Summer Week 11: August Smiles

Hello blog friends! How are you doing? Hope all is well with you. Come on in to my blog space so we can share our news over a cup of coffee or tea.

Summer Week 11

Summer week 11, from August 30 to September 5 inclusive, delivered another stretch of good weather. Daytime high temperatures ranged from 22C to 27C (72F to 82F) with mainly sunny days and some rain mid-week.

Beach Visit

I cycled to Cherry Beach early one morning to get my quiet beach time. Cherry Beach typically achieves annual Blue Flag certification where water quality is safe for swimming. It was nice to walk along the beach and listen to the sounds of water and birds.

Cherry Beach.
Cherry Beach

There are picnic sites, restroom facility, parking lots, and dogs off-leash area outside the beach entrance which make this beach popular, especially on summer weekends.

Cherry Beach picnic site.
Cherry Beach picnic site

Family Visit

My sister and nieces came to visit on Tuesday. We sat outside 2 meters apart by the lake to chat and catch up on our news. My nieces resume their university studies next week so I was glad to see them before they get busy with school.

Lake view.

Park Visit

On another beautiful day, I went for a long walk and paused at Larry Sefton Park. The United Steel Workers of America funded this park creation in 1977 to honor the memory of their director, Larry Sefton. I liked how the deep terra cotta wall provides a nice backdrop to the steel sculpture.

Larry Sefton Park

August in Numbers

August ended a few days ago so this week I completed my usual monthly review and month-end digital file back-ups. How did I do in August? Let’s see what the numbers have to say:

  • 1 family visit (and a repeat baking success: a coconut loaf).
  • 1 stand up paddling excursion.
  • 2 canoe excursions here and here.
  • 2 coffee meet-ups with friends.
  • 2 movies: Cake and The Boy Downstairs.
  • 3 digital concerts.
  • 5 blog posts.
  • 12 yoga sessions.
  • 13 strengthening workouts.
  • 20 books (see list below).
  • 21 cycling trips.
  • 24 walks.
  • 31 French and Spanish online sessions.
  • 31 meditations sessions.

Overall August was an excellent month for me. I enjoyed the good weather, had coffee chats with my siblings and friends outdoors, did a lot of cycling, paddling, walking, exercising, learning, reading, and writing.

Reading in August

By switching to e-books and not visiting the library, I gained time to read and enjoyed twenty fiction novels in August. These novels are all really good page-turners and once I start, I want to read to the end. During the day, I’m active and on my feet a lot so by evening time, I’m happy to sit down and get lost in a book.

Here’s my list in order of preference:

  1. The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes.
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
  3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
  4. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.
  5. American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson.
  6. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno.
  7. 9 Days and 9 Nights (sequel to 99 Days) by Katie Cotugno.
  8. After You (sequel to Me Before You) by Jojo Moyes.
  9. Still Me (sequel to After You) by Jojo Moyes.
  10. One Day in December by Josie Silver.
  11. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware.
  12. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.
  13. Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker.
  14. Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker.
  15. Four Seconds To Lose by K.A. Tucker.
  16. Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker.
  17. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.
  18. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton.
  19. The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory.
  20. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.

Novel #1: The Sense of An Ending blew my mind. I read this e-book in one evening as the story is engaging and it’s just 160 pages long. When I finished, my reaction was “Whoa, I didn’t see it coming“.

Novels #1 to #5: Even though love shines in all the novels I read, the deaths of bright and young people in my top five novels made me feel really sad after I finished the books. I had to do long bicycle rides and long walks to clear my head of thoughts about grief and unnatural deaths.

Novels #6 to #16: I usually don’t read sequels or multiple books from the same author in one month. Breaking my own rule, I read and enjoyed the young adult fiction sequel by Katie Cotugno, the trilogy by Jojo Moyes, and the series by K.A. Tucker. Novels #11 and 12 are good thrillers.

Novels #17 to #20: Just because I place the books last on my list, it doesn’t mean #17 to #20 are not good reads. I like all the 20 novels that I read in August. I’m glad to discover new-to-me authors and appreciate all the hard work that these authors put in to write their books. I hope my reading contributes to the overall encouragement for them to write more.

Conclusion

I’m grateful for all the good things that happened. My family and friends are safe and well. I continue to follow public health measures to stay safe and well, too. I look forward to making the most of September.

How did your week go? How was your August? I’d love to hear your comments.

I link up here.

