Friday Night Lights

The weekend.

These might be two of the best words. Even if I’m just sitting at home, which is most weekends, it should still be celebrated with wine, dessert, and copious amounts of reading. I have a funny story that happened about a year or so ago at the liquor store. It was a Friday and I stopped in on my way home to grab a few things. There is a drink I make with champagne because it’s very delicious, so I was grabbing a few larger bottles because champagne doesn’t seem to go very far (or maybe I drink too much of it). I brought my bounty to the register and I guess because it was champagne the cashier asked, “What are you celebrating?” I replied quite casually, “Friday.”

It’s the small things that make me happy. Friends, dessert, wine, and books, oh yes, also my cat even though she’s a grouch. When you celebrate the seemingly small things in life-like Friday’s, you end up realizing they really are the big things.

On to the book. The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver is one that I read a few years back and really liked it. Because it’s been awhile (and I’d like to get back to celebrating Friday) I’m going to post the Amazon synopsis:

• Noa P. Singleton never spoke a word in her own defense throughout a brief trial that ended with a jury finding her guilty of first-degree murder. Ten years later, having accepted her fate, she sits on death row in a maximum-security penitentiary, just six months away from her execution date. 
   Meanwhile, Marlene Dixon, a high-powered Philadelphia attorney who is also the mother of the woman Noa was imprisoned for killing. She claims to have changed her mind about the death penalty and will do everything in her considerable power to convince the governor to commute Noa’s sentence to life in prison, in return for the one thing Noa can trade: her story. Marlene desperately wants to understand the events that led to her daughter’s deathevents that only Noa knows of and has never shared. Inextricably linked by murder but with very different goals, Noa and Marlene wrestle with the sentences life itself can impose while they confront the best and worst of what makes us human

It’s such an interesting story. If you’ve accepted your fate on something as serious being on death row, can you imagine having the chance to fight against your sentence? If your resolve has been to remain silent till this point, does that mean you’ve given up? Would the possibility for a different ending even matter? I imagine once your mind has weighed and dealt with such heavy things, is it difficult to allow a smidgen of hope back in? Is hope too heavy of a burden at that point? I don’t know. Thankfully I’ve never been in that situation.

Now back to lighter thoughts and also your regularly scheduled Friday.

Have a great evening, Bookworms.

Sincerely,

tmc

“Keep reading. It’s one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have.”

– Lloyd Alexander

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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

Rock ‘N’ Roll On The Beach

The horizon has a hypnotic effect. The loud rushing waves combined with the thought that the distance just keeps on going is enough to keep me pleasantly distracted. That view makes me a dreamer of possibility.

Today was the first full day of vacation and it didn’t disappoint. Yesterday I began the first of the books that I brought with me. See below to see which one I chose.

Daisy and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid has been a fun read so far. Depending on how long I can keep my eyes open tonight will determine if I finish it or not. It’s a fast read and I can easily see it becoming a movie at some point. The writing is easy and the storyline flows. A friend (J) said it reminded her a bit of The Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann and I completely agree. I will say there is something that feels a little more authentic with VOTD versus DJATS. Both were written and published after the time with when they begin taking place.

VOTD: Begins in 1945, published 1966

DJATS: Begins 1965, published 2019

Is it the fact that the time gap is much shorter with Valley, therefore not a whole lot had changed in real life ( vs. the amount time and what had changed in the world with Daisy), therefore there weren’t as many details to make sure were correct to that time period? Not that I was analyzing Daisy for errors, I truly wasn’t- it’s just it was a long time ago compared to current day. I don’t know, just a thought.

I do recommend DJATS if you want to read something entertaining (and about the entertainment industry) which really, all books should have this quality, right? Otherwise, why read them in the first place? I don’t think it will be the best book of the year (although some will disagree with me), but definitely a good read. Celebrity status in general travels on the path to a train wreck and we as the viewer can see this coming from miles away. A dream can be realized in a moment and then gone in the next. There’s a reason and truth behind the saying, “fifteen minutes of fame.” Watching Daisy Jones and her crew rise to fame, you just know there is massive drama on the inside and you can’t help but keep watching and reading.

