Reading Mystery

A few years ago, back when a librarian needed to check out your books for you, the older red-haired librarian at the desk (Anna would know her name) said “My, you have a wide set of topics here.” I don’t remember what I was checking out, but I do read across a fairly wide swath.  Science fiction, fiction, mystery, a variety of science, biography, history, philosophy, fantasy, kid lit, thrillers.  About the only thing I don’t read is romance if I can help it.

It was about that time that I started keeping track of how I got the idea to read a particular book. I have several categories for this – my book clubs, BookPage from the library, Writer’s Almanac, my various “lists” (English Monarchs, Presidents, Newbury & Caldecott winners, etc.) and the Trail. By far the biggest category is O&A (Out & About), a catch-all for everything else.

I’m pretty good at remembering where I find a title that I want to read, but every now and then I am surprised when I go to my hold shelf in the library. I knew from looking at my online account that there was an InterLibrary Loan titled Meetings with Remarkable Trees waiting for me.  It had the sound of poetry and many of the poetry books I look for end up coming from other libraries: I assumed it was poetry.  So imagine my surprise it’s a lovely photo book with essays about specific trees.  It’s fascinating but I’m not sure where the idea came from?  It’s not exactly the kind of thing that you find in the mainstream.

So I’ve decided it must be something that was recommended to me on the Trail. It’s about nature, so it might be Clyde (he is usually my go-to for travel books, but it seems like something he might like).  But it has absolutely lovely nature photos, so it might be the kind of thing recommended by Steve or Cynthia or BiR.  It’s a little off the beaten path, which has Bill written all over it.  The author is originally from Ireland, which means that it might have been recommended by PJ, who has a broader range of non-American authors.  I’ve haven’t gone back to the Trail and done a search: for now it’s a nice little mystery.

Do you do well at taking advice? Or do you prefer to GIVE advice?

54 thoughts on “Reading Mystery”

  1. Guilty. I mentioned the book and the author’s name a few weeks ago on the Trail. Whenever I mention a book, I try also to include the author’s name, half expecting that you, Sherrilee, may want to investigate it.

    Pakenham has several similarly interesting books. There also, apparently, was a television series of vignettes based on the book and you can google some of them.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. OT-made a successful trip to the Minneapolis Farmers market and are now back at the Marriot with 30 lbs of leaf lard and pork back fat. Goofiest thing we ever did. Thank goodness we have a cooler. The traffic was negligible. I prefer to give advice, except when it comes to asking for driving directions.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Sherrilee, the mention of Meetings With Remarkable Trees was in the horse chestnut post of Ben’s. Did you also look into The Wild Trees by Richard Preston?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not yet, as I’m trying not to get sucked into the wormhole that is Thomas Packenton’s father, Frank. Looks like he was an extremely prolific author.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve already read my fill of Antonia Fraser in my lifetime. But it was interesting to find out that she is his sister.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. I avoid giving advice, as there are few things on earth worth less than unsought advice. I’m now trying to learn how to take advice, although it is a bit late in life to learn something so new.

    My English setter Spook used to wear a T-shirt that said, “Don’t let friends vote Republican.” That’s better advice today than it was back then.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. So your advice is that you let your dog give political advice? That means I should get t-shirts for my dogs that say Any functional adult 2020″?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes. That is what it means and it is good advice.

        My dear uncle, who was a wonderful uncle, good at child rearing, gives The Worst political and marital advice ever. Your dog would give better advice about such things. I did not follow his political advice in 1972, therefore, I did not vote for Nixon, nor did I ever become a conservative Republican. Thank Goodness, for they seem to be non-functioning adults who believe the world works in some way that is not visible to me.

        I did follow his marital advice. That did not work at all, verifying my theory about conservative Republicans believing some tenets of life that are not workable.

        I did use his child rearing techniques: being gentle, setting firm limits, keeping kids busy and well-exercised and interested in the natural world.

        Liked by 5 people

    2. Back in the years when I worked in advertising, I often worked with copywriters who were not masterful, especially when it came to crafting headlines, which should, at the very least, entice you to read further. I remember one instance where the headline the copywriter offered was, Free Advice!
      Hard to imagine a less compelling lead-in.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Back in the years when I worked as a magazine editor, I often got made because our magazine didn’t believe in hiring proof readers. I remember getting upset one day. I grabbed a layout board for a magazine we were about to send to the printer, saying, “I’ll bet I can find a mistake in this board! We’ve gotta start proofing this stuff before going to print!” In 36-point Arial type we had a headline promising an article about HUNTING ILLINOIS’ HOME-GROWN HONKIES” The article was about hunting geese (honkers), not honkies. There’s a difference.

        Liked by 7 people

  5. Hmmm. I think it might be about 50-50. I’m trying to use the “teachable moment” concept – give the advice when asked, but that doesn’t always happen (especially close to home, with Husband etc.) I welcome advice in a lot of cases, but there are instances where you might as well not bother, because I KNOW I’m doing it right.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I am really selective about who I accept advice from, especially after the marital debacle in which I was trying to please my mother and uncle. I finally figured out that while my mom gave excellent gardening advice, and that I did want a garden like hers, she gave terrible “living life” advice and that I did not want a life like hers. I did not want a political life like my uncle. (45 years later spends his days watching Fox News which is my worst nightmare–who wants to spend a day doing that?) I did want relationships with children like he has, however.

