Friday, April 18, 2014

Catch Up Time

Not much going on overall these days. But here's a few tidbits.

I see that a handful of other blogs will do something like "Throwback Thursday" and feature an old photo as an easy blog entry. And yeah, I may try doing something like that but I don't necessarily think it's easier. It involves going through the boxes of photos, picking one out, scanning and uploading it and then writing about it. Seems like a bunch of extra steps to me!

I have been trying to make a dent in my reading pile. I was going through my bookcases and I realized I have quite a few books I haven't even read yet! So I put all my library books on hold for the time being and am trying to read the things I already have. Lots of history: a three book history of England by Simon Schama, a two volume biography of Hitler, Team of Rivals (from which the movie "Lincoln" came), and a few others.

In trying to pare down the amount of stuff I have, I have gotten rid of a lot of books and almost all of the DVDs. If it's something I won't read again, can get at the library, or have on my Kindle, it's not staying on the bookcases. I have been transferring the books I want from Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin (or as we call him in our house "Grrrr Martin"), Anne Rice, Jean Auel, and so forth to my Kindle.

As an avid reader I absolutely prefer a real book in my hands. If a book has maps or family trees I like to flip back and forth to them and that is much easier to do with a real book than a digital copy. But it is so much easier to HOLD the Kindle than, say, a 5 pound behemoth from Stephen King. Some books aren't available digitally yet. The Rona Jaffe books I want are not, nor is ...And Ladies of the Club, a huge paperback from the early 1980s. They will stay on my bookcase for now. As will my Poldark books.

Only 3 out of 12 Poldark books are available for the Kindle in the United States and it doesn't look like the rest will follow. They are all available in England though. There is apparently a way to get books from Amazon.uk involving resetting your Kindle to think it's British. Or something. I still need to do some research!

We were supposed to see the doctor on April 15th to get results of the genetic tests performed on The Boy and my mother-in-law but the doctor rescheduled and we won't see him until May 7th. If The Boy matches his dad's bad gene then they both have muscular dystrophy. And if The Boy has it then they can keep an eye on him over the years and minimize any heart problems as they arise. He would also have a 50/50 chance of passing it on to his own children. (If he doesn't have the bad gene, then yay! None of this matters.) If my mother-in-law has it then it's possible her other children might have it. We sure hope not though.

The Boy and I have been going to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I treadmill at my usual pace, about 3.5 miles per hour. My son RUNS on the treadmill, somewhere in the 5+ mph. But he's 20 and already fit so I can't really compare myself to him!

So here's a "throwback" picture! I am not sure when it was taken but I'm guessing Easter 1964? I'm not sure when else I would have had an outfit that included gloves! 

Here's another from the same day. This might not be Easter after all. My brother Everest and I were both born in February so by Easter 1964 (March 29th that year) he would have only been 5 weeks old (I would have just turned 2) and he looks older than that.

This picture of me makes me laugh; I love the way I am staring at those gloves (click on the picture to see it bigger):


Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ten Books, Volume 2, 2014

Sorry. Time has slipped away. Everything is fine. Let's catch up on books, shall we?

NON-FICTION
  • Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas by Rebecca Solnit
    • I happened to see a blurb about a New Orleans atlas that came out last November and I was intrigued. Unfortunately, my library did not have it but they had an earlier book about San Francisco. I wasn't sure if I wanted to BUY a copy of the New Orleans book so I thought if I liked the San Francisco book then it would help me decide.
    • So. This was an odd book. It had lots of maps as befits an atlas but they were unusual to say the least. Each map was accompanied by an essay.
    • Several maps combined things, as maps do, such as butterfly habitats and gay-related places. On the same map. 
    • Probably the worst part is that the maps are hard to read in the center sections because the book does not open flat.
    • Despite the odd mixture of map topics it was definitely interesting but I decided that I didn't need to buy the new Orleans version. And then it turns out my library got a copy after all! More on that in the next post about books.
  • Zentangle Untangled: Inspiration and Prompts for Meditative Drawing by Kass Hall
    • I like to doodle so I thought this might be fun to peruse. Apparently Zentangle is a thing: people take classes about it and buy kits and so forth. This book covers a bunch of Zentangle patterns but wasn't really what I was looking for. I will continue to doodle in the time-honored way of just doing it!
  • The Cranford Companion by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin
    • A book with behind-the-scenes tales of the PBS series Cranford and Return to Cranford. I watched the whole series in January and really enjoyed reading the book about the locations and actors (including my current actor crush Tom Hiddleston!).
FICTION
  • The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
    •  I loved this book. It is a fictional story about a real person, the actress Louise Brooks. The story is told through the eyes of Cora, a 36-year-old housewife who volunteers to chaperone 15-year-old Louise from Wichita, Kansas to New York City for the summer of 1922. Louise proves to be a handful but Cora has her own secret past to uncover.
  • Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
    • After watching the miniseries I picked up the book too!
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
    • I have two more Jane Austen books to read: Emma and Mansfield Park. I have already read Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and this one, Northanger Abbey.
    • This is the story of Catherine and her visit to Bath, England. She makes new friends and meets an eligible young man (who likes her too) but Catherine's love of Gothic novels (which causes her imagination to run wild) and some unfortunate friendships thwart her budding romance. Will it all come right in the end? It will! I really liked it.
  • Downton Abbey Script Book Season 1 by Julian Fellowes
  • Downton Abbey Script Book Season 2 by Julian Fellowes
    • These were so much fun to read because I am a big "Downton Abbey" fan! These books include the complete scripts of every episode and also add in the scenes cut from the show. Julian Fellowes also footnotes the scripts with lots of comments and explanations. The season 3 book doesn't come out until late this year and hopefully the season 4 book around the same time.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
    • It turns out you can rent one book a month from Amazon.com for the Kindle. I chose these to borrow for February and March. I have read them before but I had just seen the 2nd movie so I wanted to refresh my memory of the story. I will probably reread the 3rd book in April. (I really wish we could borrow more than one book a month though!)