My Week In Review

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by to visit.

I spent most of this week concentrating on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I’m a life-long Austen fan and I’ve re-read all six of them every few years. Last year I discovered The Austen Project, a project sponsored by Harpers in which respected authors have been asked to write modern versions of these classic stories using the same characters and plot lines.

So far I’ve read Emma and Pride and Prejudice/Eligible. My method was to first re-read the original book and then watch one of the movies based on the classic. Then I read the new contemporary version. It’s worked out good for me.

The basic story of Sense and Sensibility starts with the deathbed promise of John Dashwood to his dying father that he would take care of his step-mother and three step-sisters. John’s intentions were sincere, but once his greedy and domineering wife, Fanny, stepped in, everything changed. The four women now face a life with no money, no status and no protection.

Belle and her three daughters are homeless until a family friend rescues then. He supplies then with the use of a modest “cottage” which is quite some distance from the family estate.

Before they leave for the cottage Elinor, the eldest daughter, meets Fanny’s brother, Edward, and there is an instant spark. Marianne, once she is established at the new cottage has two men interested in her. There are other challenges the Dashwoods face, but they handle each one as it comes. There is plenty of drama in all of this as the story moves forward toward a satisfying conclusion.

I really loved the modern version, Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trolloppe. The basics are, of courrse, the same, but the were nice changes. For instance, Elinor lands a nice job working for a group of architects. Margaret, as a modern middle-schooler is as inquisitive and snarky as many of her modern-day counterparts. And Marianne is a full-blown drama-queen in the modern version as she was in the 1700s. If you loved the Dashwood clan in the original Sense and Sensibility, I think you’ll love them just as much in the updated version. I personally believe that Joanna Trollope is Jane Austen reincarnated.

I fit in a quick listen to Jimmy Carter’s latest memoir A Full Life. In the introduction he said that now that he is in his nineties, he wanted to look back at the events that contributed to making his life so rich and full. This is not former President Carter’s first memoir. He’s written several already, but this one was selective.

I liked hearing about his time at the Naval Academy and especially his time as a submarine captain aboard a vessel with nuclear warheads. He’s obvious very smart as the navy sent him to college to study theoretical physics to help him with that job. He also covered his campaign for governor of Georgia and then for president. The rest of the story I already knew as I followed him closely when he was president and I’ve already read two other books about him. I found this look back very relevant compared to our current leadership climate/crisis.

Off The Blog:

Hoo-ray! My husband and I went to the movie theater this week. It’s rare thing for us because there just aren’t many movies anymore that “suit” us. But, finally we one we really wanted to see: Wind River. We really loved it.

Here’s what it’s about: An FBI agent (Kelsey Asbilie) is sent to Wyoming to team up with an experienced game tracker (Jeremy Renner) and the Native American sheriff (Graham Green) from the reservation. The setting was the dead of winter which made us feel so very cold. The scenery was unbelievably gorgeous — snowy mountain back country. The plot was to solve the murder of a young woman. The characters were unique and believable. It’s well worth seeing. Check your local theater.

I do hope you’ve had a good week. Happy Reading.

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Book Beginnings: Plainsong by Kent Haruf

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

I finally started a book I’ve been meaning  to read for a long tim, Plainsong by Kent Haruf is the story of a group of people in a small town east of Denver.

Here was this man Tom Guthrie in Holt standing at the back window n the kitchen of his home smoking cigarettes and looking out over the bak lot where the sunwas just coning up.

What do you think? Would you keep readoing?


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Wondrous Words # 407

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


While listening to a TV news show, this word popped up for me:

bellicose: “ . . . especially the bellicose rhetoric we heard today.”

Bellicose is an adjective meaning to demonstrate aggression and willingness to fight.


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

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A Look At My Week

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by. I treated myself to a whole week of mysteries. Four of them, actually. I do love a good mystery, and all four were good. However, a couple were really good. I’ll tell you about them starting with the best one first — 4:50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie.

