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Posts tagged ‘sunday salon’

The Sunday Salon: Overeating & Over-reading

I don’t know about you, but I’m stuffed.

This year I hosted my first Thanksgiving.  My son is now 10 months old so I knew this would be a very special holiday season for me.   He is just starting to venture into the world of table food. He loves to feed himself and try new things.   I spent a lot of time reading cook books this past week planning the meal.    I love reading cookbooks and planning out menus. It combines some of my favorite hobbies: cooking/food, reading and making lists. The menu I came up with included Goat Cheese Rosemary Toasts, cranberry nut rolls, roasted root vegetables with parmesan gremolata, caramelized shallot mashed potatoes, roasted turkey (of course), wild rice with butternut squash, and Cranberry Almond bundt cake…. as I said, I. am. stuffed.

This weekend I am also reading Anthony Bourdain’s follow-up to Kitchen Confidential: Medium Raw.   I loved Kitchen Confidential when I read it years ago so just had to grab Medium Raw when I saw it on the NEW shelf at the library.  I am about half way through the book so far. In this collection of essays Bourdain rants about everything from The Food Network, the effect of the recent economy on restaurants, celebrity chefs and more.  Bourdain is his usual self, very raw (Medium Raw, you might say), honest, and entertaining.  I am getting some good chuckles from Medium Raw so far and am enjoying it.

I hope to read another chapter/essay or so while the baby takes his afternoon nap.

Once I finish Medium Raw, I plan to start on One Day by David Nicholls.

What have you been eating and reading this weekend?

Sunday Salon: No Book Club for Baby

Since he was about 2 months old, my son has been going to my Sunday afternoon book club meetings with me. These happen about twice a month and B really seems to enjoy himself. I usually bring one of his soft cloth books or a board book so he can have a book too.

He is really quite the character and turns to look at whichever book club member is currently speaking and often speaks up to voice his own opinion.

I have a book club meeting today to discuss Her Fearful Symmetry (which I thought was kind of “meh”…I will get around to writing up a review later) but it looks like we might not be making it to book club. B woke up at 5:15 AM with a stuffy nose and a fever…and you don’t even want to know what was going on in his diaper…let’s just say I had to immediately start a load of laundry soon after.

So, I may just spend a quiet day at home today reading my current book, Animal’s People by Indra Sinha.  This book came to my attention because it was included on the list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die.  This novel is set in India in a town where a chemical plant exploded and poisoned many of the town’s inhabitants. It is narrated by “Animal” who walks on all fours due to a twist in his spine that occurred at the time of the chemical disaster when he was around 4 or 5.  In “present day” Animal is 19 years old and lives in the ruins of the old chemical factory. He makes his money by scamming others and running errands for the local resistance leader. He is smart young man with a skill for languages, particularly the vulgar kind. 😉

I am enjoying the book so far but it is definitely not one that I could read aloud to baby B or even discuss with him at a book club meeting. 🙂

What are you reading this weekend?

Sunday Salon: Rainy Day Reads

After a night out dining at The Savant Project, I woke up to the sound of raindrops on the skylight and rolled out of bed a little late (for me) this morning. A little late for me is 9 AM…I know….sad.

We toughed the rain and went to one of our favorite breakfast spots where I went the light route by just having a bowl of fresh fruit. After breakfast, we went to check out some appliances, fixtures, and tiles for our upcoming bathroom/laundry room project. I am thrilled that it is becoming more and more real. The contractor is stopping by next weekend to give us an updated estimate.

Now that my husband is off at work I am catching up on some emails and postings and also doing some spring cleaning.  A bit later I plan on curling up and reading some more of my book club’s selection Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. Mister Pip is the ideal escapist read for book lovers. In this novel, the residents of a tropical aisle are distracted from the war around them by reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.  The book is a very quick read and I am tearing through it. If I ignore my housecleaning, I just may finish reading it today.

