Sunday, October 5, 2014

Weekly Update: October 5, 2014


Good morning, friends! I'm sitting here on a chilly morning (36 degrees now) with a mug of black coffee reflecting on the pleasure of reading a really good book. On my way home Friday, I stopped at the library to pick up a copy of Florence Gordon by Brian Morton. The novel was just released a couple of weeks ago and, from my perspective, has flown totally under the radar. Had anyone mentioned it prior to Shannon's review? Maybe I missed it, but her thoughts had me clicking over to my library's website to request a copy. It was still on the new books display, but I was quick enough to be first on the hold list.

I opened the book Friday evening and was in love after  the first page - which also happens to be the first chapter.
Florence Gordon was trying to write a memoir, but she had two strikes against her: she was old and she was an intellectual. And who on earth, she sometimes wondered, would want to read a book about an old intellectual? 
Maybe it was three strikes, because not only was she an intellectual, she was a feminist. Which meant that if she ever managed to finish this book, reviewers would inevitably dismiss it as "strident" and "shrill." 
If you're an old feminist, anything you say, by definition, is strident and shrill.
She closed her laptop.
Not much point, she thought.
But then she opened it up again.
I'd planned on setting it aside to watch the Syracuse University football game, but that didn't happen. The game turned out to be a disaster anyway. I'd planned on writing a cookbook review Saturday morning for Weekend Cooking, but that didn't happen either. Neither did my walk, the planting of a few more mums, or making butternut squash soup. Instead I move from sofa to chair, with coffee and then tea, until I'd read the entire book. A five star read with echoes of Olive Kitteridge .... it  was a perfect, rainy fall day.


I also finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. It got a little iffy in the middle (too much like real life, perhaps?), but I ended up liking it a lot.

Listening//

Just under two hours left in The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. I'm finding this to be very inspiring and have added several books to my reading list.

On the blog//
Review - The Haunting of Hill House  by Shirley Jackson
Tuesday Intro - The End of Your Life Book Club  by Will Schwalbe

Up next//

I'll be starting Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury today. Way outside my comfort zone, but how can you pass up a readalong hosted by Ti and Sandy? Click on the button in my sidebar for details.

Watching//
Season 2 of The Paradise on Masterpiece. I missed the first episode last week, but will watch it this afternoon and be ready for episode two tonight.

Later today//
Sadly, only four months a year are guaranteed snow-free around here: June, July, August, and September. It's October, so it's time to winterize. We'll start the process today... the boat goes into storage and the docks will come out. This evening we are having dinner with my parents and sisters.

What are your plans for today?

This post will link to It's Monday, What Are You Reading?  hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.


65 comments:

  1. I'm on the library hold list for Florence Gordon--just waiting to make it to the top! The passage you quote would definitely make me want to keep reading!

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    1. Bookmammalmusings - I hope your wait isn't too long. It's an excellent book.

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  2. I learned about Florence Gordon from skimming through Goodreads last week and put it on my wishlist. Glad to hear that it is an awesome read! Have fun with your fall activities-- I would love to make butternut squash, watch football and plant mums!

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    1. Rita - Usually I hear about new books from several places, but somehow missed any mention of Florence Gordon... so glad to have read it! Now that I've finished the book, I can get to those other fall activities ;-)

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  3. This is the first I've heard about Florence Gordon, and as soon as I finish typing this, I am off to the library website. Happy Sunday! I hope it's the start of a great week, with no snow ;)

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    1. Lisa - Funny how this book isn't coming at us from every angle... it's really wonderful! Hope your library has a copy.

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  4. I love it when a book pulls you in right away. It is the best feeling!

    So far, I am really liking Wicked. Makes me want to read more Bradbury.

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    1. Ti - It's been too long since that's happened, so it made this book even more of a treat. First chapter of Wicked is read - sofa, so good!

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  5. Florence Gordon sounds pretty good! I may add it to my holds list, though first I need to read what I already have checked out! Today I plan on decluttering and getting out of the house to run some errands. Happy Sunday!

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    1. Vasilly - I'm just starting to get my library books under control again. Now if I can only get to all those books on my kindle thatI've picked up through daily deals...

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  6. I can't believe it's already so cold there! Today was the first day we went down into the lower sixties and it really feels like Fall.

    I hope more people will pick up Florence Gordon after seeing that you've read it (and so quickly!). It's such a great story and it really does seem to be flying under the radar a bit.

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    1. Shannon - Those temps are a little cool, but not all that unusual for our area. We managed to get up to 50 this afternoon!

