Ellen seeks balance in 2019 - Thread 10

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Ellen seeks balance in 2019 - Thread 10

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1EBT1002
Dic 8, 2019, 3:33pm



Palouse Winter ~~ Photo by Chip Phillips

2EBT1002
Editado: Dic 8, 2019, 3:38pm



Kamiak Butte ~~ Photo by Aaron Cowan

3EBT1002
Editado: Dic 8, 2019, 3:38pm

My Rating Scale:

= Breathtaking. Maybe a masterpiece.
= Excellent! Among my favorites of the year.
= Particularly enjoyable, kept me reading.
= So good. I'm glad I read this.
= A solid read. Generally recommended.
= This was an okay read.
= Meh. Pretty much a waste of time.
= Nearly no redeeming qualities. Really rather bad.
= Among the worst books I've ever read.

Honestly, I'm rarely going to complete any book earning fewer than two stars but I reserve the right to rate them based on my experience.

8EBT1002
Editado: Dic 12, 2019, 11:40pm



RandomCAT

January: Your name in print ~ The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
February: We need a break! ~ Hotel Brasil by Frei Betto
March: Brexit Madness ~ Faithful Place by Tana French
April: Greetings from the Rooster! ~ The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
May = I Could Have Danced All Night... ~ Dancing Fish and Ammonites by Penelope Lively
June = Pick a card, any card...Q♠️ ~ The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett and Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
July = All about birds ~ Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Life and Writing by Anne Lamont
August = Back to School ~ An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
September = Equinox ~ Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss
October = Knock-offs, Follow-ups, Tributes, Parodies ~ Longbourn by Jo Baker
November = Childhood Memories ~ poetry and my dad ~ The Long Take by Robin Robertson
December = Season's Readings ~ The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves

9EBT1002
Editado: Dic 12, 2019, 11:40pm

SeriesCAT ~ Hoping to whittle away on my TBR shelves

January: Series in translation ~ Blessed Are Those Who Thirst by Anne Holt, Anne Bruce (Translator)
February: YA/Children's ~ The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
March: Series by a favorite author ~ Faithful Place by Tana French
April: Series You've Been Meaning to Get Back To ~ Dark Fire 2nd in series by C. J. Sansom
May: Newest book in a favorite series ~ Benediction by Kent Haruf
June: Series that are definitely complete ~ The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
July: Genre: fantasy ~ Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
August: Series set in a country/region where you do not live ~ A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths
September: Genre: Mystery (cozy and seaside) ~ A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
October: Historical Series ~ Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
November: Series with a female protagonist ~ Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear
December: Series that's new to you ~ The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves

10EBT1002
Editado: Dic 8, 2019, 3:56pm



1. Author uses middle name or middle initial ~ Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom
2. Debut novel ~ The Marauders by Tom Cooper
3. Book about/featuring siblings ~ True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
4. Read a book bullet (meaning another LT member inspired you to read it) - House of Broken Angels (Joe)
5. Book mentioned in another book you have read ~ Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid in Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
6. Topic or character related to medicine/health ~ The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
7. Animal on cover/in title/plays a significant role ~ The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
8. Book with an artistic character ~ Auschwitz Violin by Maria Angels Anglada ~ violin maker and musician(s)
9. Eastern European author or setting ~ The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
10. Children’s/YA book ~ The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
11. Alliterative title ~ Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont
12. Part of a series ~ Death in a Darkening Mist by Iona Whishaw
13. Read a CAT ~ The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (January RandomCAT)
14. Prize-winning book ~ The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens ~ 1970 Booker Prize winner
15. Weather (title contains a weather word, or book involves/centers around a weather event) ~ Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Frances Strachey
16. Short stories or essays ~ Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
17. Book made into a movie ~ Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
18. Fairy tale (classic or reworked) ~ Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
19. Graphic novel ~ The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs by Étienne Davodeau
20. Main title has 6 or more words ~ A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
21. Cover has at least two human figures ~ Last Friends by Jane Gardam
22. Book in translation ~ Blessed are Those Who Thirst by Anne Holt
23. Food-related title or topic ~ The Proof of the Honey by Salwa Al Neimi
24. Book has an LT rating of 4.0 or more ~ Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
25. Title contains a homophone word ~ Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

11EBT1002
Editado: Dic 16, 2019, 6:30pm

Personal Reading Challenge: Every winner of the Booker Prize since its inception in 1969

1969: P. H. Newby, Something to Answer For
1970: Bernice Rubens, The Elected Member
1970: J. G. Farrell, Troubles (awarded in 2010 as the Lost Man Booker Prize)
1971: V. S. Naipaul, In a Free State
1972: John Berger, G.
1973: J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
1974: Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist ... and Stanley Middleton, Holiday
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1976: David Storey, Saville
1977: Paul Scott, Staying On
1978: Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea
1979: Penelope Fitzgerald, Offshore
1980: William Golding, Rites of Passage
1981: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
1982: Thomas Keneally, Schindler's Ark
1983: J. M. Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K
1984: Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1985: Keri Hulme, The Bone People
1986: Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1987: Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
1988: Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1989: Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
1990: A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance*
1991: Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1992: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient ... and Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
1993: Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1994: James Kelman, How late it was, how late*
1995: Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
1996: Graham Swift, Last Orders
1997: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things*
1998: Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
1999: J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace*
2000: Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
2001: Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang
2002: Yann Martel, Life of Pi
2003: DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
2004: Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
2005: John Banville, The Sea
2006: Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering
2008: Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
2009: Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
2010: Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
2011: Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
2012: Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
2013: Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
2014: Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
2015: Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
2016: Paul Beatty, The Sellout
2017: George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
2018: Anna Burns, Milkman
2019: Margaret Atwood, The Testaments, and Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other

*On my shelves

12EBT1002
Editado: Dic 8, 2019, 3:57pm

.. ..

Abby, whom I miss every single day

13EBT1002
Editado: Dic 21, 2019, 10:24pm

plans for 2020

Things I'm considering:

BingoDOG

RandomCAT
I'm hosting in December so I'm committed.

AlphaKIT
--- January is A and U so Unsheltered and Asymmetry or an Atwood, perhaps. Oryx and Crake will also fit the January RandomCAT for me.

Some kind of year-long Margaret Atwood clean-up
I own but have not yet read Hag-Seed, Oryx and Crake. I still need to read The Testaments.
I think I'm going to do Odd Month Atwood, so I'll read one in January, March, etc.

I also tentatively plan to tackle one unread Booker winner every month, not just in 2020 but until August 2022 at which point I should be about done. With so many things.

GROUP READS
January: ~~ The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
March: ~~ Tracks by Louise Erdrich

I'm going to have to work hard to make books count for double....

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Just keeping track of my plans for January:
1. The Bone Clocks (shared read with Kim and Beth)
2. Oryx and Crake (2020 Odd Month Atwood, RandomCAT, and AlphaKIT!!)
3. Unsheltered (AlphaKIT)
4. Into the Beautiful North (AlphaKIT double!)
5. A Booker winner not yet read.....

14EBT1002
Dic 8, 2019, 3:35pm

currently reading

15EBT1002
Editado: Dic 8, 2019, 3:58pm

16ronincats
Dic 8, 2019, 4:06pm

Happy New Thread, Ellen! I just brought The Starless Sea home from the library and haven't started it yet, but Richard's advice sounds good. Gorgeous photos up top but glad I'm not there!

17Familyhistorian
Dic 8, 2019, 4:08pm

Happy new thread, Ellen. Just clued in that it is the end of a decade while reading about the end of year book lists on your last thread.

18msf59
Editado: Dic 8, 2019, 4:13pm

Happy Sunday, Ellen. Happy New Thread! Love that topper. Sorry, to hear that The Starless Sea is not grabbing you, like it should. I have it saved on audio and that format might be the better route to go.

On the poetry front, if you can track down Felon: Poems, do so. It might be my favorite collection of the year.

19jessibud2
Dic 8, 2019, 5:15pm

Happy new thread, Ellen. Those toppers are amazing vistas!

20katiekrug
Dic 8, 2019, 5:51pm

Beautiful photos, Ellen.

Happy new thread!

21ffortsa
Dic 8, 2019, 7:40pm

ah, more seasons in the Palouse. Thanks!

22figsfromthistle
Dic 8, 2019, 8:41pm

Happy new one!

23BLBera
Dic 8, 2019, 9:40pm

Happy new one, Ellen. I love the Palouse photos.

Regarding The Starless Sea, maybe give it a try later. I enjoyed it, but it isn't one of the best books I've ever read. It was entertaining. I'm sure you could find something else to read. :)

24drneutron
Dic 8, 2019, 9:47pm

Happy new thread!

25banjo123
Dic 9, 2019, 12:12am

happy new thread!

26charl08
Dic 9, 2019, 2:20am

Happy new thread. Love the snowy toppers.

>11 EBT1002: Of the ones I've read that you have still to read, I loved Paddy Clarke. Hope you like it when you come to it. He is such a talented writer, with an ear for how people speak.

27jnwelch
Dic 9, 2019, 10:58am

Happy New Thread, Ellen! Lovely Palouse winterscape photos up top.

I liked RD's advice on The Starless Sea, too. Your experience so far adds to the mixed reactions I've seen.

28johnsimpson
Dic 9, 2019, 3:16pm

Happy new thread Ellen my dear.

29EBT1002
Dic 9, 2019, 4:19pm



...days until Kauai.

30EBT1002
Dic 9, 2019, 4:21pm

Re: The Starless Sea. It's a library eBook so I can't set it aside indefinitely but I am doing a hybrid of Richard's excellent advice:

I started reading The Crow Trap yesterday and got pretty well into it. Then today during my lunch break (itself a miracle of miracles) I read some more in The Starless Sea. I think this will work for me -- taking it in shifts.

32richardderus
Dic 9, 2019, 4:56pm

>1 EBT1002: ...so pretty, but so *cold*

>29 EBT1002: ...and now I wish you were right there in your jammies ::Day-Glo orange jealous vibrations escalate up to Richter-scale magnitudes::

33brenzi
Dic 9, 2019, 8:25pm

>31 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, I've read a couple of those on your list that I'd recommend: Say Nothing was terrific and Women Talking was another really good book. I'll read Normal People later this week since it's on my Kindle and I have to read it before the loan is up. Night Boat to Tangier is ready for me to borrow as s The Man Who Saw Everything. Too. Many. Books.

