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Summer Vacation Books 2013

Here it is the first of November and I'm finally getting to my summer reading pile...Life is moving fast these fast actually.  I'm thinking ahead already to 2014 and hoping that I can somehow, someway get in more reading time and BLOGGING time...but for now, I'll give you what I've got...and I must say, it was a wonderful summer of reading for me..not as many books as I would have liked but I did like the books that I sunk myself into...I just love that books take me away, give me tons of information, help me to meet new people and escape into a world of appreciation for life and adventure and amazement.   Books give me a sense of how big and also how small our world is...big books, big adventures...small books, gifts of time and here we go...

I saved the last book of my Tea Rose series for my first book of summer reading..with 614 pages to enjoy, I knew I would not only need the time but I wanted to be able to just sit and sink my teeth into this one...and just as I thought...I hated  when it ended...I wish they would make a Downton Abbey like series out of this group of the last two in the series it follows the trials and tribulations of many Londoners in the early 1900..World War one, but it is anything but a war story..The Finnegan family and all the twist and turns and thrilling cliff-hangers...over and over again...When it ended...I went right to Amazon to order two other books by this delightful and creative author...I'm saving and savoring them...This would be a good one to put on anyone's Christmas List.

City of Women was a bit different for me but I loved it...Setting is World War 11, but not your ordinary for “ordinary” Berliners at a time that was anything but. Through Heroine Sigrid Schroder, a German wife drawn into an affair with a Jew, Gillham shows us a world in which not all Germans are bad,not all Jews victims, and loyalty is a fiction, the grimmest of fairy tales. Sara Nelson. Perhaps  this comment from a reader sums it up really well..."The writing is a great mix of the literary and commercial, page-turning and suspenseful, with a morally complex, intelligent heroine at its center. If you’re a fan of well-written historical novels in the vein of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, this one is for you."--Slate  I highly recommend this book.

You all know that I live by the ocean and just love any body of water...I find it healing and soothing..gentle and peaceful, so I am amazed that it took me so long to read Anne Morrow Lindbergh's, Gift From The Sea. Anne's elegant and wise meditations on youth and age, love and marriage, solitude, peace and contentment, as she sat down during a brief vacation by the sea...don't be fooled, this book is for everyone, whether you live by the sea or in the mountains or anywhere in between...this book will stay in my Maine house, in the guest room, for many years to come...take a's only 78 pages long...and the quotes are lovely...

I wish I had taken a photo of the back cover instead of the front cover on my next is so telling and's a life style that I could never imagine as a young girl but one I think I would have liked to try on..The book is About Calvin Trillin.  Calvin Trillin has been a staff writer for the New Yorker since 1963 and this 78 page gem is the story of his wife. Though it deals with a devastating loss, at it's core it is a love story.  It's also a tale of family life and Manhattan parties.  Five years after her death, Calvin wrote "this is for Alice, actually I wrote everything for Alice".  In that spirit Trillin has, with About Alice, created a gift for the wife he adored and for his readers...simply delightful.  I think we would all like to be loved like Alice was...sigh.

Have you ever wondered what life in a Woman's prison or any prison for that matter might be like...I have.  I have spent a fair number of years recovering from Agoraphobia and so confinement both scares the hell out of me and at the same time fascinates me. I  read with both amazement and wonder.  It was as much an eye opener of what we perceive as life on the inside and what actually transpires...A memoir by a Smith graduate, who spends fifteen months in the Danbury Connecticut woman's prison, Orange is the New Black with take you on a journey you will not forget.  This quote by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love hits the journey of Piper Kerman, like a nail on the head...“I loved this book. It’s a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it.” The day after I finished this came out on Netflix as a mini series...I'm enjoying that but I do think the written pages are so much more telling..

Last but not least of my escape by one of my very favorite authors, Elizabeth Berg...I eat her words up like candy...she absoluely never disappoints.  Woman's issures with a meaning..light and fast but the best literature and humor...but always, always a serious point. Tapestry of Fortunes is a story about four woman who reconnect to find themselves.  "In this beautifully written novel, leaving home brings revelations, reunions, and unexpected turns that affirm the inner truths of women’s lives. “Maybe Freud didn’t know the answer to what women want, but Elizabeth Berg certainly does,” said USA Today. Elizabeth Berg has crafted a novel rich in understanding of women’s longings, loves, and abiding friendships, which weave together into a tapestry of fortunes that connects us all.  I just love this woman so much...I follow her blog..I see a bit of Kim Klassen in her, as she if so genuine and honest, both about herself and her work.  Give her a try, if you haven't already.

Just for fun I added, The Art of Iphone Photography...a big book, stuffed with great ideas and processing tips and editing tools for using with the iphone...more and more of us are using the iphone as we travel through our days so this is a fun one for browsing through.


Now can we talk lovely cookbook this time is the first edition of The Kinfolk Table ...not so much for the recipes but for the gorgeous photo's...I have shifted my interest in cooking books to more of the coffee table type...and this one is a real beauty..I have followed their magazine since it came out but the cook book is by far..the best of their publications. If ever I could get good enough.....I would love to be in this one book.  I know, I should at least read a few of the recipes as the book is a bit costly...but not just yet, I'm savoring the pages as my eye candy.

 And this my friends is the first page inside...gorgeous right...the little pumpkins and hydrangea are mine..and of course the lace tablecloth but the rest...pure loveliness from the book.

I have three magazines for you to enjoy...all from the fall seasons...they were so much fun to travel through on a day when time was limited but I had to have my reading fix...I read tons of magazines...but these were my three favorites this time around...

Fine Cooking Holiday has some great recipes...not so much on the photo's...but it was a great one to thumb through and turn down pages of recipes I'll probably never try because I won't have time...just a fun way to spend a hour or two...Autumn in the South was my hands down favorite, not only for the recipes but also for the photo's and most especially for the fall's a keeper. Victoria magazine, I have a subscription for that very English and brilliant colored photo's with lots of tea and sweet ideas..this magazine also offers a lot of quotes...just grab a cup of tea and pick up any one of these.

And although my book review post seem to be so long...could be that I'm as passionate about reading as I am about photography, I can't close without a little tiny statement of what the Boys are loving right now...we spend a lot of time with books, those boys and I, and once again I'm right back there with much fun to snuggle up with a good book and to hear their version of the story, which most often does not match the words...but that's's the gift of enjoyment that's the bonding and teaching and loving that quiet time, which is so here is what they are into..and trust me, they read these books over and over again until I'm dizzy with delight..

Liam's favorite book at the moment is, Diary of a Castle Adventure...he will be 4 soon so I bet you can tell by looking at the cover why this one keeps him entertained for hours...It's a wonderful pop up book that shows you where everything in the castle lives and hides...and of course knights with swords is just perfect for him..and yes, a know, a real one, is on his Santa list.

Jaxson on the other hand is not so detailed...he loves to look at the colorful pictures and then flip the pages really fast...he has no time to wait for all those words to be read in any kind of order...but he does sit still and repeats the names of the animals in Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See...each animal is a full page and a different color so he's learning a lot from that one...his attention span is about 5 minutes.

When we are all three together on the couch then we read the Cat Who Lost His Meow...Liam just loves the title of that one and the pages are full of beautiful colors and big words and we sometimes improvise for Jaxson but when we read this special one we all have a is equally suited for both kids and was given to me by my lovely and wonderfully talented Flickr friend and yes, she is the author of this book, along with her husband...thank you Antoinette...I knew when I got it that Iwould love it and now it's twice as special as I enjoy it with my boys...

So yes it is a long list...I suggest some rainy day, you mak a lovely cup of tea, perhaps with real tea leaves, in a china cup. Grab a snuggly blanket and light a fire...then read.   It is a gift we can so easily give's a world we can travel to alone..and enjoy every moment..escape to another time or place..we all deserve that. If you stop by and leave a comment...I would love it if you would also leave a book title.  Perhaps one by your favorite author or one that you read recently that you found enjoyable or informative...until then...have a beautiful weekend.

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” 
― Charles DickensDavid Copperfield

“No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.” 
― Charles DickensOur Mutual Friend 

Charls all time favorite writer...I started reading him when I was 15 years old...but that's another story for another day...

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Reader Comments (10)

Having read a few of those myself, I am going to look into the others in your stack. We must have very similar taste in reading. :) Thank goodness the books aren't going anywhere because it takes me a long time to get to mine too.

November 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

Reading this makes me feel all warm and cuddly inside. I picture you reading by the fire with a glass of something festive beside you or a mug of tea. You discovered one of my all-time favorite books, The Gift from the Sea. That's one I keep with me on the boat. It keeps me afloat. I have started Orange is the New Black after watching the whole miniseries. It was so well done, I couldn't stop. I love what you say about Elizabeth Berg. I will have to look for her books. I had heard about ABout Alice and would love to dig into that too. Thanks, Cheryl. This was a lovely and informative post.

November 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSherry G.

Phew . . . LOVED this post . . . Can't believe how you draw us in, even when you're giving these amazing book reviews!
I love reading about your favorite reads! How do you ever find the time for all of these?
Richard is the reader in the family . . .
Has 2 or 3 going at once? Don't know how he does it. But unlike you, he now gets all his books from the library.
Our house would have collapsed by now if he'd bought every book he ever read!
I have to say that a lot of my favorite books are the journals I assemble.
Right now I am purging and organizing one of my studios, readying a corner for my new baby . . . an embellishing machine!
So, I have taken images off my walls, shelves and bulletin boards and put them in a large loose-leaf binder.
While in Maine, we found a fabulous coloring book (yes, a coloring book!) for children and adults by Charley Harper . . .
instantly we remembered we had one of his books at home called, "Charles Harper's Birds & Words"
. . . so, of course, we HAD to buy it.
Write to me when you get a sec. I'd rather know that you are resting and relaxing with a good book and cup of tea by the fire.
. . . and oh, BTW, aren't you a sweetie to feature our book. I'm so glad you *get it* . . . it has many levels, as you know.
Ever so much love to you and your very special family. We're off to Groton, Mass on Saturday to a 5 year old's party . . . just finished making her tooth fairy pillow . . . now have a little wand to do and I'll be done!

November 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAntoinette

Thanks so much for your lovely post I have ordered the Elizabeth Berg from the library and the iPhoneography book is now on my Christmas list. I like nothing better than a pile of books next to me waiting to be pored over ....

November 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterViv Halliwell

That's a pretty comprehensive list you managed to get through... Novels, cookbooks, magazines & kids books... So many books, so relatively little time!
There are quite a few in your post that I shall add to my reading list & you know I'm going to start with Elizabeth Berg too now :-)
I have Gift from the Sea & must go back to it again as it is lovely. It's been so long since I had beach time by the ocean that reading it is bittersweet as I long to spend time thinking & walking on a long sandy beach, with the crashing waves for company.
I love how you write, it's so descriptive & pulls one in as another commenter said- this blog you've worked so hard on is a great vehicle for your self-expression.
So, you requested the title of a favourite book... The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. It's the story of Dinah, one of the mighty women in the Bible & is full of the wonderful stories of other amazing women... its a celebration of women really. The review was too long to include here but it has 4.5 stars. I read it many years ago & having been reminded if it, think I will take it off my shelf today to read again. Put it on your reading list!

November 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

Sherry, your description of me reading was perfect for yesterday…during the week so little time so usually just a bit a night before going to sleep but on a quiet day, I do have the fire going and if it's afternoon, a cup of really good tea…I get my blankie and my little Gracie and we tuck in…I read for as long as my eyes stay open and then before I know it, I've had a nap…lovely days, those Sundays. Also since just coming back from New York I think you would love About Alice…a very small book but such a lovely real time love story…Thanks for stopping by.

November 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

Oh Viv you are going to love Elizabeth Berg…and the i-phone book is just fun to poke around in. Knowing you though, you'll be trying all the recipes…I also like stacks of books for poking in…I might not read every word but sometimes the photo's are enough or I'll find a quote I love…books just "turn me on"…enjoy.

November 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

Hey Gwen…me and my books and tea…and we share that, you and I…even across that nasty Pond…You will like Elizabeth Berg…you already love her blog, so I know she speaks to you…she's just so human…like sitting down with a friend and having tea and conversation, don't you think…And yes, magazines all over the place…neatly, I might add…I do use some for glancing through while on the treadmill..makes the time pass faster. Also, if I want my grandchildren to inherit the love of books then I must read to many are so caught up in electronics, which is o.k, but I want them to also know the joy of the printed word and the feel and smell of the paper…and the snuggling part…that's so important, to pamper oneself in this way…
And yes, the Red Tent…like you I read it many years ago and enjoyed it tremendously…what a great book…epic almost…thanks for reminding me of that one again…I know I saved it, it has it's place on my book shelf…whatever you chose…enjoy…and let me know what you think of Elizabeth.

November 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

Dickens is one of my very favorite writers as well. And, The Kinfolk Table is on my Christmas list although you have peaked my interest with some of the other books you've mentioned.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commentera spirit of simplicity

I thought Gift From the Sea was very touching. And yes, I loved About Alice too. Have you read other books by him? I think I've read him in The New Yorker before and liked him very much. For OITNB, of course the book is better than the movie always. I saw a segment on Katie about Piper and really want to read her book. Requesting it now... And I had no idea Elizabeth Berg had a new novel out. I have read everything else she's ever written, so of course I must get to this new one immediately!

November 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

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