Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann
@ 3:34 pm
We made a round trip journey to Buffalo yesterday, October 30th, (my husband had a doctor appointment), temperatures hovered between 33 and 38. We drove on slushy highways thorough many spitting snow flurries. On the way home at the crest of a hill north of Ellicottville, N.Y. we saw our first snow, just a thin layer of lacy snow on the branches of huge pine trees. It was so beautiful. Snow is predicted for the next two days and I have an appointment to get my winter tires put on November 2. We’ve cancelled our annual January trip to South Carolina due to Covid.
I’ve started my early Christmas preparations in earnest. Sewing double sided fleece blankets but only 15 this year. Last year I made more than 40. My sewing machine has been a challenge, I’ve had to take it for repair twice in the last 2 weeks. It’s always something!
Our ’sisters writing project’ is progressing slowly, today we tried Zoom but my computer wouldn’t cooperate. So we had a three-way phone conversation, and agreed on a ‘road map’ to continue on through the winter months. It’s a challenge to blend our three different perspectives into one novel. BUT it’s working and worth it!
I’ve read several books in October, a very eclectic list:
When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal. Fiction. 2019. My book club’s choice. A story about two sisters who grew up on the Santa Cruz, CA beaches, until their lives are upended by a ferocious Earthquake and life as they knew is over. One sister becomes an E.R. doctor. The other fakes her death in a train accident in France after drifting around the world in a haze of drugs and promiscuity. She starts her life over in New Zealand with a new identity. It starts a bit slow but quickly becomes a page turner. A very good book. Lots to think about, it should generate a great discussion for our book group.
My Name Is Layla by Reyna Marder Gentin. Teen fiction. 2021. This is an Advance Reader Copy for review. My review should be posted within the week at https://www.storycircle.org/book_review/ It’s a great little book told in the point of view of a thirteen year old girl. It will show young readers that even when they feel they don’t fit quite right anywhere and even when they make poor choices, there is hope at the end of the tunnel. It will make a wonderful Christmas for our 13 year old great granddaughter. It brought back long ago memories of eighth grade, my least favorite year of school!
The Time of Our Lives by Peggy Noonan. Nonfiction/Essays. 2015. Ms. Noonan was President Reagan’s speech writer and has been a Wall St. Journal weekly columnist since then. She weaves together stories about Margaret Thatcher, Joan Rivers, Tim Russert, 9-11 grief and her own personal rags to riches story as well as personal comments on Reagan. She’s also the author of eight N.Y Times best selling books. This is the first one of her books I’ve read, though I’ve reads some of her columns over the years.
Every Second Tuesday By Elwood
Writers; Jennifer Bryce, Barry Lee Thompson, Helen McDonald and Margaret
McCaffrey. Memoir, Poetry, and Short Fiction. 2020. From the back
cover: A group of writers meet every second Tuesday in a seaside suburb
of Melbourne. They capture points of drama often found in every day
A man celebrates his birthday alone, content with the solitude.
A woman whimsically irons out the creases of her life.
A couple struggles with the precarious life of their premature baby.
The discovery of a grandfather’s World War I diary, written in the trenches, stirs heart-breaking memories.
a well written compilation easy to read in snips and pieces, something
to interest almost any reader. I enjoy reading stories with an
Australian human twist. I highly recommend this anthology.
I read two family memoirs by country music stars:
Sister Robbie, True Tales of the Family Band. 2020. By Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson, With David Ritz. It’s the untold story of Willie Nelson and his sister Bobbie, who, over the years supported each other through personal tragedies and triumphs and forged an unbreakable bond through their shared love of music and family. A fast and interesting read, I am in awe of such gifted musicians. Resiliency is the key word that comes to mind when I think of these fantastic performers. He said of his sister, “…I didn’t understand what was going on, but I trusted Bobbie. She kept saying we were going to win. She had faith. She gave me faith. She promised me that our lives wouldn’t be ruined.” I could hear the songs in my head as I read some of the stories behind the inspirations to write them. Amazing story.
Me and Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust by Loretta Lynn and her daughter Patsy Lynn Russell. (This daughter is named after Patsy Cline.) Memoir and Tribute to Patsy Cline. 2020. Loretta Lynn arrived in Nashville sixty years ago, a broke young mother, to take on the country music business. Patsy Cline was already a star. Rather than competing with each other, they forged a friendship and leaned on each other while balancing touring, raising children, writing songs and making dinner. A beautiful up-close and personal portrait of friendship. A very good book,I could almost hear Loretta Lynn’s voice as I read the pages!
We also watched two good movies this month at our local Movie House:
War With Grandpa, starring Robert DeNiro and Uma Thurman. It was good to just sit and laugh out loud at this funny and often silly movie. It was just what we needed. I actually went to see it twice, once with my husband and the second time with a friend who needed a laugh.
Honest Thief starring Liam Neesan. This was a really good movie with surprising clever twists. I highly recommend it. Somehow this familiar actor makes me feel safe and protected even when he plays a thief!
Till next month, stay safe and well my friends.
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann
@ 11:57 am
October sneaked up on me this year! September has been one of our best months since the Covid-19 restrictions changed our lives. Our family gathered to celebrate my birthday over Labor Day weekend; our first gathering since Christmas. We even included an Easter egg hunt for the great-grands, (plastic eggs, of course.) It was great to be together again. Not everyone could come but 22 of us had a wonderful day, and the others were deeply missed. Our large and wonderful family is safe and well; we are ever so thankful for that.
I love the cooler brisk weather. Fall has long been my favorite season, and this September has been more like the weather of past Septembers. The autumn leaves in Northwest Pennsylvania have been spectacular the last ten days - contrasts of yellow, orange and red juxtaposed with the evergreens make incredible eye candy, especially when the sun beams on them against a clear blue sky.
We have visited our two college granddaughters at their campuses and taken them to dinner this week. They are such bright, creative and sweet girls. I’d love them even if they weren’t my granddaughters! They both lament, rightfully so, about so many of their classes being online. And all the regimented rules of order forced on them. But both find plenty of good to be happy about - and are finding their way in this crazy world.
My ’sister‘ writing partners and I met three Saturday mornings in September. Our project is really coming along. We’ve all invested many hours into it and actually have a printed rough draft manuscript, much tweaking will be done and many more chapters will be written in the coming months. It is still very much an exciting project for all of us. We meet again this Saturday morning. We even have an editor and agent interested in our project.
Story Circle posted two book reviews I wrote this last month. The Other Side of Sanctuary by Cheryl Crabb. Toward That Which Is Beautiful by Marian O’Shea Wernicke. You can read them by clicking these links:
I have read fewer books this month, because I’ve spent many hours winterizing my gardens, almost done, another two hours and I think I will have it wrapped up. All my patio potted plants were frozen by an unexpected heavy frost, I guess there were frost warnings but I was down a rabbit hole with my writing and missed it.
Restless by William Boyd. Fiction. 2006. An exciting, layered and complicated novel with likable well developed characters. This is the first book I have read by this highly acclaimed, successful and prolific British author who lives in France, but it certainly won’t be my last. (It was a birthday gift.)
The Quiet American by Graham Greene. 1955. Fiction. A novel about Vietnam before while the French were still trying to liberate the Vietnamese. It was my first G. Greene novel. I was impressed it with how novel - writing has evolved since those days. It was a complicated and layered about two Americans in Vietnam. I recognized the plot after the first couple chapters. I saw the movie several years ago. The Quiet American was made into a movie in1958 and 2002. (It was also a birthday gift.)
Edith The Rogue Rockefeller McCormick by Andrea Friederici Ross. Biography. 2020. An amazing story of a poor little rich girl who died a poor old lady. A very interesting book, well researched and well written. A review will be posted on Story Circle next week. (Story Circle sent me Edith,etc. to review.)
We watched three good movies this month:
Anger Management. 2002, starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicolson. It was very well done and extremely clever with plot twists and almost slapstick humor at times. Just what we needed, we laughed till we cried at some of their antics. If you haven’t seen it. I highly recommend it.
We Were Soldiers starring Mel Gibson. 2002. A Vietnam war movie. One of the best characters we have seen Gibson perform. The character development and plot twist made a wonderful movie despite the violent war scenes. A very worthwhile movie to watch.
Infidel. 2020. It was good to be back in a movie theater again with popcorn and Diet Coke. It was a gripping movie, with some violent scenes in which I closed my eyes. About an American married couple who end up in the crossfire of an international situation that almost costs the husband’s life. Tense and exciting to watch. Good character development.
Till next time, keep reading my friends.