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.

October 2023
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August Blog
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann @ 2:48 pm
If the days slipped by any faster, I swear I’d be a time traveler! I only have a few hours to make my deadline of completing a blog every month before the last day of the month, so here goes. And I’ve been writing my blog for more than 22 years. IF any of you have saved my early blogs, I’d be very happy if you could copy and send them to me. I only have copies dating back to 2010 as part of this new blog format.

We’ve had an unusually warm, often hot summer, and less rain than usual. The last couple of days have been raining and it’s freshened up the perennial flowers, the forests as well as the lawns. So beautiful and green again.

We traveled to Pittsburgh for the funeral of a dear friend, my husband’s first and closest American friend passed after fighting cancer for several years. He left behind a bereaved widow, beautiful and sad adult children and grandchildren. He was one of a kind, seems they broke the mold after he was born, no one else like him - anywhere!

My husband just told me today, he wants another dog; he says there is an emptiness in his heart and he needs another dog. We’ve been without a dog since March when our Lucas died. So, starting tomorrow we’ll check the animal shelter and see what’s available. I’m not totally enthusiastic about this, I love dogs BUT they are so much work, however if it will make him happier…
Our granddaughter who graduated with an Occupational Therapy degree in May passed her State boards last week. Woohoo! Her sister started her student teaching this week and is set to graduate with an elementary teaching degree in December. Our youngest granddaughter is in her first week of classes at U of Pittsburgh, main campus. She is in premed tract with a goal of becoming a psychiatrist like her grandpa. And the best thing about them, and their cousins as well, is they come to visit us and seem to enjoy us almost as much as we do them!

I’ve read four books this month:
What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline. 2022. G.P. Putnam’s Sons publisher. Fiction/Suspense/Mystery. The tension permeates from page one until the end of the book, amazing story about a typical suburban American family driving home form their daughter’s field hockey game one night. A pickup is tailgating, passes them and then blocks the road. Two men jump out, pull guns on the family… and all their lives are forever changed. I definitely do not recommend this one for reading before going to bed. I lost a couple nights sleep because the story is so anxiety provoking and exciting. But I do recommend this book for anyone who enjoys mystery and suspense with great characters and plot twists, this one is for you. WOW! Scottoline is truly a master story-teller. This was the most exciting book I’ve read in a long time.

Finding Florence by Judy Alter. 2022. Alter Ego Press. Fiction/Mystery. This is a totally fun book, witty and charming. Great characters, with surprising plot twists. It’s third in Irene in Chicago Culinary Mysteries, after Saving Irene and Irene in Danger. Each book could be a stand alone read but they are even better when read as a series. Judy Alter has written more than seventeen mysteries and many historical biographies. She’s a wonderful writer whose books and characters stay with the reader long after the last page.

The Ex-Suicide by Katherine Clark. 2017. University of South Carolina Press. Fiction. I bought this book while visiting the Pat Conroy Museum and Book Store in Beaufort, S.C. last winter and finally read it. It started out slow for me and I almost laid it aside, but I’m glad I continued reading because it became a very interesting novel. It’s sort of a coming of age story about a young man of privilege who at age 37 finally begins to find his wings. The protagonist is very self absorbed and immature at the beginning and evolves into a more likable character as the story unfolds, takes place in present day Birmingham Ala. The author is a skilled writer and was chosen to write Pat Conroy’s oral biography. Recommended reading for insight into upper class southern thinking.

The Girl Who Smiled Beads, A Story of War & What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya. 2019. Memoir. Penquin Random House LLC. This is one girl’s story about the horrific 100 days Rwandan Genocide in 1994. Clemantine spent her first six years in happy home with servants, her father had a successful business and life was good until suddenly everything changed. Civil war was brewing, her parents sent her and her thirteen year old sister by train to live with their Grandmother, thinking things would be safer there. Other female cousins were also sent to live with the grandmother. But things began to change quickly there too and soon the grandmother  had to send them all away before the soldiers captured them; telling them, “Run, run for your lives!”  Most of the memoir focuses on the short and long term accounts of horrific tragedy, struggles with a sense of belonging, not only as refugees but the rest of their lives, often compared to Holocaust victims. They were refugees in several different African countries before they were able to find refuge in the USA. For seven years she and her sister were separated from their parents until they were invited to be on Oprah and were reunited with their family on live national television. Upon meeting her two new much younger sisters, she couldn’t help feel remorse at her parents creating two replacement daughters for the ones they’d lost. It is not an easy read with all the the tragedy and hardship, but perhaps an important read.

We went the Bradford Movie House to see Where the Crawdads Sing. It was a wonderful movie closely following the book by the same name by Delia Owens. it was so well done. Beautiful! You could easily enjoy the movie without having read the book, although the book is better, of course. 
We watched Ladies in Lavender, a Netflix movie starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. It was a touching and poignant movie about two elderly sisters and their community, living on the coast of England. Set in early1900s.
We also watched all three seasons of Virgin River and grew quite interested in it. We plan to watch season four when it starts later this fall. And, of course, we’re anticipating the new season of Heartland.

Till next month, stay healthy, well and keep reading my friends.

Later, Ann

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