"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Sunday Salon -- June 23, 2024

Sometimes it's all about the sky.

Right this moment it is sunny and cool. Yesterday was sunny and warm. We understand a low pressure system is moving into our area, hence the drop in temperatures today. It is also expected to be a bit windy.

Saying goodbye: Yesterday we drove south to Portland for a memorial service for our cousin's wife, Dawn (a cousin-in-law?) Dawn died of cancer just two years after my cousin, Brad, died of a heart attack. The service yesterday was a beautiful event where many lovely and happy memories were shared about Dawn's life and the impact she'd had on others. That is the thing. Do any of us really know how we touch others? Do we really know the inner workings of even beloved family members? I learned things about Dawn yesterday that I never knew and I've known her for fifty years. It is hard to say goodbye but I am so grateful for the opportunity the service provided to learn more and to love deeper. RIP, Dawn.

Books, books, books: Last week while I was still busy updating you all about my travels I didn't even talk about books. This week, the opposite is true. This covers what I've read/am reading so far in June.
  • Completed in June, so far:
    • Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders. I worked on this short story collection throughout the trip to Norway and Germany. Many of the stories were difficult to understand and others didn't interest me much, unfortunately. I abandoned the book in the Munich airport with the last story unfinished. I didn't miss it. I am now rethinking my position that short stories are good traveling material. Print. 2.5 stars. Completed/stopped June 8th.
    • The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka. I finished this audiobook somewhere over the Atlantic or Canada on our trip homeward. It was a very short audiobook, only 4 hours long. It is written in a very unique style where a chorus of people tell the story about first swimming and then living in an assisted living setting. Audiobook. 4 stars. Completed June 8th.
    • Sipsworth by Simon Van Booy. Another very short audiobook. A very sweet story about the importance of having connections with people. Audio. 4 stars. Completed June 13th.
    • Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love edited by Anne Fadiman. This book was hanging out in the bathroom for over a year, you know, so that no one would be without reading materials when they needed it. The length of time it took for me to finish these essays muted my response but I did get quite a bit of amusement from the project. Print. 3.5 stars. Completed on June 14th.
    • Too Much Happiness: Stories by Alice Munro. This collection of stories I started on the flight home from Europe and while we sat in airports waiting for our flights. I talk about the contrast between the George Saunders and the Alice Munro stories in my blog post. Click on the title to read. Print. 4 stars. Completed June 18tth.
    • Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips. The surprise Pulitzer Prize winner this year is about life after the Civil War. It is a very distressing story. It is also confusing at times , jumping back and forth in time. Also there is a VERY graphic rape scene. Horrifying details. I've read a lot of the Pulitzers and this is not my favorite but it still presents a part of history unknown to me before reading this. Review pending. Audio. 3 stars. Finished June 19th.
    • Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice from Dear Sugar: 10th Anniversary Edition by Cheryl Strayed. I missed this collection first time around and never noticed it on the Web back then either, but I caught it this time around and enjoyed listening to Dear Sugar's sage advice to her readers. Audio. 5 stars. Finished June 21st. Review pending.
  • Currently reading:
    • The Collectors: Stories edited by A.S. King. This collection of short stories all about collections was the Printz Award winner this year. That award goes to the best YA book of the year. I am enjoying all the stories so far, each is by a different writer and then read by talented voice actors for the audiobook. 43% complete.
    • The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. The first book in a very popular series. We listened to this book on our drive to Portland and back. 68% complete.
    • The Bee Sting by Paul Murray. This is a LONG book and I can't seem to make myself read more than a few pages at a time. Have any of you read it? Should I muscle through? Is it worth the effort? Tell me what you think about this book. Print. 8% complete.
  • Upcoming books/audiobooks --These audiobooks are already checked out to me and I'm on the library's clock right now:
    • The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea. This book has been on my TBR for a long time and I want to read it and get it off my list!
    • Brotherless Night by V.V. Ganeshananthan. This is the 2024 Women's Prize winner, announced a week ago. I am looking forward to it.
  • Blog posts: 
  • Book Club: This past week we met and discussed Plainsong by Kent Haruf. It was a fun and funny discussion. Everyone really liked the book, too, even though it was published in the late 1990s. Consider it if you are looking for a good book club selection.
I am completely obsessed with the Olympic Trials. All week I've been watching swimming and track and field. 

Have a good week!


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