Beth's Books in 2017 - Part 7 - End of the Year
This is a continuation of the topic Beth's Books in 2017 - Part 6 - Back to School.
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My name is Beth. I love books – talking about them, writing about them, reading about them.
I teach English at my local community college, so I am always looking for books I can use in my classes. I like to discover new writers.
I tend not to plan my reading, other than for my book club, which meets once a month. We meet in January and plan our year’s reading.
I tend to read more fiction than nonfiction and more women authors than men.
Welcome to my thread. Lurk or stop and say hello.
2. The Wangs vs. the World
3. To Dwell in Darkness*
4. Land of Careful Shadows*
5. March: Book Two*
6. A Manual for Cleaning Women*
7. A Family of Poems*
9. The Mothers
10. Oil on Water
12. Black Water
13. Journey to Munich
14. History of Wolves
15. March: Book Three*
16. Brown Girl Dreaming*
17. Station Eleven* REREAD
18. Today Will Be Different
19. Jane Eyre* REREAD
21. The Woman Next Door
22. Still Here
23. New Boy*
24. Garden of Lamentations
25. A Cast of Vultures
26. Bad Feminist*
27. The Mystery of the Third Lucretia*
28. American Street
29. The Dark Flood Rises
30. The Round House* REREAD
31. The Madwoman Upstairs*
32. The Defender*
33. Mission to Murder*
34. The Idiot
35. The Chibok Girls
36. Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal*
37. The Death of Kings
38. Breaking Creed*
39. How to Be a Heroine*
40. The Rabbit Back Literature Society*
41. The Family Interrupted
42. Strong Poison* REREAD
44. Golden Prey
45. Anything Is Possible
46. Among the Ruins
47. House of Light
48. The Intuitionist*
49. Wicked Autumn*
50. Heat and Light
51. The One Hundred Nights of Hero
52 The Secret Adversary*
53. The Leavers*
54. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
55. Difficult Women
56. The Chalk Pit*
57. When Mischief Came to Town*
58. The Birchbark House*
59. The Last Neanderthal*
60. The Essex Serpent*
61. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
62. Picnic, Lightning
63. Bruno, Chief of Police*
64. Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan
65. Behind the Scenes at the Museum*
66. The Case of the Defunct Adjunct*
67. Raven Black
68. Salt Houses
69. The Ashes of London
71. Jump Cut
72. The Women in the Castle
73. Song of Solomon* REREAD
74. Sing It to Her Bones*
75. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
76. Takedown Twenty
77. The Bastard of Istanbul*
78. Less Than a Treason
79. Ghachar Ghochar
80. The Good Girls Revolt*
81. The Last Laugh
82. Beastly Things*
83. Take Out
84. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler*
85. The Ukrainian and Russian Notebooks
86. A House Among the Trees
87. Born a Crime
88. Exit West*
89. Nothing Stays Buried
90. The Boys in the Boat
91. When She Woke
* From my shelf
93. The Master and Margarita*
94. A Boy in Winter
95. The Call*
96. A Rising Man
97. The Baker's Daughter*
98. A Kind of Freedom
99. Birdcage Walk
100. Glass Houses
101. Ban This Book*
102. What's Left Behind*
103. Killers of the Flower Moon
104. St. John's Folly*
105. Lessons on Expulsion
106. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
107. Brave New World*
108. Manhattan Beach
109. Death Comes to the Village*
110. Sing, Unburied, Sing
111. A Man Called Ove*
112. The Scarred Woman
113. Bingo Palace*
115. Trickster: Native American Tales
116. The Widow Nash
117. The Bedlam Stacks
118. The Child Finder
119. Jane and Prudence*
120. Death Comes to London
121. Holidays on Ice*
122. Moving Pictures
123. Death Warmed Over*
124. In the Midst of Winter
125. The Hundred Dresses*
126. A Bitter Truth*
127. Future Home of the Living God
128. The Book of Unknown Americans* REREAD
129. What We Lose
130. Pale Rider
131. Magpie Murders
132. The Children of Green Know*
133. The Lost Book of the Grail
134. Grief Cottage
135. Goodbye, Vitamin
136. Swallowing Mercury
137. Daughters of the North*
138. The Golden Egg*
* Off my shelf
Happy New Thread, Beth! Looks like we are in for a winter chill the next couple of days. Stay warm.
Not familiar with any of your current reads. Waiting to be enlightened...
Happy new thread, Beth!
The short story for which your Showalter Jury of Her Peers book was named (the Susan Glaspell Jury of her peers) -- was one I read in college and which made a tremendous impression on me. I later read a book, Midnight Assassin, about the case which Glaspell covered as a reporter (a real trailblazer for women journalists, she was) which may have inspired the story.
Happy new one, Beth! I just brought home too many books from the library and thought of you :)
You, too, Mark. You will be spending more time outdoors that I will. The Child Finder is very good, hard to put down.
>7 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul - thanks for stopping by.
>8 tymfos: Hi Terri - She also wrote a play "Trifles" based on the story, although I don't remember which came first. I am enjoying, slowly, the Showalter and getting ideas for the women's lit class.
>9 katiekrug: I hope you're having a glass of wine while thinking of me, Katie. Yes, once again, I have double digits home from the library. I just can't resist those shiny new books. What did you bring home?
>10 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah - I loved Excellent Women; Jane and Prudence is not as good. Child Finder is hard to put down and hard to read in places. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a good outcome.
Love your thread topper, Beth, and hope it's a good indication of lots of good reading through the rest of the year.
Happy new one, Twin!! What a perfect topper. You have read so many great books this year. I hope to get to several of them next year.
