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March 29, 2020

In Five Years



In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
Fiction
2020 Simon & Schuster Audio
Read by Megan Hilty
Finished on March 24, 2020
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.

I started listening to In Five Years a couple of days after I finished Oona Out of Order. As soon as Dannie awakens five years into the future, my first thought was, "Really? Another time travel story?" I wasn't sure I was interested in reading another book with such similar themes, but continued listening and was pleased that Searles' novel wasn't another time travel story. I was quickly drawn in and would have finished much more quickly, had the world not been turned upside down by the global pandemic. I found myself spending more time on the computer and not a lot of time listening to my audiobook. I eventually made more time to listen (in order to drown out the constant worry buzzing in my brain) and, for the most part, wound up enjoying the book. It's a bit light and fluffy (and not quite as thought-provoking as Oona Out of Order), so if you're looking for an escape from the constant barrage of headline news and tweets, In Five Years may be just the ticket.

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook. All opinions are my own.

March 28, 2020

This Tender Land



This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
Fiction
2019 Atria Books
Finished on March 21, 2020
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

From the author of Ordinary Grace, a magnificent novel about four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the early years of the Great Depression--a book that shines new light on a pivotal time in American history.

In 1932 Minnesota, the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O'Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent's wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an enthralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.

I've read and enjoyed a couple of books by William Kent Krueger (Ordinary Grace and Iron Lake), so I was thrilled to receive an ARC of his second stand-alone novel, This Tender Land. With other books calling for my attention, I let both my mom and my husband read it first, since they both loved Ordinary Grace. They both gave this new release high praise, so even before reading it, I added it to my list for this year's book group nominations. Not surprisingly, it won and was selected for our March read. Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were forced to cancel our meeting. 

I loved the lyrical prose of Ordinary Grace and went into this new book with high hopes, especially since everyone I know who has read it has loved it. It took me a long time to get interested in the story and once I did, it still didn't call to me the way Ordinary Grace did. I thought it was a good tale, but I didn't mark any favorite passages and I was eager to finish and move on to something else. Whether a case of too much hype or the distraction of the Coronavirus, I'm sorry to say that it missed its mark with this reader. Looking at all the five-star reviews on Goodreads, I am obviously in the minority, but thankfully, I have 16 more Cork O'Connor mysteries (Krueger's popular series) to look forward to.

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook. All opinions are my own.

March 27, 2020

Looking Back - Until the Real Thing Comes Along

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.




Until the Real Thing Comes Along by Elizabeth Berg
Fiction
1999 Random House
Read in July 1999
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Patty Murphy is facing that pivotal point in a woman's life when her biological clock ticks as insistently as a beating heart. Will she find Mr. Right and start a family? But Patty is in love--with a man who is not only attractive and financially sound, but sensitive and warmhearted. There's just one small problem: He is also gay.

Against her better judgment, and pleas from family and friends, Patty refuses to give up on Ethan. Every man she dates ultimately leaves her aching for the gentle comfort and intimacy she shares with him. But even as she throws eligible bachelors to the wayside to spend yet another platonic night with Ethan, Patty longs more and more for the consolation of loving and being loved. In the meantime she must content herself with waiting--until the real thing comes along. . . .

My Original Thoughts (1999):

Another gem by Berg! I read it in two evenings, which is rare for me these days. Simplistic and predictable, but still enjoyable. A "fluff" beach read. I'll be anxiously awaiting her next book. 

My Current Thoughts:

I no longer have a copy of this one, which is fine since it doesn't really appeal to me for a re-read at this point in my life.

March 26, 2020

Favorite Audiobooks - Non-Fiction



Last week I provided you with a list of my favorite novels on audio. Today, I'm sharing another list comprised of my favorite nonfiction audiobooks.

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky

Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan

The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--A Love Story by Ree Drummond

The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks by Annie Spence

The End of Your Life Bookclub by Will Schwalbe

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner

I thought you might also enjoy reading about my joy of audiobooks. Five years ago, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Bookreporter.com about my love for audiobooks. Here are my responses:

A Conversation with Lesley Scher

Lesley Scher, a bookseller for a major brick-and-mortar retailer, is lucky enough to have her dream job. She loves sharing her favorite books with customers, family and friends...and ever since she got hooked on audiobooks, that list has grown! True to form, Lesley shares some pretty stellar books here, guaranteed to amp up your listening. She also describes the strange way time seems to speed up when you’re listening to a good audiobook, and why sometimes it’s better to listen alone.

Question: How long have you been listening to audiobooks?

Lesley Scher: I’ve been listening for about 15 years, starting in 2000.

Q: What made you start listening?

LS: A friend recommended that I listen to the Harry Potter series, so when a trip to San Antonio from Fort Worth came up, I decided to give the audiobook a try. It helped to pass the time, and I fell in love with Jim Dale’s voice, eager to listen at every opportunity. I was hooked!

Q: When and where do you listen?

LS: I work for a major bookstore and start my shift two hours before the store opens. Setting up displays and shelving books require very little concentration, plus it’s quiet and there aren’t any interruptions, so it’s an ideal time to listen to books. I also listen in my car, in spite of my short (15-minute) commute. When the weather’s nice, I make a point to get out on the bike trail and go for a long walk. I can generally get in a full hour of listening while getting some fresh air and exercise. I also try to work in some listening time while doing various chores around the house. Flying is another great time to listen to audiobooks. I love the distraction while waiting to take off, and I can easily get so caught up in a narration that I find the time goes by much more quickly than if I’m trying to read a print edition.

Q: What kinds of books do you like to listen to best?

LS: I enjoy listening to fiction, mysteries, classics and some nonfiction (mainly memoirs).

Q: What do you use to listen to audiobooks?

LS: I use an iPod Nano. I now use my phone with wireless headphones.



Q: Are the books that you listen to different from the kinds of print and eBooks you read?

LS: No, not really, although I tend to listen to books that are fairly long. I also like to listen to books that I’ve already read. There are never enough hours in the day to reread all my favorites, so this works out well.

Q: Where do you buy/borrow audiobooks from?

LS: I borrow audiobooks from my library and use the Overdrive Media Console. I have switched to Libro.fm

Q: Do you share your audiobooks with anyone?

LS: No.

Q: Do you listen with anyone else, or is it a solo experience?

LS: Years ago, I borrowed a couple of audiobooks (on CD) from the library and took them on a road trip with my husband. We thought it might be fun to listen during the long hours of driving. I think we listened to a track or two (and if my memory is correct, it was probably a Bill Bryson travel essay), but my husband didn’t enjoy the experience as much as I did, so I decided to finish it up on my own when we got home.

Q: What percentage of your reading is done via audiobooks?

LS: My percentage has increased quite a bit over the past few years, as I’m listening to even more now that I can download the books from my library (so much easier than using CDs!). This year it worked out to be a little less than 50 percent. I read a total of 36 books, of which 15 were audio. Last year was pretty similar with a total of 42, 15 of which were audio.

Q: Do you have favorite narrators? If so, tell us about them.

LS: That’s like asking me who is my favorite author or what is my favorite book! I recently listened to THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE and fell in love with Neil Gaiman’s voice. He and Jim Dale (THE NIGHT CIRCUS and the Harry Potter series) are very entertaining. I think I’d be happy to listen to them read the phone book. I also like Barbara Rosenblat (THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG), Catherine Taber (THE HOMECOMING OF SAMUEL LAKE), Simon Vance (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy), Wil Wheaton (READY PLAYER ONE), Lorna Raver (THE AVIATOR’S WIFE and CALLING ME HOME), Bahni Turpin (THE HELP and CALLING ME HOME) and John Lee (Ken Follett’s Kingsbridge series).

Q: What are some of the most memorable books that you’ve listened to and why?

