Friday, December 31, 2021

December: Books I read


Whisper by Chrissie Keighery (library) a YA novel and the twist is that the protagonist has gone deaf and has to navigate the world of growing up and teenage angst with a loss of hearing. 
Dead Cert by Dick Francis   steeplechase jockey sees the rider before him die falling at a jump and sees that it was not just an accident. 
A Gravestone Made of Wheat by Will Weaver short stories about homesteading in the midwest. 
The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Heather Terrell (library) I thoroughly enjoyed this fictional imagining of the disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926. Forever a mystery. It has me wanting to read more of her autobiography and books again in chronological order. 
Later by Stephen King Really enjoyed this one, more so than some of his other latest writings. harks back to Firestarter, Carrie, etc where a young boy has supernatural powers and has to learn to live with it. 
An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson Josephine Tey is the protagonist and I really enjoyed this and will be reading more from this author.  
Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland (audiobook) I listened to this one in the car as usual and I constantly wanted to refer to the painting while listening. It was very interesting. The logistics of getting that many people to sit for a painting, things that I never think of when I look at some of these classical paintings (when today folks just take photos and then refer back to them in their studio) 
Open Mic Night in Moscow by Audrey Murray (library) quite a fun read. She herself likens it to Eat, Pray, Love but with Yak Herders.... or Wild only in Tajikistan  So it is her finding herself by traveling through Russia and the former Soviet Union Republics.  I enjoyed it, but I also  have a fascination with Russia. 
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie after reading the Mystery of Mrs. Christie, I had the desire to reread all her books in chronological order. (to see the evolution of her style and how the books fit in her personal history) This was the first and introduces us to Hercule Poirot
Made in China by Amelia Pang (library) True story of an SOS note that was found in cheap dollar store items made in China. Political Prisoners forced into labor making cheap goods for the USA market. And it definitely made me rethink the times I buy things from the dollar stores. 
Footsteps New York Times Travel columns compilation (library) Literary Pilgrimages from around the world. This book is right up my alley. I have often in my travels gone to places just because they are featured in books or movies or because the author was there. Following Julia Child's footsteps through Paris or Hemingway in Cuba, Key West and Idaho! Iowa and Honduras for Nancy Drew author Mildred Wirt. Movie locations in Ireland and Scotland, Hawaii, North Carolina and Montana. This book gave me many new ideas of places I need to go!! 
Fuzz by Mary Roach (library) What happens when animals "break the law" and especially if they are rare or endangered, but they are dangerous to us.  From animal attacks to managing bears and elephants, I found it fascinating to learn about animal management all over the world. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

2021 Postcards from Friends

Happy New Year and Hopefully, many far flung travels in our futures! 
Thank You to all my friends who send me postcards throughout the year, even when they don't travel.

Monday, December 20, 2021

2021 Postcards from Friends

 These just look Christmasy to me, actually the first card is Merry Christmas in German! 

Some Christmasy Postcards from Friends. (note that postcard stamps are less expensive than regular stamps! Save money on Christmas cards and send Christmas postcards!!)

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Christmas Ornaments 2021

 Here are a selection of new ornaments for my tree that I purchased in 2021

Dala Horse

I love the Dala Horse from Sweden and this one is like stained glass, it really sparkles on the tree with the lights on.


I picked up this ornament in Hawaii this summer. I love Sushi and it makes me smile


I originally picked up this ornament to modify it and create something else with it, but I got attached to how it looks and now I just like it the way it is. 

Alaska Inuit Art

I picked up this ornament in my travels to Alaska this past summer. It is a translucent red and like the Dala Horse, it really shimmers with the tree lights. 


I am just a huge fan of octopi. This one is carved wood.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

November: Books I read


Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake Basis for the movie and just a little bit of a tweak of the ending, otherwise completely faithful. 
The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (library) If you like books like The Man Called Ove, then you will like this one, plus it is about books too. 
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (audiobook) so I have never liked this book, and I thought I'll give it another try as an audiobook, maybe listening to the language will help me like it better. Nope, still don't like it. Don't think that Heathcliff and Katherine deserve any sympathy.  I think Katherine especially is a horrid person. I don't feel sorry for her and then Heathcliff's revenge on the family and the next generation is just Bleh...I prefer stuff like Jude the Obscure or even Gone with the Wind for "Star Crossed Lovers" drama. 
The Big Roads by Earl Swift the story of how the interstate highway system was built in America, I recommend it
Under Orders by Dick Francis This is one of the Sid Haley books (there are 5) Sid is Dick Francis' only recurring detective to appear in more than 2 books. 
Adventures in the Skin Trade by Dylan Thomas novella and short stories by Dylan Thomas. 
Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey Murder mystery in an exclusive girls school. I recommend (especially if you like cozy mysteries, Miss Marple type stuff)
Kopp Sisters on the March by Amy Stewart (library) based on true stories, Amy Stewart interweaves fiction and fact with these Kopp books. Highly entertaining and a learning moment also. I highly recommend. 
They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie mystery set in Baghdad, more of spy intrigue in this one. I really enjoy reading these, like comfort food for me. 
The Eighty-Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts If you love horses, you need to read this one. A horse rescued from the slaughterhouse becomes a champion. 
Blood Sport by Dick Francis a jaded and depressed mercenary soldier is the protagonist. But the setting goes to the USA and Montana, Wyoming near Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. so it was good although a bit predictable in my opinion
The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child (library) The first Jack Reacher book co-authored by Lee Child and his brother. (James and Andrew Grant) 
Shattered by Dick Francis this one has a glass blower as the protagonist and that was interesting because I was also watching Blown Away the Christmas Edition on Netflix and had Glass Blowing on the brain! Serendipitous 
The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist dystopian future where 50 year old people who do not have children and do not "contribute to society" are kept in a unit where they live comfortably and in leisure as their organs and other body parts are harvested until they die from making the "final donation"   Similar to Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I read this book 10 years ago and enjoyed it and I still like it a lot and I like it better than the Ishiguro book (where people are cloned to provide organs etc for harvesting) 
Seeing Voices by Oliver Sacks extremely interesting book about the history of Sign Language and the Deaf community. Highly recommend. 

Monday, November 01, 2021

2021 Postcards from Friends


                              I thought these cards looked suitably spooky for the day after Halloween! 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

October: Books I read


Deep Survival  by Laurence Gonzales about how we survive-- following stories of folks who survived catastrophic events
Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (library) memoir about a girl whose father is a catholic priest (they converted after he was already married and had children. supposed to be funny like David Sedaris type stuff, but I found it just meh. 
Early From the Dance by David Payne a "beach read" coming of age in North Carolina-ugh, not that great.
Sanatoriums and Asylums of Eastern North Carolina by Dr. Randy K. Kearns This is one of those Arcadia Publishing books.  I have been fascinated with Asylums lately. We have so many abandoned ones in the PNW and what with the homelessness crisis in America, I find it fascinating that there used to be places that held these people and they were actually self sustaining as farms and they grew their own crops and canned their food and had beef and milk dairies and eggs etc And often sold the surplus to the local communities. Yes, there were abuses, but we have that now in hospitals and the foster system and nursing homes. 
Flight 232 by Laurence Gonzales (library) about that United DC-10 crash in Sioux City, Iowa. Very good highly recommend
One Person, No Vote by Carol Anderson (library) about voter suppression
I Can Hear You Whisper by Lydia Denworth (library) The Science of Sound and Language
The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter (library) creepy stalker thriller It was okay
The Ride of Her Life by Elizabeth Letts (library) the story of Annie Wilkins, who rode a horse across America in 1954, very good! recommend to my horsey friends! 
The Appalachian Trail: A Biography by Philip D'Anieri (library) excellent about the making of an popularity of the Appalachian Trail. From Arnold Guyot to Bill Bryson. Each chapter concentrates on a man who made the AT what it is today. I highly recommend.
The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury Set in Alaska with a family of Dog Sled folks. Coming of age after the death of her mother story. 
The Breaker by Nick Petrie (library) Peter Ash is a vet with PTSD who rights wrongs. This book concerns inventions and modern technology. Petrie says he was influenced by Tom Swift books in his youth. Highly recommend. 
Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica (library) thriller it was okay

Monday, October 11, 2021

2021 Postcards from Friends

Postcards from Washington and Oregon

Thursday, September 30, 2021

September: Books I read


Trail of Tears by John Ehle History of the Cherokee Nation depressing for sure
Three Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell Sort of like Mad Men, but in the publishing world instead of the advertising world.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (library) chick lit/romance it was okay
Nobody's Family is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh (library) YA book about a family where the children have dreams that do not mesh with what their family expectations of them. 
Nick by Michael Farris Smith (library) prequel to The Great Gatsby concentrating on Nick of course, his experiences during the war and why he ended up renting that house between the mansions. 
The Lampshade by Mark Jacobson (library) The story of a lampshade found at a rummage sale after Hurricane Katrina made from human skin. Did it come from the Holocaust? They try to trace it through DNA etc 
American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser one of my all time favorite books and I like to reread it every once and awhile. Based on a true story of a murder and trial in the Adirondack region of New York State. 
The Auschwitz Photographer by Luca Crippa and Maurizio Onnis (library) another Holocaust book. I always seem to read these in waves. Based on the true story. 
Aloha Rodeo by Julian Smith and David Wolman (library audiobook) Great story of the history of cowboys in Hawaii and their appearance at a Cheyenne Rodeo in 1908. Highly recommend!!
Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child (audiobook) Jack Reacher book. I had to do an impromptu 20 hour car drive and got some audiobooks knocked out!! LOL 
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory (audiobook) Mary, Queen of Scots Ugh, just got sick of hearing about women being manipulated by men (or used as pawns by men) in the politics of the time. 
Everyday Survival by Laurence Gonzales (library) fun, about how our brains work and poise us for survival (or also disaster) very interesting I recommend