Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sanibel Sunday: Super Bowl Edition

Beach Bounty: My Collection of Sea Urchins


Sunday already? The weeks certainly fly here. For as long as I can remember,  winter months (especially February) have dragged, so this is a welcome change. Being outdoors seems to be the key... at home I tend to hibernate, waiting for the snow and cold to go away.

We've been hiking and biking this week, and enjoyed wandering around ArtFest Fort Myers yesterday. It was a little soggy, but colorful art brightened the day.

Biggest accomplishment of the week//


I finally finished City on Fire! All 950 pages. At last. It was quite a ride and, for most of the book, I thought I would rate it at least 4 stars. In the end though, I felt cheated. After reading that many pages and investing so much time, I expected (felt entitled to?) more of an ending. Grr! I'm still working through my thoughts for a review, but don't think I can go higher than 3 or maybe 3.5 stars. Sigh.

Current reading//


What Maisie Knew by Henry James
It took a chapter or two to get back in the rhythm of James prose. Despite being written in 1897, the storyline is sadly modern. Could this be the first literary child custody battle?


Up next//


Death With an Ocean View by Noreen Wald
This cozy mystery should be a welcome break from Henry James... especially in the evening when my brain is tired! I got it from NetGalley a couple of months ago, and it appears to be a reissue of an old series. I love the cover... it should be fun.


On the blog// 
It was a quiet week with just one post:
A Read-along Begins: What Maisie Knew


In the kitchen//


I made more Turkey Chili Taco Soup (recipe and photo from SkinnyTaste). We'll have some this afternoon before the Super Bowl.

Skillet White Chicken Chili Dip is also on the Game Day menu. It's a new recipe, so I'll let you know how it turns out.


Watching//
The Super Bowl or Downton Abbey?  My plan is to turn the channel to Downton Abbey  at 9PM, unless something unbelievably exciting is happening in the game. We'll see if my husband agrees...


I borrowed Testament of Youth from the library. It's based on Vera Brittain's book, which has been on my 'to read' list for years. I usually prefer to read the book first, but it could be some time before I get to this one. Hope to watch this tomorrow night.


The week ahead//
The forecast calls for cooler weather ahead, in the 60s most days. Perfect for biking, so a ride through the "Ding" Darling is on the agenda. One slight problem... I have a 'beach cruiser', which is as low tech as it gets (no gears, reverse pedals to brake), while my husband has an 18-speed trail bike. That means one of us is working much harder to cover equal distances! It may be time for me to upgrade.

I'm also looking forward to my sister and brother-in-law's visit. She's a teacher and winter break begins Friday. I can't wait!

What have you been up to this week? Are you reading anything good?


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

64 comments:

  1. I just finished City On Fire yesterday and totally agree with your assessment. It could have used a better editor, it was much too long and then it just ended.

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    1. Diane - I'd love to see the sales figures for that book. Can't imagine Knopf has recouped their nearly 2 million dollar investment!!

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  2. I'm currently vacationing in Sanibel too and couldn't agree more that it is a welcome change! I By the way, that is a beautiful picture of sea urchins.

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    1. Whitney - Welcome to Sanibel! How long are you here? It looks like we're in for a cool week. There are still a lot of sea urchins on the beach near us... couldn't believe how many washed u last week.

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  3. I'm sorry City on Fire didn't end as well as the rest of the book. Good luck with bike riding. I might ride this Spring. My bike is like yours, but its all flat where we will be riding. I hope the Super Bowl is viewing worthy. Have a great week.

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    1. Pat - This is a very bike-friendly island... excellent shared use paths go everywhere, so there's no need to use the road!

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  4. I always wonder why they begin the Superbowl so late. Out here in the west, we'd be okay with an earlier start, as I'm sure the East Coast would. THEN you wouldn't have to worry about changing the channel. The Soup looks sooo good! And yes, you need a cozy after such heavy reading. Have a great visit with your sister.

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    1. Debbie - They always say the Monday following the Super Bowl is notorious for calling in sick, lol! It's always a late party. The soup in your post looks wonderful, too. I'm going to have to give it a try.

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  5. Congrats on finishing that chunkster! Too bad you didn't enjoy it more, though.

    I plan to read What Maisie Knew at some point.

    That soup looks so delicious, I am almost tempted to cook! lol.

    Enjoy your week...it sounds like your past week was a good one...and I think the weeks are flying by, too.

    Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I really did enjoy the book while I was reading, but the lack of an ending kind of ruined it. Having a hard time evaluating this one...

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  6. Our street is having a block party tonight so it will be the Super Bowl for us. Your sea urchins are gorgeous!

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    1. Kathy - That sounds like fun! Hope you had a great time.

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  7. Wow--those sea urchins are so cool! It's such a bummer to invest so much into a book and then have it fall flat at the end. Hate that! On the other hand, there have been a few times when I've felt "meh" about a book up until the ending and the ending made the entire book worthwhile. Hope the next one is better (though James isn't my favorite...).

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    1. Trish - I've had it happen the other way, too, where the ending makes the whole book worthwhile. This was just too much of an investment of time. Sigh.

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  8. I'm sorry about your unsatisfactory long read, and so happy that you're reading Maisie with us. It's getting good, plotwise (and prosewise, too, I think...) There's no question for me of what to watch at 9 pm, but I'm still behind on D.A. because of my trip. I'm up to episode 3 and trying to avoid the spoilers! Enjoy the sun (finally winter here!)

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    1. Audrey - Hope you've been able to avoid DA spoilers, but there aren't many... not very much has happened this season. I'm enjoying Maisie quite a bit, though I'm only beginning chapter 7.

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  9. I love your sea urchin picture. So pretty. Sorry that City On Fire was a bummer in the end. Yours is not the first comment that I've heard about that very thing. Doesn't make me want to read it at all. Soup looks good. Biking sounds fun. Hope your week is good!

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    1. Kay - I can't whole-heartedly recommend City of Fire to anyone :(

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  10. Your soup looks delicious! Enjoy 🙂

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  11. I had heard that about City on Fire but was looking forward to your thoughts. Normally I would think a 3 star book is still one that might be worth reading, but not when it's that long!

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    1. Lisa - That was way too much of a time investment for a 3 star book!!

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  12. Sorry "City on Fire" was a disappointment. I'm just finishing "My Southern Journey--True Stories From the Heart of the South" by Rick Bragg, a writer, a true son of the South, and a 1996 Pulitzer Prize winner while at the NYT. This is a compilation of his contributions to Southern Living, Garden & Gun, and other popular publications. Breaks between pages include reading a book picked up at an estate sale, Dawns + Dusks, a vintage book which is conversations between Diana MacKown and the artist Louise Nevelson.

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    1. JudyMac - You read the most interesting books... thanks for telling me about them! Glad to see you on instagram :)

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  13. Very nice pic of the sea urchins! Hope you enjoy the game tonight- and Artfest Ft. Myers sounds fun.

    I'll have to check out Death with an Ocean View- that looks great. Thanks for sharing it- off to check out. :)

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    1. Greg - ArtFest was great despite the rain. Death with an Ocean View may have already been archived... strange since it doesn't come out until next month!

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  14. That's exactly how I felt about that book! Your time in Florida sounds lovely!

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    1. Patty - I still can't decide how to rate City on Fire... it could have been a really great book with a proper ending :(

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  15. Beach cruisers are so cute but you are right, definitely require a lot more pedal power! :)

    Love the picture of the sea urchins. Enjoy the upcoming week!

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    1. Iliana - I love the beach cruiser, too, and it is relatively flat here... just hard to keep up with a speed demon;-)

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  16. I love the photo of the sea urchins! Testament of Youth looks good! I added it to my netflix queue. I'm currently reading an extremely creepy mystery -- The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd.

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    1. Patience_Crabstick - With the chilly evenings, we won't be outdoors quite as much... so there should be plant of time for Testament of Youth.

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  17. Biking and hiking sounds great in your middle of winter. Hmm is it wise to come between a man and his sport! Hope you get your way.

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    1. Kathryn T - I did! We turned the channel just long enough for Downton Abbey and the world didn't end ;-)

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  18. Wow you read 950 pages of City on Fire and it's only 3 stars?! What's the quality of writing like? I finished Lucy Barton which I liked. Enjoy your week. Ps. The Broncos victory was worth it tonight

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    1. Susan - The writing was wonderful and, at times, even brilliant! This guy has an amazing vocabulary...can't imagine how he ever came up with some of those words. I used the dictionary function on the kindle often. It's easy to see why Knopf would take such a big chance on Hallberg, just wish they'd edited a little more.

      I loved Lucy Barton, but am a big Strout fan to begin with. Go Broncos!

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  19. Thanks for your thoughts on City on Fire. No, thank you very much. I can say this with conviction now that I've heard your thoughts.

    http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2016/02/a-tech-of-week-technology-conference-in.html

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    1. Deb Nance - I think you're safe skipping City on Fire.

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  20. I hope you have fantastic weather so that you can bike all you want. It's fairly cold and snowy out here in Minnesota, so none of that for me.

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    1. Hibernators Library - The cooler weather is much more comfortable for biking, so I'll definitely get my fill of it this week!

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  21. Death With An Ocean View sounds great! This is a new one to me, but def adding it to my TBR list! I honestly do not think I have read a 950 page book before! Lol

    Happy Reading!
    Punkie @Fluttering Hearts Reviews
    My It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Post

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    1. Punkiee V - You don't need to add this 950-pager to your list either ;-) I'm looking forward to starting Death With an Ocean View!

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  22. Love your seashells! When we lived in FL we collected a lot, but here at CA beaches, funny enough, not too many special ones that I can find.
    Death With An Ocean View looks right up my alley.
    I'm not into football (baseball fan here) but we all pretended to enjoy watching it and munch out on Super Bowl fare. Glad that's over for another year, lol!

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    1. Rita - Every single day I am amazed at all the shells and other sea creatures that wash up on the beaches... truly a beachcombers paradise! I enjoy football, but am also glad baseball is right around the corner again :)

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  23. "I thought I would rate it at least 4 stars. In the end though, I felt cheated." - and this is why I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room! And, did the non-ending really have to drag on for hundreds of pages (literally)?!
    Love the sea urchins...they're gorgeous?! Do you eat the uni? I love that too!

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    1. Sarah - For a non-ending, it really did drag on forever! Unbelievably disappointing :( I've never tried eating the uni, but now I'm curious. These sea urchins were long dead before we scooped them up off the beach.

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  24. DId you get to change the channel? Seems like you coulda/shoulda the way the game went...

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    1. Care - I did end up turning the channel for an hour and then got to watch the end. Don't think I missed an awful lot ;-)

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  25. Congrats on finishing City on Fire! That is one massive read.

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    1. Lindsey - That was quite a tome! Glad it's over...

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  26. I have City on Fire on my Kindle. I am trying to find the right time to read it. Maybe over the summer?

    I thought the super bowl was sort of boring. The commercials too. Maybe I built it up too much in my head. The food was just so so and we had a lot of people not show which meant we had a lot of so so food left over.

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    1. Ti - I'll be very interested in your take on City on Fire! I agree about the super bowl commercials, too...a little lame this year.

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  27. I think you are the only blogger I've read who has actually finished City on Fire! Wasn't it supposed to be "the" book of 2015?

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    1. Melinda - City on Fire sure did get a lot of hype, but I certainly don't consider it in the running for best book of 2015. It was really good until the non-ending though :(

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  28. I am assuming you turned the channel to watch Downton, since the football game was a snooze. I brought City of Fire home, but now not sure if it has such a let down ending. Enjoy that wonderful warmth.

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    1. Nise' - I did! The game was a snooze and I didn't miss much during that hour. Unfortunately, I can't really recommend City on Fire.

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  29. Oh man, if I spent so much time on a book, I would be infuriated with a less than stellar ending! I mean, the author certainly owes us that much. I will probably not read that book. That soup looks yum! I have been making a lot of Skinnytaste recipes too.

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    1. Athira - That'e exactly how I felt! After investing so much time reading his book, I felt like he could have at least written some sort of ending :(

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  30. Thanks for your honest assessment on City of Fire. I won't bother giving it even a passing glance now. ;) We watched the Super Bowl, but mainly for the commercials, which I thought were all pretty awful. Nothing like a few years ago when every single one seemed to be a winner. Hope you have fun biking in "Ding" Darling. Any alligators to worry about? I hope my hubby and I do better about getting out on our bikes this year. I think we only rode twice in 2015. Shame on us! It's been cold and windy here these past few days. Wish I were in Sanibel...

    P.S. Frame that photo of the sea urchins! It's gorgeous!

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    1. Les - I think you're safe passing on City on Fire. The Super Bowl commercials were pretty lame this year (as was the game), so I'm glad I switched to Downton Abbey for an hour. Lots of gators in the "Ding" right now, but the highlight was the flock (if that's what you call it) of white pelicans! I need a real camera ;-)

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  31. I hate being invested in a book only to be cheated by the end. Sigh. We watched Downton and Mercy Street last night. Both are so good.

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    1. Beth F - I'm not opposed to ambiguous or open-ended ending, but we didn't even get that with City on Fire. It's like after 950 pages, he just got tired of writing and stopped.

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  32. Ah Sanibel! We used to visit Captiva every year ~ I haven't been in ages. It is such a beautiful area! It sounds like you are having a spectacular time.

    I totally get the bike thing! My husband is a bike enthusiast and has a fancy bike, while I just have my little beach cruiser. Lol. We never bike anywhere other than around our house though so it's never been too big of an issue. :)

    Thanks for your kind words about Wyatt on my blog. I appreciate them!

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    1. Erin - We used to go to Captiva when the kids were younger and my inlaws had our current place in Sanibel. I just love these islands!! Now if we can just work out the bike issues ;-) Hope you are all having a good week.

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