My To-Read Stack

I haven’t actually done a lot of reading in the past week. We’ve been pretty busy prepping for the Maryland Renaissance Fair, which kicks off on Saturday! We help a friend out with her booth, so we’ve been going to her house a lot to work on inventory. I do have several books out from the library, though, so I’ll try to give a real quick description of what I’ll be reading soon!

I checked out several books on the history of LGBT rights in the US – Gay America, which I’ve now read, was FANTASTIC. I’ve already turned it back in, though, so it’s a little hard to write up a review. I still have The Gay Revolution: the story of the struggle, by Lillian Faderman, Gay Lives by Robert Aldrich, and Stonewall: the riots that sparked the gay revolution, by David Carter.

I also checked out a batch on the history of Baltimore, our adopted home city. I reviewed Walking Baltimore last week, but I also have The Baltimore Book: new views of local history, by Elizabeth Fee, Linda Shopes, and Linda Zeidman, and Charm City: a walk through Baltimore by Madison Smartt Bell.

In more fun reading, I have Steampunk II, a book of short stories edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, Smoke by Dan Vyleta, and The Young Elites and The Rose Society, both by Marie Lu.

In searching for something else, I stumbled across Eve of a Hundred Midnights by Bill Lascher. It’s “the star-crossed love story of two WWII correspondents and their epic escape across the Pacific.” It sounded interesting, but we’ll see if it holds my attention.

So that’s my current reading list!

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Book Review: Walking Baltimore

 

WalkingBaltimoreWalking Baltimore
by Evan Balkan
280 pages
Published 2013
Nonfiction – Guidebook

So the first book I want to talk about is a series of walking tours of Baltimore. I’ve only been on two of these walks so far, but I plan to take many more of them. It’s just been SO. HOT. And I’m not a person who likes walking much to begin with! But there’s a new game out that’s made walking so much more fun – yes, I’m talking about Pokemon Go. (Go Team Mystic!) That little bit of motivation of “well, I’ll walk to that Pokestop. Alright, there’s another Pokestop two blocks away, I can make it to that one. Maybe a little further to that next Pokestop. OOoo there’s a Tangela nearby!” It makes it just enough fun that I walk a lot more before I’ve even realized it.

Walking Baltimore gives me general guides for walks so I’m not just wandering Pokestop to Pokestop until I get lost! It has very detailed instructions – turn left at this corner, cross the street here so you can see this monument, then look up at the architecture in front of you – it’s really well done. My only wish is that there was an appendix that rated the walks in order of difficulty – each walk has a rating, from easy to moderate to strenuous – but there’s no way to see all of the difficulties side by side. With 33 walks all over Baltimore, with all levels of difficulty and lengths, there’s definitely something here for everyone, and the history and points of interest covered by the walks are fascinating.

The two that I’ve actually walked are half of #4, Inner Harbor Promenade, and #11, The Civil War Trail: Path of the War’s First Bloodshed. Both are mostly on the Inner Harbor, where my husband works, so I hitched a ride down with him, walked, and caught Pokemon until he got off work and we came home. (We live outside Baltimore City limits.) I’d been down in the area many times, but had no idea the Civil War’s first bloodshed occurred when a mob waylaid Union troops travelling through Baltimore! There are medallions laid in the sidewalks commemorating some of the events of the Civil War march, and most of those are Pokestops too.

Currently I have this book out from the library, but I think this is one I’ll be adding to my personal library soon. I want the walking guides! The author has also written 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Baltimore and Best in Tent Camping: Maryland. So he knows his stuff.

From the back of Walking Baltimore:

BALTIMORE – famous for spectacular harbor views, myriad historical monuments and landmarks, and important cultural institutions. But it’s also much more – a patchwork of small, unique neighborhoods with terrific bars and restaurants, and more recreation and green space than most people realize. All of this combines to make Baltimore one of America’s most fascinating and walkable cities. 

In Walking Baltimore, longtime insider Evan Balkan leads you on 33 self-guided tours from Fells Point to the Inner Harbor, Mount Vernon to Mount Washington, and all the diverse neighborhoods in between. This book will show locals and visitors alike how and why Baltimore was an essential player in the country’s early history and continues to be influential today. You’ll soak up Charm City’s incredible history, culture, architectural trivia, and quirky vibe. Plus, you’ll find tips on where to dine or have a drink. Clear neighborhood maps and vital public transportation and parking details make exploring easy. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon stroll or full-day’s entertainment, grab this book, step outside, and walk Baltimore!

Once More, With Feeling

I dropped off for almost two years, came back, posted three reviews, and dropped off again. Like before, I never stopped reading, so why have I stopped posting? That’s a complicated question.

The short answer is I haven’t had the energy.

The long answer is a combination of health problems, household duties taking what energy I have, and stress. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and migraines. Some of the side effects of those are extreme fatigue and lack of motivation. In addition to that, I’m the stay-at-home member of the household, making me responsible for the majority of the housework and cooking. The heat of summer also sucks energy right out of me – being hypothyroid affects the body’s ability to regulate its own temperature, and I overheat VERY easily. Summer is not my favorite season, especially in the humid mid-Atlantic!

I’ve been reading a lot of fascinating non-fiction recently – subjects of interest being GLBT history, and the history of Baltimore, Maryland, my adopted home. I’ve also gotten into DC’s New 52, so I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels lately. Not just DC Comics – I stumbled across Fables and Y: The Last Man at my local library. Both are excellent. I bought a handful of $1 paperbacks at my local Roses – some of which were good, one was cringy, and a couple I haven’t read yet. I finally read The Hero and the Crown, and The Blue Sword, both by Robin McKinley. Classic fantasy, and excellent reads. Caught up on the most recent books by Patricia Briggs in the Mercy series and the Alpha and Omega series. So you can see I have plenty of material to write about! I’ve just been too lethargic to do much more than read them.

I finally have meds and supplements figured out, and I feel that I have more good days than bad lately. I think I’ll try to start with an entry every week – possibly every two weeks, we’ll see how it goes – and ramp up from there as I can. I’d like to get back into the swing of things, but I don’t want to jump right back in and burn out. So we’ll try this.