#Blackathon
27 Jan, 2020

#Blackathon

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

I’ve been a blog slacker recently so I didn’t really think much about participating in any events.  I briefly looked at Blackathon because it is an event I have liked in the past.  Everything I saw about seems to show that it is living mostly on booktube, which I’m really not interested in.  (If I’m wrong about this, let me know!)

Then N.K. Jemisin happened.

Yeah, that is a thread to majorly blow up a person’s TBR just in time for Blackathon.

Here’s what I’ve either bought or requested from the library.

Shadow Blade (Shadowchasers, #1)Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass

“Kira’s day job as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she’s got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside-down in search of a four-millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira’s hands.

Then there’s Khefar, the dagger’s true owner-a near-immortal 4000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit, looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow force, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever.”


Riot BabyRiot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

 

“Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.”


The Record KeeperThe Record Keeper by Agnes Gomillion

“After World War III, Earth is in ruins, and the final armies have come to a reluctant truce. Everyone must obey the law—in every way—or risk shattering the fragile peace and endangering the entire human race.

Although Arika Cobane is a member of the race whose backbreaking labor provides food for the remnants of humanity, she is destined to become a member of the Kongo elite. After ten grueling years of training, she is on the threshold of taking her place of privilege far from the fields. But everything changes when a new student arrives. Hosea Khan spews dangerous words of treason: What does peace matter if innocent lives are lost to maintain it?

As Arika is exposed to new beliefs, she realizes that the laws she has dedicated herself to uphold are the root of her people’s misery. If Arika is to liberate her people, she must unearth her fierce heart and discover the true meaning of freedom: finding the courage to live—or die—without fear.”


This is a preorder that isn’t coming out until this fall.

The ConductorsThe Conductors by Nicole Glover

 

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.”


She asked specifically about sci-fi/speculative fiction. I have a few other books on my iPad from black authors in other genres. Let’s see what the month brings. Usually this event adds so much to my TBR list.

The Cake Fairies
16 Jan, 2020

The Cake Fairies

/ posted in: Book ReviewFoodies ReadReading The Cake Fairies The Cake Fairies by Isabella May
Pages: 397
Genres: Fiction
Published by Independently Published
Format: eBook
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher
Setting: England

1960's Somerset is no fun for cousins Polly and Annabelle Williams. Mourning their non-existent love lives, and the mundanity of village life, their only pleasure is baking - until a chance encounter has them magically transported to the bright lights of London... in 2019!

Promised a chance of love, first they must teach the people of the future about the simpler pleasures of life by becoming Cake Fairies. Over the course of a year they set off on a delectable tour of the UK, dropping off cakes in the most unexpected of places and replacing the lure of technology with much sweeter temptations.

But will their philanthropical endeavours lead them to everlasting love? Or will they discover you can't have your cake and eat it?

The Cake Fairies is the fifth novel by fantastical foodie author, Isabella May.

Goodreads

I jumped on the chance to read this book because of the title.  I love books about food and books with fairies.  Why not combine them?

I loved the idea that Polly and Annabelle meet their fairy godmother who is frustrated with them.  She has set them up to meet many good husbands but their lack of adventurous spirits has derailed every plan.  Now it is time to do something drastic.  

They are good bakers who are brought forward to 2019 to spread joy through random gifts of cake.  I always like time travel books where people need to figure out a new time.  I especially like it when people move into the future since that is a rarer storyline.  This book did make me a bit salty though.  The problem that they are brought forward to combat is that people spend all their time on mobile devices instead of talking to the people around them.  The fairy godmother wants people to look away from their screens. 

Holy Introvert Nightmare!  I am old enough to remember when people didn’t have screens to occupy themselves.  People didn’t just go around talking to random strangers.  We just had books and newspapers to hide behind.  Besides, what do you think people are doing when they are typing on their phone?  Communicating!  Why would we ever want to go back to a world where I have to wait until we get home and can check the encyclopedia to prove to my husband that I was right about whatever we might be discussing when I can google it in the moment?  Oh, and by the way, I read this ebook on my iPad in part while sitting in a restaurant apparently being antisocial and contributing to the downfall of society.  /rant, maybe.

So anyway, the idea that this utopia that they thought they were building equals my idea of a crushing defeat of civilization may have altered my enjoyment of the book just a bit.  I was sassy while reading especially when there was a reveal that the reason one character wasn’t nice was because her mother used to make cake for her father and not for the children.  Her mother loved her father more than she loved her children.  That’s the way I always thought things were supposed to work.  I didn’t think it was cause for alarm.  /rant, seriously this time.

If you are ok with the premise, it could be a cute, light read with a little bit of romance.  

 

 

The Polo Diaries
14 Jan, 2020

The Polo Diaries

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Polo Diaries Single in Buenos Aires (The Polo Diaries, #1) by Roxana Valea
on July 2, 2019
Genres: Fiction
Published by RV Publications
Format: eBook
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher
Setting: Argentina

Roxy plays polo… but dreams of love.

Forty-one-year-old polo player Roxy arrives in Argentina with a to-do list that includes healing from a polo injury and falling in love with a handsome Argentine. From polo boots to tango shoes, the adrenaline of riding horses to glamorous after-game parties, Roxy learns to navigate this unfamiliar landscape with the help of new friends who teach her to take life as it comes. But will she find true love? Over three months in Buenos Aires, nothing goes according to plan, and yet, all the items on her list mysteriously get ticked off in the end. Just not the way she had imagined.

Fans of the Bridget Jones series will love the blend of humor, travel, and romantic comedy at the heart of Single in Buenos Aires, all topped off with the unforgettable flavor of life in one of the most sensual and passionate cities in the world.

Goodreads

I was interested in this book for the adventure of living in a new country and trying to meet people with the bonus aspect of horses.  For a while the book works as Roxy moves to Argentina with several goals in mind.  She wants to rehab her wrists after breaking both arms in a polo match.  She is taking Spanish lessons.  She wants to start playing polo again.  She also wants to fall in love. 

I enjoyed the parts of this book that dealt with her learning about Argentinian customs.  I liked the women around her coaching her on how to date in South America and how it is different than in Europe.  However, there is a point towards the end where her love interest yells at her for being shallow and I agreed with him totally.  She doesn’t seem to know what she wants.  She flips between wanting a boyfriend and then not wanting to commit and then being mad when the person she has refused to commit to has to work or doesn’t help her move.  I was exhausted by it and I wasn’t in the relationship. 

This book is based on the author’s real life so it seems churlish to say that I wanted the main character to be a better person but I did.  She has a life that lets her move to foreign countries to play for half the year without working but she is so “woe is me” about it all.  There is also some strange vibes given off at times.  There are a few references to fat people in the book that struck me as judgemental without actually saying anything mean.  It is hard to explain but the fact that the person was fat was not relevant to the story but she would make sure to point it out.  Likewise she has some real hangups about disabilities.  She labels herself disabled when she has a broken arm.  She talks about how no one will date a disabled person like her.  She refuses to dance because of her “disability”.  Who cares?  It’s a broken arm. 

For a book that supposedly centers around polo, there is very little of it here.  I come into horse sports from the perspective of loving horses.  I don’t get that from her.  She never talks about the horses.  She never refers to any by name or acknowledges them at all.  During the time she can’t play polo she never does anything else with horses.  Most horse people would still be hanging out with them or riding around while their arm heals enough to play again.  She appears to have no interest in them.  Now, there is a sequel to this book called A Horse Named Bicycle so maybe that changes.

Cat Daddy
07 Jan, 2020

Cat Daddy

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Cat Daddy Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean by Jackson Galaxy, Joel Derfner
on May 10, 2012
Pages: 304
Genres: Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs
Published by Tarcher
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Cat behaviorist and star of Animal Planet's hit television show My Cat from Hell, Jackson Galaxy, a.k.a. "Cat Daddy," isn't what you might expect for a cat expert. Yet Galaxy's ability to connect with even the most troubled felines -- not to mention the stressed-out humans living in their wake -- is awe-inspiring.

In this book, Galaxy tells the poignant story of his thirteen-year relationship with a petite gray-and-white short-haired cat named Benny, and gives singular advice for living with, caring for, and loving the feline in your home.

Goodreads

I am so disappointed in this book.  I’m a fan of Jackson Galaxy’s way of interacting with cats and his ability to work through their issues.  It always amazes me how clueless a lot of people are about what is going on in their cat’s mind.  I picked this book up to find some more inspiration about working with cats.  I did find that and I understood that a lot of this would also be about his life but I wasn’t expecting to also find that he seems to be a pretty awful human being.

