Weird_O Bill's 2023, Part Three (3)

É uma continuação do tópico Weird_O Bill's 2023, Part (Quarter) Two (2).

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2023

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Weird_O Bill's 2023, Part Three (3)

Editado: Out 1, 11:16 pm


Editado: Out 1, 11:18 pm

Geez. Dunno what happened. I was just sailing through me library, getting to The Big Seventy-Five in record (for me) time. Then everything went black.

You ever have this experience?

Maybe it's the weather. Or the beginning of mass extinction.

Editado: Out 1, 11:21 pm

First Quarter's Reads

January 2023
1. Regeneration, Pat Barker. Finished 1/6/23. 
2. Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, Kate Beaton. Finished 1/6/23. 
3. Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus. Finished 1/11/23. 
4. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum. Finished 1/13/23. January 2023 AAC.
5. Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein. Finished 1/15/23. January 2023 AAC.
6. Freddy Goes to Florida, Walter R. Brooks. Finished 1/15/23. January 2023 AAC.
7. Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Giles Milton. Finished 1/19/23. 
8. The Far Side Gallery 2, Gary Larson. Finished 1/19/23.
9. The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Finished 1/20/23. 
10. What Is Left the Daughter, Howard Norman. Finished 1/23/23. 
11. How to Be Safe, Tom McAllister. Finished 1/26/23. 
12. God's Man: A Novel in Woodcuts, Lynd Ward. Finished 1/26/23. 
13. The Odyssey, Seymour Chwast. Finished 1/27/23. 

February 2023
14. What It's Like to Be a Dog, Gregory Berns. Finished 2/1/23. 
15. How to Fake a Moon Landing, Darryl Cunningham. Finished 2/1/13. 
16. The Dictionary of Lost Words, Pip Williams. Finished 2/4/23. 
17. Bewilderment, Richard Powers. Finished 2/7/23. February 2023 AAC.
18. The Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman. Finished 2/9/23. 
19. A Master of Djinn, P. Djeli Clark. Finished 2/24/23. 
20. Help I Am Being Held Prisoner, Donald E. Westlake. Finished 2/28/23. 

March 2023
21. Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich, Norman Ohler, Finished 3/5/23. 
22. Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World, Mark Miodownik. Finished 3/9/23. 
23. When We Cease to Understand the World, Bernard Labatut. Finished 3-11-23. 
24. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, T. S. Eliot. Illus. Edward Gorey. Finished 3/11/23. March 2023 AAC. 
25. Intercourse, Robert Olen Butler. Finished 3/18/23. 
26. Demon Copperhead, Barbara Kingsolver. Finished 3/27/23. 
27. American Cult, Robyn Chapman, ed. Finished 3/30/23. 
28. Severance: Stories, Robert Olen Butler. Finished 3/30/23. 

Editado: Out 1, 11:24 pm

Second Quarter's Reads

April 2023
29. The Case of the Baited Hook, Erle Stanley Gardner. Finished 4/4/23. 
30. He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him, Mimi Baird. Finished 4/8/23. 
31. Drug Use for Grown-Ups, Dr. Carl L. Hart. Finished 4/11/23. 
32. Because of Winn-Dixie, Kate DiCamillo. Finished 4/11/23. 
33. Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas, Jim Ottaviani; illus. Maris Wicks. Finished 4/15/23. 
34. Tearing the Silence: On Being German in America, Ursula Hegi. Finished 4/19/23. 
35. The Woman Who Died a Lot, Jasper Fforde. Finished 4/21/23. 
36. All Systems Red, Martha Wells. Finished 4/26/23. 
37. Six Easy Pieces, Walter Mosley. Finished 4/29/23. 

May 2023
38. An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison. Finished 5/4/2023. 
39. Sapiens: A Graphic History Vol. 2: The Pillars of Civilization, Yuval Noah Harari, illustrations by David Vandermeulen and Daniel Casanave. Finished 5/7/23. 
40. Plum Pie, P. G. Wodehouse. Finished 5/15/23. 
41. Number One Is Walking, Steve Martin and Harry Bliss. Finished 5/21/23. 
42. Robert Capa: Photographs, Robert Capa. Finished 5/22/23. 
43. A History of the World in Six Glasses, Tom Standage. Finished 5/29/23. 

June 2023
44. The Eye in the Door, Pat Barker. Finished 6/5/23. 
45. Shopgirl, Steve Martin. Finished 6/6/23. 
46. A Puzzle for Fools, Patrick Quentin. Finished 6/8/23. 
47. Bangkok Tattoo, John Burdett. Finished 6/10/23. 
48. The Unsuspected, Charlotte Armstrong. Finished 6/12/23. 
49. The Chinese Orange Mystery, Ellery Queen. Finished 6/14/23. 
50. Rocket to the Morgue, Anthony Boucher. Finished 6/19/23. 
51. The Bigger They Come, A. A. Fair (a.k.a. Erle Stanley Gardner). Finished 6/20/23. 
52. Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ, Giulia Enders. Finished 6/26/23. 
53. Voices from Chernobyl, Svetlana Alexievich. Finished 6/28/23. 
54. Joe Gould's Teeth, Jill Lepore. Finished 6/29/23. 
55. Mort, Terry Pratchett. Finished 6/30/23. 

Editado: Out 1, 11:27 pm

Third Quarter's Reads

July 2023
56. Fen, Bog & Swamp, Annie Proulx. Finished 7/6/23. 
57. In Review: Pictures I've Kept, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Finished 7/7/23. 
58. Fables of Aesop, S. A. Handford, trans. Finished 7/7/23. 
59. Independence Square: Arkady Renko in Ukraine, Martin Cruz Smith. Finished 7/10/23. 
60. The Rubber Band, Rex Stout. Finished 7/11/23. 
61. Foster, Claire Keegan. Finished 7/14/23. 
62. The Netanyahus, Joshua Cohen. Finished 7/18/23. 
63. The Witches, Roald Dahl. Finished 7/20/23. 
64. A Book of Days, Patti Smith. Finished 7/20/23. 
65. The Chickens Are Restless, Gary Larsen. Finished 7/20/23. 
66. Ascending Peculiarity, Edward Gorey. Finished 7/22/23. 
67. The Red Box, Rex Stout. Finished 7/23/23. 
68. The Widening Stain, W. Bolingbroke Johnson. Finished 7/25/23. 

August 2023
69. The Dubliners, James Joyce. Finished 8/2/23. 
70. The Haunted Lady, Mary Roberts Rinehart. Finished 8/8/23. 
71. The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell. Finished 8/11/23. 
72. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride. Finished 8/15/23. 
73. The Far Side Gallery 4, Gary Larson. Finished 8/19/23. 
74. Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman. Finished 8/20/23. 
75. The Unquiet Ghost, Adam Hochschild. Finished 8/30/23.  

September 2023
76. Good Talk, Mira Jacob. Finished 9/21/23. Most Excellent.
77. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles. Finished 9/26/23. 
78. Ride the Pink Horse, Dorothy B. Hughes. Finished 9/28/23. 

Editado: Nov 28, 11:52 pm

Fourth Quarter's Reads

October 2023
79. Tabula Rasa, John McPhee. Finished 10/5/23. 
Tunnel Vision, Sara Peretsky.
Our Woman in Moscow, Beatriz Williams.
80. The Chocolate Cobweb, Charlotte Armstrong. Finished 10/11/23. 
81. They Called Us Enemy, George Takei. Finished 10/16/23. 
82. The Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi. Finished 10/20/23. 
83. Fathers and Children, Ivan Turgenev. Finished 10/22/23. 
84. Ladies' Lunch and other stories, Lore Segal. Finished 10/26/23. 
85. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson. Finished 10/31/23. 

November 2023
86. Forrest Gump, Winston Groom. Finished 11/3/23. 
87.The Ghost Road, Pat Barker. Finished 11/19/23. 
88. The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead. Finished 11/28/23. 

December 2023

Editado: Out 22, 4:48 pm

…So, whilst blacked out, I apparently read a few pages, sometimes a chapter or two, in various books, interviewing them (so to speak) for the position "Number Seventy-Six."

At Swim-Two-Birds, Flann O'Brien. I wanted to read this, having made my way through O'Brien's The Third Policeman last year. But boy howdy, this'n opaque from the first paragraph. More concentration required than I could summon in my comatose state.

Our Woman in Moscow, Beatriz Williams. Both my daughter and I have copies of this. She liked it and suggested I read it. By page 90…that's where the bookmark is: NEXT!

Mathilda, Mary Shelley. Need I remind you that Mrs. Shelley wrote Frankenstein. This short novel is about incest. In hand-wrung preVictorian gush. For a different mood, one to settle over me some other day..

Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann. TransAtlantic was a great read; LGWS started well, but it was going somewhere I hadn't been thinking of for position "Number Seventy-Six." Another time; when I come to.


Ride the Pink Horse, Dorothy Hughes. A possibility for September's AAC: Crime novels by women. It's been resurrected by Otto Penzler, owner of NYC's Mysterious Bookstore and publisher of "American Mystery Classics." I've read a bunch of them. Hmmm. Slow start, even for someone seemingly comatose. Coming to, I found it set aside nevertheless.

Tunnel Vision, Sara Paretsky. Apparently another AAC candidate. I have three Paretskys in amongst the TBR. Apparently I picked this one to sample; stuck the jacket flap between pages 14 and 15, beginning of chapter 3. Features starving sleuth V. I. Warshawski, who seizes an opportunity to save a struggling family, whether they want to he saved or not. Left it under the Hughes book, so not rejected outright.

Fathers and Children a.k.a. (Fathers and Sons), Ivan Turgenev. Linked to position "Number Seventy-Five" by its setting in Russia. (An aside: Having read of Chernobyl earlier this year and, in position "Number Seventy-Five," a book about Stalin and his residual impact on the USSR, I rounded up all the Russia-related books I could remember owning—see the following post.) Anyway, Turgenev. I observed an ad in The New York Review of Books last fall about a new translation of Turgenev's novel. Got it for Christmas. Read only a dozen pages before recognizing the need to make a list of characters. That was enough to stall the read. Oh! The shame, the shame… But I am going back to it, damn it!

The Collected Tales, Nikolai Gogol. Another Russia book, another Christmas gift. I solicited, last fall, something with a story by Gogol titled "The Nose," described as the funniest story ever. So…got the story. Read it. Didn't roll on the floor laughing my ass off. But still, I intended to read all the stories, so it was at hand. Maybe for position "Number Seventy-Six"? But I've come to…

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles. Not least was this tome, on the TBR since 2019, with my sister's recommendation and many recommendations here on LT. So, again, I read some pages. But I collected other books. I know I did, because a stack of them on the bookcase bore witness of my—well, someone's labor.

Dark days, dark. Would someone…get…this…clod…out…of…his…stupor? Read on, read on.

Editado: Out 1, 11:52 pm

Books drawn from my vast but weird TBR for consideration for the position of "Number Seventy-Six." These were deemed unworthy of sampling, but I don't know why. Right now, each one of them seems worth a taste. In no particular order then.

Red Famine, Anne Applebaum. An exhaustive account of the Soviet folly called "collectivization." Peasants were forced off their small but productive farms and onto huge farms that absorbed—collected—all the small holdings. Didn't work too well, but Stalin made do by transforming famine resulting from crop failures into a means of population reduction. Three million of the estimated five million who starved to death in the U.S.S.R. were Ukrainians.

The Chocolate Cobweb, Charlotte Armstrong. September AAC candidate, published as an "American Mystery Classic", a mystery novel published in the 1940s that lapsed out of print and has been republished in the 21st century. A switched-at-birth (or maybe not) yarn.

Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead. Whitehead's second Pulitzer-winning novel, which has been sulking amongst the TBRs for two years. "You read five of eight of my fellow Whitehead creations, chucklehead. When is it MY time?" Into the serious circle with ya, sez I. So soon, soon.

The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel, Don Marquis. I was introduced to the existence of "archy and mahitabel" in a journalism class in college, though I admit to not having read more than a few entries, then or since. The concept is that archy is a cockroach who writes missives to mehitabel, an alley cat. And does it letter by letter, by jumping onto the keys of a typewriter (no caps or punctuation—those are just extra keystrokes, thus extra jumps). I bought this paperback edition from Amazon earlier this year, but…still haven't read it. So…

The Trial, Franz Kafka. Cited by Adam Hochschild in The Unquiet Ghost, my read Number Seventy-Five. Though possessing several copies, I've never read it. It makes my current list.

Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak. My notion of this'n is that Pasternak smuggled the ms. to the U.S.—CIA involvement, I believe. Soviet authorities angered. Anger inflamed by book's publication and even more when the author is awarded the Nobel Prize. Anger mollified by author's rebuff of the award. But a spectacular film—David Lean, dir; Robert Bolt Oscar-winning script; Oscar-winning sets, costumes, cinematography, and score; Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Tom Courtenay Alec Guinness, Rod Steiger, Geraldine Chaplin, and a few other performers—sealed the book's influence. But it has never escaped my TBR. Sadly, unread. Time for action?


Gulag, Anne Applebaum. A 600+-page, Pulitzer-winning history of the Soviet concentration camps that terrorized its society from 1917 to 1986. Acquired a used copy in '21 and another in '22. There's a message there, ain't.

Midnight in Chernobyl, Adam Higginbotham. Lordy, another exhaustive history of another Soviet disaster. This time a nuclear disaster. I got a short report by reading Voices from Chernobyl, and I'm not sure I am up to an exhaustive read about THIS Soviet f*ck-up. We'll see, we'll see.

August 1914, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Russian history by exiled writer—a Nobelist—Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Focused on a Russian defeat during World War I. Is it fiction or nonfiction? Whichever, it is sweeping, detailed, comprehensive (a trade-mark of Russian writing). Actually, I have two copies, so I should read at least one of them.

The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Soviet history by exiled writer Solzhenitsyn. A doorstop at 900 some pages. After writing that first sentence, I checked WikiPedia and learned I was barely correct. I won't say more here, other than that there's a lot more to say. Especially if I read the book.

Ten Days That Shook the World, John Reed. John Reed was a young American journalist who witnessed the Revolution and was transformed. American publishers were unwilling to publish his story. He died in 1920, but a British publisher issued a posthumous edition. (I'm possibly making up this publishing history; don't even know if I'm sentient just now. Bump on the head, don't you know.) Warren Beatty revived Reed's short-lived fame by portraying him and his story in a film epic, Reds. Haven't seen the flick, but the book seems worth a read.

The Ghost Road, Pat Barker. Pretending to be a a completist, and having read the first and second books in Barker's Regeneration Trilogy, I plucked the third book from Box # 1. Barker won the Booker Prize for the third; I've read that many critical readers believe The Ghost Road is the weakest of the three, that the first shoulda been the Booker winner. Might have been a good fit as "Number Seventy-Six." But no. No, no. no.

