Monday, November 18, 2013

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Share what you (are, have been, are about to, hope to be) reading or reviewing this week. Sign Mr Linky at Book Journey and visit other Monday reading roundups.

The sections of this template:

Intro (here)
My Week in Review (list of books finished and links to bookish posts in the previous week)
Reading Now (my current reading list broken up into NF and Fiction)
Upcoming (scheduled reviews and blog tours and list of finished books awaiting reviews)
Recently (links to bookish posts in the last few weeks)
New Arrivals: (lists of recently acquired ARC broken up into snail mail, email and Net Gallery)
ARC in waiting (a list that is getting shamefully long)

My Week in Review:

Flannery O'Connor
Mystery and Manners:
Occasional Prose
Various events conspired to shift my focus from reading to writing in August and September,  from emails to copywriting course work, to poems, to LOLs, to NaNoWriMo prep.

But starting in mid September that had to shift back towards reading.  Or at least widen to include it.  I don't want to drop the other balls I'd been juggling but I had to add reading and reviews back into the mix as I'd committed to 16 blog tours in the 11 weeks preceding Thanksgiving.  So stay tuned.  I'll be posting IMWAYR? every week through the end of November at least.

My blog tour review for The Three Sisters by Bryan Taylor went up Tuesday, November 12th, . Three days later on Friday the 15th I posted my tour review for Blood Drama by Christopher Meeks. (actually I didn't click publish until two minutes after midnight Friday :(.

There are another two tour reviews for this week:  Head Games by Erika Rummel going up tomorrow, November 19 and Journey to Galumphagos By Seth Eisner on Friday November 2.

This pace of two blog tours per week continues throughout November in conjunction with NaNoWriMo.  And, in support of my treatment for a mood disorder I am supposed to manage all that and more without pulling all nighters as was my habit since my early teens.  I have not succeeded on that front for two or three weeks now, averaging each week at least one all nighter and several  nights with under 6 hours of sleep.  Which is causing a lot of fumbles in my juggling act.

Bookish posts in the last week:

The Three Sisters by Bryan Taylor  posted on  November 12. Three nuns fresh out of the convent on a road trip looking for fun, got a ticket for speeding, got arrested, escaped, and are now three fun nuns on the run.

It's a rollicking good time.  But not for reading in bed or anywhere else there is someone near (dear or not) who is sleeping.

This well told story is chock full of action, adventure and antics and infused with humor, puns, irreverence, satire, culture commentary and spoofing.

Add to all that the many words I'd never met before which are a rich icing on a sweet cake for me.  It's a must to have the most extensive dictionary possible at hand and even then there will be a few words that don't show up and require a web search that may need to go two or three pages deep before the helpful resource appears.  But its worth it as so many of the puns and punchlines are obscured by these obscure words and made funnier by having to figure out the puzzle.

Blood Drama by Christopher Meeks posted on November 15.  This is a thriller, a page turner with a noir edge and elements of a romance woven in.  But it is much more.  But even with the spare prose conventional for this genre, the use of metaphor and the emphasis of aspects that appear to reflect a theme raise it to the level of literary in my eyes.

That's the first paragraph of my review with a tiny tweak.  The rest is a long bramble ramble attempt at translating into words the images and feeling tone in which the theme I sensed were wrapped.

 Sinnerman by Jonathan M. Cook posted on Thursday, November 7 was my second tour for Mr Cook.  I participated in the one for his Youth and Other Fictions two years ago this month.

Once again Mr. Cook has given us a very disturbing story in a high school setting.  In spite of that and maybe because of it I enjoyed this novel and am not sorry for the time I invested in it.  I am partial to well written stories that take me out of my comfort zone, give me pause, and make me puzzle out solutions to the questions raised there in and, most importantly,  don't spoon feed me but expect me to work as co-creator of the story.  This one will linger long in my conscious and unconscious mind leaving its mark on my consciousness of the world.  That is the mark of true literature.

Ghost of Lost Eagle 
by Dean Sault

Set in the late 1800s (I think) in a western ranch setting.  Features a cattle roundup. bad guys,  flash floods, a romantic entanglement between our protagonist and a spitfire young woman, the ghost of an Amerindian and the spirit of his spirit guide wolf.

