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Stacia

April 11 to 14 -- Reading in the era of the WTM boardpocalypse

Boardpocalypse gave me...  

17 members have voted

  1. 1. What did the boardpocalypse give you time to do?

    • Eat cupcakes
      3
    • Look at kilt photos
      0
    • Read
      14
    • Declutter, organize papers, garden, or other house-productivity
      11
    • Lounge around
      9
    • Wander the far reaches of the internet while waiting for the boards to return
      11
    • Exercise
      2
    • Travel
      3
    • Try something new & exciting (please elaborate)
      2
    • Use my crock pot
      1
    • Work
      3
    • Ponder space travel or quantum physics
      2
    • Run for political office
      0
    • Herd cats (or dogs, or goats, or chickens, or ...)
      7
    • Drag race
      0
    • Cry
      5
    • Dance
      1
    • Knit or other crafty activities
      6
    • Climb Mt. Everest
      0
    • Binge-watch my favorite tv series
      7


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Ok, trying to create another thread here. I mean, I'm posting but find this format a bit confusing for posting & for reading!

I actually did little reading during boardpocalypse. Gasp! Started & abandoned a few things. Flipped through a few others that didn't even hold my interest enough to count as starting.

Did read & finish:

A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley (can't remember if I posted about finishing that one pre-board takedown...?)

The Winter Station by Jody Shields (will post more later)

Just had to say something book-related! Lol.

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There is a new construction project going on two doors down.  The incessant pounding/shrill sawing was really getting to me so I escaped to Sicily with Inspector Montalbano. I found that I could download audio versions of the books and so I listened to three of them over the past week, week and a half.  Wearing ear buds mitigated the noise.

I also read The Door by Magda Szabó (translated from the Hungarian) which Pam had sent me ages ago.  It was my pleasure to mail it to Penguin who recently admired her writing.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is another of those really short volumes that I should probably not list but it did inspire me to cull the stack of dusties into something slightly more manageable (well maybe).

And then there was Sofi Oksanen.  Eliana and I read Purge a couple of years ago, an atypical book for both of us with the level of violence towards women but one of those books that seems necessary to those of us who keep vigil.  Her second novel that was translated into English, When the Doves Disappeared, has been on my to read list.  I am glad I did.  Set in Estonia during the Nazi occupation and twenty years later during the Soviet, this is a book about survival and the challenges of maintaining one's principles when the basics of life are lacking. It was not as heart wrenching as Purge (for which I am grateful) but this novel gave me pause.  I think it is very easy for us to assume how we would act in dire situations but I wonder...   Eliana, I think you can handle this one. Not a book for people who need happy endings...

Let me offer a quote from the Swedish Death Cleaning book:

Quote

There is always a young person starting a new life, starting a new home, wanting to read everything by Somerset Maugham (I admit this one is rare)."

I did not part with any Maugham but I did send a box today to one of my son's childhood friends, a young woman starting her life in another place. It felt great to pass some cherished items along.

 

 

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I read A Meddler and her Murder by Joyce Porter and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. The first was found in the thrift store. It is a British mystery featuring a very non-feminine woman called the Hon Con (Honorable Constance) and her "dear friend" who keeps house for her. The Hon Con fancies herself a detective and tries to out detect the local police in a murder on the next street over. 

The second book I found at the Polk County, NC, library book sale, while I was visiting my dad last week. I remembered that Jane (I think ?) had recently read it. I made my husband take me to the library when we had some time to ourselves. When we walked in the door, I gasped. It is a gorgeous modern library. You enter the reception area from the parking lot, only to find out it is a loft above the main library which goes down behind a hill. The back wall is full of long windows that look out onto the woods and there is an outdoor reading deck. I asked the librarian how old it was. She proudly said it was eleven years old. Then she added, "We are so fortunate. Isn't it awesome." I agreed. 

I'm not quite sure what I think of the book. 

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I've had a bad couple of weeks, I am having some weird histamine intolerance/mast cell overload thing, which has rendered me pretty much allergic to being alive. At least the eating part of being alive. I had a bad run-in with two prescription meds and am now trying to figure out what alternatives help & don't make things worse. And what I can eat without flaring up. I'm off of cheese, chocolate, avocados, solanums, red wine, and anything else fermented. So on top of no gluten, that has me on a pretty limited diet. Silver lining, I've lost 5 pounds. But I really missed complaining to you guys!

I haven't been working and I've barely been teaching, so I have got quite a lot of reading in. I listened to Notes on a Foreign Country, which was great, and has inspired me to read even more widely - recent history and novels about American/Americans written by other people, whether immigrants or those who have been affected by the US's actions in the world. And I'm designing a cool & different US History class, assuming Shannon can ever do school again.

Books I've finished during the blackout:

Kintu - a multi-generational Ugandan epic. Wonderful, highly recommended

Clade - a very interesting post-apocalyptic novel, where the apocalypse is the long, drawn-out effects of climate change, affecting a family over several generations. Both sobering, and strangely hopeful

Tomorrow's Kin - a first-contact near future speculative fiction, with a really awesome & unusual protagonist for sci-fi: a 50+ grandmother, scientist, a woman who is flawed in very human & believable ways, but who knows what matters.

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning - as you can imagine, terribly sobering evaluation of what happened, where and when, and the larger political and social forces that allowed the Holocaust to happen where, when and how it did. Who collaborated, who resisted, who lived, who died. Doesn't give you a great deal of faith in humanity as a species.

I missed you guys! I'm not loving the new format, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. This past week with the Forum up but the Lit Hub still out of reach was even  harder to take than the week the whole thing was down! So close, but so far away . . . 

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1 hour ago, Jane in NC said:

Yes, I fell in love with Muriel Spark this year. How is your dad? And Polk County is gorgeous!

I'm not sure how to answer the question. As good as he can be, I guess. He is not depressed. He had the first chemo round the week before last. Delayed chemo effects began while we were there last week. He lost his appetite and that irritated him more than anything else. The brother who does not live with my dad and I have done a lot of communicating what we hear. We both get slightly different stories from dad and my other brother. He has also been communicating with the cancer research nurse assigned to dad's case. The cancer is more extensive than we had been originally told by my dad. We've accomplished a lot of business stuff and mapping out schedules for the next couple of months. Dad was very helpful and willng to get stuff done. The chemo's first effect was to make his breathing easier, which helped. 

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A great deal of my time while the boards were down was spent preparing for and then celebrating Pesach (Passover).. including a lovely visit home by one of my grown daughters.   We're still fumbling about at bit at getting used to the pace of regular, non-holiday life again. 

 

I read 20 books while our group was down (not counting what I've read this week, which I'll save for the usual Sunday update):

2 plays:

The Little Tommy Parker Celebrated Colored Minstrel Show by Carlyle Brown and I Ain't Yo' Uncle  by Robert Alexander.  The former is an uncomfortable glimpse of the lives of black minstrel performers in the waning days of such shows and the latter is a "revisionist Uncle Tom's Cabin", which is framed by calling Stowe to account for her sentimentality and stereotyping.   I've read another play of Brown's which I liked much better, but this one was moving and interesting.  The Alexander play felt as if it could have dug into the issues more, but was interesting.

 

2 poetry books:

Whereas by Layli Long Soldier and I Shall Not Be Moved by Maya Angelou.  The former was a powerful work addressing US-Native history and relations and the poet's own life and identity.  the latter was not Angelou's best and I wasn't in the right mood to appreciate it.

 

3 works of literature:

The Blue Fox by Sjon - sparse, haunting, and powerful, but cold and more distant than I prefer. 
A Coin in Nine Hands by Yourcenar - masterfully done.  The story shifts as coin changes hands while showing characters in Mussolini's Italy... relatively early on, before things got really grim, when it was still possible to support the government with some claim to innocence.  Jo Walton has a short story inspired by this, which I really need to go reread now...
Tolstoy, Rasputin, Others, and Me by Teffi - I read a Teffi collection that was mostly short stories the other week and followed it up with this collection which is mostly non-fiction (there are two overlapping the pieces, the Rasputin and Tolstoy ones).   Jane, I really think you would appreciate Teffi, if you haven't tried her already.

3 non-fiction works:

Brothers and Words Will Break Cement by Masha Gessen.  The former traces the families, perpetrators, and aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing, the latter the development of Pussy Riot (an anti-Putin activist/artistic group in Russia) leading up to their big action and the arrest, trial, and imprisonment of a few of the main figures.   Both are very nicely done, with careful, non-sensational, coverage.  

The latter I read more personally given my own activist work... and the upcoming trial of a friend of mine (next week!) for questioning an officer as he complied with instructions to move backwards.  The over the top police response (I was standing next to him as he was tackled, roughly handled, and hauled away and had a long conversation with the arresting officer afterwards which left me baffled and disappointed... and more than a little disillusioned) is trivial compared to some of what happens here, let alone in Russia, and the bewildering, Kafka-esque choices by the prosecutor's office are similarly small potatoes, but the cost of protest hit home.  ...especially as one of my valve turning heroes is in prison as we speak for his acts of courage and conscience.  (another received a suspended sentence, one got only community service, and the other two are awaiting trial, where they will be allowed to present a necessity defense.  If you want to read more about them in this article, if you are interested.)

 

All of which made the other book very timely: Trauma Stewardship which talks about how to do this kind of work and maintain (or recover) one's emotional well being.   It shows that prolonged exposure to the trauma of others can result in secondary trauma (this is true for activists, but also for caregivers).  It has given me much food for thought and I know I will be returning to it again.

10 works of fiction:

Including: Radio Free Vermont (amusing, but ultimately disappointing, it didn't have any of the depth I'd hoped for), 3 Sherwood Smith rereads, Girl in the Tower (Arden's use of the threat of sexual violence and the claustrophobic tone continue to bother me greatly.  I also find I am too tense reading these to really say I've enjoyed them, though I do appreciate her use of Russian folklore.  I think I prefer the first one, though.), two juveniles, a novella, and Connie Willis fluffy reread (Light Raid - very silly, not anywhere near her best), and a Heinlein (!), not just any Heinlein, but one of his worst (A Cat Who Walks Through Walls.  The plot is absurd in a bad way, the sexism is more overt than in some, the poorly argued libertarian insanity is excessively ranted, the second half features cameos by all his favorite characters, and lots of his 'everyone has sex with everyone else, and its how the world should be'.)  Why, you might ask, did I subject myself to this?  I'm not quite sure.  It was a little like those weird pregnancy food cravings (no, I'm not pregnant), where I felt an odd need to read this.  ...and I'm reading another later Heinlein (this one with a plot), which I might even finish.   Perhaps I should check my literary temperature...

