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Mark's Reading Place: Chapter Four

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

75 Books Challenge for 2020

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Edited: Feb 7, 6:05pm Top

-Lofoten Islands, Norway. This gorgeous location was featured in Shark Drunk. On the Bucket List...

-Barred Owl. My favorite owl photo...so far.

Edited: Yesterday, 8:41pm Top




1) Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl 4.5 stars
2) Exit Strategy: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells 3.8 stars (audio)
3) Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson 4.5 stars (audio)
4) The Last Whalers by Doug Bock Clark 3.6 stars (audio)
5) Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo 5 stars
6) Nightwoods by Charles Frazier 4.3 stars (audio) AAC
7) Dopesick by Beth Macy 4.6 stars (audio)
8) The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley 4.5 stars
9) Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift 4.4 stars (E) BAC
10) Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver 4.2 stars (audio)
11) Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson 4.4 stars BAC
12) Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz 4.3 stars (audio)
13) Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro 4 stars
14) Maggy Garrisson by Lewis Trondheim 4 stars GN


15) A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler 3.7 stars
16) LaRose by Louise Erdrich 4 stars (audio)
17) Shark Drunk by Morten Stroksnes 4 stars (audio)
18) Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel by Lynda Barry 4.3 stars
19) Black Light: Stories by Kimberly King Parsons 4.6 stars
20) Equinoxes by Cyril Pedrosa 3.5 stars GN
21) That Wild Country by Mark Kenyon 4 stars (audio)
22) Everywhere You Don't Belong by Gabriel Bump 4.2 stars (E)

Edited: Feb 7, 6:13pm Top

You Must Read This:

"It is 1970, and a down-at-the-heels California commune devoted to peace, free love, and the simple life has decided to relocate to the last frontier—the unforgiving landscape of interior Alaska—in the ultimate expression of going back to the land."

Drop City is a fantastic read and remains my favorite Boyle. I have not read him in awhile. I need to get back to him. I have a couple on shelf. What is your favorite T.C. Boyle?

Feb 7, 6:30pm Top

Happy new thread! I don’t think I’ve ever gotten in this early!

Feb 7, 6:51pm Top

Me either. Happy New Thread. I don't think I've ever read Boyle. Bad Jeff

Feb 7, 6:59pm Top

Happy new one, Mark! That topper photo is gorgeous. To answer your question on the last thread, I'll be going to Norway for work but will probably tack on vacation at the end. I've never been to Scandinavia.

Ooh, I have a copy of Drop City on my shelves. Sounds like I should move it up the To Read list!

Edited: Feb 7, 7:17pm Top

>3 msf59: My favorite Boyle book is The Tortilla Curtain. Too bad my local library does not have Drop City.

Still love seeing the owl up top!

Feb 7, 7:21pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark! I managed to see a barred owl yesterday at work and am through the moon about it still! Wishing you a good weekend.

Feb 7, 7:28pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark!

>1 msf59: Two very different but impressive bits of the natural world.

Feb 7, 7:30pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark!

I've never read anything by T.C. Boyle, but have Talk Talk and Riven Rock on my shelves.

Edited: Feb 7, 7:46pm Top

Happy new thread Mark. I'd love to go to Norway too, well ALL the Scandinavian countries but Norway first.

Feb 7, 8:23pm Top

Happy new thread!

Great picture of the Norwegian landscape.

Feb 7, 8:23pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark. I have been to Norway and it's as beautiful as you would expect! (I haven't been to that place in your topper, though)

Feb 7, 8:44pm Top

Spectacular pic at the top of the thread, Mark. Wow!!

I liked Drop City. Not liking Spying on the South and may put it aside for awhile.

Feb 7, 10:02pm Top

>4 drneutron: >5 mahsdad: Thanks, Jim & Jeff. Nice job getting in early.

>6 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie. I have never been to any part of Scandinavia either. Hopefully, someday. I hope I can nudge you into pulling Drop City down off the shelf.

>7 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia. Funny, The Tortilla Curtain was my least favorite Boyle. Hey, it happens.

Feb 7, 10:05pm Top

>8 bell7: Thanks, Mary. Hooray for seeing a Barred Owl. Where was it hanging out? In a residential area?

>9 quondame: Thanks, Susan. I am glad I went with those natural toppers.

>10 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen. I have not read either of those Boyle titles, but I want to.

Feb 7, 10:09pm Top

>11 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. I am with you, on visiting Scandinavia.

>12 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Figs.

>13 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley. Ooh, nice to hear that you have been to Norway. When was that and what parts of the country did you visit?

>14 lindapanzo: Hi, Linda. Glad you like the topper. Sorry, you are not enjoying Spying on the South. Hey, that happens sometimes, right?

Feb 7, 11:13pm Top

>14 lindapanzo:
I am curious about why you don’t like Spying on the South? Is it the tone of the book? Or were you expecting something else other than what you are getting?

Feb 8, 4:01am Top

Gorgeous Norwegian view, Mark. I've never been either, but have heard good things. I visited Sweden fairly recently and enjoyed the culture and the proximity to the water (not so much the cost of eating and drinking).

I've not come across your "currently reading" GN, but have finally managed to get another Papergirls from the library. Love the 80s references.

Feb 8, 6:46am Top

>18 benitastrnad: My guess, is that there is too much non-historical ramblings, in Spying on the South, which is, at least half of the book. That is the feeling I got.

>19 charl08: Hi, Charlotte. I would like to get to Sweden too. I was hoping to visit while in the Army, during the early 80s, but never did. I heard Iceland is very expensive to visit, as well.

Did you read Portugal? This is the same GN author. Enjoy Paper Girls. These are a lot of fun.

Feb 8, 7:23am Top

Morning Mark, and happy new thread!

I've never read Boyle. Sooo, maybe I should?

Edited: Feb 13, 8:51pm Top

>16 msf59: the library where I work is next to a few acres of woods, and it was high up in one of the trees on the side of the building. A family came in all excited, and I went out to have a look. Got a kinda blurry picture, but it's up on my thread.

Feb 8, 7:52am Top

>17 msf59: - Good morning, Mark. Wow, it must have been back in the late '70s/early '80s, for sure. I was with 3 friends and we did a camping trip. We bought a used car in Hamburg, Germany and drove and camped across Holland and up into Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Never made it to Finland. We sold the car and went our separate ways in London, England.

In Norway, we visited and climbed a bit of this glacier, the Nigardbreen. It was gorgeous: https://www.fjordnorway.com/top-attractions/briksdalsbreen/nigardsbreen

Of course, we were in our 20s at the time, so it was all easier and *lighter* for us, back then. Not sure I could do such a trip now, though I do enjoy camping (haven't done it in years, though!). You, on the other hand, would be an ace at this! :-)

Feb 8, 8:06am Top

'Morning, Mark and happy Saturday to you.

Feb 8, 8:26am Top

Happy new thread, Mark!
Love the landscape and the owl upthere!

Missed most of your previous thread, being busy with RL, now life is back to peace and quiet :-)

Feb 8, 9:13am Top

Happy new thread! The Boyle has been added to the TBR list. My favorite is a toss up between Tortilla Curtain and The Road to Wellville.

Hope all is well!

Feb 8, 10:32am Top

>21 scaifea: Good morning, Amber and thanks. I hope you give Boyle a try. He has vast variety of fiction choices available. You should find something of interest.

>22 bell7: "Store"? Oh, that sounds awesome, Mary. I normally have to venture into the woods to see any owl and of course, that is no guarantee either.

Feb 8, 10:35am Top

Happy new thread, Mark! Enjoy your weekend

Edited: Feb 8, 10:37am Top

>23 jessibud2: Now, that sounds like an incredible trip, Shelley. I wish I could have down something like that, when I was younger. I better stay in shape, after I retire, so I can do these kinds of things.

>24 karenmarie: Morning, Karen.

>25 FAMeulstee: Happy Saturday, Anita. Good to see you. I will have to stop by and see what you are up to.

>26 witchyrichy: Thanks, Karen. I also have The Road to Wellville on my list. He sure has been prolific over the years.

>27 msf59: Thanks, Chelle. Working today but look forward to tomorrow.

Edited: Feb 8, 10:58am Top

>2 msf59: - With all the walking and hiking you do now, Mark, I would be surprised if this wasn't easy peasy for you! But yeah, I was in much better shape back then. Perhaps 30 pounds lighter and no *middle-aged* aches and pains. And I sure travelled lighter back then too, lol! Also, none of the stupid travel anxieties I seem to have acquired as I aged (flying, for example. It's nuts, as I used to fly everywhere. Now, it has to be years since I was even in an airplane. Oh well...) But it was gorgeous and a really fun adventure.

Feb 8, 11:02am Top

I thought it was awfully quiet...you moved threads, I see. Isn't Norway gorgeous? I want to visit it one lifetime.

Cruddy looks like it's fun. Lynda Barry will always be a hero to me for Marlys and Maybonne and the gang.

Feb 8, 11:54am Top

Morning, Mark.

I've looked at Cruddy a bunch of times, and just haven't been moved to read it. I'll look forward to hearing about it tomorrow.

We had a good time celebrating Debbi's birthday last night at Sauce & Bread Kitchen, and she even performed a story there (most excellently, no surprise). Some time we'll have to get you out to a storytelling event; I think you'd enjoy it.

I hope to get some reading in today; I'm quite immersed in the newest Orphan X thriller, Into the Fire.

Feb 8, 1:38pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark. I’ve read 6 books by T. C. Boyle. All were rated with either 3 or 3.5 stars. The one I remember most clearly is The Tortilla Curtain. I kept it and Drop City to be read again someday, so they are obviously my favorites. I read TC in 1998 and may reread it soon as the subject of Mexican immigration is a Hot topic these days.

Feb 8, 2:08pm Top

>18 benitastrnad: >20 msf59: Too much non-historical ramblings is one thing about it. Due to my very strong feelings on the politics of the present day, I am avoiding reading much on this topic and some of the topics in Spying on the South certainly raise things i that regard. My blood pressure can't afford to read much about it.

I also found it very uneven. some topics of interest and others that made me want to throw the book at the wall, which, fortunately I stopped myself from doing, since I was reading on Kindle.

I normally don't go 20 percent into a book before putting it aside but I kept thinking about the rave reviews and hoping it would get better for me and I realized that, despite reading this far, I was very disappointed in it. I've read other travel books which touched on/brought in history and enjoyed those much, much more. Hoping I like Sarah Vowell's The Partly Cloudy Patriot better.

Edited: Feb 8, 6:22pm Top

>30 jessibud2: Yep, we were all in a bit better shape in our 20s, Shelley. I bet you still have great memories of that one.

>31 richardderus: Hey, RD. Thanks for chiming in on Cruddy. It is fun but in a very, dark and twisted way, which of course is my cuppa. I was not familiar with Barry, including Marlys and Maybonne. Is this a comic strip?