Love the topper Beth, what a nice idea. I'm in the market for a new blanket, as my last one has been commandeered by dad, and as he's under the weather, feel like I can't push it!
I didn't realise Showalter's book was named after an actual story. Want to read that now.
And from your last thread - The Widow Nash has the ordering people at the library scratching their heads, so going for the Xmas list instead.
Happy new thread, Beth! The topper made me laugh as I have been collecting suggestions for cold reads for the Georgia summer. I love the artwork in the topper.
Hi Beth, I love the topper you used for your new thread! I am wandering LT today and picking up some recommendations for a few "hot" reads. I have added Child Finder to the list.
Wow! I'd forgotten how many visitors come to a new thread! Welcome.
Thanks Peggy, Twin, Amber and Anita.
>16 charl08: Maybe it isn't published in UK yet? I got it from the library or I would send you a copy.
Thanks Mamie, Jim and Judy.
Judy - Child Finder is not for the faint of heart. It's pretty heart breaking. My sister was a foster parent, and I also think that Naomi is probably in a lot better shape than she would be in real life. Still, it is a page turner.
118. The Child Finder is a compelling read that focuses on lost and kidnapped children. It's always hard to read about abused children, but Denfeld tells the story with sensitivity. What I wonder about is whether she is too optimistic about the chances these children have of recovery. My sister was a foster parent, and many of the children she had who were severely abused seemed more broken than the children of this novel.
The story focuses on Naomi, the child finder. Her memories begin at nine, when she runs into a strawberry field naked. As she grows, she has dreams, but she never regains her memories. In this novel, she is searching for Madison Culver, lost three years earlier, when she was five, in the Skookum National forest. The descriptions of the forest and its inhabitants are wonderful; Denfeld has a keen sense of place. The point of view alternates between that of Naomi and that of Madison. It is a page turner. Will Naomi find Madison?
Not sure what I will read next. I have a huge stack of library books, so I'll page through those to see what calls to me. First, though, some grading.
Hi Beth. I was thinking it was about time for a new thread for you and here one is!
I'm reading two books right now, The Windup Bird Chronicle and The Cruellest Month. I must be in a bit of a book funk because, while I am enjoying both of them, I am also questioning the near-universal love of these two authors. My experience of both of these authors is that they have written one book; they just keep rewriting it with some minor changes.
Yep, that sounds like book funk, doesn't it?
Great minds, Ellen. I was just posting on your thread.
Not sure whether it's a book funk or whether you've found two authors who keep writing the same book :) When I think about authors I love, like Michael Chabon or Margaret Atwood, no two books of theirs seem the same, something I admire. Maybe you should give up on Penny; it doesn't sound like you like them all that much.
Happy new one, Beth. What a perfect quote for your opening. Wishing you a lovely Sunday.
Happy Sunday, Beth. I hope you are enjoying the weekend and getting some reading in. I plan on starting the audio of Turtles All the Way Down tomorrow. I have heard nothing glowing reports.
Have you decided what you are starting next?
Hi Mark - I'm waffling. I decided to read Holidays on Ice on my e-reader and picked up a cozy mystery until I decide what else to take on. Louise Erdrich's new book comes out this week, and I am number one on the library list, so I might wait for that.
Thanks Paul. It's sunny here, but I will be at my desk grading most of the day. Still, I have a cup of coffee and can laze in my pajamas with messy hair to do it, so I'm not complaining. We are fast approaching the end of the semester.
119. Jane and Prudence is not as good as Excellent Women, which I loved, but it still has plenty of Pym's understated wit and focuses on single women and their lives. All of the spinsters know that men only want one unnamed thing. And when Jane meets Prudence's newest boyfriend and finds him 'ordinary and colorless," she reflects, "...that was why women were so wonderful; it was their love and imagination that transformed these unremarkable being. For most men, when one came to think of it, were undistinguished to look at..."
Jane and Prudence were friends at Oxford, but since graduation, their lives have followed different paths. Jane married a vicar and gave up scholarship to become a rather vague and ineffectual vicar's wife. Prudence lives and works in London, and is nearly thirty, and single. Jane, of course, tries to remedy that. I didn't feel the same connection to the characters that I felt with Excellent Women, but Pym fans will enjoy this.
I think you would like Pym, Julia. Mine is an ebook, or I would send you a copy.
121. Holidays on Ice is the antidote to all of the sickeningly sweet holiday movies. Sedaris opens with an account of his time as an elf in Macy's Santaland. He goes on to parody holiday letters, recitals and Christmas programs. The funniest essays are about his family. Sedaris' humor is not for everyone, but I was laughing aloud on the elliptical.
His elf training involved learning how to sign Merry Christmas. Sedaris went above and beyond the basics: "My sister Amy lives above a deaf girl and has learned quite a bit of sign language. She taught some to me and so now I am able to say, 'Santa has a tumor in his head the size of an olive. Maybe it will go away tomorrow but I don't think so."
Or, when his sister brings one of her work friends home, Sedaris notes that it was the best gift the family could receive, "...knowing we were the only family in the neighborhood with a prostitute in our kitchen."
When their mother locks them out of the house on a snow day, the kids decide that she would really be sorry if one of them got hit by a car: "Poor Tiffany. She'd do about anything in return for a little affection. When we asked her to lie in the middle of the street, her only question was 'Where?' We chose a quiet dip between two hills, a spot where drivers were almost required to skid out of control. She took her place, this six-year-old in a butter-colored coast, and we gathered on the curb to watch." (Tiffany survived).
I'd love to spend a holiday with the Sedarises.
