What I didn’t tell you last week…

…when I said I would be signing up for Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon this coming weekend and reading mostly books that I owned on my Kindle is this:

Those nine books mentioned there aren’t the only ones I own that are still unread on my Kindle.

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Inorite?

Here are the rest:

  1. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  2. Bandwidth (An Analog Novel Book 1) by Eliot Peper
  3. Beautiful Exiles by Meg Waite Clayton
  4. Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most by Marcus J. Borg
  5. Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life by Henri J.M. Nouwen
  6. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  7. Dracula (Kindle in Motion) by Bram Stoker
  8. H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald
  9. John Adams by David McCullough
  10. A Killer’s Mind (Zoe Bentley Mystery Book 1) by Mike Omer
  11. The King Tides (Lancaster & Daniels Book 1) by James Swain
  12. Lady Kopp Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart
  13. The Last Town (The Wayward Pines Trilogy, Book 3) by Blake Crouch
  14. Live It! Achieve Success by Living with Purpose by Jairek Robbins
  15. Lord Foul’s Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever Book 1) by Stephen R. Donaldson (a reread)
  16. Love in the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World by Walker Percy (another reread)
  17. A Man With One of Those Faces (The Dublin Trilogy Book 1) by Caimh McConnell
  18. Meet Me in Malmö: The first Inspector Anita Sundström mystery by Torquil MacLeod
  19. Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart
  20. Neighborly: A Novel by Ellie Monago
  21. Punishment (Detective Barnes Series Book 1) by Scott J. Holliday
  22. The Quiet Game (Penn Cage Book 1) by Greg Iles
  23. River Bodies (Northampton County Book 1) by Karen Katchur
  24. Sacred Games (A Novel) by Vikram Chandra
  25. The Speed of Sound (Speed of Sound Thrillers Book 1) by Eric Bernt
  26. Spiritual Direction by Henri J.M. Nouwen
  27. Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit by Henri J.M. Nouwen
  28. The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores by Diana Marcum
  29. Turning My Mourning into Dancing: Finding Hope in Hard Times by Henri Nouwen
  30. Wayward (The Wayward Pines Trilogy, Book 2) by Blake Crouch
  31. We Were Mothers: A Novel by Katie Sise
  32. We’re All Damaged by Matthew Norman
  33. Whisper Me This: A Novel by Kerry Anne King
  34. Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life by Wayne W. Dwyer

So in actuality, I have almost 50, counting the ones that are part of a trilogy that I didn’t list here but mentioned last week.

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I admit it: I’m a sucker for deals and for Amazon First Reads. I also have Prime Reading and got pulled into a four-month free subscription to Kindle Unlimited. That’s how I’ve discovered many of these.

For the record, I’ve given up on the Chernow book and Don Quixote, at least for the foreseeable future (the next decade at least) so don’t try to convince me to finish those. However, have you heard of any of the others? Which ones would you read first?

Do you buy too many books, e- or otherwise? How do you decide what to read among them?

Signed up for Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon October 2018

October2018Readathon

In January and July, I participated in the 24in48 Readathon, then in April, Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, and in July, the 24in48 again and Dewey’s Summer Reverse Readathon. To date, readathons have accounted for 19 of my 30 books read this year. Now on Oct. 20, I will be participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon . For the two readathons in July, I chose to read diversely and also focus on crime fiction. This time around, my potential list is all from books I already own, most via Kindle. Here are the candidates from which I will select:

  1. All Creatures Bight and Beautiful by James Herriot (part of a trilogy I own)
  2. American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  3. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson (both on ebook and audio)
  4. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (print)
  5. Crocodile on the Sandbank, the first Amelia Peabody mystery, by Elizabeth Peters
  6. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (part of a trilogy I own)
  7. John Adams by David McCullough
  8. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
  9. She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper
  10. We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates (print)
  11. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie

As for this weekend, I took Monday off to give myself another three-day weekend. The plan is for Kim and I to get together with our neighbor Sam(antha) to binge-watch (and drink along with) mine and Kim’s favorite episodes of Drunk History late Monday afternoon and night.

So are you going to be joining in on the upcoming readathon? If so, what are you planning on reading? Even if not, reading anything good or plans to?

Pushing Forward Back September/October 2018

Back at September

Pushing Forward Back September October (1)

The month began, as planned, with a four-day weekend, but not as originally planned was a funeral with my aunt Eleanor passing away at the end of August at the age of 87 after being in declining health for several years. While it was naturally sad, it wasn’t unexpected and it was good to see cousins I hadn’t seen in several years at the funeral on Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. Monday, I finished mowing the lawn before noon and then chilled “day drinking,” concluding with watching Drunk History with Kim, which has become somewhat of a Monday night tradition.

The first week of September ended with my college roommate Joe visiting us for a few days. As for the rest of the month, I worked two Saturdays this month and had one Friday off and a couple of days one week with shorter hours. I had planned to use that one Friday to go to the Corning Museum of Glass, fitting my goal of one day trip a month as outlined in my 25 before 50 post earlier this year. However, that didn’t happen.

I finished two books this past month: The Late Show by Michael Connelly and Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke, both of which were good. Highlights on the TV and movie front were Kim’s Convenience and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, both on Netflix.

The month ends today with Kim and I going over to our neighbors for pizza. Earlier in the day, I’ll be watching NASCAR with my neighbor Mike and another neighbor Fred, and then later Kim and Mike’s wife, Kathy, will join us as we’re getting pizza for dinner. So the month will end with friends just as it began with family.

Forward to October

The first weekend in October is another long weekend for me as I took a vacation day off for Columbus Day, not because I am a fan of Christopher Columbus, but because I had a vacation day to use. In fact, I’m more in agreement with this image that my wife has on a shirt she wears often on Columbus Day:

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On that Monday, Kim and I invited our neighbor over for a Drunk History binge-watch/drinkalong. We attempted to have one last month but her plans changed a few times, but she has off that Monday afternoon and evening. We are caught up with Drunk History on Hulu so I think we’re going to pick out a few of our favorite episodes to binge-watch to introduce our neighbor to the show.

On the reading front, I’ll be participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon on Saturday, Oct. 20. I don’t know what I’ll be reading yet, but I will keep you posted. On the TV front, I know I’m looking forward to the third season of Daredevil on Netflix.

So how was your month of September? Read any good books, seen any good movies and/or TV shows, listened to any good music? What was the highlight of your month? What are you looking forward to in October? Share in the comments.

Something to write about…

I was going to write a post earlier this morning, but then I realized I hadn’t done anything anything to write about. So I finished a book I had started reading earlier in the week and mowed the front lawn. Now I have something to write about…

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The book, Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke, was my 30th for the year and my second for this month, with the first one, The Late Show by Michael Connelly. Both were very good, but I think liked Bluebird, Bluebird a little bit better, perhaps because of part of its plot dealing with blues music. The book I learned after going on Goodreads is the first of  a planned trilogy and already has been bought by FX to be created as a drama series.

When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules–a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders–a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman–have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes–and save himself in the process–before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.

A rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas, Bluebird, Bluebird is an exhilarating, timely novel about the collision of race and justice in America.

That is the description on Goodreads about the book and while I don’t know if it’s quite accurate in its description as the book as “noir” or “exhilarating,” it was well done. Locke, who is a screenwriter by trade, knows how to weave a story. I still like her first novel, The Cutting Season, the best, but enjoyed her other two novels, Black Water Rising and Pleasantville, also as I did this one.

As for the lawn, it seems like I’ve been mowing our lawn in pieces lately. Last week I mowed part of the back section and now today I mowed the front lawn. Probably tomorrow, I’ll mow all of the back section if the ground dries up by then. We got quite a bit of rain Thursday night in our area so the grass is still wet in the backyard. That same night, in part of our county was flash flooding, with people having to be rescued from their houses. My wife, a 911 dispatcher, was called in early Thursday night (usually goes in at midnight) because of the unexpected weather.

Lastly, on weather, while I am glad fall has arrived, it almost has come in too quickly with temperatures dropping too quick. However, that also might be because our summer was extremely humid even up until the last couple of weeks. Today, though, wasn’t as chilly as yesterday here so I guess I can’t complain…too much. Naturally, as you probably know by now, I can, and do, complain about the weather…a lot.

How was your past week? Read anything good? Watched anything good? Listened to anything good? How is the weather where you are as fall begins?

One book at a time, Part II

As I mentioned last week, I returned all the books I had checked out and cancelled all my holds in order to only read one book at a time, either from books from the library or books I already own. The book I selected first was The Late Show by Michael Connelly, which came out last July and I initially planned not to read because Connelly was introducing a new character Renée Ballard and I really wasn’t interested in a new character. However, on Tuesday, I learned that for the next Harry Bosch novel, he would be teaming Bosch up with Ballard so then I decided I “had to” read this one.

As mentioned in the caption above, it was pretty good, even though it wasn’t great. Of course, it is the first in a series so it has time to get there. It’s just not there yet. I still don’t know if I’d read it if she wasn’t teaming up with Bosch for the next one, but it was a good one to start my new/old policy of reading one book at a time.

