Summer Reading

I love a good book, don't you? And what better time to read than Summer? A cold glass of iced tea...lotsa lemon...and a slice of this warm banana bread I just took outta the oven (recipe below). It's still pleasant enough to park myself under the umbrella at the table on Missy M's deck, where I can enjoy all those container gardens I planted last week...and still be accessible to her if she needs anything. Her wifi is strong enough to give good service, even outside, so my iPad and I are connected...know what I mean?

Of course, I used to swear that I'd NEVER read an ebook. No. It had to be hardback or paperback, or nothing! Not even a papyrus scroll was considered good enough to qualify as a "real" book in my book. all happened so gradually, you know.

First I started with audiobooks. I detest any long drive by myself, and the drives I was making to and from Atlanta for work were l-o-n-g. So, I borrowed from the library one or two classic Agatha Christie mysteries, on CDs, read by favs David Suchet and Hugh Frasier (the definitive Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings, in the TV versions of Poirot, my humble opinion). And, then I fell down the rabbit hole, I suppose.

When I got an iPod, I began to download new audiobooks as well as classics. And when I got my iPad, well it was just one small step to downloading ebooks. Of course, by this time, it wasn't about listening to books while driving. It was all about easy access...whenever and wherever...and there has been no turning back.

Now, don't get me wrong. I haven't abandoned "real" books. Since I've been at Missy M's, I have ordered two large boxes of books, delivered to our front door by a very overworked UPS person (he has also had to deliver our dog food, which comes in 40-pound bags...:) and M's quilting and knitting orders...which seem to arrive every other day like clockwork. Here's the evidence:

Most of these books are gardening-related, I must admit. And I will be reviewing several of them over on my gardening-related blog in the next post. I have downloaded gardening ebooks, but I find them to be few-and-far between, shall we say? Gardeners as a group are not known to be early...or even mid-to-late...adopters of new technology. So publishers don't seem to be in a real rush to get gardening titles on their ebook lists.

Two of my favorite fiction authors have hit those lists lately, though: Margaret Maron and P.D. James. And I have followed up on recent e-mails about their e-book titles with e-nthusiasm. Ahem.

Via ebooks, I have caught up with Maron's fictional Lieutenant Sigrid Harald, NYPD series, and I am working my way through James' series starring Adam Dalgleish, rereading many but this time in series-order. I have downloaded and utilized the free Nook reader ap from Barnes and Noble, as I like it a little better than the iPad's iBook reader (although I like the way iBook allows me to organize my bookshelf).

And just as I am about to get weary of London (where the current James' book is set), I came across the Summer of 2012 Reading List from Deep South magazine:

Hooboy howdy. Where in the world do I begin?! I was instantly attracted to several of the authors (John Grisham and Dorothea Benton Franks, to name a couple), and I feel a strong pull to read the book about Helen Keller, whose biography I read as a child...although it now appears that not everything was mentioned in that version.

A couple of the selections mention that they are second or more in a series...and I am tempted to locate the first books before I read them. I like reading things in order, don't you? Of course, that just means the list just got longer.

So, how will I decide? Believe it or not, it will probably be "which one(s) can I get as an ebook/download?" I'm sorta in neutral at the moment, not able to hop in the car on a whim and head to the bookstore. And I don't have a library card locally, so I can't reserve and checkout any of the listed titles while still here in KY.

Decisions, decisions.

As I am currently using my Shells & Waves avatar on Facebook...and concentrating on the beach when needing to relax and go to my happy place...and looking so forward to our SC beach vacation later this summer...I think my first read from the Summer Reading List will be...

Dorothea Benton Franks' Porch Lights, which just came out a couple of days ago. Believe it or not, I've just purchased it, downloaded it into my Nook Library, and sneaked a peak at the first few pages.

I "discovered" DBF one summer vacation in Litchfield, all her books to that date in one week, and even got an autographed copy of her Pawleys Island book at the local bookstore. She really brings the Low Country alive! And since that is one of my favorite places on Earth, why not be transported there in words and story?

Now, let me see if Commander Dalgleish can get these two murders in the Little Vestry solved, so I can pack my figurative bags and hop a literary flight outta Heathrow...and touch down in Charleston, near my destination of Sullivan's Island. I can almost hear the sea gulls calling, can't you?


Thursday's Banana Bread

3-4 over-ripened bananas, mashed
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup nuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with Pam. Set aside.
2. Mix together the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and mix well.
3. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients. Stir batter until moistened. Stir in nuts. Do not overbeat.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place in oven on middle rack. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, tenting the top of the loaf with foil during the last 20 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Test for doneness.
5. Remove to cooling rack to cool before slicing. Enjoy warm or cold, with butter or softened cream cheese!


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