A Little Friday Night With Your Saturday Morning

Good morning ☀️

I believe yesterday was the first Friday I didn’t post since starting this blog. I didn’t forget, the day and all of its details were just one too many. By the time I sat down to write, it was 11:30 pm. It was super quiet and calm, but I was just too tired.

Every day has its own unique set of parameters and priorities that we all navigate around and within, in order to get things done.

This blog is one of my priorities. It has to be -if I want it to exist. I keep a monthly schedule of what I plan to post throughout each week. It’s flexible, but it helps in the organization of this blog as a whole.

The next step is photography. None of my photos are stock. It is more work, but like writing, I also enjoy coming up with photos. There are only two spots in my home that I use due to the amount of natural light. These spots, although great, have their limitations. The biggest one- time of day. If the light outside doesn’t match up with when I need to take pictures, I have to figure out another time. The looming time change (that happens tonight) throws a further wrench in to things.

There are many details that have to come together in order for a single post to materialize. Sometimes it feels like a crazy balancing act of work, picking up the kids from practice, thinking of what to write, house chores-oh wait, the light is amazing, I need to take that photo ASAP, but I can’t edit it because it’s dinner time. It’s a never-ending cycle and like anything else, although I love doing it, it takes a considerable amount of work.

Ok my dears, enough of the process, let’s get to the good stuff.

Since my normal Friday post features books, dessert, and wine, that’s what you will get this morning. In addition, my October wrap-up, and finally, a little challenge I’m going to take part in are included.

So get comfortable, grab some coffee, because I have a lot to share with you.

The Book:

This has been the week of:

To my knowledge, he has only written two non-fiction books. One is On Writing ( a great book) and the other is:

Danse Macabre (pronounced either dance or dawnce ma-cob) by Stephen King.

This was published in 1981 at the request of King’s then editor at Doubleday. At a bar, over a drink he threw out a question to King, “Why don’t you write a book about the entire horror phenomenon? Books, movies, radio, TV.” King goes on to say he was both intrigued and frightened by this idea.

Intrigued, because he had been asked over the years, why do people continue watch, read, listen, to things that scare them or make them uncomfortable? And pay to do so?

Frightened, because he saw this project taking a very long time to complete.

Danse Macabre is a book that I flip through, reference, read a chapter here or there simply because it’s so interesting.

King examines the history of horror, which makes this a history book. He pays homage to so many writers that helped shape this genre as a whole. My copy is marked up with page savers and highlighter ink.

Like On Writing, as well as every preface in every book I have read by him, King writes (therefore speaks) like he is sitting across from you at a bar. His voice feels real, which one more reason why I am a fan. I’m not sure if you are someone who typically reads an author intro or preface or skips them. If you are one who skips, give his a try next time. They are little snippets of him as a person, in my opinion, and they only add to the whole experience of reading his books.

Read Danse Macabre if you want to know more about the horror genre. It’s fascinating simply to learn some of the “tricks of the trade,” where certain ideas originated, and who did/wrote them best.

If you read my last post, I mentioned I would post a link to a favorite interview with Stephen King and his family. He doesn’t do a lot of interviews, so this one is pretty cool.

It was first published in The New York Times in 2013 by Susan Dominus. Even if you don’t read it, at least click on the link, because there is a great picture of him and his family sitting together at the kitchen table.

The Dessert:

This is a low-carb lemon-poppyseed bread. I added a handful of frozen blueberries and a tablespoon of Lavender Blueberry sugar-free syrup by Jordan’s Skinny Syrups, so it’s now Lemon-Blueberry-Poppyseed Bread! It is so delicious.

This recipe is not mine (other than the two things I added), but I will share where to find it. One of my dearest friends, Tasha, wrote a phenomenal Keto cookbook.

Granted, I get to taste-test a ton of her cooking and have made so many of these recipes-but this book stays on my counter. (And I hate unnecessary stuff being on my counter). This book is more than necessary and I reference it all the time.

Here is the Amazon link-also she has a second cookbook coming out next year!

The Drink:

Jam Jar in a jam jar.

It would be sort of embarrassing to try and explain how cool I thought that phrase was and how excited I was when it popped in to my head.

But now you know, so I’ll leave it at that.

