Pushing Forward Back August/September 2020

Read

  • All Systems Red by Martha Wells
  • Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
  • Spiritual Practice for Crazy Times: Powerful Tools to Cultivate Calm, Clarity, and Courage by Philip Goldberg
  • The Case of the Famished Parson by George Bellairs.

Watched

  • Teenage Bounty Hunters, Netflix
  • Brassic, Hulu
  • The Brokenwood Mysteries, Hoopla
  • Rifftrax: Birdemic, Amazon Prime
  • The Last Dance, Netflix

Listened To

  • folklore by Taylor Swift
  • Welcome to Conceptual Beach by Young Jesus
  • Source by Nubya Garcia

Highlights of the month

My wife unleashes a smile after being released from the ER.
  • In bold in the lists above are my picks of the month as must-read, must-watch and must-listen-to. I didn’t pick folklore because it was too obvious and I wanted to highlight an unknown.
  • But more important than any of the literary, cinematic, or musical highlights above was the news that my wife doesn’t have covid. On the morning of Aug. 19, she woke up with symptoms (a headache, high fever, and body aches) and that afternoon was tested and received the results within two hours that she did not have the virus. She had a staph infection, which an antibiotic is helping with.
  • Another major highlight was on Aug. 15 when my wife and I visited with my parents to celebrate belatedly my mother’s 76th birthday on Aug. 3. We also visited briefly with my sister and her two children, who live a few miles from my parents. It was good for us to be able to visit with all of them.
  • At the beginning of the month, I was able to score a Biden yard sign to go along with our Black Lives Matter sign. We felt the need to counterpoint all the Trump flags on our street.

Ahead to September

Here on the blog, I plan on continuing my new feature My Own Personal Sabbath that I started last weekend. Since mid-May, I have been taking a break every Sunday from news and work to focus on reading, journaling, listening to music, and watching what I want to watch. It’s been going so well that I’ve decided to share what I read, journaled about, listened to, and watched that day with a follow-up post.

Off blog, I have no major plans for September other than a three-day Labor Day Weekend to start the month. With my wife working all weekend, we’re not going anywhere, but it just will be good for me to have a few days off from work. As usual, I’ll plan on reading, but I’m not going to lie: I’ll probably only do a little reading and end up much of the weekend binge-watching some silly TV series or Mystery Science Theater 3000 or Rifftrax movies.

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 most looking forward to in September? Share in the comments.

My Own Personal Sabbath #16

Yesterday, my sister created a new graphic for the posts she does for her blogs on Sundays called “Sunday Bookends.” Another blogger I follow regularly, Ti of Book Chatter has a theme called “Sunday Matters,” with the sub-theme of “Rest, Regroup, Reflect.” Over several years and several blogs, I have belonged to The Sunday Salon, now hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz. Now inspired by sister, Ti, and Deb, I want to do my own Sunday-themed post: My Own Personal Sabbath.

For the past 16 Sundays, I already have been doing it, without a graphic or a post. It began with the simple premise of putting my phone in a desk drawer all day, with all notifications shut off, to focus on reading, journaling, listening to music, watching what I want to watch with no news and no work. My wife usually works two 12 hour shifts, from Saturday night to Sunday morning and then Sunday night to Monday morning, so Sunday afternoons, she is asleep so you don’t think I’m abandoning her...or if you did. Since then, it has evolved in other ways:

  • using my phone but taking apps such as Instagram off it for the day and only using it to listen to music and play Solitaire.
  • not using my Kindle Fire which still shows notifications but using an “old school” Kindle that has no web browser or notifications.

And not initially planned, but I also have been reading mostly British or mystery books on my Sundays. In June, I finished the All Creatures Great and Small series by James Herriot and I’m continuing to make my way through the novels and short stories of Sherlock Holmes. Yesterday, I read The Case of the Famished Parson by George Bellairs and in July, I read Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert, both British murder mysteries. The latter was better than the former, but both were good.

The other mysteries I read were The Rat Began to Gnaw The Rope by C.W. Grafton and Gold of Our Fathers by Kwei Quartey. I’ve also read four other books:

  • The Best Poems of Jane Kenyon
  • All Systems Red and Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
  • Spiritual Practice for Crazy Times: Powerful Tools To Cultivate Calm, Clarity, and Courage by Philip Goldberg.

I’m also continuing to meander my way through Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver and am about halfway through, enjoying it so far.

Next up: In addition to Mary Oliver and Sherlock Holmes, I have a couple of other Inspector Littlejohn books by Bellairs that I picked up on Kindle. I have the next three of The Murderbot Diaries by Wells checked out of the library, but since I haven’t gotten to them yet in the last couple of weeks, it is unlikely I will get to them right now and they probably will get returned tomorrow when I go to work at the library.

I’ll leave you with what we’ve been watching:

More nuanced than what the trailer shows, but definitely built on the chemistry between the two stars.
This one also is more nuanced than what it appears. Series 1 is on Hulu.

We finished Season 1 of Teenage Bounty Hunters last night and are finishing up Series 1 of Brassic today.

Addendum: I don’t have a graphic yet for this new feature, but I’ll work on it in the near future and might have it by next week.

Where I be

Today I’m in between this and that:

  • With my reading as I’m meandering my way through Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver with no intention of finishing today. I’m just enjoying the ride, the rhythm, the cadence.
  • With my life in general with my wife and I both enjoying a long weekend. I return to work late Tuesday morning; she, late Thursday night as she has been on vacation since last Monday. After going to visit my parents yesterday, we are just taking a down day today, listening to music, reading a little, and watching some TV. Later tonight, we are getting together with two of her sisters and their husbands via Google Meet.

So where you at on this fine Sunday with your reading and/or your life? Hopefully you’re hanging in there wherever you be.

Murderbot & Meditation

I am still reading The Murderbot Diaries. I read the first one, All Systems Red, last Sunday, and then finished the second one, Artificial Condition, Thursday night. I’m now on to the third one, Rogue Protocol, tomorrow afternoon. I loved the first one and enjoyed the second one.

Also this week, I ditched my subscription to Audible in favor of a meditation app, Insight Timer. Not only is the app a third of the cost of Audible per year, but also I believe I will get more use out of it than Audible. I’m just not an audiobook person.

I understand the appeal for those who commute or who like to do housework while listening to an audiobook, but I do neither. I work five minutes away from the library where I work and I don’t like doing housework 😉 . The real reason, though, is just that I don’t like being read to when I can read faster than any narrator. Plus I’m weird, at least to some of you, in that sometimes I like to listen to music, mostly instrumental, when I read.


As I write this, it’s a little after 7 p.m. Saturday, and I missed Dewey’s Reverse Readathon, which started at 8 p.m. EST Friday night and ends at 8 p.m. EST Saturday night. I had to work earlier today so I knew I wouldn’t be participating…

To be honest, I think I’m over readathons. After 15-plus years of being a book blogger, I think I’ve done enough readathons. Also with the torch being handed on from Andi and company at Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon to the next generation, I think it’s time to say goodbye to them (readathons). Plus I like to read at my own pace, which is slow – and steady. I don’t need the pressure.


So whatchya’ll reading now? Anything good (or bad). Share in the comments.