Organically Speaking From The Heart

When I began thinking about starting this blog, writing about anything book-related was the main and most basic perimeter. After starting it, I also wanted the blog to develop organically. Now I’m not sure who wants something they are creating to feel anything but genuine and authentic, but wanting and actually getting this to happen can sometimes be worlds apart. It’s a wonderful thing to not only see progress, but also see something go in a direction you might not have foreseen. The major part of this process is time.

My goal with this blog has been three to four posts per week. I don’t have specific days that I aim to purposely post on other than Fridays. My short-term goal is to be consistent in posting. Long-term goals-I’m still thinking about those. I haven’t thought of specifically posting book reviews on certain days or anything of that nature. Whereas book reviews will obviously be a part of my book blog, if I feel like posting something else (book-related) then I’m going to post on that. I want post ideas to develop on their own. Easier said than done, but I soon realized that was also a goal of mine.

I apologize for the long-winded nature of this post-bear with me sweet bookworms.

This morning I feel like that very thing just happened, which is what this post is based upon.

If you read my previous post I mentioned I sit in a particular spot due to the light to apply make-up or dry my hair. This spot happens to be next to a stack of books, which is next to my non-fiction bookshelf. Sometimes I grab from the stack or shelf as I blow dry my hair and just read the first page or the back of a book to pass the time.

I grabbed the book pictured above, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I’ve had this book for a long time, but have not read it and if you would’ve asked where I got it, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.

That fact changed the second I flipped open the cover. This book was a gift from 2002.

From my sister.

She was a reader just like me. Was.

She passed away fifteen years ago and that fact still has the power to cut like a knife.

I had planned to write about her on this blog, but not yet. I did mention her a few posts back in regards to her introducing me to a specific author, but it was a minor reference. Opening that book today and seeing her inscription was the first step towards true authenticity. I knew it should be posted. Everything I have said on here has been true, but I more or less kind of planned the posts.

Planning is a good thing, but organically happening and coming together is something different. And it’s just kind of cool.

AHWOSG has been around for awhile, but in case you aren’t familiar, here is the synopsis from Amazon:

At the age of 22, Eggers became both an orphan and a “single mother” when both his parents died within five months of one another of unrelated cancers. In the ensuing sibling division of labor, Dave is appointed unofficial guardian of his 8-year-old brother, Christopher. The two live together in semi-squalor, decaying food and sports equipment scattered about, while Eggers worries obsessively about child-welfare authorities, molesting babysitters, and his own health. His child-rearing strategy swings between making his brother’s upbringing manically fun and performing bizarre developmental experiments on him. (Case in point: his idea of suitable bedtime reading is John Hersey’s Hiroshima.)

There are people who really love this book and those who don’t care at all for it, which I suppose you could probably say the same for most books. The format is a little different. It has a small section at the back that is written upside down. Maybe that irritates people, I really don’t know. If you come across it, check it out for yourself.

As this blog continues I want to share book-related events that have shaped my life. Whether they have taken me down memory lane and have true sentimental value or are a new read and will take me down roads yet traveled.

Either way, I hope you stick with me because everyone has a story.

Sincerely,

tmc

“The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.”

-James Bryce

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Looking For Someone Who Deals In Luxury Goods-Yeah, The Cashier At The Liquor Store Will Be Just Fine

• Thank you #Scribner for this ARC of Turbulence by David Szalay •

I have a stack or two of homeless books in my bedroom. I am out of shelf space so they reside in a somewhat neat but hoardish stack next to a full book shelf. That stack is made up of new or new-to-me books. I usually sit near this stack when I blow dry my hair and put on make up (because the lighting is good) so I end up looking at them quite often. This is good in a sense because it keeps them more towards the forefront of my mind rather than competing with the rest of my book collection that are in another room.

Turbulence is one that I received about two months ago, but hadn’t read yet (and was sitting in this stack). If you can’t tell from the picture it is relatively short, coming in at just 145 pages. This is especially short in comparison to Lonesome Dove, at 843 pages, which I am also reading. For some reason Turbulence has been staring at me all week. So yesterday after my day of doing a million things was winding down, I grabbed this book from the stack. Don’t judge, I read a little of LD first.

Not only is Turbulence a fantastic read, but bookworms-it was a book I was able to read in one sitting.

This rarely happens.

In fact, it happens so rarely the last time it happened (after consulting my book journal) was November of 2016. The book was Chess Story by Stefan Zweig and I do recommend that book as well. I have read many books in two or three days over the course of my life, but a book in one sitting, hardly ever. Life is just too crazy. There is always somewhere to be, something to do, someone annoying talking thus disturbing precious reading time, or maybe you simply need to close your eyelids and sleep. I think life is against bookworms reading whole books in one sitting (too often) out of protection of getting lost in the amazingness. It simply too luxurious of a thing and one would get too entrapped by the luxury of it if it were allowed too often.

So, with that thought I will tell you a bit about Turbulence. Each chapter is titled with the combination of two airport codes. So chapter one is LGW-MAD, chapter two is MAD-DSS, three, DSS- GRU. Each chapter features a character from the previous chapter and their story. Someone they interact with will be a main character in the next chapter. I had to keep reading. If you pick this one up, you will too. I think I breezed through it in an hour and a half. Pure luxury is what that time was.

Since it’s Friday I decided to combine the decadence of reading a book in one sitting with dessert and wine, which are equally decadent.The wine featured is a red blend called Wish Flower and the dessert is an almond butter chocolate chip bar, sort of like a blondie.

They path to my heart is paved with pages, chocolate, and wine. Simple things that when combined are incredibly extravagant.

Cheers to Friday!

Sincerely,

tmc

“Language is wine upon the lips.”

-Virginia Woolf

Are There Any Glass Houses For Sale? Asking For A Friend, I Mean Me.

Stories about ordinary families are those which interest me most. Domestic dramas represent humanity at its very core and they are our best and closest chance to become the fly on the wall inside our neighbors’ homes. So now that I sound like a total creeper, let’s move on.

Maybe I am a literary voyeur and I’m ok with that. Human being are both ordinary and strange. We are all over the charts between crazy and sane. I want to read about someone I can relate to or maybe has qualities that I can understand. Would their reaction in a particular situation mirror mine or would it be the opposite? Just something to think about.

I began reading Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman a few days ago and so far I really like it. She reminds me a little of Anne Tyler, who is a wonderful writer of domestic dramas. Hoffman is an author I have known about for years but have never read up until now. Aside from Seventh Heaven I have two other novels of hers on my bookshelf. One of these is Skylight Confessions. Below is the Amazon synopsis:

• Cool, practical, and deliberate, John is dreamy Arlyn’s polar opposite. Yet the two are drawn powerfully together even when it is clear they are bound to bring each other grief. Their difficult marriage leads them and their children to a house made of glass in Connecticut  countryside, to the avenues of Manhattan and to the blue waters of Long Island Sound. Glass breaks, love hurts, and families make their own rules. Ultimately, it falls to their grandson, Will, to solve the emotional puzzle of his family and of his own identity •

Aside from being a story about a family, the major draw to this story is that it features a glass house. The concept of a glass house has always fascinated me. I’ve never been inside one or even seen one other than in pictures. Part of me would love to live in one, but only if it was in the middle of the woods, and I wouldn’t want the bathroom to be glass-those are my only caveats. Have you ever thought about it- could you live in a glass house if given the chance? I really think I would. But who knows, it’s all hypothetical, because I have never been offered that choice. Maybe it wouldn’t be as amazing as my mind thinks it would be. Maybe it would be creepy, I don’t know.

Sincerely,

tmc

PS. Could you build built-in bookshelves in a glass house? Could be a deal breaker.

“What better occupation, really, than to spend the evening at the fireside with a book, with the wind beating on the windows and the lamp burning bright.”

– Gustave Flaubert

If A Book Read Equaled A Passport Stamp, I Would Buy Passports In Bulk

This past weekend was spent with a group of some of my favorite people, who also happen to be part bookworm. We had our first bookclub sleepover and it was so fun. Our August book was Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Most everyone had the chance to read it and it was almost unanimously loved.

It was nice to know that we had more time to just sit and talk. The weather couldn’t have been better and we sat outside for most of Saturday. The food and drinks were delicious and my dear, sweet friend hosted us all at her beautiful lake house. We fittingly watched the movie Bookclub, some of us had seen it, others had not. All the way around that movie is the best, it makes me excited to be sixty. I just love Diane Keaton! Seriously, could the weekend have been any better?

After lots of coffee, blueberry muffins, sausage balls and more conversation, we all began to pack up our bags Sunday morning to head back to our various homes.

A few of us rode together and on the way back we were talking some more. I mentioned how, as much as I like to travel (referring to my recent vacation), I have found myself hating how much work it is to plan and actually go on a trip. Then, on top of all of the work that precedes a trip, there’s so much to do afterwards, not to mention the sad feeling that it’s over. And, insult to injury: we paid a bunch of money to do all of this! I find myself thinking more and more about the whole process and just how much I just don’t like it. Saying all this led my friend to say while we were driving home, “That’s the great thing about books, you don’t have to leave your home to go somewhere. And people who don’t read just don’t understand how true this really is.” These may have not been Jennifer’s exact words, because I wasn’t recording our conversation-but it was the gist. If you read this Jennifer, please correct me in the comments if you disagree 🙂

When I look at all of the books on my shelves, each one represents somewhere to go. I’ve spoke it this before and readers know this to be true, so I know I don’t have to convince you. There are more trips waiting to be taken sitting on bookshelves than I could ever manage out globetrotting this world. Something reading and taking physical trips do have in common is time. Just like going somewhere on a plane or in car takes hours, so does reading. Us readers value our precious reading time and look forward to it in many of the same ways someone preparing for a trip does.

