Forest Lakes

pine trees

I spent this past weekend at a friend’s cabin in Forest Lakes, Arizona. Forest Lakes is about 2 1/2 hours northeast of Phoenix and is a favorite area for many desert dwellers to take refuge from the heat in the cool mountain air. When we arrived on Friday morning it was rainy and so chilly that we lit a fire and put on our sweaters – a complete opposite of the stifling heat and humidity we had left behind at home.

The weekend was completely relaxed, especially as I had no phone or Internet service for the entirety of the stay. At first I felt a bit anxious about being disconnected from the world, but it really didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would and I enjoyed the sense of isolation. We hunted for geodes, which litter the ground around the cabin, took walks on the mountain roads, played darts, talked and, of course, read. I managed to finish my first book in over a month while there (March by Geraldine Brooks).

On Sunday afternoon we drove to Willow Springs Lake, about 15 miles from the cabin, and I took photos and read while my friends fished. They caught a few trout and a sunfish before storm clouds rolled in and we went back to the cabin for lunch before packing up and heading back to Phoenix.

Following are a few photos from the weekend:

cabin smoke

Smoke from the chimney.

crystal geode

Crystal geode.


mountain road

Our walking path.

yellow stalks

There were gorgeous wildflowers everywhere.

willow springs lake

Willow Springs Lake.

Mistie and J

My friend’s dog watching the fishing.

fishing boat

The fish were biting for everyone.

I hope you all had a great weekend too. What are you reading this week?


Spinning in the Summer


I hadn’t intended to participate in the Classics Club Spin this time around, but I think it might be just what I need. I don’t really have a Classics Club list any longer so I just looked around my shelves and chose books that I think I would like to read over the next three months. I even included some chunksters like Anna Karenina and Middlemarch to keep things interesting. I truly hope I return to normal soon and joining the Classics Club Spin is part of the effort to bring back my usual passion for reading and blogging. Here is my list:

  1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  2. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
  3. The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes
  4. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  5. The Echoing Grove by Rosamond Lehmann
  6. The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West
  7. The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton
  8. Loitering with Intent by Muriel Spark
  9. Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
  10. The Cranford Chronicles by Elizabeth Gaskell
  11. The Custom of the Country – Edith Wharton
  12. The Spectre of Alexander Wolf by Gaito Gazdanov
  13. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  14. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  15. Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden
  16. South Riding by Winifred Holtby
  17. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  18. Mrs. Ames by E.F. Benson
  19. The Sleeping Beauty by Elizabeth Taylor
  20. Because of the Lockwoods by Dorothy Whipple

I’m secretly hoping for #3, 8 or 20. If you’re participating in the spin I hope you get something wonderful tomorrow.

Cover Collection: Emma

1. Penguin Threads // 2. Pocket Penguin Classics // 3. Vintage Classics

4. Headline Review // 5. Everyman’s Library Classics // 6. Oxford World’s Classics

I’m slowly reading Emma, or trying to, as I am in the most major, epic reading funk of my life. I would say I’m probably in a life funk as well. I’m trying to shake it, but I could definitely use some of Emma’s confidence and self-assurance right now. I think I like #1 best out of these covers. Which one appeals to you? And do you have any strategies for getting out of a rut?



Nearly every evening around dusk ominous clouds like the ones above dramatically appear on the eastern horizon and slowly yet noticeably sweep into the metro Phoenix area. They bring heavy winds that suck up the dust that lays across the Sonoran desert and the sky fills with a brown curtain of dirt that masks the clouds. Visibility dramatically decreases and rush hour becomes filled with adventure as drivers try to make it home before the storm descends. The storms are violent and short, but bring much-needed rain to our parched desert. This is the only real weather that central Arizonans see during the year so we avidly watch the skies and the dew point waiting for the black clouds and the right percentage that signal monsoon season.

Perhaps the monsoon is providing me all the drama and plot I need for I haven’t read much lately and the only book I’ve finished this month is Frances & Bernard. I didn’t even finish the book club book for the month – I always feel so negligent when that happens. I’ve started quite a few books, but not much has captivated me. I am almost finished with Brideshead Revisited which I have truly enjoyed and yesterday I picked up Westwood by Stella Gibbons and find it enchanting so hope is not lost. I believe I’m just extra picky this month. I want books that are meditative with descriptive writing and subdued humor and nothing else will do.

Does the weather affect your reading habits and tastes?


The Most Perfect Book

frances and bernard

I’ve always heard that if you have ambitions to write you should write the novel that you would want to read, the novel that embraces all your passions and literary likes. Well, thanks to Carlene Bauer there’s no need for me to ever write my own novel – she has written my perfect book.

Frances & Bernard is an epistolary novel set during the late 50′s through the late 60′s and chronicles the evolving relationship between a novelist and a poet. Their passionate and intelligent letters illuminate the difficult choices we all make about love, self-worth, creativity and spirituality. It is endearing and bittersweet and will make you laugh, cry and think.

With a mid-century setting, a New York vibe, characters who are based on Robert Lowell, Flannery O’Connor and others of their smart literary set, witty book talk, earnest spiritual discussions and honest observations on art and romance it ticks every one of my boxes. I wanted to re-read it immediately after finishing. It is a book that captured my heart and my mind and I think it will be a forever favorite.

Have you ever encountered the most perfect book for you?