Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekly Update 1/25/15: Plenty of Sunshine

Good morning from Florida! We've been here two weeks and, after a few minor complications, are finally settling into a routine.

You know you're not in central New York when a strange car odor is diagnosed as a 'palm rat' nest in the air blower. Two hundred dollars and an entire day in the garage later, the technician suggested placing moth balls strategically under the hood. Our car sat idle for ten days before we arrived, but evidently this is not an unusual occurrence!

The underground cable line was severed (hopefully not from the above-mentioned palm rat) and dealing with the company was a nightmare. I'll never complain about Time-Warner again. After countless phone calls, new cable was laid and, eventually, a crew even came back to bury it.

Our internet service was finally set up mid-week and now I'm eagerly anticipating delivery of a new washing machine. I won't go into how spectacularly the old one failed.

All that waiting around without cable or internet meant plenty of reading time and I finished several books:



Euphoria by Lily King (audio)
Most readers love this, but it didn't do much for me.



            
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This could be the first post-apocalyptic novel I've ever enjoyed.




West of Sunset by Stewart O'Nan
A favorite author, but not a favorite book




Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
I really liked this read/listen combination. The readalong added to my enjoyment.  #CarrieAlong


What am I reading now?


The Warden by Anthony Trollope
This is actually a reread. I plan to read all the Barsetshire novels this year to mark Trollope's Bicentenary.

Today's plan//
A walk on the beach, another cup of coffee, and some blog reading is on tap this morning. My FIL will be here later for a Chicken Piccata dinner and then it will be time for Downton Abbey! What do you think of the season so far?

The week ahead//
I should be able to get back to blogging as usual this week and look forward to catching up with everyone.

What are you up to today?

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








73 comments:

  1. I have Station Eleven on my list of books to read, because I think almost everyone...wait, now everyone that you have too :)...is talking about it.

    Just wondering and I might not be the first one to mention this, since you've moved to Florida, are you changing the name of your blog to Seaside Musing? Or are you one of the lakes there in Florida? :)

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    1. Bryan - I'm just here in Florida for the winter, but have been thinking about adding something like "...goes gulfside" on the header photo. Guess I'd need a new photo, too ;-)

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  2. Glad you've settled in! And now hopefully you can just enjoy for the next several weeks. I'm taking the girls to FLL in a few weeks to visit my dad and s-mom so we'll be sure to wave across the state at you. ;) So glad to hear that Station Eleven was a win for you! I really want to read it but I'm afraid that the hype is so great! And more Sister Carrie reading for me today. I'm wondering if I'll ever finish the book. ;)

    Enjoy the sun!

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    1. Trish - Sister Carrie is long but, after An American Tragedy, I thought Dreiser was pretty concise here. As for Station Eleven, I really liked that it pulled me out of my comfort zone.

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  3. Sounds like you had a fun few days! Hopefully all the fires have been put out and you can relax for a bit. The part about the palm rat made me laugh. My grandparents live out in the country and it worked out best to turn the cars on at least once a day. I was driving a car that had been sitting for a few days and a mouse ran across my foot. I'm still a bit scared and that was 16 years ago! You're always bringing new classics for me to put on my TBR. Sister Carrie is one I wasn't aware of but now am curious about. Have a great week!

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    1. Katherine - I'm still not really sure if it was a palm rat nest in the blower or just mice, but it creeped me out either way. Hope I never see either one of them!

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  4. I'm doing a happy chair dance that you liked Station Eleven!!! And palm rats sound terrifying.

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    1. Andi - Station Eleven is a definite win!

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  5. How I wish we were in Florida now. Enjoy, enjoy. Your mailbox looks good too. Reading at the beach?

    Harvee
    Book Dilettante

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    1. Harvee - Thanks. The locals think it's a little cool here, but I love it!

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  6. Sorry to hear things have not been going smoothly to say the least. I hope you have a better week this week. Very pretty photo of the beach. I just ordered season 1 of Downton Abby on Netflix. I have a lot of catching up to do.

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    1. Pat - I think we have everything under control now, but it will take days to catch up with the laundry after the washer arrives! Enjoy Downton!

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  7. It's nice to hear that you're finally able to relax and enjoy your time in Florida. Station Eleven and Euphoria are books I'm going to get to one day. :-) A walk on the beach sounds so relaxing! Maybe I'll do that today.

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    1. Vasilly - I think most things are dealt with now... looking forward to just "being" for a while :)

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  8. I do love those beach shots! We are having lots of sunshine too - almost too hot some days.
    I didn't like Sister Carrie at all :-(........it's a DNF for me sadly.
    Have a great week!

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    1. Cat - Sorry to hear Sister Carrie didn't work for you. I really liked it, but thought an American Tragedy was even better.

