Mid-July Check-in

Since I haven’t been here or on Instagram in awhile, some of you have been checking in on me to see if my wife and I are okay, and while I’ve responded to some of you via e-mail, I haven’t responded to all of you. So here’s the breakdown:

  • We’re still here in northcentral Pennsylvania.
  • I’m still working at the library (curbside pickups and pickups and computer use in the building, all by appointment). My wife is still working as a 911 dispatcher for our county. Our respective families are well. Kim’s sister, mother, our brother-in-law and nephew had presumptive cases of covid-19 back in the beginning of April, but they’re all doing well.
  • We’re still reading.

Hey, let’s talk about that:

  • I’m still reading The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – which, when finished, will mean I have read the entire Sherlock Holmes canon by Doyle and also is in the second and final volume of the collection I’ve been reading from since last year. I recently finished Gold of Our Fathers, the fourth in the Darko Dawson mystery series, by Kwei Quartey, and am planning to read Death by His Grace, the fifth in the same series, by Quartey.
  • UPDATE: As of early Saturday afternoon, I have abandoned this book after only a chapter. This one began with the focus on a couple, presumably one of them the victim or the accused of a murder to come, and not on Dawson as the first four in the series. I skimmed ahead, only to see Dawson is introduced after several chapters, and quickly decided I didn’t like the change of focus so “cut bait,” so to speak.
  • Kim’s finishing The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which she never read (!), and tentatively plans to read Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor next.

We’re watching a bit of this and a bit of that…


  • Parks and Recreation reruns
  • Drunk History reruns once a week, usually on Wednesdays
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine reruns
  • Bob’s Burgers once a week for burger night on Fridays
  • Boyz n the Hood, which she’d never seen.
  • What We Do in the Shadows, the TV series.


  • Kim: Recently finished Transparent on Amazon Prime and is making her way through Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix
  • Her must watch of the last few months: Pose, now on Netflix.
  • My must watch of the last few months: Ip Man 4, also now on Netflix.

We’re also listening a bit of this and a bit of that:

  • Me on constant replay: Fear of Music by The Talking Heads.
  • My pick of the year so far: Rough and Rowdy Ways by Bob Dylan.
  • Kim’s recent plays: Kind of Blue by Miles Davis and Eight Diagrams by Wu-Tang Clan.

That’s about it, or at least all I want to talk about for now. I’ll leave you with a photo from my walk this morning, the start of a three-day weekend for me as I’m off through Monday (new hours at the library, closed on Mondays for a deep cleaning of the building).

UPDATE: Saturday night I received an email from the Free Library of Philadelphia that a book I had on hold was now available. So now today, Sunday, I plan on reading The Rat Began To Gnaw The Rope by C.W. Grafton, a hard-boiled noir mystery, from The Library of Congress Crime Collection. And yes, he was related to the late Sue Grafton. He was her father.

31 thoughts on “Mid-July Check-in

  1. Hi sir! I was getting worried about you. I’ve chatted with your wife of IG a few times and was getting ready to ask if you were okay. I have no idea if anything is going on with you guys, but please let me know if you need anything, even if it is a virtual shoulder or ear for comfort or to vent or whatever! I’m always available for friends! Thinking of you both.


  2. Glad to hear from you! Good to see the list of all the books being read and TV shows being watched. Our library opened for pickups recently and I’ll be going back tomorrow to pick a second round of holds. It feels good to be able to visit the library, so thank you for all you do to keep yours up and running!


  3. Wow! you guys are keeping really busy despite working. We are retired, staying in, except for walks and grocery shopping. We also live in Pennsylvania half the year (snowbirds). I’m going to check out some of your reading suggestions and Netflix shows. Thanks and stay safe- Judee


  4. Hi there Bryan! I am a librarian at a primary school in South Africa and although we are book with classes, the library is not allowed to be open yet. Dreadful.
    Glad you checked in so that everybody can see that you are still okay! Rather important these days.
    Wishing you a lovely week ahead.
    PS: I still need to learn to art of just abandoning a book. Every year is a bit better. Maybe it comes with age!
    You are welcome to pay a visit to my blog, here’s my latest post The Sunday Post


    1. I’m 51 and have zero qualms on abandoning a book when it not working for me. 🙂 Life really is too short…to waste on books “not working” or really too much work for what is expected.


  5. Always great to hear from you! I love the Talking Heads but I must not know all their albums because I looked up the tracklist and didn’t recognize any of the titles??? I’ll have to check it out the next time I’m in a mood to listen to music. Usually while I’m washing dishes.


      1. I recognized “Life During Wartime” right away. “This ain’t no party! This ain’t no disco! This aint no foolin’ around!”


  6. It must feel very strange to be working at the library under those conditions. When do you think normal service will return?

    I,m interested that you’ve read those Kwei Quatery. I read the first one and really enjoyed it but then forgot to keep an eye out for anything further by him


    1. Like everything else, as I’m sure even where you are, we have no idea when “normal” service will return.

      Since I posted this initially I have updated that I abandoned the Quartey. Please see post. I would add the first four were good, with as I remember the third being the nadir of the series. Perhaps he should have ended the series as a trilogy and left well enough alone.


  7. Glad to see you are all doing well, and reading! So, what’s your next big adventure after the Sherlock Holmes canon?
    I’m currently listening to Hercule Poirot #4. It will take me a while to cover the whole canon, but it has already been a fascinating experience. I’m taking some hours of teaching off this week, so hopefully I’ll have time to write about this


  8. So glad to see you and your wife are doing okay and pressing on.

    I’m reading lots and lots but nothing that I want to stand up and tell others to read. I’m reading a little stack of books (War and Peace, a collection of Mary Oliver poems, a drawing book, some short stories) painfully slowly, but those are the ones I’m enjoying the most.

    Never tried Parks and Rec. Quite desperate for new good tv. May try.

    I’m intrigued with Breath, your wife’s tentative next read. I’d like to hear more.


    1. Breath was a recommend from Elizabeth Gilbert and I tend to listen when she calls something life changing. I am trying to see if I can cultivate a state of being that is something other than a matted pile of worry, exhaustion, and disgust.


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