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The Week in Review: 03.20.2020

March 20, 2020


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

In BROTHER & SISTER, Diane Keaton explores her relationship with her brother.  Keaton is the oldest of four children and her brother, Randy, was a few years behind her.  She remembers when it was just the two of them, sharing a bedroom in a small house.  As times got better, the family grew and moved to a larger house.  Keaton remembers Randy as being an anxious child, something that people didn’t really understand in the 1950s.

After high school, Keaton left California for New York and made a life and career for herself.  She wasn’t as close to her family as she once was but she always kept in touch.  Randy was creative and would often share poems with Keaton.  He married and divorced and, as time passed, it became clear there was something wrong.

Keaton writes of her brother with love and compassion.  She shares her struggles to understand and help her brother and shows what it’s like to have a mentally ill sibling.  It’s a sad story but I thought her writing was terrific and I appreciated her candor.  It’s hard to say you loved a story like this one but I enjoyed my time with it.  Keaton narrates the audio version of the book and I was able to feel her emotion – she did a wonderful job bringing the story to life.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


THE FIELD by Baptiste Paul is a picture book about friends cooperating to play soccer.  The children live in a tropical climate and rain threatens their game but they play on.  The book beautifully illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara in bright, vivid colors.  The text is simplistic and includes a lot of Creole words.  In the Author’s Note in the back of the book, Paul writes about growing up in Saint Lucia with eight siblings and no electricity or running water.  He also includes a glossary of Creole words and phrases.  I appreciated the culture in the book but I didn’t love that the story was told more in phrases instead of sentences.  Pick this one up if you want to expose early readers to soccer in another culture.  (Review copy provided by North South Books.)


Judy feels like she’s lost control of her life.  She’s recently lost her parents, her best friend is dying, she and her husband are separated (but can’t afford to live apart) and her once sweet child is now a surly teen.  She wrote a best selling book years ago but can’t duplicate that success and now writes for a self-help website.  While cleaning out the basement one day, she comes across a baby sling and carrying the dog in it seems like a good idea.  It’s a little awkward at first but she grows to like it and depend on it.

SEPARATION ANXIETY by Laura Zigman is a smart, clever book about dealing with all of life’s blows.  It’s insightful, witty, and smart.  The writing is terrific and the characters are quirky yet believable.  I enjoyed it a lot and think people who are a little younger than I am will enjoy it even more.  (Review copy provided by Ecco.)

Currently reading:

  • THE EX by Alafair Burke
  • THE RED LOTUS by Chris Bohjalian

On the Screen

Listening to NATALIE WOOD by Suzanne Finstad has made me want to watch all of Wood’s movies.  I talked Carl into watching West Side Story with me.  I hadn’t seen it since I was a teenager and he’d never seen it at all.  A few parts of the movie seemed cheesy by today’s standards but, for the most part, I thought it stood the test of time.  I loved the music and the dancing but Carl just tolerated it all.

Off the blog

  • I finished my all black puzzle.  (It’s all one color; the lighting makes the center look yellowish.)  This one was quite challenging so it was very satisfying to finish it.

  • A friend lent me a Liberty puzzle and I completed it, too.  If you’re not familiar with these puzzles, they’re made of wood and contain unique pieces.  This puzzle was a lot of fun!
  • As owners of a small retail business, we made the difficult decision to close temporarily due to the COVID-19 virus.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged almost 16,100 Fitbit steps a day.

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

15 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2020 7:19 am

    Sounds like you had a great reading week! I love that wooden puzzle – it’s beautiful!

  2. March 20, 2020 7:47 am

    Thank goodness for books and puzzles (and streaming options)! My brother, also a small business owner, had to close yesterday. The hardest part for him was telling his employees. Sending good wishes that you stay healthy and we can all get back to business as usual ASAP.

  3. March 20, 2020 8:41 am

    I have had my eye on the Diane Keaton book; I think I must read it!

    I loved The Ex and The Red Lotus, although the latter book had some creepy parts, so I had to take breaks from it now and then, lol.

    Separation Anxiety looks good. Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for sharing.

  4. March 20, 2020 11:16 am

    I’m so sorry that you had to close. I hope that once this thing is over there will be many resources to help small businesses get back on their feet.

    I’m reading Separation Anxiety, too. The first epigram in the book startled me. It felt overly timely.

    The company my son works for laid off a number of people and those who remained all were given a 20 percent pay cut.

  5. March 20, 2020 11:30 am

    I’ve had Brother And Sister on my tbr list since the end of last year and still haven’t gotten to it. I’m glad to know you enjoyed it. Separating Anxiety sounds good. That black puzzle is cool. I love the other puzzles too. Sorry about closing your store!

    I pray you and your family stays safe!

  6. March 20, 2020 11:40 am

    That all-black puzzle is just – wow. I don’t think I could really enjoy doing one without an actual picture on it, and they look so challenging!

  7. Susan permalink
    March 20, 2020 2:58 pm

    I’m sorry you had to close. I’m sure it was very difficult. I hope you’ll be back up as soon as it’s safe again. You have sold me on Separation Anxiety …. sounds like a good story for these times. I will look for it.

  8. Diane permalink
    March 20, 2020 5:09 pm

    The Diane Keaton memoir sounds like a good one. (I really like her, she’s so real and natural like Meryl Streep). Sorry your business was affected by this – so many will be suffering financially as a result of mandatory closures. Stay safe Kathy.

  9. Helen Murdoch permalink
    March 21, 2020 6:33 pm

    I am so glad you’ve done a Liberty puzzle! Each time I see yours I think, “she needs to do a Liberty puzzle.” We love them in my house.

  10. Mae Sander permalink
    March 22, 2020 8:25 am

    A couple of years ago we rewatched West Side Story and thought it was wonderful, both the music and the insights into human nature and into our society. Some of the attitudes, of course, are obsolete now, and some elements seem too stylized.

    Be Well… mae at

  11. March 22, 2020 10:23 am

    I like the sound of Separation Anxiety.
    I’m sorry you’ve had to close your business, I’m sure it was a difficult step to take.

    Wishing you a great reading week, be well x

  12. March 22, 2020 3:26 pm

    I’m in awe of that all-black puzzle. I wouldn’t have lasted it but agree that it is very satisfying to finish it.

    So sorry you had to close your business. Just right now, Ohio has just passed the stay home order so I know lots more business closings are going to happen this week. These are very challenging times so hang in there – I hope things start looking up soon and is not going to last months.

  13. March 22, 2020 9:24 pm

    I hope you have a great reading week. Wow, What a great looking set of puzzles. Those wood ones were fantastic looking. The Keaton book and the soccer book both sounds great.

  14. Sarah Sammis permalink
    March 22, 2020 11:26 pm

    West Side Story is a musical I’ve never been able to get into. My weekly update

  15. March 30, 2020 10:39 am

    Was Separation Anxiety too stressful for this time? I’m finding myself more stressed out by the day and just want to escape to somewhere else. West Side Story is one I’ve seen on stage and screen quite a few times and have never really cared for it. I don’t know why exactly because I love musicals.

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