Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sanibel Sunday: Goodbye, January


Hard to believe January is over. We started the month in snowy central NY and are ending it on a saturated Sanibel Island. Another unusually rainy week, which included a 48-hour nonstop soaking, brought the monthly total to 12.98 inches. For comparison, a 'normal' January means just under 2 inches of rain. As a result, our walkway to the beach flooded, as did several roads, parking lots, yards, and driveways. Still, no complaints - this is much better than snow.

Friday brought clear skies, at last, and a beautiful sunrise - a perk of early morning dog walks. Later we visited Manatee Park, a warm water refuge for the Florida manatee when the gulf temperature is below 68F. There were literally hundreds of them hanging around! It's hard to tell, but each one of those gray blobs is a manatee. I just couldn't get a decent picture.



Current reading//


City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
Still. At the 700 page mark with about 250 more to go. Can't wait to see how this ends, though I've been warned that Sarah wanted to throw her kindle across the room. Any day (maybe hour) now...


New books in the house//

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Almost embarrassed to admit I've never read this one, though I have been tempted to join a readalong or two. Thanks to a $2.99 kindle deal, there will be no excuses next time. It might make a great summer read, but I'm not ready to tackle another book this long just yet.


by Marina Arbetman Rabinowitz and Linda Kern Hayon 
Since I'm trying really hard to stick to the TBR Dare, cookbooks seem like the safest thing to bring home from the library.


Movies//

Watching movies is a favorite rainy day activity, and we had plenty of opportunities last week. I listened to Colm Toibin's novel back in 2009 and the film perfectly captures the quiet tone of the book... I loved it

We saw a preview for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 before Brooklyn and decided to refresh our memory of the original.. just as funny as I remembered.


Based on the novel An American Tragedy  by Theodore Dreiser (which I loved), I've been looking for this movie since I read the book in 2014 and finally found it on the shelf of the local library. The movie was good, not great. I might have had a hard time following it if I didn't already know the story, but I did enjoy watching a young Elizabeth Taylor and Shelley Winters.


In the kitchen//
Two new recipes this week, both winners:
Beef, Tomato and Acini di Pepe Soup from Skinnytaste
Chicken Enchilada Empanadas from Cooking for Keeps


On the Blog//
Review: The Girls of Atomic City  by Denise Kiernan
Planning Ahead: My TBR Dare Reading List

Later today//
A trip to the farmers market is next on the agenda, then my FIL will join us for dinner. Tonight I'll be watching the latest episode of Downton Abbey and maybe, just maybe, I'll finish City on Fire, too. Wish me luck!

How was your week? What are you reading today?


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

59 comments:

  1. Though we had a blizzard here on Long Island last weekend, we are back to unseasonably warm temperatures. Hopefully this will last.

    Manatees are such interesting creatures.

    I thought that An American Tragedy was such a powerful book. I remember really liking a Place in the Sun. If I recall it put a lot more emphasis on the trial then the book did.

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    1. Brian Joseph - An American Tragedy was one of my favorite books a couple of years ago, and I remember the last third of it was focused on the trial. I wonder why Dreiser isn't read more widely.

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  2. I want snow so badly, but I'm afraid winter has passed us by in the South and substituted rain, instead. We're expecting flooding and tornadoes this week. Ugh.

    Gone with the Wind is on my keepsake shelf and is one of my all time favorite classics. I hope you love it. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one of my favorite rom-coms, and I can't wait to see the second. I was so excited when I heard there was a sequel coming.

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    1. Kathy - The previews for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 look pretty good. I'm looking forward to seeing it Hope you manage to dodge the severe weather later this week!

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  3. Gone with the Wind was (as far as I can remember) the first lonnnnggg grown-up book I ever read (in 7th grade, I think). I remember being quite proud of myself!

    I've been debating whether to launch into Maisie or Mrs. Dalloway first, tomorrow, but I have a hunch I might need a break from one of them and happily turn to the other for a while. So, Maisie first it is! :)

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    1. Audrey - I remember my best friend in 5th grade reading GWTW at about the same time I was obsessed with Harrier the Spy. Made me feel so childish...
      Hurray for Maisie. Another day or two and I can begin, too!

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    2. But Harriet is so much the better book. :)

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  4. What a gorgeous sunrise! Has all the colors that I associate with Florida! So pretty. You've not read GONE WITH THE WIND? Ha! Well, it's definitely a chunky one. I read it years and years ago. And I've got a copy, but I it has not called my name again. Perhaps one day. Have a good week, JoAnn!

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    1. Kay - Not sure why I never got around to GWTW. Think I saw the movie a few times and decided I didn't need to... of course, that was decades ago.

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  5. That is a beautiful sunrise! I loved My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I should re-watch that one. Enjoy the farmer's market - it is always so fun to go to markets and see the fresh fruits and veggies.

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    1. Iliana - I loved My Big Fat Greek Wedding, too, and can't wait for the sequel. We've gotten into the habit of having my FIL over for a "Farmer's Market Dinner" every Sunday. It's fun to plan a menu around whatever is there and fresh. He loves it!

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  6. Sorry to hear you are getting so much rain! You were able to watch some excellent movies though. I saw a lot of Manatee when I went to Fla. last year. I know what you mean - they are difficult to make out (even though they are so large) - underwater. Beautiful sunrise photo - thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Pat - The manatee are fascinating to watch (and listen to, lol!) and I was shocked to see so many in one place.. even a baby or two. So nice to be outside down here in FL, rather than indoors hiding from the snow and cold at home :)

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  7. I can't believe you're having so much rain! I wonder if that's the El Nino effect. We're having a little warm and sunny weather, before another cold front blows him. The sun is getting ready to set here, & I was just thinking I should go for a walk and admire it. But that means getting off the couch

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    1. Lisa - All the forecasters attribute the rain and storms to El Nino. I sure hope we won't be in this pattern all winter!!

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  8. Oh manatees, love these peaceful sea cows. I finally finished The Paying Guests on audio and I'm picking up Strout's latest novel. Hope you have a dry week!

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    1. Susan - I just love watching the manatee...they are so sweet and peaceful! Will be curious to read your thoughts on The Paying Guests. I liked it, but it was not my favorite Waters. I loved My Name is Lucy Barton. Hope you do, too!

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  9. We're having rain in SoCal also, but not nearly as much as you are. While watching the previews for Brooklyn, it seemed like a quiet type of movie. Also, I noticed the colors the designer used for the clothing. Very eye-catching. The chicken enchiladas empanadas sound so good right now. Enjoy your week!

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    1. Vasilly - I was impressed with how well the movie conveyed the quiet mood of the book - so well done! And the costumes were very beautiful, too. The movie made me want to read another Colm Toibin novel. Hope all is well with you :)

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  10. JoAnn, I'm taking notes all over the place with your most recent post! Brooklyn is definitely on my list, and, do you know I've never read Gone with the Wind either, although I've entertained the idea a number of times. I hope the weather clears for you soon so you can enjoy the outdoors.
    Judith

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    1. Judith - I'm so happy you found some of this interesting... sometimes I just feel like I'm rambling! I've thought of reading GWTW for the past couple of summers, so mage this will be the year. We finally had a warm, sunny day today with more of the same for the next few days, before El Nino brings in another storm.

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  11. So sorry that it's been raining crazy over there! Certainly better than snow, I agree. We've been having 60 degree weather this weekend which makes me wonder what happened to winter!

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    1. Athira - We had a beautiful day today, at last. It finally feels like Florida! Sounds like we'll enjoy a couple of more before the storm return.

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  12. Good luck finishing City on Fire! And I so loved Gone with the Wind - so glad you're reading it! The manatee park sounds amazing!

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    1. Sarah - 200 pages to go...can't see a happy ending to this one!

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  13. We got quite a bit of rain this month (for us), but it was only 4 inches. But pretty good for these dry parts.

