Saturday, January 07, 2017

Snow! Snow! Little Finn wants to Play in the Snow!

Sorry. Ten years here, and I'm still a Floridian, and seeing all that white stuff just makes me think of "Froggy," with his "Snow! Snow! I want to play in the snow!" (Froggy Gets Dressed)
Anyway, we finally got the snow Ed's been longing for, and it's deep (for here -- probably at least five inches, I think) and powdery (so it doesn't stick!) and lovely. And Finn is absolutely Mad for it! The kids didn't much want to go out in it, except briefly, to humor Finn, but he had a marvelous time running around and around the yard, pouncing and playing. 








And this was yesterday's dinner. Ed made it, and I think it's very colorful and cheery. Wish I could eat some!

And these were actually taken after Christmas, but I missed them before.
Finny found this squeaky hedgehog. It rolls around making noises, and it makes Finn feel extremely predatory -- he actually flings it in the air, like a proper little hunter (here is a link to a picture of a coyote flinging a vole about, just to show what I mean. only you now need to picture Finn flinging a mechanical hedgehog.)



And this is Finn sweet-talking a doggy gingerbread man, right before he gulps it down like the fox in the story (the story of The Gingerbread Man, that is). My old college roommate's dog, Bart,  very kindly sent Finn a box of Trader Joe's Gingerbread Flavor Dog Treats along with his mistress's gifts to the rest of the family, and he loves his cookies. Thank you, Bart!


So, now we've had our snow and can get on to some nice spring weather, I think!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

The 2016 Books

It's that time of year. The time when I think about what I read in the year just past, and what I hope to read in the new year. And when I list what I read last year just in case Goodreads goes down and my blog remains (you know, in a selective sort of internet-zombie-apocalypse) and I need to go back later and check to see if I read something.

2016 is a year that looks readier than it really was because my list has some short stories, and I don't think anything I read was super long. No Les Miserables in 2016 (well, technically I finished it in 2016, on Jan. 2, but I counted it on last year's list anyway). Still, there were a fair number of books, and quite a few that I really enjoyed. I'm leaving off the four DNF ("did not finish") books because, well, I didn't finish them, and if I put them on I'd be tempted to say something unkind about them, and that's no way to start a new year!

January
A Long Spoon, by Jonathan Howard
The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate, by Ted Chiang
Freddy and the Ignormous, by Walter Brooks
Billy Budd, by Herman Melville
On Conan Doyle: or, the Whole Art of Storytelling, by Michael  Dirda
Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer, by Jonathan Howard
Literary Genius:  25 Classic Writers Who Define English and American Literature, by Joseph Epstein
The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast
The Beekeeper's Apprentice, by Laurie King
Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body, by Jo Marchant
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
Latest Readings, by Clive James
The Iron Jackal, by Chris Wooding
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith
Jackalope Wives, by Ursula Vernon
The Art of the English Murder, by Lucy Worsley

February
Essays After Eighty, by Donald Hall
A Simple Heart,by Gustave Flaubert
The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald
Johannes Cabal, the Detective, by Jonathan Howard
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, by Lewis Buzbee
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
The Dryad's Shoe, by T. Kingfisher
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
The Road to Little Dribbling, by Bill Bryson
The Givenness of Things, by Marilynne Robinson
The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
The War that Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

March
The Great Detective: The Amazing Rise and Immortal Life of Sherlock Holmes, by Zach Dundas
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle
Harry Potter and the Classical World, by Richard Spencer
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Huck Finn's America, by Andrew Levy
Not So Among You, by Kathy Jo DeVore
The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson
Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher
The House of Twenty-Thousand Books, by Sasha Abramsky
The Amateur Marriage, by Anne Tyler

April
Lit Up, by David Denby
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
Doorways in the Sand, by Roger Zelazny
The Island of Knowledge, by Marcelo Gleiser
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson
The Cruelest Month, by Louise Penny
The Story of Kullervo, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Pistols and Petticoats, by Erika Janik
Are Women Human? by Dorothy Sayers
Turn Coat, by Jim Butcher
Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World, by Tim Whitmarsh

May
The Ace of Skulls, by Chris Wooding
Classical Literature: An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond, by Richard Jenkyns
Theogony and Works and Days, by Hesiod
A Dark-Adapted Eye, by Barbara Vine
Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, by Cynthia Barnett
When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
Wild Life, by Molly Gloss
A Natural History of Hell, by Jeffrey Ford
Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth, by Marc Peyser
The Death of Ivan Ilych, by Leo Tolstoy
Jane Steele, by Lyndsay Faye
Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town that Talks to the Dead, by Christine Wicker

