Monday, May 4, 2020

May Days

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Don't tell the government, because I'm not sure they'd consider this essential, but this week my son and I hopped in my car and drove to Salem where his college and all his stuff is. We had a two hour window of time assigned by the college to pack up all his stuff, and actually we were a little worried because with zero traffic anywhere between Seattle and Salem we were running ahead of schedule. I asked him about it and he said not to worry, we'd just stop somewhere for lunch. I just let that sit there in the car with us for a mile or so before he facepalmed as he realized nowhere was open because of the pandemic; you know, the reason we were driving down in the middle of the semester to get his stuff after he'd been home since before spring break?

But luckily I managed to slow down enough that we pulled up to his dorm on the stroke of the correct time. We hiked up to his third floor room where he through everything into his suitcase, his laundry bag, and a few spare shopping bags I had brought along. I helped by loading one bag with his extra shaving lotion bottles, and one promptly opened up and sprayed everything with shaving cream. So I stopped helping and just carried stuff down all the stairs. He went back up while I called to tell the school that we would be done in ten minutes and could they come early to inspect his room; Xan had assumed we'd just have to wait but I said parents can be pushy. And then we were done and driving home. In a normal year I get a hotel room because I'm lazy about driving there and back again (so much harder than driving to a "there" that is three times as far somehow) but this year it was a one day event.

One thing that was fun was we caught up on over a months worth of a weekly podcast we enjoy together (All the President's Lawyers). I'd stop the audio as each one started and we'd recreate what was happening -- had classes moved online? What were the disease counts? What were the expectations? It really reinforced how quickly things changed.

The rest of the week was less exciting. I had a video lunch with a friend, remote gaming and bookclubbing on Tuesday (I was robbed of the special buff everyone else got during a Minecraft village raid where I died inconveniently), my triple book club (video) for Sword & Laser, Torches & Pitchforks, and Cloudy With a Chance of Clit Lit, which was fun. We probably had about fifty percent book discussion and fifty percent catching up with all the craziness in our homebound lives.

Oh -- I cooked twice. Chickpea falafels which were pretty popular; in fact as I prepared it I got worried that my niece would be eating with us because I had forgotten to enlarge the recipe for pandemic sized families. But I lucked out as she was doing a paper so we had enough. And I had made muffins so when people started muttering about second helpings I whipped out some chocolate chip banana muffins and my May Day strawberry muffins.

Friday was May Day, and I googled "May Day traditional food" and the internet told me chipped beef on toast. And strawberry muffins. I have no idea what chipped beef is but it sounds intimidating so I looked in my recipe book and decided that "Steak and Goat Cheese Quesadillas" from the old Gathering Table people was close enough. And they were fairly popular even though I think I overcooked the steak. Or as the rest of the family puts it, cooked the meat.

My currently reading is back to 20. But I'm hoping to clear off some of the books from my bedside table and not replace them as fast. But I've got my Tuesday book club and my Friday book club coming up, so I may be optimistic.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called "It's Monday! What Are You Reading" so I'll sign up there. Ditto for the children's lit version at either Teach Mentor Texts or Unleashing Readers. The funny autism and the Cybils reading qualify me this week.


No Time to Spare: Thinking About What MattersGolden In Death (In Death, #50)

No Time to Spare, Ursula K. Le Guin. For my Torches and Pitchforks book club.

Golden in Death, J.D. Robb. I had fun reading #49, so I requested #50. Because of the pandemic my library can get it in ebook form.


Funny, You Don't Look Autistic: A Comedian's Guide to Life on the SpectrumNo Time to Spare: Thinking About What MattersGolden In Death (In Death, #50)

Funny, You Don't Look Autistic, Michael McCreary. This was a fun choice for the library pick. McCreary has a pleasant tone, and his appreciation for his parents warmed my parental heart. I see why many places shelve this in the YA section -- he's barely old enough to buy alcohol in my state, let alone write a memoir. An amusing and cheerful light read, despite the note of tragedy in the last chapter.

No Time to Spare, Ursula K. Le Guin. For my Torches and Pitchforks book club. We split between people who thought it deadly dull and those who found it insightful and delightful. I suspect age was the main divisor. The young wanted a more direct confrontation with the limitations of age, and us old people appreciated the way a long perspective affected every essay, even the ones about the cute cat Pard. It was a reread for me, and I'm not young, so I liked it. But we all enjoyed catching up with each other.

Golden in Death, J.D. Robb. Another fun read! Now I'll go another year or so. I really enjoy how Robb makes Eve's reluctant acceptance of her ginormous wealth entertaining -- the problem of having unlimited resources is as real to her as the problem of the office chocolate thief. And there was a merciful lack of torture in the murders; just some jerks thinking their money made them untouchable. Well, Eve kicked 'em in the nuts -- that's pretty touchy.

Bookmarks Moved (Or Languished) In:

Tender MorselsThe Tropic of Serpents (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #2)Jonathan Strange & Mr NorrellUncompromising Honor (Honor Harrington, #14)
Rediscover CatholicismThe Great AloneWolfsbane (Sianim, #4; Aralorn, #2)Winter Sisters (Mary Sutter, #2)
Shockwave (Star Kingdom #1)Hey, Kiddo

Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan. 5/10 discs. Again, since I listen in my car, and I rarely go anywhere, progress is slow. But not nonexistent! I was happy to see the bear, the dwarf and the girls all meet up.

Tropic of Serpents, Marie Brennan. The library called this home. I will try to get it back after I finish Jonathan Strange. They are a bit too close together to read simultaneously. It's kind of cheating to keep it on my currently reading list, but I really do intend to get back to it! I have a plan.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke. Again made some progress. I think I'm too stubborn to give up, and I'm not hating it, just not super positive.

Uncompromising Honor, David Weber. Baen Free Radio Hour's serial. I'm caught up!

Rediscover Catholicism, Matthew Kelly. I took a break here. Not on purpose -- I've got six books on my bedside table and I pick them up at random. Literally -- I roll a die. The gods of chance apparently do not like Catholicism.

The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah. Another book ignored by the die.

Wolfsbane, Patricia Briggs. This one I got to read a bit, and I'm enjoying it.

Winter Sisters, Robin Oliveira. For my Renton River Runs Under It bookclub (March meeting). I'm in the grim aftermath-of-trauma part, so it's hard reading.

Shockwave, Lindsay Buroker. Pleasant space adventure reading. Hmm, it's fun to imagine Weber's characters and Buroker's meeting in a space port somewhere.

Hey Kiddo, Jarrett J Krosoczka. A Cybils 2018 YA graphic finalist. This is very interesting but I have no idea whom I would hand this to.

Picture Books / Short Stories:

None this week. My dabble into Spanish has distracted me from my Greek reading, but I have the next book poised and ready to go. It's just harder.

Palate Cleansers

These books I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

The Educated Child: A Parents Guide from Preschool Through Eighth GradeCookieGive All to Love (Sanguinet Saga, #11)Tell the Wolves I'm HomeWool (Wool, #1)Reading and Learning to Read

The Educated Child, William Bennett.

Cookie, Jacqueline Wilson.

Give All to Love, Patricia Veryan. Guest have gathered for the ball. One social antagonism has been reconciled, but Guy's family connections are a bridge too far for some.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt. The kids are alright. Too bad some of the characters aren't kids.

Wool, Hugh Howey. This has been lurking on my to-read stick for almost a decade, and every year I pick it up again and get distracted. I'm easily distracted.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. OK, the section on using the internet was not very useful but did charm me with nostalgia. (I have an old edition.)

Reading Challenges
  1. Cybils TBR Challenge: #CybilsReaddown: Count now at 7!. 
  2. Cybils 2017. Oops. Nothing
  3. Cybils 2018. Continued Hey Kiddo. 
  4. Cybils 2019. Nothing. I should probably get on this. 
  5. Reading My Library. As soon as I finish Great Alone this is coming off my shelf.
  6. Ten to Try. At 8/10. I now how my KCLS staff recommendation.
  7. Where Am I Reading: 14/51 states. 13 Countries. Le Guin's book is very local to Oregon.
  8. Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge. 17/24. Six left:  #2 (retelling by PoC author), 6 (play by PoC or queer author), 13 (food book about a new to me cuisine), 15 (climate change), 17 (sci-fi novella), 23 (literary magazine), and 24 (Indigenous author). I think the Hugos and Book Riot define novella differently, since I've read several novellas but they were all between 121-150 pages, not under 120 pages. 


2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Glad to hear your kiddos is all moved out. I wonder when that's going to start here. Hmmm. It wasn't until I was 36 or 37 that I ever heard of May Day. Everywhere I'd lived in Texas didn't seem to do anything for May Day, but as soon as I moved to the midwest, it was a thing. A friend rang my doorbell and ran off, leaving behind a basket of breads. And I was all, "Whoa. I've gotta start doing this!" But I haven't done a great job over the last decade. Is that what everyone does in your neck of the woods? And I've never heard of chipped beef, but now I feel like I need to try it out. I was glad to hear more about Funny, You Don't Look Autistic and I had wondered where it would be best classified, but your explanation makes sense. I'll have to see if we're getting a copy. And I had the opposite problem with Hey, Kiddo -- I wanted to get it in everyone's hands. I was thrilled when I found out Jarrett J. Krosoczka was coming to our campus (and he certainly didn't disappoint). That story was inspiring and I shouldn't have been surprised when I found Krosoczka just as upbeat and optimistic as the conclusion to his book. I hope to listen to the audiobook, eventually. I heard they worked hard to get many of his real life book characters (or family of the characters) to narrate. Have a great week, Beth!

Beth said...

No, we don't really celebrate May Day at all, but I needed inspiration for something to cook. I like the idea of door ditching people with gifts, though -- maybe next year.

For Hey Kiddo, I think it's more me than the book -- I don't really hang out with junior high or high school kids anymore. Just elementary and then my sons are college age and particular about my recommendations.