Short Books And Lots of TV: That’s Entertainment!

Well, good ol’ 2021, part of the ongoing COVID era, found me doing this, that and the other thing to fill up the 17.5 hours during which I’m more or less conscious each day. None of those hours were spent at a workplace outside my home, because COVID deep-sixed the volunteer jobs that I had engaged in happily for years. I’m still working, however, because I spend a fair amount of time writing pieces for the shaky, suspect publication titled Yeah, Another Blogger. Yo, you take your part-time jobs where you can find them!

Writing aside, I’m left with shitloads of hours on my hands each week. Many of them are spent on my living room sofa, where I’ve mastered the art of staring into space as I twist the six strands of hair remaining on the crown of my head into fascinating shapes. Then I untwist them and start all over again.

Fortunately, I engage in a variety of more fruitful activities too. If I didn’t, my wife Sandy would have had me committed long ago.

For instance, I read books. Not an extraordinary number — hell, I know of some fellow WordPress denizens who tear through three or more books per week — but enough to keep my mind percolating a bit.

I’m picky, though. Any book that I contemplate tackling must be short, as in no more than 260 pages. And fewer than 200 as often as possible. I began taking this approach because my attention span and stamina, when it came to book-reading, began to fall off the table in 2015. I found my way to the ends of a mere two books that year. 2016 proved to be even worse, as I recorded a big fat goose egg.

Ergo, to kickstart my dormant love of books I devised the short-book strategy in 2017. And it has worked. Last year, for instance, I polished off 17 books, fewer than in my glory days of book-reading, but a number I feel good about.

All are members of the fiction category, including two mysteries (Sleeping Murder; And Then There Were None) by Agatha Christie that are as breezy and enjoyable as they can be. My list of conquests also includes Cathedral, a collection of short stories by Raymond Carver. Carver’s world is populated by people who have never figured out, or been encouraged to figure out, how to lead productive, happy lives. Matter-of-factly, but not depressingly, he lays out their plights in language that grabs hold of you from the opening paragraphs.

As it turns out, though, the first book I read in 2021 was the one I thought was the best: Flight, by Sherman Alexie (I expounded upon it here). It’s the tale, as vivid as daylight on a cloudless afternoon, of a 21st century Native American teen trying to come to terms with himself and with the country — the USA — that conquered and subjugated his peoples.

Yes, books entertained me mightily in the year that just entered our rearview mirrors.  The jollies that I got from them, though, paled in comparison to those provided by the magical medium known as television. Yeah, I spent quite a few hours in front of the home screen last year, continuing the practice I’d adopted at the start of the pandemic. Sandy used to watch the tube alone in the evening. But lack of outside-the-house entertainment options caused me to join her when coronavirus reared its f*cking head. We quickly developed into an adorable TV-viewing couple, settling in for an hour or two of laughs, gasps and whatever, five or six nights each week.

During 2021, Sandy and I watched around 20 movies on the tube and many more series than that. Almost every one was on commercial-free platforms and networks, mainly Netflix and HBO, both of which have become two of my closest friends. I’ve turned into a series addict, limited series particularly. Some of the limited ones that I especially liked last year are The Chestnut Man and Giri/Haji (tense crime dramas), Chernobyl (a dramatization of the nuclear disaster), and Maid (where relationships go very bad and where pure love is on display).

In closing, I give a hearty tip of the hat to Godless, a Western that, as is common to its genre, portrays a battle between decency and wickedness. This limited series is set in late-1800s Colorado. Jeff Daniels (Is there a better actor anywhere?) stars as Frank Griffin, an eerie bad guy who bosses around his band of associate baddies and takes his amputated left arm with him, like a good luck charm, everywhere he goes. (A bad wound necessitated the amputation.) In the end, does good triumph over evil? You’ll have to tune in to find out, because I ain’t one for dropping spoilers.

Thanks for reading, boys and girls. What activities/books/TV/music/etc. rang your bell in 2021? Feel free to comment.

Happy New Year!

168 thoughts on “Short Books And Lots of TV: That’s Entertainment!

  1. johnlmalone January 4, 2022 / 12:23 am

    thanks for your suggestions, Neil; I’ve been enjoying ‘Succession’ on HBO and shows on the Lifestyle channel like ‘The Repair Shop’ and ‘Lost Families’ . As for reading, I’m a huge short story fan — love Carver and Joy Williams —and am an avid reader of ‘The New Yorker’; been subscribing since 2006. Have a great year, Neil 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Audrey Driscoll January 4, 2022 / 12:41 am

    Well, I’ve been writing a book. It’ll be too long by your standards, I suspect. Probably 350 pages or so. And I’ve been reading too, both short and long books. The thing about good short books is they’re done with too quickly, meaning I have to find another book to read. Books that are good and long are best, because I can settle down with them for weeks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 12:49 pm

      Hi, Audrey. One of these days, I hope, I’ll re-develop the patience for long books. I used to read plenty of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. gabychops January 4, 2022 / 12:42 am

    Thank you, Neil, for making me laugh so early in the morning!
    I would also recommend “The Repair Shop”!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  4. theburningheart January 4, 2022 / 1:09 am

    I use to read a lot, but age its getting to me, fall sleep reading often pretty easy!

    Happy New Year for whatever it’s worth, Holidays are not as much fun as they used to be, I guess age has a lot to do with it, or its because it turned me more of a cynic?🤦‍♂️🤷‍♂️

    Anyway take care Neil, reading you always make me laugh.😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 12:53 pm

      Yeah, getting older and older is no fun. But there’s nothing we can do about it, that’s for sure. Oh well. Here’s to a good 2022. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lynette d'Arty-Cross January 4, 2022 / 1:28 am

    Thanks for your series suggestions. I’ve watched your suggestions before and you have good taste!
    Ringing my bell? I’m still on the work track but only have 28 months left, so that’s a bell ringer, I think! 🙂

    Like

  6. joylennick January 4, 2022 / 5:21 am

    Hi Neil, I love reading your posts as they always leave me with a smile. As hubbie and I are nearly (already) in the Methuselah category of people, we have naturally slowed up. Having been busy, much travelled, folk in the past, we now do a lot of ‘static sofa surfing.’ not to be confused with the real thing and are – at present.- watching – Mash repeats.of an evening, plus the quiz show Millionaire (‘im indoors is a bright spark and often gets the questions right…).and we always loved the former. I’m an eclectic reader, but am also partial to murder cases and detective procedures. So many books to read and certainly not enough time! I’m still trying to find a mainstream publisher for my.recently finished The Dombrowski Portrait (my ninth book.) about a Polish Jewish family and a painting. Wish me luck. Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year to you both. Cheers! Joy xx..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 12:58 pm

      Hi, Joy. You and your husband are to be admired. Good luck with the new book. I bet you’ll find a publisher for it in 2022.

      Like

  7. swabby429 January 4, 2022 / 6:19 am

    I’m on the same page as you regarding books. I used to read long tomes. Now, briefer page-turners are quite satisfying.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jeanleesworld January 4, 2022 / 6:45 am

    Happy 2022, my friend! Keep exploring those stories across the genres. I’ve not watched a tv series in a long, LONG time…well a new one, anyway. I did watch a lot of Columbo last year. 🙂 I’m debating a challenge for myself when it comes to trying a classic series I’ve never touched before, but getting a hold of the books through the library’s tough. We’ll see if I can give it a go. Stay healthy and keep exploring for cool trucks and doors! I hope to hear your thoughts on Nightmare Alley, too. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 1:02 pm

      Howdy, Jean. Columbo is a cool show. Peter Falk created a perfect character. Rumpled, cigar-smoking, and WAY smarter than the perpetrators realize.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeanleesworld January 4, 2022 / 3:44 pm

        He really did! And he CARED about his character–you can see it in the way he handles him even in his later episodes. I really hope they don’t reboot it!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Manja Maksimovič January 4, 2022 / 7:18 am

    Yeah! I’m always glad for recommendations of favourites. Only seen Chernobyl of all that you mention. That will be fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. shoreacres January 4, 2022 / 7:27 am

    I enjoyed reading about your choices, and smiled again at your humor; it’s one of the things that makes your blog so engaging.

    Circumstances led to my throwing out my televisions in 2011, so that kind of viewing isn’t a part of my life. A nice big computer screen occasionally serves the purpose when something comes along that interests me. Usually, it’s a documentary, and there have been some good ones in the past year. As for reading, most of mine is non-fiction: essays, letters, journals, and histories of one kind or another. I’ve just begun Walden again, as an accompaniment to my year-long exploration of a little water feature I’m calling Walden West, and I’m also working my way through Green Laurels, about the lives of several of our important naturalists. Where I’ll go from there is hard to say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 1:07 pm

      Hi. I’m a Cape Cod enthusiast. Have you read Henry D. Thoreau’s book “Cape Cod”? I think it’s terrific, really entertaining.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres January 10, 2022 / 8:23 pm

        I’d never even heard of that book! Good heavens — with all of my reading about the sea and sailing, too. I found this interesting article about it on the Thoreau Society site, and I’ve tracked down a copy to read. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. sniderjerry January 4, 2022 / 7:28 am

    Hey there Neil, You can’t go wrong with a book by Sherman Alexie. Hope you set a new record for reading books in the new year. All the best. Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 1:08 pm

      I hope to get around to another of Alexie’s books one day. He’s a fine writer. Enjoy the day, Jerry. See ya!

      Like

  12. Janakay | YouMightAsWellRead January 4, 2022 / 7:35 am

    Like you, my TV viewing is definitely up. Have you found Reservation Dogs? It’s really off beat, funny and heart warming but not sickeningly so. I mention it because you like Sherman Alexie and RD is about a group of native kids on a res in Oklahoma, trying to make sense of their lives.
    If you like sci-fi, Station Eleven is great (at least so far; I just watched episode 7); it’s a 10-episode mini-series on HBO max, based on a great novel by Emily St. John Mandel.
    I’ve read a little Raymond Carver and very much enjoyed your description of his work, which is dead accurate. Have you seen Short Cuts, Altman’s treatment of several of the short stories? I’ve been trying to track it down; I think it still must be viewed on dvd.
    As for Godless, WHAT a tease you are about the ending!!! Fortunately, this is one I watched . . . and I totally agree with you about Jeff Daniels. (if fact, maybe it’s time to re-watch True Grit. He was fabulous as Rooster Cogburn).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 1:13 pm

      Many thanks for the various recommendations. I didn’t know about Reservation or Station. As for Short Cuts, I’m not sure if I ever saw it. If I did, I’ve totally forgotten. My wife and I just started watching The Young Pope, on HBO. We’ve seen two of the ten episodes so far. They are good.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Paddy Tobin January 4, 2022 / 8:51 am

    There has been a big lull in my new reading this last month but I have gone back to old reliable volumes to refresh my mind on forgotten facts and pleasures – this was mainly in pursuit of a better grasp of the identification features of our native orchids. Non-fiction is where my reading leads generally; that and a hefty Sunday newspaper for a review of the week’s news keep me somewhat happy – one is never entirely happy! TV? Mmmmmmm It’s more a background visual and sound to my wandering mind. I like to take photographs during the day and edit them in the evening and then, like yourself, I write a little here and there. In retirement, it is certainly necessary to make an effort to occupy oneself for that threat of commitment always hangs over us. We have to at least pretend to be functioning normally.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. JOYCE HAMILTON January 4, 2022 / 8:56 am

    Interesting but like your music or photo blogs better. Happy 2022!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 1:16 pm

      Well, I like to write about a variety of things. But I’m sure I’ll be getting back to photography and music soon. Thanks for stopping by, Joyce. Appreciated.

      Like

  15. Deb January 4, 2022 / 9:26 am

    I would add puzzles to this list Neil. Open up a puzzle box filled with odd little shapes and you have hours of fun to pass the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 1:18 pm

      Hi, Deb. I’m not sure that jigsaw puzzles are for me. But I spend a good amount of time with crossword and sudoku puzzles. Have a good week!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Helen Devries January 4, 2022 / 9:36 am

    I like a longer read….I have a life of Admiral Jackie Fisher on the go at the moment and am looking for a new swathe of detectuve stuff – preferably without a protagonist with one eye, suffering from guilt over something of other which messes up the plot or a complicated family life…..I’ve enjoyed the Kings Lake series by Peter Grainger and his earlier run of novels featuring D.C.Smith, but they were of such a high quality I am in trouble finding anything to match up to them..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 1:20 pm

      I never heard of Grainger. Will look into him. Do you like PD James’s mysteries? I read one of hers a few years ago and enjoyed it quite a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries January 4, 2022 / 1:57 pm

        Yes, I read quite a few…but the later ones became a bit formulaic which is a bugbear with so many series with the same protagonist.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. liliannemilgrom January 4, 2022 / 10:08 am

    Thanks for the Godless recommendation!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 1:23 pm

      I really liked that series a lot. One of the main characters is played by a British actress (she was in Downton Abbey). She pulls off an American accent very well.

      Like

  18. Michael Graeme January 4, 2022 / 10:43 am

    Enjoyed Godless and Giri/haji. I also enjoyed Katla and Green Frontier. Humans was interesting too. Just started Silent Sea, but I’m not sure about it yet. Like you, I’m struggling with long reads at the moment, a pile of worthy books gathering dust. Netflix can be a bit of a mixed bag, but I think it’s been worth the subs over these years of Covid All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 1:25 pm

      Thanks for the tips, Michael. I’m always in the market for series to fill up some of my evening hours. Here’s another one, on Netflix, that I liked: Clickbait. It’s a thriller.

      Like

  19. Laurie Graves January 4, 2022 / 10:48 am

    We’ve been considering “Chestnut Man” and will now be adding it to the list. I have two suggestions for you: “Anxious People,” a Swedish crime series (on Netflix) about bungling cops and criminals; and a short novel, “A Month in the Country” by J.L. Carr. At 135 pages, “A Month in the Country” is one of the most beautiful, concise books I have ever read. It’s about a World War I vet, art, homosexuality, life, death. An extraordinary wonder of a book.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Jacqui Murray January 4, 2022 / 10:51 am

    Good summary, Neil. If I can add one piece: Everything you do is with a sense of humor. I love that about your posts.

    Question: ‘this, that and the other thing’–Seinfeld has that in one of their episodes (I’ve been binging on those). You need to claim copyright to it and make some big bucks.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. greenpete58 January 4, 2022 / 11:06 am

    Happy new year, Neil. A few books and TV offerings rang my bell in 2021. My wife likes British TV, which I usually dislike, but we found enthusiastic common ground with Foyles’ War, a detective drama that takes place during WWII (it’s on Acorn, which is on Roku, which is internet-based, which makes me pine for the days of three networks). Great acting, directing, and writing. As far as short books, have you read the Vietnam War-based The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien? Powerful, and it has as much to do with writing and memory as war itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 1:34 pm

      Thanks for the tips. Will look into Foyles. As for the book, I read it two or three years ago. It’s terrific.

      Like

  22. sloppy buddhist January 4, 2022 / 11:20 am

    Happy new year Neil and Sandy🕊☺️our daughter is a romance writer she published 3 books last year so I can send those titles along😉🤓watched Don’t Look Up…it was good for me😅sending all good things from etown ~ hedy🙋‍♀️❄️❄️❄️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 1:37 pm

      Hi, Hedy. What’s the titles of her books? By the way, a few nights ago we watched Don’t Look Up. Very enjoyable flick. Have a good week. See ya.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sloppy buddhist January 5, 2022 / 3:20 pm

        Her pen name is Elsie Silver…it’s prairie romance with spice🤓she has a long range plan but this is her current pursuit…I’m a proud mom…albeit it’s not a genre I read😅😂

        Liked by 1 person

  23. talebender January 4, 2022 / 12:11 pm

    Like you, reading, writing, and light exercise are my main pursuits in these Covid years. Among my favourite authors are Don Winslow, John Sandford, and Michael Connelly. My ninth crime novel was published in November, and I’m started on the next one.
    Ain’t retirement grand!

    Liked by 1 person

      • talebender January 5, 2022 / 12:25 pm

        Each takes about a year, depending on how faithfully I plop myself at the keyboard. 😜

        Liked by 1 person

  24. tylerus January 4, 2022 / 12:35 pm

    Still waiting for my bell to ring, alas . . . LOL . . . Godless has me curious. I must check it out. I loved your post; funny, as always. Thanks for starting off my year with a smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. JT Twissel January 4, 2022 / 12:53 pm

    I had a hard time following through on just about anything last year. I felt suspended in time. I started many books but never finished them. Ditto painting and writing my own stories. Even my blog posts were shorter than usual. Many of my friends reported the same. I hope this ennui changes soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 2:01 pm

      I think the pandemic has caused this sort of thing, to one degree or another, in countless people. It’s an unpredictable roller coaster of a ride that we’ve been on.

      Like

  26. SandyL January 4, 2022 / 1:07 pm

    Gotta say, I still read a lot. The only difference … I don’t finish everything I start. Life’s too short. I also only read e-books, which makes it harder to determine if it’s a short 260 pages or not. I just finished Stanley Tucci’s memoir ‘Taste’ which I recommend, esp. if you’re a foodie like me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 2:04 pm

      Afternoon, Sandy. I’ve seen a couple of episodes of the TV series Tucci did recently for CNN. Have you seen it? He eats his way around Italy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • SandyL January 4, 2022 / 3:27 pm

        I’ve heard about it but haven’t seen it. Apparently it’s only on CNN & I’m not subscribed. Before I read his book, I would never have guessed him to be a foodie. Now, I’d like to see more of his work. I rewatched his show “Big Night” and better appreciated what was going on there.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Donna Cameron January 4, 2022 / 1:11 pm

    We enjoyed watching two limited series: The Queen’s Gambit and Atlantic Crossing. Books have been my salvation, but I agree that attention span is challenged these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 2:06 pm

      Ah, The Queen’s Gambit. It’s great. Haven’t seen Atlantic Crossing. Will look into it. Thanks for the tip.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Rosaliene Bacchus January 4, 2022 / 2:39 pm

    I enjoy reading, but I’m amazed at “some fellow WordPress denizens who tear through three or more books per week.” They must use speed-reading techniques. If a story grabs my attention, I have no problem reading books with more than 260 pages. As a lover of mystery and crime fiction, I’ve recently read Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s ghost story, I Remember You. It’s a 370-page spell-binding, bone-chilling crime story. So that I can get some reading done, I limit my TV viewing to two hours in the evening, except on Friday and Saturday nights–my movie nights!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 4:20 pm

      Afternoon, Rosaliene. I look at book blogs sometimes. Some of them post book reviews anywhere from three to six times each week. It’s amazing that anyone can read that many books. Like you say, they must be speed readers.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. endardoo January 4, 2022 / 3:00 pm

    Like the Chestnut Man too … but really, rewatching The Wire is the dog’s nuts!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 4:23 pm

      Hello there. The Wire, which I’ve never seen, is considered by many to be among the very best series ever. I should watch it. Have you seen Breaking Bad? I haven’t. That’s another series that many people rate as the best.

      Like

      • endardoo January 4, 2022 / 8:13 pm

        Lucky you… Two incredibly good things to look forward to, if you get around to them….

        Liked by 1 person

  30. andrewcferguson January 4, 2022 / 4:23 pm

    Hey, Neil – happy new year to you and Sandy. I don’t know if you can get it on US tv, but ‘Guilt’ is an amusing Scottish series – particularly Series 1. Thanks for reminding me about Carver:I really must get round to him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 5:41 pm

      Evening, Andrew. I googled Guilt. Doesn’t seem to be available on demand in the States. Wouldn’t surprise me, though, if Netflix or the like picks it up one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. kegarland January 4, 2022 / 5:47 pm

    I LOVED Maid! I was going to suggest it, but then I saw you listed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 7:28 pm

      Terrific show. The hoops that the main character had to jump thru, in order to maintain a life for herself and her daughter, are unbelievable.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 4, 2022 / 7:31 pm

      I liked it a whole lot. You probably know this: The main character and her mother on the show are daughter and mother in real life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • J. Kelland Perry January 4, 2022 / 8:29 pm

        OMG I didn’t know that! But I’m so glad you told me. I’ve known Andie MacDowell as an an actor and enjoyed her in her other movies.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Becky Ross Michael January 4, 2022 / 11:18 pm

    I enjoy TV series a lot more than movies, but watched about the same amount of television this past year as usual, just in the evenings. My biggest change was that I gave up leading a library book club (after already doing it for the first year of covid on Zoom). The pandemic somehow made me realize that I no longer wanted to spend my time reading books that I “had to” but wanted to focus on those I truly felt compelled to read! I still attend (online) once in a while if the monthly book appeals to me. Luckily, I still have my personal writing and freelance editing to keep my (mostly) busy. I still get very bored; not a good time to be living alone…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 5, 2022 / 7:15 am

      Hi, Becky. Right, reading a book for a book club probably feels like a school assignment. I wouldn’t particularly want to do that either. As for TV series, I watched very few until the pandemic started. Now I love watching series. Like you, I prefer them over movies, something I wouldn’t have said 22 months ago. See ya!

      Liked by 1 person

  33. mjcd2017 January 5, 2022 / 8:28 am

    Ohhh 🙈 … you must mean me with my 309 books in 2021 … I feel totally awful 🤣. Happy reading in 2022 and a happy and healthy new year 🥂

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Alyson January 5, 2022 / 12:36 pm

    I recently did a recap of my reading/viewing tally for 2021 and it was 20 books and 52 ‘boxsets’ on telly. Way higher than a normal year but as you say, so many of my usual pastimes are now closed to me. Favourite book was The Midnight Library and of the telly drama you would recognise I enjoyed Fargo and The Handmaids Tale. Lots of really good French drama this year too – Lupin was excellent.
    PS – I see you only get about 6.5 hours sleep per night! I’m the same but wish it could be more. Those days have gone I fear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 5, 2022 / 3:02 pm

      Lupin. Right, that’s a good one. Netflix has a comedy centering around teenagers called Never Have I Ever. I like that one a lot too.

      Like

  35. cincinnatibabyhead January 5, 2022 / 1:44 pm

    Long books and not so much TV (a few flicks) have been my recent endeavors.. Im usually a 200 page guy (Lots of Travis McGee and Lew Archer etc. They both get punched out a couple times in each book.). You have had me curious on the Chernobyl thing for a while. Im a big fan of Stellan and yes Jeff is good so you have my attention. Later fella.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 5, 2022 / 3:07 pm

      Hey, CB. Last year I read my first Travis McGee book. It’s called The Lonely Silver Rain. I don’t remember if he got punched out, but he probably did!

      Like

      • cincinnatibabyhead January 5, 2022 / 4:21 pm

        I have read them all except the last one. Im waiting for the right time (Figure that logic out). Lew Archer gets punched out more (Newman played him in the Harper movies). Actually Travis is pretty good with his dukes. Man do I love stimulating conversations like this,

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, Another Blogger January 5, 2022 / 5:55 pm

          Norman Mailer, of all people, wrote a pretty good crime thriller called Tough Guys Don’t Dance. I read it because it’s set on Cape Cod. Amazingly, he also directed the movie version of the book. It maybe was his only time behind the camera, tho I’m not sure about that.

