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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Summer Reading List

I love to read year round, and I read almost everything but science fiction and true crime.  I like history, biography, popular fiction, inspirational, chick lit, and classics.  Once, when I was a newlywed in a new city, I decided I would read all my branch library’s great women authors; I got as far as Willa Cather before I found gainful employment.  Sorry, I digress.  Occasionally I will read a book a second time, and it seems that summer is when I re-visit a few favorites, a habit held over from childhood when hardcover copies of  Homer Price and Harriet the Spy  held pride of place on my bookshelf.

Harriet the Spy

I loved Harriet the Spy and probably read it at least half a dozen times.  Who can resist Harriet, Janie, and Sport?  And, of course, Old Golly.

The Golden Evenings of Summer golden

I’m not sure when I first came across this gem, but I make a point to read it every summer.  Set during the Great Depression, the story perfectly captures the boredom, mischief, and innocence of a young boy experiencing his first crush, his first smoke, and his first broken heart in a most hilarious way.  Stanton is a first-rate storyteller, and the book is read aloud, laugh out loud funny!

And Ladies of the Club

book cover of 

And Ladies of the Club 


Helen Hooven Santmyer

Admittedly, I haven’t read this in a few years, but I was deeply engrossed in this saga of two young Ohio women who form a friendship in a ladies’ literary club shortly after the Civil War.  Spanning generations, the hefty book (around 700 pages) left me thinking about its characters for weeks after finishing it.


What happens when an Ivy League educated Episcopalian and a Bible college Baptist girl marry and settle down in fictional Listre, North Carolina?  Well, both do a lot of growing up, and I do a lot of laughing and smiling when I read this book.  Clyde Edgerton reflects the dialect and dialogue of the Carolina Piedmont perfectly.

The Big House

I love most books about houses, but this may be my all-time favorite.  In this memoir, George Howe Colt writes eloquently about his family’s house and their summer life on the Cape as well as how modern life and maintenance conspire against keeping it.

Objects of Desire

Objects of Desire: The Lives of Antiques and Those Who Pursue Them by Thatcher Freund

For an antiques lover like me, this book is practically addictive.  Journalist Freund follows three top-drawer antiques to the top of the market, with brilliant descriptions of the pieces themselves, their provenance, their sellers, and their new owners.  It’s now out of print, but well worth the trouble to find a copy!

Read on!


  1. I saw on your profile list your love of "Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House" - I love the movie so I'm going to try the book. I love your book list! I'm going to check a few out. Usually, 20th to 21st century lit stinks because it is so hopeless - everybody loses. I'm a 19th century lit fan where goodness and hope prevail! Your list has intrigued me, though.

  2. Great list! Harriet the Spy is a big favorite of mine, too.

    And I have a copy of the Santmeyer sitting around somewhere. I think I'll need to read it soon....

  3. Love Raney! My mother had the opportunity to hear Clyde Edgerton at a reading of the book and she said it was fabulous!

    Can't wait to see your posting. Of course, I am back traveling for the next few days (for school this time... not pleasure, although it is in St. Augustine!), so I have to wait to post! Ugh... I need a STAYcation! LOL

  4. thank you for the many book reviews. i value a
    good book above a great dress.

    willa cather happens to be one of my favorites!!!

    i'm thinking of you as your summer comes to a
    close. you can do this. your son will have a super
    freshman year!!!



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