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The Week in Review: 05.08.2020

May 8, 2020


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I needed something light to read so I picked up MISS JULIA LAYS DOWN THE LAW by Ann B. Ross.  It’s the seventh book in the Miss Julia series.  For those not familiar with Miss Julia, she’s a very proper, wealthy, Southern widow who, after his death, discovered her late husband had a child out of wedlock.  She befriends his former mistress and they, along with a varied cast of characters, form a family of sorts.

In this book, Connie Clayborn has moved to Abbotsville and proceeds to tell the women of the small town everything that’s wrong with their community and her plans to make it right.  This doesn’t sit well with most of them, most especially Miss Julia.  At the request of her preacher, Miss Julia makes an appointment to speak to Connie and is shocked to find her dead.  In true Miss Julia form, she investigates the death on her own.

I didn’t think this was the strongest book in the Miss Julia series but it was still fun.  I’m always charmed by Abbotsville and its citizens, especially Miss Julia.  She reminds me of so many strong Southern women I’ve known and never fails to make me chuckle.


When Michael and Hilary Gustafson opened Literati Bookstore in, 2013, Michael set out a typewriter for anyone to use and was surprised by the thoughts customers left behind.  He shares some of the most interesting in NOTES FROM A PUBLIC TYPEWRITER edited by Michael Gustafson and Oliver Uberti.  Gustafson was amazed at what those typewriters (he had to replace them from time to time) came to mean and the notes people left.  Some were witty, some were profound, and others were deeply personal.

Why does this thing have a hashtag symbol? They didn’t have Twitter.  #weird

I am 7 months sober today.  I’m finally learning how to forgive.  Not only those who hurt me, but myself.

Someone left a typewriter in our store and people had a lot of fun with it.  I was shocked at how many kids had never seen one before.  They thought I was a genius when I showed them how to backspace or make an exclamation point.  This book made me think about that typewriter and I found it a delight to read.  It moved me to laughter and tears.  Be sure to pick it up – it would make a great gift for yourself or someone else.  (Deb of Readerbuzz sent this book to me.)


I’m a big fan of Chris Bohjalian‘s books so I picked up THE RED LOTUS without knowing anything about it.  It’s the story of emergency room physician Alexis.  She travels to Vietnam with her boyfriend Austin for a biking vacation.  He takes off on his own to visit the places his father and uncle served during the Vietnam War.  Alexis becomes upset when he doesn’t return and sets out to find him.  What she finds doesn’t make sense and she becomes determined to discover just what happened.

I don’t want to say too much but this was a very timely book and I really enjoyed it.  Rats are featured quite a bit and there are a few gut-churning moments but they didn’t keep me from reading as quickly as I could.  I thought both the characters and the story were well done.  Rebecca Lowman reads the audio and does an outstanding job.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen


Off the blog

  • My latest puzzle is taking me to New York.  I was able to order it from a local gift shop that’s providing curbside pickup.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just over 16,150 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

29 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2020 6:30 am

    When we went to Los Alamos there was a huge resale place filled with typewriters used during the Manhattan Project. It was so fun to see! It’s so true as you say that probably many kids have never seen one before – or a rotary phone!

  2. May 8, 2020 7:49 am

    I read The Red Lotus when all “this” was getting started – it was an unsettling read, for sure.
    My mom (87) has only ever used a typewriter. My dad hopped on a computer asap but not mom.
    I’m glad you were able to get a puzzle locally. I’m almost finished with my last one so I’ll have to see what I can get near my home. Have a good weekend, Kathy!

  3. May 8, 2020 9:15 am

    The Red Lotus felt like a precursor to our lives today…but despite the dark and unpleasant things, I couldn’t stop reading it.

    I am curious about the Miss Julia books…and the book about the old typewriter!

    Kudos to you and your walking.

  4. Beth F permalink
    May 8, 2020 10:01 am

    I have a couple of the Miss Julia books — I should actually read them. Sounds like a perfect escape for right now. The typewriter book sounds good. I remember when I got my electric robin’s egg blue typewriter for a high school graduation present!

  5. Diane permalink
    May 8, 2020 10:19 am

    Glad u enjoyed The Red Lotus, I thought it was pretty good; It’s like he saw what was about to happen –timely for sure. THE NY puzzle should be fun and, how nice you could buy locally. Enjoy your weekend Kathy, for us the days all blend together it seems.

  6. Carol Evans permalink
    May 8, 2020 10:29 am

    The Red Lotus caught my eye when it was first being advertised, but I’m not sure I want a timely book right now.

  7. kaysreadinglife permalink
    May 8, 2020 2:10 pm

    I’ve got The Red Lotus on my list to read – maybe not right now, but at some point. And I laughed at the message typed on the typewriter questioning the hashtag (#) and why it was there. Guess they didn’t know that way, way, way back in Dark Ages (like when I was working and actually typing on a typewriter), that was a number sign. LOL

  8. May 8, 2020 4:25 pm

    I liked the Red Lotus too, but as someone who lives in NYC and hates rats, that part just made me cringe. Have a good week.

  9. May 8, 2020 5:24 pm

    I learned to type on a manual, so might like reading Notes from a Public Typewriter. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll ever see public keyboards again. Sharing one’s laptop is going to start feeling like sharing one’s toothbrush.

  10. May 8, 2020 8:30 pm

    The Red Lotus sounds interesting. The NY puzzle is starting to take shape. I love the bright colors. Your daily step count is consistently impressive (and much higher than mine). Have a wonderful weekend, Kathy!

  11. Helen Murdoch permalink
    May 8, 2020 11:00 pm

    I love the idea of a public typewriter and the shop owner keeping the messages for a book! And you are reading Dreams of Joy, one of my all time favorites.

  12. May 9, 2020 9:39 am

    I was in the last class that learned to type on a manual typewriter. My dad gave me his old manual typewriter from college. I need to get a few keys fixed and I need to buy some ribbons for ink. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book.

    It took a couple of weeks, but I did receive my first jigsaw puzzle. I ordered another one a week later, and I just received notice that the order was unable to be filled. Maybe I’ll take the first puzzle apart and put it back together.

    I’ve been reading, but I have only been able to read what I was able to find around my house or as an ebook, so I’m very happy my library has started curbside. I will look for both Dreams of Joy and Dirt there.

    Have a good week, Kathy.

  13. May 9, 2020 9:43 am

    Notes from a Public Typewriter sounds great. I remember going to a restaurant where they had a typewriter in the hallway for visitors to leave messages. I love typewriters! 😀

    I’ve just started Elton John’s Me.

  14. May 9, 2020 3:40 pm

    I just purchased the ebook of Notes from a Public Typewriter… can’t wait to start it! Thanks for the suggestion!

    • May 10, 2020 1:53 pm

      I read Notes from a Public Typewriter today – absolutely delightful! Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

  15. Susan permalink
    May 9, 2020 5:56 pm

    You have me wondering whether to read The Red Lotus; Vietnam is interesting setting. That NY Puzzle looks good. How long do you leave a puzzle out after you have completed it? I am about to finish a 1000 piece puzzle this week …. which has taken me a long while. I have new admiration for your puzzle pursuits and skill.

  16. Literary Feline permalink
    May 9, 2020 10:34 pm

    MISS JULIA LAYS DOWN THE LAW sounds like the kind of books that would appeal most to me right now. I haven’t read any of the series. NOTES FROM A PUBLIC TYPEWRITER sounds like such an interesting read–what a great idea. I am looking forward to reading THE RED LOTUS and am glad you enjoyed it.

    I hope you have a great week, Kathy. Stay safe and well.

  17. Jackie permalink
    May 10, 2020 7:45 am

    Added Red Lotus to my TBR list.
    I do my jigsaws online, no cost, no mess.

  18. Lauren Becker permalink
    May 10, 2020 11:23 am

    I hadn’t heard of Notes from a Public Typewriter, but it sounds amazing. what a fascinating concept – I’m sure people wrote all sorts of weird, quirky, profound, lovely things. 🙂


  19. May 10, 2020 11:29 am

    I’ve slowly been reading Notes From A Public Typewriter. I should finish it this week. I’m looking for a puzzle or two to do, I want one that makes me smile when I see it.

  20. May 10, 2020 1:38 pm

    Notes from a Public Typewriter sounds wonderful! I remember when I struggled using a typewriter. I dreaded making a mistake and having to correct it with a piece of white-out paper. I could never quite line everything back up again. So funny how something as common as a typewriter is obsolete to today’s youth! Thanks for the review!

  21. May 10, 2020 6:36 pm

    That typewriter book sounds excellent. It kind of reminds me of the public piano when I was in college. Walking past it every day taught me that there are a lot of talented piano players in the world.

  22. May 10, 2020 10:24 pm

    I love discovering great series. I think I would love Notes From a Public Typewriter. What an ingenious idea!

  23. May 11, 2020 5:28 am

    I would love to read Notes from a Public Typewriter. That sounds like it would be very interesting. Love the comment about the hashtag on the typewriter. My daughter saw a one for the first time at the local writer’s center. I have typed on one many times as a kid, but moved to computers for college.

    I haven’t read Red Lotus…but I’m not sure I want to at the moment. Hope you had a great Mother’s Day.

  24. May 11, 2020 4:10 pm

    Happy reading 😀

  25. May 11, 2020 11:14 pm

    Notes from a Public Typewriter looks fantastic! Adding that to my list for sure. How interesting that someone left you one at your store.

    I know I’ll pick up Miss Julie at some point.

    I’ve been working on the same puzzle for almost 3 weeks 😦

  26. May 12, 2020 12:23 pm

    I heard from many that Red Lotus is about a pandemic but you don’t get that feel from most of the reviews. I like this author. He is always so gracious and supportive of book bloggers so I will definitely read it at some point.

    What’s going on with me? I am trying to get a handle on my food intake. My portions have been bigger than normal. Wine consumption, higher. Resulted in gained weight! No fun. Trying to get a grip now so I can return to work at some point and be recognizable.

  27. May 12, 2020 11:24 pm

    I think I’d like Notes from a Public Typewriter. I actually have an old typewriter- an Underwood- that I picked up from a garage sale. Used to write letters on it when I was a teenager. My kids have played with it from time to time, but the keys really tend to stick!

  28. May 15, 2020 8:18 am

    Notes from a Public Typewriter sounds good! A typewriter was my first “typing” device but I only had it for a year or two before affordable home-use computers arrived to take over. I still love the idea of typing and just how tactile the sensation is.

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