 

I think that covers it all... I tried to link everything, even when I didn't talk about it, so you can see if you're really curious (or you can ask about anything you want me to burble or rant more about... )

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2 hours ago, Chrysalis Academy said:

I've had a bad couple of weeks, I am having some weird histamine intolerance/mast cell overload thing, which has rendered me pretty much allergic to being alive. At least the eating part of being alive. I had a bad run-in with two prescription meds and am now trying to figure out what alternatives help & don't make things worse. And what I can eat without flaring up. I'm off of cheese, chocolate, avocados, solanums, red wine, and anything else fermented. So on top of no gluten, that has me on a pretty limited diet. Silver lining, I've lost 5 pounds. But I really missed complaining to you guys!

Kintu - a multi-generational Ugandan epic. Wonderful, highly recommended

 

Boo on the food restrictions. I'm having a bit of trouble again too, because dd is home for the week, so I'm actually eating. 

 

I'm in the middle of Kintu as well! I am always surprised by what I've ordered from the library. Mostly by the time they come in, I've forgotten who told me to read it and why.

 

I must confess that when I checked 'herding chickens' above, I really meant threatening them with a broom for waking me up before proper daylight begins.

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Crying, cupcakes and telly.

Dd20 was back in hospital over Easter, while dd18 was visiting from uni in Melbourne. 

I binge read everything Mick Herron's written (spy stuff).

Read some Germaine Greer. 

Went to see my mum perform in a play. Outside the theatre, people could write their dreams on huge posters. Someone had written 'read Eliot's 4 Quartets.' This made me feel a bit better about binge reading spy fiction, because I have lived that person's dreams. 

Obsessively watched everything the British actress Nicola Walker is in. 

Learned a poet friend and mentor died - a copy of her last book found its way into my hands, through a series of co-incidences. I haven't read it yet, because I want to always have something of hers new to read.

Going to see the author of Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong in May.

Dd18 went home and I miss her (

 

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6 hours ago, Chrysalis Academy said:

I've had a bad couple of weeks, I am having some weird histamine intolerance/mast cell overload thing, which has rendered me pretty much allergic to being alive. At least the eating part of being alive. I had a bad run-in with two prescription meds and am now trying to figure out what alternatives help & don't make things worse. And what I can eat without flaring up. I'm off of cheese, chocolate, avocados, solanums, red wine, and anything else fermented. So on top of no gluten, that has me on a pretty limited diet. Silver lining, I've lost 5 pounds. But I really missed complaining to you guys!

I haven't been working and I've barely been teaching, so I have got quite a lot of reading in. I listened to Notes on a Foreign Country, which was great, and has inspired me to read even more widely - recent history and novels about American/Americans written by other people, whether immigrants or those who have been affected by the US's actions in the world. And I'm designing a cool & different US History class, assuming Shannon can ever do school again.

Books I've finished during the blackout:

Kintu - a multi-generational Ugandan epic. Wonderful, highly recommended

Clade - a very interesting post-apocalyptic novel, where the apocalypse is the long, drawn-out effects of climate change, affecting a family over several generations. Both sobering, and strangely hopeful

Tomorrow's Kin - a first-contact near future speculative fiction, with a really awesome & unusual protagonist for sci-fi: a 50+ grandmother, scientist, a woman who is flawed in very human & believable ways, but who knows what matters.

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning - as you can imagine, terribly sobering evaluation of what happened, where and when, and the larger political and social forces that allowed the Holocaust to happen where, when and how it did. Who collaborated, who resisted, who lived, who died. Doesn't give you a great deal of faith in humanity as a species.

I missed you guys! I'm not loving the new format, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. This past week with the Forum up but the Lit Hub still out of reach was even  harder to take than the week the whole thing was down! So close, but so far away . . . 

The James Bradley Clade ? I don't normally read AU fiction, but this sounds right up my alley. 

My one claim to fame is that I was once in Vogue Australia with James Bradley.

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2 hours ago, Stacia said:

Hugs to Angela & Rose & anyone else who needs it. ((((())))).

The ALA (American Library Association) put out its list of the top ten most challenged books of 2017.

 

 

There are two on that list I would not buy for a school library, in the spirit of boycott, not ban.

The one that got my goat was The Hate U Give, cited for 'pervasive vulgarity'...what ?! I've read (part of) that book, and vulgarity didn't occur to me as a prime concern.

'

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I'm not reading much again. I finished Rethinking School (and promptly recommended it to my sister who has a little boy who is not enjoying his time in school). I have started reading Free-Range Kids, which is mindless, and preaching to the converted, but hey ho.