Sunday Salon: Dim Sum & then some…

I started the day off by meeting with 6 others for some Dim Sum in Quincy. It has been a couple of years since I last had dim sum so I was looking forward to it.  Some of our group were not the most adventurous eaters so we didn’t try that many dishes and walked out of there with a bill of only $30 and change. Pretty affordable!  Next time, I will be taking my husband since he loves to join me on my dining adventures.

And now I am back in my cozy little house where I did a bit of work and then finished the last 40 pages of The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien. This was an odd little book that counts for two different reading challenges I am participating in: the LOST challenge (books referenced by the TV show) and the 1% Well Read Challenge (books from the 1001 list).

My next book that I will start reading later today is My Life in France by Julia Child. I checked this out of the library along with about 9 other books. Not to mention the 4 library books that I already had sitting at home. Yes, I have a book addiction. There is a slim chance that I will finish all of the books by the time they are due. But, seriously, why do I do this to myself?? I guess that I am just a life long overachiever… Too bad that I don’t always succeed.

The rest of the books I currently have checked out of the library are:

  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  • Travels with Alice by Calvin Trillin
  • Candy and Me: A Love Story by Hilary Liftin
  • That they may face the rising sunby John McGahern
  • The Gastronomical Me by MFK Fisher
  • In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Coldby John Le Carre
  • Slow Man by JM Coetzee
  • Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
  • In the Forest by Edna O’Brien
  • Common Ground by J. Anthony Lukas
  • Vanishing Point by David Markson


So what are you reading/doing today?

Sunday Salon: The Big 200 & My Fave 100

This is officially my 200th post on this blog. I started this blog late last summer as a way to keep track of my reading and cooking experiences. I’ve joined several online cooking groups as part of this blog and enjoy the challenge of trying my hand at new recipes. Some have been more successful than others. I also love discovering new books by reading other book blogs.

I especially love it when I get to combine my loves for cooking and reading by reading a book & cooking a dish inspired by it.  I have to make an effort to do this more often.

As a nod to all things “hundred”, here’s my 100 all-time favorite reads (in alpha order by title):

  1. After the Quake by Haruki Murakami
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  3. All Souls: A Family Story from Southie by Michael Patrick MacDonald
  4. All the Names by Jose Saramago
  5. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  6. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  7. Bird by Bird  by Anne Lamott
  8. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  9. Blindness by Jose Saramago
  10. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  11. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
  12. Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond
  13. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  14. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
  15. Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber
  16. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  17. Dance, Dance, Danceby Haruki Murakami
  18. Day by Elie Wiesel
  19. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  20. Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
  21. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  22. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  23. Emma by Jane Austen
  24. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  25. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  26. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  27. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
  28. Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie McDonald
  29. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  30. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
  31. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  32. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
  33. Ghostwritten by David Mitchell
  34. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  35. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  36. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  37. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  38. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  39. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  40. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
  41. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  42. The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami
  43. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
  44. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  45. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  46. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  47. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  48. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
  49. The Life Before Her Eyes by Laura Kasischke
  50. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  51. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  52. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  53. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  54. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
  55. Love and Longing in Bombay by Vikram Chandra
  56. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  57. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  58. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  59. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  60. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
  61. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
  62. My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki
  63. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  64. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  65. Night by Elie Weisel
  66. 1984 by George Orwell
  67. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  68. Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell
  69. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  70. The Omnivore’s Dilemna by Michael Pollan
  71. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  72. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  73. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  74. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
  75. The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka
  76. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  77. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  78. Snake Charmer by Sanjay Nigam
  79. The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Towards Perfection by Michael Ruhlman
  80. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  81. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
  82. The Stand by Stephen King
  83. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
  84. Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
  85. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  86. Tess of the D’ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
  87. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  88. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  89. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  90. To Kill a Mockingbrid by Harper Lee
  91. Transplanted Man by Sanjay Nigam
  92. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  93. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  94. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  95. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
  96. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  97. A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
  98. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  99. Wonder When You’ll Miss Me by Amanda Davis
  100. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Are any of these amongst your favorite reads?

Sunday Salon: Spring, is that you??

