Home Again- Chatter that does not Matter

I am home from Michigan- I have a Village Board meeting, and so I dragged Steve back with me just as the sun returned to Harbor Country. My timing is impeccable. He worked on wiring the studio for his podcast, (starting September 8th) and now he is hitting golf balls on a closed course, so no one will see him. The camera that I wrote about is wending its way to our summer condo, where I have arranged for it to be intercepted.  Again, my timing is off.  Fortunately, there was little of beauty to photograph besides my halibut dinner last night.  I will attempt to seduce Steve back to New Buffalo with dreams of Stop 50 pizza.  (If this place gets so busy that we cannot get in, Steve will kill me!) When the Sox are on the road, I have a better shot at relocating.  Wednesday night, Matt's band, Pet Lions, will be appearing at Schuba's.  He asked if we were coming- that is as close as Matt gets to wanting to associate with us.  They are the opening-opening act, so it fits my bedtime parameters.  I think we MAY take the bait. Perhaps there is a Trader Vic's cocktail hour in it for me!  It is magic having a designated driver on staff 24/7/365.  Of course, he is already complaining about the bad parking near Schuba's.  We are old, what can I say?  

Despite the fact that it was cold and damp in Michigan, I only finished 100 pages of Cutting for Stone.   This is the book for our September meeting of The Book Bags. I have about 5oo pages to go.  I like to knock off 100 at a time to up the odds that my swiss cheese brain will retain some of the plot so I need not re-read it the night before.  I am the organizer and facilitator of this group of 12 women.  God forbid, I am also hosting in September, so there is a chance that someone will be poisoned.  We have a member who is a MD, and that is quite the advantage when I cook: Heimlich maneuver, poison control- she is a Godsend.   Steve says book club is my chance to revisit being an English teacher;  he may be on to something.  Our last book was A Reliable WIfe, and I recommend it heartily. By the time I finished preparing for Book Club, I had a teacher's guide.  No test, though.  Cutting for Stone has garnered raves:  the author is a doctor who is on the faculty at Stanford.  He took time out of his medical career to attend the Iowa Writer's Workshop. I must say, he can turn a phrase.  I had to take time off after his description of childbirth.  Admittedly, the patient was a nun, the babies were twins, and they were joined (slightly) at the head.  That is a lot of drama.  My knees are glued together as I type. 
 I love my book club because it allows/forces me to get my nose out of In Style magazine, or off the computer.  When I was teaching, or in law school, magazine articles were all I had time for.  Now they are my bad habit, and accommodate my short attention span.  I wanted to read 30 books from June to October, and I will fall short. But I have ingested more slick magazine pages than I care to admit. I DO know that these are MUST HAVE styles for fall:  ruffles, boyfriend cardigans, a touch of neon and belts. Damn In Style Magazine!  I scare myself. I am so seriously past stylishness that those magazines are a form of masochism.  And a note to Julia Keller of the Tribune's culture page:  I love you and your expansive taste in writing, but I LOVED The Art of Racing in the Rain.  It is a magical dog book.  Enzo the dog rules!  Marley drools.   Reconsider, please!  
 I have to get ready for my meeting- but I wanted to know, what have you read lately that you LOVE, and cannot stop talking about?  No political tomes, please.  Tomorrow I will share the reading loves of my recent life.  Thanks for stopping by, and I will be a better virtual friend, I promise.  Come back...help us pick our books.


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  • Hi Janet-So glad to read your chatter! Thanks for the book recommendations...after many hectic years of parenting, I have recently discovered that I can read something longer than a People magazine article! I am even contemplating a Kindle but for right now I am just pleased to hear some title's suggested by someone I (kind of) know! Enjoy reading about your journey,keep up the good work!

  • The Art of Racing in the Rain was a fabulous read/ I am now reading Jennifer Wiener, Best Friends, and I also starve for any new Jodi Piccoult books. Reading is my relaxation technique after a long day, and it lulls me to a calm slumber.

  • Good Morning Janet!! Loved reading Janet's Planet and am happy to follow you to Chicago Now!
    I too loved The Art of Racing in the Rain - wonderful book! This summer another favorite of mine was Parish the Thought: An Inspirational Memoir of Growing Up Catholic in the 1960s by John Ruane!

  • I read The Ride of Our Lives by Mike Leonard last May. It is several years old but entertaining.

  • Janet, I have to say thank you for the great call on Stop 50. I only tell people about it who I know will not travel to Michigan City (it is too far they say). Thank-you. Have you tried Swingbelly's? Great burgers there.

  • I love Swingbelly's- many memories of the smaller one, before they moved to the train depot. Taking the kids for burgers was a balancing act- but you can but a lot of peace with a good burger and fries!

  • I just read A Reliable Wife, read The Art of Racing in the Rain last year, loved them both. I recommend Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. It won some awards but more important, is a very good read.

  • "Something Missing" by Matthew Dicks. I saw it on the buy two get one free table at the bookstore, ordered it through the library, and was very pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed it.

  • The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb and also by Wally Lamb - This Much I Know Is True.

  • After seeing Julie and Julia, I had to ordered up My Life in France by Julia Child. It is a delightful read and makes her three dimensional. The joy and spirit that we were shown on her programs did not shut off when the cameras did. It was who she was. I long to return to France.

  • Janet - I truly enjoy your writing, and think it is wonderful that you have this opportunity to connect with a wide audience! I also share you taste in books. The Art of Racing in the Rain brought me to tears and I am not a dog person. I just read A Reliable Wife on my new Kindle this summer and loved it. I recommend both Honolulu and Molokai by Alan Brennert. I think you'll like them.

  • In reply to lclausel:

    Thank you- I read and loved Molokai, and Honolulu is on my "to read" stack. My real distraction these days is the internet- I waste too much time chasing stories- I am now reading my old hometown paper, the Detroit Free Press, and the Washington Post online- that is ridiculous! I need to focus and escape to more fun places in books.

    The Kindle is what I am wondering about. How long have you had it? How did you decide to go Kindle, not Sony? I really love the feel of a paper book- but I hate the bulk. I have a basement full of books that Steve will toss in the charity bin when I am not looking- and some of them are treasures to me! Whenever I travel, I am over weight because of books. The Kindle seems so small and easy, but to take the leap without test driving it-because of its proprietary Amazon relationship-is hard for me. Now that Sony is going wireless with downloading in January, there may be a real competitor out there-of course Sony is quoting 399 as Kindle drops. Is it easier on your eyes? What is your favorite thing about using it? My birthday is in September, and it seems like a perfect idea....tell me how you came to Kindle...

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