I'm now reading In the Midst of Winter, Isabel Allende's new book.
>36 BLBera: That poses an interesting question, Beth, as to which authors we would like to go on holiday with.
In terms of travel, I wouldn't want anyone too intrepid as a book by the pool or on the veranda suffice for me. Should be witty and nice to look at. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie possibly but with separate rooms of course!
>36 BLBera: Sounds like the perfect antidote to the saccharine Xmas all the shopping and perfect model family stuff.I love his readings, would like to hear him live one day.
>37 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul - I think David and Amy Sedaris are very funny, so there would be a lot of laughter.
>38 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda.
>39 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah. Holidays on Ice is an old one, so your sister has probably read it. Still, it might be worth a reread around this time of year.
>40 charl08: Charlotte, sometimes I listen to him on "This American Life," but I've learned that if I'm driving, I have to park. I laugh until I cry.
I am hoping to pick up Holidays on Ice on audio for our drive down to Virginia for Christmas with my in-laws :)
Happy weekend, Beth!
I remember hearing the Elf in Santaland piece on NPR's Morning Edition show the first time they aired it, and being absolutely amazed that I was listening to something so subversive on public radio. For a while they would play it every Christmas season but I don't know if they still do that. I don't think I've heard it recently.
>42 katiekrug: Katie - I think you would love it, and I imagine it would be great on audio, especially if Sedaris reads it.
>43 rosalita: Hi Julia. I don't think I've heard it lately, either. Sedaris cracks me up. I used to have my students read an essay by him, which I thought was hilarious, and they did not get it, so I stopped.
How sad that your students didn't appreciate Sedaris' humor, Beth. What's this generation going to do for laughs?
Hi Beth. Happy Saturday!
I'm coming off a crazy busy week, partly because work was busy but also because P and I had stuff happening almost every evening. Whew.
The books you sent arrived today. Thank you!!!! I am kind of looking forward to the AA autobiography challenge I'm going to do in 2018. Low-commitment year, ha.
I'm still(!) reading The Cruellest Month and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, enjoying both much more than I was in the midst of that book funk. I think it was also an I-miss-my-sister funk. :-)
I'm also making my way through Don't Call Us Dead, a poetry collection by Danez Smith. Joe heard him read at a bookshop in Chicago and I can tell by reading them that hearing the poet read them aloud would be enjoyable.
I know, Julia, but what can I do?
Happy Saturday to you, Ellen. I hope you have a great weekend. The books arrived fast! I look forward to the challenge as well.
Morning, Beth. Happy Sunday. i hope you can find some time time today, to relax with the books.
I am also reading Don't Call Us Dead. Strong stuff. Great voice.
Hi Beth, I try to catch Santaland Diaries on NPR every year. I can hear Sedaris' voice in my head just thinking about it.
There is a stage production of SantaLand Diaries that runs every year here in Denver. It's a one-man cabaret show. We went a couple years ago and it was hilarious!
Happy newish thread, Beth :-) I might have to seek out something by David Sedaris.
Hi Beth! Happy New Thread!
You may feel like you are in a reading funk, but your reading sounds wonderful. I've requested both Holidays on Ice and The Child Finder from the library.
Not that I need anymore books on the TBR pile around here!
I'll be very curious to hear what you think of the Erdrich. I've put it on my Christmas list.
>48 msf59: Hi Mark. I think my library has a copy of Don't Call Us Dead, so onto the list it goes. I quite enjoyed my Vikings on Sunday. :)
>49 Copperskye: I love David Sedaris - but I have to be careful not to listen to him while I'm driving; I laugh so hard I cry. Do they still do Santaland every year? It's been a while since I heard it. I'd love to see a play!
>50 susanj67: Thanks Susan. I think Sedaris might appeal to you. You could probably find some things of his to listen to to get an idea of his sense of humor.
>51 streamsong: Hi Janet - I think I was having a bad day and picked up books that didn't fit my mood. I'll watch for your comments on The Child Finder and the Sedaris. I am patiently waiting for my library copy to be ready. I am number one on the list, so it should be soon.
122. Moving Pictures is a graphic novel about the French hiding their art from the Nazis. It took me a half hour to read, and while the subject is really interesting, there isn't much story here. I liked the art, but I was left with a lot of unanswered questions about some of the story lines. So, it is just OK, and if you're interested in the topic, I would choose something else.
>53 BLBera: I liked the art too! I ended up going back and trying to work out what was going on, without being much clearer.
Yes, Charlotte! I thought I remembered that you had similar comments. And what was the deal with the woman in the beginning, taking Ila's passport? Who was she, and what did she have to do with the rest of the story?
>55 BLBera: I decided that it was kind of a choose your own adventure. So in my version
>56 charl08: I just didn't see the point of it, unless, as you suggest, it was to show what a good person she was. But it was pretty. :)
Hi Twin!! Popping in to wish you an early Happy Thanksgiving!! I have nothing Christmas-themed or even winter-themed in the near future. Perhaps I should fix that. : )
Hi Beth! Just stopping in to say Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones. I know you'll have some Scout time and I wish you a long weekend full of fun, warmth, relaxation, and maybe a wee bit of pleasure reading.
This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.
I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.
I am thankful that you are part of this group.
I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.
>58 Berly: Happy Thanksgiving to you, Twin. I hope you had a lovely day filled with lots of eating and drinking and no allergic reactions. :)
>59 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. Happy Thanksgiving to you.
>60 EBT1002: Happy Thanksgiving to you, Ellen. I hope your day is filled with family and fun.
>61 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. LT is certainly something I am grateful for. Your presence helps to hold the group together.
