He Said, She Said—We Said, Yes Please

Do you find it interesting how a popular book can often inspire so many copycat books?

“Copycat” has a negative connotation for the most part, but I’m not meaning it in an entirely negative way. I’m just not sure how else to explain it and copycat sounds better than saying a “knock-off” IMO.

In recent years the books that have inspired many copycats are The Twilight series, The Fifty Shades books, and of course, post apocalyptic books. Although this last one definitely has more room for ingenuity and originality than the latter two—again, IMO.

Whenever I come across a vampire book, I always think, “oh another Twilight book,” that is projecting negative thinking on to vampire-based books simply because I wasn’t a fan of the Twilight books.

On the flip-side, I come across a post-apocalyptic book and will grab it and read the back. My experience with those types of books has been far more positive.

Several post-apocalyptic books that I have enjoyed are:

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

2. California by Edan Lepucki

3. Severance by Ling Ma

4. Run by Blake Crouch

5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I guess from an author’s standpoint you need to judge whether or not another author’s coattails are truly worth riding. Either from a monetary and/or quality standpoint. I do think a copycat novel can be good, even great. An author simply runs the risk of a potential reader judging their book on another recent book or one from a similar genre. Does that make sense?

The genre as of late, which comes to mind most , (meaning I have read many of them, and there are tons more out there) is that of:

The He Said/She Said genre, made quite popular with the publication of:

But—my dear bookworms, this genre has been DONE.TO.DEATH !

I have read many of these types of books and I’m sure many of you have as well. Do you recognize any of the above covers?

There is something so riveting regarding the private life of a husband and a wife. We all want to be that nosy “fly on the wall,” at least while reading these books. And when one of these books uses the technique of switching back and forth between the two narratives/perspectives, it gives us our guilty pleasure.

We, as readers are largely responsible for copycat novels. Authors more often than not gauge audience interests when determining what types of books will be popular.

When a genre become so saturated, it either eventually falls flat for awhile

OR

the ante is upped quite a bit. Meaning, someone is going to produce a book within this genre that truly stands above and alone.

As you’ve seen from this post, the whole copycat thing is nothing new. In fact, within the He Said/She Said genre, the book Tony and Susan by Austin Wright far proceeded Gone Girl, coming out in 1993. Interestingly enough, Wright passed away in 2003, relatively unknown. This was before (even though T&S had been published ten years prior) he saw any major success from T&S. The year after it was published, it was considered the Warner’s lead paperback fiction, but despite this it was still considered not as successful because it was deemed too literary for its mass market publication at that time. Twenty years after its original publication, it was turned in to a major motion picture Nocturnal Animals.

Below is the Amazon synopsis:

• Fifteen years ago, Susan Morrow left her first husband, Edward Sheffield, an unpublished writer. Now, she’s enduring middle class suburbia as a doctor’s wife, when out of the blue she receives a package containing the manuscript of her ex-husband’s first novel. He writes asking her to read the book; she was always his best critic, he says.

As Susan reads, she is drawn into the fictional life of Tony Hastings, a math professor driving his family to their summer house in Maine. And as we read with her, we too become lost in Sheffield’s thriller. As the Hastings’ ordinary, civilized lives are disastrously, violently sent off course, Susan is plunged back into the past, forced to confront the darkness that inhabits her, and driven to name the fear that gnaws at her future and will change her life. 

TONY AND SUSAN is a dazzling, eerie, riveting novel about fear and regret, blood and revenge, marriage and creativity. It is simply one of a kind •

Do you like that last line? Is Tony and Susan truly one of a kind? On Goodreads it has a mix of reviews from liking to hating it, but that’s the same for all books, more or less. Read it and YOU be the judge.

“What she remembers now is not so much happiness as places where happiness occurred. Happiness was intangible, place made it visible.” —Austin Wright, Tony and Susan

Life Finds A Way

Reading broadens your mind. All of you bookworms know this, so I’m not sharing anything significant. But it is good to remember this about yourself as a reader.

Even if you read about something you 100% disagree with, you are allowing your mind to take it in and are acknowledging the differences that exist in the world around you.

This awareness is a good thing. It makes you more relatable to be able step outside your daily bubble.

This week has been all about featuring non-fiction books I hope to read in the somewhat near future.

This weekly theme of non-fiction is part of the

reading challenge. I’m continuing with this theme this week, but something else came to mind, so I thought I’d write about it today.

I follow a blog run by a lady who’s called @TheBookJotter. Every weekend she posts tons of great, relevant, and just plain interesting book-related articles. I always look forward to her posts.

Last weekend she posted an article by Katie Heany titled, Sadly I Like Reading Books on My Phone Now. The link to the article is below.

https://www.thecut.com/2019/11/sadly-i-like-reading-on-my-phone-now.html

Heany’s article has stayed with me all week. So much so that it prompted this very post.

Heany wrote about the ability as a child to sit and read for hours, but as an adult she nods off to sleep after reading for twenty minutes. She began reading on her phone and realized the light helped her read for much longer periods— more so than even reading on her Kindle. She still prefers the smell and feel of a physical book, but ultimately her phone has provided the most “bang for her buck,” or however that saying goes.

One line in particular that stood out to me from Heany’s article was, “I’m very worried about reading enough books before I die.”

I’m not worried about reading enough books, but rather there are SO many books I want to read before I go. Her statement most closely matches how I feel and is one I had never seen in print before her article.

Where I fall on the spectrum of reading in non-traditional formats is this: I will read however allows me the most time to be engaged in a book.

Obviously before digital reading became a thing there was no other way—could we have even imagined the vast array of e-readers that exist today? I couldn’t. My first Kindle was the second generation version. It still had a full keyboard, no backlight, and was much larger than the ones available today. At that time, Overdrive/Libby did not exist and there was no way to read unless you purchased a book. Do you remember way back when Amazon controlled the pricing and no e-book could be more than $9.99? Ah—the good old days, sort of. I’ll take the publishers controlling the pricing, only because we have library access now.

Currently I read on the Kindle Paperwhite. The backlight, long battery-life, and access to the library has made this the most accessible way to read most of the time. I can’t say that I miss holding and reading from an actual book, because I still do that. I still keep one of those relics (I use “relics” quite endearingly, so don’t take that as snarky sarcasm) going, I just don’t always take it with me because of space. The size of my Kindle reminds me of a paperback, which is my favorite traditional-reading size/style.

The access to library books was a game changer for e-reading. As much as technology is an all-consuming monster most of the time (in MY opinion), this is an area that evolved naturally and was truly needed in today’s world.

Moving on to the next format of reading—The phone.

This makes me cringe a little, so let me explain.

For the most part I hate smartphones. I realize the convenience and safety factors of having one, but these two things can also be provided by, gasp, a flip-phone. Before creating this blog (via my smartphone) several months ago, I really was considering going back to a flip-phone. I do like and appreciate the ease of some smartphone capabilities. Looking up a recipe in a pinch and having an amazing camera are two features that I do love and use frequently. It is nice to not lug a cookbook and a camera around.

What I don’t love is walking in to any room or space and everyone is glued to a tiny palm-held screen. I’ve been guilty of this, but not to the degree of what I see whenever I go out. It’s a rare thing to see someone waiting somewhere without being attached to a phone. I get the idea of using waiting time to send an email, work, etc. Even playing a game, do whatever you want, truly. I guess if I’m getting to the heart of my distaste, it’s this: most people are simply scrolling through the endless bs that is social media. It’s an addiction to scroll mindlessly whenever there is a spare moment. Prove me wrong—please. Next time you are in a line, see if you can creep and see what someone is looking at on their phone, then keep a mental tally. We all know the studies about the negative effects of social media, but most people just brush those aside, “knowing” they are not the addicted ones.

Alright—rant aside, this is where the third reading format comes in.

Reading a book on my phone is something I had tried in the past. I didn’t love it because I had my Kindle. For the record, I still prefer my Kindle for e-reading,

BUT,

my phone is easier to carry on me and read, for the most part, inconspicuously. I say that because it genuinely seems more excepted and expected to just scroll through Facebook or shop for something. I can casually pull my phone out and read a page or two, but look as though I’m just glancing at an email or social media. There isn’t really a difference in the sense that reading a book or doing something else on your phone pulls you away from whatever you were doing. The real difference is that even though you might be reading 2-3 lines of a stupid status update, if you openly admitted to be reading 2-3 lines in a book, that is judged differently. It’s more along the lines of whipping out a big sketchbook and drawing something real quick while you wait for your next appointment—not the most efficient use of time, and sort of obnoxious to most people.