June
The Bully Pulpit, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Crime at Black Dudley, by Margery Allingham
Freedom is Space for the Spirit, by Glen Hirshberg
Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
Gluten Exposed, by Peter Green
Creed without Chaos: Exploring Theology in the Writings of Dorothy L. Sayers, by Laura K. Simmons
The  Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, by Stephanie Coontz
Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite: The Science of Monsters, by Matt Kaplan
The Fear Institute, by Jonathan Howard
The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells
One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson
Henry VI, Part 1, by William Shakespeare
Henry VI, Part 2, "                                      "
Henry VI, Part 3, "                                      "
King Richard III, by William Shakespeare
The Gates, by John Connolly
The Golem: A New Translation of the Classic Play and Selected Short Stories, by Joachim Neugroschel

July
Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin, by Ann Patty
E.B. White on Dogs, by E.B. White
The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy
The Brothers Cabal, by Jonathan Howard
The Thing on the Doorstep, by H.P. Lovecraft
The Witch of Lime Street, by David Jaher
The View from the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman
Ouroboros Ouzo, by Jonathan Howard
Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren
A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, by Mary Roach
Dimestore: A Writer's Life, by Lee Smith
A Study in Emerald, by Neil Gaiman
The Great Divide: The Conflict Between Washington and Jefferson that Defined A Nation, by Thomas Fleming
Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories, by Roald Dahl

August
Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett
Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep, by David Randall
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, by William Styron
Bad Monkey, by Carl Hiaasen
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard
Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Pickman's Model, by H.P. Lovecraft
Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, by Craig Pittman
The Lost Book of Moses, by Chanan Tigay

September
Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language, by Esther Schor
A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
The Whisperer in Darkness, by H.P. Lovecraft
We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson
Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace, by Anne Lamott
Lovecraft Country, by Matt Ruff
My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South, by Rick Bragg
Best.State.Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland, by Dave Barry

October
This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live, by Melody Warnick
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, by Kathryn Edin
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance
The Ghost Map, by Steven Johnson
The Annotated Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

November
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places, by Colin Dickey
The Story of Egypt: The Civilization that Shaped the World, by Joann Fletcher
Mrs. Rosie and the Priest, by Giovanni Boccaccio
Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again, by Kimberly Williams-Paisley
The Gothic Tradition in Supernatural, by Melissa Edmundson
Let Me Finish, by Roger Angell
My Life in France, by Julia Child
The Fall of the House of Cabal, by Jonathan Howard
The Long, Long Life of Trees, by Fiona Stafford
The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters, by Emily Esfahani Smith

December
The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People, by Thomas Frank
Ghosts in the Middle Ages: The Living and the Dead in Medieval Society, by Jean-Claude Schmitt
Midnight Riot, by Peter Aaronovitch
The Rook, by Daniel O'Malley
One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, by Kevin Kruse
From the Dust Returned, by Ray Bradbury
The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson
One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives, by Bernd Heinrich
Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories, by Robert Walser
How Much Land Does a Man Need? by Leo Tolstoy

I think that is one hundred and forty, but there are quite a few short works there. Anyway, it was a good year's reading. Jonathan Howard, with his Johannes Cabal series, was an exciting new "discovery" (many thanks go out to my sister, who kindly introduced me to him by giving me one of the short Johannes Cabal stories last Christmas!), and I'm looking forward to reading more of Peter Aaronovitch's "Peter Grant" series. The Tolkien estate has discovered a "new" piece, Beren and Luthien, , which I'm looking forward to, and Neil Gaiman has a new book coming out next month of Norse Mythology which really should be fun! And, of course, I got a couple delicious new piles of books for Christmas (many thanks to my generous family!) which will keep me going for quite a way into 2017. So, looks promising on the reading front, and I hope this new year will turn out to be wonderful in all sorts of ways, for all of us!
















Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Christmas (and best wishes for a joyful Hanukkah!)

We had a lovely holiday here. Slept late thanks to a very late night out last night at the Christmas Eve service up the mountain -- it was 9 am when Travis stood on the landing and asked, "Are you all staying in bed ironically? Nope, just lazily. But given a wake-up call we all popped up cheerfully enough and trundled down to enjoy good food, thoughtful gifts, and general silliness. I made what I am told were exceptionally superb crepes for breakfast, and the rest of the day I coasted on Saturday's cooking, when my parents joined us for a turkey dinner with all the fixings. They came over this afternoon for a while for chitchat and dessert, which was low-key and nice. 




(Katie got Finny a sweater. He actually doesn't hate it!)































(Finny also got a new Benebone. These are his favorites. They are fancy, but the last one held up for more than six months, which makes it seem more reasonable!)


(Livy finds Katie's tiny new drone just fascinating.)


Travis got new video games.

Anyway, it was a very nice day, and I hope your holidays are also filled with laughter and silliness and love!