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Tuesday, May 9, 2023

My Favorite Reader, Anne


Hello, dear friends.  How was your weekend?  Ours was a busy one.  I met one of my favorite Bookstagrammers, Jude, from heyjudereads, for lunch on Friday.  I always enjoy seeing Jude and chatting it up with her about books.  Btw, I featured Jude in this series here.

On Saturday, we met our favorite parents-in-law, AJ's parents, for lunch at Davio's.  There is seldom a pause when we get together.  The men love to talk about everything from cars to wiring.  Meanwhile, Mrs. A and I kept busy chatting about what has kept us entertained lately.

On Sunday, we met #1, Adorable Jonathon, and #2 for lunch, which is always a guaranteed good time.


And yesterday, my dear friend and author, Cindy, took me out for a delightful birthday lunch at Ida Claire.  I had never been there before and fell in love with its southern charm and food.  

Today, my favorite reader is my dear friend, Anne.  She is one of the first friends that I made in Massachusetts.  Anne is a voracious reader and has given me great book recommendations.  She was my partner-in-crime at many literary lunches, book signings, and garden and house tours.  Without further adieu, I present my dear friend, Anne.

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

I am a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker and have worked in the field for 30+ years. I live on the South Shore of Massachusetts with my husband. We have lived in the same house for 40 years, so please do as I say and not as I do. Our children are grown, and we have five gorgeous, brilliant grandchildren.

Three are in Portland, OR; two live part-time near us and part-time in Steamboat Springs, CO.

When did your love affair with reading begin?


  I don’t think there was a beginning. As a child, it’s all I really wanted to do. Still is. I remember reading Little Women on our red velvet couch and getting a copy of Charlotte’s Web when I was in the hospital at age 7. I still have it, and it’s a first edition and should be valuable. But it’s worth $0. as it’s in tatters.


What are your favorite genres?

I’ll read almost anything. I love fiction, both contemporary and historical. By historical, I mean not only novels set in the past but novels written in the past. Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen are favorites, as are novels written in all decades of the 20th and 21st centuries. I also love biographies and memoirs.

But perhaps my favorite genre of all is cookbooks!

Paper, eBook, or audio?

All three. Mostly eBooks, as my eyes have become adjusted to the larger print. Audiobooks for walking and boring tasks like weeding and laundry but only paper for cookbooks!

What are the best books you read in 2022?

2022 was filled with wonderful books. These were my top four, although I’m probably forgetting some.

-Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmin. Others have mentioned this lovely book which has so very much to say about so many topics and displays them in such memorable, funny ways. I sincerely believe great books do not have to be grimly serious books. After all, Shakespeare did write comedies, which were considered equal to his tragedies?

-Fellowship Point by Alice Elliot Dark. I loved this story of a lifelong friendship between two aging women who spent summers in Maine. The book discusses families, friendships, and legacies. Also, what happens to land and property we have loved but can no longer control.

-The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn. Eccentric English families in crumbling, stately homes are irresistible to me, and this is one of my favorites.

-Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan. This short book about a family in Ireland takes place at Christmas time and is one of the most moving and powerful books I have ever read. I will reread this often.

Very timely in view of this year's Kentucky Derby drama.

Great preparation for the Coronation.

What books do you consider overrated?

Well, I’ve tried and cannot get through Middlemarch by George Elliot. But more currently, I find Kristin Hannah somewhat overrated. I just don’t love her writing.

If you don’t enjoy a book, do you finish it?

Rarely. I may skip to the last pages and then go back if the ending is intriguing enough, but usually, it’s on to the next.

Favorite place and time of day to read?

Any time is good for reading. I am a patient waiter (airports, train stations, appointments) as I love to have time to read when there is nothing else I could or should be doing.

The table is set for six. What five authors would you invite for lunch?

Jane Austen, Nancy Mitford, P.G. Wodehouse, E.B.White and Julia Child. And I would beg the Mister to cater.

What books resonate the most with you?

Books with characters who are kind and empathetic, even if in many ways unlovable or even repellent. If I don’t find some characters whom I can like or find amusing or who in some way are sympathetic, I move on. Richard Russo comes to mind as an author who writes characters I am surprised to find myself rooting for. All the books I truly love have warmth and hope.

What is the funniest book you’ve ever read?

That could be a very long list, as I love books (and people) who make me laugh! But I always laugh at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, anything by P.G. Wodehouse, mysteries by Edmund Crispin, books by Elinor Lipman, and on and on and on. Laughter is among the very best medicines!

What is the saddest book?



I’m not sure I’ve ever recovered from the deaths of Charlotte the Spider or of Beth March in Little Women. Brideshead Revisited is one of my very favorite books but so sad.

I once read that every page of a cookbook has a happy ending which may be why I love them so much.

What is the most depressing book you’ve read?

House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III. There was a total absence of hope at the end of that book.

What are you presently reading, and what’s next on your list?


I just finished Marie Yavonovich’s memoir about her career in the State Department. What a brave and interesting woman! I am now reading a biography of Queen Elizabeth’s parents, who were a remarkable couple and had a lot to do with England’s legendary strength in WW ll. I read and loved l Have Some Questions For You by Rebekah Makkai. And I’m looking forward to Curtis Sittenfeld’s Romantic Comedy and new books coming from Ann Patchett and Hannah Rothschild.

Thank you, Anne. And Amazon thanks you, as well. I managed to add four more books to my TBR list.

If you would like to other friends who have participated in this series,






The Mister

Lastly, I would like to extend my condolences to all the families affected by the shooting at the Allen Outlets.  It is only about 20 minutes away from our home and a frequent shopping spot for me.  I've gotten to know several wonderful salespeople, and I hope they are safe.

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. What is the name of the book about King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, her late Majesty's parents?

    1. George VI and Elizabeth - there’s a photo of the book at the beginning

  2. My favorite blog series! Lots of great ideas from Anne!

  3. I grew up loving Charlotte's Web and anything by Louisa May Alcott. I too am a very patient waiter-- I love that excuse to read!

  4. Great list of good books and interesting friend! Thank you!

  5. Every time you have a guest on I feel like they’re my friend too! Your blog is the gift that keeps on giving, thank you! KTG

  6. Oh- just wonderful recommendations- my reading book list continues to grow. I enjoy Edmund Crispin mysteries, too.. charm and period detail. thank you Anne and Melinda. Cheers from Sudbury!

  7. This is the first I’ve heard of Edmund Crispin but I love a good British mystery so thanks for the recommendation!

  8. So many great recommendations to add to the TBR list! Thank you!

  9. Love the series, Katie. I agree with Anne on Lessons in Chemistry. I'm just finishing it up now and I adore it.

  10. Good stuff! Thanks for the info and when will we see your Blog Friends reinstated?? Just sayin!
    Thanks for it!

  11. Miss your Blog Friends!

  12. I enjoyed reading your interview with Ann. I will be adding some of these to my reading list.

  13. So many of Anne’s favorites of last year are mine….especially Lessons in Chemistry and Fellowship Point…clearly a kindred spirit! Thanks for this always interesting series and for your quirky humor in all you write.

  14. Great book suggestions!!

  15. What great recommendations. I've made copies of the list of the books that appeal to me.
    Thank you for the introduction.
    Karen B.

  16. Thanks for all of the great tips. Who could not love the books by P G Wodehouse. Hugs, Laura

  17. I love these book days! I have started a Pinterest board for books! I am reading All the Broken Places! I just saved 1/2 dozen books from this post to my Libby Apple. We have had two rainy days and loving it. Baby Evan sent us home with 120 pounds of what appears to be dirty clothes. He returns to his childhood home and old roommates on Mother's Day! Stay tuned! xo laura

  18. I sat up from a sound sleep and wept the night I finished The House of Sand and Fog. I'm a lifelong reader and have never experienced that reaction another time.


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