and professionalism. The guy I went to in Seattle seemed to have an agenda of his own and I felt like he didn't listen to me (the old "I'm the doctor and I know best and your annoying assertions about your visual experience are just distractions"). So this whole experience was positive and I will be better about getting exams on a more regular basis.

I have cataracts developing, especially in my left eye. He said I will likely need surgery in my early 60s, sooner than average but not unusual for someone who grew up in a very sunny climate. So that is something for me to watch out for.

I do have some over-the-counter readers that say they filter the blue light so I need to be sure I'm using those whenever I read my kindle. I think I will do that even as I change the settings to be amber light all the time.

Good tip about reducing ambient light in the house as a whole toward bedtime, too.

Jan 1, 8:53pm Top

>36 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

>40 Berly: I really like the two frames I picked out, Kim. I had a hard time choosing between them so I got both! This is counter to my new "I'm going to consume less while I'm on the earth" mentality but there you have it.

Jan 1, 9:08pm Top

Hi Ellen and Happy New Year. Last March I had a retinal tear and had to have laser surgery to repair it. That was the worst dilation I'd ever had. It lasted two days! I had to wear sunglasses in the house and close all the blinds. It was awful. That said, the surgery was successful, thank goodness and I was happy.

I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I thought when I originally got it six years ago I learned that it didn't emit that blue light that is problematic but don't quote me. I only very occasionally have insomnia and it's not a problem for me. I read most nights on my Kindle in bed for anywhere from five minutes to and hour depending on how exhausted I am.

Jan 1, 9:20pm Top

>43 brenzi: Hi Bonnie. I'm so glad that surgery went well; the experience sounds difficult and our eyes are so precious!

I've been doing research and I believe all the kindles emit blue light. Amazon says that it's not an issue because they are not back-lit but the light is distributed across the screen. As a life-long insomniac, I probably need to think about my device use at night. I have been reading in bed with my kindle Oasis and I have no idea whether it's contributing to sleep difficulties. My stressful job is the primary culprit, I am certain of that! LOL.

I think I'm going to get rid of all my over-the-counter readers that I'm not positive are blue-light filtering.

Also, I told my acupuncturist that I have been taking melatonin at night and she said she wishes it were not available over the counter. Her belief is that taking melatonin shuts down your body's manufacturing of it, creating a negative cycle. Instead, she suggested a slice of turkey at night to increase my body's tryptophan levels. That, and some kind of sleepy-time tea. I also think that I would do better if I could get back to more regular physical exercise during the day.

So many things to consider in the search for a good night's sleep! :-)

Edited: Jan 1, 9:25pm Top

Speaking of blue light and reading, it's only 6:20pm here, but I think I will start winding down my device use. I have Unsheltered on my kindle; I will save that for tomorrow morning. For now, I'm going to dig back into The Bone Clocks while P and I sit here watching the Sugar Bowl (about which I care not one bit).

I'm back at work full time tomorrow although the next two days are very easy schedule-wise. Hopefully I can get some things done to make the start of the semester go well. I have a presentation to prepare: I'm speaking to the University of Portland's Board of Regents later this month. The topic is college mental health and the location is Palm Springs. Too bad I only get to stay for one night!

Edited: Jan 2, 2:42pm Top

Happy New Year, Ellen!

I'm sorry to hear it's back to work tomorrow, but I'm glad the next two days have very easy schedules.

I also loved Where the Crawdads Sing and Girl Woman Other. Whoa, touchstones still not working? Anyway, I'm glad you're reading Bone Clocks; I liked it a lot. I still haven't read as much of David Mitchell as I want to.

Jan 1, 9:37pm Top

>45 EBT1002: The OR Ducks won the Rose Bowl!!! Woot, woot!!

Take it easy at work. And why are you talking to U of P in Palm Springs? Sob. Why not in PORTLAND?

Okay, off to read The Bone Clocks.

Jan 1, 9:59pm Top

I am also off to read The Bone Clocks. :) We are united in purpose.

Have you both read Cloud Atlas? I was wondering because as I start the second section, it seems like Mitchell is using the same kind of structure. I hope it works as well for this one.

Jan 2, 1:25am Top

Too bad your time off is over, Ellen. Good luck with getting a handle on your insomnia.

Jan 2, 2:36am Top

Happy New Year Ellen! I had the dilation thing done back in July and remember my eyes really watering despite it being a dull day. Wouldn’t have liked to have had it done when there was bright snow!

Edited: Jan 2, 10:43am Top

>48 BLBera: Similar thoughts here. I loved Cloud Atlas, so I have high hopes for The Bone Clocks. Just started Bitter Perfume section which is set in 1991. A whole new cast of characters.

Jan 2, 7:40am Top

Hi, Ellen!

Last year I had to find a new eye doc (because of the move, of course), and this one used a dilating agent (proper term?) that didn't bother my vision at all! Crazy, but I loved it. Charlie's doc, however, still goes with the traditional, can't-see-for-the-rest-of-the-day stuff and he ended up listening to his audiobook and relaxing on the couch for the afternoon.

Charlie uses a background sound/ambiance/whatever noise app every night and loves it (he has some sort of sleep anxiety - he's always afraid that he won't be able to sleep and *that's* what keeps him from falling asleep sometimes) - it's called Relax Meditation and has a ton of ways to customize the sounds you want.

Jan 2, 10:35am Top

Jan 2, 10:42am Top

Happy new year, Ellen! Wishing all the best to you and P in 2020!

Jan 2, 11:13am Top

>51 Berly: I'm also in 1991, and when I saw the new cast, I was reminded of what he does in Cloud Atlas

Hi Ellen.

Jan 2, 12:32pm Top

HAppy new year and happy new thread, Ellen! I look forward to another year following your reading and life updates :)

Jan 2, 12:42pm Top

Happy new year! I finally made it... not such a new thread any more though...

Palm Springs sounds like fun , even if it is just for one day!

Jan 2, 2:15pm Top

>38 EBT1002: I will definitely check out Hiasson. I believe I read one or two of his books, but many years ago, so I don’t remember. I also picked up Florida by Lauren Groff and hope to read it soonish.
I absolutely hate hot weather. It was a factor in our leaving New Orleans after 18 years there. I think Seattle’s climate is perfect. However, the kids forced our hand—if only one was a bit further west of the Mississippi we would have stayed. The compensating factor about Florida is the beaches. Having grown up on Aruba, I am a beach person. We hope to be on or within a few blocks of a beach, and that will compensate for a lot, like alligators, cockroaches, snakes,etc. Also we suspect that our NYC kids and grandkids will visit more in Florida. They all love beaches and Disneyworld.

Edited: Jan 2, 4:37pm Top

>46 jnwelch: Hi Joe. Hopefully the touchstones are working now.

I'm back at work but today has not been terrible. Every work day should have chunks of time in which one is able to just get things done!

I read during my lunch hour today (there is the first indication that this is not a normal work day), starting Rebecca Solnit's collection of essays, Call Them By Their True Names. I have wanted to read this author for a while and so far this is a compelling and thought-provoking collection. From the foreward: "Naming is the first step in the process of liberation."

ETA: Touchstones are still not working for me -- but they seem to be working for others. WTH??
I'm on a different computer now than I was last night, so it can't just be my laptop's problem. Grr.

Edited: Jan 2, 4:40pm Top

>47 Berly: Yes, Kim, I watched that Rose Bowl game. I was actually cheering for Oregon as representatives of the Pac-12, although not with much gusto. It was a crazy game; Wisconsin out-played them for most of the 60 minutes but the Ducks got their act together just in time.

UP is having their Board retreat in Palm Springs in January. Who was I to decline an opportunity to spend 24 hours down there? (I've never been and this will not provide much opportunity for exploration but I will have seen the place.)

I am liking The Bone Clocks but during those periods when it is weird, it is very, very weird. I admit that, so far, I'm not sure what is actually "happening" during those interludes of weirdness.

Jan 2, 4:41pm Top

>59 EBT1002: Touchstones act up sometimes for me too. I find that if I erase a letter or two after the touchstones titles (and then write them again), the touchstones catch up.

Jan 2, 4:45pm Top

>48 BLBera: Beth, I have not read Cloud Atlas and I admit that I worried a bit when I realized that The Bone Clocks is listed as the second in the "Horologists" series. But I see that the first is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I read and loved that one although I don't remember it as well as one might.

>49 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg! I experimented with the ocean sounds on my Head Space app last night and figured out how to make it sort of work. At first I had it on the 45-minute run but then, when I was awake after the first 45 minutes, and again after the second 45 minutes, I realized this was being counter-productive. After I changed it to run all night, it helped soothe me and helped prevent racing thoughts. Whew.

>50 SandDune: Hi Rhian! Next time I have my eyes dilated, I will have it done later in the day so I don't lose so much reading and/or work time!

Edited: Jan 2, 4:47pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Jan 2, 4:50pm Top

>51 Berly: I have Cloud Atlas on my TBR shelves so I'll get to that one eventually!

>52 scaifea: Hi Amber! I like Charlie's way of coping with the eye dilation thing - spend the day listening to audiobooks and relaxing on the couch! Wise young man.
I think what I have may be similar to what Charlie has. I've been an insomniac since childhood and my stress about the possibility of not sleeping aggravates the not sleeping. It's weird, though, that lately I've felt un-stressed out on Sunday evening but had trouble turning off my brain anyway. Still, I'm liking the early results of the relaxing sounds and I will check out Relax Meditation. Thanks for the tip (pass along my thanks to Charlie, too)!

>53 paulstalder: Hi Paul and thank you! Happy New Year to you, as well.

Jan 2, 4:55pm Top

>54 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda, and I wish the same for you!

>55 BLBera: Ack! You two are way ahead of me. I'm also still finishing Unsheltered so I may just fall behind....

>56 katiekrug: Thanks Katie!

>57 charl08: Thanks Charlotte. I'm still making the rounds to folks' new threads. It takes a while this time of year.

>58 arubabookwoman: Deborah, I loved Lauren Goff's Florida. It captures one element of the local culture -- and the flora and fauna of the part of the state in which I grew up. I didn't experience the swamp of Florida in quite the way she depicts it, but I LOVED her depiction of it. It resonated in a visceral sort of way. And yes, there are the beaches. The white sand, the salt ocean in which you can swim 9 months out of the year.... there are many wonderful things about the state.

Jan 2, 4:56pm Top

>61 PawsforThought: Hmm. I have had that experience in the past, too, Paws, but this time it is just not working. I wonder... am I the only one on LT having problems?
I wonder what will happen if I try to do a touchstone on someone else's thread. In other words, I'm hypothesizing that something is "wrong" with my thread. Ha.

Jan 2, 5:01pm Top

Sweet Thursday, Ellen. I am kicking off the year, in excellent bookish fashion. Just finished the excellent collection Last Migrations, which I highly recommend to you and I just started Girl, Woman, Other, along with Red to the Bone, on audio. I know you loved both and I see no reason, I won't feel the same. B.A.G.

Jan 2, 5:06pm Top

>60 EBT1002: I hope you have a fun time in Palm Springs. You know that. ; )

Yes, the weird parts of The Bone Clocks are weird at a whole new level. I am just proceeding with the hope that it makes sense later on. I have loved his other books, so they should, I think. I have other books to read as well, so I'll try to slow down a tad so you can catch up.

As to the Rose Bowl, yup Wisconsin was definitely playing better. But OR pulled it off in the nick of time. My daughter was psyched. And it wasn't a boring game with all the scores on both sides.

>58 arubabookwoman: Yes on Florida, both the state and the book. My parents are very close to Bradenton (I think I remember that was where you were going) and I like that town a lot. And there is Disneyland. LOL

Jan 2, 5:19pm Top

>62 EBT1002: I listen to an under Ocean soundtrack at night, often Ellen. It is less rhythmic than many sea soundtracks, and has a lot of bubbles, and I find it very soothing. It runs for about an hour and ten minutes, but sometimes I don't hear it for very long.

