What I Read This Week – The Last Summer (of you and me)

I bought this book to take with me on vacation last month but I ended up leaving it at home. Instead, while we were away, I read two books about violence and oppression in Afghanistan (The Kite Runner and 1000 Splendid Suns both by Khaled Hosseini) and one about a illiterate american teenager who suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her parents (Push by Sapphire). These were all great works of literature but certainly not the kind of books you read to relax and forget about your troubles. This was that kind of book.

The story is simple. There are three friends, two are sisters and one is a dude. They’ve known each other since childhood because they have neighbouring summer cottages. When they meet up in their early 20s, their friendship becomes complicated when one of the sisters hook ups with him. Mellow drama ensues.

Overall it was a little too sappy and romantic for my taste but at least none one was stoned to death or raped. That was a refreshing change from my holiday reading last month. As the cover would suggest, this is definitely a book for the beach and I wouldn’t recommend it for anything other than that.

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What I Read This Week – Sellevision

Augusten Burroughs is well known for his best selling autobiographical books. I’ve never read them. After reading David Eggers’, A Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius, a few years back, I haven’t felt inclined to read any more self-important memoirs by Generation Xers. Still, I was curious.

As it turns out, his first book, Sellevision, was actually a work of fiction so I thought I would read it to find out for myself if this author lives up to his hype.

Sellevison followed the lives of a handful of hosts from a Philadelphia based home shopping channel. As you would imagine, there are scandals, affairs and resentment among the players. The novel was rife with sarcasm, bitterness and vulgarity with some slightly misogynistic undertones. There are pop culture references scattered throughout the novel but since it was published only ten years ago they made the book seem more dated than ironic. It certainly had some moments of hilarity but it was otherwise shallow and clichéd.

My curiosity is satisfied. Now that I’m done, I can kind of see his appeal, although I’m not sure he’s my cup of tea.

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Backyard Decisions

Now that it’s warmer and the world is green again, it’s time for me to get outside and kick some garden ass. Last year, I wrote about our high maintenance yard and my struggles with weeds, bugs and small furry mammals. In September, I admitted temporary defeat and hung up my gardening gloves. I’ve had all winter to reflect on my mistakes, learn and strategize for this summer. This year, I have a plan that should get me closer to my dream yard.

One of the many things I love about this space is this little stone patio along one side of the yard. The bushes form a natural canopy that we’ve found refreshing on hot summer days when the sun beats down on our uncovered deck.

Usually we just bring down some pieces from our regular patio set when we sit down there, but I thought it might be fun to put something a little different there this summer.

I have a few ideas:

I LOVE these red chairs from Pier 1. A few of these might look nice.

Maybe a brightly coloured bistro set?

Then there’s the Applaro chaise lounge from Ikea that would coordinate with our existing patio furniture. I can just imagine stretching out with a good book on one of these.

At one time there was also some talk of installing posts and hanging a hammock under there, but I’m not so keen on that idea. I think it would take up too much space, and frankly, I’ve never found hammocks to be very comfortable. Really, if you’re not living in a tree or bunking with the Skipper, I don’t see the point of having one.

I wonder what Martha would do here?

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