Friday, September 29, 2023

An Early Sunday Salon: September 29, 2023


photo courtesy of Symphony Space

Hello, friends. Happy fall!🍂🍁 It's been an action-packed couple of weeks and we are on the way back to NYC for the second consecutive weekend. Last week my daughter and I went to see Ann Patchett at Symphony Space, where Patchett was in conversation with her friend, writer Patrick Ryan. It was amazing! Ann spoke on  a wide variety of topics including friendship, writers workshops, Tom Lake, several of her backlist books, the writing process, research, and then she answered audience questions, too. This was my first live author event since the pandemic, and I can't wait to attend another. 

This weekend is all about wedding dress shopping for our oldest daughter. (Twin A is getting married next month, Daughter #1's wedding is in September 2024.)  The groom's parents and sister are also in town this weekend. We have appointments at three bridal shops, with a brunch scheduled in between. While the ladies shop, the gentlemen have their own agenda... and college football surely figures into it! We'll all be together for dinner in the evening. It's going to be a great weekend.

Recent reading//

True Biz by Sara Nović

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
I rated it 4.5 stars, but my thoughts on this one are complicated. Look for a review this week.

Current reading//

When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash
This is the October selection for the MMD book club. I'm about a third of the way in now.

I bought this while book browsing in NYC last weekend... isn't that cover irresistible? The audio is available on hoopla, so now it's a read/listen combination. I'm halfway through and enjoying it very much.

On the blog//

The week ahead//
I'm past due for a quiet week and hoping this will be it. We have no appointments scheduled and no travel plans... and I'm going to do everything in my power to keep it that way! 

How are things with you? What have you been reading lately?

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

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Thoughts on TRUE BIZ by Sara Nović

True Biz by Sara Nović
Random House, 2022
386 pages

Source: ebook borrowed from library

Motivation for reading: MMD book club September selection

Summary (from goodreads):
The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history finals, and have politicians, doctors, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they'll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who's never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school's golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the headmistress, who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another's—and changed forever.

This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. Absorbing and assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, this is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.

My thoughts:

Overall, I liked this book. I was unfamiliar with both Deaf culture and issues faced by the community, and this novel offered a way in. It introduced me to fundamentals of Deaf history, basic principles of signing, and the controversy surrounding sign language and the use of cochlear implants. Interspersed periodically between chapters were short nonfiction "lesson plans" - a creative feature which I enjoyed.

But there were some negatives, too. The novel had more of a didactic and YA (young adult) feel than I was expecting, plus the story dragged in the middle. 

The book club's author talk featured the author plus a sign language interpreter with Anne Bogel, and it was so interesting to watch! I never would have chosen this book on my own and appreciate the opportunity to learn about Deaf culture through MMD.

My rating:

Friday, September 8, 2023

A Look Back at August and Plans for September

The long holiday weekend is behind us and we are now well into September, but I'd still like to take a look back at August and outline some September reading possibilities. 

In August, we tried to make the most of the long summer days. The kids all visited, we traveled to upstate NY to see my parents and attend a family reunion, and spent several evenings on the beach for sunset. I managed to read four books last month, and was happy with their variety and quality. I read a classic play, a memoir, a new release from a favorite author, and reread a Pulitzer Prize winning short story collection on audio.

Books Read in August

The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
classic play, ⭐⭐⭐💫

by Irmgard A. Hunt
memoir, ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
literary fiction, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
short stories, reread,⭐⭐⭐⭐

September Reading Possibilities

memoir in essays, audio reread (COMPLETE)

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese 
literary fiction, read/listen combo in progress

True Biz by Sara Nović 
MMD September selection, ebook in progress

The Road to Dalton by Shannon Bowring

The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton

Also planned in September is a longer visit with my parents, a quick trip to Buffalo to see friends, and two long weekends in NYC... one for an Ann Patchett event and another to go wedding dress shopping with our daughter who is getting married next  summer. We're also finalizing plans for our daughter's wedding next month. So exciting!

How was your August? Any big plans for September? What was your favorite book last month?


Sunday, September 3, 2023

A Labor Day Weekend Update


Hello book friends, happy Labor Day weekend! I'm savoring these last days of summer and, at the same time, looking ahead to a very full fall... especially with our daughter's wedding next month. On the reading front, I've been leaning into rereading old favorites. This has been a surprising, yet comforting, development.

Recent reading//

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
narrated by Matilda Novak
(an audio reread)

by Anna Quindlen, narrated by the author

Another audio reread, this time a 2012 memoir in essays from a favorite author... and still 5 stars!

Current Reading//

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
narrated by the author

After a long wait, there is finally a new novel from Abraham Verghese. Cutting for Stone was a favorite back in 2010 and now I'm happy to be immersed in his latest. It's a read/listen combination and I'm nearly halfway through this 775-page chunkster. 

True Biz by Sara Nović

This is the September selection for the MMD book club and I'm at the 20% mark now. It's good so far, but I'm reaching for The Covenant of Water  whenever I have time to read. I may just finish that one then give this book my full attention.

On the blog//

In the kitchen//
I kept things pretty simple this week with our favorite sheet pan Chicken Fajitas, Baked Tofu (on a night my husband had a meeting!) turkey chili taco soup, and a strawberry/blueberry variation of this incredibly easy Puff Pastry Blueberry Galette.

The week ahead//
Short weeks following long holiday weekends always feel a little off to me, even in retirement, but I'm working on an August reading wrap-up post, and waiting on a final estimate for bathroom remodels. Then it'll be time to finalize tile and fixture selection.

How was your week? What are you reading this holiday weekend?


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