SUNDAY (EVENING) POST

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written a Sunday Evening Post, and I thought I had given it up, but several blogging friends write updates of some sort, and they often end with, “What are you reading?” So, I’ve decided to give it another go, and this is my update, my Sunday (Evening) Post.

What I have recently finished:

Today’s Sunday edition of The Houston Chronicle

The Accidental Life by Terry McDonell, recently reviewed on this blog

What on Earth Am I Here for?, an inspirational study by Rick Warren, which I borrowed from my church library, which will be reviewed on this blog soon

The Light Between the Oceans, by M.L. Stedman, also to be reviewed soon

Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong, which I read earlier, then reread in a feeble attempt to write a review which would do it justice, but still have not accomplished

What I started this week:

Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep, which describes the life and “adventures” of a grown up Daniel Torrance, the young son in the novel who had the “shining”

Carry Me Like Water by Saenz, which is on my Kindle, and because of that, may be a challenging read for me

Still reading:

The Lightning Thief , a YA novel by Rick Riordan

Book VII of The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King, which I have been reading for years and can’t bear to be “through”

The Fifth Season, first book of the Broken Earth Trilogy, which my Better Half and I are reading aloud together

What I watched this past week:

A Promise, a love story set in Germany during the war

a heart warming, tear jerker of an episode of “Queer Eye” recommended and sent to me by my grandson

several episodes of a Netflix original series, “Strange Empire”

 

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How to Walk Away: A Novel by Katherine Center

Carla Loves To Read

How to Walk Away: A Novel5 Stars

Published May 15th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

This story was a very quick read that was heart-breaking one moment and laugh out loud funny the next. Margaret Jacobsen has worked hard all of her life and was the perfect daughter. She has recently graduated, has landed an amazing job and is dating the love of her life, with the hope that he is going to engage that night, on Valentine’s Day. Everything is turning out according to plan and she is sure that things are about to get even better. Unfortunately for Margaret, you never what is going to happen next, and her life is about to change forever. On what she believes to be the greatest day of her life, she makes a decision that quickly turns it into the worst day of her life. What would you do it your life was so changed that…

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READING OUT OF MY GENRE: THE ACCIDENTAL LIFE by Terry McDonell: A Review

In a deliberate effort to read “more than just novels” this summer, I picked up McDonell’s 2016 collections of memories and recollections, (subtitle: An Editor’s Notes on Writing and Writers) from my local public library. The author shamelessly name-dropped (in a good way) sports figures names like Tiger Woods; authors like Hunter S. Thompson and Hemingway; and twentieth and twenty-first century celebs like Frank Sinatra, the Kennedys, Jack Nicholson, and Steve Jobs.  Most of his stories and recollections of meeting and working with these notables were fascinating.  I admit that I did not read every selection/chapter, for I knew nothing about some famous sportswriters or even about some of the literary “who’s who.”  Roy Blount, Jr. says on the back cover, “McDonell knew the wildest writers, edited most of them, and he remembers a great deal.” In his careers as editor at Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ), McDonell came face to face and often toe to toe with the eccentricities and demands of writers.  He was often “in on” plans for the next “big” undertaking of the writers, and his impressions were so accurate that he cold have been excused for saying, “I told you so.”

Tom Brokow called McDonell, “…one of the prominent editors in the world of popular magazines.” Interspersed with the author’s recollections about writers and editing magazines are helpful asides to authors and editors as well. Here is a writer who writes on writing and an editor who writes on editing. Overall, The Accidental Life is interesting and helpful, especially for magazine readers.

TUESDAY TEASER

I’m getting near the end of The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, which I used a week or two ago as my Tuesday Teaser. My goal was to randomly copy two or three lines/sentences that would tease you into wanting to read the book.  At the time, one blogger friend used the word “creepy” to describe the passage I was currently reading. See if you feel a creepiness still in this later passage.

“You stay away from that man, you hear me?”

“I’ve got to go and see him, Ma. He’s been in the lockup for ages! This is all my fault!”

“Don’t talk rubbish.  You’ve reunited a baby with her mother, and you’re about to pocket three thousand guineas reward…Use your loaf, boy.  You’ve done your bit, now just keep out of it!”

This is advice is given to a man who had seen a baby’s rattle, a christening present to a baby supposedly lost at sea, in the hands of the same baby in another mother’s arms. Creepy? Maybe. Mysterious and tragic? Definitely.

THE TIME TRAVELERS WIFE: A Short Review

This novel by Audrey Niffeneger, published in 2003, has become a frequent choice of book clubs since its publication. It was the author’s debut novel, and a fine one at that.

First Thoughts:  Judging from the cover and the thought of “time travel,” I expected a story of how a person, or a team of persons, travelled back or forward in time, experienced adventures and perhaps had to accept consequences for inadvertently causing changes in history or the future of the earth.  Was I ever wrong!  In the first place, Henry De Table, the time traveler of the title traveled involuntarily, spontaneously, and ended up naked, somewhere in time. It caused many misadventures often leaving him beat up, bruised, and sometimes badly injured. This “twist” to time travel made for a complicated, complex non-traditional love story.

Characters: Henry’s soul mate, Claire Abshire, meets him first as a young girl; she around six or eight; he a middle-aged man. Her choice to marry Henry, accepting the strangeness of their marriage, where he might suddenly disappear, was a life-altering one.

Style: Flashbacks, obviously, and jumping around in time are the structure of this novel.  However, the reader is never confused as to when and where the characters are because the author has provided at the head of each section, the character speaking and his/her age at the time of the scene. Surprisingly, with all the jumping around in time, the novel is never disjointed or confusing.

Overall Impressions: This was a darned good read which plumbed the depths of the reader’s emotions: incredible joy, aching sorrow, frightening uncertainty, and many more emotions. I would definitely give this novel five points out of five points and would recommend it to every reader.

FATHER FIGURE by James J. Cudney: A Review

This 2018 novel by blogger (“This Is My Truth Now”) and author (Watching Glass Shatter), is a wonderful read. It begins with a “teaser” opening.  One is approaching the two story cabin on the cover and sees two bodies, a man and a woman, who have just crashed through a window, lying on the ground. All we know from the police who have arrived is that one is dead, the other severely hurt.

Then the story alternates between Amalia (beginning in August of 1984) and Brianna (beginning in June of 2004), chapter by chapter. Amalia, submissive daughter to an abusive mother, Janet, and a 60 year old, quiet man, Peter, lives a life of shame and physical abuse. She and her parents live in Brant, Mississippi. Her brother, Greg and his best friend are about to come home from college to Brant for the summer.  Amalia begins to realize that Greg’s friend is a tease, and ashamedly enough, he awakens feelings in her she has never experienced before.

Brianna, who lives in New York with her single mom also struggles with feelings.  She is about to go to prom with her boyfriend, Doug, and knows that Doug has “expectations” for prom night, but she also has feelings for her best friend, Shannelle, who prefers women to men.  Her story is one where she explores her sexuality, not coming to any conclusions until the very end.

There are many twists and turns in Father Figure, as well as many reveals and unravellings of family mysteries and connections. Both girls make the decision to go to college, both attempting to escape from something only to discover their own connections and pasts are intertwined. It is a good novel that spools out, clear and easy to  follow as laid out by the author, but warning: DO NOT try to figure out the connections or who was lying on the ground at the beginning/end of the story.  YOU WILL BE WRONG, until Cudney decides to tie up all ends and reveal all.  It is a darned good read.