Courtesy Notice & Book Review

Ah man!  I got the dreaded courtesy notice email. Your book needs to be returned by such and such date.

Guess I won’t finish “The greatest thing since sliced bread : a novel” by Don Robertson.  Unless I quit writing dribble and start reading.  I HATE not finishing a book, even the crappy ones but this one is not in the crappy category.  Actually it is pretty good even though Morris Bird III is repeated about a bazillion times.

Morris Bird III

Morris Bird III

Morris Bird III

You see he is the main character and character is he!!

I laughed my ass off at one part about the babysitter getting caught red-handed with “company”.  G’ma tried to explain without really explaining.  Made me think of Sheldon and Memaw on “Young Sheldon”.

I tried to explain that section to B but I couldn’t stop laughing long enough. Of course he is used to me zoning out with book in hand. And while I zone out, I’m not a quiet reader. I gasp, I cry, I laugh. I equate my reading behavior to my singing and chair dancing when the situation calls for it.

Okay so I have talked myself into finishing the book. Three days is enough time.

Now here is my very high level review. Set in 1944 over a short span of time, this historical fiction is set against one of the worst industrial disasters occurring in Cleveland Ohio.

Tis all she wrote, you must read it for yourself to find out the rest.

See you on the flip side. 10/4 good buddy braker braker 1-9.


J-Dub’s Re-Review of “the year of less” by Cait Flanders

I wrote all lower case since that is what the book shows.  The rest of the title is

how I stopped shopping, gave away my belongings, and discovered life is worth more than anything you can buy in a store

Roger that!!  I re-read the book because the first time I inhaled it in two days and may have missed some stuff in my sprint.  Plus we have book club tonight and I am getting forgetful.  I wanted to refresh my memory.  Here is all I wrote the first time … Today is the Day! Spurred on by Book Club – Part 2.

Not much content but then again especially for memoirs, I do not judge.  Too personal and too brave to bare one’s soul like that.

I will never be able to downsize to only 29 articles of clothing or make my own shampoo but I can budget and follow the handy dandy flow chart.  Do I want or need it?  If want, then no.  If need, then proceed but be strategic in your purchase and see if there are other options like to repair first.  Then I can stop and smell the roses or otherwise divert my attention to what is special.

A paraphrased note for my common place book which is almost at capacity:

Two types of friends – bad influence or supporter.  In recovery, we need support.  Examples given:

  • Someone who stops you from going home with a rando from the bar and someone who calls you in the morning to see how it went.
  • Someone who stops you from buying the designer handbag that you can’t afford and do not NEED and someone who drives you to the store to buy it.
  • Someone who will work out with you and someone who will congratulate you on eating two burgers in one sitting.

I have the most supportive friends and mainly I hide all the bad stuff from them anyway.  I don’t want anyone to watch me go down in flames.  “Oh the places you will go” and not in a good Dr. Seuss way either.  But I keep trying.  Work in Progress.  One Day At A Time.

Read the book, you’ll be glad you did.  There is a reason it is getting all those accolades.

As always, more to come.


J-Dub’s Review of “Mrs. Fletcher” by Tom Perrotta

Entertaining in the mundane. A snapshot of a point in time of the life of Eve. Divorcée with a stereotypical frat boy son. Remarried ex with struggles of his own.

Eve is finding her footing while adjusting to an empty nest. Hmm I resemble that remark though I was not alone. #gratitude!

The story is really about relationships. Who we choose to be in our tribe. How we get by day-to-day. Self acceptance despite public opinion.

While the story has a beginning, middle, and end, there’s a perpetual feeling almost like the characters could go on forever. The end was of an episode. The book is ripe for a spinoff or sequel.

I’m glad I chose this book. I needed the escape. A recommended read. Rating 4.37 of 5 ✨

Today is the Day! Spurred on by Book Club – Part 2

This post is as close to a review of the book as you will get from me.  Cait’s personal story is not to be judged.  Simply put, she is a survivor.

I read “The year of less” cover to cover in two days.  I can relate except for the spending sprees and binge drinking.  However, we are more alike than not as what you may have missed about me is that I have an addictive personality.  Shocking!  I know.  lol :).  I’ve fooled no one.

After the “incident” of 2006, we have done much of what is in the book but there is still room for improvement.  I really liked the nifty flow chart at the end which explains the whole premise of less.

Ironic don’t you think that a book about less, no shopping outside of necessities, and giving stuff away to find life worth more than what can be bought is SOLD to us.  Lol!  I easily amuse myself.

For my part, I borrowed.  Thanks again that S. picked it for our book club.  As I am doing with all reading, the public library is back in vogue and FREE!  Borrow, read, return and repeat.

Any Who, I cannot stop now.  My next goal is to donate the crap out of our stuff.  Yeppers!  B is going down this road with me.  He doesn’t know it yet but he won’t care as the ratio of stuff already leans toward me anyway.  Or maybe that just feeds someone else’s need to excessively CONSUME.  Maybe I need another wheelie bin to toss out “stuff” instead?  Oh well, whichever way we go, I am excited!  Can’t wait to live like our ancestors!  Off the land with NOTHING and EVERYTHING!  Wild and free.  Well except for this Internet thingy and of course TV 🙂

Recommended read, 4.2423729 out of 5 stars (Ha!).

As always, more to come.

J-Dub’s Review of American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse

True crime story. First an article which later is expanded into a book. There is no mystery. We know who set the fires from almost the beginning. This is more than just a statement of the facts though. This is a psychological review which attempts to find a motive. One theory is he did it for love and she did it to cope with her circumstances in life. Set in rural Accomack county Virginia, the once prosperous area falls victim to the combustible engine. Speculation only that somehow tight budget and lack of opportunities caused this to happen. Ultimately we’ll never really know. As much as one can ever truly know anyone and what they’re capable of doing.

I’m adding the Eastern Shore of Virginia as a place I’d like to visit. Rich in history and beautiful from what I can tell. Though the author says the county is “the soul of rural America – a land half gutted before the fires even began.”

This is a recommended read. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars ✨. As always more to come.

Schaefer’s Skimmers & Sippers

That’s my club yo.

We had book club business at the top of the hour. Turns out someone is not returning because the books we read are too “dark”. Not even.

We do alternate between fiction and nonfiction. Some of the non-fiction was rough. I couldn’t finish Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge. The first chapter broke my heart and I was through.

Though I do have an affliction of being drawn to the horrors of life. Give me true crime. Give me memoirs of broken people. Gritty and raw or fiction that reads that way. Thank you Jodi Picoult!

I’ve been told by my former therapist don’t read that genre anymore if doing so makes you anxious. And still I pick them. Whether they’re book club fodder or not.

And at least half of the book club is usually talking about anything but the book. Like tonight for example current events came into the equation. Then we veered to Europeans being more free with their bodies. And Diana Ross squeezing lil Kim’s pastie at the VMAs. Google it! You know you want to. Next up someone shared a personal experience running cross country. Shirtless boys but girls who had to wear shirts over sports bras.

Love how we hop down rabbit holes. Never a dull moment. And there was even disagreement and healthy debate. Legalize prostitution? You be the judge.

AnyWho. I am super excited to share my find. Before we got down to business, I saw a display that had been arranged with several book bundles. The library branches are competing against each other to increase their checkout rate. I was happy to oblige. Guess what I picked?

Drum roll please.

Ratatat Tat Ratatat Tat Ratatat Tat

Wah-la! Non-fiction. Can’t wait to dive in. It’s about time for the power down hour anyway. When I’m done, I’ll post reviews.

As always more to come.

J-Dub’s Review of Bad Jobs and Poor Decisions by JR Helton

Here is the backstory/set up Someone Took My Story Idea

Yep! Don’t think the story line was such a good idea for this guy either.  I stop short of going any further because this is a memoir so who am I to judge?  No one.  The correct answer is no one.

What was neat about this book was every time he mentioned an address or place, I could visualize the scene.  Threw me right back to my youth.  I know people like this or should say I did back in the day.  Some have grown up and out of that life while others are perpetually stuck in the 80s.  Made me sad overall and I guess with topics of bad jobs and poor decisions, I should not be surprised.

Not giving a rating.  Recommend that you give it a read if you’ve nothing better to do and/or you like to be sad. I for one am going back to pure d as in DELIGHTFUL fiction.  You guys need to remind me to stay away from non-fiction unless it is of the uplifting variety.

As always, more to come.


Someone Took My Story Idea

OK so not really but sort of, kind of, maybe?

I was going to post Tales from the Tree as in Dollar Tree and write some things about Lulu’s experience with a minimum wage stocking/cashier position. I never did more than one or two stories because quite frankly the tales were sad so very very sad.

I picked this particular book because:

  1. it’s based in Austin and I’m a native Texan
  2. the author’s last name is Helton and I know it’s very sweet individual who’s maiden name is Helton
  3. it takes place in the 80s and that’s the generation of my youth
  4. and the cover just caught my attention as I was quickly in and out of the library on my lunch break looking for yet another book to tide me over until the next book club selection.
  • I’d say it’s similar to Lulu’s situation … not the poor decision part but the bad job/being part of the working class.
  • AnyWho, I will update you guys once I finish. It’s small and I’ll probably be done by tomorrow. You know especially because I have a cut off time for turning off all electronics 30 minutes before bedtime. Yep I’m old and predictable and trying to get a yeti cup. Figure that one out. Lol 😆
  • As always, more to come.
  • J-Dub’s Review of We Were Mothers: A Novel by Katie Sise

    This book was my free selection for September.  Told in short alternating chapters by the central women characters of the story, this book had a very familiar pattern.  Almost like every book I am reading these days.  Makes we wonder about originality.  Or does this formula just work so let’s all copy it?

    Any Who.  This one is a bit different in that the story takes place over a weekend.  Makes for a very fast pace.  And you’d think there’d be no character development because of this pace but surprisingly there are a lot of details.  Perhaps written as clichés, they are all people one can relate too.  Without giving too much away, we have secrets kept for years, infidelity, abuse, teenage angst set against twins birthday party in an idyllic suburb and the aftermath of a seemingly random day.

    When the secrets are spilled there is proof yet again that one can never really know what anyone else is capable of doing for self preservation.  We all have our limits and lines we might cross.  Would you lie for someone?  How about steal?  Or kill?

    The ending was a bit unbelievable.  Seems like more people should have gone to jail. But in fiction anything is possible.  Not sure I’d read it again.  The story was interesting enough to have kept my attention until the end though.  I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

    As always, more to come.

    J-Dub’s Review of Stray: Memoir of a Runaway by Tanya Marquardt

    Happy #free96 – double of #free48!  I call it that because I took the Friday before the Labor day holiday as a vacation day.  I read and lounged and read some more.  I finished three books in four days.  The first one reviewed here.

    Up next is Stray: Memoir of a Runaway by Tanya Marquardt.  Now as you all know, my reviews are typically nebulous and vague.  Hey is that an oxymoron?  Nope!  The more vague, the more I lack specific description expanding until it is nebulous.  Like clouds floating away and hard to pin down. Ha!  All I know is I will not ruin an ending like I did with We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. One of my first reviews on Amazon.  I am surprised, they did not delete it but oh well.

    ANy Who!  IMO, you cannot rate a memoir.  Too personal and who am I to judge her life?  Now how the story is written maybe but content, uh no way.  For this one all I have to say is the poor girl experienced some horrific stuff.  I was shocked and saddened.  The story had no closure though.  It just ended with her starting her real life which sounds like she rebounded famously and is doing very well for herself.

    I am glad the Kindle book was a free selection of the month for August.  I would have been upset to pay for the pleasure (or not) of reading it.  Not my fave and no recommendation.

    As always, more to come.