I recently began a new job that is requiring a lot more of my time. I like the job, I’m not begrudging that. I’m begrudging the toll it’s taking on my reading time.

That’s life—I get it. As much as being an adult and working full-time is a necessary part of life, we all still have things that we make time for outside the scope of working and other responsibilities. These are the things that keep us sane. My two things are reading and exercise. For obvious purposes, this post is about the former.

In the last month I have read one book from cover-to-cover solely on my phone. I have started several others in this time. I hate to use the word, “sadly,” in reference to reading this way and liking it (as Heany did) only because in the whole scheme of things, it means I am still reading books. Despite all the other shit that has to get done, I’m still finding a way.

To oddly quote Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.” Reading, to me, is life.

In closing, I have an apology. I’m sorry to all the people I wrongly judged who were reading books on their phones and not just scrolling mindlessly. I now honestly understand this really is a thing. We, as readers, still might be the minority (versus what most people are doing on their phones) but we are out there. I know, when I am standing somewhere reading a book on my phone, it will be assumed that I am just another person lost in their phone. While it will be true that I am lost, it’s within a book, the phone is merely the loathsome carrier. It’s a double-edged sword, but it’s one I’m willing to carry.

Happy Thanksgiving, Bookworms.

“Luckily, I always travel with a book, just in case I have to wait on line for Santa, or some such inconvenience.” – David Levithan

“I always read. You know how sharks have to keep swimming or they die? I’m like that. If I stop reading, I die.” – Patrick Rothfuss

“Despite the enormous quantity of books, how few people read! And if one reads profitably, one would realize how much stupid stuff the vulgar herd is content to swallow every day.” – Voltaire

Thankfully Speaking

Happy shorter work week (if you are off for the Thanksgiving holiday)!

If not, Happy Tuesday.

This week I’m posting books as part of the:

reading challenge put together by a bunch of fun book bloggers. If you are like me, then you don’t read a lot non-fiction. I’m not necessarily trying to read tons of non-fiction (vs. fiction) but rather, I want to find and read books that capture and hold my attention. Non-fiction often grabs my attention, but doesn’t hold it for the length of the book (the way fiction does). Good books are good books and bad books are, well, bad books—fiction or non-fiction.

The non-fiction books I plan to post this week are centered around a person and/or subject that I find interesting. Keeping my fingers crossed that they are as good as they sound 🤞

I first heard about The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominque Bauby several years ago. It’s a slim book, (coming in at around 130 pages) that I think will pack a big punch.

Random side note: I have a small stack of three (including this book) small (all under 200 pages) books sitting neatly on my counter. This wasn’t a planned thing, but looking at them all together I want to wake up this Friday (after Thanksgiving) and read them back-to-back while drinking way too much coffee. Their tidy slimness makes this pipe dream feel like it could be a reality.

Back to the book. TDBATB follows Bauby, who was the editor of the french Elle magazine and a father of two. He was in his early forties when he experienced a rare type of stroke. This stroke put him in a coma and when he awoke he was literally a prisoner inside his own body, left only with the function of his left eye.

Bauby was able to not only communicate, but figured out a way to write this book (one word at a time) using only the function of his left eye.

After this debilitating stroke, he was determined to live as much through his mind as he had formally done through his body. He writes of the sadness and also the joy of watching his children, listening to his father’s voice over the phone, and imagining lying next to the woman he loves. Fed intravenously, he thinks of food he can no longer prepare or taste, simply out of determination to enjoy what he is left with.

Jean-Dominque Bauby died two days after the publication of his book.

When I selected non-fiction books for this week’s posts I didn’t think much about Thanksgiving falling smack in the middle of it.

Thinking a bit more deeply about it, I cannot imagine a better book to serve as a reminder of how much I have to be thankful for.

Hug all of your people, tell them you love them. Forget about perfect place settings (not that I cared about them in the first place, unless Chinets count!)or the turkey coming out just right. None of that stuff matters and no one is thinking about it at the end of the day or even after the first bite is taken.

