Cover Snapshot of Read Books

Sara's bookshelf: read

Crazy Little Thing
A Kiss at Midnight
The Disenchanted Widow
Hollywood Wives - The New Generation
There Goes the Bride
Table for Five
Do Not Disturb
The Husband's Secret
The Ugly Duchess
Help for the Haunted
The Power Trip
The Haunting of Maddy Clare
Summer At Willow Lake
Every Crooked Nanny
The Mystery Woman
The Woodcutter
How to Be an American Housewife

Sara's favorite books »

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Downsized for a Year; Living Without

What household items could you live without for a year? I think you’d be surprised. Almost a year ago, I thought we would be in a 700 sq ft apartment for a mere 3 months, totally doable while we waited to move into our 2000 sq ft house. And I let almost all of my household goods from our 1700  sq ft house go into storage while taking a few things that I could squeeze into a tiny apartment.
 Today, almost a year later, I am about to get my household belongings back. What have I missed the most?—the bed-frame. I knew that our bed frame was heavy and I cannot carry heavy items, so I put the frame into storage. Imagine your bed on the floor, constantly pushing away from the wall and hard to get out of in the morning, because it is so low to the ground!

 I don’t even remember how many plates I actually own, but I do know now that 6 dinner plates are not enough for two people. Who knows how many plates a small household goes through in a day? So, I am excited to get back my full set of plates, and glasses and coffee mugs. The little things, right?

 Other things I worry about—I had the movers put some pantry items into storage. Canned goods last a few months, right? Boy, what are we in for when we finally get our items back? I would bet that some food items have expired. Egad!

 And clothes, what about clothes? I would totally redo that. I have wardrobe boxes of clothes in storage, clothes that I cannot remember. Oh and there is major regret at bringing work clothes and interview clothes. When we were moving, I had a job lead and had planned on interviewing—that never came to fruition. So, all of my dress clothes were never really needed.

Books, I know you are asking about books. Yes, I packed a box of "to-read" books. Again, thinking it would only be a few months, I let most books go into storage. My worry now, is that when I am unpacking my books, I will have already re-bought books that I perhaps already owned. A year is a long time, and I do not remember what books I may have in storage.

 In conclusion, I wish I had brought the coffee table, the crock pot, more lamps and a bed frame. I would never have the movers pack pantry items. I am thankful that we packed seasonal clothes from shorts to jeans from tanks to fleece. Yes, I can live without half of my clothes, shoes, dishes, furniture, and most likely you could as well.

I am so thankful and happy to be getting my household items back. Some people have said that it will be like Christmas, but I think we will be asking ourselves if we couldn’t have given more to Goodwill.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Let Us All Eat Cake

In the beginning of Eat Cake Ruth reminisces about life before everything fell apart—back when her mother lived independently in another state, back before her daughter became a sour teenager. Looking back, Ruth would remind herself that those were the good old days. And of course, as life is so unpredictable, the times at Ruth’s house are about to get worse. That very evening, her husband comes home to share with the family that he has been laid off from his job; the family’s sole income is now in jeopardy. All this means that Ruth must bake, making cakes is what she does when she needs to think, to relax.

And, I do like this quote…too true
“Cake has gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert.”

Of course, when it rains, it pours. With her household in limbo as her husband now has no income and no job, this is the time for Ruth’s estranged father to call from the hospital desperate for help. Of course!

Despite the series of events that lead to the distress and chaos of the household (layoff, both parents moving in, a moody teenager), this book was fresher and sweeter than the lugubrious Olive Kitteridge which was our previous book club read. Somehow this book was much easier to read—I love that Ruth would escape into the kitchen and bake her heart out. She seemed to me as real as Olive, yet much more a person I would want as a neighbor or friend and not just because she gives away cakes. Okay, the cakes would be a major PLUS! Wouldn’t you just love to sit in the kitchen and watch Ruth bake?

I was a teeny-wee bit disappointed to note that every recipe was "a reprint of previously published material." Didn't you just want the author to have been inspired by her grandmother's famous (handwritten recipe) cake? It seemed to me that not one cake was from Jeanne Ray; all were from cookbooks or magazine articles, bummer.

 All in all, the mishaps that occur in Eat Cake are much lighter and simpler than a heavy novel. I needed a simple warm slice of cake novel. And, lucky me it was my birthday month, so I did get a yellow cake with butter cream--oh I craved that cake! Perhaps not the best book if you are on a diet as the delicious cake descriptions will bring out the frosting and sweet cravings.

Eat Cake was written by Jeanne Ray and is available in trade paperback and discount hardback