Sunday, September 3, 2017

August in Review


Many of the posts I read, and certainly every post I write lately, begin with the words "where has the time gone?" Well, now it's early September and we've already experienced two record cold days. I'm afraid summer is over...

Our first month of retirement was a resounding success! There are still loose ends to tie up at the office, but the 9 to 5 routine is over. Instead, we've tackled home and garden projects, enjoyed leisurely lunches out, taken several day trips (inspired by Robin's Wandering Wednesdays), hung out on the lake, gone on walks, dined with friends, seen a movie or two, and experimented with several new recipes.

 I'm also reading... almost exclusively nonfiction in August. Fiction doesn't seem to hold my attention right now. Strange.


Books Read in August




by Pamela Paul

I've included the after-the-colon portion of the title here so you don't think, as I initially did, that this book is a relationship memoir. Bob is actually Pamela Paul's (editor of The New York Times Book Review) Book of Books, or reading journal. I thought My Life with Bob was a terrific read, and if you're into books about books, I bet you will, too.





by Sebastian Junger

Tribe, narrated by the author and just 3 hours long, provided plenty of food for thought about community, belonging, and why people work better together in times of war or natural disasters. I listened prior to Hurricane Harvey, but this book might be especially interesting and relevant in its aftermath.





by Michael Ruhlman 

I am a food fanatic. I want to know where and how the meat, fish, produce, and dairy I purchase are produced. I need to know exactly what is in the center aisle staples we consume. Grocery stores are endlessly interesting to me. You already know I'm Wegmans #1 fan, but how do they manage to do it all so well?  Heinen's is a smaller regional chain based in Cleveland, Ohio, with a mission seemingly similar to Wegmans - to provide its customers with the finest high-quality, healthful products. In Grocery, Rhulman examines the American grocery store from every angle using Heinen's as his model, and his findings are fascinating.

This was a read/listen combination for me. The audiobook, just over 11 hours long, is narrated by Jonathan Todd Ross. I was riveted every time I picked up the book or put in my earbuds. If you're at all interested in grocery stores and how they operate, this is the book for you.





by Barry Estabrook

Ever wonder why those perfectly red, round tomatoes you see in the grocery store, especially during the winter months, have no taste? Or how about the tomatoes on your fast food burgers and subs? Chances are they were grown in Florida, picked green, and gas ripened. This book is an eye-opening look at the tomato industry, especially in Florida. Another read/listen combination for me, the audio is skillfully narrated by Pete Larkin and runs 7 hours and 16 minutes.






by Charlie Lovett
This book is a literary mystery with a love story in the background, but I picked it up because it's set in Anthony Trollope's Barchester... and those references were great fun!  It's not necessary to be familiar with Trollope to enjoy this tale, but a familiarity (or at least an interest in) Arthurian legend might be helpful.



What was the best book you read in August?


45 comments:

  1. Happy to hear the retirement month went well. I am well jealous, just a few more years for us. We are planning to move and I sure hope that happens.
    The Buying and Selling of Food and Tomatoland are still on my list. Rig now I am catching up with two fictions, The Last Policeman and the 24th book in the Inspector Banks series.
    Happy September!

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    1. Tina - Retirement happened a little earlier than planned... my husband has his own business and several 'pieces of the puzzle' fell into place sooner than we expected. Couldn't be happier!

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  2. Here's to a happy retirement! It looks like you've done some good reading - Grocery in particular sounds fascinating!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. I probably should have rated Grocery a 5 - it was so interesting!

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  3. Glad you're enjoying your retirement! I'm reading Tomatoland and finding it very informative.

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    1. Vicki - I thought Tomatoland was a real eye-opener! Never could figure out why the tomatoes I buy (especially when we're in FL) don't seem to have much taste... now I know!

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  4. Best wishes for your retirement! It sounds like your off to a great start. It looks like you've read a number of enjoyable books in August. Happy Labor Day weekend.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. Hope you're enjoying this last weekend of summer, too. We're having my parents over today and grilling chicken. Trying a couple new recipes, too.

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  5. We did and still do those same kinds of things...it's like calling in sick when you are not sick or playing hooky from school! We love going to movies in the middle of the day...or sometimes in the morning once school starts. Home projects are the only bad thing...sometimes they are endless. I do not think I could spend a month reading nonfiction! You are brave!

