Tuesday, March 26, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - My Life in a Cat House; True Tales of Love, Laughter, and Living with Five Felines, Gwen Cooper


Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book that they are reading or plan to read. 

 Gwen Cooper - Ben Bella Books - 2018

I Choo-Choo Choose You!

"Pandora ('Pandy' for short) was a purebred Siamese and could only be described -- although this phrase wasn't in common use twenty years ago -- as a hot mess"

(At one time we had 5 cats, in fairness it was a pretty large home for 2 humans - now we just have 2, so naturally this sounded like a good and fun choice to me.)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love and Food; Ann Hood


AUTHOR:  Ann Hood
PUBLISHER:  W.W. Norton
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING:  mostly Rhode Island
FORMAT:  -  print - library ( 229 pp)
RATING: 4.5/5

Part memoir, part culinary delight, author Ann Hood shares, in essay format, tidbits about her life, growing up in Rhode Island in an Italian family and the loves in her life.

In adulthood, the former airline stewardess and author moved some 14 times in 15 years yet describes herself as a "nester." To her it was important to always create a sense of home wherever she lived. Through heartaches and loss: the death of her 5 year old daughter, Grace, her brother and an aunt, as well as, through divorce and remarriage, it was cooking and creating that has sustained her through her grief.

Each essay in this book takes the reader back to a particular place and time in the author's life where food and meal prep was a comfort to her - recipes included.

The recipes are mostly comforting fare, definitely not for the heath conscious as they are often cholesterol raising ingredients, heavy in fats and sugar. I smiled when she stated the American Cheese was a favorite of hers (ugh) and that Thomas' English muffins were the superior brand (my favorite).

I really enjoyed this foodie memoir, the perfect book to enjoy on a rainy day or when you are feeling in a reflective mood.

How to Walk Away, Katherine Center


AUTHOR:  Katherine Center
PUBLISHER:  Macmillan Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2018
SETTING:
FORMAT:  -  audio - library ( 10+ hours)
RATING: 4/5


Margaret (Maggie) Jacobson's life is looking up. She's 27, just earned her MBA and has been offered an incredible job at a very high salary.  Her boyfriend Chip, soon to be fiancee, is planning to propose on Valentine's Day in a very unique manner, but then an unexpected and tragic accident leaves Maggie with a spinal cord injury putting an end to those hopes and dreams, or does it?

This is one of those books that even though things look bleak, you have a feeling everything will be okay for Maggie in the end.  This is a story about the ups and downs of life and relationships. It makes you realize that sometimes a tragedy can make you stronger.

After reading a few too many sad or depressing stories in March, How to Walk Away turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Maggie's story has some highs and lows, just like most of our lives, but, in the end things have a way of looking up. I'd definitely classify it as a lighter read, not perfect but enjoyable. The audio version read by Therese Plummer was very well done.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The End of Loneliness; Benedict Wells




TITLE: The End of Loneliness
AUTHOR:  Benedict Wells
PUBLISHER:  Penguin 
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING:  Germany
FORMAT:  -  ARC ( 272 pp)
RATING: 3.5/5

Lately it seems I'm drawn to books that turn out to be sad or more depressing than I expected. So is the case with The End of Loneliness, it's translated from German, deep, moving and sad.

Set in Munich Germany in the 80's,  this story follows Jules Moreau who was just 11 years old when his parents died in a car accident and he and his older siblings, Liz and Marty were orphaned.  Sent to a depressing boarding school the trio is separated and Jules withdraws more and more into himself. It's a girl named Alva who has her own sad past who begins to make Jules see some light at the end of the tunnel.  As adulthood approaches sadly, Alva moves on while Jules struggles with his life and wonders whether he might ever see her again.

The story begins some 30 years after the children were orphaned after Jules was involved in a terrible motor bike accident. I thought the characters were fairly well explored and shows how each sibling dealt with the tragedy and loneliness factor they experienced in early life.  It makes you think about how different your adult life might be had fate not intervened at some critical juncture.

While I like how deep the author got into his characters, at times the translation came across strained.  It was a very good effort by the author but, for me,  just too much of a downer overall.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Red Address Book; Sofia Lundberg


TITLE: The Red Address Book
AUTHOR:  Sofia Lundberg
PUBLISHER:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING:  Sweden
FORMAT:  -  ARC ( 300 pp)
RATING: 3.5/5


The "Red Address Book" at the heart of this novel belongs to Doris Alm. The book was given to Doris as a young girl by her father and, over the years she has chronicled the names and stories of people who she met along the way. Most of these individuals, now deceased, hold a secret and shed light into her interesting past.

Today at 96 years of age, Doris lives alone in her Stockholm apartment with occasional caregivers stopping by to help her.  Her great niece, Jenny, lives in the US but the two stay in touch through Skype.  One day Doris falls trying to get herself something to eat when her caregiver did not arrive at the regular time. She is hospitalized so her great niece and youngest child make the trip to spend time with her. The visit serves as an opportunity to learn much about the brave, strong woman she cares so deeply for.

Many who have read this book loved it and I couldn't wait to read it.  I really wanted to love this book but, I just didn't even though I loved the premise and the writing was pretty good overall. It's not a terribly long but, I found that there were too many insignificant details about Jenny as well as Doris which felt like fillers at times.  Some of he topics like illness, loneliness and death made it depressing as well. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - My Coney Island Baby; Billy O'Callaghan


Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book that they are reading or plan to read. 

My Coney Island Baby; Billy O'Callaghan
Harper Collins - 2019
1

The Boardwalk

"The air out here is mean with cold.  It was bitter on the journey out from Manhattan too, but nothing like this.  This is bleakness without respite. An hour in the subway was an hour shielded from the wind, and now it was almost noon and already threatening snow."

When I read the overview, I really thought this would be a "me" book. I'm hoping it's a good one.

Would you read more?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Small Fry; Lisa Brennan-Jobs


TITLE: Small Fry
AUTHOR:  Lisa Brennan-Jobs
PUBLISHER:  Grove Press
PUB. YEAR: 2018
SETTING:  California
FORMAT:  -  library (400 pp)
RATING: 4.5/5

Lisa Brennan-Jobs was born on a commune in 1978, the child of Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan who met in 1972 when they were still in high school in California. The two had an on and off again relationship, and for years, Jobs denied he was Lisa's father. Her mother didn't receive child support for many years and worker as a housekeeper, waitress and received welfare benefits. Mother and daughter moved (13) times during Lisa's childhood. This is Lisa's story.

 Chrisann came across as artsy, a dreamer and somewhat unstable - often depressed or angry. Jobs was as an oddball who never seemed to fit in. He was brilliant yet cold, aloof, heartless and cheap. Lisa was brilliant in her own right and attended Harvard. When her father threw her out one summer after an argument and refused to keep paying her Harvard tuition, she lived with neighbors who came up with the money so that she could finish her degree.

I found this memoir to be so well-written but heartbreaking as well at times. A coming of age story, a young girl moving between two households and just wanting to feel loved.  I do wish there were more date references because at times I found myself trying to figure out how old Lisa was when certain things were happening.

I read the Steve Jobs bio by Walter Isaacson which came out in 2011 which I enjoyed and next up will be, A Bite of the Apple by Chrisann Brennan (2013).

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Wife; Meg Wolitzer


TITLE: The Wife
AUTHOR:  Meg Wolitzer
PUBLISHER:  Blackstone Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2015
SETTING:  Finland (flashbacks to NYC and MA)
FORMAT:  - audio download library(8 hours)
RATING: 4.5/5

The Wife is the story of a 40 year marriage that plays out over just 4 days.

Joe and Joan Castleman met in 1956 when Joan was a Smith College student and Joe was a literature professor there.  Joe was married at the time but, he was the kind of man who loved the pretty girls and they had a hard time resisting him as well. The two hook up, marry and Joan gives up her dreams of becoming a writer for marriage and motherhood.  Joe, according to Joan, was "one of those men who owned the world."

