Saturday, January 11, 2020

In Other Words, How to be Miserable, and Around the World in 80 Trees



What do we call these lethargic post-holiday days? When I used to have my own business before I became a librarian, we called this time in January the doldrums. There wasn't much work going on and no one really seemed to be preparing for the future; instead, it seemed to be the inevitable retreat after the mad Christmas rush. 



I'm twenty books into my Goodreads Challenge for 2020. Here's a list of what I have read so far, with links to my reviews:

In Other Words: A Language Lover's Guide to the Most Intriguing Words Around the World
How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use
Three Things About Elsie
Cranford
Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise
Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers
Odd Dog Out
Pizza School: A Kids Cookbook for Aspiring Pizza Makers
Christmas Jars
Galveston Cats
A Christmas Story
The Keeper of Lost Things
Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum, #26)
The Christmas Letters
Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
Suddenly Sixty: And Other Shocks of Later Life
A Breath of French Air
Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever
The Book in the Book in the Book

My favorite books so far have been In Other Words: A Language Lover's Guide to the Most Intriguing Words Around the World (nonfiction); How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use (nonfiction); Three Things About Elsie (fiction); and Cranford (classic).






I'm currently reading six books: Live in Grace, Walk in Love by Bob Goff (inspirational); War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (classic); Penguin's Poems for Life (poetry); Around the World in 80 Trees (nature nonfiction); Check These Out: One Librarian's Guide to the Coolest, Best and Most Important Books You'll Ever Read (books-about-books); and A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (fiction).






I'm enjoying the pace of reading a chapter-a-day of War and Peace. On Day 4, I got frustrated with all the character names (there were already two different characters named Anna, and the characters have so many nicknames that Prince Andrew Nikolayevich Bolkonsky was called Prince Andrey, Andryusha, Andrei, or Andre) so I started over and made myself a cheat sheet to help myself through the book.



If you haven't already done so, you might be interested in Shelleyrae at Book'd Out's 2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge. There are several categories. I'm trying for the Nonfiction Know-It-All level.

Nonfiction Know-It-All : Read 12 books, one for each category
* You can choose your books as you go or create a list in advance. You may combine this challenge with others if you wish. Use your best good faith judgment as to whether a book fits the category or not.
* Where a book is identified by more than one category, it may only count for one, not both.
* You can read your chosen titles in any order, at any pace, just complete the challenge by December 31st, 2020.

Categories

1. Memoir:
2. Disaster Event:
3. Social Science: 
4. Related to an Occupation: Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets, & Philosophers
5. History:
6. Feminism:
7. Psychology: How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use
8. Medical Issue:
9. Nature:
10. True Crime:
11. Science:
12. Published in 2020:
I've finished 2 of 12 so far.



I'm working on my second Classics Club list. I've now read and reviewed 19 of 50 books on my list.






I'm starting to think about my upcoming trip to Paris (I'll be leaving January 27th and I'll return home on February 12th). Don't worry about me neglecting our Sunday Salon while I'm away; I'll have Internet in Paris and I'm taking my laptop with me. I'm working now to write up my posts while I am gone so that I can simply tweak them just before they appear online. 

I'm not really accustomed to winter, living here on the Texas Gulf Coast; I don't even have a coat. So I am busily trying to find socks and scarves and sweaters and winter boots. What should I bring to stay warm?

I'm also trying to put together a list of things I'd like to do while I am there. My sister will be with me, as well as her son and his wife and their two young children, ages 5 and 3. Do you have great ideas for Paris in the winter? Bookish ideas? Church ideas? Art ideas? Any other recommendations for Paris?



I'd love to hear about your week.




I'm very happy you found your way to the Sunday Salon. There are no real requirements to linking up at Sunday Salon. Sunday Salon is simply a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. Sunday Salon is a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

Some of the things we often talk about at the Sunday Salon:

  • What was your week like?
  • Read any good books? Tell us about them.
  • What other bookish things did you do? 
  • What else is going on in your life?


Other places where you may like to link up over the weekend are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.


My linkup for Sunday Salon is below.

67 comments:

  1. And here I thought I was doing pretty good with the 6 books I've read so far this year. I'm reading two kind of heavy, sad books right now and I'm thinking that may not be the smartest thing I've ever done.

    We love the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Our son really enjoyed Cite des Science et de l'Industrie when we went but that's been years ago. No matter what you do, you're going to have a fabulous time!

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    1. The Musee d'Orsay is my favorite museum in Paris. I feel certain we will go there. Thanks for the recommendation, Kathy.

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  2. Deb, you are such an avid reader. I always love seeing what you've read and what you'll share with us. Hope you have such a good time in Paris. I'll watch for your reaction to the Ruth Ozeki book. I have it in my 'reading closet' (where I store the books that don't fit on my current shelves). Of course, I don't have much to share about cold weather. I do have a winter coat, but don't wear it that often. Bet you'll get some good suggestions for Paris.

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    1. The Ruth Ozeki is quite unexpected. Still reading on it.

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  3. In Other Words sounds so good to me, as I'm interested in languages. You certainly read a lot of books, kudos to you!

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    1. Cleo, just to let you know, I tried to comment on your blog but it said only "team members" could comment. I just wanted to let you know in case something is set wrong. I wasn't sure how else to reach you and why I'm commenting here and hope you'll see this.

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    2. Ugh, so sorry! I was revamping my blog because my busy design was giving me a headache and I fooled with a bunch of my settings in the process. Can you see that I'm not very adept at technical things?! Lol, sorry again for confusion; I'm back.

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  4. I'm originally from Nebraska, but I've lived in Arizona for twenty years: I have completely forgotten how to dress for cold. Bring a few things you can layer? I have no Paris advice, though I seem to remember someone saying that best way to experience Paris is to get lost there. Possibly not the wisest piece of travel advice...

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    1. I like that idea, though. Can I really get lost in this day of cell phones?

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  5. I just don't know how you keep multiple books going at one time, my brain doesn't work that way. :-) Your Paris trip sounds wonderful and my advice (this coming from a southern Californian who lived back east and in Europe for 4 years) is to bring layers. A good pair of boots is also key because if your feet are cold and wet, you'll be miserable. Oh, and a hat to keep the warmth in. My daughter and I loved the Musee d'Orsey, but I'm sure you've been there already.

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    1. Layers sounds like good advice. Boots, too. My feet and hands are always cold here, and it rarely gets below fifty.

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  6. You're year is off to an awesome start! I like the sound of In Other Words and need to check that out. Thank you for the link to the Nonfiction Challenge. I definitely would like to read more nonfiction. And, a trip to Paris - how wonderful! I would definitely be counting down the days :)

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    1. I like In Other Words so much that I might get my own copy. It would be fun to post about it periodically this year.

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  7. I am just glad the busy-ness at work is easing in after the holidays as opposed to hitting us in the face like a freight train going at full speed. It sounds like you've gotten your reading off to a great start at least! I can't remember the number of times I started War and Peace before giving up. But I always started at the beginning again when I would try again. In my final reading--where I managed to read it completely through--I felt much more familiar with the characters. It's no wonder, isn't it? Haha

    I hope you have a wonderful time in Paris. If the transport workers are still striking, you may have to do a lot of walking, and so I recommend good walking shoes. A couple of my friends and their families just got back the beginning of this month from Paris. They loved it.

    Have a great week!

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  8. Wow, you are off to an amazing start to your 2020 reading. It must be so exciting planning for your trip. I'm sure you will have a great time. I hope this is a good week for you!

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    1. I like to start strong and then ease into a nice, steady pace.

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  9. I love the Ruth Ozeki and hope you enjoy it, too. Paris can be very cold and it's a sort of damp cold, like the UK, so be prepared for that - lots of layers. I like sitting in cafes, and a river trip is a must, but also just walking around is cool. Have fun!

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    1. I'm certainly used to humidity here along the Gulf Coast.

      I've got a little book I am planning to write in every day. If I can feel brave enough, I may draw a little, too.

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  10. Wow, 20 books already? That's amazing. I love Cranford though so I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Have a great week!

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    1. Cranford was a great read. A wonderful contemporary feel.

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  11. 20 books?! I've finished one, lol. I failed to to 50 in 5, but I'm continuing on with the Classics Club hoping I can finish this year.

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    1. The nice thing about the Classics Club is its flexibility. If you don't finish in five, finish in six. Or seven.

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  12. I've read five books toward my challenge...now I feel sluggish! LOL.

    I have a much lower goal number, I'm sure, as Goodreads says I'm one book ahead.

    I am sure you're excited about Paris. Hope you have a lot of fun!

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    1. I set my goals low. I like to achieve them. And go beyond them. Not struggle with them.

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  13. Goodness, that’s an impressive number, nearly 2 books a day! I feel slothful by comparison.
    I want to read Three Things About Elsie, and it seems like you enjoyed it.

    I can’t offer any suggestions for your trip to Paris, I assume a visit to Shakespeare & Co is already on your list :)

    Wishing you a great reading week

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    1. Three Things About Elsie is lovely. Part of its appeal to me is that the characters are predominantly elderly. Refreshing.

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  14. Definitely bring scarves they can serve a multitude of uses. And layers.
    Our last two trips to Europe we found we could buy inexpensive scarves everywhere.

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  15. Okay, I'm intrigued... How to Be Miserable? The title alone makes me want to check it out. Making a cheat sheet for W&P is brilliant. Russian names, and the fact that everyone seems to have several, get me every time. Good luck. For staying warm, a lifetime in the snow belt has taught me that SmartWool socks are the best thing ever!

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    1. I bet you can find it at the library. It was quite funny. And, in an odd way, helpful.

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  16. Wow, 20 books already. I am at 5, lol

    Have a great week!

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  17. Good grief - 20 books already! I've read two on your list - The Keeper of Lost Things, which I absolutely loved and Cranford, a thorough-going favourite throughout my teens, although I haven't read it since. I hope you enjoyed them both. As for your Paris trip, do pack a hat. It's a long time since I've been in Paris - but that was in late November and my abiding recollection is the bitter wind scything through the streets... Have a great week, Deb!

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    1. "A bitter wind scything through the streets?" Oh dear.

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  18. 20 books already is amazing! Good luck with War & Peace! That's on my "to read someday" list. I loved the BBC TV adaptation, have you seen it?

    I hope you have a wonderful time in Paris! I've never been which is terrible seeing as it's only an hour away via plane! Maybe one day. :)

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    1. You've never been? And you are only an hour away? No words.

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  19. I'm only 3 books into my Goodreads challenge. You're doing great!

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    1. I try to always remind myself that two books is more than most Americans read in a year. Sadly.

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  20. I was never a big fan of the January doldrums either. It gets pretty bleak around here in winter so that doesn't help either! Need more sun haha! That's Michigan in winter for you though...

    A winter trip to Paris sounds wonderful. Can't wait to hear all about your trip. :)

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  21. Glad to to see your keeping up the Goodreads challenge. I've been responding to people's post later and later on Sundays. I've got an improv class at 12, and usually a follow up theater review to write from a show the night before.

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    1. I try to make a weekend of Sunday Salon, opening it on Saturday and running it through Monday.

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  22. Wow you read so many books!! That is awesome!!

    I would love to go to Paris in the winter - I am such a winter person. :) I would recommend wool socks for sure, and a warm hat for cold weather. Depending on how cold and how much walking, layering is key! A base layer (not cotton - think silk or synthetic because if you did get too warm, then your core will stay warm. If you were to get warm and a little dare I say sweaty the cotton would make you chillier), then a warming layer like a sweater, and warm coat, bonus if it can act as a windbreaker type material. Being from a warm climate you may need all the layers as you are not used to it. Boots and scarves are good too. :)

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    1. Thanks for explaining the layers, Erin. I'm hoping to buy a few things on Wednesday. This will help a lot.

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    2. Sure! I hope it helps! We hike out in the winter all the time here (yesterday 20 degrees!) and while I know Paris isn't like the woods, it might still be really cold to a Texan. :)

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  23. Your reading list is growing fast! And you've officially scared me off from War & Peace ;) Although I doubt I could remember enough of any book to take a whole year to read it :)

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    1. Oh no, don't let my experiences scare you off. If I can get through it, anyone can. It has definitely helped me to keep a character list. I'd like to print out some paper dolls of the characters and keep them near me while I read. Does that sound like an odd idea?

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  24. I was going to say I've always wanted to read Bob Goss but then I realized I've actually wanted to read Bob GOFF's books. Oops. Two different people. Looks like you have a great list of books up to read.

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  25. You read Three Things About Elsie! I love that book. I spent most of last year forcing it on everybody. Have a great week!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I enjoyed that one a lot. I read Goats and Sheep of hers before that and enjoyed it very much.

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  26. I'm at sixteen books for this year.

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  27. Your reading pace always amazes me! I have no doubt you'll be a success in Shalleyrae's Know-It_All category. You'll probably be done by next month! Have a wonderful week!

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  28. I found A Tale for the Time Being very intriguing...I hope you like it!

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  29. What a great assortment of books! Check This Out sounds interesting to me. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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    1. I love all books about books, I think. I would be glad to send it to you, if you think you might like to read it. Let me know with an email.

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  30. How exciting that you have a trip to Paris coming soon! Are you planning to venture out of the city during your visit? Hope you'll be able to share your Paris wishlist - I'm sure many are going to vicariously enjoy Paris through you. :-)

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  31. What a wonderful time! What a wonderful post! What a wonderful trip!!!!!!

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Sharing thoughts and experiences about books and reading is why I blog. Thank you for sharing yours.