My Top 5 Books of 2017

It was really hard to choose this list. I read so many great books and to narrow it down to my top five, well, let’s say for this Libra, it was a difficult task. But I did it. 🙂

eleanor Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

I completely fell in love with Miss Oliphant, with all of her quirks and idiosyncrasies, she made me laugh and cry. You know throughout the story that something bad happened during her childhood and she’d spent growing up in foster homes. Now she lives by herself, goes to her job and talks to her mother once a week. Read it and love it.

 

ove A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

Meet Ove. He’s one of those cranky old men that you see shuffling down your street yelling at the kids to get out of the way or the dog to quit pooping on his yard. But beyond the grumpiness is a story and a sadness. When a young chatty young couple and their two young daughters move in next door, Ove’s life begins to change with an unexpected friendship and a cat. I was not wanting this book to end.

 

lg Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

I couldn’t put this book down. Inspired by real events, this is a story of three women during World War II, their lives woven together through romance and tragedy. There is Caroline, a NY socialite working at the French Embassy; Kasia is a spunky Polish teenager wanting to be fighting against the Germans and caught up in the Polish underground; and finally Herta, a Nazi doctor who has convinced herself that she is doing the right thing. I think this is the best book I read all year.

road The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Okay, so this book came out in 2007 but I’ve never read it until this year. And I finished it in a matter of days – you’d see me at the beach with my nose in this book. A son and father are wandering fire ravaged America. They must rely on each other as lookouts and the only person they trust because there is evil lurking at every turn. It’s a profoundly moving story about needing to move forward, to move on when there seems to be no hope. And a story of unconditional love.

 

rules The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

You’ll read this as fast as you possibly can. It’s that good. A memoir by Ms. Levy as honest as I’ve ever read. She’s been knocked down, gotten up, knocked down again. It’s beautiful and messy and soul-baring with surprising humor. You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

 

What were some of your favorite books of 2017? See y’all in 2018!!

 

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Carrie Fisher (1956 – 2016)

What is happening this year? So many of my favorite celeb peeps are dropping out. But this latest was a stab to my heart. Carrie Fisher was a true icon to me. As Princess Leia, she showed us that girls can be strong and sexy and smart. She was a bad ass and DID rule the galaxy. I tried to rock those braids many times but never rocked them like her.

She may have been the first feminist leader for me. She certainly was the first (for me) to wear and rule the white pantsuit. HRC would do that much later.

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Later, she would be a mental health advocate. She didn’t hide the fact that she was bi-polar. And could be funny about it too. She gave her dueling dispositions the nicknames Roy (“the wild ride of a mood,” she said) and Pam (“who stands on the shore and sobs”). She channeled her struggles with depression and substance abuse into fiercely comic works – “Postcards From the Edge” (one of my favorite Meryl Streep movies), “Wishful Drinking,” and her latest “The Princess Diarist“. I haven’t read them but they are all now on my wish list to read.

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She was witty and brilliant, ready with a sharp comment to an inane remark. One of my favorites, when someone criticized in the latest “Star Wars” series that she hadn’t aged well; she responded with the quote below and this beauty, “Men don’t age better than women. They’re just allowed to age.” I LOVE this woman.

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Ms. Fisher, you will be sorely missed. Keep on shining as our bright star in that galaxy you ruled so well. I will be buying this shirt soon and will be rocking those braids for Halloween next year. And I will leave you with another great one from her on her death.

“I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”

RIP Carrie Fisher. May the force be with you.

Cool Christmas Gifts For KIDS

xmas-gifts

Here are tried and true gifts for kids. I have three nephews, so I am a bit more boy focused in my selections but I think all are perfect for girls too. Girls want to be a Jedi too!

The clock is ticking for Christmas, even those these are great for anytime of the year.

  1. My oldest nephew LOVED this book. He devoured and giggled through it within a day. Star Wars So You Want To Be A Jedi by Adam Gidwitz
  2. Lincoln Logs are always a classic. My nephews played with MY old set so much that had so many missing pieces I had to buy them a new one.
  3. My nephews look forward to their monthly subscription of National Geographic Kids. It is truly a fun and informative magazine for young and learning minds.
  4. Diary of a Wimpy Pikachu by Red Smith. I recently bought this for my middle nephew’s birthday. He is six and a good reader. They are a series of nine books. He loved the first one and is now requesting Diary of a Farting Pikachu. Hahahaha!!
  5. Again, Pokemon. Seriously, they can’t get enough. One more for the Pokemon kiddos – Throw ‘N’ Pop Pikachu and Poké Ball
  6. Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 camera. I haven’t bought this yet but I will soon. Maybe for me! Who didn’t love the Polaroid cameras of our youth? (Showing my age here) This one is cuter and better, it automatically determines the best brightness for taking a picture, and informs you of the suitable setting by lighting the corresponding lamp.

