floremolla's 2020 ROOTS

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floremolla's 2020 ROOTS

Editado: Dez 31, 2020, 1:08 pm

Back for my fourth year of reading my own tomes. Previous years' efforts here:


172 items ROOTed in 3 years, 204 items acquired - but somehow my TBR has gone down from 190 last year to 182 this year. Hmmm. Can only only assume my cataloguing has been less than accurate...

Goals for 2020:
20% DROOTs (deep ROOTS)
20% on the BYMRBYD list
20% non-fiction
20% BFBs (Big fat books, more than 500 pp)
Complete Infinite Jest
Improve cataloguing accuracy (ha!)
Reduce Mt TBR

1. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse 694pp 06.01.20 (D)
2. Hard Times by Charles Dickens 350pp (est) 13.01.20 (D)
3. The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin 319pp 22.01.20
4. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller 519pp 31.01.20 (D)
5. White Teeth by Zadie Smith 542pp (D) 19.02.20
6. Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore 01.03.20
7. In The Time of The Butterflies by Julia Alvarez 01.03.20
8. Revenge of The Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan (D) 10.03.20
9. The Second Wife by Elizabeth Buchan (D) 16.03.20
10. An Unequal Marriage by Emma Tennant (D) 24.03.20
11. My Antonia by Willa Cather 12.04.20
12. The Witch Stone by Margaret Duncan (D) 18.04.20
13. Happiness by Aminatta Forna 30.04.20
14. Of Marriageable Age by Sharon Maas (D) 10.05.20
15. The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon 14.05.20
16. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton 20.05.20
17. River, Cross My Heart by Breena Clarke (D) 25.05.20
18. The Island Beneath The Sea by Isabelle Allende 31.05.20
19. Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel 01.06.20
20. Daniel Deronda by George Eliot 17.06.20
21. Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keays 01.07.20
22. The Fourth Queen by Debbie Taylor 09.07.20
23. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna 20.07.20
24. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 12.08.20
25. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg 16.08.20
26. Theft by Peter Carey 28.08.20
27. Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey 12.09.20
28. Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift 14.09.20
28. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan 21.09.20
29. Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie 26.10.20
30. The Warden by Anthony Trollope 24.10.20
32. The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien 24.10.20
33. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy 12.11.20
34. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel 22.11.20
35. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner 25.11.20
36. Looking for the Possible Dance by AL Kennedy
37. The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan
38. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
39. Foe by JM Coetzee
40. By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho
41. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
42. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
43. Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse
44. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
45. Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
46. The Cockroach by Ian McEwan

Editado: Jan 4, 2020, 6:48 pm


Will try to resist as long as possible...ok that didn't last a week:

1. The No-Nonsense Home Organization Plan by Kim Davidson Jones 04.01.20 ✔️

Dez 30, 2019, 11:36 pm


Dez 31, 2019, 3:14 am

Welcome back and Happy ROOTing, Donna.

Dez 31, 2019, 7:45 am

Good to see you back again, Donna. I hope 2020 is good to you.

Dez 31, 2019, 2:37 pm

Yay, welcome back, Donna! :D

Dez 31, 2019, 5:52 pm

Wishing you a happy year of ROOTing in 2020! :)

Jan 1, 2020, 2:06 pm

Hi Donna!

Happy New Year and happy ROOTing in 2020!

Jan 1, 2020, 6:08 pm

Thank you >4 connie53:, >5 Jackie_K:, >6 rabbitprincess:, >7 This-n-That: and >8 karenmarie:!

Hoping to be more focused this year and better at keeping up with the threads. Feeling optimistic about 2020!

Started my reading with an audiobook of Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, the paperback of which I've had on my shelf for a decade and a half. It's 18 and a half hours long (almost 700 pages) so will see me through a post-festive domestic tidy-up and the start of a serious decluttering programme. Seriously.

Jan 1, 2020, 10:03 pm

Ooh Ooh! Are you decluttering too? I am several days into it and I am flabbergasted at the sheer volume of stuff I have in this house. I'm working slowly at a snail's pace because of my lung condition but I am trying to clean up one small space before I move on to another. Right now I am concentrating on the foot of my bed and the massive amount of clothing and paper that has been there for *unintelligible* amount of time. I think I have enough socks to last me for the rest of my life. And probably yours too.

But I digress. Happy to see you back and I look forward to seeing your progress again.

Jan 2, 2020, 4:42 am

Great to see you back - and happy to see the idea of DROOTs catching on!

Jan 2, 2020, 7:09 am

I want to declutter too. I told my husband this and he rolled his eyes, because he's heard it before. But I have no more room for anything, and lots of things I never use. This is my year! (I hope)

Jan 2, 2020, 8:04 am

It must be the year of decluttering! I'm plan to slowly work my way through cupboards and drawers. And the garage and the room above it.

