Wondrous Words #351

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

This week I’m sharing two new-to-me words. I found the first one while reading a book review on Ti’s Book Chatter blog. The book was Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss.

1.  synesthetic: “James is synesthetic.”

Synesthetic is the adjective form of synesthesia. There are a couple of meanings, but in this case synesthesia is a rhetorical device or figure of speech where one sense is described in terms of another. This may often take the form of a simile.

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This word I saw on an NPR newsletter about the California primary:

2.  beaucoup: With all its charms and beaucoup delegates, California has descended to the status of bit player — or worse yet, an afterthought — in the selection process of the major party. Nominees.

Beaucoup (ˈbo͞oˌko͞o) is a French word meaning many or much.

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That’s all for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? Blood Defense

I’m reading Marcia Clark’s latest novel and I’m finding it as gripping as ever. This is the first book in a brand new series for the author. It features Samantha Brinkmann, a defense attorney.  Don’t let the title scare you. It’s not overly gory.

Here’s how the story begins:

Blood DefenseONE

I raced into the studio and hopped into the empty chair in front of Bonnie, the makeup wizard. I had just five minutes till airtime. She gave e an exasperated look as she whipped the red nylon cape around me.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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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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Hot Air Highway

We live in northern California – Sonoma County to be exact. It’s a beautiful area surrounded by hills/mountains. The ground is covered with acres and acres of lush vineyards. The night sky is usually filled with a beautiful array of stars. If all that weren’t enough, we also have another bonus: an occasional parade of hot air balloons.

IMG_0933.JPGIt seems we are living along a hot-air balloon highway.

It’s common to look up above the house and see a cheerful balloon floating by.

IMG_0934.JPGEarly on Spring or early Summer mornings are the best times to see this parade going by.

I don’t know all the details, but its something about the “draft.”

IMG_0932.JPGThey’re often close enough to exchange waves and, sometimes, a hello or two.

IMG_0931.JPGThe special designs always get our attention.

IMG_0936.JPGIt never gets old. We get excited and rush about for every one.

I hope this “parade” made you smile too.

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I’m linking this post with others who participate at Saturday Snapshot located at West Metro Mommy Reads. For more information, visit her website.

Saturday Snapshot

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Read Under Protest: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set A WatchmanI originally said I would not read this book. For me it was a matter of principle. I don’t believe the author wanted this book published. Over and over during her lifetime she said she would not write/publish another book. She would let To Kill a Mockingbird be her definitive literary accomplishment.

Then suddenly, after her sister, who served as her attorney and agent, died the new agent found this other book that had been mysteriously hidden for decades. The new agent somehow convinced Ms. Lee to publish the book. The author, in her late 80s, was both deaf and blind. How did they honestly communicate with her? To me it smells of publishing greed.

As I said, I didn’t want anything to do with the new book, but members of my book club, whom I respect, wanted to see what it was all about. I borrowed a copy from the library and dug into it, reluctantly.

The publisher, or others who want to make money off the book, say Go Set a Watchman is a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. No way. This is the draft novel that Harper Lee wrote back in the 1960s. She gave this book to her original editor who suggested she make the changes that resulted in Mockingbird. It may appear that way because in this book Scout is now a young woman. She’s been living in New York and has come home for vacation. Scout reconnects with her family and some of the people in Monroeville.

I actually liked the first part of the book. There’s no doubt that Harper Lee is the creative force behind Scout. I liked the grown-up version of her. She’s sort of what I thought she’d be like when she grew up. She made me smile and laugh out loud and, yes, shake my head. I liked Henry and that little bit of romance. And, I liked seeing the small southern town through Scout’s big-city eyes.

That’s it as to what I liked in this book. When I hit the second half of the book, that was it for me. Now Scout and I are forced to believe that every person in life has a place, depending on their race. There is no good reason to progress beyond those pre-set positions or boundaries.

Atticus is now revealed as not just a racist, but as one of the area’s leaders willing to do whatever necessary to stop progress. Even Calpurnia (the black housekeeper who helped raise Scout and Jim) is cold toward Scout! How could these people suddenly change their values and personalities in such a  short time? I know they are fictional characters, but are they really?

The beauty and genius of To Kill a Mockingbird was that Scout, Atticus, Jim, Calpurnia and even Boo-Radley did come alive for all of us. Both the book and the film gave us hope. We saw a world in which human decency, intelligence, common sense and the whole assortment of good virtues could prevail. Life does not have to be divvied up on the basis of hatred. And, we saw in the midst of all the hatred there are courageous, honest people willing to do the right thing. Atticus Finch has always been one of our heroes. Go Set a Watchman took away our hero.

Don’t read this book. Or, at the very least, just read the first half for a little visit with Scout.

Note on the Audiobook: The saving grace of this whole experience was having Reese Witherspoon read the book to me. She did a beautiful job.

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Wondrous Words #350

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I heard this word while listening to a news story about conspiracy theorists:

fabulist: “I don’t know if this guy is a fabulist or where his info is coming from.”

A fabulist is a person who composes or relates fables.

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Only one word for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

I really didn’t want to read this book, but our book club decided to give it a chance. I’m surprised so far, but I’ll finish soon. Here’s how the story begins:

Go Set A Watchman1.
Since Atlanta, she had looked out the dining-car window with a delight almost physical. Over her breakfast coffee, she watched the last of Georgia’s hills recede and the red earth appear, and with it tin-roofed houses set in the middle of swept yards, and in the yards the inevitable verbena grew, surrounded by whitewashed tires. She grinned when she saw her first TV antenna atop an unpainted Negro house; as they multiplied, her joy rose.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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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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How Do You Behave In Nice Restaurants?

I truly enjoy eating at a nice restaurant. After a lifetime of cooking, it’s a real treat. The “eating out” experience is so much different today than when I was growing up. I don’t recall our family eating out until I was in my mid-teens. Oh sure, we stopped at The Spot for an occasional hotdog and root beer float, but that was a summer treat and the food was eaten outdoors at their picnic tables.

It’s not that we didn’t have “fancy” meals where we learned the proper placement and use of silverware and cloth napkins and other table manners. That’s what Sunday dinners were all about. But many of today’s families are able to expose their children to nice restaurants at a much earlier age. For the most part, I don’t observe terrible table manners among diners when I eat out. Do you?

Waiter RantSteve Dublanica would disagree with me. He’s a professional waiter at high-end restaurants in New York City and the author of an interesting book: Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip- Confessions of a Cynical Waiter. I don’t spend every day in restaurants so I should probably take Mr. Dublanica’s word for it, but he seems to encounter an amazing amount of rude and badly mannered people. He does admit to being cynical so perhaps he notices the rudeness more than I do.

Reading this book opened my eyes to the business side of a restaurant. Many nice restaurants seem to operate on very tight budgets, long hours, poor physical conditions, and for the wait-staff, rude and overly demanding customers. Misbehaving customers is probably the main theme of the book. I couldn’t help but think of my own behavior as I read the book. Has my behavior been offensive to waiters?

As the author related example after example of customer rudeness, I was horrified. I’d like to think the author is overlooking all the well mannered people who visit. In the back of the book are a few appendices. One of them a list of tips on how to be a good restaurant customer. Here are a few:

  • Always make reservations, especially on the weekend. Then keep the reservation
  • Don’t whine about the table.
  • Don’t snap you fingers to get the waiter’s attention.
  • Make your waiter go through the specials only once.
  • Don’t order off the menu. It forces the restaurant to make something they don’t normally cook well.
  • Cultivate a restaurant and it’s staff with good behavior and frequent visits if you want to be treated like a regular customer.
  • Don’t aggressively grab a waiter or bus person.
  • Don’t monopolize the waiter’s time.
  • Pay the check within five minutes of receiving the bill.
  • Don’t ask for separate checks at the end of the meal.
  • Tip at least 15 to 20%. Tip 20% to a favorite waiter. A 25% tip should be saved for special occasions or extraordinary service.

Although I was horrified at some of the examples of poor behavior in this book, I must say that it was a fun book to read. The author has a nice way of poking fun at himself and he wrote a well organized analysis of the restaurants he worked for. Overall, I recommend you check it out.

