Sunday, November 2, 2014

Weekly Update: November 2, 2014


It feels like fall is pretty much over in central New York. Most of the leaves have fallen, many trees are bare, and we've already seen our first snow flurries. Around here, November is a notoriously dark, cloudy, depressing, in-between month. The sun rarely shines in November and sunset is early - 4:55 PM today. But yesterday on my walk, I was treated to an unexpected splash of red that brightened my day. I shared the photo on instagram, and much later it struck me how perfectly that tree illustrates Estellagram's November theme, see the good. I really like that theme and have decided to embrace #seethegood in my own life this month.



As for reading and blogging, it has been a relatively quiet week.


Yesterday afternoon I started reading Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer and finished it this morning - I loved it! Most of you know I'm not much of a YA reader and avoid magical realism and fantasy at all costs, but this book totally sucked me in and didn't let me go until I was done. The Interestings  is already one of my favorite books this year. I may have to read everything Wolitzer has written...


I'm about halfway through my read/listen combination of The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. The beginning was wonderful, but it seems to be dragging a bit at the moment. I like it, but can't say I love it. At least not yet.


My other book is The Hotel by Elizabeth Bowen, which I am enjoying but haven't spent much time with this week.

On the blog//
-  Weekend Cooking:  A Lighter Mac and Cheese
-  Tuesday Intro:  The Paying Guests

In the kitchen//
I tried a new recipe for an old favorite - this chicken piccata was delicious. Yesterday my husband went to the farmers market without me and came home with bison filets for dinner. I've never had bison, but we decided to grill them. Surprisingly good!

The week ahead//
We're heading south on Friday afternoon. After a few days on the road, we will celebrate my husband's birthday in Florida and fly home the following weekend. If we leave a car in Florida, we'll have to back, right?

I'm falling behind on reviews again and am waiting for inspiration to strike. Hopefully, that will happen this week. If it does, I can schedule a couple to post while we're away, but if it doesn't  a short blogging break may be on the horizon.



This post will link to It's Monday, What Are You Reading?   hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.


51 comments:

  1. It feels like we went straight from summer to winter here. We had on shorts earlier this week and woke up to snow on the ground yesterday. I was not a happy camper.

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    1. Kathy - Thankfully, that storm didn't reach us. Snow on the ground this weekend would have pushed me over the edge.

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  2. Our first snowflakes this morning too, and equally dreary... but I can see the good in that, for reading and baking. Your end-of-fall color is gorgeous. I've never had bison, but I have had ostrich, in Switzerland which makes that even more strange. :) Safe travels!

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    1. Audrey - I've seen ostrich on menus, but have never been brave enough to try it. Reading and baking are definitely two big plusses for November:)

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    2. My sister uses in fajitas (of all things!) It's like very lean beef, or so she tells me.

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  3. Oh, I'm so happy to see you loved Belzhar! Now you need to read The Wife (it actually inched The Interestings out of my favorite Wolitzer spot...and it's super short!).

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    1. Shannon - I've just moved The Wife to the top of my wish list!

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  4. I love your autumn foliage photos-- and your glass half full outlook on November! It's a month to give thanks for I try to remember that. I'm interested in Belzhar after hearing good buzz about it. Thanks for sharing your post.

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    1. Rita - I recently finished my #100HappyDays project on instagram and miss it. Estellagram's #seethegood is just what I need this month!

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  5. It's funny you mention Belzhar. I was cleaning off the stacks of crap on our kitchen table yesterday and found this book! I will definitely read it sooner rather than later, alongside my picks for Nonfiction November. :D

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    1. Andi - You could probably read Belzhar in a single sitting... it's so good!

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  6. Love the photo. We lived in upstate New York for a few years and one of my favourite things was the leaves changing. Will be interested in hearing your thoughts on The Paying Guest. It's on my to read list. Emma

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    1. Emma - Upstate New York and New England are my favorite places to be in the fall. It's so beautiful here! The Paying Guests is thrilling, but may be a little too long.

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  7. What beautiful pictures. Here in Alabama we only have kind of a quasi-fall and very rarely get those beautiful leaves. I'm glad to see that you enjoyed Belzhar. My library has it but I've been hesitating with reading it because it's classified as YA. I'll have to get on the wait list for it. Looking forward to your reviews for The Paying Guests and The Hotel. Have a great week!

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    1. Katharine - Reading Belzhar is a very enjoyable way to spend a day... definitely doable in one setting. Even though I'm not a YA reader, I recommend it very highly.

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  8. Fall is funny here--last weekend it was 90 degrees and now it's in the 40s and 50s. I always miss the in between weather. Your tree is beautiful and I love your fall header.

    I HAVE to read Wolitzer! Though I really need to read The Bell Jar. I think I've said that a zillion times this year.

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    1. Trish - Yes, definitely give Wolitzer a try. I'm even considering reading one of her mother's books (Hilma Wolitzer).

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  9. Our November is behaving in the same way and it's supposed to be Spring.
    Liked but not loved was my final verdict for Sarah Waters - too long!
    Enjoy your time away!

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    1. Cat - I hope you get an early spring and our winter is delayed! I'm 60% through The Paying Guests now. We'll see how it ends, but I'm thinking like but not love and a little too long will be my final verdict, too.

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  10. November is like that here as well. A pretty dreary month usually. I like your splash of color- nice pic. The Hotel looks interesting- I like those retro covers.

    Enjoy the drive and the time in Florida!

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    1. Greg - Those retro covers always appeal to me, too. We're definitely looking forward to time in Florida!

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  11. Like Kathy said, it feels like we jumped straight from summer to winter here too. Some trees are still yellow, but not many. Half are still green, the other half bare. It's depressing. Enjoy your Florida trip - nothing better than going south during cold winter months!

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    1. Athira - I know we're lucky to have such beautiful fall colors here. Too bad it can't last until spring ;-)

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  12. I'm intrigued by The Hotel and is cover. I'll be taking a closer look at it. Have a safe trip and good time in Florida.


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    1. Catherine - Not an awful lot has happened in the hotel, but I'm enjoying learning about the characters. Wonder if there will eventually be more action...

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  13. I'm not a big magical realism fan in YA books myself, but The Hotel sounds great.
    My It's Monday! Post
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

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    1. Kimberly - I'm not sure how I ever got turned off on magical realism, but it worked for me in Belzhar. The Hotel is good so far, too.

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  14. I love seeing your autumn photos on instagram & I'm so glad your enjoyed Belzhar as much as I did.
    I also want to read Wolitzer's back list as well :-)

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    1. Brona - I'm glad Wolitzer has such an extensive backlist!

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  15. Wasn't Belzhar a surprise? It had it's flaws but I still really liked it and I HATE magical realism -- normally. Happy travels and don't worry about the blog. :)

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    1. BethF - It was your review that convinced me to give Belzhar a try. Thank you!

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  16. I don't read much YA either . . . and The Interestings was only so-so for me (I know, everyone else loved it!), so I haven't been jumping to read Belzhar. But glad it's working out for you!

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    1. Leila - My mother didn't even finish The Interestings, so I'm not sure I'll recommend Belzhar to her. They are very different books though.

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  17. I felt the same about Belzhar...and I think it moved me more than most YA books as well...and as for The Interestings, I like that we saw the characters in adulthood, too, which moved it beyond the usual YA angst.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, and enjoy the fall that remains. Alas, it is all to short!

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Belzhar was actually my third YA novel this year. A record for me, lol!

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  18. What a great time of year to head to Florida! You can soak up a little sun to bring back for the wintertime. And that tree is gorgeous - my favorite of the fall leaf colors is that glorious blazing red. Have fun on your trip!

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    1. Quixotic Magpie - Yes, the sun and warmth next week should see me through until January, at least ;-) Fall is my favorite time of year here though.

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  19. I absolutely loved The Interestings and have avoided Belzhar b/c of the magical element (I usually don't like that stuff either), but you're the 2nd or 3rd person I've seen mention that they loved it despite not being a fan of magical realism. Maybe I'll give it a shot! Your leaves are gorgeous!

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    1. Sarah - I'm not sure how Wolitzer pulled it off, but I HATE fantasy and magical elements and this worked for me. It's a quick read, so not much time invested if you don't like it.

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  20. Whata beautiful splash of red! We've had a few beautiful days here. Cleveland gets dismal January-March ;)

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    1. Stacy - The sky was very gray Saturday, but those red leaves made my day! I'm sure it's got something do do with our position in relation to Lake Ontario, but it seems like the sun just stops shining in November and we rarely see it again until spring :-(

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  21. Those photos are beautiful! I haven't read any Wolitzer, but Belzhar sounds like one I should check out. My name finally came to the top of the hold list for The Paying Guests - hoping I like it.

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    1. Carrie - I think my reaction is mixed on The Paying Guests right now. Will be curious to hear what you think. Wolitzer is quickly becoming a favorite. I'm going to read The Wife next on Shannon's recommendation.

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  22. Thanks for sharing your photos. I can see they would be inspiring. I like your #seethegood

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    1. Pat - I think #seethegood is perfect for November... and beyond, too!

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  23. I love the fall photos. Enjoy your trip to Florida!

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    1. Thanks, Diana. I'm really looking forward to it!

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  24. I love the idea of "see the good" for November or any month. Thank you for sharing that.

    I'm interested in seeing what you think of the new Waters book. Let us know.

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    1. Deb - I will! Hope to finish it this weekend.

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  25. Our leaves have all fallen as well. (Northern Wisconsin) We sure had a glorious fall, while it lasted. Soon we'll be comparing our snow fall :)

    I have to check out your mac & cheese post! I didn't manage to get a Weekend Cooking post up this time around. I'm always cooking something though :D

    Have a great week!

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    1. Jennifer - I'm not looking forward to snowfall comparisons ;-)

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