Laura (lauralkeet)'s 2023 Books - Part 10

É uma continuação do tópico Laura (lauralkeet)'s 2023 Books - Part 9.

Este tópico foi continuado por Laura (lauralkeet)'s 2023 Books - Part 11.

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Laura (lauralkeet)'s 2023 Books - Part 10

1lauralkeet
Editado: Out 31, 11:29 am



Alys enjoying a recent visit to our local winery

Welcome to my thread! I'm Laura, 61, retired. My husband Chris and I live in an 18th century farmhouse in northern Virginia, with our 8-year-old terrier mix, Alys, who has a place of honor at the top of my threads. We keep ourselves busy with gardening and various home projects. Besides reading, I spend a lot of time knitting and weaving. I occasionally post photos of my work here; if you’re so inclined you can enjoy more “fun with fiber” on my thread in the Needlearts group.

2023 is my fifteenth year in the 75 Book Challenge Group, which I can hardly believe. I love this group! I'm more interested in the quality of my reading than the quantity, so this year I have abandoned the infamous ticker. I read mostly contemporary fiction, with the odd classic or memoir thrown in. I enjoy reading where my mood takes me, but this year I want to be a little more intentional in seeking out nonfiction and prize winners or nominees.

Books Featured on This Thread
(Go here to see all books read this year)
50. Mad Honey
51. Somebody's Fool
52. All That She Carried
53. Jutland Cottage
54. Gun Street Girl

2lauralkeet
Editado: Out 14, 2:55 pm

Series Progress

Active series as of October 1 (updated quarterly):


A snapshot of my active series sorted on the "progress" column.

Series completed/current in 2023:
* Inspector Gamache
* Ruth Galloway
* Thursday Murder Club
* North Bath

Series started in 2023:
* Kurt Wallander (resumed after a long hiatus)
* Kinsey Millhone
* Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James

Series abandoned in 2023:
* Lymond Chronicles

3lauralkeet
Editado: Out 31, 11:30 am



Currently Reading & On Deck



Gun Street Girl

4lauralkeet
Editado: Out 1, 10:00 am

Welcome to October!

Yesterday was productive in a low-key way. I spent a bit of time in the veg garden clearing out the last of the tomato bed, putting away the stakes that held up the vines, and then sowing a cover crop. It wasn't a particularly difficult job, and it was nice to be outside on a sunny day.

Other Saturday news:
* Crafting: nothing

* Reading: Mad Honey, in which I reached the anticipated plot twist, which was a bit surprising even though it wasn't surprising. I know that doesn't make sense but I can't explain without spoilers so here goes: Since Jennifer Finney Boylan is co-author I expected a transgender storyline, it was just a matter of how and when it would appear.

* Viewing: Gardeners World, in which Monty Don planted garlic among his many other tasks. Which leads me to ...

Today's agenda:
It's a lazy Sunday so far, but I'm hoping to plant our garlic today, using the best cloves from the garlic we grew this year. I might also tackle some pruning at the side entrance to our house, which is also our everyday entrance. The spirea flanking the stairs has gotten a bit out of hand, and we also have some dead things in pots that, shall we say, detract from the overall appearance. I expect I'll do some knitting while watching TV tonight, probably the Fair Isle hat, but I'd also like to start Tyler's Christmas stocking today.

Wordle 834 4/6

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PRIDE, STARE, METER, BERET

5figsfromthistle
Out 1, 8:01 am

Happy new one!

>4 lauralkeet: I enjoy watching Monty Don's shows. Have fun with the garlic planting! Based on the season where I live, it will be the end of October when I plant mine.

6BLBera
Out 1, 8:27 am

Happy new one, Laura. Alys looks interested.

7msf59
Out 1, 8:27 am

Happy Sunday, Laura. Happy New Thread. I like the Alys topper. I will also watch your final thoughts on Somebody's Fool. I enjoyed the first 2.

8katiekrug
Out 1, 9:05 am

Happy new thread, Laura! Sounds like you are having a nice weekend.

9klobrien2
Out 1, 4:26 pm

>1 lauralkeet: Don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but your Alys is such a cutie-pie!

Happy new thread!

Karen O

10quondame
Out 1, 6:03 pm

Happy new thread Laura!

Alys is such a darling!

11RebaRelishesReading
Out 1, 7:18 pm

You're reading two of my favorite recent books -- hope you're enjoying them and having a lovely weekend while you do :)

12lauralkeet
Out 1, 7:57 pm

Hello everyone and thanks for visiting!

>5 figsfromthistle: I'm glad to see another Monty Don fan here. The show is such a regular part of our week that we always feel a bit out of sorts when the season ends.

>6 BLBera: Hi Beth! Alys loves people-watching and the winery can be a good place to do that.

>7 msf59: Hiya Mark! I'm looking forward to the Russo. Like you I enjoyed the first two books.

>8 katiekrug: Hiya Katie! It has indeed been a nice weekend, thanks.

>9 klobrien2: I shared your comment with Alys, and she says thank you very much Karen. 😀

>10 quondame: Thanks Susan.

>11 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba, it's been a good weekend for reading. Mad Honey is actually due back at the library tomorrow but I won't be finished in time. I shouldn't be too late though, a) because I'm enjoying it and b) because I want to start Somebody's Fool.

13PaulCranswick
Out 1, 9:11 pm

Happy new thread, Laura.

14lauralkeet
Editado: Out 2, 8:41 am

Happy Monday!

Nice day yesterday. I planted the garlic. It felt weird to be planting something for next year when I'm mostly cleaning up the season that just finished. We won't harvest the garlic until July. Then I got out the pruning shears and gave our side entrance bushes a major haircut. Very satisfying.

Also:
* Crafting: I started Tyler's stocking and worked a decent chunk of the Fair Isle Hat

* Reading: More Mad Honey

* Viewing: In search of something mellow, we opted for the film adaptation of A Month in the Country, starring Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh in their youth (it was made in 1987). I really liked the book and had watched the movie before, but it was a long time ago and Chris hadn't seen it.

Today's agenda:
I'm working a library shift this morning and then most likely crafting and reading. I don't have any pressing gardening tasks although it's always possible Chris will ask me to help out with something, which is fine especially because the weather is really nice right now.

I leave you with this, for your viewing pleasure:
Mexican football match halted by pitch-invading dog that steals the ball – video

Wordle 835 4/6

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PLATE, RISER, BERRY, MERRY

15lauralkeet
Out 2, 8:42 am

>13 PaulCranswick: Missed you there, Paul. Sorry about that! *waves*

16RebaRelishesReading
Editado: Out 3, 12:09 am

>12 lauralkeet: Love your reading plan (of course - you know I loved both of those). I'm going to think of you sitting in your beautiful garden, or in your charming house, reading all day today :)

17klobrien2
Out 2, 5:02 pm

>14 lauralkeet: That video was just hilarious! Thanks for posting!

Karen O

18drneutron
Out 2, 8:35 pm

Happy new thread, Laura!

19SandyAMcPherson
Out 3, 12:00 am

>14 lauralkeet: Yes, really made me laugh: a whole field full of players+ refs and so forth and they didn't plan anything concerted.

Nice shiny new thread, too, Laura! Happy reads ahead.

20vancouverdeb
Out 3, 1:59 am

Happy New Thread, Laura! Many happy reads ahead. I've not yet created any comments on Gin,Turpentine, Pennyroyal ,Rue, but I hope to do so soon, and I highly recommend the book. Sweet picture of Alys.

21lauralkeet
Out 3, 8:51 am

>16 RebaRelishesReading: Well I didn't quite read all day, Reba, but I did read a fair bit which was happy-making.

>17 klobrien2:, >19 SandyAMcPherson: I'm glad you both enjoyed the dog video! I loved how the dog managed to stay just out of reach for so long.

>18 drneutron: Hi Jim!

>20 vancouverdeb: I'll be on the lookout, Deborah. It sounds like such a good book.

22lauralkeet
Out 3, 9:02 am

Hiya folks!

Here's what I got up to yesterday after my library shift:
* Crafting: Tyler's Christmas stocking

* Reading: Mad Honey. Riveting.

* Viewing: First, University Challenge, with one pretty amazing team. Then, Chris wanted to watch one of his "comfort shows" rather than a violent crime drama, so he put on an episode of The Musketeers which turned out to be more violent than usual so not sure he achieved his objective. I read my book. 😀

As for today ... we've already been to our class at the gym (we've started going to an early session which to my surprise is really working out well, it's nice to get it over with). I'm going to tackle a garden chore or two this morning. I made a list of autumn jobs yesterday and decided it won't be too overwhelming if I just take it a bit at a time. I also have a little bit of housework to do today or tomorrow because Kate, Julia and Noah are coming down on Thursday for the weekend.

Wordle 836 4/6

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MOUSE, GRIME, WHITE, WHILE

23johnsimpson
Out 3, 4:17 pm

Hi Laura my dear, Happy New Thread dear friend.

24EBT1002
Editado: Out 3, 11:05 pm

"Riveting" is high praise. I've never read anything by Jodi Picoult but "riveting," ... that's got my attention.

I loaned my (signed) copy of Prophet Song to a local friend. I think she'll get to it pretty quickly and then I'd be happy to send it to you for reading and forwarding along. If I really thought it would be "worth" big bucks, I would not offer - lol. It is one of the best books I've ever read.

25lauralkeet
Out 4, 9:08 am

>23 johnsimpson: Hi John, and thanks for stopping by.

>24 EBT1002: Ellen, it's been ages since I read anything by Jodi Picoult, although I enjoyed the books I read way back when. This one caught my eye because Jennifer Finney Boylan is the co-author. It also came highly recommended by both Katie and Reba.

It's so kind of you to offer to send Prophet Song my way whenever your friend is done with it. And I will be happy to pass it along to someone else too. I'll PM you my current address.

26lauralkeet
Out 4, 9:19 am

Yesterday was uneventful. Garden chores, a tiny bit of housework, and a phone call with an HVAC guy to clarify some items on his project proposal.

Here's what I got up to yesterday after my library shift:
* Crafting: I worked on the Fair Isle hat while watching TV.

* Reading: I didn't do any reading until bedtime, because I wanted to just sort of sit with Mad Honey for a bit. I started reading Somebody's Fool, which begins 10 years after the previous book so in the beginning there's a lot of setup.

* Viewing: We stumbled across a documentary about Impressionist painters on YouTube, and then watched a bit of this and that.

Today's agenda includes some garden chores, vacuuming and dusting, and trying to eliminate all stink bugs from the guest rooms. They are especially plentiful this year so I'll probably have to give the rooms a once-over tomorrow before Kate, Julia, and Noah arrive. It's hopeless really, but better than just letting their gross little bodies pile up.

Wordle 837 3/6

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LATER, ROUST, SPURT

27katiekrug
Out 4, 9:28 am

>25 lauralkeet: - If Prophet Song is going to start making the rounds, please put me on the list!

I'm glad Mad Honey was such a good read for you, Laura.

28RebaRelishesReading
Out 4, 12:44 pm

Good luck with your stink bug project (Euuuw) and gardening. I was planning to do some fall garden clean-up chores today but it's pretty dreary looking out there so I may weasel out of it...I'm very good a procrastination you know :)

29alcottacre
Out 4, 12:44 pm

Happy new thread, Laura!

30lauralkeet
Out 4, 1:30 pm

>27 katiekrug: Okay Katie! I'll plan to send it to you.

>28 RebaRelishesReading: I got *my* garden chores done Reba, but Chris has just suggested we tackle another one. Argh. First I must deal with the indoor stuff.

>29 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia!

31lauralkeet
Out 4, 1:30 pm


50. Mad Honey ()

Olivia McAfee left an abusive marriage several years ago and now earns a living raising bees and selling their honey. Her son Asher is now a high-school senior, popular with his peers and generally a nice guy. Asher came to the aid of Lily, a new girl at school who was being hit on by another boy, and they ultimately became a couple. Then one afternoon, Asher arrives at Lily’s house to find her alone, collapsed at the foot of the stairs and bleeding heavily. Lily dies of her injuries and Asher becomes a murder suspect. This sets up a compelling narrative, told in alternating chapters by Olivia in the present day, and Lily in the months before she died.

In Olivia’s chapters we see a mother fiercely defending her son, while also fearing he has been secretly abusive, much like his father. Lily’s chapters describe her relationship with Asher and move in reverse chronological order from her recent move from California to New Hampshire back to early childhood. Each chapter reveals information important to solving the crime, and makes for an intriguing mystery.

But this novel goes deeper than a typical mystery, by including transgender characters. This collaboration between two well-known authors, one a trans woman, normalizes transgender people, educates readers on some fundamental concepts, and shows the cruelty trans people are often subjected to. Highly recommended.

32RebaRelishesReading
Out 4, 5:02 pm

>30 lauralkeet: Well we braved it. Cut several big branches off of the cedar? (huge evergreens, I'm not sure what they are actually) trees that were leaning on the fence/blocking the stairs/etc. We started cutting them up to drag to the front for our gardeners to take away but (1)a couple were huge and beyond our ability to move and (2)this doesn't really fall into the understanding we have with the gardeners/lawn guys that they will take away the little piles of weeds/trimmings we leave for them. So we left most of the debris in the backyard and I moved to the side yard to tie up the raspberries and tame the strawberries that were escaping the raised bed onto the walk way. I am now very tired and sore.

>31 lauralkeet: So glad you liked Mad Honey!!

33lauralkeet
Out 4, 5:43 pm

>32 RebaRelishesReading: Oof, Reba, that sounds brutal. I don't envy you that project!

34RebaRelishesReading
Out 4, 9:50 pm

>33 lauralkeet: Gardener has agreed to take the branches away -- in principle, need to get a price yet. So they'll be lying where they are for the time being. After a nice shower and a lovely Chinese dinner at our favorite local place I'm feeling pretty fine right now :)

35lauralkeet
Out 5, 8:49 am

That's great news, Reba.

We spent yesterday finishing up some small projects indoors and out, and then putting away all the tools and supplies that had accumulated. I vacuumed the guest rooms but I may do another stinkbug inspection today. Ugh, I hate them.

Also:
* Crafting: Fair Isle hat. I'd say it's about 75% finished.

* Reading: Somebody's Fool, but not as much as I would have liked.

* Viewing: The Wire and some random stuff.

Today's agenda is mostly about grocery shopping, and then hanging out until Kate, Julia, and Noah get here which will probably be mid-afternoon. I'm looking forward to a family hang-out tonight/all weekend.

Wordle 838 4/6

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SHARE, MOUTH, HUNCH, BUNCH

36katiekrug
Out 5, 8:55 am

Sorry about the stink bugs. We have tiny ants suddenly in the kitchen. I swear it's not filthy! So annoying...

Have fun this weekend with "the kids"!

37alcottacre
Editado: Out 5, 10:56 am

>31 lauralkeet: I already have that one in the BlackHole or I would be adding it again. Glad to see that you enjoyed the book.

38weird_O
Out 5, 11:15 am

Catching on some threads, but waiting and hoping others will cycle into a new one. Easier to resume a thread with 15 or 20 posts that one with 200 hundred. Wondering how your "kids" made out in the NYC flooding. My two oldest granddaughters live in Harlem and reported their commutes that day included wading through knee-deep water. I share in the stink-bug war. You know the Lehigh Valley aerodrome welcomed them into this country, stowaways hidden in lumber imported from China. I see them evolving; quite a few I've "eliminated" are more leggy than the baseline model we are accustomed to.

39lauralkeet
Out 5, 12:53 pm

>36 katiekrug: I've had that tiny ant problem before, Katie, but for some reason not this year. I hope I didn't just jinx it.

>37 alcottacre: It's a good one, Stasia.

>38 weird_O: Hi Bill! My daughters were fortunately not affected by the flooding. They stayed indoors of course, and both of them live in 3rd floor apartments, but also their neighborhoods didn't really flood. They were lucky, I guess.

I did not realize the Lehigh Valley was the entry point for stink bugs. Not much of a claim to fame, eh? I confess I haven't examined our stink bugs very closely for legginess. I'll take your word for it!

40figsfromthistle
Out 5, 6:59 pm

>31 lauralkeet: That was a great read for me last month as well. Glad you enjoyed it.

Enjoy your get together with the family.

41vancouverdeb
Out 6, 12:31 am

Stink bugs! So gross! I get my husband to dispose of them . Enjoy your weekend with your family. It's Canadian Thanksgiving here this weekend, so I'll be seeing quite a bit of my family on Sunday for dinner.

42lauralkeet
Out 6, 7:31 am

>40 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita!

>41 vancouverdeb: They are just the grossest bugs ever, Deb. Fortunately they seem to hang out only in a couple areas of our house, the same general area both upstairs and downstairs. Unfortunately this includes our guest rooms. Oh well. I hope you have a wonderful, stinkbug-free Thanksgiving with your family.

43lauralkeet
Out 6, 7:51 am

Happy Friday!

Kate, Julia, and Noah arrived around 2:30pm yesterday, and we had a nice catch up. Julia and Noah's pup Rizzo also made the trip. They adopted him last November, and when they came for Christmas they boarded him at a kennel down the road, because he was still getting adjusted to his new family and we also weren't sure how Alys would respond (she has some history we didn't want to repeat). Julia made boarding arrangements for this trip as well, but yesterday afternoon was an opportunity to introduce the two dogs. It went better than any of us could have imagined. They sniffed, and even played a bit outside, and when we brought them indoors they hung out together on the sofa. Rizzo is staying at the kennel for the rest of the weekend, but we're thinking that won't be necessary at Christmas. I'm absolutely thrilled.

After all that excitement we had a bit of a cookout for dinner, and then went out for fro-yo.

I'm not exactly sure what we'll get up to today. Things are starting out slow and lazy, which is fine with me. We'll see what everyone wants to do once they're up and caffeinated.

Wordle 839 3/6

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SMEAR, MOVIE, CHIME

44EBT1002
Out 6, 10:52 pm

I loved She's Not There when I read it eons ago. I just might give Mad Honey a try.

45MickyFine
Out 7, 10:39 am

Glad to hear your weekend with family is off to a grand start!

46RebaRelishesReading
Out 7, 12:56 pm

Enjoy your family weekend (I'm sure you will)

47alcottacre
Out 7, 1:58 pm

>43 lauralkeet: Glad to hear that the dogs are getting along! I am sure that is a relief to everyone involved.

