Sandy's 2021 Reading Odyssey ~ #2 ~

Això és la continuació del tema Sandy's 2021 Reading Odyssey #1.

Converses75 Books Challenge for 2021

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Sandy's 2021 Reading Odyssey ~ #2 ~

Editat: feb. 28, 12:06pm

Updating life in these parts ~
I decided this year that I'd not be participating in reading challenges or making reading resolutions this year. It's all about keeping the background anxiety keyed to a low level. As I said on thread #2021-1, simply just reading and chatting about the best of the month's titles are strategies to manage feeling relaxed and happy in this Coronavirus Year #2 .

Canada has not managed the logistics of the vaccine roll out. As of today, we sit at #38 in the list of percent population immunized which is only 1.36% of our population.
A picture is worth a thousand-words ~

In retrospect, hindsight will show us that Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after, will seem inadequate --- M. Leavitt (and simply unbelievable).
Just for fun and not vaccine-oriented,

I'm a great fan of the humour delivered by Wiley Miller

Editat: abr. 3, 12:39pm

An overview of my February reading completed; reviewed here, just briefly (more fully on the book's main page)

1. Jon Muth ~ Zen Shorts ~
2. Mary Stewart ~ Madam, Will You Talk? ~
3. Gail Carriger ~ Curtsies & Conspiracies ~
4. Alice Boyes ~ The Anxiety Toolkit ~
5. Paige Rien ~ Love the House You're In ~
6. Baroness Orczy ~ The Scarlet Pimpernel ~
7. Seanan McGuire ~ Every Heart A Doorway ~
8. Thomas King ~ Indians on Vacation ~ (a re-read, having tried it in January and abandoning it for a few weeks)
9. Gary Paulsen ~ Winterdance ~ ( a re-read thanks to Fuzzi's enthusiasm)

Editat: feb. 28, 4:40pm

~❉~ Currently reading ~❉~


Just finished Winterdance this afternoon! As always great fun, philosophical, and bittersweet as only Paulsen can be.

Editat: feb. 27, 4:22pm

~❉~ ~❉~

A few waiting in the wings

feb. 27, 4:59pm

Happy new thread!

feb. 27, 5:02pm

Happy new one!

feb. 27, 5:45pm

Happy new thread!

feb. 27, 6:21pm

Goodbye February — it’s been fun with seeing the hoar frost and snowy walking,

~despite the -32 oC,

but I'm glad March is arriving on Monday, because this is the month the days are longer, the snow begins to melt away and we go hiking to find the "Prairie Crocus" (Anemone patens), at the Beaver Creek Conservation area ~
This is also the place to tell us what you've enjoyed reading these last days of Winter...

feb. 27, 8:02pm

>8 SandyAMcPherson: ooh, pretty!

feb. 27, 8:19pm

Happy new thread!

Editat: feb. 27, 9:46pm

Hi Sandy. Happy new thread. I don't know about Saskatchewan, but here in Ontario, it's been a total flustercluck. My age group will only be eligible to MAKE AN APPOINTMENT for the vaccine as of June 1. We are also still in stay-at-home lockdown, till next week, if all goes well, and I put no stock in that. Still, my fingers are crossed because it they do lift that order, I can GET MY HAIR CUT! My hairdresser called me and I have an appointment unless otherwise notified.

Yep, it's wearing thin already, this whole big mess. My reading is suffering too as my concentration is just not there. Or maybe I just am not finding books that are grabbing me and pulling me in...but not for lack of choice, that's for sure. Sigh...

feb. 27, 8:44pm

Happy new thread, Sandy.

Anita Brookner and Penelope Lively are worth looking forward to.

Editat: feb. 28, 11:34am

>1 SandyAMcPherson:

Lucky you to still get Wiley! He was removed from The Wisconsin State Journal.

I've kept a laminated copy of his NON SEQUITUR
"Instant Companion Matchmaking Service for Seniors"
on my refrigerator for many years.

Editat: feb. 28, 12:08pm

>9 fuzzi: Thank you, fuzzi. 'Tis indeed all pretty, in its season. I'm certainly ready for the greening, though.

Thanks for the new thread wishes, Jim, Shelley, Paul, and m.belljackson.

I agree that this whole big mess. is definitely wearing thin and it is part of the problem finding truly comforting, escapist stories.

Editat: feb. 28, 12:06pm

>13 m.belljackson: Can you not access the Non Sequitur comics online?
I have no trouble using the link in >1 SandyAMcPherson:
I edited the post to underline the url so folks can enjoy the comic in all it's Sunday glory!

feb. 28, 6:57pm

Happy new thread, Sandy!
>3 SandyAMcPherson: I also loved Winterdance :-)

març 1, 2:34pm

>16 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. I'm happy to find another Paulsen fan. I've been reading his stories for the younger age group and he really brings to life all the canine characters.

març 1, 2:47pm

A new author to me, Seanan McGuire, and I finished it last week, so here's what I thought:

~ Every Heart A Doorway ~

A portal fantasy, a murder mystery for teens, a coming-of-age theme: this was a story that didn't fit any preconceived notion. Enthralling at turns and badly executed at others (poor character development even for the main two or three characters; a questionable theme of dysfunction), the book was still an interesting approach to fitting in and feeling 'at home'. It was certainly a noir plot.

Some children's/YA books are readable at any age. This one had a very juvenile feel, except that I personally found it disturbing all the travellers were in very unpleasant worlds much as they wanted to return. I would hesitate to recommend it to a young person who is struggling with the emotions and upsets of not fitting in. The writer has great potential with her ideas, however.

Editat: març 4, 11:10am

Hi Sandy, and happy new thread.

>1 SandyAMcPherson: I'm getting tired of being part of a major historical event." Amen, sister.

