2024 Reading List

Welcome to the 2024 Reading List! I read 39 books last year! Very happy with that number! This year I will keep the list more orderly, with newest acquisitions at the TOP. It got messy last year! All the books brought forward from 2023 will be at the bottom, with xmess next, and so on. Here we go!

Number of novels: 12 (inc. in progress)
Number of graphic novels/comics collections: 27

Ollies Hurl Feb 2024!

Finding the Flavors We Lost, Patric Kuh. Started today. It’s a tad dry, but it is an exploration of the notions of “artisanal” and “farm to table” and how they’ve shaped the American restaurant landscape. This is my treadmill book, so it will take a minute to get through it.

The Emergency Survival Manual, Outdoor Life. Prepper guide.

Dark Tales Series
The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Emilie Majarian. VERY good! I enjoyed this very much, both the story and the art.

Beauty and the Beast, Jeanne-Marie Leprince, illustrated by Pete Katz. Also VERY good! The story was original and the art was good as well.

The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran, adapted and illustrated by Pete Katz. The story was a bit disjointed because the author chose to weave the actual poetry into the tale. Not as good as the two above, but the book binding and art was great.

Fables Encyclopedia, Jess Nevins with Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham.

Four Hours of Fury, James M Fenelon. The story of WWII’s largest airborne invasion and the final push into Nazi Germany.

Bunker, Bradley Garrett. Building for the end times. This is a look at prepper communities around the world and how they prepare for the apocalypse.

Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite, Roger Daltrey. His memoir.

Wonder Woman Warbringer GN, based on novel by Leigh Bardugo, Adapted by Louise Simonson and Illustrated by Kit Season. Good read! I like the story!
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2023 Reading List

Welcome to the 2023 Reading List!

As always, I’m pulling over the books I didn’t get to last year and I’m full out dropping a couple that I just could not finish. In process or finished reads are in BOLD. They are not really in any particular order.

I read 31 (and 3/4) books in 2022, a number I’m very happy with. I hope to meet and/or top that this year.

After reading the synopses of these, they are dropped for 2023:
Land of Big Numbers, Te-Ping Chen
Empire of Pain, Patrick Radden Keefe
Things We Lost to the Water, Eric Nguyen
Intimacies, Katie Kitamura

I read 39 books in 2023!

Surprise gifts:
Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl. NYT food critic’s memoir. Really enjoyed it!

Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl. Another memoir. Very good, but a bit more personal that the one above. This woman hung out with the chefs that we venerate these days: Alice Waters, Jonathan Waxman, Wolfgang Puck – hell, she was even besties with Danny Kaye, who was an amazing gourmet cook!! 

Making It So, Sir Patrick Stewart. YES! Got my preorder and started! SO GOOD. Of course, I read it in his voice! He starts at the beginning, in England during WWII when he was born. LOVE IT! (But I will say, it is very much geared towards theatre nerds than Trek nerds.)

Holly, Stephen King. About Holly from the Mr Mercedes books. This character will not let him go! EXCELLENT! The premise is so crazy, it is compelling! One of the best King reads since Fairy Tale.

Book Nick picked up:
Gwendy’s Final Task, S King and Richard Chizmar. Final book of the Trilogy: Gwendy’s Button Box, Gwendy’s Magic Feather and this book. It’s NOT AT ALL what I expected, but good in a Stephen King kind of way. 

Pulled from a donation pile: 
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley.  Surprisingly readable, considering he’s English and the book is old. HOWEVER, the notion of children being encouraged to “play erotic games” does squick me out a bit. The whole premise is using pleasure and conditioning to control the population. Creepy, man. 


Goodwill hurl! (late Aug)

On Gold Mountain, Lisa See. I always get her books.

Wake, Lisa McMann. Some creepy story about people invading your dreams.

A Cat Is Watching, Roger A. Caras. Author is a wildlife authority and this is a book about cats! It was a silly book. This guy is a little on the dotty side.

Preserving the Harvest, cookbook with tons of canning/preserving info.

Chinese Cuisine, cookbook of authentic Chinese recipes, directly translated from the Chinese. Cool!