      Florence Gordon somehow captured me from the first page and I was glad to be able to let everything else slide for 24 hours. Can't remember the last time a book made me want to do that. Thanks again for your excellent review!

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  7. I will have to look for Florence Gordon and Big Little Lies!

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    1. Harvee - They are two VERY different books, but I enjoyed them both. Hope you get a chance to read them.

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  8. 36 degrees- you might be colder than us! We've had 40's this weekend... feels like fall now! Have a great weekend and dinner!

    I love the header with the fall color BTW.

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    1. Greg - It feels like we've turned into late fall here. The leaves are just about at peak color (so beautiful) and the growing season is over. I'm sure the first snow flurries are just a couple of weeks away. Glad you like the header photo!

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  9. I am old...and a feminist...Don't know about the intellectual part, but I am already loving the sound of Florence Gordon. Thanks!

    And thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Florence Gordon is a wonderful character study. I really think you would like it!

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  10. Love that you loved from chair to sofa, from coffee to tea, and finished your book. A great success of a day, in my opinion. I tired of End of Your Life Book Club halfway through, perhaps because the sorrow of the immenient loss of one's mother became too much. How lovely that they could read together, though, and hold such marvelous discussions. I loved Something a Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury captures autumn, and more particularly the life of a boy, so spectacularly, his writing reminds me if Robert McGammon's Boy's Life, such a marvelous book. I'm reading The adventures of Huckleberry Fnn for a book club, and finding similar charms. It all reminds me of growing up with my rough and tumble brother.

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    1. McCammon's Boy's Life is wonderful!! Read it many years ago and would love to revisit that story.

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    2. I haven't read Bradbury since high school, and never this particular title. The first four or five chapters have captured my attention... very atmospheric! Will have to give Boy's Life a try sometime, too.

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  11. Well I guess Florence Gordon will be going on my get it now list asap!!! I wanted to get some more mums planted too, hopefully this week!

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    1. Nise' - Florence Gordon is quite a character... I enjoyed her even though I didn't really like her.

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  12. Florence Gorden flew well under my radar until I read your review on Goodreads. (At least I think that's where I first saw it mentioned!) I don't even think I've seen it at work (B&N), which is odd. I'll look tomorrow and if we don't have any copies, I'll order some in! And how fun to spend the entire day reading one book. I so rarely do that and need to carve out a weekend to nothing but read. Wait! Isn't there a challenge devoted to that? :)

    I'm glad you're enjoying The End of Your Life Book Club. I'm interested to see which books you've added to your reading list.

    I have Something Wicked This Way Comes on my Nano and may have to give it a listen as soon as I finish Goldfinch (AKA the longest audio book ever!).

    Bellezza mentioned Robert McCammon's Boy's Life... I read it many years ago and agree. It's a wonderful novel! Time for a re-read, I think!

    Yep, it's time to winterize around here, too, although we might be in the upper 70s by the end of the week. Mother Nature is always so fickle in October! Have a great week, JoAnn!

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    1. Les - I'm planning to check out Morton's other books now. Really enjoyed his writing style. I don't even remember the last time I devoted a day to reading like that, but it was wonderful!

      The Goldfinch will definitely be a read/listen combo for me, but I know it will take me forever and seem to be procrastinating.

      I remember talking about Boy's Life as a possible book club selection last year. It didn't get chosen, but I've been curious about it ever since. A thumbs up from both you and Bellezza means I'll need to take action.

      It's been so windy here today, several of the trees in my yard are bare now. Time to ramp up my efforts in working out a way to spend a couple of months in Florida this winter!!

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  13. I've seen mention of Florence Gordon but know nothing about it. I love when a book completely sucks you in like that. It happens so rarely but it's so amazing when it happens. Only 4 months guaranteed snow free?? I'm not sure I could handle that! We had temperatures in the 60s this weekend and I was pretty sure I was going to freeze to death. I have been informed that I am a complete and total wimp! Have a great week!

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    1. Katherine - LOL! We break out the shorts when spring temperatures hit 60! I never minded winter until a few years ago, but I hate being indoors all winter. My FIL gave us his FL cons when he moved to a senior community, so we're working out a plan to spend a couple of months there this winter. Fingers crossed!

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  14. Very rarely does that happen to me, where I sit down and finish an entire book that quickly! I do hope you end up liking Big Little Lies. I honestly felt like it could have been written about the school where my kids went K-8. Moriarty nails it, that is for sure. My book club is reading it this month, but most of the members have babies, so we will see what they think!

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    1. Sandy - I don't even remember the last time I just sat down and read a book for an entire day. It was heaven!! I ended up really liking Big Little Lies. She definitely nailed the parental shenanigans...and I really liked a couple of the twists, too. Will give The Husband's Secret a shot at some point.