Life is a mixed bag. Sometimes you get what you want, sometimes you don’t, and other times you just wait it all out, hopefully becoming a better person in the process. Wherever you are in the whole scheme of life, just make sure you’ve brought a book with you. I’m a broken record I know, but I also know good books can be cures to the many ailments of life.

Now I’m off to hopefully finish Daisy and start the next book in my stack.

Goodnight Bookworms.

Sincerely,

tmc

“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.”

– Fernando Pessoa

If Walls Could Talk

My introduction to Anita Shreve came many years ago when I picked up a copy of The Pilot’sWife. Something interesting about that book is that it is part of a quartet. I say the word quartet loosely because the only thing that joins these four books is a house. To me, that is so interesting. Think about how many people might live in a house in a fifty or hundred year time span. All of the living that must have taken place between those people and those walls. A house can be many things. Somewhere to lay your head or eat a meal, spend time with family, or a quiet spot to shut out the world. The walls of a house bear the remnants of tears and shouts, the expressions of joy and pain, as well as the times of heartbreak and celebration. The walls of house become the walls of a home when they continually stand steady through the many chapters of life being lived.

I believe the order to read the four ( if you want to read them as they would take place on a time line) is:

1. Fortune’s Rocks (one of my favorite books)

2. Sea Glass

3. The Pilot’s Wife

4. Body Surfing

I read that Shreve was somewhere in New England (if I’m not mistaken) and she went on a walk and came upon a house that sparked an idea. I just love that. I think a lot when I walk, (probably too much) maybe one day, thousands of miles from now I will come up with a good idea for a story!

Shreve has written many books beside the four mentioned above. I have read several of them. Usually they involve a love story of sorts. I hadn’t read a book of hers in a while when I came across this copy of Stella Bain.

Below is the synopsis from Amazon:

When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.

A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his houseguest. Stella had been working as a nurse’s aide near the front, but she can’t remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.

Her books have always had a solemn quality about them (at least to me),which is a characteristic I know I am drawn to in stories. Her last book published was The Stars Are Fire and came out in 2017. Sadly, Anita Shreve passed away last year.

If you haven’t read anything by her, give Fortune’s Rocks, Body Surfing, or Testimony a shot.

Sincerely,

tmc

“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries.”

– Descartes

Q: What line is too long to wait in? A: None, if you’ve brought a book.

“For anyone who has ever waited for the call that didn’t come…”

That is the opening line from the cover flap of Ghosted by Rosie Walsh. Not knowing a single detail of what this book is about, that phrase can apply to many things. Is it a call that would let you know you got the job? Is it the call that someone arrived safely home? Is it a call to follow up a successful first date? It could even be the call from someone you talk with daily, that suddenly just stops. Whatever kind of call it is-that doesn’t happen, they all lead to the same thing. The seemingly endless waiting and wondering. It’s this part that is truly agonizing, where minutes take on the feeling of hours and days.

I first came across Ghosted and the beautiful cover immediately caught my eye. I later found it on the sale shelves at the library and snatched it up for a dollar. It stayed in my tote bag for a bit because I forgot about it. Eventually it crossed my mind and I went and pulled it out, and dang, that cover! It’s just so pretty, or maybe I’m easily impressed? Either way it moved up a few notches on my short list of tbrs. That shows you, my dear reader, books do get judged by their cover. Below is the synopsis from Amazon, because I’ve yet to read it:

Oh wait, there’s a cover blurb about this book from Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty, “I absolutely didn’t want it to end.”

Synopsis:

When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.

Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened–there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason for Eddie’s disappearance, and it’s the one thing they didn’t share with each other, the truth.

I think this sounds like a fun, fast read. Unlike real life, when the waiting game seems to go on forever, which is never fun. What do you do in those cases? What’s the right answer, what’s the right amount of time to wait for a response and in some instances, do you truly want to know the answer? That old saying, “ignorance is bliss” can often be the salve that soothes when the truth might sting. I don’t know, really I don’t. It’s hard to judge and really not fair to either, each situation is different. So if you find yourself in the midst of waiting for something or someone, make sure you’ve brought a book with you-and make sure it’s a good, long one.

