jjmcgaffey's Reading in 2021

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jjmcgaffey's Reading in 2021

1jjmcgaffey
Gen 1, 3:49am

My sixth year in Club Read - looking forward to more discussion on my thread!

I'm Jennifer; I live in Alameda, CA, with two cats. My parents live down the street (about a mile and a half away); one sister in Mountain View, about 45 minutes away, and the other in Reno, about 4 hours' drive away. I'm a Foreign Service brat who grew up moving around the world (more or less literally); it's very strange to me to be living in the same house for the 16th year this year. I cook, garden, stitch, sew, weave, braid, program, fix computers (run a home computer repair business) - and oh yeah, read.

I read mostly genre fiction - primarily science fiction and fantasy, which get grouped together as SF (speculative fiction). Then romances, mysteries, animal books, children's books (which include examples of all the genres...). I also read a lot of non-fiction - biography, sciences, history, words, etc. And craft books and cookbooks, which don't so much get _read_ but do get used and referenced. I don't read horror, and I don't read literary fiction - in both cases, because I don't enjoy being depressed by my reading.

My goals last year were 200 books read (achieved easily - I actually read 250), 60 BOMBs (Books Off My Bookshelf), and 60 discards. I missed those two goals, though not by much. I'm going to leave my goals where they are, until I do achieve them. 200 books, 60 BOMBs, 60 discards.

I'm keeping the same rules - one BOMB read for each reread I want to do, and five BOMBs a month (try to actually _do_ this this year); try to match them with discards, but those are more variable. I'm not counting any other kind of book, even books for review (Early Reviewers, Netgalley, etc) - they'll count only if they're over a year old (and I have way too many of those...) and paper (ebooks never count as BOMBs or for discards).

Books Read


BOMBs Read


Books Discarded

2jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Gen 1, 4:37am

Reading Rules

1 BOMB read for every reread; cannot read in arrears.

At least 5 BOMBs read every month (or read nothing but BOMBs at the beginning of the month until caught up).

And try to _start_ the month with BOMBs, rather than leaving them until the end.

3jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Apr 2, 1:24am

# indicates re-read, % indicates borrowed book, @ indicates ebook, * indicates BOMB, ! indicates ER etc, ^ indicates new book

Read January-March

January
1. Dick Francis' Bloodline - @* - by Felix Francis.
2. Dark Prince - @* - by Christine Feehan.
3. Dragonsbane - @* - by Barbara Hambly.
4. In the Court of Dragons - @^ - by M.C.A. Hogarth.
5. The Gifts of Asti - @^ - by Andre Norton.
6. Waste Not Everyday - @^ - by Erin Rhoads.
7. Sing Down the Moon - * - by Scott O'Dell.
8. Glass, Stones & Crown - # - by Anne Rockwell.
9. Noah's Ark, New England Yankees, and The Endless Quest - * - by Robert Keith Leavitt.
10. The Frontier Doctors - * - by Wyatt Blassingame.
11. Measuring the World - @^ - by Daniel Kehlmann.
12. A Yank in the RAF - * - by Harlan Thomas.
13. The Bird and the Tree - * - by Elizabeth Goudge.
14. Nop's Trials - * - by Donald McCaig.
15. Across the Green Grass Fields - @^ - by Seanan McGuire.
16. Stand and Deliver - * - by Andre Norton.
17. Hatching Magic - * - by Ann Downer.
18. Banned From Argo - The Rest of the Story - @^ - by Leslie Fish.

February
19. Mudlark - @^ - by Lara Maiklem.
20. Sons of the Profits - * - by William C. Speidel.
21. Four Colors Suffice - ^ - by Robin Wilson.
22. Sourdough - @^ - by Robin Sloan.
23. What Mrs Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking - @^ - by Abby Fisher.
24. Baen Free Stories 2020 - @^ - by Baen Books.

March
25. Firegold - * - by Dia Calhoun.
26. Baen Free Stories 2014 - @^ - by Baen Books.
27. Ambient Conditions - @^ - by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.
28. Owl Be Home for Christmas - @^ - by Diane Duane.
29. Dying With Her Cheer Pants On - @^ - by Seanan McGuire.
30. Jolene - @^ - by Mercedes Lackey.
31. Rags - the Story of a Dog - @^ - by Karen Niemann.
32. Vicky Peterwald - Target - @^ - by Mike Shepherd.
33. Vicky Peterwald - Survivor - @^ - by Mike Shepherd.
34. Vicky Peterwald - Rebel - @* - by Mike Shepherd.
35. Calculated Risks - @^ - by Seanan McGuire.
36. Splinter Universe Presents! - @^ - by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.
37. Splinter Universe Presents - The Wrong Lance - @^ - by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.
38. Trading Jeff and His Dog - @^ - by Jim Kjelgaard.
39. The Lion's Paw - # - by Robb White.
40. The Master Key - * - by L. Frank Baum.
41. The Sword - # - by Jean Johnson.
42. The Wolf - # - by Jean Johnson.
43. The Master - # - by Jean Johnson.
44. The Song - # - by Jean Johnson.
45. The Cat - # - by Jean Johnson.
46. The Storm - # - by Jean Johnson.
47. The Flame - # - by Jean Johnson.
48. Eternal Frontier - @^ - by James Schmitz.

4jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Lug 16, 11:49pm

# indicates re-read, % indicates borrowed book, @ indicates ebook, * indicates BOMB, ! indicates ER etc, ^ indicates new book

Read April-June

April
49. The Mage - # - by Jean Johnson.
50. The Rainbow and the Rose - @* - by Nevil Shute.
51. Jungle Lore - * - by Jim Corbett.
52. Finding Destiny - # - by Jean Johnson.
53. Mary Marie - * - by Eleanor H. Porter.
54. Alliance of Equals - @# - by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.
55. Traders Leap - @^ - by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

May
56. A Lot Like Christmas - @^ - by Connie Willis.
57. Finder - @^ - by Lilith Saintcrow.
58. The Wrangler's Bride - @# - by Justine Davis.
59. Consider the Fork - * - by Bee Wilson.
60. Booked for Murder - @^ - by RJ Blain.
61. Moontangled - @^ - by Stephanie Burgis.
62. Games Wizards Play - @^ - by Diane Duane.
63. Hill Top Tales - * - by Beatrix Potter.
64. From the Ocean to the Sky - * - by Edmund Hillary.
65. What Abigail Did That Summer - @^ - by Ben Aaronovitch.
66. A Rosary of Stones and Thorns - @^ - by M.C.A. Hogarth.
67. Visitors from London - % - by Kitty Barne.
68. Procrastibaking - @^ - by Erin Gardner.
69. Angel of the Overpass - @^ - by Seanan McGuire.
70. The Root Cellar - * - by Janet Lunn.
71. Calico Captive - * - by Elizabeth George Speare.
72. Assassins of Thasalon - @^ - by Lois McMaster Bujold.
73. Beneath a Blood Moon - @^ - by RJ Blain.

June
74. Paladin's Strength - @^ - by T Kingfisher.
75. Wild Sign - @^ - by Patricia Briggs.
76. Wyrde and Wayward - @^ - by Charlotte E. English.
77. The Rainbow and the Rose - @^ - by E. Nesbit.
78. Origami Boxes - @^ - by Florence Temko.
79. A Deadly Education - @^ - by Naomi Novik.
80. The Oddling Prince - @^ - by Nancy Springer.
81. Outfoxed - @^ - by RJ Blain.
82. The Blue Castle - @* - by L.M. Montgomery.
83. The Cash Boy - @^ - by Horatio Alger Jr..
84. Born to Darkness - @* - by Suzanne Brockmann.
85. This Is Water - @^ - by David Foster Wallace.
86. Ajax Penumbra 1969 - @^ - by Robin Sloan.
87. Water Witch - @^ - by RJ Blain.
88. The House Lost at Sea - @^ - by RJ Blain.
89. Playing with Fire - @^ - by RJ Blain.
90. Hoofin' It - @^ - by RJ Blain.
91. Serial Killer Princess - @^ - by RJ Blain.
92. Whatever For Hire - @^ - by RJ Blain.
93. Hearth, Home, and Havoc - @^ - by RJ Blain.
94. Owl Be Yours - @^ - by RJ Blain.
95. Last but Not Leashed - @^ - by RJ Blain.
96. No Kitten Around - @^ - by RJ Blain.
97. Fowl Play - @^ - by RJ Blain.
98. Blending In - @^ - by RJ Blain.
99. Beyond - @^ - by Mercedes Lackey.
100. Blood Bound - @^ - by RJ Blain.
101. Diary of a Witchcraft Shop - @^ - by Liz Williams & Trevor Jones.

5jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Ieri, 3:04am

# indicates re-read, % indicates borrowed book, @ indicates ebook, * indicates BOMB, ! indicates ER etc, ^ indicates new book

Read July-September

July
102. Deal with the Devil - @^ - by Kit Rocha.
103. Song of the Redwing - @^ - by Tish McFadden.
104. From Timbuktu to Duck and Cover - @^ - by Lewis Lucke.
105. Cheetahs Never Win - @^ - by RJ Blain.
106. Burn, Baby, Burn - @^ - by RJ Blain.
107. Karma - @^ - by RJ Blain.
108. License to Kill - @^ - by RJ Blain.
109. The Library Book - @^ - by Susan Orlean.
110. Grave Humor - @^ - by RJ Blain.
111. Some Kind of Magic - @^ - by R. Cooper.
112. Misplaced Princess - @^ - by Mari Carr & Lexxie Couper.
113. Water Viper - @^ - by RJ Blain.
114. Steel Heart - @^ - by RJ Blain.
115. No Perfect Magic - @^ - by Patricia Rice.
116. Yankee Privateer - @^ - by Andre Norton.
117. Marazan - @^ - by Nevil Shute.
118. Stand & Deliver - @# - by Andre Norton.
119. Change State - @^ - by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.
120. Netherworld - !@ - by Lisa Morton.
121. Wyrde and Wicked - @^ - by Charlotte English.
122. Linnets and Valerians - @* - by Elizabeth Goudge.

August
123. Castle Waiting Vol 1 - # - by Linda Medley.
124. Castle Waiting Vol 2, The Definitive Edition - # - by Linda Medley.
125. The Best of Antrobus - @^ - by Lawrence Durrell.
126. Complete Little Orphan Annie Vol 1 - # - by Harold Gray.
127. Called to Mate - @^ - by Lynn Tyler.
128. Write in Water - @^ - by Seanan McGuire.
129. A Wolf in Duke's Clothing - % - by Susanna Allen.
130. Open House on Haunted Hill - @^ - by John Wiswell.
131. Dirty Deeds - @^ - by RJ Blain, Faith Hunter, Devon Monk, Diana e Pharaoh Franci.
132. A Chip on Her Shoulder - @^ - by RJ Blain.
133. Pack Justice - @^ - by RJ Blain.
134. The Best Revenge - @# - by Justine Davis.
135. Dragons' Fealty - @^ - by M.C.A. Hogarth.
136. Scions' Flight - @^ - by M.C.A. Hogarth.

September
137. Ms. Adventure - % - by Jess Phoenix.
138. Hellspark - # - by Janet Kagan.
139. The Halcyon Fairy Book - @^ - by T Kingfisher.
140. Modesty Blaise {GN} - # - by Peter O'Donnell.
141. Complete Little Orphan Annie Volume 2 - # - by Harold Gray.
142. Metal Like Blood in the Dark - @^ - by T Kingfisher.
143. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street - @^ - by Helene Hanff.
144. The Flame Game - @^ - by RJ Blain.
145. Murder Mittens - @^ - by RJ Blain.
146. Catnapped - @^ - by RJ Blain.
147. Client from Hell - @^ - by RJ Blain.
148. Wolf Hunt - @^ - by RJ Blain.
149. Wild Wolf - @^ - by RJ Blain.
150. Dawn of Dae - @^ - by RJ Blain.
151. Unawakened - @^ - by RJ Blain.
152. Storm Called - @^ - by Susan Copperfield.
153. Null and Void - @^ - by Susan Copperfield.
154. Hypnos - @^ - by RJ Blain.
155. Taken - @^ - by Susan Copperfield.
156. The Captive King - @^ - by Susan Copperfield.
157. A Girl with No Face - ^ - by Margaret Syverud.
158. A Guiding Light - @^ - by Susan Copperfield.

6jjmcgaffey
Gen 1, 3:51am

# indicates re-read, % indicates borrowed book, @ indicates ebook, * indicates BOMB, ! indicates ER etc, ^ indicates new book

Read October-December

October
November
December

7jjmcgaffey
Gen 1, 3:52am

Link back to last year's thread, with my final reading and stats:
https://www.librarything.com/topic/314406

8jjmcgaffey
Gen 1, 3:53am

Thread open!

9quondame
Gen 1, 3:56am

Happy new year!

10AlisonY
Gen 1, 1:14pm

Happy new year! Look forward to your reading and tales of creativity again this year.

11LadyoftheLodge
Gen 1, 3:12pm

Hi there! Happy New Year. Looking forward to keeping up with your thread.

12AnnieMod
Gen 1, 6:02pm

Happy new year! We tend to gravitate towards the same books so even when I forget to post, I am usually keeping track of what you are reading :)

13jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Gen 2, 1:52am

>12 AnnieMod: Yeah, I'm a lurker on several threads as well. It's always fun to see what people are up to, even if you don't have anything to say at the moment...

Happy New Year, everyone!

I'm currently reading Sing Down the Moon and Dick Francis' Bloodline - both BOMBs, though Bloodline is an eBOMB (I have it in paper, but I'm actually reading it on my phone). I trimmed my Currently Reading list quite a bit at the end of the year; my earliest start is now 2018, I've dropped a bunch that went back to 2010. I don't think I'll be picking them up again, and if I did I'd have to restart anyway...

As usual I'll be trying to focus on BOMBs; to help this along, this year I'm not rolling over any rereads so if I want to read an old favorite I need to read a BOMB first. And I'm trying to get my 5 BOMBs a month done at the _beginning_ of the month, rather than waiting to stuff them in at the end.

I am inclining more and more to getting rid of a lot of favorite books, that I have as ebooks. I'm not _reading_ the paper ones (last month - actually, end of November - I started a BOMB on paper; I read it in little bits for three weeks, then found I had it as an ebook and finished it the next day. Tilting electronic, even more than I'd realized...). I haven't yet convinced myself to do it. But as a project - I may start emptying my shelves into boxes. Hmmm - actually, if I put the BOMBs on shelves they'd be easier to reach.... Thinking. Not doing yet.

I'm still working on reconstituting my kitchen - in early December I got the cabinets refaced, it looks gorgeous, but I had to empty every cabinet and stack the boxes and I'm still working on getting stuff back into place. I'm also taking the opportunity to cull - "do I actually use this, will I ever use it" - can I get rid of this, or at least put it someplace that's out of the way (boxes!). But that means I need to think about every item as I put it back, which slows things down. I'm also putting shelf liner on all the shelves, which were more than a little grubby when I took things out - I've scrubbed, now I'm lining. More delays. But progress progresses - I have both cooked and baked in the kitchen in the last week or so. I'm still going out to the living room to pull things from boxes for various projects, but the basics are back in place.

On New Year's Day, my family traditionally has bubalki for breakfast. It's little bread balls, baked and deliberately staled, then boiled to a lovely chewy consistency and smothered in poppyseed sauce. I didn't get around to making the bread balls until after Christmas, so staling took some work (left them in the fridge, open - it worked pretty well), and I made the poppyseed sauce on the 31st. It's a pretty quick cooking job, but I just hadn't gotten around to it before then.

This is what it looks like, ready for eating:



My dad calls them "dirty marbles". They're very rich and sweet and yummy.

ETA - drat. The first time I saved the post, the touchstones were fine - now they're not triggering at all.

OK, thanks, dchaikin, going back after a while (after I left the thread) reactivated the touchstones.

14dchaikin
Gen 1, 7:54pm

Happy New Year Jennifer! LT has a new touchstone hoop. You can't save a post with touchstones and then immediately edit it of the touchstone thingy just dies. You have refresh the page, and _then_ edit.

15Berly
Gen 1, 7:56pm

>1 jjmcgaffey: I have never heard the phrase BOMBs (Books Off My Bookshelf), but I love it and I am stealing it. : )

Happy 2021. Hope it's a brighter, better, bookier year.

16jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Gen 2, 1:54am

Some people say TOMES, but I can never remember what it stands for. BOMBs works for me.

>14 dchaikin: Sheesh. Ok, I'll see if I can resuscitate my touchstones...

ETA No, it's ROOTs - Read Our Own Tomes. I prefer BOMBs. For one thing, it's a noun in both full and acronym form - so my grammar brain doesn't fight with me over how to make sentences make sense.

17dchaikin
Gen 2, 1:20pm

>16 jjmcgaffey: I see it worked. yay! (hope LT undoes this, um, feature)

18jjmcgaffey
Gen 4, 4:24am

Books Read
1. Dick Francis' Bloodline @* by Felix Francis. Review - Pretty good - very much in Dick's style.
2. Dark Prince @* by Christine Feehan. Review - Not bad, for a vampire romance. I'll keep an eye out for the next one.

Currently Reading
Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. I have Sing Down the Moon waiting, but again, that one's paper so it's hard to get to...I have four of the five Winterlands books (of which Dragonsbane is the first) as both ebooks and paper, and they're BOMBs, so that's excellent. Assuming I can actually read them in quick succession - Hambly is...intense. I may need to take some breaks.

BOMBs
Both BOMBs, yay!

Discards
Both discards, too. So I need to dig them out of the boxes they're in...

New/Reread
Both new (since they're BOMBs). Two rereads paid for. But I'm not reading anything that's not a BOMB until I finish the five for this month.

Excellent start. And the first book was a very enjoyable read - the second, moderately so. And Dragonsbane is also excellent - dark, but not grim. At least not yet.

19sallypursell
Gen 5, 11:10pm

Hi, Jennifer, dropping off my star. We often read similar fiction, so I look forward to reading your comments. I couldn't get through that vampire romance thing, though.

20jjmcgaffey
Gen 6, 3:33am

I've had it on my TBR list for quite a while, wavering about whether it was worth reading. Finally got around to it, and it wasn't too bad. So I'm willing to look at the second book in the series... They kept popping up on lists and "if you like (something I actually like)" recommendations. I don't think it will be a favorite series, but I may read all of them, eventually.

21LadyoftheLodge
Gen 6, 2:25pm

Dropping off a star on your thread, and looking forward to keeping up with your postings in 2021.

22jjmcgaffey
Gen 6, 6:20pm

Yay for Georgia; ghahh and sob for DC. It seems to be under control now, but there needs to be action taken - against the protestors/terrorists and against the people who encouraged them (Trump and far too many Republican Congress members). Biden is going to have a hell of a time dealing with the mess that's been left him.

23jjmcgaffey
Gen 8, 2:59am

Books Read
3. Dragonsbane @* by Barbara Hambly. Review - Very Hambly - rich, complex, full of desperate choices. I will continue with the series, but not immediately.
4. In the Court of Dragons @^ by M.C.A. Hogarth. Review - Lovely set of short stories - pivot points from the previous books to the next set, for various characters. Wonderful if you've read her books, not a place to start.
5. The Gifts of Asti @^ by Andre Norton. Review - Short and somewhat pointless, very Norton. Nothing much to it.
6. Waste Not Everyday @^ by Erin Rhoads. Review - Mildly interesting suggestions for reducing waste, particularly plastic waste. Australian author, not all her ideas work in the US, though she does give multiple suggestions for resources in different countries.

Currently Reading
Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann - not what I thought it was at all. I thought this was the non-fiction about determining the size of the Earth - it's a "comic novel", translated from German (which makes for an odd style to my English-accustomed eyes). Interesting, though.

BOMBs
Dragonsbane is a BOMB (so is the rest of that series, for later)

Discards
I'll discard the paper version of Dragonsbane when I've finished the second book - it's an omnibus. The rest are ebooks.

New/Reread
All new. Three rereads paid for so far.

Good start, though I did stop reading BOMBs and swing off onto some new (e)books. I'll get back onto the BOMBs quickly, though.

