First an update on cycling, with both good and bad news. The good news is that I’ve been riding a ton and have now passed 6,000 miles since January 1st. That’s a record that smashes last year’s total of just over 5,000 miles, and it’s not even December yet. It’s getting colder here, but that just means adding more layers before I head out.

The bad news is that my thyroid has become hyperactive again, so I probably shouldn’t be riding at all, although my doctor didn’t say to back off (and I didn’t ask). The back story here is that my thyroid went bad a little over three years ago; I had a hard month or two, and since then have felt pretty much normal. About a month ago, I started feeling badly again, although nothing as extreme as when I first became sick. But it’s discouraging to be feeling badly at all, when all I want to do is to ride a lot and ride fast. So I ride, but I take it easy and go slowly. Eventually medication will get everything back in line, and then I’ll ride fast again.

As for books, well, I bought a few more the other day. I wasn’t planning on it, but I found myself in two bookstores, and what else could I do? Hobgoblin and I drove to Winchester, Virginia, to visit family for Thanksgiving, and on Friday, to entertain ourselves, we all explored the city, including the Winchester Book Gallery, where I found a copy of Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book for the next Slaves of Golconda discussion. The store was small, but had a great selection for its size. After that, we found Blue Plate Books, a nice used bookstore, where I bought Somerset Maugham’s Cakes and Ale, Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (short stories), Lauren Slater’s Lying (a memoir), and Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, which I wasn’t planning on buying, but I found it for $11 and thought why not?

I’ve been buying books like crazy lately, but have had time to read too; right now I’m immersed in Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies, a novel about a boarding school in Dublin. It’s absorbing, and I’ve been glad to have a little more time than usual to focus on it. I’ve also begun reading Virginia Woolf’s The Common Reader, or rather, re-reading it. It’s fabulous, just as I remembered. I’m about 150 pages from the end of Gravity’s Rainbow, which I’ve decided is not so fabulous. Or rather, it’s genius, brilliant, amazing, etc., but I don’t like the experience of reading it. I’m sticking with it, though, because I’m not going to let that thing beat me!


Filed under Books, Cycling

15 responses to “Updates

  1. Hope your body rights itself for you soon! But I do think it a little funny that you pulled that kid omission trick on the doctor.

    You found some good books as usual especially the Maugham. And I just received a copy of Skippy Dies and can’t wait to get into it. But can take a pass on Gravity’s Rainbow. 🙂 Had to read in undergrad. Not pleasant. Happy reading!


  2. I’m still trying to keep my book buying to a minimum, so I held strong and only got one book off the $1 shelf that I discovered at a heretofore unexplored local thrift shop yesterday. Mostly I find that avoiding thrift shops and other places with great bargains is the only answer. And I can’t hold to that so well! I too would have snatched up The Summer Book and would have been tempted by your other choices.

    I don’t know where you were in relation to Winchester, but just 90 minutes or so south is one of my favorite places for book bargains, the Green Valley Book Fair. Tons and tons of remaindered books, most of which are around $4.


  3. Oh really sorry to hear you’ve been under the weather. Hope you feel better very soon.


  4. I’m sorry that you feel out of sorts. I hope you feel better soon!
    You seem to have found great bargains on Thanksgiving weekend! I’m curious about Skippy Dies, please let us know about it.


  5. Hope you get the right balance soon. Getting (and keeping) the right dosage is not always an easy task. Congratulations on your 6,000 miles — very impressive!


  6. Aw, sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. Here’s hoping it sorts itself out.

    And eek, Gravity’s Rainbow is on my list of 2011 reading since it’s now the book I’ve owned the longest without reading it…hope I enjoy it more than you! At least you’re finding some literary value to make up for the lack of enjoyment, I suppose…?


  7. Sorry to hear you’ve not been feeling well. I hope your meds get you set back to rights soon. It is dispiriting to not feel well and know you want to do things you maybe shouldn’t. Congrats on surpassing your riding mark from last year–6,000 miles is really amazing! You are always so good about books, you deserve to splurge! My library sale is this Friday, so I am trying to decide whether to go or not. I want to try and focus on reading books from my shelves for a while. Ha. 🙂


  8. I hope that everything gets right with your thyroid soon! 6000 miles–that’s about from here to Europe!


  9. I’m so impressed with your riding! Sorry to hear your body is not cooperating and you may have to back off a bit but hoping your medicine helps you soon. I understand how frustrating it is when you want to do something but your body is holding you back. I’ve had to back off a lot of my more intense yoga classes due to shoulder tendonitis. Bleh. Oh well, I’ll just do a lot of restorative yoga in the meantime which given that it’s crazy holiday season it may be the perfect thing anyway. Sending you good health vibes!


