Sunday, March 31, 2013

Claiming my blog with blogluvin'

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#EstellaGram Wrap-Up: Days 22 - 31

Our March #EstellaGram has sadly come to an end...

Day 22| library... On the road today, but I can still visit my local branch

Day 23| e-reader .... I never leave home without it!

Day 24| food... Hubby rules the kitchen tonight -a delicious seafood pasta dish coming soon!

Day 25| cozy

Day 26| reading nook 

Day 27| reading music... I usually prefer quiet, but sometimes choose these.

Day 28| snuggle...The mudroom is a mess, but all my girls are home for Easter. We'll snuggle in for the SU game tonight. 

Day 29| growing... The garden is covered with snow, but I can still plan for summer.

Day 30| yellow favorite book so far this year

Day 31| fluff ...This is the best I can do. Maybe the afghan helps?

It's been fun experimenting with instagram this month and I'd already begun looking around for another photo-a-day challenge, when #Estellagram April was announced. I'm not sure whether April photos will be posted on the blog, but they will be on both twitter (@lakesidemusing) and instagram (lakesidemusing). On we go!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Weekend Begins Now!

It's 5 PM. I really thought I might be able to squeeze in just one review before the house filled up. After all, I finished my Classics Spin book, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, several days before the April 1 deadline. But instead, I have planned menus, gone grocery shopping, and cleaned the house. Now we are five again, so I'll take a break this long Easter weekend and just enjoy our time together.

I'll be back next week with a review or two, a wrap- up of #EstellaGram and The TBR Double Dog Dare, and a Weekend Cooking post. In the meantime, I have a couple of new books to start, March Madness to watch, and Easter bread to bake. I hope you all enjoy the holiday weekend. Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Recommended

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we're talking about the books we recommend most often. I've broken mine into categories... regular readers will find no surprises here.

Pride and Prejudice  by Jane Austen
East of Eden  by John Steinbeck
The Good Earth  by Pearl S. Buck

Literary Fiction:
Crossing to Safety  by Wallace Stegner
The Easter Parade  by Richard Yates
Olive Kitteridge  by Elizabeth Strout
Mudbound  by Hillary Jordan

A Darn Good Story:
The Help  by Kathryn Stockett
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake  by Jenny Wingfield

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake  by Anna Quindlen

What books do you find yourself recommending over and over again?
Visit The Broke and the Bookish for more Top Ten Tuesday posts.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Happy Birthday, Fannie Farmer!

Today we remember the woman responsible for starting a cooking revolution in America. For centuries, words like "dash", “pinch,” “handful,” or “heaping cup” were used when preparing and sharing recipes. In 1896, the newly published Fannie Farmer Cook Book began to change all of that. It was the first cookbook which applied a standardized measurement system to cooking, and is still popular today, more than a century after its original publication.

From The Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of Fannie Merritt Farmer (books by this author), born in Boston (1857). She's known for publishing the first cookbook in American history that came with simple, precise cooking instructions. 
She compiled all the recipes she had ever learned, along with advice on how to set a table, scald milk, cream butter, remove stains, and clean a copper boiler. At first, all the publishers turned her down because they reasoned that these were all things young women could learn from their mothers. Finally, Little, Brown agreed to publish the book if Fannie Farmer would pay for the printing of the first 3,000 copies. It has sold millions of copies since.

Strangely enough, I don't think I've ever owned a Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Nor do I remember my mother using one. I was raised in a Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens kitchen. How about you - did you grow with Betty or Fannie?

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone who has a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up over the weekend.

Friday, March 22, 2013

#EstellaGram: Days 15 - 21

What fun! Here are my week 3 EstellaGram photos. I'm going to miss this when March is over.

Day 15| blanket ... a thoughtful gift from my girls

Day 16| drink of choice - black coffee at 8 am, but I prefer wine after 5

Day 17| slump... will it ever stop snowing? Hurry up, spring!

