Category: books and reading

My week in books

I’m in the midst of the same books I’ve been reading, so I don’t have a lot to report on the book front for this week for the weekly “Sunday Salon”.

First a little bit about when I read and how (playing off my brother’s post from last week). I read any hardcopy books during the day and books on my Kindle I read mainly at night so I can use the backlight on the Kindle, but not use the way-too-bright book light I bought on Amazon for my hardcopy books. So, I usually have at least two books going at a time – one hardcopy and one Kindle.

This week I’m reading the fourth book in The Cat Who series (The Cat Who Saw Red) on the Kindle and the fifth book in the Mitford series by Jan Karon in hardcopy version. I could have bought the Jan Karon book on the Kindle, but it was $5 more on Kindle than a paperback and I got stingy and bought a used copy of it online instead. I bought that used copy and then realized I actually had a copy of the book in my collection so I didn’t need to buy it after all. Oops. Now I have two copies.

I read the Mitford series years ago – or so I thought. It turns out I missed a few books so I’m going back and rereading them. Book 5, ‘A New Song’ takes place on White Cap Island, which is obviously not the main character’s hometown of Mitford. Actually, Mitford isn’t Father Tim’s hometown, but it’s where he’s lived for 16 years since becoming the parish priest of the local Episcopal Church.

If you haven’t already guessed, or don’t know about the Mitford series, the books follow the everyday life of Father Tim Kavanaugh and the characters he meets, adopts, or has becomes friends within the small North Carolina town of Mitford. I can relate to these books because my mom is originally from North Carolina and she is even familiar with some of the towns mentioned in the book, except for Mitford, which is fictional. Plus I live in a small town and some of the characters in the fictional Mitford remind me of real-life characters in the small town I grew up in.

Almost all of the books in the series take place in or around Mitford, with exception of A New Song and A Home to Holly Springs (when Father Tim returns to his hometown). In A New Song, Father Tim has retired from his parish in Mitford and has been assigned, temporarily, to a church on an island, so we are introduced to an entirely new cast of characters, while also hearing from the old ones.

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I won’t mention too many other characters other than Father Tim or I’ll spoil some of the books for you. If you’re looking for something hard hitting, you won’t find it in these books. They do feature some tough moments, some moments that will bring tears of sadness to your eyes, and maybe a cringe or two from the seriousness of the subject, but for the most part, you’ll take a peaceful walk with Father Tim, with a bit of drama thrown in from time to time. In other words, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry…etc., etc. You get the drift. I find I run to Mitford when the rest of the world seems to be crashing down around me. It’s a great, often light-hearted escape (unless Mrs. Karon decides to kill off a favorite character or two and then I end up bawling about how her books are too stinking real and life sucks and hand me the chocolate ice cream already!)

The Cat Who books by Lillian Jackson Braun are similarly fairly light, but are mysteries. As I’ve mentioned before, the books follow Jim Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats Koko and Yum Yum. Koko is mysteriously brilliant for a cat and always seems to help Qwill, as he is called affectionately throughout the book, solve mysteries that Qwill shouldn’t even be involved in. Braun refers to Qwilleran as Qwilleran throughout the books. He’s a newspaper reporter who often gets assigned the lame beats, like fashion or cuisine, or something else he deems as beneath him because his start was in the crime departments of bigger newspapers than where he is working now.

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I can relate to the Cat Who books for a couple of reasons. First, Qwill is a newspaper reporter, which I was for 14 years and my husband still is. Second, Qwill is in his mid-40s and I’m almost in my mid-40s. Braun does seem to describe him a little too often as graying and old, which reminds me I’m graying and old, but Qwill’s quirky cats and personality make up for that for me.

So how about you? What are you currently reading this week? Want to see what others are reading this week? Then join Readerbuzz’s Sunday Salon, Or Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where other readers (most of them really cool book bloggers, unlike this blogger who is sort of a “whatever blogger) and if you want, add your own post about what you are reading, watching, doing, thinking, eating, or whatevering this week.

For those of us who celebrate Easter – I leave with you one of my favorite Easter songs, adaptly titled “The Easter Song” by Keith Green.

 

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Weekly Round Up and Favorite blog posts

I thought I’d start a weekly tradition of wrapping up my posts from the past week and also share some favorite blog posts from other bloggers. Hopefully, it will be a tradition. It may just be a one-off thing, knowing me.

Tuesday I shared my monthly 10 on 10 post, which is part of a blog circle with other photographers. We share ten photos from the previous month, from either one day, event, or subject, or simply our favorite photos from the month.

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On Wednesday I rambled about what books I’m reading and some of the cons of getting back into reading – like forgetting to feed my children. Oops.

On Thursday I shared the latest installment in a story I have been writing, based on the story in the Bible about Jesus raising a 12-year old girl from the dead.

For some of my favorite blog posts from this week, (disclaimer: I actually read some of them last week, but I’m SHARING them this week, so hey, that’s how it works in my world):

Blessings by Me wrote this post about 5 Indoor Plants That are Hard To Kill. I found this interesting because I’m a plant killer and I don’t have hope that I could keep even the plants on this list alive. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve killed at least one of them at least once, if not more than once.

Michelle at The Green Study cracks me up because she puts such a creative spin on the highs and lows of life. This post, “My Misery Brought A Plus One” is one of the more creative posts I’ve read about being sick.

As a fellow mom, this post “You pretty, Mommy,” by Cheyenne on Chey’s Corner, gave me “all the feels” as people younger than me say. It’s a great reminder for mom’s that our children don’t see us the way we see ourselves. They don’t see the flaws or shortcomings. They just see the mom they love.

bryanI wouldn’t normally promote my brother’s blog because it gives him a big head (like the photo he uses for his blog header), but I did like his post for the Sunday Salon this week when he asked how people read but also WHEN do they read. His post was part of a link up of other bloggers who read or review books and then write about it on their blogs. Most of them are strictly book bloggers and it’s a great list of links where you can find some good ideas for new books to read.

So what did you post this week? Read any good posts by other bloggers? Let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for new bloggers.

 

Tell Me More About . . . Maureen Wright, children’s book author

I remember the first time my son and I read a Maureen Wright book. It was “Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep,” the sweet story about a bear who is being reminded by Old Man Winter that he needs to sleep for the winter, but doesn’t seem to be able to hear him, so instead Big Bear ends up on a middle of the night adventure.

Each night we read it, we couldn’t only read it just once. My son would ask for it to be read again and again and it was one of the few books I didn’t mind repeating. The story is creative and catchy and the artwork by Will Hillenbrand is mesmerizing. Flash forward to now and there are now three Big Bear books and a collection of other books by Maureen that I now read to my 4-year-old daughter. Her current favorite is also Maureen’s best seller, “Sneezy the Snowman.”

What’s special about Maureen’s stories, beyond the fact they are a delight to read and the artwork is so stellar, is that they are written by someone who lives in the town my children and I now live in. Even though I’ve seen her often, either reading her book at the library, or selling her copies personally at local events, I still feel like I’m meeting a celebrity each time I see her, maybe because her stories have been such a part of the bonding time with my children.

I’m so thankful to Maureen for taking a few moments to answer some questions for this weeks Tell Me More About . . . feature and that I’m able to introduce her special books to my readers.

45095165_166161841001041_1170191499384586240_nCould you tell us a little bit about yourself, such as where you grew up, family, etc. ?

I grew up in Athens, PA. I met my husband, Don, at Main Elementary in Athens in fourth grade. We have three grown sons, two daughters-in-law, and three little grandsons We live in Athens Township in the old farmhouse his great-grandparents built in the 1880’s.

When did you realize you enjoyed writing?
I was in third grade when I knew I wanted to be a writer I was doing a writing homework assignment. I even remember where I was sitting in the house that I grew up in when this feeling came over me — an awareness that I loved to write.

 What made you decide to write books for children?

I loved reading books to my children when they were young It was my favorite thing to do with them.

What inspired you to write the Big Bear series?

I am a lot like Big Bear. We both usually think we are right and most of the time we are both wrong!

Which of your books seems to be the most popular among children?

“Sneezy the Snowman” is my best seller. I recently received a framed copy of the book from my publisher because it has sold over 100,000 copies. It was totally unexpected. At the time, I was waiting for my niece to mail me a picture frame. When I opened the package, I wondered, “Why did Anna put “Sneezy the Snowman” in the frame?” Then I read the plaque on the frame.

 What authors have inspired you over the years?

I have been inspired by any well-written rhyming book.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what is it?

If I have a story I’m working on, I am excited to get out of bed in the morning to work on it. I read aloud my stories dozens and dozens of times to get the rhythm right. Whenever my cat Juanita hears me, she runs to my side and sits on the arm of the sofa. She is always the first one to hear my stories.

Do you have future projects coming up? Books or otherwise?

My next book is “Super Rooster to the Rescue” due out in August of 2020. Rob McClurkan is the illustrator. It will be my tenth picture book.

 Anything else you would like people to know about you or your books?

I love reading to children and encouraging them to follow their dreams. I was rejected by publishers for twenty years before an editor, Margery Cuyler at Marshall Cavendish, took me under her wing. I will always be grateful to her for pulling my story out of “the slush pile.” (Unsolicited manuscripts on an editor’s desk.)


Do you know someone you think would be great for my Tell Me More About . . . feature? Maybe that someone is you! You, or the person you suggest, doesn’t need to be from my area to be featured. You can send any suggestions for features to lisahoweler@gmail.com or use the contact form at the top of the page.