Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Pages From the Past: My 2006 Reading Journal

I didn't mean to take such a long break from my Pages From the Past series, but when we went to Florida last winter I forgot to take my old book journal along. Since we've been back, it just never crossed my mind.  Anyway, we're up to 2006, so here we go.

Looking back, 2006 was a slow reading year for me, but I'm not surprised. There were three busy teens in the house and their schedules, especially sports, ruled my life!

Memorable Books Read in 2006


The Accidental by Ali Smith

Interestingly, none of these titles have stuck with me and I would be hard pressed to offer many details about any of them.


O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
Still a favorite.  I've loved many of Cather's novels.

A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
I went on to read Howards End  just a month of two later...

Howards End by E.M. Forster
My favorite Forster novel... and on my Classics Club list to reread.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Maybe I should put this is nonfiction instead...


 If books about books appeal to you, you'll love this!


by Nora Ephron, narrated by the author
I loved this book and still recommend it frequently.  It also lead to a great book club discussion.

by Anne Tyler, narrated by Blair Brown
This book made Anne Tyler an "audio author" for me. I went on to listen to Back When We Were Grownups  and The Amateur Marriage  shortly afterwards.

In retrospect, it's interesting that the fiction titles have largely disappeared from my thoughts and memories. Not so for the rest of the titles on this list.

Have you read any of these books? What were you reading in 2006?
Previous Pages From the Past posts can be found here.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Weekly Update: October 14, 2018

We're home. Our southwest adventure was amazing: four states, four national parks, three time zones (who knew there is no daylight savings time in AZ?), countless scenic wonders and attractions, a visit with family, and memories to last a lifetime!

We were so busy (and tired by the end of the day) that I didn't read at all on the trip - not even an audiobook at bedtime. I eased back into books this weekend by reading a graphic memoir and completing a book I've been working away at for a few weeks.

I love our fall sunsets in central New York, but temperatures are trending downward and many of the leaves are already gone. Snow is in the forecast... definitely time to think about heading south.

Finished this week//

Dear Bob and Sue by Matt Smith and Karen Smith
A middle-aged couple takes a two year break from their jobs to visit every National Park. They write a book, comprised of emails sent to their friends Bob and Sue, chronicling the journey. I started this in anticipation of our trip, but found it worked better for me reading only a few emails at a time. It was just okay overall... I'll post a book brief soon.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley 
At last. My library finally  purchased a copy of this foodie-themed graphic memoir. It's been on my wish list for years! Knisley's artwork is the star of the book, but her love of food shines though. It's probably more accurate to describe this as a coming-of-age memoir where life's pivotal events intertwine with food... and recipes are included.

I've enjoyed a couple of Knisley's other books (French Milk, An Age of License: A Travelogue) over the years and plan to search out her remaining work when it's time for my next graphic memoir fix. If you're unfamiliar with her work, Relish would be a good introduction. It's truly a delight.

Current reading//

It takes a certain kind of nerd to appreciate a book about dictionaries... and I suspect if you're reading this blog, you might be inclined in that direction. I borrowed both the ebook and audio versions from my library - no waiting list for either ;- )  At the 30% mark, I've pretty much abandoned print in favor of the audio version. It's read by the author and is outstanding!

Set aside//

So, our Gothic Gala was a bust. Three out of four of us abandoned The Mysteries of Udolpho. Are you still reading, Monica? I can only describe it as a slog in print and downright painful on audio. My impending trip probably didn't help... perhaps I might have been a little more determined (patient?) in other circumstances. I'm not ruling out another try at some point, but am in no hurry right now.

On the blog//

Book Brief: I'd Rather Be Reading  by Anne Bogel

Coming soon//

Nonfiction November is back! It has become my favorite blogging event of the year... details are here.

The week ahead//

We are grey-b-sitting! Angus is here for a week while his people are on vacation. He was initially confused by Zelda's absence but, realizing he was the sole beneficiary of our attention, settled in quickly. It's nice to have a greyhound in the house again :)

How was your week? What have you been reading?


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Book Brief: I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel

I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life
by Anne Bogel
narrated by Anne Bogel
Mission Audio, 2018
2 hours and 23 minutes

Motivation for reading:
I cannot resist books about books!

audiobook downloaded via hoopla from my library
(If your library has hoopla, the ebook is also available for immediate download.)

