Saturday, September 19, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up: Stranger Planet; Art in an Emergency; and The Worst Hard Time



My life isn't a soap opera script. Wake up. Walk. Eat breakfast. Read. Putter around the house. Watch the birds in the backyard. Read. Water the garden. Eat dinner. Read. Go to bed. 

No drama here. You'd think. But behind all of this, I'm full of stress, and I think that is reflected in the titles of the books I read last week...Stranger Planet...Art in an Emergency...The Worst Hard Time.






Last week I finished a big beautiful book about birds, What It's Like to Be a Bird by David Allen Sibley. I also read Nathan W. Pyle's latest collection of comics, Stranger Planet. I read the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction winner, Hamnet. And I listened to Olivia Laing's essays, Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency. I also read Elin Hilderbrand's emotional 28 Summers.






War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy...76% read

Devotions by Mary Oliver...63% read

How to Draw Your Beautiful Ordinary Life...44% read

The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 
751 Books to Cure What Ails You...32% read

1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List by James Mustich...3% read






Made with Padlet
Do you have a picture book you read and loved this year, published between October 16, 2019 and October 15, 2020? Nominate it at the Cybils, starting on October 1. Add any you like to this Padlet, too.




I joined the Galveston/Bay Area Texas Master Naturalist group's book club last year, and I'm so glad that I did. Since I've been with the book club, we have discussed Half Earth by E. O. Wilson; The Gulf by Jack E. Davis; and A Farewell to Ice by Peter Wadhams. We are reading and discussing The Worst Hard Time: The Unknown Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan now. If you are interested in reading about the natural world, you won't find a better list than this list of the Heritage Book Study Group Past Selections.



This was an interesting, if worrying, read: Why Goodreads is Bad for Books. The article mentions The StoryGraph. I decided to give it a try. 







1. A Lemon Yogurt Day
I buy for two weeks at a time at the grocery now, and I can only get eight or so lemon yogurts, so on the other days, I eat blueberry yogurt or cherry yogurt or raspberry yogurt. I mix them all up in the fridge so I never know what I'll have for breakfast. It's a good day when it's a Lemon Yogurt Day.


3. The Good Place. 
The last season has just arrived at the library for me. Hurray!



How are you doing? 
Did you have some good things happen last week?
How are things going for you?



I'm happy you found your way to the Sunday Salon. There are no requirements for 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.

65 comments:

  1. The Goodreads article was interesting!

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    1. It was for me because I rely on Goodreads so much. It's terribly frustrating sometimes.

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  2. I have a love hate relationship with Goodreads and this article was very interesting.

    I love comic strips and Stranger Planet comes up a lot, it’s very good!

    Have a lovely week.

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    1. In the past, I did not like graphic novels, but I've suddenly acquired a taste for them.

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  3. Interesting Goodreads article indeed. I just started using it this year and I often frustrating to use.

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    1. I find it to be a convenient way to save reviews. But---and this is a big but---it's erratic, and its recommendations are not great. The article mentions a new app that's still in Beta called The StoryGraph. I'm trying it out. At least, the recommendations are not books I've already read and reviewed.

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  4. I am impressed you can read so many books at a time. I can do two is one is fiction and the other non or maybe essays -- but can't do two of the same genre at once! I'm a two-week shopper too. Makes me think!

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    1. I like the discipline of being a two-week shopper. My costs have gone down dramatically and I make do with what I have.

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  5. We buy two weeks at a time too and I try to buy online for a lot of things that way when our daughter goes shopping she doesn't have to buy too much.

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  6. In regular life I buy two weeks at a time too and it is a bit challenging to keep favorites in stock. Though I guess those other days make lemon yogurt day even more special! I'm not a huge Goodreads fan but find it useful for simple tracking. I don't play around too much with it and would love to find something different. Hope you have a nice and calming week.

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    1. It's most difficult to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for two weeks.

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  7. The Good Place is such a fun show! And I am so excited to be a Cybils panelist again (round 2)... yay! I am also going to check out storygraph, thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. I'm so glad you will be on the Cybils again, too, Helen!

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  8. I have never encountered the issues mentioned about Goodreads. I'm curious about StoryGraph, but so far, I'm very happy with Goodreads. It even has some of the obscure Christian Orthodox books I read, and I have made friends with readers loving those.

    wow, that Bay Area Texas Master Naturalist group's book club sounds s good!
    I have read The Worst Hard Time years ago, and really enjoyed it a lot. Learned a lot, and he's a really great author

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  9. I read the same article about why people hate Goodreads. Personally I like it. But I admit I don't use it for book recommendations. I will go back and attempt to add a favorite picture book.

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    1. So far, I've been pretty impressed with the recommendations I'm getting from StoryGraph.

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  10. It feels like there's no end to the reasons for stress lately.

    I read the same article about GoodReads and signed up for The Storygraph. Based on my genre preferences, before I even imported my GoodReads library, it had recommended books I'd already read and enjoyed. Now that my library's in there, I have high hopes for solid recommendations.

    I love The Good Place! We still need to watch the most recent season.

    Enjoy your week! And your lemon yogurt!

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    1. I am so happy to be able to watch the last season of The Good Place. And to enjoy my lemon yogurt.

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  11. Very interesting article about Goodreads. I haven't had any issues with the platform, but use it mainly to record and track my reading. I enjoying getting a daily summary of what my friends have read, but rarely look to it for recommendations. I get plenty from my blogging friends.

    Isn't Noosa delicious yogurt?! I love the raspberry blend, but haven't bought it in quite a while. I'm pretty much a Fage fan (add my own berries).

    In spite of my relatively quiet, retired life, I find 2020 to be very stressful. I try to stay calm and not let the daily news get to me, but my restless nights and feeling of unease are definite signs that it's taking its toll. Walking in nature is good for my mind, soul and heart. May we have plenty of sunny days in the coming months!

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  12. I, too, am finding life to be very stressful these days. I'm always the calm one but it's hard. I do hope your books help you. Have a great week.

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  13. Yay, love The Good Place, still need to continue the third season though. I really want to read Stranger Planet and Hamnet, did you enjoy them?
    Hm, I'm going to read the article Why Goodreads is Bad for Books, right now, it's an interesting topic to think about. Although I'm so used to Goodreads now, it would be difficult to quit.

    Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Both Stranger Planet and Hamnet were great.

      I can't really think of leaving Goodreads. But the recommendations I get there from GR are disappointing.

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  14. My life is pretty similar to yours these days, except a recent ankle injury has put my walking on hold for a few weeks. Love the sound of your Naturalist group book club! Just got an email last week saying our local group is starting one this fall... virtually, of course, for now. I'll look into it when we get back. Have a good week.

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    1. We have such a wonderful leader in the naturalist book club.

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  15. Breakfast is never the same around here.
    I get out around 3 days a week, never with anyone and never in a crowd. I am loving the museums required timed entry tickets I get the earliest available and seldom run into people.
    Same thing for wandering the city, early morning and home by 1.
    Please check out the virtual Toronto International Festival of Authors.

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    1. P.S. I have no issues with GoodReads but I only use it to record what I've read or tag a book I want to read that I can't find at my library.

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    2. I miss going to the museums. We don't have timed entries here. That would be great.

      I will definitely look into the Toronto International Festival of Authors.

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  16. Thank you for the link to the article, it was very informative. I certainly have issues with Goodreads as an author - it's a nightmare. Uploading a book is clunky, unintuitive and if you get the slightest bit wrong, then you're locked out and a librarian has to take over... And there is absolutely no sign that they are upgrading or overhauling anything. As a reader, it's a useful place to post reviews and I quite like the Reading Challenge. However, it's a mighty mountain for any competitor to have to climb, given just how vast it is.

    I completely understand your climbing stress levels - any intelligent, thinking person must feel as if they have surfaced in the middle of an ongoing nightmare. I try not to get too involved in the wider world, because I would be tearing my hair out and I cannot do a thing about it. So I take a deep breath, dive back into my comfort zones and strive to be the best version of myself that I can be - which doesn't include battering myself bloody over things I cannot change... I hope the coming week is a kinder one, Deb:)).

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  17. It's true that what we read affects us so I'm careful sometimes as to what books I read and when I read them. Mmm...I'm curious about that Goodreads article. I'll want to check it out. Lemon yogourt would make my day too. ;-)

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  18. Hi there Deb! Stress is a strange thing. I have a small heart problem and two of the times it landed me in hospital, was during weekends where I was much less stressed. So I guess it's one of those little monsters who like to creep and cause havoc even when there's no "actual" reason.

    The Good Place! I forgot about that series. I watched the first couple of episodes. Must watch it again.

    I am looking forward to a bit of a break over the next two weeks. Will still be blogging if I have signal though. Hope to finish my Classics Club application tomorow!

    Have a good week, enjoy your books and morning walks.

    Here's my The Sunday Post #12

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    1. I will be on the lookout for your Classics Club application.

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  19. Glad you find time to blog when you have a signal. Right now I'm blogging while sitting at a gas station after I dropped off a ride share customer. Glad i found a hotspot.

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  20. I don’t think you are alone in your experiences Deb, I know that for me a steady level of stress lurks just below the surface. Goodreads certainly has its issues, but I mostly find it convenient. I definitely like it better than LibraryThing and I’ve tried several alternatives as they have been launched but nothing has stuck. If Storygraph makes it out of Beta I might give it a try.
    I don’t think we have lemon yoghurt here, I’d like to try it.

    Wishing you a great reading week

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  21. I thought I had dealt with an issue I was having with Goodreads: they automatically listed books there when I had just purchased them from Amazon, and they often listed them as "read." I corrected that, I thought, but lately they are listing them as "read" again!

    I don't like them controlling things on the site. I want to control what I list!

    However, they are useful in some ways, so I will probably struggle along.

    I liked your yogurt story! I am a fan of yogurt, although I haven't tried lemon. Sounds good!

    Enjoy your week.

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  22. Oh that bird book! I have Sibley's Bird Guide which I love and has been a loyal companion for many years. But this one sounds so interesting, I think I will get it. Thank you for sharing it!

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  23. Yay for watching the final season of The Good Place! I love that show!! Sorry your life has been stressful (but glad it's not a soap opera. LOL!).

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  24. I think this is reflected all over the world by most people. We have somewhat relaxed as we do not have community transmission of Covid. We only have Covid cases due to repatriation of citizens and that is continuing of course as we still have people overseas on waiting lists, wanting to return home. Especially from the Middle East where sadly the cases are very high. But all repatriation flights from the airport direct to a quarantine place for fourteen days. Then if covid free quarantine at home, which is strictly monitored. It pays off I think.

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  25. It is such a hard time now with all the uncertainty. I love the sound of your book club. I'm loving watching birds too, something I never took much time for before.

    Thanks for the look at the houses on your walk. Some neat places!

    Be well!

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    1. Watching birds, walking in the morning...these have become very important to me.

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  26. My schedule is a lot like yours. Wake up. Exercise. Work. Play with the dog and the kid. Read a lot. That’s pretty much my whole life. I’ll have to check out the Goodreads article. I have a love/hate relationship with that site. Have a good week!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  27. I think we are all experiencing higher stress levels and I don't think there is really a way to avoid that completely. Guess we just have to do the best we can and find what works for us individually. Not to avoid being 'aware', but I'm finding that for me, 'aware' means being only 'mostly aware'. I am finding myself burying my head in books more and more. TV shows work some for me and playing a few online games that I like, but mostly it's reading or listening to books. Continuing my walking. In the sermon for our online church yesterday the minister was talking about 'breath prayer' - sort of like meditation I suppose. I have a neighbor who uses her walking time as her prayer time as well. Hope you guys do OK with 'Beta'...it's raining here.

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    1. Strong winds sent a heavy limb from our sycamore tree down like a spear into the roof of our garage. The rain is coming down the hole in the garage roof. My husband climbed up on the roof (!) and patched it a bit. Not much we can do right now.

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  28. sounds like a good time to me. we had a lot of chaos around fundinmental. hurricane sally made an angry appearance
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  29. I only use Goodreads to keep track of what I'm currently reading and keep track of how many books I read in a year. I haven't tried most of the other options it offers. It does sound like your life should be relatively stress free but this is not a stress free time to be living. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  30. Hamnet is coming up soon on my reading list. I am looking forward to it. I am on Goodreads and I find it useful. I don't use it for reading recommendations, however. I take those from the professional reviewers that I follow, from "Bookmarks" and from fellow bloggers and other friends.

    The days do have a sameness to them. We rarely go out except to pick up groceries from curbside and our only regular visitors are our children. But I find that I'm never bored. There is always something to do here and always something to read.

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  31. In a minute I'll follow your link to the Goodreads article to see what it is saying. Yes life is ordinary but not! I read 28 Summers a while back and enjoyed it but it was emotional!

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  32. This was definitely fun reading for me! Thanks for sharing. To me , Telemundo or not, LOL your life is very interesting. Maybe it's because we share so many interests.

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