The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, February 19, 2015


        There are certain things I keep that have great sentimental value. I have a bracelet that was made from my grandparents' and great-grandparents' cufflinks and old watches and cameos. It's irreplaceable.

       I have the first rejection letter I received from a publisher. It wasn't a form letter, it was long and it was personal. It's framed, to remind me of when I started on this writerly journey.

This is my Valentine from my granddaughter.
It's definitely a keeper.

      I have a copy of the only book my husband and I both fell in love with--George R. R. Martin's Fevre Dream.  (He's proud to let everyone know he's read two other books. One is crappy--according to me--and the other title he doesn't remember.)  Special books hold a special place in my heart.
      What are some things you've kept? Sentimental minds wants to know...


Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Cluuub! Book Cluuuub! Get Your Red-Hot Book Club Here!

       Okay, to be completely honest, the only reason why any of my friends last night could be called "red hot" is due to menopausal hot flashes. All of us are in our fifties and sixties. Some of us are generously padded. Our hair is naturally gray or silver.But the discussion did get spirited...

       We were there to finally discuss Freeman by Leonard Pitts Jr. This is an epic novel that I've recommended to perfect strangers in airports--it's that good of a book. I've given away two copies of my own and had to hit the Amazon and the Half Price Books gods for replacements. Rarely is there an epic novel. This is one, and it covers a period of history (right after the end of the Civil War) and from a perspective (an escaped slave) that is rarely told... and rarely told with such wonderful craftsmanship.

       Delicious food (I brought BLT soup) was part of the evening, along with great conversation and marvelous company. We are now tossing ideas back and forth as we decide what our next book will be.

       These are my suggestions for the group:

I've read this. In my opinion, it's Hosseini's best, especially if you're
looking for a woman's story.

This is another one I've already read. It's typical of Picoult. Lots of
research was involved in the writing, and there are some twists and
turns. It's a novel about the holocaust which will leave the reader in a quandary...

This is one I have not read yet. I bought a copy, intending to read it
(gently and carefully, abstaining from eating chocolate ice cream or taking a bath
or eating chocolate ice cream in the bathtub while reading it) so I could give it
as a gift to a writing friend, but ended up sending it without reading it. Shay--a rabid fan
of Emily Dickinson--loved it, so it comes with a high recommendation...

This was recommended by Shay as well. It begins with a couple of great lines.
"In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are."
I've read several of Hannah's books--because of Shay--and enjoyed them. This one
is about two sisters in France during the war.

I saw this on Amazon. It looks good. Has anyone out there (who is reading this post) read it?

One of the women (a newbie in our group) suggested a Nora Roberts book. Who is this Nora Roberts? Egads! Doesn't she know Sioux don't do no romance-type novels? I did mention to her that I have a writing friend who has a romance book (the first in a set of triplets) that I'm going to read in May... but only because it's by Lisa Ricard Claro. Nora Roberts? No way.

Are there any other recommendations for our book club?

And if you're in the mood for some BLT soup, here are the ingredients, since I don't really follow a recipe. My husband makes it--he's added some of the secret ingredients--and he follows a recipe that he's created. Me? Not so much... Take the ingredients and adjust according to your tastes.

  • fire-roasted tomatoes (made by Hunts, but you can also find them at Aldi's now)--at least 5 or 6 cans
  •        chicken stock/chicken bouillon (we like "Better Than Bouillon" brand)
  •     bacon--fry it til it's crisp and done, and then cut or tear or crumble it       into small pieces
  •     romaine hearts lettuce
  •     liquid smoke
  •     grated parmesan cheese (this is a secret ingredient)
  •   (sssh. Don't tell anyone about this secret ingredient) seasoning (I love a blend called          "seasoning for greens." I imagine you can get it at most spice shops.  I use it on just about everything, from scrambled eggs to mashed      potatoes to chicken and soups.)
The cheese is put in towards the end--to thicken it. Amazingly, parts of the lettuce stays crunchy even though it simmers in the soup.

It is not an attractive-to-look-at soup, but it is tasty. In fact, one of the women last night took her portion, blended it in the blender, and the end result: a scrumptious cream soup.