Ellen seeks balance in 2019 - Thread 10
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= Breathtaking. Maybe a masterpiece.
= Excellent! Among my favorites of the year.
= Particularly enjoyable, kept me reading.
= So good. I'm glad I read this.
= A solid read. Generally recommended.
= This was an okay read.
= Meh. Pretty much a waste of time.
= Nearly no redeeming qualities. Really rather bad.
= Among the worst books I've ever read.
Honestly, I'm rarely going to complete any book earning fewer than two stars but I reserve the right to rate them based on my experience.
1. Death in a Darkening Mist by Iona Whishaw
2. Blessed are Those Who Thirst by Anne Holt
3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
4. Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
5. Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
6. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay ~ audiobook
7. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
8. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
9. The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens
10. Hotel Brasil by Frei Betto
COMPLETED IN FEBRUARY
11. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
12. Last Friends by Jane Gardam
13. The Proof of the Honey by Salwa Al Neimi
14. The Marauders: A Novel by Tom Cooper
15. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
16. Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey
17. The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
COMPLETED IN MARCH
18. Becoming by Michelle Obama
19. Faithful Place by Tana French
20. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
21. How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
22. The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
23. Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom
24. The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
25. Berlin Noir Ed. by Thomas Wörtche
26. West by Carys Davies
27. Auschwitz Violin by Maria Angels Anglada
28. The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
29. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
COMPLETED IN MAY
30. Benediction by Kent Haruf
31. Dancing Fish and Ammonites by Penelope Lively
32. The Merchant's House by Kate Ellis
33. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
34. Circe by Madeline Miller
COMPLETED IN JUNE
35. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
36. The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
37. Sugar Run by Mesha Maren
38. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
39. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
40. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
41. How to Love a Country: Poems by Richard Blanco
42. Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston
43. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
44. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
45. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Life and Writing by Anne Lamott
46. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
47. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
48. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
49. The Firemaker by Peter May
COMPLETED IN AUGUST
50. Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett
51. An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
52. A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths
53. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
54. The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs by Étienne Davodeau
55. Dry Bones: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson ~ audiobook
56. Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Frances Strachey
57. Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
58. If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O by Sharyn McCrumb
COMPLETED IN SEPTEMBER
59. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Şafak
60. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
61. Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss
62. Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
63. A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
64. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
65. The Handmaid's Tale (Graphic Novel): A Novel by Margaret Atwood (Author), Renee Nault (Illustrator)
66. The River by Jane Clarke (2016-01-29) by Jane Clarke
67. The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid
68. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
69. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei (Author), Harmony Becker (Illustrator)
70. Longbourn by Jo Baker
71. The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan
72. Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
73. Catfulness: A cat's guide to achieving mindfulness
74. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
75. A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
76. The Topeka School by Ben Lerner
77. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
COMPLETED IN NOVEMBER
78. The Scholar: A Novel by Dervla McTiernan
79. The Long Take by Robin Robertson
80. Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear
81. Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
82. The Body Lies by Jo Baker
83. Sovereign by CJ Sansom
84. When All Is Said by Anne Griffin
85. Severance by Ling Ma
COMPLETED IN DECEMBER
86. White Nights by Ann Cleeves
87. A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
88. The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves
89. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
90. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
91. An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson audiobook
92. The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina
93. Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson
94. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
95. The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths
96. There There by Tommy Orange
1969: P. H. Newby, Something to Answer For
1971: V. S. Naipaul, In a Free State
1972: John Berger, G.
1973: J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
1974: Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist ... and Stanley Middleton, Holiday
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1976: David Storey, Saville
1977: Paul Scott, Staying On
1980: William Golding, Rites of Passage
1981: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
1982: Thomas Keneally, Schindler's Ark
1983: J. M. Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K
1984: Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1986: Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1988: Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1990: A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance*
1991: Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1993: Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1994: James Kelman, How late it was, how late*
1997: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things*
1999: J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace*
2003: DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
2004: Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
2006: Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering
2010: Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
2019: Margaret Atwood, The Testaments, and
*On my shelves
Things I'm considering:
I'm hosting in December so I'm committed.
--- January is A and U so Unsheltered and Asymmetry or an Atwood, perhaps. Oryx and Crake will also fit the January RandomCAT for me.
Some kind of year-long Margaret Atwood clean-up
I own but have not yet read Hag-Seed, Oryx and Crake. I still need to read The Testaments.
I think I'm going to do Odd Month Atwood, so I'll read one in January, March, etc.
I also tentatively plan to tackle one unread Booker winner every month, not just in 2020 but until August 2022 at which point I should be about done. With so many things.
January: ~~ The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
March: ~~ Tracks by Louise Erdrich
I'm going to have to work hard to make books count for double....