34laytonwoman3rd
Dic 9, 2019, 10:08pm

>29 EBT1002: Those of us who are NOT going to Kauai can't wait either...'cause we know there will be travelogs and possibly photos, which will be almost nothing like going there ourselves.

35BLBera
Dic 10, 2019, 10:51am

>31 EBT1002: Great list. I echo what Bonnie said about Say Nothing - it is very compelling. I did love Normal People as well.

36EBT1002
Dic 10, 2019, 11:46am

Well, the advice seems to have been spot on! I took a little break from The Starless Sea and got into The Crow Trap. Now I'm kind of reading both but a bit more engaged in The Starless Sea! Go figure.

37EBT1002
Editado: Dic 10, 2019, 8:14pm



...days...

38jnwelch
Dic 10, 2019, 12:09pm

Ha! And counting!

I'm woefully underread on that NYTimes list. other than Night Boat to Tangier, which was very good. I'll have to follow up and see whether any have appeal.

39EBT1002
Dic 10, 2019, 8:10pm

>16 ronincats: Hi Roni. I will be interested in how you like The Starless Sea.

It's not as cold here as the photos suggest just yet but it will come!

>17 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. I hadn't really thought about the end-of-the-decade thing until I started seeing lists.

>18 msf59: Hi Mark. I am now pretty caught up in The Starless Sea. I think I needed that break that Richard suggested.

I'll make a note of Felon: Poems. I haven't read any poetry in a while.

>19 jessibud2: and >20 katiekrug: and >21 ffortsa: and >22 figsfromthistle:
Thanks for the thready wishes!

40EBT1002
Dic 10, 2019, 8:14pm

>23 BLBera: Thanks Beth. You have seen my comments above that The Starless Sea is working after a brief break from it.

>24 drneutron: and >25 banjo123: Thank you both!

>26 charl08: Thanks Charlotte, and thanks for the input about the Booker winners. I am thinking about Paul's suggestion that I read one winner per month starting in January which would mean I'd finish the list right around the target retirement date (August 2022).

>27 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. Happily, The Starless Sea is going better now but I'll let you know how it lands as a whole. I still have a ways to go!

>28 johnsimpson: Thanks John!

41EBT1002
Dic 10, 2019, 8:20pm

>32 richardderus: Thanks Richard. The day of our flight to the tropics approaches!

>33 brenzi: Hi Bonnie. Thanks for the input. I'm looking forward to Say Nothing and I'll put Women Talking on hold. My hold list at the library is a bit out of control.... And I'm thinking about taking Normal People to Kauai with me next week.

>34 laytonwoman3rd: Ha. Cracked me up, Linda. I will indeed take my iPad with me so I can keep you all posted on my 10 days of island life. A few people have noted that it rains more in Hawaii in December. 74F and raining. I'll handle it. :-)

>35 BLBera: I'm on the list for Say Nothing, Beth, but I think it will take a while for my turn to come up. I am considering Normal People as one of my carry-alongs for vacation next week but haven't yet decided.

>38 jnwelch: Hi Joe! Yes, counting counting. I downloaded a countdown app on my iPhone and I have three things on it: Kauai next week, Oahu in March, and retirement in August 2022. Ha!

I've had Night Boat to Tangier on hold for a while. The queue seems to be moving slowly....

42benitastrnad
Editado: Dic 10, 2019, 10:20pm

I am almost done with An American Marriage and really liking it. There are all kinds of plot angles and twists in it. I didn't think I would like this book, but I have.

I went to the library tonight and almost walked out with Starless Sea but I opted for two children's books that I need to read for work.

43maggie1944
Dic 11, 2019, 1:20pm

Checking in with you! Love the pictures you posted. I have a neighbor here in Silver Glen who was raised in Kamiah, don't know if it is near Kamiak Bluff, but I do love those hills, as does she. We talk often about that part of the world, my memories of Grangeville and Cottonwood, Idaho. My Mom was raised in Moscow, ID, and attended the U of I. Met my father there. He was born in Coeur d'Alene. But I am a Seattle girl, born near here and raised here, worked here, and retired here.

Have a wonderful time on our favorite Island. Be sure to go to the fish shop in Kalua.

44BLBera
Dic 11, 2019, 7:46pm

>37 EBT1002: Lucky you.

I think Normal People would be a great vacation read.

45EBT1002
Editado: Dic 12, 2019, 12:39pm

Oops, I missed a day in my countdown.

46EBT1002
Dic 12, 2019, 12:42pm

>42 benitastrnad: I gave An American Marriage 4 stars when I read it last year, Benita.

>43 maggie1944: Karen! Love to see you here. We fly to Kauai in 6 days but who's counting..... We will go to the fish shop in Kaloa. More than once. :-)

I don't know Kamaih but I will look into it.

>44 BLBera: I can't seem to find my copy of Normal People, Beth. I know I had it. P had it on her bedside table for a while but never read it. Now I don't know where it ended up. I may see how long the queue is for the library eBook.

47EBT1002
Editado: Dic 12, 2019, 12:45pm

So, I was looking for an image for the number of weeks until retirement:



Apparently 137 is a magical number per physics.

48richardderus
Dic 12, 2019, 12:50pm

>45 EBT1002: On the advice of my physician, I am ignoring this post.

>47 EBT1002: YAY!! And that's right weird about physics, also cool. I do love the weird tidbits of information the Universe serves up...like "why is 'pi' every-damn-where?"

49jnwelch
Dic 12, 2019, 4:08pm

I had always thought that the answer to the question "What is the meaning of life" is 42, but after reading that article, I'm thinking it may instead be 137.

50Carmenere
Editado: Dic 12, 2019, 5:24pm

Happy new thread, Ellen! Beautiful photos on top!
Woo Hoo! 137 week till retirement! Those weeks are gonna fly by.
Friends of ours are headed to Kauai too. Not sure exactly when. But, Bill and Jill are really nice people and Jill is a reader, or course :0)

51Caroline_McElwee
Dic 12, 2019, 5:13pm

>46 EBT1002: I'm just about to start An American Marriage Ellen, glad it was a hit for you.

52figsfromthistle
Dic 12, 2019, 5:15pm

>46 EBT1002: I read it at the beginning of the year and also enjoyed it!

53Familyhistorian
Dic 13, 2019, 12:55am

So when you start the count down to retirement will it be the actual working days or the actual number of days including holidays and weekends until you reach your target date, Ellen?

54EBT1002
Dic 13, 2019, 9:08am

>48 richardderus: It's (usually) good to follow your physician's advice, Richard. *smooch*

I know, isn't the universe amazing that way? I love little resonances like that. I once had a book (I loaned it to my BIL and have never seen it since but that is another story) called This is Your Brain On Music. I had not finished reading it when I loaned it away and I want to reacquire it. It was full of that very kind of tidbit from the universe.

>49 jnwelch: Yep, 137 is probably the answer. That, or, we were set here to read.

>50 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. I know on some level the 137 weeks will fly by and I am torn between wanting to savor every one of them and tapping my foot in impatience. My new thing is to do both. I'm thinking some kind of countdown with joy imbedded within it will help. And I'm totally going to invest in what a friend has called "turbo-charged self-care" to survive the 137 weeks in good health.

Maybe we'll run into Bill and Jill on Kauai! *grins*

>51 Caroline_McElwee: Enjoy, Caroline. I must admit that I don't remember An American Marriage as well as the four stars would suggest but that is more normal than I would like.

55EBT1002
Dic 13, 2019, 9:13am

>52 figsfromthistle: An American Marriage has gotten a little love in a couple of "Best of the Decade" lists so it's good that it's staying on the radar.

>53 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. My countdown includes all days/weeks/months. I'm a big-picture kind of woman. 😀 It also means I can remind myself that some of those weeks (like next week and the week after!) are filled with vacation and holidays. 🎄🐠✈️🏕🏝

56EBT1002
Dic 13, 2019, 9:15am

I can not find my copy of Normal People. Sigh. I'm in the very long queue for it from the library but I don't think it will be one of my vacation reads this month. Oh well. I have a few other things to read.

I completed The Crow Trap last night and I'm digging back into The Starless Sea.

This weekend I will gather together a small pile of books to take with me (along with my kindle, of course).

57streamsong
Dic 13, 2019, 12:08pm

Hi Ellen! Happy New Thread!

Wow what a beautiful image for the topper!

Each image and vignette in The Starless Sea is so beautifully written. And yet it's just not calling me to read on quickly. I'm not giving up - but at some point I hope it grabs my attention more than it has so far.

58EBT1002
Dic 13, 2019, 11:38pm

>57 streamsong: So well said about The Starless Sea, Janet. I am about 45% into it and each vignette is beautifully written. The whole is not yet holding together for me and the primary narrative just hasn't caught me the way I wished for. It's good but not enchanting.

59msf59
Editado: Dic 14, 2019, 6:41am

Happy Saturday, Ellen. Hooray for the countdown to Hawaii & retirement. Both are very exciting. As of now, I will have just over 8 months before retiring. It seems to be coming up fast. My books having been treating me very well and I have warble a bit about The Yellow House, which I am listening to on audio. It is a stunning bit of writing and should easily be one of my top reads of the year. Just sayin'...

ETA- I think I will go with the audio, of The Starless Sea, which I all ready have in the wings.

60EBT1002
Dic 14, 2019, 2:06pm

>59 msf59: "As of now, I will have just over 8 months before retiring." So, August 2020?

Good to know about The Yellow House. I put it in my amazon (I know) shopping cart yesterday. Didn't click on "purchase" but it's there waiting for the mood to strike.

I'll be interested in how the audio of The Starless Sea goes for you. I am appreciating the book but it's also feeling, off and on, like a bit of a slog.

61EBT1002
Editado: Dic 14, 2019, 2:11pm

I found my copy of Normal People! I had looked right at it during my last search. Go figure. It's not that I have too many books in the house, truly it's not. Heh.

So I have Normal People and Frankissstein and There, There on the take pile for Kauai. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind between now and Tuesday night when the packing must be done.

I have End of the Wasp Season and The Outcast Dead queued up on the kindle, and Red at the Bone and Unsheltered ready for checking out and downloading.

I should finish The Starless Sea before we leave although it's slow going for me.

The western-most bookstore in the U.S. is on Kauai so if I need something else to read, I can certainly find it.

62richardderus
Dic 14, 2019, 3:24pm

>61 EBT1002: Yay for age-goggles slipping just enough for the desideratum to show up! Hooray for finishing up The Starless Sea! (Though ::sadtrombone:: for it not being a rip-snortin' tail-waggin' good read.)

