Sunday Salon: Release the Kracken! The TBR Dare is Back! and maybe some other ramblings….

Rudolph _picmonkeyed (1)
Part of the holiday decorating at our house.

The TBR Triple Dog Dare came back for a final round this week.  You can sign up for it in a comment here.  We have 22 people signed up so far, which I think is pretty good.  Since leaving my old blog Ready When You Are, C.B. almost two years ago, I’ve not built up nearly the readership I used to have, but that’s okay.  I semi-retired from blogging in 2014 and now consider myself blogging on  a consultant basis.

So 22 sign-ups in a week is very good.

The Dare starts on January 1, so you still have time to sign-up.  All you have to do is read only books from your TBR stack until April 1, 2016.  Exceptions are allowed and explained on the sign-up page here.

I did quite a bit of reading this week, since I had the week off.  Nothing earth-shaking, but several books I enjoyed.  I even managed to post reviews of most of them.  I have two to write up, maybe later today: Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity by Prue Shaw which I enjoyed, but will admit to some skimming towards the end.  I thought it would be a great way to learn all about Dante and The Divine Comedy without having to actually read Dante.  It would have been better if I had read or was reading Dante which I may do now that I know more about him.

The other book still to be reviewed is Ernest Hemingway’s A Movable Feast.  I’ll have to digest it a little before writing, I think.  I read this week that A Movable Feast has been back on the best-seller list in the wake of the Paris attacks.  The thing is, A Movable Feast is not really about Paris.  It’s about all of the people, mostly American authors, whom Hemingway knew while living in Paris.  There really aren’t any French people in the book except for waiters and a couple of car mechanics.  A Movable Feast has almost nothing to say about Paris itself.  Hemingway spent his time in Europe moving from one English speaking colony to another, never really interacting with the place he was in.  He was a tourist among tourists.

Which is probably how most Americans experience Paris.

C.J., who spent a good chunk of his high school years living in Madrid where his father was designing an airport for Franco, his father worked for Bechtel, says that is typical of ex-pats.  They all either spent their days interacting with other ex-pats never really getting to know anyone Spanish, or they spent their days interacting with the Spanish never really getting to know any other ex-pats.  No one ever did both. Most of his family got to know lots of ex-pats. One of his brothers got to know lots of Spanish people.  Guess which family member still speaks fluent Spanish.

I’ll save the rest of my thoughts on A Movable Feast for the post except to say this–while I found most of the book’s writing annoying to condescending, there were still two passages that broke my heart a little, which is the power of Earnest Hemingway’s work.

Damn if he can’t write when he gets going.

We meant to do more day trips than we did this week.  It rained, thank you, on the day we had planned on going to the city so we stayed home and read in the rain.  We did make it up to Grass Valley for their Cornish Christmas street fair which was cold but lots of fun.  Back in the 19th century when the tin mines in Cornwall closed, large numbers of former tin miners moved to Grass Valley, California en masse where they took jobs in the gold mines.  Hence the Cornish Christmas.  The event runs every Friday night  through the holidays, so we may even go again.  We’re hoping to retire to Grass Valley someday soon.

Thanksgiving was spent with C.J.’s family dining out as usual at the El Dorado Kitchen in Sonoma.  A delicious meal was had by all.  One plus of dining out for Thanksgiving for me is that I can have a good steak instead of turkey.  Turkey.  Really?  Is there a blander main course anywhere in the world?  So why not liven it up with mashed potatoes and green beans?  And cranberries?  What dark pit of horror did those things come from?

I’m from the midwest, so for me Thanksgiving has always been about the company, not the food.

So, today for finishing the shopping, doing the bills, some reading, walking the dogs, ignoring the stack of papers I still haven’t graded…

…and adding your name to The TBR Triple Dog Dare list.

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4 Comments

  1. shoreacres says:

    I just signed up for the Dare, and added my name over on the other page. No reading for me this past week — it was all travel, and interesting. I stayed in Texas, but trust me: there wasn’t a WalMart, a football game, a black Friday sale — or an internet connection! — anywhere near. I feel like I’ve been gone for aeons, so it’s good to have the nudge for the TBR Dare waiting.

    1. Welcome back to the TBR Dare. I’ve added you to the participants list. Have fun.

  2. I read somewhere that A Moveable Feast was on the best seller list following the Paris attacks and had the same though… that it’s not really about Paris at all! Strange.

    I included the TBR Dare in my update post this week. Really need to conquer the tbr on my kindle this time!

    1. Thanks for giving The TBR Dare a plug. I appreciate it. I’d like to get 50 participants this year.

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