Notable quotes

Ruth believed in precycling. An evolution on recycling. She make use of things before people threw them out.
A Great Reckoning, Louise Penny 

PDQ Bach didn't plagiarize, he recycled.
Peter Schickele


Notes from Mt. Bookpile

A few days late, but there's been a lot (and I mean A LOT) going on at home. And you're just going to have to trust me on this, but I've read about 40 more books than are listed! Thing is, I'm on a book award committee and we're not allowed to publicly talk about our reading, even if it's just to say "hey, I read this" with no real comments or ratings. In other words, this year you're going to see a whole lot of older books or children's/young adult books mentioned and take it on faith that my adult book reading is keeping me very busy.   As always, reviews on the other blog.

Children's/Young Adult




Lazy Thoughts

Reading... nothing that really excites me just now.  It's a good mix of YA and adult books, but with the exception of known quantities (aka murder mystery series I've been catching up on) everything has felt a bit "meh"

Listening... to more classical music than usual.  I can play my iPod in my office, and classical just feels right.

Watching... the last of Downton Abbey and The Good Wife, two series that have definitely reached their last.

Following... nothing and no one in particular.  I'm looking for new and exciting, so anyone with suggestions should chime in now.

Uncorking... or, as is more pertinent this month, Steeping... a mint green tea.

Looking... at the melting snow outside and wondering what's going on with winter.


First #NaNoWriMo and now #InCoWriMo

Are you ready for InCoWriMo?

What, you don't know what InCoWriMo is?  Silly you.  It's International Correspondence Writing Month.  You know, when you actually pick up paper and pen, write someone a note, fold it and insert in an envelope, get a stamp and then put it into a mailbox to be delivered to someone.  I do it even when it's not InCoWriMo!


So if you want to reminisce and re-encounter that glorious feeling when you see mail, actual mail, in your mailbox, leave me a comment.  Or, maybe, send someone you love a note... card... letter... drawing.  Whatever.

February's a short month.  Don't delay!


It's a sign!

When I made my recent Big Life Change, my new home was on a strange little road.  It was the building I live in and two other buildings that have mostly elderly people (elderly = qualifying for senior housing).  The road sort of dead ends after it passes between those buildings... ironically, I hope, there's a graveyard "next door".  It's a great memento mori to have a literal dead end right there.

There is a cut-through to another two-building complex so we do have access to the next street but that's driving through their parking lot, not on an actual road.

Even better, we live where the street has no name.  Or, apparently, is findable on most GPS.

Then, yesterday, I drove home and... wait!  what?  It's a street sign.  With the name of my road on it.  Underneath is "PVT WAY"  (of course, now I'm curious what counts as private way, vs regular or semi-private or incredibly public; and why  are we a 'way' not a 'road'?  not that I'd be opposed to changing my address to C---- Way).



Lazy Thoughts

Reading... a whole lot of adult books that I can't talk about except with a few select others.

Listening... to Je rĂªve by Noir Silence.  It's been my constant earworm for about a month now.  No idea why.

Watching... anything that isn't the GOP or Democratic debates.

Following... all the tributes to David Bowie and Alan Rickman.  There's a third 69-year-old British man I crush heavily on, and I've got my fingers crossed I don't see his name any time soon.

Uncorking... a glorious Malbec Rose.

Looking... at The Herd and wishing I had their totally pampered life.


That's me, under the covers...

One of the things I hate about moving is the whole having to find a new doctor part.  It's bad enough that you have to try to find one that takes your insurance and will see you relatively quickly (as opposed to "Dr X has no first patient appointments until four months from now"), but then having to explain the information behind the numbers and data.  No, no family history (I'm adopted - read the information sheet I filled out, please!).  Yes, I'm always this pale.  No, my blood pressure isn't always this difficult to get but thanks for bruising my arm on your 10th try.  Etc..

There's also the conflicting advice/concerns issue.  One doctor's "we'll keep an eye on this" is another emergency, or complete who cares.  Which do you trust?

