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Thread: Moms' Book Thread ~ Week 2 (January 8th - January 14th)

  1. #1
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    Default Moms' Book Thread ~ Week 2 (January 8th - January 14th)

    I hope that it’s been an enjoyable reading week for all.

    I read Martha's Vineyard: Isle of Dreams - 5 Stars - There’s so much to love about Susan Branch’s beautiful books. Her style is engaging and cozy and the water-colored illustrations are gorgeous. Her books encourage me to want to try out some of her recipes. If I could, I would give her books away to all my favorite friends. This book is the second in a series of three memoirs. In this one, she’s making a new life for herself after a painful divorce. Her final book (“A Fine Romance”) is my favorite. That one is more of a travelogue through Britain.

    Some of my favorite quotes:
    “… because commonsensically speaking, a room full of good books had to better for your health than a room with no books in it at all.”

    “And you know what helps loneliness? Beauty. Your heart can be sad, but it will leap at the sight of the moon on the water, or when light flickers through the leaves and flutters like butterfly wings on the wall. You might fall back into sadness, but then, thank goodness, you see something else, even the smallest of things, a pink rose in a vase, an amazing line of inspiration in a book, kitty paws the way they fold over each other, and it leaps again.”

    “In all my days I’d never considered anything more important than home. In a chaotic world, it was sanctuary, it was where love grew.”

    and Boy: Tales of Childhood - 3 Stars - Reading this was such a pleasure, since Roald Dahl’s books were among our favorites when my children were younger. I haven’t yet seriously ventured into his books for adults. I tried to read one of them, but it was dark and I was sitting alone in the car and got seriously scared. I still want to give them a go and haven’t quite given up yet. Anyway, I digress. This is an easy and quick read as far as autobiographies go. It’s not a complete autobiography, however, just enjoyable stories about his childhood. I’ve always enjoyed Dahl’s writing style.

    This part touched me. Roald Dahl was sent to boarding school at the age of nine.
    “From my very first Sunday at St. Peter’s until the day my mother died thirty-two years later, I wrote to her once a week, sometimes more often, whenever I was away from home. I wrote to her every week from St. Peter’s, and every week from my next school, Repton, and every week from Dar es Salaam in East Africa, where I went on my first job after leaving school, and then every week during the war from Kenya and Iraq and Egypt when I was flying with the RAF.
    My mother, for her part, kept every one of those letters, binding them carefully in neat bundles with green tape, but this was her own secret. She never told me she was doing it. In 1957, when she knew she was dying, I was in hospital in Oxford having a serious operation on my spine and I was unable to write to her. So she had a telephone specially installed beside her bed in order that she might have one last conversation with me. She didn’t tell me she was dying nor did anyone else for that matter because I was in a fairly serious condition myself at the time. She simply asked me how I was and hoped I would get better soon and sent me her love. I had no idea that she would die the next day, but she knew all right and she wanted to reach out and speak to me for the last time.”

    And his father:
    “He harboured a curious theory about how to develop a sense of beauty in the minds of his children. Every time my mother became pregnant, he would wait until the last three months of her pregnancy and then he would announce to her that ‘the glorious walks’ must begin. These glorious walks consisted of him taking her to places of great beauty in the countryside and waking with her for about an hour each day so that she could absorb the splendor of the surroundings. His theory was that if the eye of a pregnant woman was constantly observing the beauty of nature, this beauty would somehow become transmitted to the mind of the unborn baby within her womb and that baby would grow up to be a lover of beautiful things. This was the treatment that all of his children received before they were born.”





    The Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris - the original shop doubled as a library, publisher, and boarding house for aspiring writers. It was featured in Ernest Hemingway's memoir, "A Moveable Feast".

    MY RATING SYSTEM
    5 Stars
    Fantastic, couldn't put it down
    4 Stars
    Really Good
    3 Stars
    Enjoyable
    2 Stars
    Just Okay – nothing to write home about
    1 Star
    Rubbish – waste of my money and time. Few books make it to this level, since I usually give up on them if they’re that bad.
    "There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor." ~ Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol"

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    Negin, I've been wondering which of Susan Branch's books to read next--I think this is it! Or do you think I should go back and read The Fairy Tale Girl first? I think I might do that, since it seems they are in order. I'm excited to read more of her work--I love it for all the reasons you mention! Also, that photo of the bookstore reminds me of the cover of The Bookshop on the Corner, which I'm going to be reading for my book club soon. I would love to live near a bookshop like that!

