Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of The Best American Short Stories of 2021 Editor Jesmyn Ward – Part Three

Short intro – look back HERE for details of what I’m attempting. These posts are my experiment. Having the time of my life. Reading, writing, and all around musing. HERE you will find Part Two.

“You, reading this, you’re here, alive, because your parents synced and you showed up. That’s it. Even if they planned for a child, it was still a raffle draw. A hand went down in a bowl and picked you. The tree shook and a fruit fell down. If it pains you to read, then cry.”

Good Boy by Eloghosa Osunde

Only one quote today because of the length with so much to unpack. I was seriously in right place & time to read this quote. The randomness is not something unique to me. What matters is what comes after. What we do with our life is what counts.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of The Best American Short Stories of 2021 Editor Jesmyn Ward – Part Two

Short intro – look back HERE for details of what I’m attempting. These posts are my experiment. Having the time of my life. Reading, writing, and all around musing.

“Where we come from, people would bring their own justice because ours was not a world of due process.”

The Rest of Us by Jengo Duque

Without getting too you know what, our world feels this way to me.

“The mix of ginger & patchouli was Claire. Then one day she noticed the stark, earthly smell near Claire’s armpit, it was the smell of death.” “When Claire was gone, Norman began to give off his own sad odor” “There is just as much nonsense in the dog world as the human world”

Clementine, Carmelita, Dog by David Mean

Three good quotes. Not everyone will agree but I think dogs do have this kind of sense where they can tell things. A heartfelt story from the dog’s point of view.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of The Best American Short Stories of 2021 Editor Jesmyn Ward – Part One

Lately with my attention span being that of a gnat, this anthology fills the bill. Each Friday, I will add quotes from my common place book from a few of the stories contained within. Not really a review I guess but more sharing of what spoke to me. Hope these nuggets speak to you too my fellow humans. I may not get to all authors. This book was a timed check-out, no renewal. I will likely have to return the book before I am through.

“Still you’re friends, best friends, because if you spend that much time with someone, those many years, you have to care about them, even if you hate them … ”

To Buffalo Eastward by Gabriel Bump

My two cents borrowed – the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference ~ Elie Wiesel.

“He rolled up the steel doors of his eyelids reluctantly, as though not quite ready to open shop”

The Miracle Girl by Rita Chang-Eppig

My two cents, I love when words paint pictures. Can’t you just visualize eyelids as steel doors? I hear the groan too, like when you wake up in the morning but you’d rather still be sleeping. Crusty eyes & all.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Anxious People: A Novel, by Fredrik Backman

Here is an early review, two thumbs up, I’m about 2/3 of the way through & I watched the series.  Six word story synopsis:

More than a friendly hostage situation.

Mr. Backman also wrote a Man Called Ove which I read for book club many moons ago before Covid ruined things for the Sippers & Skimmers of the Schaefer public library.  Here is my 2018 review – part two which has a link to part one.  Both of these books have the same realistic in your face without being too much.  I laughed out loud at totally inappropriate parts & practically highlighted the entirety of what I read so far in Anxious People for my commonplace quotes. 

I told my brain trust during our breakfast that we were characters in the story.  I love when life imitates art.  I had them rolling in the aisles except for B who kept saying he was not Roger!  Oh but you are dear, you really are.  For those who may have read the book, there is also a Netflix series.  I found out how they cast us … Anna-Lena & Roger aka Jilly & B.

Roger was forced into retirement.  He keeps driving past the old building waiting for them to fail without him.  They never do.  B was forced to change careers & start his own company.  Not exactly same but close enough.  He too drove past the old building waiting for them to fail without him.  Pony really got a kick of that.  B said I had no choice but to drive that direction, I didn’t care what they were doing.  But hoping they fail was definitely part of it. 

Roger & Anna have two children, a son & a daughter.  At one point, Anna tells Julia “how bad a parent can you be when neither your son nor your daughter want to have children?”  Her son is focused on his career & her daughter says there are already too many people in the world.  But Anna laments because Roger wants to be a grandpa & that would give him purpose, making him a success in ways that count. 

Here we are close. Pony is not focused on his career but does acknowledge he likely won’t have children.  He did want them for a time before his marriage went to crap.  Lulu says with the recent events over women’s rights, she is going to sit this one out.  We all know B really wants to be a grandpa and with every grandchild his friend has, he feels it more.   And just like Roger, B would be a wonderful Grandpa. 

We can never say never but unlikely.  And that’s okay.  Truly everything is as it should be.  I won’t be Pollyanna since I have recently learned overly positive is sometimes called toxic positivity.  Toxic positivity as me grinning & bearing it most of my life.  I stopped being myself in 9th grade when Jeff told me, you’re always sad, no longer fun to be around, we can’t hang out anymore.  Then he ran off with the girls from St. Benedict’s, leaving me behind.  This person is someone I knew and was close to from age 5 to 14. I was devastated. From then on, turn that frown upside down Jilly girl. Even or especially when things go to crap. Oh wow, now this is becoming therapy.  I better stop now.

Back to the review. Read the book, it’s a keeper. Way more than the little anecdote I parceled out.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy ~ 8/26/22

My kids suggested this book for me. I had no idea who Jennette McCurdy was even though my youngest watched iCarly. Jennette’s story is compelling; a true depiction of the human psyche. With or without the same extreme experiences she went through, I found myself nodding along with understanding. The mother/daughter relationship can be complicated. Maybe it shouldn’t be but it is one of the most complicated relationships of all. As I do with any memoir, there is no rating, way too personal for me to judge.

