I’ve got a pile of Libby holds that came in this morning so I decided to start with a happy romance recommended to me (and everyone as an official endorser of this book) by Katherine Center when she joined our book club last month.
This book was about love and grief and letting go and holding on tight. It’s beautifully written, delightful to read, and I only wish I knew the islands better so I understood more of where they were actually sailing.
And I don’t quite want to become a sailor after this, but I would like a vacation day to the beach!
A few weekends ago a friend and I watched Dumplin’ on Netflix with Jennifer Aniston to pass the time when it was just too hot to do something outside. It was delightful – and got me thinking about the book. So I downloaded the audiobook and decided to listen this week on my trip. I’ve been in the car a LOT for work lately driving through Indiana farm country and needed more than just podcasts to keep my eyes open.
The book (as if you can be surprised) was a thousand times better than the movie (and the movie was a delight). I did need to listen on 1.5 speed though because the long, drawn out southern accent just wasn’t something I could stay awake for. Willowdean is a delightful character who embraces who she is – a fat girl – and doesn’t let the world tell her anything other than she’s made for this world. Except when it comes to two things: her mother and boys who are expressing romantic interest.
I related to her so much – and felt a sense of empowerment reading her words. A girl ready to take on the world no matter what the world says is supposed to be acceptable!
“There’s a pants option too, but the elastic waist on the pants was quite elastic enough to fit over my hips. I say the pants are the blame. I don’t like to think of my hips as a nuisance, but more of an asset.”
Annie Jones (host of From the Front Porch podcast and owner of The Bookshelf in Thomasville) recommended this a few weeks back. I put the audio on hold and then almost let it slip by without listening because I had such a hard time finishing the last audiobook I got. I’ve been focused more on podcasts when I have time to listen. I’m glad I dove in on Friday though.
This was a delight. It spans two decades. Jane moves to town to be their 2nd grade teacher (and is throughout the book). Within a few months of moving in she locked herself out of the house and Duncan came by to help (he’s a locksmith/jack-of-all-trades) and then stayed the weekend.
They were inseparable after until she pursued marrying someone else and then there was an accident and everything changed. the bulk of the book is from that point forward and how she rearranges her life to make up for the accident, which she believes is her fault (I don’t think it is, but that’s neither here nor there).
The listening experience was good. I did have to listen at 1.25 speed though because the narrator was SO SLOW I almost turned it off. The speed really helped! I also was able to listen in long chunks, which is how I best absorb fiction audiobooks.
“Was it possible that Jane’s whole life didn’t lead back to that one event? ‘I myself believe I have lived so long due to my avoidance of alcohol,’ Jane’s mother said. ‘That and I always vote for whichever presidential candidate seems most likely to win. It has saved me untold disappointment.’”
A friend recommended this awhile ago and then my sister-in-law shared after she finished saying it’s one of the best things she’s read about young cancer. Since she’s lived it, I stood up and paid attention, reserving it immediately.
Then it took me a week to read it because it was hard reading. I tried to enter with a sense of Listening to Understand something I’ve never experienced (and pray I won’t). I struggled to refrain from judgement at times thinking, “well, that seems to be making the whole thing worse” or “do you think that’ll fix your relationship?”
To be honest, I don’t know her or much about her situation (medically or relationally) – what I do think I’ve learned from this story is that suffering and death without a higher purpose (uniting ourselves to Our Lord, offering up suffering for a purpose, knowing that there’s more to this life than what we see on earth) can kill you – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
My heart went out to her when friends passed and she (nor they) had no concept of an afterlife. When she needed to do another 9 months of chemo after she thought she was done without any frame of reference for offering that for someone, asking for intercession, or uniting it with the Lord. When this life is all your living for, suffering and death are the things we want to avoid.
While these ideas were nowhere in this book, they reminded me even more to cling to them. I was also reminded about the Virtue of Presence. Sticking around when it’s hard for someone you love. Staying present when you just feel like you need a break. I hope I’ve done that for those I know who have been suffering, but I know I’ve fallen short more than once. I’m recommitting to do better beginning today.
“Cancer is greedy, I thought. It has ravaged not only my body, but every single thing I’ve believed to be true about myself, and now it has metastasized to our relationship, ruining what was good and pure between us.”
Anne Bogel recommended this in her Summer Reading Guide this year – the way she talks about books helps me know if I want to read them – and I wanted to read this. So I requested it and then devoured it in two days.
It’s a literary thriller (in my opinion) and begins with a strange note and hundreds of thousands of dollars alongside a missing husband. We find out his past is sordid, he knows how to disappear, and Hannah is the right person for Bailey to be protected by.
I can’t give you any more without spoiling the plot – and I’m afraid I’ve already spoiled it with that cryptic description!
“Maybe we’re all fools, one way or another, when it comes to seeing the totality of the people who love us – the people we try to love.”
I read her third book the other day and it reminded me how much I loved this first one that I just happened to have on my shelves. It’s delightful.
I love the connection to so many romantic comedies and the love she has for Tom Hanks. Who doesn’t love him? In movies and real life he’s just a delight!
“I wish I could meet my Tom Hanks now and we could have five kids, enough people that we would never be lonely. Maybe that’s pathetic. Maybe I should only care about my career – but the thing is, I want to family. I want love, and I don’t think it makes me a week or bad person to not want to be alone.”
I love a good historical fiction especially about a war. This one spans both World War I and II. The network referred to in the title was a group of female spies. Evelyn worked for them multiple times and it’s where she gained her hardened exterior along with a few physical bruises.
Charlotte has come to Europe for a different reason. It’s a few years after WW2 has ended and she’s searching for her cousin, Rose. She finds more than she bargained for when she hooks up with Evelyn and her driver.
There were a lot of great things about this book. I listened to it over the course of a few weeks and while the audio was well done, I don’t think audiobooks are my best way to read book club books. I have trouble remembering the plot and key points!
All in all it was quite good!!
“How a ring plus a premature baby demands respect ability.”
This is a reread for me. And honestly I could have started it over after finishing the last page. Duncan and Sam are a delight and I want to move to Galveston and be friends with them. Have babies that can attend their school. And learn how to choose joy in the moment and be brave.
“Joy is the antidote to fear. To anger. To boredom. To sorrow.” “But you can’t just decide to feel joyful.” “True. But you can decide to do something joyful.”
This is so good. A modern day Mister Rogers meets a delightful Teddy! I devoured this book and it was the perfect love story. Just delightful. I’m not even sure what else to say, just that it was amazing! I want to watch the movie (who will make it?)
“He remembers the her she was last night, not the her she was right now, and … Oh, this was all confusing. Having a secret identity was far more complicated than movies made it seem.”
I picked this up at the library when my holds came in because it was tagged “yummy reads” and it was delightful!
Three separate lives intertwined at a new book club featuring cookbooks. Delicious food, fun friendships, women finding themselves. It has everything one wants in a weekend read!
“BoozyCrocker MUST EAT BUTTER. #TheCookbookClub is now open to new members. Foodies, come join us! Three-drink minimum. No skipping dessert. Meet in Bethesda. DM me. No psychos, no diets. #foodporn #saycheese #cheese #feta #musteatbutter #delicious #whenindoubtadsbutter #bethesdafoodscene”