Monthly Archives: October 2017

Five for Friday: What I’ve been Reading

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Each week day, I think of something other than books that I can post about: my awesome birthday, our summer trip to Duluth Charter Fishing, any new restaurant/brewery we tried, our new deck that our friend Dom built for us, all the cooking I’ve done lately, anything and everything about our pupper dogs. Still, I come up short with the time and enthusiasm to post anything other than book lists as of late.

People, I haven’t even had time to go on trips this year! {I know, poor me! First world problems!!!!} The one we trip we did take this year {other than to visit family} was back in April/May to beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. Maybe one day, I’ll post on that. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been reading… (Mostly before bed!)

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Reading People
by Anne Bogel 
(nonfiction) – worth a read

I wasn’t intending on purchasing this book and until I listened to Bogel read her first chapter on on her blog Modern Mrs. Darcy. Let’s just say that I learned a thing or two about myself, most importantly that I am an HSP. I’ve been many times throughout my life that I’m sensitive, but it has always had a negative spin on it, such as “You are just too sensitive!” or “You’re just going to need to get over that!” To me, being highly sensitive felt like a character flaw. I’ve learned that is not the case. And being an HSP doesn’t mean one is overly sensitive to emotions or that people need to tiptoe around you. It also means that too many people talking at me at one time can be frustrating. Or that I need time to sort things out if they feel like they are thrown at me all at once. I now know that it is a trait not a flaw and can learn how to work with it. I’m looking at reading more up on this topic.

That being said, describing an HSP is only a small blurb in the book. There is much more to this! Overall, I’d say it’s very helpful in pointing out how everyone is different, why not everyone thinks nor reacts in the same way and that we shouldn’t expect anyone to do so. Understanding these different types might explain some of your relationships and help with frustrations and help to appreciate the people in your life for who they are. It’s about understanding not only your own personality, but others as well.

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A Three Dog Life
by Abigail Thomas 
(fiction) – worth a read

 

Per the usual, I have no idea how I heard of this book. I’m sure I was drawn to it by the word “dog” in the title. Before I read it, I showed my husband the little quote on the front by Stephen King. He is a huge King fan and said that he knows he’s a dog-lover; but Rob said he still didn’t want to read it. He doesn’t like when a book ends with a dog dying. Okay, so he wouldn’t like it if the dog died in the middle of a book either. He just can’t handle it.

I’m not giving anything away here by telling you that this is not what happens. This book is more about life after the author’s spouse’s accident. They dogs comfort her, but there was so much more to this book than expected. It makes me wonder, “What would I have done?”

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Scrappy Little Nobody
by Anna Kendrick (non-fiction) – worth a flip

My reading of this little autobiographical account of Kendrick’s journey to Hollywood fame coincided with revealing of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. While she mentions nothing about Weinstein nor any other sexual harassment accounts that I can think of now, by her descriptions on what is like to try to make a career living out of acting, I can definitely see how blowing the horn on someone would be difficult!

While Kendrick does benefit from fame and fortune now, I found it interesting how fortune didn’t immediately follow the fame game! {At least in her case.} Her accounts of what it is like to promote a big film in the midst of becoming famous and still going back to her tar-stained carpeted apartment and fall asleep in her single IKEA bed all while feeling like promoting the whole thing was a lie gave me a new perspective.

Her writing style is one that makes you feel like you are hearing from a friend. I felt like I got to know her in this quick read. Her down-to-earth vibe feels relatable, even if you aren’t a celebrity. Her hope is that her book might make feel a “little less alone, a little less weird.”

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The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks:
A Celebration of Creative Punctuation

by Bethany Keeley (non-fiction) – worth a read

Somehow, someway, when I went down the rabbit hole that is the internet, I came across the “blog” of “unneccessary” quotation marks. I spent a lot of down time laughing at that site. Grammar geeks, rejoice! You will have a ton of fun reading these signs by readers. While the submissions themselves are funny due to incorrect usage, Keeley’s comments and explanations can push some to over-the-top hilarious.

