Clock Dance #Thursday Book Feature

Clock DanceImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

by Ann Tyler

Copyright 2018

 

Willa has as normal a childhood as can be expected, growing up in Pennsylvania with a theatrical mother and  mild-mannered father. She graduates from high school, goes to college, and marries a boy she meets there. They move to California, where they have two sons. During the boys’ teen years, Willa’s husband is killed in a car accident. That’s the first part of this book.

The second part opens years later. The boys are grown and leading separate lives. Willa has married another man and moved to Arizona. After receiving a phone call from a stranger, for no fathomable reason, she finds herself flying across the country to Baltimore, Maryland, to care for a mother and child she doesn’t know. There, she enters a new world and is content for the first time in years.

I’ve enjoyed many of Ann Tyler’s books because of their mix of straight-laced and unpredictable characters and the humorous situations in which they find themselves. This book didn’t disappoint me. I liked the ending.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

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Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: Understanding

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Understanding: An Anthology of Significant and True Life Events

by Stevie Turner et al.

Copyright 2019

 

In this anthology, edited by fellow blogger Stevie Turner, contributors, me included, share stories of life-altering events such as sexual abuse, traumatic accidents, and teen pregnancy. My story is about my years of caring for my late husband as outlined in My Ideal Partner- How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds Stevie also includes her story of how she survived thyroid cancer.

Most stories are in the form of an interview. Stevie sent us each twenty questions about our experiences, which most of us answered. One author, though, chose to provide her answers in the form of an essay. At the beginning of each story is the author’s biographical information.

I enjoyed reading many of these uplifting stories of courage and determination in the face of adversity. For me, caregiving wasn’t fun, but many authors here endured a lot worse. This book has a strong message. No matter what curve balls life throws at you, keep going, and things will get better.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: Walking by Inner Vision

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.I reviewed this book a couple of years ago when it first came out. Now, it’s available on Audible with a good narrator. I found it well worth the seconcd read.

 

via Thursday Book Feature: Walking by Inner Vision

 

 

Thursday Book Feature: Mastering Suspense, Plot, and Structure

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Mastering Suspense, Plot, and Structure

By Jane Cleland

Copyright 2016

 

From the award-winning author of the Josie Prescott Antique Mystery series comes a how-to manual on creating gripping stories that leave readers on the edges of their seats. Jane Cleland provides what she calls a road map on working suspense and other elements of fiction into a story. Assuming you’re already working on a novel, each chapter offers an exercise to help you apply what you’ve learned to your own work. At the end, she emphasizes that if you follow her instructions, you’ll write books that sell and are loved.

At first, I was skeptical when one of my writing groups decided to read this book and do the exercises, sharing the fruits of our labors to our email list. I don’t read or write thrillers or mysteries or any kind of book with a lot of suspense. Once I got into it though, to my surprise, I found myself applying what I’d learned to my own novel, The Red Dress, which is now in the hands of the publisher, DLD Books. Jane Cleland’s methods can also be applied to short stories. So, if you like to write fiction and are looking for ways to improve in this genre, I definitely recommend this book.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: The Unwinding of the Miracle

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After

by Julie Yip-Williams

Copyright 2019

 

In 2013, Julie Yip-Williams, wife and mother of two, was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. In her memoir, published posthumously, she details events during the five agonizing years leading to her death. She flashes back to her earlier life: being blinded by cataracts as an infant in Vietnam after the war, escaping with her family to the United States and settling in southern California, having most of her sight restored through surgery, growing up to become a lawyer, traveling all over the world, meeting and marrying her husband, and the birth of her children. In her last chapter, she encourages us to take advantage of the time we have. Her husband Josh wrote the epilog, and in the recorded version I downloaded, he reads it.

I admire this author’s courage in the face of adversity, and I’m not just talking about the cancer. She was born into a society that considers disability a weakness. Although she regained most of her vision, it was a struggle for her to learn to use what she had. When she was a kid, she was excluded from movies and other social events with her siblings and cousins because she wouldn’t be able to see anything and someone would have to take care of her. Despite all this, she went on to do remarkable things. I respect her decision to stop treatment and let the disease run its course, despite having a husband and two young children who loved and depended on her. Knowing the outcome, this is a hard book to read, but the story is well worth it.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: Mourning Has Broken

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Mourning Has Broken

By C. A. Balawyder

Copyright 2013.

 

The loss of her parents and sister inspired author and blogger Carol Balawyder to write the essays in this collection. She writes about her relationship with the loved ones she lost. Other pieces focus on such topics as travel, online dating, religion, and, of course, mourning.

Having lost my parents, grandparents, and husband, I can identify with the feelings the author expresses, especially the guilt at not having done more for her loved ones before they passed. If you are grieving and have similar feelings, this book should help you understand you’re not alone. If you’re suffering from a recent loss, be sure you have plenty of Kleenex handy when you read it.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

The Lanyard by Billy Collins

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Since this is Favorite Poets Week, I’m sharing my favorite poem by my favorite poet. “The Lanyard” reminds me of all the useless gifts I was compelled to make for my mother during summer camps and art classes.

A perfect example is the ash tray I made for her during a pottery class at the YMCA she encouraged me to take when I was in seventh grade. I can’t describe it except to say it looked like something the cat dragged in. She may never have used it, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

 

 

How about you? Did you ever make anything for your mother? How did it turn out? Did she ever use it?

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.