Over half this memoir is dedicated to the story of his many addictions and how he dealt with them.  He acknowledges that he didn’t treat people well during these times but since this book is written afterwards you would hope that he would have gained some clarity.  Instead he is still quite a jerk when writing about people.  Perhaps I am a bit sensitive to this because the group he singles out for most of his abuse (besides his sexual partners) is veterinarians.  If he just hated us all that would be one thing.  I can deal with the conspiracy-theorist type client who thinks we are out to get their money and poison their cat.  He is a worse type of client.  He’s the type who bonds and likes you until an animal inevitably gets sick.  Then he turns on you viciously for either causing the problem or not fixing the problem or doing too much to fix the problem or usually all of these at once.  This happened several times in this book.  I also have a real problem with his using the names of the vets he did this too.  In some cases he only uses Dr. First Name which is better than the whole name but is still a jerk move to lash out at people who didn’t seem to do anything wrong even according to his own narrative.  He admits that he is a person who needs to place blame for everything.  Guess what, the blame very rarely lands on him.  He’s a victim in all these stories. 

In one case he had a diabetic cat.  He gets mad because no one talked to him about nutrition.  What?  Nutrition is the staple of treatment for diabetes in cats.  The goal is to get cats off insulin.  Even if the nutrition counseling wasn’t his preferred all natural diet, I can almost promise that nutrition was discussed at some point. 

In another case he had a dying cat.  He didn’t want to face that fact.  Then he gets mad because his cat is on a lot of meds.  Here’s what probably happened.  He went to the vet and didn’t want to hear about his cat dying.  He wanted to try everything.  Then when everything was tried he got mad because the miracle he expected didn’t occur.  Suddenly it is the vet’s fault for forcing all these meds on his cat.  Because it ALWAYS IS SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT!

He even got pissed off at a vet who he went into business with who had the audacity to get heart disease.  She had to cut back on how much she was working.  Is she ok?  Is she dead?  We don’t know because we only hear about how this was a hardship on him. 

So read this book for the tips on cat behavior and skim/skip the rest in order not to lose all respect for him. 

 

06 Jan, 2020

What Am I Reading?

/ posted in: Reading

Single in Buenos Aires (The Polo Diaries, #1)Single in Buenos Aires by Roxana Valea

Forty-one-year-old polo player Roxy arrives in Argentina with a to-do list that includes healing from a polo injury and falling in love with a handsome Argentine. From polo boots to tango shoes, the adrenaline of riding horses to glamorous after-game parties, Roxy learns to navigate this unfamiliar landscape with the help of new friends who teach her to take life as it comes. But will she find true love? Over three months in Buenos Aires, nothing goes according to plan, and yet, all the items on her list mysteriously get ticked off in the end. Just not the way she had imagined.”

I’m reading this for a book tour.  That’s always worrisome for me.  I’m so picky that I don’t know if I’m going to like something or not.  But I started this on Sunday and so far so good.

 

 


I’m still listening to this one.  I think it is about 19 hours long.  I need to take breaks with it.  It is the kind of audiobook where I know I’m going to love it when I start listening but sometimes it is hard to make myself push play.  It is deep and rich and textured and has many, many things going on.  Sometimes I just want my brain to have a break while driving.  I absolutely recommend it though.  I’m about halfway through and things are starting to come together – maybe?

01 Jan, 2020

January 2020 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading

 

Welcome to January 2020 Foodies Read!

Welcome to another year of Foodies Read.  I appreciate all of you who link up your wonderful posts on books about food.

Since we are starting another year let’s review the rules:

  1. Every post must feature a book about food.  Posts that don’t center a book will be removed.
  2. Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.

 

We had 25 reviews linked up in December.  The winner of the drawing is Avid Series Reader for the review of Out of the Frying Pan.

 

 


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


If you would like graphics to use with your posts here are some in different sizes:

31 Dec, 2019

December 2019 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

 

I read 13 books  in December.

 

The books I read were:

  •  I didn’t finish any audiobooks
  • Set in the U.S., England, and India

What was my favorite?

This whole series was good.  All of the women are involved in something scandalous. 


sign-up-post

 

Sign-up info

 

I did it!  I finished the challenge.  I didn’t finish the books that I thought I would but I made it with room to spare.

What I’ve read so far in 2019:

  • Righteous by Joe Ide
  • Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
  • The Class by Heather Won Tesoriero
  • North by Scott and Jenny Jurek
  • Internment by Samira Ahmed
  • Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder
  • Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
  • Bury What We Cannot Take by Jean Kwok
  • Instant Indian by Rinku Bhattacharya
  • The True Queen by Zen Cho
  • Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
  • A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
  • Spices and Seasons by Rinku Bhattacharya
  • Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok
  • The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah
  • A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai
  • Quit Like a Millionaire by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung
  • What the Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha
  • Proof of Seduction by Courtney Milan
  • Trial by Desire by Courtney Milan
  • The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

I was aiming for 21-30 books to be at the tapir level.  22/21!


From My Shelf

I’m adding a section to encourage me to read books that I’ve had sitting around for a long time.

