Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Nonfiction November, Week #1: My Year in Nonfiction

Nonfiction November is here! This annual event, an entire month of bookish topics devoted entirely to nonfiction, is always a favorite. Our hosts this year are:

Katie at Doing Dewey
Julz at JulzReads
Rennie at What's Nonfiction
Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves
Leann of Shelf Aware


2019 has been another year of change for my family. We sold our lake home in upstate NY and moved to an island on Florida's gulf coast. Earlier this week I changed my blog name to reflect our new location and am now Gulfside Musing!

With the move, my overall reading numbers are down, but the proportion of nonfiction is at an all-time high. In 2019, 42% of my reading has been nonfiction!

Preferred format//
I read nonfiction of course, but I also love listening to it. Having both  the audiobook and a print copy is ideal. That way, I never miss out on photographs, maps, charts, etc. With a read/listen combination, I listen on my morning walk, then read outside in the late afternoon or curl up in my favorite reading chair in the evening.

Topics of interest//
I've read on a wide variety of subjects this year, most notably...




I've also read about the opioid crisis, moving, and psychotherapy.


by Dani Shapiro, narrated by the author
(along with Devotion, also by Dani Shapiro)

Runners up

by Lori Gottlieb
narrated by Brittany Pressley

by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams
narrated by Linda Lavin

My goal for Nonfiction November//
 It's simple. I want to hear about all the great nonfiction you have been reading this year...and, ideally, I'd like to read them all before next year's event. My best recommendations always come from book bloggers!

For links to other "My Year in Nonfiction" posts, visit Julz at Julz Reads.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Sunday Salon: October 27, 2019

Hello, friends. It's Sunday again and I'm happy to report that on Friday we closed on our new home! The process was smooth and relatively painless. We also signed the renovation contract. Tomorrow the contractor will file necessary permits and, hopefully, our project will be underway soon. My head is still spinning over how quickly this has all unfolded... guess it's time to take the official "before" photos.

With our location change, the blog name Lakeside Musing no longer applies. I've decided to become Gulfside Musing! Yesterday I changed my profile photo - a palm tree seems more appropriate than the dock now. The next task is a new header photo with the new name... ideally before Nonfiction November begins.

Finished this week//

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

This character-driven debut novel is beautifully written and thoughtful... but it was also painfully slow at times. The second half of Part 1 seemed to drag and I even considered putting it aside... but I'm very glad I did not! Things picked up again in Part 2 and I read Part 3 in one sitting.

The book has been compared to Crossing to Safety  by Wallace Stegner, an all-time favorite, and I acknowledge the similarities. Both novels center around a long-term relationship between two couples, but in this novel the husbands are ministers rather than academics. I liked Stegner's characters more but very much appreciate the way Wall developed the relationship between the wives.

This novel will certainly not satisfy every reader, but I ended up loving it.

Current reading//

by Colson Whitehead
narrated by  JD Jackson

This is my first time reading Colson Whitehead and so far I'm impressed. The novel tells a story of two boys sentenced to a "hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida." The school is modeled after the real Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys,  which finally closed in 2011. At one time, it was the largest juvenile reform institution in the US.

I started listening to the audiobook on my walk a couple of days ago. A book group at the local library will discuss it next month, and I plan to attend. I miss my NY book club...

Coming soon//

Nonfiction November starts tomorrow! I'm so excited about this event and will get my first post up later in the week. All the details are here.

In the kitchen//
Not much happened in my kitchen last week, but I plan to make this Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake this afternoon. My FIL and SIL are coming for dinner today... I'll let you know how it turns out.

How was your week? What are you reading?

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Sunday Salon: October 20, 2019

Hello, friends. This has been a monumental week for our family, so let's get right to the news. We have officially sold our lake home... the closing happened Thursday. We were not present for the bittersweet event (documents all signed beforehand) but it certainly marks the end of era. If all goes smoothly, we will close on our new house later this week.

Finished this week//

by Lori Gottlieb
narrated by Brittany Pressley

I've been raving about this book for the past week or so and was truly sorry to reach the end. Lori Gottlieb is a therapist and in this book she tells the story of five therapies - four patients, plus her own. [She begins therapy with "Wendell" after being blindsided by a breakup with her long-term boyfriend.] I  thought it was fascinating to observe the process play out from both sides of the couch!

Each story pulled me in right away and I looked forward to popping in my earbuds each morning before heading out on a walk. Flashes of insight occurred throughout the listening experience... insight into my own feelings, motivations, and interactions with those closest to me, as well as with casual acquaintances.

The audio production was excellent and I highly recommend listening.  It was well worth the audible credit!  Brittany Pressley has narrated hundreds of audiobooks, but this was my first time listening to her. It will not be the last.

Current reading//

by Cara Wall

This book was on display with the new fiction at the library. I'd added it to my wish list last summer after several reviewers compared it to Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safety, an all-time favorite. I couldn't just leave it there! Very good so far... more soon.

On the blogging horizon//

Nonfiction November is my favorite blogging event of the year -  five weeks, five topics, five hosts, and an Instagram photo challenge, too. The details are here... it all starts next week.

In the kitchen//

It doesn't feel like fall here, but I decided to try a couple of fall-like recipes anyway. Both were keepers. Stuffed Delicata Squash with Sausage-Mushroom Stuffing from skinnytaste  was so good! The Italian chicken sausage and savory mushrooms perfectly complemented the sweet flavor of the squash.

I also made Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad (minus the quinoa) from pinch of yum for lunches last week. Basically, I roasted sweet potatoes and chick peas, and added walnuts coated with maple syrup for the last five minutes. We ate it over baby spinach, sprinkled a few dried cranberries on top, and drizzled a simple Asian vinaigrette. Delicious!

The week ahead//

We're finally going to see the Downton Abbey  movie this afternoon and maybe grab an early dinner afterward.

The closing on our new (to us) house here is scheduled for Friday. We have meetings with the insurance agent and contractor scheduled early in the week. Keeping our fingers crossed it all goes smoothly!  I also desperately need to schedule a hair appointment this week.

How was your week? What are you reading today?

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Sunday Salon: October 13, 2019

It's a sunny Sunday afternoon in Florida - temps in the mid 80s, a light breeze, and slightly lower humidity. We're taking a day off from the real estate frenzy of the past week... slept in this morning, went to the Farmer's Market for lunch, and spent a couple of hours reading this afternoon. I feel like a new woman!

Finished reading//

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

This fast-paced novel explores the lives of two sisters from their 1950s childhood to the present.  It was my first experience with prolific author Jennifer Weiner. I enjoyed the characters, their relationships, and feminist worldview... even as I shook my head at some of their choices. I laughed out loud a few times and cried at the end. My craving for a "good summer read" has been satisfied.

my rating: somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars (rounded up to 4 on goodreads)

Listening to//

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
by Lori Gottlieb
narrated by Brittany Pressley

I'm loving this audiobook. Even though I borrowed the ebook from the library (thought it would be good as a read/listen combo), I've yet to read a single page. The narration is so good! Lori's story and the stories of her patients are fascinating...  I'll be sorry to reach the end of this book.

Nonfiction November//

It's almost time! Nonfiction November is my favorite blogging event of the year - five weeks, five topics, five hosts, and an Instagram photo challenge, too. All you need to know is here. Will you be participating?

In the kitchen//

For the first time in months, I've been inspired to try a couple of new recipes... nothing fancy, but it's good to feel like cooking again.

Vinegar Chicken With Crushed Olive Dressing was one of the New York Times featured recipes last week. It's cooked on a sheet pan, with a briny sauce made from the browned bits left behind. It was quite tasty, but would have been even easier if I'd though to purchase pitted olives! If you don't subscribe to the Times and would like the recipe, let me know. I'll copy and email it to you.

Slow Cooker Banana Nut Oatmeal from The Lemon Bowl  has part of our regular breakfast rotation for a while, but yesterday I decided to change things up with Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oatmeal from two peas & their pod. I've noticed several baked oatmeal recipes lately, but this is the first one I've tried. It was very good (my daughter loved it) but a little heavier/more dense than I was expecting... probably due to the peanut butter. We'll be happy to eat the leftovers for a couple more mornings though!

The week ahead//

Real estate... we close on our NY home on Thursday. A little hard to believe, but the end of an era. We met with a contractor at what will soon be our new Florida home. We shared our ideas, he had some good suggestions, and we'll touch base again this week. Seems like it's all going to happen!

How was your week? What have you been reading?

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Sunday Salon: I'm reading again!

Hello from Florida.  We're still in the throes of moving, but at least I'm reading again. After a month of not being able to concentrate on anything, I have an ebook in progress on my kindle and an audiobook in progress on my phone. More about those below, but first an update on the move...

We spent much of August and September organizing our possessions, paring down to a bare minimum (furniture, books, clothes, and various other "treasures" accumulated over thirty years) and packing. It was difficult, to say the least, but also strangely liberating.

Last Monday the movers arrived. They collected our remaining belongings, loaded them into huge containers, and if all goes as planned, the containers will land at a storage facility in Naples soon.

The BIG news is that we also found a house here on Sanibel! We're on track to close on the new place later this month. In the meantime, we're living in what has been our winter home for the past five or six years and I finally have a little time to read again... at least until renovations (on the new house) begin!

Current reading//

  Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner 

My daughter and sister both recommended this "sister story" as a quick, summer read... and since I missed summer reading this year, that's exactly what I want. At the 25% mark, I don't think they've steered me wrong.

Listening to//

by Lori Gottlieb, narrated by Brittany Pressley

My daily beach walks have resumed... and I love spending that time with an audiobook. My current listen provides a behind the scenes look at a therapist's world. Four hours in and this book is a winner!

Finally, a question...

After eleven years, it may be time to change the name of this blog. Lakeside  Musing no longer applies... would a simple switch to Gulfside Musing be confusing? Would you still "recognize" me?

I'm looking forward to visiting blogs and catching up with everyone this week.

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.


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