Words, Dessert, & Wine- That’s It

Oh man. Thank goodness it’s Friday.

How are you all? Long week, slow week, good week, bad week? Either way, it’s over and it’s time to celebrate Friday!

It’s the simple things, my dear bookworms, which delight me.

So, if you’ve been following the posts this week you know the theme has been books that terrify me. All five of Lisa Genova’s books fit this bill. They each scare me in some form or another because they are all based upon truth.

Yesterday was the final book in my American Horror Stories series, which featured Every Last Note by Genova.

Tonight I wanted to end the week with a book that has similar terrifying qualities- like Genova’s books. I read this book many year ago and it still gets under my skin. A movie based on the book came out several years ago and I haven’t seen it and I don’t want to. The book was more than enough.

Every Friday on this blog I post a book, a dessert, and wine. Today is no different, so let’s get started!

The Book:

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult follows the Fitzgerald family. Sara and Brian have two children, Jesse and Kate. When Kate develops leukemia, everything changes. Sara and Brian feel their only chance at saving Kate is to conceive another child.

Anna is born and her life consists of one medical procedure after another in efforts to help save Kate. Of course there’s a million ethical questions and alarms that I’m sure are going off, but that’s not what bothers me most.

Dealing and caring for a horribly sick child is what bothers me. Bother isn’t even the right word. It’s unimaginable. It’s both sad and terrifying. Leaving that aside for a moment to then think about another child being subjected to test after test is awful still.

What would you do in this situation ? I’m asking you, because I have no idea what I’d do. I’m not judging anyone’s answer, because I’ve not walked in those shoes.

The whole situation is horribly gut wrenching.

Although this book, like Genova’s, can be difficult to read, I do recommend it. I have read many of Picoult’s books and they never fail to make me think deeply.

The Dessert:

This is the same Almond Butter blondie that I posted a few weeks back. They key ingredient is Trader Joe’s brand almond butter. It hadn’t cooled enough to cut in to pieces, but I thought it was beautiful enough to post right in the pan.

The Wine:

The wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon by Seven Daughters. It’s from California and it is a new wine for me. Wine always pairs well with dessert, so I’m not worried about this one 🍷

Well bookworms, I’m exhausted. I meant to get this post up earlier, but the day got away from me.

Stick around- next week’s theme is true crime and I have some good ones just waiting to share with you.

Cheers.

“If you have a sister and she dies, do you stop saying you have one? Or are you always a sister, even when the other half of the equation is gone?” -Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

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Forever Fall & Forever Friday Please

Dear Bookworms,

Today was beautiful and because it’s Friday, well that’s just the icing on the cake.

It was so beautiful that it almost made me sad. Fall does not ever last long enough in my humble opinion.

If it could just be forever fall and forever Friday.

If you are new to my blog, on Fridays, along with book stuff I also post about dessert and wine. So now that you are caught up, let’s go!

The Book:

Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen was first introduced to me by a girl in my bookclub. She raved and raved about it so I went to Overdrive (free library app for e books for my Kindle) to put it on hold. As amazing as Overdrive is, it didn’t have Harry’s Trees in its collection yet, so my only choice was to put it on their recommendation list. Usually my library is pretty good about buying recommend books, it’s just sometimes you’ve got to be a little patient.

A few weeks later, translating: last week, I went to the library looking for a different book. I found what I was looking for and was on my way out, when Harry’s Trees about hit me in the face! The cover is so darn beautiful too, and I’m a sucker for a stunning cover. I added HT to my bundle and headed home.

Of course I’m reading a million other books and truthfully I did not open HT for at least four days after checking it out.

But it’s just so pretty, that it simply begs to be opened.

So I opened it and started reading it. I know, I know, I should’ve stopped, but my will power is complete crap when it comes to books. I’m just a few chapters in and so far, so good. Below is the Amazon synopsis:

• Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane works as an analyst for the US Forest Service. When his wife dies suddenly, he is unable to cope. Leaving his job and his old life behind, Harry makes his way to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, determined to lose himself. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She and her mother, Amanda, are struggling to pick up the pieces from their own tragedy – Amanda stoically holding it together while Oriana roams the forest searching for answers. And in Oriana’s magical, willful mind, she believes that Harry is the key to righting her world.

