Poolside Reads 2018

As much as we’d love to say “beach reads,” living smack dab in the middle of the country doesn’t always qualify us for living the beach life. But poolside, yes.

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And with kids who are old enough and competent enough to swim, that means L I V I N’. However, it means not being upset if you’re in the thick of a whodunnit and your kids start dunking each other under water. So books need to be easy to look away from.

Are you able to read at the pool? What are some of your favorites? Keep reading for a list on our stacks…

Book Roundup: March 2018

There really isn’t much else I need in life than a good book. Well. Maybe a cold pinot grigio. And a soft dog. Okay, and dark chocolate. And if I’m going to list all the things I need in life, I may as well also mention Coco Chanel Eau de Parfum, my mala beads, and pretty mugs filled with coffee.

But, books. Let’s get back to books.

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I read a lot, and challenge myself to read harder every year. BookRiot is always a great source to find books that wouldn’t normally jump out at me in my typical browsing. So is Goodreads, but I tend to add 20 books to read for every 1 that I finish. It can get overwhelming.

In 2018, I (Nicole) gave myself the goal of reading 30 books. As of today, I’m finished #12. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

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KINDRED by Octavia Butler (Read Harder Challenges: Author is a woman of color; a sci-fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author) – THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. Should be required reading for every human being on the planet.

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UNGRATEFUL MAMMALS by Dave Eggers (Read Harder Challenge: A one-sitting book). This is a collection of drawings and poetic vignettes by Dave Eggers, a prolific author.

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THE SPELL THIEF (Little Legends) (Read Harder Challenge: Absolutely none. I read this with my 8yo for his class book club. Come one, 2nd graders! Why aren’t you reading Kindred yet??)

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HOMEGOING (Read Harder Challenge: A book of colonial literature. Also written by a woman of color. THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. It was actually a great companion piece to Kindred, unintentionally.

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BITCH PLANET Vol. 2 (Read Harder Challenge: A comic written or illustrated by a person of color; written by a woman; A one-sitting book). I love this series. It’s gritty, violent, just enough sci-fi and ends on MAJOR twists. Can’t wait for the next volume.

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BIRD BOX (Read Harder Challenge: None…but it’s a horror book about a mom trying to keep her 2 children alive in a strange new Earth where if you’re able to see it could kill you…so, that’s a challenge enough…) A thrilling page-turner, best read in as few sittings as possible. I think it took me 3. And I didn’t sleep for 3 days.

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MARCH TRILOGY (Read Harder Challenge: A comic written by a person of color; A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image). I also hope this series is required reading for every student. It’s one I’m planning on buying to keep in my house for the kiddos.

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Literary Witches

LITERARY WITCHES: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers (Read Harder Challenge: hello! It’s a compilation of women authors throughout history!). This is great. I learned about a few authors I’d never heard of, and the illustrations are mesmerizing. Highly recommend.

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LEAVE ME ALONE WITH THE RECIPES: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles – So inspiring! An illustrated cookbook celebrating one of the modern-day design geniuses.

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THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET – How did I miss this novella? It was written in 1982, feels just as fresh today, and is a lyrical and beautiful look at growing up. Smitten.

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MY FRIEND DAHMER – (Read Harder Challenge: A Comic written AND illustrated by the same person) Ooooh, a dark yet sympathetic look at the person who became a monster, told from the point of view of one of his high school classmates.

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WHY NOT ME? By Mindy Kaling. (Read Harder Challenge: author POC; celebrity memoir; collection of essays.) She’s my new best friend. End of story. I listened to this on Audible, and it is so delightful.

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Next on the docket: THE CAT WHO COULD READ BACKWARDS. This isn’t so much a challenge as a throwback, to a series I read and loved as a child. Plus, the author, Lillian Jackson Braun, didn’t even start writing until later in life, which always fascinates me AND inspires.

Any good books that you’ve read that have been out of your typical reading comfort zone? I’d love to hear!

{ Featured photo by Karim Ghantous on Unsplash}

Peaches, Pie, Guinness, Oh My!

Typically for St. Paddy’s day, one of us will make a dark chocolate Guinness cake with cream cheese icing, a tried and true recipe from one of our Domestic Goddesses, Nigella Lawson.

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image by Suzy Allman for The New York Times

This year, with Stephanie in charge of desserts, we opted for something a little different: Key Lime Pie. We grew up as Georgia Peaches, and according to the The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, key lime pie on St. Paddy’s is a Savannah tradition.

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The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day

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How many key limes does it take to make a key lime pie? At least a dozen!

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The final product, in all its creamy citrus glory!

The icing on the cake was the Freshly Made Whipped Cream. Oh my Irish blessings.

Do you have a St. Patrick’s culinary tradition? Ours is food truck pasties and dessert, lots of beer & Irish whiskey, all after enjoying our city’s famous St. Paddy Parade. And what do the revelers think about that?

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Success!

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More Back in the Day Love:

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Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love: More than 100 Recipes and Make-It-Yourself Projects to Create and Share

And Nigella Love:

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Feast: Food to Celebrate Life

Pure Magic: A Wrinkle in Time Set Design

WHO wouldn’t want to go see the new adaptation of the classic children’s book “A Wrinkle in Time“, a tale about the power of love and light in the time of darkness? Women directed, a diverse cast, and a story of the enduring power of love. What more could you ask for?

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(this was the copy I grew up with, and I just trashed my house trying to find it…no luck, sadly.)

