Sometimes we think we are living in a crazy era. We don’t know whether to read about it, or escape from it. Or, maybe the choice is clear?

Checking that delightful A Reader’s Book of Days by Tom Nissley that sits on my desk, I discovered strange reads for these mid-November days.

On November 16:
In 1865: Henry James complained about reviewing Drum-taps by Walt Whitman.

In 1928 the a judge suppressed The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, a novel portraying the physical love between women .

In 1970 using money from the film of his bestselling novel, The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones, the story of a black undertaker shot by a white policeman who was sleeping with his wife, author Jesse Hill Ford built an estate in Tennessee he called Canterfield. And there is more to Jesse Hill Ford’s story.

On November 17
The birthday of Shelby Foote, you may wish to read Shiloh, one of his books which I liked very much.

Jim Harrison published in the New Yorker on this date in 2003 a chronicle of a thirty-seven course French lunch. He particularly enjoyed the “tart of calf’s brains with shelled peas.”

November 18
Is the birthday of Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace. For these famous novels even television is climbing on the band wagon to rave reviews.

Also the date of death in 1999 of Paul Bowles whose The Sheltering Sky I’ve been meaning to read for a very long time.

And, I believe the publication date in 1975 of The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolano in which characters make their way from Mexico City to Chile to Liberia. I’ve never read it, but perhaps you’d like to give it a go.

Crazy times and crazy books are not limited to 2017 as you well know and these books demonstrate.

Hey, enjoy your reading!

November 7, 2017

House Plants: the Complete Guide to Choosing Growing, and Caring for Indoor Plants by Lisa Steinkopf

Wish I had a green thumb. I’m always trying. I should buy this book.

The author of the above book talks about how to choose the right plants for space and conditions. She problem-solves about pests.

This book would make a great house warming or wedding gift.

This is a book I’d like to take a closer look at. One for me and one for a friend’s housewarming party?

Detroit News Columnist Nancy Szerlag reminds us:
Houseplants add texture and color to our home décor.
Houseplants clean the air.
Houseplants have a healing effect and help us mellow out.

Wow! Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Farmhouse Styles Help Make a Home Warm and Cozy

Have you noticed that Target has a new line of home goods called Hearth and Hand with Magnolia from HGTV’s Joanna and Chip Gaines? It is not necessarily farmhouse, but cozy and welcoming. That’s why I like it. The lines are simple. Maureen Feighan of the Detroit News brings this to our attention.

The Magnolia Story is an ebook by the pair available for 9.99. It is also available in hardcover.

Rustic, neutral colors and chipped are clues to this style. I guess my pink chairs will have to go?!

Mountain Ranch
October 21, 1017

Author and Photographer: Michal Crouser with Foreword by Gretel Ehrlich
Publisher: University of Texas Press 2017 #24 M.K. Brown Range Life Series
Genre: Book of Photographs, Also personal sketches of ranchers
Source: Personal copy

I bought this book by mistake. How could one do such a thing? When you do as much business with Amazon as I do, it is possible, though crazy. Perhaps it will be a Christmas gift, or perhaps it will sit on my coffee table and I will continue to enjoy it.

This is a book of informative and affecting black and white ranch photos from the mountain ranches of Northwestern Colorado. If you are checking the atlas, look for Eagle County. This is one of the places mentioned in the photo and prose portraits of eight men and women who tell of their lives on Mountain Ranches. Ben Wurtsmith summed up his life and work as a cowpuncher with these words: “I just can’t imagine anybody being happier than me.” Rose Horn spent her life milking cows. Each life is interesting and a peek into a window of one of the rooms of our historical culture in the US. Each life is interesting. Most worked close to home, some raised a passel of kids and all rode horses.

The photographer and writer tell us that the men and women he met and photographed in Colorado were fourth-fifth-sixth generation ranchers. He was fascinated with their way of life. Their lives are filled with complications as are his photographs and the process of bringing them to an audience. He tried to make something “rich and true.” I believe he has succeeded. He spent a decade on the project. He has put those of us who enjoy these pictures in touch with vanishing scenes of Americana -scenes this reader finds endlessly fascinating. And the mountain views that greet these folks on many-a-morning are breathtaking.

October 9, 2017

Modernist Bread by Nathan Myhrvold and Grancisco Migoya
Five volumes about the art and science of bread-making with a binder of recipes to take into the kitchen. Chocolate-Cherry Sourdough anyone? I would wish the book had smell-o-vision.

Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray by Adam Federman
Biography of a famous cook and food writer I know nothing about. Who was she? What makes her notable? What can I learn?

Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waters with Cristina Moeler and Bob Carrau
I own one of her books, but still the essence of Alice Waters escapes me. Perhaps it’s time to dig deeper. From Indiana to New York City and world fame. What could be more interesting than tracing her journey?

Big Chicken by Maryn McKenna
This nonfiction is an investigation of poultry farming. What farming practices are threatening public health?

Twelve Days of Christmas compiled by Barbour Staff
This one looks like unique fun. Bread, Soups Sides, Cooking for kids and more! Take a peek.

46 thoughts on “Reading

  1. Judith Vitali

    re: The Storied Life of AJ Fikry … No man is an island … I enjoyed seeing AJ’s character evolve … he started of as an island … isolated geographically, intellectually, and emotionally and Maya opened the world to him. I loved this quirky fellow.

  2. Judith Vitali

    re:the Corazon … Karla and staff were most accommodating, and service was amazing … price was so reasonable … believe they saved the building from being razed and turned into another parking lot

  3. Kim

    Paulette, I agree wholeheartedly with your review of The Orphan Train. Books like this are so enjoyable I don’t want them to end.

  4. Susan Carter

    In response to what makes me consider a book good (or exceptional) is not wanting to finish it because it means I no longer get to spend time with the characters. Have only read a few that meet this criteria lately & luckily most are series so I can meet up with them in the future..

  5. Judith

    Great article on Ree Drummond in yesterday’s Parade magazine … have become a fan since Paulette introduced me to her.

    I accept reading ideas from all sources … surprised at how many from the best seller lists I do reject. My favorite site for recommendations is the RJ Julia book store in Madison, CT … … better yet, a visit to this wonderful independent book store is always a treat.

  6. Bonne

    I may be an odd ball but I do not recommend GONE GIRL. If you get to the second chapter you have to finish it BUT when I finished it I felt as though I had wasted my time. I liken its writing to that of a crossword developer … someone who connects all the dots…no real character development which I like.

    Tana French’s last book BROKEN HARBOR is really quite fascinating and kept me involved.
    When I look for a quick thriller I go to James Patterson. I am totally hooked on the Women’s Murder Mysteries and the Michael Bennett series.
    In addition to them I recommend:
    Now You See Her
    The Postcard Killers
    The Worst Case

    I also like Elizabeth George’s mysteries but have not read her lately.

  7. Kim

    What are you reading via your favorite electronic device?
    Right now I’m reading The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny. This is a neighborhood book club selection. I also have four other books in the que waiting to be started.
    What do you like most about it?
    I like the portability of my Kindle. I’ve had my Kindle for about two and a half years. I really like reading real books too and often am reading both at the same time. Well, not at the exact same time!
    Anything else on this topic you want to say?
    You also asked why someone reads. I find that an intriguing question mainly because there are people who don’t enjoy reading. I can remember my first Scholastic book order when I was in first grade and how thrilled and excited I was to bring those books home. My mom was an avid reader and helped to instill the love of reading in me. One of my fondest memories is my mom reading to my brother and I when we came home for lunch.

    1. Post author

      Hey Kim, Thanks for the conversation! Love it! I’m thinking how much easier it would be to always have a book on my I-Pad instead of a couple of books in the back seat of the car. And maybe a smaller device than my I-Pad?

  8. Post author

    Minerva, Great to hear from you. The list with the posts One Book Club etc. was for one of my MI groups. As soon as I can hear from Jean D. we should have the list for Summerhouse Book Club next winter out to everyone. Watch for an e-mail. Thanks for reading this blog.

  9. Minerva Belote

    Paulette..some of the books on the list Summerhouse has already read and shared. Books I am interested in: Beyond the Beautiful, Light Between the Oceans, Zealot: Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. The “choosers” have always given us a wide selection for the Snowbirds. Thank you!