I hope you enjoy your family time!

48FAMeulstee
Out 8, 3:41 am

Happy new thread, Laura!

Glad to see Alys enjoys her trip to the winery, for other reasons than you ;-)

>43 lauralkeet: That is great, it is always good to let dogs meet at neutral territory. Any pictures of Alys and Rizzo together?

49lauralkeet
Out 8, 11:01 am



Look at that smile!

Hello Ellen, Micky, Reba, Stasia, and Anita! Thanks for keeping my thread warm over the weekend. We had a really nice visit, and packed a lot into a short time. On Friday we went to Middleburg, a town not far from here, to check out a new independent bookstore that opened about a week ago and we all left with at least one book. All That She Carried jumped off the shelves into my hands. I honestly thought I'd heard about it here but can find no evidence in the "Conversations" associated with this book. On Saturday we had originally planned to take part in a cycling event but the day started out very wet so we went bowling instead and had a blast. In the evening a local roller rink was having an "Adult Skate" night, which was also a lot of fun. The travelers left about 10:00 this morning and we are planning a very relaxing day. I've done very little reading and no knitting, so I'm looking forward to a bit of both.

Wordle 841 4/6

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SKATE, PROVE, JUICE, BINGE

50EBT1002
Out 8, 12:18 pm

>49 lauralkeet: Alys looks so happy!!! And that is an interesting Wordle pattern.... I also got it in four but I had more yellows along the way.

51BLBera
Out 8, 1:17 pm

>49 lauralkeet: Adorable!

I have not been a Picoult fan, but Mad Honey does sound good. I'll give it a try.

I would also like to be added to the Prophet Song list...

52lauralkeet
Out 8, 4:07 pm

>50 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! I struggled a bit with Wordle today, with just that one green letter. However, as you've noted on your thread, even the gray cells (or black in your case) are useful information. My fourth guess was a bit of a shot in the dark. I haven't checked Wordlebot but I was probably running out of options.

>51 BLBera: I wouldn't say I'm a fan of Jodi Picoult either, Beth. I've enjoyed a couple of her books for what they are, while recognizing they don't achieve the literary excellence of, say, Ann Patchett. The addition of Jennifer Finney Boylan made it more intriguing than her usual stuff.

Official Prophet Song List
Ellen will send her copy to me and then it will wing its way to:
1) Katie
2) Beth

I'm favoriting this message and will add other requests, up to the point I send the book to Katie.

53katiekrug
Out 8, 5:28 pm

Mad Honey is on sale for Kindle today, if anyone wants to take Laura's advice to read it 🙂

54quondame
Out 8, 5:36 pm

>49 lauralkeet: I'm almost certain that All That She Carried has been mentioned here - but there is more than one book with that title, so maybe not the one you have in hand, and Touchstones are never 100% used or accurate.

55raidergirl3
Out 8, 11:02 pm

>53 katiekrug: thanks for the heads up! Got it!

56dudes22
Out 9, 6:24 am

>53 katiekrug: - Drats - missed it!

>49 lauralkeet: - I started to read All That She Carried last year I think, but it wasn't turning out to be what I was expecting so I put it aside to try again later. I'll be listening to hear what you think of it.

57karenmarie
Out 9, 6:57 am

Hi Laura! Happy new thread.

>14 lauralkeet: I love that the goalie deliberately dropped the ball for the dog.

>23 johnsimpson: Bill has comfort shows too – mostly NCIS and Blue Bloods. I'm only watching Silent Witness and Premier League with Bill.

>22 lauralkeet: and >24 EBT1002: I’ve only read one by Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper, and gave it 4.5 stars. I have 4 others on the shelves for if/when I’m in the mood. I was happily surprised at what a good writer she is. I think I was equating popularity with poor writing, not a good look for me...

>26 lauralkeet: Ugh to stink bugs.

>32 RebaRelishesReading: Leland Cypress? We have a few of them on our property and love them for their blocking purposes besides being a handsome tree.



>36 katiekrug: When ants come in our house they’re looking for water, but I remember you saying your backyard had some standing water recently, so that might not be it for you.

58lauralkeet
Out 9, 8:49 am

>53 katiekrug: Nice!

>54 quondame: Yeah, that's possible.

>55 raidergirl3: Woo hoo!

>56 dudes22: I think I'll be reading it pretty soon, Betty, unless a library hold comes in first. So watch this space!

>57 karenmarie: I think I was equating popularity with poor writing, not a good look for me
I am also guilty of this, Karen. And then occasionally I am pleasantly surprised, and realize I shouldn't be so judgmental. But we're only human, right? At least we're aware of it and trying to be better humans. 😀

That leland cypress is a gorgeous tree.

59lauralkeet
Out 9, 8:54 am

Welcome to a new week!

We took it easy yesterday, planting ourselves on the sofa to watch Premier League football, Formula 1 and Gardeners World. I worked on my Fair Isle hat a little bit, too, and I'm nearly finished. I also took care of a few minor admin tasks and read a nice chunk of Somebody's Fool.

Today will be slow and easy, too. The library is closed for the holiday, so no volunteer shift for me. I have a hair appointment this afternoon, and that's pretty much it. The high point of my day might just be roasted sweet potatoes at dinner, as a side dish to pork tenderloin. I love sweet potatoes.

Wordle 842 4/6

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PLEAT, THINK, TOUCH, TRUTH

60RebaRelishesReading
Out 9, 1:03 pm

>57 karenmarie: Perhaps. That's a lovely one in your photo. Problem for us is that we have a very small back yard with a row of them (planted much to close together) along most of the back and one end. Branches are trying to choke a beautiful fir tree, some keep trying to tear the fence down, some prefer to rest on the roof -- they're just huge trees in the wrong place but too huge to take out completely so we're just trying to prune the most invasive branches back and control them a bit.

61lauralkeet
Editado: Out 10, 8:30 am

Good morning ...

Yesterday's excitement included a haircut, and a stop at the grocery store for a few things we'd run out of. I also puttered around the garden a bit during a brief sunny spell. It wasn't rainy, just overcast.

A few more updates:
* Crafting: A bit of the Fair Isle hat, and a bit of Tyler's stocking.

* Reading: Somebody's Fool, of course.

* Viewing: University Challenge, The Wire, and the first episode of Beckham, the new Netflix docu-series.

My knitting group meets this morning, which is always a fun social time. This afternoon an electrician is supposed to stop by so we can get a second quote on the electrical work required for our HVAC project.

Wordle 843 4/6

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SPOUT, SHARE, SNACK, SNAIL

62katiekrug
Out 10, 8:45 am

UC was, er, rather one-sided, eh? Geez...

Thanks for the reminder about 'Beckham' - I've been meaning to watch.

63RebaRelishesReading
Out 10, 2:38 pm

Good morning Laura -- hope you get lots of cozy time with Mr. Russo today :)

64alcottacre
Out 10, 2:45 pm

>49 lauralkeet: All That She Carried jumped off the shelves into my hands. Isn't it amazing how often that happens? :)

I love the smile!

>52 lauralkeet: I hope you enjoy Prophet Song as much as I did, everyone. If it wins the Booker, I will be extremely happy!

65lauralkeet
Out 11, 8:05 am

>62 katiekrug: UC was definitely one-sided, Katie. I thought I'd responded to your comment here but I guess it was on your thread. There have been a few absolute blow-outs this year but I expect it will be more competitive in the next round.

>63 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba! I always read at bedtime for but for some reason I haven't found as much time to read in the daytime. I find myself doing other things, like crafts, gardening, household chores, etc. Then I get drawn into a TV series or movie in the evening and before I know it, another day has gone by with less reading time than I'd like. Does anyone know how to find more hours in a day?

>64 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! I'm really looking forward to reading Prophet Song.

66lauralkeet
Out 11, 8:18 am

Good morning everyone!

I had a great time at Knitting group yesterday. Our meetings are normally a combination of chat/show-and-tell and a discussion topic, but this month we decided to make it all chat. There were a couple of new folks there, which is always nice to see. One of them asked if I could help her with a project she's working on, where she's having trouble understanding the next steps in the instructions. We arranged a meetup for Thursday to sort it out.

More yesterday's news:
* Crafting: I finished the Fair Isle hat! I need to weave in ends and block it, and will then share photos.

* Reading: a bit of Somebody's Fool. I am really enjoying it, and just haven't found as much reading time in the day as I'd like.

* Viewing: we started a re-watch of the 2005 dramatization of Bleak House, which we watched when it was first released. It's confusing as hell at the beginning but so well done.

Today's agenda began with a 4:30 wake-up courtesy of a chirping smoke alarm battery. Why does that always happen in the middle of the night? Fortunately we were able to change the battery and go back to sleep, but still. I'm planning a low-key morning to compensate. Later this afternoon I have a Guild Board meeting, shifted from its usual morning slot due to a conflict. The Board is only 5 people and we get along really well so the meetings are actually fun.

Wordle 844 3/6

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SMILE, SPOUT, SKUNK

67SandyAMcPherson
Out 11, 10:06 am

>66 lauralkeet: RE 4:30 wake-up courtesy of a chirping smoke alarm battery. *Exactly*! You have all my sympathy.

