Category Archives: books

5 for Friday: Hoopla Review + Agatha Christie

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Because I currently don’t have a commute, I haven’t been listening to audiobooks as much as I’d like to. I’m not one of those people who can really concentrate on one when I’m cooking or cleaning, nor can I do it while I’m lying in bed. I find them best while I’m driving or riding in a car. That being said, I’ve been lucky that I’ve got my husband on the bandwagon to listen to audiobooks when we take a road trip to see family! So I’m still listening to them here and there.

Hoopla – What is it?

When we do these trips, I tend to check how long the audiobook is before I but it on hold at the library. I’ve also just started using our library’s digital media service – Hoopla. With Hoopla, I can check out something like 4 or 6 titles each month using my library card for free! This includes any digital media I can download to a device: ebooks, audiobooks, music and video. I always preferred using the physical CDs in my car, but here is my introduction to my first Hoopla experience.

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Bon Appétempt:
A Coming-of-Age Story (with Recipes!)
by Amelia Morris (nonfiction) – worth a listen (must listen for foodies!)

I was searching for something else on my library’s website, when this book came up. I was intrigued! It was only offered, however, as a digital audiobook on Hoopla. I promptly signed up and decided I’d make the effort to figure out how to use it. At first, I started listening to it in the car, but I’d take such short trips around town, it was hardly worth the work of making sure I’d get the app open and pause it when getting out of the car. I also had to turn up the volume to the highest level to hear it.

I had to figure out when to listen to it. I did end up listening to it in bed when I was going through cookbooks doing some meal planning. I did listen to it on the treadmill. Finally, I listened to it at work when I was doing some data entry one day. The reason was that my audiobook was about to be returned. Hoopla will automatically return the book for you so you don’t have to bother. But I didn’t know how to renew it or if I checked it out again, if it would remember where it left off!

The other thing about listening to audiobooks digitally rather than on a CD is that you can change the speed of the reader. I do like being able to listen to an narrator at 1.25 or sometimes 1.5 times the speed of the reading. Rob says it sounds like chipmunks, but I think that is more if you get to 2x the speed. It sounds strange! But others say that they have become used to it.

In the end, Hoopla automatically returned my book while I was listening to it. I checked it out again right away and it remembered where I left off! It didn’t seem to count against the number of titles I check out each month because, essentially, it’s the same title.

All of that being said, I LOVED THIS BOOK! I am so glad I found it. Morris’s stories about recipes she’s cooked from magazines and how all of this came about it her life are fun. But this book also addresses the struggle we all have in learning how to cook. The attempt at cooking and learning what we like, don’t like and what is worth it. I started following her blog of the same name. I liked listening to this book and hearing the voice behind her story, but I missed having the printed recipes included in this book because they made my mouth water!

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Behind Her Eyes
by Sarah Pinborough 
(fiction) – on the fence

There is a lot of wine-drinking in this book! This is a thriller of sorts, but not what I expected. It’s a little weird. I’m still not sure what I think about it. I think it might work as a movie, though.

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Frost Bite:
everyday food fresh from the freezer

by Susan Austin (nonfiction, cookbook) – worth a flip

I’m conflicted by this cover! On one hand, you are a cookbook – shouldn’t you have something appetizing on the cover? On the other hand, the color is perfect for something frozen… and your freezer is closed – don’t you want to open it up and use what’s inside?

I discovered this book because it was recommended by Jules Clancy, author of 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes. But a quick flip through, while interesting, didn’t send me swooning. I couldn’t find this book in my local library, so I ordered it on ThriftBooks (<–refer-a-friend link) for $5. I got a signed copy! You always know the condition of the used book you’ll be getting on Thrift Books, but you never know about those bonus surprises!

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And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie (fiction, radio broadcast dramatization) – worth a listen

Do you remember when in just the course of a few months I had read several books referring to Agatha Christie novels? It was all so strange and I thought it was probably time I checked out this classic mystery novelist. But out of all her books, where did one begin!? I googled for the best books to start with to get a taste of her writing. In the end, I decided to go with Murder on the Orient Express with the intention of reading it before the movie came out.

