2018 Reading Challenge – Update #4

This year’s reading challenge turned out to be a bigger challenge than I had expected. I always experience a reading drought during the summer months; but then I usually come back with a burst of reading energy late in the year. In 2018 however, I only completed one book since my most recent update.

The Little Sister

I read The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler as my book first published in the 1940’s. It is a Philip Marlowe mystery, and since it is by Chandler, it is well written with many passages that you want to quote to your friends. I have all of the Marlowe mysteries in paperback. I bought them many years ago. They haven’t fallen apart yet, though the acid in the paper is slowly yellowing the pages. I was lucky they survived our flooded basement which destroyed all of my Michael Moorcock and Philip Jose Farmer paperbacks. That was like losing old friends, but at least I still have Chandler and some others that I can revisit.

I shan’t try to fit in any more books this year even though I started three other. They are good books, and I have enjoyed what I have read, but I don’t have a burning desire to finish any of them this year.

And that brings me to 2019. I have decided to not attempt my reading challenge next year. Instead I plan to spend a year getting caught up on books that I have bought over the past few years but which have not fit within the boundaries of the challenge. I have three Saxon Tales novels by Bernard Cornwell on my TBR bookcase along with various fantasy/sword and sorcery novels, spy thrillers, mysteries, biographies and other genres that I have been putting off. Next year is for fun. Heck, I may even start today.

If some of those books happen to fall within challenge categories I’ll keep track of them. That might be worth a post or two along the way.

This is probably my last post of 2018, so have a happy and safe New Year!

Estate Sale

Wall Art #16

I don’t know how long this mural has been on this wall. I noticed it for the first time a few weeks back when Cindy and I were driving home from an art sale in West Lafayette. I finally got around to driving back to get this picture last week.


Back in 2014 I wrote about a day trip to visit a number of graveyards that I took with my friend Mary. Well, This weekend she invited me accompany her to an estate sale. She thought I would be interested because they advertised that there were jazz paintings included. I had never been to an estate sale, and since I had nothing else planned, I accepted the invitation. That and I enjoy her company.

We met Saturday morning at a Starbucks near the site of the sale. I’m not much of a fan of Starbucks, but also I’m not so snobbish that I would refuse to meet there. I arrived early, entered the establishment, and stood in a short line to order and get my coffee. I hadn’t brought my laptop, so I pulled out my smart phone and stared at it to better blend in with the other customers. I sipped my over-priced bad coffee while waiting for Mary to arrive.

I had ordered a plain black coffee and then understood why so many people get the more exotic drinks. They needed to overpower the flavor of the black coffee. Oh well; too each his own.

Mary arrived right on time. We sat and chatted for a bit. We talked about family, mutual friends, and Christmas plans. Then it was time to set out for the sale.

The sale was in a neighborhood filled with expensive homes. I thought there might be some interesting things on sale for prices I couldn’t afford. The house was a a two story house with a finished basement. It sat on the shore of a pond. It was a nice setting. We started in the garage where there was absolutely nothing that interested me. We moved on to the kitchen where I had my first surprise. The cabinets were open, displaying jars of all types of spices that had been opened and partially used. There was no way to tell how fresh, or how stale the spices were.

Mary explained to me that anything we bought would be for the marked price, but at 1:00 p.m. the prices would be cut by 50%, and the next day any remaining items would by cut by 75%. I doubted that there would be much left. We moved into a small room that appeared to have been a den. There was a wet bar in the room. There were also built in bookshelves that held some books ($2 each). One full shelf of the books contained cook books, except for a Weight Watcher’s Guide stuck amidst the cookbooks. It seemed out of place to me.

There were a lot of bookcases in the house. With the exception of the built-ins, which were high quality, most of them looked pretty cheap. In fact, most of the furniture looked low quality considering the house and its location.

I decided that I wanted to check out the basement next, because I saw a fellow carrying a jazz painting from there. We went down, and sure enough there were jazz paintings and prints, as well as other items that were of no interest to me. Most of the jazz themed items didn’t appeal to me, but there was one print that I liked. I had two reasons for not buying it. First, I thought it was too expensive, and second I had no place to hang it. I considered coming back in the afternoon when the price would be lower, but then the fellow I had seen earlier came back down and took another painting. I decided the print I liked would be gone before I could come back.

When it was time to leave we walked into a room where Mary could pay for the items she wanted. There was also a man with a carton full of knick-knacks that he wanted to purchase for 50% off. A woman explained to him that he would have to wait until 1:00 p.m. but he was having none of that. The woman went off to find someone else who would talk to him. I looked around the room and saw a row of liquor bottles to be sold. About half of them were open and partially consumed. Who in the world would buy an opened bottle of booze? Maybe an alcoholic would; but even when I was drinking at my heaviest I wouldn’t have done that. While I was driving home I started to wonder if selling booze without a liquor license was legal in those circumstances.

It was an interesting experience. That said, I don’t think I’ll do it  again anytime soon.