Whew, it's been a busy couple of weeks around here. We celebrated Easter, our twin daughters' birthday, and enjoyed spending time with my sister and brother-in-law during there recent visit.
The big news is that I got my second vaccination on Thursday! Like last time, we had to drive two hours each way, but it was a nice day for a road trip... and so worth it. My side effects were worse this time - fever and chills, muscle aches, and headache. I felt fine after 24 hours. In two weeks I can finally go to the hair salon. Maybe I'll get a pedicure too!
What a wonderful audiobook! This book has been on my wish list for a while, but Diane's recent review convinced me to listen now. This short (just over 3 hours) audio is included with an audible plus membership and is also available on hoopla. If you enjoy books with quirky characters (like Eleanor Oliphant) this belongs on your list.
This is the next selection for The T Book Club, sponsored by The New York Times Style Magazine. I wasn't feeling it last time I posted, but your encouraging comments and the fact that my daughter is currently reading a Highsmith novel, made me change my mind.
Tom Ripley is a classic sociopath (definitely not my typical reading fare) and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. What a fascinating character! I also enjoyed the Italian setting. But, I didn't like the way the book made me feel... too tense, too much on edge. Ultimately, that means Highsmith succeeded. I'm not sure whether I'll read the other Ripley novels, but you never know.
This was a read/listen combination for me and I highly recommend the audio version narrated by Kevin Kenerly. The book discussion, led by writer Edmund White, will take place on 4/22. Click on the T Book Club link to join in.
My recent reading of Code Girls inspired me to seek out more WWII nonfiction, so here we are with Erik Larson's latest. This is another read/listen combination for me. I started the audio (narrated by John Lee and just under 18 hours long) on my walk yesterday. It's very interesting so far, but will take a while to finish.
National Poetry Month//
April is National Poetry Month. Thanks to Iliana, I signed up for Poem-A-Day and now receive a poem in my inbox each morning.
In the kitchen//
Between Easter, birthday celebrations, and family visits, I haven't tried many new recipes. Instead, the focus has been on traditional menus and family favorites with a few nights of take-out added to the mix.
One night we had leftover steak, so I made Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas from The Busy Baker. Since the steak was already cooked, I only warmed it for the last few minutes and then tossed it with the peppers and onions before serving. This was a big hit with the family and I can see trying it with shrimp or chicken, too.
We grilled boneless chicken breasts one night using this Honey Mustard Chicken recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod. The combination of whole grain and dijon mustard is delicious combined with honey. The acid from the lemon juice "helps break down the chicken, allowing the marinade’s oil and spices to infuse the meat with flavor and moisture." This is a keeper!
Today I made Morning Maple Muffins from Taste of Home. We all enjoyed one, then I sent the rest over to my FIL and SIL.
The week ahead//
We don't have a lot planned this week - a routine doctor's appointment, early morning grocery shopping, and wine on the beach with friends. Twin A will fly back to NYC on Friday... how can her month here be ending already??
How was your week? What have you been reading?
Congrats on your 2nd shot!! And I'm so glad you liked the Lily King novel. I'm supposed to hear a virtual book/author chat with Lily King today in fact. It should be good. You might be walking a month with the Erik Larson book. Good luck with it. & Have a great week.ReplyDelete
Susan - That virtual author chat sounds excellent! I enjoyed Writers & Lovers so much more than Euphoria. Yes, Erik Larson and I will be together for many, many miles!Delete
I felt very tired after my second vaccine, and my sister had some symptoms that lasted about as long as yours, but isn't it wonderful to be vaccinated? I made an appointment for the hair salon today. I'm also looking forward to a pedicure.ReplyDelete
You read some lovely books. Writers and Lovers. Convenience Store Woman. And now you have Splendid and the Vile. I was fascinated by the research that Erik Larson did for S&V, reading lots of the journals of the war that were written. I admired Churchhill for his leadership during that awful time.
Have a great week, JoAnn!
Deb - That second shot was such a relief! My reaction was much more pronounced than my husband's or parents, but it's still so worth it.Delete
I loved the books I read last month and am keeping my fingers crossed that my April selections are just as good. The Splendid and the Vile is off to a very strong start!
