The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 12-4-22

It’s a kind of misty, moisty weekend here in the ATL. Here’s a picture of part of the clowder watching the world drip by.

That’s Lucifer on the left and George and Luna on the right. This particular configuration gets along well. George and Luna are buddies and nobody messes with Lucifer. He’s the smallest of the five cats, but he has a tremendous amount of presence. And he was here first so the rest of them defer to his demonic majesty.

Between  The Twist of a Knife and A World of Curiosities this week, I ended up with some mystery television to watch. Magpie Murders was terrific. I won’t say it was better than the book, but it certainly made terrific use of its new medium. Three Pines, on the other hand, was not bad, and certainly better than an earlier attempt, but I have some reservations. They did a good job casting Gamache, but so much of what makes him so fascinating in the books is going on beneath the surface, which is not something that TV does well at all. But I’m curious enough to see how the series turns out.

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Fall 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Holly Jolly Giveaway Hop

Winner Announcements:

The winner of the Thankful for Books Giveaway Hop is Lyzabeth
The winner of the In All Things Give Thanks Giveaway Hop is Rebecca
The winner of the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop is Marisela

Blog Recap:

B Review: The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson
A+ Review: The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz
B Review: A Wish for Winter by Viola Shipman
Holly Jolly Giveaway Hop
A+ Review: A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny
Stacking the Shelves (525)

Coming This Week:

The Socialite’s Guide to Murder by S.K. Golden (blog tour review)
Winter is Coming Giveaway Hop
Hide by Tracy Clark (blog tour review)
Pets of Park Avenue by Stefanie London (blog tour review)
Holiday Ho-Ho-Ho Giveaway Hop

Thanksgiving 2022

Galen here once again to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. As was the case in 2018 and 2020, more cats have entered our lives. This time, it’s Luna (who likes bathroom sinks and has OPINIONS if you’re not petting her when required) and Tuna (who is a very sweet and very large lug of a kitty). Alas, this year also marked the passing of Freddie. Cats leave holes in our hearts when they pass; new cats do not fill those holes, not quite, but lay the groundwork for future holes — and yet I cannot imagine a life without them.

The reading for today is a small one: “The cat’s song” by Marge Piercy:

Mine, says the cat, putting out his paw of darkness.
My lover, my friend, my slave, my toy, says
the cat making on your chest his gesture of drawing

milk from his mother’s forgotten breasts.

Let us walk in the woods, says the cat.
I’ll teach you to read the tabloid of scents,
to fade into shadow, wait like a trap, to hunt.

Now I lay this plump warm mouse on your mat.

… the rest here

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 11-20-22

This is Thanksgiving Week. OMG how time flies when you’re having whatever the hell this year has been.

The annual Thankful for Books Giveaway Hop, hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer and yours truly, starts tomorrow! YAY! (Insert Kermit Flail here!)

Not to literally insert a Kermit Flail, although it does fit with my mood about the whole thing. Thanksgiving seriously snuck up on me this year.

Instead, I’ll insert a picture of the Lovely Luna in one of her favorite poses and places, making her adorable upside-down-kitty-face from between Galen’s legs while on top of the cushy blanket.

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the In All Things Give Thanks Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Fall 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop

Winner Announcements:

The winner of the Thanks a Latte Giveaway Hop is Wendy

Blog Recap:

Spotlight: Under a Veiled Moon by Karen Odden + Excerpt
A+ Review: Cold Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Mann
In All Things Give Thanks Giveaway Hop
A- Review: The Girl with the Emerald Flag by Kathleen McGurl
A+ Review: Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews
Stacking the Shelves (523)

Coming This Week:

Thankful for Books Giveaway Hop
Mr. Clarke’s Deepest Desire by Sophie Barnes (blog tour review)
Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade (review)
Thanksgiving 2022 (guest post by Galen!)
The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu (review)

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 11-6-22

Galen has been away most of this week (he’s back now) which leaves me alone to tend to FIVE very demanding felines. Tuna is on overwatch every single time I prepare their food. This is literal, as his head is at my waist when he stands at the table next to me watching every step and scoop. It’s a bit daunting.

