The Constant Reader, Remodel or Not

I have weather whiplash. We had ice Saturday morning. Today it was in the 50’s. Now the wind is blowing a front through, and undoubtedly the temperature will drop again!


Yesterday morning, I could have used a version of this in the ice.

Some of you may know that I am in the midst of kitchen remodel. Yesterday, I had an appointment with an appliance distributor to pick out appliances. And I did. In an hour and a quarter, I got a range, a refrigerator, a microwave that doubles as a convection oven (who knew?) and a disposal. I stayed on the budget in my head, but went a bit over the one I had written on paper. Now I need to pick out flooring and a kitchen faucet. That doesn’t seem too onerous.


Now this is the perfect position…bring on the books!

In the past few months, I have been doing a lot of comfort reading, defined in this case as all the Tommy and Tuppence mysteries by Agatha Christie. I don’t think I ever read them. They are very cozy, with evil people vanquished. Finally I felt up to breaking out of comfort reading and bought a copy of Cathleen Schine’s They May Not Mean To, but They Do. Those of you familiar with Philip Larkin will know that particular line. I have only read one other book of Schine’s and I liked it a great deal. It was called Finn and Lady and told the story of a young boy orphaned and taken into the care of his sophisticated (he thinks at the time) older step sister. It’s worth a read, and so is They May Not Mean To, but They Do.


I am not a fan of coming of age novels. Something about them irritates me. They May Not Mean To, but They Do is a coming of old age novel. It is not a fast read. The plot moves at a stately pace, so that you get to know all the characters well and you also get a little humor in the grim, familiar situation. This book is about all the ways children of elderly parents get it right and badly wrong; about the worry, the anxiety, and the misunderstandings; and about the way a person still in charge of her life can move on in spite of all the well-meant interference. It is a crisp, incisive novel full of empathy and wit.


After that, I turned to the blogosphere’s own Laurie Graves of Notes from the Hinterland. She has written Maya and the Book of Everything and it’s a wild ride. This one does not move at a stately pace, but whirls you along through time (and, dare I say, space) with magic books of knowledge. This is a young adult novel and it takes on issues of knowledge, truth, facts, and the responsibility to use them wisely for the good of the world. There is a hint that it may be the first in a series. I’m beginning to understand all those adults who were reading the Harry Potter books. Write on, Laurie!


Picked green before the last frost and ripened. Slightly better than store bought…

Other than reading, I have tried to use some of the food I had from the garden. I made pumpkin and white bean soup yesterday, and today, I roasted the last of my tomatoes.  At the end of the season, I had so many green tomatoes. Yeah, you can fry them once or twice, make chutney or pickles with them, but I wasn’t keen on any of that, so I set them in a cool place and waited for them to ripen. I had to monitor them, as some were determined to rot first. In the end I had a few to roast with some oregano, olive oil and pesto. They’ll be nice accents in winter rice dishes and stews.


Not much juice in them, but roasted they have some good flavor.

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32 Responses to The Constant Reader, Remodel or Not

  1. A nice update on some goings on in your life! Keep on reading and i agree with the perfect reading position! Xo Johanna

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Lisa – so glad to hear the appliances are chosen and just the faucet and flooring to go …….. Of course there are 20 bizillion faucets to choose from and possibly 10 bizillion different types of flooring, you may fall down a rabbit hole and disappear for a while!

    As we age we begin to understand the unreliability of ‘agedness’. My compass for old age keeps on moving further out……. I was wondering this morning (you know why) at what stage we acknowledge or feel being ‘aged’. Or do we ever? I’ve been listening again to lectures given by Thich Nhat Hanh recently and am blown away by the fact his age is now 90 years. Your first book sounds like a must read – so I’ll put it on the list!

    Book #2 also sounds intriguing, though I have given up on YA novels in latter years. I did read the first Harry Potter as I was teaching at the time and it is always good to know what is grabbing the interest. But I didn’t read any others after that, for no other reason than I didn’t. But I’ll put this on the list too and see what happens. 🙂

    Love your reading position! I’d disappear beneath kitty and puppy if I tried that at home though. Bed remains my favourite reading place, though there is now a chair in my art room which is also inviting…..

