A Garden of Delights

Posts Tagged ‘books

Wednesdays seems to be flying by this year.  Here’s another one and time for…


Just Another

2018 ROW80 Check-in WWW Wednesday Post First Friday Photo

Post

(click below an image to go to the specific section you want if you don’t want to read the whole post)

Since one of my new ROW80 goals was to start blogging more consistently and since I’ve wanted to become more active in the IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) and since I have read a lot and wished I had a way to share my recent pleasure… this seemed like a great place (and great time) to start.

First things last and last things first, got a picture you’d like to share, a thought on photography or even a piece of digital art…

The First Friday Photo blog hop is open for submissions.  All creative images* welcome as long as you link your post up this Friday.

I created this blog hop to make a space to enjoy art in my busy life, even when it’s only once a month and to share my love of photography with others.

The rules are simple (quoted from my original First Friday Photo post Still Motion):

  • post a photo (one you took, please don’t post other people’s work) on your blog
  • include a link to the linky (so visitors can visit each other’s work)
  • add the link to your post to the above linky (so we can find your work)
  • visit other people’s posts
  • enjoy

I had to put that “enjoy” there.  Every time I open a package of instant ramen, I giggle because of that.  I mean, of course I am going to enjoy…  yummy ramen is, well, yummy.  😀

Hope to see you there!

(*if your image is explicit, please use discretion and an NSFW warning)

Now, let’s go with WWW Wednesday where, according to the rules of the bloghop, I need to answer three main questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently? I’ve been plowing through the Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson.  Since my last WWW Wednesday post, I am now reading Murder on Amsterdam Avenue.  This is book #17 of the series.  At my last post, I was on book #5.  I’m a short ways into In Like Flynn, another Molly Murphy mystery by Rhys Bowen, but I confess to setting it aside to fully invest myself into the lives of Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy.  My ARC of To Woo a Wicked Widow is nearly done (review next week), and despite the cray-cray I made some progress on the beta read I accepted.

Recently? It’s been two weeks since my last WWW Wednesday post, so it looks like I’ve read a lot of books.  I won’t bother to list all the Gaslight Mysteries titles I’ve read.  I read twelve of them.  I’ve also read two Molly Murphy mysteries (Death of Riley and For the Love of Mike).  Dear Life by Alice Munro presented a welcome though-provoking serious note here and there.

Next? This Monday I turned in books and took out another twelve.  In bag…  Kindred by Octavia Butler, the next Deep Fried Mystery by Linda Reilly, Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr, and so many others.  Oh, and all but the latest Gaslight Mystery.  But I do have the next six Molly Murphy’s…  That should keep me busy a while.


And lastly, here is my ROW80 check-in. For those who didn’t see my goals for the upcoming 12-weeks of ROWing, you can see them here. You can find our very supportive and helpful group here, as well as some history and “rules” if you want to know more about the ROW80 in general.

My creative writing has been pretty staggered.  I did manage a Stream of Consciousness post (on Sunday instead of Saturday) and a WIPpet Wednesday post today.  But I hadn’t even looked at 750words.com until today.  I did keep up the ROW80 blog well enough, although I am behind on my sponsor visits.  (Actually, I’m behind on all my blogging visits…  last week was…  difficult, and this week, when I wasn’t reading, I was recovering or sick.)

So it’s been a pretty off few weeks in my writing life.  But the mind is starting to demand something other than staring at little black marks on a white page.  It’s demanding I make some of them myself at least.  And the body is demanding I get up and move and do.  So I have started some.  Even if it’s just reading  while pacing in the living room.

Small steps…

Advertisements

I could have written my ROW80 (and my WWW Wednesday) check-in yesterday.  Instead…  I hit the library almost first thing in the morning, and by the time 6:30pm had passed, I’d already read the next of the Victoria Thompson Gaslight Mysteries that I’d picked up and had started the next one (I have 15 pages left on that).

Clearly, I’ve been on a huge reading binge lately.

Not so much a writing one.  Except for my blogging progress and a few new words on Courting and Marche (the 1st and 3rd books of the Swan Song Series), I haven’t written much of anything.  Haven’t even touched 750words since last Wednesday.  Have opened Scrivener and looked through stuff, read some research articles…

And had a lot of sick-kid and now kid-school related things to deal with since last Thursday night.

I could have written my post yesterday, but I needed to escape a bit.  And while reading about NYC murders in the late 1890s might not seem like escapism…  it was a divine one.

I have another six books fresh from the library waiting for me, calling my name.

I probably should have written those posts.  But I didn’t.

I did write this one.

Yet Another…

2018 ROW80 Check-in WWW Wednesday

Post

(click below an image to go to the specific section you want if you don’t want to read the whole post)

As is becoming the trend, first things last and last things first, the WWW Wednesday where, according to the rules of the bloghop, I need to answer three main questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently?  An odd mix here…  I just started an ARC of Jenna Jaxon’s To Woo a Wicked Widow.  I’m also almost done with Book #4 of the Victoria Thompson Gaslight mysteries Murder on Mulberry Bend.  And I’m delving into Cathedrals of England by Sir Nicholas Pevsner.  It’s an odd passion of mine…

Recently? I’ve set aside Gun, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.  I just took on a beta read and an ARC (above) that I need to prioritize, and it’s a library book.  It’s back into my TBR list for another time.  Of course, I have indulged in a fair amount of escapism, having finished Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore by Rose Pressey.  By the end, I was actually glad I’d read the book, and definitely looking for the next one.  However, since I couldn’t find it (even at the local Barnes & Noble), I jumped into Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight series and plowed through books #3 and #4 (Murder on Granmercy Park and Murder on Washington Square.

Next? Let’s see, I have my beta read (sooper sekret! 😉 )to do, plus the next Molly Murphy mystery Death of Riley.  Though  went through another short in Dear Life by Alice Munro, I’m not sure I call it in my “I am reading” list because of where my head is right now.  I also picked up Tête-à-tête by Hazel Rowley at one of the local used bookstores because a glimpse of a few pages intrigued.


 My ROW80 progress has been bit less inspiring.  My 750words.com word counts are slowly increasing (averaging about 600, so I’m not on track yet, but the creative ideas are flying fast and furious).  In keeping with my theme of consistency (and because this was my week off from the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop) I’ve posted a WIPpet Wednesday post on Many Worlds and done my best to offer some thought-provoking posts to the ROW80 blog for our check-ins.  I’m still trying to figure out the exact rhythm our writing community performs best at now that I’ve taken over the blog from Kait Nolan.

I’ve also started work toward my upcoming First Friday Photo post.  This morning offered several of those remarkable post-snowstorm captures…  and one (though not my best shot) was of a gorgeous murder of crows I saw on the drive to bring my son to school (no buses were running today).   I love crows.  Last Friday we had one sitting on our deck.  Squee!

That’s it, I guess.  Signing off from my “office” at the Glenmont Applebee’s…

Another Wednesday…

Time for another…

2018 ROW80 Check-in WWW Wednesday

Post

(click below an image to go to the specific section you want if you don’t want to read the whole post)

You can see I am making serious progress on that old consistency thing…

First things last and last things first, let’s go with WWW Wednesday where, according to the rules of the bloghop, I need to answer three main questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently? I’m still slowly plowing through Gun, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.  I appreciate Diamond’s intelligence, and I enjoy the actual subject matter, but…  maybe my head just isn’t in it at the moment.  Sometimes I really just want to dive into escapism and mystery, and I have a lot of that on my reading list of late.  I’m also reading Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore by Rose Pressey.  I can’t even say why to be honest.  I read the first two books of the series and liked them “enough”, but didn’t feel I loved them.  But here I am reading #3.  It’s kind of like the Charlie Plato books, I think.  I like just-enough-to-keep-going in them.

Recently? I finished Thursdays at Eight by Debbie Macomber.  It was a revelation.  I totally understand now about how she became a bestselling author.  It’s called a romance, and it is…  but the love interest was Life Itself.  A tale of four women and life…  I really enjoyed it.  Also, I decided to surrender to my inner mule and read that second book in Margaret Chittenden’s Charlie Plato mysteries: Dean Men Don’t Dance.  It was hard to get into, but I guess the heroine, Charlie, is growing on me.  And Monday evening, I finished The Chocolate Cat Caper by JoAnna Carla, a cozy with lots of chocolate trivia interspersed between the covers.  Oh, and a very gorgeous cat named Yonkers…

Next?  It’s pretty sad.  I can repeat my last week list because I moved a bunch of new books into their places: still have the next Molly Murphy mystery Death of Riley, Dear Life by Alice Munro, and the other eight books waiting for me at the library.  Never made it there.  First the weather didn’t hold out, and then I got sick.  It’s where I’m heading as soon as this gets posted.

*Update…  there were eleven books waiting for me, two of which were 600+ page books by Caleb Carr.  Yeah…  I’ve got some reading to do.


Now as far as my ROW80 progress is going…  pretty much good stuff.  Not a lot of new fiction…  I’m actually going to have a problem writing a WIPpet Wednesday post on Many Worlds because I’ve written so little except mind-dumping into 750words.  I didn’t write there on Monday and only wrote 600 of the words yesterday, but in all, more days than not came with some words.

The words weren’t story related, but I do see places where I might eventually evolve the feelings and ideas into characters or their reactions.  My husband and I have also been having some wonderful discussions about characters in shows we like to watch and some books we’ve traded.  It’s interesting to see how his perception of an event and mine differ and how what we believe is “normal” sometimes seems way off from what the writers seem to think it should be.

I’m starting to see why I used to get critiques that said “Why would she do that?  No one would do that!”; all the while I was thinking…  I have, or that I knew someone who did.

World-building…

And that is a topic for another day.  Saturday, to be exact, since our local RWA Chapter is hosting a World Building discussion at the East Greenbush library.  Hoping I can go, but it depends..  my son is participating in Future City at his school, and the local competition is happening this Saturday morning until late afternoon.  There’s a future city idea…  a way to safely clone one’s self just long enough to be in two places at one time and not harm the clone person in the returning of the mind/memories to the original person.  I have a feeling that idea is a long time in coming.

If you could design your perfect futuristic self, what would one thing you could do then be?

As I said last week, I’ve done a lot of reading lately.  Different  genres, authors, size works….  This weekend I finally dipped my toes into the ocean that in James Patterson’s body of work.

Basically, I had to test out the hype for myself.

Now, I do have to confess that these works, two of the Bookshots series to be exact, were only co-authored by Patterson; they were also of a very different style than I normally read.  So to say I didn’t find myself as enthralled as I hoped I would be by the works of this mainstream master isn’t me trying to be critical of his work.

More it was me trying to be critical of myself.

I wanted to understand why I never read any of Patterson’s work (or Nora Roberts or… insert name of best-selling author here).  I often actively avoid such books, preferring to try someone with a smaller backlist or an author I’d never heard of before when I go looking to try something new.   So, yeah…  it was definitely about understanding the hype, but also wondering what made me avoid the “popular” books.  Was it years of high school angst that made me fear messing with the In-crowd.  Did I just inherently dismiss it all as booorr-ing mainstream fluff while the read “deep” things were being done behind closed doors in band and by the kids doing AP Bio and French?

Maybe…  Though also, knowing that many of Patterson’s works were highly action-driven stories, I wanted to see some of that writing style… well, in action.

The lessons I learned, as well those from last week’s foray into Barbara Pym’s and Sir Walter Scott’s works (Crampton Hodnet and Excellent Women as well as The Talisman and Ivanhoe respectively) and my feast of Denise Swanson’s Scumble River detective stories (one a day keeps me at the library) are…

  • putting down a Bookshot book is easy, almost as easy as Ivanhoe, but not nearly as satisfying to pick up again
  • if I’d known about Pym’s works sooner, I’d be a serious Austenite instead of the half-hearted one I am now.
  • I need a series.  Seriously…  if I can’t follow characters through several books (or seasons if it’s a video thing), then it better be a very long book
  • most contemporary fiction characters do not act the way I would write them acting but many of the more classical characters do
  • there’s not much action in an action scene…  at least in a Bookshot

There’s more of course.  But this post is getting long already and I still have a ROW80 check-in to finish.

So, how’d I do?

  • I didn’t quite manage the daily note in my journal.  Some days I didn’t really write anything except texts to be honest.
  • Devouring books however was right on course.  Saturday morning I returned 18 finished books (including the four listed above) to the UHLS and two to the MHLS.  As my interlibrary loan requests were still in transit, I picked up a few books from the books sale and freebies racks to tide me over.  Finished three of those and now working on a romance by a fellow member of our local RWA chapter.
  • I think this definitely qualifies as a mini-post about books I’ve read, though it definitely can’t be called a review
  • have not set anything into motion at the ROW80 blog, though I did have last weeks posts up on schedule for a change
  • and no outline for ‘Listii’s story…  silly man is trying to urge me to return to the Swan Song Series books instead of focusing on him, so I’ve outlined and replotted that

Pretty much all my stuff so far.  This coming week is bound to be extra hectic, so I am probably not going to be posting on Wednesday.  Just sayin’.

 

Continuing on a regular feature here at the Garden of Delights, welcome to Book Review Monday which alternates with Your Inspirations twice a month.  Last time Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War was the feature piece.  Today, let’s enjoy something a bit lighter.

Knees Up, Mother Earth by Robert Rankin

Knees Up Mother Earth

If you’re like me, living across The Pond, you may have heard news stories about European “football” (rugby) teams and how violent and reactionary their fans can get.  And if you’re like me (or even if you actually enjoy sports), you have to wonder what all the fuss is about.

I mean, it isn’t as if seeing your favorite team lose a game once in a while is the end of the world!

Or is it?

Enter the Brentford United FA (Football Association) whose members have been contracted to win every single game of their season and achieve the coveted FA Cup, lest their football field be sold off to a land developer.  Since the team’s plummeting streak has held solid since the 1920’s, there seems to be little chance of saving their beloved club.   But the stakes end up being far more dire.  And even as the team acquires a new captain empowered to propel them to victory, member begin falling by the wayside, only to be replaced with members of a traveling circus.  Still, Brentford United must win, because the alternative is the end of the world.

