Mary's (bell7's) Reads in 2022 - Thread #12

This is a continuation of the topic Mary's (bell7's) Reads in 2022 - Thread #11.

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2022

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Mary's (bell7's) Reads in 2022 - Thread #12

1bell7
Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 8:55pm

Welcome to my twelfth thread of the year! Thanks for your visits, book recommendations, and general chatter continuing to make this the largest post numbers I've ever had since joining the 75ers in 2010.

If you've never met me, hello and welcome, my name's Mary and I live and work in western Massachusetts. I'm a librarian, a home owner, the oldest of 5, and Auntie Mimi to Mia and Matthew. I'm a fan of Giants football, Bruins hockey, and tennis. I read all sorts of fiction and nonfiction, though SFF and books about books are among my favorites. The most common genres I've read so far this year are general fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and bio/memoir, in that order. Horror is about the only genre I avoid on the whole (I am a wimp).

My 2022 reading goals:
-Read at least half books by authors of color (I got it up to 42.8% but I'll fall a little short of this goal)
-Read at least one book a month in the Asian Book Challenge (I haven't necessarily read them *in* the giving month, but I have been consistent with this - I'm finishing up The Mountains Sing, and then it'll be complete)
-Read at least twelve books from countries outside of the US/UK (complete)

2bell7
Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 8:55pm

Rough guide to my rating system:
I'm fairly generous with my star ratings - generally a four is a "like" or "would recommend" for me, while a 4.5 stars is a book I would reread. I break it down roughly like this:

1 star - Forced myself to finish it
2 stars - Dislike
2.5 stars - I really don't know if I liked it or not
3 stars - Sort of liked it; or didn't, but admired something about it despite not liking it
3.5 stars - The splitting hairs rating of less than my last 4 star book or better than my last 3
4 stars - I liked it and recommend it, but probably won't reread it except under special circumstances (ie., a book club or series reread)
4.5 stars - Excellent, ultimately a satisfying read, a title I would consider rereading
5 stars - A book that I absolutely loved, would absolutely reread, and just all-around floored me

I see it more in terms of my like or dislike of a book, rather than how good a book is. My hope is that as a reader I convey what I like or what I don't in such a way that you can still tell if you'll like a book, even if I don't. And I hope for my patrons that I can give them good recommendations for books they will like, even if it's not one I would personally choose.

3bell7
Edited: Dec 22, 2022, 7:51am

2022 Book Club Reads

For work -
January - Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri - COMPLETED
February - Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison - COMPLETED
March - Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer - COMPLETED
April - Pale Rider by Laura Spinney - COMPLETED
May - People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry - COMPLETED
Summer break
September - Caste by Isabel Wilkerson - COMPLETED
October - Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead - COMPLETED
November - The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich - COMPLETED
December - Nomadland by Jessica Bruder - COMPLETED

The Other Book Club with my SIL and friends -
January/February - The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal - COMPLETED
April - Taste by Stanley Tucci (skipped - couldn't make the meeting)
June - The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett - COMPLETED (back in December)
July - True Biz by Sara Novic - COMPLETED
September/October - Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (COMPLETED) and Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (COMPLETED) - missed the meeting, read both late

4bell7
Edited: Jan 1, 7:32am

Random things I'm keeping track of -
Bookish articles:
1. Books Like AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (includes a Japanese book recently translated that may make an interesting Asian Book Challenge choice)
2. Japanese Books in Translation (BookRiot)
3. New and Upcoming Must-Read Memoirs by Black Authors
4. 16 Amazing Books Set in Korea (BookRiot)

How to make pretty block quotes (directions from Richard):
{blockquote}TYPE OR PASTE QUOTED TEXT HERE{/blockquote} and replace the curly braces with pointy brackets.

Number of books read since keeping count on LT:
July - Dec 2008 - 65
2009 - 156 (plus over 70 graphic novels and manga volumes)
2010 - 135 (Note: in June, I started working a second part-time job for full-time hours)
2011 - 150
2012 - 108 (Note: accepted a full-time job in February)
2013 - 107
2014 - 126 (plus 8 Graphic Novels)
2015 - 120 (plus 6 Graphic Novels)
2016 - 141
2017 - 114
2018 - 105 (Note: my first full year as Assistant Director)
2019 - 116
2020 - 153
2021 - 138
2022 - 131

5bell7
Edited: Dec 8, 2022, 1:06pm

GLOBAL READING

Asian Book Challenge

JANUARY - Europe of Asia - Turkish Authors
Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk
Dare to Disappoint by Ozge Samanci
FEBRUARY - The Holy Land - Israeli & Palestinian Authors
Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life by Sayed Kashua
MARCH - The Arab World - Writers from the Arab world
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (Lebanon)
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Oman)
APRIL - Persia - Iranian writers
Read Dangerously by Azar Nafisi
MAY - The Stans - There are 7 states all in the same region all ending in "Stan"
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan)
JUNE - The Indian Sub-Continent - Essentially authors from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh
The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam (Bangladesh)
JULY - The Asian Superpower - Chinese Authors
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamtress by Dai Sijie
1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows by Ai Weiwei
AUGUST - Nippon - Japanese Authors
The Great Passage by Shion Miura
The Master of Go by Yasunari Kawabata
SEPTEMBER - Kimchi - Korean Authors
The Picture Bride by Lee Geum-yi
OCTOBER - INDO CHINE - Authors from Indo-China
The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai (Vietnam)
NOVEMBER - The Malay Archipelago - Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian and Filipino Authors
Fairest: a memoir by Meredith Talusan (Philippines)
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (set in Malaysia, born in the Philippines)
DECEMBER - The Asian Diaspora - Ethnic Asian writers from elsewhere
Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri (she was born in the UK to parents from India and grew up in the US; this book was written in Italian and set in Italy)
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (she was born in Seoul and grew up in the US, daughter of a Korean mother and American father)

Other countries I've visited in my reading:
It can get a little dicey to figure out if a book fits as a "global" read or not, so here's how I'm counting it -
-The country I'll identify is that which the book was published in or the author is from, rather than the setting of the book
-The author currently lives in their country of origin, which for my purposes is not the U.S. or U.K.
-If the work had to be translated into English, regardless of where the author is currently living
-If the author is an expatriate, they had to move in adulthood (as a college student, refugee, or any other reason), and I'll count the country of origin as where the book is "from"

Portugal - Ballad for Sophie by Filipe Melo
Spain - City of Mist: Stories by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Ireland - Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
Trinidad and Tobago - When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
Australia - The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill
South Africa - Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg (set in London)
Sweden - The Winners by Fredrik Backman
Canada - The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard (set on a fantasy world)
Mexico - Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Create Your Own Visited Countries Map

6bell7
Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 9:02pm

DNF in 2022
1. Hell of a Book by Jason Mott
2. The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
3. Frontier Justice by E. Fuller Torrey
4. All About Me! by Mel Brooks
5. War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi
6. The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar
7. Hello, Molly! : a memoir by Molly Shannon
8. Virgin River by Robin Carr
9. On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman
10. The Memory Librarian by Janelle Monáe
11. Love, Chai and Other Four-Letter Words by Annika Sharma
12. Djinn City by Saad Z. Hossain

7bell7
Edited: Jan 1, 7:32am

Currently reading

Bible reading/Devotionals
Jeremiah, 1 Timothy

December
131. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
130. The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li
129. The Seeker and the Monk by Sophfronia Scott
128. In Every Mirror She's Black by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
127. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
126. Nomadland by Jessica Bruder
125. Misfit City, Volume 2 by Kirsten Smith et al.
124. Misfit City, Volume 1 by Kirsten Smith et al.
123. Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun
122. The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
121. Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk
120. The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

November
119. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
118. A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
117. My Brother's Husband, vol. 2 by Gengoroh Tagame
116. My Brother's Husband, vol. 1 by Gengoroh Tagame
115. The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik
114. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
113. The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
112. Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

October
111. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
110. Paper Girls, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan
109. Paper Girls, Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan
108. Paper Girls, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan
107. Grandfather's Dance by Patricia MacLachlan
106. Lupe Wong Won't Dance by Donna Barba Higuera
105. All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson
104. Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
103. The World We Make by N.K. Jemisin
102. The Crossover (Graphic Novel) by Kwame Alexander
101. Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook
100. Paper Girls, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan
99. Paper Girls, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
98. Paper Girls, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
97. The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard

8bell7
Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 9:07pm

September
96. Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith
95. The Master of Go by Yasunari Kawabata
94. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
93. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
92. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
91. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
90. American Street by Ibi Zoboi
89. The Picture Bride by Lee Geum-yi
88. Atomic Habits by James Clear

August
87. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
86. The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
85. The Great Passage by Shion Miura
84. The Winners by Fredrik Backman
83. Still Life by Sarah Winman
82. More Perfect than the Moon by Patricia MacLachlan
81. Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? by Seamas O'Reilly
80. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
79. Afterlife by Julia Alvarez
78. By the Book by Jasmine Guillory
77. Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (yes, a second time, this one with Mia)

July
76. Zorrie by Laird Hunt
75. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
74. Out of My Heart by Sharon M. Draper
73. 1000 Years of Joy and Sorrows by Ai Weiwei
72. The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison
71. When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill
70. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
69. Caleb's Story by Patricia MacLachlan
68. A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow
67. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

9bell7
Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 9:09pm

June
66. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
65. A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow
64. The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam
63. Skylark by Patricia MacLachlan
62. Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg
61. Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language by Nora Ellen Groce
60. Spear by Nicola Griffith
59. The Woman All Spies Fear by Amy Butler Greenfield
58. Apple Crush by Lucy Knisley
57. Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground by Uli Beutter Cohen
56. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
55. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
54. The Kids Are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony
53. The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
52. Bookish People by Susan Coll

May
51. House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas
50. The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill
49. True Biz by Sara Novic
48. Recitatif by Toni Morrison
47. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
46. Blended by Sharon M. Draper
45. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe
44. Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
43. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
42. The Guncle by Steven Rowley
41. Go to Sleep (I Miss You) by Lucy Knisley
40. Shadowshaper Legacy by Daniel Jose Older

April
39. Pale Rider by Laura Spinney
38. The Menopause Manifesto by Dr. Jen Gunter
37. Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley
36. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
35. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
34. Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi
33. The Mask of Mirrors by M. A. Carrick

10bell7
Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 9:12pm

March
32. Underfoot in Show Business by Helene Hanff
31. Gallant by V.E. Schwab
30. The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty
29. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
28. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
27. At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
26. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
25. A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

February
24. Fairest by Meredith Telusan
23. Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life by Sayed Kashua
22. When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
21. Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
20. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
19. Wow, No Thank You by Samatha Irby
18. These Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett
17. Oddball: A Sarah Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen
16. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
15. The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal
14. Ain't Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds with artwork by Jason Griffin
13. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
12. Letter to My White Friends and Colleagues by Steven Rogers

January
11. Paperboy by Vince Vawter
10. The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker
9. Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey by Ozge Samanci
8. Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times by Azar Nafisi
7. City of Mists: Stories by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
6. Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk
5. Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri
4. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
3. The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks
2. The God of Lost Words by A.J. Hackwith
1. Ballad for Sophie by Filipe Melo

11bell7
Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 9:13pm

Favorite Books of 2021 -
I couldn't narrow down my top ten titles of 2021, so here's a top ten fiction and a few more categories as well:

Fiction
The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Nonfiction
This Time Together by Carol Burnett
The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
Nine Nasty Words by John McWhorter
Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

Graphic Novel
Umma’s Table by Yeon-Sik Hong

Poetry
The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems by Billy Collins

YA
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Middle Grade
Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

12bell7
Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 9:19pm

As we wrap up the year, I look upon my reading goals and start thinking about next year's. I bailed on the BookRiot ReadHarder challenges a few months ago, have done really well with my own reading globally, and consistently read at least one book a month (not always the *right* month) for the Asian Book Challenge. I didn't quite meet my goal of diverse reads, but am not displeased with the results.

So here's my questions for you all: Do you make reading goals? Why or why not? If you do, what goals did you have this year and how did you do? What goals are you considering for 2023?

