Pages the Book Worm is Eating

Books I’m Reading – February

In this post, I’ll share the books I’m currently reading. My love for writing is in tandem with my love for reading. Both have followed me through life as faithful friends. I personally would not want to be without either of them. It’s been a while since I’ve opened a book and not put it down until I finished it. I can’t afford the consequences of a reading hangover and (a big ‘and’), when I come upon a good book, I want it to last because I’m always afraid, I won’t find another one. What a crazy fear when there are so many good writers out there!

The books I’m in the process of reading are both physical books, digital print and audio; fiction and non-fiction, old and new. Here they are:

  • West With Giraffes, By Lynda Rutledge ; Historical Fiction- set in Depression Era / Dust Bowl America, it follows the story of an orphaned teenager and giraffes making an epic, historical trek across the country. This is a strong character driven novel. Really, the characters could be in any story and they would be interesting.
  • The Myth of the Nice Girl, By Fran Hauser; Non-fiction about being a strong, woman leader while being true to the nice girl non-aggressive, non-confrontational nature. I need to read more of this. I’m not sure I haven’t left the nice girl behind already but I really want to get her back!
  • Enclave, By Thomas Locke; fiction. I started reading this when I was looking for market comparables for another WIP. It’s speculative, suspenseful, sci-fi ish.
  • The Fire-Dwellers, By Margaret Laurence; fiction from 1969. In this book Margaret writes in a stream of consciousness, flow between thoughts, dialogue (without quotes!) and flash backs. It’s a wild ride and raw with realism. I can’t wait to get to the end and see how it all comes together to a conclusion.
  • In the Shadow of the Valley, Bobi Conn; Memoir. Bobi tells her life story growing up in Appalachia in a household of abuse and harsh realities. I’m so moved that she would share the thoughts, pains and triumphs of her life. I know her story is repeated across the country, probably the world,in fragments that mirror her experiences. Those connecting points, told as non-fiction are cathartic and riveting like fiction can never be.
  • I’ve Got Your Number, By Sophie Kinsella; Fiction, audio-book. Sophie’s story structure is impeccable, somewhat predictable but thoroughly entertaining. She’s funny, funny, funny. When a book makes me laugh out loud (and almost drive off the road….just kidding), I can’t put a price on that, it’s priceless. Her books are perfect in audio as the reader has an English accent which enhance the humor. Some things just don’t sound funny without the English touch.

I have a few other books either with first pages read, purchased and waiting or I’m eagerly watching for the next one in a series. But there you have it, my current actively reading, list.

Read on! Write on!

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10 Things I Can do Without in my Life

a personal survey

  1. Lipstick – it’s a ‘special occasion’ thing for me. I wouldn’t miss it.
  2. Statistics- Like out of 5000 submissions less than 50 are requested for more in a query to an agent.
  3. Boss- in the traditional work sense. Otherwise, we all know there is always an authority somewhere in our lives and I’ve come to know that is not a bad thing. Work bosses though are not always easy to deal with and if they have a few ‘issues’ it’s tiresome to be the subject of their whims.
  4. Hand sanitizer- well, actually, I’ve been a hand sanitizer junkie long before the pandemic so let’s change that to stinky, cheap, questionable sources of ingredients, hand sanitizer ; something only known to mankind since 2020. And for good measure throw in face masks, definitely could do without the need for these.
  5. Doubt, uncertainty, not enough time to write- I want to include each of these but truly I need these in order to push myself forward, just like a story needs conflict and trouble to keep it moving. So change that to ‘wasted’ doubt, uncertainty or time.
  6. People- okay so what I mean is people not in my family, aka neighbors, in close proximity. This is a love / hate relationship. I simultaneously enjoy my neighbors kids running through all our yards, laughing, screaming , playing, enjoying life with abandon while wishing I couldn’t overhear their family barbecue conversations, arguments and even having them stand on their patio gazing into my yard as their dog does his business, thankfully on their green grass. If I had to choose between living in a densely populated place or alone in a remote place, I’d choose squirrels as my companions. Why not? I always have books to connect me to humanity.
  7. Prejudice/ Hate/ Discrimination – don’t want to give it a moment in myself; don’t want it to push my family to choose not to go places, not to do things because these human blemishes lurk, ready to strike, ready to ruin the day, and as much as it appalls me and makes me ashamed of the human race to say, ready to kill.
  8. TV news- it’s designed to hook me by conjuring up fear from the slightest of possibilities. It pretends to be helpful, needed, informative (ha!) but the amount of value it brings is far outweighed by the psychological, mental stress that it stirs up in order to encourage me to watch more which ultimately means more commercials which at the root is the evil of the love of money. My apologies to anyone who is in the business, don’t take it personally.
  9. Anger- it has its place but I’ve found for me it takes me down paths and then abandons me to spent emotions, destroyed self control and defeat.
  10. Complacency- this one scares me. How much is this embedded in my life? I am passionate about certain things, at least I can talk about them with energy and zeal but are they just my trophies sitting on the shelf of what I call my character, who I am? Say it ain’t so that I’m a hearer only and not a doer.

Take a “Ten Things” survey of your life. It’s an interesting activity. Makes me want to pay attention, make changes. Also a good exercise to do with characters at the start of a novel idea. I did this days prior to NaNoWriMo this year and even though I didn’t know my characters well, it made a huge difference in getting the story right with much less tangents that I had to snip out of the first draft.

Happy writing! Happy living!