Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Sunday Salon: I Extinguish The Four Winds; I (Almost!) Finish The Divine Comedy; and My Easter Bonnet, Circa 1966




I was delighted to find that The Four Winds had arrived for me at the library last week. I read it all in one day. But I have to be honest with you: I wouldn't recommend it to someone else. I thought about giving up on it all the way to the middle of the book, when the story did pick up. Still, there were lots of things I found jarring...the inconsistent behavior of the main character's parents (first they are protective, and then...what?)...the rudeness of the daughter and how it was treated by the adults...the fancy Italian foods the family ate during the Depression...all of these things just didn't work for me based on what I know about Italian families and about families during the Depression era. So, a disappointment.

I will be finished with The Divine Comedy in just days, after reading on it every day for three and a half months. I will be glad to be done with it. All the levels of punishment for sinners and all the theology and all the names of various good guys and bad guys known to Dante...whew! Reading it was exhausting, honestly. Still, I'm glad to have read it. Just don't ask me to read it again, and I'm not sure I really even remember enough to talk about it with you.





Jungle Tales by Horacio Quiroga (1001 Children's Books)

The Little Book of Lent (Daily Reading During Lent)

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah 






The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (Chapter-a-Day Read-Along)

Yes, and...Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr (Daily Meditation Reading)

Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion (Naturalist Book Club)

Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge (National Poetry Month) 

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin (1001 Children's Books)

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Classics Club)










Good Thing #1. Why You Should Plant Oaks, and why I am thankful the MacKay family that lived in my house in 1953 planted oaks



Good Thing #2. I ran across this old photo from Easter in 1966. I'm the tall girl. Note my sister and I had look-alike dresses. My mom sewed her dress and ours. And we all had Easter bonnets. Remember those?



Good Thing #3. All the plants I thought had died in the freeze have, unexpectedly, revived. Crepe myrtles. Azaleas. Bougainvilleas. Oleanders. Even the tomatoes have come back. 





I'm happy you found your way to the Sunday Salon. Sunday Salon is a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. It's a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

Some of the things we often talk about at the Sunday Salon:

  • What was your week like?
  • Read any good books? Tell us about them.
  • What other bookish things did you do? 
  • What else is going on in your life?

Other places where you may like to link up over the weekend are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.


My linkup for Sunday Salon is below.  

73 comments:

  1. I love those home made dresses. So prettily done. Even as a teenager I used to sew my own clothes. We had fabric shortages, and it was rationed so it was a question of styling things ourselves. We managed!
    Sri Lanka goes into a voluntary lockdown because 13th and 14th are the New Year here. Everything starts shutting up from today as families leave for their villages and ancestral homes! those who are left in the city migrate to hotels for the various deals offered. Basically a lockdown!

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    1. I remember those shopping expeditions in search of patterns and fabric for school clothes. My mother spent most of the summer every year sewing. It was something she loved, and she was very good at it.

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  2. I love your summary of the Divine Comedy -- "I'm not sure I really even remember enough to talk about it with you" -- I feel like that often about books I read. I was amused in the movie Coco by a dog named Dante in the land of the Dead.

    I read a good book and shared it, which I hope is in the spirit of Salon.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. We are wide open here at the Salon. The book you shared sounds like it is a fascinating read.

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  3. What a nice Easter memory photo Deb. Sorry Four Winds did not work for you, I loved it. Yes, the daughter was rude to her mother and as for the Italian foods, it didn't faze me as the farm had been doing well until the drought so I figured the family had $$ and or food surplus. Have a nice weekend.

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    1. My dad's family lived in Louisiana on a farm during the Depression, and my mom's family is Italian, so those things were jarring to me when I was reading the book.

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  4. I know Kristin Hannah is wildly popular with many readers, but after my experience with Firefly Lane I am not eager to read more of her books.

    Kudos for persevering with Divine Comedy. I read it a few years ago and my experience was much like yours. It was a struggle and when I had finished I'm not sure I understood what I had read and could not have intelligently discussed it. Still can't!

    I see another familiar title on your list - The Woman in White. I read that one a few years ago also and quite enjoyed it.

    Love the Easter picture, and, oh yes, do I remember Easter bonnets! When I was growing up, girls and women were not considered properly dressed for Easter unless we wore one.

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    1. I'm glad your sentiments about Kristin Hannah and The Divine Comedy are similar to mine. I'm glad others enjoyed The Four Winds (and I would say that I enjoyed the last third of the book pretty well) and Divine Comedy, but neither of those are books that I'd read again.

      I say we should bring back the Easter bonnet.

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  5. I'm so glad your plants survived. They are resilient, aren't they? We can all learn lessons from our plants. Love the Easter photo. Happy week!

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    1. In fact, they seem to have come back better than ever.

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  6. I hit the Covid wall this week. On Tuesday, after getting my first vaccine, I was feeling optimistic and then we went into full "stay home" order. Thursday I was miserable and most of Friday when I rebounded.
    I think I got my reading mojo back this week. Although you didn't like The Four Winds I feel tempted to try it just based on your comments. I'll add it to my wish list and if I get to it I will.
    I have an Easter photo like that of my sister and I. My mother also made our outfits.
    So glad your plants survived. I have the gardening itch. Not sure if the nurseries are allowed to be open. I really want some herbs.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean when you say you hit the Covid wall. I've been struggling against that for the last year.

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  7. The Easter picture is lovely! It’s so different now, all about the chocolate here!

    Have a lovely week!

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  8. I love that picture of you as a little girl on another Easter. How fun! Very pretty dresses that were hand made! Wow.

    I've heard Kristin Hannah does that a lot with her books. I heard something similar about her book The Great Alone. I haven't picked one of hers up yet and I still am unsure.

    Congrats on making it through Dante! That's a hefty one right there.

    I hope you have a safe and lovely week!

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    1. Thank you, Heather. I'm proud of getting to the end of Dante without dying of exhaustion. At least I would be in the right place...hopefully....

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  9. I give you reading perseverance credit! And, we have those Easter photos, with bonnets as well. Aloha,

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  10. The Four Winds is on my wishlist. I have many books to read first, then I'll try to get it from the library. I'm sorry it wasn't a good one for you. I haven't read Kristin Hannah in years. I used to like her but then I just have so many books that I didn't get back to hers.

    I hope you have a great week!

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    1. Others liked it much more than I did. My dad was a Dust Bowl kid, and the story just didn't seem true to his life and the lives of others who lived through those events. Just my two cents.

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  11. Oh no! I really enjoyed Four Winds.

    Funny you should mention oak trees. Currently, every oak in our neighborhood has been decimated by moths and now the caterpillars are hanging from the trees by silky threads and dropping on EVERYTHING!

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    1. Oh, we have caterpillars here, too. They are suddenly everywhere. And they sting.

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  12. Such a great retro Easer photo! I remember the bonnets :)

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    1. We always took family pictures at Easter and Christmas. And my dad always took them and never got to be in the picture.

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  13. Great Easter picture! It's always fun to walk down memory lane.

    I didn't care for The Inferno (I haven't read the rest of The Divine Comedy) but I'm glad I read it. I don't always like the B&N Classics editions but I was glad to have footnotes that helped me understand what (or who) Dante was going on about.

    Enjoy your week!

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    1. I could not have made it through The Divine Comedy without footnotes and chapter summaries. They were a lifesaver.

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  14. I'm so glad your plants survived! And I love the oak trees. One of the things that made the saddest about selling my grandparents' land was losing the oak tree that my great-grandmother had planted in the late-1930s and her camellia bushes. My mother and I did split the jonquils so not all was lost though! Interesting about Four Winds and does not sound like a book I'd enjoy. The different sides of my family had pretty diverse Depression experiences but I do know the poorer Irish immigrant side was definitely not eating fancy food! Have a great week!

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    1. How nice that you were able to save the flowers. My grandparents had a hundred-acre ranch filled with live oaks and pecans, and it was sad that that land was sold.

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  15. You may think to read this 'Sam Sheppard' play next. Its on Youtube right now for free and stars Senise from Forest Gump.

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  16. Your tomatoes are looking magnificent - I always feel so happy when a plant I think I might have lost in the winter suddenly starts budding. Though it looks as if I've lost a fuschia and my witchhazel, this year:(. What a joy to have oak trees in your neighbourhood. We generally don't have them in towns, so have to travel to woods and forests to appreciate them. I love that photo of you and your sister in matching outfits:)). My grandmother was the seamstress in the family and somewhere, I know there are pics of me and my sister in identical, handmade clothes. I was ridiculed at senior school because Gran made my school skirts out of crimplene and hand-knitted my school jumpers. It was hard at first - but I got to a stage where I zoned out what people thought of me. And it has been my main superpower through my life:)).

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    1. It's lovely that you are able to reframe the cruelty into your superpower.

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  17. Hi Deb! I found The Four Winds very, very depressing. I still enjoy Kristen Hannah's remarkable writing style, but this one made me feel as there is no hope for humankind ever learning from history.

    Love your Easter photo. Nope, have not idea what a bonnet, except the part of the car, is.

    Glad to see your plants are reviving and that it brings you so much joy!

    Have a wonderful week ahead!

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    1. I've read a lot about the Depression, as both of my parents experienced it, and it was a time where people did learn to do better, I think.

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  18. What a sweet photo! Easter Hat Parades are held every year in primary (elementary) school here. The kids always loved it, me making them, not so much.
    I studied the Divine Comedy in my final year of highschool, it was not fun.

    Wishing you a great reading week

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  19. I used to sew all my kids clothes and most of mine so I love your Easter memory.

    Have a great week!

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  20. I can relate to dresses made by mom...and Easter bonnets!

    Oleanders...the school grounds in elementary school were surrounded by them, and we often played "house" under them. I wonder that we didn't get sick! BTW, I loved the book White Oleander, by Janet Fitch a few years ago...and have the movie.

    Enjoy your week!

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    1. They say oleanders are poisonous. I resisted having them in my yard until after my kids were grown.

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  21. Good for you for finishing The Divine Comedy. I would have given up.

    Glad your plants are coming back! I still don't know what I want to plant in front of my house. My friend gave me some 9 o'clock seeds but I didn't ask her what color they are. I do know I want some Croton plants because they remind me of my mom. She had some at the front of her house.

    I remember dressing up like that for Easter.

    My mom sewed a lot of my school cloths when I was young. She only had one job in her life and that was when my dad was in World War II. She and my dad's mom worked in a sewing factory making army uniforms and if I remember correctly they also made USA Flags. She LOVED to sew and did just about every day.

    I hope you have a great week!

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  22. What a beautiful Easter photo. How great that your mom made the dresses.
    I've wanted to read Kristin Hannah. Enjoy your books this week!

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  23. What a cute Easter picture. Did you and your sister mind wearing look-a-like dresses? You all seem very happy in that picture so I'm guessing you didn't mind.

    My Mom went to bed hungry most nights during the depression but my Dad's family had a farm so they always had plenty to eat.

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    1. We did not like wearing lookalike dresses!

      My mom grew up in the city in the North during the Depression, while my dad grew up in the country in the South. My dad had plenty of food, while my mom's dad had to shoot squirrels for his family to eat.

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  24. I love the pictures. The dresses are too cute.

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  25. I like the Easter bonnet. I wonder when that tradition died off? I read The Woman in White several years ago and enjoyed it very much. Good mystery.

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    1. I decided to listen to Woman in White after so many people told me how much they liked it.

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  26. What a disappointment to hear about The Four Winds. I did enjoy The Woman in White though. Love the Easter bonnet... I remember wearing them and getting a new Easter dress every year while growing up. Your garden looks beautiful!

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    1. It's just my two cents, JoAnn, and lots of others really enjoyed it.

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  27. Thx for your thoughts on The Four Winds. Bloggers seem to be all over the map on it. But it seems like you spotted some inconsistencies in it. Also I like your picture from 1966 ... wow you were tall early on. Have a great week.

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    1. It did not feel true to the experiences my family shared about the Depression times.

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  28. Yes, The Divine Comedy is much more political than I expected. I'm glad I read it in an edition hat explained who these people were. The theology was the easiest part for me.
    So glad your garden survived the frost! I planted spinach and salad, and they are coming out nicely. For the rest, we have to wait for May, because of more frost coming our way, which is normal in Northern Illinois

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    1. I bet Dante enjoyed writing a book where he put people he considered bad guys into hell!

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  29. Yay for the plants! And I've never read Dante- and I love theology- but yes sometimes the depth of info there is staggering. I've read a few books like that that fascinated me but afterward I was like... I gotta digest this now. :)

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  30. PoemCrazy was the first book about writing I ever read... and it started me on a fantastic journey into the world of words. FABULOUS!

    I also read Wilkie Collins' "Woman in White" ... but several years ago. I remember I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the details are now a bit fuzzy. I look forward to hearing your review.

    While I enjoyed The Four Winds more than you, I can understand your problem with inconsistencies. I was reading through the lens of what my Texas ancestors may have experienced ... and found that aspect of the book eye-opening.

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    1. PoemCrazy is a big poof of fun. I'm enjoying it a lot.

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  31. it's a bummer to wait for a book and it let you down. better luck with the next one
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  32. I love that photo of you as a little girl at Easter!

    And how great that your plants came back!

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  33. I do remember Easter bonnets. My mom didn't sew though. So no home-made dresses for me. Congrats on sticking to The Divine Comedy. I'm sure you'll be glad to finally finish it. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  34. Everyone seemed to go crazy for The Four Winds when it came out. I've not read any of her books. I don't think the genre is one I gravitate towards but every time I hit an indie bookstore I almost buy it. Almost. I feel like if I read it, it will be a library copy because if I end up not loving it, then no money is wasted. I am not surprised by your review though. I have heard differing opinions on it. Either people gush or say it drags.

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  35. We have an oak that is in our neighbors yard but that mostly shades our backyard.. perfect to be able to spend time out on our picnic table there.. so I agree with your good thing as well.. And I need to get to Poemcrazy soon..

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  36. I really enjoyed your good things! Great pictures, thanks for sharing. Have a great week!

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  37. Ah what a cute picture with your mom and siblings in your Easter outfits! My mom used to sew most of my clothes growing up actually even into my early career days. I loved it because my clothes fit perfectly! And look at your garden coming back - yay! Hope you have a great week ahead!

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  38. My colleague at work just told me she wasn't sure about Four Winds when she started it but ended up loving it. I thought The Nightingale was definitely not up to its hype, so I'm not planning on joining the enormously long holds list at the library for Four Winds, and especially not after reading your reaction! A chapter-a-day readalong takes a lot of dedication; good for you! I'm rushing through my current readalong of The Green Mile by Stephen King and need to slow the pace.

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  39. I'm so sorry to hear that The Four Winds was such a disappointment. I have it ready to listen to on audio, but I've been waiting for the hype to die down. I wasn't thrilled with The Great Alone, but I loved The Nightingale, so who knows if I'll like this one.

    What a sweet Easter photo of you and your family. Yes, I remember Easter bonnets. We always got dressed in our finest for Easter Sunday services.

    Hooray for all your plants! I'm glad they survived that awful winter you all had this year.

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  40. I am sorry The Four Winds turned out to be a disappointment. By now you may be done with The Divine Comedy. :-) It'll be nice to have that one done, I am sure! Oh, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm! That's my mom's childhood favorite. I have yet to read it, sadly. My mom gave me her copy in case Mouse was interested in reading it at some point. That doesn't mean I cannot read it too!

    Thank you for sharing the photos! I love the Easter one of you and your family. :-) I used to love wearing my mom's old bonnets for dress up. I was never made to wear them at Easter or otherwise. I do not even remember having to wear Easter dresses, although I'd be surprised if I didn't. My mom used to sew some of my clothes too, at least until I got older. It's a skill I always regret not learning when I was younger.

    I hope you are well!

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  41. I just found your comment on my Sunday post in my spam comments! Grr! Thanks for commenting on Lisa Loves Literature. I love your Easter picture! I used to have homemade dresses from my mom all the time. I could never finish the Divine Comedy. It just was so hard to read. Hope you have a great week!

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  42. I never wore Easter bonnets but I have old pictures of my sister and I wearing almost the same dresses - my mother was a talented seamstress. I'm glad your plants survived and this oak is really splendid !

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  43. Oh what memories those Easter bonnets brought back!
    My mother's BD hibiscus is showing a few leaves near the bottom. I had just about given up all hope. Daddy's 100th BD rose is blooming its head off! Many of mine are coming back. PTL

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