Finished reading recently:

Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living by by Bailey White I thought this was a novel and getting set to put it in the fiction list below when I thought to check out its page on Goodreads and discovered it is a memoir.  It's short little vignette chapters and easy to read font made it ideal for taking with me to doctor appointments.  Which is how I managed to finally finish it.
Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad.
At Home in Holly Springs by Jan Karon  --  was reading aloud to Mom.  Features Father Tim from the Mitford series as he returns to the town he grew up in.  First of two.
Her Dear and Loving Husband by Meredith Allard

Began reading recently:

The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin  My sister bought this book for herself and we are both reading it.  We both have a passion for how brains work.
Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon -- one of the new library books and also a NetGalley ARC that timed out on me months ago.
Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights by Marina Warner about the influence of the Arabian Nights stories on western literature, art and culture.  One of the new library books.
A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon  --  a novel and a NetGalley ARC
Complexity and the Arrow of Time by (multiple authors) --  a collaboration of scientists, philosophers and theologians exploring the concepts of Complexity Theory.  a NetGalley ARC
My AWAI Copywriting course Installment 1 (of 13)
Tinseltown Riff by Shelly Frome
In the Community of Others by Jan Karon -- reading aloud to Mom several evenings a week.
The Marshall Plan by Evan Marshal -- this is a re-read.  It is one of the ebooks packaged with the Marshall Plan writer's software sent to me by Evan Marshall in exchange for sharing my experience on Joystory.
 Arctic Fire by Paul Byers.
Tinseltown Riff by Shelly Frome
The Return by Melissa Douthit
The Thunderbird Conspiracy by R. K. Price
Ghost of Lost Eagle by Dean Sault
Sinnerman by Jonathan M. Cook
The Three Sisters by Bryan Taylor
Blood Drama by Christopher Meeks
Head Games by Erika Rummel

Reading Now:


Most of these I plug away in at a snail's pace--a couple pages or chapters per week or even every other week as that is my preferred way to read non-fic.  It sticks with me longer. I'm closing in on the finish line for several but as I get close on one I tend to add two or three more. There are some not listed here because I read in them so infrequently.

Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton  ROW80 reading list
What to Do When There's Too Much to Do by Laura Stack (Part of my attempt to organize my life around my priorities. So part of my ROW80 reading list)
The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler   ROW80 reading list
And So It Goes by Charles J. Sheilds a bio of Kurt Vonnegut.  (I've posted about this biography of Kurt Vonnegut several time in a kind of reading journal. It is past time for another.  Part of the fun I'm having reading this is in stopping to read the stories he wrote as the narrative reaches the point where he writes them. Since this is an author bio this will also be on my ROW80 reading list )
This Mobius Strip of Ifs by Mathias Freese (I've posted a reading journal post for this collection of personal essays also.  It is past time for another.)
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller   ROW80 reading list  Net Galley ARC a NF that purports to answer many puzzles in the Austen novels.
Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff So part of my ROW80 reading list.
Jung and the Tarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols   ROW80 reading list  Since I'm reading this for an understanding of character type and the language of symbol understood by our unconscious this will be on my
13 Ways of Looking at a Novel by Jane Smiley   ROW80 reading list  This was one of the 24 items I checked out of the Longview library on my sister's card last Thursday.
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.   ROW80 reading list  Who knew.  Dick was a mystic.  I've only read one of his novels and a few short stories but now I've got to try to find and read everything!
Before You Say I Do Again by Benjamin Berkley  for Blog Tour Review Feb 8.  The review is up but I'm not finished.
The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf  ROW80 reading list  posted review for blog tour in March but still not finished
Choice Theory: A Psychology of Personal Freedom by William Glasser M.D. a library book
Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson  I own this book.
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor    ROW80 reading list  This is a reread for me and has had significant impact on the development of my storyworld in the early months of its inception.  This Friday post was about my current encounter with it after checking it out of the Longview library again for the first time in over a decade.
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron   ROW80 reading list
It's Not About You by Max Lucado.  I found this on my own shelves while packing up my personal library.  It was one of the last gifts I received from my Dad in 2005 the year he died of cancer.  It has a lovely inscription in his handwriting on the inside front page.  And I was reminded how I'd promised him to read it.  My bookmark was less than half way through and I could not remember if I'd finished it and just left the bookmark in or not but I doubt it.  So I've pulled it out to put on front burner.
Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch  I pulled this off my sister's bookshelf awhile back.  It is over a thousand pages in smallish font.  So it will be on this list for a long time.  I find it exhilarating that my mind seems ready to tackle text that is so dense in info and complex ideas again.  There is only one other book on this list that fits that criteria, The Act of Creation, and I've not pulled it out very often in these last months but am now finding myself yearning toward it again.   Good signs.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent.  Also found on my shelves.  I won this in a drawing during the Sweating for Sven writing challenge in 2007.  It made me blush and I kept it hidden in the recesses of my bookshelves but I think I've gotten over that.  Tho I admit it is hard to pull it out and read in it now that I'm back at Mom's.  But since Valentine's Week all my new story ideas have been for romances.  Not my usual thing.  But hey, you gotta take what the muse sends or she'll stop sending.  Setting aside the erotica aspects, this book is full of good story structure advice as well as romance genre specific advice.  I'm exploring the idea of writing a love story.  Hmmm.  Not sure who that is that just said that.
The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin
Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy
by Emily Bazelon -- one of the new library books and also a NetGalley ARC that timed out on me a couple months ago.
Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights
by Marina Warner  --  just got this back from the library November 13 after a month hiatus
Complexity and the Arrow of Time by (multiple authors) --  a collaboration of scientists, philosophers and theologians exploring the concepts of Complexity Theory.  a NetGalley ARC
My AWAI Copywriting course Installment 1 (of 13)
The Marshall Plan by Evan Marshal -- this is a re-read.


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness  (audio from library)  Was listening to this while working on this Xmas crochet project in 2012 and have had to restart it several times and get pulled away again again.
The Civilized World by Susi Wyss (another a Tree book ARC that got lost in the mix before I'd finished it.  Have not posted a review for this one either and can't remember when I received it but it had to be at least before I started packing for our move and likely before 2011 NaNo when I typically stop reading fiction while I'm so intensely writing it.  This is a collection of interlocking short stories set in South Africa and I remember I was quite enjoying it.  I've had to start it over.)
A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon  --  a NetGalley ARC
In the Company of Others by Jan Karon  --  am reading aloud to Mom.  Features Father Tim from the Mitford series as he and his wife Cynthia travel to Ireland to spend two weeks in the area where his father and grandfather immigrated from.
 Arctic Fire by Paul Byers.  -- Tho I posted my review for the tour I had not quite finished it
Tinseltown Riff by Shelly Frome   -- Again had to post review before finishing the story
The Return by Melissa Douthit   -- This is getting to be a habit and considering how the blog tours are are going to be coming at me two per week through November concurrent with NaNo I'm afraid it will happen again and again and I may not get them all finished before the New Year
The Thunderbird Conspiracy by R. K. Price
Ghost of Lost Eagle by Dean Sault
Sinnerman by Jonathan M. Cook
The Three Sisters by Bryan Taylor
Blood Drama by Christopher Meeks
Head Games by Erika Rummel


___Blog Tours:

I will be participating in 12 4 blog tours in the next 8 2 weeks:

Head Games by Erika Rummel  --  November 19
Journey to Galumphagos by Seth Eisner -- November 21
With Friends Like These by L. Hunter Cassells  --  November 25
Woman On Top by Deborah Schwartz  --  November 25

___Books I've Finished Awaiting Reviews:

Whenever I'm not pinned to a date like with the blog tours I do very poorly at getting reviews written in a timely way after finishing books and the longer I wait the harder it gets.  This is an issue I'm working on and hope to get a system in place to smooth the track from beginning book to posting review.

At Home in Mitford and A Light in the Window by Jan Karon  (the ebook I was reading aloud to my Mom while staying there in March and April. These short little lighthearted chapters are almost like stand-alone short stories with beloved characters and make great bedtime reading for adults wanting pleasant dreams)
The Land of Decoration by Grace McClean
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg   Part of my attempt to organize my life around my priorities. So part of my ROW80 reading list.   I discussed this in such detail in my mid-week ROW80 check-in post it was practically a review and I'll probably copy/paste much of what I said there into the review.
Never Give in to Fear by Marti MacGibbon  This was a NetGalley ARC but later I picked it up for Kindle when it was free on Amazon.  I began it in Adobe Digital Editions and when that timed out on me switched to the Kindle for PC.  This was a memoir of an addict's decent into the abyss and rise back out again and was quite engrossing.
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff  a library book
Get Your Loved One Sober by Robert Meyers (Research for a fiction WIP)
Losses by Robert Wexelblatt an ARC
After: The Shock by Scott Nicholson  This is post apocalyptic horror with zombies.    I anticipated enjoying this even tho zombies are not my favorite horror theme because I really enjoyed his The Red Church and I did but probably not to the same degree.  And its continued.
These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon  The third book in the Mitford series.
Pie Town by Lynne Hinton
Out to Caanan by Jan Karon  Book Four of the Mitford series.
Witch by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Curse by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
A New Song by Jan Karon.  The fifth Mitford book.
Legacy by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Spellbound by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
A Common Life: The Wedding Story by Jan Karon
In This Mountain by Jan Karon
Good in Bed by Jennifer Wiener
Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon  reading aloud to Mom
Certain Girls by Jennifer Wiener (sequel to Good in Bed)
Joyland by Stephen King
Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular by Rust Hills onetime fiction editor at Esquire.
Rose Fire by Mercedes Lackey
A Light From Heaven by Jan Karon  --  have been reading this to Mom in the evenings.  It's the final book in the series.
Boys Will Be Joys by Dave Meurer.  my sister bought this one for me after finding me standing by the book rack reading it while waiting on her to exit the restroom at the truck stop in Rice Hill OR on our trip home last May.  It's a Father's musing (Erma Bombeck style) on the vicissitudes of parenting.
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson   ROW80 reading list (a collection of essays by inde authors.  many of them self-published)
Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living by by Bailey White
At Home in Holly Springs by Jan Karon  --  am reading aloud to Mom.  Features Father Tim from the Mitford series as he returns to the town he grew up in.  First of two.  We started nearly a month ago and I forgot to put it on this list.  We will probably finish Tuesday evening.


___Reviews and Bookish Posts:

The Thunderbird Conspiracy
by R K Price

Just in time for the 50yr Anniversary of JFKs assassination is a new novel purported to be based on a story related to the author by his uncle days before he died decades ago.  A story told to him by someone claiming to have been an accomplice in the planning, carrying out and cover-tup of the crime.

The events of the JFK assassination are one of the first memories I retained that weren't tiny slivers of disjointed images untethered from time.  Whenever I access just one of the still shots in this series of memories it triggers a movie-like replaying of all the associated memories from my first awareness a few days after my sixth birthday through teens and adulthood as anniversaries went by and my interest grew as I read every article and book about the Kennedy family I could get my hands on.

So I was primed to be riveted and riveted I was.

The Return by Melissa Douthit Book 3 in the Raie’Chaelia series --  I participated in the tour for Book 2,  The Firelight of Maalda,  nearly two years ago.  And at that time was given Book 1, The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia,  as well as two prequel shorts. Am wishing I'd had time to reread or review those 600 some pages as I was a bit lost for 20 to 30 pages but she does a pretty good job of orienting you.

My top two favorite aspects of this series were:

  • The world building and undergirding science, its characters and creatures and lore enthralled me throughout the series.  I wish there was more to come.
  • The love story between the heroine Chalice and Jeremiah.  The developing of that romance unlike in many fantasy stories was not just tacked on as a come-hither side plot but was the point on which the central plot pivoted.  I really loved how that played out.

Friday Forays in Fiction: Quote via a captioned pic
My Brain on Books XIII my thon post
Sunday Serenity #358 An Ode to Our Dewey via a captioned kitteh pic.

The tour review on Thursday the tenth was for Tinseltown Riff by Shelly Frome: Gritty as the sand carried by the Santa Ana winds Tinseltown Riff is a comical romp among the Who's Who and Wannabes of the 21st century Hollywood scene.  A very unexpected, even counter-intuitive, mixture of story ambiance that works well.

Finished reading recently:

In early October I participated in the blog tour for Her Dear and Loving Husband by Meredith Allard

If you like the genres that are blended into it: Paranormal, Historical and Romance you are bound to be as enthralled as I was.  It is a sweet yet intense romance exploring the concept of eternal love that bridges the centuries to be fulfilled.

Thursday September 26th I posted the tour review for Arctic Fire by Paul Byers.

Move over Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, and Arthur C. Clarke.  Make room for the new kid on the block.  In Arctic Fire, Paul Byers has created a futuristic, technology thriller that can stand proudly in the company of Cussler, Clancy. and Clarke.

Thursday September 19th I posted the blog tour review for Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad. This is a delightful fix for all of us Monk addicts

Bookish posts from Banned Book Week:

Danger!  Books Can Change You.
Banned Books Week: Ask Dr. Suess
Sunday Serenity #356  Banned Book Week

I captioned a pic at with a quote from William Styron for a quickie quote post: How to Acquire More Lives Than a Cat.  That LOLcat and similar ones I'd created brought me to the attention of a group on called JeffCatsBookClub which has its own profile created for the purpose of collecting bookish and other story themed LOLs.  It's a story lover's treasure trove.

I posted about JeffCatsBookClub with the image of the 'library card' they issued me on this Sunday post.  Anyone into the IMWAYR? meme would likely also get a kick out these.  And if you have a cheezeburger profile and like what you see, just make a friend request.

BTW my profile at cheezeburger is Joystory

There were two other quickie quote posts in the last couple of weeks: Just LOLlygagging.  and  Lonliness is Feeling Embraced by the Empty.  I used to feel embarrassed by these, thinking of them as lazy cheats and not real posts but now that I know they are giving pleasure to those who encounter them I guess I'll own them and even flaunt them a bit.

New Arrivals:

By snail mail:

By email:

from NetGalley

ARC in waiting:

Tree Books:

The Variations by John Donatich
The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith   My husband read this and loved it and is after me to read it so he can talk about it.
The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller  Nobel winner!!
Skios by Michael Frayn
How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
The Sadness of the Samurai by Victor del Arbo
Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World by Sabina Berman
Winter Journal by Paul Auster a memoir from an American literary figure that really excites me.
We Sinners by Hanna Pylvaine.   It's another story exploring the impact on family life of a fundamentalist religion.  One of the themes I'm drawn to like Pooh to honey.
Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000-2010 compiled by The Organization Breaking the Silence
A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks
Detroit City Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an american Metropolis by Mark Binelli
The Autobiography of Us
The Abundance by Amit Majmudar
Here Comes Mrs. Kugelman by Minka Pradelski


____By email:

Troubled by Scott Nicholson

____From Net Galley:

A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Unloched by Candace Lemon-Scott
Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon  [the  55 day NetGalley digital edition timed out before I finished but I have just nabbed a library copy]
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch
With or Without You A Memoir by Domenica Ruta   [the  55 day NetGalley digital edition timed out before I finished but I am watching for a library copy]
The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron
The Book of Why by Nicholas Montemarano  [the  55 day NetGalley digital edition timed out before I finished but I am watching for a library copy]
Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin, M.D.
Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence by David Samuel Levinson
Kinslow System Your Path to Proven Success in Health, Love, and Life by Frank J Kinslow
Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One by Joe Dispenza
Women, Sex, Power, And Pleasure Getting the Life (and Sex) You Want by Evelyn Resh
All Is Well: Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition by Louise Hay & Mona Lisa Schulz
The Honeymoon Effect: The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth by Bruce H. Lipton,
The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth by Bruce H. Lipton,
A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon
Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani
Directing Your Destiny by Jennifer Grace
Hiding in Sunshine by John Stuart and Caitlin Stuart
I Am: Renewal from Within the Garden by Lucie K Lewis
The Book Publisher's Toolkit by Independent Book Publishers Association
The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino
Why Priests? by Garry Wills
Why we Write by by Meredith Maran (Editor)
A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon
Complexity and the Arrow of Time by (multiple authors) --  a collaboration of scientists, philosophers and theologians exploring the concepts of Complexity Theory.

If anyone reading this states a preference I may let it weigh my decision as to what I begin next from the above list.

0 tell me a story:

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