Let’s Rewind…

…to last week where I joined an online Haruki Murakami Book Club on a chat app called discord and also joined the 2020 Poetry Reading Challenge. Since then, I have decided to “unjoin” the book club and adjust my goals with the poetry reading challenge. My “unjoining” the book club has nothing to do with person who invited me to the group, but that I am not “feeling” the book right now and I also have mostly read the Murakami books I want to read. It also has to do with what I want to read right now, and that is, on the fiction front anyway, mostly older detective fiction.

On that front, last week on the blog, I talked about starting/restarting the Nero Wolfe series by Rex Stout. On Thursday and last night, I did just that by reading and finishing Over My Dead Body, the seventh in the series. I also want to start/restart reading the Sherlock Holmes short stories. I don’t even know where I am in reading them, so I’m going to start over with the stories, skipping if I remember and then going on from there. I have the complete collection on Google Play Books so I can read them on my phone. While I’d prefer to have them on my Kindle   I now have the complete collection of novels and stories on my Kindle and am reading from there so I can keep track of where I am instead of forgetting where I left off.

With the poetry reading challenge, the option that I signed up for reading a poem-a-day through the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day service. The challenge, as outlined by Serena, is to read a poem-a-day for a week once per month and write about which poems were your favorite and why on your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or your blog. I am adjusting it to pick out my favorites from the month and write about them at the end of the month, providing links to the poems as well. Most likely, I will limit my choices to a few so as not to overwhelm you all.

I also have a plan for when and how I will read…

Short bursts AND long stretches

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t read well in short bursts. I prefer to read in longer stretches of time, which I usually am afforded on weekends, most Saturdays (except when I’m working at the library) and all Sundays. This is assisted by my wife working 12-hour shifts Saturday into Sunday and Sunday into Monday, which means I have more “free time” during the day to do what I want. I learned with reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius to start the year that I can read in short bursts. To that end, I want to read Sherlock Holmes during the week throughout the year, no specific deadline on when to finish or if I’ll finish this year, just to read a short story in the morning before work or in the evening Monday to Friday.

On the weekends, though, I still want to read in those longer stretches of time that I am afforded. On Saturdays, starting with today, I will go to the local state university I mentioned previously and read for the afternoon. Then on Sundays, as is my custom, I will read Sunday Salon posts in the morning and then books in the afternoon. At least that is the plan here at the start of February.

This Weekend

As for what I plan on starting to read today, I have a couple of possibilities. First, on the fiction front are two:

  • Where There’s A Will, the eighth in the Nero Wolfe series, by Rex Stout.
  • Heaven, My Home, the second in the Highway 59 series, by Attica Locke.

I’m leaning toward Heaven, My Home as it will dovetail nicely with the start of Black History Month in a book about a black Texas Ranger, authored by a black female.

On the nonfiction front this weekend, I plan on starting with How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. I started this one last year but didn’t finish and it also coincides with Black History Month. Then next weekend, I would like to begin digging into Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65, the second part of Taylor Branch’s history of the Civil Rights Movement in America. I had planned to begin reading the latter on MLK Day but that didn’t happen (I finished the a book of King speeches instead). Based on the length of Pillar of Fire, it will be one I’ll be delving into over several weekends, not just next weekend.

As always, I’ll keep you posted here on my progress with these and other books throughout the rest of the month or the lack of progress thereof, but I’m hoping for the former.

My Second Book of the Year?

After finishing my first book of the year last week, I now am stuck on what will be my second book of the year…that I finish. I already have abandoned two:

However, because of a telephone conversation with that friend last week, I am refocusing much of my reading on what I know I love: older murder mysteries along the lines of Agatha Christie and the like.

So now I am thinking the second book that I will finish this year might be Over My Dead Body, the seventh in the Nero Wolfe series, by Rex Stout. I restarted reading/rereading the series in 2017 and now am returning to doing that. When I was a teenager, I read many of them, although I’m not sure if I read all of them. That’s why I wanted to restart them especially when I learned that the Free Library of Philadelphia had all 33 of the novels available on ebook.

Beyond Over My Dead Body

I have several other books on the radar, including those in this stack (that also includes DVDs) I picked up after getting a community patron card at a local state university:

Among the books in the stack are a couple books by Haruki Murakami. When I posted the photo, Monika (lovelybookshelf on Instagram) mentioned a new Murakami Book Club on discord with the first book being Norwegian Wood. Even though I didn’t know what discord is, I decided to join. The group begins discussing the first four chapters tomorrow and all this week on discord, which I know is a free voice and text chat for gamers. Then the group will discuss subsequent chapters through the week of Feb. 16 to Feb. 22. The only thing my book is due back Feb. 12. I guess I hope no one puts a hold on it between now and then. Otherwise, I might have to find it elsewhere…or…GASP! buy it!

Also in the stack are a few collections of poetry, which I thought might count toward a poetry reading challenge for this year that I only recently learned about: Poetry Reading Challenge 2020, hosted by Serena from the blog Savvy Verse & Wit. Then tonight I actually read (imagine that!) the options for the challenge and realized that a couple of options for the challenge is not just reading, but reviewing (gah!) books of poetry and realized I’m not much (er, at all) a reviewer. I think I am going to try another one of the options:

  • Signing up to read a poem-a-day through the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day service, then reading a poem-a-day for a week once per month and writing about which poems were your favorite and why on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or your blog.

Since I’m getting to this party late in the month, that means that I will be reading a poem-a-day for this week and then writing about which ones are my favorite and why on my blog at the end of the week. No pressure or anything. 😉

In other news…

This past week:

Please go congratulate them both and add them to blogs to read, and if you haven’t listened to Chris Wolak and her friend Emily Fine’s podcast Book Cougars, definitely go give it a listen. They just did their 94th show!

Author’s Note: *facepalm* I don’t know why I titled this “My Second Book of the Year?” because at this point I already had read my second book of the year: A Call To Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Clayborne Carson and Kris Shepard. I actually should have titled this “And For My Third Book of the Year?” Duh.

Reading (and wine trip) update

So I didn’t get any reading done last weekend, but Kim and I went on our wine trip, and it was fun:

My reading is going well otherwise, as I now have read five books so far this month:

  1. The Rubber Band, the third Nero Wolfe, by Rex Stout.
  2. The Lost Book of The Grail by Charlie Lovett, which was recommended by Tasha of the blog Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books.
  3. The Red Box, the fourth Nero Wolfe, by Rex Stout.
  4. Gallows View, the first Inspector Banks, by Peter Robinson, after seeing Tina of the blog Novel Meals mention the series on Instagram.
  5. The Western Star, the 13th Walt Longmire, by Craig Johnson.

I am in the middle of the fifth Nero Wolfe, Too Many Cooks, by Rex Stout. I also have the second Inspector Banks, A Dedicated Man, by Peter Robinson on my Kindle, ready to go. So I could get seven books finished this month, which would be equal my best month of reading, January, this year, if I do. Here’s hoping.

Other than reading books and drinking wine, I also have been continuing to watch Game of Thrones with Kim. We now are in the middle of Season 5. We have taken a couple of breaks here and there. A few nights ago, we watched Wonder Woman, and tonight we re-watched some Parks and Recreation. We’ll get back to GOT tomorrow, I’m sure.

We also look forward to renting Baby Driver soon, especially based on the opening scene:

So…how is your reading going this month? Let me know…and/or listening to, watching anything good?

Currently: On Hold

This weekend, I had planned on catching up on some reading on my own and cutting down some brush in our backyard with my father. My wife had planned on just catching her breath, pretty much literally, after being in the hospital for atrial fibrillation and attempting to adjust to her medications. Then Thursday night, one of my college roommates, who is going through a difficult divorce, called to ask if he could come up for the weekend. As we knew he needed to get away and that he had to be back Sunday night, we couldn’t refuse his request.

So currently, as of this writing, life is on hold, and here’s where I am, and where we are, with “things.”

Reading: I’m in the middle of reading The Rubber Band, the third Nero Wolfe mystery, by Rex Stout, and am enjoying it so far. I have a few others checked out on ebook from the Free Library of Philadelphia and in print from our hometown library where I work. However, since I’m not sure if I’ll get to any of them, I’m not going to mention them yet.

Watching: My wife and I finished The Defenders, and we thought it was pretty good. I liked the first season of Daredevil the best; she, Luke Cage. My roommate and I also watched a few episodes of the first season of Mr. Robot, which he had been wanting to see. It was interesting, but I don’t think it’s something I feel compelled to watch.

Listening: On Friday, The War on Drugs released its latest album, its major label debut, A Deeper Understanding, and while I’ve only heard a few songs so far, based on those, I’m looking forward to listening to more of the album, maybe later this afternoon.

Anticipating (September and beyond): My wife and I are finally going on a wine trip mid-month to wineries on Seneca Lake in New York after one being canceled earlier this year and this one almost being canceled. It is being sponsored by the library where I work in celebration of its 100th anniversary. 

Two weeks ago, we learned that our 17-year-old car is finally on its last wheels and so by the end of the year, specifically November when it’s inspection runs out, we have to get a new (used) car. 

Last but not least, my wife is continuing with tests this week and beyond for her atrial fibrillation to see what her next steps will be. All of this is also making me think about my own health, and “taking care of myself” too, something I have put on the back burner for too long. 

Before I ask my usual questions, I’ll leave you with this earworm (NSFW) my roommate left me with earlier this weekend:

Whatchya reading, watching, listening to, doing, anticipating? Share in the comments.