It's overcast and off-and-on rainy here today, but fortunately I don't have to be out in it.

març 1, 3:10pm

>19 karenmarie: Hi Karen,
I wouldn't mind mild weather and some spring flowers, but realistically, that's about 2 months away.

To mark the first day of March, the hubs kindly shovelled a short pathway so I could reach the bird feeder ~ while he was clearing snow off the back patio to pile around the oak tree

Editat: març 1, 3:20pm

>17 SandyAMcPherson: watch out for Anita, she shoots BBs with great accuracy. I've quite a few books on my TBR/Recommended lists because of her!

And it's good to see another Paulsen fan.

>20 SandyAMcPherson: it was 80F here yesterday, and the daffodils are blooming.

But tomorrow the high will be about 45F!

Typical crazy Spring weather...

març 1, 3:22pm

>18 SandyAMcPherson: I probably wouldn't call that a children's (or even YA) book, even though the characters are young. My public library has it shelved in the adult section, though I can see how it would have crossover appeal for teens. I read it a while ago and agree with you, for the most part, with your praise and your criticisms.

>20 SandyAMcPherson: Nice little path! I'm sure the birds will appreciate it. When we had lots of snow on the ground, I made a path all around my house for walking Lottie. Our snow is almost gone now, except for where it got piled up.

març 1, 3:35pm

>22 foggidawn: Hi Foggi, yes, I did find this novel in the teen reading section.

I was looking for something else and the author caught my attention because a friend was reading a later book in this series. She seemed to be really enjoying the theme and suggested I give book 1 a try. I've not decided whether to continue. Maybe later in the year, when I feel more like tolerating the darker aspects of McGuire's novels.

I'm onto a new (to me) series from a BB on Meg's thread: Death in Provence, Book 1 in the Penelope Kite series.

març 1, 3:43pm

>23 SandyAMcPherson: I heard that other books in the series get darker, so though I enjoyed the first book, I haven't yet been in the mood to read on with the series.

març 1, 10:26pm

>24 foggidawn: Yes indeed, I figured the series developed a fairly dark aspect of the travelling. ATM, it definitely isn't where I want to be in my reading.

I looked at the Eraly Reviewers' March offerings and there wasn't anything compelling there for me. It's been ages since I was excited about the books in the ER lists. Some of the books I was semi-interested in have been posted elsewhere like Goodreads, so I did peek to confirm my impressions.

Is anyone else finding the genre fairly restricted?

març 1, 10:52pm

Happy New Thread, Sandy. That's not my favorite McGuire series by any means, and she can get very dark. I love the October Daye series and the Ghost Roads books the most, with the Incryptid series next.

març 1, 11:10pm

>26 ronincats: Thanks Roni, that's really handy to know. I thought she had promise, for sure.

març 2, 10:14am

>25 SandyAMcPherson: I don't generally read ebooks, request only paper copies, so my choices are limited.

Some months there's nothing in the ER list that interests me. I have found some good children's books, and won some for my grands, but nothing recently.

I requested one book this month, a non-fiction short story collection as told by game wardens.

març 2, 1:37pm

>25 SandyAMcPherson: The lists of titles available for readers in Canada is always slimmer pickings in my experience, Sandy.

Editat: març 3, 8:44am

>28 fuzzi: The book you chose looks very adventuresome. I hope you are chosen to receive a copy.

>29 MickyFine: That is so true, Micky. I see the list shorten considerably when I select 'Canada' from the list. If it is an e-book, it doesn't entail postage, so I suppose it is largely the physical books that are cut back, no?

març 3, 4:18pm

>30 SandyAMcPherson: Not always. When books are published they have rights only for one country or zone. Books are then shopped out to other publishers for international rights. So publishers can only send books to certain places based on the rights.

març 3, 5:51pm

>31 MickyFine: Who knew?! Now that I "know" all these librarians on LT I'm having an amazing 'library-science' and 'publishing-industry' education. Thanks, Micky.

març 3, 6:40pm

>31 MickyFine: & >32 SandyAMcPherson: I do get frustrated sometimes because I really enjoy writers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand but the availability of their novels in Malaysia is hit and miss at the best.

març 4, 11:00am

>32 SandyAMcPherson: Happy to share my insider info. :)

>33 PaulCranswick: I bump into this a lot with customer suggestions to my library. We have several customers who read the Guardian Book Reviews religiously but UK titles aren't always released at the same time here (or at all). We do have it better in Canada than in the US though. Joys of being part of the Commonwealth.

març 4, 11:12am

Hi Sandy!

>20 SandyAMcPherson: Very considerate of your husband. I like the path AND the unshoveled snow in your yard.

març 4, 12:14pm

>34 MickyFine: I read the Guardian as well. It's a great look at UK politics and the book reviews are the best!

>33 PaulCranswick: Many Canadian authors publish through an American business (via a Canadian-based office, e.g. Penguin Canada). Perhaps you could enquire at a local-to-you bookstore about their distributors offerings, if American-published books appear in their shops?

>35 karenmarie: I liked the path but it's gone now.
We have to hire someone to blow out the snow in the back lawn area every March. If we get a huge, fast melt or spring rains (more rare these days), the water floods into the basement via window well. It is usually the middle of April before the ground has warmed enough to thaw and allow the melt water to soak in.

març 4, 12:28pm

In honour of World Book Day, here's my current stack of reading and references I'm consulting ~

The daylength increasing has brought more early morning light and sunshine into my life, so I feel inspired to get on with some art quilt work. I notice the effect light has on my spirits anyway, but this year it seems hugely more effective. I think it is an effect of our social isolation as we do our best to stay uninfected.

About World Book Day: I was a little hesitant to post that meme.
It's based out of Ireland and Great Britain. It seems a rather presumptuous declaration, calling it a "World" event; rather Ye Old British Empire mode. Canadians are no longer living in the Dominion of Canada nor do our passports declare, as they did when I first had one, that a Canadian is a British subject.

However, a celebration of books is always a fun event and so I did participate.

març 5, 10:04am

Well, phooey. While Karen was saying she is less fussed about "the next in the series" (which attitude I admire), I am less sanguine.
I looked at my library holds just now and saw that Book 16, What the Devil Knows has its pre-release date pushed from March 1 to April sometime... actually, says April 5 but I am skeptical.

Not like I can claim "I have nothing to read", however. *Smirk*.
I'm just looking to see what the next St. Cyr adventure will be ...

Editat: març 14, 3:53pm

Book review for the first week in March

Death in Provence ~

I haven't been reading much, so I spent last night finishing this e-book, just so that I could have at least one book done for the first week of March.
Serena Kent's novel appealed to me because I am always a sucker for someone going to a small village in France, then buying a place and subsequently coping with small-provincial angst and a mystery.

This particular story was frustrating for me because I've come to loathe female Main Characters who allow themselves to be pushed around and cave in like doormats. Perhaps it is a literary device to set up the plot. It could even be called a trope, I suppose.

If you enjoyed the Kate Hamilton Mystery series (Connie Berry), I suspect you'll have fun with this one too. Not nearly as engaging as Peter Mayle's Hotel Pastis for descriptive writing and character development though.

març 11, 11:30am

Stopping by, Sandy. It is hard to find the right books these days. I'm currently wallowing in happy reading with the last three C.J. Cherryh's in the Foreigner series. I saved them for this ___end of winter and so glad I did!

Today it is going to be a little above 60 here! The river is breaking up lickety split and I tested various places on our walk--in my rubber boots WITHOUT the 'stabilicizers" YAY!) and the snow really is a foot deep most places that aren't south or west facing. We turn cold again on Friday night but I can live with that.

Love the shoveled path to the birdfeeder. Happily our birdfeeder is right on the 'path' that the dog likes to take so it gets shoveled willy-nilly. (usually by me, truth be told).

març 12, 12:14am

I think I liked Death in Provence a bit more than you did, Sandy. Nice of your guy clearing a path out to the bird feeder. I remember the long slow start of spring from living in Montreal so it makes me happy that spring flowers are here now.

març 14, 3:01am

>34 MickyFine: & >36 SandyAMcPherson: I am trying to compensate by keeping my eye on what books are being released and talked about in Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and then look at things like Book Depo and other things to order what I simply cannot get here.

març 14, 4:25pm

>40 sibylline: Hi Lucy. Speaking of it being "hard to find the right books these days", I returned The Debatable Land to the library on Friday. It may be a really interesting exploration of various aspects of Roman-to-medieval Britain, but I didn't get past the about 150 pages.

My greatest difficulty was the author's inability to keep his narrative flowing smoothly. There would be an interesting start to a little anecdote or a piece of history which then was left dangling, never to be referred to further in the following pages. I discovered this tendency right in the beginning when Robb is describing the train station where some poor fellow stuck his head out the window and was decapitated as the train picked up speed past a signal post. And this is told us with no raison d'être, no follow up. What the heck??!!

I did expect to have all sorts of 'myths' exposed as mere tales by imaginative inhabitants, but my ability to follow this aspect of the narrative was depressingly foiled. Some of the descriptive passages about the countryside were wonderful reading. Unfortunately, these details didn't clarify the story's theme (which I thought I was following), so my understanding was repeatedly foiled. It may have been my fault as much as the author's style. Nevertheless, I did rate it as 3-stars even though it was a DNF.

març 14, 4:40pm

>41 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. Yes, I got that BB from you, didn't I? I'm not relating well to some of the novels I've read this year. Whether it's the isolation-snarkiness of this pandemic or it is an evolution of my reading preferences is hard to decide at this time.

I've started The Way of All Flesh because I had a BB from your thread #11 in 2020 for The Art of Dying. I wanted to start with book 1 (naturally). It is not always a relaxing read but I'm very engaged with the characters. So thanks for drawing my attention to Ambrose Parry. I hadn't read anything of his before this.

març 14, 4:50pm

>42 PaulCranswick: Good luck finding decent reading sources. I hope you enjoy the books you can access. I'm surprised there's no local English-language bookshop.

març 14, 7:28pm

>45 SandyAMcPherson: No Sandy. There is a wonderful english language bookshop in Kuala Lumpur - several in fact. What I am talking about is the relative difficulty finding books published by NZ, Canadian or Aussie authors here.

Editat: març 16, 9:45am

Quiet in here, isn't it?
And today, except in Saskatchewan, and the Yukon Territory (Canada) and Arizona, (USA), we have the wonderful phenomenon of messing with the time.

Happily, Wiley Miller nails it again ~ the REAL reason why Stonehenge was abandoned.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying reading a new-to-me-author: Ambrose Parry (The Way of All Flesh). Waiting in the wings, (totally ignoring what else has been malingering, according to >4 SandyAMcPherson:), is The Bride Wore Black.

(Touchstones seem untouchable tonight...)

març 16, 8:51am

Morning, Sandy!

Ambrose Parry - I've never heard of him, but I *love* that name.

març 16, 1:25pm

>47 SandyAMcPherson: Yup, every time we switch over to Daylight Savings I consider moving to Saskatchewan. Of course the provincial government keeps making noises about abandoning time change although last I heard they want to stay on Daylight Savings rather than stick with Standard Time, while I'd prefer staying on Standard Time (I find it so hard to go to sleep when it's light out).

març 17, 10:18am

Hi Sandy!

>37 SandyAMcPherson: The daylength increasing has brought more early morning light and sunshine into my life, so I feel inspired to get on with some art quilt work. I notice the effect light has on my spirits anyway, but this year it seems hugely more effective. I think it is an effect of our social isolation as we do our best to stay uninfected. I have several friends who are majorly affected by less light and sunshine in the winter months, one going to far as to get a light therapy lamp. My problem is that I get depressed with the nasty North Carolina summer weather - hot, humid, bug-filled, stifling.

>47 SandyAMcPherson: Daylight Savings Time is so disruptive. Glad you don’t have to deal with it.

març 17, 11:03am

>50 karenmarie: Hi Karen, I massively dislike the summers "down East". That would be southern Ontario and Montréal, where we have family. Folks love to give the residents of the Canadian prairies a hard time about our climate, but it is much more tolerable than the eastern regions and Atlantic Canada.

I do miss the springs of my youth on Vancouver Island, though. Central Canada has no spring season, we have a "spring afternoon" and then it is summer. And summer is glorious.

març 17, 11:03am

>49 MickyFine: Hi Micky and >48 scaifea: Amber!
I scribbled over on your threads...

març 17, 4:23pm

Hi Sandy, a quick note (how is it possible I've only lurked for the past two weeks?) to let you know that I've been Kinged.

març 17, 10:53pm

>53 richardderus: You were lurking? How like *me* over on your thread. I've been distracted with in-house rearrangements and I'm not reading very much, so haven't a lot to contribute that is bookish.

març 18, 11:48am

>54 SandyAMcPherson: We're all part of this ratty, tatty thing called "Reality" (hugely overrated, the rules make no sense and the ending stinks) so it happens...regularly.

març 19, 10:12am

So sorry Debatable didn't work for you -- that is a style, I think, of writing, sort of layering and wandering about collecting this and that and building up a picture of a place. I don't think the author was trying to tell a coherent story. I wonder if he (they) are still living there by that wild stream. Maybe the most coherent bit was simply living in that odd little place where a house has hunkered for hundreds of years!

Ah -- you don't care for Eastern humidity! I can remember well after summers abroad (I did a fair amount of aupairing) getting off the plane in August in Boston or NY and gasping at the warm steam bath of it!

març 19, 6:37pm

>56 sibylline: When it finally gets to fixing the Roman maps it's brilliant!

març 22, 9:57am

Hi Richard, Lucy and Susan ~ thanks for the comments.
I really wanted to like The Debatable Land. I haven't written it off my potential 'try again' list. I appreciate the encouragement that "When it finally gets to fixing the Roman maps, it's brilliant!" Good incentive.

I have finished The Way of All Flesh and it was a great escape with not too much tension to defeat me. Took it in slow stages, since I wanted to not let the suspense build too much and Parry paced the writing just perfectly for that.

Editat: març 22, 5:02pm

~ The Way of All Flesh~

This mystery and the historical setting of 1840's London really worked well for me. The characters were idiosyncratic and well-developed, especially Will Raven and Sarah Fisher. The adventure felt very credible, the medical difficulties of difficult births amongst the poor all too real, but handled sensitively by the authors.

While it became somewhat obvious who the culprit was, the story was engrossing and the outcome absolutely fitting. I loved the twist at the end. Recommended for those who love historical fiction and can cope with the portrayal of life in the reality of the mid-19th century.

març 22, 2:03pm

>59 SandyAMcPherson: *ow*ow*ow*

dratted book-bullets!

març 22, 5:02pm

>59 SandyAMcPherson: Ouch! Got me. It's available at the Library too, so now it's on my Kindle.

març 22, 5:05pm

>60 richardderus: Interesting, RD. I wouldn't have expected this piece of fiction to appeal sp strongly as implied by the book-bullet standard.
It's not an especially 'deep' piece of work, but the scenarios held together for me. I'm not familiar with the concept of a couple co-authoring so successfully, but it comes with my having liked the recommendations on Meg's (Familyhistorian) and Katie's (katiekrug) threads.

març 22, 5:07pm

>61 quondame: Hi Susan. Our posts coincided almost nearly.

I fixed the touchstone at >59 SandyAMcPherson:, in case anybody connected to a different book. The title is amazingly ubiquitous.

març 22, 9:21pm

Just stopping in -- we seem to be having an unusually early spring here this year! Outside a lot which means no reading.

març 27, 6:37pm

HAppy weekend!

>59 SandyAMcPherson: Another book bullet for me. * sigh*

març 28, 5:19pm

>65 figsfromthistle: I hope you enjoy it, Anita.
The medical aspects may be off-putting but the mystery came across as very genuine in a 'real life' sense. I found the finale absolutely satisfying!

Editat: març 28, 5:27pm

It's been a roller coaster week here in Saskatchewan. Vaccine delivery hiccoughs, cancelled immunization appointments, a scary number of younger folks in our other major city (Regina) with aggressive Coronavirus variant infections.

Yeah, no one was going to enjoy where my exploding head was at.
But I did finish another book, so that's a March score of 3 finished and 1 DNF'd.
I'll be posting Book 3' review, when I think it through a bit more clearly.

Thanks for keeping my thread warm, Lucy, Anita, Susan and Richard.

març 28, 9:29pm


març 29, 10:33am

I'm sorry there are so many worries about Covid in Saskatchewan.

I hope your exploding head is ah, not exploding now.

I'll follow Richard's example and give you a *smooch*.

Editat: març 29, 10:53am

>69 karenmarie: Thanks! {{{Karen}}}, I'm into some good reading, which settled my head down. Thanks, also RD. Good to have you all at my back, so to speak.