24dchaikin
Gen 8, 1:24pm

>23 jjmcgaffey: i read Measuring the World thinking it was accurate and was confused and disturbed. Oops.

25LadyoftheLodge
Gen 8, 2:29pm

>22 jjmcgaffey: Sob for DC for sure. What are people thinking? I thought 2021 would be a better year, but it is not starting out that way.

26jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Gen 9, 2:25am

>25 LadyoftheLodge: John Scalzi said on Twitter that that day was December 37th, 2020. 2021 will start...maybe January 20? Hope!

>24 dchaikin: As I read, I keep thinking that it would be far more interesting if it were true - if these were actual scientists actually discovering things. As it is...yeah, not so much. I am amused that (at this point, at least) the hermit Gauss seems more balanced and socialized than explorer Humboldt (Humboldt is leaving the Amazon, Gauss has just had his proposal accepted).

27jjmcgaffey
Gen 10, 4:19am

Progress progresses - almost all the food is back in the kitchen (there are still some snacks waiting - somehow the space they used to be in is now full of other stuff). And my spice cabinet is reassembled, and the drinks cabinet (mostly tea). Still need to put back the oils and vinegars, ziplocs and plastics, and some odd equipment - the dehydrator, a fondue pot, stuff like that. But the kitchen is _almost_ finished (I suspect that almost will last a while, though - Achilles and the tortoise), and there's a good bit more room in the living room.

I baked banana bread a couple days ago - two slices left, I'll probably have them with breakfast. I want to make molasses cookies - except I went looking for my recipe and found half a dozen and I can't remember which one I usually make! Well, I suppose I'll just have to make several and decide...

Also baking brownies for a remote dinner my mom's doing next Saturday. She's a member of an Ethnic Dining Group - in normal times, one person or couple hosts each month's gathering, chooses a bunch of recipes from some particular country or people; each of the others makes one, and we have a potluck dinner. Nowadays it's by Zoom, and either we pick up food from an agreed-upon restaurant or one person cooks for everyone and delivers the food - the latter is what Mom's doing. Cossack stew (beef and beets and lots of other veg), served over yogurt with brown bread, and my brownies for dessert. This is what we usually make for our annual caroling party that didn't happen this year - so we just shifted it by a month.

I did two extra discards today - found two books that...well, they're funny/wise, and I like them in very small doses, but I've had the books for years and never got around to reading them. Dad loves Mullah Nasrudin, so I gave him the two books. The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mullah Nasrudin and The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mullah Nasrudin. So that's a leg up on discards. I've also finished another BOMB and am reading another; I'll post about them shortly, when I finish this one. And that will be the five for the first month.

28jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Gen 10, 4:28am

Oh yeah - and I finally got annoyed enough about the constant short internet blackouts that I requested a new router. We'll see if that helps any - it may be the wires here, there are disadvantages to living in a nearly 50-year-old condo (built in the 1970s). For the last several months, and increasingly over time, I've been briefly offline - at this point it's several times a day. I'm a computer tech, every time I'd notice I'd bustle about and "fix" it (usually by powercycling the router), but it became clear that it would come back on its own about five minutes after it went out. Which is just long enough to be Really Annoying. Hopefully the new router will be a fix.

I also ordered a new phone - mine is being weird and not noticing touches, or taking a long time (two or three seconds! That's forever) to respond to a touch. It's probably fixable with a factory reset, but that's a PAIN to set up again. When the phone I have (Moto G Power) went on sale for $50, I decided it would be simpler to get a new phone, transfer to that one, and only then reset my current phone. They're good phones - not flagship, but solid. And very good battery - I'm hard on phones for that. It's supposed to last three days, I charge every night because it'll be dead in the morning if I don't. But at least it lasts a full day most days - most phones don't, for me.

29LadyoftheLodge
Gen 10, 1:27pm

>28 jjmcgaffey: We ended up going with fixed wireless internet since we live out in the woods. Our "regular" internet would cut out a couple of times a week, usually when I was teaching a class online (when I was working full time teaching middle schoolers) and all my work would be lost if I was in the middle of grading, or my students left hanging in the chat wondering where I had gone to! The fixed wireless is much faster and more reliable, at least for our location.

30jjmcgaffey
Gen 12, 4:16am

Books Read
7. Sing Down the Moon * by Scott O'Dell. Review - Not for me. Dull and flat writing - the subject should have been fascinating, but the style was all wrong.
8. Glass, Stones & Crown # by Anne Rockwell. Review - Hmph - I thought I'd read it before, but it was entirely unfamiliar - but I had read it. Still a good book, though I'm annoyed I didn't remember any of it.
9. Noah's Ark, New England Yankees, and The Endless Quest * by Robert Keith Leavitt. Review - Very interesting, if you like learning about how dictionaries are created and updated. I enjoyed it.

Currently Reading
Still slogging through Measuring the World - I'm starting to despise both of them. Ugh. I will finish it, though. And Frontier Doctors, a BOMB in paper - which means I'm carrying it around and not reading it very much. It's short, I should finish it soon. I'm also reading Thereby Hangs a Tale at the table - it's a book of word origins (he mostly gets them right, or at least I can't detect him being wrong, but there are two he just got wrong that I've noticed so far. Still not bad but I'm less enamored of the book).

BOMBs
Two - I thought three, but Glass, Stones & Crown turned out to be a reread. I've hit my goal for the month, though.

Discards
Sing Down the Moon. I'm not discarding Noah's Ark - it might be fun to reread, and I doubt very much I'd find it again. Nor does it exist as an ebook. Hmm, maybe I'll use it to experiment with scanning books.

New/Reread
One reread, two BOMBs - four rereads paid for.

Good start - I've hit my goal for both BOMBs and discards already. Keep going, it'd be nice to have a backlog, but I can relax a little (more) and read more new books.

I picked up Glass, Stones & Crown and thought, I've read this. Opened it up and started reading, didn't recognize anything - decided I actually hadn't read it. Finished it, went to the listing in LT - and there was a full review and a four-star rating. Hmph. Still good, but... I guess my perfect memory for books I've read has eroded, these days.

31jjmcgaffey
Gen 15, 1:17am

So got the router and set it up - and this time actually listened to the advice to set it up high. Instead of being under my desk, it's on the top bookshelf above the desk. It took some rearranging to get all the cords up there - which means under my desk and the back corner of my desk are cleaner and clearer than they've been in years. I think the signal has improved, and I haven't had an internet brownout since I got this one set up, so yay.

I'm about 3/4 through setting up my phone. The auto-transfer worked great, except there are some apps - that I use all the time - that aren't in the Play Store any more so didn't get installed. I need to find the APKs and install them (or find a substitute). A lot of the settings got passed, too - not all, but a lot. But I have to log in to each and every one (well, almost) and adjust the settings that didn't get passed, and so on. The things I use the most - my todo lists, calendar, mail...and my games... are up and running; I'm working my way through the odder lots. Oh, and Songbook - chord and lyric displayer. That's important, though I don't use it on my phone all that much - mostly on a semi-dedicated tablet, and my computer. And all the cloud drives that have stuff that I needed to finish setup. And...there's a lot of basic necessities, and a lot more just-for-fun apps. I'm hard on phones...

Also a couple of my regular games reset to the beginning, which is annoying - but not annoying enough to make me get a Facebook account, which is the only solution. Not all my games - the others are Microsoft (Solitaire and Sudoku) and that I do have an account for. Or they don't have any progression, just play today's games and done.

32dchaikin
Gen 16, 3:53pm

Glad you have better internet. Want to do my house next? Noah’s Ark sounds terrific. And i hope you keep in mind that, whatever his problems, von Humboldt was a better person than Kenlmann’s Measuring the World makes him out to be. ; )

33jjmcgaffey
Gen 19, 11:39pm

Yeah, I saw the review (was that yours?) that said that Measuring the World didn't even represent them correctly. Hmph. Total waste of time - and it wasn't even a BOMB.

34jjmcgaffey
Gen 20, 12:26am

Books Read
10. The Frontier Doctors * by Wyatt Blassingame. Review - Eh. Some mildly interesting, mostly not very.
11. Measuring the World @^ by Daniel Kehlmann. Review - Ugh. Wrong book, and I'm sorry I read it. I am actually going to discard the ebook (it won't count, but I don't want this dreck around).
12. A Yank in the RAF * by Harlan Thomas. Review - It might have been interesting if the author didn't think that romance=lies. I like flying stories and WWII, this one...didn't work.

Currently Reading
The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge. It's...not very deep, at least so far, but it's beautiful and fun. She can write. Also slogging through Nop's Trials - I like dog stories, but this one is more about the dysfunctional family he belong(s/ed) to so far. I've got a couple other BOMBs on deck, but I'm also going to read Across the Green Grass Fields, the latest Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire; and, as soon as I can find it (it's a BOMB, in a box somewhere. Or maybe on a shelf...) The Measure of All Things, which is what I _thought_ Measuring the World was.

BOMBs
Two - Frontier Doctors and Yank.

Discards
All three are discards (though only two count). Not particularly interested in reading Frontier Doctors again, and that was the best of the lot.

New/Reread
All new, so 6 rereads paid for - 7 BOMBs and 8 discards so far, an excellent start to the year.

Technically, I had apparently read Frontier Doctors before - but I had _no_ idea what was in it, or even what I thought of it at the time. So it's still a BOMB, in the sense that I had to read it to decide what I was going to do with it.

I have also decided that I am never going to read the Outlander series, so as soon as I find those books they'll be discards as well. I dislike time travel romance - I've done enough SCA and other historical reconstruction to see the huge holes in the plot when person-from-the-past doesn't notice something weird or person-from-the-future knows how to handle something that...unless they were in the SCA, or Civil War reenactment, or something similar, the average modern person wouldn't have a clue. The sort of thing that seems really simple or obvious until you try to do it.

And on top of that, there are comments by people whose reading preferences I generally share, about rape and torture scenes or the woman getting beaten and thinking she deserved it, in those books. I can do without those stories, thanks.

But I'll have to dig them out. I don't know how many I have, either...I'll look them up later. So that will be a nice bump to my discards list.

35sallypursell
Gen 20, 11:04pm

>34 jjmcgaffey: I don't know about the sequels, but the first book, Outlander was awfully good, and didn't have that stuff you reference in time-travel romance. The mistreatment scenes were very reasonable and not really graphic. But, to each her own.

36jjmcgaffey
Gen 21, 1:44am

I'm feeling really bleah today. a) I have a cold, which has reached the constantly-stuffy-nose stage, which means I'm blowing my nose and coughing a lot - which means I don't really want to go out. Because I don't have the energy and because people would be worried (I think). And b) I have...something, on the roof of my mouth. It was little blister-like things (I can't see them, obviously, so this is just what my tongue reports), which flattened over a couple days. Today they're flat, but rough, and tender - and that whole side of my face feels tender and slightly swollen. Though that might be sinuses - or both, heterodyning. Hmm, I should try ibuprofen instead of aspirin - it's good for inflammation. Bleah. So I spent all day reading webcomics - one really excellent tearjerker, Gourmet Hound, and another by the same author, Flowerpot (both on Webtoons). And a silly one by Errol, DebsandErrol. By tearjerker I mean it's got good, solid characters and strongly emotional situations - I spent a lot of my reading time crying (which of course made me blow my nose some more...). I think I'm going to go to bed early. Didn't do much of anything (else) today, but it can all wait (I did feed the cats, and I'll do litterbox before I go to bed). Also read a little of Across the Green Grass Fields - but that required too much concentration, the webcomics were easier.

37dianeham
Gen 21, 1:47am

>36 jjmcgaffey: hope you feel better soon.

38Berly
Gen 21, 1:47am

>36 jjmcgaffey: Glad to hear your tech stuff is finally behaving better and that you're on track with your discard and BOMB goals. Now, just get rid of the sniffles and other ailments and feel better!

39jjmcgaffey
Gen 21, 1:50am

Thanks, both of you!

40sallypursell
Gen 21, 11:47pm

Oh, I'm sorry you don't feel good. Drink lots of hot fluids and cold fluids. Sleep a lot.

41jjmcgaffey
Gen 22, 4:45am

Yes. Lots of sleep and fluids. I slept 9 hours last night and feel distinctly better - though not well - today. I'll sleep hard again tonight (oops, it's past midnight already) - I have some action tomorrow, though, so I'll have to actually go out. Some people from my gardening group are taking yacon...I cannot remember the word. The bits that will regrow, there's a technical term for them. Not roots but related to them. Anyway, I've been growing them a while but I don't enjoy eating the tubers so I'm getting rid of them.

And then in the afternoon I'm going to one of my clients and helping him - them, him and his wife - set up their new phones. The store clerk seems to have thoroughly confused him about his Google account, so I'll have to figure that out (he doesn't use a gmail address, but has had an Android phone before so he already has a Google account. I'll have to see if it's on his other email address or on a gmail one he doesn't use). Other than that, since I've been helping my parents set up their phones and setting mine up as well, I should be able to get theirs set up pretty easily. If it's not raining, or too cold, we'll be working in their backyard for minimum exposure.

Ibuprofen helps a lot, as well as sleep and fluids. I'll dose myself in the morning and carry on. But I do need to get to sleep now so I can be up in time for my various projects (also need to shop, I have about two glasses of milk left...).

42avaland
Gen 25, 5:54pm

I'm a bit late but I hope your cold is much, much better by now. Are you sure it's a cold? Glad you have found suitable entertainment while you are fighting this virus.

43jjmcgaffey
Gen 25, 6:11pm

Oddly enough, the "cold" has entirely disappeared, along with most of the sore mouth. I'm beginning to think that it was more of a sinus infection transferred from whatever was going on in my mouth. I still have a rather tender roof of my mouth, and am preferring softish foods, but all the swelling is gone along with the stuffy nose and coughing. Whew! By last Friday I was able to be up and about, and did my giving away and working with clients and shopping just fine, though my mouth was still sore and I was taking painkillers; by Sunday I didn't need painkillers any more. Today there's an oddly smooth section on the roof of my mouth, and I'm still going for soft food, but otherwise I'm fine.

44jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Gen 30, 10:33pm

Books Read
13. The Bird In the Tree * by Elizabeth Goudge. Review - Wow, can she write. Somehow utterly banal stuff and deep spiritual matters all come together into one story, without jarring at all. Oh, goody, it's the first of a trilogy! Find the others.
14. Nop's Trials * by Donald McCaig. Review - The writing is pretty good, but this did not work for me - rather trite, and some weird anthropomorphizing.
15. Across the Green Grass Fields @^ by Seanan McGuire. Review - Excellent stand-alone in the Wayward Children series - possibly my favorite.
16. Stand & Deliver * by Andre Norton. Review - Nice! Fluff, but good fluff - well-written and a fun read. Historical adventure - not a romance, but that style.
17. Hatching Magic * by Ann Downer. Review - Not terrible, but rather bland. Interesting concepts abandoned for wild coincidence. I'll read the next book if I come across it, though.
18. Banned From Argo - The Rest of the Story @^ by Leslie Fish. Review - Fun! The story behind a song I've known for years - it tells the adventures of Captain Kirk and crew on shore leave, here's what really happened. Unlike The Part About the Dragon…, the stories match here - what she saw is what's in the song, but there's more to it.

Currently Reading
Mudlark by Lara Maiklem (different title in the US). Lots of fun but also frustrating - I want to go search for treasures on the banks of the Thames. She keeps mentioning places I've been...

BOMBs
Four more - excellent! I'm more than a month ahead.

Discards
Three of the four BOMBs are also discards - I haven't found an e-copy of Stand and Deliver yet, so I'm hanging on to the paper copy of that. I have an e-copy of The Bird in the Tree, and the other two I don't care about.

New/Reread
All new. 10 rereads paid for.

A very nice start to the year. Also, I'm really enjoying some of my BOMBs - which makes me more inclined to try more. When they're all a slog, it's hard to convince myself to pick up the next.

I've read 11 BOMBs, more than this month and next's assigned lot. 10 discards also covers me for next month. If I can...I don't even need to keep up this pace, I just need not to fall behind - I can hit my goals easily. We'll see.

And terrible thing has happened - my LAPL card has expired. I swear I read a thing on their website that cards would keep going until the pandemic had settled, but I can't find it - hopefully it's just a slipup and they'll fix it (I emailed them). LAPL has the best ebook collection I've found yet, and I check out a _lot_ of books from them. They also let me put in recommendations for ebooks, which many of the libraries I have cards for don't - so I've suggested, and they've gotten, quite a few ebooks I've wanted to read (and hopefully so have others wanted to read).

45AnnieMod
Gen 28, 3:46pm

>44 jjmcgaffey: And terrible thing has happened - my LAPL card has expired.

Oh no. Check if they do phone/online renewals? My library left the dates as they were but opened the process to allow the renewal over email (with attaching a piece of mail with your address on it to verify residency) or phone (I think they need to be able to find you in public records?). Mine was expiring back in November and I was really really worried but it ended up working just fine. Although admittedly Scottsdale is a LOT smaller system than LAPL...

46dianeham
Gen 28, 10:20pm

What are bombs?

47jjmcgaffey
Gen 29, 1:37am

Nope, no problem. It was apparently a computer glitch - I got a response to my email this morning that said "try again", I did and it worked. Whew!

BOMBs are Books Off My Bookshelf - books I've owned (in paper) for over a year but have never read. In general, I don't get rid of books I haven't read, unless I've decided I never will read them - so the couple (several?) thousand BOMBs I own are a real problem! Which is why reading my BOMBs has been a persistent goal for the past several years. Progress progresses - and nearly every BOMB is also a discard, either because I've gotten an e-version of it or because I don't particularly want to read it again.

48jjmcgaffey
Gen 29, 1:49am

Frust! So I can check books out from LAPL again; I had a book on hold, one I'd recommended to them. Got it, downloaded it - and it's not the right book. The description (title, author, etc) on the site is correct, but the cover, sample, and the downloaded book are a different book by a different author (who I don't like!). Still SF, very different book. I returned the wrong book and emailed them again with the new problem. I want my Weber!

49jjmcgaffey
Gen 30, 10:19pm

Oh, funny - about Banned From Argo. I found it (was directed to it) on an online site, An Archive of Our Own. I commented there that it was a fun read and I appreciated that it was true to the song, as far as the song went - and Leslie responded that she'd worked hard on that and was pleased I'd noticed and liked it. Cool!

50Julie_in_the_Library
Gen 31, 4:19pm

>49 jjmcgaffey: Jennifer, just an FY: because Archive of Our Own is an archive for fanfiction and transformative works, and none of the work housed or posted there is traditionally or self published/for profit, a lot of writers there prefer that their works not be added to sites like GoodReads and LibraryThing. It's generally a point of etiquette to ask an author (via the comments) before doing so, and accept their answer either way.

On that note, welcome to the wonderful world of fanfiction! (I'm assuming you're new to fic based on the fact that you don't have an ao3 (Archive Of Our Own) account and the way you phrased your post here. If I'm wrong, I apologize.) I don't include my fic reading here - I consider it completely separate from my book reading - but I do love fic, and I'm always up for talking about it.

51jjmcgaffey
Feb 2, 3:00am

Ah, thank you - I'll ask. I've read fan fiction before - written some, but not in this sort of form (collaborative writing, in a couple universes - and in both cases I dropped out pretty quickly when life caught up with me). I do tend to list things I've read on LT...but if she doesn't want me to, of course I'll take it off. Don't want Paramount chasing her.

52jjmcgaffey
Feb 2, 3:07am

January stats
18 books read
1 rereads
17 new books
10 rereads paid for

4203 pages read, average 233.5

11 BOMBs - passed my goal for the month
0 ER books
0 Netgalley books

9 ebooks, 9 paper books

10 discards - passed my goal for the month

6 SF&F
1 animal stories
1 children's
4 non-fiction
3 general fiction
2 romances
0 graphic novels
1 mysteries

11 F, 7 M authors

Pretty good month! Very good start on BOMBs and discards, decent number of books - though I stalled out in the last week, I'm still reading Mudlark and don't have a paper book going at the moment. I want to read Mauve and I can't _find_ it! I have it, in paper, and I've found it twice in the past year - but always when I was in the middle of another long book. So I'd put it someplace where I could find it...and lose the someplace. Grr. And the ebook isn't for sale, or in the libraries, and I can't figure out why (rights?). Bah. I'll read it sometime.

