Looking for a good book?

 

Avid readers are always looking for a “good” book. Of course what makes a book good to one reader is not necessarily going to appeal to the next, but we all search for that sometimes elusive read that will have us turning the pages into the wee hours of the night. We read reviews, seek out books on-line, watch for our favorite authors latest releases, and most importantly look for suggestions from fellow readers for word of mouth is said to be the best advertising off all.

 

And so I present three books I’ve read recently for your consideration.

 

   French Rhapsody by Antoine Laurain

A letter that arrives 33 years late, a rock band that missed a chance to touch fame, the members of that group who have led diverse lives now trying to reconnect. Throw in right wing politics, an upcoming election and you have a compelling read. I decided to read this novel because I had already enjoyed two of Laurain’s books, The President’s Hat and The Red Notebook. And, bonus, he has another out soon called, The Portrait. It’s on my wish list.

 

 

  The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson

Two women who lived 400 years apart are brought together by an embroidery book with faint dairy entries that tells a tale of pirates and captivity in 1625 Morocco. This review comment was enough to entice me to read the book. “The Tenth Gift is wildly yet convincingly romantic—a rare combo…both a sensitive portrayal of Muslim culture and a delectable adventure of the heart.”—USA Today

I now have more of Johnson’s novels loaded in my Kindle.

 

 

Watch the Shadows by Robin Winter

I know Robin (via the Internet) and had already read her first book Night Must Wait, a gripping story of the Biafran War. I tried to read her second book, Future Past, but it was too dark for me. Watch the Shadows is dark too, but so intriguing. Winters brings together a diverse group of characters—several homeless people, a postman, a couple of professors…. and a young girl determined to solve the mystery of the odd things that are happening in her neighborhood. Where have the birds gone? Why have many of the homeless disappeared? How did her neighbor’s cat lose its tail? I’m glued to this book every night and will be until I finish it.

 

What are you reading? Which books do you recommend?

 

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Back to school

classroom

 

OVERHEARD

Two young mom’s:

A – The teacher wants them to read 15 min a day.
B – But they’re boys.
A – I know. Sports are more important to them.

Teacher of grade 7:

Student:  Mr. R. your hair isn’t really blond.
Mr. R.:  Nope. It’s very silver white.
Student:  But why? You’re only like 20 something, right???
Mr. R.  Oh, yeah, 20 something. 😂😂😂

Principal of junior high:

We’ve got kids who have come from refugee camps, so things like getting those kids to line up is a challenge because for them what they saw in a line up was, “I’m going to have to beat my neighbor to get to the rice.” It’s trauma inducing. So,  in this school we have to address our processes and how we do things because we can traumatize the kids just by doing stuff that we take for granted.

School secretary:

Student: Mrs. A. I can’t go home.
Mrs. A. Why not?

Student: I can’t unlock my bike.
Mrs. A. Why not?

Student: I swallowed the key.

 

 

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

Multi-generational living – are we missing out?

Moving in

Moving in

 

Multi-generational living – are we missing out?

Through a set of unforeseen circumstances, our family life changed drastically and our daughter and young granddaughter moved in with us. We live in a 1600 square foot condo with a large living room/kitchen, a media room, an office, a large front closet, and two bedrooms, each with a walk-in closet and full bath. The floor plan offers needed privacy to go along with communal living.

Initially, I thought we’d be fine with this living arrangement. Now, a year later, while our daughter hunts for their own home, I find that I don’t want them to move out. Living together has been better than “fine.”

Helping our daughter with child care is a breeze when said child is in the same house. It’s not just the convenience of having her right here when it’s time to take her to school, or pick her up, or take her to an appointment. It’s the joy of having her energy and enthusiasm filling the house with laughter. “Grandpa, will you play two rounds of museum guard with me?”—a game she made up and for which she has detailed explanations and rules. “Grandma, can I read to you?” I’ve heard all of her books hundreds of times and love each and every reading. Yes, sometimes there are tears and whining, but that’s okay too.

Then there are the benefits of having an extra adult to share the work load and the expenses. Speaking of expenses, I have yet to calculate the savings by not duplicating—one set of appliances instead of two must equal four or five thousand dollars, one set of utility bills instead of two translates to a savings of four to five hundred dollars (or more) a month.

This communal living has psychological benefits too. The teaching and learning that flows back and forth—I’ve had to search Google to find out about some of the things our granddaughter talks about from school—the hugs and teasing, the caring and sharing, all of it priceless and beneficial for everyone. We offer stability and security, an oral history of our family, a perspective and wisdom (I hope) from our life experience. Our daughter keeps us current. Our granddaughter keeps us young. And love bounces off the walls.

It is said that multi-generational living went out of fashion with the surge of baby boomers. I’m one of those boomers and yes, we all thought we had to have our own homes; the bigger the better, right? Many of us followed jobs that took us miles away from our parents. Seeing, first hand, the benefits communal living has brought us, I wonder how that isolation from family impacts our children and our grandchildren. How does it impact us? What do we all lose in that separation of generations?

 

 

 

 

10 tips for readers

reading

There are many articles about writing and many lists of writing tips for the novice authors. Pretty much every well-known author has such a list attributed to him or her.

But how often do we come across a “Tips for Readers” list? I have never seen one so, as an avid reader, I’ve decided to do one of my own.

