Jan Stafford Kellis
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle ZevinMy rating: 4 of 5 stars This is a charming little sandwich book. AJ Fikry is a widower who lives above his bookstore and is slowly drinking himself to death when he meets a pretty young bookseller from one of his favorite…

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family by Kathleen FlinnMy rating: 5 of 5 stars What’s not to love here? Family, fishing, foibles and food are all part of this fabulous Michigan memoir that includes the recipes mentioned in the…

Bookworms Anonymous

Bookworms Anonymous

It’s here! You can find your copy on Amazon.com.   The women are gathered again! Bookworms Anonymous is a non-traditional reading group established in 2000, comprised of seven women in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They meet monthly to share a gourmet vegetarian meal and discuss and swap books. Part memoir, part…

It’s All Relative

It’s All Relative

It’s All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine by Wade RouseMy rating: 5 of 5 stars Wade Rouse takes the reader on a year-long journey through holidays large and small, sharing his experiences in his signature self-deprecating way.  The book progresses from New Year’s…

2 FREE Kindle books!

2 FREE Kindle books!

To celebrate the arrival of Horizontal Hold Season, I am running a Kindle promotion:  Today and tomorrow, A Pocketful of Light and Superior Sacrifices are FREE in Kindle versions on Amazon.com. Culture. Couture. Cuisine.  Italy has it all and she’s willing to share.  Explore the world’s original tourist destination with…

Memorable Memoirs

I just finished reading two memoirs, each one interesting and completely different from the other. The first one I read was Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende, which takes place in Haines, Alaska. We just returned from a visit to Haines in August, and…

Country Mice in the City

Tomorrow I embark on a journey to the city. Chicago! Named for a wild onion, it’s the city of big shoulders and wind and it’s my favorite major US city (I’ve been to NYC, LA, St Louis and Orlando, so those are the comps). My sister, daughter and I will stay just outside the city itself and take the train in every day as if we’re commuting. We’ll stroll the Mag Mile and State Street, take in a show at the Briar Street Theatre and eat lunch at Ed Debevic’s. It’s October so we will enjoy a color tour all the way there and back and we can leave our outer layers at home.

We’ll stop at a Borders Books. This alone is worth the 8-hour drive, each way, so we can sit on the second floor drinking coffee in the window and watching people scurry by on the pavement below. We’ll shop at Macy’s. Macy’s! And the fabulous Columbus Day Sale! Oh, to live in a place with stores. I’m also bringing three of my books to leave in various strategic locations for someone to pick up and read.

This, the eve of a trip to the city, makes me wonder what it would be like to live in an urban place. It seems glamorous from here, tucked into the woods where the only culture is the free karaoke performance at the bar. I’m sure I’d take in a play at least once a month and rarely eat dinner at the same place, cook less often than I do now (it’s become my  least favorite chore) and buy fresh flowers from the corner stand regularly. I’d probably dress better–a Life Is Good T-shirt would not be considered dressy casual in a city–and I’d know all of the train schedules, which taxis are the fastest, and the shortest routes on the safest streets. I would be just one more anonymous soul trying to get through the day with no one asking me how I like my new job or if I’ve seen the new hairstyle of the girl at the gas station.

I’d miss the trees. And my routine: a five-minute, five-mile commute to work on a two-lane road canopied by maple trees much of the way, mine frequently the only vehicle on the entire route. I run out the door most mornings, my boots untied and coat half-on, turn up the radio to hear 5% of the news events occurring in the world, none of which impact our lives here, and which  my commute was longer so I could hear the rest of the story. I always see Mrs. Goetz in her window, watching me turn toward work, so she can later report to me what time I arrived every day last week. She’s pretty accurate–if any local employers are considering time clocks, they should just hire her. She’d also be a reliable alibi corroborator if one had driven by her house at the time of the murder. She’d remember, down to the minute, what time she spied the vehicle and which direction it was headed.

But I digress. We are traveling to the city, it will be fabulous, then we will travel home and it will be even more fabulous for the brief interlude of urban sophistication. 

Weather or Not

Weather or Not

Winter is breathing down our necks. We’ve had one hard frost already and the old folks and the Farmers’ Almanac are predicting a brutal season. The leaves are turning, still clinging loyally to the trees along my five-mile commute to work (see photo of my favorite stretch of road, which I’m forced to travel daily between work and home).

It’s time for Winter Preparation: clean up the yard so no toys/bikes/tools/potted plants/landscape sculptures will be harmed or displaced by the snow plow; drain and winterize the boat and camper; move all large trailers, boats and campers to the storage garage for the same reason; check the garage for anything that shouldn’t freeze, and move it to the basement; finish summer projects; stock up on books.