Showing Posts From: Just for Fun

21 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – R

/ posted in: Just for Fun



I’m an unapologetic romance reader.  I specifically like historical romances in just about any time period.

My grandmother got me started reading them.  She subscribed to Harlequin and got books mailed to her.  She read all the new sweet Regency romances.  Sweet romances means that there was no sex in them.  Sometimes there would be a really racy one where they kissed before marriage.  Usually, there was a wedding at the end of the book and then there would be an epilogue where children have magically appeared.  The children were truly a miracle!

She’d give them to my mother and I to read.  We called them the smut books because they were the exact opposite.  A few years ago we went to England on a smut book tour we designed to hit a lot of the major places these books took place.  We went around London and made sure to go to Bath to take the waters in the Pump Room.

I got away from reading romance for a while but now I’m back full force.  I still prefer books with no sex in them but that is difficult to find now.  Most of the time I skip over the descriptions of sex in the books.  It’s boring.

I really like the stories though.  To be a romance book the plot has to focus on the main couple and there has to be a happy ending.  There are times when you just don’t want to read sad books.  You want to know that everything is going to be alright in the end.  Since you know the author has those constraints it can be interesting to see how they creatively work around them to surprise the audience with a unique plot.

I’m super picky when it comes to romances.  I rely on fans on Twitter with similar tastes to me to give recommendations.  When I pick on my own I tend to find books that are too poorly written, have outrageous plots, are bordering on erotica instead of romance, or are boring.  Romance fans are loyal.  When we find an author we like, we read everything they’ve ever written.


20 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – Q

/ posted in: Just for Fun


I started quilting in 1997 to hold off a mental breakdown. I’m a failed knitter and crocheter. My mother and grandmother were very good at those. I could do it but very slowly and unevenly. I was used to seeing them knitting and it seemed normal to my to have a creative hobby. In 1996-1997 I was my clinical year of vet school. We worked all hours. It was mentally and physically draining. When I had time at home I just wanted to relax. There was a new channel on TV called HGTV and in the morning there was a show on quilting. I was intrigued. I asked for a sewing machine for Christmas. I didn’t get it. No one believed me. So I took the little cash I had and bought a cheap machine. It lasted for 10 years.

I’ve given away most of the quilts I’ve made. You have to otherwise you’d be drowning under quilts.


I make quilts for weddings and babies. I donated a lot to charities. I was a state rep for a large quilt charity for a few years.


This is what I’ve been focused on this month. It is a hand pieced project. I expect it to take years.  This is a tiny bit of the upper left corner.


18 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – P

/ posted in: Just for FunPets


Facts about Paul:

He came here as a very timid boy.  It took him 2 years before he was brave enough to go into the living room.

He believes in rules.  Anyone in the house who isn’t following the rules stresses him out.  Freckles’ slide into senility was very upsetting for him.  When she was really confused and acting randomly we had to watch them or else Paul would try to slap some sense into her.

He’s relaxed a lot since Freckles died.

He just learned to cuddle in the last week.  Before he would sit near you for a few minutes on the bed or let you pet him but the idea of sitting and touching without active petting was new.


He raised Lucy from a kitten.  We adopted a kitten for him.  We knew he would want a cat to play with but an active adult cat would have been way too intimidating for him.  She followed him around and built his confidence.

 He doesn’t approve of anyone coming to the house.  He hides and hisses. 

When he was younger he was quite a thief.  He’d take anything he could carry and stash it.  Thankfully he’s outgrown that some.


17 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – O

/ posted in: Just for Fun


I love the Olympics. I’m always glued to my screen watching all of it that I can. However, I’ve never been the person who is into the sports that sportscasters seem to think I want to see. I was always so frustrated as a kid because TV didn’t show what I wanted.

I’ve been so grateful for technology to help me and my fellow unpopular sport lovers. I love the fact that now I can choose to watch programming that interests me and know I’m not alone.

What do I love in the Winter Olympics?

Keep your figure skating. I only want to see hours and hours of curling! Not kidding. I love it. I even tried it once. I ended up bruised and battered.

What about the Summer Olympics?

