My Take on…Lunch in Paris

Book Reviews, Cooking

I decided to read Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard for a fun summer read. After all, if I can not get to Paris, why not read about it. From the first chapter, I was suddenly transported to Paris.

Lunch in Paris is a memoir slash cookbook. Bonus! The book starts with Elizabeth (an American from New York living in London) meeting a Frenchman for lunch in Paris. They had met at a conference in England. This was a weekend visit that would ultimately change Elizabeth’s life. I will not give out all the juicy details. I will leave that up to the reader. I will, however, say that this book was delightful. It was a good choice for a summer read. One that I did not want to put down.

Elizabeth comes across as very likable and funny. Besides being a good book and making me feel like I was in Paris, the book also has recipes. Since I love to cook this is a treat. But not only does it have recipes, it has lots of recipes. I am talking recipes at the end of each chapter. I am talking more than one recipe per chapter. As many as three recipes per chapter. The back of the book also has an index of the recipes for easy reference.

Luckily, when I finished reading Lunch in Paris, I could keep my summer vacation in France going. I had also purchased Bard’s second book Picnic in Provence. So now I am following Elizabeth to the French countryside. My take on that will be out shortly.

So, if feeling the need to escape quarantine, pick-up a copy of Lunch in Paris. Not only a good read but a cookbook to boot. There is even a recipe for Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Mint. Super! I still have a few zucchini flowers in the garden. This time I know to check for bees first. As always, Happy Reading!

My Take on: Married to Laughter

Book Reviews

Jerry Stiller passed in May of this year. He was 92 years old. I loved watching him as the over-the-top father, Frank Costanza, on the hit television show Seinfeld. Married to Laughter is a book written by Jerry Stiller about his life growing up in New York, meeting and marrying actress Anne Meara, and his life as an actor.

Jerry Stiller was nothing like the character he played as Frank Costanza. He was an actor after all. He attended Syracuse University, where he studied Theater. He worked in clubs and the theater. Even while working on Seinfeld, he worked in theater. He was an actor and he was driven to act. Not only was this his way to earn an income but it was his passion.

I find it interesting to read autobiographies. I feel like I get to know that person better by reading about them in their own words. One gets a sense of who they are and what they are like. It was interesting to hear the stories Stiller told of his life and what his thoughts were on what was happening at the time. I would recommend Married to Laughter to anyone that enjoyed Stiller’s work. I would also recommend it to anyone interested in theater or acting. The book gives a good sense of what it is like for an actor and the struggles they face at keeping the jobs coming in. It takes a lot of drive. As always, Happy Reading!

Re-Reading and Re-Organizing Favorite Books

life

My stash of books is starting to dwindle. I have started a new book and have only one left in my to read stash. As libraries are closed due to the recent precautions and shutdowns, I will turn to my own resources after I have depleated my stash.

Lucky for me, I LOVE books and always have. I have my own personal library and have even made an Excel spreadsheet listing them in alphabetical order along with their authors and type of book. However, the other day I saw my husband looking at something on his cell phone. “What is this?” I asked. The answer got me curious and excited. Apparently, new technology being what it is, there are sites that allow one to enter ISBN numbers of books to efforetlessly organize and log one’s entire personal library. It even pulls up a picture of the cover, gives a summary of the book, and allows one to rate the book with stars. Oh my word! My new mission is to convert my “outdated” Excel spreadsheet into a “modern” on-line library system. The website I am using is: http://www.libib.com.

Upon using the on-line library system, I must say that I LOVE it! Oh my gosh is it cool! So I entered a bunch of my books and some same up with a different jacket cover the the book. Not to worry… the program allows one to upload a photo of the correct jacket cover and switch them out. Amazing! So, for any covers that differed, I took a photo of my book and downloaded it. It was very easy to do. Also, if a book does not have a ISBN number it can be brought up by title or author. I had one book that would not come up using any of these methods, however, the program let’s one manually enter books of this nature. So cool!

The program also allows one to create multiple libraries. I am going to organize my craft books into their own library, my art books into their own library, and the same for my cook books. One can choose to publish and share their libraries with friends if they wish or keep the libraries only for their own use.

Soon I will have to start re-reading some of my old favorites. Perhaps a Sydney Sheldon? I have not read his books for a while so I am sure they will be full of surprise for me again. Needless to say, it will be much easier to choose that next book once my on-line library is updated.

I can also scan through the shelves of my other family members for some fresh reading material. I got my daughter a book on the great costume designer, Edith Head, that I would not mind sinking my teeth into. I think my son’s copy of The Art of Racing in the Rain might also be of interest to me.

For now, I am set with a rather thick novel. However, it is comforting to know that there are possibilites in house. Perhaps this may even be a good time to start writing my own book… Happy Reading!

My Take on… Cover Her Face

Book Reviews

This is not my first P.D. James mystery nor will it be my last. In Cover Her Face, P.D. James has created an interesting murder mystery with so many suspects that it is hard to be quite sure who did it in this who done it. However, the cool Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh has things under control.

The Maxie’s have hired an assistant maid, Sally Jupp, recommended by Miss Liddell at a dinner party. Miss Liddell runs St. Mary’s Refuge, a home for girls like Sally who are with child. Sally and her baby, Jimmy, move in and Sally starts helping Martha, the Maxie’s maid. Martha is not too keen to have Sally around nor are Deborah Maxie or house guest, Catherine Bowers, who has her eye on Deborah’s brother Stephen. Sally seemed no trouble at first, however , things become uncomfortable and then Sally is found dead. Cheif Inspector Dalgliesh is called to the Maxie house to solve the murder. Could it be someone in the home or did someone from outside make their way inside? It seems Sally has her fair share of enemies and so the mystery begins.

Care to find out more? Read Cover Her Face to find out who did it. It is a worthwhile read and is the first in the Dalgliesh series by P.D. James. Happy Reading.

My Take on Murder in the Smithsonian

Book Reviews

Christmas is always a good time for me to replenish my reading stash. I had totally run out of books before Christmas. Scandalous! So, now that the new year has arrived, my book supply is once again stocked-up. One of the books I received for Christmas was Murder in the Smithsonian (A Capital Crimes Novel) by Margaret Truman.

This is the first time I have read one of Margaret Truman’s books. The Capital Crimes Series is a series Truman wrote with the setting being the Nation’s Capital. I was drawn to this particular book in the series as it takes place in the Smithsonian and I found the museum setting interesting.

Murder in the Smithsonian starts with the death of Dr. Lewis Tunney. Tunney, a historian, finds out about an international art ring which leads to his demise in the middle of a reception at the famous Smithsonian Museum. His fiancee, Heather McBean, flies in from Europe to find out what happened to her beloved Lewis.

While in Washington, Heather is befriended by Captain Mac Hanrahan who promises that this case will not go unsolved. However, Heather finds herself in danger more than once and does not know who she can trust. Can Hanrahan solve the case before something happens to Heather? Pick up a copy of Truman’s Murder in the Smithsonian to find out. The ending is full of surprises.

My Take on The Lonely Life by Bette Davis

Book Reviews

I became a fan of Bette Davis a few years back. My daughter and I were visiting my parents and the movie Whatever Happened to Baby Jane came on. We were about to leave and then got captivated in the film. My daughter, who usually isn’t captured by movies so easily, also did not want to leave. We were glued to the television mesmerized by Bette Davis. What an actress!

Bette Davis could go from a normal, lovely character and change into a deranged lunatic in the blink of an eye. Such control! We had to have more! We rented many more of her movies including Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte which was another of our favorites. Her characters were more demented in her later works.

Bette Davis – Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
Bette Davis – Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte

So, needless to say, it was inevitable that I would eventually want to read Bette Davis’ autobiography. I can honestly say that I didn’t want to put it down. She led a fascinating life. There was so much I didn’t know about her. The Lonely Life, her first autobiography, starts from the beginning of her life in Lowell, Massachusetts where she was born Ruth Elizabeth Davis in 1908 to around the time of the death of her mother who was so important in her life. It leads us through her start in theatre and then the move to California and motion pictures. We get to see what she thought of other actors, the work she did, her contributions to society, her personal life, family, marriages, and the struggles she faced rising to the top all from her point of view. We get to see what Hollywood was like back in the day when silent pictures were transitioning to talkies. Most of all we get to picture the woman behind the actress.

This is a highly recommended read from me. The Lonely Life by Bette Davis was well written, interesting, and entertaining. In answer to that famous question: “If you could have dinner with any three people (dead or alive) who would they be?”… One of mine would definitely be Bette Davis. Happy Reading!

My Take on Death Comes to Pemberley

Book Reviews

This is my second time reading a P.D. James book and it does not disappoint. Death Comes to Pemberley is a murder mystery that had me suspecting the wrong character, which is exactly what a good author intends. But why stop there? After having revealed the true murderer, the truth behind the crime uncovers yet more surprises.

Death Comes to Pemberley is set in 1803 England at the grand estate of Mr. Darcy and his wife Elizabeth. They are preparing the house for the annual ball when an unexpected guest arrives bringing news of shocking events on the estate that, much to the towns dismay, cancels the ball. Now instead of guests in fancy attire, it is the law that shows up at Pemberley.

Phyllis Dorothy James was born in 1920 in Oxford, England. She was known professionally as the English crime writer P.D. James. Many of her books were put to television and film adaptations. James was granted numerous honors and awards over her writing career as well as numerous honorary doctorates and fellowships.