13richardderus
Nov 30, 2022, 8:59pm

New thread orisons, Mary! How 'bout a knitting-pattern library of 300 titles from 1849 to, um, I dunno perzackly:
https://www.openculture.com/2016/04/the-online-knitting-reference-library.html

14PaulCranswick
Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 9:01pm

Happy new one, Mary.

A dozen threads this year is quite a performance. xx

15figsfromthistle
Nov 30, 2022, 9:01pm

Happy new one! Hope I didn't sneak in too early...but Richard can take most of that blame since he was first ;)

16bell7
Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 9:21pm

>13 richardderus: Thanks, Richard! Whew, that looks like quite the collection of patterns!

>14 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. I'm pretty pleased I've been able to keep up with my own threads, to be honest :D

>15 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Anita! Nah, you're all good. That's why I quickly reserve 8-12 for myself to set up shop, in case folks sneak in before I've finished copying over all the book lists from the last thread.

17bell7
Nov 30, 2022, 9:32pm

119. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Why now? I was supposed to read this for my book club with my SIL and friends in October and just kept it out of sheer stubbornness

Noemi is a young socialite in Mexico City, the life of a party, and the daughter of the well-to-do Toboada family. Her father, receiving a strange letter from Noemi's cousin, Catalina, sends her to find out what's wrong with her cousin and see if she can help her. But when she arrives, Catalina's husband and his extended family barely let Noemi see her cousin. They're tight-lipped and have lots of house rules. And then Noemi starts having nightmares and sleepwalking, too.

Deliciously creepy without being too graphic until the end, by which time I was invested in the characters and wanted to know the house's mysteries. If you enjoy Gothic tales like Rebecca, this would be an excellent readalike. I guarantee you won't quite look at mushrooms the same way again. 4 stars.

18bell7
Nov 30, 2022, 9:57pm

November in review
119. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
118. A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
117. My Brother's Husband, vol. 2 by Gengoroh Tagame
116. My Brother's Husband, vol. 1 by Gengoroh Tagame
115. The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik
114. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
113. The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
112. Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

Did Not Finish
None this month (12 for the year)

Books read: 8
Rereads: 0
Children's/Teen/Adult: 0/2/7
Fiction/Nonfiction/Plays/Poetry: 8/0/0/0
ABC Challenge: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Because I want to awards:
Great book club read - The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Sequel at least as good as book #1 - Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

YTD stats -
Pages read:
33,277
Avg pages a day: 100
Books by POC authors: 51 (43%)
DNF: 12

Thoughts: The month started off with a bang: I loved Bloodmarked and really enjoyed reading and discussing The Night Watchman, so after that it was hard for any book to compare and I gave them all 3.5-4 stars. Still, I'd recommend every title and there wasn't a clunker in the bunch.

As far as my 2022 goals go, I only read one book by a white author this month, but because of my reading towards the beginning of the year, it's incredibly unlikely that I'll meet my goal of at least half my reading being by authors of color. However, my percentages have stayed pretty consistent over the last couple of years when I first started tracking and making it a goal, and I'm happy with the percentage and fantastic books I've been reading because of doing that deliberately.

I didn't finish as many books as I'd been averaging a month this year, matching March's total of 8, and only just squeaking by April's low of 7. But, right around 120 is average for me in a normal-busy year, so I'm trying not to let myself be too sad that I won't match the pandemic 150.

19ursula
Dec 1, 2022, 12:47am

>12 bell7: About reading goals: sometimes! I have in the past participated in various reading challenges on GoodReads, or tried to follow the BookRiot ReadHarder, or follow along with the reading challenges in this group. I don't know that I've ever fully completed one of those - I think I was most successful in the Steinbeckathon a million years ago.

It tends to be complicated for me because of what I have access to, so I can't always predict how well I'll be able to participate. And I don't read in prodigious numbers (I think my best year ever was 110 books?), so goals can quickly fill up most of my year and start feeling like unpleasant obligations. For 2023, I think I'm just going to continue my generally goal-less reading. :)

*I do have some small, back-of-the-mind goals - around 1/4 of my reading to be nonfiction (not met this year), about half women (I think I'm good there), no more than half American (I think I'll finish right around that).

20bell7
Dec 1, 2022, 7:23am

>19 ursula: Oooh, thanks for your answers, Ursula! I hadn't thought of the aspect of what you have access to, but it makes perfect sense. I like your back-of-the-mind goals. I always feel like I should be reading more nonfiction - I was surprised to discover that so far this year I'm at 23% nonfiction - and could definitely use a goal of reading fewer books by Americans. I'm leaning in that direction for next year, though I'm leery of making too many hard-and-fast goals for 2023 because, like you, I start to feel like reading is an obligation and it sucks the fun out of it. I do much better with general goals that still allows me to pick a title from a broad selection rather than a short list of books that "fit".

21bell7
Dec 1, 2022, 7:25am

Wordle 530 5/6

⬜⬜⬜⬜🟨
⬜⬜⬜🟨⬜
⬜⬜🟩🟨🟩
🟩⬜🟩⬜🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Had to have a good think before guess #5 finally produced the answer. ARISE, POUTY, FLEET, EVENT, EJECT.

22bell7
Dec 1, 2022, 7:39am

Today's agenda: I have an appointment for folks to pick up appliances for a recycling/rebate program sometime between 8:30-12:30, I'm working in the afternoon, and then I want to make Cuban chicken, rice, and bean bowls for dinner.

I think it's because I knew I had to be up and dressed early before anyone showed up that I woke up on my own around 6 a.m. and decided I wasn't getting back to sleep around 6:30. I'm up, dressed, had coffee, and am sitting in the living room with my Christmas tree lights on. Since I don't know when they'll arrive, I don't want to start any large projects while I wait, so I'm going to be tidying and reading or knitting until they arrive. I'm not sure whether to wish for them to show up right at 8:30 or give me the morning to putter around the house; the waiting/uncertainty is really quite annoying haha.

Oh well, the freezer they're picking up has been in the house since I moved in and I never use it, so I'm glad to feel like something's being crossed off the big to-do list.

23katiekrug
Dec 1, 2022, 7:51am

Happy new thread, Mary!

>12 bell7: - I'll probably "do" the GoodReads Around the Year challenge again, as it's fun to see what fits. I don't purposely read books to fill it, so there isn't any pressure. I will probably keep next year's goals pretty loose - read more off my shelves/Kindle (I think this year about half of my reads/listens have come from the library); and I have a list of 7 categories I try to read each month - I wasn't always successful this year but it's a good way to keep myself mindful of what types of books I'm reading.

24drneutron
Dec 1, 2022, 9:15am

Happy new one!

25foggidawn
Dec 1, 2022, 9:35am

Happy new thread! I try not to set a lot of reading goals, because I want reading to be an area in my life that's just for enjoyment. I do like to read about 150 books a year, though this year I told myself that if I didn't get there, it would be okay (I'm still going to get there, I think.) In the past, I've done the BookRiot challenge, not trying hard to read for certain categories, but just seeing how much my normal reading fits in. I'm always trying to read books off of my shelf, but lately I haven't set myself a goal for that. I might do that again this coming year.

26FAMeulstee
Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 9:58am

Happy new thread, Mary!

>12 bell7: At the start of this year I made a list of books I wanted to read in 2022. It looks like I will end up reading a bit more than half of those. So I am not sure if it worked ;-)
No other goals than creating a ticker with expected number of books, and number of pages I expect to read. And I feel free to change them through the year. And to put fitting books in the TIOLI challenges.

27MickyFine
Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 1:41pm

Morning Mary. I hope the pick up of appliances went smoothly!

I've had all kinds of goals most years since joining the 75ers (numbers, PopSugar challenges, self-designed challenges like the Canadian author one I'm doing this year). For next year I'm thinking I might use dice to pick books off my own shelves for a re-read. I largely purchase books for my collection that I like/love and want to re-read but then get distracted by library books and re-reading doesn't happen much. It feeds into my larger goal next year of only reading books that bring me joy. Does that mean it'll probably be a lot of genre fiction next year? Highly likely.

28foggidawn
Dec 1, 2022, 2:18pm

>27 MickyFine: "only reading books that bring me joy" -- Ooh, good goal!

29bell7
Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 8:09pm

>23 katiekrug: I admire your ability to do reading challenges without pressure, Katie! I like your comment, "I wasn't always successful this year but it's a good way to keep myself mindful of what types of books I'm reading." That's why I keep certain goals, really. I'm also with you on reading more of my own / Kindle books... somehow I always say that, but then I never do...

>24 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

>25 foggidawn: I like that method, foggi, having some broad goals with a lot of room for just reading for fun.

>26 FAMeulstee: Oh wow, Anita, you're much more organized than I am even to have read half of the books you set out to read this year. I very much pick up books on a whim and sticking to a list would have me suddenly not wanting to read any of the books I selected when in a different mood hahaha.

>27 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky, it did! They were here just before 8:30 and I even got to work on time. I like the goal to only read books that bring you joy, and I look forward to seeing what that brings you next year. I like the dice idea for rereads too (I only reread 7 books this year!). I'm thinking of using a random number generator for my TBR list to mix things up a little.

>28 foggidawn: Hear, hear!

30bell7
Dec 1, 2022, 8:17pm

Appliance pickup went incredibly smoothly this morning. I got a call a few minutes before they showed up letting me know they were on their way. They got here just before 8:30, but I was ready, and I think they were happy that I had a walkout basement instead of having to lug the freezer and dehumidifier up the basement stairs. Since I was up early, I paid a few bills before they got here, but it only took them a few minutes to get everything out and then I headed to work.

In all the excitement, I forgot to pack a book to read during my lunch break, so I had to check out Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk. Work was mostly working with volunteers and desk time, though I also made good progress on an email we send out every other month with book and movie recommendations. After work, I had grand plans to cook something up for dinner, but decided I was too hungry and tired, and had leftover soup instead. I watched Elf (which I had started a couple of days ago and decided I wasn't in the mood).

Tomorrow I have my regular 9-5 and volunteering, then I'm driving for an overnight dogsitting job. I'll spend the rest of the evening packing for that and prepping for the Giants game on Sunday, then read a bit before going to bed.

31FAMeulstee
Dec 2, 2022, 5:41am

>29 bell7: It was a small list with only 20 books, Mary. So lots of room to follow my mood, when needed.
I have read 10 of them, and hope to finish two more this month. The other 8 are for next year (or the year after).

32bell7
Dec 2, 2022, 7:41am

>31 FAMeulstee: that makes perfect sense, Anita, and doesn't seem too onerous at all.

33bell7
Dec 2, 2022, 7:42am

Wordle 531 4/6

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Interesting progressions today. ARISE, POUTY, FLAME, CHAFE.

34msf59
Dec 2, 2022, 7:54am

Happy Friday, Mary. Happy New Thread! I think I am going to join a TIOLI challenge, starting in January. I could use more creative ways to read books off shelf.

35bell7
Dec 2, 2022, 7:59am

>34 msf59: Happy Friday, Mark! Oh, I hope you enjoy the TIOLIs - they're another place I'm kinda feeling pressure this year (I put this all on myself, mind you), but I do love the creativity of the challenges and trying to find books others are reading at the same time.

36richardderus
Dec 2, 2022, 12:02pm

>33 bell7: I was 4fer today, too. CACHE then CHAFE

Happy weekend-ahead's reads.

37bell7
Dec 3, 2022, 6:45am

Wordle 532 3/6

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ARISE, ROUST, TORSO. That was fun!

38bell7
Dec 3, 2022, 6:47am

>36 richardderus: Always fun to see the pattern our brain makes in what words present themselves to us, isn't it? And thanks, so far so good with weekend reads - I finished a book last night before I went to sleep.

39bell7
Dec 3, 2022, 8:54am

120. The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai
Why now? Fit the ABC Challenge back in October, and I finally read it (oops). I think it was on my radar because my boss's book group read it in 2020, but it never made it on my official TBR spreadsheet.

Young Hoang lives with her grandmother in 1975 in the northern part of Vietnam during the war. Her father was drafted and her mother went to find him; her grandmother is her rock as they suffer poverty and as family members start to return in the ensuing years. Interspersed are her grandmother's reminiscences of the past, starting out in a well-to-do family that was attacked during the Land Reform, forced out and living on the run with five of her six children. Most of all, it's about their indomitable spirits in the face of tragedy.