>32 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. Honestly, I don't think Cruddy would be a good fit for you. There are some very good illustrations here, by the author, also on the dark and creepy-side but not sure the story would appeal to you. Glad you had a good time with Debbi, for her birthday. Love to hear her storytelling sometime.

Feb 8, 6:30pm Top

>33 Donna828: Hi, Donna. Thanks for chiming in on Boyle. He doesn't seem to be a big hit around LT for some reason. TC felt over-heated to me and I just couldn't appreciate it, for that reason. I really liked his book, The Inner Circle, his fictional account of Dr. Alfred Kinsey. Did you read that one?

>34 lindapanzo: Hi, Linda. I think those are very solid reasons for not liking Spying on the South. It definitely taps into Trump's America, which we can all take in limited doses. Vowell takes a very similar approach, to Horwitz. I loved Assassination Vacation, but I found a couple of her other ones uneven.

Feb 8, 6:50pm Top

>34 lindapanzo: If I don't like this Vowell, I'll try again. I'm also hoping to get to the Doris Kearns Goodwin book No Ordinary Time. I know I'll love hers.

Before too long, I will turn my focus to baseball books. Spring Training not too far off now.

Feb 8, 7:00pm Top

>15 msf59: Good thing we do not all have to like the same books! lol

Happy Saturday, Mark!

Feb 8, 8:38pm Top

Happy new one Mark.

>1 msf59: Yasmyne is living in Norway at the moment and raves about it's natural beauty. Only NZ can beat it she says.

Feb 8, 8:52pm Top

>35 msf59: Lynda Barry rose to fame with Ernie Pook's Comeek which starred Marlys, a pubescent girl with waaayyy too much smarts for her world, and her older sister Maybonne, among others. It ran for 30 years in alternative papers. Barry used to appear on Letterman all the time. She's been making trouble/art since she possibly could.

Cruddy is just about perfect for her career!

Feb 8, 11:06pm Top

I finished reading Manhattan Beach last night and it turned out to be OK. I rated it three stars. I still wonder why it won so many awards. It took to long to get going and the author didn't make enough connections between the different parts of the story. I guess I think it had some big flaws so it didn't seem to me to be award worthy. Oh well guess it goes that way sometimes.

Feb 8, 11:47pm Top

Happy new thread, Mark.

Feb 9, 12:53am Top

>1 msf59: Wow, that location needs to be on my bucket list, too. So beautiful. And of course I LOVE that owl photo.

I've never read any T.C. Boyle but Drop City sounds interesting. As does Tortilla Curtain.

Feb 9, 12:53am Top

Oh, and Happy New Thread! And Happy Sunday!!!

Feb 9, 2:47am Top

Gorgeous opening, Mark. The Lofoten are on our bucket list but we have to wait until we're retired. It needs its time to visit this place because you don't get from point A to point B so quickly. Two weeks of summer vacation are hardly enough.
Happy Sunday filled with lots of R&R.

Feb 9, 5:00am Top

>7 alcottacre: >3 msf59: I have Tortilla Curtain but have yet to read it! I must drag it out from wherever it is hiding, as I recall liking the cover of my edition too.

I was saying on your last thread about the NZ fantail/piwakawaka...on my camping trip this weekend we spotted a rare black fantail. It was cool! And me, not even a birder. :)

Feb 9, 8:18am Top

>37 lindapanzo: I have only read one Goodwin, Team of Rivals, which I loved. I should read something else by her. Hooray for spring training. I sure hope the Cubbies can turn it around this year.

>38 alcottacre: "Good thing we do not all have to like the same books!" It keeps things interesting, right, Stasia?

>39 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. Somehow I missed the fact that Yasmyne was living in Norway, (or I had just forgotten). How cool is that? Oslo? I was hoping to get to NZ later this year but we are now planning it for 2021.

Feb 9, 8:28am Top

>40 richardderus: Thanks for filling me in on Barry, Richard. Always learning something new around here. Cruddy is 20 years old. I will have to see if she has written anything else since.

>41 benitastrnad: Glad you, at least found Manhattan Beach a 3 star read. I don't recall it being an award winner, nothing like her master-work, Goon Squad. I thought her latest was more of a straight-forward historical novel.

>42 BLBera: Thanks, Beth.

Edited: Feb 9, 8:37am Top

>43 EBT1002: >44 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen. This magical place in Norway is considered one of the most beautiful places on earth. I can clearly see why. I hope I can spark your interest in reading Drop City. There are not enough novels set in Alaska, IMHO.

>45 Ameise1: Hi, Barb. Good to see you. I would also love to get to the Lofoten Islands one of these days, although I may never want to leave, once I get there.

>46 LovingLit: Hi, Megan. Always good to see you. I wasn't as crazy about The Tortilla Curtain, but it is worth reading and was ahead of it's time, in regards to an immigrant story. Ooh, a rare black fantail. What a beauty:

Feb 9, 9:01am Top

'Morning, Mark, and happy Sunday to you. The birds are fighting over my feeders, mostly finches right now, no Vatican of Cardinals on this Sunday morning. *smile*

I hope you have a very good day.

Feb 9, 9:07am Top

Happy Sunday, Mark! Out birding in the sunshine, I hope.

Feb 9, 9:53am Top

>50 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. I haven't checked on my feeders much, but I plan to, plus it I need to freshen all of them up. The finch feeder is nearly empty.

>51 richardderus: Morning, Richard. I don't think we will see the sun today. It will hang in the mid-30s and we may get a little snow or rain. I still hope to get out for a stroll.

Feb 9, 10:01am Top

15) A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler 3.7 stars

“An upscale new house in a simple neighborhood. A girl on a chaise beside a swimming pool, who wants to be left alone. We begin our story here, in the minutes before the small event that will change everything...”

The neighborhood is in an upscale North Carolina town and the Whitmans have recently moved in to their newly built home. They have money and ambition, along with a troubled daughter. Their neighbors are a professor- a single mom and her teenage son, who is heading off to college in the fall. They are black, the Whitmans are white. How these two families collide, becomes the heart of this story. It is a novel about class, race and young love. It also gets very dark and edgy. The writing is solid, but I think it ends up getting a bit over-heated, bordering on the melodramatic. I wish she could have scaled some of that back. I still think it is a worthy read and I am glad I got a chance to receive an advanced copy.

Feb 9, 10:12am Top

Though not all the main characters were well developed, Tortilla Curtain is the only Boyle I'd read again.

My daughter and I went to a Madison Book event a couple of years back to hear him speak - rather uptight and full of himself,
condescending to audience - sure hope others have seen an improvement in recent years.

Feb 9, 11:55am Top

Hey, Mark. Working my way through Night Boat to Tangier. Lot of interruptions, so it is progressing slowly. Like to get 'er done and tackle something else.

Feb 9, 2:32pm Top

Sorry to be so late to your newest thread, Mark. I am wishing you happy nonetheless.

Edited: Feb 9, 2:34pm Top

>54 m.belljackson: Thanks for chiming in on Boyle, Marianne. He does come across, a bit boorish, so I am not surprised by that behavior. That said, I still don't understand it. I don't think he does many book tours, which is probably a good thing.

>55 weird_O: Howdy, Bill. Good to see you. I hope you are enjoying Night Boat. I really liked that one. What is up next?

>56 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie. I am enjoying a quiet afternoon with the books.

Feb 9, 6:41pm Top

>29 msf59: I was just cleaning the house in anticipation of the first family visit in years. House is clean, visit is done. :-)

Feb 9, 7:08pm Top

I don't think I've read anything by T. c. Boyle. Hmmmm I wonder why that is Mark?

Feb 9, 9:10pm Top

>58 FAMeulstee: Congrats on the clean house and the upcoming family visit, Anita.

>59 brenzi: Hi, Bonnie. I am surprised to hear that you had not read Boyle but I hope your first Boyle will be Drop City. Fingers crossed.

Feb 9, 9:14pm Top

>61 brenzi: Omg it's about hippies! Those are my people!!

Edited: Feb 9, 9:23pm Top

"With raw, poetic ferocity, Kimberly King Parsons exposes desire’s darkest hollows—those hidden places where most of us are afraid to look. In this debut collection of enormously perceptive and brutally unsentimental short stories..."

"I've missed Happy Hour by a long shot--everyone is drunk and in various states of collapse. It's a dive, a last resort. The ceiling is tiled with license plates, and the bar taps are gear shifts. A bald woman licks salt out of her palm and takes a shot tequila, smiles at me through a wedge of lime."

^This quote is from the opening story in Black Light: Stories and it grabbed me pretty quickly. This one landed hard on my radar, after Richard gave it a glowing review. I only got to one story today but I know this going to be a treat. More warbling to come...

Feb 9, 9:42pm Top

>61 brenzi: Come on, hippies in Alaska. You can't beat that mix, Bonnie.

Feb 9, 9:54pm Top

>47 msf59: She is staying in a place called Olesund, Mark.

Feb 9, 10:17pm Top

>64 PaulCranswick: It looks a little bit crowded but also absolutely gorgeous. Wow! I hope you get to visit there, at some point, Paul.

Feb 9, 10:30pm Top

>65 msf59: Apparently it is lovely, Mark.

Feb 10, 12:08am Top

Happy new thread, Mark! I haven't read anything by Boyle, Drop City sounds like a good place to start.

Feb 10, 6:29am Top

>66 PaulCranswick: My kind of scenery, Paul.

>67 banjo123: Thanks, Rhonda. I hope you can track a copy of Drop City down. I think you would like it.

Edited: Feb 10, 6:34am Top

"From prominent outdoorsman and nature writer Mark Kenyon comes an engrossing reflection on the past and future battles over our most revered landscapes—America’s public lands."

That Wild Country: An Epic Journey through the Past, Present, and Future of America's Public Lands came up on a recent Audible Daily Deal and since it looked like a perfect fit for me, I snagged the heck out of it. I will start the audio today.

**I am pretty sure that is the author. There were very few photos of him available.

Edited: Feb 10, 6:58am Top

^Congrats to the wonderful film Parasite for winning Best Film, Best Director and Best Foreign Film. It is a very rare Oscar year, where my favorite film of the year, (Marriage Story came in, a close second) wins Best Picture. Spotlight was the last time. Yah!! If you haven't seen this film, try to track it down.

Feb 10, 8:13am Top

'Morning, Mark! I hope you have a great day.

I didn't see any of the Oscar nominated films this year. Sigh. When I lived in CA I usually managed to see them all.

Feb 10, 9:13am Top

Morning, Mark!

Black light Stories looks intriguing. I'll look forward to your thoughts on it. Good for you for having seen "Parasite"; we'll watch it on the home screeen.

I'm still sidelined; no workout for me today. Sorry I had to raincheck on yesterday. I liked the new Orphan X thriller, Into the Fire, a lot; Debbi's going to give the series a go. Now I'm reading the fantasy Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg, and the 50th (!) in the "in Death" series, Golden in Death.

Hope it goes well today for you. Debbi says it's cold out at the start.

Feb 10, 10:11am Top

Morning, Mark! Hope you had a great Monday

Edited: Feb 10, 10:52am Top

>71 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Being a bit of a film buff, I did see all the nominated films, along with several of the acting nominations. Pretty good year for quality movies.

>72 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. Sorry, to hear you are still in recovery mode. We will have to work on that rain check, but with the weather yesterday, it was probably good that I didn't drive into the city. I think you will love Parasite, once you see it.

>73 ChelleBearss: Morning, Chelle. Still trudging through my Monday work-load but at least the weather is decent.

Feb 10, 11:09am Top

>70 msf59: And it won Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and the international one, too. So so happy. Many shocks...Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker?...but most all of them good.

So happy you're enjoying Black Light: Stories!

Feb 10, 3:26pm Top

I'm way behind, but I love your thread topper! I'm reading the Viveca Sten book set on a Swedish island. I really should look for photos in Google photos of the island. I looked it up on the map so I knew exactly where it was situated.

Feb 10, 5:34pm Top

Yet another short story collection, I gotta get :) Black Light

Oscar talk - gotta watch Marriage Story, since its on Netflix. Looking out for Parasite and JoJo Rabbit.

Something that I haven't heard anyone talk about, the Joker's won the academy award twice. Supporting for Heath Ledger and Actor for Phoenix. Interesting.

Feb 10, 5:54pm Top

>75 richardderus: Hey, RD. Hooray for Parasite. I think it deserved all the awards. Actually, I am a Joaquin Phoenix fan and liked his performance, although it was creepy as hell. I am really enjoying Black Light. I am closing in on the halfway point all ready.

>76 thornton37814: Hi, Lori. Good to see you. Glad you like the breath-taking topper. It is a beaut. I am assuming you are also enjoying the Sten novel?

>77 mahsdad: Hi, Jeff. I am glad I followed RD's warbling lead on Black Light: Stories. It has been very good. I like the tough Texas setting too. Yep, hunt down those films. Did you see The Irishman yet? It is also very good.

Interesting point about 2 actors winning for playing the Joker. I definitely loved Ledger's performance. I wonder if Jack Nicholson was nominated for his stint as Joker. I will have to check.

Edited: Feb 10, 6:05pm Top

“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

T.R. is getting plenty of well-deserved love in That Wild Country and that quote is included. I find it fascinating and disturbing that public lands have been under attack, since the beginning, from private interests and that includes the mighty Grand Canyon. T.R. fought the good fight.

Feb 10, 6:17pm Top

>78 msf59: I did watch the Irishman. I thought it was pretty good, tho sometimes the de-aging took me down the uncanny valley and took me out of the story a bit.

I checked on Jack and his Joker. Not for an Oscar, but he was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Bafta but didn't win

Feb 10, 7:06pm Top

>80 mahsdad: I was a big fan of The Irishman, Jeff. I did not mind the de-aging or the length of the film. I sure would have liked seeing Joe Pesci win best supporting. He was excellent. Thanks for checking on the Nicholson/Joker nom. His was the most cartoonish performance of the three, IMHO.

Feb 10, 7:15pm Top

>53 msf59: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Have you read any of Fowler's other books, Mark? Are there any that you can recommed? My local library has a couple.

Feb 10, 8:48pm Top

Just stopping by to say hi...

Feb 10, 8:58pm Top

>78 msf59: Loving the Sten so far.

Feb 10, 10:26pm Top

>83 alphaorder: Hi, Nancy. You might like That Wild Country, so keep that one in mind. Maybe, for a future audio choice.

>84 thornton37814: Great, Lori. I am not familiar with that author.

Feb 10, 10:46pm Top

Happy newish thread, Mark. I actually watched some of the Oscars last night and Parasite cleaned up. I had seen a lot of the finalists but that was not one.

Feb 11, 5:58am Top

'Morning, Mark, and I hope you have a good day!

Still dark, and the birds are probably sheltering in the evergreens because it's raining.

Feb 11, 6:27am Top

>86 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. I hope you get to see Parasite. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

>87 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Still raining there? Wow! We are expecting more snow tomorrow night and then very frigid weather on Friday. Winter ain't over yet...

Edited: Feb 11, 6:34am Top

Well, I had another tip about a nesting Great Horned Owl. This one is in a nesting box, secured to a pine tree. I could not see Mama GHO, although I think I saw her ear(s) sticking up. Reportedly, there is at least one owlet in there too. I did see Papa GHO, perched in another pine tree nearby, keeping a steady eye on things. This is a FOY. I did not have my camera with me but I will bring it next time. FYI- This is in the same general area, as they last nesting family I saw, in 2018. Just the opposite side of the preserve. Yah!!

Edited: Feb 11, 6:34am Top

Not still raining - newly raining. We had Friday - Monday without rain, but looks like rain off and on through Thursday.

edited to add: Congrats on FOY GHO!

Feb 11, 6:35am Top

^Ooh, check out my owl report. Boo to the rain!

Feb 11, 7:10am Top

>85 msf59: Looks great for me! Added.

Feb 11, 7:15am Top

In case you missed it, Zoe went out yesterday am to capture the snowy landscape at the Center. She also caught a few birds. I love all of her Walk in the Woods, but this is one of my favorites. https://www.schlitzaudubon.org/2020/02/10/a-bluebird-day

Feb 11, 7:16am Top

Howdy Mark! happy new thread! So, A Good Neighborhood is satisfying but not stellar, correct? I've got it on Kindle but things keep pushing it back. Soon.
Looking forward to your thoughts on Equinoxes.

Feb 11, 7:45am Top

Mark, what's FOY?

>93 alphaorder: - Wow, those photos are stunning! The bluebird and the cardinal, especially, stand out brilliantly!

Feb 11, 8:35am Top

Agreed on the >93 alphaorder: photos!

Happy Tuesday, buddy. All is well on our end. We take off for Pittsburgh on Thursday. I'm getting ready to head to the doc for a regular checkup. I've got that cold pretty much behind me, although it's a persistent bugger.

I hope today goes well. A bit nippy out there, but some sun.

Feb 11, 9:06am Top

Happy Tuesday, Mark.

Feb 11, 9:38am Top

>93 alphaorder: Oh, thanks, Nancy. I will check out the link when I get home. I love looking at Zoe's wonderful photos.

>94 Carmenere: Morning, Lynda. Lots of very good reviews on A Good Neighborhood, so maybe it was just me. I have not read her before but her book about Z, about Zelda Fitzgerald is supposed to be terrific.

>95 jessibud2: Morning, Shelley. FOY- First of the Year. Yep, I am getting all technical. Grins...

Feb 11, 10:21am Top

I have Z on my bookshelf! But you know, unread :0/
Forgot to tell you I have Portugal by Pedrosa - looks to be a quick read.

Edited: Feb 11, 10:41am Top

Cardinals singing. mourning doves cooing...music to my ears, this sunny February day.

>96 jnwelch: Morning, Joe. Glad you are feeling better. Good luck at the doctor's visit and hooray for an upcoming trip to PA.

>97 Ameise1: Happy Tuesday, Barb.

>99 Carmenere: If I can find Z on audio, I may join you at some point, Lynda. I haven't been able to get back to Exquinoxes, the last couple of days. I am liking it, but I can see why, it would not be for everyone.

Feb 11, 10:49am Top

>100 msf59: ...but all a bit early, no? Well, no matter, enjoy what we got while we got it.

Feb 11, 11:01am Top

>101 richardderus: Just a preview, RD. A few more weeks...We have some heavy winter weather arriving later tomorrow. Ugh!

Feb 11, 11:05am Top

UGH indeed. What a screwed-up weather system we're having. Oh, BTW I got news of A Sweet, Wild Note being on sale for Kindle today...$1.99!

Feb 11, 12:55pm Top

>70 msf59: It's on the list Mark.

Feb 11, 1:31pm Top

>79 msf59:

From KINGDOM OF FEAR on Teddy Roosevelt:

"Good old Teddy.
Everything he touched was doomed to be beautiful.
The man could do no wrong."

Well, not quite true - but, for Hunter Thompson, close enough.

Feb 11, 5:44pm Top

>103 richardderus: Of course, I grabbed A Sweet, Wild Note: What We Hear When the Birds Sing for my Kindle. Thanks for the heads-up, Richard.

>104 Caroline_McElwee: It is a truly great film, Caroline. Look forward to your thoughts.

>105 m.belljackson: H.S.T. writing about T.R.? Wow! What he did for conservation, is absolutely unparalleled, Marianne. I was also reminded in this book, that FDR did plenty too. That can not be forgotten.

Edited: Feb 11, 5:57pm Top

^"The Bob Marshall Wilderness Area is a Congressionally designated wilderness area located in western Montana in the United States. It is named after Bob Marshall, an early forester in the federal government, conservationist, and co-founder of The Wilderness Society. In the 1930s while working for the US Forest Service, Marshall was largely responsible for designation of large areas to be preserved as roadless within lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service; he achieved this through promulgation of various regulations. Formally designated in 1964, the Bob Marshall Wilderness extends for 60 miles along the Continental Divide and consists of 1,009,356 acres."

This is another gem from That Wild Country. The author hikes this area and raves about Bob Marshall, who I was not that familiar with. I may have to hunt a bio down on this guy. This area looks stunning.

Edited: Feb 11, 6:07pm Top

>57 msf59: I did get through Night Boat to Tangier. Thought it so-so. Moss and Charlie were not particularly endearing characters.

Today I completed Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan. Pretty good mystery thriller that kept me turning pages lickity-split right up to the end, despite having recognized who "The Hammerman" was about two-thirds of the way through.

Going to begin Salman Rushdie's newest, Quichotte, a book I got for Christmas.

ETA: I think I caught a BB. That there book about Hunter S. Thompson. Was that Marianne?

Feb 11, 6:04pm Top

I'm glad I could warble one up for you!

Edited: Feb 11, 6:33pm Top

>108 weird_O: Hi, Bill. Sorry, to hear that Night Boat to Tangier didn't float your...er, boat. I loved Moss and Charlie. I have been curious about Quichotte. I have seen very little LT activity. yes, Marianne supplied the HST quote.

>109 richardderus: You may have coined me "The Warbler", but clearly I learned from the best. I have been curious about Quichotte.

Edited: Feb 11, 6:55pm Top

That Wild Country sounds interesting. Believe it or not, I still need to finish The Hour Of Land. I put it down the night Trump was elected and haven’t opened it since. I just feel so discouraged.

Have you read Timothy Egan’s Lasso the West? Interesting essays and right up your alley, I think. I’ve been reading it forever as an in-between book but my pokieness in finishing it is not indicative of its worth.

I’ll pick up A Good Neighborhood one of these days.

Edited: Feb 11, 7:01pm Top

>111 Copperskye: Hi, Joanne. I sure hope you pick The Hour Of Land back up. It is a beautiful book. That Wild Country is not as impeccably written but he loves the great outdoors and has turned me on to a bunch of very cool places. Hard to believe that, at one time, both of our political parties were in complete support of conservation and the protection of public lands. That all changed with Reagan and it has been divided, ever since. Obama tried healing a lot of those wounds, but we see that all being rolled back. Sad face.