I’ve always been somewhat of a homebody. This fact only becomes more concrete every year. Let me reiterate, I do like going places, but I like being at home just as much, if not more. Reading broadens the mind as you all know, and my mind is huge. I’m not talking smarts necessarily, but the size in reference to my imagination. If there’s a border to another place, I cross it without thought. If going back in time, or even to the future is on the agenda, I’m game-and most likely I have my pj’s or crappy stretched out yoga pants on. I don’t need a stamp on my passport (which I don’t have, but I do really plan to get) to sit in an outdoor cafe in Paris. I’ve been there my friends, at least in my mind, which is more vivid than any trip I have or ever will take. So take that to the bank, non-readers. You just don’t understand and maybe like the quote says, ” If you don’t like reading, you just haven’t found the right book.”

Sincerely,

tmc

PS. If you need me, I’ll either be in the 1950s suburbia, Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman or out west in Texas with some cowboys, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.

“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.”

– Logan Pearsall Smith

Friday Night Always Looks Good To Me

• Thank you to #RandomHouse #partner for these books •

No matter what, if it’s Friday, then things are looking up. Friday is for putting your feet up, cracking open a book, a bottle of wine, and eating dessert. It’s not that the rest of the week is bad, it’s just that often it’s hectic. It’s nice to know there’s a smidge of extra brightness waiting, something a little extra to look forward to.

The four books pictured above look to be very interesting and as I look at them I just want to start them all at the same time. How do you choose what you read? Are you organized, as in you read in the order you receive books (not counting library books)? In theory I try to read that way, but many times I end up reading an article that discusses or reviews a book- then I skip to reading that book.

Here is a little about these books:

1. Diagnosis by Lisa Sanders. This book is the basis of a Netflix Original documentary series. Sanders was an advisor for the medical television show House, M.D. Sanders is a doctor as well and this book is about medical mysteries.

2. Inland is Téa Obrecht’s first book since The Tiger’s Wife. Although TTW was a huge international bestseller, it wasn’t a favorite of mine and didn’t finish reading it. I think Obrecht has talent, so I am excited to give her another shot. This book takes place in the 1890s in the Arizona Territory. It follows a frontier women who is awaiting the return of her husband and sons. One in search of water and the others who left after a bad argument.

3. The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney. This is about a woman who awakens in a daze and has no memory of how or why she is where she is. She doesn’t know her husband or son, or that she is an artist. She is told by her husband (who is a huge titan of the tech world in Silicon Valley) that she has been in a horrible accident and has been brought back due to an incredible technological breakthrough. But, she begins to doubt everything and doesn’t know if she can trust him.

4. Lost You by Haylen Beck ( Amazon Synopsis). Libby needs a break. Three years again her husband left her to raise their infant son Ethan alone as she struggled to launch her writing career. Now for the first time in years, things are looking up. She’s just sold her first novel, and she and Ethan are going on a much-needed vacation. Everything seems to be going their way, so why can’t she stop looking over her shoulder or panicking every time Ethan wanders out of view? Is it because of what happened when Ethan was born? Except Libby’s never told anyone the full story of what happened, and there’s no way anyone could find her and Ethan at a faraway resort . . . right? 

But three days into their vacation, Libby’s fears prove justified. In a moment of inattention, Ethan wanders into an elevator before Libby can reach him. When the elevator stops and the doors open, Ethan is gone. Hotel security scours the building and finds no trace of him, but when CCTV footage is found of an adult finding the child wandering alone and leading him away by the hand, the police are called in. The search intensifies, a lost child case turning into a possible abduction. Hours later, a child is seen with a woman stepping through an emergency exit. Libby and the police track the woman down and corner her, but she refuses to release Ethan. Asked who she is, the woman replies: I am his mother.

Don’t these sound good?!

I’m about to eat some dinner, then I plan to dive in to the good stuff! Happy Friday, Bookworms.

Sincerely,

tmc

“There is nothing more luxurious than eating while you read—unless it be reading while you eat.” – E. Nesbit

PS. If what you are eating is dessert, then it’s even more luxurious.

My (So-Called) Reading Life: A Somewhat Pathetic July Wrap-Up

Happy August, Bookworms!

I always associate the summertime with reading tons and tons of books. Looking over my totals for each month over the past few years shows a somewhat different story. Whereas the summer does seem to provide a few more lazy days, my best total for an individual month was two Januarys ago, reading eight ( I swear I thought it was ten, but my records don’t lie!) I’m not bragging in any way, shape or form because that is only two books a week. I read somewhere in the realm of snails and molasses. The only reason I was able to read eight books that January was because we had several snow days and school was called.

It bugs me that I can’t read like twenty or more books a month, truly it does. There are always so many books I want to read, (which I think might be why or at least partly to blame for reading multiple books at a time). But whatever.

So here is my somewhat sorry July wrap-up:

1. Red Notice by Bill Browder ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

2. A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Edvardsson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

3. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ( I initially gave this 3.5 ⭐️s, but it was a fun read, so I upped it a half a star. Sometimes being on vacation can help a book rating, or maybe wine can).

4. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

5. American Kingpin by Nick Bilton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My lousy count for a freaking summer month is five? Dang. I completely thought I was going to squeeze in Crawdads* last night and make it count for July, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. My eyelids got the better of me and closed up shop. Five books is more than I started the month off with, so there’s that.

* My slang for Where the Crawdads Sing.

A fresh month, a new beginning, and as I write this it’s almost Friday. So, I will look ahead and hope to beat my July total this month.

PS. My sweet neighbor and friend brought me a very cool trade edition of Lonesome Dove. It’s a huge book, especially in a mass market edition, which is what I currently have. I’ve been wanting to read it forever, so maybe it’s time to step back to the frontier and hang out with some, “…hero’s, and outlaws, whores, and ladies, Indians and settlers ( LD back cover).”

Sincerely,

tmc

“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”

– Carl Sagan

Oh Bookworms, The Crawdads Are Definitely Singing

“There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.”

-Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is the August selection for the bookclub that I am a part of. Two good friends of mine read this last year and loved it. When it came time to select the books for the next bunch of months, several within our group suggested this book, so it made the list.

The wait list for the e-copy at my library is crazy long ( as in over 2000-people-long!). So I went ahead a bought a copy for my Kindle. I came across this stack last week and knew I had to snap a picture, it’s such a pretty cover.

As I was finishing up another book, I knew I needed to get on the ball and start WTCS. We meet this weekend to talk about this book. As much as I have wanted to read this book, I’d be lying if I said I was without a small amount of reservation. This reservation is due to its widespread popularity and also that Reese Witherspoon has placed her cute little logo-thing on the cover. Sometimes a book gains so much hype that it’s hard to think it will be anything but amazing. And it might be pretty darn good, but then if you aren’t completely blown away, your mind goes down the path of, “well it was good, but all that hype?!” Its not really fair. The other thing: Reese Witherspoon. She is so darn cute + she is a major bookworm = I am a fan. But it’s kind of like her selections took the place of Oprah’s. Oprah has chosen more great books than not (in my opinion), but I think subconsciously something happens when people, ahem, famous people start putting their ‘stamp of approval’ on particular items. It’s a strange phenomenon. I have no scientific data to back this up, it just happens, ok? So, you read a string of really good or great books that a celebrity has promoted, then, poof: you read one of their selections and it’s just kind of “meh,” maybe it lands 2.5 stars or eeks in barely at 3. Your faith in their picks starts to wobble ever so slightly. If it happens again, some intense teetering begins. Then you might see a picture of that celebrity or their logo and think, “yeah, maybe I’ll wait on that one, it might not even be good.” You may or may not agree with me, but something happens when celebrities endorse things. End of story.

All of that being said, I am halfway through this book and I love it. Going in I hadn’t read any type of synopsis and I still haven’t. I only knew-through the grapevine, that it was about a swamp girl. Her name is Kya and I think she is such a strong character. Not only because she is the main character, but rather because of her personality and grit. Delia Owens’ writing is beautiful. I can see the swamp, marsh areas and all of the wildlife so vividly. Kya not only lives in this swampland, but it is a part of her soul-it’s this quality which makes her beautiful to me. The only life she has ever known is one of hardship and poverty, yet she sees the inherent beauty of the world around her. Woven throughout this story are lines that make me pause, read them again and then write them down. I’m sure most of you have at least heard of this book or are familiar with the cover. I’m not going to add a synopsis for this book. Go in blind, like I did more or less, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. But just in case, I’m not a celebrity and my endorsement logo isn’t on the cover.

Cheers.

Sincerely,

tmc

“Doves fight as often as hawks.”

“I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.”

-Delia Owens