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August 01, 2017


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Port Townsend is lovely, et ça vaut le détour!


I'm actually intrigued about the upcoming eclipse, and it's interesting because a MAJOR place to see it is the Mt. Hood area and Helen is anticipating THRONGS of people in her area, as they live just off the highway to Mt. Hood. She says it's going to be nuts, just nuts. (And no, I don't want to travel to see it--I suspect we'll get a pretty good taste of it just staying put.

I ABSOLUTELY HATE OUR BOOK CLUB BOOK. We meet today, and guess what? I am not even half-way through it, and I won't bother reading any further. (That is SO not me!!) Our next-door neighbor recommended it, and I was disgusted with it from the first page. I think it was self-published. It is HORRIBLY written and I doubt it ever saw an editor's red pencil. It's right up there with the gag-worthiness of Stephenie Meyer. I am bringing a book list with synopses with me to our meeting today, and I think I'll add at least "Ordinary Grace" to it. (It sounds good!)

notoriously nice™

In 1970 I drove through the night from Kentucky to the campus of East Carolina University in Greenville NC to see that total eclipse and it was amazing. Not only the eclipse itself but the landscape as darkness quickly moved across campus and as the birds, which has been active and noisy until then, went quiet. If the weather here is clear on the 21st I could sit on my lawn and watch my second eclipse, but we'll probably drive to Isaac's workplace on the other side of town for a view that lasts about 30 seconds longer. If the weather isn't clear I'll probably drive west to someplace where it is clear. Two total eclipses in a lifetime is something not a lot of people get to enjoy.


I certainly wouldn't think of substituting, or as we call it, being on the supply list. I'm exactly with you - it's all about the relationships, and also knowing how things run, being familiar with them. So unless you need the money, there are much better things to do with the rest of your life!

I almost always finish books but there have been the odd book group ones which I haven't. See above - better things to do with the remaining years...


Many people here are heading to Oregon which is going to be CRAZY. Insanely crowded. A big no on that. If I can see it from my house, I'm happy with that, although I have no special glasses.


The special glasses are $2 at Lowe's or Fred Meyers - while they last.
I plan to take an hour or two of vacation from work to watch/observe.
I even had a meeting rescheduled because I was going to not be there for part of it.


You sound normal to me. But I Certainly Wish you will get to the place where you feel confident in your relationship with Henry.


Ahhh. Are these really things you hate? Making a big purchase like a car should require thought and take time to decide exactly what you want and can afford. Big purchases make my stomach hurt. And the eclipse? We're old enough that we have seen a number of them. Apparently I'm not in a good area to see the total thing but I'll probably take a look at it. It's coming up soon, isn't it?

You know, I've considered joining a book club. But there's nothing I hate more than the pretentious readers I see online reviewing books with the "I didn't like it therefore it's terrible and anyone who did like it must be stupid" attitude. There are books for all tastes and interests and the important part, to me, is reading. I don't really understand people who don't read. But I guess there are other interests, eh?

I'm glad things are going well with Henry. It sounds as if he is transitioning. I imagine there will still be ups and downs but perhaps you will gradually come to trust the relationship. It seems both of you are growing.

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Book Club Reads

  • Perkins-Valdez, Dolen: Take My Hand

    Perkins-Valdez, Dolen: Take My Hand

  • Haigh, Jennifer: Mercy Street: A Novel

    Haigh, Jennifer: Mercy Street: A Novel
    4 for the writing which was excellent, and 4 for the characters who were interesting and well-developed. 2 for the non-existent plot. The ending of the book left me extremely dissatisfied. Sadly, there are no discussion questions for it which might force me to reflect on the book's messages. (***)

  • Slocumb, Brendan: The Violin Conspiracy

    Slocumb, Brendan: The Violin Conspiracy
    A solid 3 1/2 stars for me, but a disappointment in general. As a former violinist myself, I was excited about the topic. I love mysteries which was what this novel was billed as. (not much of one and very predictable) I found the writing sophomoric and rather repetitive; the topics of slavery and underrepresentation of POC in classical music were compelling though. As always, I'm hoping for an excellent discussion at BC. (***)

  • Tyler, Anne: French Braid: A novel

    Tyler, Anne: French Braid: A novel
    I can see why some might not enjoy this book (not much plot), but I liked Tyler's writing, the complexity of the characters and the storytelling. Families are like a French Braid; you can never really be free of them since "the ripples are crimped in forever." I'm hoping our BC discussion will be enlightening and personal. (***)

  • See, Lisa: The Island of Sea Women: A Novel

    See, Lisa: The Island of Sea Women: A Novel
    Although it wasn't perfect (sometimes hard to follow the timelines), this book was fascinating on a personal, historical and cultural level. I learned so much while suffering through the tragedies and celebrating the joys of the characters. I'm hoping for an insightful discussion at Book Club, as this novel deserves. (*****)

  • Whitehead, Colson: Harlem Shuffle: A Novel

    Whitehead, Colson: Harlem Shuffle: A Novel
    Extremely well-written, atmospheric and full of fascinating characters and history. Being a mystery reader, I would have preferred more plot though. If you haven't read Whitehead before, I recommend "The Nickel Boys" instead. Fortunately, the book seems like it will elicit a decent discussion. (****)

  • Klune, TJ: The House in the Cerulean Sea

    Klune, TJ: The House in the Cerulean Sea
    This book was hard to rate (***1/2): heartwarming, yet cheesy and predictable. Imaginative, but also preachy. It reads like a YA novel. There were some wonderful characters if you enjoy fantasy. I think it will be nearly impossible to discuss as a Book Club read. (***)

  • Towles, Amor: The Lincoln Highway: A Novel

    Towles, Amor: The Lincoln Highway: A Novel
    This is a exquisitely crafted book and extremely well-written. I didn't always like the way it jumped from one person to another, especially when I was very engaged in the last story. It didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, but the ending was also beautiful in its own painful way. 4 1/2 stars. (*****)

  • Wang, Qian Julie: Beautiful Country: A Memoir

    Wang, Qian Julie: Beautiful Country: A Memoir
    Although it had some fascinating and illuminating moments, this memoir of a young Chinese immigrant facing poverty and prejudice was ultimately a let down. Part of it was the writing and lack of proofreading(too many grammar mistakes) while the rest related to my confusion about whether I admired or disliked the author. She was often mean and dishonest. Much of the time I didn't find her sympathetic. (***)

  • Pooley, Clare: The Authenticity Project: A Novel

    Pooley, Clare: The Authenticity Project: A Novel
    A solid 3 1/2 stars--I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. It felt like a beach read with a bit more depth to it. Still it was often predictable and wasn't particularly well written. (***)