Just keeping track of my plans for January:
1. The Bone Clocks (shared read with Kim and Beth)
2. Oryx and Crake (2020 Odd Month Atwood, RandomCAT, and AlphaKIT!!)
3. Unsheltered (AlphaKIT)
4. Into the Beautiful North (AlphaKIT double!)
5. A Booker winner not yet read.....
On the poetry front, if you can track down Felon: Poems, do so. It might be my favorite collection of the year.
Regarding The Starless Sea, maybe give it a try later. I enjoyed it, but it isn't one of the best books I've ever read. It was entertaining. I'm sure you could find something else to read. :)
>11 EBT1002: Of the ones I've read that you have still to read, I loved Paddy Clarke. Hope you like it when you come to it. He is such a talented writer, with an ear for how people speak.
I liked RD's advice on The Starless Sea, too. Your experience so far adds to the mixed reactions I've seen.
I started reading The Crow Trap yesterday and got pretty well into it. Then today during my lunch break (itself a miracle of miracles) I read some more in The Starless Sea. I think this will work for me -- taking it in shifts.
Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry (on hold at library)
The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
Trust Exercise by Susan Choi (on hold at library)
Normal People by Sally Rooney (on TBR shelves)
The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell
LOT: Stories by Bryan Washington
Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement. My Story of Transformation and Hope By Albert Woodfox with Leslie George
Doxology by Nell Zink
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann (on TBR shelves)
Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power By Pekka Hamalainen
The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy (on hold at library)
Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li
Women Talking by Miriam Toews
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe (on hold at library)
I'm woefully underread on that NYTimes list. other than Night Boat to Tangier, which was very good. I'll have to follow up and see whether any have appeal.
It's not as cold here as the photos suggest just yet but it will come!
>17 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. I hadn't really thought about the end-of-the-decade thing until I started seeing lists.
>18 msf59: Hi Mark. I am now pretty caught up in The Starless Sea. I think I needed that break that Richard suggested.
I'll make a note of Felon: Poems. I haven't read any poetry in a while.
>19 jessibud2: and >20 katiekrug: and >21 ffortsa: and >22 figsfromthistle:
Thanks for the thready wishes!
>24 drneutron: and >25 banjo123: Thank you both!
>26 charl08: Thanks Charlotte, and thanks for the input about the Booker winners. I am thinking about Paul's suggestion that I read one winner per month starting in January which would mean I'd finish the list right around the target retirement date (August 2022).
>27 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. Happily, The Starless Sea is going better now but I'll let you know how it lands as a whole. I still have a ways to go!
>28 johnsimpson: Thanks John!
>33 brenzi: Hi Bonnie. Thanks for the input. I'm looking forward to Say Nothing and I'll put Women Talking on hold. My hold list at the library is a bit out of control.... And I'm thinking about taking Normal People to Kauai with me next week.
>34 laytonwoman3rd: Ha. Cracked me up, Linda. I will indeed take my iPad with me so I can keep you all posted on my 10 days of island life. A few people have noted that it rains more in Hawaii in December. 74F and raining. I'll handle it. :-)
>35 BLBera: I'm on the list for Say Nothing, Beth, but I think it will take a while for my turn to come up. I am considering Normal People as one of my carry-alongs for vacation next week but haven't yet decided.
>38 jnwelch: Hi Joe! Yes, counting counting. I downloaded a countdown app on my iPhone and I have three things on it: Kauai next week, Oahu in March, and retirement in August 2022. Ha!
I've had Night Boat to Tangier on hold for a while. The queue seems to be moving slowly....
I went to the library tonight and almost walked out with Starless Sea but I opted for two children's books that I need to read for work.
Have a wonderful time on our favorite Island. Be sure to go to the fish shop in Kalua.
>43 maggie1944: Karen! Love to see you here. We fly to Kauai in 6 days but who's counting..... We will go to the fish shop in Kaloa. More than once. :-)
I don't know Kamaih but I will look into it.
>44 BLBera: I can't seem to find my copy of Normal People, Beth. I know I had it. P had it on her bedside table for a while but never read it. Now I don't know where it ended up. I may see how long the queue is for the library eBook.
Apparently 137 is a magical number per physics.
Woo Hoo! 137 week till retirement! Those weeks are gonna fly by.
Friends of ours are headed to Kauai too. Not sure exactly when. But, Bill and Jill are really nice people and Jill is a reader, or course :0)
I know, isn't the universe amazing that way? I love little resonances like that. I once had a book (I loaned it to my BIL and have never seen it since but that is another story) called This is Your Brain On Music. I had not finished reading it when I loaned it away and I want to reacquire it. It was full of that very kind of tidbit from the universe.
>49 jnwelch: Yep, 137 is probably the answer. That, or, we were set here to read.
>50 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. I know on some level the 137 weeks will fly by and I am torn between wanting to savor every one of them and tapping my foot in impatience. My new thing is to do both. I'm thinking some kind of countdown with joy imbedded within it will help. And I'm totally going to invest in what a friend has called "turbo-charged self-care" to survive the 137 weeks in good health.
Maybe we'll run into Bill and Jill on Kauai! *grins*
>51 Caroline_McElwee: Enjoy, Caroline. I must admit that I don't remember An American Marriage as well as the four stars would suggest but that is more normal than I would like.
>53 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. My countdown includes all days/weeks/months. I'm a big-picture kind of woman. 😀 It also means I can remind myself that some of those weeks (like next week and the week after!) are filled with vacation and holidays. 🎄🐠✈️🏕🏝
I completed The Crow Trap last night and I'm digging back into The Starless Sea.
This weekend I will gather together a small pile of books to take with me (along with my kindle, of course).
Wow what a beautiful image for the topper!
Each image and vignette in The Starless Sea is so beautifully written. And yet it's just not calling me to read on quickly. I'm not giving up - but at some point I hope it grabs my attention more than it has so far.
ETA- I think I will go with the audio, of The Starless Sea, which I all ready have in the wings.
Good to know about The Yellow House. I put it in my amazon (I know) shopping cart yesterday. Didn't click on "purchase" but it's there waiting for the mood to strike.
I'll be interested in how the audio of The Starless Sea goes for you. I am appreciating the book but it's also feeling, off and on, like a bit of a slog.
So I have Normal People and Frankissstein and There, There on the take pile for Kauai. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind between now and Tuesday night when the packing must be done.
I have End of the Wasp Season and The Outcast Dead queued up on the kindle, and Red at the Bone and Unsheltered ready for checking out and downloading.
I should finish The Starless Sea before we leave although it's slow going for me.
The western-most bookstore in the U.S. is on Kauai so if I need something else to read, I can certainly find it.
Imagine! Kauai has a bookstore! I live less than 30 miles from the epicenter of US publishing and there isn't a bookstore anywhere near.
Here are a couple of images from the web of Talk Story. It's not Powell's but it's a decent indie bookstore with a resident cat (I think -- there are those age-goggles again only this time it's age-memory. I will confirm and report back so that, if there IS a cat, you will be less envious).
>64 PaulCranswick: Thank you so much, Paul. I'm not sure counting down weeks to retirement at this stage is exactly healthy, but 136 weeks sounds manageable!
"I got to thinking all of this might be a halfway decent game if it were a game. Part spy movie, part fairy tale, part choose your own adventure. Epic branching story that doesn't stick to a single genre or one set path and turns into different stories but it's all the same story."
"You meet someone in a bar. You follow them or you don't.
You open a door. Or you don't.
Either way the point is: What happens next?"
This is an excerpt from the diary of Kat Hawkins, a major/minor character in this crazy, meandering, maddeningly boring novel, and it perfectly describes the novel itself. It's filled with stories within stories (some of them beautiful) and world-building that is perhaps brilliant but also agonizingly repetitive. I would just start to feel like I had gotten some traction, like the story was actually going to take me by the t-shirt lapels and lead me somewhere, and the narrative would descend yet again into describing a cave or a hall or a massive library full of symbols and metaphors and doors, always doors. And when the story/stories started to wrap up, Ms. Morgenstern's glee was discernible as she tortured the reader with eternal narrative about, well, the fact that the story was (mercifully but truly not quickly enough) ending. Or not ending. With this novel, you never know. It's part of the creative beauty. I think I'm actually glad I read it but it painfully occupied several hours that I will never get back again.
I need to attend to some Christmas matters like getting a box ready for sending to my sister. And I get to decide what next to read.
Last evening we did our annual watch of Love Actually. Even though I know it by heart, it's a fun tradition.
Have a good Sunday, Ellen, and enjoy your time off! Safe travels to you and P.
With travel just around the corner, I didn't check anything out but I could have walked out of the library with a copy of any of the following:
My Family and Other Animals
Sabrina & Corina
Girl by Edna O'Brien
Red at the Bone
Solitary: My Story of Transformation by Albert Woodfox
Don't Read Poetry by Stephanie Burt (okay, that hasn't been on my list but it looked interesting!)
I reminded myself that the library is open until 7pm most weekdays so I can stop by there on my way home from work any time I want.
Eighteen months in and I'm still adjusting to this new town.
>73 BLBera: The characters were interesting to me, Beth, but they never took hold. I agree that a gamer might enjoy the novel more as might a stronger fan of fantasy, etc. As I said, there were stories within that were quite lovely and engaging but the whole was maddening (for me).
>74 richardderus: LOL, I'll let you know if they have a cat, Richard. If they don't there will certainly be chickens all around as they are ubiquitous on the island. How do you feel about chickens?
>80 msf59: Thanks Mark.