Edited: Jan 2, 5:46pm Top

>67 msf59: Hello Mark and sweet Thursday indeed! Last Migrations sounds like it would be right up my alley. And I'm confident you will enjoy both of your new reads.
I'm caught up in Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver and The Bone Clocks. Very different but both excellent so far.

>68 Berly: I do know that, Kim. Thank you. It's not until later in the month. I need to work on my presentation! Gah!

Re: The Bone Clocks, "I am just proceeding with the hope that it makes sense later on." Exactly my approach.

I agree that the Rose Bowl was definitely not a boring game. If fact, it was one of the most entertaining I've seen in a while. :-)

>69 Caroline_McElwee: Oh, that is interesting, Caroline. I could imagine that an "under the ocean" soundtrack would be very soothing. Thanks for the tip.

Jan 2, 6:11pm Top

Happy New Year, Ellen.

Occasional getting to sleep problems here--not nearly as bad as when I was working, though, but nights when monkey brain will NOT shut off and pulls up as many negative experiences from throughout my personal history as it can manage. Thankfully, those nights are relatively rare now, just a few times a month.

Jan 2, 7:52pm Top

Happy New Year Ellen!!

Hope we can manage a meetup this year - maybe when you're down here in June.

Jan 2, 7:54pm Top

>65 EBT1002: Not a race, Ellen. I have been reading Zadie Smith's stories today; that one has to go back to the library.

Regarding the weirdness -- after Cloud Atlas, I am assuming that Mitchell will tie things together eventually.

Jan 2, 9:37pm Top

Hi Ellen and Happy New Year!

I had cataract surgery when I was 61, both eyes, a week apart, and it was wonderful. The biggest issue for me was the multiplicity of different eye drops on differing schedules.

Good luck with your reading and work challenges this year, and Yay for a Peru adventure.

Jan 2, 9:59pm Top

Hi Ellen, I’ve got you starred now! I love seeing Deep Creek on your best of list.

I’ve worn progressive lenses for at least 20 years and I guess I’m just used to them now. I’m having my new prescription put in my old frames so I’m currently wearing a previous pair that had blue light protection lenses. I only have one pair with that added and I’m not sure if it really helped with eye strain and sleep or not. If the lenses didn’t have a purplish tint, I’d probably get it again because it can’t hurt.

>74 karenmarie: My husband needs cataract surgery and we were just talking with my sister about her recent surgery. The multiple drops were her biggest issue as well!

Jan 2, 11:17pm Top

Happy New Year, Ellen!

Sorry about the insomnia. I predict retirement will help you immensely! Although when I know I need to get up in the morning for an appointment or whatever, it still interferes with my sleep.

Jan 2, 11:19pm Top

>71 ronincats: I'm glad to hear that the sleep difficulties are less after retirement, Roni. My monkey brain starts having conversations in advance, and it has them over and over and over again. Ugh.

Happy New Year to you, as well, my friend!

>72 SuziQoregon: Hi Juli. Yes to a Portland meet-up in 2020! I hope it happens.

>73 BLBera: Right, Beth. Not a race. I do like knowing we three are reading it at the same time.

I'm also trusting that David Mitchell will tie it all up in the end. I'm willing to go along for the ride.

Yay! Touchstones are working!

Jan 2, 11:24pm Top

>74 karenmarie: Hi Karen. My sister also had cataract surgery in her early 60s and reports a similar experience as yours. She said she felt like she had been looking at the world through a very dirty window and someone came along and cleaned it!

>75 Copperskye: Deep Creek was definitely a highlight of 2019 for me, Joanne. My sister recommended it to me and then I think you and one or two others had recently read it.

I will be interested to see how I do with my new progressive prescription. I'll certainly report back!

I now know to pay attention to the various drops and their schedule when this surgery does come up for me. I will probably ask P to help with the drops management.

>76 streamsong: Hi Janet. Yes, I'm thinking retirement will help with the sleep issues. Only 134 weeks to go (ha ha). Of course, that target date may change in either direction depending on how things are going.

Jan 2, 11:25pm Top

Okay, I'm about to finish Unsheltered and then I can dedicate my full attention to The Bone Clocks over the weekend.

Good night, all.

p.s. it makes me so happy when the touchstones are working!

Jan 3, 3:15am Top

When I first joined Spotify it coincided with me having a bad cough and having problems sleeping. So I tried listening to the soothing ocean and rain falling sounds that they had. It was months and months before I could convince the Spotify algorithms that, yes, I really did want to listen to some proper music now please.

Edited: Jan 3, 4:25am Top

>70 EBT1002: I use 'Under H20: Sound Library' Ellen. I've had it for years, and play it even when I'm not particularly wakeful.

Edited: Jan 3, 8:53am Top

Happy Friday, Ellen.

You've convinced me on Deep Creek, and I added it to the WL.

Over on Mark's thread I just said that I do think you'd enjoy the GN Equinoxes. I think the non-linearity might be frustrating to some more occasional GN readers, but I think you'd like it, and get a lot out of it.

My current GN is the adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, and once again the story is scaring me with its plausibility.

Edited: Jan 3, 4:39pm Top

I noticed (https://www.librarything.com/topic/314487#7016600) that you live in Pullman, yes?
I hadn't read your thread much in 2019, because I was overwhelmed by having starred so many last year (my 1st year being in the 75 challenge group). I lived in Pullman and worked at WSU for a year or so then moved back to a new position in Canada. I liked the Palouse a lot!

OK, in skim reading your thread, I note that lots of folks have dilation-drop difficulties (lordy - alliteration!)... and I share that problem as well. Turns out, at least in my case, that the prolonged dilation was due to an allergy to one of the ingredients. My eye doctor says that's really common. He has since installed a way to perform an eye-exam using no drops, but a new kind of machine to photograph the inner eye. What a relief! I will ask about the name of the instrument, if anyone wants to know.

Also, re the blue light filters, here's an alternative insight (https://tinyurl.com/flawed-reasoning-on-blue-light), with a telling statement from Dr. Rahul Khurana, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology: he said the idea of blue-light blocking is "flawed on so many levels."

OK. This wasn't a very bookish post... I will confine future chatter to the reading we are all engaged in! I really came here to star Ellen's thread!

Jan 3, 9:32am Top

>83 SandyAMcPherson: - I also have the drops problem. My eye doctors in the past have practically had to use a vice to pry my eyelids open, just to get the drops in. Strong reflexes, I have (don't ask how many years it took me to master mascara, which I have long since abandoned. I can't deal with anything coming at my eyes, apparently!). Anyhow, after my former eye doctor retired, I found a new one, walkable distance from home, so I wouldn't have to drive home after the drops. He also uses that machine Sandy mentions (I also can't remember the name of it but I will try to find out, in case Sandy can't find it). It freaked me out a bit at first but it's very non intrusive at all and if the technology can get better results without the terror of drops, I'm in!

Edited: Jan 5, 4:31pm Top

1. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver -- 4.5 stars

I loved this novel. I know some have found it a bit preachy (and one early conversation between Nick and Tig does go too far down this road) but I thoroughly enjoyed this allegorical tale of two families connected by one house and one community, both facing ruin as they try to adjust to a worldview that is changing beyond recognition. The parallel between evolutionary theory's upending of divine creationism and climate change as it portends the earth's future is brilliantly rendered. Kingsolver explores, compassionately and frankly, the frantic grip humans will hold to what is known, what is familiar, what has seemed irrefutable. Along with these larger themes, she deftly illuminates generational dynamics as they play out in families as well as communities. I have been a fan of Barbara Kingsolver since I picked up a copy of The Bean Trees at a Chicago bookstore, when she was an unknown author and the bookstore staff were recommending this "promising debut." Unsheltered finds its way to my list of beloved Kingsolver works.

Jan 3, 11:46am Top

Happy New Year!

Jan 3, 3:22pm Top

>85 EBT1002: what a great way to start the year! I liked this one, although not quite as much as you did (3.5 stars from me). The past- and present-day narratives worked very well, and the mini-cliffhangers at the end of each chapter left me wanting more, every time. I agree with your take on the parallels Kingsolver was trying to draw. I also thought the challenging mother-daughter relationship was excellently portrayed.

Edited: Jan 3, 4:42pm Top

>85 EBT1002: - I have this somewhere in the floor piles. Good to know you loved it. For some odd reason, I couldn't connect with The Bean Trees but adored a few others of hers, including Prodigal Summer and a couple of books of essays of hers, Small Wonder and High Tide in Tucson. I also really enjoyed Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, co-written with her husband and daughter. I listened to that one on audio and each read their own parts.

Jan 3, 3:54pm Top

>80 SandDune: Cracked me up, Rhian. The good thing about computers is you can train them to do what you want. The down side is sometimes they think they know what we want!

>81 Caroline_McElwee: I'll check that one out, Caroline. The 8-hour steady ocean sounds from Head Space seemed to work last night. I'm finding myself pleasantly surprised that soothing sounds may help with my sleep difficulties! I admit to having been skeptical.

>82 jnwelch: Oh good, Joe, I think you will enjoy Deep Creek. Pam Houston's descriptions of her Colorado "ranch" are stunning. The chapter about the wildfire is particularly memorable, as are some of the stories involving her various animals. I just loved it.

I will look for a copy of Equinoxes. And I read the GN of The Handmaid's Tale last year and found it remarkable. I need to read The Testaments sooner rather than later, not that I think I will forget the story. Ha.

Jan 3, 4:00pm Top

>83 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy! Yes, I live in Pullman, having just moved here summer of 2018. I had lived in Seattle for 11 years prior to that. I was ready to leave behind some of the stresses of city living, but Pullman has turned out to be a bit smaller than ideal (for me). There is a "famous" t-shirt that says "Keep Pullman boring." They hardly have to work at it. But I do love the Palouse; it is beautiful and unique.

I love your alliteration! My doc in Seattle had that same technology -- and it was so interesting to see the images of the inside of my own eye! This doc doesn't seem to have that option but I was so pleased with everything else about the interaction that I'm happy to continue using the old methods. The dilation didn't present any actual problems for me other than putting me out of reading commission for several hours.

Hmm, I will check out the piece debunking the notion of blue-light-blocking.

And no worries about non-bookish posts! I do realize that we are a virtual book club but the conversations about other matters work for me!

Edited: Jan 3, 4:07pm Top

>83 SandyAMcPherson: Okay, I read the article and here is the bit that resonated most for me:

"Staring at screens for a long time can make eyes feel dry, tired and strained, but blue light is not the culprit, said Garg, and purchasing special lenses won't fix the issue.

"What's bothering people isn't the blue light. It's the fact that when they're staring at their screen a lot they're not blinking as often.

"That causes the eye to dry out, and when your eyes become dry, they become irritated and scratchy and tired."

To deal with that, he recommends a simple fix. It's called "the 20-20-20 rule." Look at least 20 feet (six metres) away from your screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

Blue light does wake us up and make us more alert, so too much late at night can make it hard to get to sleep. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends turning off devices or turning on blue light filters, a couple of hours before going to bed."

Since I have not been worried about actual harm to my eyes, but rather to sleep disruption, I think I need to follow the advice about using my devices less in the evening and perhaps using blue-light-filtering glasses if I simply must finish that book on my kindle.... heh.

I also really like the advice of the 20-20-20 rule. I sit at my desktop at work a lot (I'm doing it right now), but I have two really pretty prints on the wall just about 20 feet away. I can totally commit to looking at them for 20 seconds every 20 minutes or so.

Thank you for the reference!

