Sunday, September 25, 2022

The Sunday Salon: Fall is Here!


Hello again from central New York. We drove back yesterday for today's birthday celebrations. Both my mother and nephew had birthdays this past week. Tomorrow we'll go with Mom to her doctor's appointment, then head home on Tuesday. The photo above was taken on the first day of fall at our town beach in Connecticut... low tide and a brisk, chilly wind!

Meanwhile, it looks like Ian will hit somewhere along Florida's gulf coast. We're keeping a very close eye on the weather reports and I'm thinking of all my Florida friends as you prepare...

Recent Reading//

I finished two books this week, both were read/listen combinations.

by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, narrated by Lauren J. Daggett

Set in 1970s Alabama, This book is about a young, idealistic black nurse, Civil Townsend, who takes a job at a family planning clinic in Montgomery. Among her first patients are two young black sisters aged 11 and 13. Civil is shocked to learn she is responsible for administering birth control shots to the girls. When she stops, something even worse occurs and Civil finds herself involved in a lawsuit against the government.  Based on a true story, this book broke my heart.

by Elizabeth Strout, narrated by Kimberly Farr

Lucy Barton is back. In this novel, Lucy and her ex-husband William flee NYC at the beginning of the pandemic for a house on a cliff by the ocean in Maine. I loved everything about this book and did not want it to end! 

I borrowed both the ebook and audiobook from the library and, once again, Kimberly Farr's narration was excellent. After finishing, I went out and purchased a copy to keep on my shelf... along with a hardcover edition of Oh William!  Lucy by the Sea  may just be my favorite book so far this year.

Up next//

I'm not sure. Shall I start Hamet by Maggie O'Farrell for an October book group, George by Alex Gino which was banned by our Florida county school board, or The Trees by Percival Everett which just arrived from the library and is on the Booker shortlist? Decisions, decisions...

The week ahead//

We'll head back to Connecticut on Tuesday. Our oldest daughter and her fiancĂ© (they got engaged in Napa last weekend!) will  arrive on Thursday for a long weekend. Of course we'll also be keeping an eye on Ian. 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, September 18, 2022

The Sunday Salon: September 18, 2022

Hello from upstate New York! We've been here with my parents for the past week and tomorrow we'll drive back to Connecticut. It's been fun seeing family and playing tourist in our former hometown. Especially enjoyable was a chilly midweek dinner by "our" old lake. Fall is definitely in the air! 

I haven't had much time to read, but did listen to a couple of audiobooks.


by Steven Rowley, narrated by the author

I'm so glad I chose to listen to this book! The author's fabulous narration added to the overall experience. While much of the novel is light and humorous, it also deals with serious issues, especially loss and grieving. I was happy to learn a film adaptation is already in the works and am tempted to check out the author's earlier novels, Lily and the Octopus  and The Editor. Have you read them?

by Claire Keegan, narrated by Aiden Kelly

Short-listed for the Booker Prize, this beautifully written novella (just under 2 hours on audio) left me wanting more - of everything. It was wonderful as far as it went, but I felt it ended far too abruptly. I'm definitely in the minority as most readers loved the book. Maybe it might have been more satisfying in print..


by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, narrated by Lauren J. Daggett

I'm really enjoying this as a read/listen combination and hope to finish today or tomorrow... such a troubling, compelling story based on actual events. I'll have more to say next week.


Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout

I'm at the top of the library hold list and expect to receive this book when it's released on Tuesday. Elizabeth Strout is one of my favorite authors, so I can't wait!

On the blog//

The week ahead//

It's going to be busy. Besides general catching up when we get home tomorrow, a few appointments are scheduled later in the week, and then we turn around and drive back to NY next weekend. My mother's birthday was yesterday and we had a small celebration, but her "official" birthday party with a larger family gathering is scheduled for next weekend. 

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, September 11, 2022

Review Catch-up: Fellowship Point by Anne Elliott Dark and The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

Fellowship Point by Anne Elliott Dark
Scribner, 2022
592 pages
source: library ebook

Fellowship Point is a novel primarily about one life-long female friendship. It's also a multi-generational family tale set mostly in rural Maine, where the natural surroundings play an important role. One of the main characters is an author and her literary storyline added further to the novel's appeal.

This book grew on me as I turned the pages. The leisurely pace allowed a gradual reveal of personalities, backgrounds, and relationships. Characters seemed to grow richer with each added detail. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and my reading experience... until somewhere around 400 pages when the pace began to feel more plodding than leisurely. At that point, I became impatient and wished the author would move more quickly toward a resolution. 

Despite the length and slow pacing, I still recommend this book. Read it when you have plenty of time to really sink into a novel and relax with it.

by Sy Montgomery, narrated by the author
Atria Books, paperback 2016 - 261 pages
HighBridge Audio, 2015 - 9 hours and 10 minutes
source: purchased paperback, hoopla audio

Who knew octopuses were so intelligent? I certainly didn't until I read Remarkably Bright Creatures  by Shelby Van Pelt. That novel piqued my curiosity... I needed to learn more about these amazing animals right away.

Montgomery's book was the perfect choice. Her journalistic style coupled with the interesting subject matter kept me turning the pages. She set out to learn more about octopuses at the New England Aquarium in Boston. She regularly spent time with octopus keepers and staff, and interacted directly with several octopuses over the years. Eventually she learned to scuba dive so she could interact with octopuses in the wild. Fascinating stuff!

There were two facts I found especially surprising. First, octopuses seem to have distinct personalities. For example, one may be playful and engaging, while another could be on the shy side. I also learned that octopuses require regular activities/ mental stimulation to prevent boredom. Evidently a bored octopus tends to become a destructive octopus!

Next up for me is a trip to a nearby aquarium.  I'm also hoping we can visit the New England Aquarium in  Boston before heading back to Florida!

This was a read/listen combination for me. I enjoyed the author's narration, but was glad I had a print copy to view the color photos. It's well worth the read in either format. 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

August Wrap-up and September Reading Possibilities

Hello, friends. How is your Labor Day weekend going? We're enjoying the long weekend with a visit from Twin A and her boyfriend... trying to savor every last moment of summer! August seemed like a long month to me. It was the hottest August on record in CT and probably close to the driest, too. We visited my parents a couple of times, spent a long weekend in northern NY/Vermont for my FIL's memorial, and completed a couple of small projects at home. 

August was a good reading month, too. I finished four books, with two more completed this weekend. (Those will be on my September list.)

Books Read in August//

September Reading Possibilities//

There are also a few library holds which may come in and you never know when a book from my shelves will call out. So many books...

How was your August reading? What was your favorite book?


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