My time recently has been taken up by my kids and my house. Two of my boys have become obsessed with horses so we recently started a loan of a pony for one of them, and bought a little horse for the other one. It has been really exciting, but I've been out of the house even more than normal. My daughter is in training for a national climbing competition during the last week of April. She is hoping to be selected for the national team this year, so wants to do well.

We bought an old house at the end of last year. We have been living in it, but not very much works well - the bathrooms are all pink and the carpets all floral and the kitchen all brown :) It needs completely remodelling - which is hugely exciting, but very time consuming. After much deliberation, we have finally decided on the cooker we want. One decision down! (We are going to have an AGA if anybody is interested, because we have a big, old, rural farmhouse)

(And that concludes the longest post about myself that I think I have ever written on the internet!!)

 

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So glad to see people popping back in.

Just a reminder (for those that like more privacy) that right now, the Lit Hub is NOT private. I am trying to get that fixed but until then, all posts are public.

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10 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Boo on the food restrictions. I'm having a bit of trouble again too, because dd is home for the week, so I'm actually eating. 

I'm in the middle of Kintu as well! I am always surprised by what I've ordered from the library. Mostly by the time they come in, I've forgotten who told me to read it and why.

I must confess that when I checked 'herding chickens' above, I really meant threatening them with a broom for waking me up before proper daylight begins.

I get so very hangry when I'm hungry. I haven't been hungry much the past couple of weeks, but yesterday afternoon I about lost my mind when I realized that one of the few things I can eat was gone - one of my horrible, inconsiderate children had eaten the last of it the night before.  Maybe the completely catatonia inducing effect of the antihistamine is better than starvation rage? Still trying to achieve chemical equilibrium and figure out what I can eat without throwing a massive rash.

I really enjoyed Kintu. I'm reading another multi-generational family epic right now (Pachinko) which, while I appreciate it, hasn't engaged me nearly as much as Kintu did.

5 hours ago, StellaM said:

The James Bradley Clade ? I don't normally read AU fiction, but this sounds right up my alley. 

My one claim to fame is that I was once in Vogue Australia with James Bradley.

Yep, that's the one. Matroyshka read it awhile back and liked it. I've read a lot of postapocalyptic fiction. This was very different - more whimpers than bangs, since we're talking about old TS. And set in Australia. Funny, I read two dystopian novels set in Australia back-to-back (The Natural Way of Things was the other) and enjoyed them both - the stance is familiarly western but enough different from the US to provide a not exactly contrasting worldview, but definitely a different angle on things. As opposed to the African novels I've been reading, and Pachinko, which really take me out of my skin. 

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I have missed you all too!  I confess I am not much of a Boardie but this little corner has been a haven.  Here's hoping the old posts can migrate and we're all private again.

And hugs to all!

I guess I have been reading.  We didn't have much of a Spring Break at all, as I feel we're behind in schoolwork...plus the weather has been crap so we may as well be holed up inside.  Seriously, snow in April?  Yes.

Here's the book rundown. 

Outline, by Rachel Cusk: writer hosts workshop in Athens, has innate ability to get people to tell her everything.  Like everything she writes, even veiled, the characters are very much Herself and though I love her writing, I feel she's rather bristly and mean on the page so probably in real life too.  Then I wonder why we (I?) expect women to be "nice".  Why can't she be a jerk?  Be you, lady.

The Dark Net, by Jamie Bartlett.  It is a bit of a primer on the development of the internet, and its divergence, at its beginning, into the visible and invisible.  I was under the impression it was a new book but it's from 2014, which I know by VC's standards that is a newly minted penny, but in terms of the web and data stealing hijinks of late, it's old news. 

The 36-Hour Day, by Nancy Mace/Peter Rabins, another primer, this time for Alzheimer caregivers.

Random Family,  by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, nonfiction about two families in the drug riddled Bronx of the 80s/90s. I cannot say I liked it, but it did remind me that bad choices are universal.

Flat Broke with Two Goats, by Jennifer McGaha, a local library group read.  It has been a while since I have hate-read something.  You'd think I would like a book about the process of becoming a family dairy, as that is what we have...but it was so full of hubris and stupidity and milquetoast inaction by the author (supposedly the near-universal story of being underwater on one's mortgage during the downturn...and nonpayment of taxes, etc.; Adult Already People).  I think it's good for me to hate-read, though; it clears the sinuses.

And finally a re-read, by audiobook, of My Name is Lucy Barton.  Much better as audio, as I disliked it before.  This was for bookclub.  I see now that it's part of a series; not sure I want to re-visit these folks again.