I had a book order arrive last week and I'm looking forward to To Obama: With Love, Joy, Anger, and Hope. But first I need to finish A Winter in Arabia. It is a wonderful story of travel and adventure. One of my new-to-me authors, Freya Stark. Yeah, I'm really late to *that* party!

març 29, 12:36pm

Sandy, I don't know if you've mentioned this before but are your head issues due to migraine? Last year, I discovered a really excellent site called Each year, they also do what's called the Migraine Summit where experts in a variety of fields come together and provide half hour talks, answer questions, etc. This year's summit just finished so I am sorry I wasn't able to alert you earlier. It's a full week of scheduled talks, all free (though the entire summit is available for purchase after the fact but I just watch them daily; there are always some not that relevant to me but several really are pertinent). They cover topics from meds, to diet, exercise, yoga, research, triggers, work, coping strategies, and lots more. Topics often suggested by participants.

Anyhow, here's the link if you want to explore, and sign up for their newsletters, articles or whatever. Then maybe next year you can tune in to the summit. I really found a lot of the info there very helpful. It's run entirely by volunteers, all of whom are migraine sufferers.

març 29, 2:44pm

>70 SandyAMcPherson: Isn't it great to find a new author you enjoy, knowing that you have their whole body of work to explore?

març 29, 5:44pm

>72 foggidawn: Bujold, Wells, Hobb...eyup!

març 31, 6:28pm

>71 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley.
Not a migraine at all. Nice of you to provide the info. This is primarily a stress and muscle thing.

>72 foggidawn: I agree. I like having a series and or different types of genre or writers in mind that appeal, so I'm not floundering when something doesn't suit my frame of mind.

>73 fuzzi: And Jodi Taylor. I'm seeing lots of enthusiasm for her work and alreay missed out on a library hold.

Editat: març 31, 6:33pm

Not much to say in my reading world, but lots to celebrate today!

The staff handed out stickers as we left the inoculation station. Like kids at the doctor's office!

This is dose 1 (Pfizer) and it is apparently going to be at least 3 or more months before there's enough vaccine available (in my province) for dose 2. Personally I'm appalled that a booster shot is delayed to that extent.

març 31, 7:08pm

>74 SandyAMcPherson: - Not that tension headaches are anything to downplay but I am glad that it isn't migraine.

>75 SandyAMcPherson: - Congrats on getting the first jab! I truly have no idea when I will get mine. Our province is so messed up, that we are at the point where the doctors are saying publicly that the govt is treating covid like a political thing and not the #1 health priority is is. We are in dire straits here and our stupid premier has announced today that he will have an announcement *tomorrow*. The most consistent message he seems to impart lately is to *stay tuned*. Our numbers in Ontario are the highest they have been since the pandemic began last year. If I ever had an ounce of respect for the premier (and I never did, never), it would be long gone by now. His middle name is SPIN.

març 31, 8:51pm

>76 jessibud2: All the premiers in Western, Central and Ontario Canada are the same, *not* treating this pandemic as a health emergency but a business strategy. They're not listening to their medical health officers.

Apparently it is the well-being of businesses that matters, not the general population.
Here in SK (and it seems elsewhere), pandering to the business community is equated with the political backing with whom these politicians are trying to curry favour. And voters are so disconnected from looking at the cost of favouring this one group that this will not change. Bleagh!

BTW, people we know in the GTA in the over-70 age group received Moderna immunizations this week. Maybe your physician can advise. I believe some pharmacies (London Drugs, I think?) have vaccines.

According to what we've seen in the local news, when vaccines have been reaching their expiry point (in Ontario), the provincial health authority for the region has passed them to pharmacists so that there are more people to provide injections. There were reports here that had people upset that Ontario was doing this so why couldn't SK pharmacies. Obviously supplies to SK were considerably fewer than the populous provinces. I have no idea how accurate this info really is but it might be worth checking out.

març 31, 9:17pm

Well, oddly, so many over-80s (thousands, apparently), have not made appointments to get their vaccines that there are lots of openings. Why? Because the vaccination centres are too far from where they live and they don't have a way t get there, or are afraid to congregate and wait for hours. Only this week did someone think of bringing the vaccines to where they are needed most. So, the over-80s and front-line workers, of course, were the first. Then, the pharmacies got Astra-Zeneca for the 60-64 ages group. I am younger than 80 but older than 64 so no luck there. Then, all the controversy about Astra-Zeneca (which I would rather not get unless nothing else were available), and of course, the lack of supply in general. A few regions outside the GTA just today announced that the over 60s (I think; it might be over 65), are now eligible and so my friend made her appointment and will get her shot on Sunday. My age group (over 65), in Toronto, won't be eligible until June. Unless we get more supply, which they make it sound like that will happen any minute. And of course, it isn't. They just the other day opened a mass vaccination centre at Canada's Wonderland (a big amusement park). Had to close it the next day due to lack of supply. It just seems, from day to day, that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. And they hired retired army guy Rick Hillier to *organize* the mass vaccine rollout. His contract ended today. They paid him $20,000. Are we better organized? HA! They would have done better to use that money to bring vaccines to where people are (factories where workers aren't getting paid sick leave when they are sick, or even to leave to get a vaccine), or seniors who are mobility-challenged.

I could go on and on but 'nuff said.

abr. 1, 9:42am

Hi Sandy!

I read on Amber’s thread that you got your first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and a sticker so came on over to offer my congratulations. I hope you can get a second dose sooner than 3 months. First dose, though... 👍

Editat: abr. 2, 10:42pm

>79 karenmarie: Thanks Karen. I don't even have a swollen injection site, but I hear dose 2 can be a doozy.
I'm wishing more people here (in Saskatoon) would sign up. I think that's why the age restrictions keep being lowered.

abr. 2, 11:15am

The world gone mad.

So glad for you Sandy that you have jab#1. My spousal unit who follows every tidbit about covid, did say the other day that the long wait is not a problem. Ironically -- you might even end up being covered better in the end, for longer, as so far, they only will confidently give whatever vaccine you get 6 months. They don't know yet if it last longer -- it might or it might not -- we just have to wait and see. I felt so much better after #1. Once you're through the three weeks you might fall ill, yes, but not deathly so.

abr. 2, 10:44pm

>81 sibylline: Hi Lucy, I'm heartened to think a delayed booster is actually advantageous.
I think the clinical trials have data that aren't conclusive, but OTOH, at least we can be sure whenever we get that dose 2, it will 'remind' our immune system to be reactivated.

abr. 2, 10:47pm

So I'm a little tardy on book reviews (yes, I *have* been reading).
I'm adding this note here as much to remind myself to write up the last novel I read in March and to add the first one of April.

I seem terribly fatigued and mostly not thinking of what to say. Is this a Pfizer reaction?

abr. 4, 9:51am

Hi Sandy.

Frankly, I've been more tired than normal since my first Pfizer dose on February 4th and am hoping it's the vaccine and not something else.

Editat: abr. 4, 10:04am

>84 karenmarie: I'm hearing that comment (about fatigue) from friends who've had Moderna as well as those having Pfizer. I believe the chronic, background anxiety of the past year and more plays into this weariness. Anxiety is known to infringe on our immune system, so my approach is to go to bed earlier than I might normally. A compelling read has not remained a reason to keep me from turning out the light.

The overwhelming refrain I hear is I just want this (pandemic) to be over, now.

Me too.

Editat: abr. 4, 10:55am

I've chosen my favourite title from March for posting on Talk:

~ The Bride Wore Black

Originally published in 1940, this novel has that 1930's clipped dialogue style. I loved it. The staccato descriptions were so concise and the characterization of the main protagonists excellent. The style reminded me of the Mike Hammer (Mickey Spillane) novels, except not so hard-boiled.

Some quote-worthy mentions, without any spoilers:
(Charlie was) … ‘a man of twenty-seven with close-cropped sandy hair… so close cropped it looked silvery at the sides. Brown eyes, spare figure, good height without being too tall about it…’
‘… they nodded slightly to Bliss in passing, and he nodded slightly back to them with all the awful frigidity of metropolitan neighbours.’

Woolrich was very adroit with evoking sympathy for his female main character, Julie, although he passes her name off very quickly and I missed it at the beginning. The detective, Wangner, was inserted in as a bit player but cleverly became an important character without taking away from Julie's dominance.

I'm not sure that the mystery was all that credible but the prose is so potent that one can overlook any lapses. While not gently evocative (as murder mysteries go) like the series by Tony Hillerman or Elly Griffiths, this series of Woolrich's noir work is eminently worth seeking out.

I read the "tree form" of this book (reprinted 2021), but I notice that a few of Woolrich's older novels were reprinted as e-PUBS. I my-own-self prefer the physical book for writing like Woolrich's. There's something about physical books that allow me to more effectively savour the writing. I was surprised that I liked a noir plot as much as I did. Took off half-a-star because I felt the ending was a bit terse.

abr. 4, 12:57pm

>75 SandyAMcPherson: ff It's become obvious that one Pfizer jab has a lot of beneficial effects and that a delayed-past-three-weeks booster has shown strong evidence of extending baseline immunity (not dying or becoming hospitalized if infected, limited resistance to the already circulating variants) past the current evidence's six-ish months.

>86 SandyAMcPherson: I've always been hmmmfy about the "too tall about it" line being significantly over the six-foot mark. He must've been short.

Tree-books are just better than ebooks. *sigh*

abr. 4, 1:26pm

>87 richardderus: Re, the "too tall about it" line ~ I liked the way he said that.
There were some other snappy little descriptors, but I didn't note the pages. Now the library book is returned and I had no reference anyway.

abr. 4, 1:31pm

>88 SandyAMcPherson: Oh yes, it's a clever line, it's just a clever way of being annoyed and jealous about someone else's win in the genetic lottery.

abr. 4, 2:55pm

Hope spring is happening in your neck of the woods!

abr. 4, 3:25pm

>90 mdoris: That will be in May ~ for about 1 afternoon ~ then it is summer. 😄

abr. 4, 5:33pm

>90 mdoris: >91 SandyAMcPherson: Is that better or worse than the "This year our summer came on Tuesday?" My dad quoted that when he came back from England. I've been to England in a heat wave and a very cool August, so I guess it depends on the year

Editat: abr. 6, 1:27pm

How is it going? I know you take a break now and again. Well, here's hoping it's a good book that has you distracted.

abr. 8, 8:05am

Just dropping in to say hello! Hope all is well.

abr. 9, 11:41am

Hi Susan and Anita. Thanks for the visit.

I came, "I saw" (the talk posts), No Conquering, though.
I'm not reading all that much or doing anything worth a conversation, but soldiering on. Posting in case peeps wonder where I'm at.

I've finished two novels which I'd like to review when I have the mental energy, both 4-stars I think~ The Postscript Murders and What the Devil Knows, both series I've been following.

abr. 9, 1:00pm

>95 SandyAMcPherson: ooh, I'm looking forward to your review of The Postscript Murders, Sandy. No pressure AT ALL, just saying I'm encouraged by your 4-star review and interested in reading your comments.

Also while I'm at it, I want to thank you for introducing me to Sebastian St Cyr. I just read #3 in the series, Why Mermaids Sing, and it was both excellent and just what I needed, reading-wise. And because these books always seem to leave you hanging in some way or another, I'm already looking forward to the next one.

abr. 9, 1:55pm

I'm deeply glad to know 4-star reads predominate in your Read pile. It seems sadder, to me, when others aren't enjoying their reads than when I am not enjoying mine.

Happy weekend's reads.

abr. 9, 2:26pm

Well, as long as you're fine. We managed OK when you let us know you'd be taking a break, but when you just go quiet it's noticeable.