This was really excellent historical fiction, giving a more complicated, nuanced look at the Vietnam war than I've read before. Hoang and her grandma, Dieu Lan, endure so much heartbreak and the war is told in dispassionate but clear description, that it was hard to read at times. But there are also moments of joy. I loved Dieu Lan's commitment to her family and bravery in finding a way to come through all the hardship she does, and cheered Hoang as she grew up in war, learned difficult truths about her family members, but found happiness as well. Most of all, I learned a lot about Vietnamese history and how difficult their civil war was. Author Nguyen Phan Que Mai is a poet whose works have been translated, and this is the first of her novels to be written in English. I look forward to reading more of her work. 4.5 stars.

40bell7
Dec 3, 2022, 8:59am

Happy weekend! I got up early and kinda took my time this morning, feeding all the animals and letting them out, reading a new book some, and had my coffee.

I'm planning on spending the morning doing some gift shopping, then going to a birthday party for my cousin's son who's turning 1. Some of the shopping is for his gift, I admit. After that, I'm headed home - this dogsitting job was just the one night - and will have a cousin from the other side of the family and her boyfriend over for dinner. They just bought a new house and moved back to the area, and this'll be the first time they've seen my place, so that should be fun. This cousin is closest in age to my youngest sister (about 14 years my junior), but for whatever reason we've really got along when we've seen each other over the last few years, so I'm looking forward to having them. Age difference means so much less as adults anyway.

Tomorrow is another football game, this time with my brother R. and Dad.

Not sure how much reading I'll get done over the weekend as a result, but it doesn't mean I won't try. I picked up Even Though I Knew the End off the new shelf a couple of days ago when I forgot to bring a book to read with me to work, and I started The Twyford Code as an ARC on my Kindle (one of my own goals next year will be to read more of the e-books, including ARCs, that I've downloaded) this morning when I woke up at 5:30.

41kidzdoc
Dec 3, 2022, 9:49am

Have a nice weekend, Mary, and good luck to your Giants tomorrow! Hopefully I can watch some of today's USMNT World Cup match against the Netherlands, which starts in a few minutes.

42curioussquared
Dec 3, 2022, 11:46am

Happy new thread, Mary! Interested to see your thoughts on Even Though We Knew the End, which I'd like to get to at some point :)

43bell7
Edited: Dec 3, 2022, 9:11pm

>41 kidzdoc: thanks, Darryl! I was out and about today and didn't get to see the soccer game, but was sorry to see the U.S. team lost. I think at least one match will be played at MetLife stadium when the World Cup is held in the U.S. in a couple of years, though I'm not sure if I'd spring for a ticket or not.

>42 curioussquared: I'm not very far in, but it's an intriguing start so far, Natalie. I have The Midnight Bargain on the TBR list, too, so I'm hoping it'll give me an idea of Polk's style.

Edited to get touchstone to work

44bell7
Dec 4, 2022, 6:02am

Wordle 533 2/6

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ARISE, ADORE. An auspicious start to the day - let's hope it carries in to the football game! Outta here now to pick up my dad and brother and go to MetLife stadium.

45katiekrug
Dec 4, 2022, 8:48am

Have fun and stay warm!

46bell7
Dec 4, 2022, 12:42pm

>45 katiekrug: oh yeah, I'm all layered up but comfortable and ready. Gonna be a a must-win game.

47richardderus
Dec 4, 2022, 2:39pm

>44 bell7: It was a 2day for you, too! I was, and am, pleased with my 3day since I don't expect any more 2days.

*smooch* for a good, and safe, trip and successful game.

48kidzdoc
Dec 4, 2022, 5:57pm

At least the Giants didn't lose...

49bell7
Dec 5, 2022, 7:52am

>47 richardderus: I made up for it with a six day today, but at least the streak is alive!

>48 kidzdoc: true! They play the Commanders again in two weeks and it's gonna be a HUGE game now.

50bell7
Dec 5, 2022, 7:54am

Wordle 534 6/6

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Found today's challenging! ARISE, POUTY, BONED, COVEN, WOMEN, WOKEN.

51katiekrug
Dec 5, 2022, 8:00am

That game.... Must have been so intense to be there. I was pacing around during the end of it!

52bell7
Dec 5, 2022, 8:29am

>51 katiekrug: OHMYGOSH yes, I was literally getting a tension headache by the end...

After the Giants went down 10-0 quickly, I'm thinking, man, this is gonna be a long game, our offense has GOT to get something going - and they did, tying it up and going into the half 13-13, then scoring another touchdown in the 3rd quarter, so you're sitting thinking, yes, they can do this, just hold on to the lead... which, then, they didn't. The defense looked great for the most part, but was on the field a lot, and the offense was up and down, driving down the field one series and going 3 and out on the next... And then overtime. Fans tend to be late arriving and leave sometime in the fourth quarter, but though there were a fair amount of empty seats during the game, this crowd by and large stayed to the absolute end.

Giants won the overtime toss, huge cheer from the crowd. Couldn't get down the field and punt. Giants defense has a huge stop to keep the Commanders from getting into field goal range, again, rising expectation of, we get the ball, get into field goal range, just kick the winning field goal. They make it just into field goal range with 5 seconds left, rush the field goal unit onto the field, and we're at a high of, they're actually going to pull this off. Then the kick, it looks low right off his foot and the crowd is practically willing it to go in. It drops short. The crowd just deflated and shuffled out the door, stunned. I kept repeating, "Wow..." on our way out to the car. I've never seen a tie in person before - the last the Giants had was, funnily enough, also against Washington in Week 13 of 1997 - and they had the same record afterwards, 7-4-1.

There were so many chances for both teams, too: missed pass interference calls, a taunting penalty against the Giants, a couple of dropped passes on both sides. Could've gone either way so easily, in an odd way it was almost fitting to end in a tie.

The ride home was surreal, too. Traffic wasn't terrible (!), my brother and dad are talking as if the Giants had lost, but eventually came around and my dad of course has all these scenarios for how the Giants could get a wild card. In all cases, we are going against Seattle for the rest of the year, and the game against Washington in two weeks is critical. Dropped my brother off, then my dad, came home and pretty much went directly to bed.

I'm going to the game against Philly next week, and I expect the crowd will be phenomenal as long as the Giants can keep the score close - and they have been the Eagles at MetLife the last two times they've played there.

53richardderus
Dec 5, 2022, 9:40am

>50 bell7: Five for me...I'm blaming inadequate caffeination for mine since I used WOUND as my 4th pick which, one notes with disgust, is absent the letter E which features in one of my starter words!

54bell7
Dec 5, 2022, 3:06pm

>53 richardderus: Ooof, always frustrating when that happens and it's not a purposeful tactic to eliminate letters.

55bell7
Dec 5, 2022, 4:44pm

A little belatedly, my rundown for the day:

I worked 9-2, and you'd think I woulda been exhausted after the game yesterday, but I woke up on my own before the alarm went off, had breakfast and coffee at home before heading out. I did have a follow-up decaf cup, but the nice thing about that is it won't affect my sleep later tonight. I had to go to the bank to get a new debit card (fraudulent activity spotted, hooray for good fraud protection), and then spent the afternoon changing some autopay info and tidying up around my place.

Bible study tonight, then curling up with a book. Even Though I Knew the End and The Twyford Code are both keeping me happily engaged.

56bell7
Dec 6, 2022, 8:25am

Wordle 535 4/6

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Weird path for me today. ARISE, CHOMP, AMEER (I didn't really expect it to work, just messing with letter placement and potential doubles), AMBER.

57bell7
Dec 6, 2022, 8:34am

121. Even Though I Knew the End by C. L. Polk
Why now? Midnight Bargain has been on my TBR list since 2020, and this is the new novella by the same author. Last week, I was between books and forgot to pick one to bring to work, so I snagged this off the new shelf to read on my break and finished it last night.

Helen Brandt has one last job, and then she's ready to die, leaving behind her lover, Edith, and her brother, Ted - who isn't talking to her anyway, not since she sold her soul ten years ago. But then this job of finding the ritual killer nicknamed the White City Vampire gets sweetened: she can get her soul back if she finds the perpetrator before they come for her.

Polk creates an alternate historical world just a tad different from ours believable and intricate in a very short space. It's masterful, really. And then Helen is a great narrator, worldly wise and a magic wielder who wants to be able to live her life with the people she loves. In some ways, it was like reading a Supernatural episode, but it's a story all its own. 4 stars.

Really looking forward to getting to Midnight Bargain now. I'd love to see what Polk does next, whether it's a brand-new story or something set in the same place.

58bell7
Dec 6, 2022, 8:36am

Busy day of errands and work today. I'm getting out of here shortly for an oil change appointment at 9 a.m., and then working 12-8. Not sure if I'm going to try to go home in between or find something to keep me occupied for about an hour and a half before work.

59richardderus
Dec 6, 2022, 10:03am

>56 bell7: Weird that they took your #3 when it's a variant spelling. Ah well. Stranger things and all that jazz.

Have a lovely futzing-around time today!

60curioussquared
Dec 6, 2022, 12:18pm

>57 bell7: Glad this was a hit for you! I have Midnight Bargain and Witchmark and really need to get to both.

61MickyFine
Dec 6, 2022, 1:04pm

>56 bell7: It was a 6 for me today so I'm impressed with your 4.

Good luck with doing all the things today! (Although you do all the things everyday, it seems, you superwoman).

62bell7
Dec 7, 2022, 8:31am

Wordle 536 3/6

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ARISE, POUTY, JOUST. That was incredibly satisfying.

63bell7
Dec 7, 2022, 8:33am

>59 richardderus: Right? I didn't really think it would go through.

>60 curioussquared: Both are on my official TBR spreadsheet, while this one didn't even make it on. Ah well! I'll look forward to your thoughts on them when you get to them, Natalie!

>61 MickyFine: I sure don't feel like I do all the things, though I usually fit a lot in, it's true. If it helps, I still have tomato cages out that I really need to bring in, and I have left the bird feeder sit empty for over a week.

64bell7
Dec 7, 2022, 8:36am

Speaking of doing "all the things," I tried to do a little too much this morning and I'm running late before I've even finished my oatmeal, so I'm getting outta here shortly.

I made some marinade for the chuck steak that's been in my freezer since March, and I'll broil it when I get home tonight. I'm working 9-5, have a fair few volunteers coming in today so will attempt to corral them, and not much else currently planned but I'm sure once I show up there will be plenty to do.

After dinner, I have a Zoom meeting of the Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society that should be fun to attend.

65richardderus
Dec 7, 2022, 9:36am

>62 bell7: I used a new second word and still got it in 4.

Have a lurvely, smoochling. I'm on the worn-out side because things hurt a lot last night. Little sleep, drat the luck!

66bell7
Dec 7, 2022, 9:39pm

>65 richardderus: It is fun to occasionally tweak the method and see what works, isn't it? Hope you get some better sleep tonight - I'm calling it a night early myself!

67richardderus
Dec 8, 2022, 9:59am

Thursday orisons, Mary...bet that early night felt good. I enjoyed my own early night a lot!

I posted a bit from Lynne Tillman's interview in the NYTBR today...it struck me just right. I'm betting you'll see yourself in it, too!

*smooch*

68bell7
Dec 8, 2022, 10:48am

>67 richardderus: happy Thursday, Richard! It did feel good, I woke up early before the alarm and finished a book before work. I'll try to catch up on threads a bit tonight and see your post - other than making dinner, should be a pretty quiet night!

*Smooch*

69bell7
Dec 8, 2022, 10:49am

Wordle 537 3/6

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Another fun one! ARISE, DIVER, INFER.

70bell7
Dec 8, 2022, 1:16pm

112. The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
Why now? An e-ARC on my Kindle that comes out Jan 2023, and I'm trying to stay somewhat up-to-date and possibly even nominate some books for LibraryReads, though I am too late for this one

Ex-con Steve Smith records audio files on his son's old iPhone 4, detailing his investigations into the disappearance of his remedial English teacher back in 1983. The class had been introduced to a series of books by Edith Twyford, in which the author may or may not have put in a code with clues to follow during World War 2. In the course of Steve's adventures, he explains his past working for a gang and how he ended up in jail.

