September Book Club Selection

"She generally gave herself very good advice (though she very seldom followed it). —Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
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Oh Alice. Me too. I told myself we should skip book club for September since we are embarrassingly behind on reviews—and we're halfway through the month already. But then I heard they're making this beautiful read into a movie and all reason flew right out the window. What good is reason anyway if it keeps us from reading this timely book, full of beautiful reminders like this one: "The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or somethin in between, this earth ain't no final restin place. So in a way, we is all homeless—just workin our way toward home."

If you haven't read this, do. You'll be glad you did. Or if you're like me and read it years ago, pull it out for a reread. Then let's all meet up in October to see it in theaters, shall we? Milk Duds are on me.

Posted by Rachel

Tennis anyone?

“There’s a lot of good waiting for you on the other side of tired. Get yourself tired.” 

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There’s a lot to do around here with me AWOL and Rachel climbing corporate ladders. I deserted with good reason—I was finding respite at the U.S. Open.  You’ll be relieved to hear the weather was sublime, devoid of east coast humidity. And week one did not disappoint: Roger graceful, Sharipova glittering, and Rafa brim with passion. We put in a twelve-hour day at Flushing Meadows. Never tired of deuces. All that back-n-forth got me thinking that it’s high time I read one of my sister Cindy’s favorite autobiographies: Open. Nin had trouble limiting her use of the word fascinating. I’m an Agassi fan, so no real convincing required. But she added it’s an autobiography everyone will enjoy because Andre’s story is so compelling and honest.  

Open is a New York Times Notable book and a Forbes, San Francisco Chronicle, and Washington Post Best Book of the Year. One critic raved, “Agassi may have just penned one of the best sports autobiographies of all time. It’s one of the better memoirs out there, period…an unvarnished, at times inspiring story [told] in arresting, muscular style…Agassi’s memoir is just as entrancing as his tennis game.”  What’s more, I’m on an ear-lovin roll right now and the audio version of Open has been highly touted. If you think I’m overstating, check out this recent review.  Time to learn a little bit more about “The Punisher.” Who’s game? 

Posted by Tracy

Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga Ooga-Chaka

“I cannot live without books [or football].” Thomas Jefferson

While Rachel’s dropping the B-bomb on our blog, I’m dreaming about being in Devon Kennard’s “vibrant” book club.  Can’t say that I’ve met the Giant’s linebacker, but honestly speaking, I may be in love with the perfictionist. (Not to worry Peyton or Steph, to quote Orleans “You’re Still the One.”) If you know me at all, you know that I love me some professional football.  The game, in all its workout warrior maleness, may or may not have me Hooked on a Feeling.  (Okay, I’ll stop with the 70’s song references before I get outta hand.) 

Combine the gridiron, pigskin, and hail marys a la Aaron Rodgers with books glorious books, and this girl’s happy heart is sure to palpitate. The thought alone makes me starry-eyed. I’ll take razzle-dazzle and reads from here to eternity. All that to say, way to go DK!  He assigned two of my all-time favorite reads this summer: The Alchemist and To Kill a Mockingbird. I was deeply impressed that Kennard wanted joinees to relate reading to real life.  Books are exquisite teachers. We need to draw from the deep well literature has to offer.  And while Kennard may have incentivized his readers to think deeply by offering signed memorabilia, that seemed to be a smaller, secondary reward to the insights students gained.  Now that my book-lovin heart is sufficiently warmed, I’ll speak for me and Rae: next year DK, sign us up—the two middle-aged girls at twenty-seven are all in!

Posted by Tracy

Weekly Wrap-Up (Pretty Books Edition)

"I am simply a book drunkard." —L.M. Montgomery
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WHAT WE LOVE THIS WEEK

Pretty books. To think all these years we've been buying books to read them. Instagram opened our eyes to a whole new world of collecting beautiful editions of our favorite reads and now we've got an acute case of book envy. She's wily that way. Just what we needed: an excuse to spend more money on books. But seriously, our shelves are simply screaming for this lovely Knickerbocker Classics Edition of Wuthering Heights. Little Women and Pride and Jane Eyre too.

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Who can resist the Puffin in Bloom Collection? This edition of Anne of Green Gables is gorgeous.

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Still swooning over the Penguin V&A collection. The Wind in the Willows never looked cuter.

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We'll take one of each of the Penguin Threads editions. Already own Emma and Little Women, next up: The Secret Garden. Then The Wizard of Oz.

