Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thoughts about reading, writing, the blog, and life

This has been quite an unusual reading year for me. I have taken advantage of the library more often. I've borrowed many a book, read a little or a lot of them and discarded them. I don't think I've ever read so many pages of a book I eventually quit. I've always been one to drop a book as soon as it didn't interest me. I continued to do so this year. But here is what is so weird. I read over half of many books, liking them quite well, praising them to Tom, and then suddenly I couldn't care less. I became bored or annoyed with the subject matter or the way a book was written. I can barely understand this, even though I experienced it time after time. And then the books I did finish, and wrote about, were fine. They were okay. They were pleasant. Some were exceptional. But as I look back, the overall feeling is one of mild interest. Not a satisfying reading year at all.

I suspect part of this was the daily tension and worry about Tom's father. You may remember me telling you he had Alzheimer's when I wrote about Still Alice. Beginning a year ago, we started thinking he would need to be in an assisted living facility. But then he seemed okay at home. Between his landlord, and Tom, and the people downtown, he had a full life and was well watched over. Yet, I worried. I worried about the steep stairs up to his apartment. I worried about him walking on uneven sidewalks, especially after he fell a few times. I worried because he sometimes went down the hill to Main St. at night, thinking it was time for breakfast. A couple times the kindly police brought him home.

In the past few months, we began to see that the time of assisted living was past, and that his next stop would have to be a nursing home. He was on a waiting list for two of them. But before a space opened up, he went downhill very suddenly, and after collapsing one day while Tom was there, went to the hospital via ambulance, and died the next day. One couldn't ask for a gentler, more agreeable end of life. He was happy, cheerful, and well-cared for.

The wisdom that comes only with looking back made me realize that my reading life the past twelve months has been an anomaly. I couldn't sit still very long. I would read a little and then hop up and do something else. Television in the evening was a bit of a refuge from tension, and I went through seven seasons of Bones, catching up to the current one.

Not only was I not that happy in my books, I had a terrible time writing about them. Although I wanted to keep track of my reading here, it became a chore. And not only after finishing a book, but sometimes during it. Occasionally it felt like reading for the blog entry. What will I say? Will I focus on this part? Was this totally due to my concerns about my father-in-law? I don't think so. I think my state of mind simply clarified a feeling that has been slowly growing in me. I think I don't want to write about my reading anymore. I am tired of doing so. I want to read like the proverbial child, one book after another without stopping to analyze or talk about it. I want to simply enjoy without having to explain why.

I don't know just yet where this feeling will lead, but I know the direction of my letters is going to change. I think I will still keep a list of books read, but I am not going to write about them anymore. Maybe I'll do as I did at the very start of my blog, and do a 'book of the month.' Maybe I'll do end of month postings with just a few words about each book. Maybe I won't do anything but list them.

Time, as they say, is fleeting. I don't have 60 years of reading ahead of me. I want to let myself purely love what I read without any obligation to write about it. And I am going to begin now, with one exception. I was sent a lovely children's book to read and write about, and offer a giveaway copy to a reader, so I will do that. But other than that book, I'm done. I'm not going to join any challenges.
My reading will return to a quiet and joyful pleasure.

94 comments:

  1. I am sorry for your loss of your Father in Law, but truly, I think it is a blessing that he passed peacefully and before the nursing home. My own dear mother has Alzheimers and is in a wonderful nursing home. Still, I wish for her to pass quickly and go to be with the Lord.

    As for your reading, whatever you chose to do is fine with me! I've been a reader of your blog for about a year now. You know best. Thanks for blogging. And enjoy your books!

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    1. Thank you, and yes it was a blessing. I'm sorry about your mother.

      Thank you for the encouragement!

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  2. Sorry about Tom's dad, but how comforting that it happened relatively quickly.

    Heh, did you get in my head? I have been very slack about writing about my reading this year, and it's not a big deal. Now and then I'll write a bit about a book, but when I've looked back at some of my older reviews and compare to what I'm jotting down now, it's pretty minimal. Sometimes I have a thought, sometimes I don't. Some books I've loved, some have been decidedly meh.

