Sunday, March 31, 2024

An Easter Sunday Salon: March 31, 2024

Hello, friends. It's been a beautiful Easter Sunday in Sanibel... probably the best beach day we've had all year! Traditionally Easter marks the end of our 'high season', but since it's so early this year, that may not be the case. The beaches and restaurants are the busiest I've seen them since before Hurricane Ian. And speaking of Ian, this past week marked the 18 month anniversary of the storm that devastated our island. Though there is still a long road to recovery, it's really amazing to see how far we have come. 

Repairs continue on our home, too. The driveway project was completed last week, and now we're looking ahead to landscaping. The painters were here most of last week. I think they'll need another day or two, but then our upstairs (main) living area be back to the way it was before the storm! With any luck the downstairs will be finished before we head north, too.

Recent Reading//

Also A Poet by Ada Calhoun

This is the May selection for the MMD book club. I can say with certainty that I never would have picked this book up on my own, but ended up really enjoying it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel

As a life-long overthinker, this has been on my list since it was released several years ago. I found it on my library's shelf last week and was pleased to find several very useful strategies to break the cycle. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

My Vietnam reading continues. I plan to start Absolution by Alice McDermott next month and understand that it has a "narrative impact that recalls Graham Greene’s The Quiet American" so I decided to read this first. There is much I don't understand about America's role in Southeast Asia and it was interesting to read this take by a British author. I can see why it is considered a classic.

Current reading//

by Ada Calhoun, narrated by the author

I enjoyed Calhoun's voice so much in Also A Poet, I turned to this audiobook inspired by her "wildly popular" New York Times essay "The Wedding Toast I'll Never Give"... really good so far.

I plan to read James by Percival Everett soon and thought it might be a good idea to refresh my memory of Huck Finn.

It's hard to believe tomorrow is April.... I'll try to post a monthly reading wrap-up later this week.
How was your week? hat have you been reading?

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

A St. Patrick's Day Sunday Salon!

Hello, friends and Happy St. Patrick's Day! We are at home and alone this weekend... our first solo weekend in about six weeks. That's not at all a complaint, but I sure am enjoying the peace and quiet!

Work inside our house has come to a halt again... it's probably time to start nagging. The paver order came in though and work on the driveway is supposed to begin this week. In the meantime, I've finished several books since I checked in a couple of weeks ago.

Recent reading//

We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange

This is the March selection at Modern Mrs. Darcy book club and was an enjoyable summer read for me back in 2021. I wasn't initially planning a reread, but there are quite a few characters and the details had become too fuzzy for me to enjoy the discussion and author chat. As it turned out, this book was even better the second time around! It's your typical messy family drama with lots of secrets and complicated relationships. In addition, the Brennan family owns a neighborhood Irish pub near Westchester county, NY which makes things even more interesting. The audio, narrated by Barrie Kreinik, is excellent. 

Recitatif by Toni Morrison

This is probably the most thought-provoking short story I've ever read! It's about two eight-year-old girls who spend several months as roommates at a shelter - one because her mother is sick and the other because her mother "dances all night." They randomly meet again several times over the years and the meetings cause both girls to question their memories and perceptions. One girl is black, the other is white, and Morrison chooses not to let the reader know which is which. 

Morrison herself described this story as "an experiment in the removal of all racial codes from a narrative about two characters of different races for whom racial identity is crucial." 

First published in 1983, it was reissued in 2022 with a discussion/introduction by Zadie Smith. I'm glad I heeded the advice to read the story BEFORE Smith's commentary. After reading both the story and then commentary, I went back and listened to the story again.

The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Loosely based on experiences of the author's relatives, this is a multigenerational story that follows one North Vietnamese family through the turbulence of the 20th century, including the Communist Land Reform, Great Hunger, and the Vietnam War. It was an absorbing, sobering read which caused me to think about Vietnam from a perspective I had not previously considered. 

I chose a read/listen combination and the audio, narrated by Quyen Ngo, enhanced my overall reading experience. I appreciated hearing correct pronunciations of names and places, and enjoyed the reader's melodious delivery of Vietnamese proverbs and poems. (The audiobook is available through hoopla.)

Highly recommended. Four and a half stars for now, but may increase as I continue to think about it. 

House Love by Patric Richardson

Richardson's previous book, Laundry Love,  was a hit for me in 2022 and he has developed quite a following since its publication. This book is an attempt to expand on that successful format by offering both decorating ideas and cleaning plans for every space in your house. 

Where Laundry Love was both entertaining and taught me a few things, this one was entertaining enough, but felt a little lighter on information. I should note that I listened to Laundry Love, narrated by the author, and am certain his delivery added to my enjoyment. It probably would have been a better  choice to listen to this one, too. 

Current reading//

Also A Poet by Ada Calhoun

I just started this memoir earlier today. It's the April selection at MMD and is pretty interesting so far. 

The week ahead//

This week will be more about socializing than appointments - hooray! We have some old friends arriving in their small RV tomorrow for a quick overnight, friends from Wisconsin coming for dinner on Tuesday, and a neighborhood party on Friday. Should be a fun week! 

How was your week? What have you been reading?

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

The Sunday Salon: March is Here!

Hello friends and happy March?! February has pretty much been a blur. It's high season around here and we've had a full house all month! Both daughters with their partners, my sister and BIL, and now my SIL have all visited. It been great spending time with everyone, but didn't leave much time for reading.

On the renovation front, we finally made it to the top of the painter's list. They were here most of last week and our downstairs is starting to look livable again! They should finish this week, then the electricians will be back, with cabinets/vanity after that. 

Recent reading//

by Alexandra Lapierre, translated by Tina Kover

I purchased this book months ago with a birthday gift card and was excited when MMD book club chose it as a February "flight pick" to go with The Personal Librarian. This book was longer, more literary, and more detailed. After reading the author's notes, bibliography, etc, I think it is the more accurate portrayal. Plus there were photos! The Morgan Library & Museum has an upcoming exhibition on Belle Greene's life. I'm hoping to read this biography before visiting.

Sula by Toni Morrison

I've only read a couple of Toni Morrison's novels and wanted to squeeze in one more before the end of the month. Sula  is short, just under 200 pages. It tells the story of two close childhood friends and how their relationship devolves over the course of a lifetime, even as an inexplicable bond remains.

Current reading//

We Are the Brennans by Tracy Lange

This is the March pick of the MMD book club. I enjoyed it back in the summer of 2021... enough to do a quick reread prior to discussion. I'll finish within the next couple of days.

Up next//

Recitatif by Toni Morrison

I brought this tiny hardcover home from the library last week and will set aside some time to read the short story today. Zadie Smith's introduction/discussion is actually longer than the story. I've been advised to read  the story first!

The week ahead//

My sister-in-law will be here for another week. There is talk of a short trip to Key West, but I will likely stick around here while the repairs continue. That means that I'll finally  get some time to read!

How was your week? 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.



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