How about you? Do you read one book at a time? Or do you have multiple books going at once? If you do, I’m just curious how you do it? I’ve never been able to do that, perhaps because I’m fairly single-minded.

One Book At A Time

The week began with my attending the funeral of of my aunt Eleanor, who passed away at the age of 87 after being in declining health for several years. While it was naturally sad, it wasn’t unexpected and it was good to see cousins I hadn’t seen in several years.

The library where I work was closed Saturday and Monday for Labor Day and then I added another day to the weekend by taking a vacation day on Tuesday. Monday, I finished mowing the lawn before noon and then chilled “day drinking.”

Monday night, we planned to get together with a neighbor to watch Drunk History, but her plans changed so we postponed until Tuesday night. However, her plans once again changed Tuesday night. We still watched Drunk History Monday night and then on Tuesday, we discovered three new shows on Netflix:

  1. Sisters
  2. Great News
  3. Kim’s Convenience

The first was really good, but we only have watched one episode thus far; the second, okay; the third, really good too. We ended up watching most of the first season Tuesday and finished it on Wednesday night.

The week ended with my college roommate Joe visiting us for a few days. He still is here Sunday morning as I am drafting this and he is going to stay through until Monday night. I only work a few hours on Monday and it’s not until late so that wil “work.” Yesterday we went out for a late lunch.

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Late lunch with a friend… And my wife @dispatcher12

A post shared by Bryan G. Robinson (@stillunfinished) on

One Book At A Time

Also this past week, I decided to return all the books I had checked out to the library where I work and the Free Library of Philadelphia, where I mostly get my ebooks. I also cancelled all my holds, mostly from FLP, with many of them having been on for months and not expected for months either. As I have in the past, I decided that I only will check out one book at a time to read or read one book at a time from books I already own in my Kindle library. Of course, as in the past, this usually doesn’t last long, and I already have two books checked out from the library where I work: Depth of Winter, the latest in the Longmire series, by Craig Johnson and Gravesend by William Boyle, which just looked like it might be good. To be honest, I’ll probably bail on the Longmire because I have been disappointed with the last couple, including the last one that ended on a cliffhanger with his daughter getting kidnapped by a “bad guy” that he hadn’t had dealings with for a couple of books. This one, he goes to rescue his daughter. However, I’ll give it a chance, but it’s going to have to grab me right away or else.

I’ll leave you with a trailer to Sisters and an introduction to Kim’s Convenience:

So how was your past week? Reading, watching, listening to anything good?

Pushing Forward Back August/September 2018

Back at August

Pushing Forward Back August September 2018

The month began and ended on high notes, but in between were two major low notes: the death of a relative and the death of a library. On August 11, a relative with whom our family has had a complicated past (without going into details) passed away. Pretty much for the rest of the month, we struggled with our grieving, as the Kübler-Ross model was stuck in anger for a good part of the grieving process, which still isn’t done. Then on August 14, the library in my hometown (where I grew up, not where I live and work now) died as it was washed away by flash flooding. In this case, however, our grieving was short-lived as on August 21 a fundraiser was started to rebuild the library at another location in town.

On to the other high notes:

  1. Kim and I started the month by going to concert on Aug. 3 that was part of this year’s Endless Mountain Music Festival series in the next town. The highlight was violinist Asi Matathias performing Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7, Op. 92.”
  2. That weekend ended with my going to visit my mother, who was celebrating her 74th birthday.
  3. Kim and I continued a tradition of watching (and drinking to) the show Drunk History on Monday nights, which basically are her Friday nights, as her work week ends and she has a few days off in the middle of the week.

On the reading front, I only finished one book: The Cruelest Month, the third Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, by Louise Penny. I guess I wasn’t in the mood for reading this month. The best movie we watched this past month was Deadpool 2, which (maybe not) surprisingly was just as good as the first. Musically, I thought there were a few highlights including new albums by Tirzah, Mitski, Helena Hauff, and Foxing, all of whom I discovered or was introduced to by Pitchfork.

Forward to September

I started the summer with a four-day weekend for Memorial Day Weekend and now I end the summer with another four-day weekend, Labor Day Weekend here in the U.S. I tacked on a vacation day to the three days I already have off and with Kim’s schedule the way it is, she is off Monday (works from midnight to 8 a.m. but is off the rest of the day) and Tuesday. We’re not going anywhere with the only thing planned an extended Drunk History marathon since I don’t have to go into work on Tuesday.