I don’t care about gymnastics at all although I am fascinated by rhythmic gymnastics. I want to see synchronized swimming and the equine events. Let me go on a rant here. A few Olympics ago the powers that be decided to start calling the equine events “Equestrian”. NO! First of all, equestrian is an adjective. It is fine and proper to refer to the Equestrian Events. It is nails on the chalkboard creepy to hear Equestrian alone. “Let’s go over to Equestrian” is not a complete sentence, Bob Costas. No one who has ever participated in these events has ever referred to them by this name. It is an Olympic only title used by people who didn’t care enough to learn the name of the sports. /rant

What are your favorite outlier Olympic events?

16 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – N

/ posted in: Just for Fun


One of the things I love most in the world is nonsense. I love the power of a mind with a lot of imagination to create something absolutely absurd.

I remember feeling this for the first time when I started reading The Phantom Tollbooth when I was in middle school.  I was fascinated by the creation of a world where toy cars could take you past a tollbooth and into lands based on math or letters.  Since then I’ve been a sucker for outlandish world building.

Alice in Wonderland of course is an all time favorite.  See Letter C. But there are other authors who do a great job with this too. 

Jasper Fforde has created worlds that exist inside books where characters have free time when they aren’t being read.  His Tuesday Next series features an alternate England where law enforcement is as concerned about cheese and the English poets’ legacies as they are about more mundane crimes.  

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere imagines the landmarks of London having near duplicates with a twist in London Underground – for example, Knightsbridge becomes Night’s Bridge (a bridge you have to cross in total darkness).  He also has delightfully polite mass murdering villains who are just charming before they kill you.  

Daniel Jose Older’s Dactyl Hill Squad is a group of orphans who help fight the U.S. Civil War while riding dinosaurs.  

I love any book that can make me laugh out loud at the pure inventiveness of the author.

What are some of your favorites?

14 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – L

/ posted in: Just for FunPets



Facts about Lucy:

She is the ultimate immoveable object.  She sleeps between my knees and no amount of moving or kicking will dislodge her.  If I need her to move, I need to lift up the blanket that she is on and move the blanket away from my legs.

She’s a Mommy’s girl.  She has to be where I am.  Even better, she needs to be sitting on me.  Best, she needs to be sitting on me in the most inconvenient way possible.

She likes to hunt bugs. Occasionally she gets big game like a mouse that wanders into the house.

She murdered a small cactus I had by repeatedly pushing the container off the ledge it sat on.

This weekend I found her rubbing up against my toothbrush.  I wonder how long that’s been going on.


She’ll stand on the counter and meow until you hug her.

She has the husband trained to give her treats at specified times of the day.

She keeps Paul entertained by running and wrestling with him.

Her favorite place to sit is on top of me if I am covered with my orange fleece blanket.  That is the ultimate happy spot.  

13 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – K

/ posted in: HobbiesJust for Fun



For the past few years I’ve been thinking that I would like to be a person who kayaks.  It seemed like a fun lifestyle.  Unfortunately I live too far away from the lake to easily run up there on a day off without making a whole day adventure of it.  

Last year I realized that I was an idiot.

You see I grew up near Lake Erie.  That’s what I think of when I think of a body of water.  Yes, it would take me over an hour to get there now.  But, amazingly (to my brain) there are more bodies of water in the world than the Great Lakes.  In fact, I’m all but surrounded by rivers and lakes.  In the summer every third or fourth car has kayaks on their roofs.  Where did I think they were all going? I live down the street from this guy even.


Last summer I explored the idea a little.  I did a trip down a quiet river in a rental kayak a few times and agreed that I would like to do this on a regular basis.  I started to look for a kayak.

Videos on YouTube told me that the first thing I needed to learn was how to roll my kayak upside down and then right it.  No thank you.  I decided a wanted a sit-on-top kayak so if it flipped over, I would just fall out.  I’ll take my chances swimming with a life vest on.  I watched videos of people running crazy rapids and going over waterfalls.  Nope.  I’m not about that life.  I would like to putter around a lake while taking pictures of birds and plants.  Then I saw a video of people testing the stability of fishing kayaks by standing up on them and walking around and casting fishing rods.  These were my people.  I have no interest in fishing but I have a lot of interest in not flipping over.  

I figured out the beginner fishing kayak I wanted and then started watching to see when it would go on sale through the winter.  I finally found a sale but not on the boat I wanted.  I found the kayak that is the next step up in that brand, on sale, with a paddle included, with free shipping for about $100 less than I was looking to spend on the other kayak.  I jumped on the buy button.

It has been here since the beginning of February waiting for warm weather to go out and start exploring.

One thing I learned in my research – If you are on instagram, follow #kayakingwithdogs for delightful pictures of dogs in their life jackets going out on kayaks.  It is well worth your time.  Sometimes the hashtag gets hijacked by kayakers doing crazy stunts (without dogs because dogs have more sense) which is sad but it let me know what insane things other people do with kayaks.    

11 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – J

/ posted in: Just for FunPets



Facts about Jules:

She is a Senegal parrot.

Based on the band on her leg we think she was born in 2005.

We adopted her from a rescue in 2010.

She hates my husband.  I tried to make them make friends by having him feed her meals.  It hasn’t worked.  The best result after years of this is that sometimes she doesn’t try to bite him at feeding time.

Up until last week I could have said that although she is a mouthy bird, she has never bit me hard enough to break skin.  But, last week I let the husband pet her and I was punished with a nasty bite on my finger.

I think she is a pretty quiet bird as birds go.  Other people think she is extremely loud.  They’ve never met larger birds apparently.

She isn’t really a screamer but she is pretty constantly making some kind of noise.  It is the background noise of our house.

I had a previous bird who died of old age.  The husband decided we needed another bird because the house was too quiet.

On the second day I had her she said, “Hello” to me.  She hasn’t said anything recognizable since.  Sometimes though I hear her muttering under her breath and I know it is words.

She laughs a lot.

I sing to her in the shower.  I make up some lyrics for her.  The first time I sang a version of “Hey Jude Jules” to her she attacked me but she likes it now.

She’s a really good eater.  Most birds are very cautious about trying anything new.  She’ll give anything I’m eating a try.

No other animal is allowed to touch her cage.  I once had to crawl under the dining room table to cuddle and console a dog who made the unforgivable mistake of putting a paw on her cage.  He wasn’t being mean.  He was standing on his hind legs to look at her (ok) and then put a front paw out for balance on her cage (NOT OK).  She flew at the front of the cage while screaming.  That poor dog was probably scarred for life.

She likes to listen to Pandora. She has a wide range of tastes from classical to rock to old school hip hop channels. I made the husband stop playing the Old School Hip Hop channel just in case she decided to start talking again.


10 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – I

/ posted in: Just for Funtravel


Iceland is one of my bucket list trips. It is almost the perfect place for me. When I think of Iceland I think of three things:






    • Ponies!  Yes, I know that they are officially called Icelandic HORSES and I would never want to offend them but they are little and cute and furry and that gleefully screams PONIES in my soul.
  • horses-584519_640

    • Hot springs – I do love soaking in any available source of hot water. I’m totally up for lazing about in hot springs.
    • Epic landscapes just hanging out waiting to be photographed.


    To be honest, I’ve set foot in Iceland four times. However, I’ve never left the airport. I’ve flown Icelandair to Europe and back twice. Each time you land in Iceland to refuel and to take advantage of the giftshop. The first time I bought an Iceland wool sweater that was too itchy to ever wear. The second time (years later) I was smarter and bought a felted wool horse that I hang on the Christmas tree.

    My goal is to sometime go and be able to get out of the airport.

    Because PONIES!


    09 Apr, 2020

    Blogging from A to Z – H

    / posted in: Just for Fun


    Why did I want to learn to play the harp?  I blames movies and TV.

    In the movie A Mighty Wind Catherine O’Hara plays a little dulcimer.  (I think it is a dulcimer.)  I thought it was really cool.  I thought that I might like to try to play something like that.

    Then I did a rewatch of Gilmore Girls.  In the first episode, Lorelei gets into an argument with the harpist in the inn lobby about the music she is playing.  The harpist wants to play rock music.  Lorelei doesn’t want that.  The joke is supposed to be about rock music on a harp but that sounded like a good idea to me.  I decided to get a harp.

    I know me so I decided to get a small lap harp.  I got just a tiny one to see if I would stay interested.  I did play it a lot and eventually got frustrated by the limitations of that harp.  I decided to take the plunge and get a bigger one.  I didn’t get one of the giant pedal harps.  I got a lever harp.  The difference is that with a lever harp you can change keys by flipping a lever on the strings.  It isn’t super easy to do on the fly though.  Really complicated music needs to be played on a pedal harp where you can change the note of each string more easily.  (I have the same harp that they are using in the video below but mine isn’t blue.)

    So, can you play rock music on a harp?  Absolutely.

    I’m nowhere near this good. I just putter but it is fun. Mostly I say that I provide after dinner music for cats. I play and the cats come in the room and lay down and nap. They are a great audience.

    08 Apr, 2020

    Blogging from A to Z – G

    / posted in: Just for FunReading

    It is always good to know who or what you want to be when you grow up. I have a goal in mind. I want to be

    Granny Weatherwax.


     Granny is a witch from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. She is in her 70s in most of the books. I love older female protagonists in books. When people refer to her coven structure they refer to the traditional set up of Maiden, Mother, and The Other One because no one is going to call her a crone to her face.

    She is such a powerful witch that she rarely has to do any magic at all. All she has to do is give people a Look and they do what she wants. Because of this, some people accuse her of not having any powers at all. They don’t continue that nonsense for long. She believes in “headology” as much as magic.

    She has some amazing abilities. She can Borrow. That involves letting your spirit go into the minds of passing animals to see what they see. When she does this she leaves her body in bed with a sign that says, “I ate’nt dead” so there is no confusion. She can also talk to bees.  She plays a mean hand of cards too if she has to.  

    Granny Weatherwax appeared for the last time in The Shepherd’s Crown.  Terry Pratchett was dying of Alzheimer’s Disease when he wrote that book.  He wrote about her death as a way to talk to his loyal readers about his death.  She dies peacefully (because DEATH doesn’t sneak up on witches) but it was gut wrenching to read.  There is a point after she is buried where all the animals that she had Borrowed over the years come out of the woods to look at her grave.  I sobbed through the whole thing.  In typical Terry Pratchett manner he put all this at the very beginning of the book to make people move past it and get on with the story.  Granny is life goals and death goals.  

    If you’ve never read the books, you really should.  They are both hysterically funny and deeply profound – sometimes in the same sentence.  To hear about Granny, start with Wyrd Sisters. 

    07 Apr, 2020

    Blogging from A to Z – F

    / posted in: Current EventsJust for FunQuilting



    I’ve bowed to necessity and started to make some homemade face masks.  I have a very limited supply of surgical masks at work.  I decided to make some for home use.

    This is the pattern I used.  

    They don’t take that long to make.  The hardest part is looking at all the fabric I’m wasting because they aren’t square.  I’m the kind of person who always has to try to maximize fabric (or wrapping paper) use.  Just blatantly cutting a curve hurts my soul.

    I posted a picture of my mask on my Instagram story.


    I instantly got hit up to make some for other people. A former coworker has a sister who is immunocompromised in a few different ways. The sister works in a nursing home where they have no protective equipment. How could I say no to that? I whipped up four (2 for the sister and 2 for my friend and her husband). I think I’m going to make a few more for us since they need to be washed after every outing.

    06 Apr, 2020

    Blogging from A to Z – E

    / posted in: Just for Fun



    First of all, I’ll admit that I totally can’t spell that word at all.  I have to Google it every time.

    I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur.  I’ve wanted to have my own business.  The problem is that I don’t really have the personality for it.  I don’t like to put myself forward and say, “Here I am!  This is what I’m doing!  Pay attention to me!”  I’m embarrassed to approach people I know to let them know I am doing something out of the ordinary.

    I’m trying to get past that though.  In the past year I’ve been using Arbonne products.  I really like them.  They have nutrition products and skin care/makeup products.  I’ve decided to be a consultant.  It was hard to even type that.  I wanted to explain my decision more to make it make sense.  But why should I?  I want to do this so I am.

    I had one virtual party.  I’d like to do more.  I just need to find some people who would like to invite some friends to hang out online for about an hour.  If you are interested let me know.

    This weekend I set up a Facebook group for people to find out about products.  If you want to hang out and learn stuff check it out here.

    See, was that so hard? All I have to do is tell people about it.


    04 Apr, 2020

    Blogging from A to Z – D

    / posted in: Just for FunQuilting

    De La Prominade


    One of my quilting works in progress is a pattern called De la prominade.  It is from Quilt Fusion.  I don’t usually buy a lot of patterns but I loved this one from the moment I saw it.


    You trace the pattern pieces – the hundreds of pattern pieces per block – onto fusible web, cut them out, and then assemble them like the picture. When you are satisfied you iron them in place.

