Here’s a little something I bet you did not know about us. We love some good food. In fact, we are a little obsessed. Come into the offices or walk up to our service desks anytime and if you should happen upon 2 of us chances are pretty good that you will hear us discussing what we had for dinner, or what we are going to have for dinner. Monday conversations are devoted to not only what we read/watched, but also what we ate/prepared over the weekend. We are about food the way some workplaces are about the weekend’s big game or the TV show everyone is currently obsessed over. Good recipes are meant to be shared, and then tweaked and shared again. In fact, a former coworker once said that it should be an employment requirement; the ability to cook something delicious and then share the recipe (Alison H. I am looking at you!). Did you really think it was a coincidence that Erin always features a glorious, gorgeous new cookbook for her Fall Meet the Author series? A bunch us are sharing CSA shares and having the best time getting the e-mail on Tuesday from Erin clueing us into what we have to look forward to. The cool news here? You can join in! On our Tumblr feed we have been featuring what we have been cooking and enjoying complete with pictures. Yes, the Traveling Companion is being made to ‘sing for his supper’ by photographing my CSA dinners. I feel it’s a small price to pay. I think he does too. This week we have Arson, Grand Central, a brutal murder (is there any other kind?), Vicodin, professional sabotage, and some Iowa. The Playlist? As they say in the Mid-West “You betcha!”
Let us begin!
Sweet Ann has just finished The Arsonist by Sue Miller. “Frankie Rowley is a woman who has returned to her parent’s summer house in a small town in New Hampshire. She had been living in Africa doing humanitarian care, but decided to leave after a failed romance. Frankie begins a relationship with Bud, the editor of the town’s newspaper, who has left his previous position in DC to start a new life. The characters are well developed and I thought this novel was good in the way it showed how sometimes there is not an easy answer or there can be no answer at all for why things happen."
Abby gives us her take on Terminal City by Linda Fairstein and the series True Detective. “It’s always fun to get my hands on a Linda Fairstein mystery and her latest, Terminal City, again features Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper. Fairstein has created a solid alter-ego in Cooper, an Assistant Manhattan DA who actively assists her team of investigators in solving crimes. Given Fairstein’s background as the former chief of the ground-breaking Sex Crimes Unit of the Manhattan DA’s Office, she offers a light touch while educating readers. The real highlight for me is how each book takes place in a different part of Manhattan and offers lots of great background on a particular landmark so you get a mini history. In Terminal City, you learn about Grand Central Terminal and its history while Alex and her team track a vicious criminal. As for viewing, I just finished watching True Detective. But I am not sure watching is the right word; perhaps absorbing better describes the experience. Produced by HBO, True Detective stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, two actors not generally associated with TV. Spanning 17 years, the story begins as the duo partners up in Louisiana in the State Police Department to solve a particularly brutal murder. Very different men, you trace their involvement in the case and how it impacts their lives. Even where the story fails, the acting is superb all around. This series contains some disturbing stuff, so I’d recommend it for hardcore crime fans only.
The Fabulous Babs B went out of her comfort zone this week and is glad she did withA ll Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner. “Let me confess that I am not a big fan of this author but after reading a review I decided to give this book a shot. Basically, this is the story of a woman's slide into addiction and her struggle to get her life back. Allison Weiss seems to have it all on the outside, a loving husband, cute little 4 year old daughter, big house and a job she loves. Then things start to unravel; her dad's early Alzheimer's is getting worse, her mother can't cope and her husband starts to distance himself. Allison starts popping her Vicodin pills that she keeps in an Altoid tin to get through each day and before she knows it her addiction is out of control. She spends thousands of dollars buying the drugs over the internet once she runs out of doctors who will prescribe. This is an all too real story and I think Weiner did a great job. It's obvious she did a lot of research into addiction, which makes it a timely and poignant story.”
Virginia the Tall Cook Texan checks in with this. “Chocolate, wine, and French fries. There really is nothing more I love than a good guilty pleasure, and in the summertime that means unfiltered fluff reading. This week’s read has everything you want in a summer thriller: glamour, television, backstabbing, frenemies, and killer shoes. Kate White’s new thriller Eyes on You is about a television anchor, Robin Trainer, who gets a second chance on a national show only to have her success jeopardized with sabotage. It begins with small predictable incidents but quickly escalates into a more threatening situation when someone doctors Robin’s television makeup with acid. Hey, as a bonus, she got a free chemical peel. Always look for the silver lining! I wouldn’t describe this as a riveting psychological thriller but it is a fun and fast read and I enjoyed it, especially the glamorous, if unrealistic, setting of the television/media world. (PS: I can totally see the women on The View plotting sabotage behind each other’s backs. Especially when that Elizabeth Hasselback was on the show, she seemed shifty and didn’t make it through Survivor for nothing.)”
I started the new Jane Smiley Some Luck this week that will be coming out October 7th. And I cannot tell you all how much I love this story of an Iowa farming family. I am so obsessed I am reading it on my Kindle for my commute and the minute I get home I grab my physical paper copy, find my spot and start in again immediately. Beginning in 1920, with each chapter representing a year, we learn about the lives of Roseanna and Walter Langdon and their children. Just as in real life, some years are quiet and filled with quiet joys, while some years are turbulent and tragic. I really think that this is Smiley’s masterpiece, even more so than her Pulitzer win for A Thousand Acres. I have ordered plenty so please place your holds now.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is in da house as always and here are her musings from The State Which Shall Not Be Named. Hit it Patty! “Summer has challenged fall as my favorite season due to the bounty of glorious food that is available. It’s no secret that I am a fan of CSA’s and farmer’s markets. Every week, jute bag slung over my shoulder, I walk down to the farmer’s market filled with anticipation of what I will discover. My meal plans are based on what is fresh and in season and it’s a fact that chefs and foodies prefer this type of seasonal shopping and meal preparation. But the prerequisite of this is the ability to be flexible and creative. There’s a book I’ve purchased to support my food obsession that I will be digging into soon. Saving the Season by Kevin West is my new canning, pickling and preserving bible. There’s certain to be a serious blueberry canning jam session in the house soon. Seriously, blueberries are in season. Go get some. This week I have to mention a late great Broadway dame who recently moved back to my new hometown of Birmingham, Michigan. It was my hope to bump into Elaine Stritch here in town so that we could swap New York/Connecticut back to Michigan stories. I am certain her stories would trump mine in pure entertainment value. In my mind, we would share our stories over lunch. After all, aren’t we the ladies who lunch? This week’s playlist is a seasonal sampling of new fantastic music with one exception, but I’ll let you figure that out for yourself. Enjoy the season. It’s a great one."