For Love Of Reading, Answering The Bookish A-Z Questions

Earlier this week Deb Carey at Debs Despatches shared and answered these questions. She inspired me to do the same today. Do this on your own blog if you like and/or chit-chat about books [or whatever] in the comments below.

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Author You’ve Read the Most Books From: Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series. I’ve read the ones written by Parker but not by the author who took over after Parkers’s death.

Best Sequel: No answer, I’m coming up blank on this question.

Currently Reading: Underground Fugue by Margot Singer

Drink Choice While Reading: Hot tea or cold wine

E reader or physical book: I prefer a physical book at home, but I use an E reader when I’m not at home.

Fictional character you probably would have dated in high school: I didn’t date much in high school so I doubt that I’d have gone on a pretend date with a fictional character. Just saying

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance: Slade House by David Mitchell. I tried to read Cloud Atlas by Mitchell and couldn’t do it, but Slade House I enjoyed. Sly premise, short read

Hidden Gem: Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan. This is a memoir with a positive message that confirms you can plan your life all you want, but reality will intervene, especially when family loyalty is involved. It’s sweet and funny.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life: As an adult I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. The novel is meant for YA but while reading it I had a light bulb moment wherein I realized I was like the main character in the novel and had been a writer since girlhood.

Just Finished: The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleton. Set in 1935 during a hurricane the novel is well-researched with a twisted plot. I enjoyed the characters, the odd circumstances that brought them together, and how they persevered.

Kind of Books I Won’t Read: Memoirs *written* by politicians or political hacks;  historical books about sports;  motivational books foisted upon us by grifters;  and any novel I sense will be filled with gore

Longest Book You’ve Read: A guess but I’d say Hawaii by James A. Michener. It’s about a million pages long. 

Major Book Hangover Because Of: If you mean what book stayed on my mind long after I read it, I’d say The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.

Number of Cases You Own: 4 actual book cases;  many drawers filled with books;  piles of books under the coffee table in the living room;  and many cookbooks stashed away in kitchen cupboards + on the counter

One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Preferred Place to Read: a comfortable chair with decent light and a table beside it for my beverage

Quote That Inspires You, or Gives You All the Feels, From a Book You’ve Read“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” It’s the last line from The Great Gatsby.

Reading Regret: I was slow to get around to reading the Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I don’t know why I hesitated because they’re funny and brilliant.

Series You Started and Need to Finish: Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway mystery series

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books:

  • House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • A Judgement In Stone by Ruth Rendell

Unapologetic Fanperson For: No one I can think of

Very Excited For This Release (More than all the others):  I’m never current in my reading so it doesn’t matter when an author plans to publish, I’ll get to the book when I get to it.

Worst Bookish Habit: Starting one book in one room, a different book in another room, a third book in a third room… then getting confused about what I’m reading. Go figure

X Marks the Spot—start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Almost French by Sarah Turnbull

Your Latest Book Purchase: Bomb Shelter by Laura Mary Philpott

Zzz-Snatcher Book (the last book that kept you up late): I don’t stay up late reading so the answer is none.

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Pondering: If You Tell Me You’re Independent, What Does That Mean?

Something pretty to enjoy while pondering…

Shortly before the pandemic began 2 years ago this month, I was at a social function with Z-D.  It was for his work.

I was seated next to a 70-something woman, a delightfully chatty child-free extrovert, who was [and I hope still is] the wife of a man who used to work with Z-D.

Thanks to many social business events we’d endured together I knew this pleasant woman as a casual acquaintance so this was good.  From previous conversations with her I knew she was a Joiner with a capital ‘J’.

To wit, over the years she’d told me that she was in a garden club, a book club or two, a dog breed club, a bicycling group, a music guild, a Bible study group, a travel club, and she was a member of a country club.

She went on a *sisters only* cruise every year and hosted parties for her nieces who were involved in multi-level marketing schemes.  She always had a family Thanksgiving dinner at her house.  Plus at one point she had worked full-time and socialized with her workmates, seemingly every weekend.

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We had a lovely time chatting, which is to say I mostly listened and she mostly talked.

As we were getting ready to leave, perhaps sensing this would be the last time we’d see each other [and it was], she leaned over to me and said in a confidential tone: “I’m independent. I need for you to know that.”

INDEPENDENT?

NEED for me TO KNOW?

SAY WHAT?

I had zero idea what she was getting at and because of the circumstances I didn’t get the opportunity to ask her any, shall we say, clarifying follow-up questions.

Over these last two years I’ve thought about that comment often and have talked with friends in real life about what it could mean.  Without context it can be interpreted in a variety of ways.  Here is what we’ve come up with:

  • I’m independent because I have money of my own.
  • I’m independent because I am free to choose which groups I join.
  • I’m independent because I don’t have children.
  • I’m independent because I’m retired and so is my husband.
  • I’m independent because I grew up as a second-wave feminist.
  • I’m independent because I haven’t declared myself to be aligned with a particular political party.
  • I’m independent because the church I go to is outside the mainstream, not part of an established protestant denomination.

