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Friday, April 29, 2022

Friday 5ive- April 29, 2022

The Friday 5ive is back after a long hiatus. I've been away on Fridays for awhile so I have a lot to cover.

1)  I had a big birthday earlier this month, and the celebrations went on for a long time and all were lovely. My kids came over for dinner, and my husband ordered a fabulous chocolate peanut butter cake from 
We Take the Cake, bakery in Miami. He said he knew I secretly loved chocolate and peanut butter, but that is not a well-kept secret- everyone who knows me is aware of that. We all loved the cake, it tasted just like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. The next night we went to dinner at Ocean's Prime and I ordered the Deviled Eggs with Caviar on top. They were delicious, and I graciously shared them with my sons and husband. 

2)  Monday night I was awakened at 3am by loud explosions. It sounded like fireworks right outside my window, and when I opened the window blinds, that is exactly what I saw. It only lasted a few minutes, and the fireworks didn't travel very high, not even above the high rise across the street. There was a lot of chatter on the Nextdoor Neighbors website, with people not believing it was fireworks, but I saw it with my own eyes, and the next day my friend sent me a photo from the street that confirmed it. So there.

3) I am so glad that in-person book events are back! On  Monday night, Adriana Trigiani was in conversation with the charming Willie Geist talking about her fabulous new novel, The Good Left Undone, at the gorgeous Rizzoli Bookstore. (My rave review of the book is here.) Willie Geist started off by saying that interviewing Adriana is like lighting the fuse on a firework- just light it and she's off. (I wonder if Willie has an alibi for later that night....) The standing room-only crowd enjoyed hearing about the wedding that Adriana crashed in Scotland that led her to write the fictional story of the Cabrelli family in Tuscany. The Cabrellis have been gem cutters and designers for generations, and Trigiani told of taking a gemology class at Christie's auction house in New York that helped with her research. 
Adriana covered a lot of ground in this freewheeling discussion and we learned so many fun facts, such as 
1) Adriana had a mad crush on Orson Wells
2) St. Bernard of Clairvaux was not a handsome man
3) Adriana didn't know you could buy Sweet & Low in a store. Her grandmother would take the packets from the restaurant tables and put them in her purse. Her grandmother passed away in 1987 and they still have Sweet & Low packets from her stash.
4) Elizabeth Taylor had size 11 shoes. You never saw her feet in any of her movies.
Yes, the evening was filled with laughs, fascinating information about the creation of The Good Left Undone, and it was so great to see so many people I haven't seen in a long time. It was like the good old days. I even got to meet author Jane L. Rosen, whose terrific novel Eliza Starts A Rumor I sent as Christmas gifts two years ago. I'm looking forward to reading her upcoming novel, A Shoe Storypublishing in June. I can't wait to go to more in-person book events in the future. 

4)  I binge-watched season two of Bridgerton on Netflix, and I have to agree with my friends- season two was better than season one! Season one was all about the sexy with the Duke and Daphne, and season two was about the slow burn romance between Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma. We watched with bated breath as Anthony and Kate fought their mutual attraction as Anthony was to marry Kate's younger sister. Once again we had gorgeous costumes and jewelry (those tiaras!), beautiful scenery, and Queen Charlotte. I love how they deepened the family relationships, we really got to know the Bridgerton family and their friends and frienemies. I can't wait for season three. 

5)  I've read some terrific books. The first one is a true crime book, which is not a genre I normally read. Kathryn Miles' Trailed, about her investigation into the murders of two young women in Shenandoah National Park in 1996 had me riveted. Miles takes us through the missteps into the investigation, the arrest of a suspect whom she doesn't believe is guilty, and the lives of the two young women cut short by a brutal act. My full review is here

Jessica Anya Blau's novel, Mary Jane, comes out in paperback, and I loved this one. Mary Jane lives a sheltered life with her straightlaced parents in 1970s Baltimore. Mary Jane doesn't have many friends, sings in the church choir, and helps her mother cook dinner in order to learn how to be a good housewife. She gets a summer job babysitting for the precocious child of their neighbors, who are decidedly more progressive in their lifestyle. They wander around the house nearly naked, and don't cook meals for their daughter, subsisting on fast food and cereal. When a rock star and his famous singer/actress wife come to stay to be treated in secret by the father, a psychiatrist, Mary Jane is mesmerized by everything going on this household. Blau absolutely nails what it feels like to be a fourteen year-old girl in this wonderful novel, a perfect summer read. 

Next week, I'll share my visit to Boston. Stay safe and healthy all!

Trailed by Kathryn Miles

Trailed by Kathyrn Miles
Published by Algonquin Books ISBN 9781616209094
Hardcover, $27.95, 320 pages

Kathryn Miles is an outdoor expert and she combines that with her award-winning journalistic style to investigate the brutal double murders of two women in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park in Trailed- One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders.

Miles began a teaching job at Unity College in Maine in 2001. A small college in central Maine that focused on environmental studies, it had only 500 students and 30 faculty. Lollie Winans was a student at Unity in the 1990s. Lollie was "confident, egoless, gregarious, and fiercely protective". She came from a wealthy Michigan family, and was a sexual abuse survivor at the hands of her mother's new husband.

Julie Williams was from a conservative religious family "a world traveler, quiet, self-assured and big hearted". Julie and Lollie fell in love and overcame struggles to be together. Lollie and Julie led outdoor excursions for other women, sharing their love of the outdoors with others.

In May of 1996, the two women set out to hike and camp in Shenandoah National Park. Their bodies were found at the end of May at their remote campsite when their dog was found wandering alone. The murders shocked the National Park goers and staff, and the investigators on the case were determined to find the culprit.

There were many problems with the investigation. The murder site was an outdoor campsite, and it had rained before the bodies were discovered. Budget cuts at the National Parks meant that resources, including investigators, were spread thin. FBI agents called in clashed with the park police as how to process the crime site.

The nature and location of the heinous crime made capturing the killer a priority. People want to feel safe in national parks, and this could frighten people away. Investigators narrowed in on a suspect, and in 2002 Darrell Rice was arrested.

Rice had been previously arrested for harrassing a female cyclist, and he was at Shenandoah in May. US Attorney General John Ashcroft held a press conference and announced that Darrell Rice would be charged with a newly established hate crime statue for the murders of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans. 

The case against Rice fell apart, and in 2004 it was dismissed. In 2016, twenty years after the murders, the FBI issued a press release asking for any information that may lead to the successful prosecution of the case, implying that they already had a suspect.

It was at this point that Kathryn Miles became involved. She was a writer at Outside magazine at the time, and she pitched her editor on the idea of writing a long form investigative piece on the murders. She would write of the lives of Lollie and Julie and the FBI's renewed interest in the case.

The murders consumed Miles. She became friendly with the park police investigators, and spent months, years even, going over every detail and possible suspect. She learned all about forensic science, getting to know Ann Burgess who worked on the launch of the FBI's Behavorial Science Unit (if you watched Mindhunter on TV, you saw a fictionalized version of her).

Miles comes to the conclusion that Darrell Rice did not kill the two women, and she zeroes in on another likely suspect. 

Fans of true crime TV shows, and books like Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone In The Dark will want to read Trailed, but it appeals to more readers than that. Kathryn Miles gives the readers a look at flaws in the criminal justice system, not always intentional. We get to know police investigators, FBI agents, Darrell Rice, friends of Julie and Lollie, and especially Julie and Lollie. Miles honors the memory of Julie and Lollie by letting us get to know them as real people whose lives were tragically cut short. 

I am not a reader of True Crime, and yet I could not put Trailed down. 

Thanks to Algonquin Books for putting me on Kathryn Miles tour.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani

The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani
Published by Dutton ISBN 9780593183328
Hardcover, $28, 439 pages

Adriana Trigiani's novel, The Good Left Undone is an epic, sweeping story about a family of artisans in Tuscany, Italy. The Cabrelli family has been creating and selling beautiful jewelry for generations, and now Matelda, the elderly matriarch, is reflecting on her life as her 25 year-old granddaughter Anina is questioning the choices she has made in her own life. The story is told in present day and in the days leading up to WWII where Domenica is a young nurse who runs afoul of the local parish priest and is sent away from her family to Marseille, France to work with nuns in a hospital. She meets handsome Scottish sea merchant captain John McVicars there and quickly falls in love. 

As war approaches France, Domenica is sent to Scotland, and then Liverpool, England, where Italians are sent to an internment camp because the British government feels they can't be trusted, as Mussolini has aligned Italy with the Nazis. Trigiani once again gives us a fantastic generational family story, and layers in a historical lesson that many of us did not know- Italians (many whom had lived in England and Scotland for years) were rounded up and imprisoned based solely on their heritage. (Susan Elia MacNeal's The King's Justice dealt with this topic as well.) This is similar to what the United States did to people of Japanese descent after Pearl Harbor.

One of the best things about reading an Adriana Trigiani novel is that it is a treat for all of your senses.You can hear the tents snapping in the wind at Carnevale, smell apple strudel baking, taste the delicious cherry cake (I would love that recipe!), and see in your mind's eye the beautifully crafted jewelry "glistening like ribbon candy" in its case. 

As someone who grew up attending Catholic school, I appreciated the nuns in the story. The care they provided as nurses to their charges, the kindness they showed to Domenica, the strength they exhibit, these are the women I grew up knowing. One of my favorite scenes occurs when Anina and her fiancé go to their parish priest for advice. The priest is a wise man, who listens to their concerns and relates his best advice- "Forgive.Forget.Repeat."

At a time when we have all missed seeing our family- parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles- falling into this big, beautiful book about, as Matelda says, how "a family is only as strong as its stories" will encourage us to share our own family's stories with each other. And as Father Fracassi says, we must "reflect on the past, (and) make peace with it. You cannot control the evil done to you. You cannot turn back and right the good left undone." There is so much to ponder in The Good Left Undone, it's the kind of book that once you turn the last page, you want to immediately begin to reread it. I give it my highest recommendation. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Three Outstanding Historical Novels

Reprinted from the Citizen:

Historical fiction has gained in popularity in recent years, and there are several wonderful books to savor this spring that drop the reader into a different time with interesting people. 

Kate Quinn has been writing about women who have been heroic during WWII in several wonderful books (The Alice Network, The Huntress and The Rose Code) and her latest entry is The Diamond Eye

Mila is a librarian working on her thesis for her advanced degree in Kiev, Ukraine (part of Russia then) during WWII. She is separated from her surgeon husband, and raising her young son with the help of her family. She joins the Russian army to help defeat the Nazis who are marching towards Russia, causing utter devastation in their wake.

Along the way, Mila shows great skill as a sniper, becoming the most successful female sniper in the Russian army with over 300 kills to her credit (she actually had many more). The Diamond Eye takes us through Mila’s service and her visit to the United States on a publicity tour where she meets and becomes friendly with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. 

Kate Quinn excels at taking the true story of Mila Palivchenko and fictionalizing her life, giving the reader insight into what it is like to be a woman in a traditionally male army. The reader feels the tension as Mila remains silent and motionless looking for her opportunity to complete her missions. The Diamond Eye continues Quinn’s masterful storytelling of women’s contributions during war.

Melissa Fu’s powerful novel, Peach Blossom Spring tells the story of a different war. Like Mila, Meilin has a young son. Meilin and Renshu are on the run in 1938 as Japan begins bombing China. Meilin’s husband is killed in war, and she and Renshu leave their home with her husband’s family to find safety.

They are refugees fleeing war, and the descriptions of people leaving everything behind, walking for days, resonates so deeply with what we see on the news today in Ukraine. Meilin will do anything to save her son and give him as normal a life as she can.

Renshu is an excellent student and receives an opportunity to study in the United States. Here the story of mother and son diverge- we see Renshu’s new life in America and Meilin building a new life for herself in Taiwan.

Fu’s story of the sacrifices a mother makes for her son, and the difficulties Renshu faces as an immigrant who looks very different from others is so beautifully told and creates such empathy in the reader for Meilin and Renshu. Peach Blossom Spring is one of the best books I have read in a long time.

Like Kate Quinn’s The Diamond Eye, Allison Pataki’s novel The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post fictionalizes the life of a woman who actually lived. Many of us have heard the name Marjorie Post, the heiress to the Post cereal fortune. Her story is an amazing one beyond just that. 

As a young child, Marjorie helped her father as he created breakfast cereal for the general public. As his only child, Marjorie inherited the company upon his death. The Post company became a conglomerate over the years, and one of the most interesting facts in this fascinating novel is that Marjorie Post brought frozen foods to the general public when she purchased a small company called Birdseye Foods. Her board of directors were against the purchase, stating that people would not want to buy frozen foods. She persisted, and that purchase solidified her company’s future as she changed the food business in this country forever.

Marjorie Post was a very wealthy woman, and while she was a brilliant businesswoman, she did not have the same prowess in her choice of husbands. She married and divorced three times. 

Continuing with our WWII theme, Marjorie Post was married to a man who became the American ambassador to Russia just before WWII. I found the descriptions of life as the wife of an ambassador so interesting, and Post bought many of the treasures the Russian government was selling off, creating one of the most impressive collections of Russian art anywhere.

As I was reading The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post, I found myself saying “she knew who?”, “she did what?” “she went where?”. The title of this book could not be more perfect, Marjorie Post lived so many magnificent lives. I highly recommend it.

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn- A

Published by William Morrow

Hardcover, $27.99, 448 pages

Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu- A+

Published by Little, Brown & Co. 

Hardcover, $28, 400 pages

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki- A

Published by Ballantine Books

Hardcover, $28, 400 pages

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Healing- When A Nurse Becomes A Patient by Theresa Brown, RN

Healing- When A Nurse Becomes A Patient by Theresa Brown, RN
Published by Algonquin Books ISBN 9781643750699
Hardcover, $27.95, 272 pages

Theresa Brown, an RN who worked in oncology and hospice, is at a followup scan to her mammogram when a mass is found in her breast. She takes us through her journey as nurse and patient in her moving memoir Healing-When A Nurse Becomes A Patient.

Brown describes in intimate detail being told by the radiologist that she sees "an ugly mass". She writes of calling her college aged twin daughters to pick her up and telling her family what is happening, and it puts every woman in her place. We all have that fear in the pit of our stomach when we go for that mammogram.

Brown also shares her story working as a nurse, what she learned there, and the nurses (good and bad) with whom she worked. As the mother of baby twins and a toddler, Brown felt she knew that speed was most important in her work as a nurse. Her preceptor taught her that it was more important to take time with the patient to truly discover what was going on.

Brown's journey as a cancer patient through the medical system in this country was eye-opening for her. As a nurse who worked in a hospital setting one would think she would know how to get the best care, but she had to transverse many mazes to get the treatment she needed.

Like everyone else, she turned to Google for answers to her questions, but that led to what she called "rabbit holes".  She learned to trust the "safe sites- American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and the CDC". She found that some breast cancer blogs and websites sponsored by pharmaceutical companies were untrustworthy.

She shared her experiences choosing a surgeon, having to wait too long for results, and arriving at the outpatient surgical center only to be told brusquely that "she wasn't on the list".  After her surgery, she had to undergo four weeks of radiation threatments, and she takes us along with her.

Theresa Brown has a PhD in English, and her writing is crisp, detailed and informative. She doesn't waste a word in this important and personal memoir. One of Brown's biggest takeaways from this experience is that for-profit health care doesn't work for patients. When the biggest motivator is a profit for health care companies and their shareholders, patient care suffers. 

Her other big takeaway is that "treatment can be imbued with kindness and compassion so that caring for ohers feels like the act of grace that it is." The care that people get should not depend on where they live, their skin color or the amount of money they have. Health care is a basic human right.

Healing is an important book, as most of us will face health care crises either as a patient or as the loved one of a patient. I highly recommend it. Brown is also the author of The Shift, about her work as a nurse.

Thanks to Algonquin Books for putting me on Theresa Brown's book tour.

Monday, April 11, 2022

New in Paperback- Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley

Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley
Published by Algonquin Books ISBN 9781643752600
Trade paperback, $16.95, 321 pages 

The writer Ann Patchett said that a book has to grab her from the first sentence for her to continue reading it. Fiona Mozley's novel, Hot Stew, did just that for me. She immediately sets a stage in her writing, describing Des Sables, a French restaurant that has been in business with very little changes for decades.

Des Sables is in the Soho section of London, and in just a few pages Mozley covers the history of Soho in breathtaking language. We are introduced to some of our large cast of characters. Tabitha and Precious live together in the building above Des Sables, where they and other women rent the rooms to ply their trade, the world's oldest profession. (In Tudor times, brothels were called 'Stews', hence the book title.) Tabitha acts as an aide/maid to Precious, who at the age of 41, may be retiring in the next few years.

Robert is celebrating his 64th birthday with his younger friend struggling actor Lorenzo, at Aphra Benn, a bar on the same street as Des Sables. Paul and Debbie enter the bar, dumping half-filled drinks into a bottle to consume later. Paul performs magic tricks (poorly) for tips, and Debbie is his sidekick. The owner prefers that the bartender show them the door.

Paul and Debbie live in the basement with other unhoused people. A man called the Archbishop rules over the roost there.

Agatha is the wealthy owner of the building where Precious and her coworkers live. She wants to evict them and the restaurant and build luxury condos as Soho is primed to move from its reputation as a Red Light district to an up-and-coming London suburb. Agatha knows some shady characters, and she is willing to use them to get what she wants.

Precious will not go quietly. She encourages the other women to join her in a protest, which catches the eye of the local media, and Precious becomes the face of the movement. She won't give up her home, "a place that you feel has left its mark on you, for better or worse, and also being a place that you've left your mark upon, for better or worse."

Fiona Mozley's writing is exquisite, she paints such a picture of this place that I felt like I was in this neighborhood, looking out my window watching these characters and their actions. (Her essay on the gentrification of Soho at the end is an added bonus I enjoyed.) The way she ties all these people together is astonishing. I was torn between wanting to race through the book to find out what is going to happen and wanting to read slowly to savor the delicious descriptions and words. I will settle for re-reading Hot Stew, and I'll recommend it to everyone I know.

Thanks to Algonquin Books for providing me with a review in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Friday 5ive- April 8, 2022

Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly blog post featuring five things that caught my attention this week.

1) My birthday was on Thursday, and it's a big birthday so there are lots of festivities. My friends from the Book Cellar celebrated with a luncheon with quiche, salad, a delicious lemon blueberry cake, flowers, and gifts. It was delighftul! I came home to find three more floral arrangements- one each from hy husband, my older son and his wife, and my younger son. Our apartment smells and looks fantastic!

 2) My wonderful husband took me to dinner at The River Cafe, just over the Brooklyn Bridge. It's a lovely Michelin-starred restaurant, tucked away in the DUMBO section right on the water. The menu is a three-course prefixe and it was amazing. I had Tortelloni as my first course, handmade pasta filled with butternut squash and buffalo mozzarella, with a crispy pork guanicale that was so tasty. The Black Sea Bass second course was the best fish I've ever had. For dessert, I had the Chocolate Brooklyn Bridge, such an intricately designed dessert. The giant lobby floral display is spectacular as well. It is a special occasion splurge dinner for sure, one I highly recommend.

3) The laundry room in our apartment building got a makeover with all new machines and now there is an app that you can use to start the machines.  You can put money on the app (no more losing your laundry card), use your phone to start the machines, and even get an notification when your laundry is done. It also tells you how many machines are currently in use so you don't have to lug your laundry down the elevator to the laundry room only to find all of the machines in use. Technology can be good.

4) We're watching Showtime's miniseries Superpumped-The Battle For Uber, created by the same people who produce Billions on Showtime. Joseph Gordon Leavitt portrays Uber founder Travis Kalanick, and Kyle Chandler plays venture capitalist Bill Gurley, who heavily invested in Uber. It's a fascinating look at how Uber became the behemoth disrupter it is, and the rise and fall of Kalanick. We are really enjoying this one. 

5) I read two excellent books this week. Fiona Mozley's Hot Stew, is a fantastic novel about the residents in a building in the Soho section of London. A restaurant occupies the first floor, and a brothel takes up most of the upper floors. The owner wants to evict everyone and raze the building to build luxury condos, but the ladies who work in the brothel will not leave. Mozley brilliantly builds her story and introduces us to all the interesting characters, and how they tie into each other. Algonquin Books is on roll publishing so many powerful books like Thrity Unrigar's Honor, Elena Medel's The Wonders and Kaitlyn Greenidge's Libertie. My full rave review of Hot Stew publishes on Monday.
I read a nonfiction book from Algonquin as well. Theresa Brown's memoir Healing- When A Nurse Becomes A  Patient shares her story of being diagnosed with breast cancer and working her way through the health care system as a nurse and patient. She shares her eye-opening experiences, and many of them are not positive ones. I read this one in just a few hours, unable to put it down. My full review publishes on Tuesday. 

Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Summer on the Island by Brenda Novak

Summer on the Island by Brenda Novak
Published by MIRA ISBN 9780778311856
Trade paperback, $16.99, 400 pages

In Brenda Novak's latest novel, Summer on the Island, successful young divorce attorney Marlow Madsen leaves Los Angeles to go to her family's summer retreat on Teach Island in Florida, unsure if she will return to her life in LA. Her father, a longtime respected Senator, has passed away from COVID, and her mother has suffered from MS for years. 

Marlow intends to help her mother pack up the family's other homes in Virginia and Atlanta for sale, and then reassess her life plan. She brought two friends with her- Aida, whom Marlow represented in a difficult divorce, and Claire, a young woman who lost her home and yoga studio in a recent California wildfire.

When Marlow returns home, she finds her grieving mother Eileen and longtime family housekeeper Rosemary, who helps with Eileen's care. Rosemary's son Reese takes care of the house and property, and his older brother Walker is now the town's chief of police.

Walker and Marlow grew up together, and as teenagers their friendship blossomed into something more. Because of their different backgrounds, they grew apart. Marlow went onto college and law school, Walker into police work. 

Things ended badly between Walker and Marlow, but clearly the heat is still there.  (Oh yes, it is steamy in summer in Florida!) Even though Walker does his best to avoid Marlow while she is home, when they are in close proximity things happen.

Marlow's work makes her jaded about love and marriage. She has to deal with Aida's ex-husband who threatened her during the nasty divorce. Although she knows her marriage is over, Aida still remembers the good times she had with her husband. Claire also has to deal with a man- her ex-boyfriend who lied about being married and is determined to win her back.

Summer on the Island is about former loves, secrets, friendship, and how to (or if you should) forgive people who have wronged you. I found the theme of forgiveness intriguing, it really made me think about the topic. Brenda Novak writes characters who are interesting; they certainly have their flaws, and who doesn't love a book with a fabulous beach town setting when the spring weather is so unpredictable? This is another solid book from Benda Novak.

Thanks to Harlequin Books for putting me on their Winter 2022 Women's Fiction Blog Tour.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Friday 5ive- April 1, 2022

Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly-ish blog post featuring five things that caught my attention this week. Happy April Fools' Day!

1)  I attended a mass and ribbon cutting for the new Advanced Memory Care Unit at Archcare at Ferncliff in Dutchess County this week. Timothy Cardinal Dolan said the mass and visited the new unit which is dedicated for people with Alzheimer's and dementia. The unit is so lovely, the walls are painted sky blue and it brightens up the whole floor. The resident dining room even has a decorative fireplace, and lots of windows with a beautiful view. The staff are wonderful too. The residents even sang two songs for the Cardinal!

2)  We stopped for lunch at Foster's Coach House, which has this very cool stagecoach inside the restaurant. My husband's family has been going there for years, and if you ever find yourself in Rhinebeack, NY, stop in. They are known for their London Broil, and where else will you find Lasagna listed under "Side Dishes"?

3) My birthday is next week and it's a big one. The birthday gifts have been arriving early, and they include some really cute bookish stuff from my brother, sister and mom. They know me so well....

4) I watched this week's episode of This Is Us and sobbed through it. Kay Oyegun's script was just brilliant and moving, and if somebody doesn't give Mandy Moore an Emmy for the last two week's performances, there is no justice in the world. She is playing a 60-something mother to three people in their 40's and she is just 37 years old. She is amazing in this role. 

5) I read a fantastic book that will be publishing in June- Matt Cain's The Secret Life of Albert Entwhistle. It's the lovely story of a lonely postman in England whose entire life is his job. When he finds out he must retire at age 65 (which is a few months away), he decides to open up and share his true self with his coworkers and the people on his postal route. With their encouragement, he decides to look for his lost love, a young man he loved as a teenager. It's a beautiful story, perfect for anyone who loved The Guncle (me!) and The Story of Arthur Truluv (me again!)

Have a safe an healthy week.