LaRose, Louise Erdrich. Another opportunity for completistness. The third novel of Erdrich's Justice Trilogy has been on my TBR for several years. I've read both The Round House and The Plague of Doves, not knowing they are books 1 and 2 of a trilogy. I've the third and final in hand, so while in dreamland? La-la-land? Suspended animation land? I can consider completing the triad. Nothing ventured, as they say.

Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev. I acquired this doorstop of a book when it was published in 2009. Of course I have not read it—Why would I list it here as a possible read if I had already read it? I did consult the index; found the names Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, also that of Alger Hiss. Hmmm. Some flap copy: "In 1993, former KGB officer Alexander Vassiliev was permitted unique access to Stalin-era records of Soviet intelligence operations against the United States." He came away with extensive notebooks, which are the basis of the book. Upshot: Yes, the Rosenbergs and Hiss and many other Americans passed information to the KGB. I might read all about it.

Editado: Out 2, 12:09 am

Books purchased to be read right away…

Good Talk, Mira Jacob
Tabula Rasa, John McPhee


How did this come to happen? One was purchased at a Barnes & Noble, the other had a receipt from a bookstore on Newbury Street in Boston. When was I in these places? Sleepwalking? Zombie book buyer?

Editado: Out 22, 3:35 pm

Upshot? Books read whilst I was…eh…"away":

76. Good Talk, Mira Jacob
77. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
78. Ride the Pink Horse, Dorothy Hughes September 2023 AAC


Editado: Out 2, 12:14 am

Books Now Being Read:

Tabula Rasa, John McPhee
Tunnel Vision, Sara Paretsky September 2023 AAC
Full Bloom: The Art and Life of Georgia O'Keeffe, Hunter Drohojowska-Philp


I'll explain that Georgia O'Keeffe bio at another time.

Out 1, 11:15 pm


Who is feeling lucky? The next slot is yours. It is Number Thirteen.

Out 1, 11:32 pm

The Baker's Dozen is mine then, Bill.
Happy new thread.

Out 2, 12:59 am

Good to see you back!

I am going to guess that you are watching the Freida Kahlo special on PBS and that made you think of Georgia O'Keeffe. Hence, the biography of her?

For what it is worth - I liked the Pat Barker series and thought that Ghost Road was the best of the three books in the Regeneration trilogy. I am certain that you will come back around to it someday.

You must be going through a Russian phase. Lots of heavy duty reading on that heavy subject.

Out 2, 2:22 am

Happy new thread Bill!

Editado: Out 2, 7:14 am

Happy new thread and congrats on sailing past 75.

I have Our women in Moscow on my shelf for a while. Was it a good read for you ?

Out 2, 8:11 am

Happy New Thread, Bill. Love the topper. We missed you. Looking forward to your thoughts on both Good Talk & the Towles. I loved both. I am nearly finished with The Singapore Grip. You read this trilogy, right? One for the ages.

Out 2, 5:09 pm

>13 PaulCranswick: Good good good, Paul. No superstitious avoidance by you. I myownself lived about 6 years at 1313 Cochran Road. In my formative years at that: 5th grade through 10th.

>14 benitastrnad: I am going to guess... Oh, I'm sorry, Benita, but that's not it. I'll explain soon.

I liked the first book in Barker's trilogy more than the second. I am heartened to read that you liked the 3rd book best of all. That inches it up other books in the stack.

I'm kind of stutter-stepping at the Russian border with my list of Russia/Soviet Union books. I am prone to jump into things, then suddenly lose interest and immediately walk away. Don't know if that will happen here. I'm thinking that I have unread writings of Pushkin, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Gogol, Bulgakov, and other writers.


      Chekhov and Tolstoy in Yalta

Out 2, 5:36 pm

Drat! I had replies to Susan and Anita written and one to Mark, then I blew it out the cables. Hovered indelicately over a Touchstone, just to get an author's name, and instead jumped to the book page. My uncompleted post thereby...uh...went away.

Out 2, 8:37 pm

Happy new one, Bill!

Editado: Out 2, 9:42 pm

I went through a fairly intensive Russian-novel-reading spell in my 20s. You know, back when there was all the time in the world, and it didn't matter how long it took to finish a book, the longer the better? I would love to have that feeling again. Immersive.

I read The Round House (but never reviewed it, so don't even remember the story line now) in 2017, and am currently reading The Plague of Doves. I think I'll re-read the first before going on to the third, LaRose.

Out 3, 10:41 am

Hi - I recently re-read Sebastopol Sketches - a good short one to start with.

Out 3, 1:21 pm

>15 quondame: Thanks, Susan. It'll be happy if you, and other, stop by whenever you can.

>16 figsfromthistle: I never finished Our Woman in Moscow. I guess I should brand it a DNF. The main character proved too perfect, too accomplished, just invincible. The author has the potboiler format mastered. After 90 pages, I called 'Enough!" Becky (my daughter) wasn't overwhelmed by it, and she forgives me for abandoning it.

>17 msf59: Thanks, Mark. I'm composting my thoughts on Good Talk and A Gentleman in Moscow. Suffice it to say both are top-notch, and having now read all three of Towles' novels, I rate AGiM his best.

Singapore Grip is mostly unknown to me, though I see three titles by Farrell on my WANT LIST!! That means that I probably saw a post of yours and added the titles to the list. I think I already have solid prospects stacked up. (So much so that I passed on acquiring more at the Bethlehem Area Public Library sale a couple of weeks back. I mean I voluntarily forwent it, both days.)

Out 3, 1:24 pm

Happy new thread, Bill. It has been a while since I visited last! Hopefully I can keep up better from here on out.

Out 3, 1:43 pm

>21 laytonwoman3rd: Stacking those Soviet histories and Russian novels does yield a daunting picture. If I do start in, I just might dig into the John Reed historical polemic first, simply because it's only 349 pages.

I enjoyed both The Plague of Doves, which I read first, and The Round House. I had a hell of a time getting the Touchstone for the third book until I realized that the title is LaRose and not LaRosa. Duh.

>22 m.belljackson: Did not know of the Sebastopol Sketches, Marianne. Book Bullet!

Out 3, 1:46 pm

>24 alcottacre: You keeping up better would be a splendid contribution to making this a "Happy Thread." But I've got to do a better job husbanding my own thread first. Thanks for stopping by,

Out 4, 12:52 pm

Hi Bill! Happy New Thread! Happy Fall!

From your last thread, you gave me a BB – Ascending Peculiarity in July. It’s now in the pile of books on the dresser or little yellow table in the Sunroom, just waiting to find a spot on my now over-burdened-again shelves.

>5 weird_O: I’m so glad you thought A Gentleman in Moscow was Congrats on 75.

>8 weird_O: I have a lovely Easton Press edition of Fathers and Children on my shelves.

>9 weird_O: I found a VG mass market paperback copy of The Chocolate Cobweb and read it in December of 2017. My absolute favorite by her is A Dram of Poison.

>18 weird_O: Best thing about that photo is their boots – I’d love to have both pair.

>12 weird_O: You’re being very cagey about Being Away. Is your away time as exciting as Agatha Christie’s in 1926? Will there be books, movies, podcasts made of it? Just glad you’re back.

Out 5, 5:32 pm

>27 karenmarie: Ooooo. Thanks for visiting. I love you responses always. Now first of all, you should dig out the Gorey. It's a collection of interviews and articles written about it Gorey, so it lends itself to occasional reading, between novels.

>5 weird_O: I DID like that Towles. I didn't binge-read it, didn't race through it. Maybe that's the savory read.