>62 nittnut: Happy Thanksgiving to you, Jenn.
>63 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy.
Thanksgiving was lovely. There was a lot of food and football (the Vikings played, and my family are fans). We turned the sound off, so the sounds of the game were groans and cheers from the family, which was great.
I have to catch up on a couple of reviews.
124. In the Midst of Winter has a great premise: Three people are thrown together in a NYC blizzard. Richard is an American academic with a past; Lucia is Richard's colleague, but she is Chilean and her history is tied to the repressive Pinochet regime; Evelyn is a refugee from Guatemala.
I loved Lucia's character. She is 62 and is still eager to live and experience new things, including love. I also enjoyed learning about Lucia's and Evelyn's histories. Through them, we see the violence that has created a worldwide refugee problem. We also see how women all too often bear the brunt of the violence.
I've often felt that Allende's historical novels, or the ones set in Chile are the best. This one suffers from the part of the plot set in the present. It is too unbelievable, and all of the twists and turns are unnecessary.
So, while I am happy to see a novel with protagonists in their 60s, and I liked the characters, this novel ended being just OK.
Death Warmed Over
Usually I don't pay much attention to covers, but this one is awful. If I hadn't read the previous novels in this series, I would never have picked up this book. And it's too bad, because this is a good series.
Thea Kozak, the protagonist, is a consultant to private schools. The series is based in Maine, and her clients are based throughout New England. Among other things, she consults about codes of conduct, helps with job searches, and works on PR issues. Her husband is a police detective. Thea is a strong character, and I love that her job is important to her, and she struggles with work-life balance.
This is the first new novel in ten years, so I was happy to see it. In it, Thea and Andre are house hunting. Thea gets involved in another mystery when their realtor is murdered. The murder is extremely gruesome, so I had to skim over that part, but this is a solid mystery with interesting side plots involving Thea's work with schools.
An advantage of ebooks is that I don't have to look at the cover, and that some authors are continuing series in the ebook format.
I guess we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but ugh!
Next: Nonfiction recommended by Susan, I think. Pale Rider. I have a nice new, shiny library book.
>65 BLBera: Sorry the Allende wasn't better, Beth. The characters do sound interesting though. The novels I can think of with older characters are by Irish writers - I don't know if that's just what I recall though rather than representative! Thinking of Anne Enright and Colm Toibin.
My work book group met on Wednesday, and How to be Both came up. Somebody said in their group the people that liked it were the ones that read the modern bit first. I couldn't remember which way round I read it! They've chosen Pesepolis for January, so I hope they like it.
Hi Charlotte - How was the discussion? Was The Improbability of Love a good discussion book?
>66 BLBera: I agree ~ that cover is terrible!
Your day with family, with "silent" football, sounds great. We also had football on in the background but since it wasn't the Seahawks there was only perfunctory attention being paid. Most of the focus was on the food and the conversation. It was a good day. P's cherry pie was excellent. :-)
Hi Ellen - Cherry pie - yum. I made pumpkin pies, which I am not crazy about, so that is one food I can easily resist on Thanksgiving.
You have been stepping up a storm lately; I'm glad you have gotten back to running. As the days get shorter, I have to make an effort to get to the gym, even if it is to walk around the track.
>68 BLBera: A bit stilted. Will try and write something coherent on the thread tomorrow. Pooped now - busy week, lots of talking!
I always think I can resist pumpkin pie, too. It's not my favorite.
But in addition to the cherry pie, P made a "pumpkin" pie made not with pumpkin but with butternut squash. She made it to take to her dad today but we each ate a piece for breakfast this morning (heh) and I suggested that perhaps her dad only needs half a "pumpkin" pie instead of three fourths of one. I mean, he's 95 years old, we must look out for his health.....
Stopping by to return the kind Thanksgiving wishes. Glad you had a good one!
Hi, Beth. I hope you had a nice holiday. Are you enjoying a long weekend?
I am loving Flower Moon. Another strong NNF author.
>64 BLBera: No allergic reactions. Thanksgiving was fun and delicious. : )
>65 BLBera: I have a love/hate relationship with Allende. Sounds like a pass to me.
>66 BLBera: That IS a horrible cover. Glad the book was better.
>72 EBT1002: I really dislike pumpkin, but butternut squash?! Recipe?? And that was big of you to look out for his health. ha!
And I just got called Beth! We are still Twins. :)
>71 charl08: I'll check with you later, Charlotte.
>72 EBT1002: I'm drooling, Ellen. It sounds like a great breakfast. How kind to watch out for your FIL's health.
>73 swynn: Thanks Steve. I hope you and Mrs. swynn and the young swynns are all fine.
>74 msf59: Hi Mark. I see that Flower Moon has made best of lists for the year, well deserved. I hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend. I imagine you are getting ready for the heavy lifting of the holiday season.
>75 Berly: Hi Twin. It seems like there are quite a few of us who do not care for pumpkin. Last year I made a cranberry pie that was fabulous.
How about that instead?
Hey Beth, hope your Thanksgiving was delightful! I've read and enjoyed a few of Allende's novels set in Chile so I've stocked up on a few more but, for some reason, they just haven't called out to be read. *sigh* book funk remains
Thanks Lynda. It was great. Sorry about the book funk. My last few reads haven't been all that wonderful either. I have hopes for Louise Erdrich's new one.
I have just started the new Erdrich book, Beth. My hopes are high but the threat of birth-damaged babies will keep me reading with my heart in my throat. You would have scored a book bullet with me with The
Child Finder if I hadn’t been such a fan of The Enchanted...touchstone is not behaving. I have too many good books on my library hold list. I may have to use the freeze option because a very busy December looms.
