Katie's Reading Life - 2020 - Part 4
This is a continuation of the topic Katie's Reading Life - 2020 - Part 3.
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Welcome to my thread! I’m Katie and I’ve been with the 75ers since 2011. I live just outside New York City - in addition to reading, I love to explore the city and to travel both near and far (I’ve been to 24 countries so far, with two more to come in the first quarter of 2020). I’m a bit of a foodie, am trying to get more comfortable doing my own cooking, and love wine. My reading tastes are eclectic and run from acknowledged classics to super frothy romances. I can be a bit snarky and sarcastic, and I am not to everyone’s taste, which is totally okay with me :)
In addition to a couple thousand books, I live with my husband (affectionately known as The Wayne) and our cat, Leonard.
I don't have any specific reading goals for this year, but I do plan to participate - at least a bit - in several challenges here and in the Category Challenge and Reading Through Time groups.
(Print) (Audio) (Kindle)
Books off my shelf: 4
Books off my Kindle: 6
16. Circe by Madeline Miller (audio) (4 stars)
15. Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (4 stars)
14. Still Waters by Viveca Sten (3 stars)
13. Corregidora by Gayl Jones (3.5 stars)
12. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (3.5 stars)
11. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (4 stars)
10. Lady Fortescue Steps Out by M.C. Beaton (audio) (3 stars)
9. Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn (4 stars)
8. Nightwoods by Charles Frazier (4 stars)
7. The Circus Fire by Stewart O'Nan (3.5 stars)
6. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn (4.5 stars)
5. A Commonplace Killing by Sian Busby (4 stars)
4. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (3.5 stars)
3. Big Girl by Kelsey Miller (audio) (4 stars)
2. Gracelin O'Malley by Ann Moore (4 stars)
1. American Royals by Katherine McGee (3.5 stars)
DID NOT FINISH (Year to Date):
1. The Little Disturbances of Man by Grace Paley
My Ratings (revised, once again, as I continue the fruitless search for the perfect scale...)
2 stars = below average
3 stars = average
4 stars = above average
5 stars = perfect *for me*
(Anything below 2 stars is unlikely to be finished)
Still Waters by Viveca Sten
This is the first in a series of mysteries set in the Swedish archipelago (which you should look up on Google Images - it's gorgeous!). The setting and the characters made it interesting, while the mystery itself just seemed to sort of drag on. I also found it stretched belief that
Happy unfabulously unendowed with collard-and-cabbage-and-garlic new thread.
>5 katiekrug: will read the next one, because I like the main police character, and I need to know if
And I will read the next one and the next one and the next one and the next one....because somehow they're all on my Kindle Katie.🤷♀️
>12 brenzi: I know, right? And WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT? Katie, that's who! So I kinda think you need to read them all too, Katie.
Attention, Mamie! (and anyone else who might be interested...)
I made the taco casserole (https://www.eatingonadime.com/taco-rice-casserole-it-freezes-great/?fbclid=IwAR0...), halving the recipe because I knew I'd have plenty of leftovers. I used ground turkey and brown rice, but didn't add the zucchini. It turned out pretty well, but it really needs a lot more seasoning than the recipe calls for. Even if you don't like super spicy, it needs more. I added garlic, ancho pepper, and cumin and still found it bland. Next time I will add a packet of Sazon. But overall, it was good (and I expect it will be even better reheated tomorrow), and I would make it again.
NB: If you add the zucchini, I would be sure to try to get as much water out of it as possible, as the casserole is already rather, er, moist.
>17 katiekrug: Use pork or beef, or even lamb; significantly less moisture than ground dinosaur. Er, turkey.
Happy new thread, Katie.
>17 katiekrug: Sort of dishes are always more scrumptious on the second day, aren't they?
Happy New Thread, Katie. I'm 83% into Still Waters by viveca Sten and I agree about the setting (I want to GO there!!) and I'm liking the characters. She definitely stretches the credibility tether too much -- when Nora
>17 katiekrug: I'm trying to contribute more in the cooking territory, especially making one dish on the weekend that we can have for leftovers though the coming week. I made a pretty wonderful vegetable noodle soup yesterday and I'm favoriting that post so I can try that recipe next weekend or the weekend after. Need for more seasoning noted.
Happy new thread, Katie.
>17 katiekrug: Looks good - the temperature has dipped here, and that looks to be a perfect warming dinner.
>21 richardderus: - We often make tacos with ground pork, so I might try that next. It wasn't too wet, but zucchini would make it so, IMO.
>22 PaulCranswick: - Very true, Paul.
>23 EBT1002: - Definitely agree about the Sten, Ellen. I do like the short chapters, which kept me reading and made it seem to fly by.
The casserole is super easy - I hope you like it!
>24 charl08: - It's solid comfort food, Charlotte, and good for a cold day.
I have a routine dentist appointment this morning and then nothing really on the agenda except for work.
My passport arrived in the mail yesterday - very speedy! So now I can really look forward to my trip (except for the work part) and start planning what we want to do/see :)
Definitely hoping to fit a side trip in to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay...
Morning, Katie! The recipe looks most yum, and thank you for the additional notes. I'm going to try it, but I will probably use something other than turkey because Rae is not a fan of turkey.
YAY for no cavities! That's great news.
>26 katiekrug: oooo aaaahhhh That looks worth a visit indeed.
>30 katiekrug: Oh good. Nothing pains me more than having to pay to have a dentist inflict pain.
>31 richardderus: - I hope we can make a visit work. We don't have a ton of time, and it would be a long day trip, but I really want to go. Plus, ferry ride!
Thanks re: cavities. There might be something going on under a crown, but the dentist isn't sure yet and can't "feel" anything - just sees a slight shadow on the x-ray. Since I don't have any sensitivity in that spot, she said we can just monitor it, and that I should be sure to floss really well around it. I was indignant - I floss really well as a rule!
>32 Helenliz: - Amen, sister. I am now religious about taking care of the old chompers, after having to have a double root canal in my late 20s, thanks to neglect.
I meant to report that I started The Little Disturbances of Man by Grace Paley for the AAC. I've read three stories so far (they are pretty short). So far, I'm pretty meh about it. If it were a longer collection, I might bail, but it's only 180 pages or so, so... *shrug*
>34 katiekrug: I've read the first two of that collection, and I kinda like her voice...
Happy new thread, Katie. >26 katiekrug: That looks like an intriguing spot to visit.
Looks like you are going to continue on with the Viveca Sten series. I want to know what happens with the characters, especially Nora and her egotistical husband.
>35 laytonwoman3rd: - It's certainly very distinctive, Linda. I don't hate it, I just find not enough there to make me want to keep reading. I did rather enjoy 'The Loudest Voice' about a Jewish schoolgirl and the school Christmas pageant.
>36 Familyhistorian: - I agree about the characters, Meg. I'll keep reading....
Happy new thread, Katie. It seems like you just started one...
>1 katiekrug: Yes.
I want to go with you to Uruguay!
Congrats on no cavities.
>26 katiekrug: Lovely! I could hang out there for an afternoon or two....
Oh, and now that I've finished the first Viveca Sten, I clicked on your second spoiler in >5 katiekrug: and I cracked up. I also agree. Hubby was feeling all regretful
Happy Tuesday, Katie! Happy New Thread! It always puts on a smile on my face, when I am reminded that you are reading the T.R. bio. I wish all my LT friends will read that one. In my current read, That Wild Country, TR, is put on an environmental throne and I think he deserves every accolade.
Welp, I have my first DNF of the year. I read 4.5 stories in the Grace Paley collection and just couldn't muster up any enthusiasm for finishing it. They almost read more like sketches than stories to me, and I didn't find them particularly engaging. So that's a no from me.
I've replaced it in the line-up with Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham. I bought this one in 2017 after hearing good things about it, and my interest in the Tulsa race riots was recently piqued by Red at the Bone.
I have to get up bright and early tomorrow to drive into Newark for jury duty. I'm hoping to be able to do some work, but of course, I may just give up and read while I wait :)
>43 katiekrug: Boo hiss on bad story reads. I liberated...rehomed, I mean...a collection of Irwin Shaw's stories from the Little Free Library on the boardwalk outside today. I wanted to re-read "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses" and this collection has it. I'm hoping to avoid the Paleyosis Problem.
