On Reading


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If you have any book recommendations drop me an email at dianna@waywardcatpublishing.com

While the pandemic raged, I kept reading. No doubt you did too.

In December of 2020, I started reading The New History of the World by J.M. Roberts. I've had the book for years. I probably got it with my discount when I worked at Waldenbooks. Remember Waldenbooks? That long ago. So, I finally decided to buckle down and read the damn thing. I'm nearly finished!

I'm still finding inspiration for some books based on stuff I've seen on television. The Kennedys lasted only one season way back when and I only just discovered it. It was so hilarious! It's a shame there weren't more seasons made. The book they based the show on, The Tent, the Bucket and Me by Emma Kennedy is just as funny. The book and the show are different enough that it's worth taking a look at both.

I watched The Durrells of Corfu several times. It's a wonderful series, though the last episode is sad. But that led me to read a biography of the family, the Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell and Margaret Durrell's novel Whatever Happened to Margo? All enjoyable reads.

I also very much enjoyed The Queen's Gambit. I read the book first and was so glad I did. But they're both worth your time.

I binge watched Belgravia this past week. I'm not sure if I should read the book now or not. The six-part series felt complete. I didn't get the sense that I would get more out of the book by Julian Fellowes, like I did with The Buccaneers. And Fellowes was part of the series production. But I'll think about it.

I read a couple of three-star books recently and I gave up completely on another without finishing it. I hate giving up on a book, especially if I paid a lot for it. I always read the first few pages before purchasing and it's such a frustrating feeing when a book that starts out so promising devolves into blandness. Sometimes I think writers' circles, in coaching one other, put so much emphasis on those first pages that they forget to insist that the rest of the book live up to its beginning.

I started streaming the 1995 BBC miniseries The Buccaneers and realized early on that it would be better to read the novel first. There were too many characters to keep straight and it seemed there might be some back story I was missing. So, I got a copy of Edith Wharton's book by the same name. As is often the case, the book was much better than the television show.

As it turns out, Edith Wharton never finished The Buccaneers. The ending of the edition I read was added by Marion Mainwaring and she did an excellent job. I've no idea what the writers of the BBC miniseries were thinking. They basically took a classical novel of 1870s wealthy society culture and turned it into a trashy romance.

Nonetheless, The Buccaneers, compared to Wharton's House of Mirth, was bright and hopeful. House of Mirth, on the other hand, was tragic.

I was so frustrated and saddened after reading it, I had to go to Jonas Jonasson for some wacky humor in Hitman Anders and the Meaning of it All. It's wacky all right, but still not as good as the first book of his I read, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared. And as it happens, you can stream an adaptation of that book, too. While it is a charming, funny film, Johansson's adorable narrative voice can only really be appreciated by reading the book.

I read Mary Trump's book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man. I was a tad underwhelmed. You can read my thoughts at The Sunshine State blog in The Two Best Quotes in Mary L. Trump's Book.

Well, I watched Judy with Renee Zellweger and while it was a good film, it wasn't as good as I expected it to be. I thought it would be more biographical than it was. So, to satisfy that unrequited desire, I'm going to read Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland by Gerald Clarke. Right now I'm reading Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts. It's historical fiction about Maud Baum, wife of L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In the book, some twenty years after L. Frank's death, Maud is invited to visit the set of The Wizard of Oz often where she befriends a young Judy Garland. That story is weaved in and out of flashbacks of Maud's life. It's beautifully written and I'm really enjoying it. 

I got Price of Blood (The Emma of Normandy Trilogy Book #2) by Patricia Bracewell on a BookBub sale. I thought I'd like it a lot, so I also bought the first book in the trilogy, not on sale. That's what authors hope for with ads, right? Worked on me! Anyway, the first book is Shadow on the Crown. More historical fiction on my list.

I haven't been reading as much as I usually do. I've been enjoying some television and streaming, staying up way past my bedtime and indulging in popcorn. I try not to be too hard on myself in these phases.

This year I'm not judging any awards so all of my reading is my own. I try to get my ebooks cheap. Why? Sometimes, even though I've read the blurb and the first few pages (and if that's not possible, I almost certainly won't pay for it at all), I get a third of the way through the book and realize it's just not that good. I try to keep reading, but too often I just can't. I don't care about the characters. I don't care about the story. Great starts don't make a book great. And if I've paid the going rate for corporate published books ($10-$15), I will not be happy. At all. Still, even $1.99 is hard to swallow if it happens too often.

But, perhaps this is a good thing. Because when those books come along that are wonderful, the find feels all the more special.

Reading and judging for the Florida Book Awards has finally come to an end. We had a wonderful selection of books this year; lots of great reading. But now I'm back to making my own choices. So far...eh, not so good.

People are going to love The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. The narrative voice is engaging and it's fast paced and gritty. I'm not a fan of evil people ruthlessly and relentless attacking the innocent. (And, no spoilers here, but some will say Ness committed one of the ultimate sins of storytelling.) Some will tell you that is conflict and that's what stories are all about. But there are millions of stories in which the bad guy isn't vulgarly evil for evil's sake. Even in this book, the conflict between Aaron and Todd could have been handled with a great deal more humanity and it would have made the story, for me at least, deeper and more real. But worse, the story doesn't end. There is no story arc. There's no resolution with a hint of more to come, of raising the stakes in the next book. Nothing like "The Empire will strike back," or, "Voldemort is still out there." Nope. This one just leads you into one more peril, the worst yet, and leaves you there. The author fairly sneers at you saying, "You'll have to read the next book!" Well, no thanks. I've read quite enough of vile people being vile because they can be.

But you might really love it. So don't let me stop you.

Crazy Rich Asians definitely goes into the "film was better than the book" category. But that isn't saying much. And The Suns is Also a Star is almost certainly going to be a better film. Fingers crossed that the film is worth the watch.

My husband says--after my complaints about the last few books I read--that I've become too particular. And I suppose he's right. I want a book with an engaging, deep, real narrative voice. I don't want to read a book that sounds like it's been through a critique group--in other words, with the voice edited out of it. I want a complex villain who believes he's doing the right thing, not one who simply enjoys torturing others (the difference between Thanos and the Emperor of Sith, for example). I don't want pages upon pages of narration (and certainly not in the middle of dialogue!). And I want a resolution, good or bad.

Is that too much to ask?


Well, we made it through 2018 somehow without losing our minds. My reading for the Florida Book Awards is coming to an end and I'll be able to devote more time to my personal reading list. But I have managed to get some in, between all the fascinating entries I've received. Ken Follett's Fall of Giants was much like the war used as its backdrop--much longer than it ought to be and rather tedious. But it was still a good story and that's what matters.

Now I'm reading a few books that will be coming out as films this year. I offered a small sampling of such books in the January issue of the Wayward Cat Book News. There weren't many, I confess, that looked to me like books I should read before seeing their respective films. But The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon was certainly one and I'm reading it now.

Well, the year is almost over. I'm reading for the Florida Book Awards again this year so my personal reading isn't as prolific as I'd wish. But I've gotten a few good ones in there. I've been finding a lot of new books while looking for ideas for the Wayward Cat Book News newsletter. That's how I found My Sister, the Serial Killer. Braithwaite has this breathless sort of minimalism to her narrative. I really like it. And I found The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner when she was interviewed as part of an online workshop on memoir writing. It was a shocking read.

I ordered a copy of Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians; it just looks like the kind of movie that has a really great book behind it. I'll let you know. I ended up with the paperback. Traditional, corporate publishers clearly don't want ebooks to be a thing. They've overpriced theirs. They're in the business of paper. Well, fine. I don't mind paper. And this way, I can donate the book to the library or Goodwill so someone else get have the benefit of reading it, unlike when I purchase an ebook. Suck on that corporate publishing!

I'm finishing up Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy now. It's some pretty good fantasy; if you haven't read it yet, check it out. I'm told his other stuff is really good too.

I have no idea where I heard about The Truth About Lorin Jones by Alison Lurie. I was a strange book, filled with odd characters, so I suppose I liked it. And A Reunion of Ghosts, by Judith Clare Mitchell was really weird. First of all, it's narrated by three people...at the same time. Oh, and then a fourth at the end. It was funny, considering it's about three sisters who are planning to off themselves. My kind of book really.

The latest Wayward Cat Book News goes out tomorrow. If you'd like to sign up, drop me an email at dianna@waywardcatpublishing and I'll add your email to the list. You can check out the last issue here.

Tomorrow is July. July. Already. The year is nearly done. I've read so many wonderful books!

Tomorrow night, I will start on the second book in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (who I keep calling Brian). I'd held off for so long because I don't want to pay $10 for the ebooks and just haven't ordered the paperbacks. I was telling one of my sons about it (he's the one who told me about the books in the first place) and he was immediately texting a friend of his who lives near me to loan me his copies. So, I got books two and three and there's just one serious problem. They are brand new! This friend of my son's has them as keepsakes or something. They're so beautiful. Their spines so clean and smooth! I'm afraid to open them. But I will do it. For the love of books, I will do it. After all, what good is an unread book? A book yearns to serve its purpose!

How do you decide when to give up on a book? I mean, how many tries do you give it? How many pages? Of course, on the Kindle, I get a percentage. I guess I try to give a bad book a 50% try. If I get halfway through and it's just going nowhere or it's stupid, or I'm bored, whatever, it's time to give up. (Though I gave A Wrinkle in Time 83% before saying 'no more!' But that's probably because it's a so-called classic and was supposed to be great.)

I was reading one book in particular that I gave up on eventually. But before I gave up, there was this one bit that kept nagging at me. One of the characters was trying to lose weight and get fit and the person helping her was a model. This model confessed to our main character that she hadn't always been thin. Nope, she was embarrassed to show a picture of her when she was (gasp!) over 100 kilos. I was shocked! Shocked that this book was telling me that 'over 100 pounds' was fat!

But then I looked it up and a kilo is worth just over 2 pounds so I felt bad for thinking poorly of the book. I still stopped reading it though, but because I was bored.

Why was I bored?

Sometimes stories feel like they're going nowhere, right? And that 'nowhere going' goes on too long and we give up. Sometimes we just don't care. We don't care if the girl gets the guy. Sometimes everything feels implausible, unbelievable...dumb.

But that doesn't necessarily mean those stories are bad. There are still people out there who will love them. So, I try not to dis books that I gave up on, or that I finish and didn't like. (Yes, I totally dissed A Wrinkle in Time, but I did it because it's supposed to be a classic, great, wondrous piece of literature, and it sucked.) I try to just quietly set them aside and move on.

This proves that I love books. Because any other thing I don't like will get torn a new one all over social media. That's right; I'm bad. You know it.

I picked up a book off the "free" table at OASIS last year, or maybe the year before and I'm finally reading it. When I first saw it, I grabbed it because it was a fat book. I love long reads. I thought the title was intriguing: Jemmela in the Ruff. I had absolutely no idea what it was about and didn't really look a the cover.

Well, it's about werewolves! Not at all the sort of book I would choose to read. But I. Am. LOVING. this book! It's really, really good. I don't think this means I'm going to start reading werewolf books. But I will almost certainly read another book by Margo Honey. Unfortunately, she doesn't have much of a presence online.

I formally apologize to all Madeleine L'Engle fans. I get that she is considered a great author, but I could not get into A Wrinkle in Time. I thought it was awful. Sorry. The characters were not well formed. The settings were basically left un-described. And the story was just...stupid. Really, really sorry.

Other than that, I'm plugging away with reading, though I admit that I'm only reading four nights a week. I really feel like reading Gone With the Wind again. But, I need to keep up with new books since I've been including mini book reviews in the Wayward Cat Book News every month. I've probably got plenty of books under my belt already, but I'm prone to panicking about...anything.

Finally! 2017 is over! What an awful year. I blogged about it under the title Dear 2017: I regret nothing.

I do feel rather rejuvenated. I feel like it's time to shake it off and try to work again. I guess I did manage about 40,000 words last year, and I spent quite a bit of time thinking about and reworking my latest fantasy title. I'm almost finished with the outline and then I'll get the damn thing written. After that, I'll try to do the second book in the Downtown Divas series and then do the ghost story.

Wish me luck!

As for reading, I'm still judging for the Florida Book Awards, and judging for the Royal Palm Literary Awards begins soon, too. So my  personal reading may continue to be slow going.

