German & books

 Sorry I haven't been updating. I've been busy! Ich war beschäftigt! I'm in week 6 (I think) of my 10-week full-time German course. It's going great. I think I have a good chance of a 2/2 on the DLPT and maybe a 1+ on the OPI.  Books-wise, I've been reading. Still a good 2-3 books behind schedule, but catching up. Some of the books I've read recently: Refuse to Choose , by Barbara Sher. I learned I'm a scanner. Some say fickle, but really, I have many interests, and I love learning new things, getting as much info on the subject as I feel I need, then move on. This book had great ideas, albeit some of it is old, but still worth it. Fast read. Smiley's People , by John LeCarre. Another great one. I'm going to be sad when I've read all of his. RIP, Mr. LeCarre. Havana Bay , by Martin Cruz Smith. Arkady Renko #4. One of the best. Not sure if I like this one or the one on the fishing boat the best. But every single Renko is great. Why didn't they

Books, books, books

 So much reading has been going on! First off, some nice hard sci-fi. Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space. Outstanding space opera, with solid science behind it. Unlike another recent read which just was plain horrible. Don't even want to mention its name, but yuck. Next up was dumb luck. One night at dinner I saw the British colonel here eating alone, so I joined him. Talk at one point finally led to our reading interests I mentioned my love for Evelyn Waugh. Turns out he wrote his dissertation on Waugh. Then we talked for about a half hour, comparing books. During this discussion, he mentioned Kate Atkinson's A God in Ruins. So of course I had to read it. Oh. My. God. Best book in about a year. Best since The Memory Police. I cannot stop thinking of this book and it's been about a month already. So glad I sat with him that night! Next up was a book I started at least twice over the years. I got it on Audible and finally finished it. All the crows around here, I felt I

Russian results

 So how about this? 3/3 on the Russian reading and listening DLPT. (Only took 34 years.) And, a 2+ again on the OPI.  And no, I'm not going to sit for the upper level DLPT, thank you very much!


 This year's testing is complete, and I've got great news. For the first time since I started taking DLPT s 30+ years ago, I finally got a 3/3 in Russian.  For the uninitiated among my dear reader(s), that's a great score. That's the max you can score on the lower range DLPT. Yes, I can sit for the upper range test, but holy hell, I think I barely made the 3/3 this time. Not sure I wanna try for a 3+. Honestly don't think I am a 3+. So, listening and reading tests done for a year. I did the OPI on Tuesday, but of course those take a bit of time before the results come through. Last time I got a 2+, which was miraculous. This time I think I'm a solid 2 but possibly a 2+. She was pushing me with multiple topics, and that's normally a sign they're trying to get you to the next level. My God, I hope she wasn't trying to get me to a 2!  I guess all the studying and the one-on-one with Marina worked. I'll hold off on the celebration till I get the OPI

A Distant Mirror, and more

 I finished Barbara Tuchman's classic A Distant Mirror a few days ago. Great book, especially if you are interested in the so called Dark Ages. I applaud her on telling the history through one normal joe,  de Coucy . Lots of pages on the Black Death and supposed chivalric valor. Good read.  I dumped the Russian HP4. Not enough time left before my DLPT and OPI, and I need to concentrate on Russian that I'll be tested on, therefore, lots of news articles. The big ones now are on changes Biden is proposing with respect to Russian-US relations; changes proposed to the Russian retirement system (дедушкам и бабушкам надо дольше работать!); and some other subjects I can't remember right now. One more class left this coming Friday night, then the speaking test on Tuesday, listening on Thursday and reading on Saturday.  Then I'll start an Esperanto book that my daughter sent me: Bogomolov's La Momento de Vero . Another in my favorite sub-genre of books by Esperantists about


 Doing another Russian class with a Defense Language Institute (DLI) instructor like I did last March/April time-frame. I tried to get six weeks, twice weekly for two hours, but all they had available was six classes of two hours each. Gonna take what I can get. I think I've been trained to be anxious before these classes due to the year of the Russian Basic Course at DLI way back in 1986. The teachers then, oh boy, God help you if you didn't do all your homework. I had one break into English once and tell me she was going to "fucking smack" me if I kept pronouncing в комнате as /v ə kom-na-t ə/. So now I don't sleep well the night prior, for fear of disappointing my instructor, who couldn't be nicer of course. I study and read, and study and listen, till I'm tired of the language, then have a great time during the two-hour block. Ugh. Besides the things I'm doing for class, I'm also listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Russian while

New year

 New year, new goal? Maybe. Who knows. Goal again this year is 70 books. Secretly hoping for 80, but we'll see when I get back home. Currently I'm reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (HP4). I'm reading it in prep to L-R it in Russian. I'm starting a Russian class this Friday night. Two hours, six times in January. Then my tests in the beginning of February. Hoping to maintain my 2+/2+ and at least a 2 in speaking.  I'm also "reading" (by Audible) Tuchman's A Distant Mirror about the 14th c., one of my favorite historical time periods. It's very long (29+ hours) but engrossing, as she traces history through the life of one "normal" man (thus, not royalty or a woman, as she explains if there is enough written about a woman in the Middle Ages then she was extraordinary, and not "normal"). Review later (16 hours left). Coptic continues this week after a two-week holiday break. We're in chapter 8 still, two sets of exe