Beach Reads? Well maybe that’s pushing it a bit

 

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It was Sunday and like most Sundays I sat at my kitchen table with a tall, hot, cup of coffee savoring the quiet that usually accompanies a Sunday morning.  Most of the time I don’t finish the entire paper but I try to read the front section, the business section, Arts and Style and Outlook.  I found this article in the Business section on “10 Transformative Reads” and it piqued my interest.

The list of books are very interesting and perhaps by reading any one or all of them it will “sharpen my business thinking” but I disagree that these books should be considered as good beach reads.  To me the very definition of a beach read is books that can be described as one or more of the following: engaging, exciting, humorous, relaxing, thought provoking and lastly trashy rounding out the list.

On my list this week are The Girl on the Train which I  am just finishing,  First Ladies by Cokie Roberts and Memory Man by David Baldacci.

So if you are into improving your mind while you lay on the beach than check out the link above for the Post’s suggestion.  If you feel like a break take a look at some of my posts.  Have a great week!

A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London Flower Sellers

This was more of a feel good novel rather than a deep, complex one.  The one thing most of the characters have in common is they were the lower class in London.  Many worked in the flower market similar to Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.  Most of the characters were orphans with disabilities who sold flowers so they did not end up in the work houses.

A kind man, Mr. Shaw, has founded an orphanage and flower business and provides a safe haven for these girls.  They are well feed and have a respectable position. Tilly has been hired to act as House mother.  When she is shown to her room, she feels a presence and finds a diary written by Florrie one of the former residents of this house.  Florrie writes about the sadness she feels after losing her sister Rosie while at the flower market.  She does not know what happened to Rosie and is hopeful that she and her sister will be reunited.

The story lines for the characters are nicely woven together and the book is a nice read if you are looking for something on the lighter side.

To get more information check out this link A Memory of Violets.

Everybody’s Got Something – Robin Roberts

I love Robin Roberts.  I loved Good Morning America when she and Diane Sawyer were the anchors. Josh Elliot being on her right didn’t hurt anything either, great sense of humor.  The Chemistry between the team was great.  I still watch Good Morning America but not as religiously. It is still a good team just not the same.  But nothing stays the same and change is good.

Before the world new Robin was sick, ABC had Katie Couric guest host on GMA.  I was outraged thinking that Robin was going to be replaced and I was one of I am sure many people who wrote ABC to give them a piece of my mind.  Then came the announcement that she was sick and it saddened me. It wasn’t that she was being replaced, it was that she was sick.  She had become so much of my morning routine I felt like my friend received the diagnosis.

This book is about her battle and “recovery” thankfully from MDS.  The title of the book Everybody’s Got Something was something her Mom would say.  It is so true don’t you think.  Everybody does have something going on in their life.

My Mom had her special saying to me.  I remember complaining about this or that and saying how unfair things were.  She would say to me Life is not Fair, you just have to deal with it.  Maybe I should write a book Life Isn’t Fair.

And one of my all time favorites that I use over and over again is from Roseanna Roseanna Dana “It’s always something”  Another very good title.

I chose to listen to this book rather than reading it mostly because Robin read the book herself and it made it so much more meaningfull. The book was actually very relevant to me right now.  Several of my friends are facing health struggles and I think she put things in perspective.  It is very hard to see people you care about in pain.  You want to do things for them but don’t know what to do.  She gave some great suggestions and I hope my friends tell me when they need me to step in.

Read the book or listen to the audio version.

What’s Good To Read?

on the beach

 

So many great books to read so little time.  So Sad.

The stack of books on my side table is huge this week. I have ten books which is a record for me.  But I am a Gemini I can handle it.  Gemini is the sign of the twins and sometimes I definitely think that there are two of me in my head.  No I don’t really hear voices but I have learned to multi-task pretty well.  I am juggling three books at once this week.  I haven’t done this since I was in High School but I am up for the task! It helps me sleep and lord knows I need my sleep.

I am in the middle of The Girl on the Train which has been on the bestseller list for awhile. The second of the three is The Bookseller which caught my eye as I was browsing on line. And lastly I am listening to a book by Cokie Roberts. I like having at least one non-fiction book going. It’s a good way to learn new things. This week I have two books I plan to blog about, Everybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts and  Memories of Violets by Hazel Gaynor. Incidentally, if  you are interested  in downloading a book,  Memories of Violets is very well priced this week at Amazon.com.

Have a nice week and check out my posts this week.

Patriot Threat a Steve Berry Novel

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I seem to always come back to Steve Berry and here is why.  Not only does he write a good thriller but his story usually includes a little history. He always adds a little something, something that makes you think Did that really Happen?

In this book that little something focuses around Franklin Roosevelt and Andrew Mellon.  Andrew Mellon served as Treasury Secretary under three Presidents.  FDR was not one of them.  In fact, from all my reading the two men did not like each other at all.  FDR subjected Mellon to intense scrutiny regarding his taxes which led to a  trial.  Mellon died before the trial ended.  He was not convicted.

According to Berry’s story, Mellon had a private conversation with FDR and handed him a paper that allegedly contained some type of code.  Mellon was plotting revenge against FDR and this code was suppose to bring FDR down.  FDR not taking the bait and threw the paper in the trash. It was later retrieved by his secretary.  He ignored this paper but ultimately came back to it and enlisted  a trusted employee  to help him figure out what Mellon was trying to tell him.

What was on that paper and if it really existed is still a bit of a mystery but lets just say China, North Korea and the US are now very interested in finding answers.  It might be a matter of National Security.  And to make it all worse, a Treasury employee discovered some papers surrounding the Mellon/FDR discussion, copied them and has fled the country. This person an author wrote a book on an “urban legend” that had been around forever.  The legend, the 16th Amendment is unconstitutional and Mellon had prof.  Sounds a little like Edward Snowden don’t you think? Mellon also had evidence that the US owed a huge debt to a citizen who had loaned the government money.

But unlike Edward Snowden who if he steps into the US will be arrested for Treason, the President has offered to pardon him of all wrong doings if he brings the papers back to the United States..  Will he even live to come back or will someone steal the papers and kill him?

This is one of Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone novels.  I really like this character and I found this novel fun and quick moving.  Great for a hot day on the beach or your deck.  If you haven’t read it yet, check it out.

Funny Girl no this doesn’t star Barbra Streisand

I’ve got thirty six expressions sweet as pie and tough as leather. And that’s six expressions more than all those Barrymores put together. Wait a minute wrong genre, the book Funny Girl has nothing to do with Barbra Streisand or Fanny Brice. Instead this is a very witty book that I picked up because of, what else the title.

It just so happens that the main character’s name is Barbara and she is from Blackpool. Barbara loves Lucille Ball. In fact she wants to be like Lucille Ball, the comedian not the actual person. During a beauty contest which by the way she won, she has an epiphany or what you might call an aha moment. She doesn’t want to live in her small town and be the reigning beauty queen. So off she goes to London.

She supports herself by working in a retail shop and one day meets a man who ends up managing her. Low and behold she gets cast in a comedy series on the BBC Channel.

What really makes this book interesting is how the author portrays England in the mid to late 60’s. This was a period of great change in the UK and for that matter in the US. In the US there were protests, bra burnings, fighting for equality etc. Perhaps it was more subtle in England.  It was the Age of Aquarius with nudity in musicals such as Hair playing at the West End (in London). In the UK roles and society were changing as well and I think this book does a great job capturing some of the changes through the characters in the comedy shows and also with the characters who are writing the shows.

The character played by Barbara now named Sophie on the BBC, show some of the changes when she marries above her class and other things that you must read to find out. I recommend this book. It is a great read on and off the beach. Click on the book cover on the top of this blog for more information on the book.

And while you are at it you may want to see Funny Girl with the magnificent Barbra Streisand. Take a look:

Foodies I want to Share This With You

Blackberry corn cake

I was reading Family Circle Magazine, I read it for the recipes and I found one for Blackberry Corn Cakes.  Coincidently, I just happened to have blackberries in my fridge that I wanted to do something with so I decided to try this recipe.  I really think the recipe had a nice balance of  flour and corn meal. The finished product tastes like a muffin.

I thought I would share the recipe with you and I hope you enjoy it!

1 cup plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour

3/4 c fine yellow corn meal

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c granulated sugar

2/3 c milk

6 tbsp melted unsalted butter

2 eggs

12 oz blackberries

Heat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9 x 9 baking pan. In a bowl mix 1 cup of the flour, the corn meal baking powder and salt. In separate bowl whisk sugar, milk, butter and eggs. Fold dry mixture into wet.

Toss blackberries with remaining 1 tsp of flour and gently fold into the mix.

Transfer to a baking pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes