Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Sunday Salon: It's June?


Greetings from chilly, rainy central New York. I'm sitting here sipping a cup of hot coffee, wearing SmartWool socks, and contemplating the previous week. It was in the low 40s and downright cold this morning... can it really be June? I had plenty of reading time last week thanks to all the rain, cool temperatures, and a traveling husband.


Finished this week//


Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
This book cemented Elizabeth Strout's position as my favorite author. Anything is Possible is a series of connected stories featuring minor characters from My Name is Lucy Barton, and Lucy herself also makes an appearance. Strout reportedly worked on both books simultaneously and I'm quite certain my recent reread of Lucy Barton made this one even more enjoyable. Anything is Possible was an amazing read - easily a favorite this year. In fact, I found it even more satisfying than My Name is Lucy Barton. Coincidentally, my daughter finished reading the same day and we had a great discussion that evening. I think a reread of Olive Kitteridge is on the horizon.

Strout's gorgeous and insightful prose makes Anything is Possible the kind of book that makes it hard to pick up anything else. It spoils you, or gives you a "reading hangover." To avoid this problem, I decided to change gears completely and begin my annual YA (young adult) read.
My rating:



by David M. Oshinsky
What an interesting read... the combination of history and medicine gets me every time. Oshinsky's history of NYC's most famous public hospital begins before the Civil War and takes us through AIDS, Superstorm Sandy, and the ebola virus. That is a lot of history and a lot of medicine! It's almost unfathomable to contemplate an era before anesthesia and antiseptic procedures. This book was completely fascinating, but the amount of information presented is vast and, at times, dense. Alternating between the print and audio versions was helpful.
My rating:



Current reading//


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This YA novel is about the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer. The main character, Starr Carter, is the only witness. As she navigates life in two worlds - her poor, increasingly dangerous neighborhood, and the prep school she attends in an affluent suburb - she must figure out how to give her account of the tragic event. The story is timely, emotionally gripping and, hard to put down. I'd planned to listen to this book (narrated by Bahni Turpin), but the ebook became available through my library so I went that route. I'm not much of a YA reader, but The Hate U Give has been getting rave reviews from the book blogging community.




I purchased this book, a recent audible daily deal, because the author was part of a Rosamond Gifford Lecture several years ago. She was "in conversation" with her friend and fellow author Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner). Although the focus was clearly on Hosseini, she was interesting and engaging. A couple members of my book club went on to read and enjoy her book. The audiobook is fairly short (just over 5 hours) with brief, anecdotal chapters, and is narrated by the author. I'm about an hour into this one.


Coming up//


Our #PalliserParty resumes... 
I started Phineas Finn yesterday and after one chapter, I'm ready for more. It's the second book in Anthony Trollope's Palliser series and opens with a brief introduction of our hero. From there, it quickly moves to politics. I know very little about British political history, but remain confident in Trollope's ability to tell a good story.  Audrey and I invite you to read along with us.




The Jane Austen Read All A-long
James is reading all six of Jane's novels, one per month and in order of publication, from July through December. Join him for one book or all of them, the choice is yours. I've read all six, but hope to reread Sense and Sensibility (July) and Persuasion (December)... and maybe Mansfield Park (September), too. The details are here.


In the kitchen//
It's been a quiet week. With my husband away, I prepared meals he's not wild about, but Twin B and I enjoy... another batch of red lentil soup, chicken and avocado burritos (quick and easy with rotisserie chicken), and, our favorite, Spiralized Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas from Cookie and Kate.


The week ahead//
No big plans... Angus the greyhound is here for another week, I have a couple of appointments, and we may take a day trip to visit my SIL next weekend. It might warm up a little after midweek, but it doesn't look like the rain will stop any time soon. We're still waiting for that first boat ride of the season....

How was your week? What are you reading?
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39 comments:

  1. I wish I could share some of our weather with you. It's supposed to be 91F today. My daughter's excited because that means she gets to wear a dress (she's really into dresses right now).

    I hadn't realized Anything Is Possible is connected to My Name is Lucy Barton. That's good to know! I haven't read either, but I want to. The Bellevue book sounds really intriguing! The Hate U Give is on my TBR pile to read. I've been hearing good things about it.

    I hope you have a great week, JoAnn! Happy reading!


