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Posts from the ‘what we’re reading’ Category

Reading for my tummy

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Changing of the seasons makes me excited about cooking again. The end of winter makes my cooking mojo fizzle. I start making the same recipes over and over and eating out way too often. Eating things that are savory and heavy no longer tastes as great. I start to crave salads and fresh vegetables. Overall I’m just more energized. Getting up early with the sunshine on Sunday to make homemade yogurt all of sudden felt like a good idea. While I was at it I also roasted sweet potatoes and made pancakes. Because why not? I’m up. I’m drinking French pressed coffee and wearing new yoga pants. The suburban world is my oyster.

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Part of my excitement is that my annual favorite day of the year is coming soon. Opening Saturday of the local farmer’s market. With that comes weekends of cooking, freshly baked bread, huge tomatoes, grilling corn, potato salads, pesto making, summer squash and roasting beets: #foodporn. So in preparation for the best day ever I sat this weekend and read through all my favorite cookbooks. Gathered ideas. Refreshed my memory. I absolutely cannot wait for the first tomato, watermelon, spinach and feta salad with a balsamic dressing of the season. Definitely will be washing that down with a glass of cold rosé.

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Oh books for today’s youngsters…

Let’s start the week off a little sassy. Because why not? It’s a manic Monday.

That being said I will get into it. A lot of things nowadays make me feel old. Sometimes just outright ancient. But Goodnight iPad? Seriously?! What the hell is the world to do when we lose faith in a child’s ability to understand classics like Goodnight Moon? Now I get it… I found this lovely selection at Urban so the idea is to be a bit tongue and cheek but it just hit home. What if we actually got to a point where kids no longer read books like Dr. Seuss, Margaret Brown and Eric Carle etc? What if they no longer spend time in the library? Oh, the horror!!!


Musings | One of those women

My Mitford phase from earlier this year is back! One of the books I hadn’t managed to finish in wave one was The Blessing. It’s full of the amusing aristocratic chroniclings for which Mitford is known so naturally I recommend it. But you already knew that.

In my view, a sign of a great writer is the ability to capture a perspective or emotion in such a way that it stands out for the reader as a great truth or insight. When I read this statement from a dramatic dowager character, it struck me and I immediately emailed it to my sister. It seems to be the kind of thing that any hostess would want to live up to, this notion of atmosphere over arrangement. Beautiful decorating is terrific and we’re all about it, but that’s why good hostesses stand out. They make the house a home with the way they live in their space. I hope friends who squeeze into my little nugget of an apartment (a little over 300 sq. ft. can be challenging!) feel a warmth and happiness when they come over — and not just because it’s small.

That’s enough from my soapbox tonight, it’s Friday baby! Time to have a cocktail and not see Outlook in my field of vision for two whole days! Good luck to all the hosts and hostesses bringing Halloween to life this weekend.

What to do after the Grey

{ Blog Swapping Series, Part 7: My bestie over at Girly Obsessions and I have been swapping blogs every couple weeks. She brings you her musings, inspiration and in today’s case, latest reads, while we discuss our obsessions. Check out my post, where I tell you all about my obsession with Jack Wills… the fabulous British are coming… }

So if you read my blog, you know that I have a slight obsession with erotic fiction. My best friend said to me, but it’s so not like you, to which I said, no, I think it actually kind of is. It’s a recent development that started with 50 Shades (shocker) and grew into a full on obsession (thanks to Amazon’s related recommendations) and now I can’t stop. In fact, I already have two posts dedicated to what to read if you’re going through 50 Shades withdrawal (Part 1 and Part 2), and have a third and fourth on the way. But between all my erotic reads (umm, 18 so far?), I have read some more classic fiction, and I wanted to share three that I liked!

In The Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes (liked)
The opening lines of the book are extremely compelling: Here is the first thing you need to know about me: I’m a barefoot girl from red-dirt Oklahoma, and all the marble floors in the world will never change that. Here is the second thing: that young woman they pulled from the Arabian shore, her hair tangled with mangrove – my husband didn’t kill her, not the way they say he did. What I really liked about this book was the subject matter. The story begins in 1967, when Gin, a poor girl from Oklahoma, marries the hometown golden boy, Mason. Their life is turned upside down when he is offered a job with the Arabian American Oil Company in Saudi Arabia. They move into a gated compound where they can live an opulent American lifestyle amongst strict religious and social standards. I really liked the relationships between the characters in this book – trying to strike a balance between classes and genders in a world where they don’t really mix. What I didn’t love about this book: the ending. I was so emotionally involved with all the characters and plot lines, and it just…ended. No resolution. Damn that’s frustrating! But overall, I liked it enough to recommend it.

The Shoemakers Wife by Adriana Trigiani (loved)
I love a good historical fiction, and this one spans decades and continents. It’s also a love story. One of destiny and epic romance and star-crossed lovers. The first part of this book takes place in a tiny hilltop town in the Italian Alps. Ciro Lazzari and his brother are sent to live in a convent after their fathers death. Enza Ravanelli grew up in a close and loving, but poor, family. Fate brings her and Ciro together at a tragic event, a brief meeting that results in an intense connection. Years later they meet again, as fate would have it, in the streets of Little Italy in New York City. Ciro travels to become an apprentice to a shoemaker. Enza travels with her father to make money for her family and she gets a job as a seamstress in the Metropolitan Opera House. The story follows their relationship from Italy to New York, from the battlefields of World War I to a small, blossoming town in Minnesota. It is a rich, well-written saga about love, family, hard work, immigration, adversity and determination.

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (really loved)
I read this after The Shoemakers Wife, and it’s hard to say which I liked more. They are very different stories, but also have some similarities – both epic and seductive sagas that span continents. This story, in a weird way, centers around the murders of Jack the Ripper in East London in the late 1800s. Fiona Finnegan works in a tea shop and dreams about opening her own shop with her longtime love, Joe Bristow, a street vendor. Fiona’s life takes a tragic twist, several actually, and she flees with her younger brother to New York City. Her determined, positive spirit sets her life in motion and carries her from owning a successful shop to becoming a key figure in the center of the tea trade. Circumstances lead her back to London where she faces her past, Joe included, and determines a path for her future. I really love the way Connelly writes about London and New York as if they are characters in the book. They not only serve as an essential backdrop for the story, but take on their own life as living, breathing creatures. There are two sequels to this book, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose, which I have yet to read but are on my list!

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