The Year in Books – September 2014

I have been like a chicken with her head cut off in the past two weeks!  Read?  What’s that? Who has time for it besides a page or three before bed?  That is NOT how you read a book per month!  I’ve been making salsas, jams, canning said salsa, jams, painting my dining room…. I’ve been going to bed totally pooped every night and can only manage a page or so… I fear the month of September will bring me more stuff to do… (like fulfill an order for 36 gift baskets, meaning more salsas, jams, etc… NOT that I’m complaining!)

I am still not finished “Bella Tuscany”, though I will be before week’s end – for sure!  It has been such a delight of the senses to read.  The descriptions of the countryside, the art, the food… all must be savoured quietly, comtemplatively, joyously.  I find myself dreaming half-way through each paragraph.  Frances Mayes’ descriptions enforce my NEED to go to Tuscany and feel, smell, live the same things she has (well… minus the troubles she has with her house… and then again, maybe not!)

Such a lovely read.

I will be doing a total about-face with my next read.  I went for dinner with a friend and she gave me an armful of books.  I had a couple on my bookshelves awaiting my attention but I decided to choose one of hers!  Normally, I prefer to read the book before watching the movie and it just so happens I have yet to watch “Philomena” soooo…. This will be my September selection!  I have been wanting to read this story since I heard about the movie.  These types of stories truly inspire me.  I figure if they made the movie, the book can’t be too bad, eh?

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The Year In Books – August 2014

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Back from vacation and trying to get back into a groove (but not yet trying that hard)!  As predicted, I took the time to read whilst on the Jersey Shore.  Now… did I read what I said I’d read? Not exactly!  Yes, I did officially finish As Always, Julia (there were a mere 20 pages left) and it just made me want to start cooking à la Julia but I was camping so I had to improvise!  (Not too many have duck breasts and cedar-plank salmon when camping…)  And, I knew there would be quite a few shows taped of The French Chef  waiting for me when I got home. (Isn’t the Universe grand?  Here I am all in love with Julia Child and Gusto TV decides to air old ’60’s episodes!  So fun to watch these old black and white shows with Julia often out of breath….

O.K… got off track there for a second!  My first official book for July was Jodi Picoult’s Change of Heart. As per usual, Ms. Picoult draws you into a difficult situation, shows you both sides (or more) to the story and makes you think.  As she has done for several of her books, each chapter is one person’s voice (and written in a different font).  This story is about a death-row inmate (first in 69 years) who wishes to donate his heart to his victim’s sister.  It’s told in the voices of June, mother of the victim; Michael, a Catholic priest; Lucius, a fellow inmate and Maggie, his lawyer; all woven together to tell this difficult story.

Death penalty, human rights, religion, organ donation:  these are some serious subjects that can cause heated discussions.  Picoult never preaches when each one is brought forth.  I am amased at the amount of research she puts into each and every book she writes, this one included.  I won’t say more as I would hate to divulge anything inadvertently! Definitely worth the read.

After about an hour to mourn the end of my book, my sister handed me the one she had just finished.  I had not thought to bring a second book so I figured pourquoi pas?  This particular one falls in the category we like to call:  historical smut book!  Which was exactly what I needed after the emotional roller coaster ride I had just been on!  This was a no-brain-required-yet-enjoyable-romp-kind of book called A Rogue By Any Other Name20140731_154209 by Sarah MacLean.  You know how these go: boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy ravishes girl and all ends well… Sometimes that just hits to spot!

It’s just as well I hadn’t brought my second book to the beach:  Every Day in Tuscany – turns out it comes AFTER this month’s selection!  Funny how that works, eh?