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The Week in Review: 01.24.2020

January 24, 2020


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I’ve had LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green on my shelves for a long time and finally decided to give it a listen and I’m so glad I did!  It’s the story of Miles (Pudge) and his time at Culver Creek, a boarding school where he’s gone to seek “the Great Perhaps.”  Immediately befriended by his roommate Chip (The Colonel), Alaska, Lara, and Takumi, Pudge settles into life there.  Life goes on as they tend to do in boarding schools – with a series of pranks and students working hard – until one evening, after quite a bit of drinking, Alaska gets an upsetting phone call.  She leaves the school grounds and ends up dying.  Her friends try to reconstruct what happened after she left the school to try relieve their guilt and grief.

I’m a sucker for a boarding school setting so this book hooked me from the start.  That’s not enough to make me love a book, though, but the fabulous characters in this coming of age tale sure did.  I thought Green nailed the longings, emotions, and insecurities of teens and he helped me remember what it felt like to be one.  After I read this book, I discovered this was Green’s first book and is loosely based on his time in boarding school.   I thought this book was great and now understand why he’s so popular with the YA crowd.  The audio production is narrated by Wil Wheaton and he does a fantastic job – I’m now a fan of his as well.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


Pastry chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz dreamed of living in Paris ever since he visited the city upon graduating from college.  After working in great restaurants and writing some successful cookbooks he decided it was time.  He shares his adventures in his memoir THE SWEET LIFE IN PARIS.  With a keen sense of humor, Lebovitz shares what it’s like to live in The City of Lights including cooking in a tiny kitchen, dealing with manifestations, and figuring out how to navigate the French version of standing in line.  He shares the moment he truly became a Parisian and explains how he used food to warm the hearts of some of the grumpiest shopkeepers and tradesmen.  Luckily for readers, he includes quite a few recipes in the book!

I’ve never lived in Paris but I have lived in France and could relate to so much of this book!  Lebovitz writes of Paris and its citizens with humor and love while he tells of the ups and downs of living in the splendid city.   I loved his voice and flew through this terrific book!  I thought he captured the French perfectly and hope to read the rest of the books about his life in Paris soon.  (I won this book on Twitter from Fodor’s Travel.)


When Lucas gets a drone, it’s love at first sight.  He names his drone T-Bone and wants to spend every waking moment with it.  When he takes T-Bone out to learn to fly it, he ignores his friends who want to play wiffle ball.  They get tired of waiting for him and start a game without him.  Lucas gets mad and uses T-Bone to hit the ball . . . over the fence.  Lucas’s friends are upset so he has to figure out a way to get the ball back.

T-BONE THE DRONE by Shanda McCloskey is a modern day picture book about friendship and cooperation.  I liked the way Lucas and his friends worked to find a solution to their problem and thought the illustrations were terrific but did have a few issues with the book.  I wondered how many members of the picture book set know about drones and found the kids solution a little implausible. The story is not without merit, though and will probably appeal to youngsters who are into drones and other mechanical things.  (Review copy provided by Little, Brown Young Readers.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • I finished my puzzle.  It was a fun one.
  • Our winter’s been pretty mild, until this week.  Thankfully, it’s already starting to warm back up.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just over 17,200 Fitbit steps a day.

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

30 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2020 4:25 am

    I feel a Paris themed book binge coming on!

  2. Diane permalink
    January 24, 2020 7:01 am

    That’s a nice colorful puzzle! Looks live you read some very different books last week. Glad u shared!

  3. January 24, 2020 7:13 am

    I think I have read all the John Green books but that one! But unlike you, I kind of hate books about boarding schools, which is why I have skipped that one! :–)

  4. January 24, 2020 7:36 am

    The Sweet Life in Paris sounds like a memoir I’d enjoy so thanks for sharing! I love the puzzle and saw your IG pic of your new challenge. Good luck with that!

  5. January 24, 2020 8:59 am

    I love that puzzle!

    I still have an unread John Green book on my Kindle…Paper Towns. I should pull it forward! I am doing pretty well reading books from the past couple of years, but then there are those that are hiding.

    Enjoy your books and your week!

  6. January 24, 2020 9:13 am

    The Paris book and John Green’s sound terrific. I have copies of both, now I just need to read them 🙂 That puzzle – love it! Hope you have a great weekend!!

  7. Lloyd Russell permalink
    January 24, 2020 10:04 am

    I’ve never read Green. I guess one of these days I will have to do that.

    Lloyd (408) 348-4849

    On Fri, Jan 24, 2020 at 1:02 AM Bermudaonion’s Weblog wrote:

    > BermudaOnion posted: ” Between the Covers Finished last week: I’ve had > LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green on my shelves for a long time and finally > decided to give it a listen and I’m so glad I did! It’s the story of Miles > (Pudge) and his time at Culver Creek, a boarding s” >

  8. Sharon permalink
    January 24, 2020 10:37 am

    What puzzle is this? My husband and I are jigsaw puzzle aficionados and this looks like one we would enjoy.

    My favorite book this week was The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller.

  9. Helen Murdoch permalink
    January 24, 2020 12:03 pm

    Alaska is a really good book; John Green certainly has captured the right mix to appeal to both teens and adults. I think this is a movie now, but I haven’t seen it.

  10. January 24, 2020 2:33 pm

    I’ve had Looking For Alaska on my list for a very long time. I have a lot of Hoda Kotb books in my “want to read” list at the library. I love that puzzle! Good job with your steps.

  11. January 24, 2020 3:14 pm

    Oooh, you had me at Wil Wheaton! I loved his narration of Ready Player One. I’ve only read one book (The Fault in Our Stars) by John Green and this one has been on my list forever.

