Sunday, November 29, 2009

TSS: Holiday Weekend Wrap-Up and A Look Ahead

Good morning! It's been long, happy, holiday weekend, but feels like I've been away from this blog for weeks. Let's get caught up...

The holiday:

First, Thanksgiving was perfect! Daughter #1 was home from college, my brother and his family were visiting from Pennsylvania, and my parents and second brother came for the day. The table was set for a relatively small crowd of 13 (all three sisters spent the day with in-laws). We enjoyed the traditional Thanksgiving meal, and the company was superb!

In anticipation of Black Friday shopping, my oldest daughter had 5 friends spend the night. They were out the door by 4AM, but Daughter #1 was back home and in bed by 9! I avoid the mall at all cost on this day. We also hosted the 'leftover feast' on Friday...same crowd as Thanksgiving, plus my three sisters and their families. The teen girls slipped out to the movie to see New Moon that evening, some for the second time!

Yesterday was the annual Family Christmas Party. Always held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it gives us a chance to spend time with my aunt, cousins, and their families before the holiday frenzy really takes hold. The highlight is definitely the Yankee Auction gift exchange!

Today, I will brave the mall crowds and begin Christmas shopping with Daughter #1. Since her Monday morning class was cancelled, she'll stay home an extra night, avoid the holiday traffic, and return to campus tomorrow.


Despite all the activities, time was carved out for reading. Before the leftovers on Friday, I finished North River by Pete Hamill. For some reason, I was anticipating not liking this, but was very pleasantly surprised. Hamill is also the author (and reader) of my current audiobook , Downtown: My Manhattan. A personal history, woven together with a history of the city, it is quite enjoyable in this format. Both books are in preparation for his talk at the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series in early December.

I finished Great Expectations by Charles Dickens on audio. Initially this was a combination read at home, listen in the car book, but the reader was excellent and the audio version "won". Classics aren't my usual audio fare, but I'm wondering if I should start adding them to the mix. Do you ever listen to classics?

Bookish Plans:

I must get caught up on reviews! Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto was fabulous, as was The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton (in totally different ways, of course), but I haven't managed to get anything written. North River can also be added to this list.

Short Story Mondays will take on a holiday theme for the coming month with Everyman's Pocket Classics Christmas Stories. If I get a chance to read one later today, this may even begin tomorrow!

What to read next? I'm not quite sure. A Drinking Life: A Memoir by Pete Hamill, came from the library. I seem to get more from the lectures when I've read more by the author, so this is a possibility. There are also several novels and classics I'm ready to pick up, but another Agatha Raisin cozy mystery would also fit my current mood. What's a girl to do...

Enjoy your Sunday, and I'll be by to visit this evening.


  1. Your holidays sounded wonderful...and I agree that it's wise to avoid the malls on that day!

    Your reading sounds ambitious!

    My Sunday Salon is here:

  2. just reminded me - I have a book of Christmas short stories that I purchased at a second hand bookstore about two years ago. Perhaps I will join you for Short Story Mondays during the month of December.

    Sounds like you and your family had a glorious Thanksgiving.

    Have fun shopping with daughter #1 today :)

  3. I don't blame you for avoiding the crowds on Black Friday--I did too!

  4. I don't have the fortitude to get to the mall on Black Friday but we did make it out to buy an outdoor extension cord. Luckily there were no crowds at the hardware store. So glad you had a wonderful holiday weekend with all your family. You have inspired me to read a short story now that I am in between reads:)

  5. You were so productive! If my mom were here, we very well may have been up at 4am as well, but I'm not doing it by myself! Plus she has a handicapped sticker which is like GOLD around now! I listened to Pride & Prejudice and Brideshead Revisited on audio and absolutely loved them. I need to read more classics, so I'll see if I can get more on audio. I just don't think to look.

  6. I've not ever thought to listen to a classic instead of reading it...good idea!!! I don't do Black Friday either...can't stand the crowds or the behavior of adults. Your holiday sounds truly wonderful and I like your traditions!! I will be reading my first Agatha Raisin book soon...can't wait!!!

  7. Laurel-Rain Snow - It really was a fantastic weekend. I did go to the mall today, but it wasn't too bad. The hardcore shoppers were out FRiday and Saturday!

