My Week In Review

 

This week has been one of what some people might call pure indulgence. I only read books and watched tv, youtube and netflix shows. I’ve had a slight medical problem so I’ve not been able to move around much. I’m okay, it’s not a big deal, but it was fun to spend the whole week having fun.

This week I started listening to a set of three books – episodes – novellas (not sure what to call them) that were one of Audible’s “Daily Deals.” Cherringham was written by the team of Matthew Costello and Neil Richards. They’ve collaborated quite a bit on books, TV series, video games and so forth. Cherringham was meant to be read as an episode-at-a-time series, much like Charles Dickens’ work. They are a crime/mystery series. They are light, but not cute cozies – even though that’s what they call them. It was easy to be caught up in them.

Cherringham is a quiet English vilage where Jack, a former New York detective has gone to retire and fish. It’s also where Sarah, a divorced mom and web designer has retreated to. Its not that village life is dull, but they are both smart, logical, tenacious, and with good people skills. When unusual and mysterious things happen, they can’t help but do a little sleuthing.

In the first three episodes I read we first meet Sarah who does not believe what the police say is the cause of death for her friend. She asks Jack to help her. The second episode was a great thought-bender. Why did an old man die up in the attic, how did he get there, who set the deadly fire, and which of the three evil siblings is the most evil? The third episorde involves the death of a young woman due to her peanut allergy. Why didn’t her epi-pen work? I thoroughly enjoyed these three episodes. Lucky for me there are nine more compilations or 24 books-novellas-episodes.

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It’s always a super-treat to read a book by Michael Connelly. They always capture my imagination. This week it was extra special because I read his first book in a new series: The Late Show. In this new series Mr. Connelly is featuring a female detective, Renée Ballard, usually just called Ballard.

I like Renée’s basic character – a hard-working, determined detective who has principles about treating everyone right. Renée has been stuck on the worst shift, the graveyard shift, but what everybody on the force calls the “late show.” It took me quite a while to figure out why Renée was forced to work the “late show.” She doesn’t complain about it, but it bothers her because she seldom gets to see a case through to completion. Renée and her partner must turn over every new case they get to the day shift. “She’s a detective,” she says. “I want to follow leads and detect.”

One night Renée she gets a case that day shift doesn’t seem to care about because there’s a bigger case they’r working on. It’s Renée chance, but still she works on it on her own time until – that is – someone discovers that her case is overlapping with a much bigger case. Then she’s out of luck. But, did I tell you Renée is persistent? I won’t spoil the story for you except to say this one is worth reading.

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Away From the Blog:

I’m watching food shows, specifically Food Network’s key shows. One I’ve enjoyed is Guy Fieri’s Family Trip. The Fieris live in the next town over from us, has restaurants around us, so he feels like a local. On this trip he took his wife and two boys in a RV from his home and across the southern part of the country. They made special stops that involve food. One of my favorites was a place that makes donuts, a favorite food of Guy’s youngest son. In addition to the food they saw some amazing sights. My husband and I traveled in our RV to several of those places too. It brought back great memories.

I’ve also been watching The Great Food Truck Race. The race started with seven teams. Each week the teams go to a different town, with special challenges and attempt to be the ones whose food truck has the highest sales. It’s an interesting look at a basic food-related business. Tonight’s episode is the final one of this season. I like both teams so I’ll be happy to have either one win.

 

That’s it for me this week. I hope you’ve had a great week too. Happy Reading.

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Wondrous Words #410

content/uploads/2014/06/WWW.png” alt=”WWW” width=”191″ height=”164″ />Every week I join Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog to post about new words we’ve discovered. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday.

I found this word in a Politico story about Obama’s post-presidency:

absolutism: “Obama was cautioning against absolutism and self-assurance.”

Absolutism is a noun meaning the acceptance of or belief in absolute principles in political, philosophical, ethical, or theological matters.

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This word was heard on national television:

mendaciousness:  “I was skeptical of what he said given his history of mendaciousness.”

Mendacious means not telling the truth.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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First Paragraph: The Late Show

firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

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I am a big fan of Michael Connelly. Have been for a long time. I like both his Harry Bosch series and his Mickey Haller series. Well, now Mr. Connelly has introduced a new star and, I hope, a new series. This new “star” is Renée Ballard. She’s a young detective working the midnight-to-dawn shift in L.A. She’s sharp and dedicated and should be moving ahead, but an influential lieutenant has it in for her. So far I’m really enjoying getting to know Renée. Here’s how the story begins:

 

Ballard and Jenkins rolled up on the house on El Centro shortly before midnight. It was the first call of the shift. There was already a patrol cruiser at the curb out front and Ballard recognized the two blue suiters standing on the front porch of the bungalow with a gray-haired woman in a bathrobe. John Stanley was the shift’s senior lead officer—the street boss—and his partner was Jaco Ross.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

Posted in First Paragraph | 8 Comments

My Week In Review

Hi everyone and welcome to my weekly update. I’ve had a fun week. The weather has turned away from those super hot 90+ days. I’ve been rather social this week. I attended two book club meetings and then my grandson and I had a fun afternoon at the park playing with another little boy. Well, the boys did most of the playing. In addition to all that I read two books that really stirred up my brain. Let me tell you about them.

First, I read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. As I said on Tuesday, I have never read this author before, but so many people I know really like her stories. This book is a well-done, well-rounded look at one aspect of race relations in our country today. The whole story centers around one particular incident at a respected hospital. Here’s the summary from the publisher:

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

What happens following this incident is shocking, horrifying, but a real fact of life for many within our communities. The story is told through Ruth Jefferson’s personal perspective as well as that of the two white supremacist parents, and the public defender. In addition to seeing the story from a variety of viewpoints, there is an excellent “author’s viewpoint” at the end of the book. How and why she wrote the book, why she wrote it from the various perspectives, and comments about other writers and scholars have to say on the subject added, for me, an enormous plus to this book. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. It’s quite timely, given the current national dialogue.

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For our book club meeting I read Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood. I swore I would never again read another Margaret Atwood book, but then you know how it is with book clubs — we are all in it together and have agreed to read whatever someone else chooses. I still balked. A week before the meeting, a friend sent me an email and told me to start reading, that it really was pretty good. She was right, of course.

Hag-Seed is a modern retelling of The Tempest by William Shakespeare. In this retelling a man who has, for years, been the creative force behind a theater festival is pushed out by an old enemy and his ambitious assistant. He, Felix, goes into hiding until one day, many years later, he sees an ad for a teacher in a literacy program in a correctional institution. Felix has a plan. He will use Shakespeare to help inmates improve their reading skills. Gradually, Felix also sees the possibility for revenge.

Margaret Atwood’s retelling was absolutely brilliant and beautifully done. It fulfilled the retelling of the original story and then some. There was the story within the story many times over. I loved how she sympathetically portrayed the character of Felix and kept true the character of Miranda and the others in the “cast.” In particular, I particularly enjoyed how Felix approached his teaching assignment. He treated the men with respect while still demanding they fulfill all assignments. It became a privilege to take this class.

Okay, I have to admit it — book club did it again! Forcing me out of my comfort zone was a good thing. I no longer dislike Margaret Atwood. I realize she is more than just the writer of The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m resolved to read at least one more of her books. Also, I’m going to check out this project of the modern retelling of Shakespeare by contemporary novelists. Have you read any of them?

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Update On My Summer Reading Challenge From the Library:

I finished it! Back at the beginning of the summer I shared with you the Adult Reading Challenge at our local library. It was being run along with the usual summer reading program for children. Both programs are now done and both were very successful. The library staff was surprised (and very pleased) that so many adults joined in. They felt that the participation of children was higher because the reading challenge was now a family event with parents and grandparents joined the kids in the “game.”

And it was a game. We all played Bingo as you can see with my completed card above. Within the 25 squares there were things that weren’t just “read a book.” One was to visit a local Sonoma County park, (a challenge sponsor). Others included “Attend a Live Event – library, music, etc.” and “Visit a Museum or Other Cultural Event” and “Perform a Random Act of Kindness.” And then, of course, there was the various squares for book reading.There were prizes, but they weren’t the objective of the challenge for me. It was simply fun to do — the challenge of filling in the boxes.

That’s it for me this week. I hope you’ve had a great week too. Happy Reading.

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Wondrous Words #409

WWWEvery week I join Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog to post about new words we’ve discovered. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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I like to watch the Miss Fisher series on Netflix. I saw that the show is based on a book series. I checked it out and found this word in the publisher’s blurb for Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood.

diamant: “She — of green eyes, diamant garters and outstanding outfits — is embroiled in . . . “

The dictionary insists that the word has an e at the end, making the word diamante. It means decorated with artificial jewels. The clothing on the show is one of the reasons I love watching the show. I can’t say I’ve seen any diamante garters, but frankly, I wasn’t looking that closely.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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First Paragraph: Small Great Things

firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

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Believe it or not, this is my very first Jodi Picoult book. I know, all my friends are big fans, but the books have escaped me – until now. And now I see why this author is so popular. There is a great story, but also a good plot. Here’s how it begins:

 

Ruth

The miracle happened on West Seventy-fourth Street in the hone where Mama worked. It was a big brownstone encircled by a wrought-iron fence, and overlooking either side of the ornate door were gargoyles, their granite faces carved from my nightmares. They terrified me, so I didn’t mind the fact we always entered through the less-impressive side door, whose keys Mama kept on a ribbon in her purse.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

Posted in First Paragraph | 6 Comments

My Week In Review

Thanks for stopping by to check on my week. I apologoize to those of you who stopped by to check on me only to find a rude message. My blog became involved in some serious technical problems (something to do with malware) that took days to resolve. It looks like everything is now resolved. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Fortunately. I had a nice big and exptremely interesting nonfiction to keep me company this week.