I've always been a huge fan of the song At Seventeen, written and sung by Janis Ian. I'm not all that familiar with Ian's other work, so I guess I'm not an actual fan of hers. While I enjoyed her book, Society's Child, I came away from it with a bit of a negative view of the artist. I doubt she intended that. I guess that's the risk you take when you read about real people. But, my view isn't negative enough to not like her. I mean, she posts Godzilla Haiku on Facebook. She's not all bad.

For the first time in I don't know how long, I'm currently reading several books, only one of which is fiction, that being A Wrinkle in Time. I have to say, the upcoming film, judging by the previews, looks pretty awful. And getting into the book isn't easy going so far, either. It's fuzzy and a little weird. Why is it a classic? (My history with classics is sketchy: some are fabulous, others drastically overrated.) I'll push on with it and see if I can't make it work.

It's a much different situation from Ender's Game. When I saw the preview for that film, I thought it was going to be amazing so I read the book and absolutely loved it. The film, as it turned out, was terrible. They ruined the book, as films so often do. And it saddens me that millions of people might see that film and be so turned off they don't read the book. Then again, after you've seen the film, you know the whole deal and the book is ruined for you, anyway.

So, maybe I'll dislike A Wrinkle in Time and for some reason see the film and love that. You never know. It's not like I haven't been wrong about a film before. I thought Storks and Sing were going to be great.

It's been quite a wile since I updated this site. I apologize to the millions of people who read it regularly. (Ha!) It's been a difficult year. A very difficult year.

Currently, I'm judging for the Florida Book Awards, so while I am delving into some private reading as well, I imagine it will go much slower for the next few months. I've decided not to list the books that I read for the competition here, or on Goodreads. Perhaps, in the future, I'll sneak in the ones that I really liked, one at a time, so no one will notice. I just don't feel that it's fair to the entrants if I list them and make comments about them in public.

I had a booth at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading in St. Petersburg last weekend. It was a fabulous day! I got to meet Janis Ian and she autographed her autobiography for me. I didn't gush about At Seventeen. No doubt she's heard from thousands of women who, like me, were deeply touched by that song. I also didn't relate a story that I thought about. The line to see her was long.

Years ago, I saw her on a talk show. She sang the song and then sat down to speak with the host. I don't remember what show it was, but the host was male. He said something to Janis along the lines of, "Why would you write a song like that...you're beautiful." I remember being angry about that, but this was so long ago that I'm not sure if I realized why it made me angry.

But I can feel it now, as if it were only yesterday. There's this attitude that if we just tell women with low self-esteem, a negative self-image, those who are anorexic, or self-harm, those who are severely depressed, that they're beautiful and worthy and wonderful...that we'll just suddenly realize we've been wrong all this time and be cured.

So infuriating.

Some time ago, I attended something of a family event in which there was much reminiscing and afterward, expressed feeling like the "ugly duckling" of the family. One of my relatives literally scolded me and told me I was beautiful. I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry.

Replaying Janis Ian's At Seventeen took me back to my very isolated and sad childhood. I've realized now that there was not a single adult who reached out to me when I was a kid. Not a teacher, a relative, or a family friend. Not even a stranger. No one helped me. I was scolded, and looked on with disdain. I was even teased by adults. I cried a lot, and reacted with anger often, to situations in which I had no way to appropriately express myself. No one ever acted as if I was anything but a bad kid.

Once, I wrote a letter to a family friend telling her I wanted to run away from home and asking if I could live with her. Her response was to call my mother and ask if everything was okay. She apparently never disclosed the details of my letter, but told my mother she received one. Of course, my mother said everything was just fine. I got the third degree and a scolding after that phone call.

I learned not to reach out to other adults.

It's been a very difficult year.

I finally got new reading glasses so I can read the stack of print books by my bed! I had the font on my Kindle up pretty high there for a while. That's one of the advantages of ebooks, isn't it?

But I've noticed...when reading print books, I'm finding my head moving slightly left and right...so my eyes can scan the page. I don't have to do that on my Kindle. Is this normal? Was I always doing this and just didn't realize it. I think my eyes are supposed to move and not my head. This may take some practice. Oh, dear, I'm out of the print reading habit and will have to retrain my brain.

I'm starting up a newsletter about books and words and reading! You can sign up at Wayward Cat Publishing's web page. Or shoot me an email at dianna@waywardcatpublishing.com with the word subscribe and I'll add you to the list. First issue arrives in inboxes on August 10th.

So, I've been on something of a nonfiction kick. I read a few biographies and really enjoyed them. Reading about Jim Henson was amazing. I had no idea, I swear, that all of the Sesame Street Muppets were...Muppets. I was always fuzzy on the relationship there. And I didn't know that Henson really thought of his Muppets as for adults, not kids. I didn't realize the relationship with Frank Oz was so long or that Oz came onto the Muppet team when he was just out of high school. And, I never really understood Henson's death. It was tragic.

Bert Lahr's biography was somewhat tragic as well, as told my his son John. I read a review of the book on Amazon in which the reader gave it a poor rating because she expected the happy story of the Cowardly Lion and instead got the ins and outs of comedy in the Twenties and a depressed comic. Well, yeah. But the book was excellent...and sad.

After reading the stories Lahr told about the filming of The Wizard of Oz, I decided to read The Making of The Wizard of Oz and was surprised that his story about the Munchkins wasn't in that book. It's possible that his story is just legend. (It involves bus loads of little people on their way to California mooning an agent/manager at his apartment in NYC.)

Oh well, who to believe? Still, it's true that Harmetz' The Making of... didn't go into very much detail regarding the cast during the filming. It was very detailed about the writing, directing, musical score, etc. Light on Munchkin rumors.

Now that I've got my eyes back, however, I've got to get into the stack of print books that's been getting taller. So, it'll be back to fiction for a while, at least.

Is it old age? Is it education and experience? These days I find that I put more books aside than I finish. I'm bored. Stories go nowhere for a long time and I give up. Some have promise but end up nowhere in the end. And that angers me...you know, when you come to the end of the book to find you've invested all that time for nothing. So frustrating.

That's all I have to say this morning.

What the heck? How did it get to be April? Easter is on Sunday. Not that I'm religious or anything. But I'm cooking a turkey and fixin's (that's Southern speak) and I've got a coconut cream pie in the freezer ready to thaw. So, sure! Easter! Oh, and Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs! I'm on a diet. Can you tell?

Lots of good reading lately. This morning, my hubs sent me a link to an old story about the main arcs of storytelling. One of the heavily used arcs is not popular with readers. It's the "rags to riches" arc, or more simply stated: rise. The hero starts out low and, well, rises. It's boring. And last night I finished skimming just such a book. It wasn't horrific. The writing was done well enough. It had a cute character or two. But our hero starts out low and rises. She meets a guy and...he really likes her a lot and...he keeps liking her and...they get together sexually in the end.

Boring. But it's got a lot of stars. So, while this particular story didn't appeal to me, it did to a lot of other people. I think it could have been redeemed if the cute characters were cuter, the hero more quirky...more humor. Ah, well. Not every book we pick up can enthrall us.

Can we say we "pick up" books anymore? I mean, if we're really picking up our Kindle?

According to Good Reads, I read 55 books last year. That doesn't count the ones I started and stopped, because they sucked, and any nonfiction that I didn't include there. So, not a bad year, I guess. And of course, there's the disclaimer that just because I thought some books sucked, doesn't mean they weren't any good. Not everybody is going to like every book.

So, all in all, there were some wonderful reads in 2016. I hope to read some more Craig Lancaster, Christopher Moore, and Catherine Ryan Hyde this year. I've got a few biographies on my Kindle ready and waiting, and even a history book or two. I will definitely read Bruno Stella's Martin Chalk and the Case of the Underworld King. (The dude's terrible with titles, but he can write.) But if I pick up another Joyce Carol Oates, would somebody please slap me? Seriously. The chances are pretty good that I will read another one of her books and complain about it. Maybe I should find that one book of hers that I read when I was in my early 20s and read it again and see if maybe I've just deluded myself into thinking I am a fan. Hold on...Amazon-ing... I found it! It was A Bloodsmoor Romance. I thought it was really good. But I was a lot younger then.

So, I'm already one book down for 2017 and working on the 2nd, which isn't a thrilling read so far. But that's just the way some of them are. Happy reading!

So, for some reason I decided to read another Joyce Carol Oates book. I don't know what it is...they always sound so good in the descriptions and of course the woman can write! Middle Age, so far, seems like we're going to visit all the people in town and get their versions of this guy who died. So, basically, there's really no story. Instead, it's a nicely written set of vignette's. But each one does sort of move along with time. I don't know. I'm still reading it, let's just say that. But in between sessions with it, I'm reading some books on writing. I feel like I need to get my writing juices flowing again. Not that they've congealed or anything. More like they've abandoned me.

Writing books, though, are problematic. For one thing, most of them are so basic, you start into them thinking you're going to learn something wonderful only to find yourself skimming and nodding. Uh huh, mm hmm. I know that. Done that. Already figured that out. But I determinedly* took notes anyway. Then I read one last night (that's right; it was a tiny little book), only to find halfway through I'd scribbled a note in it. So, I already read it! I finished it anyway. It was a good one. A basic guide to applying the hero's journey into the three act structure.

The next one is supposed to help me to be more motivated to actually do some writing. Hah. We'll give it a valiant effort.


*Is determinedly a word? Excuse me a moment while I look it up.... Why yes. Yes it is a word.

The strangest thing about the last comic con I tabled at was the number of people who told me how much they loved to read. It was as if reading was an anomaly--one of which they were proud, at least. And my response was always, "Me, too!" And to those who said they loved to read but didn't have enough time, or wished they had more time, I always said that I read every night before bed. And I do. Except for Thursday nights during Project Runway season. Or the occasional night that I stay up late and watch a movie. But nearly every night.

But I can understand people who don't read. There are plenty of other fun distractions. Not that reading is a distraction...actually. Reading is more of an immersion into the lives of other people. And when the author has done a great job, it really is just like that. Gaming is probably like that as well. But puzzles...not so much. (This is a reference, for those unaware, to my love of ejigsaw puzzles I do on my ipad nearly every night as well.)

The worst part of reading a lot is that I try a large variety of books and that means I am sometimes disappointed. It's just sad when I start a book and have to force myself to keep going. I almost always come to a point at which I just have to give up already and move on. It's like meeting a really good looking guy and going out with him a few times even though it's pretty clear he's a dimwit.

And the worst, worst thing is finding a book by an author you love only to get into it and realize it's awful. That's like seeing your old boyfriend across the room at your fortieth reunion, walking toward him with anticipation, getting closer all smiles, arms out ready for that hug, only to see he's wearing a Donald Trump for President shirt. And then, when you tell this story later, you're all like, "But no, seriously, he didn't used to be like that!"

Do you read the comments at Amazon or Goodreads before you decide to read a book? I don't, usually. I read the blurb and then if it sounds cool, I check out the first few pages. I tend to look for a strong voice in the narration and fairly good writing skill. If I like what I see, I buy it. And after reading it (or giving up at some point) I like to go to the comments and see who agrees with me and who doesn't and why.

The other day, however, I bought two books without really checking them out too well. They're non-fiction. The first was Seinfeldia: How a Show about Nothing Changed Everything. The blurb said it was funny. I'm a big fan of Seinfeld, so I pre-ordered it. I should get it next week when it "comes out." But I saw that the same author had written a book about The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I loved that show! So, I bought that up, too, and started reading it last night.

It's definitely, so far, a history of the show. But for some reason, I took a look at some of the comments at Amazon. I guess I figured that since it's non-fiction, they couldn't spoil anything. Unfortunately, now I'm hoping I won't regret the purchase. Why? Because it's print! That's right. I bought two books on paper!

Corporate publishers are pricing their ebooks way too high. Couple that with the fact that I didn't trust them in putting together Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted very well (would they really include all the pictures?) and the fact that Seinfeldia is brand new and I'd rather pay $17 for a hard cover than $13 for an ebook when it's non-fiction...actually, I won't pay that much for a fiction ebook at all...and I ended up with two books on paper.

Anyway, I hope I don't regret it. (I didn't.)

