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Recent Reads

Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy (2014).  After her death, Binchy's husband compiled her unpublished pieces written over several decades into this collection.  Such a lovely, unexpected chance to have just a little bit more of Binchy's magic.  Bittersweet, just like many of the stories.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012).  Maya and I just finished reading this one together after going to the movie, which is faithful to the overall story, though different in some of the particulars.  Just like when I read the book on my own and saw the movie, I cried through most of the story about a girl with a terminal illness and her relationships with her parents and the new boy in her life.  Favorite quote in the story, "You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you."  I think we all need that reminder sometimes.

A Prince to be Feared:  The Love Story of Vlad Dracula by Mary Lancaster (2013).  Just for the record, there are no vampires in this work of historical fiction.  With the actual historical record on Vlad the Impaler slightly vague in terms of specifics, Lancaster does a nice job of creating a dynamic, fascinating man in Vlad, especially as seen through the eyes of Ilona, the (at least in this work) love of his life, as they alternate between 1474 and 1454.

Bastian's Storm by Shay Savage (2014).  I seem to either really like or intensely dislike Savage's books.  No middle ground.  I'm pretending this long-awaited, at least by me, sequel to Surviving Raine, one of my all-time favorite books, was never written. 

Have you read anything of interest lately?

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If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

The May selection for my work book club is Jon McGregor's If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (2002). The novel follows various individuals in one neighborhood on a particular day, an ordinary day that ends with a terrible tragedy.

Here's the short set of questions I e-mailed to book club members yesterday, along with my own responses.

Did you have a favorite character, or one that spoke to you the most? Who and why?
The father with the burned hands is the one who stayed with me the most after reading the book.

Did you notice that the day on which the events unfold is actually the same day that Diana, Princess of Wales, died? Does knowing that make any difference in how you see the story? I wouldn't have made the connection if I hadn't just watched some of the coverage of the Royal Wedding. To quote the author, he chose this particular day because his novel is about how ". . .everyday miracles of life and death go unwitnessed in favor of celebrity and sensati…

Current Little Pleasures

Girls' weekend in Omaha with Maya and her friend.

Happy Buddha:  Sweet Orange and Cedar Shower Foam from RITUALS

Time for iced or blended peppermint mochas.

Shopping for little gifts for Maya's Japanese pen pal.  They were matched through their schools, and we're hoping she can stay with us for a few days this summer.

The flock of wild turkeys, foxes, and other assorted wildlife entertaining us this fall.

Thanksgiving plans to visit my sister.

Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas is back!

Current Little Pleasures

Christmas Keepsake Week, July 14-23, filled with Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel.

Sending Christmas (in July) cards with a Peace greeting to some of my favorite people.  Why not??

Scott Tube Free Toilet Paper--nothing to recycle.

Haagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream--always!

Baby Driver movie.

Seeing photos from my sisters and niece on Facebook during their Italy trip.  I can't imagine they will want to come back home!

What are your current little pleasures?