There is a meme that says (and I’m paraphrasing …): I am tired of living through unprecedented times. And oof – watching the convoy of Russian tanks advance on Kyiv, I’m feeling that. Along with an intense admiration for Ukraine’s president*. And a lot of worry. So much worry. I unabashedly stand with Ukraine.
Blogging about twee things during a global crisis always feels weird to me, but after a stretch of not writing of anything beyond my day job, I’m dipping my toes into actual productivity these days and it feels good. Hopeful.
And I’ve been reading … a lot. Here’s the roundup of what I’ve gotten into my mind since the first of the year:
The Call of Antarctica by Leilani Raashida Henry | I read this book in preparation for an event held by my local library foundation and had the extreme honor of interviewing Ms. Henry. This book is a look at the current climate crisis faced by Antarctica, as well as her personal journey following her father’s footsteps in Antarctica. Her father was George Gibbs, the first African-American to step foot on the continent. (And very cool … my kids attend Gibbs Elementary. I got some mom cred when I mentioned that I was talking to Mr. Gibbs’ daughter.)
The next books were read in preparation for the Variety Night event at Once Upon A Crime:
Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron | This is a terrible thing to say, but I did not want to like this book. But since I was interviewing the author about the 14th book in the “Being A Jane Austen Mystery” series, I wanted to start from the beginning. Due diligence done, I would turn my attention to the HUNDREDS of unread books in my home library, on my Kindle, etc. But … BUT! Damn, this was a good book. And now I have 13 more “Jane” books to read. (Also, side note – Stephanie Barron, who also writes as Francine Mathews, is one of the most engaging people I’ve ever interviewed for a book event. I could listen to this woman read a telephone book, she is just incredible.)
China Trade by S.J. Rozan | And the same thing happened with S.J. Rozan’s book “China Trade.” She was reading from the 14th book in her series, I wanted to read the first book so I could seem to be knowledgeable about her characters. And now I’m sucked in. Her book features private investigators Lydia Chin and Bill Smith, set on the mean streets of New York City. So good.
The Devil You Know by Wayne Johnson | So, Johnson’s book “The Red Canoe” comes out on March 5th, so I had an EXCUSE to not read his new release, so I went back and read “The Devil You Know.” Johnson is a writer of Native and European descent and several of his fiction books have been set in Northern Minnesota. His writing is just lyrical.
Devil’s Chew Toy by Rob Osler | This book was a ROMP. Osler has proudly created a new sub-subgenre in mysteries with his “queer cozy – quozy” book. And FINALLY, this book is the FIRST of the series and I won’t need to be playing catch up, like the rest of the books I read for my February event.
(If you are interested in watching the February event, Once Upon A Crime archives their virtual events. Click here for more info.)
The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath | It wasn’t terrible, but I had to read this for work. So … enough said.
The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson | I had the pleasure of meeting Nancy a few years back and am thrilled by the reception that her debut novel has received. This book is a pleasure.
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport | I love Newport’s books on productivity. The gist of this one is that there are a lot of things in the digital/electronic world that are vying for our attention; what would happen if we were more strategic and intentional about how we consumed social media? Given how much I’ve stepped back from Facebook over the past couple of years, I see how breaking some of these ties is beneficial to my productivity and my mental health.
MAT 111 Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1971: Stories from 33 Quebec’s Tour of Duty by Jim Roberts | I have no clue how this book found its way onto my radar screen, but I bought it as part of my research for my current Work In Progress (WIP). One of my characters is a Vietnam veteran and although I grew up knowing veterans and hearing various stories, I’ve been seeking out more information. This book is a very solid memoir of stories from this man’s time in Vietnam.
Now that my February event is over, I have two threads to my reading – enjoyment and picking off books that I’ve been wanting to read but haven’t had a chance to. Also, I’m reading for content (i.e. – Jim Roberts’ book) and am going to read for style (i.e. – reading like a writer).
Phew. I hope you are well. I hope you are healthy and staying hydrated. I hope that you find joy in little things and balance in what is increasingly a scary world. We’re still masking in my family. We still believe in science and we try to suffocate the world with kindness.
*Fun fact about Volodymyr Zelenskyy, other than the fact he was a comedian and voiced Paddington Bear for a cartoon version of the titular character … we were born in the same year. Ooooof. I don’t think I have the gravitas for anyone to follow me into war, so bless that man, his family, and his country.
What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs. I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.