    I got the book Brooklyn this week and hope to find the movie somewhere.

    I hope you enjoy GWTW...I have a copy for a reread...someday.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - This is one of the few books-to-movie that I think was very well done. Hope you like the book!

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  14. Rain -- ugh. But looks like you have some good reading and cooking going on. I think you'll like GWTW. That empanada book looks good.

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    1. Beth F - My kitchen is nowhere near as well-equipped as home, but I'm surprised by how much I'm enjoying preparing meals down here!

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  15. We had a few days of rain but nothing like you had.

    I haven't read GWTW either.

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    1. Vicki - It seems like all the rain has been concentrated down here in SW FL... hope some relief is ahead!

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  16. Loved the manatees...can't wait to hear your thoughts on City On Fire...I loved Theodore Dreiser and read everything that he wrote...that movie...love it!

    Have a beautifully warm week!

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    1. Patty - I loved both An American Tragedy and Sister Carrie. It surprises me that Dreiser isn't more widely read today. Can you recommend anything else he's written?

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  17. We spent a vacation in Florida many years ago. I like the manatees too. And the warm and sun and beach were great too. Looks like you made good use of your rainy weather with movies and books. I watched Downton Abbey last night. I'll be so sad to see it end!

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    1. Grammajudyb- I was shocked by all the blood on Downton last night!! Such a good series... sad to see it end, too.

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  18. Hope things are drying out down your way.
    My daughter big GWTW fan and says book has many more details than the movie, so maybe you should try it sometime. I'm content with having seen movie.
    Over the weekend I read "English Novelists" by Elizabeth Bowen. A tiny, 48-page tome, it's somewhat like a comprehensive mini-lecture by a writer well-qualified to teach the class. Published in 1942, it covers novelists from the 17th century (the early days of noveldom), such as Daniel DeFoe, on through Richardson, Fielding, Austen, Scott, Thackeray, Dickens, Trollope (your favorite), the Brontes, Meredith, Hardy, Kipling, and even Henry James. Altogether, it was a nice little read. Plus, the book has some nice illustrations and color plates.
    P.S. Loved A Place in the Sun ..... so very dramatic with the handsome Montgomery Clift and beautiful Elizabeth Taylor.

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    1. JudyMac - Things are slowly drying out and today was the first day that it really felt like Florida! Should squeeze in at least two more good days before the next front moves through... darn that El Nino!
      I looked for English Novelists at the library this afternoon, but no luck. Will see if I can find it at home. It sounds like a little book I would enjoy in a big way!

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    2. Even my library doesn't have a copy. I found my copy at estate sale, of course. If you are so inclined, reasonably priced copies can be had at abebooks.com, very reliable source for used books. :-)

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    3. JudyMac - Good idea! I couldn't even find it on amazon. I'm trying to read only books I already own for the next several months, but will check out abebooks when we get home.

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  19. I'm ready for a trip to FL! I love manatees--they're just so big. Glad to hear you liked Brooklyn--I'm going to download it for my next trip in March, but I heard it was a bit slow, which makes sense because the book is too.

    A GWTW virgin--I'm amazed. I loved that book as a teen. Read it at least 4 times before I was twenty, but only twice since then. Mitchell is a superb storyteller--her take on the Civil War is, of course, shaped entirely by her time and place--but it is an American classic. I'll be interested in hearing what you think.

    I loved My Big Fat Greek Wedding--didn't know a sequel was coming out. Good to know!

    Speaking of American classics, I didn't know A Place in the Sun was based on An American Tragedy--now I want to experience both of them.

    Happy reading (and watching!).

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    1. JaneGS - I don't know how I ever got through my teen years without reading GWTW. It almost seems like a rite of passage! Should be a great summer read...maybe even this year.

      I loved An American Tragedy, but may be biased because it's based on a (practically) local murder trial. The movie is very good, too - go for it!!

      Had no idea there was a sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding until we saw the previews. Revisiting the original was a lot of fun.

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  20. I'll take rain over snow any day! Glad you're having a lovely time. The manatees are amazing! I'd love to see one close up like that. I'm looking forward to seeing what you think of Gone with the Wind. I read it years ago and found it interesting. I've been curious about Brooklyn so was pleased to see your thoughts on it. Have a great week!

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    1. Katherine - My husband was not thrilled with Brooklyn, but I loved it. Definitely worth seeing if you get the chance!

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  21. Looks like a beautiful sunrise- and nice manatee pic too! I would love to see them up close like that. You have gotten a lot of rain- good grief! But yeah- it beats the snow. :)

    I remember My Big Fat greek Wedding- fun movie!

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    1. Greg - We brought the dog with us this year, so I've had more opportunity to see sunrises. She does like those early morning walks ;-)

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  22. Love the pics! Hope you don't want to throw the book! Gone With The Wind was great.

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    1. Nise'- I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I do like the book so far, but not sure I can recommend a book that long.

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  23. I've never read Gone with the Wind either! It's a little embarrassing what I haven't read.

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    1. Hibernators Library - Oh, I know that feeling ;-)

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  24. I'll take rain over snow ANY day! We're currently under a winter storm warning until tomorrow morning. That's a downgrade from the blizzard warning we had last night. I'm enjoying my snow day, but don't look forward to walking Annie in an hour or two. Heavy wet snow is no fun to trudge through and I'm sure most of the sidewalks are still covered. It sounds like you're getting the amount of rain my mom has had in Oregon. I think they've had rain every day since we left (New Year's)! And SoCal is just as bad, with strong winds and saturated land that is causing flooding and downed trees. They're not used to trees falling over! Anyhow, enough about the weather, right? ;)

    I've never read Gone With the Wind and have only seen the movie once. Not really my cuppa tea.

    I've added the recipes for the Skinnytaste soup and those yummy-looking empanadas to Evernote for future sampling. I've never even tried an empanada at a restaurant, but they look great! Might be good to have with some sort of Mexican soup.

    Here's to beautiful sunrises, sunsets and rainbows! :)

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    1. Les - Hope you're warm and dry and curled up with a book on this snow day! After some unbelievably dense fog this morning, we've had a beautiful sunny day... at last! All the rain was just unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it!

      I've watched the GWTW movie a couple of times, but don't consider it a favorite. The novel is such a classic I've always felt like I should at least try it. We'll see.

      That was the first time I ever made empanadas, but it won't be the last. I should look through skinnytaste and see if she has a recipe for them!

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  25. My parents winter in Ft Lauderdale and they said that they made it to the beach once in January with all of the rain and cool weather they've had. It's certainly been a strange winter for everyone, I think--though I'm still thankful we haven't been as cold as we normally are.

    Gone with the Wind. Ha! It was a painful read for me--I finally had to make it part of a big grad school project just to push myself to finish. City on Fire certainly is getting a lot of buzz, though! I'm currently reading The Girl with All the Gifts and am really enjoying it--been a long time since I've read a book I can't put down.

    Happy February!

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    1. Trish - I finally finished City on Fire... think it would have been a much better book at 500 or even 600 pages, rather than 900+! We'll see how it goes with GWTW.

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  26. I can't believe it is February either. Time goes way too fast.

    Gone with the Wind is an all-time favorite.

    I hope you are having a good reading week.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My It's Monday, What Are You Reading

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    1. Elixabeth - I'm surprised to see reactions to GWTW vary so widely, at least judging from the comments above. That makes me eve more excited to read it!

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  27. Manatees are so cute!

    I adore GWTW, my paperback copy is falling apart. And I must read City on Fire soon!

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    1. Samstillreading - Read this week's post before picking up City on Fire... a little warning there ;-)

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  28. I loved Brooklyn too - glad you like it! I was in SW Florida last week - everyone seems to be despairing over the weather but 70 degree temps sounded great to me!

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    1. Colleen - It's all relative, I guess. I think the temperatures have been near perfect, but people here are all bundled up in fleece, mittens, and hats! Hope you had a great trip :)

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