Jam Jar is a staple wine in my home. As much as I post it on here, did I ever tell you that it hails from South Africa? I’ve always wanted to visit Cape Town and Johannesburg, and now I would like to add a stop at Jam Jar Wines while I’m there.

Next Up:

I only completed a paltry four books, but I did read parts of several others. I either lost interest and didn’t finish or I plan to come back to them at another time. Either way, only completed books within the month make it to the wrap-up.

1. American Predator by Maureen Callahan. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I posted about this one at the beginning of the month, I highly recommend this if you enjoy true crime.

2. Ghost Story by Peter Straub ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is a cult-classic in horror. I liked it, but it definitely dragged in parts. It had a definite creep factor, but wasn’t scary. I’m glad to have finally got around to reading it. It has a vintage feel, which I loved.

3. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ & 1/2.

To say I loved this book is a giant understatement. I had read Strout before and I like her books, but I almost skipped over this one because two good reader friends absolutely did not like it. I am SO glad I gave it a chance. I plan to post fully about it this month. Also, I have the sequel, Olive Again just waiting on my nightstand. I almost don’t want to read it, because then it will be over. I do think there is probably no middle ground on liking OK. You either like it or despise it. What was/is so genius to me is the style of how the story is told. It’s written in stories. More to come, I promise.

4. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was the Nov. selection for my bookclub. I had wanted to read this for a long time. That being said, I didn’t love it. It was way too predictable and just kind of fell flat. My initial rating was ⭐️⭐️ & 1/2, but the fact that it was a fast read and had a quote that I really loved made me up it to a three.

The quote:

“Life is not unlike cinema. Each scene has its own music, and the music is created for the scene, woven to it in ways we do not understand. No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.” -Lisa Wingate

Last, but not least:

This is a reading challenge put on by several bloggers. It actually began last week and continues through the end of the month. Each week is hosted by a different blogger and features a theme centered around non-fiction books.

Last week was hosted by @JulzReads and asked several questions about non-fiction reading. Since I found about it on the last day of the first week, even though the second week has started, I still want to share my answers.

1. Favorite non-fiction book of the year so far:

American Kingpin by Nick Bilton

2. Do you have a favorite non-fiction topic?

True crime and psychology/psychoanalysis

3. Which non-fiction book have you recommended most?

I have two.

4. What am I hoping to get out of Non-fiction November?

To read more non-fiction! I have only read eight non-fiction books this year.

Aside from @JulzReads, the other bloggers who are hosting are: @sarahsbookshelves , @doingdewey , @shelfaware , and @whatsnonfiction .

Visit any of these cool blogs to learn more and tag #nonficnov if you want to participate.

Is your coffee finished? I drank three cups while writing this crazy-long post. Now do you see why I just couldn’t keep my eyes open at 11:30 last night to write all of this?

And- if you have read all of this, thank you!

Cheers.

“And, you know, I hope you have some fun with this book. Nosh and nibble at the corners or read the mother straight through, but enjoy. That’s what it’s for, as much as any of the novels. Maybe there will be something here to make you think or make you laugh or just make you mad. Any of those reactions would please me. Boredom, however, would be a bummer.” Stephen King, Danse Macabre

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 🐈

Misery Chastain Can’t Be Dead!

So I’m sliding in by the skin of my teeth with this post. The clock is not far from midnight. Good thing I wasn’t at a ball and doubly good that I don’t wear glass slippers. Actually the only slippers I wear are the cozy kind, and I sure as heck wouldn’t have left one of my slippers behind. They are way too valuable to run away from!

This week like all of the past weeks-(and can you believe it’s the last week of October-I can’t) has a theme.

If my memory serves me correctly, the October themes so far, have been:

1. American Horror Stories

2. True Crime

3. Witches

4. Dr. Hannibal Lecter

To tidy up the month, the theme for this last week belongs to:

Maybe you’ve never read him, maybe you are a big fan, maybe you think he’s overrated, maybe you don’t care one way or the other-I don’t know.

What I do know is this:

I. Am. A. Fan.

Which is why he and his books are the last theme of this month.

My very first introduction to SK was in elementary school. I was a huge reader back then as well. While I was devouring The Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High, there were two boys in my fifth grade class who were devouring everything by SK.

While I was jealous of the Babysitter’s having a cool club and making money and also trying in vain to decide if I liked Jessica or Elizabeth Wakefield better, these boys were reading some amazingly out-of-our league (as fifth graders) novels.

I do remember thinking they were sort of strange, but I’m sure they thought I was strange-after all I did have a hideous perm. Thinking back, I realize they were the cool ones. I’m not knocking The Babysitter’s or SVH, I just should’ve ventured out a bit.

I don’t believe I read anything by SK until high school. By then I had moved on to Danielle Steel, don’t judge. Steel showed me I could read some big books, length-wise. Many of SK’s books are long, so Steel’s were a good starting point to see if I could read something that long.

I could and I did. Steel’s length served as a confidence builder, which is what I needed to read longer and heavier material.

Tonight’s book, Misery is one of my all time favorites by King. Annie Wilkes, only behind Hannibal Lecter, is my second favorite villain.

Side note: I don’t keep some long, drawn out, crazy list of favorite villains. I believe my list is only comprised of the two aforementioned characters, FYI.

Misery is perfect. It follows the famous (fictional) author Paul Sheldon as he puts the finishing touches on his most recent manuscript. He goes through a few rituals, like staying in a cabin, having a cigarette, etc. before turning the manuscript in to his editor.

It’s the middle of winter and Sheldon ends up having an accident after driving in to town. He sits, immobilized and hurt in his car, which is trapped off the road in a snow bank.

A bit of time goes by and he is rescued by Miss Annie Wilkes, who knows exactly who he is. She is a huge fan of his and the character he created, Misery Chastain, in his beloved book series.

Actually, she is his number one fan, to be exact.

She takes him to her home since there is no one else to help him in this weather.

This is when the real story begins. Read it and then go see the movie. Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes is brilliant.

Do you have a favorite Stephen King book?

This week I’m going to share other favorites as well as some I’d like to read, so stick around!

“Writers remember everything…especially the hurts. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he’ll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar.
Art consists of the persistence of memory.” -Stephen King, Misery

Magic

It’s not about having the time to read, it’s about finding the spare minutes that reading will fit into. As I write this I am waiting for my younger son’s basketball game to begin. During last night’s tournament I was able to finish a book on my Kindle and make a bit of headway into another.

Occasionally I’ll see someone I know and we will talk, but more often I can usually just sink inside whatever story I’ve been waiting to return to. Also, reading allows you to have an invisible sign up stating ‘Do Not Disturb,’ for those people you’d rather not speak to. Although, some people don’t always get the message. In those instances I will make my answers politely short.

I don’t read because I am bored. I read because it’s exciting and engaging. That’s why it truly doesn’t matter where I am. A comfy chair and blanket is always preferred, but I have read many books while sitting on hard bleachers.

Something I think is cool is when you spot a fellow reader. Another like-minded soul who is taking advantage of the same few stolen moments. Finding another reader in a room full of other people waiting for something is usually rare. Being rare is often what makes something more beautiful or sought after, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with reading. Although I think reading is an amazing and beautiful thing, it seems to fall more aptly under the saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” And that’s ok. Not everyone is meant to truly see and understand the same type of beauty. But it’s when we do, that it begins to hold a bit of magic.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

– Stephen King

Collect

I am a book collector.

This isn’t a secret. Within my collection there are a few authors that I collect more specifically. The four I can name off the top of my head are Philip Roth, Stephen King, Daphne duMaurier, and Agatha Christie. This list has developed quite organically over many years.

What draws us to collect and ultimately keep? For me, these authors themselves as well as their words intrigue me on a personal level. Their books all have an aesthetic quality that captures my eye, often it is hard to resist grabbing an additional copy when I come across one. My mind races with thoughts like, what if the copy I have becomes lost or damaged?

In a world that is constantly throwing the new in our faces and pushing us to multi-task, it’s interesting to see what makes us pause and at times, shut out the extra noise to simply take in the moment in front of us. Thankfully there isn’t an app for that, yet.

When I get the chance to visit a book store or library, I think my mind must experience something attune to angels singing. I don’t visit very often, because it’s something I usually do alone and those moments are hard to come by.

So I will continue to collect books until I am quite possibly buried by them. And if you care to look closer you might just be able to find the books that make my heart happiest.

“Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high.”

-Arnold Lobel