    One week to go , hope you have a wonderful break from work and also not too bad weather and time with your loved ones!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      You know, I don’t think we ever feel aged. It’s interesting, because we’re the same people we always were. I could be 27 in my head, though of course I’m not (times what, you might say). I am aware of my years, but feel pretty much like I always have. I don’t tend to read YA novels (too many vampires), but a friend who’s a librarian told me that The Book Thief was a YA novel, so I opened up a bit. I can see the difference in the writing and I can see the teaching going on in them. It really is a craft to write them when they’re good. This one’s just a ripping good adventure story. Have a good Christmas and get some rest during it–even with your visitor(s).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some interesting reviews, Lisa. I may have mentioned that I have more than enough books in my library to last me out. Those tomatoes look tasty


  4. Sylvie G says:

    Glad to hear your kitchen is getting where you want it to be. The tomatoes look fabulous ! A book about coming out of old age ? Does it happen ? Some people were born old, and some young. But the heads and the bodies often say different things.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. KerryCan says:

    You sound very relaxed for someone doing a kitchen remodel! I hate even the thought of all those decisions. I’m still (alway?) in the mode of reading cozy, British mysteries. I’m going to put a stack next to a chair in front of the fire and not move from Christmas to New Year.


  6. Laurie Graves says:

    Oh, my gosh!!!! Thanks so much for wonderful review of my “Maya and the Book of Everything.” I am positively aglow!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jennypellett says:

    How exciting to be looking forward to a new kitchen! You were obviously very decisive with your appliance decisions- I would’ve been procrastinating for ages.
    Like you, I’ve been comfort reading which has detracted from any serious writing. I feel a book review post coming up.
    Those roast tomatoes look well tasty…my favourite salad fruit/veg. So versatile.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: A Snappy Review of Maya and the Book of Everything | Notes From the Hinterland

  9. Brenda says:

    The thought of a kitchen remodel both terrifies and delights me. But I always enjoy the picking out part, although these days all the choices can be a bit overwhelming. I am still waiting to read Laurie’s book because I’m midway through reading The Handmaid’s Tale for a book group. I always avoided reading it because it seemed too horribly depressing. It is. Not exactly comfort reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Well, the remodel doesn’t start until May 15. By that time, I hope to have cleaned and packed the kitchen and given things away. I’ll move out for the 2 weeks to a month it could take. Oy! Margaret Atwood. Grim. Haven’t read anything of hers for a long time. You’ll enjoy Laurie’s book! Stay warm.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    I love reading in winter, but so far there hasn’t been much free time. I’m hoping after Xmas…
    Your tomatoes ripened well. Mine rotted this year, alas. I bet your roasted ones tasted wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. LB says:

    Lisa, I know that I have said this before but your blog is such a comfort. Full of real life, whether contentment (books, gardening, food, photography), disappointment (gardening at times), and home remodel. Thank you for sharing.
    I left SWVA yesterday morning where the temp was 50 and the rain was pouring. Arrived in Atlanta with the windows open!
    Happiness and Happy Holidays to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Karen says:

    It is nice that during this rushed holiday season that you’ve been able to get some moments of relaxation in. Thanks for the book reviews, the first sounds like it would be very interesting. I hope you had a lovely Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. badfish says:

    I wish I had a garden, I live on floor 21 of a condo building! I do have a pepper plant. And a rubber plant.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. One of my favourite poems. My father in law, a published poet himself, would often mutter a few lines when exasperated by family…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a decisive woman you are. Chose all those appliances in just 75 minutes? Impressive.
    I’m glad you read Maya. It’s in my next batch to read and I can hardly wait. As for the other books you mention, Lisa: I have read and enjoyed two of the Tommy and Tuppence mysteries — don’t ask me which now; I forget.
    I love this particular post of yours. Thank you for it.
    Good luck with the kitchen remodel. Send photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks, Cynthia! May was a great book. It really moved. And the thing about the Tommy and Tuppence novels is that, well, it really doesn’t matter which ones you read. They’re all just one long, comforting hoot…Once the kitchen is installed, probably the first week of June, I’ll crow about the results, with pictures! Thanks for coming by! It’s time I wrote some more book reviews, I think. Or at least another blog post.

      Liked by 1 person

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