But then, Modern Mrs. Darcy highly recommended And Then There Were None on audio read by Dan Stevens, who played Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey. It was available on Hoopla, so I promptly downloaded it for our drive back to Green Bay. I also picked up a CD audio version of the book as a backup if for some reason we had trouble with the download in the car.

Unfortunately, even with the volume turned up all the way, we couldn’t hear the Dan Stevens version on Hoopla all that well. I was glad to have the backup. But even with the little we heard of the Dan Stevens version, the CD version was notably different. It was then I realized that we were not listening to a reading of Christie’s book, but a BBC radio dramatization of the novel! It was decidedly well-done; but the whole story was told in an hour and a half versus the 6 hours expected with the reading of the book.

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Murder on the Orient Express
by Agatha Christie (fiction) – worth a read

This book took me a bit to get into and to learn all of the characters. That being said, I loved the ending. And guess what? I did see the movie! Just this past week. It’s a rare occasion, but I thought the movie was even better.

At the time of this writing, the movie is only getting 58% on Rotten Tomatoes; but I personally loved the movie adaptation. Although some of the characters were changed/combined, I felt like they were much more developed. Kenneth Branagh makes an excellent Poirot! He directed this film and I hope he decides to continue making more movies in her Hercules Poirot series. It felt like he was able to take Christie’s storyline and add more depth, more dramatization and even a bit of humor.

Something that was also captured in this movie was the time period. Rob and I wanted to ride that train! There was so much attention to detail to time and place, something that wasn’t really described in the book. But I highly believe that was because Christie was writing during the present! (The book was published in 1934.)

Rob noticed that the original movie version (1974) remains at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. I am now on the waitlist for that DVD from the library. It will be fun to compare!

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Do you use a digital service to download audiobooks?
If so, what’s been your experience?
Have you read Agatha Christie?
If so, what’s your favorite novel?

Cheers~
Carrie

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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

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

5 Books + New Beer!

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Another week has come and gone and *sigh*…. I still haven’t posted on anything except books! I have a lot I’d like to share; but I’m still in that “don’t want to be on the computer after sitting and working on one all day” mode.

What’s more? Our friends opened a new brewery in Shakopee last night! I did stop by to support; but instead of the old me, snapping photos at every opportunity, I did not take a single one. Instead, I just enjoyed the experience. It was really fun to see a bunch of our friends there, too! If you haven’t yet, please take a time to check out Shakopee Brewhall. They did an amazing job with which I thought was going to be the narrowest space tucked between Turtles and Arnie’s in downtown Shakopee. Instead, it feels quite roomy and is a perfect space for socializing!

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One reason I like to post about the books that I’ve read is that I want to remember themSince I went a whole month between stretches of posting on this blog, there are a few books that I don’t remember very well! That makes me sad. I teetered on whether I should post about them or not. I decided to post about them anyway!

Many of the books this week are how-to and cookbooks, but I’ve saved a little fiction for last. 🙂 Enjoy!

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Dinner: The Playbook
by Jenny Rosenstrach 
(non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read

After loving Jenny’s (can I be so bold to address you by your first name, Jenny?!) first book, Dinner, A Love Story, I knew this would be another good one. It’s a different approach, though. Whereas Dinner, A Love Story was quite literally a story, Dinner, The Playbook is, well… a playbook. It’s your guide and how-to to get dinner on the table every. single. night… if you so desire. While it does focus on families and how to encourage picky eaters, I still felt this book could apply to me. With a husband who does not cook and would be content to eat out every night of the week, I sometimes need this. While she suggests enlisting the help of everyone in the family, even if it’s just to set the table, I find that one difficult. If dinner is anything but ordering and paying for it, my husband considers it too much work and not worth it! If I want to eat at home, I have to do the cooking and the dishes. (The trade off is that I don’t do any yardwork or vacuuming!)