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    1. Patty - Unfortunately, I have a list of home projects a mile long but we will slowly get them accomplished. Can't figure out why I'm having such a hard time with fiction... hope that ends soon :(

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  6. Ah, retirement...enjoy every minute! I've been searching for some nonfiction so thank you for these books. I'm going to take a closer look at a couple of them. Tomatoland might be just plain scary!

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    1. Susie - Tomatoland is definitely scary, but at least now I have an understanding of how to make better choices.

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  7. Congrats on enjoying the first month of retirement...more bliss lies ahead!

    The only signs of fall here, so far, are the leaves that are falling...but I'll take it!

    Enjoy your week, and thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Thank you! We're both pretty excited about having more time for adventure :)

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  8. Congrats on retirement! How fun!!

    Tomatoland and Grocery both look fascinating to me. I took a class last year, the Anthropology of Food, and it was so interesting, and seriously changed the way I view food and the ways and hows of our consumption. Check out Wendell Berry, I love his work and ideas. :)

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    1. Erin - I would love to take a class like that! Thanks for mentioning Wendell Berry, I'll take a look at his work.

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  9. I'm so happy for you both on your retirement! Actually liking to grocery shop is something else we have in common :) and I'm putting Grocery on my list. {I'm Wegman's no.2 fan this week because the apple cider raisin bread is back!) Did the Charlie Lovett book perhaps not live up to expectations? I'm still planning to read it tho I confess I've found myself not liking his books as much as I had hoped. But if it has Barchester references, I'm in.

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    1. Audrey - How did I miss the apple cider raisin bread? Tempted to make a special trip today ;-)

      I really had a problem with the narration in The Lost Book of the Grail. It was fine EXCEPT for the main female character. She was supposed to be a young, pretty woman from Florida, but she sounded like a NYC mobster... the accent was just terrible! By the time I switched to print, it was too late. Loved all the Barchester references, but the present-day story was more interesting than the historical part. Maybe if I was better versed (or more interested) in Arthurian legend, I might have appreciated it more.

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    2. Definitely try the bread (it's in the bakery) -it's only there for Sept and Oct and I stuff my freezer with it every fall.

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  10. So glad you're enjoying retirement. Love all your books. I have almost all of them . . . . unread.

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    1. Beth F - Retirement was a little ahead of schedule, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity ... so far, it's working out very well!

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  11. Happy retirement!

    I'm enjoying full tomato heaven right now, getting local beauties from the farm market. I'm fortunate in that one large-scale grower that's local has developed a tomato that it can grow in green houses year round that's actually not bad. Not as good as fresh summer tomatoes, but more flavor than the normal grocery store tomato in January.

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    1. Thanks, Amy. Now if I can only find one of those tomato growers locally!

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  12. Glad you loved My Life with Bob! It's the #1 book on my Nonfiction November TBR list! Congrats on your retirement!

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    1. Sarah - My only complaint with the book was that we didn't get to see or read any BoB entires, but maybe that was more than she wanted to share. Still thought it was a great read though.

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  13. I’m glad you’re enjoying your retirement! It looks like you read some pretty interesting books, too.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Thanks, AJ! It's been a great month, even if I haven't made much of a dent in the tbr list.

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  14. Congratulations on your retirement.

    Time does go by way too fast.

    It is so interesting that Charlie Lovett has written a book in Trollope's universe. I believe that several authors have done so.

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    1. Brian - The Trollope references were the best part of of Lovett's book for me. Unfortunately, the narration of the main female character was awful. She sounded more like a NYC gangster than a 20-something Florida woman. I switched to print too late! Looking forward to beginning The Eustace Diamonds soon.

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  15. Congrats on enjoying retirement! We've been retired early on disability for years so it is no longer a novelty, but I try to enjoy every day.

    I understand the need to change up your reading habits when faced with the nonsense in the news, whether it be genres or quantity. Enjoy whatever appeals to you. I noticed Tribe awhile ago and thought it sounded really interesting to me(a former Sociology major). I do switch up my fiction with nonfiction once in awhile, though the past few months of stress actually make me want to read only make-believe :)

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    1. Rita - We still marvel at the daily freedom, but I suppose that will wear off after a while. Haven't been reading much of anything the past week or so as we worried about/dealt with Irma. Thankfully, we were spared major damage.

