Thursday, January 29, 2015

So many books, so little time

I joined a group on FB called Read26FW, where the challenge is to read 26 books during 2015. This group is for Fort Wayne, but anyone can join, and other cities have their own version of this project. Group members post progress, sometimes with a short review. While I am not interested in most of the books, I have bumped into some new authors to try plus reminders of books I've meant to read but have forgotten about.

As knitting ramped up for xmas and the winter, my reading has fallen off, but so far I am more than on target for 26. (Some were started in 2014, but whatever.)

The Burning Room, by Michael Connelly. I like murder mysteries and I'm a Michael Connelly fan, so was thrilled when this latest Harry Bosch novel "The Burning Room" became available on my library holds list. I cruised right through it. His writing is clear and concise, the characters "true", and he touches on topics like the difference between justice and revenge. If you like crime fiction, this is one for you.

Nora Webster, by Colm Toibin. This is the first book I have read by this "critically acclaimed author", and probably the last, too. Not much happens - it's more of a character study. And even though the blurb on the back says this male novelist writes convincingly about women, I thought he never really broke past the surface. It takes place in Ireland around 1970, and I missed a lot of the references to Irish politics, etc., so maybe I missed other things as well.

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast. This is a combination of cartoons and text about aging parents, some of which I have seen in the NYer. Chast is brutally honest about the challenges her parents face and the ones she faced caring for them, especially her "bad daughter" feelings. Well worth the hour or two it will take to read.

Tracks, by Robyn Davidson. After seeing the movie, I was intrigued and wanted to know more, so picked up the book. Although the movie and the book share an outline of events, the slant and message are quite different. Of course, I liked the book much better. I added another of her works, Desert Spaces, to my list. She is working on a memoir as well.

You Disappear, by Christian Jungersen. I think I actually finished this in 2014, but don't think I have mentioned it before. It's a Danish novel about a woman whose husband suffers a brain injury. There is quite a bit of information about brain injuries and personality in the book, but it is presented almost like sidebars. Besides an entertaining read, there is a lot of food for thought.

Does your hometown have a "Read 26" group or program? If not, start one!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

A resolution with a plan for 2015

When I retired from my job (which, by the way, I do NOT miss at all), I decided not to take on anything new for at least six months. That turned out to be a good thing, as the final remodeling of the house was underway and continued to be underway for what seemed like an eternity. Once that was complete, I settled into what I had planned to do all along during retirement. And very soon became a bit bored.

Not bored enough to find another job. One should never say "Never" but that is how I feel about having a conventional job. I can't imagine the kind of work that would draw me back to the labor force. But I do feel ready to rejoin the rest of the world.

A couple of semi-social opportunities have presented themselves of late. One is a group called the Wild Walkers. Twice a month they gather at a nature preserve of one kind or another and hike. The first gathering of the year is next week, so I'll find out more about what is what then.

In anticipation of becoming a Wild Walker, my SO and I joined the Resolution Reinforcement Hike at Kokiwanee Nature Preserve today. (The assumption is some people will make a resolution to visit all the properties owned by Acres Land Trust. I am not one of them.) We have both been to this preserve before, but not with a group. Despite the cold and blustery day, there was a good crowd. About half went on a physical hike (less talk, more walk) while the others went on an educational hike (more talk, less walk). We chose the former as I did not want to stand around getting educated while the wind froze my cockles. Instead, I worked up a sweat clambering up and down the ravines. I thoroughly expect my haunches to be complaining tomorrow.

All of this brings me to a New Year's resolution of sorts: to get out and about more. I tend to be a homebody, but even though I have a vast capacity for solitude, I do get tired of me on occasion. For a resolution to stick, one needs a plan. Part of my plan includes joining the Wild Walkers whereby all I have to do is show up every two or three weeks dressed appropriately for the weather. I think I can do that.