Sunday, May 26, 2024

Back in Connecticut!

Hello, friends... it's good to chat with you again. We arrived in CT a few days ago, ahead of the Memorial Day weekend travel rush. We drove as far as Georgia the first day, opting for a quick overnight in Savannah by the riverfront. (photo above)  From there we went to Chapel Hill, NC for a few days. We got to see my cousin, visit an old friend, shop at Wegmans, and finally had an opportunity to tour the Duke Gardens. Our final stop on the trip was in Harrisburg, PA.

Now we're back and unpacked, and overdue landscaping chores are the top priority. Slowly, but surely...

Recent Reading//

Sipsworth by Simon Van Booy
narrated by Christine Rendel

Over the course of a single week, a woman who is ready to die discovers an unexpected reason to live.

This novel was released to very little fanfare last month, but I happened to notice three words from Ann Patchett on the cover - "I loved it." And that was all I needed. The short novel (5 hours on audio) is both life-affirming and delightful, and I loved it, too. I may even purchase a hard copy to keep on my shelf. The audio is available for immediate download via hoopla.

Current reading//

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

This is a longterm nonfiction project. I've read over 150 pages now and look forward to my 30 minutes with the book each morning . Goodwin is both an excellent writer and storyteller.

Horse by Geraldine Brooks

I just started this book yesterday and was surprised to find one of the storylines takes place in Lexington, KY in the 1850s. I've spent time there with Team of Rivals, too! This is a read/listen combination and it's off to a strong start. At just over 400 pages, it's going to take some time...

The week ahead//

Even though we've just gotten comfortable here, it's back on the road again this week! We'll head up to central NY to spend a few days with my parents, then down to NYC for a long weekend where we'll get a chance to see both daughters and their partners. Should be a lot of fun!

How was your week? What have you been reading lately?

Sarah P. Duke Gardens


Sunday, May 12, 2024

A Mother's Day Sunday Salon: May 12, 2024

Hello friends, and Happy Sunday from Florida! It's been pretty quiet on the island this week. Many of our friends and fellow residents travel north for the summer months, and the summer vacation crowd has yet to arrive. We went out to brunch yesterday (to beat the Mother's Day rush) and were seated right away!

We enjoyed several beautiful evenings at the beach last week. Low tides, a nice breeze, good shelling, and not too buggy - just perfect! I'm hoping for more of the same this week.

Recent Reading//

This book has been on my shelf for years, but finally moved to the immediate TBR pile ahead of our summer trip to Santa Fe. I love Cather's writing and her gorgeous prose is on full display here, especially in descriptions of the southwest landscape. Her pen is practically a paintbrush! This is a slow, meandering, episodic novel. Light on an actual plot, it still manages to convey the life stories of two French priests in the southwest desert... and the ending moved me to tears. It's not my favorite Cather novel, but it may be the most beautiful.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Celadon Books, 2021

This novel was a page-turner! It begins with Jacob Finch Bonner, a once promising young novelist, now in the midst of a writing slump and teaching at an obscure MFA program. There he encounters the most arrogant student ever... who happens to have an amazing plot idea. Several years later (and still struggling professionally) Jake realizes that that novel has never been published, learns that the student is dead, and decides to use that plot idea to write the book himself. 

There are some interesting questions raised here. Who owns an idea? Who gets to tell a story? What about cultural appropriation? I did not read the 2023 novel Yellowface by R.F. Kuang, but understand it addresses similar issues.

I've read four books by this author now and while The Latecomer  remains my favorite, this was solid 4-star read... though not quite  4.5 stars. (Do I really need quarter stars now??) I'm excited to read the sequel, entitled The Sequel, coming this fall.


Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

I'm experimenting with a longterm nonfiction read. Instead of reaching for my computer first thing in the morning, I spend about 30 minutes with this book and my coffee - found reading time, if you will.  After a week, it's starting to feel like a habit. I've only read 90 pages so far and have over 800 to go. It's going to take a while, but Goodwin is both an excellent writer and wonderful storyteller!

I'm hoping to start another book later today, too. I have three library ebooks to sample... hopefully one will stand out. 

The week ahead//
We'll be packing, cleaning, and loading the car ahead of our drive north at the end of the week. Most of the hurricane repairs are done, except for a few small things to finish up when we get back. I probably won't be around much for the rest of the month, but will try and check in around Memorial Day.

How was your week? What are you reading?

 The Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

April Reading Wrap-Up and A List of May Possibilities

April is over and now we're into the first weekend of May. The heat and humidity are inching higher as we close in on the rainy season. I'm trying to walk either earlier in the morning or later in the evening. 

April turned out to be a good month for reading - another month with extra time at home with (or waiting for!) contractors. I read four novels, including one classic, plus a short story collection.


classic novel, ⭐⭐⭐

James by Percival Everett 
literary fiction, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

short story collection, ⭐⭐⭐💫

Girls and Their Horses by Eliza Jane Brazier
mystery/thriller, ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Absolution by Alice McDermott
literary fiction, ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫


classic novel, currently reading

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
nonfiction/history, long-term summer read

There There by Tommy Orange

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (reread)

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Also in May//
Our time in Florida is winding down. The contractor has another week and a half to finish up.... we'll see what happens. Reservations have been made for the drive north. We'll see friends in Beaufort, SC and my cousin in Chapel Hill, and arrive in CT ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

My May reading list is optimistic, to say the least. I don't read much while we're traveling and my focus is usually elsewhere as we pack and prepare for the trip, but it never hurts to have a plan!

What was your favorite April book? Do you have any special plans for May? 



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