Books I Miss

ย  The above post from 2012 made me think about the books I reread… I reread a lot (I have even, more than once in my life, reread a book immediately after finishing it.) But it was the phrase “good, familiar, comfort books” that really got me to thinking.
ย  All of the books I’ve had for a long time are packed away right now; the books on my bedroom shelves have all been with me no more than the three and a half years since my most recent move. So, in the context of “comfort book rereads” and books that are boxed up, I thought of not necessarily the books I’ve reread the most times, but the books that I miss the most and wish I could reread. Here is my top ten list of books I miss:

Cover of Night WatchI miss all of my Discworld books, really, but especially Night Watch, Hogfather, and Witches Abroad – my favorites of their respective subseries – by Terry Pratchett. Night Watch and Hogfather were both bought in airport bookstores when I was flying a lot during college; I believe Witches Abroad was given to me by my oldest brother my first Christmas at college and was my introduction to that particular hilarious and fascinating trio of characters. I love the weaving of fairy tales through that story, how it pokes fun at them and yet acknowledges their power at the same time. For several years I read Hogfather every Christmas season. ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoy its satire of Christmas traditions, pointing out just how many of them make little sense, while still telling a good story and making me laugh. “Oh, there has to be something in the stocking that makes a noise, otherwise what is 4:30 a.m. for?” (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather) I could read the fantastic time-slip novel Night Watch every spring, but I don’t. I certainly do think of Sam Vimes every time the lilac comes pushing up over the backyard fences, though.

Daughter of the Forest coverThe Sevenwaters Trilogy, ย by Juliet Marillier; Daughter of the Forest,ย Son of the Shadows, andย Child of the Prophecy. I first encountered this historical fantasy trilogy set in ninth century Ireland and Britain during my barely-post-college days on a recommendation from a friend and I borrowed her copies. When I moved states about six months later, I left a sentimental hoodie behind at her place. A mutual friend, also a fan of the books, was now living in that apartment and kindly mailed my hoodie back to me – with a bookstore gift card. So, in honor of the good times I had shared with them, I used the card to buy the three books, and I think of those young ladies when I read them. It’s easy for me to identify with the heroine of the first book, Sorcha ofย Daughter of the Forest, whose influence runs through the trilogy; a small sister trying to keep up with the adventures of older brothers. Though she’s got double the older brothers I do and they ran through a forest instead of a jungle. It’s been years since my last reread, though, and I miss Sorcha and her family.

Lord of the Rings one volume cover, the version I haveThe Lord Of The Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien; The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King. An online conversation one September – the birth month of certain Hobbits – made me realize just how long it’s been since I read the whole epic fantasy trilogy. I have a one-volume version, bought back in 2001 when the movies were just reigniting the popularity, but before the second and third movies came out. I actually watched The Fellowship of the Ring without having read any of the books besides The Hobbit. The credits rolled and I thought “That can’t be how the whole thing ends!” So I went the next week and bought the one-volume book. It took me a while to work through it that first time, it is over a thousand pages with the appendices and index, but it was indeed a much better ending. ๐Ÿ™‚ My copy has a ticket stub from the Pebble Beach Aquarium as a bookmark, from a family trip we took while I was reading it the first time.

Starship Troopers cover, the version I haveStarship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. Just before I wrote this post [which, admittedly, was in the draft stage for quite some time] I tried some free Kindle books and found several… subpar military science fiction books. It made me miss one of the well-written classic good ones. ๐Ÿ™‚ I first read my eldest uncle’s copy – more than once, I think – until I broke down and bought my own while living in Pennsylvania in the late 2000s. Mine is a new-edition cover, and not the classic paperback size, but I think I had a coupon and that was what the store had. I know the book is controversial for its militarism and political threads, but I love it for the characters, the coming-of-age story, and the old ’60s sci-fi feel.

