Sunday, June 15, 2014

Weekly Update: More Blogging Means Less Reading


Good morning, friends. As the week passed, it occurred to me that balance is becoming a problem. Two weeks ago when I was mostly reading, blogging suffered. The opposite was true this past week. My total reading amounted to barely 100 pages, but a blog post appeared nearly every day. We'll see what the week ahead holds.

In print:

I'm reading Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen, still.  Not sure whether to attribute the slow start to the my reading habits of the past week or to the story itself. Either way, I read over half of it yesterday evening and can't wait to pick it up again later today. I may even finish tonight.

What should I read next? Two great book came through inter-library loan this week: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill and The Vacationers by Emma Sraub. They're both fairly short, but I prefer the cover of The Vacationers. How's that for shallow? I may have to flip a coin.



On audio:
I started listening to Five Days at Memorial by Sheir Fink. It examines the events at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans during and immediately following Hurricane Katrine in 2005. The book is amazing but, given my experience working in a teaching hospital, I am totally horrified. So compelling and though-provoking...



On the blog:
 - Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I've Read (so far) This Year
 - Summer Shorts '14: "An Ancient Gesture" by Edna St. Vincent Millay Read by Kathe Mazur
 - Summer Shorts '14: Amy Rubinate, Cassandra Campbell, and Kathe Mazur, Sonnets 2, 4, and 6 from Renascence & Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay
 - A quick review: Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening by Carol Wall

Book club meeting:
Eight of us met Friday morning to discuss Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.  The story of Huguette Clark is fascinating, but the reaction to the book was only lukewarm. I was the most enthusiastic, perhaps because of the read/listen combination. A complete review is in the works.


Next month is our annual potluck dinner. For this meeting we choose a book with recipes and each of us prepares one of those dishes to share. The tradition started in 2010 with A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. I wrote about that meeting here.

This year we're approaching it a little differently. Since it tends to be our most social meeting (i.e. no serious book discussion), we'll each read a foodie title of our own choosing, bring a dish from the book, and, hopefully, come away from the meeting with several new books for our TBR lists.

I'm considering The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz. It would be perfect for Paris in July, but I'm open to other suggestions.

What's the best "foodie" book you're read in the last couple of years?

This week's random observation:
I bought a Fitbit One last month and set a daily goal of 10,000 steps. It didn't take me long to realize the goal was practically unattainable without a daily walk or time on the treadmill. There was no walk yesterday, but I spent a couple of hours at the mall and hit 10, 000 steps... a first! Another benefit of retail therapy ;-)

Later today:
It's Father's Day, and I'm happy to have two of my three daughters home to celebrate. We're hosting a family dinner for my parents and siblings later this afternoon... ribs with all the fixings. Hopefully we'll be able to get out on the lake, too. It was very cold (for June) yesterday, barely 60 degrees, but we should recover to the mid 70's today. Just about perfect, I think.


This post will link to It's Monday! What are you Reading? hosted at Book Journey.



52 comments:

  1. I like David Lebovitz' recipes better than his writing (but that's just me...).... I enjoyed Mastering the Art of French Eating, by Ann Mah if you wanted to 'taste' another option :). I love the idea of your food club meeting!

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    1. Audrey - That sounds like a good choice. Can't believe my library has it on audio, but not in print... grrrr! Our summer potlucks always have the best attendance ;-)

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  2. I really enjoyed My Paris Kitchen by Lebovitz but haven't really looked at any of his other work. I'm really looking forward to your review of Empty Mansions. I definitely want to compare it to Phantom of 5th Avenue. I don't think I'm going to take you up on your extremely kind offer to send the book to me as I have a feeling I'll just be flipping through it. This sounds like a fun book club!

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    1. Katherine - That's how I feel about The Phantom of 5th Avenue now... son;t think I'd actually read another whole book about Huguette.

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  3. I enjoyed Still Life with Bread Crumbs....and I have my eye on The Vacationers. Thanks for visiting my blog, and have a great week.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I've past the halfway mark now and am really enjoying Still Life. Think the slow start was just me...

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  4. Most likely you could read Dept. of Speculation in an hour or two, so I say BOTH! :D

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    1. Andi - Just flipped thru Dept. of Speculation and it does look like very quick read... think I'll take your advice ;)

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  5. Yes, that fitbit has made me realize how sedentary my life can become. I try to make a point of taking an early morning walk to better my chances at hitting the 10,000 step target.

    I am going to check out Paris in July ... I need a literary vacation this summer :)

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    1. Molly - I am totally loving this fitbit - it's the best $99 I've ever spent! Mornings are my favorite time for walking,too.

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  6. I've read so many great reviews of The Vacationers - I really want to read that one!

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    1. Carrie - The positive reviews for The Vacations just keep appearing in my feed - can't ignore that ;)

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  7. The 'best foodie book' that popped into my head for the 'lately' woulld have to be Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan. Like Water For Chocolate might work, too.

    Have fun at meeting! and balancing...

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    1. Care - I remember reading your review and thinking that sounded like a great book. Thanks for reminding me!!

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  8. I really enjoyed Jen Lin-Liu'a two books about exploring Chinese food. I haven't cooked anything out of them yet.

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    1. Lisa - I've never heard of that one... will look it up now. Thanks!

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  9. Well I'm not blogging OR reading! Ha! I'm hoping to get back in the groove, but dang man, kids at home does change things up. And love my Fitbit...it does prompt you to get up and move a little more. I mean even today I golfed nine holes and walked all I could, and I still only got 6,000 steps. I know what you mean about Five Days at Memorial. Fascinating but horrifying at the same time.

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    1. Sandy - What great audio Five Days at Memorial is... loved your remark that it is the next Henrietts Lacks. That was such a great audio, too. Getting to that 10,000 step mark really requires planning and effort. The extra push has been really good for me.

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  10. I have not been blogging this week either - my grandson made an early arrival. I have been wanting to get a Fitbit, but three days I exercise in the pool and would feel like a failure since those steps won't track! ;O0

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    1. Nise' - You've had a VERY exciting week!! Too bad the Fitbit won't work in the pool...it's probably only a meeter of time before somebody makes on that can track aqua exercise!

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  11. It really is hard to find a balance some weeks, isn't it? I love the idea of the annual potluck book club meeting, but I don't think it would over with my group - none of them like to cook very much. :-(
    My vote for your next read is The Vacationers. As you know, I loved it and think it is a perfect summer read.
    Have a great week!

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    1. Anbolyn - Your review of The Vacationers pushed me to request it from the library... just looking a t the cover makes me happy!

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  12. Hope you had a great Father's Day. Your pot luck sounds like a lot of fun. Enjoy!

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    1. Pat - We had a great day yesterday! My father enjoyed having 5 of his 6 kids there to celebrate.

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  13. I just finished Wizenberg's Delancy -- there are a few recipes in that one. As for the FitBit -- yes, it really shows you how important that daily walk is.

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    1. Beth F - Delancy is one of the titles I'm considering. It may come down to what I can get from the library.... so many of the new books have waiting lists.

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  14. I'm about 3/4 of the way through The Vacationers and I know a lot of people love it, but I'm lukewarm. I think it's fine, but I'm still sort of waiting for something to happen. The writing is fine…but not brilliant and same with the characters. I feel like in a book without much action, you need a brilliant "something else" to carry it…writing or characters. Anyway - I had high expectations, but they're not panning out.

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    1. Sarah - I tend to like books where not much happens, but agree that you really need to have something else to pull the reader along. Your comment will help to temper my expectations.... which may be running a little too high at this point.

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  15. I've been thinking I need to break down and buy a Fitbit. I like that they can track your sleep. I know this is a huge problem for me.

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    1. Stacybuckeye - The fitbit is great... definitely worth every penny! It's an excellent motivator for me. I'm not quite as sold on the sleep tracking. Some nights when I just lie awake for hours but don't move, it thinks I'm asleep :(

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  16. Balance seems hard to maintain in life period! I know I could get a lot more reading done if I stayed away from the blog, but on the other hand since I started 'book' blogging my reading has increased. I've met such wonderful people blogging though I could never give it up! I checked Kinfolk Table out from my library this last week! Busy writing down recipes now! Must check out that Fitbit gadget now!

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    1. Peggy Ann - That's exactly how I feel about reading/blogging, too! I've been listening to my blogging friends talk about fit bits for months and am so glad I finally bought one... it really makes me want to be more active.

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  17. I really liked Still Life With Breadcrumbs once I got into it. Hope you find the reading/blogging balance you're looking for. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Catherine - Still Life with Bread Crumbs has definitely picked up and I like it very much now!

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  18. My mom just passed Still Life with Breadcrumbs on to me, so I guess I will get to that sooner or later. Five Days at Memorial is on my bookshelf, but it looks daunting...both in pages and subject....

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    1. Bibliophiliac - I've heard people say that Five Days at Memorial can get a little tedious or repetitive in print, but the audio is extremely engaging.

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  19. I'm also lukewarm about The Vacationers - it isn't in the same league as Bernadette. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.

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    1. Jackie - Funny you mention Bernadette, because I somehow have them placed in the same category. We'll see...

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  20. It's hard to find the right balance between reading, blogging, and real life. Since summer vacation started, I've been reading & blogging less, and spending more time with family. I try not to stress out over my blog, but sometimes it's hard not to!

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    1. Diana - I declared my blog a "stress-free zone" this year, but still have to keep reminding myself...

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  21. My fitbit probably thinks I'm bedridden. I have been doing so much reading and blogging that I haven't even hit 5000 steps since vacation began. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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    1. Kathy - LOL!!! You deserve a little down time in the summer though :)

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  22. I'm finding that sometimes I seem to be blogging more than reading too, and that seems backwards. :) I like the cover of vacationers too, it just seems summery. PErfect time of year for it, perhaps?

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    1. Greg - That's what I'm thinking... When else would you want to read The Vacationers? ;)

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  23. I popped over to Paris in July and signed up! What a fun idea! I read A Sweet Life in Paris and loved it!

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    1. Quixotic Magpie - Hurray!! See you in Paris next month :)

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  24. It's so hard to balance reading and blogging. I haven't really been blogging but scarfing down books. ;-) I love the idea of a foodie book club meeting.

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    1. Vasilly - I suppose we all go in streaks like that. BTW, you inspired me to join in with #100happy days on Instagram - thanks!

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  25. Too bad about Empty Mansions. The cover looks so inviting.

    I hope your other books are enjoyable.

    Have a great reading week.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My Mailbox Monday

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    1. Elizabeth - I really liked Empty Mansions, but attribute some of it to the audio production. The book club reaction was disappointing.

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  26. Hi JoAnn, looks like we read very similar books. I have Still Life with Breadcrumbs on my shelf, I need to find time to read it. My problem is review copies of books, I have too many now and can't read titles I bought new that are now much older. I plan to listen to Five Days at Memorial next. I hear it's tough to listen to, but good. I hope you got out on the lake the photograph is lovely!

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    1. Anita - It's nice to meet you! We definitely have similar taste in books and I think we both have college -aged twin daughters, too. I also have an older daughter (24). There are so many books I want to read, so I stopped accepting review copies this year in an attempt to catch up (but that may never happen). Five Days at Memorial is amazing on audio..absolutely riveting. I am horrified by what happened and the lack of preparedness. It's so scary, but a very important story.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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