Now it’s time for Harry to let go….

After taking up residence in the woods behind Amanda’s house, Harry reluctantly agrees to help Oriana in a ludicrous scheme to escape his tragic past. In so doing, the unlikeliest of elements – a wolf, a stash of gold coins, a fairy tale called The Grum’s Ledger and a wise old librarian named Olive – come together to create a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana’s wildest dreams and open Harry’s heart to a whole new life •

So what do you think? Have you read it? Let me know your thoughts.

The Dessert:

These are Almond Butter Blondies. What makes them so amazing besides being low sugar (low carb) is the key ingredient. I use Trader Joe’s Almond Butter and it makes them nothing short of phenomenal. A friend of mine figured this out when she was experimenting with the recipe one day. On my next trip to the grocery store I grabbed some random jar of almond butter. They were good, but they weren’t what my friend had made. The skeptic that I can be (and totally not doubting my friend) was thinking how can one almond butter be so drastically different from another. The other reason, the closest Trader Joe’s is an hour from me. And you can’t order it online unless you want to get ripped an new one by some price gouger on Amazon selling it for $14 a jar (normally it’s $5 something a jar at TJ’s). So now when I make the trek to TJ’s I buy it in obsessive amounts-as in nine or so jars. If you were eating these right now, you’d understand.

The Wine:

This is my first time trying Crushed. It’s a red blend from California. It’s good, pretty smooth and somewhat dry. No complaints for under $10 and a screw off top.

So there you have it, my dears. Another Friday post for the books, or the blog? I don’t know how the saying goes, just go with it and have another glass.

Cheers.

“I think books are like people, in the sense that they’ll turn up in your life when you most need them.” – Emma Thompson

Ignore The To-Do List, Put Your Feet Up, & Enjoy Your Friday

How are you?

During the week there are so many blocks of time promised to other things. Whether it’s work, getting myself or my boys to appointments, going to the grocery store, or getting to practices. Between all of that I’m always making lists of what the next block of time will consist of. There are so many aspects to daily life and keeping a household running. That’s not accounting for the unexpected. Like the dryer or dishwasher breaking, or the toilet backing up, or somebody being a complete hypochondriac because they have run out of deodorant (it’s obviously completely irrelevant that there are little markets on every other corner where deodorant could be bought rather quickly in such an emergency). Is that why moms (and some dads, I’m sure) keep extras of everything stashed away, why their handbags are mini-arsenals of supplies that could probably get their family through the first days of Armageddon?

It’s all so much. I think that’s why I make lists and also another reason why I am so passionate about reading. List-making helps me to write things down in the moment, I can clarify and think more about the specifics later. Reading allows my mind to go somewhere else, even if it’s just for ten minutes. It allows me a break from the constant planning and thinking about what comes next.

Friday’s are the day that I have the biggest block of free time, or at least it feels that way. I look forward not having to get everything done in the evening because it’s a school night. Everyone’s mood is always better on Friday-have you noticed that?

People like breaks.

Not only do we like them, we need them, if simply to keep our sanity intact before the next dramatic outburst or turn of events smacks us across the face.

So, Happy Friday to you.

I came across On Beauty by Zadie Smith not too long ago. She is an author who has got a lot of literary attention. I have never read anything of hers, nor been particularly drawn to her work. OB is the one that has been most recommended to me, which is why I picked it up. Her first novel, White Teeth, was introduced in 1997 before its completion, based only upon a partial manuscript. On Beauty is her third book. Smith has taught at Columbia and NYU. She is married and has two children. Her first collection of short stories, Grand Union, will be published next month. Below is the Amazon synopsis:

• On Beauty is the story of an interracial family living in the university town of Wellington, Massachusetts, whose misadventures in the culture wars—on both sides of the Atlantic—serve to skewer everything from family life to political correctness to the combustive collision between the personal and the political •

If anyone has read this book or another of Smith’s books, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Tonight I made two desserts, because why not? On the gold-colored plate are the Reese’s Cups and also the Almond Butter Chocolate Chip bars.

No Jam Jar tonight. This is a Pinot Noir called Cherry Blossom. It is a much dryer wine than JJ, but it’s good to mix things up. Maybe next week I will make three desserts?

Happy reading 📚

Sincerely,

tmc

“I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve.” – Montesquieu

Something Sweet, Something Devine, Something With Pages-All Three Might Be Mine (But I’d Share).

Sometimes it feels like it takes an act of Congress for Friday to arrive, but lo and behold,

it’s here.

As I write this post, I have already had a glass of wine and some delicious desserts. The reading is soon to commence along with a second glass of wine.

Educated by Tara Westover is the September book for my bookclub. I haven’t actually started reading it yet, but plan to by Sunday. I have one or two books that I’m hoping to finish by tomorrow so I can count them in my August total.

I am really excited to start reading Educated. I have only heard amazing things about it. Regarding hard-scrabble-ish childhoods, I have read Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance and The Glass Castle by Janette Walls (I recommend them both). I’m sure you all have read (or at least heard of) Educated, but I’m still going to post the Amazon synopsis-because that’s just what I do when I haven’t read a book I’m talking about on this blog.

Amazon synopsis:

• Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home •

Side note, these last few days have been absolutely beautiful, weather-wise. Summer used to be my favorite season, but Fall replaced it as my number one several years ago. Nothing beats the Fall air. That tell-tale crispness has been evident for the last two days and it makes me so happy. I cannot wait to live in sweaters and leggings.

Anyway, back to the books. I hope you all have had a productive month, both reading-wise and otherwise.

Since my Friday posts always feature drinks and desserts, I thought I’d post a recipe of one of my very favorites. It’s also amazingly easy.

I have made these in a pinch. As in, we were celebrating my neighbor’s 54th wedding anniversary and I told them during dinner that I had wine and dessert for them at our house (we were at a restaurant). We had driven separately and they followed us home and I quickly threw these together. They are that simple, I promise.

I hope you all have a great Friday night.

Sincerely,

tmc

“I can feel infinitely alive curled up on the sofa reading a book.”

– Benedict Cumberbatch

Friday Night Lights

The weekend.

These might be two of the best words. Even if I’m just sitting at home, which is most weekends, it should still be celebrated with wine, dessert, and copious amounts of reading. I have a funny story that happened about a year or so ago at the liquor store. It was a Friday and I stopped in on my way home to grab a few things. There is a drink I make with champagne because it’s very delicious, so I was grabbing a few larger bottles because champagne doesn’t seem to go very far (or maybe I drink too much of it). I brought my bounty to the register and I guess because it was champagne the cashier asked, “What are you celebrating?” I replied quite casually, “Friday.”

It’s the small things that make me happy. Friends, dessert, wine, and books, oh yes, also my cat even though she’s a grouch. When you celebrate the seemingly small things in life-like Friday’s, you end up realizing they really are the big things.

On to the book. The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver is one that I read a few years back and really liked it. Because it’s been awhile (and I’d like to get back to celebrating Friday) I’m going to post the Amazon synopsis:

• Noa P. Singleton never spoke a word in her own defense throughout a brief trial that ended with a jury finding her guilty of first-degree murder. Ten years later, having accepted her fate, she sits on death row in a maximum-security penitentiary, just six months away from her execution date. 
   Meanwhile, Marlene Dixon, a high-powered Philadelphia attorney who is also the mother of the woman Noa was imprisoned for killing. She claims to have changed her mind about the death penalty and will do everything in her considerable power to convince the governor to commute Noa’s sentence to life in prison, in return for the one thing Noa can trade: her story. Marlene desperately wants to understand the events that led to her daughter’s deathevents that only Noa knows of and has never shared. Inextricably linked by murder but with very different goals, Noa and Marlene wrestle with the sentences life itself can impose while they confront the best and worst of what makes us human

It’s such an interesting story. If you’ve accepted your fate on something as serious being on death row, can you imagine having the chance to fight against your sentence? If your resolve has been to remain silent till this point, does that mean you’ve given up? Would the possibility for a different ending even matter? I imagine once your mind has weighed and dealt with such heavy things, is it difficult to allow a smidgen of hope back in? Is hope too heavy of a burden at that point? I don’t know. Thankfully I’ve never been in that situation.

Now back to lighter thoughts and also your regularly scheduled Friday.

Have a great evening, Bookworms.

Sincerely,

tmc

“Keep reading. It’s one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have.”

– Lloyd Alexander

Looking For Someone Who Deals In Luxury Goods-Yeah, The Cashier At The Liquor Store Will Be Just Fine

• Thank you #Scribner for this ARC of Turbulence by David Szalay •

I have a stack or two of homeless books in my bedroom. I am out of shelf space so they reside in a somewhat neat but hoardish stack next to a full book shelf. That stack is made up of new or new-to-me books. I usually sit near this stack when I blow dry my hair and put on make up (because the lighting is good) so I end up looking at them quite often. This is good in a sense because it keeps them more towards the forefront of my mind rather than competing with the rest of my book collection that are in another room.

Turbulence is one that I received about two months ago, but hadn’t read yet (and was sitting in this stack). If you can’t tell from the picture it is relatively short, coming in at just 145 pages. This is especially short in comparison to Lonesome Dove, at 843 pages, which I am also reading. For some reason Turbulence has been staring at me all week. So yesterday after my day of doing a million things was winding down, I grabbed this book from the stack. Don’t judge, I read a little of LD first.

Not only is Turbulence a fantastic read, but bookworms-it was a book I was able to read in one sitting.

This rarely happens.

In fact, it happens so rarely the last time it happened (after consulting my book journal) was November of 2016. The book was Chess Story by Stefan Zweig and I do recommend that book as well. I have read many books in two or three days over the course of my life, but a book in one sitting, hardly ever. Life is just too crazy. There is always somewhere to be, something to do, someone annoying talking thus disturbing precious reading time, or maybe you simply need to close your eyelids and sleep. I think life is against bookworms reading whole books in one sitting (too often) out of protection of getting lost in the amazingness. It simply too luxurious of a thing and one would get too entrapped by the luxury of it if it were allowed too often.

So, with that thought I will tell you a bit about Turbulence. Each chapter is titled with the combination of two airport codes. So chapter one is LGW-MAD, chapter two is MAD-DSS, three, DSS- GRU. Each chapter features a character from the previous chapter and their story. Someone they interact with will be a main character in the next chapter. I had to keep reading. If you pick this one up, you will too. I think I breezed through it in an hour and a half. Pure luxury is what that time was.

Since it’s Friday I decided to combine the decadence of reading a book in one sitting with dessert and wine, which are equally decadent.The wine featured is a red blend called Wish Flower and the dessert is an almond butter chocolate chip bar, sort of like a blondie.

They path to my heart is paved with pages, chocolate, and wine. Simple things that when combined are incredibly extravagant.

Cheers to Friday!

Sincerely,

tmc

“Language is wine upon the lips.”

-Virginia Woolf

Finally

Oh my word, is that Friday I see?

Break out the books, wine, and dessert ASAP. There’s just something that always feels good about Friday, even if my plans only include putting on pajama pants a few hours earlier.

Another bad habit I have when it comes to reading beside reading too many books at one time is getting more books. In this case I didn’t pay for them because they are from my library, however I have about 4,900 TBRs I should read first. But whatever.

The three above are books I was going to order from either thriftbooks.com or abe.com because the Overdrive app does not have them in digital format. Overdrive features a “recommend” tab and more often than not they seem to purchase the books I recommend, which then puts me on the waiting list. I recommended these three over a year ago and they haven’t purchased them yet, so I went to see if the library had them in hard copy. The three titles are:

1. Miss You by Kate Eberlen

2. A Theory of Love by Margaret Bradham Thornton

3. Self Portrait With Boy by Rachel Lyons

Now these are also on my nightstand that is already covered with books. I know it’s ridiculous, truly I know. I just can’t help it.

Happy Friday, Bookworms

“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.”

– Lena Dunham