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.


Top Ten Tuesday: Thanksgiving Freebie


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?


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


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”


Ross’s Sandwich with “the moist maker”


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



Garfield’s Thanksgiving with wonderful Grandma!




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

Photo credit: iStock

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

Thanksgiving Food You Like Best


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?


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!



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.


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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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I was unable to finish because I could not come to terms with them


This week’s topic is Books I Loved but Never Reviewed, but I’ve reviewed books on my blogs since blogging began. I’ve lost a lot of that content when Bloglines died and I’d never backed up, but I did review them. I’ve mentioned most of my lifelong favorites on this blog too many times. So, I decided on a different title. Books I was unable to finish because I could not come to terms with them. This does not mean I did not like them! I just couldn’t get my arms around them enough to stay in the book. They were to “out-there” or too strange or too complex or __________.



I KNOW I’d love this story. I studied Iran and the end of the Shah in college–in fact, the end came at the end of my high school years so you could say we were the “Iran Generation” in America. Walter Cronkite’s daily count of how long the hostages had been held was part of our evening. Those same hostages being released only after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president was such a vindictive moment in history–especially in light of the humanitarian Jimmy Carter is now at nearly 100 years old. But this was my first attempt at a graphic novel. I couldn’t make sense of it in the same way I do with traditional books–whether reading or listening to them. I wasn’t a big comic book fan as a kid, either. I’m glad this book is so successful though. It is a great device for storytelling for so many reasons. My brain just opt-out. Persopolis by Marjane Satrapi.



I have written about this book before her on this blog. Cathy Ames gave me real-life nightmares. I couldn’t get that ‘voice” out of my head as she suggested the bad things. I had to just toss the books back. As I’ve said before, that is a true testament to the incredible writing talent of Steinbeck. I think I may have seen parts of this movie as a kid on the old summer Afternoon Movie–there is something so haunting about the whole book that makes me think I may have seen it before my mind could understand it well enough. East of Eden by John Steinbeck.



At a time when the Islamic world was just coming to the attention of the American news media–that is after the Iranian hostage crisis, Salman Rushdie was put on a real-world hit list by the reigning Ayatollah Khomeini who issued a fatwa ordering his death. I tried desperately to get through this book. I failed. I beat myself up for years for being too weak. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie.



Although I’d just spent two years in a country south of Somalia, and in spite of non-stop news coverage of American troops in Somalia, I gave up on this book. Today it might seem an easy read to me. Then, I lacked the cultural knowledge necessary to digest it. So, of course, I bought the entire trilogy sight unseen in those long-ago pre-internet, pre-Amazon days. Sweet and Sour Milk by Nuruddin Farah.


Probably anything Tea Obrecht writes is beyond my ken. Her books sound amazing, but then they just escape my comprehension. My friend reviewed Inland–she explains it all pretty well.


Sorry, for once I couldn’t come up with the full ten books.


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Colors In the Titles


My favorite color is RED! Some people mistakenly say that my alma mater’s colors are Red and White. That is incorrect. Indiana University’s colors are forever Cream and Crimson! So, I’m really fond of Crimson as well. Since I’ve tracked my reading for years, I decided to go all out and do 10 colors instead of 10 books.

#1: Red, Crimson, Scarlet



#2 Pink,  Peach, Rose




#3: Blue



#4 Yellow, Lemon, Gold. Saffron


#5: Green



#6 Orange, Chestnut, Copper


#7 Black



#8 Lilac, Lavender, Plum



#9 White




#10 Gray, Silver, Pearl


And a Multi-Color Bonus!!


My review




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Top Ten Tuesday: Festivals, Fetes, Fairs in books



Today’s topic was supposed to be “Book Events/Festivals I’d Love to Go to Someday (Real or Fictional.)” I just couldn’t think of anything, so I’m substituting fictional non-book events.



The Miss Clover City Beauty Pageant



Willowdean becomes the most unlikely beauty contest entry in the South. This pageant is her mother’s lifeblood. Can a girl with a figure curvey enough for high double-digit sizes be taken seriously as a contestant? Does she really get the guy? I’d want to be there for all of it. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.



Any High School Poetry Slam With Xiomara



I’d love to sit back and watch as high school kids, high on words, perform! The Poet X was such a fabulous book–it would be even better to experience it in real life!


The Welly Wang


The Welly Wang at Winsleigh Green in the book I reviewed yesterday’s The Old Girls’ Network. Who Wouldn’t want to toss a heavy green, rubber boot for charity?


The Festival That Needs to Start in the Next Book!

The Mitford Livermush Festival


I’m positive Mitford needs to have a Livermush Festival! Puney could sell her cornbread. There’d be a sale on slices of Esther’s OMC, and someone else could sell my favorite delicious vanilla cupcakes from the Mitford cookbook! Oh, it would be great–wouldn’t it?  Cynthia could read stories,  Dooley and Lace could hold a pet adoption clinic. It would be fun. The Mitford books by Jan Karon. The latest is To Be Where You Are.


The Miss Delta Floozy Contest


“She’s a doozy, she’s a floozy!” Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly and Kissing Babies at the Piggly Wiggly feature this fabulous (and I do mean FAB-U-Lus!) contest with that great song!


The W.I.’s Cake Competition


Any sort of fair with a cake judging. “They don’t give the May Wilkinson out lightly!” Calendar Girl Chris said after winning the so-named trophy after submitting a cake made by British retailer Marks & Spencer! Calendar Girls.


The judging of the Dowagers’ Roses: Mrs. Miniver and Downton Abbey



You can read a nice blog post about the two identical events here at World of the Written Word from several years ago. Mrs. Miniver, the superb film of the early years of World War II in England, shows Mrs. Minver subtly enticing the grand Lady B to let the humble gardener win the award this year. The same exact thing happens in Downton Abbey–The Dowager Lady Grantham always wins for the best rose. Sheis persuaded to be generous and let the gardener win for once. Downton creator Julian Fellowes played fast and loose with a few storylines from the 1970’s Upstairs, Downstairs series, too, such as the love affair for cook Mrs. Patmore which was all but identical to the story of Mrs. Bridges in Upstairs, Downstairs.


Win a Harmonica with Sophia Loren


Picture: Houseboat with Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren cheats to get little Robert his harmonic from a Carny game, saying “Your father, the Cheif of Police…” to cover her theft. Houseboat.


Whatever it Was That Was Going On in Nice



I’d have loved to have been the fly on the wall, observing Noah and great-nephew Michael as they came to terms with being stuck with each other. There was an event going on in Nice in the story that made things a bit more challenging. I’d like to have been at that event. Akin by Emma Donoghue.


The One That Has People On Edge Today

The Bazaar for the Confederacy


“One hundred and fifty dollars–in GOLD, for Mrs. Charles Hamilton,” Rhett barked. Dr. Meade refused on Scarlett’s behalf saying “She won’t consider it.” But Scarlett’s voice rings out true, “Oh yes I will!!”  Even though my ancestors fought for the North, I’d like to time travel and be there for this! Gone With the Wind.

For the record: I do NOT support any racist organizations and I do admit GWTW is unbelievably racist in its portrayal of the slaves.  It was written by a southern woman in the 1930s, not by a scholar today though. In spite of its obvious flaws, it is still regarded as one of the greatest of all American novels, so I will continue to use it in posts on that basis. The movie garnered the first Oscar for a Black Actress–the great Hattie McDaniel who played a slave. The movie also altered a scene so that Scarlett’s attacker was white in the movie instead of an ex-slave as in the book.



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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make Me Smile


WordPress is being VERY difficult this week. I cannot edit one post at all. I have tried all the suggested stuff I’ve found online, changed theme, and contacted them. Since this is a free blog, I doubt I’ll ever get help till I pay for a more advanced one. GRRRRRRR

The One I Thought of First



The women pulled together. No cliches, no bitchiness. Just pulled together. Did I mention most were over 50? Even nicer. I suppose this one came to mind because there are lots of changes at work right now–probably for everyone, everywhere!


A Bunch of Books


Sweet Bean Paste–sweet is the word, but never cloying or precious! delightful.

Unmarriageable. So fun! I loved it!

Meet Me in Monaco. Swoony!

Traveling Cat Chronicles. A bit of a tear-jerker, but in the sweetest way.

The Flatshare. Oh My!! Love, love, loved this couple!!

Our Souls At Night. Who wouldn’t want this relationship–at any age! My “Must Read Book of 2016”

The Stationery Shop. Young love in that brief period of Westernized Iran. Sweet.

And, two more!


A fond memory



My Mom spent a fortune to send me this book when I was in Peace Corps. It was just what I needed–sweet, light and romantic. I never knock a romance novel. They are fabulous medicine. Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer.

The One I Got My Never-Reads Cousin to Read


…and that we discussed for over 90 minutes by phone! All the feels, indeed, Baby!


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Give Off Summer Vibes


Here in Southeast Ohio, we’ve had a very cold May. It’s finally beginning to get to normal late Spring temperatures. The pool opened on schedule in spite of COVID-19. The beach at the Lake is open, too. People are desperate for Summer! I’m being careful. I’ll settle for books with a summer vibe for now.

These are not ranking in any order.


The title makes me think this book is set in July! Campaigning features in it too and that always seems like a summer thing (though it isn’t only a summer thing).

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston



Here’s my review from my old blog, October 28, 2014:

I missed the part of the review that said this was for Middle School or early High School, but no matter–it is excellent. It captures the mood of hope that infused the Freedom Summer volunteers as well as the creepy fear that engulfed the state of Mississippi and the entire old south in general in the early 1960s. This is the type book that would get a class of disdainful history students to sit up and take notice. I cannot say enough to recommend this book to its age group–or to adults who don’t know where to start in understanding this frightening time in our history. The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell. (Nonfiction)




This place was in the news recently as the spot where you are most likely to catch COVID-19 iirc. I’ve always liked Bill Geist’s pieces on CBS. This one is ok. Not great, but OK. Lake of the Ozarks by Bill Geist.



I suppose its the mention of Grand Isle–a resort, that makes me think this book is set in the summer. To be honest, I no longer remember what time of year it was set in–or if that is even mentioned! I read it in the Fall of 1980. The Awakening by Kate Chopin.




Most Americans of my age or older know that the battle of Gettysburg was fought in the Civil War over July 1 to July 3, 1863. I don’t think they teach the Civil War anymore. My children go everything from the ancient Egyptians thru 9/11 in ONE school year. Trust me–these are the dates. The movie, Gettysburg with Martin Sheen, is almost as fabulous as this book. But they show them all in those heavy wool frock coat-uniforms or the enlisted men in blue wool (my family fought for the north). I just think how hellishly hot that was! And the smoke, the heat, the stench–ugh. Gettysburg is a summer word to me. The Killer Angels by Michael Sahara.



Barefoot at the Lake by Bruce Fogle, is one of the best summer books ever.  As wonderful a childhood memoir as you could hope to find. You can read my review here.




A hot summer in a small town is enlivened for a young girl when the chain gang comes to town. Her descriptions of the hot days–make sure you have a cold drink handy, ok? As Hot As It Was You Ought To Thank Me by Nanci Kincaid.



A nonfiction choice is Alex Kotlowitz’s American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago which is, sadly, already appropriate reading for this summer. (Note: I hate the new paperback cover. It is far too generic). Koltowitz is the author of the classic look at urban life There Are No Children Here which Oprah Winfrey turned into a movie. Read my review here.



The Dry Grass of August by Mary Jean Mayhew

The story of a family’s trip in the South with their “colored” maid in 1954. You can read my full review here.



Hermie–who wouldn’t love him, right? The war is on, he’s a bit too young, his Dad wants his stupid Time magazine–and then…THERE SHE IS! Cue the music! (If you’re my age you know that music.  One of the tenderest coming of age books ever. A dear friend cites this as one of her favorite books. I remember it as the movie of the summer (at least in my mind it was in the summer) one year when I was in Middle School. The book is better than the movie, of course, but both are worth it.  The Summer of 42 by Herman Raucher. (No, I don’t like movie tie-in covers. I make an exception here because this was the cover of my copy all those years ago).


Bonus Book




When I think of summer, this is THE summer book to end all summer books. I was taken to the beach in Chicago on Lake Michigan when I was the perfect age for this book. The memory of the beach trip is gone–except for the smell of the dead fish that washed up on the beach. But, I’ve never stopped loving Harry! My kids and I read all his books often.

Harry By The Sea by Gene Zion, pictures by Margaret Blay Graham



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Bring your children to the laptop and let them listen to Harry By the Sea!



Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish I Had Read As a Child


I loved listening to my Mom read aloud to me! So did my older brother. Mom read aloud to us even in high school if we wanted her to. I loved that. I became a reader a little late–I read, but having the joy of Mom reading big books made the ones I could manage seem insignificant. In Middle School, after meeting a local author and with the encouragement of a teacher who saw my interests and didn’t just shove “good” books at me, but tailored the selections to my interests, I became a reader. Then I discovered the Civil War, Bruce Catton and GWTW. The rest is history (pun intended). Harry Potter? If Mom had read it aloud to my big brother I’d have loved it–otherwise probably not. I’d have needed his “approval.”

In this post, I covered my favorite childhood books.

Having raised my kids and followed books avidly, I have easily identified over the years a variety of titles I know I would have loved. Like many an other parent, I picked tons of books for my kids that I would have loved as a child.

I’ve enjoyed reading these even as an adult! They were MADE for me! Dear American and My Name is America. Yes, I’d have loved the Royal Diaries series, too.



Dolls involved with history might have got my attention! I did play Barbies with friends tons so don’t worry. I also played with a friend’s Little People “world”–we spent whole Saturdays living in Little People land. lol. But these books, regardless of the dolls, would have held my attention. I don’t know about the newer ones though.


I well-remember the debut of Garfield in the comics—he was from my hometown! Grumpy Cat would have also been beloved by my childhood self. I would also have been crazy about LOL Cats, too.


This book would have been beloved! It is an amazing book for ALL ages. Anastasia’s Album.


This whole series would have kept me quiet for years. DK Eyewitness Books



We had horses until I was seven. I’d have imagined myself as the rider in this book.



I have posted these books SO. MANY. TIMES. but I love them. I think I’d have loved them as a kid too! My Mom understood most British things from her own reading so she’d have helped with anything I didn’t understand. The Casson Family series by Hilary McKay.


These two series I’ve also posted to death. I wish I’d known of Elizabeth Enright’s books back then–they were certainly around. I also wish there’d been a late 60s/70s version of The Penderwicks.


Where WAS this when I was about 11?? I wore out my brother’s Beatles sheet music book. I even learned to transpose so I could play the songs on a clarinet or bass clarinet. I played them for hours. This would have been PERFECT!  Lennon McCartney Lyrics Coloring Book.



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