  10. Judith

    response to Ricky (Candra) … delighted that people are discovering and appreciating Paulette’s blog … she is one of the more sophisticated and intelligent readers I know … I’m in awe at times … always a pleasure to
    converse with her or read her thoughts … both prose and poetry

  11. Judith

    on book selections … I find my interests have changed as I grow older … once a lover of Russian literature, Ayn Rand, and the philosophical novel, they now would not hold my interest … I simply (unlike Paulette) no longer have the reading endurance I once possessed … there also was a time if I started a book I would persevere to the end … no matter how much I disliked it … at this stage of life time is too precious .. I read only what appeals to me

    my favorite summer reads … Fin and Lady (think Auntie Mame), Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal, and And the Mountains Echoed

  12. Ricky

    How long did it take you to write “Reading | readeatlive.
    com / Blog”? It also has quite a lot of high-quality knowledge.

    Thx ,Candra

  13. alice reed

    I like Book club #1’s choices. I enjoyed reading 2 of them already and planning on reading another of
    the selections in the near future. Alice

  14. Seglinda Kelle-Pritchard

    I heartily applaud your list of books for consideration. I just completed Zealot by Reza Aslan and found it challenging to my core. His scholarship on 1st century Palestinian/Roman history was complementary to another recent book I finished that is fiction, The Liars’ Gospel by Naomi Alderman, which is riveting. I loved it so much that I immediately sat down to reread. These two books surely used much of the same research material. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
    Also have been in serious love with Jamaica Kincaid’s SEE NOW THEN. Her style of writing is very distinctive to her worldview. as she is literally grounded by her native language and birth home. She is passionate about gardening and very knowledgable about horticulture and Latin names of her favorites. While she is a teacher of writing at Harvard, she is Jamaican by birth and writes in a style that is supported by her “island” heritage. The subject matter of this novel is sustained by its autobiographical nature in her life as she writes. A beautiful but sad read!

  15. alice reed

    Paulette. Looked over your selections, I found 3 I have read and really enjoyed.
    The Language of Flowers, Light Between Oceans, Olive Kittridge and one I plan to read in the
    coming weeks, Light in the Ruins I have heard good reviews of this book. Alice

  16. Bonne

    Comment on Saratoga Springs trip:

    So glad you got to experience why we love NYS so much… It is so varied…so rich in beauty and history.
    Glad you took a boat ride on Lake George. Once you leave the village you appreciate the pristine beauty of the surroundings. We took our family there for a week for 20 summers about 1/2 way up the lake at Silver Bay Christian Conference center run by the International YMCA. Now our daughter and her family are going for family week… carrying on the tradition.
    I do not know if you have headed west yet but Seneca Falls is just off the Thruway between Syracuse and Rochester. It is the seat of women
    s Rights and there is a National Historic Site there. Enjoy your trip. It sounds so special…

  17. Judith

    garlic! it is often referred to as an herb, but I don’t believe it really fits the criteria of herb or spice … nonetheless the aroma of garlic just gets those gastric juices flowing … we could smell the delicious meal awaiting us before even stepping into my mother-in-laws Italian kitchen … I have a tendency to use garlic whenever I can

  18. Post author

    Let’s hear it for the Cookbooks. Not a one strikes your fancy? Not one causes you to itch for a trip to the bookstore to touch them, look at the glossy photos, enjoy the art of the layout? We need to hear from you. Happy Reading. Whatever your genre.

    1. Vee Barnes

      I cannot tell a lie. While your cookbooks line your shelves waiting to be opened for inspiration, my plastic envelop of menus is my muse. Royal Oak and surrounding towns have tons of restaurants which offer carry-out. Within a few minutes we can scan the menus and then pick food from any country; food we’ve been yearning for; food to sooth the soul, and/or add fire to our palates. After almost 50 years of cooking for my family, extended family, parents, in-laws, friends and picky grandchildren ….. picking from a carry-out menu, once in awhile, has great appeal. Especially with so many great choices so near-by. But Gary and I love to eat a great home-cooked meal at anyone else’s home!

  19. Jan Johnson

    I love the wardrobe!
    Thanks for all the book suggestions. I enjoy historical novels.
    You write so well. Keep up the good work.


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