I have not read the Egan essay collection. I should request that one.

Edited: Feb 11, 7:12pm Top

^ I recently listened to a birding podcast and they had two members of the Queer Birders of North America on there and it put a big smile on my face. I am glad that this group has grown nationally. I think they have been around for 20 years. Hey, if you are interested, find one of these groups in your area. They are on FB.

Edited: Feb 11, 7:22pm Top

>48 msf59:
Manhattan Beach won the American Library Association's Carnegie Award for Best Fiction in the year it was published. I think that committee goofed. I still have Visit From the Goon Squad on my shelves. Now I am curious about it and will have to get to it soon. I need to find out if it is better or worse than Manhattan Beach.

>111 Copperskye:
Lasso the Wind is an excellent book of essays. I think it is the first book every published by Timothy Egan when he was still a reporter for the New York Times. He was based in Seattle and reported on the entire American West for the NY Times. It is definitely a book that people interested in the outdoors and the funding for environmental things should read. So Mark, you need to request it. I don't know if it will be available in a sound recording because it was published in the early 90's and recorded versions of books weren't so common then.

I am gradually working my way through Egan's oeuvre. Next up (after I finish Monument's Men - I can't believe I haven't read this one yet!) is Big Burn.

Feb 11, 9:43pm Top

>102 msf59: Sorry to hear about your upcoming cold weather, Mark. It may have been raining for my walk today but we saw rhododendrons starting to bloom. Spring is on the way!

Feb 11, 10:06pm Top

>107 msf59: You have been doing a good job making a case for this book.

Feb 11, 10:38pm Top

>114 benitastrnad: I liked Manhattan Beach but I didn't see it as an award winner. I think Goon Squad deserved all the accolades.
I will request Lasso the Wind. I loved Monuments Men. What took you so long?

Feb 11, 10:43pm Top

>115 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg. Very cold temps on Thursday and frigid temps on Friday but we rebound quickly on the weekend. Whew! Hooray for seeing the early rhondendonrons.

>116 Oberon: Hi, Erik. Great to see you. Yep, I am enjoying That Wild Country. If you have an interest in the history of our national parks and public lands, check this one out.

Feb 12, 12:45am Top

I stumbled across Birbentines You might find them funny.

Feb 12, 7:00am Top

>93 alphaorder: Morning, Nancy. I loved Zoe's winter photos and all the great birds. The colors of the bluebirds and cardinals really pop, against the snowy white. I am so glad she saw and photographed the northern shrike.

>119 quondame: Thanks for sharing the Birbentines, Susan. I had never heard of those. You know I liked the owl one, the best.

Edited: Feb 12, 7:21am Top

The Poet

The poet sits and dreams and dreams;
He scans his verse; he probes his themes.

Then turns to stretch or stir about,
Lest, like his thoughts, his strength give out.

Then off to bed, for he must rise
And cord some wood, or tamp some ties,

Or break a field of fertile soil,
Or do some other manual toil.

He dare not live by wage of pen,
Most poorly paid of poor paid men,

With shoes o’er-run, and threadbare clothes,—
And editors among the foes

Who mock his song, deny him bread,
Then sing his praise when he is dead.

-Raymond Garfield Dandridge

From Poem-A-Day

Edited: Feb 12, 7:32am Top

This is a funny piece, from The Onion about postal rage:


Feb 12, 7:43am Top

Just dropping by to wish you well and point out that your last post was the 1,000th on your threads this year.

Feb 12, 7:45am Top

'Morning, Mark! Sorry about the bad weather headed your way.

Edited: Feb 12, 8:15am Top

>123 PaulCranswick: Hi, Paul! Hooray for a 1,000 posts! The Warbler is still in full swing.

>124 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. they are predicting 3-6 inches of snow. Once again, I hope it ends up on the lower total.

Feb 12, 8:25am Top

>121 msf59: Nice one, Mark.

Oh man, I hadn't heard about the 3-6" of snow. Hope it stays calm enough here and in PA tomorrow for us to fly there.

I finished Golden in Death, which was a pretty good entry in the series. Now I'm into In the Frame for the Dick Francis challenge. Mystery time!

Hope today goes well for you.

Feb 12, 8:34am Top

Happy Wednesday, Mark.

Feb 12, 8:38am Top

>125 msf59: I wouldn't mind having enough snow to cancel school, but I don't want the snow on a weekend right now. Since that's unlikely the rest of the month, I'll just have to hope for the early spring snow in late March or early April to do the trick.

Feb 12, 9:55am Top

>126 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. I thought about you, with that poem. It is supposed to be pretty nasty tomorrow. I sure hope you can get your flight out. Fingers crossed.

>127 Ameise1: Big waves to Barb!

>128 thornton37814: Hi, Lori. We get a winter blast for the next couple of days but then it gets better for the weekend and may inch back up to 40F. It probably doesn't take much snow, to cancel school in TN, right?

Feb 12, 10:47am Top

>113 msf59: ...there is a lid for every pot, isn't there...

Speaking of warbles...a trip to Utah needs must be in your future, as you will want to participate in identifying the range of the Flammulated Owl. (I *swear* that's not a made-up bird!)

It's only $1700 for 5 days and 4 nights! Cheap at half...I mean twice...the price!

Feb 12, 11:06am Top

Keep on truckin', Mr. Warbling Postman. We haven't gotten snow so far this winter, just rain. And the rain we've gotten hasn't been the sorts of deluges dumped on the South. Right now, the sun is shining, but we've been warned that rain is coming this afternoon.

That's it for weather in our neck of the woods.

Feb 12, 3:00pm Top

>130 richardderus: What a cutie! I would LOVE to see a Flammulated Owl, RD and that trip sounds amazing but also a little pricey. I will keep this is in mind, whenever I get back to Utah. It is loaded with places, I would love to roam.

>131 weird_O: Hey, Weirdo Bill. Thanks for the weather report. It sounds like you have been getting loads of rain. We have 3-6 inches of snow come later today and tonight. We are just under average, for the season, which is okay with me.

Edited: Feb 12, 3:10pm Top

Hey Mark, I just registered to be a bird counter @ birdcount.org. I'm probably not telling you something you don't already know but the bird count starts 2/14 and continues to 2/17. Tweet!

ETA: Here an outstanding Graphic Novel by Richard McGuire. Have you read it?

Feb 12, 3:47pm Top

>130 richardderus: oh look at that little owl...

Feb 12, 4:02pm Top

>132 msf59:, >134 Caroline_McElwee: Even I think it's about the most adorable little rodent-muncher ever hatched.

Edited: Feb 12, 5:56pm Top

>133 Carmenere: Hi, Lynda. Thanks for the reminder on the Great Backyard Bird Count. I work Saturday, but I am off Sunday & Monday. Are you participating?

I have read Here. A good one, but more inventive than enjoyable.

>134 Caroline_McElwee: >135 richardderus: Hooray for the "most adorable little rodent-muncher"! The other little owl I would like to see is the burrowing owl, which can be found in the south, including Florida.

Edited: Feb 12, 5:58pm Top

I made the best of my day off, by making it down to the lakefront, (just south of the city) and spotted a glorious Snowy Owl. I saw my very first Snowy, in this same general area about 2 years ago. This is a female, (males are solid white) and she is tucked in at one of the docking slips, (of course, closed in the winter) at an enclosed harbor. This is my photo but my lens was maxed out, so it wasn't as clear as I would have liked. Just keeping my hands steady, is a chore. Still happy to get a photo. This is my third owl species of the year, so far, so The Old Warbler ain't doing bad.

Feb 12, 5:53pm Top

^Closer to home, I stopped at a forest preserve, to tromp around a bit, looking for another GHO, which I did not see. All other birds were scarce too. This is what the trails look like but there is more ice on the paths, than you can see in the photo. I had to walk along the edges.

Feb 12, 6:39pm Top

>137 msf59: - OOO! So cool! I have never seen one in the wild. Great shot. They are real beauties, aren't they?

Feb 12, 6:51pm Top

>137 msf59: Yay! I was stopping in to see if you had spotted a snowy owl on your day off.

Feb 12, 7:03pm Top

Feb 12, 7:11pm Top

>139 jessibud2: They sure are, Shelley. I hope to see a pure white male, one of these days.

>140 alcottacre: You know I love seeing these gorgeous birds, Stasia. They can also be seen in very rural areas, out in fields and farmlands, but much harder to spot that way. This was my third snowy sighting, since I started birding.

>141 quondame: Amen, to that Susan. Snowing steadily, at the moment and very cold temps arriving later tomorrow.

Edited: Feb 12, 7:25pm Top

"In this alternately witty and heartbreaking debut novel, Gabriel Bump gives us an unforgettable protagonist, Claude McKay Love. Claude isn’t dangerous or brilliant—he’s an average kid coping with abandonment, violence, riots, failed love, and societal pressures as he steers his way past the signposts of youth..."

Everywhere You Don’t Belong is a debut novel, recently released. I snagged an e-galley of it, after hearing some strong buzz. It is set on the southside of Chicago, which can be a dangerous place. I may dip into it tonight and go full throttle with it tomorrow.

Feb 12, 7:35pm Top

>137 msf59: Coolness! She looks very chill, I must say.

>143 msf59: Sounds like a potentially great story. Am eager to hear your ideas.

Feb 12, 7:51pm Top

Hi Mark, we're supposed to be getting snow Overnight. I can't complain much because honestly we haven't had much snow this year. The kids had their bikes out last week. Haven't heard anything about Everywhere You Don't Belong so I'll wait for your opinion.

Feb 12, 7:56pm Top

Yes, Mark, I'm registered for the bird count. I was practicing this afternoon and visitors stopping at my bird feeder included 2 robins, 2 blue jays, 2 cardinals and at least 20 little brownish birds. All within 15 minutes. Nothing says spring like migration. First though there's tonight - snow & ice, perfect night to hit the books

Feb 12, 7:59pm Top

>137 msf59: What a great picture of the snowy owl. That is special!

Feb 12, 10:25pm Top

>144 richardderus: She was definitely chillin', RD! I hope to do plenty of warbling over Everywhere You Don't Belong. Did not start it tonight.

>145 brenzi: Hi, Bonnie. It has been snowing here, since early afternoon, but not much accumulation...yet. We could wake up tomorrow and see a few inches, plus very cold temps.

Feb 12, 10:29pm Top

>146 Carmenere: Hooray for being registered for the bird count, Lynda. I will do it tomorrow. Glad to see you practicing. Are those little brownish birds, just house sparrows? Take a photo if you can and see if they have any other distinguishing features.

>146 Carmenere: Thanks, Mary. We are lucky that the snowy owls will sometimes venture this far south, for the winter. Always a joy to see one.

Feb 13, 3:22am Top

>137 msf59: What a great picture! Glad to hear that you had a wonderful day. Sweet Thursday, Mark.

Feb 13, 6:04am Top

>143 msf59: Wishlisted. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Feb 13, 6:27am Top

>150 Ameise1: Thanks, Barb. It was a good day off.