The book might be even better. When I read that she published one, I promptly ordered it from PaperBackSwap.com. The book is separated into sections by usage. {You might even learn a thing or two!} My favorite, however, may be the Miscellaneous section at the back of the book. This book did a stint on my coffee table, sparking laughs and conversation!

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Goodbye, Vitamin
by Rachel Khony (fiction) – worth a read

LOOK! Me reading fiction! I don’t know why I’ve been reading so much non-fiction lately. Partly, it’s all the cookbooks: I’ve been trying to read one of those a week! Still, this one is a quick and easy read. The writing is almost fluffy, while it’s not a fluffy subject. I’m not sure anyone will understand what I mean there. But it’s a quick enough read that you can make up your own mind. 😉

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To be quite honest, I’m missing my commute so I can listen to audiobooks! The one on the top of my list needs a good 36 hours of drive-time. Sure, I know people who clean, eat breakfast or listen to audiobooks at other times of they day. However, I find it impossible. I miss so much when I start concentrating on what I’m doing and lose concentration of the story.

 

If you listen to audiobooks, when do you listen to them?
Any tips and tricks to get in more audiobook time?

Cheers~
Carrie

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5 for Friday: Books I’ve Read Recently

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My husband commented that our house is starting to look like a hoarder’s – OF BOOKS! People, I cannot stop checking books out from the library. And those that aren’t in my local library’s inventory, I can either order from PaperbookSwap or ThriftBooks. You know what I say to that, “Build me a library already!” 🙂 I really like how Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Home Library turned out!

Truth be told, there are very few books I want to keep. Those that I own, I either do want to keep (favorites, or mementos) or I will list on PaperbookSwap as soon as I finish. I just am a very slow reader and a LOT on my TBR (to be read) list!

Here are a five I’ve read recently:

A Fall of Marigolds
by Susan Meissner 
(fiction) – worth a read

This book takes place in New York City, Ellis Island in September of 1911 and in Manhattan 2011, around the 10-year anniversary of 9-11. Find out how these two stories are related. I liked it. A lot. The only thing that had me thinking after the fact was if people were really texting in 2001? Maybe in NYC. I didn’t get my first cell phone until 2002, and texting didn’t really seem like it was a (very common) thing, yet. But perhaps I was behind the game. Still, that little detail didn’t detract from the story-line. I thought it was otherwise very well written and enjoyable.

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The Little Paris Bookshop
by Nina George 
(fiction) – must read

The Francophile in me had me swooning! I opened the book to find a map of protagonist’s journey:

It ends to Toulon! This is where I studied for a semester in college. I posted it to social media and tagged a few fellow “Frenchies”. My high school French teacher asked how I was liking the book because it had such mixed reviews! I don’t really understand why. I’d say it’s more of a feel-good novel. The only thing I could think of is that some parts may suggest the justification of adultery in one of the character’s situations. But when I took to Good Reads for reviews, that was not the case for the lesser reviews. Some people just couldn’t get into it. I guess you just either like this kind of novel or you don’t.

It just so happens that I do!

I wrote this book description down while reading, but it sounds like someone else wrote it and is not my own words, so even though I don’t know where I got it and can’t credit the author, I’m putting it in quotes:

“A book barge set up on the Seine River is more of an Apothecary for the Soul. Bookseller Jean Perdu prescribes books for anything that ails you.”