I've got Red at the Bone on the TBR shelf, so need to get on with that. I love the Uruguay picture. Tempting!
I wish jury rooms had tables. I hate balancing my laptop on my, er, lap :-P
Morning, Katie. Sorry, to hear about the Paley collection. I have one of her story collection, waiting in the wings. I hope this one works better than yours. I also have a poetry collection of hers, I started. The jury is still out on that one...
>49 msf59: - Ah, well, you win some and you lose some, right Mark? I hope you have better luck with her!
>48 katiekrug: - I take it back - this jury set-up is great. They have a dedicated computer room with power sockets and desks. And the staff has been great. They said there are no criminal trials today, so if I serve, it'll only be on a civil one. Boo.
They said there are no criminal trials today, so if I serve, it'll only be on a civil one. Boo.
Hang 'em High Katie? 😂
>51 katiekrug: When I got called to jury duty in 2010 I wasn't even allowed to bring my flip phone into the courthouse. Then when I was called again in 2018 they had computer tables and outlets and WiFi. Times have changed!
>52 drneutron: - Ha! Hardly. Totally against the death penalty (Which would probably get me dismissed from most capital murder cases....)
>53 norabelle414: - I was hoping to get some work done, but my VPN is not behaving, so all I can do is send and respond to emails. Might as well just take out my book....
Funny how quickly things change, innit?
>51 katiekrug: Huh. Here when you get a jury summons, it specifies whether you will be sitting on civil or criminal cases.
>55 laytonwoman3rd: - When we lived in Dallas, there were different civil and criminal courts, so you knew what you were being summoned for. Apparently in NJ, it's just one giant jury pool for the county.
>56 richardderus: - I suspect you're right, RD. I have to say, it's been a very pleasant experience so far.
I've been released for the day, but have to go back tomorrow at 9:30am. I was thinking of goofing off for the rest of the day, but if I get seated on a jury tomorrow, it could extend past one day, so I feel like I should really get some work done while I have the chance. So I am back home, wading through email...
>1 katiekrug: I'm not sure why this is supposed to be funny. It absolutely terrifies me Katie. I'm sure that's exactly what will happen to me. Ugh. Awful.😳
>43 katiekrug: I had my first DNF of the year the other day too. Somehow it is always a disappointment to me when I cannot bear to finish a book.
>57 katiekrug: I was on jury duty a couple of months ago and had a great time with my fellow jurors, who were all females - and all readers! We sat in the jury room doing nothing but talking about the books we loved, the authors we favored, etc.
>54 katiekrug: Totally against the death penalty (Which would probably get me dismissed from most capital murder cases....)
I served on a death penalty case in 1995, not being opposed to it, but was one of only two people on the jury who actually followed instructions – the mitigating factors outweighed the extenuating circumstances. Life in prison. I wonder when the $$ spent on appeals offsets the costs of incarceration?
Happy jurying! I hope you get the civil-trial case of the century to decide.
Just catching up with your thread!
Have a a great time with jury duty.
Have fun on jury duty, Katie. I've been on a few. It used to seem like I would get called every two years, or whenever I was eligible. Our pools here are combined as well. I sat on one civil (yawn) and one criminal. Now, since my son-in-law is a police officer, I know I will never sit on another jury, ever.
>58 brenzi: - I laugh so as not to cry, Bonnie :)
>59 alcottacre: - I struggle to let myself give up on books, Stasia, but in the long run, I'm usually glad I did!
Cool that you had such a good jury experience.
>60 karenmarie: - I could rant for a really long time about the death penalty, Karen, but I'll spare everyone :)
>61 richardderus: - More on my day yesterday will follow below, RD. Not bad, slightly disappointing, but it's done now for 3 years...
>62 figsfromthistle: - Thanks, Anita!
>63 ChelleBearss: - Thanks, Chelle!
>64 BLBera: - Not even a civil trial, Beth? I can understand about the SIL connection and criminal trials...