Publisher's summary:
For so many people, reading isn't just a hobby or a way to pass the time - it's a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can't imagine life without them.

I'd Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads people to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them who they are today.

Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives. The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone's life, I'd Rather Be Reading will also command an honored place in the audio library of any book lover.

Opening paragraph:
Confess Your Literary Sins 
In David Lodge's campus novel Changing Places, two college professors - one American, one British - swap teaching roles for a year. In one memorable scene, the British academics invite their American guest to play a party game called Humiliation. Players confess important literary world they haven't yet read, and points are scored based on how many other players have already read them. The person with the most - and most egregious - gaps in their personal reading history wins. If everyone but you has read that book, you're going to be great at Humiliation.

My thoughts:

I've read Changing Places, so from the first paragraph, I had a feeling Anne Bogel and I might be on the same page - literally. And as it turned out, we were. Bogel is a reader and she understands readers. So much of what she writes here resonates with me.

There are many quotes I would share if I'd had a print copy but, since I listened, you might want to read (or listened to) this book for yourself. The audio version is very short... easy to listen to while completing daily tasks or on a short car trip. Bogel narrates it herself and her passion for reading is evident. My only complaint is that the pace of the audio may have been a little too fast. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly agreed with every word!
..."what I've come to learn is this: if my real life reminds me of something I read in a book, I'm reading well -- and I'm probably living well, too."  

My rating:

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Books By My Favorite Authors That I STILL Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we're talking about our favorite authors. Specifically, books they've written that we haven't read - yet.  Let's get right to it...

 Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still  Haven’t Read

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
It's been on my shelf for years. What am I waiting for?

Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout
I've loved all her books. This is the only one I haven't read.

One of her nonfiction books... I bought this at the library sale a couple of summers ago.

Purity by Jonathan Franzen
Love him or hate him, there's no middle of the road when it comes to Jonathan Franzen. 

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
Over 1000 pages, but Trollope is worth it!

Young Hearts Crying by Richard Yates
His novels tend to be depressing, but I love them. This is one of a couple I've yet to read.

The Position by Meg Wolitzer
I'm on a mission to read Wolitzer's entire backlist.

The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner
Stegner's Crossing to Safety may just be my favorite novel. I have this ready to go on audio.

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler 
Her latest novel... the waiting list is long.

The Only Story by Julian Barnes
I haven't read a lot of Barnes, but everything I've read has been wonderful.

Are there novels by your favorite authors you've been meaning to read?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Weekly Update: September 23, 2018

It's the first full day of fall and there's a definite chill in the air this morning... my favorite time of year!

Our focus this past week was on maintenance. We spent two days on the car... the first included routine service and new front brakes. We got new tires the following day. Our vehicle is now ready to head south, but I plan to enjoy autumn first.

Later I endured another  trip to the dentist for my second (and final!) crown replacement. Unfortunately the temporary fell out Friday night and I have to go back again tomorrow to get it re-cemented. Ugh.

We also managed to squeeze in some fun. A free afternoon and gorgeous weather prompted a trip to the apple orchard. We usually go a little later in the season (when my favorite baking varieties are available) but were thrilled when we happened to hit Honeycrisp Day! That variety is not grown in large quantities here and is only available for picking a couple of days each season.

Finished this week//

The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope
Book 5 of 6 for our #PalliserParty, my thoughts are here.

by Anne Bogel, narrated by the author
Every reader will be able to relate to this short book! I'll post a book brief this week.

 Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race
by Debby Irving

Oh boy, this book will surely send me down a rabbit hole! In Waking Up White  Debby Irving speaks very candidly about her awakening to race, race issues, and her previous pattern of avoidance. She comes to realize that white IS, in fact, a race. This was a fascinating read and Irving's experiences have given me plenty to think about. More enlightened readers may find the book too basic, but I have never read anything quite like it. 

I listened to the audio version narrated by the author and it was excellent. I also ended up checking out the print edition to see the lists for further reading/viewing and to review the author's notes on sources. There is so much more to explore...
My rating:

Set aside for now//

by Sigrid Nunez
Recently long listed for the National Book Award, I was enjoying the writing in this short, unusual novel and had marked several passages. But after one hundred pages, I was in the mood for something with more plot. I own this book and do plan to pick it up again later.

