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Winter snow and cold is here... wheeeeeeee

Yuuuuck. Up to this week it had been warmer than average, and I hoped we'd have another winter like this past one (ie, we had no winter). Alas, earwax. This week, temps went from 50s to 30s for highs, and it's snowing. Only about a couple inches here so far, but I know north and east of us got socked. I think it was Thursday where part of a major highway (I-90) was closed due to a multiple car pileup. Not sure how much of that was the weather, and how much of it was people forgetting their winter driving skills, which would have been especially rusty after last year's unusually mild season. Looking at the long-term forecast, doesn't look like we'll be getting a warmup anytime soon either. Ick.

Grandpa isn't doing well; he's in a nursing home. Also, dad got hurt at work. Hoping he recovers OK. In addition, I've caught my usual holiday creeping crud. Never fails. I would so love to get through a holiday season without coughing and hacking my way through it. Took it easy this weekend, and I do feel better. Just hate being sick.

On a brighter note, I'm listening to the Hamilton Mixtape, which was released earlier this month. It's not quite what I expected... well, OK, I admit I wasn't sure what to expect ha ha. I'd heard a few songs already. So far, I really like it, though.

Also finished a couple more books, one for the Book Riot challenge. Three more to go with that challenge, and I have all three books handy. I can do it I can do it I can do it....

36. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. This is actually a reread; I read this in grade school (although I may have read an abridged version, I don't recall). I've been wanting to reread this one for a while now, and this year seemed to be a good time to do just that, since I'm co-props designer for an upcoming staged version of this story (see my previous blog post). I remember really enjoying the adventures of Scout Finch as a child, especially her finding the little treasures in the knothole. As an adult, I picked up on a lot more. I've complained about this before but all too often the word "classic" is overused. Too many so-called "classics" are mind-numbing, pretentious garbage. But this is a novel that richly deserves the name of classic. It's well-written, with memorable and all-too human characters with their own strengths and weaknesses. The story is filtered through young Scout's eyes, and most of the action takes place during the year where her father Atticus Finch is defending a black man from a rape charge, in Depression-era fictional small town in Alabama. Scout is a smart, somewhat rebellious child who gets frustrated with her older, supposedly boring father. But her views slowly change as that summer teachers her about just how strong and how noble Atticus is. By the end of the book, her maturation is evident. This beautifully-written book is a must-read, and it pains me that there are school districts who are mulling the banning of this great work.

37. Private Doubt, Public Dilemma: Religion and Science Since Jefferson and Darwin, By Keith Stewart Thomson. This completes my reading challenge about reading a book on religion. It may be a stretch for this category - it wasn't quite what I expected - but ah well. Thomson is surprisingly even-handed in discussing the issues that came up with the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species, plus even some of the debates that came up even in the early 1800s, with the Age of Enlightenment. It's a tough issue to balance, since revolution versus creationism are n many ways such polar opposite ideas. My reaction to the book itself is mixed. It's well researched and balanced, but much of it is also boring. Up until the last few chapters I was ready to pan it completely as being as dry as toast. Much of it reads like an academic textbook. The first chapter is especially dull, and had it not been so late in the year, I probably would have given up on it after the first chapter. But then the last few chapters - which concentrates more on the debates between Darwin and those who supported his theories, those who took a different tack to his theory to wed it to religious belief, those who argued against it for scientific reasons and those who opposed it because it does seem to clash with dogma. This part was more interesting. Still, not sure I can really recommend this book because you have to schlep through so much to get to a couple of good chapters. The appendix was somewhat interesting. I guess if you are reading up on the debates of revolution, by all means this is a good source. But if you are looking for a nice, educational read to engage your brain in quieter moments, this may prove to be more of an insomnia cure.

Currently reading: The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah (for the Audie Book award winner category in the Book Riot challenge), and Will Write for Food, by Dianne Jacob (for the food memoir category).