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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

My Favorite Reader... The Mister


Happy Valentines Day!  We woke up to storms and a distinctive drip... drip... drip in our master bath.  The Mister, who never met a ladder he wouldn't climb, inspected the suspicious spot.  He thinks it may be a puncture in the sprinkler hose.  But we will leave the leak to the experts for a final diagnosis.

Does anyone have a membership to American Home Shield?  We have been using them for at least 15 years and have only had great experiences.  Whenever we have a leak or problem with an appliance, we contact AHS, and they find a subcontractor who calls us to set up an appointment.  I had AHS on speed dial when we lived in our 100-year-old house in Massachusetts.

Yesterday, I had a delightful catch-up lunch with my old friend, Madonna.  Later, I am off to Dallas to take my pal, Miss Debbie, out for an overdue birthday lunch. 

Today, my Valentine is in the hot seat, answering all my hard-hitting questions.


Tell us about yourself, i.e., your home state, family, career, etc.

I am the husband of a supermodel trophy wife and fellow empty-nester.  We are meandering through life in harmony… together in search of blog-worthy adventures.

It's not easy being a blog husband.

Here is a birds-eye view of the expectations of my job.

No bite before it's time!

This means that I am not allowed to touch my food in a restaurant before it is photographed at every angle and photo setting.  It doesn't matter that our meals grow cold.   It is a cardinal sin to disappoint blog readers and Instagram followers.

Lights, Camera, step ladder!

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I am Katie's personal photographer.  Here are a couple of the rules that go along with the job.

Take photos of Katie ONLY in portrait mode and ONLY from specified angles and distances.  NO FULL-BODY SHOTS EVER!


I have been known to use a step ladder because her ladyship thinks she looks her best looking up. 

After 33 long years of marriage, I have learned never to ask the following questions.

Where are you going?

Is that new?

How much?

What's your password?

Is that what you're wearing?

What's in the bag?

I don't know; do you think you look fat?

I better start answering Katie's questions before she gets mad and fires me.

When did your love affair with reading begin?


I can clearly remember reading The Mystery At Red Top Hill, which was published in 1963, over and over again.  I usually used a flashlight after lights out until I all but memorized the book.  The best mystery is when you already know the ending...

 The book is currently out of print, though I did find a copy on eBay, and by the looks of the condition, my Mom is out to make a few bucks from my old junk!

What are your favorite genres?

My favorite genres range from Thrillers and Historical fiction to Memoirs and Cookbooks.  I leave the Romance, Self Help, Real Housewife tell-alls, and training manuals on how to murder your husband to the Boss. 

We share our Amazon libraries with each other.  When Katie finishes a book that she loves, she always says the same thing every time: 

You are going to love this book! 

She then asks me every day if I've started yet.

This tedious process can go on for months.

Paper book, e-book, and/or audiobook?

 E-Books and Audio all the way.  I am a big fan of whisper-sync, so I can e-Read at home and listen to the same book in the car.  I have tried to explain the process to Katie; I now understand that this is a fool's mission!

We each own a Kindle Oasis and are impatiently awaiting the newest release later this year.  

 What are the best books that you read in 2022?

 For some unknown reason, Best Reads of 2022 focused on bookstores,s and ar,t forgery.  It just seemed to be a reoccurring theme.  


This is one of the books that Katie loved and wouldn't give up nagging until I read it.  I really enjoyed the Boston slant.

My favorite Art Restorer, Gabriel Allon of Daniel Silva's
22-book series

Another one of Katie's suggestions.

And my favorite Bookseller, Steve Berry's Cotton Malone 



The Cartographers by Peng Sheperd was a recommendation from Annie in a recent post, which you can find HERE!  Her love of this book was spot on, with twists, turns, and suspense right up to the last page.

This is a remarkable story of survival during WWII.  The endurance of men and women, the aid of Armenian resistance, and overcoming overwhelming odds.

The amazing story of the Richie Boys of WWII.  This little-known history of young German Jews who returned to fight the Nazis at enormous personal peril dubbed The US Army's greatest secret weapon!
This 2023 new release is a true page-turner.  I absolutely could not put it down.  It follows the first installment of the Kate Rees character and hero.

I guess I was on a WWII  roll!

Hotel Pastis was a particular favorite.  I enjoyed reading about the process of designing and building a hotel.


I enjoyed hearing Harry's story in his own words.

A lot of the excerpts in the press were taken out of context. 


Over the past forty years, Mark Ellison has worked on some of the most beautiful homes you've ever seen, specializing in the most rarefied, lavish, and challenging projects with the most demanding clients.

And, of course, I have to include two books that center on the art and passion of cooking, both by Erica Bauermeister

 The recipes of Aroma, Flavors, Textures, and the lives that are found and saved through common passions.

What book(s) come to mind that you consider overrated/underrated?

This book was underrated.
I hadn't expected that it would be so good.

If you don't enjoy a book, do you finish it or not?

I usually push on; however, one of the benefits of a Kindle is that there is a percentage completed notification.  I use this data point to weigh if I have given the book a fair chance against the potential drudgery of forcing my way through the balance of the book to declare "a race completed, not necessarily a race won."

Favorite place and time of day to read?


Katie and I have a hard stop to our day at 4pm.  We put the demanding tasks of empty nesting and retirement behind us for the day and read for about 2 hours.  In all reality, that time is consumed by:

  • 45 minutes of phone calls
  • 10 minutes of wine refills
  • 30 minutes of gossip and chatting
  • 10 minutes of retrieving and unpacking Amazon deliveries
  • 15 minutes of online surfing
  • 10 minutes of reading
  • 27 minutes of letting the dogs in and out

In my spare time, I am teaching Millie how to read.

