Aileen attempts to read a book a week. Follow along as she loses her mind. We used the PopSugar 2018 Reading Challenge as inspiration, then went off on our own, as you’ll find we do a lot around here. Join in by reading the books Aileen reads, or by choosing your own.

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a long petal of the sea

A Long Petal of the Sea

There is no better time than now to lose yourself in an epic romantic saga. Isabel Allende’s new book, A Long Petal of the Sea, tells the story of two refugees fleeing Franco’s Fascists. The pair flee first to France and then to South America, specifically Chile which later erupts into its own civil war. Against a meticulously researched and beautifully realized historical backdrop, two resilient souls do more than survive, they hope and strive and love. 

I was having trouble reading for the first two months of Safer-at-Home (also known as bored in the house) but something has switched (my lizard brain now thinks this is how our life is now) and I can focus on something for longer than 3 minutes. Let’s hope this continues because I have a stack of books from the library that the library does not want back anytime soon because, you know, germs. 

A Long Petal of the Sea

Here’s a blurb from the publisher’s webpage:

In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires.

Together with two thousand other refugees, they embark on the SS Winnipeg, a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda, to Chile: “the long petal of sea and wine and snow.” As unlikely partners, they embrace exile as the rest of Europe erupts in world war. Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning, and over the course of their lives, they will face trial after trial. But they will also find joy as they patiently await the day when they will be exiles no more. Through it all, their hope of returning to Spain keeps them going. Destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world, Roser and Victor will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.

Smooching the Enemy

Smooching the Enemy

After reading Blythe Roberson’s book How to Date Men When You Hate Men, I did two things. I looked up who most of the people she talked about are because I am 47 and couldn’t pick Harry Styles out of a police line up. There are some very handsome young men out there, so thanks for that Ms. Roberson. After my online leering session, I wrote this post. I think a better title for this book would have been Smooching the Enemy but that is just me. The book wasn’t really much of a how to deal with the tension of being attracted to the very people who have been in opposition to you since pretty much the day you were born, as a series of stories about what a shitshow being young is. Which it totally is. Read more

Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors

Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors

I need to let you know that I will watch, read and buy pretty much  any reimagining of Jane Austen’s novels. I did not engage with the zombie one because I am easily scared but that is about it. So when I found out that Sonali Dev wrote a version of Pride and Prejudice I about sprained a finger pre-ordering it. Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors ticks all my boxes when it comes to reimagining of Jane Austen novels. Read more

The Wedding Date

The Wedding Date

I need you to know what a sucker I am for a really good meet cute. The Wedding Date by  Jasmine Guillory hits it out of the park. That is a baseball metaphor and alludes to the equally charming sequel to this book, The Proposal. As usual, I will not waste time rephrasing the blurb for this book, something someone far more talented than me spent an inordinate amount of time writing: Read more

The Bear and the Nightingale

Oooooh, this is a good one. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden is a beautifully written Russian fairy tale of a story. Read more

Welcome to Temptation

Welcome to Temptation

Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation was published in 2000. Older Son was five and I was 27 years old. Although I lived in Los Angeles my parents lived in Lodi, where I grew up. Well, I grew up in Manteca but the two are pretty close and when the wind blows a certain way, both places smelled of cow poo. You now often see Lodi on your wine bottle label. There was once a very good Zinfandel that was grown across the street from a Walmart. I had nothing against it but I told the people I was eating dinner with and they all refused to order that wine.  Read more

A Study in Scarlet Women

A Study in Scarlet Women

Sherry Thomas is one of my favorite authors. Anyone who has read a lot of these reading challenges will recognize that phrase. I have a lot of favorite authors. Nerds generally do. A Study in Scarlet Women is the first book in Thomas’ The Lady Sherlock Series. Read more

55 great christmas gifts

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life

Do yourself a favor and read We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. Her work belongs in your life. She knows of what she speaks. You can open this book to any page, begin reading and instantly want to find the beginning of her thread. Most books aren’t like that. I can open them to any page, read a bit, feel happy or irritated then close the book and get on with my life. Not so with Irby. She pulls me in and keeps me right where she wants  me. Read more

The Supremes' Greatest Hits

The Supremes’ Greatest Hits

I bought a copy of The Supremes’ Greatest Hits at the Supreme Court gift shop last summer. Yes, there is a gift shop and yes, it is as delightfully dorky as it sounds. I sat in the actual Courtroom, where the long, high bench resides, along with the 9 tall chairs sitting behind it. I honestly couldn’t believe they just let people line up then walk in there, sit down and listen to a little history lesson given by a very nice man in a very funny jacket. But they did. You can’t get near The White House and yet, possibly the most important building in these entire United States, sits open all day long, welcoming anyone who wants to have a look around. I love America. We make inaccessible places that don’t really matter and leave open places any lunatic would happily burn to the ground. Read more

Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead

A Discovery of Witches

I could have sworn I wrote up a post urging everyone to watch A Discovery of Witches on either AMC or Sundance Now but I can’t find it. So here is a short poke in the ribs to watch this show. It is very well done. Although I do have to say that I wish the blue coat was shorter. I just think it is too long but that is me being fussy. You’ll see what I mean when you watch the first episode.