So, after a several weeks of snow storm upon snow storm and day after day of below freezing temperatures, yesterday was a relatively balmy 45 degrees. And today it is supposed to reach 50 degrees. I sit hear listening to the sound of melted snow gurgling down the gutter drains from my roof. A couple of days ago, I actually saw a robin. This is WAY too early for robins to be back in this area. I hope he stays safe and warm. Perhaps he knows something that I don’t know.

I am inspired by the weather today to do some spring cleaning. I am totally ambitious and  planning to:

  •  empty out and reorganize my kitchen cabinets
  • reorganize my cook book shelf, which looks like it is about to explode
  • put away the last of my Xmas decorations (I know, I know, what a slacker!)
  • pack up clothes that I don’t wear anymore to give to charity

We’ll see how much of this I actually get done.

Drop CityWhile cleaning, I can listen to a little more of my audio book. I am currently listening to T.C. Boyle’s Drop Cityon CD. I am almost halfway through. This is the longest audio book that I’ve listened to thus far…16 whole CD’s. I am on disk 8 and really liking it so far. The story takes place in the States during the time of the Vietnam War. A commune of hippies is forced by local authorities to pick up and leave California. They chose to relocate to Alaska…. and this is as far as I’ve gotten.

The Monsters of TempletonIn the middle of this flurry of cleaning I will also start my book club book, The Monsters of Templeton. My book club meeting is on Wednesday and I haven’t started reading the book yet. I’ve heard great things about this book and it’s been on my to read list for awhile. Must.Finish.Book.Before.BookClub

How’s the weather where you’re at and what are your big plans for the day?

Sunday Salon: January Reading Round-up

And so ends the first month of 2009. I read an interesting variety of books this month.  I made a little bit of progress on my reading challenges. The list below links to my reviews. My favorite reads of the month were the first 2 that I read: Nights at the Circus and Supercapitalism. What were your favorite reads in January??

  1. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
  2. Supercapitalism by Robert Reich
  3. Rasputin’s Daughter by Robert Alexander
  4. House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  5. Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
  6. Talking with My Mouth Full: Crab Cakes, Bundt Cakes and other Kitchen Stories by Bonny Wolf
  7. A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff

Reading Challenge Progress:

1% Well-Read Challenge
GOAL: read 10 books in 10 months from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list
DEADLINE: February 28, 2009

  1. Junky by William S. Burroughs — September ’08
  2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath — September ’08
  3. The Accidental  by Ali Smith — October ’08
  4. Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons — October ’08
  5. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami — October ’08
  6. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka — October ’08
  7. Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion — November ’08
  8. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain — November ’08
  9. The Music of Chance by Paul Auster — December ’08
  10. Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho — December ’08
  11. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle — December ’08
  12. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter — January ’09
  13. House of Mirth by Edith Wharton — January ’09

REMAINING: COMPLETED!  –into bonus round: +3 books

Book Awards II Challenge
GOAL: read 10 award winning books in 10 months
DEADLINE: June 2009

  1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman– September ’08 —WON: Hugo Award, Nebula Award and Bram Stoker Award
  2. The Accidental by Ali Smith — October ’08 — WON: Whitbread Prize for Best Novel
  3. Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons — October ’08 — WON: Hugo Award for Other Form
  4. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami — October ’08 — WON: World Fantasy Award 2006
  5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz — November ’08 WON: Pulitzer Prize 2008
  6. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter — January ’09 — WON: James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction

REMAINING: 4 more books to read in 5 months

Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge

GOAL: read at least 3 books about food/cooking/travel/culture

DEADLINE: March 2009

  1. Talking with My Mouth Full: Crab Cakes, Bundt Cakes and other Kitchen Stories by Bonny Wolf — January ’09

REMAINING: 2 more books to read in 2 months

LOST Books Challenge

GOAL: read 5 books mentioned or alluded to on the show LOST

DEADLINE: 2010 (series finale)

REMAINING: 5 more books to read in 1 year +

Sunday Salon: Another Snowy Sunday

Surprise, surprise!!  Another weekend and another snow storm. It seems like it has been snowy on a lot of recent Sundays…from late December to just last week.  We’ve been stuck with arctic temperatures all week. It was 5 degrees out (according to my car) the other morning. Brrr!  At least today isn’t that cold. Snow isn’t so beautiful when tracked in all over your hardwood floors leaving salty footprints everywhere. So, after doing a little cleaning of the floors this morning, I am now settled in my comfy chair ready to do some reading.

I am hoping to read a little bit each of both of the books that I have in progress.  I am reading an advanced readers copy of A Fortunate Age: A Novel by Joanna Smith Rakoff and The Lambs of London: A Novel by Peter Ackroyd.  I just started Lambs of London yesterday. This work of historical fiction follows siblings Mary and Charles Lamb and their love for literature, especially Shakespeare.  So far, I am having mixed feelings about it. Hopefully, it will grab my interest more as I get further into the book.

I am about half way through A Fortunate Age. This debut novel is about a group of friends who met each other while at college at Oberlin and follows them through the nineties and early 2000’s as the get their footing in the world of life after college. I find it interesting since I graduated from college in the nineties. The  characters are entering the working world and marriage at about the same time that I was.  I am hoping to read about 60 more pages of it today and post some thoughts on it on the Barnes & Nobles First Look discussion board. They started the Fortunate Age discussion there last week, so I am a bit late. Oops!

Along with my reading, I am also going to cook some spicy beef chili and bake my Berry Surprise Cake. I love to cook on Sundays as I have a good stretch of undisturbed time of me in my little kitchen. Snowy Sundays are even better for cooking & baking!  Who wants to come over for dinner??

Sunday Salon: Stuck in the Snow

Another week, another snow storm.

I actually quite like snow. It’s very beautiful and a calm silence falls over the world when it’s snowing out…at least until the snow plows rumble by.

I was supposed to have a book club meeting early this afternoon to discuss Last Night at the Lobsterby Stewart O’Nan, but we’ve pushed it off to 2 weeks from today due to the weather. I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will not be another big snow storm on that weekend. It is kind of ironic that a snow storm has delayed our discussion about a book where one of the driving forces in the story is a snow storm. sigh. So goes life.

Due to the snow storm I now have more time to read a book for another book club: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert B. Reich. Reich served as secretary of labor during Clinton’s presidency. In Supercapitalism,  Reich discusses the dynamic between democracy and capitalism.  I am about 80 pages into it now (~225 pages total in the book) and am finding it interesting and informative.  This is far from the typical sort of book that my book club reads and I heard a few members grumbling about the selection. I hope that I am not the only one who ends up reading it!

I will also finish listening to the unabridged audio version of House of Mirth today while I am folding laundry and preparing dinner. I am such a cultured little wife.  😉

What are your plans for this fine Sunday?

Sunday Salon: Winter Wonderland??

So, last week at this time, I was lounging on a beach on Anguilla. And now…


I am pretty much trapped in my house in the snow. It started snowing Saturday morning, shortly after my husband left for a 2 week trip to Asia.  Now I am home alone (insert Macauly Culkin image here). Saturday night some snow removal angels plowed and shoveled my driveway and front walk. I have no idea who these guys were, but thank you whoever you were.

But, it was still snowing and blowing out, so by Sunday morning, there was a blanket of snow on the driveway and walkway.  My husband had asked one of his workers to stop by and shovel me out on Sunday, so his guy came and did that and without my knowing it, must’ve taken my snow shovel with him!  Either that or he put it somewhere that later got covered with a snow drift. *sigh*

And since it is still snowing, my driveway and walkway are once again covered, and since I have no shovel anymore there is nothing that I can do about it, so…. I’M TRAPPED!   (I wish those snow angels would come back) 

Since I am trapped, I am going to spend the whole day cleaning, doing some holiday baking and hopefully finish up 2 of the books that I am currently reading: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle and The Boat by Nam Le.  Reading and stuffing my face with freshly based cookies: a good way to cozy up on a snowy day.

And sorry library, but my books are going to be at least a day late, since I can’t get out of my driveway. Oops!