Summer, Summer, Summer…

Red River, New Mexico.

Faculty summer continues apace here at JOMP and that means a lot of messing around doing not much in particular. I’ve been reading but not at the rapid pace I typically do, although reasons for this are unclear. I think I was choosing titles that weren’t that appealing so I kept putting them down and doing almost anything else but that. 

Now – I’ve cleared the decks and picked out a couple of new titles (details to come) and I’m hoping that that will do the trick. 

Otherwise, I’ve been doing addicting word search puzzles, napping and getting some jobs done. I spent yesterday doing 5000 errands (exhausting but productive!) and today I need to go to the gym for a spell and then I’m hoping to hear from my doc about a current health issue going on. He’s usually pretty ok on returning messages so fingers crossed. 

Happened to visit our big local mall yesterday (see errands mentioned above) and it was so interesting (in a sociological kind of way) to people-watch all the teenagers who were hanging out there. Very polite. Very well-behaved. I was impressed. Had a fun time looking at their sartorial choices! Can’t judge them as I am CERTAIN that when I was the same age, I was making similar clothing selections: it was just fun to watch! 😉

And now I’m actually in the office. My contract requires that I spend one day/week in my office and so that’s what I’m doing. 

Oh, and we went camping. Now – I am not the world’s biggest camping person but we have a small camper trailer that we take out every now and then, and this time we trucked to Red River, New Mexico, where it was gorgeous. Look at how green everything is. (Normally it is a semi-arid environment so lots of brown. I think there’s been lots of rain recently or similar.) 

As per, the SuperHero went above-and-beyond to provide an awesome experience – I just wish that we didn’t have to drive six hours to get there (each way). But it was worth it. 

Now, I’m off to read the AP Style Book (my usual summer project) and then I might have something to eat. Nom nom nom. 

Some friendly neighbors…. (Chipmonks?)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Graphic Novel – Aya Morton and Fred Fordham (2020)

Being a big fan of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, I was happy to come across this title in the graphic novel section at the library. (I’m really glad we have this GN section. A librarian friend of mine advocated for it and curated it right when it first started and since then, it’s grown enormously.) Anyway, this Gatsby graphic novel was hanging out there and I grabbed it and then read it right through there sitting in the library. (I just couldn’t resist!)

And I loved it. It’s more of a (necessarily) condensed version of the plot but there’s enough there for it to work smoothly and without feeling like you’ve been cheated (as the reader). Plus – the artwork by Morton is superb. It uses paler washed-out colors – like the tail end of summer – and this works perfectly as the characters in The Great Gatsby do feel and act washed out a bit after their high-living lifestyles. 

And, even better, I’m all jazzed up for a reread of the novel now (despite having read it quite a times already – see reviews here and here) plus having studied it in grad school rather a lot. (I thought that I had a copy of this on the home TBR but it seems not. No probs. I’ll just pick it up at the library next time I’m there.)

Luckily, it’s a complex novel with plenty to talk about (along with being a really good read at the same time). If you haven’t partook of it yet, there’s a good read waiting and ready. 

So, this scratched several itches all at the same time: I was looking for a classic to read (check), I was looking for a graphic novel to read (check) and most importantly of all – I was looking for a great reading experience (check). All good.

Hmm. Maybe it’s time to bump the biography of Fitzgerald on the old TBR pile…  

Having a catch up…

Summer continues apace and it’s been fun. There’s been a lot of messing around, a bit of mucking about and slacking off and I’ve been working on the chilling-out mindset like a crazy woman. 😉 

So – what have I been doing? Let’s see. I’ve been reading (and owe the blog a review or two); I’ve been writing (still work to be done at the office); I’ve been snoozing and working out quite a bit, and I’ve been cooking and looking at recipes. (I know – who is this alien who is currently inhabiting my body with interest enough to enter the kitchen to create dishes, not just eat them?)

The animals have been very happy to have me home a lot more than in the Spring. They’re so sweet. When you’re busy in life, they can seem quite peripheral but spending time with them this summer has been delightful and fun for all of us. Diablo Cat is sitting in my reading chair and stare-dozing in my direction (as cats do). Nova Dog is snoozing in the hall corridor and Fergus Cat is outside doing whatever she does out there. It’s all go at the JOMP household. 

