Oberon's Belated 2023 Thread

Keskustelu75 Books Challenge for 2023

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Oberon's Belated 2023 Thread

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 5, 12:59 pm

The family atop the Arc de Triomphe

Continuing a bad trend, I am later in posting my 2023 thread than I was with my 2022 Thread.

2022 was a year of highs and lows. Highlights being a long delayed family trip to Spain and France. Lowlights being a return of my back issues and a second surgery to address disc herniation. Hopefully only highlights for this year.

2023 should bring some big changes as my oldest is a senior in high school. Hopefully we will all adjust to that change with humor and grace. Meanwhile, I think we are looking at squeezing in some more travel before she is out of the house. Nothing finalized yet but lots of plans being made.

Meanwhile, I will continue reading. This spring should also see the inauguration of my Little Free Library/seed and tree give away. Everything is ready to go. Nature books have been bought to stock the library, the library itself is sitting in the basement, and a number of small oak trees are growing inside and out of the snow.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 4, 2:30 pm

Top Books for 2022:

1. Still Life by Sarah Winman
2. Plunder: Napoleon's Theft of Veronese's Feast by Cythia Saltzman
3. Bewilderment by Richard Powers
4. Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James
5. Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
7. Within These Woods by Timothy Goodwin
8. The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells
9. Freezing Order by Bill Browder
10. The Only Street in Paris by Elaine Sciolino

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 5, 2:01 pm

Books Read in 2023:


1. Fox and I by Catherine Raven
2. Dancing in the Glory of Monsters by Jason Stearns (audiobook)
3. Britannia, Vol. 3 by Peter Milligan
4. Conan the Barbarian, Into the Crucible by Jim Zub
5. The Final Secret of Adolf Hitler by Mathieu Mariolle
6. Guardians of the Louvre by Jiro Taniguchi
7. Leave it As it Is by David Gessner
8. Godzilla: Complete Rulers of Earth, Volume 1 by Chris Mowry
9. Only the End of the World Again by Neil Gaiman


10. The Sword of Hyperborea by Mike Mignola
11. How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman
12. A Little History of Archaeology by Brian Fagan
13. The Silver Lantern Club by Mike Mignola
14. The Art of Miyazaki's Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki
15. Silent Spring Revolution by Douglas Brinkley (audiobook)
16. All the Wild that Remains by David Gessner (audiobook)


17. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
18. Hellboy: The Bones of Giants by Mike Mignola
19. G.I. Joe: Rise of Serpentor by Larry Hama


20. Magdalena: River of Dreams by Wade Davis
21. Saving Yellowstone by Megan Kate Nelson (audiobook)
23. The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O'Brian
24. Guardians of the Valley by Dean King (audiobook)
25. Crossing Open Ground by Barry Lopez (audiobook)


26. TR’s Last War by David Pietrusza (audiobook)
27. All the Beauty in the World by Patrick Bringley (audiobook)
28. Green Phoenix by William Allen


29. To the Uttermost Ends of the Earth by Phil Keith (audiobook)

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 5, 12:53 pm

One of my other passion projects - documenting the wildlife that lives in my little lakeside slice of Minnesota. This is a great blue heron that I got on my trail cam. I have recently been seeing coyotes come through the back yard. I think they are crossing on the frozen lake since I haven't seen any outside of winter.

tammikuu 4, 2:32 pm

Books Received for Christmas:

1.Nature's Best Hope by Douglas Tallamy
2. Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf
3. Leave It As It Is by David Gessner

My current book that I am reading is Fox and I by Catherine Raven and my current audiobook is Dancing in the Glory of Monsters by Jason Stearns

tammikuu 4, 7:13 pm

Happy New Year to you and your family Erik! Can’t wait to hear about your Little Free Library adventures. :)

tammikuu 4, 7:16 pm

Happy reading year, Erik.

I look forward to a year of keeping up on books, life and, according to some - even more importantly, football.

tammikuu 4, 8:59 pm

Happy New Year, Erik!

tammikuu 5, 1:10 am

Hi Erik! Happy New Year :)

tammikuu 5, 9:39 am

Happy New Year, Erik! Dropping a star. Lovely photo up top - I can't believe how big your kids are!

tammikuu 5, 10:11 am

Happy New Year, Erik. I love the blue heron photo. I hope 2023 is a good year for you. Great list of favorites from last year.

tammikuu 5, 11:28 am

Great heron photo! And sorry to hear about your back problem. I hope whatever is done this year gives you a lasting fix.

tammikuu 5, 12:03 pm

Glad you finally made it over! 😀 The heron is gorgeous.

tammikuu 5, 2:39 pm

Happy New Year Erik.

>2 Oberon: Still Life and Bewilderment were on my best of 2021 list, I'm glad they hit the spot for you too.

You may enjoy the last book I read last year, a debut novel The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lush, set in the mid 1700s in London and Constantinople.

tammikuu 6, 12:14 pm

Welcome friends!

>6 SqueakyChu: Going to be spring before I get rolling on the LFL. Probably for the best as we have gotten so much snow it would be utterly inaccessible anyway. Here is to a rejuvenated DC United this year!

>7 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul. Agree on the football - on that point, have you followed any of the utter soap opera that has consumed the US MNT? Truly embarrassing stuff.

>8 ronincats: Hi Roni, Happy New Year to you too.

>9 LovingLit: Hi Megan - thanks for visiting.

>10 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie - great to see you up and running with a 2023 thread!