>151 alphaorder: Morning, Nancy. Looking forward to diving into this novel today. It looks like we have a few inches out there. Looks nice but UGH!!

You didn't like my Snowy up there? Hey, that's a special moment. Grins...

Feb 13, 7:21am Top

I did love your snowy. Life has been busy - only skimming lately and missed it. :)

Feb 13, 8:05am Top

‘Morning Mark. Nasty weather, dangerous wind chill. Stay safe and as warm as possible out there.

>137 msf59: That is a marvelous picture. Congrats.

Feb 13, 8:11am Top

Do you have Hot Shots, those little pouches you shake up and put in your mittens (or gloves)? They keep your hands really toasty for up to 7 hours. I'll be breaking out my own tomorrow, when we will be down to around the -20C range and I have to go out... Stay warm!

Feb 13, 8:26am Top

Take care out there, Mark! Shawn and I are heading up to Door County tomorrow to spend the weekend with his siblings. Suspect most time will be spent inside around a fire.

Feb 13, 10:40am Top

I am traversing a snowy landscape today. Flurries still swirling down, with the temps hovering around the mid-teens. I will add another layer, as I start my residential. Hopefully, my customers will be out shoveling their little hearts out...

Edited: Feb 13, 10:46am Top

>153 alphaorder: >156 alphaorder: Morning, Nancy. Glad you spotted my Snowy. Have a great time up in Door County. I hope I see a Quinn visit from the Door County Brewery. Cool place. Enjoy!

>154 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. It is not as windy as I had expected, so that helps. I have all my gear along, with a couple of good books, to keep me distracted.

>155 jessibud2: I have rarely ever used those hand warmer packets, Shelley. On days like this, they would come in handy. Keep warm up there, yourself.

Feb 13, 11:50am Top

It was so warm outside yesterday with a very strong south wind still blowing up all kinds of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico that this morning with a cold north wind was a shock. We got 5 1/2 inches of rain in Tuscaloosa on Monday and Tuesday, (mostly on Monday) so this will be quite a change. I put my coat on this morning. What I really wanted to do was stay in bed were it was nice and warm.

Feb 13, 1:09pm Top

>137 msf59: ooo, she's a beauty Mark.

Feb 13, 2:48pm Top

Happy Thursday!

Loving all the Owl photos.

Feb 13, 3:08pm Top

>137 msf59: Aww, what a beautiful bird! Looks very content too

Feb 13, 6:11pm Top

>159 benitastrnad: Crazy weather, right, Benita? We had, most likely our coldest day of year today and tomorrow will not be much better. Ugh!

>160 Caroline_McElwee: I agree, Caroline.

>161 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Figs! As you can tell, I have a special fondness for owls and i am very fortunate to see them now and then.

>162 ChelleBearss: Glad you like the Snowy, Chelle. Have you ever heard of any snowy owl sightings, up your way? I know they are arctic residents.

Edited: Feb 13, 6:44pm Top

"Solitary is the unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement--in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana--all for a crime he did not commit. That Albert Woodfox survived was, in itself, a feat of extraordinary endurance..."

Solitary was also part of my Christmas Swap, from Rachel. I think her selections have been ideal so far, and after listening to the first few hours of this riveting memoir, it sure looks like this will confirm that fact. I decided to try it on audio, because this is how I prefer my NF. I think this was a perfect idea.

Feb 13, 6:47pm Top

>143 msf59: >164 msf59: Looking forward to your thoughts on those two!

Stay warm up there, Mark.

Edited: Feb 13, 6:59pm Top

>165 alcottacre: So far, they are both off to a very good start, Stasia. We will drop to close to zero over night, so yes it is COLD. We rebound a bit over the weekend, though.

Edited: Feb 16, 8:40am Top

^Love the Charley Harper artwork. Thanks to Lynda, for reminding me about the GBBC event, that begins tomorrow and goes through Monday. I am signed up. If you have feeders set up or plan a bird stroll this weekend, consider joining this event. It is just a basic count, of what you see, over a certain period of time. With the frigid weather, my feeders were crazy busy, when I got home from work. Funny, I saw nothing on the route, other than a lone mourning dove and a solo red-tailed hawk, soaring in the sky. Here is the link:


Edited: Feb 13, 10:45pm Top

I finished reading Monuments Men today during my lunch hour. It was good, but I didn't think it was great. I think it tried to cover too much territory and tell to broad of a story. I would have liked it better with a little more detail and more focus. However, I do think it told a story that needed to be told and given its copyright date of 2010 it is a good lesson in what can be accomplished by an army in saving the heritage of people if they do some advanced planning. Armies don't need alot of people to save culture and heritage. There were 350 men in the Monuments detail in the Allied armies and they did so much. Think what 350 people could have done in Iraq back in 2003.

I have not watched the movie made from this book. I did see the European film Rape of Europa that was based on a different book and thought that movie outstanding. This told the story of the work done in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, which Monuments Men only touched on. Since I don't have a DVD Player or have streaming capabilities I might have to wait until I go home and can watch Monuments Men with my sister.

My next nonfiction is going to be Big Burn - another Timothy Egan book. I really enjoy that author!

Feb 13, 8:49pm Top

"four decades in solitary confinement--in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day" That has to qualify as cruel and unusual punishment.

Feb 13, 8:55pm Top

>27 msf59: I meant "side" haha. Fixed my typo. The library has several acres of woods on the side of the building (parking in the back and limited parking/road in the front). In fact, we're hoping to make a Storywalk there this spring so maybe some more chances to investigate the area and see more birds. There have been hawks nearby in the past.

How awesome that you saw a Snowy and Great Horned Owls recently!

Feb 13, 9:17pm Top

>164 msf59: Miscarriages of justice are nowhere near as rare as people think, Mark, are they?

Feb 13, 10:24pm Top

>168 benitastrnad: It sounds like I was a bit more satisfied, with Monuments Men than you, Benita. The film is not very good, so you might want to skip that one. Hooray, for The Big Burn. Another Egan winner!

>169 laytonwoman3rd: Amen, Linda. It is pretty shocking and disturbing how often solitary confinement happens in this country.

Feb 13, 10:50pm Top

>172 msf59:
I liked the book and found myself reading it in big chunks because I couldn’t put it down. I just think it needed to be more focused. But it is certainly well worth the time to read it.

Most people who saw the movie thought it was very good. But that might be because they didn’t read the book and so were blown away by the story itself. It is an amazing story. Imagine - somebody thought to do advanced planning on how to deal with the countries that we conquered before the armies even landed. I read once that for every solider who was in combat in WWII there were 2 more in support that never saw combat. That means that the war was methodically planned and executed. WOW! I need to read a biography of George Marshall and one about FDR and his military thought processes. That would certainly provide a different take on how to fight a war than what we saw 18 years ago.

Feb 13, 11:50pm Top

Nice snowy owl, Mark! I’d love to see one sometime.

I’ve done the great backyard bird count for several years now and will join in again this year.

You’re welcome to my copy of Lasso the Wind when I’m done with it. As long as you’re not in a hurry. :) Let me know!

Feb 14, 4:42am Top

Good morning, Mark. I hope the weather is improving at your part of the world. We have another stormy and snowy day.

Feb 14, 6:34am Top

>170 bell7: Hi, Mary. A library that has several acres of woods attached to it, sounds like heaven to me. I hope the storywalk idea works out. Let me know.

>171 PaulCranswick: Hi, Paul. I have been reading about our correctional institutions for a couple of years now and none of it is good. The privatization angle has just made it worse. If you can track a copy of American Prison down, it would be well worth your time.

Feb 14, 6:41am Top

>173 benitastrnad: I would be surprised if you liked the film version of Monuments Men but you never know. Another fascinating slice of WWII, that few of us knew anything about.

>174 Copperskye: Hi, Joanne. Glad you are participating in the GBBC. Let me know what your totals are. Do you count each day? I will for sure on Sunday and Monday. Sure, I would love your copy of Lasso the Wind. Of course, there is no hurry.

>175 Ameise1: Hi, Barb. No, we are getting blasted with frigid cold. Nearly 20 degrees below normal. It looks to be better over the weekend.

Feb 14, 8:29am Top

Ugh, the film of Monuments Men *was* really bad, I agree, Mark. I never read the book.

Feb 14, 9:02am Top

>178 katiekrug: What Katie said.

Feb 14, 9:40am Top

Happy Valentine's Day!

Edited: Feb 14, 10:36am Top

Despite the current sunshine, it was only -2 on the way in to work this morning and it is currently, +3. It may reach 13, before I am done for the day. Preparing to put all my Gortex rain-gear on, as a third layer, as I start my residential. Yep, thoughts of retirement have been dancing through my head...

Feb 14, 10:37am Top

>178 katiekrug: >179 karenmarie: Thanks for the clarification, Katie and Karen. I didn't think there were that many fans of that film, or at least not on LT.

>180 Coffee.Cat: Happy Valentine's Day, Abby. Always good to see you .

Edited: Feb 14, 11:10am Top

Good morning Mark - keep warm today!

>107 msf59: Yup, "the Bob" is definitely in my area. It was a favorite of my Dad's; I went on a few short backpacks with him when I was in middle school and we lived in Kalispell.

The cliffs in your photo look like part of the Chinese Wall located there.

I agree that a book on Bob Marshall would be interesting!

Great Snowy Owl photo! I'd love to see one in the wild - I never have.

I'm currently reading Timothy Egan's newest: A Pilgrimage to Eternity about hiking walking and otherwise following the European Via Francigena, the major medieval route from Canterbury to Rome. It's very intriguing and a great break from American Prison

Feb 14, 11:20am Top

Morning, Mark! Happy Friday! I love your snowy owl photo - very cool.

Feb 14, 12:39pm Top

>129 msf59: It takes enough to cover the roads and make it potentially unsafe for buses. Since we live in a mountainous area, it doesn't really take that much to do that.

Feb 14, 1:55pm Top

"Happy" Friday, Frigidaire Man. Don't lose any skinny bits.

I got three more Thingabooks from Goodwill, with two left to arrive from Ammy at some point. At that point I'll have eight to go to make my statutory fifteen before August. I'm not counting ebooks, gifts, ARCs, or Little Free Library finds. I'm on a roll!

Feb 14, 2:06pm Top

Just putting this out there.... Jess Walter's next book comes out in October. Its called The Cold Millions. I could add it, but the Touchstones doesn't work.

Feb 14, 2:40pm Top

I have been chatting with Chatterbox over on her thread about Monuments Men and I am sticking with my opinion of the book. Many years ago I saw the movie version of Rape of Europa and thought that documentary was excellent. Of course, it had subtitles, but it was very thorough and detailed. The bulk of that movie was about what happened in Italy. The lose of monuments (translate that as buildings) of all ages from ancient to Renaissance and then to modern was tremendous. The Allies learned much from the debacle of Monte Cassino, but by then it was too late as most of the damage had been done. I was appalled to learn of all the damage that was done to buildings in the more industrial northern part of Italy.