53bragan
Feb 5, 1:49pm

"Banned from Argo" definitely takes me back to my old Trekkie days! (These days, I often prefer to describe myself as a "lapsed Trekkie," even if I have never quite lapsed entirely.) Amusingly, I think I can still remember most of the words to the song. It might possibly be stuck my head now. I'm not sure if I should thank you or curse you for that. :)

54jjmcgaffey
Feb 7, 12:23am

Sorry for the earworm! If it would help to have all the words, I can probably point you to an online version (I find the worst earworms are the ones I can't sing all the way through...).

55jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Feb 7, 12:30am

Started a paper book - Sons of the Profits, about the founding of Seattle. It's a weird combo of clearly deeply researched history and a breezy storyteller style of writing. Fun, though the way he jumps back and forth in time is confusing (covers this thing that was happening at this time. Goes on to discuss the developments of that thing. Goes back to the original time to discuss a completely different thing, with a (somewhat) different cast involved, with occasional references to that first thing, mostly where the cast overlaps. Denny is everywhere...). The battle between Seattle and other cities (well, towns that wanted to be cities) in the area. The Northern Pacific Railroad. Seattle's attempt to build their own railroad. Downtown Seattle and the brothels there that powered a lot of Seattle's growth. Now he's on the telegraph - which was developed over the same time frame as two or three of the previous topics, with some new characters and some old ones (and Denny of course - that's Arthur Denny, generally considered one of the major founders of the city). And so on. When I finish this book, I will know a great deal more about Seattle then, and somewhat more about Seattle now, than I ever have before...and I might even remember some bits in a year or so. I've had the book for longer than I've been on LT; nice that I'm _finally_ getting around to reading it.

Still reading Mudlark, I'm past the halfway point. It's still very interesting - and very dense, and slow to read though fun.

I haven't finished any books since my last listing, so nothing to list as yet.

56jjmcgaffey
Feb 7, 12:32am

Oh, and I asked Leslie if she minded her book being on LT, and she was fine with it. Good, I didn't want to leave a gap in my reading (though I would have if she objected, of course).

57jjmcgaffey
Feb 8, 3:38pm

I made brie again - bigger ones, this time, 4" instead of 2".



They should be ready to eat in three weeks or so. And I've got requests (from my family) for both of them already. Hmph. Guess I need to make a third batch almost immediately - I have enough containers and room to age two batches at one time.

58LolaWalser
Feb 8, 3:51pm

>57 jjmcgaffey:

Oh wow! Those look so yummy, I had no idea homemade Brie could be a thing!

59dianeham
Feb 8, 9:36pm

60jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Feb 9, 4:19am

Yeah! It's really not difficult, though there's a lot of steps. And you do need room in the fridge (or in my case, a Freecycled wine fridge collected specifically for cheese).

I looked at the recipe again - it says four weeks, or up to 9 if I put it in the fridge to finish aging (which I think I will do next time).

Fresh cheese is even less difficult - what you get, depending on how you treat it, is kind of like soft cottage cheese or crumbly cream cheese. That just needs milk and vinegar (or another acid). Brie needs milk, cultures, mold cultures, and rennet (I had a pre-made packet of the cultures and molds, and a bottle of liquid rennet).

Heh. It isn't difficult - but the more I think about it the more bits you need to have, ready and on hand, to make it. Need molds. Need a skimmer. Need a curd knife (long enough to reach the bottom of the pot, rounded end so you don't scratch the pot). Need draining mats. Need a place for aging... But making cheese is a lot of fun and making something like brie that's so fancy and expensive (ok, not all _that_ expensive, but still an indulgent buy) is really cool.

Need a stainless steel pot, which I had to buy the day before I did the cheese class (last November). I have anodized aluminum stockpots, but aluminum and cultured milk react badly to each other. Need cheese paper, which I didn't realize I didn't have until it was time to use it - so my cheese stayed unwrapped a bit longer than it should have while I got some shipped to me. Etc, etc.

61benitastrnad
Feb 9, 12:14pm

It sounds like cheese making is like baking bread. It takes time but the results are worth it. There is also that intrinsic satisfaction that a person gets from making something that they can use.

62AnnieMod
Feb 9, 12:26pm

>60 jjmcgaffey: My grandmother used to make fresh cheese a lot when I was growing up (she kept a cow and sheep and cheese keeps a lot longer than fresh milk - with a regular pot, cheese cloth and an wooden contraption to compress and shape it when it was getting set so it is rectangular and not oval (plus the cheese culture of course). I know that there is a real science-y way to do thing but I wish I had paid more attention to how she was doing some things... :)

63jjmcgaffey
Feb 9, 2:23pm

If it's fresh cheese she wouldn't have needed culture, those are usually acid-ripened. And yeah, the whole point of cheese originally was to use up milk before it went bad. I suppose she never wrote down anything about what she was doing? Nor taught it to anyone of the next generation, who's still around? It's a pity if the recipe/method has entirely disappeared.

64AnnieMod
Feb 9, 2:32pm

>63 jjmcgaffey: Writing was not her thing - she was functionally illiterate. I am pretty sure that Mom knows how to make it - it was a common thing in the village - I just need to remember to ask.

I know that there was culture involved because I used to buy it for her (and the cheese could survive as old cheese as well but that rarely happened except when there was a reason to make kilograms of it (too much milk from somewhere)) - it was not a fancy cheese just white brined/feta cheese - which is the one native to Bulgaria.

Now I really want young cheese... :(

65jjmcgaffey
Feb 9, 3:02pm

BTW - if anyone is really interested in looking at how to make cheese, take a look at my library tagged Cooking.Cheese. I have...rather a lot of books. The best basic one is Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll - cheesemaking.com is her website, and there are a _lot_ of recipes and hints and tips there. And kits.

66jjmcgaffey
Feb 9, 10:36pm

Oh, Bulgarian white cheese! Yes, I've heard of that - never made it, nor ate it as far as I know. I should try it...

67AnnieMod
Feb 10, 5:06am

>66 jjmcgaffey: If you buy Feta cheese in the States, you get pretty close (Feta is sheep only, Bulgarian can be cow or sheep or a mix of it (or any other milk really - my other grandmother kept goats so she made goat cheese the same way and it is still called white brine cheese)) . The homemade tends to be a bit less crumbly (usually because it was not aged enough I suspect) but the store bought is pretty much the same cheese as Feta. :)

68LolaWalser
Feb 10, 2:09pm

You're lucky if you can get sheep Feta, here the cheapest (most common) ones are all cow.

My one experiment with making cheese was actually very encouraging but as simple as can be, it involved nothing more than a high-fat yoghurt and a piece of cheesecloth, nothing like the prep in >60 jjmcgaffey:

https://www.librarything.com/topic/311675#6978021

>65 jjmcgaffey:

haha, I have one book where the recipes actually specify when to milk the cow for best results, morning or evening... no surprise that I got it mostly as a curiosity. :)

69LolaWalser
Modificato: Feb 10, 2:10pm

(eek, so sorry, this double-posting thing just won't let up!)

70AnnieMod
Feb 10, 2:31pm

>68 LolaWalser: "You're lucky if you can get sheep Feta, here the cheapest (most common) ones are all cow."

Shaking head... for all the noise that the Greek did to protect the name so the brine cheeses of the region and the Greek sheep/sheep-goat cheese are not mixed up :) I know it is EU only protected name but still. And now that you made me wonder, it looks like 2 of the 3 I have in the fridge (the crumbled ones I get for cooking and omelets) are cow (or cow mixes) as well. :) Which makes it basically white brine cheese. Huh.

71jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Feb 10, 4:07pm

>68 LolaWalser: You are wicked woman :D. I only picked up two recipes from that thread... Also I have 972 books tagged Cooking, though only 462 physical ones (the rest are ebooks). And what I actually cook from is 99% Evernote recipes mostly gleaned from the web. Sigh. I think I might adopt your strategy and - for those cookbooks I have never cooked from, just looked at them at a yard sale/library sale/etc and saw a recipe I wanted - try to actually make a recipe from them. And if I don't, or if it's awful, I get rid of the book. Of course, if the recipe(s) are wonderful I'll transcribe them into Evernote...and get rid of the book! This will (should) be an excellent method of thinning down my paper cookbooks (and then I can start on the ebooks...).

Yeah, yogurt cheese is a very simple, very nice cheese - it exists, under different names, in just about every culture that makes yogurt. Labneh is the name I usually use (Turkish, I think). I make my own yogurt, and drain it for Greek yogurt (was it you who tried the 10% Greek yogurt? Greek yogurt generally differs from yogurt only in that it's been drained after making - so no surprise there was less whey); when I forget about it for a few days, it gets rather solid. And then I mix some of the whey back in to get the texture I want - I've made labneh for parties (with za'atar spice) but seldom make it for myself.

Leaving yogurt out overnight, or even over several days, is not really a problem; the whole point of yogurt, and all the cultured cheeses, is that the chosen cultures drive out the bad stuff. If you've got live cultured yogurt and you leave it out for days...what you get is very very cultured yogurt, more acid than stuff that's been in the fridge (those temperatures deactivate the yogurt cultures). I drain in the fridge, because I _don't_ like tangy yogurt - I also culture (at about 110F) for about 4 hours, instead of the 8-12 hours many recipes call for. The yogurt gets solid by then, but very mild. OK, yeah, you can get mold on yogurt (or cheese) but not the internal rottenness/toxicity that I mean when I say "go bad". The mold can be scraped off with no harm to the (rest of the) cultured dairy food.

You don't actually need raw milk for mozzarella - well, you do for _real_ mozzarella, but you can get some lovely stretchy soft stuff from pasteurized milk. Creamtop (non-homogenized) works better than homogenized - sometimes the latter just falls apart into crumbs. And sometimes it works, but that's a lot of work for (tasty) cheese crumbs. The problem with mozzarella is that you _must_ stretch the curds to get the right texture - which means putting hands into near-boiling whey. Good rubber gloves make it possible...if you can find ones that fit you and protect against the heat. Complicated. I've made it successfully once on my own, and once in class (I also made burrata, which is stretched mozzarella wrapped around mozzarella curds and cream. Yummm). Then I made cheese crumbs. Haven't tried since - I got into brie instead.

I really want to make cheddar, because that's what I eat most of. Making the cheese isn't particularly difficult - there's some extra steps (cooking the curds a bit before pressing), but not much. But it needs to age for months before it's good, and many many months before it's the kind I like best (extra sharp). Haven't gotten around to starting.

>67 AnnieMod: Around here, there are a _lot_ of ethnic groceries. I've seen Bulgarian white cheese in the coolers at a couple groceries I go to occasionally. I wonder how much it does differ...well, probably the differences between Bulgarian white cheese and Greek feta are less than the differences between Greek feta and American feta...we do adopt a lot of foods, and then modify them for a) the American palate (which generally means add sugar, salt, or both) and b) commercial production. Bah.

72SandDune
Feb 10, 4:07pm

>57 jjmcgaffey: Looks very impressive! It’s never occurred to me to make cheese at home.

>70 AnnieMod: As you say under the EU Feta had to be sheep/ sheep-goat, but now we have left the EU I have no idea what has happened to all those ‘Designations of Origin’ under U.K. law. I’d much prefer if we kept them, as least it would then be clear what we are buying.

73AnnieMod
Feb 10, 5:01pm

>71 jjmcgaffey: It will depend on what you are using it for. If I am cooking/processing or using in salads, I will be hard pressed to make a difference between American feta and standard Bulgarian cheese from one of the ethnic stores here (we have Bulgarian, Russian, Persian and Arabic ones, all of them importing either Bulgarian cheese or cheese from the region that is pretty much the same - they don't always import the best stuff which accounts for the lack of difference sometimes). The only time I can make a difference is with things like watermelon (favorite summer meal...) and even then most American Feta is fine for the most part. And white cheese us supposed to be salty (I use it as my salt when cooking with it) so... it kinda translates easily for the American palate. Of course here feta is one of the extensive cheeses... back home it is a cheap(ish) thing to buy.

Yogurt on the other hand... don't get me started on what they call yogurt in this country (although I had found one brand (and they call the variant I like "Bulgarian Yogurt" :) ) that is close to what I need/like -- I am too lazy to make my own most of the time. :)

74lisapeet
Feb 10, 6:46pm

I have a friend in upstate New York who makes his own bread, wine, and cheese. He makes this fontina-type stuff that is out of this world... I need to get up there and see them soon.

75jjmcgaffey
Feb 10, 6:56pm

Yeah. A large part of the reason I make my own yogurt is that the two brands I've found that actually make what I like are - well, A is not sold in this area any more (disappeared about three months after I discovered it - wahh) and B is very expensive and sold only in small pots. However, that makes it great starter culture.

There's a Greek restaurant not too far from me that has (makes?) real Greek yogurt - with a Greek starter (which is much milder than most American ones - B is St Benoit, a local California company, which claims to use a French culture. Or what was a French culture originally). I have been considering getting their yogurt parfait dessert and putting a spoonful aside for starter - hasn't happened yet, but I think it will. That stuff was yummy.

I've seen Bulgarian yogurt starter cultures for sale on the internet, but haven't tried them.

It's fun, making my own stuff. But usually the reason I actually do it is to control what I get - what's available in stores/on the internet isn't right for me.

76LolaWalser
Feb 11, 1:04pm

>71 jjmcgaffey: etc.

Labneh, yes! Making yoghurt is definitely something I feel I should be doing, and it's easier than cheese... but it's too easy to find excuses and just buy.

77jjmcgaffey
Feb 11, 1:21pm

That's what I do with bread - I could make that! But here I am in the store and that looks pretty good and.... But yogurt I've gotten into the habit...helped by, you have to make it on a regular basis so your starter doesn't go bad. Speaking of which....hmmm, I better make a batch, it's been nearly two weeks.

78Julie_in_the_Library
Feb 12, 6:35pm

I made a farmer's cheese with a recipe I got from the Great Big Jewish Food Fest this past May. It was pretty simple, if memory serves. The most difficult part was hanging it, which I did using wire hangers from my dad's dry cleaning and the knobs for the upper kitchen cabinets.

79ronincats
Feb 12, 8:02pm

Jenn, I just realized I had missed your entire 2021 thread when I went looking to say--wow, I just saw you at Boskone at the Marie Brennan-Max Gladstone reading. I missed the other guy but his book looked interesting so I ordered it from the library. I'll be checking out the Epic Fantasy Beyond King & Kingsom later. Glad you decided to attend!

80jjmcgaffey
Feb 13, 2:21am

Cool! Yeah, Marie's story is one I'm likely to check out; I might go read Max's too, but I haven't read a Wild Cards story in years and I'm a little afraid I might get sucked back in. Greene's story...didn't interest me - too depressing. It might be better than that first scene, but it's not like I'm short of books...

Yeah, you convinced me. And I chose which panel to attend based on the fact that the reading would not be recorded and the other one I was interested in would.

Wasn't the subtitling amusing? It struggled so hard with all those made-up words and names....

I'm not sure how much I'll be able to attend tomorrow and Sunday, but I'll do what I can. Unfortunately one concert I want to hear (Margaret and Kristoph - they're friends of mine) is exactly at a time I know I'm going to be tied up, on Sunday. Sigh. And Steve and Sharon are opposite Ursula Vernon, both/all doing readings - argh! I might dash into Ursula's, since she's reading with two others...but I'd have to figure out who's doing what when. And it's at 7 am for me...ghah. I'd best get to bed soon.

It is being fun - thanks for the nudge.

81jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Feb 13, 2:34am

Books Read
19. Mudlark @^ by Lara Maiklem. Review - Fun book! I want to go mudlarking on the banks of the Thames. Fascinating angle on history and amateur archaeology.
20. Sons of the Profits * by William C. Speidel. Review - Mildly interesting, odd style (breezy storyteller) for a "history of the city" book. And that style meant a _lot_ of details, enough to confuse me quite a bit.

Currently Reading
Baen Free Stories 2020 - Baen Books has their authors do short stories, available for free on their website - and then they collect the stories for a year into a book and put it in the Free Library. Ditto the non-fiction articles they put up. I'm reading this because it's got a Steve Miller and Sharon Lee Liaden story in it, which is reportedly a setup for the story in their latest chapbook (Preferred Seating presents the characters and situation that leads to Ambient Conditions). Just now finished the Seattle book, I'll pick another paper book soon.

BOMBs
Sons of the Profits. I've had this longer than I've been on LT - it was in one of the early batches cataloged.

Discards
Sons of the Profits. Glad I read it, but I see no reason to reread.

New/Reread
Both new - so 11 rereads paid for now. Not bad.

It took me quite a while to finish a book this month - neither is huge, but they're not light reading either. Free Stories should go faster. Since I'm currently ahead on both BOMBs and discards, I can ease up - but read a few, at least, so I stay ahead (not just even). One so far this month.

82jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Feb 14, 11:14am

Another 7 am* reading at Boskone - Aliette de Boddard and Tamora Pierce. Not greatly interested in Aliette's story, but Tamora's reading was from a new universe for her - a Scots family immigrated to Appalachia (100+ years ago) and now most of them have developed some form of psychic power. Sounds like a lot of fun. Also the next Aram book is being worked on, yay! I've been wanting to read that for a long time. So not immediate - the Appalachia book should be coming out in 2022, not sure about Aram but likely later - but definite book bullets.

*Or, the problems of virtual cons. The readings are at the perfectly reasonable hour of 10 am...in Boston. Hauling myself out of bed in California at 7 am (well, enough before 7 am that I can then sit at the computer and listen) is an effort...but definitely worth it, both days.

Oh yeah, yesterday's readings - Ursula read a new story, that isn't finished let alone accepted anywhere, but sounds like a lot of fun - floating house. The house just floated away somehow, with three people inside - this is not something normal, it's extraordinary, but since they're Ursula's characters they just accept it and go on from there. Pragmatic, that's the word I've seen for her characters (and her, I believe). Steve & Sharon read from - I don't really know, I listened to Ursula first. Liaden, anyway, so whatever it is I'll get it and read it. Interesting scene with Shan and a Carrisens-DeNobili (I think I mis-spelled that) trader. That's not really a book bullet, since there was never a chance I _wouldn't_ read it as soon as possible.

83benitastrnad
Feb 14, 7:01pm

>82 jjmcgaffey:
I read one of Aliette de Bodard's books several years ago and bought the sequel. the one I read was House of Shattered Wings. I liked it. It was set in an alternate World War I in Paris where it is angels and demons fighting instead of the Allies and Axis. I purchased the sequel House of Binding Thorns but haven't read it yet. What impressed me was the author's ability to meld South Asian myth and legend with Western myth and legend and come up with something new and different in the world of fantasy.

84CatRd
Feb 15, 10:19am

>18 jjmcgaffey: Hi, this looks like a cool thread! I am new to LT and looking to get more involved. You seem to read a lot of books similar to what I read. I have read a couple of Christine Feehan's books and found them enjoyable. If you like vampire stories, maybe you have read Sunshine by Robin McKinley? One of my favorites. Strongly recommend if you haven't tried it yet.

85jjmcgaffey
Feb 16, 11:08pm

>83 benitastrnad: I also read House of Shattered Wings...and hated it. Waaaay too depressing for me. I read about 2/3rds of it and skimmed to the end - death and destruction and cannibalism (of a sort) and...ugh. I'm glad you liked it, a lot of people do, but - not for me. She's a very good writer (I've also read a couple short stories of hers and hit the same thing) but her subjects don't work for me.

>84 CatRd: Hi, CatRd - welcome to LT! I read my first Christine Feehan just a few weeks ago, early this year. It was...interesting, not a favorite. Sunshine...well, it's a Robin McKinley. I love everything she's written. And I like a lot of Sunshine (love her baking!), but again, not a favorite. I mostly don't like vampire stories; there are exceptions, but not many. Patricia Briggs has vampires I find interesting, but the stories aren't about them (werewolves, mostly). That's the Mercy Thompson series.

