Welcome to the Thanksgiving Edition of You Are What You Read. We will be taking next week off to celebrate. Sweet Ann wants us all to be mindful of the small things in our world that make us grateful. Don’t be like the guest at a Thanksgiving I heard about last year. This particular family had a year that was less than stellar and yet as they went around the table everyone came up with at least something to be thankful for. Except for the one person who looked around the table, smirked and said, “Pass.” Who does that? Don’t be that person! As for me, I am going to be playing with my cousins who I would want to be my friends even if we weren’t related. Imagine us all gathered around the deep fat fryer praying this is not the year we end up on You-Tube as “that idiot family who tried to fry their turkey and ended up burning down a suburb.” The TC will be joining us for the first time. He has been warned that we tend to be ‘lively’. Honestly, I think he’s up for it and he will be fine. The SoNo Loft’s message is NSFW so here’s hoping they bring back a message more in keeping with the upcoming Hellidays. This week we have a dying wish, some married folk, a challenge, some botany, a love story, for good measure another love story, a helliday gift suggestion, lots of gratitude and of course, a playlist.
Let us begin!
Sue S. has just read The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses who is a former Darienite! “Ellen Branford is an engaged and soon to be married up and coming lawyer. While she is visiting her dying Grandmother, she learns that her last wish is for Ellen to deliver a letter to a hometown boy her Grandmother once knew. Charged with making good on her promise, the task sends Ellen to the town of Beacon, Maine which is a far cry from the high society life that she knows in Manhattan. It is in Ellen's search for the hometown boy that she finds out secrets about her grandmother and which has her crossing paths with a man who winds up needing her as much as she needs him. I would love to see this book made into a movie!”
Amanda’s back with another dive into Regency era romances with Eloisa James’ Duchess in Love. “Cam is forced by his father to marry Gina. He jumps out a window a few moments after the ceremony and has been in Greece ever since. Twelve years have now passed and Gina summons Cam home so they can annul their marriage as she loves another. Will Gina keep her engagement as she turns to Cam for lessons in kissing? In a turn from the traditional romance novel structure, this story focuses on a group of married people who have their own extramarital love affairs. The thought being that marriage is to beget an official heir, while your heart belongs to your lover. This book is refreshing to me because it’s the first I’ve read that demonstrates this historical occurrence. “
Sweet Ann has just finished Vatican Waltz by Roland Merullo. “This is a short novel that tells the story of Cynthia Piantedosi who is having visions that are leading her to challenge her Catholic faith. She loves her church, not only her local parish, but the bigger church. She recognizes that there are problems in the church, but she finds such comfort there that she is willing to address them. She goes to Rome to meet with a Cardinal to present her idea of what her visions are leading her to believe her future in the church is which is a role not open to women in the Catholic Church. This is a very interesting, thought-provoking book. As a reader you will see Cynthia as a good daughter, granddaughter, really just a good person, searching for her place in the world.”
Barbara M. is putting her foot down. Hard and crushingly on the spine of The Signature of All Things. “In spite of the fact that I wasn’t a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love I started reading her new novel The Signature of All Things because Barbara Kingsolver gave it a great review in the New York Times. I was also attracted to the subject –the story of a woman botanist in the 1800s. I’m almost half way through and am getting bored with its repetitiveness. I like the idea of Alma, the strong woman protagonist, but she and many of the other characters feel like caricatures rather than real people. I don’t think I’ll be finishing this book, nor do I think I’ll read any more by this author. “
Pat T. has just finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. “This is a delightful and quirky love story about a college professor with Asperger's syndrome, who embarks on a scientific search for the perfect wife called the Wife Project. Along the way he meets a young lady in search of her biological father and together they commence the search for the Father Project. As the two projects become intertwined, the Professor and young lady find their lives upended too! Even though the story is predictable, you can't help but like these characters and muse on the unexpected twist that one can encounter along the journey of life and love!”
Jeanne is only doing one thing this week. Perhaps she feels too over extended by the upcoming Hellidays? “What’s so sad about reading a fictional account of a violently dysfunctional family is that it is true somewhere. If it weren't for the bittersweet love story that Rainbow Rowell writes for Eleanor & Park in the YA novel of the same name, it would be completely tragic. Eleanor is a big girl with crazy red hair and crazier outfits. Park is slender, half Korean and mostly wears black. They're just sixteen, they live in the Flats of Omaha and they meet on the school bus. It seems like the eighties judging from the comics they read together and they music they share on their Walkman, but it could be anytime, anywhere for these sweethearts learning about each other, knowing they are mismatched and falling in love anyway.”
Miss Elisabeth of the CL is now Mrs. Elisabeth! She is fresh back from her nuptials so won’t you join me in welcoming her back and saying Mazel! “This week I’ve been reading The Book of Jezebel, an encyclopedia/coffee table book from the women behind Jezebel.com, one of my favorite websites geared towards women. The book contains entries in alphabetical order (with cross references!) on topics ranging from Princess Jasmine in Aladdin to the Babysitter’s Club Books to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. The entries can be funny, sarcastic, or heartfelt and sometimes they’re all 3! It would make a great gift this holiday season for the female millennial in your life; as it’s basically a cultural compendium of everything that makes our generation, well, ours.”
And what would time spent in the Kitchen be without music? Here is DJ Jazzy Patty with not only a playlist but a book pick for your down time. Take it away Jazzy Patty! “Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm, a memoir by Mardi Jo Link is my gratitude reading selection. After reading this, I assure you that you will be able to identify many things in your life to be grateful for like heat in your home, food in your refrigerator, money to pay your bills and mortgage, I could go on. Mardi Jo Link's memoir is heartbreaking and at times hilarious. (Yes, there are chickens involved.) It's a poignant story of will and resilience during divorce while raising three sons and struggling to make ends meet. This year marks the convergence of the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving or what’s being touted as Thanksgivukkah. I can’t imagine a happier time than getting to enjoy turkey and latkes on the same day. As I began to contemplate these holidays next week, I reflect on all the things that I have in my life. We all have something we can be grateful for no matter how small or seemingly simple. . How about this year we all practice a little more kindness? What if we all topped that kindness with a sweet cherry of forgiveness? For this auspicious beginning to our holiday season, my theme is Expressions of Gratitude. “