COFFEE CHAT: BOOKS, NETFLIX, MOVIES, ETC.

Good morning!  It’s time to grab some coffee…and chat about Bookish/Not So Bookish things.  Link up at Bookishly Boisterous.

  • My “Reading” Coffee Mug is joining us.
  • Take note of the diminishing stack of print books on my coffee table.  Of course I have a couple of hardcover books on my nightstand…and ELEVEN older books in my office.  But it’s getting better…right?
  • Lately I’ve noticed that some of these books, which also have 400+ pages, have TINY print…which makes it hard for these seasoned eyes to read.  So I only read them in bits and pieces.  The biographies especially are “guilty” of these qualities.
  • I’m spoiled by reading on Pippa, my Kindle, where I can change the font.
  • Currently I’m reading and LOVING The Identicals, by Elin Hilderbrand.  Twin “girls,” approaching forty, living on adjacent islands:  Nantucket for one, and Martha’s Vineyard for the other.  They were separated as teens: one went with the father, the other with their mother, after a divorce.  Then something happened to further estrange them.
  • I finished reading and reviewing The Secrets She Keeps, by Michael Robotham; a five star read for me that kept me glued to the pages.  Click for my review.
  • I have been out and about a few times this week, probably because the temperatures have “dropped” to the 90s.  But what a difference a few degrees can make!
  • On Sunday, a group of us joined to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.  Bottomless mimosas and really delicious food, which surprised me, as buffets don’t always deliver.  My daughter is on the left side, five from the front, with the “tatts” and curly hair.  I’m four down on the right.
  • On Saturday, I had lunch with an old friend, a former colleague, who lives in Northern California and had come down to visit friends (including moi, of course).  After I had retired from my career position for the county, I went to work at a private foster family agency, and met a great group of social workers.
  • Having that lunch reminded me of how the group of us that worked together from 2002-2005 was close, like hostage victims, as our CEO was a real tyrant given to temper tantrums and narcissistic ravings.  Sound familiar, anyone?
  • After the lunch, I went to see The Glass Castle, which was an awesome movie with a great cast;  the author of the book was involved with the production, and there were scenes at the end showing her and some family members.
  • My Netflix viewing this week:  I finished the available episodes of The Ranch, which ended on a cliffhanger…more episodes, please!  I started watching Friends from College, which I’m enjoying so far.
  • So…today?  I was thinking of another manicure, but after checking my nails, I think they can wait a week.  I’m feeling too lazy to go out.  Do you ever just want to hole up in your house and read, or watch the shows on the DVR?  I went to sleep before watching Younger and The Sinners.

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So…that’s it for today…what are you chatting about?  Come on by….

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COFFEE CHAT: JURY DUTY, BIRTHDAYS, ETC.

Good morning!  Time to chat over coffee, and link to Bookishly Boisterous for Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts.

  • I wasn’t going to write a post today, as, after a week of calling in at night, I have been directed to report in for Jury Duty this morning at 8:30.  This means changing up everything about my morning routines.  I hate the drive downtown, and finding the Jury Parking.  I haven’t done this since the 1980s!  Up until now, I’ve managed to be “on call” only.
  • But…I couldn’t sleep until my alarm went off, so I thought I should try writing down a few thoughts while I eat breakfast.
  • Last night I watched Part I of The Story of Diana.  Mostly it was a repeat of a lot of the other shows I’ve seen lately.
  • Because I was setting the alarm and planning to rise early, I didn’t get a chance to watch Younger and The Sinner.  They are waiting on the DVR.
  • I finished watching Season I of Ozark…and resumed watching The Ranch.
  • On the weekend, I watched a movie on Amazon Prime that I had seen at the theater…and enjoyed it because it starred Debra Winger.  It was The Lovers.
  • Reading two books:  Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate, which is pretty good so far; and America’s Queen, by Sarah Bradford, which I will read in bits and pieces, as it has 444 pages…which isn’t that bad, except that the type is very tiny, making the pages long and sometimes tedious.  I found myself skipping over parts I’ve read in other books.
  • On Tuesday, I enjoyed a pre-birthday lunch with my daughter and her son Noah; we had a very adult-like lunch, with no barbs thrown or any sneaky mentions of the Elephant in the Room (Trump).  Probably because Noah was there.

  • On Sunday, her actual birthday, there will be a group brunch at a local restaurant, which I’ve never visited, but is close by:

  • She was born on Friday the 13th, in 1976, after 36 hours of labor…and finally, a C-Section!
  • I’m looking forward to seeing The Glass Castle this weekend!

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That’s it for today.  Come on by and share your own Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts.

