Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Sunday Post #335

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The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

The Sunday Post #335

On The Blog Recently

In My Reading Life

It's been a while since I wrote a Sunday Post, so I have several books to tell you about. I'll keep it short.

I finished This Sweet Sickness by Patricia Highsmith and loved it. It's a psychological suspense novel that was first published in 1960. Why wasn't Patricia Highsmith more popular during her lifetime? She's excellent at writing believable villains. This novel is about a dude called David who is obsessed with a woman named Annabelle. When Annabelle gets married, David's obsession spirals into murderous rage. The book is terrifying because of its realism. Annabelle attempts to be friendly with David, but her attention is never enough for him. He always expects more from her. It's frightening. I can see why this book is becoming a modern classic. Read it if you enjoyed YOU by Caroline Kepnes.

My book club read Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way To Build Good Habits And Break Bad Ones by James Clear, which is exactly what it says on the cover. It's a straightforward guide to building positive habits. It explains how to choose a goal, how to break it down into manageable steps, and how to change your thinking so you don't get discouraged. The book club loved it. I felt a bit more "meh," but that's probably because I've been in a lot of therapy. I already knew the strategies for changing my behavior. If you have a goal, I highly recommend the book. It's cheaper than therapy and says a lot of the same stuff that a therapist will tell you.

Then I read Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam. This novel has no plot or character development; just vibes. I know that sounds like a bad thing, but I couldn't stop reading. I like the vibes! It's about a family who rent a fancy vacation house in the wilderness. A few days into their vacation, an elderly couple shows up on their doorstep. They claim they are the owners of the house, and they need it back because there's been a blackout in the city. As the story goes on, the characters realize that an apocalypse may have happened. Since they're isolated in the wilderness, they have no way of knowing if they're being paranoid or if something bad actually did happen to the world. I suspect this is one of the most realistic apocalypse stories I've read. If all of humanity's communication systems go down, we won't know why strange things are happening. We'll just have guesses and paranoia. This book will make you tense, but it won't give you any answers.

Finally, I read White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I don't know how to explain this one. It's a multi-generational family drama that takes place in London in the decades after WWII. I loved it at first. The writing and character development are stunning (and very funny). It made me wish I was the type of person who highlights books. Then it started to drag. And drag some more. And drag some more. There are a zillion tiny plot threads that don't go anywhere. Then it's over. I'm not sure what I was supposed to take away from reading it. I was mostly just bored.

In The Rest Of My Life

If you're visiting a state or national park this holiday weekend, please be kind to the staff! We're exhausted.

In honor of the holiday, here are a few odd customer interactions I've had while working at the park recently:

Visitor: "I've never seen a nature puppy up close before! They're so cute!"

Me: "You've never seen what?"

Visitor: "A nature puppy!"

Me: "Nature puppy? What's that?"

Visitor: *Points at a prairie dog.*

Me: "Oh, prairie dogs."

Visitor: "Is that what they're called? What other animals are around?"

Me: "Lots of deer."

Visitor: *Looks confused.* "Deer?"

Me: ". . ."

Visitor: ". . ."

Me: "Have you seen deer up close before?"

Visitor: *Still seems confused.*

Me: "Deer look like . . . nature ponies."

Some background info: The park's entrance station is like a drive thru at a fast-food restaurant. People drive up to the window in their car to buy park passes.

Teenage Visitor: *Drives up to the window.* "Can I buy an annual pass?"

Me: "Of course. I need to see your driver's license and the registration of the car you want the pass on."

Visitor: "I forgot my registration."

Me: "That's okay. What's the license plate of the car you're buying the pass for?"

Visitor: "Hold on." *Pulls out cell phone and dials.*

Disembodied Voice On Car Speakers: "Hello?"

Visitor: "Dad! What's my license plate?"

Dad Voice: "Where are you?"

Visitor: "At the lake. I'm getting a pass for the summer."

Dad Voice: "Who are you with?"

Visitor: "I'm by myself."

Dad Voice: "You didn't tell me you were going—"

Visitor: "Dad! I just need to know my license plate!"

Dad Voice: "Which car did you take?"

Visitor: "Mine."

Dad Voice: ". . ."

Visitor: ". . ."

Dad Voice: "You took your car? You're buying a pass for your car? The car you're inside of right now?"

Visitor: "Yes! What's my license plate?"

Dad Voice: "Can't you get out and look at the plate?"

Visitor: ". . ."

Dad Voice: ". . ."

Visitor: "I didn't think of doing that."

Some background info: A Revolutionary War reenactment was happening in the park. A big line formed at the entrance station because people need passes to attend events.

Me: *Frantically selling park passes.*

Me: *Notices an elderly woman walking along the side of the road.*

Me: *Notices the elderly woman approaching random cars in line and peering through their windows. People in the cars are confused.*

Visitor Waiting In Line: *Rolls down her car window. Squeezes partway out the window.* "I'm sorry!"

Same Visitor: *Squeezes farther out the window. Shouts to the other people in line.* "That's my mother! She escaped from the car!"

Same Visitor: "She has Alzheimer's! She's harmless!"

Same Visitor: "Mom! We're not at war yet! Get back in the car!"

Everyone: ". . ."

Same Visitor: "Mom! This isn't the war!"

Same Visitor: *Sighing.* "I'll go get her."

If You're Spending Your Holiday On Social Media . . .

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. Those interactions are gold. Thanks for that. Nature ponies - I love it!

  2. I love the sound of Leave The World Behind - though am a tad put off that you never actually get to find out... And those park interactions are hilarious - I particularly love the teenager... Thank you for sharing, AJ:)).

  3. People can be so odd ..... and interesting. :) I think people who work with the public have lots of opportunities to discover these odd conversations. Thanks for sharing your chuckles. Have a terrific week.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  4. Nature ponies! :-)))) I laughed so hard at reading these AJ! I realize that when we visited natural parks (in Colordao too) we were well behaved and smart visitors LOL

  5. LOL LOL, at least these were somewhat pleasant interactions! Good luck this weekend!

  6. Those visitor stories are so funny! I love them! Well, the Alzheimer lady story isn't "funny", of course, but, entertaining I guess. You know what I mean.

    I hope those people that don't know the words "deer" and "prairie dogs" are from another country where English is not their native language.

  7. I was wondering what they would call a bear ... a nature ???

  8. Oh, I loved those interactions; they're priceless! I hope your weekend goes smoothly and people are kind and friendly, and that you aren't too exhaused when it's over. And I'll maybe check out Atomic Habits. How well would it work for someone with ADHD tendencies, do you think?

  9. I need to share the nature puppies and nature ponies story with my friends in my Texas Master Naturalist group!

    Leave the World Behind and Atomic Habits both sound great.


  10. Wow there are all sorts out there and not all of them are well educated? I hope people are not too rude or weird to you. Good Luck.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  11. Thank you for sharing This Sweet Sickness. It sounds like a good book and I love that it was first published in 1960 – it fits into my Lifetime of Reading Challenge!

  12. I'm laughing at those interactions. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Oooh! Those books look interesting! And yes, I agree that it's good to be nice to the staff at National Parks.

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  14. I hope there isn’t too much chaos for you to deal with over Memorial weekend!

    Wishing you a wonderful reading week

  15. Nature puppies and nature ponies! That is definitely an interaction never to forget :D Hope your weekend went smoothly!

  16. Sounds like you have a really intesting job! Lots of interesting books too. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  17. lol the license plate one especially! Happy reading, I have never heard of Patricia Highsmith before.

  18. Never a dull moment working the National Parks, I see!

  19. Nature ponies! Next weekend I'm heading for a park to use that.

  20. Lol. Nature ponies... And the teenager who doesn't know to get out of their car. Sigh. Dealing with the public is its own issue.

  21. LoL. Your job is too much public for me. I'm sure you like the animals better. I liked Leave the World Behind too. Nice and eerie.