FireLineCoverHonorable mention: Fire Line: Summer Battles of the Westย by Michael Thoele. Conversations with my mother [again, recent to starting this post] about her teenage summer as a fire lookout in a metal tower in northern California made me miss the wildland firefighting stories in this book. There are some great photos included, even a picture of a tower that looks like the one she worked in. I first encountered a story from this book in an anthology on Fire that I bought from a library sale. Several months later I had some birthday money to spend and decided to take a risk on ordering a book I hadn’t actually read (unusual for me.) I’m so glad that the whole book turned out to be as good as that excerpt – it reads like oldtimers sitting around the campfire swapping fire stories, incredible but true, with a bit of history and occasional technical explanations thrown in to help those of us who don’t know.

ย  Well, there you have it. That started as just a list of titles, then I began to add in what made me miss those books in particular, which then tied into how I’d gotten some of them, so I decided to include that information for each book. It probably tells you a lot about my psychology or something. ๐Ÿ™‚
ย  What about you? Do you ever miss books? What books do you (or would you, if you could) reread? I love book recommendations! ๐Ÿ™‚


Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thankful Thursday 11-1-18

I skipped a week by not posting last week and didn’t mean to, but ah well, life goes on. Things get dirty and things get cleaned. Things break and things get repaired or replaced. Food gets eaten, friends get hugged, cute kids get smiled at. Life goes on.

Over the last two weeks, I have been thankful:

  • That I have enough clean and hole-free socks that “reorganizing my sock storage” was a thing that needed to happen. Among other things, I sorted them for seasons – now all the knee socks and fuzzy socks are together in one place.
  • That when my hands slipped in the process of pouring from the #10 can into the smaller container and I spilled a large amount of jalapeno juice on the floor, it was late in the day and I could take my time cleaning up, instead of happening in the rush before lunch, or when there was a lot of traffic through that part of the kitchen. Sometimes it takes more effort than other times to be thankful. I did not enjoy that cleanup process, but it could have been worse.

    Man in kilt attempting to turn/toss large piece of wood called a caber

    Caber toss, 10-27-18

  • For fine weather for the Scottish Highland Games I went to with friends on Saturday. These were my third Highland Games in the last two years – that is, my third time going to an event that isย just the Games, I’ve been to four Celtic Festivals which also included Games. This time was much nicer than the Games at the same location back in February, when it rained sideways for half an hour before they started, and was twenty or thirty degrees colder. ๐Ÿ˜› We had more fun this time, and enjoyed some good barbecue after.
  • That two of the maintenance workers were able to find a small spring from a hardware store to replace the one in our ice maker that had bent and was keeping a water valve from functioning the way it should have. This allowed our nearly twenty year old ice maker to keep working long enough for the new one to arrive, thus sparing us from having to buy any ice while we waited.
  • For the new ice maker arriving sooner than we had thought it might, and for the installation this morning going smoothly. Because it has a stainless steel exterior instead of a plastic one, it is very shiny. ๐Ÿ™‚ And hopefully easier to clean. I will say, though, that an industrial ice machine dropping fresh ice into a large empty bin is quite loud. Our old machine almost never got actually empty, so there was always old ice for the fresh ice to land on. The new machine should (I hope) run without trouble all night, so the bin should be fuller and quieter in the morning.
  • For sunshine with patchy clouds today after intermittent torrential rains yesterday. It was even warm enough that I sat outside for my afternoon break and enjoyed my Greek yogurt on a bench. It should be warmer tomorrow, I believe.
  • That I was able to figure out the problem I was having with downloading my audio books, so now I have them and can listen on my little mp3 player. Though I haven’t listened to them all yet, four of the five have British narrators and just listening to the samples makes me smile. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m glad to find things that make me smile, little things to enjoy like a warm bench, or a tangy orange, things to be thankful for. What makes you smile? What have you been thankful for this week?

Posted in Thankful Thursday | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thankful Thursday 10-18-18

Remember how last week I said it was “about to be hot peppermint tea time”? Well, it came a lot sooner than I thought – I’m halfway through a cup right now. ๐Ÿ˜› The first half I enjoyed with a delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. ๐Ÿ™‚ And, yes, I am using my beautiful blue glass mug. The combination makes me happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

This week, I am thankful:

  • For warm, comfy leggings (thanks E!) to wear for sleeping when the temperature drops 30 degrees overnight and…
  • For Ibuprofen to take when I wake up with a headache and…
  • For extra Vitamin D to take when the sun disappears behind clouds for a week and…
  • For a friend to text and say she’s thinking of me and praying when all three of the above things happen at once. Thanks C!

