Various & Sundry

It’s been a long time since I posted, and a lot has been happening, to me, to the country. First, Covid, over 400,000 dead so far and climbing. I’m staying in, isolated, home, masked when outside anywhere for anything. You’d think that would mean I’d be getting lots of reading done, but, no. A few short stories, a Batman graphic novel, since Christmas.

By January 1, I was feeling pretty low, no energy, poor balance and Barbara felt I should go to the hospital. Unhappy, I went, and it’s a good thing. Turns out a medication I’ve had prescribed for decades for my seizure disorder has been draining the salt from me to such an extent that I was very dangerously low, nearly to stroke level. Five days on my back in a damn hospital bed, blood pulls every 4 hours around the clock, new meds and salt tablets through the day and night, very little sleep. I didn’t watch any TV or read a word. I missed the insurrection at the Capitol and all other news, but that’s okay.

It was glorious to get home!

I’m getting stronger now that I’m home, able to walk about some, stay up all day, and I had a video Dr. Visit with one of my two new doctors this morning, which went well, she is pleased with my lab numbers and I may get off the salt pills in a day or two.

This morning we watched the Inaugural events.That was very happy for me as I really hated Trump and everything he stood for. Easily the worst President in U.S. history.

The likelihood of receiving the Coronavirus vaccine is faint here, I’m 75 but they keep pushing my group back. Maybe by March 1st, they now say. Okay, whatever. I’m glad and lucky I have a nice home to live in, a wonderful wife, and two cats to live with. Lots of books, which I’m just now starting to read again, and the weather has been beautiful, cold and clear. Perhaps some snow next week.

Reading: E. B. White on Dogs edited by Kathryn White, essays and humor pieces written by White both during his years at The New Yorker and afterward, light and entertaining. Easy to focus on and pick up for a few pages at a time.

Next: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman from the library.

Just arrived this morning: the final four volumes, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of The Complete Dr. Thorndyke by R. Austin Freeman. I will now have them all on shelf, but have only read the first couple so far. I like them a lot.

Posted in Books & Reading | 20 Comments

Merry Christmas and Happy Hollidays to All!

It’s cold and rainy here in Portland, but a yummy breakfast is in the oven and gifts ready to unwrap await. We hope everyone who reads this has a wonderful day!

Posted in Books & Reading | 5 Comments

Wednesday Short Stories

“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” by Arthur Conan Doyle

from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, this is one of the best known Christmas mystery stories extant. I’ve read it countless times and still love it. It’s the story of a Christmas goose that went awry and the theft of a valuable jewel.

Posted in Books & Reading | 8 Comments

Report from 55th Place

I keep trying to get a decently written and formatted post up, but the idiot WordPress block formatting leaves me frustrated and disgusted. So, single paragraph, no image posts seem to be the best I can manage. REPORT: Weather here is cool and sunny. I’m still having a major case of reading blahs, managing a short story or so every day two. Barbara started sending a few Christmas cards out, but we’ve cut the number in half, not because we don’t love you all, but it seems like so much work. I’ll try a single image below:

This is one of our Barberry shrubs, in it’s Fall finery. It’s a little over five feet tall.

Posted in Books & Reading | 11 Comments

Happy December!

I am still not feeling like posting, though I am not sure just why, just a lack of energy.

I’m not reading much, and not much else is going on here. I watched some football, worked briefly in the garden doing early Winter clean-up, I am still staying in due to pandemic, so just lazing about. So happy December days to you all, and stay healthy!

Posted in Books & Reading | 5 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ll be off the blog until December, just relaxing and enjoying Thanksgiving, so I’ll see everyone next month. Stay good!

Posted in Books & Reading | 9 Comments

Wednesday Short Stories from Three Collections / Anthologies

Here are the three short story collections / anthologies I’m working on right now. At some point – probably pretty soon – I’ll take a break to read a novel.

from The Thinking Machine: Fifty Novelettes and Short Stories: by Jacques Futurelle
“The Mystery of the Fatal Cipher”
“Mystery of the Flaming Phantom”
“The Tragedy of the Life Raft”

from The Mammoth Book of Steampunk edited by Sam Wallace
“Fixing Hanover” by Jeff Vandermeer
“The Steam Dancer” by Caitlin Kiernan
“Icebreaker” by E. Catherine Tobler

from The Collected Max Carrados Investigations by Ernest Bramah
“The Coin of Dionysius” (reread)
“The Knight’s Cross Signal Problem”
“The Tragedy at Brookbend Cottage”
“The Clever Mrs. Straithwhite”
“The Last Exploit of Harry the Actor”

The first four of the Max Carrados stories are rereads, as I read the ebook version of a collection last year, which only had a dozen stories, as opposed to the 21 in this print book. I really like these.

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We’ve had a lot of rain in the past week, with more expected every day for at least another. That’s good, we need it, and the snowpack that’s being dropped in the mountains, which provides the water in the Summer months. It’s sunny this morning, and beautiful, but the wind that accompanied that rain has stripped many of the leaves from the trees, so Fall color is diminished, but there is still some. Here’s the Coral Bark Maple:

I’ve been reading mostly short stories, though I don’t feel like I’ve made much progress. You can see in my upcoming Wednesday post. I’m getting ready to take a break and read a novel, though I don’t know which.

Meanwhile, here’s a photo of Pongo cheering for the Oregon Ducks in their Saturday win vs. Washington State.

Posted in Anthology, At Home in Portland, Books & Reading, Mystery | 12 Comments

Forgotten stories: That’s a LOT of stories & pages!

I was looking at some of the anthologies I have on hand in the To Be Read area, and was impressed by the fact that they are so thick.

Why am I posting this under the Forgotten Books category? Because the majority of the stories in these anthologies are old, some very old.

Collected Max Carrados Investigations26623
The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 131596
The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 227605
The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 326606
The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 429593
The Book of Dragons29548
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk31489
The Thinking Machine 50 Novelettes and Stories50827
The Very Best of the Best38686
Unfettered 220565

It may be worth noting that of these, all are science fiction or fantasy except two. I wonder if that’s because there are more thick SFF anthologies out there, or if it’s just what’s been catching my eye.

What do you think?

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books | 7 Comments

Wednesday short story: “Crooked Souls” by Dashiell Hammett

Story from THE CONTINENTAL OP: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES, (Kindle ebook edition)
“Crooked Souls” first appeared in Black Mask, October 1, 1923

Harvey Gatewood’s daughter has been kidnapped, and the Op has been assigned to the case. After wading through Gatewood’s belligerence, it turns out to look more like she disappeared and it may have been kidnapping or maybe she just wanted to escape her tyrannical father’s crushing control. Then the ransom note comes…

This is a good one, as are all the Op stories, and all of Hammet’s stories and novels.

Posted in Books & Reading | 8 Comments