As the novel opens the couple are bound for Finland where Joe is to be awarded the prestigious Helsinki Prize for Literature. Joan is steaming, sick of taking a back seat to Joe and deciding she has had just about enough of this marriage.  Over a 4 day period, told through Joan's POV, we see flashbacks of their married life.

This is not a terribly long book, 8 hours on audio and approx. 225 pages, I loved the way the story's told and how it played out. It's a terrific character study with sometimes witty and sarcastic characterizations about being married to a womanizer and a narcissist. I really liked it and want to see the movie now. The audio was marred by Dawn Harvey who did a great job with the voice of the disgruntled Joan.

I loved this intro paragraph ....

THE MOMENT I decided to leave him, the moment I thought, enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean, hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility. Just like our marriage, I could have said, but why ruin everything right now? Here we were in first-class splendor, tentatively separated from anxiety; there was no turbulence and the sky was bright, and somewhere among us, possibly, sat an air marshal in dull traveler’s disguise, perhaps picking at a little dish of oily nuts or captivated by the zombie prose of the in-flight magazine. Drinks had already been served before takeoff, and we were both frankly bombed, our mouths half open, our heads tipped back. Women in uniform carried baskets up and down the aisles like a sexualized fleet of Red Riding Hoods.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Pachinko; Min Jin Lee and What We Owe. G Hashemzadeh Bonde


TITLE: Pachinko
AUTHOR:  Min Jin Lee
PUBLISHER:  Hachette Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2017
SETTING:  Korea and Japan
FORMAT:  - audio - library Playaway (18+ hours)
RATING: 4.5/5



Pachinko is a sprawling family saga that spans 5 generations from 1910 through 1989.

Sunja is the only daughter of a widow who runs a boarding house in a small fishing village in Korea. Still a teen, Sunja learns she is pregnant by Kohhansu, a successful business man. What she didn't realize was that he was a married man with a wife and children back in Japan.  He tells her he cannot marry her but is willing to care for her and the child. Angry that about his lies, she refuses his help, fully aware of the shame she will face as an unwed mother. When a kind, but ill, pastor asks her to marry him, she moves to Japan to begin a new chapter of her life.

This story is large in scope with a fairly large number of characters as well but, the story is told in a way that really drew me in from the very start and held my interest throughout. Beautifully written, very human characters and with themes such as: discrimination, poverty, sacrifice and the consequences of war, I really loved this one. The many characters required concentration while listening to this story. 

Allison Hirto did an excellent job narrating this audio. This would make a fabulous book club choice as there is plenty to discuss.Highly recommended.


TITLE: What We Owe
AUTHOR:  Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde
PUBLISHER:  Mariner Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PUB. YEAR: 2018
SETTING:  Iran and Sweden
FORMAT:  - ARC/print -  (200 pp)
RATING: 3.5/5

I started this short book late in 2018 but I found it too sad at the time so I never finished it. I remembered that writing was very good and it was only (200 pp) and, since I did commit to reading it I gave it another go last weekend. 

Nahid is a very angry 50 year old woman diagnosed with stage 4, ovarian cancer; she's been given less than 6 months to live.  As she looks back on her life growing up in Iran, it's clear she has reasons to be angry. She was married off at age 9, pregnant at age 12, and the mother of 7 by age 37. She was an activist, a revolutionary and later was a refugee living in Sweden.

The story opens with Aram, Nahid's daughter, pregnant with her first child and dealing with the loss of her father, the man who Nahid was divorced from.  Unfortunately, Aram is the recipient of much of her mother's often misplaced anger.

I wanted to feel for Nahid given all that she had been through but found it hard to do so even though as I read I began to understand her regrets and why she was the way she was. This was just a tough novel for me and I think I couldn't appreciate the story more because it was so sad.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love and Food; Ann Hood


Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book that they are reading or plan to read. 


W.W. Norton and Company - 2018


Introduction

"I grew up eating. A lot.  As the great food writer M.F.K. Fisher said, First we eat, then we do everything else.  That describes my childhood home.  In my mind, my Italian grandmother, Mama Rose, was always cooking.  We lived with her in the house she moved to with her parents when they came from Conca Della Compania, a small, mountainous town an hour and a world away from Naples, Italy, to West Warwick, Rhode Island.  When I was young, Mama Rose and her mother Nonna, kept an enormous garden in the backyard, and they would sit on summer afternoons and snap the ends off string beans (served cold with garlic and mint), press tomatoes into sauce, pickle red and green peppers for the Christmas antipasto.  We had fruit trees -- Seckel pear, cherry, apple, fig--and blueberry and raspberry bushes.  They raised rabbits and chickens too. More than once a beloved white bunny -- Snowball, Snowflake, Snowy -- disappeared from its cage only for us to have funny-tasting chicken that night at dinner."

What do you think - read more or pass?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Spring Flowers and Some New Books


We went to (2) spring flower shows over the past week and it sure helped with the "enough snow already doldrums". In case you need a spring pick me up, here's a few of the pictures I took.






























Now about New Books which arrived at my doorstep.



Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Gentleman in Moscow; Amor Towles


AUTHOR:  Amor Towles
PUBLISHER:  Penguin Audio 
PUB. YEAR: 2016
SETTING:  Russia
FORMAT:  - audible download (17 hrs. 52 min)
RATING: 5/5

A  Gentleman in Moscow was a wonderful story. The "gentleman", Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, was placed under house arrest inside of the grand luxurious, Metropol Hotel in Moscow in 1922. The Count's life was spared by the Bolsheviks because of their displeasure with a poem he wrote while at the University.

The story begins a few years after the Russian Revolution when violence was still the norm.  The Count is called before the Emergency Committee for Internal Affairs for writing a poem deemed counter-revolutionary. While the hotel is grand and artsy, the Count's room is tiny and cramped.  Despite this, for decades the Count remains a perfect gentleman never complaining about his circumstances.

I loved everything about this story, it was tender as well as humorous at times. The grand hotel and the people the Count encounters during his stay are well explored. Clearly, the Count is the winning star here, a man so gentle and full of love.  The story took me by surprise as I'm not fond of the time period but, the writing is spectacular and the story a gem.  I never expected to be so drawn into the story and the time period. This would make a great discussion book.  This author is amazing as I also enjoyed Rules of Civility by this author, which I read last month.

The narrator, Nicholas Guy Smith did a very good job.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Catching Up on a few Reviews - Kingdom of the Blind; Louise Penny and An Anonymous Girl; Hendricks and Pekkenan


TITLE: Kingdom of the Blind (book #14)
AUTHOR:  Louise Penny
PUBLISHER:  Macmillan Audio 
PUB. YEAR: 2018
SETTING:  Canada
FORMAT:  - library audio download 
(12 hrs. 20 min)
RATING: 3.5/5

When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache receives a curious letter inviting him to an old farmhouse outside of his charming village of Three Pines, he learns that he's been named one of (3) executors of the will of a woman he does not know. None of the executors have known the deceased, a woman known as "The Baroness."

The Baroness, a former cleaning lady has amassed a fortune of millions but how, and, why was Gamache and the others called forward to execute her wishes when she had adult children?

I've read several books from this series, which I always enjoyed. The characters you grow to love come back with a new characters added to the mix here and there.  Her characters are so well-written, real characters with human frailties. Unfortunately, I hadn't read the previous book of this series, Glass Houses, and I wish I had as this one contains hints of that backstory.

I loved the cold, snowy backdrop, typically a part of Penny's mysteries, as well as the well established characters but, this one definitely felt much grittier than earlier installments. Honestly, I didn't enjoy reading about the drug trade, which seems to pop up all too often in today's fiction.


TITLE: An Anonymous Girl
AUTHOR:  Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
PUBLISHER:  St Martin's Press
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING:  New York City
FORMAT:  - print -  (384 pp)
RATING: 3.5/5

Seeking women 18-32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

Jessica Farris 28, is a make-up artist in New York City looking to earn extra money.  When she learns that she could earn an extra $500 for starters by answering a survey, she jumps at the chance.  A little uncomfortable and perhaps a bit suspicious after her first session, she agrees to continue helping Dr. Shields with her research by returning for more Q&A's and additional compensation.

She soon begins to suspect that the manipulative Dr. Shields has a hidden agenda when it's clear that she knows far too much about Jessica than she has ever shared.

This was a fast read with short chapters alternating between Jessica and Dr, Shield's POV with a few more characters added to the story.  At times I didn't feel that the story felt quite believable but, I was curious enough to want to see how it played out.  Unlike the authors last book: The Wife Between Us which was riveting and had some great twists, this one seemed anti climatic and went on just a bit too long.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Small Fry; Lisa Brennan-Jobs



Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book that they are reading or plan to read. 

Small Fry; Lisa Brennan-Jobs
Grove Press - 2018

"Three months before he died, I began to steal things from my father's house.  I wandered around barefoot and slipped objects into my pockets. I took blush, toothpaste, two chipped finger bowls in celadon blue, a bottle of nail polish, a pair of worn patent leather ballet slippers, and four white faded pillowcases the color of old teeth.

After stealing each item, I felt sated. I promised myself that this would be the last time. But soon the urge to take something else would arrive again like thirst."

What do you think - read more or pass? So far I'm really enjoying this memoir.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

New Book Arrivals and The Wife; Meg Wolitzer



I was very excited to receive all of these new books by mail over the last few weeks.  Have you read or do you plan to read any of these?


I just downloaded the audio version of The Wife; Meg Wolitzer, from the library and am loving it. The audio is so well done and I'm really enjoying the story.  Hope to see the film afterward. Have you read this one or watched the film?

Friday, March 1, 2019

Please Humor me - Chewy.Com


Please humor me while I vent about a frustrating experience while at the same time praising a wonderful company.

I placed my first order with Chewy.Com on Wednesday morning: (2) 20lb jugs of cat litter, (2) 24-can boxes of wet cat food and a Drinkwell Platinum Drinking fountain.  The order arrived the very next day.  How great is that?

Not so fast though, the UPS guy left the huge box outside our front door and it was clear to see litter decorated our front steps. As I tried to lift the hefty box into the house (must have weighed 55lbs), the litter spread out onto the floor. The box wasn't ripped open so I gently untaped it to find this:




Everything was pretty much ruined by the broken jugs of cat litter and lack of care by UPS in handling the package.

Frustrated I called CHEWY and they could not have been nicer.  Offering to replace everything and asking me to donate anything salvagable to the local shelter. My new order is arriving tomorrow and the litter is being shipped separately this time.

SO BRAVO for Chewy's Customer Service.

 Do you know I also heard a story that when someone ordered expensive cat food from them and their cat had died the same week, they refunded her money, asked her to donate food to the shelter and even sent her a floral arrangement with their sympathies!! This is an outstanding company that is worth doing business with.

Thanks for listening to my tale of woe and allowing me to tell you about my positive outcome. We will definitely continue doing business with this outstanding company.

My highest praises go out to Chewy,com.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

February in Review


February may be a shorter month but I still managed to read a good amount of books (11) although (2) of these were kids books. 


Some of my armchair travels through February's books included visits to: Rhode Island, Maine, New York City and New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Victorian England, Sweden, Bristol England and the Norfolk Coast.



