30 January 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: The Escape Edition

Late winter escape reading and viewingI am now fully into escape mode: whether books or television. Between a busy work schedule and a crazy news cycle, I need mindless, fun, entertaining.

I've also resumed my daily walks and have picked up my knitting needles and lace supplies. I'm reviving my photography habit and cooking up a storm. That's not to say I've become complacent, but that I need moments of normalcy to get through all the changes.

Reading, watching, cooking, crafting . . . all good things to help soothe the soul.

What I read last week

3 books to read in January

I hope to write reviews soon, but here are my short takes. Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron (Philomel, February 2017) was a charming magical story that's a mix of Brigadoon and The Secret Garden. Perfect for middle grade readers. As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka (Crown, January 2017) is the start of a Finnish young adult thriller trilogy. I liked the story enough to read the second book, but I'm not quite sure why this won so many starred reviews. (Audiobook read by Ann Marie Lee is not recommended; from Listening Library.) Phoenix by S. F. Said (Candlewick, October 2016) was an action-packed galactic adventure that I found hard to put down. (Audiobook read by Dave McKean is recommended; review to appear in AudioFile magazine.)

What I'm reading now

3 books to read in January

The Stone Heart is the second entry in the Nameless City series by Faith Erin Hicks (April 2017). It's a medieval Asian adventure that has great art and many layers. Although I read Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (Putnam, April 2016) last year, I decided it was time for a reread via audiobook. It is just as good (if not better) as read by Susie Riddell (Penguin Audio). March Book One by John Lewis (Top Shelf Productions, August 2013) is the congressman's--and civil rights movement's--story.

Save me from Sunday nights

TV viewing on Sunday nightsWhy does every great show seem to air on Sunday nights? We are woefully behind on many of these, so please, please no spoilers in the comments.
  • The Young Pope (HBO) is about Pius XIII, the first American pope. Stars Jude Law and Diane Keaton.
  • Secrets of the Six Wives (PBS), hosted by historian Lucy Worsley, looks at the marriages of Henry VIII's wives from the women's viewpoints.
  • Mercy Street (PBS) is about a Civil War hospital that sees victims of both armies and focuses on two nurses, one Union and one Confederate.
  • Homeland (SHO) gives us a look at the CIA and its fight against terrorism. Claire Danes is absolutely amazing.
  • The Affair (SHO) is about two couples linked by an affair. I hate all the characters but can't seem to stop watching the series.
  • Victoria (PBS) stars Jenna Coleman as the young queen and covers the early years of her reign. Good acting and fabulous costumes and sets.
  • Black Sails (Stars) imagines Captain Flint and John Silver in the years before Treasure Island.
What's up this week

Besides my Wednesday photo, I have two reviews and a giveaway (on Thursday) planned. And, of course, Weekend Cooking. Here's to a sane, calm week with lots of escapes from reality.


Sarah's Book Shelves 1/30/17, 7:40 AM  

So many great shows do come on on Sunday nights! I love The Affair and we also watch Chef's Life on PBS (which isn't on right now) and Southern Charm (talk about mindless entertainment).

JoAnn 1/30/17, 8:06 AM  

Isn't it strange how all the good TV ends up on Sunday?! I'm also with you in escape mode - reading, listening, walking, cooking. Maybe I'll even dust off the knitting needles. Still need to read Jane Steele...

Bibliophile 1/30/17, 8:36 AM  

Reading, watching, cooking and crafting are perfect activities, especially when the weather makes the outdoors unattractive.

I'll be on the lookout for Castle in the Mist - it sounds like a fun read.

Molly 1/30/17, 8:45 AM  

I watched Victoria for the first time last night and LOVED it. I read the book in December in anticipation of watching the series, then time got in the way. I hope to catch up on the episodes I've missed and continue watching on a regular basis from now on.

Susie | Novel Visits 1/30/17, 8:51 AM  

I agree with you about Sunday nights! Thank goodness for the DVR, that way I spread them out. I've really loved the first couple of episodes of Victoria.

Kay 1/30/17, 8:54 AM  

I am totally in your camp of distractions and have my head buried (totally buried) in books. I've been reading up a storm and will continue that. I've been doing my walking and have started a new volunteer assignment at the library shelving books on Friday mornings (just what I need - to see more books - Ha!). Have 2 lunch dates this week with friends and a book club meeting. And my 'one word' - BREATHE. Have a good week!

Hillary 1/30/17, 9:11 AM  

I need lots of escape from reality also. I have thrown myself into my work, and I have taken up my photography and scrapbooking habit back up. I do all that I can to stand up to the ugliness but ugh some days I feel like I am about to crack.

Kathy Martin 1/30/17, 9:34 AM  

I don't watch much TV though I am enjoying Guy's Grocery Games and The Worst Cooks in America on Sunday nights. I like the sound of all the books you read and have coming up. I'll be adding them to my wishlist. Come see my reading week here. Happy reading!

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/30/17, 10:10 AM  

i watched the first episode of The Young Pope, but it didn't grab me. I just finished the season (series?) finale of The Affair and I was disappointed. I wish they could have gotten to the end of Noah's story without Juliette. Adding a fifth perspective detracted from the premise for me, I wanted to see more of Cole and Helen. Maura Tierney was just astounding this season. We started watching Sneaky Pete on Netflix and I highly recommend it.

rhapsodyinbooks 1/30/17, 10:33 AM  

I have hardly been reading books; too busy reading (bad) news!

Unknown 1/30/17, 12:15 PM  

I'm with you on needing an escape - Thank goodness for tv and audiobooks! I had no idea there was a new PBS series on the wives of Henry VIII, I'll have to check it out! Happy reading!

Laurel-Rain Snow 1/30/17, 12:29 PM  

I am struggling to keep distracted, too. I also watch The Affair, even though I stopped liking any of the characters after a while, too. They are all pretty terrible...last night's was one I didn't even finish...I really don't like the French woman.

But I'll watch the other half (from my DVR) today.

I am curious about the Amy Ephron book. I think I've read less from her than the other sisters.

Thanks for sharing...and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

Unknown 1/30/17, 2:01 PM  

We have several of the same Sunday Night shows. We are also woefully behind. Kevin and I both have favorites. I'm also distracted by the news, and feel the need to escape more this week, in books, in cooking, in getting out of the house....I need positive actions to bring me out of my funk. Four more years of this nightmare....help us.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 1/30/17, 7:04 PM  

I'm exactly like you. I'm reading like a mad woman plus cooking and taking pictures and painting. Crazy how we respond when the world around us goes nuts.

Darlene 1/30/17, 7:15 PM  

Congrats on resuming your daily walks! Not only is that great exercise, but getting out in the fresh air is really good for the soul. I'm looking forward to Spring to be able to resume that!

Jane Steele sounds good! I'll have to look for the audiobook at my library.

Have a great week!

Nise' 1/30/17, 8:12 PM  

I've having many escape moments too! Jane Steele has been on my stacks for way too long. Got a couple of those shows in my queue.

Yvonne 1/30/17, 8:19 PM  

LOL about hating all the characters on The Affair but still watching. I know the feeling. Sunday really has alot of shows on.

Have a great week!

Greg 1/30/17, 10:36 PM  

I agree, things that we enjoy and a little escapism go a long way! The Castle in the Mist looks like a very nice MG read. And Black Sails is back? Yikes I don't have Starz- I'll have to get it on demand at some point. I kinda like that show...

Kailana 1/31/17, 6:31 PM  

I treated myself to the March trilogy. Should be here this week. I am woefully behind on ALL TV shows. lol

Iliana 1/31/17, 9:18 PM  

We watch Homeland too and it's so good. I really want to watch Victoria but will try to save that for later in the year. Thank goodness for good books and shows to keep us sane right?

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine 2/1/17, 12:03 AM  

I need to concentrate more on escaping. I've spent way too much time on Facebook and Twitter the past few days and it's making me very stressed out! I'm going to check out some of the TV shows you have listed here and see if they help.

Yvonne 2/1/17, 6:33 AM  

Hope you continue to soothe your soul. Have a great week!

Daryl 2/1/17, 9:07 AM  

escape should be a hashtag along with resist ... nevertheless i have been escaping into mindlessness ... spent 3 hours sitting in a waiting room while my husband had tests and i spent the time listening to Hell Divers ...

Amy 2/1/17, 9:57 AM  

I'm planning on reading March this month, hope you're enjoying it? Self care is important, so all of the things to soothe your soul should be indulged in!

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 2/1/17, 7:22 PM  

I'm ready to start walking again and definitely need to escape the continuous (depressing) news cycle. Maybe that's why I've been reading more science fiction than usual.

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