Tuesday 11 August 2020

Stories & Shout Outs #31


Everything feels like a bit of a chore at the moment.

I have a backlog of un-reviewed books that I should could be preparing a post for instead of fluffling around with this. Yet here I am, fluffing around with another post that does nothing to advance the reviewing situation!

The positive? I will, very soon, run out of my usual fluffing around posts and be forced to finish those review posts instead. Although, I'm probably due to write another Covid Chronicles, or an update on my progress for 20 Books of Summer Winter, or lament the passing of Austen in August, or start thinking about AusReadingMonth in November, or, or, or....!

What I'm Reading:
  • Fracture | Andre Neuman (loving this a LOT so far)
  • The Vanishing Half | Brit Bennett (just started - too soon to tell)
  • Maisie Dobbs #13 The American Agent | Jacqueline Winspear (not as instantly cosy & comforting as I had hoped, but okay)
  • The Fire This Time | edited Jesmyn Ward (my walking backpack read that comes with me to my favourite coffee shop on my days off work)
  • War and Peace | Leo Tolstoy (finding the war scenes around the half way mark to be a bit dull to be honest)

Read, but not Reviewed:
  • The Plague | Albert Camus
  • The Gravity of Us | Phil Stamper
  • Heartstopper Vol 2 | Alice Oseman
  • The White Girl | Tony Birch
  • Humankind | Rutger Bregman
  • Homeland Elegies | Ayad Akhtar

New to the Pile:
  • American Wife | Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Loner | Georgina Young
  • Pale Horse, Pale Rider | Katherine Anne Porter (Spanish flu short stories)
  • The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas | Gertrude Stein
  • The Last Migration | Charlotte McConaghy
  • The Pull of the Stars | Emma Donoghue (Spanish flu in Ireland)
  • An Odyssey | Daniel Mendelsohn
  • Adam Bede | George Eliot
  • The Narrow Land | Christine Dwyer Hickey

What I'm Struggling with:
  • Writing review posts.
  • Constantly feeling tired.
  • Winter blues.
  • Cold, dark mornings and walking home in the cold & dark from work.
  • Having to wear so many layers of clothing to feel warm.
  • The extra washing each week thanks to said layers & coronavirus concerns.
  • Scary electricity bills!
  • Clutter.
  • Dry hands from using so much sanitiser.
  • Mask etiquette.
  • People who don't/won't social distance.
  • Missing my friends.

  • My new woollen moccasins for blogging in.
  • My new beanie for wearing in the mountains.
  • My new fleecy jacket for winter walks.
  • Finally seeing snow fall around our house in the mountains.
  • The new grand-puppy, Tony. A gorgeous King Charles Cavalier adopted by B23 and his GF.

Watching Out For:
  • Season 2 of The Great. Huzzah!
  • Season 4 of The Crown
  • The winner of the 2020 Booker International Prize - fingers & toes crossed for The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar.
  • My new silk masks that have been on order for a month.
  • Readalongs that I could be tempted to join.

  • By the 2020 Longlist announcement for the Booker Prize.

  • A week off work on the coast with Mr Books in September.
  • A small glass of muscat & a piece of dark chocolate when I finish this post.
  • The electric blanket warming up my sheets before bedtime.
  • A roadtrip.

Shout Outs:
Sunday afternoon snow at our holiday home in the mountains!


  1. Looking for words to commiserate with you....you've a lot on your plate!

    Reading: I max out with no more than 2 books at a time. I read many online magazines so I have to calculate the into my day (The Atlantic, The New Yorker. NY Magazine, Vanity Fair..The Economist but I listen to this last one on IPOD during walks.

    Watching out for: I splurged and got Amazon Prime Video (...in addation to Netflix). There are at least 25 very descent movies/series on Prime + I still have to see Hamilton on Disney+

    Anticipating: a break in this heat wave + a bowl of Häagen Dazs chocolate ice cream when I finish this comment.

    Reviews: I never start a new book without deciding: make the effort for a long review? just get smth on papter for short review on Goodreads? ...or chuck this one in the bin...no review.

    New to the pile: 15 new books this month...just needed some book retail therapy (...chase away the Covid blues

    Struggling? ...I just cannot muster the energy to give this house a good spic&span clean up. I just do the necessary (floors, kitchen dishes, bathrooms and clean sheets).
    My reading struggles are well documented in my blogposts (Lockdown journals/Covid journals) + I've started reading French again...but seem to fall asleep while doing so.

    Shout Outs: #ccspin nr 24 'Deacon King Kong" by James McBride. I saw on CNN an interview with this author and was immediately convinced..this guy has a lot to say, and saying it with humor!

    1. Thanks for joining in Nancy - you reminded me that, we too, have our first viewing of Hamilton to look forward to. We are also on the waitlist for tickets when they come out on sale later this month, for the Australian production.

      When we mention a heatwave, what kind of temps are you talking about? I suspect, like our winter temps, which feel really cold to me, would make you chuckle at how NOT cold it is compared to your winters. But 17 degrees C in Sydney on a winter's day is ghastly. However, I hope you get a cool change soon.

      Most of my reviews in waiting, are 3/4 written with notes, quotes a basic outline. I just need to finish them! I really feel that one that of the good things about Covid is the increased amount of reading that I am doing. That will always be a plus for me :-)

      I'm glad you seem to have found your mojo again.

  2. Oh, I do hope you enjoy A Study in Scarlet - Holmes and Watson have been life-long friends of mine!

    1. Now that I have (a good) reason (with a deadline) to finally get started on my Sherlock Holmes journey, I'm actually quite excited. I hope they become my life-long friends too :-)

  3. Ah, that snow picture was very lovely and cooling... 35 degrees might not seem like much on paper, but it's so muggy and humid that I feel as if I'm in the mouth of a dog... Speaking of dogs, what a little cutie! Thank you for cheering us all up with that picture. And I hear you about the war scenes getting a bit hard going in War and Peace, I skimmed through those, I have to admit.

    1. No, 35 degrees and humid is pretty ghastly in any language or any country! And yes, we are pretty besotted with the new puppy.

  4. The puppy is adorable!
    Take heart, winter is almost done!

    1. Thanks Shelley. I'm sure I will complain about being hot and sweaty in February, but right now, I cannot wait to be wearing my summer dresses again :-)

  5. Look at the PUPPY! I am being a bit rubbish at reviewing, I have at least one for the blog. I can write them for Shiny because I have to but get lax then do millions. Never space those millions out to cover the gaps, though, do I?!

    1. Ha! I know that really well Lyzzy. When I suddenly get going with all those unfinished reviews, instead of spacing them out over a month, I'll post them all at once!

      Tony, the puppy had his first outside walk on the weekend. The look on his face when he realised there were other dogs and people and smells in the world was priceless.

  6. Wow snow there!! Tony is so adorable, oh my! Squeezable. Love him. I'm a bit curious to read Charlotte McConaghy's book .... though it sounds like a depressing plot ... and I'm weighing whether I can handle that right now. Hmm. I hope your books will pick you up. take care.

    1. I actually got to meet Charlotte a couple of weeks ago when she came into our bookshop, and our new social media guru had an interview with her here. I think I will have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle the topic, but it sounds ultimately uplifting (no bird pun intended).

  7. When I finish a week or ten days work I like to write and it frustrates me if I haven't finished a book worth reviewing. Luckily today I'd just listened to Franzen's Strong Motion so I mostly wrote about that. Making my way backwards and forwards along the south coast temperatures are a lot less than 17 and at night my truck computer routinely has occasion to warn me that it's 'freezing' which, thank you, I had already noticed. The heater puts me to sleep, especially in the afternoon, so two jumpers are the rule.
    It's not long since I listened to War and Peace (again). Tolstoy put a lot of effort into describing Napoleon's campaign and the Russian defence which unlike you apparently I find intensely interesting. Bill

    1. I usually avoid gender stereotypes Bill, but I think detailed battle campaigns are one of those things that separate the sexes! All that discussion about sight lines, camouflage, retreats, flanks etc...does my head in!

      I'm also aware of how soft I have become since living in Sydney re winter. A few days in Holbrook recently reminded me that it can be far, far colder than 17 degrees. Curiously I find those really cold days rather bracing and exhilarating though. And the Holbrook house is designed to get warm fast and stay warm....unlike most Sydney homes...and trucks!

  8. You're making me feel cold with that picture of snow and talk of heated sheets. August has turned out to be its usual rubbish self in UK. Should be blue skies all around but no, we have grey skies, winds and rain ...so all the people who followed the government advice to holiday at home are no doubt feeling hard done by. A beach in the rain in Cornwall is not much fun when you wish you were in Italy....

    I hear you on the reviewing doldrums. I'm going through the same thing myself.


This blog has now moved to Wordpress.
Please visit This Reading Life to comment.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.