>8 weird_O: Have you read it? I have a quite old MMP edition, and more recently I stumbled on a Heritage Press edition. Both carried the "Fathers and Sons" title. And I read the HP edition when I got it; can't vouch for having read the MMP, way back, like in the 1960s. I do want to read this new translation.

>9 weird_O: I honestly don't think I'd have picked out The Chocolate Cobweb without seeing the trappings of the "American Mystery Classic". Haven't read it yet; have you? Never mind; I see you read it in 2017.

>18 weird_O: I like the contrast between the two, Tolstoy as the old man of the country, Chekhov more...ah...cosmopolitan.

>12 weird_O: Sorry about the absence and I'm sure nothing explosive will come of it. I'm not Dame Agatha.

Out 6, 8:07 pm

Finished the reading, last evening, of Tabula Rasa, Volume 1 by John McPhee

A Short Weird ReportTM

John McPhee has long been one of my journalism idols. He was writing for Time, unbeknownst to me, when I was in high school and moved to The New Yorker in 1963, when I was in college. All his writing is funneled through The New Yorker, and much of it has been republished in book form. He's authored 31 books, all still in print I believe.

Tabula Rasa, Volume 1 published this year (2023), is a review of many article ideas he's considered in his 50-year career. Things he intended to research and write, but failed to follow through on. It is a potpourri, and at least for me, was entertaining throughout.

When I was in my prime, I planned to write about a dairy farm in Indiana with twenty-five thousand cows. Now, taking my cue from George Bush, Thornton Wilder, and countless others who stayed hale doing old-person projects I am writing about not writing about the dairy farm with twenty-five thousand cows...I decided to describe many such saved-up, bypassed, intended pieces of writing as an old-man project of my own. [McPhee is 92.]

The book is not entirely an account of pieces that died aborning. For example, Princeton is never far from his mind. McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, attended public school there, and rolled directly into Princeton University, where his father was physician to all the sports teams. He has a short piece about being, right out of high school, a night watchman at the site of the Institute of Advanced Studies. (Think Einstein. Oppenheimer. Von Neumann.) He has memories of faculty like Joe Brown, a former boxer, coach of the college's boxing team, and a sculptor; an adolescent McPhee took advantage of an unlockable window to sneak into the sculpture studio to swipe modeling clay. Then he got caught.

Of course, his subjects include fishing, walking, geology. He comments on Woodrow Wilson's belated fall from grace as his racism emerged.

First rate from front to back.

Out 8, 2:53 am

Happy new thread, Bill, and congratulations on reaching 75!

>2 weird_O: Yes, sounds familiar, although not recently (knock on wood).

Out 8, 11:19 am


Editado: Out 12, 12:10 pm

Slowly advancing through The Chocolate Cobweb by Charlotte Armstrong. Intended for September's AAC, but running a little late—a little Choco Late. I shall record the Sara Paretsky I tried as a DNF. Just put off by it; can't pinpoint the specific element that puts me off. But there it is.

Out 11, 11:48 am

>29 weird_O: I have read several of McPhee's books and I am a fan. I will definitely have to look for a copy of that one. Thanks for the recommendation, Bill.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Out 12, 12:34 pm

Finished a book last evening, The Chocolate Cobweb, which I've been tussling with for at least a week.

In other news, clean sheets on the bed. Put out the trash, carted recycling to WM. Put a half-dozen books in the Little Free Library in exchange for an "American Mystery Classic", this one titled Death From a Top Hat by Clayton Rawson. First published in 1938.

Other side of the coin: I failed to reply to the visitors to this thread. I apologize, Anita and Stasia. I'm glad to read, Anita, that you haven't recently experienced one of those perplexing "What-just-happened?" events. McPhee has been one of my idols since the late 1960s, Stasia. I'm thinking I should expand my McPhee shelf to fill in books I'm missing. To be a completist, I'd have to add his geology tomes, but not to read. I dove into the first of that series, got flung aside, and gifted it to Son the Elder.

Editado: Out 12, 6:57 pm

Happy New Thread, Biil, and cograts on finishing 75!

I’m impressed you read Dubliners ( a hard one for me; i did love that last story, “The Dead”), and I’m very happy you read and liked Einstein’s Dreams. I feel ED is so good and deserves to be more widely read.

I love it when one strikes you as “Great!”, and certainly agree with your picks.

Nice write-up on the John McPhee potpourri. My first of his was Coming into the Country, and as a basketball fan I also particularly liked A Sense of Where You Are. He is a prime example of the phrase “wide-ranging intellect”. I admire your ambition to be a completist with his books.

So far I’ve been able to be a completist with Murakami and a few others, especially series authors. (One LTer (Roni) used to call me “the series pusher”). I’d’ve liked to be a Walter Mosley completist, but he is way too prolific, and I honestly haven’t been that thrilled with his ventures into sci-fi. But I’m complete on Easy Rawlins and his other detectives, as well as some great outliers like Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (Socrates Fortlow).

P.S. Man, I hope you enjoy Good Talk as much as I did!

Editado: Out 12, 8:50 pm

Joe, you're always welcome here. Sorry I didn't have a cappuccino and a biscuit out for you.

One thing about Dubliners made me happy was that I could follow a few of the strolls that the characters took. I was in Dublin twice, courtesy of Son the Elder and his family. As I read I could say, "Oh, I know where they are!"

I did enjoy Good Talk, maybe as much as you did. Weird Book Report coming up.

Out 13, 12:59 am

Congratulations on reading 75 books, Bill.

>31 weird_O: I agree!

Out 13, 7:46 am

Happy Friday, Bill. Congrats on hitting 75! I hope you have shook off the doldrums and are immersed in those books again.

>31 weird_O: Perfect!

Out 13, 11:07 am

>37 vancouverdeb: >38 msf59: Getting to 75 was actually pretty easy. Then came a partial meltdown. But I've invested time in Fathers and Children. I've read it at least once before and some of it I remember.

Out 13, 11:37 am

Regarding post 31. It is so infuriating that folks nit-pick every damn choice. Several days ago, I read a David Brooks opinion piece in The New York Times, in which he examined every aspect of Joe Biden. But ignored the elephant in the room (Republicans in general, His Fraudulence in particular). Is there really—really—any question of who to vote for? Forget Bobby Jr. Forget Ralph Nader. Forget any and all who who've entered the contest with zero chance of winning. The choice is simple. Both candidates have held the job. Any questions?

Out 13, 12:07 pm

>40 weird_O: Sure, one question: Why didn't Joe Biden immediately send a warship to protect Ukraine?

Out 13, 12:54 pm

>41 m.belljackson: - Because of the Montreux Convention.

Out 13, 12:56 pm

It's nice to see you out and about on the threads again, Bill!

I'm very pro-Biden/Harris and look forward to voting for them again.

Out 13, 2:17 pm

>35 jnwelch:
The debate about completion rages on. I am also a completist. I start a series and I want to finish it. I don't always get that done, but I work at it until I do achieve completion. I am especially religious about completing mystery and science fiction/fantasy series. I do try to read all of the oeuvre of some authors, but am not as nit-picky about doing that as I am with the mysteries and Sci/Fi stuff.

Out 13, 4:50 pm

>42 katiekrug: Did the U.S. ever sign that?

Out 14, 1:49 pm

>45 m.belljackson: Yes! USA signed on September 17, 2008. Ukraine signed on the same day.

useful link:

Out 14, 2:48 pm

>46 weird_O: - This is not the same as the Montreux Convention, Bill.

>45 m.belljackson: - The Montreux Convention only has 8 signatories, the countries who were party to the Lausanne Treaty which, with respect to the issue of the Dardenelles and Bosporus, the Convention supercedes. The important point is that Turkey, a NATO ally, is party to the Convention and controls the Straits, and Turkey walks a fine line between the West and Russia. The US is not going to risk diplomatic blow-ups with allies for an action that would be mostly symbolic, especially given the complexity of coordinating NATO's response to the Russian invasion.

Editado: Out 15, 9:27 am

Happy Sunday, Bill!

Out 15, 1:28 pm

>47 katiekrug: Is Turkey still considered an ally?

Out 15, 1:35 pm

>49 m.belljackson: - Yes, by definition, as a NATO member. Feel free to do your own research to learn more. A quick Google search provides a wealth of information, including from the US State Dept.

Out 15, 7:38 pm

A Short Weird ReportTM

The Chocolate Cobweb begins as a "switched-at-birth" mystery, but morphs into something far more sinister. A Mrs. Garth and a Mrs. Garrison each give birth to a baby, virtually at the same time and in the same hospital. Husbands arrive, and each is shown a newborn. But Mrs. Garth recalls being shown a baby girl in the delivery room, not the baby boy presented to Mr. Garth. He asks questions, of course, and the mixup is resolved amicably with the girl baby going home with the Garths and the boy baby going with the Garrisons.

Jump ahead 23 years, and for the first time Mandy Garth is told about the baby switch by a gabby relative. Astonished, Mandy wants to decide for herself whether these Garrisons are really her parents. Maybe? Tobias Garrison is a much admired and prosperous painter. Mandy has artistic aspirations. Hmmm, where did that come from? After visiting a showing of his art and actually seeing the artist and his wife and son, she is provoked to make the artist's acquaintance. And she does. Toby Garrison is smitten and invites her to stay for several days so he can tutor her in his studio. During the visit she finds Ione, Garrison's wife, a bit of a cold fish and a sneak. Thone, the son, is cranky, distant, but very attractive. But trouble is in the air.

What's going to happen?

Editado: Out 17, 12:20 pm

>47 katiekrug: Oh gosh. Sorry, Marianne, for false information. Happily, Katie has the correct info.

>47 katiekrug:

>47 katiekrug: Thank you very much, Katie, for the correction.

>46 weird_O: Send Katie a warm thank you, Marianne. I shall endeavor to keep bad info to myself.

>48 msf59: Hee hee. You got that right, Mark.

>49 m.belljackson:

Don't. Ask. Me.

Out 15, 8:55 pm

>50 katiekrug: Thank you. Amen.

Editado: Nov 1, 4:31 pm

Saturday last was rewards day for me. Not that I had earned it. But a gift card was smoldering in my wallet. To avoid a serious butt burn, I opted to make a trip to the temporary B&N. Once I found it, I matched the gift card's value on a credit card (the sneaky side of using gift cards). I acquired three titles from my WANT!! List™ and two other titles. I finished the first of the new acquisitions last night.

They Called Us Enemy, George Takei.
The Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi.
Time and Again, Jack Finney.
Music Is History, Questlove.
Ladies' Lunch Stories, Lore Segal.

The book I finished is Takei's memoir of his family's incarceration with other families of Japanese descent in America during WWII. More grim that I thought. I'm a bit ashamed I didn't have it on my list. I thought I knew the story, but no, I didn't know the extent of the imprisonment.

I still am progressing through the Turgenev novel known as Fathers and Sons and also Fathers and Children. Halfway. I've also returned to Mary Shelley's Mathilda.

Out 17, 1:49 pm

Time and Again is one of my all-time favourite books. It has everything: adventure, romance, history, fantasy, humour. I am still hoping for a really good and sensitive director (Ron Howard, Spielberg?) to turn it into a film worthy of its name.

Out 17, 3:51 pm

>54 weird_O: what did you mean about matching the gift card on a credit card?

Out 17, 4:15 pm

>56 ffortsa: My buy drained the gift card, and an amount equal to the card's value remained, to be paid by me, using my own personal credit. The buy totaled twice the value of the gift card.

>55 jessibud2: It's a chunkster! That'll have an impact on how soon I'll get to it. My list didn't include the identity of the person firing the book bullet. Perhaps I could blame you, Shelley.

Out 17, 4:22 pm

>57 weird_O: ah. Of course. After all, you were in a bookstore.

Editado: Out 23, 5:30 pm

>1 weird_O: My Topper was arrested in London. She was among the protestors of a meetup between oil tycoons and government officials.

Recommendation: Anyone following the clash between Israelis and Palestinians (and isn't that everyone) should read The Netanyahus, which won the Pulitzer for fiction in 2022. An insightful picture of Bibi Netanyahu, his older and now deceased brother Yonatan, and especially of their father Ben-Zion. The basic story is true. Ben-Zion was relentless—relentless—in pursuit of his aspirations.

Out 18, 11:46 am

>59 weird_O:
I have never understood The Netanyahus. If it is fiction why should I read it? If I want to learn about the Natanyahus shouldn't I read a biography of the family. or some other work of nonfiction?

If the book is fiction then the "facts" in it aren't true and people should be aware of that. Unless you are Donald Trump.

Out 18, 6:44 pm

Happy Wednesday, Bill. I hope your week is singing along. I will get Skippy Dies in the mail in the next week or so.

Out 19, 11:41 am

>60 benitastrnad: If it is fiction why should I read it? Because you like fiction, Benita. I read and enjoyed this book. I laughed and I rolled my eyes. A lot. Both palms to the forehead. Oy vey.

I don't know if you like historical fiction. Or roman à clef. One could say that The Netanyahus falls in these realms. The thing about this novel is that it draws on a story told to the author by literary scholar and critic Harold Bloom. In an afterword, labeled "Credits and Extra Credit," author Josh Cohen explains that when Bloom was teaching at Cornell, he was dragooned into hosting "an obscure Israeli historian named Ben-Zion Netanyahu". According to Cohen's paraphrase of Bloom, Netanyahu "showed up for a job interview and lecture with his wife and three children in tow and proceeded to make a mess." Having read autobiographies and biographies in general, I think the likelihood of reading this fine a slice of life in a bio is pretty slim. In a memoir, maybe.

You don't have to read it. I'm glad I did. That's all. A recommendation.

Out 19, 12:07 pm

The Facebook this A.M. gave notice that my elder boyo was present at a session featuring Emily Wilson and Neil Gaiman at Cooper Union last evening. Would have liked to be there. I only hope The Grand Claire was along.


Out 19, 2:32 pm

>62 weird_O:
I do like fiction, and I also have this on my TBR list. I just find it very confusing. Is it fiction or nonfiction? I work with people (generally younger people) who are trying to figure out what a book is when they are trying to fulfill requirements for assignments. Most of the time they can't tell the difference between fiction and nonfiction. I even got into an argument with one of our Catalogers over the Library of Congress classification of a book of poetry. LC put it into the D's for history! Because it was done by LC (the lords and masters of all things cataloging) our cataloging department refused to change it. It was poetry! Poetry by definition is fiction. True, it can sometimes be a fictional retelling of something, but it is still fiction. This particular book was about Joan of Arc and one of the poems was told from the point of view of the horse Joan rode. Another was from the point of view of the hungry fire that was going to burn her. All that made no difference. That book is still classed as nonfiction history.

Thank you for saying that the book was based on an incident in the author's life. That squarely puts it into the realm of historical fiction or even general nonfiction. I have never been a fan of the current prime minister of Israel, but I may become a fan of this novel - if I ever get around to reading it.

Out 19, 4:32 pm

>63 weird_O: How cool is that!

Out 19, 8:22 pm

>64 benitastrnad: "Mixing fiction with non-fiction, the campus novel with the lecture, The Netanyahus is a wildly inventive, genre-bending comedy of blending, identity, and politics" --lifted from the description on the book page. It's not attributed, but I assume it may be from the publisher. I think that puts the reader on notice. Your cataloging department should be flogged over the poetry classification, LC or no LC.

Editado: Out 23, 1:36 pm

Sliding behind am I. But I have been reading some almost every day. Completed Fathers and Children a.k.a. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev yesterday (whilst awaiting kickoff on Sunday Night Football). I have read it before (in an earlier translation), and the later part of the plot came back to me as I read. I did have some moments of confusion stemming from Russian patronymics and nicknames being used interchangeably. But, see, in the end, I did enjoy the book (in this new translation by Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater).

I think I will launch into Red Famine by Anne Applebaum. It's a carefully researched history of Stalin's deliberate use of starvation as a means of population control. An estimated 5 million Soviets perished, more than half of them Ukrainians. Keeps my focus on Russian/Soviet matters. Of course it'll retard reading numbers; it's a doorstop at 600+-pages.

Out 23, 11:07 pm

>67 weird_O:
I hope you are mentally prepared for the dark journey ahead of you with Red Famine. It always takes something out of me to read such things. I do think I need to read some of that but by the time I finish I am usually heart sick that we/humans can do such horrible things.

Out 24, 11:51 am

Howdy, Bill. I really liked Fathers & Sons. My only Turgenev.

FYI- I just mailed out the book! Winging its way to PA.

Out 25, 1:25 pm

Oh boy, oh boy. DeltaQueen50 remarked on Mark's thread that she's been dealing with both her husband's and her brother's health issues, and that reminded me that my family's health concern is ME. At the season's final pool party, I pitched backward into the pool whilst trying to exit said pool. I got to the apron and had no handrail and back-flopped. Which prompted my son to comment, "Have you thought about vestibular therapy?"

One thing leads to another, don't you know. So I left a 45-minute session with a doc holding scripts for at least a pint of bloodwork (it's that time of the year), a script for a hearing test, a script for the VT, and an appointment for an MRI of my head (to see if anything is in there, of course). And then, four days later, I experienced—for the second time in my life—a bout of vertigo that had me parked in my library chair with a bucket at my feet. About three hours later, I felt stable once again…but thinking about that approaching MRI experience. So I lined up a chauffeur and a single tranquilizer dose for that.

Up and about, feeling fine. But America's comfort food, Mac 'n' Cheese, is tonight's menu

Out 25, 4:13 pm

Vertigo on Monday didn't postpone Tuesday's grooming appointment. I did get my hair cut and beard trimmed, then visited my hometown library to select books to acquire. Five dollahs a bagful. My bag was not full, but I did come away with two titles that have been on The WANT!! List since the summer of '22 and an ancient copy of Hopalong Cassidy by Clarence E. Mulford (original copyright 1910). Okay, so maybe that Hoppy book isn't as ancient as all that. The edition probably dates from the 1940s or '50s.


Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin's Wrath, Bill Browder (pbk)
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson (pbk)
A Handbook to Literature: Seventh Edition, William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman (pbk)
Two Novels by Robbe-Grillet: (Jealousy) & (In the Labyrinth), Alain Robbe-Grillet (mmp)
Kudos, Rachel Cusk (pbk)
The Joke, Milan Kundera (pbk)
Hopalong Cassidy, Clarence E. Mulford (hc, no jkt)
Midnight Magic: Selected Stories of Bobbie Ann Mason, Bobbie Ann Mason (hc)
Blindspot: A Novel by A Lady in Disguise & A Gentleman in Exile, Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore (hc)
Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door, Lynne Truss (hc)
The London Scene, Virginia Woolf (hc)
Fine Points of Furniture: Early American, Albert Sack (hc, no jacket)
Philadelphia Stories: A Photographic History, 1920--1960, Fredric M. Miller, Morris J. Vogel, Allen F. Davis (hc)

Meanwhile, turning to Page Two!

Red Famine is going to choke reading progress. I'm going to avoid it for bedtime reading. It's a drag on wakefulness. For some reason, I acquired a slim collection of stories by Lore Segal, called Ladies' Lunch. Almost completed it. Perhaps I'll sample that Hoppy book. Heh.

Out 25, 4:19 pm

>7 weird_O: Love your short articles on books set aside.

Out 25, 4:22 pm

>11 weird_O: I love her, I'm buying that book!

Out 25, 4:51 pm

>71 weird_O: What a great haul and bargain!

Book # 10 looks interesting- I already try to stay home as much as possible ;)

Out 25, 5:38 pm

>70 weird_O: I hope the MRI shows that all that should be in your head is in order and that there's nothing that shouldn't be there, there.

Out 25, 6:23 pm

Sorry to her about the bout of vertigo, Bill. Sounds scary. Hope it isn't anything serious. Fingers crossed. Keep us updated on the MRI results.

Out 25, 8:01 pm

>71 weird_O: Hey Bill, delurking to say Hi. Like everyone else, sorry about the vertigo, hope ultimately everything works out.

Regarding your haul, I read (listened to), The 100 year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared last year, and really liked it. If you get to it (cause is the goal of obtaining books actually reading them? Two different hobbies), I hope you enjoy it too.

Out 25, 8:05 pm

Vertigo is wicked. My former boss and our secretary both suffered from it to varying degrees. She just weathered it, but it knocked her out for a couple days at a time on occasion. He did the vestibular therapy, and it worked for him. I hope you get lucky and conquer it.

Out 26, 12:36 am

>5 weird_O: Congratulations on reaching 75 books!!

Out 26, 6:11 am

Good luck with the health stuff, Bill. I'm glad everything is being seen to, and hope you are able to get some resolution.

Out 26, 2:01 pm

Here's the good news, folks. The Grand Gracie, a first-year student at Smith College, scored her first goal in Smith's field hockey game vs. Union College last evening. Sadly, Union won the game. I watched it on streaming video.

I believe I am ready for to begin this health business. Thanks to Susan (>75 quondame:), Mark (>76 msf59:), Jeff (>77 mahsdad:), Linda (>78 laytonwoman3rd:), and Laura (>80 lauralkeet:) for the words of support. Thanks too to Greg (>79 ocgreg34:), Tammy (>72 IPWitch169:, >73 IPWitch169:), and Anita (>74 figsfromthistle:). I think I got all you well-wishers. Thank you all.

>77 mahsdad: I put the Hundred-Year-Old Man on The WANT!! List (crediting you, Jeff) and I actually starting reading it last night. So far so good.

>73 IPWitch169: To whom is your love directed, Tammy? Miss O'Keeffe?

As I told Jeff, I ventured into The Hundred-Year-Old Man... and I think it'll be, for me, a comfort read to see me through the weekend. I have a couple of Lore Segal short stories to read to wrap up her collection Ladies' Lunch. And I will—by gawd—keep nibbling at Red Famine.

Out 27, 4:31 am

I haven't had to have an MRI before but I was recently thinking about how I'd do with one (sparked partially by tv and partially by these damn headaches I keep having). I think tranquilizer is the way to go. ;)

I am sorry to hear about the vertigo and hoping that the barrage of tests etc sets all on the right path again.

Out 27, 7:55 am

Happy Friday, Bill. Good luck with this "health business". Don't put it off. If you have a copy of The Joy Luck Club, move it up in the stack. Just sayin'...

Out 27, 2:31 pm

>83 msf59:
I have a copy of Joy Luck Club. Are you thinking group read?

Out 30, 1:29 pm

>84 benitastrnad: I too have The Joy Luck Club, inherited from one child or another back in the 1990s. But I just never read it. I'd commit to a Group Read of it. I think Mark has already read it; don't know if he'd entertain a re-read.

What do you say, Mr. Mark?

Out 30, 2:00 pm

I have read The Joy Luck Club, but there is no reason why you both can't do a shared read. I highly recommend it.

Out 30, 2:47 pm

'Twas a mixed bag weekend for me. Trouble started Friday evening. I lined up a minor dose of Xanax, thinking that I might experience claustrophobic anxiety. Therefore, I engaged a ride to and from. MRI was—surprising me—no big deal. As I entered the house, my cell rumbled. My doctor. The MRI reader had completed his report (!!) and alerted her to a blemish that he surmised could be a bleed. I should report immediately to the ER. I called my nice driver—he hadn't even gotten home—and he returned and drove me to the ER. It was the usual ER experience: a flurry of activity, doctors and nurses and cleaners and the hospital social services rep. I submitted to a CT scan. I waited patiently for news. A nurse read me the highlights of the scan report, but observed that she was a mere nurse. A doctor would come shortly...

I ended up rooming at the ER overnight, got a second CT scan, learned what button would stop the electromonitor's beeping, learned to unplug the tethers so I could walk to the restroom. I strolled about the vast but nearly deserted ER. At 1 p.m., I opened my laptop, tapped into the wi-fi, and watched The Grand Gracie's field hockey game. In the fourth quarter, game tied, some doctor stopped in and used the hospital computer and talked to me, but my mind was otherwise occupied. Gracie's team won in overtime. Eventually, they let me go. The electromonitor must have alerted my jailers that a major blowup was building. (Damn! Why didn't I think of that.) At home, I took a nap.

Yes, I did make progress in The 100-year-old man...; at this time, I have but 100 pages to go. I think it'll be an October read.

Out 31, 5:11 am

Hiya, Bill!

>28 weird_O: Thanks for your replies to my comments. Ha. Yes – A Gentleman in Moscow as a savory read. If you find and read Armstrong’s A Dram of Poison, I’d love to hear your comments. I just went back and read the review of The Chocolate Cobweb I wrote in Dec. of 2017: Karen’s review of The Chocolate Cobweb

>29 weird_O: I’ve made a note of this book to see if my journalist friend Karen in Montana knows of him – I’m sure she does – and if she has this book. If not, perhaps a Christmas present…

>54 weird_O: o avoid a serious butt burn, Never a dull moment around here, what with such vivid images and all.

>67 weird_O: and >68 benitastrnad: Bravo and brava for reading a book that is the definition of heart sick. I don’t have it in me these days to read anything like that.

>70 weird_O: I’m a well-wisher, too, just a tad late. I’m sorry to hear about your vertigo problems and associated bloodwork, hearing tests, script for the VT, and MRI. Scary for you and you’re in my thoughts and, dare I say it, prayers.

>71 weird_O: I’m a sucker for books of photographs, and envy you Philadelphia Stories: A Photographic History 1920-1960. I read Blindspot in March of 2009 and gave it 4.5 stars. I actually reviewed it here on LT, which I’ve stopped doing in recent years for some reason. Laziness, most likely. I have two as yet-unread books by Truss. And, finally, I’d have bought Hopalong Cassidy, too, simply because it’s such an ancient copy.

>87 weird_O: Yikes and double yikes. You posting on my thread made me think things were fine over here, but, of course, now you’ve got me more worried than I was 2 comments up.

Out 31, 10:47 am

>87 weird_O: Well, that wasn't stressful at all, now was it? I'm sorry that no news was forthcoming because I know from dark, bitter experience that no news is nasty. Hoping there's good news on the horizon, bur ANY news in the immediate future.

Out 31, 3:16 pm

It's Halloween, so BOOOOOO!

Leaving shortly for a candy dispensing deal at Son the Elder's home. His family resides in a old, deluxe neighborhood, so they get quite the hoard of T' or T'ers. Bonus, we'll stream the playoff game featuring The Grand Gracie's field hockey team. Go Pioneers!

Out 31, 3:30 pm

Hope the worst of the health stuff is behind you, Bill, and that November brings you calmer and healthier days!

Editado: Nov 1, 2:15 pm

It's November, so BOOOO!

Thank you all, especially Karen, Richard, and Shelley for the kind and supportive comments. I'll just keep on keeping on. I will commence vestibular therapy, see the doctor, and take a hearing test. Then follow whatever course is plotted out. I don't want this "subdural hematoma" finding to derail the therapy I want.

Halloween was the usual event, with a hour or so spent on my son's porch, doling out normal-size candy bars. Four hundred gone in an hour-and-a-quarter.

Trick or treat
Smell my feet
Give me something good to eat

Field hockey playoffs didn't go well. The season is over.

Finished The 100-Year-Old Man.... An international Forest Gump romp that is entertaining, probably overlong, but a good end to the month. Read pages in Red Famine. Focusing now on picking a "next" book with some narrative drive. Having an epic TBR confounds the choice of a single book.

So... Keeping on keeping on. :-)

Editado: Nov 1, 4:47 pm

>63 weird_O: I only hope The Grand Claire was along.

Not only did Claire accompany her dad, she took along her copy of Homer's The Iliad—in Greek—so she could follow along and see Wilson's choices in translating particular words and phrases. I really ought to put Wilson's translation on my Christmas list.

Nov 1, 8:28 pm

Happy November, Bill. Halloween sounds like a good time handing out candy and seeing all the costumes. Sorry the field hockey season is over.

Nov 2, 1:24 pm

Finished The 100-Year-Old Man.... I thought of a couple of Russia-oriented non-fiction books in my collection: Lenin's Tomb by David Remnick and Trotsky by Robert Service. In the basement stacks, I pulled out the Remnick book. Now the head editor of The New Yorker, Remnick was WaPo's man in Moscow when the Soviet Union disunited. He won a Pulitzer for this book. Having retrieved the Remnick, my eye caught on a book cited in the promo copy for T100YOM: Forrest Gump. I'm reading it now. Author Winston Groom presents a different Gump than the one featured in the movie.

Keep on truckin'.

Nov 4, 11:53 am

Hi Bill!

>92 weird_O: I see you trying to sneak that casual “subdural hematoma” in… gads. I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself and seeing all the doctors you need to see.

Nov 4, 2:59 pm

>96 karenmarie: Yeah....what she said! Subdural hematoma's no laughing matter...hope it resolves without leaving residual effects.

Nov 4, 4:22 pm

>96 karenmarie: >97 laytonwoman3rd: No worries, ladies. I'm already weird.

Here's timely advice:


Nov 12, 2:52 pm

So sorry about all the time in the ER. No fun at all. Sending best wishes for Hematoma be gone!!! As to time changes, I don't mind the fall, because I get an extra hour of sleep. It's the spring that hurts. Now stop being a pyromaniac.

Nov 15, 11:23 am

Bill - never heard of Subdural Hematoma, so I checked online...

and sure hope that You are now recovering strong and healthy!

Nov 15, 11:08 pm

Checking in, Bill - I hope your quiet thread over the past ten days hasn't been the fault of the subdural hematoma! Sending you healing thoughts.

Nov 20, 10:36 am

Hi all. I'm here, still breathing. Hope you all are following my example. Well, the still breathing part of my overall example. I finished a second book for November, that being The Ghost Road by Pat Barker. Final volume in The Regeneration Trilogy, the Booker winner in 1995.