As Always, More To Come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Her Perfect Family by Teresa Driscoll ~ 8/19/22

This review is non spoiler but bratty. I’m prickly lately so suck it. Oh behave. Anyhoo, this is what I wrote:

Stories within stories. Alternating chapters of then & now by the person talking. A bit disjointed but not sure what else might make the flow better. Maybe cut out one of the stories that was really more filler? I noticed the word liaising or liaised was overused. Find a synonym.

This was a free book of the month for being a Prime member. While not terrible, theses free books prove sometimes you get what you pay for. I did however get quite a few good quotes.

  • Words are how I process things – yep that is me to a T
  • I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to know; it was like a pact – oh ya another line that is the story of my life & when I’m brave enough to ask, I get an emotional smackdown.
  • I’m shocked at how angry I feel. Like I could hit something. Like I want justice. Revenge? – I’ve even got my family worried about me, I can’t let go but I need to for my own sanity. Life imitating art – similar but not the same … my anger is more sadness that comes from a completely different source
  • I wonder if childhood memories are all real or if we conjure some of them from the photographs and anecdote shared – taking it a step further is any memory real? Same situations invoke different memories for different people. I feel unsteady like my whole life was a big fat lie.

And with that, I am FIN.

As always more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Knuckleheads: Dreamer’s Alliance – Book 1 by Dan Antion

After a brief hiatus, I’m back to reading again & I could not have picked a better book to begin with. This is the story of best friends Zach & Billy growing up in a slice of Americana with a twist. You see Zach & Billy have special “abilities”. Over all their characters are very relatable to include the extended families & communities. The sections in between with grown up Zach & his daughter Abbie exchanging quips is quite entertaining. Yes, I do love a bit of snark. There’s a real comfort in the banter between the two where you can almost feel the love leaping from the page. I won’t spoil the book for you by giving any more specific details only to say, I had a nice little escape from the real world. The end was a perfect segway into the next book & I cannot wait for the story to continue. I rated this through Amazon but here I stopped with my rating system except to say two thumbs up & a recommended read.

HERE is a link to No Facilities. Pop on over, you’ll be glad you did.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of The One You Want to Marry (And Other Identities I’ve Had): A Memoir by Sophie Santos – tattle telling on myself too

Here is my GoodReads Review: Rolling joints. Seriously? OK talk to text you’re a mess. I really enjoyed this book. When it’s something so personal, who am I to review or critique? Instead I recommend you read and decide for yourself. Me? I’m always up for an entertaining story. This memoir is full of them.

So, …. there was no mention of rolling joints in the book but I said something that talk-to-text converted to that. I left ‘as is’ since I am easily amused. This book was a free Kindle selection of the month which means I got highlights. Being a little out of practice, I couldn’t use all of them. I’m much better with pen to paper in my common place book as a read a physical book, with pages to turn, that I can hold. Lemme just say that the acknowledgements at the end were off the chart with really good stuff. Sophie is very lucky to have good people in her life.

Here I’ll share a few (okay nine) quotes that really resonated with me, then I’ll let you go.

  1. If you’re riding in an RV with your grandparents who have kindly taken you on a trip to see the Four Corners, don’t make your seventy-one-year-old grandpa sleep on the floor—unless he grabs your knee and jokes, “This is how a horse bites an apple.” Then it’s fair game.
  2. If you look past the homophobia, bigotry, snakes, pushy moms, and Joel Osteen–style, veneer-capped smiles, Baptist churches are the best.
  3. Mass was somber, and the reverends spent a lot of time swinging scented, …
  4. It was a perfect illustration of my relationship with my mom . . . close—way too close—and codependent as hell.
  5. What I really wanted to say was, Let your freak flag fly, weirdos!
  6. I trusted my mom yet again, who was the Old Mill grits of the South. (That means queen bee.)
  7. You can’t text someone an insane number of times to get them to talk back to you. That would mean a restraining order.
  8. Her mom – “You were so frenzied. I wanted to help, but at times I felt helpless.” Sophie – “I’m happy I went through everything. I think it all timed out exactly as it should’ve,” I assured her.
  9. “Think of the thing that you don’t want us to know about you and then tell us all about it.”

The bolded quote – lucky #7, when I needed to see it, boom there it was in print!! Some of you may remember my angst ridden, worry posts of late where I mention I was afraid of getting in trouble? Well persistence paid off. Kinda, sorta, maybe? I re-read some of the texts (and emails) I sent in search of … whoa buddy, I want a do-over. Oops sorry. I was losing it. All is better now, kinda, sorta, maybe?

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: The Betrayal of Anne Frank – A Cold Case Investigation by Rosemary Sullivan ~ 6/3/22

This book is about a topic I am nowhere near qualified to review. I learned alot about a lot of things and ultimately I took away the atrocities that occurred during the war and specifically what happened on August 4, 1944 when the Annex where Anne Frank’s family and fellow humans in hiding were betrayed.

I have a newfound respect for the term helper. I’d like to think I would have been a helper, part of the resistance. Ultimately, the list of suspects is long and theories are magnified to confirm or deny. Little by little the cold case team narrowed down to four possibilities with one rising to the top. No quotes this time around for my common place book, instead I hung on every word as I read.

As always, more to come.