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MY INTERIOR WORLD: COFFEE, BOOKS, DREAMS, ETC.

Welcome to another Coffee Chat, linked to Bookishly Boisterous for Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts.

  • I’ve read and reviewed two books so far this week, and I’m almost finished with the third one.  They are all fabulous!  Emma in the Night (click titles for reviews) was a great domestic thriller; Sunday Morning Coming Down was probably the last (seventh) installment of the Frieda KIein series; and The Bookshop on the Corner, set in Birmingham and parts of Scotland, is a wonderful story of a librarian without a library.
  • The other day I reprised a review from a favorite author:  A Baby Boomer’s Coming of Age Tale (about Joyce Maynard).
  • Last week, I posted A Young Girl’s interior World:  Excerpting “Web of Tyranny.”
  • My former daughter-in-law (Fiona’s mother) had a great gathering for all of her grown kids…and the grandchildren.  Her oldest son Spencer and his family came all the way from North Dakota.  Here are some of them enjoying the pool:

  • Below, Spencer’s kids from North Dakota:  Twins Lilly and Bella, with Maddix…

  • I was so tired yesterday, and the days before, probably because I scrubbed the floors last weekend (LOL), that I went to sleep at 9 p.m.!  Right after I had watched the recorded Broadchurch.  As a result, I still haven’t watched Younger. 
  • I’ve watched half of Season I of Ozark, and parts of it remind me of Breaking Bad, with the strange and loathsome characters and the morally bent protagonists…doing what they feel they have to do.  I am a Jason Bateman fan, so I’m glued to the show.  Laura Linney plays the wife of Bateman’s character….and I don’t like her character at all.  She sneakily seems to undermine him, sort of like the wife in Breaking Bad.
  • After that whole “floor scrubbing” event, I think it’s time to get another “mani” today, even though I didn’t chip the nails.  I plan to call for an appointment after they open, although you can walk in.  But I like having an appointment.
  • I am ready to change my color again (I have red nails now), and last night I dreamed I got blue ones…not the dark navy blue I have done before, but a slightly lighter shade.  Maybe like these, without the glitter:

  • I often have the weirdest dreams, and what is even stranger…if I get up during the night for the bathroom, and go back to sleep, the dream continues!  As if I had paused a movie.  Odd, right?
  • So now…I’ve had two cups of coffee and I’m ready to resume reading my book about the Scottish librarian…I’m eager to find out what will happen to her after her new landlord sells the property where she is renting a cute little cottage….

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What is happening in your world, interior or exterior?

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MY INTERIOR WORLD: BOOKS, COMFY SETTING, & MY NOOK….

Good morning, and welcome to my Interior World.  Today has been one of posting reviews, checking for new releases, and capturing photos of my office.  Like the one above, which is a view from the left side of the room.  Books, family photos, and a bulletin board crammed with memorabilia.  Not to mention filing cabinets and a comfy chair.

Below, catch a glimpse of my work station:  laptop; my coffee and my list of blogs to visit.

And a close-up of my work space, with coffee.  A Disney character taking pride of place with my quirky doll, and the mug I  bought a few years ago in Big Bear, while on vacation.

 

Then, check out the opposite side of the room:  my couch, my trunk, my shelf of TBR books, my TV….

 

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I do love working in this room, which has had a few makeovers in recent years.  All it took was switching some furniture around…creating that nook for my laptop, etc., and adding a flat screen TV.

Now I don’t ever have to leave this room.  But, of course, I will.

Currently Reading:  The Bookshop on the Corner, by Jenny Colgan, which I’m loving.  The MC, a librarian named Nina, has been let go from her librarian position in Birmingham, and struggles to find a way to use her love of books in a new way.  A trip to Scotland, the purchase of a van, and she’s good to go.

 

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What does your interior world look like?  Do you have favorite spaces?  Do your books keep you engaged?

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A BABY BOOMER’S COMING OF AGE TALE…

I’ve been a fan of Joyce Maynard for many years.  Recently I read and LOVED her memoir, The Best of Us (click for my review).

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Then I searched through my Archives, and came up with an article I wrote on this blog eight years ago (July 2009), which reminded me once again why I love reading this author:

LookingBackIn 1972, an eighteen-year-old girl from New Hampshire wrote an essay for the New York Times, entitled “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life.”  Within days of the article’s publication, many letters came pouring in – requests for other articles, offers to go on television, and offers to meet with editors. One offer culminated in Looking Back: A Chronicle of Growing Up Old in the Sixties – an expansion of the article she had written for the “Times.”