Stephanie took her 10-year-old daughter to see the movie this week, and said she was smitten with the details of the home. Cozy, full of plants and crystals, and Craftsman-style were her exact words. Um. Sold. I’m seeing the movie tomorrow. But not before I look at inspiration for the set.

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Photo Credit: Atsushi Nishijima

This article from Architectural Digest talks about the home inspiration and challenges, which include altering the paint color from a cold yellow to something cozier, and adding wooden beams to hide the camera technician’s cables.

It reminds me of the book I just checked out (and then immediately purchased), The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes, in which the author says to clear out clutter and trash, let in clean air and energize your house with…you guessed it, crystals and plants. Um. Sold.

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image subject to copyright

That lamp! Those pillows! The books! Guhhhhhhh.

Here are some finds to inject your own magic into your charming house:

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Embroidered Pink Cotton Suzani Indian Cushion Cover These Suzani style pillows add a vibrant touch to any space.

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Cozy reading light – GIWOX 4.7″ Rechargeable LED Ball Light, Dimmable Children’s Bedroom Lamps Night Indoor Mood Lighting with Remote – 16 Colors, 4 Dynamic Models Indoors Outdoor

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Fresh flowers! In your house. All the time.

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What makes your house feel magical?

 

Spring Reads for Book Club

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Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash

Thanks to my BookRiot weekly e-mail, I went down a rabbit hole of new books to add to the list. Some of these sounded like a good fit for the Mixed Print book club:

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The Reluctant Fortune-Teller – Norbert Zelenka has always lived life on the sidelines. It’s why at seventy-three years old he’s broke and alone except for the company of a Chihuahua. But when “Carlotta’s Club”—three strong-willed seniors with plenty of time on their hands—decide to make Norbert their latest project, he reluctantly agrees to their scheme: establishing himself as the town’s fortune-teller. Soon his life begins changing in unexpected ways.

It turns out that years of observing other people make Norbert an excellent card reader. As Norbert’s lonesome world expands with new friendships and a newfound self-confidence, he finally finds himself in a place where he belongs. But disaster looms on the horizon. When a troubled young woman goes missing after a bad reading, Norbert must find a strength beyond the cards to bring her home safely.

A heartfelt story of coming-of-age late in life, The Reluctant Fortune-Teller is a poignant reminder that we’re never too old to learn new tricks.

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Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (An Auntie Poldi Adventure)

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions has it all for hungry readers: hilarity, intrigue, the magnificent landscape of Sicily and food! Mario Giordano has created a world that spins in technicolor like a Sicilian carretto and, like the traditional donkey carts painted in an explosion of color, this novel is a celebration of the palette of Italian life and the Sicilian experience in its specificity, warmth and drama. Delizioso!”—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Kiss Carlo

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 Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

“Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!” —Reese Witherspoon

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 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel

“Imagine if Mariyln Monroe lived to be 79 years old, decided to write a tell-all book, and plucked you (assuming you’re an unknown journalist) out of obscurity to write it. Such is the premise of The Seven Husbands of Eveyln Hugo, and it’s fascinating.”

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Currently Reading: Leave Me Alone with the Recipes

In an age of endless influencers, it’s so exciting to come across a purely original voice. I’m reading Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles, an illustrated semi-biography of the first woman art director for Conde Nast, Cipe Pineles.

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Editors Sarah Rich, Wendy MacNaughton, Maria Popova, and Debbie Millman all write about the influence Cipe had on their own work, as well as her trailblazing efforts in a male-dominated field.

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The true gems are in the gouache illustrations of Cipe’s family recipes. These were found at a book sale, all part of a private journal that Cipe created. Thank goodness Sarah Rich serendipitously came across it and shared it with the world. I’m so in love!

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Image from BrainPickings

We’ve started a Pinterest Page of Original Influencers. Who else should be on that list? And what are you reading this weekend?

Link to book:Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles

 

Mixed Print Book Club

In our recently formed “Mixed Print Book Club,” we try to pick books for the group that are charming, fun, and an escape from reality (for better or for worse). The group consists of mostly working women (and yes, that includes full-time mamas!), so when we have a few minutes to slip away into another world, it helps when the main characters are swoon-worthy and silly.

Our picks so far have included:

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Next Read: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

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Attachments: A Novel, by Rainbow Rowell – Oh holy night, this is a heart-swelling, laugh-and-cry-out loud, swoony moony charming book. It’s told mostly through emails, so it reads quickly, and we guarantee you’ll be cheering by the end.

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The Rosie Project: A Novel,
by Graeme Simsion
 – This quirky romcom novel is fairly predictable but oh so enjoyable! The narrator is a man with Asperger’s, who is determined to find the perfect life partner, using a complicated set of rules and regulations. Also a quick read, and part of a series, for those who can’t get enough of Don.

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Kiss Carlo: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani – Our friend, book clubber, and surrogate sister Missy loves loves loves the author Adriana Trigiani, and has gotten us hooked. The Big Stone Gap series series is ten thumbs up! Kiss Carlo is a sumptuous throwback with beautiful descriptions and a world to definitely get lost in.

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel – The book that kicked it all off! Hands down, across the board, a winner. Told in a series of emails and letters, this Seattle-set satire is funny, smart, and delightful. Plus, that cover!

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What are you reading? Interested in joining in from afar? Message us and we can set up a post for commenting on each book!

{featured photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash}