Sunday Bookends: Historical fiction, books to read this summer, foul-mouthed chefs, and a trip to the lake

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing, and listening to.

What I/we’ve been Reading

I finished The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham this week and am almost finished with Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.

The Heart of the Mountains was a pleasant Christian historical read, not my usual fare, but enjoyable. There were some predictable plot lines but I didn’t mind that too much because sometimes predictable can be comforting.

I skipped a chapter toward the end of Kitchen Confidential that detailed all the horrible things chefs say to each other in the kitchen. There were so many F-bombs and sexually explicit commentary in that one chapter I’m not sure there were any actual clean words to string it all together into a coherent narrative. The book details a lot of deplorable behavior by chefs who worked with Bourdain, as well as some by Bourdain himself, including his one-time debilitating drug habit. Mixed in there, however, are also some interesting interludes about fine cuisine, the work that goes into it, and the challenges of working in high end kitchens. The interesting stories of the behind-the-scenes of the restaurant business is the main reason I keep reading.

This isn’t a book I would normally read, but I’ve started it and somehow I feel like I need to finish it so I can say I branched out in my reading and that I read a book by Bourdain. I don’t know that I will be reading another book by him, however. My poor little brain is a bit battered by the debouched behavior detailed by him to want to delve into another one by him right away. There is one he wrote about his travels that has me intrigued, though, so we shall see.

I am still reading Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery. I enjoy reading a chapter as a little mental break when the world gets too crazy.

This week I will be starting The Do Over by Bethany Turner for something a bit light (she rights romantic comedies).

I’ve shifted my planned reads for the rest of the summer a little bit (mainly based on my mood reading tendencies and how they tend to want to be happier, relaxed reads in summer) and hope to get to the following books by the time autumn slides in:

Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson (I’ve never read her before)

Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery

A Dortmunder novel by Donald Westlake (Not sure which one yet, but maybe The Hot Rock)

The second book in the Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box

The next book in The Walt Longmire series (book six, Death Without Company) by Craig Johnson

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Little Miss and I finished Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary last night. Tonight we will start Romona The Brave. I hope we can read Anne of Green Gables during the days this week. Anne is too excitable for Little Miss at night. She says it wakes her brain up too much. I also hope to start Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright, at the suggestion of Erin at Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, sometime this month.

The Husband is reading One for the Road by Frederick March. The Boy’s brain is still frozen from all he had to read in school this year so he is taking a break from reading for now.

I’m also looking for some good cozy mysteries so if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

What’s Been Occurring

The Husband was on vacation this week and we didn’t do a ton, but we did relax, go swimming at my parents, go out to dinner, visit a state park with a beach and lake, and today we will go see a movie (Minions for the youngest and Dad and Maverick for the oldest and me). We had to forgo the train ride er had planned because The Boy developed a sore throat and fever after we visited the lake and we were waiting for him to feel better and to see if anyone else came down with it since my husband was exposed to the dreaded virus last week. Tests taken have been negative, however, so we really aren’t sure what The Boy caught or how.

The beach we went to is, of course, sand that is added to the shoreline of the lake, since sandy beaches are not natural to Pennsylvania. The lake, Lake Jean is 245-acres and has warm water panfish and game fish. Ice fishing is also allowed there in the winter. In addition to the small swimming area, boating (not speed boats), canoeing, and paddle boarding are also allowed.

We used to visit the lake a lot when I was a child and I remember thinking that the lake was named after a friend of ours who everyone called Grandma Jean. She and her husband ran a halfway house near us that my parents used to help out at. Ironically, the park where the lake is located is called Rickets Glen and her husband’s name was Glen. Their last name, also ironically, was “hart” and they both had big hearts.

The park is 13,193 acres in Luzerne, Sullivan, and Columbia counties of Pennsylvania and features trails, camping areas, picnic spaces, and hunting land.

Tomorrow we will spend the Fourth at my parents and probably cook out and go swimming.

What We Watched/Are Watching

The Husband and I were able to catch up on some shows this past week including Brokenwood Mysteries, The Larkins, and Night Court.

I started Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, which I am watching as part of a classic movie exchange with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, and will share what I thought of that in a future post. I was interrupted, so I haven’t finished it yet.

My son watched a Minecraft Youtuber called Technoblade for years and he passed away this past week from cancer at the age of 23. I thought he was a lot older, based on his voice, intelligence, and quick wit, and this final video from his dad broke me down this past week. I mean literally broke me down. I sobbed through all six minutes and another fifteen minutes afterward. No father should have to say goodbye to his son at such a young age and I hated that my son had to lose another part of his childhood in such a brutal way.

I watched a wonderful devotional from Roots and Refuge Farm yesterday that I think is important for people to watch, especially those who are Christians. She’s like me and she feels like “a storm is coming” into our future, a storm that is needed, but will mean a lot of changes for many of us. She doesn’t know what that storm is but she knows something is coming and I believe she’s right because I feel it too but I also don’t know what it is.

What I’m Writing

I am working on the Shores of Mercy and shared a post on Friday for Fiction Friday.

On the blog, I wrote about my impressions of the movie, The Streetcar Named Desire, as well as looked back at June and a look forward to July.

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

8 thoughts on “Sunday Bookends: Historical fiction, books to read this summer, foul-mouthed chefs, and a trip to the lake

  1. We also went to the movies for the first time in well over two years. We saw Top Gun Maverick and really enjoyed every minute of it. Even though I’m not crazy over Tom Cruise as a person, I do think he’s a pretty decent actor.

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  2. I watched the videos you attached from Technoblade’s dad and from Roots and Refuge Farm….my son is also a Minecraft fan so that was hard news on him too, so sad.
    I get what the gal from Roots and Refuge Farm is feeling, I too have felt like something is coming—hoping it’s Jesus’ return!!!

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  3. I’ve been reading (and finished) Not Again The Fallout by Maria Henriksen. Just started The Last Wedding by Samantha Price (love Amish fiction!). My daughter, granddaughter and I saw a stage production of Beauty & The Beast yesterday. It was put on by our Church’s theatrical group and it was excellent!
    Other than that, staying inside lots in this Texas heat! Looking forward to family time for the 4th.

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