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Penguin

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  1. I'm with Kathy @Lady Florida.. No plague reading for me! I don't like to read books about scary things that might actually happen to me. That's the reason that I doubt I will read Capote's In Cold Blood even though I have loved the novels that he wrote, and it seems weird to read everything by an author except for that author's most renowned work. The only home-invasion-true-crime that I choose to read is about the Manson murders. I already know so much about them that I don't get scared. Which reminds me, that a couple of Manson-related new books are out that I have not yet read. I read The Hot Zone about ten years ago. Yikes. I get chills just thinking about that book. I can read paranormal scary with no problem.
  2. @Quill I have been following your lovely trip, and I am sorry that you have been presented with a cause for concern now. In my cancer-survivor-non-expert opinion, I don't think you would be considered immunocompromised. Chemo is the big immunocompromiser. And maybe the fatigue from radiation. We currently have plans to attend our son's graduation in The Netherlands in May. At the moment, I am thinking about how to avoid ending up in a lockdown. I am thinking that renting a tiny airbnb canal house might be our best bet.
  3. With regard to reading material, I could probably be quarantined until I reach my 100th birthday. Foodwise, I would need Doordash or Instacart by about Day 3. I finished two books this week, and rated both with five stars. Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote. Southern Gothic at its finest. Capote was 23 when this book was published in 1948, and it was a bestseller. Michelle Obama's Becoming. I rarely listen to audiobooks, much less audiobooks that are 19 hours long. I enjoyed both her writing and her audio narration. For me, it was like two different books. There was so much in her life that I could relate to, right up until they Barack Obama's 2004 speech at the DNC. After that, their life changed completely and I then enjoyed reading about a lifestyle that is almost beyond my comprehension. One of my favorite relatable moments: She talked about driving around in Barack Obama's car, and his car had a very special feature on the passenger side. When we first met, my husband's car had the exact same feature. When you looked down, you could see the road through the rust hole in the floorboard 🙂
  4. Not Little Italy, but we recently had a great meal at Eataly near the Flatiron building. It is an Italian marketplace with a wide range of restaurants, including some that do not require reservations.
  5. I finished Abigail by Hungarian author Magda Szabo. I didn't realize it going in, but this was written as a YA novel. Even though it just became available in English, it was originally published in 1970. It wouldn't stand a chance in today's YA market, but as an old-fashioned YA novel, I think it was fantastic. I think the GR description is off. Abagail does not make me think of Jane Austen nor of Hogwarts. While I enjoyed the suspense, it kind of fails as a mystery. I am not a mystery reader at all, and I figured out the mystery early on in the book. I recommend Abigail, but with the caveat that it does not rise to the level of The Door or Iza's Ballad. I am at the midway point of Bavian by Naja Marie Aidt. Sigh. I wanted to love these short stories. They have won so many awards! I appreciate them, and I appreciate the excellent writing. As a compliment, I would say that they seem like Flannery O'Connor transported to 21st century Denmark. Modern Scandinavian Gothic? Is that a thing?! But they nevertheless strike me as formulaic. There will be a twist. A gritty aspect of modern society will be highlighted. @Violet Crown and @Maus I have loved everything that I have read by Thomas Merton, but it has been a long time since I have read him. Thanks for the reminder. Ever since I found out that his monastery in Kentucky (Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani) hosts retreats, I have daydreamed of going on a retreat there. @Negin Thanks for bringing The Blue Castle into the conversation. I didn't read Anne of Green Gables until just a few years ago, and while I only read the first book I really loved it. @aggieamy I always feel like I am late to the party when it comes to reading! @JennW in SoCal I hope the narrator on the Neil Peart book is good. I picked up several while they were free, and most of them have the same narrator. @Lady Florida. Glad to read that your move is coming along!
  6. I have three finished books to comment on: Astrid Lindgren: The Woman Behind Pippi Longstocking. by Jens Andersen. Highly recommended. I knew that Astrid Lindgren (AL) was beloved in Sweden, but I did not realize how powerful she became. She ran the Children's Fiction department of a leading publisher for 24 years, and was very influential in the publishing industry. And what an energizer bunny! She wrote all morning (using shorthand) then worked at her publishing job. In her later years (after about age 60), she became very outspoken about political causes, and people listened to what she had to say. In addition to being passionate about women's rights and the rights of children, she spoke out about the tax laws, nuclear power, and animal rights. I had known that she had had a child out of wedlock when she was very young, but I did not know the details. She was only 19 and the father was both much older and in the midst of a bitter divorce. She gave birth in Denmark because the laws regarding single mothers were preferable to those in Sweden in 1929. She ended up leaving her baby in foster care in Copenhagen until he was three. It sounds like foster care was really sketchy in Denmark at that time, and it was thus a stroke of fantastic luck that her son had a good foster mother. When her son was three, he went to live with her parents for a year. I think he was four before he lived in the same household as AL. She only saw him periodically those first four years because she was living in Stockholm. Living through that difficult time heavily influenced both her philosophy and her fiction. Affairs at Thrush Green (Thrush Green #7) by Miss Read. Not my favorite in the series, but still enjoyable. However, there was again a love triangle with a melancholy outcome for one of the involved parties. This love triangle was much better written than the one in #3 because it touched me rather than made me furious with Miss Read. Oscar Wilde's Fairy Tales. This was a disappointment. It was an audiobook with great narration - big names like Judi Dench, Derek Jacoby, and Jeremy Irons. But I found the stories themselves to be completely forgettable. @Lori D. Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of my favorite books. Have you seen the movie? It is unfortunately not one that is easy to source. As far as I know, it is only on DVD. Disney really went through a really interesting horror-movies-for-kids movie phase in the mid 1980s with both this movie and Return to Oz.
  7. I have some thread catching up to do, but for the moment I just want to congratulate you, Amy, @aggieamy for getting your book to the finish line. I hope the flu does not derail your family, and that your little guy bounces back quickly. Lucky you, @mumto2 for being Amy’s reader!
  8. I just did chat with amazon and I am supposed to reorder. Sounds like my pre-order indeed vanished. Sigh.
  9. Can anyone tell me how amazon pre-orders work? I place a book on pre-order for the first time ever, and I am confused. The release date was today. I see no record of my pre-order nor it does not show up as an order. And the book shows an out of stock message 😞 It was Hungarian author Magda Szabo's Abigail, in case you are wondering. It was published in Hungary in 1970 but is just now being released in English.
  10. I seem to read The Hobbit and LOTR once every decade or so. I am going to skip this readalong, as I did re-read the series fairly recently. However, I have lots of other Tolkiens on my shelf that I would like to read so perhaps I will actually get to them this year! These are the books that I have completed thus far in 2020. I don't think I previously posted about any of them. Two of them were started at the end of 2019 Love of Country: A Journey through the Hebrides by Madeleine Bunting. I thank @JennW in SoCal for leading me to this one. I really knew nothing about the Hebrides before I read this. The bibliography alone is a treasure. It took me quite some time to get through, because I paused to Google so very many things. I think the book was excellent when it stuck to the history and geography of the islands. I did not enjoy the travel writing parts much, but they were a relatively small percentage of the narrative. I think I added at least ten to my TBR thanks to this book. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I thought is was as charming as everyone said it was. First Ladies: NPR American Chronicles hosted by Cokie Roberts. I loved listening to this, although I hesitate to call it a book. It is really a series of NPR interviews stitched together by Cokie Roberts. Well, audible considers it a book and so does Goodreads so by golly, I'm counting it as a book. It was excellent, and I will listen to more of the series.With this, I am launched my First Ladies reading project. I have a long-term project to read one biography or autobiography about each First Lady. If you have any to recommend, I'd love to hear your recommendations. The Age of Anxiety by Pete Townshend. This is Pete Townshend's (from The Who) first novel. Parts of it were extremely creative and parts of it were icky. I loved the way the many hallucinations were woven into the story, but I despised the ending. Soldier: A Poet's Childhood by poet/activist June Jordan. This was also an audiobook. I loved every minute of it. June Jordan, the only child of Jamaican immigrants, grew up in Harlem and Brooklyn in the late 1930s / early 1940s. This memoir only covers up to age 12, which is rather unusual.
  11. @Dicentra It was 2019 that we came up with the 10x10 challenge. Both @Violet Crown and I have commented that we did not finish our 10x10s, but that we were carrying them over into 2020. So, see, even if you join a challenge you get to modify it to suit your own needs and desires 🙂 I'm thinking about expanding my 10x10. Since I started playing with you guys in 2017, I have kept detailed book lists on Goodreads and in my paper notebook. I'm thinking about looking through those three years of lists and making a new, ongoing notebook of categories. One of my goals for this decade is to fill up the nice notebooks that I have accumulated. As for audiobooks, I often have to hit that "back up 30 seconds" button. I do not listen to a lot of audiobooks in comparison to other posters. I normally only listen to them when I have a long drive. But this month I have been listening a lot more than usual. I am trying to hurry up and finish three audible books so that audible will gift me with $20 - a mere token for the untold thousands that I have spent since amazon launched. But, by golly, I'm gonna get my 20 bucks!
  12. Well, for one thing your German is an entire league above my Danish! Sure, with these old poems it is also vocab and usage. While searching around the internet, I found pleas for help from desperate Danish high school students who have to read this old stuff 🙂 The biggest recent language change that comes to mind is that all of the formal pronoun forms have disappeared - unless you are talking to the Queen.
  13. @Violet Crown I do wonder if my Danish is good enough yet for Kierkegaard. The biggest problem with even making the attempt is that the orthography of the language underwent a massive change in 1949. Anything printed before then is very hard for me. Sometimes I can find a reprint with updated spelling and punctuation, and that makes a huge difference. But those reprints are not really all that easy to find, since perhaps it is the equivalent of rewriting Shakespeare into a No Fear version? But you made me curious to look. So far I have found one for The Sickness Unto Death and Fear and Trembling. Uh-oh! Now I have no more excuses for avoiding Kierkegaard! I am currently working my way through 100 Danish poems. The Danish is on the left and the English is on the right. I have just hit the 1800s and it the language is just starting to look familiar.
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