Born Standing Up, Steve Martin. His autobiography/memoir. I’ve read some of his fiction – he’s a good writer.

The Revenant, Michael Punke. Yes, the book that the movie is based on.

Drowning Ruth, Christina Schwarz. I think I may have read this long ago? Looks interesting even if I have.

Teachings of Zen, Thomas Cleary. Just curious about Zen.

The Rules of Magic, Alice Hoffman. As I’ve said, I like her writing, so I picked this one up, too.


Ollie’s Graphic Novel HURL Aug 6!
Book:
Memories of the Future, Siri Hustvedt. Sounded interesting. Started this (9/6) and while it’s called a novel, it is actually a memoir!! And a GOOD one, too! She’s got a conversational tone rather like Mary Karr and I am IN LOVE with this book!

GNs:
Get Jiro!, Anthony Bourdain. I think I’ve got the comics of this? It’s Tony, I’m IN.
Fables: Farewell Last of the series, will hold on this.
Fables: Happily Ever After
Fables: Snow White
Fables: Storybook Love
All Fables GNs/collections are done by various writers and artists, but ALL these are Willingham, Buckingham and Leialoha.

Books brought forward:
Fear, Bob Woodward. Yes, THAT Bob Woodward. Nick picked this one, but I’ll read it, it’s about T****.

A Country Road, A Tree, Jo Baker. WWII historical fiction set in Paris. VERY English, which to me, means rather dry and boring. I’ll probably get through it. See next!

To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf. I didn’t count this as READ in 2022, I’m about 1/4 into it… Probably won’t finish. VERY English. Blech.

Paper Son, S.J. Rozen.

Fifth Chinese Daughter, forgot about this one, it’s my treadmill book. Finished this one. It’s dry, but OK. You really have to remember it’s written in the 40s and in the Chinese way: third person – even tho it’s an autobiography.  It’s odd. 

Jasmine, Bharati Mukherjee. This is a short novel and a fast read. The story is pretty good, nothing special. It’s a story about an Indian girl’s journey from a poor, remote Indian village to New York, then to Iowa. The pacing is good, I’d recommend for a good summer read.

The Distance Between Us, Reyna Grande.

The Good Demon, Jimmy Cajoleas.

The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls. This is NOT a memoir, unlike the two books of hers I read last year. I like her voice, I hope it carries into fiction. 8/7 Almost finished. It is a retelling of her rather terrible childhood with different characters. It reads well, but has not much new to offer as far as her stretching her writing abilities.

The Interior, Lisa See. NOT a Chinese historical fiction, more of a mystery. Just started this one Dec 20, so it won’t be finished this year. It’s pretty good. It’s a mystery within a historical setting.

Island of Sea Women, Lisa See. This historical fiction is about the island of Jeju, a Korean island where the women open dive into the sea for food and products to sell. It is a matriarchal society, which is interesting in itself. I picked this one up randomly at Ollies. It is typical See, except for being Korean rather than Chinese. This novel starts during the Japanese occupation of Korea and the island of Jeju (1930s-40s) and covers the decades into the 21st century. It’s a good read.

OLLIES HURL Jan 23!

Ollie’s Hurl!!

Fairest: Return of the Maharaja Graphic Novel, various writers and artists. This is an offshoot of the Fables series, which I LOVE for the art! The stories are usually pretty engaging, too. This one is really good! It’s a collection of the comics series for this story line. Excellent!

The World That We Knew, Alice Hoffman. Set in WWII Germany and France. A Jewish girl leaves her home in Germany with a golem her mother had created for her. History AND magic. A good read so far! 

Crush, Cathy Alter and Dave Singleton. This is a collection of essays from famous people and their first crushes. It’s pretty interesting. Not a page turner, but good! Almost done with this one, I recommend it.

Burn the Place, Iliana Regan. This is a memoir by Michelin star Chef Iliana Regan. It’s about her life and how she ended up being the renowned chef she is today. It’s a good read! It is about growing up queer AND being a chef, so a great twofer.

