Recent Reads

I’ve fallen behind on posting my 50 Books in 2012 reads–on Christmas Day I finished book #50 but I don’t think I’ve done a good job of capturing all 50 on the blog.  Trust me, Good Reads congratulated me on reaching the goal!  (If you’re on Goodreads, let’s be book buddies.)

Here are a few recent books I read:

The Cradle by Patrick Sommerville – This was a short and concise story about a couple about to have their first child.  Marissa, the mother-go-be, is pushing her husband to go out and find the cradle she slept in as a baby.  The problem is that her mother left the family long ago, and no one is certain where she is.  The expectation is find the mom, find the cradle.  There’s a parallel story of a family whose son enlisted in the military and is about to be deployed to Iraq.  The mother, father, son, spend a last few days together and then the mother falls apart and finally admits to her husband that she has a child who she gave up for adoption.  This story was OK – it never really came together for me and left quite a few questions at the end.  

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – This story takes place in Barcelona, Spain, during two different time periods.  Much of the book is set in a prison during the Spanish Civil War–there’s mystery, crime, love, grit.  This is book number 3 in a trilogy that isn’t really a trilogy–same characters, but you don’t have to read the other books in order to pick this one up.  However – one of my all time favorite books is the first in this trilogy–The Shadow of the Wind.

How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran – I heard an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air one night–I don’t know why I remember this, but it was a warm summer night in Madison and I was stuck at a train crossing for about 15 minutes.  So I heard a good chunk of the interview with Caitlin Moran.  I was laughing and laughing and knew I needed to read her new book.  However, all that build up, and the fact that a review said she’s like the British version of Tina Fey, did disappoint a bit.  Moran is a 30-something mother and her book chronicles her awkward childhood and teenager years, her escapades in her first office job, and she gives her thoughts about everything from make-up to waxing.  I liked the fact that she used social media to gather experiences from women around the world.

10600242One piece that stood out/hit a nerve for me was feedback she received from women about bad experiences in the workplace.  One woman said she no longer wears a white blouse and black skirt to work.  She was once in a conference room, coffee service was brought in, and the men in the room lined up in front of her, waiting for coffee–they thought she was the waitress!  Ugh.  This was something recent, too.  I was once involved with preliminary planning for a golf outing/fundraiser.  I mentioned to a long-time golfer that I don’t golf and don’t know enough about how an outing works, so I’d need some intel.  His response:  “We need a beer girl, so you can wear a bikini and drive the beer cart.”  I was ashamed for him.



I checked out a pile of books, thinking I’d spend the holiday time reading book after book.  Not-so-much!  It feels good to get caught up on life!  I did start reading Divergent by Veronica Roth.  Is this Hunger Games redux?  Any input on this trilogy?  


What are you reading?  Do you have a list of things to get done this week?  




Christmas Re-Cap

It was a busy few days…baking, wrapping, eating, family-ing…

I felt like the Christmas season kicked into high gear on Saturday night when I spent a few hours wrapping gifts.  Martha Stewart I am not.  But I do like to try and throw my niece and nephew off by packing things in larger boxes so they can’t guess what the present is before they open it!


Sunday I helped my dad make Christmas stollen.  It’s a yeast-bread filled with nuts and fruit and topped off with frosting! I’ve always seen my dad make it but never helped in the process.  He follows my great-grandmother’s recipe from a 1960 church cook book.  My arms are still a little sore from mixing the dough!


The finished product

Monday kicked off in the spirit of the season of giving


A little cooking and baking with my helper


Then I put together a batch of hot chocolate for a construction crew working in my neighborhood.  It was Christmas Eve day, it was freezing, and they looked like they needed to warm up.  I dashed away, though, as soon as they were trying to twist my arms into helping them shovel.


Then it was Christmas Eve and time to create more memories with family


I really do wear my RoadID all the time

The weather has been very Christmas-y–cold, crisp, with lots of snow on the ground.

lakeNot a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…and ice is starting to form on the lake!

How was your weekend?  Christmas?  Happy Boxing Day today.  Did you see any of the new release movies?

One highlight last night (aside from the delicious dinner of osso bucco that my parents cooked), was that I finished my 50th book.  I feel the strong need to over-achieve and try to get to 51 by the 31st!