Editat: abr. 9, 10:26pm

>96 lauralkeet: >97 richardderus: >98 quondame:, Back again and so pleased to see you dropped by.
I've instituted a naptime into my early afternoon *and* I'm avoiding drinking coffee at lunchtime. I technically knew I needed more sleep but I'm normally not a nap-person. Well, surprise. I feel so much better even if I think the night was passably decent.

Anyway, I seem to have overcome the fuzz-brain enough to feel like I can write up my last two reads. Happily they were very satisfying. I seem to be finding better engagement with stories compared to February and March.

abr. 9, 9:59pm

CS Harris's latest episode in the St. Cyr mysteries ~

~ What the Devil Knows

While this does have a feeling of 'the continuing saga' aspect in the life and times of the fictional Sebastian St. Cyr, CS Harris is delightfully adroit in writing a realistic picture of the time period, based on some actual events. I had never heard about the Ratcliffe Highway murders before reading this book but the story is flawless in blending fact with fiction. I love that the author writes an Afterword to fill in further historical details as well as explain what she drew from composite figures and where her fiction took over.

Harris has a stunning talent that keeps the St. Cyr mysteries fresh. My one difficulty was keeping track of all the different players and the details. The saga flat-lined a bit in the middle third because I was confused with how several of the characters related to each other. This didn’t matter in the final third as events began to clarify the complexities. It was excellent to see Hero playing a part in uncovering some of the details of the main murder which Sebastian investigated.

The final chapter was typical Harris → she leaves us with a tantalizing twist. I’m surely going to be eager to read the next instalment. Patience demands that I find something to preoccupy my attention because book 17 won’t appear anywhere for probably a year! Ouch.

Editat: abr. 9, 10:25pm

I was delighted in another Elly Griffiths mystery, set in more contemporary times in England:

~ The Postscript Murders ~

This is Book 2 in a series featuring a British-born, East Indian character, DS Harbinder Kaur. I really admire how Griffiths has portrayed Harbinder with details about the subtle ethnic constraints as well as gender problems in the police force. I didn't like Book 1 very much (there were strange police procedurals and some illogical action, in my opinion). However, this story was particularly excellent. The plot developed along lines which had wonderful twists and reveals.

I especially enjoyed how the more elderly characters were woven into the plot. Griffiths showed a very realistic view of aging, living in retirement homes with health care and the restrictions that occur with infirmities. The novel was not at all depressing in this regard. An added bonus was the secret lives of the elders ~ was wonderfully hinted at and woven into a complex somewhat psychological drama. Another series I'll be chafing to read as soon as the next book is released!

abr. 10, 12:01am

I'm reading Cumin, Camels, and Caravans and while it is full of interesting information and stories, it's driving me bats! Nabhan refers to Istanbul as Byzantine when it was Constantinople/Roman and now that I've reached the sections about the 16th century he's calling it Constantinople when it is properly Istanbul. He entirely left out the Mongols and seems way obsessed with crypto-Jews. And while I'm generally OK with self-insertion in investigative travelogues, his mostly bothers me. Also, I'm not sold that wide ranging trading empires and monopolies are at all the same thing as globalization. An element, of course, but a boat isn't the fleet.
Oh, and so far he makes very cursory mention of dye stuffs, mostly just saffron, which were really big trade items and closely paralleled spices.
On the third hand, some of my favorite historical authors could have used his details to make great characters, backgrounds and adventures even.

abr. 10, 8:27am

I'm so glad to see the St Cyr series holds up all the way through, Sandy. I've only read three so it will be quite a while before I get to this one. But your review of The Postscript Murders is very enticing. I enjoyed The Stranger Diaries perhaps more than you did. I like to imagine Harbinder Kaur and Ruth Galloway meeting in real life ...

abr. 10, 8:50am

Hi Sandy!

>95 SandyAMcPherson: I’m glad you liked The Postscript Murders 4 stars worth.

You can post without having anything 'worth a conversation', you know! Just anything – a good cup of coffee or tea, a beautiful bit of weather, something nice going on at home, something interesting you saw in the news, something bothering you, something weird, or of course a particularly good or particularly bad book. This is the chattiest group on LT by far, so chat away!

abr. 10, 9:36am

>102 quondame: Truth to tell, Nabhan's writing is rather poor and I agree, drives readers 'batty'. I felt a tad irresponsible, (being guilty of unreservedly expressing my enthusiasms) that so many LT members were attracted to requesting the book from their library (when we were discussing culinary appropriation).

I did say in my review that this author "often wanders from point to point and back again". I didn't notice his misuse of Istanbul/Constantinople. When I was in Istanbul/Constantinople in the early 1970's, the city on one side of the Bosporus was referred to as "the old city" and called Constantinople (the western side?); the other side was simply Istanbul. So I've never really sorted out any of that city's naming.

Does this clarify anything for you?

I mainly read Cumin, Camels, and Caravans for the spice and crops histories. Admittedly, I skimmed a lot of it. The anecdotes about origins of recipes was the best part, imho.

abr. 10, 10:47am

>103 lauralkeet: Hi Laura. I was rather delighted to discover that The Postscript Murders was good reading. Aside from the fact I like Elly Griffiths' writing style, I wanted a series to continue to follow. I'm topped out in that, the series I've liked the most, I'm now caught up to the most recently available book.

I'm turning to some longtime-intended reading from old WL. Struggling with Freya Stark's A Winter in Arabia. I have a big map of the Southeastern quadrangle of the Arabian Peninsula spread out on the dining room table to try and clarify in my mind where she is describing.

It's irritating that she is in the Yemeni area but talking about looking for the ruins of Nujair. As far as I can determine, the Nujair area was near Medina (?) and the the last major military engagement of the Ridda Wars. So why is Stark speaking of Nujair while in the deserts of the (then) Aden Protectorate?