This just came out so it hasn’t been sitting around for a long time.  But, I preordered it and it came and I didn’t pick it up immediately.  That tends to be the kiss of death and means I never get around to reading it.  So I made sure to read this one this month.  

My goal book for this was Pachinko.  I tried. I really did. I’m probably about 90% done but it is a slog.


Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

Nothing new this month

 

 


 

16 Dec, 2019

What Am I Reading?

/ posted in: Reading

I’ve been on an all romance all the time reading spree.  I always find those hard to read about especially when I’m reading series. “Yep, same author. Nope, can’t talk plot because it is spoilers for the last 5 books.”

 

Here are my current non romance reads.

“Known in health care circles for his ability to turn around ailing hospitals, Dr. David Shulkin was originally brought into government by President Obama to save the beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs. When President Trump appointed him as secretary of the VA, Shulkin was as shocked as anyone.
Yet this surprise was trivial compared to what Shulkin encountered as secretary: a team of political appointees devoted to stopping anyone — including the secretary himself — who stood in the way of privatizing the agency and implementing their political agenda. In this uninhibited memoir, Shulkin opens up about why the government has long struggled to provide good medical care to military veterans and the plan he had to solve these problems. This is a book about the commitment we make to the men and women who risk their lives fighting for our country, how the VA was finally beginning to live up to it, and why the new administration may now be taking us in the wrong direction.”

 

I bought this book for my husband since he has a lot of opinions on the VA.  He finished it and I’m going to read it before we talk about it.

 

 

 

 


I’m not going to put the blurb about this audiobook. I went into it blind. I knew I loved The Night Circus so I just decided to trust the author and listen. I think that was the right choice. I’m not all the far in but I’m loving the confusion that came from starting with no idea what was going on.

Dottir
13 Dec, 2019

Dottir

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Dottir Dottir: My Journey to Becoming a Two-Time CrossFit Games Champion by Katrin Davidsdottir, Rory McKernan
on August 6, 2019
Pages: 304
Genres: Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs
Published by St. Martin's Press
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Setting: Iceland, U.S.

This is a memoir by two-time CrossFit Games champion, Katrin Davidsdottir.

Dottir is two-time consecutive CrossFit Games Champion Katrin Davidsdottir's inspiring and poignant memoir. As one of only two women in history to have won the title of “Fittest Woman on Earth” twice, Davidsdottir knows all about the importance of mental and physical strength. She won the title in 2015, backing it up with a second win in 2016, after starting CrossFit in just 2011.

A gymnast as a youth, Davidsdottir wanted to try new challenges and found a love of CrossFit. But it hasn't been a smooth rise to the top. In 2014, just one year before taking home the gold, she didn't qualify for the Games. She used that loss as motivation and fuel for training harder and smarter for the 2015 Games. She pushed herself and refocused her mental game. Her hard work and perseverance paid off with her return to the Games and subsequent victories in 2015 and 2016.

In Dottir, Davidsdottir shares her journey with readers. She details her focus on training, goal setting, nutrition, and mental toughness.

Goodreads

I’m a CrossFit Games junkie.  When I started CrossFit I just happened to wander into a class that included a reigning Games senior (60 years old and over) champion.  Every morning the first thing we did was a 1/4 mile run.  I suck at running.  I was always last.  One time she was talking to the coach when we started out running.  Part way through she ran up behind me, gave me a cheery “You are doing really well!”, and then kicked into some other gear that I just do not possess and then she was talking to the coach again when I got back inside.  Another time I had dropped a barbell that I was using for squats.  It was too heavy for me to pick up from the ground.  I was going to have to take the weights off of it, put the bar up on the rack, and put all the weights back on before I could do more squats.  I looked at it and sighed to myself.  Suddenly a blur of a tiny old lady appeared, grabbed my too-heavy bar off the floor, put it on the rack for me, and said, “There you go” before fluttering off again.  I’m aware of the super human abilities of Games participants and that was just the older people.  The things that the younger Games athletes do are flat out crazy.

Even though I don’t do CrossFit anymore I am still glued to the Games live feeds every summer.  That’s why I was interested in reading Katrin Davidsdottir’s memoir when I saw it on my library feed.  Icelandic women are famous in elite CrossFit competition.  Katrin is a two times Games winner.  This memoir discusses her approach to training with emphasis on the mental and emotional aspects.

I wish that she tried to make this more accessible for people who aren’t familiar with CrossFit.  I liked a suggestion I saw on another review to look up each event on YouTube when she talks about it to see what happened and then hear her recollection of it. 

This would be a interesting book for people interested in sports psychology in addition to CrossFit games junkies like me. 

My Self-Imposed Walking Challenge
06 Dec, 2019

My Self-Imposed Walking Challenge

/ posted in: Fitness

A while ago I signed up on Yes.Fit for a virtual race called The Tortoise Creep.  It was 155.1 miles long.  The idea was that you log your workouts and earn a medal.  I like tortoises so I picked this one.

tortoisecreep

I did well for a while and then pretty much forgot about it. I think I’m at around 100 miles in.

I decided that I needed some motivation for working out in December so I decided to do another race. I wanted to walk about 2 miles a day. So I picked the Sea Turtle Exploration race.  (You may see a theme…) It is 42.3 miles. I should be able to finish that this month and then get a good chunk of the Tortoise Creep finished.

turtlemedal

They also have a race that starts January 1 that celebrates how far you go all year. Some people are doing that with just exercise miles. Other people are hooking up their fitness trackers to log all the distance they walk in a whole year. I may do that.

I just ordered myself a new Fitbit. I wanted to go old school with it. I like the ones that clip on. I don’t want to wear a watch. I don’t care if it does anything other than measure the distance I walk. I don’t need it to help me remember to breathe or track my sleep. I got the most basic fitbit and now you can get the clip but you have to pay extra for it instead of a wristband.

I have a conference and some time at amusement parks in January. That should be a good start at getting my totals up.

My Very Own Personal Challenges
05 Dec, 2019

My Very Own Personal Challenges

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

I have a lot of books.  Well, compared to some bloggers I see I don’t have tons, but I think I have a lot.  Of the books that I have at home, I haven’t read most of them.  I’m sure I’m not alone in that either.  So I’ve decided to give myself a challenge for 2020 to read more of these books. 

I thought about this for a while.  I didn’t want to make a list or set a number or anything that would make me rebel.  I’m the ultimate mood reader after all.  In the end I decided to add a section to my monthly wrap up post to highlight I book I already owned that I read.  That way I hopefully would get at least one a month to put in that section.  I started to think about how to define a book that would count  – I couldn’t have bought it immediately prior to reading it, etc. – but decided in the end that I would know in my heart if a book counted for this or not.  

It is the perfect plan for me.  Low expectations and no rules.  Feel free to steal the idea if you like it.  

What do you do to read all the books that you have sitting around?

How has my book selection process changed over time?
04 Dec, 2019

How has my book selection process changed over time?

/ posted in: Book DiscussionBookish LifeReading

Everybody is putting out these end of the decade review so I have to join in.  (Can we just take a moment to acknowledge though that it isn’t really then end of the decade just like 2000 wasn’t the beginning of a new millenium?  Yeah, yeah, I lost that argument too.)

Anyway, I was thinking about the changes in how I read and select books over the last 10 years.

In 2009/2010 I was living in a small city in the middle of pretty much nowhere.  It had a decent library though.  I’d go all the time and browse.  I’d always check out the new books and then have a wander through the rest of the stacks.  It was small enough to do that.  I’d decide what to get based on what I saw.  

In 2012 we moved to a bigger city with an exponentially larger library with branches.  I’m fairly close to the main library and started browsing there.  I’d still scan the new releases for ideas mostly. This library was 3 stories.  I couldn’t wander efficiently through all the stacks. 

I’m not sure when that all started to change.  It had to be after I started making a TBR on Goodreads.  Maybe it was book twitter.  (Today is my 6 year twitter anniversary.  I only know that because it so helpfully told me this morning.)  Now I never go and just have a wander around.  I request books I want and pick them up at the most convenient branch.  In and out in minimal time.  

The only time I do any browsing is on the library ebook/audiobook app.  I browse especially for audiobooks.  I just tell it to show me what came out recently and I make a list of what sounds good.  

I also try to get as much as I can in ebook now.  That way I don’t even need to go to the library. It is instant gratification. 

 

Is it just me or has everyone changed their browsing habits too?

Fear
03 Dec, 2019

Fear

/ posted in: Current Events

I work with several people in their early to mid-twenties.  One thing that I’m just amazed by in them is their level of fear.  Do I just know a group of particularly scaredy-cats or is this common?  Let me give you some examples.

One person lives with her parents.  Her parents went on vacation.  She was so scared to be in the house by herself that she made various people, including her grandmother, come over and stay with her at night.  She said that she slept cuddled with her gun.  She has several very loud dogs.  No one is likely to try to steal her.  Indeed, no one tried to steal her or anything else.  In related news, I mentioned once that I sleep with headphones on to drown out snoring.  (I listen to ambiance videos on youtube.)  She was horrified.  She wanted to know how I would hear anyone breaking in.  I’m not worried about it.  Could someone break into my house?  Sure.  Have they ever?  No.  Would I gain anything by worrying every night that it might happen?  No. 

