I spent a great deal of time on beaches this summer, and yet I didn't read as much as I hoped. So often I'd be lured by the world before me from the book in front of me and that's OK. I am gearing up for the final months of 2016 and plan to get through a stack of well recommended titles. These are the summer reads I can remember:
The Passenger and yet I scarcely remember this, but I gave it a 3 1/2 in my journal. I think it was a quick thriller just right for passing time, but also forgettable.
Picnic in Provence I gave this a 4-4 1/2. It was a happy memoir that transported me to the French countryside and inspired me to religiously shop farmer's markets all summer long and to try some new and delicious things in my kitchen. I want to read Lunch in Paris some day. Maybe next summer.
The Girls I almost skipped this after reading reviews, but then I was lured in by the cover. I ended up liking the novel more than I expected, but it was haunting and uncomfortable for me as the mother of a daughter not much younger than the narrator. I gave it a 4.
Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty started out so strong and then midway it just got strange. It felt like two different novels by two different authors, and that I didn't appreciate. I couldn't give it any more than a 3-3 1/2 out of 5.
Leaving Lucy Pear was well developed and told. I especially liked the female characters, but I was left wanting more from their sorority and that's why I only gave it a 4.
Sweetbitter was a quick and entertaining read, but the characters were contrived and thus the story was predictable. It kept my attention though so it scored a 4.
When Breath Becomes Air finally. I'd tucked this away and decided to take it on the week between my mom's birthday and her death because I'm a glutton for punishment. After reading an excerpt last year in the NYT Magazine, I expected the book to be more philosophical than practical so I was surprised when it was more an accounting of his medical training than a discourse on his life and death. It was still a 4 and a worthy read.
Patient H.M. is on my night stand. I'm about halfway through and 90 percent certain I'm through. I'm giving up because this is not so much a story of Henry as it is a history of brain surgery. It's too technical, it's boring and it's giving me a major head ache every time I read it. It's also beyond dark and sad.
How to Celebrate Everything is a cookbook, but I'm reading it from cover to cover and resisting the urge to head to my kitchen and start cooking every time I read a few pages. This is another treasure trove of tried and true recipes, but I'm loving Jenny's stories just as much and I'm wondering why I didn't write this when I had nearly the exact same idea years ago.
Small Victories another cookbook and another great collection. There are so many fun riffs on old favorites that I feel like cooking my way through this one as well.
Blue Horses another beautiful book of Mary Oliver inspiration ala poetry.
Wondering if it will rain every time I have plans to head to the apple orchard. Two Wednesdays in a row were washouts and I'm starting to get a complex.
Hoping we get Lily's room painted and put back together before the end of the weekend and that she loves her room redo.
Watching Designated Survivor as a family, Secrets and Lies with Lily and Narcos with Mike. I'm still tuning into DWTS and Survivor too. I'm rooting for Marilu Henner because I know my mom would have and definitely the Gen Xers because millennials not so much. Watch this and tell me it's not hilarious. Two decent movies. Paper Towns over the weekend and Girl on a Train the other night. I took Lily and some friends to see Miss Peregrine so I dragged Mike along and we had our own movie date. I read Girl on a Train last year, but I liked the movie better than the book and that almost never happens. Mike liked it too.
Listening to my fall music. That's Grover Washington Jr., George Winston, Vince Guaraldi, Cat Stevens and Rickie Lee Jones. Well, always RLJ.
Eating like it's fall. Last night it was Ina's Company Pot Roast even though there was no company. When Ted walked in the door at the end of the rainy, grey Wednesday, he was pleased with the aromas and he let me know. That's music to my ears. The picture below is Whole30 chili and it's another family favorite. The scant shreds of cheese and the dollop of sour cream are not Whole30 compliant, which leads me to the confession that we are bending some of the edicts. It's OK though because all things in moderation is true healthy eating and that is the goal.
Wanting a candidate I can truly feel good voting for, cooler heads to prevail, not to be confused about whether SNL is comedy or reality every week.
Thinking that America may never be great again.
Enjoying the sublime fall we've been having, 150+ days of 60 degrees or higher, white pumpkins and tiger pumpkins, bouquets of multi-colored mums, and apple everything. Also lazy weekends at home, lakefront walks with my husband, curling up at the end of the day with a cat and a book, plans...lots of plans for the house, for the holidays, for writing.
Loving this passage from When Breath Becomes Air even though I believe very much in the wisdom of children and the old, and the importance of living in the moment.
I don't believe in the wisdom of children nor in the wisdom of the old. There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.