Summer Reading….books for the beach and the backyard!!
May 31, 2011

Part of my library on NOOK.....some I haven't read yet...

Ok, now that summer is here, I wanted to share some books that I have read( and loved) recently…that you might also enjoy trying. It seems I am always looking for a good read, and like you, I am loathe to spend bucks on a book that I don’t know I’ll like. Not that my recommendation means that YOU will like it, but it’s a start, right? Here we go…

Lisa Robinson recommended this...

Wench, by Dolen PerkinsValdez.  Lisa Robinson recommended this when I was looking for a book to read…and she was right, I loved it. About the lives of four slave women who are also their masters’ mistresses….the women meet when their masters go to the same resort in Ohio every summer. Fascinating and suspenseful.

It struck a chord with me...

The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg. Don’t know if you have already discovered her books…definitely a chick book writer…I’ve enjoyed some of her others, but this one is about a woman who takes off from her life and husband, on a road trip to rediscover what she really wants from life. (who hasn’t dreamed of that)

Loved it!!

A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness.  Ok, if you’re a fan of books about witches, vampires, that sort of thing…you’ll love this. Well written and it interweaves all of them into one long(hello, getting your money’s worth-what’s with the 195 page reads)fantastic read, that is obviously set up as the first in a series. Loves it.

Found it from a NY Times review...

Among Others, by Jo Walton.  Also fantasy, science fiction book….it is about a young girl shunted off to a grim boarding school…who knows she is from a family of spell casters, and a pretty surprising past….she finds a group of science fiction readers that change her life. Lovely read…

Where is she really? Takes a while to find out...

Room, by Emma Donoghue. Read about this in the NY Times book review and it sounded so fascinating, I knew I had to get it. 5-year-old Jack lives with his Mother in what seems like a single room, as Jack tells it, where he has lived his whole life. They eat, play games, sleep….but why are they there? Kinda creepy for sure, but also amazing story of hope, and love….a real page-turner.

Look at that face!!

Katie Up and Down the Hall, by Glenn Plaskin, is, as you would guess from the cover, a heart-warming book about a dog…and the way she changes the life of her owner and everyone else on his hall. True story of Plaskin, who lives in Battery Park …who also witnesses 9-11, and the terrible aftermath for the people who lived on the tip of Manhattan. If you love dogs, you’ll like it.

I loved this book...

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson. An amazing book( so good I read it twice), about a man who is in the autumn of his life in a small village in Great Britain…finding love so late in life, and standing up to prejudice. major Pettigrew  clings to traditional values and has tried (in vain) to pass these along to his
yuppie son, Roger. Oh, an ungrateful child.

Oh Anthony....

Medium Raw, a Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain. If you liked Kitchen Confidential, or are just a Bourdain fas, as am I…you’ll love this book about his life, what happened after Kitchen Confidential became a mega best seller, and what has happened to him since. Bourdain is his usual profane, hilarious, take no prisoners self…very  entertaining, and you’ll learn things about the food industry too… who he like and why… who he hates, and why. Entertaining, for sure.

If you like clothes....

Last, A Vintage Affair, by Isabel Wolff. A novel about a vintage clothing expert who abandons a career at Sotheby’s, to open a shop in London, selling only the finest vintage clothing(she don’t want your old Talbots jacket)…she is also reeling from an imploded engagement and the death of her best friend. Enter an elderly client with some amazing pieces she wants to, ummm, divest herself of….and quite a story behind them. Sweet, and a lovely read.

Ok, enough for today…movies tomorrow, ok?? And do you have any recent great reads to share?

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Remembrance….looking back on 9-11
September 11, 2010

I woke up early this pretty, sunny morning thinking…it happened today, nine years ago. I had been walking our beloved dog Scout, later than usual, and when I strolled through the front door, my husband told me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Tower. And thus began, like for so many of you, a day of  watching things you didn’t think were even possible…things more terrible than we shall ever hope to see in again in our lifetimes. Scout was alive then, so was my little Mother, so were so many  who do not walk the earth today.

And what lessons do we take away from the horror of that day? Honestly, I’m not sure. That sometimes terrible things that you could never foresee happen. That sometimes those terrible things happen to good people who do not deserve it. I do not believe that it was meant for any of those who died to have been where they were, not do I believe that those who went to work late, or called in sick, or were away on vacation, were saved for some reason. They were simply lucky..fortunate my Mother would say, not lucky. Lucky is when you find a five dollar bill on the  street…fortunate is when you escape death while others did not.

The only lesson I know for sure is that life is fragile and fleeting, never made more clear to us than on that day. When we walk out our front doors, none of us knows for sure if we will return to our families that evening. We operate under the assumption that we will…but one never knows. So savor the sunshine today and hope for some rain… kiss your children and call your Mother, as they will not always be here. As Robert Herrick wrote in the 1600s….Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:…And this same flower that smiles to-day, To-morrow will be dying
.  He wrote the poem about fleeting beauty, but it is also about the fleeting nature of life in general. So we all go forth today remembering those who are no longer with us, thankful that we have another day, hopefully to put to good use. Savor it, there won’t be another day just like it…ever. Isnt’ that an astonishing thought?

Samurai Umbrella…
March 16, 2010

See? Doesn't it look sharp?(not literally...)

OK, let me say this…I am not really good with umbrellas..I tend to lose them, leave them, forget them…no longer be their owner after a short while. But here’s one even I might not lose, because it’s strapped to my back like a….well, like a samurai sword! My first thought when I saw this was to order one for my son who live in NYC…(if you’re interested, here’s a link). One less thing to carry in his hand, when one has a Jack’s coffee in it and the other your man bag…I mean messenger bag.  But then, just as I was considering pulling out the credit card, a brief startling scene flashed through my mind.

Just reach back, and whip it out....

Picture this….my son leaves his apartment on day that threatens rain…he has strapped on his samurai umbrella and is trudging through the streets of the west village, past Marc Jacobs, past Cynthia Rowley, a quick stop into Jack’s Coffee for a latte to go…..and off he heads for the Washington Square/West 4th subway station….noticing people are looking at his umbrella, admiring glances…aren’t they? Probably wondering where he acquired it(from his Mother who has the best taste, that’s where). And down the stairs he trots, hoping to catch the train just as it comes in..he’s running late. Suddenly the sound of heavy footsteps running behind him….the next thing he knows he is face down on some very dirty cement, voices shouting, all he can see is feet running, a child is crying. The person on top of him yells, “I got him! I got him!”  It is some time before the nice policeman lets him up to explain that the weapon on his back… is… just… an… umbrella. Hmmmm. On second thought….

Now would this actually happen? In a pre-9/11 world, probably not. But today..in New York City? I’m not gonna chance it. I still like the  Samurai umbrella, the way it looks and its convenience, (and you may too so here’s a link to buy it)….but I can hear the disdainful words I’ve heard more than a few times from my son when I do something well intended, yes,  but the results are less than stellar…”Good one, Mom“.

For now I’m sticking with the umbrella that I have loved and managed to keep for some time now(after my son left it at my house)….it’s a Callaway Umbrella, and the beauteous thing about this collapsible, is that it is not just automatic open…almost all of them do that..but when you get in your car and the rain is pouring, you don’t have to reach out and pull the umbrella closed, thereby drenching yourself anyway….this one collapses with another touch of the button. Love it….and no one could mistake it for a weapon.