    I continued with my "fun and light" reading last week, since I'm still on break. First I read The Westing Game, which for some reason I picked up off paperbackswap last year. I didn't realize at the time that it was YA fiction, and almost didn't read it once I discovered that. However, I thought I'd check it out in case my daughter could read it. She's still a bit too young for it IMO (it's geared more towards a 9th-10th grade audience, I think), but might enjoy it once she's old enough. It was ok--the mystery plot was clever for that age group, but I'm not a huge YA fan, so I was happy to be done with it.

    Then I moved on to Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winnifred Watson. I'm not quite done yet, but I am LOVING this book! It's quirky, charming, very well written, and may turn out to be one of my favorites for the year. You can't help but fall in love with Miss Pettigrew, a tired, down-on-her-luck middle-aged spinster (as she describes herself) who suddenly gets swept up into a whirlwind of fashion and activity with (so far) surprising results. It's a journey of self-discovery for her, and offers some insights into human nature as well. Apparently there was a movie based on the book a few years ago; I'm curious to see what they did with it (hopefully not ruin it!). Not sure if the book stays consistently good, as I have about 100 pages left; but I don't think I'll be disappointed based on what I've read so far.
    Mama of two lovely ladies: Carina (9 1/2) & Madelyn (8).

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    Vicki, I think I'm going to have to add Miss Pettigrew to my reading list!

    Negin, love the photo of Shakespeare and Company! (And for those of you who have never read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, I love it! One of my favorite books.)

    I'm reading Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood for another online book group I'm in. Liking it so far.

    (Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.)
    Celebrate your freedom to read! Read a banned book!

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    Hello Ladies,

    I just finished reading the firs of C.S. Lewis' space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet. We are discussing that book and the next in the trilogy at my next book club meeting.
    Based on Negin's scale, I would give it 3 stars. I enjoyed it, but had a hard time in the middle. Perhaps it was because I wasn't reading it frequently enough. There are several made-up words in the book and I found I was forgetting what they meant. Yesterday when I picked it up again, I flipped back through the book and wrote down several of the foreign words and their meanings. That helped and I finished the book today. It isn't a very long book.

    He wrote the book decades before man landed on the moon and I kept thinking how an author couldn't write the same book now because of the additional knowledge we have about space.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Stacia, is the title "Norwegian Wood" a Beatles reference?
    Loving, learning, and living in central VA with my adventurous husband of 14 years and our three children.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicki P in VA View Post
    Or do you think I should go back and read The Fairy Tale Girl first?
    Then I moved on to Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winnifred Watson. I'm not quite done yet, but I am LOVING this book!
    Vicki, I love your new picture!
    I would go with this Susan Branch next. You've already read "Fairy Tale Girl", right? That's the first one. This one that I just read is the second.
    The Miss Pettigrew book sounds delightful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stacia View Post
    And for those of you who have never read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, I love it! One of my favorite books.)
    Which I have yet to read! I haven't read any Hemingway yet and would like to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angela Rose View Post
    I just finished reading the firs of C.S. Lewis' space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet.
    Angela, I haven't yet read much of his adult books. I think that this one is already on my list.
    "There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor." ~ Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol"

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    Somehow -- I have no idea how -- I have missed the entire conversation about Susan Branch. I have never heard of her. I'm assuming she's been talked about here before, but I wasn't paying attention, I guess! I'll have to look her up. What do I start with if I want to read her books?

    Vicki, I love your new pic! Miss Pettigrew is a wonderful movie. I love Frances McDormand, though, so that helps. I haven't read the book.

    I'm reading Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Lifehttps://www.amazon.com/Laura-Ingalls...a+writers+life. I love it -- it's a really good summary of ... well, everything a LIW fan wants to know about how her real life corresponded to her fictional life. I've read the Little House books a few times, I've read 3 or 4 biographies, and most recently I read Pioneer Girl, the heavily annotated volume of her original life story for adults. What I like about this one is that it's a concise summary of all of that. I loved Pioneer Girl but it was dense and distracting with all the annotations. You had to be constantly making your own connections between what you already knew about Laura and this new information. This book nicely summarizes everything, with a focus on LIW as a writer, which I love. It's all about how her real life contributed to her writing, from birth through her death. There is no "new" information, but it's all so nicely summarized that it's worth it for that alone. I picked this up at the LIW museum when we visited a while back.

