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Everything posted by Binker

  1. what is everyone doing?

    I love thunder and lightning storms, especially if I am indoors (or even on a covered patio) and can watch the lightning and the skies. It is very cold (for us) right now, which I don't like. The leaves are just starting to turn, which we do get some of, but not like places with real Fall leaves. However, we are coming up on my very favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. I've already made my pie crusts and will make more food this weekend. Then Wednesday, November 21 will be tons of baking. I usually wear my Wonder Woman apron that day. On Thanksgiving, I wear my Star Wars apron because I want the Force to be with me.
  2. what is everyone doing?

    Sounds like a great day, Momac! I hope the bird feeder works for squirrels. That's always an awful problem for me. I had a neighbor whose wife came over to tell me that I should stay inside on a Saturday afternoon because her husband had HAD IT with the squirrels and was planning to shoot some of them in the backyard. He is an avid hunter, so I wasn't really worried about his aim, but I left home that afternoon anyhow. Discharging a firearm in the city limits is against the law, but I'm not sure if he had an repercussions.
  3. Scrublands

    Mine, too, which cannot come as a surprise! I had to pre-order it. Will appear, like magic, on my tablet in January. While I greatly prefer to have immediate gratification, it's fun also to have books that I ordered appear. I usually vaguely know what month, but the date is sometimes a surprise.
  4. I read it, too, and think it was just as good, which is saying a lot for the middle of a series, which often sags a bit. Have pre-ordered the third book. Love when those just appear on my tablet, like magic!
  5. A friend read a review of this book and suggested that I might like it. I certainly did. I loved, loved, loved this book. Hope Jahren was born in 1969, the 5th child and only daughter of a scientist in Minnesota and his wife, a woman frustrated by and resentful of her limited opportunities in life. Hope grew up hanging out at her father's lab and assumed she would grow up to be a scientist. She did, but what she wasn't prepared for, despite her mother's example, was how difficult her sex would make it for others to take her seriously. She ended up focusing on botany and simply by being brilliant ended up being successful, but it was a hard road, made harder by the barriers of her sex and her unconventional personality. By unconventional, I do mean, but not exclusively, that she didn't hew to the very limited permitted personality types considered acceptable for women. But she also had and has an extremely close working relationship with a male scientist, Bill, that confuses people. And she suffers rather badly from depression (really, bipolar disorder because she goes up and down so wildly). It's finally Bill that insists that she get help. She marries and has a son (has to go off her medications when she became pregnant, so that chapter is harrowing). And she builds 3 different labs, one in Atlanta, Georgia (Georgia Tech University), one in Baltimore, Maryland (Johns Hopkins University), and one in Manoa, Hawaii (University of Hawaii). She writes beautiful clear sentences and it's clear how much she loves her work. There were several passages that moved me to tears (no, really). I underlined the book in several places because of the beauty of the passages and what spoke to me. My father was a scientist and I spent time hanging out at his lab, although not as much as Hope did at her father's. I have encountered that same bewildering reaction of being thought lesser because I am a woman and wanting because I do not conform to the permitted personality types for women. And she visits 2 obscure places that I also have visited: "Monkey Jungle" south of Miami (awful) and Poverty Point, the remnant of an Indian settlement in Northeastern Louisiana (not awful, except for the mosquitoes). I am lucky that I have not had to grapple with her mental health issues, but she has accomplished much more extraordinary things than I have and she has mostly had a wonderful time doing it. I knew this review would not do the book justice, so I just have to hope that someone will read it and report back. It was published in 2016, so it should be readily available.
  6. French Exit

    I liked this more than you did, but for me it came together in the end since what happened there had the feeling of being the only logical conclusion. And there were some very funny lines. "Born to bore" and "I am comfortable not talking about it."
  7. I have been taking that approach as well. I don't watch the news and I don't discuss politics with anyone. The economy here is booming and if that's true when he is up for re-election, I'm afraid he will win.
  8. The Dead - Discussion Proper

    I've been puzzling about why I love this story so much. The detailed descriptions made it possible for me to see each scene and each person, which is probably why I didn't like the dramatization. Angelika Huston's skirt wasn't exactly right! But I also thought that it was important that this whole social group was on the cusp of a huge change--that these celebration they had been doing the same way for years and years and years would probably not happen again or would be significantly changed. At the risk of blathering on about something I don't really know anything about, it seems to me that Irish society and politics were in a period of rapid change, too. That's why Gabriel's speech about losing the old ways felt so powerful to him and his listeners and why the perky political lady (Molly Ivors) was so incensed by him writing book reviews for a "West Briton" publication (I had to look up what that meant, of course). But there was longing for what they had lost or were about to lose and that's exactly the overwhelming emotion that poor Gretta was feeling. Even her description of the time--she was leaving for a convent, her young man had consumption (I think), he sang a song so old that no one hears it anymore--makes it seem like it was from ancient times and yet it broke her heart. So this is a story about haunting loss, both already existing and soon to come.
  9. Once the GSK was arrested, I bought the book and it is currently lurking on my tablet, proof that I do stockpile some even with my tablet. I generally like true crime stories, so I am looking forward to this. Wish she had lived to see the arrest.
  10. The Dead - Discussion Proper

    THIS WHOLE THING IS A SPOILER I haven't read it this time around, although I plan to, but here is what I remember: these people have all known each other forever and it's very important to the two old ladies that they have this gathering even though they are barely up to it financially. So everyone makes a big deal of everything they do, especially since this is probably the last year they will all gather. It is touching the way Gabriel makes such an effort with them, knowing that one of them will probably not be there the next year (the one who sings so poorly and is praised to the skies). Everyone knows that the drunk son is always drunk and his mother impossible and they do the best they can to keep the damage to a minimum. I think the mother is old enough that she probably won't be there next year. The poor downstairs maid is pregnant, so my guess is that she won't be there next year either. The only cheerful part of this for Gabriel is that he's finally getting away for a night with his wife for whom he is feeling a great deal of unexpected lust. He's in a frenzy to get back to the hotel and then she collapses weeping. The song she's heard sung reminds her of her first boyfriend who died from his love of her, about which Gabriel knew nothing at all. It seems unbelievable (to me, and obviously to Gabriel) that a middle-aged matron could be so overcome with ancient heartbreak, but that's because "[t]he past is never dead. It's not even past" (quoting Faulkner for Luna's reading enjoyment). There is a dramatization with Angelica Huston that is very good (and you can hear the song sung beautifully), but it wasn't exactly what I pictured when I read the book, so I didn't love it. But my friend who forced me to read the story and then to watch the movie loved it.
  11. what is everyone doing?

    Congratulations, Hazel. I'm very happy for you. This has been a long time coming.
  12. Suggestions for threads

    I have participated in some informal group reads over the years, once Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and the other time The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. None of us were on exactly the same time schedule, so we were always very careful with spoilers. There were some people who didn't want to know anything until they read the whole book and so they just stayed off the thread altogether. That's one reason that I thought "The Dead" would be a good read. It doesn't take all that long (plus it packs a powerful punch). I am going to a friend's book club this evening (where we are discussing Old Filth and, just based on the emails, I expect to be thanked repeatedly for telling the group about Jane Gardam). It was his copy of "The Dead" that I read and so I am re-borrowing it tonight in order to read it again. Can't wait.
  13. Other Hobbies

    I garden, which can be frustrating in Dallas, and bake. I also do a lot of yoga and periodically add in other kinds of exercise.
  14. Revived BGO Book Group

    At a friend's importuning, I finally read "The Dead" by James Joyce, which is a long short story at the most. I then re-read it twice in rapid succession. I will nominate it.
  15. I think there was a thread on this that disappeared in the most recent Great Disappearance. My husband and I just finished watching this mini-series. It opens with a body being left on the Orensund Bridge ("bron" means "bridge") at the exact halfway point between Sweden and Denmark, so that the police from Malmo in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark, need to cooperate. The Malmo detective is a women who seems very clearly to have Asperger's--she needs very little human interaction--and the Copenhagen detective is a man who needs way more than is good for him. They work together well, however, and it's fun to watch them get to know each other and play off each other's strengths and weaknesses. The plot is very good. It was hard to figure out where it was going and there were times when my husband, in particular, would say, "Why are they bringing in all these unrelated story lines?" But they weren't really unrelated, you just have to be patient. By the end, he was commenting that he thought it was really very good. I thought the acting was outstanding. I have heard criticism of the woman who plays the Malmo detective, but I think that's from people who don't realize that she's playing someone with Asperger's, so that she has kind of a funny affect because that's how she is. I particularly thought that her acting in the final dramatic scene on the bridge was unbelievably good. I always enjoy these kinds of movies (and stories) because you get an insight into how people are the same and different in other cultures. And I could tell it wasn't all that well translated because they would talk and talk and talk and talk and it would be translated as 3 words. We've talked about translation issues before. So I think we lost something that people who speak Swedish and Dutch would have gotten, but not so much that we didn't enjoy it. Highly recommend.
  16. New Kindle advice needed!

    If I had to guess, the edge keeps you from accidentally doing what you don't mean to do by touching something you didn't know was there. I have the Samsung Edge phone (mis-named because there is no edge) and I have those problems constantly. So I think there is some value to having the edge since my Edge(less) is sort of nightmare to work with. I've gotten better over time, but I have to say that I really don't like it better.
  17. what is everyone doing?

    Momac, I did accept you and it was nice to see you there. Sorry to hijack this thread, but I thought I'd mention that I don't use Facebook for important personal announcements, especially that are not good. So I've never mentioned Kenn's cancer on it. He doesn't want me to and I'm not inclined to do so, either. Everyone else: Hope this is the last time FB-related post I need to make.
  18. what is everyone doing?

    Momac, I got a friend request from you on FB and I thought we were already friends. Is that really you or have you been hacked? Sorry to hijack BGO for this question, but I wasn't sure what else to do.
  19. Currently Reading

    I am reading Pachinko, which all my friends in book clubs having been raving about and am finding it rough going. The author tells more than shows, the characters have begun to act out of character, and there is way too much deus ex machina. I actually often don't notice these kinds of flaws, so they must be really bad for me to have spotted it. I think what people are finding eye-opening is that there was [actually, is] so much racism in Japan against Koreans. That doesn't surprise me at all because my grandmother grew up in Japan and mentioned it all the time. Also, one of the characters mentions how handsome Korean men are, which my grandmother also mentioned as a "prejudice." So this book is not a revelation for me. I would put it down (I may still yet), but one of my friends went on and on and on about it and I think she'd be sad if I didn't finish.
  20. There There

    As I understand it, "Native American" is a term coined by well-meaning white people, but most Indians prefer to be called "Indians." What they really prefer is to be called by the name of their tribe, but most outsiders can't manage that.
  21. Bleak House

    I read "Bleak House" long ago, but enjoyed the adaptation a great deal (the one Viccie refers to). I was just talking about it with a friend whose book club is reading Old Filth because I think Nathanial Parker would be a good "Sir" in the adaptation I hope someone makes of Old Filth. And I probably think that because of his portrayal of Skimpole. Must add this to the long list of books I need to re-read. Although I am re-reading Old Filth because I am going to that particular book club meeting.
  22. Called Wolf on a String in the U.S. Very confusing. Amazon denied knowledge of anything called "Prague Nights," which I thought was odd. So I looked it up and they changed the name just because, I guess. In any event, I just ordered it. Thank you!
  23. Trio

    Not available on amazon in the U.S. UGH.
  24. So did I. Beautiful illustrations. You should read the wikipedia article about it--there's a lot that's in common with this book, but different, too.
  25. Several times in this book, someone has referred to something being "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." That was a book we had in our home as a child (and I think I have it in the box of items from my mother's townhome). I remembered that it was a fairy tale with magical elements, so went and looked it up online. It's a folk story from Norway and there are a lot of similarities to this story.