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Book Review of' "The Dutch House" by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett My rating: 5 of 5 stars Since I have been reading a lot of memoirs over the past few years, I have been, seemingly, focused on relationships, particularly how family relationships serve or fail to show caring and /or protect(?) the person writing the story. The narrator of "The Dutch House" is a man (Tom Hanks does a delightful Audible Book performance) although the author, Ann Patchett is not. Tom Hanks does a commendable job of making the male and female characters distinguishable not by employing any "female" voice (a falsetto for example?) which I very much enjoyed and marveled at. He used virtually the same voice tone throughout for both the main narrator and his sister. The author's dialogue provided the distinguishment in who was speaking. So subtle and so grand. The story is award-winning in its scope and complexity, as well as in its wonderful story-telling. Lots of dialogue, and time travel in the lives of the characte
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Book Review of Vi by Kim Thuy

Vi by Kim Thúy My rating: 5 of 5 stars I listened to this relatively short audiobook (3 hours)and was absolutely riveted, but sometimes so sparked by the narrative that I would go off somewhere on my own reflections of the content and have to find my way back. I was never bored in three hours. Nothing seemed gratuitous or contrived. As one reviewer commented, "it seemed so real". "Vi" tells the story of a woman who leaves Vietnam with her children, taking a risky sea voyage without her husband because he appears to be "too lazy" to take the risky voyage with them. Vi is the youngest child, and only daughter in the large sibline. Her mother is a strong and wise, competent woman, but a kind of reluctant Matriarch (not really a feminist). Vi goes about 'breaking ground' for a different sort of life from what her mother would seem to envision for her, and to bust the traditions that wold prevent her from being in the kind of modern love relationship

Book Review for "Run Towards the Danger" by Sarah Polley

Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory by Sarah Polley My rating: 5 of 5 stars I remember the author of the memoirs "Run Towards The Danger" as a delicate, fair-haired little girl in the CBC's "Road To Avonlea" although I have little recollection of ever having watched the program itself. I picked up the ebook with interest only as far as reading something while waiting for some books that I had on order at my local library. What a pleasant surprise! Polley writes about her life in a series of fascinating essays, each 'stand-alone'. She gains the reader's sympathy for the child actor (child laborer, as she often refers to herself) who lived in a filthy home with a latently pedophile (step)father who smoked and watched TV all the time following the death with cancer of his wife, Polley's mother.  In stark contrast to what many believe must be a fun, fairy-tale life as a child actor-- a 'star' in Canada-- Polley des

Spelt and Oat Focaccia Bread Recipe

  HOW THIS SPELT AND OAT FOCACCIA RECIPE CAME TO BE: One day I was browsing the flour shelves in my favorite health food store when another shopper sighed in frustration and gestured at an empty shelf. Evidently it had been the Spelt Flour shelf, which was now 'sold out'.  We entered into one of those conversations based on shopper bonhomie. We both liked spelt flour. It is an ancient grain, but has almost a 1:1 ability to be used in the place of bread flour or all purpose flour, even though it is technically a "whole grain flour" like whole wheat-- but sooo different in its baking profile from whole wheat. It has quite a high gluten quantity, but doesn't require as much kneading. In fact, if you over-mix spelt flour, you end up with that stringy quality that says "high protein" (or rubber bands). It has a nice nutty flavor (again, unlike whole wheat), and a sort of "soft cake-y" texture in some baking. And it is high in fibre-- definitely a pl

Book Review of "Forever Young: A Memoir" by Hayley Mills

Forever Young by Hayley Mills  <-- Get it at Amazon My rating: 5 of 5 stars I was a teen on the prairies of Canada at the time of the British Invasion (1960s). There were many little Anglophiles swarming about in those days-- trying out our British accents, reading British novels, swooning over the Fab4 and other groups, and watching British movies. Hayley Mills was a young British movie star and only a couple of years older than I. I enjoyed her movies-- especially "The Parent Trap". I enjoyed this Memoir. Very much. I learned there was quite a bit I didn't know about Miss Hayley Mills. 10 THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT HAYLEY MILLS   10.   Hayley was an English actress but her mother, born Mary Hayley Bell, grew up in a Missionary family in China, and was descended from New Englanders .  Her mother's family had lived in the United States for several generations. Hayley didn't discover this until she herself was an adult and had worked back and forth between

Granny Reads: A Review of Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson

Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton   My rating: 4 of 5 stars Dolly Parton partnered up with super bestseller writer James Patterson to write this fast-moving story of a young singer-songwriter's arrival and assent in Nashville's country music scene. AnnieLee Keyes is petite, gorgeous, naive, ambitious, and altogether a 'firecracker'. But she also comes with "secrets" and a bag full of demons from her past. The reader will find that the novel is primarily a mystery story with some pretty interesting 'action' as well.  ( Click here or on image left to to to book on or click here to go to . Because it carries a strong theme of writing music for the country audience, there is also a lot of the "values" innate to that industry: cowboy heroes, no flagged LGBTQ+ characters, identifiable violent villains, some with shotguns, and a stark contrast between the super-rich and the very poor and all that says for the reader niche. There

Make your own Haramaki to Keep Your Kidneys Happy All Winter Long...

  Kidneys from "Dreamstime"  In 16th Century Japan, Samari warriors wore a haramaki-- a tight fitting piece of woven armor over their lower abdomen-- stomach, kidneys and other organs were somewhat protected.  Today's haramaki has little in common with the military wraps. In Japan there is a burst of the haramaki on the fashion scene. It is generally a tube that is knit or woven to fit over the abdomen and takes various aesthetic forms, textures and colors.   Keeping Your Core Warm Take 3 minutes to watch this video that will tell you about the benefits of kidney warmers: Along with the fashion surge, there is a recognition in Asia and cold-weather countries in Europe and North America, that the haramaki offers a solace for the kidneys and other organs in the abdomen. The haramaki (or "kidney warmer", "kidney wrap" or "core warmer"-- some of the many names it is called) will boost circulation, which is a great boon for warmth and health. It i