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 seven TV shows (in alphabetical order, all are/were excellent):

  • Alice in Paris
  • Archer
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • 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.

In the interim…

So…

…while I was away “fishin'”

I read:

  • Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry, collected and with an introduction by Joy Harjo, the 23rd and current Poet Laureate of the United States, to which I also listened with the poets reading their own works via The Library of Congress. I highly recommend listening to the poets and also reading the poems with the line breaks they intended as on the LOC website. I had the ebook version and reading the poems in PDFs was especially helpful.
  • Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman. I’ve always wanted to read this series, but never have. It’s good enough that I already have checkers out the second in the series.

I watched:

  • the final season of both CSI: Miami and Criminal Minds, with the latter being better if only for giving the viewers a better going-away party with the characters.
  • Idiocracy (with my wife).
  • a streaming video of a 2014 concert by Pearl Jam that  marked the 25th anniversary of their fourth album No Code on August 27. The October 17, 2014 show from Moline, IL saw the band perform the 1996 album from start to finish. That day also marked the 30th anniversary of their album Ten.

My wife and I also have started watching:

  • Only Murders in The Building with Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez, which has been brilliant thus far.
  • Alice in Paris, which, according to The New York Times, is “a show initially aired in two-minute episodes, but those have been repackaged as eight half-hour installments.” The shows are scripted, but feature real restaurants and cafes in Paris.
  • Britbox and Starz, through 99 cents a month specials on Prime Video.

As for what’s in the reading queue, I have several possibilities:

  • Network Effect by Martha Wells
  • Fugitive Telemetry, also by Wells
  • Growing Old: Notes on Aging with Something Like Grace by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
  • The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
  • How to Find Your Own Way in the Dark by Derek B. Miller
  • The Turnout by Megan Abbott
  • Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry by Harry Kemelman
  • Angelica’s Smile by Andrea Camilleri
  • The Essential Muriel Rukeyser, with a foreword by Natasha Trethewy.

And last night, I went to Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago…via a livestream. I’ll leave you with a song from Angel Olsen, one of the performers I saw there.

So, how y’all been doing in the past couple of weeks since I have been away? Reading, watching, listening to anything of note? 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: