The Week in Review: Book Edition

I thought I would change things up a bit and write about books this week.  As much as I love to read I am surprised I don’t write about books more. Hmm.


Random Pick: A few weeks ago at the library I chose a shelf on a whim and counted over 33 books. I got “Wedding Girl”. Totally not what I was in the mood for. I looked up and…ta-da “Cooking for Picasso” called my name. Loved it!  One of those novels based on a bit of historical fact and jumped back and forth in time, in a good way.

Serendipity:  The day after I started reading “Cooking for Picasso”  I got my National Geographic magazine in the mail and it had an article on Picasso and let me know that there is a mini-series about the life of Picasso on the National Geographic channel starting in April. How coincidentally wonderful is that?  It is a 10 part series I am recording to watch during the summer.

Something Crazy:  Remember “chiaroscuro”?  Yes, again!  This time in “The Golden Hour” by T. Greenwood. And also in the book a character wears a pair of red flannel pajamas with black scottie dogs on them.  I have those pajamas!  I am so reading some more Greenwood, she gets me. 🙂

Mystery Series:  My favorite genre is the mystery.  For quite a few years I really liked getting into a series but lately I have found that all the newer series seem pretty repetitive.  After 3 or 4 books the series grows stale not to mention how similar they all feel. Woman loses job, breaks up with long time boyfriend and moves back home.  She has a quirky but endearing family, lands some sort of interesting job or joins the family business  and promptly gets involved with a readily available handsome member of the law enforcement. Add in an unbelievable number of murders in a small town.  Sheesh.

But here are a few series that have managed to stay believable and keep things fresh:

The Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny– It helps that the main character is a homicide investigator, making his proximity to murder believable.  There is so much depth to these stories though and so many other characters.  Never boring, never predictable.

The Faith Fairchild series by Katherine Hall Page – Enough travel keeps things interesting as well as the details of the rest of her life as her children grow up.  Good recipes too!

The Sadie Hoffmiller series by Josi Kilpack – I have only finished the first three books (there are 12) but this series feels much more realistic than most.  Yes, there is a boyfriend detective but she still gets sentenced to community service for interfering in a police investigation. Pretty real!  And there is a lot of travel so no scary small town full of homicides.

Aunt Dimity series by Nancy Atherton –  There is a mystery in each book but not necessarily a murder.  Set in England it appeals to the Anglophile in me and while there is a little of the woo-woo communication from the dead it doesn’t override the rest of the story.

The Molly Murphy series by Rhys Bowen – I love learning about the early 1900’s in New York City where this series is set.  It is interesting seeing how much harder it was to track down information in those days, how people lived in general and all the obstacles to being a lady detective.  Yes, there is a police love interest but I can live with it.

The Jane Austen series by Stephanie Barron – I have only read the first two books (of thirteen I believe) but seriously why wouldn’t I love Jane Austen as a sleuth?  England, historical time period and a writer, all right up my alley.

What book I just finished: “Euphoria” by Lily King, not my usual fare but lately I have been choosing more books randomly, either off the ‘recently returned shelf’ or the staff picks or just walking down an aisle seeing what catches my eye.  This book did not disappoint and suited my mood which has been rather up and down thanks to MHC (menopausal hormonal craziness). {I am hoping if I use MHC enough times it will catch on.}  A Margaret Mead inspired story that really held my attention.

What I am reading right now:  “Into the Magic Shop” by James R. Doty, MD, again not something that would normally grab me but I am surprised at how much I am loving this book.  I am not quite 1/2 way yet but already I want to be a better person and really learn how to meditate.  I have chosen “rose rain” as my focus word.

An easy way to track your reading: I had never thought about tracking what I read until I stumbled across the clever idea of using a five year journal and promptly adopted it.  For those of us not interested in digital tracking I have found a small five year diary works perfectly.  I jot down the title, author and a sentence or two about what I thought of the book or how it made me feel. I list the book under the date I started it.  Super easy, not overly time consuming and this diary is going to last more than five years, even with all I read. I started last July and could not be happier. And my diary is so cute!

 

Did you have a good book week?

Photo Friday

If you are only planning on going to the Grand Canyon once in your life I would not recommend 2018 be the year to do it. There is a lot of road construction going on. A LOT. This led to crazy crowded buses.  Like so crowded you couldn’t even get on.  We did a lot of walking which we were okay with.  There have also been water issues off and on since last fall. Apparently pipes keep breaking and the park is in various levels of conservation mode at any given time. When we first got there it was dry camping only but when we left a few days later water was restored. Consider yourself warned.

During all my picture taking I found the word “chiaroscuro” bouncing around my head.  I was hoping to get some shots of cloud shadows in the Canyon but it wasn’t meant to be. Still,  I took ~150 photos but don’t worry I am only putting a few in this post.

It was rather hazy most of the time we were there.

The Colorado River.

Every time I see the canyon walls I wish I could knit a sweater capturing the layered shades of red, cream and green. I think it would be cool if they sold yarn in these colors at the GC.

Keep Your Focus!

The Week in Review 3/28/18

Something that made me happy:  I stopped buying cut flowers because it seemed an extravagant waste of money.  But at Trader Joe’s I couldn’t resist this little $4 bundle of joy (photo is above).  I made three small vases out of these Chamomile beauties that smell wonderful.  One vase for the kitchen, one for my office and one for my bedroom.  Because you know, I am worth it, at least once in awhile.

Something making me sad: I am not enjoying walking the dog these days, but don’t tell him!  He is part beagle and getting older and he sniffs everything.  It used to be I could just slow down or pause but now it is full stop. And wait and sometimes another ‘and wait’.  I don’t think his sniffer is as sensitive as it used to be.  He doesn’t want to walk as far either and the nearby neighborhoods are getting pretty boring.  So what used to be a pleasure is now a chore (that I can’t imagine not doing!) and that makes me sad.

Something weird:  Remember the word “chiaroscuro”?  A word I don’t think I had ever seen before I read “A Trick of the Light”?  Guess what word was in the very next book I read?  Yup, chiaroscuro was used in “Little Girl Gone”  by Gerry Schmitt.  Crazy right?

What I have been watching: “The Spring Baking Championship”.  I “may” have binge watched an entire season in three nights.

At a crossroads:  By beloved 2001 Saab needs some major work.  Like a week in the shop and two grand type of work.  My first thought was no problem.  But then I started to wonder.  Yes I love my car but I also love reliable transportation.  With a car this old I am wondering what could go bad next and how soon.  I decided I should look around and see if there is another car I could love just as much.  The problems are 1) I love a car that looks a little different from all the rest and not some ultra popular type that I will have trouble finding amongst 20 similar cars in a parking lot. 2) I have owned this car for 15 years and I am really attached.

At red lights I find myself checking out the cars around me. One day soon  I am just going to have to bite the bullet and go to some dealerships and look around.  I hate all the high pressure salesmen but looking on-line doesn’t cut it.  The only car I have noticed driving around that intrigued me is a Honda Crosstour but they stopped making them in 2016 (and the Tesla, just a little out of my budget!).

No matter what I suspect this is going to be a stressful situation.

My first baby!  This car predates spouse, dog and child.  Yes I took this photo but I think it does rather look like a car ad.

Something I am glad is over:  I finished our taxes and e-filed. I refuse to think about them again for another year.

How was your week?