Sunday, September 23, 2018

I Read Banned Books! Banned Books Week 2018

Happy Sunday, My Lovelies!  This week is Banned Books Week.  I'm celebrating that I have the freedom to read whatever I want, including the Holy Bible on this beautiful Sunday!

Curious about the most challenged and banned books from 2017?  Watch this video to see the books on last year's list.

It is frightening that there are those who want to censor ideas that do not align with their own.  Censorship is dangerous, and we must do everything to uphold the freedom of expression, whether it's speech on social media or the printed word.

Have a great week, everyone, and read a banned book!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Friday, September 21, 2018

Literary Friday: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  My reading slump is finally over.  Yay for me!  I decided to check-out Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine at the library because so many of my Instagram friends raved about it.  Gail Honeyman is an extremely good writer, and I found the book difficult to put down.

According to Goodreads:

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine. 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . . 

The only way to survive is to open your heart.

My Review:

First of all, I need to correct the faulty book blurb above.  I hate it when they get it wrong....did this person who wrote it even read the book?

First of all, Eleanor only talks to her mother on Wednesday evenings via a phone call originated by her mother, not the weekends.  Raymond and Sammy do not live their lives in isolation.  Raymond has roommates and friends he plays computer games with, and he has a doting, loving mother.  Sammy has an extended family who loves him very much, and his children and grands are very much involved in his life.  Eleanor is the only one living in isolation, so when I read the book and then re-read the blurb, I thought, "What the what?"

Eleanor is a very interesting and endearing character.  The reader knows that she's had a harrowing childhood, and she is very, very awkward socially.   I thought that she might be spectrum-ish, maybe high functioning Aspergers because she is brilliant, having studied the classics at university and an avid crossword puzzle solver.   But there is much more to her than her limited, stringent lifestyle.

It is true that new possibilities open-up for Eleanor when she and Raymond help save Sammy's life.  She begins to interact with people outside of work (she and Raymond work for the same Graphic Design Company), and she decides to fall in love with a local musician who doesn't know she exists.  This juvenile infatuation leads to a series of events that thankfully mature Eleanor, and none to soon as she's thirty years old.

Although I think the book is well-written and it's arguable a wonderful book, I'm probably not as enamored with the book as several of my friends, and here's why:

Spoiler Alert!  Spoilers Below!

Eleanor is an atheist.  I don't have much patience with atheists who put their faith and trust in a vodka bottle rather than God.  When this was revealed in the book I almost put it down.  

Also, there's a plot twist that was completely unexpected, and it made me rethink everything I thought I knew about Eleanor.  Her issues were much more involved than I realized; the plot twist had me seconding guessing the Aspergers diagnosis among other things.  Eleanor Oliphant is NOT completely fine.  The title is a lie!  Plus, the book would have benefited from a bit more closure.

End of Spoilers

If you enjoy character-driven novels with interesting, well-drawn and quirky characters, you should like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.  

The book cover below is an affiliate link for purchasing Eleanor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine via IndieBound.

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Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Early Fall Decor in the Breakfast Room

Ta-da!  I went with the orange and blue table runner.

Happy Wednesday, My Lovelies!  I appreciate all the feedback y'all gave me on how to decorate our breakfast room from this post.  I read all of your emails and comments, and you truly helped me make my decision.  I noticed that several of you suggested I add copper to my plan, and I thought y'all had a great idea. 

Let's take a look at my choices for early fall.  The table is set for after dinner coffee and dessert (Madeleines).  We'll take the desserts outside and watch what we call "Midnight Baseball," or when the Cubbies play starting at 8:40 PM CDT.  I don't really mind these late games because it does cool down up here on Oak Mountain when the sun goes down.  The only downside is if Mr. Art at Home has an early case the next morning because he wants to go to sleep and I want to stay up and watch baseball!  ;P

Dessert plates and napkins stacked and ready to go.
I chose vintage MacKenzie-Childs patterns that are more fall-ish, and the indigo floral napkins are perfect for fall.  The plate's pattern is Cayuga.

I love the grays, oranges, blues, purples, and bright reds in the table runner.  The candlestick has a dark gray stripe that blends nicely with it.

Platter for Madeleines
I chose the Brittany pattern for its purples, blues, and wavy copper stripe.  
Do you notice anything else that's copper on this table?

I couldn't resist the tiger-striped pumpkins and the book nook dishtowel from Anthropologie.

The ceramic cups can be used for coffee or wine.

I'll be serving French pressed coffee, the Tea Cake roast from Revelator Coffee.

Sugar and creamer set was a gift from my mom and grandmother.

The bright roses are from The Fresh Market.  They are more of an orangy-red.  The wooden buffet server has just enough chippy blue paint.

And in case you missed it, I chose a pair of small geometric copper tea light lanterns from Pier1.

So basically I took your idea of adding oranges with the blues while also incorporating copper in my decor.  I didn't have any copper on hand, so I purchased these lanterns with the geometric look that's popular now; but at $5.95 per lantern, that's a small financial commitment for a trend that probably won't last until Christmas! (But I do like this trend...)

Thanks for your input!  I still love the other two choices, and perhaps I might choose one for November.


Chair cushions, table runner, sugar and creamer set, and dishtowel:  Anthropologie
Blue vase and indigo floral napkins:  Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic
Dessert plates, candlesticks, oval serving plate, and spoon rest:  MacKenzie-Childs
Spoon: Horchow
Lanterns:  Pier1
Roses and pumpkins:  The Fresh Market
Wooden buffet server: At Home, Homewood, Alabama
Cup set: Angel and Boho, UK
French press cozy:  Etsy find

Have you started bringing out the pumpkins yet?  If so, let me know in comments,  and I'll come over and be a looky-lou visit your blog!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill