2021 Thankfully Reading Weekend – I’m in! #thankfullyreading

As I preface before I say this every time I announce I’m joining in, I only participate in a few book blogging events every year and this (see image/link above) is one of them. This year’s event is from Wednesday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Nov. 28. Here’s how Jenn describes the event:

There are no rules to the weekend, we’re simply hoping to devote a good amount of time to reading, and perhaps meeting some of our reading challenges and goals for the year. We thought it’d be fun if we cheered each other on a bit…Join in for the weekend or for only a single day. No rules, no pressure!

I happen to have off work for those five days, and my wife, who works night shift, is asleep during the day, so it happens to work out perfectly for me to join in. Or I should say it would seem. Realistically, with the distraction of catching up on some binge-watching, I’ll be happy if I can finish one book.

I have choices. Among them are the following:

  • Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with The Myth of the Lost Cause by Ty Seidule, Professor Emeritus of History at West Point 
  • Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holiday, And the Vendetta Raid from Hell by Tom Clavin  
  • The Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged the Secret War Against Japan by Sam Kleiner
  • Thursday the Rabbi Walked Out by Harry Kemelman.

I mentioned the first three in my post “My Own Personal Nonfiction November”, and I have been making my way slowly through the Rabbi Small series by Kemelman this year. This one is the seventh in a series of 12. I plan on reading the sixth, Wednesday the Rabbi Got Wet, the sixth in the series today and tomorrow.


While that takes care of my reading plans for next week, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our other plans for the next couple of weeks. On Nov. 23, my wife and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. I don’t have the day off, but I will be leaving work early and Kim and I will celebrate that night with a special dinner. She hasn’t decided what she is making yet.

Leading up to our anniversary, she and I are both off together from Thursday to Sunday this coming week. We’re starting “Our 25th Anniversary Extravaganza”, as I’ve labeled it, on Wednesday night by watching The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King with commentary provided by Rifftrax. Then on Thursday night, we’re watching In the Heights; Friday, King Richard; Saturday, the last two episodes of Season 1 of Ted Lasso. We have been very slowly making our way through the series, because it’s too good to…forgive the timely pun…gobble up.

So, those are my couple of weeks in a nutshell. How about you? For those of you in the U.S. who celebrate Thanksgiving, any special plans? For all of you, feel free to share in the comments what you’ve been reading, watching, listening to, or doing lately.

My Own Personal Nonfiction November

This month there are several events around the Internet called Nonfiction November. In the past I have even participated in one with a group of book bloggers. It is led by Rennie at the blog What’s Nonfiction. To find out more about that event, click on the hyperlink. However, that is not what I am doing. Instead, as the title of this post says, I am doing My Own Personal Nonfiction November.

To wit, this year I have only read four nonfiction books, but I want to read more. So, this month I have picked three nonfiction books to try to get through before the end of the month. I found all of them while shelf reading at the library where I work. Shelf reading, for those who might not know, means “reading the spines of the items on the shelf and rearranging any materials that are out of order.” It’s not always a fun job, especially when the call numbers in a Dewey decimal system get long, but it can be rewarding when you find books that interest you. 

The list is as follows: 

  • Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with The Myth of the Lost Cause by Ty Seidule, Professor Emeritus of History at West Point 
  • Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holiday, And the Vendetta Raid from Hell by Tom Clavin  
  • The Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged the Secret War Against Japan by Sam Kleiner. 

The first two were published last year; the third, in 2018.  

While I’m not usually one to quote from a summary on a book jacket, in the case of Robert E. Lee and Me, I will make an exception, because it’s what drew me. This is the second paragraph of the summary: 

In a unique blend of history and reflection, Seidule deconstructs the truth about the Confederacy—that its undisputed primary goal was the subjugation and enslavement of Black Americans—and directly challenges the idea of honoring those who labored to preserve that system and committed treason in their failed attempt to achieve it. Through the arc of Seidule’s own life, as well as the culture that formed him, he seeks a path to understanding why the facts of the Civil War have remained buried beneath layers of myth and even outright lies—and how they embody a cultural gulf that separates millions of Americans to this day. 

Back in college, I took a class on Reconstruction with one of the central themes being that the Civil War was about slavery, period. The main book used for the course, which I highly recommend, is A Short History of Reconstruction 1863-1877 by Eric Foner. It is an abridged version of Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution. So, Seidule’s book will be like extra credit reading for me for that class almost 30 years ago. 

In the case of Tombstone, I’ve always had an interest in “The Gunfight at the OK Corral” and with The Flying Tigers, I grew up watching the TV show Baa Baa Black Sheep, about U.S. Marine Corps aviator Greg “Pappy” Boyington and his Black Sheep Squadron. He also was a member of the Flying Tigers. I’ve also always wanted to see the movie Tombstone and never have. Now maybe after reading the book, I will watch it with maybe a better understanding of the real event. 

So, do you read nonfiction? If you do, what is one of your favorites from this year or any other year, for that matter? If you don’t, why not?

I’m in!

Last moment, but I’ve joined tomorrow’s readathon.

I’ll have updates here.


Starting a bit early on Friday night as my wife and I are watching the latest adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune on HBO Max.


I’m starting today’s readathon with a favorite, Man’s Search for Meaning (but in audio). I also have two Rabbi Small series in the queue.


It is a little after noon here, and I am about halfway through my first book, an audiobook, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, as read by Simon Vance. I have about 10 minutes in this first of two parts and a postscript. I have read the book several times, but this is my first time listening to it. Once I’m done with this part, I’m heading out to get lunch.

1 p.m.: I’m continuing to listen to Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, as read by Simon Vance, as I’m at a local lake just outside of town. I’m eating a literary sandwich called The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille at a local café. It was very tasty. (There was another half of the sandwich, but I ate it.)


2:30 p.m.: After stopping by the library for a bathroom break, I saw the vestiges of fall foliage in our area and had to get a photo.

3:30 p.m.: I finished Man’s Search for Meaning. Now I’m going to take a short nap before digging into my next book, Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman, which I already have started before today.

7:00 p.m.: I took a nap. I had dinner (no photo). Kim and I watched the latest episode of What We Do in the Shadows. Now I’m going down a YouTube rabbit hole.

But hey, it is literary:

8 p.m. I’m back to reading. I’m continuing to read Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman.

10 p.m. I’m halfway through the book. I’m thinking about a snack, maybe charcuterie.

Charcuterie and wine (Manischewitz, but of course as I’m reading The Rabbi Who Took Monday Off by Harry Kemelman).

12:30 a.m. I finished Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman. And I’m calling it good.

Mid-October Check-in

I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that. Usually it’s related to books, TV/movies, and music – and sometimes about what’s going on in my life otherwise. Today, I thought I’d talk a little more about about the latter with a mid-month check-in while also checking in on y’all.

This past week has been mostly about my health, physical and mental.

Physical

Two Fridays ago, I had a doctor’s appointment for a sore left forearm (no fall or injury, just sore). After determining that it probably is a mild case of tendinitis, she gave me a prescription for a brace, which after making sure I had the right one, I got on Thursday afternoon. I am supposed to use it for a couple of weeks to see if it helps, along with extra Aleve. So I’ll keep you posted.

While at the doctor’s, I also received a flu shot and asked her about getting a covid vaccine booster, and she recommended based on where I work (at a public library) that it might not be a bad idea. So, yesterday afternoon, I received my third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

My wife Kim got hers this afternoon.

Mental

On Monday, I had my monthly virtual therapist appointment. I started therapy “pre-pandemic”, but it has been a lifesaver throughout the pandemic. In comparison to others, including some of you, I don’t have it that bad or really bad at all. Yes, it’s mostly in my head, especially wrong assumptions and not dealing with muddled thoughts. But as I’m learning, none of us really know what’s going on with other people you meet throughout the day, from coworkers to clients or customers to even family members, whether near or far. Practice compassion toward others as you do for yourself too.

Last Sunday was World Mental Health Day. I did a meditation with Eve from Headspace and tomorrow afternoon (for me), I plan to join her again, if not to clear those muddled thoughts I have, to at least keep them at bay or look at them without judgment. Again, I’m learning it’s okay sometimes/often to see a thought and not latch onto it and let it control you. “Ah, there it is…now moving on.”

She’ll be at Headspace on Instagram Live, if you’d like to join us for your own check-in.

Check-out

Tomorrow, as has been my custom during many Sundays the pandemic, I plan on having my own personal Sabbath. The plan, as always, is to “tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone.” Tomorrow, I plan on continuing to read the next book in the Rabbi Small series by Harry Kemelman and probably watching some more Castle, with all seasons now available on Hulu.

So now checking in with you…how are you doing physically and mentally here mid-October? Reading, listening to, or watching anything good lately? Please feel free to share in the comments.