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59 thoughts on “Summer Week 11: August Smiles

  1. Jill Weatherholt September 6, 2020 / 7:18 am

    Cherry beach looks like a beautiful place for a picnic. August was busy for you, Natalie. I’m happy you were able to see family. Honestly, I’m having a hard time remembering August as it seem to have passed in a blur! You’ve peaked my curiosity on some of these books. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos! Have a great week ahead!❤️

    Like

    • Natalie September 6, 2020 / 8:30 am

      Jill, I remember you were working on your book in August. I hope you have a nice break before you start the next one. Have a wonderful Sunday and upcoming week!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Suzanne@PictureRetirement September 6, 2020 / 9:30 am

    Your booklist is impressive – as always. I have read several of them and am a fan of JoJo Moyes and Gillian Flynn. Thanks for breaking them down into ‘categories.’ Lovely, peaceful photos.

    Like

    • Natalie September 6, 2020 / 10:50 am

      Suzanne, I like Jojo Moyes and Gillian Flynn, too. I was lucky to discover about a dozen new-to-me authors in August. I definitely want to read more of their books. Thank you for your comment about my photos.

      Like

  3. Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com September 6, 2020 / 3:31 pm

    Cherry Beach looks like such a lovely location… and not crowded at all (at least when you were there). I’ve read a few of these books, including the series by Jojo Moyes, and The Bean Tree by Barbara Kingsolver. I think I’ve read just about all of Kingsolver’s books except for her latest one. The Lacuna remains my all-tine favorite.

    Like

    • Natalie September 6, 2020 / 4:56 pm

      Janis, Cherry Beach is quiet on weekday mornings but fills up quickly on weekends. Thanks for mentioning The Lacuna novel. I’ll check to see when I can borrow it from the library.

      Like

  4. Gary A Wilson September 6, 2020 / 4:45 pm

    Hi Natalie, Another great tour for your coffee share. The Steelworkers park was unexpected but very cool. Hope you’re having a great weekend.

    Like

    • Natalie September 6, 2020 / 5:00 pm

      Gary, I’m glad you thought Larry Sefton park was cool. Thank you for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

      Like

  5. Retirement Reflections September 6, 2020 / 5:21 pm

    Hi, Natalie – I always admire your energy, your zest for living and your priorities. I completely agree, when we have our health, and our family and friends are well, we are very blessed indeed!

    Like

    • Natalie September 6, 2020 / 8:05 pm

      Thank you, Donna, for your kind words. My zest for living is huge 🙂 I try to keep my energy level up to continue exploring and enjoying life.

      Like

  6. Lydia C. Lee September 6, 2020 / 5:41 pm

    WOW!! 20 books! You’re a dynamo. I love Julian Barnes. Pretty much all his books are fabulous. When I can’t think of what I want to read next, I just go to him…#Lifethisweek

    Like

    • Natalie September 6, 2020 / 8:08 pm

      Yeah, I can read a lot when I’m in the mood. The Sense of an Ending was the first time I read Barnes’ books. His bio is impressive. I plan to read more of his books from now on. I’m glad to hear he’s your ‘go to’ author.

      Like

      • Lydia C. Lee September 9, 2020 / 6:06 pm

        I love him so much. I don’t think I’ve ever not liked one of his books. #Lovinglifelinky

        Like

        • Natalie September 9, 2020 / 6:11 pm

          That’s great to hear. Barnes did a brilliant job writing The Sense of an Ending. No wonder he won the Man Booker Prize for it.

          Like

  7. Jo September 6, 2020 / 5:49 pm

    I haven’t come across Katie Cotugno before, but these books look up my alley. I’ve read a few others on your list – One Day In December, Me Before You, Sharp Objects. But 20 books? I’m in awe. Another well-balanced month for you and I love the public spaces that you have to get out and about in.

    Like

    • Natalie September 6, 2020 / 8:15 pm

      Jo, I was glad to discover Katie Cotugno and really enjoyed her YA sequel 99 Days and 9 Days and 9 Nights. I read a few more of her books this week. When I’m into reading, I’m totally into it, plus no watching TV and no social media scrolling, give me time to read. Toronto has lots of nice and unique parks, and several lake beaches close to me. They’re just the perfect remedy for covid-19 blues.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jennifer Jones September 6, 2020 / 6:52 pm

    Sounds like a great month for you Natalie. I’ve read a few books from your list. My favourites would be A sense of an Ending and Book Thief #lifethisweek

    Like

    • Natalie September 6, 2020 / 8:18 pm

      Jennifer, Those two novels are such good reads. I was in awe how Barnes packed the story with complex life topics in 160 pages in The Sense of an Ending, and the ending was stunning.

      Like

  9. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 September 6, 2020 / 6:55 pm

    Hi Natalie, Cherry Beach looks beautiful and I’m not sure if I told you but I’ve put Stand Up Paddle Boarding on my bucket list to try this coming summer. Thanks for the book list. I’ve read a couple but many I haven’t so thanks for the recommendation. Have a great week and enjoy life! #lifethisweek

    Like

    • Natalie September 6, 2020 / 8:22 pm

      Sue, It’s fantastic that you want to try SUP. I like it a lot. I hope the weather cooperates for me to do one more SUP trip before summer ends here. Paddlers also like Cherry Beach as the water is clean and calmer than out in the big lake. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  10. Liesbet @ Roaming About September 6, 2020 / 8:27 pm

    Wow! I can’t believe another week has passed. I remember “just” leaving a comment on your last summer update! And, I certainly can’t believe you read twenty books in one month! If I manage one book every other month, I’m happy. And, I don’t even watch TV. I sure hope my priorities can shift soon. 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie September 6, 2020 / 8:55 pm

      Liesbet, When I’m into reading, I’m totally into it. Time is precious to me so I try to focus on what I enjoy and cut out the rest. I don’t watch TV and have no idea what’s on Netflix 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Debbie September 6, 2020 / 9:39 pm

    What a fabulous week and great totals for the month Natalie! #lifethisweek

    Like

    • Natalie September 7, 2020 / 8:45 am

      Thank you, Debbie, for your comment. Yup, it’s been an amazing summer despite covid-19.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Erica/Erika September 6, 2020 / 10:56 pm

    Natalie, You remind me how more and more people are cycling. Your photo of the trees and the picnic site is gorgeous! As much as I like hard cover books, I do find most of my reading is ebooks. Your number one novel is intriguing, and after your description, I have added it to my list. Lots happening in my neck of the woods. I am planning to be unplugged for a few weeks this September again, on our camping trip. This means I enjoy my guilty pleasure…reading! Thank you for sharing your week.

    Like

    • Natalie September 7, 2020 / 9:02 am

      Erica/ Erika, Your plan to unplug sounds wonderful. I visualize a tent, nature, campfires, walks, taking photos, and yes, reading lots of amazing books. Julian Barnes won the Man Booker Prize for his The Sense of an Ending novel. I thought I’d mention it in case that gives more points to what goes on your reading list. Have a safe and fun camping trip!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Erica/Erika September 9, 2020 / 1:44 pm

        You are right about all of the reasons to unplug, Natalie, and our camping trip is a highlight of our year. Thank you for the reading information. 🙂

        Like

  13. Darlene September 7, 2020 / 8:39 am

    It looks like you had a wonderful August in spite of some restrictions. Family time is always special. You read some amazing books! I especially loved The Fault in Our Stars and The Book Thief, two books that have stayed with me for a long time. And I love anything Barbara Kingsolver writes. I´m currently reading her, The Prodigal Summer. Have a wonderful September! #SeniSal

    Like

    • Natalie September 7, 2020 / 9:09 am

      Darlene, Yes, all the books I read in August ranged from good to amazing. I think that’s one of the reasons I was able to read twenty books in a month. The Fault in Our Stars and The Book Thief stayed with me, too. Thank you for mentioning The Prodigal Summer. I’ll see if I can borrow it from the library. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  14. trentpmcd September 7, 2020 / 10:02 am

    Sounds like a nice week, but looking at that list it was a very productive month.

    Like

    • Natalie September 7, 2020 / 11:34 am

      Yes, it’s been pretty good. Thanks, Trent, for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. rawsonjl September 7, 2020 / 1:10 pm

    So many great reads! I’ve read a good handful of those books but still haven’t really taken to reading much on my Kindle. I’m trying though as I have many free books piling up on there. Sounds like a really beautiful week weather wise!

    Like

    • Natalie September 7, 2020 / 1:23 pm

      Joanne, I enjoy reading on my iPad more than I thought. Borrowing e-books saves me so much time. I use that time to read 🙂 I no longer have to book an appointment to go and pick up my books at the library (due to covid-19). Returning e-books and managing my book loans are just a few taps on my device. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  16. msomerville2014 September 8, 2020 / 5:00 pm

    Your books and monthly activities leave me breathless and impressed, and a little sheepish, I am not athletic and not that active, although still balancing work and retirement. But I will say this, thanks to you and some other bloggers I follow, I am less afraid of full time retirement and so less hesitant to consider it. When I first retired, or approaching it, I could not imagine not being a pastor, not doing what I do. Now I realize it would be okay to let go and let someone else and dig in more fully to the gift of my life. Best and blessings, Michele

    Like

    • Natalie September 8, 2020 / 5:58 pm

      Michele, The blogging community has been great to share ideas. I think retirement is another phase of life and no matter what phase we’re in, life is what we make of it. The beauty of retirement is that the person can make it as active or as relaxing as s/he wants. My zest for life is usually intense. I’ve always had so many things I want to explore, and not enough time. I try to stay healthy since good health is a prerequisite for me to do other things I want to do. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

      • msomerville2014 September 8, 2020 / 8:14 pm

        Thanks Natalie. My husband is a mountain man from Western Pennsylvania and I have often joked that instead of hearing the call of the wild, I heard the call of the mild. I agree, that life is what we make of it and I am grateful for the opportunity. M.

