Sunday, December 21, 2014

'Twas the Weekend Before Christmas...


... and the shopping is done, the gifts are wrapped, the cards have been mailed, and the tree is trimmed. Tomorrow we'll bake the cookies and finalize our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus. I really do enjoy all the preparation rituals, but it's just about time to kick back, relax, and bask in the holiday glow. The ground is still covered with snow and ice is forming on the lake... it definitely looks a lot like Christmas around here.

Am I reading? 

Not very much. I'm still only halfway through They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple. It's a wonderful book, but I'm only managing ten or fifteen pages each night before I fall asleep. An entire day on the couch under a cozy blanket will be my post-holiday reward... maybe Friday or Saturday?

Listening, however, is another story....


I finished Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State by T.D. Allman and am not quite sure what to make of it. Fact, subjective journalism, or a personal rant? Most likely a bit of all three.



I also listened to Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, narrated by Cassandra Campbell and loved it - sad, but very thought-provoking. Glad I haven't posted my list of favorites yet.



I have just started Euphoria by Lily King and am not sure what to think yet. Stay tuned.


On the blog//
Weekend Cooking: Review of Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert
Playing Catch Up: Four Mini-Reviews
  - Christmas at High Rising by Angela Thirkell
  - By the Book, edited by Pamela Paul,
  - Starting Out in the Evening by Brian Morton
  - The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters


Coming up this week//
You might see a review of Everything I Never Told You  and Finding Florida... if I get around to it. Most likely, I'll take a blogging break and then wrap up the year with my Favorites of 2014 posts.


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



54 comments:

  1. Sounds like you are on track for a fabulous Christmas.

    I started the audio Euphoria and just couldn't get into it. I might have done better with the print version, but i doubt it.

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    1. Diane - I listened to the first two chapters and didn't get the point. Have started over again now... we'll see.

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  2. Everything I Never Told You was one of my favorite reads of 2014. Glad you liked it too.

    Enjoy the holidays...and catching up on your reading.

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    1. Catherine - I'm so glad audible offered Everything I Never Told You as a daily deal! It might have been months until I got to it otherwise. Hope you have a wonderful holiday, too!

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  3. These are books I've taken notice lately. Thanks for your thoughts. I'll put them on my TBR list. Have a Merry Christmas, JoAnn, you and yours! -- Arti of Ripple Effects :)

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    1. Arti - Merry Christmas to you and your family, too. Thanks for keeping me so well-informed about movies :)

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  4. Ten or fifteen pages before you fall asleep....I'm envious! I've taken my book up to bed twice in the past few days, brushed my teeth, and then thought 'nope' Zzzzz. Merry Christmas to you and yours, JoAnn, if I don't make it back here!

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    1. Darlene - My 10-15 pages may be optimistic, but I'm sure we'll both have more time and energy for reading after the holidays. Merry Christmas!

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  5. I just discovered a brand new indie bookstore in town (our only one) and I bought the Finding Florida book. It is huge! That will probably take me a year to read but I live here so it would be good to know our roots!

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    1. Sandy - I will be very curious to hear your take on Finding Florida. It was over 20 hours on audio, so I'm sure it's a door-stopper in print.

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  6. I was hoping to enjoy Euphoria because the plot sounded so good, but now I'm not sure, hmm. I have Everything I Never Told You on my kindle but have to be in the right mood to read it because I know it will be sad.

    Your winter header is beautiful as is your photo above. Really reminds me of Christmas! Enjoy your week, Christmas Day and the relaxing reading afterwards :)

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    1. Rita - I've listened to the first two chapters of Euphoria a couple of times and don't have much of an opinion yet. I've enjoyed both narrators in the past, so I hope it gets better.

      Everything I Never Told You is so, so good, but very sad. Probably not the best listening choice for wrapping Christmas presents, but I still loved it.

      I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas!

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  7. You are the second person today to mention Everything I Never Told You! I think it's a sign to finally give it a try. I hope you enjoy your blogging break.

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    1. Vasilly - I've seen Everything I Never Told You on several "best of" lists this month... it's going to be on mine, too. Hope you decide to give it a try.

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  8. I have Everything I Never Told You on Sparky, and now I must make sure to read it soon!

    You are so well-organized, having everything done....Kudos!

    I don't do much, as I don't host anything over the holidays...I am a guest. LOL

    Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I think you will love Everything I Never Told You... lots of food for thought there! I'll be recommending it to my book club for sure.

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  9. It's so hard to get much reading done during the holidays when there's so much else that's fun to do. I can't imagine being done with shopping this early, much less shopping, but I'm better shape than usual.

    My best wishes for a happy holiday with your family and plenty of time to kick back and enjoy.

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    1. JaneGS - This may actually be the earliest I've ever finished... most times I'm still wrapping on the 23rd.I hope you and your family have a very happy holiday!

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  10. Nice snowy view. You may be having a White Christmas! Happy holidays!

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    1. Harvee - I hope so... Merry Christmas to you, too!

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  11. It definitely does look Christmassy, I love the first photo. Well done for being organised and getting everything done, and enjoy your relaxation time now :)

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    1. Sam - Hope you have a wonderful first Christmas with Giles!

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  12. I'm pretty much ready except for planning the menu as well since I baked cookies this morning. I'm not reading much either.

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    1. Kathy - We'll have plenty of time to read later...

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  13. That does looks like Christmas, you have more snow than we do (we don't have much) and I like the pic of the lake. Hope you have a great holiday week and a merry Christmas!

    I'm curious to see your thoughts on Finding Florida, that book interests me.

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    1. Greg - I'm still piecing together my thoughts on Finding Florida. So thought provoking, yet also something of an angry rant... hmmm.

      Merry Christmas!

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  14. One of the problems with this time of year is that I pile up all the books I hope to read in 2015 since I didn't get them read in 2014. I really want to get to We Were Sisters as one of my classics coming up. Merry Christmas to you! (one of the great things about this time of year is all the thinking about books I want to read next year!)

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    1. Care - I'm composing a mental list of what to read next year and it's already getting too long. Merry Christmas!

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  15. The first few chapters of Euphoria are a bit odd, but stick with it - the flow evens out and it does become quite riveting. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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    1. Anbolyn - Thanks for that advice! The first few chapters are so odd, but I am curious to see how she will develop these characters. Merry Christmas!

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  16. I've got the presents wrapped. Planning on baking a few things early this week. I won't get to Everything I Never Told You before the end of the year. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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    1. Nise' - There are so many books I'd hoped to get to before the end of the year, but there's always next year! Hope you have a very happy holiday with your family!

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  17. You certainly do the whole Christmas thing beautifully over there!

    I have Euphoria on my TBR pile but the Australian cover is not as glorious as your edition.

    I hope you enjoy your family time

    Merry Christmas

    http://bronasbooks.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/its-monday_22.html

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    1. Brona - Sometimes I think we do too much with the whole Christmas thing, but it really is wonderful. Hope you have a very happy week!

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  18. Audios are my friends ... I listen while I get ready for the holidays. Looks like you're in great shape.

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    1. Beth F - I love audiobooks more and more every year!

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  19. Enjoy your festivities. I loved Everything I Never Told You and will post my review next year. I will look forward to reading your thoughts about it.

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    1. Pat - I doubt I'll get to any more reviews this year, but they'll get done eventually. Merry Christmas!

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  20. So many good things here and so many books that I've wanted to get to :D That was kinda the name of my game in 2014: All the books I wanted to read but didn't. Sigh ;)

    Have a wonderful holiday! I hope you find time for reading and relaxing.

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    1. Jennifer - I read so many more new releases this year than in years past... and still feel like I couldn't get to them all. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

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  21. I like Everything I Never Told You a lot...made my Best Debuts of 2014 list. And - finished The Wife last night...LOVED the ending and the writing was just amazing. It's making the writing in my next book look like a fifth grader wrote it...

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    1. Sarah - Everything I Never Told You is an incredibly accomplished first novel and a favorite audio this year. I can't wait to read The Wife! Wolitzer's mother (Hilma Wolitzer) is also a writer and I may even check out her novels next year.

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  22. I've heard great things about Everything I Never Told you. I have it on hold at the library, but who knows when my copy will come up!

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    1. Melinda - Library holds are impossible to figure out! I've been #1 on the list for weeks on end and also gone from #19 to having a book available overnight... no pattern I can see:)

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  23. Sounds like you're on schedule! I'm still behind but not nearly as behind as I expected to be so I'm calling it a win. I've been teetering on the edge with the Florida history book and I think I"m leaning against it. I don't like the rant/fact/subjective mix. Tony Horwitz had a book that talked some about early Florida history (A Voyage Long and Strange if you haven't read it) and I think I'll stick with that. Have a merry Christmas! And definitely have your day on the couch with a blanket and a book!

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    1. Katherine - The rant portions of the book really turned me off, but other sections are pretty interesting. I'll look into the Horwitz book... I'm sure it's much more balanced. Hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas.

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  24. Well, I never did Christmas cards written, but I am so proud of you for all your accomplishments! Somehow they got away from me this year, although I did manage to bake and shop and decorate.

    I have Everything I Never Told You which I hope to get to before it's due at the library. Perhaps over Christmas vacation.

    In the meantime, may you have a very blessed Christmas with your family. And, your lake looks especially beautiful in its Winter attire. My favorite.

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    1. Thank you, dear Bellezza. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family and can now relax with a good book! Enjoy your vacation.

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  25. I'm anxious to dive into Everything I Never Told You. I thought about bringing it with me to Oregon, but I was already in the middle of another book and knew I wouldn't read much, other than on the flights to and fro. It's there waiting for me to begin after the New Year. Might be my first 5 star read of 2015. :)

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    1. Les - Everything I Never Told You is really amazing, although it is sad. Also love that it's set in the 70's. It's my last 5 star read of 2014!

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  26. I really need to listen to the Ng book, especially with Cassandra Campbell narrating! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

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    1. Carrie - Everything I Never Told You is SO, but be ready for the sadness. We had an excellent Christmas... hope you did, too!

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  27. The photo at the top of your post is gorgeous! Everything I Never Told You and Euphoria are on my wish list. I'm glad you liked Everything I Never Told You so much.

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  28. Irene - Thank you! That photo was taken last winter and I love it. Everything I Never Told You is a favorite of 2014, but I'm having trouble getting into Euphoria. Will give it my full attention after the holidays.

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