The word, perfection is found no where in the phrase, “eat, drink, and be merry.” If you keep that in mind, your holiday might just be a little magical.

“I need to feel strongly, to love and admire, just as desperately as I need to breathe.” -Jean-Dominque Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly 🦋

“The soul that gives thanks can find comfort in everything; the soul that complains can find comfort in nothing.” -Hannah Whithall Smith

Diamonds Or Chocolate? Or Both?

Thank you #RandomHouse #partner for this book.

This weekend was a whirlwind in the best way possible.

Three great friends and I visited Minneapolis, MN for a book signing. One friend wrote Southern Keto, which is a cookbook for people who eat or are interested in ketogenic (low carb/high fat/high protein) eating. It’s always fun watching her speak about something she loves and this was no exception.

An ice cream shop called Luv, located in Minnesota had invited my friend to speak and sign books at their shop. She invited us to go with her to Minnesota. Luv is an ice cream shop in St. Paul that makes Keto ice cream, chocolate, and desserts. Saying everything was delicious is a vast understatement. The owners and other shop staff were such precious people with hospitality bursting from their sweet faces.

Eating low carb greatly cuts sugar-intake, which is the main reason I began eating this way several years ago. I am not diabetic, but knew that I didn’t need to consume so much sugar. Although I have cut my sugar, I still love dessert, which is obvious from my Friday posts. Usually I have to make my own Keto desserts, so visiting a shop that has a huge selection of Keto-friendly desserts is nothing short of amazing.

We all landed back in Tennessee with full bellies and bags full of delicious chocolate.

Thank you, thank you, Luv!

At the beginning of the month I mentioned several book bloggers had put together a month of non-fiction themed weeks. This is the last week of these themes and this week is titled:

New to my TBR non-fiction

Every post this week will feature a non-fiction book I am interested in reading. I may scatter in a few non-fiction books that have read as well.

My reading tastes have always gravitated towards fiction. If I do read non-fiction and it isn’t told in a story format, I will skip around to whatever suits my interest. I’ve never been able to read non-story-format non-fiction from cover-to-cover. Saying all this, I have read more non-fiction books this year. When I say, “read,” I mean only the ones I’ve read cover-to-cover. The skipping around non-fictions never count toward my reading totals, which frustrates me. It’s something I’ve brought on myself and I can’t seem to change it. It seems weird to count a book when I’ve only read a few (or not all) chapter, but I’m weird-and I’ve excepted that too 😉

The Cartiers by Francesca Cartier Brickell is the story of the three Cartier brothers who turned their grandfather’s small jewelry store in to the luxury empire it is today 💍

Brickell has a direct link, being the great-granddaughter of the youngest Cartier brother. She has traveled the globe to learn not only the history behind the iconic jewelry, but also the surrounding drama, romance, intrigue, and betrayal. Below is the Amazon synopsis:

The Cartiers is the revealing tale of a jewelry dynasty—four generations, from revolutionary France to the 1970s. At its heart are the three Cartier brothers whose motto was “Never copy, only create” and who made their family firm internationally famous in the early days of the twentieth century, thanks to their unique and complementary talents: Louis, the visionary designer who created the first men’s wristwatch to help an aviator friend tell the time without taking his hands off the controls of his flying machine; Pierre, the master dealmaker who bought the New York headquarters on Fifth Avenue for a double-stranded natural pearl necklace; and Jacques, the globe-trotting gemstone expert whose travels to India gave Cartier access to the world’s best rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, inspiring the celebrated Tutti Frutti jewelry •

Doesn’t that sound fascinating? I am not a jewelry fan, as far as the real stuff goes (bring on the costume jewelry!) but I think this story sounds incredible. Anything old world grabs my attention.

“Pearls are always appropriate.” -Jackie Kennedy

Fun Fact: Even though I said I don’t care to buy real jewelry, the pearls in today’s post are real. They were a wedding gift and are one of the only genuine pieces I own.

Friday & The Land Of 10,000 Lakes

Do you know what beats a regular Friday?

A Friday spent roaming in a fun, new (to me) city, with friends that mean the world.

The week began with a post about my love for Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. The OK sequel, Olive, Again has sat on my nightstand just waiting and waiting to be cracked open.