    Hmm. I was just thinking how it would still be nice to chat about what you've read sometime,and see what you've been reading. I like seeing what new mystery series you've found, or knowing that we've read and enjoyed the same book. And vice versa. Maybe I'll start a monthly list of books I've read, and if people want to comment, or ask a question, great. If not, great. Thanks for the great idea!

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    1. Yes, it was comforting and a relief.

      I laughed right out when I read your words. I am considering a little monthly round up.

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  3. At the end of it all, it sounds like you've be able to take some time for personal reflection, which is a good thing. If you do decide to join the Canadian Book Challenge again, you're welcomed with open (cyber) arms. If not, we were glad to have you with us!

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    1. Thanks, and who knows, I may do so after a while. I'm going to take a year away from challenges and reassess next year.

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  4. Yep. This could have been me. :-)

    Much love to you.

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    1. And it might be me! I could easily cut & paste one or two of your paragraphs and post them on my blog. I'm feeling very much the same way and will sleep on this for a few days before making my final decision.

      xoxo

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    2. Ah, yes, my faraway sisters. :<)

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  5. Actually, I "get" it - because I've had a similar experience with reading this year. Very few books even SOUND interesting to me. I could count on 2 hands the ones I've actually enjoyed this year and have been in a reading slump the past couple of months altogether.

    The time change hasn't helped me any. How ONE hour can make such a difference in my day, I DO NOT know. But after about 2 hours of darkness, I'm ready for bed - at 6:30 or 7:00. I need to stretch myself out somehow....

    I wish you well as you settle back to finding quiet joy and pleasure in reading.

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    1. Now that I don't have kids living at home, I have gone back to my personal sleeping rhythm which is bed around 11 and up around 8 or 9. Heaven for me after all those years of getting up when it was still dark. I am not a 'dawn' person at all. :<)

      Thanks for your good wishes. I'm already feeling more comfortable since my decision.

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  6. I am fairly new to your blog and have enjoyed all the book reviews. I do understand about the challenge of writing about what you read, what isn't fun to read, what seems to be a waste of time. This summer I left best sellers behind as they were just not satisfying in content or style. I went back to the more classical books starting with Anna Karenina. Finally reading is fun again!
    You and your husband have my sympathy over your loss. The subconscious stress of long-term illness manifests itself in many ways. Your writing always pleases me regardless of the subject. Take care.

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    1. Thank you so much for all your kind words. I'm happy to hear your personal reading is 'fun' again. So often it is about finding just the right book.

      'the subconscious stress of long-term illness' showing itself in a lot of ways is so true. We have had many conversations about it. Even little things like seeing the answering machine blinking when we walk through the door. He used to call me every morning about something, and I'd get in touch with Tom at work, and he would call his father. Then the calls just stopped as he lived more inside his head, and rarely left his chair.

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  7. I am sorry to hear about Tom's father, Nan, but glad that his passing was peaceful. I hope that both you and Tom feel easier in your mind now.
    As to books, it sounds as though you are right to take a break from writing about them, and you should indeed read as you wish to without the need to analyse, explain or discuss - until such time as you may want to do so again. Enjoy that freedom!

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    1. Thank you very much. We do feel easier without the fear and worry.

      I like what you said 'until such time as you may want to do so again' - I think that could be true. And especially if I just write a larger book report occasionally and not feel I 'have' to on every single book. I am thinking of a monthly wrap-up which will probably evolve over time.

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  8. I remember how nice it was to be finished with college lit classes for one reason--I could enjoy reading a book without having to analyze it or worry about symbolism, etc. Now I am comfortable in admitting that life is too short to finish a book I'm not enjoying reading. What I revert to much of the time are the books from the 1930s to 1950s, some that I've read several times over the years. I'm always open to a good recommendation from my sisters, or a blog, but those old ones where I've tried to collect all the fiction of a particular author never fail me. I hope you write about anything you feel inspired to. Just enjoy it and I'll be there.

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    1. I actually did love my college lit classes. I was an English and American lit major. :<)
      I loved learning all that stuff, but now read for pleasure only. Did you happen to see in my latest Mrs. Malory book report that the author Hazel Holt doesn't read any fiction published after 1950? You are not alone! There are other bloggers out there who also love the old books - you may find many of them on my bookish blog list on the side bar.

      I'm quite sure there will still be some books I will write about occasionally, and I am thinking of a monthly post on the books read that month, with maybe like a line or two on each book.

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  9. I'm sorry to hear about Tom's father but such a blessing that he didn't suffer at all.

    Oh gosh, I hear you in this post. I haven't done nearly as many book posts as normal this year. I'm still enjoying my reading but the urge to write long posts about every single one is just not there. I'm also, like you, giving up on books quite a long way into them. I can't explain this either, it's like it's just too much bother to finish an average book that usually I would have ploughed on with. You're right when you say we don't have 60 years reading ahead of us and I too have been thinking that. It could be why I'm like this, I don't know. Good luck to you whatever you decide, Nan. I understand completely.

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    1. Thank you, and yes it is.

      It was surprising for me to read that you have been feeling so much the same way, and yet not so surprising too. :<)

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  10. Nan, I am sorry to hear of your father-in-law's death, but know that you and your family were there for him always, and that's a real plus.
    I've found I don't want to write about the books I've read, so I just list them on Goodreads and sometimes add a line or two about the book, but not a real review. I was never very good at writing "book reports" in school, so writing a long review doesn't appeal to me - and I probably have fewer than ten years of reading ahead, so I'm going to just enjoy - or not - the books I read!

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    1. Thank you so much.

      In terms of years of reading ahead, here's something you'll love - my stepfather-in-law is 89 and still reads up a storm. And not light stuff. He's lately been reading Civil War books. He is a great role model, as is my mother-in-law who is a mere 84. :<) I love to picture them sitting and reading together.

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  11. I have always admired how you can express yourself in print whether it be about a book or something going on in your life. I will continue to look forward to your posts of books. We seem to like the same sort of books. I find a lot of books by reading your posts. It will now just be a nice surprise when I read them to find if I like them or not. Relax, enjoy your reading.

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    1. Wow, thank you.
      I am already more relaxed about it - just making the decision. :<)

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  12. Nan, Prayers and thoughts with you and Tom and the kids. So glad dad went so peacefully. I understand about the reviewing. I haven't been blogging as long as you and I am already feeling it too. I love your blog and your way with words so keep writing, about anything! We all love you.

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    1. Thanks so much for every word you wrote.

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  13. Nan, I am sorry about the passing of your FIL, but at least he did not have to go to a nursing home.

    As i read on, so much you said about reading and books resonated with me, especially this..............
    " I want to read like the proverbial child, one book after another without stopping to analyze or talk about it. I want to simply enjoy without having to explain why. "

    I love reading, but feel pressured to write about the book when I don't feel like it and I can tell that my reviews reflect this. 2013 - I'm changing things up, and focusing on books I'd feel badly about if I never got to read in years I have left. Unless I live to 120, I don't have 60 years left either;)

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    1. Thank you, and that is so true.

      I love what you wrote - I will eagerly be watching to see how you do it! Who knows maybe we will all live and read till we are 120!

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  14. I'm sorry about the passing of your father-in-law.

    Reading through your post, I found myself nodding in agreement about not wanting to turn reading into an obligation or chore. I also don't finish books (or movies) I start if they disappoint me, though in the past I used to keep at them to the very end. I still hope you share with us your recommendations though, as I've found some great books through this blog :) Your idea about doing a book of the month type post or even a list with titles only or a few short thoughts on each sounds good.

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    1. Thank you.

      And thanks for your 'hope' - I think I will try and do some kind of minimal 'reporting' to help me keep track, and also to make note of the books I really love.

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  15. I'm so sorry about your father-in-law, Nan. We just went to an AARP Information workshop today and after all we heard, your father-in-law was actually rather lucky in not suffering and going quickly without having to be placed in a location away from his home. It's what we all hope for ourselves.

    You really have to make your blog something that will continue to be a pleasure and not a chore. You are such a wonderful writer that we would happily read whatever you wrote.

