Anyway, an easy entry for me to write is the quarterly one from the third quarter (July / August / September) of 2020. I was pretty busy during that time, trying to clear out work things in preparation for retirement, so there just wasn’t a lot of stuff.
No movies at all that quarter, for example. As for goals:
- I did update my personal cell phone. But not my television, yet. I should probably count the printer purchase here, too.
- I enrolled in the Smithsonian Certificate Program in Art History. (And you will be hearing more about that in the near future.) When I mentioned this to one of my friends, she decided to join me, which is nice because it gives me somebody to talk about art with.
- I got 38 books out of my condo. I traded 33 at McKay’s and gave 5 to friends.
- I entered the Style Invitational one more time.
And then comes Books:
- Alexander McCall Smith, To the Land of Long Lost Friends. It is always pleasant spending some time with Precious Ramotswe and company. In this case, Mma Ramotswe is reunited with a childhood friend who had mistakenly been believed dead. This leads to her investigating a minister with a growing following. There’s also a very satisfying side story involving Charlie and his fiancé and his moral dilemma involving obtaining a suitable bride price. As always, the stories are handled with warmth and charm (and lots of rooibos tea). As always, a delight to read.
- Ladies of the Church. This was the cookbook that the notorious frozen delight recipe came from. I remember the person who gave this to my mother as a better cook than her entries in this would suggest. At any rate, I passed it along to susandennis who noticed that the very first recipe in the book was for roach killer!
- Ben Katcher, The Dairy Restaurant. I love Katcher’s illustrations and I love (Jewish) dairy food like blintzes and knishes. But I found this book rather dull, largely because of how comprehensive it was. I wanted more personal stories and fewer lists of every dairy restaurant in New York City and their addresses. I suppose this is handy as a reference, though it would need an index in that case. But it was hard reading and disappointing.
- Beryl Markham, West With the Night. This was a book club selection, though I had been the one who had suggested it. Markham was an Anglo-Kenyan woman, who trained race horses, flew airplanes (including crossing the Atlantic from Europe to North America, which is the explanation of the title) and had numerous affairs with men. Her memoir is interesting, albeit not particularly reliable, and skips over her rather scandalous love life. It all makes for a good story, assuming one is willing to suspend a lot of disbelief. At any rate, it led to a good discussion at book club.
- Iris Bahr, Dork Whore. The title is terrible, but actually makes a certain amount of sense. Iris is an Israeli woman who, upon completing her Army service, sets out to travel in Asia and lose her virginity. That quest explains the “whore” part of the title. What makes her a dork? Well, I don’t exactly have much respect for people whose food adventures in Bangkok consist of eating BLTs. She seems interested most in shopping and doesn’t appear to have much interest in local culture, though she does manage to make it to a few tourist essentials in Vietnam and India. I’ll save you the effort of reading this and tell you that she finally does the deed back in Israel.
- Sarah Moriarty, North Haven This was another book club selection. It’s a novel about four siblings reuniting for a summer at their family home in Maine after their mother has died. The house is crumbling but they bicker over whether or not to sell it. There are a few interesting odds and ends in flashbacks, but not much actually happens. And the ending doesn’t follow from the rest of the book.
- Mary Jane Davidson, Undead and Unemployed. This is the second of Davidson’t books about vampire queen Betsy Taylor. She just wants to sell shoes on the night shift at Macy’s, but someone is going around attacking vampires and she gets drawn into the matter. She continues her complex relationship with Sinclair as the minions of his rival, the late Nostro, seek revenge for his death. It’s all pretty silly, but an enjoyable diversion. And at least it has an actual plot.