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  16. Two cold days?! Oh, no! Summer went by far too quickly here, too. I'm not ready for the rainy season, but if it gets too miserable, we'll head south. We've been lucky and have had nice weather, but it's pretty smoky from all the fires.

    I'm glad retirement is going well. We are lovin' it, too! I'm inspired by Robin's Wandering Wednesdays, too, and will have to make a point of exploring our new area when we aren't exploring the rest of the U.S.! I've been experimenting with recipes, too, and have to thank you for the One Pan Mediterranean Baked Halibut Recipe with Vegetables. We had it a couple of nights ago and absolutely LOVED it!

    Best book in August? Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry. If I had finished it, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine would have been my favorite. I'm almost finished with the audio and loving it!

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    1. Les - Summer was practically nonexistent this year, but now that we're into mid-September we have a string of warmish days... I'll take it! So glad you liked the baked halibut recipe. If I can get my act together, I will start doing a Weekend Cooking post once a month to share dinner successes.

      My reading came to an abrupt halt when Irma entered the picture. We were resigned to a direct hit and 10 ft+ storm surge... thank God it tracked inland instead of up the coast! Now we can get back to life as usual and maybe I'll even start reading again. Eleanor Oliphant is on my wish list. Will check out the audio :)

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  17. Looks like you had a great August with books. Tribes has been on my list for awhile. Glad you enjoyed it. I love growing my own tomatoes because they're so bland from the grocery stores. Looks like Tomatoland should be on my list too.

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    1. Heather - Tomatoland was pretty disheartening. Those delicious, imperfectly shaped homegrown tomatoes will never be replaced!

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  18. I have serious retirement envy--so glad month 1 was a success. Sounds delightful! Lost Book of the Grail and My Life with Bob both sound terrific--added them to my GoodReads TBR list. I go through phases where all I want to read is non-fiction--so many great titles and topics to cover. BTW, since you're a food reading fan, did you ever read Eat the City, about food in NYC? Chances are you are the blogger from whom I first learned about it :) Anyway, I loved it and seems like something you would like as well.

    Happy September.

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    1. JaneGS - Be sure to read rather than listen to Lost Book of the Grail... the voice for the main female character nearly ruined the book for me. I have not read Eat the City, though it has been on my wish list for years. Moving it to the top of my foodie list. Thanks for the rec!

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  19. Glad to hear retirement suits you :-) My favourite read in August was a re-read of Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. Happy September!

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    1. Jessica - Happy September to you, too... now that we are approaching mid-month! I'm still struggling with fiction, but plan to pick up a Trollope novel soon. He never disappoints :)

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  20. Excuse you, but I am Wegmans #1 fan, LOL. Seriously though, I need to read that Grocery book.

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    1. Patience_Crabstick - LOL! How about I'll be #1 NY fan and you can claim VA? ;-) Grocery was a great read.

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  21. Where does time go right? I hope you are enjoying your retirement very much. I am sure you must be so busy what with now being able to do more of the things you love. I'm struggling to get back to blogging after vacation but I'll get there. Looking forward to hearing more of the books you are discovering this month!

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    1. Iliana - We are enjoying retirement very much, but my reading slump has continued. I haven't finished a book all month! Hoping it comes to an end soon :(

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  22. Hi JoAnn, I think I read your post awhile back & then got called away & didn't get to comment. But glad to hear you are both enjoying retirement! And I hope your beloved Sanibel Island didn't get too wrecked by Irma. It'll take awhile I'm sure. Of course, I'd like to read the Pamela Paul book! I like her NYT podcast each week. As for tomatoes, our garden turned out the most ever for Canada this summer; and they tasted good!

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    1. Susan - We very very fortunate on Sanibel! Irma tracked inland beyond Naples, so we were on the west side of the eye...escaped with lots of tree damage, minor flooding, and power & water outages, but nothing catastrophic. Power restored Thursday evening, but clean-up continues.

      I'll have to look for Pamela Paul's podcast...I'm sure it will be one I'd enjoy. It's been a banner year for tomatoes here, too. Nothing beats homegrown local tomatoes!

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