What next? Not sure, not sure. But it will, of course, be great. Or at least pretty good. Definitely not meh.


Nov 20, 11:32 am

Hey Bill thanks for joining the Christmas Swap!

Here's the thread...

Nov 20, 12:40 pm

Checking in on you, Bill, as it has been a while. Sorry to hear about the subdural hematoma and hope that it has gone now with no repercussions.

>102 weird_O: I am hoping to get to The Regeneration Trilogy next year.

Have a marvelous Monday, Bill!

Nov 20, 6:41 pm

Howdy, Bill Glad to see you posting. We miss our favorite Weirdo! How are you feeling? Back to your old self? Glad you will be joining us on Christmas Swap.

Nov 20, 6:44 pm

>102 weird_O: I've been on that train.

Nov 22, 7:27 pm

Wholey Moses! I feel like I'm trying to hang on to the teufelsrad as it builds up speed. Why just this morning I brewed my coffee, opened my laptop, and discovered the internet is down. Not really a surprise. But not staying out for hours. Took a nap and I awoke to a paucity of electricity. So I'm sponging on the light, heat, and internet connectivity of the good folks who are hosting the Thanksgiving fest I'm invited to.

I had an agenda, but it'll be on hold until it isn't any longer on hold. Bah!

Have a happy!

Nov 26, 10:19 am

Hi Bill!

>102 weird_O: Love the button. I’d wear it.

>107 weird_O: I hope you had a happy.

Nov 27, 12:26 pm

I seem to be in a slump. Slump. Slumpity slump slump. I've read only two (2) books this month. Half-way through The Nickel Boys, I could surely finish that one lickety-split if... Slumpslumpslump.

I wrassled with some book lists, hoping to trigger some sort of reading frenzy. It did not awake a frenzy with that Russia/USSR schtick. But hope thrives. Here's a list of Pulitzer-winners (and finalists) (for literature) that I have shelved (or boxed) unread:

2021: The Night Watchman by Barbara Erdrich
2020: The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
  2020 Finalist: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
  2020 Finalist: The Topeka School by Ben Lerner
  2019 Finalist: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
  2019 Finalist: There There by Tommy Orange
  2017 Finalist: Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett
2014: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  2012 Finalist: Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  2012 Finalist: The Pale King by David Foster Wallace
  2005 Finalist: An Unfinished Season by Ward Just
  2005 Finalist: War Trash by Ha Jin
2004: The Known World by Edward P. Jones (Interrupted)
2003: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  2002 Finalist: John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead
  2002 Finalist: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  2000 Finalist: Waiting by Ha Jin
1999: The Hours by Michael Cunningham
  1999 Finalist: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
1997: Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser
  1996 Finalist: Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth
  1994 Finalist: Operation Shylock: A Confession by Philip Roth
1993: A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
  1992 Finalist: Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals by Robert M. Pirsig
1991: Rabbit At Rest by John Updike
1990: The Mambo Kings Play Songs Of Love by Oscar Hijuelos (Stalled)
1987: A Summons To Memphis by Peter Taylor
  1986 Finalist: Continental Drift by Russell Banks (Stalled)
1985: Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie
  1982 Finalist: A Flag For Sunrise by Robert Stone
1980: The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer
1979: The Stories Of John Cheever by John Cheever
1969: House Made Of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
1967: The Fixer by Bernard Malamud (Stalled)
1955: A Fable by William Faulkner
1952: The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
1948: Tales Of The South Pacific by James Michener
1939: The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
1938: The Late George Apley by John Phillips Marquand
1937: Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
1926: Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis (Declined)
1925: So Big by Edna Ferber
1921: The Age Of Innocence by Edith Wharton

HMMMMMM... Forty-three books. Not going to race through all of them before 2023 transmogrifies into 2024. But it would be a start, ain't?

Nov 27, 12:35 pm

Another list I compiled is for one lucky (hmmm) person who gets my name for Jeff's gift-exchange extravaganza. It's a a subsection of my Book Collection: LT Christmas WANT List. I won't reproduce it here; go check it out for yourself.

Nov 27, 12:39 pm

>109 weird_O: I hate reading slumps, Bill, and hope you come out of yours soon! Glad to see that you have a starting point for either late this year or early 2024.

Nov 27, 4:59 pm

>109 weird_O: Great books here. I've read eight or nine of those you listed, and own several more. If I ever come up for air from my mystery swamp, they will be attended to.

Ontem, 12:29 am

Well okay. I finished The Nickel Boys, just before midnight. Maybe this is my segue into reading some Pulitzer winners. Wednesday is book sale day, last one of 2023 at the Bethlehem Public Library. And following that, a hearing test. I did see a person at the neurosurgery department Tuesday morning and got a look at the dread hematoma as revealed by the MRI. I'm booked for another cat scan before Christmas.

Ontem, 9:40 am

Up at 8 this morning. What's up with that you ask? Book sale! That's what's up. Closely followed by a hearing test. This medical business is advancing at a snail's pace, but I can barely keep up.

I'm seriously considering a secret visit to Boston to surprise my daughter who is getting her head operated upon by a neurosurgeon at Mass General. She's been dealing with migraines and somewhat lesser headaches for years. The operation is intended to "clean out the drain" so the spinal fluid that cushions the brain can ebb and flow. Currently, it doesn't drain adequately, and the excess fluid pressures her brain. She's getting the surgery the 8th, will be in the hospital for two or three days, then home for a long recovery. Her older brother and his wife are going to be staying with her for a week or so. I want to give her a hug before the operation.

Ontem, 9:53 am

>114 weird_O: I'm sure your presence will be a comfort to your daughter, Bill, should you decide to make that trip. It sounds like a slightly scary procedure, but I'll bet those surgeons consider it "routine". All power to their hands and equipment.

Ontem, 9:54 am

Oh, wow, your daughter's surgery sounds pretty serious! I hope it goes well and helps with the migraines.

Ontem, 10:16 am

>109 weird_O: What a great list. Lots to choose from. I read The Goldfinch and the Dutch House last year and enjoyed both.

Happy reading !

Ontem, 10:43 am

Hi Bill.

>109 weird_O: Sorry for the reading slump – At least for me it induces a mild panic when I can’t get lost in a good book.

I’ve read Swamplandia, Middlesex, The Poisonwood Bible, The Caine Mutiny, Tales of the South Pacific, and Gone With the Wind from that list.

>113 weird_O: Glad you finished The Nickel Boys, hope it is the nudge you needed. Sigh. Hematoma, CAT scan, appointment for another CAT scan. ((((Bill))))

>114 weird_O: Yay for the book sale, good for the hearing test. I love the idea of you going to Boston for your daughter. Make it so!!

Ontem, 11:23 am

>114 weird_O: - Yikes re that surgery. Sending all my healing vibes that it goes well and the recovery is quick and complete.

I have had migraines for a million years (in the middle of one as we speak) and I never heard of this surgery. Please keep us posted on her recovery!

Editado: Ontem, 12:34 pm

>109 weird_O: You might choose to skip racist Gone with the Wind...

My daughter has Hemiplegic Migraines which so far have not responded well to medications.

If you learn the name of the surgery your daughter will have, that would be welcome.

Not sure how far Boston is from you, but your presence and comfort, before and after, will make a real difference!

Ontem, 8:31 pm

The library sale was pretty swell. I got a few. A list will follow.

Ontem, 8:59 pm

Nice haul, Bill. I'm jealous of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Collections. I've been looking for that one.

I thought I Have Some Questions For You and Smile were both very good.