Editado: Jan 2, 2020, 8:25 am

>10 enemyanniemae: >12 Jackie_K: this is the classic time of year for instigating a declutter - the secret is to keep it going and I think >10 enemyanniemae: hits the nail on the head with small spaces at a time. I downloaded 30 Days to a Clean and Organized House by Katie Berrie and she suggests starting with your spice rack. Or in my case two large plastic tubs full of glass bottles, jars and plastic sachets. Not sure that you have to be draconian in weeding out the past-their-sell-by-date ones. I had a jar of mixed spice 17 years past its BB date and my Christmas cakes never killed anyone. As far as I’m aware.

>11 Henrik_Madsen: realised last year that I’ve been making ROOTing too easy for myself by acquiring lots of books I want to read and then holding them over till they become ROOTs the following year (by my rules). I’ll never make a dent in the real deep roots unless I set a target, so your DROOT category chimed with me and I’ll be tackling some of the ones I might have been avoiding!

Editado: Jan 2, 2020, 9:13 am

>14 floremolla: The Jar of Fate has been really good for me to get to the ones that have been on the shelf forever.

For my declutter I really need to focus on our spare room, as it is where I do my working from home. Unfortunately it is also the place where we hang wet washing to dry, and put the pile of clothes for ironing, and stash anything that we haven't got room anywhere else for, as well as some of the clothes and toys that A has outgrown. There's a single bed in there as well, but it's so buried there's no way anyone's sleeping on it any time soon! My desk is a tip, and I can barely see the floor. I think I'm going to make a start clearing the bookshelves (before you faint at the thought, most of them don't actually have books on them!) A lot of them are full of my PhD folders, with millions of photocopied articles. I am finally biting the bullet and am going to clear them this year. I can then put some stuff from the floor on the shelves, and start to feel a bit more in control. Once I've got some floor space, I can then start properly sorting things out into keeping/recycling/binning piles. I want to do at least one run to the tip/charity shop per month, and by the end of the year have a room I'll be happy to work in.

Jan 2, 2020, 10:02 am

Hi Donna!

>9 floremolla: serious decluttering programme Good luck! Something I need to work on, too.

>14 floremolla: I have some seriously old spices, too. The poultry seasoning worked just fine in the dressing yesterday, though.

two large plastic tubs full of glass bottles, jars and plastic sachets Not two tubs, but at least two smallish boxes taking up space in the pantry. I have a real hard time getting rid of glass spice bottles.

DROOTs works for me – I’d already planned to pick two books tagged ‘tbr’ from each year I’ve been on LT.

Jan 2, 2020, 10:41 am

Welcome back Donna and happy 2020! Cheers to all the declutter-ers -- my husband and I are planning a relocation in retirement so I've been keeping the trash and donation bins full...so satisfying right?! Lately I've been paying attention to areas that frustrate me (usually when I can't easily access/store stuff) and tidying those little areas makes a real difference.

>16 karenmarie: I like your idea of ROOTing a couple books from each LT year.

Jan 2, 2020, 11:36 am

>15 Jackie_K: your spare room sounds like my garage which is a kind of holding-facility for clutter. Whenever I start a purge I start in the garage, thus making room for the next lot of stuff I'm not ready to dispose of yet...and so it goes on. Nature abhors a vacuum.

>16 karenmarie: >17 detailmuse: decluttering tips, ROOTing tips - all life-hacks welcome here since I'm also planning a relocation, definitely downsizing and perhaps moving to the city. It's a bit scary hence focusing on micro-managing my spice storage.

Jan 2, 2020, 12:59 pm

Welcome back, Donna, and happy ROOTing. And good luck with the decluttering. I should do some myself...but I can't bring myself to make the time.

Jan 2, 2020, 5:33 pm

Thanks, Birgit - like you I'm being a bit less ambitious this year, hoping to stay focused on my goals.

Hopefully the decluttering will be a means to an end - simplifying my life and freeing up more time for me in the long run!

Jan 2, 2020, 7:40 pm

Happy ROOTing! My clutter is out of control. I need to take a page from your book and try to get it under control!

Jan 3, 2020, 12:54 am

Happy New Year, Donna! I also do that trick of buying the books I want to read and letting them age for a year so they are ROOTs. In fact, I feel guilty if I read a book that hasn't gone through the aging process. Good luck with your decluttering.

Jan 3, 2020, 2:55 am

>14 floremolla:,>22 Familyhistorian: I tend to do that too. Letting new books age into ROOTs.

Jan 3, 2020, 3:58 am

Happy ROOTing, Donna

Jan 3, 2020, 3:58 pm

Happy ROOTing and good luck with the decluttering!

>14 floremolla: I think this is why I don't have an age rule for my ROOTs, as I think I'd just start holding them until they counted. Anything off my shelves counts for me, even if I bought it yesterday. But I do try to get to the older ones, too.

Jan 3, 2020, 4:34 pm

Nice to know I’m not alone in cultivating ROOTs and collecting clutter :)

Jan 4, 2020, 4:54 pm

For me, the most effective decluttering mantra is Marie Kondo’s “does it ‘spark joy’?” (where joy can be utilitarian as with spices :) not just emotional). Her methods (everything dumped into the center of a room; clothes folded just-so) don’t match as much for me, and I’ve only read her tidying book (not the Netflix adaptation). But even when an item of mine still has a theoretical usefulness (a third or fourth heavy blanket…what if we lose power in the winter?!), I find myself realizing it sparks more joy to donate it for someone who’ll use it right now.

