Thursday, July 16, 2020

Midyear Musings and A List of Favorites

Halfway through 2020. Is it just me or does this feel like the year that will never end?

I haven't had the best reading year either but, thankfully, the second half is off to a strong start. I began 2020 with a long classic, followed with a string of unremarkable reads, and then it hit.  Two of our daughters fled Manhattan in early March to join us here in Florida... they stayed for three months. Around that time I fell into a reading slump that lasted just over two months. June turned out to be the first good reading month of the year.

General observations:
- Compared to last year, I've read 25% fewer books
- Only two were classics... I'm slipping
- 30% of my reading has been nonfiction
- Male/female authors: 22% / 78%
- Just one book in translation
- I love read/listen combinations... nearly half of my books are experienced this way.
- I've spent much more time in my comfort zone, reading reliable authors (Anthony Trollope, Emma Straub, Anne Tyler, Barbara Kingsolver, Elin Hilderbrand ) and books that aren't too heavy.

What's likely to change in the next six months?
Probably not much. I'm reading more for comfort these days (what a world!) and will likely continue to do so.

I'm being kind to myself this year...  read whatever I want, whenever I want.

2020 Midyear Favorites


The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
My favorite book so far this year!

All Adults Here by Emma Straub
I'll read anything Straub writes.

You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld
A short story collection, recommended in print and audio

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
Trollope never disappoints...

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
A fun summer read!


by Kevin Wilson, narrated by Marin Ireland


Notes from a Public Typewriter by Michael Gustafson

What is your favorite book so far this year? Have you read any of these?

NOTE:  We're two weeks into July and this list is already outdated! I've had two more 5-star reads that will surely be on my year-end list of favorites.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Just Another Week: July 12, 2020

Another week down... and that's about all there is to say. Aside from a 7 AM trip to the grocery store (wearing a mask), I have stayed home. The number of cases and hospitalizations in Florida continues to set records. Things aren't looking good, and it's discouraging.

Finished this week//

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

If this book isn't already on you TBR list, add it now! Set in the 1950s - 1990s, the novel is about identical twin girls in a rural, southern black community who, at sixteen, run away to New Orleans. Their lives diverge when one twin chooses to live as a white woman and they lose touch. Emotional bonds, however, remain and their stories continue into the next generation. With themes of class, race, family, and identity, I could not put this book down. I'm sure it will be on my list of favorites in December.

Current reading//

The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz 

I can't remember where the recommendation came from (a podcast, perhaps?) but I started reading this novel yesterday and can't wait to pick it up again later today. Set in an industrial Ohio town, it begins with a daughter going off to college in 1975, then quickly jumps back to the 1950s when her parents were in high school. This morning I got notice that my hold of the audio version, narrated by Cassandra Campbell, is available. Looks like its going to be a read/listen combination!

The week ahead//

We have a moving date, at last. We'll get our things out of storage on Friday. I'll spend a couple days unpacking, organizing, and cleaning but most of the work must wait. We plan to head north early next week.

I'll post my list of midyear favorites this week, then likely disappear for a little while. Look for me again in mid-August. Take care and stay safe, friends!

How was your week? What have you been reading?

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.
It's Monday... What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

A Holiday Weekend Update: July 5, 2020

What a week! The number of COVID-19 cases is breaking records here in Florida, positivity rates and hospital admissions are rising, and we're staying home - grocery store/pharmacy only. Early last week, our city/island became the first in southwest Florida to implement a mask mandate. Then, in light of the east coast beach closures, city-owned beach parking lots were closed for the long holiday weekend. Local restaurants are beginning to reevaluate, too. A few closed for a couple of days for deep cleaning... I'm assuming that means staff must have tested positive, but there is no legal requirement to disclose that information. Another just closed down for two weeks, and a third has returned to take-out only. All Fourth of July festivities have been cancelled. Thing seem to change daily...

As all this unfolds, I continue walking, reading, and cooking. I've also gotten into the habit of swimming most evenings... which really means swimming a few laps, then relaxing on a pool float ;-)

Recent reading//

Passing by Nella Larsen

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

Current reading//

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
I'm only a third of the way in, but this is excellent!

On the blog//
Mixing it Up: Late June Mini-Reviews

In the kitchen//

It's a good thing I enjoy cooking... I'm spending a little time every day looking for new recipes to try. What I really miss is being able to run out to the store and pick up a few ingredients whenever the mood strikes. Now I need to plan meals out one to two weeks and make detailed shopping lists. It's nowhere near as much fun, but it works for now. Here are a few things I tried last week...

This Southern Buttermilk Pie from Southern Living magazine was absolutely delicious... but very rich and sweet! I've never had buttermilk pie before and decided to try this when I needed  to finish buttermilk purchased for another recipe.

With a block of tofu left in the back of my refrigerator, I made a Sheet Pan Fried Rice with Tofu from the Food Network. My daughter and I enjoyed it, but my husband wasn't a big fan. He grilled himself a hamburger that night...

Finally, these Lemon Chicken Piccata Meatballs from Simply Delicious  were a hit with all of us. I had ground turkey in the freezer, so used that instead of chicken. It was a nice change of pace from tomato-based pasta dishes.

Renovation Update//

We are finally in the home stretch! We're meeting with the contractor this week to go over the punch list. Then we'll be deciding whether to get our things out of storage before heading north or save it for early October when we return.

The week ahead//
More of the same... again. Walking, reading, cooking, swimming.

How was your week? What have you been reading?

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.
It's Monday... What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.


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