It All Comes Down To Timing & Mine Is Nonexistent This Week

Baby, it’s cold outside. #thedeanmartinversion

But really, it is cold and snowy outside. It would’ve been the perfect day to sit at home and read under the covers. And if you got to do that (🍮Julie 📚), I’m totally envious.

My reading time has been so infrequent over the last few days.

☝️This sums up my thoughts perfectly ☝️

Last night I mentioned the theme for this week is:

Considering that I have had next to no reading time, it’s somewhat ironic that I chose “big books”. If I can’t seem to get any reading time, how am I ever going to finish any book, let alone a “big” book?!

Oh well, such is life.

Sometimes you have to just keep on, keeping on. So, I’ll continue to talk books, even if I’m barely getting to read them. My heart is in it, I promise 📚

So, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is another big book that I’ve had on my big book list for too long. Have you read this? Did you love it, hate it-tell me!

Even if you’ve not read AK, you’ve at least heard of this book, right? Because I’ve not read this, I will give you the Amazon synopsis:

Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and thereby exposes herself to the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel’s seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness •

Although I haven’t read this book, I’ve always loved the opening line:

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” -Leo Tolstoy

It’s one of those classic lines that sticks with you. Or, it has with me anyway.

If you haven’t read AK, do you want to? I don’t have a desire to read a ton of classics. However, there are definitely a handful that come to mind that I do want to read. Sometimes I think what holds me back with the classic genre is the writing style, which equates to the speaking style of the characters. Typically it’s more formal, and at times a bit antiquated. I’m not against it at all, reading a wide scope of genres definitely enhances the mind, but at the same time, they don’t read as quickly. This may sound horrible, but I don’t always have the patience for them. Any thoughts, does this make me horribly shallow?

On that note, I’m going to close for the night. Sweet dreams, my dears.

“I’ve always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be.” – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Fit For A King

Happy Halloween Bookworms 🎃

This week’s theme of:

continues tonight with a picture featuring the majority of my collection. I do have a few on my Kindle that are not pictured.

I haven’t read all of these, but I do plan to.

Collections are interesting things, don’t you think? I can’t remember how old I was when I started collecting his books, it feels like something that’s just always been. Easily, a collection can turn in to a dust-collecting pile that belongs on an episode of Hoarders, if you don’t keep it in check. I’m probably like two books away from claiming that status.

My prize-possession (money-wise) in this photo is the copy of Cujo on the bottom, right stack. It’s a first edition that I totally happened upon in a used book store for $6! It’s worth between $150-$200, isn’t that crazy?! I have no interest in selling it, just a fun fact.

Ever since then I’ve kept my eye out for other first editions of his books, most specifically, The Stand.

Five years ago my husband and I visited the state of Maine. It’s one of my most favorite places that I’ve ever been. During our trip, we drove to Bangor, which is where SK has a home. We parked and just walked down his street. While being a large home, there was nothing pretentious about it or the area, which I loved. No crazy gates or exclusive neighborhoods. Just a regular (large) house on a regular street.

Two or three years ago I missed hearing him speak in Nashville by one day! I think that would’ve been such a cool experience, because he doesn’t do many interviews.

I find him and his family of writers incredibly interesting. A few years ago I came across a great interview of him, his wife, and his children all sitting around a table at home. I remember reading it and feeling like, “a fly on the wall,” because it had sort of an intimate/cozy feel to it. What a cool thing it would be to sit around their dinner table and chat. If I can find the interview, I will share the link in tomorrow’s post.

I’m not sure what my favorite books by him are, but a few off the top of my head are:

Misery

• Full Dark No Stars

• 11/22/63

Do you have a favorite book by Stephen King? Please share!

More tomorrow, my dears!

“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.” -Stephen King

“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.“ -Stephen King

One of my all-time favorites:

“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.” -Stephen King

Livin’ On The Edge

Right here, right now I am sitting on bleachers not watching the girls basketball team play.

I am instead writing this blog post. We are here to watch my youngest son play and his game hasn’t started, so I’m trying to see how much I can get accomplished before his team is up.

Side note: There are some obnoxious women seated to my right who are hollering like it’s the NBA, or the WNBA. Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t randomly scream out at sports teams (in part because I don’t know all of the specific calls, etc). I will cheer for my children or others that I know, but I don’t just scream out during the game. A random, “ Bull crap!” was just yelled out. Y’all, it’s fifth grade. It’s not offensive or anything, just red-neck as all get out.

Back to talking books.

Tonight is the second post of October’s last theme week of:

Last night started us off with, Misery, which is near and dear to my heart because it’s such a great storyline.

Before I talk about tonight’s book, I have a question for you:

If you could be two people, not split personalities, but lead two different lives, would you live one different than the other? Or would your “two” people be more or less the same?