Up next//

The #GothicGala begins tomorrow! We'll start with The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, reading one volume per week for the next four weeks. We'll discuss on twitter using the hashtag #GothicGala. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen will follow. It's not too late to join us!

On the blog//

#PalliserParty: The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope
My Fall Reading List
Book Club Read: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

The week ahead//
There will be plant of packing and planning...Thursday we're off on our next adventure.

How was your week? What have you been reading?

Friday, September 21, 2018

#PalliserParty: The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope

*There are no spoilers in this post.*

Five down and one to go! After finishing The Prime Minister, book five of six in the Palliser series, our #PalliserParty is nearing its final act. What a pleasure (and welcome escape from today's reality) to be back in Trollope's world.

Our old friend Plantagenate Palliser, or Planty Pal, is now the Duke of Omnium and Prime Minister of England. We were first introduced back in the Barsetshire series, but he plays a starring role here. An honorable, principled man, I've yet to truly warm up to him and, at this point, I'm expecting I never will. Other friends are here, too, including the Duke's wife, Glencora, and Phineas Finn and his second wife, the former Madame Max.

Ferdinand Lopez is, by far, the most intriguing new character in this novel... so loathsome and easy to despise. Trollope has outdone himself with this villain!

Trollope treats us to two parallel stories in The Prime Minister - one mostly political, the other more about life and love. The political story centers, of course, on the new Prime Minister and his coalition government, though it does has some touching moments as Trollope explores the deep understanding and respect between Plantagenet Palliser and his wife Glencora.

The other story features the not-to-be trusted newcomer, Ferdinand Lopez, and well-off Wharton and Fletcher families. Love and tragedy figure into this part of the story, as Lopez woos Emily Wharton. Against the wishes of both families, she chooses Lopez over Arthur Fletcher, setting the stage for much misery and suffering. The are brief intersections in the two stories.

Once again, Trollope has masterfully created real characters and real relationships. His novels deal with a variety of issues, many still relevant today.

The Prime Minister  advances the story of the Palliser family and I enjoyed it immensely. It is not, however, a novel to read if you are unfamiliar with the previous books in this series. I hope to read the final book, The Duke's Children, before the end of the year.

As always, thank you, Audrey, for reading with me. I hope we come up with a new project for 2019...

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

My Fall Reading List

Since I had pretty good luck with my summer reading list this year, I decided to go ahead and make one for fall. My reading will be geared toward three event or projects: RIP, Nonfiction November, and our Palliser Party. For the sake of this list, let's say fall lasts until Christmas Eve.

Books I Want to Read This Fall

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
National Book Award Longlist, on my shelf, current read

by Debby Irving 
Nonfiction, current audiobook

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
RIP, read-along, Classics Club

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
reread, RIP, read-along, Classics Club

The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope
Palliser Party, read-along, Classics Club

Nonfiction November

by Kate Moore
Nonfiction November

by Robin DiAngelo
Nonfiction November 

Nonfiction November

Have you read any of these books? Will you make a fall reading list?

Monday, September 17, 2018

Book Club Read: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

by David Grann
Vintage paperback, 2018
321 pages

narrated by Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, Danny Campbell
Random House Audio, 2017
9 hours and 4 minutes
(downloaded from the library via Overdrive)

It's been over a month and I still  haven't written anything about this book. Why am I having such a hard time? Basically...

  • the book was full of fascinating information
  • I was exposed to a particularly unsavory period of history
  • I learned a lot, but have very little to say

I liked//
- The structure... told in three sections and from three points-of-view: a member of the Osage tribe, a law-enforcement official, and a journalist
- The feeling of history unfolding as I read/listened

I didn't care for//
- The audio version... though the structure lends itself to multiple narrators, none seemed quite right. The middle section was downright annoying at times.
- There was not a lot to discuss, so probably not an ideal book club selection. Our conversation never moved much beyond "I never knew anything about this" or "here's what I found particularly interesting..."

Book club reaction//
Everyone finished the book (!) and appreciated learning about an unknown aspect of our history, but nobody loved it.

If you read it//
I recommend the print edition... plenty of photos are included.

My rating//


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