Monday, October 22, 2018

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All systems Red, by Martha Wells

I read this for Book club.  I never would have picked it up otherwise.  It's not my usual genre. 

I really enjoyed this book and its main character, Murderbot.  Murderbot was bored and overroder its governer, so it no longer had to take direct orders.  It followed enough orders so that no one noticed for a long time. 

This is its journey to being left alone by the humans.  It will help out when the humans get in trouble, but doesn't go out of its way to help, normally.

There is so much humor in this book, and I want to read the sequels.  They are a little out of my price range right now, though.  I'll get to them eventually, though.

All Systems Red on Goodreads

Book Club 10/21

I travel about an hour for the first book club I joined.  I really enjoy the group of people I met through this group, so it's worth the drive.  I also visited a friend who works near where we met this month.

We were reading All Systems Red and/or The Changeling.  We could read one or both.  I only read All Systems Red.  The Changeling is on my to be read list, of course.

Book Club started at 4.  I arrived at the meeting area at 3:30, so I set my alarm and took a short nap.  I wandered over to the meeting area, still waking up.  Thankfully, I was only the third one there.  We discussed what everyone had been up to since we last met, and then the fourth person arrived, diving head first into discussion about the book that I hadn't read yet.  Ok, I guess we are starting.  While they were discussing the book, I relaxed and watched the foot traffic.  The fifth person arrived, and he hadn't read the other book yet, either, so he joined me in not paying attention to the discussion.  A very large, friendly dog, named Shannon, decided that I'd be the best bet to get a pat on the head and a little attention.  She was right.

That discussion lasted all of about fifteen minutes, so we moved on to All Systems Red.  It was a very short book, but was very interesting.  But, we only got about ten minutes of discussion out of it.  The rest was discussion of other books we are reading, and movies that we saw.  It was well worth the travelling to get book and movie recommendations.  I also found several books that I do not want to read. 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Public transportation, movies and a show

I took the streetcar downtown to see a movie with the cinema group.  The organizer didn't show up, but two lovely people who didn't RSVP joined me at the movie.  The theater was tiny.  34 seats.  Right next to a book store.  A big one.  I was very excited.

I like taking public transportation when I go downtown or anywhere in the city, because I don't have have to deal with parking and because it gives me quiet time to read as long as I have a seat or at least enough personal space.

There's always a show on public transportation.  Today's opening act was a rather smelly, rather drunk guy on his cell phone.  "Hi baby!  I'm out going to make more money for you!  When I get home, you can unlock my dick!"  Thankfully, he lost signal, gave up and found a seat.  He pulls a beer out of his pocket and drops a condom on the floor.  

At the next stop, there is the second and third act.  Act two is the guy kick boxing the air to music.  Act three is the woman screaming that she's not going to be ignored and she can't pass the slanted part of the station. 

The closing act was when a teenager shook a pineapple Fanta and opened it.  He wore it, though.  Not me.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

book list

Here's a list of books that I own, and haven't read.  My original goal was to randomly select one every time that I need a new book.  It hasn't worked out that way yet, but I plan on getting through all of them eventually.  The problem is, I keep adding books as I browse book sales and stores and Amazon.

book list

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

More challenges

Every time I get a cold, the cough lingers forever.  It slows me down to no end, because every time I move, I cough.  I take a deep breath, I cough.  I lie flat on the bed, I cough.  I don't sleep well because the cough keeps waking me up.  When I don't sleep, I can't concentrate on my reading.  I either get the book/kindle opened and manage to flip a few pages, or I open it and fall asleep immediately.  Getting nothing accomplished, either way.

I also can't work out because of the cough.  I usually am able to prop the kindle up on the treadmill while I walk.  I'm not getting the time on the treadmill because I can't catch my breath.

I have been forcing myself to get a chapter a day read of several books for several reasons.  It looks like I'm not making progress because the progress is thinned out over several books.  Hopefully, I'll be finishing several all at once.

As of now, I only have two things on my schedule for this weekend, so maybe I can get some reading done between those two things.

I need to get these books done by these dates.

All Systems Red complete by 10/21, 4pm for scifi fantasy bookclub
Black Beauty chapters read for buddy read
The Bette Davis Club complete by 10/27 for Vegas bookclub
She's Not There complete by 10/24 for Avenues bookclub
A Second Chance complete by 10/17 for SS10 Goodread challenge
Where Nobody Knows Your Name chapters read for buddy read

I should also read these, but I'm not on a real deadline.

Less I was supposed to have finished for Avenues bookclub, but I wasn't getting into it and I was getting sick
Winnie the Pooh I checked it out from the library and have renewed it multiple times, expecting to finish it.
Invisible Man I started it for non fiction bookclub, but ran out of time.

I also want to get the stack of paper books down so that the pile on my nightstand isn't threatening to topple over on me in my sleep.

A Symphony of Echoes, by Jodi Taylor

The second installment of The Chronicles of St. Mary's started out with Jack the Ripper and gets more exciting from there.  I love this series so far.  Some things get a little silly, but for good reason.  The story kept my attention the whole time, and I couldn't wait to start the next in the series.

Max and Kal go on Kal's final jump.  It's touch and go for a while, when they run into Jack the Ripper and he engages them, instead of them just observing history.  The fact that there are more sequels let me know that Max was ok, otherwise, I might have written her off before the jump was complete.

Leon and Max go on a much needed vacation, and events there are a complete surprise to me.  I was not expecting any of it.

This series always keeps me guessing, and there are several quotes that I found extremely funny, including the one about beards only being fashionable on men.  I highly recommend this series.

A Symphony of Echos on Goodread

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Current stress

You are behind schedule

Here is my current stressor.  My book challenge.   Every time I log into Goodreads, it reminds me that I'm behind.  I'm finishing a book a week, but I don't seem to be getting anywhere.   I stay at 12 or 13 books behind.  

I have several books close to halfway finished, so I hope to finish them back to back and get down to 10 or 11 books behind.

I did start a mini book club with friends.   Three of us read very similar books, and we talk almost daily, so we decided we are going to organize ourselves and discuss what we are reading.   Two more friends tagged on to see what we were discussing.   Rules for book choices include availability on Kindle Unlimited and audiobook.   I think we can manage that.  I got to choose the first book - The Bette Davis Club.  Due on the 27th.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, by Jenny Lawson

I really enjoyed this book.   It scared me a little because I could relate so well to her stories.  I knew where she was going with her off on a tangent stories.   I laughed out loud during most of the book.   A friend and I bought a copy for another friend, so we could all discuss taxidermy giraffes and throwing away your keys instead of garbage.   We know we aren't alone.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman

When I started this book, I knew that it had been made into a movie.  I hadn't realized that it was a true story.  This is the story of Antonina Zabinski who always had a connection to animals.  She was a strong woman who kept it together during the war. 

The author wrote this wonderful story based on memoirs and interviews with those who were in the villa.  I loved how they mentioned the death and destruction that the war caused, but didn't dwell on it.  It happened and everyone else moved along with their lives, trying to stay alive and helping others stay alive during the war.

The zoo animals and pets were talked about just like the people were.  I was glad to know what happened to each of them at the end of the book.

The Zookeeper's Wife on Goodreads

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Disappointment in class

As part of my healing process, after foot surgery, I signed up for PE classes at the local community college. Both of my children and one of their friends are in the same class. I had taken a class with the same instructor over the summer, so he was already aware of my limitations from my foot.

The teacher had an evaluation on Monday, so he asked us all be there, so that he could show the evaluator that he had a full class. He does, but not everybody shows up everyday. A couple of days before the evaluation, I started having issues with my asthma. I got either is very mild cold or my allergies were acting up. I do have issues with coughing.  Once I get a cough, for whatever reason, the cough stays with me  for a very long time. I have allergy meds, an inhaler, and cough drops, which help me get through it.

I showed up on Monday, late, because we had an emergency at work that kept me overtime.  I walked in just as he was about to start class.  He lead us through twenty minutes of core exercises and asked some questions that will be on our written final.  This was fine.  I coughed a little, but not bad.

It comes time to do our individual workouts.  I had planned to walk on the treadmill to work on cardio.  Because I'm slow because of the foot rehab and the added cough, I can read on the treadmill.  I propped my kindle on the little stand on the treadmill and started off.   I had 22 minutes left in the book.  Perfect!  I could walk until the book was done.    

Three minutes later, I finish the book.   What happened?  I was all set.   It turned out that the book had a lot of blurbs about upcoming books.  I was disappointed, but was able to complete the 34th book of 2018.   And read the next chapter for my buddy read.  Thankfully, it was the Kindle and not a paper book.  Otherwise I would have had to cut my workout short.  

Sunday, September 30, 2018

My Kindles

I used to read my ebooks on my phone.   I couldn't justify the cost of a kindle when the phone works perfectly well.   Then I saw one in one of my patient's hands.  It was the Paperwhite.   I hadn't realized how much like a book it looked.  I started thinking about getting one.   I ended up receiving one as a gift.  I fell in love.  I got a black and blue waterproof case for it so it traveled with me wherever I went.  Gym, pool, work, bathroom, bed.   I didn't need my reading glasses, either, since I could adjust the print.

I could read whatever I felt like reading.  I always had multiple books going, and now all the books could travel with me.  I discovered Goodreads.  I was able to track what I was reading, what I had read, and what I wanted to read.  I got recommendations from friends.  I found group challenges and the annual challenge.  I signed up for the annual challenge and have been reading up a storm ever since.  I have signed up for a yearly challenge every January ever since.

I discovered bookbub and the fussy librarian.  They both offered me free and discounted books daily. I filled up my Kindle.   I was given a Kindle Fire, but I was used to the anti glare surface of the Paperwhite, so the Fire became the music source for work.  I rarely read on it, unless I'm desperate. 

One day, I noticed a tiny crack on my blue Paperwhite screen.  Even though it was in its case securely, it managed to get a crack in it.  It was still working, but I couldn't read at night because that tiny crack shone brightly, right into my eyes.   I called customer service and there wasn't anything they could do for me, except offer a discount on a replacement.  I took them up on the offer and got my second Paperwhite, this time with a black case.

I got to work filling up that Kindle right away.   I had a difficult time with non reading things, and had to move quickly from where we were living.  I know the kindle went with us, but I managed to misplace it.  I thought I'd lost it at the grocery store, so I put my phone number in the title, hoping someone would find it and return it.   I ended up ordering a refurbished Paperwhite, this time with a black and pink case.

I was mourning the loss of the black Kindle while waiting the arrival of the pink one.  When the pink one arrived, it didn't work quite right.  After quite a while with customer service, we managed to manually push through an update and get it working perfectly.   It became my companion.   It was easier to find in my purse, too, since it wasn't all black.  

After several weeks, I found the black one, sitting in a dark corner at home.   It now has silver writing on it with my phone number.   It's been a backup when the pink one needs to be charged.

One day, I received an email telling me that I could turn in my Paperwhite for a discount on the new Oasis.  I started looking into it.   I could listen to my audiobooks on my Kindle?   Sure!  But, no.  Which Paperwhite could I part with?  None.  They all have sentimental value.   Plus, it was a cost I still couldn't justify, even with the discount.   I put it on my Amazon wishlist, expecting it to stay there.  

I received the Oasis for my birthday.   It was so light that I was afraid to use it until I got a cover for it.   I also had to get headphones for it, since I didn't own Bluetooth ones.  That delayed me a few days.   I did end up subscribing to Kindle Unlimited, since I could get books with the audio portion included.  I am not in love the headphones, so this isn't ideal yet.  Also, I've read that the Oasis isn't as sturdy as the paperwhite, so it's not traveling with me like the Paperwhite does.  It's a work in progress.   Is bigger, so it is easier to read, but it's an at home reader so far. 

My pink Paperwhite is my companion, still.   I am still waiting for the Oasis to convince me.

Whiskey and Gumdrops, by Jean Oram

I never had trouble getting into the book.  I enjoyed it from the moment I started reading it.
Mandy is a loveable character, but indecisive until she decides to follow her dream head on. 
I enjoyed Mandy's journey to find her place in the the business world.  The love story part of the story was rather predictable, though.  The book could have stood alone without the romance part.  Her indecisiveness in her love life was a sharp contrast to how she handled herself in the business world.