Since May was such a prolific reading month, I’ve split the reading lists across a couple of posts. For this edition of QuickLit, I’m highlighting three fiction finds that made for enjoyable May reading.
Summer Hours at the Robbers Library by Sue Halpern – I picked this up while browsing the new releases at the local library. This is a quiet and character driven story set in a Carnegie Library in a small New Hampshire town that is sputtering along in spite of local manufacturing drying up. Over the course of a summer, a librarian fleeing her past, a home-schooled teen girl forced to work in the library when caught stealing a dictionary and a former wall street banker are drawn together as they each are recovering from their own trauma and looking for new life and opportunity. I’ll admit that the first chapter had me wondering if I was going to continue reading because it didn’t seem to be tied to the book jacket description – but continuing on revealed a worthwhile read.
I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon – It’s safe to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed each book by this author. She has a great way with taking historical stories and creating an engaging and complete fictional tale around the facts. In this new release, the heart of the story is how Anna Anderson spent 50 years battling to be recognized as the Russian Grand Duchess, Anastasia Romanov. This well crafted story was told in a most unique format – chapters from Anastasia (pre-Romanov execution) are told in 1st person chronological order and chapters from Anna are told in 3rd person reverse chronology. Well worth the time to dive into this Romanov read.
Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict – An engaging story of a young Irish woman who assumes a different identity enroute to the US and end up being placed as the lady’s maid for Andrew Carnegie’s mother. As Clara navigates learning the ways of being a lady’s maid she realizes that Mrs. Carnegie is still figuring out her place in society as the family has ascended from working class into the upper echelons of Pittsburgh society. Clara and Andrew form a forbidden friendship over a shared love of books and reading – as their relationship turns into more, Clara vanishes. As Andrew Carnegie hunts for her, the foundations for his charitable legacy & Carnegie Libraries are being established in his thinking and planning. An engaging “what if” story set against a well know figure of American industry whose philanthropy continues to this day.
What are you reading these days?
More May reading is found in my “Show Us Your Books” post and these 3 food reads.
Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s QuickLit. Also, joining in with Three on Thursday, hosted by Carole.
For today’s Three on Thursday, three food related books that I read as advanced copies via NetGalley. Two cookbooks that have me tagging recipes to make and an ode to Chicago pizza that has me missing the tavern style pizza that I used to get from the local bar around the corner from my apartment. I have beets and apples in the fridge that will be turned into Yellow Beet & Apple Jam this week based on the first of these books.
Ciderhouse Cookbook by Jonathan Carr, Nicole Blum, Andrea Blum – **** – Reading through Ciderhouse Cookbook is like stepping into the kitchen and sitting down around the table of the apple farmers that wrote the book. Starting with simple cider syrups and vinegars, the cookbook walks through a full menu of recipes that draw on apples and ciders to add that extra spark to the plate, bowl or glass. As I read through this cookbook, I was continually reading out titles and descriptions to my Mom & making a list of recipes to try – not only as apple season returns but also throughout the summer and the farmers market bounty. Free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Book is available July 24th.
Pizza City USA by Steve Dolinsky – **** – A tasty treatise on the pizza that feeds Chicago. Outside of Chicago, most people assume that Chicago style pizza is the big deep dish pie. Those who have lived there know that is just one of many types and really isn’t even the best option out there. As a former Chicago city resident, reading this book provided some fond memories of a couple of different pizzerias that were favorites while I was there. Beyond just reviews and pictures of pizzerias, Steve Dolinsky brings his journalism chops to the table and provides a history of pizza in the city and also a smart education on pizza basics. This book had me longing for a Windy City pie and also has me looking at pizza everywhere through a new and more knowledgeable lens. Free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Book is available September 15th. Bonus: The author has now started a Pizza Tour (https://pizzacityusa.com/) that allows you to sample some of the pies in the book – sounds like a great addition to Chicago tourist fun.
The Fat Kitchen by Andrea Chesman – **** – More than “just” a cookbook, “The Fat Kitchen” provides an in-depth guide to all manners of animal fat – offering instructions on how to render the fats into goodness that will add an extra level of deliciousness to your cooking and baking. The information and recipes in this book provide a great reference for taking the leap into using more animal fat within your kitchen. Free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Book is available November 13th.
Joining the Three on Thursday link-up hosted by Carole.
I had a business trip to Norman, OK this week so I was flying in and out of the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. For this Thursday, I’m sharing three art views from my travels through the airport.
Of course, the Will Rogers World Airport would have a statue of Oklahoma’s Native Son on his horse, Teddy. This is out front as I walked to the rental car shuttle.
Today’s early morning departure included a bit of Chihuly as I walked from the post-security “recompose area” to my gate.
And finally, a bit of nature’s art – a gorgeous view of the sun coming up over the horizon as we taxied to takeoff.
Linking up with Carole and Kat for Three on Thursday.
One of my favorite things in January, as the year starts full of promise and we all hit the reset button and identify our One Word or other intentions/resolutions is watching and waiting for amaryllis to burst forth in bloom.
Dad always got his girls amaryllis bulbs over the years – realizing there would be no bulb from Dad at Christmas was a “Missing Dad” moment, for sure. This season, I picked up a couple of the “new” Amaryllis Wax Bulbs from Trader Joe’s to enjoy in the new year. I kept them closed up in a bag to keep growth at bay until I was back from Christmas in the Ville.
It has been fascinating to watch their progress and not worry about watering, over watering, staking the stalk, and wondering if I’d come home to bulb/pot/dirt on the floor.
On this Thursday, 3 highlights from my Amaryllis Watch 2018.
January 14th – Red emerging; White is maybe a 6″ stalk
January 17th – Working from home on a snowy day – the red blooms pop against the snow
January 20th – Red has eclipsed; White is a stunted stalk but blooms are popping
Overall, I was very impressed with these bulbs. I will definitely look for these again in future seasons.
Are you an Amaryllis grower?
Do you have another favorite “forced indoor bulbs” ritual?
Linking up with Carole and Kat for Three Things on Thursday.
Since this Thursday is day 11 of my January Whole30 reset, today’s three things are tied to that. One of my keys to success with Whole30 is to spend some time each week prepping an assortment of meal components that can easily be added together through the week for quick and tasty meals.
This month, my skillet is getting quite a workout – both during food prep and also with many simple skillet suppers. Here, 3 quick meals that have hit the spot.
Skillet Sizzled Salad – In my largest skillet, a bit of avocado oil to get started. Then the chicken sausage went into a section of the skillet. After a few minutes sliced pears were added to another section. Then a large handful of spinach and baby kale added to the remaining section of the skillet. Once greens are wilted, transfer all to the bowl. Topped with a few pecans, blueberries & Tessemae’s Caesar dressing.
Lazy Saturday Skillet– aka, clearing out some bits before another round of food prep. The last of the baby kale from one container + some roasted veggies (carrots, Brussels, butternut) + chocolate chili.
Chili Greens Skillet – Pan fried some frozen okra (avocado oil, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper) + chocolate chili + spinach. Just a touch of Tessemae’s Caesar dressing to finish the bowl.
Do you have any “quick skillet recipes” that are in your rotation?
I have some posts planned to share some of the food prep activity that is helping me with this Whole30.
Linking up with Carole & Kat for Three on Thursday.