One of the suggestions I did like, however, was when asked what is for dinner to casually say, “Hmmm… I haven’t decided yet,” even when you do know. That keeps any backlash at bay and makes things so much easier for you! I feel like this would work with my husband because whenever we would have something planned for an evening meal in, he wouldn’t be feeling it and would suggest going out instead. I have yet to try this on him!

After returning this book to the library, it promptly went on my PaperbackSwap.com and put it on my wishlist.

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Lose Weight by Eating
by Audrey Johns 
(non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read?

Here is one of the cookbooks that I don’t remember much about. I don’t know how I hears about it; but I do know that I chose it because it focuses on real food. Still, I don’t remember the content nor the recipes! I liked it enough that I gave it 3 start out of 5 on Good Reads and put it on my PaperbackSwap.com. Hmmmm.

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Home Cheap Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to Great Decorating
by Budget Living (non-fiction, how-to) – skip it

Truth be told, this is a book from 2004 that I think I’ve owned since then, but have never read! I had it up for grabs on PaperbackSwap.com. When someone requested it, I figured I should probably give it a quick read, or at least flip-through, before I mailed it off. Now I know why I did not read this book – it is Not. For. Me. Surprisingly, I don’t think it’s really that out-dated in terms of style; but the ideas where not ones I would use. I hope the person who requested this book gets much better use out of it than I did!

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Organizing Solutions for People with ADD:
Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized

by Susan C. Pinsky (non-fiction, how-to) – worth a read

I have never been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder; but I do believe we all can suffer from distraction from time to time. This book was written in 2006. I will say that some of the tips sounded condescending, even though the author has family members with ADD and has been helping others for years. I’m sure she didn’t intended it to be that way. Maybe I’m just sensitive to the language. In any case, I can’t even remember some of the tips. All I know is that simplifying seems to be best. Ease and efficiency is more important than special organizers or how something looks.  Items should be in reach and never take multiple steps to get to or put away because otherwise, they will not happen! I think that is good advice for anyone, not just those with ADD.

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Hello Sunshine
by Laura Dave (fiction) – worth a read

I loved the opening of this book! It was recommended by another blogger I follow. While I liked the storyline, I felt like the book fell flat by the end. I’m not sure there was any true climax. When I started reading this book, I was in the throes of watching Next Food Network Star. I kept seeing commercials for a show called I Hart Food with Hannah Hart. Hannah became my image of this book’s main character for that reason! Although I didn’t love the way the book fizzled out, I’m still intrigued to read her book Eight Hundred Grapes, which takes place in wine country!

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What are your favorite how-to books?

 

Cheers~
Carrie

Hello? Anyone Still There?

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This post has been sitting in my in my draft box for a month! I have been working so much that the last thing I want to do is be on the computer at the end of the day. But I really do miss writing and this little old blog of mine, so I’m hitting publish on this one today! Hopefully, I’ll garner up the time and energy to share little tidbits about what’s been going on these parts this summer.

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My reading lists (aka Five for Friday: What I’ve Been Reading) are the easiest posts I can get out these days. I may need to take a different approach with this blog… I want to share more… especially on my travels… especially because we won’t be a for a while… but after being on the computer all day for work, I need to step out of my office and get OFFLINE. This is just how it is right now.

In any case, here’s what I’ve read recently.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain 
(fiction, audiobook) – worth a listen

After listening to Pride and Prejudice on the Audible app for free with my Amazon Prime subscription, I felt like it was time to listen to Tom Sawyer, a classic book of which most of us know the story; but I’ve never read. Bonus: the narrator of this version is Nick Offerman – a comedian {you may know him from Parks and Rec} whose voice is perfect for this story, in my opinion.

I love the insight during the fence whitewashing scene is that nothing is fun if you get paid for it, but if you have the “privilege” of doing something instead of getting paid, the more likely you are going to want to do it for fun. Perspective!

Also, either it was common in literature use and write the word “presently” often during this time period, or this was a favorite word of Twain’s to use. So frequent, that you may find yourself getting drunk easily if you turned it into a drinking game.