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    1. Wendy - I wish I could borrow some of your weather, too! This has been the slowest start to spring/summer I can remember. It seems like it hasn't been well publicized, but I think any reader will get more out of Anything is Possible if they're familiar with Lucy Barton. Can't wait to see how The Hate U Give plays out, but I'm already recommending it.

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  2. I think the weather is a topic of conversation everywhere. Some places are downright cold. We are having a little heat wave but the weather is hit and cold up and down. Strange for us.

    The Hate You Give has gotten good, really good reviews actually so I'm sure I'll read it at some point.

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    1. Ti - The weather has been absolutely crazy everywhere this year... still trying to wrap my head around how drought-stricken FL was when we left in early May versus the constant rain and high lake levels here! I'm 65% done with The Hate U Give now and it's very good.

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  3. I was crazy about Olive but a little less so about Lucy. Because of your recommendation, I'm going to put the new book on hold and give it a try. I also reserved Bellevue. I love your recommendations!

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    1. Deb - I think Olive was much better than Lucy, but Lucy followed-up with Anything is Possible was excellent. Bellevue is a little dense at time, but just so interesting. I would have had to read it over a much longer period of time, but the audio really helped keep me going.

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  4. It is so warm and muggy here, it's hard for me to imagine cool weather anywhere. Having said that, it was cool in NYC last Tuesday. It looks like you've gotten in a lot of great reading lately.

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    1. Kathy - Hopefully we'll all get more normal, or at least comfortable weather soon. Wish I could have gotten to BEA... poor planning on my part to dog-sit Angus last week.

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  5. Well of course it's warm in Florida, and yet the rain has begun and it's been a bit more than just the afternoon showers we mostly get, so the temps since Tuesday haven't been as warm. Thankful for that. My grass and plants appreciate the rain. I finished Not A Sound by Heather Gudenkauf and started a new book from Lisa Wingate, Before We Were Yours, it's starting to get good, nearly 50 pages in. I think I'm gong to listen to The Hate U Give, hoping it's good. I'm still!!! listening to Into the Water, but determined to finish! Hope it warms up, and you get to enjoy the lake soon.

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    1. Anita - It's finally raining in SWFL, too, which is good. I keep meaning to try Lisa Wingate's books, but haven't managed to yet... maybe her new one. Bahni Turpin is such a great narrator, so I'd bet The Hate U Give is amazing on audio.

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  6. Glad to hear Anything is Possible was so good--looking forward to it myself. Elizabeth Strout is really at the top of her game.

    Funny in Farsi sounds interesting and something I would like.

    Rereading Austen this year makes sense--I usually read what the JASNA theme is but this year they're not focusing on one novel, so not sure whether I will reread an Austen myself. I'm in double digits with all of them, but they do hold up to repeated rereadings.

    Trollope is to be depended on when it comes to storytelling, and I would rather read British politics than ecclesiastical minutia!

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    1. JaneGS - Strout really is at the top of her game... what a gift to be able to write like that! I haven't read any Austen since the Emma readalong nearly 2 years ago, so it's high time. I'm especially eager to reread Persuasion since I've only read it once. My daughter just finished Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld and said it was a lot of fun to read. Might add it to my summer list. I'm looking forward to getting lost in Trollope this month... just hope the politics doesn't become too convoluted ;-)

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  7. All of those meals sound so wonderful! I do love lentils, black beans, and avocados....not to mention the other ingredients.

    Anything Is Possible does sound very tempting. I've also been eyeing The Hate U Give.

    Enjoy your week...sorry it is so chilly! Thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I'd probably be happy eating meat/poultry just once or twice a week, but don't think my husband would be happy with that. Anything is Possible is a big grim, but just so well done. Hope you give it a try!

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  8. Love the rainbow pic! That is a little chilly, we've finally warmed up here but we've had a few cool mornings as well. The last two days were more humid though so it won't be long before I'm complaining about the heat lol. Or my air conditioning bill. :)

    The Jane Austen read along sounds fun. And enjoy Angus this week! I'm sure he's enjoying the visit!!

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    1. Greg - It's been almost two years since I've read any Austen, so I'm looking forward to this project. Even though I can't commit to them all, one or two should be fun!

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  9. Wow beautiful rainbow shot. It may be chilly there but it's pretty. Thx for the recipes as usual. I'll try to make the burritos! Interested to hear Strout is cemented as your favorite author, wow. You don't think this latest one of hers is too bleak?? I haven't started it yet but if you think it's a must -- I will get to it this year.

