Let’s Talk About Books

I love to read, and now that I have an Amazon Echo Tap, I enjoy the instant satisfaction I get when purchasing Audible and Kindle books and reading them right away without having to download them to another device first. So when Amaan Khan posted this book tag, I jumped at the chance to answer his twenty-five questions about my reading habits.

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Q1. How many books is too many in a series?

A. It depends on the series. I enjoyed Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove and Harbor Inn books and wished there were more. All good things must come to an end, though, I guess.

Q2. Which do you prefer, character-driven or plot-driven books?

A. As a writer, I should know the difference, but I must admit that I don’t. In any case, I like a story with more showing and less telling. For some reason though, I’m always drawn to Daniel Steel’s stories which have the opposite.

Q3. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

A. As an author, I feel these are a great way to keep people reading, but as a reader, I usually like to stop at the end of a chapter. I don’t like being left to wonder what will happen, especially before I go to bed. It drives me nuts, and I won’t sleep, so more often than not, I’ll keep reading until everyone’s safe for the moment. I definitely do not like a cliffhanger at the end of a book in a series, especially if the next book isn’t available yet.

Q4. Do you prefer books in hard cover or paperback?

A. I prefer neither. Because of my visual impairment, I enjoy digital books, read to me by either a human or text-to-speech voice. I recently started having Alexa read Kindle books to me, and I like her style.

Q5. What’s your favorite book?

A. I don’t have any favorite books.

Q6. Do you like love triangles?

A. I don’t anymore. When I was younger, I found them intriguing, but now, I think they’re silly.

Q7. What book are you currently reading?

A. I’m enjoying The Cast by Danielle Steel, which came out a few months ago. I hope to post a review of it here soon.

Q8. Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction?

A. I like both if it’s not too violent or boring.

Q9. What’s the oldest book you’ve read?

A. I don’t remember because I’m getting old myself. Smile emoticon.

Q10. What’s your favorite classic book?

A. That’s a no-brainer. It’s The Wizard of Oz, one of few books I read more than once. I must have seen the movie a million times. I even played Dorothy in a school production when I was in fifth grade.

Q11. What is your favorite genre?

A. When I was young, I used to like romance but not so much anymore. I like memoirs and fictional stories about family and relationships the most.

Q12. Who’s your favorite author?

A. I’ve already mentioned Debbie Macomber and Danielle Steel. They’re my favorites.

Q13. How many books do you own?

A. I have so many on my portable reading device and in my Audible and Kindle libraries that I can’t count them all.

Q14. Do you use bookmarks or dog ears?

A. I don’t think it’s possible to dog ear the pages in a digital book, and Alexa doesn’t yet have the capability to insert bookmarks, but as long as she’ll resume reading where I left off, that’s all I need. If I want, say, a book on writing with exercises I need to bookmark for later use, I’ll download the book in another format and read it on a different device that has bookmarking capabilities.

Q15. Is there a book you can always reread?

A. Every once in a while, I’ll reread a book, but most of the time, I don’t.

Q16. Do you have a preference for first or third person point of view?

A. I like them both when used effectively in the story.

Q17. In what position do you read?

A. I either stretch out in my recliner in the living room or in a lawn chair in the back yard. I sometimes attach headphones to a portable device and listen while doing household chores.

Q18. Can you read with music?

A. No, since I read by ear, music is distracting.

Q19. Do you prefer audio or text books?

A. I prefer to have a human voice read books to me, but if a book isn’t available in a recorded format, and I want to read it right away, I’ll settle for a text version.

Q20. Do you like to shop in a bookstore or online?

A. I prefer shopping for books online. With my Amazon Echo Tap, it’s a snap.

Q21. Do you prefer stand-alone books or books in a series?

A. I prefer books that stand alone, but once in a while, I’ll take on a series.

Q22. What book do you recommend to everybody?

A. I review books here often, and those are the books I recommend. I also promote my own books, and I encourage you to read those as well.

Q23. What’s a book you’ll not read again?

A. I can’t think of one off the top of my head, but as I said before, most books I don’t reread.

Q24. Do you prefer a male or female main character?

A. I prefer a woman as a main character, but once in a while, I’ll read a book where the main character is a man.

Q25. Do you prefer single or multiple points of view?

A. That depends. If a story is told from more than one point of view in a way that’s not confusing, I’ll read it.

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Now it’s your turn. I triple dog dare you to answer as many of the above questions as you can, either on your own blog with a link here or in the comment field below. I look forward to your answers. Happy reading.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Reblog: Saturday is for Sharing–Abbie Johnson Taylor

Thanks to Lynda Lambert for giving me this opportunity to promote myself. Check this out.

Saturday is for Sharing: Abbie Johnson Taylor

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Thursday Tidbit: Prologue–My Ideal Partner–Excerpt

Today, I’m trying a new feature. I normally post book reviews on Thursday, but since I don’t always have books to review, in that case, I’ll toot my own horn instead of that of another author. Today’s tidbit is from My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

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This couldn’t be happening, I told myself, as, in my underwear, I paced the upstairs hall in Grandma’s house between my aunt’s old bedroom and the bathroom. It was the afternoon of September 10, 2005. In the yard, I heard strains of music from the string duo my father hired for the occasion and the chatter of arriving guests. Soon the ceremony would start. Would I have to walk down the aisle on my father’s arm in my underwear? Where was my sister–in–law, Kathleen, who agreed to be matron of honor?

She was probably still at the motel with my brother, Andy; their two sons, Dylan and Tristan, ages eight and six, who were to be ushers; and their two–year–old daughter, Isabella, who would serve as flower girl. Not only were we missing ushers and a flower girl, but my dress was with Kathleen at the motel, or so I thought. Why wasn’t she here?

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Now, here’s a recording of me singing a song I wanted to sing at our wedding but didn’t think I could without losing it.

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annie’s song.mp3

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For more information about My Ideal Partner and ordering links, click here.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Running Through the Sprinkler (Poetry)

The following poem was recently published in The Weekly Avocet. This is a haibun, a poetry form that combines a paragraph of prose with a stanza of haiku. You can click the link below to hear me read it.

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running through the sprinkler.mp3

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RUNNING THROUGH THE SPRINKLER

I stand on the sidewalk, a jet of cold water in front of me, my impaired eyes unable to find a way around it, as cars whoosh by on the busy street. The ninety-degree sun beats down. A tepid breeze caresses my face. I remember how fun it was to run through the sprinkler as a kid. Why not, I think. With a hearty “Yahoo!” I dash into the water’s inviting coolness.

a hot summer day
cold water sweeps over me
I’m a child again

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What did you do to cool off in the summer when you were a kid?

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Piss Call

Piss Call

One morning, I was getting ready to go to my water exercise class at the YMCA and running late. I considered making a pit stop before putting on my swimsuit and clothes, but since I didn’t want my friend who was picking me up to wait for me and didn’t feel it was an urgent need, I decided against it. After I got in the pool later, I wished I’d gone, but I managed to make it through the class.

My body is like a little kid. You ask her if she needs to go to the bathroom before a long car trip, and she says she doesn’t. Then, you’re on the open road in the middle of nowhere, and she says, “Mommy, I have to go.”

When my brother and I were kids, and our family took long road trips, my dad had a solution to this problem. Whenever he needed to go, he said, “Piss call” and pulled over. He would then get out and do his business alongside the road.

My brother found this hilarious, and like his father, he wanted to do the same thing. My mother said my dad was a card. At the age of twelve, I found this fascinating. The only cards I knew about were playing cards and greeting cards. How could a person be a card?

Years later, after my mother passed away, and I was a registered music therapist working in a nursing home and with senior citizens in other facilities, Dad and I planned a trip to Los Alamos, New Mexico, to visit my brother and his family. My father had recently suffered a stroke and occasionally found it difficult to express himself or understand what was being said to him.

After driving for about an hour and a half, we stopped in Kaycee for gas. It was around eleven o’clock. I figured we would stop in Casper for lunch. Since that was only about half an hour away, I again decided I didn’t need to use the facilities. When we reached the outskirts of Casper, Dad suggested we go on to Wheatland, another ninety miles, for lunch. By this time, I had to go and didn’t think I could wait another hour and a half.

When I asked if we could pull into a gas station so I could use the restroom, Dad thought I was hungry and suggested I get a milk shake or an order of French fries at a nearby Burger King to tide me over until we reached Wheatland. We kept going back and forth, me explaining I needed to make a pit stop and him insisting I get a snack. Finally, I said “Piss call.”

That did the trick, although to my surprise and relief, he didn’t pull over. Sometimes, you have to speak a person’s language in order to be understood. We ended up going to Burger King, and I used the facilities, then bought a milk shake for the road.

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What do you remember about road trips you took with your family when you were growing up? What about when you were an adult? Do you still take road trips with your family? I’d love to read your responses, either on your own blog with a link to this post or in the comments field below. Happy summer, and safe travels.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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On Straightening Up and Flying Right, an Abecedarian Poem


Thanks to fellow blogger Alice Massa for inspiring me to post this again. It was published in Magnets and Ladders several years ago, and I posted it here at that time. In this recent post, Alice encourages her readers to write an abecedarian about summer. I wrote this one several years ago. It’s not exactly about summer, but it will do.

When my father died several years ago, my brother and I performed the song that inspired this poem at his celebration of life with me on piano and vocals and my brother on drums. Without my brother and his drums, I can’t re-produce that version, but here’s Nat King Cole’s rendition, which is a lot better.

Below the video, you’ll find the WordPress player application, and when you press the Play button there, you’ll hear me read the poem. The printed version is below that. This form of poetry is called an abecedarian because the first letter of each line starts with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. Needless to say, this poem is 26 lines. You’ll note that the beginning letter of each line is in bold. In my recorded reading, I emphasize the first word of each line. Enjoy!

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On Straightening Up and Flying Right

A buzzard and a monkey wouldn’t fly together
because a monkey wouldn’t be stupid enough to
climb on a buzzard’s back, a buzzard being a
dirty bird with no morals.
Everybody knows that monkeys don’t
fly–buzzards do. I would
guess that monkeys associate with monkeys.
Heaven knows why the song was written. What an
imagination someone must have to
justify writing it—but with
knowledge of values, one would believe that there’s a
logical message here. The
monkey makes a point when telling the buzzard
not to blow his top and to do right.
Of course, not blowing your top and doing right are important.
People who are angry blow their tops, but the
question is do these people not do
right? I’ve blown my top a few times.
Still, I try to do the right thing. I
think that even the best of us,
under certain circumstances, blow our tops. It’s not
very unusual, but back to the monkey and the buzzard.
Why would a monkey allow a buzzard to take him for a ride? It doesn’t require
x-ray vision to determine that a buzzard is smaller than the average monkey.
You should realize that a monkey would be safer riding a
zebra. He wouldn’t have far to fall.

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If you’d like to try writing an abecedarian poem, check out Alice’s guidelines linked to above. The basic idea is to write a 26-line poem with the first letter of each line starting with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. This can be tricky. Good luck. I’d love to read what you come up with, either on your own blog with a link here or in the comments field below.
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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Saturday Song: Donna Summer–Macarthur’s Park


In last Tuesday’s post, when I said you can bake a cake again, even if you don’t have the recipe, I was referencing this song. This version was popular when I was in high school, and when I was on the speech team, my teammates and I listened to it often. I found the song and Donna Summer’s version unusual and fascinating. Enjoy, and have a great Saturday.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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