November Reads and Listens — Xine’s Pack

By the start of November, I had already to reached my Goodreads Book Challenge goal of 57 this year and I was starting to feel a little burned out. My hardcopy books were becoming harder for me to get in reading, We had friends come visit for an overnight– we haven’t had people come visit […]

November Reads and Listens — Xine’s Pack

Summer Book Clubs 2021

It’s been a very busy spring and start to the summer and admittedly my head has been in a book or listening to books. The more I listen to books, the more I want to read physical books, not just the ones on my Kindle. I like the feel of a hardback book on my lap, the feel of the pages as I turn them. Recently, I joined two book clubs that send you physical hardback books. I don’t live near a local bookstore – independent or otherwise, so I have found my recent membership into these two clubs to be helpful in introducing me to new books and authors.

Book of the Month Club was my obvious first choice, since I am very old-school. This was the club that my Mom was a member of way-back-when. I remember the box showing up as a little girl – like a gift in the mail! I thought it was the coolest thing, still do. My first book sent to me was The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I wrote a review of the book in my other blog but here it for your convenience below from my post Reading & Listenings – May 2021:

Many people are very familiar with Kristin Hannah from her bestseller, The Nightingale but when my BOMC have me a chance to select on of her books I had not read any of her books and thought The Great Alone looked like as good as place as any to start. I am so glad I did too, I loved this book! I could relate to some of the rough living – feeding the animals in the middle of a snowy winter; feeding our wood furnace twice a day and making sure we have enough wood to burn throughout the season.

“… home was not just a cabin in a deep woods that overlooked a placid cove. Home was a state of mind, the peace that came from being who you were and living an honest life.”

― Kristin Hannah, The Great Alone

I found myself at times eager to sit down and escape into the Alaskan wilderness which Kristin Hannah describes so well. Every character in the book brings something to the table which adds to the depth of the story. You come to care about each and every one of them. I highly recommend this book , it’s a great read!

Note: There are many themes that run throughout the story – some can be more triggering than others depending on your own personal experiences (abuse, first love, loss).

The other book club I am a member of is Literati which I discovered through my Instagram. Literati has a number of different clubs within their website and the books are selected authors, celebrities and people of interest. I am currently in the Joy Collective hosted by Kelly McGonigal. The focus of this group is : ” Rousing page-turners steeped in the science of our human brain…The Joy Collective will help you to discover actionable strategies to bring more joy, compassion, and resilience into your life. Feel connected to something bigger than yourself with books that explore our capacity to find hope, courage, and belonging.”

So far I have read the June pick of Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. I was sucked into the story from the moment I opened the book. Kazuo Ishiguro is a beautiful writer who masterfully brings us right into the world of artificial intelligence with introducing us to Klara, the main character and narrator. Klara provides an interesting and unique perspective.
The book touches upon many themes: relationships between humans and relationships humans have with technology; grief; social inequality, just to name a few. I highly recommend this to anyone – it’s a beautifully written book and has such an interesting perspective on what the future could bring.

What I like about the Literati Club which I think BOMC could do a better job is Literati makes you feel like you are part of a book club complete with discussions and questions to think about. Both have websites and apps but again Literati’s seems to be more engaging, particularly the ability to post a question to the group or make a remark. where as BOMC is simply more about selling the books as opposed to building a community discussion around the books.

The July pick for Literati’s Joy Collective which I have only just started yesterday The Beauty of Break by Michele Harper

The Changes the Seasons Bring

It’s been way too long since my last post -forgive me – it’s been a rough time of things for us these last couple of months, particularly this last month. My mother died a month ago today. So much has gone on in our lives since that it’s hard to balance out everything. She suffered from a stroke 5 months ago – I look at that time as extra time we had with her. She had a second stroke which ultimately took her life five days later. She had just had her 86th birthday January 28th. I miss being able to pick up the phone and have one of our two hour long conversations. And I will not be able to give my Mom a hug again, like I was able to hug my Dad after not seeing him for a year.

