Hello all. I am Liz’s husband David and am writing with very sad news. Liz passed away on June 7th after a very long battle with colon/stomach cancer. I know you all have been missing her posts. You have all been an inspiration to her and were very important to her as well. She would always keep me updated with new followers and really enjoyed interacting with this community.
I am keeping the site up so that people can look at past reviews etc. Any suggestions on what I can do with this wonderful collection of reviews would be greatly appreciated.
I’m back for a bit. Sorry for the absence from the blog but you know how life is. I have not been at my office desk in weeks which means I’ve been absent from the blogosphere in general (writing-wise), but I’ve been reading and keeping up with blogs.
It’s Spring here in West Texas and it’s typical Spring weather for here: not for us, the gentle dulcet sound of a sweet breeze across the prairie. No. We have brown sky (from all the dust in the air from the ground cover) and high levels of wind gusts so a day to stay inside and mess around, I think.
I’ve been reading but not a whole ton. I’m immersed in “The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs. Beeton” (by Kathryn Hughes), a biography of Isabella Beeton, the Victorian domestic expert, and that has been interesting. Alongside that, I’m just about to start a read of James Agee’s “A Death in the Family” but I have no idea what it’s about so we’ll see how it goes. Fingers crossed for a good read but either way, it’s off the TBR pile so win-win.
I’m looking forward to the Beeton bio as I like to read about domesticity stuff every now and then (and pretend I’m that way a lot more than I actually am!) Due to my stomach cancer diagnosis (long story), I haven’t been able to eat much (getting my nutrients from TPN etc.) and I have missed cooking and food in general. Thus, the reading about food helps scratch that itch a bit more.
Life is good, if a little quiet at times. More time to hit the books and cogitate on their contents!
It’s me, back from a long break. Sorry about that but life… 😉
This will be more of a catch-up post of what I’ve been reading and then, hopefully, more typical service will be resumed. I’ve been reading, naturally, but not doing posts. I think I was just burned out a bit for book reviewing and thus the break. I’m back now…
I’m currently enjoying the most recent edition of “The Best American…” series of travel writing for 2021. Edited by Padma Lakshmi, it does what it says on the tin: a curated collection of travel writing that covers the gamut from a nightmare boat cruise to traveling in Mississippi to California’s marijuana industry, so it suits my Monkey Mind right now plus it’s a solidly good writing technique so a pleasure to read.
(For other reads from previous years, see 2019, 2018, 2016, 2013, 2011 and 2000. They’re similar to a box of chocolates: lots of variety and a few nuts.)
For fiction, I’m catching up with “The Rosie Effect” by Graeme Simsion, book #2 that follows the best-selling title, “The Rosie Project” (see my review here). A fun and light-weight fiction read that I’m enjoying and reads like a knife through hot butter (i.e. easy-peasy). 😉
So – life is running smoothly. I hope you can say the same.
Faculty summer continues apace here at JOMP and that means a lot of messing around doing not much in particular. I’ve been reading but not at the rapid pace I typically do, although reasons for this are unclear. I think I was choosing titles that weren’t that appealing so I kept putting them down and doing almost anything else but that.
Now – I’ve cleared the decks and picked out a couple of new titles (details to come) and I’m hoping that that will do the trick.
Otherwise, I’ve been doing addicting word search puzzles, napping and getting some jobs done. I spent yesterday doing 5000 errands (exhausting but productive!) and today I need to go to the gym for a spell and then I’m hoping to hear from my doc about a current health issue going on. He’s usually pretty ok on returning messages so fingers crossed.
Happened to visit our big local mall yesterday (see errands mentioned above) and it was so interesting (in a sociological kind of way) to people-watch all the teenagers who were hanging out there. Very polite. Very well-behaved. I was impressed. Had a fun time looking at their sartorial choices! Can’t judge them as I am CERTAIN that when I was the same age, I was making similar clothing selections: it was just fun to watch! 😉
And now I’m actually in the office. My contract requires that I spend one day/week in my office and so that’s what I’m doing.
Oh, and we went camping. Now – I am not the world’s biggest camping person but we have a small camper trailer that we take out every now and then, and this time we trucked to Red River, New Mexico, where it was gorgeous. Look at how green everything is. (Normally it is a semi-arid environment so lots of brown. I think there’s been lots of rain recently or similar.)
As per, the SuperHero went above-and-beyond to provide an awesome experience – I just wish that we didn’t have to drive six hours to get there (each way). But it was worth it.
Now, I’m off to read the AP Style Book (my usual summer project) and then I might have something to eat. Nom nom nom.
Being a big fan of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, I was happy to come across this title in the graphic novel section at the library. (I’m really glad we have this GN section. A librarian friend of mine advocated for it and curated it right when it first started and since then, it’s grown enormously.) Anyway, this Gatsby graphic novel was hanging out there and I grabbed it and then read it right through there sitting in the library. (I just couldn’t resist!)
And I loved it. It’s more of a (necessarily) condensed version of the plot but there’s enough there for it to work smoothly and without feeling like you’ve been cheated (as the reader). Plus – the artwork by Morton is superb. It uses paler washed-out colors – like the tail end of summer – and this works perfectly as the characters in The Great Gatsby do feel and act washed out a bit after their high-living lifestyles.
And, even better, I’m all jazzed up for a reread of the novel now (despite having read it quite a times already – see reviews here and here) plus having studied it in grad school rather a lot. (I thought that I had a copy of this on the home TBR but it seems not. No probs. I’ll just pick it up at the library next time I’m there.)
Luckily, it’s a complex novel with plenty to talk about (along with being a really good read at the same time). If you haven’t partook of it yet, there’s a good read waiting and ready.
So, this scratched several itches all at the same time: I was looking for a classic to read (check), I was looking for a graphic novel to read (check) and most importantly of all – I was looking for a great reading experience (check). All good.
Hmm. Maybe it’s time to bump the biography of Fitzgerald on the old TBR pile…
Summer continues apace and it’s been fun. There’s been a lot of messing around, a bit of mucking about and slacking off and I’ve been working on the chilling-out mindset like a crazy woman. 😉
So – what have I been doing? Let’s see. I’ve been reading (and owe the blog a review or two); I’ve been writing (still work to be done at the office); I’ve been snoozing and working out quite a bit, and I’ve been cooking and looking at recipes. (I know – who is this alien who is currently inhabiting my body with interest enough to enter the kitchen to create dishes, not just eat them?)
The animals have been very happy to have me home a lot more than in the Spring. They’re so sweet. When you’re busy in life, they can seem quite peripheral but spending time with them this summer has been delightful and fun for all of us. Diablo Cat is sitting in my reading chair and stare-dozing in my direction (as cats do). Nova Dog is snoozing in the hall corridor and Fergus Cat is outside doing whatever she does out there. It’s all go at the JOMP household.
Oh wait. We did do something productive today: we worked out at the gym and now I’m going to start playing with (i.e., reorganizing) my bookshelves. I’m such a book nerd. 🙂
This week has plans for the Superhero and I to go caravan-camping in New Mexico (at the end of the week) so we need to prep for that. My past history would dictate that camping is dreadful but now we have this caravan-thing, it’s much more civilized and we know (royal “we” – it’s really all the Superhero) more about what we’re doing. I’m really looking forward to it.
Just happened to find myself at the library the other day – a complete accident, I tell you! /jk/ – and these titles happened to make it home with me:
(Top to bottom in photo):
The Old Curiosity Shop – Charles Dickens (F)
Seeking Pleasure in the Old Wild West – David Dary (NF/history)
Women of the Four Winds: The Adventures of Four of America’s First Women Explorers – Elizabeth Fagg Olds (NF/history) (not in pic)
The Great Gatsby – graphic novel (love this read) – not pictured
DK Eyewitness Medieval Life
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History – S.C. Gwynne (NF/history)
(Can you tell I was roaming the history stacks? It was glorious.)
So what am I reading right now?
Well, these are in line but at this very moment in time, I’m reading an adventure/travel writing book called Side Country: Tales of Death and Life in the Back Roads of Sports by John Branch and then a quick look at a title from the TBR: The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Salvomir Rawicz (1956), a NF about Rawicz who was a young Polish cavalry officer who was arrested by the Russians and, after brutal interrogation and a farce of a trial, he was sentenced to 25 years’ hard labor in the Gulags. In the depth of winter in Siberia, he escaped and crossed the trans-Siberian railway and headed south to freedom. (Supposed to be an amazing read so I’m looking forward to this.)
And my regular summer project of a reread of the AP Style Manual….
“If you’re e.e. Cummings or Joyce or someone like that, you can play around because you already know the rules. You’re completely disciplined in it, so you can play around. But you have know the language first; otherwise it’s just a lot of blather.”