Tuesday 8 September 2020

Stories & Shout Outs #32

So, I've caught a cold.
Just a regular, end-of-winter cold, but for the first day or two one now lives on tenterhooks, waiting to see if it might be something worse.

What I'm Reading:
  • A Study in Scarlet | Arthur Conan Doyle - my latest CC Spin book
  • Fracture | Andre Neuman - I don't know why I'm reading this one so slowly. I'm enjoying it every time I pick it up, yet I'm not prioritising it. I seem to be doing this a lot this year.
  • The Golden Maze | Richard Fidler - a personal history of Prague - so far so good.
  • A Distant Mirror | Barbara Tuckman - I have no idea why I started another non-fiction book when I have several partly read ones lying all around the house and especially one that is soooo long!
  • The non-fiction lying around the house:
    • Salt Fat Acid Heat | Samin Nostrat (my kitchen read)
    • The Fire This Time | edited Jesmyn Ward (my walking read)
    • The Cloud Spotter's Guide | Gavin Pretor-Pinney (my work backpack read)
    • White Fragility | Robin DiAngelo (by my bed)
  • War and Peace | Leo Tolstoy - one chapter at a time.

Read But Not Reviewed:
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words | Pip Williams - my next book club book.

New to the Pile
  • A Start in Life | Anita Brookner
  • Passing | Nella Larsen (a cute Macmillan Collector's Library edition)
  • Lark Rise to Candleford | Flora Thompson (another cute Macmillan Collector's Library edition)
  • Crossed Lines | Marie Darriessecq (translated by Penny Hueston)
  • Our Shadows | Gail Jones
  • The Offing | Benjamin Myers
  • The Bastard of Istanbul | Elif Shafak
  • Amrita | Banana Yoshimoto (translated by Russell F. Wasden)
  • Lavinia | Ursula Le Guin

On My Radar:
  • Spring!
  • Warmer days & longer days so I can resume evening walks after work with Mr Books.
  • Van Gogh Alive - we have tickets for mid October - fingers crossed!
  • Archibald, Wynne, Sulman Prizes at the AGNSW - tickets to be booked.
  • Hamilton - we have tickets for May 2021 - HUZZAH!

Smart Phone Spring Clean:
  • Last Tuesday I was bemoaning the fact that I spend too much time on my phone and that for the month of Sept I was going to reduce my daily average. Last week my daily average was 4 hrs & 3 mins.
  • This week's my daily average was 4 hrs & 31 mins!
  • Okay, so reducing my screen time begins next week!!

Blogging Spring Clean:
  • I use Feedly to keep track of my favourite blogs. But over the years it has become an unwieldy beast. Too many blogs and not enough time to read them all, let alone the ones I really want to read.
  • A few years ago I thought I had sorted this issue by creating a daily favourites folder for those I really wanted to keep up with.
  • Trouble is, the overwhelming numbers next to the other folders distracted me each time I logged in. I felt the need to tidy them up before attending to my favourites!
  • On the weekend, I attacked these folders and deleted many, many blogs. If there was no post in the past month that had attracted my attention enough to read it through, then that blog was removed. 
  • I also discovered how to make each new post notification open in the appropriate blog, rather than into the Feedly feed. Leaving comments should become an easier process now.
  • I feel lighter and I now hope that I will find more time to visit the blogs I really want to visit.
  • A question for iphone Twitter users - why is it all but impossible to leave comments on blogs that have been opened by their Twitter link?

Shout Outs:
  • Jonathan @Me Fail? I Fly has written a fabulous post about Grace Karskens' The Colony....this book has been lurking on my TBR for quite some time. I'm also keen to tackle her new book, People of the River.
  • My new boss is very keen to get our author event program up and running, despite the Covid restrictions. Which means we've embraced online video chats in a way we would never have anticipated 6 months ago. Check out the first 4 events here with Stuart Coupe, Richard Fidler, John Baker and Malcolm Knox. 
  • Upcoming events can be found here on our blog. Next is Aminata Conteh-Biger discussing her book Rising Heart followed by Marian Wilkinson on The Carbon Club.


  1. Oh I hope my blog made the cut! Lovely books reading and acquired and I hope by now that you've discovered your cold is just that.

    1. Liz you've been in the favourites folder for ages :-)

    2. Phew!! And thank you! I winnow my blogs in Feedly every now and again I must admit. It all gets Too Much!

  2. Hope you are feeling better. It is difficult to get a 'normal' cold these days. The suspicions arise quickly. I read A Distant Mirror many years ago, but it is still one of my favourite history books, and, it is still on my shelves. Barbara Tuchman is so good.
    Otherwise, I have only read A Study in Scarlet. I recently read several of his stories and must admit, that I was surprisingly impressed. I loved the way he writes and his stories still felt fresh. I had an idea that his writing was a little bit stiff. Don't know where I got it from.

    I am also using Feedly. My problem is I usually check it up on my ipad, but find it difficult to answer on the ipad. Therefore, I send it on to my gmail, go to the website to answer. I must admit that it sometimes takes some time before the comments comes. Your post I read today, and ... here I am.

    1. I will often read a post and not comment, but then something said will niggle me for a while, and a suitable response will develop over time. So my commenting also lags behind for more reasons than the usual rushed-for-time one :-)
      We could probably write a book on all the various ways technology helps us...and fails us when it comes to reading, writing and commenting on each others blogs!

    2. Thanks Brona, I was not aware of this. I have already changed. I like to be able to see the websites and how bloggers design their pages, so this is really a good option.

  3. Just to keep up with "Stories and Shout Outs!..."
    Health: no colds or sniffles just a sore shoulder due to my own fault thinking I was stronger than I really am.
    Reading: Donald J. Trump v. The United States (M. Schmidt). Library is top heavy with Trump related book Election is in 8 weeks. Then the chaos really begins!
    Reading: Caste by I. Wilkerson....rave reviews but I have to finish Trump book first before I open this one.
    New to pile: Tell Me Why (Archie Roach), Compromised (P. Strzok), Bottle of Lies (K. Eban) and Protocol (C.P. Marshall) All non-fiction books...svp see Goodreads or Amazon for more info.
    NOTHING on my radar or smart phone. Good for you..tickets for Hamilton!!
    Blogs: I follow about 8 blogs on a regular basis....not many but the ones I do follow are very interesting!!
    I'd also like to see what friends are reading on GOODREADS.com
    Shout out: finished #ccspin nr 24....thank goodness. My book was a dud, unfortunately.
    semi finished #20BooksOfSummer20 15/20
    I have no reading plans for Oct-Nov-Dec
    ...just trying to keep my head above water
    NL is below sea-level so this is a daily chore...
    and try to focus on any book or magazine that comes along.

    1. I've just finished my CC spin book - I'm now a Sherlock Holmes fan! Sorry you had a dud!
      If I can summon up the energy, I will host AusReadingMonth again in Nov, so save a few Aust books for then :-)

    2. Thanks for the heads up! I need a goal oriented challenge to wean me off of Trump and USA POLITICS.
      I keep telling myself: “...USA, NOT my circus, NOT my monkeys, it is what it is.”

  4. None of us seems to have caught Covid yet, perhaps book readers are all handwashing mask wearers. I'm in and out of Melbourne but the number of people I've spoken to in the last 6 months, in Vic and WA combined, might not reach double figures, so all I have to worry about really is door handles and shopping carts.

    I had not heard of Lavinia, and I am a life-long Le Guin fan. I'm sort of sorry she spent her last years on yet another Troy story when she might have given us more SF. Bill

    1. Sad to say, Bill, Lavinia will be my first Le Guin. Not quite sure how that happened as she seems to write the kind of stuff I like - SF-wise and historical fiction.
      The only Covid patient I know of (so far) lives in London and she couldn't get tested at the time to confirm it as it was early on when the UK was overwhlemed with cases and not enough testing facilities. She was very sick and had about a month off work, but didn't need hospitalisation.

  5. My Feedly has got out of control too even though I have categories set up and also a favourites group. I delete some occasionally based on whether they react to any comment I leave. If I find that comments over a few months go unacknowledged, I decide to focus my attention elsewhere.

    I'm curious you "make each new post notification open in the appropriate blog, rather than into the Feedly feed."

    1. When I was tidying up my folders, I found a drop down box. One of the options was to tick a box that says 'open in website directly'. It has been a revelation! Before, I used to read the post within the Feedly feed and then had to click 'visit website' at the bottom so I could leave a comment. Now, I can skip this step and open straight into the blog and leave a comment if I so chose.

    2. I use Feedly too, and I was coming to ask exactly this question! I am going to check it out.

      I go through and clean out my Feedly on a semi regular basis but the thing is that if someone hasn't posted for a couple of months they aren't actually contributing to the numbers of unread posts!

    3. I've gone around in circles trying to find that option Brona but nowhere can I find the drop down box you mention. Could you maybe do a screen grab to show where you found this? Send to me via twitter if that is easiest. Maybe you have the premium version of Feedly?

    4. Hopefully you got my email Karen, with the pics. It was harder to find on my phone, so I'm not surprised you couldn't find it. I don't think of three dots as being an invitation to open a drop down box!
      I also had to search though and find someone I had forgotten to tick the box for, because once the box is ticked, I'm not sure how to untick it, as you only ever go straight to the bloggers blog after this!

  6. Thanks for the shout-out. I just saw this now – I'm glad you liked my review, and think you'll enjoy the book, though enjoy is an odd word for such a troubled story.


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