April 2017 Reading Review

spring_Flowers_rev

So April fairly whipped by pretty speedily due to a general busy-ness of life and work. It was a pretty good reading month at the same time, but lower numbers than is traditional. (This would be due to a big mix of things, including my vision still having problems. Reading with one eye tends to slow things down, I’ve found.)

(To clarify: I still have my other eye, but the dodgy one doesn’t see very well a lot of the time. Thus the “one eye” comment. I didn’t mean that I was now Cyclops [although I might feel like that sometimes!]. I had no idea how much my reading would slow down due to this.  :-} )

The reads for April included:

So to the numbers:

Total number of books read in April: 5

Total number of pages read: 1,507 pages (av. 301).

Fiction/Non-Fiction: 4 fiction / 1 non-fiction; 0 play.

Diversity: 0 POC (that’s a bit yikes for me.) 2 books by women.

Library books vs. books I owned (and thus removed from the home abode): 1 library book, 4 owned books and 0 e-books. (Yeah. Good on working on the TBR pile.)

Plans for May is to read, read, read. How glorious is that?

The FoL Book Haul…

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As promised, here is the haul from the Friends of the Library (FoL) book sale the other day:

  • African-American Fiction 2010 – Nikki Giovanni (editor)
  • Famous American Plays of the 1940’s – Henry Hewes (ed) (plays)
  • Lottery – Patricia Wood (F)
  • Travelers’ Tales: A Women’s World – Mary Beth Bond (ed) (Travel NF)
  • Plan B – Jonathon Tropper (F)
  • Story-Wallah: Short Fiction from South Asian Writers – Shyam Selvadurai (ed)
  • Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why – Laurence Gonzales
  • Disease: The Extraordinary Stories Behind History’s Deadliest Killers – Mary Dobson

As to which one will make the cut to be the first choice to read, the jury’s still out but I’m thinking the African-American Fiction collection edited by Nikki Giovanni.

Catching Up…

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Well, another weekend slips by the goalie…

It was a good one, though, with a really enjoyable blend of friends and solo time and hanging out in general.

Friday, I took the afternoon off to spend some time at the annual FoL book sale which was really fun. I do this each fall when the group has their biggest sale, and so I just puttered around the basement of the library exploring their shelves and seeing what little gems I could uncover. This year, I spent most of my time looking through the shelves of non-fiction more than fiction (mainly because I had lost my list of book authors (thanks to the new iphone update) and so couldn’t actually remember anyone’s name that I had thought I would be interested in. Sigh.)

So, instead, I roamed around the non-fictions and the short story and drama shelves quite a bit and picked up some interesting titles there. I have a pic for you (along with the list of titles), but that will have to wait for another day. However, I do think it’s a good stack for future reading choices and I’m thinking about which title to start with… Anyway, more to come.

It was a strangely cool weekend for here in Texas (“cool” being quite relative: it was 70’s instead of 90’s) and I even broke out my favorite jumper (sweater) from winter storage. I *adore* cooler temperatures, and so with the falling temperatures happening close to the first day of autumn (last Thursday in the U.S.), this was a big treat for me. More to come, I’m sure…

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A friend called up and invited me to see the latest Bridget Jones movies (“Bridget Jones’ Baby”) which was wickedly funny in places, some of which went unacknowledged by most of the West Texas audience (i.e. I was the only one guffawing at some of the English-based jokes), but it was a fun way to spend the afternoon. If you’ve enjoyed the other Bridget Jones movies, then you’ll probably enjoy this one. More of the same, really, except the titular character is a bit older now. (Aren’t we all, I might ask in a rather sage tone of voice.)

We went over to our friends’ house for some tasty veggie lasagna and home-made bread (nom nom nom), and ended up having great conversation for the rest of the evening – one of our favorite ways to spend time, I think. Volunteered at a local triathlon (which is always really good fun although not a big fan of getting up that early really). I used to do marathons and triathlons, and appreciate that most of the logistics are handled by volunteers, so this is one of my ways of giving back to the local community.

And then holding my breath with the upcoming Presidential Debates tonight. I’m all out for Clinton (because how could you be the alternative, really?), and I’m always making sure that my younger college friends know how to register and vote. This election is going to be all about the numbers, more so than other years, and I changed my whole citizenship (from UK to US) just so I could vote, so obvs very important to me. I hope it is to you as well (if you’re in the US), and that you’re helping your young friends get registered and understand the voting process (however you’re choosing to vote).

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I’m also getting pretty psyched to think about our upcoming visit to England to see friends and family over there. Trawling around the net (as one does), I came across the info that if you’re a UK citizen* (comme moi), you can ask your local MP (Member of Parliament) for a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Houses of Parliament.

As I’ve never actually been there, I thought it would be fun and so contacted my MP who has come through and got us one of these special tours. (My mum is a constituent in his district, so I just hopefully sent his office an email a couple of weeks ago asking for the tour availability.) I have no idea what to expect, but it should be interesting all the same. Other items on the list of things to do in London are hang out with my big bro and his family, go to a play (DH is in charge of that), and then also have dinner with our favorite Uncle Peter and visit the Royal Mews. And no doubt there will be a visit to a bookshop or two. 🙂

And so it’s now back to Monday. Finished up a couple of books over the weekend, so reviews to come. Meanwhile, it’s autumn in West Texas, it’s below 90 degrees outside, and things are fabulous. I hope they are fabulous wherever you happen to live as well.

  • Yes, I know that I just said that I had changed my national citizenship from UK to US, but what that really means is that I added the U.S. citizenship without having to renounce the UK one. (That would have been pretty hard for me to do, even at this point in the game.) Even though the US only recognizes one citizenship at a time (i.e. one can only use one passport at a time), I still get to stay British/English (and in British official circles) at the same time as holding a US passport. Thus, I actually have two passports for the two separate countries, and I’m still a British citizen (in British official eyes). To American officials, I’m only American, but unless I travel down to Houston (where the nearest UK Embassy is) and renounce my citizenship, I get to keep the British one. See? Clear as mud.

General Catch Up Time…

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And another Monday rolls around… This week looks a bit busy at work, but I’m planning on keeping strong boundaries between the office and home life so that I can have… you know… a home life. 🙂

disgraced_playThe weekend was fun as we went to a local play by the Hub Theatre Group. Called Disgraced, the play covers a lot of current affairs issues included Islamophobia and the huge question of identity. It was a really good presentation of some very complicated issues and although timely, was not too much in “in your face” to make the point. The director had also arranged for an inter-faith panel for audience discussion after the show which was really interesting. The only sad thing was that the people who I wish could listen to such a conversation weren’t there. However, the points raised were still important so I really enjoyed it.

If you ever get the chance to see this play (or any other local theater production), I recommend going. It’s a great way to support the arts in your local community, and generally speaking, the local actors will be acting their hearts out…

deadpool

We also saw a different kind of acting (but still acting all the same) when we watched the hilariously bad (as in naughty) Deadpool. (Be warned it’s a bit rough around the edges, humor-wise, but it’s the sort of film like passing a car wreck – you know you shouldn’t be watching but difficult to take your eyes off it all the same. Loads of fast wit flying around (along with expletives), but if you know that going in, you’ll be fine. :-)) Be also warned that you may want to listen to Wham after this movie. (I can neither deny nor confirm that I’m listening to them right now.) Just sayin’.

Oh, and lots of heavy-duty naps. I’d been very very tired for the past few weeks so needed to catch up on some sleep. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.

Reading-wise, I’ve been finishing up some titles although I’ve been rather quiet about them. They’ve still be good reads though.

Housekeeping vs. the Dirt – Nick Hornby (2006)

book386Hornby is a guaranteed good read (if you focus on his Believer columns) and I really enjoy reading his booky writing. He starts off each column with a Books Bought and Books Read column. What’s super impressive is that he actually reads one or two of the books he bought in that same month, a rarity in my life. (Interestingly enough though, this title was one that I bought and then read immediately. Go figure.)

So – if you’re looking for a lovely bookish read from an author who enjoys books as much as you and I do, pick thee up some Hornby. Be prepared for your TBR pile to have some additions though. (Another booky person is also Michael Dirda, but he’s a bit more serious for the most part. He’s also reading some rather hard books (classic-speaking) so not so accessible but seems just as nice.)

March Book III – John Lewis (2016)

book389The final volume of the March trilogy which chronicles Rep. John Lewis’ journey during the early days of Civil Rights, and even if you think you’re pretty familiar with this history, look again as this graphic novel presentation puts a whole spin on things. It’s a fantastic “I was there” look at the whole strange journey (still going on in many ways), and it really demonstrates how hard the civil rights were to get (and then keep). I’m continually astonished at how terrible people will treat each other based on nothing more than skin color, and the fact that we still see it happening today makes me worry for the human race. (It’s not just an American experience, unfortunately, as seen during the recent Brexit palaver, but this graphic novel covered the U.S. events.) There were times when I found myself holding my breath during the reading of some parts, and the many many players in the civil rights era were extraordinarily courageous. I think that if anyone reads this graphic novel trilogy by Lewis, you’ll understand more about the Black Lives Matter movement (whether you are for or against it). Highly recommend it.

(Review on March Volume I  and March Volume II .)

I’m slowly working my way through an interesting (but dense) non-fiction read on America’s contemporary frontier (i.e. the people and places who live out in the middle of nowhere). Living as I do close to the old frontier of the west, it’s fascinating to learn the history of such settlements that do live still in such inhospitable places. So, really interesting but slow-going for some reason. I think I just need to pick this up and put in a few hours of solid reading. I’ve been picking it up and putting it down and I’m not sure that that’s the best way to approach this read. Title: Miles from Nowhere: Tales from America’s Contemporary Frontier (Dayton Duncan) 2000.

And just picked up some fiction about the 1992 LA riots over the Rodney King beating: All Involved: A Novel of the 1992 LA Riots by Ryan Gattis (2015). It’s from lots of different characters’ perspectives (all of whom were involved one way or another) so I expect that they will all interweave as the story progresses. It’s really good so far, and reads like a hot knife through butter. (Or at least it feels that way after the frontier read!)

So – some reading going on. Just not very fast right now.

How’s it going in your life?

Monday Check-In…

 

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It’s been really H-O-T in Texas lately (which is fairly par for the course around here in August), so when it’s this hot, I’m either at the lazy river (doing exactly what it implies) or indoors doing something (like working out or reading etc.)

I’ve been really sucked into Mary Roach’s new book, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. Mary Roach, as you may or may not know, is one of the great non-fiction science writers around and whatever the topic, she ends up asking the experts questions which are exactly the type of questions you (or maybe just I) would ask.

roach

This volume covers the science behind the world of the military (primarily the US Army so far but I think Navy come in at some point). As the book jackets states, “Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier’s most challenging adversaries – panic, exhaustion, heat, noise – and introduces us to the scientists who conquer them.” And regardless of how you feel about the ethics of war, one still has to consider the equipment and reactions of the young soldiers who are put into that position. To me, it’s fascinating.

(If you haven’t read or heard of Mary Roach, get thee to the library right now. She’s funny, inquisitive, delightful, clever, and if we knew each other, I just know that we’d be best friends (in a non-creepy fashion). 🙂 ) Her books include Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Spook: Science Tackles the After-Life, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, and Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, and they’re all at least a 7/10 in my book (usually higher for the most part).

I know that I’m usually reading more than one book, but my right eye is *still* bothering me from that surgery I had in April and due to the nerve damage, it feels like fireworks going off in my eyeball and face a lot of the time. A bit distracting at the best of the times, so that’s slowed me down a bit. That, combined with the lassitude of late summer, means lots of lying around á la Victorian heroine and not actually being very productive.

However, over the weekend, I actually did some of those things that were in the “Some Day…” category in the To-Do List. I ordered a new ink pen (this time with a fine nib) along with some cool new ink in a new color, and, of course, a very modish pencil case to go along with this. If you’re curious about the pen, it’s a new Pilot Metropolitan in gold and I’m strangely super-excited to see how this writes. (No doubt there will be updates on here once it’s come in and I’ve tried it. Hold your hats on as I know you’re excited as well.)

As I work on an academic calendar, it was time to get a new planner for the year (and I don’t know about you but I adore office and school supplies) so spent a pleasant hour choosing the right one. And then another pleasant hour filling it in with appointments and meetings with the result that I feel super-organized and hot-to-trot. Bliss.

My twin came out to say hi which was really fun, and then hubby and I are planning our trip to England in Oct/November time to say hello to family and then see some of England itself. I grew up there, but I seemed to spend a lot of time dreaming about coming to America or in a swimming pool training so missed a lot of the sights. (Isn’t that usually the case when you live somewhere cool? You’re busy living life so you don’t do the stuff that tourists do.)

blue-apron

And BIG NEWS (for us – maybe not for you): We have signed up for Blue Apron, the meal delivery service where you order the ingredients for a meal, they deliver them to you and then you cook it. No shopping! No finding a recipe! No finding out halfway through that you don’t have something vital and now you’re going to have to go to the shop… etc. It’s a pretty foodie thing, but so far the recipes have been doable (with some prep time) and I am learning my way around the kitchen as a sous chef. (Superhero is the [bossy] chef.) The end result is that we’re out of the “Food is Boring” trap and now eating stuff you’d never think to try. Yummy. We’ve had both vegetarian and non-veg options and they’ve all great. (And I’m a picky eater.) So recommend this if you’re interested. Worth it.

nova_crafting

Oh, and Nova Dog is coming along. She has a few issues but then don’t we all? Here is an example of her latest craft project (above): whittling the wires that come out of my reading lamp but now fixed by Superhero. (Skillsz!) (And yes, the lamp was unplugged so she and her tongue are ok.)

And who, in god’s name, needs SparkNotes for Harry Potter? ….

Sparknotes_HP

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:

nova

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:

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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

 

May 2016 Reading Review

Flower_2

So still slower going, but I’m still reading with eye problems – just not as many books this month (which is ok). I’ve been busy with lots of socializing on my calendar which has been rather fun, I must say. I’m lucky to have a great group of friends who like to do things with each other!

So – to the numbers:

Total number of books read in April: 4

Total number of pages read: 1067 (av. 267)

Fiction/Non-Fiction: 2 fiction / 2 non-fiction

Library books vs. books I owned (and thus removed from the home abode): 0 library book and 3 owned books with one e-book.

Plans for June: Finish up the Gissing read (rather long). Continue with the Laid Back Reading philosophy and perhaps turn off the Amazon One-Click Option. I’ve been a bit busy with that lately, and probably have enough books at the moment. (This brings up an interesting philosophic question: Does one ever have enough books?)

Flower_1

Traveling: Ruidoso, New Mexico

ruidoso

We happen to have some great friends who invited us to share their cabin in Ruidoso, New Mexico, over Memorial Day. It was great fun and I also happened to spot some curious signs as we drove our way and around town. There was also a large meeting of the Bandidos, although we weren’t invited to their hang-out…. 🙂

So thought I’d share some of these finds with you:

Gun_bag

Seen in store window downtown.

(Above) – Appropriate for the area, methinks…

typo

(Above) – Groaning of my writing soul….

typo2

Above – Using apostrophes comes with responsibility… 🙂

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coffee2

coffee3

I certify that all the above signs are truth… 🙂

And the local bookshop was great. Props to Books Etcetera for implementing their Book Blind Date idea…

Book_Blind_date

So, of course I had to buy a book (Support a local independent bookstore today!) I ended by buying New Yorker editor’s “Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen” by Mary Norris. Joy in my heart!

