Monday, March 19, 2018

March 19, 2018: It's Monday, What Are You Reading?


It's Monday... and I'm reading again! I finished two books this week and started two more.

Today is also the last day of winter. Relatively cool temperatures moderated by midweek, and we had perfect beach weather for the weekend. The island is at full capacity now and will be through Easter when "high season" ends. It will gradually get quieter until schools let out, then summer season begins. We'll stay until Memorial Day.



Finished this week//


The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

I loved reading this novel a second time but, once again, was frustrated by Isabel's decision at the end. This time, I focused on her motives... mulling over several which I won't go into here. James, notorious for ambiguity, is always open to interpretation. This is where John Banville comes in ...

Banville picks up Isabel's story in his new novel Mrs. Osmond. I'm hoping he takes us through her decision, making us privy to the thought process, and then imagining how her life plays out. My library hold should arrive soon.

I'm embarrassingly late finishing our February read-along and have learned that in the future, it might be best not to schedule reading events during winter guest season ;-)




Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak 

This was a perfect post-Henry James recovery book! I enjoyed everything about this family quarantined at Christmastime novel - the characters, the setting, their secrets, the short chapters told from alternating viewpoints, and the resolution. Reading it on the beach certainly added to the experience.




Current reading//


Sunburn by Laura Lippman
I read the first 25 pages of Lippman's new psychological thriller yesterday afternoon and can already tell it will be a page turner. Can't wait to pick it up again later today!



Listening to//


by Jennifer Wright, narrated by Gabra Zackman
This book was recommended by several of my most trusted audio sources. Books about medicine tend to appeal to me anyway, but I'm especially enjoying this author's voice and style... very Mary Roach-like.



Watching//
The National Parks series was sidelined in favor of March Madness (Go 'Cuse!) We'll try to watch a couple more episodes before the games continue on Thursday.


In the kitchen//
Ever since my mother mentioned gingerbread last week, I've been craving it. Yesterday I made Laurie Colwin’s Gingerbread. The recipe is from the New York Times (as is the photo), but I'm sure it appears in her books as well. My father-in-law asked for seconds... it was delicious!



The week ahead//
With no company on the horizon, this feels almost like a vacation week! We're back to our normal routine... I might even finish another another book.

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.
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38 comments:

  1. One definitely needs a Henry James recovery book, doesn't one! And friends to read him with. :)

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    1. Audrey - I'll never read Henry James alone again :)

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  2. I enjoyed Seven Days of Us, as well. I actually read it during the holiday season, and this was the first year I actually read holiday-themed books at the appropriate time of year! Enjoy your week!

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    1. Angela - Seven Days of Us must have been even more fun to read during the holiday season! It was definitely exactly what I needed last week.

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  3. Awesome photo of the sky!

    I enjoyed Seven Days of Us...and also loved Sunburn.

    Have a great week, and thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - That's my favorite post-sunset photo so far this winter! I'm liking the Seven Days of Us more and more as I think about... both my mother and sister want to read it now. Sunburn seems very promising, too. Thanks for visiting :)

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  4. I just finished reading The Dry by Jane Harper, looking forward to more by this author. Started Seven Days of Us and that's going well too. In the beginning it's hard to like anyone, especially Phoebe!

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    1. Tina - The Dry sounds really good. I just noticed the second book in the series just came out. None of the characters in Seven Days of Us were particularly likable, but Phoebe is especially annoying. Still, I really enjoyed the book!

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  5. I wish I was down there where it's warm. Your gingerbread looks wonderful!

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    1. Kathy - The weather has been great down here, but I'll probably be complaining about the heat and humidity before too much longer ;-)

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  6. Oh no! WHy did you mention Colwin's gingerbread? I think I might have to bake. I'm so happy you're listening to Get Well Soon!

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    1. Beth F - I'd never made her gingerbread recipe, but it was SO good! Loving the audio version of Get Well Soon... definitely my kind of book.

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  7. I'm sitting here drinking a cup of coffee and thinking a piece of that gingerbread would be perfect! :) Glad to hear your reading is picking back up and can't wait to hear more about Get Well Soon. Sounds intriguing!

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    1. Iliana - Who would expect a book about plagues to be so interesting? I'm loving Get Well Soon!

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  8. I love the look of Seven Days of Us! And the National Park series as well- we are big fans of National Parks and love to vacation at them. :) Have a great one!

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    1. Erin - We're big fans of National Parks, too, and the series is helping us decide which ones to visit next. Seven Days of Us gets better and better the more I think about it!

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  9. The gingerbread looks amazing. I haven't had that in so long. I think you'll really like Sunburn. (And really, isn't everything great when it's read on the beach?)

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    1. Susie - It had been ages since we last had gingerbread, too... such a delicious treat. I'm loving Sunburn!!

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  10. It is so much fun to have fam and friends around but it’s nice to see them leave, too! You have had tons of visitors. P,us...you are certainly making up for lost reading time...and reading on the beach is so relaxing! My next big hurdle is going somewhere overnight...soon...dinner out was exactly what I needed. I love those NYT recipes...esp Laurie Colwin’s!