My favorite McKinley is probably The Blue Sword, because I grew up in Afghanistan which is similar in a lot of ways to the world/situation of that setting.

86benitastrnad
Feb 17, 12:21am

>85 jjmcgaffey:
Yeah - it was depressing. I suspect that many people felt that way about the world at the end of World War I. I did like the way she used myths and legends from South Asia into the story. It was one of the first books I read that used mythology from those areas and that made it interesting for me. I also liked it that she had characters from French colonies in the novel. It is easy to forget that there were soldiers from all of the French colonies serving in front line units in the French Army by the end of WWI. I have not read the sequel but plan to do so - soon.

I find it hard to keep up with some of the fantasy series that I like. Well - hard to keep up with any series. I have spent the last year trying to finish some of the series that I have started, partly because I want to know what happens and partly because I hate leaving things undone.

87jjmcgaffey
Feb 17, 10:43pm

I have a very low tolerance for depressing - for stories that go bad places and stay there. I know I'm the odd one; there are a lot of people who love dark, rich stories (and it was very rich and complex and well-written - deep characters on a lot of levels). But it doesn't work for me.

88CatRd
Feb 18, 1:31pm

>83 benitastrnad: Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors! I also love The Blue Sword. It was the first book by Robin Mckinley that I read. I love her ability create a fantasy-scape that feels so fresh and different, especially when she is crafting a retelling of a popular fairy tale.

89LadyoftheLodge
Feb 19, 3:35pm

>87 jjmcgaffey: Agreed. There is enough dark stuff in current life, more than I need. So I do not go looking for it when I am reading.

90jjmcgaffey
Feb 19, 6:47pm

>88 CatRd: Have you ever seen her blog? She hasn't written for a long time, but all the old stuff is there (well, most of it. I think there was a blogapocalypse at some point) and it's _fascinating_. Her life stuff, and the stories she tells - there's even a serial, though it kind of trails off. http://www.robinmckinleysblog.com/

Robin's right up there in my list of best authors. Janet Kagan, Patricia Briggs, Mercedes Lackey, Diana Wynne Jones, Lois McMaster Bujold, Elizabeth Moon, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Wen Spencer, Christopher Stasheff, Peter Morwood...(oh good, I figured out a few males that belong in that list. Or, why my reading skews heavily female...). These aren't all of my favorites, but a good chunk of them.

91ronincats
Feb 19, 8:25pm

Not a fan of the dark stuff either. I can take it in small doses as long as there is a positive resolution. And you are copying my list of favorite authors, although I would add P. G. Hodgell, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and Pat Wrede...

92jjmcgaffey
Feb 22, 3:41am

I don't think I've read any Hodgell. Hoffman and Wrede, oh yeah! I said it wasn't everyone... Right, I have a few Hodgells but haven't gotten around to reading them. Looks like I have the first five of the Kencyrath books, all as ebooks. So maybe I'll bump them up the list.

93LolaWalser
Feb 22, 1:21pm

>85 jjmcgaffey:

Noting the book that reminded you of Afghanistan.

94jjmcgaffey
Feb 23, 12:56pm

Oh, very much so. And specifically the British Raj (I'm also a Kipling fan, so I knew the area through that lens too). The Hero and the Crown, which is a long-before prequel...well, not prequel exactly, but a story set much earlier in that place and culture...doesn't have the same resonance, it actually feels more Celtic to me than Afghan. But The Blue Sword, definitely.

95CatRd
Feb 23, 2:02pm

>90 jjmcgaffey: I love her blog! It was a life savior when waiting for a new book to come out. I always found her use of footnotes fascinating and hilarious.

I have read Patricia Briggs, Diana Wynne Jones and Elizabeth Moon, but not the rest. I will have to check them out. Some of my favorites: Ilona Andrews, Robert Jordan, Linnea Sinclair, Melanie Rawn and Sharon Shinn. I will be honest, my reading tends to be more female author oriented now than when I was a kid.

96benitastrnad
Feb 23, 2:54pm

>94 jjmcgaffey:
I agree with that assessment. I thought I was reading a book about someplace in the British Empire when the book started out and was very surprised to find out that it was a fantasy. I had no idea that was the genre when I read it. The book didn't have a cover on it, so I just picked it up because it was on the library shelf and it was new. I read it for the first time soon after it was published and I have been a fan of McKinley every since.

97jjmcgaffey
Feb 25, 2:40am

I like Linnea Sinclair, and many (though not all) of Ilona Andrews' stuff (I adore the Sweep series, less interested in the Magic Bites etc one). I've tried to read Melanie Rawn - years ago - and found her stuff just toooooo long (that was Dragon Prince). I've actually avoided Jordan because of series that don't end. Huh...I know Sharon Shinn's name, but have no idea if I've ever read anything by her or not.

I don't _try_ for female authors, it just seems that the books I love are mostly written by women. Not all, but a large majority. I don't know why.

Yeah, I expected The Blue Sword to be a fantasy - mine was this cover:



and the blue swirls around the sword kind of gave it away. But I remember being rather puzzled as the book went on and on and could have been a historical fiction...very like a lot of the Kipling books I had been reading for years.

98jjmcgaffey
Feb 25, 2:42am

So I have a couple Sharon Shinns, but have never gotten around to reading any of them. I should try.

99benitastrnad
Feb 26, 8:37pm

>97 jjmcgaffey:
It was several years after I read the book that Insaw the cover. The book I read was a library copy and the dust jacket had been removed (like most library copies) so I didn’t see the cover until I got to see it in a bookstore.

100jjmcgaffey
Feb 27, 2:40am

Huh. Most of the library books I saw...well, OK, a lot were just single-color with a title (presumably missing their dust jacket). But a lot had a mylar-covered dust jacket that was then taped down to the book, too. I suppose it depends on the library policies - both are means to keep people from losing the dust jacket.

101jjmcgaffey
Feb 28, 3:41am

A very good day. This morning (way too early for me, but I managed) my parents got their second COVID shots. Whew, that's done.

And this evening, I baked two loaves of sourdough - I took an online class that started two+ weeks ago with "how to create a starter" (I didn't actually do that, I have a healthy and active starter that I don't use enough). Thursday we made leaven (it had somehow escaped me that levain=leaven...), and Friday we made dough. It was only supposed to be one loaf but he likes being generous with the leaven so I had enough for two - made one according to his recipe and one the same except I used my cheese whey as the liquid. They did the first rise last night, got shaped and then went into the fridge. Baked them tonight, slightly more than 24 hours after they went into the fridge - no problem, both were well-raised and ready to bake. Had to bake them separately because I only have the one Dutch oven, so I did the plain first (and forgot to score it) and then the whey (and scored it, but not strongly enough). They both blew out at the edge, but only a little bit. I ate a slice of the plain one - somewhat bland, but not bad. The texture is pretty good, not great - a little bit gummy. That may have been because I cut it warm, though - leaving it to finish cooling now. The crumb _looks_ really good. I'll try some more plain and some whey bread in the morning.


Plain bread


The crumb


Whey bread

Now the thing is that I don't love crusty bread. We'll see how this comes out, but I may go back to making more enriched breads that have softer crusts. But it's nice to have a recipe that makes a really good crusty loaf, that's simple and easy to adjust the times on...hmmm, actually, this would make excellent bread bowls for putting brie into... Mebbe. We'll see.

I have another batch of brie almost ready for wrapping - my third (the first was in class and was 6 3" (or so) micro-bries, the second was two 4" rounds that are a bit thicker than the commercial brie that size, this batch is three 4" rounds that are a little bit slanted - the curds knitted so fast it became solid before it became level. Gotta work on that - I think I'm letting it get too hot. They still taste good, though (theoretically, for the second and third batches. Second should be edible next week, third will have about three weeks to go).


Third batch brie

I'm _still_ working on reconstituting my kitchen - I got back all the stuff I use regularly, now working on the stuff I use occasionally. What usually happens is that I go to make X, realize that thing I need is still in a box, empty that box and put the stuff away...and then go on with making X, not dealing with the rest of the boxes. I've nearly emptied the largest one, though. I really need to get them dealt with, because it's time to plant seeds...

I start my seeds in Aerogardens. It makes for very quick germination and healthy plants. But my Aerogardens are behind a wall of boxes...I can't get rid of those directly (yet), but if I get rid of the ones that have kitchen stuff in them I can move things around so I can get at the Aerogardens. This needs to be done quickly, I want to plant tomatoes by mid-March (for a change, instead of mid-April - which means I'm lucky to get the first tomato by mid-June. Early planting should mean both bigger healthier plants (because they'll work on roots before they start growing up, if it's cold out still) and tomatoes much earlier in the year (mid-May?). I have planted peas, carrots, spinach, and poppies. Oh, and garlic. Should plant potatoes soon. All the aforementioned have sprouted, but they're still on first leaves so it's hard to tell what's what (everything looks like grass, just some is very fine and some is bigger). Those were seed directly outside; the Aerogarden starts are the more tender plants, that need some babying first.


Peas, and some carrots barely starting. One of two pots.


Spinach (the larger ones) and poppies. One of three pots.


Garlic. One of three pots (though the other two are smaller). Also an herb left over from last year...oregano? Marjoram? I don't remember. I never used it.

I'm planting for me, for my mom, for my sister...and for two plant sales. Alameda Backyard Growers normally has a booth at Earth Day and sells tomato seedlings - it's one of our major fundraising events. Last year, there was no Earth Day festival, for obvious reasons - so we did a distanced plant sale in various driveways. And the American Association of University Women also does a plant sale; it's mostly been flowers and succulents, but last year they asked me and I supplied some tomato and basil seedlings, which sold like hotcakes. So I'll be giving them a bunch too. I'm not sure when the ABG sale is - Earth Day is mid-April, so likely around then. AAUW is doing it at the beginning of May. So I'm planting for my family now (should have planted on Valentines' Day...though the Aerogardens are quick, so I may have seedlings ready to plant by St Patrick's), in mid-March (after those have been potted up) I'll start for ABG, and when I pot those up at the beginning of April I'll start for AAUW. Or maybe a little later, I need to figure out how long it really does take, for tomatoes and for basil, in the Aerogardens. I'll look at my old garden journals (kept in spreadsheets on the computer - less quirky, a heck of a lot easier to store and look up...and fill out, too...than paper ones).

Ah, spring. When...I'm always busy as heck! Fun though. Winter hasn't entirely let go (not that we get much in the way of winter here), not enough rain so I hope it rains some more, but yeah, it's pretty much spring now here.

102CatRd
Mar 1, 4:25pm

>97 jjmcgaffey: I know what you mean about the start of the book. When I first picked it up, I was living in Germany and the only place to get books in English at the time (before Amazon) was at this tiny, tiny book store. The synopsis and cover interested me, but I was a little too young to get past the first chapter on my first attempt. A year later, though, I read the whole thing in a setting, then went looking for The Hero and the Crown.

103jjmcgaffey
Mar 1, 6:14pm

The whey bread doesn't have a lot more flavor than the plain, though it does seem to have a slightly softer crust (despite being baked darker - I forgot to turn the oven down when I put it in). It's not bad, and I'll use the recipe again - I'll just need to make it with whole wheat, or maybe add flavors. Someone (I forget who, we bought a couple loaves more than a year ago) makes a fantastic garlic sourdough, with whole and nearly-whole cloves embedded in the bread - this might work for that. Hmmm.

104jjmcgaffey
Mar 3, 12:34am

Books Read
21. Four Colors Suffice ^ by Robin Wilson. Review - More about math than maps - but those are both interests of mine, so still very interesting. The history of a particular puzzle in mathematics - how it was first posed, various solutions and why they were either wrong or incomplete, and a fascinating bit at the end about the use of computers in the solution and how it was received.
22. Sourdough @^ by Robin Sloan. Review - Very interesting - magic sourdough in San Francisco and Alameda (my current home!), and a computer programmer protagonist. Fun read, I like his skewed view.
23. What Mrs Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking @^ by Abby Fisher. Review - An interesting little cookbook - the first (or possibly second) published by a free(d) black woman in the US. It is amazingly like medieval cookbooks…
24. Baen Free Stories 2020 @^ by Baen Books. Review - Wide assortment - the Liaden story I got it for was excellent as expected, some of the others were quite interesting.

Currently Reading
Firegold, by Dia Calhoun - mildly interesting YA. Stupid parents refusing to discuss matters that need discussing, bah. It should start heating up soon. Baen Free Stories 2014 - I didn't mean to start this, I just wanted to see what stories were in it, then I saw there was an Archers Beach story and.... Good stories so far. I still have Pilgrim's Inn and The White Witch on my table (well, Pilgrim's Inn is an ebook, so my metaphorical table) but that may not have been a good idea - two Elizabeth Goudges, in her standard style (though they're very different stories).

BOMBs
Not a one.

Discards
Nope. Only one paper book and I want to keep Four Colors Suffice.

New/Reread
All new to me. Still 11 rereads paid for.

This month's-end kind of slipped by me. I haven't been reading a lot, and what I was reading was mostly pretty long, so I haven't finished many this month at all. And only one BOMB - so I'm still ahead of my target, but only by one book now. Need to concentrate on those again for this month (March).

105jjmcgaffey
Mar 3, 12:39am

February stats
6 books read
0 rereads
6 new books
11 rereads paid for

1607 pages read, average 267.8

1 BOMBs
0 ER books
0 Netgalley books

4 ebooks, 2 paper books

1 discards

2 SF&F
0 animal stories
0 children's
4 non-fiction
0 general fiction
0 romances
0 graphic novels
0 mysteries

3 F, 4 M authors

106LolaWalser
Mar 5, 1:26pm

The bread, the cheese, the vegs...! You're like a one-person urban farm. And it all looks so fab!

I'm a crust-maniac, ever on search for the real, CRUSTY, bread. Actually I found a simple ciabatta recipe works for my rudimentary baking skills in turning out a nicely crunchy breadlike thing.

107jjmcgaffey
Mar 5, 5:32pm

Yeah, I really like making things for myself. It's generally not cheaper than I could buy it, even ignoring labor costs - but it's mine and it's made exactly the way I want it (or as close as I can get it...which is sometimes not too close).

I like crusty bread for eating straight - but an entire loaf to myself is a bit much (let alone two). If I'm making a sandwich or something, I prefer something a bit softer - not Wonder-type squishybread, but something that takes less than full jaw action to scissor through the crust. There's a great King Arthur recipe for sourdough sandwich bread that has a firm but not crunchy crust and boule-type inside - neither squishy nor crumbly but nicely chewy. I've made one very successfully and took it to a group meal, made another recently that was less successful. I think I tend to underbake my bread, need to work on that. I'll keep trying with that recipe.

108LadyoftheLodge
Mar 5, 6:17pm

Did you ever have a bread machine? I had one, but the loaves were often crusty but the interior was not done enough. I abandoned mine years ago, but I still have several bread machine cookbooks that I don't want to part with. What has been your experience with them? (I do recall waking up to the wonderful smell of the baking bread in the machine that I set up before going to sleep the previous night!)

109jjmcgaffey
Mar 5, 10:37pm

Yes, I had an old DAK/Welbilt round one - I remember the bread being wonderful (but that was a long time ago). More recently I had a Hitachi, which made decent bread - more importantly, it made great dough (mix, knead, and proof). Then I'd take it out and bake it in a loaf pan (or make rolls, or...). Like yours, the baking wasn't great. But I ended up using it more for a rice cooker than a bread machine, and I got rid of it a while ago. Yeah, I still have a bunch of bread machine cookbooks - you can make the bread just as well in a stand mixer, or even hand-mixing and kneading.

Which is not to say that I _do_ that, just that I could if I wanted to... (I have in the region of 500 paper cookbooks and another 400 electronic ones...and 99.95% of the time I either cook from Evernote, where I've collected a bunch of good recipes that I know work (that's Tested Recipes) and a much larger bunch of recipes that looked good, on the internet or in the newspaper or in a cookbook I didn't own (saw in a store, or someone's house, or the library, or...); or I just go online and search for whatever it is I want to make. Poor lonely cookbooks...).

110avaland
Mar 6, 10:45am

Wow, was I behind on your thread! I missed a 'winter of cheese' (I love cheese but my system doesn't anymore). Looks yummy. I love to bake bread but as I get older I've been less enamored of the mess & clean-up so this winter we bought a bread machine. Made a chocolate cherry yeast bread yesterday for a friend, and have an oatmeal bread in process now. I miss the making of two or three loaves at a time though.

And you did a virtual Boskone! It's been a long time since I've been to one. I think my last might have been the Neil Gaiman year (I thought it was Terry Prachett but he must have been the Worldcon GOH). I don't read much in the genre anymore. We did learn regency dancing at Boskone one year (that may have been the George RR Martin year). It's funny, I almost never read the books of the GOHs (Connie Willis, an exception) but went for all the other authors who showed up.

111LadyoftheLodge
Mar 6, 1:33pm

>109 jjmcgaffey: My bread machine was also a DAK! It looked like a little R2D2 sitting on my counter. Alas, I also have a large number of paper cookbooks, many of which I inherited from a friend who was moving and could not take all her cookbooks. I weeded the collection about 5 years ago and kept my faves, but now my husband does most of the cooking and I am the sous chef. He has favorite recipes but mostly cooks by memory or sense or whatever, without looking at a recipe. I still like to read my cookbooks though, since most of them have interesting information besides recipes. I still own an ancient Betty Crocker cookbook that I acquired when I graduated from college and got my first apartment in 1975. It is literally falling apart. I also have a Parents Magazine Family Cookbook that belonged to my mother--also falling apart, with foxing and discolorations on the pages, copyright 1953.

112sallypursell
Mar 7, 7:03pm

We've tried two different bread machines, and we just weren't satisfied with the products. I like my bread home-made. I keep us in my seed bread for breakfast, etc. and make sandwich bread when I feel like it. One of my daughters-in-law has a mother who makes sandwich bread every day. I'd get bored with that.

113jjmcgaffey
Mar 8, 12:38am

>112 sallypursell: The same bread every day? Oh, ugh. I mean, there are thousands of breads that could be described as sandwich bread - and if the family's big enough to go through a loaf a day, that could be great. But the same bread, day after day? I wouldn't want to either bake or eat it.

I found my bread machines were very good for making dough (as I said above), but the bread was a lot better if I baked it separately.

>111 LadyoftheLodge: One of my high school graduation gifts was a copy of Joy of Cooking. But it was a new copy, from the bookstore - 1975 edition, I think. And it did not have the three recipes I used the most, from my mom's 1964 edition! (Eggnog in quantity, Cheese Souffle (the one you can make two hours in advance and refrigerate before baking), and...I forget what the third one was, or rather I forget which of my regular recipes was originally from Joy). So I found an old 1964 edition one in a yard sale, and got rid of my new one. Now I hardly ever look at it, but I still have it...

>110 avaland: I'm trying to make it not "a winter of cheese" but something that happens regularly. I like making cheese, it's fun, and yummy - but generally I'd take a class and make cheese, and maybe make it again, and then just stop. Not stop collecting tools and equipment and ingredients, but stop making the cheese. That I've actually made two batches of Brie after the class is a first - I'm hoping/planning to keep on.

What I eat most is Cheddar - but that's apparently somewhat complicated to make. So I'm trying to figure out what relatively simple, pressed and aged cheese I can make and get used to so there's only a few new steps in making Cheddar. Cheesemaking.com is a very dangerous place...

Yeah, I love the idea of all these virtual cons. It gets a little difficult, though, since they are (of course) mostly over weekends, which I spend with my parents - I can sometimes squeeze in some events around the edges, but I've missed a lot of cons I'd have liked to go to. Including the last Worldcon, ConNZealand. Don't know if I'll manage any better for DisCon III, but I'm signed up for it (at least as a supporting member). And they don't know if it will be both virtual and physical, or virtual only, yet...though I'm betting on the latter. August isn't long enough away.

114benitastrnad
Mar 8, 12:34pm

>113 jjmcgaffey:
The Con's might be back - in-person. I have noticed that some of the educational conferences are going to held in-person this summer. Of course, it depends on what state they are going to be in. If they are in New York or California they probably won't be in-person, but I got a notice today from one in Florida that will be in-person starting June 8, 2021. Texas is another state that is having in-person as is Arizona. I suspect that Louisiana, Wyoming, Montana, and the other Southern States will follow suit. I don't think that the European conferences will be held in-person this summer, but most likely by the fall some of them will be.