I think I need to put the Lily King book on my TBR list as it's getting such good press/reviews.ReplyDelete
So glad you got your second shot! It really does feel good (even if you felt bad for 24 hours)
Helen - I avoided Writers & Lovers for so long because I didn't love Euphoria, King's last novel. Wish I'd read sooner. Feeling bad for 24 hours was a small price to pay for the relief I felt after getting that second shot@Delete
So happy you are fully vaccinated now and that the side effects were temporary. I had Moderna and just 2 days feeling fatigued afterward but no other side effects.ReplyDelete
Hppy to read that you enjoyed the Audio of Convenience Store Woman, the translation and narration was so good. I read/reviewed Highsmith's Stranger on a Train and definitely plan to read more of her books --maybe Mr Ripley - loved the movie.
Hope you have a great week.
Diane - I had the Moderna vaccine, too. Thankfully I felt fine, other than a sore arm, after 24 hours.Delete
Thank you again for the suggestion to listen to Convenience Store Woman. The narrator really brought Keiko to life for me.
I liked Writers and Lovers but was not completely enamored with the story... until I realized the problem is ALL me.ReplyDelete
I have judged "romance" way too harshly. I always thought it was fluff and therefore not worth my time. Oh, how wrong I have been all these years.
But better to learn the lesson late rather than never, right? I am hoping to align my expectations with the authors' intentions and give this genre its proper due.
I look forward to reading your review.
Molly - I'm not much of a romance reader either. Last summer I read Beach Read (a hot book at the time) and it was too romance-y for me despite it being about two writers. Writers & Lovers seemed more literary than that... some beautiful quotes to reread, wonderful characters, and a compelling story. Overall a pleasant surprise since I didn't love her earlier novel, Euphoria.Delete
Congrats on being fully vaccinated. We are still kept away from many places...the residence here has not yet allowed the hair salon. But I may push on that one.ReplyDelete
I've gone to a restaurant twice!
I also had some aches and pains with my second vaccination.
Enjoy your week!
Laurel-Rain Snow - I'm pretty sure the hair salon will be the most risky thing I do for many, many months, lol! I'm still going to grocery shop very early in the morning and, when I can go to a restaurant, I will eat outdoors. Have a good week.Delete
Yay for being fully vaccinated! I've heard the 2nd one hits way worse so I'm kind of prepping for mine which is in a couple of weeks. The good thing is that the only consistent thing about everyone I know who has gotten the second is that it all seems to be short lived no matter how bad it is! I'm leaning towards waiting a full year to get my hair cut just to see at the end how it looks going a full year having nothing done to it. I have pretty thick hair and it's pretty forgiving but it's already starting to drive me crazy so we will see. Have a great week!ReplyDelete
Katherine - I definitely had more of a reaction to the second shot than I was expecting... still worth it when looking at the big picture though. What a relief! Not sure I can wait a full year for a haircut. My hair hasn't been this long since the 8th grade, lol!Delete
Congrats on getting your second shot. Sorry you had side effects. I didn't have any after my second dose. Nice looking assortment of books too. Come see my week here. Happy reading!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Kathy. What a relief! Glad you escaped the side effects. Have a good week.Delete
I have the Lily King book but for whatever reason I forgot I had it. I might dig it out soon given your review of it.ReplyDelete
Yay on the vaccine front. My second dose is scheduled for May 4th and in a couple of days I need to try to get an appt for my daughter. Her age group can only have the Pfizer one so I think I may have trouble scheduling her.
Wine on the beach? That sounds pretty wonderful to me.
Ti - I'll be curious to hear what you think about Lily King's book. Guessing you'll like it, too. Good luck finding an appointment for your daughter. If it's anything like it's been here, it will take persistence! We've been trying to get together with a different set of friends at the beach every week... so much fun!Delete
I'm glad you had a good Easter with your family, but I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad reaction to your second COVID vaccination. It sounds exactly the same as my reaction. Fever, chills, body aches and a crushing headache. So not fun! But definitely worth being vaxxed! My husband lucked out and only had a sore arm. Go figure!ReplyDelete
I'm looking forward to Writers & Lovers, which I'll probably dive into next week. I have 7 books going right now! Three are poetry, so it's not as much as it sounds, but definitely more than I usually have going in any given week. (You can see these in my sidebar, if interested.)
