The Heir Apparent, A Life of Edward VII, The Playboy Prince by Jane Ridley

The Heir Apparent by Jane Ridley

The Heir Apparent by Jane Ridley

The Heir Apparent, A Life of Edward VII, The Playboy Prince by Jane Ridley 

Royals make the worst parents. Take poor Edward VII or Bertie as he was known to familiars.  Raised by aristocratic wolves, (his parents Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) Bertie was given a lousy education, zero encouragement, and no real responsibilities until he inherited the throne in late middle age.

Historians have treated Bertie no more kindly than his parents, but in her biography The Heir Apparent author Jane Ridley persuasively argues that Bertie was a better man and monarch than his detractors claim.  Continue reading

A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre

A Spy Among Friends, Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben MacintyreA Spy Among Friends

I’m a big fan of the non-fiction works of Ben Macintyre, Operation Mincemeat and Double Cross, and his latest, A Spy Among Friends, doesn’t disappoint.

Ken Philby was one of the infamous Cambridge Five, a group of young men who were recruited by the Soviets while at university during the 1930’s. Philby went on to work for the British Secret Intelligence Service MI6 where he flourished for decades and successfully sabotaged dozens of British operations.

Philby’s charm, intelligence, and genius for subterfuge were instrumental to his success as double agent, but his membership in the old boys club, who exclusively populated the British foreign, colonial, and intelligence services in the mid-20thC made him unquestionably trustworthy. Even in light of overwhelming evidence of Philby’s treachery, his colleagues stood behind him. It was just unthinkable that “one of us” could so ruthlessly betray his country.

Like Macintyre’s earlier books, A Spy Among Friends reads like fiction—colorful characters and locales and surprising plot twists.  (For a fictionalized account, read John Le Care’s novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which was inspired by the Philby case.)

Book Club Reading Suggestions

Book Club recommendations from Parnassus book club guru Kathy Schultenover.

Kathy’s Book Club Choices:Flora

  • Flora by Gail Godwin
  • Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert
  • Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique
  • Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
  • Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
  • Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement
  • And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • Euphoria by Lily King
  • We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
  • Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips
  • The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
  • The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Nashville Home Sales September


Single Family Home Sales Davidson County YTD September 2014

In Davidson County, there were 6717 home closings reported for the first nine months of the year. This figure represents an increase from the 6380 closings reported for the same period last year.

The average sales price increased to $265,534 from $241,343.

Single Family Home Sales Williamson County YTD September 2014

In Williamson County, there were 3536 home closings reported for the first nine months of the year versus 3467 closings reported for the same period last year.

The average sales price of $457,170 is 6.5% higher than last year.

Condominium Sales Davidson County YTD  September 2014

In Davidson County, there were 2014 condo closings reported for the first nine months of the year  versus 1825 closings reported for the same period last year.

The average sales price increased this month to $197,964 from $190,932 .

Home sales in Nashville still going strong!

"Stone Entry" by Dru Anderson, watercolor

“Stone Entry” by Dru Anderson, watercolor

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the BoatThe Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Everyone loves an underdog, and The Boys in the Boat has all the elements of a classic comeback story— farm boys from the wrong side of the country (Seattle) overcome a chronic lack of funds,  illness, and weather to triumph over the Eastern elite and the Germans to win the 1936 Olympic gold medal in rowing. A remarkable, feel-good tale!

If you liked Seabiscuit and Unbroken, you’ll enjoy this Depression era tale of American grit.


What You Get for …$459,000

What You Get for …$459,000 in Williamson County

The average sales price for a home in Williamson County is almost $459,000 (up from $428,000 in 2013.)

What can you find for that price?

Here are three choices:

A new Victorian with over 5 acres of land

5619A Pinewood Rd MLS#1555379

5619A Pinewood Rd MLS#1555379

A townhome in the ever popular Westhaven

1016 State Blvd No.156 MLS#1566426

1016 State Blvd No.156 MLS#1566426

A cottage-style home in Willowsprings, a  mere 1.5 miles from downtown Franklin

107 Tulip Lane MLS#1572853

107 Tulip Lane MLS#1572853


Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day by Winifred Watson

Miss P Lives for a Day LargerMiss Pettigrew Lives for A Day by Winifred Watson

First published in 1938, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is a completely silly, dated, and beguiling novel.

Middle-aged Miss Pettigrew, tired, out of work, and not a little depressed, is sent by her employment agency to the home of Miss Delysia LaFosse to fill the position of nursery governess. After a few minutes in Miss LaFosse’s company, Miss Pettigrew, unsophisticated though she may be, is fairly certain that the extremely glamorous and young Miss LaFosse   has no need of a nursery governess.

But when Miss LaFosse (nee Sarah Grubb) unquestioningly embraces Miss Pettigrew’s presence, Miss Pettigrew is (not unwillingly) swept along by the younger woman’s charm and the non-stop action at No.5 Onslow Mansions.

The hour-by-hour plot involves visits from Miss LaFosse’s three boyfriends and her best friend Miss Dubarry, a makeover for Miss Pettigrew, a visit to a nightclub, and large quantities of drink.

At the end of the day, romantic entanglements are happily resolved, and Miss Pettigrew finds courage, confidence, and a new home.

In 2008, a film version of the novel (which I haven’t seen) was released staring Frances McDormand and Amy Adams.

Miss Pettigrew

Brussels Sprout Books

2100205-010While dining at PKC’s house last week with the O. Coltons, the talk turned, unsurprisingly, to books.  Amy recently read The Goldfinch by Donna Tart. Since I haven’t read the widely talked about novel, I asked Amy how she liked it.The Goldfinch

Amy grimaced a bit, and conceded that it was engaging, but she’s not sure she’d recommend it.

 Is The Goldfinch a brussels sprout book?

Brussels sprouts, nutritious and recently chic, make you feel virtuous and hip, despite the fact that you wouldn’t serve them at home, and let’s be honest, brussels sprouts only taste good when smothered with something else.

Brussels sprout books share the same qualities as their cabbagey namesakes, and frequently occupy places on the lists of 100 Books Every Educated Person Should Read.

I have read plenty of brussels sprout books and even enthusiastically recommended a few.

But recently, I instituted the fifty page rule in which I abandon a book if I am not sufficiently overjoyed after fifty pages-despite the brilliant writing or the rapturous reviews.

So will I read The Goldfinch? Maybe. I’ll see how the first fifty pages go.

What brussels sprout book have you read recently?

Hello world.