          Liked by 1 person

  36. Ann Coleman January 5, 2022 / 1:55 pm

    I’ve been enjoying the reruns of the English series, “Midsomer Murders.” Although they are based on the far superior books by Caroline Graham, they are still enjoyable because they are all set in small English villages. And since visiting England (the three hour layover in London didn’t count) is on my bucket list, I’m making do with TV until the day comes when I can visit an English village in person!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 5, 2022 / 3:09 pm

      Hi, Ann. The pandemic is making international travel an iffy thing. But I hope you get to England this year or soon thereafter.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Pazlo January 5, 2022 / 4:05 pm

    Happy New Year, Neil.
    Glad to hear you’re surviving the influence of the mind-bending pandemic with flair.
    No time for TV here, except for Svengoolie on Saturday night.
    Too many pursuits to list.
    Reading is back-burnered, too, though I was working my way through LeRoy Snell’s adventure books. (Challenge of The Yukon, etc.)
    Getting back on the writing horse when I can tame the clock a little.

    Be well,

    Paz

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 5, 2022 / 5:50 pm

      Hey, man, I’m glad to hear from you. “Mind-bending” is a good way to describe the pandemic. Will it ever shrink and become something we all can live with pretty easily? Looks to me that nobody knows . . . not yet anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. annieasksyou January 5, 2022 / 11:26 pm

    Fun! My spouse and I have trouble agreeing on streaming, but we both are enjoying The Seaside Hotel, a Danish series on Netflix (or Amazon). Amusing characters, with scenic backgrounds.

    I also like to listen to podcasts, ranging from the political (Talking Feds, Pod Save America—with former Obama speechwriters), to Alan Alda’s Science Clear&Vivid, to The Moth storytelling. They’re great company for walking indoors in bad weather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 6, 2022 / 7:09 am

      Morning, Annie. Haven’t heard of that TV series. Will look into it. Have you watched the series titled Borgen? It’s from Denmark too. It’ It’s about the inner working of Danish politics, and might be right up your alley. Have a good day. See ya.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Anonymous January 6, 2022 / 2:29 pm

    I don’t have Netflix right now, but these shows sound pretty good. Especially “Godless.” Jeff Daniels and his arm reminds me of a Civil War general, a maniac politician from NYC, who got hit by a cannonball and they had to take his leg off. He didn’t travel around with it, but he did get it a little coffin and donated it to the army medical museum, and he’d go visit it every year. It’s still there, in Silver Springs, MD. And “Tough Guys Don’t Dance” had severed heads, right? And “Snatch” with Jason Statham and Brad Pitt, there was a missing head in that too – – I guess it’s a whole genre, Missing Body Parts. I mostly read nothing but textbooks this past year, but there was one fun read: “At The Tomb of the Inflatable Pig – Travels through Paraguay” by John Gillette. A lot of absolute weirdness, but funny and all true.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Ally Bean January 6, 2022 / 3:02 pm

    We watched all of Midsomer Murders and Psych during 2021. Both were escapist and interesting in wildly different ways. Have started on Murdoch Mysteries and Monk now, something more serious, something quite silly. A good balance

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Dave January 6, 2022 / 6:20 pm

    Okay, you’ve got me curious about “Cathedral” and “Godless”. I’ll give both a shot – thanks. In return, have you watched “Manifest” on Netflix? Seemed like a shallow time-travel concept at first, but it gets a whole lot deeper as it goes. Now we’re just trying to find other stuff to watch until the next season comes out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 6, 2022 / 10:05 pm

      Evening, Dave. I’ve heard of Manifest but haven’t seen it. I’ll look into it. We’re watching two series currently: Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Young Pope. They couldn’t be more different from one another.

      Like

  42. viewfromoverthehill January 7, 2022 / 12:05 am

    During COVID, I’ve spent more time at home reading even more. Read some great books recently, but they don’t match your requirement for short. Just finished John Grisham’s ‘The Brethren’, which held me right to page 451. I could hardly put it down.
    Just started Jodi Picoult’s ‘The Tenth Circle’. It is too soon to know if I’ll like it, but I’ve read other books by her which I liked a lot, like: ‘My Sister’s Keeper’, definitely a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 7, 2022 / 8:23 am

      Hi. You’re reading up a storm. I wish I had the patience to be able to sit and read for hours, which is an ability that you have. I used to, but it fell away. Maybe I’ll get it back one day.

      Like

  43. Fran Johns January 7, 2022 / 12:29 am

    Too many books, too little time. I even plowed unhappily all the way through Jonathan Franzen’s “Crossroads” (way past your length limit) because I have this thing about quitting mid-book. Admittedly, Franzen has sold a few more books than have I. But I have been cleansing my literary palate since then with Tolstoy’s short works. Good ol’ Leo, he could spin tales.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 7, 2022 / 8:28 am

      Morning, Fran. You know, I sometimes give up on books after a while. Last week I started Larry McMurtry’s memoir titled Books. I stopped after 40 pages — it is kind of an anecdotal hodgepodge and didn’t hold my interest.

      Like

  44. alisendopf January 7, 2022 / 10:42 am

    Thanks for your book and show round-up. I also love the Netflix series, and I’ll definitely look up some of your suggestions. I didn’t think I’d see Maid on your list, so way to go, Hair Twirler!

    Liked by 1 person

      • alisendopf February 20, 2022 / 11:48 am

        Alright. I watched Maid based on your recommendation. It is well worth the watch. Yes, I agree it is very realistic, and it tells a more balanced perspective as to why women return to an abusive man. It’s not so black and white, and finally, we have a view of how very charming and nice an abusive man can be when he’s sober and trying. I noticed that not only was I rooting for Sean to get himself together, but that so were the main characters (the mom and dad). I did some research into the writing, and they indeed did this on purpose. They wanted to audience to feel what Maddie was feeling, in terms of being somewhat hopeful. If the audience would feel justified in going back to Sean, then maybe society wouldn’t be so hard on women who return to an abusive relationship. Thanks for the recommendation. It’s not often a TV show makes you think and change your perspective.

        Liked by 1 person

  45. denisebushphoto January 7, 2022 / 11:54 am

    I have never been much of a reader and usually spend my time with my photography. With our long winters I needed something else. Last year I managed to read 6 books … an all-time high. This year I am listening to audiobooks downloaded from a library app, using my iPhone and the earbuds I got for Christmas. The first book I listened to was ‘The Dutch House’ by Ann Hatchett and read by Tom Hanks. Then, ‘The Four Winds’ by Kristin Hannah … a sort of Grapes Of Wrath story. I liked both of these very much. I can listen on walks or before I go to sleep, or if I can’t sleep. We like a lot of the series too! I’ll have to refer back to this great post when looking for something new.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 7, 2022 / 1:39 pm

      Hi. I’ve made note of the books you mention. If they’re shortish, I might read them!

      Like

  46. Americaoncoffee January 7, 2022 / 2:58 pm

    A nice reflection Neil. I love your comfy-ness and you do live it big and exciting in simplistic ways. I hope the new year has opened up well for you snd your wife. Best regards always!

    Liked by 1 person

  47. eden baylee January 8, 2022 / 7:22 pm

    Hi Neil, late as ever, sorry! I don’t have much patience for series right now, so in 2021 I saw very few. Tonight, I’ll watch a newish film on Prime called The Tender Bar … you might like. It’s about writing I think. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 9, 2022 / 7:23 am

      Hi. Thanks for the tip. I’ll look into it. My wife and I went to the movies last night to see Licorice Pizza. I expected to like it a lot, but I didn’t. It didn’t seem to hold together.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, Another Blogger January 10, 2022 / 10:46 am

          Hi Eden. There’s a technical problem of some kind with your site. It won’t allow me to place a comment on the story you published today. I’ll try again tomorrow!

          Like

  48. ckennedy January 9, 2022 / 12:42 pm

    I absolutely love your strategy of finding short books to read. It’s such a good feeling to close the cover and start a new book! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 9, 2022 / 4:18 pm

      I just don’t have it in me right now to deal with larger books. It’s a case of the incredibly shrinking attention span. Maybe one day I’ll recover my lost powers. I wouldn’t mind!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s