Imagine! Kauai has a bookstore! I live less than 30 miles from the epicenter of US publishing and there isn't a bookstore anywhere near.

63BLBera
Dic 14, 2019, 4:52pm

>61 EBT1002: Great choices for your holiday reading, Ellen. I loved all three!

Safe travels.

64PaulCranswick
Dic 14, 2019, 11:08pm

Wishing you a great weekend and the next 136 until your retirement. xx

65EBT1002
Editado: Dic 15, 2019, 11:16am

>62 richardderus: Yay for age-goggles slipping, indeed, Richard! And I finished The Starless Sea last night. More about that in a moment but I'm not one of its fans.

Here are a couple of images from the web of Talk Story. It's not Powell's but it's a decent indie bookstore with a resident cat (I think -- there are those age-goggles again only this time it's age-memory. I will confirm and report back so that, if there IS a cat, you will be less envious).



66EBT1002
Dic 15, 2019, 11:18am

>63 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. My plan is to leave those I finish on the "leave one, take one" shelves in the office of the place we're staying. I like sharing books!

>64 PaulCranswick: Thank you so much, Paul. I'm not sure counting down weeks to retirement at this stage is exactly healthy, but 136 weeks sounds manageable!

67EBT1002
Editado: Dic 15, 2019, 11:36am

88. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern




"I got to thinking all of this might be a halfway decent game if it were a game. Part spy movie, part fairy tale, part choose your own adventure. Epic branching story that doesn't stick to a single genre or one set path and turns into different stories but it's all the same story."

"You meet someone in a bar. You follow them or you don't.
You open a door. Or you don't.
Either way the point is: What happens next?"


This is an excerpt from the diary of Kat Hawkins, a major/minor character in this crazy, meandering, maddeningly boring novel, and it perfectly describes the novel itself. It's filled with stories within stories (some of them beautiful) and world-building that is perhaps brilliant but also agonizingly repetitive. I would just start to feel like I had gotten some traction, like the story was actually going to take me by the t-shirt lapels and lead me somewhere, and the narrative would descend yet again into describing a cave or a hall or a massive library full of symbols and metaphors and doors, always doors. And when the story/stories started to wrap up, Ms. Morgenstern's glee was discernible as she tortured the reader with eternal narrative about, well, the fact that the story was (mercifully but truly not quickly enough) ending. Or not ending. With this novel, you never know. It's part of the creative beauty. I think I'm actually glad I read it but it painfully occupied several hours that I will never get back again.

68EBT1002
Dic 15, 2019, 11:48am

We woke up this morning to a couple of inches of lovely snow, the kind that sticks to tree branches and makes for a winter wonderland. I desperately need some exercise so we'll be going for a walk later this morning.

I need to attend to some Christmas matters like getting a box ready for sending to my sister. And I get to decide what next to read.

Last evening we did our annual watch of Love Actually. Even though I know it by heart, it's a fun tradition.

69katiekrug
Dic 15, 2019, 11:58am

>67 EBT1002: - Hard pass!

Have a good Sunday, Ellen, and enjoy your time off! Safe travels to you and P.

70EBT1002
Dic 15, 2019, 11:59am

I forgot to share that I had a pretty cool thing happen yesterday. After our acupuncture appointments, P and I went out for breakfast which was lovely. Then we ran a couple of errands and ended at the local public library. She gets to go there all the time but I rarely do. They are closed on Sundays which seems to be when I'm most in the mood. Anyway, we stopped by just so I could browse and there were several books that I have in my amazon shopping cart (sitting there, acting like a wish list) just out on the shelves!

With travel just around the corner, I didn't check anything out but I could have walked out of the library with a copy of any of the following:

My Family and Other Animals
Sabrina & Corina
Girl by Edna O'Brien
Disappearing Earth
Red at the Bone
Solitary: My Story of Transformation by Albert Woodfox
Don't Read Poetry by Stephanie Burt (okay, that hasn't been on my list but it looked interesting!)

I reminded myself that the library is open until 7pm most weekdays so I can stop by there on my way home from work any time I want.

Eighteen months in and I'm still adjusting to this new town.

71EBT1002
Editado: Dic 15, 2019, 12:01pm

>69 katiekrug: Others have thoroughly loved The Starless Sea, Katie. It has several four-star ratings and some even gave it five full stars. But it was not my cuppa tea.

Thanks for the safe and fun travel wishes!

72laytonwoman3rd
Dic 15, 2019, 12:11pm

>67 EBT1002: I was impressed by The Night Circus, but I didn't love it. And it didn't make me yearn for more of Morgenstern. So I'm passing on this one as well. Thanks for validating that decision for me!

73BLBera
Dic 15, 2019, 1:25pm

>67 EBT1002: Ellen - My feelings about The Starless Sea were similar to yours although I gave it another star. I liked the characters. I felt though that if I were a gamer, I might like it more. I recommended it to the son of a friend, so I'll see what he thinks of it.(He's a gamer).

74richardderus
Dic 15, 2019, 3:13pm

>65 EBT1002: pleasehaveacatpleasehaveacatpleasehaveacat

>67 EBT1002: I was only 4-starring the book because it felt like a computer game (as >73 BLBera: says!), and I really really don't like games.

Safe travels, happy vacation, and destressed homecoming!

75jnwelch
Dic 15, 2019, 4:10pm

>67 EBT1002: Helpful review, Ellen. this crazy, meandering, maddeningly boring novel. I'm not going to rush to read this one! I'm not a gamer, so I wouldn't get that help in reading it. Jesse, who you met, is, and he's a reader; I'll find out whether he's read it.

76EBT1002
Editado: Dic 15, 2019, 5:09pm

>72 laytonwoman3rd: Happy to help, Linda. I ended up liking The Night Circus much more than I anticipated -- I gave it 4.5 stars! -- but this one did not do it for me.

>73 BLBera: The characters were interesting to me, Beth, but they never took hold. I agree that a gamer might enjoy the novel more as might a stronger fan of fantasy, etc. As I said, there were stories within that were quite lovely and engaging but the whole was maddening (for me).

>74 richardderus: LOL, I'll let you know if they have a cat, Richard. If they don't there will certainly be chickens all around as they are ubiquitous on the island. How do you feel about chickens?

.

77EBT1002
Dic 15, 2019, 5:11pm

>75 jnwelch: I'll be interested in Jesse's reactions to the book if he has read it, Joe. Richard and Beth are right that the "feel" of a game was palpable and the author and several of the characters make direct reference to the world-building and choice-making of games as relate to stories and storytelling. As I think about it, I would say that Morgenstern's idea was terrific but the execution did. not. work. for. me.

78EBT1002
Editado: Dic 15, 2019, 5:44pm

I keep editing >13 EBT1002: to keep track of my "plans" for 2020. I do love planning the next year of reading.

Anyone interested in a shared read of a Margaret Atwood in January? Hag-Seed or Oryx and Crake or The Testaments?

79richardderus
Dic 15, 2019, 6:28pm

>76 EBT1002: You mean "yummysaurs"? Got no kick with the chick.

80msf59
Dic 15, 2019, 6:29pm

>67 EBT1002: Oh, I am sorry to hear this, Ellen. I did not expect The Starless Sea to be a misfire for you. Bummer.

I would join you on an Atwood, in January, but I have read all of these.

81BLBera
Dic 15, 2019, 8:15pm

I've read all those Atwoods, but I would read something else by her. I have a few on my shelves. You know what they say about plans...

82EBT1002
Dic 15, 2019, 11:49pm

>79 richardderus: Ha.

>80 msf59: Thanks Mark.

Hmm, maybe I'll just do Odd Month Atwood and encourage folx to read whatever they have in the wings. Are there any by her that you have not yet read?

>81 BLBera: Hi Beth. So I've got some interest in Atwood but those three are not the right ones. I'll ask you what I asked Mark: which Atwood works have you not yet read?

83EBT1002
Dic 16, 2019, 11:59am

I started reading Red at the Bone last night and this morning. Oh my. Jacqueline Woodson is a gift to our world.

84lauralkeet
Dic 16, 2019, 12:03pm

>83 EBT1002: I couldn't agree more! I really liked Red at the Bone -- it grabbed me right away.

85katiekrug
Dic 16, 2019, 12:39pm

>83 EBT1002: - YES! One of my very favorites this year.

86katiekrug
Dic 16, 2019, 12:50pm

>78 EBT1002: - I'd be interested in reading O&C in January, Ellen. I saw you also posted it as a possibility on the January RandomCAT thread. Maybe it will be less intimidating if we do it together?

87EBT1002
Dic 16, 2019, 1:55pm

>85 katiekrug: I can tell it's going to be a favorite of the year for me, too, Katie. :-)

>86 katiekrug: Oh good. I will plan for O&C in January. It will definitely be less intimidating if we do it together -- and I'm not HUGELY intimidated but it is interesting how many times I have looked at it and felt some intimidation --- so it fits that RandomCAT challenge perfectly! I briefly considered tackling Emily Wilson's Odyssey (talk about intimidating) but I don't want to "have to" finish it in one month.

88EBT1002
Dic 16, 2019, 1:56pm

>84 lauralkeet: Ooops, missed you there, Laura. I think I can safely add Jacqueline Woodson to that list of authors whose works I will simply always read. Always.

89jnwelch
Dic 16, 2019, 2:04pm

Ditto re Jacqueline Woodson, and Red at the Bone grabbed me right away, too.

90m.belljackson
Dic 16, 2019, 2:23pm

These words from A SOLDIER OF THE GREAT WAR -

"To the east are a half a hundred mountain ridges.
In the dusk their undulations make them look more like the sea than the sea itself."

recalled your photograph at the top of your previous post.

91msf59
Dic 16, 2019, 2:49pm

>82 EBT1002: Most of her early work, pre-1980. I have also not read The Robber Bride, which may be a possibility for January.

92EBT1002
Dic 16, 2019, 3:17pm

>89 jnwelch: Red at the Bone may be just what I needed after finishing The Starless Sea, Joe.

>90 m.belljackson: Marianne, those words are beautiful! I think they fit the photo and the experience in real life, as well.

>91 msf59: Hmm. Okay. Since I don't want to host a super-organized thing, I may go with "Odd Month Atwood" and let folks choose what they want. It will be more chaotic but I think this group can handle it. I think I'll read Oryx & Crake because I own it, I haven't read it, and it will fit my AlphaKIT and RandomCAT challenges for January.