I brought home half of a pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving at my son’s house. It’s not my favorite but, like Ellen, I thought it made a perfectly acceptable breakfast this morning.
Hi Donna - Great minds -- I have some pie pumpkins here and need to decide what to do with them.
I also started the Erdrich book - the first 30 pages seem interesting.
The Enchanted is on my WL.
Okay, I think it was Kim who asked for the recipe here on your thread, Beth, but I'll share it here for you, as well.
They call it Brandied Pumpkin Pie.
>66 BLBera: Yet another series I've never heard of that sounds like I would enjoy it very much, Beth. I don't know how or where you find these but I'm so glad you do!
Ooh cranberry pie. Looks wonderful, Beth. Having a very lazy morning: looking at the garden thinking I really should go outside and pick up the leaves. Again.
Hope your Sunday is the perfect rounding off of your Thanksgiving weekend, Beth.
>81 EBT1002: I couldn't open this Ellen. I did find a recipe for brandied pumpkin pie on Epicurious - does it sound like it's the right one?
1 1/2 recipes pâte brisée
an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water
2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Cognac or other brandy
ginger whipped cream as an accompaniment
Roll out three fourths of the dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface, fit it into a 10-inch (6-cup capacity) pie plate, and trim the edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the dough flush with the edge of the pie plate and with a sharp knife make 1/2-inch-long cuts at 3/4-inch intervals all the way around the edge of the shell. Turn every other section of the dough in toward the center of the shell to form a decorative edge and chill the shell for 30 minutes.
Roll out the remaining dough 1/8 inch thick on the lightly floured surface and with a 3-inch leaf-shaped cutter cut out 3 leaves. Transfer the pastry leaves to a baking sheet, score them lightly with the back of a knife to form veins, and chill them for 15 minutes, or until they are firm. Brush the leaves lightly with some of the egg wash and bake them in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden. Transfer the leaves to a rack and let them cool completely.
In a bowl whisk together the pumpkin, the brown sugar, the cinnamon, the ginger, the salt, the heavy cream, the milk, the eggs, and the Cognac until the filling is smooth and pour the filling into the shell. Brush the edge of the shell lightly with some of the remaining egg wash if desired and bake the pie in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 1 hour, or until the filling is set but the center still shakes slightly. (The filling will continue to set as the pie cools.) Transfer the pie to a rack and let it cool completely. Garnish the pie with the pastry leaves just before serving and serve it with the ginger whipped cream.
>82 rosalita: I used to read a LOT of mysteries, Julia. This is an older series. The one I just read was the first one in ten years. I don't know how the older ones would hold up, but I thought the latest was a solid mystery.
>83 Berly: Hey Twin - I should have read your post first. I found a recipe on Epicurious and posted it >86 BLBera: . The cranberry pie was yummy and pretty easy.
>84 charl08: It was yummy, Charlotte, if you like tart things. I served with whipped cream, and it was a nice combination. I am trying to may inroads on my grading. I'm almost done with the essays in one class.
>85 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul.
I hope to get ready for class, do serious grading and then this afternoon go for a walk and read Future Home of the Living God. It has a promising beginning.
Hi Beth! So much pie :-) I'm glad Pale Rider is going well for you. It's scary, but hopefully we know more now.
Yes, I'm going to have to fast to make up for the food this weekend, Susan.
I'm finding Pale Rider fascinating - good call. Thanks!
Happy Sunday, Beth! I am not sure that I know of any pie I would turn down.
I copied and pasted from the site (we subscribe so I assume that is the issue).
Brandied Pumpkin Pie
FOR THE CRUST
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), preferably a high-fat, European style, chilled and cubed (we did not use European style)
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water, as needed
FOR THE FILLING
1 ¾ cups squash or pumpkin purée (see note)
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pinch ground clove
Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until the mixture forms chickpea-size pieces. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just comes together. It should be moist, but not wet. On a lightly floured surface, gather the dough into a ball.
Flatten into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 12-inch circle. Transfer crust to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold over any excess dough, then crimp edges. Prick crust all over with a fork, then chill crust for 30 minutes.
While the dough chills, heat oven to 375 degrees. Line chilled crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes; remove foil and weights and bake until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes more. Cool on rack until needed.
Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, eggs, cream, dark brown sugar, brandy, ginger, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the nutmeg and clove. Pour mixture into the cooled pie shell. Transfer pie to a large baking sheet. Bake until crust is golden and center jiggles just slightly when shaken, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
*To make butternut squash purée, peel, halve and seed a 2 1/2 to 3-pound squash and cut flesh into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Coat with melted butter or oil and roast at 400 degrees, stirring once or twice, until the squash is tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool, then purée in a food processor.
I don't actually have a favorite. This time of year, apple is really good. And yes, Ellen's sounds amazing.
I loved Human Acts, Mark. It was one of my favorite reads last year. I'm almost halfway with the new Erdrich and will comment when I finish. I see that Donna really liked it.
For those of us who love lists of good books: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/11/30/567009799/first-ever-aspen-words-literary-prize-unveils-its-list-of-nominees
Morning, Beth. Happy Sunday. I finished The Hate U Give. It will easily be a top read of the year for me, plus it is just an important book, period. It deserves all the accolades.
Looks like winter will arrive this week. Brrrrr....
>99 charl08: They are hard to resist, right Charlotte? I've read a few and liked them, and there are some first-time authors on the list that might be worth checking out.
>100 msf59: Hi Mark - I know that Ellen also loved The Hate U Give; I'm waiting for it to become available from the library. Yes, finally we'll get some winter. I've been enjoying the mild weather, but Scout is anxious for some snow.
