All posts by Dona

Escape

I’ve been filling my time lately with books and videos. I’ve been either reading or listening to books or podcasts about books. I’ve been watching whatever will take me away from the thoughts in my head.

Reading

Other than current book group books, I’ve decided to read books I own: hard copies, e-books or audio books or books I can borrow from the library. I’m starting with the book group list of books that Diana sent out a few months ago. I’ve gone through the list and highlighted what I read (or remembered reading).

I began with A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. This book was one I was pretty sure I would not finish. Our book group met to discuss it in September of 2017 and I’d not gotten very far in it. It took place during the Chechen wars and I could not handle the background. I don’t think I even noticed how beautifully it was written because of the atrocities that were described. I tried to read it again, a few years ago, but ended around the same place I stopped the first time. I finally decided I was going to read/listen to it or make the decision it would never be for me. I am glad I did because it turned out to be one of the most beautiful, haunting, sad books I have ever read. I’ve recommended it quite a lot since I finished reading it last month.

The next book I read was our current book group read, Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde. I liked it, but I really like books about friendships between young and old. The young man in this book was 17 and the older woman was 92. The book was light and pure escapism. It was about fitting in and the kindness of strangers. Just what I needed.

Then I moved onto another book I had trouble getting into: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. The book group met to discuss this in February of 2009. I don’t remember if I went to that meeting or not. I did want to read it but I remember feeling it was too heavy to read at the time. I’ve since picked it up a couple of times, but never long enough to get into it. I finally finished it last week — reading some via my KIndle and listening to some via the library’s Libby app. My thoughts are that if the whole book was as good as the last quarter I may have finished it long ago. I reviewed it on Goodreads.

I finished Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah yesterday. I would not have read this had I not seen the Netflix series based on it and if the series had not ended on a cliffhanger or three. I was compelled to finish it, but it left a bad taste in my mouth once I read the author’s note at the end. I felt like a fool spending my time reading this and having my emotions played with when it was basically a public service announcement. I reviewed it on Goodreads which includes a hidden spoiler.

Yesterday I went back to the bookgroup list and started The Secret History by Donna Tartt. This book was a book group read before I joined the group, I believe. I am not sure I like it, but I am going to give it a couple more days.

Watching

Dean and I are watching the remake of All Creatures Great and Small on PBS. It’s good. I expected to feel nostalgic for the actors from the original series, but the actors in this remake are quite good. It was a little jarring to see Mrs. Hall played by someone young and attractive. And I admit that I missed Peter Davison as Tristan at first, but I might like Callum Woodhouse even better.

I binge watched Emily in Paris over a couple of nights. Fun, funny, escapism.

I also binge watched Bridgerton and Firefly Lane. Loved Bridgerton and thought Firefly Lane was good, except that it ended with several loose ties.

I need something to watch now. Any ideas?

Grandma Patrick’s Napkin Holder

I remember Grandma Patrick’s kitchen in her apartment. I remember the old-fashioned sink. I remember the sewing machine near the window. I remember the table with the gray-patterned cotton tablecloth. I remember her napkin holder that sat on the tablecloth on the table.

After my grandmother died I took a few things to remember her by. I took her aluminium stovetop coffee percolator, I took that gray-patterned cotton tablecloth and I took her napkin holder. Years later, after my mother died, I took the sewing machine too.

Most of these things created some points of contention between Dean and me, but the one that is still on-going is the napkin holder. It’s pure mid-century modern with its starburst pattern on one side (there was one on the other, but it fell off and according to Dean could not be soldered back on). I’d love to have it sit on the kitchen table holding our napkins — and it did for a while until I quit using paper napkins.

I’ve tried other uses for it. I hooked it on a nail in my office wall to hold cables. I used it to hold small notebooks on my desk. Both of those uses were short-lived because the napkin holder is just too light. It’s meant to hold paper napkins on a kitchen table.

I don’t know what to do with it other than put it in the kneewall with my other memories, but I feel that it can be used for something!