115benitastrnad
Mar 8, 5:18pm

I just opened an e-mail from Publisher's Weekly and the Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany will be in person this year. October 20-24 at the Frankfurt Fair grounds in halls 3,4,and 6. that is downsized but still in person. They will also offer some programs virtually. Registration is now open - just in case you want to go.

116RidgewayGirl
Mar 8, 7:22pm

The Decatur Book Festival has not made an announcement, but they are recruiting volunteers for an in-person festival, which I am choosing to see as a hopeful sign.

117jjmcgaffey
Mar 9, 4:30am

Yeah...I'm not sure I'd be willing to go to an in-person con, certainly not in the next couple months. Possibly by September/October...depends on how things are going (and how bad things are in and from the places that have, yet again, opened up way too much and too early - cancelling mask mandates at this point). It's still wait and see for me.

I love conventions, but it is traditional to come home with a nasty cold - all the germs that everyone brings from all over the place, stirred up into a witch's brew of infection. Really don't want COVID-flavored con crud - either personally or being spread around. I'd rather stay virtual for a while longer.

118jjmcgaffey
Mar 19, 4:41am

Books Read
25. Baen Free Stories 2014 @^ by Baen Books. Review - I was just looking at it to see what was in it...and then I was three stories in and might as well finish. More good stories than most of the yearbooks. As usual it was Sharon Lee that drew me in, but lots of good stuff besides hers.
26. Ambient Conditions @^ by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Review - I hadn't read the first story either (published previously) - two good stories. One is Surebleak and the conflict within the Scouts; the second is the other side of the story of Preferred Seating, with a lot more background to it than PS had.
27. Owl Be Home for Christmas @^ by Diane Duane. Review - Oh, lovely. Nice to see Kit and Nita and other familiar faces, but this is a weird angle on things and a fascinating new facet of wizardry.
28. Dying With Her Cheer Pants On @^ by Seanan McGuire. Review - En masse, this is a bit much, but I like each story. Interesting people, very interesting world. I never thought much of cheerleaders before…
29. Jolene @^ by Mercedes Lackey. Review - Fun! It feels like a cross between Elemental Masters and 500 Kingdoms - new and learning Master encounters powerful fairy-tale being. And she turns out to be far more interesting and less one-note than she's painted at the start.
30. Rags - the Story of a Dog @^ by Karen Niemann. Review - Cute, very short - it was a picture book originally, I think, no idea why Gutenberg put it up as text.
31. Vicky Peterwald - Target @^ by Mike Shepherd. Review - Vicky has been established as something of an idiot - nice to see her begin to grow up. Ends abruptly - not a cliffhanger, but no conclusion either. Chapter break.
32. Vicky Peterwald - Survivor @^ by Mike Shepherd. Review - More growth, she's getting quite interesting. Slightly closer to a conclusion at the end of this, though nothing's really resolved.
33. Vicky Peterwald - Rebel @* by Mike Shepherd. Review - The stakes get higher, and Vicky learns a lot about herself and her allies. Odd place to stop.
34. Calculated Risks @^ by Seanan McGuire. Review - Fantastic. Some of the choices made in the previous book come back to bite Sarah and her kin (sometimes literally). Slightly convenient ending - a lot closer to happy ever after than it looked like it was going to be - but it works.
35. Splinter Universe Presents! @^ by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Review - I thought this would be a reread, that I'd seen all of these on Splinter Universe. Nope, I'd read less than half of them before. Lots of fun if you're a Liaden fan, totally confusing, I suspect, if you're not.
36. Splinter Universe Presents - The Wrong Lance @^ by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Review - Strange and lovely. This is Steve & Sharon's first attempt at Accepting the Lance - it's a very different story on multiple levels (and somewhat less confusing than what actually got published, for me!). Fascinating look at what didn't get published.
37. Trading Jeff and His Dog @^ by Jim Kjelgaard. Review - Great story. Kjelgaard _doesn't_ give way to his habit of writing magic dogs - Pal is just a dog, though he does show up very conveniently a few times. I like both Jeff and Dan. Hope it works out for them.
38. The Lion's Paw # by Robb White. Review - This is just as good as I remembered - lovely story, great adventure without stretching suspension of disbelief too much. Happy ending, as expected. I want more by him.

Currently Reading
The Master Key by L. Frank Baum - cutish story, rather racist so far (normal for that time). I think I'll read it once and dump it, but we'll see - I've only started. Lots more hanging on around the edges but I'm not reading anything else actively just now.

BOMBs
The third Vicky Peterwald - I didn't have any of the others on paper, but that one counts.

Discards
Vicky Peterwald Rebel. I think I'll probably want to read it again, but I have the ebook.

New/Reread
All but one are new to me; The Lion's Paw is a reread. 11 rereads paid for.

So. Yeah. I've been reading quite a bit - not BOMBs, though I need to (I'm stalled out on three different books, though), but haven't been reviewing. Most of these I haven't reviewed yet, so I'll have to add those, but at least I've listed them.

119jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Mar 19, 6:09am

Whoops, missed one - a BOMB, at that!

25. Firegold * by Dia Calhoun. Review - Silly. A few nice bits, but 90% of the problems were caused by his parents refusing to talk to him. And of course magical happy ever after ending. Also way too much of 13-year-old boy looking for a wife/True Love.

Push all the above numbers down one...

It's a BOMB, and a discard. So 12 rereads paid for now.

BOMBs are harder to keep track of than ebooks - I have to note somewhere when I started, and when I finish. I listed when I started Firegold in a few places (though not in my catalog), but didn't list when I finished it at all. So I guessed.

120jjmcgaffey
Mar 23, 7:29am

Dealing with my Dad...he's in hospice care, he has cancer and the doctors don't have any more treatments for him. Most of the time he's limited but able to deal with things - Mom takes care of him, I handle heavy lifting including helping him get up when he falls. But he got sick - a flu? a cold? last week, and he just doesn't have the reserves to handle it - so he was falling and being unable to get up (I can't lift him, I can just _help_ and boost him. If he can't push strongly enough to get up, I can't do anything). So we've now got a hospital bed, which should help - it helps him sit up, for one thing, and it's lower than their bed for another. And he's distinctly better, though still wobbly. But...it's hard. Worse for Mom than me, of course. Trying to come up with ways to help, when there really isn't much anyone can do, though...

On a more cheerful note - I'm rereading a favorite series, Jean Johnson's Sons of Destiny. I've read all the books probably five or six times, but not for a couple years; it kept popping up and pestering me to be read for the last several weeks, and I finally gave in. And it's still excellent. I was kind of expecting that there would be those great scenes that I remember and love, but there would be connective tissue that was...well, OK. Nope. It's all that good. Great scenes connected by more enjoyable parts. I love that they build a relationship (OK, slightly forced, but the forcing makes sense in the story) before they fall into bed. Lust is there but it's not the driver for the relationship, on either side (unlike way too many romances these days). Read the first one, The Sword, in one day (until after midnight), and started the next one (The Wolf) as soon as I could. The third is my favorite - tomorrow maybe, or the next day.

121AlisonY
Mar 23, 9:48am

>120 jjmcgaffey: That's very tough on many fronts, Jennifer. I'm glad you're still being able to find solace in books and reading.

122benitastrnad
Modificato: Mar 23, 4:10pm

>120 jjmcgaffey:
Doing Hospice care is hard for everybody. Can you get some Hospice help? At my home (Kansas) Hospice does not do in-home palliative care. We learned that when my Dad was sick with cancer. Like you, we could not move him in and out of bed without help, so we had to have him in the local swing bed unit of the hospital. It worked for us, but that may not be available for you in your area. I am so sorry for all of you, but know that you will find a way to carry on with love and affection.

123RidgewayGirl
Mar 23, 1:45pm

>120 jjmcgaffey: Caring for a parent is rough. And it's fairly useless to say, "take care of yourself," when that's not always possible. Wishing strength to all three of you.

124LolaWalser
Mar 23, 1:49pm

>120 jjmcgaffey:

Sorry to hear this. Something similar happened with my father. It's good you can still care for him at home.

125jjmcgaffey
Mar 24, 9:59pm

The Hospice people come by and do things - but they're not there either when he's getting up in the morning or when he goes to bed at night (well, that won't be happening, since he's staying in bed now), and he usually fell then or in the middle of the night and of course they weren't there then. He gets a home health aide twice or now three times a week, who mostly gives him a bath; a nurse once or twice a week and...somebody else once a week. Lots of help, even useful help, but not with this particular problem.

Thank you all for your kind comments. I just had to vent...

126lisapeet
Mar 25, 1:52pm

I'm sorry to hear you're dealing with this. Yeah, hospice is great but also imperfect. Just make sure you lift carefully, says this Jewish mother... I know from experience that elder care back injuries can be tough ones.

127jjmcgaffey
Mar 25, 3:48pm

My mom has a torn rotator cuff - she damaged it oh, three years ago? and never really took care of it because she needed to use that arm. Now...on good days, she can use the arm to lift something light. On bad days she basically doesn't use it. And there's really not much that can be done, especially now - there might be a possibility of surgery, but not while she's the primary caretaker. I've been much more careful of my arms since she started being limited because of her injury - including putting one in a sling for over a week when I did something to the shoulder. Less to support it, more to remind me not to use it - it recovered very well. But Mom didn't do that, and at this point I don't think it would do anything. Which is to say - yes, I'm being careful!

128sallypursell
Mar 29, 8:19am

Oh, I'm so sorry about your father. Hospice helps, but there is no way to make this time any easier. It's hard to enjoy this, but at least to me, it seems important to me to be at home and have family around than being in a Hospice bed or a hospital. I wish all good things for all three of you, your Dad, your Mom, and you. Take care.

On another note: have your read A Madness of Angels, and the other books by Kate Griffin? They are not easy or light, but I found them quick reading, and I liked them very, very much. It might be better to wait a while, because I found the first book rather full of the feeling of loss, but I loved the series. Kate Griffin is the author.

129jjmcgaffey
Mar 29, 11:39pm

>128 sallypursell: Don't know it - it might be interesting, though the "vengeance and violence" bits don't sound great. I'll keep it in mind. It sounds like a rather different slant on "magic London" than the Peter Grant mysteries - Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch.

130sallypursell
Mar 30, 12:14am

>129 jjmcgaffey: Oh, it's very different. And captivating.

131jjmcgaffey
Apr 1, 2:31am

Books Read
40. The Master Key * by L. Frank Baum. Review - Eh. A rather silly story, very much in fairy tale tone (as he said in the subtitle), somewhat racist, but mostly just mildly annoying.
41. The Sword # by Jean Johnson. Review - Lovely as always; this is probably my fifth or sixth reread of the series. Love Kelly and Saber, and the setup for the whole thing. Actually read these on paper, for some reason…
42. The Wolf # by Jean Johnson. Review - Wolfer and Alys; I find them less interesting than the first pair, though still good. And a lot of advancement of the series arc.
43. The Master # by Jean Johnson. Review - My favorite of the series, despite the misunderstanding trope (my least favorite) being featured. I really like both Dominor and Serina.
44. The Song # by Jean Johnson. Review - Evanor and Mariel (and Mikor) - less interesting, again, than the older twin's story. Tying off some threads from back in The Wolf, and some events that start the next big part of the series arc.
45. The Cat # by Jean Johnson. Review - I like Trevan somewhat; same with Amara. She keeps getting herself into embarrassing situations, though. Not one of my favorites of the series, though it's still fascinating. And the overlap with The Storm is very well done.
46. The Storm # by Jean Johnson. Review - Rydan and Rora; pretty quiet, very rich story. It's nice to see Morg get a bit of a comeuppance, he's been a bit too smug. And a lot of advancement on the series arc - some idea of what needs to happen.
47. The Flame # by Jean Johnson. Review - Koranen is slightly an idiot, but for good reason. Pretty much the same for Danau. Some advancement of the series arc, with a diversion into murder mystery…
48. Eternal Frontier @^ by James Schmitz. Review - A collection of _all_ of Schmitz's shorter works. Most of the stories are very good, but reading it straight through is probably not the best idea - a little too...repetitive is not quite the right word. Strong style repeated in many many different ways. A bit much.

Currently Reading
The Mage - the last one of the Sons of Destiny series. And then there's the related books...I may be going on for a while longer.

BOMBs
The Master Key.

Discards
The Master Key. As I thought, not worth keeping.

New/Reread
Mostly rereads this time through - one new, one BOMB, the rest rereads. And I _still_ have 6 rereads paid for.

I finished The Master Key and finally gave in to the nudging of the Sons of Destiny - scenes from the series have been popping up in my head for weeks. And I can't stop with just one, if I start the series I have to finish it - it's very much one story. The romances are important, and fill up quite a bit of the space per book, but there's also a larger arc that makes all of it - romances and side-stories and everything - part of a single large aim. That, plus rich characters and vivid descriptions, is why I can (and have) read and reread this series and enjoy myself every time. But I didn't quite get the last book finished this month. It'll be the first one done in April, though.

132jjmcgaffey
Apr 1, 2:35am

March stats
24 books read
8 rereads
16 new books
6 rereads paid for

6917 pages read, average 288.2

3 BOMBs (15 for the year)
0 ER books
0 Netgalley books

14 ebooks, 10 paper books

3 discards (14 for the year)

12 SF&F
1 animal stories
4 children's
0 non-fiction
0 general fiction
7 romances
0 graphic novels
0 mysteries

17 F, 11 M authors

Just enough BOMBs, and one too few discards, to hit my goals up to this point. Which means I need to focus on BOMBs and discards next month, so I don't fall behind. A lot of books read - admittedly seven of them were a single series and rereads, but still. A lot of pages, too. And for some reason, although I have the Sons of Destiny as ebooks, I read basically all of it on paper - read a little bit of one as an ebook, but returned to paper as soon as I got home. Odd.

133jjmcgaffey
Apr 1, 2:43am

Oh! I've finally managed to get scheduled for a shot. It's not until April 14; if I can, I'll get one before then (50+ becomes eligible as of April 1, in my county), but at least I've got that one. And Kaiser (my health provider) sets it up so that when you go in for your first shot you are scheduled for your second on the spot. It's a bit of a drive - about 40 minutes, without traffic - but doable.

134LolaWalser
Apr 1, 4:17pm

Schmitz was one of the few positive discoveries back when I did the sci-fi "oldies" read in the Science Fiction group... (Just remembered I have one of his going now, A Tale of Two Clocks.

135jjmcgaffey
Apr 2, 1:09am

Baen did a reprint series of everything he's written - all the Telzey Amberdon, all the Trigger, the one I just read that was all his random stories, and The Wizard of Karres...and others, those are what I remember. The Hub: Dangerous Territory is one. That was a few years ago, but recently enough the books may be findable (in libraries and used book stores...maybe as new as well).

136jjmcgaffey
Apr 15, 5:17am

So...it's been quite a day. This morning I went out (45 minute drive) and got my first COVID shot. To celebrate, I went to a couple thrift shops I haven't been to in years - and got some really nice stuff (including a book I've been looking for for months, Cookwise). My arm is a little sore, I'm more tired than I ought to be, and I had a mild headache almost immediately - so immediately that I suspect it's more driving in bright sunlight than the vaccine contributing to that.

Came home, had just arrived and was planning my evening...and my mom called, my dad just died. The paramedics were still there - I went immediately, of course. They say he had a massive heart attack and died pretty much instantly.

This is...very hard to focus. Part of me is glad - he was so unhappy with the way his body was letting him down; and he had bone cancer, which had not _yet_ started to give him serious pain. So dying the way he did, quickly and without stress, is a good thing. For him. But then I think about the fact that I'll never talk to him again, never hear one of his stories or his bad puns or... And then there's part of me that just doesn't believe it. He's still there, just around the corner - still downstairs, just out of sight. That part...actually makes it easier to function, to help Mom deal with the details. But it's going to hit me sometime. Maybe the not-believing part will help, by letting me deal with it in little bits instead of all at once.

That's all. I just wanted to say.

137rhian_of_oz
Apr 15, 9:02am

Oh Jennifer that's terrible. My condolences on the loss of your father.

138LolaWalser
Apr 15, 10:53am

My condolences, Jennifer.

139Yells
Apr 15, 12:21pm

Yikes, what a roller coaster day! That's a lot to process all at once and I'm sorry that you are going through that.

140benitastrnad
Apr 15, 12:40pm

My father has been gone for 7 years and I still am not accustomed to it. I can say that I don't cry as much as I did but I still miss him.

141ELiz_M
Apr 15, 1:30pm

I am so sorry for your loss.

142rocketjk
Apr 15, 1:44pm

Wow. Sorry to read this. Condolences from here, as well.

143AnnieMod
Apr 15, 1:47pm

>136 jjmcgaffey: I am so sorry for your loss. Hugs. I lost mine 20 years ago, unexpectedly, and I still expect to see/hear him occasionally.

144dianeham
Apr 15, 7:11pm

Hugs Jennifer

145lisapeet
Apr 15, 9:20pm

Oh, I'm so sorry. Being right about him not having to go through the worst part of the cancer still doesn't balance out that sudden loss. My sympathies—be good to yourself.

146AlisonY
Apr 16, 12:39pm

Aw Jennifer that's tough. Really sorry to hear your sad news about your sudden loss.

147jjmcgaffey
Apr 16, 1:36pm

Thank you all.

We're dealing with the details - first, notifying family, and friends. Then the services (immediate viewing, then a church service when people can actually come - long after he's been cremated). And tracking all the official places we're going to have to deal with...ghahh.

My sisters came, too - one a four-hour trip and she's staying, one a 45-minute trip and I believe she intends to come up on a regular basis. Ditto me, with a 10-minute trip (including walking to and from the car...).

It's good to see everyone (we all have at least the first shot, now). It hits me, now and then, but I'm still mostly burying my feelings under doings.

148sallypursell
Apr 17, 9:53am

>136 jjmcgaffey: Oh, Jennifer, there are no words for such a loss. I am so sorry for you, and for your mother, but glad for your father's release.

149LadyoftheLodge
Apr 19, 7:34pm

I am so sorry to hear of your father's passing. I remember when my daddy passed away. I still hear his voice in my head and I know he is still loving me and taking care of me. Sometimes I just wish I could talk with him and ask for his advice. He does send me beautiful sunsets.

150SandDune
Apr 21, 4:42pm

So sorry for your loss.

151ronincats
Apr 21, 9:00pm

Jenn, I was just checking in after getting to Kansas, and I see this happened on my first day of travel. I'm so sorry. Doing does help during the first shock. Hugs!

152jjmcgaffey
Apr 24, 4:29am

So today - yesterday, technically, Friday - was the viewing and funeral service. It was beautifully done, lots of people came and lots more watched the funeral home's livestream. Two familiar songs - On Eagles Wings to start the service and Lord of the Dance to end it. Dad picked both of them, a while ago.

Amazing story - in 1957, when my dad was 15 or 16, his family took in a family of Dutch refugees and helped them get a start in the US. He's told the story a few times. Today, the first people to the viewing - were one of the boys of that family, and his wife! They've been living for the last five years ten minutes walk from my parents' house. I wish he'd figured it out a little sooner - Dad would have loved to talk to him - but he saw the obituary, recognized the name and then noticed Dad was born in Michigan. So cool.

Dad will be cremated on Monday and his ashes will be coming home on Tuesday. We're setting up a place for his urn to sit. Still dealing with hundreds of details - the number of companies and organizations that need to be contacted! But matters progress, and things are starting to shake out for us. Mom's trying to get rid of all the stuff she can while we're all here so she won't have to deal with it later...we discovered that Dad's clothes fit all three of us pretty well (need some adjustment for length, that's all). And various little mementos that don't mean much to her but are neat objects are going home with us, too - pins and buttons and cufflinks and stuff. And food - the stuff she bought only because Dad liked it. So many little things to deal with - and it's nice, for the three of us, to have these. Final gifts from Dad.

