2020 Thankfully Reading Weekend — I’m 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 tomorrow through Sunday, Nov. 29, although I will be starting this afternoon. 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.

As I mentioned in my last post, I might try to read a little from a collection of the first three Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths that I picked up on my Kindle earlier this year. I dipped into it once before but it didn’t grab me, but based on lavish praise from Amanda of the blog The Zen Leaf, I’m giving it another try.

I also borrowed three ebooks from the Free Library of Philadelphia: The Big Bamboo, Hurricane Punch, and Atomic Lobster, the eight, ninth and 10th respectively in the Serge Storms series by Tim Dorsey. And lastly, I have One by One They Disappeared by Moray Dalton (Katherine Mary Deville Dalton), an author to which I was introduced by a friend via the blog The Passing Tramp.

So as you can see, I have choices. As I’m still recovering from mild symptoms of COVID-19 and have been in a little big of “a brain fog,” I’ll be lucky to get through one or two of them, but I like having choices in case one series doesn’t work for me or if I want to try something else.

I’ll let you know how I did in my next post on Sunday. Until then, stay safe, stay well…and may The Force be with you.

Mostly fair to middling

As I mentioned in my last post, my wife and I had (have) COVID-19. I won’t reiterate everything I said there since you already read, or can go read, it. As for how we’re doing now, I’m still not feeling great, but Kim is feeling better and already is back to work (a 911 dispatcher). This morning, I’m just trying to decide what I might read and/or watch today.

With both my reading and TV watching, I feel like I’ve just been going through the motions. This past week I finished Castle Skull by John Dickson Carr, the first book I’ve finished this month. It wasn’t great, it was okay. That’s also how my TV watching mostly has been going: fair to middling. I watched Season 1 of Wayne on Amazon Prime, which I realized about Episode 6 that I wasn’t feeling, but since the season only had 10 episodes, and I couldn’t focus on making a decision on what I wanted to watch, I finished it. I liked the lead characters of Wayne and Del, and their chemistry, but I felt the plot petered out toward the end. I then watched Series 1 of an Icelandic crime drama The Cliff. It only had four episodes and I realized in about the second one, it wasn’t going anywhere but I continued to watch it too. Out of the two, I’d recommend Wayne more, if you don’t mind language and violence.

I started one other series this week, Before We Die, a Swedish crime drama, on PBS Masterpiece and this one is better than fair to middling. I’m only three episodes in into the eight-episode first season, but this one, I actually want to see more of. I’ll probably watch this some this afternoon while my wife is asleep (she works a 12-hour shift starting tonight at 8 p.m.).

Otherwise, I might try to read a little from a collection of the first three Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths that I picked up on my Kindle earlier this year. I dipped into it once before but it didn’t grab me, but based on lavish praise from Amanda of the blog The Zen Leaf I’m giving it another try.

In honor of my and my wife’s 24th wedding anniversary coming up on Monday, Nov. 23, I’ll leave you with this Cat Power version of an Otis Redding classic that I just heard on Sleepy Hollow on XPN:

My Own Personal Sabbath #23

Every Sunday since mid-May 2020, 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.

12:10 AM: I don’t know about y’all, but I’m more than ready for a break from the news after this past week. Now that the presidential race has been called, I think I might be somewhat less distracted later today than I have been all week.

The only thing is that I’m not sure what I’m going to focus on today instead. I returned several books unread to our library and the Free Library of Philadelphia. I do have a few from the British Library Crime Classics series on my Kindle so maybe I’ll try one of them. I’ll keep you posted and let you know later today.

9:40 AM: In honor of Nonfiction November being celebrated this month, and even though I’m not participating in the event, I’m looking book at my nonfiction reads from this year. Altogether, I have read 32 books so far this year with eight of them being nonfiction. These are the eight:

  1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, translated by Gregory Hays
  2. A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches by Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  4. Pauses for Lent: 40 Words for 40 Days by Trevor Hudson
  5. Every Living Thing by James Herriot
  6. Spiritual Practice for Crazy Times: Powerful Tools to Cultivate Calm, Clarity and Courage by Philip Goldberg
  7. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  8. The Gethsemani Talks: A Simple Teaching on Meditation in the Christian Tradition by John Main

As you can tell, the common theme is meditation, right from my very book of the year. It wasn’t planned that way, but has fallen almost naturally into it with the way the year has gone into. Then at the beginning of last month, I was invited by Deb Nance of the blog, Readerbuzz, and host of the weekly Sunday Salon to an online six-week introductory course for Christian Meditation hosted by a group in Houston, Texas. The group is part of The World Community for Christian Meditation started by followers of the late Benedictine monk John Main.

5:30 PM: I just got home about half an hour ago after being out most of the afternoon. I went to a local lake and then a local park where I started reading Castle Skull by John Dickson Carr, a part of the British Library Crime Classics series I mentioned earlier.

Gone ‘Til November

Earlier this week, my wife invited me to a news blackout on Election Day, and I accepted. To help in that endeavor, I also am taking vacation days on Monday and Tuesday that week. And now since I already have voted, and I don’t need or want to hear anything more on the election, I have decided to extend the news blackout backwards to start tomorrow. Along with that, I’m signing off here on the blog and on Instagram for the rest of the month until after the election.

So what will I be doing if I’m not thinking about the election or the news?

On the literary front, I have choices with plenty of books I already own on Kindle from which to choose and a few books I’ve checked out from the library, including Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden and the third, fourth and fifth books in the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells.

On the cinematic front, I am thinking about a rewatch of the sixth season of Schitt’s Creek and continuing to watch the best episodes of Cold Case on The Roku Channel before the show expires at the end of the month. I miss Drunk History, but I’ll drown my sorrows with Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax movies.

On the musical front, I am hoping that Lana Del Rey drops her new album Chemtrails over the Country Club before the end of the month and if not, I’ll continue to listen to Taylor Swift’s latest album folklore over and over again as I pretty much have been doing since it was released in late July.

I also will be continuing an online six-week introductory course for Christian Meditation that is being hosted by a group in Houston, Texas and to which I was invited by Deb Nance of the blog, Readerbuzz, and host of the weekly Sunday Salon. The group is part of The World Community for Christian Meditation. I admit that on the night of the election, I will be skipping as (my wife and) I will be “meditating” over a big bottle of wine or other alcohol-based libation.

…after the election (when hopefully we won’t have to move to Celine’s country).