Another was recently gifted a house by her grandparents in part to get her out of her parents’ house and away from a slightly toxic family dynamic.  She hasn’t moved in.  At first she was terrified of the neighborhood.  We went over and took a look around.  The neighborhood is fine.  (Even the person from the example above said she felt fine there.)  She also has a large, loud dog.  She is working up to staying there a few days a week.  It is fully furnished.  All she needs to do is get her clothes and go there.  It has been several months now.  She recently commented on how she couldn’t do something because she lives with her parents.  I yelled at her.  “You wouldn’t live with your parents if you went and lived in your own house!”  She acknowledged that was true. 

I’m taking these two to a conference out of state.  For a few days the one is going to visit her grandparents.  That will leave the one in a hotel room alone.  I told her that the husband and I weren’t coming to sleep in her room with her.  She said just knowing we were in the same hotel would be ok.  The other one has never flown and is already super anxious about it even though it is a few months away.

Is it just me?  I don’t remember life being this scary at their ages.  By the time I was their age I had moved to a different state for school for 4 years, traveled internationally alone, led interstate travel with groups of teenagers, became a doctor, gotten married, moved to another different state away from anyone I knew, etc.  I just want to shake them and tell them to get out in the world.  You are missing out on living your lives!  The knee-jerk response to any new thing shouldn’t be, “That’s really scary.  I don’t know.”  

Maybe I’m turning into a crotchety old lady.  “Back in my day, whippersnapper, we went out in the world…”  I’ve decided I’ll be doing my best to try to unshelter all the young’uns I work with.  Take a peek at the world.  It will be ok. 

02 Dec, 2019

What Am I Reading?

/ posted in: Reading

I’m at a bit of a loss right now for what to read after Nonfiction November.  That gives such structure to my reading life.  Now it is a free-for-all again!

I do have a few books to read to finish up my Asian authors challenge.  I want to read Pachinko and The Queen of the Night this month.  Can you believe that I got Pachinko as an ARC before it blew up all over the book world and I still haven’t read it?

 

“In the bestselling, prize-winning A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson achieved the seemingly impossible by making the science of our world both understandable and entertaining to millions of people around the globe.

Now he turns his attention inwards to explore the human body, how it functions and its remarkable ability to heal itself. Full of extraordinary facts and astonishing stories, The Body: A Guide for Occupants is a brilliant, often very funny attempt to understand the miracle of our physical and neurological make up.”

 

Bill Bryson is an autobuy author for me. I’m currently listening to The Body. I started it and then left it for a bit because it was a little too basic in the beginning.  I guess I have to expect that since I’ve been to doctor school.  But once it started to get into a bit more detail he is throwing in fun facts that are new to me.  I also always love the way he choses to phrases things. 

I think this is a good book for people who don’t have a lot of medical knowledge.  I’m always amazed at how much people don’t know.  I’ll be trying to talk to people about their animals and have to slow down to discuss very basic things about how bodies work before I can get into what’s gone wrong.  Just the fact that I have a standard “Boys have nipples” speech that I have given to many men and women says it all.

December 2019 Foodies Read
01 Dec, 2019

December 2019 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading

 

Welcome to December 2019 Foodies Read!

This is a monthly link up for BOOKS about food.  Reviews of fiction, nonfiction, and cookbooks are welcome! Posts that don’t feature a book will be deleted.

 

Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.

We had 32 links in October!  The winner of the drawing for a gift card is Mae for her Retro Mexican Dinner.


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


30 Nov, 2019

November 2019 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

 

I read  15 books  in November.  It was Nonfiction November so here are the nonfiction books I read.

Towards the end of the month some fiction started slipping in there too.

The books I read were:

  •  2 audiobooks
  • Set in the U.S., England, and China

What were my favorites?

 


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Despite believing it all the way through the book, Adharanand Finn is not an Indian man.  He is the child of white British hippies who gave their kids Sanskrit names.  I was listening to the audiobook and was quite confused when I saw a picture of a white guy when I logged it on Goodreads.  

 

What I’ve read so far in 2019:

  • Righteous by Joe Ide
  • Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
  • The Class by Heather Won Tesoriero
  • North by Scott and Jenny Jurek
  • Internment by Samira Ahmed
  • Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder
  • Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
  • Bury What We Cannot Take by Jean Kwok
  • Instant Indian by Rinku Bhattacharya
  • The True Queen by Zen Cho
  • Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
  • A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
  • Spices and Seasons by Rinku Bhattacharya
  • Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok
  • The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah
  • A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai
  • Quit Like a Millionaire by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung
  • What the Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha

I’m aiming for 21-30 books to be at the tapir level.  19/21 so far.  Only 1 month left.  I can do this!

 


Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

Nothing new this month

 

 


 

White Is A State of Mind
28 Nov, 2019

White Is A State of Mind

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading White Is A State of Mind White Is a State of Mind by Melba Pattillo Beals
on March 15, 1999
Pages: 338
Genres: Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs
Published by Putnam Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

In 1957, while most teenage girls were listening to Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue," watching Elvis gyrate, and having slumber parties, fifteen-year-old Melba Pattillo was escaping the hanging rope of a lynch mob, dodging lighted sticks of dynamite, and washing away the burning acid sprayed into her eyes by segregationists determined to prevent her from integrating Little Rock's Central High School - caught up in the center of a civil rights firestorm that stunned this nation and altered the course of history. Her critically acclaimed and award-winning memoir Warriors Don't Cry chronicled her junior year in high school, the year President Eisenhower took unprecedented, historic action by sending federal troops to escort Melba and her eight black classmates into a previously all-white school. Now, in answer to the often repeated question "What happened next?" Melba has written White Is a State of Mind. Compelled to flee the violent rage percolating in her hometown, young Melba was brought by the NAACP to a safe haven in Santa Rosa, California. This is the story of how she survived - healed from the wounds inflicted on her by an angry country. It is the inspirational story of how she overcame that anger with the love and support of the white family who took her in and taught her she didn't have to yearn for the freedom she assumed she could never really have because of the color of her skin. They taught her that white is a state of mind - that she could alter her state of mind to claim fully her own freedom and equality.

Goodreads

After reading Melba Patillo’s memoir of the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School, I wanted to know more details about what happened next.  Instead of letting the black teenagers have a second year in Central High, the governor closed the high schools.  This lead to increasing anger towards the families that were involved in the integration from both white and black families.  Melba finally had to flee the state when a bounty was placed on her by Klan members.

Let’s talk about how she found out about this.  Her mother had a cousin who was passing as white.  That wasn’t that unusual at the time.  In fact, she had several relatives passing.  But this man was not only married to an unsuspecting white woman and had kids who thought they were all white, he was the sheriff of a small southern town and the head of the local KKK.  You read that right.  A black man was head of the local KKK.  He found out about the bounty on his little cousin and called the family to alert them (presumably before putting the word out to his members).  I want to know more about this.  I want a whole book about him and then I want that book turned into a miniseries.  Somebody make that happen.

She is taken to a safe house in California.  The NAACP there was mostly made up of white liberals.  It gets cringey.  They want so badly to be helpful but they can’t understand why she was terrified.  She came from an environment where she was only safe with (some) black people and now she is surrounded by white people.  It was complete culture shock for her.

She came from a world where survival consumed everyone’s thoughts.  She had never had the experience of planning to go do something just because it might be fun.  She couldn’t relate to teenagers with seemingly trivial concerns.  On the other hand, once she saw that a better life was possible, she couldn’t fit in with the survival mentality in Little Rock.  She also had to face discrimination from black people in California who looked down on her for being southern.  

She didn’t have an easy life but learned gradually to stand up for herself.  

The Rise of the Ultra Runners
27 Nov, 2019

The Rise of the Ultra Runners

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Rise of the Ultra Runners The Rise of the Ultra Runners: A Journey to the Edge of Human Endurance by Adharanand Finn
on May 7, 2019
Pages: 304
Length: 11:09
Genres: Nonfiction
Published by Pegasus Books
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Setting: England, U.S., South Africa, France, Spain, Italy, Oman

An electrifying look inside the wild world of extreme distance running.

Once the reserve of only the most hardcore enthusiasts, ultra running is now a thriving global industry, with hundreds of thousands of competitors each year. But is the rise of this most brutal and challenging sport―with races that extend into hundreds of miles, often in extreme environments―an antidote to modern life, or a symptom of a modern illness?

In The Rise of the Ultra Runners, award-winning author Adharanand Finn travels to the heart of the sport to investigate the reasons behind its rise and discover what it takes to join the ranks of these ultra athletes. Through encounters with the extreme and colorful characters of the ultramarathon world, and his own experiences of running ultras everywhere from the deserts of Oman to the Rocky Mountains, Finn offers a fascinating account of people testing the boundaries of human endeavor.

Goodreads

I’ve talked on this blog a lot about how I hate running with a passion that is only equal to how much I love reading about running.  This book was perfect for me.  

