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Melissa M

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Melissa M last won the day on November 19 2012

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About Melissa M

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    Bookish and Odd

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    Books, bardolatry, backyard birding

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  1. With The Good Soldier, I reached 151 books read this year, 120 of which were from my shelves. Over on Goodreads, I had selected 104 as my original challenge goal but eventually updated that to 120. More recently, I changed it to 156, but now I wonder: Is 208 a realistic goal? ■ Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Ruth Franklin; 2016. Non-fiction.) My unplanned Jackson unit began in May with We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which I read and then watched. In June, after reading Sheila’s review of Shirley, I promptly grabbed Merrell’s novel from the shelves, then watched the film. W
  2. Oh, this brings back lovely memories! When My Ideal Bookshelf came out eight years ago, I gave the photo below to my daughter, who drew a beautiful piece that now hangs in my bedroom.
  3. Since my last post, I’ve finished seven books, bringing my total to 142 books read to date. ■ Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man (Mary L. Trump; 2020. Non-fiction.) This was the soundtrack of most of the second leg (Massachusetts to Michigan) of our recent travels; I finished listening during one of our walks once we returned home. I agree with this reviewer: keenly observed, well written, and “the most convincingly empathetic chronicle of Donald Trump I’d ever read.” ■ A Separation (Katie Kitamura; 2017. Fiction.) This was well-review
  4. I am sorry to hear this. I hope you folks are all right.
  5. Hello again! With The Farm I arrived at 135 books read this year; 110 from the shelves. ■ The Return of the Soldier (Rebecca West; 1918. Fiction.) In May, when I finished Willa Cather’s Alexander’s Bridge (1912), I remarked that it was difficult to believe that was her first novel; it was so assured and true. West’s first novel is even more so — remarkable and memorable. p. 65 Even though I lay weeping at it on the dead leaves I was sensible of the bitter rapture that attends the discovery of any truth. I felt, indeed, a cold intellectual pride in his refusal to remember his prosp
  6. Hello! I hope you’re healthy and safe! My count now stands at 130, with 105 read from my shelves. ■ The Amateurs (Liz Harmer; 2019. Fiction.) Review here. ■ Postal: Deliverance, Vol. 2 (Brian Edward Hill; 2020. Graphic fiction.) ■ Ascender, Vol. 2: The Dead Sea (Jeff Lemire; 2020. Graphic fiction.) Hoopla has enabled me to keep up on series that interest me. ■ The Tao of Pooh (Benjamin Hoff; 1982. Non-fiction.) This is a somewhat different book now than it was when I first read it. The story of the author’s difficulties with the publisher are chronicled on his website.
  7. I finished two more books in June: #123 Circe (Madeline Miller; 2018. Fiction.) Read with my older daughter as part of our informal summer reading program. Both of us described it as a page-turner and finished it in one day. Related links here and here. #124 The Godmother (Hannelore Cayre; 2019. Fiction.) Light and quick with a few witty observations. Perhaps it will work better as a movie? p.16 People say I’m bad tempered, but I think this is hasty. It’s true I’m easily annoyed, because I find people slow and often uninteresting. For example, when they’re banging on about
  8. With White Fragility, I reached my goal of reading 100 books from the shelves this year. Diangelo’s treatise also put me at a total of 122 books, which exceeds my Goodreads challenge goal of 120 (recently raised from 104). With six months remaining in the year, the suggestion that I raise the goal to 240 did not go unconsidered, but July will be a busy month for me, and I would like to tackle a few reading “projects” later this summer and into autumn. More about that in another post. Here are the books I’ve read since my last post. ■ The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor
  9. Since my last post, I have finished only three books, all of which were read from the shelves: #110 After the Fall (Arthur Miller; 1964. Drama.) My husband and I recently saw the TimeLine Theatre production of To Master the Art, which centers on Julia Child’s years in France. That McCarthyism figures in both that play and, of course, Miller’s provided one of those moments of readerly intersection I so appreciate. #111 Coraline (Neil Gaiman; 2002. Fiction.) Has it really been eighteen years since this was published? Review here. #112 Gang Leader for a Day (Sudhir Venkatesh; 2
  10. *waving* Late to the party this week. I have read five more books, for a year-to-date total of 109, 88 of which are read from shelves (RFS). That puts me a dozen books from reaching my goal of one hundred read from shelves. ■ Rodham (Curtis Sittenfeld; 2020. Fiction.) ATY A sympathetic portrait and engaging what-if. Reviews here and here. p. 47 I liked being around other people during the day, and I was relieved to be alone late at night; it was the latter that made the former possible. In fact, setting up my nest often made me think if a Wordsworth phrase I’d learned in English cl
  11. Hello, BaWers! I hope you're all healthy and safe. I've read 29 books since my post on May 3, which puts me at 104 for the year. The order of the books in my posts is roughly that in which I finished reading the books, although I do sometimes cluster related titles to remark on them as a set. The object is to gather the mental slips of paper I’ve tucked into each book — passages I hope to remember, articles and / or images I sought while reading, my reasons for choosing this volume or that, etc. ■ After I’m Gone (Laura Lippman; 2014. Fiction.) RFS ■ I’d Know You Anywhere (Laura Lip
  12. Hello, BaWers! 'thought of our little group when I read "The Exquisite Pain of Reading in Quarantine" in The Atlantic. Sending all of you "Stay safe!" and "Stay healthy!" thoughts. So... I’ve read 23 books since my last post, which puts me at 75 for the year, so far. Here's an annotated list. ■ Parnassus on Wheels (Christopher Morley; 1917. Fiction.) RFS I meant to read this ten or fifteen years ago, but I’m glad I didn’t because its innocence, humor, and bookish fun were something I needed now much more than then. p. 43 “Judging by the way you talk,” I said, “you ought to be
  13. Hello, BaWers! I hope you’re all doing well. Since my last post, I’ve finished fifteen books, which puts me at (drumroll, please) fifty-two. ■ Autobiography of a Face (Lucy Grealy; 1994. Non-fiction.) RFS p. 7 The cruelty of children is immense, almost startling its precision. The kids at the parties were fairly young and, surrounded by adults, they rarely make cruel remarks outright. But their open, uncensored stares were more painful than the deliberate taunts of my peers at school, where insecurities drove everything and everyone like some looming, evil presence in a haunted machine. B
  14. Hello, BaWers! I hope you’re doing well. Illinois is under a stay-at-home order, effective an hour ago. The Chicago Tribune article about the order has given me a recurring case of the chuckles, as it includes this assertion: Here are some of the books I’ve finished since my last post. ■ The Truants (Kate Weinberg; 2019. Fiction.) LIB A quick, entertaining read. I particularly relished the idea of Agatha Christie as a subject of academic inquiry. ■ Women and Power (Mary Beard; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS Mary Beard is a genius. Related link here. ■ Men Explain Things to
  15. Hello, BaWers! So far, I’ve read twenty-three books this year, fifteen of which are from my shelves and eleven of which are non-fiction titles. I’m off to a promising start, eh? ■ Highlights of the Collections of the Oriental Institute (Jean M. Evans; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS We revisited the Oriental Institute in December in anticipation of seeing An Iliad there next month. ■ The Mousetrap (Agatha Christie; 1952. Drama.) RFS Read in advance of seeing the Court Theatre production. ■ Trust Exercise (Susan Choi; 2019. Fiction.) RFS Interesting review here. ■ Ruther
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