Barnes and Noble Book Club Pick for June
The Guest Book was selected as the June Book at Barnes and Noble's now monthly book discussion. And what a discussion it will be!
I haven't been wowed in particular about some of the choices for their book club, however, I recognize the need to accommodate a wide variety of tastes of book readers (i.e. customers for a business that is struggling). I look forward to Waterstone's influence. But, I digress.
This month, however, I can't wait for the discussion, as this book resonated with me on so many levels. A multi-generational historical fiction, this novel captures what the wealthy in America were prior to income tax on one level. On other levels, you have race, anti-Semitism, mental health, misogyny, and how silent people were about them all. Family secrets highlight the WASPish lifestyle of the "own an island" rich, and how people can overlook ethical and moral decisions. A love story that begets love stories within the novel is captivating and real.
Set in NYC, as well as an island off the coast of Maine, the book traces the complexities of growing up with the "Oughts". One ought to sit straight, one ought to put your fork and knife at 4:20 on your plate. The characters from one generation to the next evolve and move forward, and is easily seen as loosening of power and, in my opinion, improving over time.
I related to this book so much, as I grew up WASPish, albeit not wealthy. Silence and rules were the way I was brought up, not to show emotions, never talk about family secrets (or anything really), and never ever talk about race or religion. We were the Miltons very poor relations. As the Miltons head to the downward spiral of no longer being able to afford the island in present day, so have most middle class families that had accumulated a moderated degree of wealth and land.
I highly recommend this book on so many levels. The writing of Sarah Blake is beautifully descriptive and flows. At 496 pages, this is a book you will need to devote your week to, but it is so good, you won't want to put it down. 5 stars from me!
Join the Barnes and Noble discussion tonight at 7:00 at your local B&N!
#SarahBlake #BarnesAndNoble #TheGuestBook #Fiction #BookDiscussion
Spending time in the Florida Keys is close up and personal to climate change. If you have doubts, come on down. These are pictures of Sargassum algae seaweed, which at this time of year is everywhere. NOAA has some better explanations.
“Sargassum was something that was really unique and deserving of protection,” said Brian Lapointe, Ph.D., a research professor for Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. “All of a sudden, global change is going on and sargassum is becoming harmful. Now it’s the largest harmful algal bloom on earth.”
We need to help our planet. Your vote matters. #ClimateChange #Sargassum #VoteBlue
I wish I could suggest the last book read, Elin Hilderbrand. I usually like this author for an entertaining beach read. Her novels are typically set on Nantucket, where she resides. This one, however, fell flat for me. Yes, it was set on Nantucket, but this one had Russian prostitutes, lots of extramarital sex and cheap values. I know that type of novel might be for some, but it is not what I want to read as a beach read. Always well written, her novel is readable, but not for me. Just two stars for this one. Two stars....barely. #TheRumor #ElinHilderbrand
The next stop was an easy one, where my daughter Kate needed to get her bus pass. Easy peasy. Score!
Next up was a bit of a gamble. We were headed to Social Security, which Kate is attempting to obtain disability. We've not had great luck yet, but fingers crossed, we could get this fixed in say an hour??
We entered at 12:02 and were feeling optimistic. Until we met with the receptionist. We were at the wrong place for our paperwork. Another office. All the way across town. "However, we can file some of that paperwork here to get things moving. "
Now, working for the public school all those years, I get understaffed. I get overworked. Truly I do. But. holey moley! This was on a new level. Oscar worthy.
At 3:38 we were called back to the office. Suspense. It was as good a thriller as I have read. We didn't know what we were doing, but we were going to "get er done". Well, it was as quite a letdown, but we filed one document and would be hearing from someone to set an appeal. Oh dear.
And from there, we ran to the closest Habit Burger....we hadn't eaten anything at all and were quite hangry.
The good news...I got a good chunk of Ready Player One read while waiting for the one form. One. Form.
The moral of this story is: Always take a book.
#Ready, Player One
Knowing this is Anne Tyler's last book, I have had difficulty making my way through this wonderful book for a couple of years. I adore Anne Tyler, and feel she speaks to my heart in her characters.
I am from Baltimore, and love the gritty, quirky city. Living in South Florida now, I miss the "hon" and the "downy ocean" that everyone always quotes, but I also miss the grittier side of Baltimore, and how the people live.
An artsy city, believe it or not, we are quirky folk. We will fight to the end to defend our own, and argue where to find the best crab cake, and whether bread crumbs or crackers hold our blue crab together. We sing the National Anthem with a strong "O" in the middle. (Listen for it...we pick each other out all across this country doing that!) We loved The Wire, Laura Lippman, John Waters, Boog Powell, David Simon and Anne Tyler. Edgar, Alan and Poe were the mascots for the Ravens, real birds! Sadly only Poe remains. We dig our quirky folk. That's why I adore Anne Tyler.
I met her 10 or so years ago pumping gas on Northern Parkway at the citgo. It was cold and we were bundled up, and only a true fan would spot her. I left her alone, knowing she cherishes her anonymity. Roland Park has given her the Accidental Tourist and others, which she gave the world.
A Spool of Blue Thread symbolizes yet another book of characters. Baltimore characters in a dysfunctional but loving family. A family growing old together and all the life changes that occur. I cried at the end because we won't have another from Ms Tyler.
A Spool of Blue Thread reminds us that life is short, love hard and without pause. Just dive in, like you have no tomorrow.
Love you Anne. Love you Baltimore.
#AnneTyler #Baltimore #ASpoolOfBlueThread
Royals. Love them. I seriously believe it's my 82% Brit roots, according to Ancestory DNA. I continue to love the comings and goings of all of them, and respect their ability to help bring good to things that may not have gotten attention.