Warning: There is a plethora of f and other four-letter obscenities in this book.

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I’m linking this post to Weekend Cooking. You can find more Weekend Cooking  posts at Beth Fish Reads.

weekendckng2

Posted in Books About Food, Weekend Cooking | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Book Tour: All the Single Ladies

All the Single LadiesAuthor: Dorothy Benton Frank

Publisher: William Morrow, Reprint: May 16, 2016

Let Summer Reading begin! A Dorothea Benton Frank novel is the right way to start the season. It’s light, fun, has a happy ending, makes you think about good friendships and good food.

As the story opens we meet Lisa, a single mom with a grown daughter. She’s an empathetic and caring geriatric nurse. She became friends with Kathy, a patient dying of cancer and Kathy’s two friends, Suzanne and Carrie, who visit often. After Kathy’s death the three women bond even further. Their blooming friendship sets in motion various events that will change all of their lives.

After Kathy’s death the three women join together to plan a memorial service, settle her affairs, and do whatever they can to help. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else. There’s a bit of a mystery about Kathy. When they go to Kathy’s home to clear out her clothes and personal effects, they become suspicious. They have a hunch that Kathy’s landlady is stealing from her. The problem is, how can they prove it? As they struggle they realize they need to know a lot more about Kathy.

In addition to the three friends, there are a couple of additional characters I really liked. There’s Miss Trudie, Suzanne’s fiesty 99-year-old grandmother. She’s a real hoot. There is nothing senile about her. I also liked Paul, a guy who showed up to play the organ at Kathy’s funeral. He’s a former boyfriend and a savvy architect. Paul also helped the women, and maybe extra help for one of the women. (No more than that. I’m not spoiling it for you.)

There are a couple of pluses in this book, not mentioned in any of the publisher’s literature, that I really liked. First there is Lisa’s dog, Pickles. He’s a sweet companion to Lisa, but he also wins over the heart of nearly everyone. The second plus I enjoyed was all the food talk. It was a casual part of the story. The characters talked about what they were cooking for dinner or what they ate at local restaurants. There was even a conversation about the best way to boil shrimp. All the Single Ladies would make a good choice for those  book clubs who also feature food.

There is something about this author and summer that just seems to go together. It’s probably the South Carolina summer heat, the author’s witty humor and those rich-but-light-hearted characters. It all works together to call to the reader. They make the reader want to get a nice glass of something yummy to drink, a chair in a shady spot and the ability to leave this world behind for a few hours. Let your self go.

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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:  Dorothea Benton Frank Book Tour Schedule

tlc tour host

 

 

 

Posted in A, Book Tour, Literary Fiction | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Wondrous Words #349

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I was reading a New York Times article about a referendum in Austin, Texas. The city was trying to regulate the drivers of Uber and Lyft, ride-sharing companies.

weal:  It became a referendum on who is in the driver’s seat (pun intended) when it comes to the public weal: new-economy powerhouses out to “disrupt” society for fun and profit, or the people they’re seeking to disrupt.

Weal has two meanings. One is a red, swollen mark left on flesh by a blow or pressure. The other seems to fit this sentence. It defines weal as that which is best for someone or something.

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Okay, that’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank

It’s almost the official Summer Reading Season. Every list should have one of Dorothea Benton Frank’s books on it. They are just right for summer reading. Pick out a nice shady tree, a comfortable reading chair, and a nice icy glass of your favorite beverage. Mm-mm, I’m ready. Here’s the beginning of her latest book:

 

All the Single LadiesChapter 1
Meet Lisa St. Clair

June 2014
I hail from a ver theatrical climate. Coming to terms with Mother Nature is essential when you call the Lowountry of South Carolina home. At the precise moment I ventured outside early this morning, my sunglasses fogged. In the next breath, I swatted a mosquito on the back of my neck. The world was still. The birds were quiet. It was already too hot to chirp. And, Lord save us, the heat was just beginning to rise. I thought the blazes of hell itself could not be this itself could not be this inhospitable.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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

Posted in First Paragraph | 9 Comments