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I don't think I want to veer into multiquoting yet, so some thoughts:

Stacia, I hope you enjoyed your break...?  Jane, I am eager to read Barbara Ehrenreich's latest, am first in line at my library when it comes in; apropos of your Swedish Death Cleaning (which I endorse heartily having had to clean out my mom's house in Feb, 90% of which was unwanted crap): Natural Causes.   (I have your other books on my TR list now too, thanks.)  Rose, girl, I had to look up mast cells.  It's bad enough that Shannon is out of commission, I had no idea you're ailing as well.  Hopefully you have a decent allergist?  I am glad you liked Suzy Hansen's book, my feelings about it are all of the category of "where's this been all my life" scales falling from mine eyes, etc.  OUaT, I feel for you with your dad; I think the hardest thing about all of this is the (seemingly sudden) realization that there's nobody to whom we can appeal for help/etc.  The burden of generational decisions falls to us! Heavy lifting, indeed.  Eliana, you as ever seem such a font of strength, of course I am looking not just at your book tallies with admiration but with life too.  And it makes me wonder how many children you have! (says she with one who often feels overwhelmed).  I hope you feel better, physically...spiritually as well.  Rosie, yikes, take care! and enjoy your daughter's visit.  Stell, oh my, (any) Vogue? I think you've lived many lives.  Nicola Walker is a recent fave here too as Dh has a bit of a crush on her after River, so now we're consuming Unforgotten and had just finished another series where she was unrecognizable.  Emma, thumb's up on the AGA! I have only installed one in my many projects; most people here like Wolf ranges which aren't about radiant heat at all.  :)

 

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1 hour ago, Chrysalis Academy said:

I get so very hangry when I'm hungry. I haven't been hungry much the past couple of weeks, but yesterday afternoon I about lost my mind when I realized that one of the few things I can eat was gone - one of my horrible, inconsiderate children had eaten the last of it the night before.  Maybe the completely catatonia inducing effect of the antihistamine is better than starvation rage? Still trying to achieve chemical equilibrium and figure out what I can eat without throwing a massive rash.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with mast cell issues.  My dd19 with EDS has huge mast cell problems (after growing up with zero allergies, now it seems like she's allergic to everything!!) - she's on something like three antihistamines at a time, Quercitin (she says that really helps), and has recently gotten a real doctor to prescribe her a mast cell stabilizer.  Anyway, so sorry you're miserable, and hope the flare passes soon and you can eat more again...

Quote

I really enjoyed Kintu. I'm reading another multi-generational family epic right now (Pachinko) which, while I appreciate it, hasn't engaged me nearly as much as Kintu did.

Kintu's on my TR list for this year; I'm thinking I might move it up the list.  I have to say I found Pachinko kind of meh, which I found odd because it seems like it would be right up my alley.  I listened to it on audio and didn't love the narrator, and that probably didn't help.  Good/so-so/bad narrators certainly can affect my experience of a novel in one direction or the other.  But I also felt it went on and on and brought in side stories (like one character's cop friend but there were more) that didn't seem to have any real need to have their own chapters, and didn't tie back in to the overall narrative later to make it feel like there was a reason this person's story was being told.  Seemed like padding in what was already a veeery long book.

Quote

Yep, that's the one. Matroyshka read it awhile back and liked it. I've read a lot of postapocalyptic fiction. This was very different - more whimpers than bangs, since we're talking about old TS. And set in Australia. Funny, I read two dystopian novels set in Australia back-to-back (The Natural Way of Things was the other) and enjoyed them both - the stance is familiarly western but enough different from the US to provide a not exactly contrasting worldview, but definitely a different angle on things. As opposed to the African novels I've been reading, and Pachinko, which really take me out of my skin. 

 

I did really like Clade, and the Australian setting and perspective was a nice change from so much US-centered fiction in this vein.  

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10 hours ago, Stacia said:

The ALA (American Library Association) put out its list of the top ten most challenged books of 2017.

 

Thirteen Reasons Why is a book I really think people should read.  It's very thought-provoking.  And SO much better than the Netflix show.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was also a book that I thought was thought-provoking.

To Kill a Mockingbird being challenged due to racial slurs is just mind-boggling.  I mean, hello? The point?

Those are the only three on that list I've read (still trying to convince myself to read a book with U in the title instead of you - and yes I know why that is the title).  All three I would describe as thought-provoking and books that people should read.  I guess thought-provoking is a bad thing.  Heaven forbid we have our own thoughts.

17 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

I'm so sorry you're dealing with mast cell issues.  My dd19 with EDS has huge mast cell problems (after growing up with zero allergies, now it seems like she's allergic to everything!!) - she's on something like three antihistamines at a time, Quercitin (she says that really helps), and has recently gotten a real doctor to prescribe her a mast cell stabilizer.  Anyway, so sorry you're miserable, and hope the flare passes soon and you can eat more again...

1

After we moved to Texas I'd cough for 6-8 months of the year.  A guy at taekwondo told me to start taking quercetin.  It's a wonder... um, whatever it is (flavonoid apparently).  I don't cough and even my itchy eyes during allergy season are better.  I've been not so great about taking it this year and I'm paying for that.  Back on it every day without fail now!

 

So books I read during and after the great blackout...

Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison by Lois Lenski. Pre-reading for Fritz.  I liked it.  There's a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome there I think (it's based on a true story from back during the French and Indian War), but the Natives really did treat her nicely and she had no other family when she decided to stay with them permanently (since they had been killed).

Covered in Darkness by Heather Sunseri, Shot in Darkness, Desired in Darkness, and Protected in Darkness by Heather Sunseri.  Third, fourth, and fifth books and a side book (#2.5) in a series by an indie author I like.  They are thrillers with a bit of romance thrown in.

