26 July 2017

Wordless Wednesday 456

Coneflower, 2017

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25 July 2017

Today's Read: Finding Fontainebleau by Thad Carhart

Review: Finding Fontainebleau by Thad CarhartImagine being a young child and being uprooted from your home in suburban America to the chateau originally built by Louis VII in the 1100s and occupied by French royalty all the way through to Napoleon III in the late 1800s. Author Thad Carhart had just that experience when his father was stationed in Fontainebleau, France, in the early 1950s:

All these years later I can recall with keen precision the moment when the bottom dropped out, because that is exactly what it felt like: one moment we were flying, shaking a bit from turbulence, the next we were falling, in a calm, eerie-quiet broken only by the sound of the four engines laboring uselessly. Then the air caught us again and it was bad: the plane pitched violently up and down, from side to side, every way imaginable. The passengers found their voice then, after the expectant dread of the free fall. This was active, maniacal horror, and people screamed. It was the first time I saw an adult—many of them, in fact—expressing fear without reserve. The woman across from us started to cry and yell, and there was nothing to be done but listen and watch with a kind of terrified fascination.
Finding Fontainebleau: An American Boy in France by Thad Carhart (Penguin, 2017, p. 1 [paperback])

Quick Facts
  • Setting: 1950s, France (Fontainebleau & Paris)
  • Circumstances:  A young boy finds a whole new world after his family moves from prosperous America to still war-weary Fontainebleau, where his father was to serve three years as an air force officer. Decades later, Carhart returned to see the restoration of the famous residence of kings that he explored in his childhood.
  • Genre: memoir, narrative history
  • Themes: Old World versus New World, postwar Europe, culture clash (including language, education, economy, food, expected behavior of children), architecture
  • Reviews: Every review mentions how beautifully Carhart intertwines his own childhood memories with the history and architecture of the 900-year-old royal residence. Most reviewers comment on the author's sense of humor and his obvious love of his adopted country.
  • Why I want to read it: I like the setup of this book, which takes us back in time to the building of Fontainebleau and introduces us to the famous people who lived there. We see the residence through the eyes of a young, active boy and then again from the perspective of the grown man. I understand the descriptions of the food are not to be missed, and I'm curious about how the author and his siblings adjusted (or not) to their new home. I love beautiful old buildings, and I want to know more about the history of the chateau and its restoration.
  • Extra: The Boston Athenæum has posted a 25-minute video of the Thad Carhart talking about his memoir Finding Fontainebleau. Or watch the following short clip.

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24 July 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: Back to Real Life

Audiobook Thoughts and New BooksHappy Monday! Today is my first full day at home in more than week. I think it's going to take a me a while to readjust to real life.

Lace convention was terrific as always, especially spending time with my friends. My classes in knitted lace were only so-so, but I met new people and kept a positive attitude. I don't have photos to share right now, but I'll try to remember to post a picture next week.

As you might imagine, reading took a backseat last week. I never opened a print or eBook at all. Not surprising, considering there were meetings, lectures, and classes to attend, not to mention sharing a glass or two of wine with friends in the evening.

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan HenryCurrent Audiobook: I've been listening to The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry (Penguin Audio; 10 hr, 28 min), read by Andi Arndt, Lauren Fortgang, Shannon McManus, and Dorothy Dillingham Blue. This is a light summer read about friendship, marriage, and mother-daughter relationships, and I'm anticipating a little romance as well. The book is told from multiple points of view and is a great choice when you have only sporadic listening time because the story lines are easy to follow. I'm not very familiar with any of the narrators, but I'm happy with the performances so far. I do, however, have a couple of issues with the novel itself, but I'll wait until I finish the book before I get into what's not working for me.

New Books for 2017New Books: I came home to a pile of new books I can't wait to explore. Here is a photo of some of my incoming titles. The spiral-bound galley on the bottom of the pile is a new Kelley Armstrong book! The books on the sides are a biography of Black Elk and a Viking saga--both are on my I Can.Not.Wait. to read list. Also in that photo is a new novel from Flatiron Books, a fantasy collection, historical fiction, and a thriller. I plan to share more details on Twitter or Litsy in the coming week.

What's Up This Week: First and foremost is catching up with the first two episodes of the new season of Game of Thrones. I've successfully avoided spoilers so far, but I'm sure that won't last forever. Must watch tonight! Other than that, I haven't given a thought to my blogging, reading, or viewing plans for the week. I think I'll just see where my mood takes me.

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22 July 2017

Weekend Cooking: 6 Books for Food Lovers

If you read my Monday post, then you know that I am away with my girlfriends, while my husband holds down the fort. Because I didn't cook all week, I thought I'd share a few summer books that would appeal to anyone interested in food and cooking. I haven't yet read any of these, but they're all are on my reading list. Note the publishing date in the parentheses.

  • The Marley Coffee Cookbook: One Love, Many Coffees, and 100 Recipes by Rohan Marley, Maxcel Hardy, and Rosemary Black (Quarry Books, August 15): This cookbook is co-written by one of musician Bob Marley's sons, who started what is now a successful coffee plantation in Jamaica. As you would expect, each recipe in this book features coffee flavors in some way: whether in a sweet baked good or in a savory sauce.
  • The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by Howard Markel (Pantheon, August 8): This is the true story of two brothers who competed with each other in their joint desire to change the health and well-being of all Americans. They were indeed the men who started the company that we most often associate with corn flakes and breakfast cereal.
  • The Cooking Gene: A Journey through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty (Armistad, July 12): A culinary historian searches for the origins of what is commonly considered Southern cooking, teasing out the tangled roots of European and African traditions. The narrative combines memoir, genealogy, cookbook, history, genetics, and sociology as the author "takes us through his ancestral culinary history."
  • What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro (Viking, July 25): This is the book I'm most excited about. Shapiro examines the relationship that six famous women had with food and cooking and how that relationship was a reflection of her culture and times. The women are Dorothy Wordsworth, Rosa Lewis, Eleanor Roosevelt, Eva Braun, Barbara Pym, and Helen Gurley Brown. I'm familiar with Pym's recipes and Roosevelt's White House menus but know little about the other women's connection to food. I'm looking forward to learning more.
  • Bianco: Pizza, Pasta, and Other Food I Like by Chris Bianco (July 5): Whether he really does make the best pizza in America, Bianco was certainly a driving force in the artisan pizza movement. In this book, he shares the secrets for great pizza making, geared to the home cook and home kitchen. We make pizza often, so I'm looking forward to perfecting my techniques. Besides, who doesn't love pizza?
  • Toast & Jam: Modern Recipes for Rustic Baked Goods and Sweet and Savory Spreads by Sarah Owens (Roost Books, August 15): The recipes in this cookbook cover quick breads and scones, chips and bagels, and yeasted goods plus everything you could possible think of--or never thought of--to spread on top, such as watermelon jelly and sweet potato butter. Get ready to amp up your Sunday brunches!

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19 July 2017

Wordless Wednesday 455

At the Creek, 2017

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All content and photos (except where noted) copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads 2008-2017. All rights reserved.



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