How Do You Read Reviews?

Every day I get an e-mail from BookBub, and every day I read through the blurbs and reject most of them (no, I do not want to read about a billionaire although if one would be interested in paying for a bedroom ceiling for an elderly woman with a great personality, he should call me), but there are always one or two I go to Amazon to learn more about. I read the blurbs, I check to see what PW and the NYT and Booklist have said about them, and then . . .

I read the one-star reviews.

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Happiness is a Warm Dachshund

It’s cold where I am. Not freezing, if this was last February, I’d be rhapsodizing about how warm it is. But I’m used to my balmy summer (which was lovely) so now that it’s down in the fifties and sometimes forties (gasp), it’s cold. Thank god I have dachshunds and a poodle who thinks she’s one: Dachshund burrow. Trained to go down badger holes (they’re really badger hounds), they will burrow into damn near anything, but mostly into blankets. Which means I have little hot water bottles curled up on each side of me while I type. Of course if they hear a sound they object to, their frantic lust to get out and chase it makes it look like the bed is boiling while I yell, “Give me a minute to get the blanket off, you dumbass,” but still . . . toasty.

How did happiness keep you warm this week?

This is a Good Book Thursday, November 7, 2019

After the fave author discussion, I went looking for Elswyth Thane, only to find out that her Kindle availability (and iTunes) is limited to the first two books in the Williamsburg series. You can Tryst as a second hand paperback, but only if you’re willing to shell out $22, which seems excessive for mass market paper that’s probably going to crumble in your hands. I remember devouring the Williamsburg series as it took that family from the Revolutionary War past WWII, and some of the scenes I read have stayed with me for decades, but I’m afraid to go back to the series since I remember those romances as being so great. And if they are that great and I can’t get the rest of them? Too awful.

Also I have to work after losing las week to reading the Gil Cunningham and Cadfael books in a burst of medieval murder glomming.

So what did you read this week?

Fluid and Unpredictable

Long ago, I read that it was important to stay fluid and unpredictable, and I was so charmed by those two words together that I took them as life theme. I already knew that rigidity led to nothing but grief. Rigid belief systems break at the first serious challenge, rigid social systems disintegrate and fall to rebellion, rigid lives end up bleak and unfulfilled. “Rigid” so often means “brittle,” a word that’s only attractive when it’s paired with “peanut,” but a fluid approach to the world that accepts its unpredictability with open arms and a firm conviction that chaos is, at the very least, interesting often leads to joy. Someone close to me once said, in exasperation, “You’re such a Pollyanna!” but I don’t think I’m unrealistic. I just look at change as something with huge potential, sure to make me look at the world in a new light, learn something new, become someone new. Things don’t always (or even often) turn out as I planned, but my life has never been boring. I chalk that up to fluid and unpredictable.

Or as Berkeley Breathed and Opus would say:

How did you meet joy with open arms this week?

(Also, if you’re on Daylight Savings Time and you haven’t reset your clocks, today is the day to Fall Back.)

Cherry Saturday, November 2, 2019

Today is Author’s Day.

Which means it’s a great day to tell us who your favorite authors are (not me, this is not me trolling for compliments, it’s me trying to find new authors).

Some days mine is Terry Pratchett, and some days it’s Georgette Heyer or Dorothy Parker. But my favorite sentence in all of literature is from Mark Twain, not my fave author ever, when Huckleberry Finn writes a letter to tell the owner of his friend Jim, a runaway slave, where he is because it’s the god-fearing thing to do. But when he has the letter in his hand:

It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:

“All right, then, I’ll go to hell”- and tore it up.

Every time I read that line, I think it’s the best encapsulation of the great possibilities of the human spirit, to reject everything we’ve been taught as right and wrong and go with what we know is right. “All right then, I’ll go to hell.” There’s the Great American Novel right there.

So thank an author today. (Thank you, Samuel Clemens.) Or if you are an author, write something.

Also, how the hell did it get to be November already?