IMM - In My Mailbox

The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
The Search for God at Harvard by Ari L. Goldman
Sass and Serendipity by Jennifer Siegler
Jennifer Siegler's blog
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
The First Day of the Rest of my Life by Cathy Lamb
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum
The Memory Place by Mira Bartok
A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White

eReader books -
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (review coming soon)
Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard (review coming soon)
Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (review coming soon)

What was in your mailbox???

A country kitty for sure

I am back in the city. After much a bit of angst, I drove in last night after work. And let me tell you (no, no my arms are tired jokes, I promise) it is so loud here. Between the traffic, leaf blowers (really, who invented these??), music, pollution and other travesties to the ear, I really miss the wilderness.

I mean let's be honest, I do not live in the middle of nowhere. My neighbors are less than 10 seconds away. I love in an actual neighborhood, but it's peaceful. There are birds, animals, cars and such, but it's SO QUIET. I don't know how to describe it, much less explain it except that when I go back, I will be listening fiercely.

I know that when I go out in the morning, I want to veer off track from work and stop to get coffee OUTSIDE. I roll down my windows every moment in the car - even when it's raining. I take my book outside and read in the wind. And my job is right on a busy street. Yes, we do have traffic. Maybe only a few minutes of stopped traffic, but our noise pollution is so limited. Again, what is the difference? Is it the fact that the people want it to be quiet? Or is it my own happiness that brings out the peacefulness of where I live now?

It could be that it is more than thirty degrees cooler, after a decade of living in hot quarters.

It could be that seeing trees - real, spruce trees, birds - like hawks, blue herons, lakes, the stars up close and personal is just to riveting I cannot imagine going back to living in a claustrophobic city.

I am a country mouse now.

Review - A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

Title: A Stolen Life
Author: Jaycee Dugard
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: July 12, 2011
Hardcover, 288 pages

Barnes and Noble

Probably one of the hardest, most heart-breaking reads. So honest. So open and way more information than I would ever want to know. My heart goes out to Jaycee and her family. To know what she had to live through. But at the same time, she lived through it. I am so torn. She has strength and perserverance. I am so proud of her for telling her story; and telling it all. As a woman, I gain strength from her. And yet, I mourn for her too. The loss of her innocence, her family, her life. And am so relieved to know she may start to live again.

A book every person, especially woman, mother, sister, daughter should read.

Summary -
In the summer of 1991 I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother who loved me. I was just like you. Until the day my life was stolen.
For eighteen years I was a prisoner. I was an object for someone to use and abuse.

For eighteen years I was not allowed to speak my own name. I became a mother and was forced to be a sister. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation.

On August 26, 2009, I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I don’t think of myself as a victim. I survived.

A Stolen Life is my story—in my own words, in my own way, exactly as I remember it.

Tuesday - Tune In & Teaser

Come on girls, all together now, SING YOUR HEART OUT!!!
"Til now I always got by on my own . . . ."
Alone by Heart

"The envy was going to eat her alive. How crazy was that? Never for one second had Keri ever though she'd be envious of a woman who was a bundle of insecurities - whose career consisted of laundry and carpooling, and who had give birth to four walking, talking, weapons of mass destruction."

Exclusively Yours
Shannon Stacey

Review - Four Kitchens by Lauren Shockey

Title: Four Kitchens
Author: Lauren Shockey
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date: July 27, 2011
Hardcover, 336 pages

Barnes and Noble

I hesitate to compare this book, but it really had the feeling of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert without all the emotional baggage. But it has that feeling of starting at a point in life that is terrifying to think it could continue as abysmal and as bleak as the future looks. Then making a huge decision that leads to learning who the person is and finding a peace, but not without struggle and gaps of confusion.

I enjoyed Lauren's journey through it all. She starts out in one of the hippest culinary restaurants she knows - wd50 that uses all sorts of strange concoctions to create food treats. Realizing that going through culinary school does not mean she knows anything. She is consistently berated for her lack of cutting skills (FRESH OUT OF CULINARY SCHOOL) and other basics. I love the feelings of being lost and at a loss that Lauren describes here. I have felt this many a-times and I have been in retail for over 13 years. She moves on to Vietnamese restaurant where I was a bit squeamish in the food details, but enjoyed the friendships she created. She continued on to Israel to learn of her Jewish heritage food. She learns maybe the most important lesson of - it's not how you cook, but who you cook for/with.

What I would consider a nice, summer read.

Summary -
At the French Culinary Institute, Lauren Shockey learned to salt food properly, cook fearlessly over high heat, and knock back beers like a pro. But she also discovered that her real culinary education wouldn't begin until she actually worked in a restaurant. After a somewhat disappointing apprenticeship in the French provinces, Shockey hatched a plan for her dream year: to apprentice in four high-end restaurants around the world. She started in her hometown of New York City under the famed chef Wylie Dufresne at the molecular gastronomy hotspot wd-50, then traveled to Vietnam, Israel, and back to France. From the ribald kitchen humor to fiery-tempered workers to tasks ranging from the mundane (mincing cases of shallots) to the extraordinary (cooking seafood on the line), Shockey shows us what really happens behind the scenes in haute cuisine, and includes original recipes integrating the techniques and flavors she learned along the way. With the dramatic backdrop of restaurant life, readers will be delighted by the adventures of a bright and restless young woman looking for her place in the world.

If you loved this book, check out these -
Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
This Won't Hurt a Bit by Michelle Au