Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Books By My Favorite Authors That I STILL Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we're talking about our favorite authors. Specifically, books they've written that we haven't read - yet.  Let's get right to it...

 Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still  Haven’t Read

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
It's been on my shelf for years. What am I waiting for?

Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout
I've loved all her books. This is the only one I haven't read.

One of her nonfiction books... I bought this at the library sale a couple of summers ago.

Purity by Jonathan Franzen
Love him or hate him, there's no middle of the road when it comes to Jonathan Franzen. 

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
Over 1000 pages, but Trollope is worth it!

Young Hearts Crying by Richard Yates
His novels tend to be depressing, but I love them. This is one of a couple I've yet to read.

The Position by Meg Wolitzer
I'm on a mission to read Wolitzer's entire backlist.

The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner
Stegner's Crossing to Safety may just be my favorite novel. I have this ready to go on audio.

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler 
Her latest novel... the waiting list is long.

The Only Story by Julian Barnes
I haven't read a lot of Barnes, but everything I've read has been wonderful.

Are there novels by your favorite authors you've been meaning to read?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Weekly Update: September 23, 2018

It's the first full day of fall and there's a definite chill in the air this morning... my favorite time of year!

Our focus this past week was on maintenance. We spent two days on the car... the first included routine service and new front brakes. We got new tires the following day. Our vehicle is now ready to head south, but I plan to enjoy autumn first.

Later I endured another  trip to the dentist for my second (and final!) crown replacement. Unfortunately the temporary fell out Friday night and I have to go back again tomorrow to get it re-cemented. Ugh.

We also managed to squeeze in some fun. A free afternoon and gorgeous weather prompted a trip to the apple orchard. We usually go a little later in the season (when my favorite baking varieties are available) but were thrilled when we happened to hit Honeycrisp Day! That variety is not grown in large quantities here and is only available for picking a couple of days each season.

Finished this week//

The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope
Book 5 of 6 for our #PalliserParty, my thoughts are here.

by Anne Bogel, narrated by the author
Every reader will be able to relate to this short book! I'll post a book brief this week.

 Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race
by Debby Irving

Oh boy, this book will surely send me down a rabbit hole! In Waking Up White  Debby Irving speaks very candidly about her awakening to race, race issues, and her previous pattern of avoidance. She comes to realize that white IS, in fact, a race. This was a fascinating read and Irving's experiences have given me plenty to think about. More enlightened readers may find the book too basic, but I have never read anything quite like it. 

I listened to the audio version narrated by the author and it was excellent. I also ended up checking out the print edition to see the lists for further reading/viewing and to review the author's notes on sources. There is so much more to explore...
My rating:

Set aside for now//

by Sigrid Nunez
Recently long listed for the National Book Award, I was enjoying the writing in this short, unusual novel and had marked several passages. But after one hundred pages, I was in the mood for something with more plot. I own this book and do plan to pick it up again later.

Up next//

The #GothicGala begins tomorrow! We'll start with The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, reading one volume per week for the next four weeks. We'll discuss on twitter using the hashtag #GothicGala. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen will follow. It's not too late to join us!

On the blog//

#PalliserParty: The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope
My Fall Reading List
Book Club Read: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

The week ahead//
There will be plant of packing and planning...Thursday we're off on our next adventure.

How was your week? What have you been reading?

Friday, September 21, 2018

#PalliserParty: The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope

*There are no spoilers in this post.*

Five down and one to go! After finishing The Prime Minister, book five of six in the Palliser series, our #PalliserParty is nearing its final act. What a pleasure (and welcome escape from today's reality) to be back in Trollope's world.

Our old friend Plantagenate Palliser, or Planty Pal, is now the Duke of Omnium and Prime Minister of England. We were first introduced back in the Barsetshire series, but he plays a starring role here. An honorable, principled man, I've yet to truly warm up to him and, at this point, I'm expecting I never will. Other friends are here, too, including the Duke's wife, Glencora, and Phineas Finn and his second wife, the former Madame Max.

