A Humorous Look at Marriage and Family #FridayFunReads #BookReviews #Inspiration

If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?

by Erma Bombeck

Copyright 1978.

 

What Amazon Says

 

The hilarious #1 New York Times bestseller: Erma Bombeck’s take on marriage and family life is “fun from cover to cover” (Hartford Courant).

Ever since she was a child, Erma Bombeck has been an expert worrier, and married life has only honed that skill. She gets anxious about running out of ball bearings; about snakes sneaking in through the pipes; about making meaningful conversation on New Year’s Eve. Married life, she realizes, is an unpredictable saga even when you know exactly how loud your husband snores every night—and she wouldn’t have it any other way. In this crisp collection of essays, Bombeck shows off the irresistible style that made her one of America’s favorite humorists for more than three decades. When she sharpens her wit, no family member is sacred and no self-help fad is safe…

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

I first became familiar with Erma Bombeck in the 1970s when a fellow orator on my high school’s speech team presented an oral interpretation of one of her pieces. A couple of years ago, I was inspired to write my latest novel, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, by a quote from Erma Bombeck I read online. “Your grandmother pretends not to know who you are on Halloween.” So, I thought it fitting to read one of her books.

These essays were written during the 1970s, but I think we can still relate to many of the topics covered. Being a singer, I especially liked her opinion on our national anthem.

I obtained a recorded version of this book from the National Library Service’s Braille and Audio Download site and listened to part of it while in my recliner, suffering from indigestion. What can I say about laughter being the best medicine? It’s definitely cheaper than Pepto Bismol, which I didn’t have on hand at the time. So, if you’re interested in marriage and family and want some good laughs, this book is for you.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

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A Humorous Christmas Story #FridayFunReads #BookReviews #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Note: I read this book and reviewed it here last year, but I hope you’ll agree it’s worth a second look.

 

Wishin’ and Hopin, A Novel

by Wally Lamb

Copyright 2010

 

What Amazon Says

 

Wally Lamb, the beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed, I Know This Much Is True, and She’s Come Undone, delivers a holiday treat with Wishin’ and Hopin’—an unforgettable novella that captures the warmth and joy of the holiday season. Poignant and hilarious, in a vein similar to Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story and David Sedaris’s The Santaland Diaries, Lamb’s Christmas tale focuses on a feisty parochial school fifth grader named Felix Funicello—a distant cousin of the iconic Annette!

 

My Thoughts

 

This book definitely reminds me of Gene Shepherd’s A Christmas story, which is one of my favorite movies. An eccentric French teacher, a zany Russian classmate, and a disastrous Christmas pageant create a delightful tale that made me laugh and laugh and laugh. From the beginning to the end, I found this book hard to put down. If you were a fan of The Mouseketeers way back when, and you like Gene Shepherd’s story, you’ll love Wishin’ and Hopin’.

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I’m pleased to announce that this coming Monday, I’ll be interviewed on local radio station KROE about my new book and other topics. The program, called Public Pulse, will start at 9:10 a.m. mountain time. You can click here to listen. When you get to that page, you’ll need to scroll down to find the Play button.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

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TOP TEN THINGS YOU NEVER SHOULD HAVE ASKED YOUR MOTHER #WordPressWednesday #Reblogs #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

This is a day late but hopefully not a dollar short. Yesterday, my mother would have  been eighty-six years old. May she rest in peace. Today’s WordPress Wednesday contribution is in her memory. Enjoy!

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The inspiration for this list was a discussion between The Producer and me about how kids can light the parental upset fuse by a simple question. We both have asked some and have been asked some.

 

View the original post.

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Poems Offer Slices of Life #FridayFunReads #BookReviews #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Haywire: Poems (Swenson Poetry Award)

by George Bilgere

Copyright 2006.

 

What Amazon Says

 

Tenth annual winner of the May Swenson Poetry Award, Haywire is a well-polished collection from a highly accomplished poet. With humor, compassion, and an unflinching eye, Bilgere explores the human condition in accessible lines and a magician’s way with language. In images bright and dark, tangible and immanent, Bilgere brings us time after time to the inner reaches of a contemporary life. In subjects ranging from adolescent agony to the loss of parents to the comic pain of middle age, he finds no reason to turn away his gaze, and ultimately no reason not to define himself in joy.

Haywire was chosen for the Swenson Award by poet Edward Field, winner of numerous awards and a personal friend of the late May Swenson. Field describes the book this way. “This poet, you knew from his very first lines, didn’t fall for anything phony—his own language is irresistibly no-bullshit down to earth, even sassy.”

 

My Thoughts

 

George Bilgere’s style is similar to that of Billy Collins, who is one of my favorite poets. Like Collins, Bilgere writes realistic, slice-of-life pieces.

“Simili Practice,” in which he shares experiences teaching English as a second language, reminded me of the times my mother, a college English teacher, also taught that subject. Being someone who appreciates opera, I could relate to “Aria” and “Tosca,” showcasing Bilgere’s father’s love of this type of music, which seemed to trump everything else at times. My favorite is “The Table,” in which he shares other family memories.

Some of the poems, in my opinion, are too graphic. Let’s take, for example, “What Would Jesus Do,” in which Bilgere reflects on what would happen if Christ died in the electric chair instead of on the cross. I found others offensive because of the way he appears to stereotype certain ethnic groups. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading this collection. Some of the poems gave me a laugh from time to time. I recommend it and other poetry collections by Bilgere to anyone who likes poetry that is straightforward and easy to follow.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

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Another Collection of Whimsical Poems #FridayFunReads #Poetry #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Whale Day: and Other Poems

by Billy Collins

Copyright 2020.

 

What Amazon Says

 

A wondrous collection from Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet Laureate and New York Times bestselling author of The Rain in Portugal

“The poems are marked by his characteristic humor and arise out of small, banal moments, unearthing the extraordinary or uncanny in the everyday.”—The Wall Street Journal

Whale Day brings together more than fifty poems and showcases the deft mixing of the playful and the serious that has made Billy Collins one of our country’s most celebrated and widely read poets. Here are poems that leap with whimsy and imagination, yet stay grounded in the familiar, common things of everyday experience. Collins takes us for a walk with an impossibly ancient dog, discovers the original way to eat a banana, meets an Irish spider, and even invites us to his own funeral. Sensitive to the wonders of being alive as well as the thrill of mortality, Whale Day builds on and amplifies Collins’s reputation as one of America’s most interesting and durable poets.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

I’ve enjoyed poetry by Billy Collins over the years, and Whale Day didn’t disappoint me. The book is divided into several sections with no rhyme or reason as to which poems go in which sections. But that’s okay. It’s part of this poet’s whimsical style.

I love the way he opens the book with “The Function of Poetry.” His idea of poetry’s function is similar to mine. I got a good laugh from ‘Down on the Farm,” in which the author muses on Tennessee fainting goats.

Billy Collins is one of those poets who makes you forget you’re reading a poem. So, even if you’re not into poetry, I highly recommend Whale Day and his other collections.

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For those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

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New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

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