Oh wait. We did do something productive today: we worked out at the gym and now I’m going to start playing with (i.e., reorganizing) my bookshelves. I’m such a book nerd. 🙂

This week has plans for the Superhero and I to go caravan-camping in New Mexico (at the end of the week) so we need to prep for that. My past history would dictate that camping is dreadful but now we have this caravan-thing, it’s much more civilized and we know (royal “we” – it’s really all the Superhero) more about what we’re doing. I’m really looking forward to it. 

Hope your summers are going well. 

Library Loot: July 05 2021

Just happened to find myself at the library the other day – a complete accident, I tell you! /jk/ – and these titles happened to make it home with me:

(Top to bottom in photo):

  • The Old Curiosity Shop – Charles Dickens (F)
  • Seeking Pleasure in the Old Wild West – David Dary (NF/history)
  • Women of the Four Winds: The Adventures of Four of America’s First Women Explorers – Elizabeth Fagg Olds (NF/history) (not in pic)
  • The Great Gatsby – graphic novel (love this read) – not pictured
  • DK Eyewitness Medieval Life
  • Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History – S.C. Gwynne (NF/history)

(Can you tell I was roaming the history stacks? It was glorious.)

So what am I reading right now?

Well, these are in line but at this very moment in time, I’m reading an adventure/travel writing book called Side Country: Tales of Death and Life in the Back Roads of Sports by John Branch and then a quick look at a title from the TBR: The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Salvomir Rawicz (1956), a NF about Rawicz who was a young Polish cavalry officer who was arrested by the Russians and, after brutal interrogation and a farce of a trial, he was sentenced to 25 years’ hard labor in the Gulags. In the depth of winter in Siberia, he escaped and crossed the trans-Siberian railway and headed south to freedom. (Supposed to be an amazing read so I’m looking forward to this.)

And my regular summer project of a reread of the AP Style Manual….

Plus – you know: all these library books. 🙂

The (Almost) Halfway Post.

Almost halfway through the year and like other book bloggers, I think it’s fun to see how the reading is going and whether there are any patterns or trends emerging. 

To that end, here is what I’ve read so far this in terms of numbers:

  • 54 books in total for a total of 16,142 pages:
  • 33 fiction  – Includes short story collections and a play. (Very surprised to see this. I would have sworn that it was more NF but it’s not to be.) 
  • 21 non-fiction

Other interesting (perhaps only to me!) stats include:

  • 25 books (46%) taken from my TBR – I’d like to up this stat a bit more this year…
  • Average number of books read per month: 10.5 books
  • Average page count per month: 285 pp.
  • Total average page count per month: 2,690 pp. 

How do the demographics look?

  • 10 from POC/BIPOC authors (19%) – I’d like to up this stat a bit more this year…
  • 23 male authors
  • 27 female authors
  • 5 mixed gender content

The books themselves:

Oldest book: (Far From the Madding Crowd / Hardy – 1875) 

Newest books: Two from 2020 (Battle of Brothers / Robert Lacey (NF) and Sharks in the Time of Saviors / Kawai Strong Washburn (F).)

Best book so far: 

Hmm. If I absolutely have to commit for both F and NF, I would argue for the following:

Autobiographies and biographies have been popular topics, but there are no real leaders, TBH: Other topics have included nature writing, travel, history and the social sciences…. 

.It’s been a good year so far. I hope that you’re having a similar year. Onward and upward!

Incoming.

A few new titles have washed up at Chez JOMP, so thought I’d let you see what they were. (Top to bottom):

  • Home Cooking – Laurie Colwin (culinary-related essays, I think). (NF/essays).
  • Fraternity: An Inside Look at a Year for College Boys Becoming Men – Alexandra Robbins (NF). I’ve read her earlier work about sororities and thought that to be interesting so this title made the cut. (NF/socio?)
  • The Body – Bill Bryson (NF/sci).
  • Untold Stories – Alan Bennett (NF/essays I think).
  • The Truth About Style – Stacey London (NF/fashion). Complete impulse buy the other day.
  • Solutions and Other Problems – Alli Brosh. (Also, unpictured but also bought: Hyperbole and a Half by Brosh.) NF/auto/funny as hell).
  • Taste of Home Winning Recipes – Barnes and Noble cheapie bargain book to get ideas for supper. 🙂 (NF/food). I’ve tried a few recipes out of here – good so far.

And, of course. I’m not actually reading any of these right now! 🙂

Library Loot: June 14 2021

Top to bottom, left to right:

Already read and finished the Stephen King book (ok) and now about to start on the then-scandalous Crawford memoir about the Queen’s childhood (and that of her sister). Ohh la la. (Rather a craze on the royals right now. 🙂 )