Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Almost the end of January and reading...

Hey, everyone!  Nice to be here to and share a little bit.  The picture above is from my walk this morning.  It shows a few of the deer (I count 12) that are wandering around our neighborhood all the time.  This bunch are all does I think and they were happily congregated and munching.  The bucks are out and around though and the other day there was some 'courtship' going on in our backyard.  Well, the buck wanted 'courtship', but the does were saying 'no, thanks!'.  Ha!  It was fairly cool out there today, low 40's with a breeze, and I was moving briskly.  Here's a little update:


Another two books finished, both of which are for library book groups here.  I'm trying to get a little ahead of things with those four groups and also trying to select which ones I will indeed read and which I'll skim or skip.  

Chronicles of a Radical Hag (With Recipes) by Lorna Landvik

Land That I Love by Gail Kittleson

I enjoyed both of these books and especially liked Land That I Love.  I wasn't expecting to like that one so much, but just goes to show - you never know.

I've read other books by Lorna Landvik in the past, but it's been quite a while.  Chronicles of a Radical Hag is the February selection for the 'Brown Bag' Book Group and I'll share about our discussion after that occurs.  I will say that this one had more overview of the time period from the '60's to almost current day and it was told partly through newspaper columns that one of the characters had written across that time period.  Lots of reminders of things that I hadn't forgotten completely, but had not thought of in years.  Plus recipes.  The main story is about Haze Evans, the columnist, who has had a stroke and is in a coma.  Her publisher, Susan McGrath, decides to republish Haze's first column and then continues republishing selected columns in order.  And this is how the story is told, also with bits from the present day.  

Land That I Love by Gail Kittleson is the selection for the 'Talking Texas' Book Group for January.  We will meet tomorrow and talk about it and the author is supposed to be with us to share her writing journey.  This event had to be rescheduled once, but it seems it will happen this time.  The story is set in the Texas Hill Country, mostly north of where we are here in Kerrville, and the time period is the WWII era.  I was happy to read the book, but had no idea that I would enjoy the historical and local tidbits so very much.  Again, I'll share more next week after the meeting. 

New Mystery Book Group:

The second new book group that the library here has started is one that will concentrate on the mystery genre.  And I guess you can imagine that attending this one will not at all be a 'chore' for me.  Ha!  I am delighted.  The librarian/moderator told us that she wants to read all kinds of mysteries and shared how this genre is more broad than many readers would think.  There were five of us in attendance and apparently three others called the library to say they wanted to come but the weather forecast was not good.  We did have sleet/snow spitting outside last Thursday.  We shared what we liked about reading mysteries and there was another member who had been part of a mystery book group in the past.  I think this group will be fun and I suspect others will want to join.  

Our first book selection is The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.  It's one that I've had on my list and heard good things, but not read as yet.  Well, I'm in the middle of it now and liking it a lot.  The second book in the series is out now and a third is promised.  The Thursday Murder Club is nominated for at least 6 upcoming mystery awards.  Have you read it and what did you think?

Regular Life:

I don't have much to share in this category.  Just doing the usual or what has become the usual.  Volunteering for things connected with the library and the Friends of the Library, walking in the neighborhood and always getting to visit with or meet others that way.  We're still working on making selections for our upcoming renovations.  And we're not driving into Austin as much as we thought we would.  I do have some upcoming annual doctor appointments, but that's about it.  

Hope all of you are well and have had a good January.  See you next week and February, here we come! 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Another busy week - reading and other stuff...

Greetings, book friends!  Hope all of you are doing OK and managing through winter, complicated times, and also in your health.  I am doing fine and have been busy.  I'm trying to think about how to construct these 'weekly' posts.  Think I won't worry about whether they are actually about a 7-day week or just what's been going on since I last posted.  I don't seem to be able to plan to write this on a certain day.  Anyway, I'm sure you don't care about that.  Ha!  Well, let's see what I can share:


I've finished two more books since we last visited together.  I liked both of them, one more than the other.  

Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer 

A Flicker In The Dark by Stacy Willingham

Saving Meghan was a book I'd had on my Kindle for well over a year.  Written by D.J. Palmer (who is also Daniel Palmer), it was what I'd call a medical thriller.  I used to really like those types of books - like what Robin Cook has written.  I finished this one, but wasn't quite as pleased.  Featuring a teenage daughter with an 'unknown' illness, a mother who teetered on the edge of way too overly involved in her daughter's life, and a father that I didn't like at all, this book kind of got on my nerves.  I will probably not read any more books by this author.

A Flicker In The Dark was one that I did like quite a bit.  It's a dark story with a theme about missing teenage girls in the past, in the current day, and a female psychologist who has family secrets about the past and perhaps about the present.  It's gotten a lot of notice and the blurbs were by big-name authors.  Think it has also been sold already for TV adaptation.  It's Stacy Willingham's debut novel and I think she's definitely got talent.  A few annoyances about the protagonist and I did figure out most of the twists, but that's not unusual for me.  I can recommend this one and would be interested in what others think about it. 

'Brown Bag' Book Group:

The 'Brown Bag' book group is one I've attended before here in Kerrville and it's the 2nd week of the month book 'club'.  We read and discussed The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.  I liked the book a lot and thought it was quite interesting in the ways it made me think about my life and what might have been different had I chosen another path.  Most in the group liked it, though there were a couple who were not as impressed.  I think it was quite a 'change-up' for several with the meta-physical aspects included.  Our librarian moderator mentioned several things about the author and his struggles with mental health.  We thought that he did a good job with including some aspects of that personal challenge through the story.  Several said that they would try other books by him.

Our selection for February is Lorna Landvik's Chronicles of a Radical Hag (With Recipes).  I'm reading that one right now.

Regular Life:

In 'non-book' life, we met with our contractor to do some more planning for our upcoming renovations inside our house.  Those will include the kitchen and bathrooms.  He made the suggestion that we should go ahead and pick out the counters, tile, appliances, etc., because of a need to get orders in.  Yes, there are supply chain issues and material holdups.  Right now, windows that he had ordered for another job are 21 weeks out.  Whew!  We did go and take a look at a couple of showrooms and made our selections.  We'll see how it goes when orders are placed.  The contractor and his staff won't be starting here for several more weeks, but we'll get there eventually.  

Otherwise, it's cold today with bits of sleet spitting down.  Not much and don't think it will be enough to mess up the roads.  It was well over 70 yesterday and the ground is warm.  That's January in Texas.  You never know what you'll get from day to day.  As I said last week, I'm ready for the wildflowers.  Have a good week!     

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

2022 is starting off well in my reading department....happily!

Hello book friends!  As I mentioned a couple of times, I'm going to try to stop by here at least once a week and share a bit about my reading, my book groups, my volunteering, my walking, and whatever else I can think up to talk about.


I've finished three books so far in 2022 and I'm happy about my reading pace.  I enjoyed all of them.

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell  

Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger

The Sorority Murder by Allison Brennan

I think I might have read a book by Lisa Jewell before, but I can't quite remember.  Lisa Unger is a great favorite of mine and I've loved her books set in upstate New York in a town called The Hollows.  That location plays a bit of a part in Last Girl Ghosted, but it's not one that is exclusively set there.  I've known of Allison Brennan for many years, but have not read any of her books.  I liked this and will probably check out more of her books.  I do think I saw Allison at a book conference a number of years ago. 

Historical Fiction Book Group:

I've mentioned that my new library here in Kerrville is starting two new book groups this year and so that will mean every Thursday will have a meeting there for a total of four groups.  The first week of the month is the Historical Fiction Group.  There were 8 of us at the first meeting, including the librarian and she spent a bit of time talking about what the group would be like.  She encouraged all of us to suggest books and then told us what we'd read for our February meeting.  The choice was The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.  I read that one about three years ago and discussed it with the mystery group I was part of in Austin.  A good choice and a couple of the others had read it as well and were enthusiastic about it.  Kate Quinn's newest book, The Rose Code, was also mentioned as a good one.  I checked out The Alice Network and plan to at least skim it again to refresh my memory.  We'll know the Mar-Jun books at the next meeting.  I think I can handle 4 groups.  Ha!

Regular Life:

I went to Austin early last week for my annual dermatologist appointment and was happy to see that she didn't find too many little spots to 'freeze' with her liquid nitrogen.  Yay!  I always want to keep up with those exams as I've had some little skin cancers in the past that had to be taken off.  Best to be proactive with those screenings.  Let's see - I also got a haircut on Thursday and helped out at the 'Friends of the Library' bookstore on Wednesday.  We had trees trimmed in our yard and it's looking so much better.  Maybe some grass can actually grow in the back yard.  It was so full of shade that not much sunlight reached the ground.  Still waiting on the inside renovations, but the outside is shaping up nicely.  

I think that's about all I have to share this week.  No pictures from my walks.  It's been quite cool and my hands are wearing gloves and stuffed in my pockets.  Spring will arrive in a few weeks though and I look forward to wildflowers.  Take care everyone and see you next week!!  

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Reading in 2021 - a short list of favorites...

Hey everyone!  I thought I would share a short list of books I read in 2021 that were 'favorites' or were thought provoking for me.  Some were ones that I read and discussed with book groups and some were just my own picks.  My reading in 2021 was definitely 'off' in a lot of ways.  I was distracted and also busy with moving and settling in a new location.  Anyway, I read 83 books in total and 53 of them were read in the last half of the year.  As usual, my tendency is toward women writers - 62 were by women and 21 by men.  I don't think I have an overall favorite, but each of these 'spoke' to me in some way or another.  

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths - read and discussed with mystery book group

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey - read and discussed with mystery book group

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict - again, read and discussed with mystery book group

Bitterroot Lake by Alicia Beckman - change of pace book by author Leslie Budewitz, writer of cozy mysteries - this one isn't so 'cozy' but I liked it a lot.

Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson - another book group discussion - the afternoon book group in Austin that I will miss a lot - quite an odd little book but I liked it.

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths - latest in this author's Ruth Galloway series - love that series!

Joanna Schaffhausen's books - this author has two series - Ellery Hathaway with 4 books so far (new one out later this month) and one book in her Annelisa Vega series (2nd book out in the summer) - I really liked all 5 books I read.  Recommended author and series.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig - will be discussing this book with the 'Brown Bag' book group here at my new library in a couple of weeks - very thought provoking book for me - what if you had made some different decisions - what might your life look like?  I'll be interested in other members' reactions.

So, that's it for 2021 reading.  As I shared in my last post, my new library will be having 4 book groups a month and I'm going to try to be a bit involved in all of them.  We shall see.  And I also talked about my goal for this year is to stop by here at least once a week and share what I've been up to.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year!! And what does reading mean to you? I'm curious....


May I wish all of you a very Happy New Year - this year that is amazingly enough 2022!  I hope that all are well and have enjoyed the holiday season.  Hope you've read some good books and gotten to spend some time with family and friends.  Hope so many things for this year.  I'm going to share some quotes about reading and especially re-reading.  I've shared these before, but after 2021 and the messy reading year that I had, I want to make 'reading for joy and pleasure' a focus for 2022.  

"Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are" is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread.   ~~Francois Mauriac~~

When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before.     ~~Clifton Fadiman~~

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.     ~~W. Somerset Maugham~~


What I'll say is nothing new for me - reading is indeed my refuge and hiding place and my comfort.  Last year I got a bit off track.  Too much going on.  Too many distractions.  Too much media.  Too much worry.  I did read, for sure, but my numbers were down and I got frustrated with certain themes and topics.  I feel like for 2022 that I want to take a deep breath (or maybe 20 deep breaths) and begin again with all the pursuits that bring me pleasure, joy, and fulfillment. 

I'm hoping to stop by here at least once a week (or maybe more often if that works) and share what I've been reading, what I've been doing, and what I've found joyful.  My library here in Kerrville is starting two new book groups - that will be one a week - and I'm hoping to try the new ones and continue with the current ones.  We'll see if 4 book groups is doable (plus I'd still like to read along with the mystery group in Austin if I can).  

Now I need to go catch up on my blog reading.  I'm way behind.  Probably no comments for this pass through, but know that I'm reading them and nodding my head.  Again, Happy New Year!!  Let's find some joy and pleasure through reading this year.  Hugs to all!