    Molly - We'd love to have you join in for December Short Story Mondays! I haven't read anything at all today, so if I get a post up tomorrow, it will be late. We had a great time shopping today - our last stop was B&N, where I had a pumpkin spice latte and a good book browse!

    Reviewsbylola - I don't like crowds much at all! It was busy today, but not mobbed like Friday.

  8. Book Psmith - I can't wait to see what short story you choose! I haven't read anything today, but if I get time I'll read a story tomorrow and do a post.

    Sandy - I've never done the 4AM thing, so my daughter is really surprising me. It's the time with her high school friends that she's really enjoying, I think. I will be looking into more audio classics after the holidays - just got Maisie Dobbs for my next one.

    Staci - Classics seem much less intimidating when someone reads them to you, lol! Can't wait to hear what you think about Agatha Raisin.

  9. Sounds like you have a wonderful holiday Joanne. I love "yankee Swaps" so much fun and full of laughs--especially when there are some ridiculous gag gifts.

  10. I'm glad you had such a great holiday! I loved North River when I listened to it on audio - Pete Hamill is brilliant!

  11. Diane - We have a couple gifts that keep returning year after is so much fun!

    Carrie K. - I'll bet North River was great on audio, and am hoping Hamill's memoir will provide good background before hearing him speak. I'll be reading more of his novels, eventually - have you read any others?

  12. Phew! You had a busy house these past few days but a joyous one to be sure. I was so excited to read that you have the Everyman's Christmas book, mine will be coming out again soon.

  13. The mall opens at 4am? Wow! Hope you have a good day shpping. I like the sound of the latest collection of short stories...

  14. Sounds like a great Thanksgiving. I love how your family turns it into a whole weekend.

  15. Darlene - I first heard about that Christmas collection from you...even looked around for it last year, but to no avail. I finally just ordered it from amazon! Can't wait to get started.

    Verity - Several mall stores opened at 4AM for special 'Black Friday' sales, but you won't EVER see me there at that hour!!

    Stacybuckeye - We do seem to make a festival out of these holidays - it was nonstop around here, but we love it!

  16. I was introduced to Agatha Raisin in the Quiche of Death and loved her! I will read more of this writer.

    Your Yankee Auction must be like the White Elephant exchange. Last year at our christmas party for the adults, we changed it to something like Oprah's favorite things show -- everyone brings there favorite find or something they use all the time or don't want to be without. Could be something as simple as their favorite kind of pen.

  17. Kim - Isn't Agatha wonderful? I'm looking forward to reading another one soon. The Yankee auction is like a White Elephant gif exchange - lots of fun, and very funny. I also like your favorite things idea.

  18. I've very much looking forward to your review of Kitchen!

  19. Nymeth - Not sure why I've had such a hard time writing reviews lately, but I do hope to get caught up within the week.

  20. sounds like a great holiday. we do the leftover feast on friday as well and I don't blame you one bit for avoiding the mall! :-) the relatives who come up to visit insist on going out shopping the whole weekend- you'd think they didn't have stores where they're from, LOL! :-)

  21. Marie - We're finally finished with the leftovers. I'm amazed by my brother and SIL wanting to shop over the weekend, too. They actually have better stores at home!

  22. Christmas party already? That sounds so warm and homey! I don't have much plan for Christmas since I don;t have much of family here. But I plan to have dinners with small group of friends, most likely in Los Angeles.

    I have never listened to classics, in fact, I have just listened to the first audiobook this year (Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society). How do you like listening to classics?

  23. Matt - Yes, we do the extended family Christmas party at Thanksgiving since that's when all the out-of-town relatives things get too crazy as it gets further into December.

    Great Expectations is the first classic I've listened to, and I just loved it. I usually listen to lighter contemporary fiction and occasionally nonfiction, so this was a new experience for me

  24. Great to hear you had a nice time with your family. Thanksgiving and Black Friday don't exist as such here, but the holiday frenzy seems to be the same :)
    I always wondered what it would be like to listen to a classic. Maybe I should give it a try since I'm reading lots of classics lately.

    Have a great week!

  25. Ivana - Listening to a classic was a very different experience, but Great Expectations (and I suspect Dickens in general) was great as an audio. Let me know if you decide to give it a try!


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