Miscellanea

Bookstagram

Partly because I’ve been neglecting this space, and partly because I love to be outdoors with a book (and it’s not winter yet!), I’ve started to dip my toes into the world of bookstagram* – only discover it’s a huge community! I don’t have a lot of extra time to dedicate to it, though I wish I had a little more, but it seems like a lot of fun. Here’s what I’ve been reading as of late.
Honorable mentions:
The Lost Queen by Signe Pike. 4.5/5.
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. 5/5.
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. 5/5.
The Outsider by Stephen King. 3.5/5.
The Witch at Willow Hall by Hester Fox. 3.5/5.
All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth. 3.75/4.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. 3.75/4.

Are you on Instagram? Do you post about your reading habits?

*The book community of Instagram.

Lists

The American West

It’s still November, thankfully, and that means another nonfiction post is coming your way. There are three ways to join in this time.

“You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).” This week is hosted by Julie over at JulzReads.
I am by no means an expert, but I do have more than a passing interest in the American West, particularly conservation (think Edward Abbey, John Muir, and Wallace Stegner) and water rights. With the serious and constant redistribution and reallocation of water (not to mention terribly convoluted water rights), the United States would not look remotely as it does today. Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles would never have been able to sustain such high populations, as well as a few other sizeable cities. It’s fascinating (and sometimes devastating) to see how the United States has changed due to modern innovation. These are a few books on that topic that I enjoyed. There are so, so many out there, that if you’re interested, I encourage you to explore beyond this briefest of lists.

All the Wild That Remains // David Gessner
Beyond the Hundredth Meridian // Wallace Stegner
Desert Solitaire // Edward Abbey
Dam Nation // Stephen Grace
Where the Water Goes // David Owen
Water to the Angels // Les Standiford

What are you an expert on? Or do you want to become an expert on a specific topic?

Reviews

The Clockmaker’s Daughter // Kate Morton

I’ll make this short and sweet.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is not a groundbreaking novel, but it is a good one. It features many of the elements that I’ve come to expect and enjoy in a Kate Morton novels – multiple timelines, intricate mysteries, and an evocative location.

The summer of 1862 is a pivotal year in the life of Birchwood Manor. A group of artists plan to use the house to explore their creativity and find inspiration, but by the end of the summer, a woman is dead, another is missing, and a priceless heirloom has been stolen. These events reverberate across time, influencing the new residents of the house in unexpected ways.

Although the novel perhaps had one time period too many, Morton did an excellent job of wrapping things up. Like all of her novels, it was an immersive, satisfying reading experience. You can’t go wrong when a novel has a ghost, an archivist, and a beautiful house on the Thames.  Have you read any Kate Morton novels? My favorite is The Forgotten Garden.

*I received a review copy of this novel in exchange for my opinion (thanks, Netgalley!).

Personal

Lately

Making: Green Chili Chicken in the slow cooker.
Drinking: Ice water.
Reading: I just finished The Clockmaker’s Daughter, another good one (but not the best) by Kate Morton.
Organizing: Travel plans. We’re heading to Campobello Island in Canada soon. It should be cold… But fun, right?
Coveting: This bag from Josefina. Not a practical price point.
Listening: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett.
Watching: Outlander is back!
Wishing: I was better about organizing my photos. I take so many, but don’t take the time to organize them as well as I should.
Loving: The fall weather. As I get older, I have not enjoyed the heat as much (unless I am by the water).
Adoring: That my children have turned into such little bookworms as of late. My oldest is now at the age where we can really discuss books we enjoyed reading. The latest was Holly Black’s Doll Bones.
Accomplishing: I’m almost back to posting regularly, and yes, it feels like a huge accomplishment.
Needing: To find a website/program to create good graphics that does not charge me a monthly fee. Does such a unicorn exist?
Feeling: Exhausted! I’m never going to change this answer. Well, maybe when the baby is five.
Wanting: To grow my Instagram following (it seems so insecure to even type this), but it seems like an insurmountable feat at the moment. I’m open to suggestions. I participate in prompts, I comment and post regularly, I use hashtags, etc.
Wondering: If Allbirds and/or Rothy’s are worth all the hype. Anyone care to chime in? In lieu of spending gobs of money, I just bought driving mocs in a lovely marigold yellow (for $11) and they’re like wearing slippers to work.
Thinking: About Instagram, Bookstagram, and the idea of developing a brand. It sounds ridiculous in my case, yet I admire the people that accomplish it. Did you see the vicious article on Vulture?
Lamenting: My inability to watch The Haunting of Hill House. I just finished the book in September, but I tried watching it alone and then couldn’t sleep…
Celebrating: I just passed the one year anniversary at my new (now not so new) job. It’s been a really good change.

How are you fairing these day? I was pleased by some of the election results and disappointed in others (my county voted down an increase in school funding AGAIN).

(Image via pinterest, Greer Garson and Eleanor Roosevelt on the set of Sunrise at Campobello)

Like This, Read That

Like This? Read That.

This is, by far, the week I am most excited about for Nonfiction November – pairing a non-fiction book you love with a fiction book of equal measure (I have a whole feature dedicated to the idea of “Like This? Read That.”). Nonfiction November is run by Katie at Doing Dewey, Rennie at What’s Nonfiction?, Julie at Julz Reads, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, and this week in particular is hosted by Sarah and Sarah’s Book Shelves.

The exploration of America’s last great frontier, Alaska. Tip of the Iceberg flips between author Adams’ modern adventure and Edward Herriman’s 1899 exploration (accompanied by John Muir, among others!), while To the Bright Edge of the World // Eowyn Ivey focuses on one couple’s separation in the Alaskan wilderness in winter of 1885 and The Great Alone // Kristin Hannah focuses on a modern family’s homesteading experience.

Pirates. Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates // Eric Jay Dolin and Cinnamon and Gunpowder // Eli Brown. My recent fascination with pirates can be directly attributed to Black Sails. It was excellent, if you were on the fence about watching. Blag Flags, Blue Waters focuses on the golden age of American piracy, spanning the late 1600s through the early 1700s. Dolan depicts the “roguish glamour and extreme brutality” rather wonderfully, as does Eli Brown in his novel. Cinnamon and Gunpowder is the tale of Mad Hannah Mabbot, a pirate under siege by a privateer and undermined by a saboteur. It’s also an excellent bit of foodie fiction. 

Raging rivers. The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon // Kevin Fadarko tells the terrifying, true story of the “fastest boat ride ever, down the entire length of the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon, during the legendary flood of 1983”. The epic flooding nearly caused the most catastrophic dam failure in history (with the Glen Canyon Dam). Not everyone loves the Glen Canyon Dam, as is illustrated by Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang, where the main plot consists of  four radical environmentalists attempting to blow up the dam (as well as wreak havoc on America’s industrialist ambitions). The Emerald Mile also pairs well with The River at Night // Erica Ferencik, a novel featuring a well-intentioned, but ill-fated rafting trip down an isolated river in the Maine wilderness.

Botanical exploration. The Discovery of Jeanne Baret // Glynis Ridley and The Signature of All Things // Elizabeth Gilbert. In the 1765, Jeanne Baret disguised herself as a man in order to be brought on board a expedition (as a botanist) that planned to circumnavigate the globe. Eighteen months into the voyage, a curious Tahitian exposed her as a woman. Baret’s recently discovered journal sheds like on her expertise as a scientist, the extreme difficulties she faced on the journey, and the thousands of specimens she collected, all while essentially being forgotten by history. The Signature of All Things follows Alma Whittaker, a gifted botanist, who travels the globe. From London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, the novel is well researched and easy to read (despite the length).

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