September 2021: In the Rearview

So, looking back at the month that was September 2021…

I read five books (in order of favorite to least, although all were good):

  • Invisible Differences: A Story of Aspergers, Adulting, and Living A Life in Full Color by Julia Dachez (author) and Mademoiselle Caroline (illustrator)
  • Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry, collected and with an introduction by Joy Harjo, 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman
  • Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry, also by Kemelman.

I think why I liked the graphic novel the best is because I (and my wife) think I’m probably on the spectrum somewhere. While I read one Goodreads review that said the resources offered at the end of the book were superficial, I thought it wasn’t meant to be exhaustive but an introduction. Personally I could relate to a lot of what Marguerite, the main character, experienced in her life. Even this morning, I found myself slightly overwhelmed by a neighbor’s barking dogs.

We watched eight TV shows (in alphabetical order, all are/were excellent):

  • Alice in Paris
  • Archer
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Only Murders in The Building
  • Reservation Dogs
  • Schmigadoon
  • Ted Lasso
  • What We Do in the Shadows

Hard to pick up a favorite, but I will: Reservation Dogs. Seek it out.

I listened to a little bit of this:

A little bit of that:

And a lot of meditation exercises from meditation apps (not providing the links, because…Google):

  • Headspace
  • Shine
  • Wake Up/Wind Down (with Niall Breslin)

I also listened/watched folklore: the long pond sessions on Disney Plus, that really enhanced the album. I’ll leave you with my favorite song from the album:

While I know September actually has five days left, how was your September? Read, watch, listen to, do anything good in the last month? Please share in the comments.

Keeping it short this weekend…

…literally.

With short stories as my intent tomorrow is to read short stories from The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of The Year’s Best Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois. A friend recommended collections by Dozois so I’m starting here.

I’m also planning on reading Ms. Marvel Vol. 5: Super Famous by writer G. Willow Wilson and illustrator Takeshi Miyazawa. I also have Vol. 7: Damage Per Second, but a patron at the library has Vol. 6: Civil War II, so I’ll have to wait until that is returned before getting to 7.

And last but not least, I bought a copy of Postcard Poems by Jeanne Griggs that I want to dig into. According to her biography on the publisher’s website, Griggs “is a reader, writer, traveler, and ailurophile. She directs the writing center at Kenyon College, plays violin in the Knox County Symphony, and reviews books at Necromancy Never Pays.” It is in that last context with which I’m familiar with and how I learned about her collection via Instagram.

So, what are you reading this weekend? Feel free to share in the comments or post a link to your latest post about your reading. This post is part of The Sunday Salon, hosted every weekend by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz.

My Top 10 of the Last 350 Books Read on Goodreads

In November 2019, I wrote about reaching 300 books read on Goodreads since 2014. This past Monday, when I finished Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, I reached 350 (or a little more, considering a few books were collections of books, such as The Lord of the Rings – a reread). Instead of breaking down the numbers like that 2019 post, I thought this time I’d highlight my top 10 of the 350, out of the 50 that I rated five stars.

The only order I’m putting them in is alphabetical order by title:

  1. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  2. All of Us: The Collected Poems by Raymond Carver
  3. All Systems Red by Martha Wells
  4. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  5. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  6. Leaves of Grass: The Deathbed Edition by Walt Whitman
  7. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  8. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  9. The River Why by David James Duncan
  10. Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Two of them, All Creatures Great and Small and All Systems Red, are the beginnings of series; another two, poetry; and five, nonfiction. That wasn’t by design to be split into fiction and nonfiction, but it is nice how it worked out that way. Naturally, I highly recommend all of them, but the one that I think is a must-read is Being Mortal – because, well, we all are mortal (unless there’s something I don’t know about you).


Last week, beyond Project Hail Mary, I mentioned books I might read. Out of those, the next one I’m reading is Mixed Plate: Chronicles of an All-American Combo by Jo Koy. I plan on finishing that either tonight or tomorrow. Kim and I are still listening to the podcast Aack Cast by Jamie Loftus about “Cathy, the iconic and much-maligned comic strip by Cathy Guisewite,” in which Jamie Loftus “weaves between reporting and fiction, putting a cruelly treated cartoon everywoman in context.” I’m still making my way through the final two seasons of Criminal Minds.

And finally, tomorrow afternoon I’m going to a virtual concert with Bob Dylan. Tying in with the mention of Whitman earlier, I’ll leave you with this from Dylan from last year’s phenomenal album Rough and Rowdy Ways:

My Own Personal Sabbath #40

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone. Throughout the day, sometimes the day before, and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to or watching during my Sabbath.

This is one of those times, I’m posting before my Sabbath.

Reading

The only book that I know for sure that I’ll be continuing to read tomorrow is What is Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life by Mark Doty. As it is split into four parts, I am reading it over the four Sundays in July. [Correction: It’s split into five parts, but the fourth part is short so I’ll read that and the fifth part on the final Sunday in July.] I started it last Sunday. Otherwise, I have a plethora of choices of what else to read, including, but not limited to, the following and obviously am enjoying it or I wouldn’t be continuing with it.

  • Mixed Plate: Chronicles of an All-American Combo by Jo Koy. I’ve had it on hold for a few months at the Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) in ebook, and it finally came in this afternoon.
  • Treasure Hunt, the 16th in the Inspector Montalbano series, by Andrea Camilleri. I’ve been making my way slowly through the series this year and while this one is available at FLP, I bought it on Kindle, which had a deal on it. That way I can get to it at my own speed.
  • The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of The Year’s Best Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois. I don’t read much science fiction, but I want to. So I asked for a friend’s recommendation and he recommended that I read any of the collections of each year’sbest science fiction edited by Dozois for 35 years from 1984 to 2018 when Dozois died. I found this collection to borrow at FLP.
  • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I found it on the new book shelf at our library and grabbed it because I’ve heard the buzz around it is good and I enjoyed The Martian.
  • It’s All a Game: The History of Board Games from Monopoly to Settlers of Cataan by Tristan Donovan. I picked up this while shelf-reading at the library. A friend and I play board games online, and I tj

For tomorrow, I’ll probably choose Mixed Plate, since I know there are six people waiting to read it after me and I might dip into the science fiction collection of short stories.

Listening to

Since my wife Kim works 12-hour shifts from early Saturday night into Sunday morning and then early Sunday night into Sunday morning, 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. each night, we often watch a sitcom or two before she goes to work. Lately, though, we have been listening to podcasts or audiobooks, well, in particular one podcast Aack Cast by Jamie Loftus about “Cathy, the iconic and much-maligned comic strip by Cathy Guisewite,” in which Jamie Loftus “weaves between reporting and fiction, putting a cruelly treated cartoon everywoman in context.” We also have been listening in particular one audiobook, Broken (In the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson. Since we are caught up with Aack Cast, we probably will continue listening to Broken.

Watching

Last Sunday, I watched all three of the original Bourne movies with Matt Damon back-to-back-to-back ending at about 2:30 a.m. Monday morning since I didn’t have to go to work the next day. This Sunday, I’m not sure what I’ll be watching. I’ve been making my way through the last couple of seasons of Criminal Minds, so I might do that (I’m in Season 14 now, with only Season 15 to go).

So, what are you reading, watching, listening to, or doing this weekend? Hope whatever it is, it’s all good.