Knees Up, Mother Earth came to my home by accident almost two years ago.  And once I realized what I’d bought, Borders refused returns on anything because they were closing all their brick & motor stores.  So I shoved it into a pile of ‘not dealing with this now’ books and magazines that monopolize the little bookshelf in our bedroom.  And there it sat, gathering dust while I worked through other books in my list.  Finally this January, I picked it up for my (failed) attempt at the Fifty/Fifty/Me challenge (I still haven’t watched another movie since V for Vendetta).  Oh, and yes, I’ve sat on writing this review for nearly two months now.

So let me first say that my initial reaction to this book was just above ‘negative’.  I’d perhaps heard Rankin’s name somewhere on a random webpage or in conversation somewhere, but it had meant nothing.  And the cover art, as you can see (although my copy has a different cover), didn’t give a real sense of its fantasy genre.  Indeed,  neither the blurb on the back nor the Wikipedia  description of the storyline nor even most of the characters recommended this book to me.  It was about sports (rugby no less, which I only know a pittance about) and hanging out in taverns, boozing…  Heck, the heroes are the town drunks!

I had trouble putting the book down.  I think I could have married Old Pete, wonderful curmudgeon that he was.

Oh, there were lulls,  and it wasn’t really a matter of the super suspenseful  story arc that held me….  Knees Up made me laugh.  I’m sure I missed over a hundred of the little side jokes Rankin included simply because I wasn’t familiar with his “world”, but that didn’t matter.  It is hilarious.  The writing was wonderful too.  Through Rankin’s writing, each character, each place in the story came alive and breathed with believability.  The details not only popped, but were beautifully written (Rankin KNOWS his stuff with words).  As frustrated as the characters made me with their total …humanity!  I couldn’t “hate them”; in fact, I began rooting for them right from the beginning.  I even cried a bit when The Campbell died (though he wanted to, so I must respect that).

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse

I would happily read another book by Robert Rankin–particularly  when it’s noted that most do not consider Knees Up, Mother Earth to be one of his best works.  Perhaps next time, I’ll pick up a copy of  The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse.  Seems fitting for just after Easter.

And just as a side note: Rankin based his book (and according to the Wiki most of his others) in  Brentford, UK (and on their very real football team, the Brentford F.C.)  Looking over online details make Brentford out as a very interesting place too, though nowhere as intimate as Rankin makes it in his book.  I do get the phenomena from my brief time in the UK.  There is a very different feel to towns in the UK to town in the US., and I don’t mean this in criticism to either place.  But I remember sensing much more intimacy and awareness of community in most places in the UK, even larger “towns” which could be easily compared to small cities in the U.S..  (my closest example would be obviously Solihul since that’s where we stayed during our time in England.  Located just south eat of Birmingham, Solihul would easily be comparable to a small city size and population-wise here, but it felt more like a hamlet than anything more.)

Oh, and one other last note…  I have to add a “Thank you” here to Mr. Rankin, for had I not read his book and inspired to look up what inspired him, I would never have found out about the Syon Abbey Monastery.  Now little more than a ruin that is being slowly excavated, it was once the largest monastery in England.  I eventually must return to England just so I can visit Brentford.   I love this sort of thing.

And yes, I would recommend this book to a friend.

First off, let me say a very warm welcome to everyone who chose to click that little “Follow” button–old friends and new:  Evan at The Better Man Project, Coral Russel at the Alchemy of Scrawl, Elizabeth Anne Mitchell at Leavekeeping, Shan Jeniah Burton,  Janeen at Words By Design, Natasha Guadalupe at My Novel Writing Adventures & Other Words, Miss Elsie at bowerdiaries, and Studio Brow.  Thank you!

Today I’m mostly in the mood to talk about books.   I just started one you see–Knees Up, Mother Earth by Robert Rankin.  I’m not sure why…I think it was because it was the only thing on my immediate shelves that called itself fiction, at least without me having to get out the key for my paperback collection.  (I use and old VHS tape cabinet for most of my paperbacks; CDs go in the doors; it’s an odd system, but it works for me).  I don’t have a lot of fiction anymore.  When we moved to our present house, I weeded down my book collection to my few favorites and the books I assumed I would need for research.  I thought I would use the local library more than I have.  I used University of Albany‘s library and the Albany Public Library regularly when I lived there.  It didn’t work out, and that’s a long story in itself.  Suffice it to say, I understand the passion books can incite in one, but a librarian should be more welcoming of the idea that people may want to actually taken them off your shelves and look at them; and the library should be open more hours than two days a week for three hours in the afternoon (that actually has changed in the ten years we’ve been here, but habits have become what they are, and I tend to get my books from other places now). Read the rest of this entry »


First Friday Photo

Something to inspire

obligatory “What I Allow”

Short Stuff

Member of The Internet Defense League

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 761 other followers

Advertisements