Showing posts from December, 2023

2023 Challenges Wrapup, and what next?

This year I cut way back on the challenges, and then I just about didn't keep track of the ones I did have going.  I know I hit my goals, but I can't prove it.  The only one I officially finished was Adam's TBR Pile Challenge, which is being retired: Not sure I ever got the right graphic... Map Drawn By a Spy, by Guillermo Cabrera Infante (Cuba) The Green Roads of England, by Hippisley-Cox The World of Odysseus, by M. I. Finley How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed, by Drakulic Wife of the Gods, by Kwei Quartey (Ghana) Pageants of Despair, by Dennis Hamley (this is a children's book??) The Way to the Sea, by Caroline Crampton Ransom for a Knight, by Barbara Leonie Picard The High Book of the Grail (Perlesvaus), ed. Nigel Bryant How Democracies Die, by Levitsky and Ziblatt Samson's Hoard, by John Verney Hippolyte's Island, by Barbara Hodgson Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Red Famine, by Anne Applebaum    I definitely hit my goals for Bev's two T

Wrapping up 2023

I took a look at my reading for this year, and there was a definite trend.  I tended to do two things: I either read difficult and depressing books about politics, or I hid in comfort reads.  If there was a Nancy Drew on the donation table, I took it home.  I read a simply incredible number of fluffy mysteries, which meant that there wasn't as much to blog about, even if I'd been keeping up my former writing rate, which I certainly was not.  Of course I read other things too, but ambition, international reads, or classics were pretty thin on the ground.  I don't feel bad about it or anything; I just noticed it when I looked at my Goodreads list.  (My goal for the year was 170 books, and I passed 200, but a hefty percentage of that list involved titles like Three Investigators and so on.) This month I've been in the mood for a lot of Christmas reading.  Not much new, just a bunch of old and easy favorites. I'm a bit late to get very detailed, so here's a quick li

Cheery December Reading

 It's nothing but fun around here, as you can see by these very cheery selections.  Maybe I should try to read heartwarming Christmas tales for a bit?   Sexy But Psycho: How the Patriarchy Uses Women's Trauma Against Them , by Dr Jessica Taylor:   This is a UK book, and focuses on UK practices, though it's still relevant to the US.  But just so you know, she uses a lot of NHS terminology that I didn't understand at first, such as sectioning , which seems to be holding a patient for psychiatric reasons without their consent.  Anyway... Taylor's theme is that she has seen way too many women shoved into psychiatric diagnoses and  medication because they were upset about the abuse that they had suffered.  Say you get a teen girl who has been through some horrific abuse, and instead of receiving therapy and advocacy, she is told that she is making a lot of it up and has BPD.  Her distress is interpreted as mental illness instead of a normal person's reaction to terr

Ozathon #1: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum   It's such a long time since I read this story, but I remember all the illustrations so well!  I must have read it many times as a kid. I think we all know the story, so I won't repeat it, except to point out that there is about three times as much material in the book as there is in the movie.  I'm not a huge fan of the movie -- I didn't grow up on it like so many people did -- so I won't say a lot about it either.  But Baum puts in a whole lot of hazards and side-trips that couldn't fit in the film version! L. Frank Baum was wanting to write an imaginative, fairy-tale type of story for the new America.  Forget all those princes and princesses, and especially all the violence, death, and heavy-duty moralizing of 19th-century children's literature!  This was going to be a fun, quirky story for a vigorous, expanding America, and it was going to star some familiar sights for an American child, like scarecrows, far

CC Spin #35: London Journal

It's Spin day!  I finished my book in good time, and it was a very interesting read.   Boswell's London Journal, 1762 - 1763, by James Boswell, ed Frederick A. Pottle James Boswell was the son of the laird of Auchinleck, and he was on the outs with his father.  Lord Auchinleck wanted his son to study law and generally act like a responsible adult, and James wanted to live an exciting life in London, maybe join the Guards -- as long as he didn't have to actually leave London and do anything military -- hang out with literary types, and write poetry.  So they made a deal: Jamie's dad gave him an allowance that was enough to live on as a gentleman, but not enough for living large, and let him spend some time in London to see how he liked it.  (This was pretty nice of Dad, considering that a couple of years before, young Jamie had announced a desire to become a Catholic monk and then ran off to London for a few months of serious debauchery.  The Laird must have been pretty