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The Week in Review: 12.15.2017

December 15, 2017
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Between the Covers

Finished last week:

Amy Tan‘s latest, WHERE THE PAST BEGINS is one of the most unique memoirs I’ve ever read.  Between stories of her childhood and her family’s past, she shares tidbits about her writing process.  Readers will learn about the music she listens to, see emails between Tan and her editor, and read some entries from her journals.  They’ll also learn about her mother’s captivating past, Tan’s sad childhood, her recovery from a brain injury, and her love of language.  Tan also includes family photos as well as a few notes throughout the book.  I found much of it fascinating and would recommend WHERE THE PAST BEGINS to fans of Tan and or/memoirs as well as to those who enjoy immigrant stories.  (Review copy provided by Ecco.)

Oh, how I loved THE SHORTEST WAY HOME by Miriam Parker!  It’s the story of Hannah, a young woman on the verge of finishing her MBA at Berkeley who, along with her boyfriend Ethan, has her life all planned out.  They’ll move to New York, start their careers, and have children that Hannah will quit work to raise.  She’s all in until she walks into a winery and realizes that the whole New York thing isn’t really her dream – it’s Ethan’s.  She decides to stay at the winery to see if she can figure out what her dream is.  This book is about relationships – family, friends, and love – as well as finding oneself.  It’s infused with wit and humor and lots of tidbits about wine and literature.  I’m not a wine drinker but reading about it in THE SHORTEST WAY HOME made me wish I were.  This book comes out in July of 2018 and I adored it so much, I’ve already pre-ordered a finished copy.  I think it’s perfect for book clubs and I hope I can talk mine into reading it next fall.

Miriam Parker is one of the first publishing people I met after starting my blog.  She was living in Blacksburg at the time and Vance was a student at Virginia Tech so I would try to squeeze in a few minutes with her whenever we visited Vance.  She’s moved since then and Vance has graduated but Miriam and I still exchange the occasional email.  I don’t think knowing her influenced my opinion of the book – as a matter of fact, I think I read it more critically, especially at the beginning, because of it.  Order a copy of this book or get your library to – you won’t be disappointed! (Review copy provided by the author.)

WHY AM I ME? is a beautiful picture book by Paige Britt that poses a pretty deep question.  A young boy is with his father and a young girl is with her mother and they’re both wondering why they’re them and not someone else.  The two meet at the end.  I think this is a question many young children have wondered – I remember having thoughts like that myself when I was a child – but I didn’t feel like the book added anything thought provoking to the discussion.  I do think the illustrations by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko are outstanding and children and parents should enjoy looking at them.  (Review copy provided by Scholastic.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Vance and I went to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.  It’s a quirky, dark comedy about a woman seeking answers about her daughter’s murder.  When she doesn’t hear from the police in 7 months, she takes matters into her own hands and pays for billboards on the edge of town.  They reveal the ugly side of their small town so some people approve of her actions while others don’t.  The acting was terrific in this well cast movie and there were enough twists and turns to keep me glued to my seat the whole time.  There was lots of language and there were a few scenes that made me squeamish so this movie isn’t for everyone.

Off the blog

  • We did get snow last Friday and Saturday but, luckily, very little stuck so it didn’t cause any issues.  It’s been cold since then – some nights have been in the 20s, which is very rare for us in December.
  • I finished our Christmas cards and am pretty much done with the gift shopping.  Now I have to plan a few meals and shop for them.
  • My book club met Tuesday.  We don’t read a book in December; instead we socialize and have a “Dirty Santa” book swap.  A few of the books – THE LAST BALLAD by Wiley Cash, VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani, and THE LAST CASTLE by Denise Kiernan – were so popular we decided to read them next year.
  • We walked three miles every morning (even when it was in the 20s) and I averaged almost 19,500 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

26 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2017 4:06 am

    I love Amy Tan and also want to read The Shortest Way Home! As for Netflix we just finished Mindhunter and have started Atypical.

  2. December 15, 2017 6:28 am

    Really looking forward to The Shortest Way Home. It sounds like my kind of read 🙂
    I’m not as prepared for Christmas as you but will get there. Have a good weekend, Kathy.

  3. Beth F permalink
    December 15, 2017 6:38 am

    I think a copy of Shortest Way Home is on its way to me. Can’t wait to read it. Love the wine connection!

    I’ve been curious about Billboards, I’ll add it to our list.

  4. December 15, 2017 6:42 am

    You had a great book week as far as reading goes. I can’t wait to read Miriam’s book. I’m so excited — hopefully over break!