    Streaky clouds over trees with sun peeking through

    Sunset, 10-11-18

I am also thankful:

  • That the large conference last weekend went well in spite of the abundant rain. At the Dining Hall where I work, we served essentially a week and a half worth of meals in three days. It was exhausting, but we’re all glad it went well – and now that it’s the weekend again, we’re all looking forward to the chance for days off to rest.
  • For the maintenance worker who came out on Friday night to figure out where the water leaking into the basement bathroom at work was coming from. And then returned on Saturday to clear the clogged pipe that was overflowing. I’m also thankful that there has been no more water in the basement, in spite of all the rain.
  • That our house is not in a flood-prone area. There are a lot of people suffering with the extra water from the rain.

It is currently not raining and the chances for tomorrow are down to 10% after a week of rain. By the afternoon we may see the sun again. I am hopeful. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope your week has been less damp than mine. I hope if you have things you are thankful for, you’ll feel free to share in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Thankful Thursday | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Thankful Thursday 10-11-18

In my corner of the world, it seems Fall has finally arrived. A bit behind more northerly parts of the country, but I like warm weather so I’m not complaining. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ve gotten quite a bit of rain this week – enough for flooding in some places, though nothing like what the Carolinas have just been through and Florida is currently dealing with after Hurricane Michael – and a cold front moved in behind the most recent batch of rain. It’s not truly cold yet, but definitely cooler than it has been.

Small white-shelled snail on wet concrete


This week, I am thankful:

  • For simple joys, like: the amusement of attempting to take a picture of my reflection in a shiny gold plastic spoon, messing with roly-poly bugs, a snail after the rain, laughter in many forms and for many reasons.
  • For a boss who is good at communicating, which (among other things), means that events like the large conference this weekend go much more smoothly than they might otherwise.
  • That, even though I don’t like the darkness that comes with all-day rain, it does smell good and is good for the flowers and the ducks and the water table.
  • For delicious homemade smoothies. This summer I started making frozen fruit smoothies and it became a regular weekend thing. My favorite combination so far is equal parts frozen pineapple and mandarin oranges, with a smaller portion of strawberries, blended with plain Greek yogurt and just enough water to get it to blend smoothly. Cool, tangy, creamy, scrumptiousness with lots of vitamins and fiber and up to 14 grams of protein, depending on the yogurt brand. I just had one last night, though I did wrap up in a blanket to drink it. It’s about to be hot peppermint tea time instead.
  • For good-morning hugs.
  • For a new-to-me bookshelf and the beginnings of progress organizing the books that have been stacked around my room for months. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s more work to be done there, though…

We had beautiful sunshine today, which I enjoyed after the rain. So I guess that’s another good point to rain: it makes you appreciate the sunshine. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also got some very pretty sunset pictures on the way home from a late evening at work. Now the laundry needs moved from washer to dryer and the mundanities of life go on. I am thankful that they do.

Posted in Thankful Thursday | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Thankful Thursday 10-4-18 – A Compilation

Well, it’s been quiet here a long time, but I haven’t stopped writing entirely. Over the months, I’ve collected various partial lists of things to be thankful for, but never got around to putting any of them on the blog. So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorites from those partial lists.

I am thankful:

  • You know that feeling when you have a headache and you cough and it feels like your head is going to explode? I’m thankful that doesn’t happen every time you cough.
  • For being able to turn the faucet on in my own house and have clean water come out [that one was from last year, when we had to temporarily relocate while the cold-water pipes were redone in our house. Makes you appreciate that it really is a wonder to get water from the tap.]
  • Large cobalt blue glass mugFor some gorgeous cobalt blue glass mugs that I got for a very reasonable price. They are sixteen ounces and the perfect shape to fit in both hands (so you can warm all your fingers, instead of having to overlap them and leave some cold.) Because they are semi-transparent glass, when you tip them up to finish the last swallows, they turn the whole world the most beautiful blue. Soon, the weather will be cool enough here to start using them again. ๐Ÿ™‚ย My left hand demonstrating the size of the blue glass mug
  • That the brand of butter we use at work wraps the little pats in shiny gold, because it makes them much easier to find in the cooler when I drop them.
  • That the floor in the women’s restroom at work (newly redone at the original time of writing) does indeed slope toward the drain. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way.
  • For the beauty of that moment in a movie theater when the screen goes dark and everyone is quiet, holding their breath, waiting in excitement for what is about to begin.
  • For a hundred small disasters thatย don’t happen every day: the glass you bump that doesn’t fall, the dropped phone you catch before it hits the floor, the lid that stays on the tipped over coffee canister.

And, more recently, I’ve had things to be thankful for. Including:

  • The safe return of my parents from a months-long international trip.
  • A wonderful week-long trip of my own to visit family (there were some travel issues on the return, but the “bonus days” were mostly pleasant.) Very much enjoyed seeing family I hadn’t seen in a while, especially hugging small nieces and nephews. We got to see a number of very beautiful places, too.
  • The opportunity to house/dog sit and make a little money while getting in snuggles on the couch.
  • That the shoulder injury I suffered in mid-June has been officially declared healed. It’s very difficult to stop automatically using your dominant hand because the shoulder it is attached to is hurt (especially when it only really hurts if you use it too much and you have an active job…). At any rate, I am glad it is better, and I have a new appreciation for people who suffer from chronic pain.
  • For the timing being right so that it was less than two weeks from our first scorpion of the season (in my bedroom closet, discovered as I was hanging up clean clothes… I’d just started to think we’d make it through the summer without any…) to the pest control spraying yesterday morning. Especially since there was a second scorpion four days after the first, in the kitchen. We think the third one we saw last night during dinner was on its last legs. It did bring our total for this house up to twelve – a nice even average of four a year. ๐Ÿ˜› But, they have sprayed and dusted, and one can hope there will be no more for a good while.

Of course, I could go on, but I must stop somewhere. I’m hopeful that this attempt to blog more will take, but I also realize that life happens too, and you just never know. I guess we’ll see together how it goes!

Posted in Thankful Thursday | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Thankful Thanksgiving 11-23-17

It’s been far longer than I intended since I wrote here. In some ways, I miss it. But today is not the time for melancholy reflections. Today is Thanksgiving! Instead of being cynical about the amount of over-consumption and how silly it is that stores are opening for Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving afternoon, I should take a look at what I have to be thankful for.

This week in church one of our elders read the following:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision forย tomorrow.”

~ Melody Beattie ~

The phrase “It turns what we have into enough” echoed in my head. It reminded me of when I used to post Thankful Thursday lists every week, how eventually that deliberate act of gratefulness could turn a lousy day around, how keeping a running list in my head had me thinking of my blessings all week, how it made me see how much a change of perspective matters. I miss that.

The other phrase that stuck out was “It can turn a meal into a feast.” Of course, with Thanksgiving coming (and indeed, here already), everyone is thinking about the food. But it’s not the amount or quality of the fare that makes a meal into a feast – it’s gratitude and the company of family and friends. This year, for me, will be light on the “family” but heavy on the “friends.” I’m grateful to have friends here who are willing to do a potluck style Thanksgiving, so we can share the work and none of us has to eat alone. I’m grateful we can turn a shared meal into a feast.

I’ve been meaning to get back to writing for several months now, I even have a couple post drafts that are close to completion, but I just couldn’t get over the hump of “what do I say? How do I account for such a long gap?” So I’m grateful for the reminder that a thankfulness post on Thanksgiving is a perfect, low-pressure way to start again. I’m grateful for people who share inspiring quotes.

I’m also grateful for my mother, who gives good hugs, pretty Thanksgiving cards, and knows I like Goldfish crackers. ๐Ÿ™‚ So many things to be thankful for today… a bright sunshiny day, friends to share the Thanksgiving Day Parade with (and living in a country where we can watch it the day of, instead of waiting for someone to tape it and send it through the mail), the smell of turkey cooking, texting to keep in touch with family far away…

I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and the chance to reflect on what you are thankful for. You can share below if you’d like!


Happy Thanksgiving coloring page, done by me on computer


Posted in Thankful Thursday | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments