Sunday Smatterings

Smatterings - May 5.png

Happy Sunday, friend. Have you had a good weekend? I’m currently sitting in the Delta Lounge at JFK, on my way home from my birthday trip to Italy. Many good times were had. Vineyards were visited, museums and churches and abbeys paid deference to, and many, many miles navigated with Waze at the helm, in a minibus we nicknamed Van Gogh. (We travel one of two ways - plop down in one city and explore in depth, or base camp in a few different areas and travel to many. This trip was many.) We hit Pinerolo (where my family lives) for five days and visited Torino, Barolo, Barbaresco, Saluzzo, and Asti, then moved on to France (Chambery and Annecy) then to Switzerland (Geneva and Lausanne) then back to France for lunch in one of my favorite spots, Chamonix, then to Sala Comacina on Lake Como, where we took the boat all over the lake with stops in Varenna (stunning) and Bellagio (too touristy for me), then down to Milan. I spent my birthday on a lovely terrace and a boat on Como, with a fabulous dinner capped off with fireworks. Not a bad way to enter a new half-century.

Unfortunately, everyone got sick. My mom was first, then my brother, then me, then Randy and my dad. My nephew fought valiantly, but was sniffling by the end. I still don’t have a voice — laryngitis befalling the one Italian speaker on the trip was only moderately disastrous. By the time we made Como I was totally silent, and sitting on the boat floating around was all I could manage. I rarely get ill when I travel, so this was a rough way to spend the time overseas. But we still managed to have a good time. It was a memorable birthday in many ways.

I was very, very pleased with my Italian this trip (as were most of the Italians we encountered.) I am self-taught, have used language tapes and Rosetta Stone and Duolingo, but I added in the audiobooks from Paul Noble before this trip and I can’t say enough good things about his methodology. If you’re looking to learn a new language fast, you will love this method. It’s similar to how my favorite French teacher, Mr. Mann, taught French in junior high. (I still pronounce oui “weigh” thanks to his southern French accent.) We were in France and Switzerland for a couple of days and just when I’d transitioned to French we were back in Italy, so that messed me up. But so many Italians speak excellent idiomatic English now, as do the French. It’s amazing how global we’ve all become. It’s very possible to manage without much more than a buongiorno and grazie and arreverderci. And trust me, when you’re in a foreign country, if you try, even a little, to speak the language, to use the basic niceties, many doors open that are otherwise slammed shut. Like any other part of life, you get out what you put in.

I’ll pull together some of my favorite photos and wines sometime this week, once I’ve slept for a few days. It’s going to be good to be home. I miss my cats!

With that, let’s take a look at the latest links!


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

These books spark joy: The bursting, beautiful shelves of famous bibliophiles. Which one is your favorite?

You NEED This List Of The Best Beach Reads For Summer 2019 Like Now. I love a good summer reading list and they included Mary Laura Philpott’s incredible book I MISS YOU WHEN I BLINK!

Is the bookstore crawl the new pub crawl? I would like for this to become a thing beyond Independent Bookstore Day. More books, please.

How To Find A Book By Description. Great tips for when you’re trying to track down a book and you can’t remember the title or author! 

These Are The 21 Dreamy New Romance Novels To Read This Spring. Assistant Leigh is looking forward to a whole bunch of these! Which ones look good to you?

Award-winning libraries rewrite the book on good design. These libraries are incredible! 

Do Crime Like a Victorian: 11 Nonfiction Recommendations. Such a popular era…

Netherlands makes trains free on national book day for those who show a book instead of ticket. Can all trains please do this?


What I’m Reading:

YOU by Caroline Kepnes

I started reading this so I could freely watch the TV show of the same name. Once I was well in, out of curiosity, I watched the first episode. Holy cow! I had to all-stop and wait for DH; I knew this was a show/story he'd dig. Crazy, twisty, ends-justify-the-means type of story. Highly recommended.

What are you reading?


That’s all for now. Learn a few words in a new-to-you language, have a nice glass of Barbaresco, and I’ll see you next week!

peace and hugs,
J.T.