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    1. Thank you so much, and you are so right.

      Oh, and thanks for your words at the end. Wow.

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  16. Oh Nan! I'm so sorry about Tom's father.

    You've been through a lot this year and I'm not surprised you no longer feel like writing about your reading. Things change, what was once important and interesting no longer matter so much. I know because I've been feeling very much the same. It's becoming a chore to write about what I've read and I've been writing shorter posts on books. I too have got to the point where I'm reading and wondering what to write about the book, which these days is actually interfering with my enjoyment. I began my blog because I wanted to keep track of what I've read, to remember more and now I'm thinking I'd rather just read the books. I had a shock when I realised I probably won't live long enough to read all the books I want to read, and it's made me think it's time to concentrate on what I really want to do.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how your blog changes - whatever you decide to do.

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    1. Thank you so much.

      I'm quite amazed at your words. They echo just how I've felt sometimes - that sense of 'interfering.'

      And it is indeed a shock. It rather stops me in my tracks.

      And I look forward to what you decide to do.

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  17. Nan - sorry that your FIL has died - but for him a "good" death, one we would all wish for.

    Reading? As you know, on my own blog I only talk about books I have enjoyed (or perhaps enjoyed is not right either, as sometimes they have been books that I think others should read, but have not necessarily left me with a smile on my face). I'm another who doesn't have 60 years reading in front of me, so I really do only finish books that are worth it! Have a little rest, go back to reading and enjoying when the mood is right, and only mention the books on your blog that you really want to mention!

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    1. Thank you, and yes, you are so right.

      And thanks for your advice. I'm quite sure this is just what I am going to do.

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  18. Certainly, reading and blogging about it should never feel as a chore - it should be merely done out of pleasure, and if you do not feel that pleasure any more, then it really is time for you to stop posting reviews, although I am not the only one who is going to miss them!

    Your father-in-law really was blessed in that the end of his life happened rather quickly when he was still a happy and well-cared for man. I understand so well how worrying about him made you feel unable to focus on your reading for very long before you got up and did something else. After Steve died, I found myself constantly starting something, breaking off in the middle, going to a different room in my flat and starting on something else - which has never been my habit before. Only when, over time, I came to terms with my new situation as a widow, I managed to focus on each task again.

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    1. I hope to do something, just on a much smaller scale. And thanks.

      Yes, he was. You described the lack of focus most eloquently.

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  19. Nan,

    So sorry to hear about your father-in-law. I shall miss your literary insights, but the main reason for reading should be pleasure, and if you do an occasional list to tell us what you've read, that would be lovely. But do, please carry on writing about life in general - I love to look at your recipes, and read about your patch of land and the animals, and your selection of poems and music is always interesting. Good luck for the future, whatever you decide to do.

    By the way, since you finished your monthly posts on Gladys and Rachel I felt I had to read more, so both books have now travelled all the way across the Atlantic (not so easy to locate them here in the UK) and they are quite, quite enchanting, so thank you for the introduction to two authors I would not otherwise have hear of.

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    1. Thank you.

      I'm thinking of doing something along the lines of the Life Must Be Filled Up blog. That seems just about perfect.

      I fully intend to keep writing the blog, just not 'book reports' on every book I read!

      Thank you for your kind words about my writing.

      That's wonderful that you bought those books. I'm still planning on my 'four seasons with Gladys (Taber) and Susan (Hill)' - beginning next month. I haven't decided if I'll write at the end of the season or write a few times during it.

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    2. Just write what you want when the time is right. Writing is just like reading - you should enjoy it.

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    3. Thank you! And you are so right.

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  20. HI Nan:

    So very sorry to hear about your father-in-law. Many years ago I came to the same conclusion about both books and the theatre. I now go to the theatre just to enjoy the magic that is unfolding on the stage before me, and I now read books just for the pure joy of reading the written word. You will find your decision very liberating Nan, and your reading enjoyment will be enhanced a hundredfold.

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    1. Thank you.

      I love what you said, and I'm already feeling it.