Edited: Jan 3, 9:40pm Top

>84 jessibud2: Hi Shelley. I love that you have such strong eyelids. It is interesting how the technology has improved for examining our eyes, which are of course so precious for those of us who read!

>86 nittnut: Thanks Jenn!

>87 lauralkeet: Hi Laura. It was indeed a good start to the year! I was thinking Unsheltered may have landed on me particularly powerfully because of my recent experience on Kauai. I am so attuned right now to the global climate crisis and the incredibly destructive impact humans are having --- so the parallel between our failure to come to terms with what the future on earth is really going to be like and the resistance in the late 19th century to the Darwinian paradigm shift, and the particular human dynamic underlying both examples of defensiveness, resonated strongly for me. And yes, I loved the portrayal of the mother-daughter relationship. Tig was a wonderful character: complex, bright, challenging, surprising.

>88 jessibud2: I reread The Bean Trees a couple of years ago and I have to admit that it didn't land as wonderfully as it had back in the 1980s. I wonder if Kingsolver's stories are so time- and place-specific that they might not "keep" as well as some works. I have not yet read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but I'm really trying to get back into walking on the treadmill while listening to audiobooks so I might give that one a try in that format.

Also, I think Flight Behavior is one of my favorites along with the difficult Poisonwood Bible. I also really liked Prodigal Summer although I remember the mood, tone, and some of the setting more than I remember the plot for that one.

Jan 3, 4:25pm Top

I'm on my computer a lot everyday too, so I like the 20-20-20 rule.. thanks for sharing that. I don't have trouble falling asleep at all, even while watching some screen, but I do find my eyesight is deteriorating and I think it's due to eye strain from staring at my computer screens so hours.

Jan 3, 4:30pm Top

>93 cameling: I'm also super happy to learn about the 20-20-20 rule, Caro. We learn about books around here and we also learn how to take care of our eyes So. We. Can. Read. More.


Edited: Jan 3, 4:41pm Top

Ack! The prints on the wall are only about 15 feet from my desk. I'm calling it good enough.

Here are the prints I have up:

These are Mt. Rainier and Banff. I also have Sequoia and Yosemite. From Etsy. I just love them.

Jan 3, 4:53pm Top

Another 20-20-20 fan is heard from, as he prays that his welcome will not be rescinded when Unsheltered is revealed as a Hard Pearl Rule read (heaved against the wall in disgust). Sanctimonious much?

Anyway. I love the prints! I'll show myself out.

Edited: Jan 3, 5:37pm Top

>91 EBT1002: I'm delighted you found some useful insights from that CBC article.

For me, I was happy to see bad science debunked. We do need blue light in our lives (hence the recommendation for walking outside in natural light for awhile every day). Here in Saskatchewan, there is a study going on at the Univ. about the effects of blue light on the pineal gland (which secretes melatonin, and plays a crucial role in the body's internal clock).

There's a big sleep lab too and turns out there are some very interesting physiological events in humans related to blue light fading to red in the evening in our natural setting (this is unpublished in the lay literature, I should warn folks). The jury's still out, so I am told but some research is now pointing towards the tie in to sleep difficulties because melatonin secretion in a segment of the population is extremely sensitive to the quality of light. Hence the connection to sleep problems and the light spectrum (wavelength).

But I gotta wonder, is the rise in sleep apnea connected to inappropriate lighting in workplaces and does domestic lighting exposure also have an effect? Is the wrong spectral quality of lighting messing up our physiology in ways not thoroughly documented? Stay tuned... maybe I should do a lit review over on my thread sometime.

I love following this type of research. And I can be very boring with TMI, so skim away!

Jan 3, 5:08pm Top

>95 EBT1002: I love those prints Ellen.

Jan 3, 5:15pm Top

>95 EBT1002: Love those prints. Who is the artist?

Jan 3, 5:21pm Top

I plan on digging out my copy of Bone Clocks when I get back to Tuscaloosa. It has been hard to go back. I think I am more ready to retire than my bank account is. I want to have my car paid for before I retire, so I am in my last 18 months of work.

I have listened to several goo YA books on this trip - so far. The first Harry Potter book being one of them. This is the year I listen to all of the Harry Potter books. I think I am going to make that my New Years resolution. Along with drinking more tea with honey.

Jan 3, 5:27pm Top

>96 richardderus: Nah, I think I would not be picking up Unsheltered any time soon. So stick around!

>95 EBT1002: Nice prints yes. I am a great fan of that 'woodcut' sort of style. WJ Phillips is one of my favourite artists. My parents knew him, in fact ... long story... wish I had one of his prints, but mucho $$$$ nowadays.

Woodcut, Rocky Mtns: Valley of the 3 Sisters ~
Woodcut, Sunset, Lake-of-the-Woods ~

Beautiful in their simplicity.

Jan 3, 5:30pm Top

>95 EBT1002: Those are lovely, Ellen.

You liked Unsheltered more than I did, but still, it was pretty great. My problem was that I liked Willa so much that I didn't want to go back to Mary's story. I think my favorite Kingsolver is Flight Behavior; I love the characters and I think she does Appalachia really well.

I am really starting to dislike Hugo Lamb.

Jan 3, 5:36pm Top

>101 SandyAMcPherson: - That last one, Sandy, is very reminiscent of Tom Thomson's style.

Edited: Jan 3, 5:52pm Top

>102 BLBera: (supposed to be Shelley!)
Yes, although slightly later era, and also a lot like AY Jackson, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Varley, IIRC. I think many artists of that 1920-1940's style represented the shield country so memorably. It is certainly attractive to me and I identify that representative style even in some of today's wilderness landscapes.

Are you a fan of Phillips' woodcuts?

Edited: Jan 3, 7:00pm Top

>96 richardderus: Richard, you totally get to hate Unsheltered even though I loved it. I would not be surprised if you hurled your book across the room after that one bit I mentioned -- it was a conversation between Willa and Iano to which I definitely reacted with "really? get on with the story, Barbara!" But I hung in there and was glad I did so. I do hope you didn't break anything when you tossed your edition at the wall!

>97 SandyAMcPherson: I love the line of inquiry, Sandy. Given how much of my life I've spent in these northern climes (after growing up in Florida), I often discuss winter blues with students. Yes, yes, yes to the recommendation to get outside during the day, even if the sky is gray. We clearly need exposure to natural light, and that means full spectrum. Honestly, stress and anxiety are most certainly the greatest culprits in my sleep difficulties but since I can only reduce my work stress so much, anything I can do to reduce exacerbating factors is worth my attention.

>98 Caroline_McElwee: The vividness of the colors doesn't quite come through, Caroline, but you get the sense of them.

>99 Oberon: Hi Erik! Laura Amiss (?) is the artist here on etsy. She is located in the Netherlands and does a few series of prints. I also love the two I have on other walls in my office:

One quibble: I ordered Yellowstone and received Yosemite. I still like it but I was going for four national parks I have actually visited. I guess it just means a trip to Yosemite is in order. Ha.

Jan 3, 7:10pm Top

>100 benitastrnad: I totally hear the refrain of being more ready for retirement than your bank account is, Benita! My focus is on having saved enough to cover the COBRA for the months between retirement and eligibility for Medicare. If we had universal health insurance, I might retire now. Maybe that is one reason our government is so reluctant to move that direction (I don't really believe that, but it's less infuriating than what I believe to be the truth).

I'm not a Harry Potter fan although I understand the appeal. But that series will be good to focus on while getting through your last 18 months or so of work!

The Bone Clocks is a good read so far.

>101 SandyAMcPherson: Sandy, I LOVE those prints! The top one does not look like a woodcut, which is kind of cool.

We have two woodcut prints above our buffet at home. I will try to take photos and post. The ones posted here from etsy are a far cry from "fine art," but they were just what I needed for my second office in which I am only supposedly installed on an interim basis. I needed something inexpensive and seriously uplifting.

>102 BLBera: Hi Beth. Ah, your comment about Willa resonates for me. I loved her. But I also enjoyed the Mary-Thatcher story as the parallel to the modern story. But I get what you mean: I wanted to move in with Willa.

I just started the second section of The Bone Clocks this morning so I don't yet know Hugo Lamb. But if you don't like him, I doubt I'm going to do so! I'll make some progress this weekend. Mitchell's writing is stellar.

Edited: Jan 3, 7:15pm Top

>103 jessibud2: I agree! I do love the Group of Seven.

>104 SandyAMcPherson: I need to do some exploring of WJ Phillips. We have family in Nelson, BC; next time we are up there, I might try to find one of the galleries where some of his work is displayed.

Jan 3, 7:18pm Top

>105 EBT1002: "One quibble: I ordered Yellowstone and received Yosemite. I still like it but I was going for four national parks I have actually visited. I guess it just means a trip to Yosemite is in order. Ha." LOL. Guess you better start planning your trip!!

>102 BLBera: >106 EBT1002: I. don't. like. Hugo. About halfway through his segment.

Jan 3, 7:25pm Top

For those people who struggled to juggle the different eye drops after cataract surgery I will say that when I had mine done last March I was able to get one single bottle of eye drops to use. I had to pay for it myself but it only cost me $75 which I thought was well worth the convenience.

I absolutely love your prints Ellen. I will be checking out the Etsy site.

Jan 3, 7:25pm Top

Happy Friday, Ellen. Good review of Unsheltered. Thumb! I liked the book but I fell short of loving it. I remember, just wishing for it to be a bit tighter.

I think I felt the same way about The Bone Clocks, but there is still plenty there to enjoy! It is Mitchell after all.

Edited: Jan 3, 7:30pm Top

>108 Berly: Well now, I am fully warned that Hugo is not going to be my favorite person. I look forward to getting to know him! Ha.

>109 brenzi: Hi Bonnie. Thanks for the tip about the drops. I believe I'm still 2-3 years away from this predicted cataract surgery, so I don't know how much of this I'll remember when the time comes but I will know to come here and ask for reminders. I would also probably spend the money to make things easier in the eye-drop territory. We'll see what the story is when I get to that proverbial bridge.

>110 msf59: Hi Mark. I think my loving of Unsheltered has me in the minority. I do think timing contributed to my reading experience as her themes were really resonant for me right now.

Hmm, we'll see how I like the totality of The Bone Clocks. Speaking of which, I should head home to start my weekend!

Jan 3, 8:54pm Top

In addition to real life, work, and the craziness of the threads, I have another new distraction: the BBC series "The Dr. Blake Mysteries." Has anyone else watched this series set in Australia around 1959? I picked up season one at our library and P & I have gotten quite caught up in them. They go well on a Friday night with a glass of red wine. :-)

Edited: Jan 3, 9:27pm Top

>107 EBT1002: Re WJ Phillips prints ~ Nelson is very unlikely to have any WJP (imho). Phillips did not a commonly work around there (and I used to live in Procter, so have spent tons of time in Nelson).

The best places to view WJP in a gallery is the Assiniboine Gallery and Mayberry's in Winnipeg.
Mayberry's (in the downtown) is the best source of affordable WJP woodcuts that Ive seen. A print of Sunset, Lake-of-the-Woods is available in fact. Whether it is one of WJP's original prints is possibly questionable.

Tip: click on in the menu banner to find the older works of art.

Jan 3, 9:25pm Top

>112 EBT1002: We watched all the available Dr. Blake DVD's back in about 2016. That was after we ran out of available DVDs for the Miss Fisher mysteries.

We thought the Australian dramas and mysteries stellar entertainment! Not always the greatest dramatizations, but highly entertaining.

Jan 3, 9:39pm Top

I love the national park prints, Ellen. Thanks for the link to the Etsy shop. I am hooked and trying to decide how to narrow down what I want :)

Hope you and P have a great weekend!

Jan 3, 9:43pm Top

>114 SandyAMcPherson: P liked the Miss Fisher series more than I did. I like Frankie Drake better. And yes, none of these are the greatest dramatizations but very entertaining.

>115 katiekrug: Katie, the etsy prints are nicely rendered. They do take a while to arrive via post. Enjoy whatever you choose! (I spent more on the framing than I did the prints themselves, but that is not surprising, I suppose.)

Jan 3, 9:54pm Top

The Doctor Blake Mysteries has gone the way of all flesh, as Craig McLachlan was caught in a #MeToo scandal. Oh well, all good things....

Jan 3, 10:29pm Top

>95 EBT1002: Those are beautiful!

Jan 3, 11:05pm Top

Borrowed from Bonni (brenzi)'s thread, commentary intact because spot on:

Upcoming releases -- yay!

January 21 - American Dirt by Jeannine Cummins

February 25 - Apeirogon - Colum McCann
***** - who's not a fan???

March 10 - The Mirror and the Light - Hilary Mantel
*****cant wait and the date keeps bouncing around in March but I think this is it

March 24 - The Glass Hotel - Emily St. John Mandel
*****loved Station Eleven

April 7 - Afterlife - Julia Alvarez

Jan 3, 11:06pm Top

>117 richardderus: Well crap. I'm ignoring that intel. But dammit.

>118 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle!

Edited: Jan 5, 5:53pm Top

I am planning for my January 20 Thingaversary. I "get to" buy ten books.

In the running:

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl *
Underland by Robert Macfarlane
Mendel's Dwarf by Simon Mawer ***
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Bird Artist by Howard Norman *
The Horseman by Tim Pears
Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles

* Confirmed as final choice
*** Bought on kindle, does not count toward the Thingaversary Ten.

Jan 3, 11:52pm Top

Bird Artist! Bird Artist!

Jan 4, 12:07am Top

If you are a fan of Paulette Jiles, she also has a new one coming out.

Jan 4, 2:55am Top

>121 EBT1002: Good start! I think you need a few more. Have you checked out the 2020 Tournament of Books list?


Jan 4, 6:13am Top

>121 EBT1002: I loved The Bird Artist and was delighted to see it turn up on Obama's list.

Jan 4, 6:45am Top

Hi Ellen!

>111 EBT1002: Bill and I watched The Dr. Blake Mysteries last year and loved it. Not my favorite era to watch or read about (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel being another exception) but we watched all 5 seasons.

Apropos the discussion of blue light and sleeping problems, here’s an article about how human sleep patterns have changed over the recent centuries – first and second sleep. Have you heard of this before?

Bi-Phasic Sleep

I heard of bi-phasic sleep quite a few years ago, which reconciled me to my middle-of-the-night insomnia. Even when I was still working and Jenna was little, if I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep in about 15 minutes, I’d get up and read until I felt tired enough to go back to sleep. It almost always works for me, and knowing it had a biological basis was and is a relief.

Jan 4, 12:41pm Top

>115 katiekrug: same! Thanks for the link - your idea about having national parks that you have visited is a good one too.

Jan 4, 1:44pm Top

After reading about Mendel’s Dwarf on sqeakychu’s thread, I checked Amazon, and it’s on sale for $7.99 for Kindle. I bought it for Kindle, since I don’t count Kindle purchases against my Thingaversary entitlements (I’m due 12 books as of 1/1/20). Haven’t read it yet, though.

Jan 4, 1:56pm Top

>105 EBT1002: I love the woodcut posters.

You've put Unsheltered squarely on my 'need to read soonish' list.

Jan 4, 2:07pm Top

I'm another one who loved The Bird Artist, Ellen. I'm planning on reading American Dirt, too. Mark loved the ARC.

Jan 4, 3:15pm Top

Whoa! Fourth day of the new year and I am just now getting through your thread, Ellen. Fourth day and your first thread is about half-shot. More power to you.

I get the eyedrops every year, but I just don't recall being thrown off by the recovering cycle. I think I just take nap. Naps are great! I believe the doc has drops available to reverse the dilation, but he/she wants extra $ for the option. Hmmm.

I had cataracts removed quite a few years ago. I just don't recall having to put drops in my eyes afterward. Maybe its dementia. Nahhh. Can't be that.

Good luck with retirement planning. It's a crap shoot; I got turned out of my job before I was ready. As in, "Surprise! We're laying off a lot of people, but if you're old enough and have been here long enough, you can take early retirement with a nice bonus payment." And within the year, Elon collapsed and took down a lot of the financial market. And a lot of my handsome retirement package just melted away. So I had to keep looking for work. Dismal time.

But I are really retired now, 20 years later, and we are doing quite well.

Just vote against the Vandals who want to privatize Social Security and end Medicare. You can easily identify them; they are Republicans.

Jan 4, 5:40pm Top

Happy New Year, Ellen and best wishes for 2020!

>26 EBT1002: - I have both progressives and bifocals. I find I prefer my bifocals but I need to use the progressives for computer work... that, or sit really far away from the computer screen, which isn't ideal. I have noticed that excessive screen time makes my eyes sore (must be the lack of blinking mentioned later down this thread), so I have been working on limiting or taking breaks from computer reading which includes, unfortunately, printing documents that I need to read at work, to reduce my "screen time" (kind of the 20-20-20 rule). I still prefer to read books on my e-reader, so a struggle to find the right balance. I find that white text on a black background is easier on my eyes, but for some strange reason that is not a setting available on my Kobo. sighs.

Love the pictures! Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Jan 4, 6:12pm Top

I had cataract surgery a couple of years ago, and they did both eyes at once, which I highly recommend. I am an old hand at eye drops and dilation, as I had a bunch of eye problems (which set me up for the cataracts.) But the surgery is easy. You may want to cajole your doc into doing it sooner rather than later. I think they tend to wait longer than necessary.

Jan 5, 4:19pm Top

>122 katiekrug: Duly noted, Katie. It's on the list because it was one of your top reads of last year. :-)

>123 BLBera: Oh, good to know, Beth. I absolutely LOVED News of the World but I haven't yet read anything else by Jiles.

>124 Berly: Hmm, I have not yet checked out the most recent ToB list, Kim. I will do that. I mean, I'm not truly in need of more books to add to the list but it's kind of fun to treat the Thingaversary purchase as a special case of book acquisition.

>125 Caroline_McElwee: Ooh, Caroline, I had forgotten that The Bird Artist is on Obama's list of best reads. Obama and Katie and you. That pretty much seals the deal!

Edited: Jan 5, 4:28pm Top

>126 karenmarie: Hi Karen. I think we watched a couple of episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and I'm not sure why we didn't stick with it. We'll have to give it another try.

I have not heard of bi-phasic sleep before. I will read that article. I've been more likely to sit up in bed and read in the middle of the night if I can't get back to sleep but I might start trying the get-out-of-bed approach. It's always so cold in our house in the wee hours.... (we sleep with the thermostat set at 55F).

>127 Oberon: I'm glad you also like them, Erik. My sister got a set of three smaller ones and put them in her study; they look quite nice in the photo she sent.

>128 arubabookwoman: Oh, I will check that out, Deborah. I'd like to have it on kindle and, like you, I would not count that toward my Thingaversary Ten.

ETA: Just purchased Mendel's Dwarf for $7.99 on kindle.

Jan 5, 4:30pm Top

>129 streamsong: Hi Janet. I hope you enjoy Unsheltered when you get to it. I remembered that the sanctimonious preachy bit was actually an early conversation between Nick and Tig (son and daughter of Willa and Iano) so I have corrected that in my review. The conversation was, in part, to establish distinct differences in personality and worldview of the two siblings, but it did go on too long. Just be prepared to push through that bit and you'll be well rewarded, imo.

Jan 5, 4:37pm Top

>130 jnwelch: Hi Joe. I think it was Mark's warbling that put American Dirt on my radar. I think I'll confirm it as one of my ten.

>131 weird_O: Hi Bill and welcome!

Yeah, next time I will be prepared for how long it takes to recover from the eye drops so I will (a) have it done later in the day and (b) plan to nap for as long as I want afterwards! I agree that naps are great. I look forward to the day when I can take them more regularly.

Thanks for the cheers for retirement planning. I feel like I want to have a goal/target date but I know things can change, either at work or in the financial environment in which I'm hoping to retire. Social Security and Medicare are absolutely key for me to be able to retire with any sense of, well, security. So we will see.

"Just vote against the Vandals who want to privatize Social Security and end Medicare. You can easily identify them; they are Republicans." Amen to that, my friend!

Jan 5, 4:42pm Top

>132 lkernagh: Hi Lori and thank you for the happy new year wishes! I ordered two pair of progressives that are specifically designed for "office environment," so we'll see how they work. I supposed I could get a third pair that are just bifocals if I feel I need that. I feel like this optometrist will work with me, which I appreciate.

"I find that white text on a black background is easier on my eyes..." That is interesting and, to me, surprising. I have not tried that. Hmmm.

>133 banjo123: Oh, that is interesting advice about cajoling the doc to do the surgery sooner rather than later, Rhonda. He showed me the cataract on the image and said "when it grows to here, it will be time." He said that when the time comes, my vision will feel like it drops off a cliff. I think I'll see how things progress over the next year as we'll redo the images next December.

Edited: Jan 5, 4:55pm Top

I have mentioned that I'm trying to embrace the idea of Turbo-charged Self-Care while I count down to retirement. Last week I "celebrated" the 4-year anniversary of my small but scary stroke. For some reason, this anniversary got my attention, perhaps because for most of 2019 I have been doing two big jobs and it was a sedentary year for me; both of these things were also true when I had my stroke.

Yesterday I went to acupuncture and later P and I went to see Little Women and then out for dinner. We both enjoyed the movie. Today we went for a 2.25-mile walk while the sun was out (it's supposed to start snowing later today). Tonight I plan to go to yoga. It will be my first yoga class in years!! We're planning a day of snowshoeing for next weekend.

I'm still reading The Bone Clocks and it's quite good. I have several library books sitting on the bedside table but I am committed to reading Oryx and Crake, Into the Beautiful North, and one Booker winner this month. I'm trying to come to terms with the possibility of a smaller number of completed books in 2020. Everyone knows that my job is intense but this year I really do want to build in more physical activity. My acupuncturist thinks I can get back to running and that would be the best thing of all! It's not about new-year's resolutions, but about paying attention to taking care of my heart, my mood, my well-being.

Jan 5, 5:36pm Top

>121 EBT1002: You know I LOVE this list! Sadly, I have still not read Simon Mawer.

Happy Sunday, Ellen. Go Seahawks! I have the game on. The playoffs this weekend, have been very exciting. Glad to see the Pats & Saints out, but bummed about the Bills.

This will be no surprise to you, but I am loving Girl, Woman, Other. It is only January, but I can tell, this will all ready be a top read of the year for me.

Jan 5, 5:53pm Top

>140 msf59: Hi Mark. I am very happy to see the Pats heading home. I'm more ambivalent about the Saints but I'm happy for Beth with her Vikes. I don't have a good feel about the Seahawks this year -- too many key injuries, especially at the running back position -- and they are showing poor focus in the first part of this game.

I'm not surprised but pleased that you're liking Girl, Woman, Other as much as you are. It's a pretty remarkable work.

I read The Glass Room in 2012 and gave it 4.5 stars but I only somewhat remember it. I've had The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (which I have as Trapeze ??) on the TBR shelves for a long time and now I have Mendel's Dwarf on my kindle. :-)

Jan 5, 5:54pm Top

I was happy that I had the cataract surgery before they interfered TOO much with my life. I think they are used to cataracts in older, retired folks, who live at a slower pace.

I need to get back to yoga! I dropped my yoga class for a zumba workout, which I love, but I am afraid that my body is getting older and stiffer this decade.

