Monthly Archives: November 2018

Friday 5 – What I’ve Been Reading (Graphic Novels?!)


This is a strange grouping of books that have recently come into my life. What’s even stranger? I started reading my first ever graphic novel the day that Modern Mrs. Darcy suggested titles to introduce her readers to the genre!


13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do
by Amy Morin (nonfiction, audiobook) – worth a read/listen

As usual, I’m not sure how this book came into my life. It may have been a suggestion from my library’s Hoopla app?

Morin is a licensed therapist who, through her sessions with clients and her own personal struggles, has uncovered what traits and habits help people through grief and the roughest patches in their lives. The answers aren’t entirely surprising, but reinforcing. It’s a book I might have wanted to read rather than listen to in order to absorb more of the detail or go back to parts that might apply for me.

Some Goodreads’ reviewers berated this author for making the title, assuming that those who want this information are mentally weak. However, I didn’t get that impression. I felt like she was giving tools to build mental strength just like one would give one who wants to build physical strength. Okay, maybe it doesn’t read that way in the negative. Maybe the affirmative would be better. However, the book does focus on ingrained habits that may need changing.

I really do need to keep a little notebook with quotes or nuggets I pick up. It’s often after the fact that they’ve lost me… and I’m failing to come up with one here.


Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe
by Yumi Sakugawa 
(nonfiction, graphic novel) – MUST READ

A graphic novel is a novel written in a comic-strip style form. Is this a graphic novel? I don’t know. It has illustrations and is nonfiction, so it’s not really a novel; but I loved it. Some people reviewing this book didn’t feel like it was anything “new”, but it was a feel good book to me and helped me relax one night. Now it’s on my bedside table.


The Initiates
by Étienne Davodeau, Joe Johnson (translator) (graphic novel)worth a read

I’m not really into comic strips or comic books, so the graphic novel never really interested me. However, I discovered this book on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s suggested reading list to introduce others to the graphic novel genre. It was the perfect introduction for me: It takes place in France and is about a wine maker and a comic artist who agree to learn about each other’s trades for a year. I definitely learned a thing or two and it was fun. The version I read was a downloadable from my library’s website and I was able to read it on my computer. That’s something I’ve never done before!


Love Real Food
by Kathryne Taylor (cookbook) – worth a read

Yes, I’m still reading cookbooks from time to time. This one did NOT disappoint! It’s on my wish list. I now follow the author’s blog Cookie + Kate. I’m not a vegetarian, but it is a vegetarian cookbook. It offers such nourishing recipes with real foods and I marked dozens. That’s when I knew it belongs on my shelf! I didn’t get a chance to test-run any before I returned it to the library. By the way, Cookie is a-dog-able! (There are lots of fun photos of her in the book!)


Dinner with Edward
by Isabel Vincent (nonfiction, audiobook) – worth a listen

If you love stories about food and how they’ve brought people together and fostered relationships, this one is for you! I certainly do. I’m sure this one was recommended to me by my library’s audiobook Hoopla app and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was easy to wile away the hours washing dishes and cleaning listening to this one.


Have you read a graphic novel? 



Friday 5 – Muddling Through…


Haven’t been in the mood to sit and read much lately… but here are a few books I’ve been muddling through… (I’ve been listening to audio continually, though!)


The Art of Living
by Thich Nhat Hanh (nonfiction) – skip

This is can be a spiritually-opening book. However, nothing felt mind-blowing to me. Perhaps I didn’t pick it up at the right time. It’s not a long book, but it took me an awfully long time to finish. Thich Nhat Hanh’s work as a Buddhist Monk is highly respectable and something that should be celebrated. This book just wasn’t for me, right now.


Maybe in Another Life
by Taylor Jenkins Reid 
(fiction) – an easy read 

I know I’m describing this as an easy read, which it is… but the subject matter isn’t exactly easy or “fun”. What is fun is that the chapters alternate based on whether or not something happened. Confused? Think Sliding Doors. If you’ve seen and liked the concept of that movie, I think you’ll like this book. Hats off to my friend Julia who returned this library book to me when I accidentally left it in our hotel room!


On Turpentine Lane
by Elinor Lipman (fiction, audiobook) – worth a listen

I downloaded this one from my library after I saw it in a list of 6 Recent Audiobooks I Thoroughly Enjoyed on the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog. Nothing too earth-shattering here, but it did pass the time nicely while I was cleaning! I thoroughly enjoyed it as well.


Flight Behavior
by Barbara Kingsolver (fiction, audiobook) – MUST READ

I knew absolutely nothing about this book before I listened to it. I suspect I discovered it on this list of Engaging Audiobooks Read by their Authors from Modern Mrs. Darcy. After my first commute listening to this book, I told my husband that the new book I was listening to is about adultery. But boy was I wrong! Though “flight behavior” can refer to more than one theme in this book. The author’s voice was a little too timid for my tastes at first; but then I became completely engaged and it just worked, especially for the voice of the main character.

There is so much explored in this book, that I was thinking about it long after finishing it. I haven’t read any other of Kingsolver’s books, although I know she is wildly popular. I see why and I’m looking forward to reading another. Many of her books are long, but I suspect that they are worth it. Just like this book.


Smitten Kitchen Everyday: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites
by Deb Perelman (cookbook) – worth a flip

To be fair, I did not read the first Smitten Kitchen cookbook. I do follow Perelman’s blog, though.

Her new book aims to offer recipes for food you’d want to eat, but that you’d actually make, too. (Hence the unfussy.) I loved reading this cookbook as a novel.  There are lots of long descriptions and introductions to each recipe.

But in the end, I flagged less than a half a dozen recipes that looked good and unfussy enough for me. You might be surprised that one of those flagged was the Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas and Salted Pistachios, but I recently tried a Parisian Carrot Bowl recipe that blew my mind. I probably never would have considered this one otherwise!

I’m still on the search for that perfect, easy (unfussy) make-at-home tomato soup and Perelman’s canned tomato version, makes it possible any time of year: Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar. I love that it’s a riff on both afrench onion soup and a grilled cheese!

Since I love bowls, the Romesco, Chickpea and Smashed Egg Bowl sounded like a comforting one. Besides, it’s about time I learn how to make a good romesco sauce.

And lastly, I was drawn to the Tomato and Gigante Bean Bake (aka pizza beans) because I feel like I’ve seen it again and again on someone’s blog. Perhaps hers?! It seems to get rave reviews and I’m thinking I need to add this to a game day repertoire.

But have I made any of these items as of late? Nope. Though the snow started to fall in MN this week, so it’s high time for some comfort food.


Which of those four recipes would you make?