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Bel-Cam Jos

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Reached my minimum book amount (20) for a summer; but there are still a couple weeks to go.

The newest "Chet & Bernie" mystery, Heart of Barkness by Spencer Quinn. As always, narrator Chet the dog is wonderful. Bernie DIDN'T die in the previous book (that's no spoiler here), and they take on a case (sort of) that takes them into New Mexico and old Mexico, about murders associated with an aging country western singer. Funny at times, thoughtful at times, with a late wrap-up and a surprise last sentence!

Michael Crichton's Westworld, for the 1970s film (which I didn't know he directed), so it's actually in script form. I've seen a little of the HBO series, but not enough to grasp the plot specifics beyond the Fantasy-Island-goes-horribly-wrong (or, "worng," as the book cover shows) concept. Scary how some authors predict the future with their writings. I guess if I watch the movie, instead of the TV show, I might notice some details from having read it already. A very fast read.

Richard III, by William Shakeshere or something (I love the variations on his last name I get from students who write about his plays WHEN THEY HAVE THE BOOK RIGHT THERE TO READ THE CORRECT SPELLING. Ahem. About a country's leader who is delusional, self-centered, unsupported by most of his underlings who aren't the ones let go, does anything to get ahead but then questions why these poorly-designed plans fail? Nope; never heard of anyone fitting THAT description in the past 100+ years or so... I might have preferred the footnotes and introductory material more than the play itself (but you gotta love Shakespearean wordplay! ).
 

Bel-Cam Jos

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With 2 more: over 6K pages and 22 books. One was really good, and the other was not.

New-writer Rory Power's Wilder Girls was on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, and I heard it was something to read. Well, I did read it. But it's trying to jumble too much into one story: girls on an island with a disease-thing infecting them, have to survive with occasional supplies sent by boat, plus poorly-constructed dialogue and clichéd and predictable plotlines. Oh, and there's profanity, horror, and "feminism," according to the blurbs on the book cover (but I don't think their definition of the term fits). But the cover painting is awesome! (I first judged this book by this way)

A classic: Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. I saw the recent film version, and had heard the book ended differently. Not too differently, though; but her style is to gather all the facts, present it logically, then let the truth come out. It works well.

[edit: 7/23/19] These next 3 books are part of a milestone for my summer reading stats: I have now read 500 books over the past 16 summers, and over 135K pages.

July, July by Tim O'Brien, known for novels set in the Vietnam era. It's about a school reunion in July of 2000 that looks back on the events of mainly July 1969: people making poor and life-changing choices, regretting or ruing said decisions. Runs the gamut of emotions: sometimes funny, usually brooding, occasionally surprising. Pretty good overall.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, who won the Pulitzer Prize for an earlier book. Based on a 100+ year history of a Florida juvenile center (basically a jail, despite being called a reformatory school), it's a fictionalized chronicle following one boy's time there. A twist towards the end (as all good twists do) makes the reader re-examine all the parts that preceded that point. It's brutal in its descriptions and with the inspiring words of Martin Luther King, Jr. echoing throughout the story, the reality of was IS going on is juxtaposed with the ideas of what COULD happen in the future.

Mirror Image by, wait for it... Ice-T and Jorge Hiojosa. I was looking for an "I" author on the bookshelves of the library and was surprised to see this book by the "star of Law & Order: SVU," as the cover stated. It's not very good overall, as it begins with some of the most horrible descriptions I've read (chapter 2 made my shoulders hunch and my mind cringe), then continues with all the reasons why Scarface and Grand Theft Auto fans are so misguided and myopic, going into an interesting set-up for the elaborate heist plan, then degenerates into cliched dialogue and situations that are begging to please turn this into a big-budget movie with a star-studded cast! Yeah! ... No.
 
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Bel-Cam Jos

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Book #29 of the summer vaults me over 8000 pages read.
Looking for an 'X' author (no, not Chris Claremont), I found another of Qiu Xiaolong's Inspector Chen mysteries, The Mao case. The character is a poet who knows English, as well as being a cop in Shanghai around the turn of the century (still not sure of what year its set; this was published in 2009 though). The case involves a possible item connected to Mao Zedong, and how this item might be seen as negative towards the reputation of the leader. It's slow for the first 2/3 (I nodded off a few times), but it takes off quickly towards the end. There's an item that the inspector doesn't look at (it's hidden inside another object), which sure might disappoint readers, but it stays consistent with Chen as a character.
 