Why is it so often in the middle of the night (not expecting an answer). If I was attending, I should be writing down a date on the calendar and simply changing the batteries annually in all the alarms on a specific date. But do we do that? Do we even check them for charge level at 6 months with the multi-meter? No and no.

68qebo
Out 11, 11:01 am

>66 lauralkeet: Why does that always happen in the middle of the night?
It does, doesn't it? And I have several so close together (regulations about where they must be placed assume a larger house) that I can't easily tell which one is chirping.

69PawsforThought
Out 11, 1:25 pm

>67 SandyAMcPherson: Over here, the traditional day (well, modern tradition that the emergency services is trying to push) to change batteries in on the first Sunday in Advent. Despite being a very secular country, Advent is a big deal in Sweden and it’s (a real, old) tradition to light candles. December is also the month with by far the highest number of home fires so the new batteries can make big difference.

70RebaRelishesReading
Out 11, 1:49 pm

Bummer about the smoke alarm. You reminded me that we have one hanging loose from the ceiling -- ours are hard-wired to the electric system. This one went off a while ago and we pulled it loose to change the battery (because we didn't realize it was hard-wired). We then pushed the button to silence it and put it back up. Later it fell down again and now, every few days it chirps for no reason. I think we need to get an electrician out to see to it but haven't done that yet either. :(

Sounds like a fun knitting group. I'm most impressed you've finished a fair isle hat already. Many, many years ago I did a fair isle vest for myself. It was fun but took a long time. I don't think I'd start one now. I'm happy knitting baby blankets and baby sweaters and caps to donate. Keeps my fingers busy.

71quondame
Out 11, 4:27 pm

>70 RebaRelishesReading: I recently had Mike return the one in the bedroom that kept going off mid-afternoon. It's been years since it false alarmed at night, thank goodness, but after the 3rd mid-afternoon screech it got removed.

72lauralkeet
Out 11, 5:40 pm

Hi Sandy, Paws, Reba, and Susan

We had hardwired alarms in our previous house so I had totally forgotten about the need to change the battery regularly. The first thing I did this morning when I got up "for real" was set a recurring reminder on my phone for the first Saturday in November. This is when we normally change time and it seemed as good a time as any for an annual battery replacement.

I enjoyed your smoke alarm story, Reba. It sounds like something that could easily happen to us. As for the knitting group, I hadn't done Fair Isle in a while so it was a fun change and I was motivated. I've never tried anything more substantial than a hat, though. That would take some commitment, for sure.

73EBT1002
Out 11, 5:53 pm

Smoke alarm batteries always go out in the middle of the night or when there is only one of you home and the thing is on the vaulted ceiling so you need a ladder to get to it. Ugh.

74lauralkeet
Out 12, 8:36 am

>73 EBT1002: So true, Ellen. We were lucky in that our house has old-fashioned low-ish ceilings. I remember thinking "oh crap all of the ladders are outside" but then Chris was able to reach it with a stepstool. Whew.

75lauralkeet
Out 12, 8:44 am

Not too much to report from yesterday, other than the Board meeting was both productive and fun. We normally meet at the library but this time we were at a member's house and she has some very sweet dogs so that added to the enjoyment for me.

Also yesterday:
* Crafting: Tyler's Christmas stocking. I'm almost finished with the knitted front.

* Reading: I finally found some reading time yesterday -- hurray! It felt really good to just curl up in a chair and get stuck into a book. Bedtime reading was then a bonus rather than the only reading time of the day.

* Viewing: an episode each of Beckham and Bleak House. Two very different shows LOL.

This morning I need to pick up our farm share, and this afternoon I'm meeting up with the Guild member who asked if I could help her with a project she's stuck on. We're getting together at my preferred coffee shop, and I'm already looking forward to a cappuccino ha ha.

Wordle 845 4/6

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LAPSE, WHEEL, ELECT, KNELT
I stared at this for a long time after my third turn before it clicked.

76lauralkeet
Editado: Out 13, 8:43 am

TGIF!

Yesterday was pretty decent. I've been complaining about not getting enough reading time this week, and realized that sometimes I end up puttering around or doing mindless stuff online when I could be reading. So instead I've been grabbing 15-30 minutes here and there and lo and behold, progress and enjoyment. I'll probably finish Somebody's Fool today, and move on to All That She Carried.

Yesterday's fun also included:
* Crafting: I spent more time than expected helping the Guild member sort out her knitting problem, but on the plus side got to know her better. In the evening I finished the knitted portion of Tyler's Christmas Stocking.

* Viewing: an episode of The Wire, and I don't remember what else.

Today's agenda includes grocery shopping, and getting the new covid vaccine. Takeout for dinner, not sure what yet.

In book news Jesmyn Ward, one of my favorite authors, has a new book coming out later this month: Let us Descend. I just requested it from my library. The NYT has a long piece about Ward's life, her writing career, and the new book. For your enjoyment, here's a no-paywall link:
How Jesmyn Ward is Reimagining Southern Literature

Wordle 846 4/6

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WIRED, STALE, BUGLE, UNCLE

77EBT1002
Out 13, 10:00 am

I had a four day too.

Thanks for that link. I’ll read it during my lunch break today. She is a terrific writer and I’ll see if my library has Let Us Descend available for holds yet.

Happy Friday!

78weird_O
Out 13, 11:49 am

I'm reading a book. How about that?

79lauralkeet
Out 14, 6:48 am

>77 EBT1002: Excellent, Ellen. I agree she's a terrific writer. After reading the article I admire her even more.

>78 weird_O: Hurray Bill! I'm glad your reading mojo is in full gear.

80lauralkeet
Out 14, 6:58 am

Welcome to the weekend!

We are now up-to-date on our covid vaccines, with no real side effects other than a bit of arm pain. We rewarded our bravery (!!) with pizza for dinner. Yesterday's weather was pretty nice, too, so we spent a couple hours doing some work in the garden.

Also yesterday:
* Reading: I finished Somebody's Fool. I am a Richard Russo fan and this one, which picks up about 10 years after his previous "Fool" novel, worked well for me. I thought he did a nice job making the transition from a focus on one especially memorable character, to a cast that introduced new faces alongside some from previous books. More to come in my review.

*Crafting: nothing much, just a bit of prep for my next project.

* Viewing: this week's Gardeners World.

Today looks to be a bit rainy. I'm going to barre this morning, and then I'm not sure exactly what I'll get up to. Fortunately I have All that She Carried calling to me. I read a few pages last night and am ready to get deeper into it.

And finally: ta da! -- photos of my Fair Isle Hat:



Oh, and of course Wordle.

Wordle 847 3/6

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TRADE, WHEAT, AGENT

81katiekrug
Out 14, 8:52 am

I love the hat, especially the colors!

All That She Carried has been on my radar since it came out. I'm eager to hear what you think of it.

Grey and rainy (or will be - just sort of damp right now) here, so I expect a cozy day inside...

82Caroline_McElwee
Out 14, 10:48 am

>31 lauralkeet: Putting it on the list.

>80 lauralkeet: Love it. Nice mix of colours too.

83lauralkeet
Out 14, 2:57 pm

>81 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. All The She Carried is off to an interesting start. It's rainy here today too, so I'm taking advantage of it to get stuck into the book.

>82 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caro!

84lauralkeet
Out 14, 2:57 pm


51. Somebody’s Fool ()

Richard Russo’s three North Bath novels are each set 10 years apart. In this installment Sully, the original protagonist, has passed away and the focus moves to his son Peter (now in middle age), and recently retired chief of police Doug Raymer. Peter, a university professor, recently returned to North Bath, NY to renovate a house inherited from his father. He has a close relationship with his eldest son, Will, and is estranged from his two younger sons. Raymer has happily retired from law enforcement, with his former colleague (and new love interest) Charice Boyd now serving as the town’s first Black chief of police.

One Friday afternoon, Raymer assists with the investigation of a body found in an old hotel, and Peter receives a surprise visit from his middle son Thomas. While these two events are unrelated, their impact unfolds over a weekend in which both men must face their own fallibility and seek new paths in their lives. The supporting cast includes some new faces as well as characters from previous books, now in more prominent roles.

Richard Russo brilliantly captures a town in decline and the everyday people just trying to get by while also dealing with contemporary societal issues like race relations and abuse of power by police. The novel ends with some issues resolved, and the beginnings of some new threads which, if we’re lucky, will appear in another novel.

85RebaRelishesReading
Out 14, 5:54 pm

>84 lauralkeet: So glad you liked it. I just wish Russo could write faster lol.

86EBT1002
Out 14, 7:39 pm

I've only read one by Russo, That Old Cape Magic. I gave it 3.5 stars. I'll add the North Bath series to my retirement reading list.

I love the Fair Isle hat!

87vancouverdeb
Out 14, 9:45 pm

The Fair Isle had it gorgeous, Laura. I own a couple of Russo's, but have yet to read them. I should try to remedy that. So many books, not quite enough time.

88lauralkeet
Out 15, 7:12 am

>85 RebaRelishesReading: I know what you mean, Reba. To be fair, he published several novels between Nobody's Fool and Everybody's Fool. It's been 7 years since the latter and only one other novel (Chances Are). But he's also 74 so maybe I'll cut him some slack lol.

