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The Week in Review: 09.07.2018

September 7, 2018


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

It’s hard to describe WHISKEY IN A TEACUP: WHAT GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE, LOVE, AND BAKING BISCUITS by Reese Witherspoon since it’s part memoir, part cookbook, and part lifestyle book.  One of Witherspoon’s grandmother’s said southern women’s beauty and strength makes them like whiskey in a teacup and she has certainly embraced that saying.  Witherspoon shares her love of southern traditions, food, and style with personal anecdotes and recipes.  I enjoyed this book even though her southern upbringing was very different from mine – hers was more privileged while mine was in an area heavily influenced by the military plus my mother’s not from the south.  Having spent most of my life in the south, though, I could relate to most of the book.  While there’s nothing earth shattering in this book, I found it very pleasant to read – the stories are charming and the photographs are beautiful.  I think WHISKEY IN A TEACUP would make a lovely gift.  (Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.)


Mark Tatulli‘s graphic memoir, SHORT & SKINNY, is written for the middle grade set but older readers will enjoy it as well.  Tatulli was teased because he was short and skinny when he was in middle school and, as you would expect, it really bothered him.  One summer he vowed to do something about it so he sent off for one of those muscle building regimens you see in the back of magazines.  It was a rip-off, of course, but after seeing Star Wars, Tatulli found another way to excel and build his confidence.  I loved this quirky little coming of age story and the way Tatulli found his place and his voice with the help of his family and friends.  I know many young people will relate to him and I hope this book will inspire them to stay true to themselves and follow their dreams.  (Review copy provided by Little, Brown for Young Readers.)


EPPIE THE ELEPHANT (WHO WAS ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS) by Livingstone Crouse is an adorable picture book about, you guessed it, allergies.  Eppie is excited to start school but she’s also a little bit worried about her peanut allergies – would the other kids make fun of her?  She makes friends with Allie and Pearl right away, and the three of them were having a great day at school and then lunch rolled around.  Allie and Pearl sat with the rest of the class while Eppie felt isolated in the “Nut-Free” area.  Eppie felt alone and was nervous about going back to school until her friends showed her they cared about her.  This story and its cute illustrations will teach kids (with and without allergies) about friendship and acceptance.  They’ll enjoy the cute illustrations by Steve Brown and the rhyming verse.  I do think Crouse could have taken things a little bit further and explained why Eppie can’t have peanuts but parents and caregivers can use this book as an introduction and explain things to kids as they share this appealing book.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)


THE BEST COOK IN THE WORLD: TALES FROM MY MOMMA’S TABLE is the latest memoir from author Rick Bragg.  He set out to write down his mother’s recipes and found she doesn’t have any – she’s a wonderful cook but has never cooked from a cookbook.  He decides to write down her methods anyway and discovers there’s a story behind every one of the dishes she prepares.  He tells these stories with love and humor and includes a few recipes at the end of each chapter.

I met Bragg at an event at least 15 years ago and loved his storytelling.  Listening to this book felt very much like that evening – it was like listening to an old friend tell humorous and heartwarming family stories – and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Having Bragg read the audio version was the perfect choice with his southern accent – the love and admiration he has for his mother is evident.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


Currently reading:

On the Screen

I haven’t been very confident about Virginia Tech’s football team this year since the defense lost a lot of great players so I was a little nervous to watch Monday night’s game at FSU.  I was thrilled with the 24 to 3 victory Tech came away with and thought the defense looked strong.  The offense had its moments but still needs some work, in my opinion, but, overall, it was a great opening game.

Off the blog

  • It may not look like it but it feels like I’ve made great progress on my 3,000 piece puzzle.  Every piece that fits in feels like an accomplishment.
  • We’re seeing a few signs of fall – shorter days and falling leaves – but the heat and humidity continue to hang on.
  • We walked at least three miles every day and I averaged just over 16,675 Fitbit steps a day.

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

26 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2018 4:16 am

    The Best Cook in the World sounds great! I’ve heard of Rick Bragg but never read him. My grandmother cooked the same way as his mother, it sounds like. I’m really interested in reading that one.
    What did you think of the recipes in Whiskey in a Teacup, were they any good?
    Great reviews!

  2. Beth F permalink
    September 7, 2018 6:56 am

    Both your nonfiction books sound great. I think I have a copy of the Bragg book, but haven’t gotten to it yet (story of my life). Have fun with the puzzle!

  3. Sarah's Book Shelves permalink
    September 7, 2018 7:08 am

    Ooooh – I’m definitely going to have to listen to the Rick Bragg cookbook on audio…I LOVE him and met him at BEA once…he was super nice!

  4. September 7, 2018 7:31 am

    Adding the Bragg book to my audible wish list. Didn’t know RW had a book out. Great job on the puzzle. The most I do with jigsaw puzzles is an app on my iPad :).

  5. September 7, 2018 7:55 am

    Your nonfiction reading took a southern turn this week… both sound very good!

  6. Carol Evans permalink
    September 7, 2018 8:31 am

    The Best Cook in the World sounds like an audio I might enjoy.
    We had a lot of fun with the last puzzle we did. I may need to pick up another.

  7. September 7, 2018 9:59 am

    Kathy, there are a whole bunch of really good movies out now that you are missing. Go see Juliet, Naked, if you get a chance. It’s very entertaining.

  8. Diane permalink
    September 7, 2018 10:44 am

    You had a good week Kathy. Whiskey in a Teacup, took me bag to childhood— we’re not southerners nor big drinkers but I remember whenever kids or adults had a real bad cold, we were told to try, tea, a bit of whiskey and honey. 😂

  9. September 7, 2018 12:38 pm

    A Beautiful, Terrible Thing sounds good to me. I also like the look of Reese Witherspoon’s book. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy!

  10. September 7, 2018 1:55 pm

    I love Reese Witherspoon. I should get that!

  11. September 7, 2018 2:08 pm

    I got a print copy of the Bragg book from my library last week but after reading your thoughts on the audio I just went and put it on hold. I’ll use the print to check out the recipes.

  12. Literary Feline permalink
    September 7, 2018 2:38 pm

    It sounds like you had a good week, Kathy. My week was a busy one. I am glad the weekend is here. I have so much to do, but seem to lack the motivation to do it. I hope you have a great week next week!

  13. September 7, 2018 2:42 pm

    I could almost read that Reese book

  14. September 7, 2018 7:48 pm

    I like the idea of the Eppie the Elephant book. It sounds like a great place for families and classrooms to begin the discussion.

  15. September 8, 2018 10:22 am

    I love the idea for the Rick Bragg book! As my parents get older, I’m trying to be intentional about having them record all of the family stories.

    I’m so impressed by your puzzle–I think I’m hitting my puzzle peak with my five year old!

  16. September 8, 2018 11:12 am

    Thanks for the reviews- the Reese W book sounds interesting and the Rick Bragg book sounds like a winner. Judee

  17. September 8, 2018 4:26 pm

    I’ve been wondering about the Reese Witherspoon book – thanks for the recap!

  18. September 8, 2018 7:45 pm

    thanks – have now ordered the best cook from the library. Cheers

  19. September 10, 2018 12:33 am

    All of the books featured here sound good to me. Thank you for adding ideas to my reading list. It sounds like you’ve had another wonderful week, Kathy!

  20. September 10, 2018 11:50 am

    Nice reviews. I have been hearing so much about Reese Witherspoon’s book so I want to check it out.

  21. September 11, 2018 11:09 am

    I definitely need to read that Rick Bragg book! I know a few kids at our middle school who might appreciate the book Short and Skinny! When I notice kids nervous about their size, I also tell them about my classmate who was the smallest kid in school and now he is a grown man with muscles and taller than me. Everybody grows at different rates, he hit his during college.

  22. September 11, 2018 1:45 pm

    That book, tales from my momma’s table, sounds fantastic. Looks like you’re making progress on the puzzle. Any progress is good in my book. Happy reading week.

  23. September 11, 2018 5:14 pm

    Hi Kathy, that’s a great win for Tech against FSU, wow! What a start to the season. I’m thinking of you all near the East Coast as the Hurricane nears. Stay safe. & I’ll cross my fingers for less damage than they are predicting.

  24. September 11, 2018 5:43 pm

    I can see your progress that puzzle. Good job – keep going. I like the sound of Reese Witherspoon’s book. I’d like to read that one.

  25. September 13, 2018 3:52 am

    A great list of books–I have been curious about the Reese Witherspoon one. 😉

  26. bookingmama permalink
    September 22, 2018 10:45 am

    SHORT AND SKINNY looks fun! I still need to read Reese’s book!

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