LS: Oh, goodness. There are so many. I loved THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN and THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE, as they gave me great insight as to how my dog might express herself if she could speak. I loved the production of THE HELP, with its amazing cast of readers, just as much as I did the print edition. I also fell in love with the Ken Follett’s saga, WORLD WITHOUT END, read by Richard E. Grant. It is one of those great books that draws you in from the opening lines and never once lets up or lags. Pretty amazing for a 36-disc audio. The richly painted details of life in a medieval village are pretty much embedded in my mind's eye. Another entertaining book was READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline, which I finally listened to at the insistence of several bloggers. I was pleasantly surprised that a book about video games could be so entertaining. Conor Grennan’s LITTLE PRINCES (a memoir about his experience as a volunteer at an orphanage in Nepal) touched me deeply, moving me to both tears and laughter.

There are so many others, but I can’t stop without mentioning a lovely book called THE HOMECOMING OF SAMUEL LAKE. This is Southern fiction at its best. I love Jenny Wingfield’s beautiful prose and her endearing characters. It was such a great book to listen to!

Q: What is the last audiobook you listened to? Tell us about it.

LS: I’m currently listening to J.K. Rowling’s mystery, THE SILKWORM, which was published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. It’s the second book in the Cormoran Strike series and is read by Robert Glenister. I previously enjoyed listening to THE CUCKOO’S CALLING, and this follow-up crime novel is equally entertaining. I love the character development even more than the actual plot.

Q: Is there anything about the format of audiobooks that you don’t like or would like to see changed or improved?

LS: In a perfect world, I’d love to be able to highlight my favorite passages, just as I do in a print edition of a book. I’m sure someday someone will come up with that technology.

Happy listening, friends!

March 25, 2020

Wordless Wednesday

Spring on the Oregon Coast.

Thinking of my friends and family, near and far, wishing everyone peace and comfort during these days of worry and concern. I hope you are all well and that you can get outside and breathe the fresh air.

Much love from, Lesley.








March 24, 2020

Oona Out of Order



Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
Fiction
2020 Macmillan Audio
Read by Brittany Pressley
Finished on March 14, 2020
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

A remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of order.

It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order...

Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.

The quirky, eye-catching cover art of Oona Out of Order grabbed my attention while I was perusing Libro.fm. Knowing nothing about the author's previous novel (Asleep From Day) or the premise of this story, I was still intrigued and decided to give it a try. It turned out to be a wonderful book and Brittany Pressley does a fabulous job with the narration. There were a few surprises here and there and, for the most part, Montimore manages to avoid some of the more overused tropes of time travel narratives. While not entirely lighthearted, this is an inventive and thought-provoking tale. I look forward to reading more by Montimore and while it's early in the year, I have a good feeling that Oona Out of Order will hit my Best of 2020 list. Well done!

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook. All opinions are my own.

March 23, 2020

The Peace of Wild Things



The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~Wendell Berry

March 21, 2020

Mary's Herb Bread


I was a little girl when I first tasted my Great-Aunt Mary Kristofferson's herb bread. If I remember correctly, we had gone to her home for a family Easter brunch. I don't remember who was there, but I do remember she served poached salmon (which, at the time, I did not like!) and this delicious bread (which I devoured!). I've had the recipe for many years, but not being an avid bread baker, have only made it a couple of times. I think my husband is now convinced that in spite of having "plants" in the dough, it's pretty darned good, so it will now be added to my "tried and true" rotation of favorites. 



As far as the origination of the recipe, that's up for debate. My mom has it on a recipe card in her mother's (Mary's sister, Mardie) handwriting, so it may well be Mardie's Herb Bread and not Mary's. I'm sure if I Google "herb bread," I'll discover that it's neither sister's, but that would only spoil the family history, so please don't correct me.

Mary's Herb Bread

3 cups water, lukewarm
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. marjoram
8 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine water, sugar, yeast and salt.
Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add oregano, basil and marjoram.
Gradually add flour.
Knead 8-10 minutes until smooth.
Cover with dishtowel and place in warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled.
Knead lightly for 1 minute.
Divide into three portions. Shape into loaves.
Place in greased and cornmeal-sprinkled bread pans.
Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size.
Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
When cool, slice.
Mix some herb seasonings into soft butter and spread on slices. (Optional)
Ready to heat and serve.
Can be frozen in foil and heated for large party.

My Notes:

I measure out the flour into a separate bowl, so I don't lose track of how many cups I've used. I also add the herbs to the flour mixture before gradually adding it to the yeast mixture.



I use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with a bread hook and don't pay attention to the time it takes to "knead" the dough. I simply add the flour one cup at a time until well mixed.

I transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl that has a little bit of vegetable oil brushed on the surface so the dough won't stick.

I grease the bread pans with a little vegetable oil (as I did for the large mixing bowl), but skipped the cornmeal step.

I removed the finished loaves from the bread pans, brushed the tops with a little bit of butter, and allowed the loaves to cool on baking racks.

I don't bother with an herb flavored butter, but the herbs in the bread are very subtle, so I may increase those amounts next time around.


Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

March 20, 2020

Looking Back - The Bluest Eye

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.




The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Fiction
1994 Penguin Books (first published in 1970)
Read in July 1999
Rating: 1/5 (Disliked)

Publisher's Blurb:

The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author's girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves' garden do not bloom. Pecola's life does change- in painful, devastating ways.

What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child's yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons's most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction.

My Original Notes (1999):

I've decided I really don't care much for Morrison's works. I really liked Beloved, but didn't care for this book. (I couldn't get into Paradise, either.) This was a chore to read.

My Current Thoughts:

Toni Morrison has never been a favorite, but after reading Beloved (which I loved), I thought I'd give this renowned debut a chance. I didn't care for it at all, but wonder if it would make a better impression on me now.

March 17, 2020

Favorite Audiobooks - Fiction


During this ever-changing, surreal period of time with the global pandemic crisis, one thing that brings me comfort is a huge pile of books in which to escape. Pickleball, face-to-face yoga and book club have all been cancelled, so in an effort to stick to some sort of routine I will continue my daily walks, and now that the weather has warmed up, I also plan to get out on my bike. I've always been a big fan of audiobooks, but they now give me with a much needed distraction from the news, podcasts and constant updates on social platforms. My heart goes out to all the small business that are already seeing the effects of this pandemic, so in addition to supporting local restaurants with take-out orders, I am supporting local bookstores through Libro.fm. You can help, too. 
Coronavirus is impacting independent bookstores near and far, but you can make a difference with a Libro.fm membership. When you start a membership with code SHOPBOOKSTORESNOW, you’ll get two audiobooks for the price of one ($14.99), and 100% of your payment will go to your local bookstore.
If you need recommendations, here is a list of my all-time favorite novels on audio (click on title for my review):

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

The Bear by Claire Cameron

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskins

The Circle by David Eggers

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

World Without End by Ken Follett

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

Sleeping with Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

My husband is not a fan of audiobooks and on more than one occasion has remarked that listening to them is not the same as reading the book. Of course it's not exactly the same, but that doesn't mean it's cheating or insignificant in comparison to reading the printed words. Perhaps this article will help him understand that listening is just another technique of reading.

Stay tuned for my upcoming post about my favorite nonfiction audiobooks.

March 14, 2020

California Road Trip 2019 - Lassen Volcanic National Park

Friday & Saturday, October 11-12, 2019
Bangor to Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA
Manzanita Lake Campground
Site #B19
Route: Hwy. 70 to 99 to I-5 to Hwy. 44 (via Deschutes and Dersch Rds.)
Elevation: 5,880
Distance: 148 miles
Duration: 2 nights
Cost: $13/per night (50% senior discount)
Weather: Sunny, but VERY cold at night


The gusty winds of the previous day had all but disappeared, so we had a much easier drive from Bangor (on Hwy. 70 and 99 to I-5) to Lassen Volcanic NP. Taking a trip down memory lane (I lived in Red Bluff from '68 to '72), we decided to get lunch at the old Green Barn restaurant in Red Bluff. It's now called Whiskey Kitchen and the steak sandwich was almost as good as I remember from the late 60s.

The drive to Lassen was fairly easy and we made a brief stop at the Visitor Center (on the north end of the park) before beginning our search for a campsite at Manzanita Lake CG. We drove around all the loops and discovered that many of the sites were either too short or too tight for our RV. We finally settled on one in Loop B (first-come, first-served) and had plenty of space, but not a lot of privacy. Our site was paved, but not very level, so we had to use several leveling blocks on the driver's side. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring and bear box, which were a little distance from the site pad, but not too inconvenient. The campground has a store and gas station, although their gas pumps were out of order due to the power outage in the area. There are also flush toilets, hot showers, drinking water, a dump station and laundromat. A boat ramp and kayak rentals are also available, although I think the season had ended for those rentals. We didn't have any cell service and there isn't any WiFi, but we wanted to relax outside while it was sunny and warm and didn't need to be online.

It was so cold when we woke up on Saturday morning. 35 degrees! After breakfast and lots of hot coffee, I went on a short bike ride to scout out the area for a ride later with Rod. After lunch, we rode to the Visitor Center where we watched an informative video about Lassen before taking a walk over to Reflection Lake. It was a gorgeous day and it felt good to be out in the sunshine.

Click on images for larger view.


Enjoying the sunshine.


Not too crowded, but it filled up later with weekenders.







Beautiful trees!


Manzanita Creek


Reflection Lake






Manzanita Lake






















The views of Lassen Peak during the evening "golden hour" were spectacular. I love the reflections on Manzanita Lake, and as you can see, I took photos from every vantage point on the trail.



The camp store was out of firewood, but we were told that the rangers were allowing campers to forage for their own wood (not usually permitted, but maybe because it was so cold at night and many of the visitors were tent campers it was allowed?), and we managed to find several logs in a few vacated sites, as well as kindling in the park. Not sure what the logs were coated with, but we wound up with a blazing fire!

The nighttime low was supposed to drop back into the 30s, but we didn't want to run the furnace all night (our battery was running low), so we hunkered down under our blankets and added a sleeping bag for extra warmth.

March 13, 2020

Looking Back - Talk Before Sleep

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg
Fiction
1994 Random House
Read in June 1999
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

What do women talk about when they know they don't have forever? They talk about what they have always talked about, only they go deeper and more honest: with outrageous humor they try to mitigate pain. Intimate and uncensored sharing, the kind of connection women prize, is at the heart of this deeply moving novel about the grit and power of female friends.

Ann and Ruth have always talked as only great friends can--honestly, and about everything: husbands and marriages, sex lives and children, their work, their hopes, their disappointments, and their dreams. For Ann, cautious and conventional, her closeness to the outspoken and eccentric Ruth brings about discovery and liberation, a chance to say whatever she wants, and, most important, under the insistent tutelage of Ruth, to become herself. Over the years, the women have shared recipes, quilting patterns, child care, delicate and dangerous secrets. Each rests secure in the knowledge that they will be friends forever. Then something happens that will change their lives forever, and the women begin to share something more profound than either of them might have predicted.

Written with an unerring ear for how women talk, laugh, and cry together, and with a gift for capturing the uniqueness of personality, Talk Before Sleep is sure to find a place in readers' hearts.

My Original Thoughts (1999):

My second reading of this novel. Great story, although it's terribly sad. I love the friendships and the intimacy between women just hanging out together. Something I've enjoyed in the past and long for again. Berg is a marvelous storyteller. I love her books. Two thumbs up for this one.

My Current Thoughts:

I wonder if this novel has stood the test of time. I'm ready for a re-read. And, I am so very thankful for my dear girlfriends. We laugh, we cry, and we hold each other up in times of trouble.