Monday, February 01, 2016

Monday Malarkey - Arrivals and posts and plans and such

Happy Monday! I had a good blogging week and a so-so reading week. How was yours?

Recent Arrivals:

  • Pied Piper by Nevil Shute (purchased)
  • From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus (received via Paperback Swap)
  • Come Away With Me by Karma Brown (purchased - not pictured)

I was reading a little about Nevil Shute when I went to look up some of his books on a whim and, I confess, I bought a new copy of Pied Piper solely because I love the cover. It's an old enough title that I would have gone for a used copy, otherwise. I bought Come Away With Me because of some gushy comments I read (and because it sounded good). And, From the Land of the Moon is probably the last book I'll ever receive from Paperback Swap. When they abruptly began charging a subscription fee, last year, I still had over a dozen credits I wasn't willing to give up so I paid to keep going. It took almost the entire year to use up my remaining credits. I think a lot of people must have abandoned PBS due to the fee because the books were offered much slower in 2015 than the year before. At any rate, I'm totally out of credits, now.

Finished this week:

Dispatches from Pluto by Richard Grant - This was my F2F group's choice for January and I think I've mentioned I missed the meeting. I decided to go ahead and finish, even though I found the reading uncomfortable. There are some interesting anecdotes about the challenges of living in a plantation home and I particularly loved reading about the author's Delta wedding, toward the end of the book, but much of the focus is social commentary on racial interaction, poor schools, crime, drugs, corruption -- all the seedy yucky things about life in Mississippi. To be honest, I found it pretty depressing and I don't feel much like writing about the book. So, this paragraph will serve as the entirety of my review.

I also finished From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus, last night. It's a slim volume and since last week's reading dragged, I wanted a quick read to make me feel a little better about finishing up the month.

Last week's posts:

Currently reading: 

  • Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian - A contemporary/historical blend, the historical portion takes place before and during the Armenian Genocide and I've found myself so nervous about getting to the genocide portion that I set the book aside for a couple days. I will probably add another title to the mix, tonight, and return to Orhan's Inheritance later in the week.
  • How to Be Funny & Other Writings by Will Rogers - A series of writings both published and unpublished prior to this volume's printing in 1983 and annotated. I'm a long-time fan of Will Rogers but his comedy was based on current events and personalities, much like TV shows like The Daily Show, so the annotations are crucial to understanding what he's talking about. Unfortunately, the annotations are all at the back of the book so you have to keep a finger in the back and flip constantly. I'm getting used to it. 

Planning ahead:

In keeping with my goal to read at least one classic per month in 2016, my February choice is Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham. I'm kind of a Maugham fangirl, so I'm really looking forward to this one.

In other news:

I've learned a few things about cat stress, this week, thanks to the fact that the cats are still occasionally growling and hissing at each other. Most of the time they're fine and dandy and they got a clean bill of health, but something is eating Fiona. The vet told me a study was done that showed cats can be stressed by other felines in close proximity, even if they don't interact with them. They determined this by removing 20 stressed-out cats who were in the same apartment building but not living together to separate homes in the country (still indoors), where they became more relaxed and were cured of bladder infections without having to take antibiotics. Fascinating.

I also discovered that puzzle feeders can be a stress reducer. I don't have any puzzle toys but I may try to make one. I did know that giving cats the ability to climb helps. Mine, of course, have quite a nice cat tree but they haven't perched in it, lately; they've just climbed up and down and used the scratching bits. I've got a couple of boxes lying about so I'm going to also try to build them a little castle. If I don't cut a finger off and it looks decent I'll share a pic when I'm done. Pray for the safety of my digits, please.

©2016 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. All your books are new to me. I'll have to check them out. Sorry you're not a fan of Dispatches from Pluto

    1. I'm apparently into obscure titles; I hear that a lot (and I do often have trouble finding what I desire to read in libraries).

      There are some fun anecdotes in Dispatches from Pluto. It just wasn't for me. I should probably ask our F2F group leader whether or not everyone liked it. It's getting very positive reviews at Goodreads so I'm curious whether or not born and bred Mississippians (which I am not) enjoyed it.

  2. Good luck building a cat castle. I've seen the coolest cat climbing ideas on Pinterest. I'm sure if I ever got around to building some my cats would love them.

    1. Thanks! It's kind of awkward looking, so far, but I had fun with my little box knife, last night, and have gotten the glue and paint. Now, I just need a sunny day for painting. And, you'll laugh but I'm thinking about turning what started out to be an arrow loop into a stained-glass window because I think that would be kind of hilarious. :) I never think to look up ideas on Pinterest. It's entirely a wing-it project.

  3. Our cat is the only one in the household, but I can tell he does get stressed out by the kids. Last year my husband got him a nice big cat tower and we can tell it's helped a lot- the cat has a retreat, and he does seem a bit more relaxed now.

    I've always thought I should read more Nevil Shute- the only one I know is A Town Like Alice but I really did like it.

    Ditto on Paperback Swap. I really liked that site, but since they instigated the fees I hardly ever find books on there I want anymore. At first I was willing to pay 49 cents for a book I really wanted (avoiding membership fee) but now have to pay a transaction fee as well!? So it ends up being near $2 per book and at that point I'd just as soon look for things at the library sale or thrift shop instead.... Apparently there's ways to avoid the fees but it's just gotten so darn complicated.

    1. It really is amazing how much little things like a place to hide can make to a cat. I've got a little cardboard cat house near my desk for Izzy's peace of mind. Isabel is perfectly happy sleeping in my desk chair most of the time, (I'm sitting on one of the elderly chairs I bought for $15 from a woman who restores furniture when she closed her shop). But, she's such a skittish cat that it seems to help her to have a little house to dive into if one of the guys walks into the room. Poor thing, she really is a one-person cat. :)

      Oh, Jeane, you must read On the Beach if you haven't. It's so good. I've just read the two: A Town Like Alice and On the Beach. I think those are his best-known titles but I have another Shute that I bought secondhand, last year. When I brought that home, my friend Paula was reminded how much she loved Alice and Beach and went on a Shute binge, of sorts. So, he's been on my mind and then I found that article that led me to Pied Piper. I keep looking at the cover longingly. It's so pretty. I may have to let it call me away from other books, soon.

      I can't recall what yearly fee I paid at Paperback Swap, last year, but I was going to pay the individual fees for book swaps and it was insanely expensive, so I went for the cheaper annual fee that allows you to skip the transaction fee. Regardless, it's not the deal that it was and although they claimed they were adding fees to improve services, nothing has changed but fewer members and the books arriving slower than ever. All of my online book friends left without paying a yearly fee -- I was the only holdout. Now that I've used up my credits I'm leaving PBS behind. I've actually started looking up some of the titles I've been waiting for and I will buy them secondhand, little by little.

  4. Pied Piper is one of my favorite books! When I read it with a book group, it was out of print I believe, so I'm so happy to see that it actually *can* be bought new and it has such a snazzy cover, too. Hope you enjoy it!

    1. Well, that bodes well! I'm glad to know Pied Piper is a favorite of yours. Isn't the cover wonderful? Quite a few of Nevil Shute's books are out of print but I think he was a marvelous storyteller so I'm glad they've brought some back. Hopefully, more titles will be reprinted in the future.


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