Yesterday I sat in the jury lounge for about an hour, until a large group of us were called and sent up to a courtroom. We went in, and the prosecutors and defense attorney and defendant were all there, and the judge started the voir dire process. First he explained what the charges were (armed robbery, impersonating a police officer, and unlawful possession of a handgun) and that the trial was likely to end by the week of March 9. It would have been interesting to sit on the jury, I think, and it was a pretty substantial case, but I was ultimately excused because of a scheduling conflict, given that I am flying overseas on the 9th. I wasn't sure that would be enough of a reason for the judge to excuse me, and he was leaning towards making me go at least a little farther in the process, but one of the prosecutors objected and I was sent back to the jury room. Didn't get called for anything else, so I came home and won't be summoned again for at least 3 years.
I was kind of disappointed - with better timing, I would have been happy to serve.
In book news, Dreamland Burning is going well - I'm about halfway through. It's an alternating narrative set in the present and in 1921. There are some mentions of the "Osage oil money," so just as Red at the Bone caused me to finally start reading this book, I think this one will get me to finally pick up Killers of the Flower Moon. I like reading connections like that.
Still working on Circe on audio. Book club is next week, and I should finish it by then.
And I read another 2 chapters in the T.R. bio, which continues to be very good.
>67 katiekrug: That's really too bad, Katie, an interesting case with real stakes would've been very satisfying.
Sunny and cold today. Not sure what's on the agenda.
I finished Dreamland Burning last night, read a longish chapter in the TR bio, and then a couple of chapters in Circe. I am alternating print and audio on that last one to ensure I finish it in time for book club. My audio time has been lacking lately...
Happy Saturday, Katie. I hope you are enjoying Circe and I hope you can bookhorn in Flower Moon. It is an outstanding read.
Hi Katie! Sorry your jury duty didn't result in something interesting, but at least the wi-fi worked :-)
Dreamland Burning sounds excellent. I've had to wishlist it as I'm out of reserve slots, darn it...
Gaah! I thought I've been keeping up with your thread, but I guess I was confusing my responses to your posts on Instagram and/or FB instead. Anyway, happy newish thread.
My response to your thread topper:
>74 msf59: - Hiya, Mark! I ended up finishing Circe today (more later). i hope to fit in Flower Moon in the next couple of months.
>75 susanj67: - Jsut be warned, Susan, Dreamland Burning is a YA novel. It's well done and a lot better than a lot of the genre, but just wanted to give you a heads up!
>76 Storeetllr: - Mary, I sometimes get my social media wires crossed and then realize I haven't commented on a person's thread in ages - totally understand! We are actually headed your way tomorrow to visit my step-aunt who lives in Upper Nyack. I will carefully track how long it takes, so we have good data to use for our own meet-up sometime in the spring!
Love the cartoon!
>77 richardderus: - Heh. Have I mentioned how glad I am not to live in Texas anymore?
It's been a supremely lazy day. I am doing laundry, so there's that. And I loaded the dishwasher. And I ran one errand. Other than that, I've been reading. And Shelley inspired me to do a jigsaw puzzle, which allowed me to finish Circe on audio.
I also started reading Miss Buncle's Book which looks to be a delight, and I'm only 20 pages in :)
The Wayne is making braised ribs with beriberi, lentils, and couscous for dinner. YUM!
If you'd like to turbocharge TW on the gardening thang: https://glutsandgluttony.com/
>78 katiekrug: Katie, thanks for that. I don't read a lot of YA but I'll keep an eye out for it, maybe not urgently :-)
>78 katiekrug: I'll keep an eye out for you if I get up that way today. :) Have a good visit with your step-aunt and give her my best. Let me know how long the drive takes.
>76 Storeetllr: in that case I will never find myself without a book on the go...
At least you did your civil duty and turned up. It might have been interesting, but I;m not sure I faancy being stuck with the same 12 people for that long... (says the anti social one!)
>66 katiekrug: Maybe a civil trial, Katie, but it seems like one of the questions on the questionnaire that you fill out in the beginning is whether you are related to anyone in law enforcement. I think that pretty much will exclude me.
Too bad you didn’t get called for jury duty, Katie. It might have been interesting. Miss Buncle’s Book is a delight!
>86 Storeetllr: - It only took about 40 minutes, Mary, and it's straightforward: Garden State Parkway to 287E. Her exit is the last before the bridge toll, I believe.
>87 Helenliz: - The judge did say it wouldn't be 5 days a week for the 3 or so weeks. They usually only sit Tuesday through Thursday. But yeah, that's still a lot of time with strangers :)
>88 SandDune: - I'm enjoying MBB, too, Rhian. I've only managed about 40 pages so far, but it's charming and fun.
>89 BLBera: - Yes, you probably would get excused for that. Interesting that they ask about law enforcement at a civil trial...
>90 Familyhistorian: - Maybe next time, Meg! And I agree about Miss Buncle's Book :)
>91 katiekrug: Security warning?! For an organic backyard gardening blog?! How very weird. Well, it wasn't all that earth-shattering, TBH, just better-than-average photos of the compost and singing the praises of raised beds.
Merry Presidents' Day! Have you got the cherry tree put up yet? Any hymns to the Fourteenth Amendment you'll be warbling around the fireplace tonight?
The Wayne has today off for Presidents Day, but I have to work. Boo!
We had a nice visit with my step-aunt. She had us look over a lot of Carol's books (Carol was her wife who passed away recently) and let us take whatever we want. Carol had told Tracy to give me first crack at her political books, which was sweet. I took several. And Tracy gave us her two-volume OED, which has a slipcase with a little drawer in the top with a magnifying glass. Very cool.
We had lunch and talked a lot, but Tracy was getting tired at about 3:00, so we left a bit after that and came home.
>93 richardderus: - I'll send the link to TW and have him try it in a different browser. Sometimes Firefox is weird... Your timing is good, as he'll be working on his garden today!
No President's Day celebration for me - I guess I could flush the Constitution down the toilet in honor of 45?
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
This YA novel has a dual timeline - one following a teenage girl in present-day Tulsa, and one following a teenage boy in Tulsa in 1921. When a skeleton is discovered in the old servants' quarters in her back yard, Rowan undertakes to discover who it was and how it came to be there. She's also learning about herself, her advantages, issues of race and class that permeate her life, and the extent to which she has lived in a privileged bubble her whole life. In 1921, William Tillman does his own growing up while beginning to question the racist society in which he lives and learning how far he'll go to do what he knows is right, no matter the risk.
Dreamland Burning handles several sensitive issues well, and doesn't stoop to simplifying them or dumbing them down for its audience. While not as complex a story as it could be, I still learned a lot about the Tulsa race riot, in which the thriving black part of town was burned and an estimated 300 people were killed. It's a quick read, the alternating chapters of Rowan and William speeding the narratives along, and while the ending seemed a bit quick to resolve, it was still a satisfying read.
>95 katiekrug: No need, he and his supporters got that one covered. *shudder*
>94 katiekrug: I have that edition of the OED. It is indeed cool. Of course, I've had it since the 1970's, so there might be a few words missing...
>5 katiekrug: I think we're going to continue reading the series. We're asking at what rate over on the Viveca Sten thread.
Public Service Announcement
The excellent and heart-wrenching memoir, Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward, is on sale for Kindle today for $3.99.
One of my top reads last year...
>96 katiekrug: I think I might have commented on your Instagram about this, but just weighing in here, that I really liked Dreamland Burning. I knew nothing about the Tulsa race riot. I'd forgotten it was YA; it's certainly one that can be appreciated even by those who don't usually read YA fiction.
>101 katiekrug: Ooh yes, that's an excellent book.
Whew. Caught up, at least for now. The problem of falling behind in your thread is that I don't have the chance in insert my own comments, whether snarky or serious. I promise to do better.
I too have that old copy of the OED with the magnifying glass. But I don't remember the last time I looked in it. Google is so convenient, although it doesn't usually supply the historical context.
Are you going to the Amor Towles interview at the NYPL on April 14th?
So glad you had a good visit with your step-aunt. How sweet of her partner to give you first pick of her books. That would be on top of the list I'd like as a bequest too - books and photos.
40 minutes isn't too bad. I can drive to your neck of the woods (when I've recovered and am allowed to drive again), or you could come out this way, or we could "meet in the middle." Do you know of any other LTers who live around us who'd enjoy a meetup?
Grace Paley did not work for me either, Katie. As you know I rarely DNF a book and this might be the first time ever, for a story collection. Bummer!
>96 katiekrug: I have seen a couple of good reviews of that one. I need to pick it up from the library next time I am there.
>104 Storeetllr: Oh, you're in Nyack! I didnt know that. Count me and Jim (magicians_nephew) in for meetups. We are in Manhattan.
Hi Katie, I am terribly behind with everyone but am slowly catching up. Nice to see that everything is bubbling along nicely here. I have Miss Buncle's Book on my shelf, as well as the next two in the trilogy as well, so I was happy to read all the good comments.
>94 katiekrug: I have that very same OED, slipcased, little drawer, magnifying glass. Got it from the BOMC as one of my sign-up books in the early 70s and have been lugging it around and using it ever since.
>102 lauralkeet: - Very true, Laura. I don't read much YA but this one worked for me.
>103 ffortsa: - It's never too late to comment, Judy!
I don't expect to actually use the OED much, but I am glad to have it. My parents had the giant set, something like 20 volumes. It had been a wedding gift to them in 1970.
I am not going to the NYPL talk. I am trying to limit my commitments in the city during the week, because I tend to flake out on them because I end up not feeling like going in after work and then having to get home after, which can be annoying. I'd do it for someone I love (I'm going to see Louise Erdrich on March 2!) but I've only read one of Towles' novels so far.
>104 Storeetllr: - Vivian (vivians) lives across the river from you in Westchester Co. And there is a contingent in the city, of course. I only know a few (Jim and Judy and Liz from Club Read). But we can make up a nice group :)
>105 msf59: - Wow, Mark. You rarely DNF! Glad I'm not the only one who just didn't click with Paley.
>106 alcottacre: - I think you'll like it, Stasia.
>107 ffortsa: - Woot!
>108 DeltaQueen50: - Hi Judy! No worries about catching up. Miss Buncle's Book would be a perfect selection for when you want something light and fun.
>109 karenmarie: - Very cool, Karen. I wish I had my parents' big set, but it got lost (or sold) somewhere along the way... *sigh*
Nothing very interesting going on - just working really. I did start a new audio yesterday - an Audible production of Emma with Emma Thompson narrating, and a full cast. I've never listened to one of these with the sound effects and various actors playing parts, but it's rather fun.
>112 katiekrug: How are those versions different from radio plays? I'm never going to be good at audio production consumption, I get bored too easily and fall asleep, but it seems to me that a radio play and a multi-actor book reading are essentially the same thing.
Anyway, work well and be happy you don't have to commute in this raw day.
>113 richardderus: - TBH, I don't know, as I've never listened to a radio play!
>114 katiekrug: Somehow I thought you had. Well, heaven only knows it's a HUGE new area to explore, what with the BBC's ongoing production of them and companies like Big Finish Audio crankin' 'em out.
>5 katiekrug: Bingo. I agree (spoilers). Except, I have too many other reads started...
Circe by Madeline Miller
I know very little about Greek mythology. I have never read The Odyssey (or The Iliad or any classical texts). That said, I really enjoyed this imagining of Circe's life, and while I did do some Googling for background, I don't think it's necessary to appreciate the novel. Miller's writing is beautiful; I listened to this on audio, narrated by the actress Perdita Weeks, and it was lovely - very smooth and lyrical. My book club will be discussing the novel on Thursday, so I may have more to say after that, but for now I'd just encourage you to read it.
>118 katiekrug: I adored that. And I do think that having read some Greek mythology, as well as both the Odyssey and The Illiad did help
You're about to convince me to try Circe. I'm reading the new translation of the Iliad and actually it's not bad so maybe I shouldn't be so intimidated by the classics (especially in modern translation).
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