More Sunday Shorts

  • I spent the entire day (from 7:00 a.m. until after 5:00 p.m.) traveling from one ballpark to another and watching my grandson play in three different baseball games, so I haven’t read much at all today.  It’s on days like this, though, that I really enjoy tucking my Kindle into a pocket and sneaking in some reading during the downtime between games.
  • I’m a bit over halfway through a British novel by Neil Grimmett called The Hoard that has turned into a really dark, almost surreal, thriller about high grade explosives being sold by a group of well placed Brits to any terrorist in the market for such things.  I was a bit slow to warm up to the plot, but now that the characters have been fully developed, I am well and truly hooked and can’t wait to see how this one ends.  (I managed to read about 30 more pages of The Hoard today off my Kindle.)
  • I am also about one-third of the way through By Sorrow’s River, the third book in Larry McMurty’s “Berrybender Narratives,” and I’m really enjoying the saga.  I think this series will particularly appeal to female readers because it is filled with so many female characters – some of them British and some of them Indian.  I find myself consistently rooting for the oldest Berrybender daughter, Tasmin, in her quest to carve out a new life for herself and her family, but I have absolutely fallen in love with the two youngest girls.  I don’t think I have ever met two more precocious (and literate) little girls than these two in any book I have ever read.  Kate, the four-year-old, is a brilliant little troublemaker I will never forget, and I am fascinated by how much young Mary enjoys stirring things up – and how good she is at it.
  • Is anyone else familiar with “The Berrybender Naratives”?  Have you read any of the books and, if so, what did you think of them?  I need to do a little research to see how well received (or not) these four books were when each was first published.  As a dedicated McMurtry fan, I was aware of them as soon as they were available, but I don’t recall them making a very big splash in the book world.
  • My brief reading slump is all over.  I’m enjoying my reading again, and I’m really looking forward to what comes next.  At least for the moment, I seem to be choosing wisely, and as long as that continues, the slump is not likely to return.
  • Now it’s on to another week of work, dealing with the insurance adjuster on Tuesday in order to assess the hail damage my wife’s car suffered last Sunday evening, and fighting the VA and Treasury’s efforts to harass my 93-year-old father to an earlier than necessary death.  It promises to be an interesting week for sure.

Sunday Shorts

I’m heading to Minute Maid Park in a few minutes with my youngest grandson to watch the Astros take on the Angels (who used to be the California Angels but are now called something really cheesy like the “Angels of Anaheim”).  But before we leave, there’s time for a few more Sunday Shorts:

  • I spent another hour sorting a closet full of books yesterday afternoon and came away with 20 more hardcover books that I can release into the wild to make their own way in the world.  I’m sure the books will be thrilled to see the light of day…as thrilled as the folks at my office will be Monday morning to find the coffee break room filled with free books again. That brings me to almost exactly 100 hardcover books that I’ve moved out the door so far this year.  
  • I’ve kind of settled on the idea of listening to classic novels as I drive to and from work (although I’m going into FULL retirement on May 14, so time is running out quickly) because I never seem to get around to reading them anymore.  That backfired on me this week when, right in the middle of The Three Musketeers, I came across a disc so defective that it cannot be read by any CD player I own.  Well, that stopped me in my tracks.  I hesitate to try to finish up by reading the rest of the story because the new translator is likely to have a completely different style than that of the audio book version.  Epic Fail.
  • Coming into the year, I put together a list of unread books I own, some of which have been on my shelves for almost 30 years.  I prepared the list with high hopes to then make a real dent in it during 2015, a project that doesn’t seem to be happening.  Just this week, I finally finished my first book from the list (The Joy Luck Club) and I’ve started another one (a thirteen-year-old Larry McMurtry book).  That’s not nearly the pace I was hoping for, but it’s a start.  Now I need to build on the tiny bit of momentum I’ve gained this week…lots of books to go.
  • And, I feel like I’m entering my first reading funk of the year.  I can always tell when it happens because my per-day page count drops right off the table – exactly as it has for the last four or five days now.  I’ve learned the hard way that the only thing likely to get me back on pace any time soon is to find that Magic Book, the one that gets me so excited that I can’t put it down.  Let the search begin…wish me luck.

Sunday Shorts

Somehow or another, I have collected a random little bunch of bookish (and maybe not so bookish) thoughts in the last couple of days that I know do not deserve anything remotely like an entire blog post of their own.  These are things I would normally tweet about on my Book Chase Twitter account, but that has come to feel so much like shouting into a black hole that I’ve pretty much given up on Twitter.  

So…here’s my first (and maybe my last) group of Sunday Shorts:

  • Is it as hard for you to follow a Zadie Smith novel as it is for me?  I’m about 80 pages in her novel NW right now, and I’m finally able to read whole pages without having to re-read paragraphs over again because I have no idea what the woman is talking about.  As many of you know, Smith is one of those “creative” stylists.  No quotation marks for Zadie…just smaller print to indicate conversation is taking place.  Now try to figure how who is speaking for each line.  Simply put, that is not as easy as you might think it would be.  Anyway, I’m almost  through the first section of the book – and I’m hoping she doesn’t mess around with me by switching styles with each section.
  • I managed to cull another 30 books from my shelves and closets this afternoon.  That brings my culled total up to about 80 books since I decided it was time to get rid of some books before my wife volunteered to do the job herself.  I hope they all find good homes and are happier than they were here sitting inside dark closets for years at a time.
  • I saw one of those cheesy little sayings this weekend that went something like, “The key to happiness is avoiding all idiots.”  Well, I failed miserably at doing that today, and my unhappiness level has been pretty high since before noon today because one of the biggest and most proficient idiots I have ever known decided to start another squabble with me.  I like the way Mark Twain put it in his autobiography when he said that some people are just “assfull.”  You are my hero, Mr. Twain…but you already know that.
  • The Astros toyed with my emotions for over four hours this afternoon, but the final score of the game did get me out of being in such a deep funk about that “assfull” nuisance I had to deal with, so I forgive them.  First we grab a 4-0 lead and coast right up to the last two innings – during which we fall apart and let the Rangers tie the score at 4-4.  Then Astros right fielder George Springer makes one of the most spectacular catches I have seen in over 50 years of watching baseball games by extending his glove over the outfield fence to catch what would have otherwise been a walk-off grand slam home run for the Rangers.  It took another nail-biting four innings, but the good guys finally prevailed 6-4.  And suddenly, I was smiling.
So, for the moment, life is a little better.  I don’t have to deal with that assfull hypocrite again for another few days; with a 3-3 record, my local baseball team is doing OK to start the 2015 season; and I have room for 80 new books.  (But don’t tell my wife that last bit.)