The Road Home, Richard Paul Evans. I was hesitant to start this one when I discovered it was the third of a trilogy AND it had a whiff of religion to it, but I started it today and it’s oddly good – no religion so far. Perhaps I resonate because I am familiar with Route 66, but the author also has a conversational tone that reminds me of Stephen King a little bit. It’s my treadmill book and will be a quick read! Good read, does not require reading the first two. Skirts religion nicely.
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All My Wedding Rings!

I just had a pair of rings commissioned for us! I love all my wedding rings (below), but I wanted a set that was matched for us. It only took 18 years to get around to it! LOL



We got married in the first ring, then got the thinner one soon after (matched), but I never cared for them much. The third and fifth rings are the ones I wear the most. I usually have a blue stone, usually a blue topaz, but the third one is a Mystic topaz in Peacock and the seventh one is opal. The fourth one is a really large adjustable ring that I got at Decatur Arts Fest when I was fat and couldn’t wear my peacock ring (also an arts fest purchase). The cool antique one (#6) is off ebay and I adore it, but it’s a tish big. The last one, the current one, I’ll tell you all about below!

Here is the pair of rings! Cool, right? Here are the sexy pics taken by the artist:

I’ve been stalking the artist, Dominic Rossi, on IG for a while now (IG: @Dom_Ross) and one day he posted some reticulated silver rings that caught my eye. Reticulated silver is cut to size, then fired until the silver starts to bubble – that’s what gives it the texture. So I contact Dom via IG message and we started discussing a plan. He showed me some Burmese spinels in several colours and I decided to break with tradition and get a purple one. Now we we’re off to the races!

I had to devise a way to get a good measure of Nick’s finger. Since the accident, it is larger than before and a rather hard fit. He’s been wearing my size 10+ bubble ring and it’s too big, so I was concerned he’d lose it. (I’d been thinking about getting him a new ring when this awesome artist popped up.) I told him the bubble ring was too big and he needed something else. I got my ring sizers and got a measurement of his finger. Armed with this info, Dom and I calculated what size was needed – it is actually pretty complex when you take into account the width of the ring (8mm) and the thickness of the ring (2mm, VERY thick). We settled on 9.75 for his and 8.5ish for me. We were amazingly accurate – both rings fit PERFECTLY!

Dom turned around the commission in just a couple of weeks and his price was excellent. Nick saw the first PP payment and asked what it was and I said “it’s for a thing”, which worked! The second payment I intercepted the email, so he was none the wiser! HA!! Waiting for the rings to arrive was torture! I told everyone about the rings EXCEPT Nick and I kept it off FB, natch. Last night I presented him with the ring and he LOVES it! I am very pleased with my ring, too. The spinel changes colour in different lighting. Lovely!

If you are thinking of a commission or just looking for some really cool jewelry, I HIGHLY recommend Dominic Rossi! He’s in CO and you can find him on his IG: @dom_ross or FB (new page coming): https://www.facebook.com/domb.bomb1

And here are the rings on our old hands:


That’s a Wrap!

With MomoCon in the rearview, it’s time to reorganize and change gears.

MomoCon was spectacular this year! They blew past their previous attendance numbers and we are so proud to be a part of it! The GWCC police were dicks, as usual, but everyone else was great.

Our games had lines most of the time and we got lots of positive comments about how nice our games are. We appreciate the support!

If you don’t know, Player One Arcade Services is our side hustle. We bring games to conventions, mostly, but sometimes we’ll do a random party or reception. Furry Weekend Atlanta and MomoCon are our two biggest events. If you are into cute, FWA is for you – even if you’re not a furry! If you are into anime, gaming or other nerdly pursuits, MomoCon is for you! We HIGHLY recommend these cons! Furry is not particularly kid friendly, but MomoCon is DEFINITELY kid friendly.

We’ve got games to repair: Simpsons’ display finally pooped out at Momo; Ms Pac cocktail at My Parents Basement is having major display issues; Millipede and Donkey Kong III both need to be fixed. It never ends.

Nick would love to do nothing but games, but it’s just not feasible. Even if we had 75 games like one of the vendors, we’d have to travel continuously and STILL not make much money, so NO to that. We are still underemployed and in debt, which is never a good place. I’m working on getting a p/t job and soon I’ll be combing the intertubes on Nick’s behalf for a new job. He really hates that stupid print shop and the hour long commute – and I do not blame him.