127. Future Home of the Living God is a dystopian novel from Louise Erdrich. Something is happening to babies; evolution seems to be going backwards, or as Cedar Hawk Songmaker, the narrator, says, "Turning around to the beginning. Maybe that's not the same as going backward." Chaos reigns as the social order and government collapse. Is Mother Nature getting back at us?
The novel is a letter from Cedar Hawk Songmaker to her unborn child. Told from her point of view, we get limited information about what is actually happening. The resulting gaps in the plot are a big drawback; perhaps Erdrich would have been better served by using multiple viewpoints.
The writing is wonderful, as one would expect from Erdrich, and she has great characters, but the novel feels a little incomplete. The dystopia needs some development.
So, this is an Erdrich novel that I liked but did not love. Recommended with reservations.
I'm continuing with Pale Rider, which is fascinating.
Happy Sunday, Beth! Thanks for sharing the NPR link to another list of worthy-looking books. *sigh*
I'm not sure about the new Erdrich... maybe I'll jump on the library holds list.
Thanks Katie - Trying to get some grading done. The list does look good, doesn't it?
I think the new Erdrich is worth reading -- I just won't rush out and buy a copy to keep.
Happy Sunday to you. Are you still cheering for your Giants, or have you given up for this season?
I'm still watching the Giants but purely out of habit, I think :-P They certainly don't deserve my loyalty!
>98 BLBera: Thanks for the list, Beth. There are some good ones to look out for there.
I hope grading didn't eat up too much of your day.
>105 katiekrug: :( You could cheer for the Vikings. And don't worry, we are also used to disappointment.
>106 susanj67: I'm always happy to share book lists, Susan. Well, I'm trying to watch football, pick up and grade. Only two weeks of class left, so it will be pretty intense for the last couple of weeks.
>98 BLBera: What a great list. I have a library copy of Sing, Unburied, Sing on my bedside table and I bought The Sympathizer back in September when I seem to have thought that I would be able to read a book a day during P's recovery. I still want to read it!
This coming week is our last week of classes, then we have finals. We only have a 2-week winter "break;" I'm taking December 28 - January 1 off. I am looking forward to that 5-day mini vacation!
Thanks for the comments about the new Louise Erdrich. I am going to try to keep her on my radar in 2018 since even with my little Erdrich reading challenge for the 2017 year there are so many works I haven't yet read!
>108 EBT1002: I thought it looked interesting, Ellen. My library has some of the books. We have two weeks left as well. My last day of class is Dec. 14. I can't wait although I have a lot of grading to do to finish. We start again Jan. 8.
>109 EBT1002: I think the Erdrich is worth reading, Ellen. I would be anxious to see what you think of it. I was thinking of you as I am looking at The Luminaries on my shelf. We ended the last year with a shared read of a weighty tome by Pamuk. I was thinking of maybe picking up a longer read to end the year with again.
>110 charl08: Thanks Charlotte. I'll check out the story collection. I think my library has a copy.
>111 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie - I hope your week is stellar.
I just started What We Lose, which in some ways is reminding me of Americanah -- maybe it's the discussion of race.
And I'm still working through Pale Rider.
I gave What We Lose 4 stars; I hope you also enjoy it.
I picked up The Painted Drum at the library today so that will be my first Erdrich for this month. I have put Future Home of the Living God on hold but there is a bit of a queue.
I'm envious that your winter break is 3 weeks long. Ours is but two weeks but I plan to fully enjoy it. The first week is already quite full of meetings but I'll only work two days the second week (December 26 and 27). I hope to get some serious project work done during those two days and then I'm taking five days at home with Abby, bowl games (Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl), morning runs, reading, and LT. I can hardly wait!
I finished Murder on the Orient Express tonight. I don't know which of the many library books I'm going to read next. I should read Sing, Unburied, Sing since there is a queue and I won't be able to renew it.
Hi Twin! Just catching up here. Good luck with all the grading. Vacation is almost here....! Hugs.
>113 EBT1002: Ellen, I am loving What We Lose. I'm about halfway and should finish it tonight; it's due tomorrow and I can't renew it.
I might try to get to another Erdrich this month. I wanted to read her rewrite of The Antelope Wife...
It is nice to have three weeks although part of that is finishing grading and another is getting syllabi ready...And, of course, there's Christmas. Still, it's nice not to have to rush out of the house in the morning.
Sing, Unburied, Sing! Choose that one. You will love it.
>114 Berly: Hi back Bim or Kith. I'll take all of the hugs I can get.
Hi, Beth! I started Future Home of the Living God today. Not far in but I really like it. I did not realize Erdrich narrates the audio herself and is doing a splendid job. There is definitely an offbeat style and tone to this novel. Unusual for her but I like it.
Just been back to the first list you posted. I'd not come across quite a few, and have downloaded a sample of The Tower of the Antilles. Hope your week is going ok - Any Xmas baking planned with Scout?
>117 msf59: I'll watch for your comments, Mark.
>188 Hi Charlotte - A lot of the titles were new to me as well. Some of them look good though. My library has some of them.
Yes, we need to get on the baking! Maybe tomorrow.
129. What We Lose is a lovely first novel. In many ways, this is a coming-of-age story.
Thandi is the daughter of an American father and a South African mother, and when her mother dies of cancer, she begins to question her place in the world. She considers race: "American blacks were my precarious homeland -- because of my light skin and foreign roots, I was never fully accepted by any race. Plus, my family had money, and all the black kids in my town came from the poorer areas. I was friends with the kids who lived on my block and were in my honors classes -- white kids. I was a strange in-betweener." She also explores sex and friendship.
