Saturday, January 30, 2021

A Carolina Wren; Learning Japanese; and Five Wonderful Fiction Books Read in January

 



In our state, the vaccine is set aside first for health care workers, those over 65, and people with medical conditions. My husband won't be 65 until June and I won't be 65 until November, and both of us are in excellent health. I want to go ahead and sign up to get the vaccine, but my husband is the good person who tells me that we should wait our turn. So I will.

My fiction reading this year is going much better than last year. I've finished five novels in 2021---Transcendent Kingdom; A Gentleman in Moscow; Miss Benson's Beetle; The Pursuit of Love; Before the Coffee Gets Cold---and I have loved them all. I'm not sure if I read five novels I loved in all of 2020.










The Scrumptious Life of Azaleah Lane by Nikki Shannon Smith (early chapter book)
Hello, Mandarin Duck! written by Bao Phi and illustrated by Dion MBD (picture book)
Ex Libris: 100 Books to Read and Reread by Michiko Kakutani (book-about-books)
How to Be Happy (or At Least Less Sad) by Lee Crutchley (book about happiness)



The World's Poorest President Speaks Out by Yoshimi Kusaba (picture book; nonfiction)
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (fiction)
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (fiction)









The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (Chapter-a-Day Read-along)
Yes, and...Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr (Daily Meditation Reading)
The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson (Naturalist Book Club)
The Atlas of Happiness by Helen Russell (Nonfiction)
On the Narrow Road to the Deep North by Leslie Downer (Japanese Lit Challenge; Nonfiction)
The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of History and Madness from The Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean (Nonfiction)







BLOG POSTS
I published several blog posts last week including New-to-Me Authors I Read and Loved in 2020 and my last post about our hiking trip to Sedona, Sedona Panoramas. I also read and reviewed three books for Multicultural Children's Book Day 2021: Hello, Mandarin Duck!TimTimTom Personalized Books, and The Scrumptious Life of Azaleah Lane.



2021 CHALLENGE UPDATE











Good Thing #1:
I'm learning to identify a lot of birds now after participating in Project FeederWatch for six weeks now. I fell in love with this little Caroline Wren.




Good Thing #2:
The Japanese Literature Challenge runs January through March, and I have a lifetime subscription to Rosetta Stone for 24 languages, so I decided to learn a little Japanese this year. I've learned Spanish, French, Italian, and now Japanese, and there's no contest---Japanese is the most difficult for me. 


Good Thing #3:
My dad and his wife...my sister and her husband...my brother...my friends...lots of people have now gotten the vaccine.





How are you doing? Is 2021 slowly becoming different from 2020? Have you read any books you'd recommend to me? 




I'm happy you found your way to the Sunday Salon. Sunday Salon is a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. It's 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.


75 comments:

  1. You are so good at languages, that's fantastic! I also love that you're doing Project feeder watch, with so much time at home, watching our feeders and birdbaths is a nice distraction.

    I hope you don't have to wait until the Fall for your vaccine. Perhaps things will speed up.

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    1. I love being able to speak and understand Spanish with others.

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  2. I have tried and failed to learn Japanese, it is incredibly hard and from listening to a favourite podcast from a man who moved to Japan the best way to learn is to physically go there.

    According to our news nearly 8 million people have had their first vaccine with nearly half a million on their second dose. This week there was also news a fourth vaccine could be about to get green lit. I’m 42 so I’ll be a long way down the list but my husband has MS so I’m hoping he will get called up soon but I think it will be later in the year.

    Have a good week.

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    1. I'm glad to see that so many of your people have had their vaccines. I hope you and your husband get your vaccines soon.

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  3. I agree that Transcendent Kingdom and A Gentleman in Moscow are both wonderful books. I haven't read the others you mentioned. That Carolina Wren is adorable - one of my favorite birds to watch because they are always busy.

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    1. I've only seen the Carolina Wren twice, but I enjoyed watching them both so much.

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  4. I'd recommend "A Woman of No Importance" if you are interested in the role of the Resistance in WWII and one American's contribution. I don't see how you can read so many books at once!

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  5. Isn't it wonderful to start the year off with some great books?! I should be able to finish my current audiobook before tomorrow, so that will put me at 7 books for January. I loved 2 of those, but the others were worthwhile, so I'm not complaining.

    We're still waiting for vaccines here in OR. My mom (88 in May) should be able to get hers next week, but my husband has to wait a bit longer since he's only 68. I might move up ahead of the general population since I live in a multi-generational home, but we'll see. We have friends (in AZ) and relatives (in WA, CA, GA and NC) who have had theirs, which makes me so happy. I hope we can get this thing under control and that the vaccines are effective on the new variants, as well.

    Darling little wren. We see them here every now and then.

    Have a good weekend, Deb!

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    1. I hope your mom is able to get her vaccine soon. It makes sense that your whole household should get the vaccine, Les.