As for the rest of the month, I work two Saturdays this month, which normally would mean I have off two Fridays (a combination of our director not wanting us to work six days in a row and something to do with the number of hours per week we work). However, because of other people being away and not having anyone to fill in that one Friday, I only have one Friday off and have a couple of days in one week with shorter hours. All to say, I do have one Friday off, so the day trip I had planned to go to the Corning Museum of Glass last month, which didn’t happen, might now happen this month.

On the reading front, I have the next Gamache book already checked out from the library ready to go and a few other books on hold that might come in. Movies and music? I really haven’t looked ahead. I think I saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is coming to Netflix later in the month, so that ought to be good. Of course, I’ll keep you updated on the rest of September as it happens here and on Instagram.

Update, Aug. 31: My aunt Eleanor, my father’s sister, passed away on Wednesday. She was 87. She had been in declining health for several years. Her funeral is Sunday and I plan on attending.

So how was your month of August? Read any good books, seen any good movies and/or TV shows, listened to any good music? What was the highlight of your month? What are you looking forward to in September? Share in the comments.

My Library Checkout July/August 2018

library-checkout-feature-imageHave you been using your library over the past month? What did you read? What didn’t you read? What are you waiting on? These are the questions of a meme called Library Checkout, led by Rebecca Foster of the blog Bookish Beck. Becca skipped July for personal reasons and wasn’t using her local library, but I am including July too because I was using my libraries for both months.

Library Books Read

Five:

  1. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  2. The Cruelest Month, the third Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, by Louise Penny
  3.  Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
  4. Rebound by Kwame Alexander
  5. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

On Hold

Five:

  1. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
  2. The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson
  3. Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha
  4. The Good Son by Youn-Jeong Jeong
  5. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Returned Unread

Seven:

  1. Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of An American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
  2. Booked by Kwame Alexander
  3. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  4. Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
  5. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
  6. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  7. Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda

Most of the books I read and returned unread were part of two back-to-back readathons in late July: the 24in48 Readathon and Dewey’s Reverse Summer Readathon. The best books of the past two months were Behold the Dreamers and The Poet X, the latter of which I listened to on audio on loan on the Hoopla app from the Free Library of Philadelphia.

What did you check out from the library this past month, put on hold, return unread, did not finish? Or if you don’t use the library, what was the best book you read from this past month? Share in the comments.

Since talking about libraries, I would be remiss in mentioning my recent post about a fundraiser to rebuild the library in the small town where I grew up. Read the post and if you are able, click through to contribute. Thank you.

The report of my hometown library’s death was an exaggeration

Paraphrasing Mark Twain’s quote, my report recently of my hometown library’s death was an exaggeration.

Click through to the fundraising page to donate:

Or for those of you not on Facebook, you can mail your donation by check (the library is a 501c3 organization and can send you a receipt for tax purposes) to New Albany Community Library, 4610 Route 220, New Albany, PA 18833.

Again just to clarify: This is the library in the town where I grew up. This is not the library where I work, The Green Free Library in Wellsboro, which is in the town that I live.

My sister also wrote a post about the library, a much more thoughtful post than mine. I encourage you to go read her post to learn more about the people of the library– and the town.

Grieving for a family member, a library, and a town

I’m still in grieving.

As I mentioned in my last Sunday Salon post, I had a relative who died that previous Saturday. A relative with whom we had a complicated past, but whom nonetheless we are grieving.

But now my grieving isn’t just for him and his family. It also is for a library and the town it served.

As I also mentioned in my Sunday Salon post two Sundays ago, my hometown library suffered damage from flash flooding on Aug. 3. Now this past week, it died.

Tuesday morning, rushing water from another round of flash flooding tore apart the first floor of the building that housed the library and then carried the second floor into the middle of the highway that goes through my hometown.

No one was injured, but a family who rented an apartment on the second floor had to be rescued. Just outside of town, and in a neighboring town, Monroeton, others were airlifted from their homes by helicopter.

I have since learned there are no plans to rebuild or relocate the library. Yes, there is a library in another neighboring town, Dushore, six and a half miles away. But it is a loss nonetheless, not just physically, but also psychologically.

Even with all this grief weighing on me, somehow I was able to finish a book: The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny. However, so far, the cruelest month to me hasn’t been April but August. I am more than looking forward to having a four-day weekend, as I added a vacation day that following Tuesday, to start September and put August well behind me.

So have you been reading anything good recently? Please share in the comments.

Clarification: This library is not where I work. This is the library in the town where I grew up, New Albany, Pennsylvania. The library where I work, in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, is about 60 miles to the west. We had no flash flooding where we live.