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Mr. Boddington's Classics. They're all the rage. This lovely edition of Jane Eyre will cost you a pretty penny.

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Speaking of pretty pennies, you'll also need lots of them for this White's Books edition of Emma

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Must have: My Antonia from Penguin Drop Caps.

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Being the logophiles we are, these Word Cloud Classics have our name all over them. Speaking of names, Captain Wentworth is a glorious one. This copy of Persuasion will start our collection off nicely.

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War and Peace never looked so good. Apparently there's a whole Vintage Classic Russian Series we knew nothing about. This may be the nudge we need to tackle Anna Karenina.

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Every library needs the Puffin Classics collection. Especially ours. We'll start with Little Women.

We're just scratchin the surface here folks—much to our book budget's dismay. As if either of us knows anything about budgeting.

Posted by Rachel

10 Nooks And Their Perfect Books

Books may well be the only true magic. —Alice Hoffman

WHAT WE LOVE THIS WEEK

Reading nooks. So much so that were money no object we'd have one in every room. (Can we all just agree now that we'd make darling millionaires?) How lovely would it be to have a nook to match your mood, or better yet, the book you're reading?

We're nothing if not dreamers, so come along with us as we pair some of our favorite spots with the perfect read—starting with the nook above. Could be the lighting and the wood pallets that have us pining for Tom, Rusty, and The Medicine Lodge. Hope there's a copy of The Bartender's Tale on those shelves.

Something about this space has us itchin for a reread of Rules of Civility.

Think of the writing Cassandra Mortmain could have done in this colorfully whimsical spot? As if they read our minds, Wednesday Books is releasing a new, fabulously yellow edition of I Capture the Castle this fall. 

Pardon us while we take a moment to swoon over this sofa. Pretty sure we'd never leave this spot so a stack is in order: A Gentlemen in Moscow, Big Little Lies, and Lucia, Lucia ought to get us started. Then bring on Anna Karenina.

The Happiness Project. Although it wouldn't be much of a project if we dwelt in this lovely abode.

Not to be obvious, but A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Hemingway, McCarthy, or Bragg. Personal favorites:  A Farewell To ArmsAll the Pretty Horses, and All Over but the 'Shoutin'.

This one feels made for lighter fare, as in Boden, Magnolia Journal, or Real Simple.

Definitely Jane. Let's start with Persuasion and not stop till we've reread them all.

The Rosie Project. And waiting above on those cheery shelves? Ginny Moon and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Feel free to play along—which reads would you pair with these nooks? Have other cozy spots that are your favorites? Please share!

Where We Love Is Home

"Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than a magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration." —Charles Dickens  

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Let’s pretend it’s Tuesday.  And while we’re pretending, let’s imagine I’m on the ball. After a bevy of new reviews, Rachel’s prophetic words “don’t get used to it” crashed home. So please pardon us while we wallow in our blogging inefficiency.  Better yet, never mind us; let’s talk kid stuff even though it’s Thursday, not Tuesday.  

I’m trying to raise children that don’t have to recover from their childhood. My daughter Abigail was a unicorn for Halloween one year, when she was just 3 or 4. A glittered alicorn head cap atop a totally white faux-fir body suit, and we’d have to coax the magic off her every couple days. She wore it to the Beary Fun pre-school, in the backyard to play on her little tikes toys, to the dinner table, and at nap time—she even attempted to worship Jesus in the church house in her mythical creature costume. Little did I realize then that Abbey’s innocent obsession with a white-horned horse would morph into one of my favorite memories of her when she was little. Her predilection captured the magicalness of childhood, the magicalness of her. Turns out that Laurel Snyder’s Orphan Island also catches the bewitching aspects of being a blissfully happy kid.

The enchanted island is home to nine (rotating) orphans who live in harmony with subdued animals, abundant fresh foods, a sky filled with dancing shapes, and wind that cradles the children in safe arms. Balance abounds. And the orphans, devoid of physically present parents, fill up on love, laughter and joy.  There is no mistaking the familiar and comfortable feeling of home on Orphan Island. Until there is a disruption in the balance. My boys just had to learn what would happen next and begged for more chapters, for more time on Orphan Island.  I was curious too. Props to Snyder who gives orphans a voice—to send the message that love and home are, in fact, synonymous.  

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Posted by Tracy