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  21. I am so sorry to each about your father-in-law. I remember reading the post where you talked about it, and now I can only imagine how hard it must have been. Alzheimer's is such a difficult disease for everyone involved. But fortunately, he did go fast and gently.

    Reading - I can understand getting tired of reading AND analyzing. Sometimes I wish I could just say this book was so wonderful, you might want to give it a try. That is why I liked that you called yours book reports, and I have always looked forward to your recipes and posts on farm life. But maybe you need to step away. I can understand that, too. But I, like your other fans, hope you someday decide to return.

    Meanwhile, read like a child and heal.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, he did, and never had to go through that awful stage of not knowing us.

      'this book was so wonderful, you might want to give it a try.' - that's exactly the kind of sentence I want to use if I do monthly roundups of books read!

      I can definitely imagine that in the future I shall do occasional book reports again, just not on every single book I read.

      Love your last words.

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  22. I've experienced this myself, while my husband was ill and in the years after his death. I think it is much better now, but something of this stress related restlessness remains for a long time....I am glad your fil did not have to live in a nursing home and that his suffering was short, even though I know you are all grieving. Peace be with you all.

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    1. Oh, that is so very sad. And you are right about it remaining. I have to catch myself when I wonder if he has called.

      Thanks for your kind words.

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  23. Your FIL was fortunate to avoid the nursing home situation. My mom is in the hospital [10 days from being 101] and going to a nursing home soon. It makes me crazy. God blessed Tom's father.
    I enjoy reading more than writing these days. Which is probably why by blog has been neglected, and yert I am reading more. I just finished 'The Shack' and really enjoyed it. Hope you and your husband get some time to relax before winter weather becomes an issue. Peace.

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    1. I think of you often.

      That's what I'm hoping - to read more.

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  24. My condolences to you and Tom and family on your loss! I used to do fairly regular book reviews on my blog, and like you, decided to just quietly enjoy my own reading without feeling the pressure to write a review at the end. Simply sharing book lists and ratings can be fun! (I love Goodreads... are you on that?) Blogs change over time. Where ever you take yours, I will be stopping by to read and enjoy. No matter what, you want to enjoy what it is you are doing... whether reading or writing :-)

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    1. Thank you.

      I love that 'quietly enjoy my own reading' - that's really it, isn't it? I was on Goodreads but it took so much of my computer time that I quit. I felt like I was making lists instead of reading books, if that makes any sense. And then I'd try and keep up with what my 'friends' were writing about and I just decided I couldn't do it. Writing my letters and reading other blogs is all I can do. :<)

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  25. Just in case you have not read Daniel Pennac's "Reader's Bill of Rights", here it is:

    “Reader's Bill of Rights

    1. The right to not read

    2. The right to skip pages

    3. The right to not finish

    4. The right to reread

    5. The right to read anything

    6. The right to escapism

    7. The right to read anywhere

    8. The right to browse

    9. The right to read out loud

    10. The right to not defend your tastes”

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    1. I love this list, and actually posted it several years ago before we met.

      http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2007/04/book-passagethe-readers-bill-of-rights.html

      I never do 2 or 8. but I live by 3, 4, and 10.

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  26. I'm sorry about the loss of your father-in-law but it seems that he had a happy life where he was loved and cared for by all his friends and neighbours as well as his family.
    I can understand you not wanting to write about the books you read anymore - it would drive me mad having to do that! I hope that you really enjoy just reading for your own pleasure from now on.

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    1. Thank you, and he really did live the life he wanted.

      I laughed right out when I read 'it would drive me mad' - exactly!!

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  27. Nan, you and your family have our deepest sympathy on the loss of your father-in-law. I hope the memories of the good days help to brighten the dark ones you've been experiencing.

    Regarding the book reviews, you know I struggle with this one each year. I like having written the reviews, but they cause me a great deal of angst and then I get behind and then I feel guilty. Which is a long way of saying I sympathize with your feelings about the reviews. While I have enjoyed reading them, I can appreciate why you've reached this decision. I hope you'll still continue to use Goodreads and to rate your books there (if just with the star system), so I know what to request from the library!

    Sending hugs and a wish for stress-free blogging.

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    1. Thank you very much.

      I do miss you on Goodreads but as I wrote to Nan (my namesake blogging pal) above I left a while ago. I just couldn't keep up.

      I might do a variation of the 'star' here at some point.

      Thanks again.

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  28. We have my father in law living with us and I would hope the same kind of death for him as came to yours (he is ninety four). A kind way to go!
    I identify with your malaise here. I was looking back at my blog, which has been going for five years now, and thinking that it was a much livelier place in the first couple of years. It has slowly become more of a gardening blog than a ragbag blog and, while I am passionate about gardening which is why it has happened, I think it has become something of a straitjacket. I am intending to push some of the gardening writing sideways into a blog of its own and see what happens if I use the main blog in a more spontaneous and playful way. Keep blogging though won't you!

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    1. That must be so very difficult, though at least you don't worry so much. Tom's father lived alone and when we cleaned up we found weird things like empty sugar bags under the sink, and a drawer full of broken glass, like from a window. We had the sense that he may have had problems well before we knew.

      I love that - 'spontaneous and playful' - I look forward to it!

      And yes, I fully intend to keep writing my letters. Thanks.

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  29. Dear Nan: I am enjoying your blog. When I found it, I went through it from the end to present. I am sorry for your loss. Currently I am having a similar situation. My Mom, 90, lives 1000 miles from me. No amount of cajoling, threatening, etc has convinced her to move to my house. She is in good health, but she is becoming confused more often. Not Alzheimer's just old age dementia. She, too, has a huge collection of friends watching over her. After visiting this past month, I realized that her time living alone is fast coming to an end. After coming home, I have not been able to read like I love to do. I've been antsy (my husband's description) and in very bad spirits. Your post has helped me to clear my thinking a bit. I hope you continue to post. I have enjoyed all of them. Bless you. Jude

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    1. Thank you so much. I can't believe you read so many of my letters. I'm very touched. Really.

      Oh, it must be so difficult having her so far away. I have friends in much the same situation, and it is really stressful and worrying for them. I try to imagine myself in the same situation, and it helps me understand. I would so hate to have to leave my home.

      Thanks again, and I'll be thinking of you.

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  30. I am so sorry about Tom's father's death, it does sound as though the end was merciful which is some kind of blessing amidst more difficult emotions.
    I do so agree about not finishing books. Nowadays I don't want to spend time with characters that I don't like, or who don't interest me, nor do I want to read on when I'm not enjoying the 'voice' of the author. I am doing a lot of re-reading these days, books that are old friends.

    Carole

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    1. Yes, truly a blessing, and thank you.

      I love that 'don't want to spend time with characters that I don't like' - perfect! And that's exactly it, 'old friends.'

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  31. I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Tom's father. After losing my father, mother and mother in law to Alzheimers, all of who spent time in a nursing home, it is a blessing that he passed before having to make that move. I've always loved to read, but always loathed English in school, as the dissection of beloved books spoiled them for me somehow, so I understand your feelings. I've also noticed that I am unable to settle into a book as I used to and be "taken away". My sister in law tells me this is common with a certain season in a woman's life so I am hopeful that it will pass.

    hugs and blessings to you Nan,
    Niki

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    1. Thank you. A. is really a huge problem and will only grow as we boomers age.

      Maybe you aren't 'taken away' only because you haven't come upon just the right books. May they soon drop right into your lap.

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  32. Condolences to you and your family! I know all too well how hard it is to lose a beloved family member. As for your blog...I went through similar issues with mine, except about food rather than reading. And I will tell you exactly what you told me when I was pondering which way to go with my blog: Nan, I will read whatever you write, whether it's about reading or anything else.

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    1. Thank you.

      I was so touched to read you quoting me. Thanks.

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  33. I thought I posted a comment yesterday but it would have appeared by now if it went through. I completely understand how the emotional impact of grief can rob one of her urge (and even ability) to write. You've come to a fork in the road and with time you'll know which branch to take. Your readers will wait for you. You're always a pleasant companion and you need a little time to regroup and follow your own heart. I suspect that writing became a job, and doing it gave shape to your days, but now you must take all the time you need for yourself. As you see, we'll be infinitely patient with you, whatever you decide.

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    1. Maybe because of the d#&* word verification which I have shut off. I got an email from a friend who said she tried four times, and finally gave up so I just decided, no big deal. I can delete those spams myself. I want it to be easy for my dear readers to leave a note.

      I'm pretty much fine with writing as long as I don't 'have' to write about every book I read. I was simply tired of doing so.

      Thank you for your encouragement.

      Delete
  34. Nan, aside from your experience with Tom's Dad (about which I am very sorry), I could have written this post. Maybe it's because we don't have 60 years of reading ahead of us. Whatever it is, in the new year, I'm doing whatever strikes me - and only that. :-)

    P.S. I LOVE the lighting in the photo of the barn.

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    1. Thank you.

      I shall be there reading what you have to say!

      And thanks. I was lucky to get that shot.

      Delete
  35. Nan, like others of your readers, I understand the feeling that you just do not feel like writing about what you are reading. I have written nothing on my own blog for a few months, not least because I have been dealing with the illness of my only sister in Wales. But, as one of the writers whose books you wrote about in the past year, I do want to say that your writing about my book meant a great deal to me. I felt that you understood and responded to my novel in a way that touched me a lot. I want to thank you for this. Very much.

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    1. I'm so sorry about your sister. Are you over there now?

      Believe me, when you write your new book, I shall read it and do a book report!!! I loved that book, and think about it more often than you might expect.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Nan! No I am back in Brooklyn for some weeks, but I shall be returning to Wales soon. It is an incurable illness, and she needs me.
      I have written nothing lately, have not finished the next novel, but when I feel really hopeless about all that, I read your review of the first one. It picks up my spirits and revives a few hopes.

      Delete
    3. I am so very sorry to hear this. I am not at all surprised that you can't write now. Don't feel hopeless. It is normal. The stress, the worry, the sadness overcome all right now. You will write again. Just not now. Wish I were closer. Take good care of yourself, too, as you go through this. Thinking of you.

      Delete
  36. Nan, I am sorry to hear of your father-in-law's passing, but at least his was not a long, drawn-out illness. My father was the same way. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy, but he collapsed after a very good day for him and died on the way to the hospital. We were so thankful he was spared all the suffering he could have undergone.

    As far as your book reports, I always enjoy reading what you've written, but I can understand your reasons for wanting to stop. However, I've gotten so many good ideas from you about books that I've enjoyed! A monthly list of what you're reading -- even without book reports, would let me at least check out what they're about on Amazon and decide if I want to read them or not. We seem to have very similar tastes in books, so I think this would be a great idea, if you want to do it.

    But PLEASE don't stop blogging. I stop by quite often, even if I don't always comment. I always enjoy your reflections about life at Windy Poplars farm, and quite often something I've read on your blog has made my day. But whatever you decide to do, thank you for allowing us to be part of your life.

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    1. Thank you so much. It was long, but it wasn't terrible all those months. He really went downhill fast once the fall began. I had read somewhere that the changing seasons do affect A. sufferers. I'm glad your father went in such a way, too.

      I very well might do monthly shorter writeups of the books read.

      And I have no intention of quitting the blog! I thank you for your kind words. They mean so much.

      Delete
  37. Nan, all you share I understand. So sorry about Tom's father. I read but do not comment as much lately. Please take care....

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    1. Thank you, and you don't ever need to feel you must comment. I'm just happy you are here reading.

      Delete
  38. Oh, Nan, my heart goes out to you and Tom! As you know, we had the same experience in August with my MIL and it is truly a comfort to know the end was peaceful and she remained in her home and well-cared for... just like Tom's father. Your feelings on reading and blogging sound very familiar, too. I seem to be pulling out of an extended blogging/reading slump now, but I'm not sure how long it will last. Oh well, this is a hobby that naturally rises and falls. I will be thankful for any letters and book talks you choose to post.

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  39. Dear Nan, I am sorry to hear of the passing of Tom's father. I hope this time of sadness comes with a sense of peace as well. It was good that Tom was with him when he collapsed and it warms me to hear of a town so caring in these times. Please accept my condolences.

    One of the nice things about our blogs is that we can do whatever we want with them. I appreciate your sentiments about reading what you want to read. I'm there myself and old enough to read what I want to read. At the moment, it is silly, holiday type books that are all basically the same story and allow me to mindlessly wander as the nights grow colder and worries stronger. I will say, however, that I recommended My Grandmother is a Hippie to a very good friend from college/aka hippie days whose husband's name is Jim. Fun.

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    1. I shudder to think how long he might have been there alone, if Tom hadn't happened to be at his place.
      And that is so true about blogging. I'm interested in what these 'silly holiday type' books are :<)
      Am thrilled you recommended the Lindbergh book. It is so wonderful.

      Delete
  40. I have such mixed feelings in reading this post. My sympathy on the death of Tom's dad. While I am happy for him and for you that he died while in a happy place/time, it is still hard to lose a loved parent (including loved in-laws...by the time our folks died, we barely knew the difference any more).

    And as for your reading -- I understand perfectly and completely (as I know I've told you)...except .. oh I will miss your reading suggestions and wonderful reviews. (But on the bright side for me, without your suggestions, I might actually catch up with my reading list in the years I have left to read ;>) Of course I will undoubtedly miss some wonderful books! (And I would need to recast your one sentence to "I don't have 72 more years of reading...." so I really don't have all that much more time to catch up.

    Thank you for all you've done and whatever you decide to do with "Letters..." I know very well that I will love it all.








    ReplyDelete
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    1. You are so very kind. I'll find a way to let you know what I've love so you won't run out. Ha!

      Delete
  41. My own mother died just over a year ago, at 93. She went quickly, too, and it was, as they say, "a good death". Still, it takes time simply to adjust to absence and the changes wrought by someone's passing. Your decision to grant yourself some breathing room seems good to me.

    My situation is a little different, since the focus of my life is writing rather than reading. But the need for a good personal rhythm is the same, and I understand perfectly the weariness that seems to afflict "book bloggers" from time to time.

    It seems very much the same as the weariness of the photographer who suddenly realizes she hasn't taken a walk without a camera in a year, or the writer who can't really listen to someone because he's mining for conversational nuggets. Unless someone's paying us large hunks of money to meet deadlines and be ever more productive, there's no reason for these blogs to become burdens!

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    1. How wonderful to have you mother for so long. Mine died at 59.

      I like your use of the word 'weariness.' Though I've never considered myself a book blogger, I have written a fair bit about books. :<)

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  42. Dear Nan,
    I am sorry for the loss of your father-in-law but you wrote about his passing in a beautiful way.
    Is it very forward of me to say that I think he would be proud of what you wrote? It shows how much love you have for him.
    I totally understand about your desire to read for pleasure and to not write about your reading so very much. I wanted to pass my love of books along to my son and I have done so, although, as he has told me the schools tried to talk, talk, talk so much about books that most of his friends do not read for pleasure the way that he does. You know, I think I have never gotten over my childlike wonder over books, and I hope I never do!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, blessings on you always!
    Love,
    KAY

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    1. Not forward. Thank you.
      Wishing you the same. We are having a 'working' Thanksgiving. :<)

      Delete
  43. My Dear Nan,
    Please forgive me for writing days after
    I should have.
    You one of my favorites since I began writing 5 years ago.
    Busy with my life and its ups and downs.
    Read and usually do not respond and much reading not done lately.
    I am so sorry about your loss
    and understand so much you share.
    Please take care...

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  44. Nan, I am late in commenting but I thought this was a lovely, reflective post.

    I have been contemplating going on a hiatus with book reviewing myself, so I identify with some of what you say about that. I look forward to reading whatever you feel moved to post about.

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    1. Never too late! I moderate my comments so I can get them on any post, old or new, and I SO appreciate them.
      Thanks for your nice words.

      Delete

Now that I am a grandmother, it seems that I am often late in replying to your most-appreciated comments. But I read them as soon as they come in, and I will write as soon as I can. Please do come back and check. I love these blogging conversations.
Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.