Sunday Bookends: When ‘best selling’ authors are a total let down; taking the dog to the groomers; and the perils of living in a rural area

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to, and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in the comments.

What Has Been Occurring

Tuesday morning I woke about the time my husband was leaving for work and sent him a text instead of leaving my warm bed, to tell him I loved him and to have a good day. When I closed my eyes to try to go back to sleep (but never did), I thought about the winding road he drives on to get to work and how it’s made even more dangerous by the threat of deer running out in front of cars and large water trucks taking up more than half of the already narrow road. I prayed for his safety and dozed for a few more moments before starting my day.

Little Miss and I took Zooma the Wonderdog to a local groomers so at the end of the day, when Hubby pulled into the driveway, I let the dog out so he could see her new “do”. The kitten snuck out at the same time and I was chasing her when I noticed my husband was looking very annoyed at the front of his car, taking photos of it with his phone. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. When I saw the smashed in windshield I hugged him and told him I was glad he was alive. More than one fatal accident in our area has been caused by a deer going all the way through a front windshield so the fact he was still standing meant more to me than having to figure out how to pay to fix the damage. The deer hit the left fender, rolled up over the windshield and the top of the car and my husband thinks it kept going. All he knows is that he didn’t see if after that.

Our insurance claimed we had some huge deductible so they won’t cover any of the repairs. Par for the course in our life. We will deal with the repair somehow. I’m just glad we didn’t have hospital expenses or a funeral on top of the car damage.

Other than that, our week was fairly routine and very boring. It was so boring I didn’t even pick up my camera this week so the only photos you’ll have for this week are from the smashed windshield. I would share with you the photos of how awful our dog looks after going to the groomers but one, she looks awful, (little tiny head and huge body because it was the like the groomer only half did the job), and two, I haven’t been able to get her to sit still long enough to get it. My pups long hair I love was pretty much butchered and we’ve decided we will do her grooming from now on.

What I’m Reading

I read a Fannie Flagg book last week and to say I was underwhelmed is an understatement. I was totally shocked at how the entire book “told” a story but never “showed” anything. There were no character descriptions and the dialogue was like I was reading Fannie’s outline for the book. It was like reading a tenth grade book report instead of an actual book. It was just the oddest thing because she’s a New York Times best seller and I couldn’t figure out how based on this book. The story was good, but the telling of it was…well, just a “telling.”

The book was The All-Girls Filling Station Last Reunion. The premise was truly interesting, but the way she just stated the story instead of showing us what happened was so strange. I think maybe she sent her outline for the novel and the publisher accidentally published it and was too embarassed to admit their mistake and retract it.

Listen, I’m not the best writer either but this read like a teenager telling a blow-by-blow telling of their day. In fact, most teenagers could have added more feeling and description to this novel than Fannie did.. Fannie Flagg, as sweet as she seems in real life, should have hired someone to add descriptions and inflections to her novel to make the reader really feel like they were there instead of feel like tey were being presented an oral pesenation on how paint dries.

So, the bottom line? I agreed with this Amazon review: “Although the story was good, the writing was amateur, which is surprising. Fannie Flagg has been one of my favorite writers, but this book was a complete let down. In good writing, the reader gets lost in the story, with no sense of the fact that he or she is in a fictional world. As I read this novel, I was aware at all times of the writing. The character development was often trite and under developed. There was far too much telling of the story–and not nearly enough showing. The story had potential, and with more development, could have been fabulous. Unfortunately, it just fell short.

This doesn’t mean I’ll never try Fannie Flagg again, of course. She’s a good storyteller (She wrote the book that the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was based on) and maybe this book was just a fluke.

I’m still reading Silas Marner and guess what? Once I got over Elliot’s tendency to “over describe” (I know, first I complain about an author that never describes and then I complain about one that describes too much. I’m never happy), and the older language (the book was written in 1861), I got caught up in the story and have been enjoying it. Unfortunately, because the language is a little more of a challenge than the other books I’ve been reading, I can’t read it late at night or I fall asleep. I feel bad I complained about it last week, and the week before, as if I was suffering through reading it. The story really is interesting. There is something for everyone in this one — romance (of sorts), a sweet story about an outcast who wants to adopt a little girl, a traitourous brother, a family scandal and family secrets.

