.

.

December 26, 2012

The End


Good friends and good books --
Things we want to hang on to forever.

After nearly seven years of blogging, I have decided the time has come to say goodbye. At least from this vantage point. I can't begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed sharing my passion for reading, cooking, gardening, music and traveling with all of you on these pages, but I've grown weary of the process. Instead, I look forward to reading for the pure pleasure of escaping into a book without the intrusive thoughts of which passages to mark or which scenes to describe in my review. I look forward to enjoying a beautiful sunset or a delicious meal without feeling the urge to grab my camera in order to document the event for a blog entry. And, I look forward to curling up with a book during the hours I'd normally devote to composing and publishing my posts.

And yet, I can't just simply walk away from this wonderful world of blogging. You, my dear friends, have become so important to me during these past few years. You've cheered me on in the good times and held my hand (albeit, virtually) and offered words of comfort during some very difficult days. I am blessed to have come to know so many incredibly loving people and I thank you for your friendship and the kindness you've bestowed upon me. But as I said, this is only goodbye from this side of the screen. I still plan to visit your blogs and look forward to keeping in touch via email and Goodreads. I may be ready to free up several hours a week, but I'm not ready to go cold turkey and completely unplug! ;)

I think Kay summed it up quite nicely when she decided to stop blogging:
Be well. Be happy. Read a lot or not a lot if you don't want to. Mostly, my wish for each of you is that you live and glory in the present and in the richness of the time we have here on this earth. Life is short. Tell someone you love them every day.

And so, I'll see you around the Blogosphere.

Be well.

With love,

Les


December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!


Wishing you and your loved ones
a very Merry Christmas!

Last Minute Shopping

Still looking for that perfect book to give this holiday season? Take a listen to this wonderful program on NHPR. I plan to refer back to the show in the coming year.



December 20, 2012

2012 Year End Survey



1. Ten favorite books read in 2012?

2. Most disappointing book?

3. Most surprising books of 2012?

4. Book(s) you recommended to people most in 2012?

5. Favorite authors you discovered in 2012? 
  • Gillian Flynn
  • Mo Hayder
  • Justin Cronin
  • Jenny Wingfield

6. Most thrilling book in 2012?

7. Book you most anticipated in 2012?
  • Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
  • Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsovler

8. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

9. Most memorable characters in 2012?

10. Most beautifully written books read in 2012?

11. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

12. Book you can't believe you waited until 2012 to finally read?

13. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2012?
A good marriage drags a long tail of memory behind it. A single word or gesture, a tone of voice can conjure up so many remembrances. Laurie and I had been flirting like this for thirty-odd years, since the day we met in college and we both went a little love-crazy. Things were different now, of course. At fifty-one, love was a quieter experience. We drifted through the days together. But we both remembered how it all started, and even now, in the middle of my middle age, when I think of that shining young girl, I still feel a little thrill of first love, still there, still burning like a pilot light. (Defending Jacob by William Landy)

14. Authors which you would like to read more of in 2013? 
  • Gillian Flynn
  • Mo Hayder
  • Donna Leon
  • Justin Cronin

15. Books that had a shocking ending?

16. Best children's book read in 2012?
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

17. Any challenges you completed in 2012?

18. Any read-alongs you completed in 2012?

19. Blogging plans for 2013?
  • To be announced...

December 16, 2012

The Prophet


The Prophet by Michael Koryta
Fiction
2012 Hachette Audio
Length: 11 hours and 49 minutes
Reader: Robert Petkoff
Finished on 11/12/12
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)



Publisher’s Blurb:

Two brothers in a small Midwestern town: one the high school’s beloved football coach on the verge of a state championship, one scraping by as a bail bondsman. Their sister was abducted and murdered when they were teenagers, and they’ve been divided since that day. Now a new killing with ties to both of them has forced a painful and adversarial reunion.

Michael Koryta, widely hailed as one of the best young thriller writers at work today, has written his first masterpiece—an emotionally harrowing, unstoppably suspenseful novel that shows why Dean Koontz has said, “He’s now on my must-read list.”

I don’t think I’d ever heard of Michael Koryta until one day when I glanced through an ARC of his latest book, The Prophet. I decided to give it a try, after reading the following from the cover of that ARC:

What do the #1 bestselling writers Lee Child, Stephen King, James Patterson, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Scott Smith, Ridley Pearson and Dean Koontz have in common?

They all love Michael Koryta.

Now read his greatest thriller ever, The Prophet.

I’ve gotten so I really enjoy listening to mysteries and thrillers, so when the audio version came up in my library queue, I decided to skip the ARC and give the audio a try. In spite of the unremarkable reader (Robert Petkoff), the narrative held my interest, especially during the football scenes. I’ve become quite a fan of college football (Go Big Red!), so I had no trouble picturing the plays as described by Koryta. Unfortunately, it’s been a month since I finished the book and the details of the actual mystery have already faded. I wrote in my journal that The Prophet is a bit reminiscent of Defending Jacob, but today I have to idea why I thought this!

December 14, 2012

Wordless Friday



Newtown, Connecticut
December 14, 2012

December 10, 2012

29 Years Ago...

I fell in love.



Happy Birthday to my lovely daughter.


December 9, 2012

The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
Fiction
2009 Penguin Group Audio
Reader: Simon Vance
Length: 14 CDs, 18 hours
Finished: 11/2/12
Rating: 3/5 (So-so)
R.I.P. VII Challenge




From the author's website:

In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its owners – mother, son and daughter – are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own.

But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.

Prepare yourself. From this wonderful writer who continues to astonish us, now comes a chilling ghost story.


I chose The Little Stranger as my second selection for this year’s RIP VII Challenge (hosted by Carl). I’ve read one other book by Waters (The Night Watch) and was anxious to give her latest novel a read. After hearing such good things about Simon Vance, I decided to go with the audio book rather than the paperback. Vance lived up to all the praise I’d been hearing and is now one of my favorite readers (next to Jim Dale).* His performance was outstanding! Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same about the novel. I was expecting a much scarier tale, something more in tune with Stephen King or Dean Koontz. The Little Stranger is a psychological thriller, and one that kept me guessing clear to the very end. And yet, in spite of listening to the entire book, I found it somewhat anticlimactic. Hundreds Hall is a creepy house with strange, unexplainable occurrences affecting the lives (literally) of those who come in contact with it, but it wasn’t nearly as disturbing as the house in Anne Rivers Siddon’s novel, The House Next Door or Stephen King’s The Shining. I’m not sorry I read it, but I did have my hopes set higher for a stellar read.


Final Thoughts: I enjoyed the audio book well enough to finish, but it’s not one I feel compelled to rush out and buy in print. The Little Stranger should appeal to fans of The Thirteenth Tale (Setterfield) and Don’t Look Now (du Maurier).

*While searching for more books narrated by Simon Vance, I discovered that I’ve already listened to him. Twice! I’d completely forgotten that he was the reader for the Steig Larsson trilogy. I’m looking forward to listening to more and am open to recommendations. I see he narrates A Tale of Two Cities, which was one of my favorite books when I was in high school. I may just have to give that a re-read!




December 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday




Crape Myrtle Allee
Chihuly at the Arboretum
Dallas, TX

Click on the photos to view with a black background.


For more Wordless Wednesday photos,
 go here.

December 2, 2012

Anna Karenina





Loved it! Great cast, costumes, sets and musical score. I'm so glad I saw it on the big screen!

December 1, 2012

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus


The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel About Marriage, Motherhood and Mayhem by Sonya Sones
Fiction
2011 HarperCollins
Finished on 10/15/12
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)




Publisher’s Blurb: 

My name is Holly.
This story is about me—
a writer who’s way behind
on her deadline.

But, honestly,
how can I concentrate on my work
when my fiftieth birthday’s
rushing at me like a freight train,

my hormones are making me feel
like a Szechuan flambé,
and my eighty-year-old mother’s
biting her nurses?

Not to mention the fact that my daughter’s
just begun applying to colleges
(none of which are within
a thousand-mile radius of home),

and lately my husband’s been
such an irritating, finger-pointing stinker
that I’ve found myself dreaming of ways
to spend his insurance money…

My name is Holly.
This book
tells my story—
a coming-of-middle-age story.


I’ve been blogging for close to 7 years and every so often I get the urge to pack it in and call it a day. This tends to happen when I fall behind with my reviews and the feeling intensifies during the holidays, when my job (which I love) zaps all my energy and leaves me with zero motivation to do much of anything, even on the weekends. It’s during moments like those that I think I should quit blogging, quit Facebook, quit Pinterest (ack, what a time suck!), quit all my book-related subscriptions and return to life as it was before I discovered this community of book lovers. But then I come upon a beautifully written review echoing my thoughts, or a tantalizing recipe, or a recommendation for a book that I may never have discovered on my own, and I realize that this new life is exactly where I want to be. I just need to remember to remain true to myself and not let that inner voice nag at me to get those reviews written. I’m not getting paid to do this, and thus, there are no commitments or deadlines to review all of the books I’ve read. So I keep going and continue to read my favorite blogs. And it’s there that I find a gem in the rough such as The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus. I am exposed to dozens upon dozens of new books each week at work and it can be overwhelming, to say the least. So when I read a review such as the one Nancy wrote (followed with other wonderful and intriguing reviews by Staci and Kathy), I take note and make it a point to give the book a try.

I honestly can’t remember if Nancy sent me a copy of Sones’ novel, or if I finally broke down and bought one myself, but it wound up on a shelf in my office where it remained for several months. When I decided to participate in Dewey’s Read-a-Thon this past October, I remembered I had a copy of this book and knew it was a perfect choice, as it’s a novel in verse. This was the absolute perfect book to read as the evening wound down. The pages flew and before I knew it, I’d finished 250 pages in just under an hour and a half. I could have easily finished the entire book that night, but I finally had to quit. I was reading in bed and it was almost impossible to stifle my laughter; I kept worrying that I was going to awaken my husband with my constant snickering. I have over a dozen passages marked with sticky notes, many of which involve marriage and motherhood, but I thought the following would resonate with pretty much everyone. I honestly believe I’ve had this conversation with AA:

Trying to Reserve the Flight That Will Take Samantha to College


Automated Voice:
Thanks for calling
the American Airlines Advantage desk.
Para Español, diga “Español.”


Me:


Automated Voice:
What’s your Advantage number?


Me:
XDD5376.


Automated Voice:
That’s FBB5376. Right?
Me:
Wrong.


Automated Voice:
I’m sorry.
Please say your Advantage number again.

Me:
X.D.D.5.3.7.6.

Automated Voice:
That’s FVV4367. Right?

Me:
No. You are not right.
You are not even slightly right.

Automated Voice:
My apologies. I didn’t get that.
Please say your Advantage number again.

Me:
XDD5376!

Automated Voice:
That’s STD5376? Right?

Me:
You have got to be kidding me…

Automated Voice:
I’m sorry. I seem to be having
some trouble understanding you.
Please say your Advantage number again.

Me:
Just let me speak to an agent!

Automated Voice:
Do you want to talk to an agent
about travel within the United States,
Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Me:
Agent!

Automated Voice:
I understand you’d like to speak to someone.
Let’s find out what you need first
and then I’ll get you to the right place.

Me:
Agent! Agent!

Automated Voice:
Okay. Do you want to speak to an agent
about travel within the United States,
Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Me:
Agent! Agent! AGENT!

Automated Voice:
I’m sorry. I didn’t get that.

Me:
Of course you didn’t get that.
You’re a machine, for chrissake.
You can’t “get” things.
You have no ears.
 And in case you haven’t noticed—
you have no heart.
So quit telling me how sorry you feel.
You can’t feel sorry.
You can’t feel anything.
Because you are nothing but
A GODDAMN STINKING
SHITTY HEAP OF HIDEOUSLY
INFURIATING DIGITAL SOUND!

Automated Voice:
I’m sorry. I didn’t get that.