OK. I acknowledge that was, indeed, a rhetorical question.

abr. 10, 10:47am

>104 karenmarie: Thanks Karen.
The pandemic is wearying and often I suspect my not liking the books I'm reading is more due to a crabby mindset because I'm so bereft of friends and family. I have friends who've been very ill, some passing away (not Covid) and I couldn't travel to see them during the time they were still able to have visitors. No one in our immediate family is ill, but the younger set are burned out with young kids out of school and WFH trying to happen. I want to alleviate some of this aspect but it requires travel we can't consider.

I don't want to be negative here, so sometimes I'd rather let conversations slide. This is mostly an upbeat "place" to visit and I'd like to be a positive contributor (except when I genuinely feel an author has written rubbish).

I have read 28 books so far this year. When I was looking over the list (it's on my profile), I am averaging ok on decent reads. Funny (surprising) to see that because my sense was I hadn't had read much that I enjoyed, but obviously, in the moment, that isn't so.

abr. 10, 12:47pm

>106 SandyAMcPherson: I'm glad to see you acknowledge your question as rhetorical, Sandy. Arabian geography is not my forte, ha ha.

abr. 10, 2:24pm

I'm glad to see the St. Cyr series is still going strong. I have only read the first two. One of these days...

I have reserved The Postscript Murders and will wait my turn.

abr. 10, 3:04pm

>105 SandyAMcPherson: Maybe I should give him a pass on the Constantinople/Istanbul naming, but not to mention the plague or the Mongol trade network seems myopic. As a person of mixed ancestry, I've cousins who didn't know they had Jewish ancestors before and others who remained orthodox Jews. I suspect that all those who went to the Americas from the Iberian peninsula in the early 16th century had similar dietary tastes which persisted while the customs of the homelands changed. After all, before the 16th century, the Spaniards were known for culinary skills in Italy. After that they used their new world wealth to rule as much of Italy (and every where else) as they could and the Italians took over being the fount of European food sophistication.
I like Nabhan's storytelling as long as he is focused on what's right in front of him, but when he gets to context or speculation, his agenda trips him up. Also he is very sloppy with dates and needed a obsessive editor.

abr. 11, 8:52am

Happy Sunday, Sandy!

I have nothing of much value to add to the conversation, but I can't help but think that somehow this is relevant (They Might Be Giants, Istanbul, Not Constantinople):

abr. 11, 9:34am

>111 scaifea: That YouTube was very... ummm, erudite?

Here's a look at my morning's reading on the Guardian's book pages....

... not that this hilarity (with which I thoroughly sympathize) adds to the Istanbul / Constantinople discussion.

abr. 11, 4:03pm

>112 SandyAMcPherson: And I have to remember to call it Miklagard when I'm in persona at SCA dressed in my smokkr.

abr. 11, 5:34pm

>113 quondame: That would be an apron-dress, would it? And worn in the time of Constantinople?

I'm a bit hazy where you are going with this comment about a smokkr but it sure led me to a fascinating Viking age clothing website.

Editat: abr. 11, 7:32pm

>114 SandyAMcPherson: I was making another reference to that city by the Golden Horn. My Norse persona is mid 11 century after Harald Hardrada had returned from Constantinople. Really only half-Norse, but that was pretty common. The current version/fashion for Norse in the SCA is extremely comfortable and practical. Well, the bling can be excessive, but then my resources (I don't make my own glass beads or metal charms) are limited so I go about modestly bedecked.

abr. 12, 8:03am

Hi, Sandy. Somehow I had unstarred your thread. Since it is pretty unlikely that you would have made me mad, it must have been an accident. You are now starred again. I LOVED Winterdance! I hope you are enjoying it too and I hope you are doing well.

abr. 12, 9:01am

>116 msf59: Hi Mark. How super to see you visiting. Thanks for leaving a message.

I've been mostly lurking on LT this year because I had too obsessively spent all last year on the computer, especially keeping up with the threads. I read more books in one year than I ever had in the past, and I warbled about those to a great extent. And neglected so much of my other activities.

This year, I confess my attention wandered to other things and I have had a lot of trouble reading. Brain fog 'R us, I guess. I believe my malaise is simply a cumulative effect of isolation, lack of family and friends in actual RL contact. LT is fun to have as a social back up and I truly value the virtual contact.

I've been enviously following your birding. So many varieties. We've seen way less diversity in our neighbourhood. Our property has become quite bereft of warblers and pine siskins for example. I blame the urbanisation of the land to the south. Huge ugly developments of townhouses and horrible swaths of paved over grasslands to accommodate the shopping mall parking. The city planning department is full of deadwood older style staff with 1970's attitudes. There really should have been value placed on the bushy-grassland ecotype.

OK. End of rant. I hope you'll post some birds pictures here next time you pop over.

Editat: abr. 12, 9:52am

I finished Bob last night. Not that it is a big deal, only 200 pages.

~ Bob ~

I dithered between 2½ ★s and 3. Partly because I am not sure which audience Wendy Mass intended for this kid's story. The main character (Livy) is 10-going-on-11 years old. I was astonished that the writing was so juvenile if that was the intended age group of readers.

The storyline was very original, however, as we find out more about who Bob really might be. He certainly isn't a zombie. The characterisations were pretty good but the language was so simplified, I felt it lacked a dimension of intrigue and depth which might have been developed. I'd need to read this to about a six-year-old to judge whether the story was interesting. There's something very revealing about reading a book out loud to a child that shows whether the story is effective.

I think the presentation suffered ~ the brown-toned illustrations were boring. While vibrant colours are not required to make the pictures attractive, the overall absence of anything except brown was depressing. I get that the story is set in a time of drought in Australia, but that was no excuse.