Sunday Chat – Book Reviews and the Garden

In the garden this week, the apricot gladiolas have come into full bloom. There are a bunch of them dotted over the mountainside behind our home. Some, I think, were planted by the previous owners of this house, but some must be squirrel planted as there are more of them every year. I have dug some up and transferred them to the front flower bed, but they still persist in the back. The first blooms on the bottom of the stalk have faded, but there are more buds to come.

Lovely color, aren’t they? Some years they bloom at the same time as the hostas, and they complement the purple stems of those well. This year, the hostas were done before the glads began.

Oliver didn’t seem to notice the flowers. He came up to beg on the veranda, waiting patiently, paws folded, on the mat until someone noticed him. Yes, he got his treat, as long as he went down to the sidewalk to wait for it.

Our local young bear came by to attempt a raid on the bird feeder. You can see him standing up on his hind legs, paws on the pole, but he isn’t tall enough to reach the feeder itself. The actual feeder is about 10 feet off the ground, and he is only about 5 feet tall standing up like this.

He gave up pretty fast, and I stepped out to the veranda to get another picture. He is small and skinny, but will fatten up fast over the next two months with the abundance of food coming into harvest season. It has been so hot, some of our apple crops are ripening a month early.

Inside, reading has been delightful with the last few books. The titles are linked to Amazon if you’d like to read the synopsis, or look at getting the ebook for your Kindle. Some of these are also available for Audible.

Save Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl is an interesting behind the scenes look a powerhouse Gourmet magazine’s rise and fall in the epicurean foodie wars. Ruth Reichl is a great writer and the book flows easily with her prose. Her stories include how the magazine chose her to lead it and her fumbling first year as a newbie editor with a steep learning curve. She transitions to an innovative leader who took the staid publication kicking and screaming to a new generation without self congratulation or self aggrandizement. The last chapter tells how the Christmas issue of 2009 was to be another step forward in cover design and innovative recipes, but was never published. The magazine closed with the November 2009 issue. It is a fascinating memoir, and recommended reading for foodies who remember Gourmet’s heyday.

About the Author by John Colapinto – A very different kind of story, with an ethical question – who owns the rights to your life story? This is a thriller with twists and turns as a man gets more and more involved in a cover up of his own making. The story is complicated, with the protagonist making what seems to be justifiable decisions, but that come back to haunt him in unexpected ways. The story is well paced, starting out slowly and accelerating as the novel progresses to a pace that the reader will find impossible to put down. At one point about 2/3 in, it gets a bit heavy handed with a bit of piling on of calamity, but it picks up again in a surprising way. The ending is unexpected as well. Overall, an interesting premise, and a fun read.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan – Young adult, fantasy novel of 498 pages, it seemed like there were three novels here and might have done well as a series of shorter novels. The story is based on a Chinese myth, and was told in an imaginative way, peppered with Chinese cultural influences in the manner of dress, descriptions of places, customs like a Lantern Festival, honoring ancestors, and descriptions of flowers and food. The protagonist, Xingyin, is forced to flee from her home on the moon to the earth where she becomes involved with a prince of the Celestial Kingdom. Action and intrigue follow, with many tests of her skill and cunning, as she tries to win the talisman that will help her free her mother from her imprisonment on the moon, sentenced to an immortal life of lighting the lanterns in the evening to make the moon shine. Charming, easy reading, and suitable for younger audiences.

In the sewing room, I have some exciting news coming next week! But for now, this is all I can say. The sleeve is made. This fabric is a polished cotton from Art Gallery called Decostitch Elements.

In the kitchen, I plucked some fresh basil leaves from my garden to put with my market tomato and the Amish Butter cheese I got on our last MINI run. Yum! A caprese salad just says summer!

What’s blooming in your garden? Read a good book recently? Do you have a favorite summer salad?

16 thoughts on “Sunday Chat – Book Reviews and the Garden

  1. Mary Stori

    Happy to see your crops are doing well……with all the rain we’ve been having…..we’ve lost most of our tomatoes and basil. Fortunately there’s a good farm stand right 10 mins. away!