  5. December 15, 2017 7:56 am

    Seems like you had an especially good reading week! I’d like to read Amy Tan’s memoir and The Shortest Way Home sounds promising, too.

  6. December 15, 2017 8:58 am

    Miriam’s book sounds wonderful, I can’t wait to read it. I hope you and your family have a happy holiday season.

  7. December 15, 2017 8:59 am

    You’ve read some great books this past week 🙂 That movie sounds like a must-see! Hope you have a fantastic weekend!!

  8. December 15, 2017 9:57 am

    We also saw 3 Billboards. Agree that it was very well-acted. Liked it okay. Didn’t go crazy for it like many people did.
    Just finished Close Enough to Touch, by Colleen Oakley. Only my 2nd 4/4 of the year! It was really excellent.

  9. December 15, 2017 10:52 am

    I keep hearing good things about Amy Tan’s memoir!

  10. December 15, 2017 11:55 am

    How great that you personally know Miriam Parker, and I love the sound of The Shortest Way Home. It reminded me of that time when I was young and made choices that were not completely about the life I wanted. Growing and changing made me realize what I wanted.

    Thanks for sharing.

    I want to see Billboards…and had planned to do so by now. The friend who wanted to see it is suddenly involved in surgeries, etc., so I will probably just go. I often do that…go to movies alone, as not everyone I know likes what I like. Imagine that!

    Enjoy your weekend.

  11. December 15, 2017 2:12 pm

    What a great reading week you had! I want to read all three of them. I’m glad to hear you liked Billboards. The trailer appeals to me because of the actors, but friends say it looks grotty. I’m going to see it anyway now that I have your opinion. Have a great weekend Kathy.

  12. December 15, 2017 4:32 pm

    I loved your thoughts about Miriam Parker’s book! Your week sounded lovely and productive!

  13. December 16, 2017 12:36 am

    Well, I do love wine so I added The Shortest Way Home to my TBR list 🙂 Jason wanted to see the Billboard movie (I didn’t know anything about it) but we haven’t had time. I can’t believe it got down to the 20’s down there. It was 7 degrees when I took Gage to the bus today. Next week we’re supposed to hit ZERO 😦 And that’s without windchill.

  14. December 16, 2017 4:56 am

    Why Am I Me? sounds like a really great book to read! Haven’t heard of it before, but it has my interest now.

  15. December 16, 2017 7:25 am

    The Shortest Way Home sounds great!

  16. December 16, 2017 2:34 pm

    I put in a purchase suggestion at my library as soon as I saw Miriam had published her book.

    My current audiobook read is Turtles All The Way Down.

  17. December 16, 2017 9:32 pm

    I love the sound of The Shortest Way Home. Sounds like a dream book.

  18. December 17, 2017 8:07 am

    Im looking forward to the Amy Tann book, I have so many books waiting to be read at the house I probably don’t have any business getting more!
    That’s great walking, 3 miles daily. I find it difficult to walk with a heavy coat and some days, I need it. We walk close to 2 and a half miles every morning before work.

  19. December 17, 2017 1:58 pm

    What a great week! and Brrrrrrrr… Cheers, Care

  20. December 17, 2017 5:46 pm

    Was it blood or torture that made you squeamish in the Billboard movie? I want to see it, but have a few doubts.

  21. Diane D permalink
    December 17, 2017 7:40 pm

    Looks like you’ve been busy and still managing to read as well. The new Amy Tan sounds good to me. Hope you have a great week Kathy.

  22. December 18, 2017 12:34 am

    The Shortest Way Home sounds excellent! You had a great, busy, step-filled week! I still have some Christmas chores left. Have a great week ahead!

  23. December 18, 2017 8:30 am

    Great post this week! I’m interested in the Amy Tan book and the Miriam Parker book too. They sound good! The Ebbing Missouri movie as well. You had a good week and are so organized for Christmas — I’m envious.

  24. December 18, 2017 7:53 pm

    I’m not familiar with Miriam Parker, but I’ve seen a few bloggers post about her book. I’ll have to get a copy when it comes out! You are so good with all your steps. Even walking for an hour on the treadmill or out on the bluff trails only edges me just over 10,000 for a day. I guess i spend too much of the rest of my time sitting! I used to move around so much more when I was working. It’s easy to sit at the computer and realize a couple of hours have passed!

  25. December 20, 2017 8:10 pm

    The Shortest Way Home sounds awesome! Totally my kind of book. And I do love wine!

  26. January 5, 2018 12:23 pm

    I loved the Amy Tan memoir.

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