Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Sunday, August 29, 2021
Last Week I:
Thursday, August 26, 2021
We take our cars in for oil changes. We mow our lawns and pull weeds. Why don’t we do maintenance on our marriages? This relationship is the most important one we will ever have, so why not get better at it?
For the last several years, Penn and Kim Holderness of The Holderness Family have done the hard maintenance and the research to learn how to fight better. With the help of their marriage coach Dr. Christopher Edmonston, they break down their biggest (and in some cases, funniest) fights. How did a question about chicken wings turn into a bra fight (no, not a-bar-fight; a-bra-fight)? How did a roll of toilet paper lead to tears, resentment, and a stint in the guest bedroom?
With their trademark sense of humor and complete vulnerability, Penn and Kim share their 10 most common Fight Fails and how to combat them. Throughout the book, they offer scripts for how to start, continue, and successfully close hard conversations. Couples will emerge equipped to engage and understand, not do battle—and maybe laugh a little more along the way.
In Everybody Fights, couples will learn how to:
Use “magic words” for healthy conflict resolution
Address unspoken and unrealistic expectations
Banish the three Ds of unhealthy communication—distraction, denial, and delay
Carry individual baggage while helping your partner deal with theirs
Penn and Kim want you to know you’re not alone. Everybody fights. Marriage is messy. Marriage is work. But marriage is worth it. Fight for it!
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Sunday, August 22, 2021
Last Week I:
Thursday, August 19, 2021
The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.
But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Now it's 1941 and Clem's favorite haunt, Madame Boulette's, is crawling with Nazis, while Clem's people—the outsiders, the artists, and the hustlers who used to call it home—are disappearing. Clem's first instinct is to go to ground—it's a frigid Paris winter and she's too old to put up a fight. But when the cabaret's prize songbird, Zoe St. Angel, recruits Clem to steal the recipe book of a now-missing famous Parisian perfumer, she can't say no. Her mark is Oskar Voss, a Francophile Nazi bureaucrat, who wants the book and Clem's expertise to himself. Hoping to buy the time and trust she needs to pull off her scheme, Clem settles on a novel strategy: Telling Voss the truth about the life and loves she came to Paris to escape.
Complete with romance, espionage, champagne towers, and haute couture, this full-tilt sensory experience is a dazzling portrait of the underground resistance of twentieth-century Paris and a passionate love letter to the power of beauty and community in the face of insidious hate.
- "Other authors have had clever takes on World War II spy novels, but none has created a voice like Clem’s..." - Los Angeles Times
- "The Perfume Thief is a pulse-pounding thriller and a sensuous experience you’ll want to savor." - Oprah Daily
- "Schaffert concocts a memorable work that oozes atmosphere and originality. . . It boasts beguiling characters who gain depth with each unveiled layer." - Book List
"And the fields of war are full of ghosts who wish they could go back to that one split second that separates them from life and death. There've been so many lives undone by a misstep, a wrong turn, a hair trigger."
"Paris, our village, has fallen victim to a fairy-tale curse. The sun rises; the moon drops. The cogs of the clockworks tick-tock north-south, or east-west, in whatever direction they've always turned but time itself has turned to fog. The days: they don't seem short. They don't seem long. What day even is it?"
"The other night, we got our hands on a roasted chicken that was more likely some songbird, a back-alley jackdaw dropped by a slingshots. nWe cut into his plump breast and found it mostly empty, like he's died with his lung puffed up with a half-whistled melody. We ate the little bird like tender wolves, stripping it down to its skeleton, going so far as to break off bones to suck. Food is scarce in Paris, but the Nazis eat fine."
"My building has become a factory, a distillery, cellar to attic, a gasworks of copper pipes corkscrewing through the parlor's ceiling and up through the kitchen floor, winding around the bedposts, whistling like snakes with a lisp. The building's strange acoustics, and all the perfumery's pipes and vents, warp and bend our voices. Sometimes you can whisper in someone's ear from another room."
"I suggest the ballet dancer (the scent o talc, sweat, leather, the sharp sour-sweet of roses turning to mold), and she says no. I suggest the journalist (typewriter ribbon, a struck match, the tart ash in the bowl of a hasish pipe) and she says no to that too."
"The tapestries and wallpapers, the sofas and chairs, are all in powder blues and rose pinks and sea greens, like dusty meringues in a pastry-shop window. Zoe grew up among antiques, probably tiptoeing across the Aubusson carpets women with portraits of unicorns in the fields of thistle. She sat in the walled-in rose garden behind the house hosting tea parties of her own, with dolls with human-hair pompadours and sait ball gowns, with felt mice in bow ties infesting her paper macarons and glass candy. Such a life."
Sunday, August 15, 2021
I've had such a productive week and it feels so good so have gotten so much done after months of not having the energy or the mental capacity to get much done. I've gotten some deep cleaning done, rearranged things in the backyard and inside, and cooked real meals. I did not solve my blog problems. You know that seems like an overwhelming prospect when I'd rather scrub out my refrigerator than tackle that project!Last Week I:
Thursday, August 12, 2021
When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking—and attractive—than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.
But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha’s reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner – The bridesmaid – The body
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
Sunday, August 8, 2021
Last Week I:
Thursday, August 5, 2021
- We still have six weeks to finish reading all of the books on the Booker Prize long list before the short list is announced on September 14th. If you're like me, that means you have 13 books to read between now and then. Yeah, that's not going to happen. Maybe one?
- On the other hand, I have read two of five of the finalists for the Women's Prize for Fiction. But there's only three days to read the rest before the prize is announced on September 8th. Oh, well.
- Now here is something I am succeeding at: tsundoku - the practice of buying more books than you can read (Treehugger).
"Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity." – A. Edward Newton, author, publisher, and collector of 10,000 books.
- If any of you needed an excuse to stop cleaning and pick up a book, Inc. wants you to know Why Reading Is the Most Intelligent Thing You Can Do.
- And if that weren't enough, Inc. also wants you to know Why Reading Books Should Be Your Priority.
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Monday, August 2, 2021
Joining a band of eccentric yet dedicated locals in a campaign to keep the library, June opens herself up to other people for the first time since her mother died. It just so happens that her old school friend Alex Chen is back in town and willing to lend a helping hand. The kindhearted lawyer's feelings for her are obvious to everyone but June, who won't believe that anyone could ever care for her in that way.
To save the place and the books that mean so much to her, June must finally make some changes to her life. For once, she's determined not to go down without a fight. And maybe, in fighting for her cherished library, June can save herself, too.
Sunday, August 1, 2021
I moved my desk a couple of weeks ago and now, instead of looking at a wall while I'm working here, I'm looking out the windows that flank it. It's quite lovely right now - I wonder how I'm going to feel about it when the lilac branches are bare and the winter winds are blowing. But let's not jump to that just yet and enjoy these last few weeks of summer. Seriously. Stop trying to make it fall or start talking about Christmas already!Last Week I:
Enjoyed: So many things this week: pizza and summer beer on the patio (before the heat wave hit), our first real Friday happy hour since before the pandemic, a weekend with my girl here, getting to meet our dear friends' grandson, my niece's baby shower.