    Here are the blocks I have done so far:

    The center carousel


    The top center horses


    The bottom center swans


    The left side horse


    That panel is pieced but not quilted yet. Each panel is layered on a piece of batting and all the pieces are sewn down around all the edges. Later they will all be sewn together and a backing sewn in place. It is much easier to quilt this as you go than trying to maneuver the whole thing.

    I’ve been neglecting this one for a while. I have a place picked out to hang it. I even painted the room a soft grey to accent this. The husband doesn’t believe that it will ever be finished. Someday…

    03 Apr, 2020

    Blogging from A to Z – C

    / posted in: Just for Fun

    There is a C-word that would be the obvious thing to write about at this time in history but I’m not having it. Instead I’m going to write about my Creativity Hat.



    I got this hat to use as part of my White Rabbit costume one Halloween.  This hat is so comfortable.  It is made of some kind of velvety fabric over a soft foam that gives it structure.  It gives me bunny ears.  Who doesn’t want bunny ears?  I loved it so much that it seemed a shame to only be able to wear it the one day.

    It was sitting in my sewing room (where all random stuff ends up) on a day when I was cold.  I put it on and decided then and there that I was going to wear it whenever I wanted.  The Creativity Hat was born.

    The husband has proper respect for the hat.  If he wanders into the sewing room and sees me wearing the hat he knows that he might be interrupting serious work. 

    02 Apr, 2020

    Blogging from A to Z – B

    / posted in: Just for Fun



    I know I’m not the only person on Earth right now whose brain has spiraled down this rabbit hole:

    “Well, that’s it.  This is the end of civilization as we know it.  Better learn some useful skills.  I better do a refresher course on how to bake bread.”

    I know I’m not the only one because after I had this mental breakdown I went to the store and all the yeast was sold out.  I had to order a huge amount on Amazon because that was all that was available.  (“Better look up the directions on how to harvest wild yeast and maintain a culture.”  Check.)

    Back in the day I had a copy of Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day. I made bread for a while. I can’t find my book now though.  So I grabbed a couple of ebooks in the series from the library.  I also ordered a hardcover copy of Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a day.  (“Your ebooks are going to be inaccessible after the apocalype.”  Thanks, panic brain.  “It is a very large and heavy book.  Perfect for smacking zombies upside the head if it comes to that.”)

    If you aren’t familiar with these books, the idea is that you make a dough that can stay in the refrigerator for a while.  (“Like you are going to have a refrigerator.”  Shut up, brain!)  When you want to bake a loaf you use a portion of your stored dough, mix in any flavorings you might want, shape as desired, and bake.  Five minutes is a bit of a stretch because there is rising time that needs to be taken into account but it is a simple, no-knead system.

    These are the books that I read.  They all have the same beginning steps for the basic doughs.  I didn’t have any whole wheat flour at home so I used the basic white bread recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day to start.  

    I mixed up a batch and let it set to start to rise. I always get excited when that actually works. I have bad luck with yeast. Eventually it rose enough to fill the bowl.

    Ready to go in the oven


    Look! It turned into bread.


    01 Apr, 2020

    Blogging from A to Z – A

    / posted in: Just for Fun

    Welcome to Blogging from A to Z!

    It’s pretty self explanatory.  Every day in April I’ll be doing a post on a topic that starts with a different letter.  Find other participants here.

    Today is brought to you by the letter A.


    Here are some fast facts about me if you are new here for the challenge or even if you are a long time follower.

    • I’m a vegetarian but I hate broccoli.  For some reason that really disturbs people.
    • Off the top of my head I can think of 5 major quilt projects I have in process.  That number doesn’t include those that I know I’ll never get back to.
    • I can’t even tell you how many books I have right now where I’ve read at least one chapter but haven’t finished yet.
    • I currently live with a parrot, 2 cats, and a husband.  More on the Meet the Cast page. 
    • I started this blog on January 1, 2005.
    • I’m supposed to be going to Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia this fall.  I’m not hopeful.
    • I’ve been ignoring my harp for about a month.  I need to get back to messing with it.
    • On the first of the month I post a feature called Foodies Read that is a link up for reviews of books about food.
    • I bought a kayak recently.
    • I like walking long distances but can’t stand even the idea of running.
    • If I could have any super power it would be teleportation.  Lunch in France, anyone?
    • I often wonder what would be more useful in a post-apocalyptic setting or if I got time warped into the past – my doctoring skills or my sewing skills.
    • I list my age on my about me pages as 40s so I only have to remember to change it once a decade or so.  Work smarter!
    • I love taking long hot baths.


    share a random fact about you in the comments

    10 Mar, 2020

    Blogging from A to Z Challenge

    / posted in: Just for Fun

    Since I’ve been being quite a blogging slacker lately, I’ve decided to sign up for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April.  

    “What’s that?” you ask.  

    Well, it is simple.  On April 1 you post about anything that starts with A.  Write another post for each letter of the alphabet all through the month.  There is a master list so you can visit everyone else doing this too. 

    You can write about anything you want and you have enough time to think up something for each letter if you start thinking about it now.  Find out more at A to Z Challenge.

    04 Mar, 2017

    6 Degrees of Separation – Fever Pitch to The Pygmy Dragon

    / posted in: Just for FunReading

    Six Degrees of Separation is a meme run by Books are my Favorite and Best. You are given a starting book and then you link it to six others using whatever stream of consciousness reasoning pops into your brain.

    The Starting Book this month is Fever Pitch.

    Fever PitchFever Pitch by Nick Hornby

    “In America, it is soccer. But in Great Britain, it is the real football. No pads, no prayers, no prisoners. And that’s before the players even take the field.

    Nick Hornby has been a football fan since the moment he was conceived. Call it predestiny. Or call it preschool. Fever Pitch is his tribute to a lifelong obsession. Part autobiography, part comedy, part incisive analysis of insanity, Hornby’s award-winning memoir captures the fever pitch of fandom — its agony and ecstasy, its community, its defining role in thousands of young mens’ coming-of-age stories. Fever Pitch is one for the home team. But above all, it is one for everyone who knows what it really means to have a losing season.”

    Wow, the book is about soccer. I thought immediately about baseball because the movie version changed it. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book about baseball, because it is boring.

    Actually that’s a lie because I know a lot about Babe Ruth from:

    One Summer: America, 1927One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

    “The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop, and when he landed in Le Bourget airfield near Paris, he ignited an explosion of worldwide rapture and instantly became the most famous person on the planet. Meanwhile, the titanically talented Babe Ruth was beginning his assault on the home run record, which would culminate on September 30 with his sixtieth blast, one of the most resonant and durable records in sports history. In between those dates a Queens housewife named Ruth Snyder and her corset-salesman lover garroted her husband, leading to a murder trial that became a huge tabloid sensation.”

    When I think of this book I actually think mostly about planes because that is most of the beginning of the book.

    Another book about aircraft crashing

    The Right StuffThe Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

    “The Right Stuff. It’s the quality beyond bravery, beyond courage. It’s men like Chuck Yeager, the greatest test pilot of all and the fastest man on earth. Pete Conrad, who almost laughed himself out of the running. Gus Grissom, who almost lost it when his capsule sank. John Glenn, the only space traveler whose apple-pie image wasn’t a lie.”

    This is one of those rare books where I love the movie almost as much as the book.

    Another book where I love the miniseries almost as much as the book

    And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS EpidemicAnd the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts

    “By the time Rock Hudson’s death in 1985 alerted all America to the danger of the AIDS epidemic, the disease had spread across the nation, killing thousands of people and emerging as the greatest health crisis of the 20th century. America faced a troubling question: What happened? How was this epidemic allowed to spread so far before it was taken seriously? In answering these questions, Shilts weaves the disparate threads into a coherent story, pinning down every evasion and contradiction at the highest levels of the medical, political, and media establishments.”

    I just heard about this book about one of the women prominent in And The Band Played On. I’m getting it from interlibrary loan.

    Hey, I Know Her!

    Adventures of a Female Medical Detective: In Pursuit of Smallpox and AIDSAdventures of a Female Medical Detective: In Pursuit of Smallpox and AIDS by Mary Guinan


    “In 1974, a young doctor arrived at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with one goal in mind: to help eradicate smallpox. The only woman physician in her class in the Epidemic Intelligence Service, a two-year epidemiology training program, Mary Guinan soon was selected to join India’s Smallpox Eradication Program, which searched out and isolated patients with the disease. By May of 1975, the World Health Organization declared Uttar Pradash smallpox-free.