Under all of this, of course, is her grief. She has to learn to be in a world without her mother. We can follow her through her journey in the short, vivid journal-like passages.
Recommended. Great first novel.
Now, back to Pale Rider and the Spanish flu.
>120 BLBera: Book bulleted again over here!
Have a lovely weekend, Beth.
>120 BLBera: On my list already, otherwise I would add it!
Hope you have a good week Beth. Mine is Full of Xmas dos, should be interesting!
Hi Beth! Just dropping in to see how you are - busy with end of semester stuff, I bet!
Hey Katie - You got it! I was just laughing with my colleagues about some students who have suddenly appeared in class after being gone since the beginning of the semester, asking what they can do to pass...I think I need some alcohol.
Hi Lynda - Thanks! I need all the luck I can get. Things are so crazy at this time of year with both school and RL.
Both books are good reads.
130. Pale Rider is a fascinating look at the Spanish flu -- which did NOT originate in Spain. Spinney explores the history, the science, and the speculation surrounding the Spanish flu. Much is still not known. She also discusses the possibility of another pandemic. Takeaway -- get your flu shot!
I thought she did a good idea explaining the biology of the flu, and while it got a little numbers heavy at times, it's a worthwhile read. Thanks Susan.
I love the way Spinney talks about school children, who, surprisingly were not struck down at the levels one would expect: "...school-age children represented ideal vectors of infection, because they are among the preferred victims of seasonal flu, they meet and mingle on a daily basis, and their snot control has a tendency to be suboptimal." :)
Now, back to Magpie Murders, which I am really enjoying -- thanks Julia -- and to The Children of Green Knowe, which is our book club selection for this month.
Oh, and I should probably grade some as well. :(
Hey there, Twin. Thanks. I guarantee you will love What We Lose.
Amid the frustration of trying to get grades in, I got a note from a student that said THe Book of Unknown Americans was the first book he'd read since high school, and he liked it so much that he went and got a library card. Yes! This is why we teach.
>130 BLBera: Ahh!! That is such a sweet story. Thank you for sharing. Hold that one close to the heart. :)
Saving the world, one library card at a time.
>128 BLBera: Sounds intriguing - did you read the icelandic novel(la) set amidst the outbreak of the epidemic? I've forgotten the title. The author used to be a musician. It'll come back to me eventually.
>134 BLBera: Yes! I did like that one. I think it was the one with the professional centurion in it :-)
>130 BLBera: - I love not just that the student loved the book and was inspired to get a library card, but that he thought to tell you.
Re-surfacing after two days of illness to say I'm so happy you're enjoying Magpie Murders and hooray for inspiring a student to get a library card. That's something to remember whenever it seems like you're beating your head against a wall trying to teach.
>135 susanj67: I seem to be on a roll with your recommendations, Susan.
>136 katiekrug: Katie - Well, there may have been some brown nosing going on, but hey, adding another reader to the population isn't a bad thing. We need all the readers we can get.
>137 rosalita: I hope you're feeling better, Julia. I haven't read much in MM the past couple of days. I hope to get through a big chunk tonight and finish it this weekend. I'll try to remember the note when I'm gnashing my teeth as I grade.
131. Magpie Murders is a mystery within a mystery, and it's hard to say too much without spoilers. Very entertaining and a wonderful homage to Agatha Christie. Thanks Julia!
I'll finish grading and The Children of Green Knowe and then decide what is next. I still have quite a stack of library books.
>139 BLBera: I have been resisting this, but go on then, you twisted my arm....
>139 BLBera: That one really does seem to be a hit in the group. I think it is in the shops here and I may make my own magpie and add it to my Christmas shopping!
Yes , I'll add my voice to those recommending The Magpie Murders. I really enjoyed it too.
>139 BLBera: Yay, you liked it! You really liked it! I'm so glad. It really was fun and in unexpected ways.
Charlotte and Paul, I think you would both enjoy it as well, should it mysteriously find its way into your homes. :-)
132. The Children of Green Knowe is a delightful book for young readers. It tells the story of Toseland, a little boy sent to live with his great grandmother at Green Knows. In this ancient castle, Toseland befriends other children -- children who happened to live three centuries earlier. This is a wonderful, imaginative story. The writing is lovely, and the ghosts are friendly ones.
I remember reading this when I was small, and I can't wait to read this to Scout.
An interesting note: One of my book club members spotted some borrowing on the part of J.K. Rowling.
On to Grief Cottage, a library book. And more grading. I hope to finish tomorrow.
>145 BLBera: What should I read next?
I'm sure you have plenty of the usual suggestions from the rest of the group, but I'll throw out one I read as an Early Reviewers book recently that I really liked: Ever This Day by Helen Moorhouse. It's set in an Irish convent school and is nicely atmospheric and a bit spooky without being scary. I think you might like it.
Get it, Charlotte. You know you want to. You may be too young to have read it as a child. I was probably around eight or nine, and it was still fairly new.
>148 rosalita: The Moorhouse book sounds good, Julia. I'll check to see if my library has a copy. I started Grief Cottage, which is also spooky so far.
Hi Beth, it's such a busy time of the year that I am making the rounds now to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.
I have had a hold at the library for The Magpie Murders for a number of months so I just checked and I am now number 8 in the line-up. I put a pause on my hold as I am going away between Christmas and New Years and that is probably when it will be ready. At least I know I will most likely be reading it in January!
The Magpie Murders...I just checked and it is already on my WL, but I didn't have anyone listed as the culprit who made me add it, so now it says "BLBera's Fault" in the comments. LOL
>150 DeltaQueen50: Merry Christmas to you, too, Judy. Enjoy your holiday season. I was on hold for Magpie Murders for a long time and thought perhaps it would come available during break, but it was early. Which reminds me, I will also be away, so I'd better put holds on my reserves.
>151 scaifea: I may have read them 50 years ago, Amber, but I don't remember them. Are the rest as good as the first one?
>152 Berly: Happy to take the blame, Twinnie. If you don't like it you can blame Julia. I heard about it from her. :)
Well, back to essays. I am determined to finish today. We'll see.
The Lost Book of the Grail is a fun adventure. Arthur Prescott, a book-loving nerd, loves the cathedral's library and is fascinated by stories of the grail. I can't remember who recommended it, but thanks. It was entertaining. There are lost manuscripts, codes, lost treasures, etc., to keep one reading.
..."it's nice not to have to rush out of the house in the morning." Exactly.
I'm glad you enjoyed What We Lose; I thought it would work for you.
I'm planning to read Magpie Murders in January. I'm looking forward to it.
I assume you are all done with grading now? And "just" immersed in Christmas preparations? I hope you save the syllabi prep for after Monday!
Hi Ellen - I just turned in the last grades this morning. I ran some Christmas-related errands, read a bit, and will do some wrapping and picking up later.
Thanks for the What We Lose recommendation. It was a pretty safe one on your part; there are certain books that seem to resonate for us.
I hope your cough is better and that you are taking some time off.
134. Grief Cottage is a story of loss and how one recovers from it. There's also a bit of a ghost story, but it's not too scary.
When Marcus Harshaw's mother dies, he is eleven years old and is sent to live on an island with his great aunt Charlotte, who is an artist. Told from Marcus' point of view, the story is heartbreaking in some ways. Godwin has created a vivid and unforgettable character in Marcus, and I enjoyed following him on his journey very much.
Next: Goodbye, Vitamin
>161 BLBera: I am certain that I read some Gail Godwin a very long time ago. I have this weirdly vivid memory of reading something by her while I was proctoring some kind of test while I was yet an undergraduate. But I have no idea what it was I was reading. Maybe The Odd Woman? It doesn't get rave reviews here on LT but I remember loving it.
I've had my eye on The Lost Book of the Grail. So many books… I am compiling a huge wishlist for next year. Thanks for adding to it, Beth. You are one of my most reliable recommenders. Not even sure if that is a word. I have Christmas Brain. ;-)
>166 BLBera: Maybe we could do a shared read? I'm hoping that Kim will share some of the insights from her Butler course, too.
Hi Beth, I'm delurking to say Merry Christmas and to pick up a couple of titles for my TBR list! I hope you have a great holiday season.
Hello, Beth! I have >157 BLBera: out from the library after Katie hit me with a BB for it. Hoping I can get to it before it has to go back. And you got me with >161 BLBera: - I remember seeing that one on the library new fiction shelf and wondering about it. Now I'll have to go back and get it.
Hoping that your Thursday is full of fabulous.
135. Goodbye, Vitamin starts with, "Tonight a man found Dad's pants in a tree lit with Christmas lights." This is a great first line and pretty much sets the tone for this small, deceptively simple novel. Written as part diary, part letter to her father, this is the story of Ruth's one-year journey to come to terms with her father's dementia. During the year, she comes to question her relationships with her parents, as well as her recent break up.
Khong strikes just the right note to keep this from becoming depressing. This was a pleasant surprise and gives the reader a lot to think about.
Next: Swallowing Mercury
Merry Christmas to you, too, Caro.
Happy Saturday to you, too, Ellen. I hope you feel better soon. I think you might like Goodbye, Vitamin; it actually is a pretty thoughtful book on both dementia and relationships with aging parents, and without being dreary.
Making my holiday rounds ~~ wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas season, Beth. I hope we manage another meet up in the coming year.
It is that time of year again, between Solstice and Christmas, just after Hanukkah, when our thoughts turn to wishing each other well in whatever language or image is meaningful to the recipient. So, whether I wish you Happy Solstice or Merry Christmas, know that what I really wish you, and for you, is this:
Hi Beth, stopping by to wish you and your loved ones peace, joy and happiness this holiday season and for 2018!
>156 msf59: I think you may have missed me up there. Just sayin'...
Happy Holidays, Beth. I hope you are enjoying a long holiday weekend and it is packed with plenty of R & R.
>170 BLBera: Not sure- when would suit? Maybe after Kim has finished her course?
Hope you're having a good break. I just feel like sleeping!
Happy Christmas Beth - I hope you have a great time with little Scout and Santa is good to both of you :-)
May the joy of the season continue into the New Year!
I'm looking forward to more good book recommendations and Scout stories.
Happy day after Boxing Day, Beth! I hope you are having some down time, reading time, Scout time.....
Beth has been busy vacationing on a warm beach and she has her beloved Scout with her. Not sure when she comes back. I am jealous. : P
This is my, perhaps shabby, way of promising to participate a bit more in 2018. You know, drop off a gif and say, Happy New Year. The year is dead, let's kick it to the curb. Buh-bye 2017...
I'll be trying this reading business anew in 2018, hoping to do better both in numbers (just...just...well, uh....a half-dozen more would be satisfying) and in being more social (getting around the threads, tipping the hat, sharing a smile). See you on the other side, my friend.
Thanks to all for the holiday wishes. I had a wonderful week on St. Croix and will be off to wish a very happy new year to all of you tomorrow.
>202 BLBera: Whew. Somehow I had missed the week on St. Croix and I was starting to get worried....
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