Of her early work, I know I read Surfacing in the 1980s and loved it at the time.

93Caroline_McElwee
Dic 16, 2019, 4:48pm

>78 EBT1002: hand up. The Testaments for me Ellen.

94EBT1002
Dic 16, 2019, 6:06pm

>93 Caroline_McElwee: Cool beans, Caroline.

I'll start thinking about setting up a thread for the 2020 Odd Month Atwood Challenge and what it would look like.

95Berly
Dic 16, 2019, 6:39pm

>94 EBT1002: I will have to look and see what I haven't managed to read of hers, or maybe some re-reads. But I will keep track of the Atwood thread!

96brenzi
Dic 16, 2019, 6:59pm

Well I really have a dismal track record with Group Reads but I haven't read The Testaments yet and I plan to so if all the stars align.......

97ronincats
Dic 16, 2019, 9:06pm

I will join for Oryx & Crake, as the MadAddam trilogy is the one (okay, three) thing(s) of hers I do want to read. January.

98BLBera
Dic 16, 2019, 10:47pm

I like your idea of an unorganized, read the Atwood from your shelves read, Ellen. Three I have that I would like to read are Stone Mattress, Lady Oracle and Cat's Eye.

Are you on your way yet?

Safe travels.

99EBT1002
Dic 17, 2019, 9:30am

89. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson


I loved the characters in this short novel set in Brooklyn. Iris, Aubrey, Melody, Po'Boy, Sabe.... their voices are rich, real, and memorable. The story is, in many ways, ordinary but it is also the drama of family life, of historical tragedy and its way of following generation upon generation. It's a story of loss and a story of hope. Definitely recommended.

100EBT1002
Editado: Dic 17, 2019, 9:32am

Next up:
The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina and
Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson.

Our flight is scheduled to depart at 5am Wednesday. I'm all checked in. One more day of work and then I'm on vacation. I slept only about two hours last night. I am so tired of insomnia.

101richardderus
Dic 17, 2019, 10:06am

>100 EBT1002: Oh dear, yes, two hours is nowhere near enough! I'm so sorry. But insomnia in Hawaii will at least be scenic!

102maggie1944
Dic 17, 2019, 2:51pm

Bon voyage, my friend. I wish for you the warmth of Kaua'i goes straight into the bones and causes wide spreading relaxation which will last for seemingly ever!

I love the roosters of Kaua'i in all their colorful display. I love Talk Story bookstore. I've never been in there without leaving with one or more books in hand.

And the fish market for their wasabi sauce for the fish we bought!

Bon voyage indeed!

103jessibud2
Dic 17, 2019, 3:44pm

Safe travels and breath deeply while there!

104Caroline_McElwee
Dic 17, 2019, 5:57pm

Safe travels and enjoy Ellen and P.

105mdoris
Dic 17, 2019, 5:59pm

Ellen, i wish you a wonderful time away in Kauai with lots of great reading and rest and relaxation. Enjoy!

106Carmenere
Dic 17, 2019, 6:01pm

Wishing you safe travels and lots of naps in a hammock on the beach! Enjoy!!

107ronincats
Dic 17, 2019, 7:22pm

SO jealous of you being in Kauai, but wishing you a delightful vacation nonetheless!!

108Berly
Dic 18, 2019, 12:10am

Have a great trip!!! Take pictures. ; )

109msf59
Dic 18, 2019, 6:53am

Safe travels, Ellen. Looking forward to following you along on your trip. I am sure it will be fantastic.

110lauralkeet
Dic 18, 2019, 6:58am

Have a great vacation, Ellen. I'm sure it will be restorative. Hope to see some photos!

111streamsong
Dic 18, 2019, 10:27am

Have a lovely trip! I wish you could send me some sunshine!

112BLBera
Dic 18, 2019, 12:57pm

Safe travels! Have a beverage on me. :)

113Familyhistorian
Dic 19, 2019, 12:22am

Have a great vacation, Ellen, and safe travels! I'm reading The End of the Wasp Season right now too. It's good so far, but Mina does give her detective quite the interesting handicaps - pregnant with twins!

114jnwelch
Editado: Dic 19, 2019, 3:41pm

Safe travels, Ellen! I hope it doesn't snow (ha!)

Yay for Red at the Bone! Maybe I missed it, but are you taking any other books to read on vacation?, besides The End of the Wasp Season and Frankissstein? Are there good bookstores there? You can tell I'm focused on the really important stuff. :-)

115ffortsa
Dic 19, 2019, 4:00pm

I hope you get a lot of calm and sleep in Kauai. And fun, of course. Safe travels.

116benitastrnad
Dic 20, 2019, 8:26am

I am in Augsburg Germany on my winter vacation which started on December 16th. So far i am enjoying the Christmas Markets very much. In a very nice hotel from which to walk to the Christmas Markets and the weather has been warm! I brought clothes for a colder climate so I have had to cut the layers of clothing down. But other than that it has been a good vacation so far.

117witchyrichy
Dic 20, 2019, 2:30pm

Oh, you finished your bingo card! I am SO close but stalled out before and after conference and hip surgery.

Hope all is well! Going to be dancing in the streets this spring but for now, am reading and getting caught up with LT folks.

118richardderus
Dic 21, 2019, 3:56pm

Soviet Santa says "Happy Yule!" Solstice Greetings to all. Read more here: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/soviet-santa

119EBT1002
Dic 21, 2019, 9:12pm

90. The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina


I don't really remember the first Alex Morrow novel although I seem to have read it a few years ago. I enjoyed this one. It was layered and relatively complex. I'll keep reading the series.

120EBT1002
Editado: Dic 21, 2019, 9:14pm

Currently reading:

Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson


I'm about halfway through this novel and it is pretty wonderful. The author does an excellent job developing the distinct voices: Mary Shelley and the fictional modern-day characters (Ry, Ron, Victor).

121EBT1002
Editado: Dic 23, 2019, 2:41am

The weather on Kauai has been quite stormy: lots of rain and incredible wind. The power went off last night but we were already tucked up in bed so it was no matter. We haven't been in the water since the first full day (Thursday) but we're having fun anyway. Last night we went to an art walk in Hanapepe and checked out the bookstore. I only bought a bookmark but I did get to meet Celeste, the bookstore cat.

Today we went to the farmer's market in Lihue, got a fresh pineapple, "apple bananas" (little super sweet bananas), some fresh veggies, and some locally made ginger beer. Then we drove up along the west side of the island as far as the road goes, stopped in Waimeia on the way home for lunch. I had the amazing famous ginger and chili sauce shrimp at the Shrimp Station and Shave Ice at JoJo's: guava, lilikoi, and mango over macadamia nut ice cream. It is pure heaven.

I didn't sleep well for two nights before our early flight on Wednesday so reading on the plane was less productive than I had hoped. My eyes were so tired. Still, I'm managing some good reading time in between adventures.

122EBT1002
Dic 21, 2019, 9:26pm

>101 richardderus: I'm sleeping quite well so far here in paradise, Richard. Thank goodness. The weather might suck but it's still pretty relaxing. It certainly beats working! :-)

>102 maggie1944: Kauai is wonderful so far, Karen. Even with rather lousy weather, it's still paradise. We haven't been to the fish store yet (it has moved!) but we did discover The Right Slice, a pie place in Kalaheo (our current retirement fantasy town) that features both savory and sweet pies. YUM.

>103 jessibud2: Thank you, Shelley! I am trying to ignore the poor weather and still breathe in the warm, humid air and of course the aloha spirit.

>104 Caroline_McElwee: Thank you, Caroline!

>105 mdoris: Thanks so much, Mary. I am trying to relish this little vacation and soak up as much turbo-charged self-care as I can.

123EBT1002
Dic 21, 2019, 9:30pm

>106 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda! So far the naps have been stretched out inside but a nap is a nap! :-)

>107 ronincats: Thanks Roni. The weather has been far less than ideal but I'm loving it anyway.

>108 Berly: Thanks Kim! I've taken a few pics so far.

>109 msf59: Thanks Mark. I've been less good about posting than I might have been, but we've been settling in and re-making plans based on the weather. I'm still hoping for one day on a bike, one day in a kayak, and at least one day with my snorkel gear!

>110 lauralkeet: Thanks Laura! I've posted a bit on FB but have not yet been able to successfully introduce my new iPhone and my old MacBook. Maybe I'll figure that out while I'm here.

>111 streamsong: LOL Janet -- there has been precious little sunshine here for me to send you! But I'm NOT complaining...

124EBT1002
Dic 21, 2019, 9:35pm

>112 BLBera: Thanks Beth! We did have our traditional Mai Tai's the first night. The weather at that point was lovely and we saw our first whales of the trip. :-)

>113 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. Yes, the pregnant with twins thing was definitely different. I kind of enjoyed how she slipped that into Alex's experience now and then. It was not distracting or defining, it was just there. Nicely done.

>114 jnwelch: Hi Joe! No snow (ahem) but LOTS of rain and way too much wind for my taste. Still, I'm handling it.

I brought three "real" books with me: Frankissstein, Normal People, and There, There. I have a couple more mysteries queued up on my kindle, and yes, there is a bookstore just in case. :-)

125EBT1002
Dic 21, 2019, 9:38pm

>115 ffortsa: Thank you, Judy. So far we are having more calm and sleep than we are having adventures but hopefully we'll get some conducive weather soon. I don't mind the rain all that much, but I hate the wind.

>116 benitastrnad: Your Christmas vacation sounds lovely, Benita! Very different from ours but equally conducive to that mental break that we need. Enjoy!

>117 witchyrichy: Hi Karen. Yes, I'm glad I finished my BingoDOG card. I've decided not to do that challenge next year, focusing instead on AlphaKIT, RandomCAT, Odd Month Atwood, my Booker list, and whatever else comes my way.

126EBT1002
Dic 21, 2019, 9:47pm

>118 richardderus: Interesting read, Richard. I say Happy Novy God to you, my friend!

127richardderus
Dic 21, 2019, 10:01pm

>126 EBT1002: Thanks! Oh, and go glare at that bookstore cat from me, preferably while hissing "extinction" at it.

If you please.

128EBT1002
Editado: Dic 21, 2019, 10:05pm

>127 richardderus: This is Celeste:



and they have stickers you can buy to decorate your laptop or water bottle:



I know you want one.

