Good morning, friends. I didn't post last weekend when our daughters were visiting, so this is a two week catch up. The weather has been just about perfect here. Southwest Florida is basking in record warmth... I'll take it over windchill any day!
We celebrated one daughter's birthday on Monday, went shopping and lunching with my SIL, made four (!) trips to the airport, and, for the first time this winter, relaxed and read on the beach!
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan
Nonfiction always has a greater impact on me when personal stories are included, and Timothy Egan did an excellent job piecing together multiple accounts of life on the plains during the Dust Bowl. I enjoyed this book and learned a lot. Especially surprising was the fact that east coast cities experienced some of the more severe "dusters" too. This book made me want to reread The Grapes of Wrath, and the mention of Red Cloud, Nebraska reminded me that it's been a while since I last read Willa Cather.
The Worst Hard Time was a read/listen combination for me. The audio version, narrated by Patrick Lawlor, was well-done, but I always checked the print version for photos and maps after my walks.
Finally, without getting political, this man-made natural disaster should serve is an important reminder that our government must consider the environmental impact of its policies.
Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
Wow... what a complex and emotional novel! It started slowly, but I loved how the story gradually unfolded. Chapters alternate between the present (featuring an aging man and his two daughters) and letters written to him by his wife who disappeared years ago, and is presumed drowned. The "truth" of their marriage is revealed piecemeal through the letters. Unique structure.
Sisters by Lily Tuck
"First and second wives are like sisters."
-Christopher Nicholson (Winter)
Wife #2, our unnamed narrator, refers to Wife #1 as She. The short chapters (some just a sentence or two) read like vignettes, but reveal so much! I liked the spare writing... you can read this little book in one sitting. Thanks for the recommendation, Diane.
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
"I don't wish to be a mere sheep in the flock; I wish to choose my fate and know something of human affairs beyond what other people think it compatible with propriety to tell me."The read-along continues, but I didn't make much progress last week. At the 30% mark, I've settled into James' style and am enjoying the reread... but surprised at how much I've forgotten! We plan to discuss the book at the end of the month.
Instead of starting another novel in print, I'll focus on this one all week... at least until our next guests arrive over the weekend.
Beyond the books//
As they say on the island, "season" is here. The restaurants are always busy, there are lots of people on the beach, it requires more effort to navigate the bike paths, and don't even try to drive off island between 3 and 6! We've gotten used to it over the years, and plan accordingly.
My sister and brother-in-law arrive this weekend... lots of activities planned for their visit.
Have you discovered the new Instagram account dogs_infood? I'm slightly obsessed...
My FIL is coming for dinner today. We're having grilled salmon and I'm making this Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie for dessert.
How was your week? What are you reading?