FLASHBACK FRIDAY

FOR NOVEMBER’S FLASHBACK FRIDAY, HERE IS AN EARLIER POST FEATURING A NARRATIVE FROM MY TEEN YEARS:

This was a short piece, a narrative I wrote in undergraduate school.  I found it when clearing out an old file folder, and thought it might be worth sharing.

We had taken inventory at Woolworth’s that night, and I was late coming home from work.  I dragged myself upstairs, prepared to face high school homework, and tiptoed through the room where my twelve year old brother was sleeping  and into my own attic bedroom.  Dad had divided the attic between us and had done a good job converting it to bedrooms. The paint on the walls was battleship grey, appropriated from the Naval Base, and the door between our rooms was a few inches too short for the frame, allowing heat from the register to heat both rooms.

I lay down to sleep and was immediately startled by a rustling noise that sounded like crumpled paper scratching across the linoleum.  The noise seemed to be coming from under the bed!  I had been terrified about the idea of mice ever since at the age of nine, one had tried to make a nest in my long hair in this very room. Turning on the bedside light, I searched quickly, not really wanting to find anything. My heart sickened as I lay down and turned out the light again when the noise resumed. This time I leaped far clear of the bed, unfolded the double bed spread on the twin bed, and kneeling peered under the bed itself.  I almost had my nose snipped off by an old snapping turtle!  MICHAEL MARION MASON, I yelled at my brother, come get your snapping turtle out from under my bed!

Mother said she heard us both barrel down the stairs, then Mike with no explanation to anyone, opened the side door and threw something frisbee-shaped out.  Poor me.  Poor turtle. Poor confused parents. Lucky Mike, for he received no punishment.

 

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On Gratitude

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ― Melody Beattie

IMAGE: Open Door, Brittany, Henri Matisse

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WATCHING GLASS SHATTER by James J. Cudney: A Review

Watching a family with the surname of Glass shatter sounds like a pretty bad reading experience, but the author’s depiction shows how although shattering herself due to secrets revealed after her husband’s death, Olivia Glass holds together her family of five sons.

Synopsis: Father of the Glass family, Benjamin Glass dies unexpectedly, and Olivia, his widow and five grown sons each react to his death in their own way. Because of a secret confession “from the grave”( in two letters left to be opened after his death), Olivia decides to visit each son as she tries to make sense of the secret Ben has kept from her.  Because it involves one of the sons, although she does not know which one, she tries to discover the secret on her own. She discovers, instead, that like their father, each son has kept his own secret from her and the rest of the family.  Unraveling and revealing every family secret kept me turning the pages, guessing (often wrongly) at the secrets and surprised many times by the twists and turns.

Cudney’s characterization is excellent.  I , for one, was interested in each individual as the character’s thoughts, secrets, and actions unreeled. The major characters, Olivia and her “boys” are people I came to care about. A secondary character I grew fond of was Diana, Olivia’s sister who not only was the family “listener,” but also had figured out more than one son’s secret and didn’t blab. Significant others who were secondary characters were also believable, very likable, and integral to the story.

The writing is outstanding. Irony abounds, and the word choices and phrasing are captivating from the first page:– “…his discrete office hibernating in the corner of Brandywine’s downtown historic district…”– to the last:– “…Sewn into the last few pages of the album were parchment scrolls that displayed in beautiful calligraphy the Glass Family tree–”

I give this book a five out of five and would definitely recommend it as a “darned good read.”

18 Hilarious Literary Mugs That Bookworms Will Love

Capital Nerd

There’s nothing quite like settling in for the afternoon with a mug of hot coffee and a great book. We’ve rounded up a collection of hilarious literary-themed mugs that are perfect for book lovers. These gems are sure to make your next adventures in reading extra special!

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“COLOR CODED CHALLENGE” Completed

During Labor Day weekend, I came across a blogger who threw out a “Color Coded Challenge.” It was a unique way to get nine books read, and I accepted. The goal was to read a book with the cover the of each color listed and to finish by December 31st.

I am pleased to announce that I have finished today, November 17th. I also rounded the challenge out to ten books, including one by an author of color. The book covers were to be the following: blue, red, yellow, green, brown, black white, any other color not mentioned, a book involving a title expressing a concept of color (such as a rainbow), and a book by an author of color.

Here were my reads from Labor Day through November 17th:

  1. blue–Song of Susannah, Book six of “The Dark Tower Series” by Stephen King. (reviewed on https://powerfulwomenreaders.wordpress.com)
  2. red–Half Broke Horses, a novel by Jeanette Walls (author of the memoir, Glass Castle) reviewed on PWR
  3. yellow–The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl, a children’s book I put in my Little Free Library after reading
  4. green–Rules of Prey by John Sanford, a mystery/crime novel placed in my LFL by an anonymous donor
  5. brown–The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas, read on my Kindle
  6. black–Revival, a horror story by Stephen King
  7. white–Stitches, a book of essays by Anne Lamott, themed around sewing (soon to be reviewed on PWR)
  8. any other color–pink–Wizard and Glass, Book Four of the “Dark Tower Series” by Stephen King (reviewed on PWR)
  9. a word/concept that includes color in the title–Crystal Clear a novelette by Aiden Reid (reviewed on PWR)
  10. author of color–Loose Woman, a book of love poems by Sandra Cisneros 

I have read many other books during this time period, but I have made sure I only included ones I liked and would recommend to friends.  So, there you are, friends. Get reading!

 

TWO RECENT READS

Boston Girl by Anita Diamont (author of the bestselling The Red Tent) was the selected book for November at my “new” book club.  I knew everyone present, several for thirty years, and only one woman was a new acquaintance. The discussion was insightful and the study guide questions in the back of the paperback edition were the source of many interesting comments and answers. Here is my brief review of the 2014 novel:

Addie Braum, the Boston girl of the title, is the third child of a three sister family, the only one of the three born in the U.S. A brother, born on the ship on the way to America, died, and was buried at sea. Through her story, the author explores “love, friendship, and family.” Through her membership in The Library Club and a summer’s stay at Rockport Lodge, run by women who are forward-thinking women and attended by becoming-liberated girls, Adie changes and comes in conflict with her immigrant parents. Her mother, a vengeful, never-satisfied, and just-plain-mean-spirited woman often thwarts Adie’s desires to become educated and attend college. Later in the novel, her husband, a true mensch, encourages Adie in ways she has never been loved or encouraged before. In the novel, more than just a coming-of-age story, we see a picture of WWI, WWII, and postwar America. We see changes in Addie as well as in the culture and make up of the U.S.A. The book club gave the novel a “grade” of B+.  I would give it four out of five points. It is a darned good read.

The other day I finished Jeanette Walls’ “true life novel,” Half Broke Horses, which I gave a full five points out of a possible five. It is the story of Lily Casey Smith, Walls’ grandmother, whom a review described as a “woman of gumption.” And how she needed it!  Throughout the story, Lily experiences  floods, tornadoes, droughts and a fire, all the while surviving the Great Depression. The writing is “plainspoken, yet heartfelt” (Chicago Tribune). I agree wholeheartedly with People magazine which writes it is “impossible to forget.” Half Broke Horses has been described by one reviewer as “Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults.” I was especially interested in her adventures and misadventures as a teacher and her unique teaching methods.  Photos added a great deal to the book and reminded the reader that it is all based on the life of a real woman. It is a perfect example of short, sweet, matter-of-fact writing while it deals with horrific issues, It is one of the best novels I have read this year.

TUESDAY TEASER

Two of my blogging friends have posted very interesting Tuesday Teasers on their sites today, which I enjoyed very much. Thanks Purple Booker for inviting us all to play along.

Choose a sentence or small bit as your teaser, mention the title of the book you are taking  it from (No spoilers, please.) and place this on your blog or here in the comments section.  Here’s mine, like last week from Max Lucado’s Anxious for Nothing:

“No problem is unsolvable.  No life is irredeemable. No one’s fate is sealed.  No one is unloved or unlovable.” This comes from the chapter titled, “Think About What You Think About,” and gives us some positive thoughts that will stop (or keep) us from thinking bad thoughts about ourselves. This week is only three days gone, so far, and I have not “thought about what I think about”, for I have come up against more than one problem that seems unsolvable; my fate seems to be sealed as foot surgery (again) or chronic pain, and I have done some very unlovable things today (just ask My Better Half).  If I had thought before I acted or became “down,” I could see that instead, I could discipline my thoughts, give them up to God.  He would reassure me with Lucado’s sentence above, and I could go on and face tomorrow much easier.

This book is helpful in battling anxiety and worry.  It is restoring my confidence in my Lord and in myself, as well.