Your table is set for six.  What five authors (living or not) would you like to invite to lunch?


Of course, I would do the cooking.  I would invite Steve Berry, David Baldacci, Peter Mayle, Marie Benedict, and Amor Towles.
I would also invite Katie to be on the clean-up committee.

 What book(s) resonates with you the most?


This novel is truly poetic.  The stories of sacrifice and overcoming personal challenges to serve others is inspiring and heroic.       

What is the funniest book that you have ever read?


I follow this guy on Instagram, and I think he is hysterical.

The saddest?


Many years ago, I read The Shack by William Paul Young, which I found profoundly depressing and sad until I realized that the story's narrator was God.  This somber novel becomes a mission of inspiration and a journey of faith. 

This is an epic novel centering on a deaf-mute brought up on a Wisconsin dairy farm.  Truly a story of courage and a saga of dedication and a vow of love and sacrifice.

What are you presently reading, and what's next on your list?  Is there a book you are NOT looking forward to that will be published later this year?

 Don't tell Katie, but I have 90+ unread books on my Kindle.  

Those Daily Deals get me every time.   



Is there a book you are NOT looking forward to that will be published later this year?

Any novel that has a central theme of a Pandemic! 
As my daughters would say...
Dad, too soon!

With today being my first and only post, it is appropriate that it is on Valentine's Day!

To Katie:
I wanted to make this Valentines Day special for you, so I showered you with roses and chocolates....see me below, (note.. the bow tie)

Then I thought about lighting up your day


But in the end, I decided that the perfect Valentine is 
"my true love for you"

     "The Mister" đŸ’•

Awww... thanks, Mister!
Great job, by the way.

Preppy Empty Nester
Preppy Empty Nester

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Feel free to contact me through comments and email. I love to hear from my readers!


  1. Think that Mister should start his own blog!

  2. Hello "The Mister." I read aloud your answers to my husband who also is aware of "rules" regarding any blog. I like to tease him that while he is excellent blog fodder, I have also made him famous. He says he would prefer to just be a wall flower, but of course, it is way too late for that. Thanks to you and Katie for a fun read.

  3. P.S. to my comment above, I meant to include that my husband is my proof-reader. He reads all my posts before I publish them, which has become a fun aspect of blogging for both of us.

  4. The Mister has great taste, obviously. I loved the Paris Bookseller also! Inviting Amor Towles is a great idea! I loved the closing comment. Wishing you both a wonderful Valentines' Day. Annie G.

  5. Hello! I didn’t think I could enjoy Katie’s blog even more than usual. Thank you for the fun read. Happy Valentine’s Day!❤️

  6. I loved the interview with Mister! You both are pure delight and I am is glad to have discovered your blog!! Happy Valentine's Day

  7. I'm afraid I'll make The Mister jealous, but I had lunch with my niece, Marie Benedict, on Sunday prior to her book talk on The Mitford Affair at Wellesley Books...and I didn't have to cook OR clean up! Dell

  8. I always tell my husband “The camera eats before we eat”

  9. I think we have similar tastes in reading! I really enjoyed the post.

  10. Really enjoyed this one! Agree with above poster he could start his own blog!

  11. Thank you, Mister.
    I would love to see you do a post on your favorite kitchen tools and cookbooks.

  12. Katie- Oh my stars this post is just chock full of wonderful book recommendations a la Mister! We have similar book genre taste! I loved the Paris Bookseller and the Last Book Shop in London- great reads. And Cotton Mather- great character ! Happy Valentines day to you and the Mister." Roses are red- violets are blue- such a fun post by both of you!" Hugs -SSheart.

  13. I feel the same way about any books that deal with the pandemic... much too soon!

  14. Fabulous post, Mister! And so brilliant of you Katie, to have the idea! :) You two are darling, and ok, I did tear up a little at the sweet ending. Happy Happy Valentines to both of you!

  15. Loved Spare!Read the book people before you harshly JUDGE him!Changed my Opinion!

  16. Thank you for the great post! I will be picking up several of the recommendations from the library today.

  17. Dear Mister,
    You are married to my rock star of the blog world. After reading your post I truly believe you deserve this amazing person. Haha. Seriously, you guys seem very compatible and I'm happy you shared the important stuff with us.
    Karen B.

  18. Wait. You can share Amazon reads? I had no idea. OR do you just switch Kindles? Off to investigate. Hope to meet your Mister one day, Sis. He's a gem. But, of course, that goes with the territory, right?!?

  19. I jotted down some of the non-fiction books to read. I agree with The Mister's feelings on "All the Light You Cannot See" - such a memorable book.

  20. I truly laughed about the “reading time” that starts at 4. The Mister is very charming and funny.

  21. My Mister has the favorite authors. Cookie G

  22. Dear Favorite Reader ~ You KILLED it! There is much wisdom woven throughout your post and hopefully it will be well received when I share this with my Mister? Katie is right to be so firm with her rules, it's part of what makes her blog such good eye candy! We can only eat with our eyes out here and your photographs help make that happen, so thank you! I'm with you on All The Light We Cannot See and never wanted it to end. Because I'm blessed to know first hand of your razor sharp wit ~ I'm downloading 'start without me' right after I finish here. If you say it's funny then I KNOW it's funny! Especially love your recommendations because my husband is hard to buy for. Last but not least your Valentine to Katie could not have been sweeter, you won't have to worry about job security any time soon! Thanks Mister! KTG

  23. Art forgery & theft is one of my favorite novel topics also! Have you seen the Netflix "Made you look"? Also"This is a Robbery"? They were both fascinating!


J McLaughlin

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