Hello, friends, and happy Sunday. After a long weekend away, I'm back with another weekly update. It's still unusually warm and dry here in Connecticut, but it feels like summer may be loosening its grip. We've had a few gloriously cool mornings, the angle of the sunlight is changing, and the sun is setting earlier. I love fall and hope it's not too far away...
Last weekend we were in northern NY and Vermont for my father-in-law's memorial service. He died in January, but this was the first time the entire family could come together. It also marked the tenth anniversary of my mother-in-law's death. As expected, our time together was bittersweet and filled with emotion... plus it was the first time all the grandchildren were together in the same place! That gave everyone the opportunity to meet the younger generation's significant others. Overall, a very memorable weekend.
During that time I didn't read for six straight days (which might be a record) but still managed to finish a couple of books since the last update...
Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow
audio edition narrated by Karen Murray, Adenrele Ojo
After seeing this book praised on a several blogs, I added it to my list of summer reading possibilities. Then my mother read it, loved it, and told me I needed to read it right away... and who am I to argue with Mom?
This beautifully-written debut novel follows three generations of a Southern Black family from the WWII era into the 21st century. Wandering back and forth in time, it covers all the tough issues, including race, you'd expect with a family drama. I loved how it showcases the strength of the Black women, who were primarily responsible for holding their families together.
This was a read/listen combination for me. The audio is particularly well done... highly recommended. I'm already looking forward to Stringfellow's next novel.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
audio edition narrated by Marin Ireland, Michael Urie
A novel tracing a widow's unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus.
I loved this book! I expected to like it, but did not expect it to become one of my favorite novels of the year. The story focuses on three main characters... a 70-year-old widow, a 30-year-old man trying to find his way in the word, and a giant Pacific octopus. The way these three come together is heart-warming and life-affirming. I won't say too much more about the story but, as soon as I turned the final page, I ordered a copy for my mother.
This started as a read/listen combination, but the audio was SO good that I switched to listening exclusively. Marin Ireland is a favorite narrator and I absolutely loved the voice of the octopus! I'm going to follow up with the nonfiction The Soul of an Octopus soon.
Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark
This library hold came in a couple of days ago. It's a long book (592 pages) and my plan was to preview it, but I'm 14% in and still reading. It's the story of two 80-year-women, lifelong friends, and a beloved summer enclave in Maine.
I'll start another book on audio tomorrow, too... perhaps The Soul of an Octopus.
On the blog//
Two Reviews: The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff and The Pedant in the Kitchen by Julian Barnes
In the kitchen//
I've been trying to cook a little more the past couple of weeks. I've made Turkey Chili Taco Soup from skinnytaste, a Blackberry Peach Galette from Half-Baked Harvest, Basil Pesto Chicken Caprese from Vinkalinka, and I finally tried the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Cutlets recipe that Tina shared several weeks ago. That touch of Dijon mustard adds a really nice flavor boost!
The week ahead//
I have a feeling this week is going to fly. We have a couple of appointments for our daughter, more catching up to do at home after traveling, and a visit from Daughter #1 and her boyfriend coming up on Thursday.
Plus, the chair we ordered back in early April will finally be delivered on Friday. I can't wait! After that, we're just waiting on the coffee table. Definite progress... slowly, but surely.
How was your week? What are you reading?
The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.