Friday, July 8, 2016

What's On My Nightstand

When life gets stressful, as it has been for me lately, I need to be more conscious of what I do in the evenings to wind down before bed. 

I shared some of my evening routine with you in this post. 

One of the most important things for me is to step away from my electronic devices about an hour before I close my eyes. That includes my iPhone, iPad, laptop, and TV. 

I need quiet. I need peace. 

Which means I'm spending a lot of evenings reading in the quiet of my room. 

I love that peaceful time of night, when the day is done and I can crawl into my soft, cool bed and settle in with a good book. 

I've been working my way through The Best of Stillmeadow, A Treasury of Country Living, by Gladys Taber, and I absolutely love this book!


This is one of the most relaxing books I've read in a long, long time! It basically goes month by month through the author's life in her country home in Connecticut. Her writing is so lyrical, it lulls me into such a sense of peace and contentment. I forget where I am for a while....I feel like I am right there with Gladys, Jill, and all the Cockers, at Stillmeadow Farmhouse.

It makes me sad to know that I am starting on the month of October and therefore only have three chapters left to read of this book. However, I know there are many more Gladys Taber books out there.....and I plan to read them all, if I can!

I'm so glad I bought this book when I did, because now I don't see it online for less than $50+. If you find it somewhere in a used bookstore for a decent price, snatch it up quickly - run, don't walk, to the cash register!

Amazon Description:
If you love nature and dogs, this is the book to read. It is a compilation of true stories of Gladys and her friend Jill who live in New York City. They buy a farm and share it between their families as a holiday house. Children grow up, husbands pass away, and they go to live at the farm full time together. This book makes you feel like you are visiting with them during a winter blizzard in their old New England home. Gladys paints Stillmeadow Farm with her words in such a way that you feel like you live there with the......(description ends right here.....not sure why!)

The next book on my stack is one that just came in the mail yesterday - Cabin at Singing River: One Woman's Story of Building a Home in the Wilderness by Chris Czajkowski. 


I have just recently encountered the author, Chris's blog - Wilderness Dweller - through a brand new blogger's page - Simply Single Senior.  I had never heard of Chris's blog prior to that, but clicked through and was absolutely entranced by her lifestyle! 

Chris is living remotely in Canada, off the grid, in a cabin she built herself....the third cabin she's built in the wilderness of Canada in the last 30 years.  You can read about her life here on her page. 

She's written quite a few books about her experiences through the years, so it was tough to pick just one to start with. However, this particular book completely piqued my interest, so I placed the order. I'm excited to start reading about her adventures! 

Amazon Description:

Chris Czajkowski came to Canada’s attention in the mid-1980s when she began writing to CBC Radio's Morningside about a particularly unusual adventure: in her late thirties, she headed into the pristine wilderness of British Columbia’s Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. There, she single-handedly cleared the land and — despite a total lack of experience in construction — built her own house.



More than simply a lyrical celebration of the natural world, Cabin at Singing River is a story of courage, perseverance and imagination. From the moment Chris sets her inexperienced foot into an unsteady canoe until the triumphant day she stands back to survey the log house she has built, we are irresistibly drawn into her remarkable journey toward independence.

Next on the stack is another book that arrived this week - A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg. 


The lovely Courtney of Golden Boys & Me - fantastic blog! - turned me on to this book. I'm a sucker for a good book....and if it includes cooking or country life, even better! This one throws in a bit of Paris, so you couldn't keep me away from it if you tried!

I'm so excited to dig into this book.....but I can't start on a new book until I have completely finished the one I'm reading. No peeking! Is anyone else like that?  I know, I'm a weirdo, what can I say?

Amazon Description:
When Molly Wizenberg's father died of cancer, everyone told her to go easy on herself, to hold off on making any major decisions for a while. But when she tried going back to her apartment in Seattle and returning to graduate school, she knew it wasn't possible to resume life as though nothing had happened. So she went to Paris, a city that held vivid memories of a childhood trip with her father, of early morning walks on the cobbled streets of the Latin Quarter and the taste of her first pain au chocolat. She was supposed to be doing research for her dissertation, but more often, she found herself peering through the windows of chocolate shops, trekking across town to try a new pâtisserie, or tasting cheeses at outdoor markets, until one evening when she sat in the Luxembourg Gardens reading cookbooks until it was too dark to see, she realized that her heart was not in her studies but in the kitchen. 



At first, it wasn't clear where this epiphany might lead. Like her long letters home describing the details of every meal and market, Molly's blog Orangette started out merely as a pleasant pastime. But it wasn't long before her writing and recipes developed an international following. Every week, devoted readers logged on to find out what Molly was cooking, eating, reading, and thinking, and it seemed she had finally found her passion. But the story wasn't over: one reader in particular, a curly-haired, food-loving composer from New York, found himself enchanted by the redhead in Seattle, and their email correspondence blossomed into a long-distance romance. 

In A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg recounts a life with the kitchen at its center. From her mother's pound cake, a staple of summer picnics during her childhood in Oklahoma, to the eggs she cooked for her father during the weeks before his death, food and memories are intimately entwined. You won't be able to decide whether to curl up and sink into the story or to head straight to the market to fill your basket with ingredients for Cider-Glazed Salmon and Pistachio Cake with Honeyed Apricots.

Last...but certainly not least...on the current stack - (and this does not count the books in the end table drawer) - is Consuming Passions: A Food Obsessed Life by Michael Lee West of the amazing blog, Rattlebridge Farm


Michael Lee is such a talented woman - her blog is amazing, her home just gorgeous, and her recipes drool worthy. I am so excited to delve into this book full of Southern wit and charm - this Northern girl can learn a thing or two, I'm sure!

Amazon Description:
Consuming Passions is Michael Lee West's delightfully quirky memoir of an adventurous life centered around food and family—the story of how she went from non-cook to gourmet of words and victuals by watching a multitude of relatives squabble, prepare sumptuous repasts, and carry on honored traditions. Laced with delicious secret recipes passed from generation to generation, West's irresistible chronicle recalls good times and wild times—mothers swinging from chandeliers, elderly aunts brewing up love potions, a South American nymphomaniac stirring up trouble at a Louisiana barbeque joint, and the spooky hauntings of a cabbage-eating ghost—all in the pursuit of good dining. Thoroughly entertaining, alive with West's distinctive humor and sharp, irrepressible insight, here are incomparable American kitchen tales as warm and tasty as freshly baked bread.

I'm curious - what's on your nightstand these days? 

35 comments:

  1. I can't put my Kindle down to read a real book now, despite the fact I once said I'd never read an electronic book! It is just so soothing (and easy on my arthritic hands because it's so light) to get under the covers and read till my eyelids get droopy.
    Brenda

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    1. Isn't it nice to have an entire library at your fingertips, Brenda?

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  2. I love to read a relaxing book right before I go to sleep. It helps calm my mind...well I try to calm my mind ;-)

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    1. Same here, Lori....it's not easy to shut off the brain, is it?

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  3. Looks like some wonderful reads - enjoy and be inspired - not that you weren't already!

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    1. I find many things to inspire me, Bernideen....and some day I hope I will have time to relax and enjoy all my wonderful books!

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  4. I enjoyed seeing what you're reading right now. I have a huge reading stack, but I've been quite a slacker this summer. I read more in winter. I do read for awhile before bed though, because that's what truly relaxes me. I just started "Lunch with Buddha" after reading "Breakfast with Buddha" several years ago. There's also a follow-up "Dinner" book.

    I've read both A Homemade Life and Consuming Passions. I was partial to Consuming Passions because I love Michael Lee! I read several of her books before I even knew she had a blog.

    I would love to someday find a copy of Stillmeadow at a decent price. I keep looking online, but like you said, very expensive. The book you got about the woman living off the grid - that will be really interesting. Friends of ours - and former neighbors - retired and moved 2 years ago to the mountains of WA (near the Canadian border) and are living off the grid. I find their life so fascinating. I keep telling my friend that she at least needs to write a blog!

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    1. She SHOULD write a blog - people love living about that type of life!! Good for them, what an amazing thing to do - what peace they must find!

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  5. All those books look great! I have a huge stack of summer books waiting on me. Right now Im in Mary Alice Monroe's "A Lowcountry Wedding" and so far it's really good!

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    1. Of course I had to look that up....it looks great! I remember reading another Lowcountry book years ago - I still have it somewhere, I think - and I adored it. I found the visuals so peaceful and relaxing! Now I have to go try to dig that book out!

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  6. I just finished a book last night, and I see a few here on your list that I will need to investigate! Thanks for sharing the good stuff! Sweet dreams!

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    1. Well, I hope you find something that inspires you, Daisy!

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  7. Love your book list, my 'need-to-read' list is growing longer every day based on your recommendations. I'm trying to work my way through my collection. most recent reading has been of several volumes from a 1953 "Detective Book Club", found at a neighbor's estate sale last summer. I usually have a book by my bedside, one on the kitchen table, and one in the car. Sometimes I complete one book before another, but I often have multiples involved. Taking our 8-year-old to and from camps, to play at the park, or other activities gives me lots of waiting time; nothing like a good book to keep me company. I enjoy your blog.

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  8. Love your book list, my 'need-to-read' list is growing longer every day based on your recommendations. I'm trying to work my way through my collection. most recent reading has been of several volumes from a 1953 "Detective Book Club", found at a neighbor's estate sale last summer. I usually have a book by my bedside, one on the kitchen table, and one in the car. Sometimes I complete one book before another, but I often have multiples involved. Taking our 8-year-old to and from camps, to play at the park, or other activities gives me lots of waiting time; nothing like a good book to keep me company. I enjoy your blog.

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    1. Ha ha, sorry about that, Jan! I can't help it - I have to share books, just like I have to share garden photos and recipes! Three of my favorite things, for sure! Thanks for your sweet words, I love hearing from my readers!

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  9. Thank you so much for including CP in your great line-up! I am honored. I have been meaning to read Gladys Taber for so long, and you have inspired me to find her book. I recently found A Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, and it is so charming! Have a lovely weekend, and thank you again for your generosity and kindness. xxoo

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    1. And now you've given me a new book to look up as well, Michael Lee! Thanks - I always love book suggestions!

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  10. I like to have some time in bed to read also. I usually start with the Daily Bread and have a novel or garden book near but I usually check my Kindle once before turning off the light to see if I received an e-mail from a friend. I am going through the painful process of parting with a few of my garden books I have collected now as we will be moving! Nancy

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    1. Ahhh....see, I get my work emails on my kindle and my phone, so I HAVE to stop looking as the evening progresses, otherwise I run the risk of reading something that stresses me out right before bed! I kept all my gardening books when I moved....I did part with a bag full of gardening magazines, and that was painful! Good luck to you - moving is not fun!

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  11. I enjoyed your sharing of what is on your nightstand, looks like some great reads! I was especially interested in Gladys Tabor's book, and also Chris, the off-grid lady, wow! On my nightstand is my Bible and a devotional that I read every night, and IF I am not too tired, I will write in my journal for a bit. I don't do as much reading in the summer but I need to check with my library and see if I can get the books you mentioned :)

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    1. I know a lot of libraries also rent e-books now, isn't that wonderful? They sure have come a long way....I remember being a young girl and walking the 13 blocks to our city library - I used to find such peace as soon as I would walk through the door and up the stairs to the young adults section. I would spend hours looking through all the books, picking up a huge stack to lug back home! And I'd be back a week later for more!

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  12. I am SOOOO happy you discovered Chris through my blog! I am absolutely enthralled by her life and what she has accomplished on her own in the wilderness. Her writing and pictures transport me to such a peaceful place. I am fascinated by her off-grid life, her wise and humble words and her love of nature. She notices and captures the minute details of the natural world in her pictures. I am going to look for the Stillmeadow book. It sounds awesome!

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    1. It truly is awesome, I'm very sad that I'm nearly done with it! Don't you hate when you love a book so much that you don't want it to ever end? Yes, I'm so glad I discovered Chris through your blog as well - it's amazing what's out there still to be discovered, isn't it?

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  13. I have that Gladys Tabor book. My mom was always a big fan of hers. Similar to her, and you would LOVE, is the author Jean Hersey. You can find used books by her online at Amazon. Look for The Shape of a Year or A Sense of the Seasons. I honest think she's better than Gladys! :) Now I am going to check out your link to Chris :)

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    1. Thanks, Deb - and now I'm heading to Google to look up those books - how exciting!!

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  14. I haven't read a book in a really long time. I need to check out your recommendations!

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    1. It's amazing how it can quiet your mind, Kim!

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  15. I use to love to read, but rarely find time anymore. I really need to change that! The Gladys Tabor book sounds wonderful!
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. It's incredible, Jann - I'm on the December chapter now and I'm so sad! I need to get more of her books.

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  16. Every single book you mentioned sounds irresistible Deb! I am definitely going to check out Chris's blog. How amazing that she built a house by herself with no experience. Truly mind boggling.

    Right now I'm reading 'The World is my Home' by James Michener. It's an autobiography and very interesting. Well, actually right now I'm on line and it's after 1 a.m. so I guess I should get off line and 'quiet the mind'. Like THAT is gonna happen ;).

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    1. Ha ha I can't imagine your mind quiet, Doreen!

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  17. Reading before bedtime is what I call my day's dessert. It's a tradition that I cherish. Currently, I'm reading--believe it or not--Anne of Green Gables. :) I know it's for a younger audience, perhaps, but I love the movies and the book and when I saw it at Barnes and Noble recently, I couldn't resist.

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    1. That's ironic - I bought the Little House series recently - I never read them as a child and I just know I'd love to read about all Laura's adventures!

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  18. Up until Summer, grandchildren and life got me all distracted I was reading so faithfully.
    Now I am not and you my friend are motivating me to get back on track.
    Thank you for these shares!

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    1. I'm sure grandchildren can wear you out like no book possibly can, Jemma!

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