>86 EBT1002: I think you'd enjoy the North Bath novels, Ellen. After you've read Nobody's Fool, be sure to watch the film adaptation starring Paul Newman. I really enjoyed that, too.

>87 vancouverdeb: Thank you Deb! I hope you enjoy your Russo reading, whenever you get to it.

89lauralkeet
Out 15, 8:06 am

Yesterday was a gloomy wet day, and pretty uneventful. Here are the highlights:

* Reading: All That She Carried, which is pretty interesting so far. As I was reading, something jogged my memory and I figured out who recommended this book to me: a fellow Guild member, over lunch a couple weeks ago. Whew. It was driving me a little crazy, not being able to place how/when I heard of this book.

*Crafting: wove in ends on Tyler's stocking, and continued some thinking/planning for my next sweater project.

* Viewing: an episode of Bleak House.

Today is a bit less dreary, but still too wet for outdoor work IMO. We have tickets to a chamber music concert in the late afternoon so I will probably spend the day on reading & crafting stuff. I'll also put together a chicken & white bean chili in the slow cooker, so it will be ready to eat when we get home from the concert.

Wordle 848 3/6

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TREAD, SHAKE, LEAKY

90EBT1002
Out 15, 1:19 pm

Nice job on today's Wordle, Laura!

91lauralkeet
Out 15, 3:08 pm

Thanks Ellen! 3s always make me happy.

92RebaRelishesReading
Out 15, 5:58 pm

>88 lauralkeet: Thing is I've read most (maybe all except the short stories)of them...but I know, poor man shouldn't have to work forever...still...

93lauralkeet
Out 16, 8:37 am

>92 RebaRelishesReading: I get that, Reba!

94lauralkeet
Out 16, 8:44 am

Hi everyone,

We took it easy most of yesterday until it was time to go to the concert which started at 4pm. Trio Settecento performed a baroque program (Corelli, Bach etc) on violin, viola da gamba, and harpsichord. Very nice. And the slow cooker dinner worked out perfectly.

Also yesterday:
* Reading: All That She Carried, in which the author is attempting to trace the lives of an enslaved woman and her daughter, with very little documentation to guide her. It's interesting to see the factual details she's able to find and the hypotheses that fill in the gaps.

*Crafting: I started my next sweater project, a Nordic design with color work in a contrasting color in the yoke.

* Viewing: an episode of True Detective S1. We hadn't watched in a while so it took us a bit to remember the plot.

This morning I'm working a library shift. The afternoon is open, and depending on weather I might get outside for a bit.

Wordle 849 5/6

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SWEAT, BRAIN, CRAMP, PRANK , GRAPH

95SandyAMcPherson
Out 16, 9:37 pm

>80 lauralkeet: Magnificent Fair Isle toque, Laura. 💗💗
I am so impressed with the knitting and expertise in following such a challenging pattern.

96lauralkeet
Out 17, 8:35 am

Thank you so much, Sandy. That's very kind.

97lauralkeet
Editado: Out 17, 10:43 am

I enjoyed my library shift yesterday. One of the librarians asked me to help assemble some friendship bracelet kits for a take and make craft. The kits included 12 35" strands of thread in 3 different colors, so it was basically a lot of measuring and putting strands together in pleasing color combinations. What made it fun was when a little boy stopped by my table to see what I was doing. He was probably hoping to make a craft, but once I explained what I was doing he was equally happy to help. I gave him some bits of thread that had gotten tangled up and he unraveled the thread so I could measure out the lengths. His mom stopped by a couple times to make sure it was okay for him to be there. He was a cute kid.

Also yesterday:
* Reading: More from All That She Carried, but only at bedtime. It's making me think about women's history in general, and specifically the history of marginalized women whose lives were considered of so little consequence that we have virtually no historical record. As a result, it's far too easy to view them more like cut-out characters than human beings with their own motives and emotions. In this book the author gives these women more depth, and I'm finding that thought-provoking.

*Crafting: a bit of Tyler's stocking and a bit of my Nordic sweater.

* Viewing: University Challenge, which was a bit of a snoozer, followed by an episode each of The Wire and Beckham.

Today's agenda is completely open, thanks to a meeting that was cancelled. I have a few admin tasks to take care of, plus the usual crafting and reading. I might do some gardening. We'll see.

Wordle 850 3/6

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SKEIN, TOUGH, ADULT
Getting this in 3 was a minor miracle.
ETA: I see a lot of 75ers got this in 2, so maybe my score is not such a miracle after all. 😃

98AMQS
Out 17, 10:16 am

>80 lauralkeet: Wow, that's beautiful!

My mom recently read Mad Honey for her neighborhood book club and loved it as well. I'm adding it to my list now:)

99RebaRelishesReading
Out 17, 1:33 pm

>97 lauralkeet: Helpful kids are so nice. Glad you got some help with your project.

100lauralkeet
Out 17, 1:38 pm

>98 AMQS: Thanks Anne. I hope you enjoy Mad Honey. The book has lots of fans around here.

>99 RebaRelishesReading: He was a sweet kid, Reba.

101lauralkeet
Out 18, 8:28 am

Hope everyone is having a good week so far!

Yesterday was a good mix of productive and low-key relaxed. I spent a bit of time in the garden, trying to deal with weeds and fall cleanup in short bursts.

Also:
* Reading: Steady progress with All That She Carried.

* Crafting: the next step in Tyler's stocking, and some sweater knitting while watching TV.

* Viewing: an episode of Bleak House, and there must have been other stuff but I can't remember what.

As for today, I have nothing on my agenda until barre in the late afternoon. Wheee!

Wordle 851 3/6

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SLIDE, TEACH, MERCY

102EBT1002
Out 18, 3:54 pm

"As for today, I have nothing on my agenda until barre in the late afternoon. Wheee!"

That sounds downright lovely!

103EBT1002
Editado: Out 18, 7:27 pm

I'm a little worried that my friend to whom I loaned Prophet Song is taking it slowly.... She is one of the friends with whom I am going on a Readers Retreat weekend November 10-12 so she may be saving it for that. In any case, I'll keep you posted as I know you and others are anxiously waiting your turn!

104figsfromthistle
Out 19, 6:13 am

>80 lauralkeet: I love that hat!

Hope you have a great Thursday!

105lauralkeet
Out 19, 8:39 am

>103 EBT1002: No problem, Ellen. I appreciate the update but don't fret over it.

>104 figsfromthistle: Thank you Anita!

106lauralkeet
Out 19, 8:47 am

I thoroughly enjoyed my low-key day. We ran a few errands in the morning, and in the afternoon I did a bit of reading and finished Tyler's stocking (yay!). I'm considering re-doing part of it but decided to sleep on it and take another look today.

Last night we finished watching the Beckham docu-series, which was excellent. I did some sweater knitting while watching.

Today's agenda includes grocery shopping and more puttering-around-the-house. I've not been overly busy this week and I'm totally okay with that.

Wordle 852 4/6

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ARISE, SHAFT, SQUAT, SPLAT
I almost got it in 3 and then thought, no it can't be that it's probably this other word. I was wrong.

107katiekrug
Out 19, 9:35 am

Laura, you and Chris might enjoy 'Welcome to Wrexham,' about a Welsh soccer team down in the dumps. It follows their attempted turn-around after the actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny purchase it. We are halfway through the first season, and it's funny but also really interesting, and I love the focus on the community. And most of the episodes are on the shorter side, so it's easy to fit in a couple here and there.

I got Wordle in 3 but as I was typing in my 3rd guess, I was thinking, "It's probably not this..."

108katiekrug
Out 19, 9:41 am

I also meant to ask if you did today's NYT crossword. I thought it was very clever.

109raidergirl3
Out 19, 10:38 am

There have been quite a few good documentaries on streaming recently. I'm taking note of Beckham, and I second the Wrexham series. I loved the Wham documentary - would that we all have a friend like Andrew Ridgley; the wind beneath my winds indeed. Also there is a Brooke Shields one on Prime I really liked. Are my 80s roots showing, lol? And I'm not sure if you'd get the Mr Dress-Up one in the states but it is on Canadian Prime. He was our 'Canadian Mr Rogers' and it turns out they were great friends!

110weird_O
Out 19, 12:16 pm

Here I am to say, "Hello!"

111lauralkeet
Out 19, 1:13 pm

>107 katiekrug:, >108 katiekrug: Thanks for the rec, Katie. We'll take a look. I've done most of today's crossword but ran into an annoying problem. Chris solved in the app and I worked on a printed copy. Unfortunately the print version did not italicize the clues mentioned in 57-down, making it nearly impossible to figure out how the theme worked. Chris explained it and I was off and running, but still.

>109 raidergirl3: Wow those all sound interesting, Elizabeth. Thanks.

>110 weird_O: Hello back at ya, Bill!

112katiekrug
Out 19, 4:01 pm

Ooh, that is annoying about the print version!

113RebaRelishesReading
Out 19, 6:35 pm

Relaxed days are so pleasant but I don't have any of those this week :( Enjoy your time and progress on your knitting projects.

114EBT1002
Out 19, 7:24 pm

>106 lauralkeet: "I almost got it in 3 and then thought, no it can't be that it's probably this other word. I was wrong."
I feel like that happens to me all too often.

I bought a copy of Mad Honey today. :-)

115lauralkeet
Out 20, 8:16 am

>112 katiekrug: Indeed it was, Katie. But I had to do the puzzle because Chris was really kvetching about it and then you said it was clever. I needed to see for myself!

>113 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba, I hope you get one of those relaxed days soon.

>114 EBT1002: Ooh, a book purchase! I hope you enjoy it, Ellen.

116lauralkeet
Out 20, 8:21 am

Fri-YAY!

For the retired person, Fridays don't hold any special meaning but I can't help feeling a little frisson anyway. Yesterday turned out to be a very nice day, weather-wise, so I spent some time in the garden on the usual weeding and fall cleanup. The problem with creating new garden spaces is that you have to maintain them!

I also fit in some reading and knitting time, and in the evening we watched an episode each of True Detective and Bleak House. That might have been a bit too much drama for one evening ...

Today's agenda begins with a routine doc appointment. And then ... well, much like yesterday I will spend the day in any way I choose.

Wordle 853 3/6

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TRADE, FLOUR, OCCUR
Getting the last two letters first really threw me for a loop. What the hell word ends in UR? Well, lots of them, but throw in that yellow letter and I really had to stare at this for a while.

117RebaRelishesReading
Editado: Out 20, 11:11 am

>115 lauralkeet: Hi Laura. Hope you have a lovely day. Today is going to be pretty chill for me :)

118EBT1002
Out 20, 12:32 pm

"For the retired person, Fridays don't hold any special meaning ..."
That will be me in SIXTY-TWO days!!!!

119lauralkeet
Out 21, 7:47 am

>117 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba.

>118 EBT1002: It will be here before you know it, Ellen!

120lauralkeet
Out 21, 7:56 am

Good morning ...

Yesterday was fairly productive. My doc appointment didn't take long at all, so I was able to fit in some garden work before lunch. I was glad I did, because the weather turned drizzly in the afternoon. That, in turn, left me with guilt-free reading time. By evening I had finished All That She Carried. It was very good, although there's one aspect of the writing that felt a bit excessive. I'm still processing this, and hope to be able to express it in my review. Last night's dinner was Chinese take-out, and we watched Gardeners World as usual.

This morning we're meeting up with friends to go on a hike, which should be fun especially now that the rain has moved on. Time permitting, I'll spend time with my next read, Jutland Cottage, from Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire series.


I've had this on my shelves for a while, and since I'm waiting on some library holds this seemed as good a time as any to dive in.

Wordle 854 4/6

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STEAL, SCOUR, SHIRK, SMIRK

121lauralkeet
Out 22, 8:01 am

I'm off to a slow start this morning. Yesterday's hike turned out to be more than I anticipated--longer, and with very rocky terrain--and my muscles are feeling it. We had a hearty meal afterwards, and by then it was late afternoon so our burgers served as both lunch and dinner. When we got home we just collapsed on the sofa for the rest of the day/evening. In our couch potato state we watched an episode each of True Detective and Bleak House. I managed some reading too, but wow it was a long day, so this morning we are taking it very easy.

This afternoon we have tickets to a performance by chamber orchestra Sphinx Virtuosi. From the program notes: "Inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes and Julia Alvarez, Sphinx Virtuosi presents a program showcasing the beauty and tradition of excellence inherent in classical music created and performed by generations of Black and Latinx composers." I'm really looking forward to it.

Wordle 855 2/6

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LITER, GIVEN
Woo hoo! This doesn't happen to me very often.

122MickyFine
Out 22, 9:08 am

Enjoy your restful morning and I hope the concert is a great time!

123klobrien2
Out 22, 1:45 pm

>121 lauralkeet: Excellent Wordle-ing! Yay, yoy!

Karen O

124RebaRelishesReading
Out 22, 4:08 pm

Sounds like a fun but exhausting day for you yesterday. Your chamber music afternoon sounds lovely -- that's what we're doing today too. Must compare notes tomorrow.

125lauralkeet
Out 23, 8:39 am

>122 MickyFine:, >123 klobrien2:, >124 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Micky, Karen & Reba. Sorry I didn't make it back here yesterday.

Good morning to everyone!

Yesterday's concert was excellent. The program was all works by 20th-century composers which, for me, can be a mixed bag but we enjoyed all of it. One of the works was composed and performed by a double bassist who we'd seen in Philly, so that was a bonus. We were home in time for dinner and after that we watched Formula 1.

I didn't have much time for reading except at bedtime, although I did write a review of All That She Carried, which I forgot to post. I'll take care of that next.

Today's agenda includes a library shift and most likely some time in the garden, plus a few admin tasks.

Wordle 856 2/6

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TRIBE, TEMPO
I have never ever ever had two 2s in a row. This one was total luck, just trying to rule out another vowel.

126lauralkeet
Out 23, 8:40 am


52. All That She Carried ()

In 1921, a young woman named Ruth embroidered a message on a cloth bag, documenting its history. The bag belonged to Ruth’s grandmother Ashley, whose mother Rose gave it to her in the 1850s when, as enslaved people, they were forcibly separated. Ashley was just 9 years old; Rose packed the bag with items that would sustain her and remind her of her heritage. Years later, the bag turned up in a thrift shop and eventually found its way to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Historian Tiya Miles conducted extensive research to learn more about these three women and the sack passed down through the generations. The historical record offered very little about Rose and Ashley, although Miles was able to connect a few dots in the public record and develop a credible hypothesis about where they were enslaved. Where specifics were lacking, she used writings by and about other women of that period to bring Rose and Ashley to life. These personal narratives, describing living conditions, sexual violence, separation of families, and the economics of slavery, were emotional and compelling.

Miles also seeks meaning in the sack, the objects it contained, and Ruth’s embroidery. Unfortunately, this is all based on supposition. Did Rose have advance warning of her separation from Ashley, allowing her to thoughtfully pack a bag? Did Ruth design her embroidery, specifically choosing lettering and thread colors for impact? Or did both women simply use whatever was closest at hand? Miles gets carried away, turning every act into a pivotal moment in history, and loses credibility in the process. Despite this rather significant flaw, this was an interesting portrayal of the lives of women during eras of enslavement and early freedom in the United States.

127katiekrug
Out 23, 9:12 am

>126 lauralkeet: - Nice review, Laura! I was eager to get to this one - and I still will - but I think my expectations have been tempered.

128katiekrug
Out 23, 9:12 am

>127 katiekrug: - *waves at flying Laura*

I was just at your thread!

129karenmarie
Out 23, 10:36 am

Hi Laura, and happy Monday to you!

>59 lauralkeet: I only have Russo’s Elsewhere: A Memoir on my shelves, although I distinctly remember buying one of his books at the local indie a decade or more ago.

>65 lauralkeet: Can’t give you more hours in a day, but I can say one word: prioritize. *smile*

>66 lauralkeet: I loved that adaptation of Bleak House, and Bleak House is probably my favorite Dickens. Admittedly, I’ve only read 3 by him and abandoned 2 more.

>80 lauralkeet: You are so talented. It’s gorgeous.

>97 lauralkeet: women's history in general, and specifically the history of marginalized women whose lives were considered of so little consequence that we have virtually no historical record. As a result, it's far too easy to view them more like cut-out characters than human beings with their own motives and emotions. In this book the author gives these women more depth, and I'm finding that thought-provoking. This reminded me of The Invention of Wings, and between that and your talents as a materials crafter, I thought I’d post this from my original 2018 review:
Handful, her mother Charlotte, and her half-sister Sky, are beautifully written characters. They never forgot their roots, never forgot that they were slaves and not members of the family. Charlotte ran away multiple times, first from the Grimkes, then from the slave holding family she was sold to. She and Handful always wanted freedom. Charlotte’s quilt is an homage to the real life Harriet Powers, a slave, who made appliqued quilts. Here is one of the two surviving quilts by Harriet Powers, allowing us to see how Charlotte’s story quilt might have looked.

Have you read The Invention of Wings?

>116 lauralkeet: Nine words on the original list of 2,309 Wordle words end in UR. Just sayin’…

130laytonwoman3rd
Out 23, 10:59 am

>126 lauralkeet: When I opened your thread this morning, my view showed me the last paragraph of your review at the top of my screen. I didn't see the book cover or title until I scrolled. So my first impression was "Miles also seeks meaning in the sack..." I probably don't need to tell you where my mind went with that, out of context.

131katiekrug
Out 23, 11:38 am

>128 katiekrug: - DERP! I meant to post that on my thread after your visit. Not. Enough. Coffee.

132lauralkeet
Editado: Out 23, 12:04 pm

>127 katiekrug: Much obliged, Katie. I think you'll find it interesting, and you would also be annoyed by the issue I mentioned even if I hadn't mentioned it.

>128 katiekrug: You're still here Katie!
>131 katiekrug: LOL

>129 karenmarie: Hi Karen!
* I think you'd enjoy Russo's writing. Besides his North Bath novels, I also enjoyed Empire Falls which, IIRC, won the Pulitzer.
* I definitely need to prioritize reading over playing mindless games of solitaire on my iPad.
* Another Bleak House fan! I haven't read the book (and I don't especially enjoy reading Dickens in general), but this dramatization is sooo good. As is the one for Little Doritt. It's worth seeking out, if you haven't seen it. Both have an amazing cast.
* I haven't read The Invention of Wings, but it looks excellent. I've just added it to my never-ending library list. Thank you!
* I could think of several words ending in UR but they all had letters I'd already ruled out. I'm pretty stubborn about *not* checking lists, so it took a while for me to "see" the solution.

>130 laytonwoman3rd: OMG that's hilarious, Linda! I nearly spewed my beverage.

133RebaRelishesReading
Out 23, 2:19 pm

Glad you enjoyed the concert, Laura. Thanks too for the review of All That She Carried. The idea of it sounded very interesting but as I read I realized I would be very bothered by the liberties taken and so I think I can safely pass (which is a good thing given the state of Mt. TBR!)

134EBT1002
Out 23, 7:40 pm

Congrats on two twos in a row!!!

135lauralkeet
Out 24, 9:01 am

>133 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba, I have to give a tip of the hat to Tiya Miles for her research. Very few women from that era are well documented in the historical records, let alone enslaved women. She was able to trace a credible genealogical thread to find Rose and connect her to Ashley. She also used the few memoirs and other writings available to tell the story of women in very similar circumstances, so you could imagine Rose and Ashley's life. Ruth lived in the early 20th century, and was a free woman, so Miles could use census data and newspaper articles to develop this part of the family history.

So all of that was really good, and enriched my understanding of the lives of Black women during that time period. My problems with the book stemmed from her over-reach for symbolism and meaning. Another LT reviewer, Schatje, said it well:
There were times when this book reminded me of an essay written by a student who argues that every action and object in a novel is a symbol. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; sometimes there is no deeper message or meaning to things. Miles thinks the cotton sack could be a protective spirit bag. Maybe it’s just a convenient vessel for carrying things?

>134 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! My two-day 2 streak has ended, but today wasn't too bad. See below.

136lauralkeet
Out 24, 9:10 am

Good morning!

Yesterday unfolded as planned, and I managed to keep plugging away at the garden. We connected with the HVAC contractor regarding their project proposal, and agreed they will start next week and do the parts of the job that do not require the electrician who hasn't yet committed to his start date.

Last night's viewing included University Challenge and an episode of The Wire, and I did some knitting while watching. I also managed a nice chunk of reading time and am enjoying Thirkell's Jutland Cottage. These books are light and easy reading where the plot always includes at least one wedding at the end, that you can usually spot from about page 1. And yet it's still fun to read!

Today's weather is supposed to be warmer and pretty nice, so once again I'll do some outdoor work. And probably some indoor admin tasks and/or phone calls.

Wordle 857 3/6

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LASER, SABLE, CAUSE

137BLBera
Out 24, 1:07 pm

>121 lauralkeet: This sounds like a great concert, Laura.

I loved Empire Falls; I will add the trilogy to my WL. It sounds like one I would enjoy.

138dudes22
Out 24, 3:39 pm

Wordle 857 5/6

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The words don't matter, just the annoyingness of them.

139scaifea
Out 24, 4:59 pm

Hi, Laura!

>136 lauralkeet: The Thirkell book(s) sound(s) nice and cozy. I may have to add her to my list.

140lauralkeet
Editado: Out 25, 8:40 am

>137 BLBera: Beth, I think you'd enjoy reading more Russo.

>138 dudes22: Isn't that frustrating, Betty? Hope you have better luck today.

>139 scaifea: Hi Amber! Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire Books caught my eye at first because they are set in the same (fictional) Barsetshire as Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire Chronicles, but in the 20th century. You don't have to have read Trollope to appreciate Thirkell, but it adds interest. Her books are mostly about English country folk doing stereotypically "country" things, often set against the backdrop of whatever was going on in England at the time (such as WW II). The first in the series is High Rising, published in 1933, and introduces the Barsetshire world, the character types who will reappear in successive novels, and of course the inevitable romance storyline(s). Sometimes Thirkell's class snobbery creeps in, and in the later books there can be some xenophobia/racism which may have been more acceptable at the time. Some readers are put off by that; so far I have been successful at squinting my eyes and skimming over those bits.

Probably more than you wanted to know ...

141lauralkeet
Editado: Out 25, 8:01 pm

Hello to all!

Yesterday's accomplishments included a productive spell of gardening, and now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of fall weeding & cleanup. Dinner was a bit of a disappointment; I made a curry recipe I've made before but for some reason it was waaaay spicier, and not in a good way. So much for the leftovers. Evening viewing included an episode of Bleak House, and then we started David Attenborough's Planet Earth II (series III has just launched in the UK). We watched about half an episode and then acknowledged we were both too sleepy for Attenborough's soothing narration. My sweater knitting continues, but is pretty mindless/boring because I have to knit 14" of the body in plain single-color knitting before doing the color work.

This morning I have a Guild meeting, and then this afternoon I need to take care of a few household odds and ends.

Wordle 858 4/6

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AVOID, CHUTE, ZESTY, RETRY

142EBT1002
Out 25, 11:54 am

Hmm, how are you enjoying Bleak House? And which streaming service is it on?

Happy Wednesday, Laura!

143scaifea
Out 25, 3:07 pm

>140 lauralkeet: Ha! I appreciate the info! Sometimes I can successfully do the squint thing, but others I can't. I'm not sure what the criteria for success is, but I'll still keep this on my list. Thanks!

144lauralkeet
Out 25, 4:10 pm

>142 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! Bleak House is a re-watch for us; we saw it when it first came out in 2005 (on PBS at the time, probably). Now it's on Britbox. The cast is absolutely superb, with lots of very well-known British actors. It's ... um ... bleak, but excellent.

>143 scaifea: I thought that might be the case Amber, and I'm the same way. I felt obligated to give you the low-down.

145msf59
Editado: Out 25, 6:31 pm

Happy Wednesday, Laura. I am nearly finished with A Wing and a Prayer: The Race to Save Our Vanishing Birds. It has been excellent. It continues to astound me, what we can accomplish if we put our minds to it. I am very sure you enjoy it.

I also thought that the Bleak House adaptation was excellent.

146lauralkeet
Out 26, 8:27 am

>145 msf59: Hi Mark! I'm glad to hear *the book with the long touchstone* has held up well. I will keep it in mind.

147lauralkeet
Out 26, 8:33 am

Hello all,

I spent yesterday afternoon dealing mostly with household things: phone calls, admin tasks, a bit of vacuuming. Although we did get lunch out, while running a boring hardware store errand, so that was a nice treat. In the evening we finished season 4 of The Wire. No reading until bedtime, but I'm closing in on the end of Jutland Cottage. That will be followed by something completely different: Gun Street Girl, a Sean Duffy book.

Also on today's agenda: grocery shopping, picking up Gun Street Girl at the library, and laundry. I might do a bit of weeding in the one part of the garden I haven't gotten around to yet.

Wordle 859 4/6

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WRITE, AISLE, NICHE, PIQUE
A challenging word today IMO, but I was running out of options.

148BLBera
Out 26, 10:28 am

I enjoyed the first couple Thirkell books after hearing about them here. I then forgot about them. I need to get back.

149lauralkeet
Out 27, 8:51 am

>148 BLBera: They are light comedy of manners books, Beth. And there are loads of them: 29 books! I wouldn't mind completing my collection. Some of mine are Viragos, but most are Moyer Bell paperbacks with nice covers. I may have just ordered a few more ...

150lauralkeet
Out 27, 8:58 am

Happy Friday folks!

Yesterday's weather was gorgeous, so I spent a lot of it outdoors. I think most if not all of my fall weeding/cleanup is now behind me. I also helped Chris with a project where he needed an extra pair of hands. And ... ta da! I finished reading Jutland Cottage. I enjoyed it but I was bummed the romance storyline didn't turn out exactly as I thought it would.

Not much viewing last night because we couldn't really settle on what we wanted to watch. So we ended up surfing around YouTube and a couple other short programs which escape me at the moment. On the plus side, I started reading Gun Street Girl.

This morning I have a few odds and ends to take care of, and then this afternoon I'm heading to Annapolis, MD where I will meet up with three women I used to work with. We have some plans for the evening and will stay overnight. We do this a couple of times a year and it's fun to catch up.

Wordle 860 4/6

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JUICE, SLATE, WHOLE, NOBLE
I don't usually start with that word, and need to remember that every time I do so it's useless.

151katiekrug
Out 27, 9:10 am

Have fun in Annapolis! Beautiful little city...

152lauralkeet
Out 27, 11:10 am

Thanks Katie!

153lauralkeet
Out 27, 11:11 am


53. Jutland Cottage ()

Jutland Cottage is set in 1952, and begins with the death of King George VI in February*. Barsetshire is understandably in a somber mood, but soon normal country life resumes. Margot Phelps is spending her middle-aged years caring for aging parents which she does gladly, but this leaves little time for herself. The community takes note and quietly organizes a “Friends of the Phelpses” effort. Some spend afternoons with Margot’s parents so that she can have some free time. Others take advantage of that free time to take Margot shopping for new clothes, or to have her hair done. This is community at its best, and Margot is much the better for it. But there is still a looming concern about her financial livelihood, as her parents will have little to pass on. The solution to this problem is, sadly, much the same as it was centuries earlier: marriage. But to whom? Margot herself doesn’t appear to be giving this much thought but you can bet everyone else is.

Meanwhile, some of the usual devices are in play: garden parties, Sunday lunches, and gently poking fun at certain character types. The inevitable second romantic storyline occurs quite late in the novel and seemed rather hastily put together. Margot’s storyline has a happy ending (as always), although in my opinion Thirkell made the wrong choice for Margot. But what do I know? And in any case, this was an enjoyable installment in a long-running series.

* I enjoyed reading the Barsetshire community’s thoughts about the new Queen, speculation about how long she would reign, and whether she had any suitable heirs.

154karenmarie
Editado: Out 27, 11:20 am

'Morning, Laura.

>132 lauralkeet: I definitely need to prioritize reading over playing mindless games of solitaire on my iPad. I've started having some upper right arm/shoulder pains, which magically seem to be reduced when I don't play games on my cell phone. A very good reason to play less or heck, not even at all.

155scaifea
Out 27, 12:15 pm

Have a safe and fun trip, Laura!

156BLBera
Out 28, 10:51 am

Have a great weekend, Laura.

>153 lauralkeet: I need to get back to these. They are fun.

157lauralkeet
Out 29, 8:13 am

>154 karenmarie: Ouch, Karen, those pains don't sound good. At least for now, my solitaire playing is just a time-waster with no ergonomic effects but you never know. I can certainly find better ways to spend my time.

>155 scaifea: Thanks Amber!

>156 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I may have ordered a few more Thirkells from Abebooks this week ...

158lauralkeet
Out 29, 8:22 am

Good morning!

I enjoyed my very brief stay in Annapolis, although to be honest we didn't see much of it. We ended up having a long, leisurely dinner Friday night and skipped the tour we'd planned in favor of wine and conversation. On Saturday morning we had a nice brunch in a local restaurant. On our way out of town we stopped at a corn maze, which was kind of fun if a bit cheesy. I was home by mid-afternoon. Chris was in the mood for burgers so we had dinner out, and then watched Gardeners World. Considering my busier-than-usual weekend, I'm making decent progress in Gun Street Girl, which looks to be another solid entry in the series.

Today's priority is getting the house ready for the HVAC contractors to start work. We need to tidy up the basement a bit so they can get around, and we need to (temporarily) move some bookshelves and furniture on the main level of the house. I'm not looking forward to the disruption, but it's a necessary evil.

Wordle 862 4/6

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PASTE, POUND, PRONG, PHONY

159MickyFine
Editado: Out 29, 8:39 am

Good luck with the shifting of stuff, Laura. Hopefully the disruption won't last too long?

160BLBera
Out 29, 12:46 pm

I hope your HVAC work goes smoothly, Laura.

161lauralkeet
Out 29, 12:49 pm

>159 MickyFine: Thanks Micky.

Our current HVAC architecture is based on equipment that is 20+ years old and driven by an even older oil-based boiler. The way it's all installed is no longer compliant with building codes. Rather than replace individual components as they fail and perpetuate both the oil and the overall wonkiness, we decided to bite the bullet and modernize everything.

Most of the work will be done out of sight (i.e., in the basement) but they do have to run some new ductwork which is more intrusive. I wish I could wave a wand and have the project be done in a jiffy, but I expect it will take a few weeks. We need to coordinate both the HVAC contractor and an electrician so there will be time gaps between the work of each party. Sigh.

162lauralkeet
Out 30, 6:37 am

Monday, Monday ... I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.

Yesterday's weather was a bit damp and gloomy, which called for banana bread. With chocolate chips. Yum. We watched the Mexico Grand Prix (well, Chris watched it, I wandered in and out). I made excellent progress with Gun Street Girl, in which Inspector Sean Duffy's case is moving along smartly. Evening viewing included the last episode of Bleak House. The ending is far too tidy, moving very quickly from resolution of the central conflict (and related tragedy & drama), to denouement. I'm not sure how much of that is Dickens' fault vs. the dramatization, but anyway the production is still excellent overall.

This morning I'm taking Alys to day care before the HVAC contractors arrive, and then I will escape to the library for a couple of hours. I'm not sure about the rest of the day. I'm hoping we don't need to be too involved in the work being done, but there will almost certainly be questions and discussion as they get started.

Wordle 863 3/6

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STARE, FLAIR, GRAIL

163figsfromthistle
Out 30, 7:20 am

>141 lauralkeet: Sounds like you were quite productive! Too bad about the curry.

I quite enjoy Attenborough's narrated series. They are quite well done and informative.

Happy start to the week!

164katiekrug
Out 30, 8:42 am

Nice Wordle. Took me 5.

When we had massive HVAC work done, they were pretty self-sufficient, but our house isn't historic like yours, so I'm sure there will be questions, as your predict. Still, I hope it's all relatively painless!

Glad you are still enjoying Sean Duffy. My hold on the audio of the 2nd just came in, so I should be getting to it soon.

165norabelle414
Out 30, 10:23 am

>161 lauralkeet: Oil boilers are such a pain! My sister-in-law's historic family home in Maine had an oil boiler and there was a barrel in the basement that sprung a leak and they had to call in the EPA to help clean it up. Just think of the catastrophe you could be avoiding with this modernization!

166RebaRelishesReading
Out 30, 10:39 am

Good luck with the HVAC update!! Hope it goes smoothly, painlessly and quickly.

167lauralkeet
Out 31, 7:15 am

>163 figsfromthistle: Hi Figs, we like Attenborough's productions, too. Given his age I'm amazed he is still at it. I admire his passion and commitment.

>164 katiekrug: That's a pretty accurate description of the situation, Katie. And I'm glad you're enjoying Sean Duffy again.

>165 norabelle414: OMG Nora, that sounds awful. Besides those very good reasons for moving away from oil, the other, more practical, issue is that fewer and fewer companies provide service for oil-based systems.

>166 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba!

168lauralkeet
Out 31, 7:29 am

Good morning ....

The HVAC crew arrived early yesterday morning and wrapped up around 3:30. The guy who developed our proposal and the installation manager (who did a walk-through as part of that process) were both on site for a while, to make the hand-off from concept to action. Still, as Katie guessed, there were a lot of questions and checkpoints with us along the way. We both felt a bit tied down -- not comfortable leaving the house, and unable to concentrate on much else. We finally found a good place to hang out that was out of their way and away from most of the noise. And Alys did well at day care. I'm so glad we have that option for her because she would have been most unhappy with all the goings-on here.

The good news is that in the midst of the disruption I enjoyed some reading time. Then in the evening we just chilled in front of the TV, beginning with University Challenge. This was a playoff to determine which team proceeds to the next round, and one of the teams absolutely steamrolled the other. So much so that Katie and I were texting about it! After UC we started Season 5 of The Wire (the final season) and also watched an episode of F1: Drive to Survive.

Today's agenda will be a lot like yesterday. I don't have much that I need to get done, but hopefully the HVAC guys can work more independently now. There should be reading, and I might start knitting a hat. The sweater is moving along, but sometimes it's fun to have something else to work on. The weather has turned cooler, and to celebrate I'm going to make a chicken pot pie for dinner.

Wordle 864 3/6

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PLEAT, CLEAR, BLEAK

169RebaRelishesReading
Out 31, 12:41 pm

Glad to hear the HVAC project is going well and that you might even get some reading time today.

Katie will approve of your Wordle pattern I think :)

170lauralkeet
Editado: Out 31, 5:38 pm

>169 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba! HVAC Project Day 2 is now in the books. Progress is being made and there were fewer questions today, but it's still weird having other people in your house for hours, and always being on alert. This would be easier if we were out of the house all day, like Alys. Or working people, LOL. But this, too, shall pass.

And on the plus side, I finished Gun Street Girl and downloaded A Spool of Blue Thread to my Kindle (as a library loan) to start reading tonight. And I started knitting a hat! So I guess I can't complain.

I agree my Wordle is pretty today. So far Katie has missed out.

171RebaRelishesReading
Out 31, 7:29 pm

Sounds like the day went well. Enjoy your reading.

172katiekrug
Out 31, 7:43 pm

It's a very nice pattern! Not sure why I'm being called out about it, though? 🙂

173lauralkeet
Nov 1, 8:37 am

>171 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba.
>172 katiekrug: I dunno, Katie! Reba started it ... 😃

174lauralkeet
Nov 1, 8:37 am


54. Gun Street Girl ()

Inspector Sean Duffy’s latest case begins as a double murder, and is soon followed by more deaths. What appeared to be a straightforward case is (of course) anything but. Duffy and his colleagues find themselves working with MI5 and Special Branch, who are investigating potentially related matters.

Meanwhile, Duffy is trying to strike up a relationship with a news reporter. He is also being actively recruited by MI5, who are offering him a higher level post than anything he would ever achieve in the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Since Duffy is perpetually fed up with his chain of command this has some appeal, as does the woman recruiting him. And yet he also values his fellow investigators, including Lawson, a sharp new member of the force, and his long-time colleague McCrabban.

The investigation takes several turns, and like previous books the crime has links to actual historic events of the period (in this case, 1985). The final dramatic showdown coincides with equally dramatic events in Duffy’s personal life, and the question of joining MI5 is resolved … at least for now.

175lauralkeet
Nov 1, 8:37 am

New thread coming up next!
Este tópico foi continuado por Laura (lauralkeet)'s 2023 Books - Part 11.