    I'm very tempted to get By Gaslight from the library. I think I'll request it now, in fact.
    "Ree-bee," Mom to United States Marine ds 20 * artist dd 18 * motion-loving ds 15 * piano-playing ds 10
    "For Miss Minnie loved children and she loved books, and she taught merely by introducing the one to the other." from "A Consent," by Wendell Berry

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    I'm trying to be more purposeful this year in my own reading, so maybe I should start the year off by joining you all here.

    Last week, I decided to start the year with the first book I saw on my shelves that I haven't yet read, which turned out to be Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner - it's not my favorite Faulkner, but it's more readable than many.
    Loving, living, and learning with Silas (11) Cedric (10) Aria (7) Titus (5)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Negin View Post
    Vicki, I love your new picture!
    I would go with this Susan Branch next. You've already read "Fairy Tale Girl", right? That's the first one. This one that I just read is the second.
    The Miss Pettigrew book sounds delightful.
    Thank you, Negin! I was going to say the same about yours--after I changed mine, I noticed you had a new one as well. Love your bright colors!

    I haven't read any other Branch book except A Fine Romance; that's why when I saw that Fairy was the first in the series, I realized I should go back there first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post
    Somehow -- I have no idea how -- I have missed the entire conversation about Susan Branch. I have never heard of her. I'm assuming she's been talked about here before, but I wasn't paying attention, I guess! I'll have to look her up. What do I start with if I want to read her books?

    Vicki, I love your new pic! Miss Pettigrew is a wonderful movie. I love Frances McDormand, though, so that helps. I haven't read the book.
    Thank you, Rebe! I first heard about Susan Branch here some time ago--I think Negin was talking about one of her books and it sounded interesting. That one was A Fine Romance, and I LOVED it. So did everyone in my book club--after I finished it, I started passing it around, and they keep asking for it again!

    Glad to know the movie is good--I'll see if I can track it down at some point. The book reads a lot like a play, so I would think it translates well to the screen.
    Mama of two lovely ladies: Carina (9 1/2) & Madelyn (8).

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    Negin, over Christmas I won a drawing on Susan Branch's blog. I won signed copies of A Fine Romance and her cookbook. I won a girlfriends charm (she sells these) and an antique teapot that she bought in England and painted on page 141 in A Fine Romance! And she sent me a really nice email. Everything arrived in a big box the week of Christmas and I love it all!

    I just finished The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. What a neat book! When I started it, I wasn't sure I wanted to read about someone who had lost their wife and was emotional about it but I kept on reading and loved the whole book!

    I also skimmed A Hillbilly Elegy. My father's side of the family were miners and were very similar to the people he describes but the book just didn't engage me as much as I thought it would.

    Right now I'm reading Longbourn, which is Pride and Prejudice told from the servants' viewpoint. It's pretty fluffy (it's hardback but has the feeling of a paperback novel ). I found it on a list of books on modernmrsdarcy for people who are missing Downton Abbey. It's a fun read for winter!
    Wife to David, mom to 9, homeschooling Thomas (17), Abby (14). Grammy to 6 sweet granddaughters. Homeschooling since 1986, Rowing since 2000.

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    I finished Intruder in the Dust this morning. I'd give it a solid 3 stars. I'm still deciding if I liked it or not, but I always enjoy Faulkner, if only because he gives me the pleasure of reading a well-turned page and a half sentence. The plot was too convenient, but the philosophical musings of post-slavery in the deep south and human nature rebelling against any form of compulsion made up for neatly boxed action.

    I told myself I would alternate between fiction and non-fiction this year, but that book is so pondering it might as well be non-fiction, so I decided to read G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Knew Too Much instead. I'm assuming breaking my resolved rotation at first chance is a better route than trying to stick with it at all.
    Loving, living, and learning with Silas (11) Cedric (10) Aria (7) Titus (5)

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