Sunday, March 19, 2023

The penultimate stack post

Let's be dramatic about it: we are entering the dark wood of a transitional stage of our lives. L. is retiring in six weeks! (Unfortunately, I am still close to four years out from my own.) He's been on the verge of retiring for at least a couple years now, but the ability to work from home and the bear market kept him going. His employers now insist on half time in the office and between that absurdity (everyone sits at their office desk to zoom into meetings with people) and his age (68 this summer), he's said enough, and we will just have to hope for the best when it comes to the sequence of returns risk. Perhaps deferring social security until 70 will help offset any financial chaos enough for us not to run out of funds in our later years. I will admit to being quite paranoid about money and the state of the world, now and in the future, and did a bit of lobbying for him to postpone the loss of his reliable paycheck until after we knew if the Republicans would default on the debt, but he's eager to work on home projects, not computer code, and I can't blame him even if I am awfully worried about our 401(k)s.

Anyway, the plan is to completely renovate my parents' 1958 ranch house between now and when I retire. I was adamant that I would never even consider moving back to my home town until we became caregivers for my sister after she was diagnosed with ALS and I had to face some hard facts. We live in a two-story house, on a hill, and even if we put in a stair lift, and added a downstairs bedroom suite onto the back of the house, continuing to live here would be complicated. And there's the change to the traffic flow on the highway our neighborhood feeds out of which stresses me to no end! There are days I drive miles out of my way to avoid it altogether. Let's move where we can hear donkeys and cattle and see the mountains when we look out the windows. Let's raise chickens and have a garden. Let's finally have a basement.

Another thing I've been adamant about: I'd quit stockpiling books when L. retired. Most of my reading consists of library books and Netgalley fare anyway; yet the fact that I've been freewheeling through the 21st century buying books whenever I found something the library didn't have, or couldn't get to me soon enough (usually to sit unread on my shelves long past when it did become readily available), makes this change one that's apt to prove difficult. The books above were supposed to be the last purchases of the year except for a couple automatic buy items being published later in the year and yet I already have another even taller stack with three books still en route. 

I am returning to blogging to bring some accountability to my reading life. Read what's at hand. Plan some projects to counter the urge to buy something new.

Now for the books above:

The Lioness by Mark Powell. Eco-terrorism in the Appalachians. I want to pair this with Eleanor Catton's Birnam Woods.

The Guest Lecture by Martin Riker. I intend to read this along with Sigrun Palsdottir's History. A Mess. and Lucy Ives's Life is Everywhere for an academic life project.

The Bethrothed by Alessandro Manzoni. Reading this now with A Public Space. Somehow I'd never heard of this classic before. It's good!

A Good Horse Has No Color and Song of the Vikings by Nancy Marie Brown. Because I love Iceland and Icelandic horses and horses in general. I probably won't read these until after I retire.

The Deluge by Stephen Markley. I am considering devoting my summer to reading nothing but science fiction and dystopian fare. This would be one of the first I'd tackle.

Collected Works by Lydia Sandgren. A Swedish addition to my Scandinavian shelf. I'm reading A System So Magnificent It is Blinding now, so maybe this one should be next?

A bang, not a whimper

  Two months into L.'s retirement, and I'm finished with the stockpiling of books. No more book purchases! Or at least, no purcha...