I think if you like all things French, enjoy books and understand the difficulties of emotions, you might like this book, too. Here are a few of my favorite quotes I captured from the book:

  • “Reading-an endless journey; a long, indeed never-ending journey that made one more temperate as well as more loving and kind.”
  • “We men become a pain if our job’s the only thing we were ever good at.” (On retiring.)
  • “Time. It rubs the rough edges that hurt us smooth.”
  • “I’m a firm believer that you have to taste a country’s soul to understand and grasp its people. And by soul I mean what grows there, what its pepole see and smell and touch every day, what travels through them from the inside out.” <– YES!
  • “To carry them within us – that is our task. We carry them all inside us, all our dead and shattered loves. Only they make us whole. If we begin to forget or cast aside those we’ve lost, then… we are no longer present either.”
  • “The trouble is that so many people, most of them women, think they have to have the perfect body to be loved. But all it has to do is be capable of loving – and being loved.”
  • “We are loved if we love, another truth we always seem to forget. Have you noticed that most people prefer to be loved, and will do anything it takes? Diet, rake in the money, wear scarlet underwear. If only they loved with the same energy; hallelujah, the world would be so wonderful and so free of tummy-tuck tights.”
  • “The sea was the first thing he found that was large enough to absorb his sorrow.”
  • “The more important a thing is, the slower it should be done.”

In my opinion, this book is quite philosophical. Bonus: There are recipes and “prescriptions” (book suggestions!) at the end of the book. After returning this book to the library, I promptly went to PaperbackSwap.com to claim my own copy.

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100 Days of Real Food:
How We Did It, What We Learned, and
100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love! 

by Lisa Leake (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a flip

What I like most about this book is that Leake defines what “real food” is. Now, depending on what philosophy you follow, you may agree or disagree with her assertions. However, with today’s labels, it can get confusing. She offers lots of tips and tricks and reasons why she decided to shift her family to eating this way. The other half of the book is full of recipes. I promptly ordered this cookbook from ThriftBooks after returning it to the library. It’s a handy reference guide and I know there are many recipes I’ll be making!

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Real Food Has Curves
by Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read

Weinstein and Scarbrough are food writers by trade. They’ve written many cookbooks! This one, however, focuses on getting us back to real food. It all starts with one peach. I like the philosophy, but more importantly on how to categorize foods into four categories: real food, almost real food, almost not food, not food. It makes it a bit easier if we simplify it! Still, you’d be surprised what items might not be real food at all. There are recipes in this book I’ll be making. That’s why this book is now on my ThriftBooks wishlist.

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Outlander
by Diana Gabaldon (fiction, audiobook) – worth a listen

We listened to Outlander on audio on our drive to and from Michigan to visit Rob’s parents in May. We only got through half of the book! The book itself is daunting at 600-800 pages. The audio is 28 discs, with 32 1/2 hours listening time! {I’m sure if you downloaded it, you could speed up the recording.} You can read about my initial reaction of the first half of the book here. Rob and I decided to pick it up from the library and listen to the second half on our September trip back to Michigan. “The Droughtlander is over!” I declared. Rob rolled his eyes. Don’t worry, I didn’t come up with that one on my own. Apparently, Outlander is now a television series on the STARZ network and Season 3 was just about to begin before our trip. This phrase came up frequently when I’d log in to Good Reads!

Our concern is that this long book wouldn’t tie up at the end. There are a 8 books! {With a few in-betweeners. Is that what they are called? And Galbaldon is working on a 9th.} Would we want to somehow procure STARZ and watch the series instead. We thought we’d be left at a cliffhanger, but it was tied up nicely.

What I do know is that this book has so many descriptors that I don’t think I would have been able to get through actively reading this novel. Listening to it was a nice way to absorb the characters. Plus, the narrator’s voices were fantastic. Now, do we want to subscribe to STARZ and pick up the rest? Has anyone out there seen the television adaptation? Thoughts?

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What books surprised you that other people didn’t like?
Have you watched the Outlander television series adaptation? If so, what did you think?

 

Cheers~
Carrie

5 for Friday – Books I’ve Been Reading.

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These next few books, just happen to be mostly non-fiction ones.