In a nutshell:

The last three weeks have been all over the place and because of this my reading time has fallen off a bit (which I hate admitting) A new job, children’s sport schedules, making dinner, and time to do laundry are all in the fight to get done at the right time.

In a time of such busyness it would be easy to put the blog on hold, but I don’t want to. I love books, love talking books, and I love writing about books. PS. Just for the record, one day I’m going to write a book (j,j,n, and t-you all are my biggest supporters and I love you all for it).

It’s so important to do things to not only develop yourself, but also that you enjoy. Life only gets crazier and it can be a true struggle to push for the things you want to do. We all do things, especially those of us who are parents, for other people all the time. Y’all- that’s a good thing, but if you completely sacrifice and focus only on making everyone else comfortable(all the time), you lose the best part of who you are.

Remember that.

And on that note, let’s get back to our Friday night.

Here on themostconstant Friday is when I post a book, a dessert, and a drink. Why? Because those are three of the best things in life. Friday, especially the evening, is my favorite- so what better time is there to post about some of my favorite things?

The Book

I finally started reading Olive, Again yesterday, on a plane to Minneapolis, Minnesota. This trip to Minnesota is a girls’ trip that was planned around a book signing of a good friend’s cookbook. Tomorrow is the book signing at a special spot in St. Paul and I’m very excited! I plan to share it on the blog-so stay tuned 🍨

I’m only about forty pages in and I love OA as much as OK. Elizabeth Strout has Donetsk again with this second book about the sweet, but snarky Olive. It’s another story told in stories about Olive Kitteridge, the people closest to her, and also those who live within her small town of Crosby, Maine. I don’t think I can properly explain why this writing style works, but it just does. So if you are on the fence, give it a try.

The Dessert

Usually the featured dessert is a low carb recipe of mine or one that I have found on Pinterest. Since I am not at home, I had to seek out something delicious that is also low carb. These are sugar-free chocolates from Rocky Mountain Chocolate in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is my first time visiting this state and it has been wonderful. The Mall of America was amazing! We walked and visited stores on all four stories. The chocolate shop was our last stop before we left to catch the train back to our hotel. Pictured above: a chocolate peanut butter cup, milk chocolate with toffee, dark chocolate and almonds, a milk chocolate turtle, and a dark chocolate truffle. All of them are delicious. Nothing is missing but the sugar.

The Drink

Tonight’s drink is a red and white wine. The red is a Cabernet Sauvignon and the white is a Pinot Grigio. Both wines are dryer wines, ie. less sugar. Our hotel has a happy hour from 5:30-7:30 pm (that serves both of these wines), which has been a lot of fun. Tonight is our second night participating 🍷

So-Bookworms, keep an eye out tomorrow for a sweet treat of a post coming your way.

Cheers,

“God, Olive, you’re a difficult woman. You are such a goddamn difficult woman, and fuck all, I love you. So if you don’t mind, Olive, maybe you could be a little less Olive with me, even if it means being a little more Olive with others. Because I love you, and we don’t have much time.” – Elizabeth Strout, Olive, Again

Olive You, Olive Kitteridge

• Thank you #RandomHouse #partner for this copy of Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout •

To be completely honest, I never had a desire to read Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.

For one, I thought the main character (Olive) was a young girl and I assumed it was some type of coming-of-age story (I haven’t been in the mood for that type of story in several years).

For two, years after I had shrugged off reading it, I remember reading something about it being “a story in stories.” I don’t hate short story collections, I just (for some unknown reason) have a hard time committing to them. I’ve tried different tactics over the years to get myself to be more in to them, but to no avail.

So, to me, OK was either a coming-of-age or some type of short story collection. Oh yeah, it also won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.

Great- I’ll pass. No thanks.

Last year my mom randomly game me a copy of OK. As far as I know she hadn’t read it and had just given it to me as a gift. I do like Elizabeth Strout as an author, but she wasn’t a favorite. Previously I had read and enjoyed Amy and Isabelle and My Name is Lucy Barton.

So-now that I had a copy of OK I still didn’t want to read it. To this day I don’t know why I stuck it on my book shelf rather than straight to my trade/donate bag. Skip ahead to the end of September of this year, I received a copy of Olive, Again by Strout from #RandomHouse , which is the sequel to OK.