    During her barrier-crossing career, Dr. Guinan met arms-seeking Afghan insurgents in Pakistan and got caught in the cross fire between religious groups in Lebanon. She treated some of the first AIDS patients and served as an expert witness in defense of a pharmacist who was denied employment for having HIV–leading to a landmark decision that still protects HIV patients from workplace discrimination. Randy Shilts’s best-selling book on the epidemic, And the Band Played On, features her AIDS work.”

    Another book from this era that I have coming from the library is:

    My Own Country: A Doctor's StoryMy Own Country: A Doctor’s Story by Abraham Verghese


    “Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City saw its first AIDS patient in August 1985. Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases who became, by necessity, the local AIDS expert. Out of his experience comes a startling, ultimately uplifting portrait of the American heartland.”

    Yeah, that Abraham Verghese, who wrote Cutting for Stone.  Cutting for Stone was set in Ethiopia so I always thought he lived in Ethiopia, or anywhere other than Tennessee.

    An author that does live in Ethiopia wrote this book on my iPad right now

    The Pygmy Dragon (Shapeshifter Dragon Legends, #1)The Pygmy Dragon by Marc Secchia

    “Yesterday, a Dragon kidnapped me from my cage in a zoo.

    Stolen from her jungle home and sold to a zookeeper, Pip knows only a world behind bars, a world in which a Pygmy warrior and her giant ape friends are a zoo attraction. She dreams of being Human. She dreams of escaping to the world outside her cage.

    Then, the Dragon Zardon kidnaps her into a new life. Pip rides Dragonback across the Island-World to her new school – a school inside a volcano. A school where Humans learn to be Dragon Riders. But this is only a foretaste of her magical destiny, for the Dragon Assassins are coming. They have floated an Island across the Rift and their aim is nothing less than the massacre of all Dragons.

    Now, the courage of the smallest will be tested to the utmost. For Pip is the Pygmy Dragon, and this is her tale.”

    04 Feb, 2017

    6 Degrees of Separation – Fates and Furies

    / posted in: Just for FunReading


    Six Degrees of Separation is a meme run by Books are my Favorite and Best. You are given a starting book and then you link it to six others using whatever stream of consciousness reasoning that pops into your brain.

    The starting book this month is Fates and Furies.

    Fates and FuriesFates and Furies by Lauren Groff

    “Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.”

    I had never heard of this book. My first thought was “That’s a really blue cover.”

    A Really Blue Cover

    The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold, #1)The Reader by Traci Chee

    “Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who’s taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father left behind, something she comes to realize is a book.”

    The Reader was fantasy written by an East Asian author.

    Fantasy written by an East Asian Author

    Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

    “At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

    But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…”

    This has magic and British people and class, race, and gender politics.

    More Magical British People

    Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics, #1)Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

    “A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.”

    As I was looking at this, I realized that there is a sequel out. I can’t rush to read it right now because I put myself on a library ban until March 1. The sequel will be on the library request list on March 1.


    Shades of GreyShades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

    “From the bestselling author of Thursday Next — a brilliant novel about a world where social order and destiny are dictated by the colors you can see”

    This is one of my all time favorites. It is the start of a series. The rest hasn’t been written. It’s been years! It says on his website the sequel comes out in 2018. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    All the pipes on the cover reminded me of the next book.


    The Gone-Away World The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway

    “There couldn’t be a fire along the Jorgmund Pipe. It was the last thing the world needed. But there it was, burning bright on national television. The Pipe was what kept the Livable Zone safe from the bandits, monsters and nightmares the Go Away War had left in its wake. The fire was a very big problem.

    Enter Gonzo Lubitsch and his friends, the Haulage & HazMat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company, a team of master troubleshooters who roll into action when things get particularly hot. They helped build the Pipe. Now they have to preserve it—and save humanity yet again. But this job is not all it seems. It will touch more closely on Gonzo’s life, and that of his best friend, than either of them can imagine. And it will decide the fate of the Gone-Away World.”

    I don’t remember anything about this book. I only remember that I absolutely loved it. I should reread it.

    Why Don’t I Remember? I Need to Reread.

    The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

    “Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…”

    I read this a long time ago. It freaked me out. It was one of the most influential books I’ve ever read and I don’t remember much about it at all. I should reread it. I have a copy of it. I’ve never been able to make myself re-read it. Now it is way too close to reality. I need to make myself reread it.