I just read Jacob Have I Loved.

You know, when I was a kid, I didn't read any of the books I was supposed to read. Not that Jacob Have I Loved was published back when I was a kid. Hmm. Maybe they didn't have books like that when I was a kid. I do remember reading a book about some kids in a gang, I think. And a girl cut off a guy's penis. My dad found the book and read that part and he was not happy. I was all, like, so? Even now, I look back on it and think to myself, "Look, if you're not going to be around when I buy books or go to the library, you really don't get to complain." But I was probably thirteen or so at the time. Not like I was eight.

I read Nancy Drew books. And I read the Basil of Baker Street books. I read Go Ask Alice. I also read Calico Captive. Once I was about fifteen, I started reading Gone With the Wind. That could have been the only book I read between the ages of fifteen and twenty. I remember that Go Ask Alice was on a particular shelf in Waldenbooks when I worked there. It was with other books called Young Adult. And I hadn't read any of them except that one. I think the whole Young Adult thing came about after I was an adult. So I guess I can't say I was supposed to read any of those books. I just feel like I missed out on something.

Anyway, I hadn't read Jacob Have I Loved because I thought it was a Young Adult love story. No, I'm serious. Then it popped up in my daily BookBub email and it didn't sound like a love story, after all. So I bought it and I read it and it broke my heart. I think what I loved about it was that it didn't preach; it didn't turn out that the fault was all Louise's and it didn't turn out that everybody hugged and made up in the end. Louise was deeply hurt, and she learned to live her life anyway. It broke my heart.

I definitely identified with Louise. I understood her. But reading the one-star reviews over at Amazon reminded me that there are a lot of people in this world who do not understand depression and fear, or even childhood.

You know what I think? I think those people thought it was going to be a Young Adult love story.

I purchased the North and South trilogy ebook by John Jakes when it was on sale. I probably watched the miniseries all those years ago but I can't remember anything about it except Kirstie Alley having the hots for a gorgeous slave or ex-slave or something forbidden like that. I've finished the first two books and started the third (Heaven and Hell) and I'm thinking about putting it aside for a bit. The problem is that, I suppose, I'm tired of the drama and losing interest. There's no story, really. There's just the backdrop of the Civil War and (now) Reconstruction. All the characters are there: good and bad on each side. Most of your evil people are just evil. No real motivation beyond greed or low self-esteem (the bully syndrome). Innocent, good characters are tormented by cruel, bad characters. It's exhausting. There were parts involving torture and murder that I couldn't even read. But anyway, the only "story" seems to be one or more of the characters hoping these two families can maintain their friendship over the war and Reconstruction. All indicators point to yes...what's left of them.

I subscribed to BookBub. It's this ebook flyer that goes out every single day with cheap and free books for sale. I'm trying very hard not to load up my Kindle with all kinds of books that I may never be able to read. I'm not sure a large choice is a good thing for me.

Well, February is over. I suppose we can be grateful for that, at least. I've been reading some good books. But I don't feel like talking (or writing) about them. I'm having a crisis, I think. Oh, don't worry, I'll get over it. I always do. I think what I need for it, is a really, really, really thick book. Like Gone With the Wind. I could read that again, I suppose. Or I could find the second book in Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles.

Have you ever felt like that? Like you just needed a really fat book?

Maybe it's like running away. But you don't have to actually go anywhere. That's the best kind of running away. Curling up on the sofa, a Diet Coke and some Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs on the table next to you. Losing yourself in someone else's life for a while. You might think that writing would be a lot like that, but it's not quite the same. There's a big difference between telling a story, and having someone tell one to you.

That's it, isn't it? It's all about regressing to that childlike state--comforting. Geez. I'm such a princess.

Did you ever feel like you are just psychologically fucked? And you just want to slap all those people who post sappy "feel good" posters on Facebook all about how you can be happy if you just choose to be. You can either let it make you bitter, or let it go and get better.

When I see stuff like that, I think of people a lot worse off than me, people who are so abused and beaten down that they have little chance, if any, to get past it. These happiness gurus don't get it. They're clearly not plagued with that constant hum of a lonely, abusive childhood.

Okay, I'll snap out of it. Hello February. Yay, February. I'll go try to force myself to write good stuff now.

But wait, first I'd like to figure out why February is spelled the way it is. If you go to this Mental Floss article, they promise to explain it. They say it's because the word originally came to English from French where it was feverier (which, as a word, makes no sense at all because it's cold in February, not feverish, unless you're Down Under, right?). Anyway, the English said feverere or feverell instead, because they don't like the French so they had to change it at least a little bit.

Then, Mental Floss says, in the 16th and 17th centuries, England went through a "everything must be Latinized" phase...wait, what? Latin? I thought English was a Germanic language. Oh, oh, I see. The phase they went through was a "Classical things are the best things" phase (sort of like when Americans sometimes start thinking European everything is better than American anything, even chocolate, which is just...craaazy. And except of course for French things, which I'm pretty sure we have decidedly disavowed, even though Freedom Fries never caught on. You have to wonder about Americans sometimes, don't you? I didn't ever hear anyone saying we should call February Freedomary! You know...because French. But that's because Americans are stupid and they don't know that he world comes from France).

The point being that apparently Latinizing feverere meant making it more like Februarius.

And that's it. No explanation of what Februarius is at all. So, what is Februarius? Well, it's the ancient Roman word for February. How stupid is that Mental Floss article? February is spelled like that because it comes from the ancient Roman word Februarius. Sheesh. We didn't have to bring the French into it at all. And Americans are not stupid for not calling February Freedomary after all.

I'm sorry, America. I shouldn't have assumed you were stupid. Okay. I can get back to work now. Happy Freedomary one and all.

I went on a bit more with this theme at The Sunshine State blog.


Happy New Year. Or just...New Year, if you prefer.

I just read a great fantasy by Bruno Stella. I found this guy on a blog that I frequent. He and I are both, apparently, starting out and searching for readers. So, I gave his book a chance. His story, The Man from the Tower, is a great example of why I pulled Story Runners from print. I just know I can do better.

Fantasy is just not my strength. My strength lies in literary, downer fiction--stuff they like to label "women's fiction" because the main character(s) and/or narrator(s) is/are women and the stories often deal with "women's issues." Like...domestic violence is just a women's issue. Right. I think it's because a man wouldn't want to be caught dead reading it.

Anyway, that's where my strength is. I write a great literary book. And not literary in the sense that it's all about the language. No, not like that. Literary in that it's dark, creepy, and doesn't end all that well. Is there a better genre name for that? I call it literary because...I have no idea. It just fits in there.

But I have fantasy stories in my head! I wrote The Kell Stone Prophecy Trilogy and I think I did a great job. I love that story and I always will. But I had something different in mind when I finished Story Runners. And after several months, I realized I didn't really get to where I'd intended to go with it.

Stella's The Man from the Tower is just filled with all those delights I wanted to stuff into Story Runners. A complete, grown hero. A fully realized world. Rules for magic. A villain worth the name, and with his own character arc. It's just a great book and I can only hope to do as good a job as Stella did, with mine.

And, interestingly enough, I think our books share one flaw: the title. The Man from the Tower is not a good title. I'm just laying it out there. It was the poor title that first got me thinking about changing Story Runners. Let's face it, like The Man from the Tower, it sounds like juvenile fiction. Once I'd decided I had to take the book out of print anyway, to fix that, I realized I had the opportunity to just take it all back and start over.

Isn't this independent publishing world fabulous?

Well, I've read some more good books, too. I loved Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry. It's a shame that I found so many parts of it to be surplus, and skimmed. But such a great story! Walk Me Home was soooo good. As usual with Catherine Ryan Hyde books. But you know, I haven't read all of them. Some of them don't sound like I'd like them as much as others. But maybe they'll grow on me. She wrote Pay it Forward, the book that the film was based on. I don't think I want to read that. I already know how it turns out.

That's not to say that I won't read any book after seeing the film. It was the movie Gone With the Wind that led me to the book when I was fifteen. The weird thing is that I didn't know it was a book. They were showing it in the theater in our small city and my best friend, at the time, and I saw it. I was in love! She told me afterward about the book. We went to the library and she found it. But it wasn't really "the book." It was in the format of a coffee table book with photos. And I think there were two volumes. I knew something was off about it and didn't check either of them out. I wish I could find those books so I would know what it was I had been looking at.

Anyway, that Christmas, my parents bought me my first copy of Gone With the Wind. (I still have it. A mass-market paperback so worn and loved that I had to purchase another copy. I also have a few hardcover editions.) I devoured it. Except for the parts that I skimmed over. Like, the part when the O'Haras are riding over to the barbeque at Twelve Oaks and they meet up with Mrs. Tarleton. Boring to a fifteen year old girl infatuated with Rhett Butler. (No wimpy Ashley Wilkes for me!) But as I read it again and again, and grew up, I stopped skipping parts. Still my favorite book of all time. Maybe I'll give it another read this year. I think I stopped counting at seventeen. So, we'll say it'll be eighteen this time.

So, 2015 is coming to an end. I've enjoyed some wonderful books this year. Someone asked me recently how I find books to read. It might seem like a silly question to some, but it's not really. We used to go to the bookstore and peruse the shelves, pulling books off, reading the back copy, opening them up and reading a bit of the first chapter. Now we go online to Amazon and...what? We have to search. We can search in categories, but we only get the top sellers at first. It's tough to dig deep and find those rare reads that nobody's talking about. But thinking back on it, the truth is that at the bookstore, we only got the biggest sellers, too. Stores aren't going to carry books that few people buy. Amazon carries them all. ALL of them. Even the worst of the worst drivel. But one man's drivel is another's treasure...maybe...nah. Some books are pure trash.

So, how do I find books? Sometimes I browse Amazon, search categories, bestseller lists, or also viewed, also-boughts, and recommended for me. And sometimes I search right on my Kindle for the monthly deals. I think I find most of my books that way.

I refuse to pay ten or more dollars for an ebook unless it's an author I absolutely love or a book I just really, really want to read. It's rare for me to do so. And I have been burned by an author I loved. I loved all of his other books; let's just say that. So, I like cheap ebooks.

I don't find books through any recommendation emails, though. I don't subscribe to any of those review blogs I've heard about. I just...browse. But if you've got a great book that you think I'll love, be sure to drop me an email and let me know about it. You can contact me at Dianna@waywardcatpublishing.

I've done a lot of reading since I blogged last. I finally read Flowers for Algernon. I was afraid it was going to make me cry, but it didn't. I found a lot of the dialogue funny--sounded as if it came right out of an old movie. But I'm weird about dialogue. I went into a bit of a non-fiction phase. I tried to read a Debbie Reynolds autobiography, but it turned out to be the second one. I am always more interested in childhoods, and how the subject became who they are today. (Or were. Is she still alive?) Anyway, it was incredibly boring, so I didn't finish it. I'm back on fiction again, though. I'm reading Middlesex now. I found a print copy in a used bookstore a while ago and I'm finally tackling it. It's huge. In my opinion, it didn't have to be. So much mundane information getting in the way of the story. I skim a lot. But I still like it. And I was glad to read The Leaving of Things, another novel set in India. Got the bad taste of The Kite Runner out of my mouth...head? You know what I mean.

Sometimes I'm in the minority when it comes to book bandwagons. Take The Kite Runner. I suppose I get why people love it. I certainly did have an emotional response to it. I can forgive a lot if I get a strong emotional reaction. But there was too much to forgive with that one. My three main problems were these: 1. No coincidence, no symbolism, was subtle. It was all in your face and that wasn't even enough. The narrator then had to go one step further and point out the symbolism and the coincidence. It was awful. 2. There were parts that were mind-numbingly boring. And 3. The Disney-esque evil villain started monologuing! Monologuing about how he came to be the evil man he is today. I'm sorry. A wonderful story that could have been so fabulous! Anyway, I broke one of my rules and gave it only two starts at Goodreads and then remembered that I had a rule about that, so I cleared those stars. I will not star rate anything that I can't give at least three stars to. It's just not nice.

I hear they're making a movie of The Kite Runner. I bet it will be a lot better than the book because they'll clean it up a bit. I'll have another book to add to my tiny list of "books that weren't as good as their movies."