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  6. I'm waiting for the vaccine too. In our state anyone over 65 can get it. My husband won't be 65 until April and I won't be for 3 years. So, hopefully we get vaccines before then :)

    I'm glad you are having a better reading year, so far. I am too.

    I hope you have a great week!

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    1. It's frustrating for me because my husband and I are so close to 65. It further adds to my frustration when I have so many people around me who refuse to social distance or wear masks!

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  7. I love your Carolina wren. We have them around our yard, and one of them once nested in a hanging plant on our porch. It would get very mad when we watered the plant. I think it liked the location because it was unreachable by neighborhood cats.

    be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. I've heard the Carolina wrens are very noisy, but mine here has not been so.

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  8. One of my many customer service jobs in my teens and twenties was at a place that sold things for backyard birds--seed, feeders, binoculars, and some garden decor. We got a 50 cent raise for learning 25 birds, and another 50 cents for the next 25. The job was just retail, but I've always been glad I had the chance to learn so much about our local birds! I was just washing dishes and watching juncos, chickadees, and a scrub jay out the kitchen window!

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    1. What a marvelous incentive for employees. A few months ago, I couldn't have identified more than two or three birds, but now I can probably identify about twenty.

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  9. I can hardly believe you've read so many novels. How did you like "Kingdom"? I was impressed by it. Judy Z and I were talking about "Gentleman" today when she came to pick up some things for a garage sale. She is three-fourths of the way through.

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  10. Hi Debbie! We mere mortals will most probably not see the vaccine here before the end of the year. But let's stay positive!

    I've had On the narrow road to the deep north on my TBR for at least 5 years. It was in my Book Club before we moved and I never got a chance to read it. Now you remind me of it again!

    I'm rather good with languages, but think Japanese is a very difficult language. Just their customs of addressing people take getting used to. My husband is quite good with that as he deals with the Japanese market.

    Hope you will have a good week and take care of yourself!

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    1. Trying to learn Japanese has been very challenging so far.

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  11. Good luck with the Japanese. I'm finding it very hard to remember the words!

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    1. Japanese is trickier than most languages I've tried to learn in the past. I could at least read the words even if I didn't know what they meant. Not so with Japanese.

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  12. That's such a cute Wren! Happy your January was so good in reading, mine was pretty great too.

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  13. Thankfully my parents were able to get their vaccination. I went ahead and put my name on the list so that my state knows I want to the vaccine as soon as I'm eligible. I enjoued Before the Coffee Gets Cold too. I listened to the Divine Comedy a few years ago. I hope you enjouy your books this week.

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  14. It's great that you've read so many excellent novels already this year. I loved A Gentleman in Moscow, too, and plan to read Transcendent Kingdom in February.

    My FIL got his first dose of the vaccine last week and a few friends(all in FL) did, too. I've got a few years until I turn 65, so it will be a while for me. My parents (both 85) have appointments scheduled in NY... but not until late Feb and early March.

    The wren is so cute! Hope you have a good week.

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    1. The main thing for me is that my dad is immunized, I think.

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  15. I'm enjoying my reading so far this year, too. I just have so many other things on the go as well.
    Vaccines are moving slowly here but I think it will pick up. Currently it is front line workers and long term care facilities. Then it will go by age.
    Still in lockdown here. Online shopping is getting out of hand in this household!

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    1. We have been missing the constant flurry of packages at our house before Christmas.

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  16. The vaccine rollout hasn’t even started here, it seems we are at the back of the line for distribution since we only have cases in quarantine, which is fair enough, there are other countries in greater need.
    I can’t read Japanese but I know a few basic phrases because I had a Japanese roommate in university.
    I’m really curious about The Disappearing Spoon, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

    Wishing you a great reading week

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    1. A naturalist friend loaned me Disappearing Spoon. I feel like I am learning so much from it.

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  17. Those little wrens are adorable!!

    My dad has gotten the vaccine, along with my aunt and uncle. My mom is still waiting and it is making me crazy! She is on the list, just waiting her turn. :( One of my best friends has gotten both doses already, she is a respiratory therapist on the front lines. I am feeling much relieved about her getting it. :)

    Stay safe and have a good week!

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    1. I have a great feeling of relief when I think about those I know who have received the vaccine.

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  18. That little wren is the sweetest thing!

    Hope you have a great week!

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  19. The little Caroline wren is adorable! We have wrens here, dear little birds with an amazingly loud song for their wee size. I'm 63, so I'm not expecting to get my vaccination until the summer as I have no underlying health issues. But the one thing I can't fault is the determination to get our population vaccinated as fast as possible - which is just as well, because we have been really hammered in the UK. This week we saw our death toll go over 100,000...:((. Have a great week, Deb.

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  20. I'm glad that you got to read 'Transcendent Kingdom.' I hope you get to so many books this year.I hope to hear more about your travels to. I picked up a passenger from Saudi and feel so energized from that talk with him.

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    1. This time last year I was in Paris. We were hearing scary things about a new virus.

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  21. You are doing great on your challenges!

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  22. i got my first vaccine injection on wednesday. yeah! now have to wait for my wonderful's turn. the wrens are very active in our are, chirping like crazy

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  23. I hope you'll be able to get the vaccine soon too! Over here it's not sure yet if I'll be able to get the vaccine as a teacher in an essential job, I hope so though. Otherwise I have no idea how long it will take.

    I have read and loved The Narrow Road to the Deep North, although I also remember it as a though read.
    I'd like to read Transcendent Kingdom this year as well, I loved Homegoing and am happy to know you enjoyed this one.

    Also, love your picture about your favourite bird. We have some birds in our garden as well, but not much variety, I feel.

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    1. I would think teachers should get their vaccines quickly.

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  24. so glad you have been enjoying many books recently, and congrats on learning Japanese. I'm still working on learning Italian for reading. Japanese would be awesome too, but I doubt I will have time to know enough to read books

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    1. So far I have done the first exercise in Japanese three times, and I'm not sure I know much more than how to say hello, goodbye, and book.

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  25. I got the first dose because I'm a health care workers but I'll only get the second dose after 45 to 90 days which may make the first dose useless, and we are told to be super careful because we can still get the virus and pass it on. *sigh
    Looks like your fiction reading got off to a good start. :-)

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    1. I hope you will be able to get the second dose promptly.

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  26. I wanted to get the vaccine because I have underlying health conditions but my doctor said she didn't know when she would get any. I am hoping to the the one dose vaccine though.

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    1. It seems like here you have to call and get in anywhere you can. I wish we were doing more mass inoculations.

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  27. Your nonfiction books sound interesting. That little wren is so cute!

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  28. So glad you are enjoying your reading more this year. My friend sent me a website that my granddaughter and I have been enjoying with birdsong. It is wonderful. Stay safe, and hang in there until you can get your vaccine.

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    1. The only bird I recognize from its birdsong is the cardinal.

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  29. Love the Carolina Wren. Was he in your yard? Thanks for hosting. My Sunday Salon post

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    1. Yes, he likes my crepe myrtle next to the kitchen window.

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  30. I know a little Spanish and a little Italian. My son who is on the spectrum is teaching himself Japanese. We are anxiously awaiting the shots. They are doing 80+ at the moment. We are in the 55 age bracket, but both have chronic conditions. We are staying at home and patiently waiting our turn too.

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  31. We get our first vaccine shots this week!!!! Happy reading.

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  32. My State still seems to be concentrating on vaccinating medical personnel and nursing home residents and staff. Although I'm 70 and immunosuppressed, my turn hasn't come yet. I'm eager to hear from my healthcare provider when my turn comes around. You are doing so well on your reading challenges! Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  33. I will be getting my second shot this week! I feel grateful, especially since I really didn't want to move to this assisted living residence. But who knew the Pandemic would come and make me glad I had a safe space.

    I enjoyed the Nonfiction Reading Challenge this past year, reading seven books (my goal was six!), and because I still have nonfiction books on my stacks, I signed up again.

    Enjoy your week! I read ten books in January, and my favorites were The Wife Upstairs and The Push.

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    1. I am glad you are in a safe space. And thank you so much for sharing your favorite books of the month.

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  34. That is so amazing you are learning Japanese now.. I recall a friend trying to learn it because of his work, and helping him practice.. It certainly was tough..
    I only recall the word konichiwa ... :)

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  35. Here, you can't make an appt for the vaccine unless you are in one of the priority groups but I have heard of some people just showing up and getting lucky. It will be a long while before I have the opportunity to get it. I get my second shingles shot next week and I am happy about that because there was a shortage of #2 which would make the whole thing pointless. Let's hope I do not react to it. I didn't for #1 but my husband did to both.

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  36. Yay, that's so great that so many of your friends and family have received the vaccine! And, very impressed that you are learning Japanese. I love languages and remember taking Japanese many years ago through a continuing education program. It was so hard but I had fun. Granted, I think I remember all of 5 words! haha.. Hope you get to read lots of great books this month. I'm curious about the book with Spoon in the title. Pretty cover!

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  37. Ah that little wren is gorgeous. Hopefully this year 2021 we will love so many of the books we read. It's my aim anyway!

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  38. I've pretty much accepted the fact that I won't get my vaccine until this summer. My dad did get his first one, which is a great relief for me! His state hasn't been handling vaccinations well, but he was able to go through the VA and they have a much more efficient system.

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  39. I'm been considering taking advantage of Rosetta Stone for years now. I love learning languages and love that you've done a few so far!

    I cannot wait for the vaccine. I'm just counting down my days at this point.

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I love to hear what you think.