Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.
What’s Been Occurring
Last week was supposed to be my busiest week of the month, but after a couple of appointments were moved around and my parents contracted Covid, almost all of what I had to do was shelved.
My parents didn’t allow me to help them much while they were sick, but luckily their case has been fairly mild. It certainly didn’t make them feel well, but it did not hit their lungs as severely as it hit mine. Thank God. I don’t mean to say that my lungs were severely damaged as they remained clear even during the hospital stay, but my oxygen did drop quite a bit and so far that has not happened with my parents.
While my parents were sick, other friends of ours also caught the dreaded virus and it was quite rough on them. One is on oxygen and the others are recovering but were left with damaged smell and taste, similar to what my son and I are still dealing with. I am also still dealing with hairloss and have asked my son if I can borrow one of his knit hats if I should discover a bald spot this week. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised.
We enjoyed one or two days of warmer weather this week and this weekend it went back to winter temperatures.
Today and tomorrow we are lighting the woodstove. That’s how cold it is going to be. Then I believe the temperatures might warm up a bit again later in the week. For now, though, they are calling for a high of 23 on Tuesday. It is the end of March! Gah!
What I/We’ve Been Reading
I am still reading Call Me A Cab by Donald Westlake and this is a bit of a different book than I usually read, but I am enjoying it.
I think it is a different book for Donald Westlake too, but this is my first book by him so I’m not sure. My husband, who is a huge fan of his, says he writes all kinds of styles of books but, yes, crime is among his most popular.
My husband says that this book was one of a few unpublished works that were found by his wife in his desk after he died. It was published last year by Hard Case Crime Novels as a full novel but another source I bumped into said it was originally published in Redbook in an abridged form. I’m not sure if the Redbook info is accurate or not.
Either way, the premise is that a woman asks a New York City cab driver if he will drive her to meet her fiancé in Los Angeles. The cab driver checks briefly with his boss, who also happens to be his dad, and agrees after the woman offers him a few thousand, plus expenses, for the trip. What follows is the story of their journey and her reason for the trip — which is to give her more time to decide if she really wants to marry Barry, her plastic surgeon fiancé who lives in LA.
I’m about a third through the book and so far, I really enjoy Westlake’s humor and the way he doesn’t drag out descriptions until you completely lose track of the story. I can’t even remember if he described It’s so different than how I’ve been told to write, and I love it.
The chemistry between the two main characters keeps me reading because I need to find out what happens to the woman, Katharine Scott. I’m on Chapter 16 and I think it was the first time I learned the cab driver’s full name — Tom Felton. Some people don’t like when a book is written in first person but this one is interwoven with such much entertaining dry wit that I can’t see how it could be written in third person.
I caught this description on Penguin House and thought I would share it here to explain the plot better than I can:
In 1977, one of the world’s finest crime novelists turned his pen to suspense of a very different sort – and the results have never been published, until now.
Fans of mystery fiction have often pondered whether it would be possible to write a suspense novel without any crime at all, and in CALL ME A CAB the masterful Donald E. Westlake answered the question in his inimitable style. You won’t find any crime in these pages – but what you will find is a wonderful suspense story, about a New York City taxi driver hired to drive a beautiful woman all the way across America, from Manhattan to Los Angeles, where the biggest decision of her life is waiting to be made. From Pennsylvania to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada on the way to California, the characters’ odyssey takes them through uncharted territory – on the map and in their lives.
It’s Westlake at his witty, thought-provoking best, and it proves that a page-turner doesn’t need to have a bomb set to go off at the end of it in order to keep sparks flying every step of the way.
I’m not sure I’ll make it since I’m such a slow reader (I get distracted eas — squirrel!), but I hope to finish the book by the end of this week.
If you are curious about the book, you can find a link to an excerpt on the Crime Reads site.
Last week I finished Every Star in the Sky by Sara Davison. I enjoyed the book but ended up skipping a lot because I felt like it was fairly tedious in parts, even though it was a very important subject matter and very well written. There seemed to be several slower parts that I wasn’t sure were needed but then again it was important to show the healing the young main character needed after eight years of being held captive by a sex trafficker.
The book did not go into explicit detail regarding the main character’s abuse but it made it clear she was very abused, sexually and otherwise, as well as being forced into prostitution. In other words, it was a tough book to read because of the subject matter but also very important.
What We watched/are Watching
The husband and I watched a lot of Brokenwood Mysteries this past week.
What I like about Brokenwood is how well-rounded the main character is or at least is becoming as the series goes on. Each episode (which are about 90 minutes long, so like mini-movies) we receive another breadcrumb of information about his personal life and I like that. We don’t learn as much about his partner, Sims, as the series goes on, however. I haven’ t got a clue about her family or her personal life at all as we never see her at home or anywhere but at work. Maybe we will as the series goes on, but Mike is really the main character anyhow so he’s the main one we want to know about. I like Mike. He is like a mix of two or three newspaper editors I had all rolled into one. That’s hard to explain but as a combination, I like Mike much better than I liked any one of those editors, though I liked one much more than the other two.
I also watched a Bob Hope movie called Alias Jesse James. I missed a lot of it because I seem to get interrupted a lot when I am trying to watch a movie by myself.
I also watched a comedy special on Amazon with Jeff Alan called I Can Laugh About It Now.
What I’m Writing
Last week I shared:
This week I have some other blog posts I hope to share and I also hope to work more on writing Mercy’s Shore, the next book in the Spencer Valley Chronicles.
What I’m Listening To
I have been forced to listen to the songs from Encanto over and over again this week as well as some Katy Perry because Little Miss has heard these songs either from the movie or on Youtube. Youtube is being taken away from her this week because I either have to listen to weird gaming YouTubers or various renditions of the songs of Encanto. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Encanto and the music but I don’t need to hear the songs on repeat. All day. Every day. For weeks and weeks. Or sung by Little Miss and all her little friends.
To break up the monotony, I listened to some Rend Collective. Revival Anthem is one of my favorite songs by them. I do ask, if you listen to it, that you play it very loud and dance a bit to it. Don’t be shy. Enjoy the rhythm and the words. It will brighten up your day. I need songs like this. Songs that will let me shout away the depression and anxiety with God’s truth. Try it. It’s fun.
Spirit fall down
Start a Holy riot
Fill this place now
With the tongues of fire
Break the strongholds
Come and unleash heaven
Burn within us Make us bold as lions
This is our revival anthem
Can you feel the darkness shaking
Oh, we are the dry bones rising
This will be our great awakening
This is our revival anthem
Fill our hearts, Lord With a Holy danger Lead us beyond
Our fear of failure
We’ll fight the good fight In Your strength and power
We’ll take back the night Victory is ours
We will praise You when our hearts are breaking
Praise You when our world is caving
We will not, we will not be moved
We will praise You till we see Your kingdom
Greater things are surely coming
You are God, and You are on the move
Now it’s your turn
What have you been doing this week? Reading, watching, writing, or listening to? Let me know in the comments.