LET’S CHASE AWAY THE BLUES…AND MUSE ABOUT BOOKS….

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Welcome to another Monday of “chasing away the blues,” with our Musing Mondays event, hosted by Jenn, at Books and a Beat.

It is sunny today…so this is not one of my Rainy Day Monday events.  In fact, it’s supposed to hit 90 degrees!

Here are the prompts:

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Name your least favorite plot device employed by way too many books that you actually enjoyed, otherwise.

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I hope to start reading Terrible Virtue, once I finish the awesome Book 2 of the Inspector Gamache series, A Fatal Grace.

 

 

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First of all, I love Ellen Feldman’s work…and then, of course, I admire anyone who, like Margaret Sanger, blazes a trail that needs blazing…

In the spirit of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, the provocative and compelling story of one of the most fascinating and influential figures of the twentieth century: Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood—an indomitable woman who, more than any other, and at great personal cost, shaped the sexual landscape we inhabit today.

The daughter of a hard-drinking, smooth-tongued free thinker and a mother worn down by thirteen children, Margaret Sanger vowed her life would be different. Trained as a nurse, she fought for social justice beside labor organizers, anarchists, socialists, and other progressives, eventually channeling her energy to one singular cause: legalizing contraception. It was a battle that would pit her against puritanical, patriarchal lawmakers, send her to prison again and again, force her to flee to England, and ultimately change the lives of women across the country and around the world.

This complex enigmatic revolutionary was at once vain and charismatic, generous and ruthless, sexually impulsive and coolly calculating—a competitive, self-centered woman who championed all women, a conflicted mother who suffered the worst tragedy a parent can experience. From opening the first illegal birth control clinic in America in 1916 through the founding of Planned Parenthood to the arrival of the Pill in the 1960s, Margaret Sanger sacrificed two husbands, three children, and scores of lovers in her fight for sexual equality and freedom.

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What are you musing about today?  I hope you’ll come on by and chat.

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A BLUE MONDAYS MUSING….

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Welcome to my Blue Mondays Musings Post.  Check in with Jenn, at A Daily Rhythm to see some options to post about.

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you read more than one book at once? Why, or why not?

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I can’t wait to get my hands on The Children, a novel by Ann Leary.

 

 

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Blurb:  Charlotte and Sally Maynard grew up in a rambling Connecticut country house that belonged to their stepfather, Whit Whitman. Perry and Spin, Whit’s sons from his unhappy first marriage, were welcomed as weekend guests. All of the children received Whit’s love and attention, but they were also influenced, for better and for worse, by his often misguided ideals and wildly narcissistic personality. When Whit dies, he leaves the estate in the care of his wife, Charlotte and Sally’s mother, with the understanding that the home will revert to Perry and Spin when she passes away. But Joan, a stalwart sixty-something, isn’t going anywhere soon. She’s enjoying the house, which she shares with Charlotte, an agoraphobic mommy blogger, who doesn’t actually have any children. She and her sister have a good relationship, and they’re close, too, with their step brothers. But when Spin, the youngest, brings his beautiful fiancé Laurel Atwood home for the summer, she manages to subtly crack the polite veneer of the family, exposing an array of simmering resentments, old wounds, and troubling family secrets.

Told from the sharp and wryly humorous perspective of the introverted Charlotte, THE CHILDREN examines themes of money, loyalty, trust, and familial love.

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I read and loved another book by this author, The Good House, which is supposedly in production as a movie.  Click the title for my review.

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As for the random question:  I seldom read more than one book at a time, but when I do, they must be very different.  Different genres, for example.

What are your bookish habits?  What books are intriguing you today?

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RAINY DAY READING: MONDAY MUSINGS

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Welcome to another Rainy Day Reading post.  It is raining here again, so I am eager to curl up and burrow into my books.  I am also musing about my reading, along with host Jenn, at A Daily Rhythm.

Here are some of her options to contemplate:

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you have any particular “quirks” when it comes to reading? (eg. taking notes while reading, etc)

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First, I want to share my thoughts on What Was Mine, by Helen Klein Ross, my current read.

 

 

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Simply told but deeply affecting, in the bestselling tradition of Alice McDermott and Tom Perrotta, this urgent novel unravels the heartrending yet unsentimental tale of a woman who kidnaps a baby in a superstore—and gets away with it for twenty-one years.

While the idea of feeling anything but horror for such a woman would normally be a predominant one, I found myself empathizing with Lucy, the “kidnapper,” whose almost obsessive desire for a baby leads to such a horrific act.  The author skillfully takes us through her thought processes, breaking them down into manageable moments that slowly turn into something almost palatable…and then, just when we think we can live with what she did, the repercussions start happening.  Life comes undone.

With part of the story in Lucy’s voice, we come to understand her.  But what about all those whose lives were damaged?  We learn more as the story draws to a conclusion.

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My reading habits could be described as “quirks,” since I usually only read one book at a time, and take notes as I go.  Sometimes I pick up another book, too, if it is a different genre than the primary book I’m reading.  I have to write the review immediately after finishing…and I may have a Word doc going as I read, writing preliminary thoughts, so that I can post the review right away.

Then I move on.

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What are your habits?  What are you reading?

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LET’S CELEBRATE THE LAST MONDAY OF 2015!

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Welcome to another Monday….and since it’s the first Monday after Christmas, and the last one in 2015, let’s give it a great high sign.  Let’s join Jenn, at Musing Mondays, to chat about bookish things.

Here are some topics:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Did you buy books for anyone, this Christmas (other than yourself)? 😉

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This week I’m going to be starting my First Book of 2016, celebrated over at Book Journey.  My post will be at An Interior Journey.

No, I’m not telling the book title yet…tune in on Friday to find out…LOL.

Meanwhile, however, I’ll be catching up on books I purchased in 2014…yes, clearing out Pippa.  Then I hope to read The Swans of Fifth Avenue, a NetGalley book by Melanie Benjamin. (Release date – 1/26/16).

 

 

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Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends—the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a prestigious husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman—a woman desperately longing for true love and connection.

Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrée into the enviable lives of Manhattan’s elite, along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe’s powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls “True Heart,” Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller—even when the stories aren’t his to tell.

Truman’s fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he’ll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle readers as it opens.

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I remember seeing some of these glittering characters in the movie Capote, as well as Infamous, so I am already eager to find out more.  One of my blogger friends, Patty, at Books, Thoughts, & a Few Adventures, Googled some of these characters and events, to add to her enjoyment of the book.

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What engages you on the last Monday of the Year 2015?

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RAINY DAY READING: BOOKS, OBSESSIONS, & HOLIDAYS

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Good morning, Rainy Day Readers…it’s another Monday on Rainy Days & Mondays, and while it’s not raining at the moment, it looks like rain as I gaze out the window.

I’m linking to Jenn’s Musing Mondays today.

She has a host of suggestions for us today, but I’m going to tell you about the two books I’m currently reading…and why they are perfect for a rainy day.

I started The Things We Keep, an e-ARC by Sally Hepworth, and I am fascinated by the storyline, the characters, and the suspense I already feel as there are hints of things awry in the residential facility where our MC Anna is living….

 

 

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Then I picked up November 9, by Colleen Hoover…and I don’t usually read more than one book at a time, but I felt restless.  It works, because the two stories couldn’t be more different. 

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

 

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Doesn’t that synopsis grab you?  I have heard only good things about both books I’m reading…and that is perfect for a holiday week, don’t you think?  And for a rainy day, too, as they are both so engaging that I just want to curl up and read.

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As the holiday approaches, I’ve been having that itch to change up a blog or two…but my most recent change was the theme and header at my website.

 

PicMonkey Collage-4th version

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Here’s a screenshot:

 

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My holiday decorations this year were minimal…and I could bring out more….but I’m thinking “less is more.”

 

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What are you reading, watching, or obsessing about this season?

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RAINY DAY READING: “THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE”

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It has been raining here, on and off…and when it rains, my bookish life becomes cozier.  Today I’m linking to Jenn, at A Daily Rhythm, to muse about bookish things.

Here are some of the topics:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What books are you hoping to get for Christmas (whether as gifts, or ones you’ll purchase yourself)?

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I love reading on a rainy day, and the kind of book I love to curl up with is one that fully engages me.  It might be a mystery, a thriller, or just a great family story…or maybe all of these ingredients will be in the book.

I am eagerly awaiting a new review book I requested this week:  The Opposite of Everyone, by Joshilyn Jackson.

 

 

 

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A fiercely independent divorce lawyer learns the power of family and connection when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged mother in this bittersweet, witty novel from the nationally bestselling author of Someone Else’s Love Story and gods in Alabama—an emotionally resonant tale about the endurance of love and the power of stories to shape and transform our lives.

Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern oral tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birth name Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding secrets of her own, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.

These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a mysterious note: “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”

Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.

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I am prepared to curl up with this one, rainy day or not…but if it rains, everything will be the perfect setting for the unfolding story.  What do you think?

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MONDAY’S CHILD, ETC.: A DITTY PLAYING IN MY HEAD

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Have you ever had a song playing in your head until you can’t stop hearing it?

Well, that Nursery Rhyme song about Monday’s Child, Tuesday’s Child, etc., has been running around in my mind, mostly because it’s October, and there are many birthdays this month.

Like today is my second son’s birthday…and he was born on a Saturday.  Each child’s “day of the week” is indelibly imprinted in my mind.

 

Here’s the ditty:

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go;
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

***

My first child, the son who just visited from Berlin, was born on a Thursday; my second, as I mentioned, came on a Saturday.  My third son almost came on a Monday, but managed to come out early on a Tuesday morning. 

Then there was my daughter, whose labor began on a Wednesday.  After 36 hours, followed by a C-Section, she came on a Friday.  And despite the labor, she is definitely”loving and giving.”

Even the fact that she came on Friday the 13th did not diminish the joy.  First and only girl, and what a gift she was…and is.

Yes, we have the Mother/Daughter issues…but I love getting her little texts when least expected…and she styles and colors my hair every month.  What more could I want?

