Thursday Book feature: Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere

By Celeste Ng

Copyright 2017

 

In 1998, the Richardson family is happily living in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland. Then Miah, a nomadic artist, and her teen-aged daughter rent a house from Mrs. Richardson. When one of Miah’s co-workers sues the state for custody of a baby she abandoned a little over a year ago, Miah and Mrs. Richardson are on opposite sides of the debate. Then Mrs. Richardson discovers a secret Miah has been harboring for years.

When the book opens, the Richardson home has just been destroyed by a fire, and the family is left homeless. Then it shifts to the previous year, detailing events leading to the fire. I found this disappointing because I then had an idea of how the book would end. I considered not finishing it, but curiosity drove me onward. Although I like the author’s depiction of Shaker Heights as a perfect little town, I don’t appreciate the way she inserts narrative during crucial dialog. In most cases, this narrative explains how characters feel, which, from what is being said, should already be obvious to the reader. The ending is unsatisfactory.

On the other hand, I liked the way Ng tells the story from the point of view of each character. She gives the reader a glimpse into each of their minds, even that of the Richardson’s youngest daughter who is often misunderstood. She also tries to help us understand why Miah feels the woman who abandoned her baby should have the right to take the child away from loving parents, unable to have children of their own, who want to adopt her. Despite its drawbacks, this book is a compelling, thought-provoking read.

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 Author 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

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Talking Dirty

Thanks to the Magic of Stories for inspiring this post. Karen J. Mossman talks, in a way, about creating a balance between being realistic and providing an escape for our readers.

Can you think of any scenes where people go to the bathroom? I’m going to be vain and tell you that in my memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, I talk about going to the bathroom a lot. In one scene, I’m making oatmeal, and my husband Bill, totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes, is sitting at the kitchen table in his wheelchair. Suddenly, he says, “Oooh, I gotta pee. Oh, it’s too late. I wet my pants.” This gives my readers an idea of what I went through as a caregiver.

What about farting? In Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show, there’s a scene in which a high school football coach flatulates while lying in bed, reading the newspaper, much to his wife’s annoyance. This gives you some idea of what kind of guy the coach is. Bill also liked to expel wind through his posterior, but I couldn’t find a way to bring that into my story, since it wasn’t related.

How about belching? I’m going to be vain one more time and give you an example from a short story I wrote several years ago that hasn’t yet been published. It’s called “Living Vicariously,” and it’s about a Catholic family dealing with issues related to religion. In one scene, a teen-aged girl who has lied about attending confirmation classes, is eating dinner with her father in a pizza joint. She’s drinking Dr. Pepper, and she says she doesn’t want to be a nun because she doesn’t want to give up the beverage. Then, she birps for emphasis. Here, I’m showing you her character.

Eating is another bodily function often portrayed. One great example of this is in the book Prizzie’s Honor. Charlie, a mafia crook, is eating lunch with his boss. It’s an Italian ten-course meal. This emphasizes the irony that evil people enjoy the good things in life.

I suppose we ought to talk about sex, but I’d rather not. None of my work has vivid descriptions, and frankly, such scenes bog a story down. Hand holding, kissing, and embracing are enough to show the reader two people are in love.

What do you think? Do bodily functions, including sex, enhance a story or slow it down too much?

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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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Song Lyric Sunday: Band on the Run

Song Lyric Sunday was created by blogger Helen Vahdati. For guidelines click here.

This week’s theme is “search.” The song is about a whole town searching for a band of escaped jail inmates who will never be found. When I was in the sixth or seventh grade, my family was living in Sheridan, Wyoming, and my father sold and serviced coin-operated machines.

I had a remote control unit and speaker in my bedroom that were connected to a jukebox downstairs. “Band on the Run” was one of many songs I listened to frequently. In case you’re wondering what kind of parents I had that allowed their child to listen to a song about escaped criminals never being found, let me assure you that although I loved the song and still do, I never grew up to be part of a band on the run. Enjoy the song, and have a great day.

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Band on the Run–Paul McCartney

Lyrics Courtesy of Google

 

 

Stuck inside these four walls

Sent inside forever

Never seeing no one

Nice again like you

Mama you, mama you

If I ever get out of her,

Thought of giving it all away

To a registered charity.

All I need is a pint a day

If I ever get outta here

If we ever get outta of here

Well, the rain exploded with a mighty crash

As we fell into the sun

And the first one said to the second one there

I hope you’re having fun

Band on the run, band on the run

And the jailer man and sailor Sam

Were searching every one

For the band on the run

Band on the run

Band on the run

Band on the run

Well, the undertaker drew a heavy sigh

Seeing no one else had come

And a bell was ringing in the village square

For the rabbits on the run

Band on the run

Band on the run

And the jailer man and sailor Sam

Were searching every one

For the band on the run

Band on the run

Yeah the band on the run

Band on the run

Band on the run

Band on the run

Well, the night was falling as the desert world

Began to settle down.

