The Book Nook

**I know I just published one of these Book Nooks last week.  Be patient, I’ve got really interesting, juicy, witty, meaty posts coming up.  Actually, that’s not true but I am trying to buy time is all until I come magically uncaged from blogger’s block.

The Book Nook is my little place to talk about (not to be insanely obvious here…) books.  Because I like to read a book every year or so.  I promise I won’t give anything away (but, things happen).  And, there is a 76% chance that you’ll find this review a complete waste of time because you read the book 10 years ago.  Moving on.

THE BOOK: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help

My thoughts (which most likely carry little to no influence): A wonderfully written novel about African American maids working in the south at the dawn of the Civil Rights Era; with stories and characters that warmed your heart and then ripped your right heart out.  The ending left me yearning some, but I don’t have much more to jabber about than that.  It’s a book that makes you wonder, given different circumstances, if you’d be the type to shrink away from doing what’s right and let the world go merrily along doused in its own viciousness, or would you be the one to take a stand and fight for decency, no matter the consequences?

Grade: A

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)? YES, of course! Hubs is perusing its endearing pages as I type.  I can’t wait to finally see the movie.

What I am reading now: I sailed through the first book of The Hunger Games.  I’ve got the rest on hold (it’ll be a while until they turn up available) and in the meantime, I think I need to attend to the real and fake life (ahem, my blog) that I’ve checked out of to gobble up these past few recent reads…

Coffee Talk Tour

Since Hubs and I work from home now, sometimes we need encouragement to get out of the house.  In an effort to change up our daily scenery, we decided it might be on the right side of fun to take a self paced Coffee Talk Tour of our town and report back to you.  I know.  I bet you aren’t ready for this jelly.

Coffee House: Pekoe Sip House, which we visited way back in 2011, the day after Thanksgiving, when everyone else was probably shopping their brains out.  It was a gray day, but it was only a 10 minute walk to this (franchised) gem.

I award you a hundred engraved disco balls if you spotted me in the picture above.

The sweet sips: Simply, I adore that it’s a “sip” house.  Doesn’t that exude a sense of rehabbing the fury of your days into a deliberately peaceful moment, cradling a drink worth savoring, worth stopping your crazy life for?

On the counter, as we waited for our own drinks to be prepared, was a reminder that even tea can be a beautiful thing if you have the patience to admire it.

Hubs ordered a super spicy chai and I ordered some chocolate mate tea.  He worked and I blogged.  And we both sipped.

The bitter grounds: Of course, since I was born a grump, I have two complaints.  The music was horrendous, which I had to tune out with the headphones I had thoughtfully stashed in my pack.  When it came time for tinkling, I had to go OUTSIDE, two doors down, into a shared bathroom that the entire building uses, as well as the homeless that occasionally swing through.

But, we’ve made our way back since this first visit.  It was an unseasonably warm January day – I wore a tank top! – and we sipped outside.  Sipping is good for the soul, ya’ll.

The Book Nook

The Book Nook is my little place to talk about (not to be insanely obvious here…) books.  Because I like to read a book every year or so.  I promise I won’t give anything away (but, things happen).  And, there is a 76% chance that you’ll find this review a complete waste of time because you read the book 10 years ago.  Moving on.

THE BOOK: Cane River by Lalita Tademy

My thoughts (which most likely carry little to no influence):

I actually finished this book before The Book Thief but decided to put the review on hold because, well, The Book Thief was awesome and Cane River was just meh.  I started reading the thing way back in March-ish but then life cluttered things up (I got lazy) and just barely finished it before the holidays.  The story, based on historical fact, follows a family of a American ‘Negro’ women and how they found the courage to suffer through slavery, the Civil War and it’s the aftermath.  By the end, you find out that the author, Lalita, is actually a decedent of these amazing women, which is pretty special.  A few complaints: it was sincerely hard to keep track of how everyone was related and it was just too long for me.  Way too long.  That’s why it took me a hundred years to read it.  I must say, it’s another Oprah bookclub pick that let me down.

A few things I do admire, even so.  Formerly, the author was a very successful VP for a Fortune 500 tech company, but decided to quit her impressive job to focus on researching her lineage and write this novel in honor of her family’s struggle, history, and courage.  I appreciate her taking that leap to give a shout out to the ladies that laid the groundwork for her own independence and success.

Grade: B-

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)?  Nah, probably not.

** UPDATE: What I am reading now:  I just finished The Help and lordy, it was a good story.  I’m waiting patiently (not a strength of mine) for The Hunger Games now.


Candace’s Crafty Corner: A girly gift bag

I know, I know, I can’t help myself.  I made *one* more craft using those adorable rosettes.  You know the ones.  The ones from here, and here and then again, here.

I turned a boring (if not a little worse for wear) gift bag into a so super cute one.  See?

Sigh.  I think I’ve squeezed as much as I can out of this new found rosette making talent of mine.  Except…wouldn’t one look kinda sweet super-glued to a headband?  Think about it.  I have been so don’t be appalled if it shows up, like the rest of them, in another Candace’s Crafty Corner.  Speaking of gifts and talents, please send any my way, should you have extra.

A Candace Date

You know the spiel.  For Christmas, we swapped some presents but the real gift was choosing to spend time with one another and blah blah blah.  Since I don’t like waiting in line, I chose first.

It’s a total repeat of last year because I’m a simple lady, that or my brain is too small to come up with anything different.  Unlike last year, to Hub’s dismay, I had it in my wrinkly forehead that a SUNRISE run in the mountains would be all the more special.  Think of the grand pictures we would take!  How could he say no; I mean it was my date after all?

A break for some science:  Based on a lot of things, like the Earth’s axis and complicated stuff we learned at one point but replaced it nonchalantly with Jersey Shore quotes, the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.  The mountains are West of us.  So, as you would guess, my visions of sun soaked mountain glory didn’t quite happen, but don’t fret, the story still has a happy ending.

Hubs and I shivered all the way to Wonderland Lake trail.  He was less than amused by the murderously chilly air.

We set off for an easy run.  It was quiet except for the crunchy snow (or maybe that was my kneecaps grinding together?) and my excited chatter.  Proof there was actual running because you know how I get when I start telling stories:

Proof also that my hair looked too stupid to take any close ups:

We snagged a sunrise over the suburbs with our backs sulking against the mountains

and then headed home for some fresh-out-of-the-oven sticky buns for breakfast.

See, I told you it had a happy ending.

Raves & Faves: DECEMBER

I know we are in full 2012 swing but here is my Top 7 (yes, 7) list of December loves. In other words, another chance to List thing-ys. *claps*

1.  Homemade Christmas presents.  Hubs made me a mixed-tape, my brother-in-law made us some incredible wine infused jelly (blackberry blush, chardonnapricot and sangria- did you just die of jealousy?), my MIL made me earrings and my own stocking, and Miss Tai (whom you all probably know) made us some homemade soap.  Love, love, love them and feel all mushy and thankful inside.

2.  Tenderfoot Trail hike with Hubs.  I know we haven’t even come close to exploring all of what this beautiful state has to offer, but we are doing our best.  Oh, and also, I may have sported my snowflake knee highs again…

For old knee high time’s sake, click here and here.

3. Skype.  It made being away from family easier to take.

4. The movie, Crazy, Stupid Love.  You should check out, if only for Ryan Gosling’s abs,  it’s (they’re) really cute.

5.  I’m helping out with pre-season track training at the high school (they are hard core, I tell you).  It’s a gift; I get to see familiar faces from my adorable cross country team but this time around, I’m able spend more one on one time with them.  We alternate days lifting in the weight room and running in the mountains and if I survive it all, I think it’ll be a good experience.

6.  COOKIES.  Need I say more?  Paired with Hub’s home roasted coffee and you’ve got one heck of a nice day.

7.  Capping off the year with holiday sweet potatoes, eggnog, pressies, adventures, and love.  2011 sure was a special one!

December melted away to uncover a brand new year.  You ready for it?

(To see what I was raving about last last year, click here.)