And that’s my gift list! Click on the links to buy. It’s almost Christmas! WOW.

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Books of the Summer

I was able to read a lot of books this summer. I loooooove to read. All kinds of books – thrillers, crime, romance, biographies – whatever as long as it’s good. Here are my top five from the summer.

THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah – Set in France, 1939, it captures WWII and shows that the war isn’t fought by only the men. Women have a part too – usually behind the scenes or not discussed because it is always thought that men are the fighters of war. But it is more than war – there is a lovely but sad love story, a family torn apart through death, being frightened to be strong enough for each other and true friendships. A great read. Don’t miss this one but be prepared to grab a Kleenex for the end.

BE FRANK WITH ME by Julia Claiborne Johnson – An eccentric little boy, his reclusive literary legend mother and the assistant (Alice) sent by the publishing company try to work together living under one roof. Frank, the boy, is a bundle of knowledge with a true flair for 1930s fashion, but has rules that people need to follow or possible screaming or becoming a comatose statue on the floor will happen. Alice is Frank’s full-time companion and becomes consumed to find out who Frank’s father is, who is this “Xander” and if his mother will ever finish that book.

JUST KIDS by Patti Smith – I LOVE Patti Smith. She can do no wrong. I have been meaning to read her books (she’s written at least ten books – mostly poetry) and I finally had a chance. In Just Kids she tells us a never seen before glimpse of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe during the coolest days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel during the sixties and seventies.

THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY by Erik Larson – This one was really good. I love non-fiction stories. It intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and a serial killer who lured victims during the same time. A combination of architecture, history and haunted stories.

GIRL IN A BAND by Kim Gordon – I guess I was into Rock n Roll this summer. Girl In A Band is a memoir by Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women. A fascinating chronicle of the band that helped pave the way for Nirvana, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and others. All bands I still love. Read it and rock out.

Start reading up, yo! What books can you recommend? Would love to hear.

sweet valley high ~ spanish style

 Driving home tonight, the moon was low in the sky and fuzzy. Fuzzy from the clouds and fuzzy from my cold sake, it was sushi night with the Gomez Gil twins. They’re so cute, they are like my Spanish equivalent to the Sweet Valley High (SVH) twins.

Did you ever read those books? My God, I was obsessed. Constantly wanting to be Jessica because of her daring attitude and every guy dying to be with her. But Elizabeth was cool, she was smart and sly, and had a hot boyfriend, who was such the gentleman. I read through at least book 100. And I just have to mention that I still knew the twin’s names without having to look it up. I am very disturbed by that fact.

Also, a bit disturbing is that I decided to drive the back way home. It is a very winding narrow road with potholes and tall weeds growing from both sides. Normally, I find it quite peaceful when coming home late and driving on this dark deserted road where you rarely see another car. But this night I was a bit spookified. A few weeks ago my online Mallorca Daily Bulletin (MDB) had a story headline that read “Missing Bolivian found dismembered in Sa Rapita”.

There are two problems (if not more) that I have with this headline.

1. MDB will publish headlines at the top of the post but you have to wait until the next day to read the story. The site is free, why would you need to lure me here another day? Please MDB, I read you daily – as I should since it is part of your name. I had to wait a full 24 hours before I could find out about a woman dismembered in my neighborhood.

2. Dismembered? Not something I was expecting to happen in my sleepy lil town of Sa Rapita. Who could do that to a human body? Truly horrifying.

Finally I read about what happened. A man who goes by the initials of Q.Q. (an Ecuadorian) killed this Bolivian woman in her home in Palma and then put her body into his car and drove it out to his place here, in Sa Rapita. Using his construction tools to dismember the body, he then threw the body parts out randomly, while driving around. And this back road I mentioned, would be perfect for doing just that. It is uninhabited, but there is a fence along the road so animals cannot go onto (or off) the land. Some of the body parts were found on his property, but not all.

And what is still missing? Her head. This has been haunting me terribly.

SVH had many evil plots, don’t you remember. What about the very first book where there is smoking and drinking, later books have death and drugs, not so sweet now…. The evil sneaks in from all directions doesn’t it? So, yes, it’s quite possibly Sweet Valley High, Spanish style.

And people nowadays say Twilight is not good for their daughters to read. Why? Because Edward is the perfect man? Which of course, he isn’t. Or wait…..

So driving back home through the cool, foggy air with twists and turns in the road where the weeds can touch your car, I pictured her. This poor woman who lost her life and was brought here, to my peaceful neighborhood. I waited to see a ghostly figure in front of me with each turn, but it brought me only another turn, more weeds sliding by, whispering good night.

Not really the direction you thought I was going with this post? Just keeping it real, yo.  And you thought I was all about silliness…

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