Dispatches from the Distancing – Days 417-423

Happy Mother’s Day to all who are celebrating in some way! My day has been low-key, which is just what I wanted. My dinner plans were to get take out from our favorite German restaurant, but they were out of pretty much everything we tried to order. So I opted for Red Robin, but their computers were glitching, which meant we had to wait almost an hour for a meal we had planned to just pick up. But, c’est la vie! I also got a chance to read for longer than usual, so I’m calling the day a win.

Our COVID-19 numbers are finally falling here, so that is excellent news! I’m hoping that the state opens up vaccinations for the 12-15 group as soon as they receive federal approval because I’d like to get Lillie vaccinated sooner rather than later. Our summer is still up in the air–her Girl Scout camp was canceled, but they are offering a “family camp” which we can do with our friends and we’ve submitted to do that. However, we aren’t sure which date we’ll be going…which is inconvenient! Anyway, once we know when we’re doing that and once Lillie is vaccinated, I can book trip #2 to see Dad in Arizona. In the summer. The hot, hot summer. (But it’s a dry heat!)

Other than that, not much has been going on in our world. The kids are enjoying going back to school in person, even if it isn’t “normal.” I think this is a good transition for Chris as this is his first year at this school and his co-hort (his in-person class) is only 6 people so he’s getting to know a few kids really well. And I’m glad that Lillie is having some in-person time with her friends as she finishes out elementary school. I can’t believe she’ll be a middle schooler next year!

Now, onto the books!

As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.

This looks like a very quiet reading week, but it was more a case of just how books fell on the calendar as I can’t say that I read notably less than usual.

Last week, I finished reading:

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
(4 stars, no Goodreads review)

This was one of those books that makes me appreciate my book club. I don’t think it would ever have been on my radar had it not been a selection.

The gist of this book is the story of Nicole Maines and her family (Nicole is now an actress who has appeared in the CW’s Supergirl). Nicole was born Wyatt Maines and knew pretty much that her gender did not match her body. I haven’t read much about the trans experience in children, so that was fascinating. However, what I really liked about this book is that it looked at the experience of the other members of the family as well.

My problem with this book is a matter of preference, not what I would consider a flaw with the book. This book has a very journalistic tone. There is a lot here to dig into and if your interest is the legal or scientific aspects, the journalistic tone is probably perfect. However, as I was more interested in the emotional aspect and the relationships, I found it a bit dry.

A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #4) by Louise Penny
(4.25 stars, no Goodreads review)

Guys, I’m completely in the Louise Penny rabbit hole now. I feel like each of her books just get better and this is the best yet (yes, I expect to say that with every book). This one was different from its predecessors because the bulk of it does not take place in Three Pines. We do hop over there from time to time and some of the villagers do show up in the main mystery, but for the most part this one is a bit separated from the other books.

I do find it a little hard to talk about mysteries because I don’t want to spoil anything. I will say that this seemed to be a more intricate mystery than the previous books with a lot of thread and a lot of motives. It was also a study on family and legacy, much of which was (intentionally) cringe-worthy, but some some was also deeply touching.

I will say this one felt a little out of place, given how the third book ended and the fact that it is not addressed at all here. I’m not sure why that is–I can’t say that it bothered me too much as I was so drawn into the this story, but I wonder if those threads will ever be addressed.

Last week, I started:

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

I really loved Jalaluddin’s first book, Ayesha at Last, and I put this one on hold as soon as I heard about it. I’m not very far into it–the due date for my Louise Penny was coming up and I had to finish that before my e-copy went poof–but so far this one seems just as delightful.

While Ayesha at Last was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, this one is a retelling of The Shop Around the Corner/She Loves Me/You’ve Got Mail (take your pick…). Instead of a store, Hana is an aspiring podcaster with a very devoted listener. I fully expect this to scratch the same spots as Ayesha at Last and I am here for it.

I’m still reading:

Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations #1) by B. B. Alston
Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home by Nora Krug
Monument by Natasha Trethewey

7 thoughts on “Dispatches from the Distancing – Days 417-423

  1. Oh my the publication of Hana Khan Carries On escaped my eye. So good to have seen it here, will be looking around for it. I loved Ayesha at Last. Going right now to look!


  2. I am so glad to hear that Gamache #4 is so good! I enjoyed the first three, and that is as far as I got. But now I have added this one to my list.

    I have watched all of Shrill from the beginning…I assumed there will be more seasons, hopefully! And yes, not suitable to watch with kids in the room. LOL

    I do love shows and movies set in Oregon, and miss being able to go to those places to visit. Sigh. Pandemic and all, and living where I do.

    Someday, perhaps.

    Enjoy your week! Thanks for visiting my blog.


  3. I haven’t been to a restaurant except fast food drive-thrus for more than a year. They are open but I’m not confident about going to them yet. I hope they open up the vaccines for ages 12-15 soon. Come see my week here. Happy reading!


  4. Hope the camp thing works out. Our council is going old school. They are doing resident camp but all the fluffy theming is gone as are the choices for 2,3, or 4 day camps. They are doing 6 Sunday to Friday sessions. My girls were never interested in doing without AC that long,.


  5. I am glad you had a nice Mother’s Day despite the food fiasco. At least you ate, right? My Mother’s Day was low-key too. The rest of the week was so busy; I was glad for a day just to rest. I heard that the FDA approved the vaccine for your daughter’s age group, so hopefully that means she can get vaccinated soon. I am sure it will be nice to visit your dad again. That’s too bad about the camps. I haven’t heard anything about the Girl Scout camps here. My daughter isn’t too interested in overnight camps yet and the day ones are always a problem because of my work schedule–getting her there and back is next to impossible. I feel bad that she has to miss out on so much as a result–and that’s in a normal year. I am hoping I can find some online camps like I did the end of last summer she can try. And a couple of her friends have offered to take her on the occasional fieldtrip to the zoo or a museum, which would be really nice.

    I hope you have a great week and enjoy your reading. I really want to read Hana Khan Carries On. I haven’t read the other book by the same author yet, but it’s also on my radar.


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About Melinda