Thoughts for a Saturday

How about a nice, easy bullet format for a holiday Saturday night.

  • I may get interrupted while writing this post to hand candy out to trick-or-treaters. I tend not to do much for Halloween except make sure Hobgoblin and I have some candy on hand and then laugh when Muttboy gets super excited at all the children who stop by to greet him. Well, as far as he’s concerned, they are stopping by to greet him. That’s the only reason anybody ever stops by, he thinks. Actually the truth is that when people come trick-or-treating and see Muttboy, they almost always say “oh, that’s that dog we see walking around town all the time! Now I know where he lives!” People care about Muttboy much more than they care about us. I don’t blame them really; he’s the nicest and most interesting of us all.
  • I’m in the middle of reading Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s novel The Shadow of the Shadow for my mystery book group. Once again, for the millionth time, I’m feeling grateful to book groups for getting me to read books I wouldn’t otherwise. I had never heard of Taibo before he was chosen for our group, and so far I’m really enjoying the book. More on it later.
  • I’m also in the middle of listening to E.M. Forster’s Room With a View, and although I’ll listen to it until the bitter end, the reader isn’t so great. I’m not a terribly picky listener, but this one has a strange accent (when much of the fun of listening to British books is the accent), and the rhythm of her reading seems all off. The volume of her voice varies a lot as well, which means I’m always having to turn the volume up and down, which is a pain. Unfortunately, it’s hard to judge what I think of the novel when I don’t like the reader much. I’m afraid I wouldn’t do it justice.
  • I have a few new books to report: Miklos Vamos’s The Book of Fathers came as a review copy, and I’m looking forward to it because I remember reading Litlove’s post on the book (although I can’t find the link to the post right now — sorry!) and it sounded really great. Also Drusilla Modjeska’s The Orchard arrived through Book Mooch. This is another one to thank Litlove for. And finally Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. Various yoga people mentioned this to me, so I thought I’d give it a try.
  • And now for cycling. My goal for this year is to ride 5,000 miles and as of today, I’ve ridden 4,426 miles. Only 574 miles to go! That means less than 300 miles a month for the next two months, which is entirely doable barring all the things that can possibly go wrong, which I won’t dwell on here. I’m very aware that this 5,000-mile goal is kind of silly — a mile is an arbitrary distance and 5,000 is an arbitrary number, and reaching it doesn’t make me a better cyclist at all and possibly the opposite — but oh, well. I’m being stubborn about this. I’ve already surpassed last year’s mileage, so it’s already been a good year for distance.
  • Tomorrow Hobgoblin and I and some friends have an extra-special literary excursion planned, but I’ll tell you more about that in my next post.
  • Happy Halloween!

15 Comments

Filed under Books

15 responses to “Thoughts for a Saturday

  1. I always set weird arbitrary goals for myself and it’s fun to stick to them and try to achieve them even if they may not make any sense to anyone else. I hope you get in your 500+ miles! My niece is handing out candy, though we haven’t had many trick or treaters–maybe a nice dog would be a better draw! :) Part of the reason I don’t listen to a lot of audio books is because a how a reader reads can make or break a book for me. If I don’t like how they read or do accents I give up very easily. Still, A Room with a View is a wonderful story so probably worth listening to in any case. Have fun tomorrow!

  2. I recently read “The Book of Fathers” and thought it was quite fascinating but a little… long. As in, too many generations and not enough intrigue to all the generations. This makes it sound worse than it is – it’s not a bad book. I just felt that like with short story collections, when not all the stories are very good, not all the lads were quite worth the while. I had a few other minor issues with the story itself but it does tell an interesting tale. I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

  3. bardiac

    Congrats on the mileage! Yes, it’s arbitrary, but most goals are. And that’s a wonderful goal! Think of all the fresh air.

    Muttboy made me smile. My old dog loved Halloween. It was his very favorite holiday. I couldn’t blame him; after all what could be better than a holiday when little kids come to the door to pet a pup? (He also thought the mailman came every day just to give him a treat.)

  4. and a Happy November to you! Muttboy sounds wonderful. I have a dog that is much more popular than I am – I’m just his entourage… Happy reading and happy biking, too.

  5. I cannot judge Jon Krakauer’s new book on its own merits because I dislike its narrator, Scott Brick, so much. It was my mistake to listen to it when I have such a prejudice against him. I have liked Krakauer very much in the past but I have never been interested in football and war, but whether my relief at book’s end was due to content or narrator is impossible to know.

  6. Readers do make a big difference–I am currently listening to an audio version of a mystery that I would not make time to read but wanted to find out whether it would make a good gift for a mystery lover on my Xmas list, and her voice is really grating on me. Plus, she does different voices for different characters, and the young girl voice she does is just horrible.

    Is this the first time you’ve read A Room With a View–hope not because it really is a wonderful book and persevering with bad reading might put you off it for good.

  7. Did you guys end up with a lot of trick or treaters? We didn’t get a single one but we live in apartments so not surprised by that. It’s been a very low key weekend for us which in a way is kinda nice. Can’t wait to hear about the extra-special literary excursion! :)

  8. Listening to Room With A View… mmm… interesting. Maybe you would follow up with the Merchant Ivory film? As for listening to books, I’ve recently finished one that’s excellent: the main characters are voiced by different readers, so you have genuine and authentic characterization rather than one person pretending to be the various roles. The book? Guernsey Literary and PPP Society.

  9. Happy Halloween, Dorothy! You know that is SO nice of you to think of me for the Vamos book, but I haven’t actually read it. Although I do possess a copy and will read it for you! I absolutely lay claim to the blame for the Modjeska, though. :)

    I love the thought of Halloween being Muttboy Day in the dog world (my cats pose on the windowsills as the children go past to school in the morning), and your cycling total is just phenomenal. I may possibly have read 5,000 miles worth of print, but that’s the nearest I’m going to get to that distance in ANY form!

  10. Muttboy cracks me up. My dog was always too territorial to think people were coming to visit him and he used Halloween as an excuse to bark until he was exhausted. Though he could never understand why those funny looking things at the door so often knew his name.

    Congrats on the mileage. Even if the goal is arbitrary it is still good to have something to stretch for and when you make it you get to feel the satisfaction of accomplishment. Here’s to good cycling weather so you can make the final 574 miles!

  11. verbivore

    Our dog is also quite famous in the neighborhood, mainly because she likes to visit all the various farm kitchens. I’m continually astounded at how forgiving our neighbors are, especially when our muddy, oversized mutt shows up begging for a treat.

    Looking forward to the book reviews!

  12. I hope to see the film version of Room With a View again soon. I won’t be able to read the book anytime soon, but I remember seeing the film in the 80s with Helena Bonham Carter, and I think I would get so much more out of it now. As for audio, well, I borrowed a book from the library on someone’s travels in Italy, and it had a reader with a deep Southern accent…so totally incongruous with the subject matter I couldn’t get past the first few minutes. It turned me off audiobooks for the time being.

    Good luck on your mileage goal! It doesn’t matter if it’s arbitrary — it gives you something to stretch toward, and makes you feel oh so good when you meet it! I know you can do it!

  13. Danielle — yes, even arbitrary goals are satisfying to reach! I rode another 20 miles today, so I’m getting there … I finished A Room With a View today, and it was a satisfying story, but it’s too bad I was so distracted by the reader the entire way through. Maybe I should read the novel in the usual way at some point.

    Biblibio — thank you for the report on the book; I’ll be prepared for a little unevenness. I’m glad to hear it’s still a good book and worth reading, in spite of some flaws.

    Bardiac — we are very lucky to have a mail carrier to brings Muttboy treats regularly, so he’s absolutely justified in believing people stop by just for him. I got 20 more miles under my belt today!

    Care — he really is :) Dogs are so cute, how could we expect to be the ones to get attention?

    Lisa — good point; it’s impossible to know how much the narrator influences how we interpret the book. We’re not making up the characters voices and tones for ourselves, which changes the experience quite a lot.

    JaneGS — I’m not put off the book; I’ve finished it now, and I can see that it’s really good. I may have to read the book for myself, though, just to feel like I’ve really understood it. It’s tough when readers have to do a lot of different characters and accents — even the best readers can slip up with them now and then.

    Iliana — we had maybe a dozen or so. A low-key weekend sounds wonderful! I’d like to have one of those :)

    Arti — now that would be an interesting book to listen to. I’ve listened to one or two with a bunch of different readers, and I wasn’t fond of them, but if you get the right readers, it would work, I’m sure. See the film of the Forster novel would be great!

    Litlove — oh, that’s too funny. I had this feeling as I tried to find your (non-existent) post on the book that I might have been wrong, but I felt so certain I’d read a review of yours. Sorry about that! So much for a reliable memory :) I do think it was you who made me put the book on my TBR list, but it must have been a brief mention. Well, now we can both read it!

    Stefanie — dogs are just too funny. I love how much personality they have. Muttboy doesn’t understand it when people don’t want to see him. I mean, really — why would anybody NOT want to pet him? I’m down to about 550 miles to go!

    Verbivore — now visiting farm kitchens sounds like dog heaven! I’m sure Muttboy would love to accompany your dog :)

    Debby — I’d like to see the movie; I’m sure I’d enjoy it quite a lot. It’s a very filmable book. Wow, that was a bad choice of reader! Really awful, in fact. What were they thinking? Thanks for the encouragement with my riding — only 550 miles left now!

  14. I have The Book of Fathers on my pile as well. I may be able to get to it this week, but now I want Autobiography of a Yogi!

  15. Jenclair — I was wondering if you’d read Autobiography. I’m curious about it — it looks like it is quite the interesting read.

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