Monday, January 30, 2017

Reading my way through a Wisconsin winter

It's been a few days since I reviewed or posted anything -- too busy reading, quilting, and spending time with family. We spent a couple days in Green Bay using a  motel gift certificate; daughter and granddaughter joined us for some pool/hot tub time.  It was a just right get away.  Last Monday we met up in Richland Center for lunch with Russ's two sisters, a sister-in-law, and our friends the Crucksons.  As always, there was lots of talk and laughing.  On Friday, we made a last minute trip to Sun Prairie to meet up with my brother and sister in law and to see a movie. Today we attended a funeral visitation for my cousin's son -- a young dad who died way too soon.

Even with all this traveling, there have been many wintery days spent near the pellet stove or in the sewing corner.  Two jig saw puzzles have been completed (my new pastime), a baby quilt is just about done, and my January book total is up to 12.

Here are some thoughts about the last four books read

WILD GOOSE CHASE CHRISTMAS by Jennifer Allee is a sweet little romance and definitely a fast, predictable read.  Izzy has been bequeathed an antique quilt by her grandmother.  Izzy had never known of the quilt's existence and has no idea its value or true story, which makes the news that her grandmother had also promised the quilt to Max Logan, curator of the local museum, a total shock.  When Izzy's brother and her mother, who both seem to value money and prestige over family, she feels she must hold tight to the quilt.  This book was left over from my Christmas reading pile.

WHEN TREETOPS GLISTEN by Tricia Groyer, Sarah Sundin, and Cara Putnam contains three WWII novellas, each featuring a different member of the Turner family.  An average Indiana family, the Turners have made sacrifices and life changes because of the war.  This book is among a handful of historical fiction books I've read in recent years that show what it was like to be on the home front.
At the same time I was reading this book, I was also watching season one of HOME FIRES on Amazon -- this PBS series features England's Women's Institute and how they helped rural Britain support the war effort.  The book and the television series seemed to mesh nicely (although the book's three stories are certainly lighter). My mom always told me that she and her sister and their new husbands (they had a double wedding) pooled their gas rations so they could travel on a short honeymoon.  Without doing that, neither couple would have been able to travel away from home.
 Memories of that story seemed so real as I read WHEN TREETOPS GLISTEN.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Agatha Christie was our book club's choice to start the New Year.  Christie's writing career celebrated a 100th anniversary in 2016 and for many she is the queen of the mystery.  Last Thursday was our meeting and we shared our opinions about the book,  and the two movies that some members watched.  I did not watch one of the movies, but plan to do that soon.  As for the book, I enjoyed it but felt it was a bit dated.  The best part of the discussion was finding out what mystery series other members read on a regular basis -- from that I found a few new authors to try.

Last on my reading was a book that I think every Green Bay Packer fan should read.  GUNSLINGER( a biography of former quarterback Brett Favre) by Jeff Pearlman does not attempt to hide anyone's flaws and that includes the many, many flaws of the famous Favre, his Green Bay coaches, or his father and family.  Anyone living in Wisconsin in the 90's and early 2000's heard about the state's hero on the field and we also learned about his painkiller addiction, but we certainly tried to ignore the rumors about his wild ways.  Well, Pearlman interviewed almost 600 people for this book, and he tells Favre's story from every angle -- former teammates, teachers, coaches, newspaper reporters, sportscasters, and family.  While neither Deanna nor Brett contributed to the book, Brett's brother, sister, and mother did.  Reading the book certainly made me angry at the young, immature Brett, and it was devastating to see that immaturity follow throughout the majority of his career. In the end, I think I will be like the author, not a superfan, but someone who respects Favre's physical skill and endurance.  Plus I hold to the hope that his life now is one that is enough.  While I was destressed over Favrie's back story, I was even more shocked to see inside story of football itself -- the constant stress, bickering, egos, and the women, beer and drugs. I don't think I will ever be able to watch a football game or celebrate a team's winning season without wondering what the real story is!!  And in many ways, I don't want to know that "real story."

February, a short month, approaches.  What will I read?  The stack of books is high.  What will I get done? I have lots of quilts ideas "pinned" and my mind swims with possibilities.  Will I get anything done before spring pokes through the snow and gardens call my name?

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