I spent some time last night looking through the Monuments Men Foundation website and was surprised to learn that Edsel is not a scholar. He is a millionaire oilman whose hobby is art. He got interested in the lost art of Europe and sold his oil drilling business, moved his family to Europe and started his journey to becoming an authority on lost, looted, and flat out stolen art from WWII. Because he was an oilman he based the foundation in Dallas, TX where he had connections. He also funded the making of the Rape of Europa documentary film. His background probably explains why I was surprised by the style of the writing in the book and it makes me feel much better about the lack of scholarly rigor. I know - that makes me an intellectual snob. My excuse. You get accustomed to the language of academe and it is disconcerting when it isn't there. Even Timothy Egan applies journalistic rigor, which has its own rules, to the stuff he writes.

If you get time take a look at the Monuments Men Foundation website there are some really great stories there.

Feb 14, 8:16pm Top

>183 streamsong: Hi, Janet. I love the sound of "The Bob". Sounds like a fantastic place. Your Dad must have known his stuff. I don't think the author mentioned the Chinese Wall, which looks amazing. I can't wait to read A Pilgrimage to Eternity. As you know, I am a big Egan fan.

>184 Crazymamie: Happy Friday, Mamie! Hooray for the Snowy Owls! They are wonderful.

>185 thornton37814: Thanks for your weather report, Lori. All of that makes perfect sense.

Feb 14, 8:26pm Top

>186 richardderus: Happy Friday, Richard. The "Frigidaire Man" is mostly thawed out and has most of his skinny bits, intact. Congrats on the new books. I will have to stop by your digs and see if you posted the titles.

>187 mahsdad: Hooray for a new Jess Walter, Jeff. You know I am a big fan. Boy, I miss that podcast, that he did with Alexie. It was one of my favorites.

>188 benitastrnad: Wow, Benita. You have sure done your research in regards to Monuments Men and the author. Impressive. I really liked the book, regardless. Rape of Europa sounds like a really interesting doc. I wonder if I can track it down.

Edited: Feb 14, 9:08pm Top

-Keith Taylor (This is from our artist friend).

Edited: Feb 14, 9:54pm Top

I seem to recall seeing the trailer for Monuments Men while I was reading the book. And thinking, that those Hollywood types weren't going to make a good movie from the book. The work to be done covered an area too expansive, and too many individuals were involved. "George Clooney" couldn't have appeared in all the disparate locations. Twas a team effort.

Edsel did an somewhat earlier book called Rescuing Da Vinci. An oversize volume with an less text but quite a few photos. I bought a copy, then later borrowed Monuments Men to read. I think they are both worthwhile.

A book published in 1994 has been on my wishlist for quite a few years. It's titled The Rape of Europa by Lynn H. Nichols. Just now wondering if oilman Edsel underwrote that book. Same title as the documental film cited in this conversation.

Edited: Feb 14, 10:16pm Top

>192 weird_O:
Edsel underwrote the cost of the documentary film. The book was already written. The movie was done in Italian. WHen I watched it, I had to read subtitles. It was many years ago, but it was a wonderful documentary. It was about the art and buildings of Italy. There was a great deal of destruction caused by the Allied armies in Italy. One place the Momunments Men were unable to save was a building in Pisa. It had frescoes on the walls from the Renaissance. The building burned during a bombing raid on the city and the frescoes were damaged badly. Most of them beyond repair. The Monuments Man had to order the building demolished and it was a very emotional decision. Part of the building was saved and I believe that Momunments Man is buried there. I don’t remember it all exactly, but the movie made quite an impression on me.

Darn - I think I just gave myself a Book Bullett for Rape of Europa by Lynn Nichols.

Edited: Feb 14, 10:20pm Top

I seem to recall seeing the trailer for Monuments Men while I was reading the book. And thinking, that those Hollywood types weren't going to make a good movie from the book. The work to be done covered an area too expansive, and too many individuals were involved. "George Clooney" couldn't have appeared in all the disparate locations. Twas a team effort.

Edsel did an somewhat earlier book called Rescuing Da Vinci. An oversize volume with an less text but quite a few photos. I bought a copy, then later borrowed Monuments Men to read. I think they are both worthwhile.

A book published in 1994 has been on my wishlist for quite a few years. It's titled The Rape of Europa by Lynn H. Nichols. Just now wondering if oilman Edsel underwrote that book. Same title as the documental film cited in this conversation.

ETA: Amazon has the DVD of The Rape of Europa, narrated by Joan Allen. No indication of a connection with Edsel or with Nichols. I'll be checking further, now that my interest has been given a sharp poke. Two versions--standard single DVD and a $60 deluxe package with 3 DVDs. Also rentable through Amazon Prime.


The Woman in Gold, both book and movie, relate to the topic. The woman referred to is Adele Bloch-Bauer, whose portrait was painted by Gustav Klimt. The portrait was boosted by the Nazis and ended up in Austria's National Museum, because Klimt. The rightful heir was given the runaround because the museum didn't want to give it up. Gives one a snapshot of the ongoing hassling over who should have possession of artworks stolen from private citizens, from museums, from galleries.

It's interesting to me that LT doesn't have a Touchstone for Anne-Marie O'Connor's book but does for the movie based on the book. Hmmm.

Sorry. Perhaps I got carried away.

Feb 14, 10:23pm Top

Alright, alright. The documentary lists Edsel as a co-producer and credits Nichols as author of the book.

Feb 14, 10:26pm Top

>194 weird_O:
According to the Monuments Men Foundation web site there are plenty of Americans who have looted art and don’t want to give it back without monetary compensation. One example was an American officer who took a 16th century Flemish tapestry from the Berghof in southern Germany, mailed it home to his wife, and kept it hanging on his staircase. After his death, his widow kept it. Then the stepson had it appraised after her death, it showed up on a list of stolen or missing museum artworks. He didn’t believe it and kept it for another 10 years before a friend of his contacted the Monuments Men Foundation about it. It took another 4 years of negotiating to get it back to the museum in Munich from which Hitler stole it in the first place. The newspaper article did not say if the family received monetary compensation or not, but it sure sounded like that was what they were angling for.

The Monuments Men Foundation web site is fascinating.

Feb 14, 10:35pm Top

>196 benitastrnad: I read about that, Benita. I believe the family required a ransom, 6 figures, cash or cashier's check.

Edited: Feb 15, 6:42am Top

Wow! I think you guys should do a book podcast! The Bill & Benita Show!! I could introduce the program, if you would like. Grins...

Great discussion. Love to hear Benita's thoughts on the film of Monuments Men, when she sees it. I was not familiar with the book or the film version, of Woman in Gold. Thanks for the rec, Bill.

Feb 15, 7:52am Top

Morning, Mark! What's on the agenda for today? I have a few chores, but then I plan on hitting the books.

Feb 15, 8:02am Top

'Morning, Mark! Stay warm and dry out there.

Feb 15, 10:35am Top

>199 Crazymamie: Morning, Mamie. Hooray for hitting the books. I am working today but looking forward to the next couple of days off.

>200 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. It is breezy and overcast out here, but compared to the last 2 days, it isn't bad.

Feb 15, 11:51am Top

Oh Woman in Gold was such a good film!

Feb 15, 3:01pm Top

>202 mdoris:: I found the book being much better then the film. It had more details and created the atmosphere of the pre-war Vienna really well.

Feb 15, 6:03pm Top

Do you know where the phrase "bucket list" comes from?

Hi Mark!

>164 msf59: I remember reading about Solitary a couple of months ago and thinking it sounded really good. I'll keep it on my wish list.

>167 msf59: Thanks for the link to the GBBC. I'm thinking I'll participate if it's not too late. We repaired our finch feeder this morning and it was then covered with goldfinches!

Sorry it's so cold where you are. Stay warm!

By the way, my trip to Chicago May 25-28 is confirmed. :-)

Edited: Feb 15, 7:21pm Top

Thoroughly enjoying the discussions of Monuments Men, which I read several years ago, and The Rape of Europa - I have both seen the film version and read the Berge book. I need to check out the Monuments Men website.

Happy Saturday, Mark!

Feb 15, 7:11pm Top

Hi Mark. Happy Hockey Day in America Eve!!

Hockey Day in America is one of my favorite days in the winter, along with Cubs pitchers and catchers reporting.

Edited: Feb 15, 7:16pm Top

>202 mdoris: Looks like I should request the film, Woman in Gold, Mary.

>204 EBT1002: "Do you know where the phrase "bucket list" comes from?" After a quick search, it looks like the phrase comes from the film, The Bucket List, which came out in 2007, starring Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman. It sure seems like that phrase goes further back than that, right? I have never seen the film. It did not sound appealing at the time.

Edited: Feb 15, 7:26pm Top

>204 EBT1002: Hi, Ellen. Great to see you, as usual, Solitary has been fantastic. I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being a 5 star read. I still have a few hours left in the audio. I am sure there will be more warbling to come. I hope you join the GBBC. I will be participating Sunday & Monday. I saw no activity out there, when I got home from work.

Hooray for coming to Chicago in late May! I am sure we can pull together a Meet Up or two.

Feb 15, 7:26pm Top

>205 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia. Glad to hear you chime in on Monuments Men. That one, sure sparked a lengthy conversation, right? I read and enjoyed it, in back in 2014.

>206 lindapanzo: Hi, Linda. I don't watch much hockey but I am always tickled by how much you love the sport. I decided to lay low tonight. I will probably pop in a movie. I sure hope the Cubs can come roaring back, after a lackluster 2019.

Feb 15, 8:54pm Top

>209 msf59: The outdoor game at the Air Force Academy tonight, followed by the Blackhawks game tonight.

Tomorrow, a TRIPLEHEADER, plus the Blackhawks game in Winnipeg.

>205 alcottacre: Glad you're liking Monuments Men, Stasia. I enjoyed that one and need to get to his related book, Saving Italy.

Feb 15, 11:21pm Top

Mark I was returning an "express" read for a friend and it happened that it was to a brand new library in our system and what a fabulous library it was! And there on the "new" shelf was Dopesick so of course I had to grab it after your glowing reports. Wow, what a shocker that the drug company can get away with such responsibility in death and family wreckage and gain such massive profits. What an eye opener! Thanks.

Feb 16, 3:51am Top

Discussion on Monuments Men is interesting and puts up some fairly interesting moral dilemma type questions. You have gone to war to rid the world of the smear of nazism. You have had friends die at your side at this cause. You have seen atrocities that deeply appall you and you subsequently hear of the death camps and more. You clear out stragglers from an old building and come upon something shiny that catches your eye and you pocket it. Are you entitled to spoils of war?

I think on balance probably not but the circumstances of those days are something we really haven't had to face in our own lifetimes and the Germans were, after all, spared reparations after the last war and instead their economy and that of Japan were built up on American money in part paid for by British lend-lease money and at the expense of the allies that fought at America's side. Britain was the only country to repay the USA for loans and materiel provided in the two wars and the role of Britain and its empire in saving the world from fascism was poorly repaid in the post-war.