Edited: Jan 5, 7:28pm Top

Redoing >121 EBT1002: from above:

I am planning for my January 20 Thingaversary. I "get to" buy ten books.

In the running:

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl *
Underland by Robert Macfarlane
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Bird Artist by Howard Norman *
The Horseman by Tim Pears
Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles
Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat

* Confirmed as final choice

Jan 5, 5:55pm Top

>142 banjo123: I'll let you know how this, my first yoga class in a very long time, goes, Rhonda. And then I will encourage you! :-)

Jan 5, 6:06pm Top

Touchdown, Marshawn Lynch! Even if the Hawks lose, this is wonderful.

Jan 5, 6:15pm Top

It is pouring huge flakes of snow here now. About that drive to my yoga class later....

Jan 5, 6:37pm Top

I just got back from the gym, Ellen. I ran into my pilates instructor. I plan to start that on Tuesday again. I do feel better when I get exercise.

I'm in the Crispin Hersey section and should finish that one tonight. I was kind of wondering about the role of the Iraq war in the big picture as I read Ed's section. This might be a book where I don't see how things fit together until after I've finished it.

Jan 5, 6:38pm Top

Good luck to the Seahawks.

Jan 5, 6:51pm Top

Happy Yoga-ing, Ellen, snow or no snow!

Jan 5, 6:55pm Top

I'm taking The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie off my Thingaversary Ten list as Beth has promised to pass along her copy when she is done with it. Thank you, Beth!

Jan 5, 7:00pm Top

>147 BLBera: Ah yes, Pilates is another good way to feel good in one's body. I'm looking forward to this yoga class. It's warm, rather than hot, and it's Yin, which means "you hold poses for 30 seconds to 10 minutes, depending on the asana. The intention is to target the muscle tissue or fascia, connective tissues such as ligaments, bones, and event joints of the body that normally are not exercised much in an active yoga style practice" (according to the website). So we'll see.

Hmm, I'm still in Ed's section and now I'll pay some attention to the Iraq war focus.

>148 BLBera: Thanks Beth. They are up going into the fourth quarter. I do wish they would stop false starting.

>149 richardderus: Thanks Richard! It appears to have stopped snowing now so it's a heavy dusting at present. It's also 37F out so go figure.

Jan 5, 7:38pm Top

Whew. Seahawks win. Thank you, LT, for keeping me distracted while I "watched" the game.

Jan 5, 7:50pm Top

Go Seahawks! An impressive win. Great defense. You should be in full yoga mode, now.

Jan 5, 7:59pm Top

>153 msf59: Thanks Mark. It was a great win for the Seahawks. That catch by DK Metcalf at the end was amazing.

I'll leave for yoga in about 45 minutes. I'm stopping by Papa Murphy's for a take-n-bake first and I need to leave a bit of time for the slightly snowy/slushy roads.

Jan 5, 8:20pm Top

Nice Seahawks win, Ellen! I was rooting for them.

I've fallen off the yoga wagon since my shoulder dislocation, but the friend I used to go with just texted me the other day about getting back to it (she also hasn't been in a while), so I think we'll be going the week after I get back from my trip.

Jan 5, 8:23pm Top

I was very impressed with Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, Ellen. My review is on my thread.

Jan 6, 12:35am Top

I went to yoga 3x during the break and loved it. I haven't really had time with my TKD commitment. If I don't get approved to continue in TKD (Due to most recent health issue) then I will for sure be adding yoga back in to the mix. I hear you about making more time for working out--I am always happier when I exercise.

Jan 6, 7:04am Top

Morning, Ellen!

I have long wanted to find a yoga class - I've never been but I think it would be really good for me. Maybe someday...

Jan 6, 10:37am Top

>95 EBT1002: Love the artwork!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Jan 6, 3:08pm Top

>95 EBT1002: >105 EBT1002: Nice prints, Ellen. Now you need to go to Yosemite and order Yellowstone again ;-)
I looked at Laura Amiss etsy site, she makes nice prints. I might be tempted if there was any space left on our walls.

Jan 7, 10:03am Top

Happy New Year, Ellen! I love that you are counting down to retirement - may it go quickly and smoothly for you. I also love your tribute to Abby - I am so sorry for your loss. Those photos are so sweet.

I can't wait to see which ten books you pick for your Thingaversary - glad Katie nudged you towards The Bird Artist. I also loved that one.

Jan 7, 3:50pm Top

Hi Ellen!
The yoga talk grabbed my eye as I scrolled, I am a big supporter :) (yet, still, I can't manage to get to classes regularly). I always feel good there, good after, and good generally when I practice.

Happy new year :)

Jan 7, 9:33pm Top

I did yoga in my 20s and loved what it did for my body, but drifted away. Richard Hittleman's Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan was my guidebook--I've always done it on my own. But some of those postures are beyond me now--I never could do a headstand in my entire life, and some of the others are pretty extreme for my back. So last year I ordered a Gentle Yoga dvd program online, and my resolution is to open it--SOON! It's supposed to be aimed at older bodies.

Jan 7, 9:42pm Top

Well, Happy Tuesday, everyone! It has been a busy couple of days but I also made some progress in The Bone Clocks. I'm almost done with the Crispin Hershey section. What a ride this novel is!

Yoga on Sunday evening was wonderful. I signed up for two weeks of unlimited classes. Sadly, this week, my first of the two, has a lot of canceled evening classes. So next week I'm signed up for several. We'll see how it goes.

P and I have booked our trek in Peru for July 2020. It means I need to do yoga, go to acupuncture, walk and (in a couple of months) run, eat well.... We're excited!

I have seven books checked out from the library. Ha! But the nice thing is that they are free.

Jan 7, 9:49pm Top

>155 katiekrug: Thanks for rooting for my Seahawks, Katie. It was a good win for them. They have had some key injuries this year but Russell Wilson still scrambles with the best of them and dang he throws a pretty long ball! Good luck getting back into yoga. You hardly need me to say it but I'll quote my colleague who is in her 60s and does lots of yoga: "Don't worry about anyone else in the room. Do what works for you."

>156 Familyhistorian: Oh good, Meg. I'll check out your review of Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club. I'm glad you liked it.

>157 Berly: It's all a balance among the things we need to do and the things we want to do, and the things that make us feel good, right Kim? I blocked myself out to leave work a wee bit early every other Wednesday for the next couple of months: acupuncture is available Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings and I think it's one of the critical elements in my Turbo-Charged Self-Care plan. I hope you can get back into TKD like you want, but if not, we'll be co-yogis as well as twins!

Jan 7, 9:57pm Top

>26 EBT1002: I think your eye doctor is marvelous..very insightful and a good listener. 19 years ago, I had my eyes examined. It changed my life. He asked me if I wanted to have a cup of coffee. That lead to a wonderful 18 - year relationship. Sadly, he passed away in April of 2019. I don't see as clearly as I once did.

All good wishes to you for a wonderful year of reading. I'll be back frequently.

Edited: Jan 7, 11:13pm Top

>158 scaifea: Hi Amber! I had gotten into yoga some when I was living in Seattle. There was a wonderful studio that did "hot yoga," but the room had zones. I would plop myself in the 85F zone and leave the 95F and the 105F(!!) zones for others. I really liked the class, the rhythm. I stopped doing it the last few years so this is a re-start. I do think it's amazing for one's well-being.

>159 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita!

>160 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. I definitely need to go to Yosemite! And I know the feeling about wall space. If I hadn't had a second office at present, I would likely not have ordered the prints. But I needed something I really liked in that second office since the job is so not what I want to be doing.

Jan 7, 10:03pm Top

>161 Crazymamie: Mamie!!!! It's wonderful to see you here. I know I'll never "keep up" with all the threads but I will find yours and at least reconnect. I'm glad to get another nod for The Bird Artist. I'm having fun choosing my ten books. :-)

>162 LovingLit: Hi Megan and Happy new year to you, as well! Yes, yoga is one of those things that I'm always glad I did. When I have been trying to motivate myself to run, I remind myself "you've never gone for a run and wished you hadn't." The same goes for yoga. The same probably goes for walking on the boring treadmill so I'll try to remind myself of that tomorrow morning. *smile*

>163 ronincats: I'm a fan of the more gentle approach, Roni. I've never done a headstand in yoga (I did them some when I was a kid) and I'm not sure I need to. But I do like the core workout, the stretching, and the focusing on my breath. So I hope you open that Gentle Yoga dvd program soon and give it a try.

>166 Whisper1: Linda, what a sweet story. I love -- and am heartbroken -- by your comment about not seeing as clearly as you once did. Corrective lenses and good relationships -- they are both important in helping us see the world around us! Keep taking care of you, my friend.

Jan 7, 10:03pm Top

>164 EBT1002: - My yoga friend is doing a hike to Macchu Pichu in April. She is really fit already, but has started hitting the stair-stepper at the gym pretty hard (apparently the route she is doing has tons of steps), and plans to start hiking with an oxygen "deptrivation" mask (not the right term, but it's supposed to train your body to function well at high altitudes).

As for my yoga practice, I've never much worried about what other people are doing/thinking. It's all I can do not to pass out ;-)

Jan 7, 11:02pm Top

I just finished The Bone Clocks. It ends strong -- my favorite section is the last one. I'll comment on it tomorrow.

Jan 8, 12:13am Top

>169 katiekrug: Oh my, Katie, your friend is in another league from us! We looked at some of the more strenuous hikes but we are older than we once were. We'll see Machu Picchu but we'll get there by bus. BUT -- the program we're going on is sponsored by REI; it's 8 days and we get to choose each day between an "easy" (ha), moderate, and difficult hike for the day. I may not do a single one of the difficult hikes.

"It's all I can do not to pass out." I'm with you, sister, especially when I do the "hot" yoga.

>170 BLBera: I'm really enjoying The Bone Clocks, Beth. It's going a bit slowly with work, exercise, and the "Greatest of All Time" tournament on Jeopardy! but I will get there.

Jan 8, 12:50am Top

I am so heartbroken and angry about the fires in Australia I hardly know what to do with myself. I keep thinking about the Koalas. Such sweet, peaceful creatures. I fell in love with them when I got to watch them feed at the San Diego zoo. I hate feeling so helpless.

Jan 8, 2:45am Top

>172 EBT1002: I feel the same. I've not (yet) had the pleasure of meeting a koala in real life but I've always been fond of them (as I think most people are), particularly after watching a heart-wrenching documentary about wildfire-afflicted koalas in my teens. Twenty years later I still see the image of burt koala foot pads whenever I think of fires. I heard some numbers last night that made me tear up - 25000 koalas dead, countless other animals (I've seen numbers in the millions).

Jan 8, 6:45am Top

>172 EBT1002: Oh, I am right there with you, Ellen. I sat in bed and cried about it last night because of that helpless feeling. The world seems extra dark right now and I'm pushing against a rising general panic about it at the moment while trying to figure out how to spread a little light of my own. Sending commiserating hugs, friend.

Jan 8, 7:03am Top

>164 EBT1002: The ruins of Macchu Pichu is quite a breathtaking site!

As for the Yoga, I heard it is supposed to be relaxing. I tried it once with a more advanced friend, and found that I was quite sore so I never tried it again. Perhaps I will give it one more shot and start in the beginners class :)

>172 EBT1002: Indeed, the fires are devastating. The news reported that the Koalas are being rescued and brought to a rescue centre where they are giving them medical attention. Thankfully, many citizens are doing everything they can to help the distressed wildlife.

Jan 8, 7:28am Top

Hi, Ellen. I can't even watch the footage of the koalas that have been playing on our news. Australia has so much wildlife unique to that area alone. Some may be extinct after this devastation. It's so tragic. For humans, too, of course but human homes and structures can be rebuilt. Habitat, not so much. I don't know how much more of a wake-up call to climate change humans need.

And wasn't that first night of the Jeopardy championship competition terrific?! I like all 3 guys and don't know who I am rooting for!

I began a yoga class in the fall and I love it. I also have a few yoga dvds that, should I be so inspired, I could follow at home. So far, I haven't but I *could*……. ;-) But thanks to a bad back, I do yoga stretches every morning before I get out of bed. It really does help.

Jan 8, 3:09pm Top

>176 jessibud2: An Australian woman who was helping injured kangaroos was interviewed on the news today said something similar which really struck a chord with me. She had lost her home in the fires but still said something like "it's a house, houses are insured - they (the animals) don't have any insurance - what about their home?"

Jan 8, 3:17pm Top

>177 PawsforThought: - Exactly. I saw an interview on our news here in Canada the other day with a woman in Australia (sorry, I forget exactly where) who runs a shelter/rehab place for koalas and she said it was just heartbreaking. And last night, there was a piece showing a man who piled a bunch of them into his car, to take them, I assume, to somewhere for rehab and care. Easy enough, I suppose, for small animals like koalas, but how does one rescue kangaroos, for example? And even after the fires eventually are finished, will there be enough of a liveable and sustainable habitat to release them back into? Just so awful and sad.

Jan 8, 3:59pm Top

Okay, does anyone know of a good organization to donate money to? I googled "how can I help the Koalas in Australia?" and several things come up. I may just pick one that looks good but I did think I'd check in with this educated group, see if folks have any info about organizations that are particularly good.

It's what I can do.

More soon, my friends.

Jan 8, 4:03pm Top

I just donated money HERE
after reading THIS.

Jan 8, 4:05pm Top

This article was pretty good, I thought:

Also this from PBS:

I've seen several people and articles mention that it's important to support the companies in the areas that have been affected by the fires. So if there are any companies that you would be interested in shopping from, that'd be a good idea.

Jan 8, 5:04pm Top

>181 PawsforThought: Thank you, Paws!

Jan 8, 5:19pm Top

>180 EBT1002: Thanks so much for the links, Ellen!

Jan 9, 3:34am Top

All the news on the area, the people and the wildlife in Australia just makes me so sad. Thanks for the links everyone!!

Jan 9, 6:45pm Top

I have been doing Hatha and Yin yoga for 24 years. For 22 of those years I had the same teacher for the Saturday morning class I attended. This fall she started to slow down and at the age of 64 stopped teaching the Saturday morning class. It was a shock to my system. I have grown to love this Saturday morning practice with her and with a small group of women who have attended the class together for years.

I also attend a yoga class on Monday nights that is a very intense physical kind of yoga. I am going to sign up for a pilates class this semester as well. It meets on Wednesday nights, so that will give me some kind of exercise three days out of the week. I would like to go to a water aerobics class, but can't find a place that is giving this sort of class.

I think it is important to remain doing physical activity of some kind no matter what stage of life you are in.

Jan 9, 8:20pm Top

I'm heartened to see that our National disaster is being felt even on a platform like librarything.

Wires is one of the best wildlife organisations to help as they are a national agency.


As for the human efforts, The Australian Red Cross would be my recommendation.


Jan 9, 9:00pm Top

>179 EBT1002: & >186 fairywings: It certainly is a tragedy. The place is such a tinderbox that there must be some ways in future to protect the habitat better and have an earlier and more efficient response.

I am saddened by the plight of the animals including the koalas but am even more concerned that the people there are safe and taken care of.

Jan 9, 9:16pm Top

>187 PaulCranswick: If hazard reduction burning had been done during winter, things would have been very different, one of the problems has been way too much fuel on the ground.

Jan 9, 9:22pm Top

>188 fairywings: It is immensely sad, Adrienne. I do hope that lessons will be learned and that the damage is not irrecoverable.

Jan 10, 9:29am Top

Hi Ellen!

Congrats on booking your Peru trip.

>186 fairywings: Thanks, fairywings. I’ve donated to the AU Red Cross.

Jan 10, 1:50pm Top

>191 karenmarie: ^^^What she said.

Hi Ellen! It's Friday at last!!

Jan 10, 3:10pm Top

The occasion certainly has past, but it surely would have been satisfying if the Iggles could have avoided injuries at least during the game against the Seahawks. Clowney got away with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Wentz, which put him (Wentz) out of the game in the first quarter. Then the 40-year-old backup qb tore his hamstring and played with the injury for the entire second half. The 'Hawks were favored and might well have prevailed anyway. But...

Speaking of eyedocs and glasses, my daughter is a costume-maker and as she's gotten into her forties, she had vision trouble when shifting back and forth between general stitching and very close work. She finally took a work sample and demonstrated for the optician that shifting she does day in and day out. The light went on, and she's now got glasses with range of focal lengths she needs.

Jan 10, 3:42pm Top

>193 weird_O: What Bill said about the Eagles. Despite a heroic effort from their 40 year old backup QB, their season was over when Clowney took out Carson Wentz with that questionably malicious hit early in the first quarter. He should have been named the game's MVP for that cheap shot on a defenseless player who was already nearly on the ground.

Jan 10, 3:49pm Top

>164 EBT1002: Wow .. a Peruvian trek. I'm jealous! That's on my bucket list and I'm hoping to be able to get out there before an earthquake flattens Machu Picchu. For the time being, I'll have to be an armchair traveler and enjoy it vicariously through your photos.

Jan 10, 5:05pm Top

>191 karenmarie: That's awesome Karen

Jan 10, 5:53pm Top

Wow - Peru! I'll be looking forward to hearing all about it! Actually, I have a friend that is thinking of doing similar and was sounding me out as a traveling companion a couple years from now. It'll be interesting to hear just how 'easy' the easy hikes are.

Jan 11, 11:10am Top

Uh oh, I've gotten way behind on my own thread. It was a busy week with work, yoga, acupuncture, snow, rain, watching the Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament, and reading The Bone Clocks. Whew.

I'm trying to decide what to read next. Oryx and Crake is a commitment but I want to read something different first as it is speculative and so was The Bone Clocks.

I have three Graphic works here from the local library so I'll read one of them. I had not heard of any of them but there they were on the "New" shelf.

Old Souls by Brian McDonald
Commute by Erin Williams
Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

Jan 11, 11:48am Top

2. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

This is a romp through time and place, a speculative work that begins in 1984 and ends in a 2054 that may be speculative but also strikes this reader as terrifyingly feasible. The notion that there are immortal souls who inhabit bodies just as their original owner is giving up the ghost (so to speak) -- and that there is a group of evil doers who have figured out how to mimic this immortality but only by committing murder -- provides a complex and delightful platform for exploring themes no smaller than love, death, power, mortality (duh), and the struggle between good and evil. Mitchell's characters are wonderfully multidimensional and his careful unraveling of the labyrinthine story of the Horologists and Anchorites is perfectly paced. Mitchell simply tells a good story and this rich novel is full of stories. Definitely a worthwhile commitment of precious reading time.

Jan 11, 11:48am Top

>198 EBT1002: I recommend Gender Queer: A Memoir because my YGC love, love, loved it.

Happy Saturday! I dreamed about you and Prudence last night...y'all replaced Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith on GBBO, which I fell asleep re-watching. It was a highly entertaining dream.

Edited: Jan 11, 12:35pm Top

>200 richardderus: Oh good. Thank you, Richard. I was hoping someone in these parts would know about one or more of these. I was so pleased to see Gender Queer: A Memoir on the shelves at my little local library.

Your dream sounds funny even though I have only watched GBBO a couple of times. Prudence and I would indeed be hilarious hosts. :-)

Edited: Jan 11, 12:49pm Top

>173 PawsforThought: I've always had a soft spot in my heart for koalas, too, Paws, ever since my beloved older sister gave me a very small stuffed one when I was a kid. The stuffed koala had a sort of clip inside it so it "held on" to things like a bedpost. I loved it. I think my visit to the San Diego zoo in November was my first in person (or in koala) experience. The numbers of animals dying in these wildfires is staggering. Of course, humans are also being affected but there is a part of me that gets so cynical: we humans, as a species, hardly deserve to continue to exist. That sounds cold and I feel absolute compassion for the individual humans being affected by the fires. I just wonder when the hell we're going to wake up.

>174 scaifea: Thank you, Amber. You are not alone in shedding tears for the animals, for our earth, for the dismal state of the world. The last section of The Bone Clocks presents a possible future (2054) for us. It is one in which, as a child of the time says, "all the great animals are gone" (he references polar bears, gorillas, elephants), fuel is so scarce that it is strictly reserved for governmental convoys delivering rations to communities on a weekly basis, there are no flights, a sketchy internet, and most societies are returning to pre-industrial ways of living. It seems so possible.

>175 figsfromthistle: I'm excited to see the ruins of Machu Picchu as well as other sites of Peru, figs. I just need to get in shape for the walking and the altitude.

I had quite an experience at yoga on Thursday evening. I'll go into more detail later but I'll say that it was challenging and surprisingly emotional. I'm going to stick with it for at least a few more classes to see how it goes. I did certainly feel sore on Friday, but it was a "good sore."

Regarding the Koalas, I do believe they have captured the heart of so many humans. I noticed that the rescue organization to which I donated appears to have raised over $1M when their stated goal was $25K. Still, as these fires rage and the fire season doesn't end until March, they will likely need it.

Edited: Jan 11, 12:55pm Top

Hi, Ellen.

It's been helpful to have the links and comments on Australian relief. We just gave to WIRES.

P.S. I'm glad you got so much out of The Bone Clocks. Me, too.

Jan 11, 1:01pm Top

>176 jessibud2: Oh Shelley, I join you in not being able to watch the news about the fires. Talk about disturbing my sleep! I'm sort of keeping an ear out for how things are going, but I can't see the images. I actually tend to create my own images/videos in my brain and they are so gut-wrenching. "I don't know how much more of a wake-up call to climate change humans need." Sadly, I am skeptical about us ever waking up, not until it is much too late (part of me thinks that it is already too late but perhaps some salvaging could be managed if we woke up this week). In the final chapter of The Bone Clocks, one observation is about how much of the earth's resources is in the hands of a tiny percentage of the population "and everyone thinks that is normal." That chapter is set in 2054 but we're already pretty much there. I think that is a key factor in our spiral into a very dystopian future.

In Jeopardy! I am rooting for Ken Jennings, just because I actually watched his run of 70+ consecutive wins (eons ago) and he currently resides in the Seattle area. I don't care a lot, but he is my fave. Mostly I hope they each win some so the tournament lasts a while.

My yoga experience so far has been mixed but largely because the studio in town is a hot yoga studio. I don't know whether I can acclimate to the heat in the room. On Sunday nights there is a more relaxing warm class; I enjoyed that last week and definitely plan to go again tomorrow.

Jan 11, 1:06pm Top

>177 PawsforThought: I think I saw that quote, too, Paws, and it resonates for me. Humans can rebuild. Kangaroos and Koalas depend on us to decide that their habitat matters. Poor critters.

>178 jessibud2: I saw that video of the guy with the car, too, Shelley. There are good humans! I also like that some of the sites I looked at when I was trying to figure out how I could help (financially, since that is the only way I can directly help -- of course, all of us can help if we will work on reducing our carbon footprints, but that is in the longer term), some of the organizations are looking ahead to rebuilding and replanting habitat. I don't know how feasible that is, but at least they have it on their radar.

>183 scaifea: You are welcome, Amber. I feel helpless but I'm in a position to send a bit of money. It is what I can do.

>184 Berly: Same and same, Kim.