So what say you, my gentle readers?  

Do you consider yourself to be independent? And if you do, what does that mean to you? Also, do you need people to know you’re independent?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  This can be an interesting conversation.

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This Is What Happens When You Crowdsource A Blogroll

I had no clue about what I was in for with this idea.

I haven’t had a blogroll on The Spectacled Bean in years. Last month in honor of this weblog’s 11th birthday, I decided it’d be fun and unique to put together a crowdsourced blogroll.

So in this post I asked you, my fellow bloggers, to let me know if you’d like your weblog, one year or older, to be on the blogroll. I also asked you to tell me how old your weblog is.

This was a one-time offer, never to be repeated.

Well, much to my amazement many, many bloggers jumped in and left me information about their weblogs in the comments. This was wonderful, but also overwhelming.

Over the weekend I put together the blogroll. I did my best to make sure I got all 90+ weblogs on the blogroll, starting with the oldest, ending with the newest. I doublechecked that I spelled each weblog name properly and that each link works.

[To be clear, the blogroll isn’t on this blog post, it is on a tab. Keep reading & all will be revealed.]

Thus without further ado I shall direct you to the blogroll. I’ve closed the comments here hoping that instead of chatting on this blog post you will:

  1. Go review the DELIGHTFUL BLOGROLL by clicking on the capitalized purple words you just read.
  2. Pick one new-to-you weblog and go visit.
  3. Leave a comment there IF you feel so moved.
  4. Introduce yourself by saying: “Ally Bean sent me.”

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Vinegar: One Person’s Magic Is Another Person’s Salad Dressing Ingredient

IN THESE TIMES OF MONOTONY courtesy of the coronavirus & political blowhards & summer heat I continue my quest to provide thrilling blog content here.  Thus I’m going to show you, my gentle readers, something so exciting I can barely contain myself.

YESTERDAY I RECEIVED THE ABOVE piece of snail mail that tells me I may enjoy life in the fast lane if I order Vinegar: The King of All Cures! by Jerry Baker, America’s No. 1 do-it-yourself expert.  This book of vinegar magic costs $31.96, payable in 4 installments of only $7.99 each. According to Jerry if I buy this book I will: “Never be stuck, stumped, or stymied again!”

BELOW IS AN EXAMPLE OF the kind of magical advice featured in Jerry’s book.  This glimpse into his book is quite the teaser, isn’t it?  As Jerry, author and exclamation point freak, says: “No job’s too big, no job’s too small… Vinegar solves ’em all!”

JERRY ALSO INCLUDED A TESTIMONIAL in the form of a short story about how Peter and Katie, a lovely married couple, made their home smell fresh prior to Peter’s parents coming over for dinner.  [Spoiler alert: It was a close call, but vinegar saved the day.]

AND WITH THAT I SHALL end this informative blog post in which I have confirmed we are still here, virus-free and healthy, while taking the opportunity to ask you the following important questions.

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

What magic is keeping you going these days? 🤔

Are you a liberal, moderate, or conservative user of exclamation points? And why? 🤓

Have any good salad dressing recipes? 😋

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Three Thoughts Thursday | Photographing. Traveling. Watching.

This is when I tell you stuff and don’t make a story of it.  

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ONE

I think that this website, miss freddy, could be a useful resource for anyone interested in family photography.

Miss Freddy is a Professional Photo Organizer who explains how to take photos, how to save photos, then how to do just about anything you might want to do with your photos + slides + old videos.

I have boxes of old, old print photos around here and thousands of digital ones on a few computers, but I’ve never sat down and concentrated on getting ALL our photos organized.  This website may be the key to me getting it done.

TWO

I think that the idea of going on vacation with the intention of traveling to small American towns is a fun one.

According to this article, America’s Coolest Small Towns by State, big cities get all the attention, while unique small towns go unnoticed.  These small towns are worthy of a visit if for no other reason than “the added appeal of home-spun charm and hometown heroes.”  

I read the list and have visited 12 of the 50 featured small towns.  I’ve been to: AZ, FL, HA, IN, ME, NM, NY, NC, OH, SC, TN, AND VT.  This means I have 38 to go, should we get the opportunity to travel again.

THREE

I think that the Netflix produces some good and some not-so-good TV series.

In the good category I’d put Dead to Me, with Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, and James Marsden.  I watched Season 2 and enjoyed it as much as Season 1, which was stellar.  This show is one to watch if you like mysteries, dysfunctional families, and contemplating what it means to be a friend.

On the flip side, I watched 3 episodes of Sweet Magnolias, a TV series based on novels by Sherryl Woods.  Set in SC, this show was probably meant to be an engaging look at family dynamics and female friendship, but it was predictable and maudlin.  Much too slow-paced, shallow, and sappy for me.

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Do you have your photographs under control? In other words, can you find them when you want ’em? 

What do you think about traveling to small towns to experience their unique charm instead of going to big cities for a vacation?

Have you watched the TV shows I mention above? If so, did you like what you saw? If not, what are you watching instead?

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