    That puzzle looks like a lot of fun! We’ve done three so far this month, but two were pretty little (under 200 pieces).

  12. January 24, 2020 5:29 pm

    The Sweet Life in Paris sounds so wonderful! I love the colorful puzzle. Have a terrific weekend, Kathy!

  13. January 25, 2020 2:27 am

    That puzzle looks fun 🙂

  14. January 25, 2020 6:45 am

    Love that colorful puzzle! As far as kids and drones…Gage had a small drone-like thing at 4 so it’s probably 3 now, lol. The Paris book sounds great. I’ve been antsy for more international travel.

  15. Mae Sander permalink
    January 25, 2020 8:26 am

    David L’s blog never appealed to me somehow, though I usually like to read about Paris. I think I maxed out on the American point of view and started looking for books by actual French people!

    best… mae at

  16. January 25, 2020 9:29 am

    I taught in a boarding school for 17 years. It is a community of its own. Sounds like a good read.

  17. Deb Christensen permalink
    January 25, 2020 12:03 pm

    I love boarding school set books too–I’ll have to give Looking for Alaska a try. Thanks for sharing. 😉

  18. January 25, 2020 5:47 pm

    I love boarding school settings as well but preferably with the cast still intact haha. That said – John Green is popular with the YA crowd. I have read and enjoyed one of his books but haven’t tried to read more of them. Need to change that. That puzzle you completed is beautiful!

  19. January 26, 2020 9:29 am

    I’ve loved both Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska by John Green. Wil Wheaton would make a perfect narrator for the emotionally intense books of Green. I’m glad you enjoyed Looking for Alaska. I wonder if John Green has other books that are as well written.

    Somehow I’d forgotten that Sweet Life in Paris was written by David Leibovitz. I am, of course, a huge fan of Paris the city, and I’m leaving for a trip there tomorrow. I’m taking along two more of Leibovitz’s books, My Paris Kitchen and L’appart. They are also full of recipes. We plan to cook while we are there, so maybe we will use some of these recipes there.

    Walking an average of over 17,000 steps a day is amazing, I think. My sister has one of those watches that tell you the number of steps you take, so I imagine we will put in some nice step counts over the next two weeks.

    Have a lovely week, Kathy!

  20. January 26, 2020 9:46 am

    I’ve read The Fault in Our Stars, but haven’t read anything else yet by Green. I’ve heard a lot of good about Looking for Alaska.

    I don’t know if I have mentioned previously, but I appreciate you putting in an update each week about your Fitbit steps. It helps inspire me as my wife and I got similar step-counting devices a few weeks ago. Thank you.

  21. January 26, 2020 10:16 am

    I’m hoping Will Wheaton will pop up in Picard at some point 🙂
    The Queens of Animation looks interesting, I’m glad women are finally getting the recognition they deserve in a range of professions.

    Wishing you a great reading week

  22. January 26, 2020 10:33 am

    I’m a fan of John Green’s book, glad you enjoyed Looking for Alaska. The Paris book sounds good too. Happy reading this week!

  23. January 26, 2020 10:36 am

    Both the Paris memoir and the Green novel sound good. I have read just Fault in Our Stars so I could go for another of his. The puzzle is nicely done!

  24. Literary Feline permalink
    January 26, 2020 2:49 pm

    I’ve only read a couple of John Green’s books, and enjoyed both. I haven’t yet read Looking for Alaska. I am glad you enjoyed it, Kathy! T-Bone the Drone sounds cute.

    I am hoping to kick my husband and daughter out soon for a Girl Scout cookie selling walkabout. I told my husband he has to take her around the neighborhood because I am the one who gets her to every other event–and I’ll be helping with the cookie booths when they start up next week. Haha. He grumbles a little, but I don’t think he minds too much. We’ll see how long they last out there. None of us are really big on fundraising, but we do appreciate how beneficial it is in the long run. Auditions were this weekend and Mouse is anxious to hear what parts she will get. Anyone who auditions is guaranteed a spot in the show. We should know my mid-week what the cast list will look like. Rehearsals start next weekend. They really want to start on this right away evidently! Usually we have two to three weeks before rehearsals start up. Anyway, that’s been my weekend. Girl Scout cookies and dance.

    I hope you have a great week, Kathy!

  25. January 26, 2020 4:39 pm

    I’ve yet to read John Green, but have had The Fault in Our Stars on my kindle for years. Glad you enjoyed this one!

  26. January 26, 2020 8:35 pm

    Looking for Alaska was my first John Green book. After I finished it, I ordered everything else he had written. I hope you have a good week!

  27. Sarah Sammis permalink
    January 26, 2020 11:15 pm

    That’s a great puzzle. T-Bone the Drone looks good. My weekly update

  28. January 27, 2020 9:08 pm

    I still haven’t read that book by Green. I probably should. That puzzle is gorgeous

  29. January 29, 2020 10:59 am

    I’ve not read Looking for Alaska. I thought I had but from your review I see that I haven’t. I love a boarding school setting, as well.

    Right now, I am rather shocked but also happy. My daughter is skipping The Little Mermaid. Which means three days of the week just opened up for her and myself since I always have to take her. I won’t know what to do with all that time. She was invited to do Spring Awakening with a NY theatre company in June though so that helped her make up her mind. It will be produced here in California.

  30. February 2, 2020 7:48 am

    I think winter might be over here in Georgia. We are supposed to have highs near 70s by tomorrow. The John Green book reminds me a bit of A Separate Peace.

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