Sunday, August 14, 2016

Weekly Update: August 14, 2016


Mid-August already... and it's hot! Humid, too. I'm so thankful our air conditioning woes are behind us. Most of my days have been spent working indoors or running errands, and then venturing outside in the early evening. I love that my kindle allows me to read by the lake even in the dark!


Books Finished//


After reading The Three Weissmanns of Westport, I was expecting something light and fun. Instead I found a more serious novel about the relationship between adult children and their aging parents. My full review is here.



Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo
Nowhere near as good as Nobody's Fool, but still an enjoyable read. I'll have more to say in a blog post soon.


Current Reading//


by Dee Brown, narrated by  Grover Gardner
After purchasing the book at Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana last summer and picking up the audio as a daily deal last month, I finally started reading yesterday. A read/listen combination is my favorite way to approach nonfiction these days.



Light Years by James Salter
I started this book yesterday, too, but am not fully invested yet. The writing is gorgeous, but I'm not quite sure where the story is going. I'll need something fast-paced and engaging this week while my mother has her surgery (more below). This may not be the right book, but it is one I will definitely come back to.


On the blog//

Four Reasons to Read Dear Committee Members
Tuesday Intro: The Gathering
Review: They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine


In the kitchen//


We had my family over for dinner last weekend and, since it was too hot to bake, I made Ina Garten's Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake for dessert. It was amazing! My sisters and my mother went home with the recipe... you'll want to try this one, too.

And as crazy as it sounds, I was craving soup toward the end of the week and tried Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup from Skinnytaste. It was simple to make and delicious, too. Another keeper.


The week ahead//

I'm anticipating a stressful week. My mother is having hip replacement surgery on Tuesday. When she is discharged on Wednesday,  she and my father will stay will us for several days. We have a bedroom and full bath on the first floor, so that will make things much easier for her.

The other big event is Twin A starting her new job tomorrow. She has settled into the NYC apartment with Daughter #1and is very excited but, as you would expect, a little anxious about beginning her first "adult" job. I'm sure we'll be talking frequently this week.

So if I disappear for a few days, you'll know why :)

How was your week? What are you reading?



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

61 comments:

  1. I've never read Salter, but I really want to and he's on my list of legendary authors I still need to try. I checked Margaret Atwood off last year!

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    1. Srah - I think legendary is the perfect description of Salter... and Atwood, too, for that matter! This may not be the right time for me to read him, but I know I'll be in for a treat when I return.

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  2. Good luck with your family issues-- sounds promising for your kids! And thanks for the recipes. I'm always open to new ones that are easy enough to make in the hot summer.

    My brother has an old copy of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. We're talking from the '60s or '70s or so, since I remember it on his bookshelf back when I was a kid, looking for a new book to read, and finding all non-fiction on his shelf (just like my son now). I never did read it but I'm hoping you share your thoughts when you're done with it. Enjoy!

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    1. Rita - Thank you. Seems like I'm in the middle, at least where my Mom and daughter are concerned, and more stable... so will provide the support as I can. Both recipes are delicious and easy, making them winners in my book. I became fascinated with the Indian experience after visiting Little Bighorn, the sight of Custer's last stand, last summer. Think I will learn a lot from reading a book told from that perspective.

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  3. All the best to the girks and to your mom...it's hard to believe that a hip replacement is a 24-hour process! I'm sure she'll be glad to have you close by as she recovers.

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    1. Audrey - Thank you! So much happening here this week... it is hard to believe that you go home the day after a hip replacement! I'm just glad she will be here. It's way too much for my father to care for her 24 hours post-op, and we are glad to help/

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  4. I am looking forward to They May Not Mean To, But They Do, which I have tucked away on Pippa...and I still want to get my hands on Nobody's Fool.

    Enjoy your week...and thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Both books are very good and I'm sure you will like them. I still need to get the movie of Nobody's Fool, but haven't been watching much other than olympics and politics... thought the politics is making me sick!

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  5. It sounds like you have a stressful week ahead of you. I'm sending lots of positive thoughts to your mom - I can't believe she'll be discharged so quickly.

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    1. Kathy - Thanks, we'll take all the positive vibes we can get! I'm shocked a hip replacement is a 24 hour hospital stay, too. Glad we can both parents here afterwards.

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  6. I'll be thinking of you, and your mom and dad. I hope everything goes smoothly. And that you find some good distracting comforting books :)

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I don't think I'll be reading Salter in the hospital waiting room, but have a few other books I will be 'auditioning' tomorrow. I'm sure one of them will work!

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  7. Wishing you positive thoughts this upcoming week. You are definitely experiencing the stress of the sandwich generation - but I know all will work well.

    Now... I must go check out both those recipes. They sound wonderful :)

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    1. Molly - Yes, the joys of the sandwich generation. I am glad we are in a position to help both our older and younger family members... seems like we are the most 'stable' ones at this point. The cake recipe is especially good. Hard to believe it is so easy!

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  8. Good luck with your mom's surgery, hope it goes well! And with your daughters job too. Lots happening! Sounds like your week will be busy but hopefully you get some relaxation in there too. :)

    It's been muggy here too. And I like the look of that history book- I'd love to learn more about that era, looks like a good read.

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    1. Greg - It will certainly be a memorable week around here, but I'm confident all will go well. We have a one day reprieve from the humidity today, but we're right back in it tomorrow!

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  9. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is the saddest book I have ever read. Unbearably sad. I read it over twenty years ago and I still can't get over it.

    I've just started Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope. I'm also planning to read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel soon.

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    1. Patience_Crabstick - I've only read about 10% of Bury My Heart and am already seeing how sad it will be. Sigh.

      I miss Trollope! Think I'll start Can You Forgive Her? after the holidays, and hopefully continue the series. Wolf Hall was very good. I remember thinking it was historical fiction for historians!

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  10. It sounds like the upcoming week will be mentally stressful. Perhaps some magazines would be better than a book? Or a collection of essays, so you don't have to try to remember a specific plot or order of events? Just a thought. So good of you to be able to help your parents. And yes, the sandwich generation is a reality for so many of us now. My daughter is almost 33, so I'm not needed quite as much as when she was in her twenties.

    Sorry Everybody's Fool wasn't as good as Nobody's Fool. And, as I recall, the movie (with Paul Newman) was a bit of a disappointment, as well. Maybe I tried to watch it too soon after reading Nobody's Fool, so I could almost recite the next line of dialogue! I'm anxious to start listening to They May Not Mean To, But They Do, but I'm still in the middle (or maybe nearing the end) of The Girl With all the Gifts. Outstanding book! I've also just started P.J. Tracy's The Sixth Idea (a Monkeewrench mystery). I actually sat on the porch yesterday (after a few hours of yardwork) and read for a couple of hours. Pure bliss!

    Don't forget to take care of yourself while caring/helping your family!

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    1. Les - Magazines or essays, even short stories is a great idea! I just don't seem to be able to concentrate on starting a novel. I haven't been in a hurry to watch the movie of Nobody's Fool either... with the book so fresh in my mind, I can't imagine it being as good. Have heard lots of praise for The Girl With All the Gifts. I'll have to look into that one!

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  11. Everybody's Fool...That's why I rarely read sequels...they so often disappoint me.

    It does sound like you may have a busy week. Good luck with your mom's surgery.

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    1. Deb - I'm starting to learn my lesson with sequels.... sigh.

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  12. I hope that your mom does well with her upcoming surgery.

    I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee a very long time ago. Though I was young at the time I do remember it being very informative. I also remember that it held my attention.

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    1. Brian Joseph - Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is actually turning out to be much more readable than I was expecting, and you're right, very informative. I might not even need the audio to help pull me through ;-)

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  13. I hope your mom's surgery goes well. My mother-in-law had the same operation a few years ago and I stayed with her at her place for a couple of of weeks afterward. After the first couple of days, things went very smoothly. I'm sure it will for you, too.

    Our weather is starting to get that "fall feel" to it. Highs in the 70s; dipping to low 60s at night. And it's getting dark so early! :-( No matter, I love the weather and will enjoy what is still left of summer!

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    1. Debbie - I'm expecting the first few days to be tough, but hope my mother improves steadily after that. So glad they consented to staying here! We were just talking about how it's getting dark so much earlier now. I'll enjoy what's left of summer, too, but I just love fall around here!!

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  14. Nice assortment of books. It does sound like you have a busy week ahead. Here is my weekly report. Happy reading!

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  15. I have been wanting to read Light Years. I find Salter the same way in most of his books. Happy Reading!

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    1. Heather - Salter really seems to be a 'writer's writer', but with all that's going on here this week, I may have to save Light Years for another time.

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  16. This summer has really flown by. And the humidity - oy. It is just filthy swampy outside, and my hair is enormous. Lol.

    It sounds like you do have a big week ahead of you. Good luck to your mother and daughter. :) It's nice that your mom will be able to recover with you.

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    1. Erin - I know what you mean about your hair and humidity! I tried a keratin treatment and can't believe how well it worked... all this humidity and I'm not frizzy! Never thought I'd see the day ;-) I'm really happy my parents decided to stay with us for a little while!

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  17. You have a lot of interesting books you are reading. I hope your Mother's hip surgery goes well.

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    1. pilch92 15andmeowing - Thanks so much! :)

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  18. Hope Mom's surgery is a big success. I understand big improvements have been made in this type of surgery in the last few years.
    As you've noted, I really did enjoy reading Orlando. I had been looking to pick up a cheap copy somewhere, and my $2 copy scooped up at Second Life last week filled the bill. Second Life is a thrift store, like Goodwill, but the entire sales proceeds go to finding a second home for rescued pets. I've found some "great finds" at SL as people seem to donate a large variety of things when they know the proceeds are going to help our pets find a home.
    Just started another interesting book on a subject that is dear to my heart. You'll be hearing more about it from me soon. Take good care of Mom!

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    1. JudyMac - From what I understand, there have been huge improvements in hip surgery in the last decade. Her joint is never going to get any better and mobility is a big part of quality of life. We're confident of a successful outcome. Orland is one VW novel I've never considered reading, so am glad to hear you enjoyed reading it... and SL sounds like such a worthy cause! Can't wait to hear what you're into now :)

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  19. I LOVE James Salter, but Light Years is one I haven't yet read (crazy!). I get what you mean about the pace, though, it definitely takes the right mindset.

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    1. Shannon - Light Years is such a lovely book, but probably not what I want to read while sitting around in hospital waiting rooms the next couple of days. Will definitely come back to it!

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  20. Given your busy week, you may not have a chance to read my comments, but first of all, I wish your mother and you and your father the best with this week's surgery. And I have read Cathleen Schine's novel and will be reviewing it this week as well.
    Best to you!

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    1. Judith - Thank you so much! I'll be looking forward to your thoughts on Schine's book.

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  21. Hoping your mom's surgery went well and has a quick recovery. Just got Cathleen Schine's book on the stacks. Glad you enjoyed it. The dessert looks wonderful.

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    1. Thanks, Nise'... will be curious to see what you think of Schine's book.

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  22. Best wishes for your mom, you and your family. It's been very hot here in VA!

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  23. Wounded Knee is so goooood. Thinking of you and your mother today.

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    1. Beth F - Not much reading time lately, but it is excellent!

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  24. I hope all goes well with your mom's surgery and her recovery!
    Oh and that mocha cake looks absolutely delicious.

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    1. Thanks, Iliana. I'm already getting requests to make that cake again.

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  25. JoAnn, I hope your mom is coming along really well as to your daughter in NYC! You've really got me wanting to read Richard Russo! I think I might even have two on my shelf at home.

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    1. Peggy Ann - Mom is recovering nicely now and my daughter is very happy with her new job. If you decide to read Russo, I'd recommend starting with Empire Falls or Nobody's Fool.

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  26. Best wishes--hope your mom's surgery goes well and that her rehab with you goes smoothly.

    I love soup and will have to try the chicken enchilada crockpot recipe.

    I have never read Bury My Heart and am eager to know what you think and if it should go on my own reading list.

    Take care!

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    1. JaneGS - We had a slight setback after discharge, but she is recovering now. Already charging around with a walker. I haven't had much time to read to read lately, but Wounded Knee is sad and sobering. Definitely not what was taught in high school...

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  27. It does seem like you have your hands full at the moment. I hope your mother's surgery went well and that she is on the path to recovery. I must ask which Kindle do you have? It looks like a good size and I'm wanting to update my old DX Kindle. thanks.

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    1. Susan - Life is certainly crazy at the moment! I had a kindle paperwhite, which I gave to my mother when her old kindle died. That gave me an excuse to buy a kindle voyage - which I love! It is lighter than the paperwhite and the print is much sharper. However, it's quite a bit more expensive.

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  28. Hooray for summer reading! You've featured some really good novels. Hope all goes smoothly with your mom's surgery and recuperation.

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    1. Catherine - I'm glad it's behind us now! She is moving around better every day now.

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  29. Funny, I've been craving soup lately too. It's a hot and humid August here in Toronto and all I can think about is cooler weather and soup. I didn't get as much reading done this summer as I had hoped but that's another reason to look forward to some good rainy autumn indoor weather. All the best for your mom. I hope it's a speedy recovery.

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    1. Thanks, Trish. What a difference a week makes... she's moving around much better. Hope to be back to blogging soon.

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  30. Sounds like your life is busy these days!

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  31. I loved the Salter novel, which I read a few years ago for a book club selection. I had not known about the author before that.

    It sounds like an incredibly busy time for all of us; you with your daughters (in NYC; how brave and exciting is that?!) and me in a classroom. But, Autumn is such a lovely time of year.

    Love the photo of your ereader in twilight.

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    1. Bellezza - I had to put the Salter novel aside after my mother's hip replacement surgery. The writing is gorgeous, but I just couldn't focus on the plot... definitely me and not Salter. Look forward to picking it up again when things settle down.

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