Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
Meander and Meet....designed by George Peters and Melanie Walker of Airworks For more information contact Susan at

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - June 11, 2006

We had a lovely walk yesterday at Boulder Valley Ranch - perfect weather and delightful company, although we did miss those of you who couldn't join us.

Jackie's pick this week:

Around the Next Corner by Elizabeth Wrenn - she is a local Boulder writer!
Book DescriptionFor Deena Munger, the transformation to underappreciated housewife was subtle and gradual. Not that she didn't love her family dearly, but Deena was starting to wonder: When did I disappear? And how come I never even noticed? Then one day she stuns her family by volunteering to raise a puppy for K-9 Eyes for the Blind. Suddenly, Deena's once-stable life is turned upside down. And, it turns out, this rambunctious, impulsive ball of fur could actually be the damage control she needs to save her family, her marriage, and her self.

Susan's picks this week: you may note that I've been a bit "hyper" in my reading recently - probably juggling too many at once!

My Fathers' Houses - a memoir by Steve Roberts (husband of Cokie Roberts and NPR commentator) - okay but got a bit boring after a while
From Publishers WeeklyThis memoir tells "a story of a town and a time and a boy who grew up there." The town is the New York suburb of Bayonne, N.J.; the time is the 1940s and '50s; and the boy is Roberts, syndicated columnist and coauthor (with his wife, Cokie Roberts) of From This Day Forward. Growing up, Roberts's Old World ties were strong. His Jewish family had their roots in Eastern Europe, and he proudly relates the story of how they came to America (his maternal grandfather, Abraham Rogowsky, is particularly fascinating: born in Bialystok, he stole money to become a Zionist pioneer in Palestine in 1907). Roberts also recounts how his parents met in the mid-'30s in New Jersey-"two shy and sensitive souls, sophisticated about books and innocent about life"-but the book doesn't really hit its stride until the author begins describing his own experiences. He paints a reflective portrait of his childhood and young adulthood, when he played and fought with his twin brother, Marc, and when he attended Harvard University, where he met Cokie Boggs, his future wife. "All families have their own folklore, stories they tell and axioms they use," Roberts writes. Thankfully, the stories told here have widespread appeal. As the author's family name changes from Rogowsky to Rogow to Roberts, a universal story of the American experience of immigrant conversion emerges from all the carefully limned details. Photos. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The Circus Fire by Stewart O'Nan - non-fiction book about a tragic fire at Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey Circus in Hartford, CT in 1944 - am in the midst of reading it right now and is very compelling.
From Publishers WeeklyOn July 6, 1944, the big top of the Ringling Bros. circus caught fire during an afternoon performance in Hartford, Conn., and quickly burned to the ground. One hundred and sixty-seven people were killedDmost of them women and childrenDand hundreds more wounded. When acclaimed novelist O'Nan (A Prayer for the Dying, etc.) moved to Hartford 50 years later, he discovered that the town was still haunted by the tragedy. His history of the event is lyrical, gruesome and heartbreaking. At the heart of the narrative is O'Nan's harrowing, minute-by-minute account of the actual burning, during which nearly 9,000 people scrambled to escape through just seven exits. One boy saved himself (and hundreds of others) by cutting a hole in the tent wall with his fishing knife. Another man literally threw children to safety before losing his footing and perishing in the blaze. Above them, the tent canvas, which had been waterproofed with gasoline andn paraffin, "rained down like napalm" on the necks and shoulders of the fleeing crowd. By the end, O'Nan reports, the heat was so intense that people died not from smoke inhalation, as in most fires, but by being cooked alive. O'Nan goes on to describe the bleak days after the disaster, when local families set about the morbid task of identifying loved ones, often possible only by using dental records. He also chronicles the four decades of detective work that led to the identification (in error, O'Nan believes) of a little girl whose body originally went unclaimed. This moving elegy does tribute both to the terrible tragedy and to O'Nan's talent as a writer. B&w photos. (June)
The Surprising Power of Family Meals by Miriam Weinstein - non-fiction, interesting topic to me - am in the midst of reading right now
From Publishers WeeklyHaving regular family meals can eliminate teen eating disorders; improve children's grades; reduce the incidence of drug abuse, teen pregnancy and smoking; and even expand toddlers' vocabulary. So says Weinstein (Yiddish: A Nation of Words), a documentary filmmaker and mother of two. "No one is asking for rocket science here," she writes, "only shared mac-and-cheese and a bunch of chairs pulled up around the table." Her points, drawn from the fields of psychology, anthropology, religion and education, are valid and logical; in fact, it seems obvious that eating together will improve children's manners, provide family intimacy and create a secure environment for teenagers. Occasionally, however, Weinstein's arguments are spotty: "Of course there is no guarantee that if you maintain regular meals, you will eradicate eating disorders. But... the absence of regular meals makes it easier for all sorts of disordered eating to thrive." Weinstein has tried to create a full-length book from what could've sufficed as a compelling magazine article. Still, her case studies are stimulating, and her writing style is persuasive enough to convince readers to make a point of enjoying an evening meal with their families. (On sale Sept. 6) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - a classic that I'm listening to in the car - may take a while!
Amazon.comFrancie Nolan, avid reader, penny-candy connoisseur, and adroit observer of human nature, has much to ponder in colorful, turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. She grows up with a sweet, tragic father, a severely realistic mother, and an aunt who gives her love too freely--to men, and to a brother who will always be the favored child. Francie learns early the meaning of hunger and the value of a penny. She is her father's child--romantic and hungry for beauty. But she is her mother's child, too--deeply practical and in constant need of truth. Like the Tree of Heaven that grows out of cement or through cellar gratings, resourceful Francie struggles against all odds to survive and thrive. Betty Smith's poignant, honest novel created a big stir when it was first published over 50 years ago. Her frank writing about life's squalor was alarming to some of the more genteel society, but the book's humor and pathos ensured its place in the realm of classics--and in the hearts of readers, young and old. (Ages 10 and older) --Emilie Coulter

Recipe for the week: Creamy Artichoke Soup from Giada De Laurentiis - The Everyday Italian on the Food Network:,,FOOD_9936_33446,00.html


Restaurant notes:- a must-have dessert at Turley's - I don't remember what it was called but I'll call it "molten chocolate cake" - I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! Also, the croissant at Spruce Confections North was delectable filled with egg, carmelized onions, cheese and the croissant itself was outstanding - so flaky! I had dinner last week at the Magnolia Restaurant in Lafayette and the
Andouille Sausage and Rock Shrimp Linguine was terrific.

No comments: