Dear Diary: When my mother was young she kept a diary for a while. Every entry was very similar and quite dry: "Got up. Got dressed. Ate breakfast. Went to school. Came home. Did chores. Ate dinner. Went to bed." Pages and pages of nearly the same thing, over and over. When the family came upon this literary treasure tucked in some of her old boxes we laughed and laughed at it and we've been making fun of it every since. Well, this week could be a repeat of my mother's diary for me. "Got up. Went to work. Did my job. Went to a meeting. Came home. Cooked dinner. Watched some TV. Went to bed." In other words, not a very exciting week. I'll spare you the details.
The Nightingale: My book club discussed The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah at club this week. It is the story of two sisters who became part of the French Resistance during WWII.
The subject of “The Nightingale” was an outgrowth of research Hannah had done for her earlier novel “Winter Garden,” when she came across information about a Resistance heroine — the 19-year-old Belgian woman Andrée de Jongh. This brave teenager, inspired in turn by the earlier World War I heroine Edith Cavell, established the Comet Escape Line, a secret network of people who risked their lives to help Allied servicemen escape over the Pyrenees to Spain. De Jongh’s story inspired Hannah to conduct further research into the French Resistance, finding stories about women who had put themselves and their children in peril by hiding Jewish families. And de Jongh became the model for Isabelle, the younger sister, who, as “the Nightingale,” personally led downed Allied pilots over the mountains to safety. -Seattle Times.One day in December as I was listening to the audiobook of The nightingale as I drove home from work I kept thinking how sad these characters lives were. I felt an overwhelming urge to listen to Edith Piaf sing a sad song in French. So here you are, for listening enjoyment, Edith Piaf singing "Non, Je ne regrette rein", which google translator tells me means, "No, I do not regret anything."
Rice pudding: (I told you it was a boring week) Here is a recipe for making rice pudding with cooked rice (most call for uncooked rice, which doesn't help if you have leftover rice on hand): To a saucepan add equal parts cooked rice and milk (or a little extra milk.) Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When the mixture starts to boil add as much sweetener as you wish. (Honey, sugar, Splenda, etc.) and whatever flavorings and fruits you like. I add cinnamon and raisins. Add a little salt if needed. Simmer on low, stirring often until it is the thickness you desire for about ten minutes. Serve warm or cold. It is a very relaxed recipe and I don't think you can do anything to wreck it unless you burn it.
Books read this week: (Woot-woot, it was a good week for finishing books, as you would guess from my earlier comments.)
- Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings, a memoir by Margarite Engle---written in verse, this memoir is a time in Margarite's young life. her mother was Cuban and she always so at home when they visited the island then the Cuban Missle Crisis hit and suddenly she could no longer visit her beloved country. This was a Pura Belpre winner this year, an award given to Latino authors.
- A Bride's Story, Vol 7 by Kaoru Mori---this is the book at the center of my mystery I told you about last week. Yes, the book has nudity (and more than I realized initially) but it about the friendship of women.
- Felicity by Mary Oliver---poems. Ah, poems! I fall more and more in love with her poems, the more I read. This is this celebrated poet's latest collection. Theme: love.
- The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick---the audio version of the book. The firt part was pretty slow and not at all like the exciting TV series. But the second half of the book was quite interesting and a bit exciting and I ending up enjoying it quite a lot.
- Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez---a Printz honor book this year. It is about the circumstances surrounding a tragic school explosion which killed 300 students. Other themes include racism and incest. Not exactly uplifting stuff.
- Nice Recovery by Susan Juby---Juby's addiction and recovery story. Progress 50%.
- The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George---my current audiobook. I am enjoying it so far. Reviews are very mixed. It will be interesting to see which side of the fence I fall on.
- Printz Challenge---with Out of Darkness I have completed the 2016 Printz Challenge. Now I will challenge myself to go back and read some of the books I missed from past years.
- Read All the Youth Media Award YA books---with Enchanted Air in the pocket I only have two more books to read for this challenge, The Stonewall Award winner, Porcupine the Truth, and one of the ten Alex Award winners. This is beginning to look like a piece of cake.
- Goodreads Challenge: I am challenging myself to read or remove books on my "Want to Read" category. Of those I have seven books which I didn't complete year. So my mini-challenge within the challenge is to deal with these books first. Either read or dismiss. Here are the details.
- Pulitzer Challenge---a personal challenge to read about eleven more of the Pulitzer prize winners 1921 to present. Obviously I will not attempt to read them all. I read two PP winners in January: The Yearling (1939) and The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2008). Check out the hyperlinks for my reviews. The Yearling was also my Classics Club book for the latest spin. That challenge ends tomorrow and I'm done so good for me!
Quote for the day (this has really made me stop and think):
"Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see." C.S. Lewis