April 2016 Reading Review

April

Credit: Kathy Bell, kbella photography.

And there goes April in my rear view mirror….. WHOOSH!

April fairly whizzed by and although I was aware of time passing, I don’t really know remember much about the month. Perhaps that is what makes it so notable – that nothing notable happened. 🙂

Book reading is still on the slow(er) side of things for me (carrying the trend on from December of last year). I’m not a person who runs solely on data collection, but I am interested to see any trends or anything, and 2016 is so far the “Year of Not Reading As Much As Usual”.

The reasons for this are varied, but I can explain most of April’s comparatively slow progress on my ongoing health crappy issues. On the upside, these are sorting themselves out day by day, but progress can be excruciatingly slow for someone impatient (comme moi) and it’s been an exercise in learning patience, control (or the lack of it), and acceptance.

Oh, and editing an engineering text book which has been time-consuming but strangely and addictively fun. (I don’t claim to be normal. No sirree, Bob.)

On the flip side, I did get to go to Mexico with D. and spend a gorgeous long weekend there so April was nothing to sneeze at too much, thank goodness.

To the books:

I read the following titles (with links to reviews):

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere – Z. Z. Packer (short stories) – fantastic collection of short stories. I am notoriously picky with my short stories, but Packer hit every one of her selection out of the park and I loved this read. Gushy but true. The fact that there was no proper blog post about this haunts me, but life goes on and that neglect is truly not aligned with how good that read actually was. I will definitely be picking up more of her work in the future.

No Idle Hands (social history of knitting) – Anna Macdonald (NF). Good solid book which does exactly what it says it will do on the outside of the tin. May have been more of a timing issue for me.

Humans of New York: Stories – Brandon Stout (NF). This was really a book that I dearly wish that I had done myself as it hit the target on so many levels whilst I was reading it. Attention has been in short supply so since this is a graphically heavy book, this was very pleasing to me. I adore the idea of “everyone has a story” and Stout takes this to the nth degree with this project, and I really admire his photography skills. Here’s the blog if you’re curious,  and I highly highly recommend a read of this project. I read it three times back to back. (Excessive? Perhaps. Enjoyable? Very.)

Brooklyn – Colm Toibin (F). Another book that was the perfect read at the perfect time. One of those sentinel experiences when everything converges into perfection: the writing, the book presentation, the narrative arc, the characters… There was not one molecule of this read that did not make me happy and I’m wondering if the rest of his work is as stellar. (Nothing like a little pressure of the first read being magnificent, is there? Cross your fingers.)

Happenstance – Carol Shields (F). 80% read but a DNF in total. Why (do I wail to the gods), why did I waste resources on this read? Waaaah. One good thing: it’s now off the TBR bookshelf and out of the house. Note to self: No more Carol Shields. (I’m sure she’s very wonderful as a human being, but her fiction leaves something to be desired (for me at least).)

Total number of books read in April: 4. (A bit low for me, but April is historically a really busy month for me in my non-reading world.)

Total number of pages read: 1,398 pages (av. 350).

Fiction/Non-Fiction: 2 fiction / 2 non-fiction

Library books vs. books I owned (and thus removed from the home abode): 4 library books and 0 owned books. (However, there was a clean-out of the shelves which resulted in three large grocery bags of books going to the FoL sale. I’d say that was progress.)

For May, any plans? Scale back my expectations a bit with regard to book numbers etc. and just go with the flow a bit more. Pick up some more fiction with the caveat of also putting it down if it’s not the great experience that I’m looking for. (Must remember to resign membership in the “Complete the book” club.)

Oh, and my wonderful and lovely mum (in England) had her 80th birthday on May 03.

So life is coming along, it’s almost summer (for us here in the Western Hemisphere), we don’t have the really high temperatures just yet (which I love), and things are good. I hope that you can say that your world is good as well.