 

Mommy & Me-touched up again

Each child has brought something special to my life…and the day on which each one was born is probably not predictive of anything…but I see something in the descriptions of their birth days.  Here are all four of them captured one fall day in 1991….at a rare event that assembled all of them together in one place.

 

 

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BTW…I was born on a Sunday…and this year’s birthday falls on that day of the week!  And here is a doll I bought a while ago to “honor” that day of the week ( I am noticing in this close-up that she has “messy hair.”)  Like me, I guess:

 

 

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BOOKSHELF CLEARING: A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

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Welcome to another Monday of Chasing Away the Blues.  Today’s post is linked to Jen, at A Daily Rhythm, and we are musing about some topics she has selected.

Here they are:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What books about books do you own, or have you read & enjoyed?

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I am going with the random question today.  Yesterday, I was clearing out my overstuffed bookshelf in the living room:  the one that goes from floor to ceiling.

While deciding what to keep and what to give away, I stumbled upon my copy of The Jane Austen Book Club (click for my review), and my mind catapulted back in time, when I found the book in a real bookstore.  Yes, imagine that!

I decided to keep this book, of course, not necessarily because I’ll reread it, but it holds such special memories for me.  I also have the movie!

 

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Here are my bookshelves, before and after my purge (I had already purged that top shelf of books earlier in the month):

 

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And now, drum roll!  After the purge.  I eliminated FIFTY-SIX books.  Did I cut too much?  Go too far?  Only time will tell.

 

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What are you musing about today?  Come on by and share!

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RAINY DAY READING & BOOKISH THOUGHTS

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It’s Monday, so let’s head on over to A Daily Rhythm, where Jen has prompted us to discuss bookish topics:

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Is a rainy day likely to inspire you to read?

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Currently Reading:  I am totally engaged in an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Pretty Girls, by Karin Slaughter.  This is my first book by the author, but already I can tell she will be another favorite.

 

 

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Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

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I like the question about whether or not a rainy day is likely to inspire me to read…and yes, I love to read with the sound of rain on the roof.  As long as it isn’t a storm with thunder and lightning and power outages.  Those aspects of a storm make me hide under the covers!

A nice rain is just what I need right now, as my reading has slowed a bit…also due to house guests on and off throughout the summer.  See a nice rainy day (below).  This photo was captured in April.

 

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What are your bookish thoughts today?  What inspires you?

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CHASING DOWN OLD FAVORITES: MUSINGS

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It’s Monday!  Time to chase away the blues again…and Jen, at A Daily Rhythm has given us some topics to explore.

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your favorite book? (or, one of your favorites!)

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Last week, I blogged about a variety of topics, but here is a sample:

Saying Goodbye Once Again: Another Blog Bites the Dust

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Excerpt:

Yes, it was only a matter of time until this little blog bit the dust.

While I loved the premise and had fun posting about my guilty pleasures, I finally decided that I could do that just fine on another of my blogs:  Potpourri.

So now there will be a regular “guilty pleasures” feature at that site…and I have whittled my blog count down to SEVEN!

As I scrolled through the pages and posts at my now defunct site, I considered moving several of those posts over…but then ruled that one out.  I could recreate some of them.  And I will.

I am probably one of the few bloggers who has “gone wild” with the whole blogging thing, having as many as 20 blogs at one point…for about five minutes.

My steadiest number was eleven blogs, then nine, and now seven.

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Next on my reading list is a book from one of my new favorite authors, Dorothea Benton Frank:  The Hurricane Sisters.

 

 

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Once again Dorothea Benton Frank takes us deep into the heart of her magical South Carolina Lowcountry on a tumultuous journey filled with longings, disappointments, and, finally, a road toward happiness that is hard earned. There we meet three generations of women buried in secrets. The determined matriarch, Maisie Pringle, at eighty, is a force to be reckoned with because she will have the final word on everything, especially when she’s dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz’s beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, whose dreamy ambitions of her unlikely future keeps them all at odds….

Frank, with her hallmark scintillating wit and crisp insight, captures how a complex family of disparate characters and their close friends can overcome anything through the power of love and reconciliation. This is the often hilarious, sometimes sobering, but always entertaining story of how these unforgettable women became The Hurricane Sisters.

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I love complex family stories that carry us through the generations, and just like a real family, Frank’s characters are full of secrets.  Can’t wait!

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I couldn’t answer the question…as how can I choose one favorite book?  I could probably name a few favorites that I have enjoyed at different times in my life.

As a teenager, I loved Gone with the Wind and Rebecca.

When I was struggling through my twenties, I loved anything by Erica Jong.  Fear of Flying felt reckless and fun.  Marge Piercy was another favorite author, with her Small Changes and Fly Away Home.

While raising my children, I loved family stories that made me connect to the characters who were also struggling with family issues:  books by Barbara Delinsky and Nancy Thayer.

And now, in my “twilight years,”—oh, I cringe at that phrase!—I probably love looking back at the phases of my life and enjoying books that remind me of past loves and the challenges that I won.  But most of all, I love mysteries and thrillers, like the books by Sophie Hannah, Laura Lippman, Karen White, and Julia Heaberlin, to name a few.

 

What about you?  Do you have favorites, or do you, too, find it hard to choose?

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