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What’s On Your Nightstand? H.A.G. Reads for November

The Best Kind of People
Zoe Whittall
Ballantine Books (September 19, 2017)
448 pages

Links within the post are affiliate links (read full disclosure). Book received via NetGalley as an ARC.

Opening Line(s) of the Book: (after the Prologue)

Sadie turned seventeen years old on top of her boyfriend, Jimmy, in the Woodbury family boathouse.

Honestly. If you don’t love the first line, you might want to skip this one as the content, doesn’t get much easier. The premise of the book is do we ever really know another person? What makes a well loved, well respected adult, a suspect for a heinous act like inappropriately touching or talking to a young person? Did he actually do this? He is a father, a teacher, a husband, a hero who saved the school from a shooter years ago. But today, he is accused of these horrible acts on several young girls.

The book has come to print at such a perfect time to read about these characters, as we ourselves are immersed in the news of such well “known” and respected people who are not just good at their jobs but are also accused of such disgusting acts as forcible or coercive sexual acts with people with less power…It is a hard subject, but handled in a very realistic way in the book, leading the reader to understand that people have many sides to them. It is not enough to just say, “but he was such a great man.” He could be that, but also be NOT that.

What I like about the book is the many layered approach of innappropriateness: a helpful adult who isn’t all that helpful, but actually crosses the line himself in trying to comfort a young person; a gay teacher who befriends a young man and starts a “relationship” with him, that has never been seen as inappropriate until now; a field trip that has children with little to no supervision now accusing a teacher of touching them.

Lots of very real, very possible situations happen in the book, and I sort of wonder about the fact that it wasn’t tied up neatly. The ending is actually unsettling to me possibly because it could actually happen this way…the way I didn’t want it to. Or it was just poorly written and rushed. Only the author knows…

Favorite Line:

No one saw it coming.

Overall Take:

I liked it. I was kind of disappointed in the ending. I have to say, it left me wanting a bit. I was also confused with one thread that seemed to not get tied up in the end, which makes me wonder if it did get addressed, and I missed it? If I did, it wasn’t explicit- It sort of felt like she got sick of writing her own book and just needed an ending.

I literally wanted to get to reading this one- it was a page turner, the characters likable, and the story very compelling. With everything that is going on right now with the inappropriate touching, advances by older men to young women and men, I picked up this book at a most opportune time! I always try to put myself in the shoes of the characters of the book, and it was truly easy to do this. Her characters were very real and well rounded, but the way it didn’t quite come together completely in the end, takes it to a 3 out of 5 for me. Meh.

Recommend with reservations because of the ending. If she writes another book though, I am definitely picking it up.

My OTHER books being read:

Can’t finish: The Child, by Fionna Barton- just can’t get into it.

Still working  on: NW, by Zadie Smith- loving it, but it is right in the middle and dragging a bit.

Reviewing and not loving: The Four Tendencies, by Gretchen Rubin- I might be over self-help.

What’s on YOUR nightstand?

Links within the post are affiliate links (read full disclosure). Linked up with  Book BeginningsBookDateWhat’s on your nightstand?

ultimate coffee

Ultimate Coffee: October Coffee Chat

It’s that time of the month- NO! I mean, it’s time for coffee chat! Oy!

So, what I would tell you if we were having coffee together this fine Saturday, is:

This is sort of how it’s been going! I am saying the exact wrong thing at the wrong time, at the wrong volume! Funny to me, and harmless most of the time, but mostly I just walk around hoping that I didn’t just offend someone!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you,

Personally, my kids are doing great and are healthy. Bruises that they might have are from each other and not bullies so we’re good there. We are getting great grades so far, and one is getting her braces off this month- so fun! We have a birthday to celebrate at the end of the month, and Halloween too. So my kids are gearing up for some serious fun around here, including carving some pumpkins very soon!Making pretzels with kids is so fun! And delicious!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you,

My half marathon went nowhere and now my marathon plans are sort of de-railed. I have bronchitus. My daughter has strep, so at least I don’t have that! Bronchits is sort of worse for me, as it typically takes forever for me to get over- I haven’t run at all in over 10 days- not horrible unless you are mid-training and I am. So I can’t do this weekend’s planned half-marathon, and I am not sure I’ll be able to do the marathon- hoping I can find a November or December marathon though in the NY, CT, MA, NH, RI area….anyone know?

Yes. Yes, I can.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you,

On the food side, this blog just ended #PumpkinWeek- which is all things pumpkin, all the time. I never realized how many pumpkin recipes that I already have- seriously I have a lot:

Pumpkin Mousse Mini Pies
Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce
Pumpkin Nut Crumble Cake
Mom’s Best Pumpkin Bread
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Loaf
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Granola
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpotchies (oatmeal cookies with pumpkin)
Pumpkin Corn & Crab Soup
Healthy Pumpkin Pudding

See?!! And I don’t LOVE pumpkin the way you’d think by looking at this list. I clearly do really like it a lot though! I like chocolate a whole lot more…and that’s why I am so excited October is also #Choctoberfest in these parts! Chocolate all the time on this blog coming up, the 16th-21st! Stay tuned for that, since a TON of other food bloggers are in on this and there are sure to be a boat-load of yummy recipes to pin for your next chocolate fix!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you,

My other blogging goodie that I have been promoting is the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. Have you seen this? If you are blogger anyway, this is a goldmine of resources-  I am an affiliate, but I also have experience with a couple of the resources that are included and it is sort of mind-blowing the money you save if you were to buy it all- but it is an investment, so if you aren’t serious about your blog making money, then this may not be your guy- It’s only available until Monday the 9th, so check it out HERE (affilate link).

Weeeelll. That is about it.  Oh! And I read 2 really great books:

Station Eleven


Still Here

Now, that’s it. I’m Out. Happy October!! I am linking up with the other Ultimate Coffee folks too, at Confessions of a Mother Runner if you want to check out all the fun!




What’s On Your Nightstand? H.A.G. Reads for September

Hey y’all. I have another book review for you today. I wasn’t going to put this as it’s own post but I cannot stop thinking about this book. I am sort of in a place where I know I will be going over this in my mind for a while and so to that end, I am putting these thoughts to words here- in case you were debating on reading it… Read this.

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel
Knopf, 2014, 352 pages

Opening Line(s) of the Book:

The King stood in a pool of blue light, unmoored. This was act 4 of King Lear, a winter night at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.

Not too gripping, right?

Well, read on. These first few lines are just setting the stage (sorry, not sorry for the pun) for the rest of the book. Going back and forth through time, the book begins with a major event one night in Toronto which sets in place a series of events that change life as we know it, into one where only a few survive and these survivors try to find a way to survive and also live in this new world.

The life of Arthur Leander, a famous actor, sets the backdrop for the story. As his life unfolds, so does the scenery, the characters, and the story. It’s a doomsday book, with an upside. It doesn’t leave us hanging at the end- it finishes. It wraps up nicely in a way that left me feeling more reflective and satisfied that I greatly benefited from reading this book. Yes. A reading win.

I loved the subtley of this book- there is no horribly grizzly scene of the world’s end.The collapse of the world is fast. So fast that it is surprising-  but it is quiet. People just disappear and there is no way to contact them- The internet, electricity, vehicles don’t work anymore and become after time, a thing of only memory; memories are hard to come by with so many dead. The value of keeping the history alive and teaching what was to the children and other survivors is a theme. The book’s Museum of Civilization is seemingly a museum of just things: a high heel, a driver’s license, a comic book. But the importance of these things, and of the preservation of them is so…well, librarian…so basic to my values of remembering our history and artifacts, that I totally loved this idea within the book.

The author has such a knack for depicting a futuristic view without making it a science-fiction future that we can’t imagine. Her devastating future is tangible. We can see how it could happen- making it the scariest book that I’ve read in a while.

Favorite line:

“Survival is insufficient.”

Depicted as a tattoo and also painted on the lead caravan of the nomads, it’s a line from Star Trek: Voyager (Sept. 1999, Ronald D. Moore). I love it, because A) I love that it’s from Star Trek- the most well known sci-fi world that we have had the pleasure of experiencing both on TV and in comic book form- but also B)  I love the words themselves: Reminding us to LIVE. Not just survive. Notice. Experience. Do. Be. But also, of course, stay alive.

'Survival is insufficient.' Reminding us to LIVE. Not just survive. Notice. Experience. Do. Be. Click To Tweet

Favorite Exchange:

“Are you asking if I believe in ghosts?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Yes.”

“Of course not. Imagine how many there’d be.”

“Yes,” Kirsten said, “that’s exactly it.”

Touching on what happens after doomsday event…I am so glad the book addresses how blindly we would follow…or who we’d follow…or what we’d believe if only to find the familiar. Good questions here.

Overall Take:

I loved it, obviously, and highly recommend, and not only for science fiction lovers. If you love history or present day contemporary fiction, I think you would appreciate the currency of this novel- it is so full of imagination, but also grounded by our very real lives today.

The rest of my nightstand is atrocious! I have at least 10 books on there and the pile is just growing. Why? I have time. I have no idea why my progress is so slow, but then, it’s not a race is it? No. Quality, not quantity, my friends.

What’s on YOUR nightstand?

Links within the post are affiliate links (read full disclosure). Linked up with  Book Beginnings, BookDate, What’s on your nightstand?