Sunday, October 23, 2016

Weekly Update: October 23, 2016


Sunday morning - cold, dark, and windy. Many of the leaves have blown off the trees. It snowed yesterday in higher elevations nearby, but it was all rain for us. Still, it's just a matter of time. Hard to believe I was walking in Central Park last Sunday (the photo above was taken from Oak Bridge), but since then we've had a blissfully normal week at home.

Finished this week//


Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
I was inspired to get an early start on my Classics Club spin book after visiting the Charlotte Brontë exhibit at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York. This is an autobiographical novel about Anne's time as a governess and, though it wasn't as enthralling as The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, I enjoyed it very much. I'll post a full review soon.


Current reading//

The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
The Woman Upstairs was a favorite a few years ago, so I decided to read Messud's earlier novel before hearing her speak at a nearby university in early November.  I'm not very far yet, but the writing is excellent and her portrayal of upstate New York's "north country" in the second chapter is spot on. I have high hopes for this one!


The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Not my favorite James by a long shot, I've read this book twice and had a different impression of the ending each time. The audio version was mentioned on Litsy last week and after discovering Simon Vance was the narrator, I decided this short book (under 5 hours) would be a perfect pre-Halloween listen.


Up next//


My plans change constantly, so I should probably just eliminate this heading. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett was at the top of my list because of the library due date. Since we were traveling, I knew I wouldn't finish in time and purchased my own copy. Now the urgency is gone, but it's still what I plan to read next...


On the blog//
Tuesday Intro: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
Wordless Wednesday: Cape Cod
Book Brief: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson


In the kitchen//


Skinnytaste Fast and Slow, a new cookbook by Gina Homolka, is the newest addition to my shelf. Her recipes are always a success, and the Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup with Escarole I made last week was no exception.



 A Pinterest find: Slow Cooker Hasselback Apple Pork Loin is the perfect dinner for nights you need a complete meal ready and waiting when you walk in the door. I've added this recipe to my Pin Wins board.


Later today//
We'll take Twin A to the train station. This weekend is her first time home since starting the new job last summer. We're also celebrating my twin sisters' 50th birthdays today... should be a memorable event!

How was your week? What are you reading?


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

54 comments:

  1. I didn't know you had twin sisters as well as twins! (Makes sense, though. :) I do like the look of that pork loin...

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    1. Audrey - Twins definitely run in the family... my daughters are getting nervous ;-) I'm not usually a fan of entire meal in the crockpot dishes, but this one was much better than others I've tried... and sometimes you really need that kind of dinner.

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  2. I just requested the new Skinny Taste book and I'm so excited. I somehow didn't realize that The Emperor's Children was by the same author of THe Woman Upstairs which has been on my TBR for ages. I'm with you on the Up Next book changing. I'm not getting as much reading done as I expect to lately and am constantly having to change things up. Have a great week!

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    1. Katherine - I still have recipes in her first cookbook marked to try, but every one I have made has been good! I like that she's included so many slow cooker recipes in her new book.

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  3. It sounds like twins run in your family! I am so not ready for winter.

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    1. Kathy - I'd always heard twins skip a generation, but that wasn't the case here ;-)

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  4. What a gorgeous photo! I would love to be in Central Park right now...seeing photos reminds me of movies I've seen, where the characters were enjoying Central Park.

    I thought I hadn't read Claire Messud, but I actually did read and enjoy The Woman Upstairs. Going to check out The Emperor's Children. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Funny you mention movies! That's exactly what I was thinking last weekend when we stumbled upon parts of the park I hadn't seen before... like the small pond/lake where they launch the model boats.

      The Woman Upstairs was a favorite a few years ago... such an angry woman and so well written! Hoping The Emperor's Children turns out to be just as good.

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  5. That's a beautiful photo! Both your "up next" books are on my list to read, and I can relate to changing your mind on what you plan on reading next.

    Happy Birthday to your sisters. They share the day with my nephew, and then tomorrow is my youngest son.

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    1. Vicki - I always have a general reading plan, but often one book leads to another that I hadn't planned on... or a readalong pops up... or a speaker is scheduled. You know how it goes ;-) Hope your nephew had a happy day and your son enjoys his tomorrow !

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  6. I agree about Agnes Grey, it was okay but Tenant was better. Except for Jane Eyre I'm kind of underwhelmed by the Brontes but I'm curious to know about the exhibit at the Morgan. And I don't know if I could listen to five hours of Henry James! I tried reading Turn of the Screw a few years ago and it was literally the longest 100 pages I have ever read. I have ONE book by Henry James on my Classics Club list, The Portrait of a Lady, which is is supposed to be really good so I'm giving him one more try.

    And your photo of NY is just beautiful! I'm hoping to visit my daughter this fall but the weather will probably be terrible.

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    1. Karen K. - I didn't know you have a daughter in NY! The Bronte exhibit is well worth visiting if you are in the city, and The Morgan Library is beautiful.. a step back in time.

