Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Malarkey - reading and otherwise

This post has been brought to you by a particularly beautiful autumn in Mississippi:

I'm going to do my best to hack away at that backlog of unwritten reviews, this week, but for now . . . an update on life and books, starting with books.

I finished 3 books, last week (links lead to Amazon, although I am not an associate):

Remembering You by Tricia Goyer - A Christian novel about a woman who travels to Europe with her grandfather, his best friend and his best friend's grandson to retrace the older fellows' path in WWII. This is a tour book and will be reviewed soon.

Flight to Heaven by Capt. Dale Black - An e-book, also Christian but non-fiction about a man who was the only survivor of a plane crash at the age of 19, in 1969. A pretty exciting read by a very impressive guy. I didn't mean to read Flight to Heaven, but I actually hit the wrong book image, started reading and, by the time I figured out I'd opened the wrong book (about a paragraph in) couldn't bear to switch back to the book I'd intended to read.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin - A novel I likely would have avoided because of the "mystery" aspect if not for my book group, but thank goodness I didn't. My F2F book club meets this week to discuss the book. I can't wait! It is definitely deserving of the awards and praise it's received.

I've recently received two books in the mail:

Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire came unsolicited from HarperCollins. Since I haven't read Wicked or any of the other books in the series but my son's girlfriend has read them all, I handed it to her and asked if she'd be willing to write a guest review. She said, "Yes, but it might take me a while." She's a busy college student, so her response was expected. I'm hoping she'll find the time to read it over Thanksgiving break. She's going to loan me her copy of Wicked so that I can eventually review Out of Oz, as well.

Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast by Bill Richardson - from Paperback Swap. I have no earthly idea where I read about this book, but it has a badge saying it won "The Stephen Leacock Award for Humour," which seems like a very positive sign.

And, now the bad news, which isn't really all that bad:

Nano went splat. Actually, I'm not surprised that I simply let go of my Nano writing because I'm still a little off on my wake-sleep schedule and knew it would be a stretch to keep up the kind of dedication you need to write a novel in a single month after a big trip. I'm not even disappointed. Writing for a couple weeks has nicely reawakened my desire to write fiction, so I'm going to continue to do so -- just not the book I started writing on the 1st of November. It was fun but turned out to be a book about . . . nothing. It was so seriously lacking in plot that I decided it wasn't worth my time to continue.

I love NaNoWriMo and believe it is an excellent event, a positive activity to join in on, a great way to give people that little nudge they need to at least try (if writing is something they've only talked about), to start over (if you've written in the past and let your skills lapse) or to shove yourself through a novel (if you're already a success and just love the challenge). My wishes for success to those who are still participating.

In everyday life:

Still pretty out there, still taking lots of pictures. But, we had a gusty day and we're on the downhill side of our fall color. Some trees are close to being totally bare. We've enjoyed taking drives to enjoy the color while it lasted. Winter is pleasant in Mississippi and we're really enjoying the unusually brisk autumn air (well, we were -- it's supposed to get nearly to 80, today). It's not winter, yet, but this shot looks a bit wintery, doesn't it?

©2011 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. I'm looking forward to reading Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin! Glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

    ♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

  2. Melissa,

    Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is so good. I took forever to get through it because of vacation, but I think it's high praise to say that I never needed to reread in order to remind myself what was going on or reacquaint myself with the characters, in spite of setting it aside for big stretches of time. Enjoy!

  3. I'm sorry to hear that the writing flopped out. That is my fear about joining that challenge. I am just not sure if I have much to say when it comes to crafting a tight plot and narrative! It looks like you are reading some good things though, and I take heart in your decision to continue writing when you can. I hope you have a lovely week in that gorgeous scenery!

  4. Zibilee,

    I don't consider it a flop, actually. I consider it practice. I knew it was likely I wouldn't finish because of the timing, so it's no big deal. I've succeeded at finishing in the past and it's great for warm-up. Now, I want to try a different approach.

    Loving the reading, this week. Emory's Gift just took a very surprising turn and I fear I'll have trouble putting it down till I finish! Thanks! I might have to head farther south to see if we can catch a little more color, this weekend. Ours is almost gone, now. It's been sooo beautiful!

  5. I'm partly surprised that you get much color in your parts. Maybe you're a bit further north than I am? We get a bit--actually the past few years we've had more than ever--but still is lackluster. Love that last shot, though!

    Looking forward to your thoughts on Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. I listened to it a while back and felt kind of "eh" about it--but probably because mystery isn't my favorite genre.

  6. I keep wishing for the TX temps to fall below 70-80 but it's just not happening. *sigh*

    You're on a roll! Flight to Heaven sounds AMAZING, and I've had my eye on Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter since The Book Lady's blog LOVED IT. Looking forward to more reviews, Nancyroo!

  7. Trish,

    We don't usually have colorful autumns. Usually, everything slowly turns brown and falls all freaking winter. And, the oaks will do that, anyway, but this year we had some early, sharp cold. I think it's the dramatic drop in temp that turns things colorful, right? We have a colorful fall when we have a cold fall and this has been a cold one. Till today, anyway. It's supposed to hit 80, today. Thank you. :)

    I don't like mysteries, either, but I was impressed with Tom Franklin's writing. The characters were so finely crafted that I was able to set the book aside for a week or two at a time without forgetting what was going on and who was who. That's pretty unusual. I don't do audios so I can't comment on an audio version, for better or worse.

  8. Andiloo,

    I know that feeling all too well. We've had a stunningly early, cold fall and I am totally eating it up. Usually, I'm going nuts, by now.

    Flight to Heaven was really surprising. I love books about experiences like that -- people who die, go to heaven briefly and come back -- but this one didn't actually focus on that. The heaven part was, in fact, the dullest part of the book. What was really fascinating was reading about his determination to recover, the circumstances of the crash and a very edge-of-your-seat piloting experience in Zambia, years after the crash. I'm pretty sure I got that one as a freebie, BTW, so watch for a repeat. They often run the same titles over and over. It was not free the last time I looked but you never know.

    I thought Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter was absolutely amazing. Brilliant writing, solid story, fantastic characters. I have only one complaint and there are ways you could talk me out of believing it's worth complaining about. LOL

  9. Sometimes I think the only way I'll ever finish any creative writing is to lock myself in a cabin in the woods for a few weeks, or just wait until my kids are grown. Things are just too busy otherwise in real life.

    I have the Crooked Letter book (unread as of yet) on my shelf because of all of the great reviews - definitely not one I'd normally pick, but then I won my copy anyway. :)

  10. Anonymous3:02 PM

    Love that last picture, which looks totally wintery to me. But then I live in California.

  11. Bachelor's Brothers B&B is adorable! Some Canadian, or maybe Nan, must have recc'd this as Richardson spent some time on the CBC Radio with Richardson's Roundup. He's written a few humorous books - I read Waiting for Gertrude this year and was charmed.

    Crooked Letter ditto is one I've wanted to read, but when I see mystery, I'm always more interested.

  12. Alyce,

    Yeah, me too, but it's the internet that's causing me trouble. I keep saying I need to have a computer that is completely unplugged from the internet to accomplish anything serious but really I just need discipline.

    Yep, you and I are very similar in our reading taste -- not my usual thing, either. But, I think you'll appreciate the writing if you can tolerate the grittiness. Crooked Letter is really a bit gruesome, at times. It's a book I'm glad I bought - well worth the money.

    Ms. Fizz,

    Why, thank you, dear. The funny thing about that photo is that it looks wintery, but I took that after snapping a photo of a gorgeous tree that was still in full leaf (but all the leaves had turned yellow). It was maybe 50 yards away, still on the shore of the same lake. It looked more fall than winter out there, really; I just found a nearly-nekkid tree, IOW. ;)


    I have no idea!!!! Probably so. I do know and love a lot of Canadian bloggers. :) If I fall in love with Bachelor Brothers, I hope I'll be able to find more of his work. Sometimes it's ridiculously difficult to locate work by Canadian authors. Just depends on how widespread they're known, I guess.

    Oh, you'll probably love Crooked Letter if you're a mystery lover. I'm not, but still . . . the writing is so well done. I think the biggest criticism I've seen is that some words are misspelled, like "bobwire" instead of "barbed wire" but I think that's just a function of his use of vernacular. Franklin did a great job of writing in dialect without much of that, though, if you ask me.

  13. Your pictures are beautiful! I have been enjoying the colors too. The weather is a little freaky though. I have not finished a book in awhile it seems. It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week and the year is almost over. lol :)

  14. Sadly, I had to give up on NaNo too :( I wrote pretty much the same thing as you on my blog, lol. I do love it, but I just don't think it's the right way to write for me.

    OMG Nancy!!! You have to read Wicked!!! it's so good!!! It's the only one I've read so far in the series, but I definitely plan on reading the rest soon. I just bought Out of Oz...can't wait to get to it!!

  15. Thanks, Brittanie!

    We were over in your neck of the woods on Sunday, trying one of the Japanese restaurants (gag). So, sometime you might see some color you recognize if I keep posting fall pics. This has definitely been a freaky fall, but it's a good kind of freaky. I love the cool weather.

    Thanksgiving is next week? Uh-oh. I suppose I need to start planning, then.


    I'm starting to think that Nano is best for just using as a warm-up, at least for me. I loved it when I finished but I no longer have that burning need, I guess. I'm happy with what I got out of it. :)

    I'll read Wicked. But, first, I've got to get that borrowed copy . . .

  16. If you are back around, you should totally sign-up for the Virtual Advent this year. :)

    Have a great week!

  17. Kelly,

    I'm back, yep. I have never paid any attention to the various Christmas things going on, so I don't quite understand what Virtual Advent is all about. I guess I should read up, eh?

  18. It's been almost a year since I read Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and I still remember some of the details. Pretty good for me! I glanced back at my review and saw this remark: Now that I know the details of the mystery, I need to re-read this book for the beautiful prose. It's definitely a well-crafted story with lovely writing, isn't it?

    As far as The Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast, you may have seen it mentioned on my blog or Nan's. I read it (and the sequel) many years ago. Way before blogging. But I'm sure I've mentioned it on my blog. Anyhoo, the first is wonderful. Lots of humor and a booklover's delight. The second, not so much. I really should pull my copy of the first off the shelf and give it a second read this holiday season. It's light and entertaining and something I've been meaning to reread for years.

  19. Les,

    Yes, Crooked Letter is amazing. I don't even like mysteries but it's so beautifully written and, yep, definitely memorable. I only managed to read a few pages during the time we were packing and recovering from Japan but I had no problem picking up the book where I left off.

    Hmm, might have been Nan's blog where I saw mention of BBB&B but whoever talked about it mentioned it recently, so probably not yours. I put it on my wish list at PBS and a copy came available within a few short weeks. I'm looking forward to reading it. We'll see how soon I get around to it. :)


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