See what my blogmates have to say about The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus:
Highly recommended. A roller coaster emotional ride that's so fresh and unique and funny that you'll probably shove it into the hands of your friends, like I did -- especially if you're nearing 50 and can relate. I laughed, I cried, I passed my copy around. When my friend Lisa handed the book back to me, she said, "I loved this book! And, I'm only 45!" The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus is great fun. I think anyone can enjoy and appreciate it, except perhaps teenagers or maybe a few young, upwardly mobile folks who refuse to think so far ahead, but those who like to read anything will likely still love it because it's a good story. The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus is definitely a new favorite of mine, a 5/5. (Nancy, of Bookfoolery and Babble)
Recommend? Absolutely...especially for those 40+! So many things that Sonya Sones writes about will hit home with you. Being a child, teen, falling in love for the first time, having children, empty nest, losing the spark within your marriage, divorce, finding love again, infidelity, aging parents, sagging body parts (very true!) and just about getting older.....read this book and I guarantee that you will find yourself laughing one minute, sighing the next, and maybe shedding a few tears! Rating: 10/10 (Staci, of Life in the Thumb)
When I first starting reading reviews of The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus, by Sonya Sones, I figured it wasn’t for me. After all, I thought the title was rather silly and the novel is written in verse, and I don’t “do” poetry. Thank heavens my friend Julie urged me to give it a try, because I absolutely adored this book! I suspect it’s somewhat autobiographical but, I felt like Sones was peeking at my life and writing about it. I laughed and cried as I read this touching and heartfelt book. I started to mark passages as I read it and found that I was marking everything, so I gave up. The sentiments in this book are gorgeous and emotional and I found I could relate to so much of it. (Kathy, of BermudaOnion’s Weblog)

Be sure to click on the links to read Nancy, Staci and Kathy’s complete reviews. A portion of Staci’s is even written in verse!

Final Thoughts: Sones had me laughing out loud one minute and crying the next (not to mention longing for a sequel). This novel will appeal to women of all ages, especially those who are married with children. Highly recommend!

November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday





Chihuly 
at the Arboretum
 (Dallas, TX)


For more Wordless Wednesday photos,
 go here.

November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


I awoke
this morning
with devout
thanksgiving for
my friends, the
old and the new.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am so thankful for all of you. Whether you're a longtime visitor (coming up on seven years!) or new to this little blog of mine, I am very grateful for your friendship, love and support. I wish you a lovely day with your family and friends.

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest-home;
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
Henry Alford
"Come, Ye Thankful People, Come," 1844

November 18, 2012

The Passage




The Passage by Justin Cronin
Fiction
2010 Random House Audio
Length: 36 hours and 52 minutes
Readers: Scott Brick, Adenrele Ojo, Abby Craden
Finished: 10/14/12
Rating: 4.75/5 (Terrific!)
R.I.P. VII Challenge






"Imagine Michael Crichton crossbreeding Stephen King's The Stand and Salem's Lot in that lab at Jurassic Park, with rich infusions of Robert McCammon's Swan Song, Battlestar Galactica and even Cormac McCarthy's The Road." The Washington Post

Publisher’s Description: 

“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear — of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey — spanning miles and decades — toward the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.

I’ve had a copy of The Passage ever since it was first released back in 2010, but it wasn’t until I decided to participate in Carl’s R.I.P. VII Challenge that I finally took it down from the shelf. Actually, I downloaded the audio version (all 36 hours and 52 minutes!) from my library, but occasionally flipped through the book for clarification of a specific passage. I was reading another large book (The Thorn Birds) at the time, so the audio turned out to be the perfect way to manage this tome. And, I think The Washington Post nailed it when describing the book as a mash-up of The Stand, Swan Song, Battlestar Galactica and The Road. With the exception of BG, I found myself comparing the story to these outstanding post-apocalyptic tales, all of which I loved, by the way.

In spite of the audio format, I still took over a month to complete this read, partly due to the fact that it’s just so very long, but also because I found myself repeating tracks for clarification or to remind myself of a certain group of characters. As with The Stand, there is a large cast of characters, as well as a shift in locations and plot threads. Scott Brick does an excellent job with the narration, performing each chapter with perfect pacing, and the sense of urgency and raw emotion the book demands. I was quickly drawn into the story and in spite of the length, found myself wishing it were longer. Thankfully, it turns out to be the first in a trilogy, so I can look forward to enjoying more of this saga.

Final Thoughts: What begins as a terrifying story filled with vampire-like creatures (one which might have caused a nightmare or two), turns out to be an exceptionally imaginative (and highly addictive) post-apocalyptic tale of both love and survival. I have the ARC of The Twelve in my stacks, as well as the audio version on my Nano, but it will be a few months before I return to Amy Harper Bellafonte’s story. The holiday season is upon us and my concentration level requires something a bit more uplifting and light-hearted.


Every so often a novel-reader's novel comes along; an enthralling, entertaining story wedded to simple, supple prose, both informed by tremendous imagination. Summer is the perfect time for such books, and this year readers can enjoy the gift of Justin Cronin's The Passage. Read fifteen pages and you'll find yourself captivated; read thirty and you will find yourself taken prisoner and reading late into the night. It has the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve. What else can I say? This: Read this book and the ordinary world disappears. ~ Stephen King

November 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday






For more Wordless Wednesday photos,
 go here.


Edit: Now why in the world did I think today was Wednesday??

November 6, 2012

Song du Jour




 
Happy 24th Anniversary to my best friend. Love ya, Rod!

November 5, 2012

The Devoted



The Devoted by Jonathan Hull
Fiction
2012 Dancing Muse Press
Finished 10/13/12
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)




" ... a compelling, complicated and true-to-life novel that becomes something of a cross between old world romance and World War II historical.

This book has some rare and beautiful gems ... detailing (sometimes poetically) the nitty-gritty aspects of war along with subtle nuances of love.

This ... grand story is full of tragedy and passion, political upheaval and death, and moral conundrums ... less a true war story and more a unique family drama -- made more charming by the vagaries and power of love and relationships, and bonds that make life worth living." (Bookreporter.com)

Publisher’s Blurb:

From wartime Italy to the American West, Jonathan Hull takes readers on a heartrending passage through the lives of three families torn by history and bound by an unshakeable—and at times forbidden—devotion.

Ryan Brooks never forgot the powerful hands that pulled him from the wreckage of his parents’ station wagon that summer in 1960 when he was ten and his childhood came to a fiery end during a family vacation. Thirty years later, Ryan returns to Wyoming to thank the dying rancher for saving the life he is still trying to be worthy of. The chilling sight of Mike O’Donnell’s deeply scarred hands is just the beginning of Ryan’s journey as he soon finds himself caught between the rancher’s captivating—and married—daughter, Shannon, and his mysterious Italian wife, Alessandra.

When Mike’s deathbed confession sets Ryan on a search for the truth of what really happened the day his parents died, he unearths a long-buried secret that leads to a mountain cave in Northern Italy and Alessandra’s dangerous love affair with a haunted young German soldier. As past and present collide in an intricately woven story of love and redemption across generations and continents, Ryan discovers that the answers he seeks are inscribed deep in the heart of those whose lives—and courage—he must measure against his own.


Reading slumps. We’ve all been there, struggling to find the next great book to pull us out of our misery. We blog about our unfortunate situation, pleading for suggestions to rid us of the mediocrity of our recent choices. We commiserate with those in similar funks, offering suggestions to break free from the endless cycle of dull, boring books. But how often do we blog when we’re on a roll? When we read book after book that exceeds our hopes, satisfies our longings, and hits our Top Ten lists? Not very often, I’d guess.

Well, I’m on a roll and I owe it to Dewey’s Read-a-Thon and Jonathan Hull. I began Mr. Hull’s recent novel, The Devoted, a few days before the Read-a-Thon began and wound up spending the majority of the day of the challenge curled up in my husband’s comfy leather chair, drifting back and forth between a ranch in Wyoming and a mountain community in Northern Italy. I could not stop reading, nor did I want to. I fell under the author’s spell, sharing his characters’ sorrow and heartaches, just as I did many years ago when I first discovered another wonderful book entitled Losing Julia.

Losing Julia is one of my all-time favorite novels and Jonathan Hull’s first novel. I first discovered the book in 2000 and was mesmerized by the beautiful prose, interwoven plotlines and heartbreaking love story. It is one of the loveliest wartime novels I have ever read, right up there with The Book Thief. Yes, I know. "Lovely" and "wartime" hardly belong on the same page, let alone the same sentence, but Hull (and Zusak) has such a way with words. Here are a couple of my favorites from Losing Julia:
Last night I dreamed that I met a young boy who told me with the saddest eyes that he was never born and I asked how could that be and explained very slowly and quietly that his father had died at the front. And then I looked behind the boy and I saw hundreds of thousands of children, just standing there. Infinitely mute.

And
It is said that life is too short and that’s quite true, unless you are lonely. Loneliness can bring time to its knees; an absolute and utter standstill.

I’ve always judged places and times by how lonely they felt. The entire Midwest, for example, strikes me as horrifically lonely, Indiana more so than Wisconsin and Wisconsin more so than Ohio or Illinois. Coasts are dependably less lonely than inland areas while the warmer latitudes are noticeably less lonely than the colder ones. Hardware stores feel lonely while bookstores do not. Mornings are lonelier than afternoons, while the hours before dawn can be devastating. Vienna is lonelier than Paris or London, while Los Angeles is lonelier than San Francisco or Boston. The Atlantic Ocean is lonelier than the Pacific while the Caribbean is not lonely at all.

And then there are nursing homes.

I was thrilled to receive a copy of The Devoted from the author and am happy to report that it is just as wonderful as Losing Julia. I marked a few passages, but even taken out of context they reveal too much, so I’ll let you discover them on your own.

Final Thoughts: I reread Losing Julia with my book club back in 2001 and it was just as wonderful as the first time around. The Devoted does not disappoint and I look forward to revisiting this new story in the coming years. The Devoted (and Losing Julia) will appeal to fans of Markus Zusak, Kent Haruf, Leif Enger and Mark Spragg.

About the Author:

A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Hull spent ten years as a correspondent at TIME, including three as the Jerusalem Bureau Chief. His reporting has ranged from the Gulf War and the Palestinian uprising to presidential politics and the troubled underside of American society. A cover story he wrote on youth violence won the Society of Professional Journalists’ prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for magazine. The best-selling author of Losing Julia and The Distance from Normandy, lives in Sausalito, California.

November 4, 2012

Cookbook Addiction

Seriously. Do I really need another cookbook? I may not have nearly as many as some of you, but I'm sure my husband would say that I have plenty. In fact, I have several that I just had to buy last year, but from which I have yet to sample a single recipe. One of the hazards of working in a bookstore is handling all the beautiful new cookbooks that arrive every holiday season. There are so many that I'd love to own; here's just a small sample!






How about you? Are there any cookbooks on your wishlist this Christmas? Or, better yet, any that you'd suggest I add to my list? ;)

And if you're as curious as I am, I just counted my cookbooks. I own 53, which I'm sure pales in comparison to some of your collections. Guess I'd better add a few more to mine, don't you think?



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.

November 3, 2012

Khaled Hosseini's Upcoming Release



I just read the following on Bookreporter.com! I'm very excited, as I loved Hosseini's previous novels.

...it was reported that Khaled Hosseini’s new novel, And the Mountains Echoed, will release on May 21st from Riverhead Books. According to Hosseini, "My earlier novels [The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns] were at heart tales of fatherhood and motherhood. My new novel is a multi-generational family story as well, this time revolving around brothers and sisters, and the ways in which they love, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for each other. I am thrilled at the chance to share this book with my readers."
 Yay!!

October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Halloween!


For more Wordless Wednesday photos,
 go here.

October 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesday


Googling a butterfly. It sounded comical, like tickling a catfish, but she knew it wouldn't sound that way to Preston. He would clamber up to the computer at Bear and Hester's and punch the keys, finding what he needed in there. Having children was not like people said. Forget training them in your footsteps; the minute they put down the teething ring and found the Internet, you were useless as a source of anything but shoes and a winter coat. But Preston still asked her questions. That touched her, that they were a team. Here in the looming forest he gripped her hand tightly, as if crossing a street, as they approached the trees where the butterflies hung in their droves. Wings littered the ground. "Look up," she said, pointing at the brown clusters drooping from the branches. These trees were completely filled now. Even the tree trunks wore butterfly pelts, all the way up, like the bristling hairy legs of giants. It was a whole butterfly forest, magically draped with dark, pendulous clusters masquerading as witchy tresses or dead foliage. She only knew what they really were because her eyes had learned the secret. Preston's had not. It all waited for him, perfectly still and alive. She watched his dark pupils dart up and around, puzzling this out, looking without yet seeing. Mine, ours, her heartbeat thumped, making promises from the inside. This was better than Christmas. She couldn't wait to give him his present: sight.



I started this book last week and haven't been able to put it down. It's wonderful! I'm trying not to read too quickly, though, as I want it to last. Such a dilemma!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

October 27, 2012

Saturday Snapshot

The cold weather has arrived! Our overnight temps dipped down to the mid-twenties and there was frost on the rooftops and cars. However, my geraniums are still holding on!





This is my first Saturday Snapshot post. For more information, visit Alyce of At Home With Books.