What I’m Into (August 2014)

What I’m Into (August 2014)

sunset on the river

In August we hit the beach and hosted some of our favorite people here at home, and it’s been wonderful. (Well, minus a few short illnesses and a significant number of sibling squabbles.) But August always feels dichotomous: we celebrate the height of summer, then we dive into crazy last-minute school prep.

We’re in the midst of the latter right now. We ordered school clothes on Tuesday, fall sports started last night, school actually starts next week. (I’m not ready.)

palm trees

The house continues to come together. We ordered one major piece of furniture for the new place and it was delivered last week. It makes a big difference already. I promise, I will show you pictures. Eventually.

In the kitchen

Thanks so much for your recommendations on the blender. I traded in the Kitchenaid (from this post) for a Ninja (the cheaper one that’s on sale at Costco this month). I still don’t understand why the reviews are so fabulous on that Kitchenaid. I like it much better so far, and so do the kids. An added benefit of the Ninja is my kids love making their own individual smoothies for breakfast.

We’re also Whole 30-ing around here. We desperately need a reset after an indulgent vacation.

What I’m watching

We haven’t watched much of anything the past few months, but I’ve managed to stay current on Emma Approved. I was surprised it ended this month—I thought it was going to be 100 episodes like Lizzie Bennet—but I enjoyed the series. Now I want to re-watch BBC’s Emma (the one with Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller, my favorite), and then North and South, and then Wives and Daughters. It’s a slippery slope.

This month we finally watched a movie. No, two! On the recommendation of a friend, we saw Enough Said, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini, was a believable relationship drama with a low-budget feel (and it was only 93 minutes, which sadly was a major plus). We also finally saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which I enjoyed. Now I’m curious about the original.

After seeing Mary Poppins at the theater last month, we’re eager to see Saving Mr. Banks, but haven’t gotten there yet.

Thanks so much for all your movie recommendations on facebook. I pinned them to my movies and shows I want to see pinterest board for safe keeping.

beach reading

What I’m reading

We went to the beach this month, and I packed plenty of beach reading: I read Team of Rivals, Astonish Me, The Taste of Many Mountains, and Cinder. (I promptly requested Scarlet and Cress from my library while we were still at the beach, they were waiting for me when got home. Then I read them in three days.)

I also re-read Crossing to Safety, just because I love it. If you’ve read anything terrific by Wallace Stegner, would you let me know? He wrote almost thirty novels, and I’m not sure which to read next. The only other Stegner novel I’ve read is Angle of Repose.

Currently reading: The Confidence CodeBurnt Toast Makes You Sing Good, and The Cartographer of No Man’s Land.

A funny story about that last one: I used my drive time on Wednesday to catch up on podcasts. The first episode my phone queued up was author P. S. Duffy talking about her first novel, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land, on the Books on the Nightstand podcast. (It’s one of my favorites.) I was so intrigued that when I arrived at my destination, I popped onto the library website and requested it.

I finished my appointment, drove home, and found an unexpected and unordered package of books on my doorstep. And the package contained … The Cartographer of No Man’s Land. Because why not, right?

On the blog

Seeking a fabulous series.

I feel like a jerk every time.

Spinning out.

Why I’m still reading hardcovers in the e-reader era.

Walking in circles.

When reading is rude.

A new page to bookmark: current kindle deals.

Best of the web

On judging books. A thought-provoking letter about the YA kerfuffle that prompted this post here on MMD.

Pounding the pavement to feed my soul at Elizabeth Foss’s newly redesigned blog. I related to this so much.

Why I am leaving the best job I ever had. “As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO.”

Women listening to men in Western art history. This might be a wee bit inappropriate, but oh, it made me laugh.

IKEA 2015 trend report. I can’t resist.

This old man. A wistful and moving reflection on life in the nineties. (Not the 1990s.)

What were you into in August?

Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately. 

35 comments | Comment

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  1. Juanita says:

    I just finished Big Rock Candy Mountain by Stegner earlier this week and absolutely loved it. It reminded me of Angle and East of Eden. Really, really good Stegner.

    • Ginger says:

      Oo! I just came back to say I had just been recommended Big Rock Candy Mountain just yesterday from a trusted source, when I see you compare it to East of Eden, one of my very favorite sweeping family stories.

      Definitely picking it up next!

  2. Ginger says:

    So many goodies to explore.

    I’ll chime in on the original Walter Mitty. I actually loved the Ben Stiller version even more, though the Danny Kaye version has a charm all of its own (which is largely due to Danny Kaye, who I love).

    The James Thurber story is quite good as well, though I will still say that out of the three (new movie, old movie, and short story), the Ben Stiller movie is the best.

    • Anne says:

      Good to know. I’ll probably read the short story first, just because it can’t take too long and looks like it’s easy to get ahold of.

    • liz n. says:

      Watched “Saving Mr. Banks” last night, and loved it! Also went through half a box of tissues (I’m a movie crier, what can I say?). My husband didn’t like it very much, but he was expecting something more light-hearted.

      “Enough Said” was wonderful!!

      I recommend “The Potter’s House” for your next Stegner book. I think it’s my favorite of his, but then I think that every time I read one of his books: this one’s my favorite; no, this one is; this one is definitely my favorite…lol!

  3. We start school this coming week too. Boo!

    Although if I am very, very honest with myself, I think we are in need of a little more routine in our lives by the end of summer.

  4. By the original Walter Mitty, do you mean the short story? I remember reading it as a girl from a big collection my mother had. Loved it. The movie is quite the departure, but it was fun, too.

  5. Tim says:

    Mitty was great. Sean Penn’s brief part made the story make sense, but it was Stiller who made the movie.

    Saving Mr. Banks was good too. The behind-the-scenes story of how they made Mary Poppins was really well done.

  6. Erica M. says:

    I’ve been enjoying Frankenstein, M.D. so far. Victoria has made so many ethics and lab conduct violations it’s brought actual med students out in force on the YouTube comments, but if you think about it this is keeping with how Frankenstein was in the book-he will science things and nothing will stand in his way!

    Right now it’s kind of humorous, but I suspect there will be a deliberate mood whiplash in the future. Either way, I’m not overwhelmingly attached to the original book, so I’m happy to go along for the ride.

    • Anne says:

      I watched the first two episodes yesterday. I’m not as invested in Frankenstein as I am in anything Jane Austen, but I’ll stick with it for a bit, I think. (I loved Lizzie Bennet from the get-go, but it took me a while to get into Emma Approved.)

  7. Raela says:

    Sad face about Emma Approved ending 🙁 I watched a couple Frankenstein eps but may wait until there’s a chunk to binge through since I wasn’t totally in love.

    And oh my goodness, how devastated were you when you saw Winter isn’t coming out until late 2015?! I addictively listened to all three of the Lunar Chronicles and, since I was late to the game, figured the next one would be out soon. Tragic! (First World Book Problems)

    Curious to hear how you like Burnt Toast! Loved her first memoir.

    • Anne says:

      Really devastated. At least Fairest (book 3.5) comes out in January. But that doesn’t actually sound too much better from where we sit in August!

  8. So glad you all had a nice time away. I want to hear all about it! Also can’t wait to see this mysterious new furniture in your house. Must figure out when to visit soon. I am so happy to hear you liked the Lunar Chronicles! So hard to put down, right?

  9. Marianne says:

    I just thought I’d mention that, as an adult, I really enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks. However, it has some very heavy content and is not a “feel good” movie. You will not finish it feeling overly happy. It will change the way you feel about Mary Poppins, so you might want to think about that when deciding whether to have the kids watch it or not.

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for the info. I’ve heard similar things before, and my kids are super-sensitive to screen stuff, so we’re definitely going to watch it after bedtime!

    • liz n. says:

      Agreed, Marianne; it isn’t a film I’d have let my kids watch when they were younger. I think middle school age and up could watch it.

  10. Sarah says:

    The link to Elizabeth Foss’s post goes to one of your posts, which doesn’t have a link to her blog in it. I’ve been trying to read her original post about walking and it never loads on her blog. Ack! LOL.

    I haven’t seen the new Walter Mitty because I loved the original movie (Danny Kaye!!!) so much and I’m not a big Ben Stiller fan. I understand that both movies are different from the book, so I may have to check the book out.

    Saving Mr. Banks was entertaining, but not really accurate. After seeing the movie, my mom and I both read a biography about Travers, and yeah, it was not all rainbows and penguins. Still, it was a fun movie (Tom Hanks was born to play Walt Disney and Emma Thompson is always fun) and it motivated me to add the original Mary Poppins stories to our family library.

    I’m going to have to check out Wallace Stegner. I’ve heard his name before, but don’t think I’ve read any of his books. Do you read children’s fiction? I know you’re into YA (I read Eleanor and Park on your recommendation), but I’ve discovered I enjoy children’s fiction a lot. I just read a fun one I’d gotten for my kids called “the Golden Hour” by Maiya Williams, which is a time traveling story about two siblings whose mother has died (lots of dead or disappeared parents in kids’ books!) and who have been sent to live with their “aunts” in a town that’s not quite what it appears. I also read “Drifthouse” by Dale Peck, which is about three siblings who have been sent to live with their eccentric uncle after 9/11 – more time travel, although it’s much different.

  11. Kitty says:

    North and South and Wives and Daughters?? I thought I was the only one! I refer to them sometimes and no one knows what I’m talking about! I’m fairly new to your blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you for Rule of Civility (WHAT A GREAT BOOK), Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (listened to Frances McDormand’s audio book: BLISS) and Beautiful Ruins. Thanks to you, I’m reading my first book on my phone: Attachments. So fun and the perfect thing when you’re waiting to pick up kids, or for coffee, or whenever. And, I even got the great Kindle deal on it So I’m pretty crazy about you right now! Just wish I could read as fast as you. Lincoln is sitting on my bedside table mocking me.

  12. Shauna says:

    Although it’s not a novel, I really enjoyed Stegner’s The Sound of Mountain Water. I suspect that part of the reason I like it is because I live in the West.

  13. Kara says:

    By way of Lizzie Bennett Diaries and Emma Appoved I just bumped into the Classic Alice webseries and it’s pretty enjoyable. Thought you may like to check it out as well: http://classic-alice.com/

    I just discovered the Lunar Chronicles book series too! So so good! 🙂

  14. Every time I think about watching TV or a movie, I think, “But … I could read instead!” Someday I’d like to finish watching Call the Midwife and Drop Dead Diva on Netflix. I have no patience for TV, though, it seems, and especially not for movies. I think I would like to see Saving Mr. Banks at some point. My daughter is loving Mary Poppins.

  15. Nancy says:

    I loved Saving Mr. Banks but in my opinion is not a children’s/family movie as some may think purely due to the connection to Mary Poppins. I suspected that going in and I was quite surprised by the number of small/young children in the theatre when we saw it. I imagine their parents were sorry about having brought them by the time it was over. I recommend you and husband watch it first to decide if it is/isn’t appropriate for your family.

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