I swear I saw him acting as Lucifer’s food tester the other night as well. Not that Tuna scarfed the old boy’s food. That he watched me put it down, took a sniff and one nibble, then moved out of the way for our Elder Statescat to get his due. It’s adorable and disconcerting at the same time.

And I looked down to THIS the other day while I was peacefully working at my desk. (Tuna on the left, Luna on the right with her white feets.) Aren’t they adorable? And don’t you wonder what they’re really up to? I certainly did!

Current Giveaways:

$10 Book or $10 Gift Card in the Thanks a Latte Giveaway Hop
$10 Book or $10 Gift Card in the Fall 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop

Blog Recap:

A- Review: Lute by Jennifer Thorne
Thanks a Latte Giveaway Hop
A- Review: Mission: Uncovered by Anna Hackett
A+ Review: Steel Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Mann
B Review: The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
Stacking the Shelves (521)

Coming This Week:

When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb (audiobook review)
Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop
A Matter of Happiness by Tori Whitaker (blog tour review)
Conqueror by Anna Hackett (review)
Veteran’s Day 2022 (post by Galen)

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 10-16-22

Why they ended up in this position for a mutual grooming session, I have no clue. Nevertheless, here are Luna and Tuna stretched out across the floor together in a mutual grooming session. I think they wanted to show off just how long they both are. Tuna is just so big that it’s not often obvious that Luna isn’t exactly a small cat herself.

(Luna’s on the right. She the one with the white feets.)

But speaking of pets and books, or at least winding my way around to that, the 7th annual Pets in Space anthology came out earlier this month. If you like to see your other worlds populated with fascinating companion animals, often helping their humans find their happy ever after (so the animals have more hands to scritch them!) this collection is always a treat. I can’t wait to review it this week!

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop (ENDS TOMORROW!!!!!)
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Howloween Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Breast Cancer Awareness Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Fall 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop

Blog Recap:

Breast Cancer Awareness Giveaway Hop
A+ Review: Under a Veiled Moon by Karen Odden
B Review: An Indiscreet Princess by Georgie Blalock
B- Review: Extra Witchy by Ann Aguirre
B Review: Dead Man’s Hand by James J. Butcher
Stacking the Shelves (518)

Coming This Week:

Uncanny Times by Laura Anne Gilman (review)
Riverside by Glenda Young and Ian Skillicorn (audiobook tour review)
The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Naylor (audiobook review)
Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea by Rebecca Thorne (review)
Pets in Space 7 by S.E. Smith, R.J. Blain, Grace Goodwin, Skye MacKinnon, Carol Van Natta, Honey Phillips, Carysa Locke, S.J. Pajonas, JC Hay, Kyndra Hatch (blog tour review)

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 10-2-22

I changed things around a bit from last week. Partly because Travel by Bullet was calling my name, and partly because Sweep of Stars turned out to be a bit longer than I was expecting and it threw my reading plans off a bit. It’s not that the page count was incorrect (I have a print copy and checked) it’s that the print is rather small and the kindle loc count reflects a book that should be at least 100 pages longer and I just wasn’t prepared for that this week.

C’est la vie.

Returning to other parts of my vie (life) I have an adorable picture of a sleepy Luna to share. She likes to cuddle up to my legs while I’m reading – as cats do. She also adores the cushy blanket she’s nesting in. All the cats love the cushy blankie but she seems to get possession of it more than most.

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Fall 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop

Winner Announcements:

The winner of the Fabulous Fall Giveaway Hop is Maria G.
The winner of the Falling into Leaves Giveaway Hop is Wendy J.

Blog Recap:

B Review: Marple: Twelve New Mysteries by Agatha Christie et al.
B Review: A Death in Door County by Annelise Ryan
B Review: In the Shadow of a Queen by Heather B. Moore
A Review: Travel by Bullet by John Scalzi
A+ Review: The Monsters we Defy by Leslye Penelope
Stacking the Shelves (516)

Coming This Week:

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop
Howloween Giveaway Hop
The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews (blog tour review)
A Fox in the Fold by Candace Robb (review)
Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty (review)

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 9-25-22

It seems fitting that the Fabulous Fall Giveaway Hop ends tonight, on this first fabulous fall weekend. It’s beautiful here in Atlanta, and the temperature has finally dropped down from OMG IT’S HOT to just lovely. It’ll be long-sleeve weather soon!

Speaking of lovely things, here’s a particularly good picture of the lovely Luna, the Princess of Quite A Lot auditioning for the position of Queen of All She Surveys. Hecate is still off grumping in the kitchen window seat and refusing to compete.

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or Book in the Fabulous Fall Giveaway Hop (ENDS TONIGHT!!!!!!!!)
$10 Gift Card or Book in the Falling into Leaves Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or Book in Fall 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop

Winner Announcements:

The winner of the Summer 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop is Jo

Blog Recap:

A+ Review: Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco
B+ Review: Hades: Sentinel Security #2 by Anna Hackett
B Review: Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory
Fall 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop
A- Review: Sweetwater and the Witch by Jayne Castle
Stacking the Shelves (515)

Coming This Week:

Marple: Twelve New Mysteries by Agatha Christie et al (review)
A Death in Door County by Annelise Ryan (review)
In the Shadow of a Queen by Heather B. Moore (blog tour review)
Sweep of Stars by Maurice Broaddus (review)
The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope (audiobook review)

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 9-11-22

It’s been a week, hasn’t it?

The World Science Fiction Convention was held last weekend in Chicago. We had intended to go, but after we both came home with COVID from the library convention in June we decided to give Worldcon a pass this year after all. But I did watch the Hugo Awards Ceremony Sunday night. The list of the winners is pretty much everywhere, but if you are interested in science fiction and fantasy and haven’t seen the full list yet, this is a link listing the nominees and the winners.

It still seems strange that Queen Elizabeth II passed. She was starting to seem eternal. While there are mixed feelings about her, her country and her legacy, it does feel like the end of an era. This has reminded me of stories that my parents used to tell about the passing of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was elected president when they were both 4 years old and died when they were juniors in high school. He was the only president a lot of people, especially children and young adults, had ever known. I’ve seen some statistics showing that 9 out of 10 people alive in the world today were born after Elizabeth became queen, so the same sensation multiplied by, well, a lot.

And today is the TWENTY-FIRST anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It HAS been a week, hasn’t it?

Before I close out this post and look ahead to the next week, we all need a cat picture to complete the week. Here are Luna and Tuna, showing exactly why they needed to be adopted as a bonded pair. Looking at their faces it’s also easy to see the family resemblance.

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Glam and Glitz Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Summer 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Fabulous Fall Giveaway Hop

Blog Recap:

Labor Day 2022
B+ Review: Desperation in Death by J.D. Robb
A Review: The Holiday Trap by Roan Parrish
A- Review: Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
Fabulous Fall Giveaway Hop
Stacking the Shelves (513)

Coming This Week:

Haven by Emma Donoghue (audiobook review)
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (review)
The Book Haters’ Book Club by Gretchen Anthony (blog tour review)
Lucky Girl by Mary Rickert (review)
Falling into Leaves Giveaway Hop

Labor Day 2022

Luna supervising the production of this very blog post

I think that Labor Day can be a slightly ambiguous holiday for a computer technologist such as myself.

On the one hand, although I am not a member of a labor union and my profession infamously resists being organized, I enjoy many of the benefits of past union efforts, including the weekend and subsidized health insurance. I was not forced to work as a child, nor could I have been legally employed as one, and I have recourse if I were to lose my job.

