For Love Of Reading, Answering The Bookish A-Z Questions

I know I’ve not finished my Catskills series.  It requires fiddling with my fingers and trying to write it in a manner enjoyable to read.  I am smack-dab in the middle of my moving/demolition/renovation and cannot seem to sit down for long enough to do so.  Even though I quit my job, I still seem to have no hours to spare, except to take breaks and read a post or two, go back to work, etc.

So, when I landed on Ally, of The Spectacled Bean’s post, I found myself thinking up my own answers to the questions.  So, between schlepping boxes and clothes, et al, I come back here to answer another.  Why not, right? I have until Sunday night to be done with the house so… not much left to do (she tries to convince herself…)

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From: This was a toss-up and I had to google the number of books.  Maeve Binchy – at least 11; Jodi Picoult – at least 8.

Best Sequel:  Hmmm… hard to say. The Interview With a Vampire books were all enjoyable (the ones I read); and the series from The Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes:  The Bastard, The Rebel, et al. were also good.  I cannot remember thinking, dang, they should have stopped at the previous one. Mind you, that was a bazillion years ago, so..

Currently Reading: LOTR, The Fellowship of the Ring in a reading group; we only read half a chapter per week, so I am also reading, I Am a Girl From Africa, by Elizabeth Nyamayaro on my Kindle (in bed) and Thérèse et Pierrette à l’école des Saint-Anges by Michel Tremblay, because I like to have a book-book for reading in my moments.  I like to read a French book every 4-5 books to keep my skillz up.

Drink Choice While Reading: Don’t really have one and depends on the time of day and my mood.  Could be coffee, tea or wine or an Aperol Spritz or….

E reader or physical book:  Both.  I prefer a physical book but when travelling or before bed (no night light needed), I’ll choose an E-reader.

Fictional character you probably would have dated in high school:  Hmmm… None come to mind.

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling (as if anyone doesn’t know this!). My sister kept telling me to read it. I would read the first few pages and meh… she pushed some more and then I devoured them all.

Hidden Gem:  Gosh. West With the Night, Beryl Markham.  I actually listened to this on Audible, read by the fabulous Julie Harris, which added a level of wow to the book.  I have recommended this book to anyone who will listen – and hey, Ernest Hemingway highly recommended her and he recommended no one!

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:  I cannot think of any one particular book.  So many have touched me deeply in one way or another.  However, having access to so many books at Boucherville Elementary School and reading all the Black Stallions and all the Chica D’Oro (about a palomino horse) books with my friend Lynne marks my true start of loving to read.

Just FinishedA Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman. It had been recommended to me by more than a few people so I finally succumbed.  I fell in love with this grouchy not-so-mean-as-he-wants-people-to-think Swede.

Kind of Books I Won’t Read (anymore):  I no longer can stand historical romance which I used to devour.  I tried one the other day.  Nope.

Longest Book You’ve ReadShogun, James Clavell.  All 1210 pages of it.  Texas, by James Michener came in close, though the version I read was in two volumes so doesn’t quite count, does it?  Anyone who had the single volume, got 1096 pages…

Major Book Hangover Because Of:  Does this mean that I didn’t want to end? Or that stayed with me for a long time?  Either way, it’s hard to say off the cuff.  I shall have to think long and hard on this one.

Number of Cases You Own: Four.  But there are books to be found all over the place.  I have a lamp with four glass “shelves”  There are books on three of them.

One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times: I am not a re-reader, though I have read Pride and Prejudice twice and am re-reading the LOTR – because of the group thing I mentioned above.

Preferred Place to Read: Comfy chair in the living room, outside in the shade (still comfy chair, please) or in bed, with lots of pillows to support my back.

Quote That Inspires You, or Gives You All the Feels, From a Book You’ve Read:  I don’t really take notes (though I have started to highlight on my kindle) so, if I were to cheat, I’d have to go look at said notes.  Obviously didn’t leave that much of a mark if I have to look, right?