Your review makes me want to watch The Talented Mr. Ripley, which I saw many years ago. Have you seen it?
We finally have sunshine and warmer (50s instead of 40s) weather, so it's nice to be outside without a raincoat. Starting to plan a June roadtrip, which is exciting. Life may never return to a pre-2020 normal, but at least we are looking ahead to some familiar routines.
Have a good week, JoAnn!
Les - Sorry to hear you had those side effects after the second dose, too! I figured since my husband and parents sailed through, chances were good that I would. Not fun, but definitely worth it.Delete
Seven books?! I could never manage that, even with multiple poetry titles. Checked your titles and I remember enjoying the audio of The Oregon Trail several years ago. What an adventure.
If you can get both print and audio of W&L, that's the way to go. The narration was so good, but I found myself wanting to reread quite a few passages, too.
I haven't seen The Talented Mr. Ripley. Our library has a copy and I'd like to watch it before the discussion.
Glad it's starting to warm up there, and sunshine is a bonus! How exciting to be planning a roadtrip again! I'm sure it won't be like it was before, but it's a step in the right direction. We're thinking of a more leisurely trip when we drive north at the end of June. Just starting to think about where we might stop and what we'll do. We've rented a house near the CT coast for 2 months and plan to spend a couple of weeks on either end of that with my parents in central NY. Can't wait to see them!
Hope your week is off to a good start.
I kept meaning to buy a copy of Writers & Lovers but I guess I never did. I was thinking of listening to it on audio from the library, too, but I think when it came in I didn't have time to listen to it!ReplyDelete
Laurie - The audio of Writers & Lovers is excellent, but there were multiple passages/quotes I wanted to go back and reread. If you can get hold of both, that would be a big plus!Delete
So glad you got your second shot even if this time around you did have some side effects. I'm kind of dreading that but really want to get this over with and hopefully just feel a bit more secure. So glad you've signed up for poem-a-day. I have found some great poets to continue to read thanks to those daily poems. And, I really liked Convenience Store Woman too. Hope you have a wonderful week!ReplyDelete
Iliana - The side effects were no fun, but the feeling of relief and security is wonderful. Can't wait until I'm two weeks out and can begin to do things again! Thanks again for mentioning poem-a-day... it's a nice change of pace for me.Delete
Excellent that you have got your second shot! Life is getting a bit busier. I will get together with two friends who are also fully vaccinated this week, in the apartment of one of them. My reading is going well. I read Rodham by Curtis Sittenfled at the end of last week. I found it brilliant.ReplyDelete
Judy - It's wonderful to be able to see friends again! We're always outside now, but I'm looking forward to when we can meet in each other's homes.Delete
Rodham was one of my daughter's "pandemic reads" last spring. She enjoyed it, too. I'm still trying to get to American Wife. So many books...
Having enjoyed Convenience Store Woman as much as I did, I'm really curious about the audiobook version now. I'm going to see if my library system has it...and if so, I'll sample a portion of it to get a feel for it.ReplyDelete
I'm curious about which Highsmith novel your daughter was reading when you posted this. Her writing is definitely intense...and some of it that focuses on her personal lifestyle I haven't even sampled. She was said to have been a fairly "despicable" human being...aand that makes me kind of like her even more. She's certainly interesting.
Sam - If your library offers hoopla, you can find the audio of Convenience Store Woman there. Audible will let you listen to a five minute sample, too. The narration definitely added to my overall enjoyment of the book.Delete
My daughter was (still is, I think) reading The Price of Salt/ Carol. I'm planning to read a little more about Highsmith's life before the program next week... definitely no "warm fuzzies" there, lol!