>11 BLBera: Lovely to see you Beth. We loved Spain this past summer. Seville was a highlight for the whole family. Highly recommend Cerveceria Giralda Bar for tapas and sangria just down from the cathedral. They uncovered a 12th century Moorish bathhouse and preserved it. Really cool and the food was excellent even without the history.

>12 ffortsa: Thanks Judy. You and me both on the back. I am really pretty paranoid right now about reinjuring it.

>13 drneutron: Thanks Jim. Better later than never? Thanks as always for all your effort in the group.

>14 Caroline_McElwee: I appreciate the recommendation Caroline. I took a loot at that one and it looks very interesting so I will add it to the ever growing wish list.

tammikuu 6, 12:18 pm

Thanks for the recommendation in Sevilla, Erik. We are starting to plan our Spain trip, and Sevilla is on the agenda.

tammikuu 9, 2:09 am

Happy new thread and Happy New Year!!

tammikuu 9, 3:25 am

>15 Oberon: I did, Erik and I believe that it is a bit malicious against the coach for basically not picking the son. To bring up his private affairs with his wife when the two seem now happy and reconciled is frankly beyond the pale and brings the whole of the team into disrepute. It is sad because, despite giving Brazil a little bit too much respect, the USA played well in the World Cup and I was particularly proud of Tyler Adams who looks like he can cut it with the very best.

tammikuu 11, 11:06 am

>16 BLBera: It will be fantastic.

>17 Berly: Happy New Year to you too Kim!

>18 PaulCranswick: Yeah I think the whole dispute is ridiculous. Not sure who Berhalter remains coach or Reyna remains on the team. Those seem mutually exclusive at this point. The whole thing is sad.

I do think that there is a lot of promise to our team but this distraction needs to be well in the rear view mirror.

tammikuu 11, 11:22 am

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

This a read from the tail-end of last year.

I really enjoyed Braiding Sweetgrass. It combines Native American traditions (mythology?) with ecological world view. The book does not fit into a neat category as much of the book is autobiographical, addressing Kimmerer's work, the raising of her daughters, and her efforts to rehabilitate her own land. In some ways, the book reminded me of A Sand County Almanac with the difference being that Kimmerer travels to many different places and talks about the plants and the tribal traditions of different locations.

The book is not perfect. There definitely was a romanticized view of Native American history and traditions. This was especially pronounced toward the end of the book where she was musing about US troops fighting in Iraq and contrasting without a peaceful coexistence between the tribes and the Earth. In doing so, it ignored a long and well documented history of inter-tribal warfare that was markedly brutal. That said, I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with taking the highlights of a culture or cultures to make a point without acknowledging the darker aspects of the same culture.

Overall, I enjoyed Braiding Sweetgrass and would certainly recommend the book.

tammikuu 11, 4:20 pm

Fox and I by Catherine Raven

First book of 2023.

Fox and I is a story of a woman living near Yellowstone who is trained as a biologist. She lives by herself and as the book progresses you get the general impression that a difficult childhood led to an unconventional career path and mentality that left her more comfortable alone than with others. While living in her home, which is in an undeveloped portion of Montana she encounters a fox. The fox is relatively unafraid of the author and the two develop a unique bond. Fox and I is the story of their meeting and relationship.

It was an enjoyable read. I certainly would love to live and a place that seemed as wild as the author described. Some of the chapters were written from the viewpoint of the animals themselves. That did not work for me as well as the rest of the narrative but was hardly a major issue.


tammikuu 12, 12:02 am

>4 Oberon: What an awesome photo, and what an incredible bird!

Your family looks so very happy!

I placed Fox and I on my TBR pile. Any time I see the word "Yellowstone," I immediately am called to read the book. Will and I went on vacation to Yellowstone with his cousin and her partner. It was the best vacation I ever had! I fell in love with Yellowstone, and driving at dusk through an area in Montana where a group was horseback riding along the bottom of a mountain, was quite a high light. We each had the opportunity to claim one thing we wanted to do, and the rest of the group had to go along with the choice.

Will's choice was to pay attention to a flier posted on the window of a coffee house that noted a rodeo! We were surprised when the first young man came out of the gate riding a bull. He was immediately thrown in the air...not a pretty sight. But, I am ever so glad we listened to Will and had an amazing time!

tammikuu 12, 9:32 am

Happy reading in 2023, Erik!

tammikuu 12, 6:02 pm

Fox and I sounds good, Erik. I will look for that one.

tammikuu 13, 1:21 am

>20 Oberon: I have that one somewhere in the many TBR stacks. Someday!! Fox and I sounds fun.

tammikuu 13, 11:14 am

>23 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita and Frank!

>24 BLBera: Interesting book Beth. Worth your time.

>25 Berly: Always good to read one out of the pile. I too continue to acquire at a faster pace than I read them. Fox and I was an acquisition from a lovely little book store in Grand Marais that I bought two falls ago and finally got around to reading.

tammikuu 13, 11:17 am

Happy New Year! Glad to see you back.
Great photos!
I'll be reading Bewilderment for the American Author Challenge in February. Good to see you thought so highly of it.
Have a great reading year!

tammikuu 13, 2:33 pm

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters by Jason Stearns

Back to one of my favorite categories - books practically no one but me would be interested in. Which is too bad because Dancing in the Glory of Monsters is excellent.

Stearns sets out to tell the story of the first and second Congo wars. These wars, if noticed at all in the west, are notorious for their shocking brutality and the complexity of the number of combatants. Many of the combatants were an odd mix of rebel group and proxy forces from Congo's neighbors.

