Revisiting, Revising, Recommending


Wherein I try to re-explain my previous post on an expiring book on my Kindle.

Last week I lamented my receiving a notification on an app that the ebook I was reading on my Kindle was expiring. Many of you offered advice on how I could keep the ebook, especially turning off my wifi or the airplane mode on. While I appreciate the advice, which was valid, I really wasn’t seeking it. Instead, I meant the post to be a joking rant about notifications pressuring me for this, that, or the other thing – and not just letting me go about my business.

I also didn’t mean to denigrate the Libby app which I enjoy and which also allows patrons to suspend a hold to be delivered later. I use that feature regularly.


Wherein I reconsider what I am doing for Lent.

As I mentioned Wednesday, I started Lent with a day off from work during which my wife and I attended an online Ash Wednesday service at the Washington National Cathedral. I also then mentioned that I was giving up alcohol, which I’m still doing during the 40 days, and reading a couple of books. However, instead, I’ve decided to keep it fairly simple with the following:


Wherein I receive some recommendations for short uplifting podcasts from followers on Instagram that I now pass on to you. Your mileage may vary.

Recently, I asked my followers on Instagram for recommendation for short, uplifting podcasts. I asked for “maybe meditative, poetry, book-related, no politics, no news, please.” Here are the ones they mentioned:

And here are a couple that I discovered:

As for this weekend, yesterday I worked at the library and then a friend and I played board games online last night. Today I’m planning on reading, continuing with the next Inspector Montalbano, August Heat, by Andrea Camilleri.

What are you up to this weekend? Reading, watching, listening to anything good this weekend? Any podcasts you recommend? Please share in the comments.

The pressure of the expiring book

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 and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to or watching during my Sabbath.

My Own Personal Sabbath #32: Time’s Running Out…

Earlier in the week, I checked in on the ebook I am reading, The Paper Moon, the ninth in the Inspector Montalbano series, by Andrea Camilleri and saw a notice that it was expiring soon with a question if I’d like to place a hold on it. This morning, about half an hour ago, I checked in and saw the message as shown in the photo at right: Time’s Running Out…Expiring Soon. Place a hold? Due in 8 Hours. Now I have until 5:26 p.m. Eastern Standard Time here in the U..S. to finish.

Thanks, Free Library of Philadelphia or Libby, I guess to be more accurate, for attempting to make me return the book that I am in the middle of reading and place a hold on it before I am done with it (yes, said sarcastically). Lately, Libby also gives me a message: “One Good Turn…” and tells me how many people are on the hold list and says something like “Would you like to return early?” No, Libby, I would not like to return the book that I am in the middle of reading or may be almost finished reading (not that it’s any of your damned business). I would like to say that, but Libby doesn’t give you a response form, only the unwanted pressure of being asked to return a book you’re not finished with.

Before I get comments that Libby is just being polite for the sake of the next patron, which might be me in the future, or that Libby is just being practical, let me say I’m not really that upset about this. I just find it slightly annoying (obviously annoying enough to write about it here, ha) that they would ask me to return a book early that I am allowed to have out for the full time. That’s the way books loaned out at libraries work, Libby.

So today, if you haven’t guessed for the next 8 hours, nay, now down to about 7, I plan on finishing the book I am reading. Basically, it will be the same plans as I posted on Instagram with the photo at left, with the following caption:

No plans for the weekend, but to read and drink…iced coffee. And maybe some wine. A oh, food and sleep. Forgive me if I left a crumb or speck on the table, but I tried to wipe it off the best I could to make it Instagram perfect. The ebook: The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri. Now I’m off to read in my real reading spot, my recliner (not pictured).

Update, 1:45 p.m.: A little after 1 this afternoon, I finished the book, with four hours to spare. Now on to the next one in the series, August Heat.

My First Book of 2021

Yesterday, I shared My One Word for 2021; today, I share my first book of the new year as many others do today and share with Sheila of the blog Book Journey who posts the photos today. Like my one word for this year, my first book of the year is the same as last year:

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, as translated by Gregory Hays: I borrowed a copy of it for free from Prime Reading in late 2019. But when I tried it, I had a difficult time reading the archaic translation. I then came across several reviews mentioning a modern translation by Gregory Hays, who also wrote an extensive introduction. It was the perfect book for 2020 even though I doubted it and tried another book that didn’t work.

With there being a lot of aphorisms in Meditations, last year I read a chapter a day over two weeks and journaled on one or two passages each day. While I enjoyed that, I think this year, I’m not going to put any time constraints on how long I’ll read and journal on passages. It might be a month or two or even three (GASP!). I’m also combining two other companion volumes to Meditations:

  1. How To Think Like A Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald Robertson
  2. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and The Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

The first, like Meditations, I will read at a leisurely pace and finish when I finish, maybe even reading on a new tradition I started last year on Sundays: My Own Personal Sabbath. The second, and this might shock you (again GASP! ) since it’s a daily meditation, I will read throughout the year.

So that is the book or books I’ll be starting 2021 with. However, the first book that I’ll probably finish will be (keeping it Italian) Excursion to Tindari, the fifth in the Inspector Montalbano series, by Andra Camilleri as translated by Stephen Sartarelli. The Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) recently added the series to its ebook collection and I couldn’t help but put several on hold, many of which already have come in. I read the first three or four years ago via interlibrary loan at our library, but then gave up because I didn’t feel like waiting for all of the rest. Like Richard Stark’s Parker series, Camilleri’s series is on my bucket list of series to read, but with so many in both series, I can’t afford purchasing all of them. So when I saw that the series now is available to borrow at FLP around Christmas, it was, and is, Christmas to me.

Do you have a first book you plan to start out the year with? If so, what is it? If not, what are you looking forward to reading in 2020? To see what Sheila and others selected, visit Sheila’s blog post.

My Own Personal Sabbath #25

My view late this morning. Cloudy. Listening to chill music. Only other things on agenda are meditation and reading.

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.

I didn’t get up as early as wanted today, thanks to taking three magnesium last night. It is 9:30 a.m. and I have had a bowl of cereal and coffee. I am listening to chill music via Mixcloud, a site that collects the works of DJs from around the world, and getting ready to meditate shortly. I plan on some “holy” reading later this morning.

I did start reading a little and realize that my obsession with prayer is coupled with an obsession to be perfect, always in unceasing prayer.

“Once the vices of the inner person have been conquered and the mind has been established in tranquility, it will be possible to enjoy unceasing prayer.”

Boniface Ramsey in the translator’s introduction to The Ninth Conference by John Cassian, ascetic, monk and theologian from the First Century

It is a place I am attempting to get to by meditating for 20 in the morning and meditating 20 minutes at night, with the “unceasing prayer” during the day in between. I make my life a prayer to you, as Christian contemporary musician Keith Green once sang –  something I got a glimpse of when I spent a month living with monks in a monastery in upstate New York more than 25 years ago. That every action in daily life can be/is a prayer offered up every day.

I offer this day up to you, O Lord.

It is now noon and after a lot of procrastination, I finally meditated for 20 minutes, well, at least 15 minutes, as I was distracted throughout. Like St. Paul in Romans 7, I know I am.

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Romans 7: 15

The plan for this afternoon is simple: to read. I picked up a copy of The Eagle Catcher, the first in the Wind River Reservation series, by Margaret Coel and am starting there. I keep trying series new to me in the hopes that I can find a good one. Maybe this will be one. If not, I have other choices of reading material. I’ll let you know later today what I think.

It is now about 7 p.m. and I am watching Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Because. Things.

I got about halfway through The Eagle Catcher and it’s okay so far. I probably won’t read any more tonight. Because. TV.

I’ll leave you with this that I was reminded of while watching T2: