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Tomes and Tea Leaves

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Jaimie Admans
On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History
Nicholas A. Basbanes
Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing
Anya Von Bremzen
The Mirror Lied: One Woman's 25-Year Struggle with Bulimia, Anorexia, Diet Pill Addiction, Laxative Abuse and Cutting.
Marc A. Zimmer, N.R. Mitgang, Ira M. Sacker
Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet
Stephen Manes
Curtis Sittenfeld
Gail Godwin
The Old Curiosity Shop
Charles Dickens, Norman Page
The English Eccentrics
Edith Sitwell, Richard Ingrams (Introduction)
Wife in the North - Judith O'Reilly This book is Judith O'Reilly's account of her family's move from London to the Northumberland countryside. A devoted city girl, O'Reilly is married to a Northumberland man who dreamed of going back, so she decideded to grant his wish; she agreed to move to the north for two years. But for O'Reilly life in the north is hardly a dream. She misses her London life, lacks close friends in her new home, and finds that everything, from her neighbors's dress to local pastimes is a world apart from what she knew in London. Culture-shocked, O'Reilly begins writing a blog about her experiences. This book is comprised of the blog entries. I'd never read a book comprised of blog entries before, but I found that the format worked surprisingly well. It's more like jumping into the middle of someone else's life than just about any other could be. I very much enjoyed reading this. O'Reilly is humorous, and she's willing to bare her soul on her blog. Her story is interesting, and I couldn't wait to get to the end to see what they would decide to do at the end of two years (she won't tell you until the epilogue!) In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I, too, have recently move from a more urban and populated area to one very different, so I had a great deal of sympathy for O'Reilly's plight. Ultimately, this book combines some of the best features of the memoir and the travel narrative, as O'Reilly clearly approaches Northumberland as an outsider, and it's interesting to see how she interprets her experience through the lens of place. The book offers an intimate picture of a family and a marriage, and shows the ways in which people define home. When I got to the epilogue the final decision was what I had anticipated, and it's interesting that O'Reilly's words illustrate the direction the family is headed, even if she could not see so at the time she was writing the blog. Overall, a very enjoyable read.