Day 18| heart ... Jane Austen and Zelda

Day 19| readalong - my latest was a read/listen combination

Day 20| events - A book signing and tasting event with Josh and Brent/ The Fabulous Beekman Boys is a book club highlight this year

Day 20| Inspiration... browsing my cookbook collection for Easter brunch ideas

Tune in next week for week 4 photos.
Find me on Instagram - lakesidemusing

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: I HAD to Have Them

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we're asked to list ten books we just had to buy but still haven't read. Now my list could easily be two or three (okay, maybe four or five) times this length, but here is the stack I'll share today.

from the top:

1. High Rising by Angela Thirkell
a recent purchase, first in line post-TBR Double Dog Dare

2. Stoner by John Williams
Matt and Marie both loved it, no doubt I will, too

3. The Brontes: Wild Genius on the Moors by Juliet Barker
another recent purchase to feed my new Bronte-mania

4. The Priory by Dorothy Whipple
purchased at Persephone Books a few years ago, because who knows when I'll return

5. Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym
saving this for Pym Reading Week in June

6. The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
I keep trying to convince my book club to select this title

7. The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
a signed copy I couldn't resist

8. Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee
purchased at The Mount, still unread

9. The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
purchased in London because I loved the UK cover

10. Them by Joyce Carol Oates
it's on my Classics Club list

Which book (that you needed to buy) has been on your TBR pile the longest?
Visit The Broke and the Bookish for more Top Ten Tuesday posts.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Sunday Salon: St. Patrick's Day Edition

Good morning! Happy St. Patrick's Day, happy last weekend of winter (according to the calendar anyway), and happy Selection Sunday (the official beginning of March Madness). Time is short this morning and I'm way behind on blog reading, so here's a quick recap.

The week that was:
- we started a huge interior painting project
- Spring break and eye surgery for Twin B
- the Big East Tournament (SU fell apart in the finals)
- I finished reading/listening to Vanity Fair

The week ahead:
- more painting
- choose pendant lights for kitchen
- select color for upstairs bathroom
- follow-up doctor's appointment for Twin B
- book club
- lunch with an old friend
- Twin A's break begins

Reading goals:
- finish The Picture of Dorian Gray (classics club spin book)
- read Tomorrow There Will be Apricots
- return to Savage Beauty
- find a replacement for google reader - any suggestions?

- catch up on blog reading
- bake a Chocolate Guinness Cake
- watch Selection Sunday - where will SU go for 'the big dance'?
- St. Patrick's Day dinner with my family
- and can I mention again how much I'm loving #EstellaGram?

There is no green outside my window, but that's not unusual for St. Patrick's Day in central New York. Are you wearing green today?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery

"Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied? - Come children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out."

With this line, William Makepeace Thackery concludes Vanity Fair and our #YoureSoVain read-along draws to a close. I actually finished the book with a day to spare, but the drama of one last Big East Tournament (for Syracuse University, anyway) made writing an on-time wrap-up post impossible. So here I am, a day late...

What did I think? The second half definitely had it ups and downs. A couple of chapters were dull to the point of being almost unreadable, but I really  enjoyed this novel.

Thackery's characters, although not especially likable, are wonderful. Becky is a horrid, conniving creature and I disliked her more and more as the novel progressed. I believe she even resorted to murder by the end of this 'history'. Amelia was an insufferable martyr, while her brother Jos played the part of the fool perfectly. All those Crawleys were very entertaining, and Rawdon eventually won my sympathy. As for honest Dobbin... I actually cheered when he finally told off Amelia. Vanity Fair  is truly a novel without a hero.

The narrator is delightful, and may be my favorite part of the novel. I enjoyed his frequent asides - often humorous, sometimes making an example of a character in order to teach a lesson or back a theory, and sometimes posing a question to the reader.
"Oh, be humble, my brother, in your prosperity! Be gentle with those who are less lucky, if not more deserving. Think, what right have you to be scornful, whose virtue is a deficiency of temptation, whose success may be a chance, whose rank may be an ancestor's accident, whose prosperity is very likely a satire." p. 668 
"Which, I wonder, brother reader, is the better lot, to die prosperous and famous, or poor and disappointed? To have, and to be forced to yield; or to sink out of life, having played and lost the game?" p. 710
A note on the audio production:
For the audio portion of this read/listen combo, I chose the Tantor Audio production narrated by Wanda McCaddon. It was outstanding. McCaddon, whose readings of The Seamstress and Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey   recently earned her multiple Audie Award nominations, has an impressive range of voices and accents. I would not hesitate to choose other titles listed among her credits.