Hmm, maybe I'll just do Odd Month Atwood and encourage folx to read whatever they have in the wings. Are there any by her that you have not yet read?
>81 BLBera: Hi Beth. So I've got some interest in Atwood but those three are not the right ones. I'll ask you what I asked Mark: which Atwood works have you not yet read?
>86 katiekrug: Oh good. I will plan for O&C in January. It will definitely be less intimidating if we do it together -- and I'm not HUGELY intimidated but it is interesting how many times I have looked at it and felt some intimidation --- so it fits that RandomCAT challenge perfectly! I briefly considered tackling Emily Wilson's Odyssey (talk about intimidating) but I don't want to "have to" finish it in one month.
"To the east are a half a hundred mountain ridges.
In the dusk their undulations make them look more like the sea than the sea itself."
recalled your photograph at the top of your previous post.
>90 m.belljackson: Marianne, those words are beautiful! I think they fit the photo and the experience in real life, as well.
>91 msf59: Hmm. Okay. Since I don't want to host a super-organized thing, I may go with "Odd Month Atwood" and let folks choose what they want. It will be more chaotic but I think this group can handle it. I think I'll read Oryx & Crake because I own it, I haven't read it, and it will fit my AlphaKIT and RandomCAT challenges for January.
Of her early work, I know I read Surfacing in the 1980s and loved it at the time.
I'll start thinking about setting up a thread for the 2020 Odd Month Atwood Challenge and what it would look like.
I loved the characters in this short novel set in Brooklyn. Iris, Aubrey, Melody, Po'Boy, Sabe.... their voices are rich, real, and memorable. The story is, in many ways, ordinary but it is also the drama of family life, of historical tragedy and its way of following generation upon generation. It's a story of loss and a story of hope. Definitely recommended.
I love the roosters of Kaua'i in all their colorful display. I love Talk Story bookstore. I've never been in there without leaving with one or more books in hand.
And the fish market for their wasabi sauce for the fish we bought!
Bon voyage indeed!
Hope all is well! Going to be dancing in the streets this spring but for now, am reading and getting caught up with LT folks.
Today we went to the farmer's market in Lihue, got a fresh pineapple, "apple bananas" (little super sweet bananas), some fresh veggies, and some locally made ginger beer. Then we drove up along the west side of the island as far as the road goes, stopped in Waimeia on the way home for lunch. I had the amazing famous ginger and chili sauce shrimp at the Shrimp Station and Shave Ice at JoJo's: guava, lilikoi, and mango over macadamia nut ice cream. It is pure heaven.
I didn't sleep well for two nights before our early flight on Wednesday so reading on the plane was less productive than I had hoped. My eyes were so tired. Still, I'm managing some good reading time in between adventures.
>102 maggie1944: Kauai is wonderful so far, Karen. Even with rather lousy weather, it's still paradise. We haven't been to the fish store yet (it has moved!) but we did discover The Right Slice, a pie place in Kalaheo (our current retirement fantasy town) that features both savory and sweet pies. YUM.
>103 jessibud2: Thank you, Shelley! I am trying to ignore the poor weather and still breathe in the warm, humid air and of course the aloha spirit.
>104 Caroline_McElwee: Thank you, Caroline!
>105 mdoris: Thanks so much, Mary. I am trying to relish this little vacation and soak up as much turbo-charged self-care as I can.
>107 ronincats: Thanks Roni. The weather has been far less than ideal but I'm loving it anyway.
>108 Berly: Thanks Kim! I've taken a few pics so far.
>109 msf59: Thanks Mark. I've been less good about posting than I might have been, but we've been settling in and re-making plans based on the weather. I'm still hoping for one day on a bike, one day in a kayak, and at least one day with my snorkel gear!
>110 lauralkeet: Thanks Laura! I've posted a bit on FB but have not yet been able to successfully introduce my new iPhone and my old MacBook. Maybe I'll figure that out while I'm here.
>111 streamsong: LOL Janet -- there has been precious little sunshine here for me to send you! But I'm NOT complaining...
>113 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. Yes, the pregnant with twins thing was definitely different. I kind of enjoyed how she slipped that into Alex's experience now and then. It was not distracting or defining, it was just there. Nicely done.
>114 jnwelch: Hi Joe! No snow (ahem) but LOTS of rain and way too much wind for my taste. Still, I'm handling it.
I brought three "real" books with me: Frankissstein, Normal People, and There, There. I have a couple more mysteries queued up on my kindle, and yes, there is a bookstore just in case. :-)
>116 benitastrnad: Your Christmas vacation sounds lovely, Benita! Very different from ours but equally conducive to that mental break that we need. Enjoy!
>117 witchyrichy: Hi Karen. Yes, I'm glad I finished my BingoDOG card. I've decided not to do that challenge next year, focusing instead on AlphaKIT, RandomCAT, Odd Month Atwood, my Booker list, and whatever else comes my way.
If you please.
and they have stickers you can buy to decorate your laptop or water bottle:
I know you want one.
Have you read Frankissstein, by the way? I can't remember, and I'd be interested in your take on it (I'm only halfway through but it's an interesting treatment of AI, gender, and the end of the world as we know it).
>130 Berly: Hi KIM. We just decided that it's too blustery for a walk out to Makahuena Point, my favorite whale-watching spot on the island. I said "if it's still this windy tomorrow, I'll push through the inertia and we'll go do things, but for now let's stay in." The windows are open, the air is clear and clean, I'm in shorts and a t-shirt, and P just made me a cocktail with the locally-made ginger beer that we got at this morning's farmer's market. And, after I catch up on LT a bit, I'll return to Frankissstein for the evening! As a friend of ours used to say, "this doesn't suck."
Sorry to hear about the bad weather. Still, it sounds like you are making the best of your island holiday. You have a nice selection of books!
>132 BLBera: Beth, you may be more excited that I have Frankissstein to read later tonight.
>133 Familyhistorian: Good reminder, Meg. I will go to SPL.org and put the next Alex Morrow on hold.
It's difficult to write a "review" that does this novel justice. Shifting back and forth in time, between the voice of Mary Shelley and that of Ry, our modern-day transgender hero who escorts us through his love affair with Victor, a scientist set on extending human life indefinitely, it explores themes of existentialism, artificial intelligence, identity, and the filmy cloth separating reality from fantasy, possibility from outrageousness.... Ultimately, it challenges all we know about what is, and what might be. It reconsiders Shelley's horror story and notes how close we are to that incomprehensible possibility. Humorous and mind-bending, it's a worthy Booker nominee for 2019. I loved it.
Up next: There, There which you are also reading!
I really loved Frankissstein and I'm looking forward to my next read, There, There. I plan to take both of them to the westernmost bookstore in the U.S. to see if they'd like to buy them from me before I fly back to the mainland.
>138 BLBera: You said it perfectly, Beth. There is so much to think about in Frankissstein. I think it would be a fun novel to "teach," were I an English professor. ;-)
>139 jnwelch: Thanks for the good vibes, Joe. Today we got out and ignored the weather and had some fun. Hoping to kayak/canoe tomorrow.
>140 richardderus: Frankissstein might be a bit mood-dependent, as so many books can be. I was expecting a more difficult read than it turned out to be. Certainly a bit chaotic but also pleasantly mind-bending. I hope sleep settles down for you. You know I can relate to the sleep difficulties all too well. xo
Then we packed up and headed for Salt Pond Beach. This is a relatively protected beach, usually pretty tame and good for floating about in the ocean water. Today it was rougher than I've ever seen but we got in and bobbed about for a while. It felt so good to be embracing what Kauai has to offer us on this particular visit. It's not what we planned for but it is what it is. Then we found a long sandy beach and walked for a while. The wind was at about 30 knots -- steady -- so walking back into the wind was challenging. But it was also beautiful.
I'm reading A Christmas Carol aloud because that is what we do this time of year. The wind seems to have died down this evening so tomorrow we plan to give the kayaking/canoeing (on an inland river, not the ocean) a try.
Hope you continue to have a relaxing break.
90. An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson audiobook
Not my favorite of the Walt Longmire series but a steady installment in an excellent series. George Guidall continues his magnificent narration.
. . .
91. The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina
I don't really remember the first Alex Morrow novel although I seem to have read it a few years ago. I enjoyed this one. It was layered and relatively complex. I'll keep reading the series.
. . .
92. Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson
It's difficult to write a "review" that does this novel justice. For one who generally believes the earth might benefit from human extinction, it was a fascinating and enjoyable read (it's not about human extinction in any sense but the existential theme is relevant). Shifting back and forth in time, between the voice of Mary Shelley and that of Ry, our modern-day transgender hero who escorts us through his love affair with Victor, a scientist set on extending human life indefinitely, it explores themes of existentialism, artificial intelligence, identity, and the filmy cloth separating reality from fantasy, possibility from outrageousness.... Ultimately, it challenges all we know about what is, and what might be. It reconsiders Shelley's horror story and notes how close we are to that incomprehensible possibility. Humorous and mind-bending, it's a worthy Booker nominee for 2019. I loved it.
I have 94 books in my collection called "Read in 2019" so I must have missed a couple others, as well. I will go back and see if I can figure that out.
>148 msf59: We have seen lots of Hawaiian Green Turtles this trip, Mark. We always see some but they are leading the way in our wildlife spotting this time around. I do love seeing them as I worry about the species. They are endangered.
>149 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. Yes, we're breathing deeply in Hakuna Matata philosophy. I'm generally pretty good at going with "it is what it is," and once I pushed through yesterday's threatened depression/disappointment, it's been all uphill.
>150 lauralkeet: Thanks Laura. Reading is always a big part of what we do on Kauai and this time it may simply be more so! Today we do plan to drive up the east side to investigate river kayaking. It's breezy but not windy so I'm optimistic. The strong winds have been out of the northeast so we have not yet done our east side activities.
Hooray for seeing a Hawaiian Green Turtle and I loved the photo of the 'cardinal in a sweater' on FB even it if is an invader.
Don't know how the Palouse is faring, but here in the Bitterroot we are breaking record high temperatures in the low 50's. The wind is drying things up quickly so the mud is even manageable.
You're reading so many good books right now. Sigh. Must read faster.
Or in other words, Happy Christmas! And have a great New Year as well.
Merry Christmas Ellen. It sounds like you are having fun despite the weather.
The 2020 Group is up!
The sixth in the Ruth Galloway series and a good installment. I like that Griffiths is staying away from too predictable a formula
This was a good debut novel with richly wrought characters and wonderful insights into the human, and particularly Native American, experience in urban 21st century. It's a sophisticated exploration of the effects of disenfranchisement, poverty, loss, and ultimately the strength of love in all its forms. I know the ending -- or, more accurately, the endings -- were intentionally vague and open to interpretation but I found it unsatisfying. Still, Orange is an author worth watching and deserving of the praise he has received. I'll certainly read more by him.
Today was our last full day on Kauai and the weather was stellar. Yesterday was pretty nice, too.
Yesterday we took a hike to a relatively isolated beach and spent an hour (yes, an hour!) collecting bits of plastic that had washed up in the Great Christmas Eve Storm. Ugh. We collected a bread bag full of plastic bits and could well have filled a dozen more. It felt good to do something for this poor earth even though my hamstrings complained about it today.
Today we went to our favorite little beach and I snorkeled some. The water was pretty murky because of the recent storm but I had fun anyway. Then we had our third installment of Shave Ice from JoJo's in Waimea -- I got banana, lilikoi, and mango over macadamia nut ice cream. YUM. I swear I could eat (good) Shave Ice every day. We drove up into Waimea Canyon Stte Park and enjoyed some spectacular views. We have had two good sunsets in a row so the trip has rounded itself out very nicely.
Tomorrow we fly back to Pullman (sigh) and real life. I go back to work Monday but only for a short-ish day as the university is still closed through January 1.
Now, the big question...can you make 100?!?!?
We posted at the same time. Now I am responding to your update: Glad you had some good weather and you got to go snorkeling (I love to do that!). Safe trip back. And then Sunday to re-acclimate before work on Monday.
I also plan to read the next in the Ruth Galloway series, The Ghost Fields.
>166 drneutron: Hooray!!! Thank you, Jim!!!!!
I will set up my first new thread for 2020 upon return to the mainland. *smile*
Hope you feel rested and recharged after the break.
And, I am thinking about creating sculptures with all the trash that gets dumped along our roadside on the farm similar to this group in Oregon who uses beach trash. I have friends who have participated in the workshops.
By the time I saw the news (this morning) about the terrible helicopter crash on Kauai I already knew you were safe, having seen posts here and on FB. But it really seems something needs to be done about the safety of those tours; our news report said there have been several such accidents in recent years. It was suggested the weather had something to do with this one.
Enjoy your last day and have a safe trip home. As always, you're doing interesting reading and I always look forward to your reviews!
I hope the journey home is an easy one.
Thank you all for the holiday greetings!
>171 BLBera: Thank you, Beth.
>172 ronincats: I should have checked in a bit sooner, Roni, but I'm glad to confirm again that we were not on the helicopter tour. Thank you for your concern. xo
>173 richardderus:, >175 ronincats:, and >176 Carmenere: Just sending you each a virtual hug.
I won't make it to 100 although my collection of books "read in 2019" has me even closer with 97 completed (I need to figure out what those other two were!). I might get one or two more completed....
>184 charl08: I know that Unsheltered has received some lukewarm reviews, Charlotte, especially as compared to Kingsolver's pretty magnificent oeuvre, but I'm liking it so far.
See you all back on the mainland!!
I'm happy to hear you're enjoying the Ruth Galloway series. It's become one of my favorites, and Debbi's, too.
Adding my kudos for you and P doing some beach cleanup. As Linda said, what a difference if everyone did that.
>186 lauralkeet: Hi Laura. I have the next Ruth Galloway on my kindle because P downloaded it from the library and we share content on our kindles. I don't know that I'll get to it right away but I made sure it was available for the plane ride in case I want a break from Unsheltered. I kind of want to go slowly on the Kingsolver so it can count for "U" in January's AlphaKIT. Heh.
