Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

Random events and choices alter the course of a lifetime in this book.  Barnett tells 3 versions of a story:
  Version 1: Eva runs over a nail with her bike, Jim helps her fix it, they fall for each other and they get married.  
  Version 2: Eva misses the nail, has a big, grand wedding with her boyfriend David, and doesn't meet Jim until much later in life.  
  Version 3: Eva runs over the nail, meets Jim, falls for him, but leaves him and marries David when she finds out she's pregnant with his child.

Within each Version, Jim and Eva's paths cross and recross,  careers rise and fall, and marriages, children, and aging play a part in each of their lives.  The stories are told along parallel timelines, all spanning around 50 years.  There were a few events (Eva's brother's birthday party, for instance) that took place in all 3 versions, and it was interesting to read about it in three different circumstances.

I did enjoy reading this book, seeing how life unfolded in each version.  I did find it a bit confusing to keep straight at first though, and actually wrote myself a little note about what had happened in each version.  You might also find this helpful!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Celebrate The Season 2016 by Better Homes and Gardens
Looking for something new to celebrate your holidays? Better Homes and Gardens puts out this publication yearly, and it is a great addition to our seasonal decorating books. I like to use my traditional decorations, but I always like a little something new. This issue has a small section for fall in the front and the rest is Christmas home decorating and a few delightful recipes. The ideas I loved out of this one were the use of live poinsettias in different, various vases and containers (beautiful!) and the one inch round slabs of trunk used under plates as placemats. These are things I can easily incorporate into my Christmas palate. I also like the wax paper leaf lanterns and the penguin ornament which would be fun projects to do with kids. The soups and breads were interesting as well. Overall, a fun book to enjoy and get you excited about the season!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

In this semi-autobiographic collection of essays, Oliver shares her love of nature and literature.  She describes her communion with nature beginning in her childhood and never feels alone as Walt Whitman is her "friend."  Reading Whitman's Song of Myself reaffirms her conviction as a poet and a sense of belonging that we are all part of a greater whole.  She also pays tributes to Woolf, Emerson, Poe, Wordsworth and Frost and shares her observations of owls and turtles .  If you love nature and poetry, you will find this uplifting.