    Has anyone else asked you about comments? My first comment always disappears! I am not sure what I am doing...sigh! I have just learned to write gibberish first because it clears itself.

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    1. Patty - We've enjoyed having all the visitors, and now it seems like we're on vacation! Time for us to relax and enjoy! I'm so happy you and Den were able to go out to dinner last weekend. An overnight seems like the next logical step - a big one, but you can do it!! Nobody has mention commenting lately, but I frequently have that problem on other blogger blogs... it's so frustrating and I have no idea what to do. Sigh.

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  11. I am sure your cool spring weather is nice! At least we are enjoying the sun even though it is cold. Seven Days of Us has been on my stacks for way to long, gotta get to it! Looking forward to Sunburn.

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    1. Nise' - I hope real spring weather arrives in your area soon.... this seems like such a long winter. Hope you give Seven Days of Us a try soon, it was such an enjoyable read for me. Sunburn is getting better and better as I keep reading!

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  12. That cover for Sunburn is amazing! Looks like you have some great reading ahead!

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    1. Heather - So far the book is just as amazing as the cover!

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  13. We had a tornado warning where I live in Florida today, and a tornado watch all day until 7pm. It's been storming on and off all day and really windy. It got scary there for about an hour.

    Your books look good. I've never had gingerbread and just recently had ginger snaps for the first time.

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    1. Vicki - The storms are here now! We're not in a tornado warning, but there's rain, thunder, lightning, and wind... think it will pass through soon. My mother used to make gingerbread men every Christmas, and sometimes a gingerbread cake during the year. It's been ages since I've had it, so this was a nice treat.

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  14. Hi JoAnn: you deserve many post-Henry James recovery reads! You're staying till Memorial Day -- is that longer than usual? I will check out some March Madness & see how the Orange do. Enjoy your quieter week!

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    1. Susan - Think I'll enjoy another recovery read or two, but it will be a long while before I read James again. We will stay here longer than usual this year. My husband officially retired at the end of the summer, so no need to get back to work. Besides, it may take until Memorial Day for all the snow to melt up there ;-)

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  15. Today was cold, windy and rainy here. It's hard to know spring is just around the corner. All of your book selections look terrific. Have a great week.

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    1. Pat - It's even chilly again in Florida... February was definitely warmer than March has been. Hope we all get a taste of spring soon!

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  16. Hi JoAnn! I enjoyed your comments about Portrait of a Lady. I've never read anything by Henry James, but I have The Ambassadors on my TBR stack. Love your beautiful sunset photo, and the gingerbread looks delicious! Over the weekend, I finished The Hotel by Elizabeth Bowen, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Now I'm reading Not That Sort of Girl by Mary Wesley. It's been fun reading one of Wesley's novels again. Hope you are having a great week! :)

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    1. Monica - I read The Hotel a few years ago and didn't enjoy it as much as I'd expected to, either. Remember thinking that the cover was my favorite part, lol! Glad I reread Portrait of a Lady, but won't be in a hurry to return to Henry James.

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  17. Seven Days of Us sounds like a great book, but I think I'll make a note to get it from the library in December since it's a holiday-type read. Glad you're going to have some downtime this coming week. Our visitor schedule is beginning to fill up, starting at the end of May. We'll have to squeeze in a few camping trips between guests! We're already excited about our upcoming trip next week. 3 weeks in Northern California, rain or shine! Have a great week, JoAnn.

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    1. Les - I usually prefer to read books with holiday settings during the holidays, but couldn't resist grabbing Seven Days of Us off the library shelf. Sounds like your guest season is ramping up just as ours is winding down. One of our daughters in NYC will be joining us for Easter, but nothing planned after that. Hope it's mostly shine and less rain for your trip next week :)

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  18. I really struggle with Henry James. I had to read Portrait of a Lady in college and I don't feel any desire to reread. I'm currently reading Country Chronicle by Gladys Taber, one of her books about life at Stillmeadow Farm, her 1690 farmhouse in Connecticut.

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    1. Patience_Crabstick - My desire to read more Henry James is fading fast. It will be a long time before I pick up another of his novels. I've never read Gladys Taber, but several blogging friends enjoy her and I keep meaning to try one of her books. Loved the latest 'yarn bomb' you posted on Instagram!!

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  19. I'm glad you enjoyed Portrait of a Lady--I've officially scratched H James off my reading list, but I know he has fans among people whose reading taste aligns with mine...mostly. Reading a Xmas book on the beach would be interesting--I decided to put off the only Winter Street book I haven't read yet until it next winter. Just as I struggle to buy off season clothes when they're cheap, I struggle to read off season books! My daughter has been trying to decide what to bake this weekend--think I'll send her Laurie Colwin's gbread. Sounds perfect!

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    1. JaneGS - I'm taking a good long break from Henry James now. As much as I enjoyed Portrait of a Lady, it was a struggle at times. I also felt that way about What Maisie Knew a year or two ago and my reread of Turn of the Screw last year. Think I'll turn my attention back to the Brontes or Mrs. Gaskell!

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