Weird question, I know. I’m not sure what I would do. I’m not itching to go on a crime-spree or anything of that nature, but I do think I would do things different in one life versus another. Maybe travel the world or something like that? The caveat being, one life knows about the other. If you had children (as I do), could you not have them, but know you do in the other life, or have another whole family altogether? It kind of makes my mind tangle up just thinking about it all.

The Dark Half by Stephen King is about one such story. The Amazon synopsis is below:

• Thad Beaumont is a writer, and for a dozen years he has secretly published violent bestsellers under the name of George Stark. But Thad is a healthier and happier man now, the father of infant twins, and starting to write as himself again. He no longer needs George Stark and so, with nationwide publicity, the pseudonym is retired. But George Stark won’t go willingly.

And now Thad would like to say he is innocent. He’d like to say he has nothing to do with the twisted imagination that produced his bestselling novels. He’d like to say he has nothing to do with the series of monstrous murders that keep coming closer to his home. But how can Thad deny the ultimate embodiment of evil that goes by the name he gave it-and signs its crimes with Thad’s bloody fingerprints? •

Now what? I think it sounds really interesting. Since it’s SK, you know he’ll throw in some twists you never saw coming (right, Julie?). His talent with words can make you feel crazy when you’d swear you are most definitely sane. When a writer can can make you feel, you know you’re in the midst of true talent.

Besides being a fan, another reason I chose to feature SK is because if someone hasn’t read him before, they usually have a strong opinion. As in, “not interested in horror,” or “he’s just not my thing.” The thing is, if you haven’t tried something, how do you know? His books have always made me think, which is one of the main reasons I keep coming back. They definitely have a creep element, which I also love-and you may not. I will say, despite that, his books have never scared me.

What I’m trying to say in all of this jibber-jabber is this: be open to giving a new-to-you genre or author a chance. Even if it’s not SK, give someone new a chance. Live on the edge, you might just discover a whole new world opening in front of your eyes.

“But writers INVITE ghosts, maybe; along with actors and
artists, they are the only totally accepted mediums of our society. They make worlds that never
were, populate them with people who never existed, and then invite us to join them in their
fantasies. And we do it, don’t we? Yes. We PAY to do it.” -Stephen King, The Dark Half

“…he was after all, a novelist…and a novelist was simply a fellow who got paid to tell lies. The bigger the lies, the better the pay.” -Stephen King, The Dark Half

PS. It’s National Cat Day or so I’ve heard, so Brontë, as well as her bony dark half were such convenient fits for tonight’s post 🐈

Weekly Goal: Low-Key Decadence

Good morning.

The hours of Friday have spilled nicely in to Saturday. Because The Goldfinch was released in theaters yesterday, I traded my normal Friday post of books, dessert, and wine to talk about that.

But in my thinking, it just wouldn’t be the same without including some kind of post featuring my favorite trifecta, so here we are.

If not fancy, then decadent is the feeling of a Friday night. Saturdays on the other hand, especially the morning, feel more low key. So—can you be decadent and low key? Yes, you absolutely can, in fact that’s my preference. I am not a fancy person. Brontë has more fancy-ness in her front paws than I could ever have, even if I tried every day for the rest of my life. Her fancy-ness always seems to add a little something to the mix, so she too, is a key ingredient to many of my photos on here. She ups my game (if I have a game?) a bit, maybe she appeals to literary snobs, while my twist-off bottles of wine appeals to the simpletons?

The Book

The Hours by Michael Cunningham, like The Goldfinch (of yesterday’s post) was made in to a movie (interesting tidbit-both films feature Nicole Kidman), and both books won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction—1999 and 2013, respectively. If you are at all familiar with this blog, then you may know I have mixed feelings about books that win prizes. So it surprises me a little that for two days in a row I have posted two award-winning books. If you want to read the original post about my thoughts regarding Pulitzer winners, the link is below. If not, scroll past and move on, no judgement.

https://themostconstant.com/2019/08/14/a-diner-coffee-rings-and-the-pulitzer/

Unlike The Goldfinch, I have not read The Hours, but it is a book that has interested me for awhile, because part of its premise is the book in its entirety takes place over the course of one day. One of the characters is the lovely Virginia Woolf, who’s book, Mrs. Dalloway also takes place over the course of a day. The Hours, unlike TG is much shorter in length, 239 pages versus 760. I think it would be fun and quite fitting to read The Hours over the course of one day.

Below is the Amazon synopsis:

The Hours tells the story of three women: Virginia Woolf, beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway as she recuperates in a London suburb with her husband in 1923; Clarissa Vaughan, beloved friend of an acclaimed poet dying from AIDS, who in modern-day New York is planning a party in his honor; and Laura Brown, in a 1949 Los Angeles suburb, who slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home. By the end of the novel, these three stories intertwine in remarkable ways, and finally come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace • Side note, the main character in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway is named Clarissa.

