Sunday, September 25, 2016

What I Read This Week: September 25, 2016

Short post this week. I'm on vacation in London doing many things, so there's not much time to read.
  • Books
    • I'm almost a third of the way through The Land of Painted Caves. I'm always amazed by how fast I read these books given how long they are.
  • Other
    • Article club met this week. We read this story from The Atlantic on the incoming sexism wave that will happen if Hillary is elected president. Our discussion was lively, but cranky. As it should be.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Friday Find: Gilmore Reads

Gilmore Girls comes back to Netflix as a reboot soon. If you're a bookworm, you likely loved spying on all the titles Rory read through the series. Now, you can buy a poster checklist for your wall.


You can grab this from the NeighbourlyLove Etsy shop.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Variations on a Theme: La Belle France

Tomorrow, The Husband and I are heading to Europe for vacation. We start in London, before heading to the South of France and then ending in Paris. I've been to France before, and if ever move abroad, it would be here. The country's beauty and culture just speaks to me. This month's Variations on a Theme is all about France.


La Belle France
Alistair Horne

La Belle France is a sweeping, grand narrative written with all the verve, erudition, and vividness that are the hallmarks of the acclaimed British historian Alistair Horne. It recounts the hugely absorbing story of the country that has contributed to the world so much talent, style, and political innovation. Beginning with Julius Caesar’s division of Gaul into three parts, Horne leads us through the ages from Charlemagne to Chirac, touring battlefields from the Hundred Years’ War to Indochina and Algeria, and giving us luminous portraits of the nation’s leaders, philosophers, writers, artists, and composers. This is a captivating, beautifully illustrated, and comprehensive yet concise history of France.

The Seven Ages of Paris

Alistair Horne

In this luminous portrait of Paris, celebrated historian Alistair Horne gives us the history, culture, disasters, and triumphs of one of the world’s truly great cities. Horne makes plain that while Paris may be many things, it is never boring. From the rise of Philippe Auguste through the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIV (who abandoned Paris for Versailles); Napoleon’s rise and fall; Baron Haussmann’s rebuilding of Paris (at the cost of much of the medieval city); the Belle Epoque and the Great War that brought it to an end; the Nazi Occupation, the Liberation, and the postwar period dominated by de Gaulle—Horne brings the city’s highs and lows, savagery and sophistication, and heroes and villains splendidly to life. With a keen eye for the telling anecdote and pivotal moment, he portrays an array of vivid incidents to show us how Paris endures through each age, is altered but always emerges more brilliant and beautiful than ever. The Seven Ages of Paris is a great historian’s tribute to a city he loves and has spent a lifetime learning to know.

The Little Paris Kitchen: 120 Simple But Classic French Recipes
Rachael Khoo

Rachel Khoo moved to Paris, studied patisserie, fell in love with the city, became a restaurateur in a very tiny space, then, a television star, and is now a bestselling author! Not every lover of Paris experiences this career trajectory, but cooks of all skill levels with a taste for French fare will be inspired by The Little Paris Kitchen to try an updated approach to French cuisine. In this charming cookbook, Khoo demystifies French cooking with 120 enticing recipes for simple, classic, and fresh French dishes, from gouter (snacks) to elegant desserts. More than 100 breathtaking photos from celebrated photographer David Loftus shine a spotlight on the delicious food and the City of Light, and capture Khoo interacting with her purveyors and friends. We all can't have springtime in Paris. But we all can enjoy this delectable, do-able food!

The Sweet Life in Paris

David Leibovitz

Like so many others, David Lebovitz dreamed about living in Paris ever since he first visited the city in the 1980s. Finally, after a nearly two-decade career as a pastry chef and cookbook author, he moved to Paris to start a new life. Having crammed all his worldly belongings into three suitcases, he arrived, hopes high, at his new apartment in the lively Bastille neighborhood.But he soon discovered it's a different world en France. From learning the ironclad rules of social conduct to the mysteries of men's footwear, from shopkeepers who work so hard not to sell you anything to the etiquette of working the right way around the cheese plate, here is David's story of how he came to fall in love with—and even understand—this glorious, yet sometimes maddening, city. When did he realize he had morphed into un vrai parisien? It might have been when he found himself considering a purchase of men's dress socks with cartoon characters on them. Or perhaps the time he went to a bank with 135 euros in hand to make a 134-euro payment, was told the bank had no change that day, and thought it was completely normal. Or when he found himself dressing up to take out the garbage because he had come to accept that in Paris appearances and image mean everything.

Toujours Provence
Peter Mayle

Taking up where his beloved A Year in Provence leaves off, Peter Mayle offers us another funny, beautifully (and deliciously) evocative book about life in Provence. With tales only one who lives there could know—of finding gold coins while digging in the garden, of indulging in sumptuous feasts at truck stops—and with characters introduced with great affection and wit—the gendarme fallen from grace, the summer visitors ever trying the patience of even the most genial Provençaux, the straightforward dog "Boy"—Toujours Provence is a heart-warming portrait of a place where, if you can't quite "get away from it all," you can surely have a very good time trying.

At Home in France

Ann Barry

Ann Barry was a single woman, working and living in New York, when she fell in love with a charming house in Carennac in southwestern France. Even though she knew it was the stuff of fantasy, even though she knew she would rarely be able to spend more than four weeks a year there, she was hooked. This spirited, captivating memoir traces Ms. Barry's adventures as she follows her dream of living in the French countryside: Her fascinating (and often humorous) excursions to Brittany and Provence, charmed nights spent at majestic chateaux and back-road inns, and quiet moments in cool Gothic churches become our own. And as the years go by, and "l' Americaine," as she is known, returns again and again to her real home, she becomes a recognizable fixture in the neighborhood. Ann Barry is a foreigner enchanted with an unpredictable world that seems constantly fresh and exciting. In this vivid memoir, she shares the colorful world that is her France.

Other French Titles
Eiffel's Tower - Jill Jones
French Toast - Harriet Welty Rochefort
How Paris Became Paris - Joan DeJean
Parisians - Graham Robb
Paris: The Biography of a City - Colin Jones
The Perfect Meal - John Baxter
The Whole Fromage - Kathe Lison
A Year in Provence - Peter Mayle

Links and Stuff: September 22, 2016

Me packing for our upcoming two week vacation.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Book 26: The Middlesteins

TITLE: The Middlesteins
AUTHOR: Jami Attenberg
STARTED: August 17, 2016
FINISHED: September 1, 2016
PAGES: 274
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: How could she not feed their daughter?

SUMMARY: [From BN]  For more than thirty years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago. But now things are splintering apart, for one reason, it seems: Edie's enormous girth. She's obsessed with food—thinking about it, eating it—and if she doesn't stop, she won't have much longer to live. When Richard abandons his wife, it is up to the next generation to take control. Robin, their schoolteacher daughter, is determined that her father pay for leaving Edie. Benny, an easy-going, pot-smoking family man, just wants to smooth things over. And Rachelle— a whippet thin perfectionist— is intent on saving her mother-in-law's life, but this task proves even bigger than planning her twin children's spectacular b'nai mitzvah party. Through it all, they wonder: do Edie's devastating choices rest on her shoulders alone, or are others at fault, too?

THOUGHTS: This was the kind of book that was fantastic while I was reading it, but I could shrug it off every time I closed the cover for the night. It's well written, has a great story, and offers an intriguing perspective, but it doesn't stick with you. This is a book about characters and how those characters interact with one another. Every person is this book is fully fleshed out - but nothing about them lingers.

I liked reading this story, but it's not a book I'll go back to or recommend to friends.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What I Read This Week: September 18, 2016

I got to do a fun thing at work this week. I took over the University's Snapchat account on behalf of the library. It was a blast but I was running around the library all day. It was totally worth it. I loved showcasing the libraries staff and services. I also included some fun stuff from "behind the scenes."
  • Magazines
    • Washingtonian, September 2016 - After seeing the cover of this issue, I thought I would breeze through it. As much as I love seeing fashion, I don't read those article. I just look at the pictures. Color me surprised when every other article was a worthwhile read. I particularly recommend the pieces on Terry McAuliffe and the blind man who mentored a set of blind triplets. There was also an interesting short piece on using private museums to lure tourists south of The Mall.
  • Books
    • I'm making a surprising amount of progress in The Land of Painted Caves. I'm enjoying the story, but my problems with this series remain the same - it's a bit repetitive and info-dumpy at times.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Book 25: Code Name Verity

TITLE: Code Name Verity
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Wein
STARTED: August 1, 2016
FINISHED: August 16, 2016
PAGES: 343
GENRE: Young Adult

FIRST SENTENCE: I am a coward.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun. When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

THOUGHTS: This book ends exactly how you think it will. I would have it no other way. It's been over a month since I read this, and I still think the ending (although telegraphed) was picture perfect. Code Name Verity is a great story, but the depth of emotions from a strong friendship is the heart of the story. It's fantastically written, happy, sad, and just a phenomenal read. I can't say to much for fear of giving the story away - but you should read this book..

You could also wait for the inevitable movie, but the book is going to be better.

RATING: 8/10 [Terrific]

The Friday Find: Quiet as a Mouse

Lady B is on a roll! This is her third Friday Find in a row. She found this cute felt mouse bookmark. I think this would be a perfect bookmark for parents who read books aloud to their children.


This is from the Etsy shop CozyMilArt.

Thursday, September 15, 2016