Half-Full Or Half-Empty = Same Amount Of Wine -Happy Friday, Bookworms

Happy Friday, Bookworms.

Although my previous post about the library went up this morning, it was actually supposed to be yesterday’s post. I was having trouble getting it to successfully upload last night.

Seeing as how it’s Friday, I couldn’t not post an official wine-book-dessert post. So I suppose it’s a two-for-one.

All bookworms love a beautiful cover and The Guest House by Sarah Blake definitely falls in to this category. It was also bought for one dollar from the library sale shelves, so it’s a thrifty beauty as well.

This is a new release (May 2019) and it caught me off guard to see it on those shelves. It’s not an ARC, so someone paid a lot more than a dollar for this book, read it, and then donated it. I’m not complaining, I’m just always amazed when I find such a treasure. Since I haven’t read it yet, the Amazon synopsis is below:

• No. It is a simple word uttered on a summer porch in 1936. And it will haunt Kitty Milton for the rest of her life. Kitty and her husband, Ogden, are both from families considered the backbone of the country. But this refusal will come to be Kitty’s defining moment, and its consequences will ripple through the Milton family for generations. For while they summer on their island in Maine, anchored as they are to the way things have always been, the winds of change are beginning to stir.

In 1959 New York City, two strangers enter the Miltons’ circle. One captures the attention of Kitty’s daughter, while the other makes each of them question what the family stands for. This new generation insists the times are changing. And in one night, everything does.

So much so that in the present day, the third generation of Miltons doesn’t have enough money to keep the island in Maine. Evie Milton’s mother has just died, and as Evie digs into her mother’s and grandparents’ history, what she finds is a story as unsettling as it is inescapable, the story that threatens the foundation of the Milton family myth •

Sounds good, doesn’t it? A family drama and also, Maine. Having a book that takes a place there is going to take my attention right to it.

So the sweet shiraz by Jam Jar is no surprise, it’s actually a staple for me and also this blog, especially on Friday.

The dessert is my version of no-bake cookies. They are a peanut butter base, instead of using rolled oats (oats aren’t bad, they are high in fiber, but they are also high in carbs and I eat low carb) I use unsweetened coconut pieces. I then drizzled dark chocolate over them.

So there you have it-a book, some wine, and also some dessert.

Cheers!

Sincerely,

tmc

“Reading is going toward something that is about to be, and no one yet knows what it will be.”

– Italo Calvino

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Home Grown Beauty Inside And Out

Professionally speaking who do you admire? Is there one person or several with whom you feel are simply at the top of their game? Another question, do you have access to them?

Personally, there are many people that come to mind when I think about the first question. And to the second- yes I absolutely have access to these people, because they all reside in one magnificent space. The people who come to mind are Stephen King, Anne Tyler, Thomas Harris, Scott Turow, and Pat Conroy, to name a few. This talented group of writers all live in one place, or at least their words, ie. their brilliant minds do : The library.

And my local library is amazing and quite stunning to look at.

The Art Circle Public Library (ACPL)has quite humble beginnings. “In 1898, a group of ladies known as the Art Circle put their heads together to begin a collection of books, which were originally assembled in the members’ homes,” according to an article given to me by the current Deputy Director. Their collection kept expanding but it wasn’t until March of 1939 that the first official Art Circle Public Library was opened in a former bank building. In 1975 another building was built to hold the still-expanding collection. The library and it’s resources were serving not only Cumberland county, but also the seven surrounding counties.

Skip ahead many years and once again the ACPL needed a much bigger space to call home. After many years of fundraising, on May 3, 2010, the brand new 34,000 square foot building opened its doors (see the above and below pictures).

The new building features two stories, a meeting room that can accommodate 300 people, study rooms, a beautiful children’s section, a catering kitchen, and a medium-sized conference room.Initially the library housed 85,000 items. Meaning books, DVDs, magazines, periodicals, etc. “This number is now at 104,000 and is growing every month,”said Wayne Schobel, who is the Administrative Assistant at the ACPL. Due to the ever increasing amount of items, several years back the library considered no longer carrying paperback books. “We received such flak about this,” said Schobel. Then a local women who was relocating to the west coast contacted the library and asked if she could donate her paperback book collection totaling a mere 9,000 books.

9,000 books.

A. That’s amazing

B. I’m totally jealous

C. Truly incredible

Anyway- not knowing what condition these books would be in they, which included not only library staff, but also some Boy Scouts and a UHaul truck, headed over to check them out. Schobel said, “most of the books were in pristine condition. “In addition to the donation of 9,000 books were twenty-three cartons of sheet music.” I guess the paperback books were staying after all. The ACPL continues to serve the seven surrounding counties and offers not only literacy programs, but entertainment and informative programs that greatly benefit this community. September is Tennessee author’s month and many authors will be at this event. Recently a retired Border and Immigration agent came to speak and almost 150 people came to listen. Authors and other speakers know this library is a “venue to get recognized,” [at] said Schobel.

Every month through May 2021 is booked for some type of art exhibit. Currently, quilts made by local Tennesseans are on display hanging from the inside balconies.


ACPL also distributes at no cost to the public, a monthly newspaper/magazine type publication called The BookPage

I try not to miss an issue. The BookPage has so many great articles. Ranging from writing questions, to fiction and non-fiction new book reviews, sections for book clubs, popular author interviews, and so much more. My copy always ends up dog-eared and coffee-ringed.

Libraries are essential for growing communities. Their resources must be utilized and supported. Big or small, old or new, every library is amazing in its own right. They speak softly in voices of the past as well as the present while also allowing you to revel in perfect solitude. Libraries are the stepping stones to turning ideas in to something tangible- and the possibilities are endless.

Sincerely,

tmc

Below are a few of my favorite quotes about libraries:

Some say they get lost in books, but I find myself, again and again, in the pages of a good book. Humanly speaking, there is no greater teacher, no greater therapist, no greater healer of the soul, than a well-stocked library.

L.R.Knost

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.

Jorge Luis Borges

The public library is where place and possibility meet.

Stuart Dybek

But at night, when the library lamps are lit, the outside world disappears and nothing but the space of books remains in existence.

Alberto Manguel

PS. A huge thank you to Wayne Schobel and the others at ACPL who took time out of their day to speak with me when I showed up unannounced and asking crazy book questions.

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

Something Old, Something New

Rather than ‘something borrowed and something blue,’ this is ‘something old and something new.’

I was looking at my bookshelves today and thought of something. About twelve years ago, due to a move and then not having any bookshelves I got rid of almost all my books. My collection wasn’t large at all back then, but I had read most everything I owned and not having any shelves posed a problem. I kept a few favorites and stuck them in a closet. Horrible, I know.

I’m older and thankfully much wiser (ha!) now. That, and my husband built some incredible bookshelves (which I’m sure he regrets because it only made my book collection grow) for me. The majority of the books on my shelves are unread because I have been working on building my collection over the past several years. I do keep what I’ve read, but only if I really love it.

So looking at my shelves I thought it might be fun to do a post on ‘something old, something new.’ Meaning, something I’ve read and kept (“old”) and something I haven’t read yet (“new”).

‘Something old‘: Nemesis by Philip Roth

My neighbor, friend, and fellow bookworm Frank gave this book to me a few months back. I devoured it in about two days. It’s about the polio epidemic of 1944 and the effect it has on a tight-knit community in New Jersey. Going in to this book, I knew a little about polio. Typically children today are vaccinated against it, but I know before the vaccination existed, many who contracted it were left paralyzed. What I didn’t know is that it often killed those who contracted it, and quickly. It came on with a fever and then quickly escalated in to a terrible disaster and tragedy. This story follows a twenty-something playground director who begins losing some of the children he cares for to polio. No one was able to uncover where or why polio was becoming rampant in that area. He ends up working at a summer camp where the air is supposed to be “pure of contaminants.” From there the story continues its devastating path. I do recommend Nemesis, if anything it will give you an introduction to Philip Roth. Continuing on yesterday’s thread, Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral in 1998.

Here is ‘Something New’: The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern

This book has been around for a few years now, but I’ve yet to read it, so it’s new to me. Morganstern has a new book out this November titled, The Starless Sea. TNC looks like a fun read and I know many of you have read it-so please share your thoughts about it. Did you enjoy it, do you think it’s worth reading?

For those bookworms who are out of the three-ring-circus loop like me and haven’t read this, here is the Amazon synopsis:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

‘Something Old and Something New’ is new to this blog. It came about sort of on its’ own and I think I’ll let it run its course, unless I run out of books!

Sincerely,

tmc

“My life is a reading list.”

– John Irving

A Diner, Coffee Rings And The Pulitzer

Do books that win or are finalists for literary awards make you more interested in reading them? Are awards such as the Man Booker, PEN/Hemingway, or the Pulitzer enticing, or do you even care?

Personally I’ve felt both ways. A few years ago I was sort of anti-Pulitzer books, which stemmed largely from the 2015 win of All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. A fan of that book I was not and to win such a prestigious prize made me want to choke. But that’s just me and I know most would disagree with that assessment.

I have a list of all of the fiction Pulitzer winners and it’s interesting to peruse and see which on the list I have read over the years. Some of the books that have taken the prize amaze me and not in a good way. While writing requires a honed skill, it also needs the right eye to see its beauty. We are entitled to our opinions and some opinions are clearly the majority and some are not.

To each their own, I suppose.

Some Pulitzer Prize favorites of mine and the year they won:

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, 1981

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, 1992

Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides, 2003

The Road by Cormac McCarthy, 2007

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, 2014

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, 2016

A few years ago there was a friend on social media who only posted about books that had won the Pulitzer. I thought this was really interesting and informative and I liked hearing him speak about the various prize-winning books. Of the favorite books listed above, all but A Thousand Acres were read in the last few years. It was his insight and views that kind of opened my mind again to those books.

