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Personal Picks

  • Patti Callahan Henry: Coming Up for Air

    Patti Callahan Henry: Coming Up for Air
    This author recently moved to Birmingham, and she’s already made lots of friends. It wasn’t hard; her bestselling books preceded her. Besides, she’s a really fun and intriguing person. Her newest book, set on the Alabama coast, is about marriage and motherhood and one woman’s desire to become the person she really wants to be. Ellie Calvin has her hands full already when her controlling mother dies and she runs into her ex-boyfriend at the funeral. The old boyfriend is making a documentary on Ellie’s late mother and has questions only Ellie can answer—with the help of a long-forgotten diary. (*****)

  • Hillary Jordan: When She Woke

    Hillary Jordan: When She Woke
    Hillary Jordan’s debut novel, Mudbound (winner of the 2006 Bellwether Prize for fiction), was an international literary hit. That one was set firmly in the rich soil of a Mississippi Delta farm in the mid 1940s. When She Woke, on the other hand, is futuristic and quite chilling. Here’s an America that we won’t recognize completely but might well be able to imagine. The book begins: “When she woke, she was red. Not flushed, not sunburned, but the solid, declarative red of a stop sign.” Hannah Payne wakes up in a bare room wearing only a paper gown. She has been turned into a “chrome.” Chromes are criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to reflect their crimes. Murderers are red. There are hints of The Scarlet Letter here in this nightmare world where politics and religion come together in a mighty scary way. (*****)

  • Susan Haltom: One Writer's Garden: Eudora Welty's Home Place

    Susan Haltom: One Writer's Garden: Eudora Welty's Home Place
    Oh, this is a lovely book with great photos of the famous writer and her family and neighbors. But the real gems are the colorful photographs of the garden Welty tended with her mother. Chestina Welty designed their modest garden and taught her daughter well. Welty, of course, is known for weaving Southern flora into her writing; much of her knowledge came from time spent in her own garden. Near the end of her life Welty still resided in her family home, but the garden had become neglected. Co-author Susan Haltom is a garden designer, and she offered to help preserve the garden and spent a decade doing that. This beautiful book, organized by seasons and decades, contains previously unpublished writings, including literary passages and excerpts from Welty’s private correspondence about her garden. (*****)

What's on my nightstand...

  • Susan Rebecca White: A Soft Place to Land: A Novel

    Susan Rebecca White: A Soft Place to Land: A Novel
    This is a book about sisterhood and the often-complicated love that go along with it. When their parents die in an airplane accident, 13-year-old Ruthie and 16-year-old Julia are sent away from their Atlanta home to live separately in distant parts of the country—in drastically different cultures. The story spans nearly two decades and follows the sisters from this familiar Southern home to bohemian San Francisco, a Virginia mountain town, the campus of Berkley and the lofts in Brooklyn. Once close, the sisters grow up and apart and their relationship becomes complicated by anger, resentment and jealousy. But then another shocking accident changes their lives once again. White is the author of the critically acclaimed Bound South, in which she writes lovingly and insightfully about Atlanta, where she was born and raised.

  • Frances Mayes: Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life

    Frances Mayes: Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life
    Celebrated travel writer and bestselling author Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany) is back and continuing her decades-long love affair with Tuscany’s people, art, cuisine and lifestyle. This is a deeply personal account of her present-day life in Tuscany, detailing the changes she has experienced since the success of her first two books and her reflections on the unchanging beauty and simple pleasure of Italian life.

  • Robin Lane Fox: Travelling Heroes: In the Epic Age of Homer (Vintage)

    Robin Lane Fox: Travelling Heroes: In the Epic Age of Homer (Vintage)
    The myths of the ancient Greeks have inspired us for thousands of years. But where did these stories come from? How did they spread around the world? Fox draws upon the latest archaeological evidence, his own travels and his vast knowledge of the ancient world to answer these questions. He explores how the Mediterranean seafarers of 8th-century B.C. Greece encountered volcanic mountains, vaporous springs, huge prehistoric bones and more and then weaved them into their legends of gods, monsters and heroes.

  • David Ebershoff: The 19th Wife: A Novel

    David Ebershoff: The 19th Wife: A Novel
    My bookgroup is reading this one right now. This book combines historical fiction with a murder mystery, and my bookgroup is reading this one right now. One story line, set in 1875, involves Ann Eliza Young, who has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Ann Eliza begins a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.
 A second story is the tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death.
Both narrative intertwine to create a larger story of love and faith.

For book groups . . .

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April 10, 2012



Your yard looks nice! I have yet to do a clean up of beds but I am planting my Italian basil(seeds from Cinque Terre) and other thnigs in pots and taking them upstairs to our bathroom with the heated tile floor last year the basil came up almost overnight! Cooked farro for our gourmet farro and mushroom pie dish for tomorrow night with puff pastry crust interesting nutty texture! Enjoy your trip to the max! (That sounds so 60 s doesn't it??)


oh no! Is it since I changed the look of the blog I do have to go thrgouh a frankly more time consuming process to put the pics up, I wonder if that has changed it for you. Do they show up on flickr? glad you can see them Becky


Hi there, Did I ever tell you my great-grandmother was a fashion model in the 50's? She was also an aneqtuis dealer later in life. Her name was Lulu. When I was a little girl I loved looking through all of her treasures and photos. Through the years, she gave me a beautiful gown, a collection of perfume bottles and a gorgeous beaded purse. Can you tell I adored her? Love this post by the way! Those earrings are fab!


If you let us know where you are, we may be able to help with a shed supplier.It is pobsisle to paint it here are the details.Exterior Roofs: Zincalume, galvanised steel usually corrugated iron'Surface preparation: 1. Zinc and galvanised steel Zinc is a reactive material which will corrode to basic zinc carbonate normally, and mixed with basic zinc chloride in coastal areas. The form of the corrosion product is not protective. Coating of the metal is recommended as soon as pobsisle, definately within four weeks. Washing with detergents and/or emulsifiable solvents is all the surface preparation that is necessary. Even though the surface is cleaned initially, it cannot be overstressed that roofs in particular need washing down prior to each day's painting, if there is any danger of wind blown salt depositing on the surface. Where corrosion has taken place this must be carefully removed, leaving behind as much of the remaining protective zinc layer as pobsisle. Wet abrasive removal is recommended. 2. Zincalume is a blend of aluminium and zinc, and behaves predictably somewhere between the two. Although it is much more corrosion resistant than zinc, it is still recommended that it is painted as soon as pobsisle after careful cleaning with Resene Roof Wash and Paint Cleaner. To wash down, mix one part of Resene Roof Wash and Paint Cleaner with three parts of fresh water. Apply a liberal wash of this mixture to the surface with a nylon bristle brush or broom. Thoroughly scrub the surface to ensure complete removal of all grease, dirt, dust, flaking paint and other contaminants. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and allow to dry. First coat:Wind blown salts on the metal surface, and between coats cause premature corrosion. Always wash the area to be painted with fresh clean water before commencing work. For new work apply one coat of Resene Galvo-Prime.For repainting work spot prime bare areas with one coat of Resene Galvo One.For locations in close proximity to the sea, two full coats of Resene Galvo-Prime or Galvo One are recommended.Topcoats:Apply two coats of Resene Hi-Glo Acrylic. The choice of Resene Hi-Glo Acrylic Micaceous Iron Oxide based colours will also give superior protection.Follow label instructions at all times.Cleaning up:Cleaning up waterborne paints is different to solventborne paints -

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