129richardderus
Dic 21, 2019, 10:08pm

>128 EBT1002: ...precisely as much as I want to have to explain to Rob that needs to be tested for chlamydia, ie "not even a widgin of a speck of a scoche of a bit."

130Berly
Dic 21, 2019, 10:13pm

Ellen--Sorry about the weather, but so glad you are having fun in spite of: food, bookstores, good sleep. : ) I am just about the start There, There so we can talk about it. Say hi to P!!

131EBT1002
Editado: Dic 21, 2019, 11:06pm

>129 richardderus: LOL!!! Oh my, Richard. That totally cracked me up.

Have you read Frankissstein, by the way? I can't remember, and I'd be interested in your take on it (I'm only halfway through but it's an interesting treatment of AI, gender, and the end of the world as we know it).

>130 Berly: Hi KIM. We just decided that it's too blustery for a walk out to Makahuena Point, my favorite whale-watching spot on the island. I said "if it's still this windy tomorrow, I'll push through the inertia and we'll go do things, but for now let's stay in." The windows are open, the air is clear and clean, I'm in shorts and a t-shirt, and P just made me a cocktail with the locally-made ginger beer that we got at this morning's farmer's market. And, after I catch up on LT a bit, I'll return to Frankissstein for the evening! As a friend of ours used to say, "this doesn't suck."

132BLBera
Dic 21, 2019, 10:47pm

>131 EBT1002: You got the wrong Twin. :)

Sorry to hear about the bad weather. Still, it sounds like you are making the best of your island holiday. You have a nice selection of books!

133Familyhistorian
Editado: Dic 21, 2019, 11:04pm

I hope your weather improves, Ellen. Enjoy your downtime! I liked The End of the Wasp Season so much I picked up the next book in the series when I was at the library today.

134EBT1002
Dic 21, 2019, 11:06pm

>131 EBT1002: and >132 BLBera: Crap! I hate when I do that.

I'll go fix that....

135EBT1002
Dic 21, 2019, 11:08pm

>131 EBT1002: and >132 BLBera: All fixed. I'm usually pretty good about that. You both know I love you and I apologize for confusing you based on the B thing. xoxo

>132 BLBera: Beth, you may be more excited that I have Frankissstein to read later tonight.

>133 Familyhistorian: Good reminder, Meg. I will go to SPL.org and put the next Alex Morrow on hold.

136Berly
Dic 21, 2019, 11:58pm

>135 EBT1002: Triplets. Everyone gets us all confused. Its even funnier when we do it to ourselves!! xoxo

137msf59
Dic 22, 2019, 8:49am

Aloha, Ellen. Sorry, to hear about the weather but it sure sounds like you are making the best of it. I am so glad to hear you are enjoying Frankissstein. I had such a good time with that one. And hooray, for bringing along, There, There. Terrific debut novel.

138BLBera
Dic 22, 2019, 9:46am

>134 EBT1002:, >136 Berly: Not a problem. I'm happy be be confused with my twins. :)

I'm so glad you are loving Frankissstein - there is so much to think about. Love Winterson.

139jnwelch
Dic 22, 2019, 9:53am

Happy Sunday, Ellen. I'm sure it's beautiful in Kauai - as you say, even with lousy weather, it's paradise. I hope you get to kayak and snorkel and bike at some point.

140richardderus
Dic 22, 2019, 11:02am

>131 EBT1002: Heh.

I haven't read Frankissstein yet. I keep trying to get into it and bouncing off; I think it's part of this nightmare of being unable to sleep properly.

141EBT1002
Editado: Dic 23, 2019, 2:27am

91. Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson


It's difficult to write a "review" that does this novel justice. Shifting back and forth in time, between the voice of Mary Shelley and that of Ry, our modern-day transgender hero who escorts us through his love affair with Victor, a scientist set on extending human life indefinitely, it explores themes of existentialism, artificial intelligence, identity, and the filmy cloth separating reality from fantasy, possibility from outrageousness.... Ultimately, it challenges all we know about what is, and what might be. It reconsiders Shelley's horror story and notes how close we are to that incomprehensible possibility. Humorous and mind-bending, it's a worthy Booker nominee for 2019. I loved it.

142EBT1002
Dic 23, 2019, 2:29am

>136 Berly: Hi KIM!!! I'm glad we're able to laugh at ourselves. We just need to arrange for a meetup of the three of us in 2020 so we can take a photo and help with distinguishing ourselves from, um, ourselves. (sorry, just finished Frankissstein so boundaries between identities, realities, etc. are a bit blurry).

Up next: There, There which you are also reading!

143EBT1002
Dic 23, 2019, 2:34am

>137 msf59: I'm determined to make this a wonderful vacation regardless of what Mother Nature has to say about it, Mark. I remind myself that a poor day on Kauai is waaaaay better than a good day on the Palouse. It's really better than a good day almost anywhere! Ha.

I really loved Frankissstein and I'm looking forward to my next read, There, There. I plan to take both of them to the westernmost bookstore in the U.S. to see if they'd like to buy them from me before I fly back to the mainland.

>138 BLBera: You said it perfectly, Beth. There is so much to think about in Frankissstein. I think it would be a fun novel to "teach," were I an English professor. ;-)

>139 jnwelch: Thanks for the good vibes, Joe. Today we got out and ignored the weather and had some fun. Hoping to kayak/canoe tomorrow.

>140 richardderus: Frankissstein might be a bit mood-dependent, as so many books can be. I was expecting a more difficult read than it turned out to be. Certainly a bit chaotic but also pleasantly mind-bending. I hope sleep settles down for you. You know I can relate to the sleep difficulties all too well. xo

144DeltaQueen50
Dic 23, 2019, 2:38am

Hi Ellen, I came by to catch up and here you are, off in Hawaii. Have a lovely holiday with lots of relaxing and reading.

145EBT1002
Dic 23, 2019, 2:40am

Today was ... gray and rainy and WINDY on Kauai. After a bit of a slow start, we managed to push through it and went out to Makahuena point to see the ocean up close and personal. This is a lovely spot for whale-watching but the wind was fierce so we settled for watching huge waves crash onto the rocks. We also saw Honu (Hawaiian Green Turtle). How that creature manages to feed along the rocks in that kind of wild surf is beyond me but it's wonderful to see.

Then we packed up and headed for Salt Pond Beach. This is a relatively protected beach, usually pretty tame and good for floating about in the ocean water. Today it was rougher than I've ever seen but we got in and bobbed about for a while. It felt so good to be embracing what Kauai has to offer us on this particular visit. It's not what we planned for but it is what it is. Then we found a long sandy beach and walked for a while. The wind was at about 30 knots -- steady -- so walking back into the wind was challenging. But it was also beautiful.

I'm reading A Christmas Carol aloud because that is what we do this time of year. The wind seems to have died down this evening so tomorrow we plan to give the kayaking/canoeing (on an inland river, not the ocean) a try.

146EBT1002
Dic 23, 2019, 2:40am

>144 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy!

147charl08
Dic 23, 2019, 2:52am

>145 EBT1002: I love walking on a winter beach - they are almost always quiet in my neck of the woods, and starkly beautiful.

Hope you continue to have a relaxing break.

148msf59
Dic 23, 2019, 6:56am

>145 EBT1002: It sounds like you are making the best of it, despite the weather, Ellen. Sounds gorgeous to me. And Hooray for the Green Turtle!

149Carmenere
Dic 23, 2019, 7:30am

Good to read of your Hawaiian vacation. You can't change the weather, right? But I'm glad you're doing the best you can and accepting Hakuna Matata philosophy :0) Continue to have a wonderful time. It sounds idyllic!

150lauralkeet
Dic 23, 2019, 8:43am

I'm glad to hear you're enjoying your vacation, Ellen. I like your attitude about the weather, "embracing what Kauai has to offer us on this particular visit". Very wise! And you've brought along some good books, too, which makes it even better.

151EBT1002
Editado: Dic 23, 2019, 12:45pm

I remembered this morning that I finished an audiobook on the plane. So, some count-correcting.....

90. An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson audiobook


Not my favorite of the Walt Longmire series but a steady installment in an excellent series. George Guidall continues his magnificent narration.

. . .

91. The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina


I don't really remember the first Alex Morrow novel although I seem to have read it a few years ago. I enjoyed this one. It was layered and relatively complex. I'll keep reading the series.

. . .

92. Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson


It's difficult to write a "review" that does this novel justice. For one who generally believes the earth might benefit from human extinction, it was a fascinating and enjoyable read (it's not about human extinction in any sense but the existential theme is relevant). Shifting back and forth in time, between the voice of Mary Shelley and that of Ry, our modern-day transgender hero who escorts us through his love affair with Victor, a scientist set on extending human life indefinitely, it explores themes of existentialism, artificial intelligence, identity, and the filmy cloth separating reality from fantasy, possibility from outrageousness.... Ultimately, it challenges all we know about what is, and what might be. It reconsiders Shelley's horror story and notes how close we are to that incomprehensible possibility. Humorous and mind-bending, it's a worthy Booker nominee for 2019. I loved it.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I have 94 books in my collection called "Read in 2019" so I must have missed a couple others, as well. I will go back and see if I can figure that out.

152EBT1002
Dic 23, 2019, 12:41pm

>147 charl08: I wholly agree, Charlotte. There were only a few other humans on the beach and it was windswept and beautiful. I rather like the tourist-dispersing power of this weather (even though I, of course, am really just another one of those tourists) but I do wish I could more comfortably get in the ocean.

>148 msf59: We have seen lots of Hawaiian Green Turtles this trip, Mark. We always see some but they are leading the way in our wildlife spotting this time around. I do love seeing them as I worry about the species. They are endangered.

>149 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. Yes, we're breathing deeply in Hakuna Matata philosophy. I'm generally pretty good at going with "it is what it is," and once I pushed through yesterday's threatened depression/disappointment, it's been all uphill.

>150 lauralkeet: Thanks Laura. Reading is always a big part of what we do on Kauai and this time it may simply be more so! Today we do plan to drive up the east side to investigate river kayaking. It's breezy but not windy so I'm optimistic. The strong winds have been out of the northeast so we have not yet done our east side activities.

153streamsong
Dic 23, 2019, 12:48pm

Your vacation sounds lovely and peaceful even if the weather isn't cooperating.