That said, I am obsessed with Wallis Simpson. I have read everything I can on the woman who was hated by Americans and Brits alike. She has been described as a "wanton woman", a "hussy", and a gold digger. This book continues to dig into the real Wallis Simpson and reveals a different gal altogether.
The Real Wallis SImpson: A New History of the American Divorcee Who Became the Duchess of Windsor is a compelling book that outlines Wallis and her early history from a troubled family from Baltimore. Being a B'More girl myself, I have actually found the block where she lived, I am so interested in this fascinating story that changed the world. She grew up in a family who was at one time wealthy and recognized the need to "marry well", by debutante balls and only cavorting with the wealthiest of Baltimore's families.
So many conjectures about her sexuality, from being asexual, to being involved with women and multiple partners. We probably won't know that part ever, but it leans towards being quite the prude.
Abused physically and emotionally during her first marriage, Wallis married Ernest Simpson and outwardly appeared to have a lovely marriage built on true friendship. Ernest was wealthy and got invited to events where eventually he and his wife were introduced to the then future King of England.
It's said that the Prince was immature and emotionally stunted. He began to obsess on Wallis and invited she and Ernest to his parties and weekend adventures. This book chronicles letters of Wallis and others to state that the King chased her. She wasn't interested in him, but over years, the relationship became obsessive, and Wallis couldn't find a way out.
I loved this book, as it showed a different side of Wallis, although other books have also given us this interpretation of the whole affair. What is new here, is the way that history was changed, for the better, as Edward was likely a Nazi sympathizer, likely because of being outcasted from the royal family.
According to this author's research and writing, Wallis made her life to serve the Duke of Windsor and to make him happy. Even an outcast, they had a happy life together, because of her.
I give this book five stars for the amazing amount of research and it's ability to lead the story throughout her life. Wallis may have saved England from disaster from siding with Germany, by simply marrying Edward. Maybe we should all start to praise Wallis, rather than think of her as a gold digger that ruined the royal lineage.
Go buy it! So worth it.
Thanks to #NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. #TheRealWallisSimpson #NetGalley
The ‘My First Little People, Big Dreams’ series provides a great introduction to young children about people making a difference in our world. Always informative and inspirational, these biographies are totally relatable to young children and written for easy comprehension.
As a pediatric speech language pathologist, I am always looking for great board books with substance. Rosa Parks, an important figure in history, is another beautifully illustrated book for young children, teaching about respect, equal rights, kindness, and civil rights. I loved the book. This should be in every school library, as well as teacher’s classroom libraries.
Thanks to #NetGalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy of #RosaParks in exchange for an honest review.
This is a great book! This is Not How it Ends is a complex love story. A perfect weekend book read.
Charlotte and Phillip meet by chance on an airplane. He’s rich, she’s a teacher. They fall in love, and move to the Keys. Charlotte finds herself wondering if her relationship with Phillip is the real thing. He is constantly traveling, and even when home, he's not really in the moment, as his business dealings are his priority. Charlotte is in love, but is very lonely without him. Then, she meets Ben.
Was I surprised by the ending? No. But, during the story, it was enjoyable to read. The characters of the story were well developed, and I appreciated that Charley was positively portrayed as a loving, caring, competent teacher.
Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing, and Rochelle Weinstein for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This is the first book I’ve read by @rochwein and not my last!
Expected Publishing Date: October 15, 2019
Back from a wonderful trip to a beautiful home near Cabo. It was a family trip and we had all the feels. Set right on the ocean with an infinity pool, we had the best of times and tons of relaxation.
Set approximately 2 hours east of the Cabo San Luis airport on a very long dirt road drive, we had laughs, ate, and drank our week away. I managed to read five ARCs during the week, which I will be reviewing here.
Here's to Monday and Mexico!
Just wow. This is an amazing book. Should I just stop there? Because all other statements may simply pale.
"Depression robs us of the ability to think of anything but the worst possible outcome. Period. It is inevitable. That is the logical end to every thought and action and sequence."
Heather B. Armstrong is a brave person to have written this saga of how depressions kills your soul. Let me just tell you now how I feel about those who don't believe there is such a thing as depression. It's real. It's debilitating. It's soul robbing. It's exhausting. It's scary. Depression has been a part of my life, unfortunately, for years. There is a long, unrecognized lineage in my own family of anxiety and depression. My father called them all "high strung". Yeah. That's the truth.
The author gives us a brilliantly written autobiography of how bleak life is living with depression, and all you ever want is peace. She talks about wanting to be dead, which is so relatable to those who also suffer. No plan, because that would require thinking, so just the wishing is all that is possible. I . Get. It.
Heather takes us on her journey through a research study to eliminate her depression by the use of "the Michael Jackson drug" propofol. We feel the heaviness of her depression in the beginning, and share her hopelessness. Told on the backdrop of a Mormon upbringing and single motherhood, we feel her struggle. Such a well written book, the reader becomes a cheerleader for Heather in her recovery. We read her descriptions of her awakening to a world that allows her to once again live and love her life.
This book is a must read. Period. If you know someone that has depression, this book may help explain how the illness itself impairs the patient to help themselves to help themselves. If you suffer, just go buy this book. You will cry many times in recognition of your own thoughts. I applaud the author for her honesty to bare her soul. A total five star read. I will be adding this to my book club read for October 2019.
Thank you to #NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. And most of all thank you to the author #HeatherBArmstrong and all the medical personnel who commit their lives to helping those of us who have mental health disorders. #TheValedictorianOfBeingDead
"Help us find our way up and out and back to the truth that you would not be better off without us."
Reader, Traveler, Reviewer. Come join us as we travel the US in our RV. I review books.