>187 jessibud2: All good questions, Shelley. The weather was much improved the day they went up but I don't know how tightly they attend to that. Last time we visited Kauai (about 5 years ago) we went on a boat tour up the Napali Coast. There are no roads and only the most rugged foot trails into that part of the island which is blessedly unpopulated so seeing it is a treat for Kauai lovers. We didn't make it that far north, though. The swells were too great, the ocean too rough, so our pilot said we had to turn around. We saw a school of Spinner Dolphins on our way back along the coast so we were not sad at all.
I had seen film/photos of trash from and in the oceans, but this was my first time walking onto an otherwise pristine and oh-so-special beach and seeing plastic in waves along the shoreline. A local said it washes up on that beach a lot because of the direction of the winds and primary currents in the water. Prudence said "lord, if you wanted to pick all this up, you'd be on your hands and knees forever" and thus was born an idea. We only did a bit but if everyone did their bit.... Several people thanked us and one person asked "do you do this every day?" I laughed and said that if I lived here, I would. I liked being perceived as a local (though perhaps a rather eccentric one)!
In addition to feeling terribly sad for the lives lost, I found myself thinking about the trash that crash had to contribute to the ocean. That sounds unfeeling, perhaps, and I don't mean it that way, but I think the two "issues" are linked in my experience now. We humans have simply GOT TO change our ways. We are the most destructive species on Earth and our very presence, in my opinion, threatens the planet. I know I'm part of the problem; I am one of the privileged few who can fly to Kauai for 10 days of vacation and I know I use resources -- food, clothes, toys, cars, souvenirs -- at a rate higher than my "portion." Helicopter (and boat -- guilty I am) tours represent an irresponsible use of limited resources and a poor contribution to the Earth's survival.
*steps down off soap box*
I finally got The Ruin from the library and will start it today. I am looking forward to it.
How nice the weather cleared up for the end of your trip, Ellen. Safe travels home.
Today has been unpacking, shopping, getting used to the new time zone....
Tomorrow I go to work but only for a short day. I am starting to think about my thread themes for 2020.
>191 Berly: Hi Kim. Isn't that art-from-trash thing cool? And so Oregon in all the best ways something can be Oregon.
>192 richardderus: Hmm, I think I'll see if I can find your review of There There, Richard. I'd be interested in your reactions. And the journey home was long but relatively easy. Having moved to the boondocks where we always have that last leg on the puddle-jumper really makes travel more tiring than it was when landing in Seattle meant we were home.
>193 DeltaQueen50: Thanks for both sentiments, Judy!
And I liked the urban setting of There There, as well. It was heading toward a 4-star rating but the last scene was a bit to muddled for me. I know that was intentional, but I thought he fell just a bit short of the mark in that section.
>201 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I so enjoyed our last day, especially, when we could just bob in the ocean until our fingers got all wrinkly. I love that.
Ruth Galloway is a keeper and one I'll probably move through pretty quickly in the new year. I still have several to enjoy!
A couple of people who spoke to me while we were doing beach cleanup said that they would follow suit and fill their ice bag or sandwich bag or whatever with plastic trash before they left. I hope they did it! It will still only be a drop in the proverbial bucket but we have to start somewhere.
>205 BLBera: I think completely eliminating plastic in one's life is really tough, Beth, but it's worth aiming for. A new product that I really like is Bee's Wrap. It's a replacement for "saran wrap" and it took some getting used to -- you have to use your hands to warm it a bit as you press it along the edge of the bowl -- but once you get the hang of it, it really works. It's reusable and very eco-friendly and available at a lot of co-op type stores. Of course, it wasn't "saran wrap" that we were finding on the beach but it's still something I'm very happy to stop using!
>206 Familyhistorian: Many thanks for both sentiments, Meg!
1. The Bone Clocks (shared read with Kim and Beth)
2. Oryx and Crake (2020 Odd Month Atwood, RandomCAT, and AlphaKIT)
3. Unsheltered (AlphaKIT) -- unless I finish it before midnight on Tuesday
4. Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea (AlphaKIT double - A and U)
5. A Booker winner not yet read.....
I'd also like to read the next in the Ruth Galloway series and I'm sure I'll have books coming available from the library that I put on hold weeks or months ago!
I'm off to see whether I don't have a copy of Unsheltered (I'm a Kingsolver fan from way back) and I've just wished for *Brain on Music*. Thank you!
Happy New Year!!!!!
I hate it when my reading data is off, but it's satisfying when you get to the bottom of it, isn't it?
Thanks for mentioning your experience with Bees Wrap. I received a sample a while back but didn't understand the bit about warming it with your hands, so needless to say I wasn't impressed with the results LOL. I think it's still around here somewhere (kitchen junk drawer maybe?), so I'll see if I can find it and try again.
Oh that's a good point, Judy. For Christmas I asked for a carrier-thing that I could use when we have to take food someplace like a potluck. Although Chris thought this was a boring-ass gift, he obliged and filled the carrier-thing with a set of glass bowls with lids (well, the lids are plastic but still, they're reusable). I hadn't thought beyond potlucks to how wonderfully sustainable these containers are for everyday use. Now I'm doubly excited about my boring-ass gift.
>213 BLBera: I need to get The Bone Clocks down off the shelf, too, Beth.
I have tried a Windrift Hill shampoo and body bar, and it works pretty well but I do still like the full lather of shampoo from a plastic (ugh) bottle. I need to see how our co-op will do for refills on shampoo and conditioner.
I stood at my medicine cabinet this morning as I was taking down my face lotion, getting ready for work, and I was astounded by the amount of plastic in my very own cabinet. I'll do my best to reduce that in the coming year.
I do hope you give the Bee's Wrap another try. Essentially, you have to use your hand warmth to slightly warm the wax that's integrated into the fabric so it will "stick." For covering a glass bowl full of slaw (yum), I found that I have to rotate the bowl while pressing the wrap down around the rim. It takes some patience but, like I said, once you get the hang of it, it works very well!
>216 ffortsa: Yep, that is all part of the problem, Judy. I have almost trained myself to tell servers in restaurants not to bring me a straw with my drink (including my water, for pete's sake -- I now say "water, no ice and no straw" to start my meal). I'm not yet at 100% but doing better than I used to! Plastic utensils are also a real problem. If I pick up the food, I can remember to tell them I don't need them, but if they deliver it's more challenging. I suppose making sure it ends up in a land fill is still better than letting it wander toward the oceans. It's all a matter of doing what one can, knowing that absolute success is not possible.
>217 lauralkeet: I agree, Laura (and Judy). Those pyrex bowls with plastic -- reusable is the key!!! -- lids are a wonderful improvement over plastic wrap. I think your boring-ass gift is absolutely perfect!
>218 BLBera: Yes, and I do love yogurt and cottage cheese, Beth. I recycle or reuse the containers (P is very good about using those for leftovers and for freezing homemade spaghetti sauce, soup, etc.) but, as Judy said, recycling isn't as dependable as it once was: another bit of fallout from 45's policies both foreign and domestic.
Thank you for the website for replacements for plastic food storage options! I will amplify. We also have metal straws (I only use them for mixing cocktails, to be honest).
>220 ffortsa: We bought some of the silicone straws for P's 97-year-old father but the home in which he lives would not allow him to use them. They said it was too problematic (read: labor intensive) to sterilize them. So he continues to use plastic straws. Sigh.
Okay, so Net Zero and Etee!!!!!
My biggest plastic gripe right now is that the ground coffee selection in several of my favorite grocery stores is shrinking, as so many people seem to be in love with "K" cups...
I make a point of refusing straws too, but there is one restaurant where the drinks always come with the straw IN (and a tiny bit of the paper wrapping still over the end). It's a losing battle getting them not to do it, but I keep hoping. At least if they hand me a paper wrapped straw I can politely hand it back.
>226 laytonwoman3rd: Oh yes, we are avid users of the mesh bags, Linda. We have a variety of sizes and we use them all the time for produce. I just washed a handful of them today along with a "delicate" load of, well, delicate things. ;-)
We do what we can, right? Every bit helps.
My proud eco-friendly brag:
When we first moved to Seattle in 2007, we suddenly had no "auto pilot" anything. Even driving to the grocery store was, at first, not automatic. Since we were developing all new habits for absolutely everything, it was easy to establish a new habit of taking the reusable shopping bags into the store with us. We were probably at about 95% and then Seattle outlawed plastic grocery bags. It reinforced the habit and we know our friends adapted, as well. To this day we remember our reusable bags pretty darn near 100% of the time (even though plastic bags are certainly not outlawed in our current "home town"). New habits can be developed. :-)
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
When All Is Said by Anne Griffin
Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston
Two Graphic Memoirs:
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
I also had a good number of 4.5-star reads but these made the top cut.
Also, very psyched that "Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, Oregon retail stores and restaurants can no longer provide single-use checkout bags." Yay!!! About time. : )
Wishing you 12 months of success
52 weeks of laughter
366 days of fun (leap year!)
8,784 hours of joy
527,040 minutes of good luck
and 31,622,400 seconds of happiness!!
>230 thornton37814: Hi Lori. I was pleased when I went back to see which books I had rated with 5 stars and discovered that I still feel like they were all deserving of that rating for me at the time I read them.
>231 Ameise1: Thank you so much Barbara!
>232 jnwelch: I knew a couple of my top reads matched yours, Joe. I absolutely loved When All Is Said and Deep Creek -- so different but both so moving in their own way.
>233 Berly: Thanks Kim!