My middle sister is staying a little longer, and we may be making it a road trip - all four of us taking her home (Mom and my other sister and me). That's if my youngest sister can get off work. Hope so, that would be a pleasant trip (and we can babble all we want without bewildering either of my sisters' husbands. They put up with the McGirls talk, but it's hard for them).

Not reading much - I'm barely getting chores done at home, because I want to spend most of my time at Mom's. I did make a double batch of Brie the other day - testing whether I can make it with standard Trader Joe's milk as well as with Strauss organic creamtop milk (which costs almost three times as much). So far, looks good (they've only aged two days, and no fuzz yet. But it made good solid cheese, TJs as good as Strauss). That took all of one day and the morning of the next day. Worth it, though.

Also prepping for the plant sales - one this Sunday, I've already delivered my plants for that. The other is May 1st, a week later; those plants are still seedlings in my Aerogardens, hope they grow fast so I can pot them up and get them out to the sale. They're quite solid growth, but still in the two-leaves stage - they need the second set of leaves (the first ones that look like the adult leaves) before I can pot them up.

And I really should get to bed now (past 1 am). G'nite, all.

153lisapeet
Apr 24, 5:29pm

That's fantastic that the sons of the Dutch family found you, even belatedly. And it's nice to hear how your family's spending time together. Do make sure you have some down time scheduled for yourself. (And apologies for sounding like a Jewish mother, but I am, in fact, a Jewish mother.)

154jjmcgaffey
Maggio 6, 9:42pm

It's been a busy just-over-a-month. I spent a lot of time at Mom's house, with my sisters; we dealt with all of the urgent stuff, and the less urgent is on a list to be dealt with. This past Monday we did a road trip to deliver my middle sister home; four of us up, three down. It was fun - lots of talking and singing and pointing out neat stuff along the road. Got home Tuesday afternoon (we spent one night at her house), and took care of various chores. Then Wednesday morning Mom and I headed out to get me my second shot - it was, like the first one, at a place about 30-45 minutes drive away. The line was much shorter this time; instead of spending an hour and a half creeeeeeping forward in my car through the labyrinth of lanes, we went in, paused briefly a couple times, I got my shot, we waited the 15 minutes and we were out of there in just under 25 minutes total. Nice, except...there's still a lot of people needing shots, who aren't (choosing to) get them. Ghahh.

So then we went to a couple thrift stores we hadn't been to in over a year (the same two I went to after my first shot), and got food at a restaurant and ate outside, and went to Ikea, and so on and so forth. By the end of the day I was very tired and somewhat shaky, with a slightly sore arm; but given that getting home, lounging on the sofa with salty snacks and water, and relaxing with a book and some phone games got back a lot of that energy I'm not sure how much was attributable to the shot and how much to the day (it was blazing hot, too).

Today I'm being very slow and lazy, which has enabled me to finally update my book stats. I really didn't read much last month, for good reason. But life should be getting back to normal-ish now.

155jjmcgaffey
Maggio 6, 9:47pm

Books Read
49. The Mage - # - by Jean Johnson.
50. The Rainbow and the Rose - @* - by Nevil Shute.
51. Jungle Lore - * - by Jim Corbett.
52. Finding Destiny - # - by Jean Johnson.
53. Mary Marie - * - by Eleanor H. Porter.
54. Alliance of Equals - @# - by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.
55. Traders Leap - @^ - by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

Currently Reading
See next month's post

BOMBs
Three - The Rainbow and the Rose, Jungle Lore, and Mary Marie

Discards
All three BOMBs. I want to read Rainbow again, but I have it (in fact, read it this time) as an ebook, so that's fine.

New/Reread
Three rereads - the end of the series I read in April and a short story book that bridges between that and the next series, and the book that immediately led to the events in the latest Liaden book. Six more rereads paid for - and I keep wanting to read comfort books (which means rereads). Need to focus on BOMBs so I can do that...

156jjmcgaffey
Maggio 6, 9:49pm

April stats
7 books read
3 rereads
4 new books
6 rereads paid for

2247 pages read, average 321

3 BOMBs
0 ER books
0 Netgalley books

3 ebooks, 4 paper books

3 discards

3 SF&F
0 animal stories
1 children's
1 non-fiction
1 general fiction
1 romances
0 graphic novels
0 mysteries

5 F, 4 M authors

I'm short on BOMBs and discards again - not too bad, though, and I can probably catch up in May.

157jjmcgaffey
Maggio 6, 9:54pm

Books Read
56. A Lot Like Christmas @^ by Connie Willis. Review - Collection of SF-ish Christmas stories (apparently many are reprints, I'd never read them before). Fun read.

Currently Reading
Finder by Lilith Saintcrow (that's hard to find in Others!). Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson, a non-fiction about kitchen tools which is _fascinating_. I've got a bunch of half-finished ebooks, but I dropped them because I didn't feel like reading them and I still don't. I'll probably get to them eventually...

BOMBs
None yet - Consider the Fork is one, but not finished yet (about 2/3rds done). It's taking me a while to read because it's my table book - a chapter or two at each meal (when I have time for a sit-down meal!).

Discards
None yet. I've already gotten the ebook of Consider the Fork so I will be discarding that (in the direction of my mother, who was finally hooked by my frequent quoting from it...). The others are ebooks.

New/Reread
It's new - I need to focus on BOMBs so I can do all the rereads that are nagging at me.

158jjmcgaffey
Maggio 10, 10:18pm

Books Read
57. Finder @^ by Lilith Saintcrow. Review - Good fluff - urban fantasy/romance, latest in a series I enjoy.
58. The Wrangler's Bride @# by Justine Davis. Review - More good fluff, though it turned out it was a reread and I didn't remember it at all.
59. Consider the Fork * by Bee Wilson. Review - Fascinating - history of food and cooking by focusing on the tools we use(d), from knives and fire to patent eggbeaters and fridges.
60. Booked for Murder @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Excellent start to a series - love the characters, there's not a huge lot of story here though.
61. Moontangled @^ by Stephanie Burgis. Review - Lovely! Glad to see them again, even in this short piece.
62. Games Wizards Play @^ by Diane Duane. Review - Wow, that's rich even for a Duane. Confusing, as normal; lots of old favorite characters, lots of new ones too.
63. Hill Top Tales * by Beatrix Potter. Review - Bleah. Silly and nasty, I don't understand why people love these so much. Maybe if I'd met them as a kid.

Currently Reading
From the Ocean to the Sky by Edmund Hillary - boats up the Ganges (Ganga, properly) and a mountain climb at the end. interesting, not fascinating. Haven't picked a new ebook yet.

BOMBs
Two - as I said above, Consider the Fork, and Hill Top Tales as well.

Discards
Three - the two BOMBs, and The Wrangler's Bride. I have the ebook if I want to reread again, for both CtF and WB.

New/Reread
Well...I meant them all to be new. I'm a little annoyed at wasting a reread on fluff, even good fluff... Anyway, 7 rereads paid for now.

Doing pretty well - I'm suddenly reading a lot more, don't know if it's release from stress or just that I finished several chunky books. And making progress on BOMBs and discards as well - I'm not up to my goals yet (need three more this month) but doing OK. I'm glad I found a spare discard so the numbers now match (I've got 20 of each, now).

159benitastrnad
Maggio 11, 11:42pm

I am headed to Kansas tomorrow. I will be attending my niece's graduation from law school and then will go home to spend almost 3 weeks with Mom. She will be getting out of Rehab on May 17 and I am going to stay with her to make sure that she is going OK. She never got over the ear infection she got from her bout with COVID back in December, so she ended up back in the hospital. She is 84 and she just didn't have enough stamina to get over the infection. It will be my duty to take her to her physical therapy and her respiratory therapy every day. And of course, feed her good and try to get her to move from snack food to healthy food. If my experience with her back in December is anything to go on, the will be an uphill battle.

I still have my suitcase to pack and I need to be on the road by noon tomorrow. Lots to do including making my final book selections for the trip.

160jjmcgaffey
Maggio 13, 2:12am

>159 benitastrnad: Enjoy your trip, and I hope your mom feels better soon (and without driving you completely nuts).

161jjmcgaffey
Maggio 13, 2:14am

Books Read
64. From the Ocean to the Sky * by Edmund Hillary. Review - Eh. I'm neither a mountain climber or a jet-boater; he goes into so much detail you need to be at least one of those to be interested.
65. What Abigail Did That Summer @^ by Ben Aaronovitch. Review - Nice! Nice addition to the Rivers of London series. Abigail is very interesting.
66. A Rosary of Stones and Thorns @^ by M.C.A. Hogarth. Review - Weird and wonderful. A complete rereading of religion (the People of the Book), and a fantastic story to carry the ideas.

Currently Reading
Procrastibaking - mildly interesting, and I do intend to try quite a few of the recipes. Some seem like too much work for procrastination, though.

BOMBs
The Hillary book.

Discards
The Hillary book. The other two are both excellent and ebooks.

New/Reread
All new - 8 rereads paid for, now.

162dianeham
Maggio 13, 2:22am

>161 jjmcgaffey: Is 66 a ya book?

163dchaikin
Maggio 13, 1:12pm

Stopping by to catch up and I’m just now learning about your dad. I’m really sorry for your loss and all you have gone through in trying to adjust to that. I’m glad you’re reading again. (I really enjoyed your review of Consider the Fork.)

164jjmcgaffey
Maggio 14, 12:24am

>162 dianeham: OMG no! Some kids might be able to handle it, but it is _not_ written for youngsters. Death - death of innocents - and torture and an unstoppable war that will devastate Earth. There's no sex, or even mild romance - the strongest relationship onscreen is friendship - and loss of friendship. It's...it's...it's one of those books where if you say anything about what it's about it's a spoiler.

An angel falls - is pushed - to Earth, encounters a Jesuit priest with an odd relationship to his religion (though that doesn't really show up until later - at least, the reasons don't), a demon is sent up (in? out?) to find out what this angel is doing...and at that point all the comfortable assumptions about what is going on and what this means are turned inside out and upside down. Why did Lucifer leave Heaven? It's not what we thought... This is all the first couple chapters. Then things get weirder.

165jjmcgaffey
Maggio 14, 12:27am

>163 dchaikin: Thanks. Things are settling down, in many ways...I still don't believe he's really gone, he's just...away somewhere. I can't believe I'll never get to talk to him again - I keep thinking of nice things I could do and then remember he doesn't get to eat my pie or read that book I want to recommend or... But I'm gradually coming to terms with it.

Yeah, Consider the Fork is excellent.

166dianeham
Maggio 14, 1:29am

>164 jjmcgaffey: It was the cover that gave me that impression.

167Berly
Maggio 14, 2:04am

Hi there. Just checking in. So very sorry to hear about your dad passing, but I am glad he didn't have to suffer through the bone cancer. I am very glad you are with your amazing family as you go through this. Sounds like you had a lot of fun with your Mom and sisters. Wishing you happy memories. And congrats on your vaccine.

168SandDune
Maggio 14, 3:30am

>155 jjmcgaffey: I’m making my way through the Liaden books as well and they have also made their way to my comfort read list as well (as well as pretty much anything by Georgette Heyer and Lois McMaster Bujold).

>158 jjmcgaffey: I have to admit that I love Beatrix Potter. I read the stories as a child (still remember the word ‘soporific’ from The Flopsy Bunnies from when I was very small), I read them to my son, and I studied them when I did a course on Children’s Literature as part of my Literature degree.

>161 jjmcgaffey: >164 jjmcgaffey: A Rosary of Stones and Thorns sounds like something I would like.

169jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Maggio 14, 3:50am

>166 dianeham: Ah, yes. She draws her own covers (among other things) - which is excellent art but it is much simpler than most covers these days. I can see it as looking YA. But definitely not something to give an unsuspecting child... (I've known some teens who would love it - and some adults who would recoil in horror and confusion).

>168 SandDune: Yep, those three are definitely on my list for comfort reads. Among others.

As I said, if I'd encountered her as a child I might have been drawn in. Just...not now. There are an awful lot of very nasty stories for kids, from lots of authors...and I never had a kid to read them to, so escaped that way too.

Try it! and if you like it, try Princes' Game or Blood Ladders. I got drawn in via Mindtouch, which is a gentler story/series...but it leads into Princes' Game and on to... she's got a whole universe, with converging/diverging series and characters overlapping and and... I am utterly hooked on M.C.A. Hogarth, and almost everything she's written is fantastic.

>167 Berly: Thanks. Yeah, my family is close, which has been helpful. And I am very glad to have gotten the vaccine - just under a week to go, till full effect.

170sallypursell
Maggio 14, 12:07pm

>161 jjmcgaffey: I love stories about Angels! I don't mean the sanitized version many Christians seem to think of. I mean the Heavenly Warriors like Michael and Gabriel, and apparently, Asriel, according to >66 jjmcgaffey:. I also love the disaffected Angels. Have you read The Six-Gun Tarot? It has many horror tropes, but it is a great fantasy, the I like the sequels even more. The author is R. S. Belcher. Terrific disaffected Angels in there.

171RidgewayGirl
Maggio 14, 12:26pm

Jennifer, I'm behind on your thread and only now catching up. I'm sorry for your loss.

172bragan
Maggio 14, 1:18pm

>170 sallypursell: Hmm, I've been very much in the mood for disaffected angels, myself, for a while. (I blame the TV adaptation of Good Omens.) So I think A Rosary of Stones and Thorns might have to go on my own wishlist.

173jjmcgaffey
Maggio 14, 10:31pm

Excellent (rubs hands together). My plan to hook people on M.C.A. Hogarth is finally bearing fruit...

Ghahh. Just finished my taxes. Which is stupid, leaving it so late - it only takes a few hours, though those hours are usually filled with various frustrations (what do I enter here? Why didn't I get that form? What does that mean - can I get that credit or not?). But it worked; I owe the feds and am owed by the state. And I feel so much relief when it's done... But somehow that never translates into doing them early. Bah, silly me.

So yesterday I made cheese - my second attempt at Farmstead Cheese from cheesemaking.com. The first time I made a bunch of errors and got a somewhat odd (but perfectly edible) cheese. This time I fixed all those errors...and made a new bunch, sigh.

Last time my biggest pan would only hold a gallon, so I made a one-gallon cheese instead of the two-gallon the recipe calls for. And I didn't have the culture it calls for, so I used a similar one. And I didn't wrap or wax it so the rind got a little moldy - again, still perfectly edible (99% of what will grow on cheese is perfectly edible, but it does change the flavor (think blue cheese)).

This time I had a bigger pan, and the right culture...and after I'd cooked the curds and they were ready for the mold, I discovered that my mold is made to hold at most 1.5 gallons worth of curd. So I kind of piled them up and wrapped them as best I could, and ate what I couldn't fit in (only a couple tablespoons) and put in on the press - and spent a lot of time adjusting the angle of the press so the curds wouldn't bulge too far over the edge and get cut off. I ended up with a very nice-looking, smooth cheese, of just over 2 pounds, that was almost exactly as tall as the mold (usually you want it to be a little lower so the follower fits into the mold). I bought a bigger mold; next time. But the cheese looks good, there's only one sort of folded edge; it's drying now, then I'll bandage it and put it to age for a month or two.

And usually, when I make cheese, there's the problem of the whey. It's about 3/4th of the volume of the original milk - which is a lot of whey! This time I made ricotta, and got over a cup - nice - and then boiled down the whey and made mysost, whey cheese. It doesn't taste like cheese, nor have the texture - it's more like stiff, sticky fudge, with a salty, cheesy bite to the flavor. It sounds really weird, but if you like it it's fantastic. I find it every once in a while in the stores, but it's pricey - being able to make my own (and use up huge amounts of whey doing so!) is excellent. I still have a quart of whey, I'll use that for feeding my sourdough starter and keeping powdery mildew off my peas and tomatoes. A quart is a useful amount, a gallon and a half is a little much!

Last time I made whey caramel, which is basically the same thing with some sugar added (and not boiled so long - it's supposed to be a sauce, I cooked it a little too long and it's pretty solid). I think I'll alternate making those when I make cheese.

My snow peas are producing - not the floods that will be showing up soon, but still a good handful every day. I've got two kinds, and they taste about the same - so next year I'll be growing the ones that have the lovely pink-and-purple flowers, rather than the plain white ones. So glad I found them again - I used to have them, then didn't grow them one year and lost track of them. I'll mark off a couple of the pods and let them grow to maturity, then harvest the peas and use them to grow next year.

My tomatoes have suddenly decided it's time to grow - they've been in the dirt for almost a month, just sitting there. In the past week six of the eight have gained inches; and one of the ones that isn't growing a lot has flowers. Different focuses... The poppies are also taking off, there's one that's considerably larger than the tomato it's next to. 10 inches or so, and the tomato has reached 8 inches. The usual problem with potatoes, one (two) sprouts have grown tremendously and three others are barely above the dirt. You're supposed to pile dirt around the stalks so more potatoes will grow, but if I bury the tall ones the little ones will be completely drowned...I heaped dirt around it, I'll work on burying it more as the little ones grow.

I finally found a fridge - I meant to get one as part of having my kitchen redone in November, but the one(s) I wanted weren't available (the stores are blaming either the clogged-up shipping or factories in China...but it's been months). Finally found one at Costco - they'd only had big ones before, I'm delighted to see they have a 30" fridge now. It's not quite what I wanted - non-magnetic stainless steel for one thing, and a freezer drawer rather than a door for another. But Consumer Reports says it's one of the best fridges around for that size, better than the one I was looking for; and because it's at Costco, I could pay for most of it with the gift card I got for having my kitchen done by Costco. 'Sta bien! It's supposed to be coming Monday. Which means I need to get all the food out of my fridge and freezer by...Sunday, or Monday morning at the latest. I do have a couple big coolers, but that won't be great for frozen stuff (ok for cold stuff, though). I still want some dry ice; it used to be everywhere, but suddenly I want it and no one is selling it any more. Grrr. Well, I'll do what I can.

Heh. I think I made up for not posting much, all in one post...

174dchaikin
Maggio 14, 11:06pm

You may have - regarding that last sentence. It’s a fun post.

175dianeham
Maggio 15, 2:16am

>173 jjmcgaffey: Still have to do my taxes and I’m like this every year too. I’d love to taste your cheese.

176lisapeet
Maggio 15, 9:37am

I really like reading about your cheesemaking adventures. It's the one culinary DIY I haven't tried.

I just sent in my tax stuff to my accountant on Monday—I don't even do them myself, and it still took me this long, which is really lame of me. She's been doing my taxes so long that she probably expects it—she turned them around in about 24 hours—but still. Just ONE year I'd like to surprise her by getting everything over there by mid-February.

177rocketjk
Maggio 15, 4:37pm

>173 jjmcgaffey: Great post.

"I'd cooked the curds and they were ready for the mold." Words to live by!

My wife is the gardener in our house, but she's had to cut way down on it this year because we are in extreme drought conditions here in northern California. Still, she is doing what she can.

178sallypursell
Maggio 15, 6:53pm

>172 bragan: For that matter, there is always The Golden Compass and its sequels. The angels in there were great. Do consider The Six-Gun Tarot. It has fascinating story-lines and characters, and you can't really get more disaffected than the angels therein.

Nailini Singh has a good series about angels and archangels, and includes a kick-ass female warrior character. The first one is Angels' Blood. There have a definite genre feel to them, and they are not literature, and don't pretend to be. Just fun. A little violent in spots.

179sallypursell
Maggio 15, 7:00pm

I, too, am enthralled with the cheese-making. Keep telling us all the details, please. Meanwhile, I must make a visit to that website.

180bragan
Maggio 17, 7:11pm

>178 sallypursell: I have read The Golden Compass etc. I had very mixed feelings about it, though, the details of which I will spare you.

But I am making a note of your other recommendations! Six Gun Tarot looks rather strange, possibly in a way that might appeal.

In the meantime, I am mostly scratching that particular itch by going back to catch up on Supernatural after a many-year hiatus. For all its (many, many, many) flaws, that show does at least often do a nice line in disaffected angels. :)

181jjmcgaffey
Maggio 18, 4:37am

So. Fridge came...and complications. Despite measuring at least a dozen times, and I was sure I had a clear quarter inch...it ended up being half an inch too wide for the space. Even if I'd taken off the door frame and the baseboard, it would still have been a quarter inch too wide, and the counter it's up against is a quartz resin and complicated to cut. So...that wasn't happening. But I had my fridge and I wasn't giving it back...so now I have a (huge!) fridge on the other end of the counter, in my - well, dining nook, it's not really a room. And I already had serious overflow in there, shelves and my microwave and toaster oven and so on. So the main set of shelves has been taken down and may be recreated in the fridge space - or I may end up putting my microwave, toaster oven, and some of my kitchen tools (stand mixer, food processor, Ankarsrum...) in that space, on various shelves. I have a nice kitchen cart that fits in there; if I can arrange things so the surface stays clear for putting whatever machine I'm using on to it, that could be very useful. And microwave and toaster oven on separate shelves so I can use them without moving them. I don't know if this will work, I'm dreaming rather than planning at the moment. But not having the gadgets shoved into the back corner would be very useful.

And then I was looking at my very crowded-feeling dining nook, and thinking that if I moved the dish cabinet back six or eight inches (which requires moving a Billy bookcase the same distance, and shifting the Elfa hanging shelves as well), the whole thing becomes much more functional. There's no wall between the nook and the living room, I made one with the cabinet and bookshelves back to back. So it's entirely moveable...aside from being jam-packed with stuff, both in/on the furniture and in the spaces around it. That's likely to be a relatively long-term job. But it'll keep the new fridge from looming quite so thoroughly over the table.

Short term, I need to put stuff back that got shifted to allow the fridge through. I need to figure out exactly what I need in shelf parts, which means putting the kitchen cart in the space and seeing what it looks like, and looking at the space that will no longer be inhabited by microwave etc to see what that needs. And I need to go on clearing stuff out of my living room so that I can move things around and move the cabinet, later. Also deal with the stuff that got evicted from the fridge's current location - I can set up shelves next to it for these things, I think (that's the space that will no longer be inhabited by microwave etc).

The fridge doesn't look as empty as I was expecting - it's about a third larger than my old one. On the other hand, I had things arranged very nicely in the old fridge (which didn't prevent stuff getting lost in the back of the shelves); the current arrangement is mostly shoving stuff in wherever it will more or less fit. I'll need to work on how and where stuff will go now. And use some of the plastic trays/baskets/boxes I've been collecting, to make it easier to keep stuff together (and harder to keep piling up more stuff!). And I need to eat or cook with some of the things that I discovered in the backs of the shelves.

The other advantage of the current location for the fridge is that both sides are exposed - the front is very non-magnetic, the sides are at least partly magnetic (a hook set that held things quite solidly on my old fridge was sliding down, though, so I put a couple other magnets to help hold it up). They make "wallpaper" to make your old, magnetic, white or almond or whatever fridge look like it's stainless steel...but an adhesive sheet that's metal, to allow magnets to stick, doesn't seem to exist. There are magnet sheets, and I'll try those. But that's complicated, with two magnetic fields interacting; I'll have to test and see how it works out. I've already stuck up a whiteboard; it's self-adhesive, though I had it held up by magnets on my old fridge. It's useful, mostly for writing down longer-term kitchen tasks.

Everything is more complicated than I expect...

182jjmcgaffey
Maggio 24, 4:17am

Currently reading Sarum - and it's going to be a while before I finish. It's a chunkster, at over 800 pages. The writing is good, the story is interesting...but I'm getting annoyed that every major turning point so far (I'm still in pre-history - Stonehenge just got built - so this is all the author's made-up story) has hinged on sex. An attempted rape that created the first real settlement. An unfaithful wife, and a series of barren ones, that got Stonehenge built (yes, it's complicated). Yada yada. I hope once we get into written history, at least, the focus will be more varied. I'm also reading his story about, say, Stonehenge, and trying to figure out what archaeological finds would have let him make _this_ story. There aren't footnotes and there don't seem to be endnotes (he does say, emphatically, in the introduction that this is a _novel_, so he may not have felt them necessary. I think it would have been more fun with them...oh well).

Also reading Procrastibaking, on my phone. Which means reading through the recipes and bookmarking about 3/4ths of them to try...but I'm too busy to actually do any (of that) baking. I'll have to figure out how to extract the recipes, or how to jump easily - that's what the bookmarking is supposed to do, we'll see.

I did bake bread - Just Bread, from King Arthur. And somewhat to my surprise, it worked perfectly. It's not a plain white bread (which I find boring in taste), it's got a thin crackly crust that's not nearly as tough as most sourdoughs, it's very tasty, good texture, and is keeping well (though I sliced and froze half of it so I wouldn't lose any to mold). I did forget to turn down the temperature after the initial hot bake, then tented the bread to save the already very dark crust - it worked, but now of course I need to make it again _properly_. I've been baking bread for quite a while, but it frequently ended up gummy in the middle even when the thermometer said it was well above the target temperature and I waited until it was cool to cut. Hmph. The Just Bread got too hot (205+ when the target is 195), but ended up with a great texture. Hopefully I can repeat it.

Tomorrow I have two projects - one, pot up the remaining basil from my Aerogardens (they've been outside for weeks now, and I'm going to have to fight with their roots...) so I can give them to a friend who's having a yard sale next weekend. And two, at least prime and possibly paint the fridge alcove. The walls in the kitchen are currently somewhat greyish white; I got some tinted primer and a couple samples of color, and intend to paint all the kitchen walls yellow. I'll consider what I'm doing in the dining area, and then in the living room, once I've finished the kitchen. So prime the area and then paint both samples on and decide which one I'll be using - then probably go get some, since I have a whole quart of each which won't nearly cover the walls. And besides the samples are flat and I want eggshell at least and maybe satin (it's easier to scrub glossy paint than matte).

Mom's getting near the end (she thinks) of all the chores necessitated by Dad's death. Financial annoyances (credit card companies being idiots). Plus the DMV...Dad had DP (disabled) plates on his car. Mom wants to turn in those plates (since she's not entitled). So she filled out the online forms to say that Dad was dead and she needs standard plates to replace the DP ones...and the DMV sent her two disabled hang-tags! Ghahh. Can you read your own forms? She's going to see if AAA can help - they can often deal with DMV for stuff that would otherwise require a long boring visit, hope this is covered.

Dad's urn is in a nice corner spot in the living room, with his collection of boar statues around it and a plaque about him being remembered in perpetual Masses. It still strikes me as kind of weird, but Mom likes it, apparently.

Life goes on, and on, and...

183LolaWalser
Maggio 24, 3:03pm

So much activity!

The moving dilemmas sound like an ancient video game we used to play, with many pieces of various shapes and sizes that had to be moved within different designs, in order to fit the one coloured piece in its designated receptacle.

184jjmcgaffey
Maggio 26, 2:46am

Yep. Or the paper or wood version, Tesseragrams I think it was called. I'm really bad at it, though... hopefully my kitchen/dining room/living room setup will work better than that!

185avaland
Maggio 30, 3:27pm

>136 jjmcgaffey: I'm sorry to hear that your father has passed away. And I'm sorry I didn't get over here to see your announcement sooner. My father died suddenly in 1982 when I had just had my third child. I still think of him from time to time, wish sometimes he was still around because in retrospect I think we had a lot more in common that I ever realized, and I would have enjoyed hearing more WWII or family stories (and he would have enjoyed talking about it, I think) There is no good time, but as you note, one can be thankful he didn't suffer longer.

I'm glad you are all doing all right (and I'm very impressed with your cheese adventures!)

186jjmcgaffey
Giu 2, 2:42am

Books Read
67. Visitors from London % by Kitty Barne. Review - Cute and enjoyable, though there's some loose ends annoying me.
68. Procrastibaking @^ by Erin Gardner. Review - Mildly interesting set of recipes; they seem, as a whole, a little complicated for quick baking (though maybe that's the point). Want to try many.
69. Angel of the Overpass @^ by Seanan McGuire. Review - Excellent as always - I was surprised at the strong links to events in Incryptid, but of course the crossroads were more important to Rose than to Annie…
70. The Root Cellar * by Janet Lunn. Review - Good YA - handles time travel pretty well. Some horrific (though not detailed) descriptions of Civil War hospitals.
71. Calico Captive * by Elizabeth George Speare. Review - Excellent - Speare is very good about presenting people from all angles.
72. Assassins of Thasalon @^ by Lois McMaster Bujold. Review - Lovely as expected. The longer piece just let her fill in a few more details and sub-plots.
73. Beneath a Blood Moon @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Lovely - a continuation of Witch and Wolf (not sure why it's not considered part of the series). Mostly the characters cheerfully squabbling, while dealing with plots and traitors just offhand.

Currently Reading
The Rainbow and the Rose by E. Nesbit - poetry. The first few were quite good, but then it turned into dozens of lost-love poems, in dozens of different ways. The only amusing part is that some of them are written to a man, some to a woman (and a few to a child).

BOMBs
The Root Cellar and Calico Captive.

Discards
Discard both; I have Calico Captive as an ebook and if I want to reread The Root Cellar I can get that too.

New/Reread
All new. 10 rereads paid for.

I hit my goal for BOMBs this month, and passed my discard goal - which leaves me only a couple behind where I ought to be at this point in the year. See if I can catch up in June.

187jjmcgaffey
Giu 2, 2:44am

May stats
18 books read
1 rereads
17 new books
10 rereads paid for

5317 pages read, average 295.4

5 BOMBs - hit my goal for the month
0 ER books
0 Netgalley books

12 ebooks, 6 paper books

6 discards - passed my goal for the month

9 SF&F
0 animal stories
3 children's
3 non-fiction
0 general fiction
2 romances
0 graphic novels
0 mysteries

16 F, 2 M authors

Good job on goals. Serious imbalance in gender of authors...but I'm definitely not tilting the way most people apparently do, I read a lot more women than men. No idea why, their stuff appeals to me more is all.

188jjmcgaffey
Giu 2, 2:46am

Books Read
74. Paladin's Strength @^ by T Kingfisher. Review - Excellent as usual - romance/fantasy adventure. I was laughing aloud quite a lot - and crying in parts, too.

Currently Reading
Still The Rainbow and the Rose - interrupted myself to enjoy Paladin's Strength.

BOMBs
Nope.

Discards
Nope.

New/Reread
One new; still 10 rereads paid for.

Didn't quite finish this in May, so I'll post it for June.

189jjmcgaffey
Giu 10, 2:01am

Books Read
75. Wild Sign @^ by Patricia Briggs. Review - Good, but it feels minor (only after they'd won, of course…). And a new spin in the last chapter.
76. Wyrde and Wayward @^ by Charlotte E. English. Review - A fascinating new version of (Regency?) England-with-magic. Not quite a romance, though there's clearly interest.
77. The Rainbow and the Rose @^ by E. Nesbit. Review - Eh. Some good poems at the beginning, then a lot of lost love...the only interesting bit is that some are written to a man, some to a woman (and some to children).
78. Origami Boxes @^ by Florence Temko. Review - An odd mixture. Many are origami boxes, and I want to try some; some are...not. Anything with scissors and glue doesn't count.
79. A Deadly Education @^ by Naomi Novik. Review - Wow. Yet another fantastic story, in a completely different setting, from Novik. The only bad thing about the book is that it ends on a cliffhanger.
80. The Oddling Prince @^ by Nancy Springer. Review - Weird and good. She returns to the themes of The Silver Sun - different story, but the two brothers are very like Hal and Alan in their relationship.
81. Outfoxed @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Lovely. Another good paranormal romance from Blain; another new world, though it has similarities to several of her others (especially the crazy family). Very good, want next.

Currently Reading
Nothing, right now - well, Sarum, but it's not what I'm in the mood for. Probably going to read more Blain. And I need more BOMBs.

BOMBs
Not a one.

Discards
Also not a one. All ebooks.

New/Reread
All new, no BOMBs. So still 10 rereads paid for.

A lot of good books (for what they are - good fluff, admittedly). But still, I've been enjoying what I've read recently, no slogging (except Sarum - which is why that's on hold).

190jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Lug 16, 11:48pm

Books Read
82. The Blue Castle @* by L.M. Montgomery. Review - Trite and sweet...and fun. I like Valancy.
83. The Cash Boy @^ by Horatio Alger Jr.. Review - Not great even for Alger – stolen baby grows into good boy who accidentally runs across who he was stolen from.
84. Born to Darkness @* by Suzanne Brockmann. Review - Very Brockmann - multiple romances, including both M/F and M/M - but set in a grim near-future world with corporate government and superpowers (not superheroes, just powers). Good story, hope she'll write another.
85. This Is Water @^ by David Foster Wallace. Review - Interesting speech about actually noticing your assumptions. Glad it got printed, far more useful.
86. Ajax Penumbra 1969 @^ by Robin Sloan. Review - Interesting - but mostly made me want to reread the book. Cool bits about the state of computers in 1969…
87. Water Witch @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Great collection of shorts - mostly Witch & Wolf world, one (long one) from Magical Romantic Comedy, a couple from her early Rift King world. Fun.
88. The House Lost at Sea @^ by RJ Blain. Review - For once, not strongly engaged in a Blain book - the immortal pirate bit was OK, but the obsessions got boring.
89. Playing with Fire @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Fascinating – a world jam-packed with different kinds of magic beings; he’s a cop and so much more, she’s got more magic than she (or anyone) realizes.
90. Hoofin' It @^ by RJ Blain. Review - A bit grimmer than the first book - well, is sex trafficking worse than turning people into gorgons? The switch from man and pet to woman and man was...interesting.
91. Serial Killer Princess @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Didn’t enjoy this as much as the others - still good, but the self-absorbed first person narration annoyed me. Snake and wolf.
92. Whatever For Hire @^ by RJ Blain. Review - OK, WEIRD. I like her and her odd-jobs; the whole thing with the kidnapping is very strange; and then the Devil gets involved and things go in even more peculiar directions.
93. Hearth, Home, and Havoc @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Cute, not much to it. Divorcee (from an abusive marriage) has accidentally given birth to a young goddess; they're trying to rescue her son from her marriage. The other guy is...very convenient, though not really surprising given it's the divine daughter who brings him in.
94. Owl Be Yours @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Interesting angle on lycanthropy - forced infection and its aftereffects. But the story starts when things start to get better, so it's not nearly as nasty as it could have been. She's a little obsessive given that the guy did not in fact infect her...but it's for the good of all, eventually.
95. Last but Not Leashed @^ by RJ Blain. Review - This is the purple wolf and the woman who wears wolfbane perfume (but doesn't drive him off with it). Lots of interesting angles and expansion of information about the world; the story is pretty slight.
96. No Kitten Around @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Annoying. Too many lies in too many directions. The kitten and puppy are excessively cute, and then it turns out they're part of a myth, and there are magic swords and...Too much piled up, and a somewhat pointless story. Not horrible, but not a favorite.
97. Fowl Play @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Amateur ballerina who happens to be the daughter of an angel, a devil, and a human, gets caught up in a serial murder. The murderer's motive is stupid, and just when they're beginning to figure things out Our Heroine gets kidnapped and the villain is revealed. Not bad, it would have been better as a book rather than a short piece.
98. Blending In @^ by RJ Blain. Review - This one's silly but I like it. She's cursed (by her ex) to become a chameleon whenever she's near someone she's attracted to. Her current crush has some serious problems in his company, and she's the accountant who can figure them out...and mayhem ensues. I like both of them.
99. Beyond @^ by Mercedes Lackey. Review - Cute story. Valdemar is...well, he's an idiot, but it's because he's so good-hearted. And I think the business at the end was retconning a confusion in earlier books over his rank. Neat story, nice explication of the beginnings of the Valdemar we know - and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
100. Blood Bound @^ by RJ Blain. Review - This, or the first chapter of this, was actually my first RJ Blain - I just didn't remember author or title, only that I liked it. It's interesting angles on vampires - I don't think it's either of her other worlds with vampires, though. Stubborn woman newly made vampire and ancient vampire (reasonably) attracted by her stubbornness - I like both of them, good story, now I want the next.
101. Diary of a Witchcraft Shop @^ by Liz Williams & Trevor Jones. Review - Eh, not great - too much gossip, not enough events.

Currently Reading
See July's post.

BOMBs
Two - The Blue Castle and Born to Darkness. Which leaves me a full month's BOMBs short of where I should be.

Discards
Discard both BOMBs (I have them as ebooks). Everything else was an ebook.

New/Reread
All new, no rereads - so still 12 rereads paid for.

I got way behind on posting (though I've been reading a lot! Mostly fluff, but still). Some of these have only quick reviews - basically, I did a little more detailed ones here and copied them to the books. But at least they're posted now!

ETA there are too many books named Playing with Fire. I had to add the book number to get Blain's - it wasn't even in the Others list.

191jjmcgaffey
Lug 16, 11:39pm

June stats
28 books read
0 rereads
28 new books
12 rereads paid for

7740 pages read, average 276.4

2 BOMBs
0 ER books
0 Netgalley books

28 ebooks, 0 paper books

2 discards

22 SF&F
0 animal stories
1 children's
4 non-fiction
1 general fiction
0 romances
0 graphic novels
0 mysteries

25 F, 3 M authors

Not enough BOMBs or discards. Most of the 25 female authors were one author, though - 14 RJ Blain books this month.

192jjmcgaffey
Lug 16, 11:44pm

Books Read
102. Deal with the Devil @^ by Kit Rocha. Review - Mildly interesting - not as good as I thought a "mercenary librarian" story would be. Lots of unreliable narrators, lying to each other and sometimes to themselves. Not bad, and I'm interested to read the next, but not as good as I was expecting.
103. Song of the Redwing @^ by Tish McFadden. Review - Very cute picture book of a swamp through one day; the poems are a little ragged, but not bad. Would be fun for a read-aloud with a kid.
104. From Timbuktu to Duck and Cover @^ by Lewis Lucke. Review - Mildly interesting stories somewhat derailed by a _lot_ of repetition. Particularly interesting for me as the daughter of a Foreign Service officer - I was looking for where we might have overlapped (didn't, as far as I can tell).
105. Cheetahs Never Win @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Human P.I. and his cheetah-shifter assistant - a lot of problems with promises they made each other and themselves (not to date, mostly). The small problems turn out to be huge, and are solved (literally) deus ex machina - amusing, but not a strong ending.
106. Burn, Baby, Burn @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Sequel to Playing With Fire (most of these aren't related beyond being in the same world, this one is). Bailey and Sam are married and turn out to be...a little too perfect for each other. She runs away, which leads to discovering a/more of the plot against gorgons and humans...and his family gets bigger and weirder. So does hers.
107. Karma @^ by RJ Blain. Review - In the Witch & Wolf world - but Karma is, as far as she knows, simply human (she doesn't know anything about magic). Interesting angle, since all previous ones have started with a wolf or a witch. Trust nurtured and then broken, reunited, really weird revelations, and story stops at a point of relative stability.
108. License to Kill @^ by RJ Blain. Review - And the story starts up again - with trust once again thoroughly broken. Karma goes out on her own and more interesting revelations - the middle story devolves a bit into repetition, but it ends in a good place where trust can be rebuilt. This was supposed to be the last book but the story didn't fit - third and possibly fourth book upcoming.

Currently Reading
The Library Book by Susan Orlean - about the LA Library, and somewhat about a huge fire that gutted the library in the '80s (I think. Same day as the news about Chernobyl broke). It's interesting, but a lot slower than the Blain books... I'm looking at BOMBs but not actually reading any. Need to get back into that!

BOMBs
Not a one.

Discards
Nope. All ebooks, at that.

New/Reread
All new books, so _still_ 12 paid for. But I don't want to use them until I'm in a better place with BOMBs.

OK, caught up posting (whew!). Some of these also have the quick reviews.

193LadyoftheLodge
Lug 17, 3:36pm

Good to see you back again and listing so many books! Thanks for the updates.

194jjmcgaffey
Lug 26, 12:52am

Still crazy life, and not enough sleep - I'm reading, and I'm reading LT but not posting much, and not posting here at all.

Day before yesterday was my birthday; we celebrated yesterday (Saturday). Mom gave me (at my specific request - she doesn't like trying to figure out what I want, mostly because Dad was awful at figuring out what she wanted!) a new Fitbit (Charge 4 - my Charge 3 was fading away, the screen was invisible outside and not too bright inside) and a portable monitor - a 15.6" screen that plugs into my 14" computer with a USB-C and gives me a good deal more room to work. I haven't actually tried that yet, but I believe it will work well. I already switched Fitbits.

I'm reading on too many devices and need to slim down. I got a very nice tablet a few weeks ago (splurge because it was on sale), and put a few books on it - but the book I'm actually reading there I don't really want to read again so soon. I read Stand and Deliver a few months ago; last week I read Yankee Privateer, the first book in the series (well, duology, as far as I know), and wanted to check a few things that happened in the later story that related to the earlier one. And before I knew it I was reading through Stand and Deliver again. Do'wanna, wanna read something else. Need to read BOMBs!

I'm reading a different book - Marazan, by Nevil Shute - on my phone. Again, good book (a little weird) but not a BOMB. And like that. I'll try to post what I've finished recently soon, and pick up some BOMBs before the end of the month.

195jjmcgaffey
Ago 7, 6:21am

So I'm kind of hanging fire at the moment. We (Mom and I first, then my sisters) were/are planning to go up to Lake Tahoe this coming week. And on Thursday, the air quality up there was pretty much green. Unfortunately, Friday evening the smoke swept in - it's purple and dark purple all around the lake right now. Well, no, it's improved - it's purple and red now. The forecast is for strong winds on Sunday that are supposed to push the smoke out...though depending on where the winds come from, they may bring more. We're supposed to go up Sunday, leaving about noon...

So we're packing and prepping and so on, and we'll check on Sunday and decide if we're going up. And if it's bad then but improving, maybe we'll go up Monday, or Tuesday. Of course, that smoke is supposed to come down to the Bay Area as well - we may go up Sunday because the air quality is the same in both places. Dunno. Hanging fire, as I said.

196Berly
Ago 15, 1:34am

Happy belated birthday and nice job snagging a new Fitbit!! Mine is looking pretty banged up...maybe a Christmas idea. : ) And as far as the smoke goes, it has been a rough summer. I am sorry your trip is in question. Did you make it? My hubby and I are currently sleeping in a hotel because our AC is broken and we can't open up at night to cool off with all the heat. Ugh.

197jjmcgaffey
Ago 20, 5:28pm

Ugh, that's nasty. I don't have AC, because it's so rarely really hot here - but there have been enough hot days that I now have fans that work for me. My apartment is funny, it's somehow nearly always cool (cold!) - partly because it's only got windows on one side (bedroom window, living room sliding glass door). The bathroom, kitchen, and dining room have no windows at all (vents, yes, but no light except what comes through the other rooms), so I essentially live in a cave. Window fan in the bedroom, and now I have a Vornado fan I can set up in front of the sliding glass door. I haven't used it yet, it hasn't been hot enough. Generally when the smoke comes, it's pretty cool (no sun gets through!) so if it's hot enough to need the fans it should be OK to use them.

Yes, we made our trip - it got a bit smoky at times but never very bad, much better than my sister's home in Reno and about the same as my home in Alameda. Our plans got a bit upended because my sister was afraid she had COVID (odd symptoms), and getting a test and then getting the results (negative) took time - but it ended up my other sister came up (as planned) on Wednesday and swept around to collect her. So we were all together Thursday through Saturday (they arrived Wednesday night, but after midnight).

We got to see the Tahoe Shakespeare play - which was well-done and awful. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) - it would be great if what you mostly like about Shakespeare is the slapstick. Not for me. But we upheld the tradition.

It started getting a bit smoky late Saturday; my sisters went home that night, Mom and I headed home Sunday morning. It was pretty smoky by then, and of course Sunday traffic (everyone goes home that day...), but we made it - and Tahoe has been enveloped in smoke ever since. We've got orange skies down here, but the smoke is mostly staying very high - can't smell it, just solid gray skies and the sun ranging from pale to orange (almost possible to actually look at it). Not as bad as the Bloody Sun days a couple years ago...yet.

I've been reading but not exactly tracking - fortunately Calibre Companion does track for me, so I can catch up. Not a single BOMB since I last posted, I really need to get cracking on those. Go open up a box of kids books or romances or something and read them as long as I can stand it. I stopped by the library the other day and came home with four books...sigh. One paranormal historical romance, which is being very good - Regency werewolves, with the emphasis on Regency. It really is a different mindset, and it's being represented very well. A Wolf in Duke's Clothing. I _think_ I have that on hold as an ebook - I'm pretty sure I heard about it in Talk here. But now I have it to read immediately (just what I needed). The other three are non-fiction - I was browsing the New Book shelves and picked them up. A drawing book and two science books and at the moment I can't remember what they are.

At some point, I'll update my book stats spreadsheet and post again, for July...hopefully before the end of August (which isn't too far away!). I'm being rather low-energy at the moment, for no particular reason.

198jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Ago 28, 3:37am

Books Read
109. The Library Book @^ by Susan Orlean. Review - Interesting but not absorbing, about libraries in general and the 1986 fire in the LA Central Library in particular.
110. Grave Humor @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Not a favorite - don't like either hero or heroine (they're kind of blank?) and the story is more about the series arc than about them.
111. Some Kind of Magic @^ by R. Cooper. Review - This is a police procedural in a world just starting to deal with magic and magical beings. I prefer RJ Blain - too much lust and detailed sex scenes here. Also the main trope was...not even misunderstanding, refusing to understand. Annoying.
112. Misplaced Princess @^ by Mari Carr & Lexxie Couper. Review - Cute contemporary romance; daughter of riches flees to Australia to escape her family, finds the brother of the guy she went to see is amazingly attractive. Too much insta-lust and detailed sex scenes, but there is some personality development as well.
113. Water Viper @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Yet another new world - post-apocalypse by magical meteor. Jesse is very interesting, even before she shifts. There's a lot of politics, and the usual RJ Blain crazy family.
114. Steel Heart @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Next Jesse story (two more in the works, yay). Jesse is more or less convinced she's allowed to be loved - and expresses it by trying to sacrifice herself. Lots of coincidence, and way too many Starfall stones following her around.
115. No Perfect Magic @^ by Patricia Rice. Review - Pretty standard Malcoms and Ives story; Will (the dog-speaker) who doesn't want to deal with people meets a woman with such acute hearing she can't focus on anything. A rescue brings them together, and of course it's happy ever after eventually.
116. Yankee Privateer @^ by Andre Norton. Review - Good historical fiction - set during late Revolutionary War, a young man is shanghaied onto a privateer and finds himself well suited for the work (eventually). Capture, prison, escape, more adventures, his nasty noble kin, more escape...I read the sequel first (in January), it's an interesting mix.
117. Marazan @^ by Nevil Shute. Review - Not as good as many of his - there's too many random elements (including Our Hero) poking into the storyline at various times. But not bad.
118. Stand & Deliver @# by Andre Norton. Review - Reread - not quite as much fun the second time through, but I couldn't stop (wanted to check something after I read the first book).
119. Change State @^ by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Review - This would be better if I remembered what happened with Jethri - I'll have to reread that. Still good, very rich. The second one is very odd, and I don't remember what became of the protagonist - he was mentioned later, at least. Very early Lizardi.
120. Netherworld !@ by Lisa Morton. Review - Almost a very good book. I don't read horror because it tends to be depressing; this, though there were gory bits, was a good, rich story. The protagonist is more or less reasonably not racist or sexist and objects to it in the culture around her. But the end was an anticlimax - why should she immediately go to another man? Still good, but not very good.
121. Wyrde and Wicked @^ by Charlotte English. Review - I found Gussie really annoying at the beginning, but the story caught me up after a while. Great expansion of knowledge on many, many levels - Werth history, Theo's friends, the Bow Street Runners...good story. Looking forward to the next.
122. Linnets and Valerians @* by Elizabeth Goudge. Review - Cute, just short of sweet. Themes are _very_ like The Little White Horse - different setting and the children are different, but I kept seeing echoes.

Currently Reading
See post for August reading

BOMBs
One - Linnets and Valerians.

Discards
I'll discard Linnets when I dig it out - I have the ebook.

New/Reread
One reread - from this year! I just wanted to check a couple things in Stand and Deliver...and somehow found myself reading the whole thing. So still 12 paid for, the BOMB and the reread balanced each other.

199jjmcgaffey
Ago 28, 3:26am

July stats
21 books read
1 rereads
20 new books
12 rereads paid for

5865 pages read, average 279.3

1 BOMBs
2 ER books
0 Netgalley books

21 ebooks, 0 paper books

0 discards

12 SF&F
0 animal stories
1 children's
2 non-fiction
4 general fiction
2 romances
0 graphic novels
0 mysteries

19 F, 3 M authors

Eh, sort of middling month. Except not nearly enough BOMBs.

200jjmcgaffey
Ago 28, 3:35am

Books Read
123. Castle Waiting Vol 1 # by Linda Medley. Review - As gorgeous as usual.
124. Castle Waiting Vol 2, The Definitive Edition # by Linda Medley. Review - Also as gorgeous as usual - I really hope there's a third volume someday.
125. The Best of Antrobus @^ by Lawrence Durrell. Review - I had read and enjoyed many of these - but this collection just didn't work for me.
126. Complete Little Orphan Annie Vol 1 # by Harold Gray. Review - Lovely as usual. And now I want to reread them all…
127. Called to Mate @^ by Lynn Tyler. Review - Not bad, not great - too explicit, and the problems of the second half require Our Hero to be DUMB. Still interested in reading more.
128. Write in Water @^ by Seanan McGuire. Review - Nice short - Simon, Patrick, and Dianda, while they're still struggling.
129. A Wolf in Duke's Clothing % by Susanna Allen. Review - Unexpectedly good - much deeper than I was expecting, especially for Regency werewolves. Better than most Regencies, and interesting shapeshifters to boot.
130. Open House on Haunted Hill @^ by John Wiswell. Review - Oh, lovely. A not-horror story about a haunted(ish) house. Hugo nominee and currently my favorite for the category.
131. Dirty Deeds @^ by RJ Blain, Faith Hunter, Devon Monk, Diana Pharaoh Francis. Review - Four authors, four series, three of which I'd read at least one book...and now I have four series I want to read/continue reading.
132. A Chip on Her Shoulder @^ by RJ Blain. Review - OK, not great. Backstory to a lot of the previous books - this is how the Devil and his wife got together.
133. Pack Justice @^ by RJ Blain. Review - New series in the Witch & Wolf world, nice. I like Sean.

Currently Reading
Dead Iron by Devon Monk - it's a lot grimmer than her Ordinary Magic series, so I'm finding it a bit of a slog. The Adventures of a Three-Guinea Watch by Talbot Baines Reed - also a bit of a slog, it's rather...cute. I'm planning to read more RJ Blain, and I just got two new books by M.C.A. Hogarth - but haven't started any of those yet.

BOMBs
Not a one.

Discards
Nope.

New/Reread
Three rereads, the rest new. 9 rereads paid for, still.

I'm now _way_ behind on BOMBs and discards. Need to find a box of fluff and just read them all! It would be very nice to be able to get rid of a box (I just entered 27 books I've gotten at yard sales recently...sigh).

201karspeak
Ago 28, 8:44am

>200 jjmcgaffey: Where can one find Open House On Haunted Hill to read?

202jjmcgaffey
Ago 30, 5:20am

Heh. I just mentioned it to my sisters and dug up the link - hang on a sec.

https://www.diabolicalplots.com/dp-fiction-64a-open-house-on-haunted-hill-by-joh...

That's in the online magazine it was originally published in. Have fun!

I got it as part of the Hugo packet - if you're a member of this year's Worldcon, a) you get to nominate for the Hugo awards (I mostly don't...I'm bad at figuring out when something was published and therefore whether it's eligible) b) you get to vote for the Hugos and c) because of b, you can download a package of stories. Generally it's most of the short stories/novellas/novelettes, some of the novels, a chunk of the series, some of the graphic novels...some pictures from the various nominated artists, some essays etc in Best Related Work. This year, some video games, or at least trailers for them. Some authors only send excerpts for the packet, some give full works. Quite aside from the getting to vote, and the fun of a con when you can actually attend, the Hugo packet alone is worth more than the cost of a supporting ticket. In my opinion, anyway.

203karspeak
Ago 30, 8:23pm

>202 jjmcgaffey: Thank you!

204AlisonY
Set 3, 7:26am

I remain staggered at the amount of books you get through. How long do you read on average for each day? You must be a seriously speedy reader.

205jjmcgaffey
Set 3, 5:44pm

I am. It depends on the book, of course - I can read a standard romance paperback in an hour or two (and that's about all it deserves). A book that's no longer but a lot deeper might take me a day or two. I'll remember what I read too - though I'm getting worse at that. But the other thing is that if I don't read for a couple hours a day it feels wrong, and if I hit a really good book I'm likely to read for many hours. Also, since I'm mostly reading ebooks on my phone, any time I'm sitting waiting somewhere I'm likely to haul it out and read - for a few minutes, or however long I'm waiting. It adds up.

206jjmcgaffey
Ieri, 12:54am

Books Read (in August)
134. The Best Revenge @# by Justine Davis. Review - Lovely as always - I love St. John.
135. Dragons' Fealty @^ by M.C.A. Hogarth. Review - Gorgeous. Small events adding up to big changes.
136. Scions' Flight @^ by M.C.A. Hogarth. Review - Direct continuation of Dragons' Fealty - even bigger changes. It's also supposed to be the last novel before a new arc begins - looking forward to it.

Currently Reading
See later posts

BOMBs
Nope, all ebooks

Discards
All ebooks.

New/Reread
One reread, two new. 8 rereads paid for at this point.

207jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Ieri, 12:56am

August stats
14 books read
4 rereads
10 new books
8 rereads paid for

4179 pages read, average 298.5

0 BOMBs
0 ER books
0 Netgalley books

11 ebooks, 3 paper books

0 discards

9 SF&F
0 animal stories
0 children's
0 non-fiction
1 general fiction
2 romances
3 graphic novels
0 mysteries

11 F, 3 M authors

I give up - I'm not going to worry about any more BOMBs. At this point I can reread old favorites or read new good fluff - but I don't have (or at least can't find) any BOMBs that fit the latter description. And if I try to read anything that isn't one of those two, I stall out. So I'm reading what I read. And I wanted to get my August stats posted before the end of September...

208jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Ieri, 3:07am

Books Read
137. Ms. Adventure % by Jess Phoenix. Review - What there was was interesting, but overall disappointing. Hope she writes more.
138. Hellspark # by Janet Kagan. Review - Beloved favorite - as rich as usual. I could recite large parts of it at this point, though…
139. The Halcyon Fairy Book @^ by T Kingfisher. Review - Half interesting but too much of a muchness, half very good but I've read most of it before. Possibly my least favorite Vernon.
140. Modesty Blaise {GN} # by Peter O'Donnell. Review - The better version of the beginning of her story (how she got snagged into working for Tarrant, not her early history). Lovely as always.
141. Complete Little Orphan Annie Volume 2 # by Harold Gray. Review - Nothing outstanding, but good Annie stories.
142. Metal Like Blood in the Dark @^ by T Kingfisher. Review - Odd little story - an AI learning what lying is, with some very strange circumstances around it. From the Hugo packet.
143. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street @^ by Helene Hanff. Review - Pleasant, but not a patch on 84, Charing Cross Road.
144. The Flame Game @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Good story - the third of the Bailey and Sam ones, and reportedly the last. Nice clean closure, with some very interesting new creatures showing up.
145. Murder Mittens @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Fun, good story. Mostly a standard (as standard as MRC stories get, anyway) romance.
146. Catnapped @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Good story. This one is a major advance in the arc(s) of the series - but it doesn’t detract from the story of the protagonists.
147. Client from Hell @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Spinoff from MRC, direct sequel to Catnapped, and good.
148. Wolf Hunt @^ by RJ Blain. Review - New series in the Witch & Wolf world, a bit strange and grim but good. Declan is...very interesting. And not going with the obvious makes a change.
149. Wild Wolf @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Second in Wolf Hut - not as much fun, Desmond gets to take charge again.
150. Dawn of Dae @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Weird story, fascinating concepts incompletely developed (or at least incompletely explained).
151. Unawakened @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Second in the series, more or less the same dialed up some. And what is with her name? I kept expecting DAEgbert to mean something…
152. Storm Called @^ by Susan Copperfield. Review - More RJ Blain, under a different name. Fascinating setting - post magical apocalypse, and how people are handling things. I love Pat and Jessica.
153. Null and Void @^ by Susan Copperfield. Review - Mackenzie is wonderful - one hell of a woman. Awful lot of Royals wandering around looking for partners, though…
154. Hypnos @^ by RJ Blain. Review - Another (fascinating) new series - police/FBI procedural, with magic, and a lot of jokes. Fun - I hope she writes the next one soon.
155. Taken @^ by Susan Copperfield. Review - Short story - when Pat was kidnapped and rescued himself. There's not a lot to it but it's fun.
156. The Captive King @^ by Susan Copperfield. Review - Some seriously weird magic here, gets an archaeologist and a (of course) Royal together.
157. A Girl with No Face ^ by Margaret Syverud. Review - Oh, glorious. I'd read this online, but the book is gorgeous and it's easier to follow the story this way.
158. A Guiding Light @^ by Susan Copperfield. Review - The grimmest Royal States story I've read yet - a tyrant king separated a bonded pair, and it comes back to bite him. Thoroughly. Lots of choices between bad and worse.

Currently Reading
The next Royal States book, Huntress. Also It's Elemental by Kate Biberdorf, A Good Bake by Melissa Weller, Dead Iron by Devon Monk, and (still) Adventures of a Three-Guinea Watch. The last four are either too grim or too...something to keep me reading - I'm racing through everything RJ Blain has written. The problem with that is I'm awfully close to running out...

BOMBs
Not a one.

Discards
Nope.

New/Reread
Three rereads, the rest new - one library book, all the rest ebooks. Five rereads paid for; hope I can find a BOMB or many to draw me in to replenish my count before I run out.

As I said above - reading fluff, and mostly reading ebooks. I _want_ to get back to BOMBs but it's not happening. We'll see.

I haven't even entered three of the last four books into LT - I'll do that soon, and add fuller reviews.

209jjmcgaffey
Modificato: Ieri, 2:12am

I've started exercise sessions - bartering with a friend; she needs computer help and she's a personal trainer. Other than that, not much going on.

Oh, I'm working on painting my kitchen yellow. I'm starting in the fridge alcove (I forget if I said this above, so I'm just going to say it again if I did). I got a new fridge, which turned out not to fit in the fridge space in my kitchen. So it's at the other end of the counter (technically in the dining area), and my plan is to put all my various small appliances into the old fridge alcove. I have a rolling table with a butcherblock top, and I'll mount shelves above. But I can't mount the shelves (or I won't, at least) until the wall back there is painted - mostly because if I put the shelves in I won't take them down to paint so it will stay grimy white.

So far I have put tape and newspaper around all the edges, painted the alcove with yellow primer, and painted some patches of two different yellows to see how they would look. I'm going with the darker one, and have just (last Friday) gotten a gallon of it in semigloss (best for scrubbability). Someday, maybe tomorrow, I'll get around to actually painting with the semigloss paint.

The idea is eventually to paint the whole kitchen (well, all the walls - not my nice new wood-grain cabinets) yellow. But I'm going to do it in patches, because if I have to clear everything out of the kitchen to paint it won't happen for ages. Clearing one counter, taping the edges, scrubbing the wall, and painting that area is much more likely to happen. It'll still take a while, but at least there's forward motion...

Oh, and right now it's _hot_ here. It got up to 92F today, and tomorrow isn't much cooler - same for the rest of the week. For those of you in hotter places - recall that most homes here don't have air conditioning, because it hasn't been necessary; we're managing with fans, at most. I've got a fan in my bedroom window, and I have one I can set up in the living room - haven't, yet. There are advantages to living in a cave - my apartment has windows only on one wall, which faces west-north-west. It's pretty cool in here until late afternoon...which is great now, not so nice in winter.