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    1. Susan - I know some readers complained about the bleakness of Anything is Possible, but that didn't bother me at all... it was all done so well. Strout's writing and insight is remarkable. My 20-something daughter said she doesn't understand how anyone could NOT like the book. I'd recommend giving Lucy Barton a quick reread beforehand if you can. Reading them back-to-back made it an even better experience.

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  10. I am still in California after a week in northern Michigan. Much to blog about but can't find the time until I get back to Tasmania.I have both Lucy Barton and the sequel but not onto it yet. Reading Net Galley book I can't talk about yet. Visited John Steinbeck centre yesterday in Salinas. Much to say about that in blog and met James of James Reads Books the other day in person. Stay tuned until I get home for more info. Will leave for home Saturday, lose Sunday in time change, arrive home Monday. 🐧🐧🐧

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    1. Pam - I'll be looking forward to the posts! So great that you got to meet James, and the Steinbeck Center in Salinas is on my bucket list. I haven't been to California in 20 years... yikes! Safe travels home :)

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  11. So glad you loved Anything is Possible! I really enjoyed it too...not as much as Lucy, but a solid 4 stars. I still need to read Olive Kitteridge.
    And I also want to read The Hate U Give. I held off b/c it's YA, but I'm getting over my hesitancy now that it seems to have crossover appeal.

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    1. Sarah - I think Olive Kitteridge is still my favorite Strout. I listened to it and enjoyed the Maine accent, but will probably probably go with print this time. I hesitated with The Hate U Give, too, because I don't generally read YA... have been pleasantly surprised though.

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  12. We lament here about how the sun just doesn't shine and if it does it's only for a short time.

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    1. Patty - I feel like I've forgotten what sunshine even looks like!! It's been a pretty yucky spring around here. It's supposed to be nice this weekend, but a lot can change in 5 days ;-)

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  13. Beautiful photo! I love rainbows :)

    Sounds like you're happy with your books lately. I haven't read any Strout books but I should rectify that soon. The Hate U Give is on my wishlist already.

    We eat a lot of Mexican or Mexican-American food here in CA, and though the price of avocados has gone up recently, I chop it into salad and put on the plate with our burritos. Thanks for your post!

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    1. Rita - I have been on a good reading streak lately! Hope that continues through the whole month. Olive Kitteridge is my favorite of Strout's book. It's a series of connected stories. If stories don't appeal, I really liked Amy & Isabelle and The Burgess Boys, too.

      My husband isn't a fan of avocados, so I like to make those burritos when he isn't around. I did look twice at the price last week...

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  14. Here in the UK, we were treated to lots of sunshine last week, which was good timing as many school's were off (including mine). Sadly the rain returned over the weekend, but fortunately it hasn't cooled down that much. This week, I have really been enjoying reading the short story collection Sandlands by Rosy Thornton. Happy reading :-)

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    1. Jessica - Short stories and essays are such a nice change of pace. Sandlands is getting some wonderful reviews... I've not read Rosy Thornton, but am tempted to start there.

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  15. I loved Anything Is Possible too! My review is going up this week.

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  16. I enjoyed Lucy Barton so I'm looking forward to Anything is Possible but I'm going to wait until school starts back as I have a feeling I'll need some quiet to actually listen to it. I can't believe it's that chilly there! We're a little cooler than normal summer temps - especially in the evenings but it's more like mid 80s instead of mid 90s. Have a great week!

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    1. Katherine - That's probably a good plan. We had another day of torrential rain, thunder, and hail... but they're promising 70s again by the weekend. Fingers crossed!

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  17. I loved both Anything Is Possible and the Bellevue book. Love that plan to go YA.,

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    1. Beth F - This seemed like a good time to go the YA route... the plan is working:)

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  18. I want to read The Hate You Give too, not sure when I'll get to it though

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    1. Melinda I'm really not much of a YA reader, but am glad I read The Hate U Give.

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  19. That is some chilly weather you are getting for June. We had a cool front blow through so it was pleasantly 68 degrees this morning for our walk.
    I'd like to be in your kitchen, the food sounds very good!

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  20. I wish I could send you some of the heat from here in Central Texas! :)

    Hope you enjoy Funny in Farsi. I read that one several years ago and recommended to one of my best friends who is originally from Iran. She quite liked it.

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    1. Iliana - I finished Funny in Farsi and enjoyed it... enough to put her follow-up on my wish list!

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