Library Checkout – August 2018

Library Checkout is a fun meme celebrating library usage coordinated by Bookish Beck – check out her blog! This month, as usual, I’ve been checking things out and putting things on hold like a boss. My library system (the one at which I work) just recently upped the checkout limit to 50 items! In addition to the books listed below, I’ve been checking out mad quantities of books for my kiddo, since he has to read at least 20 minutes a day for school. And I’ve also been trying to watch all the Marvel superhero movies (I basically missed everything after Iron Man and before Black Panther, LOL) so I’ve also been getting those from the library. Yay, libraries!

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BOOKS READ:

SKIMMED: None

CURRENTLY READING:36672820

  • Brother – David Chariandy
  • Clearing Emotional Clutter: Mindfulness Practices for Letting Go of What’s Blocking Your Fulfillment and Transformation – Donald Altman

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ:

  • The House at Sea’s End – Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway #3)
  • The Lying Game – Ruth Ware
  • The First Bad Man – Miranda July
  • The Art of Living – Thich Nhat Hahn
  • The Diary of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell
  • Smitten Kitchen Every Day – Deb Perelman
  • Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients – John Whaite

IN THE HOLDS QUEUE:

  • Barracoon – Zora Neale Hurston (this is waiting for me at the library now!)
  • There There – Tommy Orange
  • Yes We (Still) Can – Dan Pfeiffer
  • The Sun Does Shine – Anthony Ray Hinton
  • The Word is Murder – Anthony Horowitz
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway – Ruth Ware
  • Dear Mrs. Bird – A.J. Pearce
  • Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World – Maryanne Wolf
  • Transcription – Kate Atkinson (although I will almost certainly buy this one before I get it from the library. I should just take myself off the holds list.)
  • On The Other Side of Freedom: The Case For Hope – Deray McKesson
  • Our House – Louise Candlish
  • French Exit – Patrick deWitt

RETURNED UNFINISHED/UNREAD:

  • The Cooking Gene – Michael Twitty (This is still on my TBR list; it had a hold on it.)
  • Shadowhouse Fall (Shadowshaper #2) – Daniel José Older (I intend to get this again – I just wasn’t in the mood.)

So once again I have a gazillion things checked out and on hold and realistically I don’t think I’ll get them all read but even if I don’t it STILL benefits my library to check them out! Circulation is key. Did you make use of your public library is August? Have you read any of these titles?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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R.I.P. XIII – It’s almost time!

twitter-avatar-2Since it’s almost September, it’s time to post about my sign-up for the annual R.I.P. Challenge! This will be my third time participating in this VERY low-pressure “challenge.” You all know me, I don’t do so well with challenges that have very strict rules! So I encourage you, if you enjoy reading books or stories (or watching movies) that are creepy, thrilling, mysterious, supernatural, suspenseful, spooky, Gothic, or anything resembling those words, to sign up for the challenge!

You can find the details here.

The challenge starts Sept. 1 and runs through October 31.

There are different levels of participation. I’ll be choosing Peril the Second (Read two books of any length that fits within the R.I.P. definition.)

I’m not 100% sure what I’ll be reading yet, but strong contenders are a reread of Jane Eyre, which I’ve been meaning to read again for years now, and a short story collection by Shirley Jackson – either Dark Tales or The Lottery and Other Stories, both of which I own. But something else might catch my eye in the next few weeks.

Will you participate in the R.I.P. Challenge? 

 

Library Checkout: July 2018

I’ve been meaning to participate in Rebecca Foster’s (Bookish Beck) Library Checkout meme for a couple of months now and I finally remembered and got my act together enough to put together a post before the end of the month! Yes! She’s skipping this month due to travels but if you’ve never checked out her blog before please do so for some insightful and varied reviews (such a voracious reader.) Note: I’m only highlighting books checked out for me in this post. At any given time I have about 15 books checked out for my son in various states of being read!library-checkout-feature-image

LIBRARY BOOKS READ:

  • The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway mystery #2) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
  • The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

SKIMMED:

  • Just Cook It!: 145 Built-to-be-Easy Recipes That Are Totally Delicious by Justin Chapple

CURRENTLY READING:

  • The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson (I’m about 70 pages from finishing – boy, it’s nuts!)download (1)
  • The Book of Self-Care: Remedies For Healing Mind, Body, and Soul by Mary Beth Janssen (I’m pretty much skimming this one too.)

 

 

 

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ:

  • An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
  • The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael Twitty
  • Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel Jodie Older (Shadowshaper series #2)

IN THE HOLDS QUEUE:

  • Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurstondownload
  • There There by Tommy Orange
  • Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump by Dan Pfeiffer
  • The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life And Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton
  • The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
  • Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

RETURNED UNREAD: None.

Anything from my list appeal to you, or have you read any of these? What have you checked out lately from your local library?

 

20 Books of Summer (Finally!)

20-booksI’m still playing catch-up from May, where my blogging zest seemed to have left me. Thankfully it has returned and once again I’m taking part in Cathy’s annual 20 Books of Summer challenge. This time I’m once again going for 20 books, despite not completing my list either year I’ve participated. I guess I just look at the number 20 as more of a suggestion than a rule, ha ha! I’m not worried about whether or not I finish all of them, mostly I just want to get some books crossed off my TBR list and enjoy myself!

Here is my list:

  1. Last Night in Montreal – Emily St. John Mandel
  2. Shadowshaper – D.J. Older
  3. The Crossing Places – Elly Griffiths
  4. Little Fires Everywhere – Celest Ng
  5. The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race – edited by Jessmyn Ward (my book group’s pick for June)
  6. The Power – Naomi Alderman
  7. The Radium Girls – Kate Moore
  8. The Enchanted April – Elizabeth Von Arnim (a Classics Club list choice)
  9. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline – George Saunders
  10. The Bird’s Nest – Shirley Jackson (Classics Club)
  11. Ongoingness: The End of a Diary – Sarah Manguso
  12. Wizard and Glass (Dark Tower #4) – Stephen King (I abandoned this in the spring because it’s huge and it had library holds on it. I’m determined to get it again and finish it!)
  13. Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin (Classics Club)
  14. Dear Martin – Nic Stone
  15. Binti– Nnedi Okorafor
  16. READER’S CHOICE  The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway #2) – Elly Griffiths
  17. READER’S CHOICE  Kitchens of the Great Midwest – J. Ryan Stradal
  18. READER’S CHOICE Gather Together in My Name – Maya Angelou
  19. July Book Group Pick: The Best We Could Do – Thi Bui
  20. August Book Group Pick: The First Bad Man – Miranda July

The last five open slots on the list give me the flexibility I need as a mood reader. Plus, I’m a good book group member and almost always read the book, whatever it may be.

Have you read any of my picks, or are any of them on your TBR lists?

Road Trip: Parnassus Books and U2 in Nashville

img_2087Thank you all so much for your kind words of condolence about Cleo. In contrast to my last sad post, I wanted to share my wonderful road trip experience to Nashville over Memorial Day weekend. I got to complete one of my 40 For 40 goals, which was to visit Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore co-founded and co-owned by author Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, Commonwealth, etc.) And later that night my husband and I went to Bridgestone Arena to see my favorite band in the whole wide world, U2!

First, the bookstore. It’s tucked away in an average sort of strip mall (bonus: a yummy local donut shop at the other end, Fox’s Donut Den!) It was just starting to rain as we pulled into the parking lot, so it made for the perfect excuse to linger as long as I wanted. My husband was prepared for me to be there a while. 🙂img_2088img_2090

It’s truly a book lover’s place. A nice, varied selection for a small-ish space, tastefully decorated and inviting with a small seating area in the middle. There are little cards with book recommendations all over the store and you truly feel like the employees care about books. Plus, they have book shop dogs! I was hoping that the long-haired dachshund named Mary Todd Lincoln would be there, but I got to see sweet 16 year-old Bear instead, and he was lovely. (By the way, I felt kind of like a loon taking pictures all the while I was in there, but I guess they’re probably used to that from us book-blog types.)img_2097

There’s a terrific children’s section and also a whole lot of book-related paraphernalia, like pins, notecards, socks, shirts, totes, etc. Also, there were these cute, random tiny badgers (which were not for sale.)img_2094

I ended up with five books, a Parnassus t-shirt, and a Sense and Sensibility pin. My book haul consisted of John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies, Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson, Stephanie Powell Watt’s We Are Taking Only What We Need, Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker, and James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room.

After the donut store and a rest back at the hotel, it was time to head downtown for dinner and the concert. We used Uber for the first time (it was easy and we were so glad not to have to fight traffic and find a place to park!) Downtown Nashville on a Saturday night on Memorial Day Weekend was nuts. I’d never been to lower Broadway before,which is lined with honky-tonks and bars, and I couldn’t believe all the people, specifically, all the drunk people! Not my scene for sure, but I’m glad people were having a good time! Made for some entertaining people watching. Our meal at The Stillery was delicious, and they make a good mason jar cocktail (I had the Stillery Sour.) Finally it was time to see U2!!

It was a sell-out show and the crowd was super excited. I saw so many old tour t-shirts that I knew a lot of the audience were super fans. I’ve been lucky enough to see them play three times before, but I hadn’t seen them since 2005 (!) because of, well, life. And the fact that sometimes they don’t come anywhere withing easy driving distance of me.

img_2120The show was beautiful. It was unlike previous concerts of their’s I’d seen because it was more like a play. They told a story of their beginnings (Innocence) to some wild days (Experience) and back again to Innocence. It was a very personal show for Bono, especially, as he talked a lot about his mother and some of his faults and follies as the band became famous. Then as the show wound down they also wove in current politics in the US and the world, using their hits “Pride” and “One” and some of the newer songs on their latest album (Songs of Experience) to argue for the rebirth of the idea of America as a light and hope for the world. While “Pride” played they showed images of the Women’s Marches and other progressive marches on the huge screen that almost ran the length of the arena and it was very inspiring. I got chills during that song and my eyes teared up. It never fails to thrill me.

So our one day adventure in Nashville was a blast. I am so glad that I got to cross one of my 40 For 40 items off my list! If you’re in Nashville for any reason definitely stop by Parnassus Books. They host so many author events each month that if I lived over there I’d be in there all the time!

Have you been to Nashville before? Have you read any of the books I bought? What’s your favorite U2 song, or your favorite kind of donut? 🙂

My First Classics Club Spin! (Classics Spin #17)

I’m delighted that there’s a new Classics Spin just a few weeks after I decided to join the Classics Club! If you don’t remember, the Classics Club is a reading challenge (sort of) that celebrates “classic” literature and when you join you make a list of fifty titles you want to have read and written about in five years. For the Spin, I take twenty of my chosen books and number them 1-20. On Friday, March 9, the leaders of the club will post a number. I then have to read the book that corresponds with that number by April 30!

I like this idea, because I haven’t yet begun to read any of my classics. This is the push I need! Here’s my list of 20:

  1. Gather Together in My Name – Angelou
  2. Giovanni’s Room – Baldwin
  3. The Long Winded Lady: Notes From the New Yorker – Brennan
  4. The Master and Margarita – Bulgakov
  5. Great Expectations – Dickens
  6. Count of Monte Cristo – Dumas
  7. Love Medicine – Erdrich
  8. Wives and Daughters – Gaskell
  9. Life Among the Savages – Jackson
  10. Quicksand -Larsen
  11. The Gowk Storm – Morrison
  12. A Good Man is Hard to Find – O’Connor
  13. 1984 – Orwell
  14. Less Than Angels – Pym
  15. Ceremony – Silko
  16. Crossing to Safety – Stegner
  17. The Warden – Trollope
  18. Brideshead Revisited – Waugh
  19. Island of Dr. Moreau – Wells
  20. Native Son – Wright

 

I don’t know if there are any that I don’t want picked at the moment. Well, maybe not the Bulgakov. I’m kind of hoping for #18 or #9. But I’ll be happy with whatever number comes up! Then I’ll be on my way. 🙂 I’ll be sure to let you know the verdict after March 9!

WWW Wednesday (February 28, 2018)

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking On A World of Words.  Give her blog a look and join the discussion!img_1384-0

Two things to start off my WWW Wednesday:

  1. I saw “Black Panther” on Saturday and it was SO AWESOME. I’m not normally a superhero movie person, but this one is a must-see. Funny, moving, full of big ideas and questions. Terrific cast. I just loved it.
  2. Dammit, there are sexual impropriety allegations surfacing about Sherman Alexie. I am SO SO disappointed. He is one of my favorite writers. This sucks. I’m still processing what to do with my admiration for his writing.

Blurgh.

I’ve been reading a lot lately, but just not really feeling like writing about reading. I don’t know, I get in these moods sometimes, and then in a week or two I emerge and write two posts a week.

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Let’s talk about books, shall we?

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently:

51hi92m66BLSwing Time by Zadie Smith. This is my book group book for February (we meet next month.) At about the 80-85 page mark, I got really bored. If it wasn’t for book group, I might have abandoned it. But I continued, and I’m glad I did. I’m halfway through now, and it’s gotten a lot more interesting. I am pretty sure it won’t be one of my favorite books ever, but it should provide a lot to talk about. Smith is ambitious, I’ll give her that, and she is a lovely writer on a sentence level. I’m just not sure about her focus. This book sort of meanders around, and it does skip back and forth among time periods, which isn’t a deal breaker for me, but something about the way she’s doing it is a bit jarring. Our narrator is unnamed, a mixed-race brown woman growing up in London in the first part of the story. The first part focuses on her friendship with Tracey, another brown girl who also takes dance lessons, although Tracey is more naturally talented than our narrator. As the book progresses, it focuses more on the narrator’s relationship with her employer, a mega-famous international pop star named Aimee, who reminds me of Madonna. Aimee wants to build a school for girls in Africa, and that’s where I am in the book. There’s a lot going on here with race and privilege and friendship and family dysfunction. It’s pretty good, but I’m still reserving judgement.lamott-hallelujah

I also just started listening to the audio book of Hallejuah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott. Read by the author. I love her. I know I’m going to enjoy this.

Recently Finished:

34203744The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce. I LOVED this book. It was on the lighter side without being stupid, a quality in books that I esteem SO highly. It was like a really smart rom-com movie only with the added bonus of being about music and the power of music to save people’s lives and bring people together. It’s one of those books that I just want to swoon and sigh over. If you need something that is a feel-good read, this is the book for you. This is my first Rachel Joyce book, but I’m going to have to investigate her other books now for sure!

Up Next (always subject to change:)

March is Reading Ireland Month, co-hosted by Cathy at 746 Books, so I’ll be reading Jennifer Johnston’s How Many Miles to Babylon? and possibly Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture. Both authors are new to me. I’ve also still got Stephen King’s Wizard and Glass checked out and haven’t even started it yet. I need to get going with my Classics Club list and I think I’m going to choose a mystery to start, possibly Strangers on a Train or The Thin Man.

Have you read any of the books I’ve listed? Have you seen “Black Panther” yet? What do you do when one of your favorite authors is revealed to be a (pardon my language) shithead? I hope you’re all having a good week and are enjoying your books! Tell me something good!