Yooper Scooping and It’s Monday! What are you/am I reading?

Dear Reader:

It’s an unseasonably warm, sunny and blustery winter day up here on the shores of Lake Superior.  Still far below normal lake effect snow levels for us – seems to be striking fear or glee in the hearts of all our long-term local citizenry.  In 17 years, this is the mildest winter I’ve seen with the least amount of snow.

Hey, I’ll take it – you can ski (but it’s not great conditions) or snowshoe if you want – but you can also just hike around in the snow with your dogs in your boots (giving your thighs a bit of a workout) and I love it.  I’ve saved many, many hours of scooping snow this winter.  What’s a snow or yooper scoop you ask?

Funny you should ask.

The Upper and Lower Michigan Peninsulas and Wisconsin.

The Keweenaw Peninsula is in red (source: Exploring the North).

There’s an old Yooper (as in Upper Peninsula of Michigan – U.P.) joke that goes like this:  After scooping another 50 inches of snow out of her driveway, “Ruby” got tired of living in “da U.P.” and scooping 250 inches of snow a year and she strapped her Yooper Scoop to the top of her pickup truck cab and drove south.  Around about Land o Lakes, Wisconsin, she stopped at a gas station and the driver of the car next to Ruby’s said “Hey, what’s that thing tied to the top of your cab?:  And that’s how Ruby knew she’d found her new home.

If you’d like to see what a scoop or yooper scoop is visit this website: Silver Bear Scoop Manufacturing.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Book Journey is hosting “It’s Monday! What are you reading?”

Book bloggers around the WWW chime in by writing a post about what they are reading and linking on Book Journey’s website.

Seemed like fun!

So, what are you reading?  We would love to hear….

What am I reading?

#151) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (hard copy)

I’m about to start Chapter Six, so not far into this one.  So far, Mr. Jarvis Lorry (a manager at Tellson’s Bank) and Mademoiselle Manette have made their way to France to see a man buried for 18 years…  This is a tale of mystery and revolution set in 1775 although Dickens was writing it in the mid-19th Century.  People seem to either love or hate this book relative to other Dickens and, so far, it seems pretty different from other books in his oeuvre.

#137) Anthony Trollope by Victoria Glendinnning (hard copy)

I’m about three fifths of the way (just 200 pages to go!) through this WONDERFUL biography of Trollope.  Glendinning brings Trollope and his family and friends alive with this chronicling of his life.  She must love Trollope because it is clear that she has read every one of his books at least once, as well as all his letters and other secondary sources by other authors.  She weaves together marvelous anecdotes from his life and letters with historical facts and context with bits and pieces from his books – identifying patterns in, for instance, his beliefs about work and women that can be seen from his novels (all 47 of them!) and letters.  I can’t imagine a better biography of anyone, much less Trollope, what a labor of love!

#152) Heat Lightning by Helen R. Hull (library, hard copy)

Once again, Rachel at Book Snob has turned me onto a new author (to me): Helen R. Hull.  Rachel mentioned reading Heat Lightning (and eating lots of chocolates – this was one of her Christmas posts) so I interlibrary loaned the book.  Helen R. Hull is a native Michigander from Albion, Michigan (for us up here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan – Albion is in the Southern Lower Peninsula about ten hours drive from me – see above map).  I’m just a chapter or two into this book about the Westover clan (I’m focused on finishing Anthony Trollope) – so far, I like it a lot.

#153) George Eliot by Kathryn Hughes (hard copy, library)

This George Eliot biography by Kathryn Hughes was published in 1998 – I wanted a fairly recent biography by a woman so I interlibrary loaned this one.  So far, I’m just a little ways in – trying to finish the Trollope before I dive in headlong.  I plan to start Middlemarch soon and I will use this biography for context.

Lovely bookmark, no?  A gift from my beloved Aunt Arline.

More detail at the bottom.

More detail at the top.

This bookmark is in my favorite colors (pinks) with a flower and a bee – years past, I was a hard-core gardener and I still love flowers, especially in art and decoration.  I love this gift – I don’t think it was super-expensive, but it is one of my favorite gifts – just goes to show that, at least for adults, thoughtfulness trumps cost.

500 Great Books by Women: A Reader’s Guide by Erica Bauermeister, Jesse Larsen, and Holly Smith (hard copy, 1994)

I’m not technically “reading” this, but I thought I’d feature it here as I do use it as a reference book.  These Seattlelites got together to merge their favorite authors (and expand on them) and descriptions of their best books into one place.  Almost all the authors just have one book featured.   The books and authors are indexed by author, date, genre, region and country.  They also index authors of color.  Book descriptions are collected together into sections like: Art, Work, Violence and Ways of Knowing.

It’s a great reference, especially if you particularly enjoy books by female authors.  And that bookmark is for a great regional “remainders” bookstore Chapter Two  sister store to Snowbound Books an excellent regional purveyor of new and used books, including a terrific fiction, local interest, and children’s section, in Marquette, Michigan.

That’s it for now – we’d love to hear what you’re reading!

Happy reading, Ruby



  1. So glad you are reading Helen Hull and managed to find a copy of Heat Lightning! I have that exact edition and if I get myself moving I’ll have my review up tonight!

    • Hi Rachel: Thanks for reading and commenting! That edition of Heat Lightning was published the same year as Greenbanks… interesting comparison, no? I look forward to your review, Ruby

  2. First, I love that book mark – that would keep me motivated to keep reading! I’ve read Glendenning’s books on Vita S-W and Leonard Woolf (yes, I have a thing for that Bloomsbury group!), and so can well imagine that the Trollope is a good read as well. Thank you, too, for the suggestion for the book about books by women writers.

    • Hi Tara: Thanks for reading and commenting. Sounds like a couple more interesting biographies to add to my list. I first read Glendinning when I read her biography of Elizabeth Bowen – excellent! Thanks for dropping by, Ruby

  3. chris

    I envy everyone their reading lists. I’m currently going through a stack of …i have to say it… less “fun” reading. Background for a chapter on ‘important’ but not necessarily entertaining topic. Sigh. Once this monkey is off my back I look forward to reading something that is absolutely enjoyable! Which is why I get so wistful following ALL the terrific books you’re setting out here. I may not have the ability to read many of them in the near future but it is so nice to be able to live vicariously through someone else’s good books.

    • Hi Christy: Thanks – maybe getting your chapter done will not only give you a sense of accomplishment, but also a great savoring of future fun reading…. Happy Writing, Ruby

  4. Tale of Two Cities was my favorite, but I did all my Dickens reading in high school, so I don’t know if that says much.

    Beautiful bookmark!

    • Hi Joy: Thanks for writing! Lucky you getting to read Dickens in high school – we were reading Lord of the Flies, which still gives me a horror of 12 year old boys… Ruby

  5. leorahle

    Hi Ruby,
    The new year is here and my reading continues on in many directions. I am currently immersed in the second book of R.R Martin’s Game of Thrones series. I am a sucker for magical realism and fantasy! If you enjoyed Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time Series, David Eddings’ Belgariad Series, Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality Series, or Tolkien’s Ring Series, this series does not disappoint.

    Gearing up for my class in February I have Nervous Conditions, The Wide Sargasso Sea, To the Lighthouse, Excellent Women, and A Katherine Mansfield collection of short stories to devour.

    So many books; so little time!
    May the word be with you,

    • Hi Leorah: Thanks for stopping by! Sorry it has taken me awhile to respond. Boy, that sounds like an excellent group of books you are reading – I really liked Excellent Women. I have not yet read Mansfield (or much Woolf) but both are on my mental list. I loved Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit and everyone is talking about Game of Thrones – sounds like I need to add it to my list, thanks! Ruby

  6. Gorgeous bookmark, and I’m impressed by your reading list. You’re tackling some classics that I, as an English major, should have read but never did. I bet they still hold up, too!

    • Hi Audrey: Thanks for stopping by. I have certain classic authors I want to read and I’m enjoying them more than I did when I HAD to read such things, happy reading, Ruby

  7. Such a pretty bookmark. Have a great reading week.

  8. That’s a beautiful bookmark, I love it!!! I agree that a thoughtful gift is always the better way to go.

    I’m definitely in the camp that loves A Tale of Two Cities but not other Dickens. I’ve read a handful of his works and ATOTC is the only thing I enjoy. I should reread it soon!

    • Hi Crystal: Having finished Tale, I can say I liked it – it was interesting, with likeable characters. I don’t think it moved Dickens to the top of my list, but I did enjoy it, thanks, Ruby

  9. That is a great selection. And I wish we had a real winter here, winters inspire me to read.

    • Hi Kinga: Yes, there is something about hiding out from 15 degree (F) temps with a comfie chair and a lap blanket and some hot tea and reading that is just so lovely! Happy Reading, Ruby


  1. The List « A Year of Actually Reading My Own Books

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