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Friday, August 5, 2022

Friday 5ive- August 5, 2022

Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly post featuring five things that caught my attention this week. It really is the Dog Days of Summer, this heat is crazy, even for August.

1) The Beach Club Book Club had our annual meeting at the beach club of one of our members. We read Adriana Trigiani's epic family novel, The Good Left Undone, and had a lovely luncheon. Our discussion of the book led us to talk about our own families, and the things we don't know about them but would like to.  Matelda, the protagonist of the novel, would have been pleased with us as one of the best quotes from the book is "Families are only as strong as their stories".  
Our host Kerry and her sister Kathy shared that their grandmother worked in vaudeville. She showed us photos and letters, and they even have a poster featuring their grandmother hanging on their wall. It was fascinating. We talked about the things our families have handed down, and many of those are family recipes, which we share in books, on printed tea towels, and wall hangings. Our desserts kept with the theme, with Italian cookies, cannolis and sfoglia (a nod to the Italian characters) and Scottish shortbread (in honor of Matelda's father, Scottish seaman John Lawrie McVicars).
Mary Beth printed two quotes from the book to inspire us, and she brought prosecco to toast to Matelda before we adjourned. Kerry even gave us each a lovely pin with our initials on it to commemorate Matelda's family business,  designing and creating jewelry. It was the perfect ending to another delightful Beach Club Book Club meeting.
Toasting to Matelda and Adriana Trigiani
Two of our favorite quotes from the book

Italian and Scottish-themed desserts

A jeweled initial pin was gifted to remember our discussion 

2)  As I was doing my laundry at 6:30am, it occured to me how much we depend on our phones for everything. The laundry room in our building now has an app (Hercules Mobile) that allows you to pay for your laundry without having to use a laundry card. You can start the washer and dryer with the app, refill the app with your credit card (and not have to worry if I have $20 in cash to refill the card), and the app will notify your phone when your laundry is done. It is also supposed to give a room status update so you can know if there any machines available for use, but this has not been working as of late. 
And speaking of a card I no longer need, you can use your phone to pay for subway rides. Every subway station now has Omni pay, so you can open your Apple wallet or credit card and tap and pay for your rides. This is all very convenient, as I hate digging around for cards in my wallet. However if I lose my phone, well I guess I won't be able to do laundry or go anywhere. 
When the app works, this is a great feature

3) I saw on our local news this morning that certain branches of the New York Public Library will be having a Dance Party on Saturday, August 6th. The Webster branch where the bookstore I volunteer is located is not on this list, however we at the Book Cellar will be having an all-day Dance Party while we sell books. Shall it be Disco, 70s, or 80s music tomorrow?

4)  I binge watched all eight episodes of the wonderful Uncoupled  on Netflix this week. Neil Patrick Harris is amazing as an almost-50 year old gay man who, on the night he throws a huge surprise 50th birthday party for his boyfriend of 17 years, discovers his boyfriend has moved out of their apartment. He is completely shell-shocked and turns to his friends (the fantastic Brooks Ashmanskas as an artgallery owner, Marcia Gay Harden as an Upper East Side divorcee, and Tisha Campell as his partner at a real estate firm) for help. Now that he is back in the dating scene, he finds it's a different story now that he is not in his twenties. If you liked Sex and the City, you'll love this. (It's created by Darren Star who did SATC.) It's poignant and funny and the New York setting is breathtaking. 

5) It was another busy week, but I managed to I read two books. Katie Gutierrez's novel, More Than You'll Ever Know, is one that true crime fans will want to read. Cassie writes about true crime for a website, something that she wishes paid better. When she comes across a newspaper story about a woman who was married to two men at the same time- one in Laredo, Texas, one in Mexico City- and one of the husbands killed the other one nearly thirty years ago, she wants to find out more. Lore was married to Fabian and they have twin sons. Lore has a good job at a bank, and she travels to Mexico for work frequently. Fabian's decorative ironwork business runs into problems as a recession decimates his business. He moves from Laredo to Austin to try and save the business while Lore remains home with their teenage sons. When she meets Andres in Mexico City, she is entranced by him and falls in love. How she ends up married to two men at the same time intrigues Cassie who manages to get Lore to agree to tell her story so Cassie can write a book about her. Gutierrez writes a compelling story, and she puts the reader inside the heads of these two intriguing women. It's a fascinating character study as well as a mystery, and the truth of what exactly happened the night of the murder consumes Cassie, as well as the reader. See if you can guess the ending. (Bonus- you'll be able to practice your high school Spanish.)

Jean Meltzer's new novel, Mr. Perfect on Paper, tells the story of Dana Rabinowitz, a third generation matchmaker. She updates her family's business when she creates the succcessful J-Mate, an app for Jewish people looking for a marriage mate. Dara has General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and one of the only things that calms her is listening to a police and fire scanner app. When Dara and her bubbe (grandmother), 90 year-old Miriam, appear on Good News, a national afternoon show with a small audience, Miriam embarasses Dara by sharing a list Dara made called Mr. Perfect on Paper.  The list is an extremely detailed description of the perfect man for Dara. Their segment goes viral much to Dara's dismay. The host of Good News, handsome single dad Chris Steadfast, decides that the only way to keep his show from being cancelled is to set Dara up on dates to find Mr. Perfect. Dara reluctantly agrees, knowing the publicity will help her company. Dara dealing with her GAD elevates this romantic novel, and as someone who isn't very familiar with Judiasm, I appreciated learning about the history and culture. (I also liked Meltzer's first novel, The Matzah Ball.) My full review posts on Tuesday.

Have a safe, healthy, cool week. Don't forget, you can support independent bookstores (including the Book Cellar) by buying books on Bookshop.org.

You can find this post and other food-related posts on Weekend Cooking at The Adventures of An Intrepid Reader.  

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