It doesn’t take a Cultural Anthropologist to figure out why readers are dropping like swatted flies. How many hours a week do people spend binge watching TV shows or playing Candy-crush? Kids won’t, or can’t, peel their eyes away from their smart phones. Teens insist on sharing every boring moment of their lives on Snap-chat and Instagram. And millions of us are addicted to funny animal videos on youtube or reality shows about billionaire families, crazy stage moms, and plastic surgeries gone wrong. Hey, I’m not criticizing – I’ve watched my share of “Shame your dog” videos and Russian car crashes. Bottom line: bookworms are in rapid decline, and the situation is critical. Continue reading
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One Plus One = Ten!
Some books, you just gotta love….especially if you’re drawn to quirky characters, and mismatched people thrown together in hopeless situations. Jo Jo Moyes’ latest bestseller, One Plus One has the characters, the weird coincidences and lots of twists and turns that make it an irresistible page turner.
You’ll meet Ed who’s about to be arrested for insider trading. And Jess who cares as best she can for her math genius daughter, and her eyeliner wearing stepson constantly beaten up by neighborhood bullies. Because her husband has gone off to “find himself”, Jess is working two jobs and is short on time to spend with the kids and even shorter on money. Ed has money, but no friends and an uncertain future. The paths of Jess and Ed do, of course converge, but believe me, it’s not a cute meet.
Somehow Moyes made it plausible that a computer nerd and a desperate mother who have barely would squash themselves into a car with two children and a large farting dog and head off for Scotland and a math Olympiad. There are many rocks in their road. Ed has to drive way below the speed limit to keep Tanzie, the math genius, from getting carsick. Jess is prickly about accepting favors. The dog never stops drooling.
I cheered for these characters,I laughed out loud,and even shed a tear or two as I went on the journey with them. I stayed up past my bedtime because I couldn’t put the book down. And even when I finished, I had to go back and revisit some of my favorite sections. I pronounce this book lovable….let me know if you agree. Continue reading
Your day has been derailed. You’re unmotivated. You’ve lost focus. You can’t concentrate. You would rather do the laundry, wash the car, or file your back taxes. Most writers have days when writing is near impossible. We have weeks when the stars refuse to align, forces conspire against us, and ideas that once seemed brilliant have lost their sparkle. At these times, my friend, you have two choices: give up and quit or do what I do: “DIS” yourself. Continue reading
Cecilia Rose, or Cece as called by her friends, ventured into town reluctantly. She had agreed to visit an old friend and now regretted it. After ten years in Los Angeles, her small, Northern California hometown made her uncomfortable and claustrophobic. She did not relish the prospect of running into people she used to know. But the desire to avoid being seen did not dissuade her from taking a quick detour . . . Continue reading
The man crumpled to the ground, bawling like a baby.
My brother, Johnnie, leveled the rifle. “What d’ya want me to do?” Continue reading
Jack of Spies (from Soho Crime) is the first book in a new David Downing spy series. It follows Jack McColl, a luxury car representative and part-time spy, around the world in 1913, as he gathers useful military information for England…and sells an occasional vehicle. War with Germany is on the horizon, accompanied by often deadly anti-British rumblings in Ireland and India.
Better written than other well-known, high selling series, this book gets my rating of Continue reading
“More sex,” he said.
I was having coffee with an old friend, a publicist, who had offered advice on book promotion. I hadn’t expected “sex” to be on the agenda, but he was the expert, so I went with it. And he was, after all, doing me a favor. He even paid for my double-shot, low-fat, half-caff latte.
I took a sip and licked some foam off my Continue reading
Having loved Sue Monk Kidd’s other books, The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair, I was excited to read her latest novel, The Invention of Wings. Based on the true story of Sarah Grimke, one of the best known abolitionists of the early 19th century, and her (fictional) friend and slave, Handful, Kidd’s story chronicles the relationship of these two women over three tumultuous decades. As Sarah, with great sacrifice, uses her position as a child of the South to speak against slavery, Handful struggles to survive, enduring torture, betrayal, and loss. All the while she forges her own path in pursuit of freedom and societal change.
Readers can almost feel the pain of the whip as it tears human flesh. They can hear the cries of physical and emotional suffering. Kidd has created characters that most writers can only aspire to create. Her characters are memorable and real. Their experiences are palpable. And their motivations are clear and understandable, even those of the antagonists.
I found one particular line of dialog so compelling that, in my opinion, it defines the human condition. It will resonate with me for a very long time. I won’t tell you what it is. You’ll want to find your own.