I watched the movie, Chocolat, several years ago, so I recently decided it was time to read the book. Perhaps I wasn't paying close enough attention when I watched the movie, but I expected something very different when I sat down to read the book. I expected the book to be more... romantic, sensual... Instead I found it to be an exploration of the effects of intolerance. Harris takes the intolerance so rife in our world and concentrates it in one small community showing how limiting we can be when we refuse to see beyond that which we've always been taught. She deftly explores the effects of exclusionary behavior and the harm of not bothering to get to know other people. With the story set around a newcomer who opens a chocolate store during Lent and the priest who opposes not only the chocolate shop but her mere presence, the town seems divided down the middle with people willing to blind themselves to other people's pain in order to maintain the status quo of their lives. I'm not sure the book was intended to make me feel sad, but it often did because it so aptly displayed how divisive human beings can be toward one another while wrapping their judgment up in a warped version of religious righteousness or even concern. Chocolat is a thought-provoking, entertaining book with characters that touch the heart and take up residence in one's imagination.
I ordered 52 Lists for Happiness: Weekly Journaling Inspiration for Positivity Balance and Joy by Moorea Seal because I enjoyed her The 52 Lists Project: A Year of Weekly Journaling Inspiration. I wanted to keep exploring this idea of a weekly guided journal. 52 Lists for Happiness took on a different tenor for me though. I opted to do the lists every Sunday because I felt it would be a good way to start off the week. I had some struggles this year that sometimes made the lists hard to write and other times the lists cheered me up. Focusing on simple moments of happiness gave me an opportunity to remember the good in my life no matter what happened in the world around me.
Remarkable Oregon Women: Revolutionaries & Visionaries by Jennifer Chambers offers a snapshot into the history of the role of women in Oregon's history. Chambers provides enough information about each woman mentioned to spark an interest in learning more even providing sources for further reading. Remarkable Oregon Women is an interesting book that reminds the reader that women have always played an important role in the progress of society even when they've been stymied or their efforts have been hidden by history.
I read Four O'Clock Sizzle: A Rebecca Mayfield Mystery by Joanne Pence while travelling. It's an easy, light, fun read. Pence likes to blur the lines between procedural and cozy mystery in this series in a way that makes Rebecca Mayfield sometimes do things it's hard to imagine a police officer doing yet Pence gives her believable if flawed reasons for making the decisions she makes. The chemistry between Rebecca and Richie Amalfi has the reader both cheering for them and wondering what each of them is thinking at different times throughout the book. And, then there's the police investigation where Rebecca is torn between her feelings for Richie and her concerns that the rumors about Richie might hold more truth than she wants to believe. She struggles to reconcile the Richie she spends time with and the Richie of his reputation. As her investigation continues, Rebecca finds she needs Richie to solve the crime and she needs to protect him from danger for her own person…