This. Was. Fantastic. I do not exaggerate when I say I may have found my favorite book of 2023. I absolutely loved the puzzle of who Steve is and what he is searching for. The ending was a great mix of surprising moments and "I thought so!" responses, and oh so satisfying. I read the last hour and a half or so in one nearly breathless sitting, hoping I'd beat the clock to finish it before I had to go to work. I'm only sorry I didn't have a paper book that would have been much easier to go back and look for clues I had missed. 5 stars.

I am trying SO HARD not to fangirl or give spoilers, y'all. This book was SO GOOD.

71richardderus
Dec 8, 2022, 4:43pm

>70 bell7: *sigh*

*moves The Twyford Code up the list*

*heavier sigh*

72foggidawn
Dec 8, 2022, 4:53pm

>70 bell7: Hmm. I put it on my list!

73bell7
Dec 8, 2022, 7:27pm

>71 richardderus: and >72 foggidawn: And now of course I'm worried I'm overselling it haha. I hope you both enjoy it!

74bell7
Dec 9, 2022, 7:53am

Wordle 538 2/6

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Surprised myself with this one. ARISE, BRAID.

75msf59
Dec 9, 2022, 7:57am

Happy Friday, Mary. I hope you have a nice weekend planned. The Twyford Code sounds like a winner.

76bell7
Dec 9, 2022, 8:08am

>75 msf59: Happy Friday, Mark! Yep, weekend should be a lot of fun. Saturday's plans got shifted around a little bit, but I should have a pretty relaxed late afternoon/evening, and I'm looking forward to the down time in between busy-ness.

77bell7
Dec 9, 2022, 8:15am

TGIF! We're having a staff meeting/training in the morning while the library is closed, then working 12-5. We've been accepting a variety of donations of hats/mittens/gloves/socks/toys with the intention of giving all the items to local charities, and our community is doing the toy drive tomorrow. Our children's librarian was planning on heading it up, but she's out this week, so I'm packing up all the toy donations in my car today to bring to a store tomorrow morning. I have my regular volunteer commitment in the evening, and I'm sure to be beat when I get home.

Tomorrow morning, I'll drop off the toys, then head to a friend's to help clean at the house in preparation for a move - sweeping, cleaning the fridge, that kind of thing. I did have afternoon plans to go to a friend's business for an event they're having, but she told me this week she may have pneumonia. So I might peek my head in at the beginning before going home, but I won't stay for 1-4 like I originally planned. That gives me the afternoon/evening to work on Christmas cards, gift wrapping, and planning the rest of my shopping.

Sunday is my final in-person Giants game of the season - my brother and I will be going together. It's supposed to be a high of 43 and raining. Thankfully our seats are covered! Not sure what the plan is for tailgating yet.

Monday I'm off, and other than sending Christmas cards and mailing Christmas gifts to those not-local friends and family members getting gifts, I have no further plans.

78richardderus
Dec 9, 2022, 10:13am

>74 bell7: I went back to my old #2 and it solved the puzzle! Yay for more arrows in my quiver.

>73 bell7: No worries, we're big people and can handle a crushing, soul-destroying, happiness-eating defeat or two.

heh

79MickyFine
Dec 9, 2022, 12:20pm

Sounds like wonderful plans for your long weekend, Mary. I hope the meteorologists are wrong about the rain for you. Even if you're seats are covered, outdoor sports in the rain does not sound like fun.

80bell7
Dec 9, 2022, 9:28pm

>78 richardderus: Haha, it is true - and I know you aren't shy about putting a book down if it's not working for you. Anyway, you've certainly been following my reading long enough to know pretty well what types of reads will tick the same boxes for us and where our reading diverges.

>79 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky. It's actually rain at the stadium and snow when we get back, so the driving will be interesting (but my brother's doing most of it, so a little less stressful for me). I don't think the rain is supposed to start 'til the game itself, so at least we should be comfortable enough tailgating and then covered for the game. But I'll be happy enough to watch the rest of the season from home after Sunday lol.

81bell7
Dec 10, 2022, 7:50am

Wordle 539 4/6

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ARISE, POUTY, CLOCK, KNOCK. After a couple of lucky days I was due for a fairly average one where my starter words merely eliminated letters. Took me awhile between guesses 3 and 4 to go through all the permutations with remaining letters before coming up with an actual word.

82richardderus
Dec 10, 2022, 11:11am

>81 bell7: I had a 3day today because I used the new #2 word and it just *appeared* in my mind's screen-eye.

Have a lovely Saturday, Mary me lurve. *smooch*

83bell7
Dec 10, 2022, 7:06pm

>82 richardderus: Gotta love when that happens! I lucked out the last couple of days, so I'm pleased with a four.

84bell7
Dec 11, 2022, 8:18am

Wordle 540 3/6

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ARISE, WAIVE, NAIVE

On my way to my fifth and final Giants game of the season in-person. They're actually my brother's tickets this week but I'm taking his extra after he took mine last week. They're 8 point underdogs, but here's hoping they pull off an upset!

85kidzdoc
Dec 11, 2022, 9:52am

Safe travels to MetLife Stadium, Mary! I hope that the weather isn't too bad for you today. Unfortunately, as a diehard Eagles' fan, I cannot share your hope for an upset.

86bell7
Dec 12, 2022, 7:33am

>85 kidzdoc: thanks, Darryl! I didn't really expect a Giants win, but I also didn't expect the thorough drubbing your Eagles gave them. That was the worst loss I've seen in person, both in score differential and total points. But, the Giants still have a decent shot at a wild card this year, and we'll see what happens next week.

87bell7
Dec 12, 2022, 7:33am

Wordle 541 3/6

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ARISE, POUTY, APPLY.

88katiekrug
Dec 12, 2022, 10:16am

Football stoopid.

So sayeth the Krugs.

89bell7
Dec 12, 2022, 3:37pm

>88 katiekrug: You won't get any argument from me! But will I be watching Sunday night and shouting at the TV? Yes, yes, absolutely.

90bell7
Edited: Dec 12, 2022, 3:43pm

Happy Monday! I took today off when we thought the Giants/Eagles game might be flexed to the evening, and kept it off even when it stayed a 1 p.m. game. We drove back in the rain/snow last night, and while my brother's girlfriend did offer us a place to stay, we chose to continue on home. Dad had kinda forgotten how we were dropping off (my brother lives closest to Giants stadium and I live farthest, so usually I drive to my parents, then we drive together to my parents, and go opposite on the way home 'til I get back last) - my brother was getting dropped off at his girlfriend's, and my house is closest from there. So, after we dropped him off, Dad asked about dropping me off at home and taking my car home overnight so we could both sleep in our own homes and my mother didn't have to drive in the dark and snow. That was agreeable with me, and that was what we did.

We got our first real snow of the season, and there was a few inches on the ground when I got up. I texted my folks to figure out what time they were coming, the plow guys came and did my front driveway and walk, and I shoveled out the lower driveway by the garage. Then I made 15 bean soup according to the package directions while I waited for my folks, and visited with them for a bit this morning. I had a few errands to run, and have officially finished my Christmas shopping now. I'll be relaxing at home for another couple of hours, then heading out to Bible study.

91MickyFine
Dec 12, 2022, 4:18pm

Sounds like a super laidback Monday off, Mary, and I'm glad you finally got one. :)

92richardderus
Dec 12, 2022, 5:51pm

Happy Monday off! Boo hiss on the Giants folding like origami.

*smooch*

93bell7
Edited: Dec 12, 2022, 8:52pm

>91 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! It was a good blend of getting stuff done and having some relaxing time too.

>92 richardderus: Indeed, on both counts! *smooch* back

94bell7
Edited: Dec 12, 2022, 9:04pm

113. Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun
Why now? I enjoyed The Charm Offensive when I read it earlier this year, so I was excited to read her new book, and chose to read it in December because it is seasonal

Ellie and Jack met for one special day in the snow last year, but haven't seen each other since. Now Ellie is working her butt off at a coffee place in Portland for a crappy boss. The young, rich landlord, Andrew Kim-Parker, asks her to fake a marriage with him, come to Christmas with his family, and then after he inherits the money that he can only get if he gets married, they can divorce and Ellie will get a percentage of that inheritance to get back on her feet. Sound too good to be true? Yeah, it is... because Andrew's sister is Jack.

Similarly to The Charm Offensive, the strength of Kiss Her Once for Me is the theme of messy people finding each other. The Kim-Parker clan is a riot and reminded me at times of While You Were Sleeping. Ellie, Jack, and Andrew each have their demons to battle, yet the way characters care for each other - and not just the main characters, but a bunch of the side characters, too - really shines through. 4 stars.

95curioussquared
Dec 12, 2022, 9:48pm

>94 bell7: I just finished this one over the weekend, too, and my feelings very much echoed yours. I also got the same While You Were Sleeping vibes :) I'll have to check out The Charm Offensive!

96richardderus
Dec 13, 2022, 7:56am

>94 bell7: It sounds charming! My reviews today are for aesthetically pretty books, just the visual version not this kind of confectionary book.

*smooch*

97bell7
Dec 13, 2022, 8:02am

>95 curioussquared: always fun when we manage to read the same books at the same time! Hope you like The Charm Offensive when you get to it, Natalie.

>96 richardderus: it was charming, as was her first book (though you know that, as your review added it to my list}. I will get myself some coffee and bring myself to your thread shortly to read said reviews. *Smooch*

98bell7
Dec 13, 2022, 8:04am

Wordle 542 3/6

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ARISE, POUTY, SPOKE
Luck of the opening words giving me four letters.

99LaraMoriarty
Dec 13, 2022, 8:05am

This user has been removed as spam.

100bell7
Dec 13, 2022, 8:54am

Happy Tuesday! I had high hopes for getting a bunch of cooking done this morning, but have decided to give myself a little bit of a break and do it tomorrow - I have chicken to cook, and I'll make Cuban chicken, rice and beans and chicken marsala tomorrow night after work instead. Between that and the 15-bean soup I made yesterday, I'll have plenty of food for the rest of the week.

Instead, I'll spend a little bit of time reading and relaxing, stop at the post office to ship off Christmas gifts, and work 12-8.

101richardderus
Dec 13, 2022, 10:03am

>100 bell7: It's always still there to be done, Mary, long as it's before the food spoils no one else gets a look-in on how and when you do it.

>97 bell7: It's such a shame that I can never get my own back convince you to try some of the books that I've loved. I always feel so depressed when you put on your book-Kevlar and resist my book bullets.

Heh.

102curioussquared
Dec 13, 2022, 2:18pm

>97 bell7: The Charm Offensive was available immediately on audiobook from my library so I snagged it. I might renew it a few times before getting to it if nobody is waiting for it, but I'll probably get to it in the next several weeks :)

>100 bell7: Yum, Cuban chicken sounds delivious.

103bell7
Edited: Dec 13, 2022, 4:50pm

>101 richardderus: yep, tomorrow night is perfectly fine, and I took the opportunity to catch up on threads, do the dishes, and run to the post office so it was still a productive morning in the end haha. *Snort* I'm pretty sure the book bullets are more like snowball fights and we're all giving as good as we get! *Smooch*

>102 curioussquared: oh good! I'll look forward to your thoughts on the audio. The Cuban chicken is delicious, though I found it online and couldn't tell you how authentic it is. I'll share the recipe if there's interest - it takes a little more work than a lot of the recipes I use but the results, imo, are worth it.

104richardderus
Dec 13, 2022, 5:35pm

105bell7
Dec 13, 2022, 9:22pm

106bell7
Dec 14, 2022, 7:34am

Wordle 543 4/6

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ARISE, POUTY, SAUNA, USUAL. Pleased with that effort.

107bell7
Dec 14, 2022, 8:08am

Fairly simple plan for the day: work 9-5, cook dinner tonight. If I have the energy, I'll make both the Cuban chicken, rice and bean bowls AND chicken Marsala... if not, I'll make just one and save the other for tomorrow. I have the day off to go to the Bruins game with a group in celebration of my brother R's birthday, but we're not leaving 'til the afternoon so I'll have the morning to putter around at home.