I tried to read Far From the Madding Crowd. A few times. I just couldn't do it. It was so boring, I couldn't stand it. I'll wait for the movie...on streaming. I like a good classic; but it's got to be a good classic.

I'm finding it harder to find new books to read. So many of them are boring to me. Have I become an impatient reader? Maybe it's just a mood and I'll get over it. Or maybe I just need to read Gone with the Wind again. Or all the Harry Potters. I'm certainly having no luck at all finding good romantic comedies to read. Maybe that's not even a genre! Well, that's just too bad because I'm writing one.

I'm off to the mountains next week for a change of scenery. That ought to do me some good. I read a few really great books the week I went to Boston last year. I'm afraid I might not have the same experience this trip. For one thing, no long plane trip. And for another, lots of exhausting hiking up mountains. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep my eyes open in the evenings for reading. But I'll try.

After I read Little Women, I went on a quest to read more fantasy, and some romantic comedy. My goal was to learn more about each genre to help my own writing. Thus, The Name of the Wind, Boy Meets Girl, and An Idiot in Love. After An Idiot in Love I downloaded a bunch of free ebooks in the romantic comedy genre and sampled them all. I didn't read any of them. Hubs says they were bad because they were free, which isn't quite true, I'm sure. But what he meant was...if I want to learn what makes a really good romcom, I should probably read the bestsellers and pay a bit for them. But then he added, "You know you're going to write yours however you want to anyway, so why read them?" He may have a point.

When I saw there was a new Nick Hornby, I grabbed it. I was so excited. And then I read it. I can't believe I paid twelve bucks for it. What happened there? It was mostly telling, as opposed to showing. Telling=boring. The characters were also boring. I'm so disappointed I don't know what to think.

An Idiot in Love was pretty cute. The guy could have been a bit more idiotic in the middle. But I suppose idiotic is in the eye of the beholder. What I mean is...he wasn't so idiotic that, at the end, when he went full blown idiot, it didn't make me think..."Seriously?" I mean...that was really, really stupid. But I still laughed at him.

Well, surprisingly (to me) I did not like Little Women. At all. I think I'll stream the film--I have no doubt it's a lot better than the book. I found the book to be no more than a lot of sentimental, moralizing nothing. Hmph.

Next, I'll read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Hubs and I had a Barnes & Noble gift card so we actually went into a hard copy book store. I chose a fantasy novel, the aforementioned, and a romantic comedy. I think "romantic comedy" is a film genre, not a book genre. I'm not sure yet what they call them in books, but I'll find out.

Anyway, I chose The Name of the Wind based on the cover (very cool), the title (sounds literary), the fact that there's a blurb by Ursula Le Guin on the back of it (loved A Wizard of Earthsea, but not the second of The Earthsea Cycle series and so didn't read any more), and the description...and that it's in first person, which I found intriguing.

My point being that I didn't realize the book was part of a series until I went to Amazon to find the link for this blog. And what do you think the subtitle is? It's The Kingkiller Chronicles, Day One.

Day one? Day one??? It's 722 freakin' pages and it's only day one? Holy cow. I'm not so sure about it now, but, whatever. I do like big, thick books. But day one? Okay, I'm a little scared.

Before those dreadful little women, I read Eternal Night by Jade Kerrion, first in the Aeternae Noctis series. I wouldn't normally choose a book about vampires, or vampire like creatures. It's just not my thing. But Jade's book won first place in the fantasy category in the Royal Palm Literary Awards last year (2014) while my book Children of Path took second place. So, naturally I had to read Eternal Night. I really liked it. It was beautifully written and packed with action. I definitely recommend it. And I have to say, I may very well read more!

I got an email from Amazon telling me I purchased a book, which happens often. I didn't recognize the title so assumed it was my husband's purchase, but it was rather expensive for his typical buying habit. So I asked him about it and he had no idea what it was. I was like, what?

And then I remembered! I preordered the newest Craig Lancaster book, The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter. Can't wait to get into that one.

I read Critical Failures III by Robert Bevan thinking it was the final of the series. But no, we're back in the Caverns and Creatures world and looking forward to more! It's always nice when a series you love goes on for a while. I still miss Lawhead's Robin Hood series; but sometimes a story just has to end, I guess. I think I donated my copies of those, but I would totally buy them again in a few years. I think I will...

Then I read The Understudy by David Nicholls. I loved it! I was so mad at the main character in the middle of it and so satisfied with the ending. I can't say I like being that angry with a character, because it causes me anxiety, but apparently making me mad is one of the hallmarks of a great book. (Can a thing have more than one hallmark?)

Well, the holidays are upon us. I hope you all find time to read during the joyful chaos.

The ending of Horatio Hornblower and the Atropos was upsetting. His children have small pox! And the book just ended there! That wasn't nice at all. And when I finished Edward Adrift, it sounded very much like the end...like we won't be getting any more Edward books from Lancaster. I really liked that guy! But he won't be as much fun if he gets too normal anyway.

Are you ever in the middle of reading a book when you realize that the characters in it just aren't real? And then you remember other books you've read whose characters lived on the page? I do that more and more often these days. I'm finding my patience with fake characters running thin. And what is it that makes a character real, as opposed to merely an actor performing for the author?


I'm pretty sure that's what it is. When I find myself reading dialogue that I just can't believe--whether it's believing that particular character would say such a thing, or that any person on earth would talk like that--I realize they're fake. I'm not involved in the story anymore; I'm suddenly hearing the author behind the words painting what she thinks is a pretty picture. When I read dialogue like that, I know that the characters aren't real for the author any more than they are for me. She's positioned them in a scene and now she's putting words in their mouths. They're marionettes and she holds the strings. I come away from books like that with a "meh" feeling.

In Little Bee by Chris Cleave, I found Little Bee herself, and the women who left the immigration facility with her, alive on the page. They were real people inside Cleave's imagination. Strangely enough, I found the other main character artificial and dead. That happens often, I'm afraid.

I think most people accept fake characters more easily than I do. I think they might even like them that way. They like characters to make grand speeches, talk in poetry, use words they aren't likely to even know, to be more romantic, more passionate, more eloquent than a normal person would be. I think they want the characters in books and films to be idealized, removed from reality.

I think that because I rarely hear anyone complaining about it.

I remembering suffering through the film The Last Airbender. I loved the television show and this film slaughtered it--took something real and funny and good and ripped out its vital organs, leaving them shredded on the floor. At one point, screenplay writer M. Night Shyamalan has Princess Yue actually say, "It is time we show the Fire Nation that we believe in our beliefs as much as they believe in theirs." I laughed out loud. If I'm laughing at your dialogue, I'm not happy.

I blogged about my experience rereading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn here.

I took a week and went up north to Boston to see all of the historical sights. I didn't get any writing done, but I read three books! I took my paperback of Unraveling Oliver with me, and when it was obvious I would finish too soon, hubs and I found an actual bookstore where I purchased The Giver. It looked like I'd finish it on the plane home (I did and nearly cried in public) and be left staring at the back of the seat in front of me, so at the airport I bought Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and I just finished that at home last night (the final day of vacation).

That's a great vacation! And think about it--it's time to get back to work, but I'll still get to read. Not so much so quickly, but every evening. There's a little vacation in every day.

I remember as I was reading The Bell Jar, wondering if I'd purchased the real book. I read it on the Kindle, and there was a suspicion there, that somehow I'd gotten a fake copy and wasn't really reading the actual book at all. But I probably was. It just wasn't what I expected it to be. It was only in the afterword that I learned that when it was released, it wasn't all that well received.

My problems with the book were two:
1. I don't care for authors who are purposefully vague. I think they think it's artsy. But to me, it's an insult. I don't like having to go back and reread a passage to figure out what happened. Oh, she's fallen? Oh, has she been physically attacked? What the heck did she do to the diamond? I'm not sure I ever figured out how her face was bruised in her suicide attempt. Oh, well.

2. I suppose an argument could be made that Plath was being vague because that was her state of mind at the time. But I have a hard time imagining someone being suicidal because they're not fully there. Maybe that's my bias, but that was the worst thing about it. I was left to wonder why, because she never really gave me the sense of it. I never felt like I was in her head, understanding. I get that she must not have understood, either. But if you're going to tell me about a suicidal woman, put me there. Make me suicidal. Is that too much to ask?

After that I tried two books that I ended up having to set aside. The first was House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini. I was so disappointed. Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story was light, sure, but it was well written. Chris Columbus directed some of the Harry Potter movies, among other good films. And the description of the story sounded so fabulous. But it was awful. Just awful.

There was head hopping like crazy, from one character to the next. The characters were unlikable. And the blatantly obvious attempt at moralizing (to get the book and and get back home to their parents, they've got to behave selfishly, which, we're certain will teach us some valuable lessons) didn't work for me. When Brendan does behave selfishly, it's so incredibly stupid I didn't buy it, and when he had the book he needed to save them all, in his hands, and threw it away!...well, that was it for me. Actually, I did continue reading until I realized it was just going to be that, over and over again, and I decided I'd had enough.

And then I tried a book about dragons. And you know what, it was a real drag...on. It dragged. On and on. And on. Nothing happened! Finally, I got to the part where I thought the story was going to start! A dragon egg hatched! It's time; we got the boring stuff out of the way! Let's go! Take me on a wild dragon ride. No! Wait! What? Where is our would-be hero going? To town? Wth? And I closed the book.

It wasn't too many years ago that I was still boasting that there was only one book I'd ever not finished. But now that I'm getting older, and realizing there are too many books and too little time, I'm choosing not to continue if I don't want to. That's all there is to it, really. If I just don't want to, I won't.

I've done a lot of good reading since I blogged last. I guess I can see what the fuss was about regarding the ending of Gone Girl. I was okay with it, myself. Life isn't always fair. The bad guy doesn't always get what he deserves, and I would rather have an ending that makes me uncomfortable than one that's pat and cliche. But I suppose they'll ruin all of that in the film.

I'm not sure why I wanted to read Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Duggar's stories. They were interesting enough, I suppose. Sad, of course. I imagine writing them was therapeutic.

As usual, I enjoyed Robert Bevan's Critical Failures II. He's got everyone waiting for the third book now. And Water for Elephants was a pretty good read. I was going to watch the film afterward, but it's got that vampire guy in it. I don't swoon over him as so many others do, so I might not. Now, if it were Orlando Bloom, I'd have it rented by now.

I'm almost finished with Shift now. I might go straight to Dust and get it over with. It's a really, really good series of books. When's the movie? That's what I want to know.

I feel bad about being slightly disappointed in Ned Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story. I read it after I learned of his suicide. He jumped off the roof of an apartment building. And because I was still reeling a bit from Camelia, in which suicide by jumping from an apartment building figures prominently, I felt a kinship of sorts with Vizzini. The story is supposed to be semi-autobiographical, about the time he spent in the psych ward when he was a teenager. I suppose I was expecting to be brought into his mind and to an understanding of his depression.

A commenter at Amazon, who didn't like the book, said it was just the story of a privileged kid who couldn't handle the stress of going to a competitive, top-ranked high school. And that's pretty much true about the book.

I was kept at arms length, I thought. I never really understood what it was like to want to jump from a bridge and kill yourself. And it seemed to me that this was just that type of story in which the author should have made me feel that. But I didn't. And I have to wonder if Vizzini just couldn't go that deep and when I wonder that, I understand.

I've read some really wonderful books in the last few weeks. I loved Wool. I was so afraid it was going to be a complete downer like Game of Thrones, but it wasn't. And next to my bed are the next two books in that series. I'm looking forward to them, but I won't be reading them just yet. The Book Thief was absolutely fabulous. I can't wait to see the movie. The Fault in Our Stars was very touching. The Literary Connoisseur compared my writing to Green's and I can see why. He has that same casual ease that I get when I'm writing first-person. Of Mice and Men was troubling, but somehow very satisfying...like you've just gone through a powerful life-changing event. And Theory of Remainders was beautiful. What a wonderful way to end up the year in books!

I think I lost track of my books. I may have missed one between Bab: A Sub-Deb and Game of Thrones; but I can't remember. Game of Thrones was difficult. There was no character to which to connect--everybody dies. Well, okay, I'm exaggerating; but once you realize that all the good people are going to either die, or be hurt, you stop letting yourself form any kind of attachment. As the story progresses, you begin to realize that there won't be a happy ending.

I'm not insistent on the happy ending, but I guess I need some happiness in between--some kind of light to move towards. A light that isn't going to be yanked away.

Now I'm nearly finished with Wool, and I'm not finding it much better in that regard. Is this a new trend?

I've read two books now for which the film was much, much better. The first was Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. And now, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The book reads like Charlie is just a normal kid who has a bit of a problem. In the end, I guess we're suppose to realize that Charlie had a really big problem. But there wasn't enough build up for my liking. There were not enough glimpses into Charlie's deeply troubled psyche, or rather, the glimpses we had were not deep enough.

I got a little bored, but kept on. It was a good book. But not a great one. The film was much better. The film made you squeamish, it scared you a bit. You knew something awful was lurking in Charlie's past, and you were pretty sure by some point what it was. You cried! But not in the book. The book lacked the intensity of the film.

It was the same with The Joy Luck Club. I bawl like a baby whenever I watch it. Any daughter with a difficult relationship with her mother will feel the catharsis in watching it. But the book was flat--especially the ending which in the film version brings on that last wave of sobbing.

It's a very rare phenomenon, in my opinion, for a film to be better than the book. But there it is...

I could not connect with The Casual Vacancy at all; so I took it off my list. After all, I couldn't say "just read" when I couldn't finish it. I found it tedious and slow. I kept arguing with the narrator, begging her to stop with the telling and just show me instead. And once I thought the story was finally taking off, she backed off again and gave me a dozen paragraphs of a kid thinking sexually about a girl. Okay, I might be exaggerating, but that's what it felt like. So, after four reading sessions, I gave up. I skimmed to the back of the book and saw some of the drama; I'm okay with giving up.

I'm itching to get to a book on my Kindle, but instead, I chose Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore. I need a good laugh and he never disappoints.

I enjoyed Robert Bevan's Critical Failures quite a bit. Looks like it will be a great series. Check out my earlier entry about Bevan's crazy sales pitches on Twitter. So often the pitches are dull, even strange. I find myself reading them and thinking...that's what they're using to get me to want to read their book? Maybe someone should teach a class in Twitter pitches. Or maybe I'm just hypercritical. (Very possible.)

When I finished Critical Failures, I thought I was finally up to the task of tackling East of Eden. I knew it would be sad, and it was; but it was also beautiful and inspiring. I loved so many passages, I tagged them and quoted them on Twitter. Yes, they were that fabulous!

Afterward, I really needed a Christopher Moore title to perk me up again. It must be working. I'm nearly finished with Practical Demonkeeping and found myself laughing at all the really stupid stuff on television!

I think a lot of people are hesitant to read the classics; I used to be. I think I tried to read Wuthering Heights and A Tale of Two Cities long, long ago (maybe I was too young) and couldn't get into them. So I thought that all classics would be dull and wordy. Then, at some point after I had children, I decided I would read as many classics as I could. I was fascinated and delighted to find that they're not elusive or haughty; they're just novels. War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Sons and Lovers, Vanity Fair. They're just wonderful stories, well told.

But I don't think I'm ever going to approach Moby Dick or Don Quixote.

Finishing A Suitable Boy feels like a momentous occasion so I thought I'd post a blog. It was a wonderfully rich story of India; I've heard it described as a soap opera, but I would give it more credit than that. It was definitely an epic drama and yet it was quiet, in its way.

Next on my list is Critical Failures by Robert Bevan. The only reason I chose this book is Bevan himself. Of all the authors touting their wares on Twitter, his pitches were the only ones that made me want to actually buy his book. If it's anything like the pitches, the book will be a wild, raunchy ride. I'm not usually one to go for raunch, but if it's funny, I'll like it.

Here are a few examples of his sales method:
"Equal parts disturbing and hilarious, like walking in on your mom blowing a clown."
"Show me on the doll where this story touched you."
"It's like that friend who gives you a kidney... from a hobo... and you didn't need a kidney."
"All the same great fun as the ebook, but now with the added satisfaction of having murdered a tree."
"It's like sex with a stranger. A whole lot of fun, and the proper medication will probably sort you out afterwards."

Seriously, the guy deserves a medal for marketing on Twitter!

Somehow I missed a month of blogging about my fiction reads. It was probably Raintree County that did it. That was a tough read. There was a wonderful story in that book, but I had to wade through (and skim over) pages and pages of political pontificating, fuzzy dream sequences, and waxing philosophical and poetical to find it. Less is more; trust me. But I will say that when I came to the end, I felt better for having read it and thought one day I might give it another go with a tad more dedication to the politics and dreams.

Feed was weird, but cool enough to keep my attention and the Amulet of Samarkand was pretty good--but not good enough to make me want to read more in the series right away (Like Hood). There are just too many books to read...but maybe one day.

Right now, I'm deep into (though not quite half through) A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. A heavy, 1500 page tome, this book is rich and layered and I love it. I was warned that there was quite a bit of politics in it, but so far it's handled very well and not skim-worthy a la Raintree County at all. I highly recommend it. And if you like big books, you'll love it. It's like five books worth all in one.

May is almost done. Finally, the weather is heating up. (Not that I'm happy about it; it's just more normal, that's all.) I still remember the days I dared not hold a garage sale in March for disgust at the heat and humidity. But this spring seemed mild and tolerable. Maybe I'm just spending too much time indoors.

I'm so glad I made the decision to stop doing crossword puzzles every evening before reading. I've read so much more! I finished Anne of Avonlea last night. It wasn't nearly as enchanting as the first book, but still a sweet (if not sometimes a tad Pollyanna-ish) story. I almost reached for A Suitable Boy. But I'm just not ready yet. There are so many books that I purchased very long ago that have been waiting their turn patiently. It just seems unfair to choose that enormous tome that would take me all summer to get through before them.

I started two books after Anne of Green Gables and couldn't get far in either one. The first was a romance. I admit I thought there was going to be more to it than that, but there wasn't...apparently. The writing wasn't bad; I just found the story and characters a bit immature, for my tastes. It's set in Regency England and at one point, early in the book, our heroine arrives home from a party drunk. Her mother sends for the new male servant (a gorgeous guy) and allows him to escort her drunken daughter to her room alone. I just couldn't buy that. I closed the book. But I'm not inclined toward romance, anyway.

The second book was also well-written...grammatically speaking. It promised to be a rich and powerful story of child abuse and stalking. But it read like a case history with a bit of dialogue thrown in. I struggled from the beginning to engage with the characters, but I was kept at arm's length. I started skimming in the second chapter. Not a good sign at all. Finally, I turned to the back and read the last chapter; I feel like I got the gist of the story just as much that way, and faster, than the tedious read the style promised. I was so disappointed. This story had so much promise. If only the author took to heart that age-old advice: show, don't tell!

The first proof copy of The Wretched is on its way! Love seeing my books in print...

I'm just giddy over Anne of Green Gables. I love this book! I love Anne! And now I'm angry at my mother for never telling me about these books when I was a little girl. What got into her? She was clearly also reading deprived as a child!

I've just returned from a research trip to Alabama. My blog about the cemetery visit, "Where death is held more sacred than life," is at The Sunshine State blog. (It was formerly at the now defunct Wayward Cat Publishing blog.)

I'm in the last quarter of The Sword of Shannara. It's an okay story but, I suppose, just not my cup of tea. Too much narration, description, on and on. No wonder it's such a fat little book. I like the characters well enough, but I don't care for the head hopping. Maybe head hopping works in fantasy. It keeps you a tad distant from the characters, never getting too intimate. Give it all a god-like feel...hmm?

The Wretched, The Kell Stone Prophecy: Book Two is complete. Its cover is in the works and will be published soon. So much to do! Formatting, Library of Congress, ISBN assignments. This is the real work of writing fiction--the rest is pleasure.

Struggling to finish the first draft of The Story Runner. But in the struggle, I find I'm gaining wonderful insights on the story and how the ending should be. Maybe the struggle (the hell of writing) is necessary for the craft (the heaven).

Stayed up really late last night finishing Proscriptii. Really great story. So, what shall I read next? I think I'll go for Five Children and It by E. Nesbit. Looks like a quick and easy read.

I'm working hard on my books due in 2013. The Wretched, the second book in The Kell Stone Prophecy series is almost complete and will soon be put to its rest, before a final edit. I'm not sure where to go after that. I suppose I should finish up The Story Runner first. And then move on to finish Camelia.

All in all, I'm beginning to get used to working on writing more regularly. Giving up the teaching of Zumba was a big help. I miss the dancing, but my feet wouldn't allow it, anyway. And I'm getting fat! I'll have to go on a fast of some sort after the holidays. But I'm not all that opposed to being pudgy. Pudgy people get to enjoy food, after all.

I really enjoyed Finn Flanagan and the Fledglings. Lots of fun and excitement and well-written.

I'm in the middle of a wonderful book right now. The story is wonderful, but the prose very awkward. The author certainly has a strong command of vocabulary and sentence structure, it's the flow and rhythm that is lacking. It's as if he never bothered to read his own work for timing and smoothness. Luckily for him, the story is carrying me through despite him.

Here are his trouble spots; we should all learn and avoid them in our own writing:

Repeated information. Again and again we are told the same information. Never treat your reader as if she's stupid. And if you feel you absolutely must repeat information, at least use different words.

Repeated words and phrases, not just within paragraphs, but even within sentences. This makes for awkward, choppy reading.

Stilted dialogue, especially that used for information dumps. Look, it's okay to use dialogue to feed a bit of information to your reader, but you must be very careful and rather sly. Don't just have your characters tell each other things, especially things they should already know, and expect your reader not to feel the urge to giggle. Make sure all of your characters don't talk the same! Make dialogue natural, and individual, whenever possible.

Learn how to use punctuation in quotations. This author almost universally (I found only one exception so far) misuses the question mark. He does something like this: "Why is that so hard to do," the snobby reviewer asked?

I hope he writes another book; but I hope his writing is improved by it.

It's almost Halloween, and just as I always remembered, the weather has turned suddenly windy and cool just in time for the start of the holiday season. It won't likely stay this way, but being able to turn on the heat for a day or two puts me in a good enough mood to last through to the heat of Christmas.

I finished Master and Commander. I had to force myself to do it. The book is very formal and very vague. The only thing detailed is all the seafaring jargon. Shoot, at the end, I didn't even know there was a battle looming until someone actually came out and said it. I liked the reality of it. You don't realize, I suppose, that it can take hours for ships to overtake one another at sea--time enough for meals for the captain and crew. You don't realize the crew can have whores on board, or be flogged for being drunk. (It's actually the realization they can be that drunk that gets you.)

Still, I didn't feel that I came to know the characters all that intimately or felt any desire to know them better.

I'm reading sea books now. I didn't think I would like them, but I have to write some exploits at sea some time in the future, so I forced myself. I started with a middle grade adventure on a whaling ship with Patience Goodspeed. Very enjoyable and such an easy read for an adult. And now I've moved to the Hornblower series. Book one. And, if I can stand it, after that I'll move to the first of Captain Aubrey's adventures in Master and Commander.

When I say, "if I can stand it," I mean if I can stand to not continue on with Hornblower. I'm heartily in love with his story and I've only finished the second chapter.

The first thing I find interesting here is that Patience's last name is Goodspeed, and Horatio's is Hornblower. Such coincidences. I'll be sure not to follow in those footsteps.

Well, I finally finished reading The Underwear Dare. It's one of those books that is so challenging to your worldview that you have to take it in small pieces. Hah! I'm joking, people. It's a fart book for fifth-grade boys! So, forgive me for picking it up, reading half and putting it down for a month or so. It was really cute, and funny, and full of farts, burps, and vomit. Boys will love it. Fifty-year old women, eh, not so much.

I don't believe in ghosts. Or spirits of any kind. I don't believe in fate, or predestination, or black cats, or broken mirrors, or anything like that. I don't know how a tattered, worn copy of Diary by Chuck Palahniuk found its way onto a bookshelf in my reading room. I don't know how it got into my house. I don't know who Breven Gaines is or why her name is written on the inside front cover, or how her book got all the way across the country and into my home.

All I know is I found this book on my bookshelf. I thought it was a young adult book for my youngest son, until I read the "Acclaim for Chuck Palahniuk's Diary" page. Then I thought, cool, right up my alley. So I'm reading it. Now I may have to read all of Palahniuk's books.