Well, except for that last one. 🙂

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The Power of Meaning
by Emily Esfahani Smith 
(non-fiction) – worth a read

I won this book from a giveaway on Good Reads. I have yet to write a review, but maybe writing this will inspire me to finally do that. This book is thoroughly researched! I flagged over 20 pages. Skimming those pages, here is my takeaway:

  • There is a difference between a happy life and a meaningful life.
  • “The search for meaning is far more fulfilling than the pursuit of personal happiness.”  <–I may have been pursuing the wrong thing!
  • “Mental Illness is often the result of a person’s ability to tell a good story about his or her life.” <-Storytelling plays a huge role in the power of meaning!
  • Resilience is genetic, but those who are more sensitive to stress can learn it.
  • We are in an age when we are moving from a focus on materialistic values (which focuses on “economic and physical security”) to an age where the focus of fulfillment may be of self-expression and a “sense of meaning and purpose.”
  • And probably my favorite insight was this quote by WWII Jewish psychiatrist Viktor Frankl: “Being human, always points, and is directed, to something, or someone, other than oneself – be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself – by giving himself to a cause to server or another person to love – the more human he is.”

Yet the subheading of the book *Crafting a Life That Matters, led me to believe that there is a how-to in there somewhere. While this book has great insight, I just wish there was a bit more instruction.

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Well Fed Weeknights
by Mel Joulwan 
(non-fiction, cookbook) – must read

I’ve been checking out cookbooks from the library for a while now (approximately one per week.) Then, if I love the cookbook, I buy it. I own Joulwan’s first two cookbooks. I’m so silly. While I don’t eat exclusively Paleo by any means, I love Mel’s cookbooks. She teaches you how to cook without you even knowing it. I’ve learned to and have become more comfortable improvising! While I like cumin, Joulwan seems to be obsessed with it. Sometimes the recipes don’t suit me for that reason, but I have learned what I do like! Now that I own it, I can’t wait to devour this book.

I love cookbooks that teach me how to cook real food.

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One Pan, Two Plates
by Carla Snyder (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read

My husband hates leftovers. They often end up as my work lunches or fill our freezer. I loved this idea of easy weeknight meals for two. Plus, the cover is beautiful. BONUS: Snyder suggests a wine or beer pairing with every recipe. One of the first recipes I tried out of this cookbook wasn’t actually for the two of us – but just for me. I had barley and lentils in my pantry that never made their way to the plate because Rob would never eat them. I made Snyder’s Barley and Lentil Salad for lunch one day (served warm). Delicious and filling, it made for a great, easy cold salad the following day, too. I can’t wait to try more of the recipes because…

I now own this cookbook, too!

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The Law of Attraction
by Esther and Jerry Hicks (non-fiction) – on the fence

I am always interested in reading up more on the Law of Attraction. This book has some really great nuggets of info, if you can get past some of the kooky ways the authors came about it. There were times I was about to put it down, but I’m glad I didn’t.

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Kitchens of the Great Midwest – Yes, AGAIN
by J. Ryan Stradal (fiction, audiobook) – MUST LISTEN *Highly Recommended

Rob and I took a trip to Iowa for a family wedding. I checked out two audio books based on the number of hours we’d be on the road. My first choice was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, read by Claire Danes. After a few paragraphs, Rob thought he’d read the book before. So I asked him if he’d like me to switch to my backup. As predicted, he loved this book as much as I did! If you love food, are addicted to the Food Network, like to cook and/or live in the Midwest, I think you’ll enjoy this book. I especially think you will enjoy the audio. The narrators are fantastic with just the right dose of Minnesota accents in my opinion. Stradal has me hoping he’ll write another book soon!

We had a few more tracks to finish upon our return from Iowa. So you know what we did? We opened a bottle of wine, popped the CD in our DVD player, lit some candles and listened to the ending.

For the record, I fully intend to listen to Handmaid’s Tale on audio. I know it’s also a television series at the moment, but I don’t think we get the station. On further reflection, Rob decided that he may not have read the book, but perhaps saw the previews to the television series!

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There are a lot of books that are now or are soon becoming movies or television adaptations this fall.

Which ones are hoping to read before viewing?

 

Cheers~
Carrie