Latest Read

I am trying to broaden my reading this year. I typically read historical fiction which is still my favorite. With all the political upheaval I am planning on reading more nonfiction. I’m hoping that by having a better understanding I can quiet my mind’s questions of “why this is happening” or “why is misinformation so prevalent”. I also want to read more genres that I often ignore.

I started off the year reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I found the first part of the book boring and very repetitive. As I often do when a book is like that but yet I still kind of want to know what happens I will start jumping around, which I did. I landed in the middle and began to become intrigued with the book and stayed with it until the end. The story line is of a girl, Addie who makes a deal with a dark god to live her life in freedom. Unfortunately this means others will not remember her when she sees them again. Until she meets Henry in 2014 who remembers her. The book parallels Addie’s life from her birth in the late 1600’s with her life in 2014. The author has done an excellent job connecting this parallel timelines. The ending was a surprise, though it shouldn’t have been. Still not sure if I liked the ending but overall this was an excellent read.

In Five Years by Rececca Serle

In Five Years, is in some ways a love story but really more about friendship and knowing yourself.  One of the main characters is Dannie Kohan, a corporate lawyer who has everthing planned out.  After nailing an interview for her dream job and getting engaged to her longtime boyfriend she falls asleep on the couch.  When she wakes up she finds herself in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger and beside a  different man.  Looking over at the TV she sees a date:  2025, five years in the future.   Returning to present she is shaken by the dream and even more so when she comes face to face with the man in person.
This story is about love, not only romantic love but friendship, about being a parent and letting go of expectations.
It is a great read for the beginning of 2021.

My Mother’s Kitchen

Dinner at my house, growing up, was never a mystery; If it was Thursday we were having Macaroni & Cheese and on a Friday we would be having Liver and Onions or fried fish.  On Sunday it was usually fried chicken, city chicken and sometimes beef.  Beef was expensive so it was a rare treat, well, if you like very well-done steak. 

The rest of the week we ate casseroles:  tuna fish and noodles, chicken tetrazzini, Hungarian galosh, occasionally scalloped potatoes and ham or savory rice. There was always dessert – apple dumplings were my favorite and then brownies, cake, pie but always something sweet. 

My mom was not an adventurous cook but she was organized.  She kept a calendar of meals to prepare and stuck with it.  Years later, when talking to my older brother about cooking at home I realized that our meals were pretty much the same every week.  There was little variety, even though she owned a variety of cookbooks, mostly Better Homes and Gardens and their many special cookbooks.  There was also a Pillsbury cookbook and Better Crocker.  What all these meals had in common was that they were made from scratch, involved some form of Campbell’s cream soup, canned mushrooms and canned tuna. 

We were a large family that lived off of casseroles, primarily because there was very little prepared food available.  TV dinners and hamburger helper showed up during my teen years in the 60s.  While my older sister and brothers loved the casseroles and still make them to this day I found them extremely hard to put in my mouth, much less to digest.  My youngest brother invented a way to fill his mouth with just enough food and leave the dinner table for a bathroom break. 

I was talking to my older brother one time about my son being a selective eater and my sister piped in that mom always said I was a picky eater.  And that is a fair statement.  I do not like the textures of some combinations of food and there are only a couple of recipes that I will eat that involve cream soup.  My child has never experienced casseroles in his house growing up. 

No matter what our tastes my brothers, sister and I all learned to cook.  I don’t remember there being a lesson of sorts but we each spent our time in the kitchen with our mom cooking.  I remember my mom taking leftover pie dough and rolling it out into a small circle and putting sugar and cinnamon on it and baking it for me to have as a snack. I also remember receiving my first Betty Crocker cookbook for kids; very excited and ready to make every recipe.

Over the years I have continued to enjoy cooking. I will try new recipes and play around with spices. My son has taken this a step further and creates his own healthy recipes.

Hail and Farewell to 2020…. and maybe 2021!??

I was looking at the Bored Panda app today and came across some posts about 2020 and 2021. One that stayed with me said something like…. I have a subscription to 2021. I completed the 7 days trial period and I want out. Life has been on a roller coaster the past year and it looks like 2021 may not be so smooth though there are glimmers of hope.

Life is about change. Some we choose and some like pandemics, death, mishaps of nature and social unrest we do not. Still that is what life is about. Bruce Feilor in his new book “Life is in the Transitions” states that it is the changes in life that bring transitions and can lead us tp new meanings in life. He divides transitions into 3 stages – the beginning and acceptance of the event, the “messy middle” in which we try to understand what is going on and can be overwhelming and we may feel like we are stuck. In the last stage and with work we find new meaning.

I am starting my third year of retirement. I retired with grace and on my own terms but even so I felt like I should be doing more. It took some time but I had started to find things that would give new meaning to my life. Still retirement did not stop everything else. By the time I had a new plan in place the pandemic put a halt to moving forward and I have have to return to the messy middle or the swamp as I think of it. This is life. Whether one is starting a new job out of college or moving into retirement we will return to the swamp from time to time. The important thing is to eventualy move out of the swamp and onto more stable land where new activities await us.

I know that 2021 may be bumpy but I also hope that we will seeing more positive results of getting covid under control. I know that many of us are trying to be safe and follow guidelines . While I do not make new year resolutions I am trying to be kinder to myself, write and read more and live in the present.

Happy 2021! Stay safe and healthy.

John Grisham is not one of my go to authors but I had the opportunity to listen to the audio tape of this book recently. This is the story of a priest/lawyer who works for a non-profit organization which takes on cases of prison inmates who had been wrongfully accused of a crime. Grisham offers a large amount of back story which explains how these cases came about and are solved. And in the end ties them together very well.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Vignes twin sisters grew up in a small, black community in Louisiana. At the age of sixteen they run away in search of a different life. Many years later one sister returns to that small town she grew up in with her daughter. The other secretly passes as white, living with her white husband and daughter who knows nothing of her past. Brit Bennett weaves together several strands and generations of family while exploring the history of passing in America. There were several subjects that come up in the book that I felt could have been discussed more fully, which makes this an excellent choice for book club.

View all my reviews

How to Know if Your Memoir Is Boring — BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog

What happened to you was powerful—but will anyone else want to read it? And which events from your life go in the book, anyway? Do you need more backstory? Or more action? Is the reader going to get it? The foul-mouthed creators of South Park and The Book of Mormon know the answer. You might […]

How to Know if Your Memoir Is Boring — BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog

Seven Days of Us

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Getting together for Christmas can be a stressful time for many families. The Birches will all be together in their country home for the first time in many years. They are forced to stay together because oldest daughter Olivia has been treating patients and has been exposed to the Haag disease. She is required to be quarantined and so must the rest of the family. The story is told through different point of views, feelings are exposed and some problems resolved. Over all a good read with some questions.

View all my reviews

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2020 Update: Week Forty-Five — The Unapologetic Bookworm

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you are having a fantastic weekend! It’s been a very busy week of writing for me, as I’ve been actively participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) since November 1st. I’ve been having a great time, however, and I am pleased to report that I have managed to make […]

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2020 Update: Week Forty-Five — The Unapologetic Bookworm