108bell7
Dec 14, 2022, 8:34am

124. Misfit City Volume 1 by Kirsten Smith
Why now? Fellow librarian recommendation while we were reading some graphic novels

Wilder, Macy, Dot, Karma and Ed are friends living in the small town of Cannon Cove, known only for being the location of a Goonies-like movie and the home of an infamous pirate. When a local eccentric dies, he leaves his rich kids everything but a chest that he donates to the local museum where Karma works - and which just so happens to have what appears to be a treasure map. The girls aren't sure they really want the adventure, but then they start getting chased by the rich folks and a mysterious old man.

Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith is probably best known for her screenwriting, including Legally Blonde and 10 Things I Hate About You. The graphic novel format is a good one for her, and working with a team including the illustrator, letterer, etc. works seamlessly in this collection of issues 1-4 (of 8). It definitely leans into the Goonies similarities of friends on a treasure hunt, and one I would recommend to fans of the movie. 4 stars.

Kinda a mood thing, I think, but even though volume 1 ended on a cliffhanger, I wasn't super inclined to pick up the second one last night. Since it's pretty much the end of the story, though, I'll probably read it tonight anyway.

109richardderus
Dec 14, 2022, 8:51am

>108 bell7: I think you'll enjoy tomorrow's reviews, Mary...I *liked* a graphic novel, if you can imagine...but you already know about today's delight so I'll just whistle innocently off around the other threads.

*smooch*

110bell7
Dec 15, 2022, 8:25am

>109 richardderus: it's always especially interesting to see which graphic novels and poetry end up working for you. I enjoy the GN format, though as you know usually poetry isn't my jam either.

111bell7
Dec 15, 2022, 8:26am

Wordle 544 4/6

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Took a really roundabout way and wasn't really thinking with guess #2. ARISE, TRAIN, PILAR, RIVAL.

112richardderus
Dec 15, 2022, 8:31am

>111 bell7: Your word #3 did not so much as cross my mind. I think because I grew up with a girl whose name was Pilar...I simply don't have the other association in my mind.

113bell7
Dec 15, 2022, 8:33am

>112 richardderus: neither do I, honestly, and I was surprised they took it 🤷‍♀️

114bell7
Dec 15, 2022, 8:59am

Happy Thursday! I have the day off, and the first order of business is to get my coffee and breakfast. I do have a few things I'd like to get done: make chicken Marsala (only had the time/energy for one meal last night), and get my home insurance info to my bank. This is the second year in a row that they sent me a letter saying they don't have it, and I'm really puzzled (and annoyed) as to where the breakdown in communication is between my insurance company and my bank/the company they contract with to the collect the info. So dumb. So anyway, I'll be sorting that out today.

Other than that, it'll be a quiet morning of reading (gotta start my book club book, Nomadland) and knitting 'til a little after 2 when my brothers pick me up to go to a Bruins game. I think there are 10-11 of us all going to celebrate my brother R's birthday. Should be a fun night!

115bell7
Dec 15, 2022, 9:04am

125. Misfit City Vol. 2 by Kirsten Smith and the rest
Why now? Finishing the story

Not much to add to my review for volume 1 in >108 bell7: - more of the same here, it wraps up most of the story and leaves the possibility of future adventures ahead. Some sequences were confusing to me, but overall a fun adventure story with a hint of fantasy/paranormal.

116Familyhistorian
Dec 15, 2022, 3:22pm

Enjoy your day off once you get the insurance straightened out, Mary. I hate spending time fixing things that should be seamless.

117The_Hibernator
Dec 15, 2022, 3:25pm

Hi Mary! I lost track of your thread at some point! I am terrible keeping up with threads as it is, but I really thought I starred yours. *shrug

Good luck on your day off! I sort of had a day off too, though there's always stuff to do, isn't there?

118richardderus
Dec 15, 2022, 3:27pm

Oh boy, it's No More Drop Shipping day tomorrow...I can review not-giftables again.

*smooch*

119bell7
Dec 16, 2022, 10:06am

>116 Familyhistorian: Thanks for the sympathy, Meg! Fortunately I hadn't filed the paper forms yet, so I got everything out and sent it in online. I should find out by next week that everything's all set.

>117 The_Hibernator: Glad you were able to find me again, Rachel! There is indeed always stuff to do, though I daresay you've had much more on your plate lately than I have. Hope things get calmer for you soon!

>118 richardderus: Do you mean to tell me the books you've been reviewing lately were for me to *gift* to others, not just read myself? I must be doing this wrong... kidding, I kid. *smooch*

120bell7
Dec 16, 2022, 10:08am

Wordle 545 4/6

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Really thought I had it in three for a second. ARISE, POUTY, PROVE, PROBE.

121bell7
Dec 16, 2022, 10:16am

Happy almost-weekend, y'all! I found out last night during the Bruins game that I'm definitely dogsitting this weekend (it was up in the air because the owners were taking one dog to a show, and if she went into heat she wouldn't be able to compete). They're leaving shortly if they haven't already, and I'll head over there and drop off my stuff before going into work 12-5 today. After that, I'm doing my regular volunteer thing and we're having a little Christmas party in our classrooms, which should be fun. My regular adult helpers won't be there, but if I don't quite finish the lesson, it'll be fine (and I have a couple of teen/young adult helpers that will fill in). The kids will be wired and excited anyways. After that, I'm going to the house of the five labs I will be watching over the weekend.

122richardderus
Dec 16, 2022, 11:19am

>121 bell7: "The House of the Five Labs" is a great title...dunno for what, but it is.

>120 bell7: I took 4 as well. It was FROZE then PROBE for me but still a good puzzle day!

123bell7
Dec 16, 2022, 9:59pm

>122 richardderus: it does have quite a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Oooh PROBE is a nice word Imay have to remember that for a potential one-two combo I'm the future.

124bell7
Dec 17, 2022, 7:50am

Wordle 546 4/6

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ARISE, POUTY, THORN, CHORD.

125bell7
Dec 17, 2022, 8:01am

It's the weekend! I have a nice blend of busy and rest planned for the next few days. The dogsitting job got changed up a bit - long story, but ultimately their son is staying at their house for a few days - so I'm still feeding and walking the dogs in the mornings but I'm staying at home. I've had my coffee and will head over there in a few minutes to do so. I expect the process to take me about an hour from beginning to end.

Then, I'll head back home and have a few hours to myself to catch up on things, maybe do a little cooking (rice and roasted broccoli for sides with the chicken Marsala I made a couple of nights ago). About mid-afternoon, I'm headed out for a holiday pops concert followed by a play at a community theater that my cousin is acting in - A Christmas Carol. I'll probably be getting home around 10 p.m. tonight and very much looking forward to seeing both.

Tomorrow I have to get up a little early to walk the dogs, then I'm headed to nursery and church, working 12-5, and going over my brother's in the evening to watch the Giants game. I'm off on Monday and have made plans to get together with my friend and her twins, then have a Bible study Christmas party to cap off the night.

When I've got downtime (and though it sounds busy when I'm writing it all out, there really will be downtime both today and Monday), I'm reading Nomadland for book club, as well as The Seeker and the Monk by Sophfronia Scott and In Every Mirror She's Black by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom. They're all coming along steadily. Next book I'll start will be my annual reread of A Christmas Carol.

126msf59
Dec 17, 2022, 8:10am

Morning, Mary. Happy Saturday. Sounds like you have a seasonal weekend planned. I will be birding and reading. LOL. I did have some quality time with Jackson yesterday. ❤️

127richardderus
Dec 17, 2022, 8:47am

>125 bell7: It does indeed sound busy to us groundlings, but by your standards, it's a positive spa weekend. Good on you for getting your calmness and priorities straight.

*smooch*

128MickyFine
Dec 17, 2022, 9:45am

A concert and a play in one day, you lucky thing! I hope they're both great.

129bell7
Dec 18, 2022, 8:26am

Wordle 547 4/6

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ARISE, LEARN, POUTY, TAPER.

Will come back later today and answer everyone, honest, but of course I'm rushing out the door now 😅

130bell7
Dec 18, 2022, 5:54pm

>126 msf59: Sounds like an excellent weekend plan, Mark. Hope you enjoyed all of it!

>127 richardderus: Yes well, in some cases getting there is the hard part but once I'm there I can stay put and relax/have fun visiting.

>128 MickyFine: They really were! The holiday pops was fantastic, and included the world premiere of a new piece entitled "Christmas Realness Extravaganza" (apparently a nod to RuPaul's drag race, but that bit went over my head). It definitely had the feeling of the Christmas season, with a mashup of several different Christmas songs, sometimes quite beautiful and others atonal and loud. The culmination of the piece had the chorus singing parts of "All I Want for Christmas is You" interspersed with the Hallelujah Chorus, which was just one of the laugh-out-loud moments for me. The play was also fun, a musical version of A Christmas Carol in which my cousin played the Ghost of Christmas Present and did a fantastic job. The guy who played Scrooge was also really excellent and believable in his transformation.

131bell7
Dec 18, 2022, 6:00pm

Happy Sunday! Busy day today, and I'm finally sitting down to check in. I got up early today to walk the dogs because I was absolutely certain I had nursery at 9 o'clock service... except I didn't, so I went to the early service and had a little extra time to get coffee, say hi to folks, and get to work early and eat my lunch.

Work was 12-5 today. I expected it to be dead quiet, but it was as busy as it usually is for the first hour, I had a pretty needy patron who kept me hopping much of the day, and it stayed generally steady with folks until 4:30 or so when the library just about cleared out. I got home, had leftovers for dinner, and waved to Santa and Mrs. Claus who drove by my house on a fire truck.

I have a little bit of time to unpack from work and possibly tidy up a bit before I'll head over to my brother R's and watch the Giants game at his house.

Tomorrow will be slightly more relaxed.

132Whisper1
Dec 18, 2022, 11:24pm

Mary, I send all good wishes for a wonderful holiday!!!

133bell7
Dec 19, 2022, 8:13am

>132 Whisper1: thank you, Linda! I hope yours is lovely and full of peace and joy.

134bell7
Dec 19, 2022, 8:14am

Wordle 548 4/6

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ARISE, MONTH, PASTE, SLATE.

135bell7
Edited: Dec 19, 2022, 8:26am

Good morning, all! I'm off today after working Sunday, and have some fun planned for the day. First, I have to go and walk the dogs. I'm going to bring some laundry to stick in their dryer while I do that - I went to wash some clothes this weekend only to have it stop working. Ughhhh... it may just need the vent cleaned out, but I don't actually know how to do that. But I'm dogsitting enough over the next couple of months that I have some time to figure out what's going on and if I'm going to need to replace any appliances.

After that, I'm texting a friend about getting together with her and her four-year-old twins. I have Christmas gifts from them (knitted toys) that I'll bring along as well. Not sure how long that will last, but afterwards I'm possibly doing a little baking (shopping, if I run out of time) and heading to my Bible study where we're just getting together for a fun party together. Pizza and goodies, and a white elephant Yankee Swap. I'm planning on my gift being a knitted crab I finished awhile back and haven't given away yet.

I have about 100 pages left in Nomadland and should be able to finish it in time for book group on Wednesday. We'll see how many folks show up, though several have picked up books.

Edited to add - I meant to comment on football, too. I went over my brother's in time to see the Patriots blow their game, which was gratifying, and though the Cowboys game has absolutely no playoff implications for the Giants, I admit I was delighted they lost as well. The Giants game was exciting, and they won, so though I'm a little short on sleep I'm in an excellent mood and looking forward to the Vikings game on Christmas Eve (which I'll be watching at least part of at my uncle's Christmas party).

136richardderus
Dec 19, 2022, 10:22am

>135 bell7: Dryer woes! I'm so sorry, Mary.

It came to me in 3 today. I dismissed SKATE as an answer despite its being before the correct one on the grounds that Wordle wouldn't do that. Luckily I was correct if a bit wool-headed in my reasoning.

137Storeetllr
Dec 19, 2022, 11:14am

>135 bell7: I hope your dryer troubles can be fixed easily. It wouldn’t be so bad in summer, as you could hang them to dry, but in winter? Yuck.

Took me 5 tries to get today’s wordle. It was one of those guessing game days when all my guesses were off.

Have a lovely day!

138bell7
Dec 20, 2022, 7:50am

>136 richardderus: I'm hoping it's something that can be fixed readily... I haven't cleaned the vent at all and that may be the root cause.

>137 Storeetllr: always frustrating when it's reduced to a guessing game! Hope today's went better. Thanks for the dryer sympathy. Most winters I'm away dogsitting, so I should have a little time to figure it all out.

139bell7
Dec 20, 2022, 7:51am

Wordle 549 4/6

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ARISE, POUTY, FLIRT, THIRD. Steady day.

140bell7
Dec 20, 2022, 8:07am

Good morning! Busy busy day today. I'm off to walk the dogs one last morning, coming home to get some things, then heading out to a funeral for someone from church. After that, I'm going straight to work and working 'til 8.

141Familyhistorian
Dec 20, 2022, 7:51pm

Looks like you are keeping busy, Mary. I hope the problem with the dryer is an easy fix.

142bell7
Dec 21, 2022, 8:35am

>141 Familyhistorian: thanks, Meg! I hope so too

143bell7
Dec 21, 2022, 8:37am

Wordle 550 4/6

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ARISE, MONTH, RANDY, LUNAR.
My streak continues (up to 59 now) and I've been getting unspectacular but solid results of four the last several days.

144richardderus
Dec 21, 2022, 12:33pm

>143 bell7: I'm gal your streak's alive, and who cares about unspectacular?!

*smooch*

145bell7
Dec 22, 2022, 7:38am

>144 richardderus: I don't mind fours at all, it was just an observation, and I'm pleased with solid results. Got today's by the skin of my teeth.

Wordle 551 6/6

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ARISE, POUTY, BLEND, WHEEL, LEVEL, EXCEL.

146JesseCopley
Dec 22, 2022, 7:40am

This user has been removed as spam.

147bell7
Dec 22, 2022, 7:51am

Happy Thursday! I see I neglected to post my daily rundown yesterday, so here's a little catchup:

I spend the morning tidying up the house and hanging up all the Christmas cards I've gotten this season, as well as planning a grocery shopping for hosting Christmas breakfast. Then I worked 12-8, as I had book group discussing Nomadland, and we had a very good discussion. (Still owe a review, oops!)

Today I work my normal 9-5, and I want to do a quick grocery shopping on my way back so that the food is at my house, because tomorrow after work I'm starting a long weekend dogsitting job. I will also pack for that tonight. And I'm making either clam chowder or taco soup for dinner.

148bell7
Dec 22, 2022, 8:09am

126. Nomadland by Jessica Bruder
Why now? Book club selection for December

Journalist Jessica Bruder writes about subcultures. In 2014 for an article in Harper's Magazine, Bruder profiled Linda May, a retired woman who lives in a camper, traveling the U.S. and taking seasonal jobs with campgrounds, an Amazon warehouse, and the like, and was introduced to a whole bunch of "workampers" who do the same. After a couple of years of interviews, and living temporarily in an RV of her own while working at an Amazon warehouse and beet factory, Bruder presented this book showing these folks in all their complexity.

If I had one takeaway from this book, it's that workampers are not a one-size-fits-all monolith. There are many reasons they would take to the road, from financial necessity to a desire for freedom from the rat race - or some combination of the two. They are hard-working, often debt-free, often what we'd picture as "retirement age", and mostly white. And while it's hard to pin down an exact number, there were about 300,000 when the book was published (2017), a number that seems to be growing. I found it fascinating, sometimes heartbreaking, thought-provoking - all the qualities you'd want in a book club choice. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.

149msf59
Dec 22, 2022, 8:18am

Sweet Thursday, Mary. Good review of Nomadland. I loved the film adaptation and had been meaning to read the book. Hopefully I can get to it next year.

150bell7
Dec 22, 2022, 8:18am

127. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Why now? Annual reread

Not much I can say about the classic, which I've been reading every year at Christmastime since before I started keeping track of every book I've read (going back to 2006). Love it and the many movie versions.

I'm planning on reading one more Christmas-y book, Christmas Past: A Ghostly Winter Tale, and then it will be time to re-evaluate the library stack and see if I should turn some books in unread.

151bell7
Dec 22, 2022, 8:20am

>149 msf59: Thanks, Mark! I haven't seen the movie, but I know it was well-received. My boss has seen most of it and it sounded sad. There were definitely some tough moments in the book and I wouldn't characterize it as "happy", but I didn't find it depressing, either. It's the kind of narrative nonfiction that I could see really appealing to you, though, and I will look forward to your thoughts if you get to it next year.

152weird_O
Edited: Dec 22, 2022, 9:57am

As you've described it, Mary, Nomadland seems kin to the couple of Barbara Ehrenreich books I've read. Nickle and Dimed and Bait and Switch. I believe I'll add it to The WANT!! List™

Stay safe, stay warm.

153foggidawn
Dec 22, 2022, 10:09am

>126 msf59: Sounds like one for the TBR list.

154richardderus
Dec 22, 2022, 10:18am

>148 bell7: It's a scary story...people on the brink, is how I interpret it. But for a lot of people it's a much better way to live than their other options.

Book clubs should really love it, for sure and certain!

Happy Thursdaying, wherever that may take you. *smooch*

155The_Hibernator
Dec 22, 2022, 6:55pm

I loved A Christmas Carol, but have only read it a couple of times. Seen all the movies and numerous plays, though!

156bell7
Dec 22, 2022, 8:23pm

>152 weird_O: Though I haven't read Nickel and Dimed myself, a couple of folks in the book group who have read it made the comparison, so I think you're right, Bill. Hope it's a good read for you.

>153 foggidawn: Hope it's a good one for you, foggi!

>154 richardderus: "People on the brink" is a good description, I think. I have a little bit of distance, perhaps, being roughly the age of the author rather than the folks she's profiling but, whew, it was still rough to read about some of the jobs that folks my parents age and older are doing and think how my mother, for example, would be completely unable to do it.

>155 The_Hibernator: I enjoy it in all those formats, too, Rachel!

157bell7
Dec 22, 2022, 9:29pm

128. In Every Mirror She's Black by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
Why now? I'm whittling away at books I've received as digital ARCs over the last few years and still haven't read/reviewed - though I actually read the library e-book and audio in combination

Kemi is Nigerian-American and works in marketing, successful in her job but unhappy with her love life. Brittany-Rae is a model-turned-flight-attendant. Muna is a Somalian refugee. All three women have their lives impacted by Jonny von Lundin, the CEO of a Swedish company.

Each chapter is broken down into Kemi, Brittany-Rae, and Muna's stories, all told in third-person and simply following their lives over the course of about two years. The three women are connected in some ways, but overall are very isolated, as they deal with being Black and foreign in a Swedish society that prizes homogeneity. The author is Nigerian-American living in Sweden, and I appreciated the abilities shown by her debut novel, though it was a little sad and unresolved for my taste. 3.5 stars.

158bell7
Dec 22, 2022, 9:42pm

129. The Seeker and the Monk by Sophfronia Scott
Why now? I heard about it through an interview with the author on the Deckle Edge podcast and decided to check this one out, as I'd read his Contemplative Prayer several years ago

Sophfronia Scott is a Black woman and Episcopalian, perhaps not the sort of person you would think of who has a deep connection to Thomas Merton, the Catholic monk and white man who lived in Kentucky in the 60s. But she has read his works and journals extensively, and in this book she goes through topically chapter by chapter - on such things as love, ambition, friendship - quoting extensively from Merton and offering her own thoughts on the subject, sometimes addressing "Thomas" directly.

I found this a really intriguing method and enjoyed getting to know both Sophfronia and Thomas through the book. Because it was so topical, I had to slow myself down and only read a chapter in one sitting, so I could really take each thought in and mull it over without rushing through. I appreciated the perspective, down-to-earth and real in life's struggles, evident in both the quotes from Merton and Scott's responses. By the end, I felt like I was a kindred spirit right along with them. 4.5 stars.

159bell7
Dec 23, 2022, 7:02am

Wordle 552 3/6

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Well that was fun! After my first two words turned up what they did, the only word I could think of was the answer. ARISE, MONTH, AORTA.

160bell7
Dec 23, 2022, 7:24am

TGIF! For whatever reason, I woke up before the sun today so I'm reading a bit before getting ready for work. We're getting the wind and rain of the major storm hitting the Midwest and Northeast of the U.S. today. The wind gusts are mighty and nearly constant to my ears. I expect work will be dead quiet.

Because of the forecast, my dogsitting job was canceled, as the family I was sitting for decided not to travel in it. They were kind enough to offer to pay anyways - I tried to demur, but she insisted and will be mailing me a check. Honestly, it makes my weekend much more calm, and I'm not upset to be at home. Even if the power goes out, I should be fine cooking (gas stove), and I'm looking forward to the possibility of getting some baking and tidying up tomorrow before my parents, brother, and grandfather come over for Christmas breakfast.

After finishing up all the books I was reading, I'm ready to start a few more. I picked up The Book of Goose last night and am finding the narrative style intriguing so far. I then went in search of an audiobook/ebook combination and landed on Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. It has a challenging style as well, and I may look for the book at work today to see if the paper book is easier for me to follow. Both will take some mental effort, I think. And I haven't started it yet, but I want to get to the ARC of Black Candle Women before the month is up, in case I want to nominate it for the February LibraryReads list.

I've been pondering my potential reading goals for next year, and nothing is striking the balance of stretching my reading without making it feel like a chore. I may give myself the year off from definite goals to pursue whatever I feel like picking up in the moment and just observe my reading for 2023, tracking various things but not having an actual goal in mind other than enjoying myself.

161msf59
Dec 23, 2022, 8:48am

Happy Friday, Mary. Sorry you have to work. Our libraries are closed today and will reopen on Monday. With our high temp today of 0F, we will be hunkered down at home. Sue will be wrapping. I will be reading. 😁

162drneutron
Dec 23, 2022, 10:56am

163bell7
Dec 23, 2022, 2:27pm

>161 msf59: The day's going by fast, Mark, so working isn't too bad. Our public Internet and Wifi is down, so that's been the challenge of the day. After that, I'll be off 'til Tuesday.

>162 drneutron: Oh fantastic, thanks, Jim! I've joined and I'll set up my thread after work tonight.

164MickyFine
Dec 23, 2022, 3:06pm

>163 bell7: Oof, no internet days are ROUGH. Hang in there, Mary!

165bell7
Dec 23, 2022, 3:21pm

>164 MickyFine: I should clarify that many of the staff computers have internet (we can still check out books) but the public does not - we're on separate networks. The storms knocked power out for a few hundred people in town, so we've had a few flurries of folks coming in to get books and movies for the long Christmas weekend, but overall it's been pretty quiet.

166richardderus
Dec 23, 2022, 5:08pm

>165 bell7: I hope they're all appropriately grateful that y'all have come in to work! It's brutal out there. We had coastal flooding earlier and the temps have fallen 22° so far with another 15° to fall.

Brrr, to coin a phrase. *smooch* for a profitable holiday cancellation.

167bell7
Dec 23, 2022, 6:40pm

>166 richardderus: We were fortunate in that most of the day it was in the 40s and rainy, though the wind was blowing strongly. The library had electricity throughout the day (though it was off when one of my staff got there, it was back by the time I got in), and I have electricity at home. So all is well, and I've had some clam chowder to stave off the cold as it falls into the 30s (windchill of 19) and eventually to single digits overnight.

Which reminds me, I think I'll go put the car in the garage.

168bell7
Dec 23, 2022, 7:02pm

I started my 2023 thread should anyone wanna check out the new digs, though I'll certainly still keep this one active for the next week. I should finish at least one more book in 2022.

169bell7
Dec 24, 2022, 7:47am

Wordle 553 3/6

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ARISE, NOISE, POISE. After the last couple of days, three has just edged out five as my second-most-common result.

170bell7
Dec 24, 2022, 7:58am

Good morning! I have a busier day than expected ahead, as my brother texted me just yesterday to say that I'm invited to a second Christmas party on of our friends is hosting. My plan is to spend the morning baking, cooking, and tidying (I'll also take a Covid test just to be on the safe side), head out to one party and then the other directly after. I'll leave early enough to be able to watch A Muppet Christmas Carol when I get home. Busy, but all fun things, and rejuvenating in its own way.