Stearns does an admirable job of parsing out who is fighting who, who they are supported by, and what their motivation was. The books starts with the Rwandan genocide/civil war and maps out how the Rwandan conflict spilled across the Congolese border. The Hutus who perpetuated the genocide fled across the Congolese border along with a significant amount of civilians. They then proceeded to use Congo as base for guerilla warfare against the Tutsi who had pushed them out and taken over Rwanda. This led directly to the first Congo war when Rwandan troops invaded Congo in an effort to eradicate the Hutus. It spiraled from the there - the civilians who were with the Hutus were used as pawns by all involved, the fighting led to radicalization of Hutus who had lived in Congo before the invasion, massive casualties from disease and hunger overtook much of the Eastern Congo.

Congo, then known as Zaire, which was never a stable state to begin with, spiraled downward as Rwanda and Uganda created a nominally Congolese rebellion aimed at ousting Congo's long time dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko. They succeeded in installing a new head of state Laurent Kabila. Unfortunately, this did not end the fighting. Rather, it set the stage for the second Congo war, also known as the African World War

Kabila fell out with his Rwandan and Ugandan backers only to have a new (old) insurgency spring up. Other countries and aligned militias joined the fighting so that soldiers from Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Chad were fighting against Ugandan, Rwandan and Burundian troops plus lots of affiliated militias. Laurent Kabila was assassinated during the war and his son Joseph took power. Fighting largely ended by 2003 but the consensus estimate of the dead was 5.4 million people. The number is disputed - put succinctly, Congo is a failed state such that accurately counting its citizens and the dead are tasks far beyond its capacity.

Stearns makes a strong argument that the Congo wars should not be viewed as pure barbarism. Rather, it was the combination of a weak state toppled by the stresses of outside parties fighting their wars in the Congo.

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters is not a happy read. However, it accomplishes what it intends, which is to explain the Congo wars and make a compelling argument that the West should not simply look away from the suffering simply because it lacks the capacity to understand the participants and their motivations. Highly recommended.

tammikuu 13, 2:35 pm

>27 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. I hope you enjoy Bewilderment. I share the opinion that it was not as great a book as The Overstory but it was very good book on its own.

tammikuu 16, 1:53 pm

In book adjacent news, I finished an adaptation of The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper adapted to a BBC podcast. I was tuned into the podcast by Robert Macfarlane's twitter account. Macfarlane was part of the effort to adapt the book. I had not realized that my favorite of his books The Old Ways takes its name from this story.

I enjoyed the production. Fit well with the dark of midwinter.

tammikuu 16, 6:01 pm

I'll make a belated greeting on your belated thread! Hope you have a great year of reading.

tammikuu 16, 6:32 pm

Happy New Year, Erik. I finally stumbled my way over here. Love the family topper and the lovely GBH. So glad to see Still Life on the best of list. I was nuts about that book. I am adding Dancing in the Glory of Monsters to the TBR. Sounds great.

tammikuu 17, 10:30 am

>31 thornton37814: Thanks Lori. Nothing wrong with belated around here!

>32 msf59: Welcome Mark. I might have gotten the recommendation for Still Life from you. I know it was a topic of discussion on LT which prompted me to give it a try. Very envious of all your owl photos. There is one (I think a barred owl) that I see occasionally in my back yard but I never get photos because I don't notice him until he starts flying away.

tammikuu 19, 5:57 pm

Hi Erik! Happy New Year! Hopefully it's treating you well.

tammikuu 23, 1:34 pm

>34 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel! Thanks for stopping by.

tammikuu 23, 2:24 pm

>20 Oberon: Oberon: Happy Reading! I also read "Braiding Sweetgrass" last year and relished the new perspective blending indigenous culture and science, both made a little more accessible through this work. Appreciated reading your thoughts above!

tammikuu 25, 5:30 pm

>36 PocheFamily: Welcome Leslie. Glad to see you trying the 75ers this year!

tammikuu 25, 6:19 pm

Leave It As It Is by David Gessner

Part travelogue, part history, Leave It As It Is is an attempt by Gessner to answer the question of what lessons from Theodore Roosevelt's conservation legacy can be applied to today's conservation fights. It is an interesting question and one that I, as an ardent Roosevelt admirer, was interested in getting an answer to. I am not convinced that Gessner arrived at a satisfactory answer to the question but I enjoyed his effort.

The book combines a fairly standard biography of Theodore Roosevelt (which Gessner freely acknowledges drawing from other authors - the appendix has a very nice further reading suggestions that notes many of the sources) with a cross country trip with the author's nephew. After quick stops to see Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt's home in Oyster Bay, the book really kicks off with a visit to Medora, North Dakota just outside of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Gessner uses the visit to discuss both the national park system and Roosevelt's own introduction to the West when he spent time running a cattle ranch. From there, the author and his nephew head roughly west toward Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon and eventually on to California stopping at national parks and monuments, most of which were associated with Roosevelt.

Following this road trip, the author turns to a much tighter focus on the fight over Bears Ears National Monument. Gessner explains the process of creating national monuments (Roosevelt and the Antiquities Act again), how Bears Ears was created by Obama and then reduced by 85% by Trump. Side note: Biden subsequently restored Bears Ears. Gessner discusses in detail the stakeholders, how the monument was created originally and who had influence on the reduction of the monument. Thus, Leave It As It Is ends up being as much about the fight over Bears Ears (and disputes over western public land) as it does Roosevelt.

Leave It As It Is is enjoyable if a bit unsatisfying. Recommended.

tammikuu 25, 6:38 pm

Good review of Leave It As It Is. Love the title. I wish you had found it a bit more satisfying. I also love reading about T.R. Have you read River of Doubt?

tammikuu 25, 8:45 pm

>39 msf59: Oh yes. I am a big Candice Millard fan. I have all of her books so far.

tammikuu 25, 9:26 pm

I have 2 other titles by Gessner on my shelf: Return of the Osprey and A Wild, Rank Place. if you like his writing.

tammikuu 25, 10:14 pm

>38 Oberon: Your review of Leave it as it is inspires me to obtain a copy and read it. I also am a fan of Theodore Roosevelt. He was very instrumental in starting The New York Natural History museum in New York City. I have many books about him. It is time to start reading some of them.

Like Mark, I read River of Doubt. He suffered so much!

tammikuu 26, 10:44 am

>41 jessibud2: Did you like his other books? I was looking quite seriously at All the Wild that Remains which focuses on Edward Abbey and Wallace Stegner and from the reviews looks like it has a similar format to Leave It As It Is.

>42 Whisper1: I am very much looking forward to the opening of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library that is being constructed in North Dakota. https://www.trlibrary.com/ I plan on making a road trip once it opens. The statute of Roosevelt that was removed from the front of the American Museum of Natural History was apparently donated to the library. Not sure if they will put it on display or not.

tammikuu 26, 10:50 am

>28 Oberon: Watched an excellent documentary on Netflix last night Virunga (https://virungamovie.com/) about the national park in Congo and how the park and its animals are threated by Congo's instability as well as western development/exploitation. Fantastic film.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 27, 10:08 am

>44 Oberon: Will go in search of that Erik. I was fascinated by the work of Dian Fossey years ago, will be good to find out how that area has fared.

tammikuu 31, 10:23 pm

>45 Caroline_McElwee: Sadly, with most things in the Congo - not great. Interestingly, I saw that Pope Francis was visiting Congo.

helmikuu 4, 7:28 pm

>46 Oberon: Definitely one of the most troubled places in the world, Erik. I have a great affection for Africa, having lived and worked in Egypt and done project and/or government missions to Ghana and Sao Tome but DRC and the Republic of Congo scare me.

On a lighter note Weston McKennie will make his debut for Leeds today (Sunday) all being well in Nottingham. We will soon have half the USA national team. I must say the Leeds fans adore Tyler Adams.

helmikuu 7, 1:22 pm

Paul, I watched the Leeds game on Sunday. Thoughts on the sacking of Marsch? I have hopes that Leeds turns it around - you are right that the US National team depends on it.

helmikuu 7, 1:51 pm

Felt especially Minnesotan this weekend. Saturday we went snowshoeing on the lake and at night we went to a private rental sauna at The Great Northern Sauna Village, part of the larger Great Northern Festival. https://thegreatnorthernfestival.com/2023/the-great-northern-sauna-village Of course now I want to build a sauna in the back yard. Wish I was more handy than I am.

helmikuu 18, 7:57 pm

>49 Oberon: Ah!! Fun times in MN. I am feeling nostalgic. : )

helmikuu 21, 11:38 am

>50 Berly: You should consider coming back for tomorrow and Thursday then - our snow forecast is being measured in feet.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 21, 2:51 pm

Delayed weekend update - I finished A Little History of Archaeology and have started in on My Green Manifesto for my regular books. Very close to finishing Silent Spring Revolution by Douglas Brinkley as my audiobook which is excellent. Unfortunately, going into a jury trial next week so not a ton of leisure time.

Did make it out on Saturday night to hear Maggie Rogers in concert which was a lot of fun.

helmikuu 23, 3:22 pm

Having a sauna in the backyard would be perfect for a day like today

helmikuu 23, 6:55 pm

>53 The_Hibernator: Right?! I tried this argument with my wife with little success so far. I even have a perfect spot for it.

helmikuu 25, 2:57 pm

>28 Oberon: that one sounds fascinating! And, I'd even read >38 Oberon: as well, I think. Mainly as I am picking up a writing job soon about outdoor recreation.

>49 Oberon: I have sauna ambitions also :)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 25, 10:25 pm

>15 Oberon: Watching the DC United opening game tonight, I realized I hadn't read your thread for ages, Erik. I forgot to star it after the first time I posted here. Tyler Miller was great tonight. He's a keeper...No pun intended, of course! Thanks for giving him to us! :D

So I was agonizing all week about this stupid ten-year Apple Season Pass deal. If I don't subscribe now, I'll be 85 years old when that deal is over! Tonight during DC United's game it was 33 degrees here. Not exactly soccer weather...but with so much $$$ as part of the soccer equation, I guess it's now a year round sport!

I don't have an Apple TV, but I discovered that I can get access to the Apple TV website on my computer and, since the first game was not behind a paywall, I thought I'd try it. It was great! Not only do I get to watch the games on my desktop, but Windows has AI play dialogue to help me understand what's being said in real time (rather than closed captioning which doesn't work for me because it has a lag time).

>47 PaulCranswick: On a lighter note Weston McKennie will make his debut for Leeds today (Sunday) all being well in Nottingham. We will soon have half the USA national team. I must say the Leeds fans adore Tyler Adams.