I’ve said it many times on this blog, but I truly love it when an Agatha Christie novel features Jane Marple. She’s a very wise woman of about 70+ (I’m guessing here). She’s not an official detective, but some people at Scotland Yard consider her deduction and people skills invaluable. So do some of her friends.

When a friend, Elspeth McGillicuddy, sees a woman being killed on another train as it passes her train, she notifies Jane. Figuring this out is complicated, but Jane. with help, does it. She figures out which train it could have been (the 4:50 from Paddington), what happened to the body, who the woman was, who the man/murderer was, and why was the woman killed. It was a very intricate puzzle that was interesting to follow until the very satisfying solution. The characters were also unique. If you’re looking for a sweet Agatha Christie to read, I suggest this one.

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Damaged by Lisa Scottolini is the fourth book in the Rosato & DiNunzio series about the two partners in a Philadelphia law firm. Mary DiNunzio is suing the school system in order to help a severely dyslexic middle-school boy. He needs to go to a special school, but the system won’t let him. It’s hard to believe that so many people want to block him, but there are very powerful and passionate people against this case. This story really touched my heart and I had a hard time taking a break for my normal life-practices.

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Luck and Judgement by Peter Grainger is the third book in the D.C. Smith series. I read these books simply because of D.C. Smith. He’s a former Chief Superintendent of Detectives who is back to being a simple Inspector. So far I haven’t learned anything specific about why he was demoted, but he is very distainful of the people in authority. Fortunately, he has great respect among his fellow detectives. He’s very capable as well as helpful to those on his team. The story in this book starts out as a simple one — a man has disappeared from an oil rig out at sea. Was it an accident or a suicide? Smith’s instincts tell him there is something wrong. It’s complicated, but Smith and his team doggedly persue the truth. I was surprised by what they found which is always an excellent outcome for me.

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The second Agatha Christie novel I read this week failed me, probably because I compared it to 4:50 From Paddington, the one I mentioned above. There are two deaths in this story: After The Funeral. They are both thought to be natural deaths, but the family’s solicitor is suspicious. He calls in Hercule Poirot to nose around which of course he does beautifully. It was just an okay story for me.

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Away From the Blog:

We’ve had a good time this week pretending to be pirates. A friend/family member turned seventy last week. To celebrate, his wife and daughter hosted a pirate-themed party. Everyone was encouraged to wear a costume and adopt “pirate talk.” Since it was a potluck, some guests tried to bring “pirate food.”

There was a get-acquainted treasure hunt and a costume contest as well as a pirate line-dance. That’s my husband – Pirate Jay – pictured on the left. He and I haven’t been to a costume party in years, but it was so much fun to get into the spirit of this one.

I hope your week has been fun too. Happy Reading.

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Book Beginnings: Sense and Sensibility

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

I’m reading Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollop, not Jane Austen. All the characters are the same and  its the same story – just updated to current times in England. I love Jane Austen’s original, but this is really quite good as well. Here is how it begins:

From their windows — their high, generous Georgian wndows — the view was, they all agreed, spectacular.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

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Wondrous Words #406

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


I was reading an article about how literary critics have analyzed the words used by Jane Austen to see why she is so popular after more than 20 years when I found two new words.

1. welter: Emma does not know her own heart, but the welter of intensifiers creates a sense of insisting too much, that not all is as it seems.

Welter can be both a noun and a verb. In this sentence it’s a noun so welter means a large number of items in no order; a confused mass


2. indubitable: The change was indubitable.

Indubitable is adjective meaning impossible to doubt; unquestionable. 


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

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My Week In Review

Thanks for stopping by. I’m having a very happy summer and I hope you are too.

First, I want to tell you about my favorite book of the week. It didn’t start out that way. In fact, I thought it was dull and quite slow at the beginning. I considered stopping, but it’s an up-coming book club selection so I felt obligated to keep going. Its a good thing I did. By the half-way point I was enjoying it a bit more and by the end, I loved it.

News Of The World by Paulette Jiles is the story of Captain Jefferson Kidd, a seventy-one-year-old man who travels the small towns of northern Texas in 1870 reading national newspapers. The Captain’s customers are the people of these frontier towns who are willing to pay 10 cents to hear about what’s going on in the rest of the world. Its an interesing life and the Captain is well-known and respected.

The Captain’s life changes when the U.S, Army pays him $50 in gold to return a ten-year-old girl to her family in San Antonio. The army rescued her from a Kiowa tribe that had captured her four years earlier. Reluctantly, the Captain agrees. The girl does not remember anything except her Kiowan family. She speaks no English and tries often to run away back to her tribe. The Captain is very wise and quite patient as he attempts to earn his $50 and in doing so, her trust. This was a very satisfying story with a conclusion that was inevitable although not predictable. I hightly recomend it.

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I read the graphic-novel version of the award-winning book The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Its set in Afghanistan and is the story of an unlikely friendship between two boys. When I first read the book several years ago I was deeply touched by the story. Now, with the graphic version, I could “reread” this enjoyable book again, but in a different way. Its a story that should be shared by all ages. This graphic-novel is bringing the book to a new group of readers. (My local librarian is very happy with it’s circulation numbers among teen readers.) The illustrators did a wonderful job of interpreting the original story. Even if you aren’t normally a graphics’ fan, check this one out.

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I finally finished reading Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. It’s the kind of book that, on one hand is a great story, but on the other hand made me very hungry. Each chapter is devoted to one particular dish along with another segment of the story of Eva Thorvald. It’s a touching story of how Eva was raised alone by her father who had an absolute love of food. Eva absorbed that and when she grew up she became a celebrity chef reflecting the foods of Minnesota and the Midwest. What made her unique was a secret supper club that could pop up anywhere. Everyone wanted to be in on these amazing feasts. All of this made an iteresting story with yummy-food and a good sense of humor.

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Today I want to tell you about a place where we have spent many happy hours this summer with our four-year-old grandson. It’s called The Children’s Museum. It’s located in the next town over from us, Santa Rosa. There is both an indoor area and an outdoor area.

As you can see in the picture above, the indoor area has two floors of interesting and fun, hands-on activities. There is a train set in addition to the trains going around overhead, a general store, a restaurant where you can cook a meal, a puppet theater and a gian bubble room. I’m only telling about the things our little guy likes. There’s a lot more.

The outdoor area has a full-sized helicopter and a full-sized tractor and garden to match. That’s fun, but our budding engineer/plumber loves the water area. There are giant  sinks and pvc-pipes so he can devise his own water scupture. It’s amazing to watch. The little river next door even has fish (in glass tubes) you can catch. There’s a lot more to see and do but you get the idea. I love the concept of a museaum just for children, don’t you? My sister tells me there is one near where she lives in Anaheim and I’m sure other parts of the country have them as well. It’s a great place to be if you are four or actually for an aging Nana.

That’s it for me this week. I hope you have a great week ahead. Happy Reading.

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Book Beginning: News Of The World

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

I’m reading a historical fiction book about a man who drives among the small towns of northern Texas. He reads the news to people who do not have major newspapers and who appreciate being able to keep up with what’s going on. Here is the beginning of the book:

Captain Kidd laid out the Boston Morning Journal on the lectern and began to read from the article on the Fifteenth Amendment. He had been born in 1798 and the third war of his lifetime had ended five years ago and he hoped never to see another but now the news of the world aged him more than time itself.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Book Beginnings | 6 Comments

Wondrous Words # 405

WWWEvery 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 one new-to-me word this week. I actually heard it on a TV news show:

pernicious:  “This is so pernicious.”

Pernicious (pərˈniSHəs) is an adjective meaning having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way


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

Posted in Wondrous Words | 3 Comments