  10. Sorry to hear about your condition… hope you’ll get better soon. And, it’s always comforting to be able to visit bookstores and buy books, isn’t it? I love Somerset Maugham… Hope to read your review on Cakes and Ale some time.


  11. Feel better soon, Dorothy. I’ve been wanting to read Skippy Dies, so I’m happy to hear you’re liking it. And as for Somerset Maugham, only read The Razor’s Edge, but loved it. I’ve been trying to find Cakes and Ale at the used book store. Maybe it will pop up at the next Big Book Sale at the library.


  12. Wow! 6,000 miles! That’s like riding from San Franscisco to New York and back again and a little extra for good measure. Sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well. I hope it doesn’t last long. And please be sure to write about Gravity’s Rainbow! I am interested in hearing more about what you mean by the book being brilliant but not liking the experience of reading it.


  13. Frances — well, the truth is that if I had asked my doctor whether I could ride or not and she said no, I would anyway, so I might as well not ask, right? I hope you enjoy Skippy Dies. I’m hoping to finish it this evening. Gravity’s Rainbow as an undergrad? I wouldn’t want to have to teach that book!

    Teresa — oh, good to know about about Green Valley Book Fair! Chances are I’ll be in Winchester again and will have time to explore. My brother lives in Stephens City, so it’s in the right direction, at least. Yes, staying away from places to buy books cheaply is a great solution. But my husband just asked if I wanted to go book shopping this weekend, so it’s very hard to avoid temptation!

    Litlove — thank you! It’s one of those illnesses that leaves me mostly functional, just a bit slower than usual, but I’ll be happy to be up to my usual speed again!

    Smithereens — I’ll definitely post on Skippy Dies. I’m about to finish it this evening, I think (if I get off the computer in time!).

    Jenclair — thanks. I’m eagerly awaiting the time to get blood work done again, so I can know for sure. I don’t like having to be patient!

    Emily — I definitely want to hear what you think of GR. It’s very, very smart, just … hard to follow. I enjoy it in little moments, but I’m not getting much of a sense of the larger picture.

    Danielle — I want to focus on my shelves too, but I just found myself accepting some review copies and Hobgoblin wants to go book shopping again this weekend, and yes, it’s hard to resist! Still, I would go to your library sale if I were you 🙂

    Lilian — it’s cool to think about the miles spread out that way!

    Iliana — oh, sorry about your tendonitis! I’ve had similar experiences with yoga — my shoulder and elbow are both sensitive, so chaturanga is dangerous for me, which means vinyasa yoga is complicated. But restorative yoga is good!

    Arti — I’m looking forward to Cakes and Ale. It definitely helps make me feel better about illness to think about the books I can read. Thank goodness a thyroid problem doesn’t affect my ability to sit on the couch!

    Grad — you know, I like Maugham, but I didn’t enjoy The Razor’s Edge. It felt slow and ponderous to me. But the other ones I’ve read I really enjoyed, so I have high hopes for Cakes and Ale. I hope you can find a copy!

    Stefanie — I like thinking about where all my riding could possibly take me. I’d love to ride across country, but the logistics are complicated. Maybe someday! I’ll definitely post on Gravity’s Rainbow when I finish. I can appreciate that it’s smart and interesting and innovative, but I’m frustrated at times by my inability to figure out what’s going on!


  14. Hmmm…I’ll have to check out those bookstores next time I’m in Winchester. I hope you enjoy Cakes and Ale as much as I did. And I’m dying to read Skippy Dies (maybe that needs to go on my Xmas list). Boy, has it really been three years already since you first had thyroid problems? It seems like just yesterday. Anyway, I hope you soon get it back in line. I know that’s often easier said than done. Take care until you do. And finally: you’re an inspiration for us armchair cyclists. 6000 miles! Wow!


  15. I hope you feel better soon. Nothing worse than knowing you prolly shouldn’t be doing the thing you want to do the most because it isn’t good for you (I suppouse that’s how people who shouldn’t eat certain things feel when they rebel). Catching up on blog reading so I’ll just scoot up and take a look at the posts I can see on the three books you mentioned 😉


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