Wonderful to hear you have been able to get your second vaccination and an upcoming hair appointment too! You lucky thing! The hairdressers have opened again here in the UK as well, but I have not been able to get an appointment till May! In other news, I have been reading the historical-mystery Justice Hall by Laurie R. King and enjoying catching up with friends and family now we can meet outdoors. 🙂ReplyDelete
Hi Jessica - Getting the second vaccination has been such a relief! I haven't made my appointment at the hair salon yet, but I'm not anticipating a long wait. They closed for a short time here in Florida, but opened up again quickly. People pretty much had to decide for themselves if they were comfortable going. I made the decision not to risk it... my hair hasn't been this long since I was 13! Sorry you have to wait until May for an appointment. Isn't it wonderful to be able to see friends and family outdoors?! Have a good week.Delete
Congratulations on your second vaccine! I haven't schedule my hair appointment yet but need to soon. I am trying to decide what cut to go for - this is one to celebrate, right?ReplyDelete
I'm very curious about Writers and Lovers now. I've seen it on Hoopla often but haven't considered trying it out yet.
Athira - I'll call next week to get a hair appointment... cannot wait! It's definitely cause for celebration.Delete
You'll probably be able to tell within a few pages if Writer & Lovers is a book for you. The main character appealed to me immediately.
Congratulations on your second vaccine! I drove 2 hours for my first (Well, with I4 traffic, it was closer to 3) but it was definitely worth it. Luckily I found a CVS just a few miles away to do my second one next week. I'm glad your side effects resolved pretty quickly.ReplyDelete
I can't wait to get a haircut! My husband has trimmed the back a bit twice (I grow a mullet easily if left unchecked!) but I haven't had a real haircut since February 2020! That's on my agenda for 2 weeks after my second shot too.
Those muffins sound divine! I love maple but my husband, who usually loves all flavors and foods, isn't a fan.
Enjoy your week!
Jen - Glad you'll be able to get your second dose without the long drive. Fingers crossed your side effects will be minimal.Delete
I've been cutting my husband's hair throughout the pandemic, but haven't let him anywhere near my head with a scissors! My hair hasn't been this long since sine the 8th grade. Counting the days until I can visit the hair salon.
My husband is already asking me to make those muffins again, but I need to get serious about shedding my pandemic pounds, lol!
I'm so glad to hear that you're through with the second dose and will shortly be able to embrace more freedom. We both were two weeks post-second dose on Monday the 12th and have been kicking up our heels just a little. Lunch at the Olive Garden today, which was so much fun after 14 months of ...going nowhere.
I loved The Splendid and the Vile, which I devoured mid-March.
And I'm so glad that you really liked Writers and Lovers, which I purchased last summer but have not read yet. Definitely will go for it very soon.
So happy that our worlds will be opening up! Oh, god! Do I ever need a haircut. I'm almost afraid of what the stylist will think when she sees my unruly mop!
Judith - It's so good to hear from you! I'd been wondering how you were doing. The Splendid and the Vile is such an interesting read... The Code Girls has refueled my interest in reading more about WWII. It's been a while!Delete
We will definitely be taking baby steps as we re-enter the world... outdoor dining and a trip to the hair salon, hopefully a trip to the bookstore and a few other favorite shops. It's been such a long time.
Is spring coming to northern NY? April was always such an iffy month where we lived... a few gorgeous days, then a snowstorm. Ha!
Yes, JoAnn, as you might imagine, five inches of snow last night and before noon today. But it's been such an early, warm spring. Strange.Delete
Baby steps--a wonderful way to put it. That's what's needed psychically as well, I think.
The Splendid and the Vile is very good. I find Churchill an impressive leader during such turmoil. I've also appreciated some films on him in recent years, in particular, Darkest Hour. Patricia Highsmith is a wonderful writer. Film adaptations always of good quality.ReplyDelete
Arti - I'm enjoying The Splendid and the Vile, even if it's taking a while to get through. We watched The Darkest Hour earlier this week... very well done! Yesterday I borrowed The Talented Mr. Ripley DVD from the library to watch this weekend. Hope you are doing well.Delete
And, current event prompted me to rewatch 'The Crown' starting with S1. John Lithgow as Churchill is superb. And on another note, would you be interested in 'The Brothers Karamazov Read Along'? Ample time frame. Just posted. :)Delete
Arti - The Brothers Karamazov is on my Classics Club list, but I've been reading American classics with the T Book Club (NYTimes Magazine) this year and doubt I'll be able to fit it in right now... sigh, so many books.Delete
I really liked the quirkiness of Convenience Store Woman, too. Great idea to pair it with Eleanor Oliphant!ReplyDelete
Unruly Reader - They were both such memorable characters!Delete