Doesn’t it sound interesting? Not exactly a short story because of its length, but a story written over a short time period, while covering different short time periods, and can ultimately be read in a *short amount of time. Kind of a conundrum.

* Please excuse the excessive use of the word short in the above paragraph.

Ok, book covered, on to the dessert and wine.

The Dessert

My aim is to make something homemade every Friday to enjoy over the weekend, but that doesn’t always happen. This week was good, but was a little busier than normal. One of my go-to’s in an event such as this, because forgoing dessert is not an option, is #Lily’s chocolate. If you live in a larger city Lily’s is most likely readily available. I do not and up until recently I had to travel an hour or order online. It has finally made the trek from the olden days to 2019, probably in a covered wagon to a few of our local grocery stores—my heart was singing upon its arrival. There are several varieties, including milk chocolate, dark chocolate, with nuts, without, some with coconut, and even baking chips. The beauty of Lily’s are the ingredients and taste. You should know by now that I eat low carb, which massively cuts my sugar intake and therefore my craving. In addition, Lily’s uses stevia and erythritol and no maltitol. This is major because ingesting maltitol OFTEN causes EXPLOSIVE 🧨 reactions in the bathroom 🚽 (unless you are like my friend J, who has a stomach and intestines made at least partially of steel, which I am jealous of). This chocolate costs a little more than regular chocolate, but is well worth it in my opinion.

(Moving on from the Lily’s Public Service Announcement to wine)

The Wine

This week I am back to featuring #JamJar’s sweet Shiraz. It originated from South Africa and is one of my favorite things. It’s inexpensive, around $10-12, and can be found easily, and has *no need for a corkscrew.

*If that fact, and that I drink it over ice makes me a redneck, so be it.

This is how you open Jam Jar
A. in the wild
B. If you don’t have hands
C. If you are lazy (like Brontë)

Happy weekend, Bookworms!

Sincerely,

tmc

“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” – Jacqueline Kelly

August Reads & Ratings List

Hey there, bookworms.

It’s not hard for me to believe that it is September, but it is hard to think there are only four months left of 2019. Once October arrives, time goes so quick that Valentines’ 2020 crap will soon be on display at Walmart. It’s been Christmas at Hobby Lobby since May or June, so you should totally be ready for next year’s Valentine’s Day.

Many of you keep track of what and how much you read, which I am a big proponent of. Next year I am determined to not only count book totals, but also count pages read. Not only is it another measurement tool, but it’s a way books I don’t finish can be counted-at least in pages read. To any of you who keep track of what you read, do you have any new ideas that you are going to incorporate in the year to come? Please share if you do, I would love to hear them.

Below is my August wrap up:

1. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (read on Kindle)

Favorite quotes:

“Doves fight as often as hawks.”

“Your eyes haunt my heart and it is still.”

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

2. Turbulence by David Szalay ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (read a physical copy, but it is loaned out at the moment)

3. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

4. Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (read on Kindle)

Favorite quote:

“He wasn’t certain he cared much about anything other than getting to a place where there were green fields, and where, in the middle of winter, the snow drifts would be deep enough to cut him off from the rest of the world.”

5. The River by Peter Heller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(this was a physical copy, but from the library, so it was returned before I took the picture.)

Favorite quote:

“Life was about being agile in spirit and adapting quickly.”

6. Inside the O’Brien’s by Lisa Genova ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Favorite quotes:

“The mind loves words.”

“We’re going to learn to live and die with HD (Huntington’s Disease) from you, Dad.”

7. The Life We Bury by Allen Eskins ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Although there were a few three star reads, I enjoyed every book I read. A three or three and half star rating (out of five) isn’t a bad rating in my opinion. Not every book is going to be a four or five star read, and that’s ok. Threes need to be read, they help navigate between the very good and very bad.

On a different note, I found a steal this weekend, that I just couldn’t resist.

My current Kindle case (on the left) is great, with the exception of some minor wear along the edges where the trim has come off. I wasn’t looking for a new case, but I found the one on the right for $5! It has a marbleized peachy-aqua-ish front and back cover. I’m slightly obsessed with cool, especially cool book stickers (if you couldn’t tell from the case on the left), so the one on the right looks a bit naked to me. But it’s so dang pretty, it would be hard to cover up-well maybe. Maybe just one or two stickers? I’m secretly twelve when it comes to putting stickers on cases and water bottles. My car is not covered in bumper stickers, I promise ( I’m not judging you if that’s your deal, just stating a fact about me).

I hope you have a nice rest of your evening and Labor Day tomorrow.

Sincerely,

tmc

“It is both relaxing and invigorating to occasionally set aside the worries of life, seek the company of a friendly book… from the reading of ‘good books’ there comes a richness of life that can be obtained in no other way.” – Gordon B. Hinckley

Duplicity Done Well & Not So Well

I wish I could be two people.