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Cocaine Blues
by Kerry Greenwood 
(fiction) – worth a read

I learned about this book/series from Mel Joulwan, author of the Well Fed cookbooks that I adore. She did a post on Reading Day {which is somewhat like the unplug day Rob and I try to have a few times a year} and this was one she listed. I liked the fact that the story takes place in Australia during the 1920s. I tried to picture Melbourne during this time!  It’s a nice little mystery with a likable heroine. {No correlation with the title there! HA!} I liked the feminist themes, too.

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One Pot Paleo:
Simple to Make, Delicious to Eat and Gluten-free to Boot

by Jenny Castaneda (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a flip

For those of you who eat Paleo, this book is not 100% Paleo. This doesn’t matter to me. I’m just a sucker for one-pot recipes with fresh ingredients! The author eats Paleo most of the time, but does also include some things in her diet such as rice. She is of Fillipino descent, so there a many interesting adaptations from that. What I didn’t know all this time, but learned from this cookbook is that there is much Spanish influence on Filipino cuisine!

I didn’t cook any recipes from this book, but still enjoyed flipping through it.

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Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager
by Brett Laidlaw (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read

I found this book doing a trout search on my library website because I was in search of more trout recipes. {I have yet to post on our Lake Superior fishing trip earlier this summer!} This cookbook is great for the stories! {And you know how I love to read a cookbook like a novel!}

I enjoyed reading about how the author and his wife moved out to land to live in pretty much a shack in the middle of the woods, right here in the good ol’ Midwest! They do a lot of foraging and tend to eat off the land as much as possible. I didn’t find a trout recipe I would actually make but I did get a popcorn appetizer recipe that has me so intrigued!!!

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The Breakdown
by B.A. Paris (fiction) – worth a read

After reading Paris’s Behind Closed Doors, I put myself on the library waiting list for the her next book to hit the shelves. While I did not love it as much as Behind Closed Doors, I did devour this semi-thriller in a day while Rob was out of town. Her books are just hard to put down! I also liked reading this interview with the author. She didn’t start writing novels until she was 50!

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What’s been you favorite summer read this year?

 

Cheers~
Carrie

Friday Five: 2 Great Books + 3 Cookbooks

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Has it really been a month since I’ve last written? Well, I’ve been working my butt off, but also enjoying summer!

Anyway, I’ve been very lucky to have picked up two excellent books this time around. I didn’t know much about them, which I prefer. The cookbooks were mainly flip-throughs!

Love Warrior
by Glennon Doyle Melton 
(non-fiction) – MUST READ

I have not been through anything that this author has been through, nor did I know anything about the book going in. But I felt all the feels. It’s weird that I could relate to her probably for no other reason than pure, raw emotion.

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The Tucci Table
by Stanley Tucci 
(non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a flip

To be 100% honest, I found this cookbook because I did a search for “trout” on my library website. We recently went on a charter fishing trip with my parents and the haul of trout that we brought back will not be consumed by Rob nor my mother. I need recipes! This cookbook, while it didn’t deliver on the trout recipe I looked for, it does have a few really great traditional recipes and I loved reading the stories behind them. I found a recipe for Tuscan Tomato Soup, that I believe I’ll be making all winter long when tomatoes are not in season and I can use my fave canned San Marzanos! The author looked familiar to me and when I looked him, I realized why: Stanley Tucci is an actor.

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Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One
by Joe Yonan (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a flip

 

Oh how excited I was to check out this cookbook! I’m not sure how I discovered it… I will tell you, it’s not for the novice cook. There are some great foodie-lover recipes; but other than the 12-Hour Tomatoes, I probably won’t be making anything from this book.

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DASH DIET DETOX
by Kate Barrington (non-fiction, cookbook) – skip

I was just looking for a few healthy recipes here, but I didn’t really find anything new.

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This is How It Always Is
by Laurie Frankel (fiction) – MUST READ

This was a popular book on my library wait list and on the Modern Mrs Darcy blog. A description I read at some point described a quirky family with secrets. This book is so much more than that. And it is a book that needed to be written now. It’s a book that I want to scream at the top of my lungs for everyone to read. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Highly Recommended. 

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What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

 

Cheers~
Carrie