Friday post: Deconstructing the week (plus my blog vacation)

I am on vacation next week and will not be blogging much (if at all). Try not to miss me too much 🙂

Some ups and downs this week as usual. I had scheduled a massage this morning — my little occasional treat — but after getting myself to the place on time, and then waiting for a while, I learned my masseuse was not there yet and was running at least 30 minutes late. Boo. I wound up leaving (because if I’d started my hour-long massage at 9:40 I would have been late for other things). While I realize that a canceled massage is the definition of a first world problem, I never like wasting time.

An upside of that, though: I listened to more of the Simplify podcast on the drive there and back. I listened to the interview with myself and I thought I sounded reasonable. They told me this episode was downloaded 25,000 times in the first few days, which is definitely cool.

Running is going well. I did two runs during the week with a friend. Both days wound up being 2x days, once because I’d run in the A.M. before she texted, and then the other because I did my evening bike/run with my 7-year-old. I’ll do a long run with another friend this weekend. I made the mistake one day of trying to do a mid-day run outside when it was particularly hot, and I had to quit after 2 miles.

We have tickets for the Longwood Gardens fireworks this weekend. I am slightly concerned about the big kids being out past their bedtime (the 2-year-old will stay home). OK, scratch that, I’m concerned about being out past my bedtime, given the early wake-ups. But as I keep seeing from my time logs, one way or another I get to my 7.4 hour average. And I can be pretty functional on 6 hours sleep if I need to be, as long as I make it up over the next night or two. The 2-year-old woke up sometime around 6:30 a.m. this morning, so that felt quite reasonable. I was actually up on my own before that.

On the professional front, I made some progress. Some was platform building, some was creative. I sketched the outline of a potential time management “fable.”

I learned a woman I met many years ago (and liked!) would be moving to my neck of the woods later this month. So now we have lunch scheduled.

I scheduled a lot of life maintenance stuff. I made it to the eye doctor (though, as usual, it requires a follow-up appointment…precluding simply checking this to-do off the list). I made a dentist appointment for next month. I got my hair cut.

I read like a madwoman. I finished the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. This was surprisingly readable. I know that Mark Twain published it; maybe he edited it too? It was a little strange that Grant’s memoirs didn’t cover his presidency, but I guess the war in Mexico and the Civil War were his personal highlights. Then, after two very short books as palate cleansers, I plunged into Kristin Lavransdatter. I only committed to making it through book 1 (which is 291 pages; I’m at 265 now). It was published originally as 3 separate books, so I think it’s OK to count it as 3 books on my books read list (right?). If book 1 goes well then I will attempt to get through the whole 1100 pages. I’m realizing that you read an 1100 page book just like you’d read anything. A bit at a time. I told myself if I read 50 pages a day, I’d get through it by the end of August. I’m ahead of that pace now, so it probably won’t take that long. Can War and Peace and IQ84 be far behind??? Curious which 600+ page books people have read and would recommend.

Only one camp show this week. I’d call that a win.

In other news: I had a great laugh about that guy who tried to schedule 6 dates in a night, and the ladies all wound up meeting up and having a drink together and enjoying each others’ company. With informational interviews, stacking is OK. Dates, not so much. Sometimes, efficiency is not the way to go.

Photo: Tomatoes from the garden. Finally!

22 thoughts on “Friday post: Deconstructing the week (plus my blog vacation)

  1. I have a long list of big books I’d like to read, which I think I’m going to focus on next year, so I’ll be watching what you think of the 1100 page book.

    I recommend: Madam Secretary: A Memoir by Madeleine Albright (736), The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (973), and House of Leaves by Mark Z.
    Danielewski (735), plus the later Harry Potter books.

  2. I liked 1Q84 but Kafka on the Shore and The WInd-Up Bird Chronicle are my two Murakami faves. I was actually just thinking about going back and reading through the whole collection, I was soooo Murakami obsessed at one point!!

    1. Will add – rather long book I loved last year – A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. Heart wrenching, somewhat torturous to read at times, but also amazing.

  3. For big books: I did not entirely understand, but thoroughly enjoyed, Infinite Jest. On the shorter side of David Foster Wallace works, the essay “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” is a delight.

  4. Big Books: Anna Karenina, The Goldfinch, and the Game of Thrones series (I’m not particularly big on sci-fi/fantasy but the books sucked me in!)

    I think I remember hearing on the Grant episode of the Presidential podcast that he wrote his memoirs in a hurry as he was quite ill and was trying to finish them for publication and thus funds for his wife and family. I think he died before he could write about his presidential years.

  5. I recently finished reading the novel “4 3 2 1” by Paul Auster. (866 pages). I started it the end of June and finished it the first week of August so I guess you could say it took me 3 months to read. I did take a break from it in mid July and read 2 other books though. That’s the longest book I’ve read for a long time.

  6. Fun question! The longest book on my Goodreads is War and Peace–I would definitely recommend both that and another doorstopper, Crime and Punishment. I also liked Middlemarch and Vanity Fair, or, on the YA side, This Is All by Aidan Chambers.

  7. I read Middlemarch earlier this summer and enjoyed it much more than I expected. The Brothers Kazmarov is my favorite of the “long Russian” novels. If you like KL, I think you may really enjoy Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin which came out sometime in the last couple of years.

  8. Not sure this is your taste, but I read Goldfinch by Donna Tartt a few years ago and really enjoyed it. It’s probably right around 700 pages, but I’m not sure since I read it on the kindle. Would also recommend Anna Karenina.

    1. The audiobook version of The Goldfinch is a masterpiece of narration. The story is engaging, of course, and the narrator’s range is incredible – he handles an old-school, upper-class antiques dealer, a Russian teen, and a female smoker with aplomb. It’s one of the rare audiobooks where I don’t feel incredibly irritated by the male narrator’s attempt at doing female parts.

  9. I’m glad you enjoyed Grant – I’ll have to tell my husband 🙂 I’ve had the first Kristin Lavransdottir on my nightstand for ages and have just not gotten into it, so I’ll be curious to know how you end up liking it.
    I’ve been re-reading Villette, and have a doorstopper of an all-Bronte biography next in line (Juliet Barker’s Wild Genius on the Moors). At the rate I’m going, I’ll be diving into it around November, which sounds pretty perfect.

  10. Middlemarch, Middemarch, Middlemarch! I think you will really enjoy it. I haven’t read the Goldfinch yet but just got it out from the library and am looking forward to starting soon (I loved Tartt’s the Secret History).

  11. I listened to Volume 1 of the Mark Twain Autobiography and he mentioned the Grant Memoirs. Didn’t sound like he needed to do a lot of editing, mainly just punctuation and spelling. At the time getting Civil War heroes’ accounts of the Civil War was a really hot item which is probably why he didn’t cover his presidency.
    On that same note I would recommend Mark Twain’s autobiography. It’s different than other biographies in that he wanders forward and back quite a lot, but it is quite witty and a very interesting listen.

  12. 1100 pages “And Ladies of the Club”. A yearly must read for me! Autocorrect won’t let me enter authors’ name….first name is Helen.

  13. I echo the others who suggest Middlemarch and Anna Karenina. I also recommend A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. A doorstop of a book (and there are some sections that do drag a bit), but overall a great read. I loved Kristin Lavransdatter and hope you are enjoying it. There is something very satisfying in reading a good, long book!

  14. I totally recommend Lonesome Dove. I loved that book. Slow, meandering, but every single page was exquisite. Won the Pulitzer Prize. I love long books.

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