    Accepting advice requires being selective. It also requires a clear view of the results of the techniques a person is advising. For example, I will not accept financial advice from someone who has multiple bankruptcies. It took me a long time to understand that some people who are entertaining, wonderful friends, are not people with whom I ever want to share responsibility or finances. This was the crux of marital issues in the first marriage-husband was a funny, funny guy with whom most people might want to pass an afternoon. But I should have never shared a checking account or parenting responsibilities with him.

    I do think that should I need advice about lard, food preparation and preservation, and gardening, I would accept it from Renee. Especially regarding lard street deals at the Farmers’ Market. It sounds like she has this mastered. And she is the only person I know who might know this! If I need to know something, I would feel free to ask Bill how to find this, since Bill knows something about everything.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Reading is how I come to know things. Like Sherrilee, I read over a wide variety of genres including science, sociology, natural history, essays, biography, science fiction, history (of course) and various kinds of fiction. I don’t, as a rule, read detective fiction, thrillers or “stories ripped from today’s headlines. On top of that, I pursue threads of history and popular culture too obscure to have been recognized as categories. For most of that, I draw upon my own library because the public library’s inventory is too limited.
        I don’t keep lists, except in my head and for the most part that’s sufficient.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. As a child I had a hard time learning to read, but once I understood it and read some things that opened the world to me, then I did not want to stop reading. Teaching me to read was something my mom was good at. She ordered a series of books (“Mabel the Whale” was my favorite) that I read aloud until I could read. Then I moved on to “If I Were Going,” the third grade reader, then the “Little House” books by Wilder.

          At that point I started reading at the library, which was scary due to the very stern librarian, Mrs. Smith, who I have written about in the past. After I read through a lot of that library, I moved on to the college library, which was a blessed relief. The head librarian there, Mrs. Kang, was a friend of Mom (FOM) and encouraged me to read whatever I might want. She even smiled and offered to order books from other college libraries. At that point, I started to read like you read, Bill. It was wonderful.

          Liked by 2 people

  7. The librarian in question is/was Marie. She has a twin sister who is or was (I think) a nurse. I used to see them from time to time out for dinner at Curran’s. And she is the sort who would track on what you check out – I remember her once noting that I was checking out a book my mom had read – both of us use that branch and she knew we were mother/daughter (I was reading on Mom’s recommendation).

    As for advice – I only give it if it is asked (well, with Renee’s exception for driving and directions). Some days are better than others for listening to it…

    Liked by 4 people

  8. The trouble with advice is that it implies a prescience I don’t have. The best I can offer is suggestions.
    When it comes to taking advice, I don’t usually unless it comports with what I was intending to do anyway.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Bill’s comment about taking advice reminds me of my discovery of how to get dogs to follow orders. If you command a dog to do something it doesn’t want to do, expect poor results. If you command a dog to do what it was just about to do anyway, you’ll often get obedience.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. i love getting advice from others unless they are serious

    i give lots of advice and am quite convincing in my presentation then i hear that little voice and often follow up with some comment about how good i am at fixing everybody else’s issues
    they know exactly what o am referring to

    Liked by 3 people

  10. i have a trello list of songs similar to you book list

    stuff to add to my guitar playing ditty list. it’s an interesting list with dylan and the beatles but also gershwin show tunes jazz country western sinatra and mel torme ella and blossom dearie. simon joni jim jimi and janis, old stuff like me and my shadow and or smile and some new stuff by trampled by turtles or jason mraz or stuff i play with my kids
    i hear stuff that reminds me of stuff. today i was behind a lady at aldo’sand was buying a bag labeled “little potato” i almost asked her if she knew the metora tune but i was just running in to do a rapid scoop of the monster cheese pizza ( a must) and in a new environment with multiple opportunities to chat with strangers about the inspirational conversation starter of the moment i felt like explaining metamora might be an involved blurb with extended conversation residue that would slow me down so i passed

    ice cream has no bones on my booklist yesterday

    Liked by 3 people

  11. HI Kids–
    You’re all making me laugh today with several conversations that, I agree, probably are not happening anywhere else.

    I’ll only take advice that I can spin and tweak and make it seem like it was my idea in the first place.
    I had a former student come visit me the other day. She needed the ‘kick in the butt’ we all need sometimes. (And 30 years ago, it was my friend Skip who would kick my butt when needed) But I’m not good at that. And I don’t like giving advice, but I’ll talk with them until they tend to come up with a solution themselves. I prefer that. And I think I managed that with the former student; she realized a few things as we talked. And then I told her I expected better grades from her now.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. El problema con el consejo es que implica una presciencia que no tengo. Lo mejor que puedo ofrecer son sugerencias.
    Cuando se trata de tomar consejos, generalmente no lo hago, a menos que coincida con lo que tenía la intención de hacer de todos modos.


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