My rating:
This is a tough one. Immediately after finishing, I rated Vanity Fair  4/5 stars. After thinking about it for a few days, I'm inclined raise it to 4.5 stars.

Previous posts:
Beginning Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair: Midpoint Check-in

Thank you Trish and Melissa for co-hosting this read-along!

“The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice.” 

Friday, March 15, 2013

#EstellaGram: Days 8 - 14

This is so much fun! Here is a week 2 recap of my  EstellaGram photos.

Day 8| traveling - my motto "always bring a book"

Day 9| snacks - almonds! 

Day 10| reading space

Day 11| funny

Day 12| reading helpers - my essentials

Day 13| lighting - my husband really hates this little Mighty Bright!

Day 14| other pastimes - college basketball! #MarchMadness #GoCuse #OrangeNation

Tune in next week for week 3 photos.
Find me on Instagram - lakesidemusing

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Intro: The Picture of Dorian Gray

The studio was filled with the rich odor of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn. 
From the corner of the divan of Persian saddle-bags on which he was lying, smoking, as usual, innumerable cigarettes, Lord Henry Wotton could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and honey-colored blossoms of the laburnum, whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flame-like as theirs; and now and then the fantastic shadows of birds in flight flitted across the long tussore-silk curtains that were stretched in front of the huge window, producing a kind of momentary Japanese effect, and making him think of those pallid jade-faced painters who, in an art that is necessarily immobile, seek to convey the sense of swiftness and motion. The sullen murmur of the bees shouldering their way through the long unmown grass, or circling with monotonous insistence round the black-crocketed spires of the early June hollyhocks, seemed to make the stillness more oppressive, and the dim roar of London was like the bourdon note of a distant organ.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde

I recently started my Classics Club Spin book, but haven't made much progress. My edition has 254 pages, so it shouldn't be a problem to finish by April 1, but the opening hasn't grabbed me yet. I'll give it my full attention right after I finish Vanity Fair. Have you read this book, or anything else by Oscar Wilde?

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Maybe I'll Read Tonight...

Monday... already? Where did the weekend go? We traveled to New York City on Friday (arrived just as the snow was winding down). Twin B drove in with us, Twin A arrived by train Thursday night, and we all camped out in Daughter #1's little apartment - talk about family togetherness! We walked, we talked, we ate... and saw Jersey Boys at the August Wilson Theater. A perfect weekend, even with that lost hour of sleep Saturday night.

Needless to say, there was not much time for reading. Actually, there was no time at all for reading. I listened to a few chapters of Vanity Fair in the car, but that's it. I have bookmarks in three other books - Savage Beauty, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Tomorrow There Will be Apricots - but not one of them has moved in days. It seems like ages since I finished a book. Now I remember why I usually read only one book at at time!

Vanity Fair will take priority this week. I was really enjoying the story, but the last 4 or 5 chapters have been pretty boring. Our read-along wraps up on Friday and I'd like to finish by Thursday. There are roughly 200 (of 800) pages or 7 audio hours left - let's hope something happens soon.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

EstellaGram: Days 1 - 7

In case you're not on twitter or instagram, here's a recap of my  Estellagram Week 1 photos.

Day 1: Bookshelves

Day 2: TBR - just a portion of the staggering pile

Day 3: Unread (but I'm working on them)

Day 4: Fiction

Day 5: Non-fiction

Day 6: Mystery- my dog Zelda loved this one, too!

Day 7: Crime -  hope to read this soon

Look for week 2 photos next Saturday.
Find me on Instagram - lakesidemusing


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