Links: Reading, Cooking, Listening & Building

I went through a reading drought after I moved back up to Oregon. I just didn’t have anything that really made me want to read. (Plus, I thought I lost my Kindle when really I had put it in the glove compartment of my car for safe keeping and forgotten about it.) A serendipitous book find at the Salem Library and the rediscovery of my Kindle got me back into the reading flow. I’ve read through really good books in the last 3 weeks or so:

1) All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg

This book is about three very different women who are brought together in a surprising way by a common life circumstance.  Written in the voices of all three women, in alternating chapters, this book doesn’t at all feel like it was written by a man, much less an ESPN anchor. It was engaging from the first chapter and a really quick read.

2) The Epicure’s Lament by Kate Christensen

I hate to say it but I don’t normally read woman authors all that much. Recently, though, I’ve found myself enamored of two different female authors who, happily for me, have each written several books so I can work my way through their catalog for months to come. This book chronicles a hermetic old curmudgeon who has embraced his terminal disease and is purposefully accelerating his own passing. Family members from whom he had been estranged come back into his life and their intrusion causes him to change his ways and embrace, or at least allow, some relationships to shape his world. Although the conclusion of the book was easy to see from the beginning, the author makes her way there skillfully and never lost my interest. I also enjoyed this book for its literary qualities; I’ve rarely had to look up as many words when reading a book as I have with this one.

3) The New Republic by Lionel Shriver

Finally, The New Republic is the story of a rookie reporter sent to cover an insurgent, terrorist movement in southern Portugal after the disappearance of his paper’s star journalist there. When he arrives he realizes that all is not as it seems and sets about to uncover the truth of the situation. As with other of Shriver’s books that I’ve read, this one drags a bit in the middle but, when I reached the end, seemed well-worth the journey. I would also recommend her book The Post-Birthday World.

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I try to cook all my lunches for the week over the weekend. Then, during the week I just pull the tupperware out of the fridge and I’m good to go.

This weekend I tried two new recipes both of which were really good. I got them from this website: neverhomemaker.com/

Pumpkin chili: http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2010/10/new-and-improved-pumpkin-chili-recipe.html

Olive-oil cornbread: http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2011/11/olive-oil-skillet-cornbread.html

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I have my podcasts I’ve been listening to forever and love (NPR Fresh Air, WTF, & All Songs Considered, among others). Lately, though, I’ve introduced a new one into the mix: You Had to Be There with Sara & Nikki. I would describe them as funny, awkward and usually pretty narcissistic but in a manageable way. If you like trashy reality shows, (which I do), I think you’ll like this podcast.

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I’m so glad I’ve also put an end to my knitting drought! Other than a couple of baby’s hats, I didn’t knit anything in Rwanda! Now I’m back in Oregon and, after not having temperatures lower than 60 degrees for about 18 months, 50 degree nights are feeling pretty chilly! So, I’m decided to knit a blanket. After much searching around I chose this pattern: Whit’s Knits Super Easy Lap Blanket from the Purl Bee. I chose because it’s simple to knit, colorful & classic. I have a lot of motivation to knit quickly because it’s getting cold!

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Last but not least, I’m also trying to decorate my new apartment. My friend Celia‘s friend Ashley has an adorable blog where she writes about (among other things) her DIY projects. I’m planning on doing this one and this one.

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