My April 2018 Readathon Stack

PczMoPoN This coming Saturday is the next edition of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon (click on the image to be taken to the event website) and I’ve been getting ready for the last few weeks. I’ve checked out a few books from the library and also have been culling my list on my Kindle so that I have a stack from which to choose. I do not plan on finishing all these books, but I do have a stack from which I can pick and choose what to read next. So without further ado, here is that stack, starting with a photo of the physical books, followed by a list of all the books, both physical and digital.

April 2018 Readathon Stack

In alphabetical order by title, the books I have selected from which to choose are:

  1. All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot
  2. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  3.  Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
  4. Colosseum: Poems by Katie Ford
  5. Dear Darkness: Poems by Kevin Young
  6. Dove Season by Johnny Shaw
  7. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  8. Poetry Magazine, April 2018 edition
  9. Sending Christmas Cards to Huck & Hamlet by Joseph Mills
  10. Shoot the Dead by Steve Wetherell
  11. Tangerine by Christine Mangan
  12. Unknown Friends by Carl Dennis
  13. Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith
  14. Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
  15. We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehishi Coates
  16. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie

Altogether, I have seven physical books, eight digital books, including one audiobook with deGrasse Tyson, and one digital magazine. I have five fiction, five nonfiction, and also five books of poetry in honor of National Poetry Month this month. I have nine books by male authors, six books by female authors and one magazine with both genders represented as well as eight books by non-white authors. In other words, almost all of the food groups are represented. 😉 But really I did try to select diversely in terms of the authors’ ethnicities and genres.

This afternoon, I am hoping to finish All Creatures Great and Small, so that is why I selected the second one, All Things Bright and Beautiful, for the list. The deGrasse Tyson book, I started reading and listening to last year but haven’t gotten back to it yet. I think the same can be said of Daring Greatly. The poetry books and the poetry magazine, as I have mentioned, I am reading for National Poetry Month. Shoot the Dead is compared to Shaun of the Dead in its humor, so I thought why not? I think it was a Kindle deal as was Dove Season, The Hate You Give, and You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me. Chris Wolak from the blog Wildmoo Books highly recommended Tangerine in a review she wrote for, so I thought I’d give it a try. Waking Lions was recommended by a patron at our library, and We Were Eight Years in Power was a gift from another blogger as part of a Christmas book exchange and is one I’ve been wanting to read for a while.

Are you participating in this coming weekend’s Readathon? If so, what are you including in your stack? If not, what are you reading that is good that you would recommend to me and my readers? Please share in the comments.

Also this week on the blog, I continued my new feature: What We’re Watching Wednesday with a focus on zombies.  I also started a new feature Saturday Snapshots, where I share photos from throughout the past week. I still have to get to publishing my first post for a new feature on music on Fridays. Maybe this week, it finally will happen. Stay tuned.

Saturday Snapshots | The End of Winter?

This past week, I walked to work three times as Kim was visiting her sister and mother in Delaware. The first day was Tuesday, with the statue of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod in our town’s green; the second day was Wednesday, with a photo of another statue on The Green in honor of military veterans; the third day, Thursday, it snowed to start the day, but I ended the day with wings (both hot and mango habanero) and a Long Island Iced Tea at one of our favorite restaurants, The Roost, in our town.

How was your past week? Any highlights you want to share?

What We’re Watching Wednesday | Zombies

Last week, I started a new feature here on the blog called “What We’re Watching Wednesday,” (graphic to come later), where I’ll be sharing what my wife Kim and I are watching in terms of movies and TV each week. This week, it’s zombies.

Kim and I aren’t really into zombie TV or movies, but for some reason, I thought I’d give Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix a try anyway when it first came out last year. The trailers actually looked good…and I was surprised to find that I did like it. After only a few episodes, I stopped watching to wait for Kim to catch up. The show, starring Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, is now in its second season. Yes, it starts with a bit of gross visuals: vomit and blood (hit fast forward or do the fake lookaway), but after the first few episodes, it hits its stride with the interplay between Barrymore and Olyphant’s characters at the forefront, with Barrymore playing a newly-discovered undead person and Olyphant, her ever-supporting husband. And by then you’re hooked, or at least we were.

Last night in anticipation of this theme, I watched the South Korean zombie movie Train to Busan, also available on Netflix. Kim had no interest in this so I decided to watch it while she is away for a few days this week, visiting her sister and mother in Delaware. Unlike other zombie movies that we both have liked, such as Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, which were comedies, this one isn’t a humorous romp. This one is more akin to 28 Days Later, although not quite as bleak and with some surprisingly poignant moments within it (not shown in the trailer below). At the center is a father accompanying his daughter to his ex-wife’s, which is set up with a backstory at the start of the movie that makes one wonder at first if the movie ever will pick up. But believe me, it does…and once it does, it never lets up until the very end.

So what you have been watching lately? Movies and/or TV? Anything worth sharing? Share away in the comments.

…and yet another new thing

Last week, I started something new, with a photo collage for each day of the week Monday through Friday. This week, I only have three photos, which are in my featured image above, from Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. Monday, I ate a nice chicken chipotle ranch salad for dinner; Tuesday, Alexandra snuggled with me earlier in the day, making it difficult for me to get out of bed; and then Friday, we finally were able to open our windows, even though it’s not gone back to being cold.

I also planned to start new features, one on Wednesday about what Kim and I are watching in TV and movies, and the other on Friday about what I’m listening to. While I did get to the Wednesday one, I didn’t get around to the Friday post. I hope to do that this week.

As for reading, I didn’t start anything new, as I had finished my reread of The Lord of The Rings last week, but did continue reading All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot yesterday afternoon. I did pick up a couple more books for my stack for the readathon on April 28, but I’ll share more of that in next week’s Sunday Salon post…

…speaking of which…

…I know I just started a new feature here with the collage, but I think I’ll be moving that to Saturdays with Saturday Snapshots. Why? Originally, when I started this blog, I wanted to keep my reading discussions to The Sunday Salon post, since that is what The Sunday Salon is supposed to be about: books.

So the new schedule tentatively will be:

  1. Sundays: The Sunday Salon
  2. Wednesdays: What We’re Watching Wednesdays or What We’re Watching This Week
  3. Fridays: Music I’m listening to…title of feature to be determined
  4. Saturdays: Saturday Snapshots, with photos from the past week.
  5. End of the month: A wrap of the last month and a look ahead to the new month.

I will provide links to the posts from earlier in the week during each Sunday’s post too so you still won’t miss out, if you don’t follow my blog via a feed and only via The Sunday Salon Facebook group.

How was your past week? Reading, watching, listening to anything worthwhile? Let me know in the comments.



What We’re Watching Wednesday | Only The Brave & Money Heist

Today, I’m starting a new feature here on the blog called “What We’re Watching Wednesday,” (graphic to come later and after thinking about it might change to “What We’re Watching This Week,” since it’s not just on Wednesdays that we’re watching), where I’ll be sharing what Kim and I are watching in terms of movies and TV each week.

This past weekend, I watched on my own Only The Brave, not knowing what the movie was about and purposefully not looking online to see the true story on which it was based. However, I had a feeling that it wasn’t going to end well, and it didn’t, but it was really a good movie. I don’t know if the performances were great, but the story was great about a group of forest firefighters in Arizona. Once I knew what was going to happen, I started crying and didn’t stop until after the credits rolled. If you’re going to watch this movie, get from a Redbox or a similar outlet, so you can watch the special features on the true story.

And for our TV pick this week is one I’ve mentioned before and one I’ll probably mention again called Money Heist on Netflix. It’s a Spanish series and we just finished watching Season 1 this past week and started watching Season 2, which we didn’t even realize there was going to be until a few weeks ago. The story focuses on a group of supposed bank robbers who end up kidnapping a group of people in Spain’s head bank. However, it ends up being more complicated than that with the series focusing on the robbers/kidnappers, the hostage negotiators, and the hostages themselves and how all three interact with each other. Yes, it has subtitles, but it is more than worth the effort. My wife got me watching a few Spanish language shows, starting with Narcos, and I haven’t been disappointed yet. I don’t think you will be either with this one:

So what you have been watching lately? Movies and/or TV? Anything worth sharing? Share away in the comments.