Well...I finally finished reading The Paradise War. It's book one of a series and while I found it rather enjoyable, it was not at all gripping. It seemed to take me forever to finish because I just didn't care to get back to it. So, it's not likely I'll read more of the series. The experience of reading it wasn't anything like reading Lawhead's Robin Hood series. I'd read those again!

I haven't chosen my next book yet. I still have a stack on my dresser; but I also have a new Kindle. I can't decide if I should put the hard copies onto the Kindle, just so I won't be wasting it. But that seems a waste of the hard copies, doesn't it?

A new year already!
I've reworked my Fenn book; turned it back into a five-book series within a series. I'll pitch it to an agent at the Space Coast Writer's Guild conference this month. I'm working furiously to finish the first book in my other middle grade fantasy adventure series. Maybe I can pitch two!

I think I have finally come up with a winning mainstream idea! It's eerie and a little weird. Perfect.

For my next book, I chose My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up by Russell Brand. To quote my oldest son, the book thus far is "surprisingly uninteresting." I started reading it in a British accent and it's helping a little bit.

I didn't read much this past spring and summer. My husband was away for months at a time, and there was something not right about a quiet bedroom at night. So, I kept the television on and did crossword puzzles instead. (Though I see I read quite a few books while I was visiting him in Iowa!)

But I did manage to stumble through Tell Me Lies by Jennifer Crusie. It was a bit stilted; sounded like it came straight out of a critique group in many spots. Some of the sex scenes must have been pages and pages long. I skipped them. (I'm really not interested in the mechanics of people's love-making unless someone is going to come up to them in the middle of it and do something...anything--preferably involving an ax.) But there were several redeeming qualities in character and humor.

I don't know what to read next. Vanity Fair? The Princess Bride? Another one by Lawhead? And of course, Atlas Shrugged sits on the stack daring me. Just the thought of struggling through to a point where it might, possibly become interesting makes me cringe. But determination will win out one day. We'll see.

Finished the YA zombie book and it's away! The Fenn book is still making the rounds as well. This year, early, I will finish the middle-grade zombie book (I think the zombie phase is over now) and then move on to Elyse's story and the 'story runner' novel. I haven't abandoned the 'friends' book, nor the 'wife' novel, but they are on the backburner.

I spent the last weekend at Disney World. Had a great time. The week before I bought some shoes, just for the occasion. I wore them around the house for a couple of days, because, well, everyone knows you don't wear new shoes to Disney World, right? My husband told me that wasn't good enough. He said I needed to go for a really, really long walk in them. I poo-pooed that. They're really, really comfortable, I told him. They feel great!

On the first day we went to Epcot for the International Food & Wine Festival. We weren't parked very far from the entrance, so we ignored the tram and walked. Once inside, by the big white ball, I knew I was in trouble. My new shoes were rubbing against my pinky toes. Great! Just great!

By the end of our day, late afternoon, I knew I needed some bandages for my toes. I didn't want to pay four bucks a pop at Epcot's first aid station, so we stopped off at a convenience store before heading over to a putt-putt golf place. I struggled, even with the bandages. But I did my best not to complain. And my husband did his best not to say I told you so too many times.

The next day, I double-bandaged my left pinky toe and singled the right. But they still hurt badly. We went to the Magic Kingdom and I opted for riding every chance we got. By late afternoon, I could barely walk. We stopped at a shop in Adventureland and I bought a $22 pair of flip-flops! Oh, the ecstasy! My toes were thrilled with the expensive shoes. And we left the park about an hour and a half later. But that was a pain-free hour and a half and I was grateful.

Feet, I have learned, are very important. We should take great care of them. They could rule the world.

I'm off to my high school reunion tomorrow. I've no real idea why. My husband said it would be good research. I spent a week shopping for something to wear. I hate shopping. I lost at least a week of writing. But no doubt I'll come back strong on Monday and write myself silly.

I'm not at all sociable. I don't really enjoy the company of other humans, except for my husband (most of the time) and my children. For the most part, you're all curious and annoying. And high school was not at all the best time of my life--far from it. High school was awkward and heart rending and embarrassing and shameful. Why do I want to go back and see those faces again?

You know the honest truth? I think I go back to show them that I'm here and that I survived and that if they remember me at all the way I remember myself, I came through it. And I won't hide from it. I came out the better for it, in many ways. But I'm finding that a lot of my former classmates do not remember me as I do. They seem to think I was "sweet" and "cheerful." Well, there's good in that, I guess.

The stack of books on my dresser just keeps growing. I keep purchasing new books to read, instead of finishing off the stack first. I apologize to all the authors there. Luckily, they're blissfully ignorant. Twilight shouldn't take me much time to finish. It's no Nicholas Nickleby. But some days I can't read (there's television to watch on certain nights, you know). I'm enjoying the book so far, despite the frustration of the writing technique (which isn't all that bad). But a friend of mine has said, and it's been corroborated in a recent article, that the relationship between the two main characters is not healthy. This isn't enough to make me hate the book, but it might disgust me enough to keep me from reading any other books in the series. Like I have time to do that anyway.

And of course, I completely forgot about Hood. It's sitting here in a pile of things on my desk, instead of in my dresser stack. I only remembered it because I glanced below at my last entry. Sometimes it feels as if my time should be spent reading instead of writing, but that's ridiculous of course.

I'm at a struggling point in both the novels I'm working on now. There's nothing for it but to persevere, muddle through, plod on, until I reach that better point during which I'm excited about writing. Too bad that point doesn't last the whole way through.

I read Poppy yesterday, by Avi. I see that Poppy is book two and Ragweed is book one. That's just awful. (You just have to read the first six pages to understand why.)

I can't decide if I want to start reading Hood during the day now and save Nicholas Nickleby for night, because I might end up spending more time with Hood and end up putting Nickleby aside. I've already set two books aside that I have to get back to.


A Short Bio

Dianna Dann Trantham was born in December of 1961, in Orlando, and now resides in Brevard County, Florida. While she has been fortunate enough to have visited parts of Europe; lived for a year in Denver; traveled to many fabulous places such as Arizona, Yellowstone, Roswell NM and more in the American West, Florida and its Keys, San Francisco, Boston, and North Carolina; and spent an entire summer in Baltimore, she has resigned herself to the idea of spending the rest of her life, and dying, in Brevard County.

Dianna began writing as a young person and completed one book in junior high school and another in high school. Fortunately, these novels were seen only by her friends and their state of existence now is unknown. She wrote a short story that was published in the Titusville High School anthology known as Impetus in the spring of 1978. It was a maudlin story about a little old man named Ollie and his memories.

After school, Dianna began a downward spiral into life and didn't come up for sanity until she was about 27, at which time she met a man who had a most bizarre outlook on life. She realized she shared his outlook and married him. She then proceeded to put many things in the way of a much desired writing career: a bachelor's degree in history; a full-time job at a bookstore as manager; three children; teaching Zumba, etc. She claimed she was getting experience, as many authors do. And she did produce a smattering of writing during that time.

Dianna was published a couple of times in Scribblers of Brevard's annual anthology: Driftwood. She won the Space Coast Writers Guild's annual short fiction competition twice. And she began to receive some encouraging rejections from editors of literary journals. Then she stopped writing. No one knows why and perhaps one day college students will ponder those nonproductive years with awe and reverence. (Just kidding!)

Finally, in 2007, Dianna, getting old and hitting her stride, began to understand the first rule of writing: writers write. She completed three books that year. And in January of 2008, she learned the second rule of writing: writers send their work to editors who can pay them. A few years later she learned a third and better rule: the road to success lies now with independent publishing.
And so, she embarked on a career of writing, finally.

Her children are grown and she is lucky enough to not have another job. She has always been adept at managing cats on the desk. Our hopes for her success are high.

She can be reached at waycatpub@cfl.rr.com.

Back to the top with you!




What I'm reading now:

The New History of the World by J.M. Roberts

The Seven Day Switch by Kelly Harms

Just read:

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The best of Reid's books yet. Loved it!

The Rosie Result (Don Tillman Trilogy #3) by Graeme Simsion
Lacked much of the humor and fun of the first two, but the ending was so worth it!

The Tent, the Bucket and Me by Emma Kennedy
I laughed a lot. I fell in love with Emma watching the one season of The Kennedys that was made. I wish they'd done more.

Heart Spring Mountain by Robin MacArthur
This was okay. But the big reveal I thought was coming never came.

The Puma Years: A Memoir of Love and Transformation in the Bolivian Jungle by Laura Coleman
What an amazing experience Coleman had!

Bricking It by Nick Spalding
Some funny parts, but the ending was pat, hurried, and hard to believe.

The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman Trilogy #2) by Graeme Simsion
Again. Loved every minute!

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith
I really thought I was going to like this one. But I did not.

I Thought You Said This Would Work by Ann Wertz Garvin
Double Meh. Improbable and irritating. You know the the type--where the entire conflict is based on a misunderstanding.

by Liz Talley
Meh. It was okay.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
A wonderful read!

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman Trilogy #1) by Graeme Simsion
Loved every second of it!

A Man With One of Those Faces (The Dublin Trilogy #1) by Caimh McDonnell
A lot of fun!

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg
Boring. I tried one more Flagg book and couldn't even finish it. I give up. I think I kept searching for another Fried Green Tomatoes and never found it.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Very enjoyable read.

West With Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge
This was a great story, but it dragged on terribly. Boring in too many parts.

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg
This was enjoyable enough. But felt a little flat.

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of hte 2000s: An Oral History by Andy Greene
Just interviews with people involved in the show. Not very compelling.

The Durrells of Corfu by Michael Haag
I was obsessed after watching the series. This book did not disappoint.

Gidget by Frederick Kohner
Really wonderful coming of age story.

The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis
A must read for fans of the series.

Whatever Happened to Margo? by Margaret Durrell
Hard to follow at times. Fairly enjoyable though.

A Grand Old Time by Judy Leigh
Not as funny as promised, but not too bad. Enjoyable.

The Garden of the Gods (Corfu Trilogy # 3) by Gerald Durrell
A wonderful read about the Durrells.

Birds, Beasts and Relatives (Corfu Trilogy # 2) by Gerald Durrell
The best book of the trilogy.

My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy # 1) by Gerald Durrell
So much fun!

The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton
I was so glad when this book was over. Terrible main character.

The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920 to 1963 by Ed Ward
So much detailed information that it became tedious to read. But it led to a lot of youtube watching of old bands and singers.

What the Dog Saw and other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell
Even the stories you don't think you'll enjoy are fascinating.

The Bright Side of Going Dark by Kelly Harms
This one was okay. Some parts were boring.

This Won't End Well by Camille Pagan
This one was just...okay.

The Switch by Beth O'Leary
Rather predictable, but a sweet story.

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of it All by Jonas Jonasson
As expected, quirky and fun.

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Tragic and frustrating. A wonderful read.

The Andy Griffith Show Book by Richard Michael Kelly
If you enjoy this sort of book, it's wonderful.

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump

The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton
I really enjoyed this one so I bought more of her books.

Things that Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett
I was expecting to be made uncomfortable, but I was not. At all.

Shadow on the Crown (Emma of Normandy Book 1) by Patricia Bracewell
Really good historical fiction.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
A joy to read!

Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told by Tom Phelan
A quirky cast of characters and a little Irish town with a secret. A joy to read.

Old Friends and New Fancies: An Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen by Sybil G. Brinton

Two Like Me and You by Chad Alan Gibbs
This was enjoyable, if not implausible.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
A wonderful historical novel.

Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland by Gerald Clark
A tragic story.

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts

Flying by the Seat of my Knickers (The Travel Mishaps of Caity Shaw #1) by Eliza Watson
This was cute, but I don't feel compelled to read more in the series.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Yeah, that one again...

1215 and All That: Magna Carta and King John by Ed West
Historically witty.

The Witches are Coming by Lindy West

Me by Elton John
I'd say more about music than him, but an enjoyable read.

Max and the Multiverse by Zachry Wheeler
This was a really fun read.

The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg
A sweet, charming story encompassing the entire history of one mid-western town.

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh
Beautiful writing for the most part, but the pacing was so slow I couldn't finish.

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
Struggled to continue with this one. It's experimental in form and so not engaging at all.

Beloved Mother by Laura Hunter
A bit muddled and plotless, but filled with quirky characters and beautifully told.

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
<sigh> Meh.

The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs
Very enjoyable histoical read!

Every Day is a Holiday by George Mahood
I struggled to finish this. While witty, it was really, really forced. Blog-worthy, maybe.

The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man by Jonas Jonasson
Okay, so not as fantastic as the first book, but still a wonderfully charming read.

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
I guessed the twist too early, but I enjoyed this sweet book.

Honolulu by Alan Brennert
Many forced plot points, but an engaging tale of a Korean "picture bride" in Hawaii.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A very good story, well told.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman
Very enjoyable read, filled with all the stuff of good fiction. 

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett
Weird characters, a pall of dread, and great writing usually do it for me. But this one was just almost there.

On the Bright Side: The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen
by Hendrik Groen (Anonymous)
I just love Hendrik and his wit.

Northwest Corner by John Burnham Schwartz
Wonderful story.

First & Then by Emma Mills
A bit contrived, forced. But not too bad.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
I really loved this one, but it didn't blow me away.

Middlemarch by George Eliot
A classic and a good read.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Sweet, enjoyable--a good read.

Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick
A good read, but really pushed past the boundary of believability.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A touching, sweet, if a bit disjointed read.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old by Hendrik Groen (Anonymous)
A sweet, enjoyable read.

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I typically stay away from gimmicks, such as telling a story through a series of interview excerpts. But it worked this time.

Magnolia Wednesdays by Wendy Wax
I almost gave up several times. Ended up skimming just to see if I'd guessed the secret. I did.

You, Me & Mr. Blue Sky by Elisa Lorello and Craig Lancaster 
Frankly, I could have done without the Mr. Blue Sky. What was the point?

*The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
An adorably enjoying read.

Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Wow. A CRH book I didn't like much. Too much moralizing and too much of the characters going over things in their heads.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Not as great as I was told, but I still really liked it.

The Heirs by Susan Rieger
I enjoyed this well enough, I suppose. Certainly not riveting. A bit surface, actually.

Sand by Hugh Howey
While I really enjoyed this book, I'm not rushing out to read the next one in the series.

The Far Horizon by Gretta Curran Browne
Told well in parts. Other parts, not so much. I wouldn't read any of the others in the series.

Mangrove Lightning by Randy Wayne White
Kind of creepy.

The Taste of Air by Gail Cleare
I put down this supposedly un-put-downable book.

We Were Mothers by Katie Sise
Great plot but a boring read. Too much narration in the way.
I skimmed it.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
People are going to love this book! But I didn't care for it. Don't expect any kind of resolution. The story ends in the middle. You have to get the next book. No thanks.

The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by CW Gortner
Salacious. It got to be a bit too much toward the end.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Tedious. I can tell by the trailer that the film will be much better

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
Tedious in spots and not the best writing...

The Ice House by Laura Lee Smith
The ending was a bit pat, but a great read.

*My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
I really enjoyed this one.

*The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir by Ruth Wariner
Intense. Worth the read.

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
Seriously weird and funny.

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond
This was pretty good.

Secrets of Worry Dolls by Amy Impellizzeri
Meh. No.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
I hope the movie is better. The book is a "nope."

The Hero of Ages: Book Three of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Crimes in a Second Language by Elizabeth Sims

The Truth About Lorin Jones by Alison Lurie
The main character was rather a nut, but she came through in the end.

A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell
Weirdly good.

*Sewing Holes by Darlyn Finch Kuhn
A sweet coming of age story.

Finding Georgina by Colleen Faulkner
Have you ever wanted to punch a main character? Well, read this one.

The Well of Ascension: Book Two of Mistborn
by Brandon Sanderson

Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family by Garrard Conley
This story lacked...depth. Beautifully written, a bit boring.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
I loved every minute of this book.

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Meh. I guess I liked it.

Under Heaven's Shining Stars by Jean Grainger
Good story, but not told as well as it could have been.

Dietland by Sarai Walker
I enjoyed this one. A little weird though.

*The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
Weird and wonderful.

*As Good as Gone by Larry Watson
Excellent story! I'll have to read more of this author's books.

*The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Wonderful, heartbreaking story.

*Julep Street by Craig Lancaster
Another great read by Lancaster!

*Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
A great read! Not like the movie at all.

*Redwall by Brian Jacques
Well, there are these mice, see, and the rats are very bad. A great, fun read.

*The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Live's Biggest Questions by David Benatar

Patchwork by Ruth Rodgers
Beautiful, touching story.

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by
Very funny.

Jemmela in the Ruff by Margot Honey
Surprisingly excellent.

Slam by Nick Hornby
Pretty good.

The Ex-Suicide by Katherine Clark
Very subtle satire here.

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
A great read!

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff

Good Birder's Don't Wear White: 50 Tips From North America's Top Birders edited by Lisa A. White
Lots of fun, if you're a birder.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
I couldn't finish this. It was poorly written and boring. Sorry.

Trump is F*cking Crazy by Keith Olbermann

Paradise, Suzanna Style by Suzanna Leigh
She believed in ghosts, out of body experiences, and being visited by the spirit of Elvis Presley when he died...and I'm supposed to believe her about anything? Surprisingly sweet book, though.

My Sister's Bones by Cathi Hanauer
I almost gave up on this one. One of those that has no ending.

Society's Child by Janis Ian
Very insightful.

Catseye by Andre Norton
It was okay.

Cicada Summer by Maureen Leurck
Skimmed it.

The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart
Pretty good.

Pieces of My Sister's Life by Elizabeth Joy Arnold
Infuriating characters.

The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard
I enjoyed this one.

Betty Davis by Grace Carter
Even with the author being kind, I could sense Davis' narcissism.

The Clairvoyants by Karen Brown
A tad unbelievable, but a great read.

Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the Last Great Show Biz Party by Shawn Levy

The Hipster from Outer Space by Luke Kondor
Very clunky writing, but a lot of fun.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
No story here. It was like an experiment. Like performance art. No thanks.

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Clunky, but a good read.

Three Men in a Boat (to Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome
Silliness. No story here. Just fun.

Born Hungry: Stories about Sweet Love, Bitter Greens, and Losing my Religion by Renia Carsillo
None of the stories went deep enough. A bit of a disappointment.

The Reel Hot Summer by Mary Dodge
Cute enough, but...

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4
by Sue Townsend
About 3/4 of the way through, I realized there was no story, and there wasn't going to be any story.

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
Pretty cool.

Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu
Beautiful story!

The Making of The Wizard of Oz by Aljean Harmetz
Very detailed in some areas, not so much in others.

Notes on a Cowardly Lion: The Biography of Bert Lahr by John Lahr
Very interesting. A little sad.

Seams Unlikely: The Inspiring True Life Story of Nancy Zieman by Nancy Zieman
A great read for a fan of Zieman.

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones
Incredible insights into the Muppets.

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
A big disappointment for me.

Vida by Patricia Engel
No story. None at all.

Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman
This had potential but went nowhere.

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
A bit of fun.

The Widow's War by Sally Cabot Gunning
Enjoyable read.

Love for Scale by Michaela Greene
Skimmed it. Meh.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth
The ending didn't match the rest of the book, and none of it matched the description. But it was okay.

Etta by Gerald Kolpan
Very good read.

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Really good!

Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner
Pretty good.

Miguel's Gift by Bruce Kading
A great read!

The Norma Gene by M.E. Roufa
LOL. A good read.

Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon
Weirdly good.

A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
Crazy characters in a crazy story. Lots of fun.

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
Not as good as The Lace Reader, but good.

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
This was pretty good.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Pretty funny

Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall
I gave up on this one more than half-way through.

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
Excellent reading, but very vague on detail where it counts.

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
Excellent! But there are ten in the series and I'm not paying $10 a piece for the rest of them. Sorry.

Something to Hide by Deborah Moggach
Pretty good. Not what it seemed.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold
A really good read!

The Last Days of California by Mary Miller
Sort of a slice of life. But pretty good.

Diana by R.F. Delderfield
This was actually two books. The first is about a young boy growing into a man while being in love with Diana. The second is a spy/assassin novel with both characters. It was weird. If I'd have stopped at the end of the first part, I'd have said it was really good. But I didn't.

With Malice by Eileen Cook
I really enjoyed this one. Is that wrong of me?

Middle Age by Joyce Carol Oates
I just don't know what Oates is trying to say. Just so much nothing.

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows
Loved this one!

The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
Meh. So much potential...

Whistling Women by Kelly Romo
Very good.

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
Pretty good.

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
One of those vague stories. It was okay.

Now You Know by Susan Kelly
An enjoyable read.

The Bill the Cat Story: A Bloom County Epic
by Berkeley Breathed

Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
I was bored. But some of the stories were cool.

The Giant's House: A Romance by Elizabeth McCracken
Weirdly wonderful.

The Best Day in Someone Else's Life by Kerry Reichs
Cute and funny, but I got to the 80% mark and just didn't care anymore.

Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford
Loved it!

The Best Thing About My Ass Is That It's Behind Me by Lisa Ann Walter
Crude and preachy. But now I know who she is.

Edward Unspooled by Craig Lancaster
So happy Edward is back!

A History of Private Life: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium edited by Paul Veyne
If you can make a history of private life any drier I'd like to know how.

Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson
Interesting fun.

Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski by Joanna Franklin Bell
I liked it.

Dear County Agent Guy: Calf Pulling, Husband Training, and Other Curious Dispatches from a Midwestern Dairy Farmer
by Jerry Nelson
I had no idea what he was talking about most of the time, so a lot of the humor was lost on me.

Chasing Paris by Jen Carter
The problem with this book, for me, was in the telling: the use of letters and a story written by the sister. Didn't do it for me.

Butterfly's Child by Angela Davis-Gardner
Halfway through I'm like, oh, Madam Butterfly. I understood these people and was very disappointed in Butterfly in the end. Rich story.

The Believers by Zoe Heller
I can't figure out what the author was trying to say with this story. It was a satisfying read...in its way.

Rita Just Wants to be Thin by Rita W. Walters
Good story.

Seinfeldia: How a Show about Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
As a big Seinfeld fan, I thought this was a fabulous read.

Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: All the Brilliant Minds who Made the Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
Makes me want to watch the show again, from start to finish!

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
This book was heartbreaking. I loved it.

Yesterday's News by Kajsa Ingemarsson
Cute, but more sad than funny.

The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish
I think the author lost his premise about halfway in.
Two Sisters by Mary Hogan
Started really well, but went off the rails a bit.

The Girl with No Name: The Incredible True Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys by Marina Chapman
I'm not sure how much of this story I believe.

Bond Girl by Erin Duffy
A lot of fun.

Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Another good one from Hyde.

The Unhappy Medium by T.J. Brown
Pretty good.

Something Missing by Matthew Dicks

Heaven and Hell by John Jakes
I was pretty sick of this story before I started.

Love and War by John Jakes
More of the great family saga. A little overdone on the evil guy with no motivation torturing the innocent guy, though.

North and South by John Jakes
A great family saga.

The Second Sister by Marie Bostwick
Predictable. Calm, but not really wonderful.

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
Pretty cool read. Nice twist.

Trail of Broken Wings by Sajal Badani

The Unintentional Time Traveler by Everett Maroon
Not too bad.

Chancy Family Lies by Kay Dew Shostak
Charming and funny.

Beyond the Strandline by LInda L. Zern
Fabulous, intense story.

No and Me by Delphine de Vigan
Loved this!

The Writer's Cut by Eric Idle
This was pretty funny. Talk about procrastination!

The Bette Davis Club by Jane Lotter
I needed a laugh after Marya: A Life.

Marya: A Life by Joyce Carol Oates
What the hell was that all about?

Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson
A very witty, fast read

Sins of the Father by Valerie Allen
Like a psychological detective story.

Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
This was so disturbing, I'm not surprised some of the "characters" are claiming it's fiction

The Happiest People in the World by Brock Clarke
Kind of like Fargo in its quirkiness

The Man from the Tower (Tergin's Tale Book One) by Bruno Stella
This was a great read! I look forward to more in the series.

Broken Grace by E.C. Diskin
I thought this was going to be literary, but it was more murder mystery/thriller. But I liked it.

Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry
Fabulous writing, wonderful story. But it was overly verbose in parts...boring, I'm sorry to say. Found myself skimming, looking for the story thread.

The Family by Marissa Kennerson
Meh. Superficial.

The Rose Girls by Victoria Connelly
I liked this well enough.

Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher
I didn't realize memoirs came in short form.

Walk Me Home by Catherine Ryan Hyde
I think Hyde is a new favorite author of mine.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I'm a big fan of the films (especially the Muppet version).

Reparation by Ruth Rodgers
Good story. But it lacked...soul.

Butter by Erin Jade Lange

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I thought this was going to be a quirky story about coming out, but it was just a high school romance.

Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding my True Voice by Maureen McCormick

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Pretty good. But the story kept getting lost.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
This was pretty good. But some of the dialog was awkward.

The Leaving of Things by Jay Antani
Loved it.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Very enjoyable.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride
by Cary Elwes
Inconceivably wonderful!

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated
by Alison Arngrim

A great read for a Little House fan!

Gone Again by Doug Johnstone
This was pretty good.

Sugar by Deirdre Riordin Hall
It was okay. I guess I was expecting more...soul.

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Loved it!

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Reading this was like being beat over the head by a writer who thinks I'm stupid...and I'm not.

This is What I Want by Craig Lancaster
I love Lancaster's books, but this one left me unfulfilled. It needs a sequel. Give me a sequel, Craig!

Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese
This was a lot of fun, as promised.

Paper Towns by John Green
I think the problem here is that I don't much care for Margo...at all.

When I Found You by Catharine Ryan Hyde
Sad, and beautiful.

Polarity in Motion by Brenda Vicars
Meh. Faulty premise. Preachy.

Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan
This one was pretty good.

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
A bit far-fetched.

The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax
by Christopher Shevlin
A quirky, fun read.

The Godforsaken Daughter by Christina McKenna
A bit weird, but I liked it.

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
by Stephen Greenblatt

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
I really enjoyed this.

30 First Dates by Stacey Wiedower
On Kindle, the subtitle was: A Romantic Comedy. But it wasn't funny.

Goodbye to All That by Judith Arnold

Fat Chance by Nick Spaulding
Cute, fun read.

Love That Dog
Hate That Cat
by Sharon Creech

Star Splinter by JG Cressey
Lots of action!

Crazygirl Falls in Love by Alexandra Wnuk
That was fun.

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Pretty funny.

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
So disappointing.

An Idiot in Love by David Jester
Well, he was certainly an idiot. The naked part, with the prosthetic leg...laugh out loud funny.

Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot
This book was a gimmick--told through IMs, emails, journal entries. Can you say, labored? Skimmed it.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Soooo long. Too long. (And this, coming from someone who loves big books.) But...I might read the next one, anyway.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Eternal Night by Jade Kerrion
I'm not much for vampire books, but this was really good.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
The head hopping was maddening, but the tone and the story made it bearable.

The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter by Craig Lancaster
Another very enjoyable Lancaster book.

Ruth's Journey by Donald McCaig
A tad froo froo in the writing style...if you know what I mean. But it's Mammy, so I have to read it. In the end, I liked it well enough.

The Understudy by David Nicholls
Wonderful book!

Critical Failures III by Robert Bevan
Hilarious as ever. And, it's not over...

Horatio Hornblower and the Atropos by C.S. Forester
Maybe not as great as the others, but still enjoyable.

Edward Adrift by Craig Lancaster
I will miss Edward.

Take me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Plain Truth by Judi Picoult
Ah, no. Not my thing.

The Summer Son by Craig Lancaster
Excellent, as expected.

Things we Set on Fire by Deborah Reed
Good story. Bad dialogue.

Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

The Ladies' Room by Carolyn Brown
There was no conflict in this novel. Everything the main character wanted or needed, she got...immediately.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
First half, yes! Second half, no. Ugh.

600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster
Loved this one! Worried all day, once, about Edward.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Started out pretty good but after the big reveal it was just plain boring and went on and on and on.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Really good. Just a few small things that kept me from giving all five stars

Running by Patrice Fitzgerald
Meh. Skimmed most of it. Definitely not my kind of book.

A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay
Enjoyable enough.

The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch
Wrong title for an okay read. Not my kind of book.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs
I was disappointed that this turned out to be the first in a series. I doubt I'd read any more. But I did enjoy it.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
My first time reading this book. I was blown away. Excellent read.

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Hush by Eishes Chayil aka Judy Brown

On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family by Lisa See
Sometimes tedious, but a great story.

The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet's Pride & Prejudice by Jennifer Paynter
Really liked this one.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A childhood favorite, due for another read. Led to the blog post, You can go home again, but maybe you shouldn't.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles
So glad I read this book. Excellent.

I Was There the Night he Died by Ray Robertson
Very enjoyable read.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Pretty cool.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Dust by Hugh Howey
Hugh's series was one of those that I really enjoyed and couldn't figure out why--it's nothing like what I thought I'd like. More proof it's good to read a variety of books.

Shift by Hugh Howey

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My Story by Elizabeth Smart and Chris Stewart

Dungeon Crawl (Caverns and Creatures) by Robert Bevan

Be the Monkey - Ebooks and Self-Publishing: A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath

Critical Failures II (Caverns and Creatures) by Robert Bevan
Waiting, waiting, waiting for number three.

A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Very good.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Troubling, surprising, very good.

The Hundred Foot Journey: A Novel by Richard C. Morais
Seemed to just go on too long, but still very good.

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Really sad considering the real ending.

Hornblower and the Hotspur by C.S. Forester

Theory of Remainders by Scott Dominic Carpenter
Wonderful story!

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Fabulous book!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
I've been compared to him, writerly-wise, and I can see why.

Wool by Hugh Howey

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Wow. What a downer.

Bab: A Sub-Deb by Mary Roberts Rinehart
This book is hilarious!

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Cool. Suicide as revenge.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Not as good as the movie.

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore
Silly and funny. Just what you expected from Moore.

The Tombs of Atuan (The Earthsea Cycle Book Two) by Ursula K. Le Guin
Lovely, by not nearly as enchanting as A Wizard of Earthsea

Lieutenant Hornblower by C.S. Forester

Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Critical Failures by Robert Bevan
A lot of fun!

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
1500 pages of Indian drama--fabulous!

Raintree County by Ross Lockridge Jr.
My copy is much older and has an introduction by Joseph Blotner.

Feed by M.T. Anderson
Very cool story.

The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy Book One) by Jonathan Stroud
Humorous, very enjoyable read.

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Not nearly as enchanting as the first book.

Emma's Choice by June Bryan Belfie
Another sweet Amish romance by Belfie, but I'm not enjoying it as much as the first. Needs better editing and formatting. Too much telling, not enough showing.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Very enjoyable read. I look forward to the movie. Honestly, though, I can't see myself reading any more of the series. It doesn't read like it was meant to be a series book.

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
I had no idea they'd made this into a movie. It was pretty good, certainly kept me up at night reading.

Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton
I loved that this book was about books. A very enjoyable read.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Loved, loved, loved.

Ruth's Dilemma by June Bryan Belfie
A sweet book.

The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Fool by Christopher Moore
Hilariously raunchy! I'm a complete Moore fan.

Love Warps the Mind a Little by John Dufresne
I didn't like this one nearly as much as his others. While there were quirky characters, the story wasn't quirky and the main characters were not very likeable. It was one of those "literary" stories that doesn't really go anywhere.

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

Proscriptii by Charles G. Nothe
Read my review at Amazon. If you love historical fiction, give this one a try.

Finn Flanagan and the Fledglings by Kip Taylor
Antoher good one by a local indie author!

Private Eye Cats Book One: The Case of the Neighborhood Burglars by S.N. Bronstein
Charming and sweet!

The Zen of Max (a memoir of great wisdom and many naps) by Lou Belcher
Wonderful book! A must-read for cat lovers.

Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun by Lois Winston
So...the main character didn't figure out the crime (I had it figured out long before the end), she was more a part of it. It was a victim book, not a citizen detective book.

Promises by Amanda Garr
I couldn't finish this book, so technically, it doesn't belong on the just-read list.

Windrusher by Victor DiGenti
I skimmed to the end.

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
Well, I finally slogged my way through it. I felt lost most of the time, as if O'Brian was writing for his select group of seamen and not the general reader.

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C. S. Forester
I was hooked in the first chapter! Amazing. I didn't expect to like it at all and now I can't wait for the evenings when I can read it. Wonderful book. I seriously can't believe how much I liked it.

The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed by Heather Vogel Frederick
Wonderful story!

Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore


The Underwear Dare by The Nardini Sisters
It's for fifth graders.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
I am loving this book! It's delicious.

Diary: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk
This guy wrote Fight Club. I can tell.

Might as Well Laugh About it Now by Marie Osmond
I thought this would be an autobiography. It wasn't. I wouldn't even say it was completely true. I should ask my husband if we can go to Las Vegas to see Donnie & Marie.

Deep in the Shade of Paradise by John Dufresne
I have trouble keeping track of all of Dufresne's numerous, though odd, characters. But I find it worth the effort.

Louisiana Power & Light by John Dufresne
Like falling in love with crazy people.

Requiem, Mass: A Novel by John Dufresne
Like finding new friends.

The Paradise War by Stephen R. Lawhead
Well-crafted, of course. Well told. Intriguing. A nice way to spend one's time. But...I don't feel like I want more.

Murder Between the Covers by Elaine Viets
Good fluff.

Pendragon: Book One: The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale
<teenager>I'm like, OMG, this is so much like what I'm writing right now! </teenager> (dang it)

Half-Empty by David Rakoff
I have no idea what this book was about.

My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up by Russell Brand
Surprisingly uninteresting

Tell Me Lies by Jennifer Crusie
Meh. I skimmed a lot. I guess it just wasn't what I was looking for.

Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin by none other than Kathy Griffin. I'm a sort-of fan. I loved it.

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
Too short.

Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl by Susan Campbell
Well, I loved the memoir parts but I skimmed through the history of feminism parts. Not interested, thanks.

I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne
Loved it! So much I didn't know about him. I like him even more now.

How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson
Holy Moley: contains very graphic sex scenes...look out!

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik
The story was okay and I plugged through to the end. Maybe "normal" women's fiction just doesn't appeal to me, anymore.

The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir
Fairly well done. And I enjoyed the atheist character. Glad to see an evangelical write an atheist with heart.

Tuck by Stephen R. Lawhead
So happy to finally have this book. I'm snug, back in the lives of Bran and his band of forest dwellers.

Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig
Good read.

Fantasy Gone Wrong ed. by Martin H Greenberg and Brittiany A. Koren

Witch High ed. by Denise Little

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Funny and sweet, but naturally a sad ending.

Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead
Yay! More Bran! I'll be sad when I'm finished with this series.

Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead
I'm really enjoying this one!

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin
The constant narrative threw me off; not the typical style these days. But the story was great. Part of me thinks the moral is cool, in that the idea is a good one to ponder. But another part of me isn't fond of morality tales and feels like I've had a pat on the head.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
It's true that there are some writing flaws in this book and they did get on my nerves. (Stop telling me what the character means by what she just said. I'm not an idiot.) I only had to suffer through one overbearingly romantic scene. All in all, it was good. It's hard to follow Nicholas Nickleby, though.

Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (The Barnes & Noble Classics Series) I saw this performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company one Sunday years and years ago on PBS.
This was fabulous! I didn't realize Dickens was so funny.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The classic Regency romance--now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
A LOT of fun!

Finally Thin by Kim Bensen
(Okay so I like books about fat people getting thin. I identify, in a small way.) This one wasn't as good as Half-Assed. The best part, her personal story, was too short.

Skin of Sunset by David Johansson (Also see Skin of Sunset)
Well, I was glad when it was over. This novel had the most unlikable characters I've ever read. The ending was not as satisfying as I would have liked. On the plus side, the book did have the humor I expected from Johansson, having heard him lecture.

Half-Assed: A Weight-loss Memoir by Jennette Fulda
Loved this book. Humorous and touching.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Has to be one of the worst books I've ever struggled through.

Shop til you Drop by Elaine Viets
Candy. Good candy.