Happy evening, bookworms.

Sincerely,

tmc

“Luckily, I always travel with a book, just in case I have to wait in line for Santa, or some such inconvenience.”

– David Levithan

What’s In A Name?

What’s in a name?

What is the appeal of one name versus another? Sometimes there are several you may be tossing around. Maybe you say it out loud to hear how it sounds or ask a friend what they think of your choice.

I was thinking about the name of this blog, The Most Constant and how it came to be. In my introduction post I wrote a little about it and included the quote, which this blog is based upon,

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

– Charles W. Eliot

This is one of my favorite book quotations. I had begun throwing around the idea of a book-based blog about six or eight months before I actually started one. One day I was walking my dog and I began thinking about this blog (that didn’t exist) and what I would name it. If I couldn’t think of a blog name, then what luck would I have in writing a whole blog post? Immediately the above Eliot quote came in to my head, I shortened it to my favorite part and added a ‘the’ : The Most Constant.

A few more months passed and my hypothetical name of my hypothetical blog began taking more shape. I threw around other potential names (to myself, because I wasn’t a hundred percent sure I even wanted to start one), but kept coming back to The Most Constant. So I filed it away and kept thinking.

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends. As you read their stories you learn and get to know characters just as you would someone new.

But the true beauty of a book as a friend is this: books are all-encompassing and all-accepting. They aren’t bothered if you highlight, underline, or dog-ear their pages. Their feelings aren’t hurt if you set them aside or decide to read on an e-reader. If you leave water rings from a glass or spill something- they don’t care. They are keepers of notes tucked between pages, they don’t get too hot or too cold. If you drop them on the floor, mid-sentence because you’ve fallen asleep, it’s ok. They don’t mind your tears and they aren’t bothered if they scare you. If they brighten your mood, great. If they piss you off because they suck, well that doesn’t bother them either. They are patient, quiet and just waiting to be cracked open and read.

As much as books don’t take on the negative qualities that we as humans can have, books can only truly be appreciated by us, (sometimes) crazy humans. Without us to see their value, they are little more than kindling for a fire.

We need each other. Together we are the heart and the soul. One cannot exist to its truest potential without the other. Even if you don’t read for pleasure, can you argue that books aren’t the backbone for learning about any and every subject out there? Let me just tell you-you can’t.

So this is a more complete history of how and why my blog name came to be. Names can be complicated and names can be easy. Over time the one you choose begins to stick and slowly, but surely it becomes yours.

Sincerely,

tmc

PS. I always close with a quote. While I love the above Eliot quote, the one below is my absolute favorite quote about books.

Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change, windows on the world and lighthouses erected in the sea of time. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.

– Barbara Tuchman

If My Mouth Is Open, I’m Probably Talking About Books

It’s all about the books.

And when it comes to talking books with someone, it’s hard for me to close my mouth. I like all kinds of books, which you should’ve gathered by now if you follow this blog. I like e-reading and traditional and feel there is a place and need for both formats.

When it comes to traditional books there are so many beautiful editions. I admire many of the collections available, but the only editions I collect are the NYRB Classics. If you aren’t familiar with these, they are an expansive set of books distributed by the New York Review of Books. They are trade-size editions of fiction and non-fiction books. These are not the traditional classics you may be thinking of, but rather a large “eclectic mix of books from different eras and times,” according to nyrb.com. Each book features a cover that is a piece of art in its own right.

I was introduced to NYRB Classics several years ago and instantly fell in love with them. You can order them from their website, but often they are more than I want to spend, because I’m a cheapskate. You can find them on various used sites and I have purchased them that way. My favorite way is finding one tucked in to the shelves at a used book store. Their tell-tale, muted solid color spines are easy to spot when you know what you are looking for. Stumbling across one is somewhat rare (but I have found several), so it never fails to feel like a treasure when I do find one.

Books just amaze me. I love reading them and reading about them. I love learning about up and coming books as well finding old books stashed away. I will always own more books than I know what to do with, and yet I will continue to acquire more.

That’s just me. Take it or leave it 🙂

-tmc

“Of course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper.”

– David Quammen