Trying a couple of new things

Starting this week, I am trying a couple of new things:

  1. With this post, I am going to add a photo collage from each day of the week, Monday through Friday (to start), pulled from an app I use called Journey.
  2. A new blog schedule that will include posts on Wednesday, for TV and movies that we watch, and Fridays, for music that I listen to.

The photo collage is in the featured image for today’s post. The week began at top left with snow on Easter Monday, with Alexandra providing a nice foreground; at bottom left, on Tuesday, Kim and I watched a video with a happy lady from China that made our week; at top center, on Wednesday, two suspicious packages were found outside our county’s courthouse, the next block over from where I work, but luckily were found to be non-dangerous; at bottom center, the week ended on Friday with snow, just a dusting, but still…; and at far right is my wife, who celebrated her birthday one day early Thursday with dinner and a drink, a Moscow Mule, at our favorite pub, The Roost. All in all, a good week when all was said and done.

What I’m reading: I just finished The Return of the King yesterday afternoon. Meanwhile, I made no progress with All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot this week. I also did pick up a few books of poetry and a novel, Tangerine by Christine Mangan, which Chris from Wildmoo Books recommended, from our library. The books of poetry, which I picked up after being reminded also by Chris and her friend Emily (known collectively as The Book Cougars) that it is National Poetry Month this month, are:

  • Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate
  • Unknown Friends by Carl Dennis
  • Colosseum by Katie Ford
  • Sending Christmas Cards to Huck and Hamlet by Joseph Mills.

What we’re watching: We finally finished Season 1 of Money Heist on Netflix, which was brilliant, and are into Season 2. We stopped watching the second season of Santa Clarita Diet for now, not because we didn’t like, but because we can watch when we need to watch a shorter show, for example, when Kim has to go to work early for a 12-hour shift on Saturday and Sundays.

What I’m listening to:

If that doesn’t make you happy, I don’t know what will.

How was your past week? Reading, watching, listening to anything worthwhile? Let me know in the comments.

Pushing Forward Back March/April 2018

Midway through the month, I said I was in a holding pattern and that pretty much was the theme for the month. It began and ended with Kim being away for a few days each week as she visited her sister and mother in Delaware, meaning that we put on hold a couple of shows we were watching on Netflix and Amazon Prime: the first season of Money Heist on Netflix and the fourth season of Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon Prime. Also on hold was, and is, the weather that just doesn’t want to seem to break into Spring quite yet and my reading, which is stuck in one series, The Lord of the Rings (on the third part, The Return of The King) while trying to start another, All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot.

However, together Kim and I watched movies connected with this year’s Oscars, from I, Tonya, which Allison Janney won a Best Supporting Actress to Three Billboards from Ebbing, MO, which was nominated for Best Picture and for which Frances McDormand won Best Actress and Sam Rockwell, Best Supporting Actor to Lady Bird, which also was nominated for Best Picture. Personally, I liked Three Billboards, but Kim didn’t, and we both enjoyed I, Tonya and Lady Bird, the latter of which we knew was our kind of picture from the moment we saw the first trailer. We also watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which was fun.

We also got a subscription to Britbox and I started watching A Touch of Frost and Dalziel and Pascoe, two British crime shows. I tried watching Scott & Bailey, but gave up after one season because it seemed more like a soap opera than a crime show.

On the music front, a few ditties caught my ear, but this one from February was still turning on my virtual turntable:

Pushing Forward

April begins with Kim’s birthday this coming Friday, which we’ll be celebrating Thursday night with a birthday dinner at a local pub called The Roost. We’re going then because work earlier that day than I am on Friday, giving us more time plus it won’t be quite as busy as it might be on a Friday night.

At the end of the month, I’d like to see the last Avengers movie, but I wanted to see Black Panther also and didn’t…yet. In between the beginning of the month and the end of the month, we have nothing planned, but if the weather warms up,maybe we can go out to the nearby Pennsylvania Grand Canyon for a hike. As with everything in life, we’ll see.

I’ll leave you with this funny clip from Seth Meyers (even though it’s two years old, I’m just getting to it):

How about you? How was your month of March? Any highlights with your reading, TV and/or movie watching, music listening? Any big plans for April?

