Thursday, August 23, 2018

Introducing Milk and Cookies

"Children are made readers on the 
laps of their parents."
Emilie Buchwald

Friends, it is back to school time.   I have had so much fun this past week and a half, following  my former pre-schoolers and sending happy messages on their first day.  There is just something exciting about a new school year.  I still have a little over a week before I head back, but I have been working in my classroom cleaning, sprucing-up and organizing.

One of my "jobs", besides teaching Pre-K 4, is taking care of our children's library.  Just before the school year begins, a teacher friend and I get to go to a local bookstore, spend a few hours perusing children's books and selecting a really nice bunch of books to bring back to the school for parent's to purchase and donate to our school library.  I may not be the perfect person for the job; I assure you, no one enjoys it more.

Now this is going to sound off track, but it is just an example of how my rambling 
crazy brain runs.

A few weeks ago, playing around in the kitchen, I was mixing up a batch of my, go to, chocolate chip cookies.  I am a bit like the the mouse in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.  I can begin one thing which will make me think of something else, which will make me think of something else, and so on and so on.  You're following me, right?

image from Goodreads

So, while tossing together all the ingredients, I ventured down that street (you know the one I'm talking about) named Memory Lane.  I had those warm fuzzy memories of coming home from school, finding a plate of M &M cookies and a glass of milk waiting on the table.  I would sit on the kitchen stool while Mother cooked supper, and we would talk about my school day.    A couple of cookies and a glass of milk and I was an encyclopedia of all that happened in the classroom and on the playground.... no holding back... no secrets kept.  Trust me on this one, I was pretty much a sell-out for a good cookie.

I moved on from thinking of the past, to wishing I could share the cookies cooling on the rack with my grandchildren, after their first day of school.   I thought about how fun it would be to sit, with a warm cookie, a cold glass of milk in hand while sharing a book.

The light bulb went off!

Milk and Cookies
(and children's literature)

Again, I am throwing together a couple of my favorite things to share.

In addition to sharing my thoughts on the books I am enjoying, I am going to occasionally
share a favorite children's book and perhaps...
a cookie recipe (because you know I love to play in the kitchen).

I believe...

When we read, and share a love of reading, with children,
we are creating readers.
If you can read you can do anything.
If we create readers, and they can do anything...
Imagine the possibilities!


Readers, I love sharing the things that excite me, and make my heart smile, with you.   I love hearing your thoughts and ideas.  Writing and putting this out into space, tying it to my Instagram account,  is totally out of my comfort zone.  You make it easy, safe, and so much fun.  So.... using my best southern manners, I say....
Thank you so very much!

Have a great weekend friends,
do something that makes your heart sing
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Book Talk Wednesday-- Southernmost

'The rain had been falling with a pounding meanness without ceasing for two days and then the water rose all at once in the middle of the night, a brutal rush so fast Asher thought at first a dam might have broken somewhere upstream.  The ground had simply become so saturated it could not hold any more water.  All the creeks were conspiring down the ridges until they washed out into the Cumberland.  There was no use in anyone going to bed because they all knew what was going to happen.
They only had to wait.'

I don't usually begin by copying the complete first paragraph, but I can't remember the last time I read a book whose first paragraph so symbolically sets the stage for the story that is about to unfold.

Asher Sharp, a small town Pentecostal preacher, wanting to help two men, after their home is destroyed, finds himself questioning long held beliefs.  He alienates his wife, his congregation and his community.  After serving up a sermon on tolerance,  Asher is fired by the Church hierarchy. 

When the Courts award Asher's wife full custody of Justin, he takes his son and leaves for Key West in hopes of finding and reconciling with the brother he turned against years earlier.  In search of a brother, Asher and Justin discover the importance of just loving.
"I've studied on it a lot, Lydia.  You know I don't believe that way anymore.  All my life I've thought I've understood everything in that Bible, but now I know that none of us can know the mind of God. He's too big for that."

