The Sunday Salon – Books and Brats

Ahhhh, the end of a very long week.  Happy Sunday!  Today I’ve broken my post up into two sections, for those who would just like to read about books rather than all the nonsense that goes on with my kids.  So the first section is books, and the second section is brats.


imageDB-5.cgiI finished Her Fearful Symmetry yesterday, which is set at Highgate Cemetery in London (adding to the creep factor of the book).  My thoughts as I turned the last page were, “What?!  That’s IT?”  I know there has been much gushing from bloggers over this book, but I haven’t read the posts (only skimmed).  I haven’t decided what I think of the book yet.  Until the very end I was expecting and waiting for a confrontation between two of the characters that never took place.  And I was disappointed by that.

After the moody gloomy feel of HFS I wanted something distinctly different, so last night I read the first few chapters of A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents by Liza Palmer (which, so far, has nothing to do with cemeteries).  So far I like it.  It kind of reminds me of another book I read and enjoyed recently, The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum.  The main character has n309236similar issues (youngish, social life revolves around work, lost her mother at an early age, distant relationship with family, health issues in immediate family bring everyone together, etc.) but I’ve only read maybe 35 pages so who knows where it all will go.  It’s set in Southern California, where I live, so that part is really fun for me.

Coming up this month from the TBR pile are Who By Fire (because the guilt is getting to me), Goldengrove (for an upcoming tour), In a Perfect World (also for a tour), Olive Kitteridge (book club pick for Oct) and The Angel’s Game (for the RIP IV Challenge).

This afternoon, Sheri and I are going out for a drink together while our collective kids attend a pool party/ BBQ for their youth group.  I include this in the “Reading” section because we always talk about books and blogs when we get together!  She’s been working hard on several BBAW panels, but the panel work is complete (the voting begins next week) and she desperately needs to wind down after all that blog reading!

What are you reading this week?

Home and Kids:

This week was interesting.  My oldest started junior high and her emotions have been all over the map!  The first day she was all YAY! and I LOVE SCHOOL!  The second day she was grumpy, SO tired, and even simple questions like, “What’s wrong?” were met with major attitude, i.e.  “Nothing!  WHY DO YOU ASK?!”  We gave her a wide berth.  Days 3-5 brought everything from tears to elation.  I never know what to expect after school.  Hopefully this transition phase will be brief and she will settle into a routine soon.

Already she has homework and already we’ve argued about it.  She has to draw an island to scale on graph paper with 10 different physical features (bay, isthmus, peninsula, etc.), name all the different features with creative names and then color it all in with colored pencils.  She was given until Thursday to complete it and wanted to wait until next week to start it (probably Wednesday night).  She is the Princess of Procrastination (I’m the Queen!)

I wanted her to work on it over the weekend because she’ll have other homework next week, plus when you’re given a week to complete an assignment, the teacher’s expectations are likely pretty high (and this is an honors class).  You can’t just slap something together the night before.   She also has to label a map with all 144 countries of the world, then color that in.  Thankfully she started that on Tuesday and only has a dozen more countries to identify before she can start coloring.  But she wanted to relax and play Club Penguin all morning.  I took away computer until she did a minimum of 30 minutes on the project.  “That’s not fair, Mom!”   The school year fun begins.

What should I wear?

What should I wear?

My younger daughter starts 5th grade at a new school on Tuesday.  She is super excited and doesn’t seem to have any anxiety over being the new girl at school.  She has 2 friends at the school so I’m hoping it will all be very easy for her.  She put on a fashion show for us last night to try to figure out what to wear on the first day.  I think she has settled on black shorts, black Vans with white polka-dots, and a purple peace sign shirt that has a little scarf that goes with it.  With the weather in the 90s, she definitely doesn’t need the scarf, but it “totally makes the outfit” which, of course, is much more important than being comfortable.  At least I talked her out of the skinny jeans and the pink fleece hoodie-that would have been a sweaty combo!

Tonite, dad comes home from a 4 day business trip to Kansas City.  The kids will be at an end of summer party for their youth group, and Sheri and I are going out.  Tomorrow will be a relaxing day of swimming and BBQ’ing at my parent’s house, but it will be an early evening because IT’S A SCHOOL NIGHT.  YEAH!

Happy Back to School Week!


25 Responses

  1. Much in common here today. Goldengrove and The Angel’s Game are both in my near future. My daughter also just started middle school and loves it, but as we both know, that bubble can pop at any time as exhibited in your week’s ups and downs. Envy you your copy of Her Fearful Symmetry and know you will enjoy Olive Kittredge, one of my personal favorites. Happy reading!

  2. Oh the joys of back to school! I hope you and Sheri have a great time tonight!

  3. I like the cover of A Field Guide for Burying Your Parents although the title strikes me as a bit odd. I’m wondering if you will find by the end that the book is similar to Opposite of Love. I appreciate your honest immediate thoughts about Her Fearful Symmetry. I don’t like it when the ending of books disdappoints me. You have some good books for this week. I’m very interested in readin Olive Kitteridge and The Angel’s Game too!
    It’s nice that you and Sheri live clos-by each other and are “off the web” friends!
    Junior High is a whole new world so I guess it’s an adjustment. I don’t think growing up in terms of friends, socializing, cliques etc. is easy for girls (or moms!) I hope things smooth out for your daughter. Your younger daughter sounds adorable! Love the fashion show. It’s great that she already has some friends in her new school.
    Have a nice rest of your weekend!

  4. Oh..I remember Junior High. Fun times. Haha good luck!

  5. I hope you and Sheri have fun! Have an extra drink on your readers for having to go through junior high emotional swings! :–)

  6. I’ve only been skimming HFS reviews as well, but I accidentally read yours. Good to know, though, that I shouldn’t expect complete resolution? I feel like TTW was so tidy at the end (if HEART-WRENCHING!).

  7. My youngest starts middle school next Tuesday and so say I am a little freaked is an understatment. I’m so nervous and worried for her and all I tried to do it hide it so she doesn’t get nervous.

  8. How could I pass up a post titled Books and Brats? Clever!

  9. Wow…your post take me back to my daughter’s pre-teen and early teen days..moody, big time Seems like your daughter has some tough assignments compared to my daughter’s junior high days over 20 years ago. But then we didn’t have google/computers then LOL

    Hope she learns to love school (for her sake and yours)

  10. Oh no! Sounds like someone is heading into the teenage angst years! The fashion show sounded like fun!

  11. I know what Sheri is going through (and yet here I am reading blogs!), and she DEFINITELY deserves some wind-down time. Have fun!

  12. I think my daughter (5) has that same shirt (peace sign/scarf) and it was a big hit on the first day of school even though it was raging hot outside. Your daughter is right. The scarf DOES make the outfit.

    Just your mention of the island assignment gave me a headache. I hate arguing about homework. I did so this morning with my little one and I will be doing it tomorrow with the other one.

    Too bad about HFS. Sometimes a book just doesn’t live up to the hype.

  13. Oh lordy, you are SCARING me! Not with the books, with the middle schooler!! My daughter is going into the fifth grade on Tuesday and I’ve listened to many possible wardrobe scenarios of the last few weeks. However, next year I can totally see her doing the mood swings from hell when she gets to the middle school.

  14. I just finished Olive Kitteridge yesterday, I loved it. Angel’s Game is great also. I will be interested in your review of A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents. It looks quirky, I love quirky!

  15. We’re on similar pages with Her Fearful Symmetry. I loved it until the plot twist. Then I never caught my bearings again. I think that one of the characters got what was coming to her in the end, but without said confrontation, who knows?

    I would laugh about your brats section, but it scares the pooh out of me because I’ll soon be in that same situation. I think my 6 year old is moody now. What will another 5 years bring? ACK!

  16. Awww… drinks were awesome. Just what the doctor ordered!

    Tomorrow is more homework and then maybe a sleepover for Dee Dee School doesn’t start until Wednesday.

    Can we do a countdown timer of the number of hours until they’re in school?


  17. I’m reading Lolita. Kind of. I’ve spent most of today putting the final tweaks on the blog and writing posts.

    Books and brats has a nice ring to it…no offense to the girls. 😉

  18. I am sorry to hear you were disappointed by Her Fearful Symmetry. I still haven’t read Time Traveler’s Wife yet by the same author. Hopefully sometime this year.A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents sounds interesting. I enjoy reading books set in familiar places almost as much as I do reading ones set in foreign locales. It’s fun when I come across a landmark I recognize.

    I hope you have a great time tomorrow with your family. Have a great week, Lisa.

  19. My kids started school last week, one in high school, and one in middle school. I was surprised to find that they had projects due at the end of the very first week. I have to say it made me a little grumpy because my kids are procrastinators as well, and I was hoping they would have a little time to adjust to a new school year before the projects began. This is my son’s first year in high school, and judging by his attitude, he is really liking it a lot, even the projects. I hope your daughter begins to have smoother days soon.

  20. Books: You have a lot of reading to look forward to. Enjoy!

    Brats:It’s both a relief and a burden to have school back in session! After a few weeks of school, things usually get a bit easier. At the beginning it can be quite difficult for the whole family.

  21. Oh, the joyful days of middle school. I remember fighting constantly with my parents about homework. Good luck with that! Thanks for the input on “Her Fearful Symmetry”. I was really interested in reading that because I loved “The Time Traveler’s Wife” so very much, but I’m kind of glad to know ahead of time that there is potential for disappointment so I won’t be completely shocked if it isn’t everything I hoped it would be.

    Oh, and remember how you had asked me about that cake recipe and wondered if there was a possibility of something similar with peanut butter? Here ya go. It looks heavenly.

  22. I had the same reaction to the new Niffenegger. Not nearly as satisfying as TTW, and so much potential lost. The characters were also not particularly well developed.

    Also, thanks for commenting on Book Group Buzz! I had also found your wonderful post on “Loving Frank” before my group discussed it. I will post about my group’s “Last Night at the Lobster” discussion soon–it will be my last post for them before maternity leave!

  23. My posts are usually divided in two parts as well! First part is usually a bus adventure and second part is book related. Ah the ups and downs of junior high. Best of luck to both of you! 😉

  24. I can’t wait to try Her Fearful Symmetry. It sounds a wee tad polarizing at this point, so I want to know if I love it or hate it.

  25. My name is Matt from Regal Literary, Audrey Niffenegger’s literary agency.

    Readers of this blog might be interested in knowing that Regal is giving away ten advanced reader’s copies and three first edition hardcovers of the new Audrey Niffenegger book, Her Fearful Symmetry, on October 1st in a lottery to anyone who joins the facebook page as a fan and sends an e-mail to Good luck!

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