It's cold here today, 6F degrees with a windchill of -10 currently, and an expected high of 17. We got it easy in comparison to other parts of the country getting slammed with snow and colder temps, but it will be a bit of a shock to the system leaving my warm house today.

171msf59
Dec 24, 2022, 8:34am



Have a great day with family and friends, Mary. Also stay warm and snug.

172richardderus
Dec 24, 2022, 10:29pm

Brrr.

*gasp*

Brrrrrrr.

h-h-happy hhh-hhh-hohoho
*flees back under blankie*

173bell7
Dec 25, 2022, 7:46am

>171 msf59: thanks, Mark! Hope you have a great Christmas weekend with the family!

>172 richardderus: it's still quite cold and I'm glad Christmas breakfast is at my house! Warm Christmas wishes to you, Richard. *Smooch*

174bell7
Dec 25, 2022, 7:50am

Wordle 554 4/6

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ARISE, MONTH, TEARY, EXTRA. I'm coming to realize that when I solve I think in patterns. I chose my second word figuring I needed more consonants, knew after my third that the T couldn't be in the number two spot based on what else I had eliminated, and figured out where the vowels had to be from there.

175PaulCranswick
Dec 25, 2022, 10:44am



Malaysia's branch of the 75er's wishes you and yours a happy holiday season, Mary.

176Berly
Dec 25, 2022, 8:27pm


177bell7
Dec 26, 2022, 8:08am

Wordle 555 X/6

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Had my streak up to 50-something but got beat today with too many options and not enough time. ARISE, POUTY, QUEUE, BUGLE, NUDGE, FUDGE.

Oops... confusing myself with multiple threads. Posted this in the 2023 thread and meant to do it here.

178bell7
Dec 26, 2022, 8:08am

>175 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul, the same to you and yours!

>176 Berly: Thanks so much, Kim! Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season.

179bell7
Dec 26, 2022, 8:28am

Well, happy Boxing Day, y'all! I always loved the name of it when I saw it on the calendar but never knew what it was as a kid growing up in the U.S. lol... Anyway, I have the day off as a holiday because Christmas fell on a Sunday. I have a few visits to make to friends with Christmas gifts, and my brother and sister-in-law are planning on having the family over for pizza tonight after they get home from their travels.

Yesterday was a really lovely and relaxed day. My parents, brother R. and grandfather came over to my place for Christmas breakfast. It's traditionally at my parents' house, but it was fun to mix it up this year. I made waffles in a little Belgian waffle maker that I'd got at a tag sale, and it worked beautifully. Mom and Dad brought maple syrup and sausages, and my brother provided some eggnog.

Afterwards, we played a game I'd bought called Millennials vs. Boomers, and had a lot of laughs while we asked each other trivia from our respective generations. Sometimes we all didn't know an answer or thought it was odd to be included ("Who said, 'Read my lips... no new taxes'" was well within my living memory but included as a question to ask Millennials, and "What is the definition of woke?" was a question to ask Boomers). The ones that were the funniest were the ones we each thought would be incredibly easy, but the others struggled with. My brother asked, "What video game had a guitar-shaped controller?" - there were two answers that I knew immediately - and my mother's guesses had us in stitches ("Game Boy! No wait... Nintendo!" My brother: "That's like asking what football team did something and answering, 'television!'" Her final guess was MarioKart, and when we told her the answer was Guitar Hero or Rock Band, she finally did remember us playing it. On the other hand, we started the game with my mother saying, "Ugh, this is too easy. What's a knee high?" And I answered a sock but it turns out it's a soda. After my brother left to go to his girlfriend's, we played pitch into the early afternoon.

My grandfather went home, as he had later dinner plans with his girlfriend and her family, and my parents headed out soon after to put dinner in the oven. I cleaned up the rest of the dishes and got there around 2:30, and my brother and his girlfriend arrived about an hour later. We had lasagna and salad, and played some more of the trivia game but we just all tried to answer the questions and didn't worry so much about the generations. Everyone left a little after five, and I went home and watched a bunch of Doctor Who Christmas specials out of order on my new DVDs.

My parents gave me a nice stool/chair for gardening and two Doctor Who sets, the Matt Smith collection and the Peter Capaldi collection. I looked through, and I'm missing Series Four to make a complete set through Capaldi, and then I need the Jodie Whittaker ones to be caught up. I'd watched regularly until the friend of mine who had BBC America and watch parties at her house moved away, so I lost track of what was happening part of the way through Capaldi. When I was watching the Christmas episodes, I expected to remember a lot but I did not, so it may be time to watch them through again.

Whew! Anyway, long catch-up post, but it's been a good couple of days, and I'm looking forward to a nice day again today - visiting friends and family, but a relaxed pace to it.

180richardderus
Dec 26, 2022, 9:06am

>179 bell7: Knee high! HAHAHA It's Nehi, smoochling. Loved their pineapple flavor.

Have a lovely extra day off.

181bell7
Dec 26, 2022, 9:14am

>180 richardderus: hehehe I still wouldn't have gotten it, but see how much fun?! We had an absolute blast laughing at ourselves. *Smooch* and have an excellent day.

182MickyFine
Dec 26, 2022, 12:08pm

I also had no clue about knee high but maybe it's a US thing?

Sounds like a wonderful Christmas!

183richardderus
Dec 26, 2022, 12:41pm

>182 MickyFine: Not only a US thing but something that passed from the culture in the 1980s. Nehi sodas were fruit-flavored carbonated drinks in truly unnerving Day-Glo shades. We used to joke that, if the store was out of highlighters in your favorite color, go get a case of Nehi and you could recharge the dead one by piddling on it.

184bell7
Dec 26, 2022, 5:19pm

>182 MickyFine: I guess Nehi (thanks, Richard, for the spelling) was common enough in the U.S. at one point. My mom knew it because a character on M.A.S.H. (which I never saw and wasn't allowed to when I was a kid) always drank it.

>183 richardderus: You can apparently still get it on Amazon as well as a couple of other places online if you're so inclined? Wikipedia tells me it's now owned by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. But it was definitely not a part of my childhood or teenage years... Mountain Dew was a whole thing, though. And Surge.

185Berly
Dec 26, 2022, 5:24pm

Sounds like a wonderful day and I have to admit I had never heard of knee high or Nehi sodas!! LOL

186bell7
Dec 26, 2022, 5:42pm

>185 Berly: Hahaha, neither had I, clearly! Always happy to learn (and pass on) something new though :D

187Storeetllr
Dec 26, 2022, 7:39pm

Happy holidays, Mary! Sounds like your Christmas celebrations were fabulous fun! I never had a Nehi soda either, and, if I only heard the word, my mind would have conjured those nylon stockings from the 70s or 80s that only went to the knee to be worn under dress pants. Thank goodness those went out of fashion!

188richardderus
Dec 26, 2022, 7:46pm

>184 bell7: Gadzooks! Forsooth! To imagine even popping a top on that kind of sticky, supersweet ditch-water...just no!

Have you seen the Lester's Fixins sodas on that page? Sweet corn! Ranch dressing!! Bacon!!! *urp*

I need a Tums or six.

189bell7
Dec 27, 2022, 7:35am

>187 Storeetllr: Thank you and same to you, Mary! Yeah, I was thinking of the socks rather than stockings. I'm actually really glad that it's perfectly acceptable not to wear any kind of nylons now, since I find them itchy and annoying hahaha. Though I do still have some knee high stockings hiding in my sock drawer somewhere.

>188 richardderus: I find most sodas too sickly sweet now, tbh, and can't say I find the sound of corn, ranch dressing or bacon soda all that appealing either. I think I'll stick to finishing the eggnog today and then go back to my normal water/milk/seltzer thing.

190bell7
Dec 27, 2022, 7:58am

Wordle 556 6/6

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Starting my streak over but wow, that was tough! ARISE, POUTY, MOOCH, COLON, CONGO, CONDO and I'm a little surprised guess five was accepted.

191bell7
Dec 27, 2022, 8:09am

Well, good morning! I'm back to work today, 12-8. Hard to know what to expect - the week between Christmas and New Year's is often quiet but we were closed yesterday for the holiday and today is a skeleton day so some staff are out on their holiday (I took the day after Thanksgiving as mine). But the night shift, I expect, will be very quiet even with just two of us on from 5-8.

My morning will be leisurely, for once. I have plenty of food cooked for today and tomorrow, the house is still fairly tidy from hosting Christmas breakfast, and I'm not taking down decorations until next week at least. I'm planning on reading contentedly and, if I feel the need to be productive, starting to knit a pair of socks.

192bell7
Dec 27, 2022, 8:48am

Best reads 2022 (not including rereads) -

4.5 stars
Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn
Caste: the origins of our discontent by Isabel Wilkerson
The winners by Fredrik Backman
The hero of ages by Brandon Sanderson
By the book by Jasmine Guillory
The grief of stones by Katherine Addison
The Thursday murder club by Richard Osman
The book eaters by Sunyi Dean
True biz by Sara Novic
The Raven tower by Ann Leckie
These precious days by Ann Patchett

5 stars
Ain't burned all the bright by Jason Reynolds
Did ye hear Mammy died? by Seamas O'Reilly
The hands of the emperor by Victoria Goddard
The Twyford code by Janice Hallett (comes out Jan 2023)

I have a couple of books that I expect to finish before Dec. 31 and it's possible one of them will be added, but it certainly won't supplant any of these 15.

193klobrien2
Dec 27, 2022, 9:06am

>190 bell7: I squeaked by today with a 6 also. Used a bunch of weird words! Ugh!

Karen O

194Storeetllr
Dec 27, 2022, 2:23pm

I got today’s Wordle in 4, but it was a really annoying word.

I’ve read 4 of your best books of the year and loved all of them, plus I have the Goddard on my TBR list. Now, I’ll be checking out the rest of yours and doubtless will be adding to the TBR list. Joy!

195Familyhistorian
Dec 27, 2022, 4:42pm

I remember hunting my library for The Twyford Code after you wrote about it Mary. They didn’t have it but thanks for the reminder. I’ll have to have another look later.

196Berly
Dec 27, 2022, 6:07pm

>195 Familyhistorian: I've read 3 of your best books. How nice to have that many to list!

197bell7
Dec 27, 2022, 10:01pm

>193 klobrien2: It was a weird one, wasn't it?

>194 Storeetllr: Oh excellent! Always nice when we share some favorites :)

>195 Familyhistorian: Does your library let you put books on hold before they're out, Meg? Looks like it comes out January 24 in both the U.S. and Canada. (I had an ARC on my Kindle courtesy of the publisher)

>196 Berly: It's fun to see where our tastes overlap, Kim. I read a lot of good books this year, and had rated several more 4.5 stars, so I went through and picked out my favorite of that bunch.

198bell7
Dec 28, 2022, 8:40am

Wordle 557 4/6

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That was... Interesting. I'm surprised I got it in four. ARISE, MONTH, LIMED, IMPEL.

199bell7
Dec 28, 2022, 9:12am

Happy hump day! I'm going in 12-8 again today, covering for my boss who's out for the rest of the week. I've decided I'd rather go grocery shopping than cook this morning, so in a little bit I will go do that. At work today, I have only an outline of a plan. I'm on the desk about half the time, and most of my energy will be dealing with people (co-workers and patrons) and making sure there's enough projects for volunteers. If I get the chance in the evening, I want to work on describing/cataloging one of our photographic collections, but I'm not sure how realistic that will be.

Still reading the same books: I am a third of the way into Girl, Woman, Other and still getting used to the style, and I have about 100 pages left in The Book of Goose, so there's a good chance I'll finish it today or tomorrow.

200richardderus
Dec 28, 2022, 11:05am

>199 bell7: Sounds positively sluggish by your standards. I hope you've delegated a volunteer to come jiggle your chair once an hour to wake you up.

*smooch*

201bell7
Dec 28, 2022, 11:29am

>200 richardderus: Meh, it's more like knowing my limits. There's a higher level of stress and putting out fires whenever my boss is out, so I really can't plan on doing more than that at work, and this crop of volunteers needs a lot more... erm... guidance in tasks, which will be the equivalent of jiggling my chair haha.

202curioussquared
Edited: Dec 28, 2022, 12:00pm

>192 bell7: I haven't read any of your best books this year, Mary, but many are on my TBR!

ETA: Oh that's a lie. I read By the Book but I think you liked it a bit more than I did.

203richardderus
Dec 28, 2022, 12:18pm

>201 bell7: It's a function that needed fulfilling, so I'm glad they're going to keep you alert. And having to be the fire chief for the whole library is definitely a time-eater.

204Berly
Dec 29, 2022, 12:27am

Good luck dealing with the stress as you fill in for the boss!

205bell7
Dec 29, 2022, 7:47am

>202 curioussquared: well it'll be great to see what you think when you get to them, Natalie! I hadn't read anything else by Jasmine Guillory when I read By the Book, which may have affected my expectations some.

>203 richardderus: yes, definitely a time eater, though thankfully no crises yesterday.

>204 Berly: thanks, Kim!

206bell7
Dec 29, 2022, 7:48am

Wordle 558 4/6

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ARISE, POUTY, MACHO, HAVOC.

207bell7
Dec 29, 2022, 7:51am

I'm off to get blood work done (just regular stuff prior to my annual doctor's visit), then to work. Making dinner tonight, probably soup.

I forgot one of my books at work yesterday with about 50 pages left, so rather than finishing it last night I'll have to wait till tonight to complete The Book of Goose.

208msf59
Dec 29, 2022, 8:15am

>192 bell7: Great list, Mary. Thanks for sharing. I need to get to Caste. It just keeps falling off my TBR list. I plan on reading The Winners early next year and These precious days also graced my best of the year selections.

Sweet Thursday!

209bell7
Dec 29, 2022, 7:10pm

>208 msf59: Thanks, Mark! I was glad Caste was a book club read last year, keeping it from sliding off the TBR list (same with Killers of the Flower Moon, which we'll be reading in January). I'll look forward to your thoughts on The Winners.

210bell7
Dec 29, 2022, 7:27pm

130. The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li
Why now? I think I read a review that made me interested in the book, but I neglected to actually add it to my TBR list and have just had the book out from the library a couple of times over the last couple of months, finally reading it now when it's due next.

Agnès now lives in the United States with her husband and taking care of her geese, but when her mother writes her and mentions in passing that Fabienne has died, Agnès reminisces about the past and the intense friendship she and Fabienne had as young teens growing up in rural France just after World War 2.

The story is deceptively simple, starting out with their friendship and games, and reminding me a little of Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend. But it soon diverges and becomes very much its own story. Agnès claims that she was the passive one doing Fabienne's bidding, but ultimately I think Agnès is still telling her own story and either fabricating events or rewriting them to suit her own purposes, maybe even a self-deception to release herself from fault. There are some beautiful lines in the book, and those who enjoy literary fiction will find a lot to mull over. I felt distanced from Agnès, despite the fact that she was narrating the whole story, and got a little bogged down in the middle, but overall I'm not sorry I read it. 3.5 stars.

211richardderus
Dec 29, 2022, 9:24pm

>210 bell7: I had almost exactly that same response to Billy-Ray Belcourt's novel (review tomorrow) but think it came from a more intentional place in his work. Still, feeling distanced from characters is almost always going to end up being a negative to me.

Have a lovely Friday! *smooch*

212bell7
Dec 30, 2022, 7:52am

>211 richardderus: agreed, I don't like having distance. I want to know and root for the characters and feeling like I'm being held at arms length is not a pleasurable reading experience for me. I'll look forward to today's review! *Smooch*

213bell7
Dec 30, 2022, 7:53am

Wordle 559 5/6

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A satisfying puzzle and couldn't even be annoyed that I didn't get it in four (though I really thought I had it for a second). ARISE, POUTY, ROMAN, MORAL, MOLAR.

214bell7
Dec 30, 2022, 8:06am

TGIF! I'm working 9-5 today and my regular volunteer thing is on hiatus for the holidays, so I have a lighter day than usual. I was going to start a dogsitting job, but they got Covid and aren't traveling for a few more weeks.

Yesterday on my way out the door, I forgot my lunch, so I bought it while at work, and had the planned lunch (California rolls from the grocery store) for dinner and didn't cook after all. I had taken a couple of containers of soup out of the freezer, so one of those will be today's lunch. I finished the book, then started watching Doctor Who from the Christopher Eccleston series, while knitting a pair of socks.

Work has been good with just the right balance of feeling busy and accomplished. I've finished much of describing a photographic collection that I had a volunteer working on before the pandemic started, and "just" have to assign some subject headings to get it finished up and ready for digitizing. Most of them are of the library construction in 1968 and staff from around that time, and I'm hoping that many of them were taken by library employees for us to own the copyright (some were taken by a photographer whose copyright won't run out until 2044).

Tonight I will make cauliflower kale soup to try to a new recipe. I planned a week of mostly soups just in time for a warm spell haha.

And tomorrow is a glorious day off with nothing in particular planned. I know it's New Year's Eve, but I'm not inclined to stay up super late if I don't have to and will most likely tidy up the house, take a walk to the cemetery, read, and call it a good day.

215kidzdoc
Dec 30, 2022, 9:39am

Your NYE plans sound very good, Mary, especially since tomorrow looks to be a washout in the Northeast. I'll make a traditional New Year's Eve/Day meal, namely Hoppin' John (black eyed peas with pork shoulder and bacon over rice), collard greens and cornbread, which Southerners of all backgrounds prefer to eat to ensure good luck and wealth in the New Year. See you in 2023!

216MickyFine
Dec 30, 2022, 6:23pm

>214 bell7: I have a lot of fondness for Eccleston' Doctor and that first series. It's wobbly and decidedly lower budget than later years but still so fun.

Sounds like an excellent, laid-back plan for your NYE, Mary. I hope it's super relaxing.

217bell7
Dec 31, 2022, 7:43am

>215 kidzdoc: That sounds really lovely, Darryl! Hope you have a great New Year's.

>216 MickyFine: it's an enjoyable rewatch, Micky, and only my second time through. If pressed, I would pick favorites, but really I enjoyed every new Doctor/companion dynamic I was presented with after I'd had a bit of time to get used to it.

218bell7
Dec 31, 2022, 7:51am

Wordle 560 5/6

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I was challenged today! ARISE, POUTY, FLAKY, BALDY, MANLY.

219bell7
Dec 31, 2022, 10:23am

Happy New Year's Eve! So much for having nothing to do today... one of the folks at the library called in sick, so I've decided to go in for a couple of hours so that one person doesn't have to stay on the desk for the entire 9-2 shift.

I did get a walk in this morning, and went up to the local cemetery. As I stopped and started to turn to leave, a guy got out of his car and wanted to know if I was okay. I panicked a little and hightailed it out of there, but really, why would you start to approach a woman walking alone and yell out to her are you okay, you're wandering around? when there's no one else in the cemetery. Good lord. I was wandering around because I was taking photos and adding memorials to FindaGrave and have been trying to work my way through a section somewhat methodically making sure I got them all, and also because I was looking for a flat gravestone of my great-great grandparents and when I determined it wasn't in the section I was in (and, yes, saw the car and realized - being at the top of the cemetery - that there was no one else in the cemetery), I turned sharply off the grass to get back to one of the main roads and start walking home. Not that I owed - or gave - an explanation. Sheesh.

Anyway, I got home not long ago and got dressed for work. I have to drop off an Amazon return at a UPS store (I'm hoping the CVS near my house and on the way to work counts as one, but if not I'll take a longer drive later), will plan on going into work about 11-1 or so, and then I *might* head up to a yarn store for their year-end sale.

I made taco soup last night instead of the cauliflower. Depending on how I'm feeling this afternoon, I may cook or I may not. I'll have plenty of time to putter around at home and possibly finish up Girl, Woman, Other in time for the new year.

220richardderus
Dec 31, 2022, 11:39am

>219 bell7: A year-end yarn sale? How the neck could you say no?!

I'm sorry you have to go in, but I think it's a lovely and very fair thing to go in for on your nominal off-day.

>218 bell7: You will not be surprised that today's word only took me 3....

221bell7
Jan 1, 7:31am

>220 richardderus: No, I know your second words and in this case, I know it helped!

222bell7
Jan 1, 7:45am

131. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Why now? Originally added to my TBR list on Mark's recommendation in 2020. The e-book/audio combo was available through the library when I was looking for my next read in that format, so I started when I'd finished In Every Mirror She's Black.

Bernardine Evaristo's Booker Prize-winning book tells the story of 12 different women and non-binary folk who are all connected by blood, friendship, or history. Amma starts: she's putting on a play after a long history of writing about Black lesbians and being largely ignored by critics, but this may be her big breakthrough. Her daughter Yazz is next, followed by Amma's friend Dominique.

As we move through each set of three, the play stays central to the timing, both at the beginning and end of the book, but we are introduced to a variety of women - some Black, some mixed race, some young, some old, some gay - and get to see how they cross paths with each other and where they're really coming from in interactions they have with other characters. You come away with sympathy for many, if not all of them, trying to live their lives to the best of their ability, as imperfectly as we all do. It took me awhile to get into the rhythm of the story - each sentence is its own paragraph, there are no periods, and little by way of other punctuation - and I almost didn't finish the book, but ultimately I'm very glad I persevered. It's a rich book and the ending really pays off. 4 stars.

223bell7
Jan 1, 8:19am

December in review
131. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
130. The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li
129. The Seeker and the Monk by Sophfronia Scott
128. In Every Mirror She's Black by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
127. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
126. Nomadland by Jessica Bruder
125. Misfit City, Volume 2 by Kirsten Smith et al.
124. Misfit City, Volume 1 by Kirsten Smith et al.
123. Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun
122. The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
121. Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk
120. The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

Did Not Finish
None this month (12 for the year)

Books read: 12
Rereads: 1
Children's/Teen/Adult: 0/2/13
Fiction/Nonfiction/Plays/Poetry: 11/1/0/0
ABC Challenge: Yiyun Li was born in China and moved to the U.S. as an adult, so The Book of Goose could count for this month or a previous one

Because I want to awards:
Most challenging, but I'm glad I read it - Girl, Woman, Other
Twisty mystery to recommend - The Twyford Code

YTD stats -
Pages read:
36,181
Avg pages a day: 102
Books by POC authors: 58 (44%)
DNF: 12

Thoughts: 2022 was an excellent reading year. The most common ratings I gave were 4 or 4.5 stars - 50 each - so the majority of what I read are books I would recommend to others. I had a few 5 star reads (a couple of rereads, which I didn't count towards my favorite of the year). The ones that were less than 4 stars were either stretch reads, such as a book that I may not have picked up on my own but fit the Asian Book Challenge, or books for book club that I felt obligated to finish.

My reading was mostly fiction at 78%. I read about 72% paper books, 27.5% e-book, and one lonely audio. Both of those stats stayed pretty comparable to 2021. I read more children's and YA this year than last, but adult books made up the majority of my reading (68.7% in 2022). My most regular genres were general fiction (31.8%), fantasy (17.8%), historical fiction (12.4%), and memoir/bio (10.1%). The rest were in single digits including, a little surprisingly to me, science fiction.

My goals for 2022 were to read at least 50% books by authors of color, complete the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge, read at least a book a month for the Asian Book Challenge, and read at least 12 books that were first published outside of the U.S. or U.K. I gave up on the BookRiot challenge partway through the year to concentrate on the others. Though I didn't always read them in the theme month, I did read over 12 books for the Asian Book Challenge, and I also read 20 books that were originally published outside of the U.S. (12 of these were in translation). I didn't quite make my goal of 50% books by authors of color, but my percentage didn't drop from last year's 44% either, and overall I'm happy with that.

I'm taking a break from hard-and-fast reading goals in 2023, but I'll still track the same numbers. I'm using the BookRiot Reading Log that you're welcome to view and copy to use yourself. I love that it's all set up for me with tracking and graphs, and allows me to compare my reading since I started tracking like this in 2019. One major change I'm making is that I'd been using "Nation of Origin" to mean the book, but in 2023 I'll be putting in that of the author to better match the map I'm keeping of reading around the world.

224bell7
Jan 1, 8:28am

And that's a wrap on 2022! Come join me on my 2023 thread if you haven't already.