In the town they’re searching for us everywhere

But we never will be found

Band on the run

Band on the run

And the county judge who held a grudge

Will search for evermore

For the band on the run

Band on the run

Band on the run

Band on the run

Songwriters: Linda McCartney / Paul James McCartney

Band on the Run lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

 

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Author 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

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Friday Fun Poetry Challenge: Fall and Try

This feature was created by Colleen Chesebro. For guidelines, click here.

This week’s words are “fall” and try.” I decided to try my hand at a Tanka this time. As the guidelines suggest, I used synonyms of the words, “tumble” and “attempt.” See what you think.

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When first I tumble,

I rise, re-attempt my feat.

I am successful.

Failure will never stop me.

Quitting isn’t an option.

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Author 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

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

 

Guest Post: I am Soul–Virtual Blog Tour

Today, I’m pleased to introduce Yecheilyah, who will tell us about her life and her latest book and share one of her poems. You’ll find all her author links at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

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Bio

Yecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet and lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her wonderful husband. She has been writing poetry since she was twelve years old and joined the UMOJA Poetry Society in high school where she learned to perfect her craft. In 2010, at twenty-three years old, Yecheilyah published her first collection of poetry and in 2014, founded Literary Korner Publishing and The PBS blog where she enjoys helping other authors through her blog interviews and book reviews. The PBS Blog has been named among Reedsy’s Best Book Review blogs of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journeys. I am Soul is her fourth collection of poetry.

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I WAS NOT THERE

I do not entirely agree
with the actions of my ancestors.
Cannot say with a straight face
that I would have stood there
in the crossfire of oppression, falling
while being bitten by dogs,
Smiling
while being spit on.
Not without a straight face will I say
that I would have been there
to ask my oppressors their permission
to walk down their streets.

But I was not there
And me not being there leads me to do nothing
but honor their legacy in humility.
I do not know the taste of their humiliation
as closely as they experienced it.
My young palate is a prejudiced mixture
of what I’ve seen in footage and read in books.
I did not feel the lash
or salt in between their wounds.
Know nothing of the seasoning
of stripped identity
of throats closing in on tongues.

I know only of gentle waters.
The kind that bathes, and cooks and quenches the thirst.
I know nothing of the kind that pierces
the skin on contact.
I do not know because I was not there.
But I can write
like Baldwin did,
As a witness
I can write the stories
and un-fairytale the tragedy
of being colored.
To make alive again
a history left virtually unknown,
Because I was not there,
Not when Moses died or Malcolm was slain,
But I can write,
articulating the suffering
of the now silent.

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Fun Facts about Yecheilyah

    She loves to laugh, and her favorite comedy TV show is Blackish.
    She is originally from Chicago, Illinois.
    She’s been married to her husband eight years, together for eleven years.
    She believes eggs make everything better.
    She is a twin.
    She is addicted to reading and new notebooks.
    Her favorite dessert is ice cream.

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I am Soul is now available on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Scribd and The Medu Bookstore at Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta.
Universal Amazon Link
mybook.to/Yecheilyah

Universal Link to other Retailers
https://www.books2read.com/u/4Xoyp9

Greenbriar Mall
The Medu Bookstore
2841 Greenbriar Pkwy SW
Atlanta, GA 30331
Author Website: http://www.yecheilyahysrayl.com/
Blog: http://www.thepbsbog.com
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Yecheilyah-Ysrayl/e/B00ML6OHFA/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/literarykornerpublishing
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/yecheilyah/
Twitter: twitter.com/ahouseofpoetry
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdquShfqCN6lIX8IDK9MnSg

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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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Re-blog: Ten Favorite Book Blogger Challenge is Complete

Thanks to Glenda Beall for completing the favorite books blog challenge. You can see what her favorite books are at the link below. Happy reading.

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Writing Life Stories: Ten Favorite Books Blogger Challenge is Complete

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Author 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

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Thursday Book Feature: Breakfast at the Good Hope Home

Breakfast at the Good Hope Home

By Mike Bayles

Copyright 2017

 

Through prose and poetry, this novella describes how a young man deals with his father being placed in a nursing home after he is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. In ninety-six pages, the author details the last eight years of the father’s life and how the son and his mother cope. Besides the story and poems, all told from the son’s point of view, the book also includes historical and other information about Alzheimer’s Disease.

When I first read an interview with Mike Bayles on the blog, Scan, in which he talks about the book, I found it intriguing, having once been a registered music therapist working with nursing home residents afflicted by dementia. I was disconcerted by the fact that none of the characters have names except for Becky, the certified nursing assistant at the Good Hope Home who cares for the young man’s father. Then again, this story is short. It only took me about an hour to read with my Amazon Echo device. That doesn’t give readers a lot of time to connect with characters, so I can see why the author didn’t name many of them. Since nurses’ aides in skilled care facilities play a more pivotal role in the care of such residents, I can understand why Mike Bayles gave her a name.

Eight years is a long time to watch the slow decline of a loved one with dementia, so I’m glad this story is mercifully short. I recommend it to anyone dealing with Alzheimer’s. It would also make a great training tool for health care professionals learning to work with such patients.

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Author 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

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.