A mind-altering take-away from The No-Nonsense Home Organization Plan was that: “The goal in having storage is to make it as easy as possible to return items to their designated homes when not being used” -- that it’s not just about keeping things handy where they’re needed, but even more so about making things so easy to put away that maintaining the organization is do-able.

And years ago, a friend introduced me to Marla Cilley -- her book Sink Reflections and her website, flylady.net . Not sure if either is in print/updated still, but Cilley emphasizes tidying in tiny, do-able doses.

Jan 4, 2020, 6:49 pm

Thanks for these recommendation, MJ. I've already read Marie Kondo's book and picked up some useful tips but didn't follow through the whole process. I store my clothing according to her system, but I just haven't pared down as much as I could've done. I shall give that a try.

I downloaded (Kindle edition) and read in an hour The No-Nonsense Home Organization Plan - this could indeed be a useful tool for approaching organisation in a logical way. I need to envisage what I might want/use in a smaller living space and think this could help. I'm going to start implementing it on Monday.

Flylady.net is still up and running but I think I've got enough inspiration now to keep me busy for a while!

Jan 5, 2020, 4:13 pm

While it is not about whole home decluttering, I recently bought my own copy of The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good. I started reading a library copy but realized I would need my own if I wanted to follow its ideas about sustainable and ethical fashion. Perhaps its principles could be translated to deal with other stuff in our homes.

Jan 5, 2020, 5:26 pm

>29 Familyhistorian: I like the look of that, thanks, Meg - it’s going on my wishlist. I see how it can work in a domestic sense too. A timely reminder that I’ll keep in mind during my decluttering odyssey:)

Jan 6, 2020, 1:02 am

I hope you can adapt some of the ideas. It was a Future Learn course called Fashion's Future: The Sustainable Development Goals that made me more aware of the problem.

Jan 6, 2020, 12:45 pm

>31 Familyhistorian: I've been interested in sustainable living since I studied the Brundtland Report in the early 90s while doing my urban planning degree, but it's good to keep up with developments and the emergence of ethical shopping.

Editado: Jan 22, 2020, 7:48 pm

1. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse :: 694pp

A young English woman holidaying in south west France finds an ancient underground tomb while assisting at an archaeological dig. Almost immediately she is drawn into intrigue with police, a missing friend and the feeling she is being followed and watched. She becomes increasingly aware of a strong feeling of deja vu. The story alternates between 2005 and the thirteenth century where parallels emerge with a young woman tasked with protecting secret ancient knowledge during a period of religious persecution that sees her people branded as heretics by a corrupt element of the Catholic Church.

This was quite a quick read despite its length. The only areas I slowed down were where the actual history of the Cathars and the region around Carcassone was recounted. Though it was a bloody history (with a land-grab and ethnic cleansing at its heart) I was intrigued to learn about the various forces at play and the unique cultural heritage of the area. The story was well written and well resolved and the author's research was well integrated, not tacked on in an obvious way. 3.7/5 stars. (I alternated between the paperback and audiobook because there was a lot of French language and names that I couldn't always pick up on audio, even though narration by Louise Brealey was good)

Editado: Jan 22, 2020, 7:49 pm

# 2. Hard Times by Charles Dickens :: (Audiobook) :: 1001 BYMRBYD

In an industrial town in the north of England, local squire Thomas Gradgrind brings his children up on science and facts, facts, facts! He entrusts his son Tom to an apprenticeship, and his daughter Louisa's hand in marriage, to his friend Josiah Bounderby, a pompous self-made man who owns the local bank and talks constantly of his miserable childhood. Into their lives come an assortment of characters, not least the caddish James Harthouse who, besotted with Louisa, sets out to seduce her. Subplots include the adoption of Sissy Jupe into the Gradgrind household when her circus clown father abandons her, and the desperate situation of factory worker Stephen Blackpool who's wretched alcoholic wife has ruined his life, yet he cannot abandon her to be with his true love, Rachael.

Hard Times is one of Dickens' shorter novels and, unusually, is not set in London. It is the author's response and attempt to draw attention to the worsening of social and health problems and economic inequity in the industrial north of Britain in the mid nineteenth century. It particularly references the rise of the trade union movement and differences between how the rich were protected and served by the law while the poor were excluded. He also takes a swipe at the education system that teaches by rote and doesn't allow for creativity and wonder. Dickens' customary rich characterisation gives us characters ranging from the ridiculous to the sleekit, the feckless to the noble, and the innocent to the evil-intentioned. The narrative comes to a head when money is stolen from the bank, blame falls on the hapless Blackpool and it becomes a race against time to prove his innocence. While Dickens proceeds to resolve the storylines and tie up the loose ends, this is not a tale where the noble are rewarded and true love triumphs over all, hence the ending seemed emotionally flat - though probably all the more realistic for that. 4 stars (which also applies to Martin Jarvis' narration)

Jan 13, 2020, 8:59 pm

Hard Times ought to be my next Dickens! Or maybe I'll get to that one after Our Mutual Friend.

Jan 15, 2020, 5:24 am

Hi Donna!

I admire people who read and love Dickens, but have finally come to the conclusion that I'm not really one of them. I've read 4 over the course of my lifetime, one in high school (we're talking 1969-ish) and one each in 2016, 2017, and 2018. But I abandoned two last year and don't see myself picking up another any time soon.

There are Janeites (lovers of Jane Austen) and Dickensians (lovers of Dickens) and rarely is one person both, I think. I'm a Janeite.

Editado: Jan 22, 2020, 7:47 pm

>35 rabbitprincess: hi RP, I preferred Our Mutual Friend to Hard Times - it was laugh out loud funny at times despite the fact the main subject is a corpse. There's also some horrific violence which I didn't expect from CD but to compensate I got quite swept up in the love story angle. Hard Times was a more down-beat affair unfortunately but the richness of the storytelling makes it worthwhile. Can't wait to see the upcoming film adaption, The Personal History of David Copperfiled - it looks fun!

>36 karenmarie: hi Karen, for all I've written in praise of Dickens I fully appreciate how he does go on far too long at times, some of the subject matter isn't very attractive and let's not even mention how his characterisation can be sexist and racist. But I've now read seven of his novels and there are such gems of observation in there I feel it's worth the effort. Plus I'm usually listening on audiobook - Dickens used to read his books aloud to a theatre audience and for me they work best spoken and make especially good companions to a long drive or a mindless chore.

I do love Austin too though and am long overdue revisiting some of her novels. Hers work better for me as paper books, they're much more pithy and the joy is in rereading and savouring the detail.

Jan 22, 2020, 7:32 pm

>37 floremolla: Hmm, I had always thought Dickens would be difficult to listen to, but you're persuading me to give it a try!

Jan 22, 2020, 7:41 pm

#3. The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin :: 319pp :: 1001 BYMRBYD

Talented physicist Shevek leaves his planet Annares to travel to its sister planet Urras to connect with alien scientists in pursuance of his quest to prove a Theory of Simultaneity that will make instantaneous communications possible across the nine known worlds of the universe.

The novel follows two time sequences alternately: Shevek's life on Annares leading up to his voyage to Urras, and from his setting out on the voyage to his return. This device cleverly reveals Shevek's and his allies' intentions for the trip so that what seems a random outcome appears to have been part of the plan all along.

The worlds of Anarres and Urras - particularly Annares - are incredibly detailed and convincing. The population of Annares was once a subjugated minority, who suffered under Urras' propertarian and egoistic culture, who fled to the adjacent planet to set up their own non-authoritarian egalitarian community, under the auspices of a visionary, Odo. Annares proves a challenge however as it has a bleak and hostile environment where animals cannot survive in nature and the population is always struggling to feed itself. They have created a culture where no one owns anything and they cannot even have their own children live with them; the parents must be free to be deployed for the common good. So Annares is not quite the promised land, and tensions grow among those who would seek to improve conditions and those who would preserve the status quo.

Shevek decides to go to Urras against the wishes of his government. Once there he is shocked by the inequalities in Urrasti society but awed by the beauty of the planet and the people. When he is approached by a rebel organisation and tries to speak out on their behalf he unleashes a terrible response from the Urrasti government.

It's in the last chapters that the novel really excels, with rebellion simmering on both Anarres and Urras and dialogue focusing on the benefits and disadvantages of each culture and system of government and whether or not they should work together. An intelligent and affecting novel and incredibly current despite being published in 1974 - 5 stars and a topical parting extract:

"My world, my Earth, is a ruin. A planet destroyed by the human species. We multiplied and gobbled and fought until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first. There are no forests left on my Earth. The air is grey, the sky is grey, it is always hot.....There are nearly half a billion of us now. Once there were nine billion. You can see the old cities still everywhere. The bones and brick go to dust, but the little pieces of plastic never do, they never adapt either. We failed as a species...."

Jan 22, 2020, 7:46 pm

>38 curioussquared: if you're fine with audiobooks I'd recommend you give Dickens a try. I particularly enjoyed David Copperfield and Great Expectations. Try some samples before you decide on which narrator to choose because you'll be stuck with them for over 30 hours! ;)

Jan 22, 2020, 8:32 pm

>37 floremolla: I cannot WAIT for David Copperfield!!! Peter Capaldi AND Hugh Laurie in the same movie makes my heart sing :D

Jan 23, 2020, 6:40 am

>37 floremolla: >41 rabbitprincess: me too - my favourite Dickens, and all those wonderful actors! I read an interview with Armando Iannucci where he was talking about the gems of observations throughout the book, and I'm so excited to see what he does with them.