Jan 11, 1:16pm Top

>185 benitastrnad: Hi Benita. Thank you for sharing about your commitment to yoga. I'm experimenting with the various classes offered by the local studio. The Sunday evening class is warm Yin and so far I like that one a lot. The Hot Fusion class I went to on Thursday was intense and challenging; I had to spend a lot of time in child's pose trying to acclimate to the heat. They have a variety of classes and I plan to sample and learn. I'd like to find 2-3 to attend regularly each week. I am also working to build walking and, eventually, running back into my routine.

>186 fairywings: THANK YOU, Adrienne, for the links. I will donate to both; it's so helpful to hear from someone who is local and therefore has a bit more info about reliable agencies and organizations. At least on this social media platform, Australia's agony is felt.

>187 PaulCranswick: and >188 fairywings: and >189 PaulCranswick: Paul and Adrienne, it certainly seems that we humans could do so much more in the prevention realm. I know that the science and philosophy about managing wildfires has changed since the 1970s but we also need to recognize that, in our current climate situation, fires will take off more than they would have if the fire cycle had been allowed to do its normal thing over the past half-century. An absolute hands-off approach simply won't work.

>190 SandDune: Thank you, Rhian. I so appreciate the links to what are, hopefully, reliable agencies and organizations to receive donations.

Jan 11, 1:19pm Top

>191 karenmarie: Hi Karen. Yes, we are excited about visiting Peru. P has been there and she says I'm gonna love it.

I will donate to the AU Red Cross, as well. I totally feel for the humans who are as innocently being adversely affected by the fires as the animals.

>192 richardderus: Yay for Friday, Richard! It was a good one. I came home early because of the snow storm, settled in with red wine and The Bone Clocks, and watched a bit of women's college basketball.

Jan 11, 1:19pm Top

>204 EBT1002: - I don't know why the GOAT Jeopardy wasn't on last night. I don't recall any mention of it NOT continuing on Friday. I honestly like all three. I read Jennings' book, Maphead a year or so ago and it was fun. All three are so smart and quite fun. I like that they did some in-depth background into each.

The Australian news here has fallen off the radar a bit in the last few days, after the horrendous plane crash. So many of the victims were Canadian or Iranians living and studying here in Canada. It feels very close, with memorials and vigils by locals over the last several days. Such a tragedy. I am glad the Iranians *admitted* their culpability but I don't buy it for a minute that it was an *accident*. Does the person making the decisions or pushing the button not know the difference between up and down? I heard it said they thought it was an enemy craft coming in to attack them. The PASSENGER PLANE at the airport was ASCENDING. Geez.

As for yoga, I know for sure I could never do hot yoga. I don't do well in heat and I probably wouldn't last a single class. Why not look for something more mainstream. You can still get great exercise and a lot out of it without the extreme factor!

Edited: Jan 11, 1:21pm Top

I'm thinking about the fact that I've always been much more likely to weep for animals than for humans. I have spent my career helping humans so perhaps the boundaries that are necessary for that kind of work are part of the story. If I were a veterinarian, I would have to be able to set aside feelings for animals in order to cope. But, of course, I have always been more likely to weep for animals than for humans, so there is that.

Jan 11, 1:23pm Top

>209 EBT1002: - One main reason (aside from the obvious lack of academics necessary) I could never be a vet is precisely for that reason.

Jan 11, 1:27pm Top

>193 weird_O: Hi Bill. It seems that even the "experts" differed in their assessment of that hit Clowney gave the QB, but I wholly agree that I wish injuries had not been part of the game. The Seahawks are dealing with their own collection of season-ending injuries (playing without any of the three running backs that were on the roster during much of the season). I expect the Pack to prevail in Green Bay today.

I LOVE that story about your daughter's approach to getting what she needed from her eye doc. I picked up my glasses yesterday and spent last night forcing myself to wear them. I still don't understand why progressives seem to necessarily mean distance vision that is worse than without the corrective lenses but it seems to be the case. He did say he was creating glasses for me that are designed "for an office environment," and we talked about the fact that I don't need vision correction for distance, so I simply have to take them off when driving or when I want to see the snow falling in the streetlight down the block. I think I was hoping I could put them on in the morning and take them off at bedtime. I guess I want my 35-year-old eyes back. LOL.

Jan 11, 1:55pm Top

>199 EBT1002: Great comments on The Bone Clocks. For me, the characters were the best part of it. And I loved the last chapter. Holly is a great character.

Edited: Jan 11, 2:03pm Top

>194 kidzdoc: Sorry Darryl. I think the NFL has reviewed it and decided that the hit was not malicious. Injuries happen and I wholly agree that it's a shame, and I absolutely understand the bitterness (I've certainly been there) when it feels like unfairness, something "outside the game," contributed to the outcome. The backup QB did his best just as the Seahawks' backup players did theirs.

>195 cameling: Hi Caro. I'm excited about the Peru trip. I have six months to get in shape!

>196 fairywings: I agree.

>197 streamsong: Janet, these REI-guided treks seem like the way to do something as challenging as walking in Peru. I think I mentioned that the one we're doing is a "women's trek," but they show some pretty amazing young women tackling difficult terrain. I will, of course, report back.

>200 richardderus: This is weird. I would have sworn I responded to your post this morning, out of order, Richard. Well, whatever. What I said was essentially thank you for the recommendation. I was pleased to see Gender Queer: A Memoir on the shelves at my little local library and I will read it today.

ETA: Now >201 EBT1002: shows up, so I'm glad to know I haven't lost my mind. I know that sometimes posts "disappear" temporarily when I'm moving back and forth between tabs.

Jan 11, 2:04pm Top

>203 jnwelch: I agree, Joe. I appreciate this group sharing information so those of us who can contribute can do so from a more informed space.

The Bone Clocks was a thought-provoking read, that is for sure!

Jan 11, 2:20pm Top

>208 jessibud2: Shelley, after dinner last night I said to P that I'd clean up and then we could go downstairs to watch Jeopardy! GOAT and she said it's not on again until Tuesday. I don't know why they're doing that but it's okay with me to extend the pleasure of watching.

I have also seen some of the terribly tragic stories about the passengers on flight 752. The news this morning about Iran's acknowledgement that they "accidentally" shot the plane down.... What a world we live in.

Like you, the hot yoga is challenging. I did look for yoga classes that are in regular temperatures and there is a yoga studio over in Moscow that I could investigate. With my schedule, adding that commute for a 5:30 class would probably mean I didn't get there very often. SO, I'm going to give this a good trial before I decide what to do. In a less rural setting, I would have more choices. The research I've done says to go slow, let yourself acclimate, and go slow. Did I mention that they say to go slow? I did about 25-30% of the poses on Thursday. I'll give it another try next week and if I can do 30-40%, that will be an improvement. I figure it doesn't do me any harm to lie on my mat in a warm room, focusing on my breath, and relaxing. :-)

>210 jessibud2: Me too, Shelley. When we had to put down our sweet Abby last May, I said to the vet (who does only home visits and is wonderful!!!!) that she must hate this part of her job. She said yes, it is hard, but she also said that helping a family let go of a beloved pet in a way that is compassionate and kind also feels like true and meaningful work. I appreciated that.

On the other hand, seeing an injured or suffering animal sends me absolutely into emotional orbit, so I could never have been a veterinarian. The images stay with me too long. Maybe I couldn't be a nurse or physician, either. The stories I heard from my clients over the years were often heart-breaking and terrible. But I was hearing them second hand, witnessing the pain but not seeing it occur right in front of me. That one step of distance is probably an element in my ability to stay so present with a human in that kind of pain.

Jan 11, 2:22pm Top

>212 BLBera: I agree with all of that, Beth. I loved the last chapter and I think the future that Mitchell created will stay with me for a long time. Holly Sykes is one of those characters who feels so real; she joins a cast of characters that we readers carry around in our heads.

Jan 11, 10:22pm Top

3. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

Another worthwhile graphic memoir, one of my favorite genres. Maia explores eir own experience with gender, sexuality, being an artist, and eir desire to feel comfortable in the world. "I don't want to be a girl, I don't want to be a boy, I just want to be myself." Maia's love of books brings another wonderful element of pleasure to the reading experience. Warm, humorous, honest, and compassionately presented.

Jan 11, 10:37pm Top

>217 EBT1002: Oh good! Rob said he felt he could "get" being non-binary much better after reading this. We've talked about how utterly and totally we don't relate to genderqueerness. He wants me to read this to see if, like him, I'll "get" it better. Now I feel safe doing so.

Edited: Jan 11, 10:52pm Top

>218 richardderus: I do think it might help understand the experience, Richard. I was telling P that there were parts of Maia's experience with which I could totally relate and other parts with which I could not resonate at all. I felt like e "let me in" in a way that I could get it more than I have done in the past.

ETA: I will warn you that there are occasional cats in the art work. But they don't in any way play a part in the story. *smooch*

Jan 12, 2:03am Top

>219 EBT1002: Haha I love the feline warning. Not quite as averse as RD but still a little bit.......

Have a lovely weekend.

This is just for you.
David Gray's most famous song "Babylon" performed live in Switzerland.


Jan 12, 2:53am Top

Hello Ellen! Sorry it's taken me so long to get here. Tomorrow is the big day! Go HAWKS! I hear Lynch will be used more tomorrow than last week. Should be a good one, though I'm ready for the Hawks to manhandle someone. Too many heart attack finishes.

Jan 12, 10:24am Top

Busy thread, Ellen!

Just a quick hello and best wishes for a good day.

Jan 12, 11:30am Top

Good heavens, what a busy thread!

I’ll try to at least partially keep up, Ellen. Gender Queer is a bb for me, so thank you...I think!

Jan 12, 1:31pm Top

>217 EBT1002: Sounds like a winner, Ellen. I am really starting to like the graphic format as well.

Jan 12, 2:14pm Top

>220 PaulCranswick: I love it. I have not been familiar with David Gray so thank you for introducing me, Paul.

>221 brodiew2: It would be great if today's game was a runaway, Brodie. Honestly, I'm not expecting an upset in Green Bay but who expected the Titans to take out New England and Baltimore??? "That's why they play the games." *smile*

>222 karenmarie: Hi Karen. Thanks for stopping by! I was awol for a few days but I did get kind of caught up yesterday, at least on my own thread.

Jan 12, 2:15pm Top

>223 bohemima: Hi Gail. The good news about Gender Queer: A Memoir being a BB is that it's a very quick read.

>224 BLBera: I especially like the graphic format for memoir, Beth. It seems to be a very powerful way for someone to share their experience.

Jan 12, 2:17pm Top

It is SNOWING in Pullman!!!

We've had about 8-10 inches since Friday afternoon and it is coming down steadily now. It's beautiful.

Jan 12, 2:18pm Top

I started reading Oryx and Crake last night and I don't know why I was so intimidated by this work. Yes, it's speculative fiction but the narrative is easy and compelling so far.

Jan 12, 3:11pm Top

>225 EBT1002: Any given Sunday, Ellen. Let's hope, it's the Seahawks' day.

Jan 12, 3:59pm Top

>227 EBT1002: Yay! For you, I hasten to add, not hinting to the Weather Goddesses that I would like that kind of beauty around here.

>228 EBT1002: Wonderful that you're enjoying it.

Jan 12, 4:06pm Top

Enjoy the snow! And I will look for Gender Queer

Jan 13, 1:27am Top

>199 EBT1002: Awesome review! Now you have to get your hands on Cloud Atlas! Gender Queer sounds great.

Enjoy the snow!!! I am hoping we get some later this week. Although not 8 inches. Portland would shut down. LOL

Jan 13, 11:07am Top


I fell behind in reading your thread and I just finished it. I tried to slow myself down and actually read, but caught myself skimming some. Australia! It is genuinely heart-breaking. But... but... but... there are many human heart breaks ahead as climate change attacks many human habitats, such as islands in the Pacific Ocean which may have to be completely abandoned.