Just saying.

Feb 16, 7:41am Top

>211 mdoris: Hi, Mary. I am glad to hear you are reading Dopesick. I think it is an important book and it is a crisis that goes unreported, in both my countries. I think everyone should read it. I just passed my copy on to Benita.

>212 PaulCranswick: Hi, Paul. Thanks for chiming in on the Monuments Men discussion and I appreciate the reminder, that Britain did their part in both wars. Quite honorable.

Feb 16, 7:52am Top

'Morning, Mark, and good luck with the GBBC!

Feb 16, 8:15am Top

Morning, Karen. My feeders are off the first floor of the house and I am in the Man Cave, tapping away at my laptop. You are supposed to count at 15 minute intervals, so I will slot some time a bit later. First birds seen this A.M. were goldfinch. About 4 of them.

Edited: Feb 16, 8:43am Top

^^The feeders and birdbath are all filled and ready for the Great Backyard Bird Count, which I will participate in today and tomorrow. I have not officially started counting yet, but I have seen several goldfinch, a pair of cardinals and a male downy woodpecker. The feeder on the far left, with the snow on top, is my double-suet feeder. The green-topped one is my main mixed seed feeder and the tube feeder on the right, is the thistle, finch feeder, which has been really busy, of late.

Edited: Feb 16, 10:28am Top

Good luck with the GBYBC!

I'm like Karen, and can't identify enough birds precisely to feel like I could contribute.

Right now I am once again invaded by wild turkeys. Grrrrr. They are so bold they try to chase the horses away from their grain and have my cat terrorized into staying inside. I can't think why Ben F thought they should be the national bird!

And, your book magic worked again. A quick perusal of the shelf of Montana books at the FOL ongoing sale yielded A Wilderness Original: The Life of Bob Marshall. I have a pile of books from the library - they all arrived at once - but I'll give it a read (eventually!) and let you know.

Feb 16, 10:38am Top

Happy Sunday, Mark!

Feb 16, 11:04am Top

>204 EBT1002:, >207 msf59: "bucket list"----a list of things to do before you kick the bucket.

Feb 16, 12:08pm Top

>217 streamsong: Hi, Janet. My feeders have been very quiet, while I was counting. I wish I had started, when I first got up. The feeders were really hopping then. I will try again later. I did not realize turkeys were this aggressive. They are not very common around urban areas.

Ooh, A Wilderness Original: The Life of Bob Marshall this one sounds perfect. I will watch for your thoughts.

>218 richardderus: Happy Sunday, Richard.

>219 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks for that, Linda. I am sure that is where the screenwriter from the film, got that "Bucket List" idea from.

Feb 16, 1:45pm Top

Something I didn't know about bucket list: Its use dates back to 1965...in computer programming. Means a list of polygonal shapes. (I fell asleep typing that sentence.) But in its present usage, the phrase appears to relate to the film, therefore the script, therefore the screenwriter Justin Zackham.

Edited: Feb 16, 1:59pm Top

>216 msf59:

Thanks, Mark, for the link to the GBYBC - up here in Token Creek,
my daughter and I have so far identified chickadees, sparrows, crows,
male and female cardinals, maybe a Red Pol, finches, lots of Juncoes,
one mourning dove,
and a woodpecker.

Feb 16, 3:54pm Top

>221 richardderus: So so that info about the "bucket list" too, RD! I find it really interesting that the popularity of that term came from that movie.

>222 m.belljackson: Hi, Marianne. Love the bird list. Are you both signed up for the GBBC? I saw my first Red-Polls, on my MN visit. They rarely venture down this far south. Of course, we have crows here but rarely around my backyard or neighborhood.

Feb 16, 4:10pm Top

wish you a good new week

Feb 16, 4:28pm Top

Hi Mark. I hope you're enjoying your long weekend.

Feb 16, 4:42pm Top

Oh, for goodness sake. How did I miss an ENTIRE thread of yours until pretty much the very end? It's only a little more than a week old too. I want to say "slow down!" but won't because it's pretty cool how animated your threads are. :)

Love the topper!

>79 msf59: *Gasp of Wonder*

>121 msf59: Heh, too true. Also of many other kinds of artists whose talent isn't acknowledged until after they die.

Feb 16, 4:47pm Top

Hiya, Mark.

Lots of interesting discussions going on here. I enjoyed the Monuments Men book, but heard nothing good about the movie and didn’t watch it.

I agree with your comment about the GN Here, that it was more inventive than enjoyable. Respected it, didn’t love it.

Feb 16, 5:42pm Top

Have your bird feeders picked up yet, Mark. Reminds me of that saying of a watched pot. Enjoy your Sunday!

Feb 16, 6:44pm Top

Hello Mark, happy weekend! Hope you count lots of birds.

Yesterday, 7:40am Top

'Morning, Mark! Have a fantastic day off.

I hope the GBBC has been going well.

I'm not overly fond of cute-cranky-old-men books or movies, the book A Man Called Ove being an exception.

Color me cranky-old woman. *smile*

Yesterday, 7:42am Top

>224 paulstalder: Thanks, Paul. Good to see you stop by.

>225 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. I am enjoying it.

>226 Storeetllr: Hi, Mary. Things do bop along pretty quickly, around here. What can I say? I have wonderful visitors.

Edited: Yesterday, 8:10am Top

>227 jnwelch: Hi, Joe. I hope things are going more smoothly there in PA. At least you have the little ones to bring you comfort.

>228 Familyhistorian: " Reminds me of that saying of a watched pot." Amen, to that, Meg. Maybe the feeder activity will pick up today.

>229 banjo123: Hi, Rhonda. Did not count many birds yesterday. Hoping to make up for it today. The last day of the count.

>230 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. Actually, slept in a bit, which is rare for me, but felt good. I hope I can see more bird activity at the feeder today. It was a bit slow yesterday. I loved Ove too!

Yesterday, 8:37am Top

Morning, Mark! Good luck with the counting of the birds.

Yesterday, 8:48am Top

Morning, Mamie! A quick bird count update coming up...

Yesterday, 8:50am Top

How did your bird watching day go? Hope your feeders picked up again

Edited: Yesterday, 8:55am Top

^While getting a fresh cup of coffee, I sat down and watched the feeders for ten minutes and quickly got 7 species, including my resident Northern Flicker, (photo). He/she has been stopping by regularly. So, far the only hold-outs, have been a white-breasted nuthatch and a red-bellied woodpecker. A pair of squirrels have been foraging on the ground too.

Yesterday, 8:58am Top

Happy Audubonning today, Mark. Stay warm!

Yesterday, 9:33am Top

Thanks, Richard. Happy Monday! I should get out for a stroll soon. Rain will be moving in later on.

Edited: Yesterday, 9:43am Top

18) Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel by Lynda Barry 4.2 stars

“East Crawford is a road of trash people. Teeth missing and greasy two-color hair on the women and regular greasy hair on the men and all of the people come in two sizes only, very fat or very skinny. And all of them are hacking and all of them are huffing on cigs constantly. It is very hard not to smoke here.”

“It wasn't her fault that the father wandered into her life. Chance blew the father in a lot of directions. He rolled around this way and he rolled around that way, deforming everything he brushed up against.”

It is the early 1970s, somewhere in the southwest, as we are introduced to sixteen year old Roberta Rohbeson. She is hunkered down in her “cruddy” house, in her “cruddy” bedroom, and begins to write her memoir. Oh, the stories, she begins to tell...

I know this is a literary cliché, but this is truly a one of a kind book and will not be for everyone. It is dark, disturbing and even grotesque at times. It is a mash-up of Naked Lunch, Paper Moon and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Fans of the equally twisted Geek Love will rejoice. There is a steady flow of violence, drug use and parental abuse. It is also beautifully written. There are also impressive illustrations, by the author, that kick off each chapter. I had not read or heard of Lynda Barry before, but what a stunning introduction this is and Roberta is a character for the ages.

Yesterday, 12:30pm Top

>198 msf59:
How could be unaware of the film Woman in Gold? It stars the incomparable Helen Mirren! What rock were you hiding under in 2015?

Yesterday, 12:47pm Top

>212 PaulCranswick:
Soldiers, plunder, and war. Early in the book Monuments Men it was stated that this was the first war in history where an effort was made to NOT plunder by the victorious army. It is also interesting that it was the British who took the idea that art and cultural artifacts make up the cultural history of a country. If you deprive the country of its cultural touchstones, you are in effect destroying the identity of that country. It was they who set up the first Monuments Men department in their army. Of course, they allocated no money and no resources to the project, but they did set one up. The man who was the head and to dragoon his wife into being his unpaid secretary because the British military wouldn't support his efforts, but at least they took the step.

General Eisenhower mandated that artifacts should be returned to the country of their origin. That meant that stuff from Germany should be returned to Germany. Edsel tells how hard it was to enforce that mandate, given that it was war, and all the things you said about the war, soldiers, and who they were fighting - the germans - are true. Why return the original script for Beethoven's Fifth Symphony to the museum in the house where he lived in Bonn?

Even now, after 75 years, I find it incredible how many pieces of art are in the National Archives outside of Washington, D. C.? They still have not been returned.

It is one of those ongoing questions of war. It is probably a good reason to not have a war.

I think that the value of a book, and the movie, like Monuments Men is that it makes people think about these questions. I think that the Allies should be given kudos, accolades, and triumphal parades just because they tried to make an effort. I am very much aware that they didn't always succeed and made some boneheaded decisions along the way, but they tried. As a result, we now have treaties that should help prevent such things from happening again - but as I typed that I was reminded of Baghdad in 2004. What a fiasco that was? Where were our army leaders in that one? Or does it make a difference that in 1945 we were talking about European Art and in 2003&4 we are talking about some other kind of art?

Yesterday, 1:06pm Top

>236 msf59:

Thanks to our two squirrels and more (!) snow,
(daughter & I work together - with my cataracts, anything red underneath looks like a Robin)

had fewer birds this morning except for 25 (!) intrepid Juncos.

The Weather Channel states a 4 to 6 inch blizzard, while our daily newspaper says "occasional snow."

Either way, Sun Prairie's Jimmy The Groundhog, as well as our own resident one,
appears to be correct about the predicted 6 more weeks (at least) of Winter.

Yesterday, 3:23pm Top

>240 benitastrnad: >241 benitastrnad: I love Helen Mirren, so it must have been a deep, comfortable rock, I was crouched under. Glad I got back out. Grins...

I am enjoying your continuing thoughts on Monuments and WWII.

>242 m.belljackson: Hi, Marianne. We are just getting a little rain at the moment, which may turn to sleet or flurries later on. I got my usual guys at my feeders this morning. I will check again later.

Edited: Yesterday, 6:56pm Top

"Seventeen stories written over the past fifteen years reveal the author's vision of human love and tragedy."

^I have never read Grace Paley and barely even knew who she was until she was selected for the AAC, for February. I did try one of her poetry collections, "Fidelity", only last week and just couldn't get into it, and gave up after 30 pages. I hope she delivers on Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, a story collection and a format I adore. I will start it this afternoon. I can't believe I haven't cracked a print book yet today, but I did listen to a bit of Solitary, while I was driving around.

DNF: Sadly, I could not get into this one either. I did read 40 pages, with nearly 4 stories completed, but it just wasn't working. A very, rare AAC misfire. Bummer! I still LOVE that cover though!

Yesterday, 7:29pm Top

I'm really enjoying our conversation over on my thread about music and the concerts we've seen, Mark.

On a completely different subject, I just got back from Lowes where I bought a bunch of bird seed and suet. If the weather holds tomorrow (it was sunny and 50F today!), I'm going to set up the bird feeders. *crosses fingers*

Yesterday, 8:01pm Top

>245 Storeetllr: I enjoy talking about concerts and music too, Mary. It was great growing up in the 70s. Funny, I am not a big Classic Rock guy, although I will listen to it now and then. Funny, we might be seeing a Zeppelin Tribute band on Saturday. I have seen them before and they are very good.

I am so glad to hear you picked up some bird seed and suet. I will be watching for photos. B.A.G.

Edited: Yesterday, 8:08pm Top

"The Hunting Accident' is the true life story of a Chicago gangster who is blinded during a shootout and is sent to Stateville Prison where he learns to navigate life under the tutelage of real life thrill killer Nathan Leopold."

^Funny, a few months ago, I was in a bar with some friends, (shocking, right?) and there was a small bookshelf of books to share, so of course I scanned the titles and saw a beefy hardback, that caught my attention. It was called The Hunting Accident and it was a GN. I had never heard of it and I quickly snagged that baby. It has been sitting on shelf, waiting for the right time. Well, after abandoning my story collection I decided to start it and nearly a 100 pages in, it is very good. Love these kind of surprises. It reminds me a bit of My Favorite Thing is Monsters, which was incredible.

Edited: Today, 7:13pm Top

Heh, no one seems to care for Grace Paley. I have her collection out of the library, The Collected Stories but I doubt I'm going to read it Mark. It's a chunkster besides. Too. Many. Books.

Yesterday, 8:56pm Top

>248 brenzi: The touchstone for The Collected Stories may need some adjustment, at least GP is on the first page of options.

Yesterday, 9:13pm Top

>244 msf59: Ah, Paley fan here! Haven't read her in a while, but what I did read, I loved.

Weather arrived for me today from Powell's. So I dug right in.

Yesterday, 10:17pm Top

>248 brenzi: Since you have the Paley collection, at hand, you might as well take a peek or two, at a couple of the stories, Bonnie. You never know, right?

>250 alphaorder: Hi, Nancy. Glad to hear you are a fan of Paley. She just didn't work for me. Hooray for getting Weather. I have heard nothing but good things. Enjoy!

Edited: Yesterday, 10:46pm Top

"... a bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto vet­erinary clinic. Suddenly capable of more complex thought, the pack is torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old 'dog' ways, and those who embrace the change."

I have had Fifteen Dogs in the stacks for a few years now. I think it was an ALA book. I don't recall much LT activity on this one. I am starting it tomorrow.
Anyone read it?

Today, 12:32am Top

Hi Mark, I can't say that I have totally caught up here, but I am trying to check in with everyone and see how things are going. I haven't read Fifteen Dogs but I am interested in what you will think of it. I just finished a book of short stories by Daniel Woodrell and although they were pretty dark and gritty, I loved them!

Today, 3:20am Top

>252 msf59: I read Fifteen Dogs a few years ago Mark, and rated it as 4 and a half stars. Don’t remember it being a cheerful read though.

Today, 5:57am Top

>239 msf59: Given your review of that one, I think I will give it a pass. I do not think I would care for it.

>247 msf59: On the other hand, that one sounds very interesting to me.

Waiting impatiently for the GHOs. . .

Today, 7:17am Top

Good morning, Mark, and happy Tuesday to you. Thanks for the GBBC report.

>239 msf59: Pass. Not only pass, but PASS. *smile*

I get to go to book sorting this morning, and spend up to 2 hours handling books. Early reward for going to the dentist this afternoon, although the dentist is a routine checkup.

Today, 7:29am Top

>253 DeltaQueen50: Hi, Judy. So good to see you, stranger. I will have to stop and see what Woodrell you had read. I am a fan of his, but have not read him in awhile.

>254 SandDune: Hi, Rhian. Hey, 4.5 stars is good enough for me. Fifteen Dogs seems to have received mostly good reviews.

>255 alcottacre: Morning, Stasia. Looking forward to dipping into Fifteen dogs a little later on. GHOs coming soon...

>256 karenmarie: Morning, Karen. I wish my feeders could have been a bit busier. I did see most of my winter residents. Just missed the nuthatch and red-bellied W.P.. We do have robins that winter in the area but very rarely see them in my yard.

Edited: Today, 8:48am Top

^I visited the GHO family yesterday. I finally could see Mama sitting in the nesting box. Just her ear tufts. This was the best angle I could get. Papa was in the same location, as last time, keeping a close eye on the nest. This time I had my camera. Considering he was mostly just a silhouette in the pine tree, this came out pretty good. Looking forward to baby-time.

Today, 8:41am Top

>258 msf59: Oh, I love those owl shots! We had a bird of prey visit work (I think as an anti-pigeon measure) yesterday. So amazing up close.

Today, 8:43am Top

I'd heard of Fifteen Dogs but it fell off the radar pretty fast. If you end up liking it, I'll have to give it a look-see :)

Today, 9:12am Top

>259 charl08: Was it a falcon of some kind, Charlotte?

>260 katiekrug: Hi, Katie. I can't believe Fifteen Dogs came out in 2015. No wonder it got buried in the stacks. I have not cracked it yet but I will a little later on.

Today, 9:17am Top

19) Black Light: Stories by Kimberly King Parsons 4.6 stars

“Upstairs, there's a junkie stewardess, thin as a penny. She works the red-eye. I know she's awake by the mess of wire hangers she drops on her closet floor. There's some loony down by the trash cans going through the recycling, counting his future quarters aloud. The super's another one. He trolls all hours with a set of keys clinking, flaunting his access. You can pick his comings and goings out over the telenovelas that spill into the hall.”

“There is a not-small part of me that can't help but see a thing through to its disappointing end.”

“In the city you best keep your hackles up. It's not only men to watch for. There are crazy bitches with scissors waiting to cut off your ponytail and sell it to the wig shop. There are sick midgets disguised as kids.”

As you can tell, from these quotes, this is a dark, gritty collection of stories, following troubled souls and outcasts, trying to stay afloat and dealing with drug and spousal abuse, mostly in rural America or the nether regions of city life. Her writing is sharp, and darkly observant. She has spent time with these people. I am sure this will be one of the best collections, I will read this year.

**A Shout-Out to Richard for nudging me into reading this gem. He knows his stuff.

Today, 9:34am Top

>258 msf59: - Gorgeous shots!

Fifteen Dogs won prizes here in Canada when it first came out. Lots of buzz. Sorry to say, but it doesn't appeal to me at all, though I know some people who read it and thought it was excellent. C'est la vie.

Today, 10:11am Top

Those are awesome owl shots! I am kind of excited to see your pics of the babies one day!

Today, 10:12am Top

>258 msf59: Wonderful owl shots! I like seeing Mom in the box...just her horns...somehow it's a distillation of Motherhood.

>262 msf59: YAY!! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the read.

Grace Paley = Alice Munro in a bad mood.

Today, 11:24am Top

Good morning, Mark! I hope all is well with you.

I am almost finished with The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe. It has been a pleasant book of short takes (stories) on historical figures and celebrities, each snippet followed by Rowe's personal reflections. He credits Paul Harvey as his inspiration. Light, fun, and informative, you might like this for a follow up to Black Light.

Today, 1:11pm Top

Oh wow, love the owl photos Mark!

Edited: Today, 2:03pm Top

>258 msf59: Wow! Great shots. Love the mama's ear tufts sticking up like that. And daddy owl looks pretty intense.

ETA As for the bird feeders, while yesterday was warm and sunny, today is cold, windy, gloomy, and threatening rain. So I won't be going out in that. Tomorrow's supposed to be nicer, so maybe then. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of birds (and squirrels) once the feeders go up and plan to have my camera set up and ready to go.

Today, 2:58pm Top

>258 msf59: Like everyone else is saying, "Wow!"

Today, 3:13pm Top

>258 msf59: Great catch Mark.

Today, 3:15pm Top

>263 jessibud2: Glad you like the owl shots, Shelley. Thanks for chiming in on Fifteen Dogs. I did see it is written by a Canadian author and set in Toronto. I have only had a chance to read about 20 pages so far, due to my running around but I like the way it begins.

>264 ChelleBearss: Hi, Chelle. Glad you like the owl photos. I am sure the owlets, will be showing up soon. Things move rapidly in the bird world. These owls will have to fend for themselves, in just a few months.

>265 richardderus: Hey, RD. Glad you like the owl pix. Mama is cool and steady as a rock. I believe Dad supplies the chow. Will have to research that one again.

As you can tell, I LOVED Black Light. I hope she treats us to something else, down the road. Munro gets pretty dark too, but never boring, IMHO.

Today, 4:05pm Top

>266 brodiew2: Hi, Brodie. I was not familiar with The Way I Heard It or Rowe, but I remember being a fan of Paul Harvey back in the day, so I may have to check this out. Thanks.

>267 lauralkeet: Glad you like the owl pix, Laura. I love seeing these guys.

>268 Storeetllr: Hi, Mary. Not sure if you were hanging around my thread exactly 2 years ago but I was able to follow a family of GHOs, in this same general area for several months, including watching the little ones grow up and fledge out. I should be able to see them closer up, this time around. I only spend a few minutes there, at a time. I do not want to stress the family out.

>269 thornton37814: >270 Caroline_McElwee: Glad you like the owl photos, Lori & Caroline. I am very fortunate.

Today, 6:13pm Top

>252 msf59: I read that one in 2016. From what I recall I enjoyed it. The review should be on my 2016 thread somewhere ;)

Today, 6:44pm Top

>273 figsfromthistle: Thanks for chiming in on Fifteen Dogs, Figs. I am about 50 pages in. Not an easy or smooth read, but it has my attention. I can see why this one, is not for all tastes.

Today, 7:39pm Top

>252 msf59: I read it, Mark. It won the Giller Prize in Canada. Interesting premise and reasonably well executed.

Edited: Today, 9:22pm Top

>272 msf59: Mike Rowe got his start back in the day doing Dirty Jobs. On the Discovery Channel. I hadn't heard of the book, it must be an off-shoot of his podcast which is pretty much picking up where Paul Harvey left off.

Today, 10:15pm Top

>275 PaulCranswick: Good to hear you liked Fifteen Dogs, Paul. Only 50 pages in but I am enjoying it.

>276 mahsdad: I never watched Dirty Jobs, Jeff, but I enjoyed Paul Harvey, back in the day.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2020

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