Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Sunday Salon: September 18, 2016

Aaah, Friday!

Good morning, friends. It's a warm, mild morning... the windows are open, coffee is poured, books, newspapers, and of course, laptop are at my side. Today I am thinking of family and friends in Manhattan. The bomb that shook Chelsea last night was just around the corner from my daughter's old apartment. Thankfully, there were no fatalities, but it is disturbing to see those images from a neighborhood I know so well...

Where did the week go? I haven't even posted since Monday. Every spare moment has been spent reading and listening to Germinal by Emile Zola.


This book!! It is brutal. It is riveting. It is SO real... and it is emotionally exhausting. But reading with friends is the best - search #GerminalAlong on twitter, instagram, and litsy.  I am past 80% now, and there is no question of picking up another book until I reach the bitter end.


Up next//


Amsterdam by Ian McEwan... with Athira (and maybe Care?) Want to join us?

I'm also at the top of the library hold list for two books on the Man Booker prize short listHot Milk   by Deborah Levy and Eileen  by Ottessa Moshfegh. One should arrive this week, but is either the type of book I need after Germinal? We'll see...


In the kitchen//



With an abundance of sweet corn and zucchini, how could I not try the Sweet Corn and Zucchini Pie Bookchickdi shared last weekend? It comes from Pinch of Yum and was indeed yummy. I used Baby Bella mushrooms for even more flavor.

Do you spiralize? I've started buying spiralized zucchini and sweet potatoes at Wegmans... so convenient, but a little pricey if purchased on a regular basis. Yesterday I bought a gadget of my own and will experiment this week. Tips and recipe ideas welcome :)

Watching//


Doctor Thorne... Julian Fellowes' recent project. The book was a favorite last year (the entire Barsetshire series, actually) and I'm loving the television production, too. Definitely binge-worthy, but not today. It's too nice outdoors!


The week ahead//
Today we're celebrating my mother's birthday. It's been a long couple of months and we're all ready for a little party!

We pick up my new car on Wednesday. With 2017 models already on the lot, we got a great deal on a 2016. My old car will reside in FL now... nearly 100,000 miles but still going strong. It will be nice to have a second car this winter, and one available for off-season visits.

How was your week? What are you reading today?


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



56 comments:

  1. Happy birthday to your mother and yea for a new car!

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    1. Lisa - She had a wonderful day and I can't wait until Wednesday!

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  2. Happy birthday to your mother...and what fun to have a new car!

    I love that view of the water, with the book and wine in the foreground. Perfect moment!

    The zucchini dish made me think of the summer long ago when we had a garden (it was the 1970s!), and we had something with zucchini almost every day. Yes, our zucchini crop was our best one.

    I enjoyed Amsterdam, although I always approach his books cautiously. Some are less enjoyable.

    Thanks for visiting my blog...and have a great week.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - It's funny, but I love McEwan's writing yet am hesitant to read his books. I'm a little worried about Amsterdam, but the opening is lovely and your enjoyment of it is encouraging. Hoping for the best.

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  3. It's beautiful here, too. I've got all the windows open and I'm enjoying all the sounds of the neighborhood (birds, lawn mowers, kids riding past on bikes, etc.). It's supposed to get hot this afternoon, though, so we'll see how long I last before I close everything back up and turn on the AC. :)

    I wish I liked zucchini more. A little goes a long way for me. I try to chop it fairly small and give it a quick stirfry so it's still a little crunchy. Otherwise, that dish looks pretty yummy.

    Hope your mom has a lovely birthday. Yes, the news out of Manhattan was pretty shocking/unnerving. What a world we live in these days...

    Congrats on the new car! What'd you get? I'm still enjoying my Subaru Forester, which I've had for almost exactly 6 years. Just hit 30,000. I don't have far to drive these days. :)

    Have a great week and happy reading!

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    1. Les - Today we are back to summer, and it looks like we will be until Friday. Such strange weather this year! Both girls are fine, but Twin A was a little unnerved this morning when they we in the process of capturing the suspect... seems that other commuters' phone were going off like an Amber alert style, so she got off the subway and walked the rest of the way to work. She's lived there almost exactly a month and doesn't quite have that NYC attitude yet!

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    2. Poor mama! I'm sure it's unnerving for you, too! Hope things settle down soon. Crazy world... :(

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  4. I'm writing this title down. What a rave review you are giving as you are reading along! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

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    1. Deb - I'm at 90% now and it's gotten even better...

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  5. Congrats on your mothers birthday! And beautiful pic- I love this time of year with the crisp mornings and cooler temps.

    That would be shocking to see something like that happen in an area you know well. Very sobering.

    That zucchini dish looks quite good. :)

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    1. Greg - It was very unnerving to see those photos from an area I know... crazy times, indeed.

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  6. I think that this post was awesome because it filled me in on everything that is going on with you! The quiche/pie looks amazing...I am craving quiche right now!

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    1. Patty - I'm usually all about the crust when it comes to pies and quiches, but have been trying to cut down... didn't even miss it that much here. Left a comment on your post this morning, but think I used my blogger account and it got eaten. So happy the drain is gone!!

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  7. I haven't tried spiraling at home, but a lunch place in my town serves a delicious zucchini "spaghetti" with meat sauce...it's so comforting I don't even miss the pasta.

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    1. Sarah - I've been making zucchini spaghetti with pesto, but bet it would even more satisfying with meat sauce! Loving the sweet potato 'noodles' in quesadillas will black beans and cheese.

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  8. Happy Birthday to your mom! The dish looks yummy. Enjoy the new car.

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    1. Thanks, Nise'. It's been quite a week!

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  9. Happy Birthday to your mother. I have no idea what spiralled zucchini is. But I would probably eat it. If I had not been travelling this month I might have jumped on the Germinal bandwagon. I have it and have wanted to do a readathon with it as it looks and sounds too good to read by myself. I will look out for Dr. Thorne. I watched the last series of Downton Abby on the Emirates flight from Melbourne, Aus to Dubai. Went through withdrawal from Dubai to Heathrow. Love your posts.

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    1. Pam - The spiralizer makes spaghetti type noodles out of all sorts of vegetables... great for cutting down on carbs. Germinal is an amazing book. I'm at 90% now and what an emotional ride! Still can't imagine how it will all end. Dr. Thorne is available through amazon prime if you have it. It's even better than I was expecting. Hope you have a wonderful trip... I'm enjoying your blog posts and instagram photos :)

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  10. Happy Birthday to your mother. Have a great time at her party. I'm glad you are enjoying Germinal so much. Continue to enjoy the nice weather! Best wishes for you and your new car.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. My husband just told me we have an old VCR tape of the Germinal movie... I didn't even know there was one!

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  11. When are you doing the Amsterdam read? I could be interested. I'm half way through Booker shortlist book Do Not Say We Have Nothing, but will hopefully be ready for something different next week.

    So glad you're enjoying Germinal. It's an incredible experience - unforgettable in fact.

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    1. Brona - I'm planning to start Amsterdam late this week or over the weekend. Would love to have you join us! Germinal is killing me emotionally... 90% now and haven't a clue how this will all end. So, so good!

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  12. I used to buy every new kitchen gadget that came along. But now, as I'm getting ready to move, I'm being much more selective. The books you are reading sound intense. Come see my past week here. Happy reading!

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    1. Kathy - I just got done organizing my kitchen... thought of the spiralizer as a reward. But that sort of defeats the purpose, lol!

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  13. I've been tenpted by the butternut squash noodles in Wegmans, but for now I am just going to focus on the apple cider raisin bread, and try not to stuff my freezer with that and only that. :) I just listened to The Children Act, at your suggestion (Lyndsey Crouse narrated, she was excellent) and I literally can't drill down to what I thought about it - it was beautifully written, had some devastating passages about aging, was fascinating in describing the court cases, and then veered off into weirdness. I can't quite decide whether I liked it or want to read more of his work. Your liking it is inching me forward, though. :)

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    1. Audrey - I focused on the beautiful writing, aging passages, and the court case in The Children Act and decided I liked it. The weirdness bothered me and is one of the reasons I wanted to discuss it with my book club! We meet on Thursday, but I have been too engrossed in Germinal to skim the book again and I'm afraid details are getting sketchy. Hope some of the members have read it!

      I plan to start Amsterdam by the end of the week... another short one with an interesting premise, but several lukewarm reviews. We'll see. It might be too soon for another McEwan, but I'd love to have you read with us! My favorite McEwans have been On Chesil Beach and Atonement.

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  14. I also know that neighborhood well, I am very glad that there were no fatalities. Hopefully they will catch the perpetrator soon.

    As you know I also read and enjoyed Dr. Thorne recently. I have heard a lot about this screen adaptation but have not seen it. I will hopefully get to it soon.

    That Sweet Corn and Zucchini Pie looks great.

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    1. Brian Joseph - So glad they caught him today, but the details are still unsettling. These are scary times, indeed. I couldn't find Doctor Thorne on Netflix, but have an amazon trial and am watching it that way. Much better than I was expecting!

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  15. Another explosive device went off this morning in NJ while they were attempting to dismantle it. This is very scary.

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    1. Ti - Scary indeed, and the details surrounding the suspect are equally disturbing!

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  16. Here in the UK the weather - until today - has stayed warm and sunny too. Well done on your progress through Germinal, that pie looks delicious and yes, thank God there were no fatalities in that explosion.

    I spent last week reading historical fiction The Queen's Choice by Anne O'Brien and my church's book club choice: The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.

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    1. Jessica - I'm nearing the end of Germinal now and SO impressed. This bob has put me through the wringer... so well done!

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  17. I just got back from my own lake/cabin (sigh...my happy place) back to the high desert again (but I love it too), so have just heard the news about the explosions. Very scary. Happy Day to your mom!

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    1. Debbie - Your instagram photos are SO gorgeous.. no wonder that's your happy place! Mom had a great day. She's doing so well after the hip replacement:)

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  18. Happy birthday to your mom!

    Let me know how the spiralizer works! I've been eyeing one too but am not sure how well they work.

    I better go pick Amsterdam this week. My library seems to have plenty of copies available so no worries about not getting a copy on time.

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    1. Athira - We were going to have zucchini spaghetti tonight, but I ran out of time. Maybe tomorrow.I'm hoping to finish Germinal in the next few days and maybe start Amsterdam over the weekend. Looking forward to another McEwan. Hope it's a good one.

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  19. After almost a full day of much-needed rain yesterday (Yahoooo!), it is beautiful day today and more good weather on tap. Finished up The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson. I liked it but in a large print book it was around 600 pages and seemed endless. I can't really compare it to Major Pettigrew as it has been a while since I read it. Now I'm into the old first edition of Midnight Cowboy that I found in the trash. It will go quickly and then I'll rent the movie from the library. I was busy getting ready to move to the big city in 1969 when the book came out, and guess that is my excuse for not having read it or seen the movie. Heard a lot about both, however.

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    1. JudyMac - I've read a few lukewarm reviews of The Summer Before the War and am wondering if I really want to read it. Major Pettigrew was enjoyable enough, but not a favorite. Not sure I've ever seen Midnight Cowboy either... let me know if I need to change that ;-)

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    2. Will keep you posted on the Cowboy. I always like to read books first before seeing the movie. So many times we are disappointed later when movie comes out, although MC won the Oscar for 1969. Also won for Best a Director. It was first X-rated movie to ever win Oscar, but was later changed to an R. Time certainly does change things and what was risqué in 1969 seems quite old-hat now.

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    3. JudyMac - I always prefer to read the book before seeing the film, too... hard to believe it was X-rated then. Times certainly have changed. I remember reading Peyton Place several years ago and wondering what all the fuss was about ;-)

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  20. I'm totally curious about spiralized veggies - I think I need to grab one of those little devices and give them a try. I've heard such mixed things on Eileen (seems people either REALLY love it or REALLY hate it), hope you end up on the positive side!

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    1. Shannon - I made spiralized zucchini with grape tomatoes in a lemon garlic sauce tonight and it was yummy! Eileen scares me a little, but am curious enough to borrow it from the library. We'll see...

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  21. Happy birthday to your mum. I hadn't heard of spiralized veggies before!

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    1. Mystica - Today I spiralized zucchini squash. The device cuts them into noodles that look like spaghetti, then I made a lemon/garlic sauce to mix with it... delicious!

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  22. Wishing your Mum a happy birthday and yay to a new car! I would love to make some time to watch Doctor Thorne as a fan of period dramas. I hope you get your library requests soon too, they sound like good reads.
    Have a great week!
    Amanda @ Mrs B's Book Reviews

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    1. Amanda - I love period dramas, too! Just one more episode of Doctor Thorne left... will need to decide what to watch next.

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  23. What a great picture - wine and a book and a view! Love. Hope your mom had a wonderful birthday and there was a lot of celebrating going on! Wish I could join you for the readalong but maybe next time. You guys are picking up great reads.

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    1. Iliana - After not reading much of anything for a month, I'm glad the Germinal readalong got me back in the habit again. Would love to have you join us next time!

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  24. That corn and zucchini pie looks great! I might have to give that a try for dinner some time this week.

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    1. Trish - It was delicious... may make it again for lunches this week:)

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  25. We're watching Dr. Thorne too! One episode a week--this Friday is episode 3 and I am eager to get to it. I think the casting is excellent and watching it is fixing the storyline more firmly in my head since all the Barchester stories tend to muddle together after awhile.

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    1. JaneGS - I finished Doctor Thorne this week and loved it... my oldest daughter in binge watching it this weekend. It made me miss Trollope even more. I'm going to read the first Palliser novel, Can You Forgive Her?, after the holidays.

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  26. Germinal is absolutely brilliant -- brutal, but riveting. I didn't understand why Zola was a big deal until I read this. It also strongly reminds me of The Grapes of Wrath -- I think Steinbeck had to have been influenced by Zola!

    My other favorites by Zola are La Bete Humaine (also riveting); Pot-Bouille (a sort of bedroom farce about obnoxious people in a Paris apartment building); and The Belly of Paris, for its amazing descriptions of food.

    Haven't seen Dr. Thorne yet, I'm hesitating because it's one of my favorites by Trollope and the reviews indicate that Fellows made a lot of changes to the plot which I'm sure will infuriate me.

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    1. Karen K - You are so right about Germinal, and your comment makes me want to reread The Grapes of Wrath. I love Steinbeck, but haven't read that one since high school. Will try to get to it in 2017.

      I have The Belly of Paris on my shelf, but I'm starting to wonder if I should begin a project to read the entire Rougon-Macquart series and start at the beginning.

      I thought the Dr. Thorne series was almost as wonderful as the novel! I was not bothered by plot changes or, surprisingly, the fact that Miss Dunstable was written as an American.

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  27. I'm sorry about what happened in Chelsea. Gosh it's scary & horrible.
    What kind of car did you get? We got a 2016 car in April and it was sort of a thrill as it had been a long time with our old car. Hope you're having fun with it

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