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.

Past, present, and perhaps, future reading

What I Read This Past Week

When I left you last week, I planned to read Smallbone Deceased: A London Mystery by Michael Gilbert, which is part of the British Library Crime Classics series. I started it last Sunday and finished it on Wednesday.

At first, I thought Gilbert got too bogged down in legalese, but about 20 pages in, it picked up rather quickly…once a body of man was discovered stuffed in a deed box! From there, for the most part, it was rather enjoyable as a chief inspector and a member of the law firm try to discover who killed the man. I’ll admit I lost track at the end because of long work days, so I rated it four out of five stars on Goodreads, but it probably was closer to a 4.5 or even a five.

Here are some of my favorite passages:

“A friend in the enemy’s camp,” said the Assistant Commissioner. “It’s quite a good idea. Only for heaven’s sake don’t be like that mug in the detective story who confides all his best ideas to a friendly sort of character who turns out to be the murderer in Chapter Sixteen.”

Appropriately, the book had 16 chapters.

“Then, at the end of about seventy-five thousand words I shall collect you all into this room, and inaugurate a sort of verbal game of grandmother’s steps, creeping up behind each of the suspects in turn and saying Boo! to them in order to make them jump. At the end of which, when everybody is exhausted, including the reader, I shall produce a revolver, confess that I committed the crime, and shoot myself in front of you all.”

I’m not sure if there were 75,000 words, but it was a short novel so maybe…

Then there was this theme of describing how a crime is solved, which I thought was tied together nicely with another reference to it.

The other method is more laborious but just as certain. You weave a net. And you drag it across the pool, backwards and forwards. You won’t get everything at first, but if your mesh is fine enough and you drag deeply enough, everything must come up in the end.”

So the little wheels clicked and the spindles bobbed and curtsied, and the mesh was woven.

What I Plan To Read This Weekend

As for this weekend, my plan is to read yet another mystery, this time on this side of the Atlantic, with Trial by Fury, a John J. Malone mystery, by Craig Rice, pseudonym of Georgiana Ann Randolph Craig. My friend John, a former neighbor, recommended the book.

Rice, who was described as “the Dorothy Parker of detective,” was the first mystery writer to be featured on the cover of Time, yet probably like John and me, you probably never heard of her. John recommended this book, the fifth in her Craig Malone mystery series based on a recommendation from the blog The Passing Tramp. While I normally try to read series in order, John assured me it was good as a standalone, plus the series of 14 books is about $120 on Amazon so I think I’m okay with buying just one and reading it out of series order.

What sold John on the series in part is the high-society couple Jake and Helene Justus who help Malone, a Chicago attorney, in the mysteries. John said the couple is comparable to Nick and Norah Charles in The Thin Man series by Dashiell Hammett. Although I never have read the series (GASP), I do remember seeing one or two of the movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy when I was younger (no, not in the theater!). So I thought I’d give this one a try based on John’s recommendation. John rarely has steered me wrong in his recommendations. Last year, for example, he recommended The Uninvited by Dorothy Macaradle, which I enjoyed.

What I Might Read Soon

Also this past week, I picked up the series, The Murderbot Diaries series, by Martha Wells after seeing the entire series (so far) at the library where I work. I haven’t read science fiction in a few years, because while I want to like science fiction, I usually don’t. Blame years of growing up reading Isaac Asimov with most modern science fiction paling in comparison. However, I’m willing to give Wells a chance since I’ve heard a lot of praise for the series. My fingers are crossed.

Update 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2: I abandoned Trial by Fury because too many typos in the Kindle edition. I returned for a refund and instead read All Systems Red, which was excellent. I’m now on to the second one, Artificial Condition.