I feel so completely helpless at 75. I am trying to cut down on eating beef, hard for me. I also am doing a wee bit better at avoiding plastics. Oft repeated response, "no, thank you, I have a bag", and I throw small purchases into my large-ish bag. I am less good about avoiding driving. I do give myself credit for thinking about my foot prints and trying to find ways to reduce the impacts.

Still reading Where the Crawdads Sing and I'm enjoying it.

Also, subscribed to the local newspaper and try to read at least some of it daily. MSNBC commentator (I forget who) strongly suggested that reading local print media is important because if the locals cannot afford to pay people, the national media does not get good local stories. Food for thought.

I hope to be more of a regular here as I miss the community.

Jan 14, 11:07am Top

The group's Malaysia correspondent today received (and on his Thingaversary no less) two chunky and august tomes which brightened his evening return home hugely.

The correspondent sends earnest thanks to his sweet supplier. xx

Jan 14, 6:02pm Top

Oryx and Crake weren't my favorite Atwood's but I did love the word play and her take on modernity that I found in it.

Jan 14, 11:55pm Top

I just saw an ad for Folger's coffee. I haven't seen an ad for Folger's in, what? Thirty years? Forty years?

Jan 14, 11:58pm Top

>229 brodiew2: We were hopeful, Brodie, but it was not to be. I think the 49ers have a good shot of taking this year's grand prize.

>230 richardderus: I really love the snow, Richard, weird though that is. I think we've had about a foot and a half in the past five days. It has stopped now and we're going into a hiatus. Probably for the best. Of course, now it's 15F so there is that.

I've been making slow progress in Oryx and Crake but it continues to be engaging.

Jan 15, 12:04am Top

>231 banjo123: Thanks, Rhonda. I hope you do find a copy of Gender Queer. It's nicely done.

>232 Berly: We've gotten about 18" since Friday, Kim. I think the Puget Sound area got about half an inch and schools were on delay. Eastern Washington is definitely different in this regard. *smile*

>233 maggie1944: Karen! So good to see you here. Yes, indeed, I think we have many heartbreaks ahead of us with climate change and its impacts. So much of my recent reading has had climate change as a theme or sub-theme; it is at least providing for some good literature. In terms of reducing our carbon footprint, we each do what we can. As I told some of the folks on the beach, "none of us has to do everything, but each of us has to do something."

I'm glad you're enjoying Where the Crawdads Sing. As you know, it was one of my favorite reads of last year.

Keep taking care of you, my friend.

Jan 15, 12:06am Top

>234 PaulCranswick: Yay!! Enjoy them, Paul. xo

>235 benitastrnad: I think Atwood's vision of the post-apocalyptic climate-change and bioengineered world is pretty amazing, Benita. The characters are tiresome here and there but I am appreciating Oryx and Crake much more than I expected to do.

Jan 15, 1:10am Top

>239 EBT1002: I've read Oryx and Crake years ago and I remember that it took me some time to get into the plot. I fully agree that now it would be better to read it. Aren't we in the middle what she is writing?

Jan 15, 8:47pm Top

Ellen, I forgot to order Oryx and Crake from the library for our shared read. I just did and should have it by the end of the week.

Jan 15, 8:47pm Top

We're due for a big snow storm Friday and Saturday, Ellen. I guess you're sending it our way.

Jan 15, 9:01pm Top

I'm so excited for you and the Peru trip. How wonderful!

Jan 15, 10:53pm Top

I'm enjoying the snow here in Bellevue. There has been warming during the days so the streets become relatively clear, and driving is not a problem.

I've added Beloved to my need to read list as the community's book group will be discussing it during the first week in February. I need to change my pattern of "go to" relaxation and do more reading. It will be good!

Jan 16, 3:40am Top

No snow here, just lots of rain. Does Pulllman become very photogenic in the snow?

I've never read Oryx and Crake, but now am feeling quite tempted. I think I used to have a copy, somewhere!

Jan 16, 11:25am Top

I am getting ready for the ALA winter conference in Philadelphia. It is January 24 - 27, 2020. I have not yet received conformation that LT will provide the free passes to the exhibits, as they have done in the past, but have made contact with them to find out. So far, I have received no inquiries regarding a meetup, but if anybody reading this thread is interested let me know and I will find a place and we can hang out and talk about what incredible finds we have made on the exhibit floor.

The exhibit floor opens on Saturday, January 24 at 9:00 a.m. and closes at noon on Monday, January 27, 2020. In between are lots of free ARC (Advanced Readers Copies) for both children and adults. As soon as I find out from the LT gods if there will be free passes to this nirvana I will let you know.

Jan 16, 9:02pm Top

Peru! I want to come. You should check out stuff for altitude sickness before you go. One of my friends was so sick that she couldn't enjoy Machu Pichu.

Edited: Jan 16, 9:18pm Top

Well, I am only 240+ messages behind here, Ellen. Sorry it took me so long to finally find your thread! Hopefully I will keep better track of you from here on out.

>85 EBT1002: I loved that one too!

>95 EBT1002: Oo, I like those!

>121 EBT1002: Happy early Thingaversary!

>199 EBT1002: I already have that one in the BlackHole and am hoping to get to it some time this year.

>217 EBT1002: I will have to see if my local library has a copy of that one. I can relate to the "I don't want to be a girl, I don't want to be a boy, I just want to be myself" thinking.

Jan 17, 9:24am Top

4. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Why have I been intimidated by this trilogy? Oryx and Crake is a masterful post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel. Snowman (aka Jimmy) appears to be the sole survivor of a massive virus that has brought humans to the edge of extinction. Set partly in this devastated future, the novel gradually reveals just how we got there and, most particularly, Snowman's old friend Crake's role in the journey. Oh yes, and there is Oryx, a hauntingly there-but-not-there woman with whom both of them are in love. Complex and subtle, the novel is filled with delightful glimpses of humanity's beauty even as Atwood explores the inevitability of our terrible destiny. In a time when many of us are asking how can we change this self-destructive trajectory and why on earth (no pun there, or is it?) we seem incapable of doing so, Atwood lays bare the folly of human need, greed, and short-sightedness. Brilliant.

Jan 17, 9:33am Top

5. Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame by Erin Williams

This is a brave and honest graphic memoir that explores sexism, sexual abuse, and alcoholism as they manifest in women's dissociation from their physical bodies. Williams' art is often basic but her message is powerful. In the end, she challenges the current focus on consent in our national conversation about sexual assault and abuse, pointing her finger at the inherent power differences that make true mutual consent difficult or impossible. I don't disagree with her analysis and I appreciated her illustrated effort to convey the subtle ways in which women experience male power and prerogative on an everyday basis, even, say, while commuting to work. Perhaps the topic can't help but come across as heavy-handed and it does. Still, it was a solid and thought-provoking effort and I'm glad I read it.

Edited: Jan 17, 9:35am Top

Currently reading:

Grand Union: Stories by Zadie Smith

Jan 17, 9:45am Top

I'm glad you liked O&C, Ellen! I am hoping to start it next week.

Jan 17, 1:46pm Top

>249 EBT1002: So glad that you loved Oryx and Crake! I am a big Atwood fan and loved that whole series

Jan 17, 2:23pm Top

Oryx and Crake is my favorite origin-story of all the books on my shelves: I was at Barnes & Noble in Carle Place, having a wander between cappucinos while waiting for Aunt Vicki to finish up something medical, and happened across a display of them. I picked one up. I carried it around for a while, then put it back because $$ was tight.

A while later, I wandered back by and picked it back up.

Two aisles of browsing later, I put it back. I went back to the cappucino.

A guy came up to me in the coffee shop carrying a B&N bag. He caught my eye, smiled, came and sat down. I was Most Pleased, he was a handsome older gent and, well, I'm me.

He said, "I saw you wanting this and figured it was too much to spend, so here. Come back next month and tell me how you liked it."

It was Oryx and Crake! (He never showed, darn it.)

Jan 17, 4:58pm Top

>254 richardderus: What a wonderful story RD.

Jan 17, 5:46pm Top

>254 richardderus: - The kindness of strangers! Lovely, Richard.

Jan 17, 6:42pm Top

It's snowing here today, Ellen.

It reminds me of Mary Oliver's poem:

First Snow

The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhertoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles; nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
flitters like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain — not a singled
answer has been found —
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.

Jan 17, 9:17pm Top

>249 EBT1002: I started reading that one a while back but could not get into it so I put it aside. Your great review has convinced me to give it another go.

Have a great weekend

Jan 17, 10:57pm Top

>249 EBT1002: I loved that one when I read it several years ago. Glad to see it has a new fan!

Yesterday, 9:59am Top

>254 richardderus: stranger kindness is so fantastic. Hope the reading was equally so.

Yesterday, 2:10pm Top

>257 BLBera: "Like"

>254 richardderus: What a lovely story.

Good reviews, Ellen! You've got me rethinking not reading Oryx and Crake, which mainly was losing out to "so many good books out there". I'm reading her Testaments right now.

Yesterday, 2:23pm Top

Hi Ellen! I’m sure I’m never going to be able to keep up with you, based on previous experience, but just dropping by to say hello.

Yesterday, 3:26pm Top

I'm glad you liked Oryx and Crake. I read the Maddaddam trilogy and liked it quite a bit - although I'm not real clear about what action took place in which book. :)

I agree with Joe - there are so mannnnnny good books out there. I've read quite a few Margaret Atwood but know their are so many more of hers that I should have on my list.

Yesterday, 6:57pm Top

OMG, Ellen! Someone mentioned visiting your thread, and I realized I hadn't found you yet this year. No wonder I felt something was missing from my life! I think I"m caught up on your reading now, and will not let you fall off my radar again.

Yesterday, 11:47pm Top

The new world baffles me. I have so much music on my iPhone via iTunes but I realize this is going to be less and less available to me. First, it's infuriating that an album I purchased should soon be less available or unavailable to me. It's enough to make me wish for the old days of CDs. Anyway, I decided to investigate a streaming website, Spotify. It won't work. It tells me I need to update Chrome. Done. It still doesn't work. I mean, it's "free," (until I tire of ads interrupting my listening pleasure, I'm sure) but it doesn't work. Grr.

Thoughts? What are you all doing to keep access to music in this brave new world?

I'm glad I kept a small assortment of some of my favorite CDs although we got rid of a LOT of them when we moved from Seattle a couple years ago.

Tomorrow is a new day and that will mean a new thread.

Edited: Today, 12:09am Top

>265 EBT1002: Burn your albums to CD while you still can?

My husband’s Volvo has a 10 CD changer but when I requested that option for mine, five years later, it wasn’t available. Instead it has a 1-CD player and connection to my phone for music. I tried Spotify with spotty (sorry!) results. I have the free version which doesn’t play outside WiFi range but I don’t want to pay for the full version in the hopes it will work the way I want it to. If it doesn’t, waste of money. But, anyway, the car is where I get my BBC WS fix and catch up on international news.

Otherwise I have CDs and at home I’ve downloaded an app which gives me access to international radio stations so I can pick up London and Sydney stations. I think the kids listen to local radio stations (I can’t take the inane chatter and they never tell you what they’ve played) and watch YouTube.

ETA: Oh - and I’m thinking of getting a record player since vinyls seem to be making a comeback.

Today, 5:04am Top

>265 EBT1002: I use spotify - I really like that I can download stuff to my (non-apple) phone and listen on the move, and they're good for playlists (my mum and dad love the 60s classics ones), as well as hooking up to the tv. I can't work out what offers are on outside the UK, but there is often a try out premium for free for 3 months deal - might be worth a google.

This is one playlist I really like (Garvey is part of Elbow)
Guy Garvey's Finest by gringostarr

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