I love book people!

Empire Falls by Richard Russo has been on my shelf for a long time. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winning book (2002) that I always come across in used book stores for whatever reason. I am familiar with Russo because he wrote Nobody’s Fool, which became a movie that is one of my favorites to this day. If you haven’t somewhat guessed, Russo writes about the average person living a normal life. His contemporary domestic dramas are right up my alley and my favorite genre to boot.

Here is a synopsis from Amazon:

• Miles Roby has been slinging burgers at the Empire Grill for 20 years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. Or maybe it’s Janine, Miles’ soon-to-be ex-wife, who’s taken up with a noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps it’s the imperious Francine Whiting, who owns everything in town–and seems to believe that “everything” includes Miles himself. In Empire Falls Richard Russo delves deep into the blue-collar heart of America in a work that overflows with hilarity, heartache, and grace

Empire Falls has a (sort of) lengthy prologue, which I read last evening after finishing another book. Today I peeked a little at the first chapter and of course it sucked me in.

Russo has a brand new book titled Chances Are, which is sort of what prompted this whole post. I don’t have this book yet, but I am on hold for it and I can’t wait to read it. I’d give you the synopsis, but I’ve already worn your eyes out, so go check it out.

FYI, I’m still reading Lonesome Dove (which also won the Pulitzer in 1986), in case you were wondering.

Sincerely,

tmc

“I don’t believe one reads to escape reality. A person reads to confirm a reality he knows is there, but which he has not experienced.”

– Lawrence Durrell

Organically Speaking From The Heart

When I began thinking about starting this blog, writing about anything book-related was the main and most basic perimeter. After starting it, I also wanted the blog to develop organically. Now I’m not sure who wants something they are creating to feel anything but genuine and authentic, but wanting and actually getting this to happen can sometimes be worlds apart. It’s a wonderful thing to not only see progress, but also see something go in a direction you might not have foreseen. The major part of this process is time.

My goal with this blog has been three to four posts per week. I don’t have specific days that I aim to purposely post on other than Fridays. My short-term goal is to be consistent in posting. Long-term goals-I’m still thinking about those. I haven’t thought of specifically posting book reviews on certain days or anything of that nature. Whereas book reviews will obviously be a part of my book blog, if I feel like posting something else (book-related) then I’m going to post on that. I want post ideas to develop on their own. Easier said than done, but I soon realized that was also a goal of mine.

I apologize for the long-winded nature of this post-bear with me sweet bookworms.

This morning I feel like that very thing just happened, which is what this post is based upon.

If you read my previous post I mentioned I sit in a particular spot due to the light to apply make-up or dry my hair. This spot happens to be next to a stack of books, which is next to my non-fiction bookshelf. Sometimes I grab from the stack or shelf as I blow dry my hair and just read the first page or the back of a book to pass the time.

I grabbed the book pictured above, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I’ve had this book for a long time, but have not read it and if you would’ve asked where I got it, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.

That fact changed the second I flipped open the cover. This book was a gift from 2002.

From my sister.

She was a reader just like me. Was.

She passed away fifteen years ago and that fact still has the power to cut like a knife.

I had planned to write about her on this blog, but not yet. I did mention her a few posts back in regards to her introducing me to a specific author, but it was a minor reference. Opening that book today and seeing her inscription was the first step towards true authenticity. I knew it should be posted. Everything I have said on here has been true, but I more or less kind of planned the posts.

Planning is a good thing, but organically happening and coming together is something different. And it’s just kind of cool.

AHWOSG has been around for awhile, but in case you aren’t familiar, here is the synopsis from Amazon:

At the age of 22, Eggers became both an orphan and a “single mother” when both his parents died within five months of one another of unrelated cancers. In the ensuing sibling division of labor, Dave is appointed unofficial guardian of his 8-year-old brother, Christopher. The two live together in semi-squalor, decaying food and sports equipment scattered about, while Eggers worries obsessively about child-welfare authorities, molesting babysitters, and his own health. His child-rearing strategy swings between making his brother’s upbringing manically fun and performing bizarre developmental experiments on him. (Case in point: his idea of suitable bedtime reading is John Hersey’s Hiroshima.)

There are people who really love this book and those who don’t care at all for it, which I suppose you could probably say the same for most books. The format is a little different. It has a small section at the back that is written upside down. Maybe that irritates people, I really don’t know. If you come across it, check it out for yourself.

As this blog continues I want to share book-related events that have shaped my life. Whether they have taken me down memory lane and have true sentimental value or are a new read and will take me down roads yet traveled.

Either way, I hope you stick with me because everyone has a story.

Sincerely,

tmc

“The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.”

-James Bryce

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