So last month I finally saw my new doctor and had one of those regular exam things, and once they got the previous results from my previous doctor/hospital (that was fun: no one read that I said, specifically, that the hospital wasn't in this state but no one read that so of course the hospital with a similar name here had no record of me) the nurse called.  Could I come in for an additional test?  This new place has everything on line and the notes say that what they're looking at has existed over 10 years. Unchanged.  So why the additional test?  Was there something that previous doctor missed?

I go back in a few weeks.  Meanwhile, that's me over there, under the covers, pretending it's all ok.


Year-End Book Review

309 books read - GOAL MET (goal was 300, so met and surpassed)!  Full disclosure, this would not have happened without the picture books I "read" for MPOW's Mock Caldecott.   For lists and review links, go herehere and here (the totals on the review blog won't match these because I don't add the books I read for professional review or award committees).

And here's the 2015 reading analysis (2014 numbers in parens):
  • number of books read in 2015:  309 (304) 
  • best month: December/46 (tie between March and August/38)
  • worst month: April/13 (April/9)
  • average read per month: 25.75 (25.33) 
  • adult fiction as percentage of total: 17 (18) 
  • children's/YA fiction as percentage of total: 55 (58)
  • Advance Readers Copies: 191 (202) 
  • e-books: 5 (0)
  • books read that were published this year: 249 (233)
  • books that will be published in the coming year: 22 (25) 
  • five star reviews (aka "Must Read"): 30 (20) 
  • one star reviews (aka "DNF"): 15 (17) 
Even better, Mt. Bookpile is at 214, definitely heading in the right direction (last year I vowed to get it below 225)! The problem next year is that not everything can be listed/reviewed for professional reasons, so it may not appear that I'm meeting goal... somehow, I'll have to figure out a way to survive the disappointment. So I'll say "50" as my public reading goal, and 300 as my personal goal.  We'll see how that goes.

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Whoops! In all the move-related stuff, I managed to skip the third quarter of the year so this round-up covers half a year's reading, not three months.  That's why there's "only" 147 books on it!  Those books without review links are either those I professionally reviewed or those I read for a book award.

  • You Don't Have To Like Me, Alida Nugent
Children's/Young Adult


It's not funny

I've always had a problem with people who casually use the words Nazi and fascist.  It wasn't funny when a popular character on tv was known as the Soup Nazi.  It's not funny when candidates and politicians compare others to fascists or say they're a mini-Hitler.  Those words refer to specific ideologies and a desire to dominate the world by wiping out "lesser" peoples.

And yet...

This summer I read Timur Verme's brilliant satire, Look Who's Back.  There are those who are really uncomfortable with this book, and I get that.  As I said in my review:
I fully understand the uproar over this book and the dismay of many at its popularity. Here's why I gave it such a high rating: having grown up in a survivor community, one that stressed all the times during the long history of the Jews when they were exiled or nearly wiped out of existence, the mantra of "never again" was repeated over and over. Yet at this remove, how someone like a Hitler could rise and start his movement again seems unlikely. Hence The Third Wave. And now this book.

Hitler's arguments about the Volk, self-reliance and how to solve many modern problems seem reasonable. Couple that with his charisma and lack of self-doubt... I never met Bill Clinton, but I've heard his charisma is extraordinary. Imagine if he felt as Hitler did.

So the high rating is less pro-Hitler and more pro-we need to watch out of those who spout these types of solutions, because it could happen again. Oh wait: it has. Rwanda. Bosnia. Sunni/Shia. Hmmm....
The problem is that the solutions are so reasonable.  We have a horrible disparity between the rich and poor, jobs are leaving the country and businesses are suffering.  What could be more reasonable than to Make American Great Again by getting rid of those thieves, murderers and rapists who are responsible for this - and while we're at it, let's get rid of anyone who really doesn't belong here because they didn't come through traditional immigration channels?  It's only reasonable.   And we're under attack by people who don't share our religion, who want to harm our country.  It's war, right? So it's it reasonable to prevent all of "them" from being here in the Homeland?  Let's just deport them. It's only reasonable.  Right?

That there's a major candidate, a bit of a buffoon who makes these outrageous statements and virtually no one in the mainstream media is calling this what it is isn't funny.  That people agree with these ideas and suggestions isn't funny.

You know what they way about people who haven't learned from history, right? 

I suspect we're already doomed.