Showing posts from January, 2017

What Have Birds And Puppies To Do With Childrens Books?

Sometimes a children's book offers just the change of pace that an adult (this adult anyway) needs. Typically (but not always) shorter, it's great for those brief moments between unwelcome tasks (like throwing away memorabilia destroyed in a basement flood). Usually upbeat, at least by the end of the story, a children's book can be great for lifting the spirit. And the questions raised, while frequently fascinating, might be just far enough away from everyday life to provide an open window where real ones feel closed. Plus, kids books often include animals - birds and puppies in these... The Strange Round Bird by Eden Unger Bowditch isn't short, but it's an excellent children's novel, nicely written so periods of fast action are comfortably interspersed with periods of dialog, problem-solving and thought. Sadly you might not get to read it yet, as it's still pre-release. But why not read books one and two of the series, so you'll be ready ( The Atomic

Which comes first, the mystery or the murder?

Our family mystery is how did so much water get into the family room, bedrooms, storage room and furnace room of our house. It's an ongoing issue, so no story arc yet--no sense of completion. But at least I've got my computer up and running again, except I have to put it away to feed people since it's sitting on the kitchen table. In between disposing of soggy boxes bursting with ruined memorabilia, watching sons cut up and drag away soaked carpet and underlay, moving furniture, panicking about surge protectors that clearly didn't protect (perhaps they didn't have water surges in mind when they designed them), ..., I have on occasion sat down and lost myself (and my woes) in a mystery novel. Such novels are good for losing yourself (and your woes). They helped a lot (as did amazing family and friends -- you know who you are; I couldn't possibly have coped without you!) . So here are some reviews. If your coffee maker's not plugged into the same socket as y

Who Will You Meet in 2017?

The snow has turned to freezing rain, or at least to the threat of freezing rain. We're trapped in the house again. My mother, over here from England, can't get out to see the wonderful place she's visiting. But welcome visitors spent their morning here, drank coffee and chatted with her. So now Mum's world has expanded just a little again, despite the contractions of ice. And now her nose is back in a book as she meets imaginary characters in their imagined worlds. Should I bring her back to reality with more coffee, or post some book reviews? Some of my recent reads have brought deeply real characters into my life--characters who teach, who learn, or who just ask me to walk beside them awhile. Writing these reviews reminded me to wonder, who might I meet in 2017? How will I know who I've met (or will I just walk blindly by)? How will I make the year's strangers welcome, whether they're real or imagined, as we walk side by side. Perhaps I'll offer cof

What strange worlds are coming soon, or are they already here?

The future had its bleak turns during my childhood. I wrote stories about the end of the world, where an anonymous someone in Russia, China or the USA pushed a button and blew us all up. I wanted to stand on a tall tower watching the bombs, because I was sure the tower would fall and I wouldn't need to survive the aftermath, and also because I wanted my eyes wide open. But it didn't happen. One of my sons suffers from similarly bleak views today. Meanwhile my mum, who lived through the Second World War in England, has a much more honest view of the past. Her world was threatened dailly. Her disasters appeared on her doorstep and drove her to hide in underground shelters. My disasters and my sons are just in our heads, at least for now. And then there are books. Fiction offers an escape, a place to explore different ways, a chance to see through different eyes, and maybe even an opportunity to realize the end's not today, and the future really hasn't happened yet, so

What Might The Future Bring?

As the world around us changes, it's intriguing to read about changed worlds, and to wonder what will be. For me it's particularly intriguing since the books I wrote as a teen all involved drastically changed worlds - perhaps I was writing dystopias before I knew the word. But I was writing as a teen and it's probably just as well those strange tomes never saw light of day, though some of the short stories weren't bad. Anyway, here are some book reviews of tales set in "different" worlds where people are recognizably ourselves, but situations are changed. Grab a coffee and see what you think. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the screenplay by J. K. Rowling , was kind of a must-read, though I haven't yet seen the movie. The Cursed Child was a serious disappointment by comparison. Rowling's screenplay is clean and tight, uses all the right terms (and explains them for the uninformed), and, while not absorbing the reader into characters' i

What did you read in 2016 ?

Sheila 2016 Like Shared TOTALS 207 books 37,900 pages SHORTEST BOOK 6  pages Krim Du Shaw by   Talia Haven LONGEST BOOK 626  pages Embrace the Fire by   Stephen England AVERAGE LENGTH 217  pages MOST POPULAR 1,083,261 people also read The Girl on the Train by   Paula Hawkins LEAST POPULAR 1 person also read The Crows and the Jewels by   Peter Joseph Swanson MY AVERAGE RATING FOR 2016 4.4 HIGHEST RATED ON GOODREADS Eclectic Shorts by   Walt Socha it was amazing 5.00 average MY 2016 BOOKS it was amazing it was amazing it was amazing it was amazing it was amazing it was amazing it was amazing