Another trilogy, of sorts…

This past week I started another trilogy, of sorts…

The three books are the first in a series of five books, as published in the United States, with the last two being The Lord God Made Them All and Every Living Thing. However, I purchased these three together as a Kindle deal at the end of last year, so I’m counting them as a trilogy.

I also am reading The Lord of the Rings, still near the beginning of The Return of the King. I own that series in paperback, but started reading it in Prime reading and then purchased it in ebook in case the Prime deal ran out before I was finished with it.

I think I read at least All Creatures Great and Small when I was a teenager, because the stories so far seem familiar. I might also have seen some of the BBC series based on the books and the life of James Alfred “Alf” Wright, the British veterinarian who wrote as James Herriot. Needless to say, I am enjoying it so far and look forward to reading the rest.

With this week being Holy Week, I decided spontaneously yesterday to pick up some spiritual books yesterday on sale from Amazon — and also perhaps as penance for my not keeping to my planned Lenten fasts. The first three, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, and Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life, are all by Henri J.M. Nouwen. The other two are by two different authors: Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life by Wayne W. Dyer and Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most by Marcus J. Borg. All three authors are deceased, with the Nouwen books compiled from his coursework, journals, and unpublished writings by one of Nouwen’s longtime students Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird. Each are short, so who knows maybe I’ll even read a few over this coming week, especially since my wife Kim is away again for most of this week, visiting her mother and sister in Delaware.

This past week, though, Kim and I enjoyed watching a couple of movies together: Lady Bird, which we predicted correctly was “our kind of movie,” and the new Jumanji, which actually lived up to the hype from its trailers. Yes, it was completely silly and fluff, but it was good silly and good fluff, especially with all four of the leads: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, the last who was excellent as Nebula in the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies and who was a welcome surprise addition here.

So how was your week this past week? Been reading anything good, watching anything good, listening to anything good?

In A Holding Pattern

This week, I am the red dot:

  1. My wife and I are still watching the first season of Money Heist, a Spanish series originally titled La Casa de Papel, on Netflix, and Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon Prime Video.
  2. I still am reading The Return of the King.
  3. We still are waiting for warmer weather, which with the start of Spring on the calendar is supposed to happen but here in northcentral Pennsylvania, we’re not holding our breath.

In the meantime, we did watch I, Tonya, which was surprisingly funny and the second movie with Oscar nominees and winners in it from this year’s Oscars that we have watched recently. The first was Three Billboards in Ebbing, MO, which also was darkly comical. The only caveat with I, Tonya is that it is good to check out other sources on the events of the movie, as the movie is biased towards Harding, although it doesn’t show her as a sympathetic character. The movie also doesn’t propose to tell the truth, but shows the story from a few points of view, including her husband at the time, Jeff Gillooly.

We also purchased BritBox as an Amazon channel and so far, we are enjoying reruns of Keeping Up Appearances and Black Adder. I also am enjoying watching A Touch of Frost. We did consider AcornTV, but since either we had seen what we wanted to there or a lot of the shows we wanted to see already were on Netflix, we decided that Britbox was the better option.

So how was your past week? Read anything good? Watch anything to recommend? Listen to anything mind-blowing?

The Extra Time That Wasn’t

For most of this past week, my wife was away visiting her mother in Delaware, and I was on my own. Theoretically, that meant I should have had extra time to read, watch, and listen to what I wanted. In reality, it meant I read nothing while she was away, started watching one show and then deciding that I needed to stop watching until we could watch together, and listened to very little.

The show, the title of which is badly translated according to my wife, is Money Heist, a Spanish series originally titled La Casa de Papel, which literally means “paper house.” I am only a few episodes into the Netflix show, and all I can tell you is that it is a must-watch:

After she got back, I started my reread of The Return of the King, we watched Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri, and she “forced” me to listen to this:

The video was made in 2013, but became popular on YouTube only last year, garnering 3 million views. The son Brian Owens also has made a tribute album to Johnny Cash titled Soul of Cash:

We also continued watching the fourth season of Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon Prime:

Since the show is only 10 episodes and about 25 minutes each episode, we have decided to watch only a couple at a time, especially since it’s such a beautiful show. This is one show we didn’t want to binge-watch but savor as fine wine, sipping in each sweet moment.

Which books, movies, TV shows, or music have you been grooving this past week?