In this memoir, the young woman, Joyce Maynard, wrote about her experiences growing up in a time when the world was changing dramatically – a world shaped by political activism, war, drugs, and women’s liberation – and how such events, plus the constant media presence, dictated how a generation perceived the world.

Speaking as one person affected by these complex changes in our culture, Ms. Maynard describes coming of age in such a time as “growing old.”  Perhaps a kind of cynicism, or world-weariness from the constant barrage of images from television impacted her view of the world – and the  view shared by many of her peers.

Nevertheless, she also illustrates her growing-up years with the “normal” kinds of experiences – the same insecurities and fears – that shadow most young people. She also points out in her foreword that she does not consider herself to have been “representative” of the typical experience of youth in her time. In fact, she states that the act of writing about these experiences in a way “sets a person apart from the territory of which she speaks.”

It is impossible for me to read this book, however, and not relate to it as someone having lived through similar experiences. Not the experience of living in New Hampshire or having written a book at a young age, but the commonality of fears and insecurities that hound most young people in any time, but especially in an age (such as the sixties) when change was  dramatic and constant.

I had read this book many years ago, but in rereading it recently, I still could relate to it. Ms. Maynard’s fiction is compelling, as well, including the novel To Die For…But her memoirs (another is At Home in the World: A Memoir), are erudite studies of growing up female in the Baby Boom generation.

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Do you sometimes search your Archives for your distant thoughts…and realize that you still feel what you were feeling then?  Or do you wonder “what was I thinking?”

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COFFEE CHAT: HOT WEATHER, BAD MOOD….

Good morning!  It’s time for a Coffee Chat…and today, as always, I’m linking to Bookishly Boisterous for Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts.

  • My reading this week has been good so far, and I’ve read and reviewed two of my August NetGalley review books.  Click titles for my reviews:  Mrs. Fletcher, by Tom Perrotta; and Girl in Snow, by Danya Kukafta.
  • Sadly, I broke out in the rash again after my hair appointment, so the supposedly organic dye did nothing to prevent it.  Luckily, I had some of the ointment that worked quickly last time, and it was gone in two days.
  • I am done with dye!  Going gray, folks!  Maybe I’ll do highlights (the foiled pieces seem to keep the dye away better).
  • My daughter is in denial, since she picks the dye…she thinks there is something else going on with me (never mind that the rash comes directly after the dye jobs, and my doctor agrees with me!)…and her inability to take responsibility means that I can’t risk it again!
  • The long hot summer is getting on my nerves, even aside from the rashes…I have to strip down to almost nothing in order to stand the heat, even with the oscillating fan.  I have clothes nearby…just in case I have to rush out during a fire…LOL.  (This is not a selfie!)

  • I enjoyed a barbecue on the weekend…everyone else was swimming, but I still had the rash, so, no…I sat in the shade and read my book.
  • I can’t believe that I haven’t been out to one of my lunches or dinners this week!  The rash, the heat, my mood…
  • My granddaughter Fiona has been working in Yosemite all summer.  This past week, all of her siblings gathered around for a get-together, and one of her brothers came all the way from North Dakota!  Others live in various parts of California.  And all of the grandkids were together, too!  Here are a few of them in the pool…staying cool!

  • I can’t remember the last time that all of my grown kids gathered together.  I think it was 1999!  I either have two of them, or even three…but not all four.  Here are the four, captured at the end of the 1990s…

  • Two summers ago, my European son and his wife joined us…I still love the memories.  But while they visited my second son in LA and saw my daughter and me here, they didn’t make it up far north to see my youngest son.
  • Currently I am taking a break from my NetGalley books…and reading one of my purchases:  Bad Housekeeping, by Maia Chance.  I am ready for a light cozy.

  • Then I’ll pick up another NetGalley book, to be released on 8/8:  Emma in the Night, by Wendy Walker:

  • The more that I talk about heat, rashes, and not seeing all of my kids together…my mood darkens.  I should stop while I’m ahead!  LOL
  • I thought I didn’t go out at all this week, but I just remembered that I went to the mall nearby and bought two new tops!  Now I have something new to wear, which always cheers me up.

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Enjoy the week…stay cool, if you are in hot weather…and find only good books to read!

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A YOUNG GIRL’S INTERIOR WORLD: EXCERPTING “WEB OF TYRANNY”

Today I am excerpting a portion of Chapter One, from Web of Tyranny, my fifth novel.

Synopsis:  In equal parts funny and serious, Web of Tyranny by Laurel-Rain Snow is a proud, if poignant tale of Margaret Elaine Graham, a woman entangled in the trenches that epitomized her abusive childhood home only to flee into a stultifying marriage with Bob Williams. Seduced by the hope of achieving her goal of a college education and a life free from domination, she is blinded to Bob’s true qualities—and in a very real sense jumps from the pan into the fire. Oppression begets oppression and as Meg walks a thin line of human betrayal, she learns to stake her own claim to happiness—no matter how high the cost. Her fight leads to politicking during the radical antiwar movement of the 60s and 70s, which manifests as a near-compulsion, which will turn her world on end. Enticed by the possibilities open to her and chafing at the strictures of the marital ties, Meg bolts from the marriage with her toddler son in tow where a whole myriad of troubles await her. 

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CHAPTER ONE:  (EXCERPT)

For the first few seconds of every day, before reality hit, she felt her body floating in a cloudy tangle as she came up from her dreams. Beautiful dreams of sunny days filled with music, ice cream and lots of laughter. She could still remember a time when her days had been like that; she’d been much younger then, granted the indulgences of early childhood. Those moments usually happened in the warm, cozy rooms at Grandma’s house, when she’d had a feeling that everything would work out somehow.

 

But she was not at Grandma’s today, and as she tossed aside the heavy tangle of sheets and blankets, she knew she wouldn’t be going to Grandma’s again any time soon. Father had other plans for her. Her summer days would be full of farm chores, beginning in the early hours of the day and ending only when the last box of fruit had been emptied and the last peach had been cut and placed on the trays. In the shed, with its overhang that shielded from the hot summer sun, the smell of ripening fruit made her gag, but she had to stifle the urge. Otherwise, she could end up with a far worse punishment than cutting fruit all day.

 

Margaret shuddered as she recalled some of those punishments.

 

At least when she worked in the shed, she was surrounded by the friendly faces of aunts and cousins. Living within five miles of each other, the Graham relatives, especially the women, rallied around one another during harvest season. As she worked, she pretended to be a fly on the wall, listening to the adult’s conversations; they hardly noticed her and when they talked in those hushed tones, her ears perked up.

 

That was how she learned about Aunt Noreen’s heart condition and Aunt Molly’s foster child, the one who was expecting…When Aunt Molly’s voice fell into that whispery tone, Margaret knew that secrets were being revealed. Lola’s pregnancy and the dilemma about what would become of Lola’s baby after the birth.

 

Of all the aunts, Aunt Molly could tell a simple story and make it fascinating. Every day of her life sounded like melodrama. Even her physical ailments seemed like something out of a storybook. No matter what else was happening with her though, Aunt Molly always had a friendly word for the younger members of the family. She and Uncle Chester had only one child of their own; Charles was an oddly quiet boy who seemed misplaced in that family.

 

Before Aunt Molly had started taking in foster children, Margaret recalled summer nights when she had been allowed a sleepover at her house. In the tiny little cottage next to the meandering canal, Aunt Molly made up a bed for Margaret in the sleeping porch. While she lay there, Margaret would study the walls of the tiny room, her eyes following the pattern of the knotty pine; wide awake, she reflected on Aunt Molly’s warning words as she tucked her in. She’d spoken of the evils in the world and how Margaret had to be very careful to stay away from the field workers who roamed their farms during the summer. Because the men who worked the fields had evil intentions where young girls were concerned.

 

Aunt Molly’s warnings introduced fear into her life, like opening a door onto a dark netherworld. But in the mornings, all the blackness disappeared as Aunt Molly cheerfully served breakfast in the tiny little nook that looked just like a booth in a diner.

 

So in the summer of her tenth year, Margaret Elaine Graham paid attention to all the melodrama swirling around her and made up stories of her own to add to the mix….

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CHATTING WITH COFFEE….

Good morning!  It’s time to grab a cup of coffee and chat about Bookish/Not So Bookish Things.  Head on over to Bookishly Boisterous to link up.

  • Last week I had my mani-pedi, and I changed up my trademark “purple” color….to this wicked red…LOL

  • Today I had coffee with a friend at Barnes & Noble…

  • Dinner with a book at The Elephant Bar…

  • Tomorrow I’m finally going to the salon to try to have my hair dyed (with an organic product) without an allergic reaction.
  • This week, I’ve enjoyed reading and reviewing three books already; click titles/covers for my reviews:

My Life to Live, by Agnes Nixon; The Marriage Pact, by Michelle Richmond;

and The Best of Us, by Joyce Maynard.

Currently I’m reading Every Wild Heart and Mean Streak.

  • I’ve been enjoying Shetland on Netflix…and saw the movie Lion there.  I loved it!  Tonight is Broadchurch again, on BBC.
  • It seems that I’ve had to leave the house every day this week for one or more errands, so I’m surprised that I’ve actually finished three of my books.
  • After tomorrow, I’m hoping to stay close to home for Friday and the weekend, as the heat is not going away.

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That’s what my life has been like since last week.  Come on by and let’s chat.

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LET’S GRAB SOME COFFEE AND CHAT….

Good morning, and welcome to another morning of Coffee Chatting…and linking to Bookishly Boisterous for those Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts.

  • Let’s start with the bookish things.  I’m having another delightful reading week, thanks mostly to the HOT, HOT, HOT weather, which is keeping me indoors.  I’m almost finished with my third book, and the fourth one is eagerly waiting in the wings.   The Comfort of Others, by Kay Langdale, is winding down, and while it didn’t grab me right away, I am now eagerly immersed in the alternating storylines of an eleven-year-old boy named Max and his next-door seventy-something neighbor Minnie.    Next:  The Child, by Fiona Barton; a book I’ve been ogling since, well, forever.

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  • Today I’m having a mani-pedi, and it’s long overdue.  Well, the pedi part, anyway.  I’m thinking of changing my signature color…this is what I’ve been “wearing” for ages…Thoughts?

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  • Does anyone else think the days, weeks, and year are flying by?  If only we could banish some of the unpleasant aspects of 2017…like that guy pretending to be President…LOL.
  • I haven’t watched Netflix at all this week!  I finished Season I of Gypsy, and I want more!  Naomi Watts does a great job.  I’ve added the movie Lion to my queue, along with Shetland...and Father Brown.  I’ve heard good things.
  • My reading has captured me, although I have taken time out for the new season of Broadchurch on BBC, and a new season of The Fosters and a new show The Bold Type, both on Freeform.
  • Today I woke up thinking about what would happen if my laptop died….and how would I set up a new one, with all the various things that I have attached to this one (requiring passwords, etc.).  I do have a sheet listing my Internet passwords, locked away in a file…but I’m thinking I may have overlooked something, like my new CBS app.  Does it have a password?  LOL.
  • I was doing one of those crazy FB memes that show our personality characteristics (as if we need an Internet tool to tell us!), and not surprisingly, mine showed that I like to be in control.  Duh!  That doesn’t mean I want to control others…but I do like being in control of myself and my world.
  • Here’s another photo from my daughter’s honeymoon in Prague, etc., snapped by her photographer brother who lives in Prague.  Great backdrop, right?

 

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That’s my week….how is yours shaping up so far?

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INTERIOR THOUGHTS ON A THURSDAY…

Good morning!  It’s time for Coffee and Chats…and today we’re joining Bookishly Boisterous for Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts..

  • Whew!  What a hot week so far!  Triple digits all the way.  But wait!  It is going down to 99 next Wednesday.
  • Early this morning, however, it was 80…so I went out to run an errand to Kaiser to pick up meds and get back home before noon.
  • As  long as the AC works, though, and as long as I don’t have to go out in it, I’m okay.  I got a lot of reading done last week, which was also very hot…and read FIVE books.
  • This week, I’ve read and reviewed two books so far:  The Bookshop at Water’s End, by Patti Callahan Henry (click for review), which made me feel really cool; and Love Letters, by Debbie Macomber, a book set in Cedar Cove (click to read review).

  • On Netflix, I watched Season Six of Offspring, an Australian show about a 30-something woman who is an Obstetrician, and we get to watch her crazy dysfunctional family (and crazy staff at the hospital!).
  • Then I started watching a show called Gypsy, starring Naomi Watts, a therapist who goes outside the lines to interact personally with the people in her patients’ lives.  Interesting and dangerous!  I’m halfway through the first season.
  • Has anyone ever watched a commercial that is so annoying that you want to throw things at the screen?  Here’s one that keeps showing over and over for Toujeo.  The guy wants to get back in his groove, but I just want him to stop dancing everywhere, with that goofy look on his face, even at work…LOL.
  • On the weekend, I saw the movie The Hero, starring Sam Elliott.  It’s a Sundance production, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Here’s the review I wrote about it:  Monday Potpourri:  A Surprising Sunday.
  • Before the movies, I had a salad…and this dessert.
  • The theater (which was not my neighborhood one) had been upgraded with wide aisles and reclining seats, which is the trend in theaters these days, but this was the first one I’d been in with these features. 
  •  My neighborhood theater plans to serve alcohol soon.  That could be good…or not.   I hope they put in the reclining seats, though.

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So…that’s my week so far.  What does yours look like?

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