The OC47150

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Almost done with Master and Apprentice.

Read Vince Flynn's Term Limits at the Y. It was good.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

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OC, I think that El Chuxter liked M&A more than I did, but it was still a good read.

My summer reading is at an end, with these last two...

Is There Life After Housework?, by Don Alsett. I had never heard of this man, nor the city where he was from (Pocatello, ID) until this summer. I got this book from his Museum of Clean on a road trip through that part of the country. This book shows off his knowledge of cleaning and organizing techniques, products, and hints. Sometimes funny, always considerate of people's time and resources, it's a good step-by-step process of how to make one's home better settled.

The World We Found, by Thrity Umrigar. I wanted a 'U' author and found this book about 4 close friends from college in India who drift apart for different reasons. It became a suspense book at one point, more so than a relationship renewal story, in trying to get the converted-to-a-different-religion woman away from her husband to make it to the airport and plane to visit the terminally-ill friend now living in America. I learned quite a bit about Indian history in the late-20th century and the difficulties some groups (by gender, by religion, by socio-economy, by age) have in fitting into society at-large and within families and friends. Well constructed novel; I think I have a few more 'U's available now in future summers, seeking out her other books.

Final summer data: 2019 (31 books = 8600 pgs.; 277 pgs. per), past 16 summers (506 books = 138,400 pgs., 274 pgs. per, 32 books per summer).
Categories: general fiction (6 books), Childrens/YA (5), Star Wars (3), Mystery (3), Movies/TV (3), Classics (2), Auto-/Biography (2), History/Science (2), Travel (1), Humor (1), Philosophy (1), Fantasy (1), Play (1).
Authors by last names: A (2), B (4), C (4), E, F, G (2), I, M, O, P (2), Q, S (3), U, V, W (3), X, and Z (2).
 

The OC47150

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Have less than 15 pages left in M&A. No spoilers here but I will say I think this was the first SW novel I've read (and correct me if I'm wrong) where boobs and getting laid were mentioned. I know I'm gonna sound like an old fogey when I write this, but I didn't expect that in a SW novel. Kinda surprising.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

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Sadly, after the passing of Toni Morrison, I read one of hers, knowing that unless there are unpublished manuscripts out there, what's out there now is all there ever will be. :( So, Love, a short novel, was my choice. Set along a beach area with a formerly-famous hotel owned by a now-dead owner, the women associated with him handle his death and his estate. It's got wonderful wordplay in the narration, but unusual shifts in point of view and setting. Still not sure by the end what actually happened (and, I believe, the title only appears as a word in the novel once or twice, near the end), but I am sure that's the point. Really good.

[edit: 8/24] Not because of the film's release recently, but someone let me borrow a copy of The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Most of the time reading it was a pain: unrealistic situations (even considering it's told through the POV of a dog; but I have read series that do just that before, and in much better styles than this one) and dialogue, cruel scenarios the characters are forced to deal with (and making the reader suffer through them, too). The human protagonist is a potentially-great race car driver whose family situations make that dream difficult at times. By the end, it got better, but the process of getting to that end was so laborious and taxing that I almost quit. Maybe the movie's better.
 
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Bel-Cam Jos

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My book for September might end up being this one: Only Human by Silvain Neuvel. I found out this sci-fi book is the 3rd of a trilogy. Ugh. It was what I would expect from fan fiction, not a major publisher: inconsistent dialogue format, less-than-realistic "file" chapters, lame 21st century references, a plot that drags on, blatantly obvious connections to today's "hot issues." The storyline is that a distant planet of aliens and robots is holding some Terrans (people of Earth, of course) but with all the "files" flashing back, it's not confusing to follow but uninteresting, which is probably worse. Ugh again. [p.s. This is my 1400th book ever read]
 

The OC47150

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Finished a book about Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. Very good.

Picked up Black Spires and started reading it. Less than 30 pages in so I will reserve judgement.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

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Finished a book about Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. Very good.

Picked up Black Spires and started reading it. Less than 30 pages in so I will reserve judgement.
Was the title Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders? ;)

I, too, am about a chapter into BS. Most SW books about another platform (Ruins of Dantooine, both Force Unleashed books, et al) have not been very good. I hope this bucks that trend.
 

InsaneJediGirl

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Finished a book about Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. Very good.

Picked up Black Spires and started reading it. Less than 30 pages in so I will reserve judgement.
I just picked up Theodore Rex, haven't started it yet. You've given me another to add to the list/collection.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

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I have completed a rare accomplishment: all 26 letters of authors' last names, with Sunil Yapa's Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist, in a single year. It's a fictionalized account of the Nov. 1999 (hard to believe that's 2 decades ago...) Seattle WTO protests. It alternates points of view (city's police chief and estranged son protester, 2 police officers whose behaviors/personalities and actions get juxtaposed, some "professional" experienced protesters, a delegate from Sri Lanka) as the formerly-peaceful organized event degrades into chaos and causalities. Sometimes it's decent, but mostly it's only okay as it tries to be deeper in thought and style. It's his debut novel and I have not been published, so pay no attention to the unpublished man behind the curtain.

[edit: 11/10/19] Well, I read a book I'd seen on store shelves for a few months, and thought it might be a fun concept: Hope Never Dies: A Biden Obama Mystery by Andrew Shaffer. The two politicians have been in retirement for a year or so after their terms ended as VP and Pres respectively, and someone Joe knows is dead; could it be... murder? So, they investigate the crime, despite no experience as detectives or cops. There were a couple funny parts, but the false "beef" between the two men is confusing most of the time and distracting far too often. Scenarios aren't realistic, dialogue is usually dull or too witty, but if you want to learn about Delaware history and locales (and Amtrak information) this is a fictional book for you. It's apparently part of a series (at least two books), but I think I've had enough after one.
 
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Bel-Cam Jos

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Break time! (gobble, gobble) The second of these books becomes the 1000th non-Star Wars book I've ever read, all-time.

The Big Ones by Dr. Lucy Jones, of SoCal earthquake announcements fame, was well written and very informative, just like her press conferences used to be. She traces about a dozen world natural disasters (some "everybody" knows like Pompeii, Katrina, or Indonesian tsunami; others I'd never heard of like Iceland's Laki volcano or Lisbon's 18th century earthquake) and not only recounts the damages, causes, numbers, and histories; but also ways the future generations can learn from them and either prevent the losses or be more prepared for similar events.

The Good Neighbor, a biography of Mister Fred Rogers, by Maxwell King. In some ways the same review above fits this book (if you disregard natural disasters and substitute human interactions, problems, and growth). I did not know how many people were from the Pittsburgh area in various arenas (sports, biographers, child psychologists, architects, etc.). If teaching and learning followed his precepts and style, maybe the world would be more of a good neighborhood.

[edit: 11/29/19] I judged this book by its cover... summaries (the back and inside covers). Lent by Jo Walton, said it was set in plague-era Florence Italy, and Hell, but over many years. The main character, somewhat like Fred Rogers, seems too pious and good to be true, as a Dominican monk in a city full of corruption and secular desires. By the end (which is among the most abrupt I have ever read; it's rare that I turn the page and say "that's it?" because I did not expect that), the reader knows there is more going on there, especially about that protagonist. It's somewhat historical, which helps if readers know what actually occurred... in our recorded history, that is. Or, have I said too much? :p

[edit: 12/3/19] I had read that of all of Zane Grey's westerns, Riders of the Purple Sage was not only his best, but among the greatest western books of all time, any author. Well, it was okay, but I tried to imagine I was reading this in 1912 when it was published. What I learned was that this was heavily edited or censored, and I read the 2005 version that was Grey's intended story: set in late-19th-century Utah, it centers around a Mormon woman and how the locals treat her and those she's close to. It's relatively violent (several shooting deaths, children endangered and hurt), deals with religious troubles (stereotypes and misconceptions, intolerance within and between belief systems), and is quote wordy in dialogue (and overly-dramatic, as was the style then). I have read a couple other of his books in the past that I preferred to this one.
 
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Bel-Cam Jos

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A short book (not a commentary on the size of the author), No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg, is a collection of her speeches before various groups and political gatherings about climate policies. It's repetitive (but that's a good thing: it comes out as consistency rather than redundancy), usually grave or accusatory (again: appropriate considering the content), and occasionally funny (I smiled multiple times).

[edit: 12/23] I saw this on a "new books" shelf a while back, and by the time I got around to reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, it was no longer "new." The premise is an Australian old book expert is asked to research a religious book found in Bosnia in 1996. In alternating chapters (which were usually long) that go further back in time (to the late 15th-century), the reader learns who was in possession/aware of the book or who created/bound it, while the 20th-century expert can only guess. It reminded me of Lent, in that the settings were in similar parts of the Mediterranean and involved passing through time, with different points of view and the struggle to keep secrets. Very good.

[edit: 12/26] I had Nora Roberts on my list (LISTS... drool) of authors to read, I saw a cover (judged this book by it, too) that looked Christmas-y with snow and holly and a snowglobe, and said why not? Gabriel’s Angel was another example of my I read so few romance genre books. Communication, or the lack thereof, seemed to be the motif of this story. A pregnant woman crashes her car in a Colorado snow storm, a notable painter takes her to his cabin. They have little chemistry, but by the end, they are married with a son named after the man's brother who'd died a year or so ago, and the rich east coast family who had threatened to sue to get their grandson back but this threat was only a plot detail for the last 2 chapters or so and a few lines made it seem as if the man's family had some history with the east coast one but turned out not so. Uh, yeah.
 
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Bel-Cam Jos

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One of my most productive reading years (most total pages, among the most individual books, another all-26-author-letters) ends, with opportunities for more (hopefully) in 2020!

BOOKS READ: 2019 (71 total books, 19,700 pgs., 277 pgs. per; summer: 31 books = 8600 pgs.; 277 pgs. per)

Ambrose, SE (Nothing Like It in the World, 400)
Anders, L. (Pirate’s Price, 200)
Aslett, D. (Is There Life After Housework?, 200)
Bardugo, L. (Wonder Woman:Warbringer, 300)
Barry, D. (Lessons from Lucy, 200)
Bird, IL (A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, 200)
Bond, M. (More About Paddington, 200)
Brooks, G. (People of the Book, 400)
Burnett, C. (In Such Good Company, 300)
Butler, OE (Kindred, 300)
Christie, A. (Murder on the Orient Express, 300)
Collins, M. (Carrying the Fire, 400)
Converse, PJ (Subway Girl, 200)
Cordova, Z. (A Crash of Fate, 300)
Corrigan. M. (So We Read On, 300)
Crichton, M. (Westworld, 100)
Dawson, DS (Black Spire, 400)
Estleman, L. (Brazen, 200)
Evers-Williams, M. & M. Marable [eds.] (The Autobiography of Medgar Evers, 300)
Freed, A. (Alphabet Squadron, 400)
Golding, D. (Star Wars After Lucas, 200)
Gray, C. (Master & Apprentice, 300)
Green, T. (Deep Zone, 300)
Gresh, LH & R. Weinberg (Why Did it Have to be Snakes?, 300)
Grey, Z. (Riders of the Purple Sage, 300)
Hanks, T. (Uncommon Type, 400)
Ice-T & J. Hinojosa (Mirror Image, 300)
Ireland, J. (Spark of Resistance, 200)
Jeter, D. & P. Mantell (Fair Ball, 200)
Johnston, EK (Queen’s Shadow, 300)
Jones, L. (Big Ones, The, 200)
King, M. (Good Neighbor, The, 300)
Koryta, M. (Ridge, The 300)
Krosoczka, J. (Jedi Academy:Revenge of the Sis, 200)
Larson, E. (Isaac’s Storm, 300)
Martin, L. (Edge of Extinction:The Ark Plan, 300)
Mckesson, DR (On the Other Side of Freedom, 200)
Moody, R. (Hotels of North America, 200)
Morrison, T. (Love, 200)
Neuvel, S. (Only Human, 300)
O’Brien, T. (July, July, 300)
Pacilio, R. (Meet Me at Moonlight Beach, 300)
Power, R. (Wilder Girls, 400)
Prior, KS (On Reading Well, 200)
Quinn, S. (Heart of Barkness, 300)
Quinn, S. (Ruff vs. Fluff, 300)
Radcliffe, A. (Women of the Galaxy, 200)
Randazzo, J. [editor] (The Onion Book of Known Knowledge, 200)
Reynolds, B. & J. Winokur (But Enough About Me, 300)
Roanhorse, R. (Resistance Reborn, 300)
Roberts, N. (Gabriel’s Angel, 300)
Santopietro, T. (Considering Doris Day, 300)
Scott, C. (Choose Your Destiny:A Han & Chewie Adventure, 100)
Scott, C. (Dooku: Jedi Lost, 300)
Shaffer, A. (Hope Never Dies, 300)
Shakespeare, W. (Richard III, 200)
Shinick, K. (Force Collector, 300)
Smith, A. (Grasshopper Jungle, 300)
Stein, G. (The Art of Racing in the Rain, 300)
Thunberg, G. (No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, 100)
Tokarczuk, O. (Flights, 400)
Umrigar, T. (The World We Found, 300)
Vidal, G. (Hollywood, 400)
Walton, J. (Lent, 400)
Weller, S. (The Bradbury Chronicles, 300)
Wharton, E. (The House of Mirth, 300)
Whitehead, C. (The Nickel Boys, 200)
Xiaolong, Q. (The Mao Case, 300)
Yapa, S. (Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist, 300)
Zahn, T. (Thrawn:Treason, 300)
Zee, G. (Chasing Helicity, 200)

BY GENRE (number of books each):
Star Wars = 15
General Fiction = 12
Children/YA = 6
Autobio-/Bio = 5
Mystery/Horror = 5
History/Science = 5
Fantasy = 4
Movies/TV = 4
Philosophy = 3
Sports = 2
Classics = 2
Education/Learning = 2
Travel = 1
Westerns = 1
Sci-Fi = 1
Plays = 1
Humor = 1
Romance = 1

Summer Totals (16 years, 506 books = 138,400 pgs., 274 pgs. per, 32 books per summer)
Yearly Totals (since 2010: 10 years, 640 books = 168,400 pgs., 263 pgs. per, 64 books per year)

[edit] And to start off this new year, Neil deGrasse Tyson's Letters from an Astrophysicist, a short collection of letters he's received and sent over his years in science and the public eye, but in a more private setting. Funny at times, serious about science and how it's viewed and respected (or should be), and short and to the point.
 
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Bel-Cam Jos

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I'd had Little Women on my list (wait; that came out wrong...) to read for a while, even before the re-make film was mentioned. I saw Louisa May Alcott's story on the big screen this winter, and had hoped to read the book before doing so; however, I assumed this "children's book" was around 200-300 pages long. Nope: it was over 500, in tiny font, with thin pages, in the book I checked out from the library; and it took over a month for me to finish. I liked it: very detailed, but not slow; excellent characterization (I cannot think of any book that paints the individuals so well, so nuanced, and gives each times to shine); a polite but firm style of narrating (Alcott calls herself a "historian" of the family) and occasionally sermonizing (but she admits she's doing so, most of the time) about people and society.

[edit: 1/23] I don't recall how this book ended up on my scopes (maybe the protagonist's name? maybe some of the locations in it where I've lived/visited?), but I am not a better person for having read Andy Marino's Autonomous. Listed as a YA book (I know I've railed against books marketed to teens that are in no way appropriate for young readers and are too "adult" to fit) and starring high schoolers, it is more of what adolescents "want" but shouldn't have (at that age, maybe not ever), such as: racing other cars in 100+ MPH street races, VR and AR games, drug use and drinking, premarital activities, fun with bullying or shaming, laser-tag gun battles, a supposedly-nationally-known music/arts festival, social media statistics and hashtags, fashion and lots and lots of brand names, the dark web and mystery apps/sites, way too much profanity, no financial or personal consequences at all. The plot involves someone who wins a driverless car and the week-long road trip with three other friends; the car begins to learn about human behaviors and decisions. There are some creepy moments, some unthinkable actions, some highly-questionable choices that scream for adult supervision (note: there are none) or advice. Message I received: kids today are driverless cars, just heading for a crash, with no "instruction manual" to guide them. It was that bad, yeah.
 
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Bel-Cam Jos

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Whenever I saw a rerun of Ken Burns' Baseball series, and Studs Terkel was an interviewee, I wanted to read something by him (as he was listed as "author" on the screen). Hope Dies Last was the first book I chose. Apparently, he's considered an oral historian, speaking to people about some thematic topic and condensing those conversations into book form. This one was about people's experiences with hope (and its various antonyms) and perseverance, from multiple social levels and backgrounds. Being based in Chicago, most of his subjects were from that region, but there's still a good balance and variety of stories, plus ages of people. Published in 2004, much of it references Sept. 11 and its effects, with them very recent and still sensitive. The chapters are short, so it didn't take long to read passages. It does give hope, which I suppose was the primary intention, despite some pretty negative situations and actions.

[edit: 2/24] At school, this book was recommended by several of my colleagues: Tommy Orange's There There. The author is an "urban Indian," growing up in Oakland, CA (where this novel is set). It follows multiple Natives (not Native Americans, as the characters often stated) over years, whose lives mostly all come together by the end of the book. There are some too-coincidental-to-be-realistic aspects, but they actually work to build the story. Lots of profanity (it's heavily dialogue-based, and several of the characters are young adults), but it was a good tale.
 
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Bel-Cam Jos

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I don't know if I have ever posted on a Leap Day here before.
Never Die Easy is the autobiography of Walter Payton with Don Yaeger. Apparently, as Payton's health deteriorated rapidly, the book was compiled quickly. It's more of memories of Payton and others who knew him, which makes it more honest and direct. I did not realize that Franco Harris and Payton were both chasing Jim Brown's NFL rushing record in the same season. There is actually more in the book about Walter the person and how he tried to help people, than his football achievements (but there are plenty of those, too), and not as many photos as many autobios have.
This makes over 2K pages read on the year so far, but just 7 total books.

[edit: 3/7] Margaret Atwood's The Testaments got a lot of coverage when it was released last year. In a way, it is like The Rise of Skywalker: a 30+ year sequel to a story from the 1980s (but this one really did need closure, unlike ROJ which did just that). The Handmaid's Tale was in journal form, and so is this book. It was suspenseful, which I did not expect, but unfortunately by the end, the suspense fizzled and the results just happened. It follows the bad times in Gilead (a future country made up of most, but not all, of the USA) and its theocracy, but also in Canada where resistance movements are (hey: Star Wars but not in the stars, eh?). Not knowing "everything" was a bit where-really-did-Snoke-come-from, as some plot holes were left empty, as the journal entries ended (even with a 22nd-century epilogue). It was really good before it turned out just okay.
 
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Bel-Cam Jos

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With more reading opportunities with time off from teaching in-person, here are two more (I seem to be choosing female authors during Women's History Month, apparently).

Elizabeth Acevedo The Poet X. Written to look like poetry style, it's about a high school girl dealing with her family life, her school life, her personal and social lives. Authentically sounding from the point of view of a teenager who's struggling with growing up and fitting in. Recommended by my colleagues, several of whom teach this book in their English classes.

Farah Ahmedi & Tamim Ansary The Story of My Life. This was from about 15 years ago, where an Afghan family of mother and daughter survived the concerns and conditions of Afghanistan in the late 20th century, to Pakistan, then the USA. It's co-written by the daughter (a junior in high school at the time, living with a prosthesis from stepping on a land mine as a child), from her perspective about the challenges of fitting into a new culture. Considering the limitations now with the Coronavirus situation, one realizes how bad things can be, but with help and hope, how better they can become.

[edit: 3/18] Another of those author-on-my-to-read-list choices: J.D. Robb Origin in Death. It's set in 2060s NYC around a homicide cop (and her new husband, job partner and co-workers) trying to solve murders of esteemed doctors. Part-way through, the "murderer" is revealed, and she actually speaks with the person, but because of the plastic surgery and genetic aspect of these doctors, it's not as clear who the suspect(s) is/are. It is just enough of a futuristic story but still recognizable today; pretty good, considering I normally don't like police crime mysteries.

[edit: 3/19] Horrible choice to read... Ayn Rand's Anthem. Tries to over-simplify the whole world and how people are part of it. Reminds me of bad fan-fict. Now I can say I read something by her; no more.

[edit: 3/22] Much better pick... Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming was thoughtful and detailed. I learned quite a bit about her life, upbringing, and perspective of Barack's personal and public life with her. She feels strongly about her choices, she is concerned but not obsessed with her reputation and perception, and she is aware of her roles and places where she operates. Her motifs of "swerves" (those times in life where changes are made) and growth (like her garden at the White House, where change needs time to grow and attention to get there), as well as giving thanks to those who helped pave her way were great constants through her book.

[edit: 3/24] With my time with environmental issues, school clubs, and just a general desire not to have the earth be destroyed; I kept reading about Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. While this harbinger of doom (with a but-it's-not-all-over-yet final chapter) wasn't the wisest reading selection now, while staying indoors due to a global pandemic, it's still shocking to realize that this is almost 60 years old and STILL some of these same problems are going on. I did not realize so many insects and birds and fish species had such varied names (she knows a lot about all of them, plus the chemicals that interact with them, usually fatally). Basically, Carson argues that chemical spraying, especially DDT, is an utter and complete failure that is not only destroying ecosystems and their creatures, but making more of what was supposed to be wiped out and leading to troubles for a long time, if not irreversible chaos. That said, it was still very informative and instructive for society.
 
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