      I'm a little surprised to find myself listening to The Turn of the Screw, but I was craving a seasonal audio and Simon Vance is a favorite. So far it's better than reading. The Portrait of a Lady is excellent. It took some time to get used to the language, but turned out to be quite a page-turner. I'd love to reread it sometime!

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  7. I didn't know you were a twin?!

    I love the idea of listening to The Turn of the Screw as a Halloween prelude. I read the book several years ago and I concluded that how one views the ending says more about the reader than the author ;)

    I've heard great things about Commonwealth, I look forward to reading your review.

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    1. Molly - I'm not a twin, but have sisters who are twins... and we celebrated their birthdays today. That's always hard for me to express in writing, lol.

      I agree with you about the ending of The Turn of the Screw. We'll see how age colors my interpretation this time around ;-)

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  8. It's been a little nicer here but definitely feeling the fall! Had a marching band invitational last night and it was COLD! Hopefully winter holds off a bit yet and we just get autumnal temps for a while. I can dream right?? Ha ha.

    Congrats on the birthdays! Hope you have a fantastic week.

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    1. Greg - After all the rain and wind, the bare trees are making it look like early winter here... and I'm definitely not ready for that! Love watching marching bands and wouldn't mind braving the cold for it, but I sure hope winter holds off for a while longer, too.

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  9. Beautiful picture and lots of fun family happenings going on for you!

    My husband's mother and aunt were identical twins but we didn't have any multiples, but I'd read that it can skip a generation, so maybe my kids might have twins?

    You reminded me that I wanted to read The Woman Upstairs and glad to see she has another book out too. Have a good week ahead.

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    1. Rita - I'd always heard that twins skipped a generation, too, so was surprised when I had them. Think my daughters are getting a little nervous now ;-) Even funnier is that one of my twin sisters (they are fraternal twins) married an identical twin! Neither one of them had twins themselves.

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  10. I love fall but I'm not quite ready for snow -- tho I don't mind winter at all.

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    1. Beth F - I love winter... in Florida ;-)

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  11. So cold so soon! I've been curious about Messud's earlier work since reading The Woman Upstairs, too, so I'm glad to hear you're enjoying. I'd definitely make time for Commonwealth, I so enjoyed it!

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    1. Shannon -You and Sarah have convinced me to read Commonwealth sooner rather than later!

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  12. Beautiful autumn picture, the best time of the year! I would love to read Agnes Grey one day. I also purchased Commonwealth so I am hoping to get to it soon.
    Have a lovely week, happy reading!
    Amanda @ Mrs B's Book Reviews

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    1. Amanda - I enjoyed Agnes Grey, but if you have not read Anne Bronte I would recommend The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

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  13. I've been eyeing the new SkinnyTaste book since it arrived in the store!! Her recipes are always a hit with my husband and I love the ease of Crockpot cooking. Definitely going to ask for this book for Christmas.

    We had beautiful weather this weekend, up in the high 70s with lows in the high 30s. Unfortunately, I worked both days, helping with the holiday set. Yes, Christmas displays are going up this week! I know, I know. It's not even Halloween, but we have to get all the tables set with the product that will take us through late December. It's a lot of work, but the overtime is nice, too. :)

    I finished My Name is Lucy Barton last week and haven't been able to settle into a new book. We'll see if Watching Edie pulls me in. I'm tempted to try Commonwealth again, but I either need thrillers or nonfiction when my mind is easily distracted with all that needs to be done at work and at home. Commonwealth may need to be put on hold until after the New Year.

    Hope you have a good week. I'm going to try to get out for a walk or two after work this week. I need some fresh air!

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    1. Les - I was going to ask for Skinnytaste for Christmas, but I won't use the slow cooker as much in FL so decided to get it now! Snow is in the forecast now, so I've got a couple of crockpot meals planned this week.

      All the store are gearing up for Christmas now. I've come to accept holiday displays appearing before Halloween as normal. I don't shop this early, but really should...

      I needed to break out the mittens for my walk today. Brrr!!

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  14. I really like the SkinnyTaste cook books. Always great resources. I loved Commonwealth. It will be on my top ten for the year. I thought it was such a beautiful story of family!

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    1. Susie - I've tried so many Skinnytaste recipes and they always turn out great. Looking forward to cooking from the new one this week. Glad to know you loved Commonwealth... I will read it next this time for sure!

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  15. Like you, the weather is definitely on the change here. Not too much rain but those evenings are getting darker and colder. The perfect time for those more mysterious and creepy reads. I recently finished reading the classic Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Sign of the Four. Now I am reading the cosy crime, Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M C Beaton. I look forward to reading your thoughts on Agnes Grey as I have it on my Classics Club list too.

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    1. Jessica - I enjoyed the first Agatha Raisin book, The Quiche of Death, and plan to read The Vicious Vet before too much longer. Would also love to reread The Woman in Black by Susan Hill if I have time before Halloween. Can you believe I've never read Sherlock Holmes?

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  16. I think I might have to buy that Skinny taste cookbook because I love her recipes! Your book choices are awesome. I am trying to determine if I read that Clare Messud book...off to goodreads to check!

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    1. Patty - Aren't her recipes the best?! I'll be curious to hear if you've read Messud... just love her writing.

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  17. JoAnn, you should copyright and sell the photo - gorgeous!

    I've seen a lot of positive reviews of Commonwealth although no one seems blown away. Nonetheless, I think you should enjoy it, and I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it.

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    1. Debbie - Thank you, that is so kind! I enjoyed spending so much time in Central Park last week, but there is still so much to see.

      I've enjoyed everything I've read by Patchett, so expect Commonwealth will be a winner for me, too.

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  18. Your picture of Central Park is gorgeous! And I highly recommend you stick with your plan to read Commonwealth next! I think you'll love it.

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    1. Sarah - Yes, I will read Commonwealth next... no distractions this time!!

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  19. Good to hear you enjoyed Agnes Grey. I've been seeing Commonwealth a lot around to community lately; I hope you have a positive reading experience as I've heard from others.

    Gorgeous picture of Central Park. Have a great week!

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    1. Jade - Reviews for Commonwealth seem to be positive overall, and I've enjoyed everything Patchett has written... expecting to love it!

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  20. Looks like you've been having a grand time! Thanks for sharing your slow-cooker books as I plan to try out more this winter.

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    1. Pat - We had an amazing couple of weeks... first to Cape Cod and then to New York. Have to admit it's nice to be home and back in our routine again, for now ;-)

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  21. Quite a nice array of books; you have a bit of everything there to keep you busy. And what a photo of NYC, love the blue sky. Enjoy your readings.

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    1. Susan - I've had a good reading streak... not getting through anything quickly, but enjoying the books very much. Glad you like the photo, it was a perfect day for photography in Central Park!

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  22. I don't want to even think about the "S" word. I love Gina's recipes and just made one this evening! We have loved everything we've tried so far. I need to get the newest cookbook.

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    1. Nise' - I'm not ready for it either, but we had snow in the air yesterday and today... it's supposed to accumulate tomorrow. Yuck. The Skinnytaste cookbook would make a great Christmas present ;-)

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  23. We're headed to NYC next week and I'm hoping the weather will be mild and pleasant. Your photo is just gorgeous--I love walking in Central Park, no matter the season.

    Turn of the Screw is interesting--probably my favorite James :) but then I don't really like Henry James so take that for what it's worth!

    I really need to read Agnes Grey myself--I always saw Tenant as a rage against Branwell rather than a real novel.

    Looking forward to getting Commonwealth from the library soon...maybe even by the end of the year. The list is long!

    Happy reading.

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    1. JaneGS - Hope your weather is still mild next week, but I love NY in any weather. I still haven't explored the northeast corner of Central Park... hopefully next trip.

      Henry James is growing on my, especially his earlier work. Loved Daisy Miller and enjoyed Washington Square (after seeing the Broadway show The Heiress with Dan Stevens), but The Portrait of a Lady is my favorite.

      I didn't know much about Branwell when I read Tenant (still need to read the Barker bio on my nightstand), so that may have colored my opinion. Agnes Grey was very good...maybe a little preachy, but I still enjoyed it.

      Have a great trip to NYC!!

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  24. Funny how the instant we buy a book we don't feel like reading it right away. I've sampled so many books in a bookstore and then bought them home with the intent of finishing them soon. But instead, they head straight to the shelf and stay there lol.

    Love that picture of NY! So gorgeous!

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    1. Athira - It seems like buying a book is the only sure way I won't read it right away, lol. For a long time I had a rule that I would only buy a book I would start THAT DAY. It worked very well, but eventually I couldn't stick to it any longer ;-)

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  25. Oh send some of the cooler weather our way - I've got the AC running this afternoon and it looks like all through the weekend as we are in the upper 80s! I've been so in the mood for scary/spooky reads. I really should give Turn of the Screw a go!

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    1. Iliana - Oh, dear... somehow the snow doesn't seem as bad compared to AC and upper 80s at the end of October! I hope it cools off for you soon. The Turn of the Screw is not a favorite spooky read, but I was curious to hear an audio version. It's helping, but I'm not sure how much ;-)

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  26. That pork loin sounds fantastic - I've got one in the freezer and will have to pull it out this week!

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    1. Lisa - This is the best complete meal in the crockpot I've come across. This type of dish rarely turns out well for me, so this was a pleasant surprise. Hope you like it, too.

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    2. I'm making this today! I was too lazy to cut the pork for the apple wedges, so they're just sitting on top of the meat. Hope it turns out ok with my modification. :)

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    3. Les - Let me know! I'm all for less prep ;-)

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