Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly-ish post featuring five things that caught my attention this week. Like everyone else last week we were glued to out TV sets watching Hurricane Ian as it headed for south Florida. We have been thinking about everyone who lost so much, it was just devastating.
1) After reading Madeline Martin's fascinating novel, The Librarian Spy, set in WWII Lisbon, Portugal, I felt it necessary to look for a local Portuguese restaurant that makes Pastéis de Nata. I walked by Le Réveil Coffee & Bakery, and ordered a few of the tasty custard-filled breakfast pastries. They were everything I expected after reading (drooling) about them in the book. I will be back.
2) I completed two virtual bike rides on Conqueror Challenges in the last few weeks. The first one was a long one- 828 miles along the Ring Road in Iceland. It took me 107 days from start to finish on my daily Peloton bike rides, only missing a week or two due to vacation and illness. The second one was a short one, the 125 mile Florida Keys ride, which only took me two weeks. Next up are two England rides.
3) Speaking of Peloton, I took a hugely entertaining spin class featuring music from the Broadway show Moulin Rouge. Bradley Rose and Sam Yo teamed up to lead the class, which I have taken three times so far. For me, the best classes feature music I can sing along to. The music from that class has been on repeat on my Apple library while I work on my computer. (It's on now as I type and yes, I am singing.)
4) I started watching Reboot, a sitcom on Hulu. The co-creator of Modern Family Steve Levitan's new project is about the reboot of sitcom from the 1980s. Rachel Bloom (My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) stars as the new showrunner and leads a brilliant cast consisting of Paul Reiser as the executive producer from the 1980's version who wants back in, and Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer, and Johnny Knoxville as the original cast members who reunite after some tough years. I laugh from beginning to end of each episode, and whenever there is a scene set in the writer's room featuring the original writers from the 1980s version and the new generation of young writers, I laugh even harder. Those scenes are so inappropriate and hilarious. Don't miss this one.
5) I've tried to be better about reading every night, but sometimes I'm just too tired. I finished three good books in the last few weeks. Carter Bays, co-creator of How I Met Your Mother has written a creative novel titled The Mutual Friend. I bought this one off the Staff Recommends shelf at Bookstore1 in Sarasota, Florida. A group of people living in New York City are interconnected through various relationships, and the book is narrated by a narrator not revealed to the reader until the end. There is a lot here about the dangers of social media and our obsession with the constant presence of our phones. It took me awhile to get into this one with its multiple characters, but once I did I was hooked, and the end will make you smile.Have a safe, healthy week, and don't forget to get your flu shot.
Moving from the big city to a small town in Texas, I read Bobby Finger's delightful
The Old Place because it has garnered so many rave reviews. Mary Alice is a teacher forced into retirement who lives for her morning coffee sessions with her neighbor, Ellie. Ellie and Mary Alice have a special connection as they both lost their teenage sons. Mary Alice is determined to make life miserable for Josie, her replacement at school, a young woman from New York City who married the scion of the town's wealthy family. Anyone from a small town will enjoy the setting and relate to the characters living there. The preparations for the big town festival fundraiser had me laughing and nodding my head in recognition. Although billed as a humorous story, there is some sadness here, just like in real life.
I never miss a book from author Anne Leigh Parrish. Her previous novels (Our Love Could Light the World, The Amendment, A Winter Night) have dealt with families living in the Finger Lakes region where I'm from, and have contemporary settings. Her latest novel, An Open Door, is an historical novel set in the aftermath of WWII. The main character is Edith, a young woman working at the UN in New York City and married to a man studying to be a lawyer and living in Boston. Edith enjoys her freedom in New York living with her husband's widowed aunt, so her decision to return to her husband in Boston is fraught with complications. She feels stifled with her life as a housewife, and when an opportunity to buy the neighborhood bookstore along with two other people comes along she sees this as a chance to do more with her life. No one writes characters better than Anne Leigh Parrish, and Edith is no exception. Parrish takes the reader into the heart and head of her characters so brilliantly that we relate and understand them, even when they do things with which we disagree. My full review posts here on October 18th.
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