Paul, I'm going to have to start following Leeds now! Also...Thank you for sending Mateusz Klich to DC United. He had the opening goal in tonight's season opener game for us. Plus...we also won tonight's game...finally! We were the worst team in the league last year.

helmikuu 26, 1:27 am

>52 Oberon: Ahhhh! Maggie Rogers! Awesome. These shows look like they're phenomenal, I'm super jealous! I'm hoping to catch her this summer in Germany.

helmikuu 26, 8:46 pm

Maggie Rogers! Yay!

The MLS Pass on Apple does seem like a good deal. My daughter was able to score a free one...apparently available if you have T-Mobile.

helmikuu 26, 10:20 pm

>56 SqueakyChu: I saw DC United picked up a win. Congrats! I am glad to see Tyler Miller having success for you but I am still mad we let him go without getting anything in exchange.

I have weighing the pass too. I have Apple TV so I was frustrated to learn that that did not mean that I got the MLS pass for free. I will probably buy it since it is the only way to watch most Loons games but frustrating none the less.

>57 ursula: She put on a great show. Definitely catch her if you get a chance.

>58 banjo123: I saw that T-Mobile gave the MLS Pass to all its customers. I am a bit envious frankly.

helmikuu 26, 10:24 pm

Frist Loons update of the year - Loons won! 1-0 over FC Dallas who knocked us out of the playoffs last year.

Of course the real drama for the Loons is the unresolved status of our star central midfielder Emmanuel Reynoso. He has not reported to the club and no one is saying why other than "personal issues". There is no timetable for his return and no clarity. That is a giant problem because the Loons have basically built its offense around his passing skills. Realistically, I do not think the Loons can make the playoffs without Reynoso or some one of his caliber being acquired. The win today will put those conversations off for another week but if the Loons start losing games it will be full on PANIC.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 10:48 pm

>59 Oberon: Thanks! It was fun to get excited about my team again. The end was spectacular. We scored two goals in extra time for the win. I hope we can keep up the momentum.

I'm pretty pleased with what I've seen of the Season Pass. I'm glad they gave us a free trial to see if we like it. I subscribed to it today. I think I'll be fine with it. I also just learned that I can opt for radio play-by-play instead of the one broadcast by the TV. I'd like to give that a try because I'll be able to stream the broadcast directly into my hearing aids (so I won't have to use any captioning) and listen to Dave Johnson who used to do the TV play-by-play for DC United for many, many years until he was ousted due to the Apple deal. I'll also be able to catch some of your Loons games! :D

ETA: Hurray for your Loons! :D

Wow. Sorry about Reynoso. I hate such drama.

helmikuu 28, 10:33 am

>61 SqueakyChu: I will probably follow you in getting it - just doing it kicking and screaming.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 28, 2:25 pm

>62 Oberon: LOL! Let me know what you think of it after you get it.

So much for listening to my local play-by-play. I just learned that there is about a 15-second delay (which is also why closed captioning never works for me). With captions not being in exact synch with audio, understanding becomes harder for me rather than easier. :(

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 28, 6:01 pm

Silent Spring Revolution by Douglas Brinkley

While I did not realize it when I first picked this up, Silent Spring Revolution is the third book in a trilogy by Douglas Brinkley focusing American Presidents and the role in creating and shaping the environmental policy. The first book is Wilderness Warrior which focuses on Teddy Roosevelt, the rise of the progressive movement and the start of an ecological movement. The second book is Rightful Heritage which focuses on FDR and his use of the CCC to combat the Dust Bowl as well as FDR's significant impact on the parks system. I very much enjoyed the first two books and this one was also excellent.

Silent Spring Revolution completes the narrative starting with JFK and New Environmentalism, through LBJ and ending with Nixon, the founding of the EPA, the Clean Water Act and the upgraded Endangered Species Act. Like his preceding books, Brinkley looks exhaustively at almost all aspects of the various topics he covers - things like the fight over Dinosaur National Park and the fight over the proposed dam which would have submerged the park, the long legislative fight over the Wilderness Act and the dawning of the environmental justice movement brought on by people like Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Like his previous books, the level of detail make the book a tome in length. Personally, that was not a detraction for me. I found the attention to detail and smaller stories and personalities to be a bonus in this book and in the previous two. However, I could see someone looking at the sheer size of Silent Spring Revolution and being scared off.

It is fair to say that I learned a great deal from the book. I think what I found most interesting was the sheer amount of environmental legislation that was part of LBJ's Great Society. Like most everything else that he did, Vietnam is the albatross around LBJ's neck, but Brinkley makes a compelling argument that LBJ deserves to rank among the greats in American environmentalism. There is much much more but it is hard to summarize a 900 page book covering nearly a decade of policy and advocacy in a coherent review.

I highly recommend Silent Spring Revolution (and the previous two books). My first five star read for 2023.

helmikuu 28, 7:56 pm

>64 Oberon: I loved the first two, so obviously must read this!

Erik, the trick is to find someone who has T-Mobile, but doesn't want the MLS pass and will give it to you.

maaliskuu 1, 2:24 am

>51 Oberon: No longer nostalgic. We got the second highest snowfall in Portland's recorded history. Only 11 inches, but on our hilly, windy roads, life came to a standstill. Also we don't use salt and have like no snow plows. LOL. Check out my thread for more details -- my hubby had to rescue my sister and wound up on the 11:00 news.

>60 Oberon: Hurray for the win and boo for the player uncertainty.

maaliskuu 1, 10:12 pm

>65 banjo123: Yes - definitely if you enjoyed the first two you will like this book.

Sadly - no T-Mobile, soccer hating friends that I know of.

>66 Berly: Ouch. Yeah I could see 11 inches being a real problem. Hope the Timbers are off to a good start. I did like their new plaid based uniform.

maaliskuu 1, 10:26 pm

>48 Oberon: To be honest, Erik, I had mixed emotions about Jesse Marsch. On the one hand I think we were unlucky in a number of games not to have picked up more points and I don't think - other than one or two bad eggs, he lost the dressing/locker room. On the other hand it is results based and his very narrow style didn't seem to suit our players and was becoming increasingly unpopular with the fans.
I have a lot of hope that we have eventually recruited sensibly this time as his replacement Javi Gracia seems to have his head screwed on properly.

>56 SqueakyChu: You are more than welcome into the fold, Madeline. It is a painful but hugely addictive experience being a Leeds United fan, believe me!
I will reciprocate especially since Mateusz Klich was wonderful for us in the seasons before our promotion.

maaliskuu 1, 11:07 pm

>56 SqueakyChu: I already love Klich! I know Leeds fans are sad that he's gone. I'll have to figure out where I can catch some of the Leeds games.

maaliskuu 1, 11:48 pm

>67 Oberon: The Timbers opened with 1-0 over Sporting KC. And the jerseys aren't bad! : )

maaliskuu 2, 12:51 am

>56 SqueakyChu: This is for you Madeline and you of course Erik:


maaliskuu 2, 1:03 am

>71 PaulCranswick: Wow! Nice! Thanks for sharing that, Paul. That makes me excited for my team this season.

maaliskuu 15, 11:42 am

Loons tied the NY Red Bulls in their home opener 1-1. I did not go to the game but my youngest went with my sister. It was reminiscent of some of our previous openers with the game being played in a snowstorm and most of the field being snow covered. Frankly a bit of a mess.

Sadly, our next game against Vancouver seems highly problematic since we are losing something like 6 of our starters due to international duty. I really have no idea who is going to show up and play for the team. Also, no end or update to the Reynoso situation. We are lucky to be sitting on 4 points missing our best player.

maaliskuu 15, 3:40 pm

>73 Oberon: Sounds rough, Erik. :(

maaliskuu 18, 9:33 pm

Erik it is bad news for the US Team and for Leeds that Tyler Adams has pulled his hamstring and will sit out the internationals. Still in his absence we had a great win 4-2 away at Wolves yesterday and climb to 14th in the EPL. New manager 7 points in 4 games will hopefully keep us up.

maaliskuu 23, 10:54 am

>73 Oberon: So the game against Vancouver is this coming Saturday which means I missed a game - which was a Loons win! We beat the Colorado Rapids 2-1 away.

Still no Reynoso but we did bring in a South Korean winger. We will see how he turns out but hope springs eternal with new signings.

In other news, just came back from a short trip to San Diego to check out a a college for my oldest. We also went to the zoo, did a whale watching excursion and admired the sea lions while in warmer surroundings.

maaliskuu 23, 10:55 am

>75 PaulCranswick: We will see how the international break goes. Here, the big drama is Reyna's inclusion in the lineup. Hate to see him rewarded for his parents appalling behavior but probably too talented a player to leave off the team.

maaliskuu 23, 2:15 pm

One of a great many sea lions from our trip to San Diego.

maaliskuu 24, 6:45 am

>78 Oberon: Great photo Erik.

maaliskuu 24, 7:55 am

Happy Friday, Erik. I have not been by in awhile. I hope you and the family are doing well. You definitely got my attention with Silent Spring Revolution and the other 2 books in the trilogy. I can't believe those flew under my radar.

Love the sea lions.

maaliskuu 24, 4:10 pm

>78 Oberon: Thanks Caroline. You can see they weren't especially worried by the near by humans.

>79 Caroline_McElwee: I have been a bit MIA Mark. I haven't been updating my thread much and just lurking in other threads. Hopefully that will improve as the year goes on.

I highly recommend Brinkley's presidential environmental histories. I think it is something that you especially would enjoy.

maaliskuu 26, 2:09 pm

>78 Oberon: Great photo.

maaliskuu 27, 11:40 pm

>83 Oberon: Thanks Beth. Lots of tourists taking selfies with the sea lions nearby (us too) but I loved the contented look on his face.

maaliskuu 29, 10:52 am

Loons update: Loons gave away a very late (97+ minute when there was supposed to be 96+ minute stoppage) to end up with a 1-1 tie. Very frustrating to not get the win that late in the game against Vancouver. That said, the Loons remain undefeated without their best player and on a weekend where we were missing 7 of our players on international duty. So not quite the B squad but a very understaffed roster.

Up next - St. Louis, the MLS's newest expansion team. Weirdly, St. Louis has won every game this season. Very uncommon for an expansion team. No one seems to have decided if this is a fluke or the real deal yet so we shall see.

maaliskuu 29, 10:56 am

In other news, I will be away from the threads starting Friday evening. (Not that anyone would notice given how infrequently I post). We are checking out Colombia for spring break. Hopefully I will have some cool photos to share when we are back.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 29, 4:41 pm

Have a great trip to Colombia, Erik! BTW I'm reading Retrospective, the latest novel by the Colombian Juan Gabriel Vásquez, one of my favorite writers, which is superb so far. His novels are ones of historical fiction, nearly all based in Colombia, and if I had to choose one to recommend it would be The Shape of the Ruins, although Retrospective may outdo it.

maaliskuu 29, 4:50 pm

>86 kidzdoc: I really appreciate the suggestion Darryl. I just started Magdalena: River of Dreams in preparation for the trip. I also polished off Love in the Time of Cholera that had been on my shelves for years and I hadn't gotten to it. I will be interested to know if Retrospective exceeds The Shape of the Ruins and will definitely given at least one of them a try.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 29, 9:16 pm

>87 Oberon: My pleasure, Erik. I'm only on page 74 of 494 in Retrospective, but it continues to be superb. It won the Mario Vargas Llosa Prize in 2021, and on the front cover of the UK paperback edition is a quote by MVL, who describes it as "One of the great novels to have been written in our language." I'll do my best to write a review shortly after I finish it.

ETA: Ah. I now see why I have the UK edition, which my brother bought for me as a Christmas gift. The US version won't be published until early May of this year.

huhtikuu 13, 4:23 pm

We are returned from Colombia. Things started really rough. A blizzard here before we took off resulted in us returning to the gate after idling on the plane for 3 hours. We got to drive home through the blizzard only to return the next morning to stand in a TSA line of 2 1/2 hours and got to deal with extra connections as the airlines tried to get people to the right place. We ended up losing a day in Bogota.

Once in Colombia things went well. We were Bogota for a day and a half, flew to Medellin for two nights, flew to Santa Marta and drove to an eco lodge outside of Tayrona National Park for an evening. The next day we hiked the park and then drove four hours to Cartagena where we stayed for three nights before coming home.

Here are few pictures from the trip.

Pre-Colombian gold in the Bogota gold museum.

Bogota fruit market.

Main cathedral in Bogota.

The kids in Getafe outside of Medellin.

River bed near Tayrona with jungle and mountains.

Lots and lots of great street art.

huhtikuu 13, 4:34 pm

Great photos of Colombia, Erik; it is on my WL. When I lived closer, Pablo Escobar was alive, so it wasn't safe.

huhtikuu 13, 5:25 pm

>89 Oberon: Fabulous photos, Erik!

huhtikuu 13, 7:35 pm

>90 BLBera: Thanks Beth. We saw some of the place Pablo lived. A true menace.

>91 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl!

huhtikuu 14, 1:28 am

>89 Oberon: Awesome. Love all the street art!

huhtikuu 14, 8:17 am

Earlier this year I read a memoir from a woman who grew up in Colombia. You might like it. It's The Man Who Could Move Clouds.

huhtikuu 19, 10:50 am

>93 ursula: It is a big thing in Colombia, especially Medellin, but throughout the country.

>94 BLBera: I appreciate the recommendation. Definitely reading more about Colombia right now.

huhtikuu 19, 11:01 am

Magdalena: River of Dreams by Wade Davis

I started this before I left for our trip and finished it on my return. The book tells the history of Colombia through a traverse of the Magdalena river which bisects the country. It is the best single non-fiction book I have found about Colombia. However, it is not perfect. A long section on the Colombian music turned into a recital of the author meeting various old musicians I have not heard of and each saying essentially that their music come from the heart and reflects Colombia's turbulent history. Perhaps if I was better versed in Colombian music this would have landed better for me.

By contrast, Davis did a masterful job of explaining the history and significance of Simon Bolivar while interweaving Gabriel Garcia Marquez's writing, especially The General in his Labyrinth. Davis does an excellent job of covering the pros and cons of the Liberator and acknowledges his complex legacy.

Much of the book dwells on Colombia's very turbulent recent past, FARC, Pablo Escobar and the narcotics trade. It filled in a lot of the gaps in my admittedly limited knowledge about how these various forces combined to wreck havoc on Colombian society.

Ultimately, Magdalena: River of Dreams is an optimistic book looking forward to a better future in Colombia that appears to have arrived. Highly recommended.

huhtikuu 19, 2:53 pm

Nice review of Magdalena: River of Dreams, Erik; that's definitely one for the wish list.

I should finish Retrospective by the Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez today, and it will earn no less than 4 stars from me.

huhtikuu 19, 2:56 pm

>97 kidzdoc: Four stars sounds like a worthwhile read to me! I will look for your review and a copy of the book.

huhtikuu 23, 11:18 am

>96 Oberon: Great comments, Erik. I'll look for this one.

Right now I'm reading a collection of short stories by Patricia Engle, whose parents are Colombian. The stories are excellent, mostly about the diaspora, at least so far.

huhtikuu 23, 3:30 pm

>89 Oberon: Great photos Erik. Shame about the delay getting out there, but looks like it was worth it.

huhtikuu 25, 2:44 pm

>99 BLBera: Interested to know what you think when you are done with it.

>100 Caroline_McElwee: The trip was certainly worth it. Could have used a bit less drama though.

huhtikuu 25, 4:14 pm

Loons update: Loons lost 1-0 to Seattle. We have never managed to win in Seattle and the streak continues. Very frustrating.

toukokuu 1, 1:22 pm

Loons update: Went to the Loons game versus FC Dallas last night with a friend. It was troubling cold. The Loons ended up tying 0-0 even though we looked like the better team. Defense is doing fine but our offense is struggling.

toukokuu 1, 1:25 pm

My Little Free Library is up and in operation. I stocked it with nature books (catalogued on LT) as well as some free seed packets for pollinator gardens. The oak saplings will probably be out in a week or two. Our long winter lingers such that trees are just starting to leaf out.

toukokuu 1, 1:45 pm


toukokuu 2, 1:00 pm

A great library! Well done!!

toukokuu 3, 1:34 pm

>104 Oberon: Lovely, Erik.
I like that you also add seed packets and oak saplings.

toukokuu 5, 11:51 am

>105 drneutron:, >106 PocheFamily:, >107 FAMeulstee: I am pleased to say that it is going well so far. A bigger demand for kid books than I expected. And of course someone put a bunch of non-nature related books in.

Planning on curating it about once a week or so. The leaves are finally starting to come out here so might have the oaks available for Mother's Day.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 5, 1:08 pm

>104 Oberon: Glad I stopped by your thread to see your nature Little Free Library in operation. I’m so excited for you. We’ve had ours for ten years now, and I’m enjoying it as much, if not more, as when we started with it. In addition, my husband is building another two Little Free Libraries for three different friends to be located in two near-by cities. These are LFLs #12 and #13. As he finishes each, he says he’s not going to build any more (but eventually he does).

If your LFL doesn’t have a sign that it’s for nature-related books only, people will not know. They might put in non-nature related books anyway, regardless.

My BookCrossing group last month just had a tent at a local book festival in which we gave away about 1,500 free books. I told fellow LFL stewards to stop by our booth (the next festival is this month) to pick up free books for their LFLs). Too bad Minnesota is so far from Maryland.

Don’t have time to talk soccer now. I’m supposed to be cooking Shabbat dinner for my family right now! :)

P.S. My husband says your LFL looks great!

toukokuu 8, 1:41 pm

Sounds like your husband has a second career going making LFLs.

I might have to make a sign, we will see. So far just culled non-nature related material. The Lake Association had an event over the weekend and I met up with the president and got things like watershed hiking maps and Lake Association stickers to add to the library. I am targeting this coming weekend for the start of my oak tree give away.

Not sure how much soccer I can talk right now because the Loons are sinking quickly. On the plus side, Reynoso ended his five month hiatus from the team and is in Minnesota. No idea when he will actually play but our attack certainly needs his help.

toukokuu 8, 4:13 pm

>110 Oberon: Your plans for your LFL sound so fun...and perfect!

For the non-nature related books you cull from your LFL, just look on the map at littlefreelibrary.org and find other LFLs to which you can donate them. The stewards might even offer to pick them up from you and also save nature-related books to give you in return. I often swap books with other local LFL stewards. We trade off for books each of us most wants or needs. It works out fine!

Well, DC United is looking up. The one game I didn't see (because I was at a Rain concert -- a tribute to The Beatles), our striker Chris Benteke did an amazing bicycle kick for a goal. That's always fun to see, but it's better live than in reruns! :)

DC United is not one of the better teams, but the players are starting to look better. Sadly most of the players are new since Rooney became coach, and it sort of no longer feels like "my" team. I guess one of these days it will. I loved when Rooney played with us. I hate playing teams that have our old team members. That hurts.

I hope things look up for the Loons soon.

toukokuu 8, 5:31 pm

Love your FLL Erik.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 12, 10:58 am

>111 SqueakyChu: I am having fun with it. I agree that I am going to have to do some relocating of non-nature books.

The Loons won their Open Cup game this week. I hear you about DC United being rebuilt - that said, kind of seems like it was a necessary step given how the team has done.

>112 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. Hoping to get my oak tree saplings out this weekend (just have to work around a soccer tournament in Wisconsin).

toukokuu 18, 10:13 am

Loons won yesterday. First home MLS win of the season. Reynoso has returned to Minnesota and hopefully will start playing in June. Sad that we will be 3+ months into the season before we get to where we should have been at the start.

In other news, my oak tree giveaway has started. Not going like hotcakes but there is a small but steady outward flow of oaks (and pollinator seeds) so hopefully some will get planted and cared for.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 18, 3:25 pm

>114 Oberon:. Glad to hear the good news about the Loons. DC United is starting to look good and is playing hard. They drew 0:0 with Philly Union yesterday. I’ll take that point because in our last game with them we lost 7:0. It was pretty embarrassing.

Are you going to give away any other plants or seedlings? You should do so. It’s a lot of fun.

Jose set up his 12th Little Free Library last week in Silver Spring, Maryland, and is going to set up his 13th Little Free Library next week in Potomac, Maryland. He’s on a roll!! :)

toukokuu 20, 8:55 pm

Hi Erik! I will be watching your Loons take on the Timbers in a bit... (not in person). I am not super hopeful for the Timbers, this isn't the best year, and I think they are tired from the mid-week game.

toukokuu 25, 10:43 pm

>116 banjo123:. Good on the Loons, that was a tough loss for the Timbers.

toukokuu 26, 10:02 am

>117 banjo123: Not going to lie, that was a big win for us. Frankly, feel we were lucky but such is soccer.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 27, 11:50 pm

>118 Oberon:. You were lucky, but the way the Timbers have been playing, they didn't deserve any better. I can be philosophical, as I am mostly focused on the Thorns, our women's team, who are much better.

kesäkuu 5, 2:02 pm

Loons update: Another tie at home. On the positive side, Reynoso is finally back. At least if the Loons can't win they won't have any excuses anymore.

kesäkuu 7, 6:50 pm

Hope the air isn't too terrible?!? Good luck to the Loons!

kesäkuu 8, 11:29 am

>121 Berly: Hasn't been as bad as New York but we have had a pretty persistent haze. I think the cough I have developed is linked to it. Pretty depressing really.