Awesome. Now I had the sequel to a book I didn’t want to read in the first place. I do have to admit, I thought Olive, Again had a beautiful cover. That navy, with those leaves, such a great combination- but that was all I thought it had going for it.

A week or so later I found myself in the play room at home looking at some of my book shelves for potential blog posts.

Smack, right in the middle of my view was Olive-freaking-Kitteridge.

I pulled it from the shelf and flipped it to the back cover.

I read the synopsis and then opened it and read a little of first page.

Then I carried it with me as I walked from the room.

Y’all- I was SO wrong about this book.

After reading OK, I can say it’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year and it’s definitely on my top ten books list.

That being said, I don’t think everyone will love this book. I don’t think there is a middle ground either-you love it or you hate it.

Also-I forgot to mention another reason for my aforementioned distaste for OK. Two of my good friends hated OK. In fact one of them gave me a copy of Strout’s, The Burgess Boys and stuck a post-it to the front that reads:

“I didn’t like Olive Kitteridge, but really liked My Name is Lucy Barton.”

Isn’t that interesting?

My two trains of thought as to why you may not like OK go like this:

1. You don’t like reading books about characters you don’t like (personally this doesn’t bother me). Olive is introduced in the first story/chapter. My first impression? She is a b!t€h. That might turn you off toward continuing on, but it spurred me on. I had a feeling there was more to Mrs. Kitteridge.

This time I was right.

Olive is one of the most real fictional characters I have ever encountered. She is so multi-layered, as all humans are, but this is something you can’t see unless you read on.

Which brings me to:

2. This story is told in stories. This is not a book of short stories, at least not in the traditional sense. Are you confused? In the first story (think of these stories as chapters if it helps keep it all together) you are also introduced to Olive’s husband, who is a pharmacist named Henry. Olive is a retired school teacher.

Each subsequent story features someone else in their small town of Crosby, Maine. Somewhere in their story, they have had an interaction/encounter with Olive. This is where you see the beauty of the story and the many layers of Olive come alive. You learn her story and who she is as well as some of the stories of those she lives amongst. Seeing someone through a multitude of lenses allows something different to be seen every time. We may rub someone the wrong way for any number of reasons, yet the next person we meet might think we walk on water.

(And FYI, I don’t care who you are, you have a bitchy side. Olive just happens to show her’s right off the bat.)

What’s fascinating to me is the fact that even though this story is told through many stories it still has linear/ chronological feel. Bottom line: it makes sense even though it’s written in a non-typical way.

I have found myself thinking about this book many times since finishing. I’m amazed at how much I enjoyed this book, I guess because I zero interest in it for so long. Domestic dramas top my favorite genres list. Authors like Anne Tyler, Sue Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, and more recently Richard Russo are amongst my favorite who continue to wow me with their literary talents. I hadn’t read enough of Strout to include her in my list of favorites, but she’s there now.

As much as I loved OK, I haven’t started reading Olive, Again. It’s not because I don’t want to, but rather because I’m really excited too, but I know will be a bit sad when it’s over (a quality only true bookworms understand). All of the characters, not just Olive, felt so real. Small-town life and all of its intricacies were captured superbly in this book.

I do know how Olive, Again begins, but I’m not going to say because it’s a bit of a spoiler if you have just started or plan to read OK. I will tell you that it is written in stories just like the first book, so if you enjoyed OK, I’m sure you will enjoy OA.

Last but not least, I have more thing to share with you. In the heading photo of this post is a small card with a green olive on it

This is a small greeting card sold by Hallmark. Many years ago when my sister or I would come across this in a store we’d buy it and send it to each other. If you aren’t familiar with the phrase, “Olive you,” it’s another way to say, “I love you” ( it sounds like, “ah-love you” ) and my sister and would write this in our letters, so the fact that this little card exists is just a sweet reminder of her. That-and I thought it suited Olive Kitteridge quite well.

“Olive’s private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as “big bursts” and “little bursts.” Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous, unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee’s, let’s say, or the waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts who knows how you like your coffee. Tricky business, really.” – Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge

“Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not. People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it.” -Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge

It’s Friday, Do You Know Where Your Comfy Pants Are?

Once upon a time about 17-18 years ago I drove to Texas to visit some extended family (who I didn’t see very often) around Christmas time.

My husband (who at that time was my boyfriend) and I drove from Tennessee to Texas to meet up with everyone.

My mom, stepdad, brother and sister had driven also, but from California to Texas, so we were kind of meeting in the middle- if you can call Texas the middle between those two states.

After arriving and settling in, my sister and I finally got to catch up face-to-face. If you remember from a previous post, then you know when I moved from CA to TN for college we became avid letter writers. Hanging out in person had become a luxury and I was so glad to just sit, talk, and laugh with her.

There are not many things in life that are better than laughing with someone who knows you as good as you know yourself. A million stories spoke with a tweak of an eyebrow or the curve of a smile.

As we sat there and talked I noticed something next to her.

It was a book, and sort of a big one.

My sister wasn’t a pleasure-reader for the most part. I rarely saw her just pick up a book, usually she only read if it was required for school. So this was a sight. We on a vacation of sorts and she had a book with her? She must’ve saw my expression and she glanced where I was looking and pulled her book up to show me.

Someone she knew had recommended it, so she had gone to the library and found a copy. From the looks of where her book mark was she was almost finished.

“It’s amazing,” she said.

I think I was still staring, dumbfounded. Last I checked we had grown up together in the same house and she never read anything! I could’ve recommended a million books to her (and probably had!) and this random person recommends a book and she marches to the library and checks it out-I didn’t know she even knew where the library was!

Well whatever, I got over myself, my bookworm heart was aglow.

Pretty much from that point on she became a huge reader.

Although we only had a few more years together before she passed away, The Fountain Head by Ayn Rand remained a favorite of hers.

Fifteen years later and I still have not read this book, yet because of the sentiment attached from my sister, it feels like a part of me is attached to it. Does that make sense?

Of the big books I have discussed this week, this is the one I’d like to read first. Ayn Rand and her philosophies can be somewhat controversial and some people have great issues with her. I think my sister simply enjoyed The Fountainhead for its story and that it made her think outside the box a bit. And the thing is-who cares if someone is or writes controversially. Reading doesn’t mean agreeing. It means reading. Most of all, reading ultimately makes you think and thinking is a good thing. So, think about that 😉

I am familiar with the storyline of The Fountainhead, but because I have not read it the Amazon synopsis is below:

• Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision.

(I also found this synopsis)

This modern classic is the story of intransigent young architect Howard Roark, whose integrity was as unyielding as granite…of Dominique Francon, the exquisitely beautiful woman who loved Roark passionately, but married his worst enemy…and of the fanatic denunciation unleashed by an enraged society against a great creator •

Ok Bookworms, since it’s Friday, then you know I always post a book, a dessert, and a drink. The book part is complete, so let’s move on to rest of the good stuff.

The Dessert

These are low carb pumpkin bars with a cream cheese frosting. I found this recipe on Pinterest, so I’m assuming it’s ok to post. The only thing I did differently was I halved the frosting recipe. I felt like preparing half the amount was enough to frost the entire pan of bars. The frosting recipe calls for two bars of cream cheese and that seemed like a lot (delicious, but a lot). So-it’s up to you, triple it if that floats your boat. No judgment here.

https://pin.it/wskhhd4cshnxj6

The Drink

A new red wine to try! This is a Cabernet Sauvignon by Lucky Duck. Typically this type of wine will be on the dryer side, but not as dry as a Pinot Noir. Aside from having a cute label, this wine is quite inexpensive. I found it at Walmart for $6. Just as a more expensive wine doesn’t guarantee it will be good, a less expensive one doesn’t mean it will be bad. Using that logic, I rather try several cheaper wines and be disappointed than try several pricy ones and be disappointed.

On that note, get your comfy pants on and let your Friday begin!

Cheers.

“But you see,” said Roark quietly, “I have, let’s say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards—and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.” -Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

“One loses everything when one loses a sense of humor.” -Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

“There’s nothing as significant as a human face. Nor as eloquent. We can never really know another person, except by our first glance at him. Because, in that glance, we know everything. Even though we’re not always wise enough to unravel the knowledge.” -Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead