Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals:

  • The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay - from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for review

Well, heck. Who knew the books were just going to keep trickling in? LOL It's getting pretty hilarious, at this point. Not a problem, though. I am no longer requesting any books at all but if one shows up, I'll read it and talk about it. It's just what you do if you love books, right?

Incidentally, I don't know when they'll arrive but speaking of things that are just part and parcel of the booklover experience, I went to Book Outlet in search of a particular book (I don't even remember what book, now) and bought a small pile. I have been avoiding Book Outlet for so long that I got the name wrong. They've been through at least 2 name changes since their beginning and I tried Book Closeouts but met a dead end. Anyway, I had a hilarious cartload that I fortunately pared down dramatically before actually buying. When you just look at fiction, in general, and go through 100 pages of book titles? Well, let's just say I saw a lot of books that I knew to be on my wish list.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
  • Stranger Planet by Nathan W. Pyle
  • Devil Darling Spy by Matt Killeen

I stopped in the midst of reading Devil Darling Spy for a humor break (Stranger Planet). The quick version is that Devil Darling Spy is about the attempt to stop the Nazis from getting their hands on a biological weapon and there is some cruelty (giving people a deadly disease, using them as test subjects) that was almost unbearable to me, especially in a time during which a deadly disease is spreading. That may not bode well for the eventual reading of The End of October by Lawrence Wright, a dystopian plague book, but I guess we shall see.

Currently reading:

  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

I finished Devil Darling Spy in the early evening, yesterday, and then watched Husband TV (whatever he happened to flip to, mostly Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) followed by a little of A Midsummer Night's Dream from the Globe Theatre. I didn't spend much time reading after that, but I'm definitely enjoying Northanger Abbey, so far. Jane Austen is a good palate cleanser. 

Last week's posts:

In other news:

Last week's free streaming from the National Theatre was Small Island. We managed to watch half of it on Tuesday night but on Wednesday we were both too tired to finish it. Fortunately, I still have the book sitting unread on my shelf and I've seen the mini series starring Ruth Wilson. I think I'll move Small Island by Andrea Levy up on my stacks. The play was great, a nice blend of darkness and humor. I recall the mini series as somewhat heavier but from both I got the sense that Queenie was a mensch, a character who wasn't given the best set of circumstances to live with but did the best she could with her lot in life and always with kindness. I wish we'd been up to finishing the play but I'm glad we saw the first half, at least.

I'm still watching Downtown Abbey, Season 1, usually while eating lunch so I only tend to watch half an episode at a time. It's going to take a while to get through the entire series. I enjoy being swept into the world of Downton. It's so blissfully escapist, a world in which women moan together over the horror of losing a maid. We're now at the point that Mrs. Patmore is getting her vision fixed, Mary has hesitated to give Matthew an answer about marriage since finding out her mother just might give birth to an heir after all, and poor Edith. Sigh. Edith always did me in. My one biggest wish was for Edith to find happiness when I found out the series was coming to an end. I haven't seen the movie, incidentally.

I've been away from my Coursera class (Postwar Abstract Expressionism) for about 2 weeks, now, so this week I'll dive back into it. I did finish my attempt at a Mark Rothko painting and the result was disappointing. I love the colors I ended up with (the final layers were deliberate, although at times I intentionally just blindly grabbed a paint tube and let chance guide the layers of color) but I don't think it has the characteristics that make a Rothko something worth standing in front of and staring at. That's undoubtedly at least partly because I still don't have all the supplies I need for oil painting, so I went with watered-down acrylic, again. I'll give it another shot when I get what I need for oil painting. I'm learning a lot from this course and I feel like I get as much learning out of the failures as I do from my more successful hands-on lessons.

And, finally, I hope everyone who reads my blog is handling the continuing Covid-19 mess well. Kiddo finally has started going to the office to work and is absolutely loving his new job. Husband still only goes 2-3 days per week and works from home, the rest of the time. We had begun to spread our wings just a bit (going to the store a little later in the day, for example) but not much had changed for us, otherwise, before our state's spike. We made a decision early on that we were going to stay in lockdown mode as much as possible until there's a vaccine and we have worn our masks everywhere since we finally managed to acquire some (I am super grateful to the two friends who made us fabric masks during the time that it was impossible to acquire them, otherwise). The one area in which I've been slacking is mail. I no longer set the mail outside to air out. It would get warped by the humidity, so that would be pointless. I do wash my hands thoroughly after handling it, though.

I hope and pray that a vaccine will be found as soon as possible and that we will have learned to appreciate normal life a little more, when this is over.

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  1. The Time of Green Magic looks interesting! Books never come to my house unannounced; I'm very picky so rarely get any ARCs or review copies anyway. It would be fun if one showed up unexpected.

    I watched all of Downtown Abby last year. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, although it did take a few episodes to really get interested. Haven't seen the movie.

    1. I think the last few books I've gotten were books I signed up to try to win via Shelf Awareness, although I have stopped reading SA. I do occasionally get unsolicited books, though. It's always fun to get a book in the mail but I've completely stopped requesting ARCs because I'm reading a bit too slowly, this year.

      This will be my third time through Downton Abbey because I enjoyed it so much that I bought it on DVD, back when it was first airing. It's been a while, though. My favorite part was WWI, probably because I have always enjoyed seeing people step up during a crisis and I thought they handled that and the Spanish Flu beautifully. I'm a little less besotted with things like Mary and Edith sniping at each other and sabotaging each other's love lives.

      Clearly, this is my kind of soap opera. I could babble all day about what I like and dislike. I know I'll cry again when Sybil dies. That was the worst thing, ever.


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