This is a Good Book Thursday, June 8, 2021

Remember how some of you said you didn’t like it that Nita was drunk in the first scene? I think you were right. I just read a book where the protagonist kept getting drunk and doing something stupid and it was a DNR, although part of that was because the hero was an asshat. I flipped to the end to see if they got any better and there were TWO babies. Just no. On the other hand, Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On was interesting, high school magic fantasy with interesting characters, and Rowell is a good writer who knows what the words she uses mean, so it was fun to read. It had too many points of view . . . yes, that’s another mistake I’ve made in the past . . . but good story. And I reread Network Effect because it’s such a palette palate cleanser after too many sentences like “What . . . allows you to depict who I can and can’t have in my bed?” I mean, what the hell?

Grumble. Grumble. Get off of my lawn.

What did you read this week?

107 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, June 8, 2021

  1. Mid deadly education by Naomi Novik and finding it very fun.

    Enjoyed speaker for the dead but not as much as the goblin emperor (it felt more like 3 quarters of a book).

    Currently relistening to Thomas Perry’s Metzgers dog (the cia office politics was weirdly compelling and so was the cat /dog thing). There’s bits that make me wince but I still like it.

  2. I don’t want to come across as a smartass (not even being a native speaker), but I just need to ask whether it shouldn’t be ‘palate cleanser’ (something neutral after eating spicy stuff)? Coming to think of it, a palette cleanser might also be something useful. At least for a painter.

    1. Yep. You got it. But palate is a word that isn’t used very much except by rarefied Special chefs and the like. The artists of the world think differently about their taste buds.

    2. You are right. I shouldn’t post when I’m annoyed. (When am I not annoyed?). Also, IRONY,

      Most non-native speakers speak English better than native speakers. Especially English. Wade in any time.

  3. I have subscribed to KU for 6 months at a reduced rate as there were a few books on there I wanted to read but it does mean I have read some really not good stuff to get my money’s worth.
    To cleanse my own palate. I have been reading some Milly Johnson. I started with « Here come the girls » which I really like even though I have never been on a cruise and don’t particularly want to. Well, I have crossed the English channel many many times but I don’t think that really counts :).
    I am going to reread my favourite now: A spring affair. It will spur me on with my own decluttering operation prior to our house move.

    1. Same here. KU and haven’t read enough yet. But I don’t feel bad about skipping to the end if I feel like it.
      Have read Jay Nothcote’ Off Balance. Somehow I wasn’t in the mood for the snappy banter, so skipped a lot. Not the author’s fault though.
      Having the heroine drunk a lot would be a reason fir DNF for me. Never got the appeal of alcohol (apart from the taste, but find only a few beverages tasty). I hate to loose control.
      Don’t like it with the hero either, but I obviously identify with the heroine, so….
      I get it that the need to be drunk tells a lot in a story. In RL it horrifies me that many see it as having a nice time. Like many of my son’s class mates. Girls celebrating their 16th birthday with alcohol in a public park and then too off balance to get home without help. Argh.
      Sorry if I come across as offensive though.

      1. Google ‘Egyptian festival of drunkenness’ to see how long it’s been going on. One picture, I think in a Theban Tomb, has the caption, “Drink till thou art drunk! Spend the day in happiness,” with the response, “Give me eighteen measures of wine!” and people nearby, “Drink! Bottoms up! When is the cup coming to me?” while a couple of people are being assisted to vomit or to lie down . . . .

        1. Grrr…
          My ultimate idea of fun… having to vomit bevause I wanted to be happy…

          We humans are a very strange bunch.
          But hey, I vividly remember this 70s/80s documentaries (sort of) about the big African desert (the Kalahari iirc) where almist all animals got drunk from overripe fruits?? Wart hogs, elephants, apes etc.
          Looked funny. The hangovers less so…

          My second shot of vaccination got me respectable headache – I can do without inflicting this to me by means of getting “happy”, LOL.

          1. Some friends who live round the corner from me regularly rescue drunken wild parrots, parakeets and lorikeets who have been eating fermented fruit. They keep them caged and safe until they are sober again, then release them.

    2. I’ve crossed the English Channel on hovercraft and taken the ferry from Ireland to France and I sure hope for the sake of people paying for cruises that cruises are less rocky! I like reading The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave.

      1. That reminds me of a Porstmouth-Le Havre crossing where I was something like 6 months pregnant. My second son was 2 at the time and sitting on my lap as we left Porstmouth harbour and hit some very choppy seas. As soon as we did that, he looked anxiously at me and vomited all over me. And now, I am feeling nostalgic about it.