Southernmost is a timely and beautifully told story of re-evaluating ones beliefs and the consequences incurred.   Asher discovers, what I believe, "love thy neighbor", truly means.   I promise this is one of those reads that will make you sit and ponder long after you've turned the final page.    Southernmost  touched my heart and conscience in so many ways, and is going to the top of my "best books of year" list   

  If you are looking for a book that will stir up a great book group discussion...
this may be the one. 

Perfect Pairings

May I suggest you pour yourself a nice tall glass of iced tea and head out to the porch.   Heck,  just take the whole pitcher outside, you are not going to want to put this book down. 

Happy Reading Friends, and

Friday, August 10, 2018

Banana Bread

I've often confessed here, and on instagram, reading makes me hungry.  What can say!  If food or a meal is an important element in the book I'm reading, I am usually up trying to find something to grab to satisfy my craving.  Often it means dinner plans are changing, or I am going to be pulling down a cookbook and stirring up something in the kitchen.  (This may be the reason I can sit down with a cookbook and read it like a novel.)  A  good book is always better with a beverage and a snack.  Do you agree?

In the novel The Lost for Words Bookshop, Loveday, is taken aback by a cookbook mysteriously delivered to the shop where she works.   While perusing the pages she feels there is something familiar about it and memories of her mother are stirred.  

My mother loved to cook.  There are so many aromas from the kitchen that take me back home and to my mother.  Banana Bread is one of my fondest memories.  No one else in my family particularly cared for banana bread.  I loved it!   It was a special treat, and something Mother made only for me.

This is not my mother's recipe.  I dearly wish it were; her recipe is in hiding somewhere, hopefully to be found.   I have tried several banana bread recipes, and nothing really made me happy.  With a few over-ripe bananas, more in the freezer and a sudden desire to experiment,  I mixed up a recipe that brings back those memories.  And, most importantly,....   it has my sweet Bonnie Rose's approval (wink wink).

To compliment The Lost for Words Bookshop  I am offering up

Bee's Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 heaping tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup buttermilk
4-5 ripe bananas, mashed
(This is a lot of bananas, you may feel the need to decrease the amount.)

Pre-heat oven to 350℉.  Prepare two loaf pans.
Cream butter and add sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Add salt and eggs, one at a time, and mix until well blended.  Add flour and soda alternating with buttermilk.  Stir in bananas.  (I leave my bananas a little chunky.)    Pour mixture into pans and bake for about 45 mins.   Test the center with a toothpick before taking out of oven.  It should come out with no crumbs. 

This bread is moist, dense and tasty.

 Happy Reading

I hope you like this idea I have of pairing a book with a beverage, food, meal, or perhaps an outing.  This, like everything I do, is an experiment and a work in progress.  Let me know your thoughts.


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wednesday Book Talk -- The Lost for Words Bookshop

"A bookshop is not magic, 
but it can heal your heart."
The Lost for Words Bookshop

When I see a book about books, bookshops, libraries or people who read books, it is a safe bet, I will be picking it up, (quoting my grandson) "because it is my favorite".  Perhaps I am drawn to these books because I understand the healing power of books and rooms filled with books.  If I begin to feel the world tumbling down, and that "half-full glass" of mine springs a leak,  I am most at home among books.  I can walk between the stacks of a library or bookshop, touch the bindings, breathe in aroma of paper and glue, and absolutely know, without a doubt, I am in the company of good friends.  There is someone somewhere within all those pages who can talk me off the cliff and ease whatever is worrying me.     

Sometimes... it is just the perfect place to hide.

The Lost for Words Bookshop is more about this refuge and the comfort we bibliophiles find within books and in those rooms filled with books, than books.   

Loveday is hurting.  She is wounded by the events of a childhood ended far too early.   Seeking shelter, she finds employment where she is most comfortable, a bookshop... a used-book bookshop owned by the most charming Archie  (oh, how I fell head over heels for this man).  Loveday is not a people person, and  enjoys the solitude she finds sitting at a hidden counter preparing newly acquired books for shelving, leaving the owner to most often handle the customers.

Three separate deliveries of books mysteriously appear, threatening to bring Loveday's past crashing into the present.    This collision may be what she needs to reconcile with her past and begin healing, but first she must discover if these books are a coincidence, or does someone know about her past and want to do harm.  

This one started a little slow.  It took a chapter or two to engage with Loveday, but I soon became very protective of her character.   There is mystery with a little bit of romance, and a lot of feel good.   The Lost for Words Bookshop is a nicely told tale with equally good character development.  If you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (I loved it) or you know the healing power a room full of books can offer, The Lost For Words Bookshop may be your next perfect read!

Have you read this one?  
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts
and what you are reading.


The Perfect Pairing

Archie is by far my favorite character in The Lost for Words Bookshop.  Oh how we all need an Archie in our life.   He would often treat Loveday with a hot chocolate and nibble from the cafe next door.   So to honor Archie, and to pair with The Lost for Words Bookshop I am offering up banana bread this morning.


I will be sharing the recipe later this week!

Happy Reading Friends!

Monday, August 6, 2018

A Few Technical Problems

I signed on tonight to begin writing my post for Wednesday.   While checking around,  I noticed a message saying I had 14 comments awaiting my moderation.  In the past I have been notified of these by email.  I have received nothing.   Please be assured I love hearing from you and am not ignoring your comments.   These only showed up tonight.  I will be honest... I have checked and thought I stayed away too long.  I was okay with that.  

Now here is my second problem.  I have spent the last hour trying to reply to each individual comment.  Blogger will not let me.  Again, your comments are so appreciated and I do not take them for granted. 

Perhaps this is only a glitch tonight.  We will see.

Again, I love hearing from you and will continue to try to respond.  


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wednesday Book Thoughts .... Why We Do the Things We Do

"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances;
if there is any reaction, both are transformed."
C.G. Jung

(If you are finding this duplicated on your feed, I'm sorry.  There was a glitch!)

I discovered Anne Bogel around the first of the year.  Okay, this is not exactly true.  I discovered her blog, "The Modern Mrs. Darcy" and her podcast "What Should I Read Next" awhile back.  I only started faithfully following and listening around the first of the year.  I am embarrassed to admit I resisted enjoying Anne's writing and reading thoughts out of, perhaps..... envy?  She is doing what I have dreamed of for so long, and she does it really really well.   Her podcast is one source and cause of my TBR list being so long and growing.

When I discovered she had a book, Reading People, published last year, it immediately was placed on my summer reading list.   Seriously a book titled Reading People.  This was a book made for me.... a book about people who read.

Yep, here I am red-faced once again.  It only took a quick Goggle to find out Reading People is not about lovers of a good read, but about "seeing the world through the lens of personality" (it says that on the cover)... reading (a verb not an adjective) people.  It may have dropped a book or two down my list, but I was still intrigued.

Long ago in a faraway land and in another life, I administered personality test for a bank.   Part of the training to prepare for this project was to actually take the test.  I remember being told, along with my results,  I was perfect because I was a planner,  a people pleaser, and, this last description will be  branded in my brain forever,  pretty dull.

Today, this would not be much of a surprise, nor would it bother me so much, though being told you are dull is still a bit hurtful.    As a 26 year old.... I was devastated!

I spent years working to prove my results were manipulated... just plain wrong!  I worked tirelessly to overcome being shy and be the life of the party.  When you have to work at it, it is not always pretty.   I am here now, older and wiser, to tell you it was exhausting.  Oh, had I only had Reading People as a reference.

Not only does Ms. Bogel share her love of reading by offering book suggestions on her blog and podcast; she has given us an enlightening guide to explore why we are who we are and how we relate to those around us.  She shares her own stories, her curiosity, knowledge, and research in giving the reader the resources to discover the potential in not only ourselves, but those around us.  I felt like I was having a comfortable and fun discussion with a good friend.  Oh, there is plenty of literary comparisons for the bibliophile.  Yes, the books we love, the movies we watch, the characters we identify with may be a result of our personality.  Who knew?

If you have ever wondered why you couldn't understand a friends actions... plans... why you hear one thing and your spouse hears something totally different, this may be a book for you.  I loved it!   

Have you read this one?  I would love to hear your thoughts.
And let me know what you are reading!

Happy Reading Friends!