Ann's Blog
Ann McCauley is a Pennsylvania women's literature author, who wrote the books Runaway Grandma and Mother Love, both available for sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

June 2024
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October Blog
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann @ 2:15 pm
Happy Halloween on a cold rainy day from western Pennsylvania. I’m sitting here in the middle of piles of Christmas gifts bought throughout the year. My days slip by so quickly that I feel a strong urge to get things organized before Thanksgiving this year. My granddaughters have promised to help me wrap gifts, decorate and maybe even do some baking. Whew. I love the holiday season but especially this year I accept that I need a little help from my elves!

I have attended grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s soccer games this month. Luckily it was beautiful weather for each game. It is a delight to see each of them work so hard and get along so well with their teammates. It builds character and a strong work ethic. I admire the dedicated coaches who work so hard with their teams.

I attended my class reunion on October 8th. It was a wonderful evening, an informal picnic at a gracious class-member’s home. When I arrived, they were sitting around a fire pit and I couldn’t help commenting, “Good grief, everyone has white hair.” Someone retorted, “You have white hair too.” I laughed and said, “But I can’t see mine, unless I look in a mirror, and I see all of yours.” It was a great evening. Classmates traveled from California, Florida, Tenn., Colorado and distant parts of PA. Yet there were more than a dozen in the immediate vicinity who chose not to attend. Their loss, and ours too — they were missed. It was a great afternoon and evening, and it went by far too quickly as good times always do.

I’ve read a few good books this month:
The Vanishing Half  by Brit Bennett. Fiction. 2020. Riverhead Books of Penquin, Random House LLC. This was a mesmerizing novel, gripping with heartbreaking plot twists, great character development and psychological insights… as it challenges the reader to take a closer look at racism. Desiree and Stella are identical twins, both light blacks who grow up as inseparable soul mates in a Louisiana town where everyone is a light black, they feel it makes them better than the dark blacks but still less than the whites. There are several strong secondary characters who add depth to the story. The twins run away and their lives take them in totally different paths. Stella marries a rich white man… while Desiree marries a very dark black man. Both have daughters whom fate brings together. An unforgettable story, one I’d likely not chosen to read if not for it being my book club’s choice for this month.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier. Fiction. 1951. Doubleday & Co. A haunting story full of tension layers of deceit, and characters who were frequently less than likable. Plot twists to the end of the book. Just when the reader thinks he knows where it is heading, it does a u-turn. A great unforgettable novel.

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate. Historical Fiction. 2020. Ballantine Books/Random House. I’ve come to realize Lisa Wingate is such a strong author than you just know it will be a good book if she wrote it. The Book of Lost Friends is one of her best. The format as per back cover of novel, “…brings to life the startling stories from actual “Lost Friends” advertisements that appeared in southern newspapers after the Civil War, as newly freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold away.”  Two stories thread through the novel, one from Louisiana1875 and the other Louisiana1987. The plot twists between the two sets of characters and finally brings it to a very well developed conclusion. I highly recommend this book. It gives the reader lots to think about.

Where I Come From, Stories From The Deep South by Rick Bragg. Memoir Vignettes. 2020. I read this Pulitzer Prize winning writer’s Ava’s Man more than 15 years ago, followed by All Over But the Shout’n, I was hooked. He was awarded the Pulitzer in1996 for his descriptive and insightful stories about contemporary American life while working at the NYT. Ava’s Man was one of two books my mother read twice during the last months of her life. She loved it as did I. Though it’s a gritty and sad memoir of his childhood with soulful storytelling, wit and thought provoking perceptions, his poignant style keeps the reader turning the pages. In Where I Come From as in his other books, his mother is one of his most important characters. His southern writing is often compared to Pat Conroy; interestingly the two were close friends and avowed admirers of each others work. If you haven’t read Bragg yet, you are in for a treat!

We also saw two movies at our local Movie House:
Goldfinger starring Sean Connery. 1964. We planned to go see the new James Bond movie the next night and to get in the mood, I suggested we watch an old James Bond movie. We chose Goldfinger. It’s a terrible movie! I was shocked to think at one time I’d thought it was a good movie. 

No Time To Die, starring Daniel Craig. 2020. I have to say I find Daniel Craig to be a much better actor and James Bond than any of his predecessors. I liked this movie so much more than Goldfinger. It actually had a plot and decent story line, but don’t worry if you like action, plenty of that …  I lost track of the dead body count early in the movie!

Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson. This film profiles the life of Aretha Franklin, and Aretha had hand picked Jennifer Hudson to play herself before her death in 2018. It’s an excellent movie with a star-studded cast, I never knew much about Franklin’s life. Aretha had tremendous talent and came into her own but not without several large bumps in the road. I highly recommend this movie, it is worth watching. Excellent!

Recently we’ve been watching Hallmark Christmas movies again. Guaranteed, these movies won’t keep you awake at night and the endings almost always leave you smiling. Now what could be wrong with that?

Till next time, stay safe and well. And keep reading, my friends.
Later, Ann

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