  1. Buy an e-reader. My personal favorite is the Paperwhite, but they all have their good points, so take your pick and carry your library with you.
  1. Take it everywhere you go. You never know when there’ll be a moment or two to dive into a book.
  1. If you can, have a reading app on your phone as well, just in case your e-reader runs out of charge.
  1. Have several book samples on your e-reader to avoid the risk of having nothing to read and being reduced to biting your nails.
  1. Stand up, stretch your legs, and arch your back from time to time. You certainly can’t let pain distract you.
  1. When you don’t want to engage in meaningless chitchat with the stranger beside you, hide behind your e-reader. You might even have to do this from time to time with people you know and like.
  1. Pause for a moment, close your eyes. Let them rest while you ponder the wisdom/wit/humor/deep thought of the novel you’re currently reading.
  1. When people ask what you’re reading lie and say, War and Peace, and then go back to the heaving bosoms and throbbing members.
  1. If you don’t like the book you’re reading, delete it and move on.
  1. Don’t read and drive!

 

LEARN MORE

Evolution

AgfaPhoto

 

Howling winter winds pounding the snow into hard packed drifts. Howling summer winds snatching the precious top soil from the fields. Isolated. Lonely. No electricity. No radio. No television. What was a child to do?

Read. No matter that there were less than half a dozen books in the house. They could always be read and reread.

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The fuzzy wuzzy Santa lost much of his fuzz from all the touches. The pop-up book barely escaped tears from all the pulling to see what treasures were in those pictures.

And what did that child do when she was an adult? Bought books of course—and to replace the pop-up books of childhood, she bought Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine series with their letters to be pulled out, unfolded, read, and tucked back into their envelopes.

And what did that child do when she had children of her own? Bought them books of course, the favorites being pop-ups which they read over and over again. That mother marveled with her children at the magic of the books with their pullout bits, their wheels to turn, their pages that magically grew as they were opened and the school house with all the windows to peer into.

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And what did that child do when she had a granddaughter? Bought her books of course, the favorites being pop-ups which they read over and over again. That grandmother marveled with her munchkin at the magic of the intricate designs–whole playgrounds that popped up to surprise and delight them.

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We’ve come a long way, baby. A long way.

Santa Claus and the Little Lost Kitten by Louise W. Meyers 1952

Santa’s Christmas Party by Helen Sterling 1951

Mother Goose – Hallmark (no date)

School Bugs by David A. Carter 2000

 

 

How did you get hooked on reading?

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“How did you get hooked on reading?” I asked a few friends and this is what they had to say.

M said:

Perhaps because I’m an only child books were ever-present friends and I immersed myself in them from an early age. My father was an avid reader and he introduced me to his library when I was young, encouraging me to read what he felt were age-appropriate selections from his collection. I now have his library integrated with my own. He favoured Canadian and British authors and anticipated new publications from favourite writers. He particularly enjoyed historical novels such as those penned by Thomas Costain and Pierre Berton, authors I could read when young and revisit later on and appreciate differently. I was always given books at Christmas and on my birthday, this still being my fervent request. The women in the book club to which I belong have eclectic tastes. Some of these women either are British or married to Brits. Because of this my horizons have been expanded to include authors I might not have readily found or gravitated to. And so my passion continues to be fueled.

And what, Darlene, sparked your passion?

I was an only child on a farm in Saskatchewan—isolated and lonely—for many years before my sisters came along. Mom and Dad were poor so I had few toys and fewer books. Little Lulu comics were a huge treat and I poured over them endlessly. (I wish I had kept them.) Once in a while Dad had a little extra money and he’d buy the big fat edition. You can imagine my delight.

Then I started school in the one-room school house and discovered books. I read all that the little book room at the back had to offer and then read them again. Moving to the city brought the miracle of the bookmobile that came to our corner. But, there was a problem. I could only take out 3 books at a time. I’d pick 6 or 8 that interested me and then agonize over which 3 to take.

Now all these years later, I still prefer books to all other forms of entertainment.

One child with no books, another surrounded by them and both become avid readers. Perhaps the need to read is within the child more than the circumstances.

And those who come to reading as adults?

A said:

A friend came to visit my husband and me when we were young newlyweds. She brought along a woman from France. Over dinner, the discussion turned to books. I hadn’t read them, but I’d seen the movies. I realized during the conversation that I missed so much by not reading. I felt my understanding was inadequate. I wanted to read, to catch up. I asked the women what to read. There was a second hand book store a block away. We went over and the French woman began pulling books off the shelves. I went home with a brown paper bag full of books, pulled out Crime and Punishment and began to read. I haven’t stopped since.

P said:

I came to reading late in life. As a child, I hated books. My mother had died; my 14 year old sister was taking care of us. My father was away a lot, and when he was home, he hid behind books, rarely interacting with us. Books, his refuge, were my nemesis.

We were poor. I had no shoes to go to school in. My mother’s family had a business—a trading post type of store. We kids played in the sandbox with the family silverware. My schooling was limited to grade five so reading, for me, was not easy. Years later, when my husband was ill, I needed an escape from the care giving. My daughter-in-law found books that were easy to read and at the same time interesting. I read one, then another and another. Now, reading is a pleasure I wouldn’t want to be without.

And you? What’s your reading story?

A reader or a writer, which would you rather be?

Oh boy, I have to say I dislike either/or questions because most of the time I want both. Greedy, I guess, but I can’t imagine writing without reading and I lived too many years of reading without writing to stop now.

As a kid I always had my nose in a book. I carried it around while I dusted around the ornaments and doilies. Of course my mother made me put the book down and dust properly. Putting a book down was agony!

Each Christmas Eve we were allowed to open one present. Good thing it was obvious by feel which was the book. Problem was I finished reading it that evening, but then I could always reread it Christmas Day.

Sometime during my teens the desire to write began to loom in my heart. But, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I followed that dream. And now, here I am with three books published, and the fourth a work in progress. Now, I can’t imagine a day without writing.

There are many joys in writing—creating the story, the characters who become friends, playing with the plot line, throwing in a fight or two, and of course a love triangle (that’s the romance, right?). In my story, I have the fun of adding magical elements with the otherworldly characters who give the heroine special powers.

And you? How do reading and writing fit in your life?