Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Sunday Salon: February 26, 2023


Hello, friends. It's been a couple of weeks since my last update and, overall, the island is still slowly recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Ian. A couple more businesses have opened, FEMA debris haulers are everywhere, and there seems to be an uptick in building demolitions. 

This past week my sister and BIL were over on the east coast, so we decided to take a break from the destruction and drive across Alligator Alley to join them. A couple nights at a hotel on the beach with warm weather, cool breezes, and lush vegetation was just what we needed! The photo above is an east coast sunrise.

Recent reading//

by Anonymous
narrated by Gabra Zackman, Lyle Lovett, J. Smith-Cameron

Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved pseudonymous Twitter account reveals how a writer deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living.

Do you follow Duchess Goldblatt on twitter? This is a lovely memoir, but one which would have been even more enjoyable if I'd been a DG follower from the very beginning. In case you're unfamiliar with her, this New York Times article will bring you up to speed. I listened to this one and Lyle Lovett narrating his own texts, letters, and conversation was an added bonus.

A Brother's Blood by Michael C. White

In the final days of World War II, Dieter Kallick, one of 200 German prisoners of war pressed into service at a Maine logging village, escaped into the woods. His body would later be found washed up on the shore of Moosehead Lake. Decades later, Wolfgang Kallick arrives in this same rural town, hoping to unravel the mystery of his brother's death. His questions trigger disturbing, long-dormant memories in Libby, a flinty Yankee store owner, and she is drawn inexorably into the drama when she realizes that her own family is involved in the case. Then Libby's own brother is killed. Suspecting that the two deaths, though nearly a half-century apart, are somehow linked, she undertakes her own investigation, not realizing that behind the sullen silence of her close-knit town lies a festering secret darker than she ever imagined.

This WWII historical fiction with a mystery is not my typical fare, but I decided to pick it up after meeting the author and his wife. We all had an enjoyable dinner and, naturally, talked a lot about books. At one point, the conversation turned to WWII POW camps in Maine... something I'd only learned about through reading  Oh, William! by Elizabeth Strout. Turns out a Maine POW camp figures prominently in Micheal's first novel (published in 1996) so I decided to give it a try.

I've spent time in that part of Maine, so particularly enjoyed the setting. I also appreciated gradually coming to understand the characters and their motivations, the building suspense, and finally, the unexpected resolution. 

Current reading//

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

This author's books are often mentioned during Nonfiction November, and last night I discovered this ebook on my library's website. Just 15% in, but I can already see why so many bloggers love her work.

by Patrick Bringly, narrated by the author

A fascinating, revelatory portrait of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its treasures by a former New Yorker staffer who spent a decade as a museum guard.

I love the Met and just used an audible credit for this new release. Not sure whether I'll get started now or wait until my library hold of the print edition is available...

The week ahead//

We don't have any big plans this week, just a couple of meetings and appointments. Maybe that means I'll be able to finish another book before the end of the month... fingers crossed!

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, February 12, 2023

A Super Bowl Sunday Salon

 Hello, friends and Happy Super Bowl Sunday! It almost seems like a national holiday, doesn't it? We'll have the game on, at least through halftime, but it will be more about the food and ads than who's winning or losing. Will you be watching?

Here on Sanibel, the slow return to normal continues. Last week our post office moved back to the island - there are now FEMA trailers in the parking lot where we can pick up our mail. No word yet on when home delivery may begin, but this is still a HUGE improvement. The island school welcomed students back last week  and a handful of our favorite restaurants have reopened, too. Since the arrival of our friends from Canada, we are no longer the sole inhabitants of our neighborhood. We're also hoping another couple may be able to move back into their home later this month.

In other news, our oldest daughter and her fiancé visited for her long birthday weekend. They were shocked by the overall condition of the island, but it was so good to have them here! Life became a little less complicated last week as we finally replaced my husband's car that was lost in the hurricane. He's pretty happy to have a new one!

Recent reading//

by Victoria Mas, translated by Frank Wynne

The Salpetriere Asylum: Paris, 1885. Dr. Charcot holds all of Paris in thrall with his displays of hypnotism on women who have been deemed mad and cast out from society. But the truth is much more complicated—these women are often simply inconvenient, unwanted wives, those who have lost something precious, wayward daughters, or girls born from adulterous relationships. For Parisian society, the highlight of the year is the Lenten ball—the Madwomen’s Ball—when the great and good come to gawk at the patients of the Salpetriere dressed up in their finery for one night only. For the women themselves, it is a rare moment of hope.

I recently heard about this 2019 novel on The Book Cougars podcast... the premise sounded appealing and suggested a similarity to The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell. This novel, translated from the original French, was set a century earlier than O'Farrell's novel and told in a more linear fashion. It was a quick, entertaining read. The 2021 film, in French with English subtitles, is available on amazon prime video. I plan to watch it sometime this week.

Current reading//

by anonymous, narrated by Gabra Zackman, Lyle Lovett, J. Smith-Cameron

According to the publisher, "Becoming Duchess Goldblatt  is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblatt herself, a bright light in the darkness of social media. Fans around the world are drawn to Her Grace's voice, her wit, her life-affirming love for all humanity, and the fun and friendship of the community that's sprung up around her." 

Have you seen Duchess Goldblatt on twitter? I'm enjoying this one mostly on audio... just hit the 40% mark. 

In the kitchen//

Another example of life returning to normal is that I've started to cook again... and have even been interested in trying some new recipes! Last week I made Chicken Chow Mein, Grilled Lemon Pepper SalmonPork Tenderloin Diane (will cut back on the lemon pepper next time), and Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats from skinnytaste, twice.

The week ahead//

Nothing major this week... I have an appointments with the dermatologist and dentist, my husband will get together with his college roommates, and we're planning a quiet Valentine's dinner at home.

How was your week? What have you been reading?

A beach surprise!

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.


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