  4. Jenny, Rainbow Rowell’s « Carry on » is a funny one. It springs from my favourite book of hers « Fangirl » in which the heroine writes fanfiction. Carry on is basically the story within the story.
    « Fangirl » as a romance is very slow burn which I like and I really like the characters.

    1. Ditto, I love Fangirl and re-read it sometimes. Strangely, even though I also like Eleanor & Park a lot, i always remember key moments (eyeliner, sharing comics and changing the page when you’re reading at different speeds, not hanging up the phone, batteries) but have never reread it. If I say any more, spoilers.

      1. Same. Love Fan Girl, have read it multiple times. Eleanor and Park is a great book, but I could only read it once.

    2. Oh, I read Fangirl a while ago and didn’t put that together. Must go look at Fangirl again.

  5. I’ve been re-reading Howl’s Moving Castle and Anne of the Island. I’ve been trying to find something new to me that I want to read, but the universe seems to be thwarting me. The ones I want I’ve been having trouble getting hold of, and the ones I’ve tried just bored me.

    1. I reread Howl’s Moving Castle recently, which turned into a rewatch, which turned into a Studio Ghibli marathon. A rabbit hole I’m more than happy to fall down.

      Like you, I’m having trouble finding something new to read. If I could find something engaging and new, that isn’t about ethics, big data or analytics, I’d be ecstatic.

  6. I’m reading Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell. I think I got it because of a series of enthusiastic recommendations here. I don’t usually read M/M but I am really enjoying this one.

    1. I’ve got it on order because of Argher’s’ recommendations. Looking forward to it.

      1. Just saw Winter Orbit mentioned again. Then noticed that had it for a heavily reduced price (under 3 Euro). Now I know what my next book is going to be 🙂

      1. Sorry, I wasn’t clear. What I mean is that the Argh blog actually sent me an email. Do the rest of you get emails? I haven’t before. This is going to be fun.

        1. Welcome to the crowd! It isn’t always timely, but it really is a great help in staying connected.

        2. Mollie changed the RSS (?) provider, so those of you who signed up for them are getting the new ones. I think the only thing you get is a link to the posts, but I’m not sure.

  7. I’m most of the way through The Book of Firsts and am so glad it was recommended here. It’s unusual and I am not sure why it’s so good, aside from a lot of competency porn and a lack of drama/angst. I love how the author undercuts a lot of the things I expect to happen and I really like all the characters.

    I also read Lisa Henry’s Red Heir, which was light and fun and irreverent. It felt a lot like the fantasy YA romps that I used to really enjoy, only with sex and cussing and a whole lot of sarcasm. I will read more of hers when the mood strikes. So, all in all, a good book week with two new to me not stinkers. Thanks for the recommendations!

    1. I’d recommend Anahaga by Lisa Henry – fantasy, not humour, but I really enjoyed it.

        1. Thanks! Actually, there are a fairly large number of books with this title or something very close to it. (A lot are children’s books.) Thanks for steering me in the right direction.

  8. Are you considering rewriting the beginning of Nita so that her many conflicting predicaments predominate? such as, appropriateness of her being at the crime scene, illness from donut, job insecurity, unrelationship with Jason, upcoming birthday dinner with mother, not to mention meeting Button.

    1. I think I would like that. Instead of starting at the crime scene she’s not supposed to be at, starting with feeling a little ill because of the donut and meeting Button at the station. In the cop car opening, brooding on what’s happening, Nita feels like an angry loner, and her attachments to the island, the job, and the people at the bar just don’t feel that credible.

    2. I am one of the ones who really didn‘t like Drunk Nita — she came across to me as an obnoxious drunk, in spite of your, as usual, witty dialog, and it turned me off with every iteration that I read.

      I agree with Elizabeth that you could use other elements, especially her feeling sick, to account for her crankiness as we get to know her. I realize that means ditching the magically appearing coffee cup schtick, but personally I found that more than a bit contrived. Maybe Button could have a well-stocked handbag, one of those “Mom-specials” crammed full of everything useful, from which she pulls vomit bags, Imodium, chewing gum, etc., in anticipation and support…? You know, the “oh, I think I’m going to…” as Button shoves a bag in front of her green face. Sickness would also better explain the jammies bit too (imho).

      (I was also one of the ones who disliked Jeo’s original name, fwiw. The name change was a great improvement.)

    3. I’m thinking of just tossing the beginning and starting over. I know how the book ends so maybe it’s time to bookend.

      1. Eek. I know from your posts that you are willing to do intense surgery — perhaps on the order of butchery — on your drafts. You are a brave woman. Writer.

        Please, please, don’t give up on Nita.

        1. I don’t think I can give up on her. I really like this book. It’s just flawed . . .

  9. I read the first three (I think there are more) part of the “The Selection”-series by Kiera Cass: “The Selection”, “The Elite” and “The One”. So much draaama. I was tempted to do an Agnes and pull out my skillet to beat some sense into the MC and into her love interest, because WOW were these books full of misunderstandings and deliberate revenge because someone said or did something the other didn’t like and ah… I guess because I was never that kind of teenager and still not that kind of person, I have trouble connecting with such characters. (Or maybe I’ve become a love nihilist, like Liza, and can’t see the romance in it). I also couldn’t handle that the MC’s ex-boyfriend claimed to be so smart, but kept dragging her into quite risky situations all. the. time. Book 1 and 2 also ended on cliffhangers that prompted you to read further, which I guess worked since I read all 3, but it made me a tinynotsotiny bit exasperated. I think they’d worked out better as one novel instead of split up in 3. Or maybe I’ve just grown too used to having all loose threads neatly tied up at the end of the stories I’ve read last years.

    Now trying to find what to read next.

    Also decided to pick up where I left off in “Homeland” by R. A. Salvatore for before I go to sleep, and that book is starting to get interesting now.

  10. Half of last week was vacation and so that is my only excuse for my reading choices which were to chew through Alessandra Hazard’s three M/M series. In particular, I’ve enjoyed the Little Big Straight series – 11 guys, all straight…or are they…? The books are VERY smutty; my eyebrows were off my forehead several times; her writing style is not strong and there is too much smirking. Yet…the sex always moves the plot forward and develops the character, in ways I completely wouldn’t have anticipated, and she keeps surprising me with her insights into the characters. So smut but addictive smut.

  11. I just finished Capture the Crown by Jennifer Estep. It’s a new trilogy taking place in the same world as a previous trilogy (Crown of Shards), sixteen years later and featuring the princess/spy from another country, all grown up and having the hots for a prince from a fairly well evil country (or at least half the royal family is a bunch of dicks). Very, very well done. I’m really happy with it. I’d have to say to read “Kill the Queen” and its sequels first, but the entire series is great.

  12. Just finished Fugitive Telemetry for the 2nd time – am on waiting list at the Free Library of Philadelphia for an audio version read by Kevin R Free.

  13. I feel so weird about my reading this past week. I don’t know how to process it…so I’m bringing it to my Argh buddies.

    There’s a continuation of a romance series that I remember loving reading the first time around that’s coming out soon, so I decided to go back and to re-read the series from the beginning.

    I don’t know if I just personally changed a lot in the 10-15 years or so since I first read the beginning of it, or if there’s legitimately a lot of things that didn’t age well, but there are so many problematic plot points and character conversations in the first three books, that I’m finding it really hard to get through them with complete enjoyment again.

    Where I used to think,” yeah…that’s a little problematic, but at least the author is also kind of saying it’s problematic/making fun of it…and it all gets figured out in the end, so I guess it’s ok”…

    Now I’m thinking, “Just, wow. This is REALLY problematic…and the authorial hand wave of acknowledgement that ‘yeah, some of this is sorta anti-feminist and/or bad behavior, but we’re highlighting that point, and isn’t the rest of it cute enough to justify it’ ….just isn’t quite working for me any more in the same way. ”

    I’m sticking with the series re-read because I really like the author’s voice and want to remember what happened so I can have the context to read & support the new book…and I had vaguely remembered that the start of the series had some weirdly problematic moments/situations, but that it gets less like that in some of the later ones….and I honestly can’t figure out if it’s me, the world, or both that have changed so much that it’s sucking some of the enjoyment out of it for me now.

    Reading this series is something I really enjoyed in my late 20s and remember even having the thought then that it was maybe subversively feminist. But now a lot of it just seems so off base and mildly distasteful…and it’s a surprising realization for me.

    I still like the author and the writing, and know the parts that are grating on me aren’t coming from an intentionally bad or tone deaf place, and that the stories and the ways characters talk/act were very much of its moment…. but I’m pretty sure I can never read the beginning parts of this series again after this…it just doesn’t work for me the same way anymore, and it’s coloring the way I feel about the whole thing.

    Maybe I’m just too angry now to wink at the bad behavior in the same way? Or I’ve just totally lost my sense of humor when it comes to power dynamics between men and women and societal norms and expectations and therefore something that used to seem funny to me when I was younger is no longer funny after another 20 years of continuing to deal with it?

    Is it just that these kinds of issues are always going to be on a pendulum of the times? Like I’m both too close to it now because of the way the world treats women generally in 2021, and too far away from things as they were in the 90s to find that sweet spot of enjoyment in understanding what the women in the book have to deal with and how they are choosing to navigate it given the tools at their disposal?

    But I kind of wish I hadn’t gone back.

    My whole sense of the origin stories went from characters that I loved and remembered from the past to being thrown into this present weird space of me feeling very differently about them and their behaviors and choices. I’m struggling with it.

    I was expecting a comfort read, but am realizing it’s full of these weird socio-political landmines for me now.

    1. I think the answer is probably both. You’ve changed, and things might not have aged well.

      This has happened to me many a time, and I’m almost getting to the point where if I haven’t reread or rewatched it in a long time, I’m afraid to go back and re-experience it.

      I’d say it’s normal, though. The author has also probably undergone changes, which impact the writing in the same way you are impacted in the reading.

      But, I’m still sorry it’s happening. It’s like losing a friendship or something similar, and it sucks. :/

      1. Yes, it is painful when the stories you loved in the past suddenly seem not so great on re-read, because you’ve grown as a reader. Disappointment is a bitch.

  14. I’m reading One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London which is just fine. It’s about a plus-sized woman on a dating show. I’m infuriated by her inability to work out which man she likes. The book is nearly over and she’s still got four left. I don’t think she can like any of them all that much if she still doesn’t know. Also I’m wishing books could feature plus-sized women without their whole character and motivation revolving around being plus-sized. All in all, things that I should have spotted going in and avoided the book because it’s not for me.

  15. I think you’re talking about gender roles and behavioral expectations for men and women in relationships. Am I right? If you are, I think we’ve experienced an earthquake of change over the past 40-50 years, and it’s happening at different rates in different places.

    When I re-read books I loved 20 years ago, it makes me uncomfortable to encounter a lot of old-style interpersonal interactions, missish kinds of discomfort, and a lack of plain talk in so many kinds of situations. But my own expectations and preferences have changed a lot since then, and it’s been a seeping, slow kind of change that’s hard to pin down.

    Romances focus right in on one area of behavior that has had the most change, and time travel via the printed page is probably enough to bother anybody with any sense.

    When you think about it, it’s much more amazing that some writers have been able to transcend the “oh, of course” assumptions of their day enough to write relatively timeless fiction.

    1. Just finished Cat Sebastian’s ‘The Queer Principles of Kit Webb”, which I enjoyed. I think that a lot of the ‘mainstreaming’ of M/M has to do with the changes that have been happening within the culture and people’s mindsets over the last 10 years or so. It just completely sidesteps a lot of the ‘degrading’ tropes.

      I, sigh, have to do a reread of parts of Act 25 (the PA election code). There’s a couple of things I need to know before the next Board of Elections meeting.

  16. This week I read The Book of Firsts and then immediately re-read it. Or had Alexa read it to me. 73 chapters. Very enjoyable.

    I have SEP’s When Stars Collide open now. I somehow accidentally bought it between Clorox Toilet Wand refills and Atkins Chocolate Coconut bars. I don’t remember clicking on “one-click” or “add to cart” but there it was in my library. My subconscious is often smarter than I am.

    Assassins of Thasalon was in there, somewhere, as was Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment. Also Jack Lipton’s Ecstatic Cling (which you won’t find anywhere.)

    My only other reading may have been the Installation and Operating Instructions for my window AC unit. Yes, I read the manual. No, I don’t always follow it. It might be a guy thing.

    1. If you still can, staple the receipt for the AC to the manual. Saves lots of hassle if you ever need to show exactly when you bought it.

  17. Alright, finished book two in a mystery series and I highly recommend them!

    They are murder mysteries where our protagonist has a highly developed diving skill set which comes into play for cases. She has an interesting history, but I think I love the writing style the most. It keeps the focus exactly where it should be!

    Author: Andrew Mayne
    Book 1: The Girl Beneath the Sea

    His books go on kindle sale frequently!

  18. Finished two new books.
    I’m sad to admit that Terry Pratchett’s <Thief of Time didn’t work for me. I had already tried it 4 times before. This was my #5 attempt to read this novel, and I finally finished it. But I didn’t like it. Too much philosophy and too little plot. Many of you loved this novel, and I wanted to join the club, but I couldn’t. I adore Pratchett’s Night Watch cycle and his Moist stories. But this one – No.
    Ilona Andrews’s Blood Heir was a classical Andrews story. I wasn’t enamored. Too much blood, and gore, and fights, and monsters. On the surface, it was a murder mystery, but in essence, it was just a swashbuckling ‘slam, bum, and done,’ like many other Kate Daniels novels. But then, I’ve never been a Kate Daniels fan.
    On the other hand, it was an engaging, fast-paced read. The novel didn’t end on a cliffhanger – the main conflict was resolved – but it felt like a lo-o-ong prologue to another story, which is still upcoming. I hope. I’d probably want to read that one, too. The Andrews team is addictive.
    I’m also in the middle of two other books: Becky Chambers’s The Galaxy and the Ground Within (a paper book) and Pas De Deux by Lynn Turner on my Kindle. I’ll report on my impressions next time, after I finish them both.

    1. Totally with you on Blood Heir. Could not find anything that unique about it.

      1. Hm, I dunno. I did enjoy how Julie had had a magical makeover and was dealing with life as a literally drastically different person.

    2. I am a hardcore Ilona Andrews fan, so I am biased. But Blood Heir was great for me for two reasons: one, I read a new chapter every Monday as they released it throughout lockdown and it kept me going (I just wanted to visit a familiar space)

      And two, it put a more hopeful cap on the Kate Daniels series for me, which got pretty dark towards the end. And I mourned Saiman. A lot. So it was good. But it is definitely a transition book and choppier than what I expect from them. But now I can read the whole series again because I am happier with where they left it. So, win.

  19. Currently making my way through the Death Before Dragons series by Lindsay Buroker – urban fantasy action/adventure, some romance (but it’s taken several books to develop) and a lot of fun dialogue. I have several that I’m really looking forward to after I finish these, also, so they’re sitting at the top of my endless TBR pile.

  20. The hoard is like a Hydra, cut off one head and another regenerates. In a funk, I’ve started an audiobook on Hygge but I’m stuck on the bit about candles. I did enjoy The Tao The Ching read by Wayne W. Dyer.

    I’m rereading Melissa Caruso’s The Tethered Mage. This may be the easiest-to-read first-person pov book I’ve read in my whole life.

    There’s bedtime revenge procrastination, which I engage in a lot. Now I’ve started to read-revenge-procrastinate. Argh.

  21. Just finished Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. It’s a lot more in the vein of The Martian and I really enjoyed it. Competence porn for the win!

  22. I re-read the three discovery drafts of Arresting Anna. Doing a lot of re-reading, sticking to authors I know won’t make me crazy. Also, too summer-lazy to go very deep into anything.

  23. I read Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ ‘When Stars Collide’ after finishing ‘Murderbot’, and it didn’t go well. I felt it was a retread; it didn’t really pull me in, and her habit of over-complicating her plots – so the resolution goes through stage after stage – was a bit annoying. She’s written some of my favourite books, but I find she has hits and misses.

    I’ve just restarted my reread of Margery Allingham, which I paused two years ago (can’t remember why), with ‘The Beckoning Lady’, which is excellent so far – and which I don’t remember at all. But then if I’ve read it, it would have been fifty years ago.

    1. I love Margery Allingham. Mollie’s middle name is Amanda because of Amanda Campion. And because it means “must be loved.”

    1. I have also been rereading some Rex Stout .. they are dated but still enjoyable.. currently reading The second confession..

      1. Some Buried Caesar. Archie is a sexist, but he’s a charming sexist, and the books are great.

  24. I’m still in the midst of Beach Read by Emily Henry, and still enjoying it. I made a point to remember a comment the heroine made to herself, about not being one of those romance heroines who gets messed up by miscommunication. She debates with herself about asking a direct question and potentially ruining a friendship. She finally does, which clears the air and allows the two of them to fully appreciate each other. I thought that was going to be the end, but, stakes have been raised and there’s still more to read.

  25. Did I read anything this week? I’m too sleep deprived to be sure. My list says I finished James Alan Gardner’s All those explosions were someone else’s fault. On July 4th, which seems weirdly appropriate. I enjoyed it, maybe more than I remember (see sleep-deprived above) but I’m not sure superhero subgenre is quite my thing.
    I’m in the middle of P. Djeli Clark’s Master of Djinn and enjoying it as much as I knew I would, if only I could stay awake and finish it! Fell asleep last night after five minutes, which was a lovely thing this morning, having nine hours of sleep. The F/F romance is not central to the book, but so far the not-quite-a-couple are having plot-related reasons to increase their trust in each other.

  26. I have been trying to mix it up and read new stuff, to limited effect. Lots of DNFs. I have started Rosewater by Tade Thompson which I hope will buck the trend. It is the first book in a science fiction trilogy set in near future Nigeria. I am also re-reading lots of comfort reads. Just finished Silver Silence by Nalini Singh. And knitting books, mostly for the yarn porn.

  27. I have just finished Garth Nix’s The left-handed booksellers of London and quite enjoyed it.
    I have been attempting to weed my bookshelves (hah!) and so doing a lot of rereading…Judith Cutler, Alisa Craig (aka Charlotte MacLeod), Manning Coles (WWII and 50’s espionage), Georgette Heyer, all of these are keepers, but what should I do with the authors I don’t want to keep now? If I do decide I want them later they will be difficult to find.
    I did get the new Phryne Fisher from the library and enjoyed it a lot, except for the emphasis on Dot’s colour choices for her wardrobe which just got irritating. I have also read The Witness for the Dead and enjoyed it very much. One thing I enjoyed was that every time Thara tried to start one investigation he kept being interrupted with others, very true to life.

    1. I loved Manning Coles books with the ghosts as protagonists:

      Charles and James Latimer
      1. Brief Candles (1954)
      2. Happy Returns (1955)
      3. Come and Go (1958)

      I remember another one called “The Far Traveler” but can’t remember if it has the same characters but it also has a ghost as lead character. I need to see if I can find them to re-read. Good memories!

  28. DNF’d a book by a usually reliable author, but her protagonist has just asked her former sweetheart that dumped her to sit at her table, (along with his wife) while she waits for a blind date. This has ticked me off too much to finish.

    Started “the Beach Read” and so far so good. She certainly pulled me into the story right off the mark.

  29. tl;dr (I’m dieting.)

    I’m not reading all of it, but I am looking at a two-inch binder with a title page:
    MY DIET DIARY – The story of a lost soul searching for the right weigh… by me, of course. In the lower right is a price: USD 0.98, Canadian 20.00. The background of the cover is me, holding out the waist of pants about six or eight inches to illustrate my loss.

    It dates back to May of 2014 (for printing) but says, “This diet diary starts with a post I made to LiveJournal on March 2nd, 2014, titled But It’s Soooo Boring! (Mouseover text has been converted to footnotes.)”

    Here’s an excerpt:

    For anyone who needs a helpful diet tip, here’s mine:


    and the candy bar’s name was footnoted.

    The diary was thoroughly illustrated with product pictures (on the first page you see, illustrating a discussion, a Marketside Southwest Salad and its “Nutrition Facts” label, and a complaint about the “servings per container.”) This volume covers 26 weeks, back-tracking to my February birthday, because that was the day my PCP measured my A1c at 11+ and glucose level at 336, Weight at 298, a very familiar number to this past April of 2021. This began my cycle of Yo-yo dieting for the past 7 years. Not that I hadn’t dieted before.

    The last entry was dated Thursday (OWID) 2014-08-14, Day 176. I weighed 242.6 pounds (110 kg).

    Every day – every single day, without fail – the entries included weight, blood pressure, fasting glucose level, and a description of what I ate at every meal, including snacks if any with a breakdown of the calories and carbs. I can tell I was using MS Access. Now I’m just using MS Excel, and I track every calorie, carb, mg of sodium and mL of liquids, BUT, I don’t record where they came from, nor which meal they were part of.

    I often envy younger me, until I realize that idiot couldn’t keep the weight off, either. It’s OWID again. Today’s weight is 264.6 pounds or 120 kg.

  30. I read Rose’s Run by Dawn Dumont. It is set on a reserve in Saskatchewan. The book starts at a low point for Rose, a married mom to two daughters, an eight-year-old and a teenager.. She comes home from losing at Bingo to find her slutty cousin’s car in the driveway and her bedroom door firmly closed. She recognizes that opening the door will change everything, and decides to do it. The rest of the book follows Rose’s progress in taking control of her life. The possibility of romance with the new Chief and an attack on the community from an Indigenous supernatural creature are challenges Rose faces. The book is in first person. Rose’s voice is never whiny and often funny. Her two daughters are also strong characters. Before that I read “Charlie All Night.” I love the image of Allie banging the doors of the radio station open. A plot line I hate in romance is woman who is succeeding in career in big city must be destroyed and humiliated so she can crawl back to small town and learn how she was stupidly missing the really important things in life. Allie may begin the book with a momentary humiliation, but her ultimate success is never doubted.

  31. This week I read the fabulous graphic novels Beast Boy and Raven by Garcia/Picolo and am anxiously waiting for Beast Boy Loves Raven in September. These Teen Titan tales are so fantastically full of heart. And for something completely different I’m now reading Beneath the Rising which is nominated for pretty much every horror award and I can see why. It’s a great feeling to read books that make you go “I wish I’d written this”. A happy week in reading for me.

  32. I wanted to thank whoever recommended Celia Lake’s Eclipse here either last week or the week before. I’m a teacher who deals with far too much academic politics, but I loved this book. Finally, the magic school done right! The romance was really nice too-very reminiscent of Lord Peter and Harriet Vane. I just bought most of her backlist. Thank you!

    1. This from the blurb made me download at least the excerpt immediately:
      “(The MCs)… find themselves dealing with … the never-ending question of how to get their students to start thinking for themselves.
      (and) … Eclipse is a friends to lovers romance full of … the question of what makes a good teacher…”
      Having had endless discussions with my teacher husband about those questions I’m looking forward to dipping into this book 🙂

  33. I read my usual ‘a lot’ since last report; six full-length novels by other people, one of my own, a biography, and four short things. A few things were average to poor, most were acceptable entertainment.

    The best book of the week (not counting mine – ha!) was ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed’ by Karelia Stetz-Waters, a F/F contemporary romance. Full of self-discovery and collaboration and acceptance (and art).

  34. Serious read: Gary will be with me on this: I managed to find and download the manual for the HP 6 laserjet printer so as to work out whether I could find a suitable cable to connect it to the newer computers. They all expect to use a USB port and that printer dates back to a parallel port — in fact, my cable for it was a Centronics cable. The printer is probably twenty years old, but still chugging along, and I don’t see any need to replace it until it chugs to a stop, especially as we don’t use it for much but envelopes and a small amount of other printing. Happy to report that I found a suitable cable on Amazon, which Amazon says will arrive on my birthday next week.

    Fun read: LOST DEPARTMENT STORES OF SAN FRANCISCO, by Anne Evers Hitz, with chapters on City of Paris, The White House, Gump’s, I. Magnin, Emporium, and Joseph Magnin. I certainly shopped at all of them while they were still in existence. I especially enjoyed the account of the origin of Gump’s, with Samuel Gump selling nude pictures of his girlfriend (not his wife — she wouldn’t have them in the house) to the new money men, and bringing his wife all kinds of gifts from guilt. Eventually his wife had had enough and she sent the “chotchkas” off to the store with orders to sell them: thus was born the Gump’s gift department.

    TEATIME AT GROSVENOR SQUARE, which is supposed to be for Bridgerton fans. I am inclined to think this one was a mistake, because for a recipe book about a Regency series, it includes a LOT of recipes for ingredients no one was using until about ten minutes ago. Better to adapt something from Hannah Glasse.

    My comfort read this week was CAPTAIN VORPATRIL’S ALLIANCE — “Unhand Lady Vorpatril!” — which reminds me a bit of COTILLION, since I think of Ivan as a Beta hero with every reason to avoid being pushed into Alpha-hood. Clearly Tej is supposed to be compared to the Jewels and her even-sibs as relatively a beta heroine also.

    1. Huh. I hadn’t thought of Ivan as a beta. He doesn’t quite seem like one to me. He just wants to avoid responsibility and promotion because he figures it could get him killed. He is pretty alpha in social settings.

      1. Yes, if I hadn’t been able to find the right cable, it would definitely have been Electric Screwdriver and expansion card time. I used to do that a bit before I retired, but haven’t had to since. Though I doubt that anything has changed.

      2. I think it’s the problem-solving approach of Let’s Wait to See Whether It Solves Itself. A great contrast to Miles.

        1. And I’m pretty sure Ivan is much easier to live with than Miles 🙂 More laid back and almost lethargic compared to his hyper cousin…

          1. A Jack Russell terrier high on speed and caffeine would be lethargic compared to Miles.

          2. I think Cotillion was the primary source for the romance form of Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance.

            I’d love to know the inspiration for Tej’s family.

    2. Conga Rats on finding a cable. If you’re connecting to a desktop or tower, I’d have guesses installing an expansion card in an empty slot with serial and parallel outlets. Or something to do with that funny-looking wide phone plug. 😉

    3. I liked Ivan. He was great on Komarr, a smart and brave action hero, while Barrayar seemed to suck all the juice out of him. Furthermore, as soon as Tej’s family arrived on Barrayar, Ivan was firmly pushed into the background, while Tej was drafted into reluctantly helping her scheming relatives. And they all treated her like dirt.
      Why didn’t those two just abandoned their ‘loving’ kin and elope? Of course, there would be no story then, but I loved the Komarr part of the novel much better than the Barrayar part. I wanted more of Ivan and Tej. Instead I got more of the Jacksonian-style adventures. 🙁

      1. Bujold said on that while she was writing the book Miles suddenly took over and shipped everyone off to . . . I’ve forgotten where. Anyway, Bujold had to forcibly return the story to Ivan and Tej.

  35. Okay, Arghonauts, I’ve actually accomplished tasks about which I’ve talked. All the interference items were moved, many of them to trash cans. The desk was partially disassembled, moved to the middle of the floor, then cleaned and completely disassembled. No parts were lost. A six cube storage cubby moved from under the bookcases to under the window with the AC unit. Putting the cubes (baskets) back in, two separate underwear baskets were combined. Clean socks from six piles were united once again. I have two empty cubes and one empty basket, and plans for later for those.

    Reassembly of the desk in mirror image went swimmingly, though I need to loosen a bolt or two so the glass sits better. The desk chair is inconvenient to traffic in the room. My Shui has been Fenged. Can one speak of traffic when one is the lonely number that occupies the room? I’d have said “loneliest” number, but I’m short three dogs to pull that off tonight.

    I can’t kid myself that I’m done, but the rest is minor stuff. Oh, and I broke my fake hanging plant thing. But now I’m going to take a leisurely shower and swill beverages.

    1. Bravo. All fake hanging plant things should be destroyed. If they were plastic, you will need to have your place cleaned of evil emanations and the whole place smudged with sage, I believe. Deborah would be a great consult for this. If the fake plant was fake silk, you will need to do something, just not something as extreme, to bring the feng back to the shui. You are now able to travel a more spiritual path.

      1. Um… it wasn’t the only fake plant, just the ones in a glass teardrop thingy hanging from where my bug-zapper now resides. It makes a better night light than bug zapper. Let’s see, 1, 2, 3… 8 plastic plants, not counting the three Christmas trees. Day Core, as they say. I have successfully killed every real plant I’ve ever owned in the man cave.

        I will conduct a ritual cleansing using chili with green beans.

  36. I spent the entire week rereading How Not To Die by Dr Michael Gregor, and coming to the horrifying realisation that my immediate family medical history includes six out of the twelve most common causes of death profiled in the book. If I go further out, to aunts and cousins, it’s even more. It’s a great book, but slightly terrifying.

    1. My friend Norman was the first male in his family to make it out of his fifties due to a history of heart disease. However, since we now know much more about preventing and treating his family’s failings, Norman lived well into his nineties. I wouldn’t interpret your family history as a death sentence just yet.

      1. Oh, I don’t for myself. I don’t have any of them, or even the precursors, and I take pretty good care of myself to prevent them as far as that’s possible. But I worry for my family members who don’t take care of themselves, especially the doctors who won’t take their own advice.

        1. Doctors have a professional problem with self-diagnosis; instead of considering their symptoms and diagnosing themselves with whatever disease they’d tell the patient, they involuntarily search high and low for a different diagnosis — either one that is very trivial or one that’s very alarming. (per my late grandmother, the doctor)

          1. My former (now retired) doctor had a terrible tendency to come up with diagnoses for things that could be cured quickly and cheaply, rather than diagnoses that were accurate….

  37. I read Alliance by SK Dunstall, then went back and reread Linesman, which is the first in the series. I really like this trilogy. Space opera with a very appealing protagonist.

    Also What Abigail Did Last Summer, which I enjoyed. And now I’m in the middle of A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore. Suffragists and rakes. A lot of fun.

  38. I read The Hidden Palace by Helen Wecker, sequel to the Golem and the Jinni. Lovely piece of fantasy and realism set in early 1900 NYC and Middle East.

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