  1. Morningstar: Growing Up With Books; Ann Hood - 5/5 (audio-library-Feb)
  2. Good Riddance; Elinor Lipman - 3/5 (eGalley-Feb)
  3. Great Expectations; Charles Dickens - 4/5 (audio-library-Feb)
  4. Detective Inspector Huss; Helene Tursten - 3.5/5 (eBook-library-Feb)
  5. The Stranger Inside; Jennifer Jaynes - 4.5/5 (eGalley-NetGalley-Feb)
  6. You Are Light; Aaron Becker - 5/5 (my shelves - Feb)
  7. The Whole Wide World and Me; Toni Yuly - 4/5 (my shelves - Feb)
  8. Rules of Civility; Amor Towles - 4/5 (audible - Feb)
  9. Watching You; Lisa Jewel - 4.5/5 (library - Feb)
  10. The Au Pair; Emma Rous - 4/5 (eGalley - Feb)
  11. The Kingdom of the Blind; Louise Penny - 4/5 (Library audio - Feb)

Breakdown
Fiction - 10
NF - 1
YTD - 21
Audios   - 4
eBooks  - 4
print      - 3
audio/eBook Combos - 0

Borrowed from Library - 5
Off my physical Shelves - 2
Kindle - 4

 Favorite Book of the Month


Book Group Read

The Stranger in the Woods; Michael Finkel

Our book group read The Stranger in the Woods; Michael Finkel in February and everyone seemed to enjoy this non fiction selection. I had listened to this one in May of 2017 when it was first published.

                                                        ( GoodReads Brief Review from May 2017)

A captivating true story of a man who survived alone in the Maine woods for some 27 years. 

Chris Knight was always a shy individual who preferred spending time alone. At 20, and for the next 27 years he made the Maine woods his home, breaking into cabins for food and other necessities which included an ongoing supply of books to feed his constant thirst for knowledge. 

A fascinating story and what led to his being discovered and arrested. The scientific information and research on hermits was interesting but, the way the story was executed could have been improved.

We listened to this audio book on a road trip in May of 2017 - good narrator.

Plans for March


In addition to reviewing: The Kingdom of the Blind (listened to in February), I plan to finish: An Anonymous Girl and A Gentleman in Moscow (both in progress) and read at least the ones below.













How was your month in books?

The Au Pair; Emma Rous


TITLE: The Au Pair
AUTHOR:  Emma Rous
PUBLISHER:  Berkley
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING:  Norfolk Coast
FORMAT:  - eGalley - NetGalley -  (384 pp)
RATING: 4/5


Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny never knew their mother. On the day they were born she threw herself off the cliffs of Summerbourne on the Norfolk Coast.  Now at 25 she has just lost her father to an accident and while sorting through her father's belongings and comes across a photo taken on the day the twins were born. The photo shows her mother smiling and holding one of the newborns. Why was there just one baby in the photo and why would her smiling mother have committed suicide on that very same day?

Does the "au pair" Laura, who lived with the family while caring for older brother Edwin, about 5 at the time, hold the answer to these questions? Seraphine is obsessed with tracking down Laura and quizzing any one else who may be able to fit the mysterious pieces of the puzzle together.

This was a pretty good mystery, well-paced with each chapter seeming to bring a new question or new clue. The story is told in the present from the POV of Seraphine and the past by Laura, the au pair. The ending wasn't an entire surprise but I didn't figure out everything either. Overall, I was happy I read this one.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - An Anonymous Girl - Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen


Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book that they are reading or plan to read. 

An Anonymous Girl - Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
St. Martin's Press - 2019

Part One

"You're invited: Seeking women aged 18 to 32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality conducted by a preeminent NYC psychiatrist. Genrous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.  Call for more details.

It's easy to judge other people's choices. The mother with a grocery cart full of Fruit Loops and Double Stuff Oreos who yells at her child.  The driver of an expensive convertible who cuts off a slower vehicle.  The woman in the quiet coffee shop who yaks on her cell phone.  The husband who cheats on his wife.

But what if you knew the mother lost her job that day? What if the driver promised his son he'd make it to his school play, but his boss insisted he attend a last minute meeting?"

What do you think? Curious or pass?