Sunday, August 27, 2017

Donna Leon and Tomatoes...

You can tell Fall is on the way when the tomatoes start to really go to town...Our plant is in a huge pot and is now about five feet up out of the pot.  Beautiful tomatoes.  Meanwhile I have been reading all the books from our library which have been written by Donna Leon. The Inspector Brunetti series. I think I can safely say they are a vehicle to bring Venice and the Italian culture to the forefront of our minds. That is what has happened. Fascinating books in the detail, food, mind set and humor of the Italians of the region. Having never visited, it's the only clue I have as to that lovely City. I am thankful to Donna Leon for having written so many in the series. There is a gap in the middle of the series that I haven't read, so will probably be lurking on Thriftbooks for those.   You can read reviews in the links I have posted here, so no need for me to grow verbose. Just read the books.  They are in the Literary Mystery mode.  More texture and culture than mystery, even though the mystery carries us along. I would like to see what Donna Leon could do with a full length historical novel set in Venice.  I think she would nail it!  Not to sound to plebeian, but nail it she would.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Roses and Reading...

Summer in the lovely Vermont urban environment.....Breezy, mild, lazy Summer days. With all the commotion out there in the world, I will be posting some gentler reminders of our and then. Reading Donna Leon books now - my library has several, so may as well give up on reading them in order. Each pile I check out I do read in order of publication, but from pile to pile it varies.  I like Brunetti.  The plots don't always resolve of course because her work is more literature than genre, and the setting being Venice, given Italian politics, you have to take the stories as more of a cultural and intellectual pastime. Given the pile of books I have in the unread category, I may get through some of the piles by next year. :) 

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Some more lovely Vermont Flowers - Hanging basket above and Day Lilies below. Here in Vermont where the winters are long and chilly, and so much of the Fall is bare trees, we really love the Spring, and even more the Summer of color. Flowers galore. This was a good year for rain and snow in Fall and Winter and Spring, and now the Summer is in full bloom. Nice days to sit and relax on the deck in the shade and read a good book. I am reading Daniel Silva's latest at the moment, and as usual it is absorbing.  Some Steven Saylor in the wings, and Michael Chabon, plus Lisa See, Elizabeth Bunce and a whole lot more. Get to those details later...for now it's resting and reading!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer in Vermont 2017

Giving Vermont equal time, as this year the flowers and trees are just lovely - enough rain and last winter's snow has produced some lovely living peonies, flags, rhododendrons, roses and hostas....

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Seattle Spring Photo Musings...

Plants are so beautiful when there has been a good amount of snow and rain previously.  The area around Seattle was in bloom, and this was one of the lovely displays in Bothell.

Eating out is always fun and there are so many choices, from Asian cuisines to American Midwest Food. :) This is the window of a new ramen place in Kirkland. And oh my stars - the definition of ramen has to change from those dried packages we have been buying! DELICIOUS here where people know the food.

Display on table of succulents.....including hen and chickens...set off by RED!  The weather was cool most of the time, a few warm days but all in all the climate of the Pacific Northwest is the best ever because there are fewer HOT days. However, the humidity is high a lot of the time.  Like Vermont, the casual clothing most common out in the PNW is another real plus. If you wear your sandals, jeans and fleeces you are going to look like a native for sure! :)

Maltby Cafe wall, located in Snohomish, WA. Mother's Day 2017. Excellent food and done just right. Local is always best.   But sometimes you want a tried and true piece of pie!!!
When you want that tried and true piece of pie, there is always Shari's!  Of course we don't have that in the East, so this is always a treat.....coconut cream pie.....uuummmmm....good!

Driving the bridge to Seattle...they tell me Bill Gates lives right over there in those trees somewhere. Nice location and beautiful sky that day.

Another of my favorites is this lovely tree. Lovely feathery fronds reaching down....beautiful.

Red Robin is always a fun trip! Another place we don't have here.  I love the menu because it is so varied. lots of good times....

Monday, June 12, 2017

Seattle in May.....Lovely....