Reading Regret:  Going to a French high school, the required reading was not what we would call “the classics” (though I am sure my French teachers would protest).  I mean the Anglo classics.  So, determined to make up for the lack, I read a few For Whom the Bell Tolls – blow up the bridge already, you’re killing me and I don’t care anymore; and then Anna Karenina – hurry up and throw yourself in front of the train, I’m done with you, you simpering idiot… So, to say I am reticent about continuing my quest is an understatement.  I shall, however, try more!

Series You Started and Need to Finish: Haven’t read a series in forever.

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books:  This is too difficult a question.

Unapologetic Fanperson For:  Maeve Binchy. Alas, she passed away and there will be no more new stories; however, I’ve not read them all yet so I do have some to look foward to.  Oh, and Jodi Picoult, too, though I am long overdue for one of hers.

Very Excited For This Release (More than all the others):  None, in particular.  I read what I read when I read and am currently on a “no-buy” thing (failing miserably at it, but trying, nevertheless).

Worst Bookish Habit:  Finishing a book I don’t enjoy because, dammit, I started it… well, not true. I did manage to put aside a book for maybe later (which might never come).

X Marks the Spot—start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th bookSwimming Lessons, Claire Fuller. (I chose the 2nd book case as the first one has cook books 😉

Your Latest Book PurchaseThe Winding Road: A Journey of Survival, Miriam Hurdle, on a friend’s recommendation.

Zzz-Snatcher Book (the last book that kept you up late)The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides.

 

Let the Music Do Its Thing

As I approached the border, I couldn’t help but notice the exit called Montée Glass/Montée Guay.

Immediately, I was transported back to the uncountable times we took this highway and this exit to go to my father’s boat, docked at Rouse’s Point, on Lake Champlain. I could see the map in my head clearly: take the exit, turn, almost in a circle to drive along Montée Guay until we reached a road, the name of which I don’t think I ever knew, which would take us to the smaller (and often less busy) border crossing. Those days of sailing were great. It would have been fitting that I had been listening to “Come Sail Away” by Styx – which was, to my surprise, in my box of CDs. However, as I was still in Canada, my radio station was still nice and clear, and CDs far from my mind.

How often we stopped at Sandy’s Deli to pick up sandwiches to go… Mmmm…. Hey, maybe I would snake across on my way back? The timing would be right and I would come home with supper all ready!

I was brought back to the present thanks to the fuzz of a disappearing station. I reached over into my box and what does my hand land on? Blues Traveler’s “Straight on Till Morning”. When putting my box together, I just had to take this one. It was one of Mick’s favourites for road trips. I often wonder at the Universe’s sense of humour. I mean, here I am driving towards my lover while my late husband keeps me company. And it wasn’t weird at all. It was an odd sort of right.

After that moment of nodding to the Universe, I burst out laughing when Canadian Rose came on because, well. Ironic. My American, however, isn’t ugly, and I live very far from Vancouver and we are not young and naïve and meeting in Burlington, but yanno, the spirit of it all…

And just as that high-pitched keyboard thing that is their signature sound was getting on my nerves, it also came at the end. What next?

The I-87 is not the most exciting of highways and one I have taken many a time. Pink Martini’s “Splendor in the Grass”, one of the two albums of theirs I did find (though not the ones I wanted) kept me company as I passed by all the familiar: Plattsburgh, where we occasionally went to the beach (I was never big on doing my Christmas shopping in the States, unlike many peeps I know), Lake Placid, remembering our climb up Whiteface in 2013. Our training for the following year when we did Mount Washington.

About two hours in, I need to make a pit stop and I ended up at the very lovely High Peaks Rest stop. Some of these places are worth visiting!