So, that’s the state of the Weasels at the moment. Tyler Bryant said it best:

I ain’t last, I ain’t first
I ain’t blessed, I ain’t cursed
I been better
But I sho’ been worse
Sho’ Been Worse, Tyler Bryant

Wish me luck with the p/t job and finding something better for Nick. Peace out.

2022 Reading List

Welcome to the 2022 Reading List! I read 35 books last year! I hope to beat that this year. :)  I am also happy to add that my voracious reading has inspired Nick to read more, as well! This pleases me! I’ve not beaten 35, but I’m at 31 on Dec 20, and I’m happy with that! 

Random additions: 

Fairy Tale, Stephen King.  This is an excellent story! I mean, of course, it’s King, but really, it is quite good. It’s a new realm with little to tie it to the bigger King Universe. I hope he will revisit this world again in the future! This story is about a kid who gets involved with an old dying man who has been keeping a secret world SECRET for his whole life. Good stuff! 

Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich. This author is an investigative reporter with a long list of books about various subjects (that I need to read!). This book is about her experience doing bottom rung, minimum wage jobs in various cities in America and the undeniable truth that these jobs are not only mind numbingly horrible, but you cannot live on just ONE of them. A very good read and as we know from personal experience, VERY TRUE. Every rich American should read this. 

Goodwill Hurl! June 2022

Cruising Attitude, Heather Poole. Picked this up for light reading – and it certainly was! LOL This is a collection of anecdotal essays about being a flight attendant. This girl is pretty dumb and overall, she doesn’t really raise the perception of flight attendants. My fave sentence went something like this: …and the motel I was in was in view of a big white building in DC. The White House? I don’t know. Wow. So, yeah, a lightweight trying-too-hard to be a tell-all, this book is strictly a palate cleanser between better reads.

The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman. This was an excellent read! Set in SW Australia, it is a lovely story set at a lighthouse far from anything. Stedman’s descriptions of the SW Australia coast is exemplary. I did get pulled out of the story occasionally by the comments of a “blistering January” or a “chilly June”. It is really odd to think of the seasons as opposites! But the characters are pretty well written and the story, while sometimes slow, is compelling. I have the movie version of this book that I’ll watch once I’ve digested the book. I like to have space between reading a story and seeing it redone in visual form. If you run across this book, it is worth the read.

The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls. I just read Half Broke Horses, and it was EXCELLENT. This is Walls’s memoir of growing up with two mentally ill parents. It’s not as chilling as The Sound of Gravel (see below), but still pretty damned harsh. Her mother was bipolar and a hoarder and her father was an alcoholic (and probably bipolar, too). They drug their children all over the place in their car and regularly did not feed them. The parents ended up homeless in NYC – and liked it that way. There was a movie done in 2017 with the same name that starred Naomi Watts, Woody Harrelson and Brie Larson as Jeannette. It was pretty good, but of course, the book is better. The movie portrayed her parents – particularly her father – very sympathetically, which I don’t think they really deserved. The book is well written with a strong voice.

Fifth Chinese Daughter, Wong. This book was actually written in 1945!! I have a 2002 edition, with an updated intro from 1989. The author died in 2006 and was known for her ceramics work. The story is written in third person, which is a Chinese tradition, but makes it read a little dry. But still an interesting look into turn of the century Chinese immigrants.

A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean. Yep, the movie was made from this. This is a short story collection with the title story being the first. Maclean has a very distinctive voice and a lovely, lyrical way of writing.

Half Price Books hurl!

ALL these are from the memoirs section. I’m on a memoir tear!
Ruined By Reading, Lynn S Schwartz. This is a short tome, which is to its benefit. It is a memoir of a life of reading and musing on various authors. The book was published in 1996, pre-internet as we know it. Which is why this quote is prescient:

“If those of us who live by language become superfluous in years to come, it will not be because of the advance of technology, but the loss of coherent discourse.” – p.24, Ruined by Reading.

OH, YES. She is right on the money. She is of the Silent Generation (b. 1939), so many references are a bit dated, but she certainly has a handle on being well read and dealing with morons who are not. Good read!

MORE BEHIND CUT!
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