Umm. Hi there. I’m back.

shiningWell, goodness gracious me. That was a rather long absence there. Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to leave you hanging…

Work has become slightly nutty which has led to me being tired and easily lured by the call of the Netflix sirens instead of settling into the adventures of the printed word. I bow my head in shame at such temptations, but I plan on being back on-line now. As an added (and slightly irrelevant) fact, it’s also been really really hot which can sap the energy right out of you.

Add to this the fact that we are also now the guardians of a new young dog and there’s been not much time for literary pursuits.

First things first, here’s the new addition to the family:


She is a ten-month old German Shepherd who was living in horrible conditions when we got her. Thus, she has one or ten issues that we are working with (such as some serious other-doggie-inflicted PTSD) which along with the typical puppy stuff has kept our hands full. Her name is Nova, and so we’re hoping to call her… wait for it…. Super Novae when she does something super-terrific. (It’s all baby steps right now.) Despite the challenges, she has a good heart and is slowly learning that we and the outside world are not out to kill her just yet. (She’s not yet convinced about the cats so she takes a very wide berth around them in general.) She is a sweetie so far.

For the television temptations, we’ve been sucked into Broadchurch, an excellent murder mystery BBC series, finished up Peaky Blinders, got caught up with Orange, started up with HBO’s new series, The Night of…, and watching John Oliver, Bill Maher and Samantha Bee have lots of fun with the craziness of both the political parties’ national meetings. I’m not sure about you, but I can only take so much political coverage as the whole thing stresses me out, to be honest. I’m hoping that this November’s elections don’t mirror the Brexit situation.

Oh, and saw a New Zealand-ish movie the other day called “The Hunt for the Wilderpeople” which was fun to watch and just an extremely nice change from the loud explosion-filled movies which seem to be the Hollywood trend over summers. (This has no explosions, no car chases, and no one dies whilst at the same time being a thoughtful, poignant and funny coming-of-age film.) Highly recommended if it comes your way.

And then reading? Oh yes, that. Well, I’ve been catching up with some magazine reading (way behind on my copies of The Atlantic) and even a book here or there. There’s been some (pretty dreadful) leadership book reading for work, just finished an enjoyable read of “Carol” by Patricia Highsmith (after really liking the movie of the same name), gave a presentation that combined some of my photography with suggestions of summer reading (Lizzy-style) for a large group in town, and then been floating around in the Lazy River at this place:


This is actually our university pool complex and so we’re really lucky to have access to this whole place. (It’s part of the fitness center on campus which is where we work out all the time.)

So this summer so far has been a rather schizophrenic mix of lassitude at home and crazy workload at work, but you know what? It’s almost August and I’m back in the literary mix now. Hooray!

BTW, here is the book list that I developed from that photo/reading presentation in case you’re curious:

Summer Reading List

  • From Middle England: A Memory of the Thirties – Philip Oakes (1980) NF
  • The Haunted Bookshop – Christopher Morley (1919) – Project Gutenberg F
  • The Interrogative Mood: A Novel – Padget Powell (2009) F
  • A Bear Called Paddington (and rest of series) – Michael Bond (1958) F
  • The Thirty Nine Steps – John Buchan (1915) – Project Gutenberg F
  • 84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff (1970) NF?
  • Servants: A Downstairs View of Twentieth Century Britain – Lucy Lethbridge (2013) NF
  • Diaries of a Provincial Lady – E. M. Delafield (1930) – Project Gutenberg (Australia) F
  • Stoner – John Williams (1965) F
  • Anything by Miss Read (with two series: Thrush Green and the Fairacre novels) F
  • Ethel and Ernest: A True Story – Raymond Briggs (1998) NF/GN
  • The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly – Sun-mi Hwang/Chi-Young Kim (trans.) (2013) F
  • Diary of a Nobody – George Grossmith and Weedon Grossmith (1892) – Project Gutenberg F
  • Anything by Robert Lacey (non-fiction history about England et al.) NF
  • Remember, Remember (The Fifth of November): The History of Britain in Bite-Sized Chunks – Judy Parkinson (2008) NF
  • The Queen’s Houses – Alan Titchmarsh (2014) – BBC production NF
  • Anything by Mary Oliver (U.S. poet: nature, accessible, thoughtful) Poetry
  • Coasting: A Private Voyage – Jonathan Raban (1987) NF
  • Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England – Judith Flanders (2003) NF
  • Fortnight in September – R. C. Sheriff (1931) or August – Gerard Woodward (2001) F
  • A Gift from the Sea – Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1955) NF
  • Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey (2014) F
  • The Campaign for Domestic Happiness – Isabella Beeton (1861)  Project Gutenberg NF
  • Anything by Michael Dirda (books about books) NF
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison – Piper Sherman (2013) NF/Memoir
    • Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing – Ted Conover (1999) Memoir NF
    • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Michelle Alexander (2010) NF
  • Cider with Rosie – Laurie Lee (1959) NF/Memoir
  • All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque (1929) F
  • Love, Nina – Nina Stibbe (2013) NF/epistolary
  • Modern American Plays – Bennett Cerf (1961) Drama
  • American Notes for General Circulation – Charles Dickens (1842) NF
  • Any NF by Mary Roach (witty clever microhistories)
  • Quartet in Autumn – Barbara Pym (1977) (but all her stuff is good) F
  • All Creatures Great and Small – James Herriot (any are good but best in order) F
  • Mapp and Lucia series – E. F. Benson (1920’s/1930’s) Project Gutenberg (Australia) F
  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner – Alan Sillitoe (1959) F
  • Small Island – Andrea Levy (2004) F

Other suggestions from around the world:

  • An Unnecessary Woman – Rabih Alameddine F
  • The Color Purple – Alice Walker F
  • Going Home to Nicodemus – Daniel Chu and Bill Shaw NF
  • Praisesong for the Widow – Paule Marshall F
  • Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates NF
  • We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie NF
  • March (two volumes) – John Lewis/Nate Powell NF/GN
  • Once Upon a Quinceañera – Julia Alvarez (2007) NF
  • Into the Beautiful North – Luis Alberto Urrea (2009) F
  • The Devil’s Highway – Luis Alberto Urrea (2004) NF
  • Sozaboy – Ken Sawo-Wiwa (1985) F
  • The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native Peoples in North America – Thomas King (2012) NF
  • Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese (2012) F
  • Anything by Atul Gwande NF/Medicine
  • Like One of the Family – Alice Childress (1956) F
  • So Long a Letter – Mariama Bâ F
  • Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit – Leslie Marmon Silko (1997) NF/Essays
  • Embers – Sandor Marai (1942) F
  • A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry (1995) F


8 thoughts on “Umm. Hi there. I’m back.

    • I tried to be fairly inclusive, but there is no way that I’ve read all of these titles this summer. This is more of a suggested reading list for people. The presentation was a mix of showing my photography (mostly England stuff) and then me finding a book that I’ve read at some point (and could recommend) and then also had a connection to the pic in the PPT somehow. It was fun putting the talk together – like a gigantic literary jigsaw puzzle.

    • Oh wow. Me too. This is the other kind of list: “Books that I have read and that somehow matched pictures I had, obtuse the connection may have been.” I can do that sort of list. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s