Mom and Me

It’s been a relatively mild winter up here on the mountain, although there is a lot of snow on the ground and especially deeper in the woods. The weather gods were kind to me the weekend I had to drive down to join the rest of my family as we said our goodbyes to her at a private family graveside service. Mark usually keeps a snow tally but didn’t keep up with it as he had in past winters. All in all, I believe we had much less snow than we have had in previous winters. Although, I never did get an opportunity to ice skate – the snow that did fall – stayed around and never melted back as we didn’t have the usually thaws that would ease the snow depths. This year we had a storm that dumped 3 feet of snow all at once – thankfully that was an anomaly, must storms only delivering 3″-6″ at a time.

The snowmobile trails were iffy depending upon the altitude of where you were riding – the higher your elevation the better off the snowpack. The lake didn’t freeze up completely until mid-February, less than a week later 3 snowmobiles went through the ice – luckily no one was injured, just wet. But the snowmobiles didn’t get hauled out of the lake until 3 weeks later!

We had many visitors though to the Marleywood Little Free Library. The day Mom died, I put up a notice and invited the community to enjoy the beautiful Wentworth Wooden Puzzles that she adored spending her time doing. She gave me so many puzzles to share with the library before she died and my sister has since sent me more puzzles from her collection which I plan on adding to the library soon.

More and more visitor are signing our little guest book and it so fun to see and learn of some of the adventures they have in coming up to see Zeno and the library. We have had groups of hikers, snowshoers and snowmobilers! Our children’s section of the library has been growing thanks to the community and their contributions. I have my eye on another cabinet which may put into commission one day, if the library needs to grow.

As we march forward into spring, I am looking forward to the warmer months and I will do some spring cleaning in the library. I have a bunch of spring and summer themed puzzles to put into the library plus a number of books which will freshen up the selection. I have a book called Mud Season which I plan on adding to the library soon once I have finished reading it.

Mud Season: How One Woman’s Dream of Moving to Vermont, Raising Children, Chickens and Sheep, and Running the Old Country Store Pretty Much Led to One Calamity After Another
by Ellen Stimson 

This is the perfect book for this time of year seeing how we just finished with the spring of deception and mud season has started in certain areas on the mountain, Hemlock Brook Road for one.

The time changes tomorrow morning – we will spring forward which is so ridiculous. I wish we would just stop messing around with the time and just stick to either being on Daylight Savings or not. As far as this time of year goes though, we are definitely in for our share of muddy weather and to be honest with you mud season usually keeps us off the roads more than the snow and rain. Unfortunately, we have to take my son to physical therapy on a regular basis which will force us up and down the road more often than usual. He had arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a bucket lateral meniscus tear 10 days ago, reminding me how life goes on.

Zeno’s Journal – December 16, 2020

Christmas Books

It’s been busy around here and we have some wonderful books in the Marleywood Little Free Library. For the Christmas season we have Polar Express, How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory.

A classic for all ages
Christmas stories from the master storyteller, Truman Capote
Another Christmas classic

#MarleywoodMustRead – December 1, 2020

Announcing the first book that we are adding to the #MarleywoodMustRead list, Kurt Vonnegut’s Fahrenheit 451. If you read it once in high school, read it again. We highly recommend this book to everyone.

The public itself stopped reading of its own accord.

Kurt Vonnegut, Fahrenheit 451

Zeno and the stewards of the Marleywood Little Free Library want to encourage reading, no matter your age – Never stop reading.

Zeno’s Journal – November 27th, 2020

I’m very happy to report that the Marleywood Little Free Library is up and running. Stewards, Xine and Mark had been working in the woodshop for a month fixing up the old corner shelf to be the new little free library!

Lots of books for readers of all ages

The shelves were stacked with fun puzzles for the winter, a number of free calendars for those who may need a 2021 calendar and lots of books.

Puzzles and calendars plus our recommended reading