Jan 23, 2020, 6:39 pm

>41 rabbitprincess: ooh yes, great cast! I love Tilda Swinton too - well you have to love someone who’s born in London but considers themselves first and foremost a Scot ;)

>42 Jackie_K: my favourite Dickens too (so far) and Iannucci has the Midas touch, so yes, I have great expectations (sorry)

Editado: Fev 1, 2020, 1:13 pm

#4. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller :: 519pp :: 1001 BYMRBYD

It's WWII and Captain John Yossarian, a US Air Force bombardier, whose unit is based on an island in the Mediterranean, has flown forty four missions. He's malingering in hospital with not-quite-a-temperature/liver complaint hoping that now he's flown more than the required 40 missions he'll be allowed to go home. Then he's told the colonel has increased the number to 50. He's caught in a Catch 22 situation - to quote from the blurb: "if he flies he's crazy and doesn't have to; but if he doesn't want to, he must be sane, and has to". He's also sharing a tent with a dead man....

Joseph Heller coined the phrase Catch 22 with this novel that charts the absurdities of war, and the people and processes employed in fighting it. Catch 22 situations pop up time and again, as do hare-brained schemes and hilarious set-pieces involving Yossarian's colleagues and their efforts to get through their service period as comfortably as possible and distract themselves from the horrors of war.

While this is a highly satirical, and often comic, novel it doesn't shy away from difficult subjects - the disastrous missions, the young man killed before he'd even had time to register with the unit, accidental death, suicide. Also the impact on civilians; local people forced into crime and prostitution by extreme poverty, and exploited by army personnel. As the novel progresses the reader learns more and more about the atrocities Yossarian has witnessed and begins to understand his despair. But, against expectations, he rediscovers his capacity for hope and empathy, and the novel ends on a more positive note.

5 stars for extremely clever use of satire and a structure that gradually reveals the whole story. I disliked how the women characters were commoditised and portrayed as vacuous sluts, but expect that was a fairly accurate reflection of attitudes of the times. I'd planned to read the book and listen to audio alternately but ended up sticking mainly with audio; the narration by Trevor White was so easy to follow and his accents just brought it all to life.

Fev 2, 2020, 8:06 am

>44 floremolla: Great review, as always. One of the few novels I'd happily re-read.

Looks like you have copied the wrong ticker to the group total - so you're January total is still zero!

Editado: Fev 2, 2020, 3:32 pm

>45 si: oh dear! Thanks, Si, all sorted now!

Yes, Catch 22 is so dense with clever dialogue and ideas, it would be worth a reread or to listen to again.

Fev 3, 2020, 12:39 pm

Catch 22, I loved it too! haha I guess I started it "on audio" because I remember being very very young, on a road trip with my dad driving and my mom reading passages to him and laughing so hard she could barely get it out ... heard the word "Yossarian" so many times. Finally read it decades later and loved it enough to get me through his Something Happened, which I liked. You've hit me with an author BB! -- just now got his illness memoir, No Laughing Matter.

Fev 3, 2020, 1:24 pm

My wife and I love Catch 22 so much that we named our dog Yossarian!

Fev 3, 2020, 5:59 pm

>47 detailmuse: That's a wonderful image of your mom reading the book aloud and laughing so hard as she did so :D

Editado: Fev 4, 2020, 6:56 pm

>47 detailmuse: what a lovely memory, MJ! I'd happily try another of Heller's books, so have added the two you've mentioned to my wishlist.

>48 rocketjk: cool! Funnily enough it crossed my mind it would make a good pet name :)

Fev 4, 2020, 9:13 pm

>50 floremolla: That dog was lucky. Our second choice was Portnoy. :)

More seriously, a lot of people told us we were making a mistake because dogs supposedly cannot get used to names of more than two syllables. Our fellow had no trouble whatsoever.

Fev 5, 2020, 4:57 pm

>49 rabbitprincess: :)

>50 floremolla: I will warn you that NOTHING HAPPENS in Something Happened. Except for.....
It was a Heller-ish slog and I liked it.

Editado: Mar 11, 2020, 9:44 pm

>51 rocketjk: yes, there would be no escaping attention with that name!

Our Golden Retriever had the rather alarming kennel name 'Feklar Fluctuations' - the breeder was a Trekkie - try shouting that in the park. We called him Rory.

>52 detailmuse: noted! But I trust 'nothing happens' in a humorous fashion.

Fev 8, 2020, 9:12 am

>44 floremolla: Excellent review. I read this book in high school. Quite a bit of it will have gone over my head, obviously. Perhaps I should re-read it sometime this year. Somehow I also acquired the Sparknotes for it.

Fev 10, 2020, 5:12 pm

>54 karenmarie: hi Karen, thanks - not an easy book to absorb in one reading and I think you might be right about some of it going over your head if you read it as a teenager. Some quite adult themes going on there! Could be worth another look from a more mature perspective :)

Mar 1, 2020, 12:59 pm

February was a slow month for reading and listening - I’m about to embark on downsizing my home, moving from the sticks to the city. It’s early days - not moving till July - but I’m stressing already, which isn’t conducive to reading and relaxing. I’ve finished White Teeth by Zadie Smith and am halfway through In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. On audiobook I’ve two hours left of Birdcage Walk. Reviews to follow.

Mar 1, 2020, 12:59 pm

Review pending..,

Mar 4, 2020, 10:24 am

>56 floremolla: That's so exciting!! Back to Glasgow?

Mar 7, 2020, 1:06 pm

Good luck with the downsizing. Just tackle it in small pieces that should cut it down to size a bit.

Mar 7, 2020, 2:46 pm

Good luck with the downsizing, I hope it goes well.

My husband and daughter are trying to persuade me to move somewhere bigger; I'm resisting for the time being as I find moving so stressful! But I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to be able to hold out from the constant "mum, I *really really wish* I had a bigger bedroom" (big sigh).

Mar 9, 2020, 9:00 pm

Hi, thank you all for your good wishes, I’ll need them!

>58 detailmuse: Yes, MJ, after a thirty year sojourn in the sticks, moving back to Glasgow is the plan. I’ve received an offer for my house and am looking around - the housing market in the west end of the city is perennially highly competitive so no doubt it’ll involve some compromise.

>59 Familyhistorian: Decluttering has begun, Meg, and not in a particularly orderly fashion. Decided to do it by theme rather than by room. This week I’m focusing on all documents, magazines, papers and (eek!) books (though in truth there will be very few casualties in that department ;))

>60 Jackie_K: I can see how stressful this process is likely to become as the clock ticks down on an entry date and I’m under pressure to buy a flat and declutter/pack a lifetime’s possessions for removal. Fortunately I have friends and family on standby for helping out.

One thing I will say about upsizing, Jackie, if you’re seriously contemplating it, is to beware of over-committing on something that requires time and money spent on endless upkeep. There’s a lot to be said for a compact, easily managed home. I’m at a stage where I’d rather be doing things I enjoy with the people I love than household chores. But I do remember how very much I wanted a room of my own when I was a child, and the thrill of our first house move - it was only next door, and I don’t recall anyone being stressed at all!

Mar 10, 2020, 10:11 am

Good luck with the decluttering, Donna. I have this on my to-do list for my retirement, and it scares me quite a bit to think of all the forgotten items I haven't even seen in ages. And I have always lived in a flat. I can't imagine how much stuff accumulates in a house.

Mar 11, 2020, 6:01 pm

>62 MissWatson: thanks Birgit, I've got a lot of space filled with a lot of stuff! But I've had a eureka moment - I'm now trying not to think in terms of what I should dispose of, but about what things I really like and would use long term. Any decent stuff I have no room for will be gladly received by family members who are still at the 'upsizing' stage in life.

Mar 12, 2020, 12:33 am

I'm late to the decluttering discussion, but I really like Julia Morgenstern's When Organizing Isn't Enough. She doesn't give rules about how much you must get rid of or how brutal you need to be about it. Instead she walks you through exploring who you are at this stage of your life and recognizing which possessions are consistent with this and which are no longer relevant and can bless someone else. I've come to realize I really have no interest in making my own candles and could release two 56 qt. bins of supplies! But my husband still thinks he may make candles so the bins stay for the moment. 😏

Mar 12, 2020, 5:17 am

>63 floremolla: That is a great idea, Donna! I'll remember this when I look at the kitchen cabinets tonight. All that crockery I never use...

Mar 15, 2020, 5:53 am

I always loved moving, but I know I have at least 3 stress moments. I warned the people, who helped with the move, those moments would be there and I just have to go through them. It really helped to know the moments would come. And when we last moved I did not have them.

Decluttering is a good idea. I have to do that too.

Mar 17, 2020, 3:57 pm

>what things I really like and would use long term
I like this

>66 connie53: Are they always a similar 3 moments? I declutter periodically but haven't moved in 30+ years and could use a heads up :))

Mar 18, 2020, 1:48 pm

>67 detailmuse: No, those moments are not similar. When we moved from house number 2 to house number 3 (now in house number 4) I just lost sight of what everybody was doing and labelled boxes ended up in the wrong part of the house. And I had a little panic moment, tears and all. But everybody was warned I would have them and we just did drink coffee first and calm down.

So it's good to label the boxes. And ask anyone who helps to take the boxes to the right room. You might consider to use one room for stacking the boxes you have to assemble cabinets for.

When we last moved we even had a friend over of our sons. I think he was 16 at the time.

Mar 29, 2020, 3:10 pm

Thanks Connie, all good to know!

Mar 31, 2020, 7:47 am

How things change in 20 days! I hope you're staying safe, Donna.

Abr 21, 2020, 12:40 pm

>68 connie53: good advice, thank you, Connie!

>70 karenmarie: Hi Karen! Yes, I'm fine thanks - I hope you're well? Things have been fine here; living in a small town in the sticks has its benefits of wide spaces and open access to the countryside. After a week or so of food and loo-roll shortages things settled down and now we're well provided for. Milk and newspapers are still delivered to the doorstep as they've been for the past three decades. I'm very aware of how fortunate we are. On Easter Monday we sat outside on a lovely sunny evening and my next door neighbour, a professional musician, treated us to a concert of folk music. A sublime moment among the panic and anxiety.

I've been rather distracted with the whole moving house thing - we progressed to written legal offer stage but now everything has ground to a halt, the buyers can't get their house on the market and there's nothing for me to buy. In an early burst of defiant energy I started packing, then gradually lost interest, so every room is now in a state of ridiculous disorder.

