Saturday, October 21, 2017

Who Do I Blame... or Thank?

It is going to be a great weekend for reading!
After my whining about summer's refusal to leave, our days have become milder.  We can actually feel Autumn trying to push through.  To be honest we often go straight from summer to winter, and winter to summer; when the temps drop below 80 two days in a row, we don long sleeves and boots and celebrate our Autumn.

This morning it is overcast and a cool front will be passing through, possibly bringing in some much needed rain.  This my friends is 
the perfect formula for a reading weekend.  

I finished Before We Were Yours last night.  I may have a stack of unread books waiting to be opened and loved, but for some reason when I finish a book, I feel the need to replace it with something new, or new to me (I love previously loved books).    Being too late to run out to the bookstore I began searching for something to download.  This may be considered an addiction... 
 I will not commit.  

Perhaps it was finishing a book about the strong ties of family and what they bring to our lives long after they are gone, while looking for my weekend read I began thinking about who ignited my love of reading and lead me down this path of bibliophilia.  And, of course, the train I jumped on took me to my sweet mother.

I cannot remember waking up and not finding my mother sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and a book.   While Daddy watched his favorite sports event or television show, mother sat next to him reading.  Sundays, after Church and dinner, we knew we could find Mother, weather permitting, sitting on the porch with her book and a glass of iced tea (hmmm, sound familiar?)  

Living in rural Louisiana we didn't have bookstores, instead she joined book clubs and visited the Library.   She was always willing to take me to the library, and yes, I had my own book club subscription before I could read.  I still remember the joy of getting  a box of books delivered to my front door each month.  She introduced me to some of my favorite characters... Nancy Drew, Francie Nolan, Scarlet O'hare and so many more.  Mother read almost everything I read, reviewed and edited my book reports and was quick to give her opinion on whether it was an appropriate read for someone my age.

I have almost lived half my life without my mother.  There aren't many days I don't think of her, miss her, especially when November, her birth month, draws near.   I wish we could still share and talk about books.  I know she would love to edit Living Life.

Did someone ignite your love of reading or was it a book that flipped the switch?


"Life is not unlike cinema.  Each scene has its own music, and the music is created for the scene, woven to it in ways we do not understand.  No matter how much me may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance with the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn't suit the moment"

Before We Were Yours begins, 1939,  on a shanty boat tied up on the edge of the Mississippi River, near Memphis, Tennessee.   Four children are left alone when their father is forced to take his wife to a nearby hospital.   With a storm coming the boat is boarded by strangers and the children are taken.  

Using the real life horrors of the Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage as a backdrop we follow the Foss children through neglect, abuse and separation.    Secrets are uncovered and lives changed when, two generations later, May Crandall mistakes Avery Stafford, daughter and granddaughter of a South Carolina Senator, for her sister.    After seeing a photograph in May's room, Avery begins investigating her family's connection to the orphanage and to May.  What she uncovers could possibly give her father's political foes ammunition to unseat him in the next election.  We are reminded, no matter how or how long we are separated from family we are tied together by some invisible thread.

Before We Were Yours, is an well researched enjoyable easy read.  Because this fictional story is told using memories of actual survivors of the Tennessee Children's Home Society, and the reign of the  notorious Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis adoption firm, I was pulled in and continued to turn the page.   It is unbelievable this could have continued for 20 years. 

It is a good read!

Happy reading.... 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Wednesday Book Talk (a day late)

I'm feeling a bit guilty after my last post.  
After my pitiful lamenting over Autumn's reluctant entrance, we awoke Wednesday morning to perfect pumpkin patch weather.   The temp stayed in the 60's and the clouds held it there for most of the morning.   Tomorrow it will begin to get warmer, by Saturday it is expected to hit around 91.


Sorry if my cheer sounds a little less than sincere.

No matter the temperature, it is always tolerable when there is a good book to be enjoyed.

"What I know now, my son:  Evil begets evil.  It grows.  It transmutes, so that sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your own home."

Tonight my book group will be discussing Yaa Gyasi's, debut novel, Homegoing.     This is generational story of the descendants of Maame, beginning with her two daughters coming of age in eighteenth century Ghana. Effia, a Fante, marries James Collins, a white man, Govenor of Cape Coast Castle.  Esi, daughter of an Asante leader, is captured, sold into slavery and awaits her destination in the dungeon of Cape Coast Castle.  Neither is aware of the other's existence.

The structure of Homegoing is a bit difficult to follow.  After a few chapters it is apparent each chapter tells the story of a different descendant, alternating between the two sister's family line.   The hand-held book has a table, making it easier in keeping up with the characters and who beget whom.   

Though this novel may be a little cumbersome to follow, the language and landscape make it well worth the time.   So often we finish a book and begin thinking about what we will read next.  Homegoing is a book to sit with and ponder the many layers peeled away while reading. 

There have been so many excellent books published the last few years.   I spent my summer frantically reading everything I could get my hands on, and I am still going.  (you can follow my reading frenzy on Instagram, livingbeeslife)   Yes, I read the "good, the bad and the ugly", and so much in-between.   I'll be sharing some of my favorites soon.   

Here are a couple of books I'm enjoying this week.

You know I want to know what you are reading, and what is on "to read" list.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Where Are You Autumn?


I begin anticipating autumn sometime around midsummer.   Here in Arkansas, summers can be brutal, with temps staying at or above 100 degrees for a couple of weeks or more.  This past summer was mild.... bearable... dare I say, pleasant.   Autumn arrived, and mother nature decided to play a trick, enveloping us with heat and humidity.    I am ready for sweaters and boots , but this southern girl is still occasionally wearing linen.  I know, a well-raised southerner never wears linen after Labor Day... friends, I had to let that one go and walk away.  The meteorologists keep saying one more week... I'm beginning to think they are just messing with my emotions.

I know you have all decorated for Autumn, haven't you?  Though I usually can't wait to pick out my pumpkins,  switch out petunias for pansies and mums, I just can't think about it with temperatures in the high 80s.   I looked at pumpkins this weekend... I couldn't get excited.   This is my one lone little pumpkin.  Sad, isn't it?  I'll keep you posted on my Fall decorations.  Perhaps something will happen next weekend.

Playing in the Kitchen

One of my favorite things about Autumn is pulling out favorite recipes, and playing in the kitchen.   I usually begin with my pumpkin bread.  This weekend R. was craving pie, and I know apple is his favorite.   I turned down the air conditioner, starting peeling granny smiths  and turned out an apple pie.   It was pretty yummy.  The aroma of apples baking mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg wafting through 
the rooms...   divine.

Do you have a favorite autumn recipe?

What I'm Reading

These may have jumped into my hands recently.
Just sayin'...  I'm finding little bits of everything I love about this beautiful season between these pages.

You know this is my favorite time of the year, for so many reasons.  
I love the colors, the aromas, the renewed energy, and not least of all, the food.

What is your favorite thing about Fall?

Happy Autumn friends!