1 point– New Author – Suzanne Jenkins

Barbara:  Someone Like You by Suzanne Jenkins. While this book wasn’t a dramatic masterpiece, it did confront the topic of forgiveness. Can a terribly abused child ever forgive her parents, both the perpetrator and the one who stood by silently? Who would you have a harder time forgiving? When I took a Masters class in educational psychology we went around the circle and told about our childhood. Everyone had an unfortunate experience to relate. When it came to my turn, I was attacked verbally by all the others who accused me of lying, but really we had an Ozzie and Harriet childhood and I was blessed enough not to have to deal with what the protagonists in the book did.

1 point: New Author – DAVID JOY

Laura – I was deeply moved by the messages that David Joy shared in his debut novel, Where All Light Tends to Go. This is a story set in Appalachia, a place I’ve never visited nor read much about. I became immediately involved in the book – drawn in by the writing, the characters, the setting and the tragic elements hovering over the story from the outset. With a mother who is an addict and a father who is kingpin meth dealer, young Jacob yearns to escape this life but it’s a long way from where he is to where he’d like to be – and it is that situation that is at the heart of this book. It’s a gritty, dark and sometimes violent book that took me out of familiar territory, but it was often mesmerizing and I know I will be reading more from David Joy in the future.

1 point – Movie Theme: JEALOUSY

Although we wouldn’t consider ourselves as particularly jealous by nature, we are aware that “jealousy” can take various forms – none of which typically lead to great outcomes. Picking that emotion as our “J” movie theme, we watched the 1984 made-for-TV movie Jealousy, which showed three vignettes on how this emotion affects three different women, each played by Angie Dickinson. We were pleasantly surprised because each story ended with an unexpected twist and surprisingly did not go down the clichéd path we had anticipated.

2 points – New food – JALAPENOS

We’ve both been a tiny bit scared of jalapeños. While Laura has become a little bit more accustomed to spicy foods, Barbara’s taste buds are still New York wimpy. So what better month than this to do some jalapeño testing? The first place we went to was Central Market for jalapeño cheddar cheese sourdough. We bought that and a jalapeño bagel. Just as we thought, the spice level was a bit too much for us (although we discovered Central Market’s bagels are delicious). Then off to Laura’s to try a recipe of hers for a tomatillo sauce that had jalapeño in it and that was very good. Maybe we can handle spicy better when cooked rather than the raw pieces in breads. Anyhow we were proud of ourselves for trying.

2 points – New restaurant – JIMMY’S

We also tried out a J restaurant, Jimmy’s Burgers. Thanks to a “Seinfeld”episode Barbara can’t meet a Jimmy without breaking out into paroxysms of laughter so fortunately Jimmy wasn’t at the restaurant. Food was just ordinary so we probably won’t be back.

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