Necessaries done, I hit the road, passing by more familiar signs, Fort Ticonderoga, Lake Moreau, Lake George… Gosh, how old were we when we went to visit Frontier Town ans Ausable Chasm? I can still see our (my sister’s and me) jean jumpsuits with the STP logos on the front. Hah! When I hit the Twin Bridges (officially Thaddeus Kosciuszko Bridge), I knew I was approaching Albany and not all that much further to go.

The miles rolled by as the tunes kept me company. I was now on A.J. (son of Jim) Croce’s debut album that I’ve been listening to since it came into being way back in 1993. He was all of 22 when he recorded it, and sounded like an old black blues singer. I remember being in Sam the Record Man and this song was playing and I boogied and bopped my way to the cash to ask who this was and where to find a copy.

Much as the tunes were great, I was looking forward to getting off the I 87S and into more scenic territory…

Show – Down at the Coral

Episode 3 takes us to a whole different world. Outstanding work by our creative Sorceress of the Cloth, Resa

Art Gowns

Princess Blue Holly showed up at noon by the coral in the Gulf of Mexico, her seaweed whip with with poisonous holly berries poised to fight Chainelle.

However, instead of finding Chainelle, she found a surging, gurgling black mass of gulf water. Chainelle’s wicked voice was luring Blue Holly into the black.

PBH knew it was folly to dive into the dark. Luring Chainelle up was a wiser choice. Chainelle’s weakness was her jealousy of the Art Gowns Models, and loathing of Ms. Rosso.

An underwater fashion show was the bait. Blue Holly looked into her Tangle-Heart, and had it send a message to all of the AGMs’ magic trees.

The AGMs were instructed to walk through the tall grasses on Tim’s magic tree sanctuary. Eventually the grasses would become sea grasses, and the AGMs would be transformed into Mermaids.

Dahlings, welcome to the Fashion Show down at the Coral…

View original post 524 more words

Roadtrip

As I left the house, I came face-to-face with this note from my son stuck to the front door

I’m one of those peeps who has zero songs in her phone.  I know, I know, it’s ass-backwards in today’s world.  I just don’t listen to music on my walks or runs so why use up space?  Plus, I am weird (according to my kids) as I love listening to my CBC Radio.

So, what to do when you know a long drive is ahead of you in mountains where signals can be weak and all you get is fuzz in your ears and you watch the numbers scroll round the dial (so to speak), not landing on any station?  You go old school.  Yessiree.  I cannot believe I had the presence of mind to grab a bunch of CDs – some from my bookcase in my living room, some from one of the boxes yet unpacked since my move three years ago.  I know I have a second box somewhere hidden amongst the other yet-unpacked boxes but I was not gonna go foraging there, so I made do with what I could reach; and even then, I did not dig too deeply.  You must understand I have hundreds of them.  I could not find our handy little booky thingamagig where you slide in your CDs, so I just put them into a small box that sat on my passenger seat.

I don’t quite know how I managed to get the variety I did since my CDs were all organised by genre in their racks, ergo, in the same sort of order in the boxes.  It ended up being a selection of more bluesy-jazzy-crooner with an odd rock album or two.  Excellent.

I planned to leave the house by 7:15 and by Jove, I did!  I planned to drive through the car wash as well, and durned if I didn’t do that as well. I amaze me sometimes 😉

I got to the border by 8:10 then waited. And waited. It felt like ages but if I’m honest, it was just half an hour – forty-five minutes, maybe?  I was just impatient to be on my way and at my destination.

I hand over my passport.  “Where ya goin?”

“Prattsville.”

“Pratts– what?  Why?”

“It’s in the Catskills.  Meeting my guy. It’s the halfway point.”

With a sweet and goofy grin, he returned my passport and replied, “Well, you enjoy yourself.”

“Oh, I plan to…”

Not long after I cross the border, my station starts going AWOL so I reach over and grab the first CD.

 

 

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #197 – Love in Sunsets

I was hesitant to participate in anything as I know I won’t have time to be a proper participant.  I leave tomorrow for a week-long getaway.  Nature: mountains, rivers, and whatever you have to offer, here I come!  That said, I figured I would use Crispina’s lovely image as an excuse to let ya’all know I’m not dissing you and will return to reading/commenting/participating in one week.

While searching for my matchy-matchy photo, I fell on the one directly below.  It sparked an idea so I’m using it and have added the “real” matchy-matchy below, just because I can.

“The first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color — oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples…”
― Anna Godbersen, The Luxe

I’ll take a mix, please

Wild, hot, and exciting

Calm, peaceful comfort

Too much of either

Does not balance bring

 

All of one is exhausting

All of the other, dull

 

Keeping it alive require a little of both

In various combinations

Hour, days, weeks, months, years

Together and apart

Time is valuable

We must use it wisely

 

“They sit together, physically separate but utterly connected by the moment they’ve created”
― Stan Lee, A Trick of Light

Kinda-sort matchy-matchy…. right?

“Time is valuable. For all the time we’ve lost by not being together, it has made you the most valuable thing to me.”
― Courtney Peppernell, Pillow Thoughts

It’s Terrasse Time! – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday, my peeps!  It’s Friday Fictioneers Day and I could not resist this photo.  It kinda called me to do a certain sequel to my story from a couple weeks ago.  As always, a thank you to Rochelle, our fearless leader, who, while still frolicking in the ocean, still manages to host our weekly shindig.  Should you want to join in and write a story inspired by Roger Bultot’s photo, then click on the frogs below to add your link!

frog, chair, cozy, for two, drink, wine, soaked, cute, sweet, funny,  relaxation | Pikist

Click to play

 

Since you didn’t like my choice last time we got together, you pick.

It was disgusting.  And great, it’s terrasse weather.  I know just the place.

Terrace weather, you mean.

Terrasse, terrace. The important thing is we sit outside.

In the shade?

Yes, in the shade.

Okay.  Meet you there?

7:00 pm.

***

This is your choice?

Yes, this is my choice.

You thought my tables looked like toilets, what the hell is this?

Art.

Art? It’s graffiti!

Stop. The food and drinks are worth it.

They better be.

At least we won’t feel crowded.

Why does that bring me no comfort?

 

Morning Pages

Whilst chatting with Bill, my favourite writing pluviophile, he mentioned something about doing his “Morning Pages”; or rather, that he had let himself slack off but would be getting back on track, or something to that effect.

What are Morning Pages, you ask?  I had to look it up.  This was invented by Julia Cameron and is described more fully in her book “The Artist’s Way”.  However, it was more a blog post by Shelby of “Little Coffee Fox”  that got me even more intrigued.

Apparently, this daily ritual can unleash our creative potential, so to speak – and not limited to the creativity in writing, either.  It can help artists of all sorts.  The point of this practice is to encourage us away from negative self-talk and away from the fear that holds us back.

Okay, sounds a little woo-woo but hey… I’ve been writing my gratitude journal for over fifteen years and what harm is there in going to bed thinking of five things to be grateful for?  It forces me to think of five positive things.  Some days the choices are slim but find them, I do.

So. how does this work?  Pretty simple.  Every morning, first thing, you dump your thoughts by writing three pages in longhand.  No plotting or strategizing, just stream of conscious writing.  Nothing pretty, punctuation and all that jazz doesn’t really matter.  The important thing is to simply write whatever comes to mind and to not stop until you have three pages worth.  What if you run out of things to say?  Find anything.  Just do it.  Oh, and here’s the best part.

NEVER READ WHAT YOU WRITE.

More importantly,

NEVER LET ANYONE ELSE READ WHAT YOU WRITE.

It’s a brain dump. Let it out.  And let it go. You can’t let it go if you go back to it, can you?

Alrighty then.  I am three days in.  A little early to see if anything comes from it but I like what Glitter Guide said after she tried it for thirty days:  she missed her therapist a bit less and her mind felt less cluttered as she started the day.  Did she have any big creative breakthroughs?  No. But she was open to the possibility.