Another nice Spring in Seattle. More rain and snow in the last year has made for a lovely verdant display of greenery and flowers. Although the camellias were mostly done, the other plants were blooming. To go to Seattle after April in Vermont is a radical change in climate! :)  Coming home to Vermont in very late May or June is also a greenery festival!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring WAS on the Way...

Taken some time back on my little camera, but reminds me that there might be a Spring!  It seemed to come, but we knew that was premature. Soon it will be April, and a more realistic time to have Spring arrive!    Reading - here is a recommendation - read the small novella - really a short story - by Ted Chiang, called The Great Silence.  Chiang's originality is something special.  In style no word is wasted. The story left me a bit sad, and gave me something to think about that keeps coming back into my brain. What is it "about?" Well, it's about our look outwards for other beings to communicate with, and it offers one answer we seldom think about seriously.    It is available in Kindle and also online at the address in the Wikipedia article referenced above.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Reading On a Branch Track...

Reading took an unexpected turn when I started StarCrossed by Elizabeth Bunce. Excellent book. Written for the youth market as my last post said - and a robust market that is, it is certainly readable by everyone from 4th grade on up who loves fantasy. When writing fantasy it is imperative to create a whole world that makes sense and holds together despite the various plots set within that world. This is a task that many an author fails at, and I have read a few of those failures.  To keep a reader believing in your world you have to be consistent with the whole culture of the world and sometimes something sticks out as so unbelievable it wrecks a story. Bunce has created a consistent culture, and a full bodied world that gets into your head and stays there. There are even maps - and let's face it - we love maps! A fantasy book without maps is just sad because we all read Lord of the Rings and we want maps. This is the first book about Digger the talented thief and her adventures in an oppressive world ruled by fanatics. Wonder why that resonates...but I digress.  I found myself finishing the book and then purchasing the next in the series. The third is in the works. The second is Liar's Moon, and I am only about 20% of the way in right now. These books have a regular publisher and they certainly deserve that. So many ebooks are self-published and you never know what the next shot in the dark will bring because you cannot trust the reviews of these books on AMAZON. You just have to get a feel for it and give it a try. A sample helps with that. Ms. Bunce has a talent here and I await book 3 with eagerness. The protagonist is a winner!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Sun and Books...

So, more snow and the sun after that! When the sun comes out it's all good. Despite the vicissitudes of life and the world, the sun brings light, cheer and the hope of Spring.  Currently I am reading StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce.  It's actually quite engaging. Aimed at the youth fiction market, and fantasy, the story is more engaging than many a more famous novel has been lately.  Rather than write about the books I didn't care for I do prefer to highlight those I liked. It's difficult to write a novel so better not to cramp the style of those who just might write better stories in future! So - in that vein, I want to say that StarCrossed is worthwhile, and I am glad I picked it up in a Kindle sale! I will probably read the rest in the series. Meanwhile I have an Evanovich novel going - a Goldberg-Evanovich book - series is Fox and O'Hare. This is a follow on to having read another Eric Newby book! Quite engaging is Eric Newby.   It was A Travelers Life and so interesting and funny.  Also finished the first in Simon Tolkien's Inspector Trave series...interesting and rather a slog. But a good slog. I am going to read the next two in the series at least - the more cerebral style of his work is engaging.  My pile of unread books is so high now. My son commented: "They might stop printing them?" in response to the size of the piles...:)

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Winter and Discontent....

Sometimes I wonder about the world, but then I realize it has always been a tough go...and here it is February!  Snow time. Not so much as sometimes, but probably more to come. I read another Maisie Dobbs book, Why? I do not know. They are full of angst and sorrow and have sort of a supernatural edge that I find annoying. This was #3 and the last I will read. Some people love them, and they are well written. That alone can recommend a book these days.  I am going to read some escapist fiction - another one or two or three Janet Evanovich and maybe a non-fiction Eric Newby again. I finished another Eric Newby book, and I loved it - these Brits can write. In the wings I have Bill Bryson as well, and that is always fun!   Short and sweet today....but checking in!