I’ve been working through some books that are either by Alabama authors, or take place in Alabama, or both. Here are a few brief reviews.
I Wish I Was in Dixie collected and edited by Marie Stokes Jemison and Jim Reed
This is a collection of stories from all across Alabama, from Birmingham to Montgomery to Tuscaloosa.
Dear Slave – poems by Irene Latham. These are rich retellings of stories taken from the mouths of slaves and recorded by Ruby Pickens Tartt many years ago.
I Still Dream of You by Fannie Flagg. This was an enjoyable read and one that had me doing a little research about Birmingham. I read this for my book club, but no one else was able to finish it that month. 😦 You can read more of my thoughts HERE and HERE.
Fried Green Tomatoes At the Whistle Stop Cafe – also by Fannie Flagg. I couldn’t read this without picturing Kathy Bates in the role of Evelyn. I STILL want to go to the cafe in Irondale!
The last book is one I DON”T recommend – Looking for Alaska. I read it mainly because I heard it had a lot of references to the Birmingham area, but it didn’t really. Sorry, John Green fans, but I just didn’t like this and am disappointed that it is marketed to middle schoolers. I think all the reviews on Barnes & Noble were written by teenagers.
So, I will continue my Alabama quest at a later date. Right now my reading is headed to Ireland.
“Cancel subscriptions to Southern Living, Veranda and Southern Lady magazines”
– I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg
In Flagg’s book, the main character, Maggie Fortenberry, is making plans to kill herself, but she just can’t leave the world without putting everything in order first, including canceling her magazine subscriptions. I am familiar with all three of these magazines; in fact, Southern Living and Southern Lady are both published right here in Birmingham. In another fact, I worked for Southern Lady for two whole weeks. But, that’s a long story for another day.
The bad thing for me about magazines like these is the desires they stir up. Everything is lovely and perfect… and usually expensive. Granted, there is a lot of good information between the pages, such as gardening tips and recipes. But, then again, I don’t have a green thumb and don’t cook like I used to. Maggie Fortenberry didn’t really garden or cook, either. So, why do we get these magazines?
Sometimes it’s fun to just dream. We think about houses we’d like to live in one day, places we’d like to visit, clothes that are lovely. Others of us get inspired: I could make a table like that; I could paint my room that color; I could visit that town on a budget. There is a lot of potential good if we peruse the pages with a little common sense. Or, we can just cancel those subscriptions altogether.
I decided to tackle my bookshelves last week. I reorganized, categorized some, discarded a whopping five books. Along the way I made a few discoveries.
Some of my Maeve Binchy books
I’d consider about 21 of my books to be reference books; I’m not ever going to read them cover-to-cover. About 41 are fiction books I’ve read that I just have to keep, including my collection of 22 Maeve Binchy books. I didn’t make a final book count in the house because that would have meant counting my husband’s books and all the books I have for grandkids and other littles that visit. Speaking of kids’ books, I have 13 Golden books, 15 in my set of Chidlcraft from my own childhood, 12 Great Illustrated Classics, a set of 11 “My Book House” books from my father-in-law, plus quite a list of pictures books.
Of the 270 (+) TBR books, here are some breakdowns:
- 11 “Irish” books
- 33 biographical
- 17 “classics”
- about 50 kid/YA books
- 8 short story/ collections
- a variety of 49 fictional books
- and… I think I’m embarrassed about this … 42 books about writing
So, where does all this lead? Hopefully to me stepping away from the computer and TV and reading more. But, when I AM on that computer, I need to be putting one of those 42 writing books to good use.
October is almost over and I just realized I didn’t write a third quarter recap at the end of September. So, for what it’s worth, here are the highlights of my third quarter:
- We kept our daughter’s dog, Poca, for over a month while she was in Columbia, South America. Things started out well, but after the second fight, in which Loretta received a puncture wound, we kept the two dogs separate. It was fine, though, as each one got special attention.
- I went to McAlister’s Deli for the first time. The Orange Cranberry Club was delish!
- Joined Grace Covenant Baptist Church and began making new friends
- Subbed in some new schools. including McAdory Middle, McAdory High, Pleasant Grove High, West Elementary, Hueytown Middle, Oak Mountain Middle, Helena Middle, Helena High
- Attended a few Saturday Write Club meetings at the Hoover Library
- Went on five hikes
- Took lots of pictures around Bham
- Went to Jacksonville and squeezed in a lot of visits. Got to see my cousin Paula for the first time in over 15 years
- Spent a morning at Jacksonville Beach
- Started the Kindred Spirit Book Club – it’s online, so if you are interested, leave me a comment or email me.
- Started Round Two of the Capture the ‘Ham Small Group/Photo Group
And now to finish the year well!
People are always asking, “Where did the time go?” The time goes in big and small moments, some memorable and some wasted. You can read my highlights of the first quarter of 2016 HERE.
Here are some highlights of the second quarter of my year:
- I got my taxes done on time
- Discovered Ruffner Mountain
- Finished out the year subbing – you can read some of those adventures HERE. This also included the last three days of school with a great bunch of 8th graders
- Flew to Tampa to spend time with fam. This included a late afternoon at Clearwater Beach and a gorgeous sunset
- Read lots of books – You can check out what I’ve read so far this year here on my Pinterest board
- Made several trips to Pepper Place Market
- With more time in the summer, I checked out movies from the Hoover Library. It’s also a great place for lunch or a coffee!
- Discovered: Over Easy Cafe – delish!; Hillsboro Trail; Lazy Boy BBQ in Helena (great pork – best for take-out); Twisted Root Burger in Vestavia (you must check out the Chuck Norris wall!)
- First-time visit to Clanton for Peach Festival – highlight was getting peach ice cream.
- Got the first pedicure in over four years at Riveria Nails & Spa in Hoover. – so nice!
- Enjoyed watching the Braves beat the Marlins in Atlanta with hubby and daughter.
Looking forward to the rest of 2016!