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Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Five

Here's what my five senses have been experiencing:


American Wife: A Novel (New York Times Notable Books) by Curtis Sittenfeld

This book surprised me. A novel, based on the life of Laura Bush. How interesting could that be? I never really thought about Mrs. Bush as anything other than in the background of a man I have no respect for. It was difficult for me to think of this as a novel. Of course I know that none of it could be trusted to be completely true. It was a novel after all, but throughout the book, I only pictured the characters as the Bushes.

True or not, this novel helped me to sympathize with Mrs. Bush. She's an extremely intelligent woman, so I can imagine her life has been challenging with her husband. This novel was a page turner. I'd definitely recommend, however, there were some parts of it that I found went a little too far. Perhaps it was because I had trouble separating truth from fiction, but some of the descriptions were a little disturbing. (Even I have respect for the office, even if I don't like the performance of the individual, so perhaps that was what bothered me? That in my mind, I couldn't separate the characters from their real life counterparts and just didn't want to delve into that part of them.) Alice's trip to the one bathroom at the Blackwell compound is one example. The description of Charlie in a wedding photo, another one. I just think the characters personalities could have been fully depicted without going this far. It didn't take much to figure them out, holding back a bit would have suited the novel better. I found myself revolted rather than enlightened. It's still a highly recommended read, but I had to discuss that to feel like I'd done a full review.

Mighty Queens of Freeville, The: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them by Amy Dickinson

Amy of the column Ask Amy hits a home run with this memoir. Divorce and single motherhood run in Amy's family. She eventually ends up right back at home surrounded by the people that love her most. Her wit and wisdom shine in every chapter. Claiming that she "makes all the mistakes so you don't have to" has made her relatable. She tells her life story with an irreverence that makes her oh so likable. Definitely recommend.

Testimony: A Novel by Anita Shreve

It's not often that I don't finish a book. I'll muddle through most whether their challenge is a difficult read or a fluffy story. I love language. I love each writer's individual style and voice. Shreve is a great contemporary author, but she misses the mark with this one. The book is not compelling even though it's premise is attention getting. The story of a sexual scandal at a private school told by many voices could have been riveting. I found it merely muddied and ill conceived and quit reading about 20 pages from the ending. At that point, I didn't care enough about the characters to see where they ended up.

Not recommended.


I took a bunch of books on cd out of the library to put on my iPod. Great to listen to while working around the house or out walking. I'm such a reader that this is a great way for me to fit in even more books!


Fresh baked bread.


Bread Machine Third Bread
Named for the three types of flour that this recipe contains, this is a very old recipe. Serves 8 at 6 WW Points per BIG serving. This is great toasted with honey.

2 1/2 tsp yeast
3/4 cup(s) light rye flour
3 cup(s) Flour, wheat, white, Bread
3/4 cup(s) uncooked cornmeal
1/2 cup(s) honey
1 1/2 cup(s) water, very warm

Place in your bread machine. Set at: 1 1/2 lb loaf, medium crust, regular cycle. Or knead, rise until double and bake.


The new cactus and palm trees that friends brought us back from Arizona. (And the sparkly rock that has a special place in the cactus pot!) How nice to get surprise souvenirs from friends!

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Taking a little time to play with words, to play with food, and just to play!