  2. Julie

    What a nice photo of the bear. The local Facebook page reported a mom & cub bear-sighting in town. Eek! All I’ve read this month were 3 cozy quilting mysteries – simplistic plots with comic relief. Perfect for a lazy summer.

  3. karenfae

    my summer tomatoes burned up in the heat – I cut the plants back to about a foot and waiting to see if they will grow back and produce for the fall – I don’t know how likely that is but I guess I will find out – I need to add more fertilizer today. I like to slice tomato and cucumber and drizzle some Kraft sun dried tomato salad dressing over them. I am listening to an older Nelson DeMille book right now on audio it is called “The Quest” I’m not sure what year it was written but I’m thinking in the 80’s

  4. I’m currently reading The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams…good story so far. We will be discussing this book at book club in September. I have several herb plants and one grape tomato plant. I have made one batch of basil pesto and there is enough basil for another batch. I will be drying the oregano and the rosemary soon. I freeze the parsley in an ice cube tray after chopping it up and adding some water…great for soups and stews later.

  5. Joan

    I always enjoy your reading recommendations and photos of what is happening in your world. I am currently working on kitchen boas for two college friends I am meeting for lunch on Monday. We have not seen each other in over a year and we all live In the same town! I am currently reading “One Step Too Far” by Lisa Gardner. I cannot put this book down. It has a similar premise to a few other suspense novels I have read, but Lisa Gardner puts her spin on it and it is a winner.

  6. Connie S Wolfe

    I always enjoy your blog but flowers, books, Oliver, a quilt sneak peak and the bear photos made today’s post a wonderful read. This month, I finished two books by Rosie Walsh, The Love of My Life and Ghosted.I cannot remember how this author came across my radar. She has interesting twists and turns that make for page turners.
    Have a peaceful Sunday with lots of reading on your veranda.
    Connie W.

  7. You always have book recommendations that intrigue me! All of those authors are unfamiliar, so I’ll have to give them a try. I’m reading The Island of Missing Trees – it’s really interesting! Your bear sightings are amazing! Probably good that the feeder is up so high. We’re starting to get tomatoes from the garden, too – Caprese Salad sounds delicious!

  8. Jill McCaughey

    Carole, the book I am reading right now is written by none other than my daughter—. And So I Roam, by Kate Bothner. She has self-published on Amazon, where it’s available as print or e-book version. She has written an historical novel that describes the early homesteading years in what is now Alberta, Canada (where we live), written from the view of the young woman who leaves Philadelphia and travels with her father as they look for a new, more simple life. Dealing with her own anxieties, and her love of the land, she writes with passion and warmth for what she discovers about herself, and others, along the way. I learned a lot about the history of our country’s western provinces as I read, and have a deep appreciation for the determination of a young woman to find her way in a world that often wasn’t easy or welcoming. I highly recommend it! And that’s NOT just because I’m her mom. Thank you for your reviews and suggestions of books to broaden our horizons, maybe this one will pique your interest, or that of your readers. Thanks, Jill in Phoenix/Calgary

  9. My mouth is watering with the sight of your caprese salad! My basil is doing very well this summer! Is there a way to save it for the middle of winter?!?
    I wonder if there is a new scrappy mystery quilt announcement coming?!?!

  10. jseccurrtwcnyrrcom

    Those gladiolas are stunning! Enjoy!

    I listened to the book Life of Pi. The authors use of language and metaphors lifted this book from good to great.

    Look forward to your big reveal!

  11. Sue Hoover

    I recently enjoyed Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews. I think you’d like it. It’s a light, summer read. At the same time, my friend was enjoying a different Mary Kay Andrews book. I’ll need to look into some of her other books. My “surprise” lilies are coming up and will be blooming soon. Sometimes they are called “naked ladies”. Have you heard of them? They put up nothing but leaves in the spring and look like daffodils that never bloom. The leaves die back to nothing by June. Then, late July-early August, stems start coming up from the ground and will put out a beautiful pink flower.

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