Recent Reads

A Scattered Life, by Karen McQuestion
This was an Oprah’s book club pick, and I’m not really sure why she chose this book. It centers around Skyla, a happily married, if slightly bored, mother, whose life begins to change as she takes on a job at a local bookstore and befriends her flighty new neighbor, Roxanne. The book’s themes include recognizing that what you have is enough to make you happy, as well as how to love those around you.
It sounded so good, but honestly, this one fell flat for me. The main character’s problems and feelings weren’t well developed, which made the solutions less impactful, and it felt like nothing happened until the last 20 pages. I flew through this in a day- it wasn’t boring, just not amazing or all that thought-provoking.
I love biographies, entrepreneurial stories, and Lilly Pulitzer, so this was a win for me. There are a few chapters where the author gets into a deep and detailed “who’s who” of 1800 and 1900s high society, which I could have lived without. But overall it’s an interesting read, with lots of great stories of Lilly’s life and business. 
For full disclosure, I’m only 2/3 through this book, but I’m loving it so much I wanted to share already.  The author, Patty Chang Anker, finds herself living a life very limited by fear, and for the sake of her children, chooses to begin to face that fear. The book starts off with her boogie boarding to face her phobia of the ocean, and moves into other common fears like flying and public speaking, before progressing to deeper topics such as death and loss. 
Anker is such a warm, real person, and it comes through vividly on the page.  She candidly shares her experiences, providing honest, uplifting, yet realistic assessments.  Reading the book is like having a conversation with a friend. It’s helped me to see that the way my brain frames situations or events are not always this concrete truth, and that fears and supposed inabilities can be challenged for a more fulfilling life.   
What’s a Hostess to Do? by Susan Spungen
Susan Spungen was the food editor for Martha Stewart Living magazine, and penned this book as a guide for hostesses of varying experience levels throwing all sorts of parties.  It’s divided into chapters on various occasions and holidays, and includes tons of tips on planning and timelines, as well as tried-and-true recipes.  I loved this book and have read it over and over and over, though I have not tried any of its recipes.
I bought this on the Kindle, but there are lots of pictures so if you are a cook who prefers books, you may want to try this in the book format. 
Mother, Daughter, Me by Katie Hafner
Hafner’s memoir details the year that her mother came to live with her and her daughter. The situation is made complex and interesting by the fact that Hafner’s mother was an alcoholic throughout her entire childhood. There are tensions among the generations, but issues are hashed out and reconciliations made, and the book is a great read, though sad at times.

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