The Second Mrs. Gioconda by EL Konigsburg. Pre-reading for Fritz.  It is a possible explanation for why da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa.

Columbus: Lies of a New World by Alexander Kennedy. Pre-reading for Cameron.  It's a pretty balanced and concise presentation of Columbus and his voyages.  Shows the good and the bad of the man.

Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale.  First Squirrel Girl book.  I read it to the boys for their bedtime story, but my daughter wanted to hear it, too, and my husband enjoyed it as well.  It was so funny.  Fritz giggled through most of it.

Half a Heart by Karen McQuestion.  It's about a 9yo boy who is abused by his father and also has been mute for a few years.  The chapters jump around to different people.  There are really multiple stories going on even though Logan's story is the main one.  It's so good.  I very highly recommend it.

 

Speaking of Heather Sunseri, an indie author I like... She's writing a romantic suspense serial with a bit of a twist.  Every Tuesday she'll post a chapter or two (the first is up).  At the end is a poll with a few options for what happens next or what something means or whatever.  Readers get to vote in the poll until Friday and she'll continue on the story based on how people vote.  Pretty fun.  Here's the first installment: https://heathersunseri.com/2018/04/a-crimson-homecoming-romantic-suspense-serial-part-i/

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I feel like I've had a bunch of stuff going on.

Bookish Thing #1: The coolest thing that happened is that my son finished the first draft of his sci-fi novel. He worked on it for over a year, and it is over 100,000 words. I will be a beta reader whenever he is ready for me :)

Bookish Thing #2: I went to see The Winter's Tale at the Folger Shakespeare Theater in DC. Swoon. Also saw the cherry blossoms at peak bloom along the Tidal Basin. Swoon.

Health Thing #1: I had my annual  MRI done. It was the first time in this state. The report came back as incomplete because the imaging enhanced well circumscribed "somethings" on both sides. I had a bilateral mastectomy in 2006, and the "somethings" are in the vicinity of my scars/implants. The location and the regular borders (well circumscribed) were good signs. BUT it wasn't until the images could be compared with my previous images that the "somethings" could be declared stable since 2015 and therefore marked as benign findings on an amended report. I see my oncologist next week to discuss it all. I didn't cry about it, but I came close.

Health Thing #2: My skin has been flaring on my face since January. I haven't cried about it, but I have sure come close.

Off to google Quercitin.

 

ETA: Read a little, enjoyed some houseguests, and took the youngest on his first college visit.

 

 

 

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In the category learning new and exciting:

I have singing lessons since february or so, and while the board was down I reached a high note. Obviously there is no relationship :D But it is good to find my notes back :) 

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I love the poll! I did wander the far reaches of the internet but nothing satisfied my online social interaction like WTM. 

I listened to Dante's The Divine Comedy while going through a bunch of old family photos, many of them black and white. I scanned in a bunch, put aside the ones I want to keep, and am selling the rest on eBay. I find it odd that people will buy old photos of total strangers but my other option would be to trash them. No one in the family wants them - I checked. I already sold my dad's photos from when he was stationed in post WWII Japan. He was there from March to December of 1946. The others are actually from earlier and are of my mother's family (my great grandparents) when they first arrived from Italy. 

Does it count as herding cats if there are only two? I'm still playing referee between our cats. Things are getting slightly better in that they don't seem to spend their days planning how to get rid of the other cat. 

I started crocheting a blanket for granddaughter due in late August. We try not to do gender stereotypes but with such a boy-heavy family everyone is having fun buying, making, or planning to buy pink stuff. So yes, the blanket is pink.

My reading, in addition to The Divine Comedy didn't increase much. I finished Imagine Me Gone and really disliked it. We had our meeting this past Monday and only one person liked it. The person who chose it didn't even like it and kept apologizing to us. However, even though we didn't like the way it was written or any of the characters, it gave us much to talk about.  Without popping over to Goodreads to check, I don't think I finished We Were Eight Years in Power until after the boards came back, though prior to the return of clubs. That was an excellent book. It took me a long time to read it because there was so much to think about. I'd read a section, put it aside while I digested what I just read, read another section and do the same. I'm also not sure when I finished listening to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I loved that one. My current audio book is a bio of Alexander the Great.

I'm making good progress on Middlemarch and will try to get the discussion posts up. I'm at my regular Thursday babysitting gig (my great nephew) and he's napping now. No telling how long he'll sleep. After I leave here I'm meeting dh for dinner and we'll probably watch a movie when we get home. I promise they'll be up no later than tomorrow afternoon.  Like many of you I want to discuss it with others. Just because I'm leading it doesn't mean I understand it all. I'm just someone who's already read it. :)

Finally, I'm also rereading Emma. It's perfect for bedtime reading because I know the story so well and it doesn't require a lot of thought, so I can just enjoy it and know what's coming next. 

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4 hours ago, fastweedpuller said:

  Emma, thumb's up on the AGA! I have only installed one in my many projects; most people here like Wolf ranges which aren't about radiant heat at all.  :)

 

Wolf was one of the names we have also considered. Not many people have them here. Do you do kitchens???? 

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29 minutes ago, EmmaNZ said:

Wolf was one of the names we have also considered. Not many people have them here. Do you do kitchens???? 

I do.  It's honestly something we pawn off to kitchen contractors as far as nuts and bolts, but outlines of how the kitchens go together is part of the job.  My work is mainly 2nd/3rd homes her in Michigan (for Chicago people) and then apartments in NYC, with the occasional commercial project.  NYC work has us picking appliances to get the choices past building boards/standards so sure Subzero/Wolf are pretty standard fare.  But...with central heating an absolute given in the States there's next to no reason for an AGA unless you, uh, want one :)

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6 hours ago, fastweedpuller said:

I don't think I want to veer into multiquoting yet, so some thoughts:

Stacia, I hope you enjoyed your break...?  Jane, I am eager to read Barbara Ehrenreich's latest, am first in line at my library when it comes in; apropos of your Swedish Death Cleaning (which I endorse heartily having had to clean out my mom's house in Feb, 90% of which was unwanted crap): Natural Causes.   (I have your other books on my TR list now too, thanks.)  Rose, girl, I had to look up mast cells.  It's bad enough that Shannon is out of commission, I had no idea you're ailing as well.  Hopefully you have a decent allergist?  I am glad you liked Suzy Hansen's book, my feelings about it are all of the category of "where's this been all my life" scales falling from mine eyes, etc.  OUaT, I feel for you with your dad; I think the hardest thing about all of this is the (seemingly sudden) realization that there's nobody to whom we can appeal for help/etc.  The burden of generational decisions falls to us! Heavy lifting, indeed.  Eliana, you as ever seem such a font of strength, of course I am looking not just at your book tallies with admiration but with life too.  And it makes me wonder how many children you have! (says she with one who often feels overwhelmed).  I hope you feel better, physically...spiritually as well.  Rosie, yikes, take care! and enjoy your daughter's visit.  Stell, oh my, (any) Vogue? I think you've lived many lives.  Nicola Walker is a recent fave here too as Dh has a bit of a crush on her after River, so now we're consuming Unforgotten and had just finished another series where she was unrecognizable.  Emma, thumb's up on the AGA! I have only installed one in my many projects; most people here like Wolf ranges which aren't about radiant heat at all.  :)

 

I just finished Unforgotten too, and Last Tango in Halifax. There's just something about her face...

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(((Rose, Angela), Penguin)) and (((Eliana))) though you posted about difficult times on another thread here. 

 

 

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Dd just woke up and did the test. It thinks she's a working class, young bloke with a high school education. Ha. 

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36 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Upper class woman in her 40's with post grad education. Help! I'm an upper class lady trapped in a working class life!

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1 minute ago, StellaM said:

Upper class woman in her 40's with post grad education. Help! I'm an upper class lady trapped in a working class life!

I think I can climb the social ladder if I read more book reviews.

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Just now, Rosie_0801 said:

I think I can climb the social ladder if I read more book reviews.

Time honored way to ownership of capital.

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I finally finished Pachinko. I felt kind of meh about it too. It was interesting from a histfic perspective, I learned much I didn't know about the relations between Koreans and Japanese in Japan during and after WWII, and I"m glad to have done so. But as a gripping story, it kind of failed: the characters were very flat and I ultimately didn't care about them very much, and about 2/3 of the way through began to find it very tedious. Ah well, moving on.

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I can’t remember what I’ve read since the board blackout. Somewhere in there we went on vacation to Texas (San Antonio and Austin). It was just me and the two younger kids (11 and 8). Dh and 14 year old son were in Chile on a missions trip. We had a fabulous time in Texas....all of you SA or Austin boardies have great cities! But the vacation then combined with extended board break have left me feeling like I haven’t posted here in a really long time. 

I’m currently reading The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher. It’s interesting...I don’t agree with a lot of it but some of it I do. I’m mostly reading it because he’s speaking at a local private school and I thought it would be interesting to go. I’ve read other of his books and it seemed like a good opportunity. But I figured I should the book before hearing him speak on it. :) 

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Wait -- the clubs have been up for 24hours? 

The boardpocalypse was a long and dark time. I'm glad it is coming to an end!! I found I spent less time on the internets than usual. I also:

Played violin (well duh, it's what I do, but Holy Week was a blur of rehearsals and services)

Went on a quilter's retreat in wine country and succeeded in quilting while drinking wine.

Got my muscles nice and sore from gardening. I'm aiming for that arid but tropical look -- think succulents, salvias and palm trees.  

Listened to some podcasts, one of which I wanted to share: It is a Penguin Podcast with Neil Gaiman discussing how he and Terry Pratchett wrote Good Omens. It is delightful and interesting, and a must listen for those of you who are fans of either author or of the book. 

I started listening to some Spanish stories for learners in both podcast and youtube format.

And read some books!

Middlemarch: I'm about halfway through book 7, so almost done. It remains a delightful read. 

The most recent Elizabeth George mystery, The Punishment She Deserves, was a pleasant return to the kinds of mysteries George used to write. And, Jane will appreciate this -- the Annoying Character was missing entirely from the action!

I'm about half way through an excellent mystery by Chilean author Ramon Diaz Eterovic, Dark Echoes of the Past. It's got a very noir vibe to it, and the mystery is tied to the nightmare of the Pinochet regime. Unfortunately it looks as if this is the only mystery to have been translated into English, and I'm not quite ready to read one in the original. 

And I'm about 100 pages into River of Doubt, a nonfiction book about Teddy Roosevelt's expedition in South America in 1914. 

 

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Thanks for the head up,  Jenn. Elizabeth George novels are excellent airplane books--except when a certain annoying character becomes a distraction. 

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I'm apparently an 18-24 year old working class woman with a vocational education.

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20 minutes ago, Butter said:

I'm apparently an 18-24 year old working class woman with a vocational education.

Hmph.  I'm an 18-24 yo middle class dude with a vocational education. 

Apparently most people in that category pick Classical and Alternative as their favorite music choices?  I didn't recognize a single 'modern' musical act except AC/DC, and I said I didn't like them.  Weird that young folk are so out of touch.  I thought it was 'cause I was old.  And apparently these voc-tech young dudes like literary and historical fiction and talking about books online weekly.  I guess I must be a guy because I don't like romance as a genre??

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3 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

As for me:  "Your cultural tastes are most similar to a working class woman, aged 18-24 with a high school education."

Well, I'm a woman.

We're almost twins, Heather!

Regards,
Kareni

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Huh. I tested as a middle class woman, 18-24 with a post graduate education. 2 out of 3! It was an odd test. I was totally stymied by the music section because I PLAY  orchestra, opera, ballet, musicals and bluegrass and contemporary pop (Christian pop at church, but still....) I answered as an audience member. And the range of music, tv and books that you had to have listened, watched, read and liked/dislike was a little odd, maybe the choices too obvious. It was all music you'd hear at the mall. I would have thought I would have come out much older -- AD/DC and Madonna and Dolly Parton are what us old folk listened to way back when, and let me tell you from experience, the audiences for classical music tend to be even older folk!

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12 minutes ago, JennW in SoCal said:

Huh. I tested as a middle class woman, 18-24 with a post graduate education. 

I got that too.

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4 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

There are a lot of Australians I haven't heard of but it was actually spot on. Middle class woman 60+ with a post graduate education. Yes, I am.

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I was thinking maybe the non-Aussies got pegged as young people because we don't know Aussie authors or TV shows?  And I'm still strongly suspicious that no romance made me a guy...

But what questions toggle to more or less educated, I wonder?  I said I did all reading activity weekly and did a lot of the cultural events (I've done all of them, but mix them up so none every year except dance and museums which weren't even listed, so I had to pick between 'once a year' or 'never' - I thought that was really poor quiz design!) - I can't figure out which of those questions make you post-graduate vs. vocational.  Was it because I didn't know any of the pop singers?  I don't watch sitcoms or reality TV? I only read 1-3 Australian authors last year? What the heck did you guys check off?

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Knowing and liking the music of Peter Sculthorpe was probably the only question I answered that I can see acting to sort me (the upper class wheat) from the chaff (you lot)  :)

 

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7 hours ago, JennW in SoCal said:

 

The most recent Elizabeth George mystery, The Punishment She Deserves, was a pleasant return to the kinds of mysteries George used to write. And, Jane will appreciate this -- the Annoying Character was missing entirely from the action!

 

 

Yay! I have this one on my TBR pile and am saving it for our May beach vacation. I’ve been disappointed by the last few books in the series so it’s good to hear this one is a return to the older ones. And I bet I know who the Annoying Character is. :) 

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5 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

I was thinking maybe the non-Aussies got pegged as young people because we don't know Aussie authors or TV shows?  And I'm still strongly suspicious that no romance made me a guy...

But what questions toggle to more or less educated, I wonder?  I said I did all reading activity weekly and did a lot of the cultural events (I've done all of them, but mix them up so none every year except dance and museums which weren't even listed, so I had to pick between 'once a year' or 'never' - I thought that was really poor quiz design!) - I can't figure out which of those questions make you post-graduate vs. vocational.  Was it because I didn't know any of the pop singers?  I don't watch sitcoms or reality TV? I only read 1-3 Australian authors last year? What the heck did you guys check off?

My dd was judged a bloke even though the only author she'd heard of was Jane Austen. We all know tradies like a bit of Austen on their lunch breaks. rofl

 

Did you scroll down to look at the charts? Apparently reading classical lit is a thing only us try-hard, would be if we could be's do. Properly posh people don't need to bother with that kind of guff. 

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3 hours ago, StellaM said:

Knowing and liking the music of Peter Sculthorpe was probably the only question I answered that I can see acting to sort me (the upper class wheat) from the chaff (you lot)  :)

 

So I'm a mere middle class pleb because I'm bad with names? Anyhow, now I've had time to look him up on Youtube, I've found I like him too.

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2 hours ago, StellaM said:

I'd like to read Jo Nesbo's Macbeth.

So do I. And having just seen The Winter’s Tale, I want to read the Hogarth one of that.

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