Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday, March 12: Catching up on Time-Change Weekend!

The great thing about a busy stretch is that it does make a tough month fly by. . .  and our British-like winter has contributed to that effect as well! The time changes ahead tonight; Andy and I are going to see Nate in his play at Bates, and we're facing the last "extra" week of March with parent conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday. At the same time, I'm coming down from a crazy busy stretch of grading/planning/dealing with ninth graders and A. has been away for two weekends, so a few items are way behind, like recording my books lately! So here should be a batch of them.

After You (Me Before You, #2)After You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Listened to this with a bit of trepidation, having so disliked "Last Letter from? To? My Lover" that I returned it to Audible for a refund (one of two books I've ever done that for!), but it was classic, wonderful Moyes: funny, sad, reflective, with realistic characters who were annoying at times but about whom I came to care (<=pretty good sentence for 8 am on a Saturday, I must say! ). The narrator took some getting used to, but overall the picture of grief, of family, of life and one's choices in it, is moving and worthwhile. Recommended! Glitter and Glue: A MemoirGlitter and Glue: A Memoir by Kelly Corrigan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had read and enjoyed The Middle Place about five years ago (tears. . . phone calls to Julie. . . wow), and then a visitor recommended Glitter and Glue, which I didn't even know about, so I checked it out of the libe and it sat on the Library Books Pile for a month, and then I finally got it on audible and hey presto! I "read" it with great enthusiasm. Says something about my life that I am getting through more books via commuting that actual on-the-couch reading! I did comment elsewhere: "just finished listening to the a.may.zing memoir Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan. It is powerful and well-written. Boom. Right to the heart."

My one audio-based recommendation is that Corrigan might not have been the best selection for a narrator, given that the book is mostly set in Australia and she is so wonderfully, clearly Midwestern in her speech that she (wisely) doesn't even attempt an Australian accent. It would've added to the book, in my opinion, to have had the contrast in accents. Very minor quibble.

Highly recommended memoir about travel, mortality, family, loss, change, growing up, mothers. . . . Just go read (or listen) to it! The Mysterious Affair at StylesThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pleasant escape read: the first Hercule Poirot! Great fun to see Christie doing her thing. A nice addition is that the narrator is subtly characterized as an idiot by his own unwitting description, which adds a whole extra layer of skill for the reader/listener to appreciate.

The Secret Adversary (Tommy and Tuppence, #1)The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hard on the heels of the first Poirot, I listened to the first Tommy and Tuppence. Again, it's a fun escape read, but this one is a bit less refined than The Mysterious Affair: I figured out the bad guy pretty fast, and there are a lot of credulity-stretching escapes, twists, coincidences, and moments where the trussed-up prisoner is suddenly running full-tilt down the road with a gun, full use of his/her muscles, and cash to pay a cab and buy dinner! Still--it's a bit like reading a Tin-tin story, and a nice way to pass some dreary February commutes.

LOOK! SOME REAL BOOKS! Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a MarriageDelancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally bought a copy of Delancey and made the penne alla vodka (it was great). Glad to have my own copy! Still a big fan.

ORIGNAL REVIEW, JULY 14, 2014! I like Molly Wizenberg's Orangette blog, and I was delighted to see this book in the Ridgefield Library. I might buy it, because I like a lot of the recipes--both for weird experiments (gin with ground pepper and garlic?) and for plain ol' "that sounds great!" meals (penne alla vodka). The story of the ins and outs of starting the restaurant was engrossing, too, and the progress of her relationship with and understanding of her husband caught my attention as well, though Julie did not find the book interesting at all. One aspect I noted with respect was that she discussed various people who entered their lives through the restaurant process, and it was really hard to tell if they would be friends, foes, betrayers, or loyal supporters: her tone was always level and respectful, an approach that I find difficult in my own life and in much public discourse today.

Recommended (though Julie disagrees!) as an interesting resource and a good story, though I am surprised that it's a NYT bestseller. Doesn't seem jazzy enough. Maybe a lot of people want to open restaurants and find this book, as I do, a good replacement!

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen TableA Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ANOTHER "real" book read!
I read this *after* Delancey, though it was written beforehand; when I first saw it mentioned by others I was afraid it was one of those "make everything from scratch or else you're a bad person" type memoirs written by the willowy wife of some CEO somewhere who never does anything she doesn't want to do. . . . but, having read Delancey, I realized it wasn't. And it was a treat: warm, full of good recipes, inspiring, and nicely written, stem to stern.

Nate made her dark chocolate cupcakes and iced them with peanut butter butter cream frosting (not her recipe), and I think I made a believer of him as well!

A nice book to keep by the bed or to read during a busy time. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Sooooo: I do believe I am caught up. I need to reread The Bluest Eye, and I am nearly done with Tropper's profane but funny This is Where I Leave you, but those are tasks for another week. It's sunny and 40 outside, and I have to get up and out for a run, then get packed and ready to roll before we head to Lewiston for our night at the Theater.

As is so often the case: life is good.

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