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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Whose Job I Wish I Had or Jobs I’d Like to Have In Various Books and one TV Show

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I’d love to be the librarian in this story–that influential school librarian who made such a difference that she was the librarian of the midnight library–the guide and coach. I loved this book. I am a librarian, but not a school librarian and never considered being one, but my high school librarian was a great source of encouragement in all areas of life. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

 

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I grew up in love with horses then fell in love with books, and finally became a librarian so being one of the librarians on horseback would have been a dream job. Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Michelle Richardson.

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Martha Gelhorn is enjoying quite a renaissance right now. I’d love to have been a war correspondent in World War II London and Europe.  The Race For Paris: A Novel by Meg Waite Clayton.

I would have loved to write for the WPA! Imagine–the state guide series the WPA produced are classics today. Both of these books, one a novel, one nonfiction, deal with different projects of the WPA Writer’s Project. The Truth According to Us: A Novel by  Annie Barrows and The Food of the Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky

I have a manuscript going out to agents this year that features a bookmobile at the start. I think that qualifies me to drive one, don’t you? Plus, my college BFF’s mom drove her town’s bookmobile for many years–the lady could parallel park a tractor with two grain trailers attached!  Now, the bookmobile in this book stops at a rather more important address: Buckingham Palace! While I’d rather be head of the Royal Archives at Windsor, helping a certain little old lady with a headscarf and pocket book to choose reading material would be fascinating without doubt! An Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennet.

 

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Oh to have been a researcher in the Bartlett White House!! The adrenaline rush! I wanted to work as a Congressional staffer, but in ’84 I’d never heard the phrase “policy wonk”(and didn’t have the money to move), but oh the Withe House! Amazing! The Congressional Research Services is a dream as well.

I have a work in progress about a great landed estate, I love that world. I would have loved to have been the personal librarian of a wealthy industrialist or aristocrat. Imagine carte blanche to collect on a subject or subjects? Wow! The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.

 

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I spent most of my Peace Corps daily job time cataloging a backlog of books in agricultural research station libraries. I find cataloging kind of mind-numbing, but for this book shop I’d gladly have sat there and cataloged. Even with rationing going on. I’d love to have gone on buying trips, but given the times and being a woman, I’m pretty sure Frank would have done that–not me. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff.

 

I spent many years as a law librarian in law firms and previously worked as support staff in a law school library. To work in the law library at Harvard might just be a Holy Grail, but then so to would be working at the main office of an enormous international law firm. The Supreme Court? I’d probably have to have a J.D. and don’t want to do that. I think, honestly, the international law firm would be my preference. The Paper Chase by John Jay Osborn. The Associates John Jay Osborn. Biglaw by Lindsay Cameron. The Brethren by Woodward & Bernstein.

 

These were two of my favorite books read in high school. I’d love to have been the librarian at the fictitious Devon School in A Separate Peace or at Deerfield, where Johnny was a student in real life. Imagine the influential parents–in those days the fathers, but maybe a few famous mothers as well. I’d love to have helped Johnny’s father, influential journalist John Gunther, with his research. How many other fathers would have liked a helpful librarian? Like the lawyers I worked for, I’m sure none would see me as anything more than “the help” so no harm in the relationship to their treasured way of living. But, what fascinating assignments could I have had? Can I please be forgiven for now confusing these two with the school where Jeb Bartlett’s father was Headmaster and Delores Landingham was the secretary? Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther.

And the big duh

Yes, of course, I’d want to work at Hogwarts. I’ve had the hottest crush on Malfoy’s Dad for years and years. Oh my… Pass me that misting fan of Blanche’s from the Golden Girls!

 

Why not join the fun next week? You can read the rules here.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud

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Once again, I’ve challenged myself not to go back to the old favorites. So, no Patrick Dennis (Auntie Mame and The Joyous Season are my two favorite funny books). Not Changing Places by David Lodge–another old favorite. Only “newer” funny books. No Bailey White. I so hate leaving out the gospel walnut, but no Calvin Becker trilogy.And not A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, either.You can read about some of those HERE.

Here are some of my newer favorites

(Not in any ranked order)

Helen Ellis, of “What I Do All Day”-fame on Twitter, is a bright light in the last gloomy year for me. Her stuff is just plain funny. Southern Lady Code and American Housewife. Her new essay collection comes out in July. I can’t wait.

These three delightful British ladies from the late twenties to the post-war years have become firm friends of mine. Whether it’s poor Miss Pettigrew getting sucked into the world of society, or Mrs. Tim making due on an Army officer’s between-the-wars-pittance of a paycheck , or the dear Provincial Lady with her husband falling asleep behind the Times–I love all three.

Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield and The Provincial Lady Goes Further by E.M. Delafield. Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson.

This epistolary novel (i.e. told in letters or emails, etc.) is hilarious if you are familiar with academic life. If you’ve ever worked, at any level, in a college or university you will laugh out loud at this. Dear Committee Members: A Novel by Julie Schumacher.

Mother and daughter duo Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella are like old friends–that’s how many of their collections of essays/columns/blogposts I’ve listened to. I love these, though I’d advise skipping the election ones from when Trump ran the first time–no one needs to re-live that year or last year. (Though there humor is not offensive). These are just fun.

I see Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses (contains links to past review, too).

Need more? Here’s 100 Funny Books from NPR

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Top Ten Tuesday: Purple, Yellow, and/or Green Book Covers in honor of Mardis Gras, which is today!

 

 

First, A Few Books Set In New Orleans

My review of Dollbaby was lost in a crash of my old blog, but on Goodreads I gave it 4 stars and still remember the story so that’s a great recommendation! My reviews of  The Yellow House and of Five Days at Memorial,

 

New Orleans Public Library’s Carnival Collection

Click here to view the Carnival Collection

 

A Few Children’s Madi Gras Books

 

Nancy Drew Even Loved Madi Gras

Some Grown-Up Madi Gras Books

 

 

Now the Book Covers In Green, Yellow, and Purple

 

 

 

Do you or your family celebrate during Madi Gras? Have you read any good books set in New Orleans or set during carnival and Mardi Gras? Do you bake a King Cake? Leave me a comment or a link to your post.

Quick King Cake from Betty Crocker recipe

Why not join the fun next week? You can read the rules here.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Valentine’s Day/Love Freebie OLDER Couple Romances

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Inspiration for my topic came from Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Books With Couples Who Met After Age 30. The books listed here are all ones I’ve read. And, the couples are beyond 40 years old or more.

Our Souls At Night by Kent Haruf

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This novel is almost perfect. It is a classic. Two lonely people, in a lonely small Colorado town, Addie and Louis, are drawn together to stare down the dark of night, find love.  Our Souls At Night by Kent Haruf.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

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There is just too much to love about Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali! From the pitch-perfect dialogue, to the very real emotions discussed, to the love that they find. This is one of my favorite novels of this century.Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel by Helen Simonson (link is to my review).

The Old Girls’ Network by Judy Leigh

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Judy Leigh makes being “older” fun! This lively novel involves two sisters and some good old romance. Old Girls Network by Judy Leigh (link is to my review).

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler.

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This great Anne Tyler novel has two older romances going. While the one might feature a woman on the shy-side of 40 all of the other 3 are over 40. Macon, finds new love, and his henpecked sister finds first and lasting love. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

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This one has a romance at both ends of the age spectrum! Grandma and Granddaughter find love in this fun story. The Switch by Beth O’Leary (link is to my review).

Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

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This gentle love story, told through letters, is a new favorite of mine. Tina Hopgood is an ignored farm wife while widower Anders Larsen is a curator at a museum in Denmark. A single letter of inquiry by Tina starts the ball rolling. Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson (link is to my review).

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith

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Precious Ramotswe, the Botswana’s first lady detective, finds love with Mr. J.LB. Matekoni, owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. These books are annual treat for me. No 1 Ladies Detective Agency is the first book.

Jan Karon’s Mitford series

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Father Tim (he’s an Episcopal priest, not Catholic) and his author-illustrator-neighbor Cynthia fall in love, marry, and live a wonderful life in the fictitious Mitford, North Carolina. Two series of books, a super cookbook, and more comprise this huge series. The cast of characters surrounding Father Tim and Cynthia is large, colorful, and unforgettable. I’ve loved every minute spent read these books. The first book is At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon.

The Cherry Cola Book Club series by Ashton Lee

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Miss Voncille Nettles lost her fiance in Vietnam and has stayed single, still in love with him. Locke Linwood had a happy marriage until his wife died. The two come together aided by the Cherry Cola Book Club at the public library in Cherico, Mississippi. This series is wonderful. A feisty young librarian, a dastardly politician, and all kinds of local Southern charm. And food. Oh the food! Oh my! The first book is: The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee.

Waltzing at the Piggly-Wiggly series by Robert Dalby

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Dance instructor Powell Hampton and widow Laurie Lepanto waltz their way to love in Second Creek, Mississippi, where there is a Miss Delta Floozy Contest with it’s own theme song, “She’s a Doozy, she’s a floozy….” The dancing is in aid of the local independent grocery story run by Mr. Choppy. A merry group of widows calling themselves the “Nitwits” organize everything in the town including the fun. This is a small series, book one is Waltzing at the Piggly-Wiggly by Robert Dalby

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Loved That Were Written Before I Was Born

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I’ve tweaked this week’s topic. I made it books I’ve enjoyed that were written before JFK was president. (I was born in 1962). I also tried to NOT use the same old books I always use. And, I stuck to fiction only.

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Dick Francis published Dead Cert in 1962, so Alan York and I arrived on the world scene the same year. This is the first of his racing murder mystery novels.

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Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women was an absolute treat to read. Published in 1952, the year of Queen Elizabeth’s long ago ascension to the throne, it is still a fun read.

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All of the Miss Read books are wonderful, but this is the very first one. It is utterly charming. How I wish children could enjoy such a school today. Village School by Miss Read was published in 1955.

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Passing by Nella Larsen was published in 1929, but is enjoying a resurgence of interest among readers today. The ideas of what is race and what is culture are consuming us all right now. It is a short, but good, read and does generate a lot of ideas.

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Published in 1928, World War I poet, Siegfried Sasson’s wonderful fictionalized autobiography (or should that be autobiographical novel?) Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man is a delight. The Edwardian life of a young man without great means, but with good-enough lineage.

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Lady Audley’s Secret still holds its allure, in spite of turning 100 the year of my birth.

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Published in 1957, A House in the Country features a group of friends who go together to take a country manor house on.

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Naturalist and write Gene (short for Geneva) Stratton Porter was one of the best selling authors of the early 20th century. A Girl of the Limberlost is one of several of her books I’ve enjoyed reading in the last several years. It concerns a young woman desperate for an education.  In 2015 a friend and I visited one of her two homes in Indiana. You can read about that visit HERE.

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A teenage boy who freaks out when a girl tries to sit on his lap because he is wearing his father’s old suit? A delightful, if somewhat dotty, mother who adores father and their 4  boys is just one of the reasons this book from 1935 (but set in 1890’s fashionable New York). The movie is good, too. Life With Father by Clarence Day, Jr.

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Oh the poor Vicar! He and his family were really in it, weren’t they? Published 10 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, this was a surprisingly lively read. The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith.

Why not join the fun next week? You can read the rules here.

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Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

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The first four of my new-to-me authors got me to try things I would rarely read or that might have put me off at antohter time.

  1. Anna Burns–I loved her creative way of naming her characters.
  2. Susanna Clarke–got me to read a sort-of fantasy novel.
  3. Matt Haig–got me to read another sort-of fantasy novel, albeit about a library.
  4. Edwindge Danticat–got me to enjoy short stories.

The other authors wrote the type stories I normally enjoy, though Denis Johnsson’s book was darker than I normally read. I realize when it comes to fiction I tend to stick to female authors. It was good to read more male fiction writers this year–as you can see several in this list are men. I value their perspectives.

  1. Lucy Foley
  2. E.M. Forester
  3. Denis Johnson
  4. Antoine Laurain
  5. Judy Leigh
  6. Colm Toibin

I went with authors who have already published a second or subsequent book.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To

Of these, I have made good progress reading only two: Shadow King and The Makioka Sisters. I got distracted from the first book and put the second aside to finish this year during the Japanese Literature Challenge. After starting my classes this week, I do not think it will happen this year in time for the challenge, but I may finish it at some point. It is an excellent story and I did not set it aside from lack of interest. I make progress on Shadow King-it is incredible, but I must be in the right mood for it.

Miss Benson’s Beetle and How The Penguins Saved Veronica [UK title:Away With the Penguins] were both Net Galley selections, so I feel bad about not getting them read. Both are enjoying good success though without my review! I am not touching Net Galley again until my coursework is done in August.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Re-Read Countless Times

Like many readers I have “old friends” among my books. Volumes I pull out when I’m sad or lonely or bored or between books or on a book hangover. The book falls open to a favorite passage and I enjoy reading. I’ve reread these books entirely too many times to count. My life is comforted by the giggles Scarlett’s wedding night with Charles gives me, or Kerry’s discovery of the maid Moira in bed with Uncle H.A. or the wonderful weekend with Sam or- poor Calvin enduring his mother proselytizing on an Italian bus using the Gospel Walnut. many scenes in so many books. I also have nonfiction pieces that I have reread so many times. Helene’s wonderful letters to Frank, which led me to Pepys (I haven’t read the whole Diary even once but I make progress on it at times like this).  So many old friends.

Yes, I exceeded 10! 11 fiction and 5 nonfiction. Math was my worst subject.

 

 

I could easily add double this number. Before the internet I re-read a lot when I was bored. Now I have other distractions.

