Sunday Salon

“All at once, summer collapsed into fall.” ~ Oscar Wilde

We have been glued to the television for the past two nights, watching and rewatching the footage from 9-11. Somehow, I can never tear myself away. How clearly I remember my husband calling me from Zurich, as I stopped at the end of our driveway with the brick of a Nokia in my hand. “They think someone has attacked the Trade Center in New York,” he said, as this was well before it was clear that we were, indeed, attacked. All day long, the teachers stuck their heads in the lounge to catch a glimpse of the news; no one had smartphones then, or laptops, or computers on our desks. It was probably a good thing because we were better able to keep the children calm throughout the day.

Now twenty years later, I am watching the adults who were children when one or more of their parents were taken from them. I am listening to the people whose partner was taken from them that day. So much was taken from us; my husband’s department with Zurich Insurance was closed down six months later, due to all the claims, but the loss of a job is nothing compared to the loss of a life.

I enjoyed finding new pumpkins in the garden yesterday, as they showed me how life carries on. Some rogue creature must have planted the seeds from last year’s autumnal display. Unbeknownst to us, they are growing of their own accord. And thankfully, Illinois has a respite from the dreadful humidity. I can’t tell you how miserable it’s been to be so hot for so long…at least for me.

This week is the beginning of Bible Study Fellowship, where I will lead a group of women as we study the book of Matthew. How wonderful it is to be teaching again, although this time I will be with adults, and it will be more of a facilitating job than a teaching job. The theme is Unexpected, and I love that, for so much that comes to us is, after all, unexpected.

I have finished Pushkin Vertigo’s The Second Woman by Louise Mey for their first ever digital readalong beginning on the 20th, and I have picked up Hour of The Witch by Chris Bohjalian for the R.I.P. XVI. It’s so interesting to me that both of these novels center around women who are “misunderstood” (abused) by their husbands. Although one is a thriller, and the other is historical fiction, they are both quite excellent.

Finally, I am greatly anticipating the announcement of the Booker Prize longlist for 2021. From my Booker Prize email: ”This coming Tuesday, our fabulous Booker dozen of thirteen longlisted novels is being reduced to a shortlist of six. At 4pm BST on Tuesday September 14, you can watch the 2021 shortlist announcement live on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.” I have not had a chance to read all thirteen books of the longlist, but I do hope The China Room by Sunjeev Sahota is included in the shortlist.

I wish a most happy Sunday to all of you, and a joyful week ahead.

20 thoughts on “Sunday Salon

    • I read The Promise, by Galgut, but I didn’t love it. Of course, I didn’t love Ishiguro’s Klara and The Sun, either, so maybe I’m too picky for words! We’ll have to see what books comprise the shortlist of six.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s hard to believe that it has been twenty years since 9/11. We all remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news. I was with my kids (5 and 2) in the car on the way to the Children’s Theatre to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We never did see the play that day, but have vivid memories of sitting in the auditorium filled with kids waiting for the play to begin and being told that they were not going to be able to perform that day. That the school kids had to be returned to school and there were fears of more attacks. It was such a sad and scary day.

    My mom is also in Bible Study Fellowship and looking forward to studying Matthew. My Bible Study group is starting up this week as well. We are doing a Precept study on Kings.

    Looks like you have been doing some interesting reading.

    Have a good week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so interesting to think of your mother and I having the same lessons every week! I have found BSF so very powerful, and was sad when it had to be via Zoom last year. I just didn’t feel the same connection as when we meet in person. I am eager to begin as a leader; hopefully, I don’t give everyone a gold star as I might be inclined to do with children!☺️

      It was a super sad and scary day, that 9-11. I remember parents coming for their children all day long, just terrified at the unknown. Even my husband had to leave his sky-rise building as it was in the vicinity of O’Hare airport and the flying patterns.
      Thank God we were all safe!


    • Are you speaking of the pumpkin? Who knows what this little guy will be when it grows up…probably not orange. My husband loved the green stripes; we tend to enjoy the unusual in our family. Thanks for visiting me again, it’s been awhile since we chatted. 🥰


  2. I am generally not enchanted by the Booker prize lists, though a few authors I like have been listed, such as Linda Grant and Ishiguro. I hope Klara wins this year! Good luck reading through them.

    best,,, mae at


    • Klara and The Sun has had much praise, and I did like it. Certainly it’s themes of love and technology were significant to this age. But somehow, it didn’t strike me as powerfully as others he has written. I have never read Linda Grant, so I’ll look for her.


  3. It’s hard to believe twenty years have passed… in many ways it still feels so fresh and raw. The weather in CT has been glorious most of the month. Yesterday on the way to a friend’s we drove past a field of giant orange pumpkins! Fall is here and I’m glad we can enjoy it for a few weeks before returning to FL. Your seasonal reading looks good, too. I’d like to read Chris Bohjalian’s novel, but don’t think I’ll get to it this year. Looking forward to the long list announcement!


    • I would have loved to see that giant field of orange pumpkins! What a harbinger of autumn. I loved the “Take a stick, leave a stick” picture you posted for dogs; do you think we could do that with the pumpkins?😉


  4. It’s always traumatic to recall 9/11. I wonder why tragic events leave such vivid memories.

    After teaching children for many years, I’m fascinated to teach adults and see them sit quietly in their chairs and focus their attention for long periods of time.

    I’m rooting for Klara and the Sun and Bewilderment on Tuesday. I hope they both make the short list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It makes me smile how you said that adults sit and focus for long periods of time; that will be a change! I had several students who could, while teaching children, but certainly not all. I am so looking forward to exchanging thoughts with peers. What do you teach now?

      I can’t wait to see the Booker short list. It would be a surprise not to see Ishiguro on it, but then again, judges often surprise me. ☺️


  5. I’ve only read one on the list, A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson and I really enjoyed it; an engaging story and the subtle use of literary devices to focus attention away from drama and more on those who might normally be considered secondary characters.


    • Ooh, thank you for your thoughts on A Town Called Solace. That was one of the books our library did not have, and I have not read it yet. I heard such good things about Second Place, not necessarily from fellow bloggers, and that disappointed me. I trust my bibliophile friends more than ‘professional’ reviewers by far. And, to think that the NYTimes book reviewers are paid for their reviews make me even more skeptical. Of course, there isn’t much in this world that one can trust anymore, but I digress…so good to hear from you, Claire.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely photograph of the striped pumpkin, Meredith! It’s beginning to feel like fall here in Oregon, but in a different way than it did when we lived in Nebraska. Perhaps because we don’t have the same sort of trees; so many of ours are evergreen.

    I remember the details of 9/11 as if it all happened yesterday. It’s odd how every moment has stayed with me all these years. I was working at Borders Books & Music in Fort Worth and we had a tv in the video department. Someone received a phone call from a friend in New York and told us to turn on the tv. The store wasn’t yet open for business, so we stood and watched in horror as the second plane hit. And then the Pentagon was hit. And the collapse of both Towers. Such a terrifying day. Once I went home, I was glued to the tv for the remainder of the day, worried that more would unfold. I didn’t watch any of the programs this week, but we wound up watching Worth (Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci) last night. It’s very good, but quite sad.

    Back to books… I enjoy Bohjalian’s books and will have to look for Hour of the Witch.

    Enjoy your cooler weather. I know your favorite season is just around the corner. 🙂


    • I’m so glad to see your comment, dear Lesley! I have missed you, a lot, and somehow Instagram doesn’t quit cut it for me in terms of communication. I enjoy everyone’s pictures, and a quick glimpse into their lives, but I love a verbal interchangeable the most. I guess I cannot give up blogging after all, and am giving a more concerted effort into it once again.

      Isn’t it stranger to think of how limited our technologies were when 9-11 happened? You had a television in the video department, we had ONE in the teacher’s lounge, and we both could only catch glimpses of the day as our schedules allowed…so strange in today’s world. I, too, came home and watched tv for the rest of the day. I was so stupid I kept thinking, “I can’t wait to see the people rescued!” Never realizing that there was almost no chance of that.

      Thanks for telling me of Worth, something I have no seen, but I do like Stanley Tucci quite a lot. And, this is the first Bohjalian I’ve read; now I want to pick up The Flight Attendant which I keep hearing about as excellent.

      How sweet you remember that I love autumn, and winter even more! So good to be friends with you, Les. Xo


      • I’ve missed you, too, and enjoy our conversations about books, travel, family and life. I’m glad you’re posting and visiting blogs more frequently now.

        I adore Stanley Tucci and thought he was very good in Worth. I especially liked him in Julie & Julia (playing Julia Child’s husband Paul).

        I haven’t read The Flight Attendant, but have read several of Bohjalian’s earlier works.


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