 

If you, like me, are a fan of romantic comedy movies, then I have a book for you. And, if these three movies — Sleepless In Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail — are among your favorites, you need to run out right now and get thisbook. I’m talking about I’ll Have What She’s Having by Erin Carlson. The subtitle tells more: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved The Romantic Comedy.

Here’s a bit more from the publisher:

A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.

In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Reiner, Hanks, Ryan, and Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron’s New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron–who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it–ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members.

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. True, I like the subject matter, but it was more than that. It felt like that guilty pleasure when I indulge in gossipy blogs or you-tube videos or TV shows about celebrities. Do you know what I mean? Yes, it was interesting to read, but now I feel like I know all the backstage machinations that normally only the insiders know.

In addition, I got copies of all three movies and watched them all over again. I really like these movies, but now I watched them as an insider. “Good thing they didn’t cast Dennis Quaid as him.” I’d say, or “Julia Roberts would have been all wrong in that role.” It’s a great book for a movie lover.

About the Author

Erin Carlson has covered the entertainment industry for The Hollywood Reporter and AP. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Fortune, and the LA Times. She compiled and wrote an oral history of You’ve Got Mail for Vanity Fair. She holds a masters in magazine journalism from Northwestern, and has been profiled in the New York Times.

Follow Erin on Twitter.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book and to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of it all. To see other stops on the book tour, visit the schedule here: Erin Carlson Book Tour Schedule

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That’s all for me this week. Happy Reading.

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A Look At My Week . . .

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by to check on my week. I’ve had a lovely week up in Portland visiting my two granddaughters and their parents. It was the last week of summer for my teacher-daughter and seventh-grader Lou. I took the train back and forth and saw lots of smoke coming from the mountains, first in Oregon and then northern California. I came home to a hot 108 degree temperature! Obviously, summer is not done with us.

I had a little time to read this week, primarily on the train. I brought along a trilogy by Kent Haruf, the Plainsong Trilogy. The novels center around the residents of the small town of Holt, Colorado. Holt is located east of Denver on the high plains. The writing is superb. It’s sparse, like the countryside, but is lyrical, as if singing a ballad. The author is a master storyteller.

Plainsong is the first book and, by far, my favorite. It features the independent stories of the two boys of school teacher dad and a mentally ill mom, a pregnant teenager who has been thrown out by her mother, two elderly bachelor brothers who still ranch outside of town, and another high school teacher who pulls them all together.

My heart went out to the two little boys as they navigated their way through the people of the small town collecting payment for the newspapers they delivered every morning. A great contrast was the relationship of the two elderly brothers who had spent their entire lives living and working together. I also liked how they reacted when their friend Molly, the high school teacher, arranged to have Vicky, the pregnant teenager, board with them. It was awkward at first for all of them.

I won’t give away the ending as I want you to read the book, if you haven’t already done so. I will tell you that a Hallmark movie was made of the book. It’s also called Plainsong. That should give you a clue to the ending since all Hallmark movies end well. The movie stuck close to the original storyline and the actors filled the character roles just fine. I highly recommend watching it too. Our library had a dvd copy, so you should check your local library too.

Eventide was a continuation of the story of the two elderly brothers and Vicky, the pregnant teenager. This storyline introduces some new characters that I really liked. There is a middle-grade boy living with his grandfather whose gradually declining health requires that the boy become the parent in this relationship. There is also the story of a couple who have trouble coping with the everyday activities of life and are thrown for a loop when disastrous events occur. Fortunately, they have an excellent social worker who gets them through the majority of their problems. I loved her.

Benediction was called Plainsong #3, but it didn’t have any pf the characters from the two previous books. I was disappointed. This story began with the news that “Dad” Lewis had only a few months to live. The story continues with the reactions of family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to the news. How some people handle the death of a loved one is not new to most of us. The people of Holt, Colorado were quite similar to people I know. I can’t tell you to rush out and read this one unless you are longing for a very sad tale.

Overall, Kent Haruf is a wonderful writer and I will read the rest of what he has written.

That’s it for me this week. We are off to find a cool place to spend another super-hot day. The forecast is for cooler weather by Wednesday, so we’ll try to hang in there until then.

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Book Beginnings: I’ll Have What She’s Having

I’m joining Rose City Reader as she encourages fellow bloggers to share the beginnings of a book we are reading.

I just started reading I’ll Have What She’s Having by Erin Carlson which just came out two days ago. Here’s the publisher’s blurb about the book:

“A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–

When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which

brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait

of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of

Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.”

 

And here’s how the book begins:

 

Introduction

MFEO (Made For Each Other)

“God, are we going to get away with this?”

So muttered Nora Ephron, smiling despite herself . . .

 

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Book Beginnings | 5 Comments