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  9. Oh, that lovely picture! Deep in winter here, though snow is melting. Bitingly cold! Oh for summer....

    I'm nearly finished Sister Carrie and very glad I joined!

    Hope you love The Warden, it's one of my favourites :)

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    1. O - So glad you're enjoying Sister Carrie. Im still only a couple of chapters into The Warden, but liking it so far.

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  10. What adventures you've had so far, JoAnn! LOL

    Never heard of palm rats, but ick! Here in the country, we have all kinds of kritters, more than I would ever want to see or know about. We've had mice in the attic and that made me have nightmares.

    Hope this week will be peaceful and tranquil and free of distressing things like no internet or washing machine. I've liked this season of Downton Abbey pretty well. It was funny to see that "Granny has a past". :-)

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    1. Kay - It has been interesting, lol. I have no idea what is living in the brush and trees around us... and hope I never find out!

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  11. Sunshine? That's all right for some. I'm hoping that our mega-blizzard materializes as promised, and I have a snow day! (PS Laughing about the palm rats, but I'm sure I wouldn't be if I were the victim of one.)

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    1. Audrey - It's looking like your big blizzard is a sure thing now... stay warm and enjoy your snow day!

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  12. I lived in Ft Myers 15 years and never heard of palm rats. Must be a rural thing? The new season of Downton has not reached us yet in Australia so don't say too much. I love my Downton. I notice it is to start but on a commercial station so may wait and buy the series. Hate commercials. Station 11 has been mentioned so many times by bloggers. It must be good. I don't like so much hype around books though. Trollope sounds good. Happy reading

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    1. Pam - Not sure if those palm rats are a rural or island thing, but it has creeped me out either way! I like to borrow books that are hyped from the library. That way I don't feel as bad if they don't live up to it. I'm enjoying Trollope so far.

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  13. I'm with Audrey for wishes of a snow day but that might not materialize here in DC so I'm still envying your weather and beach. But not your unusual repair issues.

    Did not realize that this was the Trollope Bicentenary! Love Trollope. You have tempted me to make a reading plan of my own.

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    1. Frances - It seems like things break down more easily with all the heat and humidity down here, lol. Can't wait to hear about your Trollope plans!

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  14. Nothing better than no internet to get a lot of reading done! I wish I was in Florida too - I would like to get out of all these jackets as soon as I can! After one good snowfall, that is, which I hope happens sooner than later.

    I need to read Station Eleven soon - been hearing a lot about it!

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    1. Athira - I was happy with all the reading, but felt so cut off from the world without internet. If I could only find a happy medium...
      Have a great week!

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  15. Right, well our services down here aren't the best. I have a serious love/hate relationship with our Internet and cable provider. If we had any other viable choices I'd switch. The weather, aside from that bit of rain, has been wonderful, and perfect for walks. You rocked on the books this week. Maybe it would serve me well if I could be without car or Internet!

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    1. Sandy - The locals think it's a little cool down here, but it sure feels like heaven to me. BTW, I don't recommend the no car/no internet approach to increasing your reading ;-)

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  16. I'm hoping to read The Warden this year and maybe another one of his books. I have never read any Trollope! I must remedy that pronto.

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    1. Heidi - Most people say The Warden isn't Trollope's best, but I have to read my series in order. Looking forward to spending time with Mr. T this year.

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  17. Station Eleven has me very intrigued and I don't really read fantasy / scifi etc.

    Deb

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    1. Deb - I'm not a fantasy/scifi reader at all, so was pleasantly surprised by Station Eleven.

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  18. It sounds hectic, but I still envy you your warm weather! I have been watching Downton, and enjoying it, but it doesn't seem to inspire as much love as the first couple seasons did. I think I still miss Matthew.

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    1. Carrie - We still miss Matthew here, too. :-(

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  19. YAY for Station Eleven and palm rat? *shudder* :)

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    1. Sheila - Hope I never actually see one - yuck!

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  20. Oh, I hope you're loving Florida! It sounds like the place to be right now - I'm in Ohio and it's snowing like crazy outside. A palm rat sounds freaky, ick!

    Hope you have a great week reading.

    Brooke at http://www.brookeblogs.com

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    1. Brooke - I'm am SO happy to be in Florida right now... especially with the big blizzard approaching the northeast! Hope you have a great week, too.

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  21. I had good intentions of joining in the Trollope readalong this year, but too many other books have got in the way already.

    Florida sounds like a lovely place to be this time of year (now that you've disaster proofed it so spectacularly!)

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    1. Brona - Too many great books out there... what is a reader to do? Choosing what to read is getting harder and harder.

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  22. I don't think I've read a bad review of Station Eleven yet. I need to read it! As for palm rat....eeek!

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    1. Emma - Station Eleven seems to appeal to just about every type of reader!

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  23. I envy you the warm weather and sunshine...and even the palm rat (maybe not so much). They are predicting a "historic" blizzard for today here in NYC--2 to 3 feet is on its way. I see more reading in my future.

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    1. Catherine - I talked to my daughter last night and she said there was a line out the door and down the street to get into Trader Joe's in Chelsea yesterday. Wonder if they have anything left to sell today. Stay safe!

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  24. I haven't heard anything bad about Station Eleven! I think it's going to be the next book I buy. Happy reading!

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    1. B Marie Books - I haven't read a bad review of Station Eleven either. Hope you like it, too!

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  25. Except for the palm rat, it sounds as though you are having a lovely time. Enjoy your books...I am curious about Station Eleven, and had almost decided not to give it a go, since post-apocalyptic books and I have a "meh" relationship...but if you loved it, maybe it could use another look.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Station Eleven is so far outside my normal reading realm! If I liked it, I'm pretty sure anyone would. It really defies genre classification.

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  26. I had a rat issue with my car as well but the sucker showed himself while I was driving on the freeway, at top speed. It was not pretty to see him fly off the hood. $400 later...oxygen sensor chewed off.

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    1. Ti - Now THAT sounds really scary... and expensive!

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  27. Enjoy sunny Florida! We're about to get buried in NY! And - glad to hear I'm not the only one who wasn't a fan of West of Sunset. It had such promise, but was just flat. That was my first O'nan...wouldn't mind giving him another shot. What's your favorite book of his?

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    1. Sarah - Stay safe up there! My daughter said there was a line of people waiting outside to get into the Trader Joe's in Chelsea yesterday.

      Last Night at the Lobster was excellent - a good place to start with O'Nan. It is very short and shows all his strengths... beautiful writing, a real understanding of ordinary people, their lives, and emotions. I also loved Emily, Alone, but that one is even better if you read Wish You Were Here first.

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  28. I think I will add Station Eleven to my February reading plans, it is outside what I would normally read too but so many good endorsements of it. All the best in Florida!

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    1. Linsday - Station Eleven was a big surprise for me. It's given me courage to read outside my comfort zone more often.

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  29. Sorry to hear about all those annoyances, but glad things are looking up! I liked Station Eleven too. I keep thinking about it. I really liked the sense of hope. I plan on reading some Trollope this year. I've never read any! Enjoy all that sunshine in FL :)

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    1. Terri - Thankfully, those annoyances have sorted themselves out. It may take me a while to catch up with the laundry, but so what... I'm thrilled to be here! We'll have to compare notes on Trollope.

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  30. WOW -- sounds like a rocky FL start JoAnn -- but happy you are missing the snow and enjoying good books. Enjoy the week and think of me with 2 feet of snow, which has started.

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    1. Diane - So happy we're missing this latest winter blow. Hope you are safe and warm.

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  31. You've had a wild ride settling in, but hope it's calmer now. I have Euphoria in audio too, unsure when I'll listen to it. Station Eleven is so not my usual fare, but I've got it and will read it eventually.

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    1. Anita - It's hard to let these little annoyances get me down when it is so beautiful here.

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  32. Sounds like you have traded snow for hiccups in getting set up - hope it settles down and you can enjoy the nice weather. That picture at the top of your post is beautiful - such blue sky! I saw the new Stewart O'Nan book and wondered what you thought - I know he is a favorite author of yours.

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    1. Colleen - One more hiccup today. Due to the positioning of our plumbing, the new washer doesn't fit.... they'll deliver another model next week. I'd only recommend the new O'Nan for true devotees than want to read all of his work.

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  33. I've been enjoying your vacation photos on Instagram so much. It makes me long for some sunshine, of course!

    I'd really like to get to Station Eleven. I'd also really like 5 more hours per day, lol.

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    1. Jennifer - I know! So many books,...

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  34. I hope you are still in Florida and missed all the bad snowy weather that hit the east coast!

    I really liked Station Eleven as well!

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  35. Erin - I am! Not sorry to miss that storm at all :)

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  36. Yay for Station Eleven, and Trollope, and Driesler!!! You've had some great vacation reads so far!

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    1. Melissa - 2015 is off to a great start!

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  37. All of that but at least no snow!

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  38. I can't find your review of Station Eleven. :(

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    1. Care - You know, I never even posted it :( My initial positive reaction started to fade, but I still don't know why. In the draft I talked about how it kind of defied classification ... post apocalyptic elements, reads like literary fiction, etc... and how it pulled me slightly out of my comfort zone. I would like to try something else by this author, yet it's strange that I don't find myself recommending Station Eleven.

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