The author decides to learn about ultrarunning by getting a press pass to run the UTMB, a ultramarathon in the mountains in France.  In order to use his pass, he has to qualify by getting enough points in other ultramarathons around the world.  His journey to learn to love (and survive) ultrarunning and his interviews with the people he meets along the way are the heart of this book. 

He covers the different types of ultrarunning – running 50-100 + miles at once, running a marathon every day for several days in a row, and running a short stretch of trail or on a track for 24 hours.  Each has its own challenges.  

He meets up with some of the best competitors and realizes that their lifestyles help them with their training.  One person lives in a cabin 5 miles up Pike’s Peak.  There is no road.  You have to run in to get there and to leave.  Others travel the world racing the hardest trails and mountains they can find. 

He tries to talk top Kenyan marathoners into trying longer distances without a lot of success. 

He talks to coaches and health care providers about how to stay fit for this and whether all of this is ultimately healthy or not.

I loved this story.  I loved seeing what goes into pushing beyond marathon distance.   I would never do it but I liked reading other people’s adventures. 

25 Nov, 2019

Nonfiction November – New to My TBR

/ posted in: Reading

Week 5: (Nov. 25 to 29) – New to My TBR (Rennie of What’s Nonfiction): It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book

Musings of a Literary Wanderer

Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New YorkMost Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York by Tom Roston

 

 

The Husband Hunters: Social Climbing in London and New YorkThe Husband Hunters: Social Climbing in London and New York by Anne de Courcy

 

 

 

 


 

Readerbuzz

 

The Body: A Guide for OccupantsThe Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

How did Bill Bryson slip a book past me? I immediately downloaded it on Audible.

 

 

 


EVERYONE!

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of September 11, 2001The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of September 11, 2001 by Garrett M. Graff

I read The Day the World Came to Town and saw the musical Come From Away. This seems like it would be a good companion book.

The Feminism of Good Boys
19 Nov, 2019

The Feminism of Good Boys

/ posted in: EntertainmentFeminism

I was home without another human a few days ago and decided to watch Good Boys.  This is a movie about three sixth grade boys who get invited to their first boy-girl party where there is expected to be kissing.  They don’t know how to kiss and decide to learn.  They steal a drone to spy on the neighbor.  She catches their drone and they need to get it back.  It all goes even more wrong from there.  I expected it to be a diverting silly comedy based on the trailer.  I knew a lot of the comedy stemmed from the boys getting into one set of parents’ sex toys and totally misinterpreting what everything is.  I didn’t expect it to be intellectually stimulating, is what I’m saying.

That’s why I was so surprised to realize that this was a delightfully feminist movie.  Women aren’t the main characters.  These kind of movies with a lot of discussions about sex usually have men and boys devaluing and objectifying women at every turn.  That didn’t happen here.  Instead women and girls were treated with respect and dignity in a movie about pubescent boys.  It was amazing.

If you are wondering how that could even happen, here are a few examples.

When they try to spy on the neighbor and her boyfriend, we see her telling her boyfriend that she is going to spend the day with her female best friend.  He responds by asking her to cut the day short and visit him afterwards.  She says that it isn’t her plan and he starts to whine and harass her about it.  Instead of trying to make him feel better, she just says, “You know, this isn’t working out,” and dumps him on the spot!  When he lashes out at her verbally in response she just ignores him and goes back to her friend.  No centering of male feelings at all.  Delightful!

The boys have obviously been deeply schooled in consent.  They don’t see it as anything weird.  They accept it as part of the lead up to kissing.  When they role play to figure out how to kiss on a doll, they remind each other that you can’t just touch someone.  You have to ask first.  It isn’t preachy.  They are just reminding each other of the steps.  See, that wasn’t so hard, was it, whiny internet trolls?

They have also been taught that their consent and comfort matters.  When they get to the kissing party, some decide that they don’t want to participate.  That’s fine with the group.  There are other activities for those who chose not to participate.  No one is shamed for it. 

One boy ends up getting a girlfriend.  You then see a montage of the girl breaking up with him, him getting another girlfriend, her breaking up with him, and the two girls going off together.  Yay for showing girls that they can leave relationships and be happy without a boy.  Yay for showing boys it is ok to cry when you get your heart broken.  No need to think your manliness has been crushed forever so you need to become a hateful internet man (or worse). 

All of this was shown as such a normal part of the world that I didn’t really even notice all of it until I thought about it later.  Thank you for making a comedy about boys that didn’t have to degrade female feelings and sexuality and relationships in order to be funny. Yes, this is the world that hateful feminists want!

 

 

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