The Boy and I are reading this as part of his Economics/English curriculum (from Notgrass) and he has gotten so into the story he’s been reading ahead of what I assign to him, which is fine by me. I like to see him engaged in something other than Minecraft or Harry Potter (though I don’t mind either of them. I just like that he’s broadening his horizons.).

As if I don’t have enough to read I’m also finishing Charles Martin’s book, which I mentioned last week, and just started Expired Refuge (Last Chance County Book One) by Lisa Phillps.

What I’m Watching

My husband and I watched a couple more episodes of Shakespeare & Hathaway Season 3 on Britbox and last night we watched Death on the Nile, a Hercule Poirot movie from 2004 staring Emily Plunt and David Suchet (who is well known for playing Poirot from 1989 to 2013.). This version of Death on the Nile was a television movie. A remake is being released this year starring Gal Gadot and Kenneth Branagh. See it in a theater near — oh, never mind. See it on your TV later this year.

For those who don’t know, Shakespeare & Hathaway is a fairly light crime show about a private detective team. They became a team sort of by accident. The woman, Luella Shakespeare, came to PI Frank Hathaway, to find out if her fiance is cheating on her. After the investigation the two become a team as she goes into business with him. It’s a fairly formuliac show, but I still like it and the reporte between the two main characters. Sebastian, Frank’s assistant, makes the show even better.

I’m also watching some rather sappy Hallmark movies. I’d rather not talk about that, though.

What I’m Writing

I’m still working on The Farmer’s Daughter (even though I did not share a chapter on Friday, but instead lamented on how I’m hating the story right now) and on Tuesday Quarantined, the novella, will publish on Amazon. On the blog I published:

Faithfully Thinking: Keep Your Eyes Focused on Christ, Not on the Storm;

Randomly Thinking: Pets are Trying to Kill us and Are Cats Inherhently Evil? I Say Yes.

and I shared a guest blog post on Blessings by Me about ways to support your immunity.

As I mentioned above, I don’t have any Photos of the Week this week but will be sure to take some this week to share for next week.

How about you? What’s been happening in your life? What are you reading, watching, writing, listening to, etc.? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends on Monday: Fannie Flagg, Hallmark movie distractions, and playing in leaves

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to, and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in the comments.

The plan to walk among books, touching them, looking at them, choosing some to take home was thwarted Saturday by the memorial service of a sweet 90-year old man who had attended the church I grew up in. He and his tough-talking Bronx-born wife were both piano players who often performed together for local senior groups and others. I last saw them play together about a year ago at my husband’s great-aunt’s 90th birthday party.

It was delightful and mesmorizing to watch them perform, no music in front of them, playing by memory and for Ernie, the husband, by ear. Saying ‘good-bye’ to Ernie here on earth was more important than going to the local library’s fundraising book sale and I’ll have to wait for another time when I can walk among books again. (As we all know, that could be a very long time.)

The memorial service, combined with a week where I didn’t feel particularly motivated to write blog posts, kept me from drafting a Sunday Bookends post for yesterday.

It seemed like every time my mom would call the last couple of weeks, she would tell me someone had died. As soon as she would deliver the bad news, my husband would deliver more bad news with some tragedy or one night the death of a man who was a cornerstone of the community we lived in for 18 years. It’s gotten to the point I’m almost afraid to answer the phone because I figure it’s Mom telling me about someone else’s death.

Despite the depressing news, I was able to drag myself out of depression most days by working on The Farmer’s Daughter, reading a couple of different books, and watching and making fun of some really stupid Hallmark movies.

What I’m Reading

I finished Courtney Walsh’s Just Like Home. So, yeah. I finished it. I should stop there, but I’ll share a couple thoughts instead. First, Courtney is a really good writer, but second, I’ve never seen one romance book use every single romance book trope imaginable not only throughout the entire book, but especially in the last five chapters. Despite not enjoying the use of all those tropes and what felt like a very predictable, rushed ending, the book was a nice distraction from, well, life.

I have not yet finished Silas Marner — again, I should keep my mouth shut, but I won’t because I seriously am baffled how George Elliott is considered an amazing writer. Her run-on sentences make me have vivid flashbacks to the year I had to reach John Steinbeck in high school.

This week I continued reading Down Where My Love Lives, which includes two books (The Dead Don’t Dance and Maggie) by Charles Martin. I’m curious who published this collection because on Kindle the book cover reads The Dead Don’t Dance, but the index reads “The Death Don’t Dance.” It was the second typo I’d seen in a book published by a big name publisher in a week. Despite that odd typo, the book is very good, although slightly depressing and heavy at this point.

Here is a description of the first for those who might be interested:

A sleepy rural town in South Carolina. The end of summer and a baby about to be born. But in the midst of hope and celebration comes unexpected tragedy, and Dylan Styles must come to terms with how much he’s lost. Will the music of his heart be stilled forever—or will he choose to dance with life once more, in spite of sorrow and heartbreak?

The Dead Don’t Dance is a bittersweet yet triumphant love story—a tale of one man’s journey through the darkness of despair and into the light of hope.

Maggie, is the sequel to The Dead Don’t Dance, but I won’t add the description because it’s a major spoiler for the first book. These are Charles Martin’s first two books and he is now a multiple-time New York Times Bestselling author (which my husband says really doesn’t matter anymore considering how far down the NYT has fallen in the journalism world.).

I’m also reading a hardcover of Fannie Flagg’s The All Girl’s Filling Station’s Last Reunion that I reserved at the library, and am enjoying it so far. My mom warned me the book might be “dirty” because she said one she’d read by her before had had something “dirty” in it, but so far the book has had no dirt and only one swear word and I’m half way through it. I did find a typo in it, which made me feel better about my typos, considering this was edited was by a large publishing firm.

For those who might be interested, here is a description:

The one and only Fannie Flagg, beloved author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven, and I Still Dream About You, is at her hilarious and superb best in this new comic mystery novel about two women who are forced to reimagine who they are.

Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama, has just married off the last of her daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps traveling with her husband, Earle. The only thing left to contend with is her mother, the formidable Lenore Simmons Krackenberry. Lenore may be a lot of fun for other people, but is, for the most part, an overbearing presence for her daughter. Then one day, quite by accident, Sookie discovers a secret about her mother’s past that knocks her for a loop and suddenly calls into question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family, and her future.

Sookie begins a search for answers that takes her to California, the Midwest, and back in time, to the 1940s, when an irrepressible woman named Fritzi takes on the job of running her family’s filling station. Soon truck drivers are changing their routes to fill up at the All-Girl Filling Station. Then, Fritzi sees an opportunity for an even more groundbreaking adventure. As Sookie learns about the adventures of the girls at the All-Girl Filling Station, she finds herself with new inspiration for her own life.

What I’ve Been Watching

Last week I watched The Outsider with Tim Daly and Naomi Watts. It’s classified as a Western/Romance by Google. Filmed in 2002, it was fairly clean but also pretty unbelievable in some parts. It’s a movie, though, so we’ll let those parts slide. Daly was — quite honestly — hot in this movie. It completely erased my memories of him on Wings and made me wonder why he didn’t do more acting in movies. After I saw some clips about it YouTube, I discovered Hallmark had edited the sex scene out on the Amazon app. Yes, I signed up for the Hallmark channel on Amazon for a month and I’m somewhat regretting it at his point. I regret it when I watch movies made from about 2010 on because they are so cheesy, predictable and horribly acted. Luckily The Outsider featured some strong acting and I was able to stomach it enough to not fast forward the majority of it.

My husband and I are continuing to watch Murdoch Mysteries and we were also thrilled they are adding episodes of Shakespeare and Hathaway’s third season on Britbox (another Amazon offer). There are two up and they are apparently adding a new one every Tuesday. Both of these shows are fairly clean, simple, formulaic mystery/crime shows. We’ve been finding these types of shows are about all our brains can handle with all the weirdness of the world going on around us.

What I’ve Been Writing

I finished making changes in Quarantined so that I can publish it on Kindle on October 20 and continued writing The Farmer’s Daughter, sharing another chapter on the blog this week. Thursday I answered a question if Quarantined was a horror book or a romance.

So what have you been doing, reading, or watching? Let me know in the comments.

Photos of the Week:

I have less photos this week. I didn’t take as many. There is one in here of a chipmunk that was watching us from a hole in a tree in my parent’s yard while we played in the leaves Sunday. It cracked me up how he just sat there, acting like we couldn’t see him while he hid from our dog and watched us. He eventually escaped to hide under a storage shed.