Hooray for seeing a Hawaiian Green Turtle and I loved the photo of the 'cardinal in a sweater' on FB even it if is an invader.

Don't know how the Palouse is faring, but here in the Bitterroot we are breaking record high temperatures in the low 50's. The wind is drying things up quickly so the mud is even manageable.

You're reading so many good books right now. Sigh. Must read faster.

154ChelleBearss
Dic 23, 2019, 2:50pm



Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

155SandDune
Dic 24, 2019, 2:20am



Or in other words, Happy Christmas! And have a great New Year as well.

156karenmarie
Dic 24, 2019, 1:06pm

I'm so far behind it's pathetic, Ellen, but wish you a

157johnsimpson
Dic 24, 2019, 4:14pm

Merry Christmas Ellen from both of us dear friend.

158witchyrichy
Dic 24, 2019, 5:16pm



Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

159jnwelch
Dic 24, 2019, 5:36pm

Happy Holidays, Ellen!

160Caroline_McElwee
Dic 24, 2019, 6:01pm


Merry Christmas Ellen. It sounds like you are having fun despite the weather.

161Familyhistorian
Dic 24, 2019, 8:41pm

I thought by now your weather would have improved but maybe it is waiting on Christmas Day, Ellen. I hope that you and P have a very Merry Christmas!

162streamsong
Editado: Dic 25, 2019, 12:46pm

Merry Christmas from Montana to Hawaii! Even if the weather is not cooperating, I hope you have a lovely, relaxing day together!

163msf59
Dic 25, 2019, 1:21pm



I hope you are having a wonderful holiday in Hawaii, Ellen!!

164ronincats
Dic 25, 2019, 6:41pm

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, some other tradition or none at all, this is what I wish for you!

165PaulCranswick
Dic 25, 2019, 8:57pm



Thank you for keeping me company in 2019.......onward to 2020.

166drneutron
Editado: Dic 29, 2019, 3:21pm

calm and I could use some friends over here in this new joint...

The 2020 Group is up!

167The_Hibernator
Dic 26, 2019, 12:57pm

Merry Christmas Ellen! Hope to see you in 2020!

168vivians
Dic 26, 2019, 2:33pm

Hi Ellen - hope you had a lovely Christmas despite the less-than-perfect weather.

169richardderus
Dic 26, 2019, 6:36pm

Were y'all swept out to sea?

170Berly
Dic 27, 2019, 12:19am

Best wishes this holiday season!! See you in 2020!


171BLBera
Dic 27, 2019, 10:42am

I hope you're having some nice days, Ellen, but a reading vacation sounds like heaven as well.

172ronincats
Dic 27, 2019, 8:17pm

Ellen, please check in and confirm you didn't take any helicopter tour!

173richardderus
Dic 27, 2019, 9:26pm

>172 ronincats: No indeed, Roni, Ellen & Prudence are fine, I have heard from them on Facebook. I was concerned as well and still twinge whenever I see "Kauai" on the headline of a story.

174figsfromthistle
Dic 27, 2019, 9:47pm

Happy Holidays!

175ronincats
Dic 27, 2019, 10:13pm

>172 ronincats: Thanks, Richard. I didn't think a helicopter ride was on their agenda, but yes, that twinge is there, and while I am very sorry for the victims' families, I am very happy that OUR family is still intact.

176Carmenere
Dic 27, 2019, 10:15pm

>173 richardderus: Shwew! That's a relief!! Thanks, Richard, for calming our nerves.

177EBT1002
Dic 28, 2019, 1:23am

93. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


My annual read-aloud of this wonderful classic. Completed Christmas eve before the power went out in the Great Kauai Christmas Eve storm (even locals talked about it as quite a storm!).

178EBT1002
Editado: Dic 28, 2019, 12:37pm

94. The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths


The sixth in the Ruth Galloway series and a good installment. I like that Griffiths is staying away from too predictable a formula (Ruth didn't get into terrifying danger in this one!) while maintaining a good series with developing characters. I like Kate a lot and am interested to see how she develops as Ruth's precocious little girl.

179EBT1002
Editado: Dic 28, 2019, 1:40am

95. There There by Tommy Orange


This was a good debut novel with richly wrought characters and wonderful insights into the human, and particularly Native American, experience in urban 21st century. It's a sophisticated exploration of the effects of disenfranchisement, poverty, loss, and ultimately the strength of love in all its forms. I know the ending -- or, more accurately, the endings -- were intentionally vague and open to interpretation but I found it unsatisfying. Still, Orange is an author worth watching and deserving of the praise he has received. I'll certainly read more by him.

180EBT1002
Dic 28, 2019, 1:51am

Hello all. Thank you for the holiday greetings! And thank you, Richard, for sharing that Prudence and I are safe and sound. I did think at some point today that folks might worry a bit but we were off at Salt Pond Beach, bobbing around in the sweet salt water, and I had neither phone nor laptop nearby. It is so sad that the helicopter tour went down with two small families aboard, including two children. There is talk about passing a law that the 'copter pilot cannot also be the narrator/guide. The Ducks did that in Seattle after a tragic accident a few years ago. It makes sense. I'm not saying the pilot was at fault; who knows what happened. But it does make sense to have the pilot doing just that: piloting.

Today was our last full day on Kauai and the weather was stellar. Yesterday was pretty nice, too.

Yesterday we took a hike to a relatively isolated beach and spent an hour (yes, an hour!) collecting bits of plastic that had washed up in the Great Christmas Eve Storm. Ugh. We collected a bread bag full of plastic bits and could well have filled a dozen more. It felt good to do something for this poor earth even though my hamstrings complained about it today.

Today we went to our favorite little beach and I snorkeled some. The water was pretty murky because of the recent storm but I had fun anyway. Then we had our third installment of Shave Ice from JoJo's in Waimea -- I got banana, lilikoi, and mango over macadamia nut ice cream. YUM. I swear I could eat (good) Shave Ice every day. We drove up into Waimea Canyon Stte Park and enjoyed some spectacular views. We have had two good sunsets in a row so the trip has rounded itself out very nicely.

Tomorrow we fly back to Pullman (sigh) and real life. I go back to work Monday but only for a short-ish day as the university is still closed through January 1.

181Berly
Editado: Dic 28, 2019, 1:53am

>179 EBT1002: RL has gotten in the way. I just cracked it open today. Three and half stars is not what I was hoping for , but I will keep going and see how it works for me.

Now, the big question...can you make 100?!?!?

: )

We posted at the same time. Now I am responding to your update: Glad you had some good weather and you got to go snorkeling (I love to do that!). Safe trip back. And then Sunday to re-acclimate before work on Monday.

182EBT1002
Editado: Dic 28, 2019, 1:53am

In books, up next is Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. I started it last night and while I know it has disappointed some avowed Kingsolver fans, I can tell I'm going to get pulled in quite happily.

I also plan to read the next in the Ruth Galloway series, The Ghost Fields.

>166 drneutron: Hooray!!! Thank you, Jim!!!!!
I will set up my first new thread for 2020 upon return to the mainland. *smile*

183Berly
Dic 28, 2019, 1:54am

>181 Berly: And I just started #1 of Ruth Galloway. : )

184charl08
Dic 28, 2019, 5:45am

>182 EBT1002: Ooh, I have this in my haul. Looking forward to reading it as I didn't get to the library copy in time.

Hope you feel rested and recharged after the break.

185msf59
Dic 28, 2019, 6:36am

Thanks for the Kauai report, Ellen. Hooray for improving weather, gorgeous scenery and reading lots. Boo to plastics, (shudders) and having to return tomorrow. Sounds like a lovely vacation.

186lauralkeet
Dic 28, 2019, 7:36am

Glad to hear all is well with you on Kauai. I enjoyed The Outcast Dead too, as you know. Looks like you'll pull ahead of me in this series soon though.

Safe travels!

187jessibud2
Dic 28, 2019, 8:21am

Enjoy your last day, Ellen and safe travels home. I will admit I had to google to find out about that awful crash. I hadn't heard about it until it was mentioned here on LT, but then, I have been taking a big break from pretty much all news (radio, tv, online) for the last while. I agree with your thoughts on a law to make pilots just concentrate on piloting, with no other distractions, but I had to wonder, why they are even permitted to take off at all with tour groups, when the weather is so lousy and dangerous? Shouldn't safety come above commerce? And speaking as someone who hates flying (and no longer does it), as a passenger, I personally would not have gone up if the weather wasn't perfect. Such a tragedy for all concerned. And very glad you were elsewhere!

188witchyrichy
Dic 28, 2019, 9:20am

Scott Elliott's film Into the Gyre documents the trash in the Atlantic Ocean. Worth a look.

And, I am thinking about creating sculptures with all the trash that gets dumped along our roadside on the farm similar to this group in Oregon who uses beach trash. I have friends who have participated in the workshops.

189laytonwoman3rd
Dic 28, 2019, 10:15am

Good for you and P, taking some of your vacation beach time to clean up a little. Imagine if everyone who went to the beach did that...

By the time I saw the news (this morning) about the terrible helicopter crash on Kauai I already knew you were safe, having seen posts here and on FB. But it really seems something needs to be done about the safety of those tours; our news report said there have been several such accidents in recent years. It was suggested the weather had something to do with this one.

190streamsong
Dic 28, 2019, 11:37am

I had worried a bit, too about the helicopter news, although you and P did not strike me as helicopter tour types. Nevertheless, I was glad when you posted a new profile pic on FB and I knew you were safe.

Enjoy your last day and have a safe trip home. As always, you're doing interesting reading and I always look forward to your reviews!

191Berly
Dic 28, 2019, 11:48am

>188 witchyrichy: WOW! That is a really cool display of artwork made from trash washed up on the shore.

Ellen--welcome home!!

192richardderus
Dic 28, 2019, 12:09pm

>179 EBT1002: You liked it a great deal better than I did. Which, I hasten to add, is a good thing!

I hope the journey home is an easy one.

193DeltaQueen50
Dic 28, 2019, 12:10pm

Glad to read that you and P are safe and sound although your wonderful holiday is coming to an end. Have a safe trip home.

194BLBera
Dic 28, 2019, 12:29pm

Safe travels. Ellen.

>181 Berly: I liked There, There more than the other Twin, Twin. Orange is definitely one to watch. I really liked the urban setting.

195EBT1002
Dic 28, 2019, 12:40pm

>153 streamsong: I think the Palouse has been in the upper 20s most of the time we've been gone, Janet. I hope your part of the world returns to regular winter soon. I know those unseasonably warm temps can be nice, but they are also not really good in the long run.

196EBT1002
Dic 28, 2019, 12:43pm

Chelle, Rhian, Karen (1), John, Karen (2), Joe, Caroline, Meg, Janet, Mark, Roni, Paul, Rachel, Vivian, Kim, and figsfromthistle ...

Thank you all for the holiday greetings!

197EBT1002
Dic 28, 2019, 12:47pm

>169 richardderus: You already know the answer, Richard, but I still thought I'd acknowledge the question. :-)

>171 BLBera: Thank you, Beth.

>172 ronincats: I should have checked in a bit sooner, Roni, but I'm glad to confirm again that we were not on the helicopter tour. Thank you for your concern. xo

>173 richardderus:, >175 ronincats:, and >176 Carmenere: Just sending you each a virtual hug.

198EBT1002
Dic 28, 2019, 12:53pm

>181 Berly: Kim! I knew this would happen. 3.5 stars is good! I liked There There a lot! I just saw some flaws that I wanted to mention, at least flaws in my experience of the book. The characters are rich and the setting is wonderful and the overall story and collection of themes were powerful. I just didn't feel like the execution quite held together as much as I hoped for based on the lush praise the book has received. I've got to get better at articulating what 3.5 stars means for me; people always think it means the book was "meh." Three is more "meh" and 2.5 stars or below would be reasonably taken as a recommendation to skip it and spend your time on something else.

I won't make it to 100 although my collection of books "read in 2019" has me even closer with 97 completed (I need to figure out what those other two were!). I might get one or two more completed....

199EBT1002
Dic 28, 2019, 12:55pm

>183 Berly: Oh, you have a good series in front of you. The first one was the least wonderful so far, so definitely stay with it at least through the second installment. :-)

>184 charl08: I know that Unsheltered has received some lukewarm reviews, Charlotte, especially as compared to Kingsolver's pretty magnificent oeuvre, but I'm liking it so far.

200EBT1002
Dic 28, 2019, 12:55pm

More catching up to do but I must go shower and pack and all that icky pre-return-to-real-life stuff!

See you all back on the mainland!!

201jnwelch
Dic 28, 2019, 12:57pm

Sounds like a great time in Hawaii, Ellen, including time in the water. Safe travels back!

I'm happy to hear you're enjoying the Ruth Galloway series. It's become one of my favorites, and Debbi's, too.

Adding my kudos for you and P doing some beach cleanup. As Linda said, what a difference if everyone did that.

202EBT1002
Dic 28, 2019, 1:32pm

>185 msf59: Thanks Mark. It has been a lovely vacation including a bright rainbow greeting us on this, our last morning in paradise. Kauai wisdom: no rain, no rainbows. :-)

>186 lauralkeet: Hi Laura. I have the next Ruth Galloway on my kindle because P downloaded it from the library and we share content on our kindles. I don't know that I'll get to it right away but I made sure it was available for the plane ride in case I want a break from Unsheltered. I kind of want to go slowly on the Kingsolver so it can count for "U" in January's AlphaKIT. Heh.

>187 jessibud2: All good questions, Shelley. The weather was much improved the day they went up but I don't know how tightly they attend to that. Last time we visited Kauai (about 5 years ago) we went on a boat tour up the Napali Coast. There are no roads and only the most rugged foot trails into that part of the island which is blessedly unpopulated so seeing it is a treat for Kauai lovers. We didn't make it that far north, though. The swells were too great, the ocean too rough, so our pilot said we had to turn around. We saw a school of Spinner Dolphins on our way back along the coast so we were not sad at all.

203EBT1002
Editado: Dic 28, 2019, 1:46pm

>188 witchyrichy: Wow Karen! That is a great article. Thank you for the link. I love what that artist is doing with the trash she finds along the Oregon coast. I will also check out the documentary.

I had seen film/photos of trash from and in the oceans, but this was my first time walking onto an otherwise pristine and oh-so-special beach and seeing plastic in waves along the shoreline. A local said it washes up on that beach a lot because of the direction of the winds and primary currents in the water. Prudence said "lord, if you wanted to pick all this up, you'd be on your hands and knees forever" and thus was born an idea. We only did a bit but if everyone did their bit.... Several people thanked us and one person asked "do you do this every day?" I laughed and said that if I lived here, I would. I liked being perceived as a local (though perhaps a rather eccentric one)!

204EBT1002
Dic 28, 2019, 1:45pm

>189 laytonwoman3rd: The weather had improved but it has been radically changeable the whole time we have been here, Linda. I agree that they need to review the safety rules and I think there is a local Hawaii legislator who had already proposed a related bill. I will follow it with more interest now than I would probably have done otherwise.

In addition to feeling terribly sad for the lives lost, I found myself thinking about the trash that crash had to contribute to the ocean. That sounds unfeeling, perhaps, and I don't mean it that way, but I think the two "issues" are linked in my experience now. We humans have simply GOT TO change our ways. We are the most destructive species on Earth and our very presence, in my opinion, threatens the planet. I know I'm part of the problem; I am one of the privileged few who can fly to Kauai for 10 days of vacation and I know I use resources -- food, clothes, toys, cars, souvenirs -- at a rate higher than my "portion." Helicopter (and boat -- guilty I am) tours represent an irresponsible use of limited resources and a poor contribution to the Earth's survival.

*steps down off soap box*

205BLBera
Dic 28, 2019, 2:26pm

So sad to see garbage in paradise. We have been trying to eliminate plastic from our lives. Difficult, but it's a work in progress.

I finally got The Ruin from the library and will start it today. I am looking forward to it.

206Familyhistorian
Dic 28, 2019, 3:20pm

I saw the helicopter crash on the news last night. Good to see your safety confirmed. So sad about the people lost.

How nice the weather cleared up for the end of your trip, Ellen. Safe travels home.

207EBT1002
Dic 29, 2019, 7:54pm

Home. Wah. But the travel day was just long and I did make some progress in the long-ish Unsheltered. I also napped a bit. :-)

Today has been unpacking, shopping, getting used to the new time zone....

Tomorrow I go to work but only for a short day. I am starting to think about my thread themes for 2020.

208EBT1002
Dic 29, 2019, 8:31pm

>190 streamsong: Janet, we are definitely not helicopter tour folks (although we did that flight around Denali in the little bush plane a couple of years ago and P almost died of terror). Helicopters have always seemed very scary to both of us.

>191 Berly: Hi Kim. Isn't that art-from-trash thing cool? And so Oregon in all the best ways something can be Oregon.

>192 richardderus: Hmm, I think I'll see if I can find your review of There There, Richard. I'd be interested in your reactions. And the journey home was long but relatively easy. Having moved to the boondocks where we always have that last leg on the puddle-jumper really makes travel more tiring than it was when landing in Seattle meant we were home.

>193 DeltaQueen50: Thanks for both sentiments, Judy!

209EBT1002
Editado: Dic 29, 2019, 8:42pm

>194 BLBera: Thanks Beth!

And I liked the urban setting of There There, as well. It was heading toward a 4-star rating but the last scene was a bit to muddled for me. I know that was intentional, but I thought he fell just a bit short of the mark in that section.

>201 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I so enjoyed our last day, especially, when we could just bob in the ocean until our fingers got all wrinkly. I love that.

Ruth Galloway is a keeper and one I'll probably move through pretty quickly in the new year. I still have several to enjoy!

A couple of people who spoke to me while we were doing beach cleanup said that they would follow suit and fill their ice bag or sandwich bag or whatever with plastic trash before they left. I hope they did it! It will still only be a drop in the proverbial bucket but we have to start somewhere.

>205 BLBera: I think completely eliminating plastic in one's life is really tough, Beth, but it's worth aiming for. A new product that I really like is Bee's Wrap. It's a replacement for "saran wrap" and it took some getting used to -- you have to use your hands to warm it a bit as you press it along the edge of the bowl -- but once you get the hang of it, it really works. It's reusable and very eco-friendly and available at a lot of co-op type stores. Of course, it wasn't "saran wrap" that we were finding on the beach but it's still something I'm very happy to stop using!

>206 Familyhistorian: Many thanks for both sentiments, Meg!

210EBT1002
Dic 29, 2019, 8:45pm

A reminder of my plans for January 2020:

1. The Bone Clocks (shared read with Kim and Beth)
2. Oryx and Crake (2020 Odd Month Atwood, RandomCAT, and AlphaKIT)
3. Unsheltered (AlphaKIT) -- unless I finish it before midnight on Tuesday
4. Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea (AlphaKIT double - A and U)
5. A Booker winner not yet read.....

I'd also like to read the next in the Ruth Galloway series and I'm sure I'll have books coming available from the library that I put on hold weeks or months ago!

211EBT1002
Editado: Dic 29, 2019, 11:12pm

Okay, I found my two errors in counting books. I had double-entered one in my "Read in 2019" collection and I had forgotten to enter The Skeleton Road in my list in >6 EBT1002:. I'm not going to go back and re-do all the posts, but There There in >179 EBT1002: was actually book number 96 for the year. I don't know whether I'll finish Unsheltered in time to make my annual total 97, but I'm pleased to have gotten so close to 100. With work and life as crazy as they are, this feels like good territory for me until I retire.

212LizzieD
Dic 29, 2019, 11:34pm

Welcome home with a WOW for your reading, Ellen! I guess I hadn't lurked on your thread because this one was brand new to me although I knew that you were in Hawaii. Sounds as though it was a different, perfect anyway vacation. Glad you're back.
I'm off to see whether I don't have a copy of Unsheltered (I'm a Kingsolver fan from way back) and I've just wished for *Brain on Music*. Thank you!
Happy New Year!!!!!

213BLBera
Dic 30, 2019, 2:08am

>210 EBT1002: I got The Bone Clocks out. I will start it soon.

Yes, I'd say you did very well with your reading this year.

I will try to find Bee's wrap. At the co-op here, we can refill shampoo and conditioner bottles, which is nice.

214lauralkeet
Editado: Dic 30, 2019, 7:21am

>211 EBT1002: nice job with the forensic investigation, Ellen. 😀

I hate it when my reading data is off, but it's satisfying when you get to the bottom of it, isn't it?

Thanks for mentioning your experience with Bees Wrap. I received a sample a while back but didn't understand the bit about warming it with your hands, so needless to say I wasn't impressed with the results LOL. I think it's still around here somewhere (kitchen junk drawer maybe?), so I'll see if I can find it and try again.

215witchyrichy
Dic 30, 2019, 9:56am

>203 EBT1002: Every little bit helps, and it is fun to be seen as a local, isn't it? After all, what tourist would take vacation time to clean?

216ffortsa
Dic 30, 2019, 10:01am

A while ago, I treated myself to two sets of Pyrex with lids - bowls and storage containers. Haven't used them much yet, because I still have enough plastic containers with lids that are reusable. My biggest problems are plastic bags (I almost always forget to reuse them, and they seem to multiply in the dark) and the plastic utensils that come with food we order delivered. Maybe I can donate them to shelters, although that just pushes the problem down the road, doesn't it? And then there are the bottles that have replaced waxed cardboard for milk, juice, etc. Recycling isn't as dependable as it seems, either.

217lauralkeet
Dic 30, 2019, 10:06am

>216 ffortsa: Pyrex with lids
Oh that's a good point, Judy. For Christmas I asked for a carrier-thing that I could use when we have to take food someplace like a potluck. Although Chris thought this was a boring-ass gift, he obliged and filled the carrier-thing with a set of glass bowls with lids (well, the lids are plastic but still, they're reusable). I hadn't thought beyond potlucks to how wonderfully sustainable these containers are for everyday use. Now I'm doubly excited about my boring-ass gift.

218BLBera
Dic 30, 2019, 12:15pm

I also use the glass containers. The problem is that so much food comes in plastic containers, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.

219Berly
Dic 30, 2019, 4:35pm

Bone Clocks opening soon!!

I gave all my kids metal straws as a stocking stuffer and a reusable sandwich bag for my oldest. The following is a really good website for replacing plastic food items: Etee!

https://www.shopetee.com

220ffortsa
Dic 30, 2019, 4:44pm

I didn't know about etee. I do know about Net Zero. And I've heard that someone is marketing silicone straws, which should be easier for the handicapped to use than the stainless steel ones.

221EBT1002
Dic 30, 2019, 7:39pm

>212 LizzieD: I am also a Kingsolver fan from way back, Peggy. I purchased The Bean Trees from the front table of a bookstore in Chicago when it was first published ("debut novel by a promising author") and I haven't looked back. I'm quite enjoying Unsheltered; the parallel story lines are well-crafted and interesting ... and I'm spotting allegory all over the place (proud of myself for that).

>213 BLBera: I need to get The Bone Clocks down off the shelf, too, Beth.

I have tried a Windrift Hill shampoo and body bar, and it works pretty well but I do still like the full lather of shampoo from a plastic (ugh) bottle. I need to see how our co-op will do for refills on shampoo and conditioner.

I stood at my medicine cabinet this morning as I was taking down my face lotion, getting ready for work, and I was astounded by the amount of plastic in my very own cabinet. I'll do my best to reduce that in the coming year.

222EBT1002
Dic 30, 2019, 7:43pm

>214 lauralkeet: Thanks Laura. I am glad to have sorted out the two errors, one in "my" favor and one in the bank's, so to speak.

I do hope you give the Bee's Wrap another try. Essentially, you have to use your hand warmth to slightly warm the wax that's integrated into the fabric so it will "stick." For covering a glass bowl full of slaw (yum), I found that I have to rotate the bowl while pressing the wrap down around the rim. It takes some patience but, like I said, once you get the hang of it, it works very well!

223EBT1002
Dic 30, 2019, 7:52pm

>215 witchyrichy: My thinking, exactly, Karen!

>216 ffortsa: Yep, that is all part of the problem, Judy. I have almost trained myself to tell servers in restaurants not to bring me a straw with my drink (including my water, for pete's sake -- I now say "water, no ice and no straw" to start my meal). I'm not yet at 100% but doing better than I used to! Plastic utensils are also a real problem. If I pick up the food, I can remember to tell them I don't need them, but if they deliver it's more challenging. I suppose making sure it ends up in a land fill is still better than letting it wander toward the oceans. It's all a matter of doing what one can, knowing that absolute success is not possible.

>217 lauralkeet: I agree, Laura (and Judy). Those pyrex bowls with plastic -- reusable is the key!!! -- lids are a wonderful improvement over plastic wrap. I think your boring-ass gift is absolutely perfect!

>218 BLBera: Yes, and I do love yogurt and cottage cheese, Beth. I recycle or reuse the containers (P is very good about using those for leftovers and for freezing homemade spaghetti sauce, soup, etc.) but, as Judy said, recycling isn't as dependable as it once was: another bit of fallout from 45's policies both foreign and domestic.

224EBT1002
Dic 30, 2019, 7:56pm

>219 Berly: Okay, Kim, we're to be off and running with The Bone Clocks! I need to finish Unsheltered. I had been thinking that I would move on to Into the Beautiful North but I will dive right into the David Mitchell.

Thank you for the website for replacements for plastic food storage options! I will amplify. We also have metal straws (I only use them for mixing cocktails, to be honest).

>220 ffortsa: We bought some of the silicone straws for P's 97-year-old father but the home in which he lives would not allow him to use them. They said it was too problematic (read: labor intensive) to sterilize them. So he continues to use plastic straws. Sigh.

Okay, so Net Zero and Etee!!!!!

225brenzi
Dic 30, 2019, 8:45pm

My daughter bought silicone straws for her children to use about a year ago and has never looked back. I don't know why restaurants still give them out unless you remember to tell them not to which I always do. I don't need your straws waitress.

226laytonwoman3rd
Dic 30, 2019, 9:04pm

I bought mesh bags from Net Zero to use when buying fresh produce....eliminating the plastic bags provided in the stores. They are wonderful---drawstring closures, you can wash everything right in the bag, and then drain them dry and store in the bags too, if you want.
My biggest plastic gripe right now is that the ground coffee selection in several of my favorite grocery stores is shrinking, as so many people seem to be in love with "K" cups...
I make a point of refusing straws too, but there is one restaurant where the drinks always come with the straw IN (and a tiny bit of the paper wrapping still over the end). It's a losing battle getting them not to do it, but I keep hoping. At least if they hand me a paper wrapped straw I can politely hand it back.

227EBT1002
Dic 30, 2019, 10:24pm

>225 brenzi: "I don't need your straws waitress." Cracked me up, Bonnie. I think people are so paranoid about drinking out of a glass that was, you know, washed and sterilized in the restaurant kitchen, that they prefer a plastic straw even when the server just took it out of the back and set it on the table with their, um, hands.

>226 laytonwoman3rd: Oh yes, we are avid users of the mesh bags, Linda. We have a variety of sizes and we use them all the time for produce. I just washed a handful of them today along with a "delicate" load of, well, delicate things. ;-)

We do what we can, right? Every bit helps.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My proud eco-friendly brag:

When we first moved to Seattle in 2007, we suddenly had no "auto pilot" anything. Even driving to the grocery store was, at first, not automatic. Since we were developing all new habits for absolutely everything, it was easy to establish a new habit of taking the reusable shopping bags into the store with us. We were probably at about 95% and then Seattle outlawed plastic grocery bags. It reinforced the habit and we know our friends adapted, as well. To this day we remember our reusable bags pretty darn near 100% of the time (even though plastic bags are certainly not outlawed in our current "home town"). New habits can be developed. :-)

228EBT1002
Dic 30, 2019, 10:50pm

This always feels like dangerous territory but here are my 5-star reads from 2019.

Four novels:
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

One non-fiction/memoir:
Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston

Two Graphic Memoirs:
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

I also had a good number of 4.5-star reads but these made the top cut.

229Berly
Dic 31, 2019, 12:31am

Awesome list of faves!! I read about half of them and would concur; now I have to get my hands on the other ones.

Also, very psyched that "Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, Oregon retail stores and restaurants can no longer provide single-use checkout bags." Yay!!! About time. : )

230thornton37814
Dic 31, 2019, 12:04pm

>228 EBT1002: I haven't looked through my ratings yet. I want to see if I can finish the book I'm reading. I think I can. That will be 226 for the year, and its title may provide a good meme answer. I don't think it will be in a 5-star category. In fact, my top books of the year will probably be a short list. I don't think I had a lot of 4.5 or 5 star reads.

231Ameise1
Dic 31, 2019, 3:53pm



232jnwelch
Dic 31, 2019, 4:38pm

I'm with you for your first three fives star novels, Ellen, and both five star graphics. I just finished Girl, Woman, Other: so impressive. I haven't read When All Is Said or Deep Creek.

233Berly
Dic 31, 2019, 6:35pm



Wishing you 12 months of success
52 weeks of laughter
366 days of fun (leap year!)
8,784 hours of joy
527,040 minutes of good luck
and 31,622,400 seconds of happiness!!

234EBT1002
Ene 1, 2020, 3:54pm

>229 Berly: Yay Oregon! I love that state.

>230 thornton37814: Hi Lori. I was pleased when I went back to see which books I had rated with 5 stars and discovered that I still feel like they were all deserving of that rating for me at the time I read them.

>231 Ameise1: Thank you so much Barbara!

>232 jnwelch: I knew a couple of my top reads matched yours, Joe. I absolutely loved When All Is Said and Deep Creek -- so different but both so moving in their own way.

>233 Berly: Thanks Kim!

235EBT1002
Editado: Ene 1, 2020, 3:55pm

Okay, folks, that is a wrap on 2019! I've moved on over to the 2020 group now!

236thornton37814
Editado: Ene 1, 2020, 5:40pm

>230 thornton37814: The only one I probably would change might be a cat children's picture book, but it would still be 4.5 stars, so I'll leave my generosity in tact. I think I gave 5 stars to a handful of children's picture books, a crochet book, and a cookbook--all deserving of the rating--but the only "reads" that earned that score were The Chosen and Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver, and both of those deserved it!

237laytonwoman3rd
Ene 1, 2020, 10:11pm

>227 EBT1002: I don't remember when I started using reusable shopping bags, but I do know it was long before they were common. I bought 3 canvas sacks from Seventh Generation...probably in the early '90s. I have many more now. It's a bit discouraging to me that it is STILL necessary to explain to checkers that I can wash my bags, and therefore do not feel the need for them to put my meat in plastic unless it's obviously leaking. Whenever feasible, I do my own bagging, but sometimes the checkers automatically put the meat in plastic bags before it gets to me. Makes me cranky.