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  15. I MUST try Florence Gordon. I think I've read something by Brian Morton before -- need to check that out. Have a good week.

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    1. Diane - I'm going to look for Morton's older books now!

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  16. Wow! A book that grips you like that ... I must read. What a fantastic day!

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    1. BethF - It's been ages since I let myself have a whole day to enjoy a book like that... bliss!

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  17. After your description, I am adding Florence Gordon to my To Read list. Good Luck getting ready for the winter, which does come a little earlier to your neck of the woods. 36 degrees is freezing for me. It is starting to get chilly here (VA.) - around 60 degrees in the mornings and evenings, but is warmer during the day.

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    1. Pat - If you enjoy a good character study, Florence Gordon is definitely a winner. I loved it! I know we'll have a few more warmer days ahead, but it feels like we've made the turn into late autumn. Winters are far too long up here!

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  18. I watched The Paradise on Netflix a few weeks ago ... Enjoy!. I loved Big Little lies :)

    Shelleyrae @ Bookd Out

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    1. Shelleyrae - Big Little Lies was surprisingly real... I could definitely see something like happening around here!

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  19. The Florence Gordon book sounds great. I hate when it's time to winterize. I'm not a big fan of winter.

    Hope you have a great week!

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    1. Yvonne - I love winter and snow around the holidays, but after that I start getting anxious for spring. Enjoy your week!

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  20. I've heard really good things about Big Little Lies. Must get hold of it.

    Deb

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    1. Deb - Big Little Lies could be subtitles Kindergarten Moms Behaving Badly! I enjoy it a lot.

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  21. Don't you just love when a book just demands to be read like that? :) I will have to look for that book! And butternut squash soup sounds amazing. :)

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    1. Quixotic Magpie - That was such a great reading experience... and it was fine that everything else had to wait.

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  22. Love Bradbury! New Twitter & Pinterest follower I am today! :-)

    Guy Vestal @ Counter Culture Critic - My Monday

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    1. Guy - Haven't read Bradbury since high school... this is going to be fun! Just followed you on twitter, too.

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  23. OK - now I definitely have to read Florence Gordon. I had it on my radar, but couldn't get an ARC from NetGalley and sort of forgot about it. Then, I read Shannon's review and it was one of my favorite book reviews of the year...and made me absolutely want to read the book. Not to mention the appeal of an under 300 pager after Edge of Eternity! So, I'm going to try to get to it soon! Big Little Lies wasn't for me...but I think Moriarty and I just aren't meant to be in general.

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    1. Sarah - I haven't been paying close attention to NetGalley, but I totally missed seeing it there. Florence Gordon would be a perfect contrast to the Follett - small cast of characters, one location, mostly a character study. Hope you like it!

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  24. Your reading weekend sounds delicious even without the pumpkin soup! I'm jealous.

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    1. Heidi - Yes, it certainly was. I really need to do that more often because I can't even remember the lat time I had a weekend like that!

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  25. Big Little Lies is one that I'm interested in checking out some day.
    Check out my Monday Post

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    1. Lisa - Big Little Lies is long, but it will definitely keep you turning the pages.

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  26. Sold! Off to add Florence Gordon to my wishlist. Thank you for the recommendation, JoAnn.

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    1. Deb - Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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  27. That is a great first page! I will have to check out Florence Gordon. A whole day to read sounds wonderful. I hope you find some more of them this week. :)

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    1. Lindsey - I'd love a few more days (and books) like that! Hope you have a good week, too.

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  28. Winterizing already....It is getting cooler around here, too! Love the fall photo at the top of your blog.

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    1. Kim - Thanks! Fall comes early here and, unfortunately, winter too.

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  29. I will have to look for that book - I don't think I've heard of it but then I've been completely away from books and blogs for a while. It's getting very cold here too though it won't snow for a good few months.

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    1. Athira - I'm surprised I missed hearing about Florence Gordon... so glad I saw Shannon's review!

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  30. Oh my...I must get my hands on a copy of Florence Gordon. It's hard to believe a man wrote those opening paragraphs. I really like the other books you've featured this week too.

    Here's hoping there's a mild winter in store . . .and thanks for visiting my Sunday/Monday post.

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    1. Catherine - I loved that opening passage! The second page is just as good... hope you get a chance to read Florence Gordon!

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  31. What a great recommendation for Florence Gordon. I'm off to check my library. I hope I'm as lucky as you were.

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  32. That opening to Florence Gordon sounds really good. I may have to see if our library has it.

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    1. Carol - The rest of it is just as good as the opening!

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