Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Recent reads and why I haven't been blogging

Summer has drawn to an end; the official beginning of fall is here, and I wonder how I have been spending my time.  Why haven't there been any blogging posts?  Traveling?  No, but we certainly hope to do some over the next few weeks.  Busy putting up veggies for the winter? Well, I did freeze a bushel of tomatoes, part of which had been made in yummy Italian tomato sauce.  And in mid-August, I froze that creamy sweet corn that the grandkids love at the holidays.  Sorry no appetizing photos to make all readers sigh with envy.  I always make a mess of my kitchen and I had
no intentions of sprucing it up for photos.

Last week, just as Russ and I were leaving for a bit of shopping and lunch out, he noticed a wet spot on the garage floor near the freezer.  Closer inspection showed that the door was ajar abit and the freezer was in shut down mode.  I spent the rest of the morning emptying the freezer, totally defrosting it and restarting it.  Luckily the cooling kicked in and everything is saved.  Now we have a neatly stacked, clean freezer.  But I certainly did have the time to post to the blog that day, nor did I feel like it.

I have been reading and shared some reviews with you, but I have not written about everything I've read in the last weeks.  Our book club read A STAR FOR MRS. BLAKE, a fictional account of a group of Gold Star mothers (mothers who lost sons in WWI) who are given the opportunity in the late 1920's to travel to Europe to see the graves of their children.  We found lots to discuss -- differences in treatment between races, social change, and of course, how one handles grief.  I've had a hold on the new  book WINTERING, set in Minnesota's boundary waters and Canada's Quetico by Peter Geye ever since I heard him talking on NPR about the book.  A father takes his teenage son on a winter camping experience in 1963, an event that changed both their lives.  When I heard Geye talk about the book, I thought it would be about winter survival, and in a way it is, but it is so much more than that -- jealousy, unfaithfulness, revenge.  In a way it reminds of last year's movie Revenant.  Before I read the book, I was sure it was one I would recommend to my sons who canoe an area of Quetico every year, but now I know I won't be.  Did I like it?  Am I glad I read it?  Still not sure.

This month our book club is reading Young Adult literature; we are each picking a book from the reading list for Wisconsin's High School Battle of the Books.  I decided to read GIRL AT WAR by Sara Novic.  This is a powerful tale of a young Croatian girl who sees her parents killed in 1991 as they return from taking their very ill infant to a mission plane that will transport the baby to America for emergency treatment.  Miraculously Ana survives and becomes part of a cell of fighters, eventually returns to their hometown, where her godparents manage to secure a way for her to flee to America.  As the book opens it is 2001, after the September 11th attack, and Ana is a college student in New York city.  She can't escape her memories of the war, although none of her friends know about her past.  Her adoptive parents do, but even they do not totally understand the conflicts she feels.  Ana makes the decision to return to Croatia.  The book flips between 1991 and 2001, but in a way that makes sense.  This is a powerful, realistic book, one that tells a special coming of age story in a honest, frank way --- just the way YA readers like.

So, for now that's my update.  I could mention our 7 week  hunt for a new car, but I won't.  The new car is now in our garage, and I hope we will be pleased with it.  And I do have some sewing/quilting to share, but I will save that for a post later this week.

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