And so am I.

Now, if I can just stop calling them Morning Papers maybe Prince will stop taking up space in my head…

 

It’s Gonna Be a Bumpy Ride – Friday Fictioneers

Hello my peeps.  Lovely to see you on this first hump day in August.  How it is already August when July was barely a day long is beyond me, but I digress.  Rochelle may be off cavorting in the ocean on vacay but she still manages to host this weekly shindig.  She is a rockstar, eh?  When I saw this photo by the super-talented Sandra Crook, I knew exactly where I wanted to go.  Then I remembered (vaguely) that I was pretty sure I had written about this experience before. Dang it!  A search revealed that I did.  Back in June, 2017.  Wait… back in 2017… who the hell is gonna remember it anyhow, right?  Right.  And, hey, it happens that others repost old stuff.  This is more of a rearranging.  Apologies to those who do remember it.  I was surprised to see the number of Fictioneers from then who are still around today.  Hope the newbies enjoy… If you’ve got an idea for a 100-word original story, then by all means, do click on the frog below and add your link.  G’head. It’s fun 🙂

Frog Driving Car Stock Illustrations – 99 Frog Driving Car Stock Illustrations, Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime

Click me to play!

 

“Total gridlock, Mon, in Sint Maarten! We’re gonna miss the boat!”

The walkie-talkie crackled with Sébastien’s voice.  “If I make a move, you guys gonna follow?”

“Hah!  Go?  There’s nowhere to go!”  Mick grumbled.

Karl’s voice came on, “We’re in!”

Suddenly Sébastien’s jeep, followed closely by Karl’s, passed us on the left.  On the sidewalk.  People scurried out of the way.

“Are they stupid?”

“You best be stupid, too, if you don’t wanna miss the boat!”  I yelled.  The song “Bumpy Ride” came on the radio. Serendipity? A sign?

“Put the music up louder!”

“Whoo hoo!  Go, Daddy, Go!”

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #270 – Jamboree

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.  And it’s still the weekend, so, yay me!  Thank you, Sammi, for hosting this weekly jamboree… okay, it’s more low-key than that, but still 😉

wk 270 jamboree

There is a time and place for parties that go big and loud.  And for me, that place is in the past. Let’s just say I’ve become less enthusiastic.

Our last family cruise vacation in March 2020, (just before the shit hit the fan and the world stopped) was an exception.  Three generations at the back of the ship drinking and dancing and raising hell qualifies as big and loud.

That aside, the kind of jamboree I seek out now is one brought on by nature.

 

 

Happy Wife, Free Man? – Friday Fictioneers

Well, well, well… Would you look at this coinkidink?  It is the Brilliant Birthday Boy Bill’s photo today!  And Rochelle chose today to use it for Friday Fictioneers. How cool is that? Well, I, for one, think it is so there.  So, apologies, Bill and Yolonda.  I done used ya.  But all in good fun, o’ course!  Should you have a great 100-word story you’d like to share, inspired by this here photograph, just click on the frog below and add your link. Easy peasy!

Oh, and Happy Birthday Bill!! 😘

Photo by Brazen Birthday Boy Bill Reynolds

 

A Dancing Frog and Inside A Greenhouse Background in 2022 | Greenhouse, Background, Plant shelves

Click me!

 

Quite the spread you have here, Bill.

Thanks.  There’s a shit-ton of work to do but that’s okay.  Work never killed nobody.

Beg to differ—

Shaddap! You know what I mean; don’t be so pedantic.

Just pulling your leg.  How far’s it go?

I have about 50 acres in all.

Holy shit!  What are gonna do with all that space?

The wife wants a greenhouse. This one seems to have good bones, so it’s a start.

What about you?

Once she’s happy puttering in her flowers, I’ll be free to do what I want.

***

That’s what you think!

Oh, hey, Yolonda…