Happiness is Talking About Books

I have so enjoyed the comments about Dick Francis this week. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to talk about books I love with people who love them, too. I’m going to really enjoy doing the Re-Read posts and enjoy even more the comments and conversation.

What made you happy this week?

49 thoughts on “Happiness is Talking About Books

  1. Exactly the same. Rediscoverong one of my fav authors, talking about it not only here but with my husband. Who then grabbed his fav book by DF and spent the evening reading.
    Which made me happy because for mental health reasons he wasn’t able to do for quite some time.

  2. I haven’t read DF (maybe one, a very long time ago), but the idea of seeing your reread comments on folks like Pratchett make me happy.

    Also, got my 2nd shot Friday, so happy about that (and my impending travel to visit my dad for the first time in two years!)

    And, prepping for a quilting retreat – really looking forward to that.

  3. I love Dick Francis and have read most of his books twice – maybe time for a third go-round.

    Second term of my Horticulture program finished this week, plus I am getting my first vaccine today. The rollout in Canada has been slow and my province is back in another lockdown so happy to be getting my shot. I have a week off before starting back on summer term. My coop assignment has come through and I will be spending 3 months working on a small flower farm.

    The weather this week was glorious – more like summer than spring. Flowers are popping up everywhere in my garden and the rhubarb and chive are coming up in the vegetable garden. Too early to do a major clean up but lovely to be outside.

  4. 5-year-old great-nephew and his 1-year-old spaniel arrived with his mom and grandmother for the day, as if the sole plan was to make me laugh all the way to exhaustion. Godzilla, The Moth, and King Kong came along, too, and their solid rubber survived all sorts of acrobatics and water amusements. Great-nephew told me of his interest in gems and identified types of rock he found in the yard, especially quartz (his favorite and mine). Also, he has read up on bugs which was excellent because several types of bees appeared for the first time in 2021. They joined the hornets, paper wasps, three kinds of ants, and ladybugs that were out and about. The spaniel cornered the tick market.

    Great-nephew stood on a scaffold so he could see the three levels of track while running trains on the model railroad layout with my husband. That gave me a chance to catch up with my niece and sister-in-law, the mom and grandmother who’d provided transport for boy and dog.

  5. I have a lovely biography of Dick Francis by Graham Lord, and he spends the whole introduction exploring how much was Dick and how much was Mary. Graham thought neither could have produced the books without the other, so the biography of “the writer” is about both of them, which I greatly enjoyed. “Second Wind” was the one that came out after Mary’s death, and it definitely lacked something in my opinion, which proved to me that Mary was a bigger part of the process than just research. Either way, it sounds like they had a delightful time together and gave us some great books.

    In other happy news, I am eating cake that I baked, and I am pleased with. The sun is shining. We visited my M-I-L and got her internet working again, and now I am FREE for the rest of the day, to hang out with my book and my cake.

    1. My mystery book dealer friends always said that Francis did the research and Mary wrote them. Who knows? I’ve read an awful lot of them.

  6. Got my second shot, so that’s good. Finally stopped dabbling with the sourdough starter and produced an actual loaf. If I do say so myself, it was rather spectacularly successful. Pretty markings in the crunchy crust, good texture, tasty. Yay me.

    Sat with friends and drank beer in the sun.

    The vaccine gave me some rough days afterwards, so while I’ve been happy to have gotten it, I haven’t been doing much else to chat about. Really enjoyed the online talk about Georgette Heyer mentioned Thursday. Somehow I forgot about the The Masqueraders, one of my favorites! So, it’s making me happy to look forward to visiting some old friends.

  7. Hanging out with my newspapers, books, and some fudge I made yesterday. I’m not a big fudge eater but I do get a taste for it once or so a year.

    It’s raining today. That’s good because there’s been a bunch of brush fires this past week. I’ll be able to take my newspapers or books and coffee to the porch abit later.

    By this time tomorrow I will have had my second shot. I’m really impatient about it.

  8. one of my favorite holidays was doing a DF tour of the racing towns of the English countryside.

  9. Definitely good happiness was seeing our eldest son almost every day working on the Boler trailer. First weekend trip to Harrison. The upholstered cushions picked up on way out of town. Works best on a deadline.

    Change is coming. Weeks of reflection looking at how do we want this retirement to look like. This past week has been all about how do I / we want this third act to look like. What exercise we can do that we agree on. See an electric bike in my future. He likes to research, I read while he researches. Win win. He is cooking more. Win. Dare I say, actually in the garden too. Win!

    Me – it is writing. Looking through all my short stories and starter projects. And sorting through this house. Finished projects = a bucket of happiness. Started replacing the shed roof after the raccoon ripping frenzy. Removed everything. Amazing how many tools I have, especially every tool known to man to remove weeds. Starting seeds today. Bought more sweet pea seeds too.

    Planning a trip to Hawaii next February with the cousins. Fingers crossed.

    Bought three DF books yesterday. Three of Jenny’s favourites to start.

  10. I’ve never read Duck Francis’ books ( purely a cozy mystery fan) but I did meet him once and he was such a lovely man. That was a pretty good memory and it makes me happy he brought such joy to his readers.

  11. Something that gives me a squiggle of glee is when someone compliments me. It took me a few years to recognise them and accept them.

    Now I try to remember the ones that make me happy daily so I can have more of that feeling. For example my GP saying that I am someone she respects. Or Jenny saying that I know a lot about many things.

    That one’s a particular fave because knowing about different parts of the world was important to me as it shows that I’m open minded and thoughtful, which are traits I admire in others.

    I’m happy that I’m mostly updated with my works’s work. Now to keep the balance!

  12. Somehow I missed the Dick Francis post. I’ve read everything he wrote multiple times. My grandmother discovered him first, passed him on to my mom, who passed him on to me. His books are just lovely.

    I got to go to a friend’s farm yesterday and see lots of critters, including pigs, cows, and some very adorable week-old lambs. Plus pick up a few buckets of compost for my garden and a dozen eggs from her chickens. The Housemate came with me, and we had a lovely visit. Since we’d all had our first shot and we were outside, we didn’t bother with masks and it had a lovely feeling of normalcy about it. Second shot is Tuesday and I’m looking forward to having it behind me.

    A sort of sideways happiness was having routine blood tests done and discovering I have hypothyroid (low thyroid levels). I’ve been feeling even more tired than usual, and gaining weight (which I’d been blaming on the stressful last year and worrying my fibro was getting even worse) and generally feeling rotten. I’m happy to discover that there may be a medical reason for this, and unlike most of the things that are wrong with me, an actual treatment. Fingers crossed that the new meds work for me and I can get back to functioning again.

      1. That lamb! Looks like it’s been rolling in the dirt yet kept its perfect clean white face to be extra cute. Love it

      1. I discovered that my notification email had two links, because there were two posts in one day, and I just didn’t scroll down low enough to see the second one.

    1. The thyroid news is probably good news, I have several relatives with that issue, and the medication they take is very effective. So could be good times ahead!

    2. I missed this before, but I have hypothyroid (post radiotherapy) and the medication is super easy and really helps. It doesn’t take too much tinkering to figure out the correct dose and it more or less kicks in right away, so you should be feeling better pretty soon. 🙂

  13. Happy because we got our first shot on Wednesday (Germany is rather slow with the vax but they needed to get rid of the AstraZeneca stuff because they may not give it to people under sixty at the moment). This weekend, our daughter and her husband came to visit after her brothers came to see us separately over Easter. So we didn’t even mind the Corona curfew we got in our region (from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.).

    I looked at my bookshelves and I own quite a lot of Dick Francis novels. Must finish ‘What Abigail did …’ first, though.

  14. I got two free packets of seed this week, after asking the seed company why only two out of the thirty scabious I sowed had come up. I’d though it’d be too late to start again with this king (the perennial S. caucasica, the big florist’s scabious), but they suggested sowing them outside in May – so I’m really happy to have a second chance with them.

    Also been happy to have an interesting book to proof-read; and yesterday it was just warm enough to sit in the sun in my breaks from converting and old brick coldframe base into a pond (right-hand side) and gravel bed (left-hand side).

    And tomorrow we’re allowed back into Wales!

  15. I got my second shot on Friday and once again enjoyed how wonderfully well organized the hospital was. Not only was I happy to get my shot, but I appreciated the opportunity to have a positive experience at that hospital. The last six months of dealing with the department of psychiatry has left such a horrible taste in my mouth that the thought of dealing with that bureaucracy ever again filled me with dismay. I really appreciated the evidence that other departments of that hospital are not as dysfunctional. And I really look forward to the possibility of seeing some friends.

  16. My apologies for having to break bad news in the happiness thread, but I’ve talked about this topic in here a lot, so I might as well finish it off here as well: The crush has to end. It was confirmed for me on Friday that us getting together romantically will never happen, as he is literally incapable of doing so and he doesn’t want any more with me or anyone else. I feel bad about it, of course, as I’ve had hopes for this for most of the last 2 years, it was getting me through the pandemic, etc. I do think he had feelings for me in the beforetimes, but I’m guessing the pandemic (and fire, and it being Saturn Return time) has just killed everything. I felt like complete shit after giving him an affectionate gift on his birthday last month and he then bugged off and didn’t talk to me again after that, and that’s when it occurred to me that he’s lost that loving feeling and I’m just making him uncomfortable now. I had to get someone else to confirm this for me, but well….their confirmation was worse than I expected, but about what I was expecting.

    I hate this and I’m disappointed and I have straight up lost faith in the universe when I have been having a billion signs indicating this was the one (seriously, if anyone has any insight why I kept having specific signs about this one if it wasn’t meant to be…. because I feel betrayed and lied to now)… but clearly it’s better that I find out sometime. Continuing pandemic means I don’t ever have to see or run into him as long as I stop going to his work, and god knows he’s not going to initiate texting, and there’s no way I can see him anywhere I used to in person. I can just get over him in private. So that’s nice. I don’t even have to drop out of of our entire social circle for it because that’s gone 😛

    My friends were very supportive about it today, so that helped as I sobbed over Zoom.
    I will live. I’m disappointed as fuck and I hate that this will never happen, but I’ve been 100% hopelessly alone (and not wanting to be) for 17 years so far so I can certainly do it for the rest of my life. It won’t kill me. I’ll be fine, I’ll just be the same as ever…sigh.

    I did attend some fun things online over the weekend, won a random prize, talked to some nice people, and I’m in a play, so there’s that. I also ah, well….a psychic predicted I’d meet someone new within a year, so I’m going to hold onto that. I want someone who actually wants to be with me, that I want to be with. It’s a shame that that seems like such an impossible thing when you’re me, though.

    1. Hey, Jennifer — You have been really honest to Argh all along. You measured the risk and you received enough encouragement from this guy to keep up hope. You have earned my respect for (1) having given him space, (2) being very thoughtful of his preferences in the gifts you gave, and (3) caring. Consider this: you have proved to yourself that you stay steady and true.

      A little while ago you mentioned that the crush and some acting associates had been in a show without telling you anything about it. I felt from that moment on that he didn’t deserve you.

      1. Nobody deserves me, really.

        (Though I actually emailed the director this weekend and it ah…sounds like she’s just setting up shows without telling people except for the ones she’s interested in of late :/ Maybe that’s just them. I’m more annoyed at the people who set up the show rather than the crush about it, it’s not like he ran the show. My other friends in the show didn’t tell me about it either…but would you want to tell someone “Hey, I got invited and you weren’t?” One of them told me, but not until it was online.)

        But thank you, this REALLY helps. I tried. I gave him all the space and cared and… well, I did the best I could to work with him on stuff. I think, as the song goes, he just lost that loving feeling. I was pretty convinced in the beforetimes that he did care, but I guess it just died in pandemic.

    2. I do not mean to be hopelessly Pollyanna but this whole relationship has opened you to a new future. It does not define you. You define you. We are all of us, even those whose life includes others, be they lovers, spouses, children or the world’s most darling pets, are intrinsically alone. Grieve. Because not all possibilities happen. Then when you are ready, move on. One of my best friends was the most upbeat person I knew. But he lost a child to crib death at 3 months then a second one to cancer at 8. But he said he did not want his remaining child’s life to be defined be grief.

      1. Thank you!
        I’ll be fine. I’m just disappointed AF and I was really hoping my neverending singleness had a hope of ending. But that’s how life goes.

    3. Personally, I don’t think anyone is “The One” or fated to be. Being in a relationship takes far more boring daily maintenance work on both sides than it does alignment of the stars or big romantic gestures. I’m sure you’ll get there. For the moment though – you’re not alone when you have good friends, even if they’re only on Zoom right now 🙂

      1. Thank you!
        I love my Zoom friends who have actually been there for me during all of this. I think this weekend I concluded that all these people who drifted off and can’t talk during pandemic aren’t friends, really.

    4. Hey Jennifer,

      I think it was pretty clear from the outside for some time that this wasn’t going anywhere. In fact, I really felt like the crush was taking advantage of your feelings to boost himself when he wanted it, then ignoring you when he didn’t. I’m sorry it hurts so much now, but at least you have finally figured it out and can move on. Big hugs and lots of sympathy. And he definitely doesn’t deserve you.

  17. I enjoyed the comments on DF books. It’s been a while since I’ve read them, so maybe enough time has passed to make them feel like new reads? That would be a happy.

    I got my first vaccination!

    After years and years of working on lawn improvement, this spring I have a lovely lush front yard that was actually a pleasure to mow last week. Mind, my lawn is only slightly bigger than a postage stamp, but it is now the best looking postage stamp on the block, complete with an explosion of pansies at the end of the walk. I keep looking out the window to admire it.

    A distanced visit with an old friend complete with pizza on my back deck.

    Several good laughs during a zoom with friends.

  18. Dancing in the kitchen to DearHeart’s study music while covering the marshmallows I’d made in chocolate. Not even music I’d have chosen but the moment just glowed for me

  19. I was waiting to cross a busy street through the nearby university campus when a voice behind me said, “Need help?”

    I turned to see a college student offering his arm. To ME.

    I’ve decided to view this as a sign of angels, not aging.

  20. I’m having a happy Egyptology week, as Zahi Hawass announced a major discovery at Luxor — a mini-city dating to the mid-Eighteenth Dynasty, Amonhotep III. If I had a choice, I’d probably prefer the Twelfth Dynasty — I love the jewelry — but any big discovery at Luxor is good, because it’s a such a major site that it’s well supervised with a minimum chance of major looting before things can be excavated and logged.

    Also happy to learn that Egypt plans to begin, in September, teaching Egyptian schoolchildren Middle Egyptian, complete with hieroglyphs, as a language!


    1. Teaching kids Middle Egyptian? Really! That’s so excellent! And the hieroglyphs as well, that’s just icing on cake, that is!!

      Along with the two “plop” sounds as I walked by my pond this morning, meaning two of the tadpoles have survived and grown, that’s my happiness today. 🙂


        #CairoScene recently announced the news that Egyptian schools are going to be teaching hieroglyphics. Now, Bibliotheca Alexandrina is collaborating with the General Administration of General Education to launch training programmes to teach hieroglyphics to the teachers.

        The programme is catered to grade four social studies teachers, who will be introducing this new curriculum into the Egyptian system starting next September. The programme will help teachers study and explain simple hieroglyphs, how to read the names of kings and nobles, and the basic grammatical constructs on which the ancient Egyptian language is based.