Mainly because I could hopefully read twice as many books. Other than that, no way-I don’t want twice as much laundry or dirty dishes, unless Me #2 gets a maid.

Ok-so what are your thoughts when an author publishes under a different name, ie. a pseudonym? Is it annoying, strange/fascinating, you love it, or who cares? I think it’s all of the above, or can be all of the above depending on the author in question.

J. K. Rowling is an author that does this little hat trick quite well in my opinion. I think it’s interesting she chose a male name for her other persona. Her Harry Potter books bear no resemblance to the Cormoran Strike books, yet both have a wonderful design. Looking at them I don’t feel one looks of lesser quality.

The only area that falls short for her (to me) was that random-feeling book that came out in between the two series several years back. Casual Vacancy was the title and Rowling was the author (not Galbraith). I think, using her name, but trying to write something non-Harry Potter-ish simply wasn’t going to work. I mean, let’s not push the buck. Harry got his own theme park after all. The world was taken by storm with the magic of HP. Rowling could’ve hid in a hole till kingdom come, which I probably would’ve done, but instead she wanted to keep writing, and thank goodness for that. And-Thank goodness she kept going after Casual Vacancy, which was kind of a casual casualty (in comparison to the HP series) in the whole scheme of things.

It definitely goes to show that just because someone writes something amazing, that not everything will be amazing. We all have off-days.

Or off-years, I suppose.

In comes Robert Galbraith. I will now refer to Rowling/Galbraith as a he, just to clarify. I think choosing a male was a wise choice mostly because of the gritty nature of the books and the characters they represent. Not that men are always grittier, but it was a completely opposite choice of genders, for a completely opposite, if you will, book. Not that just because it’s not Harry Potter makes it the opposite of HP, but do you get what I mean? Actually I’m sort of getting confused now, but just go with it.

I feel the Rowling/Galbraith pseudonym was a success. To me it feels like a natural separation.

On the other hand 🖐 ,

There are a few other authors that come to mind that I feel didn’t pull this off quite as well. I’m not talking numbers and books sold, but more that it got on my nerves a little.

The ones that come to mind:

1. Nora Roberts

Roberts writes as J. D. Robb for her Death series. She also writes as Jill March and Sarah Hardesty. Four people? That’s just a bunch, too many for me to keep track of. Also I’m not a big romance reader, so that could be another reason for my dislike in this case.

2. Stephen King

He wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman in the late 70s and 80s. King is a longtime favorite of mine, so this doesn’t get on my nerves like the above-mentioned author. I don’t know the story behind the Bachman use, and those books versus the King books all seem to be of the same genre more or less, so it confuses me a little. I’m sure there’s a good reason, after all this is Stephen King we’re talking about 😉

3. Anne Rice

She is a fan-freaking-tastic writer. She writes as Anne Rampling and also A. N. Roquelaure. I’ve not read anything under the Rampling name, but hold the phone on Roquelaure. Holy Sh%#, A. N. Roquelaure! The Sleeping Beauty books by her definitely did not have Beauty doing much sleeping, uh, or wearing clothes.

Back Story: I had always heard that Rice wrote under Roquelaure for her erotica SB books. I’ll be honest and say they peaked my interest under the guise of how racy could they be? I’m not an erotica fan, not against it, but I just am not drawn to it. I was drawn to these because it was Anne Rice. Rice does give you a large preface about why she wrote under Roquelaure. She knew her fan base consisted of those interested in witches, vampires, etc., and she wanted it to be clear to her readers that this was a different genre. And you can say that again. She was not kidding, when in the preface she said there was something racy on every page-that’s a statement you can take to. the. bank.

In addition I just didn’t find the storyline that went along with the Sleeping Beauty books to be anything worth reading. I wasn’t offended at all- I just thought it was really, really dumb. In fact I couldn’t even get through the first book. The only other book, that could be considered erotica that I’ve read are the Fifty Shades books. Fifty Shades are not high quality literature (which I knew going in), but hands down they are better than the Sleeping Beauty books, which completely surprised me. Fifty Shades had a story and characters that weren’t asinine, I cannot say the same for Sleeping Beauty.

Don’t do it, just don’t.

It’s safe to say that I prefer Anne Rice over A. N. Roquelaure.

Oh man, sorry for the rant if you took it as one.

On a lighter and more wholesome note I will close with an outtake picture. My cat who has been featured a bit on this blog is named Brontë. I have been taking pictures of her with books since she was a kitten (she is almost four years old), so she is used to me putting crazy things on her. That being said, I’m not above bribing her with treats. The picture below is of her licking her chops after eating a snack.

Happy Monday, Bookworms.

Sincerely,

tmc

“Read. As much as you can. As deeply and widely and nourishingly and ­irritatingly as you can. “

– A.L. Kennedy

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.