        Like

        • Natalie September 9, 2020 / 8:21 am

          Michele, The call of the mild may be coming for me after the call of the wild 🙂 Either way, I’m happy to be here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

          Liked by 1 person

          • msomerville2014 September 9, 2020 / 6:28 pm

            You are welcome. You model healthy retirement living in so many ways. have a great week.

            Like

  17. csuhpat1 September 9, 2020 / 7:44 pm

    What a wonderful August you had. Like the book count. Very nice.

    Like

    • Natalie September 9, 2020 / 7:49 pm

      Yeah, I lucked out with my book picks in August. All of them were good page-turners. Thank you, Patrick, for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  18. Michelle Churchman September 9, 2020 / 10:03 pm

    What a great month you had! Both activity-wise and reading wise. Cherry Beach is so pretty! Thanks for sharing those beautiful views!

    Michelle

    Like

    • Natalie September 10, 2020 / 8:40 am

      Thank you, Michelle, for your visit and comment. August was great. September is off to a good start. Hope you’re staying safe and enjoying September so far.

      Like

  19. Min Write of the Middle September 10, 2020 / 1:26 am

    Cherry Beach looks divine Natalie and I love the lush green and tall trees of the picnic area there too. So nice you’re getting to spend time with your family and keeping all your activities nicely balanced as usual. I wish I could read as many books as you manage to get through! Take care xo

    Like

    • Natalie September 10, 2020 / 8:46 am

      Min, I love those tall trees at Cherry Beach, too. The books I read in August were very good with engaging stories. I hope September is going well for you. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  20. leannelc September 10, 2020 / 1:34 am

    Hi Natalie – it looks like August was a great mix of indoor and outdoor, physical, mental, and relational time. You can’t ask for much more than that in these uncertain times. You also worked your way through a nice selection of books too – which is always great for keeping your brain active.

    Like

    • Natalie September 10, 2020 / 8:54 am

      Leanne, I’m grateful for what I have in these uncertain times. I function better when I have variety in my day so I include a mix of activities that I like. Reading good novels is a pleasure for sure.

      Like

  21. Your commitment and your thorough reporting does you great service and credit to your dedication to routine..and I congratulate you! Hope September is kind too. Thank you for linking up for life this week. Next week’s optional prompt is 37/51 Remembering Sydney 2000. 14.9.2020 Hope you link up Denyse.

    Like

    • Natalie September 10, 2020 / 8:56 am

      Thank you, Denyse, for your kind words. September is off to a good start so far. I look forward to your next link up. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  22. OnceUponaTimeHappilyEverAfter.com September 12, 2020 / 12:03 am

    Sounds like August was a delightful month for you, and one full of accomplishment judging from the books you read, the sessions spent in meditation and your language studies. I have read about a quarter of the books on your list. The Book Thief is a favorite of mine. Have you read the Boy in the Striped Pajamas and/or seen the movie. So moving. Haunting. I very much enjoyed Next Year in Havana. I think it reconnected me with the years I lived in Panama. Had planned to read other books by the author but never got to it. Thank you for the reminder!

    Like

    • Natalie September 12, 2020 / 9:36 am

      Leslie, Thank you for mentioning The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I add it to my list of books to borrow. So many good books, so little time 🙂 I hope September is going well for you. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  23. Yeah, Another Blogger September 12, 2020 / 11:05 am

    Hello there. Twenty books in one month. That’s pretty amazing. Is that about how many you read in most months? Neil Scheinin

    Like

    • Natalie September 12, 2020 / 12:33 pm

      Thank you, Neil, for your visit and comment. Twenty books in one month is my personal best. I read 15 in July. I’m at a good pace this month so will see how many I finish by the end of September. Assuming I spend the same amount of time to read every month and all my book picks are engaging, how many books I can finish is affected by the number of pages per book. For example, a 450-page novel takes me longer to finish than a 160-page novel.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie September 16, 2020 / 5:46 pm

      Yep, total escapism from COVID-19 reality 🙂

      Like

  24. Dr Sock September 18, 2020 / 4:22 pm

    Natalie, I’m so impressed with how much reading you did in August. I’ve only read two from your list. I’m currently reading “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout, which I recommend. I think what has been cutting into my reading time is spending so much time each evening looking at news websites every evening to keep abreast of the corona virus news — far, far too much time.

    Jude

    Like

    • Natalie September 18, 2020 / 6:50 pm

      Jude, I have Olive Kitteridge and Olive Again on hold, can’t wait to read both books. I briefly read the news 1-2x a day just for my awareness. Since COVID-19 has shut down many entertainment venues and social events, I use the time gained to read books.

      Like

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