On the other hand, one of the points of computers is that they can perform certain kinds of tasks more quickly than any human could. This often gives people the opportunity to do more interesting work and promotes economic growth. In my particular niche, library automation, the computer taking care of the recording of checkouts means that fewer people are needed to do things like send out overdue notices, in principle freeing up staff time to do more interesting things like run children’s story hour.

Now, new technology does not inevitably mean that the robots instantly take over all the jobs. While on the face of it ATMs are an obvious threat to a bank teller’s job, between 1970 and 2010 the number of bank tellers actually increased. Why? While fewer tellers were needed per branch, banks had various reasons to open a lot more branches (which nowadays are largely sales offices that somewhat grudgingly also accept small business deposits and convert coins into more useful cash). But with the rise of mobile banking and the decline in number of branch banks as the industry consolidates, the prospect for bank teller employment is looking grim.

However, sometimes the robots really do quickly take over. When’s the last time you’ve encountered an elevator operator?

Let’s get back to libraries. Computers have allowed the creation and maintenance of big global databases that gather together the efforts of lots of library catalogers. Let’s say your public library just received a box of the latest James Patterson novel and needs to get it into their catalog. It’s been decades since your library — and each and every one of its 9,000 peers in the U.S. — had to enter the record from scratch and figure out what subject headings to assign. Grabbing a record from one of those big databases and adapting it (or not) suffices. Thus, you don’t need a full time professional cataloger in each and every library because technology facilitates sharing the work. There’s still a lot to be done with library metadata, so library cataloging (viewed broadly) isn’t about to disappear.

However, that can be cold comfort to somebody whose job actually does disappear or gets radically changed because of a new computer system. Computerization, if nothing else, leads to change. Sometimes that change is good, but often it is indifferent or negative for somebody who just wants to work their way to a dignified retirement.

Thus, the ambiguity: computerization doesn’t necessarily lead to destroying entire occupations (though sometimes it does), but it is often the cause of change, or at least the avatar of it. And that means that the computer technologist is sometimes not the friend of labor, whatever other public benefits their work may provide.


Some reading:

  • Erik Loomis is a labor historian at the University of Rhode Island. Sometimes frustrating, but always interesting, he regularly blogs at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. I recommend his “Erik Visit an American Grave” series.
  • Barbara Ehrenreich passed away this week. Her book Nickel and Dimed remains essential.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 8-28-22

As far as books go, this week started terrifically and ended well, but middled in the slough of despond a bit. Looking back, I think the biggest issue with both Would You Rather and Small Town, Big Magic was that they were both billed as romcoms and neither of them were. I could even debate whether Small Town, Big Magic was a romance at all. But both books dealt with too many serious issues, and dealt with them seriously, to be romcoms. I think I might have liked both of them a bit more if I’d come in with more accurate expectations. YMMV.

But speaking of expectations, one of the expectations we keep hoping for here at Chez Reading Reality but not yet achieving is peace among the cat clowder. As you can see from the picture above, George and Luna are definitely getting there. It may look like he’s about to bite her throat but they were actually grooming each other – and they are playing together as I type this. Hecate, on the other hand, seems determined to remain in lonely – and very bitchy – solitude. The other day Hecate cornered Luna in my office and big Tuna came rushing to his sister’s rescue. Hecate has been in near total retreat ever since. We’re starting to wonder if there’s enough Feliway in the universe to calm this situation down.

Current Giveaways:

Old School Giveaway Hop (ENDS WEDNESDAY!!!)
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Summer 2022 Seasons of Books Giveaway Hop

Winner Announcements:

The winner of the Back to School Giveaway Hop is Kelsey

Blog Recap:

A Review: The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher
B- Review: Would You Rather by Allison Ashley
B Review: Small Town, Big Magic by Hazel Beck
B+ Review: The Forty Elephants by Erin Bledsoe
B+ Review: The Shop on Royal Street by Karen White
Stacking the Shelves (511)

Coming This Week:

Bronze Drum by Phong Nguyen (audiobook review)
Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus (review)
A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari (review)
Glam and Glitz Giveaway Hop
Back to the Garden by Laurie R. King (review)