100 Books Bucket List

Somewhere in that series of posts setting the context for my 2019 reading challenges, I mentioned an extra twist I was using to “level up” the complexity of my reading plans: a crosswalk with my “Bucket List Poster” to see if I could check off a few of those boxes along the way.

The poster is actually one of a set of three posters I purchased last spring: one for books, one for movies, one for music albums. I’m not entirely sure about the methodology of choosing what made the list—okay, I don’t have any idea what the methodology was. Some mix of legit Anglo-American classics, with some other titles tossed in to represent different genres (e.g., non-fiction, fantasy epic, kids lit, murder mystery), international perspectives, and titles that represent their zeitgeist.

My guess is that the company making these posters is British, both because of some of the inclusions (Dodie Smith? Kenneth Grahame?) and, more importantly, because of the absolute erasure of African-American and post-colonial titles. All of which is to say I wouldn’t want this to be the only source of new titles for me to choose and read,  but I’m happy enough to include it as a piece of a broader landscape.

Besides, having these hanging above my desk at home is a decor choice that is just so me, and I can’t deny the fun of scratching off a new title once I’ve read/viewed/listened to it.

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Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

I do what I can to fill out my reading categories using books I already have, whether they’re on Kindle or physically on the bookshelves. But there’s always a few categories that don’t readily lend themselves to that approach. PopSugar’s call-out to ghost stories this year is definitely one of those outlier categories, so I did what I usually do to make a selection: crawl the challenge discussion boards on Goodreads to get some ideas.

Between the good reviews (both on the boards and in the press), the National Book Award, and the resonance with my ongoing desire to keep reading more books by African-American authors, this seemed a book well worth the choosing.

And indeed it was.

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Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

It is taking some real self-discipline to post a book review tonight. I skipped last night ‘cos I was binge-watching the end of Season 5 from Game of Thrones, and I’d be quite happy to cuddle in with my iPad to watch another few eps tonight.

But I need to get back on schedule for the reading challenge, so I’m limiting screen time today in order to read and report out on what’s been read.*

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Civic Ignorance or Civic Engagement?

I have things I should be doing tonight. Lots of things.

A staff presentation to finish for tomorrow, laundry to fold, T-shirts to deconstruct*. Pay a couple more bills, balance my checkbook, start looking at frames on Warby Parker to get those long-anticipated bifocals. And, of course, a post here on JALC—especially since I skipped last night.**

Instead, I’m sitting here at the computer, fidgeting and clicking around FB and other tabs on Chrome. One or two small things are productive actions (I did need to renew those library books today, for instance), but the vast majority of it is avoidance and procrastination. Cos underneath all the surface swirl is one internal question: “Do I watch tonight or not?

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Clown Face, Knife, Horror Face, Thumbs Up

Watching Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of It wasn’t really on my plan for this week.

Some years ago, I gave up on Game of Thrones, but numerous conversations with different friends has convinced me to give it another chance. Since Season 8 is coming up soon, and I’m still back in Season 5, I thought one of my quiet hotel evenings this week would be a good time to log into HBOGo and start catching myself up.

Except, when I logged in Tuesday night, they had a feature card on content that would be leaving the app at the end of January, and I saw It on it.* Which got me thinking about how that sequel is coming out soon, too, so that meant it was another thing to catch myself up on.

So I did.

Caution ahead! Here be spoilers!

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Belated Book Recs: MLK 2019

I’ve been wrestling with the notion of weighing in on what I am sarcastically calling the “Covington Catholic clusterfuck,” but I really don’t have any hot take on it that isn’t actively plagiarizing other people’s intellectual labor and insights. Here’s a few links and random thoughts:

  • On why that unedited video doesn’t actually exonerate these teenage racists: WokeSloth and Twitter.
  • On the general foolishness of chanting “build that wall” at someone whose ancestors were here LONG before yours.*
  • And here’s an extra thought (freely lifted from a friend FB page): would this whole sorry confrontation have been de-escalated earlier if there had been been more NPS Rangers on hand, rather than them being so short-staffed on account of the shut-down?

And that’s all I care to say about that tonight.

So, in lieu of socio-cultural commentary, what focus am I going to use for an MLK Day post?

Books, of course.

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Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott

One might guess that I’m feeling better today than yesterday, being as I have been able to read–as indicated by another category completion on the year’s reading tally. That is, indeed, the case. Unlike yesterday’s achiness, it no longer hurts to be up and around. However, I am still finding myself to get tired out very easily.

All of which is to say: lucky for me this is such a wee slip of a book. Both for my capacity to finish reading it today, and for my odds of writing a book review tonight.

Continue reading “Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott”