Books and Flowers!

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I just returned from a few days in New Mexico where the sun was shining, the flowers (and cactus) were blooming, and I left my coat in the car. People say it’s nice to get  a break from the cold, but I’m not so sure. Before my trip, I was resigned to the fact that Boston would be cold until May. But now I have experienced the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s hard to put my puffy jacket back on.  I was visiting my aunt and her husband in Albuquerque where, among other things, we visited the Botanic Garden. When I wasn’t looking enviously at the people enjoying picnics, I took a few pictures that will help me get through the next six weeks of cold days.  If you are a fellow-cold state dweller, maybe these will help you too!

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During a day trip to Santa Fe, we happened to be in Saint Francis Cathedral as the bells were ringing in celebration for Pope Francis which was exciting, but truthfully, the highlight of the day for me was a visit to Collected Works, an independent bookstore. The three of us were walking into Santa Fe Plaza when we noticed the store with the sign advertising the perfect combination – books and coffee.

It did not disappoint. Collected Works is a beautiful, cozy store that obviously has knowledgeable and well-read staff. I was literally tempted to curl up under one of the big oak tables with the hope of missing my plane back to Boston. Here are a few pictures I took while selecting my purchases.

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The New Mexico adventure also included lots of reading, thanks to two long plane trips. I read one book on the way there – and another on the way back:

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Safekeeping by Karen Hesse (When Radley returns to Vermont after volunteering at an orphanage in Haiti, she finds a country very different than the one she left. The President has been assassinated, the American People’s Party has taken over, and her parents have disappeared without explanation.  She begins walking – to Canada. Along the way, Radley meets another girl who is seeking a safe place. What is most compelling about this speculative novel – for readers between the ages of 14 and 17 – are Hesse’s atmospheric photographs that reflect their journey.  I enjoyed the book, but was frustrated that the reader doesn’t learn very much about the political events that cause the turmoil in Radley’s life.)

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Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (17-year-old Josie lives in 1950 New Orleans. Her mother is a prostitute, but Josie dreams of a life beyond her mother’s reputation and the French Quarter. She works in a bookstore and dreams of attending Smith College. But on the way to creating her new life, Josie gets tangled up in a murder investigation. I loved Josie – and the memorable cast of characters who surround her. This is a wonderful book for a reader age 15 and over. If I used a star rating system, Out of the Easy would get five stars!)

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