  21. Happiness is having an official move in date. In less than a month I will be in my own apartment, with no more bloody flatmates, in blissful silence and solitude. Also I get to pick out furniture, because I don’t really own any. That should be all kinds of fun.

  22. Happiness was the Dick Francis thread; DH and I both getting our first dose of the Pfizer vaccine (no issues at all); a productive gardening weekend; accomplishment of some writer business including setting up the new novella for pre-order; and another Monday off.

    There was a long stretch of time when Day Job was simply too frantic for me to be ‘out-of-office;’ I’m making up for that now, one day at a time. A four-day workweek is Just Right.

    Also: watched Fiddler On The Roof: A Miracle of Miracles, great documentary about the history and development of the show (stage and screen).

  23. I enjoyed the Dick Francis conversation in the comments very much. I checked a box of books and yep, found some of his in there.

    My happy is coming out of a funk that’s lasted a while. I knew something was wrong but I just couldn’t make myself do anything to fix it. In the last week or so, it’s like I woke up, looked around and said, no this won’t do. A good side effect of the vaccine? I started some cleaning and discarding and it has made me feel better about myself and the house. Pray it continues.

  24. I am looking forward to the end of the semester! I teach English at a state university in Georgia, and this has been the weirdest and most stressful year I have ever experienced. Got both my shots—woo hoo! But I am just unsure that my students will go and get vaccinated.
    Dick Francis is ok, not my favorite, but always a quick read. I have really enjoyed the “Bruno, Chief of Police” books by Martin Walker. They are as much about French food and wine as they are about crime. So much fun!

  25. I’ve been crook for the last few days which definitely hasn’t made me happy – I missed 4 things I was looking forward to and used up some precious sick leave. And turned into a miserable blob. But I did have good books to entertain me once I was well enough to read, thanks to the Argher who recommended Clare Kauter.

    Before that, I went to a big art exhibition on Saturday and came away really inspired for my own art. So many ways to create beauty. I’ve just started working on an abstract sunrise that’s going to be my first foray into painting instead of drawing. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

  26. Hi there,
    I am not sure how to go about this or if this is even the right platform to try. My sister’s birthday is coming up and she love’s Bet Me like there is no other book in the world. She has read it so many times her book is almost falling apart. I have been trying to find a signed copy for her, and I have looked everywhere under the sun and still can’t seem to find anything. Does anyone have any advice or maybe can point me in the right direction? I would really appreciate the help.

    1. They sometimes show up signed on eBay. Mollie suggested I make bookplates and sign those and then she could just send them out whenever anyone asked. We’re working on it.

      Would a signed bookplate work? Asking everybody here before I try it.

      1. Signed bookplates are very acceptable — I seem to recall James Michener discussing them in his last book. In this case you could add a personalized message, too.

  27. Well, I done it. I marched into Best Buy and bought a winders Confuser, a laptop with 8 Gb of RAM and yada-yada-yada, blah blah blah. So far I have installed Mobipocket Reader, Mobipocket Creator, Calibre and DeDRM tools, several hundred of my thousand-plus ebooks. There’s lots more organizing to do for it to become THE GREAT LIBRARY south OF ALEXANDRIA virginia, but I’ve made a start. Happy!

  28. I enjoyed the Dick Francis post and the discussion, and like the idea of your favorite authors / rereads posts. I do think there is no hurry in getting to the next, as a post like that is clearly inspiring people to reread, or even to try something new-to-them.
    Giving everyone time to work out that urge before moving on to the next sounds good to me.

    I’m happy that my 85yo father got his second Covid vaccine shot on Good Friday and is now fully protected; and that there is a turtledove nesting in the thorny climbing shrub (Pyracantha, which I planted especially to give the birds a safe spot from the neighborhood cats) above my kitchen window, below the study window where I work all day. Hearing her roo-coo, with the sun shining outside the window while I work, is very cheering to me.

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