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What about you? Do you have any “old friends” you visit and re-read? Leave me a comment or link to your post.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Thanksgiving Freebie

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What to eat with the Macy’s Parade?

This a new tradition I’ve shared with my Mom and my kids if we manage to all get up time. These wonderful pumpkin scones.

My favorite Thanksgiving memory?

Making dressing (stuffing) with my Dad. It was the only thing he ever did in the kitchen.

My Worst Thanksgiving Memory?

My uncle and aunt’s neighbor, Mrs. Murray, constantly saying “You can take all you want, but you must eat all you take,” to those of use at the kids’ table.

My Other Worst Thanksgiving Memory?

Creepy old Grandmother Fry, who was not actually my relative (my Mom’s cousins’ “other” grandmother) but who scared the you-know-what out of me! Years later her grandson told me she did the same to him.

Thanksgiving Fact

Photo source: Campbells

I’m the only member of my family who will touch green bean casserole. It’s best made in an old aqua Pyrex casserole dish that no one remembers ever had a lid. Aunt Betty or someone brings it every year. We never had enough aunts for that and my Mom wouldn’t serve anything with Campbell’s Cream of Crap soup in it. She served us plenty of Chicken Noodle Soup and my Dad ate his weight in Bean and Bacon, but we never had Green Bean Casserole.

Favorite Thanksgiving mementos?

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My daughter’s first and second grade Thanksgiving creations.

Most Fun I Ever Had on Thanksgiving

Attending the 1973 Indiana University — Purdue University Old Oaken Bucket football game.

At that time I was decked out in a fashionably long black and gold scarf to root for Purdue–my parents, aunt and uncle, and grandfather’s school. In seven years, I would enroll at I.U. due to my inability to cope with anything involving math! It was a lot of fun.

Favorite Thanksgiving T.V. Shows

The Bob Newhart: An American Family

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The original Bob Newhart Show, season 3, episode 11, “An American Family” when his mother manages to insult everyone and everything. I still love this show.

 

Friends: Ross’s Sandwich with “the moist maker”

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Ross’s Sandwich with “the moist maker”

 

WKRP “With God as My Witness I Thought Turkey’s Could Fly”

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Garfield’s Thanksgiving with wonderful Grandma!

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The Mouse on the Mayflower–cheesy? What else would a mouse dressed as a Pilgrim be? Politically incorrect? Yes! But no one was woke in my childhood.

Thanksgiving Food Item I Hated as a Kid and Still Hate

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Photo credit: iStock

Marshmallows on canned Sweet Potatoes. I don’t mind the sweet potatoes, it’s the marshmallows.

Thanksgiving Food You Like Best

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Photo Credit: Betty Crocker

I’m a freak! I love the giblet gravy. I don’t really like eating those giblets, but cut up in gravy they are great. Sick, I know. I put it on the potatoes and the turkey and the dressing!

Best Thanksgiving Story of All Time?

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I still know nearly every word. Most years at least a few radio stations broadcast it.

Bonus: Favorite Turkey Leftovers Meal

Photo source: Spidy Southern Kitchen–their recipe is just as great! I love any version of this!

This is MY recipe. No soup.

We NEVER had this as kids. My Mom didn’t make casseroles because my Dad wouldn’t touch them! I love this. I love this elastic-waist pants love it!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Make Me Hungry

I’m cheating a bit this week–I’m using a post I’ve used before. At 58 I’m back in school and this is my first week. So…. I’m sorry the formatting is wonky, but I haven’t taken the necessary time to learn to use Blocks in WordPress. This is a an old post and though I told it it was “Classic” it did what it wanted. So be it. The books are still wonderful!

 

Nonfiction

1. A Boat, a Whales & a Walrus: Menus and Stories by Renee Erickson &Jess Thomson. My review.

2. My Berlin Kitchen: Adventures in Love and Life by Luisa Weiss. My review.

3. On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town by Susan Hermann Loomis. My review.

4. Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julia Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child [I’m counting these as one since both are Julia]. The movie Julie & Julia is one of the few movies I’ve ever enjoyed as much or more (yes, More!) than the book!

5. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.

6. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This gets a tad precious in places, but is still excellent.

Foodie Life for Normal People:

5.  Dinner a Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. My review.

6. Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table With Recipes by Shauna Neiquist. You can read my thoughts on this book in this post.

Fiction

7. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stadal. My review.

For those who enjoy a little touch of fantasy or paranormal (neither of these are my thing, but I LOVED these books.)

8. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

9. Chocolat by Joanne Harris

10. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Join the Top 5 Wednesday group at Goodreads.com and then do your own Top 5 post of video! It’s fun!

Other Foodie Posts:

Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned in Books

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