Ferdinand Lopez is, by far, the most intriguing new character in this novel... so loathsome and easy to despise. Trollope has outdone himself with this villain!

Trollope treats us to two parallel stories in The Prime Minister - one mostly political, the other more about life and love. The political story centers, of course, on the new Prime Minister and his coalition government, though it does has some touching moments as Trollope explores the deep understanding and respect between Plantagenet Palliser and his wife Glencora.

The other story features the not-to-be trusted newcomer, Ferdinand Lopez, and well-off Wharton and Fletcher families. Love and tragedy figure into this part of the story, as Lopez woos Emily Wharton. Against the wishes of both families, she chooses Lopez over Arthur Fletcher, setting the stage for much misery and suffering. The are brief intersections in the two stories.

Once again, Trollope has masterfully created real characters and real relationships. His novels deal with a variety of issues, many still relevant today.

The Prime Minister  advances the story of the Palliser family and I enjoyed it immensely. It is not, however, a novel to read if you are unfamiliar with the previous books in this series. I hope to read the final book, The Duke's Children, before the end of the year.

As always, thank you, Audrey, for reading with me. I hope we come up with a new project for 2019...

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

My Fall Reading List

Since I had pretty good luck with my summer reading list this year, I decided to go ahead and make one for fall. My reading will be geared toward three event or projects: RIP, Nonfiction November, and our Palliser Party. For the sake of this list, let's say fall lasts until Christmas Eve.

Books I Want to Read This Fall

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
National Book Award Longlist, on my shelf, current read

by Debby Irving 
Nonfiction, current audiobook

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
RIP, read-along, Classics Club

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
reread, RIP, read-along, Classics Club

The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope
Palliser Party, read-along, Classics Club

Nonfiction November

by Kate Moore
Nonfiction November

by Robin DiAngelo
Nonfiction November 

Nonfiction November

Have you read any of these books? Will you make a fall reading list?

Monday, September 17, 2018

Book Club Read: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

by David Grann
Vintage paperback, 2018
321 pages

narrated by Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, Danny Campbell
Random House Audio, 2017
9 hours and 4 minutes
(downloaded from the library via Overdrive)

It's been over a month and I still  haven't written anything about this book. Why am I having such a hard time? Basically...

  • the book was full of fascinating information
  • I was exposed to a particularly unsavory period of history
  • I learned a lot, but have very little to say

I liked//
- The structure... told in three sections and from three points-of-view: a member of the Osage tribe, a law-enforcement official, and a journalist
- The feeling of history unfolding as I read/listened

I didn't care for//
- The audio version... though the structure lends itself to multiple narrators, none seemed quite right. The middle section was downright annoying at times.
- There was not a lot to discuss, so probably not an ideal book club selection. Our conversation never moved much beyond "I never knew anything about this" or "here's what I found particularly interesting..."

Book club reaction//
Everyone finished the book (!) and appreciated learning about an unknown aspect of our history, but nobody loved it.

If you read it//
I recommend the print edition... plenty of photos are included.

My rating//

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Weekend Cooking: Back in the Kitchen

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

Although it's warm and humid today in central New York, we recently experienced a brief taste of fall. It was glorious! I've yet to indulge in the season's first pumpkin spice latte, but have been cooking again. Here are some of the new recipes we've enjoyed.

Fresh Corn Chowder from Natasha's Kitchen
We all love local corn and eat it as often as possible, especially during the late summer when the sweetest varieties are available. In this recipe, stripped cobs are simmered to make an unbelievably flavorful corn stock. In typical chowder fashion, heavy cream is used, but I think half and half or low-fat milk could be substituted to lighten it up. This is best corn chowder I've ever made!

Butternut Squash Soup from Gimme Some Oven
I've been using Susan Branch's Butternut Bisque recipe for ages (even shared it in this 2014 Weekend Cooking post) and never thought I'd try another. But Gimme Some Oven is a trusted source and I was intrigued by the addition of a Granny Smith apple and unsweetened coconut milk... also, this recipe is made in a slow cooker. So easy! I'm not setting aside the old standby, but my daughter prefers this version. I thought it very tasty, too. Guess I have two favorite recipes now.

Blueberry Crumble Pie from Two Peas & Their Pod
I've baked plenty of blueberry pies over the years, but never one with a crumble top. This photo on the blog caught my eye... mine looked almost as good. It's a keeper.

Speculoos Brownie Cake from Simply Recipes
Drop what you're doing, go to Trader Joe's, buy a jar of speculoos cookie butter, and bake this cake - immediately! You can thank me later. ;-)

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake from Two Peas & Their Pod
Despite mild resistance, I'm trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our dinner lineup. I recently made this casserole while my husband was away. With a green salad, it was a delicious dinner. I had leftovers for lunch the rest of the week, though admit I was a little tired of it by Thursday. Hubby refused to try it for lunch on Friday...

  Does your kitchen get busier in the fall? Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Monday Update: Fall is Here!

It feels like fall is here! In central New York, we woke this morning to temperatures in the 40s and it may not hit 60 - again. What a difference a week makes...

Current reading//

The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope is nearly 700 pages long, but I've passed the halfway mark and continue to happily turn the pages. This is the fifth book in the Palliser series and I'm hoping to read the sixth (and final) book, The Duke's Children  before the end of the year. Once again, Audrey is my intrepid #PalliserParty reading companion :)

Up next//

A little RIP fun ...
Last fall Amy, James, and I discussed a possible read-along for RIP XIII. We wanted to read Ann Radcliffe's classic Gothic novel The Mysteries of Udolpho  and follow up with Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen's spoof of the Gothic novel. RIP XIII is here and we're all still interested. The plan is to begin September 24 and finish by Halloween. You're welcome to join us!

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
"With The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe raised the Gothic romance to a new level and inspired a long line of imitators. Portraying her heroine's inner life, creating a thick atmosphere of fear, and providing a gripping plot that continues to thrill readers today, The Mysteries of Udolpho  is the story of orphan Emily St. Aubert, who finds herself separated from the man she loves and confined within the medieval castle of her aunt's new husband, Montoni. Inside the castle, she must cope with an unwanted suitor, Montoni's threats, and the wild imaginings and terrors that threaten to overwhelm her."

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
"Jane Austen's first novel, Northanger Abbey—published posthumously in 1818—tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen's fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical Northanger Abbey pokes fun at the gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex."

On the blog//
Rereading High School

In the kitchen//
Over the past couple of weeks I've tried two new desserts, two soups, and a vegetarian main course. All were hits, so look for a separate Weekend Cooking post on Friday or Saturday.

There's not too much planned this week... another dentist's appointment, fall decorating, and lots of outdoor chores. I'm also looking forward to my first pumpkin spice latte of the season!

 How was your week? What are you reading?

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Rereading High School

It's the first day of school here in central New York... the perfect time to share a project that's been in the back of my mind for some time. What would it be like to reread some of the books assigned to me in back high school?

The seed for this idea was planted in 2012 when I reread The Old Man and the Sea  on a whim... you can read that post here. Last year's reread of Flowers for Algernon  turned out to be a highlight of my reading year. That made me wonder, once again, about other high school books I may not have fully understood or appreciated as a teenager. And naturally, a list was made.

High School Books I'd Like to Reread

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I reread this every decade.

Tender is the Night  by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I enjoyed it more than Gatsby back in the day. Would that still be the case? 

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Steinbeck is a favorite. I've reread many of his books over the years, but never this one.

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
A favorite from high school, but would likely have more of an impact now.

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Not a favorite at the time...

Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
I have little memory of this book beyond liking it. Recent visits to Asheville, NC have made me curious.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I actively disliked this in 10th grade. Maybe it's time to give it another try? 

1984 by George Orwell
A reread is even more urgent given today's political climate.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Another book I was just lukewarm on decades ago, but may appreciate more as an adult.

I've wanted to reread this for years and probably should have put it at the top of the list.

This list is a starting point. I'm not imposing any special parameters or deadlines and, since my high school years were so long ago, I can also add these titles to my Classics Club list! Have you ever revisited any of your high school reading assignments?



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