Tag Archives: Myla Goldberg

Seven Quick Takes Friday – Alone but not lonesome edition

Seven Quick Takes Friday

How did I spend my week alone you ask?

    1. I finished a terrific book. My review (posted on Goodreads):Bee Season
      Bee Season
      by Myla Goldberg
      My rating: 5 of 5 stars
      An incredible feat of a first novel. Of a tenth novel for that matter.This is the story of a family and the secrets held by each of the members. Told over the arc of two seasons of spelling bees, the relationships between the various dyads are very finely drawn. Each family member is experiencing a kind of very personal suffering or angst, and the novel weaves their stories into a sort of coat of many colours.It is not a sad book per se, but we meet these characters as they struggle to be true to themselves with sometimes unexpected results.Highly recommended.  View all my reviews
    2. Many thanks to the Canadian Opera Company for sending out their usual pre-opera reminder with links to reading resources etc. Otherwise, I might not have realized that my second time round with Peter Grimes on Saturday starts at 4:30 pm and not 7:30. I saw it opening night when Ben Heppner was indisposed. This time, fingers crossed, he will be on stage. Seeing it with a friend who likes Heppner, but not so much Benjamin Britten. We’ll have a good discussion at dinner afterwards, regardless.
    3. It’s not all operas and orchestras around here. Sometimes what a gal needs is a few hours of concentrated lounging in front of the television. This week, as I struggled to kick this cold, I caught up on a few of my fave series and suddenly wondered “What is it that makes bad boys so attractive to women?” I mean, women who are otherwise not interested in the immoral or illicit. Even bad boys who (to me) are not that physically attractive? (Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire, played by Steve Buscemi) Or those that are? (Fitz in Call Me Fitz, played by Jason Priestly.) Okay, maybe the latter is a bit easier to understand, but he’s really a nasty piece of work on the show.
    4. Carter’s Baby Gowns

      What is the matter with all these people staring (and commenting) in wonderment at Prince George in a christening gown (or “dress” as they are wont to call it?) Have they no clue? Have they never seen old photos or footage of a traditional christening? In fact, babies of both genders have been clothed in gowns for centuries. When they were newborns in the 1990s, my boys wore long gown-like sleepers that my mother had set aside from when my sibs and I were babies. They were very practical, cozy, and cute.

      Prince George in reproduction Victorian christening gown.
    5. This is why your band needs to have a tubist, not a bass player (with apologies to Michael’s flat-mate, a bass player.)

    6. My (church) choir is putting on a concert to raise funds for the restoration of the organ. It’s Friday November 1st at 8 pm at Blessed Sacrament Parish (Yonge and Lawrence W, Toronto) and we’ll be joined by the marvellous Victoria Scholars and some special guest instrumentalists. More details to follow early next week after I actually make it to a rehearsal (*sniffle). Free to attend. Donations gratefully accepted.
    7. A big happy birthday to my sister Frances who turns 15 months younger than me today!  Here we are with our parents before the baby brother arrived.

      Berkman Family, early 60s.
      Berkman Family, lets just call it the 60s.

It’s Monday….What am I reading?

it's monday

Well, poppets. My alone-time is ripe for reading and I’ve got quite the pile on the go.

In paper:

  1. I started Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorderin audiobook on my road-trip to Montreal last week. It was so compelling, and I so badly wanted to see the diagrams, that I stopped at a Scarborough Chapters in the pouring rain and ran in and picked it up, along with his previous book, The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable Fragility”  (and maybe one more dated journal that will REALLY help me get organized this time.) Taleb has been accused of being a blow-hard, full of himself, and insulting to the finance and statistical communities. That may be (and, um, is), but he’s one smart cookie, and we mustn’t be guilty of argumentum ad hominem when we consider his writing. I have a lot of thoughts running round my brain on this one, but they haven’t settled down yet, so perhaps when I’m finished I’ll devote a post to it.
  2. I’ve just started Bee Season by Myla Goldberg and it promises to be a good, quick read. I have always shied away from watching spelling bees (either in real life or in movies/tv because the drama seems too much (seriously) but that’s just my lot. I think I can handle it in a book.
  3. I’ve put down Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife because it’s a big heavy hardcover, but I think I may dip in to it again this week while I’m relaxing.
  4. Next novel up will be The Silent Wife which I found at Value Village when I returned a non-functional appliance and had to take something in exchange immediately. I’m really trying not to buy anything I’ll only read once, but I’m human.

In digital format:

  1. I finished up a re-read of The Dinner by Herman Koch last week as it’s this month’s book club selection. I think that the discussion should be excellent as there is much to mine in this slim novel about family relationships, criminality, and story-telling.
  2. I’ve been dipping in to Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life, billed as a simpler version of the extremely popular but massively difficult-to-implement Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. In my retirement, I find myself with a million small things to do, and some larger projects with lots of steps and I’m not very good at actually accomplishing the things that I should be able to. It’s sort of a forest-and-trees type problem.
  3. I’ve been reading some Edgar Allan Poe short stories as part of a Goodreads discussion group and have been running hot and cold on them. Some are interesting and compelling, and some seem endlessly dull. But I’m glad I’ve been reading them as it was something of a gap in this fairly well-read gal’s literary life.
  4. Next up will be The Stranger’s Child by the wonderful Alan Hollinghurst. I’ve read his novels The Swimming Pool Library and The Line of Beauty, and both were extremely engaging.

In audiobook:

  1. I may continue listening to Antifragile in audio (above), or move on to….
  2. Herzog by Saul Bellow. I’m not sure why I requested this from the library but it was ready for downloading before I left on my trip, so I’ll give it a go. I really wish the library had a spot where you could note what exactly made you ask for a book. I must put these things into Goodreads and make my notes there.