Moving to a flat suddenly feels a step too far - good weather for the past fortnight means my garden has been well used. I'd miss having outside space, although tbh I'd happily settle for something much smaller and low maintenance nowadays.

I've got my daughter staying with me, working from home. She's hard working and very organised and I'm being almost bullied into having a proper routine of cooking, eating, exercising etc. She's great company. The online creative writing course I gave her for Christmas came to an end - she got very good feedback and signed up for the next level. She's looking for open writing competitions, so if you hear of any please let me know!

On the reading side, I've read several books that wouldn't have been my first choice but they're ones I won't keep - it gets them off the shelves (the number of book-filled packing boxes is giving me palpitations). It's been a mixed bag but with some pleasant surprises. I'll post an update on those soon.

I also had my five year Thingaversary, on 19 April, so am thinking about what treats to buy, though unless it's an audiobook I think I'll leave till after lockdown.

Looking forward to catching up with threads over the next few days and hoping you're all keeping safe and well.

Abr 21, 2020, 3:15 pm

Good to hear your update, Donna - I'm glad you're keeping well. The concert by your next door neighbour sounds fabulous!

Abr 21, 2020, 5:40 pm

Glad to hear from you and to hear that your daughter is staying with you. Stay safe and healthy!

Abr 21, 2020, 6:19 pm

>72 Jackie_K: and >73 rabbitprincess: thank you, and wishing you both safety and good health!

Editado: Abr 22, 2020, 10:31 am

A garden must be heavenly in these strange days when so many things are on hold or downright discouraged. Stay safe!
Also: belated Happy Thingaversary!

Abr 22, 2020, 10:33 am

>71 floremolla: Thanks for the update. Yes, I'm doing well. Hunkered down, plenty of stuff in the pantry and freezer although I do plan on going out perhaps tomorrow to get some fresh fruit and vegetables and some of my husband's soda (unfortunately - he's addicted to the stuff). I've got lots of good books to read although I'm having a hard time settling on a new nonfiction book. I'm going to try In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick and see if that one works.

Congrats on your 5-year Thingaversary.

Abr 26, 2020, 7:43 pm

>75 MissWatson: thanks, Birgit, the garden has been much appreciated of late. Usually I'd be spending a small fortune on container plants and compost at the garden centre but this year I've just divided up some perennials and herbs and potted them up with garden soil. A satisfying exercise in thrift, plus I've potted some extra for friends - hope I see them before long! I hope you're coping well - stay safe when lockdown is eased!

>76 karenmarie: thanks for your update too, Karen. It's comforting when we can get the things we're used to, especially in the food category!

My daughter is taking turns cooking and came up with the idea of themed Saturday nights - 'Dine-in Destinations' - so far we've had Spain (paella, olives, tinto de verano), France (baked Camembert, coq au vin, chocolate mousse), Scotland (haggis bonbons, Cullen skink), the Seaside (home made fish and chips, ice cream) and Italy (spag bol, tiramisu). We learn facts about the countries, a few phrases in the language, and listen to relevant music or watch a movie. Indulgent, but also solidarity with countries we love.

Abr 26, 2020, 7:46 pm

How nice that you have your daughter to share isolation with even if she does bully you for your own good. The real estate market here has pretty much ground to a halt as well which is so strange for a place where real estate is treated similarly to the stock market with better returns.

Abr 27, 2020, 5:17 am

>77 floremolla: Themed dinners – what a great idea!

Abr 27, 2020, 9:49 am

>78 Familyhistorian: haha, yes, Meg, for my own good! If only I could keep up the pace! I'm wondering whether I should re-think my strategy of living in the city if CV is going to be around for a while. Been looking at rural properties. Feeling confused to be honest!

>79 MissWatson: yes, it gives us something to look forward to at weekends :)

Abr 27, 2020, 6:28 pm

>80 floremolla: Maybe take a pause and feel out how things go after things open up a bit. It's hard to say what will happen in the future as so many goal posts have changed.

Abr 30, 2020, 9:45 am

Hi Donna!

>77 floremolla: What a lovely idea, themed Saturday nights. Good for you.

>80 floremolla: I guess that moving to a city if CV's going to be around for a while may not make sense, and I can see how confusing it all is with such a big decision. Good luck. We live in a rural area with the closest town about 9 miles away. Our problem right now is that both towns that are close to us have CV clusters - closest town in a senior care center with 57 cases and one death, and the next closest town a chicken processing plant with 71 cases. I drove to the northern edge of the next closest rural town, 23 miles away, to go grocery shopping last week. And now I just saw that the biggest gardening center nearby has one case of CV and any motivation I had to do some summer vegetable gardening has gone by the wayside.

Maio 11, 2020, 3:51 am

Hi Donna, good to hear you and your daughter are al right and are having a great time. I'm glad with my garden too. We had a bit of summer last week and it was very nice reading in the sun. Here measurements are easing up gradually. Today daycare and elementary schools are opening up as are libraries and museums. And hairdressers! Which is a very good thing for me and Peet because we look definitely terrible.

I can understand why the moving is postponed. It's a bit scary in these times. And I think you are more safe in a small town than in an apartment. Keep safe.

Maio 11, 2020, 5:24 pm

I love the idea of your Saturday theme nights! Eating, like reading, is such a good way to explore the world - especially at the moment when we can't go very far. Stay safe, and well.

Maio 22, 2020, 10:57 am

Wow, how nice to be isolating with your daughter! - and themed Saturday nights! Sounds like there's good energy in your household

Jul 1, 2020, 1:36 pm


Jul 1, 2020, 1:36 pm

Reviews 2

Jul 1, 2020, 1:39 pm

Thanks for the messages, all. Sorry I've been notable by my absence lately. A bit jaded from lockdown and increasingly nervous about missing the opportunity to sell my house, because the property market has been static. I've used the time to pack and there's been some decluttering, if you count piling stuff up to think about later! And then the garden, slumbering through a dry spell, erupted into life with a very good impersonation of a jungle.

I'll edit this post later to update on my reading, meanwhile I must report for the monthly group stats!

Jul 15, 2020, 3:22 am

Hi Donna. Sorry to hear about your trouble selling the house. I hope you have some good news soon.

Our garden is similar to yours. I have been trying to do something about that, but are a bit overwhelmed and don't really know where to start so I tend to do nothing.

Ago 12, 2020, 9:31 am

Hi Donna.

I hope you've sold your house, have your garden as under control as a garden in August can be, and are doing well with the lockdown.

Ago 19, 2020, 3:20 pm

Hi Donna - hope you're well. Echoing Karen, I hope the house sale is going/has gone well, although of course it is a weird time to be on the market.

Set 4, 2020, 4:51 am

Hi Donna, just popping in to see what's happening. I hope you are doing fine. And what is said above!

Set 11, 2020, 5:52 pm

Hi! Sorry I’ve been AWOL. With a huge effort I managed to pack myself up along with all my books (removals guy: “huv ye thought about getting a Kindle?!” Hehe!) and moved on 20 August. I’m in Perthshire now, in the town of Crieff. I love it!

Unfortunately there’s been a mix up with my telephone line, and I’m still without broadband, but hopefully it should be resolved next week, then I’ll be back rooting around LT. I have been reading - one of the upsides to having no broadband or tv :) - so I’ll update my ticker and reviews, and catch up on threads soon.

I hope you’re all keeping safe and well and I’m looking forward to making contact again.

Set 11, 2020, 5:59 pm

>93 floremolla: Congrats on the move! That removals guy thinks he's pretty clever, huh ;)

Set 11, 2020, 7:59 pm

>93 floremolla: Great to hear from you! Enjoy digging through all your books in your new home :)

Set 12, 2020, 4:45 am

Good to hear the moving went smoothly. And you are getting comfortable in your new town.

Set 12, 2020, 9:32 am

Congratulations on the move! Crieff is lovely, I hope you feel happy and settled there very soon!

Set 12, 2020, 12:22 pm

So good to hear the move went well! Good luck with the technical troubles!

Set 12, 2020, 3:09 pm

Congrats on your move, Donna, and I hope you get the technical issues resolved quickly.

Set 13, 2020, 9:10 am

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Set 14, 2020, 4:44 pm

Congratulations on your move, I'm so happy for you!!

Set 27, 2020, 5:45 pm

Thank you all for your congrats and kind words :) Settling in now, most boxes unpacked, except for my books. Needing some shelves and since this is 'second-hand September' I'm holding out for used items, to buy online or in charity or antique shops.

I still have too much stuff but hope to unload some to people who are upsizing. Also have some bits of DIY to do around the house but nothing major. Trying to make sure I take time out every few days to enjoy my new surroundings.

And of course time for reading. I've a paper book (The Warden by Anthony Trollope), and an audiobook (Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie) on the go at the moment, hopefully both will be finished by end of the month. Then I have 20 more to read to hit my ROOTs target - should be doable in three months, no?

Ah, it's nice to be back.

Set 28, 2020, 6:30 am

It's nice to have you back and to hear that you're enjoying your new home!

Out 3, 2020, 3:12 am

I think you can reach your goal, Donna. Go for it.

Good to hear you are settling in nicely.

Dez 25, 2020, 9:17 am

Happy Holidays from the Netherlands!

Dez 31, 2020, 4:42 pm

>105 connie53: lovely, thank you, Connie! Season's greetings to you too, belatedly!

Dez 31, 2020, 5:08 pm

A happy Hello, Donna, sending cheers for your new year!

Editado: Jan 1, 2021, 7:38 pm

I didn't quite make my target this year, despite a late rally. But it was all in good cause, helping my brother redecorate his family's new home so they could move in before Christmas.

I've also been caught up in genealogical research, online courses and making curtains for my new home. All good distractions from the anxieties of Covid.

It's been a helluva year, but it still brought memories to cherish: family and friends have never been so dear, simple pleasures so appreciated, or new beginnings so anticipated. Roll on 2021!

Dez 31, 2020, 5:29 pm

>107 detailmuse: Hi, MJ! Hello to you too, and very best wishes for a Happy New Year!